On Having a "Special Needs" Brother: A Letter to My Boys

Dear Ethan - my sweet first born child,

Being just 11 months older than Aiden, I knew your bond would be tight, but I'll admit that I often worried how his physical differences would affect your relationship. Would you feel embarrassed by him if people made comments in public? Would you stick up for him? Would you begin to resent the attention he gets - both socially and medically? Your daddy and I tossed and turned at night for many months wishing we knew what the future held. And you know what, 5 years have gone by and have proven that we have absolutely nothing to worry about.

We have tried to instill a strong sense of character in you from a young age, teaching you right from wrong, how to be a good friend, what to say to people who stare or say things that aren't very nice.

But, I do believe that God beat us to it. He knew what he was doing when he gave us you - he gave us the perfect big brother for Aiden. This role was made for you. And we all get to reap the benefits.

Aiden is confident. Content. Happy. A normal, fun-loving kid. You know who he learned it from? YOU! By loving him unconditionally, without reservation, you have given him a priceless gift.

He knows he has his big brother in his corner. Whatever life throws at him, he takes his cues from you. So the kid who called him a name on the bus? It didn't bother him too much because you handled it like a pro and made it seem as if it wasn't the end of the world. Sometimes I feel as if you are wise beyond your years. Your loving and gentle soul will leave a mark on this world. I'm so very happy Aiden has someone like you to look up to. Can't wait to watch your brotherly bond ebb and flow through the years.


Dear Hudson - my little ball of energy,

You came into this world already having 2 of the best gifts there can be...brothers. With such an age gap, I worried you might feel left out, but your brothers absolutely adored you from day 1. They want to play with you, tackle you, chase you, read to you - and you certainly eat up all the attention. You are gonna be one tough cookie with all the beating-up they (un)intentionally do on you! I have to remind them you are just a toddler and not a big boy like them...yet.

The circumstances surrounding your brother Aiden's birth were engraved in our heart, making it hard not to worry when you were growing in my belly. But on the day you were born, you brought a light into mommy and daddy's lives. We exhaled, and cried out, and thanked God for giving us YOU.

As you grow, you will always know Aiden as your big brother - nothing more, nothing less. However you might also begin to have questions about his differences, and that's okay. Daddy and I have lots of pictures to show you how God made Aiden so very special and we can't wait to share his story with you. It's quite an amazing journey I tell ya! We know you will be so very proud to have a brother as tough and brave as Aiden!


As a mom of all boys, I am often asked if I wish I had a girl. I just laugh and say "God knew I was supposed to be a boy-mom!" And I firmly believe that is true. I have a tremendous opportunity before me - to raise 4 boys into strong, capable, generous young men...and I take my job very seriously. I am in awe of each of my children. Getting to know your souls fulfills me in ways I never knew possible before becoming a mother. This road we are on as a family is the road we were meant for. I pray that each of you understand just how special your journey is.

As individuals. As brothers.

I always hesitate to label Aiden as having "special needs". Sure he will require extra medical care over the years. You will watch him physically transform from one surgery to the next. He might go to the hospital or doctor more than others you know. But when it comes down to it, doesn't every child have needs that are "special"?

Instead, I hope that you always see beyond Aiden's differences and continue to accept him as one of God's unique creations, just like everyone else.

Furthermore, I pray that having Aiden for a brother will enrich your lives as much as it has mine.

Love you my sweets,

Holiday Gift Guide: Toys for Boys

Here it is...a LONG list of gift ideas for boys of all ages! If you want to find the perfect present, look no further. I spent all afternoon compiling what I think are THE BEST toys for boys.

A few things to note about my list:

1. I am a researcher by nature so before making any purchases I always read customer reviews online. I don't purchase anything with less than a 4 out of 5 rating...so everything on this list has passed the same test.

2. I didn't put an "age" category because my kids don't usually fall into the typical recommended age range of a toy. You know your child best and know what they would like/play with. Just be aware that some toys do come with small pieces so be sure to take that into consideration when purchasing gifts for kids smaller than 3.

3. *The price column indicates the purchase price of the item on Amazon.com when this list was published. Some prices may differ when you are doing your shopping.

4. To read the customer reviews, learn more about a particular product, see the current price and/or purchase on Amazon.com, click the "LEARN MORE and/or BUY" text in the very last column. You can also click on the image of the toy in the first column as well.

5. I highly recommend you subscribe to Amazon Prime before doing your online holiday shopping. Most of the items on this list are "Prime Eligible" meaning you will receive FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING! Even on larger items! When you add up how much you will save, it will more than exceed the price of joining as a Prime member.

6. Finally, please don't think for a minute that my kids have or are getting all of the items on this list. While Santa has their wish lists, some of these will reside in their online Wish Lists for future gift giving opportunities (birthdays, special occasions, next Christmas, etc.)

ENJOY! And if you find this list helpful, please SHARE it on Facebook or PIN to Pinterest. Thanks and happy shopping!

Leap Frog Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil Buy on Amazon.com Nikelodeon GAK Buy on Amazon.com Lego City play sets Buy on Amazon.com Alex Toys Rub a Dub Stickers for the Tub Buy on Amazon.com Jambo's Hootenany CD Buy on Amazon.com Leap Frog Letter Factory - Phonics Buy on Amazon.com Baby Songs DVD Buy on Amazon.com Image Map
Safari Camouflage Binoculars Buy on Amazon.com Leap Frog Poppin' Play Piano Buy on Amazon.com Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Buy on Amazon.com Kidoozie Cool Tools Buy on Amazon.com Melissa & Doug Wooden Doorbell House Buy on Amazon.com Learning Resources Pretend and Play School Set Buy on Amazon.com Vtech Roll and Learn Suitcase Buy on Amazon.com Image Map
KAS Kids Army Camo Vest Buy on Amazon.com Be Amazing! Toys Build-a-Fort Camo Tent Buy on Amazon.com Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks Buy on Amazon.com Discover with Mr. Cool Mine for Fossils Buy on Amazon.com Hohner Kids Rhythm Music 6-Piece Instrument Set Buy on Amazon.com Franklin Sports Go Pro Football Set Buy on Amazon.com Little Tykes Grill Set Buy on Amazon.com Image Map
Vtech KidiBeats Drum Set Buy on Amazon.com 
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase any of these products using the links provided on this page, I will earn a percentage as an Amazon Associate at no additional cost to you. In no way did my affiliate relationship sway what items I chose for this list. Razor ScooterBuy on Amazon.comSkylanders Swap Force Starter KitBuy on Amazon.comDisney Infinity Starter KitBuy on Amazon.comJunie B. Jones Books in a BusBuy on Amazon.comZoom Pets Zoomer DalmationBuy on Amazon.comSlackers 90' Hawk Series Zipline KitBuy on Amazon.comImage Map

Pregnancy Update: 26 weeks!

It's been almost 3 weeks since I have been on bedrest - 1 week at the hospital and the rest of the time at home. I have had weekly doctors appointments to make sure things are still going smoothly and so far so good. With all of the shots, ultrasounds, medicines and measurements I am feeling very confident that baby Nolan is staying put for the time being. There are no indications of impending preterm labor and I've had no other symptoms of a placental abruption. All great news.

In fact things have been going so good that at my appointment last week I asked the doctor if he thought I might get out of bed rest. Without hesitation he said no, reminding me that things are probably going so well because I have been off my feet and in bed. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I guess he has a point. However he said he would be willing to discuss again once I make it to the 30 week point.

The good news is that once I make it to 28 weeks I can safely deliver at the local hospital that is just 5 minutes from my parents house. Up to that point if I begin having contractions or any  more bleeding I will need to go 35 minutes north to a hospital with a level 4 NICU. So, I'm looking forward to hitting that mark, especially as winter weather looms ahead.

I have been keeping busy working on that long list of things I had kept putting off for another day. That list was pretty long as the current and immediate needs of caring for 3 kids tended to push many things down to the bottom of the totem pole. It has been really nice to dig into some of these neglected projects and definitely helps me feel as if I'm accomplishing something (even when my feet may not hit the floor more than 1x/day).

Some of the things I've been tackling:
  • apertOWL - if you haven't heard, a friend and I are starting a non-profit organization to provide positive resources for individuals touched by Apert syndrome. It has been quite the undertaking, especially when both myself, and my partner Kerry Lynch have been pregnant/had babies this year and now have 5 kids 6 and under between us. While it has been a slow-moving process, we are as dedicated as ever and will be rolling out the finished website in the very near future. In the meantime, I'd love it if you would like apertOWL on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest!

  • Speaking of Pinterest, I have spent oodles of hours pinning, organizing, cleaning up and editing my personal Pinterest boards. In the next week or so I am going to do a blog post on all of the "things I've actually tried" (which much to my surprise is a LOT!) and share how each turned out, how difficult it was and whether I would recommend others try it out too. Stay tuned!

  • Christmas shopping! All of which has been done online. I signed up for Amazon Prime a few weeks ago and have gotten free shipping on ALL of my kids gifts. Most are guaranteed to arrive within 2 days too! I have really enjoyed doing all of my shopping on a single site (Amazon compares prices on products across numerous online sellers) and it also seems to have the most product reviews which I consult before buying ANYTHING. But the best part of using Amazon.com has been the "Wish List" feature - I was able to scope out all the things I think each kid would like, add it to their own list, and discuss it all with my husband before making the purchase. Plus, you can share Wish Lists with friends and family members who need ideas too. Even though I do enjoy the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping with my husband every year, being on bed rest has forced me to adjust our plan. And honestly, I know I will continue to shop online all year long! (Be on the look out for my "Best Toys for Boys" holiday shopping guide blog post in the next few days)

  • Organizing - I'm the type of person who lives by the motto "A place for everything and everything in its place". However with 3 young kiddos, that task is often impossible to accomplish. Things might start out in their designated place, but pieces go missing, get put away incorrectly, etc.  When it comes to my own clutter I often get behind while trying to keep up with all the kids stuff. So I took this opportunity to get myself organized. I have filed that ominous ever-growing stack of paper, sorted through and deleted dozens of random pictures housed on my computer, cleaned up my digital documents, backed up the important stuff and organized my iTunes files. And boy does it feel good! Now if I could keep up with it instead of it becoming a huge undertaking that requires hours of time...

Anywho - thought I'd throw in here a collage of my bump pics thus far. For more, be sure to follow More Skees Please on Facebook and Instagram.
*DISCLOSURE: I am an Amazon.com Associate and this post contains affiliate links.

Hospital Bed Rest: Day 5

It's been a rough day emotionally. I'm almost through my 7 days of hospital bed rest and while I should be extremely happy that all has been going well and that I've made it to 24 weeks, the doctor hit me with a wallop this morning that I wasn't prepared to hear.

Originally, the plan for the immediate future was to go home Wednesday and remain on bed rest there for 2 weeks. However today the doctor said she recommends it last the duration of my pregnancy :(

Believe me, I know that every day this baby has to grow before being born is most important. So I am trying my best to focus on that and will do what I need to do. But that's not to say that this hasn't started to wear on my emotions.

I have 3 kids who are being well taken care of by my parents and who have barely skipped a beat with all these changes from their norm - the move, daddy not living with us, mommy being pregnant and now, in the hospital. They are nothing short of amazing. I am so grateful to have such flexible kiddos who adapt to challenges with ease. However sometimes the guilt overcomes me. Not being there to pack their lunch, put them to bed, make sure their homework is done. Not tucking them in, getting them off the bus or taking them to basketball practice. As their mom, that was my job. My priority. Yes, I had help when needed but knowing someone else - multiple people even - have to arrange their own every day schedules to accommodate for the things I am unable to do is sometimes hard to accept.

And then I start to think of all that I will miss out on these next few months while I'm laid up in bed. Celebrating birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Ethan's first basketball game, the majority of his first year of Scout activities. Even all the ordinary things that I'd be doing any given day - the boys bath time, taking them to the park (or out to eat or to the mall), running errands, organizing my life.

It's easy to start feeling down about it all, especially this time of year. But I'll manage. After all, it's only temporary...and most importantly it is needed to ensure the health of the new little gift that is meant for our family. Whatever sacrifices I have to make to get him here safely will be so very worth it.

So on that note I will stop feeling sorry for myself, put a smile on my face, and...take a nap.

PS - thanks mom for adjusting your life to handle mine. I know you wouldn't have it any other way but I just want you to know how much I appreciate all you do! Bet you thought you were finished raising 3 kids didn't you? Now you get to do it all over again with mine ;)

My top 10 pregnancy must-haves

While I am no Mrs. Duggar, with this being my fourth go-round at this pregnancy thing, some might call me an "expert" on the subject. Through each experience there are some staples that have made their appearance every time so I thought I would share.

(1) Vitafusion PreNatal Vitamins   |  (2) Bubba Keg 34oz. Travel Mug    |   (3) Breathe Right Strips 
(4) Liz Lange Maternity Tanks   |   (5) Barf Bags   |   (6) Tunic style tops
(7) Motherhood Maternity Secret Belly Leggings   |   (8) Leachco Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow
(9) Comfortable Maternity Underwear   |   (10) Carmex Lip Balm

1. Prenatal vitamins
This is an every day must. You should actually start taking prenatal vitamins well before you become pregnant. There are a million different kinds to choose from, including a gummy kind from VitaFusion that had always been my favorite. BUT - did you know that gummy vitamins do not contain iron? I learned that when I became anemic while pregnant. I couldn't understand how that would happen because I was taking my vitamins every day. Then I remembered that prior to one of Aiden's surgeries, the doctor told me to start giving him Flintstones chewable vitamins instead of his normal gummy kind...because they didn't have iron. Sure enough I checked the bottle on my prenatals and it lacked that important nutrient. At that point I needed to switch to a prescription prenatal vitamin called CitraNatal that has added iron, which is what I currently take and have no complaints.

2. An insulated water jug
Everyone knows that your water intake should drastically increase during pregnancy. Some might find it difficult, especially if you typically get your liquid fill from coffee, tea and/or soda. I have found that if you keep a large, ice cold water jug nearby, you will constantly sip on it and before you know it will need a refill. I have this Bubba Keg version which I love because it is insulated and fits in the cup holder of my car. I take it with me everywhere!

3. Breathe Right strips
When pregnant, my nose tends to stay stuffy and swollen feeling around the clock. During the day, when I'm upright, it doesn't bother me too much. But when my head hits the pillow I swear my nasal passages close off completely. I tried Breathe Right strips and OH MY GOODNESS they work like a charm! I now sleep like a baby (and scare my kids every morning when they see it still on my nose) :)

4. Liz Lange cotton maternity tanks
I bought all kinds of "long" tank tops when I first got pregnant with Ethan. Almost seven years later, these maternity tanks from Liz Lange still fill my drawer. They are just the right amount of soft and stretchy and the length is perfect for covering a bump big or small. They are thick enough that you can wear them under an open shrug or sweatshirt without being see-through. I love them so much I wear them all the time even when I'm not pregnant. They're great for layering! Luckily, they must be one of the lines best sellers because they still carry them at Target to this day. I've nabbed one in almost every color they make - and there are even some really cute stripe ones too.

5. Barf bags
Let's face it, if you go through pregnancy without needing to barf at one point or another you are indeed a lucky one. For me, riding in airplanes and cars was the worst. I flew at the beginning of this pregnancy and spent the entire flight with my face stuck inside their little barf bags. They were so convenient that I decided to ask the flight attendant for a few extra just in case and I stuck them in the inside pocket of my car door. They are the perfect size for on the go! If you can't snag some from someone who is traveling by air, then just be sure to be prepared with something. Throwing up in your kids empty Chik-fil-a sack isn't fun, but it's better than nothing!

6. Long tunic-style tops
I've always loved wearing my shirts a little longer so that they sit just at my hips. For me, I feel like it goes best with my body proportions. So because I already had some of these long tunic-style tops in my closet, I was able to continue to wear them while pregnant, making the transition into maternity wear much easier (and cheaper!) And pairing these long tops with comfy leggings is my go-to style choice...see below for my favorite pair.

7. Motherhood Maternity Secret Belly leggings
Now it will depend on if you have an "over the belly" or "low rise" maternity pants preference, but for me I'm an "over the belly" girl all the way. I generally think they are more comfortable that way and the extra material helps to smooth things out - especially if you have a belly button that sticks out when pregnant like I do :) These leggings come in capri-length for spring/summer mamas and the long ones are great for wearing with tall boots in fall/winter. I've got a pair in just about every color they make - light gray, dark gray, black, and navy. And I should mention I've tried several different maternity legging brands but always choose these in the end.

8. A body pillow
When I first got pregnant with Ethan my sister gave me her Snoogle pregnancy pillow to borrow. I thought it was a little strange looking and wasn't sure I'd ever use it. It took up a lot of space in our king size bed, often making the sleeping arrangements a bit awkward so I'd dump it on the floor halfway through the night. But then, suddenly, I couldn't sleep without it. Having the "C" shaped pillow to curl my body around was so comfortable. When I got pregnant for the 2nd time, my sister was as well so I had to give it back to her and splurge on my own. At around $60 a pop, it wasn't cheap. But still, so worth it. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, just head to Wal-Mart and buy a long body pillow for around $10. It isn't quite the same but if positioned just right can be quite comfy too.

9. Comfortable maternity underwear
No brainer, right? I wrongly assumed that I could continue to wear the underwear I already owned throughout my entire pregnancy. Much to my surprise, it wasn't just my belly that got bigger as baby grew. My butt, thighs and hips changed as well - making my regular undies really uncomfortable. I swallowed my pride and purchased underwear in a size I'd never had to buy before. And you know what? They are STILL some of the most comfortable underwear I have to this day. PS - I don't recommend wearing maternity underwear on date night...even if they're cute, it doesn't exactly scream sexy if you know what I mean ;)

10. Carmex lip gloss
Finally, I highly recommend stocking up on your favorite lip gloss / chapstick. Remember how I mentioned the breathing difficulties in number 3? Well even with the Breathe Right strips you are gonna want to keep your lips slathered in lip balm. Especially if you are pregnant in the winter time when your skin generally tends to dry out anyway. The soothing tingle of Carmex makes it my top pick.

So there you have it. The top 10 things I couldn't live without while pregnant. Do you have a must-have that you want to share? Leave a comment below!

* No portion of this post was sponsored by any of the products/brands listed. I am simply sharing my go-to pregnancy picks! However there are affiliate links included in this post.

How to Start a Blog

When I started this blog back in 2008 after Aiden was born, I loved having the ability to sit down at the computer and document the things that were going on our life at the time. I did a google search for an online journal and went from there, choosing Blogger because of it's simple user interface. Having zero html experience (other than the few simple commands I learned in a computer programming elective in college), I knew I wanted something that gave me a lot of freedom to edit my little creative space without needing a lot of the how-to knowledge for coding.

I began with a very generic template, adding a few personal touches along the way when I had time. I used PowerPoint to mock up headers with our family's pictures and wordart titles and aside from tweaking the color scheme here and there, that was about the extent of my customization of More Skees Please. After all, the only people who ever saw this site were my immediate family members (well, some of them anyway...I still don't think my dad ever reads my blog).

For awhile my site was private - where you needed to be added to an approved list to access the link. I was a bit overwhelmed by the world wide web and wasn't so comfortable putting my life "out there" to just anybody. But then, I realized that family members were really interested in the information about Aiden's care and most were finding our positive approach to our journey really inspiring - and I knew that I might possibly benefit other family's going through the same thing, however rare it was. I flipped the switch to public and the rest is history!

Never would I have imagined that over the last 5 years I would be contacted by family's from around the world - some who have been touched by Apert syndrome themselves, others who happened across our story and have continued to follow along and still more who have no connection to the special needs world at all and simply say they like my writing. I've made lasting connections. I've raised awareness. I've developed a platform to advocate for my kids. And I've been able to do all of that by sharing my personal life with anyone who might be interested in reading. Some might think I'm crazy, but this experience has been and continues to be so very rewarding!

Many people have asked me through the years how to go about starting a blog of their own. So I'd like to give a few practical tips on the subject. Keep in mind, you can always google "how to start a blog" and find hundreds of sites with a much more detailed road map for carving out your own little online space. This is just the basics - and from someone who has pretty much taught myself from day one (in other words, NOT a professional by any means).

How to Start a Blog

1. Figure out your blog's purpose
Before getting started, the first step should be to ask yourself some basic questions. Do you have a particular niche (crafting, cooking, fitness, etc.)? Are you looking to monetize your blog with advertising/sponsors or do you simply want it to be a place to jot your thoughts? What kind of audience do you want to have - family and friends, the general public, or do you want it to remain completely private. Knowing these things ahead of time will help you determine which blogging platform you may want to choose, what security settings you will need to set up (if any) and just how much you are willing to share.

2. Choose your blogging platform
There are many options for free online blogs out there. I encourage you to click on each of the below and check out what they have to offer. I chose Blogger from the get-go because, as I said before, it seemed very simple to use without having to know a lot of html programming. I could drag and drop, edit my layout and upload photos very easily. The text editing is very similar to what I'm used to in Microsoft Word. There are also a lot of options for personalizing the look with templates, backgrounds and more. Throughout the years I have attempted to switch my blog over to a different platform, like WordPress, but I always end up right back here on Blogger. It's just a matter of personal preference so you'll want to play around with each of the options to see what you're most comfortable with.
     * www.blogger.com
     * www.tumblr.com

FYI-- there are some paid versions of blog platforms that allow you more options such as built in hosting, more advertising capabilities, tracking, etc. but I chose a free site.Visit this article from Lifehacker if you want more info about each of the above.

3. Pick a name for your blog
Depending on your blog's purpose, you will want to choose a blog name that you can live with for a long time. Once you decide on something, you won't want to change it - especially if you plan on making your blog public and trying to build an audience. I started out with www.theskeesfamily.com because my goal was to write solely about...well, our family. And it was only for family as well. I purchased the custom domain name (I used Go Daddy) which allows you to "own" the website url. Otherwise, Blogger gives you a default name like www.theskeesfamily.blogspot.com. Once I began to broaden my writing focus - and my audience - I made the decision to come up with a more catchy blog title which meant having to buy a different domain name to match. That's when I went forward with www.moreskeesplease.com and have stuck with that ever since.

4. Decide on design elements
Once you have established a blog on one of the available platforms, you can dive write in to writing, or you can begin to add your own personal design touches (which I think is the fun part!) On Blogger you can pick a pre-made template or a more basic one that will allow you to customize it to your liking. I started out with a pre-made template because I dove right into the writing. But as time went on and I wanted to make it more my own, I switched to the more basic one and even uploaded custom elements by searching the web for "Blogger templates". You'll find there are hundreds of sites that offer step-by-step instructions to utilize some really cute free template designs.

5. Write, write, write
You should be all set! Click on "new post" (or whatever verbiage is used on the platform you chose) and write away. Hitting PUBLISH for the first time is exhilarating.

6. Share your stuff
Depending on how you want to grow your blog, and who you want reading it, there are various ways to share what you've just published if you should choose to do so. In Blogger, there is a "share" link from your list of published posts, but you need a Google+ account to utilize it so I never have. You can always copy and paste the link to your blog or the specific url to the new post (when in "view" mode) and include it in an email, post it to Facebook, etc. There are also services that can automatically share new blog posts across chosen social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. when published (Networked Blogs is one I have used). Of course if you don't want to share what you write, and want it to be for your eyes only, be sure to edit the privacy settings accordingly.


That's it in a nutshell! In 6 easy steps you can be on your way to creating a personalized space online to document any and all the goings on in your life. There is so much more that I could talk about on this subject like: how to create sidebar images for categories, how to link social media within your blog (the "like" box for Facebook and follow buttons for Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), how to create a custom header, and adding widgets such as the "You Might Also Like" one I have at the bottom of my posts. Maybe someday I'll write some tutorials - but in the meantime, do what I did and just Google it!

I'm always interested in reading new blogs so if you feel so inclined, feel free to share your link in a comment below and I'll check it out!

I'm officially in print!

My previously posted blog from Cincy Parent magazine online can officially be found IN PRINT on (free) newstands everywhere. Well, in and around Cincinnati, Dayton and Indianapolis anyway.

Don't live near any of those cities? Have no fear! You can click below to see how it looks in the online version of the magazine.

{The article can be found by scrolling to page 21}

Hospital Bed Rest: Day 2

It's amazing how tired you can get when you have to stay in bed all day. You'd think I'd feel well-rested and raring to go but I'm actually not. Perhaps it's the result of being deliriously bored.

So, I took a shower to feel a bit refreshed (I do have all bathroom privileges thank goodness) and actually blew dry my hair. The nurses probably did a double take when they came in and saw me - with regular clothes, hair not pulled back in a ratted mess and my bangs not pinned in a headband.

Anyway, here's my latest attempt at keeping myself occupied...a vlog! (That's a video blog if you aren't sure what it means). I must be really bored (and really brave) to let the world see me without a stitch of makeup. 


Hospital Bedrest: Day 1 (this is a long one...)

Shortly after I pushed publish on my last post, I shut off the light, closed the computer and laid down to go to bed. Only as I lay there, I started to develop a strong throbbing pain in my belly. I've not ever noticed contractions at this stage of the game so I wasn't sure if that's what the pain was, but I was on my left side, was drinking water and was laying down - all the things they tell you to do if you begin having them.

After 30 minutes, then 45, I decided something wasn't right so I trusted my instinct and called the doctor on call. As I suspected, they sent me in to the hospital to get checked out. All to familiar with this routine, I assumed I would be monitored for an hour or so then sent on my way. However things took an entirely different turn....never a dull moment with me!

It was after midnight and although my dad was still awake, I woke my mom to have her drive me. When we got to the hospital they wheeled me to the birthing center and as we turned the corner I noticed someone had just been brought in via ambulance. Suddenly, nurses were shuffling around and there was lots of activity. Just a few minutes later I heard a nurse walk by saying how she barely made it in time. A mom delivered her baby right there in the triage room! They brought mom to a room and were tending to a very alert newborn in an isolette as we went by. I said a little prayer for the family, the dad looked like a deer in headlights, and also got teary eyed as I wondered if I would be able to make it far enough for that very moment (well, not delivering in a triage room in the nick of time...but having a good size healthy term baby).

I was put on the fetal monitor, given some IV fluids and after it was determined that I was in fact having irregular contractions, they shot me with a dose of Brethine to help calm my uterus. Still thinking they'd keep an eye on me and send me home, I was surprised when the doctor came by and told me they'd be admitting me for the night.

Once I was all checked in, they gave me an ambien and told me to get some rest. Mom had gone home and Ricky was on stand-by still in Southern Indiana. I didn't want him to have to drive up or leave work if I was going home the next afternoon.

I already had an ultrasound appointment set up for the next day but they bumped it up to 8am instead of waiting until 2pm. Because they still suspected a possible placental abruption they had the ultrasound done by the maternal fetal medicine group. They wanted to look for any evidence of the placenta beginning to pull away from the uterus and also to do a full growth scan of the baby, as oftentimes even if a tear/abruption is not seen on ultrasound, they are able to determine any problems if the baby is not growing well.

All looked perfect on the scan. Baby is an estimated 1lb. 10oz (which is several ounces bigger than usual at this point!), fluid levels are great, baby's measurements are on track and no evidence of any bleeding was seen. Great news! I was so relieved.

Back in the room I started to gather up my belongings as I waited for the doctor to review the scan and come in to discuss the great results. Again, I assumed I'd be discharged at that point and headed home.

Again, I was wrong.

The doctor came in and had a very different plan. He began by saying the scan looked really good and baby is a great size. "However," he continued, "you are at a very critical point in this pregnancy." He then led the conversation down a path I was not prepared for at all.

Because of my bleeding and the increase in its frequency, he said they still were very concerned. He explained that at just 23 weeks along baby was just shy of viability. "We need to make some serious decisions at this point," he began. "If you were to deliver today, tomorrow or even the next few days, we would need to know how you wanted to handle things."

Wait, deliver? My scan was great and I hadn't had any more bleeding in almost 24 hours. And he's talking about my risk of delivering this baby today or tomorrow? I felt like maybe he was mistaken on which patient room he went into. He said he wasn't trying to scare me, but there was no way of knowing if I was any immediate danger or would need emergency intervention if there was in fact a bleed that they weren't seeing. He left me to think things over and said he'd be back in to visit after discussing next steps with the maternal fetal docs.

I called Ricky and through tears tried to relay what the doctor had just thrown at me. Ricky left work, fearing the worst, to make his drive up to be with me. I just kept thinking the worst. Shortly after he got there, my doctor came back in to continue the discussion.

He explained things once again for Ricky to hear and when he said for the second time that we had some decisions to make I asked him what exactly he meant. "We need to know what to do if you should need an emergency c-section to deliver this baby. At 23 weeks there are numerous risks for developmental and physical problems. Worst case, baby wouldn't survive."

He went through a laundry list of issues the baby may face - most of which I already found out minutes before when I googled "baby born at 23 weeks".

"Basically, we need to know if you would want us to resuscitate and what medical interventions you would want for baby at birth."

With little discussion needed, Ricky and I exchanged a knowing glance that indicated we agreed - of course we would want any and all measures taken to help our baby live. I began to cry when I told the doctor this, thinking back to how much our life changed when Aiden was born and fearful of what our life would look like with another medically fragile child.

The complications swirled in my head: blindness, heart issues, underdeveloped bowels, cerebral palsy, and on and on. But what were we supposed to do? Take a look at our breathing baby and say "no, just let him die?" The thought is sobering, but still, we were sure that it wasn't a choice we would make. It would be in God's hands.

The doctor assured us that there was nothing to indicate that I was in fact in danger of going into labor at that point, but they wanted to have these important questions answered if something needed to be decided quickly.

With that, he said the best place for me to be for the next few days would be at a different hospital that had a higher level NICU with doctors and nurses who would be better equipped to handle an extremely premature baby. At least until I got to the point of viability. So they transported me via ambulance across the river to Cincinnati. (Worst ambulance ride ever by the way - which at #3 for the year gave me some experience to compare it to...driver had no clue where he was going, there was no airflow and I had to ask them to crack the side window because the A/C wasn't working, the EMT in back with me smelled like she had just smoked an entire pack of cigarettes so every time she hollered "turn left here John, no I said LEFT" I felt like she was breathing smoke right into my mouth.)

But I digress.

Aiden: Boba Fett +++ Ethan: Iron Patriot +++ Hudson: A robot 
It's Halloween. I've been here one night and according to the main doctor here in the Special Care unit I am looking at being here at least until Wednesday. They want to see me go 7 days without bleeding or any other issues arising. As I type this I'm getting photos of the boys trick-or-treating with Ricky (the rain actually stopped right at 6:00) which makes me happy for them, but I'm having a hard time getting rid of this huge lump in my throat. Bed rest at home is not fun. Bed rest in the hospital is REALLY hard.

I'm with my boys all the time so I'm used to breaking up their fights, helping them with homework and lots of snuggling, hugs and kisses whenever I want them. While it will definitely be difficult to miss out on the everyday stuff with my family, I am choosing to remain positive. I just got the most beautiful flower arrangement from my bestie (thanks Audrey and fam!), Ricky is close enough to drive up at a moments notice, my boys are being well taken care of at my parents' and the nurses here have all been more than amazing. I take comfort in knowing I'm in good hands...and my baby is too.

As my wise momma
always says "This too shall pass". The end result will be soooo very worth it.

An "abrupt" complication

I haven't talked much about my pregnancy here on the blog. I've been posting baby bump pics every so often on Instagram and have mentioned a few milestones on my Facebook page - like feeling baby's first kicks. Other than some moderate morning sickness in the first trimester, things had been going relatively well. Then I had some upsetting news at my appointment today. All is okay with baby right now, but at 23 weeks and 1 day I heard those two ugly words way earlier than I have in my other pregnancies...bed rest.

But let me rewind a bit...

I found out I was pregnant on Father's Day. The week before was spent packing up the house to make our official move from Texas. We had already planned an extended trip back to Kentucky for the summer and the first part of it was a road trip from KY to our family home in Michigan for a week. Ricky took some vacation time and came along - and we celebrated birthdays (my niece Lilly's, my aunt's and Hudson's), went to the beach, made s'mores around the fire pit and more. We so love our time spent there. Towards the end of the week, I started feeling a little funny and my womanly intuition told me to take a pregnancy test. I'll be honest, I was extremely nervous for the results...not because I thought it might be negative, but instead at the thought of it being positive. Here we were, embarking on a huge move across the country, splitting our family in two, starting the boys at a new school, living with my parents. Could we possibly add anything to our already jam packed plate? Well, God thought so. Two little pink lines proved it.

After taking the test, I woke Ricky from his nap on the couch. "Let's go for a walk," I suggested. He resisted. "Later," he said. There was no way I could keep the news in any longer so I pushed. "No, let's go now." After hemming and hawing he finally agreed. "I have one last present to give you for Father's Day," I said.

Still unsure how I felt about it, I needed to get it out there to him so I could begin to process it. I mean was I happy? Of course. Ricky and I had mutually decided that perhaps we weren't finished building our family after Hudson was born, a decision that took both of us by surprise. We chose to leave it in God's hands - if it was meant to happen, it would happen. Months went by and I didn't get pregnant. I had submitted to the fact that perhaps it wasn't in the cards for us...and then boom. Out of the blue. It happened. So I was a bit taken back for sure.

We got a whole 10 feet from the house when I spilled the beans. "So there's something I'd like to give you" and I pulled the positive test from the front pocket of my hoodie. "Happy Father's Day!" My voice trembled as I told him the news. I think he said something along the lines of "Are you serious?" and then swallowed me up in a hug. As I shook my head yes, I burst into tears. He was so confused, asking why I was crying. "I don't know! I'm just so surprised. It's hard to process. I can't believe it happened and we are doing this all over again!" The emotion was too much to hold back. We both cried and laughed through our tears. I felt guilty for not immediately being overcome with joy. For letting the stress of what we had going on in our lives take precedence over the happiness of realizing this was God's plan and it would all work out. We spent the next few days in disbelief - exchanging smiles and head shakes across the room. We went ahead and shared the news with our family and with that the excitement started to build.

Like I said, the first trimester brought about a pretty long bout of morning sickness. Every car ride, plate of food and sip of water made me throw up. It was a bit worse than the first 3 times so of course everyone's initial thought was "this one has got to be a girl". But at just 13 weeks along I had some genetic testing done where the fetal cells were actually extracted from my blood stream which not only told us that we were in the lowest risk group for certain birth defects like Trisomy-13, 18 and 21, but it also allowed us to find out the gender. The phone call came with the results and I merged the call with Ricky who was back in Texas at the time. It was a bit strange doing it this way, not hearing the news in person as we looked at an ultrasound screen. When the genetic counselor said "It's a boy", Ricky and I both began to laugh. Deep down I knew it would be.

For several weeks things were going really well. I even allowed myself to wonder what it would be like to make it the entire pregnancy without a single "complication". Wouldn't that be nice?

At around 15 weeks I was snapped back into reality. I started having a bit of bleeding and of course began to worry. I phoned the doctors office, who had put me under the care of their high-risk nurse for any and all issues because of my history. The amount was not worrisome and it didn't last long so they just told me not to sweat it. A few days went by and it happened again. And then again. I went in for a regular visit and an ultrasound and both exams showed baby, placenta and fluid was fine. A huge relief yet they had no explanation for the bleeding.

A few weeks ago there was an episode of bleeding that was much more than any of the others. I called the doctor and they asked me to come in first thing the next morning. As I laid there, I began feeling crampy and achy so I didn't want to wait. I made the decision to go to the hospital to have things checked out that night. They kept me for a while to monitor things, but because I was no longer actively bleeding, I was sent home. At just 18 weeks they said that even if something was going on that was detrimental to the pregnancy, there really wasn't anything they could do to try to save it. I worried I was miscarrying or was about to.

The appointment the next morning again showed no signs of anything out of the ordinary. Fetal movement was good. No other symptoms. While the doctor said sometimes bleeding happens in normal pregnancies, he admitted that with my prior history it made him a little nervous. He asked me to try to take it easy and hopefully things would calm down.

The bleeding never went away - in fact, what started out happening once every few days, began occurring every other day, then every day. Again, not a lot. And not all day long. Just enough to make me worry.

At my monthly appointment today I got some sobering news. While it has not been confirmed by ultrasound, the doctor believes the bleeding is caused by a placental abruption - which is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. It can be a partial or total detachment and may or may not cause bleeding, ranging from mild to extreme. Often times it is hard to detect using ultrasound imaging. She said she isn't sure about the diagnosis but wants to treat me as if this is the case.

The risks from a placental abruption are serious. Depending on the severity, it can cause problems with the amount of nutrients that get through the placenta to the baby, which can in turn affect the baby's growth. A lot of women with this condition end up on hospital bed rest so they can monitor the situation around the clock. Luckily at this point I'm able to avoid that. Instead, my doctor called for "modified bed rest" which means "eliminating all unnecessary activity." I could feel the lump in my throat as she was saying all of this but held it together until I got in my car and called Ricky.

Then the waterworks started. So many emotions. I immediately fear for the safety of the baby. What if it gets worse and we lose him? What if it's already affecting his growth? Then I am upset at the thought of missing out on things because of bed rest. I've been there done that and believe me, it isn't fun. Sure I might get out of some cleaning and errand running. But what about Ethan's first basketball game and taking the kids trick-or-treating? And what about lifting and holding my 15-month old? Are those "unnecessary activities" for a mom of 3?

While I might pout a bit about my situation and I might be bummed about losing a bit of independence, I am going to do everything I can to take care of myself and this little boy growing inside of me. In the end, it's all that matters.

I have an ultrasound tomorrow afternoon to check on the baby - to make sure he is growing okay and to see if they can confirm the abruption. Please say some prayers that everything is on track.

I should have more time on my hands to sit down and write now that I'm being told to get off my feet and rest more, however if you're on Facebook, be sure to like More Skees Please for more frequent updates.

Cincinnati Museum Center's Ultimate Dinosaurs

My kids LOVE going to museums. When we moved to Austin, TX in 2010, one of the first things we did was become members at the Austin Children's Museum. Because we traveled frequently, we upgraded our membership so that we were able to use it at reciprocal museums and science centers across the US. 

I have fond memories of letting my imagination go wild at the Cincinnati Museum Center growing up, so once I had my own family, we started taking the kids there. Whether it be their holiday train exhibit or the awesome children's section, we got our money's worth from our reciprocal museum membership.

As we have transitioned back to the Cincinnati area, and our Austin membership expired, we have not yet purchased a new museum pass. So when we were invited to experience the new Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit this past weekend, I jumped at the chance. Not only do my boys LOVE dinosaurs, but it would give me a chance to refresh my memory on all that the Cincinnati Museum Center had to offer. 

We started our visit with a showing of the OmniMax film  Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia  It was my boys' first OmniMax experience...even my husband's! I had no doubts that my 6-year-old would love it, but I suspected my 5-year-old might get a little overwhelmed by the massive screen. Sure enough, just a few minutes into the show, he got scared and asked to leave. I didn't object to taking him out - I wanted my husband to be able to stay and enjoy his first OmniMax show AND while it normally would not have bothered me a bit, the lights and images surrounding us from side to side made my almost 6 months pregnant head spin. :)

After the 45-minute show ended, we met up in the gift shop where I browsed the sale shelves and scored a super catchy CD of dinosaur songs, a Dino card game/puzzle and some mini-dino figurines. 

Ethan of course thought the movie was "the coolest thing ever" and couldn't wait to learn more about these giants so we headed downstairs to the Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibit. Prior to arriving, I downloaded the exhibit's app on my iPhone which gave us several opportunities to enhance our experience as we made our way through the massive dinosaur skeleton replicas. There were little dino images on the ground that would "come alive" when we held my phone over them with the app open. It was pretty neat! (see photo at left)

The kids enjoyed reading about what the world looked like before, during and after dinosaurs existed. And all-in-all our whole family had a great time. I would definitely recommend this exhibit and the OmniMax (although little ones might want to skip the show). As we exited the exhibit, I could barely keep my kids from running into the Children's Museum. We could have spent hours there! Looks like a Cincinnati Museum Center membership is in our future! I think it will make a great family Christmas present...hint, hint, Santa... :)

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary tickets for my family to explore the Dinosaur exhibit and OmniMax show at the Cincinnati Museum Center. However, all experiences and opinions expressed in this post are genuine and my own. For more information on ticket prices and museum hours, please visit www.cincymuseum.org.

Dinosaur Hands and Dracula Face

Those are the names a 5th grader has decided to start calling my sweet 5 year old. Read more about it in my new post on the Cincinnati Parent Blog today.

Have YOU ever met someone with a craniofacial condition?

Maybe you know Aiden. Maybe you've seen someone on a Target run or at the local park and weren't quite sure what it was that made them "different". Perhaps you once encountered someone with a crooked smile or a misshapen face. Whatever the case may be, maybe I can help shed some light on it.

September is Craniofacial Acceptance Month and in an effort to raise awareness about the various craniofacial conditions, I put together a short video a few years ago.

Each of the kids featured in the video montage has a craniofacial condition. They have endured many surgeries. They get stared at sometimes for what they look like. They are amazing pillars of strength to all who know them - and I beg for you to take a few minutes to learn about them too.

Show the images to your children. Ask them to share their thoughts and encourage them to ask any questions they may have. Point out how the kids in the video are strong and courageous and how they are all very much like your kids in more ways than they are not.

Then take a moment to share this post so others can do the same. It'll only take a minute - but it could impact the lives of so many individuals affected by craniofacial differences for years to come.

Help me widen the circle of acceptance for kids like Aiden. I would be forever grateful.

Thanks so much!

Child-free zones on planes? Give me a break!

There have been many articles flying around the internet (pun intended) about airlines placing restrictions on - or even banning - children from certain flights.
---> See: "Families feel the squeeze as more airlines adopt kid-free zones"
As a mother of 3 kids who travels frequently for my son's medical care and to visit out of town family, I have a pretty strong opinion about this.

And here it is...

Flying is a service that is offered and frankly everyone has a right to use that service to get from here to there. As a mom who has flown countless times with all 3 of my kids, I wish my fellow passengers knew that I'm already stressed enough from carrying the extra load and maneuvering the airport with my entire family in tow - I don't want (nor do I deserve) to have others giving me the stink-eye if my kids aren't perfect angels from take-off to touch-down.

Besides - I have been on several flights where adult passengers were far more annoying than a wriggly or crying baby.

I once flew 4 hours straight next to someone who decided wearing deodorant was not necessary. This particular someone - and all those around him - would have greatly benefited from a better personal hygiene routine.

Another time I had to share the air with a grown man who spent the.entire.flight hacking up a lung.

Or how about the woman who CLIPPED HER FINGERNAILS right next to me, then proceeded to brush the clippings onto the floor.

And finally, I almost vomited as a bald man in the seat in front of me scratched and picked at small scabs on his scalp for 20 minutes straight.

When it becomes acceptable for airlines to designate seating for those with improper personal hygiene choices then maybe that's when I'll care if my noisy baby is a nuisance.

To all the grumpy elders and crabby businessmen who cringe when I sit next to them with my brood I say this: Look, I get it. On the rare occasion that I get to fly kid-free, I admit to rolling my eyes a bit at the irony of being seated next to a mom with baby. But I paid for my seat just like you. And while I am a damn good mom with generally pretty well-behaved kids, sometimes they turn into ten shades of crazy when the cabin door is pulled shut. Don't worry, I'm not saying I'm gonna let my misbehaving kids run rampant down the aisles or kick your seat with reckless abandon. I will do my absolute best to keep them - and you - happy. However if you are looking for a guaranteed quiet and relaxing atmosphere, perhaps flying isn't the best mode of transportation.

Riding the Rollercoaster of Motherhood

I'm excited to start my new gig as a featured monthly blogger over at Cincinnati Parent Magazine online. Every month I will post new content for them, which will also be published on CPM's sister sites Indy's Child and Dayton Parent Magazine.

My first post went live today and I would so love if you'd click over and give it a like or leave a comment! Just click on the image below :) Thanks!

Just like you...only different: An open letter to Aiden's Kindergarten classmates

Congratulations on this huge milestone in your lives! Kindergarten is SO much fun and such a huge step. Many of you are leaving your mommies and daddies a few hours a day for the first time ever. You may feel nervous, excited, scared and so many more emotions and that is okay.

My little guy Aiden is starting this journey too. He is most excited about riding the big yellow school bus with his brother, but he is nervous about going to a new school and making new friends.

Can I let you know a little secret? I am his mommy and I am nervous too.

You see, Aiden is a very special boy. Aiden has Apert syndrome.

When I look at him, I see his big bright eyes, his long and luscious eye lashes that would make any woman envious. I see the soft brown freckles sprinkled ever so delicately across his cheeks and nose. I am drawn to his contagious smile. I don't notice the scar on his head or that his face looks a little different.

But I know you probably will.

I marvel at the hands that have been refined by an amazing surgeon giving him fingers where there once were none. I watch in awe as he twists the cap off a water bottle or cuts a piece of paper into a million scraps. I see perfectly created little toes that make shoe shopping a week-long challenge. I don't think his hands are strange or his toes are weird.

But you might think so.

When I hear Aiden talk, I am reminded of when so many doctors and specialists told me he may have hearing loss that would effect his speech. That language may always be a struggle. Needless to say, he has proven them all wrong. When I talk to Aiden I don't think he's hard to understand.

But it may be difficult for you to know what he's saying sometimes.

I don't mind if you notice these special things about him. Most people do. However it is my hope that when you are learning your ABC's and colors of the rainbow, that you also learn how to accept my little boy. That before you decide not to sit next to him on the bus or share your crayons with him during art, you give him a chance.

He will make you laugh with his little jokes and silly songs. He will be a great friend, always ready to help you hang your backpack or put the blocks away. And my Aiden? He gives the best hugs, hands down.

Get to know him. That's all I ask. And when you do, you will understand - Aiden is just like you...only different.

Hope you all have a wonderful year!

Love, Aiden's mommy

A Week of Firsts

Just to keep things interesting around here (since we don't already have enough on our plate), Ricky and I have refocused our house hunting goals. We haven't ruled out building altogether but as of right now we are leaning more towards purchasing an existing home for several reasons. First, we are finding that we would be able to get A LOT more home for the money and second, the time frame for building the house we originally set out sights on means definitely not getting settled back together as a family until May/June 2014.

With all that said, we've been keeping an eye on houses that are for sale and a few weeks ago I saw a gem that I couldn't pass up. I called our realtor, asked her to set up an appointment, and drove to Louisville the next day to take a look in person. It was perfect. As I compared the pros and cons of this 10 year old house to our plans for building, it totally came out on top. Some of the things we would sacrifice if we chose to build were: a finished basement, an office, a 5th bedroom, an eat-in kitchen, a garage large enough for both cars AND storage, and some of the "extras" that tack on additional costs. This house has all of the above and then some.

So, I took a TON of pictures and attempted to FaceTime with Ricky - after all, he was going to have to make a decision on whether to put an offer in on this house without ever having seen it himself! And...we ended up doing just that. We thought for sure there was no way the sellers would accept a contingency offer but we decided to give it a shot. Guess what? They accepted it! They gave us 30 days to sell our home in Texas during which time they would list it as "pending" and agreed not to show it or take back up offers. They also wanted a home inspection done within 10 days.

Less than a week later Ricky was on a plane to KY. The timing of all of this worked out beautifully - as this meant Ricky would be in town for a whole slew of major "firsts". He got in on Tuesday night and surprised the boys Wednesday morning for their first day of school.

After they got on the bus, we headed to the hospital for an ultrasound where he got to see the baby moving around for the first time (I had already had 2 ultrasounds but Ricky was in Texas and they have a strict NO PHONES policy so he was out of luck until now).

The inspection was slated for Thursday afternoon. That morning, Ricky was able to coordinate some time in the office at corporate to discuss some of the work transitioning while I took Hudson to my in-laws for a visit. We had lunch with our friend Tom at one of my favorite pizza joints, got my rings cleaned at Haas Jewelers and then went to the house for the inspection. Remember, this was Ricky's first time seeing the house we are set to buy! (He loves it by the way - PHEW!)

We didn't make it back to NKY in time for the boys first Karate class (thanks for taking them Nana!) but Friday brought Hudson's 1-year photos and Ethan's soccer practice. On Saturday Ricky got to see both boys rock it in their soccer games and afterwards we spent a few hours as a family at the pool. He had to head back to Texas on Sunday - and there was no shortage of tears as we said goodbye. We don't exactly know when he will be back but the best case scenario is not until mid or late September. While the not knowing is difficult, we are very thankful it worked out to where he was able to be here for all of those very important "firsts".

Pictures taken at Portrait Innovations

In the meantime, the boys and I are settling in to our routine here and keeping our fingers crossed that our house sells soon so we can move forward with buying the one we found in Louisville. We've buried St. Joseph and are saying lots of prayers -- we would appreciate anyone willing to say some on our behalf as well!

Everything's Changing

Well, it's official! I just completed the "change of address" form with the Postal Service. My time in Texas is over and I'm settling in at my parent's house in Kentucky. This is definitely going to be a year of transition. Ricky is still in Texas until at least Labor Day, but we are hopeful our house will sell SOON and he can get it all wrapped up before then.

My dad flew down to Texas last week and will be driving one of our vehicle's back to KY - loaded with all the "stuff" we will need at my parent's house this year. Consolidating an entire house into one car load has been an eye opener for sure. It has made me wonder if I can live without SO MUCH stuff for a year, is it really necessary at all?

So to sum up the changes our family will be up against this year...
- a major move from Texas to Kentucky
- moving in with my parents
- living apart from my husband
- kids starting at a new school
- attempting to build a house in Louisville

And oh yeah...if you follow More Skees Please on Facebook, you have seen the news...

Yep - that's right - we are expecting baby #4!!! 

(For the record: Yes, we were "trying". No, we didn't think it was going to happen because of the difficulty we had last time. So yes, we were surprised. No, we weren't "trying for a girl". Yes, of course we will be thrilled if it is a girl. No, we absolutely won't be "upset" if it's "another" boy.)

Just wanted to get all that out of the way upfront. I'll post about "the pregnancy" in more detail later. :)

In the meantime - please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate these major life changes. It's a lot to take on all at once! Thankfully, I am blessed with a large support network who will help things go as smoothly as possible.