Monday, April 13, 2015

The Disastrously Successful Outing

I never get to see the doctor. That is, any doctor that is not checking on an in utero child of mine. My husband only has one day a week where he is off early enough to schedule appointments for kids, dog, myself, etc, during other people's business hours. Friday afternoons. That's all I get. And up until recently, those afternoons were taken up with my OB check ups. Any free ones were quickly taken up by my husband's dentist appointments, children's check ups, car inspections and oil changes. Fridays are super fun. So, as always, I haven't seen a dentist now in almost 3 years, and I've been wearing the same contacts (the trial pair given me at my last appointment, because like a complete idiot, I kept forgetting to order the prescription) for 10 months. By the way, I thought they were 3 month lenses. Turns out, there's no such thing, and they were actually 2 week lenses. So I was even less responsible about my eye care than I originally thought. Woops. So this past week, my eyes got to such a state of dry irritation, that something HAD to be done. The WalMart doctor was booked solid on Saturday, so I, going without contacts or glasses at all, had no other choice but to make an appointment for Monday afternoon which meant taking all four children with me. Oy.

I was optimistic. I could do this. Easy. Make sure Charlotte's nursing schedule works out so that she eats about 30 minutes before we have to leave. Easy. Make sure we complete at least half of our school lessons before we leave. Easy. Make sure Isaac's diaper is changed and the three older children are ready to go out the door before I pack up the baby. Noooo problem.

We did no school. None. I didn't get a single lesson in, between the needs of each child, the dog, myself, there was never the time to get started, so I gave up. Then, I forgot to take into account the number one rule of being a baby. They are always in desperate need of something at the exact time you should be walking out the door. I knew I was in trouble when Charlotte wanted to nurse at about 10 am. She eats about every two and a half hours during the day, so that would mean her next feeding would be at my appointment time of 12:30. Greeeeaaat. I tried like heck to squeeze in a feeding at noon (which was when we should have been heading out the door). Though she acted all about it and hungry as anything, that 30 minutes early feeding resulted in a whole lot of spit up. At 12:20 I was finally getting her strapped in, no time for an outfit change. She spit up more all over the car seat. At 12:25 I was getting everyone into the car. I forgot the infant carrier. Turn around, get it, she spits up some more, this time, hitting her car seat cover. We were in the car to leave by 12: 32, two minutes after my appointment time. 

I also forgot to take into account the nice weather. Oh, as soon as the sun shines in Buffalo, there's a traffic jam any given time of day, so we proceeded to our destination at a snail's pace. I arrived in the WalMart parking lot at 12:48. Now, there is no way of looking like a seasoned, experienced mother while trying to get 4 kids out of a car, including a toddler and infant, and not lose one to one of the ever so famous WalMart parking lot speed demons, who pay no mind to pedestrians.

I had the oldest two crawl out first, while I was strapping Charlotte into the infant carrier on my chest. They were so thrilled to be outside, in sunshine and warmth, that Chastity nearly darted out behind the van. "Stay RIGHT next to me!" I yelled, wishing I could duct tape them to the side of the van while I got everything. As I strapped Charlotte on, with careful burp cloth placement, my cell phone fell out of the diaper bag, crashing onto the pavement, battery flying. No time to put that back together, I threw the pieces into the diaper bag, and asked Chastity to hold the bag...which she promptly grabbed from the bottom, nearly turning the whole, open thing, upside down, "Chastity!" I took the bag back, zipped it back up, handed it to Elijah. Except the keys were in it, and I still hadn't gotten Isaac or the stroller out of the car. I took the bag back, got my keys, got Isaac into the stroller somehow, and by 12:56 we were on our way. That's right. 8 whole minutes at the van. Not even inside yet.

Disastrously successful. That's the optimist in me. I could have titled this, Successfully Disastrous, but I felt that would have been misleading. It was not, in fact, a complete disaster, because once we got inside, everything changed. The doctors were all incredibly patient and understanding. Charlotte slept through the whole appointment, right on my chest. Isaac sat in the stroller, playing with his car quietly while the doctor examined me. Elijah and Chastity sat in the waiting room, just two doors down, reading the books I had told them to pack. (Yay me, for remembering to pack entertainment! Win!) The whole thing took just under an hour, from appointment to frame fitting, to paying. And just as we were about to walk away, the woman who had checked me in, asked me, "What is your trick?"

"I'm sorry?" I asked, not understanding the question.

"What is your trick, you know, to such well behaved kids?" She smiled, "They are so well behaved!"

Oh, you know, frequent whoopings, I thought to myself, but decided she may not find that funny. I laughed, "I couldn't even tell you," I shook my head in disbelief of how smoothly that actually went. "We've just been blessed with these great kids!"

We walked away, and I took the kids to pick out a treat from the cookie isle.

That whole time, I was acting like a spaz. I was throwing tantrums. First rushing Charlotte through a feeding, in a panic about being late, then yelling at traffic, which is completely unproductive. Then muttering under my breath about my broken phone.

These kids were being dragged somewhere boring, somewhere they didn't want to be, when all they wanted was to go to the park. They were ripped from their normal, daily schedule, and asked to be still, be quiet, and behave in strange surroundings. And in spite of my own spaztacular behavior, they did so, no questions asked. They did not blink an eye at the things which were out of their control, and if I don't try, with all my strength, to be more like them, they, will inevitably become more like me.

Yes, they deserved the day off from school. They deserved cookies, they deserve the park, and, no matter how tired I may be, they deserve fun mom! Not beat down, dog tired, grumpy, whiny mom, who begs them to never act that way themselves.

Fun mom is putting on her shoes. Let's do this.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Playing Peek-a-Boo From the Trenches

When I was a first time mommy, I can remember friends asking me, "How is it?" "How's it going?" I was one of the first of my close friends to get married and start a family. My response was always a positive, "Great! It's amazing!" not because I was trying to prove to everyone that I had it all together, but because I was genuinely oblivious of the hardships of motherhood. You do what you have to do and the rewards far exceed the difficulties. Money, finances, paying the bills, owning a home...oh. my. GOSH, home ownership! No body warns you about how difficult that is, and what's the reward? A roof over your heads? Just like you had before when you were renting? Yeah. Swell. But these are the difficult things. These are the things I stressed over, but motherhood? I was born to be a mother. It felt like the easiest, most natural thing ever. So, maybe I wasn't the best person to ask if you were looking a less biased response.

Fast forward to 2015 and 4 kids later. It's not so easy. The rewards are still immeasurable, but the difficulties...well, a little harder to overlook.

Every additional child somehow makes for double the laundry, so my laundry responsibilities have doubled FOUR times in the last 8 years. Each additional child means less time for cleaning but double the mess, more phone calls and appointments to make and less time to make them, more noise, less quiet. And each child comes with their own set of rules. This one can't be put on his belly or he'll scream til he pukes. This one needs to stay upright for 30 minutes after eating, or she pukes. This one won't drink day old breast milk...or he pukes. All the rules somehow involve puking.

Now I have four. I'm homeschooling two and trying to coax the third into sitting just long enough to color half a page. All the while trying to keep the fourth from...you guessed it...puking.

She is not going to be a basketball player, I'm certain. She couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with that puke. I need an adult sized bib to cover my chest and shoulders while burping her. As it is, I will use a large receiving blanket, because burp cloths are tiny and useless, and she will lean and scrape and crawl until she has the blanket pulled out of her way and a clear shot to vomit down between my boobs. On second thought, maybe she will be a baller, a scrappy one, and she likes a challenge.

And oddly enough, her "I'm gonna puke!" screaming and clawing is strangely similar to her "I need to eat!" screaming and clawing. Imagine an adult running around, frantically searching the cupboards for food right before puking. That's what life is like with her right now. And what's a mom to do when her new baby is clawing and scraping and rooting around for what I can only assume is sustenance? I feed her, and get rewarded with double the puke.

I could free up a lot of time in my days if she could keep her food down. Truth. 

So, it's harder to overlook all of that from the trenches, where I am outnumbered, trying not to get taken out by projectiles, and trying to keep everyone else calm. The days go by faster and slower all at the same time...like these never-ending days which somehow pass me by weeks and months at a time.

But then there's a slow, quiet lull, a moment for me to peak up over the trench, somewhat skeptical of my safety, and find my toddler lovingly wiping the spit up from the babies mouth while my two oldest read to her and bounce her in her chair. And I am reminded that the rewards still far exceed the difficulties, no matter how much laundry cleaning puke is thrown at me, because each additional child means double the love, so the love in my home has doubled FOUR times in the last 8 years. ;-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From Charlotte to Charlotte: the Birth of a New Chapter

In the words of my husband, in his best mockery of LeBron James ever, "We have four kids; not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR kids!"


You see, this was the dream. When we began dating and discussing the things we wanted in life, we both knew that we wanted four children. However, our opinions on that changed after the third. I do not enjoy pregnancy, my body rebels against me during it. In fact, labor and delivery is easier on me than the actual pregnancy. And my babies aren't little, y'all!


So after our third child, we took a hard look at our family and tried to decide if we were ok with this. I was unsure. We seemed incomplete, but at the same time, I really didn't want to go through all of that again. I had been looking forward to getting back into shape, and playing some basketball again. Then, last spring, my sweet daughter cried to me about how much she wanted a little sister. We couldn't guarantee her one, of course, but as a gal with sisters of my own, it broke my heart that we may not even try to give that gift to our own daughter. My response to her, "Pray about it." After all, that's pretty much where her daddy and I were in the thought process ourselves.


Just a few months later, SURPRISE! We were actually visiting my sister in North Carolina when I had a sneaking suspicion that I could possibly be pregnant. Sure enough, it was confirmed just a couple weeks later. I will admit, I was a little concerned as to how my daughter would react if we found out we were having another boy, but she calmed my nerves just a couple of weeks before that ultrasound, "Mommy, I really want a sister, but I will love him if it's a brother too." Melt my heart!


Then, if you read The Anti-Climactic Gender Reveal, you know that my daughter was actually the very first to know that she would, in fact, have a little sister. So fitting.


So this past Saturday, February 28, our little surprise, and Chastity's answer to prayer, arrived. I spent the last few weeks of the pregnancy in excruciating pain from my back to my hips, to my knees and ankles. I could barely make it up our stairs. My husband and I continually expressed our excitement that this was almost over. "Ugh, I am never doing this again!"


Then, yesterday, as we pulled away from the hospital, and my husband was still expressing how awesome it is to be done with all of that, a very strange and unexpected feeling washed over me. Suddenly my annoyed and irritated, "Ugh, I am never doing this again!" turned into a sad inner panic of, "Oh my gosh! I am never doing this again!" As we drove off, the hospital disappeared into the distance and a slow motion reel of every birthing experience I had ever had played through my mind, from my C-section with Elijah to my first, miraculous VBAC with Chastity, to the amazing and shocking VBACs of Isaac and Charlotte, my 9lb 11 oz and 10 lb babies (ok, she was 9lbs 15.8 ounces, but give me that 10).


I don't want to be pregnant again. It probably wouldn't even be wise, knowing all the problems I just had with my body. However, knowing that a door is closed on that chapter of our lives we only dreamed about just a short time ago, brings waves of emotions and uncontrollable rolling tears to this face of a woman who just birthed a 10 lb baby without crying. Seriously.


Exactly 8 years ago, we were beside ourselves with joy in the very early stages of our first pregnancy. It was all new and exciting. We could still hardly believe we were married, let alone increasing in numbers! We were living in a small apartment in Charlotte, NC, when this exciting journey began, and our family took it's first steps. Now, our own little (big) Charlotte Hope, completes that journey, ending that chapter of our lives, and beginning a new one.


As I watch my husband play with the kids in the living room, while Charlotte sleeps peacefully in her chair, I know that this sadness for a time now gone may never fully go away, but I can comfort myself in knowing that she is not so much the end of a chapter, but rather, the beginning of a new one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Next Week on Seinfeld: The Unfriend

Have you ever witnessed a child handle a dispute? As a parent, have you ever removed yourself from a situation and just observed your children, with each other or with friends, solve a problem themselves? If you have not, I would encourage you to give it a try. The next time you feel you need to interfere with all your mom (or dad!) power, and break up a potential disaster, sit back and watch it unfold. It might surprise you!


Now, allow me to digress for a moment.


Maybe I'm too vocal. Maybe I'm too trusting. Maybe I believe far too much in the power of people's intelligence and abilities to see varying opinions and multiple sides of a story, but I have been the victim of the most powerful, most poignant, yet most passive aggressive diss this new generation has to offer, more times than I can count. This generation doesn't know about "diss." ;-)


I have been unfriended.


Repeatedly.


There are times I stumble upon it and I am pretty certain it wasn't personal. Someone I hardly talked with anyway, just cleaning up their friends list. I get it. But a vast majority of the time, it is because we have a difference of opinion.


I have even had someone once admit to me that their opinions of people change when they find out they disagree on a particularly passionate topic. What? Am I the only person who doesn't really understand that?


An article was recently released about how Tim McGraw will be losing fans because he has stepped out and shown his support for President Obama, and that's just a big country music no no among his more conservative peers. That is weird to me. Why would I suddenly stop supporting him as a musician just because we have a difference in political opinion? Is he less of an artist? Is he less of a husband? Is he less of a father? The latter two, of course, being things I don't know about him for sure, but have reason to believe that he's a pretty stand up guy.


I recently went to listen to Magic Johnson, an avid Obama supporter, speak at a local university. Does his support of a president I don't necessarily agree with make him less of a basketball legend? Am I less impressed by him as an individual? As a business man? No, this stuff all seems like nonsense to me.


And these are the things by which I am constantly judged by my peers. I am accused of not having an open mind, while my friends with different opinions than mine are deleting me left and right. I for one, am interested in human beings and their humanness, not the color of their skin, not their looks, not their opinions, but who they are. I deeply enjoy finding common ground, a common respect, or an understanding with some of the most unlikely people. Because, the truth is, no matter what our religious beliefs or political opinions, we are all people with people we love, with concerns for our futures, our families' futures. We don't have to constantly draw lines in the sand, or worse, burn bridges, with our friendships!


Back to the kids. I could write a book about all the lessons I've learned from my children, but watching them handle a disagreement is one of the most beautifully simple things I have ever witnessed. They do not always play in the same ways as others. They do not always want to do the same things as their friends, or even as each other. But they can vocalize that honestly, and then move on. It's like a miracle. Like huge "a-ha" moment miracle of epic friendship proportions. Wait. What? You mean it's ok to tell your friend, "I don't like that," "Don't do that," or "I don't want to do that right now," and then just go about your play like nothing happened? Do you mean to tell me that grudges aren't mandatory during these situations? What about the other friend, on the receiving end? She's just ok with that? Ok, maybe not always. Maybe sometimes, moms have to intervene to suggest a compromise. They are learning, after all, but I have witnessed my children come of an age that finally understands the meaning of a compromise, and turn taking, and sharing, and they resolve so many of these issues themselves, and then, get this, they still love each other and have a blast together! Truly miraculous.


At church a few weeks ago, I was speaking with my friend while our daughters played.
One to the other: I don't like that. Don't do that.
Other: Ok.
Then one suggested another idea that they do, and off they went, full of excitement!


I paused my conversation with my friend to ask her if she had just seen what I witnessed. We both laughed over the simplicity of it, and how that doesn't usually fly among adult friends. "Oh, you don't like that?" UNFRIEND! "Oh, you don't agree with me?" UNFRIEND! "That is not the way I would play that game." UNFRIEND! The ultimate diss. I imagine that a Seinfeld episode of today could do this small and brief story justice, don't you?


Life gets more complicated than games and toys and nicknames we may not like. That's for sure. But why do we insist on changing the simplicity of friendship? Hey, ya know what? I like you. No, wait, actually, I love you. I think you are an awesome human being. I think there is more to you than which way you vote. I think, in life and love, we probably have a lot in common, but we are allowed to be different. We're allowed to think differently. We're allowed to have problems. We're allowed to resolve them, and we're allowed, still, to disagree. But ya know what else? We're allowed to pick ourselves back up off the floor and have some fun together.


My dad always used to say to me, "People are like water. They seek their own level." If this stands true, then the level I seek is not the level of your political correctness or the level of your republican or democrat loyalties, or even the level of your sainthood. The level I wish to seek is the level of love...filled with cheese. Because who doesn't love that? :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mommy's Tears for a Broken Lolly Pop

I am 37 weeks pregnant, and a rare kind of emotional. Me. The athlete. I once played a quarter of a basketball game on a broken foot, a whole game on stress fractures; and contractions? Well, I'm never sure when they're real..until they're really real, because I can talk through them for hours, and they've never made me cry.

But today...today, I cried over a broken lolly pop. As we were walking into church, our greeter handed each of my children a little sucker, in honor of Valentine's Day week. We had hardly gotten to our seats, coats still on, when the kids were asking if they could have them. My youngest, Isaac, still in his minion hat, held the sucker up, eyes wide, "Peas?" in need of help getting it opened. Of course they could have their special treat, and maybe it would keep them calm and quiet during worship.

I obliged. I undid the wrapper on Isaac's sucker, only to have 3/4 of the thing crumble into my hand. My poor child! I couldn't give him the crumbles. A stick-free, hard candy is not something I'm ready to trust my 2-year old with. My heart broke for him, whose siblings were happily sucking on their whole suckers, while I handed him his 1/4 sucker, but that's not really what did me in folks.

He took the sucker. He didn't question the pieces in my hand, which I walked to the trash can. He didn't cry. He didn't complain. He took that 1/4 sucker with...get this...a smile. He was content to have any of it at all. My sappy, pregnant eyes welled up with tears as I watched his joyful reaction to something anybody else might have thrown a fit or shed a few tears about.

I imagined, briefly, how I would have handled that. It didn't take much imagination, since I have recently dropped chocolate on the floor, or in the sink, and immediately muttered something whiny like, "Are you kidding me? Seriously?" As though, in a string of horrible events of my day, that just takes the cake. 

Then I remembered how we got nearly every green light on our way to church today, but I inwardly acted profoundly annoyed with the one or two red lights we still got. I remembered how much I have complained these last 5 weeks, having a cold return about every week and a half, but haven't taken the time to be joyful that I am carrying a healthy baby, and I did NOT test positive for gestational diabetes. That's a big deal!

My ankle hurts, every day, but I have two feet on which to walk, and even run sometimes!
My basketball career ended prematurely, but look at this healthy, beautiful family, I wouldn't otherwise have!
It snows in Buffalo...like a lot, and often, fall and spring are non-existent, but our summers here are beautiful!
I could go on and on about all that lolly pop taught me today. 

How often do we focus on what we don't have, and forget to enjoy what we do have? Oh, the lesson I learned today from my sweet Isaac, so aptly named (he will laugh)! He finds joy in all occasions. He's been laughing, easily, since just days old, and he is incredibly grateful for the smallest of things, right down to that 1/4 lolly pop.

I, too, wish to be that thankful for all the things, even the broken. Lord, give me the grateful and joyful heart of a child! And may Isaac always find reasons to be so joyous and thankful!  

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Anti-Climactic Gender Reveal

Things always happen so naturally and beautifully...in my head. Much like today. I had this beautiful picture in my head of exactly how our family's gender reveal was going to go. For the first time, Jelani wasn't able to go with me. None of the available appointments worked with his schedule, so I went very early in the morning while he and the kids were still sleeping. I asked the nurse to please write it down, so I couldn't see it. In my head, we'd slowly open it, the anticipation just tickling us! The kids would be bouncing around in excitement waiting to hear, and as we'd pull open the envelope, we'd smile from ear to ear, no matter what, and hug and congratulate one another.

Oh, it just sounds perfect, doesn't it?

So I got up at 6 am this morning, got ready for my appointment, woke baby up with a little Earl Grey so we could get some cooperative photos, and went out to my 6:45 am appointment.

I've never began a Monday so beautifully. The nurse was informative and sweet, showing me every little detail. The baby moved rhythmically, in perfect timing for every photo she needed. We got great footage of the healthy beating heart, the beautiful brain, all the perfect little bones, and saw the most precious yawn. I was still imagining how beautiful our family's morning was going to be, as I arrived home with the magic envelope!

I was exhausted, but I smiled all the way home from the appointment. There's something truly beautiful in that moment of anticipation, in the not knowing.

I returned home to a quiet house. The kids were all still sleeping. Jelani was quietly getting ready for work.

I sat down to crochet, all the ultrasound pictures beside me, with the one telling picture tucked away in the envelope beside me. As the kids stirred and came downstairs, Chastity asked to see the pictures. Of course!

"Do you know yet if it's a boy or a girl?" she asked me.

"Not yet, but we're about to find out!" I explained, in far too little detail.

She sat down beside me, right next to the envelope, and begin looking through the string of pictures of baby's feet, head, and arms.

I couldn't get the internet to connect to the laptop, and I was trying to get the school lessons set up, so I took the computer over to the router to fix it, while Chastity still excitedly browsed the pictures. Just one minute before Jelani made his way downstairs, I heard, "Oh, Mommy, it's a girl! It says it right here." In a very quiet, very nonchalant voice from my daughter who had been praying for a sister for months. And in a tone that said, "Didn't you see this?"

In a split second of horror, I realized my moment was gone! That beautiful moment I'd imagined so thoroughly in my head...poof...thin air.

"Oh, Chastity! You weren't supposed to open that yet! That was supposed to be a surprise!" I said, before thinking, while silently cursing the moment I'd taught her to read.

She burst into tears.

Now my moment was gone, her moment was stolen, and Daddy still hadn't made his way downstairs.

I immediately backtracked, "Oh, sweetie, you're not in trouble! Don't cry! It wasn't your fault! You're going to have a SISTER!!!! Yay!!" I got the hint of a smile from her, as Daddy came downstairs.

"Would you like to know what we're having?" I laughed.

"Do you know? I thought you were going to wait for me."

"Yes, well..." I briefly recounted the morning's quick, unraveling events. Having already missed all the excitement, he looked at the pictures, ate his breakfast, and went to work.

We can't expect that our lives are going to get any more predicable, or that our moments are going to

always ever go as planned, but they will always be our moments to hold dear, and we are perfectly excited to know even more about our final little treasure! 



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Camera Ready or Not

I've always wanted 4 children, ever since I can remember thinking about the children I might one day have...back in high school. Four seemed appropriate; not too many, not too few, everyone has a buddy. There have been times throughout our marriage, my husband and I weren't sure we'd have 4. I've had a lot of discomfort during pregnancies, I tend to gain a lot of weight, we've had financial hardships, and frankly, I just don't like being pregnant.

With each pregnancy, I held out hope, hope that one of my 4 might just be a cute pregnancy; hope that I might, just might, have one of those all-belly, skinny everywhere else, can't tell I'm pregnant from behind or in head shots pregnancies.

It didn't happen with the first. It didn't happen with the second, even though I worked out and walked regularly throughout. And it didn't happen with my third, even though I played basketball well into the second trimester.

Then, for the first time ever, I became pregnant before losing the previous weight. My first concern was to hear the healthy heartbeat of the baby. Having had a miscarriage just 9 months prior, it was a concern I'd never known before. A miscarriage never even occurred to me or entered my brain...until I'd had one. But then, a very close second concern was, "Crap! I'm already overweight. This pregnancy is going to be my most hideous yet!" Yeah, I'm a fabulous mom, I know.

Of course, I started showing almost immediately. I put on weight during that first trimester just like always. It was embarrassing to have people think I was much farther along than I actually was, asking me, at about 14 weeks, "Do you know what you're having?" or even worse, thinking I was due this fall.

Greeeeaaaaat. I became much like a hermit, only going to church and attending things I'd already committed to, and I wasn't sure I was ever going to let the Facebook world know of this pregnancy. Come February, I'd just post a picture of the new little one all nonchalant like, "I'm so crafty, lookie what I made!"

Then, when I finally decided to let my Facebook friends in on our little secret, I wanted to use pictures of each of my pregnancies to announce this fourth one. And ya know what I discovered? There's not a single pregnancy picture of me with Isaac, our third. I remembered my mom trying to take some and my refusal, because I couldn't stand the look of my face, and how my whole body looked pregnant, from my toes to my hair. I hated my face, in particular, and how when I would smile, my cheeks themselves, all swollen and rosy, looked like they were about to give birth to a family of elves.

It occurred to me, that no matter how little I actually enjoy pregnancy, it produces my greatest joy, and to not have any proof of the love I had for them, in my being, is heartbreaking. Poor little Isaac. :( So today, I (me, I did it, I organized it, my idea, mine), planned a family portrait for us while apple picking. My mom was more than happy to photograph us, and I didn't hide every time she pulled up the camera. I smiled, I laughed, I embraced the family of elves living in my cheeks and cherished this moment with my growing family.





 I'm 19 weeks and huge, and I'll be just fine. Baby is healthy, I am healthy, and we find out the gender on Monday. My husband thinks I'm beautiful, my children think I'm pretty, and their love can conquer all of my insecurities.







Besides, for the first time in my life, I can actually say this; when am I ever going to experience this again? Never. This is it, the last hoorah, the final piece to the Greene puzzle, and I'm not going to keep running from it. There will be plenty of time for dieting, and running, and being fit and fabulous after the elves, I mean babies, ;-) no longer need my body for their growth.

From this moment on, I will stop allowing moments to pass me by just because I don't believe I'm camera ready, and I challenge you to do the same!