Wednesday, December 31, 2008

January 3, 2007

This was originally my journal entry from January 5, a day after coming home from the hospital. It was much longer but I edited it down to the actual birth moment....

I was periodically checked and each time was making fast progress to 10. Around 2:30 the nurse told me it would be very soon and they began prepping for the birth. Andy looked completely calm (which usually means he is freaking out inside) and I felt calm too but also very emotional. I just couldn't believe it was only a matter of minutes. I felt some pressure and told the nurse who confirmed I was all set to push. I was so numb but mentally very aware of all that was happening, it doesn't seem fuzzy to me at all. I remember everyone getting into place, I remember being told when to push. I don't know how many pushes it was, not very many but enough that I started to get tired toward the end. I felt when her head started to come through, it was a very clear feeling but not painful. I remember the relief when her head was out. They told me to look down and I saw her head and with a few more pushes, she was out. The doctor cut the cord and Julia grabbed a hold of the scissors and wouldn't let go. Everyone was laughing and saying how beautiful she was. Andy and I just looked at each other and they placed her on my chest for a quick look and kiss. I told her "Oh, hello beautiful. Hi, hi, hi..." and some other babble. I cried and Andy followed them to the warming table and watched them clean her off. She was so mad. What a pair of lungs! I commented how tiny she was and told Andy she was smaller than our others. I was soon proven wrong when they placed her on the scale and told us 7lbs, 12oz, 5oz bigger than Ace and 11oz bigger than Hayley.
The nurse and doctor worked to deliver the placenta, which they had to do something with because of preeclampsia. I still wasn't feeling pain and was surprised to hear I had not torn at all and was cleaned up very quickly. They brought Julia back to me but I was shaking too much and asked them to hand her to Andy. I just cried and stared at her and then settled down enough to hold her. More babble and tears and a few minutes later they had to take her to nursery. Andy went along and I made about 100 phone calls. First to Grandma and Grandpa and other family.
Soon she was back and we had some time together. I was kept in labor and delivery for 24 hours to receive more mag. and be monitored. I couldn't be alone with Julia because of the side effects of the meds (dizziness, drowsiness, general loopyness) but she could stay with us as long as Andy was there.
Hayley and Ace were happily situated with our good friends for the day and night so Andy was there through the whole experience and spent the first night with us. Julia slept in his arms the entire night, visiting me to nurse and bond a bit. Of course no one really slept but we got in a few catnaps here and there, enough to feel okay the next day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Five memorable days of 2008

1. January 2
Once again proving my theory that a year that begins with an craptastic event does not necessarily forebode a crap year, I spent my baby girl's first birthday in the hospital with a kidney stone. It sucked. That's about all I have to say about that day. Except I was happy to be released from the hospital and feeling well enough to have cake and presents at home by dinnertime, so the whole day was not a bust.

2.February 2
Feeling a familiar stomach pain that I originally thought could be a repeat of January 2, I soon realized it may be a familiar stomach pain of a much different kind. 2 trips to the pharmacy and 3 positive pregnancy tests later, 2008 took a wonderful and unexpected turn.

3.March 29
I have to be honest and admit that I didn't realize how special this day was until it was almost over. I was expecting a great party and a good time to see family and friends but really, Stan was already such a fixture in our family that I didn't expect the actual wedding day to be all that significant. It wasn't until I stood there and saw my sister and Stan exchange vows and saw in their eyes love fully requited and two lives fully joined that it felt like much more. (anyone there will tell you though, that it certainly was a great party)

4.September 22.
Lucy Claire. I tear up just trying to think of how to put that day into words. She filled a space in my heart and our family that has been waiting for her forever. The name Lucy means graceful light and that (and so much more) is what she brings into my life.

5.November 11.
Barack Obama becomes the President Elect. I still get a kick out of thinking about that moment, at 11pm when the results were in and we knew he had won. It was a good day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I haven't posted about our Christmas yet because I'm sad and unwilling to admit that it is over. I always suffer post holiday blues because I love the season so much and hate to see it all come to an end so suddenly. Then I get a lift thinking about New Year's and then the cluster of birthdays that we have in the winter and I'm okay.
Christmas Eve (daytime) was spent trying to be creative with ways to keep the kids from driving me completely crazy. Coloring books, cookie baking, games and DVD's were ineffective so I caved in and let them open some presents. That kept them busy till Andy got home from work and we went to a friend's house for dinner. There were plenty of other kids there to run around and play with so our kids left there exhausted and ready to go to bed right after we finished up our own family traditions (reindeer dust, setting up the nativity, reading the Chrismtas story, cookies and letters for Santa). After they were all asleep, Andy assembled toys (only the ones that the Elves needed a little help with, of course), I assembled a few side dishes for Christmas dinner and then we went to bed.
The kids were tired enough from Christmas Eve that they didn't wake us for presents until after 8. There was a blur of flying wrapping paper and happy faces and then the kids raced to the basement to start trying out all their new toys. We had breakfast and Ace and Hayley went to the yard to try out Ace's new powerwheel and Julia and Lucy (and Mommy) needed a nap. After a snooze and a revitalizing viewing of a Colbert Christmas, Andy and I started cooking. Then I napped again in the chair with Lucy, cooked some more, napped some more, cooked, napped, okay you get the picture. Our guests started arriving around 4:30 and we had a great evening with good food and friends. A few minutes after our guests left my family called us on skype so we could see and hear everyone in NC and share a little in that celebration.
After everyone left and the kids were in bed and there was nothing left but the cleaning, I had some quiet time with Lucy sleeping in my arms with no lights or sound but the Christmas tree glowing. I could not have wished for a better Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
~ Agnes M. Pahro

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If you could have one thing right now, what would it be?
Christmas dinner magically prepared and waiting in the fridge.

How do you style your hair?
What is this "style" you speak of? Does wash and occasionally brush count?

What's the last book you read?
Smash! Crash! to Ace

What are you wearing now?
(I'm finding these questions a little intrusive, Mr. Meme)
Yoga pants, tank top, slippers, a jingle bell (thanks to Hayley)

What one physical feature would you change if you could?
I would mind losing a little of my baby-baby-baby-baby weight.

What are your plans for today?
Get off the computer
Fix at least 2 side dishes for tomorrow
Wrap presents
Make cookies
Help Andy assemble Ace's ATV
Let the kids open a few presents
Go to Church
Watch A Wonderful Life

Who was the last person you hugged?

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
With the kids to get up and ready too, about an hour and a half. If it's just me, 15 minutes.

Name three of your favorite movies:
It's a Wonderful Life, Jerry Maguire, Steel Magnolias

What's the last movie you watched?
Fred Claus

What time is your usual bedtime?
around 11.

If you could add one room onto the house that would serve any unique purpose you desired, what would the room be?
A padded room to put Ace in when he is having a "moment".

What is your favorite weather?

What's your dream career?
Doing what I do now. Getting paid for it would be nice!

What images were in your mind when you fell asleep last night?
I was mentally calculating exactly how many people would be here for Christmas dinner. And having a minor heart attack wondering how I would feed everyone. Then I sat up and sent Andy to the store for more sweet potatoes and peacefully drifted off to sleep.

What brings you joy?

If you could go back to one time in your life as an observer, when would it be?
I'd like to stay right here, looking in on my life now and enjoying all the fun and laughter without having to change the diapers and clean up the mess! And as an observer, I could spend much more time admiring my husband's cute butt.
If I could do more than observe I would go back to college and tell myself to lay off the booze and stop dating so many douchebags. Oh, and I would go back about 10 years and stop myself from trying to wax my own eyebrows. I walked around for 6 months with half an eyebrow and to this day I struggle with eyebrow issues.

What's your favorite food?
I just love food in general, it would take to long to narrow this list down.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When you gotta go, you better go.

People tend to assume that I am busier than I am. Honestly, it is like Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing says, "if it gets done, it gets done. If not, no big deal." I usually have a pretty long To Do list every day but I rarely check everything off. The world has never come to a screeching halt on account of me not reaching my daily goals, so I don't let it bother me much.
Especially with Christmas so close, my list is longer than normal and some of the things really do need to get done or, well, people will notice. Today was one of those days. There was Ace's school party to go to, cookies for girl scouts, dinner to be made early so the kids and Andy could eat while Hayley and I were at Girl Scouts, teacher gifts to find, and kids to feed and care for. It wasn't a crazy busy day but it seemed like there was always something I needed to do. Around noon I headed for the bathroom to pee but remembered I needed to call my doctor back so I did that first. While I was on the phone I saw my friend's number and remembered I wanted to call her and I had a few minutes so I did that. After I said goodbye to her I remembered again that I needed to pee but the buzzer for the cookies was buzzing so I took them out of the oven. Then I put the sausage in the pan to cook for pasta tonight. I couldn't leave that unattended and by the time it was done I had forgotten again about needing to pee. This pattern went on for a few hours and then it was time to pick up Hayley. This means loading the younger kids in the car, driving to the school, sitting in the carpool lane, driving home, unloading the kids. All in all, about a half hour. On the way out the door I thought "I should really stop to pee" but we were late (what else is new). Folks, it was a long, long wait in the carpool lane. I was literally shaking from the need to go and I considered getting everyone out and into the school so I could run to the bathroom. I would've done it if I weren't so afraid I would wet my pants on the way in. Finally we were home and I left the kids sitting in their carseats while I ran inside. So, kind of an anticlimactic ending to my story, but at least I didn't pee in front of the principal.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hayley loved the Nutcracker on Friday. She was a little nervous about riding the bus and being away from school but our neighbor was a chaperone and she was familiar with 2 of the other moms going so when she knew they would be there she was more comfortable. The rest of the day was so full and exciting that she had a monster of a meltdown in the evening when she was getting ready for movie night at her school. I was so mad at the time but looking back it was kind of ridiculously funny. This is how the fight went.

"Hayley, we have to leave, RIGHT NOW. If you are not ready in 2 seconds, you will not go."
"Fine! Well, I hope you don't like kisses because you are NEVER getting one from me AGAIN!"
"That makes me sad"

This went on for quite some time and I had an no idea how to handle it. The responsible part of me was saying I needed to be a consistent mother and follow through on consequences and have her stay home. But the inner 6 year old part of me was saying that sometimes even though you try really hard not to lose control, it happens and you say things you don't mean and feel really bad. And movie night at school is important when you are 6 and all your friends are going. So, I caved and let her go. I prefaced it by saying that what she did was NOT okay but I was proud that she tries her best to always be good and helpful and we all make mistakes once in a while so it's good to give second chances. She responded that she didn't "get that" but, okay. I learned my lesson that too much fun in one day CAN be a bad thing.

The worst part of the fight is that I was so preoccupied with Hayley's behavior that I wasn't paying attention to much else as we walked into school for movie night. Once the situation was calmer and I had her settled in her spot for the movie, I assessed the other kids and realized that:
1.Julia had no shoes on (it was about 40 degrees outside)
2. Ace did have shoes on, they were size 10 purple Dora boots.
3. I had really bad garlic breath from dinner
4. My hair was up in a side ponytail with 3 or 4 Christmas barrettes holding up my bangs, thanks to my hairstyling session with Julia.
5. My outfit was cotton pajama pants with snowmen and candy canes, a half zip fleece with a milk stain on my right boob, and high heeled black boots.

Seriously, it was bad. One mom stopped me in the doorway and gave me a hug. I hope she didn't notice the garlic breath but sadly, I'm sure she did.

Some other tidbits from our weekend:

*We had another visit with Julia's least favorite person of the month, Santa. We were having a fun visit to the fire station enjoying some yummy treats and climbing on the trucks when he had to show up and ruin it. Julia immediately started packing her cookies and punch cup away and putting her coat on. She really isn't scared of him so much as she doesn't appreciate the fact that he keeps showing up and invading her "comfort bubble" as Andy calls it. It doesn't make sense to her that all of a sudden this strange looking man keeps coming around and we try and convince her to take candy from him and sit on his lap. Frankly I'm surprised the other kids have never had a similar reaction.

*Julia's favorite "person" of the month is most definitely Elmo (which makes me even more confident that the Elmo Live was a worthwhile investment for Christmas). She answers every question with "Elmo"

Julia, what do you want to do?

Julia, who is your best friend?

Julia, whats your favorite show?

Julia, what is the best part of the day?

Julia, what do you want for dinner?

With Elmo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ace had a playdate yesterday. This, to Ace, is a dream come true. He has watched with envy as Hayley has friends come and go and is pleased as punch when they let him join in the fun. But yesterday was his turn to have a playdate, and the cherry on the top of that sundae was the fact that it was with one of his favorite girl friends. Ace spent the whole day prepping for the big event. He changed outfits 3 times, he cleaned his room, he strategically placed the difficult puzzle that he has mastered in the middle of the carpet so it would be sure to be noticed and commented on. We also had this discussion in the car:

"Mommy, can I show Ava my underwear?
No, Ace, gentleman don't show their friends their underwear.
No, not the underwear under my pants, just the underwear in my drawer.
Still, let's just not show ANY of our underwear, okay?

Later, this happened:

Ava: "Ace, did you just go potty with the door open."
Ace: "No! Um, yes....Why? Did you see just my underwear?"

Oh Ace, you do try so hard.

I do realize that so many of my recent posts have been all about Ace, don't worry that the other kids are being ignored. It is just that Hayley is at school and I just don't get to see most of her stories every day. That makes me sad but at the same time, I'm so thankful to see how well she is doing and how much she loves school. Tomorrow is our p/t conference and this Friday she has a field trip to go to the Nutcracker. Next week is the last week of school for the year and then we'll have a break from the school routine for 2 weeks.
Julia and I have actually had a lot of one on one time this week, Andy had Monday off so he stayed home with Ace and Lucy while Julia and I went shopping. It was so fun to have her all to myself, even if she kept asking for "Ass and Boo-sies" (Ace and Lucy)
And Lucy is doing great too but there just isn't much to report yet. She sleeps, she poops, she smiles, she melts my heart every minute. I promise my next post will be pictures, and although I can't guarantee I will get to it anytime soon, I can guarentee enough cuteness to sustain you till the New Year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Countdown

Its cold outside and Hayley had a half day of school so I've got all 4 home early today. Ace got all muddy at preschool and Julia spilled a milkshake down her shirt so I thought it was a good time for a warm bubble bath. Hayley wanted to get in on the fun too and so far these are a few tidbits of the conversations I've overheard from the bathtub:

Hayley: "I love our tub!"
Ace: "Me too! I like to pee in it!"

Hayley: "Julia, stop brushing my butt!" (with her little pony hairbrush)

I think this is what I'm in for the rest of the day!

Our decorations are up and the house looks like Christmas all over. Andy and I have had the same argument for 7 years about whether or not it is appropriate to hang stockings before Christmas Eve. I say no, he says yes. So every year he hangs them up, then the next day I take them down and hide them somewhere in the house so he can't rehang them. Now the kids are in on it and they keep yelling at me when I try to take them down. I really wish they all still took naps.

The shopping for the kids is done and the presents are being shipped. We stuck to our budget and still got something special for each of them that I think they will play with longer than just on Christmas morning. At least I hope so!

Breakfast with Santa was fun, I'll post later about the Saucy Santa and how he patted my butt but you need the pictures to accompany that story or it isn't nearly as funny. We also got to see the harbor lighting (they put Christmas lights on the boats and parade them around the harbor) on Saturday night, Ace and I loved it but everyone else complained the whole time about being cold and tired and hungry. I kept reminding them "THERE IS NO CRYING IN CHRISTMAS!" but they kept insisting on warmth and food. Wimps.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...everywhere but here.

To reassure anyone who may be worried about him (ahem, I'm looking at you, Aunt Katherine), Ace is feeling much better. Wednesday he had his playgroup at the library and a low key day after that and I didn't notice him relying on any of his comfort items (his family photos, his bicycle helmet, my lap) nearly as much as Tuesday and Thursday he was back to his chipper self. His teacher noticed the change as well so he had a great day at school.
So no, our decorations are not up yet, with the exception of the fabulously popular singing snowman that we got for the kids at The Christmas Tree Shop this year. It could be that Thanksgiving was busy and I'm tired, it could be the unseasonably warm temperatures have dampened my holiday spirit, or is could quite possibly be that in order to decorate properly I should clean first and cleaning is the last thing I plan on doing (I married an obsessive compulsive clean freak for a reason, people.) Tonight is the tree lighting on base and the breakfast with Santa party is Saturday so I assume that will jumpstart my holiday spirit enough to get the boxes of decorations out of the basement.
Shopping is a whole nother story. I'm just not that into it this year, ya know? Lucy is too young to need much of anything besides my boobs (and trust me, if I could buy another set of those for Christmas, I would), Julia isn't really into specific toys, she just plays with whatever she finds laying around (right now, for example, she is playing with the bulb I use to suck snot out of Lucy's nose, thank God I just washed it this afternoon) She loves her baby dolls but has reached maximum capacity with those, I can count 4 just from where I'm sitting right now. And Ace and Hayley just have too much of everything. Even with Andy's help I could only find one toy for each of the kids that I think they would be really excited over and I think that is plenty. We plan to get the kids some things they are needing anyway, like Hayley's new Brownie uniform and underwear and such and wrapping them up from Santa.
With all this present-talk, don't worry that my kids don't get the real meaning of Christmas. A few days ago I had this conversation with Ace and Hayley:

Hayley: "Why is Christmas always the last holiday in the year?"
Mommy: "Because that is the day we celebrate Jesus being born.
Hayley: "I know, that is God's special gift to the world" (a direct quote from Hermie's Chrismas special) "But, why is it the last holiday of the year?"
Mommy: "Hmmm, well, umm, hey, look, a reindeer!"
Hayley: "Did you hear me, Mommy? I'm asking you a question."
Mommy:"Umm, yeah, well, that is Jesus's birthday so that is when we celebrate, just like we celebrate you on your Birthdays."
Hayley:"Who said that His birthday is that day, it says that in the Bible?"
Mommy: "Sort of, I think, maybe, well, kind of, not the specific date but kind of... hey, doesn't anyone want to look at that reindeer?"
Hayley: "Mommy, maybe you could give Jesus a special gift and learn about His birthday"

Touche, Hayley, Touche.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ace Update

Ace is still having a hard time with the fact that he had a house full of some of his favorite people and then they had to go back to their homes far, far away. Last night as I tucked him in he was collecting pictures around the house of his VIPs and taking them to bed with him, and this morning he was dragging his feet getting ready for school and making us all late. He LOVES his morning preschool and is usually eager to get out the door but this morning he kept asking if he could stay home, or if I could stay at school with him, or if Julia and Lucy could stay with him. He is so much like me, when he is sad he just wants to be home and cozy with people he loves. He was doing okay, but I saw in the car that as we got closer to the school he was getting more agitated. He took his shoes and coat off so it would take longer to get out of the van and when we got there he started asking again to stay home. I sat in the backseat with him for a while and we talked about how much he loves school and how much fun he would have and he decided he did want to go but he wanted Julia to stay. In the classroom he was having fun with our morning routine of washing hands and doing question of the day but then when I said goodbye he started getting teary and wouldn't let go. Mrs. Ellie took him and as I rushed out the door he was sobbing into her shoulder but not asking for me to stay anymore. I'm having a hard time getting motivated to get my errands done this morning because part of me just wants to go back and get Ace early or at least go look in the window to see how he's doing. I really think he is fine by now and playing and having fun but the image of him crying and asking to just go home makes ME want to cry.
Oh, and in other news, I heard rustling in Ace's room this morning while I fixing breakfast and I went in to see Julia and Ace huddled over their advent calenders, faces full of chocolate. Oh well, tis the season for overindulgence I supposed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday meltdowns

It's Monday, which is always our day off from everything (sometimes including showering and, on one memorable day, deodorant) It alternates between being a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the other days and being pure hell because the kids get extra pesky when there is no structure to what happens next. Today we seem to be heading in the direction of peaceful but it is only 9am so pesky could rear it's ugly head any minute.
Thanksgiving was jam packed with family and food and lots of activity. It is sure to be the busiest holiday this season considering that we had every member of the F. family present including spouses and children. It was great to see everyone, especially my niece. She is a few months shy of her 3rd birthday and she always keeps us laughing. The kids adore her and each of them has a special relationship with her. One of my favorite memories from this week is Naomi grabbing the bowl of M&M's from the table and taking them to her seat. When Aunt Sara told her she couldn't have anymore, Naomi calmly replied that she was simply "passing them to herself". As much as I love visits from Naomi, it is always hard to say goodbye. I wish they lived next door so I could pop over every 10 minutes or so to talk to her over a plate of bacon and M&Ms.
(Okay, it is now 10pm and I'm finally picking back up to finish this post)
I don't want to tell too many embarassing stories about my kids on this blog because I hope to share it with them later so I'll just say that a certain boy may or may not have wet his pants this morning because he didn't want to leave the room while Grandma and Grandpa were still here. He was so worried they would leave while he was in the the bathroom. So when they really did have to leave later this morning, Ace didn't know how to deal. When Ace is upset we never know how he's going to handle his feelings. Sometimes he just needs some extra hugs and his inpenetrable bicycle helmet (which he will sometimes wear for a whole day if he's feeling a little insecure), and sometimes the poor kid goes apeshit and nothing we do makes him feel any better. Today he decided to go the apeshit route. He drove me bonkers until Andy came home and they talked about the train the Grandpa left to fix up, hugged it out for a few minutes, and all was right in Ace's world. I'll never understant men. Anyway, he seems much better now and tomorrow he has his morning preschool which he loves so I'm hoping the rest of the week will be better.