Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School!!

Ok, so it's not really "school"-- it's Mother's Day Out, but it's the first time I've ever left Liam with strangers & the first time he's been around a group of kids his age. My parents watch him on Tues & Thurs while I work, and his babysitters have all been family members. So, needless to say, I was very nervous about leaving him this morning.

He did great!! 

He couldn't have cared less when I left, his teacher said that the only time he cried was when another baby got really upset and he had a HUGE smile on his face when he saw me at the door to pick him up! His teacher seemed very capable and personable, and raved about how cute/sweet/easy he was today. His "report card" looked great.

How did I spend my time? I went grocery shopping, leisurely strolling the aisles and sipping some coffee. I came home and put everything away without a baby crawling under my feet. I took a shower. I caught up on some emails. I did a bit of cleaning, and before I knew it, it was time to go pick him up!

This time is such a blessing for me-- some peace before Jack arrives. Not only does it give me extra time to get things done around the house, but it also gives me time to not do anything. This pregnancy has been a bit tougher than it was with Liam-- I'm not eating often enough or well enough, I'm not getting enough rest, I'm in a lot of pain because of the pressure on my sciatic nerve and I'm running around chasing an 11 month old while 7 months pregnant. I'm really tired...

As indulgent as it feels to be a SAHM and have someone else caring for Liam for 4 hours two days a week, I look at the other moms picking up their babies (glistening with sweat from the gym, with freshly manicured nails) and know that they don't feel any guilt, so why should I? There will be very little free time to be had once November rolls around. These few months will, hopefully, help me recharge my batteries so that I'm rested & ready to face our new challenges.

This school has a special place in my heart-- my late grandmother taught here for many years and I have so many memories of going to work with her in the summer to "help" with the babies. I loved it. One of the ladies who taught with her is still there and when I saw her today she gave Liam a hug "from his grandma Phyllis." Two of my aunts have worked at the school and several of my cousins have attended. Currently, my cousin Memo is teaching there and her daughter Millie is in the classroom next to Liam's!

Right before we went in:


New Friends:

A bribe gift I made for his teachers:

What a great day & big milestone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Head Over Heels

Every day...

I fall more in love with this little guy!
(He's having an amazing time at the beach!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm still alive! I promise!

Ugh. It's been forever since my last post and even longer since I've had a post with any real thought behind it...and for that, I'm sorry. The truth is, I'm busy and tired and have had quite a few projects going on that have taken up my free time (Liam's naptime). 

Between now and the end of Oct, I have three baby showers to plan, decorate and execute, Liam's first birthday party to finish up, and a baby's arrival to prepare for. Needless to say, I'm a little overwhelmed. Not in a bad way... just in a "don't have time to blog, still reading everyone's posts but am horrible at commenting on them" kind of way. I'm happy, making things for people and stretching my creative muscles which always makes me feel good, but I don't want to get out of the habit of posting on a regular basis, as I enjoy that too!

Some recaps-- Liam turned 11 months on Sunday. Did you have a chance to read his very late 10 month post? Oh, wait.... No, you didn't because I still haven't posted it. Sigh. It's coming and his 11 month post will be later this month. Can I just say that while I enjoy writing his letters and documenting what he's done, I hate doing the monthly pics and I'm glad that we'll be done next month. They were so easy at first-- now he won't sit still, won't stay posed, eats the monkey, his monthly sticker, etc. They're frustrating for both of us at this point! From the first birthday on, there will still be plenty of pics, but they will be candid shots. Thank God.

Monday, I entered the 3rd Trimester at 27 weeks. I'm pretty much in denial that there's a baby coming in 13ish weeks until after Liam's first birthday party... and even then, October is full of other parties to be planned (2 baby showers and a Halloween party) and projects to be done. I keep reminding myself that we have almost everything we need, but there are plenty of newborn essentials that we need to stock up on (ummm, diapers?) and clothes that must be washed. Yeah, I'll get to it...

I'm feeling good overall, but I've felt pretty worn down over the past week or so. I'm trying to get a little more rest and take it easy when I'm not chasing Liam around. My sciatic nerve pain has been really bad this pregnancy and when it hits, I can barely walk. The doctor said that it's because a 2nd baby sits much lower than the first and recommended that I try a pregnancy support belt to take some of the pressure off of the nerve. If that doesn't work, I'll be heading to physical therapy. These are small (but painful!) complaints and I'm happy to say that everything is progressing normally. I had my glucose test last week & I'll assume that no news is good news until my next appointment in three weeks.

For now, I'm pushing all of these things aside, because we're on vacation. We're down at the gulf in a fantastic beach house with my family. I am loving this time away, watching Liam exploring the beach for the first time, taking him into the ocean and swimming in the pool. We'll be here all week & I can't wait for my brother and his fiancee to join us tomorrow-- we're having a great time.

I'm sure there will be a post full of pictures from our trip (Wordless Wed is all I've managed to do on a regular basis lately!) but here are a few from our first two days here.

Ok, friends. I promise I'll try to be better... just not this week. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend Update

First, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post!! Each comment offered me some much needed support, and more importantly, perspective. I know in my heart that everything is going to work out and that we will become a very happy family of four-- it's just tough facing the unexpected unknown. I can't wait until November when I'll probably look back at these feelings with disbelief because Jack makes our family so complete. Until then, I am so thankful to have such a wonderful support system.

Posts like the one I posted on Friday have really left me wanting a better way to reply to people's comments. I hate that I write a post, someone leaves some words of support or contributes to a discussion, and I don't have a good way to respond to them directly.  It's one of the few things about Blogger that drives me crazy (other than it's frequent crashes lately!). I started looking into it and I found a widget I could install which adds this feature to Blogger! I installed it this morning, so starting with this post, I should be able to directly reply to a comment once it's posted. Can't wait to try it out!

We had a great weekend and I wanted to share some pics! 

Friday was a big day for our family-- my big brother proposed to his girlfriend!! My mom and I were heavily involved in the ring part (he sent us a pic of what we wanted and we went to diamond broker to pick a loose diamond and have the setting made) but the proposal was all his own. He decided to take her to Rock City in Chattanooga (they live in Nashville).

The happy couple:

 Where he popped the question:

The ring!

I couldn't be happier for them and truly believe that my brother has met his perfect match. The wedding will be next May and we're so excited!

Back in Bama, our weekend wasn't quite so monumental, but we had a good time. Saturday morning, we got up and headed down to the Peanut Depot-- this great little place on a cobblestone street downtown that has been using antique roasters to roast peanuts for over 100 years. Usually, if we head down around 10am, we can catch them fresh and hot, coming out of the roaster! We grab a Coke, sit on the curb and throw shells into the street as we eat hot peanuts. It's kind of a tradition in my family-- my granddad and dad used to bring me here when I was little and my dad can't wait to take Liam when he's old enough. Liam, obviously, could not have any, but we snapped some pics anyway before we headed down to the Farmer's Market.


Today, Liam and I spent the afternoon at the pool-- one of our favorite places. He's such a water baby! (Apparently I was, too. My mom tells me that I was jumping off the edge into the 6ft. deep pool at 18 months old.)

My parents came over and my mom and Liam swam together while my dad took pics:

My cousin Memo and her husband Craig brought baby Millie (now 11 weeks old!) to swim for the first time:

And this picture just kills me...When did he grow up?!

Hope your weekend was great, too!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Life Waiting for Us

I was working in Photoshop late last night, making this little quote for a dear friend of mine (one whose path to creating a family hasn't gone quite as she expected) because I want to print it, put it in a frame and mail it to her to let her know that I am thinking about her.

A train whistle blew loudly and I looked at the video monitor to see if Liam might stir. He usually sleeps through the train that passes behind our house once or twice a night and the train in the distance that blows its whistle a handful of times each day. But this time, he bolted awake and screamed at the top of his lungs. I rushed into his room, picked him up and rocked him gently as I shhh'd him. He snuggled against me (something he hasn't done in a long time), burying his face in my neck. He was calm and comforted and usually I would put him back down and leave the room, but last night I just held him. I inhaled the scent of his hair, watched his eyelids flutter, and kissed his fingers.

And then I cried.

It wasn't long before I was holding him, swaying, and sobbing. He had fallen asleep in my arms but I couldn't put him down. He usually doesn't want to be held for long periods of time (he wants to go! do! move!) and we've always put him down awake so that he can soothe himself to sleep. In that moment of holding him, realizing that the times that he would let me do this were becoming fewer & farther between, and realizing that come November, I'll have even fewer moments like this, my heart felt like it was breaking.

Friends, I've been struggling a bit, but not sharing.

Partially because I know that some members of our community may just not want to hear it and partially because I haven't been able to give words to my feelings. But, last night was like a flood and today, I'm going to hold my breath, write this post, and hope that people understand and have some empathy.

I'm a planner. Always have been.

You've seen Liam's birthday party plans, his room, and my to-do lists before he even arrived. While infertility challenged the way that I thought would start my family, I eagerly charted my temps, made my doctor's appointments, did the research, etc and every one of those things made me feel like I was one step closer to the baby I so desperately wanted to have. 

When I got pregnant with Liam, I was ready. It was like a huge reward for all of the stress of our journey TTC. For a year we had been waiting for the day it might finally happen and it felt so satisfying once it did.

I always wanted to have (at least) two children, and after our struggles conceiving Liam, it was my idea to forgo birth control to "just see what happens." I was confident that there were no surprise babies in our future, but welcomed the idea. After IF, getting pregnant easily is like winning the fertility lottery, right? And if that were to happen, I’d be overjoyed, right?

As it turns out…no.

I never expected to feel this way, but I'm almost 25 weeks into this pregnancy and I still feel completely unprepared and shocked by this child's existence...and not really in a good way. I'm not sure how much of what I'm feeling has to do with this pregnancy being unexpected vs. how much of it is the typical feelings of a woman carrying her second child.

To be clear, I want this baby. I understand what an unbelievable blessing it is to have a second child, and that we didn't struggle to get here. I fully expect to love him every bit as much as I love Liam--but right now, I just don't feel the same connection that I feel with Liam.

The best way I can describe it is that it feels like a stranger is coming to take me away from my son. I feel horribly guilty saying that, but that's what it feels like.

People have multiple children all of the time-- twins, triplets, quads! People have Irish twins and 2u2, and they're great parents! So, what gives?

I think it has to do with the planner and the worrier in me. I did not plan this. In my plan, my kids would be 2 years apart, not barely a year. In my plan, I had more time to devote to just Liam so that I wouldn’t miss anything. In my plan, Liam would be more independent so I didn’t miss anything in the life of my 2nd child. In my plan, I would feel ready to welcome another baby.

Life gave my plan the middle finger.

I worry that I will feel like I'm not able to give enough attention to Liam and that he'll feel abandoned by me. I worry that I won't be able to focus on his miraculous milestones, because I'll be tending to his brother. I worry that I'll miss out on nights like last night (*cue the tears again*) because of the new baby. I'm sending him to Mother's Day Out (Wed & Fri, 10am-2pm) before I feel like he's ready (ok, before  I feel ready) because I don't feel confident that I can handle the two of them all day every day. I feel like shit that I have to send him away to have someone else take care of him, even for a few hours a few times a week.

Less often, I think about what Jack might miss out on. (Add another heaping spoonful of guilt to my plate for that.) How unfair is it that he will likely not be breastfed as long as Liam? (I'm feeling like I really need to get back on my anxiety medicine-- if this entire post is not proof, I don't know what is-- and I'm unable to take it while pregnant or BFing. My goal is to make it to 6 weeks this time. At that point, I will weigh my emotional health and make a decision whether or not to continue. This is a far cry from the year goal I had with Liam, and the 6 months we actually made it. More guilt.) I think about his baby book that will likely stay largely empty. His milestones met with far less excitement than his brother's. His hand-me-downs when everything his brother has is new. And I think about all of the things we've shared with Liam that we will not share with Jack in the same way...simply because it's not the first time.

I've perfected my response to strangers' acknowledgement of my pregnancy. I beam and say, "We're so excited!" and "They'll be so close!" And when people look at my precious son and my growing belly and say, "Wow. You're going to have your hands full,” I'm quick to smile and say, "I'd rather they were full than empty." Now if I could just actually feel that way. And logically, I do feel that way--emotionally, it's a bit more complicated.

I’m the second child in my family and I’ve never felt less loved than my brother. My mom (and everyone else I know who has more than one child) has assured me that the second I see this baby, I will immediately fall in love with him the exact same way I did with Liam. I believe them. I really do— my mom said that she had all of the same fears that I have now while she was pregnant with me. I just worry— What if I’m the one woman that doesn’t happen to… simply because I can’t get past the way it was “supposed” to be?

I'm not feeling like this every day. I have my good days and I have my bad days. The bad ones are largely fueled by the hormones of pregnancy, I'm certain. I'm just struggling with how to cope with this new life, this new child, this new plan.

I've stared at that quote all day today & I've realized that maybe I need to hear it just as much as my friend does.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Whatever I Want Wednesday

It's not Wordless Wednesday, it's not So What Wednesday... It's Whatever I Want Wednesday!

I'm working on a few "real" posts, but I had some random updates that I wanted to post until then...and since I'm feeling a little guilty that that 75% of my posts for the last month have been Wordless Wednesdays, I decided to just throw some random tidbits out there.


First, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post regarding circumcision. I was so pleased that there was a respectful discussion and that people who are on both sides of the debate felt free to express their thoughts and opinions. I've seen some posts on the same subject turn quite nasty and while I didn't expect any of my readers to respond that way, I knew that it could happen. So thank you for participating and as Trinity said, "If you educate yourself and follow your parenting intuition, you can't go wrong." Hear, hear!


In other news, Liam is awesome. (Hehe!) We had kind of a rough day today which is really out of character for him-- he woke up very early, only napped for 30 minutes this morning, was incredibly cranky throughout the day, took less than an hour nap and by the time Rob got home from work, we were both kind of a wreck. Rob and I popped him in the stroller (We are totally crazy about our Baby Jogger City Mini Double), took off for a walk and all was right with the world again...for a little while. Check out that smile:

He looks so grown up! When did that happen?!


 This morning, I pulled out a loaf of Banana Nut Sour Cream Coffee Cake from out freezer for breakfast:

This is a loaf that I baked around this time Aug/Sept of last year as I prepared for Liam's arrival-- and it was still delicious! It got me thinking about the need to build a freezer stash of meals before Jack arrives. Before Liam was born, I had 6 casseroles, 2 containers of fresh green beans, 10 containers of soup/chili and 3 loaves of banana bread in the freezer-- I feel like I should have more this time. (I'll definitely make these again, but if anyone has any great freezer recipes to share, please do!)

Liam starts Mother's Day Out on August 30th (Wed & Fri from 10am-2pm), so I'm hoping that this will free up some time to start my cooking/freezing, among other things. And honestly, I'm looking forward to some extra down time as I enter the final months of this pregnancy. Chasing after a 10 month old while 6 months pregnant has been tough and I can only imagine it will get tougher as I near the end of Oct/beginning of Nov.  


The former dining room, now playroom is coming together! The 4 sets of foam pads we ordered will be here tomorrow, creating a completely covered floor. Also, I mentioned to my parents that we needed some toy storage for that room and they bought this for the boys for Christmas! It will be perfect for storing all of those random toys that are all over the floor right now & I love that there is no lid to pinch little fingers.
By the way, these are Badger Basket storage bins that were featured on Zulily this week. I found out the hard way that you should always do a little internet searching before ordering a product from Zulily. They had these at 50% off the price that the company's website had them listed for, so even with the shipping (and a surcharge) I thought we were getting a good deal. Then, I googled them this morning and found out that Walmart actually carries them (exact same brand, exact same product) and will ship them (Site to Store) for free! I canceled the Zulily order and saved $30 by ordering them from Walmart.


And finally, I'm 6 months pregnant. (24w2d today) We've passed the viability milestone and are so thankful that everything continues to go smoothly. I had a doctor's appointment last Friday and baby measured right on track-- Although, I'm starting to wonder how big this baby is going to be, considering how big I already am at 24 weeks. See for yourself:

Here is a link to my 24 week pic with Liam-- definitely smaller. Although, looking back through the pics, I really made the largest jump in size between weeks 20-25. I got gradually bigger every week after that, but still had people comment that I never got REALLY big. It really doesn't matter as long as he's healthy. Blood pressure was a bit high (not high enough to treat) and weight was only up 1 pound from pre-pregnancy and that may have just been b/c I stuffed my face at a local bagel shop right before the appointment! Glucose test is scheduled for the 19th.

Ok, that's all I've got for now!!