Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Obligatory New Year Post

When I think about this past year, 2014 stands out as the most eventful year of my life to date.  I still can’t believe things happened the way they did.  And I actually have that thought daily… “I can’t believe…”.

Travel seemed to be the theme for the first half of the year.  I found myself going on lots of work trips – Cincinnati (twice), Philadelphia, and San Francisco.  Luckily, most of these were short trips and A even got to travel to San Fran with me.  We also visited family in the Baltimore/Washington area in early July.  Fortunately, there was no travel in the second half of the year.  Well, technically there was, but I got a pass given my current state. J

Early in the year, we entertained the idea of moving, but just weren’t sure it’d be an option.  I was very doubtful and I’m still shocked at how things happened.  If you’d told me last year that I’d have a new house and be a landlord, I would have laughed… and then laughed some more.  I couldn’t fathom things working out and it seemed like a far-fetched idea.  But a few chats with a realtor friend and a mortgage broker gave us hope.  And somehow, in June, against all odds, we had a signed contract for our new house and renters for our townhouse!  I’m pretty sure that we’re crappy landlords – we don’t check on the townhouse even though it’s only a short walk from our house and we’re probably way too trusting when it comes to our renters, but for now, it works.  And I LOVE our new house.  It’s just perfect for us and I don’t plan on moving ever again.  I love that W has a back yard to play in.  I love the layout.  I love that there are enough bedrooms for our growing family.  So so grateful for the way things worked out.

Around that same time (because house hunting didn’t provide enough chaos), I underwent a third round of IVF.  We wanted to give W a sibling and I was sure it would take several tries.  I was really impressed with our new clinic, but still anticipating that the third round would not be a successful one.  Much to my surprise, I found out I was pregnant on the very same day our offer on the house was accepted. 6/3/14 will always hold a special place in my heart.  And every day, I find myself saying, I can’t believe IVF #3 worked.  We’ve been given such an amazing gift.  I can’t wait to meet our newest little guy.

We had a few bumps in the road in terms of A’s health, but I’m happy and very appreciative that he’s currently doing well.  Praying for continued health in 2015.

The remainder of the year was a busy one.  W continued to grow like a weed before my eyes.  Adding new words, new tricks, and becoming more independent with each passing day.  Fall flew by at lightning speed.  Halloween was so much fun and Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Christmas was a 3 day affair, but somehow, it was over in an instant.  And before we know it, little man #2 will make his debut.

2014 was likely the most eventful year to date for me, but I think it also flew by the fastest of any year I can recall.

To be honest, I’m really nervous about 2015.  It feels like nothing can compare to this year.  And as anxious as I am to meet this little one, he will also change our family dynamic, which makes me a little apprehensive.  Don’t get me wrong – he was very much planned for (obviously) and prayed for, but things will be different.  And I know the transition will be tough for W.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that 2014 was nothing short of amazing, awesome, and remarkable.  2015 will bring lots of changes.  The new year will most certainly have a lot to live up to, though I know we’ll make the most of whatever comes our way!  Happy New Year!  Here’s to a fabulous 2015!!  J

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

34 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? 34 weeks!

Size?  Baby is the size of a butternut squash and about 5 pounds!  Whoa!!

Weight Gain?  Not sure.  At last check, I think I was up 30 pounds, but I ate more Christmas cookies than anyone ever should.  I've also noticed more swelling/fluid retention so I'm sure it's more than that.

Gender? Baby boy!

Sleep?  Still not sleeping well.

Movement?  I was sitting on the couch with A and pointed out that baby was moving.  It was one of those baby rolls where you can actually see my belly move.  I see it all the time, but it hadn't occurred to me that A had never witnessed it.  His reaction was priceless.  His mouth dropped and he said it would totally freak him out if that was going on inside of him!  Haha!

Food Cravings?  I really wanted chips and salsa last night - and I didn't get them.  Boo.  Otherwise, nothing.

Labor signs?  Not really.  I completely overdid it while cleaning the house on Christmas Eve.  I had a couple contractions and some other signs I won't mention.  I forced myself to sit and relax and felt better.  So not really labor signs, but signs that I need to take it easy.

What I Miss?  Same as always - energy, being able to keep up with W, being able to bend over, being able to walk long distances, sleep, being able to hold W, etc.,

Symptoms?  A lot.  I went from feeling pretty good to feeling pretty bad seemingly overnight.  I have good days, but I also have days where I can't breathe, have major heartburn (maybe baby will have hair after all!), swollen/sore feet, sciatic pain, pressure, itchy belly (PUPPP again!! :( ), the list goes on.  I sound whiny and that's not my intention, but the past week or so has been a lot tougher physically.  I'm also disappointed about the PUPPP.  It's a rash on my belly and extremely itchy.  I equate it to chicken pox on your tummy.  I had it with W and was really hoping to avoid it (it's more common with first pregnancies).

Happy or Moody? Happy for the most part, despite the physical issues.

Looking Forward To?  Finishing the nursery!  Getting excited to meet baby boy!

Best Moment of the Week?  Everything!  See previous posts.

I realize by now that non maternity striped shirts are not the most flattering on me.  BUT I received this shirt for Christmas and it's the most comfortable shirt I've ever encountered!!  It's so soft and I LOVE it.  And lets face it, I'm running out of options so even though it's not the most flattering, I can squeeze into it and it was nice to have something new to wear.  Also, a special appearance by Addie!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Recap

Back to work today!  I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to returning.  It was just so nice being able to spend every day with A and W.  We had a great mix of extremely busy days and lazy days.  I also enjoyed sleeping in (which meant staying in bed until 6-6:30) and even squeezed in a nap one day… bliss.  It was wonderful.  Our Christmas spanned 3 days and seems like a whirlwind as I think about it.  W was perfect and I think he really loved every minute – and all those presents.  He was definitely on Santa’s nice list.  Without further ado, a little recap…

Christmas Eve has always been reserved for my side of the family.  When we bought our house, I mentioned to A that I really wanted to have my family over on Christmas Eve (we typically alternate houses) so that’s what we did.  My extended family tries to get together every year, but my aunts and uncles in northern Wisconsin and Florida usually only make it to town every other year.  They were here last year so weren’t able to make the trip this year.  As a result, it was a smaller celebration with my mom, aunt, uncle, and 4 cousins, but it was great.  W had fun opening a few presents, my sweet cousin brought me some sparkling apple cider (so thoughtful), we ate LOTS, and called it a night.  Oh!  One thing I have to mention.  We decided to keep dinner casual – a few appetizers and pizza.  Well, when it came time to order the pizza, the first 4 places we tried were closed!  Oops!  I didn’t expect that at all.  My family was really sweet and said they were fine with appetizers or even frozen pizza, but we tried a fifth place and they happened to be open.  I guess not many people order pizza on Christmas Eve.  Lesson learned!

 Me and my handsome Christmas boy

 He's a pro as present opening!

I was so so excited for Christmas.  I couldn’t wait to watch W’s face light up when he saw what Santa brought.  I previously found a Little Tykes ride on fire truck at a consignment sale.  It was in perfect condition and I couldn’t wait for W to see it in front of the tree.  He did not disappoint – all smiles and climbed into his truck right away.  Melted my mommy heart.  I think W played with the fire truck for about an hour and a half and then it was time for church.  After church, in keeping with our routine, we headed to Starbucks for bagels and apple juice.  Then we headed home and by some Christmas miracle, A was able to get W down for an early nap.  As soon as he woke up, it was off to Nani and Papa’s for a big dinner and more celebration.  Dinner was delicious.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by family.  My brother even made a rare appearance.  There were so many gifts and we all had a great time.  We eventually headed home with full bellies and a car full of toys.  After some downtime at home, we decided to open our stockings.  Is open the right word?  We still hadn’t opened any of the gifts to each other or from Santa and we were in no hurry.  W was enjoying his fire truck and other gifts and it seemed silly to take him away from playing to open more gifts.  Not to mention, he was totally spoiled at Nani and Papa’s house with so many gifts already.  So we just did stockings and saved everything else for the following day.
 WOW!!  What's this?!?!

 Gotta make sure blankie makes it into the truck.

 I think he likes it. :)

Opening presents at Nani and Papa's house

Then, the day after Christmas, I declared I wasn’t cleaning and wasn’t changing out of my comfy clothes.  Grandma G came over for a big breakfast  - casserole, waffles, sausage, bacon, and bagels.  We finally opened gifts to each other and W opened his gifts from Santa.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and playing with all those new toys.  We even played outside for a short time since the weather was really mild.
 Santa brought me SHOES!!

It was probably my favorite Christmas to date.  I ate waaay too many cookies, received amazing gifts, and even got to watch television and a movie!!!  But really, what I enjoyed most was spending the week with my favorite guys.  I loved watching W open presents.  And I’m so so thankful that W and I were able to spend quality time together before baby #2 arrives.  And although returning to work this morning was tough, my heart is full and the holiday bliss has not yet worn off. J

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Weekend Recap

What an eventful weekend/start of the week we've had!  I figured I'd better write about it before I forgot everything.

Friday, we celebrated A's dad's birthday (Will's Papa).  We went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant - one where the chef cooks dinner in front of you and performs tricks as he cooks.  W loved it.  He had a blast watching the chef and other customers.  On the downside, he hardly ate anything, was up way passed his bedtime, and fell asleep in the car on the way home.  Not a good combination and I was expecting a rough night.  But to my surprise, W slept through the night.  He woke up early and was a little cranky the following morning, but still better than I anticipated.

Saturday was W's birthday.  We had a full day planned for him.  We started by heading to the Wonderland Express exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  It's basically several trains set up in a miniature version of Chicago - with lots of lights, trees, and even snow falling indoors!  W loved seeing all the trains and the snow.  He did have a meltdown as we prepared to leave - I think a combination of being tired and overstimulated, but all in all we had a great time and we're excited to return next year.

We headed home so W could nap and A and I could prepare for a little party.  We plan to have a larger party in January, but wanted to have a little get together on W's actual birthday.  Grandma G, Nani, Papa, and Uncle Matt came over for a very low key celebration.  There were balloons, sandwiches, a few appetizers, and cupcakes.  I thought it was perfect.  I just didn't have the energy for a big, fancy party.  W did great opening gifts - I'm not sure how he even knew to rip the wrapping paper, but he wasted no time.  He also loved blowing out his birthday candles, but as expected, wanted nothing to do with the cupcake.  Kiddo does NOT like sweets - he clearly doesn't get that from me.  When everyone left, he had a major meltdown - the result of utter exhaustion, but I know he had a great day. :)  He even slept 11.5 hours that night - unheard of for him.

After, such a busy Saturday, Sunday consisted of going to church, doing some grocery shopping, watching football, and playing with W's new toys.  We all needed some downtime.

Monday, A headed out to finish up Christmas shopping and W and I headed to my mom's house to wrap presents.  Of course, W enjoyed seeing Grandma G's cats and exploring the Christmas decorations.  He was great and entertained himself while my mom and I wrapped several presents.  At one point, he tripped and fell right into the cat's water bowl.  He was very upset, but I couldn't stop laughing.  W had to walk around pantsless for some time while his pants dried in the drier. :)  The rest of the day was relatively calm.  I wrapped more presents when we got home and even started watching one of my favorite movies - Love Actually.  I only watched about 40 minutes of it before it was time to head to bed, but still, it was great to be able to watch a movie!

Today, A and I took W to the library.  They have a new fairy tale themed area in the kid's section and W had so much fun exploring the gingerbread house, Cinderella's carriage, and giant light bright.  Unfortunately he fell while crossing the drawbridge and now has rug burn on his forehead.  Fail.  It seems to have faded quite a bit so I'm hoping it looks better tomorrow.  Not the best look for Christmas!!  After that we headed to lunch and thought for sure W would take a long nap.  Nope.  A tried to get him down for a nap for quite some time and then gave up.  Instead, the two of them headed outside while I headed out to run a few errands.  An hour and a half later, they were both still outside!!  W better sleep well tonight.  Despite the nap strike, W was in a great mood all day and he had A and I cracking up tonight.

In other news, I've been extremely uncomfortable the past few days.  Baby is very high and I'm having some trouble breathing.  I cannot get comfortable at night and hardly sleep.  Hoping that baby will move lower or change positions.

Ok, I'm sure I'm leaving things out (pictures to come), but this is already a long post and it's time for bed!  Excited for Christmas with W!!

W Turns 2

(Written on December 20)

Dear W,
Happy 2nd birthday, sweet little man. How? How did we get here? I’ve often heard parents talk about how fast their children grow up and I’d roll my eyes. But you know what? They’re right. And I get it now. The first year seemed to fly by, but that was nothing compared to this year. You seemed to go from baby to independent little boy overnight.
What a year we’ve had! You literally went from taking baby steps to full on sprint (and you are FAST), from saying a couple words here and there to an expanded vocabulary, from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in a big boy bed. You’re suddenly identifying and saying numbers, colors, and letters. You started school, started gym class, and participated in many new activities. You’ve begun to grab our hands and lead us wherever it is you want us to go and it might just be my favorite thing ever. You have all your molars, you have really big feet, you have one heck of an arm (Da is already alerting the baseball scouts), and your hair has many admirers. We’ve gone on trips, moved into a new house, and soon you’ll be a big brother. And you know what? You’ve handled each big step, each new adventure incredibly well (certainly better than your mom). I’m constantly amazed by you and how much you’ve learned and grown in a short time.
I hope you have the happiest of birthdays. And just remember, no matter how much you grow and how big you get, you’ll always be my first baby. Da and I love you so much. You are our everything and more, little man.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Thoughts

We’ve been doing Elf on the Shelf along with the rest of the world.  Our Elf (Crispin) never has any elaborate hiding spots or cute hobbies.  He just appears in various places around the first floor.  W loves trying to locate him, walking around saying “hmmm…” as he attempts to find Crispin.  When he does spot the elf, the sweetest grin spreads across W’s face.  It’s really adorable.  We didn’t read the book with W, assuming he was too young to understand.  And apparently A is not up to speed on his Elf knowledge, because he keeps touching Crispin.  Wait, that sounds bad.  But if you know the story, you know that the elf loses his magic if he is touched.  I know W is too young to understand, but I really want him to think that Crispin magically moves on his own.  You’re killing the magic, A!!

We went to Bonnie Brook for our Wednesday dinner.  We hadn’t been in awhile.  They had a prime rib buffet, which was yummy.  But the best part about going is how sweet everyone was to us.  Both staff and fellow diners stopped by to say hello to W.  A few asked about my due date and told me I looked great – very refreshing after constantly hearing how big I am!  Another man came over and told us that he loves seeing us at church and loves watching W grow.  Incredibly sweet.  I don’t expect W to behave all the time – he’s a toddler after all.  But I think he loves our Bonnie Brook dinners because he’s usually a really good boy.  And it doesn’t hurt that we never have to wait long for food – buffet for the win! J

We interviewed another candidate to fill in for me while I’m on maternity leave.  And it turns out, he currently works for the company I left when I accepted my current position.  Small world!  And also, he does some of the same work I was doing for the company.  Ironic!

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday.  Today, I’m supposed to find out my c section date!!  Very excited to have an end date and potential birth date!  I asked A if he thought I’d have a VBAC or a c section and he said he had a feeling baby would arrive via c section.  I feel the exact same way.  But it’s just a feeling.  Time will tell.  I’m also measuring a little big – 34 weeks vs. 32.5… no surprise there.  But really, I’m not sure how accurate fundal height can be – everyone carries differently.

My sweet first born turns 2 tomorrow.  I’m already getting emotional.  I just can’t believe he’s already 2.  How has time flown by so fast??  He’s by far the best early Christmas gift I’ve ever received.

I’m so looking forward to this week – W’s birthday, Christmas, no work, family, and friends.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  And I’m so excited to experience this Christmas with W!!  He’s at such a fun age!  Ahhhh… I can’t wait!!!

With that, I’m off work until December 29.  Not sure how many (if any) posts I’ll have so Happy Holidays to all!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Things

1.  W woke up during the night for the first time in weeks.  That is major progress, people!  Let’s hope the wake up was just a fluke and doesn’t continue.  For some reason, he hasn’t been sleeping as well lately.  Maybe he’s excited about his birthday and Santa!

2.  W has this Chicken Elmo toy.  It’s kind of obnoxious and was given to him by Kaylee – his sweet little church girlfriend.  Chicken Elmo lives in W’s closet and when you push his foot, Elmo dances and sings a silly chicken song.  Anyway, W’s latest thing is to push chicken Elmo’s foot, shut the closet door as fast as possible, and make you dance with him.  I have no idea why?!?  Maybe he likes the song, but doesn’t like to look at chicken Elmo?  It’s really funny.

3.  This instant message… I love my coworkers <3 J
MJ was asking me if we are keeping an eye on you, as you progress along.  She doesn't want us to let you work alone in the office.  I said yep we are watching her, and so far you were doing great... Hmmm, everyone is watching out for you....scary... just kidding. :)
I suppose it's nice that people are concerned... and a little creepy that people are watching me :)
We all care about you, well maybe not Yester :S

FYI: Yester is an admin who doesn't really like anyone in my group - it's not just me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

32 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? 32 weeks!  Appointments every 2 weeks now... it's starting to sink in that a baby will be here soon.

Size?  Baby is the size of a squash.

Weight Gain?  Not sure.  I have a doctor's appointment in a couple days.

Gender? Baby boy!

Sleep?  What's that?  Not sleeping well.  I can't get comfortable and toss and turn all night long, W gets up at 5am, etc.

Movement? Still lots of movement, but I think he's getting more cramped.  Lots of hiccups lately.  Both A and W have gotten to feel baby hiccups - although, I think W was confused and started fake hiccuping. :)

Food Cravings?  Nothing.

Labor signs? No.

What I Miss?  Well, sleep.  I'm really trying to enjoy these last few weeks since it's likely that this is my last pregnancy.  I do miss being able to keep up with W and having more energy.  And if I'm being totally honest and selfish, I miss having a glass of wine at events/parties (and there have been lots of those lately).  But all in all, I feel pretty good.

Symptoms?  Tired.  A little heartburn every so often, but I think it was much worse with W at this time.  W being breech may have had something to do with it, though I'm not really sure at what point he settled into a breech position.  The most notable new symptom is swelling.  Say it isn't so!  With W, my feet and ankles swelled up like balloons.  The nurses commented on my gigantic feet every time they came in my room.  I'm hoping it's not as bad this time around.  Also getting a few more leg cramps and sciatic pain.
Lately, EVERYONE has something to say about my pregnancy.  Strangers approach me to ask about my due date and baby's gender.  For someone who doesn't really like to be in the spotlight, it's a little awkward, but I know they all mean well.  It's also a little weird to me - I don't think I've ever talked to someone I didn't know about her pregnancy.  But then again, I'm not super outgoing.  I'm also getting the twins question once again along with "Christmas baby?", "Any day now?", "How much longer?", "WHAT... 2 more months?!?", "Must be a big baby.", "No baby, yet?" (DUH - does it LOOK like I had the baby?!?), and a host of other questions/comments that imply I'm enormous.

Happy or Moody? Ummm... neither?  Both?  I'm kind of in-between.  Happy, but a little overwhelmed by my growing to do list.

Looking Forward To?  Celebrating W turning 2!  Still can't believe that's happening.  We decided to have a small party in January, but Grandma G, Nani, and Papa are coming over this Saturday (W's actual birthday) to celebrate our boy. :)  Excited to have next week off and even more excited for Christmas!!  We haven't made much progress on the nursery lately, but I'm hoping to get more done since A and I will both be home next week.  Also looking forward to scheduling a c-section date at my next doctor's appointment.  It will be exciting to have a potential birth date!

Best Moment of the Week?  W adds new words everyday.  Latest words are: bed, move, and grandma.  I was so worried about his speech at one point - each new word is music to my ears and makes my mommy heart happy. :)

Thank you, A, for taking this picture at a flattering angle! ;)
Also, I realize no one cares, but I've been finding loose tops like the one above, which are non-maternity.  WIN!!  Excited I'll still be able to wear this after baby.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Recap

My gosh, I am dragging today.  The result of another busy weekend.

W still loves his bed, which I’m so thankful for.  Unfortunately, he’s gotten up really early the past 3 days.  5 am to be exact.  I think our packed weekends may be throwing him off.  Not sure.  But I am TIRED.  Anyway, let’s talk about Saturday.

As mentioned, we started off the day really early.  A and W headed out on their top secret mission to purchase donuts, bagels, and Starbucks.  My favorite way to start the day!  I got ready while they were on their mission.  After breakfast, I headed to Target for a couple items - slippers for W and ingredients to make Christmas mix.  Sadly, W hated the slippers I bought for him.  Boo.  He used to love slippers. L 

Around 11 am, A, W, my mom, and myself headed to the Polar Express, where we met up with Nani and Papa.  A little background info on this… There was a lot of hype surrounding the event.  It typically sells out in July/August.  I was picturing a very decorated, magical train, Christmas lights, Santa, hot cocoa, homemade cookies, carolers, the Polar Express story read by a conductor… you know, the whole nine yards.  Especially given all the hype and the expensive tickets.  So imagine my disappointment when the train was late and there were no decorations whatsoever.  The train was your typical, everyday Metra train.  The carolers were high school students, the hot cocoa was chocolate milk, the cookies were from Chick-Fil-A, the story was a recorded reading…  And there was absolutely nothing magical about the event.  We also had to sit up top because the train was full.  Lame.  We did get a visit from Santa and W did love the train, but we could have saved ourselves a heck of a lot of money by taking W on a regular old train ride and bringing the Polar Express book along.  Lesson learned.  Sadly, I don't even have any great pictures to share.  I got some cute ones of A and W, but A still likes to keep his privacy so no pics of him.  Here's all I've got...

What I expected vs. reality... :)

W fell asleep in the car on our way home and naturally, when A tried to move him to his bed, he woke up.  A thirty minute nap resulted in a cranky W.  I find that days with a short nap or no nap are especially tough.  Any plans I might have had for a productive day are shot and I feel like I never get any "down time".  The house doesn’t get cleaned and nothing else gets done.  My energy is spent trying to keep W busy to avoid impending meltdowns.  Somehow I did manage to make Christmas mix for A’s and my office parties, but the rest of the day is a blur.

Sunday, we went to church and then grocery shopping.  We also decided to have lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings since we skipped our usual Starbucks breakfast.  W got water in a cup with a straw at BWW.  He loves straw cups… a little too much.  He ended up spilling his water all over and was VERY upset.  I think it startled him to have the cold water spill all over him.  Of course, I didn’t have a change of clothes for him (I keep another set in my car, but we had A’s car) so we just had to wait for his pants to dry.  Poor guy.  He eventually settled down, had some chicken, and all was well.

We eventually got home and W refused to nap.  Uggh.  I felt terrible because A and I had a Christmas party to attend.  My mom had generously agreed to watch W while we were out.  I knew he’d be cranky without a nap and felt guilty about leaving.  Apparently he was pretty good and ended up napping for 30 minutes.  Phew.  The Christmas party was at my boss’s house and really nice.  It was great to get out, enjoy yummy food, and catch up with colleagues.  Only downside was my boss lives an hour away and we couldn’t stay long. 

Now, here we are.  Just trying to make it through another Monday.  I can’t believe my “baby” turns 2 in less than a week and Christmas is only 10 days away!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Thoughts

This week has been a busy one.  Lots of meetings, throw in a work holiday party, and I’m spent.  Luckily sleep has been pretty good the past couple nights, but somehow I’m still worn out.  'Tis the season!

Speaking of the work holiday party, there were some amazing prizes to be won.  A trip to San Diego which included hotel, airfare, golf at Torrey Pines, dinner, and more.  How awesome would it be to win that?!?  There was also a 60 inch tv, Blackhawks tickets, Bulls tickets, Starbucks gift cards, and American express gift cards.  Of course I didn’t win anything, but great prizes nonetheless!

Work has been crazy lately.  And I can't tell you the number of times I've been told to "hold the baby in" for as long as possible.  I'm getting nervous about maternity leave.  On a related note, we interviewed a candidate who would fill in while I was away.  Not impressed.  Hoping we get more candidates in.

W has been saying so many words lately!  He’s not really putting words together quite yet, but I can’t believe how much he’s learned in a short time.  It really is amazing.  Lately, he tells people (and Addie) to move.  It sounds a bit rude, and I’m not even sure where he learned that, but he means well.  And he says it in his cute little W voice so it sounds a lot sweeter coming from him.  We’ve been trying to teach him “move please”.

I’m sure every parent despises certain toys – usually because they’re loud and obnoxious.  What toy do you absolutely loathe??  For me, it's an alligator push toy.  We received it as a baby shower gift and I thought it was adorable.  W’s nursery was decorated with alligators, which made the toy that much more special.  It was cute for the first year… up until the time W started running through the house with those alligators making loud clacking noises everywhere he went.  If that weren’t bad enough, he finds it hilarious to chase Addie with it, scaring her to death and he’s also run over my feet with it, which hurts like hell.  It usually gets taken away from him within the first 3 minutes of playing due to running into people (and animals), bashing into walls, or repeatedly banging it on the floor.  I hate that thing.  This morning I was telling A that I envisioned launching it outside and watching it break into pieces as it landed.  He told me I needed to be more creative – perhaps watching it burn in the fireplace or something.  I can tolerate all other toys, but those seemingly cute/unsuspecting alligators have run into my heels one too many times – they need to go!!

I opened Google this morning and stumbled upon the Santa Tracker, which informed me that there were 11 days and 19 hours until Christmas.  Oh my gosh!  I’m officially overwhelmed.  AHHH!

Happy Friday!  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Does overcoming infertility make you a better mom?

Does overcoming infertility make you a better mom?  I’ve often wondered that.  And I think for me, the answer is yes.  Now, I’m not saying those who haven’t struggled with infertility can’t be great moms.  There are plenty of amazing moms in the world – and I’m not even sure I’m one of them.  I also realize there are several women who’ve struggled a lot longer with infertility than I have.  In a way, A and I were lucky because we knew IVF was our only option.  There was no trying for months, no IUI.  We went straight to IVF.  But infertility isn’t a contest of who’s suffered more or who’s been on the roller coaster longest…
As I was saying… I think overcoming infertility made me much more grateful and appreciative.  More thankful for my pregnancies and more thankful for my sons.  Has motherhood always been amazing and wonderful, sunshine and butterflies?  Absolutely not.  But even on those mornings, when W woke up several times the prior night, when he’s flushing all the Kleenex down the toilet and screaming at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, I know that I’m lucky I get to experience it all.  And I always remind myself of that when I get frustrated.
I distinctly remember the newborn days.  There was one particular night when A and I were utterly exhausted.  I think A was delusional – sitting on the floor, mumbling, and rocking to try to stay awake (bless him for getting up with me as I struggled with nursing W).  W was crying, refusing to eat and to sleep, A sarcastically muttered, “Well, this is fun!”.  It certainly wasn’t fun, but I remember feeling so fulfilled and happy nonetheless.  We were actually parents.  We were a family.  W was ours.  We had our baby.  And that was all that mattered to me.
I was talking to a coworker recently.  Telling her that we had a full weekend planned for W.  Explaining that I was hurrying out of the office because I wanted to spend time with W before he got too tired.  She told me that I was so different from her niece who has a daughter a month older than W.  She went on to tell me that her niece had been out of town for the weekend and was gone several times that week to attend a sporting event and other activities with friends and that was common for her.  I know there isn’t a right way to parent and each family has their own way of doing things.  But it did make me feel good knowing that I’d rather spend my non work time at home with W as opposed to being out with friends often.  Being a parent is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given and I don’t want to take any of it for granted.
Prior to infertility and W, I got frustrated easily, I was impatient, I didn’t always value family time.  I still get frustrated and I’m still impatient at times.  But I think I’ve gotten a lot better.  I’ve learned to relax and appreciate staying home.  Infertility has made me more patient, more grateful, and more empathetic.  And W has made me a better person.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Recap

As predicted, this past weekend was super busy and was over in a flash.

My cousin stopped by on Friday to have a look at our fireplace.  I’ve never had a fireplace before and was so excited to have one in our new house.  A grew up with a fireplace, but the one in our house is gas as opposed to wood burning and we just weren’t sure how to use it.  Actually, we were told that it could be used as a gas fireplace or a regular wood burning fireplace… the point is, we didn’t know what we were doing and didn’t want to burn down the house.  So my super handy cousin came over and showed A how to turn on the fireplace.  It was so exciting to see the fire going when I walked in from work… until the fire went out a short time later.  Doh!  A was able to get it going again, but once again, it went out.  I blew on it and it came back to life.  So we’re thinking it needs to be cleaned or there’s something going on with the pilot… Kind of a bummer.  At least we had a fire for a short time.

Saturday was a loooong day.  It started off great.  We celebrated St. Nicholas Day.  W put a shoe outside of his bedroom door on Friday night (well, mom put a shoe outside his door).  When A opened W’s door in the morning, W saw a present and a couple dollars in his shoe right away.  He wasted no time opening the gift (from Nani) and also seemed to appreciate the money in his shoe.  Makes me very excited for opening presents on Christmas!

A short time later, A and W went on their “top secret mission” and arrived home with donuts, bagels, and Starbucks!  Yes!!  I love their missions. J 

After that, we all headed to the bank and grocery store.  W fell asleep on the way home, but woke as A was trying to get him to his bed.  So he had a 5 minute nap and refused to go back to sleep.  As a result, he was cranky for the remainder of the day.  Not fun.  He did get a haircut and was very good during that, but the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to avoid meltdowns.

Luckily, W went to bed early and slept about 11 hours.  For W, that’s really good.

Sunday was our busy day.  We went to church and then headed to a pancake breakfast with the whole family, which included: me, A, W, my mom, Nani, Papa, Uncle M, Uncle B, Aunt B, Aunt B’s mom, and W’s 3 cousins.  Everybody!!  It was lots of fun and W got to visit with Santa!  I wasn’t sure how it would go, if there would be tears.  But W was great.  I could tell he was a little nervous as he sat on Santa’s lap, but no crying.  I also got to hold my new nephew.  All in all, a great breakfast and fun with family!

We headed home and W fell asleep in the car again.  This time we were smart and had taken off his shoes and jacket ahead of time.  A was able to transfer him to his bed with no problems and he took a 2 hour nap.  Phew.

As W napped, I started sorting through baby clothes.  Lots of them suddenly had yellow stains that weren’t there previously.  Uggh.  Why does that happen?  Hoping the stains come out in the wash.  It was fun to find all those tiny hats and booties and reminisce about little Christmas outfits and newborn clothes.  I’m anxious to get everything put away, but the OCD organizer in me is having a hard time deciding just how to organize everything.

After that, we dropped off Christmas gifts for the family we adopted.  There were several other people dropping off gifts at the same time – always makes me so happy to see that. 

Then, it was off to see the holiday train roll into town.  Unfortunately, it was pretty chilly, it was a bit of a walk to the train, very crowded, and the train was late.  We did run into some church friends.  They have twins who also attend W’s preschool so it was nice to talk with them.  When the train finally arrived, it was neat to see it all lit up.  I think W liked it too.  But by the time the train came to a stop, I was ready to get out of there.  Cold and hurting!  Carrying W and the long walk were taking a toll on my back.  I’m glad we went, but I think we’ll wait until W is a bit older before we go again.  Apparently, there was singing, Santa, hot chocolate, and more, but we were too tired and cold to check out any of that.

So after all that, we decided to grab a quick dinner at IHOP.  Somehow we ended up with an IHOP gift card last Christmas and we still hadn’t used it.  I’m not much of a breakfast person and had never been to IHOP.  We thought we’d try it for dinner.  So we went and that might have been our first and last time at IHOP.  Ha!  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.  I’m sure their breakfasts are much better.  At least it was mostly free thanks to the gift card.

Also, I forgot to mention that we’ve been doing Elf on the Shelf.  I’m not sure how I feel about the whole elf spying for Santa and always being on your best behavior, but W is too young to understand any of that anyway.  For now, we’ve just been hiding Crispin the Elf around the house and W has a blast trying to find him.  We ask where Crispin went and when W notices he’s not in his most recent hiding spot, he’ll walk around the house saying “hmmm” as he searches.  Really cute. J

Oh!  And I never heard anything from the doctor, which means I don’t have Gestational Diabetes!!  Yay!! J

And finally… THIS.  A sent me this picture of W in timeout.  He rarely gets a timeout.  I could count the number of timeouts he’s had on one hand.  And don’t let that picture fool you.  He may look sorry, but as soon as he got up, he grabbed the teething ring that he got in trouble for throwing and threw it again.  He redeemed himself and avoided another timeout by putting the ring back in the closet when I asked him to.  Oh, W…

So that was our wonderful, busy weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Thoughts

Friday at last.  I’ve had a bit of a rough week.  Nothing major and mostly work related.  I’m hoping the weekend provides a chance to refresh and regroup.  We have lots planned per usual, but lots of fun things with W - I hope he enjoys it!

Speaking of W, he absolutely LOVES his big boy bed and it makes me so happy.  He’ll grab us by the hand and bring us over to sit on the bed with him.  It’s adorable – except for the fact that I refuse to sit on his bed for fear that it will collapse.  So I sit on the floor next to the bed. J

Last night, W pointed to the rocking chair in the nursery, indicating that he wanted me to sit on it.  He then came over to me and said “up”.  I sat him on my lap and we cuddled and rocked together for at least 20 minutes.  W isn’t much of a cuddler and sitting there rocking with him was incredibly sweet.  As we rocked and listened to his music player, I felt so fortunate to have him.  I always feel that way, but those perfect, quiet, snuggly moments with W are great reminders to slow down and not take the life we’ve been given for granted.  After a long day, those cuddles were that much sweeter.

I love talking to A.  That may sound weird, but we have great, thought provoking conversations.  Unfortunately these don’t seem to happen often enough given our busy schedules and attention to W.  But recently we were talking about parenting.  A knows how I feel about being a SAHM.  In a nutshell, I don’t think I could do it.  I love W more than words, but I’m just not cut out for it.  As much as work drives me crazy some days, I need adult interaction.  I need to feel like I’m contributing to society outside of being a mom.  I need to feel like all those classes and college degrees were put to good use.  And I really do like my job. J  He, on the other hand, would welcome the opportunity to be a SAHD.  How awesome is that?  I know he’d rock at it too.  Now to figure out a way to increase my salary and make it happen.  In all honesty, it won’t happen; I couldn’t make up for his salary.  But I totally admire A for being open to the idea and willing if the opportunity arose.

I’ve been emailing HR to discuss maternity leave.  I put it off as long as possible knowing that it would just make me upset.  Sure enough.  How is it that so many other developed countries (i.e. all of Europe) have figured out maternity leave, but the U.S. hasn’t?!?  It disgusts me.  Unpaid leave, paying insurance premiums just so I can keep my insurance, using hard earned vacation days to cover the short term disability waiting period… no wonder so many moms don’t take advantage of the full FMLA period.  They have to return to work in order to continue paying the bills.  I can hardly wait for the HR meeting next week.  Gag.

Sorry to end on a depressing note… Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

30 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? 30 weeks!  Eek!  Into the 30's and single digit weeks left!!

Size?  Baby is the size of a cucumber.

Weight Gain?  I think about 25 lbs.

Gender? Baby boy!

Sleep?  Hit or miss.  Mostly miss lately.  Still uncomfortable and I toss and turn a lot.  I've been having strange dreams.  Last night I dreamed that I had the baby and he was really not cute.  Also, there's always a dog near on me. :P

Movement? Still lots of movement.  While doctor was listening to baby's heartbeat, baby gave him a giant kick.  Soccer star perhaps?

Food Cravings?  Nothing.

Labor signs? Too early.

What I Miss?  Even my maternity clothes are starting to get too small - what the heck?!?  Why wouldn't maternity clothes fit the entire 9 months??  I had to purchase a couple more tops because current ones didn't fit and I just could not fathom wearing the same things for the next 2 months.  A bit depressing.  I'm still carrying all in front.

Symptoms?  Still having some back pain and a bit more heartburn.  I still get tired easily and go to bed super early, but overall, I can't complain.

Happy or Moody?  Mostly happy and a tad moody!

Looking Forward To?  Filling baby's dresser with W's newborn clothes.  He had the cutest clothes and they're all in great condition.  Time to wash them up and organize.  I can't wait to look through all of them again.  W's birthday is less than 3 weeks away!  I go between being excited about it and dreading it.

Best Moment of the Week?  Oh, everything!  This is going to be lengthy...

Thanksgiving was fantastic.  Spending 6 whole days with W was wonderful.
The house is decorated for Christmas and looks so festive.  Our stockings arrived yesterday.  We've never had stockings before.  A put lights outside our house - the first time we've had an actual house to put lights on (lights on a townhouse weren't as much fun - not to mention a townhouse is too tall to light up).
Baby's room is really coming together.  The dresser and chair arrived yesterday and I'm in love.  I've gone way overboard choosing decor for the room.  Have you seen my mantle?  Clearly I get the decorating bug from my mom.
We had a 3D ultrasound yesterday.  I left feeling underwhelmed and disappointed that I spent a significant amount of money for 20 minutes of ultrasound time.  BUT when I got home I looked over the ultrasound pictures, thought about the appointment, and felt better.  I got to see baby sucking his thumb, moving about, and practice breathing.  Was it worth the price?  Probably not, but I do love the pictures we got and it was great to see our littlest man.

I think we officially have a name - as in first AND middle name!  The first name was my top choice and the middle name was A's top choice so it seems like a perfect compromise and I'm excited.  A asked me if I was sure about the name and I said no, I'll never be sure.  I was the same way with W.  But this is as close as I'll get to being sure.  And for the record, I love W's name - it just fits him and I'm sure I'll feel the same about this name.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekend Recap - Part 2

Friday… Black Friday.  My mom and I go shopping every year on Black Friday and this year was no exception.  We always head out around 7 am and it has always worked well – the midnight shoppers are done and lots of other shoppers aren’t out yet.  This year, however, was CRAZY.   So. Many. People.  I did order a dresser and glider, which was super exciting.  My mom actually purchased the glider as a baby gift for us, which was really sweet.  While placing the order, I was told that if the store didn’t have them in stock, it would take 14-18 weeks for them to arrive.  SAY WHAT?!?  I had no idea.  I could live without the glider, but I needed a dresser to start organizing and storing baby clothes.  Thankfully, the store had both (which I think is rare and we really lucked out).  I was very excited.  My mom and I came away with some great deals, but we also ran into a couple snags.  One store advertising everything as 50% off, but when it came time to pay for items, they weren’t all 50% off (still need to contact customer service about that one – not cool).  I picked out a few books for W and didn’t check the price.  I just thought books were books.  Ha.  My total seemed way high and after looking at the receipt, I realized one of the books was $27.  For a children’s book?!?  No way.  That book is being returned.  I should also mentioned that I was absolutely exhausted and so done with shopping by 2 pm.  I was tired of annoying people and carrying heavy shopping bags.  My mom and I ended up meeting A and W for an impromptu late lunch and it really cheered me up.  I was SO hungry by that time and W was so well behaved.  The restaurant had a sleigh and Christmas d├ęcor and W was mesmerized!  He kept pointing to the sleigh and waving – so cute. J  I can’t remember Friday night, but I think it was pretty uneventful.

Saturday, I had a 7:40 am doctor’s appointment.  I was still tired and worn out from the prior day’s shopping extravaganza.  The appointment was with my favorite doctor and went well.  It was the gestational diabetes appointment so I had to drink the lovely sugary fruit punch and then wait an hour for blood draw.  I made A come with and keep me company since I knew it would be a long appointment.  The drink wasn’t bad at all.  I asked favorite doctor if I could schedule a c section with him and he said yes, that I could schedule the c section at my next appointment (the plan is still to try for VBAC if I go into labor earlier).  While checking baby’s heartbeat, baby gave the doctor a couple really strong kicks – the kind of kicks where my whole belly moves.  I think the doctor was surprised and commented on baby’s strength.  I asked about baby’s position.  It appears baby is head down, but diagonal.  Pretty common for this stage of pregnancy.  We also scheduled a 3D ultrasound.  Something I had originally planned not to do since W didn’t look anything like his ultrasound pictures, but I just couldn’t resist a peek at this babe.  And I ended the appointment by getting the pertussis vaccine.  The nurse warned me it would hurt.  My arm was feeling fine shortly after the shot and I naively thought others who’ve complained must be wimps.  Joke was on me because by the next day, my entire arm was throbbing.  That one hurts!!

The rest of the day was busy.  I got my hair cut, we went for a walk (the weather was really nice), A put up Christmas lights outside, and we went out for pizza.  A fantastic (albeit busy) day.

Sunday, I was in such a bad mood.  I’m not sure why exactly, but I wasn’t feeling well and was a little overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to get done.  Knowing I had tons of work emails waiting for me and plans every weekend from now until eternity didn’t help my mood.  Church, Starbucks, and grocery shopping all went well.  W refused to nap until 3:45.  4 hours passed his normal nap time!  When he finally fell asleep, I finally snapped out of my bad mood.  I even painted my nails – something I haven’t done in about a year!  A little pampering goes a long way.  We decided to decorate the tree that night and it turned out beautifully.  Because of the late nap, it took A forever to get W to sleep, but when he finally slept, all was well.  I was sad our long weekend was over.

And now here we are – December!!  When I opened my work cabinet this morning, there was a gift bag.  Sometimes my boss gives W little gifts for holidays so I wondered if it was from him.  But no, it was a thank you from work for my contributions to a successful regulatory inspection.  How nice and totally unexpected!  I received a gift card and plaque.  It made my day. J

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekend Recap - Part 1

We had an incredibly jam packed, wonderful holiday week/weekend.  As we were driving home from Thanksgiving dinner, I told A it was my favorite Thanksgiving ever.  But before I get to that, let’s start with Tuesday…

Tuesday, I decided to take the day off to spend with W.  A had conferences that day and wouldn’t be home until after 8 so I knew it was going to be a long day – simply because W has a lot of energy and I don’t. J  My mom offered to help.  I decided that I would treat W to Starbucks and then head to the mall play place.  This tends to be my default when I can’t think of anything better to do. J  The cold temperatures have limited our options.  I invited my mom and she wanted to join us.  So that’s exactly what we did – apple juice and bagel at Starbucks, mall play place, and pizza lunch in the food court.  The play place was a little crowded and I think W was a tad intimidated.  It didn’t occur to me that several kids probably had off of school, but we made the most of it.  After a busy morning, W was getting a bit cranky so we headed home for a nap.  After nap, W and I baked (pre-made) cookies, painted, did puzzles, read books, and played.  We had a great day together.  Confession: by the end of the day, I had run out of things to do.  This makes me think I wouldn’t be a very good stay at home mom – I’m terrible at coming up with ideas for activities.  We were all happy to see Da when he finally made it home.
I love that his eye color really comes out in this picture

Cookies and Starbucks - it doesn't get much better than that

Waiting for Da with my 3 babies. <3  My heart is full.

Wednesday, I was home with W again.  A had conferences, but only until 11 am.  W and I stayed in our pajamas all morning and did much of the same things as the previous day – trucks, baking, coloring, books, puzzles.  Nothing exciting, but we had fun.  That afternoon, we had friends stop over.  They were in town from Minnesota and it was great to see them and meet their baby girl.  Also worth noting, Addie was VERY well behaved!  I was shocked.  After giving them a tour of the house, we headed over to another friend’s house for some catching up and pizza!  We had a great time.  There were 4 little kiddos  - W, and three 8 month olds.  W was the only boy and I think he was feeling like a stud. ;)  He was so cute with all those girls – watching them, looking concerned when they made noise.  At one point, I asked if he could say hi to one of them.  He said hi and I swear he blew a kiss!  What a flirt!  I wished we could have stayed longer, but I was worried about W settling down and getting to bed on time – especially with Thanksgiving the following day.

Thanksgiving morning, W and A headed out on a “top secret mission” and returned home with Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks.  What a way to start the day!  We indulged in donuts and bagels while watching the Macy’s parade.  After that, W took a bath while A finished assembling W's toddler bed.  Side note: At one point, W absolutely hated baths.  He would cling to A or me throughout the entire bath, cry, and try to crawl out of the tub.  Now, I can’t get him out of the tub.  He takes 45 minute baths and cries when we take him out!!  Anyway, when he got out, he saw his new bed and was very excited. J  He took a nap in the bed and slept longer than expected.  We then headed to A’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner.  We were the last to arrive due to W’s long nap and I was starving. J  My mom and brother were there too.  Thanksgiving dinner was delicious as usual and I got to meet my new nephew.  W ate SO MUCH.  He devoured that turkey and was the entertainment during dinner – calling out animal sounds when asked and repeating new words.  He was so much fun and well behaved (well, except for dropping red jello everywhere J).  He also looked really darn cute in his preppy outfit - if I do say so myself.  We had a great time with family and the day was a perfect reminder that we are so blessed and have so much to be thankful for.  W slept in his big boy bed for the first time that night and did amazingly well.  One perk to still rocking him to sleep is he doesn’t get out of his bed to play multiple times. ;)

Bow tie, Sperry's, cardigan... cuteness overload!