Thursday, December 20, 2007

The end of an era is coming

We knew it would happen, but when Jack was a baby it was impossible to imagine him being anything but a baby. Then Sam came along, and it was impossible to imagine that Jack wouldn't always be a yammering toddler. However, after 2 years of outstretched arms and a declaration of "Hold you, Mommy," Jackson said "Hold ME" this week. We're just going to have to accept that he won't be a baby boy forever and the glimpses we keep catching of him as a "kid" are coming faster and faster now. His legs are longer and leaner. His sentences are more complex. His thought processes are more detailed and thorough. His problem solving skills are developing. And he actually told me to "Get out" last night instead of staying to snuggle so he could read and go to sleep. SIGH.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And these are the days of our lives...

Flying by me so, so quickly. I think one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2008 will be more faithfully recording our memories. There are so many little details that will fade so fast, and I want to remember them all!
For instance, last night as the kids and I waited in a parking lot for Ryan to come meet us, we sat in the back of our van dubbed "The Silver Rocket" and watched "Finding Nemo" while eating goldfish crackers and reading books. At one point, the boys both had on their Santa hats and the light from the parking lot spotlights was creating spots on their faces through the raindrops smattered on the darkened windows of the car. Sam's Santa hat was cocked to the side and flopping merrily while he talked. Jackson "Ho ho hoed" in his best Santa voice and told me I would be getting a train for Christmas, just like he was.
In the time since I last wrote, we have had Jackson's third birthday party (a choo choo party) which was a huge success, and a huge pain in my rear! But for the look on his face, worth every hour I spent on it. He and his friends are still talking about his choo choo party, and the Geotrax train set continues to be the very favorite toy that entertains them for hours in the playroom.
Sam's new obsession is Spiderman, and he talks about it all the time. I am the "Gween Gobwin" and he even calls for me (the Gween Gobwin) when he wakes up from his nap! I thought he would be older than 1 before he would become obsessed with superheroes! Speaking of that, I am on the verge of a job at a small gym franchise. I was approached by the owner after completing a free preview class with the boys and their playgroup, and apparently my obnoxiousness has finally paid off! He loved the way I interacted with the kids and got out there being silly, and asked if I wanted a small part time job. So far, I'm not sure it's going to work out, but it's an adventure and everyone knows I love me an adventure.
The boys are excited about Christmas this year, and we went to see Santa the first Sunday after Thanksgiving! Jackson took along his geotrax brochure so he could point out exactly the train he wants (which, by the way happens to be different than the one he showed me and I already bought- DOH! - looks like I'll be making multiple exchanges at Toys R Us) whild Sam refused to get near the big guy! He wouldn't so much as give Santa five!
As we left the Santa area at the mall, Jack asked "Well where are my presents!" Unfortunately we did a poor job of explaining about the LOOOONG wait to get your presents. So, the boys took matters into their own hands. One morning when they came bounding into our room around 6:30, they watched cartoons for a short while before beginning the "bear cub" wrestling and scuffling that has become constant lately. I realized they were no longer upstairs after a few minutes and joked to Ryan that they were probably downstairs opening their presents. Then I heard "RIIIIIIIP" from downstairs and hit Ryan until he jumped up and ran down to see what was going on. Jack immediately began to cry "I'm SOOO SORRRY! I'll nevew do it again!" Since then, hiding the gifts in Livi's closet has been tougher and tougher.
Olivia continues to get bigger and bigger and fascinates the boys with her daily changes and accomplishments. She's eating solids now, and sleeping mostly through the night in her own bed so it doesn't feel so much like we have a baby already know what that means! Heehee!
She is a very sweet and tolerant baby and smiles and giggles all the time. She is very social already and loves any kind of attention. Her big blue eyes sparkle and her deep dimple crinkle every time I look her way. I can't imagine a sweeter baby girl and I can't wait to see the girl she is becoming each day.
I have so many warm fuzzy moments with our tree gleaming in the corner and Christmas music playing all day. I sometimes watch the boys play near the tree and hope their childhood is as idyllic as I imagine it will be. I am so glad they have each other and a family that loves them, and it makes my heart ache for kids without. Hmm, I'll try to remember some of the other important moments and document them soon!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The many ways they fight...

Overheard in my house today:
"Stop saying my name"
"Stop saying that"

And then the non physical fighting, comic book-style begins as follows:
Sam removes part of the train Jack is pulling to play with elsewhere
Jackson (with great agitation and gnashing of teeth, while falling to his knees in agony) "SAMMMMMMY, NOOOOOOOOOO"
Sam: (pointing a finger at Jackson like a sorcerer) pssshhhshhshhhsh
Jackson: "NOOOOO, don't Pssshsshhshssh me! (pointing a finger back) PSSHSHSHSHHSSH
Sam: (in response to the pshsh) AAAAAHHHHHHHH! (Raising an arm in the air and shouting)
Jackson: "NOOOO, SAMMY. DON'T BAM ME" (Pointing a finger and pretending to spray water) PSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSH
Sammy: (in reaction to being "sprayed") "AAAAAHHHHHHHHH" (Psh's back)
Apparently being "sprayed with water" (and I'm only assuming it's water and hoping it's not gasoline or acid) is enough to stop any opponent short in their tracks. Aah, the joys of boys.

Said to me today after calling me "honey," "You're my best friend ever, Mom." My two year old will be three in a few weeks. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Time marches on

It's true. Livi is almost three months old now, and with my ten year high school reunion rapidly approaching, I have to face how quickly the ticks on the clock have begun tocking. TEN YEARS! That seems like a lifetime, and such a short time, and yet when I think of all the things that have transpired since then, it seems like an eternity! In the last ten years, I have had and broken up with several boyfriends, attended and graduated from college, been in a sorority, met and married the love of my life. I have bought 2 houses and sold one. My parents have divorced and both remarried. I have given birth to three beautiful and healthy children. I have been overseas twice. I have taught school for four years at two different middle schools, and stayed at home for four years to raise my kids. I have supported my husband as he completed his MBA full-time at Wake Forest. I could go on and on, but that alone shows such a multitude of change in such a short time. Wow. I can't even imagine what the next ten years will bring.

The kids continue to amuse and fascinate me, Ryan, and each other. We have become SOOO busy lately with playdates and preschool and educational outings, that it seems we are barely home. Livi has settled into a nice routine, napping briefly in the morning, taking a LOOOONG afternoon nap, and then a quick evening snooze. She goes down for the night at about 9:00 which is a-okay with me, and sleeps well most nights, waking around 8-9 am. She smiles and is very social; always willing to give up sleep, food, pretty much anything for a chance to coo, smile, and talk. She is starting to play peekaboo which thrills the boys to no end, as they can see her interacting and reacting to them and their ploys for her attention. She still likes to be swaddled to sleep and requires motion (either being held or swinging) to fall and stay asleep. She toots like a truck driver, much to the delight of her brothers and the amusement of her parents! But despite that, she is a very sweet and pretty baby girl. I love dressing her in pink and putting delicate shoes on her. I can't wait until she has hair and I can start with the bows and barettes and hairstyles! She sleeps really well when I put on the light classical music channel, which has made me nostalgic for my own classical music performance era, and has set me about searching for a used piano to buy that I have no room for in my house.
I adore the kids and being a SAHM, but I catch myself daydreaming sometimes about what I might do when they are more independent. I'll be a concert flautist, or a pediatrician, or a very successful entrepreneur, or any number of unlikely things. It's like I'm still a child, waiting to see what I will be when I "grow up," despite knowing that I will never grow up! Some days as I look at my life, I am sure I will awaken, still a child in our old house in Hunting Hills with my mother's soft, cool hands smoothing my hair away from my forehead and tell her that I had a wonderful dream about being married and having kids. My life really couldn't be much better than it is, and yet it seems so unfair that you don't get multiple chances. Ooh, choose your own adventure and go back and see what happens if you go THAT way instead. I hope everyone wonders such things and I'm not the only dreamer.

Today we were next door at Tammy's for a birthday brunch for Carrie and once everyone else had left and the 4 boys were upstairs playing, I called for them to come down and put on shoes so we could leave. Jackson, Caden, and Connor appeared at the top of the stairs, but no Sam. "Where's Sam," I asked the boys. We don't know was the response. Tammy and I began a frantic search through the house and the yard, sure he was hurt or lost. We tried the bathroom door upstairs and found it locked. When we opened it, we found Sammy fast asleep on the bath mat on the floor. My kids NEVER sleep like that, and it's especially amazing because I found Jackson asleep on the floor of his room by the door the other night. I think he was trying to see under his door and watch for us, and fell asleep waiting.

I see signs of him growing up every day. The other day I lay with him in the toddler bed while he got ready for his nap. After he rubbed my face and played with my hair for a while and I fell asleep, he woke me up to say "Get out of my bed now, Mom. I want to look at stories." And just like that I was dismissed! Tomorrow will be our first attempt at him going into preschool alone, and I'm anxious to see how that will go. Perhaps the mommies are the ones that need/cling to the kids, and not vice versa.

Well, he's awake from his nap now and calling for me, so I had better go and gather him up. I do cherish the time I have alone with each child.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Preschool beginnings...

Today Jackson started preschool at BC Preschool. You may recall my earlier post about waiting up all night to secure a spot for him in January. It seemed light years away then, but here it is, and my firstborn has already begun his school career. For weeks now we have been talking about school beginning, buying his school supplies and trying to ensure that he is both excited about school and clear about what will take place. One of his main concerns was that Sammy was not going to be coming with him. The boys have seldom been away from me, and aside from Sam's "surgery" in February, the boys have never been apart at all. So I decided to leave Sam with our neighbor while I took Jack to school to try and minimize the shock. Sam marched right into Michelle's house without even looking back, but once I said "Bye bye, Sammy" he turned and did his "Mommy?" inquiry. No tears were shed, and I was off with Jack and Liv to take Jackson to school. He had begun to brag this morning that he was the only one who got to go to school. It went something like this: "Mommy not going to school?" "No, Jackson, just you." "Sammy not going to school?" "No, Jackson, just you."
I packed his backpack last night, full of all the required elements: pullups and wipes, change of clothes, folder, snack (pb sandwich, no "peels" -crust-, cut into triangles; raisins; grapes; and goldfish crackers.) I charged the camcorder and made sure to put the camera where I wouldn't forget it. We dropped Sammy off on the way, and Jack watched Sesame Street in the car on the way there. Tammy and Conner were in front of us on Hull street, and we walked in with Emily and Charlie. As we drove by the school, Jackson exclaimed, "There it is!" and we turned in to the parking lot. We took pictures at home before we left, in the parking lot, I camcorded walking into school, and took more pictures at the classroom AND when I picked him up! He did so well going in like a big boy. We put on his name tag, and his teacher, Mrs. Ray helped him put his snack in the bowl, took his folder, and showed him his cubby and hooks for his bookbag and coat. I told him goodbye, he gave me a kiss, and that was it. No tears (from him or from me!) and he seemd to be great! When I picked him up, they were playing on the playground and his teacher said he did great except for a minute or two of tears when another child started crying for mommy and he chimed in.
Meanwhile, Sammy and I stayed at Michelle's to play with Hayden. At one point, Sammy asked for "Jashshon", and when I told him Jackson was at school, he didn't believe me and proceeded to wander around Michelle's house yelling for Jackson.
When we picked Jackson up at school, the first question was "Where's Sammy," and relief when I said he was in the car waiting for us.
Immediately upon entering the van, he said, "SAMMY!" and while stroking Sam's little cheek said "There you are!" like he had been looking for him all along.
Jackson brought home his first art made without me, and said he made it "For you, Mommy, because you're so pretty." I have taught him the art of sucking up quite well, as you can see!
Absence certainly made the heart grow fonder, and they played very peacefully all afternoon. They rode bikes and cars, and every so often Jackson would declare a "Switch," and they would trade vehicles without complaint. They tossed a football in the kitchen while I made dinner, and Jackson tried to teach Sam to ride his beloved red Radio Flyer tricycle.
J: "No, Sam, put your feet like this on the pedaws, no, like THIS. There you go, now I'll push you. Pedal, pedal, pedal, just like that. Now you try it by youself, Sammy." (While gently pushing the tricycle so Sam could practice the motion with his feet on the pedals.)
It was heart-breakingly cute, and the way they called for each other every time they were out of each other's site for the afternoon was also very endearing. Sammy came downstairs after his nap and said, "Hi, buddy." to Jackson. Too cute! I'm so glad they will grow up together and always have each other on which to depend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

To my husband on his 29th birthday...

Happy Birthday to my sweet husband.
Thank you for being the kind of husband and father I only dreamed I would have someday.
Thank you for loving us enough to go to work every day, even when we’re all still asleep as you tiptoe out the door. Thank you for being a generous financial provider, and being willing to put the kids and me ahead of your own needs and wants. Thank you for loving the kids even when they whine and cry. Thank you for loving me even when I’m grouchy or unaffectionate, frumpy and pregnant. Thank you for preferring to spend your time with us instead of pursuing other leisure activities. Thank you for sharing your life with us and choosing us to be your family. We are privileged to have you as our own.

You are my best friend and the person I enjoy most. You are the first person I want to share things with, and the one I hope shares everything with me. You are the one that comforts me when I need comfort, listens when I need to air my frustrations, and picks up the pieces (and the toys) when I just can’t do it myself. I miss you when we aren’t together, and I love that we laugh so much nearly every day. I love that you still give me goose bumps.

Even though some people find September 11 to be a day of mourning, this day will forever be to me a day when good conquered evil, and when, 29 years ago, God brought someone beautiful and good into this world who completes my life and shows our children every day a great example of what life is all about.
Happy Birthday to the love of my life, and the man I am proud to wake up next to every morning. Here’s to growing old together, loving every minute, and watching our family grow and change as the years pass. The years may go quickly, but so far they have been FABULOUS and I can’t wait to see what our future together holds! I love you!

Friday, September 7, 2007

What I love...

Well, yet another month has flown by and I'm starting to believe all the people that have been telling me to enjoy my baby and toddlers because soon I will blink and they will be grown and gone. I just finished watching "Father of the Bride" which besides being one of my all-time favs, has taken on a whole new meaning now that Olivia is here with us. It is a huge conglomerate of emotions to think of her growing up and starting a life of her own. The mix of excitement, disbelief, uncertainty, concern and elation that it conjurs are more than my postpartum hormonal emotions can take! There are times during the day when I catch myself saying things like "I can't wait until they're old enough to do this or that by themselves," or "Oh, when they're all in school I can't wait to drink my coffee while it's still warm, watch the 'Today Show' and exercise on a whim." But then a moment comes like my kiddos and I together in the car, with the window down, the warm air blowing on my face, and the sounds of "Finding Nemo" mingling with the laughs of my sweet toddler boys, and I want to freeze time, if not for an eternity, at least for a while longer. My father pointed out to me once that eventually each phase would grow tiresome, and I would long for my children to progress to something new. The logical part of me believes that is true, but the emotional mommy side of me isn't so sure I don't want them to stay this way forever. There are so many things I love about them as they are right now. I love that they want to snuggle at night. I love that Sammy says "Mommy?" in a questioning tone right before I leave his room, just waiting for the reassuring, "Yes, Sammy, Mommy's here" before he lays his little crewcut head and chubby cherubic cheeks on his pillow to settle in for a snooze. I love that Jackson asks for more snuggling, and that if I accidentaly wipe off the kiss I give him, a fresh kiss must replace it before I leave the room. I love that I still take baths with them, and that we laugh and splash, and play for a while in the evenings. I love reading them the same stories over and over, and I love the unprovoked and surprising, "I love you Moms," I get from Jack, and the "I ruv yous" that come from Sammy. I love the way they speak, with their words understandable, but perhaps only by me through the hours of listening to their toddlerese. I love that what I say is law and that I am the person in their world who knows more than anyone else. I love that Jackson still says "God made it?" about everything from flowers, leaves, and clouds to the shoes at Payless. I love that they still love each other, and that they hug and kiss before they go to bed at night. I love the way Olivia smells like a sweet baby and that her head often shows sticky spots where the boys have gently kissed her with peanut butter covered lips. I love that they call her "pretty" and that they mean it. I love the way they call her "baby sister" and that Jackson helps Sam take off his shoes when we come in the house, just because he can and sometimes because Sam or I ask him to. I love that they still wear footie pjs some nights, and the way it feels to have them snuggle against me so their head rests just under my chin, the soft scent of baby soap floating off their hair. I love how curious they are and that everything is so new and exciting to them. I love hearing their little conversations in the playroom while I am in the kitchen, and the way they ask each other questions. I love the way Olivia's mouth forms into a huge gummy "O" when she smiles at me, and that her huge blue eyes are always scanning the room for me when I'm not nearby. I love the way Jack calls Sam "Sammybear" and the way Sammy says "Jashshon" and I wish I had a tape recorder running all the time so I could hear their baby voices every day for the rest of my life. I love that Jackson is still young enough to play football in a fairy princess dress and wings and not think twice about it. I love that their personalities are so different and yet they are each other's best friend. I love that they ask for each other and baby sister anytime they are apart and seem restless until they are together again. I love the way it feels when they run to me and throw their arms around my neck in a perfect, tight squeeze. I love they way they celebrate when Daddy comes home from work, and that we all eat dinner together every night. I love that they thank me for "taking care of me" and think everything I do is pretty great. I love that popsicles are one of their favorite things in the whole world and that they throw their arms up in the air in jubilation every time I say they may have one. I love that Jackson sometimes says "Ew, gwoss, Sammy's all messy," even as he has food smeared all over himself! I love that they don't remember a time without a sibling, and that quite frankly they don't seem to wish they did. I love that they surprise me with the smallest things like putting the eyes and mouth on the right place on the butterfly project even though I didn't think they knew how. I love that they are polite and mannerly most of the time and are always willing to give hugs to anyone whom we prompt them to hug. I love that they are so cute that we are a spectacle everytime we leave the house, and that they like the attention as much as I do. I love that Jack asks me to spin when I have on a skirt and tells me I'm pretty. I love that I can still tickle them until they can't breathe, and the sound of their giggles as they gasp and squirm. I love seeing them in their cribs and toddler bed, so small and dependent. I love the way they look as they sleep, their tiny chests heaving with deep relaxed breaths, so comfortable and trusting that we will protect them. I love the way they still say "hold you" when they really want to BE held. I love the way Jackson snuggles up in my bed in the morning with Olivia and I to watch cartoons until everyone is ready to get up and moving. I love that he brushes his teeth a million times a day and has to use all three kinds of toothpaste every time. I love the way they dance, whether running in circles around the ottoman, grooving from side to side at the table, holding hands and dancing in circles with daddy in the kitchen, or flopping like fish on the floor. I love the way Jackson repeats things back to me just to make sure we're understanding one another, and the way Sammy says things that I didn't know he knew or understood. I love the silly way their mouth scrunches up when they say "Cheese" so they aren't really smiling for the picture at all, but have an adorable silly puckered look on their face instead. I love the way Jackson asks "Is that Silly, Mom?" and Sam just declares "It's so siddy" with his usual confidence. I love the way they run in their diapers, Jackson looking like a Gecko with his long legs and straight torso dashing through the house and Sammy with his legs flying out to the sides of his body and his arms pushing like paddles to propel him forward. I love the way they chase each other around on their bikes through the house and that Jackson is always telling Sam how to do things and that Sam just does it because he's so sweet and accomodating and would do nearly anything for Jackson. I love the way they count, pretend to make pizza, and sing "Where is Thumbkin." I love the way Sammy's hair grows like a weed over his ears, spikes up all over the place, and that Jackson's is so fine and thin you almost can't see it. I love to catch glimpses of who they will be someday in every action and word of the present. I love to imagine what the future will hold for them, and reminisce about the way they used to do things when they were babies. But more than anything else, I love that they are mine and that I have the privilege of enjoying every minute of the here and now with them, and that I have the honor of spending my life as their mother.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I am SOOO behind!

Olivia is six weeks old already! SIX WEEKS! Where has the time gone? She has continued to be an amazingly sweet baby, smiling often since week one, and sleeping when requested. We have lost maybe 5 hours total sleep to her being awake (note: not crying, just awake) and she is now learning how to entertain herself in the swing, activity mat, or bouncy seat, which is giving me opportunities to get a few things done!
We went to the beach last week- Emerald Isle. The boys were SOOO excited to go and did a great job in the car for the 4.5 hour ride, except for Sammy's new habit of spitting just to antagonize Jackson who is stuck in the seat beside him! Jackson screams and tattles every time, and Sam has taken to doing it ever so softly after being yelled at for it a million times!
Sammy has begun telling us "I Ruv you" without any prompting, which is one of those sweet things that your kids do that keep you wiping noses, cleaning butts, and enduring goldfish crumbs all over your house.
But I digress...the beach! Jackson loved the waves and Sam loved the sand. Jackson hated the sand and Sam hated the waves. Polar opposites much? We spent much time inside for naps in the afternoon and because I didn't want to keep Livi out in the heat too much and MAN was it HOT! Humidity and heat were at an extreme and I swear there is nothing more frustrating than getting three crying babies/toddlers up a boardwalk who are covered in sand and have burning feet to get to a shower and clean them off and then trudge to the beach house that you are LOCKED OUT OF! I had to scale the house and go in the second floor balcony door to get us back in and I think the adrenaline I felt I could have jumped up in a single leap, if necessary. I was going to get into that house one way or another because my kids needed a nap and clean clothes and lunch and let's just say I was not in the best spirits from that.
The boys shared a room with Josh and I am so pleased that they slept so well in the same room. It reassured me that they will be able to share a room well in a year or so when the time comes.
I thought perhaps Jackson was ready for potty training today, but it turns out...not so much! When he got up, I asked if he wanted to wear big boy underwear like his cousin Josh does and use the potty and he enthusiastically said "YES!" So I commenced with the ceremonially first wearing of underwear and took pictures, and Sammy chimed in "My turn," so he wore a pair over his diaper. Jack did make a poo poo in the potty and earned some Skittles, but proceeded to pee in his underwear. He changed into clean big boy pants and did it AGAIN! By the third time, it became clear he was deliberately peeing in his pants, just to get to see what other new pair of underwear he could put on. "Hurray- car boxer briefs! Oops, I peed again...what's next?"
So apparently he is not so ready for potty training so we'll wait and try again later.
The boys continue to love on baby sister and give her kisses and compete for her smiles. I certainly think she is going to be the princess of this family, with everyone fawning over her all the time!
Jackson has reached the point of asking "Why" all the time which is driving me crazy aside from his incessant talking. Sam just responds "What" like a bored teenager whenever called upon, and we are convinced he's the only one year old that has a teenager's attitude. But his vocabulary is growing by the minute, and we are always amazed by the sentences he comes up with. They're growing up too fast and I need to be taking the time to record more specifics because I already forget them from day to day.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Welcome Olivia Ann!

Our baby girl is finally here! She was born Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 5:24 pm. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces and 20 1/4 inches long, she is absolutely perfect! The labor was quick and much easier than I anticipated. I went to the doctor on Friday at 3:20, and he stripped my membranes (again) and stretched me to 3 cm from 1 cm and 75 % effaced. That evening I began having contractions and ended up with 6 hours of false labor, ending around 3 am. The next morning I woke up feeling crampy, but not expecting much after the disappointment from the night before. At noon, I had a very strong contraction, went to the bathroom, and lost my mucous plug (ewww)! By 2, they were 5 minutes apart and we decided to get started towards the hospital. The boys had to be dressed and dropped off at Tammy's house and the bags needed to go into the car, and we were finally on our way! We arrived at the hospital around 3 pm, but didn't get checked in right away. After two middle of the night hospital arrivals with the boys, I didn't call ahead again this time, and the hospital "wasn't expecting me." After a nasty nurse finally believed I was in labor and got me a room, my contractions were coming almost constantly and were quite strong. Dr. Wiles came in and broke my water, my epidural went in, and in 45 minutes I went from 4 cm to 10 cm and ready to push! I pushed ONE TIME, and next thing I knew, the baby was out!
We came home the next night, and were so glad to sleep in our own bed! The boys have done SOOOO well with their new baby sister. They have been gentle, and calm, and given LOTS of kisses. They like to hold her (especially Jackson) and tell her that they love her. They've even been bringing her toys to share. Livi had a great night last night, and slept from 9 pm until 2 am when I startled awake and worried because she had not eaten for 5 hours! I think my milk had just come in, though and she was stuffed! I ended up waking her up again at 4 and 6:30, and then she woke up on her own at about 8:30. All in all, recovery, experience and all have been so much easier than the first two. We actually went for a long walk around the neighborhood today, and I cooked dinner and everything! I can't believe how good I feel! I guess it just gets easier each time! But then, maybe I should knock on wood....

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Other Shoe

I have a husband who is generally very even-keeled. It takes alot to upset him, alot to frustrate him, and alot to rattle him. USUALLY. Lately, that has not been the case. This pregnancy in particular, has brought out a side of my husband I had not seen before. To be fair, I'm sure he would say the same about me, but I have hormones on my side, so I'm not the one on trial here. Anyhow, he has been quick-tempered, lazier, easily frustratable and generally less easy going this time around. Which seems strange to me. This time I feel like it will be basically a piece of cake. It's our third go round (granted, 3 in 31 months is enough to rattle ANYONE a little!), we know generally what to expect, we are much more stable as a family and with our finances, and yet my husband doesn't seem to be coping well. We are blessed. There's just no other way to say it. We have had little to no trials or complications in our lives, and certainly no tragedies. We have FAAAR more in every way than most other people, and without a doubt most other people our age. And yet this week, my husband is depressed. Why, you ask? Well, mainly because he didn't get the promotion he wanted when he's only been with the company for 2 years. Yes, he's had raises and significant bonuses. Yes, he's been promoted twice laterally in the company. Yes, he's had very positive feedback and has been told he is looked at as promotable and managerial material.
Secondly, because he feels he doesn't really have friends. I have tried several times to get him to go out with some of my friends' husbands, to no avail. I have suggested a poker club with some of the guys on the street. I have offered to have the guys over to watch games. But he doesn't seem interested. I don't know where he should go to meet guy friends, and I really don't know what he expects at this phase of our lives when we have 3 children under 3. Evenings are relaxed because our kids go to bed early. But then we are in for the night. One or the other of us can go out, but not both. We are limited as to our activities.
Which brings me to the apparent third reason for his distress. He's bored at night. Umm, I'm due in two weeks, so I just don't feel like doing a whole lot at night unless the nesting urge hits and I want to clean. He doesn't want to clean or do projects. He doesn't want to watch tv. He doesn't want to read. He doesn't want to surf the net, or at least objects if that's what I choose to do instead of watching a guy show with him. I have no idea what I am supposed to do to make him happy.
And then the fear strikes. What if this is the beginning of the end? What if this malcontent makes him look elsewhere for happiness and excitement? What if he takes off with another woman and leaves me broken hearted and penniless with three children? Or worse, what if God decides to give us something to complain about and our first real tragedies strike? I won't even make suggestions there, because I can't bear to think about the possibilities. And so, as my husband mopes around, I feel myself beginning to slip. I try to keep my chin up so my kids won't notice the change. I speak in a high pitched, happy-mommy voice and smile when I feel like crying. And if my husband read this, he would say, "It's not that bad, honey. I'm sure I'll be over it soon. It's not that big a deal." But the fickleness still remains. Last week he loved his job and promotion or not, he would be perfectly happy. Last week, sitting around just the two of us watching tv felt great! Last week, he couldn't wait to be home with us and wouldn't dream of going out with COWORKERS of all people for drinks and appetizers when he could spend the afternoon with the kids instead. How things change in the course of a week. I hope I don't get postpartum depression, cause somebody has to keep this ship afloat in the coming weeks! Livi, I can't wait until you arrive and I know you will help snap your Daddy out of this funk. Maybe then he'll remember that you guys are the ones we live for and that our lives and happiness may be put on hold for a while so we can devote our time and energy to growing the best possible kids. And let me tell you, it's paying off so far. We have some terrific kiddos! I love you guys SOOOOO much and thank you for making me smile, even when I don't think I can.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Almost time!

At my doctor's appointment on Friday, June 8 (happy 5th anniversary us!) I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced! I think that's good news, but with the boys I didn't dilate or efface AT ALL until late in my labor. I was actually at the doctor's each time during the day with the boys and was told I wasn't doing anything and would probably be late. I've had ALOT of cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions lately, but you never know! I'm starting to feel more anxious about the boys' reactions to the baby and the changes than I am about the house cleaning now. I was awake at 5:30 this morning thinking through all the possible scenarios for people coming to stay with the boys, depending on the day I go into labor. June 21st, is my ideal day because it allows my mom to come up for the birth, spend a couple of weekend nights here taking care of the boys while we're at the hospital, and then head home for work for the week. Ryan would be off that week, so I would have help for the first week home. Then my mom would return Friday the 29th and stay through July 8, and Roger would come for the week of July 9. I would have 3 straight weeks of help, which I have never had anything close to for the other births! I'm sure I'll need it this time more than ever!
Olivia's room is all done, and I am so pleased with the result. I ended up fabric dying white pillow shams and bedskirt pink because I refused to pay $95 for that, and they came out really well! We had to cut down the roman shade a little, but miraculously, that worked out well too! It's a relief to have all those things done. Everything is washed up, the batteries are changed in all the baby gadgets, and the bassinet is at the ready! My hospital bag is MOSTLY packed, and I've wrapped the babies I plan to give the boys at the hospital. I am hoping they will take care of "their" babies, while I take care of Olivia, but we'll see how that goes. I stocked up at Wal-mart today on all the non perishables, and plan to make two freezer meals this week, lasagna and chicken enchiladas, so that will help too. I haven't finished cleaning the floorboards, doors, light fixtures, and carpets yet, but the nesting bug seems to have slowed a bit in the past week or so. I did clean out the pantry and freezer today because I would be ashamed to have someone staying here with the boys come across some of the nastiness I uncovered! Ewww!
Well, Miss Olivia, we are all anxiously awaiting your arrival and can't wait to see your beautiful face or discover who you will be. I know your brothers will be enchanted with you, especially Jack, and I think you will grow to be Sam's pet as well. I think you may be the last addition to this family, but we may decide we want to expand some more in a few years. We'll have to wait and see how things go. You make your appearance whenever you think you're ready, but if you wanna make Mama happy, please come sometime between now and the 21st! Hope your journey is safe and more pleasant than it will be for me! See you on the other side, baby girl!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Updates by kid:

Well, let's see...
Jack is officially over 2.5 years old, and his attitude certainly shows it! Sometimes, he can be the sweetest kid on earth, and at least once a day tells me very seriously "Thank you for take care of us Mommy." But then also nearly once a day he yells "WHAT?" at me in an irritated tone from another room when called upon for nearly anything. Teenagers...scary! He is pedaling his bike now, (all over the house) and singing alot of songs. Among his favorites are "Where is Thumbkin" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He is very excited about his baby sister, and talks about her and her new room daily. He hasn't gotten upset in the least about his crib reappearing in her room or giving up his changing table (since we replaced it with toy storage in his room!) He did not, however, want to give up the "Diaper Champ" pail until it scared him in his sleep two days in a row, and now it has been gladly relegated to his baby sister's room. He continues to love stories, and his favorite TV shows include "Goodnight Moon," "The Little Einsteins," "Dora the Explorer," and "Diego."

Sam is talking up a storm, and follows Jack like a puppy dog. They go zooming around the house together on their trike and scooting Radio Flyer bikes respectively. Sam has even started saying complete sentences now like "I don't rike it, Mommy," and "Hold you, Mommy." He knows a multitude of words and most of his animals and sounds. He is very snuggly most of the time and has learned to say "thank you" without even being asked at times. We have had to institute time outs with him, but I have to say they have drastically improved his behavior. He cries the whole time, but comes out of the room and automatically says that he's "Sossy" and gives a kiss. I forsee some jealousy issues from Sam when Olivia arrives, but he can say "baby sister" now and it's really cute. With any luck, he'll follow Jack's lead and they will both want to be Mommy's helpers.

They continue to be each other's best friend, and they are always looking for each other when the other is sleeping. They fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but always end up forgiving and forgetting and I try to convince myself that they are learning good skills in negotiation and compromise, but we'll see! Their new favorite way to spend the afternoon is in the backyard, circulating among the swingset/slide, baby fishing pool, sandbox, and picnic table for snacks and popsicles. Oh, and bubbles, both manmade and bubble machine generated provide hours of fun. I have to admit, sitting outside under the shade of the umbrella with a slight breeze and my swollen feet dipped in the cool baby pool in the afternoon with bubbles swirling around my head and my kid's laughing in the background...well, it just doesn't get much better than that.

As for the pregnancy/Olivie, she is due in a little less than 5 weeks, and I'm hoping she'll be early. Not only has this pregnancy been alot harder than the first two, but being huge in the summer is NOT fun. The room is coming along nicely, and we have painted pink, hung and painted chair molding, added green stripes, and are just about ready to hang the rest of the decor. I was hoping for a June 1 deadline to have everything done, but I'm not sure we'll make it with Ryan going out of town this week. This weekend we have pressure washed the house, painted and stained the front porch, stained the back deck, organized the garage, and run errands. Tomorrow (Memorial Day) is going to be Spring Cleaning inside and hopefully hanging all the things that have been sitting around for ages. Ryan is hoping my nesting stage will end soon since his back can't take much more manual labor! And I have done as much as possible, but I have so much cramping and tightness all the time, moving around can be difficult.

I feel both ready and very afraid of a new baby in the house again. I can't wait to smell those baby smells, and watch her learn all the things she'll learn in the first few years. I'm excited to think of the bond a mother can only have with a daughter. But I'm also afraid. Afraid of the way it will change the relationship I have with the boys. Afraid of not being able to say "me and the boys." Afraid of having enough of myself to go around. Afraid that discipline will slip in light of the exhaustion and frustration of having 3 kids under 3. Afraid of not being the "perfect mom." A few more weeks will make it all very clear. I can't wait to meet you, my sweet baby girl. I love you already.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Wow, where did the last month go?

Well the last month has been a flurry of things:
My sisters and all 6 of their kids making our house the spring break destination
Failing my glucose test (but only the first time by one point, and passing the second one)
Getting a horrible nasty cold that put me solidly in bed for two days, and knocked me down for at least two weeks
Falling down the garage stairs and ending up bruising my foot, my legs, and my back (after screaming like a 90 year old woman as I went down and managing to traumatize the boys who were already waiting for me in the van)
My baby shower for Olivia
Painting the baby's room pink (and still not finishing the chair moulding or the green painting)
A yard sale
Spotting and cramps that prompted me to call the doctor and still have me wondering if this baby is going to come too early
A 6 hour day in the car to spend the day at my sister in law's college graduation
Hosting the inlaws for 2 days
Playdates, zoo trips, temper tantrums, and the usual household chores
And about a million other things I still haven't managed to accomplish

The boys have been changing so much in the last few weeks. It seems like a new favorite phrase or activity surfaces every couple of days. This weekend it has been "I can't even beweeve it mom!" and today he said to Sammy in a tone not at all unlike my own "Oh, HONEEE, why did you do dat? You are making me cwazy!"

From one moment to the next, they are sharing, then fighting, then hugging, then punching. But no matter what, at the end of the day, and first thing in the morning, it is clear that they are the very best friends, and know that the bond they share is something extremely important and something eternal. It's so powerful for me as a mother to watch them spend time together and learn from one another. I wish I could control our lives like a Tivo box to rewind and pause at will. I wouldn't require a fast forward button- the time is passing too quickly as it is, whether good or bad. I watched the movie "Click" the other night, but I think the message there is entirely different from what I would desire or accomplish with my remote. I do not seek power or influence or money or position. I seek the opportunity to extend the happy periods with my kids and husband or rewind; both to eradicate the mistakes I have made and to laugh again at the precious things they do each day. I can't help but wonder in the evenings if I did enough for them that day. Did I make them feel important and appreciated? Did they go to bed knowing how very much I love them? Did I teach them respect and self control and how to be a good person today? Was today a day that made them happy?

I feel so blessed at various points throughout each day, and I always wonder if I will remember those moments. If I'll remember what they did that made me laugh so hard. Will I remember the sound of Sammy's laughter when he's being tickled, or the way they squeal and their feet pitter patter as they run through the house when I'm the "Mommy monster"? When they are teenagers, will I recall the smell of their sweet skin after a bath when I hold them to rock or read a bedtime story? How long will I get to enjoy taking a warm bath with them in the evenings? I love that time. I relax in the water with them, and all is right with the world. How much longer will they want to "snuggle with me" and spontaneously say "I WUV you Mommy"? I know these are all fleeting moments, and my earnest prayer is that these memories will stay with me, captured forever in my mind and my heart.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Boy wars and destruction have begun...

We had our first casualty of war in the house, and it was our poor wipes container. During a fierce shoving competition, Thing One pushed Thing Two backwards (though hardly a fair fight considering the 13 month age difference, although only 1 pound apart) and Thing Two landed on the wipes container. It was closed at the time, but somehow the lid was broken clean off the top. Remind me to hide all breakable and valuable items somewhere far away until my boys go off to college. Maybe the addition of a sweet little girl will temper their battles, but maybe not. Besides, with the ultrasound results from last week declaring her 2.7 pounds at 27 weeks, and in the 81st percentile, it looks like we have a bruiser on our hands. Who knows, maybe she'll be the one to shove the older two around with her little pink painted fingernailed hands. Aaah, I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Penis Discovery in our house

It's been coming for a while now. With me taking an occasional bath with the boys, and the inevitable "Where is Mommy's penis?" questions, then watching Daddy streak from the bathroom to his closet each morning (i'm sure our neighbors appreciate that) and then Sam's penis retraction surgery, the boys were bound to have some penis curiosity sooner or later. Well, having Sam's penis retracted was like opening Pandora's box for him, and it has become impossible to keep his hands off himself either during diaper changes (EWWW) or bath time. But tonight, I stepped back into the bathroom after dressing Sam to find Jack having a field day with his own member. He smiled up at me and said "My penis keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And then I squished it."
Yeah, I laughed out loud, and he moved on to playing with a toy car. Ahh, the joys of mothering boys!

Friday, March 23, 2007

The vomit finally hit the fan

Well, I was reading another post recently from "Where Boys Fear to Tread" that was entitled "You're Not A Parent Until You've..." and I need to add to that until you've been showered with vomit!
You would think that as the mother of nearly 3 children under three (number three being due in June) I would already have experienced a puke shower, but not until today. My two year old woke up this morning complaining that he "didn't feel well" but he just kinda rolled around on the couch watching Playhouse Disney, so I assumed he had woken up too early and would just require an early nap. Until he started slapping his lips together in that tell-tale my mouth is filling up with saliva and I'm about to toss cookies kind of way. I didn't want to scare him by rushing him to the bathroom because he has never thrown up before (other than the occasional bit during a dramatic crying episode from time-out), so I sat there and watched as he erupted into a chunky milky volcano all over me and the couch. My plan backfired, because as I freaked out, I upset him anyhow, so I should have just been preemptive and headed for the bathroom in the first place. Poor little guy. He hasn't thrown up since this morning, but the smells coming outta that kid could be used in chemical warfare, for sure.
I knew right away when my neighbor called to say "Well, we won't be playing outside today after all" that we were in trouble.
"Are your kids throwing up," I asked?
"Yep, they started last night," she responded despondently. At least we're in it together.
I'm still waiting for his brother to throw up, but so far, so good. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Frustration, overload, and a desperate need for therapy

Okay, something has to give here. Maybe I need real therapy, maybe retail, maybe massage, but I need SOMETHING. Tonight I had a good heart to heart (read: fight) with my husband about the state of our union. Basically, he claims this happens every time I'm pregnant and that it's me, and I feel quite strongly that he is being a hard-core JERK. On the off chance that it IS me and I'm a crazy, hormonal pregnant person, I still think he should be the one to step up and quit fighting with me (read: apologize profusely and let me have my way) because I'm A.) a big, fat, unattractive pregnant person, B.) carrying his child, C.) caring full-time for his other two children ages 2 and 1, and D.) always right and rarely willing to apologize.
The most frustrating thing about having a "discussion" like this with my husband (besides the fact that he's out of town AGAIN and we are having it over the phone) is that he is silent through much of it. From what I understand, that is a trait he learned from his father and is not only counter-productive towards a solution, but makes me want to tear off all of my skin and run naked screaming into the street. SOME KIND OF RESPONSE would be better than the silence. I would rather really get into a good one where he calls me an insane bag of hormones with nothing better to do than dream up ridiculous arguments that leave him in a no-win situation than sit on the other end of a silent phone line. I am all for him thinking before he speaks and choosing his words carefully as long as the end result is him actually choosing some freakin words!
I usually end up feeling like a prisoner at the end, where he gives me some lip service about how he'll work on it and do I feel better now? Where do I go from there? I don't feel like it's solved anything (especially because we end up having the same "discussion" the next week) but I no longer have complaining rights and I am forced to give up, raise the white flag, forgive and forget (which I am completely incapable of doing anyhow) and move on until the next time I have had it with the little crap.
Sure, there is a crazy load of pressure on us right now. We are in our mid twenties, with nearly 3 children under age three, only a year and a half out of graduate school (translation- making ANY money), and living in an upper middle class suburbia where it seems not only is everyone 10 years older than us, but also making a heckuva lot more money. Add to that my pregnancy woes of heartburn, sleeplessness, sore back, and apparently hormones (did I mention a COMPLETE lack of libido, probably resulting from being a huge pregnant hogbeast), and you have a recipe for fighting.
Don't get me wrong; our marriage is usually REALLY REALLY good, and my husband is usually a SAINT. But there are times, particularly when I'm pregnant that I want to kill him with my bare hands, sometimes over nothing and sometimes over something quite specific. Generally, we laugh alot, we agree on alot, we genuinely enjoy each other's company and we love our kids more than anything in the world. We have been grossly blessed and should complain about pretty much nothing in our charmed little existence (which creates a whole new level of guilt when we ARE fighting and I feel like the world is a hopeless place even looking down from my ivory tower).
Am I the only one who feels this way? Does anyone out there (not that anyone but me will ever read this, since not even my husband knows the name of my blog) have these same guilty experiences? Maybe I am just crazy. Lord knows three little kids can do that to you, so at least it's not my fault. I just threw up a little in my mouth. Better go brush my teeth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We've been busy...

Whew, the past days have been chock full of playdates and warm weather that we have NOT wanted to waste inside. I swear that being outside creates different kids. Inside, my kids are bored, whiney, difficult, and did I mention BORED? Despite the bajillion toys they have strewn all over my house, and my feeble attempts to entertain them with sing a longs and various activities. Not only do they seem happier outside, but they become more tired for their naps which is just a serious bonus! Yesterday the boys were introduced to a trampoline. It had to be the world's safest trampoline, with padding all around the edges and over the springs, a tall zip-up netting and even the bars holding up the netting were padded. You know a trampoline is safe when you have 6 two year olds jumping at the same time and no one gets hurt! Sam couldn't keep his footing on it (but hey, at fourteen months he can't even walk spectacularly on uneven ground so it's understandable!) but belly laughed the whole time as the older kids bounced him around popcorn style on his tummy! Jackson loved it too, and since his jumping on the ground is more of a prance than an athletic jump, I imagine he felt something like an astronaut discovering a lack of gravity! But not only did they have a blast, they were SOOOO tired come naptime, there was zero battle and they took a long, restful snooze in the afternoon. I think we may NEEEEEED to add a trampoline to our swingset, sandbox, and motorized car backyard extravaganza. Today we invited all the kiddos on the street over for a morning playdate, and again, they went down for their naps dirt-streaked and exhausted. It actually gave me the energy to supply an afternoon activity of easter egg color sorting and dexterity practice switching eggs around in muffin tins, bowls, and egg cartons with the use of 4 pairs of tongs. Ordinarily this would be an idea I would plan, buy materials for, and assemble, but be to tired to actually negotiate when push came to shove and the boys would wind up watching "The Land Before Time" again for the 8 billionth time in a week. But not today. Two beautiful days outside NOT fighting with my kids and NOT listening to them fight with each other renewed this pregnant momma and let me PLAY with my kids. I think Jackson said "I wuv you Mommy" and "Tanks, Mom" more today than "Sowwy, Mommy" and it was a refreshing change from the past few weeks. Come on, Spring...don't fail me now!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Survival of the 72 hour spree

Okay, so I know for some (read: MANY) moms, being home alone with your kids for three straight days and nights is no big deal, but I am not one of them. The thought of two nights is unsettling to me, but three goes straight to downright panic and mayhem. Perhaps the only thing worse than spending the three nights alone to do dinner, bath, and bed with our two year old, one year old, and my six month pregnant belly is when it's a surprise. That's what happened this week.
I knew Ryan would be gone for Monday and Tuesday nights on a business trip, and I managed to get through with the knowledge that Wednesday night, I would get a (albeit small) break from the routine and isolation. However, about 10:30 Wednesday morning I got a call from hubby that went like this:
"I have bad news."
Me: "What?"
Him: "I have a business dinner tonight."
Me: "You're kidding, right?"
Him: "No, actually I'm not. But I can just go for drinks and be home around 7:30."
Me: "Well, since you won't make it home in time for dinner with us OR to help put the kids to bed, you may as well get a free dinner out of it."
Him: "Okay. I'll call you later."

So, the light at the end of the tunnel became a dot, then a speck, then disappeared, leaving me in the dark...ALONE... with two toddlers and a six month pregnant belly. My hubby is back home tonight and helped bathe and put the kids to bed, but I strangely don't feel that relaxed. Maybe it's because tonight I actually had to cook and clean up dinner...I can't win.
Next week is a new week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'd have killed them if they weren't so cute!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
REALLY bad day!
Today had to rank among the top 3 bad days as a stay at home mom. For starters, Ryan was out of town, leaving me to spend about 48 straight hours alone with a 2 year old, one year old, and 6 months pregnant. To get the ball rolling, Jack woke up at 5:30 this morning, and desperately needed more sleep (as did I!). He proceeded to wake Sam up prematurely, sending us into the whiney, crying, morning from hell. We were planning to meet some friends at the mall around 9:45 for Mom's Club, and the boys were monsters getting ready, arriving, while I waited for my food, while we shopped, and finally quieted down on the way home. I could feel myself losing my patience with every cry, every complaint, every refusal to do as asked. I raised my voice, I was clearly exasperated, and I am NOT proud of the mother I was this morning. They took a decent nap and were so-so for the afternoon. It seemed like everything I asked them to do, they did the opposite. I could swear they were searching for ways to make messes, and just to generally frustrate me. It's like they know when there is no relief in sight for me and they join forces for some kind of cooperative operation of "kick her while she's down!" It felt REALLY good to put them to bed, but Jackson came out of his room once, and when I put him back down, he repeatedly asked to sleep in "mom's bed," which he has never requested before. That made me it because a.) he knows mom is a sucker and he better ask while daddy is gone, b.) I traumatized him with my bad attitude today and he needs some reassurance that mommy loves him (YIKES) or c.) he just wants to watch tv in my room.
After I came back downstairs from tucking him in the second time, I started to think, "Gee, it would be kinda nice to snuggle with him in my bed. What's the big deal." Then I started thinking about how when the novelty wore off, and I decided it had to stop, the whole thing would have been terribly selfish on my part, and I would be making him feel tossed aside and confused just for the sake of my own wishes. I'm glad I stuck to my guns.
The even sweeter moment came when I started thinking about how he would come wandering into our room in the morning, as is his normal custom now that he is in his "big boy bed" and I could hear his door close (he does that first before coming cautiously down the hall towards our room) and I could imagine him peering curiously into our room waiting to for our response. When I give him the motion to come on in, a huge smile breaks onto his sweet little face, and he runs into the room and closes the door behind him, declaring "I watch tv!" He half climbs, is half pulled onto our bed where he snuggles in between us, makes adorable comments like "Hi mom. You watch tv wit me? I wuv you mommeee." and watches his cartoons until Sam wakes up and our day truly begins. I couldn't help but think, "I can't wait until the morning when I can see him again." Throughout most of the day, I never thought that would cross my mind tonight, but then, that's what makes motherhood beautiful.


Thursday, March 01, 2007
Sam's growing vocabulary
When Jackson was learning to talk, I kept tabs on his growing language development, and the time has come to do the same for Sammy....Here's what he says:
Mommeee, Daddeee, doggie, tweet tweet, duckie, quack quack (kind of more a growl!), airpwane, car, hot, hat, milk (mil), wadda (water), cacra (cracker), mine, bear, no no, nite nite, yesh, pwee (please), daydoo (thank you), buhbye, choochoo, elmo, nose, ow, bite, bwe(grape- I have no idea why!) ball, book, -I'll try to think of the rest, but that's the generally repeated list.
Some of his painfully cute motions include blowing kisses, waving goodbye, putting his hands up in the air to say "where did that go?", leaning in for YOU to kiss HIM, clapping, trying to fill his own water cup at the fridge, washing his hands, holding hands, knocking on doors (which he is VERY good at) and his classic point and grunt.
This morning I actually got to hold and rock him with his head against my chest for about an hour. I can't remember the last time I had that kind of snuggle time with either of the boys, and despite the early hour and fatigue of pregnancy, it was precious. I can't believe how quickly my little Sammy is growing up!

Separation anxiety

Monday, February 26, 2007
Jack's night away and Sam's big day!
Last night Jackson spent the night at his buddy Jacob's house. It was the first time he has ever slept away from Sam since Sam was born, and I wasn't sure how it would go. I needn't be concerned...while we were leaving, Jackson was climbing up their stairs to head for the bathtub, saying "Bye Mom, Wuv you, tanks for comin'!" Apparently he did ask for me once and asked for Sammy once, but accepted that we weren't there and that he was sleeping at Jacob's house.
Sam went in for his "surgery" this morning at 6:30 am. It was PAINFUL to be up and about at that hour, but Sam was a trooper. He played happily ( and was really adorable in his little gown) until the time came to take him away. I cried a little as he reached for me and called "Mommmeee," but recovered quickly. He underwent general anesthesia, but the procedure was quick and he came through it very well. The nurses even commented that "they don't usually smile POST-op" but our Sammy sure did! He ate well and played all day, but looked for Jackson when he woke up from his nap.
I went to pick Jack up in the afternoon when Sam went down for his second nap, and he did his "Happy dance" when we met at the front door. He ran right into my arms and I got LOTS of hugs! As we were getting him ready for bed tonight, I said "Mommy missed you so much last night. Did you miss Mommy too?" He said, "Yeah, I gived Mommy wots of hugs wast night." I can't help it if I teared up looking at his empty little toddler bed, or if I insanely required that his monitor be on, even though he wasn't in the room. There was also much rejoicing when Jack and Sam reunited. They gleefully played together while I made dinner and each one seemed truly thrilled to be back in the other's company. I hope they are always so close.

The circus

Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Circus (isn't it always around here?!)
Today we went to the Circus! The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus to be precise. It was the first experience of that kind for both Jackson and Sam, and they both loved it! I've been building it up with Jack for weeks, talking about going to the circus, visiting the website, and looking at pictures in books. Everytime I would talk about it, he would say things like "Gotta eat my peanut butta sanwich firs," or "Gotta put my shoes on firs." But this week we were counting down the days, and he said we would see "Scawy monkeys thewe." I'm not sure where that came from, unless "The Wizard of Oz" movie, but that's what he thought!
He was very excited as we made our way into the Richmond Coliseum today for the 3:30 afternoon showing. The beginning of the show was full of activity with elephants, dancers, loud music, and fireworks. The boys were enthralled! But not as enthralled as they all were to discover we were sitting next to Jacob, Jack's best buddy (besides Sam!) Throughout the event they spent time waving to each other and trying desperately to get each other's attention. They were great and watched with intensity. At one point, they were like little princes, sitting back (lounging) in their own seats, munching away on fruit snacks and sipping their juice boxes while taking in the show! We refrained from any circus paraphenalia- that stuff is highway robbery!- but maybe when they're older. All in all, it was a great experience for everyone and I can hardly wait for next year! Ah, they joys of parenthood- getting to be a kid again!

Big boy bed

Sunday, February 11, 2007
Big Boy Bed
Last night I tucked my firstborn into a crib for the last time. Sob. Yes, I teared up a little and I did take pictures!
Today we talked about his big boy bed and how we would have a surprise for him in place of his crib. So, while my mom and grandma played with the boys downstairs, Ryan and I dismantled the crib and stored it in the attic (for the next 3 months until we need it for Livi's room!) and put together the big boy toddler bed. We made a big production of the surprise and coming up the steps to open the door to his room, camcording and snapping pictures the whole way.
He was all smiles as he crawled into the bed for the first time, and Sam was equally excited with the surprise! We read his story and snuggled up for a few minutes before leaving the room and closing the door. We watched on the monitor as he checked out the room, climbing in and out of bed, and playing with his toys. At one point, I cracked up when I saw a tiny hand sliding out from under his door. He opened his door once, but when he saw me coming up the stairs, he slammed it shut again! After going in twice to talk about laying in bed and taking a nap, and two poopy diaper changes, he finally snuggled in and fell asleep. It only took about an hour and he slept for 2.5 hours!
Tonight we read his story in bed at his request, and snuggled for a few minutes before saying goodnight. He played for aabout thirty minutes before passing out!
We are so proud of how well he has transitioned to his big boy bed, even if Mommy wasn't so brave!

Musings on a changing family

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Musings on a changing family
Since finding out about our baby girl, Ryan and I have discussed the growth of our family more than baby names, much to the surprise of us both. We are both growing more comfortable with the idea that a family of three kids might be just right for us, but neither of us is quite ready to commit yet.
It makes me sad to think that this will be the last newborn I nurse in the night, and the last tiny diapers that I change. I mean, I didn't even plan to have kids until I was thirty, and the prospect of being DONE having them at 27 seems a little wacky!
There are so many things I want to cherish, but am afraid that being so busy with three little ones, the moments will slip away unnoticed and I will be left with older kids and longing for the sweet smell and snuggles of a baby or toddler. I will miss the open mouthed kisses and the very deliberate and exaggerated clapping of a one year old. I will miss the mixed up pronouns and shock each time my toddlers say something I didn't know they understood. I'll miss rocking them and reading stories, rubbing lotion on their babysoft skin. I'll miss hearing that soft call for "Mama" when a baby or young toddler needs a reassuring snuggle. I'll miss having kids that NEED a reassuring snuggle. I'll miss the delight of discovery, and the sheer joy in the mundane everyday things.
I know that there will be benefits too! Some freedom and independence...knowing that I'll have an empty nest at 45 years old. Being a fairly young grandmother. But I think I understand now the syndrome of having LOTS of kids. There's just something intoxicating about babies, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the addiction just yet. Only time will tell...

Don't mess with my brother!

Don't mess with my brother!
This morning we had playgroup at our house (for the second time this week!) and Jackson proved himself as a fabulous big brother!
Another child knocked Sammy down, and Jackson came running over. First he stopped to pat Sam on the head and comfort him, saying "It's nokay, Sammy." Then he marched up to the boy, stuck his hand in his face and said "YOU NO PUSH SAMMY. YOU NO PUSH SAMMY DOWN." After that, he walked back to Sammy to repeat the "it's nokay Sammy" mantra and help him up...I melted! Ah, if only these moments would last. Apparently it's okay for Jack to slug Sammy, but nobody else better mess with his brother.

It's a Girl!

Monday, February 05, 2007
It's a Girl!
We FINALLY had the big ultrasound today and, you guessed it, it's a girl! I think I'm still in shock at the idea of having a daughter. After two sons, I wasn't sure it would ever happen, and we're a little intimidated by the idea of adding female hormones to the household. But I'm already planning her wedding and dreaming up all the things we'll do together one day.
We told the boys they were going to have a baby sister, and Jack slugged Sam. So, as you can see, they're very excited and trying hard to welcome a girl into the family.
Jack did tell me when I woke him up from his nap today to go to the ultrasound, "You look pretty Mommy. That's coot (referring to my shirt), I wike it! I WUV you Mommy." Maybe I can quit girlying up my boys now. We'll see.

Ahhh, appreciation...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
You're appreciated too
We have been in Charlotte for the last couple of days tagging along on a business trip with Ryan. The boys' schedules have been way out of whack, and they have had to put up with alot of strangers and strange places. They spent 4 hours in a car yesterday, then got a short night's sleep. We went swimming in the hotel pool and they took a quick morning nap. We met Ryan and his coworkers for lunch at Olive Garden, and then proceeded to spend 2 hours at the mall, where we chased the boys all over kingdom come with Sam spending more time wiping out and face planting than we spent shopping. But after finally reaching the peak of our frustration and scooping up the boys to rush them out to the car, Jackson decided to be the cutest toddler of all time. We put them in their car seats and pulled out of the mall parking lot. As we sighed and moaned and I complained about my pregnancy back and footaches from spending the day with the kids, we heard a sweet voice from the back seat.
"Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Dad"
Sweet, simple, unanticipated and unexpected, yet making every minute of our exhausting day worthwhile. It's so fulfilling to be appreciated. Finally.

The things we do for our kids

Monday, January 29, 2007
The things we do for our kids
So I swore I would not be one of those psycho moms who puts WAY too much stock into things like preschool, but apparently I have failed in my resolve. I was in a car (thankfully) from 1:30 am to 6 am this morning sitting in a preschool parking lot to reserve a spot for Jackson in a one day a week preschool class! How crazy is that? Wanna know what's crazier...I wasn't the first one there!
By 5 am the parking lot was full, and I'm sure the back half of the line didn't get spots. I was just glad we made a group decision to stay in our cars, but only at 4 am after a few people started lining up and the rest of us jumped out of our cars and ran to sit in the chairs we had set up to reserve our spot. Sitting in the 20 degree windy night would have been MUCH more painful than sitting in the car eating Doritos and chatting with my next door neighbor who went with me.
At 6 am, when the director opened the doors and told us to line up by car order to receive a number, I realized at least I wasn't the MOST psycho mom there. One woman actually came busting into the holding room loudly proclaiming, "OKAY, I WAS IN CAR 9, SO WHY AM I NUMBER 11!?" I explained that our car had two people in it and perhaps that was the case with another, but that didn't stop her from sitting in the back of the room with her arms crossed, chomping her gum and looking like a sourpuss!
It's pretty embarrassing when the PRESCHOOL director has to yell out to the group of PARENTS, "Let's not have any fighting. Work it out amongst yourselves!" Geez, I'm in trouble when my kids start sports!