Twas’ the night before the first day of school….

and all the through the house, not a creature was stirring…

except for mom who was blubbering alone at the kitchen table per usual.

Why, oh why do our kids have to grow up? Some days I just wish that they could stay little and snuggle me forever.

But, that is not the way we were made, and Thursday of last week Gabbi began 3rd grade, and started at a brand new school.

Another new thing for us this year is that, due to the distance the school is from our house, Gabbi is taking the bus both ways this year. She LOVES it and even has a friend from her class on her bus, which is actually amazing because there are only like 7 kids on her bus since it only picks up the students who attend private schools in Greece from our district. Knowing how much she enjoys it is making it easier on me, and she has even taken the initiative to use the bus ride home to work on her homework so she has more free time.

Anyways, as I have done every year, I wanted to make the morning a little more special than normal. We love celebrating all special occasions in this family, and the first day of school is no exception. When she entered 1st grade, I hung streamers from her door, and decorated the dining room like it was a party. For second grade, I decorated her chair with bows and served her favorite smoothie in a wine glass. Both years we ate breakfast as a family, since all of the girls got up so early.

But this year it was going to just be Gabbi and I, so I decorated the table a little bit fancier and served her some coffee and pancakes (per her request). We sat together and ate, read from her devotional and prayed together before getting her on the bus. It was a wonderful 1st day of school morning:

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We also had time to pack her lunch together and she LOVED her new lunchbox!!

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We took a few pictures inside…

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She looks so cute in her uniform!!

Autumn and Scarlet woke up just in time to get her on the bus…

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Surprisingly I didn’t cry when she left this year. I am crazy excited about the school she is attending and I couldn’t wait for her to start. But, it was extra quiet around the house until she got home. The first few days always feel like the longest of the school year!

How was your child’s first day of school??

A New Season

I am finally back from my writing hiatus and I am so glad to start writing regularly again. Everyone has been so supportive and so understanding during this past season of our life and I couldn’t be anymore thankful for the people that God has put into my life that have been there holding us up for the past 8 months.

I am a little cautious….

But I am happy to announce that I finally believe that we are heading into a new season as a family. Postpartum anxiety and depression, all though not completely behind us, is definitely under my control and no longer takes over as leader of our home. While I seem to be suffering from a bit of PTSD as a result of everything that I went through, I have been working diligently, both through scripture and prayer as well as with a counselor to allow myself the time to truly heal from this whole experience. Am I still anxious occasionally when I shouldn’t be? Yes. Do I still have small angry outbursts when I get completely overwhelmed? Yes, but not very often. Do I still breakdown in tears at times when I think of all that we have been through as a family this year? Yes. And yes, I still of have to talk my own brain out of those incredibly awful intrusive thoughts at times, but I can make them stop and that is wonderful.

On the flip side of everything, I am coming to realize the amount of growing as a person, both spiritually and mentally that I have done during this season. My fear level has gone down incredibly, and my sense of confidence in myself and what I can handle has skyrocketed. I am enjoying so much this new found closeness I feel to the Lord and I once again look forward to getting up before my family every day to spend time alone with Him. I am willing to step outside of my comfort zone now to minister to people when the spirit encourages me to and to see and feel the Lord weaving together opportunities for future ministry is marvelous. I have so many things coming up on the horizon that I can hardly wait to see what is going to come next!

And most importantly, my passion for caring for my family has been reignited. For the longest time through all of this, I felt worthless and began searching for things that I could do outside the home and outside my family that would make me more valuable. Thank goodness that the Lord kept all of the doors closed for me because I am at peace now knowing that I am exactly where I should be. There is nothing in this world that could fulfill me more than being with and raising my children as well as taking care of my home.

We have already had so much fun this summer and I am looking forward to the month of August for some more fantastic adventures. Since I am SO BEHIND on posting pictures of our activities on here, I am going to bombard you now with loads of pictures of my incredibly gorgeous girls and all of the fun that they have been having!

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Our first big post vacation summer event was 4th of July. The girls always have a blast swimming, roasting marshmallows, playing on the beach and of course watching the fireworks and massive bonfires! A BIG excitement this year though was that Matt was able to spend 4th of July with us for the 1st time in 3 years! So that made this year extra special Smile….

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The rest of July was filled with trips to parks, the zoo and Genesee Country Village and Museum (we got a membership this year!!!). We have been so blessed to be able to spend so much time this summer with the people that we love the most!

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A minor family emergency caused us to skip our family pictures at Letchworth, but an impromptu trip to sunken gardens gave us some pretty cute shots of the girls anyways! And a little unplanned adventure in Warsaw added a new little girl to our family….

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Meet Stella!

And at the end of the month Matt and I even managed to slip away (thanks to some wonderful family and friends!!) for 2 whole nights alone! We retreated into a beautiful house in the woods and it was amazing! I hate to admit it, but coming home has been just a tiny bit difficult. I was always nervous about leaving the kids for that long, but I am so glad that I did and look forward to hopefully making it an annual thing.

So that’s a little catch up on what we have been up to. August brings the promise of even more fun with trips to the beach, some amusement parks and even a Little House on the Prairie Day! 2014 has proven to be the most difficult of my life up to this point, but it is looking like the rest of it is going to turn out even better than I imagined. Thank you all again for your continued support and I am so happy to be back to writing. Its one thing that truly makes me feel like myself again.

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This kid cracks me up all the time!

A little bit of blog catch up…

Its no secret that as a family we have been SUPER busy for the past month or so. I feel like I have so many things to share that this post could literally take you hours to read. I will spare you all from sitting at your computer reading a rambling post about every little detail of the last few weeks, but I will give you all some highlights, along with some really cute pictures of the girls.

May is always a fun month around our house because Gabbi and Autumn have their birthdays just 5 days apart from each other. Between our schedules, school, grandparents and family activities we seem to end up celebrating their birthdays for the whole month so that everyone can get in on the action!

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On Gabbi’s actual birthday we had a pretty “grown up” cake delivered that she picked out. She was so excited to have a cake that wasn’t decorated with the latest popular character. We had a few family members over after dinner and we all sang to her and at cake. All kids love a little time devoted just to them, and even though we ended early because it was a school night it was still a lot of fun.

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That same week Autumn’s birthday was Friday. Autumn is OBSESSED with Frozen and my cousin’s amazingly talented wife made this gorgeous cake for her!! She was SO EXCITED. The kids loved eating the ice crystals and this cake was so yummy. Autumn, unlike Gabbi, doesn’t love all of the attention that her birthday brings, and she ended up curling up on the couch and falling asleep while everyone was celebrating. Still, she loved the cake!

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For their joint party, the girls (Gabbi and Autumn, Scarlet just goes along with them still…) requested a pink fancy party. I was not sure what that meant, but we bought a bunch of tulle, made a table skirt and some other decorations with it. It ended up turning out really nice. The only other request Autumn made was to be able to eat everything at the party. So all the snacks and desserts were gluten free. We ordered the desserts from Scratch Bakeshop in order to save some time (except for the pink chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows which my incredibly sweet husband made for them!!). The girls had so much fun and were spoiled with gifts! It was the perfect day!!

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We spent some time enjoying the finally warm weather! My girls are so excited for summer and Emerson is growing so fast I can’t handle it.

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The weekend after the party was my moms wedding, which I have NO PICTURES of my own of, but was gorgeous. As soon as I get some pics I will post about that major family change!!

Then we had a weekend where we had a garage sale and the girls ran this incredibly cute lemonade stand. Gabbi and her best friend Marie made a little over $15 in about an hour. Once they had their money, they gave up and Autumn and Scarlet took it over!!

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Father’s Day was spent exactly how Matt wanted it. Sleeping in, a trip to the sporting goods store, naps and a cookout on the beach at his mom’s.

Literally every weekend has been jam packed for weeks! And currently we are on vacation with the whole extended family. I am so looking forward to long, lazy days of summer coming up (especially a kid free getaway!!) – though we always tend to be busy no matter how hard we try not to.

Spring…Finally

Could spring actually be arriving here in Rochester? I mean its only April already…

I feel like we have been stuck in this black hole of gloomy days, frigid temps and incredible amounts of snow for WAY TOO LONG. But, finally, it seems to be turning the corner.

My kids have been a special kind of crazy this week. Think skipping naps, not going to bed, making gigantic messes, copping little attitudes and FIGHTING LIKE CRAZY. Its this ridiculous cabin fever and yesterday I couldn’t take it a second longer. My kids were standing on their chairs and the table, making a giant mess with their lunch and Autumn was even naked…and dancing…in cowboy boots…with her bagel. I told them to hurry up and get dressed because I was taking them to one of my favorite parks as a kid – The Holy Ghost Playground. Of course they all screamed when I said ghost but I assured them they would have fun. We got there and had the whole playground to ourselves and they ran and let all of their craziness out. We stayed for over an hour and it was the most relaxed I had been all day. I was even able to capture some pretty good pictures of our first official trip to the park as a family of 6!!

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Chore Chart DIY

I have a confession. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest pinning all sorts of things, but to date I think that I have only actually made one of them. I am not by nature a very crafty person. I have very little free time and I don’t have the patience left after chasing these girls around all day that long, drawn out, meticulous crafts require. I like Target, because, you know, its already done for you. Smile

That being said, I wish I was a craftier person and I know that at least learning how to do a few things will help with the bills in the long run. Four girls = more money than we have…

So I decided to try out one of the crafts that I had been wanting to do for a little while and got to work planning out magnetic chore charts for the girls. We have tried paper charts with stickers but the girls usually steal all the stickers and stick them on the wall, the floor, their bed and each other. Plus I wanted something that they could learn how to use, but that was easily changed as they got older. I also really liked the idea of the girls moving a tangible object from their to-do list to their done list.

So we purchased some baking sheets from Big Lots super cheap. I know you can use fancy pieces of metal that need to be cut and then sanded so they are not sharp – but I did just admit that I like things that are quick and easy. After purchasing them I had Matt drill holes in the top, because me + power tools = disaster. You should have seen the time I attempted to hang curtains from the ceiling, without dry wall screws (because I didn’t even really know what they were). Lets just say the end result involved some patching, perhaps a little painting and then Matt drilling the holes that I should have let him just do in the first place. Lesson learned.

Anyways, here is the baking sheet with the holes:

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Apparently, its easy.

Next, I got to work making the magnets. This was probably the most time consuming and least fun part. I decided to use pictures for Autumn and Scarlet’s tasks, and words for Gabbi’s.  The glass beads that I used were from Micheals. I found them in the section where the vases are. I also purchased the magnets from there. (Tip: ask for help finding the magnets. They are NOT where you would think they are and took me about 30 min to find. I would tell you where I found them, but I don’t even remember.)

I printed the pictures and words right from Microsoft word, but you could probably make them fancy with photoshop or something. You actually have to print them pretty small to get them to fit onto the beads. It took 3 tries before I had them small enough.

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Then I just placed the glass beads over them, traced them, cut them out and glued them on the back of the beads. The glass beads make the images much bigger than they appear on the paper.

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After they dried, I glued little magnets on the back of all of them.

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Then came the fun part, which was decorating the charts while the magnets finished drying. I purchased some ribbon and some letter stickers and glued everything directly on the baking sheet.

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Then I threaded some thicker ribbon through the holes so I would be able to hang them. I let everything dry overnight and then hung them the next morning.

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I was pretty pleased with how they turned out considering that I never make stuff like this.

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We hung them under them window, right about our kitchen bench so the girls could reach them themselves.

Autumn and Gabbi got it right away. Most of the magnets are things we already require them to do each day, but now they are responsible for making sure they complete each task without being asked or reminded 100 times.

For Autumn and Scarlet, the tasks we gave them are: get dressed, pick up your clothes, pick up your toys, eat dinner, feed Roxi, brush teeth, put on PJs and make their bed.

I decided to give Gabbi a few more, but they are not really all “chores”. Lately we have been having this issue where we have to remind her all day of what she is responsible for, so we included normal daily tasks in their too:

Get ready for school, devotions, take care of book bag/lunch box, help make dinner, set or clear table, help with dishes, clean bathroom (which most days is just picking up the hair brushes, hair things and PJs that are left in their from the am. She does actually clean it once a week though.), pick up toys and clothes, read for 20 minutes and homework. The majority of her jobs take only 5 minutes or so, but now she isn’t allowed to watch TV at night unless all of her magnets are on the done side. Making her solely responsible for one room in the house – the bathroom – also makes her feel like a more important member of our team. I have stopped cleaning the bathroom altogether, unless her sisters make some massive mess while she is at school.

So there you have it, my first completed craft that didn’t only involve coloring Smile.

Now…look at these hams…

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They can go from this…to this….

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to this….

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In the span of 10 minutes. At least they keep my days interesting Smile

Puddle Jumping

Oh. My. Goodness.

This winter has got to be the longest one that we have had in such a long time. I can’t take it anymore – really. I would just like 2 days in a row of warm weather, sunshine and no snow. The kids and I totally have cabin fever. Our house is ALWAYS a mess because we are stuck inside, we walk around in circles looking for things to do and the girls don’t even get tired out enough for their naps some days. I can’t wait for this weather to break soon, and I have a feeling that we will all be a little more appreciative of summer this year.

All that being said, we did have a handful of days, spread out of course, that were at least warm enough to play outside for a little while. Each day that was nice, we cancelled any plans we had for the evening and spent as much time outdoors as possible. The girls desperately needed it and so did I.

Perhaps it was the temporary relief from cabin fever that caused me to allow any outside activity asked for to commence, but the girls were so excited when they asked to jump in the giant mud puddles and I agreed.

Once they started, there was no stopping them. I have not seen them have so much fun in a long time, so of course I had to run and get the camera. Enjoy Smile

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Gabbi had fun making the biggest splashes she could!

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It took Autumn and Scarlet a few minutes to be comfortable, but then they had a blast too!

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In the contest of who got the muddiest, Gabbi definitely won. It was straight in the shower after this!!

I can’t wait for more spring and summer adventures!!

Emerson’s Birth Story and Health Testimony!

Hey all!

Can you believe that Emerson will be 4 months old soon?? I can’t! She has been such a wonderful addition to our family and has become such a smiley, happy little girl! Due to all the crazy PPD/PPOCD/PPA that I have been experiencing (if you don’t know what I am talking about you can visit the posts here and here), I never got around to writing about Emerson’s crazy entrance in to this world. I know that I have continued to say that I would post it when I was ready, but going back to that day was a little hard for me over the past few months.

But now I am ready to share it with you all 🙂

The majority of you probably read my extremely dramatic post that I wrote on Emerson’s due date. If you didn’t, don’t worry. You didn’t miss out on much – just me lamenting about how she was taking FOREVER and would NEVER come out. Pregnancy emotions at their very best :).

That night, perhaps an hour or two after posting, I had some cramps and was generally uncomfortable. I called the doctor and she basically said “Its your 4th, you would know if you were in labor, just try to get some rest…” So I did just that, or at least I tried. I went to bed and had a normal night (kids waking up with nightmares, wanting milk, getting up every 20 min to pee…) until Matt’s alarm for work went off around 330am. After 5 minutes of deliberating we decided that being uncomfortable wasn’t a reason for him to stay home from work and so he left. About 30 minutes later, on one of my many trips to the bathroom, my water broke. I immediately started panicking because the pressure was so intense, but still no contractions. I called my mom, Matt’s mom and Matt. Matt rushed back home and my mom rushed over so that we could go to the hospital. I was still just uncomfortable, so we knew we had some time, but we didn’t want to risk anything….

When I got into the triage part of the hospital we informed them that we would be wanting an epidural this time around. At the time I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious about this birth, I mean I was literally so scared. Looking back now I can recognize that I was already on the road to postpartum anxiety even before Emerson had arrived. I thought that an epidural would ease some of that anxiety. The nurse informed us that since it didn’t look like I was in transition and my contractions were irregular that we had time and could wait it out.

She was WRONG. They checked me a few minutes later and I was already 7.5 cm dilated. Things moved very quickly from there. We were transferred to our room, blood taken, IV started all within 15 minutes. The anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. While inserting the needle I had my first real contraction. I got through it sitting still so that he was able to administer the test dose. It was working so they decided they would check me before the actual epidural was put into place. Emerson decided she wasn’t going to wait. As soon as I laid back down on the bed the nurse said I could push if I wanted to. I had still only had one real contraction but I thought we would give it a try. 30 seconds later Emerson was lying on my chest, beautiful and crying. One push – that was it. We had only parked the car 40 minutes earlier.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was overjoyed but also overwhelmed. She was beautiful and I was so happy that she was here, but for the first time in my life I started to truly question my ability to be a mom. I was so in love with her, but so afraid that I couldn’t handle it all.

The time in the hospital was quick. We stayed for 24 hours, the girls came up to visit and then we bundled her up and brought her home. Here are some of the pics from the hospital…

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Emerson was diagnosed with “failure to thrive” at around 2 months. She stopped gaining weight, would throw up what little food she would eat, couldn’t go to the bathroom on her own and was miserable most of the time. Already plagued with anxiety, I was a nervous wreck as we talked about all the possible things that could wrong with the doctor. We decided that we needed to enlist our church, as well as family to pray for her. We began to pray hard, specifically for weight gain, and for me it WAS hard. I was having a really hard time trusting the Lord because of everything that I have been going through. When we are walking through darkness and can’t see the purpose it is so easy for us to become quickly discouraged and to begin to question everything we thought we believed in so strongly. I was desperate for some sign from the Lord that He was in fact working in our family, despite the fact that I felt forsaken.

5 days after we had all begun praying for Emerson we had to take her back to the doctors unexpectedly. We (my husband and I) actually thought that he liver or gall bladder might be shutting down (do NOT google your child’s symptoms, especially if you are as anxiety prone as I am!!). So we took her in and found out that in 5 days she had gained 12oz!! She also had no ear infection anymore, and a few tests that they did came back normal! Then we had to bring her back again 4 days later and she gained another 11oz!!

Today she is thriving! She is gaining weight, eating a TON, barely spitting up and hitting all of her milestones!! We are SO thankful. Having her heal so quickly and so miraculously has given me a lot of strength and determination to get through all of my own issues as well. Knowing without a doubt that the Lord is truly working in our family has instilled in a me a new hope that I will get better in His timing.

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Look at those chubby little cheeks!!

Anyways, I am so excited to be back to regular blogging and I am working on some new series coming up soon!! Stay tuned!!

And in case you are need of some extra cuteness:

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This last month…

Has been the absolute worst month of my life in all honesty. And it definitely wasn’t because we were blessed with the most precious little girl, but it was because of the aftermath that followed.

I always thought that my very first post about Emerson’s birth would be her actual birth story – which I will write about later on – but I feel like I have something far more important to share, for the simple fact that someone out there may be experiencing this right now and needs to know that they are not alone. Because that is what I so desperately needed, to feel like what was happening was normal and that I wasn’t simply going crazy.

Thanksgiving day I was feeling more stressed out than normal. It was only a few days after Emerson was born, and holidays ALWAYS stress me out. I am a people pleaser, I hate to be late, I want everything to be perfect and I am always trying to create memories for the girls. I wanted this Thanksgiving to be no exception, but I was exhausted, overwhelmed and just at my limit. I figured I just needed sleep and I would be fine, but I was surprised when my anxiety began to get worse after we got home from our celebration. I texted my mom “I think I am having a panic attack…” and she came over. After about an hour, I thought that it had past, so I went to bed and that’s when everything hit the fan.

Matt left for work and the anxiety kept building until by 6am I was in a state of panic and fear that I cannot even begin to describe. I thought I had lost it, that I was dying, that I was going crazy and that my world was coming to an end. I called the doctor who advised me to go to the emergency room. I said goodbye to the girls honestly believing in my head that they were going to lock me up for being crazy. I had no idea what was going on….

At the hospital they made me feel a bit better, by explaining to me that this was in fact “normal” , even though it definitely didn’t feel like it. I went home exhausted but encouraged that through medicine and prayer this would all be gone within a few days….

What really happened was the beginning of “severe onset post partum panic/anxiety disorder” – which basically meant that for weeks I had panic attacks all night long, was exhausted all day and overcome with severe depression over the belief that the life I once had and loved was gone forever. I sat frozen for hours on the couch, could barely take care of m kids, couldn’t be left alone and didn’t want to leave the house or talk to anyone. The sheer thought of Matt returning to work sent me into a panic attack immediately, and at the advice of my doctor he took medical leave from work. It was either that or  I go back to the hospital because it just wasn’t getting any better.

My mind was failing me. The thoughts that kept swirling in my head scared me even more – “you’re depressed”, “you’re scared”, “you’re life is meaningless”, “you’re life is over”, “you’re a bad mom”, “you’re an awful wife”, “Does God even care about you?”, “would these people be better off without you?”, “you know you can’t live like this forever….”, “you’re burdening everyone”, and on and on and on. A constant stream of incredibly negative thoughts that couldn’t be turned off, combined with the physical affects of panic – trembling, heart racing, chest tightening, stomach churning. It was beyond awful. I woke up every day determined to be better and fight through it and went to bed every night defeated, exhausted and fearing the next day.

I tried everything  I could think of, from changing my diet, to natural supplements, mental health medications and prayer. Nothing seemed to be working and I kept getting the same answer everywhere that I didn’t want to hear – “you need to give it time.” Time was the one thing I felt I didn’t have, my kids needed their mom back, I needed my life back….

But then slowly, something started to change. The medicines seemed to start to help, I began to have a few moments of clarity each day, I could engage with people, I could do more things at home. I stopped being frozen all day, and then finally – I slept. For the very first time, I went back into my bedroom (where I couldn’t go for two weeks as the reminder of that first panic attack brought on subsequent attacks) armed with my Xanax and some worship music, determined to make it through the night. When I woke up and realized I had made it, I realized that I could fight through this and come out on the other side, stronger and better than before.

So here I sit, a month into the process and I am feeling better, but not completely healed. In fact, writing this is causing me the most anxiety that I have felt in a few days, as reliving it brings about the fear that I could go back there.

I am still taking Xanax, and waiting for my Zoloft to fully kick in, though I can tell that it is helping some already. I take natural B-vitamin, and D vitamin supplements, consume a ton of protein, drink massive amounts of water and spend a lot of my day talking myself out of depressive, negative thoughts. But I am a long way from that trip to the hospital. Matt finally was able to return to work, and though I get stressed out and anxious, I am confident in my ability to care for the girls at home.

The worst part of all it now is the lingering depression, which comes in waves now. I can rationally tell myself that I am happy and enjoy my life, that I love being a mom, that God is with me and working through me – but most parts of the day I just don’t “feel” it. For a person who has spent most of her life operating based on “feelings”, it has been a tough road.

But I know that I am healing, that God will use all of this for good, that I will come out better on the other side and that it won’t last forever. I can already see it getting better and that excites me. This has caused me to really evaluate how much time I spend worrying, and thinking about the future instead of living in the now with this amazing family the Lord has blessed me with. It has caused me to look at my relationship with the Lord and really be honest about how much I trust Him and how much I tend to try and just fix myself. It has caused me to be honest about how things around me affect me, to look at how I feel instead of how everyone else feels and to begin to find the areas in my life where healthy boundaries need to be set. It has caused me to remember that more than a mom, I am a person who needs to look after herself in order to look after her family – a thought that hasn’t occurred to me much over that past 7 years.

I will continue to document the healing process as it comes, and I know that I have quite the road ahead of me. But in the midst of all the panic, anxiety and negativity there is this small part of me that is excited to see the person who comes out at the end of all of this. I am excited to find the me that worries less, trusts God more, enjoys life more and takes care of herself. This small part of me grows a little each day that I made it through with out a panic attack, each time I find myself laughing again with my kids, each time I accomplish one of my “normal” daily tasks without fear and every morning that I wake up feeling rejuvenated from having actually slept.

I am ashamed to admit that I always thought that post partum disorders were what happened to other people. I took great pride in my ability to seamlessly bounce back from the last two births I had, and assumed that this time around would be no different. This came as a complete shock to me, my family and my doctor. I didn’t even know that post partum panic and anxiety disorders existed, I thought that it was only post partum if you were depressed. I also didn’t know that they can occur any time in the year following the birth of your baby. My advice to those out there expecting – find out about the symptoms ahead of time. This way if you begin experiencing them the fear will not completely take over. If you recently had a baby, or recently began experiencing symptoms of anxiety that are interfering with your daily life, call your doctor immediately. There are ways to help and get better. The earlier you begin some form of treatment (whether it be medication of some form of counseling) the sooner you will see improvement.

And while I know that I HATED hearing this during the worst of it – it WILL get better. I am getting better everyday. You will not be anxious/depressed forever. Your life isn’t over, and you are not going crazy. I know that it feels like you are and I know that it is hard see that it will ever end – but it will, I promise.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has been so fervently praying me through this and who has been offering their help along the way. I couldn’t make it through this without each and every one of you. Please don’t stop praying, both for me and every woman (1 in 5 new moms experience some form of this) who is going through this.

I can’t believe I have no update….

Well it looks as if my due date has come and gone, or at least has nearly gone as I sit here and write this. With no major action in the last few hours, I think its pretty safe to assume that today is not going to be Emerson’s birthday Sad smile…..

I don’t know that I am entirely mentally prepared for this, as all of the girls have come by their due date, so I have never truly played the waiting game. I feel almost like I am unsure what to do. I know at this point she can come at anytime, but the thought of just sitting around and waiting for labor to begin is not exciting to me at all. In fact, it is having the complete opposite affect – my anxiety is through the roof and while I wouldn’t categorize my feelings as “depressed”, I am definitely not feeling the best that I have ever felt. With thanksgiving coming up, and Matt being scheduled to have off of work a couple days this week and all of next week, the timing of her coming over this weekend felt absolutely perfect….

And we did have a fantastic weekend overall. Yesterday, Matt and I took the girls to Strong’s National Museum of Play and we had an awesome time. I felt great, was able to keep up with the girls and they had an absolute blast. We went as soon as it opened to beat the Saturday crowd, and it proved to be a good plan. The girls really got to enjoy all of the exhibits before the intense rush of people. We packed a picnic lunch, played together for almost 3 hours, ate together in the cafeteria and made it home just a little bit after our normal nap time. Of course, I had to bring our camera to capture what we were sure would be our last family outing as a family of 5 – so here are some of the better ones Smile:

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I took more pictures than I thought…

While the girls napped after the museum, I went out to the grocery store to pick up some things for the week and to get some stuff to have a little “last night before Emerson is due” celebration. Matt made chili cheese fries, and we had sparkling cider and ice cream sundaes! The girls all prayed for Emerson to come out soon and even took turns talking to my belly. Honestly, the only thing that could have made Saturday even better was if I HAD gone into labor that night….

But I didn’t, and Scarlet woke up with a nasty cold so we all stayed home the whole day today. We watched movies, ate snacks and played in our pajamas. Matt took the Gabbi and Autumn out to play in the snow a bit and we drank some hot chocolate, but still no baby action…

So now here I sit, watching another movie with Autumn and Gabbi and I feel like I am just waiting for something, anything to happen. I am driving myself crazy and I am pretty sure I am driving everyone else nuts too, since I am happy and fine one minute and nearly in tears the next. Navigating the next few days will be a little rough if this little girl proves to be even more stubborn and keep us all waiting on her. Perhaps she just wants to make sure that we understand that she is her own person and is going to do things her own way despite being the 4th child. Or perhaps for once my due date was off and we really have no idea when she is coming, or worse she will just never come out and I am doomed to be pregnant forever. I know that the last notion is coming simply from an over abundance of irrational hormones, but it still worries me all the same.

While I would like to promise that my next post will be our wonderful and miraculous birth story, I can’t…because I am sure that I will need to vent again about how INCREDIBLY LONG this child is taking should she not decide to make her entrance within the next 24 hours.

The end of pregnancy is so awful emotionally isn’t it? Or maybe is just is for me because my controlling nature has an extremely hard time handling not knowing exactly when she will come. I’m sure I could handle it all much more gracefully if I knew what day she would be here….

Any one have any fun suggestions of what they did to make the last days of their pregnancy go by faster? Or at least more enjoyably?

The Last of Our October Adventures!

The kids are all in bed, Halloween is over for us and I can’t believe that tomorrow will be November already!! I can’t believe how quickly this favorite season of ours is flying by. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Emerson will be here before we know it!!

Which leads me to our very first adventure…an unexpected trip to the hospital for contractions/decreased fetal movement. I thought for sure Emerson was coming this past Sunday when contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and getting more uncomfortable. They stopped at the hospital after lying down hooked up to IVs for about 3.5 hours. I was both relieved that she wasn’t coming so early, but also disappointed because I have been diagnosed with prodromal labor and an irritable uterus. Which basically means that I will continue to have contractions frequently until she is born. I was upset for like a day or 2, because I can’t handle the anxiety of not being able to do anything but pretty much sit around and wait.

I had an appointment yesterday, and while I am still on some form of moderate bed rest, I was told that everything else is fine and that if I go into labor at this point they won’t stop it. The doctor also said that they don’t think I will make it all the way until my due date. I am still 3 weeks out, and I am sure we still have at least a week or more, but Emerson is giving us a run for our money already! I get to see her tomorrow at an ultrasound to check her size and fluid levels, and I can’t wait to see her chubby little cheeks on the screen again!

So the scare on Sunday required us to change our original plans from going trick or treating at Genesee Country Museum (which I was REALLY looking forward to!) to going on a very short, but still fun, trip to the Garden Factory for some fall family fun (and lots of sitting down…)

The girls still had just as much fun I think, so we really enjoyed ourselves. We ate lunch, got to pet some cute animals, painted pumpkins and everyone else went on a few rides! My mom came with us, and anytime Nana is there, it seems to be that much more fun as well! The girls wore their costumes and looked so cute as the sisters from Little House on the Prairie. Here is a little peak at the afternoon we had…

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On Monday night we stayed home to work on our pumpkins. I have a confession – as much as I love fall, I really dislike carving pumpkins. I know that I will enjoy it more when the kids get older and can do their own, but I was just not in the mood to carve everyone’s pumpkins. So instead, we only carved one big pumpkin. Gabbi and Autumn helped clean it out, Gabbi designed it and Matt did most of the work. I spent the time helping the little girls paint their pumpkins, taking pictures and roasting the pumpkin seeds (which came out SO GOOD!!).

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And the end result…

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I loved the idea of a “Love” pumpkin, and I think that it came out great!

Then today was Halloween! We don’t make a huge deal out of trick or treating or Halloween itself, but we do let the girls dress up and celebrate as a fun, family evening. Gabbi doesn’t genuinely enjoy trick or treating, and the 2 younger ones are so little that we didn’t go out for very long. Gabbi’s sister Leah came over too and all 4 girls got to trick or treat together, and they did have fun for the 35 minutes that they were out there. I can’t say that I was disappointed that they wanted to come back so soon, because I probably shouldn’t have even gone with them. But, I try to never miss out on anything and I couldn’t imagine missing out on Autumn and Scarlet’s first real trick or treating experience! They were excited about the candy, and kept up with the bigger girls pretty well!! I did my best to get pictures, but it wasn’t that easy with them just running away…

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Scarlet did such a good job saying “Trick or Treat!” and they all remembered to say “Thank you!”, so I was pleased. However, not letting them eat all of their candy proved to be a much tougher task than I imagined it would be….Scarlet was still up in her bed at 815 yelling because she couldn’t fall asleep Sad smile….

Overall, we have had the best fall so far! Despite all of the hectic, crazy things that we have had going on, we managed to squeeze in quite a few fun activities. I love creating memories with my growing family all the time, but especially this time of the year! I can’t wait to add Emerson to the mix next October Smile….

Hope you all had a wonderful night! Here are so more pics of my cute kids in their costumes….

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Look at these faces!!

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Gosh, I just love them so much!!