Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mom, Interrupted

I've sat down to write this a few times this evening, confident in the small sliver of time I carved out for myself  by working double-time all afternoon.  But so far I've averaged about two mouse-clicks before I'm called elsewhere.  To doll out a spoonful of honey to a boy who can't stop coughing.  To comfort a little girl who is suddenly making bedtime extremely difficult.  To clean off that same little boy who, for the second time today, has worked himself into such a coughing fit that he winds up covered in vomit.  To the freezer to polish off a carton of ice cream.  Okay, so the last one wasn't really necessary.  Or was it??

So the theme of these past few weeks has been flexibility, a term that carries so much more weight as our family grows.  If you could see my calendar this past month - a plethora of crossings-out, write-ins, appointments and reschedules, travel and travel cut short.  And the resulting things that don't show up on a calendar - the laundry that doesn't get folded, the meals that don't get cooked, the walks that don't get taken.    I miss our routine.  But I tell myself this is only temporary and there is still life happening in between all those lines in my calendar.

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I've managed to keep up with the washing and drying, but folding is an entirely different story.
Like Mother's Day weekend for instance.  My parents had plans to visit Miss (soon-to-be-aunt) Kylee in Ocean City, New Jersey along with Uncle Jared and Uncle Micah.  So our friends Abi and Phil invited us to come to their house that same weekend and make a family event out of it.  And since (a) we've had a visit to these friends on our before-baby-bucket-list for some time now and (b) they're pretty much the only people who invite our whole family to visit other than our parents, we heartily consented.  Then Jon's Alaska trip came up and we had to push our departure back a day.  And then Jon's work insisted he come in on the following Monday so we had to cut the weekend short another day.  But we prevailed and, despite the brief interlude, it was a good time and an absolute blessing to spend 29 hours with such great friends!

Julia with Mr. Phil and "Lil Rae."
It wasn't exactly prime beach weather, but since we're die hards, we shivered our way through an afternoon break in the thunderstorms.

I think watching Julia try to catch bubbles was the highlight of the day!

Phil and Abi are excellent hosts and top-notch chefs.  We ate well the whole weekend, a welcome break from the quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, and smoothies that make up our menu when Daddy is out of town.  But I must say, the creme de la creme of the weekend was Mother's Day lunch - grilled pizza made by Phil and Jared.

We had a number of different kinds but the general consensus was that the bacon, date, feta pizza was the best!
And three gentlemen washing dishes afterwards.

It was nice to see this woman NOT in the kitchen for once!

Uncle Micah helped her pick me flowers!
And, of course, it's always a bonus to get to spend Mother's Day with the most amazing mama I know, my own!

She's such a good sport!
It's also good to know that someday my kids will grow up and actually smile for their Mother's Day picture.  But until then ...

We were expecting to use the week after our visit to catch up on house stuff and life in general before packing the car again and heading north for our annual yard sale at my parents' house.  But, in following our current theme, a few things came up and this time around we ended up leaving earlier and departing later than expected.  Fortunately for us, Marmie and Poppa don't mind an extended visit one bit!

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Perfect weather for a yard sale!

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Our yard sale wasn't quite as successful as in years' past.  But I was able to unload a good portion of baby clothes, and that's what my husband appreciated the most.  Of course, there are always those items that you intended to sell but which somehow never make it out to the sales floor...

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Reigniting our love for Jingle the dog.
And another bonus of this weekend back home is the local fishing tournament.  Both boys caught 6 trout each!!  And they also both won fishing rods.  But since Jack is very much like his dad, he told the tournament people he didn't need a fishing rod because he already has one at home.

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He kept swinging these things in my face.  And then Poppa  decided to skin and filet them right there by the yard sale check-out table... ew.
All the changes in our schedule made working a bit interesting.  I was receiving assignments on days I wasn't on the calendar, and having a hard time keeping up on days that I was on the calendar.  And just when I thought I was starting to get it together my boss called, ACTUALLY CALLED, for the first time ever, and asked me to take on a large, rush-order project.  We were literally about to walk out the door to Pennsylvania and begin a weekend of "no work" but when he told me I was his favorite transcriptionist and offered to more than double my rate.  Well, let's just say I enjoyed the 3.5 hour drive like this:

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And then ended up pulling an extremely late shift to get it all done.  My husband says I'm a sucker.  I decided to prove him wrong today by telling my other boss that I couldn't work for him anymore, just don't have the time, can't commit, etc.  An hour later he calls me up and I find myself agreeing to un-resign and see where things go, and maybe earn myself a bonus in a few weeks.  Argh, I could slap myself.

But I don't, because I'm preggo.  And while we're on that topic, I went to my second ultrasound yesterday.  The one that I had scheduled and re-scheduled three times.  Because my calendar is a mess like that.  We got a peek a the newest baby J-bird.  We didn't get to see much because she's a lot bigger now (somewhere around 3 pounds) and kinda smooshed in there.  But we did confirm that she is a girl.  Also good to see is that she's head down.  And most importantly, my dear old placenta is up and out of the way.  Which means no bed rest and I can deliver at the birthing center (if we make it on time).

We also visited the midwife today.  I was about to reschedule that appointment for the third time but decided to muscle through and attempt a visit with all three kids.  It actually went a little better this time, Julia didn't cry when she took my blood pressure or insist that I hold her while checking for the baby's heartbeat.  Baby and I are both measuring right on schedule for an end-of-July birth.  Which isn't too far away, as evidenced by the fact that my midwife now wants to see me every 2-3 weeks.

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30.5 weeks
It's all becoming very real and a little unnerving.  I mean, where are we going to put the baby's clothes!?  Okay, just kidding.  That really isn't my biggest concern.  And while we're on the subject of "big", I feel it!  And you can snort and chuckle all you want, but carrying around 23 extra pounds is one thing.  Carrying around the majority of that weight smack dab front and center, in the form of a small body with hardening bones and growing organs, well you try and bend over and retrieve that Lego from under the couch.  We've definitely entered the stage where I'm no where near ready to care for another newborn but where I'm also looking forward to being able to weed the flower beds without feeling like I'm suffocating myself.  Or sit at the computer without my feet swelling up.  Or get through the day without reaching for the Tums...

But I'm still thankful all is normal and right on track.  Here's hoping our theme of interruptions ends with this pregnancy.  I'm hoping for slightly more than full-term but not a second overdue.  Because Mama's got a bridesmaid dress to fit in to two weeks later... and it only comes in one size.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prelude to Mother's Day

Jon spent last week  “chillin” in sunny Alaska.  Okay, so not really, between all the time it took to travel there, back and within the state, along with the all the meetings for work, he only had a little bit of time for sight-seeing.  But at least he got to add another pin to his world travel map.

I, on the other hand, spent the week at home in rainy, dreary Maryland.  With the kids.  No big deal.  Well, it shouldn’t have been.  We’ve certainly done this before, although thankfully not as often as we used to.  But for some reason the kiddos didn’t handle this one as well.  And it didn’t help that I’m still trying to navigate life as a mom in conjunction with two part-time jobs. 

Back when Raven the dog was still visiting.  The only thing I miss about having a dog is not having to sweep the floor so often.
All three of my kids are going through “phases” right now.  Jack is extra-grumpy.  To borrow his own word, he’s “cross.”  To borrow another one of his words, I make him “nervous.”  He doesn’t seem to mind me most of the time, but as soon as I mention anything about “cleaning up” he’s quick to cross his arms, stick out his lip and exclaim “Mom, you make me NERVOUS!”  So he’s also in a messy phase.  Jack’s our little hoarder, or you might say “collector of objects.”  His favorite toys are those which can be gathered and cargoed around – army men, Thomas trains, marbles, acorns – or toys that can be used to cart things around – dump trucks, buckets,  any of my storage baskets (after he’s emptied them of their contents off course), and backpacks.  This has been going on quite a while now but lately he’s moved on to bigger and badder objects.  For the past few days he’s been putting anything he can carry from the garage into our giant-sized wagon, tying it all down with a bungee cord, and then pulling the wagon around the yard (with a whole lot of extra effort) pretending to put out fires and rescue those in danger.  Of course, at the end of the day, when you ask him to clean up, his legs are “very tired” and his mama “makes him nervous.”  Typically, his daddy is home by this point to take over the reins but, like I said, not this past week.

While Jack is in to gathering and collecting, Julia is in to emptying and disbursing.  Take my wallet for instance.  I always think I put my purse up and away and she always surprises me by dragging it out somehow and completely voiding my wallet of all money and cards.  She also continues to pull out all my jewelry, clean out the bottom of her closet, rearrange the silverware drawer, and empty the container of baby wipes.  She’s recently started exercising her independence by taking off out the front door and down the street.  Usually she’s content to just hang out in the sandbox, which is always the first place I look for her.  But the other night I called all the kids inside and noticed one was missing.  The boys hadn’t seen her, I couldn’t see her (although she had just been there 3 minutes ago), and despite yelling “tubby time” over and over again she didn’t come prancing up to the back door.  I started to comb the back yard and meanwhile gather a few random toys to put back in the garage.  Looking back I’m not sure why I was more worried about cleaning up than finding my misplaced child but I’m glad I did because as soon as I opened the garage door there she was, playing with the potting soil, shut up in there by her brothers in their excitement to take a bath.  And completely oblivious to any panic she might be causing her exhausted mother.

Both boys are in a "run away from the camera" phase right now too.  Apparently, in this picture, he couldn't see it through my hair.
Jude’s three now so, as I should have expected, he’s going through the “pee everywhere but the toilet” stage.  As batty as this is driving me, I can still be thankful that he’s not urinating on my couch or rugs like his older brother did at this age.  Oh no, Jude is much more creative.  For a while it was the roll of toilet paper, typically a big, thick, fresh, roll, that I then would have to dispose of.  Then it was the tub.  I would never catch it until after the fact, and since I have two boys that are very capable of doing something so silly, and two boys who would never fess up to it, I was at a loss.  When someone peed smack dab in the middle of my laundry room floor it sorta put me a little over the edge.  And since Jack said it was Jude and Jude said it was Jack, well they both got punished and none of us went to bed happy that night.  The next morning Jude confessed, with a smirk, that “I did it, I lied Mommy!” 

He was a marked man, so I was shocked when I caught Jack walking out of the laundry room the following day, pulling up his pants.  “Hey Jack, did you just go to the bathroom?”  “Yeah, I went in the potty.”  “How?  I locked the downstairs bathroom so no one would pee on the toilet paper.”  “I went in under the door.”  “Oh, really?  Show me  how you fit under the door.”  “I went here, kicked it open, went under the door and peed on the potty.”  “Then why is the door still locked and there’s a giant puddle on the floor?”  “It was Jude.”  “Jack, Jude is sleeping and you’re telling lies.” 

It was oh, so rainy this week.  But on a positive note, when it wasn't raining, it was so beautifully green!

Green and gray, God has such a way with colors.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  It was Thursday, I was literally counting down the hours until Jon’s return the following night and trying to rally to get through the rest of the week.  After an exceedingly rainy week and morning, I was determined to take advantage of a break in the clouds with a post-preschool picnic at the park.  I packed lunches, picked up Jack (who had his first bad report from the teacher in a while) and pointed our minivan towards the nearest playground.  Two minutes away Jude starts yelling “Poopy!  The poopies are coming!!” And since there are no bathrooms at the park we turned right around and headed back home for lunch on the deck.  Once we got home I found out I had a new transcription assignment.  My biggest one yet which also just so happened to be a rush order, which meant working in to the weekend, which I had purposely not put myself on the calendar for because we had travel plans.  So while my kids are out on the deck flinging egg salad at one another I’m staring at my agenda trying to determine just how many hours of typing I can squeeze in before we leave, with an absent husband at that.  Oh, and did I mentioned Jon’s one request was that the house be completely clean when he got back and before we left on our trip?  I determined it could still be done if I worked through all nap times and late into the night.  I soon discovered one small problem with my plan.  The internet - which went down right after I’d been assigned my project but before I had a chance to download it.  And no lengthy phone-call to Comcast could restore it. 

Every day I try to explain to the boys that is an invisible fence between our yard and the neighbors - don't cross it!
While I was jamming to Comcast's hold-music on the phone, both boys were sneaking over to the neighbor’s yard, flipping over their kayaks (in light of a pending rainstorm), removing the plastic tarps and filling them with sand.  I ran out the back door and pointed those boys right back indoors.  Meanwhile, Mr. Tom, who is thankfully a kindred spirit and big fan of Jack, came out to right his kayaks and assure me he doesn’t mind the kids playing in his yard at all.  I just love Mr. Tom.  But I do not love when my kids play with objects in his yard.  And so, with this event as the clincher to my entire week, I stormed into the house ... and had a complete and total meltdown.  

29 weeks, back when things were still sunshine and roses.
But as longtime readers and myself are fully-aware, the 30-some-week meltdown is just a typical phase of a typical Coastie Mama pregnancy.  I'm definitely extra hormonal lately, my emotions are on high-alert, and I'm feeling unusually vulnerable, broken by the simplest things - watching a promo for the local pregnancy care center, transcribing a court case in which the man's daughter passed away at five days old, and being without my husband, my solid rock, for five straight days.  But there wouldn't be mountains without the valleys and I'm happy to report that the house got cleaned by Friday (despite Jack's "nervousness"), Mother's Day flowers arrived that afternoon (Jack said Daddy sent them from the North Pole), Comcast was able to replace our internet cable, I managed to get my project finished (after a very late night and while working in the car during a 2.5 hour trip), our favorite Chick-Fil-A lobby lady, Mary, heard of my plight and completely pampered me and the kids over lunch on Friday, and most importantly my babies' daddy is home safe and sound.  And despite all the anxiety and exhaustion from the last few days, we had a wonderful weekend with family and friends that I'll save for another post.

It wasn't the week I had in mind, it's not the kind of thing that will ever make it on a Hallmark Mother's Day card, but it is our life right now.  And I wouldn't trade my worst of worst weeks with my kids for one day without them.  I still just love being a mama!
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