Thursday, June 30, 2011

Now Showing

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26 weeks
The Little Miss and I hit a milestone today - a stranger asked if I was expecting!  Yay for looking pregnant, finally.  And suddenly this week I'm really noticing the belly.  Like, picking up Jack's toys has become really, really bothersome.  It's so much easier to just kick them under the couch.  The leg cramps have started back up again, especially when I'm rockin' the heels.  But I will continue to rock the heels because, in my humble opinion, they make my legs look skinnier.  And with baby girl pushing me over the 16.5 pound weight gain this week, I'm all for the thinning techniques.

Actually, I've gained the same amount with this pregnancy as I did with Jude at this point.  And surprisingly it's slightly more than I did with Jack at 26 weeks, but we all know how that pregnancy ended.  And, maybe not so ironically, the post I started writing out in my head earlier today about being 26 weeks pregnant sounded an awful lot like the post I wrote at 26 weeks pregnant with Jude.  And that's why I'm glad I blog.  Because if I hadn't just read over that post right now, I'd probably be wondering (for the third time in three years) why I'm feeling so small at 6 months pregnant!  And also realize, yet again, that I only feel small until I see a picture of myself.  Look at that belly ... oh snap!

Other than the heightened awareness of being with child, I'm starting to get a little psyched for this upcoming birth (not that we need to rush it along or anything).  Jon and I took a tour of the birthing center I've been visiting these past few months.  He wasn't too impressed, but I am very excited about delivering there.  For those of you who don't know, it's a place where "healthy mom deliver healthy babies."  Well, at least according to the midwife last night, or midhusband.  What do you call a male midwife?  Anyway, it's very low tech and high touch.  In fact, for my upcoming glucose test I don't even have to drink that nasty, sugary, flat 7-up stuff.  Instead I drink a glass of orange juice and eat a banana an hour before going in for my appointment.  Convenient and tasty!

There are 4 midwives there, and they make sure you meet all of them before you deliver.  There are three rooms to choose from, all look like normal bedrooms with regular beds, showers, jacuzzi tubs, birthing balls and a big birthing pool if you want it.  There's also a kitchen and living room.  You just show up when you're well into labor, have a baby any way you want to, and then leave 4-12 hours later.  No epidurals, no IVs, no pitocin, no being strapped down to the bed with cuffs and monitors, no being woken up every 2 hours for check-ups after the baby is born.  Um, heaven?

The way I see it, I've had two fairly swell deliveries in a hospital, a military hospital at that.  If this next one is anything like the first two, it should be a piece a cake when I can have my own way.  But I better not get too haughty now.  Time will tell.
Now that we're thinking about giving birth and on the downhill slope to d-day, I picked up this joker - Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta - for my Kindle when we go to beach this summer.  Yup, Ina May has a new book out, and I'm always up for a fresh perspective on natural childbirth.  It still feels strange to think we'll be having another baby in a few months, 3 months actually.  In some ways it just hasn't hit me yet.  But I'm sure it will all become very real once the first contractions hit.  Until then, we're just going to enjoy the summer, our boys, a new house and a big belly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving 2011, Part I

I thought about coming up with a really cute and clever title about our big move, but then I'll just have to come up with another one 3 years from now, and then a few years after that, and every other time we get new orders.  So I went with simply "moving."  And two weeks later it feels like we still haven't stopped.

We learned our lesson after last year's move.  You can only keep small children occupied with a bag of toys in a cleared corner of a room for so long.  So we tried to plan better this time around.  Originally our thought was to just send the boys and I up to Pennsylvania for the duration of the moving events, but then our closing ended up being between packing and pick-up days.  So we stuck out moving day #1 in the old house.

The company sent one packer, ONE PACKER, to box up our entire house.  We were told he was their fastest worker... and that he worked best alone.  Although I wouldn't necessarily say he was "alone."  The guy talked on his phone almost the entire time, and I'm quite certain he has a secondary job as Dr. Love because that's certainly what it sounded like.  I'll give him credit thought, he was a machine.  He packed up our entire house, all 2500 square feet, in less than 12 hours.  I tried to keep the boys out of his way as much as possible, even though Jack was the first to answer the door, "Hi Man, I Jack!"  Some of our playdate friends put together a little pizza luncheon for us so we could have one last hurrah (and not have to worry about finding dishes to eat off of!).  We made it through the first day with Jack only attempting to unpack a few boxes ... and only once coming *this close* to toppling an entire tower of "dish" boxes onto his little brother.

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Plenty of room to crawl around now!

You'd think that with an empty house and everything packed up the kids would stay out of trouble.  We had one hour the next morning, between breakfast and leaving for our closing.  And in that one hour Jack figured out how to shut his brother up in an empty cupboard, and Jude found the lone bottle of toothpaste and started painting with it.  It was a frantic morning.  I finally got all our things and kids loaded up into the car without any time to spare.  Ergo, not a single picture of our empty house for memory's sake. Unlike our last move, I didn't shed one tear leaving town.  In fact, my brain was too frazzled to even make any attempt at sentimentality.  I was too occupied with wondering how to manage two little boys during an hour and a half closing.

Yes, we brought our children to the closing.  Never again.  I mean, we didn't really have a choice, but still, not our brightest moment.  Thankfully, our realtor has gotten used to our kids, the seller has triplet boys of his own and just kept laughing, and the seller's realtor was his good friend.  So it was friendly banter all around.  And when Jack attempted to draw on the walls or shoved his brother under a box and Jude started typing away at the keyboard and messing up the computer screen ... well, it was a nice break from mortgage and inspection lingo.  Apparently, the seller's last closing had been with an ornery divorced couple, so he said our session was much more pleasant.  Which is good, because I never knew one could spend an hour and a half simply signing papers.  Just one after the other.  And I have no idea what I was signing since I was typically bouncing one boy on my knee and trying to pull the other boy out from under the table.  I just figured if Jon's signature was there, it was safe to put mine too.  And so, 90 minutes and two tired, hungry kids later ... we were homeowners.

It's a pretty sobering fact.  The car ride to the new house was a bit quiet.  One of our recent homeowner friends said the decision to buy a house was even weightier than the decision to start a family.  I'll just take her word for it since we never really decided to have a family ... or continue having one for that matter.  Suffice it to say, we definitely put a lot more thought into this venture. 

I was in a hurry to get to Marmie and Poppa's before rush hour so we quick grabbed some lunch at the nearest grocery store and picnicked in our new dining room.

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It doesn't matter how many fun water bottles and sippy cups I buy for my kids, they both prefer mine. :(

It was all fun and games until Jack accidentally knocked over his water, then slipped on the puddle and fell face first into the rest of his meal.  Leave it to Jack to consecrate the new floors within 10 minutes of owning them.

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We wrapped up lunch, did a quick tour of the new digs, and then loaded the boys back up in the car.  But not before Jack rescued a few toys from the old owner's garbage pile.  The boys and I went to Marmie and Poppa's for a few days to get out of the movers' way.  Meanwhile, Jon stayed back at the old place to work on his paper over the weekend and supervise moving day that coming Monday.  The movers showed up that morning, loaded everything up in two trucks and dropped it off before the end of the day.  Jon even had time to unpack a few things and set up the beds before crashing for the night.

Every day we're finding new things to love about our home (and things to not love of course), but I have to say one of my favorite aspects thus far is that the drive to PA is now only 3 hours.  I even managed to get a pit stop in there.  That's always fun, attempting to use a public restroom when you're traveling by yourself with two kids. Of course, all that will change in a few months, but by then I won't be pregnant anymore and thus won't require a pit stop on a 3 hour drive.  Anyway, the grandparents had big plans for our visit, and they began with a local volunteer fire company's parade and carnival.  All I could think about the entire ride home was ham barbecue, homemade french fries and milk shakes.  Mmmm...

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Jack loved the parade.  You can tell because he wore his most serious face the entire time.  The glazed eyes and downturned pout.  It's the face he wears when the excitement of something is so overwhelming it makes his little self nervous.  And it makes for cute pictures too.

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We told him to put his hand over his heart when the veterans carrying the American flag walked by at the beginning of the parade.  Apparently he thinks his heart is in his stomach.

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And the candy.  Dude, it pays to have a Marmie who is also the local kindergarten teacher because all the kids in the parade knew her and made sure she receive an ample amount of goodies.  And they've also all heard about Jack, who gladly ran about the street gathering tootsie rolls to throw in his bucket.  And then for some reason he'd go right back to his chair for all of 5 seconds until the next float drove by.

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Since the parade was a benefit for the local fire company there were a lot of fire trucks.  I was afraid Jude would flip out when they drove by blaring their sirens.  Instead, Jack looked petrified and Jude was elated.  Of course, now Jack thinks all fire trucks throw candy all the time.

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After the parade we headed over to the carnival, which is nothing like Knoebels (a.k.a. "the fun park") but all new and exciting to Jack anyway.

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There's the serious fun face.


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He really was excited, honestly.

I had a few heart palpitations watching him on the rickety rides, wondering if they'd hold up up until he got off, but he walked away that night unscathed.  A happy, yet very overtired, little boy.  And can you believe he's big enough to ride a rollercoaster?

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The rest of the weekend was equally fun.  A few fantastic yard sales, and loads of sweet baby girl clothes to wash and organize with Marmie.  Visiting our home church and Sunday School (to which Jack responds, "No pushin' kids!")  Jude's tubbies - al fresco.

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The Strawberry Festival with yet more ham barbecue (I still haven't had my fix!).  Shopping at the Amish run surplus store.  And of course, the trampoline.  Although this time Poppa added a new twist.  A tarp, a hose and wa-la a "trampool" or something. 

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Whatever it was, Jack thought it was fun and will be fully expecting such treatment during his next visit as well!

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We were anxious to get things set up in our new house, and Marmie needed to get cracking on closing down her classroom for the summer, so we headed back to Maryland on Tuesday with a promise from Nonnie to come lend us a hand the next day.  Unfortunately, something else followed us home - a big, fat, nasty cold virus.  And it's death grip on our family made moving week much more complicated than we were hoping ...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let my words be few

It's been a rough week.  Or has it been two weeks?  Geesh, I don't even know how long it's been since the chaos began.  But it hasn't been without it's bright moments and newsworthy tidbits that I can't wait to share.  But today I still have 3 (count them: 3!!!) boxes to unpack.  And then we've paint to buy.  Not to mention the gazillion other little projects that come with homeownership.  I won't let that stand in the way of blogging forever.  I promise, especially for those of you who have been asking (and asking), pictures of the new digs next week.  And fun stories about packing and moving while pregnant and with two little ones.  But if my husband catches me blogging while there are still two boxes in the kitchen I'll never hear the end of it.  So for now, here a few pictures to tide you over:

Big news: Jack's got a sandbox.

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He's also got a nice collection of bug bites from hours in the backyard.

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Jude's got his walking shoes.

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Love this little Jude-step!  Hmmm, sounds like a good name for a new dance move to teach the boys on a rainy day.



And both boys have terrible, awful, up-all-night-with-snot-coming-out-of-every-little-crevice colds. :(

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Jon's got his 147 page rough draft done.  (Okay I know that's not correct grammar but I had to stick with the theme.)

 [insert picture of Jon plugging away on Word at desk.]

And I've got a new camera lens.  Woot woot!

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In which we play "Jake and the Neverland Pirates"...


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... and spy for giants trying to steal our food.

And now I bring you, a typical moment in the life of Jack and Jude: 

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Jude having a grand time in the castle all by himself (note Jack's ready-stance in the background).

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Poor Jude doesn't stand a chance.

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Jack typically attempts to mask his assault with hugs and laughter, but really he's just scaring the snot outta Jude.

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And apparently it's Jack's turn to use the telescope, it's always Jack's turn to use the telescope...

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...and the steering wheel.  Pretty much, if Jude wants to play with it, Jack does too.

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And in case you're wondering, there's a nice little stump out by the swingset that makes a handy "time out" zone following events such as the above. I don't always just stand there and snap away at blatant affrontries, but sometimes it is nice to document.  For posterity of course.

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He has a bug in his hand and he's about to take it down the slide. 

Happy weekend to you!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

G'Ma

On June 16, my sweet and wonderful grandma passed from this temporary existence to forever walk with her Savior in eternity.  She now sees Jesus face to face, and I'm forever grateful for the peace and assurance, as fellow believers, that those we love are now in Heaven where we will all meet again soon.  But saying goodbye is still very difficult.  And knowing that there will be no more Scrabble games at her kitchen table, homemade sugar cookies warm from her oven, and phone calls to check up on "her boys" truly breaks my heart. 

And more than anything, I so wanted her to meet her great-grand-daughter this fall.  To kiss her cheeks and play with her little toes.  To watch her grow and follow in the footsteps of her Mama, Marmie, and G.G.  To take her place in the growing line of incredible woman in this family, to teach her all the wonderful things I learned growing up.  But even though our little girl will never get to meet her great-grandma in this world, she will at least be able to share in the memories, and name, of this amazing woman. 

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Photography by David Miller
Yes, we've decided to name our newest little one "Julia Katherine."  "Katherine" after my grandma, who had been hinting (strongly) that she needed a namesake and who had been so, sooo excited to find out we were having a girl.  With our boys we never really settled, or at least announced, their full names until birth.  Partly because of my indecisive, non-committal personality and partly because there was always that chance that they could've ended up being a girl (or boy).  But this time around we knew we wanted to tell our family the name we chose right away.  And I'm so glad we did.  G'Ma was so proud, she told everyone she met she was expecting a great-grand-daughter named Julia KATHERINE and even wrote the name on the special white board by her back door.  The white board that used to be reserved for holidays and family birthdays but which, for the past 3 years, has been overtaken by the birth announcements of her great-grandkids.  "Jack Lawrence, 10/12/08", Jude Edward "4/20/10", and "Julia Katherine, arriving 10/__/11."  Someday I hope my daughter understands the significance of her middle name.

My grandma was fun, really fun.  She liked to bake and make crafts, play games and sing, work in the garden and take me shopping at the mall.  When I was little she'd patiently answer all my questions and never complained that the stack of books I brought to bed was "too big."  She loved organizing family reunions at the cabin and joining us for vacations at the beach.  Up until a few years ago you could even find her participating in a game of sand volleyball.  And she was competitive, she didn't like to lose.  But she also didn't like to see others fall behind.  So when I was struggling to stay in a game of Monopoly, when I was about to go bankrupt yet again, she started kicking me under the table to let me know when someone had landed on one of my properties.  She never gave up, and she always encouraged others to stay in the game as well.  Which is probably why she's been asking me for the past 6 months if her youngest great-grandson has started walking.  She was very concerned that Jude would quickly learn to keep up with his brother.  Well, if she was spying on her funeral from heaven on Monday (and something tells me she probably was), I hope she saw our little Jude-bug stumbling down the aisles, all on his own.  Because just this past weekend he has officially become a walker.  It just took a little "encouragement."

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And maybe that's how she got the nickname "Push" when she was a little girl.  A nickname that stuck for the rest of her life, especially when others started suggesting my Pappy get her a license plate that said:  "PUSH N ED."  She usually had an opinion, and she usually let it be known.  Like how she'd hint over and over again, back when I still wasn't sure of Jon myself, that the boy I kept bringing over for visits was "quite a hunk!"  And while one of the first things she said to me when I last visited her in the hospital was "Is Jude walking yet?", one of the last things she said to me was "I like it when you wear your hair down."  She said that to me a lot over the past few years, just in case I forgot.  Which is why I was very careful to wear blue to her funeral and to wear my hair down. Because I know it's what she would have wanted.

But more than the games and the clothes and the famous family sugar cookie recipe, I hope my daughter understands her great-grandmother's legacy.  I hope she realizes that she's been named after not only a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, but also a faithful Christian, who took her personal relationship with God seriously.  Who walked out her faith on a daily basis.  And who believed in and lived out the power of prayer.  My brother was able to pray with her the night before she died, and even in her last hours she cried out to God, "Use me Lord!"  And God has answered her prayer.  Because I know many people were touched by the life she lived, and many more have been touched by her legacy now that she's gone.  And I know that one day my little girl is going to hear all about her wonderful "G.G." and the mighty ways that she was used of God.  But still, until we all meet again, we will miss her very, very much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update: Cloth Diapers

When I last mentioned our cloth diapering adventure, I had quit.  Well, took a temporary hiatus is a better description.  A few weeks later I was back in the game!  I've said it before, I'll say it again, cloth diapering is all about trouble shooting.  You figure one thing out, and sure enough another issue rises.  But I'm here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It can work ... and beautifully too.  And that's where we are now.  A beautiful (although occasionally stinky), natural relationship withour Mother Earth.  Excuse me while I go hug my tree now.  Okay, just kidding.  Actually, using cloth is suddenly, shockingly easy at this point.  It wasn't like this a few months ago, and it might not be like this a few months from now, so I'll just ride this wave while it's here. 

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So what's changed? Well, Jude for one.  The kid has bulked up a bit these past few months.  Here I thought all our leaking problems were because I was a dunce and just didn't know how to put the diaper on.  I would literally spend 10 minutes fixing and tightening one diaper during a change, over and over, just to make sure I had a good fit.  And then be completely dumbfounded an hour later when it leaked.  Well, I feel much better now knowing it was not me.  Jude is a bit bigger now in the thighs and apparently that's all it took to get a better seal, at least one this particular brand of diapers.  I can diaper him in seconds, with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back.  And never get a leak.  See, totally not me!

My homemade inserts are still working wonderfully.  They don't look so nice - kinda frayed and all crooked, but man do they soak!!  In my last post I mentioned oversaturation being a problem (this was before the skinny phase fit problems).  And now that I have these new inserts I can definitely see a difference.  Another factor is that Jude is now weaned and not drinking as much liquids as he was a few months ago.  (Don't worry, he's still quite healthy!)  The weaning (and perhaps the heat) have made such a difference that he can easily go 2 hours now with an old insert, and more than that with my homemade ones. 

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I was also super excited to score a pile of 19 FuzziBunz and BumGenius diapers for $20 at a yard sale.  Apparently some people are weirded out by used cloth diapers but I assure you it is perfectly safe and sanitary.  That's the genius of cloth, they're reuseable AND they hold their value.  I knew if these diapers didn't work out I could easily sell them for double or triple the price online.  I've enjoyed being able to try out other brands, especially those that are more of your "typical" modern day cloth diaper.  I like them both for different reasons, but I'm happy to say I'm most pleased with my gDiapers.  I think we'll stick with them as our primary choice long as they keep working.

I did finally work up the courage to start using cloth overnight, and without any leaks.  It's nice knowing I can go completely cloth if I want to.  But right now I don't.  We still keep disposables around, mainly for the few times that Jon changes diapers.  And I like to use them most nights just to give Jude's bottom a "breather."  We still deal with a little diaper rash with Jude and cloth, but he seems to be much better as long as I use the occasional disposable. 

Lastly, we're ironing out some laundry issues (nice pun, huh!).  I learned the hard way that it's best to wash my diapers every 2 days (and definitely not more than 3), otherwise they'll start to stink up the whole house.  I've also moved the laundry pail from the hall bathroom to the laundry room.  For some reason I don't notice the smell as bad in there.  I switched to Rockin' Green detergent, which seems to be good for "getting out the funk" and keeping build-up off my diapers.  Especially after an overnight soak.  But I'm still not happy with the smell.  They just don't come out smelling fresh, even though they look clean.  I think I'll try Charlie's Soap next.  I've also read some good things about RLR Laundry Treatment that makes me want to give it a try.  In the meantime, I love drying my diapers in the sun.  Although they end up a bit crispy, they're also glaringly white and smell like fresh air.  Plus having cloth diapers hanging on the line (albeit a makeshift one) makes me feel all quaint and homey.  I just love getting in touch with my inner Ma Ingalls!

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I'm still debating over what to do with new baby.  I'm nervous about cloth diapering a newborn, since blowouts are so prevalent at that stage.  Plus with fit being such an issue before, I'm just not sure what to expect from someone so tiny!  Also, because we didn't start using cloth with Jude until he was older, I only have medium and large diapers.  Which means I'd have to invest in a whole new batch of small ones for the Little Miss.  I'm just not sure how much money I want to spend on something that, even if it works, will only last a few months.  Small diapers only go up to 14 lbs.  So if this baby ends up being as big as her oldest brother, she'd only be in them for 2 months!  So yes, still deciding, still hoping some marvelous deal comes along where I can score some cheap or free cloth.  And still have some time to think about it.

I love talking about my latest cloth diapering triumphs and failures, so feel free to ask questions or pass along any advice you can think of!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

They say she'll steal my beauty

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Wednesday marks 24 weeks, and that's viability week baby!  And let me tell you, this baby reminds me of her viability and LIFE every day!  I thought boys would be more active in the womb, but I was oh so wrong.  Our Little Miss here likes to kick me all day and night.  I go to sleep with her pattering and am woken up extra early by her thumps on my bladder.  I'm convinced she wants me to start thinking about ballet classes now!

Baby girl also has an appetite!  I gained 2 pounds in one week.  For those of you who don't know, that is not normal nor recommended.  What's that little one?  You want Chipotle again this week?  Not-a-problem.  I've also been told, by some well-meaning people I suppose, that my hips are much bigger this time around.  Thanks for that, well-meaning people.  The picture above is actually from 22.5 weeks.  As you know, we're in the midst of moving and this was the last shot I got.  Poor #3.  Her mama is just not keeping up with the weekly belly shots. 

It was so much easier the first time around, when I didn't have to worry about babies knocking over the camera or toddlers trying to get in on the photo shoot.  When I actually had my hair and make-up done everyday and could look decent for a picture instead of waiting weeks on end for a "good day" when I'm okay with having my image captured for all eternity.  When I felt young and full of life and not old and tired and creaky.  Yes, it was so much easier then...

Since baby girl had herself a bit of a growth spurt last week I finally fit into most of my maternity clothes.  And I got a little excited when I pulled out the summer wardrobe.  I had forgotten how much I love summer baby bumps.  How much less frumpy you feel when you can show off your skinny parts - neck, arms, ankles (well, for now!).  How just a bit of sun can help out with that motherly glow.  And yes, in case you're wondering, I did color my hair.  It's gotten so dark since having my boys, and I knew there wasn't enough free hours in the day for the sun to lighten it, so I took matters into my own hands.  At first I didn't like it, but either it's fading or beginning to grow on me, because now I don't mind it so much.  And someone remarked yesterday that the "sun has really lightened my hair!"  So I figure - mission accomplished.  And I need all the help I can get, because if you haven't heard, baby girls steal their mother's beauty.  Google it, it's true.

That's really all I know.  I've been hearing it for years now and have lived in dread of carrying a baby girl for that very reason.  But what I really want to find out, is do they give it back?  Please baby girl.  Yes, mama is tired, and busy taking care of your brothers, and doesn't always have time to fix hair and primp eyelashes and take cute pictures so that you'll remember for all time.  But I am trying.  And we all know it's what's on the inside that counts.  And what's on the inside is a growing baby with a healthy appetitie.  So I promise to keep you well-fed.  More tacos?  Not-a-problem.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Last Days

Alternate title: A post to use up all the random pictures from the past week or two.

Packing Up
Tonight is the last night in the 'Burb Nest for the boys and I.  It's a little crazy around here.  Jon and I started packing up this past weekend.  Although the movers take care of most of the packing and heavy lifting, there are still many things that they won't touch - open food containers, garage fluids, chemicals, toiletries ... and things we don't want them to touch - tools, linens we need for the in-between time, jewelry (I've learned my lesson), thesis research, a few toys to get us through the weekend ... We also have to remove everything from the walls so they can wrap and pack them.  And we've rolled up and put away all our rugs.  Which means our house has a strange echo.  It also means there's plenty of open space for riding 4-wheelers around the house.

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Recently, I've found myself issuing odd decrees, like "No one can wear anything that requires ironing until we move" because I've finally caught up on the ironing.  And Jude's not allowed to wear any white shirts because I've finally got through sunning out all the stains on them (who's idea was it anyway to create white shirts for babies?!).  I also only bought minimal groceries this week, which means either strange meal combinations or the all-too-easy meal out.

And there's the attempt to explain to Jack just what is going on.  We talk about the "new house" a lot and his "new park" and "new room."  On Wednesday night we had our final walk-thru, I told Jack we were going to the "new house" and he immediately grabbed his "Monka-binks" and was ready to move out right then and there.  Not so fast buddy, there's still a bit more work to do.



Making the most of it
This kind of "in-between" living is taking its toll though.  It reminds me of the last few weeks of my Jude-pregnancy.  The whole ready-but-not thing.  It's no secret that we're ready to go.  To start our new life in our new house.  But I also want to make sure we soak up these last few days in our current place.  It's been an odd year, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  But I do know that this house and this neighborhood and this town have been our home for the past 12 months.  Where we've melded together as a family.  Where we've laughed and cried, were both busy and bored, and have learned and grown.  And for that reason I believe it deserves a proper exit. 

There will be no last minute sunset beach walks, like in our Beach Nest.  Instead we have the playground.  Our new neighborhood doesn't have a park.  I can't say how disappointed I am over this!  The park has been our escape.  A place to let Jack run wild, an opportunity to shut the door on the house and whatever mess and drama it contains and get out in the open air (and perhaps keep us out there longer than planned after forgetting the key).  And a place to make new friends.  If it wasn't for the park,  I would probably still not know a soul here.

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He just spotted "a kid!"  What follows:  "Hi, I Jack!"


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On Plants and Vitamin D
While preparing for the move, we remember another thing the moving company won't take - plants.  We've actually cut our botanical inventory in half this past year.  Between Jack and Jude's jungle explorations and the decreased amount of sunlight in our current house, we've lost a few of our leafy friends.  But then we realized we have to move the empty pots anyway, why not put something in them for the time being?  Plus it gives Jack something to water ...

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Check out Jack's "plant" at the end of the row.
I also put all the houseplants out on the patio to group all the things we'd be taking in a separate load together.  I thought I was doing them a favor giving them an opportunity to get a few bonus doses of Vitamin D before we hauled them away again.  They did not appreciate the gesture.  In fact,all but one appears to be teetering on the edge of death.  If things weren't so crazy here, if I had a moment to really think about it, I'd probably be extra upset.  Some of these are my very first plants ever, the ones that taught me my first lessons in responsibility and caretaking over 15 years ago (okay, okay I'll admit, green, leafy houseplants don't require a lot of supervision but hey it was a start!).  Instead I find myself just chalking it up as another moving casualty.  I'm expecting a few more.  It will happen.  Such is the military life.

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In a last-ditch effort to save them, I moved them all back into the living room where Jude has been enjoying being in close proximity with his new friends.  He's managed to pluck off the few healthy leaves that are left, and I've caught him playing drums with the glass watering globes more than once (so far, one of those has been a casualty too).  He's such a little stinker.  He touches the plant, Mommy says, "No, no Jude.  No touching."

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So he flashes Mommy a grin.  So much for Jude being my compliant child.

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Gardening for Worms
I'm missing out on starting a garden.  I planted some herbs and a few potatoes in pots and they've really taken off.  Hopefully the new house has a nice spot for them.  And I weeded the whole garden for the new tenants, who are moving here from out west and very excited about the prospect of gardening.  Jack helped, and together we had fun hunting for worms.  At first there was just one, then two.  But when he saw the two of them "holding hands" he decided we needed more "worm friends."  We dig them out, throw them in his flourescent green bucket and soon they'd disappear to, according to Jack, "Get a tubby" or "Play with puzzles."  Fortunately, he's still a little worm timid and not in to sling-shotting or slicing any of the little crawlers.

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Friends
Yes, Jack is very much into "friends" these days.  He wants the worms to have friends, he makes sure his toys have friends, and yesterday at lunch he insisted the lone grape on his plate needed some more "friends" so that they could "hold hands."  Really I think the kid just wanted more grapes.  My friend Jen threw us a little pizza luncheon today for our final playdate with all the little friends we've made here.  Little ones grow so fast, and we all reminisced about how much each of ours had changed since we first met up last summer. 

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Jack thinks he's fully capable of picking out his own clothes now.

It's not always easy to move on, to leave behind friends in each place we've lived, to start over fresh in a new home, to meet new people and try to figure out who will have the patience to tolerate my wild boy ... I'm excited and nervous and stressed all at the same time.  But I'm sure Jack will take it all in stride.  He'll seek out a new face, run up to them with his hair bouncing and eyes sparkling and say, just like he did to the moving guy this morning when he opened the door, to the twice his age kid at the park, to the hostess at Friday's - "Hi, I Jack!"  I'm sure we'll do fine.  I'm sure God has big plans for us over the next three yeras.  And I'm sure we'll have lots of new stories to tell in the process.

Farewell 'Burb Nest!
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