“Burt, are we fuck ups?”

I know, I dropped the f-bomb in the title. But, it’s a quote, and it makes sense in this particular post. So, can we all be mature and get past that for a second? Mmmk, thanks.

The past two years have been a whirlwind. Those of you who keep up with my blog know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t, here’s a recap of some of the highlights: We moved across the country, suffered three miscarriages, my husband has gone through three job transitions, I was laid off from my job, we bought a house, and now we are expecting a little girl this January. Phew. That’s a hell of a lot to go through in a two year span. Oh, and through it all, Kyle and I are miraculously still married…but seriously. A move, a job change, or a loss of a child alone can put a marriage through the ringer. Going through all of that plus more in a short span of time has definitely made for some tense months. But we’ve prevailed, and we still are.

Something happens to your world when you know a child is coming. You start to look at yourself with a bit more scrutiny. You no longer let the days just simply pass by because you’re well aware that you’re shortly going to be responsible for another life. There is a shift in your actions. Even before your child arrives, you start doing everything for them. This is what’s happening in our world right now.

After Judah was born, that pressure has remained, it just somehow settled into a routine. Despite all these transitions and highs and lows, we’ve somehow begun to just go through the motions, doing things as expected. I just received a text from my husband, who inspired this post, saying that he’s realized how much he’s let society and other people dictate who he has become and he’s getting pissed about it. I think that’s amazing. Look at this man I’ve married, recognizing this and taking his life back!

This last time that Kyle and I decided to try again for a baby was our last effort. We had a hard road, not as hard as some though, when it came to having as second baby. So when you give it “one last try,” you also have to allow yourself to start to accept your life as it is. We were starting to become okay with just Judah. We were beginning to look into things like adoption (which is still very much a desire of ours in the future). I was accepting the fact that I might never carry another child again, and that was alright. I was also beginning to recognize that in a short time, I was going to need to find a new job, as Judah would be starting school. And then, we were lucky enough to become pregnant. And again, our perspectives, our lives, altered.

Kyle and I watched the movie “Away We Go” before having Judah, and we watched it again a few weeks ago. The characters in the movie are ridiculous, but there are comparabilities to each of the people that the lead personas come in contact with who also represent people in our lives. And there are similarities to that, “holy crap, we are going to be responsible for someone else and we have no idea who we are ourselves” plight that the main characters are going through. There’s a line in the movie before the official journey to find a home for the lead characters begins. Maya Rudolf’s character looks at her longtime boyfriend, played by John Krasinski and asks, “Burt, are we fuck ups?” I think this is something Kyle and I have asked before having each kid.

From society’s standpoint, I think we are. Sure, we’ve got a house, a dog, and a jankie fenced yard, two healthy kids, and a good church. However, I stay at home when we really can’t afford it, and Kyle barely makes enough money for us to sustain our mortgage. We’re on state assistance. We’ve never vacationed anywhere, unless you count visiting family, Kyle and I are both still wearing most of our clothes from college (and some from high school…it’s considered vintage now right?), a splurge on dinner out is a $7.99 pizza maybe once a month, and most of the things we own have been craigslist finds or gifted to us by our very generous parents. All this is maybe considered okay by society for someone just out of college, but we’re nearing thirty and have two kids. Hashtag winning?

I think what both my husband and I are going through is recognizing again that it’s not what jobs we have, how much money we make, or how many kids we raise that defines us. It’s the character we have, the friends and community we surround ourselves with, and the balance of all these things that makes up what we say about ourselves. And I think there’s a bit of that looming question, “are we fuck ups” that remains in everyone, especially during major transitions in life.

Point blank, it’s scary to look at your life realistically. It’s also really refreshing when you can begin to do so outside of what “the general public” expects you to make of it. Who decides that anyway? Who said by the time we were thirty we had to have it all figured out and a steady 401K ready for us when we reach the ripe age of 65 so we could gloat on our millions and become snow birds? Who says you can’t have kids until you make X number of dollars every month? We sure don’t. And let me tell you, Judah is one happy child. Money, career, it’s not everything.

We’re figuring it out one day at a time. Really, aren’t we all just a bunch of kids running around trying to parent other kids? Well, I’m taking a step in the direction of my husband’s lead and rediscovering me, outside of what society says I should or shouldn’t be. And my goodness, isn’t that one of the best things we can gift our kids with anyway? Nope, life’s not rainbows and butterflies in our house right now. There is a lot of financial stress and pressure and many tears (I am six months pregnant after all). But there’s also hope. We have Christ present in our home. Not always as much as he should be, but he’s there, leading the charge. I respect my husband fiercely. We love our kids deeply. We are far from perfect and far from normal in society’s eyes, but we’re doing our best, and I think our best is yet to come.

And, if you’ve never watched “Away We Go,” you should get on that. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to understand where we are, it’ll give you a pretty good glimpse.

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Second Baby Blues

I’m pretty sure my pregnancy hormones have been kicking into overdrive the last few days. I’ve got all the signs: I feel terribly fat and bloated, I’m getting kind of weepy (enter the crying at sappy commercials stage of life), and I had a burst of nesting energy so fierce that I painted our daughter’s nursery while my son was at a morning playdate. Yep…hormones.

But there’s another kind of emotion I’ve been dealing with the last few days, and I’m not entirely sure what to call it or what to do with it. I am over the moon about adding a baby to our family. We’ve tried for so long to make this happen and have experienced such heartbreak throughout the process, and I just know this time around is the perfect time for our daughter to join us. I’m also so excited about Judah being a big brother. He’s just going to be fantastic. He already talks to her, asks about her every day, and has readily taken to the fact that baby girl is taking over his “toy bedroom” when she gets here. He’s even discussed playing trucks with her.

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Yesterday, as we were sitting out on the porch together, talking about airplanes, I just paused and looked at my beautiful boy and welled up with tears. It’s been just the three of us for the past three years. He’s all we know. Every day when Kyle is at work, it’s just me and my boy. He has gotten me through the loss of three children, given me the drive to work to provide for my family when I just wanted to be playing cars with my kiddo, and he brings happiness to my life that nothing else can.

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I know that everything will be beyond wonderful when baby girl comes, but it’s been a little overwhelming for me to count down the weeks of pregnancy and also know that I’m counting down the days left with just Judah. The time that we’ve been blessed with to parent him has been indescribable. I know adding another will only enhance it, but sometimes it just seems so daunting.

Am I crazy here? Did any of you other moms out there experience this? Well, for now, I’m just embracing these emotions and using them to soak up and savor each moment I have just the three of us. We cannot wait for our baby to arrive, but I’m also okay with dragging out these last precious moments a little longer (although in about 17 weeks I might just be screaming from the rooftops: “get this kid outta me!”).

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Potty Training Woes.

I want to encourage you parents who have potty-training aged children to do one of two things. One, if you’ve had success and a relatively swift potty training experience, give yourself a high five and smother your kiddo in kisses and please give them extra dessert today. Two, if you’re working with a difficult potty trainer, hang in there, and drink at least two glasses of wine–one for you and one for me cause I can’t have any until January.

Mmmmkay….We’ve been on the potty training bus for far too long and I’m about to take the wheel and crash it into a freaking tree just to be done with it. “Bethany, you are being so dramatic,” you say. Talk to me when you’ve been potty training for six months. Six months. That’s HALF A YEAR.

I know what you’re thinking. Boys are harder to potty train than girls are. Yes, I’m aware. We tried it when I thought Judah was ready at a much younger age. He had recently turned two and developed a high curiosity about all things toilet. I wanted to jump on that as fast as I could, but we had visitors in town and the proper attention to it just couldn’t be paid, so we continued to keep him in diapers. Fast forward two weeks and I tried an intense method that had worked for a very trusted mom friend of mine, and he was clearly just stressed and the interest had passed. Having a good read on the situation, and knowing that boys are often late bloomers in the potty department, I was happy to resign my efforts and allow him to continue on in diapers until that interest once again peaked.

After a few months, we tried again. He was totally on board with getting rid of his diapers. Only, he hated underwear, like full out tantrum every time they were brought out, but was okay with pull ups, so we adapted and used those. It was a slow go, and I figured out that we just kind of had to let Judah lead the charge. After six months, I am proud to say that Judah is finally in underwear full-time, minus nights, where he still uses a pull-up.

However….I cannot for the life of me get this kid to freaking poop in the toilet! Before you offer up your solid (no pun intended, but that’d be a pretty good one) parenting advice, let me stop you. I have no doubts that whatever you did with your child worked wonders. Chances are, I have tried it. I have read every blog, every Pinterest post, and consulted every opinion I deem worthy. Plus, I’m not asking, I’m venting. There is a time and place for everything.

We have had three successful poop endeavors. The first one, you’d think Judah just got elected for President, and made Kanye his VP. Boo-ya. I seriously almost cried, pictures were sent to family, and he was allowed to go to ToysRUs and pick out something of his choice, which NEVER happens for obvious reasons. He was SO proud of himself and Kyle and I were floating on cloud nine, thinking this potty thing was almost in the bag. Why did we not remember that the kids always get the last laugh?

Proudly sporting his

Proudly sporting his “big boy” underwear.

Since then, Judah has developed an irrational compulsion of pooping at the park or at our friend’s house (sorry Geers). I’m not kidding you, every time we go to the park, not five minutes into our time there, he’s pooped his pants. We warn him that we will need to come home, we coach him about telling us when he has to go, we encourage him to try before we leave, and now we’ve completely taken the park off the table (which also totally sucks for me…btw) until he consistently poops in the potty. Can I just remind you that it’s been six months? Just wanted to get that out there again.

So it happened again today. The kid had been stinky-farting for like three hours. We talked to him about going, encouraged him to try, he’s peed like a champ all day long, and we gave him the park ultimatum. Before we left, we told him to try going. We warned him that if he pooped up at the park, we would come home immediately. We made sure this was understood before we left. He also understands there is a bathroom there that he can use. Like clockwork, five minutes into the trip we see the poop face. We check his undies and sure enough, there’s a number two sitting in there. We head home as promised and once again beat our heads against the door.

“Where are you supposed to poop, Judah?”  I ask my son.

“In the potty.” He replies as usual.

“How come you didn’t go in the potty this time?” I ask. (But seriously, child…why the heck not???)

“Because I said yes then no.” He says, which is his typical I-know-I-did-something-I-shouldn’t response.

SIX MONTHS. Potty training is like that hemorrhoid you get after giving birth that just never goes away. It’s nagging, it’s ironically persistent, and no matter how much PreparationH you put on that sucker, it’s always there.

We have a new ultimatum now. We are in process of redoing Judah’s room in anticipation of our newest baby. And now, not only is the park on hold, but Judah does not get his bunk beds constructed for his new room until he starts pooping in his potty. He has been asking about his bunk beds every day since they have been delivered a few weeks ago. I am crossing my fingers and hoping with all hope that this will be the motivator that is needed.

For now, I’m just going to eat my feelings in chocolate because that’s all I’ve got while pregnant. And did I mention, I loathe potty training. Absolutely loathe it.