Hello, 13 Days Later.

Well, life has been anything but busy lately. I have just been lazy and sick and puttin’ off my bloggin’ duties. However, I have decided that I’m going to print my blog into blog books for the kids since I do a terrible job keeping memories any other way. Really. I forget the camera all the time. I capture things on my cell phone- but really, who knows how to get all those off the phone and somewhere usable!? The most recent entry in Hula Girl’s baby book is on the page marked “On the Day we Brought you Home.” And Gelato doesn’t even have a baby book. So this blog is it. Really. I might need to reconsider my “no pictures of my children” policy. Or at least figure out how to download all my pictures from Facebook as a group (or at least albums) rather than one-by-one. (Anyone know how to do that? Emily Parker, I’m talking to you!)

So yeah, I need to get busy on this blog. I have several posts outlined in my notebook. I promise not all my posts are “this-just-happened-five-seconds-ago-and-I-just-can’t-wait-to-blog-about-it!!!!!!” posts… but some of them are. Not going to lie.

Twenty-three days ago, our groundhog saw his shadow and said we’d have six more weeks of winter. It has been cooooold. Accurate prediction. Now we have three weeks left. Let’s just pray that little groundhog guy was right and that spring comes early again this year! I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can get my kids outta the house!

Twenty-three days ago, I sold a swing and several other baby items on Craigslist. The lady never came to pick them up, until I gave up on her and left the house, after waiting around for her for an hour and a half. Of course, Jonathan didn’t pay attention when I told him the prices I wanted for the items… so we made an extra $20 that day. Guess it’s good to have selective hearing after all, right Dear?! 😉

Twenty-three days ago, I went to Goodwill and got a wreath for our door. It was wrapped in purplish cellophane and had old ugly silk flowers hot glued to it. I stripped it of its adornments and refashioned it into something adorable for my living room.

And I will now proceed to fill you in on the rest of the time between then and now (* indicates future blog posts to watch for to get more details):

22-13 Days Ago: A lot of the same ol’ stuff. Probably went to Storytime. Probably played a lot of Candy Land. You know, the usual.

12 Days Ago: We went to Storytime and saw our friends there. Hula Girl was very excited to see everyone, and she had her first fruit snack. She now calls them “snack fruit” and asks for them every day. She has not had any since. (Lucky girl is in for a surprise today- I found organic fruit snacks on sale this weekend!)

12 Days Ago: We cleaned and prepared and washed and cleaned and prepared and decorated for our Valentine’s Day party.

11 Days Ago: We had our V-Day party* and it was a blast!

10 Days Ago: Hula Girl and Gelato came down with a nasty cold.

9 Days Ago: Mommy came down with the same cold.

8 Days Ago: Daddy kept our family alive while the three of us languished with a horrid horrid horrid cold.

7 Days Ago: Jonathan stayed home from work to keep the kids alive while I suffered with the worst cold ever.

6 Days Ago: I handled the kids while I was sick. It was a horrible day and I spent the entirety of it feeling like an awful mom. I even posted a topic thread on my Babywise moms google group asking for resources for rejuvenation when one feels like she has become the world’s worst mom. Embarrassingly bad, actually, is how my parenting skills were that day.

5 Days Ago: My throat finally stopped hurting and the kids were somewhat better. A better day overall

4 Days Ago: Felt better and Jonathan and I prepared him for his work’s employee appreciation luncheon.

3 Days Ago: Jonathan won the Hula competition and came in third in the best-dressed Hawaiian competition. Looks like our hard work paid off! 🙂

2 Days Ago: Hula Girl started acting sick again.

1 Day Ago: Hula Girl laid on the floor all day long and cried/whined. Sickie sick sick.

Today: Well, I will write a post about it.

Did you miss me?

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Happy New Year! (a day late)

My daughter just stood next to the front door blowing me kisses and insisting that I catch them while she waited for her daddy to get ready to go out. I caught about fifteen. Love it!

Well, we’re still just truckin’ along. I will be posting several smaller posts over the course of the next week to catch up on the past month or so. It’s amazing how very little motivation I have for blogging when Jonathan is home and we can all spend time together as a family. Guess I’ll chalk that one up to my priorities being in the right place (not to say that those of you who live-blogged every detail of Christmas Eve service and Christmas morning don’t have your priorities right; I am just giving myself a little pat on the back for actually soaking in the moments rather than witnessing and documenting them while missing others).

As an overview, here’s what we’ve been up to. Jonathan has been on vacation from work since the 21st, even though it felt like he was on vacation beginning on the 19th. That day he had a snow day! In the days leading up to his vacation, the kids and I just kind of lazed around the house and Hula Girl and I focused on getting a lot of Christmas projects done. Art projects, cookie baking, English toffee making, present wrapping, and merriment ensued. And once vacation began, Jonathan joined in the festivities by helping me plan Christmas, clean the house, and prepare for the fun. Then there was Christmas. In the days after Christmas, we’ve just been basking in the glow of time spent with family and relaxing. Hula Girl has visited Grammy and Grampy, Jonathan and I have continued and started some new TV series addictions (Whale Wars, Downton Abbey and Ugly Betty for those of you who care), we’ve almost completed a puzzle, and we’ve played several cutthroat rounds of Jonathan’s new games, Candyland, Qwirkle and Blokus Duo.  Please keep an eye out for more posts, detailing some of the above events.

Jonathan will return to work on Monday, and we’re not really looking forward to that. It is just so very nice to have him home. Before he returns I plan to get Hula Girl to the Y so she can swim in the pirate pool at least once, plan a menu for the next couple of weeks, do some freezer cooking so when we are adjusting back to normalcy I won’t have to cook on top of caring for both kids (still a tough concept for me, but it’s getting easier), and finish our dang puzzle.

On to resolutions.

Several of my friends and family members have bemoaned the idea of making “resolutions” as if they’re somehow bad. I think this is due to the stigma that resolutions have received lately- people resolve NOT to do something, whereas many in my circle would like to DO something. So lots of folks are calling them “goals”, “habits”, or even the very vague “ideas”. But I have some resolutions. I am making a firm decision to DO something, which is the first definition of the word, by the way.

Here are my resolutions:

  1. Read the Bible in one year. I kind of stole this from my mother-in-law… I wanted to do it anyway, but she is the one who mentioned doing it chronologically. So there you have it. After Gelato’s dreamfeed last night, I was SO tired and I almost took this resolution off the list. But I didn’t. 
  2. Take things at face value. I tend to read into everything anyone says or does, and I take silly things very personally. For example, I am a terrible cook somewhat stressed about my cooking skills, and the other day Jonathan added salt to his soup. I freaked out about it inside, thinking, “Oh man, he doesn’t like what I made for him! I tried so hard this time! Why can’t he just pretend he likes it anyway just to make me feel better?” Now that’s just silly. I mean, come on, even McDonalds, home of the world’s best french fry, provides you with extra salt (just in case you’re actually trying to fill your yearly sodium capacity in one sitting). Surely it’s not a slight at me or my cooking skills if my husband thinks his soup needs a little more salt. Not everyone likes things the same way. I, for one, do not like my food to be very salty. So it tasted fine to me. Sheesh.
  3. Incorporate organic foods into my family’s diet as much as possible. Now that our budget is relaxed a bit, this will be easier to do.
  4. Get some exercise. That one’s intentionally vague. 🙂

     

One Month Old!

My friend Emily posts monthly updates on her babies’ development by comparing their accomplishments to the developmental milestones listed in the book What to Expect The First Year And I’m totally stealing her idea. Sorry, Emily! 🙂

Gelato is one month old already! Can you believe it!? Time’s a-flyin’.

According to the book, by one month, Gelato….

should be able to:

• lift his head briefly when he’s on his tummy on a flat surface

• focus on a face

He can.

will probably be able to:

• respond to a bell in some way, such as startling, crying, quieting

He does.

 …may possibly be able to:

• lift head 45 degrees when on stomach

I’m betting he does about 30.

You see? He’s right on track!

I was so worried that he might not be on track. I have actually seen this worry come across the posts in our Babywise Google group. Many new moms are worried that their babies sleep too much and won’t have time to develop according to normal developmental lists. I can hardly believe I can actually measure ANY development, since it seems like Gelato is constantly eating or asleep (or falling asleep, which is another story…). But yay! My kiddo’s on track.

Another one of my friends, Valerie, does weekly summaries of her newborns (and then monthly summaries after that). I also like her style, so I’m also stealing that idea. In fact, I’ve already stolen it several times for Hula Girl’s summaries. So I’m just going to go back to the earliest one for Hula Girl and adjust it accordingly.

Current Schedule/Routine

Is cuh-razy a time? Because Gelato’s pretty much always on “Cuh-Razy” these days, what with his growth spurt and all. Yep, it’s still going strong. He’s woken up to eat every 2.5 hours again today (ironically, giving me one of his longest stretches of sleep at night last night, though). I would say we have more of a routine right now than a schedule since he’s been so unpredictable most of this week. Here’s his general routine when he’s eating every 3 hours:

I shoot for having him up at 8, but he’s only made it to 7:45 all week. Then it’s eat, diaper change, possibly some time cooing and gooing at the trees on his wall, and back down for his first nap within 30-35 minutes.

The second waketime is super short. It always  has been. I get him up, he eats, and he goes straight back down. He doesn’t even open his eyes. Even if I change his diaper and don’t warm the wipe.

The third waketime is his best as far as attention span and alertness goes. This is when I try to get his smiles. Oh, those smiles! Little soft, misshapen baby globby smiles. And lately he’s been trying to laugh! So. Much. Cuteness. He’s awake for about 45 minutes here.

The fourth waketime is also longer, so I try to do tummy time here. However, he is much more fussy during this time, so I am very sensitive to the fact that he could easily become overtired if I overdo the stimulation levels. This nap is a struggle.

After his fourth feeding, all bets are off as far as what will happen next. He has “witching hour” between 5 and 7 p.m., so if he sleeps 45 minutes somewhere in here, I call it good*. After this time, we do his bath (same time as Hula Girl’s bath, same room, different tub). Then I take him to his room, do a lotiony massage, jammies, and nurse him for bed. I can’t WAIT until he’s old enough to read a story with Hula Girl before nursing… I can’t WAIT to have family stories and prayers. He is in bed by 7:45 most nights.

*If he actually takes his nap here, I make sure to wake him by 8:00. We do a quick diaper change and Jonathan reads to him while he nurses. Then we put him straight to bed, no waketime.

Then I feed him at 10:30 or 11, three hours after his bedtime feeding (this is his “dreamfeed”). I prefer 10:30. He seems to sleep longer and better if we do the feeding at 10:30, plus I get to sleep earlier. He also doesn’t seem to nurse very well at 11, but will take both sides at 10:30. Weird.

I make sure to wake him twice more in the night since he’s only a month old. These feedings usually come at 2/3 and 5/6. I have to make sure to get 8 feedings in each day, at least until he’s 6 weeks old. Then we can safely drop feedings AND he can sleep longer stretches at night… YAY!

Sleeping:

Naps:

Kid’s a sleeper. Gelato sometimes has struggles getting settled down to sleep for naps. I think this is my biggest weakness as a mom for him right now. I can’t seem to figure out the right amount of waketime that will result in easier naps. I am working on learning his sleep cues. So far, I think that when he starts to thrust his tongue out in a half-yawn kind of way, that’s his first sign that he’s getting sleepy. If we hit a full-blown yawn, we’ve waited too long. If he does a little sigh that goes “heh-heh-heh,” we’re golden. I think.

Once he falls asleep for naps, he has no struggles staying asleep until his next feeding. He has woken once at 45 minutes, but that was at the beginning of this growth spurt, so it doesn’t count. 🙂 His naps are generally 1.5-2.5 hours long. Mostly on the 2-2.5 hour range. Unless I miss a sleepy cue and get him down late. Then they’re shorter.

I am working on using the Baby Whisperer’s “4S” sleep routine: set the stage, swaddle, sit, and shush/pat. More on that another time, since we just REALLY implemented it today.

Nights:

As previously mentioned, he’s a great night sleeper. No complaints except one: sometimes at that 2/3 a.m. feeding, he’ll WAKE UP and be ready to party. I send Jonathan in to settle him down while I get more sleep. Hey, it’s only fair. Jonathan gets an otherwise uninterrupted full night’s sleep. (Unless Hula Girl cries for some reason-more on this in her 27-month summary tomorrow!)

Nursing:

Easy peasy. Gelato was a born natural. I was also very cognizant of the issues that happened with Hula Girl, and I was desperate not to repeat them! So I worked very hard from the very first feeding to make sure that nursing went much smoother this time around. And it has! I made sure he got full feedings every time, so he fell into a 3-hour routine on his own (meaning I had to wake him every 3 hours, still do- except this week). This is contrasted with Hula Girl’s propensity for “snacking” every 1.5-2 hours, 24/7. No kidding. I also made sure his latch was perfect, so I didn’t have any of the painful issues I experienced last time. I still had some irritation because I’m a fair-skinned redhead and apparently that makes things exponentially more painful for me (as every nurse in the hospital reminded me several times; we live in a city with a very dense Hispanic population, so a fair-skinned redhead is apparently unusual enough that the nurses take care to check on someone like me very frequently!). But overall, nursing has gone very smoothly.

Also thought I’d mention here that Gelato is a FAST nurser. He’s done, both sides and both burps, within 15-20 minutes (with 20 being VERY extremely long). I think this is partially because I have a super strong super fast letdown reflex, so the milk flows quite freely. He doesn’t have to work very hard to drink milk from me… unless you count slowing the milk down as work! He does occasionally stop and sputter around a bit and let milk stream out of his mouth. I think this is because the flow gets too fast and he just can’t handle it yet. I will say he’s getting better at it and we’ve had less and less frequent “spray-him-in-the-nose/ear/eye/neck/chin/forehead-as-he’s-bobbing-around-trying-to-breathe-but-to-no-avail” moments.

He’s also pretty easy to burp, which I am grateful for. I don’t spend hours doing ridiculous tricks. I just hold him high on my shoulder with his arms over my shoulder and pat/rub the left side until he burps. He’s quite loud when he does it, and he sometimes startles himself so much that he throws himself backward and lets out a squeak of surprise. Silly boy.

He does spit up sometimes, but those are only times when I see him acting weird- like, he’ll pull away, latch, pull away, latch, pull away, latch, and fuss. I thought this might indicate reflux, but I think it actually indicates the fact that my milk comes SO fast sometimes. Anyway, when he does this, he spits up. Yet another reason my milk comes too fast. He just can’t stomach it all. Literally.

Acne/Cradle Cap:

Yuck. Yep, we’ve got it.

His face and neck have acne. That will go away soon. I think I can feel myself leveling out hormones-wise, so I’m betting he will be back to beautiful softy baby skin soon. I remember Hula Girl got a pretty bad case of acne when she was teeny weeny too.

His ears have cradle cap behind them; his right ear has cradle cap all over the earlobe. And he’s got a bit of it under his nostrils in the little fold between his nose and lip. On days following a bath, it’s more under control. But if he sleeps through that witching hour, he is a scabby yellow fellow the following day. I am working hard to make sure it doesn’t get all over his head- that’s just gross.

Sibling Love:

He is enamored of his sister. The other day I could not get him to settle down and stop crying, no matter what I did. So I told Hula Girl to sit next to him on the floor. Voilá! Happy baby, happy toddler, cooing all around.

The love goes both ways. Hula Girl thinks Gelato is the greatest thing she’s ever seen and she asks to see him all.day.long. She wants to wake him from naps, she wants to watch him nurse, she wants to help put him to sleep. Right now I think she feels more curiosity (and maybe some resentment) than actual fondness. That will come in it’s time.

Me:

I am feeling great about having managed and coped and come this far. I feel like the hardest days are behind us. I have healed completely (I feel like I could start exercising again, but I will wait for the doctor’s okay on that). I have been able to get enough sleep to manage and not feel absolutely exhausted. I have been able to keep a pseudo-sense of organization in Hula Girl’s and my life. No one has gone unfed, unwashed, unclad, or unloved. I have been somewhat hungry… and unable to do much about it. I am working to rectify that situation. There have been times I have wanted to tear my hair out and abandon it all. I am sure there will be plenty more times like that. But it all seems like it’s totally worth it. I have good perspective right now. Yahoo! Lots of this is due to my superb husband who arrives like a knight in PLATINUM armor every night. 5:30 is awesome. 🙂

 

Well, He’s Here!

Yup, my extended hiatus meant something this time. Gelato has arrived.

He came last Tuesday at 2:29 p.m. and he is perfect. He’s a sweet, sleepy little guy who smiles every time I give his squishy cheeks a kiss. Seriously. I don’t know what it is about the kisses- the feel, the sound, whatever- but he really truly does smile every time.

Kid was huge. Flipping 8 pounds 13 ounces huge. For those of you who don’t know me, I am 5’3″ and Jonathan is 5’7″. We are not large people. Hula Girl surprised us when she was born at 8lbs 4oz. I hoped and hoped and hoped that Gelato would surprise us by being smaller than his sister. The odds were against us, considering he’s a second child AND a boy AND he stayed in there four days longer than she did, but I still had hope. Oh, well. He’s out now!

I did end up having a natural delivery. In fact, my whole labor was so fast that I didn’t have any other options. I arrived at the hospital 7 cm dilated, and 2 hours later he was out. No kidding. Because I had no medications, the whole recovery process has been much faster and easier than the first time around. However, natural childbirth was definitely not a walk in the park, which is why I am SO glad it went as fast as it did. I had back labor with him. I never asked if he was “sunny-side up” but I do remember the doctor talking to the nurses about turning him as I was pushing him out. The pain in my back was beyond anything I had ever felt until the whole “ring of fire” experience that so many moms have talked about before me. The only other thing I will say about the natural delivery is that I am SO glad we have already decided that two children is enough for our family.

Anyway, little guy is a sleepy little snuggly boy. All he wants to do is nurse, then snuffle around in my neck and grunt and squeak until he falls asleep. I know he’s not supposed to fall asleep right away after eating, but it is next to impossible to get him to stay awake much longer. So I just cuddle him, tell him how wonderful he is and how much he is loved by his family, and then swaddle him, sit still with him, and put him in his crib. Then he falls asleep until I wake him 3 hours later, and we repeat!

Night times are stretching out a bit, too. The last couple nights have been pretty good. Last night, in fact, he went 4 hours between feedings (netting me 2.5 hours straight sleep!!!) and I am betting that he’ll soon stretch that to the full 5 hours he’s allowed per 24-hour period. However, I never know what to expect since he is a little guy (only 8 days old, ya know?!). I am expecting a bit of a regression in the next couple days since 10 days is the first growth spurt usually. So we’ll see!

Hula Girl is doing really well with the transition. Jonathan is home still and he’s doing a great job with her. We make sure he gets enough sleep at night (meaning: he sleeps all night and I handle all baby stuff on my own- something we did NOT do with Hula Girl- my recovery has gone so easily and smoothly that it is actually possible for me to handle it all easily) so he can play with her all day long. It will be a tougher time next week when he returns to work and my sister-in-law leaves… but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, our little family is doing well. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers you sent our way!

40 Weeks 4 Days

Since I don’t typically post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I didn’t post this weekend. And a lot of people assumed it was because I was in the hospital giving birth. Sorry, friends. I was not.

Gelato is still in there, cooking away. Getting bigger and bigger every moment. Yipe.

Jonathan is now officially on vacation. I told him that I would appreciate him being home even before Gelato comes, just so he is HERE and can help with Hula Girl. She is over the moon happy that her Daddy is home with her all the time now. What little girl wouldn’t love a chance to hang with her Daddy during all her waking hours? I will say, though, that even though she’s thrilled to be with Jonathan a lot, she still wants me. She comes to find me and sits with me on the couch and snuggles and reads books endlessly. When I walk into the kitchen, all she wants is for me to pick her up and hold her while she rests her head against my cheek and shoulder. When she comes out of her room after sleeping, she comes straight to me and says, “Mommy, are you coming downstairs with me?” SUCH a mommy’s girl. And I love it. L.O.V.E. it.

This past weekend was pretty uneventful as far as things go.

We went to swimming lessons for Hula Girl on Saturday. They were quite a bit more challenging than the previous lessons have been, but Hula Girl did very very well. She is great at following directions and she is not afraid of the water. Both of these characteristics make her an excellent swimming lesson participant! The class started working on keeping their arms out in front of them when they are swimming or jumping in. Hula Girl and the other little kiddos had to wear these floatie belt things around their waists. Hula Girl’s was too loose and it kept slipping up to her armpits, but she didn’t care. She kept on swimming and kept on jumping like a pro.

After swimming lessons we spent a chunk of time skyping with Ama and Papa (Jonathan’s parents) and Hula Girl impressed them (and annoyed all of us eventually) with her constant LOUD chatter. Kid never stops talking. And her talking voice is pretty much a shout. That evening at dinner we implemented “medium voice” practice. So far it’s going well.

Sunday was full of naps for me and laid-back stuff for the family. We went shopping in the morning so Jonathan and Hula Girl can eat this week. Then we came home and Jonathan pushed her in the swing while I napped. After her nap we made brownies as a family. Hula Girl has never had brownies before, so she wasn’t sure what that meant. But when she got up from her nap, I heard her singing, “We are making brownies! We are making brownies!” all the way downstairs. And the whole time she was pouring, stirring, and sniffing the batter, she kept looking up and grinning like the Cheshire Cat while proclaiming, “I am making brownies!” She got to eat one after dinner, and I’m pretty sure she’s hooked now. 🙂

Today Jonathan took Hula Girl out and about to return about $100 worth of random items from various stores around town. We often end up buying the wrong thing or too many of one thing, but we are SO BAD about returning the items we don’t need. They pile up in random places around our house- garage, bedroom, kitchen peninsula, etc. I think Jonathan realized we’re hoarding a jackpot and decided today’s the day to cash it in! It’s nice to be home alone.

Okay, onto the PREGNANCY stuff. 

I have been begging, pleading, longing, hoping, crossing fingers, praying, and generally pining for labor to begin. I have had several false starts, including one last night.

Yesterday I felt slightly different from the way I had felt previously. In fact, on Saturday, I felt GREAT! I had no contractions, no pressure, and no pain at all. All of Saturday. Then yesterday I felt crampy and all those random twinges, pokes, pinches, and sharp pains were magnified to a significantly higher level of pain than what I’d been feeling before. Then I woke in the night at 2:00 and was in a lot of pain and I was having contractions that were 8ish minutes apart…for over two hours. I laid in bed trying to fall back asleep, but making an entry in my phone’s contraction timer app each time I had a contraction kept me awake for a long time. Around 3, I decided to go downstairs and eat because I was starving. I last looked at the clock around 4:15, and I think I managed to fall back to sleep soon thereafter. But I was convinced that I’d be waking up and heading to the hospital.

When I woke up, nothing seemed very different anymore. No pain. Some contractions still, but not enough to really take notice and start tracking them again. So, here we are.

Warning: possibly gross details to follow.

I did lose the mucus plug today, which is not a definite labor sign. It can happen any time after the 7th month, and the plug itself can regenerate. But since I hadn’t lost mine yet, I am kind of thinking that things are finally starting to move in the direction of labor. Since I lost it, I have been feeling stronger pains and my backache hasn’t gone away. So, without making any promises… maybe today/tonight?!

Week 40-Examining my Motives

So I’ve been thinking. Why do I really want to get this kid out of me so much? After all, I know all the information out there about letting a baby come in his own time and not being born on due dates, and the like. And my number one priority this time has been to have a healthy natural birth. And just because he’s “due” today doesn’t mean anything really- everyone knows you don’t really set a date in the calendar and make flight arrangements and cancel plans based on that one date. Babies are unpredictable, as they like to remind/teach us from the very very beginning- even before the beginning! I know all this. But I have been so stuck on just wanting him to come out.

Some might suppose I’d want him out because I can’t really wait to hold him and meet my son. Well, sure. But since I don’t know him yet and I don’t know what it’s like to have a son, I haven’t really thought about that much, to be honest. I know that I will grow another heart when he comes out and I will love him and adore him just as much (but in a totally different way) as I love Hula Girl. I know he will be a joy and a struggle and a wonderful blessing in my life. But I can’t really fathom what that will be like yet, especially since I have been so focused on Hula Girl and Hula Girl alone for almost three years now. He’s actually kind of like an intruder into our special Mommy-Daughter-super-special-no-one-else-allowed-except-maybe-sometimes-Daddy club. And I am actually dreading the day when her priorities can’t be my priorities because his priorities are more important. What will that feel like for her? When she grows up, will she remember feeling left out or unimportant? Or will she only remember the good times, like when her baby brother is sleeping and I can spend 30 minutes snuggled up with her on the couch reading book after book after book? And then thinking about all these things with Hula Girl makes me sit and wonder what Gelato will be like. Will he want to snuggle? Will he want to wrestle? Will he be into reading like his sister? It’s so hard for me because I can see so much of Hula Girl’s personality and I’m really enjoying getting to know her. I can’t really remember a day in her life when she didn’t have a quirky little personality, and it’s hard to imagine another baby with a different personality… and then calling that baby mine, too. Freaky.

Another segment of the population might think my haste to kick this parasite out of my belly is due to my level of discomfort with him actually being in there. Absolutely. He is a PAIN in the back, the front, the sides, the middle, and all around. Literally. I have been waking more and more frequently at night from just plain pain. I can’t walk more than 25 yards at a time without feeling immense pain in my hip. I can’t lift my Hula Girl without feeling like I’m going to burst. And shaving my legs… well, let’s just say that if I could sleep with hairy legs, I would be far more comfortable during my 25-minute long showers these days. Seriously, ladies, try it. Put a beach ball down your shirt and then try to shave. Now imagine that beach ball is a human being who kicks and punches when you squish too hard. And the lower backaches. Yowza. I am grateful each night for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift- a rice bag that I can heat and reheat and reheat and reheat to keep the pain-dulling warmth close as long as I need it. Yep, I feel a little ridiculous using a heat-giving rice bag during the middle of the hottest summer on record, especially when I wake up drenched with sweat, but that’s really what’s keeping me able to sleep even a little. Without that rice bag poor Jonathan’s hands would be sore and tired from having to rub my back constantly. So thank you, Jenn, from both of us. By the way, please do not recommend a heating pad. I will not be able to sleep with one in my bed since… um… they are electrical and I don’t do electricity in my bed. The rice bag is better anyway- it can mold and shape to my exact specifications. And if you do choose to recommend a heating pad after all that, I just might have to throw my rice bag in your face’s direction. That is all.

But neither of the aforementioned theories is correct. Do you know why I want this kid out so badly? It is one hundred percent pure selfishness on my part: I want Jonathan to come home. The past few weeks have been the hardest ones of my life. Here I am parenting a toddler (a very active, very in-her-testing-phase two-year-old to be exact), and life is not dull. All I want is to collapse on the couch during the heat of the day, go for long walks during the coolness of the mornings and evenings (“coolness” is relative- it’s been about 75 here in the evenings and mornings), take warm soothing baths whenever I feel a backache, watch movies that match my mood, and eat healthy but delicious foods. Instead I am chasing and disciplining and providing learning opportunities for my super bright and therefore not easily amused child, making breakfast and getting said toddler’s room ready for bedtime, unable to take baths since the bath shares a wall with toddler’s crib and running the water would wake her up, unable to watch movies because we have a strict ban on TV viewing in our household for anyone under the age of three, and grabbing snacky foods that fit my elimination diet whenever I have time to do so between the cleaning up and the setting up and the playing and the reading and the sunscreening and the bathing and the helping and the corralling and the loving and the kissing and the constant constant constant awareness that I need to just drink this in because she’s never going to be this same age ever again and I want to relish every moment for what it is.

I would be able to do all the fun things, like watching her become smarter and more beautiful by the second, while laying on the couch if Jonathan were home. I would be able to sneak away and take a bath. I would be able to make food that I can actually enjoy and eat. I would be excused from the hard stuff, like lifting and sunscreening (is there anything worse than trying to put sunscreen on a wiggly toddler whose skin tone matches Casper’s? honestly? anything more difficult?) and disciplining and physically playing. I would get to enjoy snuggles and reading and kisses and amazement… all from the comfort of the floor or a chair. Jonathan is an amazing father, and when he’s home, it’s a truly welcome and wonderful break for me. He makes time and makes sure Hula Girl knows how much he loves her by engaging her in creative play, careful discipline, emotional development, and so on. I can rest assured that when he’s home, it’s not all on me, and in fact, if we’re going to be quite honest here, it’s mostly on him. He takes it on and loves on us and cares for us like no one else could possibly ever do.

So when I say I want Jonathan home, it is purely selfish. And he’s not going to be home until Gelato’s out. Because his work is actually being really awesome and flexible with his schedule. He was originally slated to take off work starting today, but since no little gnome has popped up in our crib yet, he is at work. And there he will stay until Gelato appears. I have been anxiously awaiting and looking forward to Jonathan’s presence at home ever since the plans were made back in May. And now I am truly disappointed that I have to wait. Because it’s not just having to wait to see him… it’s having to wait to take a break from being a full-time Mommy of a toddler (yes, I realize that once Gelato gets here, I will be a full-time Mommy of a toddler AND a newborn- but I am pretty darn sure that will be physically easier on my body than being ginormously pregnant while being a full-time Mommy of a toddler). Oh, I am so looking forward to the time when we start to develop our new lives and new routines as a family of four. How sweet to have such a great time together planned… how bittersweet when those plans get postponed!

 

 

 

Backyard Progress

Jonathan is incredible. Seriously. Over the past month, he has put about 30 hours of manual labor into making our backyard a place to be enjoyed. When we first moved in last fall, the backyard consisted of a small rectangular concrete slab against the house, two juniper trees that were ringed with dead branches around the bottom (most of which someone had unsuccessfully tried to twist/break off, leaving a brown dead twisty sharp poky disaster area), and 1″ granite rocks-lots and lots and lots of them.

Now, I am a backyard-playing kind of Mommy. I love the idea of taking my kids out back to a nice fenced-in area where I am somewhat sure that they won’t be in danger from foreign objects or animal waste products. But when we moved in and had… a wasteland… I wasn’t too thrilled. That’s why Hula Girl and I have seen more of the parks and playgrounds in the city than of our own backyard.

But all that is changed as of this weekend. Check it out.

Jonathan and Hula Girl hauling rocks... Beautiful mountains in the distance!

She was being so helpful!

Okay, so see that 1″ granite all over the ground? Yeah. That was our WHOLE yard… up until a week ago. Now, see those raised 8’x8′ garden beds? We officially have FIVE of them. Jonathan worked extremely hard on them, and I am super proud of the work he did. He had to drill holes precisely in the ends of the railroad ties, and pound at least 2 pieces of rebar (which is short for reinforcing bar) into each plank with a sledgehammer. Then he had to put up a fence with a gate around each one because we live in the land of quails and bunnies (not to be confused with milk and honey- har, dee, har…). He even had to rig up a section of garden that can be fenced across the top to keep out birds- that’s where we’ll be growing all our berries and tomatoes.

Also, see that good-looking dirt in the garden beds? That’s our new topsoil. I went to the landscaping company and told them the dimensions of our garden beds and lawn area, and they ended up telling me we needed 11 cubic yards of dirt. Um, folks, that’s a LOT of dirt. Hula Girl was thrilled when the dirt arrived because she got to watch the dump truck “pour” the dirt onto the tarps. Ever since that experience, she has been running around the house talking like a dump truck. It’s kind of a low, gravelly voice. Super funny.

So anyway, this weekend we got our sod. Yes, our glorious sod. Wonderful, green, lush, spongy sod. I could go on and on forever… but I won’t. I just love grass and the smell of it and the memories associated with it. After all, I played soccer for eleven years of my life… I spent a lot of good times on grass. And when Jonathan and I started dating, we’d go lay in the grass in a park in Pacific Beach and look out over the Sea World fireworks many evenings each week. So yeah, grass!

Grass!

Jonathan and I have been watering religiously- the manual that came with our sod said we need to water 10-15 minutes, three times per day, for the first two weeks. After that time, we can cut back to the traditional morning-and-evening watering. However, I think we might keep a short midday drink for our thirsty spears of green gloriousness because man, oh, man, there is nothing WORSE than a burned up lawn in August.

There is still much work to be done. Jonathan still needs to wheelbarrow a bunch of dirt into the last garden bed. Then we need to plan the exact placement of our seeds, driplines, and so forth. Next we need to plant seeds and lay the hoses out. Finally we need to do a general clean-up of the back patio since we can now actually enjoy sitting out there and admiring something other than granite as far as the eye can see.

But Hula Girl and I started enjoying the garden/backyard this morning. We went out for an hour and a half. She got super muddy and wet, but that’s okay. It’s warm here these days, and as long as she’s covered in ridiculous amounts of super high SPF sunscreen (still loving the California Babies stuff that we found last summer), I don’t really care what her clothes look like. As long as she’s having a good time and getting plenty of sunshine, exercise, and good ol’ fresh air. Here she is, busy as a bee:

Deciding where the flower pots should go once we get flowers for them!

The reason she got all wet- she actually stepped INTO the tub of water.

Playing in the sandbox!

Break time! All that playing tuckered me out!

And the true reason we were able to stay outside so very long…

Isn't that the most beautiful blue? It makes the (super green in real life) leaves of the cottonwood tree next door look so dull! Ah, spring!

Surprise! 4.5-day Weekend!

Jonathan came home early on Friday and surprised us. He them proceeded to get a surprise migraine Sunday night/Monday morning, and ended up staying home yesterday as well! So we had a lovely 4.5-day weekend.

It was pretty awesome. I primed and painted our kitchen table. I still have to do another coat of paint and then distress it a bit. I also have to paint the chairs and cover the chair pads with a new fabric. I am considering the one I already posted, but I’m not sure if that’s the vibe I want to go for. I have another idea in mind already. I have to set up the entire thing, china and all, before I can decide.

I also spent some time with our neighbors this weekend, which was fun. We met up at the flea market down the street, where they helped me haul a set of nightstands and a huge (AWFUL) headboard home. I am super-excited about the nightstands- they’re exactly the kind of thing I want for our future home, all for the low low cost of $40 for the pair (headboard inclued- gag me).

Then Neighborfriend and I went to another town very close to here with lots of great antique shops. I found some window accessories, fabric for a pillow I’m making, and some antique eyelet trim to use on something else in the future. Oh, and some great old suitcases in which to keep my crafty stuff, as if two old suitcases were going to be enough- HA!

Our garden is going… fine. I guess. I mean, there are great parts and not-so-great parts of our garden. Great: peas and kale. Seriously, our pea plants are already producing pods that are at least 2-3″ long. Not-so-great: pretty much everything else. Okay, okay, the green beans are coming up. And I have 2 corn stalks. But aside from that, NOTHING is coming up. Nothing. In fact, some of the things I put in the ground as starter plants (ahem, cucumber) are DEAD. And this is not for lack of trying. We did what we had to do to improve the soil (chicken poop, aeration, compost). We water twice, if not three, times a day. We have the entire garden fenced. We have flowers in pots scattered throughout the garden to attract the insects to the flowers. I put down ant poison. I spend 8, if not more, hours weeding each week. And yet, it is somehow not enough. Is it possible for the weather to be too hot for a garden? I thought vegetables LOVED the sun…

Well, I have a lot to do this week, since I’m planning Hula Girl’s birthday party on Saturday. It’s not going to be wild. It’s a few friends and neighbors and family members coming by to enjoy a cupcake and possibly a goody or two. Hula Girl will be wearing a dress from Hawaii, sent by my best friend after her whirlwind honeymoon (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and sister included). We’ll have “Aloha Rolls,” which I invented for another friend’s bachelorette party (but unfortunately no one got to eat them because I missed the shindig). They’re delicious. I think I’ll add mini chocolate chips to a few of them this time. Yummy goodness. We’re also planning to skewer some pineapple and veggies and roast them on the barbeque. That plus pink with pearls cupcakes and drinks, and we’re set!

Thoughts on my Hula Girl’s birthday tomorrow.

Daddy’s Home!!

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” <waddle waddle waddle> “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” <holds arms up as far as they can go while trying not to fall over backward because her big head is tilted back as far as it can go> “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Daddy surprised us by coming home early today. Hula Girl was over the moon. 🙂

Queen

I have been really really terrible at keeping up with this whole “blog thing” for a few weeks now. I am really disappointed with myself, too, since I started out so strong! I even had 300 visitors in my first three weeks! Ugh.

Lately, I have been really focused on doing the homemaker thing. I have been dedicated to housework, cooking, and raising the baby. I have cooked a different dish for dinner every single night for the past two weeks, with the exception of last Saturday. That day, I was in a different city for my best friend’s bridal shower. Jonathan has gotten to experience the main reason why we’ve lived on spaghetti, lasagna, and tacos for three and a half years of marriage: I AM A TERRIBLE COOK!

I have pretty much managed to mangle everything I’ve made in the past two weeks. This includes: barbecue shredded chicken (forgot the brown sugar), asian shredded beef (mixed the beef shreds into the sauce- then I had to wash the beef- yes, wash), chicken/broccoli/rice casserole (had too much broccoli and rice to mix the liquids in well enough, so the rice came out too crispy in some parts), and the first BIG disappointment- cream of broccoli soup over baked potatoes with cheese on top (actually came out fine, but I expected that Hula Girl would like it, and she DID NOT).

Aside from the terrible taste and my affinity for overcooking, I have really been quite successful at this whole stay-at-home-mom gig. I made a daily, every other daily, weekly, and monthly schedule of cleaning and chores. My daily list includes cleaning the kitchen, dishes, laundry, cooking lunch and dinner, sweeping the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry rooms (we enter our house through the laundry room, and it’s also where the litter box is located- so it gets quite a bit of traffic), and tidying up the house. Every other day, I clean the bathroom and I also rotate between dusting the house and weeding the garden. My weekly list includes more deep-cleaning measures like mopping and vacuuming the floors, sanitizing all the doorknobs and light switches, cleaning all the glass surfaces in the house, and of course, weekly meal planning and grocery shopping. We spend far less money when I plan the whole week’s menu in advance. Monthly chores include things like baseboards, walls and vertical surfaces of any kind, reorganizing cabinets, etc.

I try to get all my chores done during Hula Girl’s first nap so that I can spend time during her second nap working on other things. Other things include my mom’s business, reading books, napping, crafting, and advising on the online group I help moderate.

The coolest thing about my newfound resolve and perseverance to actually keep up with all this is because of Hula Girl’s schedule remaining on California time, so she’s actually sleeping until 8:00 a.m. and going to bed at 8:00 p.m. This is wonderful for us, as Jonathan gets to spend more time with her in the evenings, and we can have dinner together as a family!!!!! When Jonathan’s going to get home late, I just give Hula Girl a snack at like 4:45 or so, which holds her over until dinnertime. If he gets home at a normal time, we all just eat at 5:30. It’s been a wonderful thing to add to our daily lives!

Hula Girl is becoming such a delightful little person. I cannot and will not believe that she is 47 weeks old today, meaning only 5 weeks and 1 day to B-DAY. No, no, no. She’s not ready. (Or is it me?) Anyway, she makes me so happy all day long. She does the funniest little things. Her favorite new thing is a trick her Daddy taught her when I was away at the bridal shower last Saturday. Now if she hears, “Hula Girl, be a champion!” she clenches her little hands together and waves them back and forth in front of her face! She frequently pairs this arm/hand gesture with a cute little body bounce. She is the champion, my friends. She can also click her tongue (another trick compliments of Daddy), blow (I taught her that one since she loves it when I blow on her tummy during diaper changes), and clap her feet (a feat limited to diaper-changing time).  It’s amazing to watch her receptive language just balloon out so quickly. I am amazed all the time at what she understands and does in response. I simply can’t wait to hear her speak what’s going on in that brain of hers- I bet she’s going to be one smart cookie.

Speaking of smarts, have you ever heard a baby read a book to her Momma while her Momma cooked dinner? I have. She went and got a book tonight and read it to me, out loud, while I cooked. Um, I’m not kidding.  She’s not even 11 months old. Where did she learn this?!

Ok, enough of my rambling. I am just awed by what she does and can do that she couldn’t do yesterday. Seriously, she learns that fast.

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