Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To the Beach!



A couple of weeks ago I was on Facebook commenting on a friend's SUP picture when she responded "What are you doing tomorrow?" At exactly that same moment my phoned dinged and in came a message from another friend asking "Want to go to the beach tomorrow?" I knew these two friends went to the beach together and I had to laugh at their timing.  And say YES! of course.

The next morning I got up early to run to the store before Collin headed out the door to work to get some supplies for lunch and snacks.  I came home, packed us up and thrust my fist into the air as I said to the boys: To the Beach! (which, of course, was answered by cheers and hoots and hollers.)

I've been so stressed out lately with this pregnancy and the thought of having to be on bed rest and not getting all the things done.  You know all those things, right?  Because I'm afraid I'm already in nesting mode and I want all of these rooms cleaned and decorated before October (October 9th is my own personal goal date. Ideally, obviously, I'd like to go longer.)

A day in the sun and sand was exactly what we all needed.  The boys had a ball jumping off of the dock. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim.  They did this for, literally, hours.  

While I'm not a big swimmer, I even got in the water to help Nolan jump off the dock and ENJOYED IT.  My worries and stressers seemed to drift away with each lapping wave and I'm so grateful for the invite.  Thank you, Becky & Meg, this was one of my favorite days this summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Big Camping Trip

At the beginning of the summer we asked each one of the boys to tell us one thing they'd like to do this summer.  Keaton picked going on a picnic and Hutt picked camping. To be honest, I don't remember what Nolan picked - sorry 3rd child!!

Two weekends ago we fulfilled Hutton's summer wish. In the week leading up to our Big Camping Trip the boys were crazy excited! It's all they talked about all week and each day they'd come home from Busha's with a list of items they needed to pack or ideas of activities they were going to entertain themselves with or treats (popcorn and licorice, supplied by Papa).  

When the big day finally arrived Keaton was up early getting all of his things ready.  And if you know Keaton then you know when I say all of his things I mean ALL OF HIS THINGS. This child is a....pack rat might be a nice term.  He has things, is what I'm saying.  Lots of things.

"Mom, I'm ready to go." He told me bright and early. 

"I'm going to drive my tractor." And sure enough there was his tractor sitting in the garage with a purple winter sled attached and packed, all ready to go.  

"I've got my headlamp and a water bottle, a soccer ball - in case we want to play soccer -, a baseball and all of our gloves and bats, because we might want to play baseball while we are there. And Jingle. Jingle is coming too. Oh, and I brought a tarp to cover my tractor in case it rains. And some paving blocks to hold the tarp down."

He was ready alright, and by the sounds of it we were headed to a neighboring state.

In actuality.....we were headed to the backyard:

They had a blast though.  We cooked hamburgers over the fire for dinner on Saturday night then had a bonfire at the neighbors before retiring to bed. On Sunday morning we got up to have breakfast over the fire before church.  Keaton insisted on NOT coming in the house for the weekend. We were CAMPING.

For Collin and I it was most definitely a test run. We lost all of our camping gear in the fire and while we've repurchased some of it we needed to see what else was a necessity before we ventured out for a weekend of real camping.  The boys didn't care, they were just excited to be sleeping outside in a tent. 

I'm not sure that "real" trip will happen this summer, pregnancy sleeping is already uncomfortable enough without the added bonus of sleeping on a blow-up mattress. I should point out that by "we" what I really mean is Collin and the two big boys slept outside in the tent.  Nolan was planning to but when it came time to shut off the flashlights and zip up for the night he came scurrying back to me: "Me sleep with you, Mom." But soon, soon enough that trip will happen, and to be perfectly honest I think I'm just as excited about it as they are.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 22 Weeks

22 weeks

I thought I was waaaaay behind in writing this first Baby Update post, I mean, dude, I'm already 22 weeks.....but then I looked back at Nolan's baby posts and realized, I'm RIGHT ON SCHEDULE! Woo!!  Fist Bump!

Okay, *clap clap* let's just dig right in to the good 'ol bullet pointed list, shall we?  

  • I think everyone knows this by now but this baby was conceived right on the heels of a miscarriage, which from the get-go has made this pregnancy that much more wonderful and that much more frightening.  Shortly after finding out that we were expecting again I remember frantically asking a friend, "what do I call this baby? Baby Kono IV or Baby Kono V??? " And she calmly told me, "you'll know when the time is right." And she was right. While technically our 4th child is in heaven with Jesus I now only think of that baby as Job, the name we chose for him (or her, we don't actually know). As we've progressed through this pregnancy it felt right to refer to this baby as Baby Kono IV.
  • And before I go any further, Baby Kono IV is a......
Ahhh! That's right! IT'S A GIRL!!!  
(full gender reveal post to come, because I need to properly document that even if it is late)
  • Okay, back to our list.....
  • Where do I even start???  From the beginning....the first trimester can be summed up in three words: That. Was. Terrible.  
  • I know, I'm supposed to be grateful and joyful and all of those good things. And I was, I was very grateful (maybe not so much joyful) but I was also miserable.  Miserable. To even pretend that this pregnancy has been enjoyable up to this point would be a flat out lie.  Pure exhaustion. Acid Reflux. All day nausea. Week 6 to Week 14 were down right awful.  Week 14 to Week 16 were much better but the acid reflux was still a killer. Since Week 16 I have been getting progressively better and can say I am now in the enjoyable part of pregnancy; unless I over exert myself (every weekend) or have acid reflux flare ups. 
  • All of this is pretty on par with my previous pregnancies with the exception of the acid reflux, I don't remember having that in the first trimester with the boys.  
  • I felt her kick for the first time at 16 weeks, just the tiniest little flutter, and saw her kick for the first time at about 20 weeks.  Keaton has also felt her kick but the other two boys are too busy for sitting still that long.  Sadly, I don't think Collin has felt her kick yet either, maybe he has, my brain is pretty much mush these days.
  • Weight-gain wise I'm only up 2-3 pounds so far, which is much less than my previous pregnancies (I was up 13 with Nolan at this point) but that's simply because I weighed A HECK OF A LOT more starting out.
  • I started my progesterone shots at 19 weeks and have been seeing both my regular OB as well as a high-risk maternal/fetal health doctor this time around.  I'm high risk because of my age but seeing the perinatologist because of my history of pre-term delivery.  I've been seeing him since 16 weeks when we had out first ultrasound and he said he wanted to see me every three weeks for the next six weeks (so, to uncomplicate that...apts with him were at 16 weeks, 19 weeks, and 22 weeks - this past Monday). The beef of my baby updates will definitely come from these appointments. My regular OB appointments feel pretty much like a formality and take, literally, 5 minutes.  Blood pressure. Heart rate. Fundal height. Any questions? Good, you're on auto pilot, see you in 4 weeks.  Sometimes I like to make random conversation just so I feel like I get my money's worth.  Haha. Just Kidding. Sort of.
  • Before I delve into the results of those multiple ultrasounds here's just a couple of pictures from them:
16 weeks
Est. weight 6 oz

19 weeks
Est. weight 10 oz

22 weeks
Est. weight 1 lb
  • Okay, so, here's the deal...first and foremost, baby looks good.  Great, even.  Fluid level is good. There is no cause for concern as far as she goes.
  • My cervix, on the other hand, is not cooperating. Every ultrasound begins with a measurement of my cervix, results of which have been:
16 weeks - 3.9 cm
19 weeks - 3.5 cm
22 weeks - 3.0 cm 
(and when he put pressure on it, it was down to 2.5 cm this week.)
  • This is....not great news.  We're not at freak-out mode yet but it is concerning.  I will now be going back every week for the next four weeks to keep a closer eye on things.  When I asked how short it can get my doctor said we don't want it any shorter than 2.5 cm. I asked if the pace can slow (I'm on track to hit that in 3 weeks, at 25 weeks along) he said yes, it can. So, my task right now is to stay well hydrated and not be over doing it.
  • What will happen if it continues to shorten?  Honestly, I don't know.  People have asked if I'll be put on bed rest or have a cerclage. None of this has been discussed at this point. I probably should have asked the question (and I probably will if we see further shortening next week) but to be honest, I'm scared of the answer.  Any prayers you can spare, I'd appreciate them.  
  • More to come.....

P.S. a little online research - bad idea, don't ever do this! - tells me that a cerclage can be performed up to week 24 if the cervix is 2.5 cm or shorter by this time (2.5 cm/25 mm seems to be the magical number). After week 24 it is not generally done due to the risk of triggering preterm labor. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

4th of July Traditions

"What's a tradition, Dad?" One of the boys asked Collin just a week or two ago.  With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching it wasn't hard for him to explain.

Parade ~ Snowshoe Baseball ~ Fireworks

These have become our 4th of July traditions.

We had a perfect spot at the parade this year (thanks to Collin, who woke up and made it downtown a little after 6 am to put out our lawn chairs and sleeping bag while the rest of us continued to snooze) right under a tree that gave us just enough shade and right in front of my favorite coffee shop. Mmmmm, iced caramel macchiato (decaf, this year). And once again it was a huge hit with the boys....well, all of us, really....we came home with a bag full of candy, icees, popcorn, bottles of water, and a Frisbee. 

Our plan was to come home, eat lunch, and have the boys nap before heading to mass and then snowshoe baseball.  Ha!  Those were good plans.  

Instead we came home, the boys got to shoot the BB gun, ate lunch, went swimming, raced home to make it back into town in time for church (with two sleepers in tow), came back home to change, went fishing, headed to snowshoe baseball where we picked up dinner and ice cream before walking down to the park, watched snowshoe baseball from our shoulders (the boys), watched fireworks, headed home, collapsed into bed.  At least I did, that was an exhausting day.  But awesome.  Totally exhausting and awesome.  The 4th of July is quickly becoming one of my very favorite holidays (probably because of the traditions).


The fireworks were also fantastic again this year. Unfortunately my phone ran out of memory before I could capture any but Collin did get this video of Nolan.  He was getting a little squirrely after the game while waited for the show to begin, using his glow stick flag as an ax (the night before he called it a sword so, improvement?), but as soon as that first boom went off he snapped to attention.  Of course we didn't have the video ready for that but I still love his little "whoa!" about half way through this.

The rest of the weekend we spent boating, fishing, more swimming, playing with cousins, lighting sparklers, going on a boat parade, target practicing, building steps down to the lake, and jumping on the trampoline.  It was a good, good weekend.

When we got home last night we asked the boys what part was their favorite:

Keaton - catching a 15 3/4 inch bass, his biggest fish yet.  He could not stop talking about this the rest of the weekend, he is so excited about that fish.

Hutton - fireworks.

Nolan - Nolan sat and thought about this for awhile..."Me favorite part...."  and then he'd pause and we'd wait and his brothers would interject with one or more activity from the weekend..."me favorite part....." he finally told us it was "going home" which is kind of adorable but also a lie. As we were packing up he asked me "where we going, mom?" and when I said we were getting ready to go home he said "me no wanna go home."  

I hear ya kiddo, me no wanna go home either.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Secret to Share.....

That's right! This fall our family is growing from 5 to 6 and we couldn't be more excited!

I've been meaning to let you all in on this little secret we've been keeping but...well...I've been feeling MISERABLE since I hit the six week mark and making it though the day was all that has been on the agenda lately.  I'll be 15 weeks this Friday and I *think* it is safe to say that the first trimester morning (all day) sickness if finally waning.  Although I say that knowing full well that I threw up my entire lunch this afternoon (you're welcome for that tidbit, btw).

Our official due date is Friday, November 20th and as soon as those words came out of the ultrasound techs mouth Collin looked at me and said: This baby better come early! That's right, Baby Kono 4 is due on the day before opening deer season, a/k/a the holiest day of the year in Wisconsin.

While I will be seeing a perinatologist this time and it's possible he might be able to work some magic to keep this kiddo in longer, my guess is that Collin likely has nothing to worry about.  In my head I'm pretty much expecting an October babe.

More to come, including all the fun first trimester misery (yay!), but for now I'm just so happy to let you all in our secret....we're having a baby!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Catching Leprechauns

"Next year, I'm sleeping on the couch!" Keaton declared after checking his leprechaun trap yesterday morning.  

Another St. Patrick's Day gone and still no leprechaun to show for it.  I tried to remind him we did get one, the gold coins are proof; they are just sneaky buggers and he got away, again

Our traps this year were last minute contraptions.  The boys used the book The Night Before St. Patrick's Day on, literally, the night before St. Patrick's Day (and past bed time!) to come up with some simple little traps.  Keaton and Hutton each used an empty Keurig coffee box container, taped some money on top and made a ladder out of tinker toys while Nolan used an empty hot chocolate box, covered it with a tissue and lined it with Skittles (thinking that the leprechaun would jump up to get the rainbow and then fall in the box, getting trapped.) They each caught something, or someone, but didn't trap the leprechaun.  

They did appreciate the chocolate coins though; I've been finding wrappers all over the house ever since.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Over the past 8 Weeks

Wow! Well, there went two months.  The last time I was on here we were in the dead of winter. Today I look out my office window and our front lawn is more green than white.  Although, in all fairness this only happened over the last two days.  We spent Saturday romping in the snow, building a snowman, and pulling the kids around the yard on the toboggan.

So much has happened over the last eight weeks, good and bad, that I thought I'd catch you all up to speed with a good ol' bullet pointed list.

  • Let's see....when I left we were heading off to a weekend at the water park (good guessing, btw). We went to the Wilderness with our neighbors and had a blast. They do this every year and invited us along, we'll definitely be going back next year.  Although next year we'll go for two nights.  We were trying to save some money but one night just didn't feel like enough. Saturday morning after we checked out of our room we headed back in for one last swim - not only was it totally crowded but we had to also keep our clean clothes dry and it was just very stressful for me.  Then, when I went to change into my dry clothes I realized I forgot to pack myself underwear!!  I stood outside the humid dressing room in full winter gear and was not very pleasant when Collin came out with the two older boys; "I forgot underwear," I complained.  He looked at me and smiled; "You did?  So did I!!"  Soulmates, I tell ya.  
  • My cousin and her friend came to visit us for a weekend and we took them to a little restaurant down the road in this tiny little down and I think they might have been in culture shock but they were good sports (it helped that the pancakes were as big as their heads!) The boys loved playing with them and we made tin foil icicles and after the boys went to bed the three of us stayed up late watching movies.  

  • A friend invited me to join a Mom's group that meets every other Monday night; we're doing the Danielle Bean Momnipotent Study. This has been, hands down, one of the highlights of my year so far.  Meeting new friends and feeling comfortable enough to open up about the struggles that we all face in motherhood....it has been just amazing. (Guess what, other mother's have a hard time keeping their house clean too!  It doesn't make you a bad person!!  Who would have known??!!)
  • We hired a real, live baby sitter and went on a date!! Out to dinner with friends and then to the movie American Sniper.  Six years of parenting and this was our first babysitter outside of Grandmas/Grandpas/Aunts and Uncles.  The boys loved her and we can't wait to do it again!
  • Had Frozen Pizza Night with our neighbors.  Frozen Pizza Night is the best kind of night.  Here's what you do: get two frozen pizzas and some beer/wine. Your neighbors bring over two frozen pizzas and some beer/wine.  Cook pizzas, feed children, and then eat and drink until you regret it.  There are no expectations other then that you'll probably eat too much frozen pizza.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to partake in the wine because I had a sneaking suspicion I might be pregnant.
  • Two days later, find out we are expecting Baby Kono #4!!!  We were hoping at some point the timing would be right to add to our family.  The past few years have been....tough, for various reasons and it never felt like the right time to "try" to make that choice.  But when God tells you it's time, it's time.  We were elated!  
  • Maia chewed up our entryway rug and about 10 days later got really, really sick because a good 12-15 inches of it was stuck in her stomach.  I took her to the vet where they did an x-ray that indicated a possible blockage in her intestine and, because it was late in the afternoon, we were immediately sent to an Animal Rescue Center about an hour away. She was getting worse and worse by the minute and when we got there the vet got her on fluids right away and then took her straight back to surgery.  The good news was most of the rug was still in her stomach and the surgeon was able to pull it all out through her stomach without cutting into her intestine. Overall the surgery went as well as we could hope and she was back home with us three days later - with a nice lovely vet bill.  She cost more than birthing 2 out of 3 of our kids! But, she's doing great now.  Looking at her and her energy levels now I don't think you can even tell she had major surgery a month ago.
  • The boys decided on pencil arrows as their Valentines this year.  It required a little more work from Collin and I then I had initially hoped but they sat down and wrote out all of the cards and picked the colors for each of their classmates.  It was fun to watch them think of each kid on their list and decide what color combination they would like best.
  • On February 10th we lost Baby Kono #4. I don't really know how to put a miscarriage into words other than to say it was heartbreaking.  I felt like I could literally feel my heart shatter inside my body.  It has made for a very tough month filled with sadness and anger and doubts and questioning.  It is much of the reason why I have not been here, or anywhere on the internet, lately. When you experience tragedy and loss your whole world stops and it's difficult to watch everyone else's keep spinning.  I learned this after the fire and I relearned it again now.  I'm afraid my silence has hurt people and I never meant for that to happen but I knew it was best for me if I stayed away for a bit.  I needed space.  I needed to think things through. I think I can honestly say I am feeling better now. The rawness of the emotions are better, it's all still painful, but it's better. I have more writing I plan to do on this subject but for the most part that will likely take place over on The Sunlit Path.  I haven't been able to bring myself to put pencil to paper just yet, but I hope that time will come.
  • Busha and Papa graciously watched the boys for us on Valentine's Day so Collin and I could attend a Marriage Retreat put together by one of the woman from the Momnipotent group at a nearby church. We had mass and then listened to a local couple (the wife is also in our group) speak about marriage and family.  It was so wonderful; listening to Gary and Rose speak was so inspiring to us - I basically want to be them when we grow up :)  Afterwards we all went to lunch and it was just a really, really great morning - a perfect way to celebrate St. Valentine.
  • I went on my very first field trip with one of the boys!  One of the most difficult things about being a working parent is not being able to attend these types of things.  Hutt's 4-K class went to the Planetarium and he sat with me on the bus and held my hand and snuggled in when they turned out the lights.  I'm so glad I got this chance to go with him.
  • We had ANOTHER Frozen Pizza Night with the neighbors.  I should point out that FPN is a winter activity but this coming weekend these nights will once again take place outside, around the fire.  Yay Spring!!
  • We went and saw a farm!  It was a small hobby farm and we knew it would require a lot of work but we were hopeful.  Hahaha.  I'm pretty sure the words our realtor/friend said to us were "you guys would be miserable here!" Once we got on the land and inside the barn and in the house there, unfortunately, weren't many (any?) positive aspects about the place.  It was a bit depressing but it's opened our mind to other Alternative Futures - including staying right where we are and starting our little farm here.  
  • We hosted another Essential Oil class at our house.  I really enjoy having ladies (and gents! we had our first gent this time!) over to talk EO's.  They have become a big part of our life and I love sharing our story and hearing everyone else's.
  • My brother and his family came for the oil class and then spent the weekend with us.  My parent's came up on Saturday and we spent the day pulling the kids around on the toboggan, having snowball fights, and building a snowman.  The best damn snowman ever, to be honest; complete with girl scout thin mint cookies for his eyes and buttons and a beef jerky smile.  It was a fabulous weekend with family and something we need to do more often.  My favorite part was when my little niece came up to me with big brown eyes and asked, "Auntie Kate, can we stay another night?"  Oh my gosh, heart. melt.
Annnnd, there you have it! You're all caught up!! Hope you guys are all doing well and enjoying the warmer weather.  I had no idea how ready I was for Spring but yesterday Maia and I took a walk and it was hard to force myself to come back inside. With the snow melting we are able to see, once again, all the work we have to do in our yard and I think we're all ready to get out there and get going. Bring it on, Spring!