That's a toothbrush, not a cigarette.  In case the PJ's and splattered mirror weren't enough indication.

When I was pregnant with Henry, I wrote several posts about my pregnancy experience.  This time?  Not so much.  I blame the toddler and the fact that I cannot sit down at the computer without him sidling up and asking to "yook at pictures, Momma?"  And they are all pictures of baby Henry, so I gladly oblige.  We'll pretend that this update did not take me a week to write and that I am not now 37 weeks pregnant.

So here's a little update on pregnancy #2.

BODY:

In the interest of honestly and vulnerability and even a little posterity: this pregnancy has not been nearly as magical as the first go around.

Yes, there are so many people that would LOVE to be sitting here (however uncomfortably) at 36 weeks pregnant.  I do not take for granted this life that I carry inside of me and the fact that it came so easily to me.  And yes, there are women who have morning sickness until the day that they give birth.  And pregnant women on bedrest or who deal with high risk pregnancies.

I know that I am lucky.  Like, really, really lucky and shouldn't complain at all.  I know that.

But that doesn't change the fact that the nausea, sciatic pain, rib pain, moodiness, and exhaustion of this pregnancy have been a little hard on me.  My memories of the first trimester revolve around me lying on the couch during the bitter winter trying my best to play with Henry while I alternated between wanting to cry, fall asleep, or throw up.  I did the former two quite a bit, the latter not quite as much, thankfully.

The second trimester, that fun middle part  was a lot of forgetting that I was pregnant because I was too busy taking care of a nearly-two-year-old and buying a house and solo parenting while my husband traveled for his job as a Student Pastor.

The third trimester is simultaneously zooming at the speed of light and dragging on.  Not sure how that happens, but we are getting to the impatient point.  Which is a shame, since we have just less than four weeks baby boy's due date.  I'm pretty darn uncomfortable.  I carry my babies HIGH and that means that anything but lying in bed involves a burning sensation in my ribs.  If you know me in real life and see my with my hands resting on top of my belly, it's not so much a sweet gesture of relishing in my state (though I do love this boy so!) but more of an attempt to move this kid out of my ribcage.

BUT, in spite of all this I am working to treasure the kicks and hiccups.  I haven't had any signs of labor or anything yet, so I am sitting tight and thinking he will be born close to his due date.  I loved being pregnant and looked forward to being pregnant again, so I know that there are things I will really miss.


MIND:

Had I actually finished writing this post when I started it, I would have said in bold, "I'M SCARED OF GIVING BIRTH, AGAIN."

Reading up on natural childbirth, practicing relaxation and breathing techniques, and giving myself some positive birth affirmation phrases to repeat and think on have been so helpful.  Although we opted for a hospital birth again this time, I am stil planning on being extremely selective about what (if any) interventions are used.  Remembering the euphoria of meeting Henry for the first time just over two years ago reminds me that this will be an experience that is stored in my soul for the rest of my life.

This could be my last pregnancy, and I know that I will miss the feeling of cradling this boy safely inside of my belly.  It's fun to wonder if he will look just like his big brother or if he will look completely different.  Revelling in the suspense and surprise is something to be enjoyed.

Yet we are ready.  READY.  Not ready as in things are done, our house is clean, our freezer well stocked, our bags packed.  But ready to meet our precious newborn boy.  I'm in a pretty good headspace when it comes to the idea of waiting.  I know that once he is here, he will be HERE and have near-constant needs (the nerve!) and my life will start looking a whole lot different.  Different in a hard, good way.

The thing that I am treasuring the most during the next few weeks of waiting is my time with Henry.  Sweet, sweet, Henry.  My firstborn.  My little lovebug.  He's been pulling away from me a little lately, which in some ways is good.  He's clinging on to Daddy even more, which means my heart is usually to be found melted on the floor. I don't have any doubts about the fact that I am always his momma, and he knows and feels that.  But there is a difference in the relationship that we share.  It used to feel that he constantly needed me and now, that neediness for Momma just comes in bursts here and there.  The scraped knee, the overtired bedtime, the strange situation.  Pausing and reveling in those little arms around my neck, the two-hands-on-my-cheeks kisses and the whispers of, "One more minute, Momma" is one of the greatest joys of my life.

Also to note is the fact that I've reached the, "Ehhh, we've done enough to prepare" nesting stage.  I don't know if I just am super lazy or unwilling to give up things like the last few weeks of napping when Henry does, but I have zero desire to clean baseboards, organize closets, or clean out the fridge.  I'm still just as good at procrastinating as I was in college.  Even to the point of thinking that I can just vacuum this or that during the early stages of labor.  Yes, I know, bad idea.

There it is.  The one and only time I've written anything about being pregnant with my second bundle of joy.  And now?  Let's just bring on the crazy ramblings of the momma of a newborn and a toddler!


Five and a half weeks from my due date.
I can't decide if that seems far away or as if it is way too close.

Either way, in a matter of weeks Tyler and I will have kids.  Not just one kid, somehow a fluke that you tricked everyone in to thinking you should take home from the hospital and raise for the next eighteen years, but two little boys for whom we are completely responsible.

Yikes?

I don't know.  In my last post, I mentioned the "oppresive boredom" that I can sometimes feel.  I wonder if having two little munchkin-a-roonies around will be more my pace.  No time to be bored!  Or eat!  Or shower!  

What kind of parents will we be with a little experience under our belts?  Will we treasure the newborn stage, find ways to make 3:00 am "fun"?  Will I be able to admit that I can't do it all and say yes when someone offers to hold or rock or love my baby?  Will Henry be able to contentedly play while I spend hours upon hours upon hours nursing a newborn?  What will precious one-on-one time with each boy feel like?  Will I be ok with letting house things slide in order to pursue things that really make me feel alive?  Since we are planning on this being our last baby for the next long while, will I actually exercise and get in shape post-baby?  Will Henry only eat carbs because I am too tired to make his few favorite vegetable-laden foods?  Most importantly, what is a good four person Halloween costume that can include a newborn and a toddler?  (Side note:  Tyler and I discussed how amazing it would be to be the characters from Seinfeld.  Obviously the baby would be George Costanza.  But, it's pretty low to make your two year old dress as Jerry or Kramer instead of something that he actually likes, so we scrapped that idea.)

I just keep telling myself that we will take it day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute.  We'll laugh at diaper explosions.  We'll comfort a crying toddler, even if it is literally over a certain pair of socks being unfortunately unwearable while in the washer.  We'll scarf down our meals in shifts while standing in the kitchen.  We'll ask for help when we need it.   We'll laugh and cry and fight and apologize.  We'll think that our two boys are the cutest things to ever grace our planet.

On the cusp of two, I'm not really worried.  Not really worried.  I'm excited and hopeful.

And, perhaps most of all, ready for my ribs to NOT serve as a xylophone for baby feet.


Oh boy, do I ever need a heavy dose of intentionality in my life these days.

I described what I've been feeling to Tyler as "oppressive boredom mixed with constant overwhelm".

Sounds healthy, right?

Maybe if you are a stay-at-home momma you can relate to this.  It's such a weird thing to have constant things to do at all times of the day and yet feel so...bored.  I'm sure that anyone can feel these things at any job, of course.

So, my plan is to add a heavy dose of intentionality to my life.

Intentionality in:


  • My marriage: often, Tyler and I just kind of go about our evenings on our own or watch some television or read.  I know that we are both tired of this.  I would consider our marriage strong and we love eachother so very much (I still can't believe that I somehow tricked Tyler into marrying me.) But, we want to be creative together, to have fun together, to work together.
  • My parenting: I'll be honest, I work pretty dang hard at being a mom.  If you're looking at time spent with my son (ok, both sons, since I am literally with the baby in my belly constantly), I could hardly spend any more time with them than I do.  I'm not sure what intentionality will look like in this area.  I know that it (for me) does NOT look like planning more toddler learning activities or anything.  I'll explain this in a later post sometime.
  • My hobbies:  My...what?  Besides reading, there isn't much hobbying going on around here.  Often if feels as if in order to do anything "fun" I have to get all the "work" done first, and since I am a highly unmotivated person, I usually procrastinate with meaningless screentime and get neither fun nor work done.  I like sewing, cooking, reading, writing.  How about less facebook and more of those things?
  • My relationships:  Being brutally honest (in a totally public forum, probably not the best place to first say this out loud, but, ya know....) I don't feel like I have any close friends because I stink at keeping up with relationships.  I have new friends, long time friends, lifetime friends, older friends, younger friends, all of them so wonderful.  But if I'm having a hard day and need someone to talk to, often I just don't know who to call.  I feel like reaching out would be a burden on someone or overstepping boundaries.  If you are one of my oh-so-wonderful friends, you may be thinking that this is a big load of (overly-processed) baloney.  Because it is.  It's time to work hard at loving my friends and letting myself be loved by those friends.  No more isolating myself out of inconvenience.
  • My spiritual life:  This one is the hardest one to put in to words.  Basically, I need to add some reverence to my daily life with God.  The prayers of thankfulness for the blessings in my life are often, but the confessions and thinking about and taking action on actual issues, not so much.
  • My health:  It's simple really:  Move everyday.  Eat lots of plants everyday.  Breath fresh air everyday. Being eight months pregnant, a new exercise regimen isn't exactly on the list of things that could reasonably be accomplished, but simple things?  I can do that.


Because that is more than enough rambling for today, the rest of my thoughts: what makes this time different?  what am I implementing?  what am I not concerned about (i.e. cleaning my bathrooms more than once a week)?  will be for another post.

Sheesh, it feels so great getting all that honesty and vulnerability out there.  No fancy staged picture, barely proof-read, and written during naptime.

Now tell me: how are you intentional in these areas of your life?  Seriously...tell me.  




First of all, I'm writing this post while listening to Henry's Spotify playlist, so if I randomly start talking about a Teddy Bears' Picnic or a Dinosaur Train, you'll know why.

By way of an update:

We're having another baby boy at the end of September.

We celebrated six years of marriage.

My husband is changing jobs.

We bought our first house.

Henry turned two.

So, not too much is new.

I do say that with some amount of sarcasm, but really it still feels like we are the same Tyler and Jess, just plugging along doing gradually more grown-up things all the time.  We have felt closer than ever through all of these changes and the changes that are looming ahead.

Every single night I go to bed so incredibly thankful for the person that I married.  I'm thankful that we are so well matched when making decisions (hemming and hawing over tiny insignificant decisions, but just jumping off the deep end on the big stuff).

We are so excited to welcome Baby #2.  He is a long hoped-for addition to our family.  Just based on the 20 week anatomy scan, it seems like he is going to be rambunctious and look nothing like his big brother.  Two boys seems like plenty kids for the next long while, so we're also excited to feel that (for now) our family is complete.

As for the new house, the short story is: WE LOVE IT.  It's smaller and much newer (only 45 years old!) than our last house.  The historic church parsonage that we have called home for the past 4.5 years holds so many sweet memories.  What bittersweet feelings as we gather our last few belongings from it.  But, the thrill of choosing our own paint colors and having a deck are outweighing the sadness.

That's what the Tanks are up to right now.  A whole lot of sleeping on air mattresses, sorting through cardboard boxes, feeling a baby boy rolling around in my belly at all hours, and lots and lots of playing Batman with our two year old little guy.





Christmas this year was so much fun.  Here are a few lingering thoughts:

-I thought last year was fun enough with Henry at Christmas, but this year was even more so.  I will say, Henry got more than his fair share of presents (ahem, grandparents), and by the end of Christmas day he was completely overwhelmed.  Now most of his new toys are safely tucked away in a closet to be brought out slowly over the course of the next few months.  

-Up until last year, I was SO OBSESSED with Christmas that I never wanted it to end. I would go to bed on the 25th as sad as can be because it would all have to wait until next year.  As cheesy and cliche as it may sound, now that we have Henry everyday is so fun and exciting that it kind of dulls the excitement that I used to feel over the holiday season.  

-I have GOT to work on my camera skills.  Practice makes perfect and I literally left my DSLR in a bag from Thanksgiving until this morning, just in time to take blurry photos of my toddler so we can take down the tree tomorrow.

-There is no place like home.  It may be because we traveled so much for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that we had a whole week less between the holidays this year, but I found myself longing to be home and back to my routine.  A certain one year old felt the same way, as evidenced by the frequent mini-meltdowns.  

-I'm spending New Year's Eve alone, going to bed early, and feeling just fine about that.  The midnight countdown always feels a little anti-climatic to me anyway.  I'm always the one complaining until midnight and then scurrying off to bed at 12:02. 

-I'm on the fence about making New Year's Goals this year.  Clean slates are so refreshing, and that's what 2014 feels like, but I never seem to keep track of my goals well.  What are your thoughts on New Year's Resolutions/Goals?


I love to read.  Well, I love the idea of reading, but somehow it seems like I never do it.  I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that toddlers take a lot of work, but moreso that social media has a pretty good grip on me and that takes time, y'all.


In 2014 I want to make more time for reading by shoving to the side some of those fluff time-fillers in exchange for true relaxation.  To me that means curling up with a good read.  I'm going to have to read other places than in my bed because I'm snoozing after only two pages, no matter how great the book.

I saw this map on Pinterest and thought I would try to read through this list.  I'm a pretty big fan of young adult novels (for the most part) plus they are usually engaging enough that I read through them pretty quickly.  




What do you think?  How many of these have you read?  Do you even like young adult literature?  Anyone want to join me?


It seems like the holidays are the time of year when we all have a little more kindness in our hearts.  We want to do good and be good because we feel a little more connected to others.

Often we want to do good things, but we don't know exactly where to focus our efforts.

Here's a place to focus some resources for a good cause:




All these women need is $1,500 to make this dream a reality.  It's a completely manageable number...if every helps chip in.  It sounds cliche, but it is true that every little bit helps.

For more information or to donate, head on over to Mark's blog and check out the Tres Generaciones project.


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