counting the fruit

Counting the fruit is a new little exercise I’ve been doing since I began using the Naptime Diary. This post isn’t a plug for the Naptime Diary, but it is a plug to do this exercise daily. Because, let’s just get it out there, there are some hard days.

Days that end with a child sitting in timeout for throwing his quesadillas on the floor. The quesadillas that you made because he begged for them and you were holding your screaming newborn while making the quesadillas. And then they ended up on the floor to become food for the dog. And while this child is in timeout, you notice a puddle around his feet and see that there’s been another accident that wasn’t even really an accident. A baby’s crying, there’s food on the floor, and other messes on the floor, and it’s life.

But earlier that day, I had been texting with my mom about a trip to MD Anderson that she was excited about to explore a possible new treatment option for melanoma. (If you’re new here, you may not know that my sweet mama has stage IV melanoma.) So I wasn’t focused on my kids. I was focused on my mom which also has an element of selfishness to it because I love my mom and all I want in this world is to be with her every day.

My mom’s appointment didn’t go as she had hoped. (She is still doing the same and feeling well, but there was disappointment because the treatment option she’d hoped for isn’t available to her at this time.) And hearing such disappointment in your mom’s voice will break your heart. Can we just say that cancer sucks? I can get that on a bumper sticker, right?

So the noise in my head of worrying about and praying for my mom who was a thousand miles away in Houston mixed with the noise of my house from the above mentioned scene was just a lot for this postpartum mama’s heart.

And I cried. And I yelled. And I cleaned up messes and then hugged my little boys and apologized for yelling. I couldn’t wait to get in the bed and just sleep for as long as James Walker would let me sleep (which was, blessedly, about 7 hours.)

Yesterday morning, I got up and decided to count the fruit. The fruit? What has God been doing in my life? What is He showing me? What beautiful things are happening in the midst of the cancer storm that my family has prayed through for the past five years? What beautiful things are happening in the sweet chaos of adjusting as a family of five?

We have had five incredible years celebrating life and living life with my mama. Melanoma hasn’t stopped our family from loving each other greatly!

My mama’s courageous story has encouraged others to be their own health advocate. To research and explore and seek second opinions.

We can see God’s hand all over every part of this story. Places they’ve lived. People they’ve encountered. Lives touched. And a reminder from Him every single day that the future is in His hand and He knows the plans He has for my mama’s life.

My big boys adore their baby brother. Even if they fight with each other like crazy, at the end of the day they still have each other’s backs and they adore that sweet baby.

We are surrounded by the most wonderful friends and family who carpool and bring meals and talk through the hard things about cancer and babies and love us so stinking hard. And I’m learning to trust that, accept help, and talk to God first.

Every single day, I know that if I stop and peel the immediate struggle away from my sight, I will see the fruit. I can look a little deeper and see the beautiful, beautiful things that He’s doing in all of our lives. There is purpose in it and there is fruit.

from two to three

Hey there! So I’m trying to find a little rhythm in my days so I can have my own little routine. Some days that works and some days it just doesn’t. This morning I’ve gotten a lot done, but I’m still in pajamas and just decided that half of my to-do list probably wasn’t going to get done. But sitting down to write is good for my soul. Whether I sit down and write on this blog like I’ve done for over seven years (whoa!), or if I just write in my journal.

But things here are good. They’re different, but they’re good.

I have had a few people ask me about what it’s like to go from two to three kiddos, so I wanted to share my experience… so far. Remember that I’m only five weeks into being a mom of three, so I’m hardly an expert and I hardly know anything about what I’m in for.

James Walker is a great baby. He sleeps great for naps and he is sleeping great at night- only waking up once at night now. And he’s just a sweet little squishy love.

Hudson is almost 6 and Hayes is almost 4. I think their ages have a huge impact on what our experience is like with three kids.

Another big thing to remember is that my mom was here for three full weeks after James Walker arrived. And she was here for almost two weeks before he arrived because I was carrying around an 11 pound baby and my hips felt like they were breaking. (Thank you, KK! You saved us!)

I had heard from a few friends that going from two to three kids would be a game-changer. It would overwhelm me and just be about the hardest thing ever. So I was kind of prepared for the worst.

My experience going from one to two kids really did rock my world. If you read my blog back when Hayes was a baby, you probably remember many posts about being overwhelmed and tired and feeling like a failure. It was hard! I really struggled with knowing how to raise a 23-month-old and an infant. Two extremely needy children that I loved desperately and equally. But we did survive. Of course we did!

My experience so far going from two to three is completely different. Hudson and Hayes are at school in the mornings, so I have three full hours to bond with James Walker, take a shower, fold laundry or catch up on sleep. Hudson and Hayes aren’t all that needy. They can do a lot for themselves.

So, all in all, it’s been a good experience so far. Watching them all together is my favorite thing in the world. And the moments that James Walker is napping and I can sit and play with the big boys or read to them are so much more special to me right now because my hands are so often full with James Walker. I think it does make me appreciate all of them for who they are and what they need.

I do need to share this story, though. A few nights ago, Todd was gone during bath time and bedtime, and I was doing bed and bath by myself. Todd usually bathes the big boys, and since the baby was born, he has been putting them to bed by himself while I bathe, feed, and put James Walker to bed.

So I was on my own. I bathed the big boys, got them dressed for bed, and decided to let them stay up and watch TV until I finished up with James Walker.

They loved coming in to see James Walker getting his bath and they thought it was so funny that he uses this tiny bath tub. They were in and out of the bathroom about fifteen times before I finished up with James Walker’s bath. They were getting extremely loud and wound up, too. I asked them to just go sit and watch TV and I’d be finished in just a minute.

I finished up with James Walker’s bath, wrapped him up and came out of the bathroom to see Hudson sitting and watching TV, but couldn’t see Hayes. Hudson said he didn’t know where Hayes was. And then I heard the doorbell. It was ringing over and over and over again.

So I bolted downstairs while holding James Walker, and there was Hayes. Standing on the front porch ringing the doorbell. He was just in the bathroom less than three minutes before that! But he’d just unlocked the front door and walked out to chill on the front porch because ringing the doorbell is so funny.

I about had a heart attack. I told him all about why he can’t ever do that again. And then I sent Todd a text about how we needed special hotel locks for all of our doors because Hayes thinks it’s hilarious to walk outside and scare me to death.

So we’re definitely outnumbered. But this transition has been pretty smooth so far and this family of five thing is pretty fantastic.

(Let’s revisit this topic when James Walker is 1 and mobile and trying to learn about obedience.)

 

Easter 2015

With a newborn this year, I wasn’t really sure how our Easter celebrations would go. Last Easter, Todd and I said we wanted to host an Easter egg hunt for the kids in our Sunday school class on the grounds at his office. It’s a huge space and it’s beautiful and perfect for an Easter egg hunt.

We did the hunt on Palm Sunday because everyone usually has family commitments on Easter Sunday. We kept it simple and did it pot luck style. Everyone pitched in and we had chicken and tons of delicious sides and desserts and ate picnic style outside. It was a little chilly that day, but all the kids had the best time!

All the families brought about 50 eggs filled with candy and then the men hid them before lunch. There were TONS of eggs and the kids found them all. At one point, I had to remind Hayes to pick up eggs because he was just running with his basket and following the bigger kids.

I love this picture of all the kids before we yelled “go.”

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My parents came back into town to celebrate Easter with us. They don’t like missing holidays with the kids. We’re fortunate that Todd’s parents live here and can celebrate holidays with us, too.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were flipping through the new Southern Living magazine and we saw this recipe for a beautiful coconut cake. I don’t even like coconut! I don’t mind the smell or the flavor, but I can’t stand the texture of coconut shavings. So I’ve just never eaten coconut things. But this cake looked amazing because it used toasted coconut flakes!

My mom was determined to make that cake, and it was a true labor of love. With all the steps and waiting for it to cool, it took all day! And after Easter lunch, we had the reward and it was amazing. Seriously, make this cake– even if you don’t like coconut!

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When my brother and I were growing up we always dyed Easter eggs the day before Easter. I can remember pretty much every time we ever did it. We even did it when we were in high school. I’ve done it with the kids, but this year I thought we’d just skip it. Hudson and Hayes hadn’t asked about it and I really just didn’t feel like doing it. But my parents really wanted to do it, and wanted to uphold that tradition and make that memory with the kids.

There were some moments of sheer terror as Hayes splashed the dye repeatedly, but no white shirts or furniture were harmed and they had a lot of fun! And, yes, my dad and the boys have on the same t-shirt. We got those t-shirts in Orange Beach, Alabama last summer and when the boys saw that their Poppie was wearing his shirt on Saturday, they both wanted to put theirs on, too. (There is a Golden Retriever on the back.)

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On Easter morning, I was up early feeding James Walker and the boys got up early to discover that the Easter bunny visited our house and he hid eggs in the yard! That crazy bunny– or crazy daddy!

There was a little bit of dog poop on the sidewalk that someone forgot to pick up, and we told the boys to be careful not to step in it. But we didn’t say it was dog poop, so Hayes kept saying, “That Easter bunny pooped on our sidewalk!!” He was pretty upset about it. We got a good laugh out of it.

(We wear Christmas jammies in our house year-round.)

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We rounded up our crew and went to church. It was a great Sunday at church as we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior. I love the excitement of Easter Sunday at church, but I honestly feel the same way on Easter that I do every Sunday. Just so full of gratitude for the sacrifice and the hope and freedom that we have as a result of knowing and having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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After church, we all came back home and had lunch with my parents and Todd’s parents and grandmother. Then we played a rousing game of BINGO. It was a great day! I’m so thankful for the three little boys in that picture. I can’t believe there are three of them!

James Walker is 1 month old!

*I did these monthly posts next to a Jelly Cat stuffed animal for Hudson and Hayes, so I decided to do them for James Walker, too. My sweet friends at Peekawhoo were so generous to gift a giant Jelly Cat monogrammed bunny to James Walker for his monthly pictures. 

James Walker 1 Month

Dear James Walker,

A month ago we were waiting at the hospital to go into the operating room to meet you. It may have been the fastest month of my life. It seems like yesterday that I was still waddling around wondering how big you would be and what color hair you would have. And you’ve been here with us for a month!

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Oh sweet boy… you’ve changed us so much. You have softened and tripled the size of my heart. You’ve changed the way I view motherhood just in your short 31 days of life.

You relax me and your being here has made me stop and slow down and look at Hudson and Hayes in a different way than I did a few weeks ago. You are such a gift and have given us so much, and we are just so so grateful!

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You have yourself on a nice little 3 hour schedule. You take long long naps after every feeding and I know that will end soon. You love the bath. We got a Puj bathtub for the bathroom sink and you absolutely love it. But you are ready to eat as soon as you get out of the bath. We bathe you around 8:30 every night (sometimes just letting you sit in the warm water) and then do your bedtime feeding at 9:00. You are in your bed swaddled and asleep between 9:30-9:45. And in the last couple of weeks you’ve started sleeping until 2:00 a.m. before you’re ready to eat again. That’s a nice little stretch of sleep for us. I feed you again at 2:00, then you’re usually back up at 5:00, and then again at 7:30.

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Being in the nursery with you is so peaceful and I just love being in there. I think you do, too.

We’re doing a combination of nursing and supplementing with formula. We do both at every feeding and, so far, it’s going well and isn’t hard to do both. We’ll reevaluate when summer comes and Hudson and Hayes are home all day. But between nursing and bottles, you’re satisfied and you’re growing, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be just a smidge of your nutrition. But I’m also so thankful to be able to make sure you’re getting enough to eat so you are gaining weight.

This month with you has been so peaceful and sweet and we are all just so excited that you are here. You’re our little book end baby. The missing piece to our family puzzle.

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A year ago, I attended the Making Things Happen workshop and we were asked to close our eyes and visualize ourselves in 15 years. And with my eyes closed, I saw my family, and I saw three little Carrolls. You are that third baby that I prayed for and knew we always wanted. We’re so happy you’re here!

I love you so much, baby boy.

Mama

Monthly Stats

Weight- 12 lbs 5 oz

Height- 22.5 inches

Clothing Size- 3 month and 3-6 is some brands that run smaller

Diaper Size- size 1

 

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