motherhood on the ICE train

The ICE (InterCity Express) is a high-speed train, with speeds up to 300km/hr, that connects all major cities in Germany and includes international connections to surrounding countries.  While it is a time saver, much is missed by taking this train.  There are fewer stops along the route and the beautiful scenery zooms by in a blur out the window.

This is often how I feel about Motherhood. The phrase ‘It’s all going by too fast‘ sits on my lips.
Every. Single. Day.
If I could make it slow down, switch to a regional (slower train), I would.
In a heartbeat.

Perhaps that is the root of my passion for photography.  Wanting to capture every moment I can so that in slower moments I can pour over them again, and again.  Relive the moments. Feel them again.

this...is everything.... so incredibly grateful and blessed to be mom to these four amazing children. #motherhood #allthefeels

A post shared by 📷 mel.etchell🌾 (@focusing.on.joy) on

 
I know it has been quiet here on the blog. I usually compose all our posts from our desktop computer and sitting down do so has been a challenge. Any social media, emailing and messaging is done from a mobile device (Instagram and WhatsApp have really been my on-the-go sharing apps). I just haven’t gotten the hang of how to blog like that and quite honestly, I do not think I want to. So thanks for sticking around with a listening ear.

As we are going into Mother’s Day weekend, I want to share a few things I am ‘hearting’ on right now.

The first is this by Lisa Jo Baker :: When You Still Need Your Mom and She’s Not There Anymore. Her writing speaks my heart.

Next, is this song, Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman. It speaks all those emotions I feel as mother to my four babes as I ride this marvelous train called Motherhood.

Wishing all the wonderful Mother’s, who I adore, out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!!!

xoxo,

Mel

April wrap up

April started off slow as we began the month enjoying a little break from our routines and celebrated Easter. Then life picked back up and the days seemed to fly off the calendar. Now, here we are already at the end of another month! Before we say goodbye to April, here are a few snapshots from our month.

This year the boys got a lot more creative with their egg coloring. We then headed outside and played ‘egg hunt’ for several hours as they took turns at hiding the eggs.

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Despite the snow, the annual County Fair Kinderfest & Egg Hunt put on by Jay’s work was a huge success again this year. Yes, storm troopers and the Easter bunny!

Our fruit trees are in bloom. I am hoping for another great harvest year. It is really something to go into your own yard and pick apples, cherries, berries, and plums. A young walnut tree was planted into our yard this year, too! Despite my failed attempt to transplant them last fall, the Peonies are standing tall. It has become one of my favorite flowers.

The photo on the left was taken by Ari from his perspective. We call it ‘Bump in the Sky’. I can barely see my toes now as this bump gets bigger and BIGGER! Back aches and difficulty bending over are just a few of the joys of third trimester. I keep telling myself, ‘almost there’!

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Andy will turn 7 next month!! Here he is being silly wearing Harry Potter glasses.

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It has warmed up enough to enjoy one of our favorites eats, flammkuchen, at the castle on the hill above our house.

sheep
We encountered a flock of sheep grazing on our way to swim class. To see them up close like this is truly cool.

MapChairs
I was feeling kinda crafty one afternoon and decided to complete a project that has been sitting in the garage for awhile. More on this in an upcoming post.

Sending much love to all of you.

 

xoxo,

Mel

this moment :: 21 weeks {27 february}

Expecting21weeksless
Sweet belly kisses like this one from Ari have made this pregnancy extra special. We took well over a dozen pictures as Ari kept saying ‘let’s do it again’!

We are a little more than halfway through this pregnancy and I’ve been feeling good. Here is some of what has been going on ::

:: Food cravings :: Surprisingly, I really haven’t had any.  My diet has consisted mostly of beans-it doesn’t matter what kind!, jalapenos, baked potatoes, pepper jack cheese sprinkled on everything, crunchy granola, clementines and COLD glasses of milk. Red meat is not that appealing to me so it’s chicken or turkey breast.
:: Sleep :: I am sleeping comfortably and deeply. After the first trimester, the frequent waking at night to go potty has ended (for now I guess!). There are about ten pillows on my bed that I arrange ‘just so’ each night before I crawl in. I’ve been thinking I should’ve invested in one of those full body maternity pillows!
:: Action in the womb :: Baby kicks are getting stronger and occur frequently throughout the day. I mostly feel them deep and low in my abdomen. They almost always to seem to begin when Jason is near. I am anxious for the boys to feel them for the first time. I find myself wanting to stop whatever it is that I am doing to sit and enjoy feeling the life inside of me.
:: Daily conversations :: Daily talk about this baby has all three boys curious and interested in the retelling of their own birth stories. It is one of my most favorite things to listen to Jason share each experience with the boys as he remembers. Their questions and commentary are priceless!
:: Baby names :: We each have a top three list of boy’s and girl’s names. Thankfully, Jay’s and mine match up pretty well. The boys have some pretty creative names that we will reserve to use as possible nicknames.
:: Gender reveal :: Our last visit to the doctor was almost four weeks ago. The position of the baby made it tricky to view the genital area on ultrasound.  So we left not knowing for certain.

The next appointment is on 3 March. We are looking forward to peeking in on baby and hopefully getting clarity on whether we will be welcoming a baby boy or girl!

Is there anyone who wants to offer up a guess!?

 

xoxo,

Mel

{joining :: soulemama}

4th month with #4

Yep, that’s me. A week into my fourth month of pregnancy with baby number four.

The initial shock has worn off, the all day/every day nausea has ceased, and I am settling into the idea that baby#4 is ON THE WAY!

17woche

Jason and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in October with a nice, relaxing family vacation on a beach near Valencia, Spain.  A few weeks later…a positive pregnancy test!  No, this was NOT planned and while Jason was elated with the news, my world had just been rocked.

In those first days & weeks after finding out I was with child, my head was spinning and my heart heavy.  Our youngest was only a few months away from turning four.  I had started to dream about the next phase of motherhood and ‘me’ hood.  The needy infant/toddler years were behind me.  The sleep deprivation, night feedings, diapers, teething and mile long checklists of things to pack just to leave the house were all in the distant past.  We had three, healthy, independent boys and I was about to step into the light at the end of that long tunnel of the early mothering years.  I felt myself being sucked back into the fog of the baby/toddler years.

There was also the fear of another loss.  Exactly a year prior, we lost a baby.  On Thanksgiving day 2013, 8 weeks pregnant, I miscarried and it took the better part of a year to heal emotionally from the loss.  It wasn’t until around week eight or nine of this pregnancy that I trusted it was viable.  We saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound and I welcomed the nausea that would be a reminder that this baby was thriving.
 
BabyE#413 week ultrasound

I’ve felt so much guilt for the veiled joy, for the nonexistence of those feelings I was ‘suppose’ to be having, but wasn’t. Being honest with those closest to me has really helped work through those feelings. I am thankful for the encouragement and ‘you are not alone’ moments I have experienced from sharing openly.

One of the best parts of this pregnancy has been sharing the news with our boys. Their excitement and curiosity helped in calming those early feelings. They each had positive, enthusiastic reactions to the news. Alex already has an “A” name picked out for a boy, Andrew is wishing for a sister and Ari asks daily “when is the baby getting out of your belly?” They’ve been amusing with their reactions to the ultrasound pictures and my newly formed bump seems quite interesting to them.

Now that I am feeling better physically and emotionally, I am ready to embrace the next twenty four weeks, or so, and the miracle of this little life growing in my womb. My next doctor’s appointment will be on February 2nd. We have not decided if we want to find out the baby’s sex, but could have that chance during this next visit!
I feel excited just thinking about the possibility!
 

xoxo,

Mel

this moment :: 16 may

{this moment}
A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.
{inspired by:: soulemama}

 
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Wishing you many snuggles with your lovies this weekend.

♥♥♥

Mel