Birthday Shoes and Pizza

When Dan and I first started getting to know each other, we sent emails about once a week while I was away at college. Once I came home for the summer, he kept wanting to get together but nothing just spontaneously worked out, so finally he had to call my house and ask me.

At the time of the phone call I was just about to eat some lunch, a bowl of leftover spaghetti. I answered the phone and was just lifting the first forkful to my mouth when Dan asked, “Have you eaten any lunch yet?” and I (after putting the fork down) honestly answered, “No”.

An hour later we were chatting over sandwiches at Quiznos, finally getting a chance to just sit and talk for the first time only a day before Dan would leave on a ten-day mission trip to Guyana. It wasn’t officially a date. We didn’t start dating for another year and a half. But it was the first date none-the-less. Now I have the joy of eating with Dan every single night, and seeing him every single morning and evening, and I love it.

I share this story because, 1) It’s a good story, and 2) Tuesday was Dan’s birthday, the day we celebrate all things Dan. We love him.

There may have been pizza involved.

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I may have tried to take a picture with just salad on the plate to keep the pizza a little family secret. The secret is out. There was pizza. Lydia went bazurk and Dan didn’t feel all that well afterward. Lesson learned.

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I guarded the cards and gifts zealously for days leading up to this celebration, but finally the time came when Abby…er…Dan got to open presents.

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But, slow down. Cards first. Always.

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Then presents.

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Dan got some much-needed new shoes (barefoot shoes, see how they bend?), weightlifting shoes, and his old jump rope. The girls loved the jump rope but were unimpressed with the shoes. Dan loved the shoes but took the jump rope from the girls because it was getting a little dangerous.

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Dan thanks everyone for their kind birthday thoughts, words, and prayers. Apart from the post-pizza-unwellness, I think he had a nice day. We certainly enjoyed it as we enjoy him every day. And, we were all happy that Baby did not join us for the celebration.

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10 Things I’m Looking Forward to When Baby Comes

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Yesterday Baby reached the 28-week milestone we weren’t sure we would get to celebrate. Because I think it’s interesting, I’ve included the picture of me when Abby was 28 weeks (on the left) and the picture of me at 28 weeks with Baby 3 (on the right). We are still:

3 days from when Abby was born
19 days from when Lydia was born
27 days from our goal

A little while ago I shared some of the reasons I love being pregnant, but I’m also excited for when Baby is born, whenever that may be. So today I’m sharing some of the things I am most looking forward to (in no particular order). But, we’d be happy to wait another month before enjoying these!

1. Meeting Baby

I am so excited watch the story of Baby’s birth unfold, to find out his/her length and weight. Will s/he have hair? Will it be curly? Will Baby look like me or Dan (or neither)? When will Baby come? So many questions will finally be answered when we get to meet our little bundle.

2. Being able to breath again

I always have trouble breathing from pretty early on in my pregnancies. Maybe it’s Baby’s position or maybe I have little lungs, but without doing any physical activity I’ll struggle to breath. During church I’m constantly changing positions, leaning forward, backward, to the side, getting up to go the the bathroom, anything to get a little more air. After Baby is born, it is always nice to breath freely again.

3. Doing my job again

Dan has been doing a fantastic job with the housework and taking care of the girls, but I’m ready to have my job back. I’m partly afraid I’m going to get so used to his doing everything that it becomes a habit I have to break. Someday I’ll be the one to wash the dishes, give the kiddos baths, and change the sheets again. And while I’m sure I’ll be overwhelmed with work when that time comes, at least I’ll be able to give Dan back some freedom in the evenings!

4. Choosing a name

We have two boy names and two girl names and we probably won’t narrow it down any more than that until we actually get to meet him/her. I used to think it was strange if people didn’t have the name picked out earlier in the pregnancy, but when Lydia surprised us and we hadn’t finalized our name, my perspective changed. Now it feels strange to pick out a name before seeing Baby.

5. Exercise

As much as I like taking it easy, I’m eager to move again. I love going for walks. After Baby is born, Dan usually becomes my coach and helps me figure out what sort of exercising I can do to get some strength back and feel fit again. As a nice perk, I will fit in to more than two pairs of my pants.

6. Bringing Baby home

Whether Baby stays in the hospital for months, weeks, or days (I vote for the latter), bringing Baby home is always super exciting and super special.

7. The first time holding him/her

Oh how I hope this will be the same day s/he is born, but even if it’s not, it’s always special that first time we get to hold him/her.

8. Meals from church!

I have to be honest here. When Lydia came home from the hospital, we got two weeks of delicious dinners delivered right to our home by families from our church. When the meals were over, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait until the next baby comes home!”. We eat better during those two weeks than any other time.

9. Having Dan around

My favorite part of being married is that I get to see Dan every day. Most of our relationship before we were married was long-distance, or we were both too swamped with heavy college work loads to see each other. I’ve never fully recovered, so anytime Dan is around is a happy time for me. Dan also has a gift of being the most amazing support person during labor and delivery, and in the days that follow. He just knows how to be sweet and helpful, and what to do and say to make me feel loved. I’m not sure what kind of time Dan will take off when Baby is born or when Baby comes home, but I’m looking forward to having him around on those days.

10. Finding out if it’s a boy or girl

This is the first time we’re going to be surprised, and I’m pretty excited for the moment labor ends and I get to hear our doctor announce if it’s a boy or girl.

Our Much-Loved Routine

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I’ve tried a lot of different routines over the past few years. They keep me productive, help the day pass more quickly, and add a happy and welcome structure to each day. Often, I have stumbled through my routines getting stuck on the fun activities and putting off the boring ones until I was rushing around trying to finish everything at the end of the day. However, the girls and I figured out a routine that was working just beautifully for us until last Friday when we rearranged things so I could be off my feet more. We’ve adapted our routine, and it isn’t as ideal now, but I wanted to document this favorite routine of ours while the memories were still fresh.

A Day In Our Lives

7:30 Quiet Time

At 7:30 my alarm goes off. I usually take a while to wake up, then sit up in bed and turn on my handy lamp, pull out my Bible, journal and pen, and start my quiet time. I like to start with about 10 minutes of memorizing or reviewing memorized verses (I’m working through Psalm 37 right now), then have 10 minutes of Bible reading (I’m reading through the Bible now, at least a chapter a day, and recording observations about the characteristics of godly women in the Bible), and end with 10 minutes of prayer (praying through a regular list of needs and people along with whatever else is going on in our lives that day or week).

Usually during this time Lydia comes pitter-pattering into my room to snuggle with me under the covers. She especially likes to hold my Bible case and journal, suck her thumb, and hold my hair. If she doesn’t wake up on her own, I wake her up before I pray, because she’ll be sorely disappointed if she misses out on our Bible time together.

8:00 Morning Routine

Throw laundry in the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, and prepare breakfast. Then get Abby up and get both girls dressed for the day. Say goodbye and send Dan off to work.

8:30 Breakfast and Bible Time, switch laundry to dryer

After breakfast, I read to Abby out of a little Bible story book and to Lydia out of a bigger story Bible. We’re currently reading through this book, which I recommend for little girls. We also pray for something specific (currently for Baby to “not be born today” and for Dan to get into a phd program), and sing a Bible memory song (reviewing Romans 3:23-24 this week).

9:15 Shower, play with Abby, do gymnastics with Lydia

9:45 Cleaning Chore

Monday: Tidy up, put things in their proper places
Tuesday: Change sheets
Wednesday: give baths and clean bathrooms
Thursday: Clean floors
Friday: Do something extra (clean fridge, floors upstairs, dust etc.)

10:15 Read to girls, Put Abby down for a nap

10:45 Computer chores

Write blog posts, update budget, pay bills, plan meals and make grocery lists, put pictures on Facebook.

11:15 School with Lydia

We’re working through this book. It’s just a little every day and we really enjoy it.

11:30 Get Abby up, Correspondance

This is when I try to stay on top of things as far as emailing, writing, and calling family and friends.

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Fold and put away laundry

I used to have the hardest time with laundry. I could get it washed and dried easily enough, but I waited to fold it until the end of the day and then, more often than not, I never got to it. But when I changed things around and started folding laundry after lunch, suddenly it got done every day.

1:30 Rest, read, and naps

This used to be straight up nap time, but the girls would play and giggle for so long that they didn’t fall asleep for at least half an hour (sometimes an hour and a half!). So I started bringing up some tea and spent that first half hour reading with my cup of tea while the girls played in their room. As the half hour ended, the girls would quiet down and when all was quiet I would nap too.

3:30 Project

I don’t feel too bad admitting that I take an hour and a half nap because I’m supposed to be taking it easy. (Right?) I’ve read that you should either nap for 15-20 minutes or for a full hour and a half to wake up energized and not groggy. So I take the whole hour and a half, but it is usually interrupted by Lydia needing to go potty. Ah well. After my nap the girls are often still asleep so I take half an hour to work on a project around the house.

4:00 Snacks and Adventures in Odyssey

The girls need a snack after their nap and then Lydia is usually still sleepy enough to want to snuggle. So we snuggle and listen to the day’s episode of Adventure in Odyssey online.

4:30 Make Dinner

6-ish Dinner and Bible Time as a Family

The schedule kind of falls apart from here on. Dan’s not as big into routines as I am, so I let the evening go with his leading. Sometimes we read a book together after dinner. Sometimes the girls need baths. Sometimes we just play.

8ish Bedtime for the girls

You know, the usual bedtime routine, brush teeth, change diaper(s), put on pajamas, wrap up in warm blankets and tell stories and sing songs. Most nights Lydia asks for a “Billy story” (stories that Dan makes up about a fictional boy named Billy who is obsessed with playing baseball) or a “Melissa story” (stories that I tell about a fictional girl named Melissa, but the stories are actually 95% straight out of my own life). On good nights she’ll get both. Then she asks me to sing a certain song (“The Bunny Song” is a favorite but lately she has also enjoyed “Away in a Manger” even though Christmas has passed). While I sing, she insists I lay down with her so she can hold my hair. Afterward she asks me to “Stay and rest for a while”. Then we turn on a music cd, turn off the lights, and head downstairs.

Sadly, now that I’m avoiding the stairs as much as possible, I no longer get to take part in the bedtime routine. Only for a season…

The Rest of the Night

The rest of the night is just for Dan and I. Sometimes we play the game: Go, or read a book together. Sometimes he works on projects and I read.

And so our happy day comes to a close. I miss our routine already, but know it’s for a season and will be worth it if Baby waits longer to be born. I also know this routine won’t be back for a long time. First there will likely be a season in the NICU. Then we’ll have a newborn at home with the usual sleepless nights, fussy times, and adjusting to having another little one. I’m sure there will be other seasons with happy routines, and someday I’ll probably look back on this and laugh at how easy we had it while the kids were so little and our lives so simple!

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