Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our home away from home

I thought I'd post some photos of our little rental cabin to help us remember this unique time for our family!  As most of you know, I'm 34 weeks pregnant with our baby girl and am facing a high-risk 5th c-section delivery. After lots of prayer and discernment, I opted to use the doctor who delivered our last baby, even though the hospital is about 4 1/2 hours from our current home in South Texas.  But here we have the support of all our extended family and close friends, so it just felt right. 

And so, after realizing that my doctor wanted me in town at 34 weeks, which meant the possibility of 6 weeks staying away from home, we opted to find a rental to accommodate our family during this time. It's a nice little cabin just a couple minutes from our old home here (which we own but have renters), and about five minutes from the doctor and hospital. It's such a relief for me to be here, even though it's difficult with Steven coming back and forth and trying to manage four kids and homeschooling in a small cabin. But we will survive and make the most of this exciting time to prepare for and welcome our new baby girl!

Here are some photos of the inside of this cute little cabin!

The master bedroom is nice and comfy, even though we're used to a king sized bed. We're slowly trying to transition the boys out of our room, but that's not working so well without Daddy here! At home we have a mattress on the floor for the boys, but here that doesn't work. They're both in bed with me tonight. 

The kitchen is well-stocked with most of the cooking gear we need. We loaded up on groceries over the weekend and have been able to eat almost all our meals here this week. 

The living room boasts a flat screen TV which is quite a novelty for a family that has no television at home. The love seat also folds out into a bed. And there's a table behind me in this photo for eating and schooling. 

Here's the kids room with bunk bed. 

And I still get a nice soaking tub while away from home!

You can see the laundry room in the background. We keep the kids' suitcases here and the basket of toys. They often play games and Legos in here. I've been doing all our laundry each day, which is my usual way of doing things when we travel. It makes things much easier for me. 

Here's Mary Clare bundled up over her PJs for the ice day yesterday! There's also a big master closet behind her. 

And here's the front yard with some ice/snow flurries on the ground. You can see that we're definitely in the woods!

The kids (except Tommy) had a fun time playing in the ice yesterday! We were disappointed that there wasn't real snow, but they enjoyed the ice just fine. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Settling In

We've moved into our temporary home away from home and are enjoying this special time. I feel a great sense of relief that I am finally here by the hospital and don't have to worry about going into labor and having a very early preemie with a doctor or hospital I'm not familiar with. It's also nice to be back in my comfort zone of suburbia with my nice grocery store, favorite restaurants, and great shopping just minutes from our little cabin.

The cabin is so cute and comfortable. It has two bedrooms, one bath, a living room, laundry room, and kitchen. It's on a nice sized lot in a little country neighborhood and was recently renovated. There are quite a few bird feeders out front and the kids have enjoyed watching the birds and drawing them. I wish we could really settle here for the long haul, but the cabin had already been booked for next week so it looks like we'll be making several moves starting this Friday...from Steven's sister's house, to my parents', to a friends', and then finally back to the cabin for about a month. Hopefully the moves aren't too difficult for me or the kids. 

But so far, so good with everyone adjusting to the little move and handling Daddy's departure alright. It will be hard to play the single mom during the week while in such a late stage of pregnancy, but he'll be taking some days off here and there, my parents are helping, we have friends at the ready, and we'll have several activities to keep us busy. Tonight, Ellie attended ballet class at their old studio. It was so nice to see all these ballet friends and feel so welcomed by everyone there. Depending on the forecasted snow and road conditions, Mary Clare is hoping to go to her ballet class tomorrow. The kids got most of their schoolwork done today and enjoyed time playing Legos, running around outside, and watching TV. Hopefully the rest of our days here continue to be enjoyable and uneventful, except for the big baby event that we're here for, which will hopefully hold off until late February!

Before I sign off, I'll share some phone photos from the past week...

My kindergartner working on math

And showing off his third lost tooth!

Ellie was drawing fairies during Mary Clare's pointe class. We wanted to watch the class last week, but they only ended up doing pointe for about 15 minutes, and there were nearly a dozen other family members trying to get a peek at their ballerinas too!

But we did get a photo op after class. Her ballet group here hasn't started pointe yet, so it will be a little while before she gets back to pointe class. 

A peaceful Friday afternoon with Tommy napping. We skipped Atrium to rest and pack for the trip. 

The first night here, we grocery shopped at my favorite HEB and grabbed some quick food at our favorite Raising Cane's drive-thru. Our order for one bag of ice bought us four bags of delicious little pellet ice! This pregnant mama is on an ice kick!

Thankfully there is a nice soaking tub in the cabin :)

Steven left his wallet at the cabin when he left this morning, so he drove back from his Houston office to get it, stopping in for my OB appointment and then taking me on a lunch date to Chuy's restaurant! Fun!

Maybe I'll be back with some snow pictures, or at least a cabin tour, tomorrow. Stay warm, friends!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts on a Thursday

Outside my window...
It's sunny and in the 60s, but apparently some rain and cold will be coming soon. 

I am thinking about...
Leaving my house this weekend, for about six weeks. I am going to miss my bed and my house and my husband most of all. I am scared about going into labor without him there. I am scared about facing another c-section. But I am trying to put my trust in God and not think too much about the little details. 

I am thankful for...
Making it to 33 1/2 weeks. I am thankful for a doctor I trust and for family and friends who will help us. I am thankful for this new little life, this baby girl who I can't wait to meet!

In the kitchen...
Frozen pizza and frozen nuggets for lunch. That's where we're at right now. Lots and lots of Halo clementines. And I guess tonight will be leftovers of chicken pasta or spaghetti. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle meals while we're away, especially breakfast. But there will be lots of favorite restaurants nearby for take-out, and I know my parents will help. 

I am wearing...
All new things! Black yoga pants, a purple maternity tee, and even new undergarments! I'd bought a few overpriced items at Motherhood a couple weekends back, but I haven't worn them and am planning to return three out of four of them since they don't fit right. So last night after ballet class, I went with the girls to Old Navy and Target and found yoga pants that I like better for a better price than the Motherhood ones, plus a couple t-shirts on clearance, and a few other things for me and for baby.  It looks like I'll have to resort to buying a new Boppy pillow. I washed my 11yr old one and have tried several methods of de-lumpifying it to no avail! Other than that, some more diapers, and a baby bathtub for when we get back home, I think we're set!

I am going...
To as few places as possible. I'd like to go back upstairs and continue folding and packing the boys' clothes, but my body is protesting otherwise today. I'm hoping to go and watch Mary Clare's pointe class tonight, and maybe we will make it to the kids' Catechesis of the Good Shepherd classes tomorrow afternoon. But I definitely don't need any complications in the two days before we leave town, so we will see how I'm feeling. 

I am looking forward to...
Six weeks back "home" near our family and friends. The girls are hoping to take classes at their old ballet school while we're there, and we will be able to celebrate some birthdays and maybe even attend the big homeschool group Valentine's party. We plan to have the baby baptized there at the beautiful church where the girls received their First Holy Communion and which is a very special place for me. And most of all, I'm looking forward to meeting my new daughter!

I am hoping...
That my high maintenance toddler calms down a bit as he gains a new sibling. I asked Steven the other night if it was just me, or if this little man was a much bigger challenge than the others. It's not just me. He's exhausting and needy from the moment he awakes until the moment he falls asleep. I am going to have to implement some "tough love" during our weeks away from home or I might lose my mind. He is loving and affectionate and smart, but oh so very needy.  Hopefully becoming a big brother will help him to learn patience, and I will learn to stop spoiling him!

One of my favorite things...
Is adding more to the pink baby pile! It's stacked right outside our bedroom and I love seeing all the clothes and blankets and baby gear there in one place awaiting her arrival! 

I am so grateful...
For all who are praying for us. I know I will need a lot of grace to get through these next six weeks until we're back home again with the baby. In fact, we'll be leaving our rental cabin exactly 6wks from today!  I hope it won't be overwhelming and might feel like a little vacation for me. After delivery I do always enjoy being taken care of during my hospital stay. I always slip up and call it the "hotel" instead of the hospital!  Hopefully this delivery experience will be one of peace and rest. I know all of your prayers will carry me through. 

Now if we can just get everyone packed and up to "the woods" without too much difficulty, we will be one step closer! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Walt Disney World 2013, Day 5--Magic Kingdom (last day!)

Finally, at 4+ months after our trip,
I am finally sharing our final day at Disney!
All the days found here under "Disney" label.

We spent our last day at the Magic Kingdom.
We got there around 9:30am and tried to find some breakfast snacks on Main Street
(couldn't quite find what we were looking for, though).

We started off in Adventureland and headed to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

Next was Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride.

 Look at Tommy's face.  I think this was his favorite ride!  We rode it a few times.

The big kids wanted to ride the roller coasters again,
so Tommy and I stopped to rest and cool off in a restaurant.
He wasn't happy about leaving the carpet ride!

Splash Mountain!

We ate lunch at a quick service restaurant, Columbia Harbor House, which was a favorite.
They offer fried fish and fried chicken, plus some yummy drinks and desserts.

We headed next door to the Hall of Presidents,
a show that includes every US president.

There always seems to be a show going on at the castle!

The kids all enjoyed the Raceway with Daddy, while Mommy watched from the shade.

We went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.
Here are pictures of the pictures they took of us.

Our last "ride" that morning was the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
It was similar to the Turtle Talk at Epcot, where the animated cartoons
actually talk to the audience like a live comedy act.  I think we
enjoyed Turtle Talk a little better, but they were both fun.

Then we headed back to the front to head to the hotel for a mid-day break.

We stopped at the Confectionery to use some snack credits.  Yum!

Chocolate covered strawberry

Candy container with a spinning airplane on top

And a cake pop for Mommy!

 Walking back to our room

After resting, and the big kids taking a dip in the pool with Steven,
we went back to the Magic Kingdom around 4:30
We went to Mickey's Philharmagic again (one of my favs),
and then the carrousel.

And finally it was time for the big surprise of the week,
Our final dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, IN THE CASTLE!
First we got to meet Cinderella!

Then we waited for them to call us up for dinner.

It was a lovely meal and they even brought swords for the boys and magic wands for the girls.
They also came and brought our photos from downstairs up to our table.

The lighting wasn't the best, and my camera wasn't cooperating, so the photos aren't great,
but it was a lovely restaurant.

Snow White

Tommy liked Jasmine!

Sleeping Beauty Aurora

Ariel from the Little Mermaid

And a couple photos of our desserts.

What a fun dinner and a very exciting last day we had.
We rode the Teacups as our last ride, and then headed
to scope out a spot to watch the Firework show.
I took the kids individually to do some shopping while
Daddy held our spot near the castle.

It was a very cool Laser and Firework Show!
And we were glad to have some glow sticks to play with while we waited.

Mary Clare wanted to have her profile cut-out done on the way out.

We were impressed!

We had some tired kids that night and it was very hard to wake up early
for the bus to take us to the airport the next morning.

A couple shots of our room

Tired kids and Daddy with coffee, awaiting our golf cart ride that didn't show up!

And a final shot of our crew at the airport.  Bye Bye, Disney!
Until we meet again!

This trip was definitely a dream come true.  I couldn't believe it actually came together,
no one got sick, and I handled everything pretty well
considering I was about 14 weeks pregnant.
It was such a fun family vacation experience,
and we can't wait to visit again with our baby girl one day!

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