Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thoughts at 35(ish) Weeks

So here I am. Nearing the end of my pregnancy. Obeying strict orders from my husband to put my feet up after working all day. Trying to nurse my right cankle back to its original state. While I longingly watch as he sips on a glass of red wine.

It's nights like this where I'm just so ready for pregnancy to be over. Where I feel so limited in what I can do because of {take your pick at just about any pregnancy side effect: high blood sugar, fatigue, swelling, or nausea.} Let's just say, I'm not the kind of girl who handles limitations well. I want to do-do-do. All the time. Especially when there is so much left to do-do-do before baby arrives.

But of course, I snap out of it. And I'm often gently humbled. Because I am so thankful, so grateful that I am able to carry and grow a little human. Even if it takes a nasty case of cankle-itis to achieve. And as much as I am desperately looking forward to being done with the sciatic nerve pains and late night heart burn, I still want to remember it all. You know, remember the battle wounds and thoughts I had during this pregnancy. Like...

- Just about everyone I talk to, strangers included, asks me if I'm having a boy. I usually tell them that's what I think I'm having. I'm carrying lower, the heart rate has been in the high 130's, and all I can picture is a little baby boy. Even our nursery leans a little on the masculine side. Oh, and we only have a boy name. I mean not even one girl name in the running. Because of all of these things of course, the baby is more than likely going to be a girl. Either way, we can't WAIT to meet our baby and will surprised no matter who he/she is! And not finding out the sex is

- Although I definitely have good days too, overall, this pregnancy has taken its toll on me. I may have only dealt with "morning sickness" for 14 weeks this time around, (whereas with Lyla, I was sick 24/7 for 7 straight months) but I've had my fair share of infections, illnesses, and ailments that have beaten me to a pulp. I either had a cold or sinus infection every few weeks from January to July, I've had blood sugar and blood pressure issues causing me to faint, I failed my glucose test, I had a UTI, I've had pretty severe lower back pain for the past several months, my ankles swell the moment the temperature rises or I sit too long (which is all day every day at work), I've had strong and at times uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions off and on since 20 weeks, and I feel like a large, ridiculous walrus waddling and rolling about. Let's just say I cannot relate to my unicorn friends who love being pregnant and whose only pregnancy side effects are trying to find clothes that fit the extra 10 pounds they're carrying. ;)

- My latest doctor's appointment was the jolt we needed to send us into a we-better-get-moving-and-prepare-for-this-baby frenzy. My doc decided to check me because of my contractions and pressure I've been feeling. I'm measuring a week early and I've already started to dilate - just barely, but the process has begun. And we have a whole lot of nothing ready for this baby. No seriously, I'm not even sure where the carseat is at the moment. So this appointment was just the motivation we needed. And it's quite weird to know that I could be 35 (almost 36 weeks). I totally wasn't prepared for that. Then again, this babe could stick around like it's "supposed to" until the end of October. Not knowing is a killer for this controlling planner mama. But baby is in control here, and joke's on mom.

- There is no better word to describe this pregnancy than bittersweet. I truly cannot imagine putting my body through this again. But in the exact same breath, I can't imagine not ever doing this again. Ironic, eh? As much as I *most of the time* am ready for pregnancy to be over, I just know I will miss it and feel sad and nostalgic the moment the babe is on the outside. Funny how that works.

- There is absolutely nothing I love more than feeling this babe move. I know it's everyone's favorite part of pregnancy, but I sort of feel like I missed out on this with Lyla. No really. Of course Ly moved around and kicked, but very little. She was super quiet. In fact, when I checked into the hospital during labor, they asked me the last time I felt fetal movement. When I responded, "a week or so ago", everyone freaked out. Now I understand why. I get nervous if I go a few hours without feeling babe #2. And there's nothing I love more than feeling little legs and arms...even if they're jabbing me raw. It's still so sweet. Totally going to miss it.

- I always thought pregnancy brain was a cop-out. But oh no, my friends. It is very, very real. Lately, I've been doing the silliest of things - forgetting everyday words, not remembering how to perform the simplest of work tasks, and losing my keys on an hourly basis. But oh my word. Last week it hit a mama-needs-an-intervention level. I'm on a committee where each member is responsible for one meeting out of the year - to secretary for the meeting and bring food for the group. I've had it on my calendar for months. Well. I planned everything out over the weekend, lined up a babysitter, and had Gabe make a Sam's run for snacks while I made cupcakes for my meeting. But while baking on the Monday evening before my Tuesday meeting, I got an e-mail. I opened it, and it was from my director asking me if I was ok because it wasn't like me to miss a meeting. Yep. The meeting was on Monday, not Tuesday.

- We actually made some progress on the nursery this weekend. What in the world took so long? We had to tackle Lyla's big girl room, plan and execute her second birthday party, and begin potty training. {Yes, I made the dumb decision to try 3 Day Potty Training Boot Camp at 8 months pregnant. And although I'm now very thankful we stuck to it, I've never been so mentally and physically drained. A whole other blog post in and of itself). Now that all of those things are finished, we are finally starting and even making some progress on babe #2's room. I even had a couple of tearful, intimate moments sitting in the rocking chair and putting the sheets on baby's bed. Baby, I love you so much already and can't wait to meet you.

- Confession. I often forget how many weeks I am, I have yet to know what "fruit" my baby is, and I have no idea at any given time what organs are forming on a given week. Oh. And I eat deli meat and drink coffee almost every day. Does that make me a bad mom? Nah. It's just completely obvious that this is my second kid. And I'm so clearly a pro that I no longer have to follow the rules.  ;)

But seriously. We're having baby soon. And I am ecstatic.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Lyla's 2nd Birthday Picnic Party

It's 9:14 on Thursday night.

And I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've actually sat down to relax since exactly one week ago. Because one week ago, I was ignoring my very pregnant body {and every family member begging me to take it easy} as I planned, crafted, cleaned, grocery shopped, and prepared after work each night for a very special two year old's big day.

And a big day it was. We partied like it was our job.

The thing is, I vividly remember going into all of this swearing up and down that I was going to keep things very small and very casual this year. It really did start out that way: our parents, a few of Lyla's toddler friends and their families, and the idea to have a casual picnic. And although I may not have gone completely all-out like I did last year, I still overdid it. By a lot. And I've got the ankles to prove it. Exactly one week later.

I don't know why I don't just cater in, or at least for Pete's sake leave the baked goods to the professionals. I guess for the same reason I refuse to buy Halloween costumes - I like to put my special touch on things and somehow create a labor of love {even though my strengths by no means lie in craftiness nor the kitchen}.

This year's labor of love was the strawberry vanilla cupcakes. Why? Why do I feel the need to try a new recipe from scratch when I have several friends who run very successful bakeries? Especially when I have officially, for two years in a row now, managed to concoct a baking disaster. This year, instead of accidentally doubling the butter, I added too much strawberry puree into the buttercream frosting which made it runny. And let me tell you. Runny frosting, now matter how delicious, looks absolutely horrifying. So, my mother-in-law, for the second year in a row came to the rescue with extra confectioners sugar just in the nick of time -  40 minutes before the party began. I seriously had to talk myself out of throwing a full-on adult tantrum because we didn't have time {or enough frosting} to do fancy swirly-doo's with the buttercream.

You win some. You lose some.

But swollen ankles, lack of sleep, and runny frosting aside, it was all so very worth it. To see Lyla's face as she woke up and walked around the house saying "Lyla boothday pawty"and recognized that all the fun decor was for her!!! And when all said and done, I just can't ignore how much fun it is for me to plan and incorporate all the little details. I love myself a theme and creating a corresponding menu and signature drink. And since I couldn't partake in any adult fun, I stuck to the most delicious infused water I've ever had: Strawberry lime cucumber mint - obnoxious name, but seriously tasty.

My favorite detail was the party favors - everyone got to take home a honey bear from Grandpa Green's farm!

And of course we couldn't have pulled it off without the fam - surely they are used to me by now. Always running out of time at the last minute and pleading with them the night before an event to get their party pants on and "bring in the reinforcements". They're true saints, I tell you.

This year was no exception as I put everyone to work. If I saw anyone standing, I handed them something and gave them a job. Yes, even the birthday girl herself. She helped Dad chill the beer. And Bots was on babysitting/storytime duty.

But I have to say. My favorite part of the entire day was right before any of our guests arrived. It was just us and the grandparents. We took Ly outside for her big "present reveal". And I have never, ever seen such joy, and I will never forget her face.

Let's stop for a moment and talk about this wagon. I have to brag on Gabe. After several weeks of laboring in sweltering 100 degree weather, over a dozen trips to Home Depot, and more than $150 spent, he finished refurbishing his brother and sister's old childhood wagon.

So scratch the runny cupcakes, I guess my sweet husband wins in the labor of love department.

Oh. And we can't forget the part where Lyla was hysterical because everyone sang happy birthday to her. Poor thing really just can't stand all attention on her.

Other than the "Happy Birthday meltdown", our sweet bean had a fabulous time and loved playing with her toddler pals. I only wish I would have gotten more pictures of them all together. {Darn you August heat!} And she really loved playing with all her new treasures.

Well, another successful party in the books. 

But I really am sticking to my word as next year's theme is going to be "Pizza and Party Hats". And it may just be our family of four celebrating together. Because I'm sure I'll still be recovering come August next year. 

And I know this little party animal would likely agree. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Happy TWO Years, Miss Beans!

Well, here we are. Rounding out Lyla's second birthday.

I sit here sort of speechless. Trying to take in the fact that I have a two year old.

Life has been so busy, with today being no exception, that I haven't really let that soak in. Until this exact moment.

Although last night, just as we began the tuck-into-bed process {and yes, it is exactly that - a process}, a wave of nostalgia, excitement, and a twinge of sadness came over me. I realized that as I kissed my little bean to sleep, she would wake up a two year old. Another birthday. Another year passed. Wasn't I just in the delivery room a few weeks ago?

Someone make it stop!

But I really am so excited to begin our new adventure into Two-ville. With the exception of the horrifying tantrum now and again, I have so enjoyed the toddler stage. And I can't wait for it to continue. Lyla is so curious, eager to learn, stubborn, quirky, gentle, deliberate, hilarious, and full of life.

And there are so many adorable things that have made quite the impression on my sappy, old, mama heart. But a few I really want to remember...

- I love her wild & crazy bed head in the mornings. No really. It's out of control.

- I love how she labels everything she comes in contact with: "Lyla's shoes, Mommy's hair, Sammy's food, Callaway's house..."

- I love how she stops every so often while eating to wipe her hands and mouth on a napkin.

- I love how the moment we get in the car she asks for "strap please" - the carseat strap that she has completely rubbed into a fuzzy nub while sucking her thumb on the drive home from daycare.

- I love bedtime...when I get the most love {and so does the "baby belly"}. I get eskimo kisses, butterfly kisses, and "real" night night kisses. But the hugs, oh the hugs tight around my neck are what really get me.

- I love how she mispronounces things. Like her "r's":  "bood" (for bird), "gwapes" (for grapes) and "boothday" (for birthday). Or how she says "Bots" (for Pops) and "Gams" (for Grams).

- I love how she gets modest or bashful in certain situations. Like when we ask her how old she is, she turns away, then gets a huge smirk on her face, and after a few seconds boldly proclaims "TWOOOO". Or when we tell her to say bye-bye to a friend, she won't do it at that exact moment, but then the whole ride home she says "Bye-bye Breckyn" and then the whole next week asks to go to "Breckyn's house".

- I love, love, love how she yells "Shoo fly" when she sees a bug of any kind. And lately, we've graduated to a simple "Shoo"!

I mean.

And to celebrate all the sweet cuteness that is our two year old, we started off her birthday with a little bit of extra pizazz to our morning routine. And by pizazz, I mean we put a few balloons in Lyla's room and woke her up by singing "Happy Birthday". {Listen. The kid is NOT a morning person. And  Tuesday's are our early days because she goes all the way across town to GiGi's house.} But she sure loved the balloons once she realized they were for her birthday.

Then, mom and dad went to work. Boo.

But once 5:00 hit, we picked up our birthday girl and celebrated with after-work drinks, birthday cheers included. A local brew for dad, water for pregnant mom, and milk for the birthday girl. When we asked if she wanted pizza or a burrito for her birthday dinner, Lyla excitedly announced "pizzarito"! {She didn't seem too disappointed when she simply got pizza. No "rito".}

And finally, Ly's very favorite part of her birthday: "cuh-cakes". She was a little apprehensive of the "HOT" candles at first, but then, she whipped out the smirk. 

And when the smirk comes out, you know it's time to party. 

And party we did.

Happy birthday to my most favorite girl in the whole wide world. We love you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Double the Trouble

So, let's talk about this whole having another child thing for a moment, shall we?

We are going to have children. As in plural. As in more than one.

And that has always been the plan. We've always pictured two kiddos running around - a perfectly packaged little family of four. 

And because I *sort of* know what to expect this time around, I feel more relaxed, at ease, and excited for our #2 to arrive. Which is completely out of character for me. I am that crazy lady who plans out specific to-do lists in 20 minute intervals beginning the moment I walk in the door from work in the evenings. Then add having a baby in the mix, and my nesting instinct goes into hyper-vacuuming-dusting-organizing overdrive. 

But oddly enough there is an element of peace in not knowing the sex of this babe. Yes you heard me correctly. It’s sort of like the pressure of all the planning and nursery decorating and perfect baby-outfit-hunting has been taken away with not knowing if we’re having a boy or a girl. I can just focus on living and growing a baby. {And arranging then rearranging every closet and cabinet in the house}. 


It's still difficult for me to picture having two littles. Two. That's double how many kiddos grew up in my household. I'm an only, just me. So I don't fully comprehend the sibling relationship {and personally feel that I'm missing out}, and I don't relate to having to have mom and dad divide share their attention with another.

But these same reasons are exactly why I did not want to have an only child: it's lonely, and you have a much harder time not getting your way. And Lyla has reached the age where she's starting to show signs of "only child syndrome". Girlfriend needs a sibling because 1. she could use a playmate and 2. the world revolves around her and only her… just ask her grandparents. 

So it is time for another.

But, even though I'm thrilled to be expanding and completing our family, I'm not quite sure how to grasp the idea of two. Two whom I love equally. Two whom my attention must be shared. How will that work? I know every parent goes through this before having a second. And many decide to keep sharing the love with more and more children after that. But it's a concept I simply cannot grasp at the moment.

Because I l.o.v.e. Lyla. Like, a lot.

So much that I honest-to-goodness felt like I was doing something naughty when we went to our first OB appointment for babe #2 at 8 weeks. I felt like I was cheating on my first born. 

And although I am absolutely obsessed with the newborn phase, and pretty much every phase thereafter, the thought of dusting off all the baby stuff throws my head into a tailspin  the bottles, the pacifiers, the blankets, the burpcloths. Or all the laundry and onesie changes from spit up and blowouts. Or forgetting how to interact with other adults because life is now defined by your new boss(es). Or completely losing your brain because you seemingly have more to remember than any other human. Or, dear heavens, the feeling that you'll never ever ever sleep again.

All of this while also caring for a toddler.

Oh, the thought of wrangling a newbie and a needy toddler. At the grocery store, in a parking lot, or while I'm making dinner. Or what about nursing while your toddler is crying because you're "ignoring" her and being responsible enough to adequetely feed two, meanwhile trying to remember to feed yourself. And mercy me, the thought of coordinating nap schedules - what a nightmare. Logistically, can someone draw out a blueprint for me?

But of course it will all work itself out. And I want to enjoy all of those moments, no matter how sleep deprived or challenging. Luckily, I've had a group of friends to pave the way in how to survive with two. {Although, they make it seem suspiciously easy.}

And in terms of "sharing the love", it's something I know I won't understand until it happens. A lot like parenthood in general. You just have no idea that much happiness exists. You're truly clueless before baby. And off-the-charts surprised by the amount of love that exists when your babe enters the world.

And thanks to some wise words spoken by a good friend, I find myself repeating my new mantra, "Your love isn't divided between two, it's simply doubled".

I really like the sound of that.

Because if the joy that Lyla brings to our lives is doubled? 

Well then. Stick a fork in me. I’m done. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

23 Months: Pure Delight

These are your last few weeks as a one year old. 

On a normal occasion, I’d be looking back at old pictures, reading the past year’s blog posts, and sitting in a puddle of sentiment and happy tears. I’m a sap. And I love memories. And although I’ve done some looking back, I’ve been so over-scheduled and pregnant that I barely remember things like switching over the laundry after it’s been sitting for 3 days. Plus, we’ve been doing plenty of living-in-the-moment, saying yes to every summer-fun proposition that’s come our way, and making plenty of new memories. Just the three of us. Which leaves zero time to get misty-eyed over my growing toddler, let alone work on a big girl room, a birthday party or a nursery. 

Yes. I am aware we have got to get our acts together and start saying NO. To pretty much everything from here on out. But fun is so hard to say no to!!!

However, this past month is absolutely worth gushing over. It was probably the best month we’ve had to date with you. Ever. And I really mean that. 

You have been an absolute joy. Just consistently delightful all the time. We first noticed it on vacation, when admittedly, I was prepared for daily fussiness and tantrums. But you were an angel, with not even one meltdown all week long. And if I’m honest, you’ve always been a bit of a fusser - anytime you feel discomfort of any kind. We’ve dealt with our fair share of intolerance and cry fits. But for the past month, we’ve experienced nothing but giggles, lots of love-giving, and lots of happy. No fussing. No meltdowns. You've become such a little buddy. 

I’m not exactly sure what changed. It could be the fact that *fingers crossed* you’re past your every-three-weeks of sickness since January. Or that you finally cut 6 of your hardest teeth at once. Or simply that you’re almost two, you’re more confident in your abilities, and your tolerance level is improving. 

Regardless of the reason, we have had lots of sweet and memorable moments.

- We've concluded long ago that you're not a morning person. So it always takes awhile for us to wake you. But every morning, before your eyes are open or before you are even fully awake, you start naming every one of your stuffed animals, "Ellie, Zebra, Britt, Giraffe, Val, Elliot, Baby Emma..." Either that, or you start naming every object you can think of. You and I recently went to the lake and slept in a room with others. I warned everyone to be prepared for an early wake up call to you naming things in the room. Sure enough, at 6 am, "blue light, fan, baby's bed, Lyla's bed, blanket, Mama's hair, Lyla's knees...

- You have really turned into such a little mama. You are loving baby dolls and stuffed animals more than ever, and I'm really hoping this nurturing instinct sticks around when your little bro/sis arrives. You were head over heels in love with Baby Emma on our trip to Rhode Island, and you've started calling your baby at home Baby Emma. And you love to set up all your babies, make sure each of them are fed, and then you kiss them and rock them at random. Talk about heart bursts. 

-  No has been the most popular word in our household as of late. "Lyla, can Mama have a kiss?" No. "Lyla, eat your green beans." No. "Lyla, it's time for a bath?" No. But then, you'll shock our socks off and surprise us with an unsolicited hug and kiss...or better yet, a "Yuuuv YOU!"

 I'll take 200 no's for 1 love you any day, my dear. 

- If "no" is the most popular word lately, "boobies" is a close second. You are absolutely obsessed. It all started when you saw me get out of the shower a few months ago and asked what "those" were. So, I told you "Mama's boobies". You decided to repeat it out of nowhere on the plane a few weeks ago. And by repeat, I mean you pointed and shouted as loudly as you could MAMA'S BOOBIES. And Gabe and I made the mistake of laughing. Now, you are completely intrigued and point out that everyone has them: "Dad's boobies. GiGi's boobies. Pops' boobies." But you find it most important to matter-of-factly tell everyone about it in public places, especially Target. I simply nod my head and say, "that's right" and duck into a corner. 

- You will not go to bed without saying your ABC's. In fact, one night, Dad and I read you story after story and finally told you it was time for bed. Tears began to well up in your eyes, and then you began to cry pretty hard. We asked what was wrong and you couldn't get out an answer. Finally, I realized you were looking up at a favorite book of yours, and I asked, "Oh, did you want to say your ABC's?" You immediately stopped crying and in the sweetest, softest little voice said, "Yeah. AB's." Dad and I obviously caved. 

- Speaking of ABC's, I'm not sure how or when you learned actually them, but you know every single letter of the alphabet. For the longest time you would say "M" for  "N" and "W" and would have a hard time with "Q, X, and Y". But out of nowhere, you suddenly knew them all. And most of the time, instead of saying "L", you yell "LYLA", or after seeing an "S" you yell "NAKE" {for snake. because you can't pronounce "s" when it's at the beginning of a word}. So cute. You also know your colors, shapes, and a few numbers. You're at such a fun, spongey age. I love it!

- You have started to notice boys. I kid you not. Anytime you see boys, no matter the age, you say "Hiiii boys" in a thick southern accent. We were at the grocery store the other day when a few teenage boys were walking down the aisle. You looked at them, smiled, and said "Hiiiya boys". They laughed, and so when we kept going you said, "Byyye boys." Lord help us now. 

"Cheers" is also one of your favorite things. One guess as to who taught you that. 

- You did something recently that made me tear up instantly. You had been pointing to my belly and saying "baby belly" off and on all day, then you'd lift up your shirt, poke out your stomach and say "baby belly". But out of nowhere, you walked over to my belly, patted it, and made your zebra lovie kiss the "baby belly". 

I can't.