Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sleepy Smiles...

Last night I had a know, the kind where you remember to take stock in what is right in your life and try to leave behind all that mundane stuff you were stressing about just moments before.  We have been plagued with illness for the last 2 months.  With X-man starting his first year of pre-school, our immune systems are all being tested.  Our little petri dish goes off to play with all of those other little petri dishes and we all end up hacking up a lung or puking our guts out.  Sounds fun, doesn't it? I, myself, have been particularly unwell the last few weeks, mostly through no fault of X-man's, though, as I had a severe allergic reaction to some antibiotics that I had been on and then a week later, this past Friday, ended up with another unexplained fever leaving me miserable once more.  I lamented to my mom and husband after 4 days of the crud that I was having a hard time finding that Christmas spirit this year, or finding any light ahead at all, knowing that even IF I would survive this particular bout (yes, sometimes even I can be a drama queen) that there would be more crud lurking around some unexpected corner at some surely most inopportune moment.

Well, Tuesday I finally felt better and was trying to pep-talk myself out of the bah humbugs and then bedtime for the kiddos rolled around last night.  I snuck off into Jilly's cozy little room to feed her one last time before bed.  We snuggled in the rocker in the dark room and I strained to see her sweet little features to the tiny dim glow of a night light across the room.  She finished off and seemed to wiggle into me as I could barely make out that familiar milk drunk stare up at me.  Every Mommy bone in my body told me, "lie her down when she is drowsy...better not rock that girl to sleep!" I couldn't help it in the moment, though, feeling that chunky, little body snuggling so into me it was as if she was trying to become one with my belly again.  I had been looking so intently trying to tell what her eyes were doing...were they still open...maybe a little...that I hadn't noticed the big grin that rested behind her binky I had quickly popped in when the milk had run out.  I focused intently on that smile until she had "that moment"...haven't you had it?  That moment when you are resting your head on that perfect pillow, in your perfect bed and your world is perfect and blissful and it's not until you just start crossing into that state between consciousness and unconsciousness when you feel your whole body relax and it's THAT moment when your cheeks and lips suddenly go limp that you realize you had been smiling all along.  The best of days end that way.  When I saw sweet Jilly's little smile fade that way, it nearly brought tears to my eyes (OK, maybe "nearly" is understating it a bit).  To know that she felt so content in my feel that kind of bliss and fall asleep so happily for a moment so seemingly routine to me, reminds me that I need to find such joy in the little moments (I certainly did in this one).

SO...this is a BIG Merry Christmas to everyone!  I am going to love on, kiss and enjoy my sweet little family, sick or well and eagerly get caught up in the contagious joy my kids are oozing right now!  Consider it done! :) 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four Years Old????

How did this happen?  And why am I so shocked?  I remember when you were a teeny tiny newborn and I thought 4 years seemed so far away and here we are.  You are in preschool now and Kindergarten is just around the corner.  You may as well be graduating, you are so big now.  But, please don't.  If I could freeze you in time right now, I wouldn't hesitate. :)

Stella says, "Mmmmm!"  X-man says, "Thank you Uncle Bubba!"
Daddy helping you read your Birthday card
I am so proud of the little boy you have become.  You are oh-so-sweet, polite and an amazing big brother.  You took care of me so well while I was pregnant with your sister over this last year, making sure both she (you knew you were having a sister long before we did) and I were OK.  You patted my back as I heaved over the toilet during horrible bouts of morning sickness, concerned that your little sister would fall out of my mouth.  I love the way you love...with your whole little being.  It is not unusual for you to jump out of your seat at the table when Gokey drops his cup or spoon on the floor to scoop it up and hand it to him, proclaiming, "here you go, buddy!"  If Jilly Bean starts crying and I can't come to her rescue right away I now walk into the room to find you fighting to hold her tubby little baby body (more than 1/3 of your weight) in your arms trying to soothe her from her tears.  If I wasn't around, there's no doubt that your little brother and sister would be just are a wonderful surrogate mommy!

And, are SO smart!  You have spent the entire last year asking every imaginable question possible!  Your favorites are, "what does _______ do?" and "what does _______ mean?"  It's exhausting sometimes, but I try my very hardest to answer every one of your questions, though sometimes you even have me stumped.  And you have a mind like a steel trap!  Nothing escapes you...especially the things I wish would escape you. :) You saw a marshmallow gun at a consignment event back in February and that has been your biggest wish since.  Not one marshmallow gun, but Gokey can have one too.  What 4 year old makes sure that his little brother is accounted for as well?  Or is it just that you have figured out that only one gun would be pretty boring.  Whatever the case, I hope your wish comes true and you get your TWO marshmallow guns since you have been asking for them for nearly 9 months now.   I had thought that the "maybe for your birthday" answer would have helped you to forget about it at the time, instead you held onto that hope with all of your might!
Birthday Cake Bots
Make a Wish!
I hope it comes true... :) 

Oh, and PRESCHOOL!  You LOVE school.  You tell everyone who asks about school that you have to go to learn so you can be an astronaut and fly a spaceship someday.  Today you had your Halloween parade at school and wore that astronaut costume with pride.  A couple of weeks into school, Mrs. Castello commented that you are such a sweet boy!  Didn't surprise me a bit...I already knew it. :) As much as I adore your teachers and love that you are having so much fun and adjusting so well, it kills me a little bit to hear you singing a song or sharing a tidbit of info that I have never heard.  Until this point everything you knew came from me or your daddy and this new stage just means you are taking one more little step toward growing up.  You are doing it so beautifully and making it look so easy...a little too easy.

So...with a tear...made up of a LOT of joy and a little bit of heartbrokenness too...I wish you the HAPPIEST of Birthdays! did that happen?  I love you, X-man!

My little man, just minutes old...shouldn't have blinked :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can't Help Myself...

They're just too stinkin' cute not to my new camera is AWESOME! :)

Who couldn't love this kid?


The Many Faces of Gokey


"I hear sumping..."

Whatchoo lookin' at?

The smolder...


Who Me?

Love my babies... :) 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gimme Some Miracle Please-Don't-Grow...

Wow...what a week.  What a month!  Sitting down and recording my thoughts and events is FAR down on my priority list right now, but I keep jotting down things to remember to write about because so much has happened. For now I am going to focus on this week, though.

Partial family pic in his classroom during his open house
This was a momentous week for biggest little man started pre-school this week.  Last fall when the buses started showing up in our neighborhood to pick up and drop off the plethora of kids living nearby, X-man started pleading to go to school.  I really hadn't given much thought to pre-school at that point and wasn't even sure that we would do it, but he was so adamant that he wanted some schoolin', so I started looking around a little.  We couldn't have found a better fit.  Sedgwick County Zoo has their own pre-school program and seeing as my children have practically been raised on their grounds, how could we go anywhere else?  Only 15 kids in a class and 2 WONDERFUL teachers that we adore's a great fit.  We had orientation last week which he seemed to handle really well, but the real test would be the first day when I would drop him off and LEAVE him for 2 1/2 hours.  J and I made a big deal about packing up his backpack Monday night before his first day so he would be ready.  He enthusiastically stashed his crayons, paints and Ziploc full of a change of clothes (essential in a preschoolers bag) into his backpack and off he went to bed.  The next morning Gokey and I were up bright and early as is normal and X-man came prancing out in his PJ's wearing his adorable.  The excitement was palpable and he couldn't wait!

Mrs. Neal and Ernie captivating their 3 year old audience
during open house.  X-man is right in the middle and
nearly a head taller than everyone else.

I thought I was doing a good job getting everyone ready to go.  All 3 kids were dressed, bags were packed, dogs were put away...but I am still struggling with knowing just how much time I need to get THREE out of the door and buckled into their respective seats!  By the time I was pulling out of the driveway I knew we were going to be late.  I felt HORRIBLE!  He was the last kid to school...I tried to snap a pic of my big man as we were walking in, but he was complaining about the sun in his eyes and I didn't want to hold him up any longer. It was only a couple of minutes and he didn't seem to notice, but it was a total mommy fail.  We walked through that door and he hung up his bag, found his name tag and then he about took off to dive into play when I called him back for some hugs and kisses, and he gladly obliged...and then dove into play.  I don't even think he knew I was gone after I left.  I really thought I would sob on this day...I have sobbed multiple times in the last 4 years when I have merely THOUGHT about this day, but his excitement was so thick it was contagious and all I could do is smile at his enthusiasm.  Gokey, Jilly and I walked off to enjoy a couple hours in the zoo without big brother...we missed him, and Gokey was sure he should be in school as well, sporting his backpack while hunting for hippos, but we all survived.
I wanna go to school too, Mom...

Guess I'll settle for hippo huntin'

Upon pick up X-man had pictures that he cut out and glued and colored all by himself...he was so proud of himself and couldn't wait to show it off.  We met J for lunch and the two of us prodded him for details and we got a few...many we kinda had to piece together to get a real picture of how it went, but it seemed to be a swimming success.

Then came 2 of school.  "I don't wanna go to school," was the sentiment I heard all morning.  Mrs. Costello, one of his fantastic teachers had warned us of this during orientation.  Kids are often full of excitement on that first day, but after that first day passes, there are often tears and hesitations that weren't there before...all normal, but still distressing to all parties.  He reluctantly got dressed and ate breakfast and we loaded up into the van (much sooner than we had on day one).  The whole way there he continued to tell me he didn't want to go, he just wanted to go home, he thought he might need a nap (at 8:30 a.m.).  We made it...on time...and by the time we made it to the front door of school he was all smiles.  He hung up his bag, found his name tag and dove right in again, despite several teary classmates who were also struggling on day 2.

Upon picking up my little champ, he was as high as a kite!  In an attempt to excite him about school that day I had told him that if he could tell me the name of one of his classmates when I picked him up that I would give him a special treat.  He immediately told me one of his new friends was Allie...I haven't checked into his accuracy, but it was good enough for me.  He skipped in circles all around me all the way out to the van in the parking lot.  On the way home he said he wanted to go to school tomorrow.  I told him he wouldn't have school until next week.

"But, why?????" he whined.

Guess he's over his apprehension. :)

In baby news...Jilly is growing like a weed.  She is now 7 weeks old.  How in the heck did that happen?  It seems it was days ago she was taking her first sweet, soggy breaths in my arms and now she's smiling and cooing.  She is an entirely different baby than the boys were.  She is regularly sleeping 5-7 hour stretches at night and that is because she has an abundance of fat reserves to get her from one end of those stretches to the other.  At my 6 week check up with my midwife, she tipped the scales at 13 pounds 5 ounces!  She has gained nearly 5 pounds in just over 6 weeks and grown almost 3
Look at those muscles! :)
inches in that same span.  Apparently I am producing and excreting some sort of liquid Spam to get this kind of weight gain....haha.  This puts her around the 97th percentile for weight when my boys hovered around the 50th percentile at this age.  At a mere 7 weeks of age I slipped her into her first 3-6 month outfit and packed away the newborns and 0-3 month outfits that would no longer snap between her legs.  Any cures for growth out there?  It just goes so fast...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fashionably Late...

I have to start this entry off with a big Siiiiigggggghhhhhhh of relief! :)  I was NOT prepared to go over my due date with this little girl.  I was convinced since big brothers had come early she would follow one of my friends suggested, "all good princesses make their people wait."  And wait we did.  Yesterday, July 21st I had hit my 41 week mark.  My blood pressure had been a little elevated at last week's appointment and I had some swelling which I had been free from the rest of the pregnancy to cause concern.  I was emotionally drained earlier in the week thinking that surely I would be pregnant for the rest of my life.  Deidre, my dear midwife had called me on Tuesday and gave me just the pep talk and kick in the rear I needed for a good attitude adjustment, and I was finally feeling strangely content yesterday morning.  I had my regularly scheduled appointment with Deidre at 11 a.m. yesterday morning where Deidre, in light of my over-ripeness and concern about blood pressure, was planning to do some membrane stripping (a very pleasant "encouragement of the cervix") to help get things going.  Upon performing the procedure she determined that conditions were extremely favorable and said she had no doubt that labor would ensue.  I left the appointment feeling very optimistic.

I joined my mom and step-dad who had been hanging with the boys while I had been at my appointment and we went off to lunch.  I had multiple, much more serious contractions in the next couple of hours and a little after 2 p.m. I loaded up the boys to head back home for naps.  My mom just couldn't stand being away from my side, just sure that this was the start of the real deal...she decided she really should come home with me, so that she could wrangle the boys if they should wake up prematurely and I could get a refreshing nap in case I needed extra energy for events surely to come.  It was on the drive across town that the contractions began falling into a regular pattern.  They were not hugely intense, but were coming pretty consistently every 5 minutes.  When my mom arrived at my house I attempted to nap...dozing between contractions only for them to rip me from my precious snooze continually.  After nearly an hour, I gave up.  J arrived home from work and I assumed my position on my exercise ball while timing contractions.  My mom (Gigi) alerted my aunt (Nana) that she might want to head over as things were continuing to progress.  I forced myself to eat a little around 6 p.m. as contractions continued to grow in intensity.  Just before 7 p.m. I had a contraction that reminded me what real pain was.  I called  Deidre to alert her to my condition.  She was at the Birth Inn (a facility specifically for the home birth away from home) at the moment and wanted to know whether she should just hang out there or head home for a while.  I was indecisive.  I wanted to labor in the comfort of my own home as long as possible, but she was adamant that the last thing I would want would be for my water to break on the 20 minute drive to the Birth Inn.  We decided together that she would grab a bite to eat, stay put and I would check back in at 8 p.m. to let her know what our plan was.  Minutes after I got off of the phone, J was begging me to just head over after I had multiple contractions on top of each other.  I told him I wanted to take a shower before we left, so he urged me to get that done ASAP.  So...I did. :)  Contractions continued and I got dressed as J loaded up enough luggage to supply us for a week for an event that would probably only carry us to the next morning.  We handed out hugs to Nana, Gigi and our precious little boys who were beside themselves with excitement.  Off we went.  Several minutes into our ride I mentioned to J that I hadn't had a contraction since we had left...feeding my anxiety that this was going to be another false alarm.  A mere seconds later I stated, "nevermind...there it is."  A mere seconds after that I felt a POP sensation and then the classic gush.  Deidre SO called water broke. A contraction or two later I welled with tears as a wave of pain began.  Every pothole jarred my body, but as the pain subsided my tears only increased.  I somehow giggled between sobs that it had suddenly hit me that we were going to have another baby.

Brand spankin' new...
We arrived unscathed (though a little damp) at the Birth Inn at 8:25 p.m...I changed into some dry clothes and J swayed me through contractions.  Deidre filled up the tub so that I could labor there and we filled the spaces between contractions with relaxed conversation.  As soon as that tub was full, I was in it.  Deidre and her assistant, Christy left us to labor quietly in the birth room on our own.  J was my champion coach and talked me from a ledge over and over again as contractions came closely and insanely intense.  At 9:33 p.m. a contraction began and there was such pressure I lost my composure and control and was able to squeak that I needed Deidre.  J called for her and she and Christy were immediately hovering.  She told me to gently bear down if I felt like I needed to and after a couple contractions checked to find I was at 9 cm.  At 9:40 I leaned back in the tub and began pushing with everything I had and after several good pushes (and a lot of horrible, guttural noises) Deidre said, "reach down and grab your baby!"  I grabbed that slimy little body and heaved her onto my chest and her sweet little cries rang through the room...Jilliann Josephine arrived at 9:47 p.m.  It was fast and furious...and beautiful.  The perfect birth.  She was nursing like a champ as soon as I was out of the tub and dried off and tipped the scales at 8 lbs 9 oz, 20 inches long.  Ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes...and blonde!

Already wrapped around her little finger

Perfectly perfect!
Deidre did her exam on Jilly, doted on me to make sure that we both looked good, finished up all of her paperwork and then she and Christy left us around 12:30 a.m. to enjoy a night just the three of us with instructions to lock the door behind us when we left in the morning.  We had very little sleep, but are still on a high.  We left the Birth Inn this morning at 7:00 a.m. and trekked back across town to introduce our new little bundle to our wild little men, Gigi and Nana.  The boys are absolutely enamored.  They have been pleading to hold her all day and as soon as they have had their turn then they are negotiating for their next turn.  At one point J took her to get a little snuggle time in and X-man told him, "Dad...3 more minutes and then it's my turn, OK?" :)  They are fantastic big brothers so far.  Oh...and I think Gigi and Nana are fans as well.

Daddy helping soothe Jilly during her exam
Pinkin' up!

It's a GIRL!
The proud BIG brothers!
 We are one happy little family of five...truly blessed!  Thank you to everyone for all of the well-wishing not only since her birth, but in the last long week or two when our patience was wearing thin.  Love to you all...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

D-Day...Come and Gone

July due date.  Here I sit, still VERY pregnant.  It's about 6:30 p.m. and I'm having no signs of real labor, so I doubt she will pop out on this day marking 40 LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG weeks of pregnancy.  I had a rough day on Monday after 5 days of teasing contractions and sleepless nights filled with even more, stronger contractions only to wake up full of baby on each of those mornings.  It was a woe is me day, but I got past it.  Tuesday was a new day with a new attitude.  I vowed that I was no longer going to read into any of the "signs" and just let her decide when she wants to come.  I have been assured by multiple sources that I cannot be pregnant forever.  It's reassuring, but I still have moments where I don't truly believe them, despite their credentials. :)

Picking up our supplies :)
The upside is that we are nesting and getting things done.  I say "we" because my lovely husband has been a busy bee as well.  Our basement was finished back in January, but we left the floor in the main toy room/family room undone because we weren't sure what we wanted to do with it.  There was a flooring sale at one of the local hardware stores last week, however, so we decided that we should go ahead and purchase what we wanted at 30% savings and then we could install it when it was convenient.  J gets a week of paternity leave after this baby finally decides to emerge from the comfort of her personal belly tub, so we thought that might be the perfect time for such a project to be tackled at a leisurely pace. I should have known better...we got home after making our purchase on Saturday morning and the man was down there clearing the room and removing trim as soon as we walked in the door.

"Honey, I thought you were going to wait on that."

This view from the top of the stairs is so much
more pleasant than the concrete that used to
be there!
"Yeah...I just thought I would clean up a little," he casually responded.

He then announced to me a little later that he would probably start on it in the morning and he thought he could knock it out in one day.  I, being the supportive wifey that I am, nodded and smiled.  I didn't think there was any way that he could finish it by himself in one day.  Once again my beast of a man proved me wrong.  He got up, ate a wholesome breakfast and got to work.  He was completely done by 6:30 pm that evening and it looks GREAT!  Love our "new" space.  It's obviously not finished.  We are planning on moving our entertainment center and TV from upstairs down into this space when we refinish those floors in the future and we do need some action on the walls since they are looking pretty barren.  But for now, it is a wonderful playroom for the boys and we are enjoying it to the fullest.

So...big projects have all been knocked out of the park for the moment, strawberry-banana bread (just another nesting must-do) is in the oven smelling mighty yummy and here we wait!  Patience is a virtue, I hear, and I think I am definitely being tested to the fullest.  Here's to hoping I don't have to test it much longer! :)

And for those of you who were unsure what 40 weeks of pregnancy looks it is in all of it's glory! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Final Countdown

Ding!  This turkey is DONE! :)  Yes, I am beyond ready to evict this kid from her oh-so-comfortable uterine home.  I will, of course, let her decide when the time is right, but I am officially offering firm words of encouragement to get a move on.  As my belly continues to expand my patience unfortunately is slimming.  I never really thought about it before I was pregnant, but when you get to the end it's a really weird moment in life when you know that something HUGE is about to happen, but you have zero clue when it will actually take place.  There's just that magic window between 37ish and 42ish weeks of pregnancy when it is supposed to occur, but that's kind of a big window when you are preparing to add another human being to your life.  And, not just any ordinary human you created and relies on you for everything.  I have to give her a place to feel safe and secure, nourishment and a clean diaper here and there.  A little warning would be nice, but so far her lips are sealed...or I just can't hear her.

So...this is #3, and it's evident.  When #1 was baking I think we had everything prepared FAR in advance.  Hospital bags were packed several months ahead of my due date and items were purchased and waiting for him.  It gets a little harder to not procrastinate with the addition of each child.  I have had mental lists floating around in my head since the puking phase of this pregnancy lessened and I felt human enough to tackle them...however, they have been far from tackled until very recently.  I had several spurts of nesting fury kick in, only for them to cure things that are so far from necessary when it comes to bringing a baby home, but you can't argue with nesting. I found myself at the top of a ladder at 8 months of pregnancy making sure every last speck of dust were sucked and wiped from the tops of the kitchen cabinets and upper reaches of our vaulted living room.  Last week I decided that my world would fall apart if I didn't get my office/craft room organized after it had been sitting in it's perpetual state of confusion since January when we finished the basement.  Why, you ask?  Because my hormones told me it had to be done and I'm not messing with that!  On a more baby-prep front...her tiny clothes have been washed, itty bitty diapers are waiting to embrace her tiny tush, the car seat base has been installed in the truck which will be our getaway vehicle when the time is right and, yes...we FINALLY finished the nursery! :)

I always had big hopes for a precious nursery with the boys, but it never came to fruition.  Mostly because, when we moved in, X-man was already 6 months old and I couldn't ever find the time to make the picture in my head reality.  Gokey came quickly behind him and the room was already put together...we would have had to tear it apart, paint and put it back together again.  It didn't happen.  This time, we had to move both boys into the same room together, so I was able to cowboy-ify their room and make it what I wanted and then was left with an empty nursery to do with as I pleased!  I love it!  I find myself wandering in there in the middle of the day and plopping down in the rocking chair to daydream about snuggling with a newborn again...such a fleeting stage, and so sweet.

So...this is your official invitation, little Jilly Bean.  We are ready and waiting.  Though your Daddy won't admit it, you will have him so wrapped around your little finger...I can't wait to see him hold you for the first time.  And there are two little boys that have gone so unexpectedly baby crazy that we can't walk by an infant in the grocery store without them ooohing and aaahing and telling the world who we are expecting.  And then there's me...your Momma, who can't wait to feel you in my arms after all of these months of feeling you tumble in my belly.  C'mon out baby girl...and be easy on your mother when you make your way! :)