Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Falling in love

For some reason, what with her growing inside of me for so many months, I was kind of expecting the bonding process to be different with Cosi than it was with P or A.


Not that I'm worried this time around :)

With Paxton, there was love.  Lots of love.  Lots of hope and anticipation.

But we didn't bond right off, or rather, *I* didn't bond with *him* right off.  His bonding to me is another story, though we were exceedingly lucky in that he certainly did bond with us despite the many challenges there.

I expected a lot of immediate love and this sudden surge of emotion and, well, no.  That didn't happen.  I'm not a huge emotion kind of girl.  I'm the sort of person who eases into things: routines, relationships, love.  It takes me awhile to wrap my head around a whole new exceedingly important person, a now permanent fixture within my life.  That's not to say that I'm indifferent at first, oh no.  I would have died to protect him, I rushed to him countless times when he made noise in the night before I even woke up, and I had the greatest joy playing with him, taking pictures, dressing him, caring for him, etc.

But it was nothing like the Mother's Love.  That love?  It blew me away.  The first few months I would care for him and love him and enjoy him, and then suddenly there was this month-long period of bonding that was so incredible and wonderful and heartbreaking and painful and joyous and explosive and, well...

It was like every day I'd look at him and be even more in love.  Every night I'd feel sad as I said goodnight and left him in his room, since I wanted to be near him, holding him, feeling him, smelling him, just basking in his glorious presence.  It literally felt like my heart was exploding with love, to the point where it physically hurt sometimes to love him so much.  It reminded me of the grinch at the end of Suess's famous tale, with his heart growing and growing and growing.  It was like my heart could not possibly contain all my love for him, and so it physically had to increase in size.  Whereas before this period I had a whole world outside of him, suddenly my existence and his became inseparable in my mind.  He became a part of me then.

The same thing happened with Ambrose.  Oh, I loved him, my word did I love him!  I cared for him and smiled at him and would give anything to keep him safe and make him happy.

But a few months in once that bonding period hit... it was the same thing all over again.  Weepy when he wasn't with me, joyous to the point of pain when he was.  Every day thinking I couldn't possibly love anyone more, and the next day finding that I loved him even more still.  And then, his existence was a part of me again.  While we had been happily living as a family of four suddenly we were A Family of Four.  It was on a whole new plane.

So here I sit with my sweet, squishy, third child in my arms.  I love her.  My word, do I love her.  But thing is, I'm still adjusting.  I'm still having to remember to say "kids" instead of "boys," still learning to use the word "daughter" and "girl" and "she" and "her."  I'm still learning to make her name part of my daily vocabulary, still having to remember that I have three kids and not two.  Oh, I'm not forgetting her anywhere or delaying in meeting her needs, it's just that while her presence is exceedingly important it is not deeply, deeply ingrained in my psyche such as to be a part of my existence.

I guess in a way I'm just sitting around waiting.  Waiting for that painful and wonderful bonding period to happen again, knowing that odds are it will be the same this third time around.  And while I wait, I enjoy her and love her.  I kiss her pudgy cheeks and stroke her soft warm head.  I gaze into her beautiful blue eyes and feel my heart break when I hear her cry from the back seat, just wanting her mommy to pick her up.  She's knows me and I know her and we're falling in love with each other, becoming an even more vital part of each other's existence, just as it happened with my older two children. 

And it's beautiful. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Those precious moments...

.. Go by too fast.

My oldest child has been with us over 5 years now.  He's seven.  He's in first grade.  Now he's reading and writing and having grown up conversations.  He wants to be known by his nickname.  He's so grown up...

... he used to have the softest voice.  He hunted for buggies and tried to catch "bum-bees."  He would match things together and call them friends.  He used to fall asleep in my arms.

My second child is three, potty trained, learning letters and spelling his name.  He's sleeping in his big brothers bunk bed, wearing new 10.5 sized shoes, doing chores and preferring friends over us half the time...

... he used to cry if we weren't holding him.  He nursed constantly, cuddled in tight, and lay beside me all night.  He would happily lay in a sling all day, nestled against me.  He used to fall asleep in my arms.

Me baby girl is three weeks old.  She's already outgrown her newborn clothes.  She's a great nurser, calm and alert, very easy going baby who mostly sleeps at night.  She already has great neck control, already recognizes us.  She's growing well... and fast.  Right now she's asleep on me as I type one-handed. 

Time is moving quicker with each child, flying by.  My learning curve is lower, transition time faster, and with the need to get back into a normal schedule I find myself all too often putting her down and sending the boys to do something so that I can complete some chore. 

Laundry?  Dishes?  Cooking? 

These have to get done.

And yet, I cannot help but think of all I'm losing by folding pajamas or cutting carrots.

I'm so lucky to have so much time with my children, and yet I'm still greedy.

I don't want to miss this...  I don't want to miss their smiles and laughter, their jokes, their milestones, their discoveries. 

It just goes by so, so fast.

And I'm happy about this, really.  I'm proud of their growth, happy loving who they are today, and really I don't wish to relive the early days with the boys, nor Cosi's first days.  I love whi they are today, and tomorrow I'll love who they are then.

Yet, by now I know all to well that these moments fly by.  They grow, they learn, and soon the will not be the same amazing spirits I love so deeply right now.  I will love them for who they are, and yet I mourn prematurely for the loss of the little beings who inhabit our home right now. 

No picture, no video, no lock of hair or salvaged outfit will ever truly capture this moment, this precious, incredible gift, this tiny and fleeting pocket of time right now, right as it is.  All I can do, really, is live it and love it. 

(and maybe order out sometimes...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

She's here!

Cosima Sophie was born at 8:06pm 11-6-12 at the Women's Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill.  7lbs 13 oz, 22 inches, perfectly healthy :)

Birth Story:
I was 8 days over my EDD (or 9 going by my original EDD).  On Monday I requested a membrane sweep, but given that they already had 3 women laboring in their 3 rooms (with an extra room across the hall just in case) they didn't feel comfortable sending me into labor and asked me to come back on Tuesday, after my ultrasound at UNC to check for fluid levels. 

I went to UNC yesterday morning for my ultrasound and they found that my fluid levels were very, very low.  They ran a biophysical profile while I was there, which we passed with flying colors.  She was practicing breathing, she emptied her bladder, she kicked, heart was wonderful, etc.

I headed right over to the birth center for a non-stress test and consult on my ultrasound.  Again, the non-stress test went perfectly, she was very alert and responded to everything, so they kept me on the machine for the smallest amount of time they could (20 min?).  I spoke with 3 different midwives there and they were all happy with the BPP and NST but all very worried about the fluid levels.  I asked for the membrane stripping again, and not only did they do that in the most aggressive way possible (with my permission of course), they also came up with a game plan for if that didn't work.  Worst case scenario was me going in for an 11:30am appt today and heading right over to UNC for an induction. 

Membranes stripped around noon, contractions started coming on every 4 minutes around 2:30pm, headed to the birth center around 4ish (contractions 2 minutes apart and no longer able to walk through them) and was 7cm by the time we got there around 4:45.  Got in the tub as soon as they let me and didn't leave until she was here! 

Labor was intense!  Not what I was expecting, but I kind of went in with the thought of 'expect the unexpected."  I started to fall asleep between each contraction, so it was pretty much like "pain pain pain sleeeeeep pain pain pain sleeeeeep"  I pushed for... an hour?  Hour and a half?  I think they were expecting her to come out even faster but I sort of had to ease into pushing, took me awhile to get the hang of it.  The midwife had me stop pushing for a few contractions since I had an "anterior lip", I was 9.5 cm dilated and she wasn't coming through with that little bit left.  That to me was the hardest part of the whole thing, like sheer torture and I just couldn't not push!  The midwife had a plan B, where she pulled back the cervix while I pushed and that was much better, haha!  Still not instant baby, but pretty close.  She crowned and then pretty much shot out of me at 8:06. 

Seriously, I'd been going from pain-sleep-pain for so long that suddenly there was a baby on my chest and I was like "OMG a baby!  What on Earth?"  Didn't take me too long to wake up enough to wrap my head around it though!  Unfortunately it took a good 30 minutes to stitch me back up :?  But it's mostly torn skin and doesn't look too bad (they tell me anyway).  Cosima latched really quickly and went at it on both sides back and forth for a good hour and a half.  We left the birth center at 12:44am, as we were still wide awake and figured that it would be easier to rest at home and drive with no traffic. 

Today is definitely a day of sleepiness and transition, which I'm sure we'll have for awhile!  So, SO glad my little girl is here safe and sound and that my boys are doing well.  My big guy is nothing short of amazing as a big brother and he's all smiles.  My little guy... might take him awhile haha!  But he's pretty much the same as his big brother was three years ago in the same situation, so nothing abnormal there :)  Hoping recovery goes quick and smooth, can't wait to take my little girl out and about and show her off!

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 weeks...

Baby girl is hanging tight.  My little Cosi is quite cozy in there, haha!

I actually thought this past Saturday, the 27th, was going to be "it."  I'd actually had Oct 27th in mind this whole time and couldn't get it out of my head, and then I had such a great day.  Slept a ton the night before, had a very relaxing morning and afternoon with my mother, had a pedicure that set of REAL contractions that went on for about 6+ hours.  I'm talking nausea, back pain, whole abdominal pain, starting off unevenly but not stopping during sitting/standing/walking/laying down/eating/drinking/shower/talking etc.  By about 4:30pm they were timeable, 60-90 seconds, with a peak in the middle where I could not talk or think clearly.  Had everyone on stand by.  And they stopped.  Again.

So this?  Is prodromal labor.

And it's been way harder than it should be to find information on it!

Seriously, this isn't covered in my birth books.  In there, Braxton Hicks are BH contractions, and labor is labor.  What I felt was not BH, nothing like my BH contractions, but there's no mention of this in my birth books.  There are a lot of things to find online, though.  People who went through this for weeks or months, usually starting before 37 weeks.  It's been hard to find info on the outcomes, since people will post questions and their situations to forums but then there's no mention of when they actually had their baby and how the delivery went.  So despite all the prep work I've done, with all the info I could wrap my mind around, it kind of feels like I'm navigating relatively uncharted (but common) waters.  I guess this is the "false labor" or "false starts" I hear about.  I have to admit, it's making me nervous!  I'm partially worried that my body will suddenly kick into high gear and it will go FAST, like straight to pushing stage while I'm home alone.  I mean, if my mother could get to 10 cm with labor and transition, it should be entirely possible for me right?

On the other hand, I'm still battling the worry that my body is somehow defective and that it's not doing what it's supposed to be doing.  I mean, everyone around me is utterly shocked that I haven't delivered yet, it kind of makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.  I get that they're just concerned for me (and don't want to be in the situation of being 40 weeks pregnant with no end in sight!) but I'm a tad emotional right now so I guess I'm internalizing it in a way it's not intended :-P

I've been trying to tell myself affirmations, and for the most part it's helping.  Things like, my body is doing what it's supposed to do, this will all make sense later on, my daughter's birth story won't be boring and she'll enjoy laughing at it with me, for someone so worried about miscarriage I've made it to 40 weeks and that's amazing, she's just not quite ready yet and I'm being good giving her the time she needs to finish getting ready for the outside world, etc.

I've also been deconstructing more mental blocks, just sitting down and talking with people about them, anyone really!  Nik has been wonderful, but so have many others.  Really, just verbalizing and having these thoughts acknowledged has helped tremendously.

The big two that have been on my mind has been the fear that I'm letting people down, and a sort of PTSD left over from the adoption wait.

I don't like to let people I care about down, and as dumb as it sounds I feel bad when people are excited for something that I need to produce and I can't, you know, produce it.  I feel bad that people are telling me "you'll have the baby before/by X day!" and then it doesn't happen.  I feel like I've failed in a task I've been given, and when people are constantly coming up to me and saying, "you haven't had the baby yet???" or "still no baby?" I'm feeling like I've let them down.  And it's dumb, really it is.  Especially when I think that I've probably made the same comment a number of times to other full term and beyond moms.  It just never occurred to me how painful it could be to hear that.  As an outsider, I thought I was offering support and opening a dialogue to let the exhausted mom to be vent her frustrations.  As the person on the other side, I feel guilty and upset at myself.  People are expecting me to do this and I haven't been able to do it.

On top of that, I have a lot of people ready to support us who are on call, people who have jobs and lives and houses and families.  I feel so, so bad alerting my doula or my mother that I'm having what appears to be labor contractions only to have them stop.  I feel horrible that I've had Nik take off work so much lately because I've been ill with "flu like symptoms."  I'm the sort of person who doesn't complain if I'm sick and goes about my business unless I absolutely can't.  I hate asking things of people, I feel awful asking someone to put me above their normal life, and it's been hard emotionally to feel like such a burden all the time.  I feel like if I could just have this baby already then things could be better, then I'd be justified in all the bothering.  So far no baby has come out of me and I feel like the girl who cried wolf.

I'm working on this, and talking to people about it.  I think I'll have to start baking cookies or something because honestly it will just make me feel better if I can provide something for all the hassle, even if objectively I know that it's not nearly the big deal that I think it is.

The other issue, the adoption related PTSD thing....  yeah, we're trying to counter that one with just different terminology.

See, this one hadn't occurred to me until the past few days, but whenever I start to think "this might be it!" and then it isn't... well, let's just say the emotions flowing inside me, and my reaction, is pretty much the same as it was whenever we had some sort of setback with either of the adoptions. 

A lot of hope.  A lot of disbelief.  A lot of keeping myself from truly attaching to the child that may or may not be ours.

While our adoptions were both successful and, by today's standards, very easy and straightforward, there were certainly painful moments.

Being told we'd have to wait longer for a referral from Ethiopia.  Being told wait times were increasing.  Expecting a referral in July and spending every day on pins and needles and every weekend recovering until August 10th when we finally got the call.  Finding out we likely wouldn't be with our child on his 2nd birthday (we were, thank God!).  That horrible, horrible Friday afternoon when I made contact with a wonderful family who offered to bring P his bday gifts and I rushed around buying what might be appropriate to send, wiping tears off his birthday card, dealing with 3 very angry clerks at the post office as I fumbled and messed up a million times just trying to mail my new son a card, a tshirt, and a few brightly colored toy cars in hopes that he'd know his mommy and daddy loved him even if we couldn't be with him.  Finally being with him and finding that our embassy date had to be postponed, then having nannies sweep in and grab him from me every time he cried, scolding me for not being able to instantly sooth him.  I tried to smile through all of it, and cry only in private, but my God I just wanted to take my child home and be his mom and there were just so many people involved and so many steps and it was so hard...

Then with Ambrose, contacting agencies about situations and not hearing back, having to start over with a new agency after a couple false leads, and then waiting and waiting as I pumped to produce food for the infant child we were in no way guaranteed.  I pumped several times a day, every day, for over six months.  I woke up at 4am every day to keep making milk for this child who may never be.  I tried to make the best of it and pushed all negative emotions aside.  I will never forget the day I was pumping one afternoon when I got notice that another family had been chosen for a baby already born.  I had been trying so hard not to get my hopes up, but I had to put down the pump and walk away.  I just wanted to hug Paxton, my son, living proof that dreams do come true, the one who inspired all my hope for the future.  I only made it halfway down the hall when I had to grab the wall with both hands and force myself to breath, force myself not to keel over sobbing.  I had wanted that baby, I was making milk that could help that baby, and not only was I not going to have that baby but there was still no baby in sight for me.  And it was killing me.  But I bottled it up, played with my kid and kept going.  With Ambrose's situation we had to wait even longer for a response than with others, but it was a glorious day when it arrived!  I wasn't even all that antsy, not until he was born.  Not until I spoke with his first mother on the phone after his birth.  And we both cried because we both hated the waiting period before I could take custody and we both just wanted him in his home.  For nine days my child was within driving distance.  But I could not get to him.  I could not see his picture.  I could not talk to his care giver on the phone.  I couldn't even know if he was going to a doctor and how he was doing.  And he was promised to me and his first mother wanted him with me and it was one of the most painful times of my life. 

So here I am now.  Both adoptions DID go through quite smoothly in fact.  Both boys are here and doing incredibly well.  I was with Paxton on his birthday.  Ambrose nursed right out and was a champion nurser until he weaned at 29 months, meaning all that pumping wasn't wasted at all.  Because of the happy outcomes of every negative situation we faced, I've just written it all off.  Yeah, it hurt at the time, but it happened for a reason that makes sense in hindsight.

Imagine my confusion when the ending of contractions suddenly brings back memories of holding myself up in the hallway to keep from just dying of sorrow then and there.  Or when the looks on faces of people asking about why I haven't had the baby yet reminds me so much of the looks of the postal workers who had to deal with me when I was trying to send P his birthday present.  Things that I know are normal happen, and they frustrate me, but suddenly it feels like I'm drowning and need air and I'm not seeing an outlet and oh my word I just want my baby!  It feels... exactly like it did then.  It feels like my child is being kept from me.

The difference, of course, is NO ONE IS KEEPING THIS CHILD FROM ME!!! 

She's here!  She's IN me!  Bonking her big head in my bladder and cervix, nuzzling in to get cozy, wiggling her toes on my organs.  I feel her, all throughout the day and night.  She is not on the other side of the world.  She is not in a hospital in another city.  She's not at an undisclosed location.  I am not waiting with bated breath to see if someone will sign the appropriate paperwork so that she can go from being a potential match to being my child.  She IS already my child, no questions asked. 

And I am so not used to this!

I've been pushing these silly thoughts out of my head the whole time because, well, they're silly.  They make no sense.  When I started to feel like my baby was already born and out there and all I had to do was get through this process (labor and delivery) and then someone would come in from another room and hand me my baby... well, that's a dumb thought, so of course I wouldn't pay it any mind.

But that's where I've been subconsciously.  Despite the happy outcomes with the boys, the frustration over labor seemingly stalling is the same as the frustration over yet another adoption hurdle.  The wait with no definitive end date seems the same, despite the fact that I'm only waiting on her to change locations, not to be placed in my custody.  I mean, really, could she BE more in my custody than she is right now? 

I think sitting down, talking it out, acknowledging this, and then trying to actually respect my own fears and emotions has helped tremendously.  It's like a huge weight has been taken off of me!

Nik and I are working on terminology here.  "She's coming soon" has become "she's already here, and we'll be able to hold her soon."  "We're having a baby" has become "we have a baby, she's just stubborn and wants to stay in mommy!"  We're doing this with the kids, but it's helping us too. 

Okay, so that was a small novel of delving into my psyche :-P  Time to get ready to pick P up from school and have a normal afternoon.  I'm *hoping* next time I post it will be a birth story, but eh, we'll see :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Mental Blocks

So after several "could this be it???" moments with Braxton Hicks coming on stronger and more regularly and then outright stopping... yeah, I was in a bad place last night and this morning.  Yesterday morning I had a midwife appointment and the general concensus is that this baby is going to come any time now.  0-+1 station, 80% effaced, 2 cm dilated, properly positioned, lots of movement, lost plug, nesting and flu like symptoms interchangeably, etc.  So, good news... only you can be like that for weeks.  And I know this.  And people love to tell me this.  And, well, when I keep having "it's starting!" and then it just... stops... yeah, I was not a happy girl this morning after trying to get things moving again.

But one thing it made me realize, since I had so much time to sit and stew (because sleep?  Was not my friend) was that I have a ton of mental blocks.  Little things that frighten me that might be keeping me from getting into a nice zen state.  I'm suddenly stressing, and while I look forward so much to labor and delivery and holding her, there are some things that, well, that I have to unload from my mind.  And what better place than here?

So, in no particular order, here's everything I could come up with.  I'm working on some of it, some of it I think it just helps to list and say, "yeah, this is on my mind and I wasn't expecting it to be there." 

-Fear of being alone.  I love my husband, and I love his company, but right now I NEED him in a way that somewhat frightens me.  I'm a big girl, really I am, but my word do I need him with me now.  Which is kind of hard what with him trying to get as much work out of the way now as possible and kids taking up our time and stuff.  I told him this this morning and already I feel better, as does he I think because he couldn't figure out why I was so sad :-P

-The household going to ruins.  I'm not a great housewife, really, but I like the house to have a schedule, things to go in their general places (like laundry in the proper drawer in the proper room), I like the kids in bed on time and sleeping at night, the toilets clean-ish, the toilet paper stocked, etc.  That's been going downhill with my exhaustion lately.  And thus, nesting has picked up again as I rush to make our home ready if only to calm myself mentally.

-I feel pretty.  I rarely feel pretty, and I rarely care whether or not I feel pretty, but I feel pretty pregnant.  I'm wearing pretty clothes, nicer than I normally wear, and people compliment me all the time.  I don't think of myself as vain but I guess I sort of am.  So I decided that I'm going to keep buying a few pretty clothes after the baby is here.  And maybe get my hair cut professionally for the first time since I was 16. 

-I have trouble asking for help and doing things for myself.  Not really a mental block, more of a personality flaw.  I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by people who treat me well and who will take care of me if I ask for it, I just have trouble asking.  I don't like being inconvenient, I don't like putting myself ahead of those I love.  I can drop people who are using me no problem and I can certainly assert myself with the children, but asking Nik to leave early on an easy day just because I'm feeling weepy and want a hug?  Asking someone to pick up a child from school and watch them a bit because I'm feeling tired?  That's hard.  Real hard.  Buying myself underwear is hard (seriously, I ask for it at Christmas usually just because I have such a hard time spending money on myself).  I'm working on this.  Don't want to go crazy, but I want to take care of myself emotionally and sometimes a pretty new shirt that we can afford might do the trick.

-I think I have some left over issues from dealing with infertility.  "You're not getting pregnant because you're thinking about it too much and stressing."  Sounds an awful lot like, "you aren't going into labor because you're thinking about it too much and stressing."  "It'll happen when it happens" and "you have no control over the timing" are also bringing me back to a bad place.  Kind people trying to give advice while unknowingly causing emotional pain.... I need to get over it.  I *DID* get pregnant and one way or another this baby is coming, whether tonight or 3 weeks from now.  Er, hopefully it's not one extreme or the other though :)

-I think I have some left over issues from the adoptions.  I think I'm still thinking about this baby in terms of an adoption situation.  I'm still on pins and needles.  Will they let me keep her?  Will a new rule change parent requirements and boot us from the program last minute?  What if someone changes their mind and we have to give her back?  What if she's nothing more than a distant hopeful dream?  None of these make sense in our situation.  She's in my stomach, moving right now as I type, cozying in and shifting around.  She's not a potential adoption situation, she's a child in my womb at this very moment who just happens to be inside me instead of in my arms.  She is already mine.  This is already a done deal.  There's no paperwork, no court date, no pins and needles waiting to see if someone revokes consent.  I think this is a big emotional hold up I've been having, a fear of loving for fear of losing.  Yes, a tragedy could occur, and that would be horrific.  But it's unlikely.  And she's already a part of our family, no questions asked.

-I'm afraid I won't go into labor.  I'm afraid that my body won't work.  How could it?  I spent years and years looking at every pregnancy symptom and hoping that maybe one day the "symptoms" I saw might match up to a positive pregnancy test.  Even though that happened, it's hard to erase years of looking at signs and getting so, so hopeful only to be let down.  I expect to be let down.  I expect signs to be false.  I don't expect my body to work.  I don't trust my body, even though it's been doing everything right for the past 9 months. 

-I'm afraid that I'll wait too long, need an induction anyway, and find that something awful happened.  Not enough fluid, break down of placenta, cord around neck, etc.  I'm becoming worried of her physical health, even though she feels just fine and all signs point to a healthy girl who is thriving.  I'm just worried that the longer she's in me the more danger she's in, even when I'm reading numbers and stats and research that points to this being false.  I'm afraid that somehow my "defective" body will hurt her and I should get her out ASAP and my body won't be able to do that.  I know this isn't true.  But when thinking for long hours I realized that this, along with others, is a huge fear in the back of my mind.

I'm sure there are other things, but honestly?  I was surprised when I really started to think.  Labor coming soon makes this baby all the more real and is finally bringing my real subconscious emotions to the forefront.  Hopefully by listing them, and finding ways to move past them, I'll be in a better state.  For now I'm enjoying a wonderful and relaxing evening.  Sounds like I may be needed to help a little boy get into his Batman jammies and snuggled down for bed.  That's the kind of thing I live for :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to know you aren't girly...

I've been ruminating over whether little Cosi will be super girly or super, um, tomboy-y.  I figure that with two uber active older brothers she'll likely be one extreme or the other, either just like them or the total opposite.  I've had several mothers of girls, though, tell me that she'll be the opposite of me.  This lead me to wonder whether or not I'm a tomboy or a girly girl.  I mean, I do like the color pink and shiney things and things that smell good... but I don't wear make up, don't like pampering myself much, don't like to dress up really, and, um, well... I'm a mother of boys.  Really, really, boyish boys.

At this point I'm wondering whether or not my children pulled me right into tomboy land or if I was already there :)

Aaaaand, Mr. Ambrose has awoken from nap!  Time to go cuddle him.  Perhaps I'll write a post soon about how I'm not-so-patiently waiting.  Lower baby=geez, this isn't so comfy anymore! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

37 Weeks...

And a HUGE sigh of relief! 

I don't have too long to type, as nap time is just about up for the boys, but I figure I should jot down a few things while I'm thinking about it.

-Hooray full term!  I likely still have another month to go, but given some of my recent intense Braxton Hicks and all the freaking out that went with them, I'm glad to know that if she does come she'll likely be just fine and "fully cooked" so to speak.  Also this means I'm on target to give birth at the Birth Center like we've hoped, instead of a hospital.
-I've gained about 20 lbs at this point, from pre-preg weight.  This isn't taking into account the fact that I dropped 6 lbs in the first trimester (so about 26 lbs gained in 5ish months?).  I was told I should aim for 15-20 lbs, but eh, I didn't gain 60 so I figure I'm good :)
-I'm still carrying really high.  Seriously, I don't have a cute bump, I have a somewhat pointy above the naval bump, an unpopped belly button, and a lot of squish below the naval.  People love to tell me that she hasn't dropped yet.  Believe me, I know :-P
-Even without dropping, her head is actually pretty low.  This past week we determined (and midwife confirmed) that her head is way down in there, she was in her side with left facing forward (left occiput anterior?), her bum stuck out right under my ribs and her legs were sticking out my left side.  I was able to tickle her feet and she pulled her legs in, with her left knee sticking out above my naval.  It was cute.  It was also kind of worrisome.  I mean, I was only 36.5 weeks and she was HOW big to be able to reach all of that?  And she'll be HOW big when I do my all natural vaginal delivery?  Nik was 10 lbs at birth, I was 8 but one of the smallest in my family of 10-11 lb babies...
-On that note, I'm fully embracing denial.  I'm telling myself that she'll be a healthy 6lbs maximum, that labor will last 2 hours, I won't tear, I won't poo, I'll be a delicate flower just moaning softly, and there will be no pain.  I'm fully aware that this is a total lie and I'll be shrieking like a banshee, mostly likely for many hours, she'll be big, and there will be blood.  My blood.  And stitches.  But it's okay, I can survive it, and at the end there's a baby.  Still, I don't have to actually remind myself daily of how nuts it'll be.  So I'm just thinking, "teeny baby, easy birth, teeny baby, easy birth" and I'm going to keep thinking that way until I am forced to face reality.  It's going to come one way or the other, no reason to freak myself out!
-I am so, so ready to meet her!  So in love already :)

-Ambrose just turned 3.  I'm not sure who is prouder of him, us or Ambrose himself!  He can finally make his "three hands," after working on it for weeks leading up to his birthday.  He has a "3" shirt he proudly shows off (not as cool as his Angry Birds shirt of course).  He has a birthday haircut, and he had a "big party" at the kid's museum, as well as a little party at his preschool.  On his birthday Nik took off from work so we could both be helping parent with him at preschool.  Poor guy found it overwhelming!  Lots of clinginess and jealousy.  But he was happy we were there, happy we got to have lunch at Kanki (just to watch the fire), and happy to build his bunny at Build-A-Bear.  He's going back and forth between smiles and whines still, but that's the age too!  So many changes for my little big guy, haha!
-Ambrose is a lefty, no doubt, and I'm starting to learn about all that we'll need to do to make his school life/development a success.  Need to get those lefty scissors!
-He's in underpants (teensy tighty whiteys!) most days, without too many issues.  Still not 100% PT'ed but getting there really quickly!
-We're starting to really try to move him to P's room.  No hurry, I like to take big changes slowly so that they last, but I'm hoping that maybe in the January-March range he'll be sleeping in P's room full time and we can use his room for Cosima.  Last night he slept in P's room at night, and he's currently taking a nap in there, which is like 50% of the time now.  My goal is to make it standard so it's not as new and interesting, and so that they can both sleep together in the same room without issue.

-And thus, on to Paxton!  We're not taking him to the restroom so much at night now, sort of having him build up his nighttime awareness so that he'll be able to sleep on the top bunk all night and take care of himself.  For a child with a mild physical delay who JUST night trained like 6 months ago with us taking him to the restroom once at night and cutting off liquids, the fact that he's drinking normally and holding it all night is flipping amazing!  Of course, he's such a big boy now it's not something I can't celebrate too openly since it might embarrass him. 
-P is really a big ole first grader, very proud of himself and doing great in school.  He's had a couple of rough patches, but honestly given his sensitive temperament and all that's going on at home (ie, new baby) the fact that he's doing so well most of the time DOES need to be openly celebrated.  And that's just behavior wise, academically he's definitely ahead.  He's reading at like a beginning 3rd grade level, well beyond where he needs to be by the end of the school year.  He's so fast with his homework now, writing his sentences in his journal every night, reading a book or two or three each day (Magic Treehouse, Junie B Jones, etc), speeding through his math homework and getting it right 95% of the time without even thinking or counting on his hands, etc.  If I didn't think it would totally overwhelm him I might add more on at home, but I'm holding back on that.  He's keeping up really well with all that's being thrown at him academically and I don't want to mess with that.  I'd rather he be excelling where he is and gaining confidence, then push him to his limits (or beyond) and have him lose faith in himself and his abilities. 
-P's doing really well with his chore chart, and he's been such a great help at home.  I wasn't really given chores as a child but I want P to do chores, so every day he has basic things (make bed, pick up room, put clothes in hamper, set table) and one inside chore, usually something either I pick or he suggests, like getting the laundry out of the dryer and bringing it upstairs to my room so I can sort and fold, or sweeping the kitchen floor.  I'm not super strict about any of it, and often the bed looks only half made and I still have to bring all the plates and silverware to the table for him to set it, but it's nice to have a little helper and it's REALLY building confidence in him.  The best part?  his little brother also wants to do it, and if P can rope him into helping I'm all for it!  Two little helpers who know what they're doing is seriously beyond awesome, so go ahead and train away! 

Okay, so that ended up super long.  It's 4:40pm and we're supposed to be at my parents by 5.  P's asleep on the couch behind me after coming downstairs an hour and a half ago from a short nap and still looking tired.  Ambrose has been asleep about two and a half hours.  Ummmm... bedtime tonight is going to stink, isn't it?  At least we know they'll be well rested to wreak havoc at my parents' house!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I'll be 34 weeks tomorrow, which is beyond awesome really.  I mean, 34 weeks?  That's "still have awhile to have your baby in you, but you're getting close to the end"!  I'm no longer worrying about premature labor so much.  It's still a possibility, but it's not as much a danger as it was (as in, she'd probably end up just fine if she came now with a bit of extra care at first).  According to the internet, she's probably somewhere between 4.5-5 lbs and around 18-20 inches long.  Sounds so little until I look at my stomach and think "there's a five pound human being living inside of me?" 

I should probably mention that I'm uncomfortable.  Like, not unbearably so (if I were, I don't know how I'd make it through the next ~6 weeks) but not where I was even a week ago.  I have a big head squished against my bladder half the day, and the other half I have a little butt and two teensy legs squeezing my stomach and making it nearly impossible to eat.  So I either get to eat but need to pee constantly, or I get some relief from the urinary pain and instead can't eat and sit here feeling hungry and listless and nauseous.  Granted, I could have far more/worse symptoms.  Yeah, I get some minor swelling and some cramping in my joints (didn't realize the front of my ankles could cramp) but all in all I'm pretty lucky.  Even when she's in a bad position for me, I can usually find a position where I can take a complete breath.  I am able to sleep at night, usually at least 6 hours which may not sound like much but reading pregnancy forums makes it sound like heaven compared to others who have it worse.  I really haven't gained any weight anywhere but my stomach and thighs, and for the most part while my torso area isn't comfy at all, the rest of me is doing okay.  Even my back, shoulders, feet and ankles have been relatively unscathed thus far.  No bad acne, reflux pretty under control with Tums, and I'm not 100% "stopped up" most days, which is great haha!  I've so far missed all the big, bad, common complications (gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, placenta previa) and, oh oh! my nails grow super fast and strong, and my hair looks woooonderful!  Seriously, I could keep this hair forever, it has NEVER looked this good!  I'm sure I'll be bald by Christmas :-P

The best part, of course, is that there's a healthy little baby girl growing inside, a little angel who kicks and moves and reminds me always of her presence.  Like I could forget :)  Every time I start to feel a little sorry for myself (the boys start fussing at each other, dinner's half cooked and I need to keep at it, a nesting project has gone awry, Nik late from work, etc), and oh the emotions can flow easily now, I just have to remember how lucky I am.  I had honestly come to a place where I thought we would never experience this, where I thought that I would never feel a child growing inside of me.  And really, I was at peace with it, even if I had my sad days.  But it happened.  And it's still happening.  I happened in the best way possible: natural pregnancy when we were ready for another child, no bed rest, no complications, healthy child, and here I am only a month and a half from delivery.  I get to feel her move and kick.  Unlike with my boys (oh, I wish I could have experienced this with my boys!) I've been with her from the start, felt her first flutters, felt her first kick, felt her turn over.  I am so lucky, and so in love!

Ooh, my food has arrived!  I'm not sure who these sudden and swiftly changing cravings are going to destroy sooner, me or Nik :)  The fast food industry must be loving me right now!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bits of Dreams

I'm a dreamer, and I mean that literally.  I tend to have long, vibrant, active dreams that I can remember most nights.  On some occasions, I even have lucid dreams in which I can alter the dream.  I'm almost always cognizant that I'm in a dream world when I'm there, and rarely have nightmares.  My dreams can last, in dream world, for days but usually feel like the course of several hours.  There are frequent switches between "scenes" and changes in themes, and while sometimes my dreams include people I know in real life, it's much more common for it to be a totally new "plot" and "character set" each night.  In short, I LOVE dreaming, love it, and I can guarantee that the sleep issues that have plagued me my whole life have nothing to do with fear of dreaming :)

So, that being said...

Over the past couple weeks, I have had three dreams about Cosima's birth.

In the first, she started to push and move about my belly like she normally does, only she pushed out further and further, alien style, until finally she just tore right out.  And it was painless.  And she was a cat.  Not a kitten, a full grown (though small) fluffy grey cat with a long tail and pretty eyes and a darling purr.  And I loved her.

The second dream again started with her movements and I felt all over my belly, feeling her arms and legs, as she eventually "came to the surface" and I just picked her up, like she had risen from water.  A real baby this time, though immediately covered in a blanket so I didn't actually see her.  But I cuddled her and hugged her and loved her.  Oh, and I was in yoga class during this and some people kept doing yoga while I was tummy-water-birthing :)

Last night's dream was a bit longer and more, well, realistic.  At least at first.  I went through a birth scene, with crying and fluids and changing positions, and it was long and drawn out.  And the kids were there,which is rare in my dreams (typically if I see them at all, then they're asleep somewhere, not active players.  Instead they were talking to me, supporting me, asking me questions, etc.  And then I gave birth, and they were so happy!  And Cosima was not a cat or a covered baby.  She was a toddler, with bleach blond dreads and a full set of teeth and full sentences.  Ambrose, in dream, tried to take my iPhone to take a picture of her and she scolded him.  Even in the dream I was like, "Dude, there is NO WAY!" 


I think the thing that's stuck with me about these dreams is this:

I'm happy.

I'm happy and in love and at peace with the arrival of our third child. 

I guess this is the big perk of a third child.

With my first I was terrified.  Would I be a good parent?  Would he adjust?  Would we feel for him all that we thought a parent should feel for their child?  Would he accept us as his parents? 

With our second, we were, well, terrified.  Was there enough time/love/energy to go around?  What if we preferred one child to another?  What if they hated each other and A would have been better in another home where he was absolutely loved?  What if P couldn't handle a sibling given his emotional state at the time? 

And you know what?  We loved P, he loved us (no, not at first haha!) and it all worked out.  And we loved A, A loved us (yes, at first!) and most importantly P and A totally fell into brotherly love from first sight.  There was enough love, enough time, enough energy, even if some days it still doesn't feel like it.

With Cosima, there's fear of course.  Fear of the unknown, though.  There are still 2 more months where something could go wrong with this pregnancy, and there's still a birth coming up and I've never been through that before!  And even once she's here, there's recovery and adjustment and the time it will take for life to become normal again. 

But there's no worry about love.  I don't doubt at all that there's more than enough love to go around for all the children, that her big brothers will love her, and that she'll adore them from the get go.  Already the boys randomly hug me and kiss my belly, declaring "I love you baby sister!"  And already, she gives a little kick when they're near. 

Today she held off her afternoon kicks by a couple hours (oh, she made up for them believe me!) and, worried, I changed position several times and prodded all over.  There was a moment there, while on my back and stretching and squishing in when I could feel her in me, a hand on either side as she was right in the middle of my abdomen.  Not clearly, I couldn't make out arms and legs, but there was a tiny little body sleeping snugly inside me.  Oh, oh, I wish I could just hold her right now! 

On that note, so does Ambrose.  While P is excited to sit calmly and hold her and rock her, as he did with Ambrose, my little Ambrosey would like her to come out so she can sleep in bed with him and crawl with him and play with him.  Or just move from my belly to his belly, whatever she feels like :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two months....

Today is August 28th.

My EDD is October 28th.

Currently I have an attic full of baby stuff, some packed away, some disassembled, nothing really organized or in one place.  And a pile of baby girl clothes on my closet floor.  And A and P are still in separate rooms and that ain't changing anytime soon, at least not until my two light sleepers are on a more similar schedule.

Soooo, yeah, we have some preparing to do!  I'm rather certain she's going to be sleeping in our room for the first few months anyway so we're going to set up a changing table and such in there for her.  With Ambrose, he slept in our room for almost a year and we just kept all the extra baby stuff in his room.  Now we don't have that luxury, so I think we'll have to sit down and make a game plan of where on Earth all the extra baby stuff gets to go.  Perhaps I can get some cheap drawers to go in my closet for the time being...


Anywho, enough about that.

The kids?  They are a growing.

Cosi is moving my stomach when she kicks, which is like all the time now.  It's a fun show.  Seriously, we'll have something on the tv that I'm actually interested in seeing, but dude, my belly is moving everywhere and parts of it are pushing out and it's just so coooool!  Nik watches for a bit but he says the thought that there's a human being living inside another human being is kind of weird.  Um, no, that's how we all got here.... but whatever.  She kicks whether she's facing out or not, but I very much prefer her facing out.  Not only do I get to see her movements, but it doesn't hurt at all.  If she's kicking and I can't feel it with my hand, then I can only feel it with my insides.  And that means lungs, crotch, butt, back, bladder, stomach, etc.  She's an equal opportunity kicker who constantly flips and kicks.  Silly little gymnast :)

Paxton just started 1st grade yesterday.  My goal a couple weeks ago was to provide chapter books with a few pictures in them in order to encourage him to read books with less/no pictures (ie, read on reading level).  He was convinced that "you need to have pictures, and to look at the pictures, since they give you clues to what you're reading about."  I informed him that since he could read a picture book in under a minute and fully understand it that he didn't need these picture clues.  It was like pulling teeth to get him to read them himself, without a grown up reading to him.  And now?  Apparently there just aren't enough books for him.  This kid is suddenly nose-in-a-book constantly when at home or in the car, suddenly interrupts a conversation to squeal about a new plot point or revelation, and is begging us to take him back to the library only days after our last visit since he's already read all his books 3 times and he needs more, MORE!  Haha, yeah, I'm a proud mama there :)

Have I mentioned that I love his school?  A formerly failing school where the County, despite budget cuts and constant increases in population, turned it into a Magnet, found money for it, brought in all new staff last year, and is really turning the place around.  What I see as a parent and adult is a delicate balancing act, mostly young and relatively new staff figuring out their way, a new and teensy PTA trying to do the job of a large and established PTA, and an administration facing problems like break ins and theft of new technology, having over half the parents of the school at or below poverty line and often not speaking much English, and disciplinary problems with older students who have been their since the school was a failing and forgotten school in a poorer neighborhood.  Working miracles in limited resources, having a happy an enthusiastic staff that is making a huge difference, test scores coming up, having so many people want to come to the school this year that some kids couldn't get in, and seeing a peaceful, clean, happy, well run environment when it could so easily go the other way. 

What my son sees is a small, brightly colored school that loves him.  He was greeted with huge hugs by staff and administrators.  He is proud and happy and has a blast every day.  His class is made up of students from multiple racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds (though mostly male!).  He sees a place that is happy and accepting and nothing but fun, where he learns constantly.  Yeah, it's not one of the county's highly sought after schools, nor is it one of the new charters or the long term magnets, it's not private or Montessori or Waldorf, but he's learning everything I think he should be and he's really, really enjoying school.  At this age, that's what I strive for, and I am beyond impressed with this place!

Okay, enough about that... I love Ambrose's preschool as well, haha!  Small, friendly, accepting, happy, and where my child is truly seen as an individual and cherished for who he is. 

I am very happy about the school year starting, because my children are very happy about it starting.  There's nothing like spending dinner with the kids excitedly telling us stories of their day!

So, on to Ambrose....

Oh, wow has he grown!  He'll be 3 in about 5 weeks and he is so not a baby anymore, though he'd still like to be some days :)

Ambrose is a loud kid, a proud kid, a happy and smiley and yelling and dancing and singing and running and jumping and throwing and playing and sharing and hugging and eating constantly kid.

He has had a clean diaper for several days now, tries to stay in his bed until it's okay to get up, helps to clean up, and often says things that blow my mind.

Yesterday we tried out a story time and I was impressed at him just running into the crowd and figuring out what to do just by looking at the other kids with no instruction.  He only lasted half of it, which I think is great for a first time there.  Before we left the woman in charge spoke a little about Canada and how it's way up North, to which Ambrose jumps up and says "I go to Maine way up North too!"  Haha, can I now brag that my toddler knows his geography?  :)

Today at a science museum he informed me that he needed to use the restroom.  We got him in and settled in the noisy room.  As he started to do his business, I hear him yell out, "everyone please be quiet guys!  I tryin' to do a poopy!"  Yes, we need silence for such a solemn act :)

Frequently he makes us laugh and smile with what he says, and now sometimes he'll even make himself laugh.  He messed up and said that brother was at work, not school, and spent about five minutes in the car laughing at himself and saying, "I do it wrong, hehe, daddy at work, brother at school!  Haha!  Not brother at school, it is daddy!"  Sometimes the hardest part about driving this kid is that I just want to hug him when he's cute like this and I can't!


Not to be left out of the cuteness, yesterday when I picked up P from school my super-exhausted boy hugged both me and Ambrose. 

"Brother, I miss you so much!" cried out little Ambrose, arms wrapped around his big brother.

"I missed you too Ambrose!  Except that I actually forgot all about you while I was at school."

Um, thanks P :)  They were still hugging when P said it and I so wish I'd caught it on camera!  Silly brothers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A little confession

I know this might sound crazy.

I know this is not possible right now.


I want to adopt again.

I know, I know, I have two little boys who are young and need a lot of attention and are a lot of work, AND I'm currently 27 weeks pregnant with a baby girl.  Our little family is about to be majority children, and things will be nuts for awhile.  And, oh yeah, several people (in medical land) believe that our "fertility problems" may have been caused by a uterus squished back as far as it could possibly go (such that they couldn't even find it externally until my 26 week appt, despite the kicking baby inside, since it was way at the back of me) AND a case of potentially endometriosis for which I had no outward signs, but which now (thanks to internal investigating) looks plausible.  Both of these can be remedied simply by going through pregnancy, and as I'm 30 with good insurance, several fertility clinics nearby, and so far am having a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, should I want a fourth child it wouldn't be too big of a stretch to see us conceiving again and not having to go through all the hassle of adoption.

But I want to adopt again.

I don't know, maybe part of that is the pregnancy hormones.  Maybe it's making me nostalgic for what we went through with the boys.  Or maybe it's easier to plan ahead several years on a process I know pretty well rather than leave my future totally open or plan for a potential second pregnancy that might not ever appear.

Or maybe it's how I was joking with Nik about how we'll need a second daughter.  I mean, the boys have each other as peers, they can talk about boy stuff and later on guy stuff.  Yeah, I have no idea what their actual interests will become and for all I know Paxton and Cosima could end up as the lifelong best buddies despite the age and gender difference.  But it feels like, if we have a choice, and we could choose to add a fourth child into our family, and we could choose the gender and some other bits of it all, well I don't know.  It just feels right I guess.

For now. 

Last night I brought it up to Nik again that I could see us waiting until C is a few years old and then pursuing a 4th and final child, a little girl.  Nik, who's been just sort of nodding when I say things like this, told me, "I don't really see us waiting all that long to start the process."  Um, honey, you don't need to give me the go ahead to start the research phase!  Granted the research phase of adoption can literally take years, especially as I log on and track various programs and their requirements and processes.

Maybe I'm just spending too much time on adoption blogs.  Maybe I'm still wondering if we should pursue our foster case license after C's birth.  Maybe I had adoption on the brain for so long that I can't take my focus away.  Or maybe it's that I have always, always, wanted to adopt a special needs female toddler from Viet Nam for some odd reason and despite 6 years since that first popped into my head, no matter what else has popped in there, I haven't been able to shake that vision for our family.  Viet Nam is currently closed for adoptions as they redo their program, which has not only taken years so far but might take a few more years still. 

But it's on the radar.  So is China (Nik is 28, but we probably wouldn't put together a dossier for another 2-3 years).  So is foster care, because we still could go along with our plan of just doing respite care until a situation came along that matched us.  So is Ethiopia, as it always is, and oh my P would love to have a sister from Ethiopia.  So are all sorts of special needs adoption avenues, really. 

It would be years from now, should we do this again.  And right now we have so much going in the right here, right now to focus on that I shouldn't let my mind wander too much. 

But I can still enjoy a blog or two :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer is moving fast!

It feels like the kids were just getting out of school, and now?  Ambrose's preschool summer camp is the week after next, and the end of next month (like, a month from now) P returns to school as a 1st grader.  What on Earth???  Where is my Summer?  I mean, I did joke about how I just wanted to survive this summer, what with getting bigger and slower in the central NC heat and humidity with two small boys.  And it did drag those first couple weeks.  But now it's like time is just flying right by!

Ambrose is pretty much potty trained, though we expect about an accident a day.  Sometimes at night, sometimes after a huge meal when we aren't paying attention, whatever.  For the most part, though, he hold it until we ask him to go or he'll even tell us he needs to go.  He can handle himself in a restroom like a champ, locking his stall, doing his business, then coming back out.  Sure, there's a lot of toilet paper fun and giggles while I call out, "Ambrose, you open this door THIS INSTANT!" but really, he's actually doing really well for a kid that isn't even 3 yet.

Paxton has lost his two front teeth and looks rather ridiculous, and of course adorable.  His baby teeth just seem so tiny in his huge mouth now, so they're like these tiny spaced out white pebbles.  He has 4 adult teeth down bottom, 4 new molars popping in at the back, and now two adult teeth starting to push through up top.  Fingers crossed they're all coming in straight because OMG orthodontia is expensive and a hassle!

P is reading constantly and is just gobbling up books non stop.  Our weekly library runs for armloads of books aren't enough for this child, he'll finish the whole pile by that night!  Just the mention of the word library and I swear this kid starts to drool.  He's pretty adamant that his books still need pictures, so he's not into chapter books yet.  Oddly enough a lot of the older books I find at yardsales and such fit him much better, in that the font is a nice larger size, there are random pictures here and there, but the books are long and in chapters.  Hard to find books from the '50's and such at the library though, at least in the children's section.

Ambrose has become fascinated with books himself, and likes to take them to the car with him and sit peacefully looking at pictures and figuring out what's going on.  For the most part.  Sometimes he'll blather on about a picture he found, and sometimes he gets bored in the silence then starts to hit P with a book and loses it, and Oh Lord the crying that follows that one!  Ambrose also LOVES music still.  Apparently he's a fan of One Republic and Bruno Mars.  I mean, he'll take kids music too, but I like to do half and half in the car so I don't go insane and he's very vocal about which song he likes or doesn't like.  Sometimes he dances and sings, sometimes he just sits there in silence letting the music wash over him.  This is particularly enjoyable when I also like the song, there's nothing outright offensive he could learn from it, P is happily reading a book, and we're stuck in traffic.  Nothing but pretty music and happy children.  Seriously, it's heavenly.

We did our yearly trip up to Maine as a roadtrip this year and it was AWESOME!  We're getting this roadtrip thing down!  Really enjoying it, not sure I'll even fly domestic again unless I have to haha!  We had a blast, spending time with family was just as magical and wonderful as we'd hoped, and we made a ton of great memories.  Silly Ambrose didn't remember visiting Funtown last year and honestly thought we were making it up!  He did NOT want to leave after ~6 hours there (closing time) and I can't blame him!  I could only ride a few things, like the children's Ferris Wheel and the slow moving helicopters, and of course the Old Time Cars where Ambrose drove me around again and again.  I sent Nik off with the big kids to watch them and play while I had Ambrose with my sister and her son (18 months).  Hopefully next year we'll get to go on more rides!

My niece is coming down next week for a couple weeks in NC, then my nephew may also come down for a week before school starts.  And the whole family may come down later this year!  I'm really crossing my fingers for that one!  We're also hoping to go to Disney again in about a year and a half and hopefully with so much time to plan this we'll be able to all go together.  That would be so much fun!!!

Before I get to baby, I may as well give other updates:  Nik was just promoted yesterday and got his second raise of the year!  It was a shock (to me anyway) and a very welcome surprise.  Apparently for his job Nik was making on the way lower end of the payscale but had good benefits, close location, and an easy schedule with lots of flexibility, which made up for it (and even the lower end of that scales seems like a lot to me, when I've only ever worked retail and food service!).  Now that he's been promoted they raised his pay up to match.  Since we're looking at buying a minivan (new or used) within the next, uh, month or two... and new carseats as we'll need one for the baby and the carseats in Nik's car are expiring... and a new stroller that's preferably longer lasting and easier to handle... and the fees at the birth center, and the birth classes, and baby sitters, and things that need to be fixed around the house, and then the preschool fees are coming back, and, yeah.  Very welcome surprise :)

As for me, I'm at the "I'm so done with this garden!" part of the Summer where the garden is much more of a hassle than a fun project.  I LOVE setting up the garden, LOVE seeing it grow and thrive, but then the point comes where it's so hot out that I would rather just wish it well from inside and give the birds my blessing as they come and steal the ripe food out of it.  I mean, dude, it's triple digits, bright sun, and humid with random sudden thunder/lightning storms, hale, and strong hurricane-y winds.   I was talking to Nik a couple weeks ago when a huge wind came out of nowhere and behind him a huge branch (like 15-20 feet) was ripped off the tree and went flying.  Doesn't exactly make me want to spend leisurely time outside....

(Also the yard's a mess and it's just too hot to deal with it right now so I'd kinda rather ignore it please...)

I've been trying to get into books that aren't silly romances poorly disguised as murder mysteries, but they're so boring and wordy!  I swear I'll read something that's won some award that means something sometime soon... but now I'm all birth books and baby books and such.  Gotta figure out what on Earth I'm doing, right?  Birth classes start next Wednesday and I'd like to go in being at least a teensy bit prepared.

Okay, baby time:

She's a kicker.  OH, is she a kicker.

The funny part is, she seems to know when her brothers are around.  He favorite times to kick?  Naptime.  Yoga time.  Time out with my husband or a friend.  And every. single. night.  From the time the boys go to sleep to the time they wake up.  Yes, all night sometimes, or maybe I just remember the kicking as it wakes me all through the night. 

This does not bode well...

But she's healthy and strong and growing well.  Everything is always coming back great at the birth center test-wise.  Passed my glucose test, passed my anemia test, measuring right on target still and her heartbeat is loud and fast and strong.  She'll even wiggle a bit for the midwives, if the boys aren't there :)

We have a name for her, full name though I may tweak her second middle name, Valentine.  We both love this name for both a boy and girl, and since I felt her implant on Valentine's Day it felt right to shove it in there.  I'm still not sure if we'll have it be Valentine or Valentina, and if the first spelling if we'll pronounce it vall-en-tine or vall-en-teen.

Her first middle name (the one people will actually care about) is a name I adore, absolutely love, but it's so incredibly common that I simply could not bring myself to use it as her first name.  Sophie.  Not Sophia, just Sophie.  I LOVE this name, and I know so many wonderful Sophie's.  One of my favorite literary characters is Sophie Hatter of Howl's Moving Castle.  I have loved this name for years and years, and finally naming a girl for real... I cannot tell you how tempted I was to just give in and make this her first name, but I couldn't.  I just know too many others with the same name, and having had such a common name myself (and hating the fact that it never felt like my own name), I really just couldn't do it.  So it will sit as her middle name, one she can choose to go by when she's older if she prefers a more common and traditional name.  Also, having it in there now makes it a "family name," so I may have a granddaughter Sophie in 30 years time :)

As for her first name... we went through several options.  For awhile Cora felt like her name, then Sarena, but Nik actually didn't like either of those which I finally got out of him after a long lecture on "seriously, just tell me what you think, it won't break my heart I swear!"  So we began a name search.  We each grabbed a name book, I researched names on name sites, looked up the histories of several names we liked, etc.

We had one name that kept coming up, a name that isn't in the top 1000 in the US and has probably never even been heard of here.  It's up and coming in European countries and the more aristocratic societies, but not so much middle class South Eastern USA.  Spelling and pronunciation might be tricky at first, but we love it.

We did a lot of looking, though.  Finally one day I took a notebook and went through my favorite baby names website and wrote down every. single. name. that I could possibly see using for our daughter.  That doesn't mean I liked all of them, but they weren't awful, generally went with our varied styles, and had a meaning that I could get behind.  I don't like names with negative meanings or connotations, nor do I want to give my child a name they'll share with a tragic heroine.  Oh, there are lots and lots of names I love that are shared with tragic heroines.

After my notebook was full and the kids were asleep, I sat Nik down and went through it, name by name, twice.  I crossed out every name he said "no" to.  Made it easier on him, I think, since apparently he hated the majority of the names I had been saying I liked but he didn't want to tell me!  After we went through this list twice, I made a new list of the remaining names (like 20) and then said them aloud with our last name, and then with the boy's names, "Paxton, Ambrose and ___".  I also pointed out that if we had a fourth child it would then be, "Paxton, Ambrose, ___ and ___" so we might want to do away with Z names unless we were totally sold on one.  Arbitrary rules make decisions easier :)

So the result of this evening of name elimination?

That same name we had both started to fall for about a month earlier.  The one unheard of in the US for the most part.  One where we'll probably be teaching people a new name, spelling, and pronunciation.


Cosima Sophie Valentine.

Cosima is the Italian female variation on the Greek word Cosmos, which alludes to, well, the Cosmos/Universe but has the meaning of "Order and Beauty."  We're pronouncing it CO-see-ma (or CO-sih-ma, kinda between those two :) ).  And seriously, if you could hear Ambrose say Cosima you would fall in love with the name too.  Do you have any idea how many names I made the children repeat to me just to hear the way it sounded coming from them?  Oh, oooooh, Cosima just sounded so beautiful on their lips, and even as we dabbled in other names that one just kept jumping back into my head.  Despite other names I adored, and have loved for years, I couldn't see this child inside me as a Gwendolyn or a Mirabelle or a Cordelia.  Nothing "normal" sounded right.  Beatrix was the only other name Nik and I could possibly see, but even then it just didn't feel quite like THIS child's name.

And so now we know who we're expecting in three months.  Little Cosima.

Oh, and for fun I googled "Cosima Sophie".  There's a really cute dog by this name, from a breeder who goes by Cosima :)  I'm thinking I'll print off a screen shot to add to the baby book, because I'm weird like that.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Not my best day


So I totally had a mommy meltdown today.

Crying, ranting, sitting on the floor sobbing over a poopy diaper presented by a smarmy, non-napping toddler who held it in just to avoid his nap.

So exhausted I couldn't even walk without feeling dizzy, and just a mind full of junk.

Did I eat too much at lunch?  The food was good, but the midwife told me to watch my intake since I'd gained 4.4 lbs in 4 weeks and that sort of increase at this point isn't needed (I was told anyway).  I haven't started to plan/pack for our Maine trip and we leave Friday.  We'll be driving 15 hours up, then 15 back.  I should get an oil change, air in tires, and rotation first, but when?  I need to drop off checks at the bank, but when?  I have so much produce and dairy to use up before I go.  It's not raining though that's been promised for days and the humidity is killing me, and my yard an garden are pretty much toast despite standing out in the humid heat a couple times a day to squirt water into them until they're dripping and puddled.  The chickens need more food, and cleaning, and I probably shouldn't be doing it but who else will?  We were supposed to go out tonight but I just can't get my head around spending more $$ to go out when we'll be eating out so much during vacation, but then again why would I pass up a date?  P is being such a good boy but I keep losing my temper with him, and A is a screaming banshee lately.  Wiggles keeps kicking my crotch and colon and as cute as that is, OMG not comfy!  I already have to pee every 30 minutes and as everyone gleefully tells me, full smirk, "It's only going to get worse, haha!"  I'm just tired and feeling useless and lazy and like a crap mom who just wants her kids to be freakin' quiet, like, all the time because I'm so. dang. tired. and the list of my chores is endless and there's only so much refereeing and coaching and mending and cuddling and reading and explaining and changing and dressing and etc and etc I can do all day. 

And now P came downstairs and is petting me.  Guess I should go... :-P

Friday, June 29, 2012

So now I'm thirty.

And I still refuse to grow up :-P  Can't make me!!! 

Last night I got to go out with my BFF Renata.  We met Freshman year of High School in the lunch room, friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing.  Didn't like her then, she was all mousy and quiet and shy and I was so ready to be all grown up and embrace the teenage experience and go wild and crap.  Got old fast, didn't like it, and she and I were much more compatible as friends than anyone else.  We made it through a long obsession with the Backstreet Boys (we were to have a joint marriage with Kevin and Howie), we were hooked on the same comic books, had our hobby comic books that we worked on together for years without even putting together one full page (and yet we had like 3 different series all mapped out from start to finish), we became obsessed with anime and manga together and borrowed each others stuff all the time, have spent waaaay too much time at coffee shops talking about the dumbest stuff, and have been each other's "sister by choice" for, um, a long time now.  Like 15 years this Fall.

So anywho, it was only fitting that I leave my twenties the same way I entered it: wasting time with the BFF :)  And it also happened to be our standard dinner night anyway, so that helped.

As I told Nik when I came home (he loves to hear all about our adventures) it was a total Renata/Megan night.  Seriously.

We met up and spent like half an hour whining about how hungry we were and trying to decide where we wanted to eat, with a lot of "I don't know, what do *you* feel like?" thrown in.

We finally headed toward a shopping center as I read all the menus from all the dining establishments off my iPhone and she told me how it all made her hungry, and I agreed.

We parked and then walked around to all these dining establishments and read their menus again, because that makes it more official or something.

We ate crepes.  They were delicious.  Oh, and she paid as a birthday treat.  *sniff*

We then walked around and looked at all the possible deserts before agreeing that we were both full and getting in the car to go to a RedBox since they have The Artist now, and while The Artist is in fact at a local $2 movie theater, I don't want to hear popcorn the whole time while we're watching it.  Again.

So we drove to the RedBox, then sat there on our iPhones for 20 minutes trying to see if it was on NetFlix streaming since then it would be free and we wouldn't have to remember to return it. 

We couldn't figure it out, so instead we went to a coffee shop and got coffees and treats to take back to her house.

We then pulled up Netflix and after seeing it wasn't there, we looked at other things.  Decided not to watch the movie we had half watched last time since we were actually interested in it and we felt like talking the whole time.  So we chose Thor, because it's not that great a movie and it was Thursday (Thor's Day).  We then looked up the history of the god Thor and laughed about the discrepencies. 

Then there was a guy who reminded Renata of Westley in The Princess Bride, so we stopped Thor and looked up TPB and then both whined when it wasn't there, which it totally should be! 

So then she started North and South, which made us far too quiet. 

So we stopped it and she pulled out a toy horse she'd has since she was a child, the subject of this overarching conversation we'd had all night that also included kids TV shows (new and old) and how I can't watch Bob the Builder anymore since the Bob/Wendy dynamic frustrates me too much and it being a kids show I know they'll probably never hook up.

Anyway, Renata wanted to see if she should find what the toy line was called to see if she could replace her set of toy horses, as her nieces and nephews had broken all her others.  She couldn't find any info though.  Took us half an hour, a laptop and an iPhone, and the fact that I found a distinguishing characteristic immediately, and we were able to find that we had Darci of the Fashionstar Fillies line from 1987.  She's a collectible, thought probably not much of one in the state she's in.  So we finished our night checking out collector's pages, her looking at horses, me looking at Polly Pockets because they're awesome, and then I was yawning and decided to drive home before I was too tired.

I got home, told Nik about the whole evening, and he just laughed and shook his head as always.  I think he somehow enjoys having a crazy wife.


As for my birthday today, I've so far spent it hanging out with the kids, trying to keep the chickies from heating to death, and spending the morning with my friend/doula and her kids.  Wiggles is a-kickin' away and A wants to sing happy birthday but the timing isn't quite right I guess :-P  Tonight we dine on Teppanyaki! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Twenties...

Long long ago (like, almost a full decade), in a land far away (Chapel Hill), on a blog long forgotten (my old Livejournal) I posted this gem:

Wow, I'm twenty. 20. Wow. Freaky. 

Yes, much younger me.  Twenty WAS freaky, wasn't it?  New decades are always freaky.  Sometime between 11:59pm June 28th and 12 midnight June 29th in 2002 I entered my 20's and became a twenty something.  Freaky.

The twenties covers a pretty wide array of potential experiences.  For some, it's getting a job, working your way up the corporate ladder, traveling the world, non stop parties, finding yourself, shopping too much, drinking too much, trying on different possible futures, dating, separating from friends, separating from family, growing closer to friends and family, moving a lot, growing and learning and discovering and finally having your life as your own, finally having control over who you are and where you want to be.

So what did I do during my 20's?

Well, honestly, not that much.

Oh, sure, I finished college and worked a bit, but neither of those really held my interest.  I don't really have lofty goals, I'm more of an "enjoy every day" kind of person.  I only got drunk like 3 times and didn't enjoy it, don't like clubs or parties or entertaining really, and I've never been all that into fashion or trying on new hats.  Sure I dated, but just the one guy and I kinda married him.  Moved for sensible reasons only, started our family young, and have been happily living the SAHM life ever since.

Some days, when thinking about that huge birthday I have coming up, like, tomorrow, I've wondered if I wasted my 20's.

Should I have backpacked across New Zealand?  Should I have helped run an orphanage in Haiti for a year or two?  Should I have studied abroad, spent time in New York City, colored my hair, dated around? 

The twenties are, in our society, your "selfish" time before settling down.  I know that.  I knew it then.  But I didn't want that.

I could tell before our first date (before I turned 20) that if Nik and I got together, we'd likely just stay together.  We're too lazy for lots of drama :)  And I knew I wanted children, and that I wasn't really ambitious about any career path.  Sure, I could commit myself to something and stick with it if I had to but really I just wanted to have kids and be with them, and figure out any future careers later with more life experience and exposure.

It's not like my twenties went exactly how I'd planned, nor would I want it too.  Had it gone how I'd planned it, we would have two children through birth and be living in our little town home saving money planning to adopt in a few years once those kids grew up a bit more.  We would travel more, which sounds nice, but really can be a pain in the bum with small kids.  Oh, and I'd homeschool.  Not that there's anything wrong with that dream, but I'm very happy with where life is and where it's going and really, I can't imagine it any other way.  I can't imagine other kids, I can't imagine living in that little town house, I can't imagine traveling so much, I can't imagine homeschooling even if only because P and I really enjoy his school and the people we've met through it.

Likewise, I can't imagine having spent my 20's any other way than how I have.  Sure, I have little regrets here and there.  Wish we'd joined a gym sooner, wish I had learned to garden earlier, wish we'd repaired this thing first instead of that, but nothing major.  And for that, I am extremely, extremely blessed.

Several months ago, after my 29th birthday, I began stressing.  It felt like SOMETHING was missing, something wasn't right, and it had to be right by my 30th birthday.  Something had to happen by then.  When I finally put my finger on it, it stunned me.

I wanted to have experienced pregnancy by my 30th birthday.

Silly, right?

But when it came to our infertility, I was never all that bothered because I was so young, in my twenties, and we had time to choose and try procedures if we wanted to.  We wouldn't really worry about IUI or IVF or anything until after I entered my 30's.  And suddenly, that end date, which had seemed oh so far away when I was 23 and first saying this, was nearing fast.

It was hard to swallow.  Hard to admit that, while I was (and am) extremely happy with our life and with my two incredible sons who would not be ours if it weren't for our infertility, I still wished to become pregnant someday.  And the closer I became to 30, the more I realized that it wouldn't be a "wait and see what happens" but we'd have to make a definitive choice at some point to actively pursue pregnancy if that was really ever going to be in the cards.

And then it happened.  Like magic.  Seriously.

I had actually spent many nights awake trying to psychoanalyze myself and get over this end date on fertility, just get over the time limit I'd set for myself, and instead of putting it behind me I, well, I actually got my wish.  As frightening and bewildering as it was at the time, I actually became pregnant naturally while in my twenties. 

And here I am now.  A young (for more than just today) mother and wife, with a great husband who took us to lunch and two wonderful sons asleep in their beds like they should be, and a baby in my belly due exactly 4 months from today, who twists and kicks and reminds me of her presence constantly.  Did you know that if a baby is delivered early at 23 weeks then they have a 50% chance of survival?  That's Sunday.  Sunday marks the first point of viability for this child.  And for some reason, despite the birthday I have tomorrow that will bring me into another decade, that will make me a thirty something, all I can think about is her, is how this little baby is almost to the point where, should something horrible happen, she actually has a chance, and truly that makes me happier than anything else at the moment. 

In those moments when I'm not thinking about her and not, finally, getting really excited about this, P pops in with plans for my birthday and so much excitement, proudly telling anyone who'll listen that his mom is almost 30 and she has his baby sister in her belly.  And A just loves to sing Happy Birthday to me, or whoever, in the car.  And my husband already bought me a ton of gifts, historical romance novels and an awesome U shaped body pillow.  It's like, this whole happy existence thing.

So today, for the last day of my 20's, I'm not really doing anything.  Just... hanging about.

Tomorrow will be more of the same, perhaps with a nicer dinner and a decaf latte.

Saturday will be a trip to the zoo where we'll all sweat buckets, then an overnight at a goat farm's Inn, because we're totally cool like that.  Who needs NYC when you can stay at a goat farm in rural NC?  I hear they make an awesome breakfast! 

And then the celebration will be done and I'll be just another thirty something.  But a young thirty something, who is totally cool and all that jazz.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Oh man, when was the last time I posted?  Can't even remember!

Sooo... here's a quickish wrap up of the past several weeks.

P:  His last day of Kindergarten was a week ago.  We had a sweet little kindy picnic on Monday followed by a slideshow and a little 'graduation' ceremony in his class, just small and intimate.  P now knows that he'll have his same teacher and classmates this fall, and we've already seen a few of his classmates for playdates in the past week.  He's not stressed about it, something I was truly worried about, but instead calm and happy and relaxed.  He's enjoying his time off, willingly taking his naps, and is just being a great, easy going child for the most part. 

We took him to the 20 week ultrasound a few days ago and he was a little riled up there, but he ended up enjoying himself.  We still need to figure out how to meet everyone's needs this summer, and so far he's been left out a lot.  I feel bad, but he can amuse himself with a video game or book from the library, things he's been missing with school in session.  So far so good, we'll just need to get into a routine.

A:  He finished preschool two weeks ago, which was bittersweet, oddly moreso than P leaving kindy though I think it's because we're pretty closeknit at the preschool.  Also A doesn't understand that he'll be seeing these friends again this Fall.  For P, that's a blip on his radar, just look at a calendar and know when you'll see them again.  For A, that's like forever.  He's not having an easy adjustment to our summer schedule and he's been a much bigger challenge this past week than he had been beforehand.  Hopefully we'll get that under control too.  Also he's potty training and while I'm falling into the trap of frustration with him, he's doing a stellar job.  My hope was to get him mostly there by the end of the summer, but he took to peeing on the potty immediately.  #2 is a work in progress, so that looks like our main challenge.  That, and the fact that he's been mostly dry through the nights meaning he's up at like 4:45 with a hurting belly needing us to put him on the potty and then he has trouble falling back to sleep, if at all.  *Groan*

Baby:  She's a she, she's doing great, and she's a kicker.  A mover and a shaker really :)  Everything is going great in there.  I'm a real slacker at, well, everything so I really need to work on getting the birthing class in order and getting up with our doula and setting up a birth plan other than "have baby" and all that.  But she's doing her job of sticking around and growing just fine. 

N:  Working a lot, but still having fun with the kids.  He's up with A a lot at night and early mornings so I can actually sleep.  We're both reading books right now (like, multiple books for each of us, it's a phase we're trying to replace with watching Murder She Wrote on Netflix), and so a lot of our time together has been spent reading beside each other.  Like old people.  Old people in their late 20's. 

Me:  I'm in my late 20's!  yaaaay!  For like, 15 more days!  Woohoo!  Still not sure if/how to celebrate.  No one throws me parties so it's up to me if I want to plan anything, and really I just don't have it in me.  We *might* go to the beach for the day, but it's looking unlikely, especially with our yearly Maine trip right around the corner in a few weeks (yeah, need to plan that one too). 

My PTA stuff is over now, officially done the end of this month.  I did really enjoy Teacher's Appreciation Week but I won't be a chair next year.  How could I promise that with a new baby coming?  I'll be on the preschool board though, smaller group, know what I'm doing and much more fun :) 

I'm still doing yoga a bit and trying to get into swimming.  I'm cooking from home more, though I'm not feeling so great today and I'm tempted to just eat out.  Tummy acting up, not enough sleep, bleck.  I'm sure it'll only get worse as the summer goes on and I get bigger so I'd better get used to it!  I am enjoying all the fresh, local produce and locally produced foods.  NC is great for that. 

Okay, toddler on my lap, big kid wanting attention, need to cook dinner.  Um, yeah, this is why I never write anything :-P

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What sounds longer?

18 weeks? 

Or 4 months?

When I was thinking "wow, I'm 18 weeks along!" this past Sunday I was really feeling like I was getting somewhere.  I mean, yeesh, that's almost halfway there!

But then on Monday, the 28th, I realized that Wiggles is due in 5 months, making me consider myself to be 4 months along.  And 4 months... just doesn't sound so impressive.

I mean, 18 weeks?  I've been counting since week 5!  I'm not only in the double digits, I'm about to move up into the 20's in a couple weeks!

But 4 months?  That's, like, barely second trimester.  Barely pregnant.  Just barely moving along.  Right at the beginning.  That's when people in tv shows and movies and stuff announce it and *then* you get to the actually pregnancy stuff.

So I'm going with weeks.  Makes it feel like I'm actually moving along. 


I'm starting to get a belly.  It's not a cute belly.  Instead I have a puffy muffin top that cannot be hidden without pulling my pants up almost to bra level, which is actually quite comfy right now.  I can feel hardness under all the extra pudge, but it's not like your average person on the street can look at me and think I'm pregnant.  So I'm just rubbing my lower belly a lot.  Gotta send out my clues that I'm a pregnant lady, not just a pudgy chick eating her third breakfast of the morning at 10am  (I am voracious until lunch time). 

Funny thing is, I haven't gained any weight.  At first I was all like, "yay!  I'm just changing proportions!"  And then I realized that this probably just means that I've lost all the muscle mass I spent so long building up in my yoga and pilates sessions (that I'm not very good at, but at least I was trying!). 


I'm back into full on locavore mode.  I totally lost that over the late Fall-early Spring period when there was almost nothing growing in NC except sweet potatoes.  I am so sick of sweet potatoes. 

But now my CSA box comes stocked with goodies every week, and I've just signed up with another CSA thingie that isn't just produce but also has pastas, breads, juices, jams, cereals, grains, soy products, dairy, etc all made in NC (and beer and wine, but we don't drink anyway :) ).  I'll get my first delivery next Friday.  And my favorite (expensive) garden store has a local farm stand by the cash register with cantaloupes that are actually ripe, and tomatoes and strawberries and cauliflower and squash and peaches and... yeah, I'm in heaven.  I went to the Farmer's Market this past Saturday and I easily dropped $40 and ate most of that right off.  Fresh bread!  Fresh fruit and veggies!  My Cinnamon and White Chocolate Chip Scone from La Farm! 

Have I mentioned my own garden?

Oooooh, I am loving our garden this year! 

My peach tree has peaches!  My strawberries spread all over and now I have a ton of strawberry plants, all moved to the sides.  I'll need to take a picture and post it because it just looks so nice right now, my little cinder block raised bed with strawberries, herbs and carrots growing in the small holes, and tomatoes, marigolds, basil and squash in the middle.  Then there's my 3 sisters garden.  P had a tiny 3 sisters that he kinda fell on, but it's doing okay (not sure any of the corn will make it), and around that I planted cantaloupe and green beans.  I also have our patio planters moved out to the patio finally, with flowers and peppers and a patio pumpkin and a tomato plant that was supposed to go in an upside down planter until it fell over too much and I gave up. 

Outside is so pretty and green with this permeating smell of happy tomatoes.  I'm finally getting the basics of soil down and my raised bed is growing fast, MUCH faster than last year with my 3 "good" plants haha!  I already have oodles of green tomatoes and many more flowers on the plants. 

I've had some trouble with my chickens scratching up the marigolds in the raised bed, and an adorable brown baby bunny in my back yard who ate my first wave of cantaloupes (there's a fence up now).  My garden still has a lot of tending needed, and a lot of growing to do.  We'll see how well I keep up with that :)

In the meantime, we're working to decide on patio furniture and figuring out how to finally attach our hammock chairs.  And looking at buying a minivan (sigh).  And planning a trip up North.  And trying to get through the last couple weeks of P's school.  And adjusting to the pregnancy thing.  And, well, lots of plans and things are being made and a schedule is building up and life is full and I'm excited, because it is full in a happy way! 

Now I just need to remember to take pics of my garden to share...