Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hormonal Much?

This is the point in my Jack-pregnancy where I started to get just a tad emotional. Remember the crying in Wal-Mart incident? Yeah, we're back to that point. Thankfully, Jack keeps me busy enough that I don't have time to dwell on myself as much as I'd like too. :) But there have been a few occasions recently that have brought me near to tears:

-- thinking about moving. We're excited about these new changes, but I'm really sad to leave our sweet little Love Nest. The place we brought Jack home to, the floors I paced with a sleep-fighting newborn, the room where he took his first steps, the window he runs to every Wednesday to watch the garbage truck ... I should stop now.

-- hearing people yell "I'm debt free" on Dave Ramsey's show. Not sure why, but I started choking up each time. I don't even know these people, I couldn't even tell you their names.

-- my husband casually mentioning it would be "more fun" to go out to dinner with other people rather than just me on Valentine's Day. Don't worry, I think he realized his error soon after. :)

-- looking at Jack's newborn pictures and thinking about the day he was born. Gets me every time.

-- watching "A Baby Story." Okay this was the worst one yet. I was watching an episode where the mom was preparing to deliver twins. Jack had just woken up from his nap and was extra-cuddly. So he had his arms wrapped around my neck with his head on my shoulder and I'm watching this lady cry while she says goodbye to her other "baby" before she went into delivery and I pretty much lost it. I know I'm going to be am absolute wreck when I have to leave Jack and go the hospital. Maybe if I get most of the tears out now it won't be so bad then.

I suppose it's better to being on the crying end of the hormone spectrum than on the angry side. At least my child and husband don't have to worry about me suddenly spiraling into a fit of rage for no apparent reason. And then there's the "nesting instinct." I think I'm only getting about half of that right now. I'm inspired all day long of what I need to do to get ready for baby, and I have a neatly written, organized and prioritized to-do list to help get this house in order. But the instinct stops there. I've yet to work up enough energy during my off-hours to make any worthwhile progress. Maybe panic mode will set in closer to D-day and I'll cross everything off my list in one week!

I did manage to buy #2 one adorable summer outfit, and a set of matching pajamas for he and Jack. Because new clothes for my second boy and matching outfits are clearly priority in this house. Then again, if organizing baby clothes and pricing yard sale boxes were as easy as shopping online then they'd be done by now too!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sew Much Fun!

This is kinda old news, but I'm just getting around to blogging about it. You see, my 4-H leader would be so proud! My parents gave me a sewing machine for my birthday the first year I was married, which I used to dress "The Nest" with homemade curtains and pillows. But for Christmas I got a new sewing box and rotary cutter, which I have been very eager to try out! I'm brushing off the rusty sewing skills and have been "sew busy" getting ready for Baby's (and other babies') arrival!

First, there was the Hotsling! A few of my friends highly recommended these. I had a sling I used a few times early-on with Jack, but I never liked it. I think my sling had too much swing. What I like about the Hotsling is that they are sized to fit you (and Baby) which makes the fit more snug. What I don't like about them is how stinkin' expensive they are! I borrowed one from a friend so I could lug Jack around at a wedding this summer, and was surprised at how simple it looked. So I found some make-it-yourself instructions online and was right, other than my first experience with a French seam, it really was easy-peasy. So I made one big enough to carry Jack on my hip, and recently I've made a second, smaller one to carry the new baby. Here's a picture of Jack's girlfriend Edie testing out his sling during our camping trip this summer.

My next project was a nursing cover. My college friend gave me a Bebe au Lait cover (I prefer its other name - Hooter Hider) before I had Jack, which I LOVED. I never even thought about asking for one, but I definitely got my miles out of that thing! It still looks good, but the boning got a little messed up with so much wear. This is also happens to be one of my favorite gifts to bring to a shower. And, no surprise here, these too are slightly on the pricey side. So, not only did I want another one for myself, but I also wanted a less expensive way to give these to others. Thus, I found these instructions online. I changed the straps on mine a little to look more like the HH, and I added the terry cloth pocket like the original. I've made three so far and can't wait to try mine out!

And then there were the for-fun projects that I didn't have instructions for. I tried out a few renditions of spit cloths with some leftover fabric, and attempted to make a diaper case, but it was a lot harder than I thought and ended up not being photo-worthy. My last project was a pillow for Jack's new bed. I got this idea one night while falling asleep. The hardest part was making the anchor pattern, I had to double-check with The Hubs twice to make sure it was an accurate-looking anchor. And since this was with fabric left over from my kitchen curtains, I only had a minimal amount of material to work with. All in all, I think it turned out kinda cute and charmingly imperfect... and it matches the quilt Nonnie made!

I have one more project I'd like to complete for the new baby - a Moby wrap. From what I've seen, this should be super simple. The most complex part will be picking out the right fabric. Or should I say, picking out the right fabric without indulging in a rummage through the remnant bins at Jo-Anns. Other than being kind of fun, making your own stuff is supposed to be cheaper. But I seemed to have developed a bad habit of buying lots of clearance material and then trying to think of what I can do with it after I get home. Hooter Hider anyone?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry ...

... so I took a picture.

Because this is what I saw when I stepped out of the bathroom the other day. Actually, what I first saw was Jack dancing around a ceremonial mound of coupons, pointing and yelling "Look! Look!" and then throwing handfuls of these precious pieces of paper into the air, watching them fall down like giant snowflakes.

I stood there, mute, for a few seconds, feeling my pregnant, hormonal self run through the gammut of emotions - despair, anger, frustration and yes even a bit of a smile... and then I grabbed the camera.

Anyway, I'm glad I didn't get all bent out of shape over this incident because do you know what happened the next day, after I had spent my entire Jack-free evening re-organizing my faithful little coupon box? I went to the store to pick up one thing, put my coupon box on the hood of the car so I could put Jack in his seat, and then promptly left it there while I drove all the way to the store and back. I couldn't figure out where I had put it when I pulled into the driveway, and then it hit me and I suddenly remembered the funny little thump I heard while rounding the bend at the end of our street and the strange look the lady walking her dog gave me when I saw her again on my way back home. I loaded Jack in the stroller, went for a very fast paced walk down through the neighbhorhood, and there, sitting quietly on the corner was my little black box, slightly less organized on the inside but still fully intact.

Situations like this seem to be arising more and more often these past few weeks, and more and more objects in our Nest are ending up broken or damaged at the hands of one learning-to-be-gentle Tank (and occasionally his pregnancy-brained mom). Rather than let my emotions get the best of me, I'm learning the best thing to do is step back, take a deep breath, and snap a picture. Because even though my neatly (re)organized coupons will expire in a few weeks, I still pray to God that my sense of humor will not!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mom, I'm Not A Baby Anymore!

Jack seems to have grown up so much recently. He's suddenly able to crawl on and off of the couch all by himself ... and the coffee table. His new thing is to pull himself onto the coffee table, and stand there yelling at nothing in particular until someone notices him. One of his favorite games is to climb onto his chair and turn the ceiling fan on and off. He can also reach the candles and key dish (a gift from Israel I might add) that we purposely moved to a higher location several months ago after he cracked it in three places. He's able to get Monkey and the paci out of his crib even when I move them to the wayyyy back. And he's started pulling food off the counters.

So he has definitely gotten taller. But he also seems to have gotten a little heavier too. He still manages to outgrow several pieces of clothing a week. I always thought kids thinned out after they started walking, I mean he has to be burning A LOT of calories with the way he runs around he house all day. But Jack's thighs are as big as ever and, with my growing belly, carrying him around is harder than ever! By the time I carry him upstairs for bed I'm gasping for air and have to sit down in the rocking chair. People like to suggest that I stop carrying him but that's just not possible. (A) he likes it when Mommy holds him and (B) Mommy likes it when Jack lets her hold him. :) I only have a few more weeks left with "just the two of us", I want to get as many snuggles in as I can!
Tank's still not saying much. Mainly "uh-oh," "more," "Momma," "me," and "ball." Although it's been rumored that he's said "book" and "duck", I'm still waiting for confirmation on these. He still manages to communicate fairly well without words though. Thanks to Daddy's purchase of the mini-leather chair, Jack seems to have discovered a new love for TV. Several times a day he points to it and says "moov" (I'm guessing this means movie???) And several times a day Mommy has to say no. But when I do say yes, he still only watches maybe 10-15 minutes of a show. Maybe he just likes it on as background noise.
Just last weekend Jack started telling us when he poops. He points to his diaper and says "mee!" and then runs to the stairs to go get changed. I'm pretty excited about this. Which makes it even clearer to me that I am very much a mom.

And finally, Jack's favorite activity of the day is "helping" me in the kitchen. I got so tired of trying to juggle a clinging, whining baby while cooking dinner or washing dishes that I finally figured out a solution - the step ladder. All this time I thought Jack wanted me to hold him. Apparently, he just wanted to see what was going on... and to be involved in the process. He's a very participatory kind of kid! The step ladder is his new very favorite "toy," he points to it several times a day and says "meee" and doesn't stop, even if I say "no, not now," try to ignore him, turn off the kitchen lights and leave the room, etc. The poor kid will continue to stand there, tapping the ladder with his finger, "meee??"

This is Jack washing dishes, i.e. Jack takes the clean dishes off the drying rack and puts them back in the sink, or Jack fills cups and bowls with water from the sink and then dumps the water down the side of the cabinets.

This is Jack helping Mommy make biscuits, i.e. Jack takes utensils out of the canister such as tongs, and uses them to crush egg shells into sauce cups. Fortunately, I stopped him before he added the egg shells to the dough.

And this is Jack doing what he does best - licking icing off the beaters!

But we all know growing up isn't easy, especially if you're the mom. Jack's nap routine has really been throwing me for a few loops lately. He's at the age where most kids are beginning to drop the morning nap. I really wanted to hang onto that baby for as long as I could, but his nap cues have been harder and harder to read, and it didn't help that Christmas traveling, cutting two teeth, and our trip our West all occurred in the last 8 weeks. Some mornings he refuses to nap and is cranky for the better part of the day, other days he'll sleep 2 hours in the morning and then not at all the rest of the day, and then some days he'll take a fantastic nap in the morning and in the afternoon and these are the days that make Mommy very happy! It's been a little tough, but here's hoping this is just a temporary transitional period... one that will end within the next 8 weeks!!

So here we are in this awkward in-between stage, where my baby isn't quite a baby anymore, where my almost-toddler thinks it's fun to crawl on his new big-boy-bed but isn't nearly ready to spend the night in it, where I'm just realizing that my Tank's head and legs are hanging off the edges of the changing table and that he doesn't really fit in his highchair. And where Mommy isn't quite as sad as she used to be about how big her boy is getting because she knows that in a few weeks she gets to do it all over again! It's hard to believe he really won't be the baby of the family after then!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

32 Weeks: Time for a Comparison!

So here we are, well into the third trimester, and if I wasn't keeping track the fact that many of my first semester symptoms have returned would be proof enough. I'm back to being tired again, it's harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning, and I don't just mean getting my feet on the floor! Heartburn has returned. And although I haven't felt sick in a while, I'm entering that fun stage where I'm always hungry but feel full after only eating a few bites. And I know I've whined about my sore back and hips enough lately, but I'm mentioning it again only because it's kinda caught me off guard. I don't remmber ever being this uncomfortable when I was pregnant with Jack, other than those super swollen ankles at the end and loose hips after a walk on the beach. But this is different. I feel old this time around.

Once Jack is in bed, I usually spend the rest of the evening on the couch - catching up on work, watching TV, reading and getting my insides beat up by #2. It's very relaxing... until I try to get up. It usually takes a few stumbles across the room for my joints to loosen up and my back to straighten out. But, if this is as bad as it gets I can definitely handle it for another 2 months. Jon is still hoping Baby makes a late appearance so he can get his finals finished, Marmie is hoping Baby is a little early so she can spend plenty of time with him before having to be back at work, and I'm not sure what I want anymore!

Anyway, when I say Baby is beating me up on the inside I really mean it! He moves all day long, although I think I notice it most at night because that's usually when it's just me and him. Twice this week he's kicked me so hard that I actually said "ouch" out loud. He also does that funny little bladder dance at the most inopportune times, like when I'm trying to have a conversation with someone. It's really hard to concentrate when you suddenly have the urge to use the bathroom RIGHT THEN!

Speaking of such inconveniences, Jon was making fun of me this last trip to PA because I can no longer claim to have a "hollow leg." I actually had to make pit-stops more often than him this time. But I tried to explain to him that me having to go to the bathroom is not the same thing as him having to go to the bathroom. It's not just a full bladder, and a baby kicking at that bladder, but the fuller it gets the more crowded my other organs become, and then they push into odd places on my body, like my diaphragm and love handles. So, not only do I really have to pee, but I am having trouble breathing and I can hardly move in my seat anymore because my liver is jammed between my pelvis and rib cage. And this is why I'd really like you to pull over at the next rest stop!!

This is also the stage of pregnancy where people start telling me how small I'm carrying. Either they are trying to make me feel better about gaining all this weight, or they really, truly can't believe I only have 8 more weeks to go. I never figured it out with Jack and I still can't figure it out this time around. All I know is that when I look at the last belly picture I took when I was pregnant with Jack, it looks pretty big to me!

Interestingly enough, I've gained 22 pounds so far (same as I did with Jack at this point) and my belly is 39 inches around (also the same as Jack at this point). And, I believe, this now calls for a comparison shot:

32 weeks with #2

32 weeks with #1

Other than the fact that I'm not nearly as tan this time around, I think things look pretty similar.
I had my 32 week pre-natal check-up today. Jon met me there to watch Jack. I was lying on the bed while the nurse was checking for Baby's heartbeat and we both heard this thumping going up and down the hall. The nurse was like, "What is that!? It sounds like someone's dancing outside the door!" "Um, I'm pretty sure that's my son, he tends to walk like an elephant."
So anyway, the appointment went well. She never tells me what I'm measuring so I'm assuming I'm within the legal limits. My glucose test came back negative, my weight gain slowed down a bit since my last appointment and Baby had a strong heartbeat at 147 bpms. In typical #2 fashion it was very hard to find. The nurse had to put her hand on my belly to "hold him still" so she could get a good measurement.
And apparently our boy is now transverse. She said it's probably because he's trying to turn. Keep working kid, you're almost there!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Blogiversary!

No, I did not make that word up. It's really used in the blogging world. (Although I will admit to making up the term "engagemeversary.") Anyway, it was February 2008 that we found out we were expecting little Jack, and 2 years and 235 posts later here we are! Sometimes, when I have some time to kill and I'm feeling sentimental I read back over some of our old news and remember those early days of first-time parenthood. Things have really come a long way from the original "Baby Log." Most obvious is that I've become considerably more long-winded!

I've become especially sentimental with this second pregnancy - a mixture of missing the wee little babe that my Tank once was and anticipating a new, sweet little guy. Jon was looking over my shoulder the other day while I was reading an old blog entry and exclaimed, "Look at what a peanut he was!!" They really do grow too fast, if only I had time to record every little memory! But I'm grateful for what we do have, because I can assure you, if I hadn't written it down I would have forgotten A LOT of these stories already.

Anyway, I know I've been slacking in the posting department. This baby has been crushing my lungs and I think the lack of oxygen has been affecting the creative part of my brain. I get lots of little blog ideas, but fail to translate them into a reality. But I think that's the story of my life lately. We just got back from a weekend in Pennsylvania. Definitely our last trip as a family of 3, and probably our last trip while living in Virginia. I WILL NOT miss these 7-8 hour road trips, although I must say Jack has been a super-great traveler lately! He's grown up so much in just this past week, I have lots of new pictures and stories to share! Plus, an upcoming update on #2 at 32 weeks!!! And possibly some exciting news on my new blogging headquarters starting this summer. :)

So stay tuned, forgive my lack of energy, and pray that my hips continue to support me long enough to blog about it all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm Bookin' It!

Okay, so I am officially participating in Life As Mom's "I'm Bookin' It" challenge! I just love to read, so does Jon, and we have the overflowing bookshelves and boxes in the attic to prove it (speaking of those boxes, I'm so glad the Coast Guard will be providing movers to carry those things in June!!). You also saw my end of the year reading plan which has been stacked by my bed for quite a while. Well, I'm happy to say I got through most of those books ... and then some. So I'm starting on a new reading plan for the New Year, and the new phase of our life that we'll be entering into in about 2 months! You might notice a theme here ...

Jon has been training for his upcoming half-marathon. Our Coastie friends Nick, Lindsey and Rose will be joining us in March. Everyone but me and the babes will be running. And I am perfectly fine with that! I must confess, I HATE to run. No lie, it is probably on my list of Top 10 Things I Most Dislike to Do. And so I pretty much don't. I endured it during my years of field hockey and one year of track :) but have rarely picked up the pace since high school. In fact, I think the last time I ran was during our first year of marriage. We were living in the original Love Nest, which was conveniently located right next to a state park with miles of hiking, biking and running paths. Jon wanted to go out for a jog, and I wanted to be with my hunk of a husband. Less than a mile later I informed him I was done and he sprinted on ahead. I always had shin splints in high school, but you would think they'd be gone after 4 years. In fact, my husband assured me they couldn't possibly still be around. But by the time I had walked home that day my shins were on fire, and it hurt to walk for 4 straight days after that. Jon thought I was being a big wuss, and I began to wonder if maybe I was. I always thought I had a semi-high pain tolerance, but seriously, who can't run a mile? So it was then that I told myself, and Jon, that someday I would have a baby and have one naturally just to prove to him that I'm not a sissy, that I can handle pain, and that when I complain that my shins hurt I REALLY MEAN IT!

And that, dear readers, is the real reason I began my pursuit of a pain-med-free, intervention-less childbirth. Since then I've learned bit more about the benefits of "going naturally," but I had to tell you the honest story of how it all began!

So while Jon has been training for his upcoming marathon I've been training for my own - the birth of our second child. And for me, the best way to prepare is, of course, to read! Here's what I've read so far:

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin

This was on my list of books to read when I was pregnant with Jack, but I never got around to it. If you look up midwife in the dictionary you should find Ina May's name after it. I would consider her to be the midwife of all midwives. Back in the 70s she started a communal living area/out-of-hospital birth center called "The Farm." The first part of this book is all birth stories from woman who delivered at "The Farm." Normally I love birth stories, but these got old after a while. Some stories were encouraging, others were just a little beyond what I'm personally comfortable with. I read about half of these, then skipped ahead to the second half of the book which is all about labor and birth. After reading this book I realized how much I didn't know going into Jack's birth, especially about the whole physical - emotional connection. I highlighted and marked up many portions of this book to go back and read over again closer to THE BIRTH. There were so many little tidbits in this book that I want to remember too - like blowing raspberries during labor may help you relax. I also realize, after reading this, how special Jack's birth was, and how well things worked out for us that day. On the same note, this book also made me afraid of all the things that could "go wrong" for our next birth. I don't think that is at all the author's intention, but I couldn't help but wonder just what my chances are of having a straightforward birth when there are so many factors to consider. In fact, after I finished reading it, I began to really worry about delivering at the hospital again and whether I could continue to expect the kind of mostly-positive experience we had with Jack. So I started researching our military benefits, what would be required of me to change to a civilian doctor or midwife, and whether the local birthing center would accept these benefits. In my search, I stumbled across a few message boards about military healthcare, and delivering naturally in Hampton Roads, and one of the posters recommended the next book I read ...

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care - Jennifer Block

I looked it up on Amazon, read a few reader reviews and then did something I never do - went out the next day and bought it, brand new for full price. I always buy books used or check them out of the library, but the library didn't carry it, the used prices weren't that much lower, and I really wanted it for our vacation out West. If you're looking for a diplomatic view of your childbirth options than this would not be the book for you, but if you're interested in understanding the history of modern maternity care and why doctor's and hospitals handle maternity care the way they do, then I would highly recommend this book. Even if you're not interested in a natural delivery, I think it contains good information about what to expect from modern maternity care in a hospital. The author is a journalist, and I really liked her style of writing. After reading this I actually started to feel better about delivering at the Navy hospital again. Sure I won't have a doctor with whom I have a relationship, or even one that I know. I think this is one case where not having a relationship with your medical caregiver almost works to my advantage. I don't have to worry about being induced to meet a doctor's schedule, or be rushed to deliver before a change of shift. The doctor's at the Navy hospital aren't making more money by taking on more patients than they can handle, handing out more epidurals or ordering more c-sections. They make money from tax dollars. :)

I liked the real-life birth stories in this book, even though many of them weren't positive. I also learned a lot of new information about c-section rates and VBACS. And gained a new interest in the whole underground homebirth movement. Some of the stories of how far woman were willing to go to avoid a repeat c-section were fascinating! In fact, the whole "showing up pushing" thing has really captured my interest. Generally, this is done by women who have previously had a c-section and want to ensure a trial of labor the next time around. They'll drive to the hospital, labor in the parking lot for as long as possible, and potentially walk into L&D while the baby is crowning. You would think this would guarantee them a VBAC but apparently it's not always so - it's also amazing what some doctors will do to protect themselves. One woman labored at home for as long as possible, walked into the hospital as her baby was about to be born and, without her consent, was given "oxygen" that knocked her out and wheeled to the OR for surgery. Wow! Thankfully I don't have to worry about a VBAC at this point, but I will admit, the thought of arriving at the hospital just in time to push has it's appeal.

My two complaints with this book are the author's view of abortion (it was completely out of place and awkward in a book about childbirth) and the fact that she unloads this slew of information about the sad state currently maternity care and the growing popularity of homebirths and birth centers, all of which I agree with, but offers no real solutions. Even a solid birth plan can't protect a woman's rights and, she claims, only gives them a false sense of power. I can see her perspective, but I was very thankful that I had a birth plan I believed in with Jack, one that all the doctor's and nurses that attended me reviewed that night, and one that my husband was willing to stand up for when I was too tired to do it myself. We'll definitely be going that route again!

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - Henci Goer

This was recommended to me by aspiring natural-birther friend. After reading the previous two books, a lot of the information in this book I had heard before. So I kinda rushed through it. Plus, I borrowed it from the library so that means no underlining or making notes and that means no anecdotes off the top of my head. My favorite part of this book is the layout. Each chapter covers a different aspect of childbirth and and that subject is then broken down into different sections like "The Bottom Line...", "Pros and Cons of ...", "Questions to ask about...", and "Gleanings from Medical Literature..." So if you don't to read through the whole book, it's easy to find information on one specific topic. The author also offers lots of suggestions and strategies. That said, be prepared for a very biased discussion. She says right in her introduction that she will not be objective and that her goal is to convert you to her way of thinking, but I appreciate her honesty. I also thoroughly enjoyed the charts and graphs in the back of the book. We all know how much I love numbers. Stuff like episiotomy rates, c-section rates and induction rates. It got me interested in my own hospitals data. I found this handy webpage with information on Virginia Obstetrics -, but it appears that it doesn't include any data on the Navy Hospital nor any doctors that work there. Heck, it would be nice to just find a few names of doctors on staff there! I was supposed to do my hospital pre-admissions work weeks ago, so maybe when I stop by to do that I can ask about some numbers. Chances are they won't have anything, but at the very least I could find a list of doctors to Google. :)
Next on my list is Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys." I'd like to get one more Jack-book in before delving into the last of my pre-baby reading, which will include:
Dick-Read's "Childbirth Without Fear" - my all-time favorite childbirth book. I'm not quite sure why, since it is ancient and written by a man, but if I could only read one book to prepare me for labor and delivery this would be the one!
Babywise and the Baby Whisperer (I have the important parts of these underlined so I don't think I'll have to completely re-read them)
Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" (Just a review of the section on newborn sleep since this book is LONG.)
And last but not least, if I can find the time, I'd like to check out "Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank" which was recently recommended by my college-roommate-turned-librarian. It looks entertaining and completely different from all the other books I've read thus far.
So that's where I am now. With just 9 weeks to go, I need to get "bookin' it" before I enter the "no free time" zone. If I only I could still win free pizza for the number of books I finish!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jack's Second Haircut - Mommy Approved

I am exhausted, my back is aching (I'm assuming this is compliments of my big baby and not my little one) and my hips are about as secure as the tree next to our house during a windstorm. Since I have nothing interesting or witty to say, and I'd like to refrain from whining for an entire post, I think I'll just stick to mainly pictures.
If you haven't noticed, Jack's hair has been getting a little long again. I rather like longer hair, but it was looking kinda straggly in the back and was hanging in his eyes in the front. So I conceded and followed Jon and Jack to the barber for his second hair cut. And this time I had the camera.
As you can see, Jack takes his grooming VERY seriously.
Try as we may, we couldn't get him to crack a smile.
At least he sat very still. My favorite part of the event, the part that I failed to capture on camera, was when the barber held a mirror up to Jack his final approval. Yup, looks good!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Diaper Dollars

Remember my New Year's resolution about being a better budgeter and home manager? Well, I'm workin' on it! It's slow going, but big changes take time. This week, I planned out our menu, checked out the local grocery store's ad, laid out all my coupons, and worked up a grocery list. Currently our store is running an event where if you buy 10 items off a certain list, you get $5 back on your order. The items are already on sale and I tried to pair most of them with a coupon. It sounds pretty straight-forward, but it's not easy to keep track of what items in your cart are counting towards a "10." And it's especially not easy when you have a toddler reaching in your cart, pulling things out, yanking items off the shelf, trying to crawl out of his seat, etc. It was partially my fault, I thought we'd be back home by lunch time but our trip took longer than I thought. So Jack was getting hungry, and the free brownie samples at the bakery only held him over so long. By the end, while I was standing in front of the batteries trying to organize all the coupons I needed before starting towards the check-out line, I looked up to see my son, who had already chewed a hole through the produce bag, now chowing into a green pepper. Seeds and all. Eh. He definitely doesn't get his tastes from me!

We got to the check-out, the cashier scanned all my items, took all my coupons without a hitch, and then scanned my club card. I love that part. When you watch the numbers drop. Not only had I come in under budget, but I had saved over $40!! I was secretly relishing my victory when I realized that I had failed to transfer my wallet from my purse to my diaper bag. The sweet taste of victory quickly left. The cashier was pretty nice about it. She just suspended my order, pushed the entire cart into the cooler, and let me check out again when I came right back with my money. Of course, I had to lug Jack, who had somehow lost a shoe during our outing and who was now covered with pepper seeds, to the car seat and then back to the store, and then back to the car again. But in the end, I still saved $40 right? Give or take the cost of gas to run home and back again. :)

Two days later I had recovered and was ready to hit the sales again. Target was running a great deal on diapers, so one evening after putting Jack to bed, I pulled out alllll my diaper coupons, and wrote out a few scenarios. Okay, so I wrote out two pages worth. I kept working, and re-working, until I had reached a point where I was only paying $.10-$.12 a diaper. Not bad accordingto my sources at Then I re-wrote it all back out again so that I could easily go into the store, complete the transactions and get back home again before Jack got too cranky. I'm still new at this couponing thing, and it makes me a little nervous, so I like to be as prepared as I can before hitting the store. Ironically, despite all my planning, things didn't work out exactly the way I had written it all out, but after 6 different transactions and one return, the end result was better than what I had calculated. I now have a stockpile of over 350 diapers for the new baby that I paid a fraction of the normal cost for. The sad thing is, that's only enough diapers to get us through the first 6-8 weeks. Then again, that's the time when I'd least like to run out and get diapers. And the time when I'd be most likely to pay whatever I have to to get them. So it's all good!

I thought I was preparing for the new baby, but Jack thought I had bought him some new toys. I had the diapers stacked by the stairs to carry up to the nursery. Jack thought it was fun to throw them all down the stairs. It was hard work for him too. In the video you can hear how out of breath he is!

While he was off playing in the kitchen I carried them all back upstairs. ...And then he threw them all down again. Then he decided to go down the stairs himself and play with them. I'm not sure what exactly he was doing down there, but he kept laughing and it kept him entertained for over half an hour, so I just let him go. After he was done, I tried to carry them back upstairs one more time. I got one pile up, went back down to get the second pile, and was bombarded by the packs I had just carried up. So I gave up. Some things are best left undone until nap time.

And so, we are one step closer to being prepared for the new little one's arrival. We now have one sweater just like his brother's, one lizard bath towel that matches Jack's shark one, one pack of pacifiers that Jack never used, and one huge pile of diapers. What more could a kid need?!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One of Us

Jack seems to be enjoying the whole growing up process, so much so that he's beginning to think he's one of us. He's been "copying" Mommy and Daddy a lot lately, and it's been very funny to watch. For instance, while flying the other week, he decided he wanted to wear Mommy's headphones too. So we each took an earbud and listened to my iPod together. Then there are the not so funny moments, like when I caught him trying to walk up the stairs on two feet, rather than all fours. Not only could he barely get his leg up to the next step, but watching him teeter on the edge for a moment almost gave me a heart attack. But the other moments, the ones where Jack's life wasn't in danger, I was able to capture on camera...

At least once a day, he likes to carry around my camera case and stow his toys in it.

He prefers my water bottle to any of his 10 or so sippy cups. In fact, he's been known to steal it right out of my mouth. One of his favorite "games" is to sit on my lap, facing me, and alternate taking swigs from the water bottle. He hardly gives me a chance to get a sip before he's pulling it back and slobbering all over the top again.

Everytime Jon or I get the broom and dust pan out, Jack jumps in to "help." He likes to hold the dust pan for us, although he moves it around so much we end up re-sweeping as soon as he leaves the room.

He likes to put on Daddy's sweatband and run around the house.

And his very favorite thing, is to go to the key drawer, pull out Daddy's collection of dog tag chains, and wear them around his neck. He just randomly started doing it one day, and hasn't stopped. Jon and I were both like "How does he know how to do that?!"

And just this past weekend, to culminate all this growing-upness, Daddy decided it was high-time Jack had his own chair in the living room. So Monday morning I came downstairs to this scene:

It's so easy to forget that he's growing up, that he's not a little baby just soaking it all in anymore. He's learning and doing. And just because he can't say much, doesn't mean he's not understanding. If I say, "Wanna take a bath?" or "Let's go upstairs!" he immediately runs to the stairs and starts shaking the gate. If I say, "Jack, want a snack?" he goes to the snack cupboard and pulls on the door. When I open it, he always points to the raisins. And when I pull something out, he then runs to the small side table and slaps his hand down where I always put his snack.

So I think he's pulling my leg when he acts like he doesn't understand simple commands like "no" and "don't hit." Or, when Mommy needs to take Jack aside for a little "talk" when he's misbehaving, and he acts like he suddenly can't hear and that the door handle is much more interesting than what Mommy has to say. Hmmm, yeah Jack, we know you're smarter than that!

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