Friday, August 28, 2015

Timmy's First Day of School

Yesterday was the little man's big day when he finally got to ride the bus with his sisters. There was nothing cuter than the sight of him walking around proudly with that big backpack on. He is in half-day pre-k at the same school as Annie. The bus picks him up with the rest of the kids at 7 a.m., and then the bus takes him right back to our front door at a little after 11. This is a very easy school year for me, indeed!

The day before that there was a meet & greet for Timmy's class with the new teacher. The one who had come to our house for the home visit was a sub. Tim came to that too, and it was very nice.
Timmy found his own cubby (even though it says "Timothy" instead of "Timmy") and hung his backpack up in it. He put the school supplies we'd brought into the designated bins. We met his teachers and talked to a couple of the other parents. The little girl two doors down is in his class. Then he made himself right at home in the comfy reading corner.
The next day before dawn, I got him and his sisters up and ready for the day, then out to the sidewalk for the obligatory sign-holding photo. I guess Annie decided she was done with these and would not smile, not even for a Mento.
Around his neck he wore a tag that had his name and teacher's name on it; as well as another tag that has his name and my name, address and phone number. Another tag clipped to his backpack had all the same information. I said, "I think he'll make it back to us."
Timmy's trying to smile for me with the rewarded Mento in his mouth, with Daddy photobombing. So silly.
Then off he went. 

At a little after 11, I went out to the porch to wait with phone in hand, eager to take some pictures as he debarked the bus. The bus drove up, stopped, the door opened, and then .. nothing happened for at least 20 seconds. I figured that getting his carseat unbuckled and getting his stuff together must be taking awhile. The bus driver said, "We got the wrong kid!" Then he laughed and said, "Just kidding." I thought, haha, sure you are. Then my little buddy appeared at the top of the stairs and stopped to buckle the chest clip of his backpack. He saw me with my camera pointed at him and smiled and waved obligingly, never one to pass up a photo op. Never mind that that the bus driver and assistant were trying to get him off the bus so they could drop off the other kids. What a ham.
Mr. P is like, "Get off my bus!":)
Once inside the door he took off his shoes and socks right away, and then showed me the folder full of papers he'd brought home. He said he hadn't fallen asleep on the way home, but he had blinked for a long time. (He was catching flies, alright.) He told me his friend Parker from soccer rode the bus too. I asked him what he'd had for snack and he said, "Nothing! They forgot snack!" 
It's been a big couple of weeks for Timmy with starting school and playing soccer for the first time. He's having a blast, having not so much time to be a couch potato, and going right to sleep every night. These are good things. Now if only I could get used to the 5:30 wake up time..

Thursday, August 20, 2015

24 weeks

Just thought I'd pop in quick for a pregnancy update. I haven't been doing a lot of these, but they are really nice to look back on later.

Everything's going well! I am feeling great, still in the honeymoon phase of pregnancy which is pretty much the entire second trimester for me. My only complaint, and I can't actually complain about it since it's natural and supposed to happen, is that I hardly have anything to wear. I could really use some maternity denim shorts, but I am loath to spend the money on something I'll only need for about another month or two. Even $25 at Target seems like too much. I can be a real cheapskate about certain things. I could also use more skirts and dresses that fit. My Stitch Fix dresses from a couple months ago are, as I kind of suspected at the time, too tiny. I can put them on but they fit like a second skin and leave nothing to the imagination. I don't feel too comfortable displaying myself that way, so I'll just leave them in the closet until I get my normal figure back. I did receive another Stitch Fix in July, but since I'd left my stylist in the dark about how much weight I was gaining and what I was looking for, I ended up only keeping one thing: a pair of black maternity leggings that I know will be useful when the weather finally cools off. It hurt me to buy them because they are definitely maternity with the full belly panel and everything, and I will only be using them for a short time. But.. the material seems nicer and thicker than most leggings I own, and paired with a long top, they will make it possible for me to leave the house looking respectable when I get to the point where literally, nothing fits.
These are NOT the Stitch Fix leggings. These are much thinner, and therefore tolerable to wear in summer. The dress is ironically, from GapKids and not remotely maternity; but I tried it on on a whim a few days ago, and it fit!
I had a visit with my midwife. I have grown a lot since my last visit at 18 weeks. I now weigh 126, and my fundal height measurement was 26. I had measured behind at the 18 week checkup. At this appointment, and at the 18 week one, a midwife apprentice was also there. I like her a lot too. She will be assisting my midwife at the birth. I am really happy to know that I will have these two taking care of me.

This little man remains very active, kicking and bouncing from one side to another. My belly has become a magnet for Delaney and Annie's hands, and I have to check the urge to be like, "What do you want? Why are you touching me?" Annie, especially, will take every opportunity to touch, hug, or brush up against my belly. She can't help herself. Despite feeling some aversion, I relax and allow them to rest their hands or their ears on their baby brother's home. It is special that they are taking an interest, and I am glad they do. They understand what that growing bulge means, and they are fascinated. Timmy couldn't care less. He doesn't get what all the fuss is about. When people ask him if he's excited about a baby brother, he says no. He says it with a smile, though -- not upset but just being honest about it: a baby brother is not something to be excited about in his world. It's not like a car or a truck, or his Ninja Turtles t-shirt. (Sigh) My little buddy.. I hope he doesn't have too hard of a time adjusting to not being the baby anymore. We need to give him lots of extra love in the coming months.

We haven't bought anything for this baby yet, or done a single thing to get ready, but there is still plenty of time. The plan as of now is to do most of the Christmas shopping next month, and after that we will focus more on baby stuff. Still, I am always keeping an eye out on our local moms resale Facebook page, in case I see something I can't pass up. I have my Ergo carrier, a sling, a few receiving blankets and onesies. We'll be needing to get pretty much everything else! It will be fun, though, whenever we finally get around to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Rest of Our Summer Part 2: Ohio

With 10 days until school started, there was just one thing left for us to do and that was to drive to Ohio to visit our family in Cincinnati. It was just the kids and I, which was daunting, but I figured that the trip would be long but easy. Google Maps said it would take just under 10 hours, and I added on two for any stops we'd need to make. I especially looked forward to our picnic lunch in the mountains like we did last time.

What I couldn't have anticipated is that we would run into not one, not two, but three traffic jams. The second two each added an hour apiece. What on earth was going on that I would have so much horrible traffic on a Saturday? I don't know what caused the first, but the second two were road work. I think we stopped for lunch between the first and second, and I kind of rushed the kids through it because I didn't know how long the rest of the day would take. We had left at 7:30 and we had lunch around 1 or 2.

The last traffic jam started with only 73 miles to go. And my phone's map app told me it was coming. I had just turned off the highway looking for a place to get gas, and I'd made a wrong turn, then turned back around. When I got to the crummy little gas station I looked down at my phone and saw that my arrival time had suddenly moved to the right about an hour. What? Are you mad at me, phone, for not listening to you and going the wrong way? I filled up the tank and opted not to have us all go inside for the bathroom because it looked really seedy there. And it was soon after that that my troubles began. It was just the worst to be so close to the end, and have the last hour of the trip end up taking two hours.

The kids were very well behaved through it all. The unlimited snacks and movies back there are mostly to thank for that. What did parents do before they could turn on movies for their kids on long trips? I shudder to think. But then Timmy had to use the bathroom and there was nowhere to go, so I pulled over to the shoulder and tried to get him to pee on the other side of the car. He said, "It's OK, I'll wait." We didn't stop for dinner, and my normally picky kids ate every last crumb of whatever I passed back to them from our cooler. (I know this because I checked later. No crusts from the sandwiches even. All got eaten. It's amazing what happens when they are actually hungry.) We all passed around the last bottle of water until there wasn't a drop left. We were so thirsty. I decided I would definitely pack more water for the drive home.

Needless to say, my parents' house was a more of a welcome sight than ever for sore eyes. And how nice to get to see them twice in a summer!

While staying at their house that week we did a lot of swimming in their pool. The kids were delighted when they had both Grandy and Papaw in there playing with them. They can be every bit as goofy as the kids.
My parents have the most welcoming outdoor spaces. There's the back porch that my dad built himself. That leads to a back deck, which leads to a pool. It's perfect, just what I would like to have some day. And everywhere you look, something pretty is growing. None of my pictures do it any justice.
We got to hang out with this little miss -- my sister Grace's baby girl, Elise Josepha. She was born on July 27. Is she not perfection? She is such a good baby too. Grace was worried that she would be this crazy baby who never slept because of all her acrobatics while she was still inside. Now she thinks maybe she got it all out of her system in utero because she's just a calm, contented little thing now. She slept peacefully in the arms of anyone who held her, and we never heard her make a noise aside from a little squeak now and then.
And we hung out with this other little miss, Georgie, my parents' "Frenchton" -- a mix between Boston terrier and French bulldog. I don't want any other dog, I just want Georgie. I thought about tossing her in the back of the Traverse when they weren't looking and taking her back here with us.
They made her a little house and gave her a baby.
August 4 was my dad and brother Scotty's birthday. We went to Scotty and Faith's house for night swimming and treats. I didn't take any pictures besides a few of Scotty tossing kids into the pool. He really tossed them high!
I don't know what it was about being at Mom and Dad's, but the kids and I slept like rocks there. Even Delaney who had been raring to go at 6 every morning of her busy days in Massachusetts, slept until 9 most mornings. There were no special blackout curtains up in the loft where the three of them slept, but there was an air-conditioning unit, so maybe it was the white noise? Or maybe it was just time for rest and recovery for all of us.
We took advantage of having many places to shop (have I ever mentioned that where we live we have only Walmart and TJ Maxx?), and did some back-to-school shoe shopping. OK, the boots were not for school -- they aren't even allowed at school -- but the girls had to have some boots. Delaney's had to be cowboy boots, and while I felt some hesitation about them at first, I have to admit they are really cute on her. Here she is with her cousin Aspen, a little fashionista boot-wearer herself, in one of my favorite pictures from the week.
Soon enough it was time for the long journey home, for which I brought lots of extra water and snacks. As I drove away from my parents' house, I tried to give a little friendly toot goodbye as is the custom in our family. But it was longer and louder than I intended, especially for early on a Sunday morning, and I giggled as I turned the corner of their street. The traffic wasn't quite as bad heading home, but still a very long day -- for me. The kids were not complaining. I was so glad to be home that night. There's nothing like going away for awhile to make you so appreciative of home. Tim had the place nice and clean, and he'd gotten new flowers for the deck to replace the ones that the bonehead teenager who was supposed to be watering them while we were in MA, let die.

And thus ended a great summer of getting to see family and do lots of fun things. Tim and I have already been brainstorming how we want next summer to go, seeing as how we were bored out of our skulls with the weeks we spent here in Beaufort. Summers here just stink, and that is no lie. The kids and I might end up spending a month or more between Ohio and Massachusetts. But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Things will be a little different next summer with a 6- to 8-month-old on board, and I'm sure keeping some kind of routine for him will be important to me too. So we'll just have to get through this next year and wait and see.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

First Day of School

The girls started school on August 13 -- the earliest start to a school year they've ever had. Looking through the calendar of their new school,there are many days off and early dismissals sprinkled throughout, probably to accommodate military families. Yet another new school for these kids -- the charter school we sent them to last year just wasn't a good fit for our family. It's still way too early to tell how this school will work out, but already I am liking having our kids going to the DoD school with all the kids on our street and most of the kids in the neighborhood. I know their parents and feel much more comfortable than I did last year when I knew almost no one they went to school with. The kids they ride the bus with are the same kids they play outside with. I am really hopeful that the girls will bond more with the girls who live down the street. I don't have to worry about Timmy, he makes friends in a second. It will be his turn to get on the bus with them on the 27th when he starts half day pre-k. In the meantime, he gets to enjoy being a bum all morning for a little while longer.

I got up early and made pancakes from scratch. I had written this little bit of encouragement on our chalkboard the night before.
I jumped the gun and took them outside for pictures when it was still too dark. The bus comes right around 7. It was so muggy outside that those signs they're holding turned into damp rags after a few minutes.
Once it was time to go two mailboxes down to the bus stop I begged them to let me take one last picture on the sidewalk because I had the sun behind me and there was finally enough light for a decent shot. Annie agreed if I promised that it would be the last. Timmy had to be in the picture, of course, there was no talking him out of it. No talking him into putting those flipflops on his feet either. 
We waited with the small crowd of other kids and parents, everyone kind of nervous and excited. When the bus came around the corner and I looked down at Delaney, she was swiping a tear away. Reflexively, my eyes started misting up too, and I gave her a squeeze around the shoulders and kiss on her head. My heart ached for her, my brave little girl who's had to go to three schools in three years. Annie was being stoic, but I know this moment was just as hard for her. The first day is so scary. I hugged and kissed them each a couple more times and hoped they couldn't tell that I wanted to cry too. I was glad they at least got to go together, even if they were being dropped off at separate schools. 

When they got off the bus that afternoon around 3:15, they were tired but in good spirits. While they had cookies and milk, Annie told me that the teacher had given her juice that calmed down the butterflies in her tummy, juice that was sweet but also a little sour. Hmm, what kind of juice is that? Delaney had nothing to report except that she'd been chosen to be student of the day, the kid who is line leader and stuff.  

I am hoping and praying for a good school year for these kids!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Rest of Our Summer Part 1: Massachusetts

It's been almost a month since I posted last. What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been! We got back from Ohio two nights ago, and school starts this Thursday for the girls. Meanwhile, we're having a hectic couple days as we take care of the things both planned and unplanned that need taken care of, and I try to reestablish control over my little kingdom here (with Tim already gone on another work trip).

Today was quite a day! My saving grace is that at quarter after 7 my kids, who have been routinely staying up until about 10 while we visit with family, are now in their beds and quiet. Something about this day (maybe I'll talk about it in another post because it was a doozy) did them in too, and maybe it's for the better so that we can get accustomed to early bedtimes and early mornings again.

So, I left off with my summer day in the life post, which was just a typical day. There followed several more of those, and I got tired of it fast. It's just too hot around here with not enough to do. I failed at my resolution to make our summer more structured. I wanted to sign them up for swim lessons or gymnastics, but changed my mind when I saw that my kids would be missing half the sessions I'd be paying for. So we didn't do much, and I gave in to the doldrums. I will, however, pat myself on the back for being proactive with the back-to-school shopping in July. That saves me a lot of heartache now.

Meanwhile, Delaney had the time of her life up north with our family in Massachusetts. They were pretty busy going to state parks, amusement parks, and all kinds of other stuff. She turned 8 there too. We were all feeling a little jealous of her, but mostly happy for her. Here's a sampling of pictures Tim's sister Sam shared on Facebook.
The caption for this one was, "Fun at the lake. Yes, that's Delaney being launched!"
Delaney, Juliana, Auntie Karen and Alexa at Patriots Place
Delaney and Juliana at Purgatory Chasm
On the 23rd the rest of us flew up. Here are some highlights from our week there:

The night before Timmy's birthday, which was on the 25th, I started feeling all guilt-ridden because we wouldn't actually be celebrating his birthday ON his birthday. (It seems to happen more often than not that a kid's birthday can't be celebrated on his/her actual birthday, and strangely, it bothers me more and more.) I wanted to celebrate it in some small way. Tim's sister Kathy gave us the idea of the candle in the donut for when he woke up. I think he liked it! 
On the afternoon of the 25th, we -- that is all the female members of the family -- embarked on the odyssey that was attending the Taylor Swift concert at Gillette Stadium. This was an event that initially I had been excited about, but as the time got closer I started to dread and think, 'What did I get myself into?' I like Taylor Swift enough, but I am not a fan of crowds and waiting around for things. But even though it was a very long night (that didn't end until 3 because it took an hour-and-a-half just to leave the parking lot afterward!), It was not bad. It was even fun. There was some waiting around for things at different times, like waiting through all her opening acts which I found to be 'meh.' But all in all it was a great night, and the crowds didn't bother me because of the open air. The kids had lots of fun, and even the 6-year-olds hung in there as it got later and later. There were no meltdowns, no one even complaining about the long walk back to our cars at midnight. 
They looooove Auntie Karen!
The next day, after very little sleep for any of us concert attendees, we left at around noon for the Pawtucket Red Sox game. Tim's sister Karen had set up some birthday festivities for Timmy there, and sort of for Delaney too. But Delaney had already had her birthday celebrated a couple times by then, so mostly it was for Timmy. He ate it all up, ham that he is.
He's wearing the hat of one of the mascots, Paw.
Then there was yet another surprise for Delaney, that lucky girl! Remember how I talked about how sad it was when her friend Norah who lived next door to us moved to Massachusetts at the end of the school year? Well, we invited her family to the baseball game months ago, and also agreed to let her go with them for a couple days at the beach house they were staying at in Connecticut. I think Delaney kind of maybe suspected they were going to be at the baseball game. We didn't do a great job of keeping that quiet since we kept bringing it up in her presence and hoping she didn't guess who "they" were. But I'm pretty sure she didn't expect to be leaving the game with them. I was worried that that was almost a little more excitement than she could handle, especially after such a late night. We had decided that we would have her bag in the back of the car and then ask her if she wanted to go; and of course she did. We took a Grandpa-style "selfie" (when he uses the timer on his camera -- which I think turn out to be the best pictures. There's something about that blinking red light that gets everybody to focus!) of all of us together right before it was time to leave.
Here's a picture Norah's mom texted me the next day.
The baseball stadium didn't allow Karen to take Timmy's birthday cake in, so we did cake and presents back at Tim's mom and dad's. I love this video, with him being unable to resist sticking his finger in the icing as soon as he sees the cake, and then looking around to make sure he's not in trouble. I think 4 is shaping up to be his most colorful and challenging (for us) year. He's getting to be "too big for his britches" at times, and wants to run the show. We've had our hands full with him. He's lucky he's cute.
We went to a waterslide park at some reservoir with really chilly water. I did not go in that water like my braver sisters-in-law and the kids did. But I did go down waterslides with Timmy. It was a lot of fun, and I even managed to keep everything on every time. Oh, the things those lifeguards must see, the stories they tell when they go home..
That water looked good enough to drink but no way was I getting in!
We spent our last day there at Kathy's pool, where I had a really rough time floating around in a tube and eating ice pops and then taking a nap inside in the air-conditioning. Oh, and eating the meals Kathy made. 
This family is girl-heavy, but we are doing our part to contribute boys. Did I mention we're having another boy? Another point for Team Blue!
The next day we flew back home, unpacked and packed again for our next trip with just the kids and me. Dun-dun-dun..