Friday, September 30, 2011

33 weeks

The difference between 2 years and a girl & a boy:

33 weeks & 3 days with Mia, March 2009
33 weeks & 2 days with bambino #2, September 2011
And here are the outtakes from today's quick photo shoot (with Mia in "perfect" form):
Looking for something

Totally moved on

 I think the baby bump is bigger - at least, I feel that way.  Only time will tell!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Remembering this day

Today was a change of pace from our usual day-to-day and I welcome that every now and then. It's good to shake things up.

I had planned a hair appointment this morning and had already coordinated babysitting for Mia with another friend whose child I watched for the same reason (hair) just the other day.  Mia was pretty excited about going back over to Sawyer & "Efan's" house and didn't even look back at me when I dropped her off.  Even though a hug or a wave would be nice, it leaves you with a good feeling when she feels comfortable enough to start playing with her buddies right away and not worry about mommy leaving her.

While I was gone getting my hair done, I was sent this picture:

Mia was playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" with the boys & their cousins

I came back later, picked her up and we went home for lunch and naptime.  Later in the afternoon, I got a text from Greg with a proposition for an impromptu date night. Um, yes!  He quickly coordinated some last minute babysitting for Mia and around 6 tonight she met up with her good friends Loren & Maddie.  We were sent the following pictures while we went out for dinner:

Playing at the park
Heading back "home" in the double stroller (fascinating to Mia)

Dance party with Loren

When we picked Mia up, not only was she bathed and in PJs, but her hair was blow-dried and styled just like Maddie's. It was so cute.  I'm pretty sure had we not picked her up for the night, she would have been just fine spending the night with Maddie & Loren.  She thought it was time to "go night-night" before we arrived.  I do wonder if she actually would've gone to sleep at their house had we stayed out any longer...!

Today I will remember the blessing of others who willingly open their homes for our little one and take care of them like their own. I will be encouraged by their examples and hopefully spurred on to do good deeds like they do for us.  I will remember having a couple of hours away with Greg before things change all over again, and be thankful for a "day like this."

September may be speeding by ... but some of these moments will stick.

Remembering today while we still have it.

growing up...
and this picture was actually taken yesterday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Speedy September

September has been full, busy, good, and fast.  It's the last week of the month and as I sit here pondering what all we still have to do, while I feel a little overwhelmed, I'm getting excited too.

The realization that our family of 3 is going to change to a family of 4 is starting to slowly sink in.  Much of this pregnancy I've compartmentalized into different categories: taking care of me & the baby, and trying to take care of things at home.  From an emotional standpoint though, I just hadn't even begun to think about the real changes we'll feel day-to-day in our home.  It's one of those things you can read about and talk to others about, but until you feel it yourself you really don't know how it'll be.
Like with every change in life, whether it's going off to school, moving, getting married, etc., you tend to be excited about the next stage but a little sad about leaving the other stage behind.  I guess that is just how we (or I am) are wired...I want to live up these last two or so months while we get ready for everything to be "new" again.  

We met with our doula a couple of weeks ago who was so encouraging and empowering about our upcoming birth experience.  One of the ways that we feel like first-timers again is that instead of having this baby at a birth center, we will be having him at the hospital. It may seem unusual then that we have questions or anxiety about a hospital since that is where most babies are born but it's just a new arena for us and feels like a new ballgame.  However, after having met with our doula and taking an actual tour of the hospital Wednesday night, we can start picturing what it might be like.  My birth with Mia was very tranquil and while it had its intense moments, like every birth does, there's really not a thing I would change about it.  I feel very fortunate to have had the experience I did--I feel like it gave me the confidence to know this is how our bodies were designed and size aside--babies come out.  All I have heard from others is that each labor & delivery is different and I fully believe it -- I've just yet to experience it.  So I know not only from a location standpoint, will this birth experience be different, but also from a progression and intensity standpoint.  

And to be totally honest with you, there is still a lot "to be done" from a practical standpoint in terms of preparing for this baby.  However, I realized last week, if this baby were to come "early" and we weren't totally ready, it'd still be fine.  He'd still have a place to sleep, we'd still have clothes, we already have some diapers - cloth & disposable - for a newborn, and we'd figure it out.  There's so much extra stuff you have to think about (or forget to think about) when preparing for a new life, but when it comes down to it, you basically need to make sure the basic needs are covered, and you're fine.  Maslow's Hierachy of Needs, anyone?
(I have to throw this stuff out there to keep the wheels turning in my head.  Like yesterday when I was trying to think of the word for extrapolating research results to the general public.  What is that called!?! I think it may start with an "e".)  Don't worry, I went to cawledge.
That's in a nutshell where Greg & I are in this whole waiting/preparation stage.  I still feel pretty good, although I'm feeling the "weight" of this pregnancy much more than I recall feeling it with Mia.  I don't feel that I got moody or overly anxious at the end of the pregnancy with Mia, or physically miserable, but I am feeling more strain this time around, most likely from having a 2 yr old and probably from carrying a physically bigger baby (I hope).  My hip and lower belly are taking the brunt of the toll and I'm gearing up for more chiro appointments. I want to keep this baby in a good position and keep my body as limber as possible for labor!  DOWN BABY DOWN! 

Life is good. It's full, it feels big and sometimes more than I can manage, but we have a wonderful support system and count our blessings.  I'm trying not to take a thing for granted these days. 
So that's where we're at.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Mia is learning

Mia goes to a 2 year old bible class twice a week at our church and has been a part of a class since she was 9,10 months old. We've loved taking her and watching her learn and develop.  She often sings songs that we figure must've come from bible class because we don't know every single one of them.

Last night I heard her saying something on the way home from dinner and I listened more closely to realize she was saying a little ditty I have said in the 5 year old class before.  It goes like this:
"The Bible has two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Put them together, and it's God's word ... for me, and for you!"
There are hand movements involved as well to help create add a physical and visual dynamic to it and the kids always remember it.

We asked her to repeat it a few times and I caught it on video.  Before enjoying this 21 second video, I'd suggest pausing the audio player on the right!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Loving life, backtracking & all...

We trail blaze every now and then, only to fall off the trail and break twigs and try to figure out our way back.  Toddler Boot Camp was becoming quite effective and Greg & I were noticing serious positive changes until last weekend, when I noticed Mia becoming a tad more clingy and then BAM--fever strikes.
After the fever spiked, then settled, the nasal congestion came on, and while Greg, Mia & I were all struggling in the sleep department, we were popping Aconite, Belladonna, or Pulsatilla, and downing teaspoons of Black Elderberry Syrup (say whaaaat??) trying to keep our immune systems afloat and manage the disarray that occurs between a weekend of sleepiness & snot.  And hey--it worked!  We're all still a bit tired but no one is down & out, thankfully.

Except that Toddler Boot Camp needs a reboot.  No pun intended.  It's fine.  This is what happens. You learn something, apply it, make it work, and then life hits you in the face with a fever, or a new baby, or what have ye, and you readjust.

So, while life has been generally tame--I find my mounting to-do list makes me thankful for things to do as opposed to being bored out of my mind and twiddling my thumbs--there is always something to keep  me on my toes.  Namely Mia. ;)

Baby boy is good. He's doing his thing, moving around, having hiccups, switching sides and keeping me occupied when I can't sleep at 2 in the morning.  He threw a dance party for me last night when I had some ice cream, and he's really giving me and Greg a run for our money in the name department.  We have three solid names...first & middle...but can't decide on which on any given day. It's very temperamental.  While the rest of the world won't know until the day he is born as we plan to keep it a secret, maybe we won't either, because we just can't settle.

And there ye have it.  Tomorrow = 31 weeks.  Doing the countdown.

What happens when Mia sets the table
Playing "This Little Piggy" with cousin Abby
30 weeks
Bring it on, September.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fun with our little one

Posing with Big Bird
Since we'd been out of town a couple of weekends ago and Greg has steadily been putting in work in our backyard with "Mister Ryan" for several Saturdays, it was so nice to have a 3 day weekend this past weekend.
For Labor Day, we went with our local cousins to Busch Gardens.  Mia had so much fun at the park, actually riding some rides this time, and of course, finishing up at the Splash Zone.  Greg even got to ride Sheikra with some other friends who were there.  (It was a popular day to be at Busch Gardens, as you can imagine.)

This video makes me laugh every time I view it:

If you can't tell, Mia is saying, "Look, I'm driving! ... I'm driving with Braden!"

Enjoy the pictures from the rest of the day:

Underage Driving

Watching the Sesame Street Africa show
The Splash Zone is the best zone!

Cheesin' it up while Daddy rides Sheikra

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Precious Memories"

In other news, Mia's a really good kid.

After that last blog post I may have temporarily painted a picture of doom and woe, but after the spark plug of confidence I was given from my readers & friends on Facebook, things *seem* to be improving.  Was I just scared to put my foot down?  Maybe so.

And here's our precious memory (or two):
Usually Greg puts Mia down for bedtime, and I say goodnight to her with a hug & a kiss before they read stories & sing songs.  I was kneeling down to do so, and after we hugged, Mia leaned down to hug my tummy (where we've been talking about where "baby brother" is) and she hugged & kissed my tummy and said, "Mia hug baby brother."  It was totally unprompted.  I have asked her before if she wants to give her baby brother a hug, but that was my initiating and her following through.  Tonight, it was completely on her own.  *Heart warmed*

Minutes later, after I found Mia's baby book and was searching for a page to enter said story in, I heard my name and was being beckoned back to Mia's room.  She & Greg were eagerly awaiting for me to join them and Mia asked me to sit down on the ottoman in front of the glider, because she had a surprise for me.
I sat down next to them and while Greg flipped through the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle, Mia "read" aloud all the words to the entire book!  It's a colorful book full of repetition, but she correctly identified all the animals and read it straight through.

Proud Mommy.
She's a sweetheart.

And this guy is growing up:

[3D ultrasound pictures taken at my 29 week appointment]

Ultrasound weight estimates can be off at times, but he's estimated to be around 3 lbs.  His growth is right on track and so far all my stats are great, thanks to God.  Really hard to believe we're in the third trimester...but glad to be here.  It's been a tough, but good week.  Upward & onward, here we go!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tough Lessons in Parenting...and Tough Love

Which teachers did you like the best growing up?  Those who let the whole class get away with everything, had no boundaries, and never were able to get much accomplished? Or those who had strict rules, which they enforced, and had high expectations of your behavior and output? What about the teacher who let you know the boundaries, and let a little bit of his/her spunky/sweet personality shine through--the teacher you hated to disappoint?
I think my favorite teachers were the latter two.  I needed a little bit of both in my life as a student or an athlete and while at first I may have despised the super strict teacher--once I figured him/her out, we often worked well together.  (I am thinking of a particular cross-country & track coach in this scenario.)

When it comes to parenting, there can be quite the number of differences between what you would do as a parent and what you would do as a teacher, but the similarities can also be astounding.  Having only ever taught one freshmen-level college class, and doing guidance lessons here & there as a counselor, I would say my teaching skills are mostly limited to the kindergarten Sunday school class I've participated in over the past 5-ish years so I don't have the most experience in this arena.

However, sometimes I wish I had stepped into the foray of teaching for just a little bit longer so that I would have a few more tools in my arsenal for how to appropriately set limits for a young one.
How much you change...and teach us
within such a short period of time!
(June 2010)
Without realizing it, I had unintentionally made our home a battle zone for Mia.  I let her choose and dictate many trivial choices--things that didn't seem like they mattered--until it was time for me to make certain decisions for her and I realized she "wasn't having it," i.e., throwing a major tantrum.  Of course, this is flustering and beyond irritating when the wee one strikes out, but it's also a personal blow when you realize you are mostly to blame for the outcome. I should add at this point that both Greg & I parent a little bit differently, and it's usually me she pushes the most (so it seems).

Sleep always has been a war zone for her and us. We've drawn lines many times before, and found success, only to let something creep in that sets us back several stages.  Especially at naptime.  As I said before, she puts up more of a fight with me at naptime than she does with Greg at bedtime.  Now that I'm pregnant, however, and due within the next three months(!), it is imperative that we press the "reset" button on a few of these areas so that life for everyone in our household will hopefully be a bit easier to manage especially when there's one more added to the mix.

I was on the verge of desperation yesterday, and posted for some advice in a Christian moms group I'm apart of on Facebook.  The responses I received were humbling...and encouraging.  It was the type of tough love I didn't want to but needed to hear (and had heard before -- you were right, Mommo)!  Oh, won't that be satisfaction when your child is old enough to tell you that you were right about something? In due time, methinks.

It's only been ONE day, and lest I get ahead of myself I know that all we can work with is today and I shan't set myself up for unlikely expectations, but Mia is getting a dose of tough love, and it's doing something!  And I'm gaining the confidence that this is the right thing for her. The simple things of choosing which cups, or what outfits, or how many options she has at nap time are dwindling.  It appears that by loosening the reins with her--which as I said, seemed okay at first--has really backfired on our locus of control and stability in the home.  And who doesn't need some shalom in the home?  How many times have I actually wished for SuperNanny or a parenting expert to be able to step in and give me real-time advice.  Now I have it and we're moving forward.

Summer 2011
If there's one piece of advice I could give to mommies with babes younger than mine, it is to hold your ground and set boundaries early on, even if they seem unnecessary at the time.  It's easier to give in or tweak a boundary than it is to try take something back.  I would say thus far I've been pretty nonchalant about various aspects of parenting, save a few areas.  It fits me and I like to be easy-going.  However, I have realized for a young child, boundaries and limits are what set the stage for feeling secure and confident and knowing who is in charge.  Knowing "Who's the Boss" is not just 80s TV should be a life lesson.  There may be those who respectfully disagree; it doesn't fit your parenting or child development philosophy and you and your child are succeeding just fine as is, and that's wonderful.  But I have learned that for our tough cookie, this is what we all need.

If I could, I wish I could download to my brain, Matrix-style, the parenting skills from the following books, among others:

The Strong Willed Child
Raising Girls
Parenting by the Book
Love & Logic

There's quite a lot going on in my brain right now: personal work I need to attend to; home projects; setting up Mia's bedroom and continuing to prepare for a new baby; considering potty-training(?), etc.,  that reading parenting books feels like extra work.  I'd honestly rather surf the internet or read birth stories than do that.  Or take a nap, let's be honest.  But I need it.  So, if you think of it, share any encouragement you've had with your own children or others about setting limits and being firm, and how that worked out for you.  Knowing others have done it and that I can do it--is truly half the battle in my mind.

Thank ye.  We're much obliged to your kindnesses.