Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009

Wow! What a holiday! With 24 days of build up, it was sure to be exciting! We spent the month making cookies, seeing lights, decorating the tree, talking about Christmas, seeing decorations in the stores, etc, etc.

Christmas eve was a good one. Seren knew that Christmas was the next day and was excited but not over the top excited. We went to a church service which was challenging with two swirmy kids. And then went to our neighbor's home for some fun. We left the party early and headed home for the last sleep before Santa!

Our community drives a firetruck around with Santa on top for hours on Christmas eve. He goes up and down each street. It takes forever! And the first year, we thought there was a HUGE fire because the sirens just kept going and going and going. At 8:30 everyone was in thier pjs and all comfy and cozy. We were reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and Sam and I kept looking at each other asking each other with our eyes, "Is that it? Is that Santa?" Because if you miss him on the street, that's it. You miss him!

Finally, we heard a neighbor yell out, "It's him!" We both picked up the kids, and ran down the stairs as fast as we could. And there, on top of a huge firetruck was Santa! Seren was SHAKING she was so excited! We all ran outside and cheered and yelled as Santa rode by! I was almost crying because *I* was so excited! We hooped and hollered and waved at Santa and at our neighbors who LOVED seeing our kids in thier little pjs.

Man, it was awesome. We left the reindeer food (preschool sent us home with 'food' which was oatmeal and sugar) and we provided carrots and apples. And we left cookies for Santa. We were ready! Seren said to Sam that she was exited.

Right at 6am, like usual, she was up. Wyeth followed behind. And we had an amazing time! She went into the room and just gazed around at the presents. She got into it more this year! She really liked opening them! But she didn't tear into them. (yet). I think that will be next year.

Opening Stockings

Our 'big gift' this year was a new bike for her. Santa left it right under her stocking. She said, "He even left a BIKE?!" And then said, "Can we email him to tell him thank you!?" (Which pretty much melted my heart right then and there).

She couldn't believe he had left the bike. "And it has streamers!" (The story of how we aquired the bike- basically bartering with Toys R Us- is fodder for another post).

Wyeth? He was excited but not really. He just toddled around. Touching the ornaments. Not opening his presents (there are still two for him) and being excited to walk and wander. He had a blast just being his little self.

We had a nice pace. We woke up and opened our stockings and then had breakfast. We finished opening presents and then packed up for two nights at my parents' home. It was a little hard to leave the fun things behind. We arrived there to discover that Santa had come to thier home too! (Seren informed me that Santa knew that she and Wyeth were Grammy and Poppy's grandkids). We didn't really open presents but Seren was excited to tell them all that had happened. "He even ate the cookies! But the reindeer only ate the carrots- they were way too full for the apple!" Finally, they napped and Sam and I just sat down.

I continue to feel a mix of relief that the holidays are over (although I'm still getting cards out) and sadness. I so enjoyed this Christmas! The decorations! The countdown! The excitement. Seren was a true believer and it was just magical!

The rest of our Christmas was great. We had a lovely dinner with my folks and some close family friends. The next day we went to see a lightshow at Macy's in Philadelphia. It was the same exact lightshow that I'd seen for years when it was the John Wannamaker store in Philly. It was such an adventure for my parents and I those years ago. And the show did not disappoint. It was pouring rain when the six of us headed out but it was just as magical.

What a Christmas! The bike! The food! It was about the simple things: songs, family and lightshows. I can't wait to do it all again next year. This time last year, Wyeth was 3 weeks old. Seren wasn't potty trained and wasn't nearly as articulate. And next year, Wyeth will be freshly 2 and Seren will be 4.5. Wow. I'm holding on for the ride!

*for some reason, this didn't post on the 29th, oh well.*

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Home Renovations

So on the 15th and 16th we had our baseboard heating system installed. Score! The jackhammers arrived and created a whole bunch of dust but the job got done.

That was Tuesday and Wednesday. Also on Tuesday, mid dinner, our stove completely konks out! The salmon was done but not the edemame. Nope. Not working. Cursing and futzing ensued. Nothing.

Saturday the 19th was 'Blizzard 2009'. :) We had a lot of snow. And because we didn't have floors or much of a house, we didn't have a lot of time to buy a stove before the weeekend. So, in the midst of the snow storm, all four of us travel out to Sears to get a steal on a stove we didn't even know we wanted.

We returned home and had a good day of playing, crafting, wrapping presents,etc. It wasn't the weekend we planned. My fancy work party was cancelled due to the snow and the kids were to be with my parents so we could finish up the holiday planning. But since it snowed a ton, we all were at home enjoying the white fluffy stuff! Saturday afternoon, around 5, our house has a HORRID oil smell. Bad. Bad. We call Petro and ask about the smell. Since it was a blizzard, I was told that they were only responding to emergency phone calls. That made sense. They suggested opening up the windows for fresh air.

But that only made the furnance run harder. An oil smell is so gross! So we all went for a walk/treck in the snow! When we came home, we saw dark, thick smoke coming out of our furnance. So gross! I called Petro back and when I explained the situation, they decided it was an emergency.

We turned off our heated and waited. Ya know, with the blizzard.

The truck arrived and they set to work trying to fix our furnace. The problem was that it was just dirty (whew) and just needed to be cleaned (whew, whew!). But they had to take OFF the countertop!!

They did so and did a partial cleaning- enough to stop the horrid oil smell. They returned on Monday afternoon to finish up and fix the counter.

But when I left for work on Monday, we had an exposed furnance, no countertops, no floors and no working stove.


Also on Monday, I FINALLY make the call about the floors. To say that we 'reserached' this decision would be an understatement. First we got about 7 estimates- should we glue down, nail down, do laminate? solid woods? If we have the old heating system, we need to figure out what wood will work with that. Then we decided on the new system. Cue one month wait while we got estimates on THAT work. Meanwhile, we are living on concrete. We pulled up all of the floor in the living room in November. So 6 weeks later, we are still eating on a concrete living room. Then in December, we pulled up ALL of the carpet so our entire first floor was just a concrete mess.

So the phone call saying 'book it' was overdue. So I called on Monday of Christmas week. They said, "Well, we can put it in on Tuesday. Sound good? 8:15!?" After literally a three year wait, and nearly two months of concrete, we were given less than 24 hours to finish packing up our first floor, find child care for that day and GO with the house. It was a long night of packing. We couldn't have anything on the floor and you don't really how much crap you have until you have to pack it into the garage.

At 8:15am on the 22nd, our new floors arrived. And they are SWEET!! It is the BEST! And we have heat!!! So in less than ten days, we had jackhammers and new heat and new floors installed. And now we just need a working stove. (It has been a LONG two weeks of microwaving and crockpotting).

But seriously, as I told my parents who are helping us with a loan, "I left my house in the morning and came back to a HOME."

All are welcome to join us for dinner! (Well, as soon as we get a stove that works!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jackhammers Arrive today

Our house is a neverending source of good stories. Sewers that back up. Repeatedly. And need to be replaced. Floors that need to be replaced. Heaters too. So today, just a mere 10 days before Christmas, the jackhammers arrive.


When we looked for a home, we were sure we wanted three things: 1)Hardwood floors 2)A working dishwasher and 3)Good schools.

One out of three ain't bad. (We got the good schools!) Actually our first time being home buyers was...eye opening. We were naive and stupid to put it midly! Fast forward to 3 years later.

We need hardwood floors because of my allergies and the fact that we have cats who look at our carpets and think, "Bonus! A cat stratching post that covers the entire room!" So, bit my bit, our cats have destroyed our carpet. One pees. The other pukes. It is a sore subject for me, the person allergic to the cats!

So we have pulled up the carpet bit by bit. And then in early November, we pulled up the entire living room/dinning room. All of this was in preparation for the new floors. Then we realized, while we are living on concrete, we should replace our OLD heating system which doesn't work in two rooms. No point in covering it up with gorgeous floor if we are replacing it in like 3 years. So then, instead of moving ahead with the new floors, we had to identify a contractor to the heating system. So as of today, we will begin the baseboard work. Jackhammers arrive at 9 am this morning!

Last night we spent 2 hours packing up our entire first floor, moving all of the furniture out (my Dad and Mom helped on Sunday too) and prepping our place for the work. Keep in mind that we have a new walker who only has concrete to walk on (awesome) AND the fact that our Christmas tree is in our upstairs bedroom while we have this work done.

We have only had three years to do this work. But lets do it 10 days before Christmas. Ya know, because we are BORED. Bored stiff!

Lets hope this is not too painful. The new work is good to get done. But wow, painful for me to live in choas. I really, really don't do well with disorganization and chaos.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Squash Soup

I had a run in with squash soup this weekend that I won't easily forget.

We had a busy weekend. This weekend we had a good time doing several awesome things- three of which I hope will be a tradition! On Sunday, Seren and Sam made sugar cookies while I put Wyeth down and did some cleaning. The cookies rocked! And one of my favorite moments was Seren and I dancing like goofballs in the kitchen - both of us hyped up on cookies. We were singing Jingle Bells at the top of our lungs! Score 1tradition I want to keep up.

Then we made four plates full of cookies and gave them to our neighbors. We have done this in the past too. Seren and I delievered them in a little basket (felt like Little Red Ridinghood) and chatted with our neighbors. She loved it and we feel it celebrates, a little bit, the spirit of Christmas. Score tradition two.

Later, after nap, my parents joined us and we went to Shadybrook Farms to see the lights. It was pouring rain (boo) but basically, you drive around in your car and ooh and ahh at all of the lights! Awesome! We had a blast. Then we all went out to dinner. My mom purchased Seren some antlers so we had dinner with red antlers on. All the while saying, "I'm Dancer! NO! I'm Comet! No, this time I'm Francer!" (Francer!?) Score tradition three.

A tradition I don't want to relive brings me back to the squash soup. Saturday night, we went to celebrate a friends' baby first birthday. She and her husband, a colleague, had a very, very nice party at a Korean restaurant to celebrate the baby's dol. (Traditional Korean first birthday celebration). As soon as we got there, Wyeth didn't look well. He had a red rash. His face was totally flush and he was lethargic. He had been teething and we feared that the teeth were really causing him trouble. Then a fever happened. All within 30 minutes. While this was going on, we had a yummy, Korean dinner. It was so nice and fancy! And Wyeth surprised us all by eating a TON of this soup that they served. Really? Squash? Soup!? But the fever wasn't really getting better so Sam went out to get tylenol while I stayed at the restaurant with hyped up Seren and Mr. Flush/hot boy.

You know where this is going...Wyeth spit up on me a little bit. Poor baby, I encouraged him to rest his little hot head to my chest. And then it happened. Sqaush soup started SPEWING all over us but particularly me. I had vomited soup in my hair. Down the entire front of my shirt. On my pants. I even had full noddles stuck to my shirt. I was speechless. The host very nicely tried to hand me wipes while I sat there paralyzed both by the mess but also by the embarassment of the whole thing. Really? Puking squash soup? In this restaurant? While Sam is running an errand? What if he is 100% contagious and now we have exposed the birthday girl!?

In the end, we got home, showered up, hosed everyone down, and went to bed. Wyeth was up from 1-4 in the morning not feeling well but no more puke. Whew. And so far no one else has gotten sick. Double whew.

But ugh. Squash soup.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weary Women

I wrote this draft several weeks ago as my good friend and I were venting about the challenges of being moms to young children. It is the same story that women have talked about for years: there is nothing new about being overwhelmed. And being overwhelmed is not unique to parenting! But I think there is something different about our generation of mothers: unlike other generations, our generation has the option of working. And with that comes issues of 'choice' and child care (or not) and guilt. That factor combined with the fact that we parent in an age of anxiety where "good parents" hover makes for some challenging parental moments. And all the while, we hope to hold on and cherish the times with our young kids! And when we don't, we feel like we fail at that too. Cue the guilt.

These days, most of my close friends are moms. And most of us don't have time to talk. Or sleep very much. Or eat well. Or connect with anyone or anything. We just GO. We just keep moving. And we miss the lost days of reading. Or talking on the phone without children crying or needing us to play 'dollhouse'. We miss hugging our husbands. Meditating. Going out. Listening to music. We rationalize that they are young for a short time. That the kids will one day sleep through the night. That our jobs won't always be this demanding. So we just keep going. We just keep moving.

And then we get sick. Or we just crash. A deep, dark crash. And then what? You look around at the pieces of your life and wonder, "How the hell did I get here? What the hell am I doing wrong?" My friend and I think a lot about how we did things "right". We also got really lucky! We did well in school. We went to college. We went to graduate school. We got married. We got good degrees. We got jobs. And on the surface, things are looking well. But scratch just a little bit and a whole world of stress opens up. Insecurity about parenting. Bills that mount before our eyes. Marriages that need tending to. Jobs that aren't very fulfilling. What happened? When do we just STOP?

When do we just say, "Ya know what, I'm done. I need a break."

Giving ourselves the PERMISSION to take a break seems to be the hardest part. As if we need some guilt free 'get out jail' pass to just stop. To stop cleaning. To stop trying to be perfect. To stop running on the virtual and literal treadmill. To stop the "show" and admit to ourselves, I am not perfect. My children are not perfect. My house sure isn't perfect. And ya know what? I'm ok. I'm still here. And I love my family. That is all that matters. I love my dirty house, my puking cat, my imperfect husband, my saggy tush and my clingy kids.

I have these tantrums sometimes that start out innocent enough. Frustration about one little thing. But then, within a minute, I can be in a full blown tantrum that rivels my daughters'. On Monday, I found myself storming up the stairs and slamming the door behind me. Why? I have no idea. And it was ugly. It involved tears. And yelling. Which upset both kids. (Score one for the Mommy of the Year). And ya know what I needed? I needed a hug. I needed a nap. I needed a damn cookie. I needed time to not DO anything.

Why don't I give myself the permission to take these breaks? One 30 minute period once a week would do me wonders! (A break a day would be better but we will start small). I *KNOW* this about myself. I truly do. My spirit has always craved this alone time. I am a better wife, mother, sister and coworker when I carve out time to just BE. To just sit down and think. And write.

So if I know the problem and I know the solution, why is it so hard? And how can we change our expectations for ourselves? How do we dial back, breathe deeply, focus on the good and ignore the constant pressure to 'do', to 'perform', to 'consume' more?

My friends and I struggle with this all of the time. What about you?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wyeth's 12 month Numbers

Wyeth did great on his 12 month well visit to the pediatrican! Three shots and he only cried on the last one. (And I didn't cry! I think I'm growing!) He is 50% in weight and height and 90% in head circumference! What? The doctor said not to worry about it but did make some reference to a 'CAT scan'. Hmm? Really? Then she quickly added, "But we won't do that. He isn't like puking daily, right?"

Ya know what? I think if he was puking daily, I would be camped out in the doctor's office demanding more information.

So he is 22.6lbs and 30 inches. All looks good. They would like to see him add more table foods to his diet and wean him from baby foods. Which is easier said than done. But he is doing better this week even!

In terms of what he can do:
*He can wave bye-bye
*He blows kisses (kinda)
*He has 7 teeth- including one molar that popped this week!
*He clearly walks- and climbs. He is Mr. Gross motor. Mr. Cognitive? Not so much. :)
*He still has his bottles- not sure when I'll get rid of those. Esp since the doc wants him on formula for a while longer until he is better at 'real' food.
* He still nurses if I put him down for nap or night. Otherwise, he is fine without me
* He says Mama and Dada now with purpose. Sam heard him say 'Baby' once. And he says something funky like 'cracker' but you have to know what that one is

He loves his Christmas tree and pushes us on how many times we will say "No Wyeth, no touch". :)

Just wanted to record these numbers/milestones for the baby book aspect of this blog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The lights! The lights!

I have always loved Christmas lights. I love the simple white candles in peoples' home. I like over the top ones too. It is just so fun to see the lights! And my gosh, the excitement around here for lights has been taken to new heights!

Seren LOVES them. Our simple and cheap thrill is to drive the kids around at night while oggling the lights. And our neighbors do it up! My gosh. I have seen some of the most tackiest holiday displays EVER. :)

I got home early last night and we took the kids for a walk in the wagon. We bundled them both up and off we went on foot. Wyeth this time pointed like crazy and 'talked' about it. Full on excited babble while pointing at the lights. We also have lights on our house this year which thrills me! Seren and Wyeth put them on at night to 'surprise' me. Wyeth wanted to be held last night so he could see the lights outside the house across the street and threw a FIT when I had to put him down. (Does anyone else remember having a 11 or 12 month old that knew how to tantrum?? It scares the hell out of me. What will age two look like!?)

Tantrums aside, we are all EXCITED. It is the simple stuff. Just seeing lights and holiday decorations is excitement enough around here. And we are having a blast!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Wild Weekend for Wyeth

Note to self: Having a December baby really packs in the activity!

What a week! Since last Monday, we:
* Completed our 11 hour drive home from Flint
* Went to work
* Had an emotional one year celebration
* Went to Holly Nights at a colonial plantation on Thursday night to enjoy Christmas
* Paid the bills
* Went to see Wyeth's doctor for his well visit (He is growing well! 22.6 lbs and 30 inches)
* Cooked three quiches and two cupcake cakes until 1 am on Saturday morning
* Got my haircut on Saturday
* Celebrated with our family and friends on Saturday morning
* Picked out a tree, decorated a tree AND strung our outdoor lights (YES!)
* Went to Target. Twice. For the basics.

So yeah, we are tired! And Wyeth got up at 4:15 this morning only to finally got back to sleep at 5:30. (I have no idea what that was about!)

So we are busy but we are having a blast! In the end, the simple, small birthday party rocked! I had a complete blast watching both my children really enjoy themselves. Seren was so sweet to Wyeth! She kept kissing him, spontaneously singing 'Happy Birthday, Wyeth' and calling him 'hon'! "Come here, hon. You are ok." She was really a great big sister to him all Saturday. She seemed to understand that this was Wyeth's special day!

We were up late on Friday working as a team to bake three yummy quiches. We also made cupcakes for a turtle cupcake cake. (Sam was the chef; I was support staff.) Wyeth loves a stuffed turtle that his Grandma actually purchased for Seren. We have named it 'Webby' because he is our one and only Webkin. Hence, Webby. So we had a turtle themed party.

We wanted small. For Seren's first, we were novices. We had a larger group. And we didn't time the party well with naps. She basically freaked out at the singing and then I cried too because it wasn't "perfect"! This time, none of that! We timed it well (right after nap) and just had low expectations of how it all would go. We asked our parents if we could have our get together at their home. Our floors are not done. (Don't even get me started on THAT topic) And our home is a mess. So we had the get together at thier place. It is a gorgeous home and they are gracious hosts.

It was just my parents, my Uncle and Aunt who drove up from Baltimore and one couple and their child. Perfect size. (We do wish our other family members could have joined us too but miles keep us all seperated.) The only unperfect thing is that we arrived AFTER the guests! (One year of having two kids and we are STILL late). Thanks to my Mom and Dad for putting up with both having the party at your home AND looking after the guests while we drove down.

That aside, there was no crying. I think Wyeth was a bit overwhelmed by the people. He wasn't really as smiley as he usually is. But he had a great time. We bought him this ball popper thing used on craigslist. He LOVED it. He just stands there moving back and forth, stomping while smiling at his new toy. And the balloons that my mom and dad got him were a big hit! Wow. Did he LOVE the balloons! And the cupcakes! Sam made sugar free icing and cupcakes for Wyeth and he totally dug into it. He didn't EAT it per se but he massaged the cupcake. A LOT. All that was left was a pile of crumbs.

We had FUN. Just seeing little faces that I adore made me so happy. And to have close friends and my Aunt and Uncle there really made it special for us. What a fun thing to celebrate! One! (Now we just need to finish the photo montage and the babybook!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wyeth's BIRTHday

Dear Wyeth,
Tonight you turn one. At 10:53pm, you will be officially be one. And what an amazing year it has been. It is hard to put into words how we feel about this milestone. In your world, it is just another day of play and learning. For us, it feels very significant. And it met with much emotion on Mommy's part. There is something about our children growing up and getting older that makes us both look back and look forward. We can't wait to see who you continue to grow into but we long to hold on to the baby moments, the newborn weeks. We gloss over the spit up, the exhausting nights, the poop explosions and focus on the good stuff. The first smiles. The snuggles where babies are really just extensions of their mothers. As a nursing mom, I continued to share my body with you. But then you grow. And you walk. And soon you will talk. And during these milestones, it is clear that you are your own person. And that is the hard part. (And the good part!).

I wrote down your birthstory in your baby book (all four pages of it) but I want to share parts of it here too because it is how we met you. And who cares if it is long? It is our story!

Having a baby is 'life changing'. Everyone says that. But it is true. It is nothing short of a miracle. That two people can come together and create something so beautiful. I will never get over that. That is why the world loves pregnant women and babies. Pregnant moms are the embodiment of hope. Of fresh starts. Of new adventures. And little babies catch everyone's eye because they too are signs that life continues, that there is the potential for good in the world.

As you know, you cooked the perfect amount of time. On March 27th, 2008 when we found out that you would be arriving, I was filled with joy. I ran through the house literally jumping up and down and screaming my head off. I scared the heck out of your sister and your Dad. But after that initial joy/shock wore off, I worried about the pregnancy. The medical care we received was amazing but it was an adventure. Lots of shots. Lots of doctors appointments. Eight weeks of bedrest and two overnight trips to the hospital. When you finally decided that you WOULD be a December baby, we were thrilled.

But I had given up on the fact that you'd be coming. I was tired of the stress of 'will this be the day'? So instead of staying home during the last weeks of pregnancy, I went to the office. On Wednesday, December 3rd, I told my colleagues it would be the last day in the office. (You were due the 5th). I packed up my bags. Did the final email checks. I had gone to the doctor's office earlier in the day and the doctor gave me the option of being induced the next Sunday. Having that 'choice' worried me. I so wanted to meet you but I didn't want to decide when you'd arrive. Daddy and I decided we wouldn't be induced and let nature do her thang. But I didn't concentrate too much that day as I needed to decide. I went out to lunch at an awesome Indian food restaurant and enjoyed my friends. I worked late that day, saying goodbye to friends at the office.

At 5:30, I stood with my briefcase on my shoulder and knew in my heart that you were coming. My back started to really hurt. I drove home to PA knowing that I'd be returning to NJ as soon as I got there. I timed the contractions on the way home. Hmph. Every 10-15. Not bad I thought to myself. I called Dad and even though he was scheduled to work until 9 that night, I told him that I wasn't feeling very well. He sensed in my voice that he needed to come home. He picked your sister up from care and started a complex dinner. I wanted nothing of that dinner. I also wanted to just make it simple. We called Grammy and said that she needed to come up. This was it! Poppy was picking Uncle John up from the airport as he was coming in for a visit and wanted to hopefully meet you. Meet you he did!

Grammy arrived around 7pm. I ate very little fearing that I'd be puking it up just a few hours later. Our bag had been packed for weeks- we just needed to dust it off. We took the last pictures of us as a family of three. I cried saying goodbye to Seren. I can still see, in my mind's eye, the image of her waving to me from the kitchen window as she was held safely in Grammy's arms. We would be a family of four soon. Very soon.

The drive to the hospital was dark but quiet and still. Dad and I had driven to the hospital twice already and those trips were panicky. We didn't want to meet you at 28weeks or at 30 weeks. But at 39 weeks, we knew you'd be safe. Daddy and I talked as if nothing unique was going to happen. I wasn't in intense pain. I called Aunt Andy to say where we were.

Daddy dropped me off at the hospital and I was so calm and peaceful. I took a seat in a wheelchair, knowing the 'drill' well now. By 8 pm, we were all settled in the hospital ready for 'action'.

When they checked me, I hadn't changed much from the earlier appointment. Still at 3cm where I had been for weeks. The thought occurred to me, "What if this takes forever!?" And at that moment, I got nervous. The nurse said that she'd check me again at midnight. Midnight? No way, he'll be here by then!

Then it all started to happen. And Daddy and I were kinda left on our own. At one point, I said to Dadddy, "Can you call someone in here?" We asked the nurse, "Hey, do you have any pointers or anything? We have done this before but wow, this really hurts." Whereas your sister's birth was a full on hands on team of people, Grammy, Poppy, Daddy and the L&D nurse, this birth was just Daddy and I. As the labor progressed, I got more and more uncomfortable.

Actually, I have never felt pain like that. I was having back labor. (Again!)

Daddy and I labored on the birthing ball. We labored in the bathroom. It was intense. But I was pleased; I was not on an IV. No epi. No anything. Just Daddy and I and you. But as far as the breathing and calmness? That went out the window. I was much screaming but also trying to hum and sing. I was humming Amazing Grace which really helped. I wasn't scared as much as I was in a lot of pain. But I kept telling myself that the pain was PRODUCTIVE. This was a GOOD pain.

Dad was amazing- providing counter pressure in my back and reminding me to breathe. Sometimes he would hug me too close and I would push him away. Other times, I wanted him close to me. Every contraction brought a different sensation. By 10 pm, my water broke. I remember looking at the clock so that we could tell the nurse since she wasn't around. It was clear which was a good sign. The pain continued with each contraction. The nurse, looking at my face, asked me if I was sure I didn’t want an epi. I told her that if I was still at 3 cm, I wanted one. She checked and I was at 7. Nope, I could manage the rest just fine. The one frustration was that I was on the monitors when I didn’t want to be. I struggled to get from the toilet to the ball to the bed and I didn’t want to labor in bed the entire time. Since I was contracting during the internal exam, nurse Aileen (who I had met the first night at week 28) asked that another nurse check. 5 minutes later, she said I was at 8-9 cm. Yahoo! They called the doctor who arrived all dressed up in her clinic clothes. The doctor, someone I met just once, delivered you. She checked and said, “You are complete. I will go change.”

I was so excited! The contractions did not let up, they continued every minute. I remember looking at the screen and seeing that one or two contractions just stayed up. The pain was almost unbearable and I squirmed and labored on the bed. I felt silly making all of the noise I was making. But the nurses encouraged me to make as much noise as I needed to. I moaned. I made motor boat sounds.

Then, around 10:15, it was time to push. This quiet came over me. This I could do! I could push! But then I didn’t know how. My first two pushes were poor- I pushed into the nurse and Dad and didn’t push down and out. I also didn’t feel any contractions- as if the whole thing had stopped. But that didn’t last long. The next few pushes, I really did a great job. Dad, nurse Aileen, nurse Cheryl and the Doctor encouraged me. My eyes stayed tightly shut as I focused on bringing you into the world. Dad’s voice was the most encouraging and I could hear the excitement in his voice as your head emerged. We were actually doing it! We were going to meet you! We were doing in naturally! On time! Without medication or complications! I had the strength despite bedrest!

The pushing continued and each time, I felt better about bringing you out into the world. I distinctly remember the last two pushes where you emerged. The pain was unreal; I made a noise that I hope to never make again as my body worked to birth you. I threw my head back, and pushed down into my chest with all of my might!

And then, in one big final push, whoosh, you were there!! I couldn’t even hold you at first- the pain and the intensity was so great. But then they just placed you on my chest and the sound of all that happened before quieted. You were here! 10:53 pm! Not bad, considering I was at the office until 5:30.

The nurse checked on you and said your scores were 8 and 9. Dad got the video camera out and started filming. I remember saying, “We love you! We love you so much!” The doctors worked to birth the placenta which was easy and to clean me up. Dad was estactic! “I’m just in awe”! I regret not feeling for your head. I wanted to do that this time but it was so intense I just couldn’t focus. I also regret not getting a picture of Dad and I laboring together. Because, it was beautiful!

You were placed on the scale- 8 lbs 3 oz. Amazing! I had guessed 8.2 earlier in the week- not far off.

They gave us about an hour with you. A quiet, peaceful hour. You had your eyes open the entire time. Dad and I just marveled. All of our questions of the past 9 months (how would this all go? Would you be healthy? How early would you be?) were answered. And we were HAPPY. I haven't felt pure joy like that.

Uncle John and Grammy came at some point to meet you. What an amazing thing- born the night John came to town!

The nurse came to clean you up. Dad followed with a video camera to capture it all.

Wyeth Alexander, you have made us amazingly happy. My heart is overwhelmed by intense love and joy. I continue to kiss you many, many times a day. My little boy.

Thank you for this year. Thank you for choosing us as your parents. Happy, happy birthday, we love you.

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Tomorrow Wyeth turns one. I am feeling quite sad about it. I'm excited too but mostly just sad to see this milestone. Did I take enough pictures? Did I snuggle enough? Did I cherish each day with my children?

In my heart, I know that I did. But this milestone, this marker of time? It is a hard one! His baby days are gone! I think part of me thinks that I will wake up a find a teenager in his crib in place of my chubby bub! But he will still be Wyeth- full 'on' Wyeth. It has been a GREAT year! I can't imagine life without my little man.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

I feel very fortunate to have spent a lot of time with my nuclear family and extended family the past two weeks! In the last ten days, I have worked a grand total of one day! So I feel like it was a long, nice, vacation.

I'm proud of our little family. We hung in there like real troopers during our long trip. There were a few moments where I wondered about our sanity but as I told my office friend low expectations is the way to go. That and being damn organized! I was a packing machine! Toys? Within reach. Formula? Check. Trash can, wipes, paper towels? Check, check, check. I had lists all over our house. Food to pack in the cooler. Food to back for the trip. Clothes for our overnights in the hotels which were separate from the rest of our suitcases. Really? It was quite the feat. But we did it!

And it was so lovely! The kids slept really, really well! In five nights, Wyeth just woke up once which was awesome considering he was in different places and beds.

We left on Wednesday morning. We were to leave at 8:30. At 8:25, Wyeth smacked his head on our screen door causing him to bleed and me to cry. :( He cried too. Poor little guy! Blood right above his eye. I decided that we weren't really watching the kids as we packed so Sam took over packing and the kids and I went on a walk around the street to try to get the wiggles out.

That first day we drove from 9 am until 5 stopping in Richfield OH for the night. We packed lunches and stopped once for a bathroom break and once for lunch. Once we arrived, we got settled and took a nice swim in the heated pool. They had a hot tub too! Score for Mom and Dad! After a quick dinner and a tubby, we all went to bed by 9 pm. I think we fell asleep before Seren. She was in a huge queen bed with her inflatable bumper to protect her from falling out and she LOVED being up there in the same room. She talked herself to sleep. (no surprise). The second day we drove from 7:30 am and arrived at Grandma and Grandad's at 11 am. WHEW! She got herself all dressed up in her Native American costume that she wore at school and appeared in Flint, MI wearing her feather.

(welcome to Michigan sign!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

We spent time cooking and cleaning and eating. And we did some shopping on Friday with the crazies. Which wasn't really worth it. It was too crowded. I was too grumpy. And the kids were with us which makes shopping for them really challenging! But it was fun to shop with Grandma and Aunt Kate who were huge helpers! The rest of the trip was filled with visits from Flint friends and good food.

We had a photoshoot with Grandad. Grandad is an awesome photographer. He had all of the equipment including lights, etc. But our models? Not so cooperative! So we'll have to see how the photos turned out in the end. I was acting like a total monkey trying to get BOTH to smile and look at the camera at the same time. I was covered in sweat by the time our photoshoot was over!

Our return trip,we divided the driving more evenly. We did 5 hours one day and 5.5 the next. (Stopping this time in Cranberry near Pittsburgh) The last day of driving was painful. Our car doesn't have DVD players or anything like that so keeping them busy with the same toys they played with the day before was TOUGH. And they had a combined sleep time of 38 minutes when they BOTH slept at the same time. 10 and a half hours and 38 minutes were sleep minutes! We also hit some snow. So it was a LONG trip back. But the hotel again was a huge hit. We haven't been in a hotel as a family of four. And we forgot that once we put them to bed we have to just sit there in the dark watching TV on mute with closed captioning or just very quietly. :) Seren was hysterical upon arriving at the hotel. "Mom! This place is GORGEOUS! There is a toilet over here! And a sink! And a little fridge. It is perfect!" It was as if she was picking out a home.

So, 1389 miles later, we are back. We are safe. We are happy. We made it with only one small fight, two konks on the head, one poop explosion and two teary sessions. Not bad, not bad.

I'm grateful for my family, my friends and our good health! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Some numbers

$363.00 for work on the car brakes prior to our road trip
$ 3.50 at McDonalds for snacks
$ 27.00 for dinner at Cozumel Mexican restaurant in middle of the road OH
$ 2.25 in tolls that we should not have needed to pay but I forgot to hold up the EZ pass

Seeing the look on my in-laws face when the four of us (one in her Thanksgiving costume) drove up into the driveway?


We made really good time (a total of 11 and a half hours) and the kids ROCKED the car trip. We had about two moments that I'd like to forget but honestly? They did great! The key was to have LOW expectations. That seemed to work! They LOVED the hotel pool and literally ran around the hotel lobby- so happy to be OUT of the damn car. Seren loved to swim. She told everyone at breakfast that she had been in the pool.

And they both slept very well considering lack of naps or shortened naps. The first two legs of the trip are complete and we have had an awesome stay. We depart MI for a warmer PA Sunday mid afternoon.

I have that 'I don't want to return to reality' feeling right now. And already feel the familiar urge to make a to-do list. I'll try to ignore that urge for a few more hours. And just enjoy family.

It has been a good vacation. Pics soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Long and Winding Road

Tomorrow our family heads out for our first Thanksgiving together as a family of four. We will be going to Flint, MI to visit my inlaws and Aunt Kate (Cue the jokes about rabbit meat from Roger and Me, etc). :)

I am really excited to see them. We have seen them several times on our turf but we haven't been to Flint since June of 2007. Seems crazy to me that I was just showing my pregnancy when we were there last. And Seren talked but not like she talks now.

Here is the kicker. The major kicker.

We are DRIVING there. Ya know, 12 hours one way. With Ms. "I-love-to-talk-and-sing-and-chat-about-all-things-all-of-the-time" and with Mr. "I-don't-like-to-sit-still-for-much-of-anything-or-anyone."

I can already hear the screaming in the car. Honestly. And it isn't just from the kids. Tonight we aim to rest up well. I also aim to get coffee before heading out on the road.

I have booked two hotels. The first one is our "Oh my god, this trip couldn't get worse" hotel. The second is the "We are hanging in there, we need to push through it" hotel. Regardless of which hotel we choose, the hotel will have a pool. Seren thought I was nuts when I said she'd be going swimming. "I get to wear my bathingsuit in the winter!?"

I then explained it was an INDOOR pool.

Regardless of what shape our nerves are in when we arrive, (and it is our choice to drive!) we will love seeing our family. Aunt Kate will be there too! And it will all be ok.

Here is a pic of me at Thanksgiving last year. I SO overate! I mean look at me! I stuffed myself silly! :)

(My poor, poor shirt!)

Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Doh! That will leave a mark"

My brother John loves movies. He LOVES watching and re-watching movies. He can have full conversations using quotes from movies. It is hysterical. Most of the time, I don't even know the movie reference. But he will use a line from Braveheart or any one of John Candy's movies. And he will do all of the voices. And so it goes.

I think Seren has picked up on some of this. Only her references are all from her books. Yesterday I said, "Got it Seren? We are going to go eat and then take a tub, Ok?"

She turns to me and says, "Aye, Aye Captain!"


"Mom, it is from Lottie's New Beach Towel, remember?"

She often does stuff like this. She recently said she was not going to eat our Octopus stew. (We did NOT make Octopus stew). She got this line from a Halloween book. It is just the funny references that crack me up! You have to be in her world to understand it! I wonder what preschool teachers do with all of these kids and thier stories?

I actually emailed her teacher to express my sympatheis that either her dog or her husband was in the hospital (Seren told me both). The teacher wrote back saying, "HA! Neither! My mom had a doctor's appointment." She concluded, "I won't believe everything about home if you don't believe everything about school!"

I can only imagine what she says about our home life. Probably something about us forcing her to eat octopus.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sharing a little bit too much with the neighbors

I have so many different things to write about. I have been feeling down for the past two weeks. It has something to do with the following factors. 1)Work hasn't been very rewarding 2) Our home is a construction zone with no sign of the end in sight 3)I return to work full time in December 4) My baby turns one in December 5) The holidays are coming which is overwhelming me 6) my parents have been gone and will be gone all month and 7) Just a sense of loneliness. So I have been doing a lot of crying at the oddest moments. Happy ones. Sad memories. Crazy! I associate some of this depression with the time change and everything just being in flux.

I have happy moments (time with my friend last week for dinner, a great visit with one of my best friends, laughing with the kids, hiking with the family, a fun 'tea' with colleagues etc). I will try to focus on those. Now that I listed them, I already feel better! I may try to explain some of my feelings in another blog post. Or I won't. :)

But I did want to share this gem. This past Sunday the kids and are were on a neighborhood walk. (My default when I get too tired of being cooped up inside). We walked down to the creek to check on the (non existant) ducks. Seren was sitting on my leg and I felt a litlte warmth. A tiny bit of pee had escaped and she said, "Oops! Gotta go potty!" So we turn to go back home. Just then our favorite neighborhood dog, Brown Sugar, said hi. So she engaged in a long chat with the dog. The owner came out of his home. We had never met directly so we said hi. I introduced my team. He was a wonderful grandfather like man. All of a sudden, I look over and Seren has pulled her pants down and is holding herself. What the hell? I look at her and say "Seren! What is going on!?"

I was mortified!!! I had JUST met this man. I just introduced ourselves and our family and told her where we live! And there is my little girl holding herself with her butt cheeks to the wind.


With that, we set off running. Seren insisted because there was a tiny bit of pee, she didn't want to wear her pants. She pulled her pants down just so two cheeks would poke out and set off sprinting for our house. I said to the man, "Well! That's us! We certainly are memorable! Bye!" And sprinted after Seren. Seren was laughing like a hyenia and I couldn't help it but to just bust a gut. We tore into the house surprising Sam. Seren sprinted by him with her pants down and ran to the potty. Wyeth and I appeared later still giggling. Sam looked at me and said, "She just ran by here with her pants down! What is going on!?"

And THAT is being a parent. I haven't been that embarassed in a long time. I also haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Sweet Seren you are your own person. Full of humor. Life would just be boring without you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall Leaves 09

Two of my new favorite pics taken on Monday:

"He's a hazard!" Wyeth at 11 months

Last week our Wy guy turned 11 months which means ONE is VERY close. I wanted to give a snapshot of our guy in action.

And let me tell you, he is a complete hazard. The walking ROCKS! He just walks now. No crawling. Nope, full on walker. His stance is so wide though that he looks like he just got off a horse. And he is so proud of his new found freedom. Mommy and Daddy on the other hand? Whew. TWO mobile children is quite the adventure.

Drawers? OPEN EM!

Wood chips? EAT THEM!

Cabinets that hold breakable bowls? BREAK THE BOWLS!

Electric sockets? STICK WET FINGERS IN 'EM!

Cords to computers? PULL 'EM!

He is into EVERYTHING. I took him to Lowes on Monday and said to the sales associate, "I brought my tester. I need your aisle with baby proofing materials." Aisle 9!

He also is a complete hug monster! Wow! Can he hug! And they are LOOOOONG hugs where he wraps his little arms around your neck and just squeezes. The boy is part Hague (my maiden name), that's for sure.

He recently added 'Mama' to his vocabulary but it isn't like he calls for me. He just talks in my direction and says Mama. I think that counts! He continues to clap and he recently did his first sign for 'more'! Clearly, I am proud of my little man.

We went up to our good friends' house on Saturday night in CT. And my friend and I took all four kids to the park. It was my first time solo parenting two MOBILE kids on the playground. I think my heart stopped 3 times. Wyeth has NO sense of limits. Or consequences of falling. Or hitting his head. He thinks he is made out of steel. Seren is very protective of him. "Wyeth! No! That will hurt!" Which is very sweet to see. On the drive up there they held hands in the back seat for much of the trip which was very sweet.

Wyeth is also very clingy. He can't say "up" yet but his hand gestures communicate that he wants to be picked up. If he had his way, he would be held a large majority of the day. For the most part we oblige. He needs breaks from all of the walking afterall!

Another funny thing that Wyeth does is 'growl' when we vacuum the carpet or mow the lawn. He makes the same noise that the machine does which makes me giggle.

Feeding him dinner is a big struggle recently as he doesn't seem to like what we are offering. He would prefer to be a 100% fruitarian. And just recently the tub seems to scare him a bit. Particularly the running water.

So it is going well. All of it. I feel very excited as well as sad to celebrate his first birthday. I have watched him just grow up. And every day I think he is a little bit bigger when I get him from his bed. Wyeth continues to bring me such joy. But him turning one!? Nah....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2009 was...interesting! And fun!

It started, in my mind, early in the week with Mommy flat out on her back. Friday morning was the big parade! Sam and Seren left in costume at 9:00 as Sam was the classroom helper. Everyone was in place by 9:45. The kids all paraded in! Our little witch was VERY nervous because she was afraid that her hat would blow away! (it was windy, after all). So she was biting her nails and biting her hat.

I laughed so hard. The parents all stood by classroom so we could have a front row seat for the event when they came by and then performed. She lit up like a light bulb when she saw our faces. And I felt that pride that comes from watching your kids achieve something. Even if the 'achievement' is standing there, hardly singing the song and nervously biting ones' hat. I loved it! And I liked standing there watching all of the other kids in the class with all of the other parents. The parade, overall, was a trip. The younger kids (including those in her class) cried when they saw their parents. For a fun event, there were a TON of tears.

Seren and Sam stayed and Wyeth and I came back. His fever which at waking was a little one, was spiking. He went straight to bed. Then he woke up and puked. Oh no! Our "black cat" was sick! I ran around like a stress case trying to find 'feverall' which is a tylenol suppository. No luck. His fever was managed the rest of the weekend but no seizures yet (touch wood, touch wood).

The parade was done- we made it to Friday.

We had planned on going to my hometown's parade about 45 minutes away but my parents leaving on a big trip, my brother in town and our sick cat, we thought there was no way we could manage that one.

Saturday turned out to be an insanely poor morning. We had noble plans of finally carving our BIG (26 lb) pumpkin that we picked up at a local farm the week before.

We talked it up big time! Yeah! We would carve! With Wyeth down, we laid out the newspaper, gathered all of our supplies and opened our front door to get the pumpkin from the front stoop. NO PUMPKIN! Someone took it!! What!? Seren's immediate response was that someone was 'borrowing it at their house' and would 'return it when they realized it was ours'. HUH? Sam and I were about to go bat sh*t in response to the stolen pumpkin but the fact that Seren came up with a WHOLE story as to where it was and when it would come back made us feel better. Sam left to try to find a last minute pumpkin.

Meanwhile, Seren and I stayed home with the sleeping Wyeth. At one point she says to me, "Mommy, why is the chandelier all smoky?" What? I turn to the dining room and see the dinning room table IN FLAMES!!!!

I did one of those panicked "what the hell do I do first" things where you can't tell if you should run to the table or run to the kitchen so you just freeze for a second. I ran to the kitchen, filled up a big pitcher of water and threw it all over the flaming newspaper, tablecloth and table. WHEW! OUT!! (I think it started from a spark from the candle).

The story about the fire continues to go on. She just learned all about fire safety at school and had about 10000001 questions about the fire. "Why didn't the firemen come?"

"Well, because it wasn't that big of a fire. If it was a big, big fire, I would have picked you up, gotten Wyeth and we would have ran out!"

"No, Mommy, you should get us and sing the song so you know what to do. You have to 'drop to the floor and crawl to the door'."

"Oh, ok. I would have done that too."

"And you don't need to 'call' the firemen, you just say 'FIRE FIRE!' and they come!"

Later that night, when trick or treating in our neighborhood she had to tell EVERY neighbor about the pumpkin that went joy riding on Hawk Road and the FIRE.

My nerves were shot I tell ya. Shot. So, in recap: parades, puking, spiking fevers, stolen pumpkins, fire and oh yeah, the standard trick or treating. The trick or treating, by the way, was a complete BLAST. We spent time at my parents home AND at our home. Totally awesome. Happy Halloween 2009!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lost a week!

There are so many things to write about but I don't know where to start! I had another good weekend with my family- a chance to relax, to pick out a pumpkin, to play together, to attend another preschool birthday party, a chance to go on a date with my husband. All very good things. We have had full weekends recently. This world known as "preschool" is all very new to me. There are parties to attend, newsletters to read, school pictures to take and most exciting, Halloween Parades! It is very different! And it is busy. But *I* seriously LOVE preschool. Seren is like a walking song. She has a song for everything. Cleaning up. Snack. Getting ready. She just sings and hums along. I love it!

I can't wait for the parade tomorrow!

But I was hit with a cold and fever that knocked my socks off this week! Man! It started with an allergy attack which quickly went into a fever that four days later, I still have! The doctor says I have an ear infection. I am having trouble hearing now but generally feel much better. I literally got in bed at 7:15pm Monday night and stayed there until the morning. And then took the day off and went back to bed! I haven't had that much rest in three years! Sam has been uberdad- doing it ALL while I secluded myself with juice, medicine and a Kleenex box.

Oh well, I believe sometimes our bodies just say 'Enough is enough' and conk out on us. Just really hoping that the kids don't get this cold/fever thing! That is all we need!

In other exciting news, Uncle John is in town! Yeah! We haven't seen him since May. He came for Seren's third bday party. Seren is very excited.

Wyeth is walking up a storm! It started in earnest on Friday and he hasn't stopped. It is amazing to watch! I can't get over it. We also just switched his car seat out. Goodbye infant car seat. Between the walking and the new car seat his early days of laying around on me seem long gone. This too makes me sad. Did I cherish it enough?

So with the cold, this week hasn't exactly gone as planned. But we are all hoping for a great Halloween. Seren is going to be a 'nice witch' and SHE wanted Wyeth to be her black cat. Which is better than my friend's daughter who upon announcing she would be Little Bo Peep tried to convince her mother that her younger sister would need a leash around her neck and could be the sheep! Talk about therapy bills!
I can just hear it now, "Well, doctor, I always felt as if my contributions to the family were not valued. It started really at birth. My first Halloween, I was made out to be my older sister's sheep..."

Happy Halloween!

Below are some recent pics of the team. Check out the fridge action.

And despite my worries that my baby is growing too fast, he still is, afterall, only a little guy.

Sigh. Life is good.