It Ain’t Easy


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…

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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}.”

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

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

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.

** 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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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. 
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DIY: Lenten Prayer “Treasure” Box

As a Jewish mom raising a Catholic daughter, teaching her about the Lenten season can be tricky. There’s a lot of effort and research on my end—to make sure she (make that, WE both!) properly understands the season.

I want to teach her that it’s a time to bring us closer to God. 

It’s a time to let go of materialistic things, like toys and television—things that bring us happiness only temporarily. 
It’s a time to refocus our hearts on prayer and reflection, and our relationship with God.

I want to inspire her to be better, not require her to give up television. At three years old I don’t think she can comprehend that giving up television for forty days (Oh–but except for Sundays, because that’s a day of celebration) is a sacrifice for God. It just doesn’t seem very age-appropriate, in my opinion. I could just hear her now: God doesn’t want me watching Doc McStuffins… That’s not the point I’m trying to make. 

Instead, I want to inspire her to make good choices in life.

Without over-stimulating her, (and overwhelming myself with high expectations), I’ve decided to keep it simple. Emmalyn enjoys partaking in crafts–especially those that include scissors, paint, and glue. Together, we created a: Lenten Prayer “Treasure” Box. 

I’ve seen something similar done for older children, where they write down a prayer request and put it in a box (whether it’s an old shoe box or mini-mailbox). Seeing as Emmalyn cannot write yet, but is absolutely capable of praying for people (as she demonstrates on her own every evening either at dinner or bedtime), I’m going to have her cut out pictures of people, or help her draw them, then transcribe her very own personal prayer onto a piece of paper. Most of the time she’s rather specific in her prayers so it should be very interesting and entertaining to see what she comes up with. Then, she will put them in her very own Lenten Prayer Treasure Box. 
**   **   **
The steps to creating our Lenten Prayer “Treasure” Box were quite simple.
Step One: Grab a cute kid.

Step Two: Pick out a box big enough to hold approximately forty strips of paper/pictures.
We got our box at Michael’s Crafts.I believe it was $10.
Step Three: Let her have at it! 
As someone who loves crafting myself, I had to sit on my hands! This wasn’t my project–but Emmalyn’s. Oh, and that mini-treasure box you see? It was the original one she picked out, but obviously not big enough; therefore, we ended up with two treasure boxes.
Step Four: Add stickers!
The paint dries pretty quickly, but we still waited until the next day to add stickers to it. Again, I kept my mouth closed when Emmalyn picked out her own stickers at the craft store. She picked cupcakes and princess castles. They’re felt and super sticky on the backside. I thought I was going to have to reglue them after she went to bed, but seriously, those suckers aren’t coming off!
Step Five: Voila! Easy enough, right?!
My hope is to have her do one prayer every day, but I’m not going to fret if we miss a day every now and again. The point isn’t to have her do it for forty days, but rather to get her thinking about doing good for others, the way Jesus did for her. 
I want her to practice being grateful, while also strengthening her relationship with God.
–>> What are you plans for Lent? Do you have a children’s activity up your sleeve? If so, I’d love to hear/see about it! Leave me a link in the comments if you have one. –>>
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