Pregnancy and pandemic: 3 weeks postpartum

Going into this third week was hard. My incision site stings a bit and my back muscles hurt from holding The Trilogy. I wear her when I can, but it still messes with my back. I cannot wait to see my chiropractor again…whenever that is.

And to top all that off, my county extended its stay home order through May 10th.

I’m losing it, youse. As of today, I have been home for 53 days. The only times I have left have been to go to my doctor and to have a baby. That’s it. I’m going slightly crazy. And trying to navigate all of my feelings, while also fighting through hormonal dips and surges hasn’t been a real picnic.

It’s going to be fine. I know that. Life will return to normal. At some point. Eventually. But what’s driving me nuts right now is attaching dates to things. And expanding orders a couple weeks at a time just as the current set expire. I’d rather the people in charge just be honest. Just tell us you don’t know when the orders will be lifted. That in order to start reopening things all of a certain criteria must be met. Just stop attaching arbitrary timelines to all of this madness.

It’s giving me a false sense of hope and then ripping that away each time. And it’s driving me bonkers. I literally can’t take it anymore. I’d rather they just say we all have to stay home until December 31st and then opening anytime before then is a win. Under promise; over deliver, right?

But 53 days at home has broken me. It’s not that I want to rush out and start shopping or going to restaurants. I’m still going to be cautious. But knowing that I can is a HUGE mental relief. Because right now, I feel trapped with no escape and no end in sight. And that feeling of being trapped is draining. It’s taxing on every level. Physical; mental; emotional. Quarantine fatigue is real and I’m suffering.

I’m also concerned that the longer this stays in effect, the more likely people are going to be to just start ignoring it altogether because they’re exhausted and worn out, too. And that will be a bigger problem in the long run.

But in the midst of all the doom and gloom that I’m feeling, there are positives. One is that the kids are really too young to remember this when they are older. The Sequel will have no memory of spending two months away from his friends and teachers. The Trilogy will never remember how scary her entrance into the world was. and Baby Suddreth, while he asks a lot of questions about what’s going on right now, will likely not remember the madness. If he does have memories from this time, they’ll be memories of spending lots of time with his mom and dad and siblings. It’ll be playing in the sandbox and the bounce house and his swing set. His memories will be bubbles and sidewalk chalk and walks through our neighborhood. As he gets older he might realize that playgrounds aren’t part of his memories. And that every detail of our backyard seems to be ingrained into his memory for some reason. But he won’t realize it’s because he spent every day for months in his yard and at home. He probably won’t even remember why we had to stay home.

At least that’s my hope for him. I hope he just remembers being happy and being together.

Pregnancy and pandemic: 2 weeks postpartum

So we are two weeks into being a family of five and seven weeks into being at home.

Seven.

Weeks.

At. Home.

With toddlers. And now a newborn. It’s been really hard some days. Lesson plans aren’t really being followed and there is far more screen time than I really care for, but right now we are in survival mode and the big humans of Suddreth Manor are being fueled strictly on caffeine and dreams at this point. The only human being who sleeps more than two hours at a time is #TheSequel (🙌🏼 – but also TEACH YOUR BIG BROTHER!). And the wonder idiot dog keeps rolling around in raccoon poop because apparently he isn’t getting enough attention. 😑😑😑😑😑

BUT, it isn’t only crisis management at The Manor. It’s beautiful chaos. Brett takes the boys outside to play as much as possible. The Cozy Cottage arrived and the kids LOVE it – I mean who wouldn’t? It has flower boxes and a doorbell that WORKS! The tree swing is up and the swing set/playhouse was finally delivered and is being put together this week.

The state and county stay at home orders are set to expire Sunday, and while things are definitely far from over, just knowing that people are thinking about how to safely bring some sense of normalcy back to life has been comforting. Soccer and swim classes are trying to figure out how to safely continue to serve the community and The Sequel’s school is preparing their reopening plan.

The last two weeks have been a very different recovery than I had originally expected, but everyone is starting to adjust to having another person living with us. I had my post-op follow up with my doctor today via video conference, which was an interesting patient experience, but I definitely appreciated not having to leave the house yet. The best thing is that I was cleared to start picking up The Sequel again. I didn’t realize how much I missed holding him until I wasn’t allowed. I definitely gave him a big old hug as soon as I could – it was awesome.

Probably the hardest part of the last couple weeks has been clearing events off my calendar. The very hardest one was canceling Baby Suddreth’s birthday party. I might have cried deleting it from my calendar. But, when we are allowed to gather in groups again, I’m throwing him the most ridiculous, over the top, extra, don’t care what it costs, party because he deserves the entire world and it’s not his fault a pandemic is ruining everything.

I’ve noticed that the longer this goes on, the more aware Baby Suddreth is becoming to the fact that nothing is normal. And his conversations are becoming more focused on things we can’t do “because of the germs.” Like, “there’s no baseball or Royals because of the germs, right?” And, “all the stores and swim class and soccer are closed…because of the germs, right?” Or “are the germs gone yet, so we can go to a football game?” He misses his friends and his teacher and as a parent all I want to do is fix everything for him.

So, I’m still working through my emotions of not being able to control any of this and trying to focus on what I can do – which is heal…and love my babies hard.

Kansas City Corporate Challenge

For the last several months, companies around the Kansas City area have been competing in the Corporate Challenge; an annual competition where companies of similar size compete against one another in a variety of athletic endeavors.

Both of the companies Brett and I work for are competing this year and we have both been competing in some of the events.

I laced up the old track spikes and hit the track for the mile run and distance medley. I hadn’t competed in a long time but I was happy with my performance overall. I have some work to do to get better for next year, but I’ve got 12 months to prepare.

Brett has competed in way more events than I have playing dodgeball, softball, table tennis, and 3 on 3 soccer.

His agency had some early exits in dodgeball and softball, and he and his tennis table partner played well, but all the games were hard fought and everyone should be proud of their efforts.

The soccer team played hard and came away with fourth place, which is farther than they’ve ever come before!

The guys played well together and Brett had several goals and assists. I don’t have video of Brett’s goals, but here’s a shot of one of his assists.  Brett still has bowling to compete in this weekend and I’m confident he’s going to do awesome.

That’s all from #SuddrethManor for now!

Let the good times roll . . .

Before we left for St. Louis on Friday for the Tiemann Wedding on Saturday, May 18th we mailed out all of our invitations! It was such an exciting feeling to have that daunting task checked off our to do list. It was so relieving to be able to kick back and enjoy myself for a weekend without stressing about our wedding and get to really enjoy Dan and Danielle’s – which was GORGEOUS, by the way.

As exciting as it was to get the invitations mailed out, I did not anticipate how exciting it would be to start receiving responses! OMG, you guys, it is AWESOME! I love coming home and checking the mailbox and seeing little response envelopes inside. What I love even more is opening those envelopes and finding cards that say ‘Accepts with pleasure.’ We have received five in the last two days and all of them said yes. I can’t even begin to explain how much it means that people truly want to be a part of this day. Blessed comes to mind.

What might be even more exciting, if that’s possible, is the fact that we have our engagement session booked with our A.MAZE.ING photographer, Dustin. I can’t even tell you how awesome this guy is – you’ll just have to wait and see the photos.

We also finalized all of the details for the rehearsal dinner, which will be at Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ’s Freight House location. This place is stupid delicious and I am looking forward to our out of town guests experiencing it.

AND the wedding is going social! The wedding has its own hashtag, #SuddrethWedding, its very own Twitter account (@SuddrethWedding), and it even has its own Facebook page, Suddreth Wedding! If you want to follow along with all of the excitement there are so many ways to connect with us. And if you use Instagram, you can find us there as well with the handle, you guessed it, Suddreth Wedding. As the wedding gets closer and people begin taking and posting photos, tweets, etc be sure to use the #SuddrethWedding hashtag so we can follow and see all of your lovely posts!

Finally, there is still a more time to vote for your choice in the Father/Daughter Dance survey – the results are really close, so make sure you get your vote in and your favorite song wins!

Phew, that was a TON of information. I was going to work on program designs, but I think I’ll have a glass of wine and catch up Grey’s Anatomy instead!

Making progress…

Last week was our first pre-marriage class at our church. We were not really sure what to expect, but one of our ministers recommended we go to this class, so we did. I think we were both pleasantly surprised by how the class went. Since Brett and I have been together for a while we weren’t sure what we would really get out of the class, but there were some great talking points brought up in the class, and it gave us an opportunity to really talk. It also gave us a chance to ask how to handle the fact that we see each other 24/7 since we live together, work together, and carpool to work. We are rarely apart. The class leaders gave us some good advice and seemed pleased that we were able to recognize that was something we should be aware of and that we should not feel bad to ask one another for some space if we need it. All in all, I think we both got a lot out of the class and are glad that we went.

Also last week we designed our save the date cards. They came in this week and we are so thrilled with how they turned out. We have already mailed them out, so be checking your mail boxes for them.

While we were designing our Save the Dates, we went ahead and designed, ordered, and purchased over invitations, reception cards, RSVP cards, and thank you notes. When we were going through everything, of course I started to cry. Having everything in my hands just made this whole thing so much more real.

Sitting down together and addressing our save the date cards was actually really fun and while it was a lot of work, we did not mind at all. It made us realize how blessed we are to have so many wonderful people in our lives that we want to celebrate with!

We have also completed all of our registries, so be sure to check out The Registries page for details.

Also, we have set aside a block of rooms at the Drury Inn & Suites located off of I-35 and Shawnee Mission Parkway. Further information about how to book a room using the group rate can be found by visiting Places to Stay, Things to do. This page will also help you with things to do while you are in town if you decide you want to explore the city Brett and I call home.

Things are really moving along nicely and coming together as planned. We have a photographer who are just thrilled will be a part of our day! Thanks, Dustin!

We are meeting with the baker this week to discuss cake options and we have been scouting venues for the rehearsal dinner as well as looking at places to cater the reception.

Finally, we have been checking, and checking, and checking, and checking on airfare to Jamaica. One of the disadvantages of living in the middle of the country is that you are rarely able to fly direct to anywhere AND all of the flights are about eleventy billion dollars. So, in the fall we signed up for a credit card that earns miles through one of the airlines thinking that we would be able to earn plenty of miles between when we signed up when we booked the flights to at least earn one free ticket. Well, technically we probably did because we have tens of thousands of miles, but of course we can’t use them because of restrictions and blah blah blah. So, Brett being the clever and resourceful man that he is talked to a bunch of different airline representatives and was able to figure out the best way to get to Jamaica. And boy did he! Turns out we will be flying all the way to Jamaica sitting in FIRST CLASS! I am so. excited. I have never even flown in business class, so I am excited to experience the luxuriousness that comes with this.

So, things are coming together quite well and we are so excited.

160 days and counting……

So in love with this man

I don’t often post about my fiancee aside from the annual mention in my end of year wrap up over at my other blog. I always say how thankful I am to have him in my life, and always mention how my favorite part of every year is the fact that we have spent another year together. But every now and then I just feel like I need to give everyone a glimpse at some of the reasons I love the man I am going to marry.

I love him for many reasons, not the least of which is that he is the most patient person I know. I mean truly he has the patience of Job. I know that I am a pain in the ass, frustrating beyond words, impatient as can be, and have the quick temper o’ the Irish. But he handles it all like a champ; even when I am being completely insane and irrational. He just waits out the crazy. Because he is a saint.

One of the other biggest reasons is that he is kind hearted and compassionate.

Last week the Kansas City area received an unusually-late-for-the-season snow storm which dumped over a foot of snow in the area. Shoveling snow is not super fun so by the time the weekend rolled around we (read Brett) had only cleared out a small area on one side of the garage to get the truck in and out. But, when the snow plows came through they left a bank of snow at the end of the driveway blocking our way out.

Typically, we (read Brett) would just gun it out of the garage and plow the truck through the bank, but on Saturday when we were getting ready to leave, Brett saw a man walking up our driveway. He got out of the truck and met him to see what was up.

The man told Brett that he was trying to make some money to help him get his family through to the next week and wanted to know if we would hire him to shovel our driveway. He said he didn’t need much.

Brett asked if I had any cash on me, something neither of us regularly carry on us. I did have some cash and gave him what I had. Brett explained that we didn’t have the full amount of cash to help him out completely, but could we pay him what we did have on us to shovel out the snow bank at the end of the driveway.

The man said that he would do that, and then asked if we had a shovel he could borrow. Brett pulled one of the snow shovels we have out of the garage and handed it to him. As the man started to shovel and Brett started back to the truck, I heard him say to the man, ‘You know what, keep that shovel. I hope it helps you earn some more money today.’

My heart exploded with love at the kindness and compassion in Brett’s heart.

When he got back to the truck he sat in the driver’s seat and we sat there for a moment while he was shoveling the snow. I looked out the window and noticed that this poor man who was obviously down on his luck, asking to shovel our driveway and not even having a shovel, was not even wearing gloves. It was 30 degrees outside. And he was shoveling snow. I pointed this out to Brett who immediately went down to the basement and found a new pair of work gloves that he wasn’t using. He came back outside and gave the man the gloves as well.

I couldn’t see the entire exchange but I have the feeling that this man was very grateful for the kindness that was shown to him.

I cannot imagine the circumstances in this man’s life that led him to having to ask to borrow snow shovels to shovel people’s driveways, but I pray that he was able to earn the money he needed to take care of his family. I am thankful everyday that I have the life I do. That I have a nice home. Heat for the winter. Air conditioning for the summer. Food in the pantry and in the refrigerator. Reliable vehicles to take us to all of the extra things we like to do.

For I am well aware that to many our life seems extravagant. That there are too many people without a home. Warmth. Food.

I am proud of Brett everyday, but Saturday I was more proud than I thought my heart could handle. He could have so easily told this man that we did not have any cash on us and left it at that. But instead, he thought about what he could do rather than what he couldn’t. In the grand scheme of things, what is a few dollars, a shovel (that we weren’t using anyway) and a pair of gloves? To us – not much. But to this man, it very well could have been the difference between dinner for his family or not. Or money to pay the heating bill. Or gas to get a sick kid to the doctor. Or any other number of things.

A little bit of kindness goes a long way and I hope that man was able to make the rest of the money he needed. Even more though, I hope once he is doing better that he pays it forward and continues the kindness.

Knowing the kind of man I am going to marry makes me so proud

to become his wife.

I know I say this often, but I truly believe it, kindness can change the world. I hope the man’s world was changed; I know my world was changed by it.