This Old House

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One week from today we will be closing on our home. We have been packing like crazy to make sure we are set for the move but packing up five people (plus baby stuff not currently being used) and ten years worth of belongings is quite the task. Plus there are the hurdles of Micah’s busiest season of the year and him having to travel 3ish hours away 2 days per week for the last month, having three of our own kids that we need to keep entertained, and me watching two extra children three days per week that we have to work around. I know it will all come together but occasionally I look around at how much we still need to pack (especially since we’ve already cleared out so much!) and wonder if we can really get this done in time.

But this old house… I definitely have a love/annoyed relationship with this house. I’m so very thankful that Micah had the brilliant idea to buy a house while still in college and rent out extra rooms to his friends. Because of his desire to never pay rent we had a home to call our own as soon as we got married. Okay so we had a couple roommates for the first few weeks of our marriage but they were gone quickly enough and we never had issues with them.

This house has had it’s share of issues. It’s to be expected in a home that was built in 1900. We’ve had water issues in the basement. Pretty much everything from foundation seepage to sewer backups to broken water mains. It’s never fun to come home and find standing water in the basement. But we fixed the big issues and learned to work around the others.

Micah took plugging the drains in preparation for the 2009 flood into his own hands

The electrical in this house is something special. I’m not sure if it’s because of the amount of “handyman” work that has happened over the years or the age of the wiring or something else all together but I will definitely not miss having to flip the breaker if I attempt to brew a pot of coffee, use the microwave, and toast something at the same time. Apparently half the kitchen, half the living/dining area, the office, and most of the upstairs are all on one switch. Say what? Yeah. Christmas time was always fun because with the added lights of the tree I think we were running to the basement two or three times a week, minimum.

And of course the¬†neighborhood. If you’ve ever been to visit us or heard us describe where we live you know what I’m talking about. Not exactly what you can call “family friendly,” even by a long shot. But we’ve made it work. We’ve had to sacrifice some things to make it work (like lots of outside time with the kids) but really it’s not quite as bad as you’d expect for where we are located. All said and done though? I can’t wait to live in a real neighborhood with real families and not the businesses we are surrounded by right now.

But then there are the parts I love of this house. The woodwork. Oh man do I love the character that real woodwork, old woodwork, brings to a home. My favorite part has been decorating for Christmas. We have amazing pillars separating our dining and living room and I always wrapped them in garland and lights. Same with the banister on the stairway. Lots of garland, lots of lights. And our stockings would hang from the garland on the stairway as well. Really the woodwork is gorgeous at all times and it makes me a little sad that our new home doesn’t have that charm. Someday maybe we can build a home and add some of that classic charm ourselves.

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And my favorite parts of this house? The memories. I know, I know, it’s totally cheesy. Seriously though, this house has our entire relationship wrapped up in it. This home is where Micah and I first made plans to go on a “friend date” back in 2004. It’s where he asked me to be his girlfriend in January of 2005. It’s where he proposed in November of 2005. It’s where we came home to after our wedding and started our life together in June of 2006. It’s where we brought home our first son in October of 2008. It’s where we brought home our second son in March of 2010. It’s where we brought home our daughter in February of 2013.

Parker – 2008

Jamison – 2010

Mercedes – 2013

Our entire family history so far has been in this house. I know this is the case for so many couples and families so I know I’m not alone. I’m so excited to make memories in our new home. To bring home our two newest boys in just a couple months. To celebrate birthdays, Christmases, and countless other holidays in a new space. To make new memories of first days of school, lost teeth, sleepovers, and neighborhood adventures.

So old house, we will definitely miss you. You have been a huge part of Brickgowen and we are so thankful that we got to start our life in this space. God has provided again and again for our family and we continue to praise him for all that he has done for us and all that he still has planned.

 

Twin Belly Progression

I’ve been really lazy lately about pulling out the big camera. We are attempting to pack up our house in the hopes of selling and being able to move into a bigger place. The house is chaos right now and trying to set up some cute spot for doing belly pictures just isn’t going to happen! But… I wanted to do something since I know my belly is going to be so crazy this time around with TWO babies that I really wanted to make sure I took the chance to capture the changes as often as possible… even if I’m only using my phone.

Since my weeks change on Sundays I figured I’d use the fact that I will be out of the house for church as a chance to take a picture. On our way back inside each week I’m taking a picture from my point of view. A “what does the belly look like from Katie’s perspective” shot. This is not the easiest thing to do! Depending on how I hold my phone some weeks my belly looks WAY bigger than I think it really does. And of course where I position my feet can also make the belly size seem different. So I’ll also be taking “traditional” from the side belly shots every few weeks (and then more often as we get closer to the end) just to offer a different view.

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I can definitely tell I’ve popped out a bit more since the second trimester has gotten underway! There is no sucking this tummy in and pretending anymore! Our next appointment is just days away and hopefully we will get to schedule our anatomy ultrasound at that point. We are excited to find out what these little buggers are so we can start tossing around names!

The Big Announcement

After sharing the news with family we wanted to find a fun way to break the news to the rest of the world. I had a MOPS meeting on May 8th and at each meeting we ask for pregnancy or adoption announcements. This year has brought a few new babies into the group but very few if any moms have announced a new pregnancy or adoption. The current coordinators knew my news already since I am taking one of their spots next year and I wanted to give them as big of a heads up as possible (plus I had a hard time containing the news!) so they looked right at me when they asked for announcements. I had planned ahead and made a shirt to make the reveal extra special. Everyone started clapping when I stood up but I held up my hands and said, “Oh but wait! It’s gets better!” And unzipped my hoodie to reveal the surprise. Lots of gasps, cheers, and claps filled the room and I was given lots of hugs, words of congrats and encouragement. It was a wonderful way to spread the words to my mommy friends! But the reveal couldn’t stop there. We had lots of extended family and friends that didn’t know our news yet. Most didn’t even know we were pregnant. On Mother’s Day I wore my handmade shirt to church and then took some pictures that afternoon and posted them to facebook. Lots more shocked comments and lots of excitement. It was another fun way to tell the world.

The following Tuesday I went for an NT Scan which measures the amount of fluid behind the neck of babies to check for Down Syndrome. Micah and I were disappointed that he couldn’t come with but the appointment was at 7am and we didn’t want to pack¬†the kids up and make them sit at an ultrasound for an hour so he stayed home. Thankfully I had an awesome tech that gave us lots of pictures plus a few video clips. It was so incredibly neat to watch the babies flipping around on screen. Baby B is already trying to steal the show and kept encroaching on Baby A’s photo ops. Both babies looked great and we are looking forward to seeing them again soon!Wonder Twins-3cropWonder Twins-1crop

Big Changes for Brickgowen

In early March I finally got what we had been hoping to see for several months – two pink lines on a pregnancy test! I know, Mercedes is barely over a year! But we wanted a fourth and we wanted that last one close in age to Mercedes so she would have a buddy just like Parker and Jamison have each other. It took many months of trying and praying for this exciting blessing so I need to back up!

I told a few close friends that we were trying for another baby and a few days after sharing this news one friend came to me and said that God told her when I weaned Mercedes I would get a positive test. At first I was totally astonished and kept insisting that it could happen while I was still nursing since I nursed Parker for four months after getting pregnant with Jamison! She understood and just reiterated what she had heard when she prayed for us. Micah and I prayed about the decision and we figured we would take the slow weaning approach. I wouldn’t directly deny Mercedes, but I would just try to redirect her if possible. She had almost hit a year and that’s always been my goal with each baby so I figured a slow decline would be totally fine. Mercedes continued nursing but was fine if she missed a feeding here and there. Two weeks after her first birthday she stopped and never seemed to look back! Five days after that last nursing session I got the faintest positive line on a test and it continued to get darker each day! Praise God!

The weekend after we found out we broke the news to our parents. They were thrilled! Another grandbaby to spoil! We made sure they understood that we were keeping it a secret for now though and that even the kids didn’t know. Our first appointment was already scheduled for the beginning of April so we figured after that it might be safer to start spreading the news although ultimately we wanted to wait to go completely public until the second trimester in mid-May.

Our first appointment started like normal. Our doctor was happy to see us back for round four and we we happily told her, “Four and done! This is it!” I hopped up on the exam table and she began the ultrasound. (Yes, our doctors do an ultrasound at ever first appointment I’ve ever had. They want to measure baby as early as possible to get the most accurate measurement for dating. Plus it’s usually to early to hear baby with the doppler.) She moved around a little bit to find baby and then looks at me with big eyes and says, “Did you see that?”

“No. Really? No.”

“I think I saw two.” Moves the wand a little more and two very distinct sacs each with its own bean show on the screen. “Yup, two!”

::Silence::

Micah and I were in total shock. All the color drained out of his face. I kept going between our doctor’s face, the screen, and Micah’s face with my mouth wide open.

Wonder Twins 8week

Thankfully our doctor is awesome and started going over the easy information while we were still in our “deer in the headlights” moment. I knew we would have questions eventually but at that moment we were too in shock to think of any so she kept reassuring us that we could call anytime we thought of a question and that we would be more than capable of handling this new adventure. She also sent us over to the ultrasound area to get a better scan of the babies since the little machine in the clinic wasn’t quite strong enough to get good measurements of both babies. After several more hours at the clinic we finally left with pictures of both beans and our heads swimming!

We decided to let the news settle for a while and not share it with our families until we saw them in person… which wouldn’t be until Easter weekend! But it was well worth the wait!

We are passed the shocked portion of this now and are moving on to excitement and logistics. We are pretty sure (like 98%) that we will be moving this summer. We have wanted to sell our current house for many years and now seems like the logical time to do it instead of trying to fit two more people into this house. So we are working on cleaning ours out (not so easy!) and getting it ready to list while browsing online at listings. We have a great realtor that is a friend of mine from MOPS and is ready to start this whole journey whenever we are. Hopefully in a couple weeks we will really be ready to go!

So that’s our big news. Twins. Next post will feature a few more ultrasound pictures and our announcement picture we used to break the news!

Happy Fourth Birthday, Jamison!

You are such a bundle of energy mixed with love, creativity, and pure emotion. You are a sensitive guy that lets us know when you aren’t happy but you also know exactly how to show just how happy and excited you are about just about everything.

Your favorites over the last year have been MarioKart, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wreck-It Ralph, LEGO, and most recently, Frozen. You have gotten to see several movies in the theater since turning three last year but I’m pretty sure Frozen has been your favorite. The moment it was over you started asking for it for your birthday. We were pretty sure it wouldn’t be out in time but what do you know, it came out with one day to spare! The look on your face when you opened the movie was priceless. You love the songs and try to sing all the words but you most definitely dance along to every single one. I think you would watch the movie on a constant loop if we allowed it but you’ve settled for the once every week or two for the time being.

You have gotten much more skilled with assembling LEGO sets and are getting lots of practice with all the LEGO Movie sets you received for your birthday. Sometimes you need help from mom and dad but you prefer to figure it out on your own. Following the directions and putting small pieces together is no small feat and we are proud of the skills you are learning!

In homeschool you can’t wait for your math time each day. You really enjoy counting and problem solving and we are doing our best to nurture that desire. You are even learning most of the sight words in our weekly lessons and can recite almost all of our memory verses! We are so impressed that you are keeping up with the work at your age!

You weren’t very cooperative about getting your pictures taken so I’ll have to do what I can with the few I snapped. Eventually I will get them edited and posted! I promise :D

Mercedes | Month 12

Twelve months! A full year has passed since you made your incredibly dramatic, quick, and emotional entry into the world (click here to read the full birth story). You definitely surprised us when you came out a girl! I had convinced myself that I was going to be a queen in a house full of boys. Both your dad and I were elated to add a sweet girl into our family. You are exactly what this family needed.

I don’t think I could come up with enough words to talk about how much we love you, just as I wouldn’t be able to do so with either of your brothers. You are full of energy, laughter, determination, and love. You cuddle and give kisses to just about everyone. You follow your brothers around like a little puppy and are bound and determined to keep up with them, no matter how much bigger they are than you. You walk, climb, crawl, and dance wherever you go. You have music in your heart and will sing along to just about anything.

God knew you were exactly what we needed to heal from our losses. We have seen the goodness that can come out of pain. We have seen the fulfillment of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Because of believing that God had plans for us going through losses we trusted him and were given you. And now we get to share our story, your story, and help others.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. We are so excited to see where the next year takes you!

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