Monday, September 16, 2013

Whoa, we’re halfway there...

...Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear
Livin’ on a prayer
-Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer

20 weeks, people.  Halfway to arrival for little Guacamole, and I have finally hit the sweet spot where I actually feel good and am enjoying pregnancy.  Please feel free to avoid pointing out to me that I will feel something approximating awful when I develop the waddle, the heartburn returns, and my feet swell up like sausages  Until then, life is pretty damn fantastic.

I am still tired as all hell, but at this point I need to stop blaming the baby and start blaming a bit of laziness, my lack of exercise, and the fact that I stay up too late watching Orange Is the New Black (which, if you’re not watching, dear Netflix subscriber,  you should start immediately).  Last Sunday I sent the fellas to church while I worshiped at our sister congregation, the Church of the Neverending Laundry Pile.  God and I had some good quality time together over a growing stack of folded towels. And the boys might be able to go to school all week - wearing different underwear every. single. day.  See?  Miracles abound at CNLP.  Too bad visitors to our home can’t even see a dent in the clothing piles to be put away.  I’m told that this sudden urge to do laundry is “nesting.”  We’ve got a long way to go before this nest is ready for a new chickadee.

I am trying to clean out clothes that are too small for the boys and finally admit to myself that I should let them go.  I know intellectually Miss Guac probably won’t need to wear cargo shorts and polo shirts every day.  And she definitely won’t need size 2T boys’ underpants – I mean, even the boys don’t really use the pee hole, but at least it seems logical to have one for them.  Unfortunately I still have just a little teensy tiny bit of a hard time letting the boy stuff go.  I have not, however, had any difficulty shopping for pink stuff.  She already has her first bathing suit.  Okay, she actually has 2 bathing suits, a coverup, AND a sun hat.  What can I say?  There still a kernel of swimmer deep down under the layers of lazy. 

In other news, the boys are boys.  Jay has had a fantastic start to Kindergarten and is generally rocking it in the academic realm.  We had a brief Ferris Bueller incident where he got “sick” and needed to come home, but I quickly determined that the illness was not contagious and instead was his testing of the elementary escape route.  After an unhappy afternoon spent in his room doing homework alone, I think we’ve nipped that one in the bud.  Just for the record, if someone wants to send me to my room for 4 hours and tell me my only options are sleep and reading books, I would cry tears of joy.

Luke is as cute and mischievous as ever.  Unfortunately, his current focus is on the mischief side rather than the cute side.  Let me give you a sample from last week:

Scene One – Me standing on the curb talking through the open car door.  Luke still buckled into his booster.
J – Okay, buddy, I know you can have a better day at school than yesterday, right?
L – Right!
J – When Miss C and Mrs. D ask you to do something, when will you do it?
L – Right away!
J – And how do we use our hands?
L – I will *not* hit my friends!
J – Great!  Now let’s go in to school.  Are you going to run?
L – No!  I am going to walk nicely.

Any guesses what happened as soon as the seatbelt came off?  You got it!  A sprint through the parking lot for the door of daycare, slowing only to pick up a handful of mulch and chuck it into the road. 

Scene Two, 26 seconds after Scene One – Me sitting just inside the door, looking eye-to-eye with the Mischief Man.
J – (sternly) We already talked about running.  When we walk down to your classroom, are you going to hold my hand, or are you going to walk beside me?
L – I’m going to RUN!
J – Running isn’t a choice.  Do you want to walk beside me, or do I need to hold your hand?
L – But I want to run fast!
J – Do I need to carry you? Or will you walk nicely?
L – No, I can run!!
J - Sigh.

And, as was reported on facebook, his new fave song goes like this:
"I’m gonna be mean and disrespectful, ‘cause I am not a super friend.” 
(Repeat x 37)

Yes, people.  Word for word, that’s the song that he was joyously belting out during timeout last night.  How could I make this stuff up?!  That is a string of 13 words that I never, ever EVER expected to come out of the mouth of my sweet babe.  What 3 year old uses the word disrespectful in a grammatically appropriate fashion?  Answer - one who hears the word way too often.  I’m trusting the sweet babe will re-emerge eventually.  And praying to the dear Lord above that Eventually = Soon. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

At last... love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
-Etta James, At Last

(Yes, I realize the pink bow is as big as her head.  It is as absolutely 
tiny as my swollen fingers could make it!)

Yes, my friends, it's true.  The Foster Four is about to become the Foster Five.  And not only that, this household is going to have a little less testosterone-overload...


I have never made any secret of my desire for a girl.  Since I got my first Cabbage Patch Dolls (one boy, one girl, of course) I have imagined having a daughter.  And when I learned that this little one is a girl, I squealed like a 4 year old girl myself.  Truly, y'all, it is a dream come true.  We had decided with great certainty that we were done after 3 kids.  And while I would have been happy to have the 3 Musketeers running around and would have truly loved a little boy too, I am just over the moon happy to have a daughter.

So, to answer the questions that everyone asks as soon as they learn the news:

1 - How have you been feeling?
Like total and complete crap.  I feel like I have had the flu for 3 months, and it is not getting better.  Everyone says you start to turn the corner around 13 weeks.  I'm at almost 16, and I see no corners in sight. I am so exhausted by 4 p.m. that I can do nothing but stumble home and collapse.  Derek has been awesome with fixing dinner, keeping the boys out of trouble, getting them to bed - all the the daily-ness.  He is ready for me to move past the useless stage.

But I have felt like crap emotionally, too.  I am no stranger to the wake-you-up-at-3-a.m.-panic-attack.  I have battled a serious case of the worries for the better part of the last 20 years.  But this is like nothing I've ever been through.  I am waking up with nightmares every night, freaking out about one awful thing and another.  In my mind, I have been through colon cancer, breast cancer, and this poor child has had every single horrible genetic condition and syndrome known to medicine.  And some that medicine has yet to discover.

This is especially unpleasant because I LOVED being pregnant the past 2 times.  They were the only times in my life when I didn't feel the constant presence of worry-wart-ism.  I had even considered being a surrogate because I felt so damn good (once I got past the first 10-ish weeks, and before I got to the huge last few weeks).  I do not love being pregnant at the moment.

2 - When is the big arrival date?
Jan 28th is the official date.  Torquil arrived a week and a half late; CheezeDoodle arrived 2 weeks early.  So this time, it's really anyone's guess.  While I hesitate to wish lateness, February has a nice birthstone for the little lady (and she'd share the month with my mom and with Luke).  But it would be cool to spread out the kids - we could have one in January, one in Feb, and one in March.  And by Christmas, I'm pretty sure I'll be begging her to arrive early.

3 - What are you calling her?
Y'all know how we are about in utero names - the blog name comes from the entertaining names we used while we couldn't come up with actual kid names.  The food craving thing worked well for #2, so baby has been known to this point as "Guacamole" or just "Guac."  It seemed entertaining enough, and was working for us.  Derek offered me all kinds of incentives to use the "Guacamole Song," as my intro, but I'm sorry.  I just couldn't do it.  As a small concession to the one who has done ALL the dishes for the past several nausea-focused weeks, I will embed it here.  True love, people.  TRUE LOVE.

(Apparently there is a Reckless Kelly version of this song, which is somewhat less awful.)

But today, my future daughter-in-law declared that she should be called "Pom-Pom."  I had originally pegged said daughter-in-law to Luke, but now I'm thinking she and Jay might be more well-suited ... but I digress.  I'm liking Pom-Pom.  We'll have to see whether Guac or Pom-pom sticks.

Because we found out so early that she's a girl, and I have had my girl name picked out since I was mothering Cabbage Patch Kids, now we are starting to call her by her real name a bit.  (No, I am not going to disclose the name yet - I already surprised you with the news that we're having kid #3 AND the fact that it's a girl ... isn't that enough excitement for one blog post?!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

May the good Lord be with you...

...down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true
And do unto others as you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, Forever young

-Rod Stewart, Forever Young

While the blog has become far less of a milestone marker lately, I couldn't let this one go by.
My baby boy is headed off to Kindergarten.

(photo from Jay's preschool end of year celebration)

I mean, are you serious?!  Can someone please tell me how we got from the tiny baby who made me a mom to this big kid?  (Oh wait.  He was not ever a "tiny baby."  He was a 10 lb 4 oz monster who appeared to be a 3 month old from the day he took his first breath.  But I digress.)  Kindergarten here we come.

(Yes, I look at Pinterest too much.  But I couldn't resist making the sign!)

"I want my picture taken, and I want a new backpack too!"

"Okay, the picture will do."

I am trying not to get too sappy about this transition.  Yes, this is a struggle for me, given my tendency to cry at even the lamest Hallmark commercial.  I have enough sappiness in my life, and it's not like this is going to be all that different for him.  He's been in full-time childcare since he was an infant, so he's used to being away from home for much of his days.  I'm certainly I am no stranger to trusting others to care for him, teach him cool stuff, or watch as he learns new things.  On an intellectual level, this should really be no different than changing schools.

But it's not, somehow.  It's SCHOOL.  It's the start of many years in the formal education system.  And if he takes after his daddy, perhaps many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years - like 31 more.  (Son, here's a hint.  Academic veterinary medicine is a lovely career, but you'd best love school if you want to follow in those footsteps.  And you might want to find a very patient spouse who is willing to support you in those PhD years.)

Rockin' out to "We Are Young" on air guitar on the way to school.

How he would handle drop off on the first day was a little questionable ... he is simultaneously THRILLED to be headed to Kindergarten, and scared out of his mind.  I get that.  I spend much of my life in that thrilled-scared state. He freaked out at Meet the Teacher day, but today he walked in like a champ, as if he'd been there for years.  He immediately found a table of fellow Wolfpack loving friends.  It's gonna be a good school!

And old pro.

Making new friends before the bell even rings.

And just for the record, I did not cry a single tear.  Go me.

Working in education, I know that getting started on the right foot will have long lasting implications for this academic adventure he's embarking on.  I want him to love school, to love reading and writing, to love learning.  But more than that, I want him to learn to thrive in this crazy world - to make friends, to respect the wisdom of teachers, to get along with those who are different.  That whole "everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten" stuff.  Oh, and to tie his shoes.  We gotta get on that one, like yesterday.

Follow the footprints!

And of course, I can't help but think about the hurdles he's overcome - the miracle we witnessed - that got him to this point.  An hour and a half of CPR, a week on total life support, infections and setbacks aplenty - all with no brain damage.  I'm planning to send the folks at CHOP a card to say thanks, yet again.  I hope it serves as a reminder to them that this is the reason that middle-of-the-night ECMO calls are worth it.  It's been almost exactly 3 years since that awful, life-changing night, and all of us are grateful that he is able to live, fully live, a regular 5 year old life today.

It's gonna be a very good year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I think I'll go to Boston...

...I think that I'm just tired
I think I need a new town
to leave this all behind
I think I need a sunrise
I'm tired of the sunset
I hear it's nice in the summer
Some snow would be nice
               -Augustana, Boston

Happy 2013, my friends.  It's that time when everybody is claiming to change their lives, refocus on what matters, get organized, get healthy, save some cash, become kinder, give more, be something else.  Bloggers all over the interwebs are choosing their word of the year, and I'm abstaining from that.  Too trendy.  (Oh Puhleaze - y'all know I'm as much a sucker for trendy as anyone.  I just couldn't think of a good word.)

Instead I share this fantastic song from Augustana (listen here) about needing a fresh start.  Boy do I need that as much as anyone.  I was quite happy to see 2012 glide into the rearview mirror.  Here's to a fresh start in 2013.

But actually this song works even better because we just got back from a grown ups only New Year's trip to Boston where I got to see dear friends (who both happen to be friends of the blog as well!).  Yes, you read that right - Super Derek and I got a whole weekend away from the boys, complete with a little black dress-worthy event for NYE.  Yeehaw!

Spent most of the weekend alternating between the following statements:

"Wow!  That's cool.  Hold up, let me take a picture."
"Damn, it's cold.  There's a coffee shop.  Let's go drink coffee while we thaw out."

We spent some great time with my friend BG, meeting her hubs, drinking their homemade brew (which was fantastic!) learning about Boston, and enjoying their hospitality.  We had a minor adventure finding them in the first place - we attempted to meet at our hotel, in a sports shop, in one restaurant that was closed, AND in another restaurant that (surprise!) was closed.  Thank heaven for cell phones.  It was a comedy of errors, which would have been far more funny if we weren't facing gale force winds while wandering the streets of downtown Boston.  But we found each other and found good eats, so all was good in the end.  BG has been my tour guide/host on quite a few Boston trips, and it's always great to catch up.  It's good to spend time with people who knew you in your dorkiest middle school phase and still like you today.

Then for the main event - the New Year's Eve wedding of my college friend KHC.  In all honesty, New Year's is usually not a holiday I get too excited about.  Watching cold drunk people standing in a very crowded Times Square for hours, my practical side always peeks through (see dork reference above).  I spend the whole time thinking about how miserable they must be.  And how surely they have to pee.  Then people get all fake and start shouting "Yippee!  A new year!" and kissing everyone in sight ... the whole concept feels phony, like everyone is happy because they are supposed to be.

But this time, we got to play dress up for real - fancy attire, red sparkle pedicure, champagne, the whole shebang.  And it was super fun.  It was one of those weddings where we didn't know many other people there, but were seated at a table with folks that turned out to be lots of fun to get to know.  The rooftop ballroom was gorgeous beyond description - and being the moron that I am, I even stepped outside to check out the rooftop view of the city.  Took me a good 30 mins to thaw back out after that.  Boston weather is cold, people!  See how pretty it was?!

I spent a huge portion of the weekend playing with my camera, and I was probably a little obnoxious taking pictures of everything in sight.  But it was all worth it for this little series of dance moves of our tablemates:

love how E is demanding he show off...

and he does.

See!  Told ya we got put at the awesome table!  I gotta admit - this dude was the last person I expected to be able to dance like that.  But he was fantastic and it was a hoot to watch him - even more, it was awesome to watch the crowd react to him.  He had a great way of getting folks into the celebration.

Wolfpack in the House!

And while it was wonderful to spend some time with old friends I don't see often, it was even more wonderful to spend real time with the hubs that I see every day.  It was a luxury to be together for two whole days with nothing to do but enjoy each other's company.  We danced, we laughed, we kissed at midnight, we toasted the happy couple and drank to the start of new things in 2013. May this year be filled with new and beautiful things for each of us.