12 weeks, 1 day

Well, it is Sunday, February 28th – the day that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. I am finally 12 weeks!! Don’t ask me why it is such a big deal, I’ve just felt very nervous off-and-on for the past 8 weeks since I’ve known I was pregnant. Pregnancy in general is a time of immense vulnerability and heightened awareness of everything that can go wrong, but the early days are especially nerve-wracking (and even more so when it’s your first ride on the Preggo Express). Being the way that I am, I couldn’t keep the news from family and some friends…I HAD to tell someone (lots of someones). And then when I was about 6 or 7 weeks, I figured there was no place for fear and I might as well go ahead and tell it on Facebook. My boss knew, as well. I think I told people more because I wanted them to understand if something…went wrong. I’d rather have people know and understand why I might act differently or call in to work for a few days or just generally withdraw a bit to deal with the grief that something like that would cause. Thankfully, we’ve been very blessed and very lucky and it seems like this pregnancy is progressing without any of the things I’d feared. In fact, I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for that.

So, even though the first trimester does not *technically* end until the end of next (the 13th) week, the risk of anything bad happening is much reduced now, and I feel like I can finally breathe a little and enjoy this amazing thing that is really, truly happening.

This weekend was amazing – we spent the whole thing at the lakehouse in Manning with my mom and dad, my brother and his son Wesley, and my brother and his wife’s friend, Atlas. It was so nice having a big crowd there. My favorite weekends at the lakehouse are when most, and preferably ALL of the beds are full and the house is bubbling over with energy and warmth. I especially enjoy cooking when big groups are there. I got to do plenty of that this weekend, including introducing my brother to my new “bacon-dripping mashed potatoes.” It’s a recipe only a preggo or Paula Deen would come up with, and they were a hit.

I also got some amazing quality time in with my precious little nephew Wesley. Wes is going to turn four years old on April 24th, and it is beyond me how these past four years have passed in the blink of an eye. Jon and I both took some really helpful and memorable lessons away from this weekend with Wesley. For one thing, I often imagine dealing with a baby and think, “Well, there’s the sleep deprivation, but I feel like I can handle it just fine.” But then I think of a three- or four-year old and I get a bit more nervous. What if they don’t like me? What if I can’t make them listen? What if they won’t eat anything but Starburst and Cheetos?

Well, this weekend with Wes helped us both feel a bit more at ease with our future roles as parents of not just a baby, but a toddler – a whole different ball game. We’re lucky Jake & Leigha hand the little guy over for us to get some “training time” in. What we learned? Well, for starters you have to be able to balance discipline with fun. At the end of the day, it’s a fine line to show young kids that you are there to nurture and love them, teach them and train them – but also to keep them aware that you’re the adult. Another lesson learned? They don’t speak our language…the way adults say things has to be broken down so that little kids can process it and put it into practice. That doesn’t have to mean “baby talk,” it just means that they might not process our sarcasm or colloquialisms and instead take them as, well…literalisms. Not always a good thing (haha)! Finally, we learned that tiny butts require pretty thorough wiping or else…they itch. Bad. That one really came in handy, especially when we saw Wes scraping his butt along the carpet like a puppy dog. Poor little guy!! I guess we have a lot to learn!

Probably the sweetest thing this weekend, was seeing Wes process and understand the idea that there’s a baby growing in my belly right now. I’d rather prime him for the idea than have him see me getting bigger (or “fat,” as many children think if they don’t know what is going on) this summer and wonder why. I don’t want to confuse the little guy, you know? So I explained everything to him, and he was actually really into it! Mom happened to have a lime and a grapefruit on hand, so when he asked “How tall is he?” (about the baby), I showed him the lime.

And then – and this was pretty much hilarious – we came up with the idea to put a paper “diaper” on the grapefruit and drew a face on it and Wes carried it around and called it “baby.” It was cheesy and goofy, but sooooooo cute!! It really made me excited – and not scared, as I had previously been – for the steps our family will hopefully take down the road when we add more children to our brood. Now Jon and I feel like we’re becoming more equipped every day for the various stages that are hopefully to come: new baby days (and nights), growing up, toddler-hood, and eventually adding perhaps a 2nd, 3rd, or (whew!) 4th kiddo to our bunch.

I really just couldn’t be more thankful for the few wonderful days I got with my precious family this weekend. Mom even got me some new maternity clothes, which I’m wearing one of the shirts today. So cute – and COMFY!! Love ’em!! What a perfect early birthday present!!

It’s always easy to forget what’s important in life, to get caught in the shuffle of things. But my family always brings me back to center and refocuses me on the task ahead – that is, living and living well. God reminds me constantly how blessed I was, before I was even born and before I even was able to truly appreciate it. Until next time…peace & love!


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