Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Only-Child Expiration


I've been pretty emotional lately, thinking about Emmalyn no longer being an only child, and how our moments of just “Emmy-&-Me” are fleeting. Really, just thinking about it now—to type these words—is sending me into basket-case mode. It seems selfish to say I'm “mourning” the loss of her being an only-child, when we are about to welcome such an incredible gift into our family, but that's how I feel. I never imagined or wanted Emmalyn to be an only-child, and having another baby is a blessed miracle come true, but I can't help but feel insanely emotional over it. Maybe it's because I'm an only-child, and I'm losing this 'piece' Emmalyn and I share together? I'm not sure...

With more-or-less than five weeks to go until we become a family of four {say, what?!?}, I'm desperately trying to make extra lovey-dovey and exciting memories; and freeze these moments, engraving them deep into my marrow. We even went out for ice cream, which if you know me personally, is a big deal for me because I only let Emmalyn eat ice cream at birthdays. I'm carrying this huge bag of guilt around, and am finding myself becoming a pushover when it comes to my soon-to-be Biggest Girl. I want to do everything I can to make her the happiest she can be in these last few weeks of being an Only Child.


Like the other day... I really didn't want to walk to the park because my big 'ole belly makes me feel like I'm carrying around permanent 50-lb. weights, but Emmalyn wanted to and I wanted to make her happy. Taking her to the pool by myself over the weekend was also physically exhausting, but the pure look of giddiness on her face and the sound of her non-stop laughter was simply magical. I traded in my permanent weights for a permanent smile across my own face. It made every ache and pain in my pregnant body 100x worth it.

I've almost stopped complaining about laying in her bed (for sometimes up to an hour) while she falls asleep, and instead, sit there in silence, replaying her beautiful smile over and over in my head. I know the moments of catching her in a peaceful slumber are becoming less and less frequent. I try to remember her little idiosyncrasies, like how I have to turn every!single!page! in the book at the end even if there aren't any words or pictures on these pages. Or how her pillow has to be placed just so in order to lay her little blonde head down. Or how she has to pick out the "right" silverware to eat from. The list goes on and on...

I never want to forget these moments with her. 

For the past three-and-a-half years, Emmalyn has been my life—my “best girl,” as I say to her. And in five weeks, her world will be flipped upside down and she will have to share that title. A part of me is sad for her--to have to give up a part of her time with me to share with her little sister. Some days I'm just not ready. Then there's the other part of me who couldn't be more ecstatic to witness my two girls become the best of friends, each other's maid of honors, and partners in crime (even if that involves lying to me and sneaking behind my back)!


I know she's a happy child and her love-tank is filled. This is only the beginning of some pretty amazing memories being made, so I know I shouldn't feel guilty. I know it. I do. But I can't help it. I find myself terribly teary-eyed throughout the day (damn hormones!) over how incredible my little girl is. 

She's the light in my life; what makes my world so perfect. She's the greatest gift I've ever been given, and I love her more than anything else in the world.

loyally,
katie


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bumpdate: 34 Weeks ~ Baby #2

{34 weeks with a baby gator... how about them apples?!}
How far along: 34 weeks

Symptoms: heartburn, indigestion, itchy skin, major hip/groin pain, tired, back pain

Total weight gain: 17lbs. and counting...?

Gender: girl :)

Movement:
Major jabs to the bladder

Sleep:
It's getting harder to stay asleep longer, and to find a comfortable position

Cravings & Aversions:
  I smelled someone chewing Big Red gum the other day and wanted some so bad! I don't know where that came from because I haven't had that gum since I was a kid! Ha! I didn't find any at the grocery store today--darnit! The smell of the seafood section at the grocery store makes me want to run in the other direction--gag!

Funny Moments:  When asked about how she felt about her little sister Emmalyn said, "We will be the best girls ever... The baby is in mommy's belly and is coming in a few minutes."

Not So Funny Moments: Almost every time I sneeze or cough....

Nesting: It's interesting, and also frustrating, that one day I will have the energy to "nest" and the next I won't. 

Best Moments This Week:  Having my in-laws visit us and letting The Hubs and I sleep in. While my body will not let me sleep past 7am anymore, it was still nice to wake up to a quiet house while they took Emmy out for breakfast. (Thank you!!)

What I Miss:
  Running around after Emmy with ease

Looking Forward To:
  Seeing Emmy become a big sister!

loyally,
katie

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Friday, April 4, 2014

How to Have a Successful Family/Maternity Shoot

Here are my top eight tips on how to have a successful family/maternity shoot:



8. Have your photographer wear a monkey on her head to capture your three year-old's attention

7. Clone your photographer or sneak her a magical drink to grow an extra set of arms

6. Hire a retired Olympic runner to chase after your wild free-spirited child

5. Bribe! Bribe! Bribe! said free-spirited child with cookies and/or lollipops

4. Allow child to eat sand just so you can sneak in a pretty picture with your husband

3. Imagine the worst possible scenario, like your child throwing The World's Greatest Tantrum, then be pleasantly surprised when that actually doesn't happen

2. Pray

1. Just let it be


Does this look like the face of a child who would run wild and free??
 ^ ^ I'm seriously obsessed ^^


Maternity pictures were so much easier the first time around, but I'll admit they're so much sweeter the second time around, being able to include "The Big Sister." 

Have you gotten maternity/family pictures taken? What tips would you add?

loyally,
katie

Thank you to Danielle Wilkinson Photography... Can't wait until the newborn shots!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

It Ain't Easy


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This whole being-eight-months-pregnant-with-a-three-year-old-thing is no joke! It is rough & tough business! It makes my first pregnancy look like a walk in the park. Really, it was, until about the last month when sleeping was super uncomfortable. 

There are some days when I let Emmalyn watch three hours of Peter Rabbit, just so I can close my eyes on the sofa. And then of course I feel completely shitty for not playing with her instead. But she doesn’t seem to mind. The majority of the time, she’s quite content snuggling up against me. It’s when she starts kicking the dog in the face that I know she’s reached her limit of patience, and it’s time to get my big ‘ole belly up off the sofa. There are days where I feel like I’m Super Mom, schlepping Emmalyn with me to the grocery store and craft store, and even to the park for an hour... all before lunchtime. Then there are days I realize I haven’t even brushed my teeth until I hear my husband pulling into the driveway. But the important thing is Emmalyn and I don’t miss a meal, and we are showered every night.



There are days when pregnancy really kicks my butt: Heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, sciatic nerve pain, nausea, headache, piercing jabs to my ribs... all mixed together and tied with a bow. It can really bring a girl down. It’s heartbreaking to listen to Emmalyn cry for me to pick her up. Some days I feel strong, and don’t mind; others, it’s just physically too much on my back. It’s hard to tell her our tea party has to be on the sofa and not her blanket that she prettily laid out on the floor because "it’s just too hard for Mommy to sit on the floor." It’s hard because she’s three—still my baby—and she doesn’t get it.



Every day is different. Some days I can barely find enough energy to keep my eyes opened (even with caffeine), while other days I’m swimming laps at the gym (albeit, rare). Some days I spend hours crafting for the baby’s room, while others I spend watching hours of television on the sofa. But like I said, every day is different. I never know what cards I'll be dealt with in the morning. I’ve got to let go of the guilt of not fulfilling everything I want to get done on my list, and coming up short of who I want to be that day. You'd think I could cut myself some slack--after all, I'm growing a human being for goodness sake! It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s pretty spectacular. 

Only 53 more days to go...
loyally,
katie

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bumpdate: 32 Weeks ~ Baby #2


 {Emmalyn playing around with the baby bump at the maternity store--haha! She didn't want to part with it either.}

How far along: 32 weeks. 8 more to go, yo!

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, sciatic nerve pain (which I didn't get with the first pregnancy), heart burn, indigestion, acid reflux, headaches, shortness of breath. Oh the price you pay for a precious little life. Totally annoying, but totally worth it!

Maternity Clothes: Yup. Just bought a new dress for our family pictures next weekend.

Gender: girl!

Movement: Tons. Over the last few weeks, the baby has started getting the hiccups. She loves to do her biggest and best Olympic gymnastics moves while I'm trying to go to sleep.

Sleep: See above. Sleep is alright. I wake up about every couple of hours, but can go back to sleep fairly easily.

Cravings & Aversions:
Craving just a bite or two of mint chocolate chip ice cream--but the white ice cream kind, not the green kind. I'm very particular about it :)

Not So Funny Moments: Handling three year-old tantrums when you're also permanently carrying a bowling ball across your midsection, 24/7. Let's just say there's been a lot of tears lately. On both ends... Three year-olds and pregnancy hormones make for a great combination, my friends.

Nesting: My parents were in town last week so we got the crib together, and the furniture in Baby's room rearranged. My mom and I washed all of Emmalyn's old baby clothes and sorted them by size. It was fun looking through all the little clothes again. Oh! & her rug arrived--I'm in love!

Best Moments This Week
: The Hubs no longer working nights! yayyyyy

What I Miss: Walking for long periods of time without feeling like I need to rest and sit down.

Looking Forward To:
Figuring out Baby Girl's middle name. We are stumped. Again. Emmalyn doesn't understand the concept of having a middle name (even though she knows her own) because every time we talk about it in front of her, she yells, "NOOO!" & then tells us, "It's JUST {insert Lil Sis' name here}."

loyally,
katie

Have you heard?
Loyal, Loving, & Learning is now on Facebook!


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bumpdate: 30 Weeks ~ Baby #2

How far along: 30 weeks (yesterday)... The 10-week countdown has begun! Yay!

Symptoms: heartburn, indigestion, itchy skin, major hip/groin pain, tired

Total weight gain: 17lbs.

Gender: Bows before bros

Movement:
I can literally feel the shape of her head poking into my ribs. It's crazy... & I love it!

Sleep:
Besides having to get up to pee every other hour, not too bad.

Cravings & Aversions:
I was totally craving Twizzlers, but by the time I got home from the store, I didn't want them anymore.

Funny Moments: I asked Emmalyn what she was going to teach her little sister and she said, “I'm going to teach {Lil Sis} how to do rolls and the Slinky.”

Not So Funny Moments: Trying to tame a three year-old throwing a tantrum (say that 5 times fast!) at the park when I didn't have a pocket for my phone and we rode her tricycle there. It was physically exhausting.

Nesting: I cleared out more toys from the playroom/new baby's room, and rearranged the guest bed. I put up her monogram initial on the wall, too!

Best Moments This Week: Whenever Emmalyn talked about being a big sister.

What I Miss:
Being able to get up off the floor without a crane.

Looking Forward To:
My parents coming in town this weekend to help out with All!Things!Baby! Hoping to get the crib set up and Emmalyn's old baby clothes out from the attic and washed.

loyally,
katie

** For some reason my computer doesn't want to upload a picture right now, so if you're curious about the "bump" find me on Instagram: @katievanbrunt
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Be Still My Soul

The days are long, but the years are short.

When I met my husband in college, I knew his dream was to be a doctor. My dream has always been to be a stay-at-home-mom. As our relationship deepened, we would sometimes reminisce about what our life would be like together. But no one can ever truly predict that. Throughout the years, people have volunteered their opinions and shared their experiences with us, whether they were welcomed or not. Those who had gone down the path before us, both medical and military, told us these would be some of the toughest times of our lives. They told us I would be home alone with the kids, while my husband works 13+ hours a day, six days a week. That sometimes he will leave before we're awake, and come home after we've gone to bed.


They were right.

For several weeks now, this has been our life.


But my husband is my hero. He amazes me. Every. Single. Day. I couldn't do what he does. He works so hard for our little family. He is out of the house before the sun is even thinking about rising, and if we're lucky he comes home right after Emmalyn's bath. My heart nearly bursts out of my chest from the ecstatic look on her face when she hears his car rolling into the driveway. She rushes to the door shouting, "Daddy! Daddy!" And proceeds to tell him something completely random, usually about her day.  He scoops her up into his arms and my heart is full. 

My whole world is standing right in front of me.

The days are long, but the years are short.


I may have just been put through the ringer with the temper tantrum of the season, but in that moment, seeing my two favorite people, my soul is still.

I am blessed.


Just as the waves of the sea roll in, so do the tough days. But the waves have a funny way of always washing away, as do the bad days. They leave behind colorful shells and stones--reminders that it's the little things in life that make it so beautiful. 

loyally,
katie

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