Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Discipline

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We had an invite to go to our neighbor's yesterday for dinner.  We were all excited to just relax, play and visit.  Everything was going well, dinner was lovely (pigs in a blanket for the kids and pork steaks and an Asian salad for the adults, yummy) and the kids were playing very nicely together.  Something took a turn for the worse somewhere between brownies and sunset. 

Jac and Mia were playing with our neighbor's five year old, we are very close with them and they know each other quite well.  Jac is perhaps, a little too comfortable at their house.  Comfortable enough to throw a five year old sized fit in their backyard.  It involved turn taking, which was merely the beginning of the poor choices that Jac made.  After he had spent a good ten minutes in their Fred Flinstone car with the girls hanging onto the outside and Jac driving them around, he was asked by Mia nicely if she could have a turn.  Much to her credit she was very patient and didn't through a fit herself.  I asked him to give Mia a turn and then Jeff in a much sterner voice asked him.  He started to negotiate, which was his first poor choice. 

When I got up from the table he knew that his negotiation wouldn't work.  So he ran, this was his second poor choice.  Never run away from your mother!  So, I told him we would go home if he didn't come to me.  He came.  Then he had to sit on my lap, but since he was being a bit too noisy (screaming his head off, third poor choice) to stay within company we moved inside for a discussion.  I thought for sure I could calm the situation down.  But to no avail, he tried, he really did but he was so frustrated and I was frustrated.  When we tried to walk back outside he continued to show his frustration, the final poor choice, so I decided I should take the opportunity I had.  I left with him and Jeff and Mia stayed at the party. 

Oh my.  This was quite a lesson.  He wasn't entirely positive that he wouldn't get to go back.  He held out hope for the longest time, probably up until I had his jammies on, then he knew.  He would not be allowed to go back and continue to play. 

I have to admit, I was very pleased by the whole situation.  Jac has been five going on fifteen lately, with a bit of an attitude and a healthy dose of defiance.  This was the perfect punishment at the perfect time.  Sometimes it is hard to make this choice and end a lovely evening for both yourself and your child, but I do believe that we had bottomed out.  This punishment will ring loudly in his memory for a long time, something for Jac to remember on Memorial Day.

Thank you to all the veterans out there, for your time and devotion and commitment.  A special thank you to my two Grandfathers, both whom have passed, for their service to their country in World War II.  I love you! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wedding

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Jeff and I haven't been to a wedding since Jac was a baby.  We all went to the ceremony, which was gorgeous at the St Louis Basilica under the Arch on the waterfront.  Then Jeff and I headed out to the reception and left the kiddos with the sitter.  Lots of fun!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Random Stuff on a Thursday

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I am 15 weeks and a couple of days, which is kind of crazy.  With my track record I could be approaching the halfway mark in a few weeks.  I can only expect the rest of the summer to fly by and be looking at October with some disbelief.  I am truly a grown-up.  I am going to be the mother of three, how in the world did that happen? 

Jeff and I took the kids today to my doctor's appointment so that they could hear the baby's heartbeat.  I was just a little nervous.  (What if they couldn't find a heartbeat?)  I know, I know, everything is fine.  But I think all moms go through the first trimester pretty well aware that they feel awful, therefore a baby must be brewing.  But then you hit the ooooh, I feel great period!  Lots of energy, appetite decrease a little, no more nausea, less tummy trouble and other than the big boobs and increasing belly you really don't know what is going on in there anymore.  I haven't felt the baby move yet, which is normal.  Most people feel the baby around week 18 if they have had kids before, it can be a lot later than that if it is your first pregnancy.  But I felt Mia at week 14, so this last week I have really been trying to concentrate on it.  But nothing really, every once in awhile I feel like there is a little hamster in there twirling, but it could be gas.  Anyway, Nurse Hilde (love her German accent) found the heartbeat immediately, 155ish beats per minute.  The doctor surprised me with another blood test.  The kids got see their mom be brave!  I hate giving blood.  But all was good, they got a lollipop and were very good.  In three weeks, I will have the big ultrasound and hopefully see a perfectly healthy baby in there! 

I said this would be random and all I have talked about is baby.  So here is some more news.  For those of you interested; the fawn has been around the house again.  Not in our yard, thankfully.  But it was in my neighbors yard for a day and then in my other neighbors yard yesterday.  Right out in the open, just curled up in the grass.  We had a heat induced thunderstorm yesterday evening.  Around 5:30 it started to blow and get dark, sprinkled at first and then it was a pretty crazy storm in a matter of ten minutes or so.  I didn't see it, but my neighbor said that the fawn moved under the trees when in started raining.  And then came the cavalry, mama came running up the valley to collect baby before it got nasty.  She nursed for a couple of minutes in the rain and then scooted baby off to the woods for a little more shelter.  I did go out and look for baby after the rain cleared, I mean, it really rained!  So it was nice to hear that mama was doing her job so well!

Last but not least.  I don't think it is entirely fair to invite a pregnant woman to a wedding.  It could be worse, it could be my wedding and I could be prego - I guess that would be the worst case scenario.  Or, I could be in the wedding party, more likely and definitely more uncomfortable than just having to go out and shop for a maternity dress that is appropriate for a wedding.  The one I was going to wear, made me look like a stuffed sausage, really not good.  If I was brave I would post the picture I made Jeff take of me, but I am a total chicken.  I will post a picture of the two of us all decked out on Saturday.  Even though I feel huge, I am sure I will have a lot of fun, and am glad we are going.  It is just really hard to feel attractive when you are a couple of sizes out of everything you own!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Co-op

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Summer is officially here in all of its glory.  We started up our neighborhood co-op which gives all the moms a three hour respite once a week during the summer.  We rotate from house to house and it is a lovely messy fun time.  Jac and Mia are growing up in a neighborhood with a great bunch of friends. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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I am a huge advocate of buying local and organic produce.  So why not try and grow it in my backyard, doesn't get any more local than that.  I am trying to be green also with what goes in and on my garden, but I have a lot of room for improvemnt. 

Jeff made three raised beds last week and I filled them with dirt (organic compost, peat moss, vermiculite) and planted my veggies!  Evidently, you aren't supposed to buy peat moss anymore, it isn't a renewable resource.  Soooooo, next year I definitely need to start my long awaited compost pile in order to have humus of my own to lighten up my soil.  This Missouri clay is tough gardening!  I also could do a lot of other things to green up, collect rain water, plant cover crops and save seeds.  I did try and plant most of my stuff from organic local seed this year.  So if I am smart I will save that seed and not need to buy new next year, we'll see.  I will also be about 8 months pregnant around the same time. 

All of these are pretty lofty goals.  For now, I am just happy that I may get a tomato or two out of the garden.  Couldn't have done it with out my DH, thank you Jeff!

Quick update on the fawn.  It's mommy came and collected it Saturday night at some point.  Then she promptly deposited in my neighbors flower bed.  Haven't spotted it yesterday or today, but I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of the fawn.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bambi, Where's Your Mama?

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Today is the first day that has been dry and sunny in a LONG time.  Much to my surprise when I went out to start some yardwork, this is what I found in one of my flower beds.  Bambi! 

Bambi where is your mama?  You can't be more than a couple of days old, maybe even brand new.  What are you doing hiding under my hydrangea without a mommy in sight?  I have already seen the demise of the ducklings I do not need any more babies dying near my house! 


Well of course, I was the nosey neighbor and called Child Protective Services (Conservation Department) on that mama deer.  Guess what they said!  Completely normal.  The mama deer will leave their babies unprotected for long periods of time to go and eat.  Then they will come back and collect them.  What a good baby to stay and wait so patiently for his mama. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Knew Cotton Balls Could Be So Powerful

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I got this idea from Jac's incoming Kindergarten teacher.  I have learned that teachers are very wise people, amazing how much they know about kids just by being around them!  (I say that with my tongue totally stuck in my cheek.)  She had mentioned that the class would get a prize or treat when a jar of marbles got filled up.  The only way to fill up the jar was to exhibit a behavior that showed one of the school mantras.  Cooperation, Kindness, Safety, Responsibility, and Respect.  As the teacher spied one of these behaviors in a student they would get to put a marble in the jar.  When the jar was filled they all got a treat of some sort, so it was a group effort.

Soooo, I decided to start a cotton ball jar.  I was going to use something more tangible but then I was talking to one of my friends and she said, or you could just use cotton balls.  I liked this because I actually had them in the house and could start the experiement immediately. 

I was prepping the kids one night before bed and told them about the jar.  My spin on it was that they would get to put a cotton ball in the jar if they did something pleasing to God.  That left it wide open.  Basically, anytime I caught them being good, in goes a cotton ball. 

Now for the rest of the story.  The last few months we have seen Jac go from a kid who is scared of the dark, to a kid who literally can't be alone.  He is afraid of monsters getting him in broad daylight sitting in the kitchen, if he is alone.  There are several reasons that I need to help him get a handle on this.  One, it is just sad to be so terrified of something.  Two, it is annoying, just as he is gaining independence he is limiting himself in that independence.  Three, logistically if this is still going on in the fall, I just won't be able to always be there with an infant.  We have to figure this out over the summer or else there will be a lot of tears come November 17th when this child comes out!

While I am telling them about the cotton balls, I give examples of behaviors that will be rewarded.  Kindness, gentleness, patience, generosity and in a moment of mommy revelation I slip in bravery.  I give examples of what these mean.  Jac asks, "What's being brave?"  I told him that being alone or in the dark would be examples of being brave.  His exact words that tore a small hole in my hear, "I'll never get one for being brave."   My little cowardly lion, I felt so bad for him, but sort of let it drop and just hugged him.

Fast forward a couple of days when I got my act together and found the cotton balls.  Mia said something out of the blue while they were coloring, clearly impressed with Jac's coloring prowess, "Jac you are really good at coloring."  Awwwwww.  Cotton ball!  Then later she gave Jac a toy he wanted that she was playing with.  Cotton ball!  Well Jac of course wanted in on the action.  We were all in the living room after dinner and Jac wanted something in the kitchen, I saw a light bulb go on and instead of whining and crying he ran in and got what it was and ran back with the devil chasing him; but excited.  I get a cotton ball!  I was brave! 

Why, yes you do little boy.  He proceeded to practice going into rooms by himself and rewarding himself with cotton balls all evening.  It was one of those breakthrough moments.  I know it isn't solved, but what a huge step.  At least I figured out a way to coerce without any threats and God forbid humiliation.  He was proud of himself and so was I.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take me out to the ballpark, but only if it's sunny!

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Well, considering the forecast we did really well.  This was the kids very first Card's game and I was so disappointed that it was going to be raining all day.  It actually misted on us until around the 4th or 5th inning then it stopped and was dry. 

We got to see Fred Bird a couple of times, eat some Cracker Jack, dance to all the fun organ music, do the seventh inning stretch and we even got to see some fireworks at the end.  (The Cardinal's won!)  The kids had a really good time and were completely wiped out, they slept the whole way home. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hilton Head Pictures

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Here are some pics of our trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. 



Playing in the tide pools in the evening during low tide.



The outline of the castle.....




The finished product!



Eating out on the beach.


The boys.



At the lighthouse.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Space Party

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The big space birthday bash was a hit.  I heard my niece who is four going on five say, "that was the best day ever".  And one of Jac's friends who came to the party said, "that was the best birthday party".   Yay!  It was a lot of fun, but oh it went by so fast!   I often say that for events in our lives we should hire in a photog to capture the moments so that we can really be in the moment and not worry about a camera.  Regardless, here are some of the highlights of the party.


We had blue and black balloons, with black table clothes, stars and balloons everywhere! 



The solar system was centered around the kitchen, of course.  Doesn't the world revolve around me?



Take me to your leader.

My friend Kerrie gave me her super awesome cake recipe, my friend Magen helped me come up with the idea, I baked the cake and made the sketch and my sister Daphne decorated it!  The cake was delicious and ended up being very cute.



The first Pinata of the household went over very well.  Jac was a bit timid, but hit it nicely.  Mia wasn't timid but her wild swings missed which upset her.  So she only took one turn.



We had a "moon" rock hunt in the basement.  All of the moon rocks had things that you would need or find on the moon in them and some space candy.  (Flashlights, aliens, glow sticks, Starbursts, Pop Rocks and Milky Ways)




Blowing out the candles.

Jac had a great time at the party and was absolutely exhausted the next day.  (So was mommy.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Big Five Year Old

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Oh Jac, how can you be five?  The oldest cliche in the book, but time really does fly.  I think the most accurate is that the days are so long but the years go by so fast.  At least for a stay at home mom. 

As Jac matures I see glimpses of what he will become.  I want to help him be the best him he can be.  He is my sensitive boy, my cuddler.  He has a tendency to explode into expertise on a subject or with a task because he holds off until he has almost mastered a task before displaying it.  I used to call him my little incredible Hulk because most of his mile stones that he achieved as a baby were done in a fit of rage. 

He is all boy.  He loves cars, sports, space.  He kills spiders for me.  He loves to help with house projects and wants to use the tools.  He loves geography and traveling and maps.  He wants to figure out how things work, like where the water from the toilet goes, and how the Earth goes around the sun and why the car gives of "smoke" on a cold morning.  He loves to be silly and gross, but by and large only does this in the company of other little boys.  He is sensitive enough to play well with little girls and because of geography and because he has a sister plays with girls quite often. 

It hasn't always been an easy task, raising, disciplining, teaching, steering this little boy.  I have cried more times than I can count because I feel ill equiped.  But I discovered that a mother's love grows each day.  I was actually a bit shocked by this.  I thought that my love was quite large and strong when he was born and I gazed at what looked like an impossibly large baby that had just come out of me.  I didn't know that as I learned about him, as I got to know him and all of his quirks and likes and preferences my love would grow.  I am awed by this and wonder if it will continue to grow throughout our lives together. 

Jac's birthday wasn't this spectacular event.  We were driving back from Hilton Head, none of his cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends were there to greet us.  We didn't have a big party AND it was Mother's Day.  However, on Saturday I hope to make it up to him and throw him one amazing space bash.  More to come on that later.  He got some cool toys but still seems a bit confused about when his party is. 

Here are some of my favorite photos of Jac through the years.  I have decided that the fifth year was a big one, it is when they lose a lot of the babyishness and become little people.  They master a lot of things that have eluded them and emerge with all these new found talents.  Savor their fourth year, the last of the baby,  and revel in the fifth, it is an amazing time.


Clearly he doesn't know what to think about getting his first sink bath - he reminds me of a snowman.


Transitioning from two naps to one is hard work, he would fall asleep while eating.



Always curious and a big helper, our tradition of carving several pumpkins is a keeper.

His first picture of a "person".



The best gift we never gave him, Thanks Aunt Tina!


First fishing trip with Papa last summer - he caught a really little catfish.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I read on Vacation

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I read three books on vacation, Jody Picoult's Handle with Care, I already discussed here.  I also read, Sweet Ruin by Cathi Hanauer.  I cannot recommend this book, at least not as a pregnant woman.  Although it was interesting and I finished it quickly, it is about a woman who loses her baby four days after she gives birth.  The book is basically about how her life becomes a disaster and she almost loses her family until she finally pulls it all together in the end.   Why is everyone writing about babies dying?

The book I do want to talk about, that I want to RAVE about is Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.   Although this is not a religious book, (I am actually not sure that Ron Currie is religious, his other book in print is titled God is Dead.  Although I haven't read that book and can only speculate.) it is very spiritual and dives deeply into ethical issues many of which I have never even thought about. 

This is not a spoiler because by the first chapter you know this information, the premise of the book is that the world is going to end in 35 years and that the main character hears voices in his head that tell him this information along with a lot of other pertinant information during his lifetime.  He actually hears this voice beginning in utero (how is it that I keep reading these types of books?) and he almost dies, but the voice talks him through what he must do in order to survive. 

In a nutshell it is a "Would you Rather" question:  If the world is coming to an end in 30 years, would you rather lead a crappy, miserable existence or one that is worth something and that helps people?

The book is part thriller, part mystery, part love story (of course) and really a huge part coming of age.  For all of you who still don't feel like you have grown up, or feel like you still make poor decisions mistakenly; this book is right up your alley.  Dare I say that it explores the meaning of life in an accessible and relateable manner?  Read it, it is quick and easy, but makes you think at every turn.  I may actually, and I NEVER do this, read it again.  It is that thought provoking. 

For all of you who don't want to provoke your thoughts, it is actually a great END OF THE WORLD, DISASTER BOOK, almost SPY THRILLER, so you should check it out too and just ignore those uncomfortable thoughts that tickle the back of your brain about eternity, death, love and the meaning of life. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby Update, Finishing First Trimester

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A few more details on the new baby are in order.  I am in my 13th week and will be out of this trimester tomorrow.  This is a good landmark because it generally means you have made it through the risky part.  Of course a pregnancy can still end badly at this point, most of the time once you make it to this point you can celebrate! 

I received good news yesterday which makes me even more comfortable with my babies health.  When you get to a certain age, insurance companies will start paying for more testing.  The idea here is to be prepared for any issues that may be present at birth.  Chromosomal issues start popping up more frequently as your eggs age and by the time you are 35 your odds are 1 in 350 in having a Down's Syndrome baby.  Down's babies have a lot of heart issues or can be still born, so you want to monitor those pregnancies differently than you would a baby without issues. 

So yesterday I went in for a "First Look" ultrasound, this test needs to be done in a specific window during the end of the first trimester.  During the ultrasound the tech reassured me that she saw no markers for any chromosomal issues (Down's and Trisomy).  She also was able to see all four limbs, two hands, two feet, umbilical cord attached properly, functioning tummy, heart rate of 171, both kidneys, and a lovely spinal cord.  She also was able to show us that baby likes to suck her thumb, very cute.  The tech would not bet on gender but she did say it looked like we had about a 70% chance of having a girl.  There you have folks, more than likely, although definitely don't go buying anything, we are having another girl. 

I also had a finger prick for a test that looks at my hormone levels, also indicators, if out of certain ranges, of chromosomal issues.  I will have those results in 5 to 7 days.  All in all, it was a great day.  I was very reassured.  Jeff was with me and it was lovely to be able to gaze at our (maybe) daughter for 20 minutes or so.  I wish I had a scanner and I would upload some of the pictures she gave us. 

My due date remains November 17th, baby is growing nicely, but is about 2 days behind an exact gestational age of 12 weeks 5 days, not enough to change due date.  Baby was actually 3 days behind at the last screening, so she has actually gained a little ground.  Based on my tendency to have pretty large babies, I have no doubt that she will continue to gain ground. 

So there you have it!  Next steps I have a regualar doctor's appointment in a few weeks and then in about six to eight weeks I will have the "anomoly" screening to make sure all the organs, appendages look good and they will be able to give a firmer indication of gender.  For now, we are still coming up with girl AND boy baby names. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Whole Hour of Fun

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Who knew mini golf could be so much fun?  The kids adored it.  (Although their technique needs a little work.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jodi Picoult - Why must you make me cry?

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So, yes, we are at the beach.  We are having a fabulous time.  One of the fantastic things about vacation for me is reading.  I get to pour through several huge tomes and I love it.  I was frugal this time and checked out a couple of books from the library instead of going to the store.  I didn't do any research before I went so I just snagged one book that look like chick lit (this is what I read at the beach, sue me) and another that was chick lit but I knew the author, Jodi Picoult.  Well Miss or Mrs Picoult, I have now, after reading/watching two of your stories realized there is a pattern.  You have this thing for writing about kids that die.  Humph. 

I'm sorry.  You are a talented and beautiful writer, why must all of your stores be so tragic?  (Because it sells, OR you find it therapeutic because you have suffered some horrible tragedy or another.)

I read, "Handle With Care", which is about a mother who sues for wrongful birth because she can't see a way financially to handle the care of her disabled daughter.  Basically the suit is against her OB saying that if she had diagnosed the disability sooner she would have been able to terminate the pregnancy. But supposedly, this mother was just trying to do what was best for her daughter and earn a bunch of cash in order to make sure she could pay the bills, feed the kids, buy a wheelchair, that kind of stuff.  However, she ends up almost tearing her entire family apart, her husband files for divorce, the person she is suing is her best friend who obviously isn't her friend anymore, her older daughter becomes a cutter and bulimic and finally the daughter that she is supposedly doing this all for ends up thinking her mother wishes she was never born and that she is going to get shipped off somewhere.  Oh my.  If I hadn't been reading this on a public beach I would have been boo hooing like nobody's business.

Did I mention I was pregnant?  I know.  What a way to announce this on my blog.  Here you go, is this better?  I AM PREGNANT!  I am knocked up, I have a bun in the oven, a pea in the pod, I am preggers, I am making another human as we speak, with child, in a delicate condition, expecting, in a family way, folks, I am having a baby.

I must tell you that one should not read this type of book while one is cooking a baby in utero.   SPOILER ALERT**************************************************************************


The kid dies, in the end she dies.  She doesn't die from her disease, oh no.  That would be too easy.  No, she dies because she has always wanted to ice skate and her back yard New Hampshire pond isn't frozen completely yet, so when her six year old brain tells her to try it out, she actually cracks through the ice and drowns.  Lovely.  I only recommend this book if you need a good cry, otherwise, go rent My Sister's Keeper and get all your Jodi Picoult needs met, at least then you get to look at Cameron Diaz.

If I am wrong about Jodi, somebody tell me.  I would love to read her again, as long as no one under the age of 20 dies!

More to come on the baby and the other crazy book I read on vaca.  But I am on vacation, so that's all for now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010