Sunday, December 28, 2008

happy birthday to my sweet boy

Today my baby turns two.











Two years old.


















A full-fledged toddler, although he has really been a full-fledged toddler for quite some time. Still, tomorrow it feels more official.










Since this morning, I’ve been watching the clock and remembering where I was exactly two years ago today. At 10am, I was sitting in the OB’s office having a non-stress test. By noon, I had made it over to the hospital. By 7pm, I was scarfing down my last meal before I was hooked up to the pitocin, and by 8pm the contractions started. I can remember every moment as if it was yesterday, and I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s been two years. Two years, and another baby in between. Crazy crazy crazy.






I write a lot about Gabe, but I wish I knew the words to describe what an amazing boy he is. Sweet, funny, charming, busy, loving, he is all of those things and more. I want to bottle up this age and keep him here forever. His new language skills, the sentences he puts together, the amusing expressions he makes, the way he learns some new way to jump or kick or throw every day- these are the things I want to memorize and store in my head forever.

But more than all of those details, I want to memorize the way he smells out of a bath, the way his bangs fall across his forehead, the way his eyelashes make shadows on his chubby cheeks, the way he rests his head against my shoulder and squeezes his little arms around me when he needs comforting. I want to memorize his voice when he calls out for me, or the way his heavy feet sound when he runs across the house.









Time feels like it is moving so quickly, and I know that my ability to store all of these memories is only going to be harder with another baby. So I’ll keep taking pictures, keep pulling out my video camera, keep writing, and keep hoping that if I just hold onto Gabriel a little bit harder, maybe I can keep the baby for a little bit longer.










And in the meantime, he keeps growing and moving and pulling away and becoming the wonderful, brilliant boy that he is and will be. I’ll be hoping all this growing up gets easier. Tell me it does. Lie if you have to.

Happy Birthday Gabriel! I hope this year is your best yet!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

**wheeze**

I spoke too soon.

I have been felled by some kind of death-like virus, and I've been coughing and sneezing and congested and achy and shivering since yesterday. Poor Josie is congested also and has the cutest little cough I've ever heard- it would be adorable if it weren't so pitiful.

We had to cancel our plans for Christmas Eve, which included an annual holiday party we never miss, with delicious food and great friends. Even my parents stayed away today to avoid my germs, and I spent most of the day huddled under the covers with Josie, sleeping and feeling sorry for myself.

Sunday is Gabe's birthday, and I'm just hoping I'm somewhat improved by then. I spent the last 9 months worrying that his sibling would crash his birthday, and in the end it could be me ruining his celebration instead!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a full report

I've been waiting for some catastrophe or disastrous episode so that I can write a more interesting post for you, but I'm sorry to report that it is going to have to be the boring old truth. Things are, well, great. So far, at least.

Gabe is head over heels in love with his sister, and insists on caressing her head lovingly and kissing her and holding her hands. He told us last night, "I wanna keep Josie," and the way he says "Josie" melts my heart. It sounds almost like "joosie" or something close to that- stinking adorable. He asks for her first thing in the morning and first thing after naps. No jealousy yet, even when I spend hours on the couch breastfeeding her. The worst behavior I've seen since Josephine arrived is that he was a little whiny the first few days, and once while I was breastfeeding he took advantage of my incapacity to throw balls at me from across the room. Besides that, he is sleeping, eating, playing, behaving, generally fabulously. I'm shocked, to tell you the truth. I'm cautiously optimistic, but still anticipating some bumps in the road.

My recovery has been ridiculously good also. The worst part so far has been those horrible cramps while nursing, the ones that shrink your uterus. I was ready to climb the walls for the first 48 hours after delivery, but they seem to be gone now. I have to keep reminding myself that I just gave birth because I feel like I could do anything, which is so different from after Gabe was born. I felt good after him, but not like this.

Best of all, this little girl is the sweetest thing ever. I don't know how I get so lucky when it comes to babies, but she is a dream so far. The first night in the hospital was rough- she cluster fed from 11pm until 7am the next morning, pretty much nonstop, and when the pediatrician arrived at 8am, I broke down in tears because I was beyond exhausted. Her hard work was successful, though, because by the time I went to bed that next night (36 hours after delivery) my milk was in. That night she slept a 4 hour stretch, and she has done 3-4 hour stretches every night since we've been home. She gets up to eat, is all business, and then crashes again in her bassinet by my bed. I'm tired, of course, but I feel rested enough to wake up with Gabe in the morning and I can make it through the day feeling like a human being.

Josie was almost a full pound smaller than Gabe, and definitely more petite looking. Everything about her seems small, and her tiny mouth posed some problems with breastfeeding for the first couple of days until I could convince her to open her mouth wide enough to nurse and not kill my boobs. I had a great experience breastfeeding Gabe, so I was surprised when some small bumps in the road over those first couple of days threw me for such a loop. The lactation consultants and nurses and Josh and the janitor kept giving me different pieces of advice, and I was ready to throttle someone by the time we left the hospital. I kept finding myself feeling frantic and anxious and afraid that the breastfeeding wouldn't get better. But it did, and by the time we were home for a full day, we were in a good rhythm. By the time we went to the pediatrician for her first check at 4 days old, she was back to her birth weight and gaining an average of 3 ounces a day. Today I swung back through the pediatrician's office to have them check out a nasty diaper rash she has sprouted, and she gained a full pound in 4 days. One pound! 4 days! She is up to 7 pounds 4 ounces, and her little cheeks are starting to look chubby.

I adore her.

Last night I found myself munching on her cheeks and squeezing her into the crook of my neck. She is delicious and sweet and only cries at diaper changes and when she has to poop- I suspect both due to the nasty diaper rash. I could honestly swallow her whole. She keeps smiling at me and rationally I know it is gas or involuntary or whatever you want to call it, but it seriously turns me into a puddle of goo. She makes these adorable little noises, almost little coos, and she hums up a storm while she is nursing. I know you all told me I would love her, but I guess I didn't expect I would love her this much, this fast.

Two children. I am the mother of two children! So don't mind me. I'll be in the corner counting my blessings and smothering my babies with hugs and kisses.

I wish all of you wonderful times like these, and the happiest of holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

ten fingers and ten toes

It's a girl!

Josephine Shai ("Josie") was born this morning at 7:19am after a speedy 7 hour labor and 4 pushes.

6 pounds 5 ounces

18 and 1/2 inches long


She is adorable and teeny tiny and I was shocked when she came out looking so petite. So much for OB estimates, huh?

She brought Gabe a train set as a gift, and we sang her happy birthday and ate cake, and at the end of it all, Gabe proclaimed, "I like Josie!" Apparently, his love can be bought. At least for a while. We'll have to keep the cupcakes coming.

Everything is wonderful, I feel great, Josh and I are bursting with joy, and I can't believe she is a girl! I can't believe I have two kids! I can't believe I love her so much already! Life doesn't more precious or more amazing than this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

a total tease

No baby yet, no strong contractions yet, no significant changes yet.

I just feel generally exhausted, achy all over, and somewhat crampy. Every night I'll have a few noticeable contractions and think to myself, maybe this is it, but I lie down in bed and before I have time to wonder whether I should wake Josh up, I fall asleep and wake up in the morning surprised that I made it through another night still pregnant.

Thankfully, besides being exhausted, I feel really good and am sleeping better than I have in weeks, so I'm not dreading pregnancy or wishing it away. I'm okay with more time with this baby in utero, but not TOO much time. Once Sunday night arrives and my parents are here, I expect a speedy arrival for 002. I also keep telling myself that every day of not too painful contractions and bloody show and nausea and achiness is perhaps less time off of my actual excruciatingly painful labor. I have sweet visions of showing up to the hospital at 3 or 4 centimeters (or more! But I don't let myself dream about that too much) and having the rest of labor be quick.

I had my doubts that I was progressing at all, but I've been assured by many people that you can be dilating without feeling painful contractions, especially in second pregnancies, so I'm holding on to that hope. I made it to 2 centimeters without feeling any pain, maybe I can make it 1 or 2 more. My only concern is that (like last time), I tested positive for group b strep, so I need enough time at the hospital to get a round of antibiotics. I think the OB said 4 hours was ideal. This means that while I can wait around at home for a while, I can't wait around forever, and if I really am dilating, and perhaps my water really does break, I don't have a ton of time to waste before making my appearance at labor and delivery.

Tonight's moon is a full moon, a "super moon" to be exact, which means that the moon is closer to the earth than it has been in 15 years, or will be for another 8 years. My mother in law is convinced this means tonight is the night, but since I actually got dressed and went to buy cookies and challah and am feeling generally well, I doubt she's right. My OB is also at the hospital tonight, and since I'd love for her to deliver me, I think this means even more so that I won't be giving birth tonight.

For those of you keeping score at home, prepare yourself to be blinded by my massive belly. This is what 39 weeks pregnant looks like around here. Can you believe I still have a belly button? I lost it with Gabe around 7 months, but this time, the belly button is holding on!

All of this is wishful thinking, of course, because I could end up with a prolonged labor that drags on and gives me plenty of time for everything. I could also end up still pregnant on Christmas, but let's not talk about that. A girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

maybe baby soon?

I was all set to write you a whole post about how Monday afternoon I went over to the used children's' items store and bought Gabe this train set from the "recycled" toys that was quoted on the tag as having originally been $60-80 and was marked down to $19.99, so I bought it and was so proud of myself. And then yesterday, I went to Target and Toys R Us, and there was that same little train set, sitting on the shelf, brand new and with a freaking toy train included, for $22.99!!! $2.99 more than the used toy!!! The new toy even came with an additional train, so the used toy was probably MORE expensive than the new toy in the end!

So yesterday I marched myself over to the used children's' items store infuriated, and ready to beat down the owner for lying about the price and misleading people. Unfortunately, he took the wind out of my sails by profusely apologizing and insisting that the $60-80 was quoted on the Internet and it wasn't his intention to mislead and blah blah blah. Still, I'm pissed because it meant an extra trip to the store out of my way, especially now when I'm feeling a bit short on time.

Anyway, I was going to tell you that whole story, except that just now I went to the bathroom and OH MY GOODNESS, bloody show! I think something is happening! Plus, I'm feeling generally icky and gross and hormonal and teary and achy and like maybe something is going to happen soon.

Nothing concrete like strong contractions, but just general crampiness and tiredness that I haven't felt before, so maybe maybe maybe I'm going to meet my baby soon. When I called my mom she started insisting that I needed to make the process slow down and not to do anything between now and the weekend, but honestly, what can I do? I have to be happy about the fact that my baby is coming soon. I will finally get to meet this little person, and finally know whether this is a boy or a girl, and I will have two children! Two! Can you believe it?

I'm thinking it might be a little late for this, but if you have guesses on sex, date, weight, feel free to throw them out now! You still have time! My OB said that bloody show could mean impending labor or it could mean nothing at all and I won't give birth for another week.

Stats on Gabe, if you're interested: he was 3-4 days late, depending on who you ask, he was induced, he weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and was 19 and 1/2 inches long. I was pretty convinced throughout the pregnancy that he was a boy. This baby, if pressed, I'd guess it is a girl, but I'm not quite as sure as I was with Gabe. The pregnancy has been super different from Gabe's, but I hear that means nothing as well. Anyway, guess away! And think speedy and pain free labor thoughts, while you're at it!

Monday, December 08, 2008

2222222222222

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

So I went in this morning to my doctor's appointment full of negativity. As soon as she started asking me if I'd experienced anything this weekend, I told her that I was definitely NOT dilated, was definitely NOT going into labor, definitely would NOT be having this baby any time soon, and as far as I was concerned, we could go ahead and schedule the induction for Christmas day, because nothing was happening before then. Obviously. I even went so far as to start suggesting dates for her to perform non-stress tests on me because NOTHING was happening.

And then she checked me.

2 centimeters! 75% effaced!

Do you know how long it took me to get to 2 cm last time? 10 hours of very painful pitocin induced labor! TEN HOURS! I already had my epidural by 2 cm last time because the contractions were coming a minute apart with no relief in between, and there was no dilating going on.

After my little diatribe, she was visibly shocked when she checked me and found out that I was dilated and effacing. She said that after my insistence that I wasn't having contractions, she was sure that there would be no change from last week. Apparently, however, like so many things in life, I am not to be trusted because I do not know what I am talking about.

I will tell you, however, that her checking me was so horribly painful THAT I STARTED CRYING AT THE END OF IT. Actual tears came out of my eyes, and I was almost hyperventilating by the end of it. She had to ask me if I needed water and she kept telling me to just lie there and breathe. It was awful. Terrible. Muy muy painful. I don't know what happened to make it hurt so much, although she said that the head is so low in the birth canal that she basically had to push the head up just to reach my cervix. Plus, I have a tilted uterus so it is incredibly difficult to reach as it is, and my cervix may be especially sensitive from the recent dilating and effacing activity.

My friend told me that once she started dilating, her cervical checks were also incredibly painful, so maybe it is just that I've never been this dilated without an epidural and I didn't realize how much it would hurt. I know that when I was in the hospital giving birth to Gabe, they had to bring in a different doctor with narrower hands and longer fingers because the attending couldn't even reach my cervix. Stupid problematic cervix. Although I shouldn't say that, because today I am very happy with my functioning cervix!

Now, I know that I could walk around for the next 2 weeks at 2cm, but now that she has reported that I am making some change, I'm realizing that oh yeah, I have been having a lot of pressure and some sporadic pains that might be contractions. I'd just put it out of my mind since I was so sure that we were going the overdue and induced route with this baby also. Since this morning, I've been having more of those sporadic contractions, and one that even caused me some slight cringing because it was accompanied by some pain. Interesting.

I'm slightly stressed because my mom doesn't arrive until December 14th at 10pm, and she is supposed to be in the delivery room with us, and my dad is supposed to watch Gabe, but I can't really worry about it until I have something to worry about. She can't just ditch work, considering that we don't know whether I'll go into labor or not, but I never thought it was even a possibility I'd go into labor before my due date so this is a bit of a shock. An excellent, exciting, fun shock, but still surprising.

So. I guess I really am having a baby some time soon! The newfound fear has spurred me into action, and this afternoon I washed baby clothes, washed the bassinet fabric, started cleaning the living room and dining room, wrote down a schedule for Gabe for whoever ends up watching him while we're in the hospital, tried to organize the nursery, and put some additional things in my hospital bag.

It sounds funny to say that at 38 and a half weeks I didn't really think we were having a baby, but I guess I didn't really think we were having a baby. Denial denial denial, huh?

secrets to easy entertaining

You people really know a lot about cabbage! I printed out all your suggestions and I'll be experimenting with the many heads we received through our CSA share this week.

In the meantime, here is a yummy yummy EASY recipe for you if you have any entertaining to do in the near future. I got the recipe from Chatty Cricket, who will hopefully forgive me for revealing how easy this actually is!

Baked Brie

One package of refrigerated crescent rolls

Jar of your favorite jam or jelly (I like fig jelly, but I've also used champagne or raspberry or other gourmet jelly)

Wedge or round of brie (depending on how much you need)- I think plain is the best kind of brie for this recipe


Preheat the oven to whatever the package of refrigerated crescent rolls says. Open the package of refrigerated crescent rolls and start pulling them apart. Take your wedge or round of brie and start lining the flat crescent rolls up enough to cover the bottom of your brie, then place the brie on top of the crescent rolls.

Take your jelly, and spread it across the top of the brie (not too thick because as it bakes it'll start oozing all over the place). Then continue covering the brie and jelly with the crescent rolls until you've created a shell over the whole thing. Make sure to overlap the crescent rolls a little bit, just so you don't have any holes for the brie or jelly to escape.

Put your completed masterpiece into the oven for at least the time listed on the package of crescent rolls, and probably 10-15 minutes longer, because you need the bottoms and overlapped rolls to cook completely.

When it looks golden brown and bubbly and delicious, take it out of the oven and serve with crackers or additional rolls and watch it disappear! People will BEG you for the recipe and wonder how you made such a yummy appetizer. I get requests for this sucker all the time, and I hate telling people how easy it actually is! I've even made it with pie crusts and other types of refrigerated breads when I couldn't find rolls. Easy peasy! Enjoy!

gifts galore

New post up at the other blog!

Please check it out if you're looking for holiday gifts for the baby and toddler crowd!

Friday, December 05, 2008

the other love of my life

This weekend in NYC, our first weekend away alone in 2 years, reaffirmed with such brilliant focus one simple fact. I love my husband. A lot.

I wish I had better words to describe what Josh is to me, what he does for me. There is no one I would rather spend my time with, no one who makes me laugh more, no one who lifts my spirits the way he does. I never get sick of him, never stop wanting to tell him everything, never stop being grateful that he is my partner in life. Next month marks our 10th anniversary together, and we still talk on the phone every couple of hours if we have to be apart, just to chat. I still wait anxiously for him to get home from work. I still wish we could be together all the time.

Having Gabriel has changed our relationship in so many ways. I've learned that babies bring quite a bit of baggage with them- stress, differences of opinion, impatience, love, laughter, awe, among other things. I worried so much before having Gabriel about what it would do to our marriage, and I think it was a reasonable worry. Raising a child is hard work, and it seems like it gets harder as they grow up. It hasn't always been easy, but I can definitely say that doing this with anyone but Josh has never crossed my mind. He tempers my impulsiveness, I make him a little less neurotic. Maybe between the two of us, Gabe and 002 will turn out halfway sane.

I've been anticipating this weekend away for quite some time, and it ended up being better than I'd hoped. I feel reconnected to Josh in a non-parents, just us way again, and I'm so happy we did this before our lives get upended again in the next couple of weeks (38 weeks today!). At the same time, I've been feeling noticeably down in the dumps since Sunday, and I think part of it is that it's going to be a while before we can spend large chunks of time together alone. A newborn and leaky boobs definitely kill the mood.

Regardless of how long it takes us to do it again, I'm grateful we made the time to go, because now I remember clearly what I'm missing. Our time with Gabriel makes us happier than we've ever been, but being away is pretty okay too. Once in a while, at least. Now I just need to get cracking on getting ready for this baby. Would you believe that I have no car seat? No clean baby clothes? Calling my house a mess would be an understatement. Someone needs to send some nesting instinct over here, because mine seems to be lost.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

now if only I could stop peeing at night

My goodness, but I am dramatic.

So after writing this post, and agonizing for weeks over this very topic, Josh and I set up Gabe's new big boy room with the twin bed and then began our arguing over what we would do with the bed vs. crib situation. A friend of a friend offered to lend me her crib, and I began evaluating how we could change the layout of his room to include a crib next to the twin bed. I ignored Josh's pleas about not wanting to bring in another piece of furniture and moved on to how to transition Gabe from one crib to another.

And then last Sunday night, Josh asked Gabe if he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed instead of his crib. Gabe thought it over for a minute, said yes, and slept through the night without budging from the bed. The next day, I asked where he wanted to take his nap, he said the big boy bed, and he hasn't looked back since.

Tonight marks night 12 in his twin bed, and while I hate to even acknowledge this out loud (or typed out, let's say), this is the best stretch of sleep he has ever had. These 12 days and nights have been completely uninterrupted sleep (at least for him), with no wake-ups and no fighting bedtime or naptime. In the afternoons, he snuggles under the covers happily and doesn't move an inch until he wakes up 2+ hours later. At bedtime, he runs to his bed happily, we read some books while we have a cup of milk, brush our teeth, and then he practically shoves us out the door. For the past two nights he has refused his lullabies and asked us to leave.

I am not so naive to think that we may have some backsliding when this baby arrives, but for now, I'm grateful. I asked him the other day if the baby could have his crib, and he said yes. I even asked where he would sleep if the baby slept in the crib, and he said "My choo choo bed." Meaning, of course, his new room with his train comforter. So I stripped the crib, and Josh will raise the mattress this weekend, and I'll do what little I can to make the room look different while all the bedding and decorations stay the same. I'm relieved and as usual, surprised to find that Gabe has moved on from another stage of his life before my mother is ready for him to do so.

I guess this is what parenthood is, right? Letting go before you want to, before you're ready to, and having to smile even when it kills you. I've had a couple little cry fests thinking about Gabe sleeping in a real bed, and imagining a new little person in the nursery. The same nursery where I sat and imagined what it would be like to be a mother, to have a baby. The nursery where I sat late at night and held my belly and felt the crazy movements inside and imagined what lay ahead.

This is so much better than I ever imagined. Harder too, but absurdly, ridiculous, amazingly better.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

cabbagy cabbage

Speaking of this post, does anyone have any decent recipes that include cabbage? I have both red and green cabbage, and no idea what to do with them. Tonight I followed a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, which I normally love, and I thought it was only mediocre. It was a noodles and cabbage recipe, and I followed it to the T and still thought it was meh.

Anyone? Cabbage? Help? I have a coleslaw recipe, and I do love reuben sandwiches, so maybe I should resort to that. But seriously, how many reubens can I eat?

Monday, December 01, 2008

it must be an old wives' tale

I had my 37 and a half weeks appointment this morning, and nothing. Nada. Zip. No dilation. Again, I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I'd come to believe that the intense pressure on my pelvic bones, the non-stop peeing, and the crushing pain I feel any time I try to roll over in bed or get up from the couch meant that the baby was perhaps moving things along.

I'd also hoped vainly that all the walking I did this weekend would do something in that area, but nope.

Josh and I had a major life moment this weekend- we left Gabe for the first time ever overnight. Not leaving him until now wasn't something we consciously discussed and decided not to do, we just didn't think of it. We go out to dinner once in a blue moon, we take advantage of grandparents when they are visiting and try to go for coffee or run errands or take walks alone, but we'd never had the time or money to sneak away overnight without him. I left him for a wedding shower in Atlanta, and then for a bachelorette party in Florida, and Josh has left him when he's gone on business trips, or when I've gone to California. But not together, until this weekend.

I didn't even realize what a milestone this was until we were actually on the train pulling into Grand Central Station and New York City was ahead of us and I turned to Josh and said, "Oh my God, we've never left him before!" and he argued for a minute thinking that surely I was wrong, but no, we really have never left him. The funny thing is that in all the planning for this weekend, I never thought about whether I would be sad without him, I only thought about making sure he was happy and well-taken care of and not missing us.

He WAS happy and well-taken care of and except for one incident that involved tears and a request for mommy, he didn't seem to miss us. He was busy with cousins and grandparents and trains and cold morning walks in the Berkshires.

We spent Friday afternoon until Sunday morning sucking in the city sights. Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's windows, Greenwich Village, Magnolia cupcakes (my personal highlight, of course), Times Square, Columbus Circle, and the many many Christmas decorations. We walked uptown and downtown and crosstown and saw holiday fairs and stopped for coffee and ate Turkish food and Thai food and diner food and street food (but don't tell my OB), and my feet ached from walking and I took Tylenol and kept walking because it was so lovely to hold Josh's hand and breathe in the cold air and just relax. We walked hundreds of blocks, and I am not exaggerating. And I did it all without bringing my hospital bag to the city, tempting fate to put me into labor 4+ hours from my packed bag, but of course, nothing happened.

It was glorious, and although I'm still exhausted and my feet are still aching and Gabe has been a pill since yesterday (due in large part, I suspect, to spoilage from his grandparents), it was totally worth it and I'm so glad we did it. I'm also glad the first time we leave Gabe will not be when we go to the hospital to give birth, because seriously, how traumatic would that be?

If every time your mom left you she came home with a sibling, you might have some teeny tiny separation problems!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

baby baby baby on the brain

It was funny for me to read the posts here and here, because we are (amazingly) approaching the time where we will finally know who this little person is. With all the placenta and breech nonsense, we ended up having tons of ultrasounds throughout this pregnancy, and although I'm dying to know just for the sake of knowing, we didn't find out because we just don't care. We really, honestly, truly, don't care. I'd love a girl, and I'd love a boy, and whatever we get is what I believe I'm meant to have.

Since the start of this pregnancy, though, people have been spontaneously announcing to me that they think I'm having a girl. At the resort in Aruba, at the doctor's office, my friends, my mom, people on the street, everyone seems to think this is a girl. I even find myself believing that this is a girl because of the increased nausea and exhaustion and terrible skin and dry frizzy hair. This has to be a girl, because this pregnancy has been so much more uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden than Gabe's was. Yesterday, I even realized that I'm becoming somewhat attached to the idea of this baby being a girl. It scares me a little, because I would never want to be disappointed at the birth of my child because I'm hoping for one or the other.

But then, this morning, I realized as I went into Gabe's bedroom and he exclaimed "bay-ball" and "diggah" and pointed to his toys, I could never be disappointed. No matter what. Feeling disappointed because this baby is a boy would be like saying that Gabe is less than perfect just because he is a boy. Gabe is perfect and beautiful and wonderful and I couldn't love him more. I could never wish for anything different because he is the child I am supposed to have. If I'm blessed to have another sweet boy just like him, I will count my lucky stars. If it is a girl, I'll count those same lucky stars.

I'll also get down on my knees and thank everything and everyone for two healthy children. That's all I could ever ask for. Plus, there's always baby number three! Or if I had my way, number 4! Josh says that babies 3 and 4 are going to have to be with my second husband, so I guess we'll have to see.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holiday is as blessed as ours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ick, ick, and more ick

This Monday marked the beginning of one of my least favorite medical aspects in pregnancy- the cervical checks.

Ugh.

I guess some people weather these checks easily without screaming and crawling backwards off the paper covered table, but I am not one of those folks. I find any checking in that vicinity to be excruciatingly painful, to the point that I have been dreading it for weeks and have considered taking pain medication in advance of a visit. Okay, just Tylenol, but still.

I hoped to myself on Monday morning that perhaps I'd exaggerated the whole event in my mind, but no such luck. It was very not fun, and to make matters worse, I didn't even get a teensy tiny bit of dilation to be happy about. I am 0% dilated. Nada. Nothing. I don't know why I'm surprised since it took me 40 weeks, 3 days, and 7 hours of pitocin to get me to one stinking centimeter. In a way, I'm relieved because my mom doesn't arrive until December 14th, and also I'm clearly not prepared to have this baby, but seriously, just a little progress would have been nice.

In preparation for the start of the cervical checks, Sunday night saw me contorting into strange positions in the bathroom, trying to deal with the bikini line situation. It wasn't pretty- neither the bikini area or the 36 weeks and 3 days preggo bending every which way trying to access that area. I used this to deal with the situation, and while I'm normally a HUGE fan and I've been using it for about a year now, it was shockingly more painful while pregnant. Maybe my pain tolerance just goes down in pregnancy? Or maybe I'm just a wimp? Who knows.

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I deliver the baby before I have to tackle the area again. 36 weeks is one thing. If this belly gets any bigger, I'm going to have to call in the husband reinforcements to assist me, and nobody wants that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

ch-ch-ch-changes

Gabe's new big boy room has a big boy bed in it that he seems to love. It is cute and low to the ground, with a beautiful rail all along one side, and adorable train bedding. Gabe loves to lay in the bed and read and drink some milk and brush his teeth. Gabe, however, has no interest in actually sleeping in the bed.

I was hoping to do the transitional thing and start the bedtime routine there and then move to naps and finally to actual night sleeping in there, but so far he is very much loving his crib. He's also stopped climbing out of his crib because he seems to like it so much.

So what do I do? I kind of need the crib for this new resident that is slated to arrive relatively soon, but I don't need the crib now. I need it maybe 4-5 months from now. But I wanted some period of transition before I remove him from the crib and plop in the newest owner. I was looking for a couple of months of an empty crib to get him to somewhat forget that he used to sleep in the crib and get used to the idea of the baby having the crib instead.

I tried to talk Josh into moving the crib into his new room for a little while, but that suggestion was met with stubborn refusal. Apparently it is "too much work" to do that, and we already bought the twin bed and I need to come up with an alternative solution. My alternative solution does not include making my son miserable or forcing him into a bed if he isn't ready or getting less sleep then I'm already slated to get over the next couple of months.

But what should I do? Should I ask around to borrow a crib? Dismantle the crib myself with my massive belly? Push ahead with plans to switch him to his bed even though I feel in my heart of hearts that he isn't ready? Help!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

me no likey the dirty

If it ever doesn't work out with Josh, and some totally hot Amish farmer guy (a la Harrison Ford in Witness) falls in love with me and wants to sweep me off my feet and take me to his farm, I'm going to have settle for a romp in the haystacks, but say no to moving.

It turns out, shockingly, that I'm not cut out for the hard life (Chatty Cricket, please stop laughing).

This summer, we signed up for a community supported agriculture share of a farm. This means that every Thursday, we pick up a box of vegetables from a local drop off spot. These vegetables have been lovingly picked and cut and delivered just for us. The vegetables weren't treated with pesticides, and they've come straight from the ground and into the share box. They are super healthy, totally organic, a diverse assortment, and I have determined that I hate them.

There are a lot of vegetables in every box. They are dirty. Very, very dirty. Covered in dirt and bugs and sludge kind of dirty. I consider us fairly well-rounded adventurous eaters, but we never eat the vegetables they send us. We don't get broccoli and cauliflower and brussel sprouts and spinach. We get parsnips and cabbage (oh geez, so much freaking cabbage) and bok choy and 79 varieties of squash. Oh, and did I mention turnips? Because we get lots of turnips. And lots of leeks and eggplants. How many leeks can one family eat? Turns out, for us it's just one leek and lots go to waste. It is shameful how many of the vegetables went into the trash, but the reality is that it has been too much work for me to pick up the box, wash the many vegetables that arrive, find space for them in our cramped fridge, and then come up with inventive recipes my family will eat from these many random vegetables. I wanted corn and tomatoes and salad greens and beans and cucumbers. That is not what we received.

Also, and this is going to sound ridiculous, I cannot remember to pick up my vegetables from 4-7pm on Thursdays. I just can't. The number of times I have emailed the poor drop-off woman to ask if I can come tomorrow, are too many to count. She must think I am the hugest idiot ever, but I think it is just pregnancy and a toddler and a tendency to stay home on Thursdays for Gabe to have downtime after his toddler program on Mondays and Wednesdays.

I signed up in March when I wasn't pregnant, and when I thought it was a fabulous idea for us to receive fresh vegetables and expand our horizons and I could make and freeze baby food. Turns out, not so much. So we will not be doing our share again next year, and I'll be buying my cauliflower and broccoli and spinach at our local farmer's market or grocery store, and I suspect I'll be much happier for it.

My dreams of being a sexy farmgirl will just have to fall by the wayside.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I know nobody wants to talk about poop, but...

Today marks the first day of the last month before my due date. You see, yesterday was November 19th, and that means that from here on out, when someone asks me when I'm due, I can simply say "the 19th" and there are no other 19ths between now and then. My countdown clock says 28 days to go, and I assume that is because it doesn't count today or the actual 19th. This is a little mind-blowing, to tell you the truth, and a tiny bit distressing because yesterday Josh turned to me on the couch and said, "Wow, we're getting close, aren't we? What- we have maybe 7 weeks to go or something?" Yes dear, or something. Talk about denial on his part!

I'm feeling good this week, and I attribute that to the head down position of the baby, which has caused fewer contractions than normal, and also to the fact that we made some serious headway on Gabe's 'big boy' room over the weekend. We still have a ways to go, though. Gabe's clothes and books and general stuff are still in the nursery, and none of the baby's clothing has been unpacked from the attic, but at least there is a painted bedroom with actual furniture and an actual bed and bedding in the new room for Gabe. He isn't even remotely close to sleeping in there, but I'm relieved that it is done. I'm hoping this weekend will bring more change and advancement on the decorating aspect of the room, and then I promise some cute pictures. Or at least, I think they're cute!

My major complaint these days, and if you could see me I'm grimacing over here to even bring this up, is majorly serious constipation. Like terrible, very bad, no good constipation. This has been a feature of this pregnancy since, oh, day 3. I'm trying everything these days. Loads of water, fruits and vegetables, coffee, straight fiber supplements, bran cereal, yogurt, and I still need major help. My OB is threatening medication, but I'd like to avoid it if I can. So here is where you come in- everyone has advice on this topic, right? Please please please share yours! I can definitely use all the help I can get! Put the shame aside! Share galore!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I think cookies will help

On Friday, I lay on the couch for 2 hours with 5 pillows under my pelvis and my head slanted downward. When I stood back up, I endured an hour of heartburn, acid reflux, and nausea. I told myself, though, that if the baby turned, it was worth it. On Saturday, I sat on the floor on all fours with my butt in the air and my head resting on a pillow, cursing my sore back, but I thought, if the baby turns, it'll be worth it. On Sunday, I woke up and thought, I think the baby might have turned. So I did nothing, except jump up and down and squat and try to get that head to jam itself into the appropriate places.

And yesterday, I went to the doctor, and VOILA, the baby is turned! Head down, and according to her, pretty engaged in the birth canal. We both agree, however, that the baby appears to have lots of space in my uterus right now and could easily turn back, so her medical advice was, "Don't do anything strange that might make the baby turn back." Uh-huh. I'll make sure to follow that advice. But what exactly qualifies as strange? Does poking the baby constantly to make sure it is still head down qualify as annoying to the baby?

Thanks for your well-wishes! Keep sending "stay head down" thoughts our way!

Friday, November 14, 2008

definitely bootylicious

Wait, wait, wait...

I cannot believe I forgot to mention this, but after all the drama with the placenta, this baby is breech. BREECH. As in, butt first in the birth canal, must turn before a vaginal birth can take place. I was calm about this initially, as was the OB, but as the appointments have continued and 002 continues to remain in the same position, all parties have become a bit more nervous.

At 30 weeks, the OB blew it off. At 32 weeks, she said she was sure the baby would turn. At 34 weeks, she started to seem a little more nervous, and now at my appointment on Monday, 35 and a half weeks, I have an ultrasound scheduled to confirm the breech position and discuss "options". Since last week, I've started doing yoga poses, on hands and knees with my head resting against the floor and my butt in the air while I sway it from side to side, hoping to dislodge the baby and encourage him or her to flip. I poke and prod and try to manually shove his or her head out of my ribs and toward the bottom of my stomach.

I'm pulling out all the stops. I'm getting the ironing board from the basement, and I plan to hang upside down on it while leaning it against the couch. I'm listening to my hypnobirthing cd and reciting to myself that my uterus is flexible enough and large enough to allow the baby to turn. If Monday's ultrasound shows the same position, I'm calling some acupuncture experts. I'll try moxibustion, I'll do cartwheels, I'll run laps, I'll even beg the baby to please cooperate. My OB thinks that trying to manually turn the baby is pretty ineffective, but we'll probably try that too.

I'm frustrated, I can't lie. I find myself feeling irrationally annoyed at this baby when I again yelp at the hard head pressing itself into my rib cage. It feels like you have a bruise and someone keeps poking your bruise in the same spot again and again and again. The baby kicks me hard in the organs and the cervix and in all kinds of tender places at the bottom of my belly. I keep having contractions and sharp pains that make me double over, and I suspect it is this wonky position.

The one thing I'm wondering, though, is that if I'm doing all of these things together to get the baby to turn, what happens if he or she turns and then I continue doing the exercises because I can't be 100% certain the baby has turned, and then he or she just keeps turning and turning and turning. Should I do the exercises until I suspect 002 has turned and then stop? But what if Monday's ultrasound shows I'm wrong?

Do you think Tom Cruise would lend me his ultrasound machine? Should I harass my OB daily and demand ultrasounds? Maybe I should freaking STOP OBSESSING over this and get to nesting?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hormones anyone?

I may possibly, potentially, be the teensiest, tiniest bit hormonal.

I was driving home from my dentist appointment, where I had ANOTHER cavity, which frustrates me to no end because no one (seriously NO ONE) is more obsessive over their teeth. I brush and floss obsessively, I think that in all the years of my life, I cannot remember even once. Not even once! That I went to bed without brushing my teeth. My mom says even when I was a toddler, if I fell asleep in the car and they carried me to my bed, I'd pop my eyes open and insist that I needed to brush my teeth. I've complained repeatedly to the dentist about it, and I am so angry that despite what I do, I continue to get cavities. Grrrr.

Anyway, I'm digressing. Let's get back to my hormones.

I'm driving home from the dentist, where I was able to say to him, "I'm having this baby in about a month," because I am! Today is November 12th, and my due date is November 19th, so I have 5 weeks and I consider 5 weeks, or 36 days, to be about a month. So I'm driving, and reflecting on that craziness, and suddenly I think, "In a month, my baby won't be my baby anymore because I'll have a new baby."

And I dissolved into sobs that I could barely control for the rest of the drive home. I mean, I know, he'll always be my baby, blah blah blah, but still. I'm having a baby, and I'm terrified that this new baby will take the role of my current baby, who is still truly a baby! A crazy talking, laughing, running, jumping, playing baby, but still my baby. In another month and a half, he'll be two! No more referring to him in months! Now I'll have to say he's two and that sounds giant to me. Plus, I'll have this new demanding little person who will most definitely be an actual baby, and although I'm beyond excited to meet him or her, I'm also so sad and guilt-ridden that I'm displacing Gabe. Sigh.

My mom was assuring me while I was crying that he'll always be my baby, and even at 30, I'm still her baby, but I'm still sad and sniffly. There are so many changes these days, it's so much to take in and so much in the way of adjusting. We're painting Gabe's big boy room today, setting up his new bed this weekend, he's been peeing and pooping in the potty (of his own accord, a topic for another post), he chats up a storm and has even taken to bossing me around with his demands. Today I dropped him off at the toddler program and he wouldn't even say goodbye before running off to join the other children with the playdough. I know everyone says they grow up too fast, but damn it, it's true! Gabe is growing up too fast. I just gave birth to him, and all of a sudden he is this amazing kid that just keeps getting bigger. Any tips on how to make it stop?

Monday, November 10, 2008

samma has a lot to say

My Jewish son turned to me over the weekend and out of the blue said, "Mama! Samma say HO HO HO!"

His inflection was perfect, and he'd even accomplished a deeper than normal HO HO HO, but I still thought I must have heard wrong. So I asked what an owl says, "Whoo, whoo," he replied. "And what does Santa say?" "Ho ho ho!" Clear as a bell.

We have no idea where he got it from, since I haven't been talking about Santa, and the toddler program woman claims she hates Santa and wouldn't have talked about it, and plus, Halloween just happened! Who is talking about Santa already? He watches some television, but everything is pre-recorded, so no commercials.

Do kids just absorb Santa by osmosis? It's a mystery, but I told Josh that unless his Jewish kid comes home talking about Jesus or claiming the Jesus will save him, we probably don't need to worry.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

health insurance shmealth insurance

I don't know if this is typical and we've just been lucky thus far, but we're having serious issues with our health insurance. In the last 6 months, they've tried to deny claim after claim after claim. Sometimes the letters say that our policy ended (when it didn't), sometimes it says that services aren't covered (when they are), or today, they said they'd already paid the claim (definitely not).

It is becoming infuriating and frustrating, because I often have to sit on the phone for hours with them trying to argue my way through to payment. The other day they claimed that because my name was misspelled on my insurance card, they weren't going to pay for bloodwork ordered by my OB's office. Mind you, I've notified them 3 times about the fact that my name is misspelled on the card, and they never thought it was a crucial fact until now.

When we were in Florida visiting my inlaws, I had to rush Gabe to an emergency clinic because he had a massive ear infection and started throwing up and screaming while clutching his ear (turns out his ear drum ruptured). No one in Florida would take our particular insurance because they said they were never willing to pay the claims. I had to call the insurance company and spend hours on the phone getting an authorization for us to visit a clinic, and they gave me a claim number so I could submit the receipts and get paid for the two visits (one urgent, one follow-up). Today's letter informed me that they already paid me for these two visits, even though they most definitely, assuredly, have not. I think I would notice if I had those $300 I paid out of pocket.

I am so annoyed! Is this typical? Or is this because of the bad economy? Are the insurance companies trying to get away with not paying for standard claims to save money? I'm just so stinking tired of this, and if one member of our family wasn't staying home (i.e., me), I'm not sure who would have time to make these calls. By the way, this is a very common health insurance, not some podunk random one. It is probably one of the largest in the country. So why is this happening and what can I do to stop it? I'm already dreading the nonsense that is going to result after I have this baby. We're probably going to get billed for $500,000 or something similarly insane. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

fyi, if you come over for dinner

Last night we had a hopeful celebratory dinner of pot roast in the slow cooker. I set Gabe up on the counter next to me and chopped up potatoes, carrots, and celery, handed them over to him in little piles and he would place them in the slow cooker. He was very good at his job, until we got to the carrots, at which point he licked each and every little carrot slice before placing it in the slow cooker.

Seasoning, I guess.

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

Gabe is hoping to wish you a personal "Happy Halloween! " as soon as I charge the video camera, but in the meantime, we'll be monkeying around and enjoying the day.

We hope you have a day full of treats and fun, not too many tricks!

Happy Halloween!





Love,
The Halloweenlover family

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm still wondering if I might have been dreaming

I was just on the phone with my mother in law, complaining about a problem I'm having with a friend, and she effusively complimented my parenting style. MY PARENTING STYLE. Her daughter in law's parenting style. She went on and on for several minutes about how impressed she and my father in law are with the way Gabe behaves, and she swore up and down that he is better behaved than her own children were.

I swear, the whole time she was talking I thought maybe hell was freezing over. Funny how if they were to criticize us, I'd just ignore them, but the compliments? Clearly coming from the mouth of God. They couldn't be more right.

Baby 002 better not ruin my good name in parenting. I will be seriously pissed if this one comes out all screamy. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

wild animal kingdom

Remember this? Well, we have new intruders in our house, and I'm starting to wonder if maybe our walls are made of swiss cheese or something. Every day, pretty much like clockwork, we find a bee flying around our house. Sometimes downstairs, sometimes upstairs, sometimes (randomly) inside the overhead light covers. Some days, if you can believe it, I've found up to 3 bees in different locations inside the house. Yesterday was one of those days. I found one dead in our living room, one alive and flying around the upstairs hallway, and one hanging out on the mail on the kitchen counter so that when I grabbed it to read it, it fell on the floor and started walking around like nothing happened.

The bees aren't totally 'with it' either. They seem kind of disoriented or sleepy or something strange like that, because lots of time I'll find them just sitting on a bookshelf, or in the bathroom sink, and it is relatively easy to smoosh them (sorry for you bug environmentalists out there, but I am all about killing the stinging animals that come within close proximity of my toddler). I assumed it was the weather, but this is the first time this has ever happened, and it doesn't seem to matter whether it is cold or hot outside. The bees still come in.

The kicker is that Josh has a serious phobia of bees. I actually think his fear would qualify as a medical phobia because as soon as a bee is nearby he freaks out. Completely freaks out and runs out of the room and harbors this irrational fear that the bee is coming straight for him and wants to sting him. Sadly, this means that he isn't much help in the bee killing department, because his solution to a lost bee is to shut the door on the bee and leave it for me to find.

I've started thinking that perhaps we have a hive hidden somewhere in the house because the bees are so persistent at getting in. The other night when I got up to pee at 2am, I heard a strange thunk in the medicine cabinet, and within a few seconds heard some buzzing and a bee crawled right out from behind the cabinet! There must be a hole- not that I would know because the person who needs to unscrew the medicine cabinet to look refuses to do so in case a swarm of bees attacks him. Yesterday, though, I called my neighbor to ask about the bees and they are also experiencing bees coming inside. Not as many as we are, but a good amount. A bee even crawled inside my neighbor's pajama top and stung him the other night when he was getting ready for bed (a story I did NOT share with Josh for obvious reasons).

So what's the deal with the bees? Is this normal? Tell me I don't need to hire an exterminator because pregnant and with a toddler, it's something I'd rather not do. I don't want Gabe to get stung, though, and Josh and I certainly don't want to get stung either. My current strategy is to inspect all the rooms before bedtimes and naptimes to make sure no bee is lurking around, but it isn't the most effective thing ever. Also? Maybe I should call someone to let them know that those supposedly disappearing bees may be busting into my house instead of returning to their hives. Help!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

this is getting a little excessive

The other day I stopped at the grocery store on my way to pick Gabe up at his toddler program. I had about an hour until pick-up time, so plenty of time to pick up the necessities and be there by 1pm. I took only my wallet, cell phone, and keys into the store, and moved expeditiously through the aisles to make sure I had plenty of time to leave and drive the couple of miles to Gabe's "school".

I got to the check out line, and the cashier asked me if I had my store discount card. I reached down to feel the keys in my pocket and realized that I only had the car key in my pocket, not the house keys where the discount card was attached (which were still in the car in the parking lot), so I said no and she punched in the store's number. I paid, loaded up the cart and walked out the store doors. And somewhere between the cashier's line and the front door of the store, I LOST THE CAR KEYS. Lost. Gone. Disappeared.

I backtracked, talked to the cashier, walked the whole way again. Nothing. I spoke to the store's customer service, we walked the way out together. Nothing. They dispatched two store employees to help me, we searched the whole store. Nothing. Searched the parking lot. Nothing. Made announcements, took every item out of the bags. Searched through each individual carrot and potato and yogurt container. Nothing. I literally crawled on my pregnant hands and knees from the cashier's line to the door outside peering under everything. Nothing.

At this point, I started to get frantic because I'm definitely going to be late. I called the toddler program, left multiple messages for the director of the program, called Josh and told him what was going on. In the meantime, we're still looking through the store and someone else is searching my bags, security is standing in the parking lot to make sure no one steals the car, and I am losing my shit. After an hour and a half of looking, I finally gave up and Josh had to leave work to go home and pick up a spare key, bring it to me at the store, the toddler program had to keep him for the whole time, and I went home to wallow in my misery.

That night, I called the store back and they shockingly found the keys, but didn't provide any kind of explanation as to where they were found or what might have happened to them.

Fast forward to today. Gabe is still sick, but we desperately needed an outing, so I decide we should walk to our neighborhood pharmacy and pick up a gallon of milk. The walk is about a mile each way, but I figure it'll be good exercise and Gabe should be fine if I bundle him up. We walk there, buy our milk and a carton of tissues, and head home. About 3 blocks into the walk home, I realize that I am exhausted. Pooped. I'm not sure I can make it the whole mile home, but since I don't have a choice, I suck it up and keep pushing the stroller.

We make it all the way home, and I go to get the keys out of the diaper bag, and POOF, they're gone. No where to be found. I call the pharmacy and surprise! I forgot the keys there. Oh, and I also left my wallet at the pharmacy. My wallet! And keys! And now I have to walk all the way back to the store, another 2 miles to pick everything up. I racked my brain to come up with an alternative to my walking there and back, and I remember that the neighbor has a babysitter for the afternoons, so at least I could leave Gabe at her house for 20 minutes so that I can walk to the store and back without pushing the stroller.

I've never met this woman, though, so I'm a little weirded out about leaving him with her, but beggars can't be choosers, right? She seems totally fine with me leaving him with her, and because she is a saint, she even offers to let me borrow her car. I would never say yes in regular life, but seriously, at this point I was so tired that I didn't even have the strength to have pride about the situation. I borrowed her car, drove to the pharmacy, endured the strange looks about having left my keys and wallet at the store, and made it home in one piece.

I put him down for a nap and collapsed on the couch in a heap. This is getting a little ridiculous, though. I know the whole 'pregnancy brain' thing is normal, but how much is normal? Aren't I taking this a little far? I'm afraid I might forget Gabe at home and go shopping one of these days! Or maybe forget him at the park. I'm surprised I haven't forgotten that I'm married at this point.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I should have known better

And then a day like yesterday came around, and I forgot all my self-professed gratitude and spent much of the afternoon sobbing on the floor in a puddle.

It started out as one of those days where everything Josh and I said to each other turned into an argument, and because we can't leave well enough alone, one of us would call the other one back after the argument and escalate it by saying stupid things we don't really mean.

Then Gabe started acting up and whining over every little thing and demanding to be carried by my poor aching sciatica-ed back. Seriously, whining over every little thing. He wants to eat, he doesn't want to eat. He wants to play with his train, he doesn't want to play with the train. Oh my God, you can't possibly want me to walk the 10 feet into the kitchen without being carried- no, no, no, no, noooooooooooo and let me throw myself on the floor crying to get my point across. To make matters worse, he sat in his crib for 2 and a half hours and refused to nap for the entire time for the first time ever in his life and I couldn't relax because all I did was sit there and watch him on the monitor and listen to him whine and will him to PLEASE SLEEP ALREADY.

So at 4:30pm I decided that we absolutely had to leave the house, so we went to Blockbuster to rent some movies and CVS to buy some Children's Tylenol that was on super sale (this Tylenol thing may have been ESP on my part). It was a disaster. He was running around Blockbuster like a crazy person and throwing movies all over the place and it was impossible to pick a movie while simultaneously yelling at him to STOP RUNNING AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. CVS was just as terrible because the cart was small enough that he could reach the things I put in there and he would toss them out while we were walking the aisles.

I finally gave up and came home and realized that we were past dinnertime and he was standing at my legs begging for a "nacks, pease, nacks" (otherwise known as snacks, please, snacks) while I was trying to cook at the stove so I served him a random piecing together of everything I could make in 3 minutes. Finally, FINALLY, I got him to bed and I breathed a sigh of relief and took the time to shoot Chatty Cricket an email telling her that this had been the most interminable day ever and I was about to curl up on the couch with a cup of Dr. Pepper and one of my favorite movies.

I did curl up on said couch, took a sip, and heard a strange mewling noise from upstairs and then that telltale awful cough that is followed by a gag, and you can imagine what happened next. Lots of vomiting. Lots and lots of vomiting, with lots of crying, and a child who busted out with full-blown croup like symptoms where he sounded like he couldn't breathe throughout the night and was up at 9:30, 10:45, 12:00, 1:00, 2:30, 4:30, and then 6:00 for the day. And in between those times, I was lying there wondering how serious this really was because it sounded like a barge was going through his lungs every time he took a breath.

Josh got home from work sometime after 11pm, and left sometime around 6:30am, so although he suffered through the nighttime wake-ups with me, he couldn't be much help.

And then today, I had to face the realization that he couldn't go to the toddler program this sick, as much as I really, really, really wanted him to.

So that's that. Today has been a tiny bit less miserable, mainly because I feel sorry for him so I'm trying to be more sympathetic, but when I stood in the hallway for 45 minutes while he screamed that he wanted to go back to sleep at naptime but then screamed louder if I tried to lie down with him in bed or put him down in his crib, it was tiring. I felt like screaming back, but kept it together, barely. We've watched a lot of television, and I have done a lot of sighing and eye-rolling.

Here's hoping tonight and tomorrow are better than today, and that I can get my upbeat vibe back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

free stuff!

Check out my newest review and GIVEAWAY on the Pumpkin Products blog.

Anyone with kids ages 2 - 5, or anyone that is looking for a gift for someone ages 2 - 5 might be interested!

You can also check out Parent Bloggers for more information.

Monday, October 20, 2008

life life life

Today I was driving to my 31 and a half weeks OB appointment after dropping Gabe off at his toddler program, and as I was driving peacefully and listening to the radio and feeling the baby kick around inside my belly, and thinking about how adorable Gabe is these days, I realized something important.

This may well be the happiest time in my life. I mean, really, how much better than this can it get?

I'm happily married to a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful man. I have the most beautiful, amazing, awesome child that has ever walked the earth (except for yours, of course, yours is also equally amazing and awesome and unbelievable). I'm pregnant with this hopefully healthy, perfect baby, and our lives are filled with so much excitement and joy and good things and happiness.

Sure, we're stressed about money and organizing the house and finding space for all our stuff and guests and paying bills, but things are really good. Life is really good. Now I just have to remember that the next time I stress about the little things.

Friday, October 17, 2008

the poop has hit the fan

I'm at my wit's end.

Over the last few months, Murray has been peeing all over the house when we're not watching him. It started on the bathroom rugs, so I'd wash them, pour the pet smell removal stuff all over them, and put them back down. Less than a day would pass, he'd pee on them again. Rinse, repeat, pee again. So I went out and bought new bathroom rugs. Less than a day later, another pee on the rug. Some days it would be pee AND poop. The other day I realized that he'd been using one of our rugs repeatedly as his personal bathroom and the rug was drenched in urine and had been for weeks.

A couple of months ago, he started in on the kitchen mat and ruined it. I tried washing it and eventually threw it out and bought a new one. Today I walked in to the kitchen, started loading the dishwasher, and stepped on a very wet rug. A very wet rug that smells like urine.

Not only are we dealing with this, but he'll often start pooping on the pee pee pads where he is supposed to pee and poop, but start walking in the middle of pooping and deposit half of the poop in the middle of the kitchen or in the dining room. The other day Gabe brought me a piece of poop upstairs, and I had no idea where it had come from. I ended up finding more poop near Josh's side of the bed in our bedroom.

Our bedtime routine consists of us double and triple checking that all the upstairs doors are closed because Murray will pee in any of the bedrooms if they are made available to him. In the morning, Josh has to make sure to pick up the bathroom rug before he leaves the bathroom because Murray will definitely pee on it. He cannot be left unattended within reach of Gabe's rug or the guest room rugs because he will try to pee on them.

This. Has. To. Stop.

It's gross. It's unsanitary. I have one child and another on the way, and I simply do not have this kind of emotional time and energy to waste on Murray's behavior. I've spent the last 45 minutes crying alternately to Josh (who has no patience either and has reached the end of his rope), my mom (who is sympathetic but doesn't have answers), and finally the vet's office who put a behavioral consultant on the phone with me while I sobbed.

She was helpful, firm, and had good ideas. I kept offering up suggestions for why he was doing this, and her answer was that she just didn't care WHY he was doing what he was doing. It is simply unacceptable, and I cannot continue living like this. If Murray can't behave the way he is supposed to, then he doesn't get to be a functional member of this family. Our new plan of action is that Murray is confined in a crate when we can't watch him until he can be trusted not to pee. He is going to go back to sleeping in a crate at night (something we haven't done in years), and we are getting rid of the pee pee pads completely. Although it is more convenient for us to not have to take them outside in the winter, the existent of these rug-like products inside the house, where they are encouraged to pee, may be too confusing to him and the behavioral consultant thinks it may help.

And we're starting from square one. It'll be like having a puppy again, but I'm hoping this will resolve our problems. I never never never thought I would ever fathom giving away a dog, but crying every day and/or screaming at him is not working either. I feel frustrated and guilty and insanely furious multiple times during the day. I'm not being a good dog owner when I'm so angry I want to scream, and I hate showing that kind of behavior in front of Gabe, but I'm so ridiculously frustrated, I can't help it.

I love my dogs, Gabe loves our dogs, Josh loves the dogs. They love us too. We like having them around, they are sweet and good-natured and kind. I can't imagine life without them, but I also can't imagine living like this indefinitely. I can't imagine having to clean up pee and poop throughout my house for the next 10 years. I have enough of the peeing and pooping from the little person I live with, I don't need it from the dogs too.

Wish me luck over the next few weeks, I'm sure I'll need it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

everything on my brain

First of all, there are 65 days left until my due date. SIXTY-FIVE DAYS. How exactly did this happen? I'm 30 weeks and 3 days and I am in a bit of disbelief that in approximately two months I will have two children. Two. As in, most of my waking hours I will be outnumbered by little people. If I even consider the possibility that the baby could come before his or her due date, well then my head basically explodes, so I don't consider that possibility much. My friend who went two weeks late with her first just went two weeks early with her second, and OH MY GOD let's not talk about it.

That being said, I have also achieved a state of great peace and excitement about this baby. I cannot wait to meet him or her, and to find out finally whether this is a him or her. I'm sure it'll be an adjustment and a challenge, but I'm confident that we'll all be fine and that everyone will survive. People have two kids all the time, right? Plus, I really really want to meet this little person. I don't know if you recall, but I was the pregnant woman last time who cried in the hospital delivery room because she wasn't yet ready to give birth. Post due date even. At 40 weeks and 3 days, I still wasn't ready to have my baby. So for me to say that I'm excited to give birth this time around is a huge step in the right direction.

Nobody around here wants the baby any time in the next 7 weeks, though, so he or she should definitely stay put for now.
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There are days when I am so tired or frustrated by the end of the day that I threaten to sell Gabe on Ebay to the highest bidder. Then there are whole weekends like this past weekend, where I would like to bottle him up and save him forever and get down on my knees and kiss the ground in thanks for such an amazing little boy. This may or may not have anything to do with being excited for baby 002. I'll let you decide.

This weekend, Gabe decided to bring out his angelic side. He spent the whole weekend being totally agreeable. Smiling all the time, talking up a storm, answering all our questions clearly and quickly with a sweet 'yesh' or 'no'. No whining, no tantrums, no sleeping problems. We went out to the Berkshires while my inlaws were out of town, and had the loveliest weekend. We went pumpkin picking, petted animals at a petting zoo, played at playgrounds, took drives through the countryside, stopped into the outlets, ate good food, walked around the cute town centers, and even made it to an antique fire truck show.

Gabe ate when he was supposed to eat, slept in the car when we needed him to, played nicely with friends when we were at home, and gave hugs and kisses liberally. I could eat him up, seriously. Whatever this stage is, it is truly lovely. He snuggles up to us and brings his toys over to us excitedly to share. I need to whip out the video camera so that I don't forget how stinking cute he is, honestly. He makes me want to swallow him whole.
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Remember this? Coincidentally, the car started making this strange sloshing sound whenever I would turn corners. At first it sounded like I was running over a puddle, but when the noise was consistent, I realized that there were no puddles and it was the actual tire that was making the sound of running water. I just had a tune-up done at the dealership around the time when the noise started, so I made another appointment and took it in this morning.

The smell in the car hasn't been getting any better, despite my efforts at cleaning the car, spraying scent removing spray everywhere, and even putting in a pumpkin spice air freshener. This weekend, Josh refused to drive in the car and told me that "it smells like a pumpkin took a shit inside the car". He's a master of words, my husband is.

Anyway, Josh has been insistent that I did something to the car like spill milk, or leave fruit rotting or something, and refuses to believe that an animal might have crawled in there and died. Over the last few days, I even started trying to convince him that maybe the strange running water sound we've been hearing has something to do with this dead animal (an idea at which he clearly scoffs).

Turns out, the air conditioner had a clog in it, and the sound I was hearing was the sound of water backing up inside the radiator. The more I used the air conditioner, the worse it sounded. The smell was the water ROTTING inside that same radiator. The smell kept getting worse because the backed up water was growing and rotting more and more. Fabulous, huh? But I am sooooo stinking relieved to have an answer, especially an answer that has nothing to do with me being at fault. Yay!
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We've made the decision that Gabe is moving to a big boy room and the baby is keeping the nursery as is. We are turning the guest room into Gabe's room and living without a guest room for the foreseeable future, a fact which made my inlaws very unhappy, but I'm hoping they'll eventually understand. I had a talk with our pediatrician, who told me that until this in utero baby is consistently sleeping through the night, it'll be much easier on me if we don't have them share a room. If we didn't have another choice, I'd just live with it, but given the fact that we have a lovely large room available to us, I'm screwing the guests and erring on the side of more sleep.

In the meantime, I've been anxiously hunting for a good bedding set for Gabe. I have a long list of requirements. It has to be something he likes, something bright and fun, something that isn't outrageously priced, and something cute. You'd be surprised at how hard it is to satisfy those requirements. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I think I've found something that works on Ebay, and I'm keeping close tabs on this auction because I NEED to win this bedding so that we can pick a wall color and finally get started on room decorating.

I got super lucky and found someone who was selling an almost new bunk bed and dresser set from Pottery Barn Kids for dirt cheap, so we bought that and we're going to only set up one bed in the meantime until Gabe is old enough not to fling himself off of the top bunk. I suspect that will be a long time from now. This planning and executing of a big boy bedroom plan is tremendously fun for this nesting mom, though!

Monday, October 06, 2008

I may never wash my hand again

This weekend was my 5th law school reunion, which seems impossible to believe. It feels like just yesterday that I was studying in the library, running around to classes, looking for a job, making outlines and writing papers. Walking around the campus with a fully pregnant belly, hand in hand with Josh, while my son was home with my inlaws was surreal. Fun and comfortable and exciting, but surreal all the same.

I happen to share my reunion year with my all time favorite ex-president, who graciously offered to give a talk at the law school this week since he was on campus for his own 35th law school reunion. My former classmates and I (and Josh) were buzzing with excitement at the opportunity to see President Clinton speak in such a small venue. We chatted over lunch about the possible topics- the election, the financial crisis, the war in Iraq, how would he cram it all into an hour talk? We were given the opportunity to submit questions to him beforehand, but no one knew what he would actually address.

His talk was great. Interesting, uplifting, reasonable, balanced. Clearly I'm biased, because I adore Bill Clinton, but even my conservative classmates agreed. He praised both McCain and Palin in his talk, and advocated for people to stop this atmosphere of hatred and vitriol against those candidates with whom they don't agree. We don't have to agree with someone, he insisted, but you can still acknowledge their accomplishments and good qualities. It was refreshing and ironic to hear him address this topic, since I'd just had two separate run-ins with friends when I said remotely kind things about the Republican ticket. There is no doubt that I am voting for Obama, but my only point was that all the candidates have some redeeming qualities, for sure.

President Clinton gave his own views about the new bailout plan, health care, and foreign relations, and talked a bit about his own time at the law school. The hour passed quickly, the question and answer session was brief, and soon he was being ushered down the aisle to leave the hall. A crowd gathered around him as he was leaving, and he took a few minutes to answer some questions from other alums. Most people left the hall, but Josh and I and a few friends sat around watching him field questions and charm the crowd.

Josh suggested we get closer to see if we could get a better picture of him while he was chatting, so we started squeezing our way through the aisle and around the crowd. I stood to the side, because I certainly didn't need to be squashed with my big pregnant belly, and I watched Josh finagle his way closer and closer. He waved me over as President Clinton's time drew to a close.

The crowd was smaller, and I was finally 5-6 people away from him, when he announced apologetically that he really did have to go because his classmates were waiting for him at his own reunion reception. He turned to leave, turned back for a moment, caught my eye, and REACHED OUT HIS HAND TO GRASP MINE AND PULL ME THROUGH THE CROWD. "When is your baby due?" he asked. And then I threw myself at him while professing my unending love.

Ok, not really, but I did almost die from excitement! He held my hand and leaned into me while Josh snapped a quick photo, just long enough for me to promise him that I'd name my little future Democrat William Jefferson if it turns out to be a boy. He laughed, gave my hand a little squeeze, and was quickly escorted out. I've been giddy with excitement ever since, and can't stop telling Josh how unbelievably soft Bill Clinton's hand was, and how grateful I am that he encouraged me to try to get closer for a picture.

The rest of the reunion was great. A casual reception in our law school's courtyard, quality time with some friends, a good dinner, and then it was over. Definitely, definitely, definitely, that minute and a half was the highlight of my day, though. Baby 002 will definitely have a good story to tell about how his or her pregnancy got me that picture.

Friday, October 03, 2008

and I smell some pretty stinky diapers, but this doesn't even compare

Something crawled into my car and died there.

I've cleaned the car two different times, including emptying the car of EVERYTHING this last time and scouring under every seat, in every crevice, and even crawling around sniffing each seat, seat belt, and rug to locate the impossibly disgusting stench that has permeated every surface.

I cleaned the car of every last shred of toy, clothing, paper, and food, and even removed the car seat to ensure that some noxious food hadn't fallen underneath or behind it. Then I sprayed the whole car with Febreeze and hung up a lovely pumpkin spice scented air freshener. This morning, I got in the car, and it smelled like rotting pumpkin flesh with perhaps a dead rodent inside. It was awful. Truly, truly disgusting.

What do I do? I searched the whole car already, I don't think the smell is coming from inside the automobile. Is it possible for an animal to have crawled inside the engine and died in there? Would it smell inside the car? What should I do? Being pregnant just makes the whole thing worse. Today I drove through the rain, gagging, with the windows rolled down because I couldn't tolerate breathing the car's air. Help!