Posts Tagged ‘baby 4’

Finnegan: 1 Month

Friday, September 30th, 2016

My teeny tiny brand new earthside baby has somehow already been here for a month. Is there anything like a newborn to really demonstrate the “days are long but years are short” saying? The seconds when Finn is screaming his head off at me last forever. I cannot wait for my husband to get home so he can hold the baby for a minute. Driving home from running errands when I’ve pushed it too long and he is crying in the car seat takes ten times as long as regular driving. And yet there goes a whole month. I’ll never have a 1 day old or a 1 week old or even a 1 month old anymore – as of right now he’s already been here one month and 2 hours old.

Previously: Linc’s 1-month post (I don’t think baby Finn looks anything like baby Linc)

Because he is my last baby and I have a hard time quitting things I start, I’m going to try to do monthly updates and milestones for Finnegan for his first year. I will probably be late more often than not. I will probably fail at taking the same photo every month. And there’s about a 50/50 chance I’ll just give up because having four kids is a lot of kids and seriously the amount of laundry I am doing right now is INSANE. But right now I’m still in that “Look at me, holding things together! My kitchen is clean! I am wearing a bra! There is food in the house!” stage before I significantly lower my standards. I give it until November.

He doesn’t really have a schedule. He’s a newborn. He’s awake, he’s asleep, he needs to eat, he needs another diaper. It’s all very very repetitive and my constant thought is that this stage will be over so soon (having my 2-year-old who was JUST a tiny baby like 5 minutes ago around to help really hits that idea home). I am enjoying being a bit of a recluse to just do baby stuff right now.

1 Month Stats: 11 lbs 11 oz (up almost 2 lbs from birth) which is 90th percentile. I didn’t write down his height and head size, but they were 75th percentile and 95th percentile respectively. So he’s going to be a chuuuuunk.

Likes: Nursing, sleeping, clean diapers, the swing, when his siblings talk to him or hold him

Dislikes: Gas, dirty diapers, 9 pm

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1 Month Milestones (copied from previous children, originally from BabyCenter)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Lifts head when lying on tummy – Sure.
Responds to sound – Sure.
Stares at faces – I guess.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Follows objects briefly with eyes – In that funny newborn bobble-head way, yes.
Vocalizes: Yes, all the cute little baby sounds
Can see black-and-white patterns – Go home milestones, you are drunk. How am I supposed to know if that’s true?

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Smiles, laughs – Some smiling, especially for Lincoln
Holds head at 45-degree angle – Sorry, I can’t find my protractor so I have no idea what the exact angle is

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One Big Happy Hello

Monday, September 12th, 2016

A big happy thank you to Gymboree for sponsoring this post! They’ve been delightful to work with and we’re all thrilled with the new fall clothes. Be sure to check out their giveaway for an amazing baby bundle here

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After we came home from the hospital the first time, we didn’t really have a chance to adjust to our new 4-kid family before poor Baby Finnegan had to go back to the hospital for his light therapy. When we finally did make it home, school had started and the big kids were gone all the time. It’s made our first two weeks home feel sort of disjointed and hectic, not the calm, cuddly, peaceful time I had imagined in my head. It hasn’t helped that along with school, it was the first week of soccer, E had to go back to work and the toddler has been trying to give up napping, so even WITHOUT a brand new baby things would have been a little crazy. Still, we are so excited about our one big happy hello moment – completing our family with baby #4.

One thing that HAS been just as good (or better!) than I could have hoped is how Evan, Caroline, and Lincoln have all fallen in love with their new baby brother. They adore him completely. It’s such a joy to see and makes my heart want to burst every time I find one of them patting his head or singing Twinkle Twinkle to calm him down or saying “I just LOVE Baby Finn!” Obviously, this isn’t my first new-sibling rodeo and I’ve learned a few things over the past 3 kids. I think applying them all has really made this transition easier. Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

  1. Don’t change anything you don’t have to in the days before the baby comes. Linc is 2 now and probably getting close to potty learning, but we didn’t even consider trying right now. That’s a big change for a small person and adjusting to sharing Mommy with a baby is hard enough. I couldn’t avoid sending the big kids to school the same week the baby came home, but we kept our routine as normal and typical as possible. No new expectations or demands, no new charts or schedules, and I cut back on this year’s fall enrichment activities so they have more time at home in the evening to relax.
  2. Bring the kids to the hospital to meet the new baby. The kids visited us twice before we got to come home, which gave them a chance to interact with Finnegan without having him immediately in “their” space. It also helped them build up excitement for the moment when he (and I) would be released  and back under the same roof with the rest of the family. We let them all hold and cuddle the baby as much as they wanted in the hospital and made a Big Deal about how proud we were when they were loving and gentle.
  3. Put them to work! “Helping” with the baby is a favorite chore around here, especially for Lincoln. He loves bringing diapers and burp cloths for Finn or snacks and drinks for Mommy. Caroline and Evan are expected to do the same stuff, as well as contribute to general household well-being by feeding the dog, picking up after themselves, and helping Linc with things that are slightly above his abilities. Everyone likes to feel useful and important, and they all love their Big Kid Helper status.
  4. Do your best to give everyone some one-on-one attention. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re adding a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc etc child to the family. Just do your best. I’ve taken Caroline alone with me to do errands or pick up food, E took Linc with him to Home Depot and watched a movie with Evan, my mother reads endless books patiently to anyone who asks. Even if I am holding or feeding Finnegan, I try to make room next to me for whoever needs a snuggle.  It’s easy to get touched out, exhausted and want nothing more than 10 minutes of quiet, but try to remind yourself it’s not forever and some day you’ll kids who don’t even want to be seen with you, let alone sit in your lap. This too shall pass, and probably way faster than you want it to when you look back.
  5. Accept help. The more time you can spend with the kids – or the more people around who can also spend time with the kids – the less likely they’ll see the baby as an attention-stealing monster. It can be tempting to try to prove you can do everything on your own (and you probably can, Supermom) but you don’t HAVE to turn down help. Try saying yes. A freezer meal means you could spend that time snuggling instead of cooking. Someone whisking away older kids for a playdate means you can take a nap while the baby does. Someone who wants to come over and just hold your baby for an hour means you can take a shower. I am one of those people who says “No, really, I’m fine! We’re good! I don’t need anything!” but when people ignore me – and I’m so lucky to have people in my life who ignore me – and help anyway it’s amazing. The less stressed you are, the easier it is to make a smooth transition to +1 more kids without major meltdowns.

Another way to get ready for baby is to shop for newborn essentials like onesies, socks, bibs, blankets and hats. Gymboree has all that and more covered with 100% combed cotton baby items, which are crazy soft and incredibly cute too. The newborn styles are easy to mix-and-match (who has time to hunt for the ONE pair of matching leggings on 3 hours of sleep?) and reversible bibs and blankets mean you can get twice the use out of them.

One of my favorite things about Gymboree is their kid clothes LOOK like kid clothes, whether you’re just looking for comfy play outfits or dressier looks for family photos. I also love matchy-sibling stuff and they are super great at carrying a theme/styles through their baby, toddler and kid’s collections each season. I had so much fun putting together looks for each of the kids and then surprising them with these fun orange boxes.

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After everyone tried on their new clothes, they helped Baby Finnegan open his box and see what his new outfit looked like.

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They are DELIGHTED with the outdoors/wolf theme, and I think it’s so cute that I have a whole “pack” of kids.

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You can expect to see these clothes in our weekly photos a LOT this fall – soft, comfy, and stylish (plus easy care) check all the boxes for the things that become instant favorites. Linc’s outfit comes from the Mountain Trail collection for toddlers, and Evan’s is from the matching boy’s stuff. Caroline’s owl dress and leggings are part of the mix & match collection.

And now for a GIVEAWAY!

Did you know September is one of the most popular birth months? To celebrate, Gymboree teamed up with 6 popular brands to bring parents the ultimate bundle for baby. They’re giving away over $2,000 in prizes from Gymboree, Land of Nod, Seventh Generation, 4moms, Baby Bjorn, and munchkin. You can enter to win this AMAZING prize pack by clicking here. It’s an AMAZING bundle, don’t miss out!

www.gymboree.com/babybundle

I will also surprise and delight one person who comments on this post with a $50 Gymboree gift card. (I apologize for taking down the Rafflecopter, I misunderstood some directions in my new-baby exhaustion fog and it’s totally my fault. I’ll still choose someone at random who comments on this post between yesterday and Monday Sept 19th with a $50 gift card.)

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Welcome To The World, Finnegan!

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Introducing our fourth child…

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My birth story is decidedly average, with nothing super interesting or noteworthy happening. But since I like reading birth stories no matter what, I’m assuming other people do too.

My due date was August 28th, and although I’ve been preparing myself to go at least a week late (I did with both Evan and Linc) I was SO SO DONE when I got to my weekly exam on Monday the 29th. DONE. I had enough of the heartburn and insomnia and peeing every 20 minutes and sciatica and pelvic pain and throwing up (I was still throwing up every morning when I got out of bed) and being incredibly uncomfortable 24 hours a day. I had made it past all our vacations and commitments and E was back from his work trips and my mom had just gotten into town to help with the kids. So basically, everyone was sitting around waiting for me to have a baby but I was in too much pain to walk 10 miles a day to start labor.

I’d been taking evening primrose oil for a while, since it’s on The Internet’s List Of Things That Might Start Labor But Who Actually Knows. I’d also been drinking gallons of red raspberry leaf tea, eating all my food with extra hot sauce (and then crying myself to sleep because my heartburn was so bad) and doing as much walking as I could handle. I’d had a couple of evenings of steady, increasing contractions but they always faded away before I seriously considered going to the hospital. I had refused any checks to see how far along I was because in the past they’ve always been very discouraging, so when I went in at 10 for my appointment I didn’t know what to expect. OK, that’s not quite true. I knew I had either a UTI or a kidney infection. I knew my midwife wasn’t against induction. And I knew if she offered me one I would say yes.

I was right about all those things. My UTI turned out to be caused by e.coli, so I needed treatment. (Sidebar: it must be some sort of non-terrible e.coli though, because I wasn’t any sicker than I regularly am with a UTI. I wouldn’t have even treated it beyond cranberry juice and Tylenol if I hadn’t already been under a doctor’s care.) My blood pressure was high enough that it fell in the hypertensive range and I needed to go up to L&D for a non-stress test anyway. And my midwife could see how tired and stressed I was. Right after I got upstairs she came in and said “So do you want to have a baby?” Yes, yes I do.

If you had told me before I had my first child that someday I would happily and joyfully agree to an almost-elective induction, I would have called you a liar. And at the time I would have been right. But 3 births later, I was perfectly comfortable saying yes. I had a few moments of doubt when things got slow and I didn’t manage to have a baby by 8 pm (which had been my secret goal). I’m not someone who enjoys or longs for a natural, unmedicated birth. I think people who do are amazing and with my second pregnancy I briefly thought about giving it a try, but that one ended with pre-eclampsia and a definitely-medically-necessary induction. I used to think I’d like to know what it’s like to have my water break spontaneously, and then that happened with my third pregnancy, where I almost ruined our mattress and carpet. So this time, my only real wish was to get the baby OUT.

I went to the hospital around 3 pm. I hung out, E left to wrangle the kids and gather up the stuff I forgot, I bounced on the birth ball (I really loved the ball, I wish I had bought one for home), eventually they decided I was definitely progressing so they would start pitocin and break my water. A little later I got an epidural, hung out some more, finally agreed on a name with E, and waited. I ended up with a very slight fever (possibly the UTI, possibly something else?) and they stopped pitocin for several hours which let me get some sleep. But I woke up on Tuesday and felt like having a baby, so we started again. The doctor on call was one of the good ones, he was patient and trusted me to trust myself. Despite the fact that their monitors weren’t showing the contractions super close together, I could tell they were strong and if I were to try pushing things would happen. I secretly tried pushing. Things happened. So I told the nurse and the doctor and they did all the room switch-over stuff for birth and then everyone waited while I did a practice push to prove I could get the baby out. They were all very impressed with my pushing skills. It’s really the only part of birth I’m particularly good at. I was so good at it, my husband and my nurse forgot to help me hold up my legs and I remember thinking “this is nonsense, I don’t want to hold my own legs AND do all the work!” But everything happened so fast I didn’t have time to vocalize my complaint before I had a baby!

The doctor called him a bruiser. Everyone made sort of terrified faces at how enormous my baby was. My guess pre-birth was that he would be 9 lbs 4 oz AT LEAST and E said no more than 9 lbs, so even though they gave us lots of time to cuddle and nurse before they took him off to the scale, we really wanted them to weigh him. 9 pounds 13 oz is a LOT of baby. Plus also I was closer, so I win.

Because they had given me antibiotics while in labor, we had to stay for a minimum of 48 hours. Then his bilirubin levels came back high and they kept us another night. We finally got to come home…but right now as I type this E and Finn are back in the hospital so Finnegan can spend some time under the lights to help him get his bili levels down. I managed to pump so much milk in the past couple days trying to stay comfortable as it came in (I have oversupply issuses, which sound silly, because most people worry about undersuply. But let me tell you, oversuply is nooooo fun) that E can stay the whole 24 hours without me having to go back. I’m not going to completely abandon him – my natural urge to stay near my baby combined with the mom guilt of letting other people take care of him plus the fact that this breast pump is just NOT as effective as an actual baby means I’m eager to get back and nurse and cuddle and spend some time with Finn. But I really really reallyreallyreally REALLY really really appreciate that E is willing to do this part. He missed a lot of stuff after Linc was born because he had to go to sea (including a nearly idetical trip back to L&D for 24 hours under the lights) and the experience of doing it alone was really hard for me. It sounds silly to say “traumatic”, but the second I heard Finn’s bili levels were high I started feeling anxious and I’ve barely slept since then. I don’t like hanging out in hospitals.

Fingers crossed that 24 hours is all Finn will need and then we’ll just be done forever with the birthing center at our hospital.

I meant to do a really good job documenting this birth, but it turns out that’s hard to do. I felt very distracted and had no desire to pick up my camera at all until several hours after all the birth stuff was over. But I did take a few. I’ll have the official Fresh 48 photos up later this week too.

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I never made it in for a pedicure pre-baby. Now I probably never will.

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These cups full of crushed iced and water are the BEST part about the hospital. I love that ice.

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Me: HONEY QUICK GIVE ME THE CAMERA SO I CAN CHECK THE SETTINGS BECAUSE I’M ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY

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All the kids really love holding the baby. It’s adorable.

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Thank you to everyone for the well wishes!! We could not be happier to be a family of 6 and hope we will all be back under one roof again soon.

 

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Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

SHORT VERSION OF THIS INSANELY LONG POST: I did not accidentally have a baby while my husband is gone and our van is dead. Hopefully next week I will get a new minivan and a baby. 

Now that this week is 90% over, I no longer feel – both literally and figuratively – like I am drowning. Now it’s more like I’m treading water while holding half a pool noodle and also a baby. It’s been a really, really hot summer here in CT, sauna-levels of hot and humid, except you can’t just sit around wrapped in a tiny towel and the warning not to spend more than 20 minutes at a time in the heat can’t be followed because you can’t leave. In past years we’ve had a week or two of this weather, but not so many days in a row I lose the ability to leave my bedroom. Our house feels both way too big (how can I be expected to walk down a flight of stairs EVERY TIME I have to pee? why is there no way to air condition the open main living space?) and way too small (GET AWAY FROM ME CHILDREN) and I actually cannot wait to go to the hospital to give birth. Not because I like the hospital. I hate the hospital. Not even because I want to meet the baby. Obviously I do. But mostly because they have air conditioning AND a bathroom only 3 steps from the bed. HEAVEN.

Last week was a culmination of everything that could go wrong (besides actual baby-related stuff) all happening at once. It was hot (did I mention that yet?) and I had to drop Evan off at Seaport camp every morning with 2.9 other children in tow. There is not drop off line. You park across a busy street, take everyone in with you, sign one kid in, then have to convince everyone else to leave again when what they really want to do is play at the Seaport. Last year I had no problem staying. This year I felt like I was going to die just from crossing the street, so spending several hours walking around just wasn’t possible. I am literally unable to chase Linc if he runs away and he is deep in a running-away phase. Have I told you he also refuses to wear shoes? Because that’s also true. So no shoes, doesn’t listen, bolts at every chance AND at a waterfront location is just asking for trouble. What I’m saying is that week was already stressing me out.

Then our downstairs fridge stopped working. Good news: we hardly ever use that fridge. Bad news: we hardly ever use that fridge, so I have no idea what was in it or how horrific it currently is. Pretty horrific, I’m guessing. I can’t deal, so I’m waiting for E to get to it so he can deal. In the meantime, I’m just not opening the basement door.

Anyway, back to camp, sort of. On Thursday when I dropped Evan off, the oil light in the car kept turning on and off and on and off. Since we had the car serviced and the oil changed LITERALLY 9 DAYS AGO I planned to call the car place when we got home and ask them to take a look. But by the time we got home it had stopped happening and I figured it was a glitch, the way my airbag light and my tire pressure lights are always on (I’ve had them checked multiple times, there’s actually nothing wrong). On Friday, on the way to drop Evan off, it started happening again. This time I called E at work and asked him if he could call the car place and make sure I could drive straight there after drop off because maaaaaaaybe this was an actual problem. But how could it be? We JUST changed the oil. Surely they would have noticed a major issue. He called, they made an appointment and told me to bring it in. After I hustled the children back to the car, I decided to take the fast way – the interstate – back to town instead of the back way – country roads – because I wanted to get there as soon as possible.

I’d been on the highway less than 3 minutes before I realized my car wasn’t accelerating. It was barely running. I pulled onto the shoulder and burst into tears because I KNEW how screwed I was. The engine wouldn’t turn over. I was stuck on I-95 with 2.9 children.

Luckily, E was still in his building and not unreachable (he is very often unreachable at work) and someone found him and he came to rescue us. Or at least he came to provide a car with air conditioning that worked to sit in while we waiting for AAA to come. And waited. And waited. And waiting. Eventually the state patrol truck came to check on us and suggested we put oil in the van. A while after that I called AAA back and they couldn’t find a record of my call (of course) so they put in the request again (of course) and then I got a text saying my request had been canceled (of course). So when the van started, we decided I would put the kids in E’s car, he would drive the van, and we would try to get to the car place. We made it to within 5 miles of the car place before the van died again, for real. So dead. RIP Minivan. We used the car to push it off the road into a parking lot where we could wait for AAA. AGAIN. This time, they managed to actually put my request through and we got updates from the tow truck so we knew we had time to run home, let Caroline pee, grab lunch and go back to the parking lot to wait some more. After we got the van to the car place and the kids home (Evan was still at camp) we both made calls to reschedule the rest of our day.

Later, the car place called to confirm that our van was in fact a giant blue brick and replacing the seized engine was going to cost twice what the van was worth. It turns out there was a huge hole in the oil pan. I’m still not exactly sure how an oil pan that was looked at NINE DAYS AGO can have a huge hole in it, but they assured us it wasn’t their fault. I don’t have the energy to argue, especially because I am SURE the only way they would agree it was their fault was in small claims court and I can’t prove anything. I mean, Judge Judy would TOTALLY be on my side, but I don’t know about real life judges.

So after we took a break from that disaster to go see the show at Foxwoods on Friday night, we spent Saturday looking at new vans. It was horrible, because car shopping is horrible and children are horrible. Plus it was a million degrees and most car dealer lots are already as hot as balls, so when it’s even more hot than usual standing around looking at cars is almost unbearable. And there’s no good way to test drive anything when it means moving over 3 car seats every time. We did not buy a van. Our current car is a Ford Fusion, which means yes, we do all fit in it well enough to drive around to dealerships, but NO, we are not going to fit as soon as I have this baby. We have to have a new vehicle. We definitely want another minivan. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to buy something. But we failed on Saturday.

But why didn’t you just buy a car on Sunday? you ask, like a normal person. Oh, right, because my husband left for a week on Sunday morning. Because who doesn’t schedule work travel when their wife is 38-39 weeks pregnant? SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO BE HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. (It’s not his fault, just add it to the list of ways the Navy DGAF.) On the one hand, it means I can use his car this week while we browse internet listings for a van. On the other hand, if he was here we could just buy a van. Putting 3 kids across the back of a mid-size sedan is awful, especially because we still have Linc rear-facing aka perfect head-kicking height for his brother. Plus there’s not room for things like “the groceries a family of soon-to-be-six actually needs to feed themselves for more than two days”. It’s stupid. Everything is stupid. I just want a car that works.

Also, we have a fruit fly invasion, the garage door isn’t working, the a/c is about to die from overuse, the shower drain is all backed up, the shelf over the washer and dryer collapsed, the dog won’t stop eating used diapers, Linc has a rash, I’m pretty sure I have a mild kidney infection again, my heartburn is unbearable, the kids are ALL sleeping in my room, my pelvis feels like it’s going to split apart and I am still pregnant. Plus last night I realized I have done NOTHING to get ready to have a baby. I didn’t buy a new Boppy – the only thing I was actually going to buy – I didn’t find the bin that has the baby clothes, I don’t have any diapers, I haven’t even begun to pack a hospital bag. I am an actual disaster who probably should not be adding another child to her life but IT’S TOO LATE NOW.

I keep trying to focus on all the ways I am very, very lucky. We can (mostly) afford to replace the van. It’s not ideal, but it won’t be impossible. The day the van died, E was here and reachable and able to take over 90% of Dealing With It because I didn’t feel at all capable. No one got hurt. We do have a space in our house with a/c and we aren’t suffering from heat stroke. I’ve been able to put almost everything on pause and just keep the kids ALIVE this week while waiting for E to get back. I didn’t go into labor with no back-up plan while he was gone. In a week my mom will be here and she can help with finding the bin of baby clothes and making sure the kids eat something besides carrot sticks and popsicles while I lie down not handling things. And soon I will have a nice, new, clean, van with FOUR car seats installed so I can have this baby without also having a panic attack. I’ve gone from completely overwhelmed to at least capable of talking about it without crying in the course of a week. I feel like that’s about all I can ask for right now. My goal for today is the hospital bag, finding the rock-n-play, putting away enough laundry I can see the nursing chair and once again, keeping my children alive. Tomorrow, van shopping. Then I can be just plain whelmed.

p.s. Still no name for this baby.

p.p.s. God bless the lake for keeping me from completely losing my shit this week, so please enjoy these lake photos.

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p.p.p.s. My new updated WordPress says the readability on this post “needs improvement”. CAN YOU NOT, WORDPRESS?

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Why Do Pregnant Women Stand Around In Creeks?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

I have no idea. I’m not sure why this is a thing, but I saw maternity photos like this in one of my photography groups and I’ve been dying to recreate them. I suppose it makes as much sense as pregnant women standing around in a field or on a beach or anywhere that isn’t Target or the grocery store.

Most of these are slightly out of focus, or at least nowhere near as sharp as “my” photos usually are. That’s because it’s impossible to stand in a creek AND stand behind the camera, so I had my husband take them. He did an amazing job, but I failed to double check my settings before passing over the camera and made some rookie mistakes. Life has been too crazy to go back and try to re-do them (and honestly, I doubt that’s going to happen before I give birth and I didn’t want to be in labor shouting “WAIT NO FIRST WE HAVE TO STOP AT THE CREEK”) so I edited them the best I could to fit my vision and you know what? They’re super. This is what a crazy pregnant woman who wants to climb around a creek in 90-degree weather at 37 weeks pregnant looks like.

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I feel like E needs extra credit for the above photo – Linc was just sitting there, waiting for me to get out of the water and E looked over and was like “Wow, that light!” and took a picture. I must be rubbing off on him.

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And this photo of Evan is the one right before he pees in the creek.

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Why yes, Caroline and I DID both bring multiple outfits to wear in a creek.

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Super soon that baby on my back will be the big kid and a new baby will be the baby. I’m feeling a little sad about it, since Linc makes such a nice baby. He is cuddly and loves to be worn and still barely talks so it’s super easy to THINK of him as a baby. (As a sidenote, I’ve resubmitted him to Birth to 3 so hopefully this time we qualify for speech therapy because I have NO IDEAS left on how to get him to say real words.) But since he understands every single word I say, has started showing interest in the potty and sleeps in a real bed with no problem, he’s not really a baby. I’m pretty excited about having an actual real baby again. Or maybe I’m just really excited not to be pregnant anymore. DEFINITELY that last thing.

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