I am 38 1/2 weeks pregnant as of today, but here is a belly shot from 34 weeks! Of course I have grown even since then!
We are getting so excited to welcome our little girl here this week! And I am getting so excited to not be pregnant any more! Don't get me wrong, overall I really love it and feel so immensely blessed, but pregnancy number four really hurts! My body is worn out, it aches almost everywhere, I have struggled with breathing almost the entire pregnancy, and the muscle cramps, charlie horses, and false labor contractions are pretty painful. I am ready to be able to hold my kids on my lap again, cook dinner or work at a sink/counter without having to hunch over or stand sideways, and give real hugs to my husband! I will miss feeling a baby move inside me, miss how kind people are to me when I am pregnant and all of the nice things they say when I don't feel like I'm looking that great, and just miss the overall excitement of pregnancy. It is almost sad to know she will be here soon, and before I know it, she will be grown up just like my other kids! The newborn stage just doesn't last long enough. I feel like it takes FOREVER for them to get here, then once they're here, they just grow up too fast. I am a little nervous for having 4 kids; life is already crazy, hectic, busy, and I find myself longing for that time I had when I welcomed my first baby. I laugh at how busy I thought I was then! I really just want to hold this baby forever and not have another care in the world, but I know that is not reality. At least we will get to enjoy the holidays and Christmas break not too long after she is born. I told Russ he gets the three older kids, and I just get to hold the baby to my heart's content while he is home for the break. Maybe I'll give others turns to hold her, too, but we will just have to see ;)
I am determined to get this blog caught up before the baby gets here! Bennett's birthday was a little over a month ago. I can't believe how fast November went! It seems like we just barely celebrated it! At eight years old, he is very mature for his age. He absolutely loves playing the piano, reads like crazy, and enjoys sports as well. He is a great older brother and just a good, well-rounded kid.
All he really wanted for his birthday this year was the Harry Potter book set. He had read 1-4 before his birthday and was currently on number 5. He is still working on that one since he often reads other books in between. I don't know how he keeps them all straight.
I let him open one gift really quick before school. Of course it was the one he wanted the most!
Bennett's favorite animal right now is a panda. He really wanted a Harry Potter cake, but I wasn't sure how to make one of those, so I was glad when he changed to a Panda instead. He even wanted everyone to wear black and white and green that day :)
A little note on the Panda balloon. We have this tradition of piling up balloons outside of Bennett's door on his birthday so he wakes up to a bunch of balloons when he comes out of his room. Russ did it once when he was 2 and now he expects it every birthday and reminds us. We accidentally grabbed small black balloons instead of normal sized ones, so when we were blowing them up late the night before, I joked that I should make them into a panda balloon. I actually did it and the kids thought it was the greatest thing ever. It was 100% my creation; no pinterest or google involved :)
Last minute, we decided to invite over a couple of Bennett's friends from school. We had originally just planned on family, but so many people couldn't come, including his best friend-cousins. So we had some wild fun with some of his friends so it would be a little more fun celebrating. They were being pretty nutty.
The kids with Dad:
Opening presents. Bennett was so excited to get a John Williams Piano book. It was pretty fun to see his friends excited about that, too. Not the typical thing for an eight-year old to ask for, but he had previously workd very hard and learned a difficult version of Harry Potter on the Piano, and wanted to learn some more Johny Williams music. It was also cute to see how excited these boys got over new scriptures, ties, and a Panda Beanie Boo. Bennett was also so glad to get a new, real football. We also got him a betta fish and a little African frog for his birthday, but I failed to get a picture of that.
And last, but not least, the Birthday boy with his cake. Funny thing is Bennett doesn't even like cake, but I think he did actually eat a little piece of it to humor me. He is more of an ice cream person, and we had cookies and cream which is not only his favorite, but conveniently black and white in color!
This was a very bittersweet visit for us. We have been going to this beautiful little pumpkin stand to choose our pumpkins ever since Bennett was a baby. We found out this is the last year the man would be doing it since he has to retire. I'm so glad I took my camera and was able to get a lot of pictures. I am also glad that the weather was beautiful and that kids had a wonderful last time. We are so sad to say good bye to this tradition. I am sad this little baby girl in me will never get to choose a pumpkin there and get her picture taken. That is why we decided to try to get a little belly shot since it will be her only visit. Hopefully we will be able to find a fun place to choose pumpkins next year!
Things we loved about this place are the prices (so ridiculously low), close to home, great for photos (perfect lighting at night and they always set up spots exactly for that reason), a fun old-fashioned scale to weigh the pumpkins, the owner always has a carved pumpkin head and is willing to take pictures with you if you want, and he always puts the pumpkin head on Russ. None of the kids cried this year!
One beautiful October Saturday we decided to go to the Zoo. We really wanted to make it there one more time in the fall since we have season passes. Well, apparently we chose the busiest October day there ever called Boo at the Zoo. We had no idea it would be going on and could not even get our car in. We were very bummed, but decided to try the Church History Museum instead. We had never taken the kids there before. Before we went in, we had a little picnic in the beautiful weather and the kids found and played with a lady bug. At first they thought the museum wasn't that great, but once we found the kids' part of the museum, they had a blast and didn't want to leave.
This little girls LOVES salad. One day when she was tiny, I was cutting up lettuce and she asked for some. I told her it wasn't very yummy, but she insisted. So I gave her a plain piece of lettuce, she ate it, and asked for more, and more. Thus a love with green salad began. She has always loved it and even says she loves it way more than candy. Score! We love putting our greens with carrots, chopped up boiled eggs, bacon bits, peas, a little grated cheese, cottage cheese, sometimes parmesan, and a tiny bit of ranch dressing. Yum!
We took these back on October 20th. It was push the shutter and watch the pregnant lady run to her place while hoping the little ones still were looking at the camera and smiling. Thus, the riding up skirt on me in some of the pictures and dear, sweet Coy pulling a different funny face in each picture. We had made the tie-dyed shirts at a family reuninion in the summer and joked that it would be funny to send out a card that said Hippie Holidays. That is why we have really amazing shirts on for some of these :)
I was a little late on taking three year old pictures of Coy, so I took his pictures and Bennett's 8-year old pictures at the same time. I thought it would be a great opportunity to take some brother pictures as well. I love how well these pictures show their great relationship.
Coy had this lovely scratch on on his head that took forever to get better. I obviously edited it out of all the other pictures. But decided I'd better keep it on at least one for memory's sake. He tripped in the garage and scraped his head on the corner of the license plate on the car. Ouch!
Of course Mylie tagged along. She really wanted me to take her picture, too. I humored her for a couple. I just love her freckles :)
I've been married to Russell for 12 years. We've been blessed with three beautiful children, and are now expecting number 4! I absolutely love being a mom and spending time with my family every day. I take way too many pictures because time just goes by way too fast and I love capturing all those special, fleeting moments!