Friday, December 31, 2010

outings

Quinn had a big day of firsts today-- Zach and I brought him along on a trip to Ikea this morning, and then to In-N-Out for lunch.  He slept in the Moby wrap for almost the entire Ikea venture, up until the end when he started squirming and waking up a bit as we were entering the lower-level warehouse area before the check-out stands.  Which led to another first, his first time to nurse in public.  He did pretty well, then promptly (and loudly) pooped his pants.  Aah, the life of a baby... ; )  He was a bit less content at In-N-Out, though I suspect that was partially b/c his mean parents wouldn't let him have any fries or chocolate shake.

Quinn's been getting a bit fussier lately, it varies by day but can be fairly inconsolable at times.  We're slowly figuring out what helps (and what doesn't) and taking it day by day.  At first anytime he was upset I'd nurse him, and often that helped but not always.  Lately we've been figuring out other ways to soothe him, and that sometimes he's mad bc he can't quite fall asleep and needs a bit of help.  One very nice revelation was last night when Zach gave my mei tai carrier a try.  Quinn kept crying for several minutes and I almost asked Zach to give him back to me to try to feed him, but then he settled down... and slept for a good 1.5-2hrs while Zach wore him.  Which was a relief for me (I'm not the only one who can soothe him!) and I think a good boost for Zach (he's not actually useless just because he lacks lactating boobs!).

I used some christmas money to buy (yet another) baby carrier, which arrived today.  It's now drying after being washed, but I'm looking forward to trying it out.  At Ikea today we bought a couple inexpensive children's area rugs for the living room and our bedroom, to expand the amount of semi-cushioned floor space available for baby play areas, and bought a play mat with the hanging toys and stuff.  Our home is quickly becoming engulfed in BABY stuff.  But, that's life, and I'm hoping that the carriers and floor spaces to set him down on and entertain him with, will help to make life with a toddler + baby a bit easier.  We shall see.  Most of the time I'm feeling fairly confident about being able to handle this (or at least survive past the initial settling-in-and-figuring-out-how-the-heck-to-do-this period), at times I feel utterly terrified by the thought of how to handle those times when both kids need me desperately, at the exact same time.  But, hey, we'll deal with it, and survive, and hopefully with only minimal emotional scarring.  ; )

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

baby fauxtoshoot

Ever since getting pregnant I've been looking forward to having another go at taking photos of a squishy newborn.  It has been fun these past 3 weeks experimenting with photographing Quinn... though I gotta say, I kinda feel lied to.  It's been long enough since D was a baby that I've forgotten, I guess, and every newborn tutorial I've read makes it sound like the "sleepy newborn phase" means having a deeply-asleep baby who can be (gently) molded into different positions, and it being relatively easy.  With Quinn, I tend to have a window of about 30 seconds for taking any sort of attempted posed photo before he starts getting upset with me.  So I have to work FAST.

Last week, I did manage to get some cute shots of him last week.  I took these up in our room, which has the best light of the house.  I waited till a sunny day (it's been super rainy lately), then dressed him in a cute outfit and laid out a brown fleecy blanket on the bed.  I then nursed him to sleep, tried to lay him down and "pose" him as best I could, then snapped as many pictures as I could in the tiny window of time before he woke up and started crying (and repeated the feed-and-photo sequence a couple times).  Of course, the second rude awakening I got was realizing (again) how much more I still have to learn as far as postprocessing.  There's just so much that I don't know how to do.  Oh well...  Next time I'll have to remember to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG...







Constructive criticism/feedback/tips are welcome. ; )

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and baby update

There's kind of a lot, and not much, to say, all at the same time.

Christmas was pretty great.  D really enjoyed his new toys and books, and it was fun sharing the day with my mom and sister.  Jen took the train back to SF this morning, and my mom is here for one more week (I'm in slight denial of that fact).

Quinn goes in to the pediatrician tomorrow for his "2 week" well check (though he'll be nearly 3 weeks).  I'm curious to see what he weighs now...  He's eating constantly.  He'll occasionally go 2 hours between feedings, but most of the time during the day he's eating about every hour, and sometimes more often.  At night he's been going a bit longer, about 3-3.5 hours or so.  I've been able to get a good bit of sleep at I try to head to bed around 8-9pm, and if Q permits will nap in the morning till sometime between 7-9am.  I know that will change dramatically once I don't have mom here to hand Q off to in the evenings, or to watch D in the mornings.  For now, I'm enjoying feeling miraculously well rested, especially compared to how I felt while still pregnant.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

adjusting

IMAG0145
Quinn is 12 days old today, almost 2 weeks.  It's been a pretty interesting experience so far, all of it.  Donovan blows me away with how well he's taking everything, how interested he is in his brother.  Every so often he'll kinda crack and you can tell he misses the way things used to be, but the vast majority of the time he's amazing.  I am so taken with him right now, watching him be cute and listening to him play with my mom, my heart just melts over and over.  I'm enjoying the "newborn phase" with Quinn, but I also find myself really looking forward to the time when he's a couple years older, and watching both he and D play and interact and talk, and be able to go out and do all sorts of fun family things together like take both boys up to the snow to play, etc (some of that pining might stem from the fact that I've barely left the house in the past 2 weeks...)

I've had a few moments/days that felt rough, but for the most part I continue to be amazed at how good everything feels, especially when I think back and compare to how things were with D when he was this young.  We've settled nicely into breastfeeding, it's comfortable and pretty easy by now.  Q has had some days when he's been fussier and more difficult to deal with, and others where he's been more mellow and, for example, able to sleep on a surface other than someone's arms.  For the most part he's quite happy as long as he's being nursed and held.  I've brought out my Moby wrap and CatBird Baby mei tai carrier, and he seems to like both-- I can tell I'll be getting plenty of use out of them in the coming months.  It was wonderful to get those first several days of not doing much other than focusing on my new baby, but it's also feeling really good now to be able to wear him and get some things done around the house-- it gives me a chance to see that I can still take care of at least some of this stuff even with a new baby, and that things will be ok once we're more on our own again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quinn's Birth Story

If you've been keeping up with the blog, you know that I spent the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy whining a good deal.  I was tired, uncomfortable, and fairly convinced labor would start ANY DAY thanks to all the pre-labor symptoms I was feeling.  There were 2 night when, due to a mixture of "intuition" and increasing contractions, etc, the previous days & nights, I'd been convinced that I would go into labor that night... only to wake up the next morning, still pregnant.  Finally, I got tired of trying to guess my body and baby's timetable, and gave up... I resigned myself to the idea that he might not  come till his due date or even later, and to just not think about it anymore.

That was Wednesday.

I woke up Thursday morning around 1-1:30am with some pretty uncomfortable pains in my belly.  I suspected they might be contractions, but was also confused because Quinn was moving and putting pressure on my bladder, etc, which was also causing pain and was throwing me off on the "pattern" of the contractions I was having.  I tried to sleep through it for a bit, then got up and went downstairs.  By this time they did feel more clearly like labor contractions, so I started timing them-- they were coming every 3-5 minutes, lasting about 45seconds-1minute, and were strong enough that I had to stop what I was doing when one came on.

In the previous weeks I'd had many people tell me about their (or their friends') VERY short second labor stories, so I definitely had it in mind that I could go quickly...  so after timing contractions for 20-30minutes I went ahead and called Claudia, one of my midwives, and asked her to come over and bring the birth tub.  It was about 2:15am by this time.  I had a snack, made myself an energy drink, and went upstairs to wake Zach (my mom was already awake, having heard me moving around downstairs).  We started getting things ready-- making the bed, setting up the few supplies the midwives had asked me to set up ahead of time, I did a Hibiclens wash (since I'd tested positive for GBS), and then I started just pacing around the house between contractions.  I remember thinking that maybe I should be trying to rest, but I just wanted to walk.  When a contraction came on I'd find something to lean forward onto, breathe slowly in and out, and rocked my hips from side to side.  Zach called my sister, Jen, to let her know I was in labor since she wanted to come out for the birth.

Claudia arrived pretty quickly, and then Jen (my other midwife) and they started setting up the tub upstairs in our bedroom.  Claudia checked my blood pressure, heart rate, and the baby's heartbeat, then started timing my contractions.  After a little while she made a joke that before she'd started timing me it seemed I was having a contraction each time she turned around, but now that she was timing them they seemed to slow down a bit.  So then she stopped and went upstairs to check on the tub.... and interestingly enough, within a few minutes the contractions started coming sooner, and feeling a bit more intense.

Eventually, the tub was ready.  The midwives thought about checking me, but figured from how I was acting that I was pretty far along already so I went ahead and got in the tub (around 4:30-5am?).  The water felt nice.  The first two contractions after getting in the tub felt much milder than what I'd been having.  Then I got hit by a doozy-- this one was much longer and stronger than the others, and just felt... different (I think the word I used at the time was that it felt "productive").  Before, the pain had been concentrated in one spot at the base of my belly/uterus.  This time, I felt a ring of pain (for lack of a better word) that started at the base of my belly, and went around my hips and to my back, and it was as if I could actually feel my cervix opening up (I'm guessing this was me entering transition).  The contractions that followed weren't quite as strong as that one, but had that same opening-ring sensation.  Sometimes I had a few minutes between them, other times one would start just as the previous one was fading and I'd have two or three in a row.  Zach was sitting opposite me outside the tub, and my mom started rubbing my back.  A few times I started feeling overwhelmed by the pain, but then reminded myself to stop and breathe, taking each moment/contraction as it came.  I wanted it to be over, but knew the only way for that to happen was to work through the rest of labor.

Soon we heard Donovan moving around in his room.  I heard (midwife) Jen whisper to Zach that that (D being up) meant the baby would be coming soon.  I remember thinking, Oh please let it be so.  Things were just feeling so intense by then, I couldn't imagine going on like that for several more hours still.  I was coping by breathing slowly in and out, and repeating "breathe", "open", "I can do this", and "Come on out, baby. Come on out, Quinn" in my head through each contraction.

During my pregnancy Zach and I had talked about doing a water birth.  I knew I wanted to use the tub during labor, but was also curious about birthing in the water.  Zach was kinda freaked out by the idea, though, and the (very, very rare but does sometimes happen) possibility of the baby taking a breath while still underwater.  So I figured I'd labor in the water, then get out to push.  Well, at one point while I was laboring in the water Zach reached over and said I could give birth wherever I wanted, in the water or out.  It was nice to have his "blessing" since as it turned out I didn't even have time to think about getting out of the tub.  I had a couple contractions where I almost felt like I could feel the head starting to come down, and then midway through the next one I went from just breathing through it to starting to push.  From then on I don't remember feeling distinct contractions anymore, I was just pushing and resting guided only by instinct and the overwhelming desire to GET THIS BABY OUT NOW.

I'd been quiet all through labor up till now, just breathing through contractions.  When I started pushing, though, I started crying out with each push.  Pushing was INTENSE.  It hurt to push, and it hurt to rest between pushes.  I heard (midwife) Jen tell me to breathe and ease up a bit when I started feeling the burning of the head crowning, but I didn't really care and kept pushing-- I just wanted him out.  Somewhere in the middle of all this, my mom heard D crying in his room.  She went to check on him, and found him sitting in a corner of his room, a small tear rolling down his cheek.  It kinda breaks my heart now to think of how scary that must have been for him, to hear his mom crying out like that and not know what was going on.  But mom told him what was happening, and she picked him up and brought him into the bedroom to see us and once he knew I was ok and that his baby brother was about to be born, he was happy and excited and found the whole thing really cool.

I soon felt his head crowning.  It took a couple pushes, and then I felt the sweet, sweet relief of his head coming all the way out.  Another push or two, and his whole body was out-- at 5:37am, a whopping seven minutes after the first push.  They lifted him up into my arms and I was just amazed, relieved, delighted.  I was so over the moon happy to be holding him!

I then noticed that he wasn't crying.  He made little hiccupy noises every once in a while, but no crying.  I wasn't worried, and figured everything was fine, but did register this as a red flag.  Jen checked his heartbeat (90bpm) and Claudia suctioned his airway.  He still didn't really react, but then just as Claudia was about to put the mask on him to give oxygen he let out the loudest SCREAM and his heartbeat went up to 140bpm, and everyone in the room relaxed.  As it turned out, a loop of his umbilical cord had prolapsed somewhat, sitting next to his head as he came out and so got compressed for a few minutes while in the birth canal (Jen had noticed this right as his head came out, and said normally she coaches mothers to take it easier with pushing but because of the cord let me plow through).  It had taken him one minute to start breathing on his own, but even still his APGAR scores were 8 and 9.
So then we were all just reveling in the moment. Zach took a few pictures, and we ogled our gorgeous newborn son.  I stayed in the tub with Quinn for several minutes, then everyone helped me out and onto the bed and D came to sit next to me and look at his baby brother.  We all snuggled together for a good hour (or more...?) while the midwives busied themselves draining the tub and cleaning everything up, until eventually I started feeling ravenously hungry.  Mom got to cut the cord, and then the midwives took Quinn to weigh and check him out while I had a bite to eat.  Poor Jen (my sister) finally arrived at about 8am (the earliest she could get here from SF via public transit), right around the time that I was ready to take a nap.  I think Jen was bummed to miss the birth itself, but it was really nice to have her around still and be here for the full weekend after.
Mom cutting the cord
Baby Quinn
Quinn asleep, later that day
So in the end labor lasted about 4-4.5 hours, with 7 minutes of pushing.  So, um, yeah, I suppose I had one of those fast labors people kept warning me about...   It was certainly not easy, but the whole thing was a pretty amazing experience and I love that we got to do it at home.  =)

********

EDIT 3/21/11-- I just got a copy of my birth records back from my midwives.  It was really cool for me to look through them and see the exact timeline and notes they took during my labor, as I wasn't aware of the time very much.  So I figured I'd go ahead and update with the timeline here:

1:00/1:30am- Labor starts
3:00am- Claudia arrives
3:25am- Jen arrives, with birth tub, start filling it up.
4:30am- I got into the tub.
5:30am- First slight push at peak of contraction
5:33am- Can see the head!
5:37am- Quinn is born!  APGARs at 1/5/10 mins are 8/9/9
5:50am- Climb out of tub, into bed.  Skin-to-skin, Quinn starts nursing.
5:55am- Placenta comes out.
6:10am- My mom cuts the cord.
7:30am- I finally hand him over for his newborn exam.
8:30am- After cleaning everything up and setting appointment for follow-up the next day, midwives leave. Quinn and I take a nap.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hey, everyone! I had a BABY!


Yup, after all my whining and kvetching I finally (er, 2 days before my due date) went into labor. ; )  Little Quinn was born early Thursday morning, at home, in a big tub, in the presence of my 2 midwives, Zach, my mom, and D who'd woken up just in time.  I'll write out the full birth story eventually, but it was fast and furious and the whole thing pretty amazing.

What's also amazing? How different these first few days with a newborn have felt compared to my first days with D.  When D was born I was, of course, overjoyed, but also overwhelmed.  Despite all my reading and attempts at preparation, once he was in my arms I felt fairly clueless.  I didn't quite know how to soothe him, how to feed him, and it didn't help that jaundice made him too sleepy to eat or poop well, and by day 3 I was a sobbing mess as we had to leave the comfort of our home to take him to a hospital to get the blue light treatment.

I had suspected that things would feel very different this time, and that does seem to be the case.  As soon as Q came out and went in my arms, I was beaming.  I was able to fully take him in and just enjoy the moment, feeling already so much more comfortable and confident in my ability to handle a newborn.  Thanks to orders from my midwives to rest as much as possible, I've had my mom and Zach pretty much waiting on me hand and foot, allowing me to rest and focus on the little one.  He's also a champ nurser, and has been exceeding the "required" number of wet and poopy diapers each day.  I'm healing up much faster than after D's birth, and my mental/emotional state is much better, both of which I attribute at least partially to the extra rest and frequent nursing (yay oxytocin!).

And D, has been amazing me.  All through my pregnancy he was very interested in my belly, in the baby, in talking about his baby brother, etc.  I wondered if his interest would continue once he realized what "baby brother" actually means... Well, he's been fascinated with his little brother.  I'm so glad he got to be there for the birth, and from that very moment he's been so excited and so interested in Quinn.  He'll sit next to me, holding my chin with his hand, watching Q nurse.  This morning he even said, "I love my baby brother" which is HUGE to me seeing as he's only said that to me once, ever.  Right now he's helping my mom push Q around outside in the stroller.  There have been a few heartbreaking moments when he's screaming for me to do something for him when I'm not available, but overall he's been adjusting really well to the new baby, and to having to share Mommy with him.  I'm crossing my fingers that this continues.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

fall in december




It looks like around here we get 3 seasons- summer, fall, and spring.  I'm ok skipping the snowy-winter bit...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

waiting waiting waiting

No baby yet.

I kinda feel like a ticking time bomb.  I keep feeling like my body is getting ready for labor, especially with all the Braxton-Hicks... but then nothing really happens.  I'm trying to just relax and not think about it, but it's hard not to get frustrated at times, like when the BHs and general crampiness keep me from being able to sleep at night.  Days are sometimes better, but then I've spent a lot of today with a constant dull ache in my lower back and belly, punctuated by BHs throughout the day.  And, this is basically how it's been all week long and it's getting pretty old.  At least now with Mom here (she flew in Thursday night) I'm able to rest/take naps while she plays with D.

Yesterday morning Zach and I went on a sort-of date to REI to check out their scratch-and-dent sale (he's looking for snow shoes).  I figured a morning walking around and spending time on my feet might help bring labor on... but nope.  I'm thinking I need to figure out a project to work on or books to read or something to keep me occupied and busy so I'm not just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs waiting for this baby to come.  I suppose I should be enjoying this time, the "calm before the storm" so to speak, but I just feel so ready to a) be done being pregnant and b) get to meet this baby (and also, I'd really like to maximize on having this help from my mom, which is great now but will be even more needed post-baby).

So. That's where we're at.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

38 wks 4 days

After enjoying a good week or so of almost no pregnancy complaints last week, this week is now kicking my ass.  I'm having tons of braxton-hicks contractions at night, and they're uncomfortable enough that they seem to wake me up every couple of hours and I think also keep me from getting much deep sleep.  A couple of nights I've also had some period-like cramping, and sometimes the cramps get pretty strong/intense (the BHs and cramps happen some during the day, but are definitely worse at night).  All this combined with 2-4 trips to the bathroom each night, and you can understand why I'm feeling somewhat zombie-like these days.  Zach has even resorted to sleeping in the guestroom the past 2 nights since all my tossing, turning, and getting up is waking him up, too, and well, there's no point in both of us being mind-numbingly exhausted.

The in-laws left yesterday afternoon.  My mom flies in tomorrow evening, and will be with us for a month to help with the baby... which means that these couple days between grandparent visits are the last days that D and I have together, alone, as a twosome.  I feel like we should be doing special things, cherishing these last days of uninterrupted one-on-one time.  Instead, I'm too tired (thus, grumpy) to be an effective parent or really enjoy this time.  Thankfully he's been relatively easy-going and we are getting a good bit of cuddle time together.  I guess that will just have to be good enough.

I'm curious/anxious/worried about how D will react to a new baby.  He likes talking about his baby brother, and I'm very encouraged by how much he likes watching videos of and skyping with his newborn cousin.  But he's also been extra mom-centric the past week or 2, demanding that I be the one to read to him and lay with him before bed, etc, so it'll be a tough transition, I imagine, to have Mommy spending so much time with someone else and not be as available to him.  I'm glad my mom will be here to help, as he's pretty fond of her so hopefully they can do enough fun things together to help make up for his lost mommy-time.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

turkey day

It's been a busy, exciting, exhausting week.  We have a bunch of family in town, rotating in and out (mom- and dad-in-law are here all week, my sister was here Wednesday and Thursday before flying off to Texas for the weekend, my bro-in-law and his girlfriend have been here since Wednesday and leave to go back to the city today).  It's been fun to have everyone around, but it's also interesting to note how exhausted I get just from being around this many people at once.  D has been loving all the attention, though it also seems to be taking its toll on him somewhat as he's kinda been falling apart each night around bedtime.  He loves playing with everyone else, but the pre-nap and pre-bedtime routines are, apparently, sacred and only Mommy is allowed to perform those duties.  I wonder if this is also him sensing that baby-time may be near...

Thanksgiving dinner was pretty awesome.  Between the pregnancy and our not-grand-sized kitchen, we opted to order a pre-cooked meal instead of trying to make our own.  I think it was worth the splurge.  ; )  Everything was delicious, and we've got plenty of leftovers to tide us over through the weekend.  May be doing this again in the future, depending on where we find ourselves at Thanksgiving.

I've been eager to get Christmas decorations out, so yesterday I pulled out our little 3ft tall tree, and D helped me put the ornaments on.  I also hung our stockings.  I've always loved the Christmas season, though it seems to feel even more special now that I have a child to share it with.  D had so much fun helping with the tree, it was pretty adorable.  Then last night we had a living room dance party to a Barenaked Ladies Christmas CD.  I got a short bit of it on video, may be able to share later. ; )
FxCam_1290875197018.jpg

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take a gander!

I thought it'd be fun to have people guess just when this baby will make his grand entrance.  So, here's the deal. Leave a comment with your guesses for the following:

1. Date of birth (can include time of day if you feel extra prescient/lucky).
2. Baby's birth weight

My official due date is December 11, which means baby could come anytime between now (37 wks 2days) and Christmas Day (42wks).

(In case you want to take this into consideration, D was born at 39wks 6 days (barely- 1:30am), and was 7lb 15oz at birth)

So... what do you think?  ; )

Sunday, November 21, 2010

fun times ahead




My in-laws arrived this afternoon, they'll be in town for the next week.  My brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and my sister will then come out Wednesday night, and we'll all have a big Thanksgiving celebration together.  It'll probably be hectic, crowded, and I'm totally looking forward to it all.  D has entered a phase where he kinda freaks out when he first sees family members who are visiting (as in, screaming and running away from people he normally ADORES) but after the first few minutes he goes back to being totally enamored with them.  It's so interesting seeing these changes in his social behavior (which seems to be going through tons of development right now).  So while I know he'll be over the moon with everyone here this week, I imagine it'll also throw him for a bit of a loop.

Just a few weeks ago I was kinda freaking out at the very thought of trying to meet the needs of a newborn and a toddler at the same time.  I'm feeling a bit calmer about it all now (perhaps b/c I'm focusing on know that my mom will be here to help for at least the first few weeks).  I've also started looking forward to having a cute teeny baby around, this time with the difference of feeling so much comfortable with newborns and with my skills and knowledge as a mother.  With D, I felt like I had no clue what I was doing for a long time.  I remember feeling somewhat shellshocked when he was born, when the midwife first placed him on my chest, and he started crying and I honestly did not know what to do.  It will be nice to be more relaxed this time around, to feel more confident (at least, I hope I'll feel that way... ).  And maybe this is part of why I feel more impatient about giving birth this time than I did with D.

So. Zach is home from his business trip.  His parents are here, eager to play with their grandchild.  And I get to spend these last few days/weeks watching my firstborn and basking in just how incredibly beautiful and adorable he is, able to fully focus on him just a bit longer before his baby brother enters the picture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fall leaves and my snaggle-toothed cat

I don't know if I didn't notice this before or if the environment/climate/types of trees are just that different here vs in San Jose, but it just really feels like fall this year.  IT helps that this area has so many big, tall trees lining the streets, and most of them are turning colors and dropping beautifully yellow leaves.  It's lovely, and almost makes me wish we lived somewhere with true four seasons (almost...I'll deal with living somewhere that gets a summer, most of fall/spring, and where we can easily drive to the snow if/when we want).


So today I finally took Sierra in for her kitty tooth cleaning and pulling.  We decided to go with the regular vet, since their estimate was much cheaper and figuring the expertise should be close enough to be comparable.  D and I dropped her off this morning then picked her up in the afternoon... she seems to be doing ok, her fur looks a little scraggly and her eyes a bit glazed, but otherwise ok.  First thing she did once back home was go upstairs and curl up on our bed.  The cute thing is, Nev soon went after her, and has been lying on the bed, too, though on the opposite end, the whole time.  It really does seem like she's watching over Sierra.  

In the end they took out 3 teeth-- her upper right canine, a top left molar, and another teensy molar at the very back of her mouth.  Apparently the extractions were pretty simple since the roots were mostly chewed away at by the gingivitis/infection/whatever exactly it was.  I have some pain meds I can give her tonight and tomorrow (that should be interesting...), and then they suggested I bring her back in in about a month to make sure everything's healed up properly.  By that point I'll probably have to knock her out to get her anywhere near her carrier, she'll be so sick of going to the vet.  =(

Zach comes home tomorrow night.  Will be so nice to see him...  I miss his help as a fellow parent, of course, but I also am really missing just getting to be around him and talk and catch up about our days, as all our conversations this week have been so short (5-10mins).  D definitely misses his daddy... kept talking about him yesterday, about daddy coming back from his trip or wanting to go to the airport to meet him.  It'll be fun for him to wake up Saturday morning with daddy back home again.  Should be a really nice weekend.  =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giving New Meaning to the Phrase "Fly the 'Friendly' Skies"-- TSA and New National "Security" Guidelines

Over the past few days I've been reading story after story about the new security procedures that the TSA has put in place, including the new full-body x-ray scanning machines and "enhanced" pat-downs that include touching of the face, hair, breasts, and groin with the palm and fingers of the TSA agent, in full view of everyone else waiting to go through security.  My understanding is that these new full-body scans will eventually replace the metal detectors at all airports, and anyone who refuses to go through one (or who sets off any alarms, or in other way seems "suspicious" (or just if they decide to do a random screening on you) will have to go through the enhanced pat-downs.  Here are several links with more info and personal stories:

So. Basically, it seems that if you want to fly your options are 1) to go through a machine that will show strangers in a different room an image of you naked 9and image that may or may not actually be deleted afterwards) and that could possibly give you cancer, or 2) have your privates groped by a stranger, in public.

I tried to find info on the TSA website about these new security procedures. All I could find was this:

Pat-Down Inspection
A pat-down inspection complements the hand-wand inspection. In order to ensure security, this inspection may include sensitive areas of the body. Security Officers are rigorously trained to maintain the highest levels of professionalism.  You may request that your pat-down inspection be conducted in private.

(There's also a post on the TSA blog on the new "enhanced" pat-downs, but it's even more vague)

From my own experience, I started thinking about the logistical nightmare that all this means for a parent traveling alone with young children.  Under the TSA's page on travel with children, they specify that they will never ask you to be separated from your children... yet the mother in the 3rd story above had to set her daughter down for the pat-down.  Luckily she had a stroller right there-- what if she hadn't?  What if she'd been relying on a sling to carry her infant, would she have had to set her down on the floor? (The TSA page also says that you cannot hand your child to an agent to hold).

What about going through the machines?  My understanding is that you have to take everything out of your pockets to go through the scanner, then stand with your arms up and hold still for 3 full seconds while the machine scans you.  I imagine this means you can't hold your kid as you go through (unlike going through the usual metal detectors).  Also, it sounds like while you're in the scanner you cannot see out very well, so lose sights of your belongings... and wherever you set down your child.  I was hoping to see info on how to handle this on the TSA website, but... nothing.

Also, since kids (especially toddlers and younger) can't exactly hold still for 3 seconds to get scanned, does that mean they all have to be subjected to the full groping pat-down?  I just wrote a post last week on teaching our kids to not accept being touched inappropriately by anyone, I'm not exactly keen on watching a stranger in an airport fondle my son's junk (whether it be at 2yrs, or 5yrs, or 10 yrs old, or at any age).

And then I haver to think, if this makes me uncomfortable, what about someone who's been sexually abused or assaulted?  What about a transgender person?  I hear people saying this is "no big deal" but what do these measures even really do?  The next step (which neither the full-body scans nor the current pat-downs would detect) is for someone to stash powder/gels/etc inside a body cavity.  Will we then all have to be strip-searched to get on a plane?  Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?

I understand that we're trying to protect our safety in flight travel, but I seriously wonder if any of this makes us any safer.  I keep hearing references to the "underwear bomber" from last Christmas as part of the reason why these new measures are being put in place.  I have no idea if any of this would have stopped him.  What might have? Better intelligence, that caught the RED FLAG of someone buying a one-way international ticket and not checking any bags.  I sincerely hope (though somehow doubt) that those security and intelligence holes have been patched before anyone decided to start groping regular American passengers.  (I also think back to the few times I've left, say, a bottle of water in my backpack, and it's gone through security without any issues, and, well, it doesn't make me feel all that confident in the procedures we already have in place)

Last thing-- here's a reminder of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution:
'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.'
Many people are swearing not to fly until these new measures are removed.  We usually fly 2-4 times a year to visit family, though with the baby coming we already knew we weren't going anywhere for Christmas and likely won't travel for several months after (if not till next Christmas).  I don't know what I'd do if we had tickets already bought to go home next month... I'm glad I have time to see what happens with all this.  I don't want to subject any of us to either the scans or pat-downs... yet not flying at all isn't a realistic long-term option for us, since we live so far away from our families.  As luck would have it, Zach's actually in the middle of a series of business trips this week, flying once a day.  He says so far he hasn't seen any of this-- I think it's still only select airports that have the machines/new regulations.  But it sounds like the goal is to soon have them everywhere.  So I guess we'll see what happens...

I did send a message to my congresspeople and the White House expressing my concern/outrage about all this.  If you feel the same, I hope you will, too.  Also, if you are flying next week, consider participating in the National Opt-Out Day:


http://www.optoutday.com/



Edit: The ACLU put together this guide of what your options are at security.  (It doesn't exactly match some of the stories I've read from others' experiences, but at least gives you some idea of what to expect... and contact info in case you need to file any complaints)

Rep. Ron Paul introduces HR 6416 The American Traveler Dignity Act.  Requires TSA officials to follow all the usual US laws when dealing with passengers (makes sense, huh?).

Risk of dying from backscatter radiation may be about the same as risk of getting killed by terrorist.

Monday, November 15, 2010

bath time blues

D used to love bath time. It was hard getting him out of the bath tub.  He'd sit and play with his toys and cups, splash about, etc.  Fun times!  The only part he disliked was getting his hair washed, but then it seemed we were turning a corner with that and he was tolerating it much more.

Then, a few weeks ago, something changed, and he went from LOVING baths to HATING them. With a passion.  As in, at best he'll stand in the tub and scream and cry with tears running down his face.  At worst I've had to physically restrain him as I try to splash some water on him to make the effort and trauma at least somewhat worthwhile.  Tonight I even tried making it a bubble bath (bubble baths are FUN right??) but no dice.  He still hated it, screamed the whole time.

I really don't know what did it.  I can't think of a bad or scary experience that might've caused him to hate/fear baths, we haven't switched products so don't think it could be a reaction to something... I'm at a loss.  He's not keen on showers, either.  At least it's winter, so he can sort of get away with only taking a bath 1-2 times a week (and let's not talk about how long it's been since we even attempted to wash his hair)... but GAH! This sucks.  It reminds me of when he was a baby-- he liked baths ok then, but getting him out was positively traumatic-- no matter what I did, he'd scream and scream and I'd race as quickly as I could to get him dried off, slap some lotion on, and put clothes on him (I still laugh at my attempts to do any sort of baby massage, all the while cursing everyone else's descriptions of their "peaceful, calming" bath & massage routine).  At the end I'd feel totally drained.

So. If anyone out there has any advice or tips, I would love to hear them.  Because I'm not sure how much more of this screaming I can take.  I HATE having to force him to do something he clearly doesn't want to do.  It sucks and it makes me feel like a terrible person. I just wish I knew what could make it better.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

wise words

My sister left a comment on my gratitude post yesterday, and I was so struck by the wisdom of her words that I felt compelled to share them here:

but in seriousness, life is "good" vs "mindnumbingly brilliant" because there has to be room in everyone's life for positive and negative perceptions. a way to stay sane and empathetic to others. Feeling guilty about having more money or better health than someone else isn't going to make the burden any lighter on the other; what can make things better for others is your support driven by that empathy and understanding (and personal experience) of good and bad in life.
You can see why I adore her to pieces.  =P

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazon, P*dophiles, and Protecting Our Children

A few days ago the internet seemed to be turned upside down with rage over an e-book being sold by Amazon.  This book appeared to be a how-to guide for p*dophiles (here's a post by one person who downloaded the book to see what its actual content was... and it's just as bad as we all feared).

After a full day of responding only to email inquiries with a form letter stating that Amazon would continue to sell the book because "they don't believe in censorship"(despite the book's content violating Amazon's own Content Guidelines), they then quietly took it down off the site by the next morning... and have yet to utter a peep about any of this.

This morning I read this post that pretty much summarizes how I feel about this whole thing, so I won't elaborate on that much more since she pretty much said it all.

However, I do want to address a slight off-shoot of this topic.  As I read posts and tweets and comments about this book, I often saw attitudes by people reflecting the idea that p*dophiles are these creepy, scary people that hide behind bushes and jump out at children.  Our obsession with things like sex offender lists shows that most people view the threat as one coming from outside their social circle, that strangers are the biggest danger and what we should focus on when working to protect our kids.

This ignores the reality that an estimated 85-95% of child sexual abuse cases involve not a stranger, but someone the child already knew and was familiar/comfortable with-- a parent, uncle, cousin, baby-sitter, family friend, etc.  Thinking about the people that I know personally who have been abused in the past (at least the ones I'm aware of), every single one was by a family member or friend, not a stranger.  When we focus on strangers as the main threat, we leave ourselves (and our kids) open for the more likely danger of the familiar.

The selling of this book should be a reminder to all of us to talk to our children about what is and is not appropriate, and how to protect themselves from abuse.  These are conversations that should happen early, and often.  It doesn't have to be complicated, and it doesn't have to be this Big Serious Talk-- the goal is not to scare kids or make them feel like the world and people in general are scary and untrustworthy, but to help teach them about boundaries, their rights, and to know that they can always come to you if something happened that made them uncomfortable or "yucky."

Here is an article with suggestions for how to talk to your children about all this, and also how to recognize signs of potential abuse:

This is not a pleasant or easy topic to write about, and it certainly isn't a pleasant or easy one to talk to our children about... but it is so very important that we do so.  Child abuse festers on silence.  Don't be silent.

Monday, November 08, 2010

gratitude

I realize the overall tone of this blog has tended to lean towards the negative lately. I bitch and moan and complain, because this is my outlet.  Sometimes I just need to vent, and often the feedback I get in comments really does help.

But sometimes life also smacks me upside the head and reminds me all over again just how lucky I am, and how grateful I should be, and every once in a while I try to make a note of that here, too.

I just read this post by Meg at Sew Liberated, and just cried my eyes out.  I discovered Meg's blog back when it was still called Montessori by Hand, when she was still teaching in Mexico.  I've followed her journey as she and her husband moved to North Carolina, and then had their first child.  I've been awed  and inspired by her parenting, her understanding of Montessori, and her ability to apply that knowledge at home.  When she announced her second pregnancy, I felt excited for her, and for being able to follow along as she mothered this second child who would be so close in age to mine.  And so when she announced in that post that her unborn child has a congenital heart defect, will require multiple open-heart surgeries in his first months of life, and even then they aren't sure if he'll survive, it broke my heart.  I found myself sobbing at the keyboard, feeling a combination of sorrow for an online friend, gratefulness for not having received similar news myself, and guilt at having a (so far) healthy baby in my belly while this wonderful, lovely person has to live with this sort of news.

And so, dear Universe, I'd like to take a moment to count my blessings:

*I am grateful for my husband, who works his butt off to be the best father, spouse, and provider he can be.

*I am grateful for my darling son, who is healthy, beautiful, and so very, very amazing.

*I am grateful for the ability to stay home with my child(ren).  As frustrating as it may be at times, I know I wouldn't want things any other way.

*I am grateful for this pregnancy, which came easily when wanted and has so far been healthy and, all things considered, relatively easy on me; and for the baby pushing on my belly right now, who has shown all signs of being perfectly healthy so far.

*I am grateful for my first birth and the positive experience I had.

*I am grateful that, barring unforseen changes, I should be able to have this next baby here at home as we wish, and that we are able to afford the care of talented midwives despite insurance not covering any of it.  Not everyone is so lucky.

I'm sure I will need to vent again soon, and life is always full of ups and downs.  But the truth is that my life is very, very good, and I should work on reminding myself of that more often when I feel like throwing myself a pity party.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

six word sunday: Capturing the belly before it's gone.

six word sunday challenge

Yesterday morning a friend took a combo maternity/family photo shoot of us.  I was quite pleased at finding the link to the photos already in my inbox this morning!  It's kinda nice to have some pictures of me for a change, and I'm glad we were able to capture a snapshot of our little family as it is today.

I'm 35 weeks along now, and I keep going back and forth between feeling like time is speeding up all of a sudden and going by way too fast, and on the other hand starting to get anxious for this pregnancy to end.  When I was pregnant with Donovan I didn't feel that "please get this baby out of me!" urgency-- I was quite happy keeping him in my belly, where all his needs were met.  This time I'm finding pregnancy to be much more of a pain, both literally and figuratively.  But, I also know I'll miss this one day.

Friday, November 05, 2010

so much time, so little to do... wait, strike that- reverse it

This morning I dropped D off with Arjun and the nanny for the day.  Due to a couple of cancellations, it's been nearly 2 weeks since he's seen her.  And between the long list of stuff I've been needing to get done, and the fact that Zach will be working all weekend, I figured we'd take the leap and let D stay all the way till 5pm (normally I pick him up at noon).  This morning when he woke up and I told him where he was going, he was totally gung-ho, and when we got there he was practically pushing me out the door to leave.  I'm curious to see how the pick-up will go in an hour or so here, as he loves being there so much that he usually (at least initially) won't want to leave.  Yes, it stings a little, but I also love that he's so happy and comfortable hanging out with them.  =)

In my spare time, I first... took a short nap.  Then, I headed out to the post office to send out a package, a local hippie co-op to pick up some supplements, and Ikea for a few kid/baby items.  Then I came home and folded about 5 loads of laundry (more still washing-- we somehow got on a massive backlog), and tried to set up some of the baby's future room.  I only got far enough to realize how much more we need to do in there, and of course a lot of it requires semi-heavy lifting that I can't really do myself, and also figuring out where to put the random crap that's been stashed in that room but will soon need to be moved elsewhere.  And with Zach working this weekend, and then leaving on a business trip next weekend, and the general lack of free time and energy these days, I'm not entirely sure when any of it will happen.  Eventually, one would hope.  I know we have time as the baby likely won't even be using his room till he's at least 3 months or so, but I also waited till then to set up D's nursery and then was kicking myself for trying to do all the same re-arranging and setting up while caring for a newborn.  So, I'm figuring my best chances of progress are before the birth.  We'll see if we reach that goal... It does feel good to have a few things squared away, and try to plan for getting others things taken care of soon.  I'll be 35 weeks tomorrow, which makes the birth seem mighty imminent all of a sudden.  

One big help will be that I finally set up for the Salvation Army to come pick up our old dryer (they should be coming on Monday) which will free up a good chunk of space in the garage.  Woot!  Hopefully I can also gather up some other stuff to pass on to them over the weekend, too.  

So, progress.  Though somehow it feels like there's still so much more still left to do.  Then again, is that ever not the case these days?  

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

New Montessori Post-- Montessori and Play

I wrote this post recently for the MariaMontessori.com website, after listening to a few conversations with friends about preschool.

As a mother of a child approaching preschool, I’ve noticed the conversation about how to choose a preschool and what type to go with popping up more and more around me.  Parents debate the merits of academic vs free-play schools, Montessori vs Waldorf, etc.  I’m happy to offer up my advice and insights on the benefits of Montessori, and also am curious to hear what others’ and experiences are.  Recently I’ve noticed several people criticize Montessori as not allowing the children to “play” enough, of being too structured rather than letting them fully explore their creativity and imagination.
You can read the full post here.

Also, Pilar Bewley wrote an excellent post on what we Montessorians call "indirect preparation," where children will work on activities in the classroom that at first don't seem to have much of a purpose (especially when you're wanting your children to do more "academics") but that are in fact helping them develop key skills that will allow them to discover how to read and write on their own.  Imagine what an amazing discovery that is for a child.

This entire process – what we call indirect preparation for writing – was thoroughly enjoyable for Wyatt because all of the activities he was engaged in fed his psychological needs.  In other words, the work he did in the Montessori classroom responded to the internal drives all young children have to learn through movement, to explore their language, and to experience the world through their senses. When a child’s education is designed with these sensitivities in mind, learning is easy and pleasurable... I recently asked him: “Wyatt, who taught you how to write?” He happily replied: “Nobody taught me.  I taught myself!”  And the truth is, he did.
Full post here.

I hope you'll head on over and read the full posts.  =)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Came home with candy, and a cough



I'm sitting here with a coughing, sneezing D, using a bad cold as an excuse to sit around and watch Tv most of the morning.

We had a fun, full weekend-- trick-or-treating downtown on Saturday, then went to the zoo yesterday (see flickr set here).  D dressed as a skeleton (wore his skeleton PJs).  On Saturday I dressed up as The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, which got some good reactions.  I'd originally planned to dress up for the zoo, too, but decided the costume would be too big a hassle and I wanted to bring my camera along, anyway, so wore regular clothes. I think for next year I'll plan ahead and go with a costume where the DSLR can work as a prop as well as for taking pictures (wildlife photographer? Mamarazzi? Hmmm...).  I did paint my belly in the morning, though, just for fun.  There's no way I could've dealt with my snuggly, baby-belly-obsessed toddler out in public with a painted belly, but I wanted to at least do it and have some pictures.

So, fun weekend, but yesterday D developed this cough that Zach's been sporting for several days, and today he seems mighty miserable. So, I let him watch Willy Wonka for the first time. He loved it.  I remember what a great (if a tad judgmental) movie it is.  Not sure what we'll do this afternoon, maybe we'll actually get outside for a stroller ride around the neighborhood or something.  And, probably, some Bob the Builder.

Friday, October 29, 2010

TGIfrigginF

This has been kind of a rough week (does it seem I say that a lot lately?).  I feel like a dope saying that, since I realize just how wonderful my life is, even during these "crappy" times.  I've heard enough bad-news-by-proxy (dear friends who have lost a parent, online acquaintances who lost good friends or other family members recently, way too much death just all around) to know that I have little to complain about.  But still, I've been plagued by fatigue and overall crabbiness most of the week, and it's hard to tell how much of it is caused by external events vs how much of the crab-inducing external events are colored by my already foul mood.

Zach thought he was gonna have to go on a business trip sometime in December... as in, during baby-could-come-any-day time.  He's trying to get the trip re-scheduled for November instead (either during Thanksgiving week, which would suck b/c, you know, it's Thanksgiving but at least his parents would be here so I'd get some help, or the week before which would also suck b/c then I'll be 8+ months pregnant and have D to myself for several days).  If the trip still happens in December, he's just not gonna go.  Which then sucks for him work-wise, but is a HUGE relief off my shoulders.

Also, in continuation of Sierra's tooth saga, last night I took her to a cat dental specialist to get a second opinion on her teeth/gums since the vet I saw last month couldn't really tell me anything other than suggest a full cleaning.  This new doctor was able to tell me a lot more (Sierra has pretty severe gingivitis on one tooth which will probably need to be taken out, and the canine with the swollen gum might very well be another resorptive lesion... and there's also extended swelling next to it which she said is odd and could be a cyst or even a tumor. I know, fuck).  There may also be other teeth that are affected, but it'll be hard to tell unless they do x-rays.  So, currently our options are A) do a full dental cleaning, involving anesthesia and probably extracting at least 2 teeth, also x-rays to check her other teeth to see if any others need to come out, and then just wait and see if she has more problems down the road, or B) go ahead and pull ALL her teeth, which would mean no more worries of having to go through this again in another 6 months or year, but cat teeth are also apparently notoriously difficult to extract (especially the bottom ones, as the roots are multi-pronged and tough to get out, and the jaw is so thin anyway so not a while lot of wiggle room and there's risk of breaking the jaw) and so is not exactly a simple solution... though may be needed long-term anyway.

Option A could cost anywhere from $600-$1,300 depending on what all is exactly required when they get in there and which vet go with.  Option B would be about $2,000.

At this point I don't really know what we're going to do.  I relayed all the info to Zach after the appointment, but we haven't talked about it more since then.  I don't think either of us is exactly eager to make a decision one way or the other since, well, DAMN, that's a lot of money.  So for now Sierra's kind of like the elephant in the room at our house.

Also, Nev is going stir-crazy because I'm keeping her inside this week (she's a black cat, it's almost Halloween, I just don't even want to think about it).  So she's spending her days alternating between meowing forlornly at each and every door of the house (even to the garage), and then going and picking fights with Sierra.  Because, clearly, she doesn't have enough to deal with already, what with her defective teeth and all...

In happier news, I'm excited about our Halloween plans for this weekend, and for the costume I think I've pulled together.  There's toddler-friendly stuff going on both tomorrow and Sunday, and we should get to hang out with friends at each event, so yeah that will be nice.  I think the weather's supposed to be pretty good both days, too. And hey! I bought Halloween candy, like, three or four days ago and I haven't eaten ANY of it yet!  That deserves some sort of a medal, doesn't it?

Time for some Tums, tea, and (non-Halloween) chocolate.  'Night, all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

parenting while pregnant

This week has me all mixed up. Yesterday I kept thinking it was Tuesday already. Today I keep thinking it's Wednesday. This could make for a long week...

I don't like what pregnancy is doing to my parenting.  I am short on energy and patience, two things that are fairly essential when dealing with a toddler, especially when you are trying to practice gentle discipline.  I go from calm, happy mommy to crabby mommy in the matter of seconds, and immediately feel bad because he deserves better than that (and so do I) but it doesn't always feel like I can help it.  So I lose my cool more often, and also resort to parenting "shortcuts" like TV more often... though then also discover that these "shortcuts" also tend to come back and bite you in the ass a lot of the time.  For example, this morning D was clinging to my belly (literally-- he was following me around, keeping one hand on my belly) so I figured I'd buy myself an hour of peace and quiet by letting him watch TV, while I got to eat breakfast, get dressed, and get ready for our morning outing without an external toddler attachment.  It was nice, but was it worth the massive tantrum he then threw when it was time to turn off the TV and get in the car?  I don't know.  I also know that so much of how positive or negative our interactions are depends on how I react to him.  Nothing is ever 100%, and sometimes tantrums happen no matter what I do, but I can also head off many of them if I take the time to answer him or redirect his attention in the right way, but that usually takes patience and forethought and when I'm short on those I just snap at him instead and it all spirals downward from there.

I know this is temporary.  Just last night I was remembering how I haven't always been like this, how I used to have more patience with D.  As the birth starts to feel more imminent (and less like some far-off event in the future) that, the temporary nature of our situation as it stands right now, is becoming more real.  At the same time, it's not like the time/energy/patience issues are going to get much better after the birth... at least for a while.  I worry about these missed opportunities with D right now (6 months of crappy parenting doesn't seem like that long, except that it's a  pretty significant chunk of time when you're only 2.5 yrs old), and about bad habits that we form (like relying on TV for entertainment/breaks) that may be hard to break later when I don't need as much of a crutch.

One wonderful thing is that Zach has been great at picking up the slack any time he can.  He does his share (and more) of the household chores, and he makes a point of taking D off my hands when he can.  On Sunday he spent the morning going to the farmer's market and grocery shopping (and ok, he did also go shopping for snow shoes...) and then when he got home, despite desperately wanting a nap, he instead loaded D up in his rain gear and took him outside to splash in the rain and puddles.  He's also made it clear that, especially during this late-pregnancy/newborn transition period, childcare help is a priority and worth spending money on even at the possible expense of the rest of our budget.  This is a huge help to me, as those breaks are/will be wonderful and something I would otherwise feel guilty for "indulging" in.  I love the 2 mornings D spends with Arjun and their nanny, as a) it gives me a break and time to get other things done, and b) I know he's getting a full morning of fun, active, outdoor playtime with a very fun caretaker and little friend.  It's a win-win.

I heard someone once say that the great thing about kids is you always get a second chance-- each new day, each moment, is a new opportunity.  I can't change what I did yesterday, but I can try to handle things better today.  So, my goals here-on forward are to be realistic with myself, and try to take each encounter as it comes and know I can also do better next time.  One silver lining is that each time I lose my cool is an opportunity to then apologize and model for D how to gracefully admit and accept your mistakes.  And so, I keep trying, and hope I'm not screwing my kid up too much in the process.  ; )

Friday, October 22, 2010

preparations

My brain feels like mush right now.  I sit down to try to write something cohesive, and it just...doesn't ...work.  So, instead, you get brain drivel.

I'll be 33 weeks this Saturday... which is starting to freak me out a bit, because 33 weeks means there's only 4 weeks left till I'm officially "full term," and while I don't expect to go into labor right at 37 weeks I do figure it'll probably be relatively soon after that (D came right on time, and although there's absolutely no reason or evidence to think this I'm kinda expecting to give birth around 39/40 weeks this time... though it could easily go longer than that, and yes I do realize that my 42 week mark is Christmas Day itself).

So for a while now I've kept thinking, "Oh, we still have a ways before baby comes..." And suddenly I'm realizing, NO, it's actually getting kinda close, and while that's exciting and all it's also a wee bit scary.

Little by little, though, we're all getting prepared. We have more itty bitty baby clothes than we'll know what to do with.  My newborn cloth diaper stash is all set (just need to buy a few disposables in case they're needed).  I'll see my midwives on Monday, and I bet we'll start talking about what supplies I'll need to gather up for the birth.  Even D seems pretty excited about the whole thing-- he loves talking about his baby brother who's growing in my belly, and often says that once his brother is born he'll share his toys with the baby.  Today we were able to talk to my mom, sister, and her 1 week old baby, and D seemed totally into watching his teensy cousin-- he even threw a fit when we had to hang up, because he wanted to keep watching them on the screen!  I'm sure it'll still be tough adjusting to having to share Mommy, but he does seem to understand a lot of what's going on.  

I keep walking around our house and thinking, "This is where our baby will be born."  It's a pretty neat feeling.  =)  In some ways I'm a bit apprehensive about what's ahead-- I'm remembering the not-fun aspects of labor & birth, and I'm certainly not looking forward to the sleepless nights ahead or the challenge of trying to meet two children's different needs.  At the same time, despite the anticipated pain, I'm actually looking forward to giving birth, to having a little baby to snuggle, to breastfeeding again, and all of it.  Everything is about to change so much, so quickly, so constantly, I'm trying to remember to stop and savor the Now-- life as it is now for the 3 of us, the anticipation and excitement over things to come, etc-- while I still can.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

mountain weekend

We spent Friday through Monday in Tahoe City with a few friends- Cyrus, Julia, and Sophia drove in from the bay, and our friend Wes and his wife, EG, came all the way from Texas (well, they were vacationing in San Francisco...).  It was fun getting together with them, and Donovan was SO EXCITED to be reunited with his buddy, Sophie.  It was also pretty darn adorable for us to watch them interacting, as they've both developed so much in the past months so they were playing together and having conversations, and just interacting on a whole different level.  As a fun coincidence, it turns out both Julia and I are pregnant (actually all 3 of us this weekend are pregnant! lol) and it looks like our #2s will have the same age difference as D and S have!

Zach was a bit disappointed not to get a good, hard hike in, but he still got plenty of time outdoors (which, as usual, gets him talking about how we should buy a house/move to Tahoe) and the kiddoes got to play in the dirt, throw sticks and stones, etc, to their little hearts' content.  They even got to play in the rain on Sunday. ; )  All in all, it was quite the fun trip.

I took several of our lenses with us, but ended up only using my new 35mm the whole time and I gotta say I'm very pleased with how most of the pictures turned out.  Thanks to D taking an abnormally long nap this afternoon, I actually got a chance to keyword and edit them and will upload tonight/tomorrow to share.

Ok, Zach just got off the phone with his brother and wants to watch an episode or 2 of Mad Men tonight, so I'm signing off.  Will share pics tomorrow.  =)

Friday, October 15, 2010

PS- Blog Action Day 2010: WATER

Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is WATER.  I never got it together enough to officially sign up to participate, but as I pondered where I am in life right now, today-- pregnant, and constantly thirsty; celebrating the healthy, safe birth of my sister's child-- I figured I could take a minute to write a few words.

First of all, as a woman who is 7 months pregnant, I *need* water. Constantly.  I chug it all day long. If I don't, I notice the difference in how I feel, and I know it makes a difference in my health and that of my growing child.  I am lucky that I can simply walk to any of the many taps in our house and pour clean, clear water into my glass to drink.

As a new aunt, and soon to be a mother of two, I also cannot ignore the massive impact access to clean water has on childbirth-- it is one of the biggest factors in how to lower maternal and infant mortality.  It's that simple.

My personal favorite water-related charity is charity: water.  Check them out to see what they do, or look through some of the links on the Blog Action Day website to read even more great info on water, why it's so important (did you know that dirty water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war?), and how you can help the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who don't have it.

and there was much rejoicing

My sister had her baby yesterday!!!

I won't say much about the birth because that's her story to tell (and while I know it might take a few weeks/months to get around to writing it, I CANNOT WAIT to read the whole thing) but I will say that I am so very proud of my big sister, she is a total rock star, and she birthed one of the most beautiful little baby boys EVER.  =)

Now I'm just upset that I can't be there, and that I likely won't get to meet this little guy for a while.  I'm also dying to practice taking newborn pictures with him!  But, I'll just have to wait... I am excited about how our babies will be just 2 months apart in age, how cool is that? =P

And now, after getting my fill of pictures on Facebook, I must tear myself away from new-baby thoughts and get us packed and ready for a weekend getaway with a few friends.  Busy morning ahead...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

The irony of this weekend, is that Zach and I had planned a mini-"babymoon" for ourselves.  My sister was going to come in from SF to watch D, while Zach and I spent a night at a Bed & Breakfast about an hour away.  Instead, bad news came in, and as an odd twist I got 3 full days "off."

As luck would have it, D got sick while in Texas.  Thankfully it was short-lived, but he got some stomach bug on Sunday that kept him low in energy and wrecked his sleep for the rest of the trip.  It's a strange feeling, being so used to being with your kid every day and then having him get sick when away from  you.  Zach called me often to give me reports, and I took comfort in knowing that he certainly had plenty of helping hands to nurse him back to health.

This was D's longest trip away from me.  I think there's been 2 or maybe even 3 times that we've left him with my parents for 1 or 2 nights at a time...  but this was four full nights.  I missed him dearly.  This has also been my longest break in the 2 years and 8 months since his birth, and soon I'll be a mother of 2 and will have an infant attached to my boob for the next full year (or longer).  And so, I felt little guilt yesterday as I treated myself out to a yummy breakfast at one of my new favorite spots nearby, then spent much of the rest of the day sprawled on the couch watching Julie & Julia (adorable!) and most of season 6 of Sex and the City (will I ever tire of that show?).

And now in a few minutes I'll leave to pick up Zach and Donovan at the airport, and everything will go back to life as usual-- the diapers and frequent snackings, the delicate maneuvering of words to avoid and diffuse tantrums, the toys, the questions for "just one episode" while I try to muster energy to take us to the park instead...  and also the funny faces, the mischievous smiles, the ongoing monologues telling me all about that Bob the Builder episode he saw 3 days ago, and going on an A320 airplane.  The waiting for the sound of the door handle at the end of the day when Zach gets home from work, and then snuggling in bed with him for a few minutes before we fall asleep at night.

It's good to get a break.... and it will be good to get back to life as usual.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Pizza Company

A few weekends ago Zach, D, and I went to Arjun's 2nd birthday party.  It was a great big bash, with tons of kids and cool toys for them to play with.  For food, they had hired The Pizza Company, a small business that has a mobile woodfired pizza oven that they bring around to several of the area's farmers markets, and also use for catering events.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed that they don't have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, because this pizza was some of the best I've ever had.  Seriously.  It was amazingly delicious.  They made everything from classic pepperoni, to gorgonzola and caramelized onion pizza, and at the party even made one with figs used as a topping.  Most (if not all) of their toppings come from other local farmer's market vendors, so everything is fresh and local.

As you can tell, I was so blown away by their food and service that I felt compelled to write about them here, and I highly recommend them to anyone in Sacramento who's looking for party catering.




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