Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Perfect Spring Day

Spring has arrived in Virginia and it couldn't have come soon enough! We are all enjoying the longer days, sunny afternoons and extra doses of fresh air. I've also discovered that Jack LOVES to play outside. Okay, okay, not so much play but he does seem to enjoy running around, rolling in the dirt and eating rocks. So much so that he'll stand at the door on rainy days begging to go out - "meee? mee?" or when we are outside, he generally throws a fit when it's time to come in. So my compromise lately has been to suggest playing on the deck. If I ever have things to do inside, I just open the front or back door and let Jack run around on what we like to call "the giant pack 'n play." He's gotten a few strange looks from neighbors walking by, who can't see me in the house, and are wondering why a toddler is racing back and forth, screaming, on the deck. But it works for us. Except when Jack decides to throw objects off the deck. I've retrieved a few toys from the driveway this week. And we finally found Jack's mising bib ... lying in the yard. Fortunately, I was able to stop him before he tossed the broccoli overboard.

So yeah, the decks are very convenient when Mom is cooking dinner or doing work. But they're only interesting for so long. What Jack really likes is being let loose in our teeny, tiny yard. And since we don't have any neighbors living next door, we borrow their's too. I haven't quite figured out a good system yet. I feel like I just stand there and follow him around making sure he's not eating anything illegal. And if I happen to blink for more than a second he's usually racing toward the street, standing two driveways over, or throwing rocks in the neighbor's central air unit. So I guess it's good exercise for me too.

A typical afternoon outside consists of:
Jack jumping in the biggest pile of dirt he can find ... our flower bed.

Jack attempting to ride his tricycle.

Jack re-arranging Dad's landscaping. What is it with boys and rocks?

Jack carrying around a stick until he falls and it breaks.

Jack finding and eating acorns.

Jack showing Mommy the flowers - yook, yook, yook!!

Jack falling down ... a lot.

In fact, I've noticed that lately my child has been more and more prone to injury. He's such a stinkin' risk taker, and I can't keep up with him. Everytime I turn around he's attempting to jump off some object or pull some trick without using his hands. He's going to give me a heart attack, or at the very least, send me into labor. And this particular day he almost did.

First, he pinched his finger while attempting to enter a child-proofed cupboard and ended up with two big blood blisters on his hand. Then while we were out on the deck grilling dinner, he crawled up onto the chair and then fell to the ground while still wedged between the seat and the arm. It took some interesting maneuvering to get him free, and he wasn't very happy about the process. Apparently Jon could hear him when he pulled into the driveway from work. Jack's always the first one done eating, so while I was trying to finish he was playing on the chair next to me at the table and walked off the edge, falling flat on the kitchen floor. More screams, more snot on Mommy's shoulder. After finishing dinner, we went outside to visit Daddy in the garage. Jack decided to run over to the neighbor's and, while trying to escape Mommy's lunge, headed right for the street and fell flat on his face in the road. Even I hurt after watching that one. Amazingly, there was no blood and all his teeth remain intact. And then, just a few minutes before bedtime, Jack decided to follow Mommy down to the garage to get laundry. I was walking up the stairs carrying the laundry basket and he was beside me and for some reason decided to turn around, face forward and then fell, head over heels down the stairs. I screamed. And Jon thought I was the one that had fallen. He didn't appear to have any injuries, but we were both a little shaken up. So he spent the rest of the evening snuggling with me on the couch until I was sure he was fine and would make it through the night.

Fortunately, one of the best parts of Spring, and a great cure for any little boy's injuries, is Rita's Italian Ice. And Jack is old enough this year to realize just how good this stuff is.

He's a major mooch. He'll stand by your chair, watching the spoon, and lean in with his mouth open wide hoping your hand will veer his direction. We thought for sure he'd be complaining of an ice cream headache after a few minutes, but nothing deterred him from helping Mommy and Daddy clean out their cups. And maybe the cold ice helped that bump on his head feel a little better too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Love Nest for Rent

As you have probably heard, we're moving this summer. It's a bittersweet event. We're excited for Jon, who got into a very competitive program to earn his second Master's degree, and we've been expecting this move for the past 3 years now. But it's not going to be easy leaving our friends, church, school, beach and Love Nest. We have been so happy here for the past 3 years. Not that we weren't happy at the Original Love Nest. That was the perfect newlywed apartment. The place we came home to after our honeymoon. The living room where we sorted out many a difference in opinion. The kitchen where I burnt a number of meals as a new wife. The balcony where we'd sit and dream about our future. The walls that I was so anxious to decorate as my own. And the bike trails a few feet away that we spent most of our free time on.
But the Original Love Nest also had some not-so-fond memories. The counter where I broke down and cried the 5th week of our marriage, the night before Jon went out to sea. The kitchen where I opened many a canned meal to eat all by my lonesome. The table that no one sat at unless my parents came to visit for a holiday. The couch where I spent cold, dark evenings watching re-runs of 24. And the bedroom where I spent 7 out of the first 12 months of our marriage all by myself. Being a Coastie Wife certainly has it's downer moments.
But Love Nest II doesn't have any of that stuff. It marks a turn in our life. A change in our marriage. And, most exciting, the growth of our family! And as a sentimental wife and mother, I'm having just a bit of a time letting go.

Nevertheless, there is a Love Nest For Rent, that features:
-- A 75 step walk to the beach!
-- Lots of windows and sunshine ... that exhibit tiny, sticky handprints.

-- A large master bedroom, with two ample closets, big enough for a toddler to sneak off to and find some treasures.
-- Open living space, for kids to run uninhibited from one end of the house to the other.
-- Large kitchen with room for 2 or 3 cooks ... and taste testers!

-- A secret, unadvertised ground floor guest suite ... because when you live by the beach you WILL have guests.
-- Gorgeous views of the ocean during the day, and a fully-lit Bay Bridge Tunnel at night.
-- A perfectly situated balcony, with commanding views of the street, including Wednesday garbage truck runs and neighbors walking their dogs.

-- Shady trees with lots of squirrels and chirping birds.
-- A petite side yard with enough grass for little boys to roll around in.

-- Large back space, with plenty of sand for little boys to get dirty in.
-- Fire pit, for roasting marshmallows and mountain pies with friends.
-- Garage, big enough for one car ... or several strollers.
-- Quiet neighbors ... the house next door is empty.
-- Great streets to for walking.
-- An attic, and plenty of storage closets, because eventually your family will grow.
-- Enough space to park 4 cars ... plus the neighbors driveway, so you can have plenty of friends over.
-- Salty, sea air.
-- A continuous supply of beach glass and seashells.
-- Convenient to just about everything ... except an IKEA.

*sigh* We're going to miss this place. But we're excited about Love Nest III too. And the many, many Love Nests that will likely follow that. Such is the military life.

In a few months, I'll be blogging (hopefully I can keep this up with 2 kids!) from the suburbs of DC, in Southern Maryland. I've been frantically researching our new stomping grounds because frankly, I didn't even know that part of the world existed. I thought Maryland consisted of a North and an East, never considered it's South. So I've earned myself a geography lesson recently. Jon will be commuting to school in DC and Jack-Jack, JuJuBe (name hint!!) and I will be hanging out in our huge new house. We checked it out last month (right after the big snowstorm up there) and were happy to find an adorable neighborhood with tree-lined streets, a lake with a walking path nearby, a playground and pool, and lots of shopping! I've been Googling area grocery stores and businesses ahead of time, and desperately searching for some good churches to check out but so far haven't been too successful. As if having a baby isn't enough change, I now have to learn a whole new area. That was the hardest thing for me when I moved to Virginia so I'm trying to start early on this move. All I can say is thank God for GPS!!
But all whining aside, I can't help but think about how blessed we are, how quickly and how easily we've been able to find "perfect" homes for us. How happy we've been here, how wonderful things will be there. I'm not one for the nomadic lifestyle. I much prefer to be settled and rooted down. But God has taken such good care of Jon and I during our 4 years of marriage. I know he orchestrates every move, every job, and every baby. :) Does it make me nervous? Yes! Do I have a hard time breathing when I think about this summer? You betcha, but that's probably just because the baby is squishing my lungs. Do I sometimes sit in my sunny living room, watching my husbnd and son wrestle on the floor, feeling the baby kick and roll and want things to stay like this forever? Most definitely. But does it feel good to know that God cares? Oh, yes. Because he cares about the big things and all the people in the world. But he also cares about Love Nests and teeny, tiny babies and big, wild toddlers and their nervous mamas. And I like to think that He's as delighted with our new fenced-in backyard, salsa garden and swingset as I am! That He can't wait to watch us take family walks in our new streets, introducing us to all the new dog neighbors. That He's as happy as we are that our new garage will fit both cars and all the strollers. And that maybe, just maybe, He made sure that Jon's new school would be close enough to the grandparents that, when things get really tough, even I can make the drive alone with two kids. So yes, it's sad to see our Love Nest posted on rental websites, but so good to know He cares!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A constant source of entertainment

I know I say it all the time but my son just cracks me up. He makes me smile every day. He just does the quirkiest things. For instance, last night he took a kitchen strainer, filled it with his cup of milk, his cup of water, and two rose petals. And made several trips carrying his basket between the living room and kitchen, for no apparent reason. He's very methodical in a weird kind of way. Especially when it comes to towers. If it stands, he'll make it into a tower. Out on the deck: A glass bottle from the recylcing bin, on top of his plastic bowl, topped with a rubber lid. On top of the trash can: Three containers of yogurt pulled from the grocery bags. On his tray: Cheerio, raisin, Cheerio ... okay, maybe Daddy helped with that one.

I'm beginning to wonder if he's going to grow up to be an engineer like his Uncle Jared. Then again, some days I'm just not sure what's going through his mind. Like when I walked into the bedroom to find the bottom half of the screen ripped off, and a little boy hanging my ceramic candle holder out the third story window. Or this particular move, which has quickly become a favorite. Apparently, using your hands is so February. Cool kids use their faces to play with toys:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Full of Life!

That's how I've been feeling these past few days. Full of life, full of energy and full of one other thing ... "termness." Yup, that's right. I'm officially full-term today! But I don't feel like it. According to my doctor this is just another "difference between carrying a 9 pounder and a 6 pounder." Regardless, it certainly doesn't feel like I could have a baby any day now. So I'm just going to sit back and enjoy this "feeling good" phase.
Of course, easily forgetting my current state has gotten me into a bit of trouble. For instance, Jon and I decided to take a sunset beach walk the other night. It was so gorgeous out, we were enjoying the cool sand and salty sea air, and Jack was loving all the dogs that were out on the beach as well. So we prolonged the walk a little longer than usual and ended up trekking over 3 miles. By the time we hit the last half mile before home, Jack was beyond done and Mama was limping over the sand dunes. I sat down on the couch when we got back and was barely able to move the rest of the night. I think it's safe to say that was the last time we'll be walking to the bridge/tunnel and back ... probably forever. :(

But I'm not the only one who's been feeling full of life lately. Jack's energy levels have been on the rise as well, just in time for the warmer weather! We had a fantastic, fun-filled weekend with our friends Nick, Lindsey and Rose who came to visit for the Shamrock Marathon. We were able to spend one sunny afternoon on the beach, and just let Jack loose on the sand. It's amazing how much he's changed since last summer. He loved playing in the sand - digging holes, throwing handfuls in the air, walking and falling over ditches and hills... he was also a bit difficult to keep up with. I'm not quite sure why the sand is always more golden further down the beach.

And here aer two videos of our beach day.

Jack assisting with beach erosion (and he one time he touched the COLD water!)

And Jack spotting one of many dogs on the beach


Moving onward, Jack and I are very proud of Daddy, who ran the half-marathon in under 2 hours. We weren't able to cheer him on or take any pictures since I stayed home with Jack and Rose, who's parents ran the FULL marathon that same day. Let's just say it was definitely some good practice for my upcoming life as a mom of two. I feel like I spent the majority of the day protecting Rose from Jack, who tends to be a little aggressive in his affection. Poor Rose wasn't quite sure how to handle his lavish attentions. I also realized that Jack is NOT the most difficult child to diaper-change. No, that award now goes to Rose, who managed to drag a simple poopy diaper-change into a 20 minute process, which ended in poop on my pants, the floor, her legs, hands and onesie. Lovely.

We took it easy for the rest of the weekend since 3/4 of our gang was just a touch sore. The three of them got asked a few times if they had run in the marathon. Apparently the runner's limp gave it away. No one asked me if I had run though... :)

We took the kiddos to the aquarium one afternoon. I wasn't sure if Jack would enjoy it or not. We may have extended our stay a little too far into naptime, but for the most part he loved watching the big fish, the seals and snakes. Most of my pictures didn't turn out. Unfortunately my child is too fast for me and I always snap the shot a millisecond after he does something cute. But we did get a few blogworthy poses. He was pretty excited about his time in the shark's mouth though ... at least until it was time to get out and he smacked his head on the shark's jaw. Jon and I are a tad concerned that our child is a bit of a clutz. He literally sustains some sort of injury at least once, if not several, times a day. We just keep reminding him, "Jack, you gotta take care of that head! You're going to need it someday!"
This picture is horrible but it cracks me up.

And the funniest part of the day was the few times when Jack would get so excited over seeing a fish that he'd run right into the glass. Poor guy, he was ready to swim with the sharks!

And that wraps up our weekend, one of the last we'll spend as a family of three! And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pour some of this Mommy energy into folding that laundry basket full of teeny, tiny little boy clothes!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Hooray for Spring and the 60-70 degree weather we've been experiencing recently! One of my favorite activities to do with Jack is go on walks. I learned early on that it's good for me to get out of the house, and good for him too! Plus, it's the only time he sits still! Thankfully, we live in a fantastic neighborhood. There are quite a few military people, lots of young professionals, a ton of dogs, and hoards of kids and babies. And it seems like they all like to take walks too!

In the summer, Jack and I tried to go out for a walk every morning right after breakfast, before it got too hot. The winter was touch and go, and there was more than one occasion where I desperately headed outside for some fresh air, only to return one short, brisk walk later with a cranky, cold baby. When the weather is cooperating the late-afternoon is one of my favorite times to walk, because it's when everyone is getting home from work and letting their dogs out. Jack loves to see the doggies, and he really likes it when they jump up on the stroller and give him kisses! It's an added bonus!

We have a specific route we take nearly every walk. It's very similar to the one I took when I would pound the pavement those last few months of my Jack-pregnancy. I still have flashbacks of walking as hard as I could with Jon, trying to get contractions moving after my water broke, for one last trip to 7/11. For a while, pushing Jack in the stroller was much easier than lugging him between my hips. Lucky me, these days I get to experience both!

Speaking of strollers, we got a fantastic Jeep jogger last spring. Ironically, I don't jog, but Jon does! I really wanted it so I could take Jack out of the beach. And as long as the tide is low, it works really well. I can push Tank through the sand with one finger if I need too. Plus, it has an iPod dock, so Jack and I can rock out to Hillsong Kids while getting our exercise. (Speaking of my iPod, it went missing about 2 weeks ago. I'm assuming Jack stuffed it into some random cubby hole and can only hope it turns up during the move.)

After living and walking in this neighborhood for going on three years, we see some familiar faces. First, there's the lady with a little boy in a red jogging stroller that actually jogs. She and I must have been on similar schedules this Summer because Jack and I almost always ran into them as we left our driveway. But we take opposite routes so we usually ran into them a second time halfway through our walk. Despite the fact that we see each other ALL THE TIME she still barely gives me a nod. Then again, she's jogging, so maybe she's just out of breath.

There's the retired couple across the street that refer to themselves in the neighborhood newsletter as the "morning walkers." They walk every morning. I'd always pass them on my way to work in my pre-baby days, and he would always give me the same straight-hand wave. There's our neighbor Ashley and her daughter Addison, who is only a month younger than Jack. They must not walk much, since we rarely see them. Which is too bad, because I'm sure we could be great friends! :) The one time we actually had a conversation she mentioned that Jack and Addison were both big babies, and that he must be nursing because "the big ones always are!"

Then there's the neighborhood bachelor, the Lieutenant Commander that lives a few houses down. He always has a group gathered at the beach on weekends. Jon and I laugh because every summer he seems to have a new girl. I wish he would've stuck with Summer '08 girl, she was really nice. And since we're speaking of Naval officers I might as well mention the 3 guys that live in the other half of our duplex. One of them has offered to babysit if we ever needed a hand. And they even bought Jack a Naval Academy sweatshirt, although I'm pretty sure that one of their mothers bought it and just signed their names on the card. For being 3 young bachelors they're not too bad. My only complaint is that, when the weather's warm, they play cornhole at least 4 nights a week. In the middle of the street. Sometimes into the night. In fact, one weekend I woke Jon up certain that someone was breaking into our car. Nope, it was just the neighbor boys throwing bean bags onto a wooden board ... at 2:30 in the morning!

There have been many times, while sitting out on the front deck or playing out in the yard, that we've waved hello to one particular couple - the husband walking two dogs and the wife waddling behind him, clearly with child. One day I realized we hadn't seen them in a while. Sure enough, that evening they strode by again. This time the man was pushing a stroller and walking two dogs, and the woman was booking it behind him, with that look of determination only a new mom with baby-weight to lose can have.

And then there's one of my favorite neighbors, Dylan ... the dog. Dylan is one of those long, lanky show-type dogs with an equally long and lanky owner. He's also the sweetest, happiest, most disobedient dog in the 'hood. It amazes me how well-behaved dogs are around here, especially on the beach. Hardly anyone uses leashes. The dogs are just content to run back and forth to their owner, fetching tennis balls or jumping into the waves. Except Dylan. He's either deaf, or petending to be. You always know he's coming, you can hear his owner yelling his name blocks away. But he's really a sweet dog!

And now you have a taste of our neighborhood. Jack's and my stomping grounds. It's been a great place to raise a baby, I was sad about leaving it behind in a few months, but our new neighbhorhood seems to be very walk-friendly. Now the dilemma is to find the right double stroller. We have three different strollers for Jack - the regular one that the car seat clips into, the jogging stroller, and an umbrella stroller for light packing and short trips. And we regularly use all three. I don't foresee us buying a double-version of each of these, although that would be ideal. So for months I've been researching options trying to figure out which kind of double would serve us best, or if we even need one at all. And so far I haven't been able to decide. :(

I've been watching one particular neighbor walk by my house several times now this spring. She's got the most beautiful double stroller I've ever seen. I finally worked up the courage to run outside and ask her about it, but she was busy talking to another neighbor and their conversation was lasting so long I was beginning to look suspicious lingering in my driveway. Jack and I had to leave for my doctor's appointment anyway, so I drove by as slowly as possible, took a number of mental notes, came home that night and found it online:

Isn't it heavenly!? It also has top-notch reviews. And guess what? It only costs $650!!! That's right, a mere $650 to take your babies on a neighborhood walk. Geesh. Clearly I'm living in the wrong neighborhood.

And so the search continues. I started using my stroller the day we brought Jack home from the hospital, as evidenced in this picture by the fact that I still look pregnant, so perhaps we need to make a decision sooner rather than later. Especially since beautiful, sunny spring weather and a an adorable new baby boy are both on their way!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

36 down, 4 (or 5 or 6) to go!

I had another doctor's appointment yesterday morning, as I now do every week, and had a little free time this week to create this nifty photo comparison. I'm probably the only person that pores over preggo pictures trying to measure to the minutest detail, but at least it will be on this blog for posterity's sake.

At first I thought I looked relatively the same as I did with Jack at 36 weeks. But sometimes when I look it seems like I was a little bigger at the top with Jack, either that or #2 has dropped a bit already. Which wouldn't surprise me because he seems to be riding low on my hips these days. So all this and all that photo taking to say ... I just don't know. And it's only making me more and more curious to meet the little dude in a few weeks.

I was reading over old blog posts from when I was 35/36 weeks along with Jack, right when my ankles started swelling. So that made me feel better that I have had absolutely no swelling yet, and my wedding bands still spin easily 'round my finger. According to my old blog post my belly was 39 inches around with Jack at 35 weeks, and it's just slightly bigger than that now. Although I'm positive I weighed more at this point with Jack, if I only had my precious spreadsheet to compare for sure!

Other than bellies and weight gain, things looks good still! Baby's heartbeat is very loud. And I was excited to hear that my Group B Strep test came back negative! I got a little nervous when the Nurse was feeling my belly, trying to figure out how baby was lying. She didn't seem too sure herself so she decided to give me an ultrasound, a pleasant surprise. And even more pleasant was to find that he truly is head down. Although I think his head is slightly to the side, more over my hip, and he's currently face-up, which could make for some painful back labor if he stays that way. But one look at that face and it doesn't really matter. He was making kissy faces on the monitor, and Mama loves those big 'ole cheeks. (If you can't tell, #'2 face is to the upper right, and he's looking forward - those are two eyes, a nose and some adorable lips!)

You know what else I love about this picture? It looks strangley like one I have of another little boy ...
They're totally related.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nesting and Unnesting

Last Saturday I was oh so proud of myself! I think I have that end-of-the-road burst of energy! I've been feeling so good lately, so not pregnant, so motivated! The weather has been gorgeous and Jack and I have loved taking walks or playing in the "yard," which just makes me feel more energized. So on Saturday, the house was spic-and-span, thanks to my helpful husband! Cupboards were stocked, meal plans laid out. My birth plan has been updated, I read through my natural childbirth class notes, finished up Jack's sitter notes, and filled out my maternity leave paperwork. Yard sale items are priced and ready to be shipped to PA via Marmie and Poppa. I also re-organized Jack's clothes in to his "new" old dresser and made room for baby stuff. I was about to start bringing all said baby stuff down from the attic when my husband stopped me. We have guests coming this weekend and the last thing we need are Boppies, Bumbos, bathtubs, carseats and clothes lying about the house. So I restrained myself... and slid this item to the bottom of my to-do list. To be tackled next weekend, the weekend before Easter and my in-laws come visit, which is the weekend before the week I'm due. Gulp! Why is is that despite having 9 months to prepare, I'm always caught off guard by how quickly it all goes by!?

So that was Saturday, and Saturday night found me relaxing on the couch trying to read through Childbirth Without Fear while I still have time! And then Sunday rolled around ... and I felt miserable. I thought it was just a random case of morning sickness. But by the time we got home from church I felt much worse. And so, so tired. For some reason I opted not to "sleep when the baby sleeps" and before I knew it Jack was up from his nap and I was really wishing I had taken one of my own. I spent the rest of the afternoon drifting in and out of consciousness on the couch, while Jack destroyed the living room. Jon came upstairs from the office an hour or so later to find books off the shelves, keys thrown about the room, crumbs on the floor and one very oblivious mama still lying on the couch.

I put Jack down to bed right at 7pm, drew a hot bath and read in the tub for the next hour. By 9pm I was in bed and out like a light. For a little while anyway. That is, until my stomach started to hurt, and then my heartburn came back in full force. Meanwhile Baby is kicking up a storm AND I'm having more contractions than usual (most likely the result of being sick and dehydrated). Finally, at 1am I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom just in time to throw up everything I managed to eat that day. I sat on the floor with my back against the bathroom sink thinking, "Oh God, please don't let this be labor!" Physical preparations aside, I just don't feel emotionally ready to have a baby yet. I want to hold on to these last few weeks with Jack. I want to savor these last few days of feeling the baby kick, watching my entire belly heave to one side. I want to laugh to myself just a few weeks longer whenever baby has the hiccups. I want to get just a little bigger so that I can finally fit into that one maternity shirt I bought months ago that is still too large. Yes, I'm excited about the new baby coming, and snuggling with the little guy, and smelling that sweet, sweet baby's breath, hearing those adorable grunts, playing with those tiny, tiny fingers and toes. But not just yet. I'll have my baby forever, I only have this pregnancy for a few more weeks. And I plan to relish every last moment of it!

And on top of all that, I really did not want to deliver a baby while feeling positively, downright miserable. I just wanted to sleep. I eventually made my way back to bed and did just that. But not after worrying a few minutes longer about Baby and vowing to myself that I would quickly finish preparation for his arrival as soon as I was on the mend.

Monday morning I felt better. Utterly exhausted still, but better. And I restricted myself to toast, crackers, ginger ale and water just to be safe. After watching Jack run around the house all morning I figured the best thing to do would be take him to the sitter and still go into work. Because (A) getting up and around forces you to feel better about yourself even if you feel like crap on the inside and (B) I figured I would have an easier day sitting at my desk than trying to entertain the little guy. Plus I didn't think it would be fair for him to have to spend two days in a row with a very boring Mommy. So that's what we did. And I'm glad. Because Jack had a fun day with his buddy Abbie and I had a good day at work.

And so, after 24 hours of illness and 24 hours of recovery, my house is a wreck. My poor family has had to fend for themselves when it comes to meals the past two days. The sink is full of dishes. Laundry is piling up. And we've been out of milk for 24 hours now. Clearly, it's time for Mommy to recover. And despite what I was able to accomplish on Saturday, after Sunday night's episode I realize I still have a way to go yet before Baby's arrival.

"Now Baby, I know that Nonnie is praying you make your debut while she's here over Easter. And that would be very convenient for your brother Jack, who is not allowed to visit you in the hospital. But Mommy's just not sure, and Daddy, well he has a LOT of papers and projects to finish first. But one thing I do ask, if possible, is to please arrive on a day when Mommy is feeling really good. And Daddy asks that you not keep him up all night during your arrival like your big brother did. We love you, see you soon!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Change is in the Air

... And I think Jack can sense it. He and his brother must have some telepathic thing going on, and meanwhile he's got the rest of us fooled into believing that he thinks "baby" is synonomous for "belly button." For example, when we say, "Jack where's the baby?" he smacks my poor, protruding-under-some-serious-pressure naval. Gotta give him credit though, that IS where the baby is located. Then again, if he knew his sweet baby brother was in Mommy's belly, he wouldn't step on my stomach, or do that flying eagle thing he's so good at when when I'm laying on the floor ... or would he? Ah, brothers.

Anyway, Jack must know something is up. Things have been a little different around here the past few weeks, particularly with sleep. He used to go to bed and take naps so easily! I've been missing those days. :( At first, I thought we were just transitioning to one nap a day. But I think we're past that now. After much stalling on Mom's part, Jack is officially down to a singular afternoon nap, which I'm very happy to report generally lasts somewhere between 2-3 hours. It's usually longer when I'm least expecting it and shorter when I'm in the middle of a million projects. Occasionally, he still needs a morning nap. Usually if we've been doing a lot of traveling, or on Saturdays if we didn't get home from our church Small Group until late the night before.

We just got the nap thing figured out and Jack started waking up in the middle of the night. We guessed it was teething but what we didn't guess was that he was cutting ALL FOUR MOLARS. Geesh! Well they are now fully present and accounted for, and all I can say is I'm very grateful to have it over with now rather than after the baby is here. In fact, while we're at it. Bring on the rest of the teeth! Mama's ready!

So we figured naps out and Jack's molars are all in, but we haven't been able to figure out why, oh why, he's been waking up 5-10 minutes earlier every morning for the past month or so now. Jack used to go to bed at 7pm and sleep until at least 7am, sometimes later. As of last week, his wake up time was 5:50am and seemed to be getting earlier and earlier. And I cannot get him back to sleep! He is wide awake and ready to play! We had a similar issue at this time last year, so I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that Jack's room gets brighter, earlier this time of year. We already have blinds and two sets of curtains on each window to keep it pretty dark in there. And it was still an issue after two cloudy and rainy mornings, so I was beginning to think it may not just be sunlight. I decided to stick things out until Daylight Savings this weekend and wouldn't you know? This is the second day in a row that Jack has slept his straight 12 hours, not only not waking until after 7 but actually waking up happy again. And that is always a plus!

Fortunately for him, Jack continues to get cuter and more entertaining every day. Otherwise these new changes might be a tad unbearable. He learned how to say "dog" recently. Actually, he says "gog" but we know what he means. He has a shirt with a dog on it that he'll point to and say "gog." So we brought out our Weimaraner book (because that's our future dog someday!!) and showed him all the "gogs." And now that we're able to spend more time outside, Jack goes crazy, pointing and yelling, every time a dog walks by. Most people think it's cute, but I'm always surprised by the number of people who are uncomfortable with a 17 month old's attention, and hurriedly walk by without saying "hello." I mean, I know I'm his mom and all, but how can you ignore that adorable little face yelling "gog, gog!!"

Jack's been saying "look" (which comes out "yook") for a while now, but this past week he's pulling out all the stops. He says it all. The. Time. And usually 3 in a row, each getting progressively louder and an octave higher. Pair this phrase with a point and some happy feet, and you have a typical Jack moment. For instance, when he knocks over the small side table, "Yook, yook, yook!!" As if I didn't hear it bang to the floor from the kitchen anyway. Or when he spills his drink on the floor - "yook, yook, yook!!" It's amazing what excites him.

Finally, he's brought "Dadda" back in full force. He took a brief hiatus from calling out his dad's name for a while, but now uses it on a regular basis. We can see Jon pull in the driveway when he gets home from work, so usually Jack will pound on the window and yell "Dadda!", then run around to the top of the stairs to wait for him. Or if he knows Jon is in the bathroom, he'll stand at the door, pounding and yelling "Dadda!" until he comes back out.

We love to post pictures on our refrigerator. Mostly of family and a few of our friends' latest birth announcements. Jack likes to point at peoples' faces and go over their names. His favorites are "Dadda" and himself. But we're working on the rest!

But this isn't all Jack's doing. I've finally realized that although I think it's hard to carry Jack around now, it's only going to be more difficult, nay impossible, to carry both him and the new little guy in a few weeks. So I've been encouraging more walking on his part. And he's been more than happy to comply. His favorite all-by-myself activity is "walking" up and down the stairs. Although he still likes to hold my hand for the journey. He is so stinkin' proud of himself for walking up the stairs like a big boy. And I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I clap and cheer and tell him how grown up he is at the top. Going down is a bit more tricky. For some reason he prefers to use both feet at the same time on the way down. He enjoys the thrill so much that he generally opts to continue down the second set of stairs (the ones that lead to the front door, i.e. nowhere), and occasionally misses a step. Just today he almost took his Mommy, and baby brother, for a tumble down the stairs. Who knew stair climbing was so much fun?

The less I have to carry Jack the more I can carry other things, like groceries. But you have to watch the little stinker. Ever since that one beautiful weekend we had, he LOVES being outside. And the moment his feet hit the ground he's off running ... and tripping and falling and getting all dirty and then mommy picks him up and gets mud streaked on her shirt and dirty palms rubbed in her hair... And I end up force-carrying him inside anyway. So much for freeing up hands for groceries.

And finally, my favorite new development, the one that just warms my heart, is how he blows kisses - palm to mouth with three kissy noises. He does this when Jon puts him to bed and tells him to say goodnight to Mama. And since Jon usually puts Jack to bed when Mommy is either too tired, exasperated, or a tad grumpy about Jack's most recent antics ... those air kisses make me feel a little better.
So yes, change is in the air. The question is, "Are we ready for it?"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bringing Up Boys

This past month was a little slow in the reading lane. I was doing so good, plowing through my reading list and then somewhere along the line my tires spun out. I would like to tell you it's because I've been nesting like a mad woman, eagerly preparing for #2's arrival. But that would be a lie. Poor #2. If he was born today we'd have to bring him home from the hospital in a musty-smelling car seat that Daddy carved out of the ice in our freezing attic. I think the real reason I haven't done much reading lately is because (a) Jon showed me how to download Tetris onto my phone. This was one of my favorite video games growing up, and Jon and I have been both been intent on beating one another's score. And (b) Jon's been on Spring break and we decided to catch up on this season of 24 that we DVR'd. Evenings after Jack goes to bed have been very intense in our house as we've watched Jack Bauer save the world. Both Jon and I have maxed out Tetris and we've completely caught up on 24, so hopefully I'll get back to my books this week!

So, since my last update I've read 1.5 books. Not counting the hundreds of times this past week I've "read" Hop on Pop, Watch Me Go and Goodnight, Sweet Butterflies. I say "read" because Jack insists on turning the pages himself, which he does so fast I usually only get to read one or two words a page. Currently I'm reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, which I saw on several other Book It bloggers reading lists. I happened to get it for free (plus shipping) thanks to Money Saving Mom. I'm not quite halfway through it, and I haven't really "gotten into it" yet. So maybe I'll write about it in next month's review ... if I can manage to do one in April. :)

So, without further ado, the one book I managed to complete this month was Dobson's Bringing Up Boys. (As I typed that title my son came running out of the kitchen carrying a bread knife longer than his arm.) *sigh* I needed this book. And I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. Several times I laughed out loud, then shuddered as I realized I will probably have very similar stories to tell about my two boys in a few years. For instance Dobson writes:

"... one of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk life and limb for no good reason. It begins very early. If a toddler can climb on it, he will jump off it. [As I type this line Jack is standing and jumping on top of the coffee table.] He careens out of control towards tables, tubs, pools, steps, trees, and streets. [I feel better knowing my kid isn't the only one that runs into walls or smacks his head on furniture several times a day.] He will eat anything but food and loves to play in the toilet. [I wish I could tell you what Jack pulled out of the trash last night, dipped into the toilet and then put into his mouth but it's so bad I can't.] He makes "guns" out of cucumbers or toothbrushes and likes digging around in drawers, pill bottles, and Mom's purse. ... His mom has to watch him every minute to keep him from killing himself. He loves to throw rocks, play with fire, and shatter glass. [Or, in our case, Mommy's favorite serving platter that she got as a wedding gift.] He also gets great pleasure out of irritating his brothers and sisters, his mother, his teachers, and other children. [Have I mentioned that Jack's Sunday School "teacher" informed us last week that he was hitting and shoving other kids?] ... Not every boy is like this, of course, but the majority of them are."
Hmmm, I'm pretty sure Jack falls in the majority here. And by the way #2 has attempted to break through my uterine wall these last two days, I'm thinkin' he's going to end up following in his big brother's footsteps.

Aside from the numerous instances where I found myself saying, "He's talking about my son!" Dobson also provides great information on the difference between males and females and why these are important, the current risk to traditional gender roles in today's world, and what I found most alarming, how current society has impacted our boys. It made me realize what great responsibility I have a mother to a little boy, a future man that both Jon and I think is going to be a great leader some day. I have to admit, it's just a little scary to hear that the odds are stacked against your son.

Dobson also offers suggestions for how to raise your little guy, provide loving discipline (ugh, why have I been dreading this phase!!) and plenty of opportunities for him to just be a boy. I no longer worry about Jack and Jon wrestling on the floor every night, because I realize it's not just natural but important. Although I love when Jack suddenly stops wrestling to give his Daddy a kiss... and then starts right back up again. :) Not sure how long that will last. Apparently around 18 months is when boys start to pull away from their Mommas and begin identifying more with their Dads. We're already seeing this in our house. Just last week, Jon came home from work, sat down in his easy chair, and put his feet up with a big sigh. Then we laughed as we watched Jack sit in his own chair and let out a big sigh just like his Dad.

So yes, Jack's our wild child. Sometimes he literally wears me out, and Jon too. But we both agree we wouldn't change him for the world. I love his sense of adventure, his fearless approach to new things, his desire to learn and understand his expanding world, his interest in being involved in EVERYTHING. Yes, these traits get annoying sometimes, but they're what makes him him. We have our work cut of for us, providing loving discipline in order to change our son's will without breaking his spirit and raising a boy to be a real man in a world that seems to be working against that. But I can't think of a better, more rewarding job than bringing up some boys ... and hopefully ... someday ... please Lord... maybe a sister or two?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

35 Weeks, Time for a New Poll!

Yikes! Only 5 more weeks until Due Day!! That's 4 weeks until I went into labor with Jack, and 2 weeks until I'm considered full term. Can we say, "Someone's feeling a tad unprepared!"

Today's doctor's appointment went well. Baby had a "beautiful" heartbeat, he is most definitely head down, and kicking like a crazy man. I also had my Beta Strep test today, which I wasn't expecting. Not that it's something you can prepare for but I might have been able to spend a few extra days praying for a negative result rather than the 5 seconds before the test. I'm just really hoping not to have GBS this time around so I can labor at home as long as I need to and so I don't have to be hooked up to meds and strapped down to the bed as soon a I arrive. So yeah, pllleeeease be negative!!

Just about every day I hear how small I'm carrying. Usually someone will mention that I'm expecting or ask when I'm due. I mention I have [insert current number of] weeks left and then I get "the look." The look that says, "No way are you that far along" or the one that says, "Man that must be a tiny baby," which, being the hormonal and sensitive mother I am, automatically translates to "Eww, you must no be healthy if your baby is so small." Okay, okay so it's not that bad. But it's hard not to take things personally. I know most people mean it as a compliment, and I suppose it's better than people telling me I'm huge, but still I have to wonder, is #2 feeling squished? Is he getting enough to eat? Does he think he's deprived?

Our scale broke a few weeks ago, so we got a new one. According to Jon it's on the heavy side, but I think it's measuring light. I suppose that's what happens when one user is trying to lose weight and the other one is looking to gain a few pounds. I was a little alarmed this morning when, according to our new scale, I had lost a pound in the past 3 weeks. But according to the doctor's scale, I've gained 3 pounds in 3 weeks. Not only is this very confusing, but it's messing up my pregnancy spreadsheet!

My nurse still doesn't tell me exactly what I'm measuring, but she did say it's "right on for dates." She said my uterine growth is on track, but that the baby will probably be small. In fact, she's guessing he'll be about 6.5 pounds. Really?!? I don't know what I'd do with a baby that tiny!

So it's time for you to make a guess. How big do you think this baby is? Vote on the poll in the sidebar.

Here are the facts:
  • So far I've gained close to 25 pounds.
  • My belly measures 39 inches around.
  • Most people (including the doctor while I was in labor) told me I was carrying small with Jack. He ended up being 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and that was a week before he was due.
At this point I'm not sure what to think anymore. I always thought second babies were generally bigger than firsts, or at least close to the same size. But I really am starting to feel like I'm carrying "small." Maybe this kid will fit into the right size clothes after all!

So now I'm very interested to find out how big #2 is going to be ... but not so interested that I want him to come before he's due. I NEED these last 5 weeks.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Joyful Mother of Children

Not long after I got pregnant with #2 things started to get a little rough in our house. Sometimes I feel like my job as a mom can be summed up in one word - troubleshooter. I'm constantly trying to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. (Why isn't he sleeping longer? Why won't he eat that today? Why did he get up so early? Why won't he let go of my leg!!?) And certain days and weeks throughout the past 5 months have really challenged my motherly instinct.

I remember one week last fall, soon after Jack's birthday, where he was constantly cranky, clingy, and waking up late at night and early in the morning. Jon tried to help out, but apparently this was between Jack and I, because he never wanted to be out of my sight. If I couldn't hold him he would just cling to my legs, crying, until I picked him up. At one point, Jon offered to play with Jack in the living room so Mommy could do some sewing, alone, in the kitchen. We put two chairs between the living room and kitchen so I could move around without dragging a toddler at my feet. It didn't matter how much "fun" Daddy was having playing with toys in the living room, Jack opted to stand with his arms reaching over the chairs, sobbing for Mommy. It was pitiful and exasperating. All I needed was to not be needed, even for just a little while.

Needless to say, Jack went to bed early that night and I had a little time to think things over...and get in a good cry. I have to admit, the main thing on my mind that night was, "How am I going to do this with two? Am I going to be spending my nights alternating between two baby beds? Will Jack be able to entertain himself for a reasonable length of time by April? Can I nurse with one hand and entertain an 18 month old with the other?" and on and on and on. Things always seem worse when you're right in the thick of them.

That night I picked up Supernatural Childbirth, which I've been reading through again this pregnancy. The title of the chapter I was in was, "Can I be a Joyful Mother of Children?" and was based on Psalm 113:9. Now what this chapter is really about is the barren woman becoming a joyful mother. But it spoke to me anyway. And if God wants the barren woman to be a happy mother then I'm sure he wants the same thing for the fertile woman. And so I'm claiming it.

I don't have to be an exhausted, stressed-out, frustrated mom. I can enjoy my kids, each one of them, and be satisfied with my position as a mom. And rather than just try to make it through, I can certainly take delight in these few, fast years I have with them while they're still little ... and needy. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what kind of sleeper #2 will be, I don't know what kind of eater Jack will be next month, I don't know how much "me time" I'll be getting come April. But I do know that most moms have more than one child, that many, many woman have had kids closer together than mine will be, and that our whole family is going to adjust to the changes just like we did last October. I know it will be tough, I know that there will be many more tearful evenings, and I know that some days my boys will get the best of me. But I also know how much I delight in Jack, how much I already love this new lil' guy pounding on my ribcage, and I'm pretty sure that these next few years are going to make me a very joyful mother of children.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Boogies and Hiccups

Jack and I both caught colds last week. This is convenient because I know exactly how he feels. If my throat was hurting, his probably was too. And if I was having trouble sleeping, well that explains why he's been waking up several times at night. On the other hand, I was looking forward to us both taking it easy last Wednesday to recoop, but apparently colds don't affect 16 month old active little boys like they do adult, pregnant women. Jack was still as energetic as ever, only this time he was running around the house with snot dropping out of his nose. He's really not fond of tissues, in fact, he thinks it's more of a game. So Mommy was chasing boy and snot most of the day. And I've learned a few nose wiping tricks...

There's the wipe-on-the-go technique. I just stick my hand out, with a tissue, and swipe Jack's nose as he runs by. Then there's the come-from-behind move where Mommy sneaks up behind Jack and, before he realizes what's happening, has his head cupped in one hand and his nose in a tissue in the other. And then there's the example-setting method, and probably not very hygenic, where Mommy blows her nose first and then gives the tissue to Jack to try, complete with sound effects that make it that much more fun! Hey, I'm learning!

There have been sleep-deprived nights recently, and Jon and I have been taking turns cuddling our little Snot Faucet and partaking in middle-of-the-night nose wipes. And there's been a few mornings where Jack has ended up catching his last hour of sleep in our bed.

Inevitably, as soon as I get up to check on Jack in the night, #2 wakes up too. And he doesn't go back to sleep as easily. One night I got very little sleep, alternating between the boy crying in his crib and the boy pulling acrobatic moves in my belly. He was pushing on my ribs so hard it was impossible to fall back to sleep.

Speaking of the little guy, he seems to have a chronic case of the hiccups this week. He's got them at least twice a day for the past five days now. Poor kid. It's cute for a few seconds but gets a little annoying after that. I can only imagine how he feels. I think he may have turned but won't know for sure until next Wednesday. Maybe it's just wishful thinking though ... I've been trying a few suggestions from some books I've read on turning a breech baby - like lying on your back with your hips elevated 12 inches off the floor. It seemed to make sense, tilting the bottom of your uterus above the top so that gravity would pull the baby's head "down" - but I didn't realize, until I actually tried it, that it would make breathing somewhat difficult. Ten minutes is pretty much all I can handle before I need to revert myself!

#2 is still as active as ever! Jon and I got to go out on our second dinner and a movie date this month!! Woo hoo, it's a record! My parents watched Jack while we were home over Valentine's Day. And this past weekend was the start of Spring break for Jon, so he was eager to set aside homework and celebrate! Our former Monday babysitter Kristen and her husband were missing Jack, so we dropped him off, had a lovely dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then went to see "Sherlock Holmes." This month was the first time Jon and I had gone to see a movie together since Jack was born! And unfortunately, it will probably be our last for a while. Movies in the theater aren't as much fun when you're 33 weeks pregnant. Not only did I have to go to the bathroom 3 times in 2 hours but the littlest guy decided to hold a crazy dance party throughout the entire show. Mostly under my right ribs, which meant I was constantly trying to find a comfortable way to sit. I'm sure the people behind me were getting kinda annoyed but nothing seemed to work. I still enjoyed the movie, even though Jon had to catch me up to speed on the parts I missed for bathroom breaks. :) And now that I get to experience babies on both sides of the womb, I'm pretty sure that dance parties and hiccups are much more easier to manage when they occur on this side of birth!

Oh, and speaking of movies ... my kid kinda likes them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A tragic loss

My laptop died this weekend. It shut down Friday night and hasn't started back up since. I'm pretty devestated since there were quite a few documents on there that I can't recover - recipes, my pregnancy weight gain spreadsheet, Jacks' newborn logs, the beautiful new baby announcement that I created all by myself!!, etc. Fortunately, we keep more of our pictures, videos and music on the main computer. Otherwise, I'd probably be curled up in a ball sobbing ... three days later.

I haven't entirely given up hope yet, but everyday that goes by with another black screen has left me less and less optimistic. I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that in the future I may never again know how much I weighed when I was 34 weeks pregnant with Jack. So maybe it's not as tragic as I'm making it out to be, but I'm still kinda depressed about it all!

I've learned two things from this incident: (1) never put your faith in worthless junk - BACK UP YOUR FILES! and (2) the occasional purge is healthy. Sometimes I hold on to so much it takes a minor catastrophe to clean things up a bit. Which is why I think this upcoming move is going to be good for us. I'm looking forward to getting rid of some things we no longer need or use, and I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to clean behind that refrigerator! Somewhere in this house is a red, plastic triangle that belongs to Jack's shape bucket, the only toy that has gone missing and failed to turn back up within a week or two, and I'm determined to find it!

Jon has learned something from all this too - terrible things happen to his office when his wife is forced to do her work from there. There are just way too many things for Jack to get his hands on. So while we'd prefer to spend as little time as possible down there, it's kinda hard when your job involves a computer. So the Hubs has assured me that he will be leaving work on time today so that we can get out computer shopping. Until then, my readers can expect sporadic, non-picturated blogs ... and my husband can expect a very messy office!
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