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- On Saturday we had a birthday party for the boys. The plan was to have an outdoor bbq, but the sky threatened rain and the humidity left the air thick and soupy. We moved the 30+ people indoors, but after a while the sun burst through the clouds and people ventured outdoors. It ended up being a really beautiful day!
You may recall that while planning Owen’s first birthday party, I laid some pretty heavy mom-guilt on myself over — of all things — his birthday cake. I made myself feel so terrible that I, (gasp!) bought his cake rather than made it with love. Somebody should have told me to get over it. Really.
This time, I decided not to go crazy. I put a sailboat and some nautical language on the invitation, bought some red, white and blue table cloths, plates and napkins and called it a day. Nautical-ish. Patriotic-ish. Whatever, it totally worked. I also released myself from any guilt and for under six bucks made 48 funfetti cupcakes and you know what? They were DELICIOUS.
My mom always threw us great birthday parties, but the ones I truly remember I was older for. I figure I have many birthdays ahead of us to go all out. I did splurge on one party thing, though — adorable matching birthday shirts for the boys. I’m so glad I did!
Aren’t they sweet? (Psst…If you like those, check back on Monday for a super awesome giveaway !)
It was a really great, stress-free party and we have some wonderfully generous friends and family who spoiled the boys rotten. A great day.
- So, after the party comes the thank you cards. I’m a big believer of a handwritten card thanking the recipient specifically for what they gave. It’s always nice to receive mail and appreciation, no? I do my best to get them out within a week of getting a gift (my mama raised me right!), and I hope to instill that in the boys as well.
What drives me crazy, though, is what surrounds the giving of the thank you card. If the person mailed the gift, I often send a quick email to acknowledge we received it. I thank them in the email, then thank them again by card. But I always wonder if they think the email is the actual thank you and kind of tacky. I don’t know, I get all in my head about it. Sometimes it’s just a lot of work to say thanks for a pair of socks, or something.
It also makes me nuts when my mom (hi, mom!) will ask me if I’ve sent a thank you card. I totally get it, I do. She’s a mom. I’m a mom. Moms will do this. But I’m 30 years old and she’s the one who taught me to send the cards! Job well done, mom! So, mom. You don’t have to ask this time. I’ve been writing the thank you cards
- Owen received a toy lawn mower for his birthday, and while he was playing with it he told us he was going to “unleash the power of technology.” We all kind of stared at him for a minute in confusion. Say what? Where did that come from? I’m still at a loss so if that sounds familiar to you please let me know!
- Bad TV I’ve been watching : Mistresses. Good TV I’ve been watching: The Newsroom, Season 1. Any recommendations?
I blame it on that smell.
It lingers in the fold of his neck, grazing his cheek and wafting up towards me as I nuzzle into him. It’s not the newborn smell anymore, the smell I could never quite pinpoint the origin 0f (though I swear it came from his eyes), but the smell of baby. Sweet, pink, baby smell.
My baby fever is returning. I wasn’t expecting it so soon, but it here it is knocking at the door. It surprises me, this pull towards another baby, because I couldn’t even begin to imagine another so soon after Owen. It wasn’t until he was a year old that I even started to consider it seriously.
Ryan will be eight months in just a few days and I can’t believe he is that much closer to turning one. Maybe it’s because he’s my second and there is so much more going on, but I feel like his first year of life is hurtling by me at top speed. He spoke his first word — “mama” (be still my heart). Yesterday he was thisclose to getting up on his knees, prevented only by one chubby leg getting stuck. It’s all just happening so quickly.
A few months ago I found myself in the “two week wait”, wondering if a positive pregnancy test would be at the end. It wasn’t planned — I felt it was too soon. I wasn’t ready, not at all. While I worried about taking away from Ryan’s babyhood, about throwing yet another baby on Owen, about my milk supply drying up from pregnancy before Ryan was even a year…Michael calmly and happily said another baby wouldn’t be such a bad thing. The more we talked about it, the more I began to think maybe he was right.
As it turns out, I wasn’t pregnant. As I stared at a single pink line on the stick I felt relief, and just enough disappointment to know that our family isn’t full yet.
Something has shifted in the last few weeks. As I watch my boys double over in giggles while they play with each other, my heart swells and whispers to my head, another baby.
It would be a lot, sure. A lot, a lot. I’m tired now, you know? I just got back to my happy weight. I’m still nursing. I just got one out of diapers. There are enough reasons to rationalize it’s too soon, and yet I feel myself starting to ache for the time to be now.
My body, as it turns out, is in control. I didn’t ovulate for 14 months after Owen, and while it appeared I was trying to a few months ago, I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet as my cycles haven’t returned. Because of that, I might be longing for #3 for quite awhile.
Don’t get me wrong, my boys — OH, my boys. I don’t want another baby to replace the two who are growing so quickly. I want another baby because I’ve tasted how delicious this time is and I want more of it.
It’s really the smell’s fault. If only the baby didn’t smell so good.
Although, sometimes the baby smells like yogurt…
When I lost my job in public relations it felt awful. I left a job and people I loved in the not-for-profit world for one in consumer electronics because I thought it would advance me in my career. It was close to home and paid much more than I was making, and so, after much back and forth, I took it.
The problem was, I wasn’t very good at the new job. The passion I held for the museum I left could not be replicated in the consumer world. I felt timid and confused and spent a better part of a year hoping to not be put on the spot, afraid it would reveal the truth.
Despite all that, getting fired was terrible. Although a part of me felt relief that I could just go, I still felt awful about my performance. It wasn’t the right job for me, but it was still my job. I should have worked harder. Done better.
My current gig is one I am passionate about. Being a mother brings me both joy and a sense of accomplishment. I’m good at this job, most of the time.
Lately, though, I feel like I’m slipping into the failing zone, and while no one can hand me a pink slip, I’m still aware I need to do better.
Two and a half is a challenging age. Owen argues with me, is defiant and fresh. He refuses to nap, pushes boundaries and tells me “no” all day long. At 6 months, Ryan is a happy little thing, until he’s not. Lately I spend my days more frustrated than happy. I feel burdened and unappreciated by my two small people. I am grumpy and annoyed easily and on top of that, I yell.
I could hear myself yelling more than I should, but when Owen called me out on it, I knew it had to stop. After getting out of bed AGAIN to go potty (he knows he can get out of bed for that), I snapped that it was ENOUGH.
“Why are you yelling at me, Mommy?” He asked.
“I’m not, bud,” I said, backtracking.
“Well, you were…”
I’m afraid that I’m so caught up in the endless minutiae of the every day, that I am missing the good stuff. I don’t want to miss a funny quote or a big cheesy grin because I’m mad that I tripped over a stray toy for the 10th time. I don’t want my kids to remember me as a grumpy mommy who yelled over nothing. I want my words and tone to mean something.
I don’t like the mother I’ve been lately, but unlike my previous job, I’m going to do something about it. I need to take a deep breath, calm my blood pressure and start a new. One day my house will stay clean and no one will be fighting me over a nap, but that also means my babies will have left the nest. I need to focus more on the now and appreciate this time while they are still little.
And so, I have an opportunity to change the way things are. This time I can, I WILL, do better.
At least you can have an occasional drink at this job.
(He’s laughing at me. I lose.)
- I finally took the Christmas decor down last week and now it is glaringly obvious that there is nothing hanging on the unpainted walls. My living room is basically a sterile environment. If you don’t count the Cheerio crumbs and dog hair. I started to pin ideas for the room so if you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for the recent onslaught of photos of mantels and gallery walls. I would also love to paint, but the room is big and neither Michael nor I likes to paint. Hiring someone isn’t in the budget right now so either we suck it up and do it ourselves, or continue to live in the vast whiteness.
- Anyone remember when we watched my mother-in-law’s crazy dog last year? I swore it would not be a repeat thing, and yet, here we are one year later and about to embark on 13 days with Lucy. Last year she was skittish and whiny and afraid of men. Which meant that any time Michael would come into the house…she would pee. And then, to add icing to the cake, she freaked out and expressed her anal glands in my kitchen, and I’ll just take a moment to let that sink in.
Expressed her anal glands. In my kitchen.
That smell is burned in my memory and so help me, if she does it again I am shipping her off to Florida so my MIL an deal with it. So, SO gross.
- Speaking of my MIL, she bought a cow. Not a whole cow, not even half of a cow. She bought something like a fourth of a cow so we could split it between us. Only, we don’t really eat that much red meat. Maybe once or twice a month. She was insistent, however, so now the entire bottom half of my freezer if filled with beef. Because even splitting up a fourth of a cow is still hundreds of pounds of cow. I’m not kidding when I tell you this meat will last us a year, maybe more. There’s just so.much.beef. I’m going to have to host a beef party or something just to put a dent in it.
Except a beef party sounds disgusting. No one would come if I cordially invited them to a beef party. Or they would, but they would think it was an entirely different type of party with a whole different kind of beef, if you catch my drift. And that would be awkward.
The day before my due date I was terribly crabby. No, scratch that. I was downright bitchy. Nothing could make me happy, I didn’t want to do anything and I was done, done, DONE with being pregnant. That morning Owen and I met some friends for coffee and when they asked if I was having any symptoms of labor, I regretfully said no. Nothing! After coffee, Owen and I went grocery shopping. I figured the baby had to come at SOME POINT during the week, so I should probably make sure I had some food in the house. After no less than three cashiers made comments about me still “not popping”, I decided we were done running errands.
Later that afternoon we went out on the boat. We had been out on it almost every day that week, and every time I told Michael to really hit the bumps hard. Bounce this baby out! The bouncing didn’t do anything, but we had a nice afternoon — our last as a family of three. I made spicy burritos for dinner as one last ditch effort for the day, and put Owen to bed. By 10 p.m. I was still grumpy and figured I might as well just go to bed. I read a magazine for a bit and at 10:45, right before I closed my eyes I said out loud, “Baby, you are coming out tomorrow. Understand? Good.”
Thirty seconds later my water broke.
With no contractions to speak of, I went to the living room, shared the news with Michael, called my family and told them to hit the road, and started getting things together.
Last belly picture — one hour before being 40 weeks pregnant — baby time!
When we were ready to leave for the hospital, I tiptoed into Owen’s room, snuggled the blankets around him and kissed him goodbye. He didn’t wake, but mumbled a little in his sleep. I was overcome with emotion then, and had to leave the room before my tears woke him. I came out wiping my eyes and Michael gave me a big hug and assured me that Owen was going to be just fine. (Spoiler: he is!)
My mother-in-law arrived soon after, and as I was now having contractions about 5 to 7 minutes apart, we headed out. We checked in around 12:30, in the same room I delivered Owen in. I told the nurse I was maybe interested in using the labor tub, and she was all for it. Whatever you want to do, she said. I figured I would play it by ear. At this point, the contractions were, well, contractions, but they were pretty manageable. They began to set me up for the IV, and this is where things went a little wonky. I HATED the IV last time. Worst part of having a baby. I told them as much as since it was hospital policy I have one, I asked if they could at least put it in a different spot than last time (it had been right below my thumb near the wrist). Their first attempt this time was in my forearm, but it wasn’t taking. As the woman continued to jab me — and talk about how it wasn’t working — I began to get lightheaded. REALLY lightheaded.
Before I knew it, I had an oxygen mask on my face and the nurse was saying something about my blood pressure being sixty over thirty, and I don’t know much about blood pressure, but I know that is not normal. Baby wasn’t in distress, though, so long story short, in a little bit I was fine and they put the IV in the back of my hand. Wish they had just done that the first time.
The clock ticked into the one o’clock hour and as the contractions got stronger, I reflected back on Owen’s birth which was 16 hours start to finish. I’d only been in labor for just over two hours at this point and hadn’t yet slept. This was going to be a long night, I thought. I think I’d like to get some sleep. Right then and there I changed my mind about the tub and asked for the epidural and not long afterwards, I was comfortably resting.
My mom and sister arrived and since the maternity floor was empty, the nurses set them up with some beds in an empty room so they could sleep. I didn’t get much sleep, though, because the nurses kept bothering me. Every so often they would come in and roll me over, move the fetal heart monitor or check something or another. As it turns out, my contractions started getting further apart instead of closer together, and when they reached 10 minutes apart, the OB came to check me. I had gone from 2 cm at check in to about 6 cm, and they discovered that I had a second small bag of water (I didn’t know that could happen) that was still intact and was acting like a little pillow for baby’s head, slowing dilation. I asked him if he could break that bag and he said yes. As soon as he did, I felt TONS of pressure and when he checked me again not even 15 minutes later, I was 10 cm.
I told the nurse I felt like I could push, so they asked me to do a “practice” push before they woke up my family. Michael stood by me, I gave a push and they all said to stop. Baby was coming!
My mom and sister came in, everyone gathered around and I started to push. Unlike with Owen’s birth where it took a while for me to feel the urge to push and I pushed for an hour, this time it was immediate. The nurse laughed that this would be quick, then told me NOT to push for a minute (I don’t know what the reason was, but ah! agony!) I panted trying to fight the urge until finally I was all, “Um, I’m pushing…I have to push. I’m going to push RIGHT NOW!” and I heard Michael say “SHE’S PUSHING!”
And just like that, Ryan Mason literally tumbled into the world. Six hours start to finish, nine minutes of pushing. (And no tear this time, thank god!)
Owen arrived a few hours later and cuteness and sweetness filled the room. He was so excited and proud to meet his baby. We stayed the full two days. I could have left earlier, but I liked the short time of relative quiet where I could bond with Ryan. And then we headed home, our family of four.
Life is good. It’s tiring and chaotic and sweet and wonderful. I am so lucky.
(Ryan says “woe is me”. Life on the outside, man. Crazy.)
- No baby. Seems at this point I should start off with that…ha! We are at the point where I have to text, not call, my family or they automatically answer the phone with, “Baby??????” Well-meaning friends check in daily for updates too. Only, there isn’t any. He’s still in there.
Today I’m 39 weeks 2 days, the exact day Owen was born. I thought for SURE #2 would be here by now, even if only ahead by a day. He is making it very clear that he’s going to do things his way.
We have done all the Get Out tricks short of Caster Oil (because, yuck), but I guess until he’s ready, they won’t work. That doesn’t stop me from starting each day by issuing a verbal eviction notice.
- The good thing about still being pregnant is that we have spent a lot of time as a family this past week. Michael was on vacation and our time together as three has been really special. Last night as we zipped around on the boat (hitting every wave, as requested by me!), I watched my little boy shriek with delight as he helped drive the boat and laugh into the wind and thought how lucky I am for these wonderful boys in my life.
- I cringe to say this, but I’m starting to understand the appeal of a minivan. The back of my Honda is packed solid. (Is Baby Got Back in your head now?)
Two car seats! Eeep! (For anyone interested, that’s a Graco Snugride and a Britax Boulevard. I’m a big fan of both.)
- What can I eat for breakfast to induce labor? I’m thinking leftovers blueberry pie… (What?!)
This weekend the clouds parted and graced us with two days of sun, the first in a week. We celebrated by spending as much time outside as possible. Our front and back yards are two of Owen’s favorite places to play, but the beauty of where we live is within minutes our toes can be in the sand.
We explored. We discovered rocks and shells and the feeling of sand falling between our fingers. We threw rocks in the ocean and chased seagulls. Yesterday, in an effort to combat Owen’s afternoon crankies, I grabbed a bucket, plopped our butts in the sand and spent an hour hiding and unearthing a pile of rocks of with him. We left with tangled hair and smelling of salt water. It was perfect.
It hit me this weekend that our time as a family of three is running short. With just over nine weeks until baby is due, I’m noticing more and more each day how big Owen is, how personable and funny and beautiful. I want to bottle the memories of these last weeks and carry them with me, always remembering what it was like to be a mommy to one amazing little boy.
I cannot wait to meet our new baby, to watch Owen become a brother, but still, right now, I want to hold on so very tightly.
Brothers on the beach
I know that come July I won’t be able to imagine my life without my two boys. I know that our puzzle isn’t complete yet, and baby is one of the pieces we’ve been waiting for. I know that Owen won’t remember these days of just the two of us digging holes on the beach, but I will.
I will, my little boy. And I will cherish them forever.
- Owen and I spent the weekend in New York visiting my family, and while I was there I came down with The Plague. I’m still not entirely sure if it was food poisoning, or a short-lived virus, but I spent my first night home (and into the early morning hours) on my mom’s bathroom floor begging for mercy. I’ll spare you the nasty details, but in short, it was both ends, for hours. At one point, realizing she only had an unlined wicker trash can, I had one of those horrifying realizations that something absolutely disgusting was about to happen, and something was just going to have to go on the floor. The upside of this, I suppose, is that after disinfecting the floor at 1 a.m., I could be sure it was nice and clean as I pressed my face against it the rest of the night.
- The worst was over by 10 the next day, but my body had shut down and I spent the entire day alternating between drinking Gatorade, and sleeping. I am thankful for a few things: a) I’m glad no one else caught whatever I had. I had horrific images of Owen being hooked up to an IV in a hospital bed, as there’s no way his little body could survive the Exorcist imitation mine had. b) I’m glad the sickness didn’t begin on the 3.5 hour drive there. I have no idea what I would have done. c) Mostly, I am thankful I was at my mom’s house when it happened. Sure, Michael would have taken off of work and stayed home, but I had forgotten how much I want MY mama when I’m sick. She took care of everything, took care of me, and between her and my sister, Owen was occupied completely and I was able to heal.
- A lot of friends have expressed concern that I might be disappointed about having another boy. I swear I’m being honest with them when I say I’m not. I’M REALLY NOT DISAPPOINTED!!!! Sure, I’d like to buy some girl clothes, but I’m going to compensate by buying some new completely cute and unpractical newborn boy clothes BECAUSE I CAN.
- I’ve been having a hard time sitting down to blog lately. Judging my the comment count I’m guessing most people have stopped reading because I’ve drifted so far from the daily posts I used to write. That’s ok, I guess. Ebb and flow and all that. But because I still like to do something blog related, and since I enjoyed reading the posts of friends who participated in the February Photo Challenge, I decided to participate in the March one. Yeah, I totally said I was going to do this months ago and failed miserably, but I’m just going to take them on my phone and upload them directly this time.
- Day 1: Up
Downstairs, looking up, at a toddler having a tantrum. Good morning!
Lately I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to have two children. I get asked about it a lot already. When are we having the next one? It seems to be a common question as O approaches his first birthday, as if the one-year mark is a counter ticking down to a sibling. I was asked a handful of times this weekend and my mother-in-law recently told me she had a dream I was pregnant, than waited patiently for me to confirm that her dream had truth to it.
We always loosely toss around the idea of trying for a second child around the time Owen is 18 months. I guess that means we could try around the time he’s 15 months, or 20 months, or what-have-you, but we both like the idea of having them about two years apart. Michael is an only child and while we’re very close now, my sister and I are nearly seven years apart, which caused some natural distance between us growing up. I want my kids to have an always-buddy, my house to be filled with (controlled) chaos (ha!), and to someday have my backyard filled with big family picnics. We imagine at least two, probably three children.
Sometimes when the reality hits me that I could potentially be pregnant before the end of this year, I am filled with joy and anticipation. I loved being pregnant. I would love to be pregnant again. I can only hope that we are blessed with an easy conception and a healthy pregnancy again when that time comes; we were so very fortunate for that with Owen.
But then sometimes, I wonder how can I ever even consider being pregnant again so soon? A year has just flown by — this time a year ago I was having fun at my baby showers and today I’m wrestling a 10-month old monkey. It’s so cliché to say they grow up so fast, but they DO. Especially these last few months, I feel like he changes and grows so much over the course of just days. The little peanut who used to cry all the time is now this ridiculously joyful, adorable, loving little boy who gives kisses and giant smiles, can feed himself some food and drink out of a cup and is speaking words. And is napping and sleeping through the night!
Sometimes it feels a little selfish to even consider starting the path towards bringing another life into our family, when I don’t dare to miss one small milestone of Owen’s. And then on the flip side, to imagine doing it all again, to experience another first smile, the first “mama”; to imagine Owen as a big brother. Well, that just seems wonderful. One small person has made our lives so much fuller. We have so much love to give him, and I know I have enough love to give to more.
There was never a perfect time for us to get pregnant the first time. Our ducks were in a row, mostly, sure. But I had lost my job and we wanted to sell our house so no, it wasn’t a “perfect” time by definition. But it turned out to be the perfect time for that baby, because here he is, and we wouldn’t change it for the world. So is there a “perfect” time for another? No, of course not. There will always be a lone duck off on its own, away from the others in a row.
For the immediate future, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this time with Owen, before there are two. Before we are no longer first-time parents of an only child. Because this time will only happen once and I plan to absorb every minute of it.
If you have children, how did you know you were ready for more? Or that one was enough?
One of the best memories I have of my childhood is dancing around the living room with my mom. Tom Petty, Counting Crows, Bonnie Raitt. We would spin and sway; twirl and laugh.
I don’t look back fondly on too many moments of her relationship with the man she dated seriously for years after my parents divorced (he broke her heart and I’m not down with that), but I do remember them dancing with each other around the living room. Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing.
I dance around the room with Owen on my hip, bouncing him to make him laugh.
And today, when our wedding song came on randomly while uploading songs to itunes, Michael pulled me into his chest and we slow danced in our living room. Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing, with baby at our feet.
I hope one day our children think back to us dancing around the house together.
Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing…