Saturday, October 31, 2009

brrrrrrr

Um, so, yeah.  Three years in Texas have turned me soft.  I lived in the midwest for 25 years, for goodness sake.  I walked to school when temps hovered around 10 degrees.  I was a hockey cheerleader and wore a tiny skirt on the ICE while wearing SKATES.  I pulled out my shorts when the weatherman forecasted any temperature above 50 degrees.  

But now, I've turned into that traveler who, upon exiting the plane onto the jetway, GASPS as if I've never felt anything like this before and causes a traffic jam by stopping dead in my tracks.  My instinct was to turn around and run back to my plane seat, buckle in, and go home.  Turns out the plane was headed to Des Moines, Iowa, though.  No offense, Iowans, but that doesn't sound like anyplace I'd like to be and I highly doubt it would be much warmer.  So, I'm here in Minneapolis awaiting my family and our flight to Wisconsin.  And even inside the Caribou Coffee scented airport.....it's VERY cold.  The cute jacket I put on earlier thinking I might be a bit warm is laughably under-equipped for this chill.  

And though I'm sure this goes without saying, I was also less than jazzed about that purple #4 jersey I encountered about three minutes after walking into the airport.  That's.  Just.  Wrong.

Coldness and traitorous footballers aside, it really is GREAT to be back!  The fall leaves I saw below as we were flying in were stunning.  I'd been marveling over the tree in my front yard with a touch of yellow - it pales in comparison to the rainbow of gorgeous fall shades I saw out my airplane window.  I'm beyond excited to see the family, celebrate Halloween tonight, and get to Lambeau tomorrow.  And I'm pretty certain there are cheese curds in my very near future, which will make up for the whole 'no beer for me' thing at Lambeau tomorrow. 

And now, I'm off to the rest room to add a few layers to my ensemble.  (AKA: I'm going to put on every article of clothing in my suitcase.  That's going to look HOT.  Pun absolutely intended.)

Oh PS: the baby-free flight?  Glorious.  I may have cried halfway to the airport after kissing Mister A goodbye (for a whole 48 hours, sheesh, pathetic).....but I really did enjoy reading for 2 solid uninterrupted hours AND having the luxury to set an open cup of Diet Coke on my tray table and sip it leisurely (as opposed to pounding it down in five seconds before a little someone dumps it down my shirt).   Knowing the little guy is happy as a clam soaking up that Mimi time makes it a little easier as well.  Thanks, Mimi!

Happy Halloween, my lovelies, and GO PACK GO!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the belly, 23.5 weeks

Me with both of my babies, 23.5 weeks.
I KNOW, it's okay to say it, that is one BIG HUGE belly.  It's taken me off guard, since I was slower to start showing this time around I just figured maybe I'd carry smaller.  Not so much.  Either Bumblebee is on pace to be bigger than her jumbo-sized brother was at birth, or those Special K bars I'm addicted to are all going straight to my bump, which I'd surely prefer over them all going straight to, say, my ass.  I don't know.  I do know it's already getting difficult to tie my shoes, but the jumbo-bump has come in rather handy for toting A around.  Like a comfy chair, right there on my frontside!

Hugeness and all......I'm so blessed.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

under neat that

A funny for your Tuesday, from the cover of the new 'Cake Wrecks' book I spotted on a peaceful, relaxing solo trip to Borders just before a peaceful, relaxing solo trip to Target where I actually had time to LOOK at what I was tossing in my cart!  AND I even got a soda to carry around with me because there was nobody to yank out my straw and poke their eye out with it before dumping my soda on me!  Friends, it really is the little things that make a mom's day.

So back to the funny.  Though it took me a minute to catch on to this one, when I did, I laughed so hard that I thought I might pee my pants right there in the book store. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

pumpkin patching

Yesterday, we met up with some friends at the pumpkin patch.  I know, not as klassy as buying my pumpkins at Walmart like we previously discussed, but a fun way to spend an autumn Sunday afternoon taking 201 photos of your child amongst the gourds.

This, I believe, is the ONE existing photo of the three of us smiling simultaneously.  (Thanks, Z!)  I think someone had just told Anderson the Packers had won.  I know that's why I'M smiling.

The mamas and the little people.  No, the mamas did not plan the color coordinated outfits, but it did make for a nice photo.

"Hey, C, you wanna, like, get outta my shot?"

"What is this stuff?"

A's ambivalent towards the sweet little baby.  Oh, A, if you only knew.... 

Back to the business at hand....choosing his first pumpkin patch pumpkin.


The taste test is very important.  And we'll just pretend like that pumpkin hasn't been handled by 145 other children, half of whom probably have the swine flu.  We won't even try to pretend that I didn't wipe his face and hands down with antibacterial wipes the second his booty hit the car seat.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

our sneak peak

I'm impressed.  Not so much impressed by Mister A, who was an unwilling, uncooperative subject for this morning's chilly crack of dawn photo shoot.  But I AM impressed by Libby of Libby Ann Photography, because she still managed to capture some great shots of our little guy.  It wasn't an easy job.  He refused to smile unless a Puff was offered up, he ran whichever direction we weren't wanting him to go, he wasn't into being held, he pooped his pants, and as a final, photo shoot ending gesture, he slid down a wet, muddy hill on his face and came up screaming, covered in dirt and grass and snot.  He was NOT happy, I was a little embarrassed, and I think J was just really, really ready to run off to work.  Our photographer kindly pretended like this is how every normal family photo session ends.  (Thanks, Libby.)

For the record, I don't blame the kid for his behavior, really.  It was nap time, it was so cold that his nose turned red, and well, the park isn't made for dressing up and smiling pretty.  It's made for running and playing and doing things that BOYS do (eating dirt and grass, mainly).  

Anyway, all that to say that I was VERY relieved to see these shots and to know this morning's work was worthwhile!  (Even if this first shot made me cry.  Where, oh where, did my baaaaby go?  That's a big boy in that picture!  ::sniffle::)



Libby shared these three of Anderbug as a "sneak peek" and we'll see the rest of our session within a few weeks.  We had her take plenty of pictures of all three (point five) of us as well, but we're keeping those under wraps until we decide on a Christmas card photo- don't want to send out a card with an "old news" photo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

unweaned

This was to be W-Week.  Weaning week.  Dear boy was going to be bottle free, I declared.  He's still taking a bottle before each nap and one at bedtime, and his pediatrician was pretty stern about this at his one year appointment: "one year olds don't need bottles.  Just take 'em away."  While I've said before that I don't consider his pediatrician to be the boss of me, enough of my friends had weaned around this point to make me feel that this is one of those "rules" I had to follow.  I gave him an extra month of bottles, trying to be considerate of all the traveling, sniffly noses, and teething, and decided 13 months was our deadline.  I cut back his bottle intake each day last week, and on Sunday (aka: daddy day), we closed down the bottle shop.

That day, A did okay.  We played him out to make sure he was good and tired, and he went down for bottle-free naps about as well as I'd expected.  Some tears, some kicking at the crib, then a good long nap.  Repeat.  Then at bedtime, not a peep.  Bath, books, cuddle time in the rocker ... and Mister went to sleep.  J and I high fived and I packed the bottles away in a high kitchen cabinet and declared ourselves DONE with bottles FOREVER for 117 days (yes, you read that right, I know, I gasped too). 

Ha.  Haha.  Hahaha!  That's me laughing at my laughable naivety, my smug confidence in our one day cold turkey bottle weaning skills.  You see, the boy had other plans.  He's a smart one, and I think he realized two parents are stronger than one.  So he played it cool on Sunday and saved the real fight for Monday, when he knew there would be just one.  I imagine him plotting in his crib, sitting in the corner rubbing his chubby little hands together: "get mommy alone and make her PAY for taking away my beloved bah-bahs!  Bwahaha!"  So Monday arrives, J leaves for work, and A stepped up his game.  It was rough and long and there was a whole lot of crying at crib time.  But he did nap and we did survive and I didn't think of going near that bottle cabinet.  We were getting there, I thought.  Then came Tuesday.  Oh, that horrid Tuesday.  My head hurts thinking back to it.  I'm not even going to get into details.  Let's just say it was long and painful and napless and I was not all the mommy I could be- my nerves were shot, my patience was drained, and this just wasn't feeling right.  And by bedtime, so worn out was I that after 5 minutes of sad, angry screams piercing through his walls and down the stairs to the living room where I hid beneath a blanket...I filled a bottle with milk and returned to A's room.  I picked up my hiccuping, puffy eyed little guy, snuggled him in the rocker, and gave back his damn bottle.  I quit.  I refused to fight this battle any longer.  I rocked him far longer than I needed to, feeling guilty and sad and like I'd made a major mommy misstep by stifling my instincts in trying so hard to force something he clearly wasn't ready for.

Here's the thing: A's an easy kid.  He (thank you GOD) came into the world with J's personality.  Happy, carefree, eager to please.  But no mistake- these boys of mine aren't weak.  There's a good bit of determination beneath their easygoing exteriors.  Piss them off, and you'll know it.  So while A has been pretty cool about other painful transitions we've had to make along the way, taking things like sleep training and routine setting in stride, this 'bottle weaning' thing was where he drew the line.  And if I've learned anything in my 5.5 year marriage to J, it's that when he draws the line I best just shut my trap (hard as THAT is for me) and go with the flow.  That lesson in mind, I decided A can have his bottles awhile longer.  What's it hurting, really?  As I've done more reading on the subject, it seems that bottle feeding isn't considered "extended" until a child passes 18 months.  Furthermore, the main concerns are that a 12+ month old with a bottle won't take a cup (which he does, gladly, at mealtimes and in between), won't take to solid foods (not an issue, he's a great eater), will drag a bottle around the house (never), will require one in his mouth to sleep (nope), or will otherwise become be so dependent on the bottle that social development is impeded.  A's social skills seem fine and dandy to me.  So why was I pushing this?  Because the doctor said so?  Because some books say so?  Because my friends did?  Because ... why?  My instinct is that when he's ready, he'll just do it.  And if not, that when the time is right, it will feel right to stand my ground and I won't be hiding under a blanket crying.

So that explains the lack of blogging this week.  This whole weaning-then-not thing ate up a fair bit of our time.  Then add in working and housekeeping and yard tending and pet caring and belated birthday thank you card writing and family picture outfit buying/planning and the eleventy billion other things I've tried to cram into four long days.... exhaustion, explained.

Monday, October 19, 2009

toddler face

Remember this perfect baby face?

((swoon))

It's no more.  Our Mister A is a big, bad toddler now.  Not to be messed with or met in dark alleys.  Grrrrr.

First, the mysteriously vague 'block incident' of last week.  That bruise was fading away nicely, much to my relief.  Then yesterday, I watched him trip and lurch forward off the front step onto the paved walkway.  He caught himself with his forehead, and a little bit with his nose as well.  (Note to A: try your hands next time.)  That was all bad enough, until late this afternoon (after I took the above photo), when he crashed and burned once more and scraped up his cheek at the park.  His timing is not ideal, since our family photos are scheduled for this Saturday.  Ah well, that's what editing is for.  Something tells me there will be no more 'perfect baby face' in this house until mid-February, and even that one won't last long, what with this big bad toddler running around with hands full of blocks and trucks and the occasional spork.  (I have no idea where he found a spork.  I didn't even know they made sporks anymore.  But man, he really thought that spork was something neat.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

escapee

I now understand the need for an alarm system feature I previously deemed useless and annoying.  We've got the option to set our system up so that when any door or window is opened (while the alarm is turned off) the system will emit a perky little "chirp-chirp".  I wasn't ever sure why it did that or why we'd use it, and quickly grew tired of the chirps, so we turned it off.  It's now back on.  Because as of this week, a certain 13 month old someone can open doors.  He figured it out.  Open door = freedom!  Open door = going somewhere!  Outside, out of his room, out of the bathroom, into the pantry with all its delicious surprises (though he prefers to gnaw on the Dustbuster).  This is kind of cute and entertaining to watch, except when I catch him working on the front door.  Which is obviously always locked after the whole filthy rotten burglars incident... but still, if it were to not be locked, that could be a very bad thing.  Babies and streets do not mix.  So we're hearing a whole lotta chirping around the house again, so that on the very off chance that a door is unlocked, our little escapee won't get too far.

Here he is showing off his door opening skills at bedtime.  (Disregard the too-small jammies.  It's Saturday night, people.  The clean laundry is out and won't be replenished until after Sunday's marathon laundry washing session.)
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I need to add that I feel a little guilty about something.  After each and every check up during my pregnancy with Anderson, I'd report back to my blog with a detailed recap.  I had a Bumblebee check up yesterday and completely neglected to say a word about it on thee blog, so busy was I going on about the park and showing off pictures of the Mister.  Poor neglected subsequent child.  Everything checked out fine.  I've gained less weight than I'd gained at this point with Anderson (thank you, thank you park workouts for counteracting all the bacon and Reese's!)  Bumblebee's ticker was ticking away, 150s, sounded great.  Blood pressure normal.  Uh...not much else.  Oh, I peed in a cup and that went really well, no spillage.  And that's about all I've got.  We have a big, detailed ultrasound coming up next month that will surely prove more exciting and blog worthy.

Oh, and a couple special things about this day- A's 13 months old today and two very special people are celebrating birthdays.  Happy Birthday, Megan and Nikki!   We love you both and hope you are celebrating tonight!

Friday, October 16, 2009

the park

Going to the park used to be so relaxing.  I'd pack a blanket, a few toys, and sometimes even a magazine.  I'd park the stroller and spread the blanket in a shady spot.  Mister A would stare at trees and smile at his hands and I'd take a hundred pictures and think that this motherhood thing really wasn't as hard as people said it was.  Slackers!

Notsomuch anymore.  Forget the Shred, going to the park is a full body workout.  I'm chasing A, pulling acorns and wood chips from his mouth and hauling his wriggling, kicking body back to the playground every two minutes.  That's right- back to the playground.  Because what enthuses him isn't the playscape, it's the wide open spaces surrounding that playscape.  Yesterday we tried to have a play date at the park.  I was looking forward to some grown up conversation.  Instead, I spent most of my time shouting over my shoulder at my friends, sweating like a pig while trying to maintain intelligible conversation and train of thought while keeping A alive and uninjured.  

Today, A and I headed over for more park time (it was just too brilliantly fall-like outside not to).  Down the path, back up the path, around the playscape, repeat.  Over and over again, gaining more bravery and speed with each lap.  And though it's exhausting, it's also pretty neat to watch this boy find joy and fascination in things I'd normally fail to notice.  Or that I'd step on, in the case of one particularly creepy looking bug he thought was very neat.  He'll run, then stop and smile and clap his hands at a flower or a bug or a dried leaf scraping across the walkway....and I'll smile and think how very lucky I am to be watching this happen, to be watching this baby become a boy with interests and joys all his own.  So for as long as he'll share those joys with me, I'm in.  Because soon enough I'll be left in the dust as he runs off to have these adventures with his friends, with all the time in the world to sit and read that magazine in the shade.  

I did get a few shots from the three minutes I kept him corralled in the playscape before giving in and freeing the boy:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

bookworm

You know what I'm loving?  The way Anderbug has finally started to get into books.  For 12.5 months or so, "reading" meant I sat there blathering about brown bears and red birds while A stared blankly at me, occasionally looking down at the book to turn the page or knock it out of my hands and onto the floor.  Fun times!  But knowing the importance of reading, I kept on.

All of the sudden, he's listening!  And even cooler, he's sifting through piles of trucks and noisy toys and pulling out a book, toddling back to me with book in hand and an expectant look on his face.  As a girl who loves her books, I'm very pleased that he's showing some interest.  He can even read upside down.  Get Harvard on the line, we've got a genius!

What I'm not loving so much is the fascination with climbing everything.  I left him in the play room for 2.2 seconds to grab a Diet Coke really healthy snack and came to find him like this, all casual like we always sprawl out on tabletops in this house:

But hey, at least he took his books along!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a good, bad, ugly post

the good: 
I'm blonde again!  I'd gone dark in early September thinking that as a busy, grown up mom of 1.5 it was time to go back to my (literal) roots and adopt a lower maintenance (read: cheaper, less time consuming) hair regime.  Sounded good in theory, but ended up being a misguided notion.  There are many girls who look sophisticated and sexy with dark locks, but I've concluded that I'm just not one of them.  I've deleted 90% of photos taken of me during the past six weeks and had taken to looking in the mirror and having a mental "wah wah waaaaah" moment.  Brunette just wasn't working for me.  The decision making moment was when I casually asked J what he thought about me spending $150+ on my hair this week.  He immediately balked, so then I added "to make it blonde again" and his attitude swung swiftly to "yes!  Great!  Let me get your shoes!  Shall I drive you there right now [at 9pm on Sunday night]?" and J scrambling off to get his checkbook.  Say no more, dear husband, I get it, you hate my dark hair.  All this to say, I spent two hours at the salon today and left feeling younger and prettier and happier.  And those, my friends, are all very good things to feel.  They counteract the "huge like a hippo" feeling quite nicely.

the bad:
91 degrees tomorrow.  With high humidity.  In mid October.  *&^%$#@, Texas, did you not get the MEMO?  The "IT'S FALL AND I WANT TO WEAR MY UGGS AND SCARVES!" memo?  Why can't you just behave like a normal state and stop pretending you're the tropics?!

the ugly:
MOLARS!  Dear Sweet Baby JESUS!  Some kind mommy friends had warned me they'd be rough and drive me to drink (caffeine), but they didn't actually tell me they'd turn our sweet, patient, happy go lucky dude into a bipolar maniacal tyrant of a child.  He's up, he's down, he's all around.  One minute he's smiling and babbling and making me think we should go Duggar and have a whole busload of these things ... the next minute he's crying and clinging, he's throwing, he's climbing atop tables and shrieking baby obscenities.  He's got boogers running down his sad little face that I hope and pray are teething related and NOT a symptom of a cold.  Or that other big huge scary pig thing we won't even talk about.  To add to the fun, there's the night wakings, a painfully raw looking diaper rash that causes back arching and crocodile tears during each and every diaper change, AND a goose egg on his forehead that neither J or A's visiting Papaw seem to want to clearly explain, other than to say that it involved a wooden block.  Poor little A. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

that was some welcome

Last night, we paid the price for those three peaceful, uninterrupted, oh-so-luxurious nights of sleep we enjoyed in Houston.

A was up crying at 9:30pm.

Then 12:30am.

Then 1:15am.

Then 4:51am.  FOR GOOD.  That's right, our day began a full two and a half hours before SUNRISE.  Thankfully, J's a team player, so I spent the first hour up with A, and J took over from there so I could enjoy a 6am "nap".

Oh, boy.  Might be breaking that 'one caffeinated beverage a day' rule today.  Sorry Bumblebee, but I'm just not sure how else we're going to pull through this molar-cutting Monday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

well, hello there

Poor neglected blog.  I apologize, it's been a very busy week.  J and I hit the road for SIL's wedding and Mister A enjoyed a weekend of Grandma time at home.  That's right- we left him for a weekend.  And I only cried once.  A's Grandma effortlessly survived the cutting of his first molar (ouch!) and stocked him with a pile of fun new toys.  As for J and I, it's tough to not have a good time when you're with many people you love at a fantastically well appointed Houston hotel where the view out your window looks like this:


..and you're attending a beautiful wedding in celebration of a very happy, very special bride and groom:


...and enjoying it all with your wonderful, handsome husband.

We so enjoyed catching up with friends and family and being a part of the joyful day.  Though we briefly considered stealing the bride and groom's identity and hopping their flight to Hawaii this morning, instead we jumped out of bed at 7am, eager to get started home to see our little man.  I thought I'd have to twist J's arm to get up so early, but I think he missed his little guy as much as I did- his bags were packed and his teeth brushed in about four minutes flat.  And the smile on A's face when we got home and he realized his mama and daddy were back .... perfection.

So now, back to real life.  Mom's been taken to the airport (crying episode #3).  Suitcases unpacked, Mister Molar put to bed, very tired parents soon to follow.  

Monday, October 5, 2009

zoom zoom

Is it any wonder A's bored come Monday morning when J goes back to work?  I think I'm fun ... but even if I were all hyped up on Diet Coke and sugar, I'd never think to put A into a plastic container and race around the house.  It's such a daddy thing.

Have I mentioned how much I love these boys?
video

In other boy related news, I'm having trouble deciding who I'd like to kick in the shins MOST at this very minute.  Jon Gosselin with his whiny, spineless "poor me just thinking of the sad, defenseless, puppyless, overexposed children now that my money train has been derailed" act and bank account draining nonsense ... or Brett Favre with his sissy purple leggings and legion of fair weather turned suddenly passionate fans now that their season is going well.  Tough call.  They're equally nauseating.  Almost as nauseating as eating 3 Special K bars for dinner.  Not that I'd know a thing about that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

the big 2-0

Not that big 2-0.  That passed more years ago than I like to think about because if I thought about it I'd realize how close I am to the big 3-0, which frightens me more than hairless cats.  And hairless cats scare me a LOT.

20 weeks.  I'm 20 weeks pregnant today.  That's the halfway point, people.  And in my case, it's OVER halfway since Bumblebee is being evicted at 39 weeks (unless she pulls some funny business and tries to escape sooner 'the natural way', which she better not even think about trying to do or she's so grounded for life).  HALF-FREAKING-WAY.  How did this happen?  When I was pregnant with Anderson, it felt like eons went by and I aged five years.  Seriously, every day just crawwwwled.  Every Saturday I marked another week off the calendar in my little pink datebook, counted how many weeks were left, both thankful for how far I'd come and despairing at how very many long days and weeks were left before I hit some reassuring new milestone that would maybe, just maybe bring me some peace and confidence: double digit weeks/the 2nd trimester/the viability point/the 3rd trimester/full term/due date.  My anxiety never eased and I lived in constant, consuming, overwhelming fear of something going wrong.  I suppose that's the difference here, and along with the toddler I'm pulling off console tables and reading "Brown Bear" to 85+ times a day ("he's looking at the RED BIRD!  Who is looking at the YELLOW DUCK!  GAH!  WE KNOW!"), it's the reason time is flying and dates are forgotten:  This time, my fears aren't the type I called my OB (over and over again, bless his patient heart) about last time.  I'm not up at night running the list of "things that could be really terribly wrong and ruin my life" through my head until I exhaust myself and fall into fitful sleep with nightmares of those same scary things.  I don't see lunch meat as the baby-poisoning enemy.  I don't cry all that often, unless you count while watching that commercial about the little girl with the lost dog and the miracle of modern cellular phone networks.  No, the scares that take my breath away every now and then are more the "OH.  MY.  GOD.  Two kids under a year and a half?  Are we NUTS?  Are we ever going to sleep again?  Who DOES this?  We're NUTS!" and that's about how far I get before I start hyperventilating and run into the pantry for a peanut butter cup.

I know, I know.  It will all be fine.  We'll be fine.  We'll someday soon say we couldn't imagine, not in a million years, what life would be like without Bumblebee and the added chaos a second baby will bring- it will just be the "new normal".  And please don't mistake my feelings as a lack of excitement- the rapidly growing mountain of pinkness piled in our guest room/future Bumblebee room is certainly proof positive that I am VERY excited.  

And now for some A.  He's all about the phones lately.  I thought it was just our phones, with their light-up, beeping buttons- but nope, it's any old phone.  I have NO idea where he got this love of the telephone.  And I'm not even being sarcastic for once in my life.  My friends can vouch for me on my lack of phone skills.  I'm notoriously impossible to reach by phone, because it's usually lost or has a dead battery or is out of my reach from where I'm lying on the couch.  (Sorry, friends.)  Anyway, A's got the phone thing figured out.  Kind of.  Gotta be tough to hear anything with the mouth part backwards up to your ear like that.  Whatever, even a boy genius can't do everything right.

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