Welcome to Growing a Person

on Jun 23, 2013

Hello! I’m Carter, Collin, Rory and Owen’s Mama, known to some as Jenni. I started this blog when I was, quite literally, growing our first person in my belly, and now that I have grown four kids and continue to “grow” them every day, it’s where I record the thoughts and moments I want to make sure I remember someday when these crazy kiddos of mine are all grown up. In my spare time I run Perceptivity Studio, a small graphic design firm, from my home, with the four most demanding “bosses” I’ve ever had. Life is all balls up in the air, all the time, but it’s always interesting, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Owen’s Birth Story: Part 2

on Nov 21, 2016

One of the questions I hear the most from first-time moms is “how will I know I’m in labor?” and usually it’s pretty obvious.  However, when you have been having contractions for a few days–yes, REAL ONES, not Braxton Hicks–you definitely start to question yourself.  So here we are on Monday evening and Glenn just took Collin to his t-ball practice.  As soon as they left, my contractions went from every 30-45 minutes to every 10-15 minutes to every 4-5 minutes apart and the intensity was definitely increasing.  I was chatting with my mom on Facebook and timing the contractions on my app while trying to determine if this was really “it” and had pretty much determined that I needed to take another trip in to triage to at least get checked out.  Being 0cm dilated and not effaced at all that morning was making me feel pretty ridiculous...

Owen’s Birth Story: Part 1

on Oct 30, 2016

Dear, darling Owen, my beautiful fourth child who finds his first blog mention in his birth story post.  Get used to it, kiddo.  You have joined a wild and wonderful circus of a family and as our caboose, this sort of thing is bound to happen often.  I promise that despite our being busy and scattered, we will love you just as much as we love ALL of our children, and that infinite amount of love for each of you is something you will never understand until you have children of your own. My pregnancy with you was overall delightful with a few bumps along the way. The first was morning sickness, which once again reared its ugly head and turned me into a useless lump of nausea huddling on the couch for weeks on end.  Dada completely took over as Super Dad, driving kids to and from school, feeding and bathing everyone and generally being amazing while I read about 20 books and tried not to...


on Sep 14, 2015

So if you missed the news, we didn’t get the Woodcrest house.  We waited and waited and hoped and hoped, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  But I’m hoping the reason Woodcrest didn’t happen was so we could find this beauty. This lovely home in Dunedin caught our eye when we were in the process of talking ourselves out of the house hunting process.  But try as we might neither one of us could give up our Zillow addiction and a price reduction dropped it into Glenn’s search range.  When he showed it to me I felt the same familiar quickening of my heart that comes with finding a truly special house.  We immediately drove over to check it out and contacted our realtor to schedule a showing, all while hoping someone else hadn’t beat us to the punch again. Our showing was with all three kids again on a rainy morning.  They ran amuck around the empty house,...


on Aug 2, 2015

Glenn and I have been “driving” around Zillow a lot lately, looking to see what’s out there in the real estate world since we know we need a lot more space for these growing kiddos of ours.  Between the two of us, we’ve virtually driven all around north Pinellas county where we live, pausing to show each other something here or there, swiping through pictures of bungalows, ranches and, our very favorite, mid-century moderns. On Wednesday night we were in the living room, “driving” around together, and there was a particular neighborhood I was trying to find when THIS house popped up in the right column as one of the suggested houses.  Even as a little thumbnail my heart quickened and I immediately clicked on it to see more.  One of the top things we are looking for is a house with character…nothing cookie cutter…a house that looks like an...

Dear Carter at 5.5, Collin at 3.5 and Rory at 9/10 months,

on Apr 18, 2015

Dearest kiddos, I just went back and read the last McKay state of the union post from last January and I can’t believe how much you have all grown up since then.  (Especially you, Rory, since you were still in my belly!) Carter, you get taller and smarter every day.  You are such a string bean, tall and skinny, and you have SO much energy!  Your latest move is doing the funny chicken dance you learned from Walker at school, and you do it to make Rory laugh and sometimes when you don’t feel like answering our questions (or you just stick your tongue out at us…you can be delightful!). VPK has been so good for you this year.  I was so nervous when we found out that you were in a class with none of the kids from your class last year, and I was so afraid you would have a hard time.  But instead you’ve just flourished even more.  Mrs. Hibbens and Mrs. Karalis have...

Ten Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was a New Mama

on Oct 20, 2014

In honor of my Carter’s FIFTH BIRTHDAY (seriously…how is that possible?!?!), I wanted to finally get this post published.  It’s something I’ve been making a mental list of for years now every time I have one of those AHA! moments in parenting, and the actual post itself has been hanging out for months now as I have a few minutes here and there to peck away at it. Between work, three kids and everything in between, this poor little blog doesn’t get much love. But as I was saying, my Carter turned FIVE yesterday, so looking back at that new mama Jenni in 2009 with her adorable (but kind of cranky) newborn, these are the things I wish I could go back and tell her. I will preface this by saying that if you know me, most of it will not surprise you in the least, but if you don’t, I consider myself to be a...

Rory’s Birth Story

on Jun 15, 2014

As I type this, my sweet, soft, cuddly, adorable, amazing baby girl is sound asleep on my chest.  We are home, healthy, safe and sound, and I thank my lucky stars that everything went relatively well this time around.  So here is my last birth story… After our false alarm on Sunday, I was feeling pretty down.  I moped around most of Monday, and I had convinced myself that Rory was going to make me wait way longer than I’d planned.  But at my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning, which I went to on my own just in case I ended up being sent to the hospital, my blood pressure was up again.  This had started the week prior, and every time since, it had been high (like 140ish/90ish) the first time it had been taken and then had gone down again enough that they would not completely freak out. But pre-eclampsia had been thrown out there as a possibility, and after never...

Faker: Rory’s Birth Story Prequel

on Jun 3, 2014

Well I suppose one false alarm out of three pregnancies isn’t the worst thing ever, but last night was a less-than-fun practice run for Rory’s delivery.  Knowing when to go to the hospital is such a fine balance…go too soon and you very well might end up headed home again with no baby, but go too late and you might end up delivering on the side of the road.  This gets especially complicated when there are older children that must be situated before you can leave.  Apparently I have gotten worse at figuring out what that magical “go” time is with my third pregnancy. Yesterday I decided it was time to push myself and try to go into labor.  I did this when I was pregnant with Collin and it actually worked, so I thought there might be a chance of a repeat performance.  So I mopped our whole house, then we went to the mall and walked around while Glenn was...