Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rory at 2 (and a half) weeks



At two and a half weeks, Rory is still incredibly mellow.  Much of our family has come to visit for a few days at a time and I think everyone has left claiming they have not heard him cry.  The above pictures were actually taken on our bathroom floor.  I had put him down (awake) so that I could go to the bathroom.  He immediately just rolled to his side and drifted off to sleep.  Although I found this strange considering he doesn't even seem to like sleeping in his bassinet, it is a good example of how easy-going he seems to be.

Rory is still eating about every 3 hours at night.  He generally follows an eat, awake, sleep cycle during the day though I will nurse him to sleep during the day if he seems to have trouble going to sleep.  He prefers sleeping in his swing (though not often turned on) or on one of us.  He seems to be most soothed by a pacifer and swaddling.

At his doctor's appointment this week he weighed in at 7lbs 11oz, a full pound larger than he was at his 3-day visit, and continued to measure 21 inches long.  True to his nature he did not make a peep during the visit and complied with all of the doctor's checks.  My only question for the visit was regarding his ear tag (a skin tag by his right ear).  The doctor contacted an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who said that they normally remove them around 3-4 years.  While that seemed a little old, it was a bit of relief as I did not want to do anything about it in the short term.

Asleep on Daddy.  You can see his ear tag in this picture.  When he was born, I thought it looked like a little "r," perfect for our Rory.

Christmas 2011

As we sat, cramped in the bleachers of the church gym, I was overtaken by feelings of thankfulness.  In matching outfits of red sweater vests and charcoal wool pants, Finnan sat plastered to my left side and Jude snuggled on my lap.  Rory, my Christmas angel, slept quietly in his car seat at my feet.  I did not take in much of the mass, but, possibly for the first time, I am pretty sure I genuinely felt its intent.   Atticus describes the feeling most accurately with a biblical quote from Grandmother Schuster, "My cup overfloweth."  

With the birth of Rory this holiday season, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude.  Instead of being stressed about travel, perfect dinners and holiday outfits over the past couple weeks, we have been forced to slow down and focus on the baby and our family.  We have lived in Decatur for 9 years and this was our first Christmas at home.  Of course we missed the big dinners and parties but I think we were both surprised how much we enjoyed being at home, even though the Christmas rain kept us inside.  We unwrapped presents as slowly as possible with a 4 and 2 year old and spent the rest of the day lounging in our pajamas.  The rain kept us from cooking our turkey (we had been planning on doing it in the outdoor oven) but we enjoyed a meal of sides and a beef brisket that Atticus' business partner had given us.  We ended the day with all five of us cuddled on the sofa watching Cars 2.  It truly was a perfect Christmas.

Since I still do not like putting Rory down, I only took a handful of pictures on Christmas.  The boys both loved the Hungry, Hungry Hippos game they received.  This is the first "board" game they for them that does not require any sort of adult interaction, and it was fun to watch them initiate the game and play throughout the day.  (Jude does not have pants on because I have been potty training him- I would say he is trained, but for some reason he does not like to wear underwear.)


Finnan declared his favorite gift his "real tools for projects" and Jude deemed his T-Rex puppet his favorite.  Of course this was before the soccer goal was set up in the backyard today.  They were also quite taken by Western-themed gifts that included cowboy outfits, hats, and a not so politically correct Western figurine set.  Here is Finnan making his "mean cowboy face."


And Rory got to spend some of the day doing what he seems to like best.  This may be what Atticus likes doing best, too.


And, among many, many out takes, our family's holiday card picture:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rory's birth story

I never expected to still be pregnant the day before my due date.  I assumed months of contractions and pressure would send me into labor around 39 weeks (when both Finnan and Jude were born) or even earlier.  Each week, the doctor would make my next appointment, but smile and say, "Hopefully, we will see you at the hospital first."  But the morning of Tuesday, December 13th I found myself in the doctor's office yet again.  The doctor started the appointment with a conversation regarding what the next two weeks would look like if I did not go into labor.  I told her that, assuming the baby was healthy, I did not want to be induced and would wait to start labor naturally.  We agreed and then she checked me- 2 cm but not fully effaced.  Ok, so I probably did have more time.  Then she measured my belly- still 34.  I had been measuring at 34 for weeks.  Starting at 36 weeks, every week they checked my amniotic fluid levels and every week they would be fine.  I expected the same at this appointment.  This time the check seemed to be taking longer until the doctor finally looked at me and said, "I hate to do this to you since you are healthy and the baby is healthy, but we are going to have to induce you today.  There is not enough amniotic fluid."  She went on to explain that without enough fluid the umbilical cord could become compressed, cutting off the baby's food source.  Apparently, my placenta was "worn out" (as she put it).  She said I had time to go home, but I should head to the hospital that morning.

I spent the rest of the day nervous.  I was nervous on my ride home.  Nervous on the way to the hospital.  Nervous while we waited at the hospital to see the doctor on call (Catherine- who I had seen throughout my pregnancy).  Catherine decided that since I tested positive for Group B Strep, we should be safe and make sure I received two doses of penicillin before they induced me.  So, after the first dose, I spent the next four hours nervous again about impending labor.  Finally, around 4:30, they administered both the second dose of penicillin and the pitocin.  Stephanie (the doctor on call switched during this process) said that they would wait until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and then break my water.  She estimated the baby would arrive around midnight.  I feel like my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart within a half hour and started to get very strong shortly after that.  By 7:00 I still hadn't seen the doctor again, but I decided that I needed someone to check my progress.  Around 7:15 the nurse checked me and I was only 4 cm.  I immediately asked for an epidural.  I felt like the only way I could handle the contractions was by moving, but I was hooked up to three IVs on one side, two monitors and a blood pressure cuff on the other.  I asked to take some of them off but was told as long as I was on pitocin, they could not take them off and if they stopped pitocin, my labor would probably stop.  I could move two steps- it was agonizing.  The epidural was administered at 7:30.  Stephanie walked in shortly after and we decided that she would wait until the epidural started working before breaking my water.  The epidural was in full effect by 7:45.  I was so relieved.  For the first time all day I was able to relax and think about the baby I was about to meet.  I called my mom to check on the kids and was then planning on closing my eyes for a couple of hours.  While I was on the phone, I felt a trickle.  The nurse came in so I hung up with my mom and told her I thought I had peed on myself (they hadn't put a catheter in yet).  It was actually my water breaking and she decided to check me.  She said something like, "All right the baby is here."  I didn't realize that she meant it was time to push until another nurse strolled in with the baby stuff and they started changing the bed set up around.  Stephanie came back in and after three pushes, I said, "I don't feel like I am pushing at all- is this going to work with the epidural?"  They all looked at me and said, "The head is out!"  Within a minute Rory was in my arms.

Although I was disappointment that I had to be induced and that I got an epidural only minutes before Rory was born, I am now thankful for both.  If I had not been induced, I probably would not have had time to receive the two doses of penicillin and I did not have to worry about laboring (or possibly giving birth) in the car.  (And I wouldn't have been able to finish watching the third season of Parks and Recreation while waiting.)  If I had not had the epidural, I wouldn't have had any time to focus on what really mattered at the end of the day- Rory.  I was regretful about the epidural because for an hour or so after the birth as it made me feel very shaky and I found it difficult to hold Rory confidently.  But, it was only an hour.  I recovered from the birth even more quickly than I recovered from Jude's.  The rest of our hospital stay was great.  I found the staff at Northside to be much more relaxed then the staff at Dekalb.  Instead of nurses coming in every 2-3 hours pestering to nurse my baby, the nurses at Northside recognized that new babies might not want to eat for hours and did their best not to disturb me during the night.  They willingly took Rory to the nursery for a few hours one night so I could get some sleep.  Amazingly, I actually felt rested at the hospital.  Even though I was thankful for the rest (and quiet) at the hospital, I was anxious to get home.  Rory was born during what could be the most beautiful December week Atlanta has ever had.  We came home, put our stuff down and immediately went for a walk around the block with our new baby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life as a third?

Today Rory is one week old.  It was also my first day on my own.  Tonight, I decided to take advantage of bath time to stretch out some of the nursing-induced kinks in my upper back.  As I stretched outside of the bathroom door, this is what I saw:


two little boys trying to figure out how to fish with various bath toys and a newborn asleep on the floor.  


Is this what happens to the third child?  Maybe, but luckily Rory did not have any problems taking a cat nap on the bathroom floor.  He seemed unconcerned as a few water droplets landed on his head. 

Clearly, Rory is a relaxed baby (so far).  I can count on one hand the number of times he has cried since coming home.  And each time it only lasted for seconds.  He has nursed well and efficiently since hours after birth.  He nurses about every 3 hours at night and a little more frequently during the day.  And after each feeding he goes back to sleep easily- swaddled either in the bassinet, swing or on our chests.  He has had alert times of over an hour and stays calm and relaxed.  I know this is our first week, and I should not be too quick to judge his temperament; but he has been significantly easier than either Finnan or Jude.  

Rory has made this first week such a joy.  I have had none of the anxiety I had with Finnan or Jude.  Sure, I am a more experienced parent, but something about him also makes me relax as well (and never want to put him down).  Rory seems well-equipped for any of the challenges of being the third.  He also seems ready for all of the love and attention he will be getting.       


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Rory!

Rory Fitzpatrick LeBlanc was born December 13, 2011 at 7:55pm.  He weighed 7 lbs 1oz and was 21 inches long.  Here are some pictures of his first 2 days.  We are now at home (although he hasn't yet woken up from his nap to see it).  So far we know Rory loves to snuggle and is a great eater and we can't wait to learn more.

He screamed and screamed when he was first born to the point were several nurses commented on his volume.  Once he nursed in the delivery room he was content and we haven't heard much crying since.

Of course, maybe we haven't heard any crying because no one wants to put him down.

Blue eyes for now.  We think he looks more like Finnan at birth, but he has features of both of his newborn brothers.  However, he definitely has darker skin tone and black hair...my genetics may have finally won out!

Meeting his brothers for the first time.  This will have to be its own blog post one day.

Are you trying to put me down?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Done

    

We are done, or at least done enough.  As soon as the mattresses were put in place, Finnan and Jude eagerly agreed to go to bed, an hour earlier than their normal bed time.  After two hours of hearing little feet running and occasional crying, they are now asleep in their new beds.  

Below here is a picture of the rest of the room.  Tucked into another eave is a nook for them to use as a hideout, cave, etc.  And through the door you can see the common area, off of which is a bathroom and a second (small) bedroom.  We need to work on furnishing and decorations, but I think the boys might prefer it as is.


In the two hours that it took for the boys to go to sleep, we set up the nursery.  I hope Rory took note.  We are ready.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jude at two and a half



Not many people would still call Jude a baby, including himself.  This self-proclaimed big boy likes to spend his days running through the house, either with his garbage truck or with Finnan, jumping from his bed or other structures he has created, wrestling, doing puzzles, and playing with trains or play dough.  He helps prepare every meal- either chopping for the salad or sitting on the counter and supervising (and snacking) while I work.  He is incredibly social and verbal.  I don't know if it is that he likes to run errands so that he can be with me or that he loves to see and talk to people along the way.  Either way, he knows how to charm both me and everyone else.

He loves Gabriela's and proudly proclaims Christian as his best friend there.  On days when Finnan is at school, we will often go to story time at the local bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, or swimming at East Lake YMCA.  Despite his energy level, he is often the best behaved child at story time, sitting quietly for the entire half hour, enthusiastically answering questions when asked and happily clapping at the end of each story.  He still loves swimming.  In the deep end, he jumps in and swims a bit to get to me and will swim a couple of feet unassisted to get the wall.  While in the shallow end, I can sit on the side and watch as he practices swimming by himself or enacts being a shark or dolphin.  Although we haven't been since it has gotten colder, he loves the zoo and claims the pandas, giraffes and lions to be his favorite.  Of course, that is until we see the train and playground.  He enjoys taking his tricycle to the park or around the neighborhood and can peddle by himself if is flat ground (or a decline).  Our backyard is also still a favorite hangout and he will spend quite long periods playing soccer, football, or baseball with Finnan along with swinging, playing in the sand box, and constructing with all of the wood scraps around.      

He has entered his "do-it-myself" phase and this includes dressing.  He insists on retrieving, selecting and dressing himself.  This is a bit of a process, as until they move upstairs, his clothes are on shelves about four feet off the ground in our closet.  This does not deter him and every morning and night (and any time he decides he needs to change his outfit) he climbs right on up to select his clothes.  Sometimes he gets so excited about dressing himself, he will put two or three shirts on at once.  We do help guide him in his dressing, but his insistence will often still end up in backward pants or shirts and for some reason he always ends up with mismatched socks, despite them being coupled in the sock basket.  He also often requests to put on underwear under (meaning over) his diaper.  I imagine he is ready to be potty-trained.  When he is without a diaper or pants he always lets me know when he needs to sit on the toilet.  But, right now diapers are easy and I am fine with that for a bit longer.  Along with wanting to help prepare every meal he also wants to set the table by himself.

For a while right before and at his two and a half mark (officially November 14th) he was in a tantrum/whining phase, easily breaking down over nothing.  It was incredibly frustrating and for weeks I tried to ignore it or put him in time-out when he acted like that.  For the most part though, the phase has seemed to pass. . .  hopefully for good??.  He still enjoys testing Atticus and I though.  Where Finnan will usually stop inappropriate behavior when we start counting "1, 2..", Jude will look at us and continue on, daring us to punish him.  These behaviors mainly include his hitting Finnan, speaking to one of us disrespectfully (basically screaming "No!"), throwing a toy, being disruptive after bed time, etc.  Luckily, he goes to time-out, will stay wherever we put him, and usually recovers very quickly.  

Jude has been a night owl recently.  After being put to bed, he enjoys jumping on his bed, switching animals and books with Finnan, talking incessantly to Finnan, and turning the lights on and off.  He will often be up an hour or two after we put him to bed, long after Finnan has knocked out (despite the noise and lights.)  Jude still takes 2-3 hour naps almost every day.  

Atticus and I have been doing our best to encourage Finnan and Jude to be "best brothers and best friends."  It seems as if they have been buying the propaganda and they get along great, even if that does include some bumps and crying during wrestling matches.  Their personality traits are very different, yet they share the same love for trucks, puzzles, sand, trains, books, and sports along with a high energy level.  Because I have the two boys, personality traits are easier to assign.  Compared to his brother, Jude is not moody or overly emotional and he is incredibly verbal and outgoing.  He is just easy-going and less intense, in general.  He does not have the same amount of focus or creativity as Finnan, at comparable ages.  I think these contrasting qualities make them even better brothers, always able to benefit from the other.  Jude is very excited about being a big brother and often asks about the baby in my belly and will talk about things he will do with Rory once he is born.  One of our favorite Jude quotes recently has been in response to the question, "Where is your baby brother?"  Jude's answer "He's poking mommy."  

All of this may make Jude out to be non-stop, but at the same time, he is my cuddle-bug.  He will sit with me for hours reading books on the sofa.  Every morning, he climbs into bed with us (only allowed after the sun has come up) and snuggles.  He loves to be picked up and held and frequently doles out hugs and kisses.  These things are what still make him a baby to me.  His cheeks are still as baby soft as the day he was born.  It is literally impossible for me to pick him up and not either rub my cheek against his or give him a kiss on the cheek.  And of course, there is the baby face with those big blue eyes that will get you every time.




Friday, December 9, 2011

39 weeks

This last month of pregnancy has been busy.  I thought I was prepared, but then we started construction on the upstairs of our house.  I have been through this before, so I should have known.  At my worst, the boys and I spent a few hours cuddled together in my bed beneath the incessant and loud sounds of the prepping and sanding of hardwood floors because I was too tired to do anything else.  At my best, I managed to help Atticus grout the shower surround and cook a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 in one day.  The construction also coincided with an influx of contract work, which given the cost of the addition and the coming holidays, I did not want to turn down.  While it kept me busy during school days and nap times, I think the work was a blessing.  It forced me to sit down in front of a computer and "rest."  Frankly, the days that I worked the most, I felt the most refreshed.

The month also had many good memories.  My Uncle Mark (very affectionately called Unc Mark by Jude) came down from Chicago for over a week to help us with the construction.  He built the boys incredible beds in the wall of the eave of their room along with many other projects (working on our fireplaces, trim, tile, hanging doors, etc.).  My Uncle was wonderful with the boys and endured much help from the boys throughout the week.  Jude wanted to be right beside him at all times and Finnan kept on eye on what he was doing and tried to mimic, including always requesting the same lunches (a ham sandwich on white bread).   My cousin Kristen joined him for the last couple of days and provided me with some much needed girl time, even if we spent much of it as Home Depot errand girls.  My parents, brother and sister-in-law all came down for Thanksgiving.  And even though the accomodations weren't quite perfect, we were actually able to house them all in our house, with everyone having their own room.

Mostly, I have been enjoying spending time with Finnan and Jude.  There is nothing like imminent life change to increase your appreciation of the blessing you already have.  My energy level has been pretty low, so we haven't ventured out too much in the last couple of weeks, but we have spent many hours cooking together, preparing for the holidays, doing art and puzzles, and best of all, cuddled up on the sofa reading book after book.

And here I am at 39 weeks and a couple of days.  This is the most pregnant I have ever been.  I had been hoping he would at least hold off until tomorrow, thinking surely by then the boys would have moved upstairs and the nursery would be done.  Well, now at the earliest the boys will be upstairs Sunday and then who knows when the nursery will be done.  So, I guess I am ready anytime.  On Tuesday, I had regular contractions for a couple of hours but they never increased in intensity and starting Monday I have felt a significant increase in pelvic pressure.  However, at my appointment on Wednesday, I was only 1 cm dilated, so it could still be a while.  I have gotten to have several sneak peeks at the baby in the last couple of weeks.  I have continually measured small at the last couple appointment so I have had several fluid check ultrasounds and one measurement check ultrasound.  Each time, we have seen a healthy (and rambunctious) baby.  Personally, I found my 8lb 6oz baby to be much easier than my 6lb 12oz baby, so it would be nice to see him grown as much as possible before making his debut.

I have very few pictures from the last month (I think the fewest I have ever taken in a month since having Finnan), but here they are...

The guys working hard on the beds.  One day soon I will get finished product pictures .

Jude hiding in the trundle under Finnan's bed.

Jude, Unc Mark, Kristen and Finnan before they left town.  It was amazing Jude didn't crawl into one of the tool boxes in the back of the van.

The Thanksgiving turkey which was successfully cooked in the outdoor oven.  Actually, it was the best turkey we have ever cooked.

Finnan at the train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens.  Jude was home sick- did I mention both boys and Hand, Foot and Mouth disease this month also and Jude had another asthma episode?

Finnan enjoying a puppet show at the Gardens.  It is a good thing both boys have developed a habit of picking up enormous leaves, as he used it to cover his eyes during the scary parts.

Riding in the caboose with Uncle Michael.

Decorating the Christmas tree with Paw-Paw.  We were thrilled when Uncle Michael and and Aunt Rebecca showed up at our door with a Christmas tree!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The hospital...and the hospital

On Wednesday, we took a family tour of the Women's Center at Northside Hospital.  I know, just a few days ago I confidently said I was ready, but as soon as the hospital was in sight, I started to feel anxious.  Apparently, I am ready to bring my baby boy home, but not to give birth or make any of the decisions regarding his birth.  I gave birth to Finnan and Jude at Dekalb Hospital and Northside seem to be almost exactly the same but bigger and farther. (I had to switch due to an insurance change.)  The benefit of it being a larger hospital is that there is no triage, which in my case is a huge benefit.  The drawback of Northside is that it is far (about 30 minutes) and requires driving on I-285.  Given the quick progression of my last labor, I am extremely nervous about that drive.  My doctors seem to be as well.  At about every appointment, it has been mentioned to me, "Considering your labor history, if you want to (and you have started to dilate) we will induce you at 39 weeks."  I do not want to be induced, but I also don't want to be going through transition while sitting in I-285 traffic.  Luckily, this is a decision for another day.

Since it was a family tour, Finnan and Jude were able to join us.  They seemed to like seeing the hospital, but were disappointed that the tour was limited to the Women's Center.  They wanted to see the "main hospital."  As we drove by the "main hospital," I explained that hopefully we will never have to see it.  The next day, as the boys and I were in the car, standing still on I-285 north in the pouring rain on our way to Children's Hospital, Scottish Rite, I had to laugh, especially since not even two hours earlier I had debated whether or not to even call the nurse's help line.

While we were on the family tour Wednesday night, Jude's ever-present on/off cough escalated.  It seemed as if he coughed through the entire hour long tour.  I felt terrible as I would not have brought a sick toddler on the tour.  His dry cough continued through the night, keeping him up for much of it.  In the morning, he would not eat or drink.  He was breathing heavy.  But, within an hour of waking up he feel asleep on the sofa.  When he woke up he was still worn out and wanted to be carried, but his breathing had improved so we headed off on some errands so I could pick up some vicks vapor plug-ins and ingredients to make him chicken noodle soup.  He feel asleep again at his normal nap time and woke up two hours later without a cough and in extremely good spirits.  But, he was breathing extremely fast.  After some internal debate, I called the nurse line and they gave me the last appointment of the day at the doctor's office.  I had to wake up Finnan and the three of us ran out the door to make the appointment.

When we got there, he was still so happy.  I didn't think he could possibly be sick, but as soon as the nurse saw him, she said, "Oh yeah, he is having trouble breathing" and then she measured his pulse-ox at 93.  The doctor came quickly and within minutes they had him started on a nebulizer treatment.  After the treatment, he was still not better, so they sent me upstairs to get him a chest x-ray.  Since I am pregnant, poor Jude had to go back all by himself.  However, Jude, being Jude, just said "Okay!" and walked right back with the tech and returned thrilled with the x-ray sticker he received.  When we got back to the doctor from the x-ray they gave him a dose of prednisone and the doctor lingered around him continually checking his breathing for quite a while, questioning whether this was truly asthma or if he had aspirated something earlier in the day.  After giving me a slew of instructions regarding how to monitor him tonight, she said, "No, can you take him to the ER right now?"  Any mother's answer to that question is obvious.  So, that is how I found myself sitting in traffic in the pouring rain.  To make matters even more laughable at that moment, my fully charged cell phone was completely inoperable for about 30 minutes.  I couldn't tell Atticus where we were and additionally, I was suppose to pick up a friend in Decatur for girl's night.  I finally got a text through to Atticus (yes, I know I am not suppose to text and drive, but really, I was not driving) and within seconds he was able to get through to me.  He made it to the hospital before we even saw the triage nurse.  At about 8:30, I decided to take Finnan home and Atticus stayed with Jude the rest of the night.  The doctor at Children's decided to put Jude on an hour long nebulizer treatment and then sent him home with albuterol and prednisone to take over the next couple of days.  According to Atticus, Jude was charming and cooperative at the hospital.  They got home at 11 and Jude still seemed to be in good spirits.  Today, we have been trying to take it easy.  His breathing is not 100%, but we have a few more days for the medicine to kick in.  He hates the albuterol (he happily agrees to medicine until he sees the mask that goes over his face then he starts screaming, "No, not that medicine!!!"), but otherwise, he is acting fine and is running around.

To be honest, I assumed this would happen to one of my children.  I grew up with (and still have) asthma.  But, it was not what I was expecting.  I assumed I would be able to detect an asthma attack right away.  Of course, I haven't received an official diagnosis of asthma yet, but Jude's pediatrician called me last night to check on him and based on Children's course of action she spoke of the incident as an asthma attack.  Ironically, my asthma diagnosis also came at two and a half, right before my brother was born.

Throughout the evening, I was incredibly calm and really was not worried.  But, I had trouble sleeping last night.  As often happens, the later it became and the more I thought about it, the more sad and worried I became.  Even though asthma is a disease I understand and that I am not afraid of, I know what this could mean for Jude.  My incredibly active and physical boy, who already has his eyes set on the baseball and soccer fields, may not be able to do those sports past a certain level.  He may have a harder time keeping up with his brothers in certain weather conditions.   Staying in older buildings, such as the River Farm, or visiting friends with cats or even potentially dogs could trigger symptoms.  It worried me that even though I can monitor my own asthma, it is clearly different in young children and may be harder to prevent attacks with early detection.  This is all too early to worry about and I am extremely thankful for my healthy and happy little boy.  And, who knows, maybe he was already destined to turn his energy into swimming and water polo, like his mama :)

Jude showing off a large leaf he found on a hike in Dearborn Park last week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

34 weeks

Picture at 33 weeks.
At 34 weeks, I am finally ready for my baby boy to come.  My house is not ready (construction just started this week), but fairly suddenly, I feel like I can handle this and I am dreaming of feeling the warmth of my little one.  Right now, I am feeling much the same as I have for the past 2 or 3 months.  In short, this pregnancy has not been a comfortable one.  With noticeable Braxton Hicks contractions, strong pelvic pressure, varicose veins, extended fatigue and cramping, every time I go to the OB, I have a new question.  Given this is my third time, I thought I had pregnancy figured out.  According to my OB, this is common for third pregnancies and that your body handles pregnancy less well each time.  I don't know if I have become more accustomed to this condition or if the knowledge that these discomforts are normal (and I am not headed for pre-term labor) has made me feel better as the weeks have gone by.

This baby has been the most active of my three in utero.  I think of him as performing Tai Chi.  He will move and then hold poses where I can feel a limb protruding from my belly for several minutes before he will retreat again and change position.  His movements can be quite piercing.  This goes on almost all day and throughout the night.  I can not imagine this baby is going to enjoy being swaddled.  Let's just hope he indeed sleeps.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Mac, a baseball player, and an astronaut



Last night Gabriela's play group joined another Waldorf-inspired play group for the annual magical Halloween walk.  As the sun went down, the children started on a lantern-lit journey through the woods stopping every so often to watch a nursery-rhyme skit, acted out by parents of some of the children.  This year, Atticus was the straw-chewing "Mac," otherwise known as Old Mac Donald.  He shared his farm with the children then led them in song, through a pig, a horse, and then. . . a monkey (we only had 3 puppets.)  At the end he shared a bag of popcorn with each child as a treat.  Jude wasn't fooled by Mac though.  About half way through the song, Jude started whispering (with a huge grin on his face) to the other children around him, "That's my daddy."  The kids saw skits of Jack-be-Nimble, Twinkle, Twinkle little star, Humpty Dumpty, Pop-goes- the-Weasel, 4 and 20 blackbirds, the Muffin Man, Patty-Cake, and the Pancake Lady.

Tonight, the boys dressed up again and joined their friends Christian, Elsa, James and baby Aveline to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  This year, we had a very enthusiastic crew.  The kids ran from house to house knocking on doors.  They needed a little coaching in their "Trick-or-treats," but once they got that, we heard a chorus of vigorous "Trick-or-Treats."  Last year, I somehow managed to limit their "treat" intake on Halloween night to an orange given to them by a friend at our last stop and then they forgot all about their candy by the next morning.  This year, they eagerly ate candy upon arrival at home and I don't think they are going to forget tomorrow.  Given that Jude has been experiencing bipolar sugar overload in the 2 hours since we put him to bed, I may still be hiding their candy anyway.

Scary pumpkin, happy pumpkin


This year we had one request for a scary pumpkin (Finnan) and one for a happy pumpkin (Jude).  Don't worry though, the scary pumpkin can't eat you because it does not have legs.

And here are some of our other spooky decorations.  We decorated the porch with spiderwebs and a scarecrow.  While Atticus and I were in San Francisco, my parents and the boys added an amazing spider and a yard full of ghosts.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

On soccer

Finnan had his second soccer game today.  I am taking a photography class on Saturday mornings, so I have missed both of his games.  I am also missing next week because I will be in San Francisco.  Today, Atticus took a ton of video of the game  so that I could see some of the action.  Below is a very brief clip of one of Finnan's goals and then a post-game interview.





Finnan seems to love being on a team and love competition.  He wore his uniform everywhere we went today.... including his knee high socks.  Based on the video footage I saw, he is a boy who knows his mission: get the ball to the goal.  Over the next years, I am sure we will be spending many fall Saturdays at soccer fields.  With such excited little boys, fall weather like this, and fields close enough to walk to, we are looking forward to all of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The wedding

I have been looking forward to Michael and Rebecca's wedding for some time.  And, I had been stressing about it, too.  I love outdoor weddings and I would never pass up a party with a DJ, but the 14 hour drive to the wedding, getting my two little ones in tuxedos and down the aisle, and fitting into my bridesmaid dress 7 months pregnant were weighing on me.  As most things seem to, everything, including the wedding, was perfect, even beyond what I could have hoped for.

An hour before I was going to pick up the boys to start phase 1 of out drive, I got a call from Gabriela's.  Jude had a fever.  Ugh.  Luckily, the plenty of rest he got in the car over the next two days seemed to cure him right in time for the rehearsal dinner.  The drive was shockingly easy.  On the way up, I am not sure I heard either of them whine or complain.  At the ten-hour mark we stopped at a Hampton Inn, where the boys were very anxious to see "the special machine that makes ice."  As we were laying down, boys in one bed, Atticus and I in another, I marveled about how grown up they seemed.  That lasted about three minutes.  Jude started whining about Finnan taking his covers.  Since it was already almost 11, we just decided to switch beds and Finnan moved in with me.  It took me about one minute to understand why Jude was whining.  Finnan does not stop moving.  He literally only stayed still for two hours the entire night.  The rest of the night I was in self defense mode, protecting myself and the baby.  Next time, he is getting a cot!  The next morning we finished the journey with a short 4 hour trip during which both boys slept again.  The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were that evening, so even after we got to the location and had the boys run around for a bit, we went to our room and tried to get a bit more sleep out of them. This resulted in Jude sleeping through the rehearsal, but Finnan had it figured out for the both of them. That night, the boys did their best at a 3+ hour rehearsal dinner.  Both of them loved the wait staff walking around with hors doeuvres.  They followed them around taking more crab stuffed mushrooms, spanakopita, and shrimp than any of the adults.  They also managed to stay in their seats for some time, though by the end (as the clock was getting closer to 10) it was clearly too much.  

Friday (wedding day), I got to head off with the girls for hair and make-up, while Atticus took the boys to see scarecrows and try to find a pumpkin patch.  Our main goal for the day was to get them to nap.  Shockingly, Finnan did and Jude did not!  You would have never known it though.  Looking as handsome as ever, Finnan and Jude walked down the aisle perfectly.  Both Michael and Rebecca looked fabulous and they had a beautiful ceremony.  The best part was a reading out of a book, "I Like You," which Michael and gotten for Rebecca after only a few months of dating.  And, of course, after the ceremony, we got to party!  Jude was one of the first out to the dance floor and although it took a while Finnan ended up joining us as well.  Luckily, it was an early wedding and reception, because at 9:30 it was clear that neither Finnan nor Jude had anything left in them.  Quite frankly, I did not either.  So we headed up to the room early.  Jude was beyond exhausted and could not stop crying, eventually falling asleep cuddled up in our bed.  

Even though we did not even make it to the wedding cake or to either one of the after-parties, we had a great time and are thrilled that Rebecca is now officially part of the family.  It is amazing how well Michael and Rebecca complement each other and I know Rebecca brings out the best in Michael.  Congratulations, you two!


Finnan goofing off at the rehearsal dinner.

Jude making his rounds to all of his admirers.
Maybe this is why Jude did not nap the day of the wedding?
Down the aisle.

Me with one of my little gentlemen.

Picture perfect.
After pictures, the boys decided that the bird nests that they walked down the aisle with needed to be in a tree.  Rebecca and I each recovered one from the tree the next day as a keepsake. 
With this pose, Finnan could have fit right in with the groomsmen.

Sneaking in a picture with the baby belly between the professional shots.

Finnan and Jude both got cameras as gifts for being in the wedding.  This is about all I saw of him after  he received his gift.

Dancing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heaven

Heaven.  There is no other word to describe the River Farm this past weekend.  After Michael and Rebecca's wedding, we headed down to the farm with my mom and dad, aunt and uncle, cousins Kristen  and Heather, Heather's husband Patrick and their three children, Zoe, Delia, and Oliver.  We were shocked with a summer weekend and spent two days on the beach.  The kids played like they knew it was their last chance on the beach, digging and wading without breaks for snacks or meals (unless forced).  They ran out to the sand and water as soon as we got them to the beach and stayed on the beach in their wet clothes, suits, or sagging diapers until after all of the adults had resorted to sweatshirts.  We barbecued at the cottage while watching the sunset and had a bonfire on the beach.  All of the kids went out for kayak rides and Finnan even went exploring among the heavy equipment, watching Uncle Dan and Uncle Mark supply water to the cottage with a bobcat.  The adults got to catch up and relax in the sand while fully absorbing the happiness and joy of the five kids.  Finnan cried (with actual tears) when we left, saying, "I want to spend all day at the RIver Farm with my family."









And since we did not see too much of their faces throughout the weekend, here is one of the older four posing on a low tree branch.