T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Activities - Part I - Tree Trimming...

Don't let the picture deceive you - it was not a Christmas in Connecticut serene decorating event. My dear friend since age 13 years came for a visit this past week (More on that in another posting). I was telling her I took these photos of the kids decorating the tree. From the photos it looks like I have these perfect, calm, well mannered children. But one does not see what happens between photos or how I had to get the photos. 

First, we put up our decorations on December 10th -  somewhat late because, well, we're tired and busy and having three kids has hit us hard, especially with the third being a baby. I'm not in any of the photos because I was busy tending to said baby who happened to be having one of her three hour cry-a-thons. These frazzle me so I was pretty tense most of the time we were decorating.

Next, I have my children somewhat trained to stop, pose, and smile for the camera. This first shot, T saw his dad filming him decorate the tree. When he saw the camera he stopped to pose with the gingerbread man. It was such a cute moment that he did that, my hubby took a still photo to capture the moment. We'll skip the video - crying baby and all. 

Next, the kids were never simultaneously putting on ornaments. Most of the time one was rooting around in the box of ornaments or picking an ornament apart while the other was hanging. The photo of the two of them decorating the tree was totally posed. I made them both freeze in place while holding or pointing at an ornament so I could get a decorating shot. Hanging the angel was very much the same - Hubby did most of the hanging (it being a 100 year old angel and all) and left just the last bit for Sister to do. I missed the shot of her doing her hanging so I had to have them repeat the moment so I could capture it. 

Our traditional decorations were put out. I wanted to show the stockings as I think this is the last year we'll not have matching stockings. Since I feel pretty strongly that our family is not going to grow any more, I am planning matching stockings with all our names on them. We'll see if I can pull it off before next Christmas.

The last photo of the kids snuggling one another is genuine sibling love - that was unprompted and I am grateful to my kids for reminding me what Christmas is all about. I was so concerned about capturing the perfect pictures of our tree trimming.

Oh, the tree looked terrible but I think it has been our prettiest ever - the ormanets were heavy loaded on the front bottom, some branches having 4-5 ornamets while entire sections of the tree were bare. Some ornaments were hung up-side-down or hung after being picked apart. The lights were sparse. Still, a lovely tree and one we enjoyed this season.

Plus, you gotta love that T wanted to hear his Halloween jammies to decorate for Christmas. 

More on our Christmas events but that's all I have in me tonight - baby calls...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Santa Visit 2013

Last year we were fortunate in that our visit to Santa was a mostly private affair. This year we did not have that luxury. Thus, we braved the lines and crowds (I waited in line with the baby for 2 hours) but we had an awesome visit. He is the real Santa for sure. See last year for comparison (am I right?!?).

We did not plan to get professional photos taken. However, when we saw Santa (again, the real Santa) we had to. He was incredible with the kids and Mrs. Claus suggested the posed photo (recall the one that was all over the internet last year - our Santa in our town). We figured it was our one and only last time to do this with a baby so why not. If she was not going to cooperate we figured we'd bag the whole thing and just get a regular shot of the big kids. Well, our sleeping babe cooperated and it made for one fun photo.

I am chuckling a bit as T is wearing the same shirt from last year's Santa visit. Aside from that and the long wait, it was a fairly pleasant experience. We've never had great photos. Usually someone is screeching and unhappy but this year the kids (all three) nailed it. 

T took his little catalog along to show Santa what he wanted. It's quite modest because as he says, "Greedy kids don't get anything." He really thought long and hard about wanting the huge big item in the catalog but when I explained how big it was and read the reviews he had second thoughts. Still he considered just purchasing it with his own funds but then I explained we had no place to store such a toy. I explained how it makes me sad when he or his sister ask for things we cannot get whether it be due to cost or size. Then I told him about when I was a young person and wanted a horse and how my mom felt when we could not get one. Then he chose something different and explained how cool it was and that he was equally excited. It was a cool parenting moment seeing the cycle come full circle. But back to T -  I thought it charming and cleaver he took the photo to show Santa. After his visit he said Santa totally knew what it was and thought it was a wise choice.

Big Sis thanked Santa for last year's princess castle and then asked for some Barbies, Barbie clothes, and "a Wonder Woman with a golden lasso in her invisible jet." She knew EXACTLY what she wanted. She was all smiles and just wanted to hug him. I specifically asked the photographer to take a candid shot of the kids talking with Santa. And let me tell you, Santa knows his toys!

I'll go ahead and share the photos with you and keep things brief as I hear my little one stirring when she should be napping. Plus, there are cards to be addressed and a few goodies to be wrapped while everyone naps. If you get a card this year, consider how fortunate you are as finding the time to get them out has been a challenge. My hat is off to all of you in the 3+ kid club - tough going around here.

More later including our decorating. In the mean time, I hope you and you loved ones have enjoying this magical time of year thus far.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bath Time...

I still have the older kids get into the bath together. They love it (especially since they usually do showers), and I know the days of being able to do so are numbered - they are growing up way too fast.

Thus, when Baby Sister (aka Honey Bear or Baby Bee - we're still working out her nickname) was ready for her first bath, the kids insisted she get in with them or as they said, "We can give her the first bath. No really, Mom. Please, please, please..." Of course, I was too scared to just put her in the bath tub, even if she had her mesh holder to keep her upright. So, I had to get in, too. By the way, Baby's umbilical stump fell off around day 7 or 8 but she had a granuloma at the umbilical site so I had to wait until it was removed and the area healed for her to be able to have that first bath. 

At first, she looked like she was about to cry. Then she realized the water was warm and comfortable. After that she stretched out and had a grand time. I will post more photos of her and her first bath on her blog site - I created a very simple blog for her and her photos. For now, here are a few of my favorite photos from this first bath experience with all the kids in the tub. 

I had to get one of the feet - they are my favorite features on my kids. And I LOVE baby feet. I think I've mentioned my kids newborn foot prints are all framed in the house. I think I have as many framed feet as I do regular photos. I don't put up that many photos in the house. The last photo is of my clean, clean baby in her nightgown given her by her Nana. She smelled so wonderful after her bath and massage with Burt's Bees lotion. Now we have three hooded towels hanging in the bathroom.

Monday, November 11, 2013

40 Weeks...

So look who decided to show up right on time...

It has been quite the adventure getting this little one here but we are so happy she is here and doing so well.

I have lots more photos from her early hours and days. I am still contemplating if I want to post those here or start a new blog for her like the other kids have and post them there. For now, I have a very limited window of blogging so I will post these with and over view of her birth story.

I had been having contractions on and off for about 4 weeks. Prior to her birth, we presented to the labor and delivery department twice for consistent contractions. Hence, the last time there was a lot of hesitation for going in too early or even at all.

I was scheduled to work on my regular days but the Thursday before my regular Friday I started to have painful contractions all day. Actually, they started during an impromptu play date at the aquarium. I recall driving home around noon and thinking how these contractions felt different. Still, they were about 7-8 minutes apart and I was very skeptical. They continued until 7:00 am the following morning. Then once again, they stalled. I was glad we did not go back to the hospital just to be sent home. Because I did not sleep that night I called my office manager and said I would not be in. She blocked my schedule for that day and thereafter. I was pretty frustrated. I went ahead and took the kids to school and came home, rested for a bit, and then started cleaning. Cleaning more out of frustration versus nesting.

Then amidst my cleaning I started to notice I was having some light spotting. This was interesting to me as I had never had that prior to labor. However, I'd also never had full on spontaneous labor so I was encouraged. But still no contractions. That was about noon. I picked the kids up at school at 5:00 and while I was standing in the parking lot I actually had to pause from discomfort.

Also a couple other tidbits - the power went out while I was picking up the kids. Also, I forgot that I was going to take a bath before I picked up the kids and left the tub water running. Luckily, the emergency drain picked up most of it and there was no flood but I sure felt terrible missing my bath and waisting all that water. I guess I was more preoccupied than I thought. Glad I did not go to work, I could have given the wrong meds or dosing.

I texted Hubby with the update. He offered to take us to dinner so I would not disturb my clean house. Initially, I agreed but then as the contractions continued and were getting more and more uncomfortable I opted for take out. I texted the take out order to my neighbor by mistake. Again, was starting to be a little out of it.

As the evening progressed the contractions continued but still about 8-10 minutes apart. When they hit I was on my ball or doing my hyponobirthing relaxation techniques. In between, I was fine. The kids were awesome. They snuggled me on the couch and we watched Stuart Little. They would jump out of the way every time a contraction hit so I could get on my ball or on my hands/knees. This was the preferred position of comfort. Lil Sister would even pat or rub my back to relax me.

We put the kids to bed and I put my sister on stand by as well as the neighbors. I told Hubby there was no way I was going to sleep but he should try to sleep and I would work on my relaxation in preparation for the hospital. He took a shower and packed some last minute items so we would be ready to go.

Around 1:00 am the spotting was getting worse and I was having more frequent (about every 5-6 minutes) and more painful contractions. My relaxation techniques were working but it was taking all my concentration. I really wanted the contractions to be 4-5 minutes apart for a full hour before heading to the hospital. At 1:30 I texted my sister to wake her - no response. Still, I felt there was time.

At 2:00 am I was certain we needed to head to the hospital. I called my sister a couple of times and still no answer. I was starting to not be able to speak or stand during contraction so I could not keep calling her. Instead, Hubby called Good Neighbors D&M. They were already awake having seen our lights on and they were over in 4 minutes. I did not even go out to see them, I went right to the car.

I tried calling my sis again at 2:40 while en route to the hospital, I had about a 2 minute window of pain free where I could speak but I still could not reach her. Instead, I left a message to call the neighbors and coordinate with them. They were both at the house with their books while the big kids continued to sleep.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:00 am. It is a short walk into the labor and delivery section but we had to pause three times due to painful contractions. My relaxation techniques were still working.

When inside, I was assigned a room and asked to change. I could barely give the urine sample they wanted or even put on a gown. It took what seemed like forever for a nurse to show up. Apparently, it was a busy night and only the charge nurse was available. I did not care. She started by hooking me up to monitors. This is where I started to struggle. I was very uncomfortable sitting still in a bed. My relaxation techniques were starting to fail me when I could not shift positions. She asked my pain management plan - I explained I was trying to do hypnobirth. She said she just needed to get a good 20-30 minutes of readings with me laying down and then she would fill up the tub for me to continue laboring. This she said before she had checked anything.

Then she started asking all the same questions I had answered during my previous two stays. I was a bit annoyed. I understand why the questions need to be asked but I was not in the mood to reply I was a non-smoker and non-drinker for the third time. Then the nurse looked at the monitor and saw that the contractions were coming every 2 1/2 minutes and off the charts. She stopped what she was doing and checked my cervix. I was at 6 cm and full effaced. Plus, she could feel baby's head. She left to call the doctor but I had to stay hooked to the monitors and in the bed.

I was extremely uncomfortable laying in the bed. I tried shifting from side to side. Finally, I had Hubby sit me up. The monitors were not all that happy but I did not care. I could not focus on my relaxation if I could not control how I could position my body.

Then other nurses started coming in.As one said, when you come in at 6 cm dilated you will meet all the nursing staff as they need to get things done before they run out of time. The charge nurse came back and said my doctor was on his way - poor guy, woke him up again at the wee hours of the morning, this time for good reason. Next a nurse said she had to do an ultrasound to ensure the baby's head was down. She was a really sweet cheerful nurse so it was hard to get grumpy with her but I had to lay flat on my back. I explained she had about 1-2 minutes of time when I would be comfortable enough to do it. She did her best. But that's when I was starting to lose control over my relaxation.

Next, another nurse came in to start my IV. Again, had to sit up. My relaxation techniques were continuing to fade. The IV hurt horribly, worse than a contraction, but it only took one attempt. I asked her to run the fluid bolus and send out my blood work as I may ask for pain management. She said I needed to make a quick decision if I wanted pain management because we were running out of time. Hubby and I took a few moments to discuss but he said ultimately it was my decision. He was supportive of whatever I wanted.

All this time, I recall seeing very little as most of the time I had my eyes closed and was using my breathing and relaxation techniques. They were keeping me pulled together during contractions but as the position restrictions and questions continued, I could certainly feel them slipping away. Plus, I did not have my suitcase with my relaxation music and I just had no free moments to focus.

Then the shakes set in. I could not stop shaking. A nurse tried wrapping me in warm blankets but I was not cold and when the next contraction hit, Hubby was pulling blankets off of me as my urgent request. Because of the shakes, the nurse was worried that I was in transition. She check my cervix again, 7-8 cm and yes, I was in transition. They stopped filling the tub since I was not going to be able to use it because the baby was coming and coming fast.

I also recall Hubby wanting to do something to help. We had practiced all these massage and light tough techniques during birthing class. All that went out the window as I wanted nothing touching me - no blankets, nothing. Period. So he offered some ice chips. That was welcomed but it seemed the staff kept putting me on my back and when he would try to feed me ice chips, they would spill down my gown. I know he felt so helpless and just wanted to do something to help. Actually, just knowing he was close was important to me. I know he wanted to do something.

At that point I realized I was not going to have the chance to continue my hypnobirthing. Because everything was going so fast and I could not focus from all the interruptions, I asked for pain management. They immediately called the nurse anesthetist. He came in and started going over everything with me but at this point things were really starting to pick up. I was violently shaking and the contractions were every 2 minutes. Plus, I could feel the baby pushing down.

I recall sitting on the edge of the bed and the CRNA scrubbing my back to do an epidural and the nurse holding my knees in place. I was continuing to breath through the contractions and the CRNA would only work in those brief windows between contractions. Then I heard a pop. Apparently no one else heard it but it seemed really loud to me - my water broke. That CRNA was awesome - he would just pause keeping his sterile field in place during these moments. Again, my eyes were closed and I was breathing. The nurse asked if I was pushing and I said no but I could feel my body pushing the baby out. I think had the doctor been there I would have probably just pushed the baby out but we were waiting for him and then he walked in as the CRNA was threading the epidural catheter. Then he said he was going to just give me a shot of anesthesia because he did not think there would be time for me to actually use the epidural. However, he went ahead and hooked it up if I needed something should it take longer.

I was completely amazed that the CRNA was able to get the pain meds into me in time, with all the violent shaking, and during brief windows between contractions. I also recall the nurse telling me I was doing a good job - this helped and kept me going. Mostly, though, I was so tickled that I was experiencing spontaneous delivery without pitocin.

The doctor came in and he wanted to wait for the anesthesia took effect. The shaking and contractions continued but I could feel the pain easing. He and I chatted for a while. He really adores T and wanted to hear some stories of his latest adventures as a budding super hero. I know he was trying to offer distraction. Plus, this little bit of a break offered me the chance to compose myself because up to that point, all my efforts had been toward concentrating. It was nice to relax and be able to enjoy the final moments of pregnancy and actually see our daughter being born. Plus, I could see the relief on Hubby's face as I relaxed and had relief. My phrase for the morning was "Rob Rocks" because that CRNA saved the final moments of our labor - had he been like my last two epidurals with 2-3 attempts each, we would have lost our window of pain relief. He had one shot and he did it. I was completely impressed. And no, I did not end up needing the epidural drip just the spinal shot he gave.

Baby was born at 5:07 so about 2 hours after we got to the hospital. And we ended up finishing the questions and signing the consent forms after the birth. And yes, I had tearing. This little girl's head was bigger than either of my last two children. It was not horrible like with T but still I had to be stitched up which is never a pleasant experience.

I was also starving and Hubby went to get me some food from the pantry down the hall. Then at 7:00 I had breakfast delivered. My sister did call at 6:00 having received my voicemails. She had set her phone by her bed but forgot to turn it to ring.

When things were stable I sent Hubby home to sleep. Neither of us had slept in over two nights but he had to take care of the big kids so he went home and slept, my sister took the kids back to her house, and I hung out with our new baby daughter.

She was 7 lbs, 1.3 oz, 20 inches. Apgar scores were 9/9 at all times. This little one was roaring and very alert and active. And all the nurses and the doctor were intrigued by our cloth diapers. They all wanted to feel and touch them and the baby nurses were very excited to put on a cute purple diaper after her bath.

I also was able to hold the baby immediately after she was born. I was not able to do this with either of my other babies. That was pretty awesome.

Overall, I was very happy with my birth experience. Seriously happy I went into labor on my own and had no pitocin to induce labor. It is standard protocol following delivery particularly for mutiparous mothers. I also experienced about 90% of a natural delivery and it actually worked out perfectly that things could calm down at the end and I could regroup and enjoy the last of the experience and actually open my eyes. I think I just waited too long to go to the hospital. Had I been able to get there, spend some time in the tub, play my calming music, and move around, I bet I could have gone all the way without pain management. However, when I had no control over what was happening, I lost my ability to use the tools I came prepared to use. I am grateful that it all worked out for me to have that extra help at the end and ultimately enjoy and embrace the final stages of labor.

So, there you have it. Our birth story. Lots of details but this is for our records and history.

We are tickled to pieces at this charming little girl - she is spectacular and wonderful. I love her soft coos and little squeaks. She has the sweetest breath and gentlest spirit. She is already adored by all who meet her.

We are honored to be her parents and be with her as she starts her life journey.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

37, 38 and 39 Week Update

It's been an up and down week regarding pregnancy and the baby. We are all very anxiously awaiting her arrival and she keeps teasing us, too.

Last Friday, we attended the school's Monster Mash. A dance where the kids get to wear their costumes, go through the haunted hallway, and dance in the gym. It was a delightful family affair. Actually, it was quite charming to see the girls coming up to T and waving at him or shyly saying hi and commenting about his Ninja Turtle costume. There are about 4 girls for every boy in T's class. It warmed both Hubby's and my hearts that he seems genuinely well liked by his peers. Plus, his glasses seem to make him really popular. Lil Sister totally got in on the action too wearing her Rapunzal costume. Both kids tore it up on the dance floor, me, too actually. I'm sure that was quite the sight. I'll include a photo of them right before we left. Hubby and I had worked the whole day and the kids had also been at school the whole day. We were all very tired but still went for an hour and had a blast.

That night I started to get some contractions - must have been all that dancing. The kids were so exhausted, Hubby and I actually had some time alone. We sat and just talked. It was so nice to talk uninterrupted. We haven't done that in a while. Then we were so exhausted we went to bed. I woke at about 1:00 with stronger contractions. These persisted and I would actually doze off in between but either dream about them or wake up about every 10-15 minutes. I did not sleep well. In the morning, everyone slept in but I got up because I just felt like I HAD to finish these baby booties and pumpkin hat. Cute, huh? Things were continuing. Actually, the contractions were coming about every 5-6 minutes at this point. I was also starting to get uncomfortable if I sat still so I continued doing chores and at 9:00 woke Hubby up saying, "I think we're going to have a baby today or tomorrow." 

We spent the day getting the house organized, the kids lined up to go to Aunt T's and Uncle Doc's place, went to lunch and took the kids to the school to play. While they played I walked in an attempt to get the contractions to get a bit stronger and more frequent. Actually, they were starting to get so strong that riding in the car was becoming quite uncomfortable, particularly if we went over a bump. We came home and went on another walk. Actually, a hike and I made them run sprints up the hill. I wanted tired kids if they were going to spend the night away from us (they do not do well staying in their bed). 

Back at home we had dinner, gave bathes, and packed a few last minute items. Still, as uncomfortable as I was getting, things were still pretty spaced at 5-6 minutes but consistent. At 8:00 we took the kids to their aunt and uncle's. It's a 30 minute drive. After we dropped them I insisted we come back home so I could labor at home until I felt it was urgent to get to the hospital. I asked Hubby to come with me on a walk in the neighborhood. We took a 45 minute walk and by the end things were definitely getting stronger. We went in and started watching my current favorite movie, The Avengers. We watched for almost two hours and I just could not take the discomfort anymore and the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. Then I started to shake. When Hubby said it was actually quite warm in our room and I was shivering he insisted we head to the hospital.

We went in at about 12:15. When I got there, I was having pretty consistent and strong contractions about every 3-4 minutes. The nurse checked my status and I was barely progressed from my appointment 2 weeks prior with the nurse practitioner. (I've been seeing the NP because 1 - I love NPs for obvious reasons, 2 - I only have to wait 15 minutes to see her instead of the minimum 45 to see the doctor, and 3 - she spends more time with me and just makes me feel better; don't get me wrong, I love our doctor, he's just over-stretched). Oh, and I don't get my cervix checked at all these end appointments. I find it does little to help my sanity. When she checked at that appointment, I was at 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced and baby was at 0 station. When the hospital nurse checked, after a day of laboring, I was at 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and 0 station. WOW! All that work for so little. I explained I've never been able to dilate without medication, hence, my hesitation for even coming in but with all the discomfort, frequency of contractions, and the shakes, I thought I better. She concurred. In fact, she started getting things ready to admit me but said she wanted me to walk and see if things progressed and then she would call the doctor.

So, we walked from 1:00 to 2:00. By that time I was so exhausted. Hubby, too. He would actually just lay down in the hall way at times when I took a rest during a contraction. At 2:30 there was no change but we hung around and were monitored to see what would happen for the next 30-45 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, everything just stopped. Period. I have no idea why. Maybe my body was just exhausted. Maybe my body knew I was getting a cold and that virus put a hault to everything. Who knows. But since then, nothing.

At my appointment yesterday I was once again scheduled to see the NP but the doctor insisted I see him instead. So, the kids and I waited for over an hour to see him. His concern is that I wait too long to get to the hospital because I am concerned about "crying wolf" again, which I am and explained that I had yet to make it to 4 cm without drug intervention. He says I could still do it on my own as every labor is different so he does not want me to chance it. Still, though, I don't want a repeat performance of this weekend. I was exhausted after all that. So our compromise, which is a compromise since I really had my heart set on all natural birth. The plan, if I have a repeat performance with regular contractions every 2-3 minutes, I go back to the hospital. If I am dilating, they admit me. If not and the hospital is not busy, they will induce. If nothing by 40+ weeks, we induce. It's a good compromise. I don't need 4th degree tearing again from a giant baby nor a c-section from a baby that cannot come out. But I also want to try to do the hypnobirthing if I can, even if I need to get a little pitocin, I'll decline on the epidural (if I can) and move around doing my positions as best as I can while being continuously monitored. My body just does not seem to be made to birth babies without help. We already know that had I given birth to T in a non-modern medicine age I would have died. So, some folks can do all that natural stuff in their homes and I am so happy for you that you can do this. But please don't look down on those of us who need a little push to get things going. 

I am still hopeful things will work out in accordance to my ultimate birth plan. I spend many moments during the day visualizing it and hoping it will come to pass. However, I am also trying to be flexible as it is the ultimate lesson parenthood has taught me and if I can master this lesson maybe I can move onto the next!

Oh, and the kids did wonderfully at their Aunt and Uncle's. They even went to a different church and had a blast. And they stayed in bed all night.

I am including some profile photos from 37, 38, and 39 weeks. The 39 week ones are not the best as the "official ones" were taken very early in the morning via camera timer with the camera being balanced on a chair right as we were walking out the door to drop the kids off for school. The shadow picture from that day was pretty cool, though. Also included is Lil Sister snuggling and talking with Baby Sister about coming out and joining us. That blanket on my tummy we are snuggling with is the one my Aunt gave me before she died.

Here's hoping Baby Sister makes her appearance soon. I thought for sure it would happen today as our doctor told us he would not be available between 4:30 and 6:30. Alas, it would not appear to be the case. We'll see. Sometimes we are surprised. I'd be fine with that. Now I'm off to eat spicy Vietnamese food...

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

A couple days after their big day of firsts, the kids had their school field trip to the pumpkin patch. This was a completely different experience than the pumpkin/tractor farm. Lil Sister and I drove via car but T was able to ride with his class in the bus. Still, though, the whole day, Lil Sister was a kindergartener just like her brother and hung out with his class.

I did get a request from Lil Sis for a new shirt just for her big day with the big kids - a pumpkin/jack-o-lantern. Hence, the photo at the beginning. Next, a photo of T with his girlfriend. Yes, he has a girlfriend. When I asked what they do as boyfriend/girlfriend his reply was, "We sit together during story time and play during recess." When I asked what he liked about her he said, "She's nice, sweet, and I like her short hair." By the way, her mom was also on the field trip. When she introduced herself I told her how happy I was to meet her as our kids were getting very tight. She concurred and said her daughter is always telling tales of her and T's adventures on the playground. Apparently, they have a fighting crime club of super heroes. They totally hold hands, too - it's quite sweet and charming. (Mind you, T still holds his sister's hand, too - so don't worry we're still good.) Oh, and the kids are wearing college attire for red ribbon spirit week - it was wear your university attire.

There is also a photo of the kids and teacher listening to a presentation on pumpkin seeds. I have a great group photo but I did not want to get too detailed on the blog. Mrs. T, the teacher, is in the blue sweatshirt on the far left in the 4th photo. 

We had a great time on the hay ride (which was Lil Sis's favorite part and T's least favorite part), trek through the corn maze, visit to the petting zoo (Lil Sis was SO excited to meet a real life miniature horse), picking pumpkins (T's favorite part), having pumpkin bread and milk (Mrs. T packed their milk all the way in a cooler from the school), and climbing on the hay bales that had a giant tube slide. I did not take too many photos as I did have to help in the herding of little kids - it was quite a hectic place. Still it was a fabulous and fun field trip.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Last week, particularly last Monday, was a big day in our home.

Hubby started a brand new job. He was at his last job for 18 years. It was a big leap to change after such a long time, but boy is he happy. He says it has been like Dorothy leaving the black and white world of Kansas behind and stepping into Oz - bright, colorful, and vibrant.  In short,  he is loving his job and having a great time.  We took a photo of him on his first day since we were all very excited for him.  Not only is his new work role a great one, but the hours and benefits are great as well, and it is very work/life balance friendly!   I could go on and on about his reports back to me.  Something I totally oooh and awed about was the fully stocked vending machines that are totally free - candy, chips, soda, snacks, etc. There's plenty of other food, too - fridges stocked with bread and sandwich makings, all the makings for an impromptu lunch or barbeque, fresh fruit, etc. He said his biggest concern at this new job is weight gain. There is a gym next door that he has been using so maybe it will balance things out. It's just so fun to see him being treated well and smiling when he eagerly leaves for work.  I realized recently that until now, I had never actually seen him giddy about work in the 12+ years we've been married.

The kids, on the same day, started at their new school programs. Yes, we cannot do change gradually around here - we have to do it all at once. My mom has been ill and can not take care of the kids. She is supposed to make a full recovery but it will take time. We hope maybe she can help with the baby in the new year but the kids have been loving their new programs so much that we plan to keep them on the same schedule regardless of whether she can help out again or not. It's a lot to ask a 74 year old woman to watch 3 kids. But I think she'd be bummed if she did not have time with the baby.

The program they are in is called "Just for Kids". It is an extension of our city school district. In fact, it is also on school grounds. It is somewhat of an onsite day care. However, much more elaborate than that. It's also a preschool and pre-kindergarten. The staff are all from the local university and are elementary education majors. T goes for a half day two days a week - he gets walked right over from his kindergarten class. Lil Sister (by the way, we need to change her blog name soon, huh?) is in pre-kindergarten two full days a week. There is plenty of structure, rest time, and they can bring their meals or eat in the school cafeteria. 

I did have to go get Lil Sis a nap pillow and bring in one of her blankets for rest time. She seems to not nap there but her teachers (she has two for the 8-10 kids in the class) say she always rests quietly during the entire nap period. (Shh, don't tell them but the secret to her doing so is her soft "blankie"). I also purchased new lunch boxes for the kids - they love JFK days because they get a "picnic lunch".

T does not have a rest period and loves that several of the kids from his kindergarten class are also in JFK with him. He's making lots of good friends. Oh, and his teacher in his after school class is a guy - he thinks that's totally cool to have a male teacher.

The security there is also impressive. My mom was especially worried about that (having been a preschool director for years) but we can only sign them in or out with thumb print recognition. I thought that was pretty cool, too.

So, everyone has done great. It does make for really early mornings on Mondays and Fridays when I drop them at school. Oh, Lil Sister also calls JFK school. Plus, she was begging and begging for weeks to go to school. I think two full days a week is just the right amount for her at this point - and I am just about over the guilt of her starting preschool well before her brother started school. We can always add more down the road. And before we know it, she'll be my kindergartener. I was talking with T's teacher about helping more in the class. She laughed and said I was doing plenty as I had two other kids that would be going through kindergarten so I better pace myself. Oh, and she totally wants Lil Sis in her class in two years. She already talks like it's a done deal. Maybe because our little girl joins in as often as possible with T's class. I'll post some photos of the pumpkin patch field trip we all went on last week soon.

For now, here are some first photos - Hubby on his first day at his new job (I am still smiling hearing the excitement in his voice as he told me of his day), Lil Sister and T on their first day at their new programs. I also had to include a photo of Lil Sis wearing her "big school girl" back pack - this one does not hold toys, but only school work. Oh, and I don't normally send them in their pajamas but it was red ribbon week and the first day was wear your pajamas to school day. They both wanted to wear their bones jammies so they could show off how they glow.

Congratulations to my husband and kids on their successful days of firsts - the dinner conversation that night was AWESOME!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boris Bear

In T's kindergarten class, each child gets a turn having Borris Bear. The goal is to teach him various things, particularly manners, and also enjoy him. Well, last week T had to skip his term as we thought we might be having a baby. So, his turn was postponed until things were more stable. Needless to say, he was really disappointed. Today, though, when I was in the class doing art (we had the most awesome art projects - I cannot wait to show them off soon), his teacher said it was going to be his turn. He was SO excited.

So, Borris came to hang out with us for the day and night. Immediately, T asked for me to make him a scarf of blue and brown. He said with the weather getting cold he needed something to keep him warm. He insisted on teaching him some of his favorite things - chess and legos. Plus, he wanted to teach him about table manners - specifically using a fork to eat his food. He also tried on his Superman outfit on him and realized his own build-a-bear is the exact same size. He decided the two of them were long lost relatives.

Of course, Lil Sister had to get in on the action, too. Note - she is still in her princess nightgown - ALL DAY! We pick our battles around here. I understand, though. If I had a princess nightgown like that when I was her age, I would not have wanted out of it either. it's too cool. So here are our photos of Borris' visit. It was wonderful. We'll be including them in his book along with an accompanying story of what we did together and what we taught him about manners. (By the way, the last photo is a rare one of our little guy minus his classes - he has such handsome blue eyes. Someday when he gets contacts it will be wonderful for him to show off those eyes. Plus, it's just cool he has blue eyes when the rest of us all have hazel/brown. Wonder what the newest little one will have?)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Punkin (Pumpkin) Patch 2013

This weekend was our pumpkin harvest. If you recall, each year we are invited to Good Neighbor D&M's parents' farm for pumpkin picking. If you recall, this year the kids helped with the planting. It was fun to see all the pumpkins being selected.

If you would like to walk down memory lane with our various visits, here are a couple of links. This is from our very first year. Lil Sis was just a tiny bean, less than a year old. She actually slept most of the time. Here's from two years ago. Last year we had so many fun adventures, I actually did a whole series of postings

These days I am pretty tired, uncomfortable, and grouchy. Thus, just a few photos. It was actually pretty nice this year. The kids were fairly independent and happy to participate and run with the other kids. Hubby and I actually had a nice visit with few kid interruptions. 

T was a little apprehensive but agreeable to drive the tractor this year. Both kids loved riding in the back of the gator truck. These also were very eager to pick pumpkins, too - especially the tiny ones. Plus, one of these gatherings is not complete without Good Neighbor M's special sugar cookies - both frosted and unfrosted. 

Lately T asks us daily what the highlight of our day is. Often I tell him to ask again at the end of the day. However, today Hubby took a photo of one of my daily highlights. On the way over to the farm, the kids were listening to Veggie Tales Silly Songs. The song playing was Dance of the Cucumber. It's quite hysterical and the kids are getting to the age where they understand some of the subtle as well as not so subtle humor. I was cracking up listening to them crack up at the funny humor. Hence, the photo in the car (plus, it shows off Lil Sister's funny headband she insisted on wearing). Otherwise, the rest are from the farm and our fun time.

Just a couple other updates before the photos. Hubby starts a new job tomorrow which he is very excited about, tomorrow the kids start afterschool and preschool just on Mondays and Fridays when I work, and the minivan arrived on Friday. Nothing like just a few changes going on. We've been talking for a while about sending Lil Sister to preschool. She's been begging to go actually. Since me mom is still not well enough to watch the kids, we opted to start her in school and then extend T's school time to include after school as well (again just on my work days). It's going to be a big change for all of us. Plus, Hubby's new work hours are earlier than at his old job so we're going to have to work on our night owl behaviors and get on a strict schedule. 

As far as the baby, I really feel like she's ready to come out. Now we need to get my body to cooperate. She's sitting at zero station (head down) which I've never had a baby sit that low for so long. It's nice to be able to eat and breathe again but the really frequent bathroom breaks and other "stuff" is not-so-fun. I am dilated a couple centimeters but I know I can hang out at that point for weeks. The nurse practitioner I've been having follow me these past few visits says when things kick off they should go fast but gosh these prodromal contractions at all hours of the day are starting to get old. I keep telling myself I'm being boiled slowly rather than being thrown into the frying pan. As I always say, all babies come out eventually. So, just keep going. 

For now, enjoy the farm photos...