32 weeks. That's 8 months. Still 2 months to go. I'm not as anxious about waiting it out this time, which is probably a good thing since the women in my family seem prone to late babies (well, the ones SINCE beer and cigarettes during pregnancy fell out of fashion. But the last couple of weeks have definitely gotten harder. My lower back is tense and sore all the time, and no amount of stretching, rubbing, or otherwise trying to keep it loose and flexible seems to help that much. I'm still tired all the time (I can really see it in this picture), and at this point I don't see that changing until the baby comes and a new kind of tired re-enters our lives. Other than those complaints, and a new inability to remember thoughts of a few seconds ago (I swear that I spend half my days simply trying to remember what I was going to write down so I didn't forget...) I feel like things are going pretty well. I'm still healthy and weighing in only about 23-24 pounds gained so far, my blood pressure is perfect, and I'm continuing to eat pretty well. And I'm sleeping well once I can finally get my back and hips to stop freaking out. So overall I have relatively few complaints.
I know everyone around these parts is talking about how much they long for the return of sun and warmer days, especially since it's June now and summers here are usually pretty decent, but I have to say that this cooler-than-normal stuff is just FINE with me. After the last two years of random, blood-curdling heat waves, I'm quite happy to be lugging my pregnant body around in mid-60 degree, overcast days, thank you very much.
Twitter is officially releasing me from guilt over my seeming inability to blog as often as other busy moms to toddlers/babies. It's like having a notepad to jot down random thoughts and stuff Pea says as they happen, without having to stress over sentence structure and grammar. LOVE it.
The kids' bathroom upstairs (good lord, did I just say "kids"?!!!) is now officially the first room in my house to be a color outside the blue/green/white spectrum. Well, almost. I've decided that at 32 weeks pregnant I probably shouldn't be climbing onto the counter to paint above the mirror and lights. Jeffrey? (Even though I know we've agreed that painting is my domain...) Jeremy? (You get dinner as trade. Three dinners if you want to help with the master bath too...) I'll post photos later. I just have to say that I love, love, LOVE the Martha Stewart colors for Lowe's. this one is the same color as my living room--I only wish the rest of the room looked this luscious and crisp, though I'd rather not be constantly scrubbing hand prints off entire walls at this point in my life. I have enough repetition in my life as it is. Perhaps one day when my house is no longer full of little voices and small, toddling people I can do something like this to try and fill the void.
My lovely friend Kelly had her baby Monday night. Liam Stewart. Cute, no? Weighed 9 lbs, too, bless her heart! I'm hoping to meet him shortly--can't wait to get my sticky little fingers on some baby goodness. My friend Sharla is next, in a little over a month. I'm hosting her shower next week, which has been another good motivator (besides my own impending birth) for getting some last-minute painting and organizing done. Nothing like having a bunch of people you don't know show up at your house for a few hours. Which reminds me--I need to move those two pictures in the living room to somewhere they actually belong...
I think I found the perfect color for our master bedroom, and I'm 95% certain of the bathroom color. I was originally going to wait till after the baby came to tackle our space but now I'm thinking all these library books I keep ordering could conceivably wait till I'm up all hours nursing, whereas painting really shouldn't be done while baby-wearing (contrary to popular opinion, sure). So I just might have a crazy next few weeks, ending in an almost completely painted house. The only rooms left would be Adeleine's room, which I don't intend to paint until she shows up and I have a chance to get to know her a bit (I did this with Pea, too, and it was really fun to pick a color that fit her personality, not just my decorating taste or "girl stuff"), and the music room, which would require moving a piano, a marimba, a drum set, a big bookcase, and other assorted music paraphernalia. NOT happening. Oh, I guess there's also the stairwell and upstairs hall. Just might pay someone else, you know?
I finally have all of Pea's old clothes in Rubbermaids, sorted and labeled by size, and all of the 0-6 months stuff washed and ready to go. We now have a car seat, too, and I think I'm a tiny bit in love with it and all of it's brilliantly designed features (ours is a different color than they show, not that it matters). We gave Pea's away, along with the matching stroller, something like 3 weeks before we found out we were pregnant again--so funny, but it was meant to be. I'm hoping this baby will take to a sling much better than Pea did (violent screaming), as it will be much easier to carry her that way while I'm also chasing a very busy small person up and down stairs.
Busy weekend starts now.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:31 PM
Monday's post at Mamarazzi.
And funny in so many ways.
But did I mention that I'm very, very tired? 3 hours of sleep, people, and while the dear child is napping I should be sleeping as well but...it's not working.
So there's a small chance that the above isn't as funny to you as it is to me.
Posted by Annagrace at 4:08 PM
The Gift of Good Land
The author is as quick to admit to her failings and frustrations as she is to laud her family's successes so I don't find it at all preachy (something I loathe even when it's about topics I love) and it's hardly black and white. I'm only a few chapters in, but it seems that she's more interested in having us ask questions, put more thought into the way we approach food, and be more thoughtful in what we teach our children about it then with doing things perfectly all of the time. Another plus, her husband contributes statistics and resource info and one of her daughters provides her own perspective as well as seasonal recipes.
One of my favorite quotes so far is this, from Steven L. Hopp, one of the co-authors:
"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast."
Just one meal a week? My family can do that, for sure.
Posted by Annagrace at 3:35 PM
It appears that in my haste to post earlier, I neglected to actually post a photo that includes more than the kite's string. Good one, self! So here are Pea and Jeffrey and the kite, before it went high, high up into the sky and it became nearly impossible to get a shot of her and it together.
Seriously--she was amazing. And only twice did she forget to hold on, which meant Jeffrey suddenly dashing down the beach, his flip-flops hurled behind him. It was sort of breathtaking. Especially the second time, when it also meant him climbing up the high, rocky outcropping and into someone's yard/bushes and untangling all those ribbons and all that string. Of course Pea welcomed him back like a hero, but at that point he was pretty much done with kite-flying for the day.
We had unexpected good news today, which was hard on the heels of some less than good news yesterday, so that all worked out. Just boring financial stuff.
I'm about two months away from Baby A's due date, which feels closer than ever and awfully far away.
I made peanut-butter cookies with jelly centers. Because apparently the pasta with cream sauce that I had for dinner just wasn't enough fat for one day. I'm definitely wanting comfort food with this kid. Comfort food and citrus. I bought ice-cream tonight. I NEVER buy ice-cream. I've been weighing myself every morning consistently and so far I've gained maybe 20 pounds this pregnancy. Not bad. I gained 40 with Pea.
My glucose test came back perfect, as it should. Those tests are not a good measure of that sort of thing anyway, but still it's nice to know.
Baby A is moving a lot more now, but still very, very regular and much less active than I remember Pea being. I have her going-home outfit and blankets all washed and ready to pack and her room is about one good day of organization away from being ready. I'm not painting it or really decorating it till she's here and I feel like I know who she is. But in the next week or so I hope to at least finish setting the basics up--changing table, crib, and label all the Rubbermaid's full of clothes. It's the sorting and labeling that I keep putting off--I'd rather take a nap.
Pea was in and out of the "naughty chair" all day today. And I was not a stellar example of patience, either, but a child screaming, "go home now! Pea wants to go home now!" all through Target doesn't exactly top my list of Fun Things to Do. Oh well--try again tomorrow. Which reminds me: Pea's new, favorite phrase is, "oh well--try agin!" I think that if I had been able to internalize that principle at such an early age I wouldn't have struggled so much with perfectionism the rest of my life.
Picked a color for the upstairs bathroom and the master bath and I'm thinking about trying to get them painted in the next few weeks. Barring another major heat wave, of course.
The house is quiet. Pea's asleep. The kitchen is clean. The laundry is done, folded, put away. The shopping is done for another week. Jeffrey's lunch is made. The living room is clean enough. Time for bed.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:37 PM
Saturday, Jeffrey and Penelope and I decided to drive to one of our favorite beaches for the day. It was HOT here, this weekend, and after 97 degrees on Friday I felt like my swollen pregnant extremities had had enough. It was also the annual kite festival and Pea had a great time watching the big kites and flying one with Jeffrey. It only took her an hour or so to become quite the little kite-flying pro.
Here are some photos from the day. It was really, really bright and pretty windy and most of the time I couldn't even see the screen on my camera, much less have a good idea what I was shooting, and I realized later that my settings were off. But still--it was a fun day!
Posted by Annagrace at 10:02 PM
More posts coming later today albeit backdated to when they were supposed to have been up. Because I'm temporarily setting aside all blogging integrity. Deal with it.
In other news, songs I never need to hear again. Ever, ever, ever.
"Your Body is a Wonderland" (John Mayer)
"It's My Life" (Bon Jovi)
"Butterfly Kisses" (Bob Carlisle or anyone else, thank you very much. Includes wedding performances)
"Unwritten" (Natasha Bedingfield)
"I Believe I Can Fly" (R. Kelly. Includes graduations.)
"Bubbly" (Colbie Caillat)
"Soak up the Sun" (Sheryl Crow)
"Jump, Jive, and Wail" (Brian Setzer)
Posted by Annagrace at 9:01 AM
Mini veggie pizzas. Whole-wheat pitas layered with fresh spinach, dilled Havarti, and fresh yellow bell peppers. Layer them up and stick them under a broiler until bubbly.
Salad of butter lettuce, fresh, juicy tomatoes and perfectly ripe avocado. Tossed with my favorite simple dressing of seasoned rice-wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh garlic.
How easy is THAT?
Jeffrey and I usually don't buy into the marketing scams and schemes of minor celebratory days like Valentines (I'd rather get flowers on a day when I knew he thought of it himself, I feel no need to collect conflict diamonds, when I want chocolate I goes and gets it, etc.) and Mother's and Father's Day (though we truly celebrated the first ones), and we're working hard to extend this attitude to Christmas as well. The older I get the more I think of More Stuff as More Stuff to Clean/Move/Store/Clean Again, and really, with the exception of good jeans, shoes that manage to be both comfortable and stylish, and one day next year a new car, it's only ever More Stuff.
How DO we like to celebrate special days, then, you ask? Perhaps you haven't been reading long...we like to EAT our way through every national and religious holiday and family occasion! It could be argued that, long-term, this isn't the best choice either, but we are usually pretty good at making sure the majority of it is actually half-way decent for our bodies as well as tasty. I wish I could say that all of our food choices are completely sane and ethical, but come on...baby steps. We ARE however, champion recyclers, have almost no chemically-based cleaning products in our home, and I put my produce directly into the cart--no plastic bags. I think if everyone changed just 2-3 bad lifestyle habits a year the world would quickly become a better place. So ideal eating is pushed back to next year...
We also like to celebrate with family, both chosen family and family of origin.
This Mother's Day was a weekend-long celebration. On Saturday morning we all went over to my mom and sister's new house for brunch. Jeffrey's parents were there too and it's always fun when Pea gets both sides of her family at once. Tiff made a tasty strata (with Pea exclaiming loudly over each piece of ham she could dig out "AM! NUMMY! Pea LIKE am!"), I brought apple-pecan-sour-cream muffins (I'm posting that recipe later--super easy and so, so good!), there was lots of fruit and fresh coffee and our childhood "special day drink", what we called Orange Juice Refreshers (equal parts frozen oj concentrate and milk, popped into the blender till frothy--yummmm!) Then gifts were passed around and my family totally spoiled me--beautiful bowls of the perfect 1950's blue, a really cute shirt and earrings, and a potted freesia that's been making our living area smell amazing ever since.
Sunday morning I woke up to Jeffrey taking Penelope downstairs to make breakfast, so I laid in bed and read and felt completely lazy and relaxed until I heard voices and footsteps and the smell of fresh coffee. I got yummy breakfast of omelets and potatoes in bed--something every Mother should get to experience at least once (even if it does skeeve Oprah out). I got a card with Pea's crayon signature and the perfect, soft and pretty nightgown and robe for the hospital. The plan is to not even have a reason to wear those god-awful gowns this time around and a have a few more pictures I actually want to show people.
Thank you, family...I felt very loved and honored. It's kind of unreal that this is already my third Mother's Day. That almost makes me feel older than my actual age.
Posted by Annagrace at 4:46 PM
Afterwards, my mom and sister and Jeffrey's parents all came over and we ordered pizza and Pea had a nap and we all sat around the fireplace thinking about how nice a nap sounded to all of us, instead of actually going and taking one, but it was a fun way to end the day.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the day, in no particular order.
The pics are a bit grainy from the misty rain. One day I'll have a better camera, too.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:01 PM
Still feeling better than I did with Penelope. I highly recommend seeing a naturopath during pregnancy as well as an ob/midwife--the difference in my overall health is very different and very good. Who knew that heartburn and stomach issues are things you actually don't have to live with? I know! But alas, the hips have shifted much sooner and with that has come all sorts of bone/muscle pain and the inability to roll over in bed without cracking sounds and grunting and gritted teeth. Sexy, no? Still fitting into most of my pre-pregancy loungewear (NOT polyester, mind you), though, and whether or not I should, I kind of like showing off my belly this time around. The neighbors may feel differently. No new stretch-marks either, so this baby is definitely working hard to make up for the grueling first trimester she put me through.
Speaking of Adeleine, I've been starting to sense or feel very particular things about her personality and I'm certain that we've chosen the right names with right meanings. We'll see, of course, but with Penelope I was right on. I've heard that mother instinct is rarely off...
Posted by Annagrace at 8:46 PM
Oh Penelope, today you are two years old. Since you're still little and love to hear stories about yourself and still don't mind when your mama gets emotional, I'm going to tell you a little bit about the day you were born...
Your daddoo and I went into the hospital at noon on Sunday, the 30th of April. For days I had been in and out of labor, contractions 5 minutes apart, 3 minutes apart, 2 minutes apart for 8 hours at a time followed by 8-12 hours of nothing. I was 41 weeks along and we were trying every single thing we'd read that could bring on real labor-- walking, massage, spicy food, pretty much everything except castor oil as nothing, not even 41 weeks and over 200 pounds, was going to make me orally ingest that sickening stuff. I still remember that Saturday afternoon, sitting at the small table in the window of our favorite Thai place (we had pad gai and tom kha soup, HOT!), hot, huge, and absolutely certain I was going to be pregnant forever. It started raining as our food was brought to us, big, splattering rain that made the moderately warm day feel steamy and and immediately caused puddles to form in the parking lot. I wasn't even that hungry, but I ate as much as I could handle as we were running out of non-medical options for inducement and for some reason I was completely set on you being an April baby. But that night I had maybe two more hours of solid contractions before everything stopped. Again.
When I woke up I called our midwife Michelle, and though she'd seen me the day before (shortly before the Thai food) for a non-stress test and a check of my fluid levels (everything was fine--in fact, I had amniotic fluid to spare) she told me that it sounded like my body was having a hard time finding its way this first time around, and that I was welcome to come into the birthing center so she could try something very, very gentle (albeit medical) to see if we could get this show on the road. 10 minutes later we were throwing the packed suitcase in the car, I was stepping out of the shower, and we were calling your grandparents and family and letting them know that we were on our way in. Fingers crossed. My mom, your Grammi, went into the hospital 3 times with me, her first baby, before she finally went into a labor that lasted, so this seems to be a family/first girl thing. About two hours later my water finally broke and then the real fun began.
My memories of birthing you are both hazy and dream-coated and starkly linear, black and white. I remember hours of straddling the toilet, the only position that seemed to offer any comfort, while your daddoo and the midwife and an amazing nurse named Jennifer all took turns pushing tennis balls into my lower spine and back, trying heroically to help counter the incredible back labor I was experiencing and telling me to breathe, breathe, breathe. I was so deep inside myself, so far below the surface as I worked to allow my body to do its own work and do it without my mind in the way, that I kept forgetting to breathe. I remember asking for juice many times, and the way the apple juice and crushed ice tasted like cold, sugared cardboard. I remember Michelle being so positive at the beginning that she could turn you, since turning posterier babies is something that midwives aren't afraid of (unlike many doctors) and are taught to do, and then I remember her trying hard not to show her frustration as you stubbornly held your ground. Midnight came and went and even though I was so focused on the process and on your daddoo's voice coaching me through the pain, I was suddenly conscious that you weren't going to be an April baby after all. I remember starting to push and then moving into all kinds of odd and awkward positions as we tried, desperately now, to get you to turn your little body around and move your head beyond its initial presentation.
In 15 minutes of pushing we had seen and touched your head. At 3:45, 2 hours later, you hadn't moved an inch. I was losing energy and fiery contractions were still swarming my body along with the primal instinct to push. Everything was so intense and I was so incredibly tired and yet so very determined that I was going to birth you, whatever it took. I remember opening my eyes from the bed, where they'd moved me because my legs and hips had started to get really shaky, and seeing Michelle quietly talk to your daddoo and Jennifer. I knew immediatley where this was going and I knew exactly what I was OK with and what I wasn't. When they looked at me and said, "suction" I told them that I'd do anything except a c-section. And so, at 4:30am on May 1st, you were finally born.
I'll never forget the way you looked, lying in Michelle's hands as your daddoo cut your umbilical cord. Your huge dark eyes stared straight at me and you hardly cried, just mewed a bit in a strong, croaky voice while spreading your hands and fingers out, feeling the air, seeing the lights that had suddenly come on for the vacuum extraction. There was absolutely no vernix on you and I saw that I had been right, and that it really was time for you to be born. I held you for a minute (far too short) and then your daddoo held you and talked to you and stroked your little hands and feet while a nurse quickly and efficiently measured you and weighed you and wrapped you in a soft white onesie and blanket. I still have the little shirt. I accidentally washed it when we came home and when I realized what I'd done I cried very hard. It had still, days later, smelled exactly like you did the moment they put you in my arms and I never, ever wanted to lose that. But feeling it brings it all back in a minute.
This is the picture that your daddoo too with his phone, minutes after you were born. It's much darker and blurrier than all the others we have of those first few hours, and yet it's the closest to how I first remember you. This is the very moment they laid you on my chest for real, for good. It's the moment I felt, finally and for real, that I was a mama. I was your mama.
Nothing that I ever do or accomplish in my life will ever measure up to this: the rising sun breaking the edge of sky through the wide hospital window, your daddoo standing next to me, tired and happy, my own tired, exhausted body suddenly flooding with adrenaline and happiness and relief, and you--blanket wrapped and in a tiny pink and white hat, wide-awake and calm and in my arms at last.
Every minute with you, Penelope, is an adventure. You are kind and sweet and feisty and strong. You are tender and you are brave. The last few weeks have been particularly challenging as you work out new emotions and defiance, but I also know that some of this is due to the baby that we're about to have and your fears of everything that's already changing in your world and everything else that's still about to change. It's been hard for me, too. Every day I've been trying to make the most of these last days with just you. I know you will love Adeleine and you will love having a sister, but this is the last time it will just be the two of us during the day. I can promise you this, though, our fun times alone are not through! We're going to have many more years of just you and me, at the grocery store making up silly songs, you and me at the park with little cups of gelato, you and me curled up with a huge stack of books (many of them technically beyond you) and a blanket, you and me under a blanket tent talking about our day and saying sweet things to each other.
I love you, baby. Or as you say, my "big gull". Happy Birthday!
Posted by Annagrace at 9:04 PM