Thursday, March 30, 2017

mini-getaway : bardstown, ky

I remember sitting across from my husband the first night I met him.
We were barely twenty-years-old.  Babies. 
We were both living in St. Paul, Minnesota (my home state.)
He was well-spoken and seemed pretty intelligent, but for some reason when he kept mentioning his hometown it sounded garbled.  Something like "I'm from the city of Blou-bloul."
I was so confused.  He said it various times and I thought I was going crazy.

Turns out he was saying Louisville (Looey-ville, to us northerners.) 

That summer night I never would have dreamt that one day Blou-bloul would be a place I would go on a regular basis.  That Kentucky would become my state.  

That I, too, would pronounce the city in such a way.

While I still feel Minnesotan at heart, I have grown to love things about Kentucky and the South.  I still call soda "pop" and casseroles "hot dishes" -- but I'll now drink sweet tea and bourbon and wear giant hats to certain events throughout the year.  Occasionally I'll throw in a "ya'll" despite still retaining a slight Minnesotan accent.

Anyhow, I've enjoyed getting to know parts of Kentucky, and got to know it a bit more this past weekend.

Since my first trimester had been riddled with constant nausea, I was very excited when Hubby suggested we have a little weekend getaway, now that I was past all that,  just the two of us!  

The kids got to spend a couple days with the grandparents in Louisville, while we drove a little ways farther to the little town of Bardstown - famous for its bourbon festival and many nearby distilleries.  Kentucky, of course, has The Bourbon Trail and this is a popular stop on that.  

No bourbon was to be consumed by us,  considering babe and all, but we strolled the cute town and grabbed a bite to eat at a bustling diner before driving out to our bed and breakfast.
After an hour or so in Bardstown downtown area, we headed out to our B+B, which Hubby had chosen.  I was so excited it was out in the country!  There was something so peaceful about it, and getting out in the fresh farm air made me think of my childhood.   I made us stop on the long driveway so I could take pics of the llamas grazing (or alpaca??? the farm had both.)
You can see our B+B - The Maple Hill Manor - in the distance.  
hubby is not that tall...but these giant doors make everyone look pretty short!
we stayed in what I called "the blue room" - which was calming and lovely. 
we basically kept the fireplace on our entire stay.  sorry, not sorry.
Just enjoying my cozy robe and the fire.  Gotta soak up the little luxuries (like silence) when you can as a mama!
hubby brought me my morning coffee.  so thankful I can stomach black coffee again!
peaceful view from our room.
after all the other guests checked out we got to see all the other rooms - all gorgeous, but this pink one with an extra canopy bed was so bright and girly and sweet.

The breakfast was lovely.  Pretty sure I ate every bit of goodness I was offered.  We were the last to eat...I wanted it to be less "people-y" in the breakfast room and to get to chat with the innkeeper one-on-one to get the history of the place.  Finally, we peeked in all the other rooms and marveled at how beautiful and old the place was.

After we checked out, we went back to Bardstown and toured "My Old Kentucky Home" which is a famous mansion there.  So gorgeous!
Then, back to reality!  It was a quick, mini-getaway, but just what we needed to refresh and reconnect.

If you only had about thirty-six hours for a getaway, where would you go?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

baby three.

Another baby grows in my belly. Our third. Likely our last. One final tie-breaker blondie.
Since having Finola nearly four years ago I really struggled with whether or not we should have another.  I went through periods of depression.  Anxiety with two tiny babies, whose lives I fear for and pray over ever single day.  Insecurity about my ability to raise our kids well.  Frustration about the messiness and lack of control that comes with motherhood.

So for several years I prayed to God for clarity.  None came.  I thought maybe I would come across a "calling" in the meantime that would move my focus from pregnancy to something else fulfilling.  A career outside the home?  Fostering?  A side business?  A specific direction to take this blog?

No "calling" presented itself.  Well, except the call to change a lot about myself.  I wrote in this post about the spiritual and mental changes that happened in 2016.  I think God really needed me to change some things about how I deal with my emotions before I could even begin to think about another baby.  I needed to deal with (eliminate) some sources of stress, and let go of certain things I could not change.  He wanted me closer to Him, and more focused upon what really matters.

Hubby and I discussed the probability of another baby at least once a week for three years. Sometimes I was adamant it was a "no."  Sometimes I would feel our family simply wasn't complete. Other times I jealously didn't want to give my attention to another child.  Hubby, for his part, also waffled a bit but always said he would be happy either way.  (Smart man.)

For me it was a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions and jumbled prayers.

Finally, around the holidays we made a "decision."  I put that in quotes because I think it was more that we just got tired of talking about it.  We decided to stop "preventing" but also to not try to obsessively pinpoint my specific ovulation days.  To just give it up to God and say whatever will be will be.  Lord, if you want this for us, your will be done.  If not, we will be okay with that, too.  

There was a lot of relief and freedom in just giving it over to Him.

In my heart I thought, Clearly God will say I'm not able to handle another!

However, lo and behold, not long after we returned from our post-Christmas trip to Minnesota I was a day late with my period.  With trepidation I quickly took a pregnancy test that night right before dinner.

Positive - immediately.  Of course I was excited -- but a nervous excitement!  There was no ceremony when I told Paul the news.  The kids were running around wild + screaming after we finished eating, and Hubby was still sitting there - so I just slid the test across the island to him and said, "Guess what!"

That was at four weeks.  Now I'm fourteen weeks and while I won't go into all the minute details of my first trimester as I've done on this blog in the past, I will say that this pregnancy has been almost identical to the previous two - SUPER nauseous all day every day from week six through week twelve.   Had to eat constantly, or I felt like I had to vomit.  Nothing sounded appetizing, so basically I ate whatever sounded tolerable.  Almost like clockwork at twelve weeks I started feeling better - at least able to enjoy eating again and prepare food without feeling like I was going to yack.

What is different this time I have two kiddos experiencing it right alongside me...and man, are they excited!  We shared the news with them on Valentine's Day -- tying in the 'day of love' with what we love...our little family, including their new sib!

Before we shared the news I kinda thought they already knew...I wasn't really making great effort to hide my discomfort and growing belly - which started popping MUCH earlier this time.  I felt like I was constantly saying to them, "Be careful of Mama's belly - please don't jump on it!" without really explaining why all of a sudden bouncing on my tummy was discouraged.

Despite all that, the kids seemed surprised and REALLY happy!  Phew!  I was nervous a bit about Finola feeling displaced as the baby (like I did when my younger bro came along) but she seems over-the-moon!  She randomly exclaims, "I can't wait to meet our baby!"  Cormac, not surprisingly, is constantly talking to the baby (my belly) and telling him/her EVERYTHING.  Already he wants this child to be influenced by his strong opinions.  Mainly, it must like "villains" and the color green.

Finola, rather than chattering loudly to my belly, whispers to it almost inaudibly.  Perhaps they are sisters already telling secrets?

Of course, I know anything can happen.  I'm trying to just remind myself every day of what we have, that God has plans greater than mine, and to pray for this baby just like I do for the others.

It is a delicate balance of worry and joy.

Here are the few 'bump shots' I have.  I meant to take cute "announcement pics" with my DSLR - but, as with probably everything else with the third child my best intentions went out the window!  From one third child to another -- sorry baby, but you may need to get used to it!
six weeks.  baby or post-chipotle?

Eight weeks. 
Getting bigger!  Twelve weeks - visiting my sis in MT. 
Our family is excited for this next chapter in our lives -- and appreciate any prayers (and advice) for being a family of five!

Friday, March 10, 2017

montana weekend

As write this, I sit in an airport, as I have many times before, collecting my thoughts at the end of a visit with my sister and her family in Montana.

Okay, sometimes it was a train station, me in my early twenties, young and wild and free, traveling by rail from my home state of Minnesota across the monotonous plains of northern North Dakota and eastern Montana.  Then suddenly the drear landscape transformed, as though by magic, into the mountains of Glacier National Park, finally coming to a stop in Whitefish, a beautiful ski resort town near where my sister lives.

I consider it a blessing that my sister accepted a God-calling to be a teacher in Montana, fresh out of college.  I don't know if I would have ever gotten to experience this state (albeit in short weekend spurts) otherwise.

I try to visit her, her husband, and their four amazing kiddos at least once a year now, despite having a family of my own and having moved in the opposite direction - Kentucky.

It wouldn't matter what state she lived in, as I've always adored my big sis and would make that effort no matter what...but the fact that she lives in such a beautiful place sure doesn't hurt.

This most recent visit was short and sweet, arriving super late Thursday night and leaving at noon on Sunday, but worth it to reconnect with family.

I wish I would have snapped more pics, but so it goes! Here are the few I got...
I loved that these two could get into silly selfies.  It helped me not miss my own little ones so much.
I got to see my sister's new house!  So much charm!
Another kitchen shot.  Love this verse.  Oh, and Heidi, we need to drink more wine to acquire more corks. ;)
Dinner out with the family Friday night!  I admire their bravery of taking four lil ones out to a restaurant!
I taught Selah about Instagram Story...and she loved decorating some pics!
Finola would be proud of her cuz!
Logan got in on the action.
this pizza was amazing even as leftovers the next day.
More IG Story selfies.
We drove up to Blacktail Ski Lodge and hung out for a while, meeting up with Brian and Logan who had a father/son snowboarding date.
visibility of the mountains was not great, but the snow was beautiful!

I ended my visit with church with the fam, and then it was immediately off to the airport, where now I sit, thankful for another opportunity to spend time with my sister in the beautiful state of Montana.

+ + + + + + +


I am definitely wearing mascara in this random selfie, but I noticed that perhaps my R+F Lash Boost is starting to work???!!!!
And lastly: one of the things I adore about any kind of traveling is that I make more time for reading.  I was able to read several books on this trip! Two of which I highly recommend : Mitch Albom's The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel - SO GOOD if you are looking for a lovely and engaging fictional novel.  I basically blazed through this whole thing while traveling there, it was such a page-turner. Also, got really close to finishing The Magnolia Storywhile at my sister's.  I ran out of time so missed the last few chapters but I was taken aback by the cool story and amazing witness of this book.  Truly a couple who trusts in God and gives Him the glory!
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!