• Margaret Va'aulu

Life Update

Several months ago I started writing another blog post and had it about 80% finished when life threw us some curveballs and everything got put on pause. I'm sure I'll eventually go back and finish that original post, but it's not what's been fore front on my mind recently so it's hard to find the inspiration to finish right now.

Instead this post is going to be pretty straight forward: we've currently got a lot of things happening for our family, so I'll just be writing a life update and reflecting on some of it.

Pregnancy

At the beginning of March, I began having an feeling that we should have another baby. I couldn't sleep thinking about it. I was hesitant to bring the subject up to Blake, as if speaking out loud about it would solidify the decision. And I didn't want another baby right now--the timing isn't right, it would be too hard. Our second baby Isala wasn't quite one yet, and most days I felt like I was barely keeping us all alive. How in the world would I manage three kids?! Plus Blake was only a few months away from leaving on deployment so I'd be doing this alone. No one has predeployment babies, that's crazy.. you have a reunion baby!

The discussion with Blake didn't make the right path any clearer, so we decided that we would just leave things as is, and if we ended up pregnant then it was meant to be. A week later, the pregnancy test came out positive. **cue the irony of the Universe** Honestly, I was devastated. I was paralyzed by fear and anxiety for days. I finally accepted that we were having another baby, but it wasn't until the ultrasound that I felt excitement for the first time.

This entire pregnancy has been the most taxing so far. In addition to my body working overtime to grow a human being from scratch, I'm still breastfeeding Isala and he doesn't sleep through the night yet. I am utterly exhausted. Almost daily I think that this will be the baby to take me out. I am just so drained physically and mentally, it often feels like I have nothing else to give. And yet life still goes on. There's meals to cook, faces to wipe, cuddles to give, and little people needing my attention. So I'm still here.

And because I already know the most pressing question on everyone's mind, let me just go ahead and announce the sex of baby 3. **drum roll please** Starting in October 2019, the Va'aulu clan will officially be adding another boy to the mix! Up until the ultrasound, I was sure it was going to be a girl (but Blake will tell you that I've thought that every pregnancy. haha) During my second pregnancy I even had a dream that included 3 kids: two boys and a girl. So this time I was certain we were getting our girl. Blake knew it was a boy the whole time, but I was feeling ready for floral, bows, and cute dresses. I held on to girl vibes with fierce determination for so long, but apparently that's not how a baby's sex is determined. Regardless, I'm excited to have an all boy gang.. for now. I absolutely love being a boy mom so I really am excited. Plus it means I don't have to buy any new clothes, so that's a plus.

Deployment

It's been a few weeks now since Blake left for his nine month deployment. Honestly, I'm kinda at a loss for words about it. He was originally supposed to leave last year in October, but that was canceled last minute so in some ways I've been mentally prepared for a deployment for a long time. On the flip side, I don't think you can ever fully prepare for a separation like that. Before deployment, Blake would frequently be gone doing field exercises for 2-6 weeks and I traveled solo with the kids a lot last year, so to some extent this doesn't feel too different...yet. I'm pretty used to being alone, and the boys know that sometimes Daddy has to leave for a while to work.

Just waiting for deployment was really difficult. Emotionally, we were in a really weird place. In a spouse meeting a few months before, they told us that it's normal for both servicemembers and spouses to be frustrated or fight more often due to higher stress levels. I didn't think this would apply to us- boy, was I wrong. Neither Blake nor I are typically the yelling type when in conflict & we've worked really hard in these early years of our marriage to establish healthy communication. So I thought we'd go by unscathed. But during that last month together, we fought more than we ever have. Even our roadtrip to Texas-as fun as it was- was riddled with lots of frustration and some pretty nasty disagreements. (Traveling with young kids is difficult enough on its own and not relaxing at all..not even including the stress of an upcoming deployment). Luckily, we did finally sit down and talk through all the deeper emotions fueling these fights. And our last week together as a family was beautiful. But the journey to get there was rough and I wasn't prepared for that.


All the emotional stuff aside, just waiting for deployment to start took forever. It felt like we were in limbo for months, not wanting to do anything but spend every spare minute together. I had projects left half finished and adjustments to the boy's routines I wanted to make but that all seemed pointless to start when we'd have to readjust again once he was gone. But now that Blake has left, I feel a bit like we are finally ready for routine and I can stop putting off other important things. So the past few weeks have been spent finally finishing the spring cleaning (still got a bit to do), rearranging the house, and finishing all my DIY projects.

But don't worry, I'm not alone in all this. My sister, Sarah, has moved in to help while Blake is gone and I have some friends to support us. The great thing about living in a military community is that everyone is (or has been) in similar situations, knows what it's like, and is really anxious to help. Hopefully this is enough.


Taking care of two rambunctious boys and working on all my different projects keeps me so busy that I don't have a lot of down time to be sad. But I am really just focusing on the day to day and not thinking too far ahead because that's when the weight of it all starts to set in. We're not sure yet if Blake will be able to come back home for the baby's birth, and thinking of all milestones he'll miss with the boys is sobering. Thinking about it even for a minute is enough to bring me to the verge of tears....It isn't ideal to be separated, but things haven't been all bad these past few weeks. Summer is full of so many fun activities and play dates with friends that we've definitely had our fair share of smiles and adventure.

The Boys

As a mama, I can't pass on the opportunity to brag about my boys! And this way I feel like I can end on a less serious note.. Masi is only a few months away from turning four years old and I've been seeing so much growth and change in him this past year. He's very much his own person, my wild child--he knows what he likes, isn't afraid to be himself/be weird, and he feels everything (both good and bad) so deeply. Sometimes this makes parenting him really difficult, especially since he doesn't care much about pleasing adults and instead only does something if he truly wants to.



But he's so incredibly smart, I've been working really hard on teaching him how to appropriately express emotions, together we've been learning what gets through to him best, and [most days] I am so proud of who he is becoming. He is obsessed with the show Wild Kratts and knows so much about animals. More often than not, he's pretending to be some sort of animal: to know Masi is to have been growled at. The transition to big brother was a bit of a shock, but he's really grown into the role, especially now that Isala is able to interact with him. Masi loves to chase brother across the living room, dance together, and insists we check on him multiple times during naps. He still struggles with sharing (what kid doesn't?) but overall, he really loves his brother.


Isala is now 15 months old. He's so photogenic with dimples on both cheeks, and will dance to literally anything--including commercials and random beatboxing sounds. I don't know if it's just younger child syndrome, but he has always wanted to do exactly what Big Brother is doing. To everyone's surprise, he was already walking before 10 months and is now running after Masi. Things like baby food and sippy cups only lasted a few weeks before he realized that's not what everyone else was using, and insisted on being the same as us. He's started talking and [following in Masi's footsteps] already knows several animal noises. Reading books like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?" usually doesn't include many words, just animal sounds. His current favorite is pounding his chest and grunting like a gorilla.


I'm definitely worried about how he'll adjust to the new baby though (any tips are more than welcome!) He's a huge mama's boy, and even gets jealous of any attention Masi gets from me. If Masi is sitting on my lap, Isala will run from across the room screaming and trying to push him off. He refuses to even share my lap. Send help. He'll only be around 18 months old when Baby comes, so I'm not sure how much he's able to comprehend about this transition. I think Masi will do beautifully--he's done this before, and still remembers. When we first told him that there was a baby in mama's tummy he asked if it was baby Isala. Even though I'm bracing myself for a really difficult transition the first few months (particularly with Isala), I'm excited to see what a 3 boy household dynamic is like in the next few years.


I hope this rambling all made sense, and helped catch you up on the important things happening in life right now. There's some other things I'd like to share (i.e. starting our homeschool journey, DIY projects, among other thoughts) but those are something for another post. Currently just taking it one day at a time. Things are hard, but there's also a lot of beauty and I'm immensely grateful for this phase of life I'm in right now.

A million thanks to our wonderful photographer, Christie, from Cjae Studios who took the family photos for us. She was so patient with the boys during this session, despite them running all over the place in typical toddler fashion! She took the birth pictures of Isala and I'm super excited for her to be documenting Baby Three's entry to the world in a few months! If you're local to Oklahoma and need a photographer check her out..

https://cjaestudios.pixieset.com/

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