Friday, November 29, 2013

Oh, yes, we need a little Christmas right this very minute...

Complimentary link to the above song for your listening enjoyment while reading my first (of probably many) Christmas post.

So for the last two weeks, we have been preparing for the Christmas season.  Two weeks ago, I was able to convince E to put up lights on our house.  I put up the other outside lights.  There aren't as many as I would like -- but I had to pick and choose as I had a little helper running along side of me.  I should stress that there aren't any LESS lights (with the exception of the lit garland around our front door), but I had ideas of more decor.  It will have to wait until next year as there is snow on the ground and it's below freezing.  That weekend, we also took our Christmas card photos.  It was quite the ordeal, but the card turned out great.  I'll be sharing the card later in the holiday season.

Last weekend, Finn helped me put up two of my three trees.  Three trees?  Yes, I have one in my foyer (a 9 footer) that sits on the front side of the house and I have a 7.5 footer in the living room that faces the side of the house that sits on the other road.  I also have a sentimental tree that is only 6 foot and it was up during my wedding reception.  The bows are still intact from our wedding and that one sits upstairs in our hallway, sitting at a window that faces the front of house.  Back to decorating, she was very excited about hanging ornaments on the tree.  She didn't understand the concept of the ornament hook, but she was a pro at hanging up the ornaments that had loops to hang on the tree.  She was getting so excited, it was pretty darn great.

Today, we finished our Christmas cards.  I realized a little too late that we don't have the program to print envelopes on our computer.  My envelopes weren't exactly the color that I had hoped for (I wasl looking for brown parchment, instead they were ivory).  So part of my idea for the envelopes was squashed.  Due to the lack of Microsoft, I had to improvise and my improvisation worked for about 40 cards.  I got the return address printed on the back of the cards.  (Just a sidebar:  I'm kind of a perfectionist about things -- "When I want them a certain way, I WANT them to look a certain way.")  Well, the printer decided to go on strike.  The envelopes started jamming and then it refused to print anymore.  I ended up with 8 black fingertips, ink all over the bottom of my robe as well as on my thigh and the bottom of my foot.  The score ended up being Printer 1, Me 0.  So I had to write with my very own terrible writing each envelope.  They are done -- but the envelopes aren't exactly the way that I wanted them.  Miniscule.

I've also got the majority of my Christmas shopping done already.  There are still at least 5 people that I am waiting for inspiration to strike on their gifts.  But I also have more than enough people finished and crossed off my list to make me feel like I'm in a good place.

Santa also sent Finn a video to let her know that she was on the nice list.  The Portable North Pole does a phenomenal job on personalized videos.  And this year was pretty incredible to watch her reaction to hearing Santa say her name.  She was memorized.  We watched that video at least five times already.  I also videotaped her watching it for the first time.  E also got a video from Santa telling him that he needs to be nicer to me (they also make adult versions of those videos).  (ha!)

I'm also starting to think of what I want to do with Finn this Christmas season. I know that we are celebrating St. Nicholas Day which is coming up next Friday.  And we are also going to be doing an Advent calendar which will start on Sunday.  There is an upcoming visit to Santa in the mall and hopefully a lot of Christmas music, present wrapping, Charlie Brown & the Grinch watching, & holiday baking.  I'm really excited for the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November Stream of Consciousness

  • A couple of Fridays ago was E's birthday.  He doesn't really like to celebrate his birthday and refuses to allow gifts.  Most years, I say that I didn't buy the gifts -- that they were from the dogs or from Finn  This year, he made me promise to not buy him anything for his birthday in August during my birthday.  I ended up forgetting entirely (pregnancy brain) and buying him something anyways.  And I tried desperately to get Finn to say "Happy birthday" -- she refused (of course, as is the case when you really want her to say something that you KNOW she can say).  But she did say it on Saturday, a day late... 

  • Finorah now knows her ABCs (for the most part).  She can get through the entire alphabet all by herself (although some of the letters sound a little questionable, like "LMNOP").  And she can count up to nine -- after that she skips ten and goes straight to eleven.  Last week, we were reading a book and I asked her to count how many birds were flying in the sky -- girlfriend immediately started counting as I pointed to each bird and we got up to five!  Also last week, E was getting ready with her and she has old rings that she likes to play with.  E said she got out her rings and put them down, pointing to each one and counting up to four.  E handed her his wedding ring, asking what number ring that was and she responded with "five"!  She has been counting cars & birds flying during our car rides also.

  • Update on Finn's crib-sleeping transition...  I am very, very happy to report that during the last two weeks, she only gets up ONCE in the middle of the night on most nights and we have even had some nights where she has slept all the way through until 6:30am!  And in those instances when she does get up, E is able to go in, calm her (as she isn't really crying, but whining & asking for Mama), E tells her that Mommy is sleeping, she lays right now and falls back asleep until morning.  In fact, on last Sunday, Norman (one of our kitties) was laying in her crib and she has a hissy-fit, saying "Norah!  Norah!" and pointing to her bed.  I asked her if she wanted me to take Norman out of her bed -- and her response was "out!"  AND, although there are minor tears when I have to put her to bed sometimes, she will willingly throw her lambs over the railing into her crib in preparation of going in (without any prompting from me).  It appears that we have turned the corner.  Those first few nights were absolute hell, as I'm sure many parents can relate to.  But I survived, E survived and so did she and I think that she is actually sleeping better by her lonesome.
  • Speaking of sleeping through the night, we took our photos for our Christmas card on two weekends ago.  How does that relate to sleeping you may ask?  This photo shoot was crazy!  And we had a lot of fun doing it.  I officially ordered the cards this morning.  It's going to be hard to wait until after Thanksgiving to spill the beans on our card...  I thought that it was going to be hard to top the card that we had last year, but I honestly think this one takes the cake.

  • I also asked E to put up our Christmas lights two weekends ago.  I thought the process was going to take 20 minutes (honestly).  I had it in my mind that I was going to have everything ready for him and all he had to do was climb the ladder and quickly string the lights along our roof.  We had debacle and debacle...  First, the new clips I bought were shoddy.  Every year the stores only put out one type of outdoor light clips.  Last year's clips were amazing!  This year, not so much...  Then we started running into light issues.  I used all new lights, straight out of the box and three (I repeat, THREE) sets went out upon E stringing 10 feet of them.  We were really, really, really close to NOT having lights on our house this year.  But E persevered and our house looks absolutely gorgeous!  Plus Finn liked seeing Daddy on the roof.  And it's really cute how everytime she sees the Christmas lights outside (even lights wrapped out our light-poles), she says "daddy!  daddy!"

  • I officially have 10 weeks before Fish is scheduled to arrive.  I'm not sure how this is going to work.  I feel like a house.  In fact, a couple of mornings ago, when I was bending over to get socks out of the bottom drawer, E commented about how weird my upper stomach looked right under my rib cage.  His comment -- "Your stomach looks weird right there.  It, sort of, just bulges out. There's no gentle slope."  And my response was "Yeah, that's because those are my internal organs being crushed up against my rib cage."  Now I'm wishing that I would have taken more photos with my first pregnancy, just to make sure that I'm not imagining things.  Because despite my initial thoughts of him being a couple of days late, I now can't imagine him going to his due date (just due to size).  Of course, I'll know more on the 6th when I see my doctor.  But as time goes on and I just keep getting bigger and bigger, I'm now having serious doubts that he will allow me to travel over the Christmas holidays.  Crazier things have happened, though.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parenting is hard, 'yo...

This past weekend, we were able to get out and enjoy some of the leaves in our yard before the first snow hit.  Yes, it snowed on Monday and yes, it is still on the ground today (Thursday).  There isn't much left but an icy crust on the bottom, a little hard snow filling and a lots of leafy frosting -- a good ole' fashion beginning winter cupcake.  Anywho, Sunday morning was quite chilly & windy, but we went out anyways.  Windy is, after all, the best time to play in leaves!

We didn't have any leaf piles, but we did have leaf accumulations from the wind and girlfriend LOVED running through them.  She loved the sound they made as they crinkled under her shoes.  She loved picking one up at a time and tried to tell me what color they were.  That is our new fascination, color-labeling EVERYTHING.  Everything is yellow -- unless it's yellow, then it's red.  I'm a stickler for accuracy and when something's silver or aqua -- even though it's not one of her primary or secondary colors, it's gets named the color it is.  I already know that she isn't going to remember aubergine or coral, but I just love to hear her repeat new words.

This week, we also made the final move into her crib.  There is no turning back now, which really saddens me.  It also tires me as it hasn't been an easiest transition.  Monday, she fell asleep in our bed and E moved her.  She then woke up at 9:50pm and proceeded to cry until 11:25pm-ish.  Those 90 minutes were the hardest minutes OF MY LIFE (seriously no joke).  E refused to let me go into her room as he thought that if she saw me, she would refuse to sleep in her crib and want me to pick her up.  She cried and I cried.  She called out "mama" and I cried even harder.  I felt so guilty, knowing that she was crying and that we weren't doing anything about it.  She was confused and didn't understand why she wasn't where she normally slept.  Oh, man, that was a hard, hard night.

Tuesday night, I put her to sleep in her crib.  We had a relatively peaceful Tuesday night.  E still got up 2-3 times with her between 2:30 & 3:00 to calm her that he was still there, just not in her room.  Last night was a repeat of Monday.  She accidentally fell asleep in our bed -- her and I were watching TV to settle down a little and before I knew it, I turned to glance at her and she was sleeping.  She was up from 3:00am to 4:30am.  I went in this time around 3:45am after E had made 3-4 trips in there.  It's heart-wrenching to have to listen to your kid be upset because they don't understand.

There are plenty of times in the evening when I'm on my own that I can't do things for her and she cries and throws tantrums.  I can handle that.  I can handle telling her "no" because I have other priorities such as not burning dinner and holding her isn't one of my priorities in that moment.  Those screams are totally different than the achy whines or whimpery cries that come in the middle of the night.  Maybe it's because I miss sleeping by her.  I now feel like I don't get to see her very much each day.  I now get a total of 3.5 hours with her a day.  At least when she was sleeping by me, I could reach out and feel that she was there or see her peaceful sleeping face when I rolled over.  Please don't misunderstand that I don't realize that this (i.e. sleeping in her crib) is what is best for her.  I know that this has to happen for her to be the future strong, independent woman that I envision for her.   I just didn't realize how hard it was going to be on me...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gone fishin' at 28 weeks

28 weeks down and only 12 to go...  Three months and we are going to have a new baby brother in the family...  It seems really close and also really far away at the same time.

I had a doctor's appointment last week.  Fish's heartbeat was strong and steady.  And I was measuring 4.5 weeks ahead of schedule -- last week, I was measuring in at 31 weeks.  Of course, there are a lot of factors that can lead to my measuring further along.  Being breech is one of them -- and he was definitely breech that day.  I could tell by the kicks to my crotch that morning.  My doctor told me not to worry, that maybe E and I just make big babies.  My doctor and his wife have three and he said that they were all 9.5lb+ babies, save the last one who was two weeks early and still weighed 8lb 8oz.  Now he and his wife are not big people, they just make big babies.  I think that is where we sit now.  My next appointment with my doctor is on December 2nd and we will again measure to decide if we need to have an ultrasound to check on Fish and his little swimming pool.

I also had my glucose test done that morning.  The orange "drink" was not cold and it was definitely hard to choke down.  But I got that sucker down in less than a minute as I gagged.  I was nervous about the test as I was measuring ahead (another factor for that is gestational diabetes).  But the glucose results came back normal and my doctor sent me a sweet note telling me that I could go crazy on the Kit-Kats that Thursday (which was Halloween) as I was telling him that I had been having some serious sugar cravings.  But he mentioned that my iron was low and wrote me a prescription for more iron.  I have been feeling quite fatigued lately and am finding that after taking the extra iron, it is partially due to my low iron levels.

The little guy -- let me rephrase that, the BIG guy is running out of room already.  I had a conversation with him this week while I stared down at my swollen belly, telling him that I wasn't sure what he was thinking because he still has 3 months left in there and I don't know how I'm going to house him that long.  He doesn't quell my concerns as he kicks the crap out of me ALL THE TIME.  He is definitely going to take after his father upon arrival.  I was looking up the scientific literature on the correlation between fetal movement and infant temperament.  We are heading for a very active baby.  There are times where he will just nail me out of nowhere startling me and causing me to jump.  I'm not sure how these kicks and jabs are going to feel in about a month or two.

I'm starting to get uncomfortable.  My ligaments are starting to loosen up in my pelvis -- nothing terrible yet (I'm still waiting for that).  But I can tell when I roll over in bed that hormones are starting to work their magic.  I'm more uncomfortable in my actual belly this time around.  My breath feels short a lot, especially when I am holding Finn and she is resting on my belly, which you would think would open my lungs up as she is pushing my stomach down.  And my skin is starting to feel pretty tight.  And the Braxton Hicks contractions have really started to kick in -- especially upon the long walk from my car to my desk or after reaching the top of the stairs after carrying Finn up (trust me, railings are being used every time now).  I feel really pregnant right now and I still have three months to go!

Yesterday I purchased Fish's nursery furniture.  He is going to be rooming with his sister for a while, so I had to figure out something that would allow me lots of storage for his clothes as their closet is very small, but also translate into a nice bedroom set when he finally gets his own room.  Our upstairs only contains two bedrooms; the other two bedrooms are downstairs.  I want both of them upstairs with us, which means roommates!  We will have to see how well it goes...

Fish on the left and Finorah on the right -- both at 28 weeks...
I actually look about the same size -- my back appears arched with Finorah, but you can see that I'm thicker higher up on my stomach.  And my face is definitely fatter A LOT earlier this time around.

We are starting to discuss our plans for what is going to happen when we need to head to the hospital and what we are going to do with Finn.  We are also starting to discuss holiday plans.  I am required to take Thanksgiving off and Finn's daycare is closed the following Friday.  E usually spends the Thanksgiving holiday in upstate New York hunting and is likely to continue the tradition this year.  I'm okay with that as he promised to bring home wine from my favorite vineyard up there and also an industrial-sized leaf blower to help with yard duty.  But that requires that I take Friday off to watch Finn.  My PTO (Paid Time Off) is thin due to me taking four days of PTO early in September with my broken foot.  The Clinic makes you use the first five days of your maternity leave as PTO (if you don't have enough, you get paid for what you have and the rest of the first week is unpaid).  I won't have my five days saved now -- IF (and that's a big if) we go back to Iowa for the Christmas holidays.  E has spoken with his parents and we are forgoing New York this Christmas, so that I may have a chance to go back to Iowa (which I'm forever grateful for).  But depending on doctor's order, I may or may not be able to return home for the holidays.  At Christmas, I will be 35 weeks -- 5 weeks short of my due date.  I know that my doctor wouldn't allow me to fly home, but I'm hopeful that he will permit me to drive the 9 hours.  This is Finn's first Christmas that she is "fun" and I know that she would LOVE LOVE LOVE Mimi's house at Christmas (her house is like the Iowan version of Clark Griswold, both inside and outside -- no joke).  If my doctor tells me that I'm not permitted to travel, I will of course follow his orders, but will probably cry and then cry a little more and end up having a blue, blue Christmas.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Who ya gonna call?

Based on our experience carving pumpkins, don't call Finn!

Our household carved pumpkins on Wednesday night.  Finn & I carved our pumpkins by ourselves last year as E was out of town on a conference.  It was a simple thing to do then as she wasn't really crawling and if I placed her in a single spot, she'd pretty much stay there.  This year, I had big dreams -- and if I was being honest with myself, I knew deep down they were dreams immediately.  Ladylove just doesn't "do" sticky things on her hands and likes to have clean hands 95% of the time.  That right there doesn't bode well for reaching in and pulling out all the slimy pumpkin innards that I had envisioned us doing.

I got home before E and brought the pumpkins from the base of the tree by the garage to the deck.  Holy Halloween, Batman!  You would have thought it Christmas with as excited as she got about me bringing the pumpkins up to the deck.  But she was only doing that to make my dreams crush even harder when we got them inside.  Because she wasn't as impressed when they were sitting on the kitchen floor on newspaper.  So E cut open the tops and I got to cleaning the first one out.  My biggest feat of the night (in my opinion) was just getting her to smell the inside of the pumpkin -- which smells like quintessential Halloween.

Smelling what Halloween smells like.

When asked what a pumpkin smells like, she was telling Daddy "Halloween"

So E & I carved our pumpkins while she ran around and refused to participate.  The pumpkins turned out absolutely amazing!  E's took a while and had LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of curse words and beer cans.  But it looked great when it was done.  And even when they were lit in the house with the lights off, Girlfriend was unimpressed.

Halloween morning -- both of us dressed in our orange and black.  Sister refused to participate, but I just wanted to show that Fish has fully arrived to the table in the last two weeks.  I'm now measuring 4 weeks ahead of schedule -- I think we may have a Big Fish in there...

Halloween night proved to be full of tricks and treats.  The tricks were mostly the weather -- which was in the mid-60s but with constant rain and the occasional wind gust over 40mph!  The weather was awful.  When I got home from work, we readied our house for the trick or treaters.  Finn helped me outside move our pumpkin candles to the front of the house as the front door is easier to access than our side door which we use 100% of the time.  I didn't think that she would like the rain, but when she didn't seem to mind it, I thought that she might be okay with this trick-or-treating thing.  Due to the horrendous weather, the dogs weren't allowed to come with us -- even though the trio was a matching set.

Our Lil' Lobster of Love...

Sister's thinking "Holy hell, what chaos!"

Our trio consisted of two lobsters with a stick of butter...

I was disappointed that all our group photos had to be indoors, especially because the dogs were refusing to cooperate.  We watched the radar, but there was absolutely no letup in the rain, NONE -- the entire radar screen was green...  So we set out in the rain.

I made an impromptu homemade raincoat for my camera, which was ingenious and I will definitely be using the same technique again should I need to bring my camera out in the rain.  I didn't drag my camera with us the whole time -- but it made it to our first house for trick or treating, which was our neighbors, Bob & Anne's.

E & I figured that we would hit a total of 3-4 houses because she didn't think that Finn would enjoy walking up to strangers and saying "trick or treat" or the weather for that matter.  We ended up hitting over 10 houses and the only reason that we didn't do more was because E & I decided that the weather was too much for us!  Girlfriend was a natural once she realized that if she held up her pumpkin to the people at the door, they would put chocolate in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No fear!  One house even had a dog outside helping the owners hand out candy.  I think that was her favorite part of the night (besides eating all her candy later -- "open" became an often heard word in our house later that evening).

I was further impressed by my little girl that at each and every house upon receiving the candy in her pumpkin, I would say "Say thank you" and the girl would quietly say "thank you" while looking at the candy-giver each and every time!  That was my treat for the night!!!  The girl was a natural at trick-or-treating, which made the weather a huge disappointment, but got me really excited for the upcoming years!

I've been saving some of the photos from our pumpkin candle lighting ceremony and I'm not sure why...  Being that this is our last Halloween post until next year, they'll just land here.