Time Flies

It’s 11pm and I’m doing that thing where I stay up too late and then look through old pictures from when the girls were two and one and it makes me emotional. The time is going too quickly. Oliver is suddenly seven months old and I just want time to stop. But it won’t. Time stops for no one and no thing. Babies grow.

If I really think about why I don’t blog more often right now.. that is my reason. Babies grow. I am busy doing my best to drink it all in.. to hug and kiss and smile and nurse and sing love over all the little Andrews babes, because they just keep growing. Lucy will be five next month and I am so not ready for that. It just makes me ache for all the times I’ve been overtired and taken it out on her or missed out on some gorgeous thing she was doing because I was too busy being selfish in some way. Some of that is just part of life. We do our very best as parents and of course we love our children but we cannot realistically be present and “on” every moment of the day. We are only human. I trust that God sees my small sacrifices and that He is the one who keeps filling my heart to bursting with all their sweetness.

Like how Oliver lights up like a Christmas tree every single time I walk into the room. Like I am the only girl in his world. The way Abigail keeps asking me at nap time to stay with her and says, “mama, would you please tickle my arm?” and sweet Lucy, always asking when we can go on a date, “just us two girls”..  So all I have to offer here is love. Me loving my kids imperfectly. Me loving my husband imperfectly. Thankfully, my God is perfect. He is the one who makes right all of my wrongs. He is the enough for all of my not-enoughs. And wow, am I thankful every single second for that.

DSCF2048 DSCF2044 DSCF2029 DSCF2028We’ve signed the girls up for their first round of swimming lessons and they start this coming Monday. I cannot wait to see them in the pool and take about five hundred pictures!! I hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as we are. Bless you!

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Spring Days

This last month has been kind to us. Lots of wonderful things have happened including welcoming my sister home from Niagara! We were all so happy to have her home again, especially the girls. I turned 29 which I haven’t decided if I am happy about. It isn’t the 29 that is bothering me. I think it is the looming 30 that unsettles me. In the end I had a great extended birthday/mothers day weekend. Next week Oliver will be five months old! I cannot say where the time has gone but our family is in a really good place right now. The kids are growing so fast and so beautifully and I am just thankful, thankful, thankful each day that I get to be here to witness it. Here is a bit of our days lately between home and school mornings and a few from a lobster feast at my mom’s on Mother’s Day.

DSCF1922 DSCF1917 DSCF1912 DSCF1911 DSCF1900 DSCF1903 DSCF1904 DSCF1908 DSCF1879 DSCF1878 DSCF1874With the weather finally turning sunnier we are starting to spend more time outdoors and the girls are very excited to plant a little garden with me soon. We’re going to grow some carrots and maybe some leafy greens of some kind. It is so nice to finally see more sunshine streaming into the living room first thing in the morning. I hope you are all getting the very best out of these Spring days..

I can hear all three kids chatting happily away in their rooms. Time to start the day!

PUPPP Rash

Dear mama with PUPPP rash,

Firstly, I want to tell you that I am so sorry this is happening to you. There is really nothing I can say to make the itching stop but trust me when I say I know how you feel right now. There is nothing worse than being awake half of the night because you cannot stop scratching! No matter how tired you are and you lay there awake thinking.. will I ever sleep through the night again?

Which brings me to the second thing I want to tell you.. You are NOT alone! Before my rash started, I had never heard of Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), let alone ever met anyone who had it. It was only once I started looking it up online in my desperation that I came across any kind of information, help or support.

My PUPPP rash started when I was about 32 weeks pregnant with our third baby, our first boy. It started across my chest and I thought perhaps it was just a heat rash. This went on and on and suddenly it started to spread. It covered my chest, my arms, my legs, my back, my bum..actually it covered literally my whole body except my belly surprisingly!! I was in agony. There were days I couldn’t even leave the house because honestly? I couldn’t bear to wear clothes. When the fabric touched my skin it was like being lit on fire or being covered in ants. I cannot tell you how many creams, oils, ointments, soaps I tried to no avail. I was desperate and I was exhausted. I cried everyday for weeks on end praying for some sort of miracle to intervene. I prayed for early labor. Nothing. I would go to bed at 9pm and scratch myself raw or until I would bleed and when I couldn’t take it anymore I would get out of bed…at 11pm, 1am. 3,4,5am you name it. I prayed day would come so I could just get on with things and pretend like nights didn’t exist. Those days were really hard. I would get into the tub or shower and look at my body and all I could see was rash. Bright red, raw, angry skin all over me and I felt ugly. I didn’t feel like myself when I looked in the mirror and it was such a cross. All I wanted was to feel beautiful and glowing with my growing belly but I just felt exhausted and shitty to tell the truth. I prayed day and night for our baby to come early, to come on time and then just ..now! anytime now! But our little guy just wasn’t ready and he went nearly a full two weeks past his due date.

I’m not trying to sell you anything. I don’t have a solution because there really isn’t one. Each woman’s body is different. I tried so.many.things. to make the rash go away or at least give me some relief if only for an hour. Here is what worked for me..usually I would have a hot shower or bath once or twice a day and slather myself up with one of the many creams I tried..PUPPP rash prescription cream seemed to help but I found it a little greasy on my skin. The other thing I discovered online and tried because I was desperate was dandelion root capsules. I bought them at a health food store and I took 2 capsules 3 times a day. This wasn’t until nearly the very end of my pregnancy but I will say that within four days of taking them my skin started to heal..it scabbed up which was also itchy but more of a dry itch and withing a week it was started to clear up a little.

There is hope! There is a beautiful baby waiting for you on the other side of this nightmare, I promise. Be encouraged! You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not being punished. God did not give you this rash..but he is allowing it for whatever reason. Although a real cross to me, I can say that I have never grown in patience or empathy quite so much as when I had PUPPP. God has a plan in all of this and thankfully, that sweet baby is going to be so perfectly beautiful that it will wash away the disappointment and hurt you feel now. Our sweet Oliver is such a joy. He is nearly four months old and has blessed our home in so many ways.

…now here is the part I don’t want to add. My rash came back. I know you want to click away now but please don’t. My rash did clear up after Oliver was born but it recently has come back. I have one decent sized patch across my chest and under my breasts again but it’s not all over my body and it isn’t nearly as painful, raw or angry as it was last time. The marks on my legs are starting to fade and I might even wear shorts this summer! haha!

In the end, I just had to take it one day at a time. One hour at a time sometimes. Surround yourself with people who love you, will listen to you and just take care of yourself. Keeping busy helped me a lot..I found the itching was much worse at night and I think it was because I was so tired by the end of the day and I would put my guard down and scratch way more making it then harder to stop. Just know that you really are not alone and that I pray for you all the time, mama. Keep focusing on that sweet baby coming..and don’t feel you have to keep up appearances for anyone. Sometimes pregnancy just sucks and it’s hard, even if the growing baby is loved and wanted and an answer to prayers. What you feel right now matters and I hear you.

The only other thing that truly helped me during that time was truth. Having my husband pray with me and reading scripture. Here are some that helped me..I pray you are able to find some comfort in them, too.

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Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

Handsome McGee

A few weeks ago I won a great giveaway over at Small Things. The prize was a gorgeous Easter basket filled with lovely, Eco-friendly kids art supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio. The basket didn’t arrive in time for Easter unfortunately but it did come in on Tuesday and has made for a fun Easter week of little surprises for the girls. Included in the basket was a handful of Easter cards for the kids to color. It made for a nice pocket of quiet time while their baby brother had a nap the other morning. Stubby Pencil Studio products are really, really good quality and the colors come out quite bright which is important to me. There’s nothing worse than coloring with a red crayon that comes out pale pink on  the paper, ya know? Now that I’ve tried their stuff and like it so much I will probably order through their website when I’m looking for something special!

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On a totally unrelated note, I am not going to sugar coat it by showing you a bunch of lovely, colorful pictures and have you thinking all of our days are awesome surprises in the mail and rainbows. These days in the tail end of winter have been long and dull and I have found myself lonely and grumpy a lot. There’s just something really irritating about having to microwave your cup of coffee three times and still only getting about 2/3 of the way through it. I am extra thankful these days for a super helpful husband, a sister to call and cry with on the phone and a night out with a dear girlfriend. Life will not always be so intense, I know, but man..three under five? Buckle up, mamas. It is one wild ride! Luckily, the pay is GREAT! Check out this Handsome McGee (Abigail’s nickname for Oliver) who just turned 3 months old…

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Baby Days

The early days with Oliver started out very early since we came home only a few hours after he was born. We woke up in the morning all under the same roof and the girls came very excitedly into our room to meet the little brother they had been waiting months for.

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My mother and Ben were total rock stars taking care of the house and the girls so that I could rest and get to know our new little guy. It’s funny looking back through these pictures because they were only taken a few months ago but it feels like a lifetime away. Oliver will soon be 3 months old and I frankly have no idea where all of this time has gone! I do my best to be in the moment but honestly sometimes it is a fog for that first little bit. I know we spent a lot of time at home together and it worked out well that way since it was Winter anyway.

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Lots of snuggles. Lots of silly play. Lots of being in their underwear and playing dress up. You do what you’ve got to do to get through it!! Here’s a little look into our days..
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A Wintery Baptism

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I’ve been meaning to share so many pictures of Oliver these past few months but we’ve only just replaced the hard drive on our new to us laptop we traded for our computer and now I can finally upload all of the pictures we’ve been taking.

We were so pleased to have Oliver baptized before Lent began this year! Unfortunately the weather did not co-operate and made for a last minute “can we even get out of our street?” conversation. We did in the end and had a wonderful day celebrating with our baby boy. Some friends joined us at home after mass and it was lovely.

Our parish priest was stuck in an airport in Montreal and couldn’t be there so one of our Deacons baptized Oliver. When he had finished doing so, Lucy blurted out to him, “You know, The Holy Spirit used to be The Holy Ghost!” Priceless. Welcome to the Church, little boy..You are so very loved!