Dec 12, 2016

10 Days of Nativity: 2016

If you were around last year during the Christmas season you may remember me playing with Lincoln's Little People nativity scene and posting it all over the social media. Acting out the Christmas story was a way for me to teach Lincoln about the birth of Jesus, the true reason for the season. This year Lincoln is two and he is already learning about the "Baby Jesus" with "no crib" who sleeps "on the hay" where the animals eat. I love to see his little mind begin to understand who Jesus is, even if it's only through songs and games at this point. I'm excited to see how the 10 Days of Nativity go this year. So far it's been pretty comical.

So we're back at it again and I'm ready to invite you along (And when I say "we" I mean me, Kyle, Lincoln, and baby Noah-who I birthed and never wrote a thing on the blog about because, well I had two under two and needed sleep). Anyways...

In the true spirit of Christmas, I'd love for you to join me for the next two weeks as I challenge you to play with your nativity scenes as you reenact the Christmas story. Feel free to use whatever nativity scene you have adorning your home. If you choose your grandmother's antique set, well, use some caution around the kids and don't hold me liable. If you're looking for a "playable" nativity set, we use the Little People nativity set and it's stood up to the beating of a once one year old and now two year old.

Below are the links to the ten daily posts all right here for you. The posts are the same as last year, because I checked and the Bible hadn't changed so I figured we'd be safe. Each post includes part of the Christmas story as told in the Bible. The posts will include a picture of my Lincoln's Little People Nativity characters telling the story and the scripture reference for that day's portion of the story. Although you can get the posts for all ten days in the links below, each day on Instagram @brittanyhess and Facebook I'll have the simplified posts to keep you on track.

I've pulled out Lincoln's Nativity toys and we've already started playing. In the posts I'll note which characters we'll be introducing that day and feel free to pull out your nativity scenes (Little People or not) and let your kiddos (or roommates) play along as you read. Some of the portions of scripture are quite long, feel free to tailor the length to your personal patience levels...

If you want you can simply follow along and read the posts. Go a step further and break out your own Bible and your own nativity. Or go even a step further and snap a few pics of you and yours joining in the fun. Post those pics to Instagram or Facebook and make sure to use the hashtag #10DaysofNativity so that I can see the pics! Feel free to tag me if you'd like @brittanyhess.

Let's see how this goes with a two year old this year. I'm hoping less people get eaten or licked, but I can't promise anything...

Week One
Day 1: Gabriel Sent to Nazareth
Day 2: Mary's Song
Day 3: Joseph's Dream
Day 4: Travel to Bethlehem
Day 5: Jesus is Born!

Week Two
Day 6: Shepherds & Angels
Day 7: Shepherds Visit Jesus
Day 8: Magi See the Star
Day 9: Magi See Jesus
Day 10: God Loves Us & Sent His Son

Merry Christmas to you and yours and I hope someday I'll get a bit more sleep and I'll return to update you on our lives at the Hess House.

Jun 17, 2016

Big Bellies and New T-Shirts

A few nights ago I jumped online to buy some new summer shorts.

I have a few pair of 'summer camp' shorts that I wore a couple of years ago when I was pregnant with Lincoln. Then last summer I wore them again and a sweet friend said to me, "Brittany, you know, you could wear smaller shorts..." and I felt all glowy like I was the girl in Napoleon Dynamite.

"You could be drinking whole if you wanted to..." Anyone?

Well folks I have outgrown the big shorts. And just today someone asked me "how many on the way?" in which I'm pretty sure he was asking if I was having twins...

But I'm not complaining. I'm not looking for someone to say "wow you look so thin!" "Where is your bikini?" "Oh my you don't even look pregnant?!" Because come on...

The last few summers that I've been pregnant in Colorado we headed home in the fall when I hit the 20-22 week mark. This summer we arrived in Colorado at the 22 week mark and so I'm growing out of my summer clothing items quickly.

In the past when my belly has gotten this big I've been in my fancy work clothes and once arriving home I immediately donned by favorite pair of black baggy yoga pants and one of Kyle's man-sized t-shirts.

But now we're at camp. And all the maternity people make V-neck shirts which, if I'm being honest, are just not the most appropriate for the pregnant ladies to wear around family camp.

So this week I bought some new camp shirts, some Lake City t-shirts, and two new pair of athletic shorts in a larger, more comfy size. And man, clothes that fit are wonderful. We should all embrace it. My super cute extra large t-shirts are my new best friends.

Here's to 12 more weeks of growing, and to my doc who says "hmm, you're measuring big."

Yep, my husband was an 11 pound baby and my month early baby was seven pounds... We grow the men strong in the Hess house.

Jun 8, 2016

Mountain Life

We've been in the mountains for nearly a month now. Our bodies are finally acclimating to the high altitude and the cool weather. Well, Kyle's body is acclimating and mine is growing a baby so I'd be lying if I said it was getting easier to breathe...

The mountains are always wonderful, but our days here are busy and full. In years past I've been busy working and now it's a bit different. I often wonder who thinks I'm 'lazy' as I order them around to get a cabin clean all while sitting on the ground with my toddler in my lap hunting for the best rocks and looking for wonderful places to hide them.

Our days begin early as our little "mama, dada" alarm clock rings. Sometimes Lincoln wakes crying because of our close living quarters and lack of insulation between rooms, and sometimes he pops up happy and ready for adventure. Often he is talking about boots or outside or possibly the horses that he thinks are cows and calls "moos" before anything else.

Toddler mornings and the work at camp begins. My contribution to the morning meetings is often limited by the number of items Lincoln wants to pull off of someone else's desk. But when the desks contain ice axes or sat phones or wireless mouses I cannot blame him.

Breakfast brings in all of Lincoln's "friends" that he's made here with our college staff in the last few weeks. Somehow he has chosen favorites, which means some are greeted with a "morning!" or with kisses or with endless fist bumps. And the day unfolds from there.

The days are full of watching others work so very efficiently on camp work. All while I let my to-do list pile up, and therefore my nights are full of catching up on anything but sleep. Even so, I love being a mother here.

I wish I could accurately describe the adventures we go on. Every step offers a new wonder that I get to see my sweet boy explore. Trees become magical. Geese and "doh-gees" become his best friends. Lincoln plays more "boo" than he ever has before, running and laughing and hiding, even if hiding means he simply covers his eyes to disappear.

In the last few days we've discovered the stream that runs near the front gate of camp. We pick dandelions and toss them in to "float fast" and find rocks to throw in and "sploosh." The way my little guy splashes his little hands in the cold water lets me see not only his adventurous spirit but I get to see the way he is falling in love with the nature God created.

Lincoln reminds me to sit in awe of the Lord more, whether it's because of his awe in the world or because of my awe in my little baby growing up right before my very eyes. Lincoln teaches me to love well, to say "morning!" and to welcome the day ready to love. Lately Lincoln's been wanting to help too, reminding me that his little temper tantrums are not the only thing inside of him, but that he is often selfless too. He's been watering the flowers and cleaning up dishes and helping in any way a toddler can, even if it often makes the job take much longer.

In a world where the minutes and years often pass us by, I am blessed to stop and soak in these moments. I love being Lincoln's mother. Even if that means my work piles up.

I don't mind the piles, really. I'm even getting very good at stacking them high and making them seem to be organized... because someday my boy is gonna grow out of those adorable rain boots and the piles and the boots will all disappear together.

I'll miss this someday, someday soon I'm sure.

Apr 26, 2016

Bumps, Bruises and Big Brother

We do find out the gender of Baby Number Three today! Mostly though we are praying that the ultrasound goes well and that this sweet little kicking baby is healthy. Until then, take a trip back to ten weeks.

Little Tiny Baby,

Today your big brother took a nasty fall. Twice. I am convinced that he was trying to get himself a 'cool' scar but I know that he's just young and didn't realize that he would trip and fall or that when he stepped backwards on stairs that he would go all the way down said stairs.

I imagine you two playing together and even the bumps and bruises that you may give each other. It makes me wonder if you're a little boy in there that will be the sidekick to all his adventures or maybe a little girl in there that will try so hard to tag along and at some point get kicked out when 'no girls allowed' comes into play.

I hope either way that you will take lots of adventures together. I hope that you will love each other. I hope that you are best friends and can make each other laugh in a way no one else can. I hope that you don't come home too banged up on account of your big brother's dare, but I'm sure there will be a few times.

I love you in there. I can't wait for you to come out and join our little family. On second thought, don't come out just yet, you need more time to cook and I need more time to get your brother ready for all this.

Apr 19, 2016

That Time I was Nine Weeks Pregnant

In my quest to make Baby Number Three feel loved, I give you: Week Nine

Little Tiny Nine Week Old Baby,

I love you. I'm sure your brother will love you too once he realizes you're there. Right now he's just taking advantage of Mom's extra squishy belly and the fact that my hormones make me want to cuddle him all the time. Tonight I read him a bedtime story and realized that you both were there. We sang a favorite "Rise and Shine" and at this point I'm sure you'll be born knowing the lyrics. I sang tonight thinking about my little Children of the Lord and how I pray for you to both rise and shine and give God the glory all the days of your life.

I love you. Also I apologize for my singing voice...

Note: Yep I'm a little behind... what's new?

Apr 12, 2016

Third Babies

You may remember in the days of old when I was pregnant and told you every detail. I sat with my feet up, justifying another yummy snack, typing away as I reflected on the little tiny eggplant-sized baby growing in my belly!

Today I usually remember that I'm pregnant when Lincoln jumps on my belly or when I realize a favorite shirt doesn't quite fit the same anymore. Sometimes my phone reminds me how 'far along' I am and most of the time I'm shocked.

I wanted to be all fit and in shape for Colorado so I did half of an easy-peasy workout DVD that is made for pregnant ladies. You'd probably get bored doing this video because it's so simple. Well, I couldn't walk straight for like three days without my legs giving out and them I remembered 'oh, that's right, I'm pregnant.'

My second exercise attempt was a quick walk pushing Lincoln in the stroller on the most perfect weather day. Lately Lincoln's wanted to play in the back yard so I'd slacked up on my walking... Yeah I was about halfway through my walk after a downhill and I had to stop and breathe. A downhill?! And then I remembered 'oh I'm like 18 weeks pregnant!' That's why.

So while I'm still doing my best to stay in shape and prepare for the mountains of Colorado, at least I appreciate the reminder.

Dear Little Baby Hess Number Three,

I love you. But I keep forgetting to take pictures of the tummy you're making on mommy. Someday I'll have so many things written about your sister and brother and well, just know that I love you too. If you get worried about my love for you, talk to Aunt Payton about her baby book. I'm pretty sure it was empty until a few years ago, but Grandma loves her very much.

There are a few pictures I took of 'you' even if it hasn't been every week...

By the looks of things, your brother must have been napping. I've got my workout shoes on so I was probably busy being really fit and you were probably wondering what unusual things were happening. You dad and I had just heard your little heart beat the day before and the doctor said it was 169 beats per minute. So far you're healthy, even though mom's exhausted. Your brother decided to get molars during week eight and therefore woke me up every two hours last night. You two are fighting for my attention already. I love you both. I'll try not to ever have a favorite, but I'm not sure how all that works yet.
I love you. We're making room for you. I promise.

Love you always,

Apr 5, 2016

Sibling Rivalry

Life seems to have been a whirlwind lately. I'm pretty sure my baby just turned one and now here he is looking like a little boy. I'm not sure how this happened in what seems like 5 days.

With Baby Number Three time seems to be flying even faster. A close friend asked me the other day "so how far along are you?" I told her about 8 or 8.5 weeks maybe. Then two days later my little pregnancy app reminded me that I was 12 weeks pregnant. Oops.

Technically we got the first hint that we were pregnant at the very end of 2015. We came home from our Christmas travels and a little pee stick said "pregnant." The part that cracks me up is the sibling rivalry that started that day.

Let's just say that people had been asking when Lincoln started walking. Back in December when my kid was 13 months old my answer was still "yeah, he doesn't walk yet." 'All' the other kids were walking, but I wasn't really concerned. Little Lincoln could take his own sweet time because this momma was in no rush for her little baby to grow up and graduate and move away and get married and leave me forever, etc.

But either way, the day Lincoln walked was going to be a big one.

So out I walk into the living room with the pee test. Yes, I walked into the living room with the test in my hand. First kids or second kids, call for a cute t-shirt or "baby" spelled out in tiny pepperonis on a pizza. Third babies apparently warrant:

Husband: Should we buy a test?
Wife: Sure, pull in here. No one goes here so we won't see anyone we know.
Wife (at home): Okay, can you watch the kid while I go to the bathroom.
Kid: (bangs on bathroom door)
Wife: Yay, it says pregnant!

Or at least that's how it went down at the Hess house. Sure we jumped for joy and are so very thrilled, but yep it's just different. And Lincoln seemed to think so too.

As we sat on the living room floor, playing with Lincoln, and talking about new baby things, Lincoln decided to take his very first steps. The kid walked from me to his daddy as if to say, "guys I'm still here and I'm way more impressive than that pee test thing mom seems to be so proud of."

Good luck Baby Number Three, so far I've remembered to take like 5 pictures of my belly (all with your brother in them) and Lincoln is already putting you in your place. I promise we'll love you forever, you just may not have as many 'memories' as everyone else...

Mar 22, 2016

Is there a better name for Pregnancy Hormone-Induced Emotional Mess?

Pregnancy hormones are making me crazy. One minute I'm all sappy staring at my toddler and the next I'm snapping at my husband because, get this, he was ready to go to bed. (Sorry Kyle!) Y'all I even asked him to try to consider my feelings when he decides it's time for bed and makes me feel like a child. It was like an hour and a half past our normal bedtime and I was falling asleep on the couch and I needed someone to tell me to go to bed... maybe it was hormones and tired. Who knows?

But this go around pregnancy has been pretty simple. I kind of know what to expect in most departments. The doctor's appointments are not new, the eating recommendations are old hat (I've been avoiding raw cookie dough for like three years now), and I'm even pretty good on the 'guess what size baby is this week' game.

But some things are different too.

Of course I now have a toddler to chase so my days of sitting on the couch making Kyle bring me bon-bons because I'm 'with child' are over. I spend quite a bit on energy shielding my belly from my wrestling toddler and of course there are times when I get a bit more winded and have to tell Lincoln that Mommy has to take a break from our dance party.

But there's a little thing that I wasn't expecting: all the emotions.

I found myself crying the other day, like sobbing, over nothing. As I tried through the crying to figure out what made me start crying in the first place I ran through a list of things that could make me cry. Which, of course, then only made me cry more. I missed Hannah, I was worried about how I'll love Lincoln when there's two kids, and how is this Colorado birth really going to go. I was all confused and all exhausted and feeling all the emotions and my sweet boy was hiding playing in the back room with his trains.

I thought maybe I needed more sleep, or a hug from my wonderful husband, or a tickle from my little guy, but really I just needed a bit of Jesus. I needed the sweet reminder that the Lord has everything under control, no matter what it was I was even crying about in the first place, he's got it. He even knows why I'm crying, which is great, because that makes one of us.

I went to Jesus and was reminded of my dependence upon Him. Mostly I was reminded of every expectation that he exceeds, every promise he fulfills, every sorrow that he knows and understands.

Easter is coming. And it's more than Peeps and egg hunts and tiny adorable plaid shirts (although I'm sure we'll have all those things and more). But it's the reminder that I need Jesus. I needed Him to die and rise again to save me, I continue to need Him daily to live in such a way that people see more of Him and less of me.

Even if the only person that sees me someday is my kid. Because, really, he needs to see Jesus in me too.

Eventually I quit sobbing and started praising the Lord, which then led to more sobbing, but happy sobbing. And then I found myself in church on Sunday singing His praises again, and right there in the middle of everyone I was sobbing again. I cry because I know His great love for me, I cry because I remember the loss and the pain I have been through, I cry because I am grateful for the healing He has provided and continues to provide daily.

I am grateful for my Lord. The whole world around me can fail, but my Lord will not forsake me. Even if my world is not really failing, because, like I said, I'm not even sure what I was crying about anyway...

Mar 8, 2016

Mountain Baby

For real.
Baby Hess Number Three is gonna be born in Colorado.
At like 8500 feet.
And possibly during camp.
If you've been around for a while you know that my husband works for a Christian camp based in Texas. We spend the 'school year' in Texas and then he runs the family camp they have in Colorado during the summer. This means that we get to live in Colorado for four months out of the year in the beautiful mountains with the cool, dry air surrounded by the sounds of wildlife and happy children. Sounds like a dream, but really, it's true.
We both work for camp while we are there so we stay quite busy, but it's a wonderful ministry type of busy and we can't complain about the setting!
But let's just say that when I went to see my doctor one of the nurses said something along the lines of "so I guess no Colorado vacation this year?" and I replied "oh, no, it's not a vacation, we move there. For four months. It's either I go with Kyle for four months or I miss my husband dearly, take care of a toddler all by myself while pregnant, and my husband misses the birth of his child. So yeah, we're going."
She was a little shocked.
But my doc is great. She determined the due date to be September 8th, give or take a few weeks on the actual delivery date of course. Lincoln came four weeks early so we're talking a window of about August 11th to September 10th. We live in Colorado until September 1st. So do the math.
If we try to make the sixteen hour drive home while one week from my due date, odds are in our favor for a roadside delivery.
If we try to get me home to Texas 'before the baby could possibly be born' we're talking about me leaving Colorado over a month early and doing the super-pregnant woman chases a toddler and daddy misses the birth of his child fiasco.
So we stay in Colorado. Until the baby is born.
I got on the phone with all the medical people and we've got a plan. I'll see my doc here in Texas until we head to Colorado. Once in Colorado I'll see a doc that I've seen for a few pregnancy checkups in summers past. She delivers babies and everything and will be able to delivery our baby at the nearby town's great little hospital. I have three friends that have delivered babies there before and I've heard no bad reviews. My insurance people say that everything's gravy, everyone's in-network, and we're all set to do this crazy thing.
It sounds crazy. Our baby could be born right in the middle of a camp session and we'd just bring the baby 'home' to our little cabin and I guess just be ready for the barn dance the next night! (Just kidding!) We pack the bags like baby could come 4 weeks early and we bring the things we think we can get by with. We try not to overload the car because we'll be travelling back home with two car seats this year! Man, oh, man!
It's still hard to wrap my mind around it all.
The Colorado. The traveling with a newborn and a toddler. The trying to walk up the hill to the campfire while nine months pregnant at 8500 feet. But most of all, it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that we are so very blessed to be pregnant again.
Baby Hess Number Three is on the way. Grow some healthy lungs kid, the air is thinner in Colorado.

Mar 1, 2016

Our Little King Cake Baby

Just in case you missed the big announcement: Another Baby Hess is on the way! We're due in early September and it's driving me nuts that we don't already know the gender. Call me impatient, but man I wanna know.

Note for the Non-Louisiana People: King Cake is a delicious filled cinnamon roll-like cake eaten during the Mardi Gras season. Hidden inside is a little plastic baby for someone to find as they eat their slice of cake. If you're not used to the tradition, it sounds nuts! If you've every had a slice of good King Cake then you are willing to break a tooth on a baby. So yes, our baby announcement was on Mardi Gras and well, you know what they say... you can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can't take the Louisiana out of the girl.

More details to come on Baby Hess Number Three. We're gonna see how weekly pictures turn out with a toddler running around the house, it may be monthly photos this go around!

Jan 21, 2016

Travel and Closets

The last few months have been quite comical.

If you asked me 'what have you been up to?' I think that I'd run out of air or daylight before I told you everything.

The short version goes like this: Thanksgiving meant traveling and family and wonderful. And then the Christmas season meant we got real festive at the Hess House. Then real Christmas meant more traveling and family and wonderful. And then we travelled to the other family for more Christmas and family and wonderful. Top it off with a flight to Colorado and some more good family time in the snow and wow.

Let's just say that with the packing, laundry, repacking turnaround I could be a flight attendant for an entire family. Not to mention that my bedroom floor looked more like an episode of hoarders than anything resembling a place to rest my head.

Our hearts are full, but I've spent the past few weeks catching up on sleep and trying to create order in our lives once again.

To demonstrate the sleep deprivation (travel and travel and travel does not always a happy sleeper make...) I present to you:

The Time Kyle Laughed at Me in the Middle of the Night

In the wee hours of the dark morning, my dearest little boy woke. He cried his little cry and I flew across the room jumping at the sound of the baby monitor. Because I'm suuuuch a good mom.

It was the middle of the night. It was one of those nights where either the clouds were thick or the moon was new but the little bits of light that come through the bathroom window into our hallway were nonexistent.

I stumbled out of bed, startled, tired, and confused at where the hallway was because, well, travel. Sleeping in multiple rooms with multiple configurations over a few weeks time period can mess with anyone. I found the bedroom door, then the hallway, then Lincoln's door.

It wouldn't seem to open so I wiggled it a bit more. And then magically open it was.

In I went.

And SNAP! Yelp. Confusion.

There was a mousetrap on my foot.


The mousetrap that was in the hot water heater closet had snapped shut as my foot brushed it, sparing the bones in my foot but pinching me just a bit. This was the mousetrap in the closet that is down the hallway from Lincoln's room. This is the closet in which the door opens an entirely different direction than Lincoln's door. That one.

I wish I could say that I yelled so loud or was completely shocked but instead my zombie-like self just closed the door and made it to the nursery and eventually back to my bed where my husband was waiting.

Apparently the noise shocked him.

He wanted to know what happened.

I told him. He died laughing. I snapped out of my daze, and I laughed too. Mouse trap. Hot water heater. Tired. There we were a couple of sleep deprived parents just laughing at the good 'ole hour of half past way too late.

Then he turned to me and said, "that's funny, you've gotta put that on the blog." And there you have it.

So fellow moms and dads who have also 'survived' the holiday travels, I pray you are settling well back into routines. I pray you are getting sleep. And I'll also pray that you don't walk into your hot water heater closet tonight and step on a mousetrap. Just to be safe.

Because you never know. It could happen to anyone...
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