Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Season

The Christmas Season this year has been a total blur. I wonder if it will always feel like this or if some year I will get my feet under me a bit and get a grasp on all of the things I would LIKE to do for Christmas. Only time will tell.

Benjamin is old enough this year to start to really understand Christmas. Last year, he understood it enough to anticipate the presents, but thats about it. So now the question turns to how to teach him what Christmas is really about (which brings up the question for me of what Christmas really is to me and to us as a family, not an easy question to answer).

There was a few times verbally throughout the system where I talked about what Christmas is with Benjamin. I said something to the effect of "its about family, and giving to others. You get gifts, and you try to be kind to people and spread joy". Words do not get very far though with a 2 yr old (even a very verbal 2 yr old). I have not had time (or taken the time) to put those words into actions that show him what the season is about, until last night.

Last night we got home from running errands around 6:45 PM. After getting the baby fed, and dog walked, we wrapped presents with Ben. We asked him what he wanted to give Felicity. He said he thought Felicity would like baby things, so I asked him if he thought he had any toys or baby things he no longer uses that he could give her. I recommended his singing sea horse. It put him to bed for many months, and then one day the battery ran out, and we took it out of his crib for a week or two, and when I tried to put it back he didn't need it. He agreed right away. He said it was a baby thing and would be good for Felicity. I had him go get it, and we put it in a box and wrapped it up (with Felicity looking on of course! LOL). Then we had him wrap up some salt ornaments we made earlier this week - 2 for me and 1 for dad. It was pretty funny for us to be wrapping our own gifts, but I am really glad we did. I hope he enjoys giving us these packages tomorrow morning.

I have a whole list of things going for things I want to do differently for next Christmas season. Who knows what will happen. I think though that this is one thing I got right.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Felicity @ 2 Months (ok.. more like 2.5 months)

When I was little, my mom sang song to me "Don't you remember Amanda Christine, she was a lover Amanda Christine". Now, I am a mom, and I sing to my daughter - "Felicity Jane, that is your name, and I love you, because your my baby". Pass it down through the generations, unintentionally I guess.

During my pregnancy lots of people asked what her nickname would be. We said we were going to call her Felicity, and for the most part we have. I toyed with the nickname Lissy, bit it didn't stick. Frankly I cannot imagine her as Lissy now. The nicknames that we do use sometime are Miss Fliss (to match Mr. Benjamin), Fliss, Little Girl, and Baby Girl.

She is growing so fast. She drools a lot, we should use bibs but I am not in the habit because Ben never drooled much. She likes to kick her feet. She likes to grab things, fabric especially, and pull it up to her face. She is starting to grab/hold her pacifier though she can't really get it in her mouth right. We have started to put a taggie blanket (one with a rabbit head attached) on her lap for her to grab at. She likes TV. Typical second child, with Ben I religiously kept him away from the TV. It was relatively easy though, as long as he wasn't pointed right at it, he didn't watch it. Her, she will strain her neck any which way to watch some TV. We joke that she is especially fond of soccer.

She continues to grow. She does not fit into 0-3 month sleepers anymore, and a lot of the pants and onsies are starting to get short too. Its time to pull out the next size up, but I have not had time.

Her sleep is patchy. We have had a couple nights where she sleeps through the night (10pm-5:30am or so), but generally getting up once is the norm, and sometimes she still gets up 2 times. It just depends on the night.

Generally, she is content to be held by anyone, or sit in her chair on her own for a bit, but if she gets tired, she really wants mom. I can't say I object. When she snuggles into me and falls asleep its pretty

My prior concerns about pumping/supply have not been an issue. I seem to be gaining on her (building a stash) rather than falling behind.

She likes singing and music. She is liable to smile if you sing a new song to her, particularly one with a funny sound or rhythm in it. She also likes it when you change her clothes, she laughs when you take off her shirt. I think she is probably pretty ticklish. She likes baths. She likes being held facing
out towards the world so she can see things.

Yep. Thats my Felicity update. At her 2m appointment she was 43rd percentile weight, 91st percentile height. That was back in mid November. We have not gotten a new weight or height since. Her next appointment is in January.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

No Time

Nearly a month ago I posted "A Kid Post", with the full intentions of posting, within 24-48 hrs, a companion post called "A Me Post". Ironically, the post (which I wrote only an intro paragraph for), was about how FULL my life is now - both busy and full of love.

But I did not ever finish it.

Now, Felicity is 2 months old (actually 2.5 months) and I have not posted a 2 month update for her, and I have not posted about my life being full. I have not posted about the wonderful Thanksgiving trip we took to St Louis. I have not posted about our parenting challenges with Benjamin's pirate obsession. I have not posted the cute and heart breaking stories of Benjamin's existential crises.

And ... I don't really have time to do any of those things tonight. But I am trying, I am trying really hard to get my feet under me. I know some people would say just don't feel bad about not blogging, just let that thing slide. The thing is, blogging is something I do mostly for ME, so I need to start it up again.

But right now I am going to go do the dishes, hold my daughter, and get to bed early enough to not be a zombie tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Kid Post

Felicity Update: She is 7.5 weeks old, getting good head control, smiling a lot if you make an effort to make eye contact with her. She has a cold at the moment so that makes things a bit difficult (stuffy nose). Her sleep continues to be erratic but decent, sleeping 2-5 hrs at a time. The cold makes it so she is less settled, I hope that goes away soon. Her cradle cap is responding great to occasional coconut oil. Her baby acne mostly cleared up though she gets a small patch here or there, or patches of dry skin occasionally. She likes to be able to be in the sitting position and looking around. Daycare is going smoothly, she takes the bottle well and they treat her well.

Benjamin Update: I have not written about him too much in awhile. We have had a lot of difficult adjustment since Felicity was born, some of which is just normal toddler behavior that he didn't choose to display until she was born. He also had a "sleep regression" of sorts - more difficult bedtimes and lots of night time wakings, some of which extended into the ridiculous (one particularly bad night he kept us up from 2am-4am). He now has a very clear idea of what he wants/does not want and can tantrum if you don't get it right. One particular evening he was in tears because his Grands biscuit had been cooked in the oven. One morning this week he freaked out because we didn't give him cereal in the car or have him wear his Goblin hat... both things which he did not tell us he wanted until we were getting out of the car at daycare. Its hard being little. There also has been some ridiculusly serious moments considering her is not yet three years old. He get upset if you tell him that he is going to grow up, or that Felicity is going to grow up, he wants to stay how he is, and her to stay a baby. (There is therefore virtually no chance of getting him to potty train). He also has asked once what death is recently. I think he is struggling with scary concepts that are beyond his years (is three too young for an existential crisis?). But, enough of the heavy. He likes movies/tv - Curious George's Halloween Special has been a hit, and we have been watching Magic School Bus a lot. He has been mostly playing with cars/trucks, play dough, books and puzzles lately. We are back in swim lessons now and he loves it. He is very insistent about his cereal in the mornings, and often has it for dinner or evening snack as well (I have been trying to cut back on sugary cereals and push towards basic Chex w Raisins with some success).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Back to Work

Felicity is 6 weeks old (As of Monday), and also as of Monday, I am back to work. Don't get me started on America and maternity leave. Suffice it to say, I would have preferred to stay home longer, but that was not in the cards for me, so let me talk about my experience in returning to work this week.

The best way to describe my return is "overwhelming", in every regard.

The logistics of returning were overwhelming. On Sunday evening (and really, throughout my maternity leave) I was anxious (maybe even panicked at times...) about the logistics - getting everyone and everything they need to where they need to be on time. I was terrified of forgetting to take milk or a pacifier to daycare, or forgetting to sign a form and getting there and being turned away, etc etc etc. Of course it all DID go smoothly, I made lists, I remembered everything, and put safety measures in place in case I do forget in the future (daycare keeps their own pacifier there, and has frozen breastmilk, I stuck some milk in my parents freezer, etc).

The emotions of returning were overwhelming. They didn't hit me until Monday morning when I had to put Felicity in her carseat to go. I didn't want to put her down. She is SO tiny. Of course, the fact she is so tiny means she doesn't even realize I am leaving her really yet (that will come I am sure), but it was still difficult from my end. I mainly avoided tears at drop off by doing it quickly and moving on to take Ben to his room. And the emotional drama continues, because I am realizing how with a 6 week old, there are so many milestones coming. Smiles, rolling, etc. And, some days, if she is sleepy in the evening, I hardly get to see her eyes or interact with her at all besides feeding her. (Last night was good, she was very alert in the evening and I got to make faces at her, and saw some hints of a smile and her working on other facial expressions).

Returning to work was overwhelming! I am lucky I had written down my passwords, I did not remember them at all. It took quite a bit of dredging to get my work knowledge back to the surface. I asked a lot of stupid questions on Monday and Tuesday and made some very stupid mistakes. They let me ease in though, so luckily none of these mistakes had impact on clients. They just made me look stupid. LOL. I am feeling much more 'With it" work wise already though, so that's good.
Work was also overwhelming from a social perspective. I have spent the last 6 weeks mostly socially isolated, with occasional visits with close friends. All the sudden I am back on a floor with 100 people, all of whom know I was on leave and want to know how I am doing. They are all happy to see me, and I was not that happy to see them (because I didn't want to be back). Readjusting to talking to so many people on a daily basis has been a challenge.

Another challenge is dealing with pumping. With Ben, I did not go back to work until 5.5 months, so I had a HUGE stash of breastmilk saved up before I went back. This time, I am only (maybe, if I calculated), a week or so a head. If my supply dips much I will not keep up with her needs.  I keep trying to convince myself that supplementing with formula would be fine, no big deal (I am trying to accept this so I am less stressed, not because it is an immanent reality), but I can't accept that. I want her to have the same 12 months of exclusive breastfeeding that Ben got, and I feel like I will fail her if I can't do that. Besides that stress, pumping at work means no time for breaks for anything else. I have been pumping at 9:30, 12, and 2:30 (roughly). I cannot go out for lunch. I cannot use a break to go on a walk. And, since my breaks tend to run on the longer side now (they are close to 15 minutes... but spill over a bit), I feel guilty if I need to do other little things like fill my water bottle or wash a dish, things I used to not even think about, because I feel like pumping takes me away from my desk all the time. And my work place is by no means strict about this sort of thing, its more a feeling of personal responsibility.

Its hard to separate out what challenges are arising from having two kids and working, and what challenges are arising from having a 6 week old and working. Either way, the big thing I feel, that I have never felt before, is that every minute matters. I feel like there is something I should be doing every minute of every day. I need to hold baby. If I am not holding baby, I should be packing my lunch for the next day, or freezing milk, or doing laundry. Every minute counts. Maybe I will become more productive... or go insane. One or the other.
And that is my back to work story. I am sure ALL of these challenges will get easier with time and practice. Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Halloween that Wasn't... What I expected

About a month ago I started asking Benjamin what he wanted to be for Halloween. "A Ghost" he said resolutely. That was a surprise, I didn't know that he knew what a Ghost was even! I figured he would change his mind, and if not, a ghost costume is easy.

He didn't change his mind, we asked him again a couple times a week and it was always a ghost. Sometimes a Scary Ghost, sometimes a friendly Ghost, but always a ghost.

We wracked our brains for how to dress the rest of us. We considered being Ghost Busters, but were worried he would not like us "chasing" him. We considered Pac-Man, or Mario, but those seemed pretty far out there. So, we decided to all be ghosts. Aunt K started knitting a ghost costume for Felicity.

The festivities snuck up on us, and the night before Boo at the Zoo I found myself trying to fit Benjamin with a white jersey sheet from Target clearance. He didn't want to wear my creation, but I figured that's is because he was busy watching TV.

The next day came, Boo at the Zoo. He wouldn't have anything to do with his costume. Then he saw the other kids in costume and decided to put it on. That lasted about 2 minutes, then he said it "tasted funny" and wanted it off. Luckily since people pay for Boo at the Zoo, they don't really care if your kid has a costume. We had a blast anyways.

After that, he spent a good week saying he would not wear any costume, and no amount of discussing the material rewards could change that. I even pulled out our halloween box to see if he would be a shark or fire fighter or something. He put on the shark costume for about 30 seconds, but then demanded we take it off.

Then we went to the Halloween Horse Show. After interrogating us on why there was not a ghost horse, he declared briefly that he would dress his horse as a Pirate, then reverted to his idea of us ALL being ghosts. Also, when Ben saw Felicity's ghost hat he said he wanted a Goblin hat, and Aunt K agreed to make one.

Last night (10/30) we hosted our family Halloween party, ghost costumes all ready to go. Felicity was all dressed up. DH and I both put on our ghost sheets... but Benjamin wanted nothing to do with it. He also refused the requested Goblin hat. He said he wanted to be a pirate. My husband made a pirate hat. He said he would wear it on Halloween, but "not now". At bedtime he requested a pirate costume.

Halloween day... today. I had spare time because I am on maternity leave, so I ran up to the mall. I went to Lots for Tots (used children's) and found a Jake the Pirate costume for $5.

Ben got home from daycare, said yes, of course he would wear a pirate costume. We went to put it on, got the body (clothes) part on, and he started trying to tear it off.

This is the year my son wouldn't wear a Halloween Costume. 

Instead of going out to ToT, we watched Despicable Me 2. I still got some cute pictures of Ben and Felicity, he is just in a Halloween outfit instead of costume. We still had a good time, just not what I expected. Next year I think I will go in with fewer expectations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a month old? 5 weeks?

Felicity turned a month old last Wednesday, and 5 weeks old this week.

She is such a calm baby (knock on wood big time! I knock on wood every time I say it). She occasionally squawks, but in general, when I say "she is fussing" it means making some small little grunting noises or something. Crying is rare, maybe for a minute if she thinks its time to eat and I am not quite ready, but generally she is so calm.

She does well in tummy time. She can roll front to back consistently, and will do so eventually whenever you put her on her stomach. She is no where near rolling the opposite way. If you hold her upright, like on your shoulder, she often will look around perky. If she does not like how you are holding her, she will let you know, and throw her body weight around quite a bit.

I love her tiny feet... which grow everyday.

She is wearing size 0-3 month clothing, but I did put one 0-3 month sleeper away this week that she was too long for, a smaller-sized brand.

I think she is starting to smile socially, JUST starting, hard to be certain until she really does it, but I am pretty sure I have caught some glimpses of real smiles. She still laughs and smiles in her sleep quite a bit.

Her wakeful periods are getting longer. A couple hours in a row sometimes.

She is sleeping about the same, 2-3 hour stretches. Last night she did one nearly 4 hr stretch, but her brother woke me up in the middle of it, so it didn't really help me out.

She makes eye contact, follows our faces when we move around, and watches a rattle or other interesting object we hold up for her. She likes flashing lights and we have caught her watching TV once or twice (though we try to avoid having her in a position where this is an option).

We introduced a bottle. She takes it no problem.

I am absolutely in love with her. Some nicknames - Miss Felicity, Miss Fliss, and Fiji. I also find myself calling her little girl or baby girl quite a bit, and her big brother often calls her baby girl.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The First Three Weeks

By this time in Benjamin's life, I had made three posts already! Oh Felicity, you poor second child.

We only stayed in the hospital for 24 hrs with Felicity. We were anxious to get home where we could take care of Felicity AND Benjamin.
One of her Coming Home pictures.

People keep asking me if Felicity is a "good baby". All babies are good. That is what I tell them. Who is going to say they have a bad baby? I know, what these people are really asking is if she is an easy baby or a hard baby... does she sleep well? Eat well? I tell them these things too... after assuring them she is a good baby regardless of my answer to these questions. 

Felicity took to breast feeding very easily. We have had no real latch issues or supply issues. My milk came in about 40 hrs after she was born and she adjusted to it easily. She does like to click her tongue sometimes when she eats, but she still is clearly getting enough food. And, as with Ben, she only takes a few minutes to eat fully from one side, and usually one side fills her up. Sleep wise, she does fine for a newborn. She has had a couple of nights where she didn't want to go back to sleep after waking up at 3 or 4am... those are exhausting. We have also had a couple excellent nights where she slept for a 4 hr chunk. But, mostly its waking every 2-3 hrs. Pretty standard stuff.

Her first night at home. Originally I used a blanket swaddle, then a Halo Swaddle Sack, then one night she spit up on it and I didn't use any swaddle... and she slept the same. So no more swaddles for Felicity.

She isn't a screamer for the most part, though she is louder then she used to be. Really, she only cries if we put off her food too long (either because we want to change her diaper first or because I am hoping she will go back to sleep...) or occasionally if her diaper change results in a mess and outfit change. (Or if her brother smacks her in the head, but that is a separate issue).

I guess that is an issue I can address next!! Ben has been a doting brother. He really loves to hug and kiss her. His hugs really are him rubbing his head against hers, which I can understand because (1) I do that to him and (2) her hair is SO SOFT. He tries to hold her hand, tickle her toes. Mainly he just likes being close to her. We have had two incidents where he made her cry, and thankfully neither in the last week or so! The first one was our first incidence of sibling on sibling violence. Ben was frustrated that we turned off his movie, and decided to take this frustration out by smacking Felicity in the head. That was not fun. At least three of the four of us ended up in tears (though Felicity is no worse for the wear). The second was, as far as I can tell, an accident. I didn't see it. Benjamin says he "pushed to hard" on her, and I have the tendency to believe him. 

Ben's first time holding his little sister.

Felicity's nickname is Squeaker, or Beaker the Squeaker. She makes lots of little squeaking noises, and has since birth. Her dad occasionally calls her Fiji, an interpretation of how her initials would be pronounced. She likes to be held, she likes when her dad sings soccer fan songs and football fight songs to her. She does not mind the car seat. She likes being warm and cozy. She likes to sleep in the late morning the most.. (like right now). She sleeps well in the Moby wrap as well. 

Tummy time!!
She does have some oomph to her muscles! Pretty much the day we came home she did a "sit up" in my lap where she curled up and forward. She does well with head control, and, believe it or not, she has already rolled over once!! Front to back. I have been looking for a repeat performance to assure it was not a fluke, but no such luck. She comes close frequently though, just wiggling her little torso and twisting it every which way when she gets upset in tummy time. 

First bath!
She had her first bath! Her umbilical stump fell off rather abruptly, and left some oozing, so we let it heal a bit before doing her bath. She actually didn't mind the bath at all! Nice warm water! What she didn't like was coming out of the warm water!! She also doesn't like having her eyes covered, so when the hoodie towel (or any hoodie or hat) falls over her eyes she becomes upset.

Play Time!

We have not been cautious at all with taking her out... hopefully that does not come back to bite us. She HAS already had a small cold (gift from her brother I think). It was nothing serious. She has been at Target multiple times as well as several other stores, the mall, and many restaurants, both of our workplaces, and other offices (like to get her added to insurance), and of course to the park when it has been warm enough, her brother still needs to play!! 

Overall, the transition to two kids has gone smoothly. DH does most of the stuff with DS so I can focus on her, but we occasionally switch off, both for the sake of bonding and our sanity. The big upcoming challenge will be when I return to work. I have a "plan" for how to get ready (pacifier at 1 week, pumping at 2 weeks, bottle and nap schedule at 4 weeks), but even with that, learning to get out of the house on time is guaranteed to be a challenge! Wish me luck. Allow me to leave you with one more picture, just because she is cute. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Birth Story (the second time around...)

Felicity obviously did not want to come on her own. At my appointment on Sept 18th (40w6d) my numbers were exactly the same as they had been for weeks (1cm, 50%), not even far enough along to try a membrane sweep. With my induction scheduled for Sunday night (Monday morning), I pretty much resigned myself to the induction process and did my best to enjoy my last weekend pregnant; not an easy task.

I have to admit, I spent the weekend alternating between strong anxiety and waxing philosophic (with a sentimental bend). The two images from the weekend that I wanted to remember as being related to Felicity's birth: the leaves really started to change color, (tufts of red and yellow amongst the green of hawk ridge), and the sunflowers in my mom's garden in full bloom.

Sunday evening. The moment had arrived. I put Benjamin to bed and DH&I headed to the hospital (leaving MIL&FIL at our house). We arrived at the hospital around 7:30pm and got all checked in. They checked my cervix and I was at 2.75cm - I had progressed quite a bit since my last appointment! That was very promising for a successful induction. My midwife came in and placed a Foley bulb. Normally, the Foley just is meant to prep the cervix and help dilation, but it made me start contracting. I had really regular contractions for about two hours and we were hopeful my body would take over, but they died off and changed to just cramping around midnight and I tried to get some sleep. (As a side note, they offer/promoted the Foley as an out patient procedure. I can't imagine doing this. It was incredibly uncomfortable/awkward having it in at the hospital, and it made me bleed. Going home would have been a disaster).

In the morning I had a small breakfast, then they removed the Foley and started a pitocin IV. I was at 4cm.They started the dose really low, and came in every half hour to up it. It took a long time for anything to start. Finally I started to get some mild contractions around 11am, but still so mild and inconsistent. I say in a yoga ball and watched a movie. The contractions intensified around 1pm to the degree where it actually felt like labor (strong and regular), and then continued to worsen quickly. At 3pm I moved from the yoga ball to the bed and they checked me again. I was starting too try and figure out if I could really go "natural" because the pain was significant. I was at 6.5cm, just shy of my 7cm mental goal, so I hung on and continued without meds.

The nurses kept saying it would be soon now, and then backing off. Well, they should have been more confident. After that things really went fast. Soon I was in extremely intense contractions that felt like I couldn't continue to endure. After a really intense contraction I felt the baby move, which seemed odd, but she must have slipped the rest of the way into position because at the next contraction I felt the pressure to push. The nurse checked me, I was 9.5, just a rim, and ready to push. She called the doctor and they started to take apart the bed for labor. Those 2-3 contractions were the worst, all this pain/energy and not able to push yet (it's called transition and it's notorious). Then they said to go ahead and push as I felt the need. I pushed on my own once or twice. She was right there. The doctor said I was tearing, likely in the same place as Benjamin's birth (which was not pretty). The doctor wanted to do an episiotomy and I wasn't going to object, I just wanted to be done. I pushed 3-4 contractions (which were very close together), the first two they told me to push gently because the episiotomy, then I pushed hard for two, and Felicity came right out! They plopped her on my stomach, she started crying right away.

She was perfect. The nurses could not find anything to mark her down for, even her fingers were nice and pink, so she was given an apgar score of 10 (despite the nicu unit having been called in, they wetter wrong about the meconium). The nurse said she hadn't given a ten in years. I held her on my chest while they delayed the cord clamping, then I watched the doctor cut the cord and I scooped her up. It was an incredible experience, and surreal because how fast we went from me feeling the pressure to push to holding her in my arms (really, an hour from 6.5 cm, can I do this to holding her in my arms).

She cried for quite some time, and didn't calm until DH held her for a few minutes. Then he handed her back to me and I breastfed. DH started calling people and the room slowly cleared out. Eventually the nurse measured her - 7lbs, 13oz, 22 inches long!! Tall baby. Our baby, our love!!


 A Comparison

I assume it is natural to compare birth experiences between children. DH claims some of the differences a perceive are due to recall, but here it is anyways.

The biggest obvious difference was that with Ben I went on my own, this time I was induced using pitocin, a drug that mimics oxytocin and is labeled as "the devil" by many women due to the intensity of contractions it can cause.

Benjamin (no meds)                                        -----   Felicity (pitocin)
40w6d.                                                                   41w3d
Labor was 10-20 hrs depending.                             Labor was 3-6 hrs, depending.
I pushed for 2+ hrs.                                                I pushed for 15-20 minutes
No epidural/pain meds.                                           No epidural/pain meds
I tore naturally, second degree.                               Episiotomy, degree unknown.
Contractions intensified slowly.                              Contractions intensified very quickly.
I was "trance like" and hardly knew time               I was very aware of surroundings and time.
       was passing.
Mentally, I felt like this is what my body                Mentally, I didn't trust the process, I felt
       was doing and I trusted it and needed                    like my pain was being caused by the
       to just accept/get through it.                                     IV, could be stopped, and might not be                                                                                                                                                            working.
I had limited monitoring. I was more free             They were constantly monitoring and                    

       to move around. No monitors to watch.                   fiddling  around with my cords.
When he was born, I didn't really feel it.                I felt her slide out very distinctively and  
       and had to be told it was done. I was                       knew I was done. I was much more
       on auto pilot to push.                                             aware and present.
They whisked him across the room to be            They plopped her on my chest still attached
Stitches & placenta delivery were extremely        Stitches & placenta delivery were quick
        painful. Maybe the worst part.                               and relatively painless (twinges).  
I bled more post partum then they wanted           I bled more post partum then they wanted

        and had to remain on meds.                                   and had to remain on meds.
I stayed in the hospital 2 nights with baby,          I stayed in the hospital for the minimum 24 hrs,           
               by choice.                                                                  by choice.
Three weeks after delivery I still had                   Three weeks after delivery and pretty much 
       muscle/skeletal pain and pain due                           feel great. No muscle/skeletal pain and  
       stitches. Short standing tolerance.                          very very occasional twinge from stitches
                                                                                                  Normal tolerance for standing. 

So... Basically what I am saying... is this birth was easier in many ways. It went faster, and contrary to my research and preconceived notions, the episiotomy has made for a MUCH easier recovery than the tear did.  I am glad I listened to my doctors on that one... I think it really depends on the person. In my case, w the history of a bad tear, the episiotomy made sense. Also, a smooth induction has its strengths, so fast! I think my nurse who was managing the pitocin was great, she got it right. Despite the intensity of contractions, I never had them one after another as you hear about in the Pitocin horror stories. And it was so nice having the baby born at 4pm instead of 2am. I really think the shorter labor is why I am doing better in recovery regarding muscle/skeletal pain. It was more difficulty to "go natural" with Pitocin/induction because I was not able to get into any sort of rhythm or "trance" with the labor, somewhat because it moved fast, but also because of the IV and monitoring and mental block. Of course, this lack of focus on my part made me much more aware of the birth itself and in that way the experience was much better... well and that the hospital handed her directly to me instead of whisking her off to measure right away. Anyways,that is the comparison. Both births had their ups and downs, and induction wasn't so bad. Because it went smoothly. (The problem is, you can't know in advance if it will!!).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


People act very strangely around pregnant women. I don't understand it. I get it, its exciting, and weird, that I am growing a little human.

All that weirdness just increases exponentially as the due date approaches, and if you go over the due date? Wow. People go totally crazy and stop thinking of the most basic curtesies.

- Why haven't you been induced?
Listen, I know it may seem "easy" and you might know plenty of stories of induction "gone right", but induction is no laughing matter. Its a complicated decision and its between me and my doctor, so I don't need to hear your opinion on it. Especially if you are going to reference the experience of your daughter/sister/niece. Every situation is different. Trust me to be my own advocate, thanks.

- Are you feeling anything "Down There"?
Sometimes this is literally what is said. Other times they don't actually finish the sentence, but make a strange gesture towards your stomach/crotch area. This question seriously freaks me out. These are not people that I want to discuss my cervic, uterus, or mucous plug with. Thank you. I imagine that the people who ask you this are the same ones that after labor will ask you things like "did you tear?" .... None of your god damn business. There are much nicer, less personal ways to ask about contractions. IF you must.

- You are still here?/Still Pregnant?
I have actually had coworkers who asked this multiple times in the same day. Its extremely aggravating. The level of idiocy that underlies this question is obvious. If you are asking me this question, yes, yes I am still here. And I may not be happy about it. And I certainly don't need your expectations of my absence to be stacked upon whatever other expectations I am facing, whether they be my own or well-meaning family members. I have actually had coworkers who asked this multiple times in the same day.

- I haven't heard from you/seen you on facebook. Are you having the baby?
 I know you mean well and are just excited, but just like the question above, I really don't need all of your expectations stacked upon my own. ESPECIALLY if I am trying to make a conscious effort to keep facebook posted so you DONT do this. ESPECIALLY if I already have told you that I am trying to avoid this question. Also, you don't get "points" for being the first to figure out if I am in labor, and I guarentee you that DH and I are not patient people. We will post on facebook promptly after the baby is born.

Questions to Ask At Your Own Risk (they MIGHT be OK)
- How are you feeling? I am perfectly OK with this question. It has a nice, open-ended feel without expectation. I can answer it as specifically or generally as I like, which will probably be reflective of what my relationship with you is. I can tell you everything is OK, or that I am ready to go home, or that I am really crampy (I wish).

- When do you think he/she will come? Again, nice and open ended. I can just say "i don't know" if I am in a bad mood, but usually I don't mind telling people I think it will still be awhile. I don't mind telling them what my planned induction date is. In fact, I would like to publicize both these facts to try and prevent other stupid questions.

BTW, if you are taking notes, the above two questions are the only way to get info on contractions without sounding like you want a lesson in female anatomy.

Questions/Comments that are ALWAYS OK
- You look great! (or any variation - Your bump is so cute! I love that shirt! etc etc)
- You are doing really great! Good job hanging in there!
- Good luck with everything! Hope it goes smoothly (or any variation)
- Can I get you anything? Soda? Peanut M&Ms? Foot Rub?

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Serious Boy (and 40+3)

I am tempted to do another ME update, but it has been much longer since I have talked about Ben. But just a quick ditty about me. I am 40w3d pregnant with no signs of an end. Hoping I can be dilated enough by Thursday to have my membrane stripped, but no guarentees. I will be induced next Monday, the 22nd, if nothing happens by then, by my own choosing. That date feels right to me, 10 days late. Physically I probably feel better than 2-3 weeks ago. I actually wish I felt a little worse because maybe then I would believe labor was coming.

  Benjamin is such a serious child! Not that he never laughs or goes crazy, he certainly does, but he takes things so literally a lot of the time. We have had multiple times where he has gotten upset because an adult tried to joke around with him and he took them seriously. One time his Aunt K joked that she was going to wear his shoes home. You know, "Will these shoes fit me?" type stuff. He seemed to "get" that it was a joke until she left, then he was all concerned with whether she had taken his shoes. We had him at a restaurant. The waitress brought the food,then, realizing the Mac&Cheese was for a kid, took it back to the kitchen to put it on a cooler plate. The other waitress made the joke "she is going to take it back to the kitchen and eat it" and Ben flipped out, started a total meltdown, except luckily just as it began the food arrived and was placed in front of him. Still took him a few minutes to recover. He likes to pretend to steal other people's noses, but if you take his, he gets very serious and demands it back. Recently DH made a comment like 'I am going to eat you up" and Ben got very distraught "don't eat me!!". He is a serious child.

Ben is soundly in the "WHY??" Stage and wants an explanation for everything. He likes to talk and know what is going on around him.

He likes: The Mall. Vehicles. Emergency Rescue anything (fire trucks especially). Construction equiptment. McDonalds (parent of the year award here), peanut m&ms (all candy but I think this is particularly note worthy as it is a recenty introduction), trains, playing hide&seek (the toddler way where he comes out of hiding as soon as you are done counting), being told stories (where his friends are all rescue workers), chocolate milk, lemonade, olives, books, the show Mighty Machines (particularly the snow plow and submarine episodes), "his baby" (kissing, hugging, singing to my stomach), his stuffed animals (He particularly likes little ones. He has a hedgehog, alligator, panda bear, fox and reindeer that all serve as his buddies), his green BP Semi Truck that he inherited from his Great Grandpa (which has flashing lights and a horn), playgrounds, sand, The Rose Garden and the "castle" you can walk to from their, books with flaps to open, Lion King, slapstick humor, apples from Grandma's apple tree (even the crab apples), his aunts and uncles, staying home to play, Mac&Cheese, his buddy Rex at daycare, taking his shoes off and dumping the sand out himself, asking the question "why" or "what is that", boats, singing, climbing on things, sidewalk chalk, splashing in puddles,cherries, tonka trucks, his dad (especially at bedtime), polar fleece, baths, having someone to play with, and tarter sauce (All condiments really).

  He Dislikes: transitions (if he is home, he doesn't want to leave, if we are out and about he doesn't want to go home), going to the table to eat when he would rather be playing, things being destroyed or torn down or broken, loud noises (even if its something he "likes" like vehicles!!), going to daycare (though he is fine once we are there), eggs, veggies, the idea of other people playing with his toys, the unknown, football (or, us having football on), changing out of pajamas, malts, being ignored, playing alone, potty training, being called little, sudden changes to plans, and being told he is wrong

Friday, September 5, 2014

39 Weeks

39 Weeks pregnant... one to go.

Things are going well!!
By this time last pregnancy, I was pretty desperate for baby to COME OUT. Mainly though this was because I was anxious about the fact my doctors wanted to induce me for no good reason (They alleged that IVF made me higher risk to go over-due, but that is blatantly false if you read any research on it. Increased risks with IVF end around week 20).

Anyways. This time there is no talk of inducing me earlier than any other healthy mom would be encouraged to induce. Actually I haven't discussed induction with my doctor at all yet, which is the way I like it. It shouldn't be part of the conversation until I am at my due date.

But, allow me to get off my soap box and tell you how things are going.

We decided at my appt this week that the baby has dropped. I suspected it from the increased pains and pressures, doctor confirmed it. No other signs of progress really. I have been 50% effaced and <1cm dilated for the past two weeks... not even as progressed as I was with Benjamin at this point. I fully expect this baby to arrive on or, more likely, after her due date of 9/12. I have some increased pressure and pains from her dropping (frankly it kind of feels like I got kicked in the crotch), slightly increased swelling but still not severe, occasional heartburn. Some days my back our hip hurts, but it's not everyday. My knees don't like the extra weight I am carrying. Some times I feel like there isn't enough room in my abdomen for all my organs our my lungs.... pretty normal pregnancy symptoms really and nothing bad or consistent. That is probably why I can be so patient. I am far enough along that I would be ok with going into labor, but I feel no urgency for it. I also have this notion that I still might get some stuff done before she comes... we will see!! I am craving sweets, especially anything with peanuts or peanut butter.
No big plans over the weekend. Hopefully watch a lot of football and do some more cleaning nesting. I hope to post a Benjamin update soon.

Monday, August 18, 2014

36 Weeks - Another Comparison

I did not blog often about my symptoms last pregnancy, but I did do one post at 36w2d. Today I am 36w3d for pregnancy #2. Let's do a comparison:

... I have to pee every time I go from seated to standing position?
Yep. Pretty much has been this way for the past 3-4 weeks.
... my ankles are routinely the size of large oranges?
Nope. My ankle/feet sweling has been minimal so far.
... my "morning" sickness and related food aversions are back?
Half true. I do have more nausea again then I did, but nothing serious. And not really any food aversions.
... I keep getting anxious for no reason, or about things that I can't control, like hospital bills and the baby's position?
Nope. Hasn't really been an issue. I am feeling pretty chill at the moment. I mean, I do have the normal fears - "have a i felt baby move recently?", but really quite minor.
... my hands swell, especially at night, and the finger joints hurt?
A little true. I am having some hand swelling, especially at night. But its pretty mild and no joint pain.
... I am feeling like we need to get everything done for the nursery NOW, even things that don't really need to be done before the baby arrives?
I am feeling the need to get things done, but its stuff that really DOES need to be done. This weekend I Installed the car seat and washed the NB/0-3m Size clothes. I want to pack my hospital bag and get the PnP set up (will be her bed for the first several months). I think these are reasonable goals. LOL
... after never questioning it for one second in my entire life, I am NOW questioning if I will like being a parent?
I haven't questioned at all whether we should be having a second. I do have trepidation about going through the pains of a newborn again (labor, sleepless nights, breastfeeding), but not any "do we really want this life change" thoughts.

So... pretty different overall. I guess I am feeling better than last time all around, which is good. I am wracking my brains to think of if I have any other symptoms that I didn't have at all last time, and nothing comes to mind.

In other news, Benjamin has been extraordinarily sweet about baby lately (in general, but especially lately). He always has enjoyed giving my belly kisses and hugs. A couple of weeks ago he started saying "Felicity (or... feh-wiss-i-tee), I am waiting for you to COME OUT". This weekend he discovered the fact she could be awake or asleep, moving or not. He will ask if she is awake. He will come over and put his hand and try to feel movement. He knows that its her but he feels moving up at top of my stomach. It is pretty darn cute. Yesterday we asked Ben to sing her a song when he was being all lovey dovey, and he sand the entirety of his ABCs in a tiny little gentle baby voice. Last night he was hugging a bit too roughly (I am sure anyone who has been pregnant knows there is times when even a gentle touch to the stomach feels rough such as the weight of a 2.5 yr old head... if it pushes the baby into your bladder for example). Anyways, I said "I know you are trying to be gentle but you have to be even MORE gentle. And he slowed down and was super gentle (i.e. held up the weight of his head haha). He also has done things like taking a game card with a picture of a baby on it and "giving" it to Felicity, or trying to set it on my stomach. This morning I was explaining how it would work. I told him "When it is time for Felicity to come, I will go to the hospital and you will go with Grandma and Grandpa, then they will bring you to the hospital and you will get to meet Felicity. She will be a baby that you can see and touch and there won't be anything in my stomach anymore". He got excited/smiled at this. I just hope the enthusiasm and gentleness continues when she is here and taking my attention away from him!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

35 Weeks

Today I am 35 Weeks pregnant, 35 Days to go. I had a doctors appt and everything was pretty much perfect. BP = 117/72, (Baby's) HR = 147/minute, Fundal Height = 35-36 cm (weeks), baby is head down.

Normally I would start going every week at this point, but I talked my doctor into letting me skip one more week. I go back on the 22nd. Then it will be weekly.

I am still feeling pretty decent. I get random aches and pains, random swelling sometimes, but nothing that has stuck or been a chronic/consistent problem. I am still even sleeping relatively comfortably (knock on wood). I got my hair cut earlier this week, had her take an extra half inch, told her I didn't know when I would be back (normally I go about every 2 months). Baby is getting bigger every day, kicking me in awkward places, stretching, rolling, and in general being interesting.

I keep getting comments at work that I "look ready to go!". They annoy me. Don't short change me! This baby is supposed to cook for 5 more weeks, and I guarentee I can get bigger than I am. I actually don't feel big at all, which is probably why I keep doing things like running my belly into people in crowded spaces and thinking I can bend/reach more than I can. For the record, I am currently 194 lbs (per the doctors office). This is roughly 40 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight. I would like to stay below 200lbs this go round... we will see what happens though because I don't plan to take any actions to make the difference haha.

Speaking of which. I am addicted to donuts. At least I am still taking the stairs at work? (6 stories up).

That is all I have got! Everything is going well, crossing my fingers it continues to do so.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Up the Shore (and a couple new quotes)

Saturday was fantastic. We went up the shore. I love going up the shore, and we had not been yet this year. I wanted to go before I got any fatter (or more swollen, more sore, more out of breath)
We met at my parents house to consolidate into one care, and then headed north. Participants were myself, DH, Benjamin, and my parents. It was a full car! We stopped in Two Harbors at the grocery store to stock up for a picnic (and get some donuts!). Benjamin picked a donut called a Honeymooner. Never heard of it. It was amazing. It was like an apple turnover, very buttery, but it also had some sort of honey glaze and honey/caremal frosting on it. Good choice Ben, good choice.
I was sort of in charge of the planning and knew what I wanted to do, so we headed all the way up to Tettegouche with the plans of working our way back. For those of you who are not familiar with "a trip up the shore", "the shore" is the Northern Shore of Lake Superior. You can drive around Route 61, near the water, all the way up to Canada if you want. Its about 150 miles from Duluth to Canada (At an angle up the shore). There are countless stops along the way - multiple state parks, overlooks, public beaches, piers, harbors, cute little towns, restaurants, etc etc etc. Many I have done, more I haven't. So, anytime you go up the shore you have to decide which exact attracts to attend. Today was my choice.

Up to Tettegouche! It is the biggest state park along the North Shore (though not the most visited, that goes to Gooseberry Falls, which is closer to Duluth, extraordinarily accessible, and has beautiful water falls). Tettegouche is known for good hiking, and the Baptism River. I wanted to go to Tettegouche in order to walk the Shovel Point trail. A loop trail that goes about a half mile to the end of a unique rock peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. I am not sure how long it has been since I hiked out to the end of Shovel's Point. I can tell you that last time I was at Tettegouche, DH was visiting me over a summer home from College (think 2003 or 2004), and I don't think I did the trail that day. The trail has been changed DRASTICALLY. It is no longer just a dirt path that takes you on a relatively gentle elevation change to the point. It is now a series of boardwalks and staircases that routes you down and then back up up and up. The weather was sunny and warm (getting hotter every second). Some parts of the trail had a great breeze, most of it was shaded, but still it was HOT and us, being geniuses, did not bring water with us (we had it in the car, but not on the trail). But we all made it. Benjamin did GREAT. He walked nearly the entire way himself, maybe was carried 100-200 feet the whole way for quick breaks. The view from the top and the end was wonderful, and I had forgotten how unique and interesting the coast line north of shovel point is (lots of small cliffs, caves and inlets). I really would be interested in kayaking along there someday. Meanwhile, the whole point in my head for walking to the end of Shovel Point is to look back on Palisade Head. We took in the scenery and then headed back to the visitors center.

Back at the visitors center, we found a nice shady picnic table and indulged in a wonderful picnic. Ben was hilarious, he was obsessed with his bottle of juice. We don't give him juice often and he doesn't get to drink out of bottles with screw off tops often, so it was a novelty. He did eat some other things but the main thing he wanted to do was open the bottle, take a drink, but the lid on the bottle. It was adorable.

After Tettegouche we headed south to Palisade Head. Its only about a five minute drive. I am SURE I have blogged about Palisade Head before, seeing as its probably my favorite place in the world. We get to the top of Palisade Head (you can drive up), and the small parking lot is FULL of motorcycles, some sort of club cruised their together. DS loved it! The bikes started to leave right after we got there and everytime another one turned its engine on he would spin around to watch it leave. Palisade Head is almost always a mandatory stop on our trips 'up the shore'. This time I wanted to go there to look back on Shovel Point, where we had just been. I have no idea why this amuses me so much, but it does. Well away from the cliff, there are plenty of rocks for climbing which Ben thoroughly enjoyed.

Our final stop of the day was Iona's Beach. If you google it, you will find it on lists of "hidden gems". Its a great place that very few people seem to know about (though more every year I think). It is a beach covered in pinkish colored rocks. Very peaceful. If the wind is strong enough, the rocks washing up on the beach can take on a musical quality. The weather was quite hot, perfect weather to sit on the beach with your feet in the cold water (or, in rocks cooled by the cold water). We spent quite a long time just sitting their enjoying the lake and weather. We threw some rocks in, DS "swam" in the rocks, kicked the rocks around, climbed on his dad, and in general a good time was had by all.

By this time it was past 3pm. DS fell asleep within minutes of being put in the car and we made the drive back down to Two Harbors (another stop at the store for dinner supplies), and back to my parents house. Because it was so late already, we decided to just stay for dinner. Most of us (Gpa, Gma, myself, Ben and my little sis) went swimming in the pool there. DS loves swimming. We have had many swim lessons, but this is different. We got him a Puddle Jumper, which is a type of life vest. He is learning quickly. He learned today how to float on his back, that he doesn't need to flail to stay afloat when he is wearing the vest, and about the consequences of jumping in without help (dunking). He did NOT want to get out. There was a storm moving in and we all got cold, but he claimed he was not cold. He was shivering so hard. This situation is how we got the following gem of a quote:

ME: Ben! We need to get out. You are cold. You are shivering.
ME: You are shaking!
BEN: I am shaking my head because that means NO. I said NO.

He repeated this last part several times while we all laughed our heads off about it. He wanted to stay in that pool SO BAD. We eventually got him out, inside and warmed up though!

It was a really fantastic day. Before I sign off, one other recent quote/development. As of last night, Benjamin started talking about the baby in a new way. He has said several times now "I am going to put my ear on your belly and say to Felicity I am waiting for you to come out!" (the exact words vary slightly but the phrase "I am waiting for you to come out" is recurrent). It is adorable. And he did it this morning (said to my belly, "I am waiting for you to come out". So cute.

Friday, July 18, 2014

32 Weeks Pregnant

32 weeks pregnant today... 8 weeks left.
Wow. Time flies. I can't even began to describe how fast time is passing for me these days. I know, it does for everyone.

People keep asking me if I am getting excited, they think I "cant wait"... I hate the question for two reasons. First, because I have been excited for months, so no I am not just now getting excited. Second, because if anything, I want time to slow down. I don't want to rush these months. Even if everything works out perfect with my life, I will get to spend precious little of it pregnant, and I enjoy being pregnant. I enjoy the anticipation. I enjoy the excitement. Of course I want to meet my little girl, but I want to enjoy every day until I do meet her as well. Not to mention, I just have a lot I want to do still before the chaos of a newborn.

I know, part of my ability to nonchalantly want pregnancy to slow down is how good I have been feeling. I mean, of course I am tired and have aches and pain, but nothing major. I am in a facebook group with about 50 other moms who are due in September, half of them seem to be falling apart- SPD (google it... sounds horrid), swelling, back pain.... thats not me so far. (Knock on wood). I had one week about a month ago where I felt crappy (sore back, hips, etc). I thought that was the beginning being miserable, but it miraculously went away. (knock on wood again..). So what symptoms do I have? ... Lets see. I need to pee a lot (and need to work on my Kegels if you know what I mean). I get tired easily, and its difficult to lift things up from floor level. I can't carry Ben too far. Some headaches. Occasional heartburn. Occasional morning gagging still, but I haven't thrown up in weeks. Just in the past three days, possible VERY mild swelling in my feet. I am hormonal and tear up at just about ANYTHING. Thats about it.

I am not sure how it compares to last pregnancy... I didn't blog about my last pregnancy. I may have had a physical journal where I wrote down symptoms, but I haven't bothered to look for it. BUT I feel like its easier. I feel like this pregnancy is a bit easier than last time. I don't know if that is accurate though. Last pregnancy I remember being INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE for sleeping.. I am not sure when that started. I had a whole pile of pillows I slept on and still ended up sleeping sitting up half the time. So far this pregnancy, no issues sleeping to speak of, besides the cat Nox not accepting that my belly took her spot. I use one extra pillow, and am comfortable. Last pregancy, I started swimming to alleviate back pain around 28 weeks (and could tell if I hadn't been in too long, I had to go at least every 3-4 days). This pregnancy, I have not had significant back pain (knock on wood).

On the other side... Last pregnancy I followed the doctor-prescribed "don't lift more than 20 lbs", this pregnancy I lift and carry a 30lb boy on a daily basis. This pregnancy, I walk up 6 flights of stairs a few times a day because I hate our building's elevator. I don't know if these things are the difference... but I feel like they might be helping. We will see how I do in the days to come.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Long time, no type. I think I need to do a Benjamin update.

Height: Tall enough to reach light switches from the floor.. I have been meaning to measure him and haven't.
Weight: Around 30 lbs. He loved playing on the bathroom scale

Speech: He is a talker, what can I say. He has a large vocabulary and is constantly telling stories and asking questions. One of the things that prompted this post is that last night he sang the entire ABCs all on his own. They have been working on it at daycare the last two weeks. His favorite question to ask recently is "Whats in ____?" Mostly with food, but if he runs out of food, he gets creative. What's in chicken nuggets? What's in blueberries? What's in Chocolate Milk? What's in french fries? I he is in the right mood he will ask about everything on his plate, then switch to "What's in a mouth?" "What's in a car?". He also has been very into making classifications/clarifications lately. Things like "Some dinosaurs are nice, some dinosaurs are scary". A recent one was "Some big ore boats are load, some big ore boats are quiet. Some little boats are quiet. Some little boats are a little loud". He doesn't like to admit he is doesn't know something, or that he is wrong. For example, the following conversation from this morning:

ME: Your shirt has a dinosaur on it! Do you know a song about dinosaurs?
BEN: Yes
ME: What song? Can you sing it?
BEn: Talk about a song about dinosaurs.

He uses that phrase - "talk about ___" instead of saying he doesn't know. Its cute, he wants you to tell him new things so he can learn. I love it. 

He forecasts the weather. I know I put this on facebook, but for prosperity, it needs in the blog:

BEN (Looking off into the sky): What is that?
DH: a seagull
ME: Unless you are looking farther away. What are you looking at?
BEN: I am looking at what is going to happen.
ME: You are looking at the future??
BEN: Yes I am looking at the future.
(DH and I crack up... this is funny, right?? then he blows our minds).
Ben: I am looking at the dark clouds. It's going to rain, it's time to go home.

He immediately started to walk to the car. LOL. It was pretty hilarious. The only bad thing with his speech is that he is pretty hard to understand. His vocabular is amazing, but his articulation is poor. He drops certain letters and pronounces others incorrectly (Grim is Dim for example, Yes is Wes etc). We were told if this is still an issue when he is 3 we should seek speech therapy. We shall see. For now, I translate a lot for him.

MOTOR SKILLS: Ben is learning to climb ladders at the playground. He is a pretty cautious child and DH has been trying to refrain from saying "be careful" to telling Ben to "go for it". He is learning to hang now as well. We are going to "Wednesday Night at the Races" next week. I am hoping he has a good time!

Besides being cautious, Benjamin is just not a physically curious child, if that makes sense. He doesn't seek out physical adventures, he doesn't get into things, he doesn't explore new areas by seeing what is there and what he can reach and what he can do with it. He doesn't have any interest in potty training, in taking off (or putting on) his own clothes. He isn't a kid that is going to put a magazine in the toilet to see what happens, or stuff cheese in an outlet. Stuff like that wouldn't even occur to him. He explores the world with words, not actions and experiments.

INTERESTS: His toy of choice is for sure cars. He has about a gajillion matchbox cars, they are everywhere. In the cars, in the living room, in the bathroom. He often takes one (and only one) into daycare to leave in his cubby for the day. He makes a variety of engine, brake, and siren noises, and if questioned will demonstrate them for you "this is a loud siren.. this is a quiet siren" etc. If asked to use his indoor engine/siren, he will usually, very very seriously say "I know its loud but I got to make the loud siren noise". It is a very serious matter to him. He drives the cars, he parks the cars. Lots of cars parked in rows, then in rows in other places, then back in the first place.

He recently discovered his Elmo Matching game (Memory cards). He likes to flip one over and hold it, then look under each of the others until he finds the match, then put all the matches in a line.
He likes music. We listen to classical music in the car, and recently he has gotten into "playing" on the piano or on a special night, getting my violin out to play around with. When we listen to classical music, he wants to know what instruments are playing. He can sort of identify violin, guitar, and drums, though he often gets them confused with other things (piano for example could be labelled as any of these things). He likes to sing songs too.

He likes doing puzzles. He likes books. His favorite book at this exact moment is "B for Bulldozer", but it changes frequently. We have one from the library called "Go Go Go STOP" that he likes a lot. He likes going to the library and reading new books there, and picking some to bring home.

He loves playing outside, pushing dumptrucks around in dirt piles, pulling wagons, riding his big-wheel style bike or scooters or pedal go karts or whatever is available. He loves sidewalk chalk.

Another milestone of the last few days, besides the ABCs -- On Monday night, out of no where, he told DH at bedtime that his pacifier was bad. We are not sure if he meant it tasted bad or it just was bad, either way he didn't want it. Totally voluntarily he has slept the last two nights with no pacifier, and done pretty darn well. Its one battle I was expecting to fight that now I don't have to.

We have introducted Benjamin to the world of computers. He plays on a couple apps on my Kindle. The main app we use right now is Thomas the Train. He can Color, do puzzles (that play a reward video), or a matching game. I think its time to find him a new app because he spends most of his time on this one now just enjoying navigating through the menus and seeing if he can find a "new" place in the app.

He also likes movies, a bit too much perhaps. I can't be sure, but I would say his favorite movie is Wreck-It Ralph, which is good because I like that movie too. He also really likes "lightning mcqueen" (Cars 2). We recently did Tarzan and Pocohantas. He loved Meeko in Pocohantas and laughs SO HARD at this. We watched Land Before Time once ("Cera ran away"), and he liked that, and he occasionally requests my We Sing tape ("the one with the band"). We occasionally watch the Fox and Hound, Kung Fu Panda (1-2), and other random netflix stuff, like Mighty Machines television series. We have tried to cut back on TV time with the beautiful weather, but he watches it in the morning while we are getting ready for work, and if he is sick its all bets off movie palooza.

I am out of time! I am sure there are other things I wanted to say.. we will see if I add them later or not.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pasta Creation

I made up a recipe tonight and it turned out pretty great.

Amanda's Pasta Creation

1 large chicken breast - cubed/cooked  
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 package pepperoni, chopped
12 oz bowtie pasta
1 Bag spinach
1/4 cup italian dressing
1/2 jar of marinara sauce
Some Cheese (I used shredded Mozzarella and Romano)
Olive Oil

1. Cook the pasta per package instructions
2. Heat some olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and red peppers, as well as a bit of paprika and Italian seasoning, for about a minute
3. Add the spinach, cover and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes
4. Add the chicken, pepperoni, and tomato. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes
5. Add the pasta, marinara sauce, and Italian dressing, stir well
6. Mix in a handful or two of cheese (to taste).

It is really good. I like cheese so I mixed even more into my bowl at the table. The only thing that could make it better is if you had time to cook the chicken the same day, you could cook it in the spices as well and add more flavor. I had cooked the chicken in advance so I didn't have this option.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Golden Birthday

I just celebrated my Golden Birthday this past weekend.

It did not exactly go as expected, but it still was good. I spent all day Friday at work trying to figure out what I Wanted to do in the evening to celebrate my Birthday - even asking friends and everyone for ideas. Well, that was all time wasted. I arrived home to a cranky, mess of an over-tired, sick toddler who did not understand why we couldn't "eat Birthday" right then and there when I walked in the door. All of that stress and the lack of plans sent me into a hormonal tailspin. It ended up with me upstairs cooling off while DH fed the boy some leftovers for dinner.

Once I got my sanity back, I came downstairs. We made birthday hats out of contruction paper and ate leftover work cake to appease the boy. DH got me a beautiful mamma necklace, and in light of recent comments from me about turning into a Buddhist, a paper-water desk thing (yeah that description is nonsensical.. oh well). Then, MIL and I ran out and picked up our dinner (we went for Arby's so I could at least get Jalepeno Poppers), and rent a movie. We watched The Book Thief. Excellent book, and was handled very well in the transition to a movie. I highly recommend it.

Saturday I got my real Birthday Meal (well, round one). I have been craving this since Mother's Day (when I thought of it and it didn't work out) - DH, Ben and I went to Duluth Grille for Breakfast. I got the Corn Beef Hash. LOVE that stuff. Then we met MIL and FIL back at home, spent the afternoon just relaxing, the boy was still pretty tired/not feeling 100%. In the evening, FIL made us fresh-caught Canadian Walleye (that he just brought back from his fishing trip. It was delicious. Then we watched Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels as FIL had not seen it and its a great movie.

Sunday Morning early, MIL and FIL had to leave. MIL has been here the entire week, FIL a night on either end of the week. Its always hard to see them go. Ben enjoys them so much, and they are great to have around (very helpful). I mean, it is nice to have a bit of quiet after having guests for awhile, but there is also so much I had hoped to do with them that we didn't get to do! Maybe next time.
I spent most of Sunday at my parent's house.. Mostly relaxing. In the evening we celebrated our Birthday's (my brother and I). The meal and company were both great.

I have to admit. This is not how I pictured spending my Golden Birthday when I was younger... But its suprising what you don't know when your a kid. When I was a kid, I always was a bit sad I had to wait so long for it when other kids had big birthday parties for their Golden Birthdays when we were younger. But, I soothed myself back then by thinking that since I would have it as an adult I could do something REALLY big, like a big trip or a big party. Of course, that is not how life works out. 8-year old me did not realize how much more having a kid and a pregnancy would mean to me then a trip or party.  An 8-year old doesn't understand that you can have anything, not everything, and the anything I have is pretty darn awesome. I happily threw away notions of a trip or party if it means I have the family I want. Happy Birthday to Me :) 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Perfect Pregnancy Omelet

If I had no filter, then I would post something about food on Facebook about every five minutes. I also would tell at least 4-5 stories about things my son did every five minutes.

But I do have a filter. Except to my poor coworker who hears all my food thoughts as we sit next to each other and I blabber on. Poor Lyz, I apologize,

But this is my blog, so I can blog about food if I want to! And stories about my son.

First, the food.

Yesterday, I craved eggs. ALL DAY. I got an egg&cheese omelet in the morning, which was a nice stop gap, but wasn't going to cut it for a solution.

So when I got home, I started chopping. I chopped up a third of a large onion, and threw it on my omelet skillet (yes. I have an omelet skillet, one of the few speciality pans I have, thanks Dad!). Then I chopped about half of a green pepper, through that on. Then a few slices of roast beef sandwhich meat. Then an entire avacado. After the onions had started to soften I dumped all that into a bowl and added a shake of cumin and dash of onion salt. I beat four eggs and poured them onto the omelet pan, let it cook most the way through, then sprinkled it generously with shredded gouda and cheddar (Target brand has shredded gouda! Best purchase ever...), put the veggies on top, folded it over, and let it cook for a few more minutes with a pan lid over it.

After that, I dumped it on a plate, slathered it with sour cream, and put a generous pool of sriracha on my plate for dipping. It was so amazingly good. I "paired" it with a pile of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries), and a couple blueberry pancakes. It was pretty much the perfect meal.
But enough about food.

Two Benjamin stories for you. The first was already put on facebook, but I want it in this record book.

I have been reading Benjamin a text-heavy picture book version of The Wizard of Oz. It is illustrated by Charles Santore, and I am very interested in getting some of his other books. This adapation of The Wizard of Oz uses only original Baum language, but condenses the story considerably. Pretty cool. Anyways, I have been reading it to Ben. It has taken probably 5-6 sessions spread over 2 weeks to finish. I have asked him some questions along the way to see what he was comprehending, but its hard to tell how much he is enjoying/following the story and how much he is zoning out in a pre-bedtime stupor. So we finished it a few nights ago. We were taking a walk around the high school here and they have some red sidewalk pieces along the curb. DH and I made a comment like "Oh its a red brick road", and Benjamin added his contribution - "Dorothy followed the yellow brick road". It was pretty cool, he knew the character name and everything. He hasn't seen the movie, but we sang the yellow brick road song for him now and he loves it. I am hoping he wants to read this story again, maybe it is his first "fantasy" book... a great intro for when I want to read him Harry Potter some day... LOL

The second Benjamin story is a toddler story. While I was finishing up my excellent Brinner feast last night, talking to DH, Benjamin was in the other room playing. All the sudden, he runs into the dining room and very proudly states "I got the bubbles out". uh oh. LOL. I sent DH in there while I ate the last couple bites. Benjamin had taken out his bubble solution from where I keep it near the front door, opened it himself, and poured it as best he could into the little dish we put it in... About a tablespoon made it into the dish... the rest was all over the shoe rack, shoes, mittens, and floor. He was so proud though, I couldn't be mad. LOL. I did say "next time, maybe you should ask for help so you don't spill so much". We will be needing to purchase some additional bubble solution soon. LOL. On a related note, we got him a Spiderman Bubble Blower for Easter. (THIS ONE - but no we did not pay $30 for it, more like $5 at Walgreens). Anyways, it is great for a toddler because it is easier to dip into that tray then into the bottle, and it offers a mouthpiece to blow rather than counting on a toddler to judge where they need to blow and how hard. He loves it.
Thats my thoughts for the day... hope you enjoyed them. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

This weekend was Mother's Day! I really didn't need, want, or ask for a huge fuss. I mean, I have plenty of good stuff in my life I don't need much extra. Mother nature did help me celebrate and have a fantastic weekend by having some decent weekend weather! Saturday was 65 and Sunny, and Sunday was sunny in the morning and then overcast in the afternoon.

On Saturday, we had Benjamin's last swim lesson. He probably won't be in swim lessons again for almost a year - we would be taking the summer off anyways, and with baby girl arriving in September, we probably won't be up for it for a few months after that. That is oK though, because I think he is "done" with the baby class. He has mastered many of the skills from the 6m-3y class, and can't move up until he is 3 years old (next January). The last swim class was a lot of fun. He can now walk in the entire shallow end of the kiddie pool!

After that, as has become traditional, we swung through Starbucks and then to the library. That boy LOVES the library. He used to focus on the toys, but lately it doesn't take him long (10 minutes at most) to become disinterested in the toys and start bringing book after book over to us to read. He especially loves any books with flaps, any books with trucks or vehicles, and books with onamonapeia (i.e. ... sound effects in the language). It was such a beautiful day, we decided to also hit up the park and take him to Playfront (a playground at Bayfront). It is a great playground, probably my favorite in the city. He is growing so fast. He will now due the "ladder" style devices in the young kids area, goes down the slides himself, and generally has a great time. It was nice just being outside with him.

Also, its so much easier/more relaxed taking him to the park this year compared to last year! We can just sit back on the outskirts, find somewhere to sit, and let him play. I mean, I might go over to verbally guide him up the ladder, but he can do pretty much everything he wants to on his own.
The afternoon was nap time (as usual) and was very pleasant. When he woke up, we headed back outside to play in our yard. He recently acquired a new T-Ball set, but he is more interested in using the bat as a fire house or jack hammer stand-in then actually playing t-ball (he also used it as a trumpet/trombone for a little while). We also brought out his Tonka trunk and big-wheel style bike. Again, it was so pleasant to just sit outside and watch him play.

In the evening we went out to dinner, an early mother's day, at Famous Daves BBQ. Delicious! And then took our first of what will be many strolls around canal park for the year. Ben LOVES the bridge and water, he asks lots of questions about the bridge, cars crossing it, and lighthouse. He liked standing on the big rocks, and just running around in general.

Sunday morning, DH got up with DS and I slept in. This is actually pretty standard. I get up Saturday, DH gets up Sunday. But this Saturday I was a bit more relaxed in my getting downstairs, took a nice long shower with Deadliest Catch playing in the background (that show is such an addiction guilty pleasure for me). When I came downstairs, DH had had Ben color a card for me, and Ben also gave me the things he made at daycare - a small potted flower just starting to sprout and an art project with his hand prints and photographs.

We eventually got moving and headed out to my parents house, where my Siblings (those available) joined me in preparing a Mother's Day brunch for my mom. My contribution was this recipe for Sweet Potatoe Quiche! My mom doesn't like traditional breakfast food. I remember being little, on vacation, at a restaurant that stated something about serving all food all the time. I don't remember the details. I do remember my mom tried to order Spaghetti for breakfast, was shot down by the wait staff, and was very disapointed. So... we decided to include Spaghetti in our brunch, and then rounded it out with fruit salad. The quiche was extremely good. I highly recommend it. Take note that it makes TWO full sized deep-pie crust quiches.

After a fun morning, we headed home for Benjamin's afternoon nap. I spent the better part of it cleaning our bedroom, which as usual had devolved into a disaster zone. Now its quite clean actually. Nesting, I think. Normally I would just nap. In the evening we spent a little time outside and then gave Benjamin a much-needed bath.

It was a really good weekend.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The First Trimester (a Recap)

This post's main purpose is to document how my first trimester was different, physically and emotionally, in this second pregnancy than in my first.

More Anxious: My first pregnancy, we had announced it to the whole world by around 7 weeks, and I didn't have major qualms about it. I knew things could go wrong, but I figured they were more likely to go right. This time around, I felt much less sure things would go right, and it showed. I was much more cautious about what I ate, what I did, and who I told. While I did tell my immediate family and close friends immediately. I did not feel comfortable telling anyone else until we heard the heartbeat for a second time at 10.5 weeks. Even then I was unsure about telling. This is kind of unusual.. usually its first time mom's that are the most paranoid. A friend suggested that it was because this felt "too good to be true" and I suspect she was right. With Benjamin, we expected the treatment to work, so the pregnancy felt like it should "be". This time it was an awesome shock, it felt too good to be true, like something HAD to go wrong. That feeling has dissipated quite a bit now, thankfully!!

The Same Nausea: Just like in my first pregnancy, I had a lot of low-grade nausea starting around 6 weeks, but minimal actual vomiting... so pluses and minuses! I guess its better than barfing after every meal, but its still quite obnoxious.

Yes to Mexican Food!!: Like last time, Taco Bell (and Mexican in general) sounded way too good all the time!! Having a particularly nauseous day? Time to head for a 7-Layer Burrito.

Yes to Sweets! Last time I didn't crave sweets at all, and in fact was repulsed by many of them in the first trimester. This time around I craved sweets right alongside the salty. Particularly persistent cravings have been Skittles, S'mores (or anything with this flavor combination), Dr Pepper, and licorice.

More Involved: Last time I avoided pregnancy boards. This time I joined a bunch. Basically, these are online groups where all the women who are due the same month can communicate. I am in a Facebook Group with about 50 other September 2014 mommies to be, as well as on a national forum with about 50,000 September mom's to be (yes you read that right... 50K). It is unclear whether this increased involvement is the cause or result of the anxiety! LOL. I prefer to think its the result... I want other people to talk to about pregnancy. But, the downside of groups like this is that you see all the bad things that can happen. Many women have left these groups due to MC, birth defects, etc.

Same Body: I don't feel like I REALLY showed any early or am any bigger than last time. But I haven't had a chance to compare pictures either.

Lighter Starting Weight: I started this pregnancy off about 15 lbs lighter than my first pregnancy, and am just now, at 21 weeks, nearing my pre-Benjamin weight. I don't think I will get near as big, or have as much net weight gain as the first time around (but we shall see).

I can BREATHE! (or at least I could): Last pregnancy, I was extremely short of breath in the first trimester. That wasn't an issue this time around. I am confident that the difference is that last time I was on progesterone supplements for the first 10 weeks, and this time I was not. Of course I am getting short of breath now at 21 weeks.. but that is more expected!!

Less "Sunshine": My first pregnancy, being pregnant was like a talisman, no matter what was wrong, the fact I was pregnant (thinking of that) could turn my day around. This time it hasn't been so easy to stay upbeat. I am very happy to be pregnant, and it does make me smile to think about, but it can't solve everything like it could last time. I think that has a lot to do with the increased anxiety I experienced. Now that I am feeling baby move, its easier to be happy. 

One "Scare": I didn't have any scares with my first pregnancy. This time around I did have some bleeding around 19 weeks that sent me into a panic. A visit to the doctors office revealed a harmless polyp.

Seeing as that last one got much more into 2nd Trimester.. I think that sums up the first!!