Monday, May 30, 2011

2 months down, 8 to go

8 months is a long way away..

Trip to Florida with my Family

This post was started Sunday night and finished Monday night.

We got back from St. Augustine Beach, Florida at 6:30, after 10 hours of driving.  The girls are bathed and in bed, the car's unloaded, and I'm putting my swollen feet up, drinking a glass of ice water, and can't wait to blog about our fabulous week.  I even have a Yankee Candle tart called "Beach Walk" burning right now to enhance the mood.  It doesn't smell anything like the beach, but it smells better than what the house smelled like when we first walked in -- kind of stale, with the thermostat on toasty vacation setting.

There will be LOTS of pictures in this post.  I don't get together nearly enough with my family (the last time was last June), so when we are together, we take many pictures of each other.  I think this is the first time we've ever gotten all the kids together and gone on a vacation, too.  If we'd had Tim and Roman there, that would have been everybody.  So we didn't even wait until the last night to take obligatory family beach pictures.  We did them our second night and our last night.  No one was in as happy of a mood on the last night, but they still turned out good.

Just like I did last June, I loaded up my mom-mobile and drove with the girls all by myself.  OnStar took me some weird route to get to 95, but once on 95, the trip flew by.  Google said the drive would take 9 hours and 36 minutes.  We did it in 10, and that included 3 stops, one of which was a 40-minute-long picnic at a South Carolina rest area.  It was not a fun picnic.  It was very hot, the flies were hovering, and the girls didn't eat.  I decided that was it for picnics.  The girls were as good as always, perfectly content with their movies and snacks.

We stayed in a big house a few steps away from the beach.  I told Tim that even he would like it if we could have our own "apartment" the way Scotty and Faith and their kids did.  (Tim does not like being in close quarters with extended family, even if they are his own.  He really likes his space.)  Delaney and Annie shared a room right next to the room I shared with my sister Grace on the third floor.

Here's what a typical day there consisted of, for me: get up, eat, have fun at the beach, eat, have a nap, eat again, spend time with family, sleep, get up and do it all again.  That simple and that wonderful.  We went out to eat dinner about half the days we were there, and I went shopping once with my mom, dad and sisters.  But I was just as happy to not be going anywhere.
Delaney, Annalise and Aspen
Me, Anna and Faith
The girls loved the ocean.  Even Annie was charging at the waves on day 1, causing my dad to worry.  He said she'd stop running into the water like that once she got it in her face a couple times.  Sure enough, she was a little more cautious after getting a face-full of ocean water.  But she still liked it.  She wallowed in the wet sand like a little piggy, and laughed as she ran into the water and back out.  Delaney was constantly busy, playing with her cousins, digging in the sand, trying to keep her balance on a body board when the waves came, just always doing something.  She was tireless for the most part.  She actually napped one day, completely surprising me with her request to come with me to nap on my bed.  I said, "OK, but only quiet little girls are allowed on my bed for naptime."  She played with a toy for a few minutes and conked out.  It takes a lot to wear her out!  They both tanned a little right through the 50 SPF.
Annie and Papaw, who's trying to keep her from falling on her face in the ocean
Love this one Faith took
Grandy having fun with Delaney and Annie
The water was warm, and my siblings and I spent a lot of time in it.  I almost had a disaster happen while I was out there on the first full day there.  I decided I'd try what Scotty had done, and catch a wave and ride it to shore.  But the last time I had ever tried that, I was probably 16, and definitely not wearing a $200 pair of sunglasses on my face.  I tried to catch a wave, and that didn't work out for me well at all.  When I finally came up out of the water, I thought, 'Why is the sun so bright?  Oh crap!'  I started shrieking, "My sunglasses!  Oh no, my sunglasses!"  Both Scotty and my brother-in-law Robert started looking for them.  But what were the chances I was ever going to see them again?  They came off in the ocean!  Then Robert said to me, "What are they worth to you?"  I said, "$200!"  Then to my utter disbelief, he handed me the sunglasses.  I was very effusive in my thanks, and I was a lot more careful with my sunglasses from then on.  I only just got them from Tim this past Christmas.  They've got to at least last a couple years.

We celebrated the girls' birthdays on Wednesday, and that was really nice.  Delaney was so excited about being the birthday girl, and she didn't mind sharing the spotlight with her sister.  She said, "I love my birthday!  This is the best birthday ever!"  They got a Nemo cake, a bunch of balloons, and nice presents from everyone --  clothes, dinosaurs for Delaney, Zhu Zhu pets, Pillow Pets and other nifty things.  Now Delaney tells everyone she's 4, even though she isn't really until July 8.  This morning she cracked me up a little when she told me she missed being 3.  Annie didn't like the singing any more this time than she did last year, but she gobbled down her cake and ice cream with such single-minded pleasure that she made everyone laugh.
Annie wanted nothing to do with the singing or blowing out her candle, but Delaney loved it.
Annie's favorite part
While we were there, Tim finally got a port call, in Italy.  On Saturday, a day I would have been a little mopey because it's the last day of vacation, we got to Skype with him for the very first time since he's been gone two months.  It took a couple tries, but finally it worked, and the girls and I got to talk with him for 45 minutes.  They were so happy, saying, "Dada!" and hugging the laptop, and trying to "tickle" him on the screen.  It meant so much to all of us to get to talk with him face to face.  It made our day.  We would get to talk to him again today (Monday), his last day of liberty.  It made me miss him so much to see him on that screen, looking close enough to touch.

It was the best week.  I felt less pregnant and exhausted, and just happy and energized after a week of sun and relaxation, and the company of my family.  The girls had so much fun and we made a lot of happy memories.  A day after getting back, I kind of feel like I'm paying the price for all that fun, as this has been one of my most difficult and overwhelming days yet since Tim left.  But that's for a different post, maybe, if I feel like it.  Delaney has said to me at least 10 times since we got home, "I want to go back to our vacation."  Me too!  Here are some more of my favorite pictures from the week, in no order whatsoever.  I didn't take all of them, by the way.  I didn't even take most of them.  I did what I always did, which was to grab Mom's, Grace's and Faith's camera cards at the end of the day, and get theirs.  
Faith gave the girls a bath one night while we were out shopping and having dinner.
I LOVE this one of Delaney.
The girls L-R: Annie, Delaney, Aspen and Jaden
2 pregos: Anna, 24 weeks with John Paul; and me, 30 weeks with Timmy
Little Scotty in his wagon
My siblings and I L-R: me, Grace, Scotty, Sophie and Anna
Miles and Aspen
Scotty and Faith with Aspen (5), Jaden (3) and Little Scotty (11 months)
Anna, Robert and Miles
Almost the whole clan
Mom and Dad
On the balcony with Auntie Sophie after her nap
All the cousins except Roman, L-R: Annie, Jaden (3), Delaney who never looked up, Aspen (5), holding Little Scotty (11 mos), and Miles (4)
Next time, Tim had better be in this picture!  Wow, next time it will be Tim AND Timmy.
Obligatory last day beach photo of everyone
Faith kissing her sweet baby

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Annalise is 2!

5/19/09.  Annalise Elizabeth weighed 9 pounds and was 22 inches long, sporting a funnel cloud-shaped birthmark.   She still has it, but it's faded quite a bit.
When we got home from the hospital, 22-month-old Delaney scrutinized the strange little creature who would become her best friend and partner in crime.

Learning to walk and celebrating her first birthday with her precious Lovey
And Grandpa Brady
I love this picture of us singing 'Happy Birthday' while Delaney gazes longingly at the cupcakes.

Here she is today, a big 2-year-old hard at work on an art project.

Here's a video of Annie with a ladybug

Happy birthday to our Annalise!  She is such a a sunny girl, she makes us smile and laugh all the time.  She also gets on Delaney's nerves, but that's her duty as a little sister.

She loves to talk, and her vocabulary is steadily growing.  Sometimes I don't think she knows what she's talking about, but she doesn't want to be left out of the conversation.  When Delaney exclaims, "I got a purple jellybean!" Annie will hold up her yellow one and shout, "A purple jellybean!"  She really looks up to Delaney, and she likes to say and do everything she does.

If' I'm worried or upset about something and she hears me muttering to myself, she says, "What, Mama?"  "What, Mama?"  It's so sweet of her to be so concerned.

She has a funny way of repeating back things you say, that brings to mind "Baby Ruth?" from The Goonies.  For example, one night on the way home in the car, Annie was trying to entertain Delaney by kicking off her shoes and extending her foot in her direction, yelling, "Stinky toes!"  Delaney was annoyed by this and said, "No, bad stinky toes."  Annie said very Sloth-like, "Bad stinky toes?"  "Yes!"  "Oh, bad stinky toes."  Then a few seconds later, she asked again, "Bad stinky toes?"  She just likes the dialog.

She wants to be a helper.  If I'm making chocolate milk for them, she likes to take Delaney hers.

Her constipation troubles came to a head this month.  She was miserable, crying and straining all the time, and I didn't know what to do to get her regular.  I'm happy to say these last couple weeks she's doing much better.  As the result of a friend's advice, and Annie's pediatrician's recommendation, I have her on Miralax.  I hadn't known that such little kids could take it until my friend told me about her daughter who was 3 when she first gave it to her.  That poor kid was so backed up she was almost at the point of needing surgery.  It would be nice to be able to make dietary changes, and have that be what makes her better.  But Annie doesn't eat much at all.  She likes what she likes -- mainly crackers and pizza -- and I can't interest her in much else.  The doctor said maybe her tastes would change, and if she were to start eating better, I might find she doesn't need the Miralax anymore.  So I continue to offer her fruits and vegetables and hope for the best.  I am so happy to have found something that gives her relief, though.  She's been so much happier now that she doesn't have to try so hard to poop.

This past month she started climbing out of her crib.  She gets out of her crib and strolls out the door, saying, "Mama, clock yellow."  (She at least knows the difference between the clock being blue or yellow!)  Now I hear the pitter-patter of two pairs of feet every morning.  At first I felt proud, amused, and a little sad all at once.  Sad because this means no more hearing her call for me and walking in to see her standing there with a big smile on her face.  I know I said I was going to switch her to a toddler bed once she started climbing out, but I made a liar of myself.  She sleeps so well in the crib, and naps every day in it, only climbing out after the clock turns yellow.  I'm leaving it alone for now.  I don't want to disturb the routine.  I've watched her climb out of the crib, and she's very skilled at it.  If I see her start dancing around on top of the railing, maybe that will be something to worry about.

She wants to do EVERYTHING HERSELF.  She does not want any help, thank you very much.  I let her go out and get in the car a good five minutes or more before I'm ready to go, so she can at least attempt to buckle herself in the carseat.  She gets really angry if I haven't given her sufficient time to try to do it herself before I come finish the job.  She's getting better and better at getting her clothes on and off, and again, I have to allow for extra time for her to do it herself because it's very important to her.  I also know that getting her clothes on and off is a skill she's going to need soon, when it comes time to use the potty, so I try my best to be patient and let her learn at her pace.

Speaking of the potty, she has been asking to use it frequently of late.  She has only peed in it a couple of times.  Usually she sits down, grunts a few times for effect, and says she's "all done!"  The other day, she told me she wanted to poop on the princess potty.  I helped her get her pants and diaper off, and she sat down.  She didn't actually poop until after I'd gotten her diaper back on her a few minutes later, but I'm happy she's thinking about it.  If it weren't for a new baby coming in a couple months, I might even try actively potty-training her since she's showing such an interest.  But I would be really disappointed to put in the work and have her make progress, only to be derailed after Timmy's arrival.  No, I'll give it some more time, let her get better at taking her pants up and down by herself, and let the dust settle after baby brudder comes.  I'd love it if she were fully trained before Thanksgiving.

We are going to be celebrating hers and Sissy's birthdays together in Florida next week, so there will be birthday pictures to come.

A year ago today:  Annie's 1st birthday montage
A year ago today:  Annalise at 12 months
A year ago today:  Annie's birthday celebration

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

28 weeks

It's the 3rd trimester now!  12 weeks seems like a long way to go, but I bet it will go by fast.  I had an appointment with my midwife Sherry today.  Earlier this week at the OB, I had my glucose test and passed.  I think I'm done seeing the OB after the next appointment in June.

Today I weigh 132, which is really good.  I just cracked open Delaney's pregnancy journal and saw that I weighed 143 at my 28-week appointment.  Also, by 24 weeks with Delaney, I already had massive swelling of the feet and ankles that only got worse as time went on.  At 26 weeks with Annalise, I weighed 132, so I did better the second time.  And the swelling started much later with her.  I think the reason for the runaway weight gain with Delaney was that she was my first, and I had no other children to care for.  I had a job which was very sedentary, and I think I overate on a daily basis.  I also ate out a lot more.  Now, as a mom of two, especially with Tim not around, I'm much busier and I burn more calories.  I don't exercise nearly enough, but having to keep up with little ones is keeping me in reasonably good shape.

A really nice thing happened to me today earlier today.  After I picked Delaney up from school and we were walking to the car, I heard someone call out to me, "What a cute maternity shirt!"  I said, "Thanks.  I got it from Old Navy."  Then she said, "You look so cute."  This person I don't even know.  It's a good thing the shirt looks good on me -- I wear it about every other day.  I ordered a few maternity things from Old Navy a few months ago, and as with all things Old Navy -- you may or may not get what you see in the picture.  Half of what came turned out to be crap after one wash.  And the things I'd gotten from them during my other pregnancies had to be thrown out long before now.  But it's all so cheap I can't resist.  I just ordered three more things so I'd have more to wear on vacation.  I may only like one thing out of the three.  It's a gamble.  The nearest Old Navy store is an hour away, though, so I continue to order online and hope for the best.

Back to my appointment: my fundal height measurement was 28, so right on.  It's been right on throughout this pregnancy.  Maybe Timmy will be a smaller baby.  I always measured a week or two ahead with the girls.  With her hands on my belly, Sherry determined his position.  He is head down with his back on my left side, his butt right above my belly button, and legs on the right side.

This past week I actually did something to get ready for Timmy's arrival.  I bought and set up an organizer for his things next to my bed.  It consists of six cubes, with fabric drawers in about half of them.  It should house all of the diapers, blankets, onesies and whatnot very nicely.  What I like best about this little storage unit is, once Timmy moves to his own room with all the furniture that's in there, I can use it for anything else I want -- toy storage, most likely.

I'm looking forward to getting to hold and look at this baby boy.  But at the same time, I am trying to enjoy the time I have with just the girls.  I am trying to take them out and do as many things with them as I can, because things are going to change for awhile after he arrives.  I'm so glad for the nice weather and opportunities to take them to the beach, to the pool, and in two weeks, our Florida vacation with my family (yay!).  I'm also grateful to have friends to do things with.  I might find myself tired a lot, frustrated, bogged down with so many things, and missing Tim.  But I am happy for all the good things in my life, and for the smiles on my girls' faces.
Belly pic in my good Old Navy shirt

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Delaney at 3 years, 10 months

Last night our main computer crashed -- really it died, I think.  Before Tim left, he had a feeling this might happen.  So he backed up everything to an external hard drive, and everything has been saved except for the last two months of photos.  They were supposed to be backing up too, but they didn't.  I can't tell you how much this upsets me, but I'm still holding out hope that those pictures can be retrieved with a little help from someone who knows what they're doing.  If Tim were here, this would already be fixed, but he's not, and he can only help me so much through email.  So there won't be any accompanying pictures with this post.  You'll just have to picture in your mind the little girl who first made me a mom -- big brown eyes, a nose that always needs to be wiped, a happy smile, and .. a bare bum.

Delaney has a habit that drives me crazy.  When she uses the bathroom she comes out naked from the waist down and just goes about her business.  I say, "Delaney, put some underwear on!"  But she won't unless I walk up to her with them and help her into them myself.  Whenever she gets home from anywhere, it's like she can't wait to leave her pants/skirt and underwear in a heap in front of the toilet.  I guess she just wants to be free.

She can be so nice to Annie and I think she relishes the role of big sister.  When I told them we would have to take Annie to the doctor again a few days ago, Delaney said to her, "Don't worry, Annie.  I'll be watching you, because I'll be there too."  On the other hand, she does not want to be the recipient of Annie's help.  After I asked Delaney to please go get her underwear and put it on, Annie got up and went to their room, proudly returning moments later with a pair of Delaney's underwear.  "Here, Sissy.  Underwear."  Delaney took it and flung it behind the couch, causing poor Annie to cry.

Delaney has a silly sense of humor.  She'll say things like, "You're a Cheeto!"  or "You're a Cheeto-head!"  After the Mother's Day tea, I now know where she gets it.  The little boys at our table were even more creative, according to their mothers.  "You're a dumpster!"  "Your mom's a dumpster!"  When I drop her off at school, she likes to pull the neck of her shirt up as far as she can over her face, so her teachers will say, "Who is that?" as she's walking in.

I was hoping that this would be the year Delaney outgrew her eczema, but unfortunately, no.  As soon as the temperature went over 75,  it was back.  It's in the same places she always gets it, behind her knees.  I think it started the summer she turned 2.  The only thing that causes it, as far as I know, is warm weather.  She doesn't get it any other time of the year.  When we lived in Massachusetts and Virginia, it didn't come until at least June.  But it got warmer earlier here, so it first appeared in early April.  I've tried so many ointments and creams in the past.  This year I decided I'd go with California Baby all-purpose, "nature's first aid" calendula cream.  I have to catch her and hold her to put it on, even though I'm pretty sure it doesn't hurt her.  The stuff is about $6 an ounce, and as far as I can see it's having no effect.  The eczema is getting no worse, but it's getting no better.  I wish I could find something that worked for her.  It doesn't bother her terribly, but I know it's itchy.  I sometimes see streaks on her legs where she's been itching.  I can empathize because I hate things that itch!

She misses her daddy a lot.  At least once a day she tells me she wants him to come home.  I just tell her I wish he could come home too, but he has a job to do on the big ship.  I tell her he misses her a lot too, and wishes he could come home.  Then when he calls, she doesn't always want to talk.  It depends on her mood.  I feel bad when we won't talk, but I know he understands, it's just her age.

Delaney really melted my heart yesterday.  She was so helpful with getting our new kiddie pool set up.  It was  such a pain!  It was not the inflatable kind.  The sidewalls don't stand until there's a few inches of water in it, and until then I needed her to help hold the sides up so the water wouldn't all go out.  She listened and followed all my instructions patiently.  After it was filled and she got to play in it, she thanked me at least two or three times for getting them this pool, and said, "Happy Mother's Day!"  She's such a sweet little girl.  Seeing her so happy is really its own thanks, but it is especially nice to be be thanked and shown appreciation.