childhood unplugged

As a last trip of the summer we went to spend two weeks in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina at my in-laws home, a home that my husband spent his childhood summers in.  Over the years we have come here and the boys always love it, but this year specifically this place took on a new life.  Jim pulled out the wooden swords that he and his brother played with when they were our boys age.  He brought them out in the woods to the tree that was his hideout and showed them what made it so special.

From hikes to visiting the local nature center to playing in the house to running out into the forrest behind the house the boys had a wonderful vacation.  What I love most is the ability to let them go outside and give them a bit of independence, to let their imagination run wild.

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

52 week project

a portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

This was a hard week as I prepared to leave for my adventure away from Miami until either the Zika situation is under control and safe or baby is born.  Fortunately the boys come with me for the next two weeks and Jim will join us but he had to leave for a business trip right before I left.  This was the last image of him at home until I return, wondering when that might be….

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The news of becoming big brothers was super crazy exciting for the boys and still now, a few weeks after they found out, they are extremely excited.  Giacomo wears his The Bee and The Fox shirt whenever it is clean and just this week we got a doppler so we can hear baby sister’s heartbeat and they love it!

Since news of the Zika virus being in Florida was confirmed last week I have been mostly homebound.  I had grand plans to bring the boys for an unplugged day at this beach this week but  if they are hanging out with Mamma these boys are inside.  So we stayed in our PJS all day long, listened to baby’s fast beating heart, built tents, played games and even jumped on the bed.  I won’t pretend that staying home is easy, but they are being good sports and the prize at the end is so great that I will stay home with a smile.

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

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a portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

With me homebound with mosquito fears he has really stepped up to the plate.  Running out to get anything I need and grabbing food or groceries as needed.  The morning I snapped this shot he had gotten up and made egg and cheese sandwiches for everyone.  I am so thankful for all the extra help!

Telling the boys that they were going to be big brothers was super exciting.  My heart was pounding all morning waiting for the time that Jim would make it to Colorado and we could tell them!  We had received the call from the doctor that all the blood tests had come back and baby was healthy and they even revealed the gender so we wrote the news on two cards for each of the boys to read!  This is a day I will always remember!

There it was, the positive test, and saying I was ecstatic is an understatement.  That immediate reaction is always a heart racing excitement and positive attitude and dreams of a baby in my arms, but a positive pregnancy test after multiple losses is mixed with so much fear.  No matter how many people tell you to relax, it is better for the baby, it becomes nearly impossible and the suggestions and support from those that don’t understand can be hard to listen to, even if they come from the best of places.  I found leaning that on one or two people who had experienced such pain was comforting.

The first few weeks crawled by, like waiting for paint to dry or water to boil.  Because of my past, and more than that because I have incredibly good friends that happen to be fertility doctors, I was watched closely and given progesterone and lovanox and constant appointments to track my progress.  This time I did get pregnant the old fashion way (IVF and I just don’t mix but I had seemed to be able to get pregnant on my own, just not hold it… until now) but I was treated by the fertility doctors for my first trimester anyway and I am beyond thankful for that.  The extra appointments gave me the peace of mind I needed to get through the weeks of waiting.

This pregnancy I closed myself off early, in a way I hadn’t before.  I had always turned to my art for comfort and support when things were tough, it gave me the release I needed, but somehow this time was different.  I can’t explain it, and retrospectively I can’t understand it, but I needed to just shut down and move forward step by step and I am ok with that.

The fine line of telling people and not can be difficult, especially when you have many dear friends.  I am so fortunate to have such incredible friends near and far that care so much about me and I didn’t want any of them to feel upset I hadn’t said anything but once you say it then you have to keep people up to date with what is going on and it becomes overwhelming.  Waiting seemed like the best option yet slowly but surely over the course of those first few weeks I told my good friends.  When someone I am friends with, yet not close, asked me around 7 weeks if I was pregnant I was so upset that my reaction still embarrasses me to think about.  But the truth is when you have had a loss, or three, you just don’t know what is going to happen and you think about it over and over and over.  Everything seems so stressful in the moment and certainly that moment was one of the worst, but like everything else I had great friends that calmed me down and made me see it wasn’t so bad.

Each ultrasound was a victory… seeing the heart beat, the growth, the arms and legs moving around.  The whole things felt so surreal.  Most people say that by the third they are less stressed or worried about the pregnancy because they are tending to their children, they forget what week they are, or even that they are pregnant.  Maybe there will be a time later in my pregnancy that I will say that, I’m not sure, but for now I don’t think about much else.

I know this is going to be my last pregnancy, and I want so desperately to enjoy it, I actually really love being pregnant.  So step by step, day by day, week by week I am getting there.  Each victory makes it easier to relax a bit more and now, as the first semester has come to an end, and my stomach has grown enough to be a permanent reminder that baby is in there and growing strong!

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a portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

He’s not a super serious guy, but when it comes to the camera unless I catch him off guard or maybe laughing with the boys he gives me his pensive face.  I always ask him what he is thinking, I am sure it is annoying and the question never results in much, but I know his mind is always full.