Sunday, May 30, 2010

The bucket list

My slowness in blogging is starting to get to me.  Jack seems to have learned so much recently, like how to scale Jude's crib and reach his hands over the railing, and Jude doesn't even seem like the same baby I brought home 5 weeks ago.  He's working on smiling and getting oh, so close.  You can see it in his eyes  even if his mouth isn't quite there yet.  So yes, there's so much to say and just no time to say it.  And it bothers me to think I might forget all these moments simply because I couldn't find yhe time to write about them.  But we're busy as bees here and I've got plenty of other things on my mind.  Like moving for one.  Thankfully, the Coast Guard moves us.  They'll come in, pack everything up in one day, and then drive it up to the new house the next day.  So I haven't been worried about that at all. 

People keep asking me if we're getting ready to move.  Nope, haven't done a thing.  The move itself is not what I'm concerned about.  It's just everything else that comes with a move.  Address changes, finding a new physician, searching for a new church, setting up the new utilities, making sure we have Internet at the new house ASAP so I won't miss a beat with work (or blogging  ;) ), buying all the stuff the new place doesn't have, buying a new car because the hubby just decided our current one isn't working well for us and that we need to replace it THIS WEEK (if you think I'm a "get it done" kinda person, you need to meet him!!).  And then there are the really important parts of moving, a "bucket list" of sorts, things we must get done before we leave like soaking up every last bit of beach time we can, visiting all our favorite places "one last time," using up gift certificates for local businesses, and saying goodbye to all our fabulous friends.  There's parties and picnics, final dinners and of course, family who want to get in one last visit to the Beach Nest.  I've been too busy to get sentimental, but I just know it's going to hit me all at once, probably at the very last second, when we're pulling out of the driveway and it's too late for regrets. 

Moving isn't the only thing on my mind.  Actually, the one thing I've been stressing about even more is Jude's poop.  Gross, huh?  And how mom-like of me to mention it.  The problem isn't the poop itself, it's that there hasn't been anyway!  Not for a week.  He's eating and peeing fine, and not acting uncomfortable so I don't know what the issue is.  I've read mixed reviews about this, whether it's a real problem or not.  But the fact is it was worrying me and I just wanted some peace of mind. So I scheduled a doctor's appointment for him on Friday afternoon. 

Of course, 30 minutes before we're supposed to leave I sat nursing him in the rocking chair and guess what that boy did?  Yup, gave his Mama the biggest poo she's ever seen from a baby so tiny.  He hasn't gone since then, so I'm guessing he's going to be one of those once-a-week babies or he's going through a very long growth spurt,  But I'm sure that's more than anyone else wanted to hear on the subject so I'll stop there.

My boys and I are wishing you all a splendid Memorial Day with your friends and family.  While we're busy making our own memories, may we never forget those who have given their lives for our freedom.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Booking It: Finally Some Fiction

Well I took everyone's advice and started reading while nursing Jude. It's not always easy, especially since Jude tends to be a two-handed nurser (for those of you Moms who know what I mean), but I did manage to finish an entire book the first week he was home. Of course, that's when other people were around to entertain Jack, when I was awake a lot longer at night and when I wasn't back to work. Now I can't do much reading when Jack is on the loose, Jude has gotten a lot faster with night-feedings and I hardly have to keep my eyes open, and during the day I'm usually typing emails with my free hand during feedings. But, when I do have a chance, reading is a great alternative.

And so, after months and months of what only feels like books on pregnancy and childrearing, I've really been looking forward to some good fiction. My mom arrived just in time and gave me Francine River's Her Mother's Hope for Mother's Day (or maybe it was a "push present" since she's the Mom and I'm the daughter.) First off, I LOVE Francine Rivers. She just may be my favorite present-day fiction writer. I have the Mark of the Lion series and read all three books several times. That's how much I adore them. So I was super excited to see she came out with another book after what seemed like the longest break. I hadn't read anything about it, so I didn't know what to expect other than it would probably be a book about a mother. And it is, and her relationship with her daughter. I think the author does an excellent job of developing her characters, you feel very close to them throughout the book. I wouldn't call this an upbeat novel, in fact I felt a little depressed throughout much of it, but then again that may have been the hormones talking. I won't say much more about it 'cuz I dont' want to be a spoiler, but the ending is a killer. As in, you think you have "this" many more pages left and then you go to turn to the final chapter and realize that the rest of the book is just addendums and advertisements. I'm totally left hanging and now have to wait until the second book comes out in the fall. Which is why, from now on, I may wait until a series is completed before starting it!

Two books I ended up reading unintentionally this past month were The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. Basically I needed a refresher for Jude, and was also looking for information on gas and growth spurts (how exciting!). I ended up reading all of the Womanly Art and most of the Baby Whisperer, which I'm planning to return to in the near future because the older Jude gets the more questions I have. And with a title like that I'm expecting some great results! :)

One of my most excellent friends here in Virginia, who I am going to miss terribly, gave me a few books as a goodbye gift. One of them was a perfect "read while nursing" book - Dirt Cheap Green Thumb. It's a small, short-ish read. Easy to get through in two feedings (or less if your kid is a lazy eater). Our new house has a small "salsa garden" and according to the landlord's last email, there are tomatoes already waiting for our arrival! For my birthday I'm asking for a square foot garden, so this book was chock-full of excellent gardening information. Since I'm a novice, everything is new and good to me! We'll see how this garden thing goes.

Finally, someone let me borrow Have a New Husband By Friday. I only had it for two days and was able to finish it in time by skipping the two chapters on abuse, which I didn't need. I really enjoy reading marriage books. I think because they usually contain some of the things I learned about in my college Communication classes and also because I'm always looking for ways to improve my relationship with the hubs. This was a pretty good book. A lot of information I had heard before but some new stuff as well. Unlike some of the other books I've read, this is written by a man to an audience of women, and there is no male version of the book. It was interesting to hear his perspective on the female sex - he often mentions how great we are at multi-tasking and "doing it all." If what he says is true, I think I've gained a new understanding of how men view their wives and collected a few ideas for our own relationship.

Okay, so looking back maybe I only got to one fiction book last month.  But that's one more than last month.  And I've already started a new novel for next month's post that I'm totally giddy about.  Can't wait to pull this one out of my bag when we're at the new pool in a few weeks.  Because nothing says SUMMER like 17th century England, right?  And just in case you think you've got me figured out, I will say it is not a Jane Austen book.  In fact, all my Jane novels have been relegated to the back bookshelf and will remain there at least for the duration of the year.  A girl's gotta take a break at some point!  Until then ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

A month late and a dollar short

Okay I don't really know about the dollar short thing but I finally got around to taking Jack in for his 18 month well-baby check-up last week, now that he's over 19 months. Ooops. I just didn't want to schedule it when the baby might be coming, and then I was waiting to see when Jon would be available so I wouldn't have to bring Jude along. But I ended up taking him anyway and of course, in typical Jude fashion, he slept the entire time.

We have seen a different doctor for each of Jack's well-baby visits. I think it's partly my fault because I schedule them last minute and then take whoever has an opening. And I haven't met one I truly loved enough to insist on seeing again. Until now. Too bad we'll never be back to this clinic before we move, but I just loved the doctor Jack met with on Friday. He was an older gentleman with snowy white hair and a slow, soft voice. Perfect for my wild child. Who, while I was fillling out paperwork on lead poisoning, happened to be removing objects from the drawers when the doctor walked in. I was really hoping he wouldn't make us wait too long. I had only brought a few books and toys to keep Jack occupied in that tiny space full of drawers and buttons. Thankfully, he didn't. This has been the most attentive, thoughtful doctor we've met with yet. In fact, I think I was in more of a hurry than he was. He let Jack play with his equipment, and showed him how the tape measure and knee-knocker-thing worked. He seemed genuinely interested in my son. And he kept commenting on Jack's adorable rosy cheeks (they are kinda cute, but I'm afraid they make him look like he's constantly out of shape!!). But I think he was little taken aback at Jack's size when his shirt was off. Jack's a big kid, but you really notice it when you see that belly and all those rolls!! I thought he was starting to thin out, but now I'm not so sure. He's definitely clinging on to that baby fat. At 32 pounds he's currently wearing 2T clothes, but all his shirt and pants are tight around the belly. He continues to hang out in the 97th percentile, which the doctor seemed please with. But I have to wonder, at what point is it no longer "good" to be bigger than 97% of your peers??

We talked about his development, how he's interested in learning and likes to figure out how things work. How he "walks" up and down the stairs. How he maybe says 8 words max at this point - Mama, Dada, dog, uh-oh, what's that, ball, hoT (emphasis on the "t") ... apparently this is on the low end for his age but I'm not too concerned. We just have to make it a point to go over words and sounds with him for the next few months. We discussed how he's a great sleeper, and a generally good eater who loves his fruits and veggies, and that he's never had an ear infection or any other sickness since he was born. The doc seems to think it's because he's not in daycare but I personally believe it's because Jack and I both find visits to the military clinic extremely bothersome and do everything we can do avoid them!

We finished with the doctor and walked across the hall to get Jack measured and weighed. I set Jude's carseat down in the room, turned around and Jack was gone. I looked up and down the hallway and peeked in each of the other exam rooms. Nothing. The office isn't that big, where could he have gone in 10 seconds time? I finally found him out in the waiting room, playing with toys in nothing but a diaper and socks. Some random nurse said, "Oh I wondered who this child was!" Thankfully, Jude doesn't walk yet because his Mommy left him very much unattended while chasing after Jack!

Vaccinations were a breeze this time compared to our other visits. The "vaccinator" was a little more slow than I like to see (I prefer the fast ones that do all three shots before you can blink your eye!!) but Jack's one tough cookie. And the lollipop at the end definitely helped. Thankfully he handled the immunizations much better than last time, and was just a bit more clingy that day and night. And the best part is no more shots for the next 2.5 years. Hooray!

So that's Jack at 18 (eh, 19 months). He is really growing up. He may not say much, but he definitely understands EVERYTHING! And he's learning how to do new things every day. He loves jumping in the air with both feet. He insists that I use a changing mat whenever I change Jude's diaper, and makes sure to bring it to me each time. He gives himself a round of applause every time he throws something in the trash. He brings me his shoes when he wants to go for a walk. He has a habit of shutting all the doors upstairs before coming downstairs, although he probably doesn't realize I only do this to keep him out of our room and and the bathroom. He thinks pancakes always taste better when they come off Mommy's plate. He believes that everything that comes through the car window in a bag must be food, and gets very upset when Mommy doesn't give him a taste of her vitamins when she picks them up from the drive-thru pharmacy. And apparently, just today, he's even learned how to operate the lock on the gate in the church nursery. Thankfully they caught him before he made his way back into the sanctuary. Although it would've been interesting to see my son walking up the aisle in the middle of the sermon.

One of his favorite activities is crawling over the chair arm and hanging out in the small corner between Daddy's chair, the wall and the shelf. He would read some books or play with puzzles for a little and then start crying for me because he couldn't get out. Eventually he realized that with a few swipes he could clear all the books and puzzles off the shelf, and create an escape route that would deposit him behind the chair and back into freedom. He now does this on a daily basis.

Isn't it funny how proud you can be of a little child? Jack and Jude don't do much at this point, they haven't made any major contributions to society, haven't solved any world issues, haven't scored any touchdowns yet or came home with A's on their report cards. They can barely even talk. But those boys are just the light of my life! And I love 'em like crazy!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Normal: Running Errands

Have you ever noticed that the day after a bad day always seems to go great? Maybe it was just in comparison to our horrendous Monday, but Tuesday of this week was smooth as glass! So I decided to venture out to the grocery store, by myself with both boys, for the second time since Jude's arrival. Such a process!!

I remember feeling very accomplished when I finally started running errands with Jack all by myself. That and the fact that, as we learned when Jack was a babe, we tend to save money when I'm the one throwing items in the cart. Funny that I thought one baby was difficult back then. I just don't know how people do this with several small children! So my original plan was to grocery shop in the evenings, after Jon gets home from work. But since he's the one that gets Jack up and around in the mornings now, and therefore goes into work later, he's coming home later. By the time he gets home from work or the gym, and we finish dinner and dishes, the last thing on my mind is shopping. So after waiting for several days for some grocery motivation, and seeing Jack's face each morning when he realized there were no bananas... well it was time to "just do it."

In the three total times I've taken the boys out on my own so far, I've learned I have to plan ahead. For instance, last week we went to the doctor's office, Target and then my work to introduce Jude to my co-workers. This was a total of 3.5 hours out of the house and overlapped one of Jude's feedings, Jack's lunch and bordered on his nap. And as many mom's know, a car nap can ruin your whole afternoon! So I started planning this trip the night before. I laid out all our clothes, had breakfast ready to go, toys and snacks packed for the car. I even brought the car DVD player so Jack would have something to do if I ended up nursing Jude in the car. All this for 3 stops around town!

Now that I'm a mom I suddenly wish every business had a drive through, including the doctor's office. I had to stop in there to pick up some paperwork, that was it. But of course, I have to get both kids out of the car, and carry one heavy baby-laden car seat on one arm, and hold the hand of one antsy toddler in the other. Now I don't know about other 19-month olds, but mine isn't so good at the hold-Mommy's-hand-and-walk-beside-her bit yet. Sometimes he gets a little curious and wants to see what's around the corner. Other times he'd rather stop and check out a rock in the middle of the road. And, in general, he just doesn't have the coordination to walk with me yet. So, since I was in a hurry, I scooped him up and carried both boys in and out of the clinic. Thankfully those Navy guys are super nice and held doors for the poor lady carrying two babies. I'm sure I looked very desperate.

I probably had that same desperate-mom-who-is-INTENT-on-getting-the-job-done-or-else look on my face the day I decided we HAD to go to the grocery store. Unfortunately, that day it was also raining. I hadn't thought about the store the night before so I didn't have much time to plan ahead. But after several trips to the car, in the rain, I managed to get both kids, diaper bag, re-useable grocery bags, coupons, and beverage to keep Jack occupied... and only got a little wet. We arrived in the parking lot and I was forced to make a quick decision - park as close to the store as possible or as close to the carts as possible. Normally I park next to the carts since it's too much work carrying the boys (and diaper bag, coupons, bags, etc.) into the store without one, and it's illegal to leave your kids in the car, even to grab a cart. Which is a tad crazy, but so are the stories about what happens to people who do. So I try to play it safe and park next to the carts. But since they would be all wet on this particular day we opted to park close to the store.

I hopped in the backseat, stuffed Jude in the Moby wrap, got Jack out of his seat, hung diaper bag and grocery bags over my arm, and grabbed Jack's hand to walk the 30 yards or so to the front door, during which Jack managed to step in every puddle in our path. On our walk in I realized it was Tuesday, Senior Citizen Day. And not that there's anything wrong with that, but Jack loves the Senior Citizens and the Senior Citizens love Jack. So if I ever end up grocery shopping on a Tuesday I know to plan on it taking longer than usual.

Another thing about grocery shopping with two kids. Apparently they don't make carts to accomodate a baby (who can't sit) and a toddler. I've put Jack in the front seat and Jude's entire car seat in the cart at other stores, but that doesn't exactly work when your intention is to fill the cart with groceries. Thus, we employ the Moby wrap. And it works pretty well. The only difficulty is lifting heavy objects, i.e. 32 lb. toddlers, whilst baby is attached to your front. It's not easy holding tank out and away from your body to get him in and out of the cart. But somehow it works, and Jude sleeps through it all anyway.

I try to bring a drink and snack for Jack whenever we go to the grocery store, even if he just ate, because it's nice to keep both his hands and mouth occupied.  I did not have snack on this particular day, which is why there are teeth marks in the yogurt cap, part of a green pepper disappeared, and the pretzels were opened before we got home.  Also it's much better to have him busy feeding himself than sticking his hand out to clear the shelves while you're rolling the cart by and looking the other direction.

We made it through the store and to the checkout lane.  And this time I remembered my wallet. Having Jude strapped to my belly is a lot like being pregnant.  I've nearly mastered the side-bend to get the last few items out of the bottom of the cart.  And it's just as impossible to "suck it in" when it's time to slide the cart by and push it to the end.  Why must they make those check-out lanes so narrow?

Jack is an excellent assistant when unloading the groceries, the challenge is getting him into the house and keeping him there while I'm bringing the bags in from the car.  Usually I open the front balcony door and we play a sort of peek-a-boo game.  "Look, Mom's out at the car ... oh, wait, Mom's inside now."  And he runs back and forth, into the house and back out on the deck, saying "hi" to me each time.  And then it's time to pull everything out of the bags, which he is very helpful with - building towers with the canned goods, running off with the container of cherry tomatoes, etc.

Meanwhile, Jude sleeps, which is what Jude did the entire trip, and what Jude usually does unless it's time to eat.  So I have to wonder, what are errands going to look like when Jude doesn't sleep all the time?  I have a feeling our normal will be changing again in the not-so-distant future...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

They say it gets better

... but I'm wondering when!! I thought for sure Jack would be adjusted to Jude by 4 weeks, but it appears that we still have things to work on. Monday just may have been the worst day so far. Jude was up at 6am with gas pains. The day was dark and rainy and we never got our walk in. And Jack hadn't eaten much for breakfast and was in rare form (I think I'm starting to notice a direct correlation between hunger and Jack's behavior). After some flying fists and blocks, directed at both the baby and I, followed by some screaming over not getting his own way, Jack was removed to the play pen in his room. He was not happy about these consequences and made sure we all knew it. I'm pretty sure the neighbors knew it too.

I was at least able to finish feeding Jude and put him down for a nap. By then Jack had quieted down and was ready for lunch, and without a baby brother to contend with, he was a much more pleasant little boy until nap time.

Even so, I had to wonder, when does it get better? Because in a few weeks Jude will be awake more, and in a few months he'll be playing with Jack's toys, and a few months after that he'll be walking around the house. Just when is everything supposed to fall into place?

Needless to say, I was a tad frustrated at the end of the day. So I posted a plea for help on a Babywise message board I'm a member of and within hours had some great advice! Like changing our schedule around so Jack has independent playtime during one nursing session, and room time or TV time during another, making sure we have quality one-on-one time each day, having Jack do some attention-focusing activities at the table, and using his toy cars to role play being "gentle" and "rough." One woman who replied had twins and another baby 17 months apart and, 20 months later, is pregnant with her 4th!! If she can make it work then there's no reason why I can't!

And so I'm going at this with renewed vision. My original dreams of nursing Jude in one arm, reading books to Jack in the other, all sitting in a circle on the floor singing Kumbaya ... well, apparently that's not our reality right now. And I'm okay with that. Rather than trying to deal with the problems as they come up, and getting stressed out over an unhappy toddler, I think my new plan is to try to avoid such situations altogether.

I really don't think that Jack has a problem with Jude himself. He definitely loves giving the little guy kisses. I think he just doesn't like not having his Mommy all to himself. And I also think he's bored. So we're tweaking the routine and doubling up on the hugs, kisses and "I love yous", and it's going to get better. It has to, because these two boys WILL be best friends if it's the last thing I do!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do you see what I see?

I was out on the deck grilling some BBQ chicken last week when I happened to look out over the yard. Do you know what I saw? (Other than that big, ugly rope the previous tenants left us.)

Something bright red lying among the dead leaves. Can you tell what it is?

I can tell you, it doesn't belong out there ... it belongs here:

How it got out there I do not know. Since Jack doesn't do much rope climbing I'm guessing he must have thrown them off the deck. And now I'm wondering what else could possibly be out there among the leaves.

I was telling a friend the other day that I was looking forward to moving out of our house just so I could find all those toys that have gone MIA over the past year. Usually, a missing toy will turn up within a week or so, depending on how much cleaning we do. Others have been absent for longer, such as one particular red ball.

And then there are the toys I've pretty much written off, like the other red triangle. It's been so long since I've seen it I'm beginning to wonder if it ever truly existed.

So yes, it will be interesting to see what turns up, and what doesn't. And in case you're wondering, we haven't begun packing yet. It's hard enough to keep the the house orderly, the last thing I need is boxes of stuff lying around for Jack to get in to. I suppose we'll have to start at some point. Until then, we're enjoying our last days in our cozy and cramped beach nest. Little does Jack know that his "fenced in" play area will soon be 20 times bigger and with grass!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Amazing Jude

So I know I've mentioned a few times that Jude is a great, fantastic, super baby, but haven't really said much more than that.  I suppose I've been refraining from boasting about my little angel babe until I knew it wasn't a temporary fluke.  Well, it's been 3 1/2 weeks since he arrived in our world, and I'm still impressed.  We have our moments, but really, this experience has been nothing like the first few weeks with my firstborn.

I was fully expecting the worst for our first night in the hospital, and it appeared to be headed in that direction.  Jon took the 9pm-11pm shift with a somewhat fussy baby while I sorta drifted in and out of sleep.  But after that, the child just slept.  He slept so hard that I couldn't get him awake to eat, which is why we had all that drama over being "dry" and not urinating the next morning...  The second night in the hospital was pretty good too, if the hospital staff didn't keep coming in to the room for checks I might have actually gotten some decent sleep.  In fact, the whole first week home I actually had to wake Jude up to eat ever 3 hours at night.  At our one week doctor's appointment he weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, which means he gained an entire pound in the 5 days since we had left the hospital.  I figured with that kind of weight gain I could let him sleep as long as he wanted to at night, but that was also the day that Jude decided to get himself up at night.  And so, for the past 2 weeks he's been waking up twice on his own, usually around 1-2am and then again between 4-5am.  He nurses, I change his diaper, swaddle him up, and he goes right to sleep.  Just. like. that. 

Apparently, lots of babies do this.  But since I've only ever had one other baby, and he kept me up ALLLL night for the first 2-3 weeks, and then half the night for the second 2-3 weeks, well I just wasn't expecting to get that much sleep at this point in my life.  Typically I wouldn't get all excited over only 6-7 hours of interrupted sleep each night, but I cannot even begin to tell you what a difference it makes (that and the face that I don't have to deal with that stupid carpal tunnel this time around!).  I can't imagine taking care of a newborn and toddler-Jack in the zombie state I was in 19 months ago, this is much better.  In fact, I told Jon that if I knew our future offspring would be like Jude I'd easily take 4 more!

I think Jon appreciates the nighttime routine too.  He hasn't had to pull one evening shift yet.  Jude's been sleeping in the bassinet next to me at night, which is very convenient.  I just reach over and pull him in bed, then put him back when he's done eating. We've even mastered the "nursing while laying down" bit, which means I can almost sleep while he's eating.  If we don't do that then I'll either listen to teaching on my iPod or read a book with "Polaris", the nifty booklight I got for Christmas.  Jon nicknamed it such becuase he claims it is incredibly bright.  I used to agree, but now that I use it to change poopy diapers by ... I realize it's not really that bright.

For some reason I've been more reluctant to move Jude to the crib than I was with the last baby, even though it's only on the other side of the room.  Jon kicked Jack out of our room at two weeks when he went back to work.  So, at his insistence, Jude slept in his big boy crib last night and everything went well.  He'll stay in our room until we move, and then he gets his own space.  And hopefully by then I'll only be getting up once a night.

#2 is an old pro at the eat-awake-sleep cycle already!  He's gotten much better, and more efficient, at nursing.  We spend a little time staring at one another, sharing smiles, or getting kisses from big brother, then it's down for a 2-or-so hour nap, and back up to do it all again.  He's also got the whole poop and pee thing down.  I forgot how many diaper changes newborns require!  I've only gotten peed on once so far, and while I was trying to manage the small fountain, he promptly followed it with a forceful poo.  Jon and Jack got a kick out of watching Mommy deal with that. 

The biggest challenge so far has been burping.  He's either very easy to burp ... or impossible.  Just this past week he's been having some gas issues.  So I've been pulling out all the stops, trying every burping maneuver in the book.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.  I've officially decided that burping is my least favorite aspect of newbornhood.  I think I'd rather change 20 poopy diapers then burp.  At least I KNOW they are poopy and I KNOW how to take care of it.  But, that's not an option.  So would someone please invent a burping machine?!?  I would gladly write a recommendation.

I was worried that he wasn't eating as much as he should, but we had his 3 week follow-up appointment yesterday and he weighed in at 9 pounds, 4 ounces!  Maybe I just worry too much.  Actually, the nice thing about a second baby is that you don't worry as much.  I've heard moms are more laid back the second time around and I have to agree.  The combination of a great baby and a more easy-going mom have served us well.  And so, he's finally growing out of his newborn clothes, all 5 outfits that I was so well-prepared with.  I'm very excited because we have some adorable new clothes for him to try out, and I'm tired of looking at the same 5 outfits week in and week out!  And you know I love me some chubby baby!  We love watching him grow, but are relishing every second of his "newbornness", becauase I know how fast these days will fly by and I wouldn't miss them for the world!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Q:  "Janine, how do you keep your house so clean, especially now with two little ones."

A:  "Ummm, I don't ???"

I get asked this question quite often, surprisingly, because I feel like my house is usually a mess.  Except on Saturdays when Jon's in his deep cleaning mode.  So I guess the real answer is, I tend not to post messy house pictures on my blog.  That, and most of my pictures are focused on my kids, not my living space.  But, lately I've been inspired by another blog by a photographer who takes the most poignant pictures of her girls and home, which happens to be beautiful, colorful and generally very messy.  I swear I saw mold around her bathtub in one shot.  So, in the spirit of "being real" here is a picture of what my living room looks like EVERY DAY.  By 10am.  Courtesy of Tank.   Well, except for the occasional baby item.  Oh, and those playing cards have since been relocated.

But if you're one of those personages that happens to randomly stop by and claim my house is "clean", well, then I may have an answer:
  • We're one of those "everything has a place and everything in it's place" kind of families (mostly due to my husband).  So it's very easy to pick up and put away in just a few minutes.
  • I try to clean everything up during nap times so it doesn't catch up with me at the end of the day.  We always clean up the living room at before bed.  And usually, if I'm having a good day, we try to have things picked up before Daddy walks in the door.  Sometimes I let things messy just to make sure he understands what we go through here during the day.  :)
  • I'm married to a very neat and clean product of a military academy.  Jon vacuums every Saturday morning just because he enjoys it.  And when I let the dishes pile up in the sink 'cuz I just don't have the energy to tackle them (like last night for instance), he usually has them all washed by the time I come downstairs in the morning.  Whataman!!
Even so, there are some days when the mess is just plain overwhelming.  I can't tell you how many times one of us has nearly killed ourselves, or the small child we're carrying, while tripping over a toy.  Then there are the times when Jon and I are having a relaxing evening watching a movie when a random cow puzzle piece starts "mooing."  Which is why I'm so looking forward to THIS:

a current formal dining room, in our new house that, since we have neither a dining table nor formal dishes, we'll be changing into a playroom.  I can't wait to keep all that mess in one room!

Until then, please comfort yourself with the fact that we can be a very messy family and that, although in the past I have avoided posting pictures and videos because they showed the dust on the bookshelf or crumbs on the floor, I'll try not to avoid said behavior anymore!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sooo sleepy

I think the past 3 weeks are finally catching up with me.  Today was the first day where I honestly felt like I could hardly function.  Let's just say the TV was on a lot longer than I'd like it to be.  I also took a nap while both boys were sleeping.  If you know me at all, or have been reading this blog for a while, then you know I'm not much of a napper, so I was pretty pleased with myself for successfully catching a fee zzz's this afternoon. 

Despite the extra sleep, today was a little rough in Mommy-world.  It addition to the usual sibling rivarly we've been experiencing lately, it also involved one bloody little boy lip, two pee soaked baby outfits, a cup of water spilled on my laptop. some spit up, clean, neatly folded laundry thrown about the living room and a husband who didn't get home from work until after 6.  It's really no surprise that a few days ago I considered, for a few seconds, how much easier it would be to go into work for a day and let someone else manage the boys.  Then again, I'd hate to miss out on these cutey faces Judey-boy's been giving me lately ...

So I'm a tad worn out and a touch grumpy.  Rather than attempt to write anything creative, I think I'll just post some pictures of the cutest boys on earth over our fun weekend with Nonnie and Poppie. 

 Poppie is sporting his special grandpa shirt while holding his 8th grandchild!

Jack had a great day at the beach!

And, to celebrate the birth of another grandchild and Jon's new Master's degree, we had dinner out at Dockside, the same restaurant where Jon spilled the beans on #2 and where we took Jack at 5 days old.
18 months ago ...
I just love how different these two are.  I can't wait to see more of Jude's personality come through.  And more of these brotherly love sessions ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

What's In a Name?

If you haven't heard yet, our second born is named Jude Edward.  The Jude part was easy.  It's been my favorite names for a while now.  I started liking it at some point in college, it may have been during my semester in Oxford, when I lived right down the road from a pub called "Jude the Obscure" based on the book by Thomas Hardy.  We ended up going with Jack for our firstborn since that was Jon's favorite.  And I'm glad we did because Jack is definitely a "Jack" and Jude is most certainly a "Jude."

I've gotten quiet a few comments on his name lately, especially from the nurses in the hospital and at Jude's check-ups.  A few people have asked if he's named after the actor, Jude Law.  Um, no.  And a couple other's have mentioned the Beatles song.  Nope, not named after that either, although I do sing it to him occasionally.  There is the book of Jude in the Bible, which I happen to like, and not just because it's short.  But the real reason he's named Jude is just because we like it.

The name Jude, of Hebrew origins, means "praise; thanks."  We are very thankful for our amazing little guy, not to mention my fantastic pregnancy and delivery.  So I think the title is very apropros.  Jack's name means "God's gracious gift."  I talked before about the theme of grace all through my Jack-pregnancy, but I think it's resurfacing again during this time of transition.  Both Jon and I are extremely thankful that Jude was our second child and have really sensed the grace of God as we've been dealing with Jack these past two weeks.  So far, both my boys are living up to their names. :)

Choosing Jude's middle name was a bit more of a challenge.  I was originally pulling for Elliot or Quincy, but Jon prefers to give a nod towards family heritage.  And I can see why, especially since Jack's middle name, and all of Jack's and Jude's cousins middle names, are after family members.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  No offense to members of my family, but there aren't a lot of great names on our tree.  We kept coming back to my Pappy's name - Edward, which means "wealthy guardian" (so I'm thinkin' Jude will be taking care of his parents in the distant future).  It reminds me of England and one of my favorite movies, "Sense and Sensibility."  I prefer their pronunciation too - "Ed-wahd." 

We grew up just a few houses down from my Ma and Pappy and would spend a lot of time at their house.  Ma would play games with us and give us lots of candy, and Pappy would take us for lawnmower rides or load us in the back of his truck for day trips to the cabin.  He was a great mechanic (I could have used his expertise on more than one occasion), a fantastic gardener (if he was still alive I'd be inviting him down to our new house to help me start a garden!), extremely patient (he would answer all of our "Why Pappy, whyyy?" questions, loved lima beans (which Jack and I eat several times a week right now!) and was an excellent napper (we're hoping this mantle has been passed on to Jude).  I also happen to think he was pretty handsome as a young lad, just like his great-grandsons have already proven to be.

Pappy also grew up in a house full of boys, if only he were still alive, I'm sure he could give me a good idea of what's going to be taking place in our house over the coming years.  Although I'm sure he'd just shake his head and chuckle like he used to when my brothers and I would get a little "out of hand."  Unfortunately, Pappy never met either of my sons, nor was he ever introduced to my incredible husband, but I'm pretty sure he would have loved all three! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A new normal

Jon and I joke that the first two weeks of Jude's life have been like a vacation for us.  Jon is totally finished with his graduate degree and so, with no work or school to distract him, the boys and I have been really enjoying his undivided attention.  We've been taking walks, playing on the beach, shopping for the new house and the baby (thanks to some great gift cards!!), and eating lots of lunches out. :)  I also haven't had to worry about making dinner since several of our friends have made us some amazing meals, with plenty of leftovers!  We feel very blessed!

But Jon went back to work on Tuesday and it's been just me and the kids during the day.  And so, we've spent the last 48 hours trying to figure out what a "normal" day will look like in our house.  I've actually been taking notes on our "routine" (which is currently not very routine), you know, conducting qualitative research, collecting empirical data, searching for patterns, seeking out correlations between two variables ... see, I knew my degree would come in handy.  Oddly enough, life now is very similiar to what it was just a few weeks ago, with just a few minor changes.

Jack still eats breakfast after he gets up in the morning, although now I'm nursing Jude with one hand and doling out cereal and bananas with the other.  I still get my 30 or so minutes of free time in the morning to shower and get ready while Jack plays in the "pen", although now I have to keep an ear out for the littlest baby hanging out on the bed.  We've managed to keep up our daily walks, I've regained the stamina to walk longer and harder again without lugging around that extra weight, but I have to say pushing that double stroller is definitely a work-out!  I feel like I'm changing a hundred diapers a day.  The sad thing is, sometimes I forget about Jack's diapers ... so we've had more than one "accident" this week.  Jack still takes a great afternoon nap, although he's usually the one asking me to go to bed rather than me telling him.  I think we've all gained a greater appreciation for "quiet time."  I will say the house is much more messy than usual.  I just can't keep up.  And I'm not quite sure why, it's not like Jude plays with toys.  There always seems to be a ton of dishes in the sink too, which is interesting since I haven't managed to make dinner yet.  Then again, I haven't really had to.

Has Jude really only been "here" for a little over two weeks?  It seems like forever ago that I was pregnant and he was kicking my ribs.  He's already such a part of our lives now.  It's hard to remember what a full night's sleep feels like, or what I did with all those extra hours that I now spend feeding a newborn ... then again, I think Jack still remembers.  He seems to be doing a little better though.  He insists on giving Jude a binky, though he tends to shove it in the poor kid's mouth. 

He also likes to point to Jude's nose and eyes (!!!), and play with his hair.  Sometimes he gets too rough and starts smacking his head.  And then there's the swing.  Jack is totally enthralled with the 5 speed settings and the music/nature sounds option.  I think he just likes pressing the buttons.  If Jude is in the swing we usually keep it on the 1 setting.  Yesterday I walked into the room and Jack was giving Jude the ride of his life when he cranked it up to 5!  And of course nursing still presents it's challenges.  Jack likes to "watch" Jude eat, and for some reason finds it really funny.  But his favorite activity during nursing sessions is using Mommy as a jungle gym.  Jon captured this picture of his crazy antics (don't worry, Jude was done eating by the time he got the camera out). 

And so we're all busy adjusting, getting a little closer to our new normal which, I have a feeling, is not very far off!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nothing to wear

Ugh, the after-party.  Otherwise known as post-partum.  The part of motherhood where I lose 13 pounds in two weeks, look in the mirror and say, "Wow, I look skinny!" and then go to put an old pair of jeans on and discover I can't even pull them up past my knees.  So I'm still wearing maternity pants, but since I no longer have a belly to hold them up, well, they tend to fall down.  And then I have to find a shirt that fits at the top, but still covers the elastic band on my pants.  Thus my wardrobe of choice these days tends to be sweat pants and plain old t-shirts leftover from high school and college.  Real self-esteem boosters.

Thankfully the cutest accessory arrived two weeks ago, and when I wear it no one notices my baggy pants and big t-shirts. 

Who needs new clothes when you can just wear babies??

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hey Jude

I mentioned that my brothers surprised us by showing up on Sunday morning.  They actually arrived at 2:30am, entered the house, and crashed on the couch, without us or my parents even noticing.  Late that morning I was upstairs getting ready for church and thought I could hear Jared's voice.  So I came downstairs and there they were!

It was great having the whole family down during Jude's first week ... especially since both Uncles brought their fancy cameras.  Judey-boy was wide awake and quiet for a whole hour while Uncle Micah shot photos.  We got a lot of great pictures that I'm so excited about!  Can't wait to decorate the walls of our new house with photos of my handsome boys!  Here are a few of my favorite shots:

You can see more pictures here

A special thanks to Uncle Micah for making the trip and taking the photos, and to PADot for making it all possible! ;)
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