Monday, June 1, 2015

This and that

The "stalker view" from the girls' bedroom window
It has been a tumultuous and emotionally exhausting few days around here. The day has finally come for us to say farewell to our next door neighbors, and that meant for Delaney to say goodbye to her best friend Norah. This morning as we drove to school, Norah and her mom stood at the side of the road waving. They are now on their way to Massachusetts, to their forever home. Norah's dad is retiring, so this is their last move. I don't even think they knew they were going to be moving until this past winter. I want to say originally they were going to be around for another year.

When we moved here last summer, Tim and Norah's dad already knew each other and had worked together in the past. We were so glad to wind up next to them, and thrilled that they had a seven-year-old daughter for our girls to play with. It ended up being that Delaney and Norah became inseparable, and Annie didn't warm up to any of them until their last month here. That's typical of Annie. Delaney was better than the FBI at monitoring Norah's family's comings and goings, always waiting for her next opportunity to have time with Norah. During the week they were always so busy, with Norah's three older siblings involved in multiple after-school activities and being driven all over creation.
Finally this weekend, it was packing and moving time, and Delaney and Norah were able to spend every minute from Friday to Sunday night together. But I have to say it was stressful for me. My kids acted up so much, and I don't know if it was related to the upcoming move, or being in Norah's presence all the time, or they just wanted to give me hell. We had Norah sleep over Friday night, we had her here all day Saturday, our families went to Mass together on Sunday, and she was here from the time we got home. My kids had so many meltdowns in those 48 hours that I was ready to tear my hair out by Sunday afternoon. I actually hid in my closet and cried on the phone to Tim because I didn't know what to do. Nobody was wanting to listen to me, everyone was wanting to fight over everything, it was so loud in our house, I was always having to discipline somebody, and I just wanted to be left alone. I told him on the phone last night once everyone was finally in bed asleep and only the final goodbye in the morning awaited, "Weekends like this make me look forward to Monday!" Of course we're quickly approaching summer, when weekdays and weekends look alike for us. But for today it was such a relief to have it just be me and Buddy.
Delaney will miss their doggy Fenway too.
I don't know what this week holds in store for me. The house next door will be empty, and I think that coming home from school and seeing that will be hard for Delaney. She's going to keep wondering where they are and then remembering. I'm going to try to be extra nice to her this week -- give more hugs, try to say yes more than I say no, and be extra patient. I really think these next few days will be the hardest, but then once summer is in full swing she'll be distracted and busy.
That brings me to my next topic -- summer. Friday is the last day of school, finally! No more driving two hours a day, no more carpool lines. (No more of that ever.) Freedom! And then the elation will last about a second before the kids start telling me they have nothing to do. We have a few trips and visits planned to break up the long weeks, but I have been a little intimidated at the thought of the days of just being here with all the kids all day. (Homeschool moms must feel such scorn when people like me say things like that.) I've decided to get ahead of it this time and make us a schedule. I will post it on the fridge and we will all know what we're doing every day that we are here together on Parris Island. This will be especially beneficial to Annie because she loves structure and she's always asking, 'What are we doing today?' It's already decided that Monday will be library day. Most typical weekdays will include the Y so that I can take a class (usually yoga), a couple hours at the pool, lunch and quiet time/nap time, and cursive writing practice in there somewhere during the hottest part of the day. And there will be plenty of TV-watching. And a few trips to the beach sprinkled in there, mostly on the weekends when Tim can come. They will all go to vacation bible school later this month for a few days, and I am also looking into gymnastics on base. The only big differences between this summer and last summer would be the regular working out for me, and the gymnastics. We did the pool just about every day last summer, and a week of VBS. I've got to work it out and get it down on paper, and once I do I am much more likely to be motivated to do it. What I don't like about summer is being woken up by kids in the morning and feeling like I am trying to catch up. I want to be up before them and I want to be intentional about how we go about our day.

All of this after liking this article and others like it that friends have recently shared on Facebook; and joining the voices bemoaning how much scheduling that we parents do. Oh, for the good old days. Ha! But here's the problem with having a '70s kind of summer. Once the temps reach triple digits with 200% humidity, you can't make the kids stay out all afternoon. It's inhumane. Even the recruits aren't allowed outside during the worst of it. And when it's moving and vacation season, this place turns into a ghost town. There are no kids for them to play with and nobody for me to talk to. When we first got here last July, it looked so desolate that I seriously wondered if we had made a mistake in choosing base housing. There wasn't a soul in sight. Whoever was around stayed in the air conditioning all day. Most people did what we're about to do -- go on a few trips and otherwise stay busy and beat the heat. Maybe they "summered" somewhere, like the way rich people like to use summer as a verb. Some people had moved away and others had yet to move in. It wasn't until fall that the temperatures cooled back down, people started coming out of the woodwork, kids started playing in the yards, and this started to seem like a livable place. I don't feel like spending the whole summer with my feet up and a Tab in my hand, telling the kids to go back outside. I already know that won't work. (Also I would die if they used Pottery Barn Kids duvet cover to make a backyard fort. Not free range of me, I know.) I want to be ready with a plan that we can all live with, one that keeps me in some kind of shape and on some kind of routine. It's just as much for me as it is for them. I hope to be updating at some point later on the success of that plan.

Regardless, as Tim keeps reminding me, summer is going to be over in the blink of an eye. The next school year starts August 13, for crying out loud.
I've got a lot of 'this and that.' This is going to end up being a long post.

This Wednesday I will be 13 weeks pregnant and done with the first trimester. Yay! I'm finally getting to my favorite part of pregnancy, when I come out of my funk, the food aversions go away, I have energy again, and the growing belly. I already feel much better, not that the first trimester has ever been that rough for me (I know plenty of others who have it much worse). But I really don't enjoy not feeling like myself for weeks at a time, but no sign that there is any baby in there.

I have been noticeably pregnant for at least a couple weeks now. The first person to come out and ask me was the lady who watches Timmy at the Y. Her curiosity got the better of her -- she was so nervous I would say I wasn't! I would never ask someone who looked like me if they were expecting. Honestly, I think ever since having kids in the first place, I've had a bloaty belly. I am starting to grow out of my clothes but am not yet ready for maternity. I did get out my maternity clothes bin to see what was in there. There are a few shirts that should be useful in the next few weeks. I still have a pair of maternity jeans in there, but I am donating them. I will never put them on my body again. Maternity jeans are the devil. Once it gets cold I will get by with leggings and long tops. I get my Stitch Fix tomorrow, and I've asked for some things that give me room to grow, but can also be worn postpartum. So we'll see.

At 11 weeks I heard the baby's heartbeat at the OB's office. I am following the same plan I did with Timmy, at least until I've had the 20 week ultrasound -- seeing both the OB that insurance covers and the homebirth midwife. I am so excited I have a midwife now! They are few and far between here as they were in North Carolina. Mine is an hour-and-a-half away in Charleston. What's different about having a homebirth in SC is that Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are licensed by the state. As my midwife, Joanne, quipped, "It's nice not to have a felony charge hanging over your [the midwife's] head." Indeed. And no need to be secretive about it all the way I had to be in NC.
Here I am today, right before I left for yoga. Note the belly button already visible through two layers of clothing.
I have an ultrasound scheduled for June 10, for purposes of dating the pregnancy. (shrug) I don't really care why the doctor thought it was necessary -- I just look forward to seeing this little nugget and finding out once and for all whether or not I'm having one or two. I've been growing fast, seemingly even faster than I did with Timmy. (I just searched in vain for a bump shot with Timmy from around the same time frame and came up empty-handed. None for Annie either, and I know I didn't start showing until well into my second trimester with Delaney. I must not have found my 11 to 14-week belly nearly as fascinating as I do this time. I have taken belly selfies an embarrassing number of times with this pregnancy.) Looking through the archives I see this post about the bonus ultrasound I got at 13 weeks with Timmy when the doctor suspected twins based on the size of my belly (and my full bladder, but he didn't know about that.) As a matter of fact, that entire update is identical to the way I'm feeling now, even down to craving ice cream and needing to make myself eat better.  

I enjoy being pregnant, I always have; and this time I am really relishing it. I'm so grateful to be able to do this again. For awhile, it didn't look like it was meant to be.
I have a couple more things that I've been meaning to share about Delaney: her first paying job and her first experience using the stove. She's going to be ready to move out soon!

A few weeks ago she took a spare poster board I had and decided to use it to advertise a business idea she had -- dog walking. I took a photo of her standing proudly behind the sign, with Annie who is yelling or yawning, I can't tell which. I shared it on Instagram and Facebook, and the comments led to Delaney getting a job walking someone's dachsund every Tuesday afternoon for a dollar. She's really happy. The first time she did it Annie and I went with her, but the second time she did it alone. She has to walk to the last street in our neighborhood, and I said to Annie after she'd taken off last Tuesday, "I bet she forgets the house number." At least I knew she could always find her way home, if nothing else. Sure enough, Annie told me later that Delaney had come running back to ask the house number, and Annie had told her. Annie remembered!
A few days ago Delaney mentioned she'd like to learn how to make her own egg over easy, and I decided she was ready. She was really unsure the first time, especially about breaking the egg, but after this morning I can say she's almost to the point where she can do it unsupervised. It will take a few more times, though. I want to see her do it without asking me for any guidance, and I want to see her remember to turn the burner off too. But she's come a long way. She'll be there soon. I'm trying to do everything I can to get these kids to do things for themselves. It's a never-ending battle. I wish I could get her to have the same sense of pride in a clean room as she does with a perfectly done egg. 

That's it for now. Time for bed!

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