Deck the Halls & Prep the House

December has been busier than usual around our house… While the Christmas tree was set up, lit and decorated by the second week in November, there’s been presents to buy and wrap, plans to make and most importantly, a house to get ready for a new baby!

This past weekend was spent readying the house for the newest member of our family. Getting things switched around in the nursery, moving Collin’s clothes and toys into his room rather than dispersed throughout the house (we’ll see how long that lasts!), moving the 0–3m clothes back into the dresser, optimizing the space in our bedroom to allow room for a bassinet… The list goes on.

I have to say, bringing out all the itty-bitty clothes has gotten me a bit more excited about the fact that in a week we’ll have a new little one at home. We couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present… Though I’ve found myself on the verge of tears more than a few times in the past week or so wondering how we are going to manage it all. And more importantly how Collin will manage not having attention lavished on him at all times, like he is currently used to.

While separation anxiety hasn’t been an issue (he’s content with family and strangers alike), Collin has a hard time with being left alone for longer than a minute or so, whether it’s in his high chair watching mom or dad cook, or in his pack & play while I make a run to the restroom or downstairs to toss in a load of laundry.

We’ll see how big brother does with the transition… For now we’ll just give him all the love we can while he’s the only baby!

Today’s link:
Check out this article on Babble showcasing bizarre Christmas trees… Can’t imagine the amount of time put into these creations!

Baby’s got a birthdate…

Providing he doesn’t come out on his own, Number Two now has a birthdate, hand-picked by my OB. December 14 will be the day when our lives change forever, when another adorable, goofy little boy will be brought into the world. Though I still feel like a cheater for setting a date to have him extracted, I’m much more relieved now that a tentative plan is in place. Especially since my body is once again not cooperating with the idea of natural birth!

At my appointment yesterday we discovered a number of interesting things about the baby still taking up residence in my womb. First, he looks quite a lot like his brother, as much as you can tell from an ultrasound, that is. Chubby cheeks, button nose, big rosebud lips. Second, he’s got hair. It amazes me the things these sonographers can make out of a black and white blob. Third, he weights approximately 8 lbs. currently. Hoping for a happy, healthy 9 lb. boy just like his older brother.

New Baby's Face

Can you see his face? If not, stand back from your screen a bit and tilt your head to the right.

Baby's Face, closeup

How about now? Still blurry, but pretty amazing for hiding under flesh and fluid!

Now comes the time when I can safely panic a little inside. Still so much to do, and only two weeks to do it. Bring on the weekend!

Today’s link:
I ran across this Stretch Marks Photo Gallery and it struck me as odd, at first. After some consideration, though, I realized that there’s really nothing to fret over. I’m the proud owner of more stripes than I can count, but I have one (soon to be two) beautiful boys to show for it. Battle scars. Beautiful battle scars. Cassie Fox, a photographer, has gained small-time internet fame for the following poem, featuring a photo of her own “ugly” belly:

“A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me.

It isn’t very pretty anymore. Some may even think it ugly. That’s OK. It was your home. It’s where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it.”

Frustration…

After a brief checkup today, I’m frustrated. Not only does my body once again not realize a baby is supposed to be birthed from it, the baby (like his older brother) also doesn’t realize he is supposed to be born soon.

For the past week or so I’ve been feeling fairly consistent pressure on my pelvic bone, giving me the hope that maybe, just maybe, we’d figure it out this time and be able to have a normal birth, but my hope for that is waning more and more each week. My doc checked me over and so far, I’m making no progress toward labor.

On the bright side, I’m only 36 weeks along so we’ve still got time to figure things out, it’s just an endless battle of frustration to know that (for the time being, anyway) my body isn’t capable of handling children the way normal women do. I felt like a cheater for having Collin extracted from me. Skipping the pain, the sacrifice, the effort. I laid strapped to a table and he was plucked out while I tried not to throw up from my blood pressure dipping. Hardly what I had envisioned when I thought about having children.

Don’t get me wrong, the C/S wasn’t easy. Once the feeling came back into the lower half of my body I was using my pain med pump and popping percocet as often as they’d let me, trying to kill the unbearable ache I felt. Almost worse than that were the withdrawals that came from the percocet as I weaned myself off of the pills at home. Not the best couple weeks of my life, but I survived.

Ultrasound next week, should know more at that point since we’ll be able to gauge (read: guess) the baby’s size a little easier. I’m still crossing my fingers for a normal delivery, but having some sort of plan in place should settle me down a bit. Look for an important update next Wednesday afternoon!

Today’s link:
The link for the day has absolutely nothing to do with kids! Call me a dork, but I completely love the fuzzy winter hoodies from Happy Hoodie Friends. They’re cute, they’re snuggly, they’re colorful, and they’re unique. If my cash didn’t go to diapers, I’d own one for the winter!

5 Things I Miss About Being “Normal”

Many times you hear about the “glow” of pregnancy, how wonderful it is to feel the baby move for the first time, and the other joys of pregnancy… Well, after over a year and a half straight of being pregnant, there are some things I miss about being “normal…” That is, un-pregnant.

5. Getting dressed properly

It sounds simple enough. Grab pants, put pants over feet, pull up to waist. Not so when you’re not able to touch your toes. Putting on pants is an elaborate ordeal, which for me typically involves hanging on to the side of the bed, a windowsill, a table, or something else to stabilize myself, putting one foot in at a time, and yanking them up as quickly as possible prior to falling over. Or, just sitting down on the bed and putting them on from there (though it’s still difficult without being able to touch your toes).

4. Comfortable sleep

Now more than ever, I miss sleeping on my stomach. I miss sleeping on my back, too. I miss sleeping comfortably, in general. Lying on my stomach is impossible. Lying on my back results in the growing mass of baby and fluid crushing my lungs and impeding breathing. While side-sleeping is usually alright, my “usual” sleep pattern consists of 5–6 rousings for various reasons. Bathroom runs and leg/foot cramps top that list. Maybe that’s just my body’s way of preparing me for staying up with a newborn 3 times a night again.

3. Cleaning

Yes, I miss having a clean house. This time around, with a 10 month old wanting the attention I would have otherwise devoted to napping, I am completely lacking the ambition to do anything other than relax after he goes to bed. Thus, the laundry, the kitchen, the floors, they all wait another day. After all, it’s just another day, right?

2. Having a social life

Most folks take for granted the ability to stay up past 10pm without being wiped out for a week afterward, or the ability to have a casual glass of wine or beer with friends/family. These are things I miss greatly. I’m a people-pleaser. Outgoing. Bubbly. Being the wet blanket and declaring my need to go to bed while others are having a good time is at the very least a bit of an annoyance, and at most quite rude, especially when the “others” are guests in my home. Prior to life as a mom I enjoyed spending time with friends, and while I understand that having a bustling social life as a parent is no good for the children, I would occasionally enjoy the opportunity to make that decision for myself rather than my body making it for me.

1. Being myself

While some would probably disagree, I like who I am. While pregnant I’m not that. Not myself. Blame it on hormones, the stress, the constant state of discomfort, but I’m just not getting used to being who I am right now. Cold, irritable and tired are not three words I’d typically use to describe myself, but lately that’s all I can feel. Add to that my inability to play with Collin like a good mom should (see a previous post of mine for more on that), and I’m left feeling like a worthless shell of the me that I should be. Another month or two, and we’ll see what it’s like to be “normal” again. For now, I’ll try to focus on the higher points of being pregnant!

Today’s link:
A daycare provider posted a list of tips on how to amuse toddlers. Some are common sense (play-doh, dress up games), but many are innovative— Things I’ll try while balancing a curious toddler with an infant. Enjoy!

A Weighty Issue

Walking up the stairs yesterday, I realized just how tired my body is of being pregnant. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was no twig to begin with. Prior to bringing Collin into the world I weighed in at around 190 lbs., size 14. While that probably sounds horrifying to many skinny health nuts out there, my health was fine and I was content.

Checking in at the hospital the evening I was to be induced with Collin, I tipped the scales at 240 lbs. (a 50 lb. gain). Not ideal, but not horrible considering Collin was a healthy 9 lb. 1 oz. at birth. 35 of those extra pounds fell off within the first few weeks postpartum, leaving me just over 200 lbs. Literally 2-3 lbs. per day would fly off the scale. Hooray!

Enter baby number two. Starting off 15 lbs. heavier this time around, I’ve already surpassed my 240 lb. benchmark and am now teetering dangerously close to 250. Eek! While I understand that my body didn’t have time to properly recover, that I didn’t have time to hit the gym (not even once, try doing any exercise with stitches in your abdomen), this has hit me very hard mentally.

While I know it’s just a matter of time, my body will recover, I will be able to hit the gym someday, I will be able to nurse this baby a while longer (fun fact: breastfeeding is an amazing calorie burner!), the realization that I presently weigh more than my dad… My S/O… My older brother… Is harsh. Add that to the extra strain on my knees, ankles and feet, my inability to climb stairs at more than a snail’s pace, and baby’s recent decision to take up residence squarely in my pelvis, and those few extra pounds are really beginning to hurt.

Luckily, it’s all worth it!

Today’s link:
Blame it on the change of seasons, or me being pregnant… This popped across my Facebook feed this morning and I couldn’t help but share because it made me drool. Check out this recipe for homemade baked mac & cheese from Taste of Home. YUM!

Nervous about the newborn

While it doesn’t seem that long ago that I first took part in the newborn rodeo, I’m realizing as of late that I’ve forgotten most of what that time was like. Blame it on the lack of sleep, the mind-melting painkillers, or the hormonal roller coaster of the whole time period, but I just can’t seem to remember details about life with a newborn. And yeah, I’m scared.

It seems daily I have thoughts like “Oh yeah, we used to swaddle him up for bedtime,” or “That’s right, newborns can sleep in the cart while shopping.” How, after not even a year, does my mind block out things like that? While I’m not certain, I’m guessing it just has to do with the rapid progression Collin has made from being a newborn lump to being a real live person with thoughts and emotions and preferences (See a previous post of mine if you missed that update).

Mostly, though, I’m nervous about managing two little ones around the house once my help has run out. When my S/O went back to work after Collin was born, I was petrified. Little ol’ me being solely in charge of an itty bitty life just seemed too overwhelming a task. But we got to know each other, and we survived. I know it will be fine this time around, too, but my mind keeps turning with all the possible things that could go awry.

  • What if I can’t ever get them to sleep at the same time during the day?
  • How will I ever keep up with housework?
  • Will I ever get any sleep?
  • How will Collin react to not having my full attention while I’m home?
  • More importantly, what kind of trouble will he get himself into?

There are obviously many more, but those are a few of the questions I battle daily. If any parents out there have been there and survived, please leave me a comment— I’d love to hear from you!

Today’s link:
For those of you who are kind enough to open your homes (and hearts) to children in need, I think of you with the utmost respect. Raising my own children is proving to be difficult enough, but raising someone else’s seems like a very challenging (albeit rewarding) ordeal. Foster parent forum is a site where foster parents can participate in conversations with those in similar situations, seek advice on difficult circumstances, share moments of joy and more.

Real boys wear pink

Well, sort of. No, that doesn’t mean I clothe him in pink, or in dresses. I’m fairly certain the girliest articles of clothing in our house (other than mine, of course) are the gender-neutral yellow and green pieces we picked out before we knew Collin was in fact a boy. The “pink” I’m referring to is on a few of his toys, which I’m not ashamed of.

Sure, he’s got the usual stuff… Teething rings, foam and fabric books, rattles, balls, the occasional wooden coaster or the sneakily confiscated dog bone (you really can’t take your eyes off of a 10 month old, can you?!). He’s got some boy stuff, of course, but he’s also got a couple “girly” toys that we’ve gotten some razzing about.

A while back we picked up a Hello Kitty plush. It’s cute. it’s small enough to fit into his little hands. And yes, she’s got a big red bow on her head. And he loves it. He chews on it, throws it around, and talks to it.

He’s also the proud owner of a Sonic the Hedgehog plush, an Angry Bird, a squeaky panda bear with a flower on its head and various others. Am I worried about the repercussions of giving him a so-called “girl toy?” Not a bit. Because with the preferences he’s already shown and the all-boy traits he exhibits daily he’ll be into trucks, football and breaking things before we know it.

So what’s the harm in giving a sweet little baby a sweet little toy?

Today’s link:
Parents.com (Parents magazine) posted this list of safety tips for the holidays. It ranges from checking over strings of lights to testing smoke and fire alarms. Yes, be afraid, Christmas is coming… But most of these can be checked off your list early!

Sore & Boring

Lately I’ve been slipping back into that “bad mom” funk again… This time with Collin. It feels as though everyone is able to give him more attention than I can, mostly due to the limitations I have with my ever-expanding midsection.

I watch my mom, who is nearing 60, play with him on the floor. He laughs and enjoys himself, then when we get home I have to sit on the couch and watch as he plays alone. I try to interact as much as I can, talking about the things he’s doing, picking him up and giving him hugs and kisses and tickles, rolling a ball back and forth to him, and pointing out toys he may have missed. I just can’t help but feel I’m lacking a little in the “fun” department.

When I do make the decision to get down on his level to play, my getting back up off the floor is such an ordeal (remember, 7 and a half months pregnant here), that it doesn’t seem worth it for the short amount of time I’m able to entertain him. Add to that persistent leg cramps (another pregnancy joy) and my complete lack of energy lately, and it makes me into the most boring mom on the planet.

I guess we’ll just have to wait ’til Number Two (who still doesn’t have a proper name yet) arrives and I get my normal shape and energy level back. Then maybe I can live up to being the mom I should be for my boys. In the meantime, have any parents out there been in this kind of situation? Suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated!

Today’s link:
Most kids are now being exposed to the Internet in various ways, whether it’s at home or in the classroom. Many instructors (and parents), though, neglect to teach kids the basics of internet safety. Internet4Classrooms has a site that is designed to help with that. It sources many sites, videos, sound clips, games and more to help teach kids how to safely use the internet. An invaluable resource to parents and teachers alike!

The Boy’s Blossomed!

Overnight, it seems, Collin has turned into a real boy! No, not the Pinocchio-esque transformation you’re probably thinking of, he’s finally getting out of the “baby” phase and stepping (well, crawling) into his own personality. It still amazes me how in just 9 and a half short months he can go from being a helpless ball of needs to being a child, so much fun and so unique.

He’s talking more and more all the time. Certain words we can pick out, others we are still waiting to understand the meaning of. Some of his favorites:
ByeByeBye (usually accompanied by waving)
Hiiiiiiiiiii (also accompanied by waving)
Pupup – Puppy
Buppa – Grandpa
Mamama (usually said when he wants something. Not sure if he’s understood the real meaning, or if he knows the meaning a little too well…)

In addition to waving, he’s started blowing kisses, and has to look at the ceiling in every room he enters to see if the light is on or not. If it is, he waves at it. He knows trucks and birds are outside. He understands “put the ball in the cup” and “put the ring on your foot”. He plays peek-a-boo of his own accord. He’s just fun. And I can’t wait to see what the next months bring!

Today’s link:
Looking for a treat for your kids’ Halloween party, or just something fun to have around the house? Food Network recently posted this collection of kid-friendly recipes for Halloween. Take a peek (or maybe a taste)!

Illnesses and X-Rays…

Sorry I’ve been away from here for a while, it’s been a rough week! It started last week with Collin spiking a fever for no good reason (or so it seemed), then last weekend my mom (who watches Collin daily while we’re at work) came down with laryngitis, which lasted nearly 4 days, and Collin and I both catching colds this week.

On the one hand, we’ve been lucky. This incident has been both Collin’s first fever and first illness, so we figure making it 9 months without a surprise doctor’s visit has been pretty good. Many kids who attend traditional daycares catch round after round of the same crud just for being in close quarters with so many other children.

On the other hand, this experience has been a total nightmare. Our usually calm, happy baby morphed into a screaming, drooling, snot-slinging terror who won’t cooperate with anything or anyone, no matter how many bribes you throw his way.

We got Collin in to the doctor’s office yesterday after realizing his simple cold had turned into a chest rattle, and wound up in the x-ray room. Now, for those of you who have never experienced a baby x-ray, it’s painful to watch. Collin was strapped into a contraption that resembled a clear plastic cylinder, with his arms pinned up against his ears to keep him from squirming out. Needless to say this aggravated him more and resulted in a crying spell that I’m sure resounded to the floor above.

The x-ray tech (who was a mom herself) reassured me that he was in no pain, just not exactly comfortable. And that they get better pictures when the baby is crying rather than calm. Had I been in a normal, non-pregnant state I could have stayed with him and held his hand, stroked his head, or otherwise tried to calm him, but due to Number Two being smuggled around with me day after day, I had to stay behind the partition and watch my first-born struggle and scream. More traumatic for momma than Collin, I’m sure.

The x-ray proved fruitful, so we were sent home with a nebulizer and an antibiotic, and off we went. From there things just got worse, Collin ended up being so worn out from his adventure that he fell asleep (after much struggle) an hour early, without dinner or trying his new nebulizer. Poor baby.

Hoping this weekend goes a little smoother.

Here’s today’s link:
Scholastic has a great site full of resources for teachers and parents, one of which is a fun DIY costume article. Bonus: It features two fun themed books with each costume! With Halloween on the way I figured I’d share these cute (and easy) costume ideas. Enjoy!