Monday, October 28, 2013

Ta-Da! A Little Pumpkin Carving

We bought our pumpkins pretty early this year, which was great because we got to enjoy our pumpkins for some of September and all of October. The only downside was that every Monday night from then on out, the kids acted like we were breaking their poor little hearts when we told them we couldn't carve the pumpkins yet, otherwise they'd rot out before Halloween. Finally, a few weeks before Halloween we had our annual carving party. I usually don't enjoy this too much; in my mind it takes too long and is way too messy! This year wasn't any different, but I did find myself enjoying it more. I must be maturing. :) Part of what helped was that the kids are old enough to do more and more of the dirty work, and boy did they have fun! I thought their pumpkins turned out so cute, too!

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's About Time!


Seeing how my due date is tomorrow, I figure it's about time I write about how we're expecting baby number four! My lack in posting about this has nothing to do with our excitement levels... we talk about this new addition non-stop, and we all pretty much can't wait for him to arrive. I've never known kids to be more excited than mine, which pretty much makes my heart want to burst on a daily basis. It will also be fun to see if he is dark like Liam or more fair like the girls. It's always a toss-up! One thing almost for certain with our genetics: he's going to be a bald little mister. We like our babies that way, though!

Anyway, some things I'd like to remember about this pregnancy are:

1. I had suspicions I was pregnant back in March around the time our family went on vacation to Cancun, Mexico... the trip where I got left behind because my passport had expired. It was quite a depressing and downer weekend for me at home all alone while I waited for my expedited passport to arrive so I could join them. I remember going to Walmart to grab a few things...including a pregnancy test! I figured if I got negative results, the outcome would fit right into my downer weekend; and if my results were positive, then I'd at least have one happy thing to hang on to until I was reunited with my family! I couldn't wait to find out, and so (I'm kind of embarrassed to write this), I took the pregnancy test right in the fancy bathrooms of Walmart itself! It made me so, so thrilled to find out we were pregnant! I'm pretty sure I've never left Walmart beaming before, but I sure was that afternoon.

2. I have had the sneezes throughout this entire pregnancy. It's been the weirdest thing! In fact, I just barely sneezed twice. Who knows if it's really associated with pregnancy, but I am kind of hoping it ends when this baby comes out!


3. I've been incredibly accident prone and clutzy throughout this pregnancy. I'm naturally inclined to a healthy dose of knocking things over and dropping things, but it's hit record-highs these last nine months.

4. When I went to my very first doctor appointment, I was surprised and thrilled to find out they wanted to do an ultrasound that very day and that I'd likely be able to find out the gender. (Obviously, I was in no hurry to go to the doctor and didn't go to my first appointment until about half way through my pregnancy.) I was bummed that Will and the kids weren't there to find out with me, but it was still really fun to tell them when I got home. We'd all been rooting for a boy, so it was happiness all around.  I can't express how much I love that Liam will have a brother, and that I will have another son. The love I have in my heart for my boys is sure something special.

5. All of my married sisters are pregnant right now too... Lauren is also having a boy, and we'll find out in about a week if Emma is having a girl or boy!

6. Just yesterday I had my first false alarm, thinking I was going into labor. You'd think that sort of thing would happen with your first, maybe second child, but no, this is my fourth time around the block. Although I didn't make it so far as the hospital, I did send my kids off to their grandparents to spend the night---oops. Kind of embarrassing.  I really thought it was the real deal. Granted, my water has broken with all three of my previous pregnancies, so I really don't know what it feels like to go into labor without that happening first. I was just feeling extremely crampy with lots of mild contractions all throughout the afternoon and evening. I'd gone to see a chiropractor in the morning, and she'd done accupressure (sp) on me (another first), so I think that just messed with my head and body. I really thought it had worked and was inducing labor! It certainly did get contractions going.


7. With my other pregnancies I always craved healthy stuff--protein, vegetables... not so much with this one. It's been sugar all the way! So weird!

8. We have tossed lots of boy names around but it wasn't until about a month ago that we finally settled and felt completely at peace about a name. Originally we were thinking Christian, which is a name I have always loved and always will love (it's also my brother's name), but Will really likes nicknames, and we just couldn't come up with a nickname other than Chris, and I don't really love the name Chris. And then for a long time, we considered naming him Charles Christian, which I still really like. We intended on only ever calling him Charlie, but with the big boom of little girls being named Charlotte (and going by Charlie for short), I'm a little concerned that the nickname Charlie is becoming more of a feminine name than masculine. I love the name Charlie for both a girl and a boy, but I wanted to be able to fall back on his real name if Charlie didn't work out for us, and I just couldn't see myself calling my son "Charles." So! One afternoon while I was sitting in the doctor's office thumbing through a magazine, I saw the city of Charleston in print, and it caught my eye. Could I name him Charleston? It seemed masculine enough, and I could imagine myself calling a little boy that. I immediately texted all of my sisters to see what they thought. I got mixed reactions.

Emma: "I loooooove, love it!"

Lauren: "I like it!! It goes well with your other names."

Lissie: "Like the dance???"

Lissie's reaction made me laugh. I hadn't thought of that! After talking it over with Will, we decided we didn't like it afterall... too many weird associations... Charleston Chews (a brand of gum--not even good gum!), the Charleston dance step, the Southern city that I don't have any connection to, etc.

While talking with my mom on the phone, I was telling her about how we'd considered Charleston and all our dilemmas, and anyway, I don't remember her opinion on Charleston, but I did get an email from her a few days later that said, "What about Charlton? Like Charlton Heston, the actor that starred in Moses and The Ten Commandments..."

I immediately loved it and sent Will a text asking him what he thought. His response, "I think I like it." (Which is a pretty positive response from him. (He's good at shooting down names. :)))

I got excited and immediately tried coming up with middle names that went with Charlton. Charlton Christian didn't seem to work off my tongue, so I just kept throwing out middle names...most of them really random. At last, I thought of Edwin. Charlton Edwin. Edwin is my grandpa's name (my mom's dad). He died in a helicopter crash when she was two, so I've never met him, but I've only ever heard really good things about him, and it's funny how you can love someone you've never met.

Here is a picture of my Grandpa Edwin with my Grandma Minnie:
I think he looks so handsome and kind.

So, a very long story short, this little baby's name will be Charlton Edwin Gross, and we're so incredibly excited to meet him! And yes, we'll definitely be calling him Charlie, too (especially the kids), but as opposed to Charles, I can actually see myself calling my boy Charlton as well. I just love it, and I just love this baby so much already.

Now for his arrival any day now!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another Season of Lil' Saints Soccer!

We truly enjoyed another season participating in the Lil' Saints soccer league that my friend Randi has put together for the third year in a row. It has exploded, with so many wonderful kids/parents/youth participating... I'm not sure what the exact kid count ended up being this year, but there were 23 coaches (Will included), so that gives you an idea of the size of this operation! It's a really fun atmosphere, and all three of the kids have absolutely loved it. Juliette wasn't old enough to play on a team (next year!), but she loves hanging out on the sidelines with her little friends and getting as dirty as possible in the sand pit. I also really enjoyed both watching the kids from the sidelines and doing some socializing myself! Here are some pictures of each of the kids in action.

Will and our good friend Scott coached Isabella's team again this year, and it was very obvious that she LOVED having her dad as her coach. Will would race home from work to be to the practices/scrimmages on time. Last year, there were many times he'd throw his soccer t-shirt on over his work clothes. This year he managed to throw on some workout clothes in time, but I don't know what to say about the dress socks and cleats--makes me laugh (and cringe!)! Socks and all, I think it was a real bonding experience for them. The only thing Will was bummed about was never getting to watch Liam play. Maybe next year he can take a turn coaching Liam's team.

Isabella made huge improvements this year, and her age group met twice a week. She is a great dribbler and learning to be more aggressive. There is no doubt she does her best and has a competitive little spirit. She loved to win! She had some excellent teammates, and enjoyed being with her friends so, so much.  This girl loves soccer, and I loved watching her!

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Meanwhile on the sidelines...
Like I mentioned, Juliette was one happy chickadee roaming the sidelines and chatting it up with her friends. The first thing she'd ask me each time we arrived to the field was, "Where are my friends?" There were a couple of evenings when her friends weren't there, and she would have to go make new friends, which she had no problem doing! Such a happy, social butterfly. Can't wait to see her on the field next year!

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This was Liam's second year playing soccer, and he did incredibly well! My friend Misty and her husband, Phil, were his coaches and they are both amazing soccer players, so we totally scored with them being Liam's coach. Misty went above and beyond, and was truly great with the kids. On one of the few nights I didn't come to soccer, Liam scored his first goal ever, and Misty called me to give me a head's up and let me know how he did that night since I couldn't be there. Such a thoughtful and sweet friend I have! Luckily, Liam made lots more goals throughout the season, so I was able to catch him in action. I loved his reaction every time he scored--he'd get the cutest proud-yet-bashful look on his face and immediately look for me and give me an imaginary high five. So sweet, and I was definitely super proud of him! I'm pretty sure he came away from this season thinking (and telling people) that he was the best on the team. haha. (Doesn't hurt that he was also the oldest and one of the tallest.) Anyway, we've signed him up with an indoor league and he will have his first game on Saturday. I'm excited for him. It seems like he's found something he really loves to do!

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And while it is always nice to free up some evenings, I'm already looking forward to another great season next year. A huge thanks to Randi, and all of the other 23-odd coaches who made this possible. We are so grateful!



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