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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Summer, So Far

I was lamenting to Andrew the other day that here it is already August and I feel like I've done nothing so far this summer. His response was "you just had a baby!!!" I guess what I meant was, two months into this whole mom of three gig and I feel like I've got a handle on things so I should be doing more of those activities I'd planned on doing with the kids back in the spring. More visits to the playground, more swimming at the pool, more crafts, more popsicles and ice cream, more day trips, more more more... My "accomplish something" alarm was sounding off big time and I kept thinking that I've been wasting my summer because summer is for making memories and we're not making enough memories darn it! Then I realized that my kids don't need planned activities, they're happy playing outside all day, rain or shine, with the occasional trip to Dunkin Donuts for a sweet treat. There is plenty of memory making to be had just doing that.

We've been working on the house starting with replacing our dishtowels, some of which we've had since our wedding 14 years ago. I also have a new kitchen sink and faucet! So many things need to be fixed or replaced around here. Why is it that everything seems to fall apart at the same time?

Some days (like today) I spend most of my time trying to get Calvin to nap. He hit 6 weeks old and decided sleeping was for sissies. He sleeps decently at night but refuses to nap during the day unless I lay in bed nursing him or rock him with my foot in his bouncy seat. I've been giving in a lot just to get him to go to sleep and then I end up not getting anything done around the house (what was I saying earlier about having a handle on this?). Please tell me this is a phase... It is right?

The kids discovered there are Lego games on my phone and now want to play them Its my fault for downloading them for the "occasional" moment I need them to sit still and be quiet. Its been a very rainy summer so they've been asking to watch more TV and play more games on my phone than I'm comfortable with. I'm looking for some toys and games that I can pull out for those times when they won't stop asking to watch or play something. So far I've purchased some pattern blocks and I'm looking to add to our stash of board games.

Of course, none of that other stuff matters. Hands down the best part of this summer is this little guy:

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Our 4th of July

We had a low key, laid back Fourth, as usual. We never go all out and plan a BBQ or a party (although I'll bring the potato salad if invited to one!) we just stayed home most of the day. Since the 4th was a Saturday this year we did go to church that morning. My best friend was visiting from Arizona for a few weeks with her two boys so we got to see them in church and say our last goodbyes. And of course the highlight of every fourth are the fireworks. So that evening we packed a blanket, the umbrella (it is, after all, Florida in July) and the kids in the van and set off for our usual spot.

Last year both kids were terrified of the fireworks. In fact Lily hasn't been ok with them since she was a year old. But she was convinced that this was her year and kept telling us that she's 5 now and five year olds aren't afraid of fireworks. Both kids were super excited to check them out.

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Once the first set of fireworks were set off Lily panicked a little and asked her Dad to carry her away from the noise and activity. They ended up in the van which was parked a ways away where they couldn't see the fireworks or hear them too well. Andrew told me that as soon as they walked up to the van Lily frantically tried opening the sliding door and when she couldn't get it open she quickly abandoned that and went for the passenger's door. Unable to get that open and seeing that in the meantime Daddy had started opening the sliding door, she flung herself in the side and flew to the back of the vehicle before he had even finished getting it open all the way. Needless to say she was more upset than I thought. In the meantime, down where we were, there was a malfunction of some sort and after the first few fireworks were set off they stopped and didn't resume for another 30 minutes or so. Calvin nursed and slept and Reuben had fun with sparklers (finally brave enough to hold them himself this year) and cherry bombs. Andrew and Lily came back later to see what was going on just in time for the fireworks to start up again. Because of the malfunction the show ended up mostly consisting of a grand finale of fireworks which is always the best part anyway. Lily shrieked through the whole thing, poor baby, but didn't ask to leave. Even Reuben asked to sit in his uncle's lap and stared up at the sky with huge eyes exclaiming "wow" after each one lit up the sky.

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I look forward to this day all year. It didn't fail. :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

One Month

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11 lbs. 13 oz.
23 inches long
Good sleeper and sometimes sleeps 4 hours straight during the night
Can Houdini his arms out of a tight swaddle like nobody's business
Loves having his diaper changed (no, really)
Tries to suck his thumb and loves his hands in general
Burps on his own
Doesn't spit up at all
Snorts when he cries
Enjoys staring out windows
Likes to sleep in bed cuddled up next to Mama

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Years

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^Taken June 27 at 10:03am. Five years to the minute that she was born.^
Just like last year and the year before, here are Lily's answers to 20 questions I ask her on her birthday.

1. What is your favorite color? Purple and pink
2. What is your favorite toy? Dollhouse
3. What is your favorite fruit? Cherries and strawberries. And bananas with peanut butter and a chocolate chip on top.
4. What is your favorite tv show/movie? Cat in the Hat
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Cauliflower curry
6. What is your favorite outfit? Heart bathing suit
7. What is your favorite game? Uno
8. What is your favorite snack? Banana snack
9. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe
10. What is your favorite song? Twinkle Little Star
11. What is your favorite book? Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
12. Who is your best friend? Alice and Seth
13. What is your favorite cereal? The ball cereal we had at Daddys cousin's house last summer
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike
15. What is your favorite drink? Pink lemonaid
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Cuddle (her blanket)
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Shish kabobs
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A guard crosser

Oh this little girl of mine. Well not so little any more. Is five a magical age or what? It seems like she's grown up overnight, no longer needing her mama as often for comfort and security. She's now venturing out on her own, confident in herself and her ability to handle any situation. This was evident when I dropped her off Sunday morning for an all day VBS program and she didn't look back once as I left. I was counting down the minutes till it was time to pick her up and when that moment arrived she didn't want to leave! I love her sweet, helping nature and her curiosity about everything. She's a great big sister to Reuben helping him when he needs it and encouraging him in those things he's trying to learn to do himself. She adores Calvin and holds him and burps him but does not want to help change his diaper! Haha! She's opinionated, funny, intelligent, stubborn, whiny, caring, creative, adventurous, loud...and I wouldn't have her any other way.

I love you Lily.

Monday, June 29, 2015

3 Years

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^Taken on June 25 at 8:15am. Three years to the minute that he was born.^
I've asked Lily these same questions every year around her birthday since she turned three years old (check out her 3 year answers and 4 year answers) and now its Reuben's turn! I can't believe my boy is 3!

1. What is your favorite color? Purple
2. What is your favorite toy? Calvin
3. What is your favorite fruit? Banana
4. What is your favorite tv show/movie? Curious George
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Banana
6. What is your favorite outfit? Cars PJs
7. What is your favorite game? Uno
8. What is your favorite snack? Chips
9. What is your favorite animal? Puppies
10. What is your favorite song? Deep and Wide
11. What is your favorite book? No No Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli
12. Who is your best friend? Nino (Nico)
13. What is your favorite cereal? Don't know
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike
15. What is your favorite drink? Water
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My blanket
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cheese rollup
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Chocolate cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grow up big like Dadday!

It was supposed to be a quiet evening at home Thursday night, just the 5 of us celebrating Reuben, but a good friend of mine was in town visiting with her two boys and so we invited them over for dinner. Then my sister-in-law dropped by and ended up spending the evening with her two. Needless to say with 7 children in our small house it was anything but quiet. But I don't think my oldest two would have it any other way. It was a fitting celebration for my rambunctious and headstrong (not so) little guy. Happy birthday my Reuben. I love you.

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I'm not into buying character toys from TV shows or movies and this is the first (and probably will be the only one) one I've purchased. But he loves it so much as you can tell. For those who are wondering its from a South Korean animated kid's show called Robocar Poli. My kids watch it on English.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Welcome Little Boy!


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Little did I know, that 45 minutes after I hit publish on my last post about being "overdue" by 2 days, that I would start having contractions that would result in our sweet baby boy being born 5 1/2 hours later!

Almost a week later and we're still in awe of this little guy that has made us a family of 5. The kids adore him and ask to hold him at every opportunity. Lily has been a huge help, grabbing a diaper when its time to change her little brother, making sure I have enough water and looking after Reuben when my hands are full (including changing his pull up!).

With Andrew back at work this week (he took off the entire last week), I'm still getting the hang of this whole 3 kids solo thing but it has been made so much easier by the fact that Calvin is so far proving to be a fairly laid back baby. I know, I know, that can change in an instance so in the meantime I'm going to enjoy this period while I can.

Welcome to the family Calvin Alexander! We all love you so much!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pregnancy #3 Update: 40 Weeks!

Well. I didn't think I'd be doing a post this far along. Not because I didn't think I'd be going over my due date, because no matter how much I wished that was true, a big part of me knew that I would be. So no surprise there. No, mostly because I haven't been on the computer much these past several weeks and have chosen instead to sit on my bed in my room under the ceiling fan with the AC blowing directly on me while I check Facebook and Instagram on my phone a couple times a day. That's pretty much been the extent of my online presence for the past month or so.

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Technically this picture was taken at 39 weeks 6 days because I figured I could go into labor at any time. Yeah right...

How far along? 40 weeks 2 days
Total weight gain/loss? About 35 pounds. After gaining 5 pounds in one week (!) I haven't gained any since. In fact one week the scale said I'd lost a half a pound.
How big is baby? The size of a jackfruit so about 18.9 - 20.9 inches and 6.2 - 9.2 pounds. With my luck he's probably more at the high end of that estimate.
Stretch marks? Yes. I've noticed a few. Darn it.
Sleep? Several weeks ago I started taking 3 mg of melatonin before going to bed each night. Worked like a charm most nights. But since I started having pre labor signs last week (more on that in a bit) I stopped taking it because I was nervous that I'd take one, go to sleep and get woken up 10 minutes later by my water breaking and then I'd be too exhausted to handle everything.
Fitness? I've been keeping active and cleaning a lot trying to jump start real labor and also trying to stay upright for the most part, hoping to help gravity do its job. Until recently I had a lot of energy still and I have a day here and there where I still do.
Best moment this week? Totally not baby related. My birthday last week Monday. Andrew took Lily to the store early in the morning to get supplies for my birthday dinner and desert. I cleaned the house with Reuben's help while they were gone in anticipation of having a few family members over to help celebrate later. Then the two of them came home and started cooking and baking and I hightailed it out of there to spend an hour or two out by myself. I got a haircut, purchased a few things for Lily at JcPenney on a crazy Memorial Day sale and got a frozen coffee at McDonald's. Its become a sort of tradition that I get a haircut on or around my birthday. This time it felt glorious being pampered at almost 40 weeks pregnant. I needed it. I should have had a pedicure and told them to rub my ankles really well. ;)
Miss anything? Being able to do anything without losing my breath, wearing normal clothing, bending over...
Food cravings/aversions? Watermelon! When I'm not eating watermelon I'm thinking about eating watermelon. Now I totally want some watermelon.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not queasy or sick per se, but I have been having some heartburn/indigestion the past couple of days.
Current Symptoms? These symptoms have been coming and going since last Tuesday so they aren't always "current:" Braxton Hicks contractions, losing my mucous plug in bits (sorry TMI), lots of pelvic pressure, going pee ALL.THE.TIME, not sleeping or sleeping poorly and a horrible pain in my groin that feels like my legs are being pulled out of their sockets.
Belly button in or out? Out. And did I mention that Reuben likes to kiss it? Its the only place he'll kiss when he wants to "kiss the baby." I wonder if he thinks its the baby's point of exit?
Wedding rings on or off? Off.
Mood? Anxious for this little guy's arrival and worried that I'll go into labor some time this weekend when my doctor isn't on call. Upset about the fact that I am going to be hooked up to an IV during labor (at least some of the time) so that I can get antibiotics for Group B Strep that I tested positive for at 37 weeks (my original birth plan didn't include any needles). Cranky whenever someone remarks "you're still pregnant?!" (yes, obviously I still am) or tells me "you're still carrying high, you haven't dropped, you still have plenty of time" (um, thank you for your expert opinion on how my body works) Err. This article about sums it up. I heard someone once say, in regards to unsolicited, obnoxious questions during pregnancy, that pregnancy doesn't make a woman dumb but apparently it does make everyone else. And for those reading this who've said some of these remarks to me, I forgive you, I know you mean well, its just my hormones wanting to rip your head off. Just kidding. :)

I have an appointment tomorrow, two days earlier than my usual once a week one. I think the plan is to do an ultrasound and check my fluid levels to make sure everything looks good in there. No mention of inducing yet which is a huge testament to how wonderful my doctor is as I remember scheduling an induction with Lily before my 40 week appointment (I ended up going into labor on my own and she was born at 41 weeks, the day before my scheduled induction). I'd like to avoid an induction if at all possible. As I mentioned above, I've been having pre labor signs which means things are progressing but how quickly...who knows?

My bags are packed, the books are read (I just finished The Birth Book today and it was very informative and reassuring), the van is purchased (oh yeah, I forgot to mention we bought a mini van!), the baby car seat is ready to be buckled into said van and the house is somewhat tidy and ready to come home to. I'm ready to have a baby!

Friday, April 03, 2015


A snapshot of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Reuben: His favorite outdoor activity, riding his bike. Also, he's wearing undies. Not all the time, its slow going, but we're getting there!
Lily: Princess Lily.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pregnancy #3 Update: 31 Weeks

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How far along? 31 weeks 4 days
Total weight gain/loss? About 33 pounds gained.
How big is baby? Size of a pineapple. Over 16 inches long and about 3 pounds. All 5 of his senses are in fine working order and his irises even react to light.
Stretch marks? I don't think so. I've been rubbing almond oil on my tummy fairly religiously after every shower. Hopefully that keeps them at bay.
Sleep? What's that? But seriously sleep is a sore subject with me right now. Sore for more than one reason. The RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) I had later in my pregnancy with Reuben has reared its ugly head again just in the past couple of weeks. Its not as bad this time *knock on wood* but its enough to keep me up some nights. And Andrew too with all of the tossing and turning I do. Add to that my temperature is sky high all the time and I feel like I'm burning up. It gets worse at night so my solution is to sleep almost nude with no covers and the AC turned down a bit lower than usual. That last part was a compromise with Andrew since he's always cold at night. I really would like to sleep with the ceiling fan on as well but that was a no go with him.
Fitness? Nothing's changed here. The only work out I get is running after Reuben when he tries to run and hide from me when I've told him to do something. Ahhh that kid.
Best moment this week? Having the young (good looking) guy at the Walmart checkout ask me "another one?!" as I started putting my groceries on the belt. I was confused at first thinking he recognized me from a previous trip or something (yes, I do shop there at least twice a week) and was making fun of my shopping habits. But then he looked at my belly and grinned at me so I grinned right back and told him "yup, another one!" As I was walking out to the car that interaction made me realize I'm going to have 3 kids very soon! Holy cow!
Miss anything? Uninterrupted sleep. Being able to play on the floor with my kids. Letting them sit in my lap. Running around with them. Lily expressed her desire to run around again with me after the baby is born. That was a bittersweet moment hearing that from her.
Food cravings/aversions? I'm still enjoying spicy foods. No aversions whatsoever.
Anything making you queasy or sick? No.
Current Symptoms? Still having Braxton Hicks contractions every day. I've been having round ligament pains since about week 25ish. I didn't have them with my previous pregnancies and when I described them to the nurse she said that's what they were. I've had a couple days where it hurt to walk at all and I sat for most of the day. Thankfully they've let up a bit and I noticed recently that they get worse when I've been sitting for a while and then when I go to stand they flare up. So I try to take a break and stand and stretch if I have to sit anywhere for a while and then I'm ok. My ribs hurt occasionally from this little guy kicking me. I'm noticing its easy to wear myself out now. I feel really great for the most part so I overestimate my endurance, plan a busy day out with the kids, and then regret it the next day.
Belly button in or out? Its been an outie for a while now!
Wedding rings on or off? Still off.
Mood? I've found myself losing my patience with the kids recently and I hate myself for it. I'm feeling big and its awkward to move around, get up and down and chase two kids around. I'm not really complaining though since this pregnancy has been going very well so far. I feel very blessed that I've had the energy I've had to be able to keep up with two little ones. But I'm ready to meet this little guy now and get my old body back.

I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by! Do I really only have 9 weeks (ok 8.5...give or take) left?!

I haven't made many preparations for this little guy's delivery yet which is making me a little nervous now that I think about it. Heck, we don't even have a name picked out yet! Not for lack of trying. We're just not agreeing on any names at this point. This child may not get named till after he's born. I think I'm ok with that as long as we have a list of potential ideas to bring with us to the hospital.

I start having doctor's appointments every two weeks from now on. I plan on bringing my birth plan with me to my next one. I'm blessed in that either Dr. Khan or her husband (who works in the practice with her) will be guaranteed to be there for this one's delivery. With Lily we went into the hospital on a weekend my doctor was not on call and we got whichever doctor was on call. I only saw him for the last 15 minutes it took to push Lily out and then he disappeared. With Reuben Dr. Khan was in the room with me from the moment they called her when I first arrived at the hospital till he was born three hours later. Its nice having that certainty.

I plan on going with the same birth plan as last time (which was followed almost perfectly) with a couple changes. I had an unmedicated, natural delivery with Reuben and except for a few minor things it was nearly perfect. The first change that I'm thinking of making is forgoing the saline lock that I got last time. The nurse who put it in was annoying me asking if she could put in every time I was having major contractions. She wasn't very patient about it and once it was in I was never hooked up to an IV and therefore never needed it. I kept hydrated by drinking a sip of water after each contraction. If everything goes well (no back labor like I had with Lily, which would make me rethink the no epidural decision) then I'll leave the saline lock on my plan and make a decision as things develop.

I requested intermittent monitoring last time which means they hook you up to the fetal monitoring machine by putting the bands on your belly and track the baby's heart rate and your contractions for 20-30 minutes and then take the bands off. When I was hooked up last time they realized the machine was broken and wasn't monitoring anything much less relaying the information to the nurses desk. I forgot about the band around my waist and it was never removed. This time I'm again going for intermittent monitoring unless the machine is broken again!

Last but not least, Andrew and I both agree that we'd like to go home as soon as possible if we have a normal labor and delivery and everything goes well. Both times previously we were talked into staying 48 hours. It was nice I'll admit to have all of your needs taken care of and not have to cook meals for a day or two. But the constant barrage of nurses coming in to check your vitals and look in on baby don't make it all that relaxing. I never can get completely comfortable in those hospital beds and I'm going to miss my kids like crazy.

This may be my last update due to the fact that its only my second one this pregnancy and I only have about 2 months left to go. Eh, maybe I'll squeeze in another one right at the end. We'll see.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


A snapshot of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Lily and Reuben: on their way to church with Daddy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Conversations With My Daughter: The Random Edition

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October 13
Lily (sobbing): But I can cry as much as I want. It says so in the Bible!

October 15
Lily was fighting bedtime and kept coming out of her room for one thing or another. Because she kept coming out Andrew said he would not tuck her into bed...again. So she came out one last time and stood in her open doorway.
Lily: Daddy, you're just being mean. You're being rude. And that's why I'm going to bed! (she reentered her bedroom and slammed the door behind her) Mission accomplished!

December 10
Lily: Thank you Reuben!
Mom: What did he do?
Lily: He brought his shoes inside and the umbrella. That's very responsible!

December 17
Lily (sleepily waking up from her nap): Mom don't interrupt when I'm thinking of pancakes.

December 24
Lily (looking through a magazine): Well my oh me! That is so neat!

December 24
Lily (looking at the bug bites on Reuben's legs): Wow this kid is all damaged up!

December 25
Lily (looking at a picture of herself): I was a cute little thing when I was a baby.

December 26
Lily (playing outside in Reuben's Christmas present): We have so much fun on this thing. In fact, that's the right thing to do, get us a wagon!

January 8
Lily: Mom! You turned off the light in your room while I was still in there. That will cause destruction.

January 14
Lily: Mom do you remember when we watched the flamingo show? There was a crowd of flamingos and then some flamingos died and I cried? And then we were looking down at the flamingos and they didn't look like flamingos and they covered the whole city." She sighs and says to herself "good times."

January 17
Lily (in the car): Church was splendid today.

January 18
Mom: Come on Reuben!
Lily: No time for dilly dallin'!

January 20
Lily (showing me her jumping off a box skills): Am I a natural?

January 20
Lily (telling her Aunt Holly about her new baby brother): I thought we were having a girl, but my mistake, its a boy!

January 21
Lily: I have plenty of energy. Sleep gives you energy. I got plenty this morning. I don't need any more. (laughs) So Mom, can I not take a nap today after lunch so I can play Candy Crush?

January 21
Lily (watching her dad put a drop of something into Reuben's sippy cup): Dad I don't think that's appropriate for children.

January 23
Lily (looking out the window at the waves on the lake as we drove by): I really love the crumbly ocean.

January 29
Lily: Dad, I think you're great. We should keep you.

January 31
Lily (watching her brother color with a dark blue crayon): Reuben! That's overwhelming the pink!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


A snapshot of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Reuben: He's not a fan of any kind of animal. So when his sister caught a toad he was happy to look at it in the jar...for about a minute.
Lily: On the other hand, Lily is a friend to animals, both big and small. She caught this little guy who promptly attached himself to her finger. She didn't bat an eye but told me that "it didn't hurt because their mouths are too small and it takes too long to chomp down real hard."

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Strawberry Festival

I've been wanting to go to the annual Strawberry Festival held in Plant City, Florida for years but for some reason or another (school, work, etc.) have never been able to make it. Basically its a big fair with carnival rides, greasy (and yummy!) fair food, musical performances and agriculture, livestock and art exhibits. Oh and lots of vendor and arts booths. I mean buildings upon buildings full of them. If you've ever wanted to change your cell phone plan, add to your fridge magnet collection and purchase a jacuzzi all in the same place, I can tell you where to go.

So last Friday we all hopped in the SUV and drove to the fair. This was the 80th year of the festival and a half a million people came from around the state and the country to join in the celebration of that wonderful little red fruit called the strawberry. Strawberries are a big deal around here this time of year and the festival did not disappoint in that regard. There was every kind of strawberry food item imaginable and I wanted them all. Lily wanted to ride the ferris wheel so badly and was begging to from the moment we parked the car and she could see it out her window. So we meandered that way fairly certain it was going to cost an arm and a leg but willing to at least check if it was doable. Yeah, no. It would cost $15 for both kids and Daddy to ride once. So we convinced Lily that it wasn't a great deal and that there were other things we could do like get strawberry ice cream and see animals! She was cool with that and off we went. The kids sat on tractors, checked out the animals (there were chickens, rabbits and cows), met Mr. Berry the Strawberry Festival mascot, saw a magic show (which we all loved!) and generally ran around taking in all the sights and smells as much as they could. There were a lot of people there. It was a little overwhelming at times. Lots of food choices when it came to lunch and I don't do well when I have too many choices. I ended up going with a Greek gyro and the kids had corn dogs. There weren't any gluten-free options but luckily Andrew had brought along a ton of snacks so we walked back to the car so he could have something.

I don't know that we'll go again but it was nice to finally see what the festival is all about. I much prefer a small, local county fair where you're able to touch and hold the animals and talk to the farmers, ride the occasional ride because it doesn't cost too much, walk through exhibit halls full of award winning homemade pies and kids' 4H projects and run into people you know. Kind of like the fair in my hometown in Maine. But then of course I'm always looking for any opportunity to go back to Maine.

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