Thursday, November 29, 2012

belly picture comparison

Tonight, at 36w5d. I am smiling because Eric said, "Don't look tired!"  Hmm. Pretty hard to do after a week of work!

Same outfit, 36w with the boys- less than 24 hours before they were born.
I can tell that I looked/was bigger with the boys than I am now, but I wouldn't say so much so that it's remarkable.  Ugh.

The main difference seems to be my face- my face has stayed the same this pregnancy. I have no swelling in my hands and feet and am still able to wear all my rings, which I couldn't last time.  I still feel good, especially on days where I work and sit down all day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

2 years, 8 months

Just a quick entry- the boys are 2 years and 8 months old today, which I realized as I wrote the date on their biographical information forms at the dentist this morning.

That's right- the first trip to the dentist!  They both did well- they squeezed into the chair together and let the dentist look at their teeth and said "ahhhhh" for her.  We go back in 6 months or so for their first cleaning.  Asher's two front teeth are gray, apparently from a fall/trauma to the teeth.  She said it could turn out any number of ways- they could get less gray, more gray, fall out, or he could injure them again and they could fall out after that.  Poor Bear.  Can you imagine if he lost his teeth at 3 and then didn't get teeth again til he's 6?  Benjamin has a chipped tooth.  That is what you get with 2 active boys- the dentist said it is completely normal.

I was feeling very super-mom today- Eric was out at his boss's house all day, and I did breakfast, got the boys to the dentist (with Asher in rain boots since his 1 pair of shoes was in the wash), then did errands.  We went to the Apple store, Starbucks to bribe them with a muffin, the luggage store to refill my planner, back to the Apple store, then Trader Joe's for groceries.  They each wanted noodles for lunch, but Asher wanted his with cheese and peas, and Benjamin wanted his with red sauce.  So I made homemade cheese sauce for Asher's noodles and they each got what they wanted.  Then we read books til nap time, then they went down for nap and actually slept!  I got my own work done, then when they woke up we made more sugar cookies.  I folded laundry, and made them a dinner of sesame chicken, brown rice, and broccoli.

My parents came over for dinner- after food was cooked- and we ate together.  After dinner I put the rice back on because I thought it was a little underdone, and we cleaned up a little, then I wrote thank-you notes and paid bills.  Then we went up to get ready for bed- my dad was helping me while I put laundry away.  I smelled something toasty.  I came back downstairs for the boys' toothpaste and definitely smelled burning.  The rice!  I ruined my domestic goddess-ness for the day by burning the rice and possibly killing the pot.  Oh well, no one is perfect!  That kind of did me in.  When Eric finally returned from a long day of work capped by a really nice dinner out (I told him for the sake of our marriage he should keep the details of his delicious dinner to himself) I let him do all the rest of the dishes.

What a long day- it must be time for bed.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

36w1d- the most pregnant I have ever been!

First, some good, and non-pregnancy related news- I passed my licensing exam with plenty of room to spare!  What a huge relief, and an accomplishment.  I feel like, if I can pass this exam while parenting two toddlers, at 34 weeks pregnant, in the midst of buying and selling a house, there is hope out there for everyone.  Hurray!  Now I need to do some state licensing activities, but hopefully within a few months I will be licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  I have no plans to leave my current job, and I won't actually make a whole lot more than I am right now, but should the time come when I want a change, I will be in a much better position to look for it.
36w pregnant with my friend Alex, who is 29w
And here I am, 36w1d pregnant, which is the longest I've been pregnant.  I didn't really expect to go into labor overnight last night, but here I am.  Who knows how much longer I'll be pregnant- I have to say that I am really hoping it's not 4 more weeks.

How far along?  36w1d
Total weight gain/loss? I am assuming more weight gain.  My appetite has been much smaller recently, I think I am out of room in there.  The crazy part of me thinks, "well hopefully a smaller appetite will lead to less weight gain..." but the rational part of me knows that at this point, my body will do whatever it wants to do.
Maternity clothes? Yes. I'm tired of the few I have and can't wait to go back to normal clothes.  
Pregnancy symptoms?  Heartburn is more frequent.  I am irritable, and a little more hormonal.  I have to pee ALL THE TIME.  I have tons of Braxton-Hicks.  My back is stiff.  I have a weird pain sometimes at the top of my left leg.  I feel full really easily and if I eat too much I feel nauseous.
Stretch marks? Yes.  I won't look at them.  And  my skin feels all tight and tired.
Sleep? Sleep has been tough.  I have trouble falling asleep if I'm too full, and I have been very sensitive to the sound of Eric's snoring/breathing, so I end up sleeping in the guest room a lot (or sending him in there).  I am waking up 2-3 times a night to pee, and it's not a guarantee that I'll fall back to sleep after I'm up.  Ugh.  I am definitely tired, and am trying to nap when the boys nap if I can.  
Best moment last week? There were many moments of sweetness with my little guys.
Movement?  Her movement feels slowed- it is still frequent but just feels slower.  It definitely feels like it's getting tighter in there for her.
Food cravings? As usual, nothing in particular.  I am enjoying apples and grapes a lot!
Gender? It better still be a girl! I just washed and folded a load of pink baby clothes.  
Labor signs? Nothing.  I have Braxton-Hicks, of course, but at my appointment on Wednesday I did let my OB do an internal, and he told me that my cervix is still high and not dilated at all.  He said maybe 50% effaced.  That does not sound indicative of labor to me.  I know those things can change quickly, but I don't really think it's happening anytime soon.
Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: Ability to move.  It's hard to get my boots on, to bend over a lot, to hop up from the couch and chase my boys, lift my boys, carry my boys...
What I am looking forward to: Well, we close on our new house on Friday but I'm not really looking forward to it.  2 mortgages until our house sells?  Help!  But I am starting to get ready for Hanukkah- I bought the boys' gifts today.  Given our financial constraints it's a nothing-fancy year for us.  I got them tons of books at a bargain bookstore and TJ Maxx, as well as little water bottles, stickers, and coloring books. 
Milestones: Being pregnant this long!  And now I'm going to the doctor every week instead of every-other-week.  I washed the laundry for the baby and started gathering items for a hospital bag.  We have the various components of the car seat in one place (my parents' house).

I am eager to see what this little girl looks like and meet her, but I am not looking forward to a change in our family of 4.  Things have been pretty good with the boys lately- they are so cute and sweet and we have a general routine that works for us.  I am really dreading shifting my attention away from the boys for any reason, even if this baby is a good one.  I also know that it's difficult physically being pregnant and a mommy of toddlers, but I imagine it will be worse trying to take care of a baby and two toddlers.  I know I won't love the boys any less just because I love this new baby, but I think I worry that's what will happen.  And what if they feel like I do even if it's not true?

In general I am looking forward to what the future holds- our new family member, a new home, career advancement.  It is just a little stressful in the meantime.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

cutest kids on the planet

Just a few pictures of the cutest boys I know- since I feel that they have not been showcased enough recently in lieu of my other nonsense and anxieties.

Going on a morning bike ride:

Mommy's "two guys" as they call themselves, barely respecting the boundary between the dining room and kitchen:

Baking sugar cookies with Meema:

Asher is really talking a lot more.  He can be very funny, but he is also developing some good manners- he says please, thank you, and excuse me ("scuse-a me!").  He is also a sensitive little guy- I guess that is mommy's empathy.  Tonight I started to cry while describing the book "Love You Forever" in an effort to describe why I can't read the book to the boys... and Asher was across the room, he rushed over to check on me and pushed a tissue at me to dry my eyes and gave me a hug.  What a sweet boy.

Benjamin is taking after, and very attached to, Grandpa Nick.  He is Grandpa Nick's helper whenever we are over there- with dishes, taking out the trash, checking on things and fixing them.  Tonight I saw Benjamin stop playing for a minute, get up, and just go over to get a big hug from Nick.  As Eric commented, "our boys are lucky to have so much family around to love them." A friend sent us a book about a boy getting a baby sister he doesn't want, and I have tried to read it to Benjamin, but all he wants to do is look at the pictures of the little boy in the book's toys.  I think he is going to be very confused when I come home with a new human and not a new truck.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thanksgiving 2012

The boys, with cousin Eli on the left, reading with me after dinner
As we do every year, we have much to be thankful for.  Not just the basics, like the roof over heads, the food on the table (and in the fridge, pantry, freezer...), and the heat in our home.

We are lucky to have such a big and loving family, who take good care of us.  I know that Eric and I will never be homeless or go hungry with the family we have.  We always have someone to lend a hand with our boys, to help move a piece of furniture, or to pick up the milk we forgot at the store.  At points in our marriage, Eric and I had discussed moving other places, but I'm glad we never did- we really need the help we get from our family!  Not just my parents, but also my Aunt Jane and Uncle Ed, who are sweet and loving with our boys.

We are also lucky to have Eric's family, even though they're farther away.  I know how loved our children are, and they are always so generous and affectionate with our children (and us!).  It is also amazing that my boys have 6 living great-grandparents, as well as Pierrette.  I am glad that my grandparents and P have come here to be near us so that my children can know them well in their final years.

I am thankful for this surprise pregnancy, which will bring us our daughter and complete our family.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be pregnant, and for every kick she gives.  I am thankful that so far, Petunia appears to be a healthy, normal baby, and I have had a completely healthy, normal pregnancy.  After all the complications last time around, it is miraculous to have had such an uneventful pregnancy.

Of course I am thankful every minute of every day for our two beautiful boys.  I always wanted to be a mommy, but never imagined that it would be like this.  I am stunned by their sweet faces and loving embraces.  How could I be so lucky as to have TWO healthy, affectionate, curious, loving and lovable children?  Of course they are not perfect, and we all have our moments, but all things considered, I won the lottery with these two.  I feel honored that I am their mommy, and that they choose to love me as much as I love them.

I am thankful that we have the opportunity to move to a new home in the neighborhood we love to raise our children.  It is the best of everything to have the space we need close to the friends and neighbors we are attached to.

I am thankful that I have a job I love in a career I love.  At times, it is difficult to have both a career and a family, but for the most part, I have a job that allows me flexibility and professional growth.  I knew that when I decided to apply to graduate school back in 2003, but I am happy to see it play out the way it has.  I am extremely lucky to have fallen into the job I have right out of school- I have a very supportive supervisor in a laid-back environment, which suits me perfectly.

I am also thankful for Eric's big brain and his good job- he also has a supportive and understanding boss who takes good care of his employees.  I am lucky that Eric is so smart and works in a field where he'll always be in demand.  It is a huge relief to know that he will always be employed.

And, cheesy as it is, I am thankful that I'm American and live in this country.  Bitch though we may about one thing or another, I don't think there is a better place to live.  I don't think of myself as particularly patriotic, but with all the family I have in Israel who spent days living with a certain degree of fear, I am reminded of just how much we take our safety, and so much more, for granted in this country.  I love to travel, and I love the lifestyle in other places, but this will always be home.

I don't say it enough, but I am thankful everyday for my husband.  He is a devoted daddy and husband.  Although he isn't a mind reader like I sometimes wish he were, he is a wonderful dad doing a wonderful job raising our boys.  Our relationship has certainly taken a back seat a lot of the time over the past few years, but I know he's always on my side.

That's enough for tonight!  Time to try to sleep- it's not going so well these days, unfortunately.  Thank goodness for naps!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone- and I hope your turkey was as delicious as ours!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

35w picture and a long weekend

35 weeks

On Friday I started to feel like maybe things were finally starting to calm down.  After play group at our house and lunch out with Meema, both boys went down for a nap and I found myself without my laptop, without my work files, and without anything that needed to be done.  And I took a nap!  It was wonderful.

But after nap, Asher woke up feverish.  And he's been kind of under the weather ever since.  With advil he seems pretty much himself, but as it wears off he gets cranky, clingy, and whiny.  And he definitely feels warm!  We don't have a working thermometer, the one we had that was closest to working has been packed away somewhere, but of course I can feel when he's hot.  I'll be calling the doctor in the morning, and knowing them, they'll tell me to bring the boys in.  Benjamin woke up from his nap today feeling really warm, too.  His mood was fine until bedtime when he started to cry and just seemed ready to get in bed.

I was supposed to go out for dinner for Meema's birthday, which was today, but I backed out because I feel so tired myself, and really don't want to get whatever my little guys might have.  I am scheduled to work Monday and Tuesday before I take the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving, and if the boys wake up sick tomorrow I'm not sure if they can go in to school on Tuesday.  UGH.  Sometimes being a working mom is a little harder than others.

We also had another open house today.  While there has been a fair amount of traffic in our house, no one has made an offer yet.  Is it unrealistic to think that someone might have wanted to snap it up right away?  I know it's only been on the market for 10 days, but I think it's time for someone to buy it.  It would sure make me feel better!

The money stuff has me so stressed out right now.  We already felt stressed out paying preschool tuition (all due within the first 4 months of school) and paying for our new roof, and now we are adding to it all the little odds and ends to fix up our house to have it on the market, as well as our deposit on our new house.  I feel like an ostrich, and just want to bury my head in the sand and not look at our bank account or credit card bill.

And, we heard that Eric's grampa is not well.  I am a little in denial, or maybe trying to be in denial, because he is such a sweet man and I could not stand if something happened to him.  Of course, he is 88, so is at an age where little things add up quickly and big things can be devastating.  My grandpa Sy is also in the hospital but my dad has very little information, so I am not sure what is happening or what his prognosis is.  I guess the downside to our having 6 grandparents between us is that they are aging, and one day we will lose them.  In some sense, I am prepared- as I have said before, my grandparents have faded significantly over the years and I have already mourned the loss of who they used to be.  But still, I hate that they might suffer, and that I am still losing them more and more.

As far as the pregnancy goes- I am having a lot more Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I am definitely feeling less comfortable.  At the same time, I know I will never be pregnant again, and I am trying to enjoy the positive aspects of the pregnancy- like feeling her move all the time and that feeling of having a life inside of me- it is such a privilege.

I have my 36 week appointment a few days early this week because of the holiday.  I'll have my Group B Strep test, and I'm undecided as to whether I'll get or refuse an internal.  I am beginning to wish I had a crystal ball and knew when this baby was coming so I could plan accordingly, but I don't think an internal will actually give me any answers.  Regardless, it might really be time to start getting ready!

So it has been a rough couple of days, with a lot of not-so-hot news.  I just feel overwhelmed, I think I keep telling myself "ok, just get through x and you'll be fine... just get through y and you'll be fine..." but it is like being on a treadmill- there is no real end in sight at this point.  Right now, I want to get to Thursday and enjoy my family and be thankful- and eat turkey.

Monday, November 12, 2012

34w2d, and one hurdle passed

Could they be any cuter?!?
Well, I took my exam today, hurray!  There is no way to know whether I passed or failed, so I have to just put it behind me now and move on.  There is so much else to do, with our buying a new house and trying to sell our current home.  Our house went on the market on Thursday and got a fair amount of attention over the weekend, but no offers yet (is it unrealistic to think someone would want to snap it up immediately?).  It has been completely nuts trying to get things fixed and cleaned around the house while trying to study and care for the boys.

The boys have been, for the most part, very cooperative in having their needs ignored.  They've made 2 trips to Ikea without complaint- although I am sure the ice cream cones at the end help with their agreeableness!  They have mostly spent the past 2 weekends doing what mommy and daddy need to do, so this past Sunday, when the weather was perfect as can be, we went to the zoo.  The big let-down, which the boys handled better than I did, was that the kids' petting zoo is closed til spring!  We still had fun.  The funniest moment was when we got there and were looking for parking, Eric drove past the main gates and Benjamin started to cry in the backseat thinking we weren't going to the zoo at all.  He said, "This zoo!  This zoo!"  And Asher piped up from next to him, "Calm down, Boo Boo."  What a bossy boy!

The pictures on here are from our photo shoot 2 weeks ago- they are so great! I am totally biased, but I can't get over how adorable my kids are.  I can't stop looking at the pictures, I am really pleased with them.  When I get the digitals, I will post more on here.  The same photographer is going to do a newborn shoot with the baby when she gets here, too.

No belly picture this week- I haven't gotten myself dressed nicely, and plus I feel huge and unattractive.  Ugh.
From our photo shoot 2 weeks ago

How far along?  34w2d
Total weight gain/loss?  I did gain weight from my previous appointment.  I feel humongous.  My OB reassured me that my weight gain is not a problem, basically telling me to get over it.  He also told me how much I weighed with my boys, which I hadn't known, and I'm not going to say, but let's say... I lost over 50 lbs after they were born.  Wow!
Maternity clothes? Yes. And I outgrew a pair of my maternity pants.  
Pregnancy symptoms?  Not too many.  Heartburn while I'm at work- it's awful.  I worry about grimacing while people are looking at me, which is generally not the facial expression I like to make when I am trying to convey empathy and understanding.
Stretch marks? Pretty sure I have new ones on my lower stomach.  I seem to be carrying very low, and it is stretching me out.  With the boys, they moved up vertically but she seems to be hanging out at the bottom.
Sleep? Just not sleeping through the night.  All the anxiety of the test, house stuff, the endless to-do list means that once I'm awake my mind gets going and won't slow down.  
Best moment last week? Enjoying dinner out tonight with my family, and getting compliments on the boys' behavior from the people at the next table!
Movement?  Still regular and reassuring.  She seems to love sugar- I drink coffee every day and that has no effect on her movement, but if I eat some dessert she goes wild!
Food cravings? No real cravings.  I like lots of fruits and vegetables.  In the past few days, I've also gotten extra-hungry.  It is a difficult combination to have with my weight gain, because I feel guilty for eating (yes, this is a deeper issue).
Gender? I assume still a girl.  As far as I know, there won't be any more ultrasounds, so confirmation of gender will happen when she's born.  
Labor signs? Braxton Hicks.  I also think I lost part of my mucus plug last night, but when I called my OB in a panic (anxiety about the test directed toward other matters), he said there is no such thing.  Ok, well, not to be gross, but if it wasn't a mucus plug, what was it? I have never seen anything like that before.
Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: Exercise. I know I am still active, but I find myself watching joggers with envy.  I am actually eager to get back to it!
What I am looking forward to: Thanksgiving!!!!!  My favorite holiday.  Love all the family and all the food.  I can't wait to have family in town, and have my guys enjoy it all.  They already gobble every time I say Thanksgiving, which cracks me up.  
Milestones: I am at the point where I came off bed rest with the boys, and haven't had any restrictions or complications.  Next up, I have my Group B Strep test in a week and a half.  I told my mom I would love to have the baby on 12/12/12, when I will be 38w4d.  Then I realized- that's in a month!  Help!  Both Eric and I turned pale and panicked when we realized that "full term" (37w) is just over 2 weeks away.  We have been fooling ourselves that this might go on forever and we wouldn't have to deal with a newborn!  

Also, I did order a coming home outfit for her, and once it arrives, I will wash it and start packing my hospital bag.  Now that my exam is over, I am going to start sorting through baby clothes so I will know what more I need for those early days.  I can't believe how quickly time, and this pregnancy, have passed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

evidence we are 100% nuts

Well, I have not said anything here or to many of my friends because I wanted to be sure- but now it looks like it's really happening...

We're buying a new house.  Now.  Like, probably closing by the end of the month.  Oh, wait, I am taking my big licensing exam in a week?  Right, yes.  And I'm 33 weeks pregnant?  Mm-hmm.  Yes, it certainly sounds like now is an ideal time to buy a new house, fix up the house we live in, and sell it.  Yes, we definitely needed more to do.

But an opportunity presented itself that seemed too good to pass up.  A neighbor of ours passed away unexpectedly- he was a widower with grown children.  He lived on our block in one of the larger, single-family homes (ours is a twin, or duplex, whatever you prefer to call it).  We left a note for the family letting them know that if they were interested in selling, we were interested in buying- that our family is expanding and we are outgrowing our current house but want to stay in this neighborhood.  They responded a week later saying they wanted to sell, and we quickly struck an agreeable deal.

Now it is home inspections, agreements to buy, deposits and money, and we have to get a contractor in there because it needs a kitchen.  But it's 4 bedrooms, with room for a play room separate from our living room.  It is enough room for us to stay there forever, if need be.  With mortgage rates as they are, we won't even be paying more month-to-month!  We are very excited to have a home that is the right size for us, and to design a new kitchen for ourselves.

As a result, poor Petunia has no nursery.  Thank goodness pack-n-plays are portable, because who knows where we'll be living for the first few weeks or months of her life- if our house (fingers crossed) sells quickly, we will end up in my parents' house for some period of time while we get a kitchen in place.

I am really looking forward to having it all settled- I don't like moving, and I will miss our happy little house.  We have had such wonderful times here.  But wherever we are, we will still be our family.  I am sure as the boys get older, they will like having a bigger room with more room for books, toys, and to play.

I had been looking forward to getting through my exam and focusing on getting ready for the baby- making a nursery for her, nesting.  Now we are shaking things up and I won't get to nest right now, but I will make a special little room for her in our new house.  Good thing I didn't go crazy buying baby things!

That's our big news for now.  Tonight our township supposedly had a rescheduled Halloween, but not too many people got the memo.  I took the boys out, but there were so few houses passing out candy and it was so cold that we came home pretty quickly.  Asher LOVED handing out candy to anyone who came by.  He kept yelling "More people! More people!" to try to get people to magically appear at our door.  He also wouldn't take off his monkey costume.  He was seriously adorable.

The boys tonight:
I had told them to hold hands
And me, 33w1d, since we missed any picture last week.  Well, we took real pictures with a photographer, but I don't have them yet.
I definitely look pregnant...
I still feel generally very well, so that is great.  Yesterday I took the boys to Ikea and didn't even need a nap afterward!  They were total angels there, I felt so lucky.  They made up for it this morning, though...  That's 2 year-olds for you.