You know you are 38-weeks pregnant when…

You know you are 38-weeks pregnant when…


– You no longer wear your wedding ring because your fingers are so swollen. (So when I run errands, not only do I have swollen hands, I feel like I look like a woman of loose morals.)
– You are down to one pair of shoes that don’t hurt your swollen feet anymore.
– Your legs are almost always half-shaven because you cannot reach or see anymore.
– You sleep with minimum 11 pillows.
– When exiting your car or bed, you literally fall out. Then wait a few seconds until your back stops hurting to start moving again.
– You get out of breath doing anything. (I feel like a 99-year-old grandma with a big beer belly.)
– You are so tired that that around 10am, you just want to crawl down on your cold, dirty kitchen floor and take a delicious nap.
– You can barely eat anything because your stomach is so squished. (Why yes, I would like three bites of my $15 entrée.)
– The pool is your best friend. You float around on a noodle like a weightless mammoth whale, feeling cool and lightweight – almost like you are no longer pregnant. Until it’s time to exit the pool. Then, my friends, I feel like every in-shape, non-pregnant person is gawking at my sheer mass as I exit. I drag my sopping wet pregnant self up out of the water, either by ladder or by steps, and feel like the pool water goes down by three feet because of the displaced water by the large pregnant lady.
– You never have to ask for assistance carrying bags out at the grocery store. They always offer.
– Maternity dresses no longer look cute. (That circus tent analogy is a good one). You either opt for tight-fitting clothes or wear a loose dress and let the stranger’s mind think you should be the next contestant on The Biggest Loser.
– When attempting to sit down in a chair, you lay your hand down behind you to feel for the chair and then slowly fall into the seat, since you have no ab control or support anymore. You NEVER choose a low chair because there is no way you are getting out of that sucker once you fall in.
– When your large toddler asks for you to hold them, you tell them, “Not until after the baby is born.” (THAT KILLS ME!!!!!)
– You terrify strangers when running errands because the baby is big and strong now, so when it moves suddenly and violently inside of you, you literally stop, gasp and hold your stomach with wide eyes. I’m telling you, at my crowded Costco when that happens, EVERYONE stops shopping and asks, “Are you ok?!?!?!” I try to nonchalantly flip my hair back, like a plus-sized blonde beauty queen, followed by an awkward fake laugh, “Ha, ha – I’m FINE. No problem. The baby just moved a little bit.” And then I try to saunter-waddle off with pride. (AWKWAAAAAARD!)
– Every time you accidentally drop something on the floor, a terrible word pops in your head. Then you either MAKE your five-year-old or two-year-old pick it up for you, OR ELSE. Or, if home alone, you stare at the object for a long time thinking, “Do I REALLY need that?”
– If you DO decide to reach down to pick something up, you swivel around to pick up any other items in arms length, because you are NOT planning to bend down to pick anything else up for a very long time.
– You both look forward to and abhor your weekly OBGYN check-ups, where they literally CHECK you each week for progress. “Oh, yes! Tomorrow is my appointment where they stick that latex glove up me! CANNOT WAIT! Wanna do lunch afterwards, husband?”
– It takes three full minutes, when laying in bed at night, to roll over from your right side to your left side. And as soon as you finally are laying on one side, and rearrange all the pillows, your back starts hurting again. So you start the rolling process all over again to the other side. All. Night. Long. (I often feel in the dark for Dave’s hand to grab and pull to start the roll back over towards him. Let me tell you, at moments like those, I feel like one hot, sexy wife. “Hi Honey. Please give me your hand because I literally weigh so much I cannot roll over in bed by myself.”)
– You feel like a bride that doesn’t know her wedding day, but wakes up each day wondering, “IS TODAY THE DAY?”


And, at 38-weeks pregnant, you get to have fun experiences like this:


“Y’all. It pays to be 38-weeks pregnant.
Tonight Dave and I arrived at the movies for a date night, since my kind parents took the kids overnight. But when we arrived to purchase tickets, the attendant regretfully informed us that all the seats were reserved, except for a couple of single seats on the very front row that were not connected. They showed us the remaining seats on the screen and Dave noticed the handicap chairs – the best seats in the house. “So,” he asked. “What about my wife being two weeks out from her due date?” I patted the top of my big pregnant belly, with raised eyebrows at the attendant, “I mean, I could go into labor at any moment.”
“No problem, ma’am. You have a valid point.”
Guess where we are sitting? (Note handicap sign behind us.)”


Want more stories like this? Pre-order my new book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years now on Amazon here or on my site here.


Getting out the door with young children

Remember the big picture when things get hairy!

IMG_3228We have a Fort Worth Zoo membership. I love to meet friends for a non-crowded weekday zoo morning, followed by lunch in the shade.

I was preparing for a zoo trip the night before in the kitchen, after the children dozed off. I lassoed lunch boxes, sunscreen, clothes and hoisted our gigantic double BOB stroller into the back of my car. I purposely set my alarm for the crack of dawn so I could *peacefully* get myself ready, breakfast prepared and be that shining, beautiful, calm mother, I always dream about, as I got the kids up and out the door.

But by the end of the morning, I was almost in tears at the interruptions, delays, disobedience and unbelievable amount of time it took to get everyone in the car. I had yelled at my darlings, and one was still crying in the car. We were a full 15 minutes later than I had planned. Now we were going to be late, even though I had purposely allotted extra time in case things got hairy! I couldn’t believe it.

I FINALLY jumped in the driver’s seat, after buckling everyone in and slapping out the thousand fires that is small children caretaking. And I smashed on my black sunglasses, furious at myself for getting upset while getting out the door. Again.

Five minutes into our drive, I turned around and apologized to my sweetie pies for my unkind tones and told them I was wrong. I soberly apologized, “It is never right for mama to raise her voice, would you forgive me?” My white-haired Samson, the main culprit for all the delays and disobedience, piped up with little tears in his blue eyes, “Yeah, that WEALLY hurts my heart, Mama!”

I felt terrible.

Before children, I was always on time. But the more young children I had, the harder it got. Despite immense planning, preparation and allotting plenty of time for delays, being somewhere on time is always a challenge.

(Privately, I am still in utter shock at how long it takes – ha!.)

I do not like being late! I like to be an “on time” type of girl! HOWEVER, in the big scheme of life, being a kind mother is truly more important to me than being on time. Here are some things I try to remember in the stress of being somewhere on time with little ones – maybe it will help you. J

– NOTHING is worth raising my voice at my children, even being late. My family and little ones come first.

Young children NATURALLY cause delays, interruptions, messes and need constant help. I cannot get frustrated or resent normal, childlike behavior. They’re just young children!

– I do my very best to plan ahead and prepare for getting out the door with night-before preparation, a simple breakfast and plenty of time for delays. BUT, if my beautiful, happy morning begins to unravel, I try to keep a “big picture” perspective so I don’t get swallowed up in the stress. Yes, maybe we are going to be five or ten minutes late. IT’S NOT WORTH LOSING IT WITH MY DARLINGS.

If a child needs some extra training or discipline for disobedience or attitude that causes us to be late, I need to remember that is one of the most important things I am doing right now as a mother. I cannot resent that disobedient child or wrong behavior because it’s “making us all late”. (I am utterly ashamed that I have actually said that phrase – “You’re making us all late!” – to Samson after multiple disobedience acts on a busy morning trying to get out the door.) I need to STOP my on-time agenda, address the situation with a cool head and remember the big picture: patient mothering to help my children develop lifelong character is more important than my mental time goal.

Keeping my cool when leaving the house with little ones is a big challenge for me. I’m a fast-moving, on-time type A mama with slow, distracted little ones. These are my typical thoughts: WHY IN THE WORLD DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OUT THE DOOR!?! WHY CAN’T YOU GUYS JUST GET DRESSED AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH? IT’S SO EASY AND SIMPLE! AREN’T YOU DONE EATING BREAKFAST YET? YOU HAVE TO GO THE BATHROOM AGAIN? PLEASE JUST CONCENTRATE AND PUT THESE PANTS ON! WHERE ARE YOU SHOES!?!?!?

Ha! But I am determined to keep trying to remember the big picture and improve. It’s never worth getting upset at my little darlings.

(PS and if you are my friend, and we are a few minutes late to meet you, please know I tried, REALLY TRIED, to be on time.)

Stop and Smell: How are you getting out the door? How do you prepare to avoid stress? How do you react when you are trying to be on time and a child causes a delay with a spill or an attitude? How would you like to react? These are questions we can all ask ourselves periodically to help us improve. And remember, someday we will leave our empty, quiet houses with no stress at all. But we will also be missing our slow-moving babies. Let’s keep the big picture in mind when we leave the house!

Want more stories like this? Order my new book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years now on Amazon here or on my site here.


Make Your Child’s Birth Date a Time to Stop and Smell!


Slow down to celebrate with your little one!

Maybe I’m different from most parents, but I love children’s birthday parties. I love hosting them and I love attending them. I feel they help us busy parents slow down and celebrate another year of life that God gave us with our children.

(Side note: when your children are very young, like the first birthday, I also think it’s thanking God for a year of life and ALSO celebrating what that mama has done all year – lol!)

(When your kids get a bit older, you’ll start to see why moms go all Pinterest about birthdays because then your child starts to “get into” their birthday party and theme. Samson seems to talk about his next birthday party and the theme EVERY SINGLE DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR. When he was age two, I remember “practicing” for his party each day by singing the “Happy Birthday song” as fast as possible at our kitchen table and then letting him blow out a Yankee vanilla candle. Hee, hee!)

But as much as I love children’s birthday parties, I’ve begun to enjoy their actual birthday even more. Instead of the chaotic happiness of 20 children running around, it’s a simple day in our house of celebrating that child and thanking God for another year of life with them.

Samson was born July 2 so we were at the hospital over July 4th weekend, due to a gritty 52-hour labor from birthing center with midwife to hospital on drugs. Our little firecracker baby started things off with a bang! Since it was a holiday weekend, most of the staff was foreign with heavy accents (more on the hilarious nursing instructions to me, the new mom, by a heavy-accent lactation consultant in my book below – hee, hee!)

Yesterday we celebrated, privately as a family, Samson’s 5th birth date at home. (I CAN’T BELIEVE WE HAVE BEEN PARENTS FOR FIVE YEARS!!!!) Two-year-old Esther and I entered his bedroom singing the Happy Birthday song and pulling back his racecar-themed black and white checkered curtains to let the morning sun seep through on this happiest of days.

Samson’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “I’m FIVE! I’m WEALLY big, now! And, and, and I’m BIGGER THAN ESTHER.”

Well, yes. Yes, you are.

I let him choose his own shirt to wear BECAUSE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! Huge smile and he choose a ninja turtle t-shirt.

I let him choose breakfast BECAUSE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! Huge smile and he choose waffles.

We hung the two-dollar, multi-color happy birthday banner in the kitchen that we hang for every family member’s birthday and then left for Target to buy ingredients to make a cake. That’s the only thing we had to buy and I love shopping trips like this: just to make a memory.

Sometimes when I’m taking the kids on normal errands, I get upset and impatient at spills, interruptions, messes and discipline because they are messing up MY PLANS. But just-for-fun trips like this help me put on a different parenting mindset. This is 100% to have fun with my kids and build our relationship. We tired mamas need it as much as they do!

“Wheeeeeere is it? Wheeeeeeeere is the cake aisle? HERE IT IS!” I gasp, as if we just entered Disneyworld. I slowly showed Samson all the cake mixes and frosting containers. (We were going total anti-organic/healthy and full-on processed – hurrah for a tired pregnant mama and ease for a just-five-year-old chef!)

ninjaAfter careful deliberation, my precious white-haired boy choose a white cake with confetti and dutch chocolate icing. (I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit just writing that combination – lol!) But WHO CARES?!!?! It’s his birthday!

We zipped our grocery cart over to the party supplies and nabbed some ninja turtle cake plates and napkins then headed to the express lane to check out. Samson asked if he could have a bag of those ill-placed processed food snacks at a child’s eye level. You know my answer by now: SURE! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! I reveled in watching my children chomp the ultimate unhealthy snack with orange faces. What a happy, happy day!

At home, Samson cracked the eggs in the mixing bowl while I swiped out egg shells after each one with my finger. Yes, it took a lot longer with a much bigger mess for Samson to make his cake, but that smile when it was done? PRICELESS.

When Dave returned home later that day, he took Samson to buy his birthday present: a big, “real” ninja turtle bicycle and hilarious/hideous turtle bicycle helmet. (Please don’t laugh at him if you see him riding down the street). Then our tiny family gathered around our wood kitchen table to sing happy birthday.

As Dave popped five candles into the chocolate icing, my pregnant eyes welled with tears. “Honey!” I burst out. “Can you believe our baby boy is five!” I grabbed Samson to my chest in a fierce, emotional hug. Dave grabbed the lighter and laughed, “Leah! We’ve been parents FIVE YEARS.”

Then, in a delicious ordinary, extraordinary moment, we all sang. Samson beamed in his chair holding up his hand to remind us he was five the whole song. Esther sucked her little thumb in my lap. We all ate the cake and went swimming our pool afterwards.

Maybe you can do something special on your child’s birthday to “stop and smell” the gift of parenthood. It’s so easy to plow through each day when you are a tired, overwhelmed parent of young children. I know I do! Try finding things like birthdays to help pull you out of caretaker mode and into a different, fun parenting perspective.

Happy 5th birthday, sweet Samson!


Want more stories like this? Pre-order my new book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years now on Amazon here or on my site here.