I’m officially in my second trimester with Baby Froggie now. He or she is the size of a peach and getting bigger everyday, as is my belly. I’ve graduated to maternity pants. I can’t even bear the pressure of the belly band on my regular pants anymore – perhaps because I usually wear pretty tight fitting clothes. I’ve gained around 10 lbs. and it’s no wonder because food! I want to eat everything that crosses my mind or my nose. My only real pregnancy symptoms are hunger and tiredness. I’ve been craving spicy foods since the very beginning, and still do some as well as salty/vinegary things like soup, pickles and olives. I’ve had a touch of heartburn after too much of the above but no big deal. I’m very thankful to be feeling good. We got to hear a good strong heartbeat at my 12 week check up and we’ll get to take a listen again at my 16 week appointment. Soon after that I should be starting to feel Froggie’s movements which is fascinating and not as freaky as I initially thought. In early December we’ll have the big ultrasound appointment where we’ll hopefully find out whether we have a son or a daughter swimming around in there.
A simple Saturday afternoon project gave our chickens a lot more freedom. We’d been letting them out into our whole backyard sometimes, usually when we were home to supervise, because they’ve been destroying some of our garden plants and mulch beds and pooping on our patio. The worst was when Sunny, my super friendly hen, would stand at the backdoor step to look in and peck on the window, and then eventually drop a gift on the back step for us. Gross. We decided that a portable, accordion-style fence would be a good solution to give them more yard space while still protecting the areas where we spend the most time. The girls are happy and I’m happy. It’s been a couple weeks and they’ve managed to eat all of the grass pictured here. We’ll be mulching the area in the coming weeks. If any fellow backyard chicken keepers are curious, it’s 3 feet high and we’ve only had some escapes early one. One chicken in particular got to the other side several times but then was pretty stressed out about being separated from her friends. If it continues to be a problem, I’ll add a wire across the top of the fence so they’re not able to land on it. I’m pretty sure they’re not able to clear the fence without perching on it first but I’ve never seen an escape in action.
We have five layers now. The sixth should be starting within a month. Omlet, the Buff Orpington, is the last one to join the party but I can tell she’s close because suddenly she’s not just unafraid of me—she runs to me—and then submissively squats if I reach in her direction. Last week I got to pet her for the first time since she left the brooding box.
We’ve been getting 1 or 2 speckled eggs everyday. This was was particularly pretty with blue specks. I think it’s my Black Star, Poach, but I’m not positive.
We recently spent an afternoon at the pumpkin patch with a couple of Ali’s besties and their parents. Jaron is our friend and neighbor and Eliza is Ali’s cousin. These three have been friends since birth—and we’ve been friends with their parents for much longer—so it’s always special to see the three of them together. They had a great time picking out pumpkins, exploring the activities and going on a hayride. I remembered to get out my good camera for a change. (Jason was on the road that day.)
As quickly as little Pumpkin came into our lives, he’s back out again. It’s amazing how much I can fall in love with a little person in just three days. Though I’m sad, I’m also happy because he’s on the fast track to adoption by a lovely couple from his mom’s support network. He’s going to be loved and treasured as the blessing he is. Yesterday at 9:00 we had a meeting where I learned about this alternative placement for him. At court later that afternoon it was decided and I kissed him goodbye in the courthouse parking lot. Bittersweet.
Every fall Jason plays a series of concerts at Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge with Guy Penrod. Everyone brings their families and we have a big time exploring the amusement park, watching concerts, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and eating lots of yummy food. If you know anything about my experience of pregnancy so far you know I was most excited about the food! Ali was most excited about the rides and the concerts. She’s a huge fan of her Daddy and of Guy. We went to one of the three concerts each of the three days and spent the rest of the time playing, eating and sleeping. Ali took a nap in the van each afternoon (praise the Lord!) and we even snuck in a little time to swim in the hotel pool one evening. One of the biggest highlights for me was getting to meet up with my foster mama friend Nicole who lives in nearby Knoxville. We were able to get some extra tickets for her and her girls for the park one day. Her youngest is the same age as Ali. The girls hit it off and danced together through a concert (Guy even came off stage to talk to them during the concert, which Ali is still talking about!) and rode all of the kiddie rides together. I can’t show photos of her face or share her name but I did get lots of photos of them together. Ali’s favorite ride was the little roller coaster that she called “the pretend train.” As always it was a wonderful time and I came home completely exhausted.
“Whoever arrives next” beat Froggie to the punch and is now occupying our next kid’s room. His name—for social media purposes—is Pumpkin and he’s just as sweet as could be.
After two very busy weeks at work with three magazine deadlines and two short trips out of town, I’m way behind on blogging and have plenty to go back and share about. However, this news needs to be shared right away. We got back from our second trip on Sunday night. At work late on Monday afternoon, I was finishing up my last of three deadlines when my phone rang. DCS placement showed up on the screen and I wondered if this would be a good one. We’ve only had a couple calls since Firefly left on July 3 and none worked out with our availability. This call was for a 1-month-old boy. Our only reservations were that he’s too young for childcare for a couple more weeks and in the back of my mind I was doing the math for the age difference between him and baby Froggie… seven months. I’m trying not to think too much about that right now because in foster care a lot can change in six months. Pumpkin is our sixth foster child to parent. Of the previous five, four of them have been with us three months or less. Our Alianna, of course, is the exception. I know so little about Pumpkin’s case at this point that I have no way to predict how long he’ll be with us. I’ve been missing Firefly badly and maybe it’s partly the pregnancy hormones but I’m just so thrilled to have another little baby to snuggle. His short history is hard and angering, so it’s not all cuddles and new baby smell around here. We also have deal with the ugly reality of why he is in state custody.
The life interruption is real and difficult. Adding a new family member with just hours notice turns our worlds upside down for a little while. It was almost 3 hours between saying yes to the placement worker and Pumpkin arriving at our house. That’s 3x longer than we usually have to prepare. It was enough notice for me to finish up my work, tell my boss, pick up dinner on my drive home, sit down to eat as a family of three, scramble through the baby room pulling out boxes of bottles and infant boy clothes, and set up the diaper changing supplies. Somewhere in the rush I knelt down and explained to Ali that another little baby was coming to stay with us for a little while. She’s so sweet and understanding and she LOVES babies. As soon as he came through the door she was asking to hold him.
Once the papers were signed and the workers left to drive home through a monsoon, Daddy Jason called a family prayer meeting. Ali finally had her chance to hold him while Jason and I surrounded them and prayed over Pumpkin, his case and our family—especially big sister Ali—as we move forward. So far he has been mostly delightful. He’s been sleeping well and eating well. We’ve had some bouts of fussiness, but we’re all still getting to know each other. I’ve spent a good amount of time snuggling him just like the photo below and he sure loves to be held close. If you’re a prayer, please pray for his health (for complete restoration and detox), for his case (lots of meetings, hearings, decisions happening this week and next), and for all of us as we get to know each other and tread water through the waves of transition and mix of emotions.