Saturday, September 20, 2014

becoming 30

Some of you looong time readers (as in you've stuck around through my ignoring this place over the past year) might remember some posts I wrote about my birthday.

Well, this year I turned 30. And a girl has to celebrate! So, many months ago, while I was hugely pregnant with our latest progeny, I proclaimed to Luke that for my birthday I wanted to climb a mountain. To be specific, a 14er in CO. Partly because I liked the sound of it, and partly because my brother lives in Denver and has been to known to climb a mountain or two (two to be exact. this was his third).

So, after having a baby, and spending the summer not getting in shape, and arranging childcare, and time-off, and coordinating schedules, Luke, Lucy and I took off late one Wednesday and drove into the setting sun.

Literally, as we were headed west.

We drove until late late that night and arrived in Silverthorne, CO at about 3:00 in the AM. After spending the next day resting and adjusting to the altitude, we were (mostly) ready.

The next morning the alarms started going off at 5:00 and we stumbled out of bed, quietly getting dressed. We ate a hearty pre-climbing breakfast at that bastion of healthy food and golden arches, and drove to the mountains.



We left the parking lot around 6:30 or so, after making sure we were bringing the right gear and last-minute bathroom breaks.

It was 4 miles up, and the first 2 1/2 - 3 aren't too bad. A little incline here and there, but also some straight stretches. Lucy was a trooper, just hanging out in the Ergo, nursing every once in awhile and napping the rest of the time.


(yes, those are socks on her hands. this mama forgot to pack her mittens! whoops)

Of course, in order to really climb a mountain, you have to climb. At a high altitude (it's not called a 14er for nothing!). Let's just say we slowed our momentum down after awhile. And there might have been lots of rest breaks.

But, we kept going!

Luke had to take Lucy from me about 2/3 the way up because I was getting dizzy from the high altitude and didn't want to fall and hurt her. I took the backpack from him, but soon enough he took it back from me because it was making me take even more breaks. Basically, he was a rockstar. 




It was not very pleasant on top of the mountain due to cold and wind, so we did not linger long. Lucy especially was not a fan.

A nice lady from Seattle and I took turns holding a coat shield for one another so we could *ahem* tend to business, then we set off down the mountain.

While going down has its challenges (feels like you are going to fall straight down), it was much nicer than going up as you are getting more and more oxygen!

The hardest mental challenge for me was the last 2 miles, because you just wanted to be done!! But we trucked on because I did not want to become a mountain dweller.


We collapsed back in the van at around 2:00 and celebrated that we had done it! 

After a little rest, we headed down the mountain and went to my brother's house in Parker, where we spent the next couple of days doing fun things due to the fact that it was my birthday weekend.

We also got to watch my nephew's first football game of the season:



Let's compare to the last football game of his we got to watch shall we?


What a difference 5 years make no?

(exactly 5 years, as we had gone to Denver to celebrate my 25th birthday soon after we started dating)

We hung out with my lovely family until Sunday, when we packed up and headed back to our other kiddos. It was a long trip back as we took some wrong turns and Lucy was extremely over the whole concept of a roadtrip, but we made it. And we ended the night with all of us snuggled up in our beds where we belonged.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Lucy Jo :: What's In A Name

With our boys, we really struggled to name them. Especially with Drew. We dragged that process out as long as we possibly could!

But, obviously, we prevailed and named our children. And we remain happy with what we named them.

Drew Solon, meaning bold and courageous wise one.

Will Bennett, meaning blessed strong protector.

Not only do their names have great meaning, but they are also named after great men, our dads. Luke's dad's middle name is Andrew and my dad's name is Willard.

While I didn't set out on this naming journey with the idea that I would name my children after our families, I love that we ended up doing that. Since both grandpas were covered, that just left the grandmas. And so we played around with their names, and quickly came up with a combination of their middle names that we loved: Lucy Jo.

(Luke's mom's middle name is Lucille and my mom's middle name is Jo)

So, we knew even before we were pregnant that we would most likely name our first little girl Lucy Jo. Then, at our 20 week ultrasound when we found out that it was indeed a girl, that just solidified our choice. However, as a commitment-phobe, I did not fully fully commit to naming her that until she was born. But, when she came out and they asked if we had a name, it felt right. And the longer she is part of our family, the more Lucy she becomes.

Lucy Jo, meaning beloved light.

(and in a weird coincidence, I love that all 3 kids have names that are 4 letters and short for another name. and that the last letter of drew is the beginning of will and the last letter of will is the beginning of lucy. having a harder time coming up with a name that starts with y, so we might have to break that cycle, but still fun in my nerdy brain!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lucy Jo :: A Birth Story

Well, well, now that the shock of the news of another adorable Vander Ley inhabiting the world is over, come read all about how she came to be! It's another good one!

Wonderings at her existence started in my thoughts last August. I was experiencing some heightened emotions and general unwell feelings, and thought that perhaps God said that it was time for another one. I started taking pregnancy tests like crazy, but they all came up negative.

Finally, after a whirlwind weekend of family and the baptism of our two boys, I took one more test on a Monday morning in September. And there it was, clear as could be:


Luke and I shared a quick 'awe/ahhh!' before he went off to work and I went back to sleep.

(what? it was way early in the morning and I was knocked up - I needed all the sleep I could get!)

The pregnancy took off in the normal way and I soon began puking and laying around all day due to nausea. It was a fun little treat that instead of my typical 12 weeks of sickness, I got a full 16 weeks of puking glory. 

Of course I still had 2 little munchkins running/crawling around, so it wasn't like I was on my bum 24/7. More like 22/7. 

We told our families much earlier with this one, because, let's face it, there is only so much hiding of the puking I could do. They were all lovely and very excited. 

Soon enough, Christmas rolled around, as did my 20 week point. 


We were heading to MN for the last weekend in December, so we nabbed an ultrasound appt that Friday. After all the measuring, she asked if we wanted to know. 

Of course!

And, there it was, a girl. So exciting! Especially since we actually had a name picked out, which if you've been following any of our birth stories, you know is SO rare. 

It was a fun thing to share with our families and friends for the holidays. 

Time went on, and I got bigger and bigger. I had a questionable glucose test, and I was gaining weight rather rapidly. And the day I took the test, I had a suuuper high blood pressure, which was no bueno because the reason Drew came when he did was because pre-eclampsia. So, that won me some closer monitoring. 

And then week 32 came. And the contractions started. And they were every 10-15 minutes. And they weren't going away. And they didn't go away for the rest of the pregnancy. 

I was put on some medicine to help the contractions go away, which helped for a couple of weeks. And then it didn't help anymore. I was spending more and more time on basically non-dr ordered bedrest, just to calm my body down. We REALLY didn't want to end up in Sioux Falls with a preemie, so Luke started picking up a lot of slack and I spent a lot of time on the couch.

And then one day I went to see the doctor, and after talking to me about a lot of different symptoms and checking me, he casually threw in at the end of the appointment that from then on I was on total bed rest. I could only get up to pee. 

Ok then.

Not sure if you know this, but complete and total bed rest with 2 little kids at home? Not easy. We are super lucky in Luke's work schedule that he works 6-2, and we are late night people, so our kids sleep late in the morning, so I was really only on my own for a couple of hours, but its impossible to be fully down with a 2 year old and a 1 year old. 

After a couple weeks of that, and lots more doctors appointments, he reiterated how important it was that I stay down, so my MIL and SIL started taking turns coming to help me out in the morning. Family is such a wonderful thing!

It seemed that every time I went to the doctor, he would give me a plausible day we would do the c-section. So, I would plan on that. But, then things would interfere. For example, one time we were there talking about doing the c-section that weekend (which worked perfectly in our schedule because of family things), but then he talked to perinatologist, and he said don't do it. So, we waited, and waited, and planned mentally for one day, and then another. 

Finally, we went in on a Monday morning. Luke had stayed home from work so he could go with, on the off chance that we were going to do it that day. And the doctor did one last check of my cervix, one last symptom check-off, and told me to be in the hospital at 5:30 the next morning because this was it. 

So, we went home, did the last of the packing, sent the kiddos to his parents' for the night, and got ready to add another to our brood. Of course that night had to the night that our landlord broke a water line, and we were without water. It came back on briefly, but when I got up in the morning hoping for a shower, I was out of luck. Luckily we have the BEST hospital ever, so when we got there they let me hop in the shower before prepping me. 


Getting prepped was AWFUL. I got poked and prodded and a catheter placed. I was literally arching off the bed in pain. It made me feel all shaky and terrible before the surgery even started. But, they finally got me ready and I thought the worst was over.

Ha. Ha ha, and triple ha.

The worst was yet to come.

Because you see, part of having a c-section is having a spinal block. Not the most fun part, but doable right? Yeah, 45 (that's FORTY-FIVE!!) minutes later, the 3rd (THIRD!!) doctor to try finally got my block placed. The nurse that was holding me had to switch out with someone else because it got too hard to hold me up. My other nurse kept going out to update Luke on what was going on and to compose herself, because it was so awful to watch. I was one more try away from having to go completely under for the surgery, which would have been a huge bummer!

Afterwards my back was full of poke holes from failed tries and I spent the first two days sitting on ice packs. But, no harm,  no foul, and my back is totally fine now. 

Our nurse took our camera and took pictures of the process so we could see what happens on the other side of the curtain. I was so excited!







The little miss had a lot to say from the get-go as she started squawking before they even got her fully out of my tummy. Grandma B insists that what she said was she wanted a pony, which I am sure is exactly what every newborn is thinking about!


She came out a little low on her sugars, so the doctor wanted her to have some sugar water. I was still really shaky, because I had spent most of the surgery throwing up, so daddy got to give her the bottle.

After a couple of hours of recovery, she got to meet a bunch of her new family including her brothers, grandparents, two aunts and a cousin. It was a busy day for the little miss!

Drew being thrilled


Auntie Amber



Will showing supreme enthusiasm


Telling Auntie Jourdan all about it!


family of 5!

snuggle time with daddy, which is just the best!

showing off her little peepers

mommy and Lucy selfies


ready to go home!
(I am still mildly obsessed with her coming home outfit)



ready to head home as a family of 5!!!


Monday, August 4, 2014

tap tap :: is this thing still on??

hello all and sundry.

yes, yes, contrary to popular belief, I am still around. just ... not here.

you see, soon after my last post (ummm, a little under a year ago), I took on a momentous task, a task that consumed all of my fall, winter and spring.

would you like to see the result?


Miss Lucy Jo Vander Ley 
May 6, 2014  7:36 AM
7lbs 15 oz  19 1/2 in

that's right. we're THOSE people. the ones who decide the 3 kids in under 3 years is a wise idea. 

fun? a little crazy-making? full of diapers, cuddles, sneezes and tantrums? rewarding, frustrating, wonderful?

yes, yes, all of those things. 

wise? well, we'll see.

our little girl is now almost 3 months old, full of smiles and giggles, especially for her daddy. Will is 1 1/2, walking, talking, leaving a trail of destruction behind him wherever he goes. Drew is 3, an older brother extraordinaire, who takes the concept of being 3 very seriously. 

Luke and I are still here, perhaps a little more tired, but a lot more blessed. 

I will be back soon with a birth story, and pictures of the boys, and just general updates. 



Friday, August 30, 2013

Epiphany

So, after my last post, I did some thinking. And celebrated my birthday.

And, an epiphany has come to me.

I was putting so much pressure on this single day to be AH-MAZING, when in reality, there was no way I could make everything happen that I want to happen. It put so much pressure on me, so much pressure on Luke and those around me, and it left me in a puddle of tears at the end of the day from broken expectations (sometimes figuratively, but sometimes literally. poor poor Luke).

So, anyways, the epiphany. I was thinking about this last night on our way home from a very fun dinner with my in-laws. My birthday just happens to fall on the same day as my father-in-law's, so we celebrated together at Ruby Tuesdays, which was special and fun. But, it wasn't a huge gesture, and there were no fireworks. And I had spent the day wrangling 2 very precious, but very rambunctious boys (let's talk about the biting and toy throwing another day mmmkay?), so it really had been just another day.

But, what if I stopped putting my focus on just that one day? What if instead I made a list for the coming year, and simply saw that day as a beginning, a fun opening sentence on what is sure to be a great story? Instead of having all sorts of expectations for one day, I put together a list of expectations for that year. And, then, here's the kicker, I make them happen.

A dinner party outside with friends? Well, let's get on that. Buy some twinkle lights, make Luke build me a table, and blam. Go forward with that.

Get a tattoo? Well, I need to finalize a design and find a tattoo artist and make an appointment. And screw up my courage, but you know.

Volunteer somewhere. Learn some more about web design. Etc, etc, etc.

Instead of having a golden birthday, I have decided to have a golden year.

And really, I think that just sounds much more fun.

(oh, and for the record, Luke did come through. he always comes through. he got me some fun presents, let me order the steak I wanted at supper, and he picked me the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and wild grasses. what more does a girl need?)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

expectations and the wreck they havoc

It's my birthday this week.

Not just my birthday, but my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY.

Yup, that's right. I turn 29 on the 29th.

I remember being a little girl, and hearing about golden birthdays for the first time. My brain really likes doubles like that, numerically speaking, so it became a big thing to me. Buuuuuut it was FOREVER away. Like years and years away.

And now it's not. It's only days away. And so I want it to be a big deal. I want it to be a big thing. It's a once in a lifetime thing. I'll have big decade birthdays, well, once a decade. But a golden birthday? I only get one shot.

It should be a day speckled with light, and love, and laughter, and that should Instagram perfectly (if I had Instagram), and I should be wearing an outfit that makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, and everything should fall into place, and it should be suffused with this wonderful glowy light so it looks just like all those pictures you see on Pinterest of perfect days and perfect moments.

Sigh.

Poor, poor Luke.

But that's not real life is it? My birthday is during the week, so my husband will have to go to work, meaning I'll be home with the kids. I'll still have to feed them, and me. I will have to wash the dishes, do the laundry, change diapers, and keep children alive, for pete's sake! (well, not really for Pete. but, since he is my brother, I'm sure he would like his nephews to keep on keeping on).

We don't have anything in our life that looks like the pictures. No table sitting under the trees lit with Christmas lights, and canning jar lanterns, surrounded by beautifully and perfectly done decorations. A meal that just happens to take place during that perfectly glowy part of the evening when everything is soft and magnificent.

We don't live anywhere close to a city that has the 'it' place to be for dinner, where we can get dressed up in our finest pearls and suits, and head out for a night of drinks and dinner. Then someone can take a picture of me laughing, slightly blurry because I am moving with joy over the fact that someone set a plate of food down in front of me (that's why they're always so joyous in those pictures isn't it?).

It's not winter so I can't be bombing down a mountain wearing the perfect combination of warm clothes that are cutely adorable while my cheeks glow and my hair magically becomes long, flowing, and curly.

My life isn't a photo op. And it's a hard thing to reconcile.

Expectations really aren't your friend are they?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

a random Wednesday in August

we have been taken down by the plague. it has been two weeks of coughs, cries, fevers, and runny noses. I succumbed a week ago, and it has been rough. last night I spent most of the night coughing, which means I don't sleep well, and neither does Luke.

it's not a great way to end a summer.

and as a result, I feel behind on everything. my house suffers, my eating habits suffer, working out is a joke, the bookwork I do for my brother is not done promptly or extremely thoroughly, and it's all I can to keep the boys alive, let alone keep them on a prompt schedule and diet.

and the worst thing? I don't get to interact with many people. my in-laws are stuck with us, so they get to share in our germs. but, I was raised that if you're contagious, you don't go anywhere unless you have to. not to church, not to hang out with people, etc. I had to cancel a playdate I had really been looking forward to two weeks ago, and I haven't been able to reschedule because she has a wee one I don't want exposed to this. and our good friends just had a brand new baby girl I can't wait to get my baby-craving mitts on, but I had to stay a good 5 feet away when we went to see her. I want to be able to bring them meals and help out, but I can't. and there's another little baby I need to get myself up to MN to see pronto, but can't, because, once again, plague.

ugh.

so, we have been spending lots of time watching Gilmore Girls and Curious George (watch da monkey! is a common refrain heard from my 2 year old), drinking hot Chai, and just feeling cruddy.

I'm over it. time to get well, time to finally enjoy the last vestiges of this summer, weird weather and all.

speaking of weird weather, my toddler is all confused as to proper weather attire. last week it was quite chilly, which maaaaaybe explains his choice of wearing two winter hats on a 90 degree day?


the boots are an all weather accessory however. he can put them on himself, and mommy is all over that!