Monday, January 28, 2013

Someone's in the kitchen with Mama

So we've been testing out some new recipes that I'd love to share with you.


Just kidding.  This isn't a foodie blog.  What I really meant to say was I got some super-fun pictures of Julia "helping" out in the kitchen and am looking for an excuse to share them.

Helping wash the dishes.

Correction: Drinking dirty dishwater.

Jack's been begging for Macaroni and Cheese the past few days.  What he really means is the orange stuff that comes in a box, but I try to avoid that if at all possible.  Only the best for my kiddos!! So I decided to go with a full-on homemade recipe this time.  You know, the whole sha-bang - making a roux, whisking, whisking, whisking... and shredding, shredding, shredding until you think your hand is going to fall off.  I forgot how stove-intensive such recipes were.  I could hear the boys re-enacting WWF on the guest room bed but I was kinda chained to the stove in fear of scorching the milk!!  Oh yeah, and because this girl was on a stool next to me.

Look closely, see what's going on here? She just threw a bowl of my carefully whisked egg onto the floor, where it splashed all over the cupboards on the way down.  Not only did I have to pause in my roux-ing to clean it up, but I also had to take time to re-prep the egg.  Not good Girlfriend.

We managed to finish off the mac 'n cheese without browning the butter or scorching the milk.  As for the giant hole in the casserole ... my back was turned.

And Sister was hungry.

Making Mac 'n Cheese from scratch just isn't worth it anymore.  My kitchen was trashed, my boys were neglected for too long, and the kids didn't like it as much as the orange stuff anyway.  So I saved myself $1.59 on a box, but spent at least that much on grated cheese and way more energy than was necessary.  I think from now on I'll save the homemade version for potlucks.

My "big helper" has already figured out when to make her exit ... right about the same time Mom starts doing the dishes.  I hadn't even had a chance to wipe the cheese off her nose before she was off collecting lighters from her brother.

Yup, lighters.  I posted this photo on Instagram and afterwards thought people may be wondering why we have so many lighters in our house.  No, not for smoking.  Jon uses them to burn the wax he uses to shine his work boots.  There, glad I cleared that up.

Oh yeah, in case you actually were interested in those recipes, here's what Julia and I have made the past few days:

Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese
Runner's World Sweet Potato Muffins (modified)
Smitten Kitchen Brownies
Smitten Kitchen Spinach Quiche (modified)
King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Waffles
King Arthur Whole Wheat Bread (modified)

And with that (and three sleeping kids) I'm going to go treat myself to a brownie and chocolate milkshake.  Too much chocolate?  The baby disagrees.

Friday, January 25, 2013

More winter goodness

It is frigid here in Maryland, the kind of cold that makes you not want to leave your house.  The kind of cold that causes your heat to run all day long.  The kind of cold that seeps in from the crack under the front door, a crack so big I'm starting to think that's where all those birds flew in from, and freezes my brain to the point where I can't possibly function anymore.  The good news is we're getting a new front door soon.  Oh, and the other good news is that the cold brought along some snow, with more to come this evening!

Girlfriend loves the snow! She likes to walk around in her boots just in case I happen to leave a door open.
Yup, all Wednesday my phone was going haywire with "severe winter weather" alerts.  All was calm when we went to bed that night, but we woke up Thursday morning to a whopping two inches outside!!  The world was chaos, Jack's school was delayed, Jon went into work late and it took him four times as long to get there since he had to steer around all the accidents.  The plow never came to our road so now we have two inches of snow that's packed down and refrozen.  Unfortunately, my new momivan doesn't have 4WD, but it does have this handy-dandy light that comes on when the roads are slippery.  You know, in case you're not aware that your car is careening to the right, swerving to the left, sliding despite the brakes ... well, the car will tell you.  Personally, I think they should have made such an alert system outside the car - flashing lights, a siren, and loudspeaker saying "Outta control, outta control!"  But sadly I never pursued my passion of auto design.  I digress.

This is what happens when we can't go outside.
 Meanwhile the severe weather alerts have started back up again and we're hunkering down this evening in preparation for ... wait for it, 1-3 inches!!!  All I know is I better run to the grocery store this afternoon with the rest of the population to stock up on bread and milk.

I think this couch is on it's last winter, every week I have to shove my hand into one of its many holes to retrieve a pile of food and Legos...
Oh Pennsylvania, how I miss thee!  Your roads may be bad but your snow removal efforts are not!

Life has, in a good way, been fairly uneventful this week.  I will share one exciting moment - I changed the sheets on the boys' bed.  But not just any sheets. I dug out the Thomas the Train set that came with the bunk bed when we got it at a yard sale.  I was a little behind on laundry and wanted to go ahead and make the bed, so I slapped those babies on Jack's bunk without considering the drama that could ensue.  Namely that Jude just kinda loves Thomas right now.  I mean, the kid was ecstatic about "Thomas sheets." Unfortunately, his bed is a double so they wouldn't have fit anyway.  But then I made the mistake of letting him take a nap in Jack's bed that day since his sheets weren't dry yet.  Now Jude seems to think he has the right to sleep in Jack's bed any time he wants to.  The sheets are cool and all, but it's the pillow case that's the real kicker.  A huge Thomas the Train face that you can rest your tired little head on.  Of course, Jude's crazy about it.  Every night he tries to bargain with Jack to trade him pillows.  This usually results in an after-hours slinging back and forth of pillows that has very little to do with who gets Thomas and much more to do with who can knock the other guy out with his pillow.  Argh, bedtime has taken on a new twist.

It may look like he's really concentrating, but actually he's just watching advertisements and game trailers.  If I hear one more commercial for Kids Bop 20 I'll scream.
It's actually gotten more difficult lately to put the boys to bed.  And by boys I really mean Jude.  Jack is ready for bed at 7pm on the dot.  Oh he'll throw a fit the whole way there, but once he's snuggled under his sheets and blankets (yes, there are multiples and yes he has a specific order that he likes them to be placed on himself) he can barely keep his eyes open.  If Jude would stay quiet for a hot second Jack would fall asleep in the blink of an eye.  But that's usually not the case, since Jude still takes an excellent afternoon nap and is just gearing up for the evening about the time we're ready for him to go to bed.  We're still not sure how we're going to do room situations once the new baby gets here, but my thought of putting Julia in with the boys is looking a little less appealing.

This looks much worse than it was.

See totally fine, she's laughing.  ... I told Jack not to try it again.
Anyway, once Jack does manage to fall asleep Jude is still going strong.  He's got a whole bag of tricks that he regularly uses to get out of bed.  The most impressive is his ability to poop on demand.  He knows that having to go pee-pee won't work, since we make them both go before bed.  But if he insists he has to poop - that's a ticket to freedom.  And he usually can, it takes a lot of work and grunting but his efforts typically earn him an extra 10 minutes of wake-time.  Of course, there's the old "I need a drink of water" trick, or he'll complain about the night light - he wants it on, he wants it off, he wants a different light on ..., he'll say he wants to sleep in our bed instead, he'll say his pillow is wet, and his newest attempt - "Mommmyyyy, there's a hole in my bed!!"  We're on our third night of this one.  It's true, there is a hole in his bed.  In fact there's about 30 of them.  It's where the screws go, kid.

Helping me make brownies.

She looks so big in these photos, I can almost picture us having another baby ... Oh wait, we are.
And in one last burst of exciting news, I got a shower today.  Okay, just kidding, that's not news at all.  And I know the "Mommy never has a chance to get a shower" joke is over done.  It's just that, when I think about how difficult I found personal hygiene - brushing my teeth, washing my face, taking a shower, dude even just trying to put on lotion this time of year!! - when I just had Jack ... well with three little ones things have gone to a whole different level.  For the past 4.5 years my main goal in life has been to wake up before my kids.  This usually goes well for a while and then my littlest starts teething or going through some other early-morning stage, or I get pregnant and need more sleep, or I have a newborn and need more sleep, or I get sick and need more sleep ... you get the idea.  The fact of the matter is, everything goes more smoothly when Mama is up and around first.

Totally in to tooth-brushing right now.
Today that didn't happen and I got tired of waiting for my late-riser to get around so I could turn on the TV and score a quick shower.  Eventually I gave up on Jack, left him to figure out things on his own and led Julia into the bathroom where she typically empties all the drawers and plays with whatever she can find in the trash can while I nab a shower ... at least I can keep an eye on her there.  Anyway about halfway through   washing my hair Jack comes running into the bathroom half-naked and starts yelling something along the lines of "Mom, I just had a BIG, BIG POOPS. And it was so big I needed a lot of toilet paper to wipe the BIG POOPS and I put it in the toilet and now (eyes wide, jazz hands by his ears, jumping up and down) IT'S CLOGGED!!!" I'm still trying to make sense of this all through the fogged glass shower door and by the time I yell "No, stop I'll take care of it!" he's already run out of ear shot, dragging the plunger behind him.  It wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't immediately see Julia's ears perk up as she toddled off after him. I could just picture him next door, plunging away at the BIG, BIG POOPS while Sister jumped in with both her "helping hands" to get the job done.  It was enough to make me skip shaving my legs and head right on over to the kids bathroom.  By the time I got there toilet plunging had already lost its luster for Jack, and Julia, although sitting and staring at the toilet, appeared to still be dry.  And so, since it's a Friday and the family member who typically takes care of toilet issues was at work, I had to take care of it.  Still in a towel, hair dripping a puddle around me, plunging away at Jack's BIG, BIG POOPS and overcompensated amounts of toilet paper.  Which of course did wonders for my morning nausea.  I immediately rewarded myself with a second breakfast so as to not risk losing the first.

Well, I think that's enough excitement for now.  It's Friday, the sky is threatening snow, I've got a pile of towels shoved in the crack under my front door, Jude's fast asleep in his "holey" bed, the couch cushions are all in their proper place and will stay there until after naptime, and my handsome plumber will be around the entire weekend should any further toilet mishaps occur.  Life looks good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Checking In

For the past week or so I've opted to spend all my free time with either my Kindle or my crochet hook.  Now that I've put about 10 Georgette Heyer novels and two crochet projects behind me, I suppose it's time to write something ...

My parents came to visit last week.  Jon is back to traveling and I'm back to accepting any help that comes my way.  Many people at our home church in Pennsylvania are doing a Daniel Fast, and my parents were in the middle of it when they came to our house.  So meal planning took on a new challenge.  We had a great time trying out new dishes.  But the most exciting part for the kids was Poppa's new juicer.  Marmie and Poppa would juice for their breakfasts and lunches and the boys were all too eager to lend a hand with the machine.

For the most part, the juices I sampled were quite tasty.  I did mess up on the last day though and gave my dad a bunch of cilantro instead of parsley.  Marmie and Poppa rallied and polished off their glasses but I couldn't even get past the first sip.  Ew.

As usual, it's nice to have a few extra pairs of hands around.  Not only to help dress kids, handle many trips to the potty, prepare meals and do bedtime routines, but simply to keep little ones busy.  I noticed a huge difference in Julia this past week.  She was more than happy to choose Poppa over her Mama, and not having a 15 month old constantly clinging to my legs begging to be held was quite the freeing experience.

With the cheap babysitting we had available I went ahead and scheduled as many appointments as I could during the grandparents' visit.  Jack and I toured a preschool across the street for next fall.  It was amazing.  Both he and I are excited about "the new school."  It's also hard to get in to, particularly if you want a morning spot. And I do.  Because something about messing with three babies' afternoon naps just doesn't appeal to me.  So we're just going to pray and see what God is has mind.  Oh, and did I mention there's a car pick-up line?  Every time I try to picture me maneuvering Jack, Jude, Julia and a newborn through a parking lot and into a preschool my mind can't take it and automatically shuts down.  Reboot. We'll work this out later.

For now #4 is very easy to carry around.  We're technically in second trimester territory now, just waiting for my symptoms to catch up.  Many days I have plenty of energy.  It's been magnificent!  Other days it hits me like a ton of bricks and I can barely keep my eyes open at 9:30pm.  The nausea is much better, though not entirely gone yet.  Oddly enough, the simplest things upset my stomach - brushing my teeth, coughing ... This morning was a close one.  It's one thing to throw-up before breakfast, when there's hardly anything to lose.  Those times I don't fight it.  Five minutes later and I'm feeling back to normal.  But after breakfast?  After I woke up extra early to take a shower and make oatmeal before the kids were up?  After I sat down to eat three different times and three different times was interrupted by another one awake and wanting breakfast. After I made everyone else whatever they wanted and finally sat down to my own, now very cold and gummy, bowl of oatmeal?  By the time I finished the last bite there was no way I was giving it up again.  So when I started coughing and could feel my stomach flip-flopping I just chugged some orange juice and chased it with a couple deep breaths.  Crisis averted, I'm moving on to second breakfast now.

The best news of the weeks is that I finally saw the midwife!  It was so fun to be back!  There's been some changes at the Birth Center.  One midwife is on maternity leave and the one that "caught" Julia has moved out of the state, and now there are three new ones.  There are also lots of student nurses around.  I don't know about you, but I'm always happy to work with a student.  I'm pretty confident, by round 4, in my pregnancies and body.  So send 'em in to my room where we can laugh over car births and red flags in my file alerting the midwives that when I say I'm in labor, I really mean it.

12 weeks
So yeah, the new nurse and I had such a great time I ended up going over my allotted time and the midwife left to go see other patients.  It turns out you can get a first trimester ultrasound, if you request it.  I was already almost 13 weeks so it was too late.  But since the nurse said we should be able to hear a heartbeat at this point it didn't make a difference to me.  That's all I care about ... or so I thought.  We did get to hear the heartbeat, this is the earliest I've ever heard (silly tilted uterus or something like that).  It took a lot of work and a couple different dopplers but she didn't give up and we were victorious!  And then she held it there for a long, long time just so I could relish the moment.  Because it really is a moment.  Not just a sound.  The first time you see or hear your baby's heartbeat really changes everything.  It's so REAL.  And I immediately feel a deeper connection that I haven't felt before that moment.

So yeah, strong, beautiful heartbeat which is the only thing I needed to hear!  I did my best to convince her I'm not really interested in coming in again until I have to.  We took care of all my blood work that day, while I had those handy babysitters. And she gave me a referral for my 20 week ultrasound and said not to come back until after that.  Awesome!  ... And then she measured me.  Apparently my uterus is a bit large for 13 weeks.  She had me go to the bathroom, measured me again and said something along the lines of "That's more like it" and then went off to talk to the midwife.  She came back while I was checking-out and asked me to come back in 4 weeks instead of 8.  So as I'm walking to my car it suddenly dawns on me, "I think I've just been put on twin watch!"

Deep breaths.  It's probably not twins.  It's probably just a very worn out uterus that is so proficient at her job she immediately assumes readiness position.  It's probably just that bottle of water I downed while sitting in the waiting room filling out paperwork.  It's probably nothing at all but one sweet, precious heartbeat enjoying a luxury king-sized suite.  But it would be so nice to know for sure before the next 4 weeks!  I've never worried about twins before.  Usually I'm too busy worrying about the pregnancy and I don't even think  about it until that first ultrasound when the tech casually mentions "oh and there's just one!" and we all kind of laugh and wipe our foreheads.  But this time, this time I didn't get that ultrasound.  And this time, while I think I can manage with one more under 5 ... two??!!  Can you even imagine?

Me neither.  So I'm not.  I'm just going to think about one little baby sleeping next to our bed. One little baby in that car seat over my shoulder.  The 15 bins of baby clothes I can get rid of once we find out that this ONE little baby is a boy or girl.  And we'll even go back to thinking about walking one more little baby in and out of preschool every other day.  Because suddenly it doesn't look so bad.  Suddenly 4 under 5 is totally do-able.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The week after Christmas break is always a bit tough.  I woke up our first morning home and was inundated with multiple loads of laundry, bags that needed unpacked, gifts that needed to find a place in our house, old stuff that needed to go to make room for new stuff, and Christmas decorations that were ready for storage.  And I felt like it all needed to be done right away.  Oh yeah, and then there were the New Year's goals that I was already a day or two behind on.  Thankfully Jon had taken off the first week of the year and between the two of us we got our little family back on its feet within a few days.

Planning it all out ... (Cleaning my desk area is one of my January goals.)
Organizing: Time and Hair Bows
I've said it before, I'll say it again, I love the freshness of a new year - a blank calendar, a house that seems bigger once the Christmas tree is down, and new "toys" to play with.  This is also the year we'll be adding a sixth member to our family and the necessary space for Baby is not lost on me. So in addition to the toys, gadgets and other things we cleaned out I also filled two boxes of my clothes for the yard sale and freed up half a closet for the newest one.  And it feels good.  Some of those things I hadn't worn since Jack was born, not because I didn't like them or they didn't fit, but simply because I seem to have more dress clothes than opportunities to wear them.  I love the idea of paring down and simplifying my wardrobe.

Once all the Christmas decorations are taken down the house had a bit of an empty feeling.  We enjoyed it for a few days and then I was ready for something new.  So, despite the 40-degree and rainy weather we've been enduring these past two weeks, it's snowing in our house!

Julia was a huge help in "flakifying" our window.  She kept handing me snowflakes faster than I could hang them. Girlfriend likes to make a home!

Big helper!
 As tradition would have it, my husband bought me a new agenda for Christmas.  I take a moment to enjoy it's crisp untouchedness, breathe in that new paper smell, and then I love to watch our next year fill up - birthdays, anniversaries, weddings; my pregnancy weeks (because by baby #4 I have a hard time keeping it straight), appointments, and vacations.  There's something about booking a summer vacation in January that gives me strength to face the short days and long dark nights.

Tubbies, many of them, are also how we get through the long winter days.
We've also added one more weekly event to our calendar this winter - Jack is back in school!  It was a tough decision since we're still trying to figure out the best way for our family to live on a single budget, and in this current economy.  But one look at Jack's face that first day we took him back and I'm fairly certain we made the right decision.  He's excited about friends and letters and numbers.  He loves to talk about what he's learning, his eyes light up when you tell him how smart he's getting!  Of course there's the old issues of pushing and stealing toys and time-outs that have also re-appeared.  But those are good too, everything is a learning experience ... for Jack and his parents.

My two at-home kids!

He wants to know why he can't go to school too.
So we're breaking in 2013 like a new pair of shoes, wearing it daily, treading softly, trying to figure out the best fit.  I will say, that for the first time since my job ended last fall, I feel like I'm really able to enjoy just being a stay-at-home mom.  Holiday busy-ness combined with first trimester woes have kept me occupied, but lately it's all coming together.  It will be a while before I get my housecleaning on a proper schedule, and something tells me meal planning will always be my biggest struggle.  But fun, relaxing activities are well under control - I've read several books, revisited my honeymoon-age hobby of Soduko, watched some movies and a few seasons of shows with my Handsome Coastie and have even picked up my crochet hook for the first time since college.

Mama was craving ice cream, daughter helped out with the clean-up.
So yes, I've got high hopes for 2013... and lofty goals.  And since normal life-as-we-know-it will probably be ending sometime around July 27, that doesn't give us much time to hit these goals.  Onward!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A decided opinion

"Upon my word," said her ladyship, "you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person. Pray, what is your age?"
"With three younger sisters grown up," replied Elizabeth smiling, "your ladyship can hardly expect me to own it."
Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished at not receiving a direct answer; and Elizabeth suspected herself to be the first creature who had ever dared to trifle with so much dignified impertinence.
                         - Pride and Prejudice, Volume II, Chapter 6

Oh 15 months, how I forget your trials!  I love children and I so enjoy being a mama but some days I think there is nothing more irksome than raising a 15-18 month old.  That transient age where my little ones now have the courage to venture an opinion, but not the means to carry it out.  The age of grunting and shrieking and laying prostrate on the floor in a fury ... and the age of so many bumps and bruises.  The age where I look in my daughter's eyes, through a mess of tangled hair that she has ripped out of her barrette for the 30th time that day, and see so much more spice and not a whole lot of sweetness.  Oh yes, we're growing up around here.

Unfortunately, like her brothers before her, while her feet are finally walking and her brain is reeling with new information to process, her language skills just aren't up to par yet.  She has two words in her repertoire - Mama and Dada.  She can also sign two more words - "more" and "all done."  Everything else she wants to say is communicated by saying "uh" in varying degrees of length and volume.  And is almost always accompanied by a pointed finger or a pounding of the fist.  For instance, when it's time for bed she always puts up the same fight - she arches her back, starts yelling all sorts of "uhs" and points her finger out the door like there's something out there she needs.  Of course, there is not.  Because once we walk out into the hall she is completely satisfied ... until we walk back into her room again.


And she's suddenly taken a liking to whatever goes on in the kitchen.  She's figured out that her older brothers stand on stools to help out so why shouldn't she? If I even flick on the faucet she's over at the stool, pointing and saying "Uh, uhhhh, UHHHH!!" until one of us either distracts her or sets her up on the stool.  Of course, she's still quite new on her feet and once she starts in one on of her excited dance moves she inevitably falls off the stool. You'd think by now she'd be over that venture but alas, her obstinate nature won't allow it.  She figured out how to crawl up on the stool all by herself and is entirely too tempted by a hot stove or sizzling pan.  If I could take my eyes off her for a second I'd close them and sigh, instead I repeat to myself over and over in my head "Be thankful she's interested in helping. Be thankful she's learning young. Think of how helpful she'll be in a few years ..."

Sitting in the big girl chair ...

... annnnd the graceful dismount.
So young and yet so grown up.  Chatting away on her toy cell phone.  Prancing around the house with a purse over her arm.  Crawling around the kitchen with her pretend camera around her neck.  She's so girly, so mini-me and yet not quite what I was expecting this go-round.  She's not afraid to push around her older brothers, stick her tongue out at daddy or throw her plate when she's not happy.  And while we're thankful she's finally walking and able to change her location she pleases, her favorite place to be is clutching my legs begging to be held. She's long enough to wrap her arms around my neck and bury her face on my shoulder.  And she knows once she does, she's golden.  For who can put down such an affectionate child?

So yes, we're on the cusp of "the difficult months" (at least in toddler years, don't ask me about anything beyond that!). For the first time since Jude's birth, I've had kids at the same age in the same house.  Jude was 15 months and just learning to walk soon after we moved in here.  And I like the familiarity.  It's no surprise that she trips over the same transition in the entry way that Jude did, she's found the same drawers to empty as him and I've no doubt that very soon she'll discover she can remove the slats from the blind in her room and use them to knock down the wall hangings above her crib. Somehow the familiarity, the expectedness of it all, makes it seem less daunting. 

But heavens, we love her!  And all her quirky little ways.  As Jude says, "Ju-ee-ya so coot Mom, she so coot!"And she is, even when she's throwing herself on the floor and kicking her feet because she can't have a jellybean.  Even when she's running her syrupy hands through her freshly done hair.  Even when she's tripping up and down the musical scale with her "uhs."  Fifteen months does have it's charms as well as its follies.  And it won't be long before I forget the drudgery of this age ... for the third time.  At least until the next kid arrives at this stage!

*Sorry about the photo issues lately. I think it is a Photobucket issue so I switched to Picasa and hopefully that will take care of it!*

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Here we go again

Oh how quickly we forget ... the first trimester.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
11 week baby bump.
(Speaking of forgetting, the only time I remember to take a picture with the "nice camera" is when I'm not wearing sweats or when it's dark out.  A cell phone pic will have to suffice.)

This one has been very different from the other three, mainly because I started out with symptoms so EARLY!  I was sick before I even knew I was pregnant, and things have been steadily progressing ever since.  So I'm going on 8 weeks of nausea now but that's it, as much as I want to complain about how sick I feel, there's a Dutchess out there who was much worse off and would gladly be in my shoes.  So I'm thankful that for the most part, I'm still able to function normally.  As long as I eat first thing in the morning, it's not too bad.  I just feel like I'm on the verge of vomiting constantly.  It's only if I wait too long that there are problems. 

Like the morning Julia was up bright and early with a diarrhea diaper.  Mmmm, my favorite thing to do before even rubbing the sleep out of my eyes is to change really disgusting poopy diapers.  Especially when my gag reflex is ultra-senstive.  Yup, all I have to do is smell one of Lia's diapers and it sets me off.  Anyway, we were up, I changed her, we played together, I decided to make pancakes, then the boys got up and there were more clothes-changing and potty breaks and before I knew it I had forgotten to eat and was feeling seriously queasy.  I left the last four pancakes cooking on the stove and ran up to the bathroom, but since that was the one the boys also use it only made things much, much worse. So I ran into our room where Jon was still sleeping and reached it just in time.  Poor hubby got to wake up to the sound of me barfing over the toilet.

The boys having been getting a lot more "screen time" now that Mommy's out of commission.
And that was when I was only 5 weeks.  I didn't even know I was pregnant with two of my kids by that point and I'm already throwing up with this one??  It has me worried there might be more than one in there.  So I've been battling the morning/noon/night sickness with lots of carbs and ice water, eating all day long, hoping that if I can keep the worst external symptoms at bay I could possibly alter any internal circumstances.  Totally not legit but it makes me feel somewhat in control, and heaven knows "control" and pregnancy don't really mingle in my life.

My other major symptom is exhaustion.  Another one I forgot all about. I think I'd rather be sick than exhausted.  In fact, I'd rather be throwing up a couple times a day than be exhausted.  I feel like I could get more done in between barfs than I do now that I have absolutely no energy or motivation. I actually just up and fell asleep on the couch one afternoon.  That's just not something I do... ever.  Again, I was only 4-something weeks.  A little early for such extremes.  Jude and Julia were down for naps and I closed my eyes for just a second ... next thing I knew Jack was shoving a music box in my ear and the entire living room was littered with crayons, paper, and Play-Doh.  Since I really can't go around passing out and leaving a 4 year old unattended, this exhaustion thing has got to end.  I don't really know how to fight it either.  I'm limiting my caffeine intake but it doesn't matter since most caffeinated things don't sound appealing now anyway.

Cold, fresh air is one thing that keeps Mommy alert.
He calls this his "fire department helmet." I made the mistake of referring to it as a "hat" and was promplty corrected.
Ah, food aversions.  I picked up the coffee habit this summer.  Well, I don't know about "habit" but I do drink it whenever my husband is home and makes some extra.  Up until this year, I was only a social drinker, partaking in an after dinner coffee at Thanksgiving and Christmas just to feel included with the rest of the family.  Well even that was out this year because coffee has completely lost it's appeal.   And it's not just coffee, as usual it's difficult to cook for my family when nothing sounds good.  Well, not nothing.  Chipotle, the old stand-by, is always an option.  But I don't know if I can say I'm craving it since we eat it so regularly anyway.   I will say, the one edible item that I cannot get off my mind are those Bacon-Wrapped-Chorizo-Stuffed-Dates we had at the Chop House when our friends were in town a few weeks ago.  Literally, they pop into my head several times a day and then hang out there for a few hours.  I was "this close" to satisfying that craving during our date night a few weeks ago ... until we got there and realized the Chop House had a 3 hour wait.  I need to find out if they do take-out because I cannot handle this torture much longer. 

Here Mom, maybe you should try eating a rock.
Action shot.
Needless to say, the best part about Christmas vacation was not having to grocery shop, meal plan or cook for 10 days.  And having plenty of food around to eat to my heart's content (my husband's been giving me a hard time regarding my second and third "breakfasts").  The problem this past week has been that whatever sounded good yesterday, or even a few hours before, suddenly loses its appeal by the time we sit down to dinner.  It's hard to encourage my kids to clean their plates when I'm having a hard time getting started myself!

Other than that, we're doing well.  Well, we're doing well regardless.  I've said it before, I'm sure I've said three times before, but on some certain level I'm grateful for the symptoms.  Although not fun, they're a wanted reminder that things are progressing and normal.  The first trimester is full of so many uncertainties.  While I by no means want to rush through this pregnancy, I'll be happy to reach the next stage.  The good news is, while frightening at the same time, is the next "stage" will be here all too soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Recap

We arrived home last night after spending 10 days in Pennsylvania for Christmas.  We actually ended up cutting our visit short - the kids were exhausted, Jack surpisingly admitted that he missed Maryland and "his bunk beds" and Jon and I harbored no illusions about attempting New Year's Eve with three little ones.  So we packed up two days early and welcomed the new year in our own beds.  All fast asleep.  Because that's how we do it now.

So anyway, I shall present to you the highlights of Christmas 2012.

We left last Saturday, but not until we put away our own gifts and cleaned the house.  We also stopped for lunch since there was nothing left to eat.  We arrived at my parents with enough time to unpack, say our hellos and then set off again to drop the kids off at Nonnie's with a babysitter because our first event of the season was my brother Micah's 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Contest.


This was Jon's and my first year.  We've been thinking and planning our house for weeks.  We thought we had a unique, very Coastie-like idea.  Ironically, we weren't the only ones who thought of doing a lighthouse.


Not that it mattered because the evening was all in good fun!  Jared and Miss Kylee took home the overall prize for their masterful log cabin. 


And Nonnie and Poppie took home the Most Creative prize for their genius nativity.


The following evening we celebrated Jon's 30th birthday with his parents, sisters and brothers-in-law.  Hubby loves him some sushi so my in-laws chose a Japanese grill and, at the suggestion of Jon's sister Katie, we all went with the all-you-can-eat buffet.  Let's just say some of us, more than others, really got their money's worth. 


Jon HATES being sung to, especially at restaurants.  So his mom decided that we would not only sing him "Happy Birthday," but do so whilst wearing some hill-billy teeth. 


Let's just say it's really hard to sing and keep your teeth in at the same time. 


Jon specifically asked for no party to celebrate his big 3-0 so we kept things low-key with a small "campaign" theme.  All of Jon's family, high school buddies and Academy friends joke about his political future.  And while I have no aspirations of becoming First Lady, it's always fun to play up the story.  So I made everyone "campaign" buttons to wear during dinner.


Compliments of Wikipedia, I rounded up some trivia concerning the year 1982 and organized the questions into ballot form for a game to play while waiting for our food.  And finally, in lieu of placemats, each person had their own map of the United States at their seat along with some crayons.  The challenge was to color in any state that you think Jon has visited (airport stops no included). 

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It was a fun evening with fabulous food and fantastic company.  Of course, there's nothing quite so refreshing as a lengthy dinner out without children in tow!
Speaking of the children, Marmie and Poppa offered to watch all three and even used up the leftover gingerbread supplies to help the boys with their own creations!


We've come to terms with the fact that when we travel, we will get sick.  I did my best to stock up on echinacea and vitamin C but it was clear by Sunday that Julia was coming down with something.  And when Girlfriend doesn't feel well, she doesn't sleep well.  After a while we gave up and put her in our bed.  Soon after that Jack started crying.  And then he was complaining that his ear hurt ... So Jon ended up spending the night with Jack in his bed and Julia slept with me in ours.  Poor thing, every time she coughed she'd scoot a little.  I eventually ran out of pillows to buffer her with and some time around 3am she coughed herself right out of bed - right out of a very high bed onto a very hard wood floor.  It was terrible.  She was a mess, I was upset.  I don't remember much sleeping afer that.

Thankfully all was well come morning and you really can't be too down the day before Christmas!  We spent it at Nonnie and Poppie's house with the rest of our rowdy crew.  With a total of 10 grandkids (and counting), 8 of which are boys, holidays at the in-laws are a whole lot of merry and not much peace.  Such is life with kids! We did manage the Christmas story and candlelighting (this year we decided to transition from real flames to electric bulbs).  No pictures though since Jon and I are officially outnumbered these days!

She's in a Poppie-arm-rubbing trance.
Every year we talk about possibly staying home for Christmas.  I'm sure that day will come, but for now, I'm glad we travel to Pennsylvania.  Not only are all of our parents and siblings there but there are just so many other things going on as well.  This year I was exceedingly glad we made the trek because good ole' Central PA delivered and by Christmas morning the world was white with snow!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It didn't stop there either.  Two more storms dumped somewhere around a foot of snow in the region which afforded the boys plenty of opportunities to sled, build snow forts and throw snow balls!  While I did pack snow clothes for the kids I wasn't fully prepared because Jude's boots were so small he couldn't even slip his foot into them.  So for the first day we just tied plastic grocery bags over his shoes.  He was not a fan.


The second time we ended up cutting slits in his boots (they were yard sale treasures anyway), putting his feet in plastic bags first, then putting them in his boots and taping the slit shut with some duct tape.  Not very pretty but it did the trick!  Jude doesn't like the cold much anyway so we just needed something to get him an opportunity to sample all the activities winter has to offer!

Not just for the little kids...
But anyway, back to Christmas day.  It was low-key, just our family, my parents and brothers.  Which meant we could all stay in our pajamas that morning.  Which meant that there are no pictures of us adults. 


It's funny, isn't it, which gifts really set the kids off?  Forget the "big" ones that took up most of the budget, or even the gifts that I researched and researched, believing they'd be a big hit.  Nope.  Know what gifts my boys enjoyed the most?  Two little lizard toys that Marmie picked up at the Dollar Store.  Maybe it's because they didn't have to open a box and a half-dozen twisty ties, or wait for daddy to dig out some batteries, or share with each other since they each had one.  But the slithery little lizards were a big hit.  And Julia?  Girlfriend was crazy for her new bike helmet. She carried it right over to me, did her little "uh-uh" noise that translates to "put this on for me now, mom!" and then walked around showing everyone her new hat.  Sometimes I have to wonder, deep down inside is it possible that she realizes that that bike helmet is her ticket to toddlerhood?  The Little Miss has arrived, and come this summer Poppa will have to start splitting his bike rides three ways.  (Well maybe not, word on the street is Jack has topped off the weight limit and may need to learn to ride his own bike.)


The day after Christmas Uncle Micah invited us up to his house to get snowed in and play games, namely Settlers of Catan.  I won both rounds, which means I now love this game and am willing to take on any and all challengers!


The day after that was Christmas with Grammie and Grandpa.


  Do you know who is the worst with Christmas presents?  This girl:



Not only does she open them out of turn, but she also opens gifts that are not hers, and she was right there lending a hand when Grammie and Grandpa were working on theirs. She also took a liking to Grandpa, immediately showing off her new walking moves to him and then attempting to pull him right off the couch herself. 


While she's definitely a Mama's girl (and infinitely more so when she's not feeling well), she does eventually warm up.  And she has a soft spot for her grandpas!!

On the 28th Jon's parents took us to Sight and Sound to see Jonah.  I've been wanting to go to this theater for years and was thrilled to finally have the experience!  The show was fantastic but I was especially impressed with the scenery!  We only had a enough time to go to the show and come right home (at 1am!), so next time (I hope) I'd love to explore Lancaster a little bit more!

The 29th it snowed, and snowed.  We were supposed to have our annual get-together with some family friends but it got canceled.  We didn't really mind the break though because by that night Jack was starting to come down with something too.  He ended up staying home from church with Marmie the next day while I took the other two.  It was just me because Jon and my brothers took my dad to the Steelers game for his Christmas present.  My dad has been a lifelong Steelers fan so it was exciting to finally get him to his first game!  I was content to stay at home and watch on TV though, a little too cold for me!


Jack seemed to be improving as the day went along so I took him on a "date" to an old theater to watch "Wreck it Ralph."  You wouldn't have known it by looking at him, but he was pretty excited.  He's going through that stage where he purposely defies me.  So I'll say "Did you like the movie?" and he'll say "No." But seriously, the kid couldn't take his eyes off the screen (which he had been asking all day if it was larger than "this big").  Regardless of his lack of emotion, I had a great time.  It was a very cute and creative movie, and I was happy for a chance at some one-on-one time before we head into the crazy new year.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Which is where we are now.  January 1 and all I can think about are the bags that still need unpacked, the presents that need put away, the decorations that need taken down, and the appointments that need rescheduled.  Thankfully Jon has off the rest of the week because I could use some help to get our feet back on the ground before welcoming in the new year.  I want to do it properly, with goals and plans and a clean house.  But first I gotta start with the little things - like getting kids healthy and maybe buying a few groceries.  We can't live off Christmas cookies forever!

Happy New Year!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow by Email