We closed on our house today, meaning we successfully SOLD A HOUSE! It actually makes me feel very accomplished for some reason. I guess it's because our neighborhood is full of houses for sale....some even brand new...never lived in....and someone chose OURS. And just when we needed them to. We needed a change. We needed an opportunity to move forward and find a change in location....one that was more suitable for us and our growing family. So, while the "right house" is still in the works, we're at least grateful that that is our next step. We don't feel stuck anymore, which is a huge relief. We loved our house, but we were quickly outgrowing it, and the location just wasn't ideal for us anymore. If we could have picked it up and moved it, we would have. It really is a cute little house....
Closing was delayed today (of course), but it did run pretty smoothly regardless of the delay. And it seems we are going to pretty much break completely even on the house - that was the GREAT news for today - to hear someone say, "And it looks like you're going to get some money back." WOO HOO! We knew going into it that selling the house for a price somewhat close to what we paid would be successful, so we're happy to break even.
I'm definitely looking forward to things slowing down a bit....at least for a little while. I'm looking forward to blogging about our new house...once that happens...instead of the process!
36 weeks tomorrow, so our next adventure is soon to come!!
Updates coming soon on that front....
I have been up since about 7am on Thursday morning.
And in true moving day fashion, nothing about the day went as planned.
PODS delivery was about 4 hours late. Some of the people we really needed with us to help had to leave before it got there, which left mine and Jeremy's parents. We had to recruit some people at the last minute, and thank God we did....
PODS unit was too small.
Had to rush to find more storage before everyone closed for the day.
Had to rent a U-Haul to transport the stuff that didn't fit in the PODS unit.
Took 2 trips to get the rest of the stuff into storage.
Oh...did I mention is poured down rain for much of the afternoon into the night? Yeah...it did.
My dad's van broke down, which eliminated a great deal of transportation for stuff that needed to go with us.
I couldn't do a whole lot of anything, but dog-gone-it if I didn't....
Jeremy was at football practice for much of the day and night...
Had delay after delay occur....
So, it is now 2:20am, and I am finally in bed trying to wind down enough to fall asleep so we can get up at 7 to go BACK to Greenville to sign over the house to the new owners.
I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating, exhausting, annoying, and stressful today was. I can tell you that I am so glad it's over with, and I hope we get a break from moving again for at least a week or two....or three....
I just need a break.
Everything was setting up nicely for us to be able to move into our new house today or tomorrow. Timing was going to work out perfectly...no need for storage...just pack it all up and move it to another location....and then settle in to a new house.
Then, the inspection. Everything looked great on the inside and the outside of the house. I was there to follow the inspector around so he could point everything out to me, and really...it was so minimal. I was thinking, "Awesome! Little to be done....this is great!" Well, unfortunately, when he went under the house, he had to terminate his inspection. I won't go into detail on what he found because I don't want to in any way deter others from looking at the house. The issues are fixable, but we were not comfortable with moving forward with it. We had to take short term and long term situations into consideration, and for us we just didn't feel good about proceeding.
So, since Tuesday, we have been running around trying to tie up loose ends on the contract side of things while also arranging for storage for our stuff. We will be staying with my parents for a little while...until things are settled with another house. We close on our house on Friday, so we have to have our stuff out by Friday morning at closing. That means tomorrow is moving day! It has all been thrown together, and our families have been gracious enough to work out their schedules so they could be here to help. I tell ya...it has been a mad house around here.
It's all going to be okay, though.
I'm having mixed feelings about leaving our house. I knew I would. I love our house. It's our first home. This is where we got our first puppy (Tucker) and where we held small group Bible studies. This is Ayden's home...the only home he ever knew. So many wonderful and tragic memories are held in this house. If we could pick it up and move it somewhere else, I think we'd live in it forever. It'll be hard to say goodbye...especially without a clear understanding of where we go next (as far as a home for us), but we know God is working it all out.
Oh...and Jeremy starts back to work on Monday. Sheesh....
It was the last "27th" we had with him.
On the next 27th, in August, we were living a completely different life. Jeremy and I were standing in front of a sanctuary full of people, and we were memorializing our son through our tears and the words we were able to muster.
The 27th is always a hard day. The 27th of April - Ayden's birthday, and then the 27th of each month that passes...marks another month older that he should be. And then, August 27th....the day of Ayden's memorial service; the last day I saw his face; the last day I touched him; the last day I kissed him.
The 25th is also a tough day because with every 25th I'm reminded of the day we had to say goodbye. The last day I saw his bright, blue eyes, his smile, heard him coo, fed him, changed him, saw him alive. The 25th isn't as hard until we get to August..... I don't even know what to expect out of that day this year. Some days, I can't believe it has been almost a year. On other days, it feels like longer. With Collen being due right around that time, I have no idea what mindset I will be in, and that frightens me a little. Over the past year, though, I've learned that the anticipation of "the day" (whatever day it may be...holiday, milestone, etc.) is usually worse than the actual day. And in the big picture, I'm always left thinking, "Yeah, "those days" will be hard, but what I may feel on those days doesn't compare to what I felt the day we lost him or the days shortly after." So, of course they aren't going to be as hard as we expect, but they're still hard none-the-less.
My mindset has mostly been not to dwell on "those days" but to celebrate the 3 months and 28 days we had with Ayden. That doesn't fix anything or make any of it easier, but it does provide me with the ability to remain somewhat hopeful, comforted, and a little less depressed when "those days" come around. There's a 25th and 27th to every month, so I have to choose how I live and anticipate those days.
Today hasn't been so bad. Not great, but not so bad either. Grief almost a year later is lighter than it was. It isn't as overwhelming or debilitating, but I can't use the word "easier" either. I don't know that grief is ever easier, but it does evolve. I still cry and become overcome by the loss and the pain. I always will. He's my baby....my first child...the child who made me a mommy for the first time. The one I experienced all the firsts of pregnancy with and the firsts of a newborn and infant during those first critical, trial-by-error, scared-out-of-your-mind-because-you-are-responsible-for-this-little-person months. So much of me will remain connected to Ayden for the rest of my life, and as painful as it is to live my life without him, I'm so very thankful for the time I was given with him and everything I learned as a result. He taught me that being a mom is my ultimate purpose and that the little moments are the ones you should treasure - a sweet little baby sigh, the satisfaction of knowing that he just needed YOU (me) to comfort and sooth him, the love you share with this little person and seeing it reflected in their smile.
It will be strange to me when, God willing, Collen reaches 4 months old....it will be like being a first time mom all over again. From the age of 4 months onward, our "firsts" will lie with Collen. They will be exciting, yet bittersweet, moments, but I look forward to each and every one of them. And if Collen decides to come on the 25th or the 27th....those days will hold an even deeper meaning. But I secretly hope he chooses his own day....specially for him. He deserves that. :)
Megan (left) and Lauren (right) are both around 25 weeks pregnant and also expecting boys - Isaac and Davis. And then there's me...in the middle...at 35 weeks. (This was taken today at a wedding) Collen's going to lead the way and the rest of the little ones will follow soon after. Please say a little prayer for all of these little lives soon to join us all.
Below are pictures of our progress.
View of dining room/kitchen from our room
Kitchen - Pots, pans, dishes, everything all packed up....
Living room - Tucker isn't handling all of this too well. Anything that isn't "routine" or "in place" really bothers him. He gets used to the boxes, and then we will move some of them so they aren't "where they were" and it takes him all day to get used to the change. He's pitiful...
Looking through living room to kitchen
"Tucker's Room" - now the overflow room
Hallway from Tucker's room
Ayden's room - probably the neatest of all the rooms. Everything is packed - most boxes packed incredibly delicately. Strict instructions have been placed on the items that come out of this room. Most boxes are not to be transported without myself or Jeremy in close proximity. We can't chance something happening to any of it...
Anyway, my stats as of today are as follows:
Weight Gain Total: Approx. 25 pounds
Blood Pressure: Fantastic - 91/62 today, which is even kind of low for me, but I was still half asleep
Stretch Marks: No new ones to report. So far, I've avoided them with this pregnancy. I got plenty with Ayden's, so I'm not complaining one bit. I wouldn't trade them in for the world, though....
Measurements: As mentioned above, I'm 34 weeks and measuring close to/right at 36. Yeah...like I said, maybe it wasn't a coincidence that they had me as being further along.... When she said 36, my mind immediately jumped to, "What!? That means he could likely be here in 3 weeks!" I panicked for about 1.5 seconds.
Collen's Measurements: Estimated weight - around 5.5 - 6 pounds. Again...I'm hoping the 36 week measurement is an indicator that he will decide to come early. Because, really, if he holds out for 6 more weeks....we're looking at a ten pounder and a mom who is going to be a nervous wreck if he is allowed to get that big! There's nothing wrong with a big baby. I just have fears of them letting him get that big because they start to run out of room, amniotic fluid gets low, and bad things can happen.....I can't even think about it....
Collen's Position: ? My midwife couldn't say one way or the other whether she thought he was head down or not. I had secretly been wondering the same thing, but when we did the 4D ultrasound, he was head down, and everything still feels the way it did then. However, I have noticed that the "butt" that I think I feel at the top of my belly seems somewhat big for a baby butt. If we're still not sure next time, we'll do a quick sneak peek to make sure he's positioned correctly.
Heart Rate: Consistently in the 150s and sounding strong and beautiful.
It's funny what comes to mind when you find out certain things or are faced with possible scenarios. When she mentioned that he could be in a breech position, my first thought was, "No....not a c-section!! They cost more!" Of course, that is a fleeting thought. If he does turn out to be breech and we do have to do a c-section, that will be more than okay. But, in the moment, it's funny what you're mind jumps to.
All in all, everything is looking good, and I avoided the cultures for today. I already know that I am a carrier of Strep B, so there shouldn't be any surprises. I am so intrigued by Collen's size and growth. I know there is only so much you can tell from the outside, so I can't wait to actually SEE how big he is. If we do an ultrasound next time, I'm sure we'll get a good idea of his size. He seems like he is going to be a bit bigger than Ayden. Ayden wasn't tiny, either, though.
We had a girl's day today with my uncle's wife (the uncle who is home from Korea but soon to be going to Germany), and we took her out for lunch (Cheesecake Factory - mmmmm), and then we went to the Patsy Aiken Outlet. Oh wow....talk about cuteness. We found some adorable outfits for Collen for next summer. I even found one for this Christmas. They were selling this past year's styles at outlet prices - 75%, 65%, 35% off. So, if you got lucky, you could find some good deals. Take a look at some of the outfits Collen scored today (thanks to Grandma of course!)
Blue Stripe Romper
Swim Trunks and TShirt
I'm a sucker for seersucker - he got both of these...one with a sailboat and one with his initials. (Post Edit Comment - I agree....there's just something so completely adorable about a shirtless little boy in an overall, sleeveless romper.)
If these hadn't been on sale, we wouldn't have looked twice. I can't wait to see Collen in these, though. He's going to be such a dapper, handsome little man. ;)
Not much longer. I'll be sure to keep you updated....
It has been quite some time since I've had one of these days....when I'm on the verge of tears all day long....because I'm missing my baby boy....so much.
There doesn't have to be a reason, or a cause, or a memory, or anything anyone says to set it off....it just happens.
Today, I just want Ayden. I want him here, in my arms. I want to see him walking. I want to hear him talking. I want to watch him learn and make mistakes and get up and try again. I want everything I'm missing out on with him.
(This is the part where people who haven't been there say, "Oh, but you'll have that with Collen.")
You're right. I will. BUT, it isn't the same. I will always be missing out on something with Ayden. They are two different children. I am the mother of 2 boys, and one of them will always be missing.
I knew "today" was coming. I just didn't know when. Sunday, our families hosted a baby shower for us. It was beautiful, and everyone was so generous. I enjoyed seeing everyone there....especially the people we don't see so often. It was great to have both sides of our families in the same place, celebrating together. And while it was a happy day, there were moments when I slipped into sadness. With the shower, bringing new baby things into the house, packing, and preparing to move, I could feel "today" coming.......
Opening gifts with cute elephants decorating the bags and/or gifts inside - memories of Ayden's room and our elephant theme. (If you gave us anything with elephants, please don't think you upset us. We still love them and think they're perfect! Collen will definitely use them, and we'll share our elephant memories of Ayden with Collen as he enjoys them.)
Looking around the room and always thinking, "He should be here."
Going home and washing all of the clothes, blankets, bibs, etc. and thinking, "Has it really been almost a year since I've done this?" And then reminding myself that these things are for another child.....not for Ayden.
Packing Collen's bag for the hospital and feeling so guilty that I can't remember what should go in it. And also feeling guilty because it doesn't hold the same nostalgic feeling as it did the first time. Excitement? Yes! Nostalgia...not quite like it was the first time. I guess that's to be expected after you've done it all once before....
Packing things up in Ayden's room and feeling so conflicted because I don't want to put it in boxes, but I know I have to, but I can't bear to because I know that from now on, most of it will stay in those boxes. And then feeling so protective over those things and having to come to grips with the fact that I won't be able to move those boxes myself. I will have to trust someone else to move his things....to care for them as delicately as I would if I could move them.
Looking around his room wondering, "What do I do with ___________?" (insert various toys, pictures, knick knacks, items holding special meaning specifically towards Ayden.) I know I will use some of it in Collen's room, but how do I decide which ones to use and which ones not to use?
Picking out silk sunflowers at Michael's for my son's marker and thinking, "Is this really my life? Instead of having my child here with me, am I really picking out flowers for his marker? I can't see him, hold him, feed him. The only thing I can do for him is create a pretty floral arrangement?!"
Please don't take any of what I said the wrong way. Sometimes I feel as if I do a poor job of conveying my relationship with Ayden vs. my relationship with Collen. And sometimes I'm afraid I may come off as putting more weight on Ayden in general and leaving Collen in his brother's shadow. That isn't the case at all. At this point, they are both so different. I am the mother of 2 boys, but I have only "known" one of them. Life with Ayden is what is still familiar to me. My memories of being "mom" lie solely with Ayden right now. So, washing clothes for a baby other than Ayden....or opening gifts for a baby who isn't Ayden....is still kind of surreal. I connect so much more to Ayden right now than I do Collen because Collen and I haven't shared a relationship outside of the womb yet. I can't connect a smell, sound, mannerism, facial feature, or personality with Collen like I can Ayden. So, I guess that's where all the comparisons come in.
What I can tell you about my relationship with Collen, though, is that I am so eagerly anticipating meeting him, knowing him, learning his quirks, and loving him just as deeply and fully as I do his brother. Collen already makes me laugh, and he and I share a bond that no one else can share with him right now. He responds to me, and I respond to him. And my goodness, if this child doesn't grow up to love fudge rounds, I will be shocked because they are all I want right now!
I am looking forward to new memories with Collen and connecting new smells, sounds, mannerisms, facial features, and what I'm sure is going to be quite the personality with Collen. He is loved beyond measure, and I dare anyone to question the bounds of that love. He is a child who is most definitely wanted, who was prayed for and hoped for, who has brought joy back into two lives who thought joy could never be restored. Jeremy and I watch Collen move every night. We talk to him, nudge him, give him little pokes in his little butt, and we smile and laugh out of the pure happiness he has brought to our lives. But, in the midst of that happiness, we are also sad, and we're learning that the two will coexist for the rest of our lives.
If this post was all over the place, I apologize. That's the state of my mind these days. However, I needed to let some of my thoughts out of my head, and they just happened to end up here. Just a random sort of day today....
However, the what ifs seems to rear their ugly heads in other situations as well. Buying a house being one such situation.
I can't even begin to tell you how stressed I am over all of this. Yes, I knew that buying a house was stressful. Done it once before...thankfyouverymuch. What's even more stressful than buying a house?
-Selling a house
-Buying another house contigent upon the selling of your house
-Having to be out of your house BEFORE closing on another house
-Not knowing what your living situation will be LESS THAN 2 WEEKS FROM NOW
- Not having a clear answer YET on whether or not your new house will qualify for your loan because it all comes down to the appraiser's wording on whether or not a bonus room in a garage is considered separate living quarters. If NO - you get the loan. If YES - you don't and would have to use another loan that requires a down payment that you don't have because you're having to pay closing costs on your house and partly on the new house.
-Waiting to find out if the current owners will let you rent the house starting August 1st just so you can have some sort of stability.
-Wondering....if they do agree to rent....can you afford the rent?
- Husband starts back to work in LESS THAN 2 WEEKS and he has to be present to sign everything/anything.
- Baby is set to be born in 4-5 weeks - or whenever he so chooses - and you're still not clear on where said baby will be living once you're out of the hospital.
Of one thing I am absolutely certain - for 3 days in the month of August, I know that I will be in a hospital welcoming a baby boy into our lives. If nothing else goes our way, we at least know that a blessing is soon to arrive, and we can not wait to meet him and have him in our arms!
Don't even get me started, though, on the what ifs that go through my mind regarding Collen. That's a completely different post for another day.
Please, please pray that all will go through with this house. I had finally had a few nights of somewhat decent sleep and now another wrench is thrown in today..... I mean, seriously, why does it have to be so difficult? Seems like every day there's one more thing to worry about.
Deep breaths.....deep breaths...
To his children, he is: Daddy, the head of the family, the example of how a Christian man should treat others and his wife and family.
To his parents and sisters, he is: a son of whom they are so very proud, and a brother they can always count on *(even his sister-in-law counts him as a brother :) )
To his friends, he is: the guy they can always call on if they need help around the house or need help moving....or just need help with anything. He's always there....whenever you need him.
To hundreds of students, he is: that high school math teacher who did his best to make math fun and teach you life lessons at the same time.
To countless young men, he is: Coach Jones. He will spend countless hours away from his family, working with these young men...molding them, shaping them, and preparing them not only for the big game on Friday night, but the game of life, which is full of obstacles. He will teach them to be wise in their choices and to love each other. He will be patient with them, and he will let them know when they've disappointed him. He will correct them, encourage them, and push them to their limits. And in the end, they will see that this coach is just a little different than the rest...because he truly cares and when he tells them he loves them, he means it.
Over the, almost, ten years that I've known Jeremy, I've seen him in many capacities - boyfriend, friend, son, husband, teacher, coach, and father. Being a Christian man comes with a lot of pressure and expectations, and I often take a step back to realize how tough it is to be in his shoes. He has to be so many things to so many people, and if the roles were reversed, I know I would be a ball of nerves. He handles it all, though, and I have to say, he handles it well. Seeing him as a husband, and watching him grow in that role over the years, made me so very proud of him. Then, when we had Ayden, I fell in love with him all over again because seeing him as a father was seeing another side of him that I hadn't seen before. He's so tender and sweet, and he loves his children with all that he has. And seeing him as a coach is seeing him a whole other light....especially now that he is a head coach. He has so many things he wants to teach his players...and the other coaches he works with. He wants to be a positive role model for young men and show them that they don't have to be society's view of what a real man is. Because there's more to being a man than holding onto pride, reacting in anger, choosing to fight instead of just walking away, being forgiving, and being a team player instead of showboating. He wants young men to see that there is such a thing as self control, self discipline, and purity.
He isn't your typical coach, and that's what makes him stand out from the rest.
Congratulations Jeremy! This year will hold a lot of new learning experiences, but remember that it's not about being the coach with the most wins on the field. As long as you win your players over and they know that you believe in them, you'll always have an outstanding record!
And guess what - it isn't ONE of the houses I've blogged about. Go figure...
We had put in an offer on "house #2", the older house that was out in the country. However, the owners took a while getting back to us. So, while we waited, we continued to look at houses online and look at other options. That search brought us back around to a house we had briefly considered but hadn't seriously looked into because we weren't sure of the location/driving distance for Jeremy. But we decided we should look at it just to be sure.
As we drove up to the house, our realtor met us with a counter offer for the other house. But upon driving into the neighborhood and up to the house, we both knew that the other house was probably not an option any longer. We pulled up to a detached 2 car garage, painted barn red with white trim (love it!). From there, we walked underneath an arbor lined with a picket fence gate that went around the backyard. We entered the backyard that is shaded by mature, beautiful trees and complete with beautiful landscaping. We could already see that this yard was perfect for Gracie....and for Collen :) When we walked in the house, which was built in 1956, we both saw charm and great potential. Updating will need to be done, but as it is, it is most definitely livable. The house has hardwoods throughout....most of which have been refinished (except in 2 bedrooms), a wood burning furnace/stove in the great room, and a fireplace with gas logs in the living room. It has a formal dining room, 3 bedrooms/4 if you count the office. It has 1.5 baths inside the house, but there is a full bath in an apartment that is housed in the garage. The two rooms that will definitely need work are the kitchen and the bathroom. The kitchen has some brick accents to it on one wall and on the island. It definitely adds a country charm to the kitchen, but I would prefer wainscoting. Then, the bathroom....oh....the bathroom. Lovely pink ceramic tile...on the walls and on the countertops. I love tile in a bathroom, but not in pink. We're hoping we can look into having the tiles refinished in white, which will serve as a wainscoting that will look wonderful with a robin's egg blue. We would tear out the existing vanity and replace it with a more modern one, and we would replace the flooring, which luckily isn't tile. So, if we can get a reasonable price on refinishing the tile in the bathroom, that will be out first project. Anyone know anyone who does this, for a reasonable price, in the eastern NC area??? We're pretty good at do-it-yourself projects, but we just don't trust ourselves on this one.
All in all, we are getting A LOT of house....and A LOT of yard space....and a GREAT neighborhood for A LOT less than we could have ever gotten within the city limits. Plus, it turns out that it is a shorter distance for Jeremy than our other choice. Who knew? As soon as we walked into the house, I looked at Jeremy and said, "I can see us staying here for a long time....like forever." We plan to update as we go and make this house what we want it to be. :) We're so excited, and as many of you have said....it seems that God put the house He wanted for us directly in our path.
We're hoping the owners will work with us on a rent-before-possession/closing scenario, which they seem receptive to. With Jeremy starting back to work in 2 weeks and Collen's arrival coming up SOON, we'd love to at least be able to get into the house and feel somewhat stable. Please pray that things fall into place with the loan, closing, and possibly renting.
I look forward to keeping you all updated as we move in and begin to make this house our own. :) Thank you for all of your prayers throughout this process!
As I've said before, I don't put a lot of stock into dreams...especially believing they hold some kind of meaning for my life. I don't look too far into them because that could be a little risky.
Dreaming while pregnant, especially, is not the time to start taking your dreams too seriously! Unless you can find meaning behind me dreaming of being in an abandoned airport where the moving sidewalks all move in reverse....making it a nightmare to try to walk on them....and finding Britney Spears held hostage in a top secret area of the airport....then I'm not so sure I'm ready to start finding the deeper meaning in life in my dreams!
However, there are times when sweet moments make their way into my crazy dreams. It had been a while since I last dreamt of Ayden. When I first noticed that I wasn't dreaming of him as much, I became upset because I didn't want it to mean that I was moving forward without him or that I was "okay." Grief is an interesting thing. It's miserable to be so grief-stricken, but when you experience a few good days, you feel guilty for not being so grief-stricken. You almost welcome the grief because it makes you feel "normal" because after all, when you lose a child, your mind tells you you're supposed to suffer all the time....never to be happy again. I think I've found the happy medium.
Anyway, over the past few weeks, my dreams have been nonstop...full of crazy stuff. I can't even put it all into words because it's continuous and random and has no connection at all. So, it's probably a good thing that I haven't dreamt of Ayden on nights when I have those dreams because it wouldn't make sense and it wouldn't feel authentic.
Last night was one of the calmer nights as my dreams go. I went all night without dreaming, and then....there he was. I was dreaming that I was about to deliver Collen. We were in the waiting room at the hospital, and Ayden was on the floor playing and flipping through a book. He was still 4 months old, but he was sitting up, turning the pages of his book. I've only once dreamed that he was older than 4 months. I remember seeing him smile, hearing him laugh, and I picked him up and just held him, hugged him, and kissed him....and he kissed me back (one of the things I was sad to miss out on with him...). No one else held him; that's usually how it goes. I'm the only one who holds him, and the interaction is only between him and me (it's my dream, so I guess that makes sense). Anyway, as soon as it began, it was over, and he was gone again. But I woke up with that sweet face fresh in my mind. I got up and tried my best to remember every detail. Sometimes I feel like my dreams are all I get. He isn't here anymore. I don't have him to hug and cuddle and kiss, but if I can at least get him in my dreams....just for a little while....I'd rather have that than nothing. But it's still so unfair....because then I have to wake up, and he's gone, and my heart breaks all over again.
I often wonder if I'll miss him this much forever. I WANT to miss him this much forever. The loss is the same no matter how much time goes by, but the depth of the pain does change. It eases over time, but it still hits me so hard....just not as often. I read another blog this morning about a little baby whose parents just celebrated his first birthday in Heaven. They did a balloon release, and it was so beautiful. The mom wrote that although her son passed away, God still created him and gave him a soul, which they are so thankful for because that means they will be with him someday. They are assured that promise and given that hope. I was so thankful to read that because it's so true. Ayden was created, and he was born, and he was given a soul. If he had never existed, we would have missed out on such a sweet, beautiful child. So as hard as it has been to lose him and to live every day without him, AT LEAST we know that because of God's grace and His goodness, Ayden's soul was spared and he is waiting for us to be with him again someday.
After I went back to sleep, the crazy pregnancy dreams kicked back in. I was back in high school....33 weeks pregnant...27 years old....and I was back in high school trying to make everyone believe I was a high school student. NO CLUE where that came from, but I remember walking into my 12th grade English teacher's class, and at the end of class, she was asking me for advice on how she could improve her teaching style. What?!? Anyway, people started to catch on that I really wasn't 17 and that I had already graduated from high school 10 years ago. I woke up before they kicked me out. I'm guessing that dream is stemming from me not going back to work this year. I am going to miss my students so much. Not many people can say they love their job, but I do....did. I love working with students and being a part of their lives. I love feeling validated in my efforts when they come to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my class or when they thank me for all of my help. It doesn't happen often, but when it does....it sure does make it all worth it.
So, although I woke up a little sad this morning, I'm thankful to have had a moment with Ayden....even if it is only in my dreams. Seeing that sweet little face is worth it all.
This one was a Mother's Day gift from a dear friend. I can't tell you how touched I was when I received this in the mail. To see both of their names side by side.....both of my boys. Beautiful. Their birthstones look so great together.
This one was a gift from my sister. She has one just like it. I added the pregnancy/infant loss ribbon pendant to mine. I have had every intention of moving the ribbon to a charm bracelet (because it is smudging the silver piece with Ayden's name on it), but I just can't seem to part with it.
As special as these necklaces are, I wish I didn't have them for the reason that I have them. They're beautiful remebrances, but painful reminders. I feel a little stronger when I wear them, though....
....and as cliche as it sounds, I feel closer to Ayden when I wear them.
Selling and buying a house isn't an easy process, and we knew that, so we've been trying to be patient and stay in prayer over all of it. That's all we can do.
We put an offer in on our first choice. This house:
We knew that we would have to offer well below the asking price, but we also knew the seller was ready for the house to sell. So, we put in the offer, and it wasn't accepted. The seller wasn't able to accept much under his asking price. So, that house is a no.
In the meantime, we stumbled upon another house that fit our needs....and price. It's still on the higher end of our budget, but it is in a great location, in a neighborhood, has room for growth, is new, and within our means. Here is a picture of that house:
Cute right? We think so. We've put an offer in, and we're pretty certain the seller will counter. But hey, it's better to start a little lower and work your way up right? Just in case....
And if that one doesn't work out. There always this house....
I still love this house, so if the other falls through, I'll be happy here, too. It's not far from the above house, so while it may not be in a "neighborhood" or in town, it's still nearby. There are houses around it, so we would have neighbors. It's a cozy house, and I feel at home when I'm there. It's just a little farther out, which is a longer drive for Jeremy....and for us when driving to church and such. But, it would still work. It's also cheaper ;)
That's where everything stands housewise. We're trusting that God will lead us to where we need to be.
My other update is on Tucker's bark collar. It's working okay. It doesn't go off everytime he barks, so he still gets away with it at times. However, once that collar buzzes....he scurries off. He doesn't like it at all. He's slowly learning that a bark means a correcting vibration, so he's definitely more cautious. We'll see....
Sinatra has been with us for 5 years. When Jeremy and I first got married, we moved up to the foothills of NC. (I love this state....mountains on one side, beach on the other....it's wonderful) We decided to move up to the foothills because we had both wanted to live in the mountains and thought this was our perfect chance. Plus, the same principal snagged both of us separately at a job fair and talked us into his school. We met up later, unsure of how to tell each other about this school up in the mountains and then realized we were both talking about the same school! Anyway, up to the mountains we went.
We were about 4 hours away from our family. First year teaching, in a new place, away from everyone we knew, and Jeremy had football practice every night. I was stressed, homesick, and very lonely. One Saturday, Jeremy's parents had come to visit. His mom and I went out to Lowes and the local animal shelter was out there with their available animals. I had been considering a pet, but our apartment place didn't allow them. However, a little cat wouldn't make a lot of noise and would be pretty stealthy....so I decided to take a look. I came to a cage with two cats in it. One cat was all over the place...so playful and full of energy. The other cat just sat in the corner with an air of entitlement - like he was too good to be there. For some reason, I thought the energetic cat was a great choice for me. I wrote down the information and called Jeremy. He reluctantly agreed. So, I got the contact information for the foster home the cat was in and called the owner the next day. To my dismay, my cat had already been claimed. :( So, I said, "What about her brother? Did anyone claim him?" He was available! I immediately agreed that I would take him.
So, we went through all the preliminary details that come along with adopting an animal...vet info., shots, neutering, buying food and such. Then, I picked up my cat who had been named Bandit. First things first, I changed his name. Bandit was too predictable of a name for this cat. He had to have a unique, special name. So, I went with my all time favorite singer (next to Judy) - Frank Sinatra. We dropped Frank and just left it as Sinatra.....b/c with a name like Sinatra, who needs a first name?
We quickly learned that this aloof, shy cat was not what we thought he was. As is any kitten's nature, he was spunky, rambunctious, and quite stubborn. He was great company though, and he loved to play. He made the lonely nights of football practice easier to endure, and he definitely taught us a lot about owning a pet. We loved that cat more than any two people ever should love a cat. Sinatra liked to sneak out of the apartment sometimes. We had him declawed in the front because was he climbing everything - curtains, furniture, our legs...you name it...he had his claws in it! Well, when he discovered he could sneak out, we became frantic! Our poor cat was out of the house...with no way to defend himself! One night, we spent a good 45 minutes walking around our tiny complex searching for this cat. I had a flashlight and walked around the back of every unit. As I came around the far corner, my flashlight reflected against a pair of green eyes. He was hiding under a car. Now, coaxing a dog out of a tight space is pretty easy....they'll come to you for just about anything. A cat....not so easy. I was able to scare him enough to get him to run out from underneath the car so we could trap him. This episode would replay several times before we moved away.
Sinatra liked to hide/sleep in the most unusual of places. His most unusual - the bathroom sink. I woke up one night to use the bathroom. As I turned the corner, I saw a lump of something in the sink. I hadn't a clue what it could be, so I snuck up to it and could make out the white and black markings. Sinatra was curled up in the sink, fast asleep. He still likes to find strange places to hide/sleep in.
Over the years, Sinatra has calmed down quite a bit. As he has calmed down, he has also put on quite a bit of weight. I tell him it's because he's part mountain cat - he's just big boned. His body is still in mountain mode, so he just requires a bit more blubber than these eastern/coastal cats. He's pretty secure in his heftiness. He can still run and frolic like a spry little kitten...when he feels like it. We don't feed him much. I took him to the vet and got reprimanded for his weight. (I haven't taken him back since....) I did, however, put him on a diet. I have news for the vet - it didn't work. He gets 1/4 a cup of food twice a day, and he hasn't lost a pound.
As I mentioned in my post about Tucker, Sinatra is the king of the roost around here, and he knows it. He lets us think we are in control, but he knows it all revolves around him. Most of the time - it's true.
Here are some fast facts about Sinatra - all are true:
1. He loves cardboard boxes (big or small) and will jump into one at the first chance he gets. Christmas is always fun.....
2. He doesn't meow loudly unless he REALLY wants your attention. He doesn't feel the need to waste his energy if he doesn't have to.
3. He loves to be outside, but his outside time must be monitored (b/c of neighborhood cats who like to wander). He has stipulations to being outside - it must be on his terms and the temperature must be to his liking. If you try to get him inside before he's ready, he throws a tantrum.
4. He sleeps with us and is the only member of our pet family who has that luxury. He sleeps at the end of the bed, comes and goes as he pleases, and moves to the living room when it's time for him to get up. (When Collen arrives, he will be kicked out. He was kicked out when Ayden arrived as well....)
5. If he is starving (which, according to him is all the time), he will wake us up at 5:30 - on the dot - in the morning to feed him. His method? Knocking things off of our nightstands or making as much noise as possible.
6. He doesn't like to admit it, but he loves to be rubbed....and will even give in to a good brushing now and then.
7. He hates to have his ears cleaned, and it's a nightmarish task.
8. When the notion strikes him, he will run full speed from one end of the house to the other. He gets this gleam in his eyes like nothing I've ever seen before. I stay out of his way when these moods strike b/c with cats...you just never know.
9. He prefers Jeremy over me. He follows Jeremy wherever he goes - I think it's just because Jeremy is the one who usually feeds him. It's not about love - it's about food....
10. Believe it or not, but it's true - he LOVES to listen to Frank Sinatra sing. You think I'm kidding? I tested it because I couldn't even believe it. I sat down one night and played him all kinds of music - Judy Garland, The Beatles, Jim Croce, Dean Martin, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra. When Frank's voice came through the speakers, he ran to the speakers and put his face as close as possible to them. He was enthralled.... When a different singer's voice played, he walked away....not caring at all. It's bizarre....
11. Sinatra is a much better car-rider than Tucker. He's more of the dog while Tucker is more like a cat. Tucker MUST be covered by a blanket while riding in the car, and he will NOT move a muscle. He sits frozen, shaking for the entire ride. Sinatra got used to traveling when we lived in the mountains because we'd take him home with us every other weekend or so when we visited our families. He meanders around the car until he finds a comfy spot, and then he stays there for most of the trip. He loves to peer out the window and see what's going on. Weird animals, I tell you...
12. He and Tucker are best buds. When we introduced Tucker to the family, Sinatra wasn't a big fan. However, as Tucker got bigger, and Sinatra realized he wasn't going to be rid of the cute little monster, he gave in and decided to give Tucker a chance. They pal around during the day. Where one goes, the other is somewhere closeby. Sinatra is the instigator, but Tucker gets blamed for almost everything. Cunning cat.... I'm sure he snickers to himself from time to time saying, "That stupid dog. Falls for it everytime..."
Having a cat in the house is not something I love, but I wouldn't part with him for anything. Sinatra has been with us through everything....and we really do love him. He may not get all the attention most of the time, but we appreciate the comfort he brings to our lives. He sticks to himself most of the time, but he makes sure to give you a little leg rub or kitty massage from time to time just to remind you that he cares. They say cats can live up to 20 years. I think I can do 15 more years with Mr. Sinatra.
Here are some pictures of Sinatra:
Cute right? He is quite adorable. Don't let him fool you....he's a master of disguise.
If you are of the elite who have met Tucker and went on to absolutely love him....you are of the few.
I'm being a little harsh....he isn't that bad.
But do you see that nifty collar Tucker is wearing? It was a purchase made in desperation - a last resort. NO...it is NOT a shock collar. It has two settings - either a beep or a vibration (medium or high levels). If you use a shock collar on your dog, that is your own personal preference. When we move to a new house, Gracie will most likely have one so we can keep her contained to our yard, but she is a large dog....so I can deal with her having one. Tucker, on the other hand, is a little guy. He only weighs about 10 pounds, so I didn't feel right about putting a shock collar on him.
Get to the point Lindsay....
Tucker likes to bark - LOUDLY. And I just can't take it anymore. When people enter our home, they are welcomed by Tucker, barking, quite aggresively, and even nipping at their ankles/fingers/whatever is exposed. When he hears a car door shut - barking. When he sits at the window and watches people walk by outside - barking. When we scold the cat for eating Tucker's food - barking. Luckily, his bark is not a yippy bark, but it is annoying and just so darn loud!
Ayden, bless his heart, grew accustomed to the barking. Tucker only ever scared him twice. Oh, and both times it absolutely crushed me to see that little lip poke out followed by that sad, pitiful, "He scared me" cry. Oh....it breaks my heart just thinking about it. So, we've been meaning to go this route for a long time.
The collar came in today, and so far.....it's touch and go. It'll go off sometimes when he barks but not every time. Not sure why...unless his bark just isn't forceful enough (uumm...really??) or the collar isn't quite tight enough. I tightened as tight as I felt would be comfortable for him, so perhaps the little buzzer part has to be right against his vocal chords. I don't know.... I'm giving it a couple more days. So far, when it has buzzed, he has scurried off to another room. It does jolt him and stops the barking for that moment, so I'm hoping that if it happens enough, he'll get the point.
Poor Tucker. I hate doing this to him. Dogs bark. It's in their nature. And his nature is a very protective one. This dog is quirky. Literally, he suffers from OCD and a severe anxiety disorder. He's also got a touch of little man syndrome. So, I feel for him. It must be tough to be so conflicted, but if I can't fix everything else, I can at least try to fix the barking.
Really...he isn't that bad. He's a sweet dog, and once he gets to know you, he'll give you hugs and bring you his toys. Once you're in with Tucker, you're a friend for life.
Next, I must introduce you to our giant. The 16 pound cat who is king of the roost around here. I'll save him for another day. With a name like Sinatra...you can expect diva status. We are just little pions under his mind control....and he knows it.
32nd week info:
What I've learned about Collen:
He has his own schedule/routine, and he is quite stubborn about it. Wonder who he gets that from??? hhmm.....
When I say he's stubborn, my only reference to this "fact" is from moments when I desperately NEED him to move, and he decides that he is NOT going to move because he is comfortable just where he is.
Apparently, he spends a lot of his time getting comfortable because for much of the day, he wiggles all around. I continue to feel little kicks, nudges, and often quite forceful punches! He wriggles around until he's gotten into the position he's comfortable in, and once he's found his spot, he's not moving....
I absolutely adore that I can feel his little butt. He keeps it up at the top of my belly much of the time, and if I catch him just right, I can give him a litle nudge in that cute little butt and he'll start kicking away. :)
I've tried to see if he's ticklish, but he doesn't seem to be. I know....how can you find a tickle spot from the outside? Not easily, but it's possible. I would scratch and rub against Ayden's back while he was in the womb, and he would wiggle wiggle wiggle. :) After he was born, I did the same thing and learned that I truly had found a tickle spot. I'm sure Collen will have tons of fun little tickle spots. Can't wait to find them!
How big is Collen these days?
I'd love to know the answer to this question. I'm guessing he's around 4 pounds...probably a little over. He definitely seems to be running out of wiggle room. I don't feel flips and rolls anymore, but he's definitely still pretty active. He continues to blow the kick counts out of the water. As far as length goes, I think he's going to be average. I don't deal with feet up in my ribs very often, so he either stays in a tight ball or his legs aren't incredibly long. I guess we'll find out.
How am I doing these days?
Being pregnant again is still very surreal. I often forget that I'm pregnant....as odd as that sounds. I think it's because I have been pregnant for 17 months combined (taking out the 7 months between my pregnancy with Ayden and Collen). Both pregnancies have seemed to run together, so it feels completely normal to feel kicks and jabs. I feel more normal being pregnant than not.....
I'm on track as far as weight gain goes. I have gained a bit more than I did with Ayden, but that's to be expected, right? At my last appointment, I had gained a total of 20 pounds, so I'm guessing the grand total as of today would be 22 pounds. Not too bad.... I gained 27 by the end of my pregnancy with Ayden, so if I can keep this one under 35, I'll be happy.
Because of our current living situation, Collen's "room" is not ready at all. I'm not too concerned about that, though, since he will be rooming in with us for quite some time. We have what we need for him, so I'm not too worried.
I feel like we are handling this new transition pretty well. It still isn't real to me that within 6-8 weeks I will be giving birth....again...to a new baby. Ayden's pregnancy and birth are still so vivid, so it's bizarre to me that it's going to happen again....and the result is going to be a different child. We are going to be a part of parenthood again....diapers, feedings, poop, soothing, and being wrapped up completely in our child. All of that was taken away so abruptly when we lost Ayden - getting it back, with a different child, is going to be a big transition.
This is likely to be my last update until Collen arrives. I'm trying to be better about taking pictures and updating, but things are so crazy around here. Once we get closer, though, I will definitely keep you all up to date. We are excited to meet Collen and have joy restored to our lives. However, it will definitely be bittersweet because we'd love more than anything to be sharing this with Ayden. I can just imagine 16 month old Ayden...kissing his brother...being a handful to keep up with....and me, loving every crazy second of it.