35 Weeks

^^ This photo cracks me up because it shows that apparently there are still ab muscles there somewhere...and they obviously work when I laugh

35 weeks. I'm feeling better now than I did like a week ago. I felt so done and so over being pregnant then. I also had my first meltdown over clothing and having nothing to wear. It was awesome. Not. But, if I could get away with leggings and Ian's sweatshirt the rest of my pregnancy, I wouldn't complain. 

The baby completely shifted what side of my body it is on. It had been hanging out on the right, but is now on the left. But, it is head down and that is fantastic news. They haven't mentioned anything about size at any of my appointments, so I have no idea how big the baby may or may not be. My appointments are switching to every other week (well, I guess for just one time, haha!) then weekly for the last two weeks of my pregnancy. I only gained two pounds from my appointment four weeks ago, which I was happy with, as I was certainly piling on the pounds in the beginning. 

I find myself slowing down more and more. I need to sit more often and take breaks. But, even if I am exhausted in the evenings, I have been struggling going to sleep. This is kind of a bummer because I know I need the sleep. Also, I have never gone into any of my labors well rested...they have always started at night, when I had yet to sleep at all. And just the thought of that makes me tired! 

I spent a bunch of time over the kids Christmas break getting the house organized and ready for baby. Of course, most of the organization had nothing to do with baby, but it puts my mind at ease knowing the things are done and I don't have to worry about them later. I have a running list of things I still need to buy or do, but will hopefully accomplish it all before the baby arrives. The one thing I really wanted to do was pull out the car seat and wash it, which I did. I figured it was the only thing Ian wouldn't do should I go into labor early. So, I just wanted it done. Now it sits in our entry, as I am not quite ready to rearrange everyone in the car to get the car seat in. There are a couple more little things I need to pick up, but all of it is for me and that awesome postpartum phase, so I guess I haven't been too excited to buy all that stuff. I also still want to make the mobile for the baby, so need to get around to that. And I want to buy the baby a blanket, but I am going to wait until after it is born because I was definitely liking more gender specific ones. Now, a girl could totally use a boy one, but all the floral ones were so pretty and I am thinking if it's a boy, he wouldn't appreciate the floral. 

I managed to ramble on more than I thought I would. But, here is me, at 35 weeks. Almost done, but feeling like the finish line is also so far away.

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Family Pictures Through the Years

We have had family photos taken every fall, starting in 2009 when I was pregnant with Connor. These photos are something I cherish. Although I love taking photos of my kids and our adventures, the one thing I struggle with is getting in the actual photos. So it's nice to have a set of family photos done every year where we are all in the frame. It's also pretty much the only day of the year that I force my kids to wear what I say. Otherwise, that's not a fight I think is worth fighting. Anyway, here is a shot from every year leading up to this year. 











Also, a few things about the photos.  The first two years were taken while we were living in Scotland. I am pregnant in three of the years (2009, 2011, 2018) of photos. In 2015, I decided to have our family pictures taken right after Callum was born. Like he was six days old. It was a stupid decision on my part for so many reasons. I did it so I could send out a family photo with him in it. But no one is feeling their finest at six days postpartum. Not to mention, it was freezing outside. And Callum literally screamed through the entire session. There are only pictures of him with his mouth closed because he had to stop to breathe sometimes. Pretty much every year, I walk away from our photo session feeling like we are a circus and there is no way a decent family photo was captured. But, if somehow by magic, there are always good ones. So the yearly family photo tradition will continue on, whether my kids like it or not!

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6th Annual Christmas Card Challenge Winners

Let's be honest, this contest is the only reason many of you send me cards every year! And, you know what, I don't really care. I still like it! One of the winners is going to be pleasantly surprised they stuck with sending me a card all these years. Another one has won in another category before...so welcome back to the winners circle ;) As a reminder, the winning categories are as follows
  1. first card to arrive
  2. best handwritten note
  3. best photo(s)
  4. best update
  5. best overall

A few things I would like to point out. Card number two was completely hand made. It was beautiful. And talk about impressive artistic skills I don't have! Number three may just be the best picture I have ever seen. Like literally the best. It makes me want to drag my kids to do the same. Number 5 was a beautiful card, with foil overlay and a fancy envelope to boot. I am all about the whole package! Also worth noting is this is the third year I have gotten New Years cards. I almost made an honorable mention category just for that. It's fun that the holiday card season is being stretched out, with me generally always getting my first one before Thanksgiving and my last one around New Years. Now for the winner of the bag of Bean Counter Coffee Roasters Coffee...

Let's be honest, with a family photo like that, a bag of coffee is well deserved!!!

Next I set aside every locally sent card I received for the month of bread from Alchemy Bread. If you're local and have never tried her bread before, I HIGHLY recommend looking her up. Your life will be changed. Her bread is THAT GOOD. The irony in the winner of this is I am pretty sure they gave me a card just for the bread. Well didn't they luck out!!! Everyone else who sent me a card just to win the bread is crying, alas there can only be one winner. 

Also ironically, card 21 was also the card that won category two above. They should consider themselves having a really good day today!!! I mean, winning the bread AND a category. Pat yourself on the back! 

And can we discuss that the random number generator picked both odd numbers? Or am I the only person that noticed that? I just thought it was funny. Alright, if you won a prize, I'll be contacting you. If you won a category, well done!!! I'm so proud of you :) Thanks to everyone who sent a card this year. I loved all the happy mail. 

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Let's take a walk all the way back to last year. Ok, so Christmas was like two weeks ago. But I still want to document it so I remember it. We stayed home all day on Christmas and it was amazing. The above photo is the kids sitting on the stairs waiting to go see their presents. I didn't put any of their presents out until Christmas morning because Callum was really having trouble leaving presents alone under the tree. I did a video of the kids running into the living room from the stairs. Connor shoved Callum out of the way and went running in all excited, then stopped and said, "Oh." Apparently it was slightly underwhelming, haha! 

Connor's favorite present was his Harry Potter stuff, Isla's was her caboodle and makeup and Callum's was his work bench. Callum walked around in his construction vest for almost the whole day. It was really cute. Actually, I feel like I should throw in a caveat that the kids actual favorite thing on Christmas day was the candy in their stockings. I bought them the good candy that I know they like and it was a HUGE hit. 

Connor "bought" us all presents from his class store and it was really cute seeing him so excited to give them to us. And he really put thought into them, even getting Isla and Callum presents he thought they would like. Isla made two presents in class for us. The decorative wrapping that she drew she did not want thrown away. I forgot to take a picture of her presents, but one was this adorable ornament that had her hand print on it and contained a ribbon that was as long as she is tall. I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and I eat up sentimental presents like that. 

Later in the day, my parents, brother and aunt and uncle came over for dinner. The kids were spoiled with presents from everyone and enjoyed staying in their pjs and playing with their spoils all day. 

^^ We heard SO MUCH HAMMERING on Christmas day. I have since moved the work bench out of the living room, helping all our ears immensely. 

And because I can't resist matching pjs or a family photo on a holiday, here is us all match-matchy. 

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The Christmas Season

These pictures have nothing to do with what I am about to rant write about. They just stand as photographic evidence that I did actually do some holiday activities with the kids leading up to Christmas. 

Just to prepare you, I am about to go on a bit of a rant. Now don't get me wrong during this rant. If you are one of those Pinterest or advent calendar moms that loves (and has the time) to do activities with your kids every day, more power to you. I have friends that did some incredible things like this during this season and it looked super fun through instagram stories. But just as I don't judge them for doing things different than me, I don't want to be judged either. 

A couple weeks ago I was talking with a couple who have a Pinterest worthy daughter about my age. They were telling me all the amazing and over the top activities their daughter was doing with her children every day. Then, they asked what holiday activities I had been doing with my kids each day. Let's be honest, at this point, I can barely bend over and pick stuff up off the floor! And though I would love to blame my lack of doing an amazingly thought out activity with my children each day in December on my pregnancy, the fact is, it just isn't my personality. I am more of a go with the flow type person and rigid plans stress me out. But back to my conversation. As I explained that I had yet to do anything with my children (in my defense it was like the 8th of December or something) they looked at me in horror. Like actual literal horror. Then I was asked, "Do you even have a Christmas tree?!?" I do folks, don't you worry. It even went up the weekend of Thanksgiving. I love me some Christmas. I just don't love me a busy and stressful month. 

Now, here's the thing. Did we manage to squeeze in some holiday activities? Of course we did. We went to an angel breakfast that we have gone to the past several years. Ian took Isla to the Nutcracker. He offered to take the kids ice skating and they said no...hahahaha! We drove around looking at Christmas lights with hot chocolates in hand. Another night, we took a hay ride through a local farm's light display. And, on the morning of Christmas Eve, we squeezed in some cookie decorating. None of these activities were planned well in advance. Well, the angel breakfast was for like a week or two. Everything else just fit where there was time in our normal lives. 

And guess what? Even though we didn't do amazing activities every day, the kids still enjoyed themselves. We all did. None of us were out shopping in the chaotic stores days before Christmas...thanks to online shopping. When days already felt full because of school parties, work and other Christmas parties, friends birthday parties, even Callum's birthday, we didn't do things. It just felt nice not to cram things in and stress myself trying to fit it all in. Which, this again shows you a bit about my personality, I don't like being super busy. 

The moral of the story is, don't try to keep up with others if you don't have it in you. Celebrate their awesomeness in doing all the things. Then celebrate your awesomeness in cuddling up on the couch with your kids for the fourth night in a row. We are all hardwired differently. That's a good thing. A thing to be celebrated. Not a thing to tear each other down for us all not keeping up (or laying low) to each other's standards. 

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Christmas Decorations

Our Christmas decor has evolved and changed over the years. I think that's a natural thing because of styles, life changes, etc. I was probably at the top of my decor game when I worked at Pottery Barn. But I have since gotten rid of so much of that because it just isn't practical with kids to have breakable decorations e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. As children have made me more practical, things have simplified. But some things, like my love of color and my love of twinkle lights in the home have not changed. I mean, twinkle lights just make everything better. Especially during those dreary winter days. I put them up in the kids rooms for Christmas a few years ago and ended up leaving them up year round because I loved them so much, and so did they. 

I finally bit the bullet two years ago and bought us all matching stockings. Of course those stockings aren't available anymore, so I will now need to stalk eBay looking for one for baby because I just love those stockings so much. Not to mention I am totally cheap and they felt like a huge investment (they weren't that much money, but still!) and don't want to have to replace all of them. 

We have a lot of kids Christmas crafts around our house from various years as well. I particularly love the ones that have pictures of the kids on them because it lets me reminisce and that's just one of my favorite things to do. 

I should mention, my decor prekids included a lot of fake snow, again thanks to Pottery Barn. It was beautiful but OHMYGOSH the kids just couldn't seem to keep their hands off of it. Which the stuff is beautiful and fluffy and white, so I get it. But I couldn't handle having to clean up snow twenty times a day, so that went bye bye too. I actually let the kids play with it before I threw it away and let it get all over because I figured "why not?" but that was a few years ago now. 

Alright, enough talking. My Christmas decor...well, my living room at least, as I did decorate the banisters on the stairs this year and they include twinkle lights because, HELLO, I did say they are my favorite. 

I mostly posted this for myself because I think it's fun to look back and see ways I have decorated in the past. But given it's my blog and I can post what I want, for whomever I want, I figure whatevs. 

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30 weeks

Wow, things seem to be humming along quickly all of the sudden. Especially when I realized that my due date is four weeks after the kids Christmas break ends! I guess if I want to do a couple projects before baby comes, now would be the time!

This is what 30 weeks with a fourth child looks like.

I've always had pretty easy pregnancies, especially when I know some people who have truly struggled through their pregnancies. That being said, 10 more weeks of this (well, 9 tomorrow) has me not thinking I will enjoy those coming weeks so much. It's getting hard and uncomfortable to bend over. And, well, I have a strong willed running risk of a toddler to deal with all day, so yeah. I have always been a huge advocate of babies staying in until they are ready to come out. And while I certainly don't want to be induced, I am crossing my fingers and toes that this baby, if not early, at least arrives on time.

I can now feel the baby move from all over the place. For a while, even though I had a nice size belly, I couldn't feel it up high. Well, now I can. And speaking of up high, I think it likes to camp out close to my lungs from time to time, greatly diminishing my lung capacity, making things a bit uncomfortable. My belly button is now flush with my belly, which I think looks a little odd. But even more strange is when I move or laugh/cough and it pokes out quickly. Haha! Being pregnant can be so weird at times! I have been having some braxton hicks contractions. While they aren't painful at all, if I am leaning over when they happen, I definitely have to change positions because of my whole belly suddenly becoming hard.

I washed all the baby clothes I have and I ended up having way less than I remember. But, I figure I have a few choices here. I can do laundry all the time. I can dress the baby in all the clothes, no matter if it's a boy or girl. Or I can pick up some extras after it's born. But I'm set on white onesies. I don't know why, but I apparently have a ton of those. And buntings. The kid will be warm after it is born, that is for sure.

There are still a few things I want to get and do before baby arrives. But spending all the money on Christmas right now doesn't exactly leave me motivated to spend money on baby. I got a peg board to hang above the changing table and need to do that. It is really the only decoration I am doing, so I am sort of eager to get it done. Well, that and finish the mobile to hang above the crib. The baby will be in with Ian and I for the first while. So the changing table is actually in our closet and there is a mini crib on my side of the bed. I would also like to get a new stroller. Callum's seems to be making an awful noise for no apparent reason and the tires are bald. And, well, I looked into how much replacement tires are and realized I could get another stroller for not much more. But that stroller has served us well. It has been used a ton, going back and forth to school every day. Not to mention the vacations it has been on and everything else.

So there you have it, 30 weeks.

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