Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Yep, his little pee pee was in clear shot in the ultrasound photo - if I can ever figure out how to use the scanner I'll scan the picture and post here.
As for his name - well that is still under debate. Not that we're having a huge debate over it - we just don't know for sure what his name will be. We wanted to use family names for the first two kids - now we're opening it up to any name that suits - which can be a bit overwhelming.
A - by the way - wants to call him 'snowflake.'
A's reaction to the news she was having a new baby brother was less than enthusiastic. She actually cried Christmas morning - in the middle of unwrapping a present - to say 'but I wanted a baby sister!' We told her we had not control over it - and that she would love being the only girl in the house. Eventually she came around - and is getting used to the idea.
Or so I thought...
Sunday night at dinner she looks at me and says:
"Mommy? That baby in your tummy is a boy, right?"
"Yes, A, it is."
"Well, can we have a girl next time?"
pause - while mommy chokes...
"Uh, no sweetheart - there will be no more babies in this house after your new brother is born."
"Well, mommy can't have anymore babies."
I'll spare her the lesson in tubal ligations for now...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Another traditional cookie I grew up with is the pizelle. My grandmother used to make these Italian treats by the armful - and she always had them stashed throughout her house - stored in old coffee cans (which are the perfect size and shape for storing these delicate cookies.) A and J were delighted - A of course wanted to help - but when she realized mommy wasn't kidding about the burning hot pizelle iron, she was content to sit and watch and snitch a cookie or two.
J, however, he kept reaching for everything in sight - repeating "hot" when he got near to the iron (but still reaching nonetheless) - and was in pure sugar heaven to enjoy his first taste of this traditional family cookie. (As evidenced by his face in the picture below.)
It always makes me feel closer to my family when I make these treats - the recipes are a part of our family now - and I'm thrilled to be sharing them with my children, and making memories for them to one day share with their own families.
It also makes me a bit melancholy ....
Thursday, December 18, 2008
It was great fun, the house was decorated to the nines for the holiday season - with fresh magnolia and evergreen boughs draped over anything standing still, a beautiful Christmas tree, and several different religions decorations (nods to the different holidays.) Mrs. Pastides read several stories to the kids who enjoyed milk (or juice) and cookies and song singing.
That would also be the same child who blew kisses at Cocky, waved at him, and giggled at his flirting with her (from afar) as Mrs. Pastides was reading stories.
When it was all over and we were heading back to her pre-school, I asked her if it was really that bad. She said "no, Cocky is pretty silly, actually - and he's really just a man in a big chicken costume."
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday night was my corporate Christmas party - we're a small, laid back office, so it was a nice evening out at one of the city's nicest restaurants. Good food, good drink (I heard), good laughs. It was the first time D and I had been out alone - without the kids - in I don't know how long. Seriously. I think the last time we had adult time away from the kids was sometime - lord - I honestly can't remember! Horrible. At any rate, it was nice to get away - but came at a premium. I know I totally overpay babysitters, but the people I choose to let watch my kids aren't the neighborhood teenage girl who will sit on her behind, chew gum, talk on the phone, and watch movies. (I know - I was once a teenage babysitter...) No, we hire the teachers from the kids' school, and they come at a premium. Which is probably why we don't get out that often.
Saturday D took J for his second big boy haircut. Ms. Yolanda did another great job - it's kinda short - but he looks so grown up! We hosted my book club Christmas party Saturday night, so there were a lot of preparations to take place and a lot of cleaning/picking up to do. Thankfully one of A's classmates had a birthday party to attend in the evening (pizza included) and J was allowed to attend - so D had both kids out of the house for 2 hours before our party started. It was amazing all that I could accomplish with both kids out of the house for two solid hours! It was odd though - the silence that resonated throughout the walls...
The party Sat. night was nice - nice to see people I hadn't seen in a long time, to catch up, visit, eat some good eats. The only drawback was that A didn't go to sleep until the last guest left - so she was up well until 11pm. Which made for a grumpy little girl the next day.
D and I are visiting a new church - the reasons why we're not happy with our current church are the subject of another post - but we've committed to visiting this new place of worship through Advent. A and I went last week (D stayed home with J and his tummy issues). Both of us loved it - so we returned as a family this week. Three of us enjoyed it - the littlest one HATED the nursery. I don't think it was the place or the caregiver - just that it was new and he has separation anxiety. It was horrible. I haven't seen my son cry like that - ever.
So we made it through the Sunday school portion - but had to bail out of the church service early - which made me sad as it was the Lessons and Carols service that I always find so beautiful.
And then, Sunday afternoon, my good friend J and her two girls, A, and I all attended the Nutcracker. It was amazing - and A loved every minute of it. I loved watching my favorite ballet of all times through her eyes. It was lovely.
Of course I was emotional and teary when the first strains of the Overture started and the curtain rose - because seeing the Nutcracker is a tradition my mom and I started years ago.
I miss her.
We topped the weekend off with dinner out with our friends - and finally put one overtired A and one overtired J into their respective beds.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Actually, my weight gain has been minimal - probably due to how sick I've been and not wanting to eat much - but all seems well.
We had our "big" ultrasound last week - and everything looked good. No worries - it always puts me at ease once that milestone is behind us - that the baby is developing and growing as he/she should.
Speaking of gender, yes, we did have the technician note the gender of this baby - but no, we don't know what that gender is yet. D and I decided to have it written down on a card - that we'll open together Christmas morning. We're not exchanging big gifts this year - mostly focusing on the kids and trying to get ready for this new baby - so what better gift to eachother than the knowledge of us having a son or a daughter.
(My money is on another boy - by the way - just a thought - for a while I thought girl - but now am feeling boy...)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So why is it that with all I have to be thankful for, my heart feels so heavy? I suppose it has something to do with the whole holiday season - and my being prone to sentimentality.
Thanksgiving was my dad's favorite holiday. Of course - it centered around food, wine, and family. As a kid, we always celebrated Thanksgiving with my uncle (my dad's older brother) and his family. They lived in Portland, Oregon, we lived in Eastern Washington, and we'd alternate houses - one year we'd go there, the next they'd come to our house. I remember my mom and my aunt spending time in the kitchen, cooking and telling stories, and sharing sneaks of food as the turkey cooked. I remember running round outside in the cold northwest weather with my cousins - getting into all sorts of trouble - and finally coming inside before dinner to warm up, change our clothes, and eat our feast.
The years preceding my dad's death his side of the family gathered for a big family reunion - dad, his wife, my brother, my uncle and his family, and my aunt (dad's little sister) and her family. I never attended. I came up with some excuse or another - it was too expensive to travel to Washington or Oregon or California (the three siblings rotated houses each year) - it was too much time from work - I had a new baby to care for - it was too much trouble. I always thought I'd have more time.
Time. Time with my dad. Time to be a part of my family traditions.
I put my husband's family first - cooking elaborate meals for them full of the dishes and scents and tastes of my childhood, setting a beautiful table with fine china, crystal and linens. It was a feast and a table my dad would have been proud of.
I never in a million years thought my dad would die so young. I always thought to myself "next year - we'll go next year." Then, suddenly, "next year" wasn't there anymore. It wasn't an option. Dad was gone.
And every excuse I came up with all those years seems like the stupidest excuse in the world. Regret is a hard thing to live with. I don't know that I'll ever forgive myself for not being with my family during the holidays - and always putting D's family first.
The whole issue is exacerbated by D's family now. What was once seemingly appreciated and enjoyed is now forgotten. It's too much trouble for D's family to come to our house on holidays - the reasons why I can't even begin to explain. Our house will be silent this Thanksgiving. The traditions and tastes and smells of the Thanksgivings of my childhood will remain a memory. The traditions I wanted to create for my children - holidays of playing outside with cousins and trying to grab a sneaky bite or two of dinner - will not occur. The memories I have of sitting around a beautiful table, loaded with special dishes, while family laughs and eats and tells stories so loudly and all at the same time that it is hard to distinguish who is talking will remain memories.
It's hard to accept that the holidays I desperately tried to re-create for my children with D's family aren't now - and will never - occur. It's hard to look at my dining room with the china and crystal slowly accumulating dust.
I know in my head I should be thankful. And I am. For many things. But for many others, I'm not.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Both had their first haircuts - and A had her first manicure (complete with PINK nailpolish.) Ms. Yolanda did a great job - and A keeps asking when she gets to go back again.
A loved being pampered - and had no issue with her hair being cut (or trimmed, rather.) J - not so much. He did okay - until they got the clippers out - he didn't like the buzzing sound on his neck or behind his ears.
Aren't they adorable!
A - brave girl on the pony ride.
Cowboy J - we couldn't keep him off the horses!
J - first bites of whole apples.
This is what A and J did the entire apple picking trip - ate apples!
A, J, and mommy - being silly with the scarecrow!
We're expecting Baby #3!
We weren't really preventing, certainly not trying, yet were completely caught off guard with the news that this little one was on the way. It's such a blessing, yet I think it's safe to say D and I are both scared to death.
I have a long drawn out post in my head about that - all of the feelings of this new little one - but that is for a later time. Right now I want to announce the news with all of the joy such an announcement can bring.
Baby Long - due to arrive sometime around (probably before) May 4, 2009.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
For some reason, starting Thursday night, J has had a hard time going down. We thought we were over the hurdle of making him cry it out - he was in the routine of reading several books, snuggling with his puppies, and then going into his crib and either talking or singing himself to sleep. Then, he decided he didn't want to go to bed - didn't want to go to sleep - and started screaming - SCREAMING - bloody murder until one of us went back in, patted him on the back and settled him down.
So Friday night, we do the routine - put him down - he cries a little - then silence. We breathe a sigh of relief thinking he's finally back to going to sleep on his own. Nope. The silence was then followed by the rattle-rattle-rattle of the crib - then the thud of his little feet hitting the floor.
He's not climbing out too much in the night - but he does arise early - around 6 or so - we hear the rattle rattle rattle on the monitor, then the soft thud, then our door being pushed open and little J standing there waiting to be picked up.
It's not all bad though - I think he really wants a morning snuggle - because the last few mornings he's snuggled right in and drifted to sleep - and honestly, I can't say that I mind that!
Except for the fact that I don't get back to sleep - but sleep is over-rated when you're holding a wee one in your arms.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
More to come....
Friday, August 29, 2008
My baby boy is eighteen months. It seems like yesterday that you were a little peanut, sitting in the bouncy seat on the kitchen table smiling at the hummingbirds. Now you are running, walking, climbing, getting into everything and being a mischievous little boy. Hearing your first words are music to my ears.
I love watching you try to poke every one's belly button, and then squealing with delight. I love cuddling with you in those precious few moments that you will let me before you are off and running again. I love watching you try to figure things out - and seeing you get angry in frustration is kind of funny! Your gusto when eating is wonderful, as is your delight in throwing balls, and roaring like a lion.
J's 18-month check up at the pediatrician was wonderful. He is right on target at 50% height, 50% weight, with a 25% head (you've been saddled with your mother's pea-sized head.) The concerns I voiced with the MD regarding your quirky habits (running on tip toe, occasionally rocking of your head for no apparent reason, and odd hand movements) were nothing to be concerned about. Dr. Google scared me when I searched - and saw that those were early signs of autism - but Dr. Ted assured me that J is very interactive and focused and did not have any major signs to be concerned about.
God, I love this boy!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Her love of music transposed to my dad, who played the piano and the trombone. One of the first songs he ever taught me to play on the piano was 'Heart and Soul.' It was fun because one of us would play the upper part, and the other the lower. You may remember this song from the movie "Big." It's the song Tom Hanks played with his boss on the floor piano at FAO Schwartz.
I didn't think much about the song until today. Our new spiffy Honda Pilot came equipped with XM Satellite Radio (and a complimentary three-month membership.) One of the stations I've come to adore is the 40's station - where they play all those cool WWII era songs, Bing, Rosemary, Frank - that somehow always remind me of Christmas carols.
After dropping the kids at daycare this morning (and untangling myself from A who uncharacteristically wanted to cling and yell 'mommy!' repeatedly as I left the room - actually I could hear her all the way down the hall after I left) I tuned the XM to the 40's station from the Kids station we'd listened to on our trek to the University. The song that was playing? Heart and Soul.
I'd never heard the 'real' version of it, only what my grandmother cranked out on the organ or what my dad and I plunked out on the piano. It was wonderful. It made me smile.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Of course I didn't follow the rules - I showed up with a huge arrangement of pink flowers and roses (the same flowers my daddy used to bring me occasionally) with a simple card attached that said "I Love You Daddy." I stuck it on the table at the entrance to the yacht club for everyone to see - much to dad's widow's dismay.
The 'service' entailed people boozing it up and then coming up to a podium set in the corner of the room telling funny stories about dad. Oh, that was nice and all - but was not the closure I wanted or needed - or how I felt we should honor my dad's memory.
But nobody asked me - I was the discounted younger daughter that moved to South Carolina and was never heard from again - at least that is what my dad's widow and my brother would have you think.
Anyway, following the 'service' there was a big lunch - people ate and drank - and it was nice and all. A few days later, we drove to the Tri-Cities, my 'hometown'. Dad had requested that when he passed away that he be cremated, and his ashes scattered at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers - his favorite place to anchor our old boat, tie up to friends' boats, and wile away the hot summer afternoons.
We did - it was hot that day. Excrutiatingly hot. My brother drove his boat, and he along with his best childhood friend, my dad's widow, and I all rode along with him. D and A (who was 11 months old at the time) did not get to attend. They had to stay back at the hotel. No one thought ahead to try and find a life-jacket small enough for an 11-month old, and I was too worried about her boating without one.
My dad's widow had the honors of actually scattering the ashes off the end of the boat. Actually, it was more like dumping. She opened up the box, pulled out the plastic bag, and dumped all five pounds of ashes in the river - very unceremoniously I might add.
I had removed the petals from the arrangement I insisted on bringing to the memorial 'service' and scattered them on top of his ashes. As a final gesture, I floated the "I Love You Daddy" card on top.
Then we motored away.
I haven't been back since.
I realized this gray drizzly morning as I was driving the kids to daycare that I think part of my seemingly endless grieving is that 1) I had no real closure - no real funeral in my mind to say goodbye and 2) there is no grave where I can visit my dad. I can't even visit the rivers where his ashes were scattered. (Okay, maybe we can but not easily - as the Tri-Cities, WA is not exactly convenient to get to.) And I hate that. I want to go back, sit by my dad's grave - talk to him, tell him what's been going on - feel close to him. I feel like I'm a million miles away. Like maybe, somehow, I am that daughter who moved too far away and didn't matter anymore.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I haven't been to a football game since 2003 - the year we were trying to conceive A. She was born in September 2004, and I was too big and pregnant and scared of going into labor the few games before her due date to waddle up to the east upper deck of Williams-Brice Stadium.
Ever since then, I've been too wrapped up in kids to leave them with a sitter for hours on end to go to a game. My feeling is that they are in daycare all day Monday through Friday - so to stick them with a sitter for the better part of a Saturday just wasn't right.
I still don't.
But, D has convinced me to do so this Thursday night. The hope is to have the sitter (who is a teacher at the kids' daycare) either take them home with her after work at 4:30 or have me pick up and bring them home with her following. They'll be in bed at 8 (the game starts at 7:30) so they shouldn't miss mommy and daddy too much.
And, I'll actually get to attend ONE game this season - which still isn't fair after I write the ridiculous check of $960 for the gamecock club membership and tickets. I've told D that he should get to go to a few games and take a friend with my ticket - and I should get to go to a few games with a friend on his ticket - yeah - the chances of that happening are about as good as USC going to the SEC championship...
But I digress....
Thursday, August 21, 2008
But I digress.....
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Pause and breathe.
Repeat several hundred times more.
Then regroup, try to focus, and try yet again to communicate with said female child.
I know she's stubborn. I know she gets completely absorbed in whatever she's doing at that particular moment in time. I know she's hard headed.
What I CANNOT stand is talking to her, seeing her eyes wander off, asking her what I JUST said, only to hear 'I don't know mommy.' It is infuriating.
It gets even better when she gets mad about something, starts screaming bloody murder, and I can't get her to calm down to even LISTEN to reason.
I find myself losing my temper. Getting very angry with her. Wishing I could stop the screaming - get her to reason - reminding myself that reason and accountability don't exist in the world of A.
Everyone told me 'threes are the new twos - but once your kid reaches four it's like an epiphany and they become lovely.'
If that's the case, September 21 should be the magical day.
I'm not holding my breath.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Not the one purple sock, one too tight black tap shoe, and one too tight white patent leather shoe from Easter last year...
Monday, August 18, 2008
I came to love our mornings - doused in sunscreen and sand and salty water as the kids ran up and down the beach, and dug big holes in the sand and A collected a little pile of tiny seashells that she proudly toted home every afternoon.
I looked forward to lunches in the condo followed by naps - then an afternoon spent splashing around the pools. The kids adored the 'yellow submarine' which is the prominent feature of the kiddie pool at Litchfield - where the kids could stomp around in 1 foot deep pool water, then climb in and out and around a big submarine, complete with water guns and spray nozzles, guaranteed to completely soak whoever was near. I loved holding a on my lap while D held J - and we floated around the lazy river, waving at all the people nearby.
I enjoyed cooking dinners of fresh shrimp and corn and potatoes or crab cakes from the famous 'crab cake lady' and seeing the kids gobble up every bite - their appetites enlarged by their activities of the day.
I loved snuggling with A in her bed - reading her books about Hermy the Hermit Crab or the Hungry Gator, purchased especially for this trip so she could learn about the low country of our state.
I truly hated to pack up and leave yesterday.
Back to the grind now - work, school, activities - refreshed, yes. Exhausted from all of the fun in the sun, definitely.
Pawleys Island at sunset.
With our friend E and E who came down for the night on Friday.
Sitting on the sandpile that Daddy created for us.
Reading our new "Hermy the Hermit Crab" books.