Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WHEN IN ROME...rogers edition.

So it's pretty much a dream to be reunited with all of your siblings, and dad, in EUROPE. We just aren't one of those rich families who travel around the world together. My brothers had never been to Europe, so I was excited to give them a good little taste. Starting with Rome!! It was a giddy reunion when my siblings started flooding out of Jeff's car, after having been smashed in there like sardines, and almost getting knocked over when my big, little brothers hugged me. 

We wasted no time, and left for Rome the very next morning. We all flew together which was totally fun. We scored $30 round trip tickets to Rome, I mean how can you say no to that? After a little bit of drama with our hotel room, we arrived at our really nice 3 bedroom airbnb and tested out the super comfy beds...but had to cut the bed testing short because I knew my jet lagged family would ruin their trip if they kept sleeping. So we ventured out to St. Peter's square, only after getting a first taste of italian pizza. It didn't disappoint, but we were also starving so it's hard to be a critic in that type of situation. I went home early with the girls that evening (I was feeling sick) while everyone else explored until dark. They came home and we all went out to dinner. After weaving around a few neighborhoods in the darkness, we found ourselves in front of a literal hole in the wall. But not in a good way. The waitress looked at us as if she had never seen an american. And as much as we all tried to have positive attitudes while we were there, it was GROSS, and Jeff & the boys deemed it necessary to hit up a McDonalds on the way home because their man stomaches were not satisfied. But I mean, you can't appreciate the fabulous eats without experiencing some of the not so fabulous...

 ^^ true americans, eating mcdonalds for breakfast every morning. It was right next door and just too convenient.
 ^^ jeff trying to "teach jane a lesson" about how if she walks into the road she will get smashed and killed by those crazy italian cars. He is not one to beat around the bush.
 St. Peters Square with the original FOUR. I seriously love those people. And long cardigans are cute and everything, but paired with a regular short jacket...looks like I am wearing a cape.
 CLASSIC LYLA, begging for anyone, ANYONE, to hold her.
 CLASSIC JANE, sucking on her fingers, tag in the other hand, and cuddling.
 ^^ Maybe my favorite picture of the whole trip. True joy captured.
 Our first gelato stop, I almost didn't get any. Gelato has never really blown me away. I've tried it a ton, even in other places in Italy, so my expectations weren't too high. Holy cow, Rome turned me into a true believer. This gelato shop had us all gushing and sharing flavors and in pure heaven. We stopped here twice in one day. And once the next day. It wasn't enough.
 The girls were so adorable, wanting to share with each other the flavors they got. Just like me and my siblings were eager to share our favorite flavors with each other. Its true family love.
Will was spectacular with my girls. On their own accord, they started calling him WILLY. "hey willy!!" "Where are you Willy??" It was so ridiculously adorable. He spent most of his energy playing with them, throwing them in the air, and making a large space for himself in their little hearts.
 ^ my love, and my new second love ;) This combo was a winner, chocolate with  mint. holy cow....so good.
okay, okay...enough about the gelato.
 Our next stop was the Colliseum. We all loved it, and were so mesmerized. It's so crazy to think about how old this thing is. I handed my camera to Jane for awhile at this point and let her snap away on my camera. She was in heaven, and it was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.
 Here is Lyla trying for the 100th time to escape past this gate. Couldn't turn my back for a second.
 What a classic...Brendon photobombing.
 This picture is a good summary of our entire week. Lyla entertaining the masses. She brought everyone a lot of joy and a lot of laughs. Also notice the gum in her mouth. She probably ate about 3 packs worth this week....always knowing exactly who to ask. Aunt Kacee or Aunt Rachel. Smart girl ;) It's realllllly hard to say no to that girl. "Rachel, I want gum, OKAY??"
 Will took a turn carrying Lyla in the hiking backpack. That thing with her in it is SO heavy. Here is Jeff relishing in his pack-free back. Sweet relief.
 We made a quick stop at the Trevi fountain, and I have to say it was more beautiful than I thought it would be. Truly spectacular.
^^ love him. He was an amazing tour guide, completely taking the reigns on all the public transportation and daily itinerary. I joked that if it weren't for him, we would all be walking around like a bag of question marks.
Sooooo many in people in Italy will come up to you and try to sell you things. Well Rachel fell for it, and she ended up paying this guy $15 for 2 string bracelets. Haha so obviously they had to be documented. When we first arrived, this one guy was trying to sell something to Will, and Will kept trying to politely decline, but to nobody's surprise, the guy would NOT stop. Finally Will and the guy got to where Jeff was. Jeff saw what was happening, put his hand out, and said as if he were talking to a 3 year old. "Pleas stop. Stop. Please turn around and walk away. Walk away right now." We were all laughing pretty hard. I mean, i have to give those guys credit for their persistance but you literally have to be THAT blunt for them to leave you alone. 
 One of the good eating out experiences. Lots of pizza. Lots of Bruschetta. Doesn't get old.
 The next day was thanksgiving! We spent the day cooking. By we, I mean me, my dad, and Kacee. Everyone else entertained the kids though so everyone did their part. It was a perfect Thanksgiving spent with people I love most in this world. Kacee went on a run, and took Jane for part of it. I snapped this absolutely adorable picture!! I love kacee! Also hated that I couldn't run with her....this pelvis just cant handle it atm.
 We managed to get everyone looking semi-decent to go out behind our house and snap some family pictures, with help from my neighbor. I recognize I come from a pretty good looking family but I can't help but feel that I kinda steal away from some of the beauty. That oversized shirt hiding a big belly and the pregnancy face is just not really up to the standards that the rest of my family is setting. Haha.
On friday, I stayed home with the kids (and Rachel) while Jeff took everyone to Prague. Then on saturday, we all went to a Christmas market and to Ikea. Both of which were much more exciting for the women involved, but the guys were good sports ;) I seriously loved wandering and driving around what has become our stomping ground with all my siblings. We had a blast.
Lyla was not selfish with her cuddles. It took her a little bit longer to warm up to Brendon, but I'd say they ended on a good note.
 I am so sad that my family is gone now. I definitely teared up a few times the day they left. As I was cleaning the house that was messy in the best way, carrying our kid sized basketball hoop back down to the basement. My brothers spent hours shooting on that thing, just like when we were growing up. Lyla and Jane were bored and didn't quite know what to do with themselves without a flock of aunts and uncles heeding to their every whim. Im grateful to have a family that makes it so hard to say goodbye. Im also grateful that there are 3 people I don't have to say goodbye to. Jeff, Jane, and Lyla. I love spending my life with them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


The news is finally out, and I am finally feeling a few steps up from a sloth. Every single pregnancy during the first trimester, blogging seems like an unthinkable, daunting task. It gets put to the back burner, along with a lot of other things. Survival mode at its finest. When I try to describe to people how I feel during my first trimester(s), the best thing I've come up with is that my soul is sucked right out of me. I don't have a fraction of my usual energy, I don't have the same cravings, the same desires, the same moods. The greatest proof I've been able to find of this is this picture that was taken by Jane. I think it pretty much sums up the first trimester.
But I've realized two times over now that any misery that may accompany a pregnancy is completely irrelevant when compared with the joy and fulfillment that comes with bringing a brand new human into this world and watching them grow into a real, unique and beautiful person. 

So let's rewind a bit because I want to document the beginning of this pregnancy. It was a complete roller coaster. I wanted so badly to be pregnant and there was one small chance that I was that month. Jeff wasn't really on the baby train, but I guess the smallest fraction of him was because, well, it happened. I took a pregnancy test a day before my period was supposed to start. One of those dollar store ones. (NEVER AGAIN!) The positive line was so faint that I was even too embarrassed to take a picture to send to my mom because I was sure she would say I was crazy. But it was more than a completely negative test so I was SO conflicted. I texted jeff and told him I wasn't pregnant, and that if I was, I would be having a miscarriage because in my experience, faint lines equate to miscarriages. I even called the Dr. to see if I could come in and get on Progesterone ASAP. The nurse hotline just said "if you are having a miscarriage you need to go to the hospital." to which I replied "well, I'm not...I just think I will." Oh, I'm sure I sounded (and felt) like a mad woman!

Well I took a few more of those dollar store tests and they were extremely faint 2 more times, until I finally caved and picked up some better tests that provided me with a beautiful, very much EXISTING, second line! That's the first time I felt even a GLIMMER of hope. I still couldn't even get excited. Having 2 miscarriages seriously messes with your pregnancy mentality. But I decided to relish in the fact that in this very moment, I WAS pregnant, and to give that baby all the love and connection that I possibly could, even if that meant being hurt more later on if I did have a miscarriage.
 2 days later I took another test, and the line was darker. That glimmer of hope started shining a little brighter. And I started being so intentional about setting aside time to mentally, and spiritually connect with this baby. Something I've never been as intentional about with other pregnancies. I can't say that it willed that baby to stick, but it sure has created an already special bond between me and this little bean.

I got into the doctor at 6 weeks, which still wasn't soon enough for me! Every single day I felt a roller coaster of emotions. More fear than excitement. But I got to see my baby at 6 weeks, the Dr. put me on progesterone, and told me to come back every 2 weeks. Thank goodness for that. I NEEDED the bi-weekly reassurance that my baby was growing. I would've even loved it weekly but I'm just grateful he must've sensed my fierce worry, and allowed me to come so often. Every appointment I prepared myself for the worse, but every appointment, that deep breath of relief that I was so hoping for came, and I was so grateful. 

During this pregnancy, I've been kind to myself. Which I'm proud of. I realized I had to maintain my  focus on merely keeping my 2 girls happy, and healthy, and taking care of myself. I granted myself a lot of grace, which is unusual for me! I realized my home would not be perfectly clean, that I couldn't use my small amount of energy on working out and be depleted for the rest of the day, that I wouldn't be able to rush in and bring everyone who needs one a meal or a pick-me-up. I realized I'd have to say no to some things. And I also realized that in a few months I could get back to normal. And I have!

My baby is now in the popcorn stage. Which means, growing perfectly and healthily and giving me little happy popcorn popping inside my tummy. Just kinda trudging through this awkward stage where to the average onlooker, I just look chubby. The bump will pop soon enough but my body is definitely changing, as it should! I'm gaining back some energy and kind of feel like superwoman, not gonna lie. I know I'm officially departing first trimester yucky-ness when I can go to the grocery store without wanting to drop dead and give up on everything for the rest of time. 

Jane and Lyla have been rooting me on this whole time! Jane will often tell me to go lay on the couch and then bring me "some water for the baby!" or "an apple for the baby!" She is also quick to remind me "Mom, that candy is probably REALLY bad for your baby." I've actually been good about not eating sugar, but anything else is fair game. Every week the girls are SO excited to look at a picture on babycenter of what my baby looks like, and what fruit it is the size of. And last week was exciting when they learned that the baby is starting to hear what we are saying! Jane has been coming up to my tummy and reciting random facts "hey baby? did you know what colors are in a rainbow....did you know I can count to 10 in german?" etc, and singing songs to the baby. They are so completely thrilled that we will have a baby in our family soon-ish. Although the concept of time is a little rough for them, as expected. 

Now, as for what we have been up to this past 4 months? Jeff was gone for almost the entire first trimester so that meant....a lot of play dates and a lot of playing in the backyard. (My saving grace the past few months!) I'm soooo grateful for all of our good friends here. They made the summer bearable. Traveling has been at a minimum but we still made it to Belgium for a blissful few days with cousins, and Jeff and I even got to sneak away to London. (!!!) (more on that later) My mom and her fiancee came to visit too, and we got to do some fun little trips with them. Also more on that in another post :) I'm grateful for my 2 babies on the outside, and my one baby on the inside. And as ironic as it is, I think the inside baby has sucked more of my energy than the other 2 combined, so it's probably the perfect preparation for having THREE kids. I still stand by my declaration that being pregnant is harder (for me) than having the actual baby to take care of. 

We should find out the gender in a few weeks. I want a boy, because Jeff wants a boy. Oh that poor boy has to put up with sooooo much estrogen already. So we will see, grateful he will have 20+ weeks to mentally prepare for a boy or a girl. 


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