Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving Thanks

This is the third year in a row my family has come down to celebrate Thanksgiving with us here in Virginia. We've thoroughly enjoyed our little tradition, so it was a little bittersweet this year knowing it would be the last time we could do our annual post-dinner beach walk, visit the Christmas light displays at the Boardwalk and Botanical Gardens and, new this year, take a trip to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's rewind to the beginning ...

Poppa, Marmie, Uncle Micah and Uncle Jared arrived around 1am and let themselves into the house. Jack and I were up bright and early to greet them and then we all hung out, whiling away the hours until lunch time and the grand cutting of the gender cake!! It was very fun to celebrate the knowledge of baby boy #2 with the family. And although all the anticipation made things extra exciting, if I ever do it again I think I'll try to have less of a wait time between the ultrasound and the actual reveal. My poor little mind was tormented nearly every night of the wait with dreams about the cake. The last night I dreamt that someone had smashed in an entire corner of it revealing baby's gender, with murderish undertones I glanced down at my own hands and realized that, much to my horror, they were covered in blue icing. I woke up very angry with myself for ruining the surprise, and then realized it wasn't real a few minutes later when I saw the cake sitting safe and whole on the table.

So we're all very happy to know that Jack will have, what we think to be, a little brother. We all got a good look at the ultrasound picture. Without going into too much detail, #2's "boyishness" isn't as obvious as Jack's but a second ultrasound will help confirm that. I think we'll hold off on the big name announcement until then. In other words, it's going to take these next few weeks for Jon and I to agree on a middle name...

I think Jack thoroughly enjoyed his time with his extended family. Poppa was always the first up and ready to feed him breakfast or take him on a walk, Marmie lap was always free for snuggles or a story and she's excellent at changing even the dirtiest of diapers, and the Uncles were always up for a game of topple the tower or ready to hold Jack when he was done with sitting in his stroller. He was full of smiles and laughs the entire holiday. And apparently he's added a new word to his vocabulary - "...k" - which, when accompanied by a point, means "look," at least this is what Poppa says, I haven't witnessed it for myself yet.

The nice thing about having so many people around is that I don't have to carry the full responsibility of Jack. Someone was always busy entertaining him so that I could eat breakfast or take a shower, or they were willing to hang back at the house while Jack napped so I could get some Christmas shopping done. It was nice for both of us to get a bit of a break from each other, but I know he's glad to have me back because, in addition to being very snuggly since yesterday, he's also started patting my back whenever I hold him. It's too cute. It's true, boys really do love their mamas!

I suppose this would be a good time to publicly congratulate my father on changing his first poopy diaper! It was completely unintentional. I had just changed poop #2 of the day, which is generally Jack's limit, and had put him down for a nap. My mom and I ran out to do some shopping while Poppa stayed back to watch football. Apparently Jack surprised us all with a third dirty diaper after he got up from his nap. If you know my Dad, he does not handle smelly situations too well, and Uncle Micah is just like him. So I was very impressed that he changed the offending diaper right away instead of pretending that he didn't notice it until we got back. He's a good Poppa!!

Jack loved seeing all the Christmas lights on the Boardwalk and at the Botanical Gardens, but my favorite event of the week was our trip to Busch Gardens. If you're in the area I highly recommend checking out Christmas Town. The entire park is decorated with Christmas lights, Christmas music is playing on speakers throughout each "country" and in that country's native language. There's "snow" falling, a huge Christmas tree with a light show, lots of live music and dancing, and great food. Also some of the rides are still open, including the Griffon, which the guys got to ride without having to wait in line. I would have loved to go too but I don't think #2 would have appreciated the heart palpitations. The only part of Christmas Town that I wasn't impressed with was the Penguin Display. We waited over an hour for a magical experience in a maze of snow and ice, culminating with displays of real live penguins. In other words, we waited over an hour to walk through a white styrofoam igloo with posters of needless penguin facts, only to be greeted by two very small, very still, sleeping penguins. I was just a little annoyed that we didn't get to accomplish everything we wanted to since we wasted so much time on that. Interestingly enough, the penguin exhibit is no longer mentioned on Christmas Town's website, so apparently the feeling was mutual all the way around.

Jack did so well this Thanksgiving. I kept having flashbacks of last year and my screaming, sleep-deprived, 7 week old refusing to nurse. Despite the occasional missed nap, shorter nights of sleep in Mommy and Daddy's room, and extra traveling he remained his happy, silly self. He's also used the past two days to make up for all that lost sleep, which I've really appreciated.

And so that wraps up our last Thanksgiving here in Virginia. We have so many, many things to be thankful for. Not the least of which are our wonderful families, who have been such a blessing and support to both of us during our marriage. Both Jon and I are honored to be part of a new generation in our great lineage. We have some incredible examples to watch and standards to live up to. And we're incredibly thankful that God has blessed with our own little family to carry on special traditions with - one adorable little boy with a newfound fascination for Christmas lights, and a second little boy that loves to kick his mom in the bladder and who will be joining us at the Thanksgiving table next year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'Twas the night before ...

... we cut the cake! Remember that little surprise we had been "baking" up over the past few weeks, nay months (since I got this idea before we even found out we were expecting #2). Well, here it is:
Our adorable little "gender cake." Looks simple enough on the outside (okay, not really "simple" - didn't Hancakes do an awesome job!!), but it's what's on the inside that counts. Tomorrow we're gonna cut a big 'ole slice of that cake and find out whether it's pink or blue on the inside. At least that's the plan. I had a dream that it was purple and made Hancakes promise me it will be an obvious pink or blue. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited. This darling little cake is sitting on my table, calling my name, begging me to stare it down. But I'm being very good. Other than a quick glance and this snapshot, I've hardly given it a second look. I'm afraid I'll spot a gender-colored crumb and blow the whole surprise. And I would be very unhappy with myself if I made it this far only to ruin everything in the final few hours.

So do you want my honest guess? Okay then, I'll go ahead and say it. I'm fully expecting to eat blue cake tomorrow. That's my honest-to-goodness gut feeling. I generally hesitate from making public assumptions like that, because it's hard to admit when you're wrong, and I'd hate for people to feel bad for me if i did turn wrong. So I'd like to say now, "Please don't." I will be on cloud nine tomorrow no matter what color that cake is. It's rather funny if you think about it. There are only two options in this world, all babies are either boys or girls. If it's not one, it will most certainly be the other. And yet I, along with the majority of other mothers out there, get extremely giddy over either prospect. And so, despite the excrutiating headaches I've had these past few weeks, and the fact that I dreamed three nights in a row that #2 was most definitely a girl-baby, I still think it's a boy.

I would say that all doubt will be removed tomorrow, but both Jon and I really question our ultrasound tech's deciphering skills. It took her a long time to make a decision, and at one point I'm almost sure she started typing one thing, deleted a few key strokes and then typed something else in. (Okay, I'll admit, I was planning to count 3 keystrokes for a B-O-Y and 4 keystrokes for a G-I-R-L. But after the 5th or 6th stroke I was getting really confused). The only flaw to this great plan was that the tech wasn't able to point out on the screen why she thought baby was such-and-such. So you can be sure that, in a couple of weeks, I'll be requesting another one of those free 3D ultrasounds from the local community college. Just to be sure. Until tomorrow then!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Round 2 of the Name Game!

So we're back in the name game! Actually, it hasn't been much of a game. We kinda knew what names we wanted before we even got pregnant. As of right now, our boy name is the name I've loved since college but which was beaten out by "Jack" during our last pregnancy, and our girl name is our leftover girl name, which is a combination of Jon's top pick and my top pick. Hmmm piqued your interest yet? Well, unfortunately I'm not going to tell you what they are. Our names aren't secret, and if you ask I'd gladly spill the beans, but there's something about posting them on your blog that makes it so official. Plus I like to keep things interesting.

Just for fun here's a clue - both names start with "J." ............. Of course!!

We also don't have middle names yet. I have the hardest time settling on middle names. Do you use that space after the first name to honor a friend or family member? Or do you use it to indulge yourself in that creative name that you love but just don't have the guts to put up front? Does it need to be a different number of syllables from the first name? Can it end in an "-n" sound, especially since our girl will probably drop her "-n"-sounding-suffix-last name within the first third of her life? Can we give this baby two middle names even though we only gave Jack one, all our friends are doing it, and I have so many lovable names to use up...? And so on, and so forth. So you can see my dilemma. And my uncanny ability to make a mountain of a mole hole.

During our (what I really mean is "my") ever-important search, I've come across my new favorite name website - Not only does this website give you a fancy little paragraph about your name, but also allows readers to vote on different personal perceptions of a name and share real life siblings names for that name. And, as a data head myself, my favorite feature is the line graph that portrays the popularity of a particular name from 1880 to the present, the color-coded map that displays each name's popularity by state, and the ranking of that name per country! Suffice it to say I'm having tons of fun researching potential baby-titles!

Recently I found another great source for "J" names - TLC's Duggar Family's website. Now, I know they're a little different and some people (ahem, my husband) find these differences a tad annoying, but I just love this group of 20, ... eh 21. The Duggars announced that they were expecting baby #19 a few weeks after we announced our own pregnancy, my first thought was, "Ohhh, she'd better not steal my "J" name!!" Michelle is due about a month before me so they should be finding out what they're having soon, if they haven't already (I can't find any reports online). But it appears that they're taking name suggestions online at There are some interesting names offered here. I didn't read through them all, but I did see one of our top names mentioned in the comments at least once. So I would just like to make it clear, here and now, that no matter what name they choose, we have already had our choices picked out for the last two months or so, so we ARE NOT COPYING! Ok, I'm glad that's out there.

Well it shouldn't be long before we know which of our "J" names we'll be using. And once we know whether #2 is a boy or girl I should be able to settle on a middle name much faster!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ultrasound Pics: IT'S A ...

... SURPRISE! Haha. Sorry, but I couldn't resist. We did get to see our little one on the big screen today, but we're keeping the results a secret until we can share them with my family in-person when they come down to visit for Thanksgiving next week. And just in case you're thinking of ways to bribe me or Jon into telling you, don't bother. We don't know either! That's right. #2's identity is sealed up in an envelope, awaiting the next step in a little plan that the folks over at HANcakes and I have been "baking" up. :) Haha, I keep snickering while I type this. Too much fun!!
I know you're all dying with anticipation, but imagine how I feel!! And trust me, we have something up our sleeve for next week that is way more fun than typing IT'S A ____ on the blog. We gotta keep things interesting around here. So, while you're all waiting over the next 6 days, here are some images of our beautiful/handsome (one or the other!) baby:

We opted to send Jack to the sitter's since we didn't know how long the entire appointment would be and we didn't think he'd sit still through any of it anyway. So today was one of those rare occasions where Jon and I were out by ourselves. Kinda like a date without the fancy dinner. Although we did grab a drink and candy bar at the end.

They ask you to drink two glasses of water before your appointment so your bladder is good and full, and pushing up on your uterus. So I filled my water bottle and started guzzling on the road. I must have been very thirsty because I drank all 32 oz. before we were even halfway there. ...And then we hit traffic. Two lines of cars were literally stopped for several miles on the highway. I'm presuming because there was an accident in the tunnel. Thankfully, my husband is not only an expert navigator of the seas, but also of the roadways, and he quickly had us re-routed in another direction. (I really hope he's around when I go into labor, I don't think I could make that drive on my own!). By this point my bladder is definitely ultrasound worthy. We finally made it to the hospital only to have to sit in another line for ID checks. I was literally dancing in my seat. "Hello security police! Pregnant woman with a full bladder coming through!" They have stork parking there, maybe they should consider a "stork lane." We made it to the parking garage, where there were no spots readily available. I actually saw one, but Jon didn't and by the time he did it was too late. I was trying not to be mean but really men, you have no idea. Well anyway, we made it incident-free. I knew there was no way I could last through the entire appointment so I caved and used the restroom. Then felt extremely guilty that my bladder was not going to be full as the receptionist had instructed. Then again, the tech didn't say anything about it so perhaps it's not as big a deal as they make it out to be.
Our tech this time was much more friendly than the last one. That may have something to do with the fact that our appointment was at 1pm instead of 6:30am. But I don't think she had the same skills. I was a little disappointed with images and prints. I hope it wasn't because I didn' follow their instructions right because then I would feel really bad. She went so fast that the shots didn't turn out very clear. But baby looks good! He/she is lying transverse with the head on my left and the butt on my right. Baby was moving around a lot and I could feel a few kicks. With Jack I remember getting extremely frustrated that I could see him moving but not feel it. This time around I've felt baby's movement a little bit earlier.
I wasn't surprised to hear that baby is measuring almost a week behind my gestational age. I am CONVINCED I'm due the week after April 14. The tech said they won't change my due date based on a few days difference, but I'm going to try to talk to my doctor anyway. If nothing else, I simply am not planning to have this baby until later in April, and then I won't be disappointed either way. But maybe I should keep telling Jon I think it will arrive earlier so that he actually has his school assignments done for that week (unlike last time).
And so, baby weighs around 8 oz. and has a heart rate of 155. Which is what it has been at the last two appointments. What a consistent little guy/gal!! The tech was very cooperative, and turnded the screen for the "between the legs check." She seemed to have a hard time getting baby to turn the right away, and I'm not convinced she got a good view. But she said she had no doubts about baby's gender. She typed it out, took a picture and put it in an envelope which is currently burning a hole in my table. If everything works out as planned, it's going to be a fun surprise, and I don't want to ruin it. We should be able to break the news by Wednesday. So be patient with us folks. If I can do it, you can too!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A new twist on roomtime

Move over Pack n' Play, Jack's found a new way to confine himself.

I was busy catching up on emails in the other room when I heard Jack's typical "help I need rescued" whine. I looked out into the kitchen and saw this:

This is Jack's favorite drawer. We've managed, after several weeks, to "child-proof" just about every other cupboard and drawer in the house. I felt bad about shutting down this one though, because it's the first one he discovered. Besides, it's all his stuff anyway. Well, turns out the "proofing mechanism" that Jon installed on that particular drawer broke within the first few hours. So, unofficial rules are that this is the one drawer Jack can play in.
Speaking of childproofing, it's rather annoying. I cannot tell you how many times a day I go to open my cupboard doors only to be stopped dead in my tracks by some dumb plastic hook thing. They've been the cause of many a broken nail. Jon and I are both getting more adpet at jumping the gate at the bottom of the stairs, although there's been more than one near-fatality. Then again, I'm not sure how much longer I can "jump" anything with this growing belly. And then there's the bathrooms. We have to constantly keep the doors shut to avoid Jack TPing the house. I don't know about you, but keeping my itty-bitty box of a bathroom closed up 24 hours a day kinda skeeves me out. One thing we have not managed to proof are the trash cans. He's learned how to lift the lid up on the kitchen can, and to put things in and pull things out. But the worst event so far was when I found him playing wth Daddy's old wisdom teeth (which Jon had simply thrown in the trash during a cleaning spree). Can you imagine if he had swallowed those? "Uh, yes Doctor. My son ate my husband's wisdom teeth. You can probably spot them on your x-ray machine. I'm so sorry, we'll try to be better about where we put them in the future."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weathering the Storm

Today finally dawned bright and sunny, after 4 days of clouds and rain ... and wind and waves and flooding. Ugh. The Nor'Easter formely known as Hurricane Ida struck the Virginia Coast on Wednesday, wreaking havoc on our city and my everyday life. Despite living mere feet from the bay, we actually faired much better than many of our friends and neighbors. If I had managed to do the grocery shopping I had put off for several days on Wednesday, before the storm hit, things really wouldn't have been that bad. As it was, we spent three days living off what we could scrounge from the freezer and pantry, which made for some pretty interesting meal combinations.

While parts of our neighborhood were completely under water, our part of the street remained dry. Although our balcony door and one side window did succomb to the rain by Day 3. Aside from a wet carpet in the corner of the living room, the rest of our love nest was unphased. And while many parts of the city have been without power for more than a day, our's has never gone off for more than 30 seconds. It has gone off several times a day though, to the point where I'm pretty much done re-setting the clocks. At least until I'm sure the storm and all it's effects, are gone. And finally, my gorgeous mums are all but pummeld to death. Along with my flower bed that, impressively, has been blooming since early spring. Between the wind and heavy rain the poor souls didn't stand a chance.

Thursday was the worst day of the storm. I got a message that morning saying the Univesity was closed. And Jon got sent home from work early. By Friday the rain had eased up some, but the flooding was at its worst. Jon attempted to go to work, but gave up after 20 minutes when he couldn't find a dry road out of our neighborhood. That's when he discovered all the abandoned cars left behind by misjudging drivers the night before.

Fortunately, the roads were clear enough that night that he could go out and get his starving, pregnant wife some pizza, salad, wings and chips.
As you can guess, I was starting to feel a little crazy. Despite going into work two days last week, just knowing that I couldn't leave the house if I wanted to was driving me a bit insane. It had been a week since Jack and I had gone on a walk, and the lack of fresh air was getting to me. Jack, on the other hand, weathered the storm very well. He's hilarious lately, laughing at everything and nothing in particular. And he's especially overjoyed with his newfound ability to "walk." I'm hesitant to call it "walking" since it's more like a run, and a very uncontrolled one at that.

I just love the way he throws his hands straight up in the air and runs as fast as he can!
And then there's Dad's version of training - Shamrock 1/2 Marathon Style!

Within a few days he was upt to 5 steps, and just today he walked the entire length of the kitchen before crashing! He's gotten so good that I sometimes catch him practicing even when I'm not there to assist with the landing. I've been trying to hold him off until Thanksgiving so Marmie, Poppa and the Uncles can join in the festivities, but it's looking like he may have this whole mobility thing down pat before then.

Friday, November 13, 2009

So in love

I am so in love with my little Jack Lawrence, I don't know how else to say it! The funny thing is, I can't even remember when or how it happened. Was it the first time I saw his heartbeat on the ultrasound screen? Or the first time I felt him kick? Was it when he spent his first few moments in this world in my arms? Or the first time I saw him smile? The first time he gave me kisses? Or the first time he reached for me? Whenever and however it was, it just crept up on me, caught me completely unaware, and has me totally enraptured with this adorable, little boy.

I saw a message on BabyCenter from a new mom, relaying the news of her baby's arrival. She ended her story with "now I know what perfect love is." I can't believe I never thought of it before. Yes, I love my husband. He still makes me giddy. My heart still skips a beat when I see him in uniform. I still melt when I hear his voice on the phone. But its not the same. I love Jon, but it's a love we work at daily. Then there is Jack.

Some days, he is the most perfect, sweetest kid. Other days (particularly the other week) he drives me crazy! There are so many days when, as a mom, you feel like you just give, give, give and get nothing in return but poopy diapers and snotty noses. But he's still so easy to love. In fact, if I think about it too hard, I start to get tears in my eyes. Which, I believe, is just another sign of how much motherhood has changed me.

But do you know when I get completely enamoured? When my heart just melts with love? When I think, "I can't believe he's ours, how are we so blessed?" ...When I catch a glimpse of him sleeping.
*sigh* There's just something about a sleeping baby that puts my heart at ease. Perhaps there would be less hate in this world if we just had more sleeping babies to love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Couvade syndrome

Quite a few weeks ago Jon complained that he wasn't feeling too good. I assumed it was just a "man cold" but he assured me it was much more along the strains of "man flu." He felt sick, was exhausted, and lightheaded. Hmmmm, sounds like someone else in this house. So I did a little research and found the following in one credible piece of literature, "What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding":
Couvade syndrome is a psychosomatic condition also known as sympathetic pregnancy. Its male victim suffers from all the symptoms of pregnancy. In the most serious cases, his belly will actually swell. In less serious cases he will simply suffer from morning sickness and general crankiness.
Now I don't know about your house, but in our digs, there's only room for one preggo. Thankfully, Jon's "symptoms" only lasted a few days. Perhaps he followed the advice of Thomas Hill, author of "WtEWYWiE" and a self-proclaimed "Registered Father" when he said, "The best way to avoid a sympathetic pregnancy is to not be too sympathetic." Now that I think about it, he did tell me recently that he thought I was whining more this pregnancy than the last one. But that's only because he's remembering the fun, glory days of Jack's gestation. I'm sure I was just as ornery during the first half as I am during this one.
In defense of my baby daddy I have been feeling a bit more sympathetic to his situation. It must be very difficult to have to "weigh in" periodically for your job (and have your employment reviews depend upon your physical fitness) when you're married to a woman who has spent the last 20 months, and at least the next year or so, either pregnant or nursing. My metabolism has always been much faster than Jon's, but I'm sure he doesn't enjoy watching me relish all those necessary additional calories with so much ease. How would you like to watch movies with a girl who's sipping on the biggest homemade chocolate milkshake! Or be restricted to only one piece of pizza while your wife is going strong on her fourth. Or constantly be requested to pick up a candy bar "while you're out." Yeah, it must be rough. But I'm quite sure, given the choice, my husband would much rather count calories while watching me suffer from morning sickness for 2 months, deliver a child, and get up at all hours of the night to nurse ... than switch places with me. And personally, I'd much rather be in my position. The more I live, the more obvious it is to me why God chose woman to have babies. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The many adventures of Jack-Jack: Roomtime!

We're (still!) working on providing Jack plenty of "opportunities" for independent play time, i.e. playing without Mommy's help, guidance, or sights within his vision. :) When I think about our life with another baby in the house in just 5 months, it's obvious that Jack will need to learn how to entertain himself for certain periods of the day. And it's also clear that, on occasion, I need be able to function freely from the grasp of His Jackness. The good news is that we're actually noticing some progress! Both Jon and I got really excited the other night when we realized Jack was playing with his toys, by himself, in the other room. He didn't even seem to notice us for a little while. I have to admit, I'm mostly to blame for this developmental delay. I should have started with pack n' play time when he was first born. But I didn't. I didn't think we had room to keep a pack n' play set up in our house all the time. When I finally realized the need for a safe place to put Jack whenever I had something to do, and that we could certainly make room for such a place if necessary, it was too late. Jack was a very unhappy participant in pack n' play time, and I got little accomplished with his unhappiness pervading the house. At this point, I think he's too big to play in the PnP. There's not much room for him to move around once you put a few toys in there. So I decided to just skip ahead to room time.

The first time I tired this it didn't work out. Jack just stood at the gate in his doorway and cried. But one morning this week I decided to try it again. And it worked - beautifully! When I walked away from setting up the gate he was happily playing with his birthday toys. I was giddy with excitement, trying to think what I could do with the next 20 or so minutes of hands-(and legs and laps) free time. I could use the restroom without worrying about Jack trying to crawl on my lap. I could brush my teeth without using one foot to hold the sink cupboard doors closed and the other foot to keep the toilet seat down. And I could take a shower without Jack trying to jump in after me! And so I did.

My hair was loaded with shampoo bubbles when I heard a noise and Jack yelling. I peeked out of the shower curtain, through the crack in the door and down the hall to Jack's room. And there he was, BREAKING OUT OF HIS GATE! I watched as he threw his weight against the little gate, pushed it right down and crawled after the top and out to freedom. Drat! Here I am, covered in soap, with a toddler loose on my second floor. I immediately thought of the stairs by his door and the cup of water sitting on my nightstand (Jack loves to dump my drinks on himself). Fortunately, I did remember to put the toilet seat down.

He headed straight for the bathroom. I thought if I didn't say anything he wouldn't realize I was behind the shower curtain. This worked for a few minutes, while he unraveled the roll of toilet paper, but it's hard to keep your mouth shut when you catch a glimpse of your child playing with the toilet plunger. Pleh!

He realized where Mommy was and started pushing on the shower curtain. I wrapped things up as quickly as possible and stepped out of the shower to find my child jammed between the bathroom door and the tub wall. He had a good laugh when he saw me and my dripping wet hair. And so, major disaster averted, I at least got my shower in much earlier than usual. You could say room-time was half a success. But I've got a Plan B up my sleeve for the next time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A house divided

Our "big" ultrasound is coming up in just 2 short weeks! We're all anxious to know if Jack is going to have a little brother or sister. I have to admit, the anticipation has been killing me since before we ever got pregnant. You can only plan so much of your future and ever since I was a little girl I've always wondered how many kids I would end up with, how many would be boys and how many would be girls, and what their names would be ... you get the picture.

Things are a little different this time around. With Jack, both Jon and I preferred to have a boy first, we both thought Jack was a boy, and lo and behold he was. This time Jon wants a girl and I want a boy. If I had to guess I'd say I'm carrying a boy, although for the first 11 weeks I thought it was a definitely a girl. I asked Jon what his guess was and he says he can't guess because he wants a girl. :) I'm pretty sure that some of our family (especially on Jon's side) is rooting for a girl, a petite girl to be specific (in other words, easier to carry around than Jack), only because there are currently 6 grandboys and only 1 grandgirl. My family hasn't given their opinion. But my mom's theory is that the baby is whatever Jon wants it to be. And she almost has me convinced. If you know my husband, he tends to get what he wants. In fact, I'm having a hard time trying to think of a time he didn't get what he wanted. So as I'm writing this I'm starting to have second thoughts. I mean, the man is the one responsible for determining the sex of the baby...

Honestly, I would love a little girl. It'd be a nice change. Even if the thought of having a daughter makes me just a tad nervous. But when I think of all those boy clothes in our attic, and our boyish nursery, and the fact that we're going to be moving twice in the next two years, I just think a boy would be more convenient. Plus, if I were Jack, I'd love to have a brother within 18 months of my age. I think they'd be cute buddies. I'm not quite sure why Jon wants a girl. I guess in case he decides he doesn't want any more kids, he'd like to have his "one of each" taken care of. Plus, Jack is so active and "boyish" that my husband said, and I quote, "If this next one isn't a girl I hope it's an artsy boy. I can't handle two athletic boys in a row."

He has a very valid point. I'm not sure if I can handle two balls of energy in less than 2 years. At our appointment today the nurse had an extremely hard time finding #2's heartbeat. The baby wouldn't stop moving! You could hear it swishing around, bouncing of the womb walls. She wanted to know if I just ate, nope not since breakfast 4 hours earlier. "Well," she said, "For your sake, I hope this isn't an indication of what's to come." I took one look at Jack squirming on Jon's lap in the corner and heartily agreed. I'd like to order one calm, placid baby please! And boy or girl, if possible, could we keep it under 9 lbs.?

Anyway, it's your turn to guess! I would say "vote" but technically that's inaccurate, since the end result has already been determined and nothing either you or I could say will make any difference. But it's still fun right? So what do you think #2 is?

Here are some fun facts to help with your decision:
  • Symptom-wise, this pregnancy is different than my first. I'm not as sick, but I've been sick longer. I've also been getting crazy headaches which I never had with Jack or without. :)

  • I haven't had any serious food aversions. With Jack I couldn't eat salad or eggs for weeks!

  • #2's heartbeat was exactly the same as Jack's at our first appointment. And according to, his/her heartrate was reading "boy" at both our first pre-natal appointment and our appointment today.

  • So far, I'm carrying the same as I did with my first pregnancy.

  • Two different Chinese gender predictors says "girl." While a third one says "boy." (how helpful!)

  • My mother-in-law is praying for a girl. She's a pretty authoritative woman!

So there you have it folks! Tell us what you think, and in a few weeks we'll tell you what we know!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy B-Day! Here's 10 pricks with the needle!

Poor Jack. Last week we had his 12 month "well baby" check-up at the clinic. I should have known things were off to a bad start when it took me forever to find a parking spot. I try to schedule most of our appointments in the morning, before things get too busy. Before there was a Jack, I'd schedule all my prenatal appointments during the 7am slot. Sure it's no fun to get up at o'dark thirty, but least I knew the docs wouldn't be running behind. I can't quite swing that hour with a 1 year old, so today we were scheduled for 8:40 and "please arrive 15 minutes early." Anyone else think this is funny about military clinics? Every appointment I make I'm told to arrive 15 minutes early. Why not just schedule me for a time 15 minutes earlier?
Well anyway, we walk into a very crowded clinic and immediately I notice all the men in uniform, wearing surgical masks. Faaan-tastic. We're probably sharing a room with swine flu carriers. (In their defense, I may just be being dramatic. They keep those masks in the waiting rooms, along with tissues and sanitizer, for people with "colds" although I've never seen anyone use them ... until now.) Jack and I "read" through a few of his favorite "touch and feel" books and then I was pleasantly surprised to hear his name called without too long of a wait.
I laid him on the scale, and stripped him down to his birthday suit. I would just like to add here that he never once squirmed and flipped over during this process, like he usually does at home. I'm convinced he was trying to impress the nurse. Our Tank is 27.9 lbs. Which is actually a little less than what Jon and I had guessed based on our home scale, but since it's in the 97th percentile I'm quite relieved. I know we have a big kid, but for some reason it makes me feel a little better knowing he still has a place on "the grid." On the other hand, since Day 1 I've been worried that he's never getting enough to eat (I know, I know) so I feel better knowing that he's maintained his position for the past year despite how little, or how much, I've been feeding him.
Jack's 33 inches tall, which is also in the 97th percentile. I'm a little surprised by this. I mean, his height and weight look proportionate in person, but I still can't believe we have a kid on the "tall" side. The only tall person in either of our families is my mother-in-law's father. And those genes did not carry through to MIL or to Jon. But perhaps baby-height has nothing to do with destiny. Only time will tell.
I think the doctor was a tad disappointed in Jack's development. No, he doesn't say 3 words, just mama. No, he can't walk yet. Yes, he still stands on his tip-toes. No, he doesn't hold his own bottle. Yes, he can take a sippy cup but he won't drink a whole serving of milk out of one. Yes, he can wave bye-bye he just won't do it for you today. Yes, he's eating table food but he's not consuming nearly as much as he did when he was eating baby food. To which she responded, and I could have BET MONEY she'd say this because they always do: "Well, he's obviously healthy." I'm fairly certain a doctor or nurse has told me that at every appointment we've been to. Nothing like having your concerns taken seriously.
Our visit with the doctor was, thankfully, short. But then she sent us to the labs for bloodwork. I'm not sure why, some routine blood check they do at 12 months. So we waited, and waited. More "touch and feel" books. More flirting with the people sitting in the row behind us. More trying to touch the lady sitting next to us. We finally got called back where I was told they would prick Jack's heel twice, just to get enough blood to fill these tiny tube thingers. It didn't sound too bad to me. So they did. And didn't get enough blood. Then they pricked him at least 2 more times. Still not enough. By this time Jack is pretty upset. It's past naptime, he's in a strange place, and some guy is stabbing his heel. The blood-drawer finally gave up and called over another person, who informed us we'd have to take it out of us arm. So I had to sit in the chair, with my son on my lap and his arm strapped down and tied off with a piece of elastic. By now I'm frantically trying to disract Jack with a book, while the nurse stuck a needle in his arm and drew two tiny vials of blood. Jack was beyond upset, and everyone sitting around us looked just as uncomfortable. Thankfully it was over soon and he calmed down right away and was back to playing games and crawling all over mommy by the time I made it to our next stop, and more waiting, in the immunization room.
Now I know there's a large debate about immunizations, and whether children should have them, and when they should have them, etc. We get them, and for now, we get them on schedule. If I could, I think I would space them out a bit more. So far we have had no trouble at all. Jack's never had a bad reaction, and except for taking a longer than usual nap afterwards I've never noticed anything different. But at those visits we've only ever had 3. This time they gave him 5 shots. And all this just minutes after having his heel pricked and blood drawn. I was really getting upset. I wish Jon would have been there because he would have had the courage to say "no" to at least a few of the vacs, or asked if we could come back later. But he wasn't, and sometimes I'm a wuss with authority figures. Jack was a mess. You could tell he was exhausted and confused ... and sore. The nurse gave him a lollipop when it was over. He's never had one before but I wasn't about to deny him the pleasure. So, as usual, he was quick to recover and spent the next 20 minutes happily alternating between sucker and pacifier. Two sucks here, two sucks there, and switch.
When we got home I couldn't get him to take a nap. It was almost lunch time anyway. He seemed fine, just a little more fussy and clingy than usual. Especially that night when Jon got home. He just sat on Jon's lap for a long time without moving. I thought he was just extra tired from the day. But then he wanted me to hold him and for the next hour he just laid on my belly and watched HGTV. I was starting to get worried because this is very un-Jack-like. I was about to put him down to bed early when he got a second wind and seemed back to normal roving about the living room and opening all the cupboard doors. Jon put him to bed and about an hour later he woke up crying. He felt a little hot so we decided to take his temperature. This is the first time we've ever taken Jack's temperature. I have an ear thermometer I've tried a few times but it's never been accurate. We figured this situation called for the big guns, if you know what I mean. I guess I was kinda hoping I could go through life never having to take my young child's temperature that-a-way but no such luck. Between the two of us it wasn't too bad. It turned out Jack had a fever of over 101. We were both a little worried. We're new parents and this is the first time Jack has ever been sick, except for a two colds. I assumed it was just a result of the vaccinations, which just made me more angry. I think Jon was afraid Jack had picked up swine flu in the waiting room or something. So we gave him some Tylenol, took turns holding, kissing and snuggling up on the littlest love of our life, and got him back to sleep in his bed. Jon wanted to take him to the hospital if he still had a fever by a few hours later, but I checked on him and he seemed better. By morning he was back to his old self again. Even so, Jon took off work to stay home and offer me back-up taking care of his recovering child. Jack must have been saving up all the energy he didn't spend the day before because he was extra wild that day. I had to take him on a long walk to 7/11 to get him out of the house and to get me some caffeine in the form of a fountain drink (shhh, don't tell #2 Mama's breaking pregnancy rules).
And that was how the military clinic celebrated Jack's 1 year milestone. Now, not to bash on military medicine, because for the most part they've been very good to us. But Jon and I are seriously considering switching Jack to a civilian doctor. You know, the kind that have stuffed animals attached to their stethoscopes and who don't have to ask you your family history at every visit because they were the same doctor that met with you last time you were there? The kind of doctor that has a phone number so if your child gets sick after a shot you can call them with questions. The kind that have toys in the waiting room for kids to play with instead of surgical masks and sanitizer. Yeah, that kind. Then again, Jack only has one more appointment before we move (and I think I'm going to make Jon take him). And, as one of my Facebook friends commented: This is the kind of healthcare we can all look forward to if the new bill gets passed. Yikes, I said it! I made a political comment on my Mommy blog. I better stop now.
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