First off: Yes, I’m still pregnant. Sorry to leave y’all hanging, but it’s been a craaaaaazy couple of weeks. Much as I love this space, I made the difficult decision to devote what little energy I have these days to my family and my sanity. (This growing humans gig is tough work, amen?) It was the right choice, but I’ve missed you. So today, I wanted to carve out some time to fill you in on what’s been happening my way.
1. I went to New York!!!
That’s right, the morning after Easter, I was on a sunrise flight out of Seattle to go visit family and my surrogate sisters back in my upstate hometown. It was a whirlwind trip, kind of last minute. But I got to see my little nephews–and meet this chunky monkey for the first time. (He was so excited when he saw me, he pooped his pants! Don’t worry; I cleaned him up and we made friends. He’s actually a very smiley little guy.)
I was gone for four days. Got to hit up my old haunts and celebrate my best friend’s birthday, or as she calls it, the anniversary of her 29th birthday. It was hard to leave, but so good to get back to my loves at home.
2. The Remodel is 99.99999999999% finished!
There are exactly three pieces of trim to be put into place and one hole in the ceiling to patch. I call that *nearly* finished! No, there’s no Pinterest-worthy redecoration, but there is space! And light! (At least, there is in the daytime; you’ll have to excuse the dimly lit iPhone pic.) And I can sit on the couch while watching my kids play in the backyard. And I am loving it. I am so proud of the incredible work my husband did, and I am so looking forward to all the living and loving that is going to happen in this room for years to come.
3. I am 36 weeks pregnant!
That’s right, one more week until baby girl is deemed full term. After that, we’re all clear for a good au naturale birth. If things go the way they have for my last three labors, we are planning a second home birth. However, I haven’t closed the door on going to our local birth center (only one freeway exit away, how lucky am I?) Home or away, I get the privilege of working with my very favorite midwives on the planet! In any case, I should probably start stocking my home birth kit, shouldn’t I?
4. I’m struggling.
No pity parties, just keeping it real. Pregnancy is hard. Baby #5 is harder on this lil ol’ body than Baby #1 was (it probably has something to do with the intervening decade and the fact that I’m in my 30’s now, rather than my early 20’s.) Before I even roll out of bed most mornings, I have a sore back, swollen ankles, and nowhere near enough sleep to feel capable of taking on the day ahead. Bending over hurts. Squatting hurts. Lifting hurts. Unfortunately, approximately 92.8% of the tasks in my day require me to do all 3. I try to remind myself it’s not forever, and when that doesn’t work, there’s always Netflix.
5. I’ve scaled things back. (Like, waaaaaaaaaaay back.)
Sanctimommies, check the judgment at the door. If I get showered, power through some semblance of school, and feed my family three meals, I claim success. Cleaning happens, but never as much or as well as I want. Mostly I serve in the capacity of forewoman while my husband and kids do the actual picking up. I’m still teaching, but I’m relying heavily on read-alouds and multiplication drills. Anything else is pure bonus. Some days, it’s hard to let go of the vision of what I wish was and simply accept that this is where I am. I’m so grateful that my family is generous of heart. They never make me feel guilty for my limitations. Like me, they are just so thankful for this little lady who’s about to join us. She is so worth all the inconvenience.
6. I’m savoring time with my people.
With the support of my amazing husband (dude has skills – have you ever tried running dinner and bedtime for four kids all by yourself?), I’ve managed not only the aforementioned trip to New York but some time out with wonderful friends. As an introvert, it can be tough for me to muster the energy to get out and about, but my ladies are worth it. I’m so grateful to have such incredible women in my life who build me up and remind me of what’s good.
I’m also carving time out with each of my big kids to spend some special one-on-one before baby arrives. This weekend was Sugar’s turn. We went to her favorite toy store to spend some hard earned allowance money, then munched hot dogs together while laughing ourselves silly at the antics of the local ducks and roosters.
7. The cancer is in REMISSION!!!!!
Remember how I mentioned that my husband was getting some scans while I was in New York? Well, for the first time since his diagnosis, we finally got the news we’ve been waiting for: his tumor markers are in the “normal” range. That means, he is officially categorized as “in remission.” It also means a more relaxed surveillance schedule. The next blood draw won’t be until the end of June and (provided no future draws show an increase in tumor markers), his next scan won’t be until 2017!! I can’t tell you how relieving it is to at least know that, any future fears aside, we are going to have this baby without cancer hanging over our heads. Thank you, thank you, Jesus. And thanks to every single one of you who continues to hold us in your prayers as we journey on.
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When I’m feeling drained, it’s my instinct to retreat. Hide. Hermit-style. Yes, it’s good to give my body and mind all the rest I can, but I’m also thankful for the beautiful people in my life who call me out on a daily basis and remind me that this living thing is all about relationship. That goes for you all, too. Thank you for being here, even when I’m running on empty. I am blessed to know such love.