Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Beach Day

It's easy for me to forget we live anywhere near the ocean with it being winter, adjusting to having a baby around again, and the 40-minute drive. Then Tim said out of the blue after lunch on Saturday, "Let's go to the beach." I thought he meant the "beach" on Parris Island. It's a nice enough place with a picnic area, playground and trails on the banks of a river. It's good enough for getting us out into the fresh air and moving. When he said he meant Hunting Island, I was like, "Sure, why not?" I got Joey fed and changed and we were off to the beach with sweatshirts and walking shoes instead of swimsuits and flipflops. The conditions were perfect for a nice long walk on the water -- sunny, cool and with just enough of a breeze to keep a kite flying. I must have ended up saying at least three times, "We need to do this more often." I love the ocean. It is my happy place, and one day when all is said and done and we are finished moving every three years, I would love to get a house on the beach. Preferably in Emerald Isle, NC. But .. we also dream of one day living near extended family, and neither of our families live there. So it's just a dream. In the meantime the Marine Corps does a good job of making sure we are never far from a big body of water.
There was a stretch of beach where it was impossible to get around the dead trees. You had to go under or over. We called it the "tree graveyard."
Fun fact: The Vietnam jungle scenes in Forrest Gump were filmed here.
They found clams and little fish in these pools.
Someone had decorated a tree with ornaments made almost entirely from things you could find at the beach. I thought about taking one of the ornaments home to use on our own tree next year. After all, Christmas was over, and maybe the ornaments were meant to be a gift for somebody. But in the end we left them because it didn't seem right. But I don't know, I might still be back for one of them..
Three crazy kids

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Last Week's Happenings

Tim's parents took the Big 3 on a three-day Disney cruise to the Bahamas last week. They were originally going to take just the girls but back in November, right before they were going to break the news, Timmy just happened to say in front of everyone, "I wish I could go on a Disney cruise." We had honestly never mentioned a word of it -- he must have seen a commercial. All the adults exchanged wide-eyed looks and Tim Sr was on the phone with his travel agent that night. Bringing along another little body meant quite the upgrade in ship accommodations so Timmy should feel very special. Right after they got back Tim Sr remarked to me something along the lines of, there was no way they could have taken the girls and left Timmy. This instance, along with Annie's sad scene when Delaney went back with him and Alexa to Massachusetts this past summer, has me thinking that more and more, when it comes to family stuff at least, these three are a package deal.

Here are some of my favorite pictures Tim Sr took. It was hard waiting until they got home to see pictures. I've gotten so accustomed to instant gratification with texting and Facebook, but they were in airplane mode from the time the ship left Florida until it came back. I had to just imagine all the fun they were having and hope no one was seasick. If they were, there was nothing I could do about it anyway.
They had lots of fun with their cousins Sofia and Natalie.
They came back to their room and found Timmy's underwear on a towel monkey -- so funny!
Of course they couldn't be bothered to smile the one and only time their grandparents were in the frame with them. Stinkers.
Meanwhile back here, Tim took a few days off work to hang out with Joey and me. With three-quarters of our brood out of the house we seized the opportunity to clean and de-clutter a couple of kids' rooms, and I mopped the floors. Then they stayed clean .. ahhh. Joey hates car rides so we had to limit our excursions to only a couple. We had a successful visit to the outlets 45 minutes away, and I got some new workout and lounge clothes -- Fun! Then Joey cried every time we stopped at a light all the way home. (Never knew how many freaking lights there were..) We spent a fun morning walking around Savannah one day. Savannah is an hour away but with fewer lights between here and there so less crying for Joey. One thing we did not do during this time was eat dinner at a restaurant. We remembered all too well what a fiasco it had been last time when I don't even think I tasted the food I was scarfing down, I was so stressed. Instead, Tim cooked some awesome dinners that we ate at our own table with boxed wine while a baby napped in his bed.
Savannah, such a pretty city
One night Joey went to bed early, and for the first time in two months we watched a show on Netflix. Season 1 Episode 1 of The Walking Dead. That is a show we would love to watch again, but Joey has not gone to bed early since. Also, we can't agree on how to watch it now that the other kids are back. I say we watch it on the laptop so that when Timmy wanders out of his bedroom as he is wont to do occasionally (like every night), he won't see or hear anything gory. Tim only wants to watch it on the big screen noisy TV. We're at an impasse. Oh well, who knows when we'll get another chance to watch anyway.
They got back on Sunday and the kids came in the door with sun-kissed cheeks talking all at once about how much fun they'd had, and showing us the things they'd brought home. We were so happy for them. After dinner we sang happy birthday to Tim Sr whose birthday is on the 26th. 
They left this morning to go to St. Augustine for a couple days, and then back to Massachusetts. We'll see them again in July.

And now it's back to reality.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Joey: 2 Months

I don't know if I made it clear in Joey's last update, but that first month was rough. I found myself wishing we could move on from this constantly fussy phase, and then feeling guilty for wishing away the newborn days of my youngest baby. I had so looked forward to this! But time marches on regardless of how I'm feeling, and at the two-month mark I am happy to say things have gotten a lot easier overall. He is now having significantly longer stretches of 'awake and happy/content' time. A few weeks ago it seemed like I spent all but the first few minutes of his awake time just trying to calm him down and get him to go back to sleep. Now I get to enjoy him being awake for awhile and THEN work on getting him to go to sleep. What a difference!

My favorite times with him are when he's rested and fed and I lay him on the changing table. He watches me, his eyes bright and with just a hint of a smile, waiting for me to start talking to him and being silly with him. We play, I change him, then we play some more. He coos, gurgles and smiles, I talk to him, I blow raspberries on his belly, and do "So big!" This behavior is not consistent with grumpy baby behavior as described in The Baby Whisperer. Grumpy babies are supposed to not like being changed. But Joey didn't read the book so he doesn't know that, and I relish our changing table time. I could just eat him up.
I took him to the pediatrician on the 11th. He weighed in at 12.35 pounds and was 22.8 inches long. He's at the 71st percentile for weight and 53rd for length. He is wearing some 3-6, but still fits in most of his 0-3 stuff. The size 1 Pampers from Amazon are finally running out, but they still fit. Target's Up & Up diapers run a little bigger, so I bought him a pack of those in size 1 too.

We don't have any set schedule during the day. He nurses when he wakes up and he's another efficient feeder for me, done in about five to ten minutes typically. He takes several naps throughout the day, but sometimes he fights them. The most time-consuming parts of my day are spent trying to get him down for naps. He doesn't like to be worn unless I'm bouncing him on the exercise ball or walking, so when he's tired I have to get him down for a nap. Besides laundry and dishes I get almost nothing else done. The other day Tim asked me if the kids had been playing with the vacuum because he'd found it abandoned in a bedroom with the cord trailing down the hall. The carpets are soooo nasty, but I can never finish the task of vacuuming all the floors around here before Joey needs me. So I leave it right where it is hoping I can pick it up again later. I enlist Annie's help sometimes with running in there and patting his butt for a little while to settle him back down. Yes, this one sleeps on his belly. He startles far too easily on his back, even in a swaddle. As a result he's getting a super strong neck from all that tummy time.
Most nights he puts up his biggest fight at bedtime. He does not "go gently into that good night." He fusses in our arms and all-out cries and works himself into a sweaty lather when we put him down. He even fusses at the breast. But after an hour or two of that, he abruptly settles down around 9 p.m. You can probably hear my sigh of relief. With the exception of two lovely nights this month when he woke up only once at around 3:30 a.m., he's been getting up twice -- once around 1 and again at around 5 or 5:30. He goes right  back to sleep afterward and is almost always asleep during the 6-7 hour when I'm getting the Big 3 ready for school. How I love on the weekends getting to go right back to sleep along with him for another hour or two. He sleeps in the pack 'n play just a couple steps from our bed.
It's funny how, even though I breastfeed and bed-sharing is the best and laziest way to do it for everyone else who breastfeeds (you don't even have to wake up!), it has never worked for me. For one thing we only have a queen-size bed and it's barely enough room for Tim and me. It's a mess of elbows and pillows, so not safe for a baby. In a pinch we'll clear a space for him and bring him in if I'm just exhausted early in the morning and he won't go back to sleep. But that is rare. The other reason I didn't sleep with Joey beyond night two or three of his life was because when my milk came in my breasts were so tender the next seven to ten days that I could barely stand to feel my clothes against them. But the air was even worse, so I had to wear something. Every time I changed or showered it was this whole delicate procedure to make sure I didn't cause them too much pain. How in the world could I have possibly had a newborn baby lying next to me and my poor sensitive boobs? I shuddered at the thought of one swipe of his hand against them. I would cry. As it was I would tense up while latching him to the point where my back and neck were sore 24/7. Also, how is it that people manage to latch a newborn on while lying down in the dark? I never could manage that with any of my kids. And I certainly couldn't have Joey thrashing around against me searching for it, that's for sure. So much easier to sit in the glider rocker where I can see what I'm doing and control his hands (those crazy hands always scratching at me when he was first born!). Since the first seven to ten days I have suffered no pain and breastfeeding has been a breeze, but I am still happy to sleep separately from him and pull the covers up to my chin and toss and turn without worrying about him.
Master bedroom/nursery: On the right at the bottom is Tim's valet where his cammies go when he's not wearing them. Behind that you can see the changing table. If there aren't curtains on those windows now that we're halfway through our tour here, I guess there aren't going to be.
We plan to move him to Timmy's room at some point in the next few months, maybe after we get back from Massachusetts this summer. That will be a first for us, having a baby and a five-year-old  in a room together. I'm sure it will be interesting.

We had him baptized this weekend while Tim's parents were in town. They acted as proxies for Joey's godparents, my sister Anna and her husband Robert. He didn't cry too much but we were on pins and needles the whole time. I'm really glad we didn't opt to do it in the middle of Mass with everybody watching.
Every night when he finally stops fussing and squirming and sags against me, a sweet-smelling sack-of-potatoes sleeping baby, I am so happy. I press my lips to his downy head and thank God for this baby boy. He is a quirky one but he he's ours and we love him just the way he is.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I broke up with Stitch Fix:(

Tim got Joey to sleep right before heading back to work after lunch, so I've got a few minutes to spare to drink tea and write about something completely frivolous. Yay!

So, I've been getting every-other-month shipments from Stitch Fix for probably about a year, and have really enjoyed it. If you're not familiar, the way it goes is you pay a $20 "styling fee", a "stylist" chooses five things for you based on your profile and whatever you may have asked for and recommended. You get the box of five things, look at them, try them on and decide what you want to keep. Your $20 styling fee goes toward whatever you keep, and if you keep everything you get a 25% discount on the total. Whatever you don't keep goes back in a bag with postage already paid. You go online and review each thing you received, what you liked about it, what you didn't, your opinion on the experience, that kind of thing. The idea is the more they know about you, the better chance they have of making you happy. You can schedule "Fixes" to come automatically as often as you choose, cancel anytime, or just ask for one whenever you want. I was on an every-other-month schedule and it was always something I looked forward to. What I liked best about it was when they would pick something for me that I would not necessarily pick for myself, but I'd end up loving it. It was a great way to freshen up my wardrobe. It took me several years after becoming a mom to come to the realization that I didn't NEED to look like a frump all the time, and that putting effort into my appearance on a (somewhat) daily basis is a good thing. Stitch Fix helped me a lot with this.

Until recently.

For December I asked for things I could use in the postpartum phase, hoping for maybe a tunic that could go over leggings and was nursing friendly .. or another cute open drapey cardigan I could wear over a nursing tank, which I correctly assumed would be my uniform after the baby came. Something along those lines. But that was not to be. Among other things, they sent me what I could only describe as a housecoat. It was made out of rayon or some other shiny fabric and it had a print, but it was shaped like a housecoat. And if I'm going to wear a housecoat it had better be comfy. I didn't think I was at the point of wearing housecoats yet, although on some days a housecoat would be an improvement honestly. There was no top that was long enough for leggings, and that was disappointing because those are the hardest for me to find. (I did see some in Target a few days ago, though!) There was a cardigan that was cute but it was made of a scratchy fabric, and cardigans are too easy to find anywhere. I ended up keeping one thing -- a flowy blouse I could wear with skinny jeans. I was a little bummed over only keeping one thing, but figured that my requests for postpartum and nursing friendly clothes had confused the young stylist.

I had higher hopes for the box that came a few days ago because I had told the stylist in my note a few ideas of things I hoped to get, and I had updated my Pinterest style board with a few examples. I reminded her in the note to check my Pinterest. Again, a long top that could go with leggings was tops on my list since I hadn't gotten it last time. Again, I mentioned I could always use another cardigan. I figured it was a long shot that it would fit, but I asked for a pair of jeggings. Oh, and I asked for a dress that was casual and nursing friendly, something nice to wear for Joey's baptism this month.

The long-anticipated package arrived and let's say it fell far short of expectations. First of all, it contained a big shiny purple purse. If I wanted a big shiny purple purse, which I don't, I would get it from TJ Maxx, not Stitch Fix. On to the next thing -- a tunic? Blouse? Annie was next to me as I pulled it out of the box with a frown. She said, "I like the style of it." She meant the print, that's what she liked. I tried it on. I didn't bother trying to put an outfit together with it because I already knew I hated it.
Yikes. It was nursing friendly, I gave it that. But look what it did to my middle -- the part of me where most of my remaining 15 pounds of baby weight sits. It just added another 10 pounds! Who would wear this thing? Who wants to maximize their midsection whether they're postpartum or not? It's like putting a spare tire around your spare tire! Even on my skinniest day I would not wear this. 

I won't show you a picture of the boring green cardigan in a rough fabric or the black faux wrap dress in a heavy shiny black fabric. Why black? I already have a black dress from Stitch Fix. Why not another color or a print this time? Oh well. Maybe they didn't have those things in their inventory. But what really ticked me off were the black skinny jeans. They were an exact duplicate of the ones that were in my first Fix a year ago! Same size, color, everything. Why'd you have to do me like that, Stitch Fix?

Obviously, I made clear my dissatisfaction in the review and promptly sent everything back. I hoped they would offer to credit the $20 since they had sent a repeat item. But they haven't offered and most likely won't because they don't need my business. 

By now you might be wondering why, if I have this Pinterest board and know what I like, I just don't buy the stuff myself? To that I'd say you're right, I do pretty much know what I want and what suits my body type better than the Stitch Fix stylist. Perhaps it's time I graduated. That's why, with a sad sigh, I cancelled my subscription. What I'll miss is the element of surprise, like "Oh look the ___ I asked for, only with a detail I didn't expect." Or "Here's something I didn't ask for and didn't know I wanted. Fun!" For that I was happy to pay significantly more for an item than I would pay at the places I usually shop. No more. Tim said he'll be my Stitch Fix. He has good taste and I like everything he's gotten for me in the last five years. I'm looking forward to my box of surprise clothes, hon.;)

So long, Stitch Fix!