Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spring in January

Since we're having another boy, I find myself looking at photos of Eliot as a babe.  Yesterday, I came upon one from April 2011 and could smell the spring air as I remembered that evening standing in our front yard looking up at our cherry tree.  I didn't realize how much yesterday would feel just like that day in April almost two years ago.  (Eliot was almost three months old here)
This reminds me that I need a haircut...

Remember that thing about snow last week?  Yeah, it's all gone.  Not that I expected it to linger for days, but yesterday it felt like late spring. And I loved it.

Usually on Wednesdays, we hunker down in the house.  Chris has a meeting in the morning, we do some work, have lunch, hopefully get Eliot down for a nap, and then I have a meeting in the afternoon.  Yesterday was too beautiful of a day to ignore, so as soon as Chris's meeting was over, we packed up and headed out to hike.  And had just enough time to hike a mile, drive home the long way by the beach, and argue with Eliot about a nap (I lost) before my meeting.

It's a little bit of a drive out to the state park by the bay (40 minutes), but so worth it.  I love the trees; Chris loves the water; we both love sunshine.  Perfect balance.

During my meeting, Chris and Eliot walked to a park in our neighborhood.

After Eliot's eventual "afternoon" nap (at, like, 4:30 pm?!), Chris took him outside to play baseball and I sat on the deck off of our bedroom.  Everyone was so happy to be outside that even the cat crawled through the bottom of the screen door in our bedroom.  Once she was chased back inside (she was born with feline leukemia and has asthma, so she can't be outside), she proceeded to push our smaller dachshund, Dexter, through the screen door in the kitchen!  Nothing was broken, so it was all kind of hilarious.

I'd like to say that all the sunshine wore Eliot out and he went to bed early and easy for us, but I had to battle him to sleep at 10:30 pm when he usually goes down at 9:00 pm.  I guess it was the late nap--and he did sleep in, too.

These days in the sunshine give me the boost I need to make it through the winter.  And now it is back to 40 degrees, wet, and super windy.  I'm NOT leaving the house if I can help it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a Healthy Baby...

After months of guessing, our wait is over.  We had the ultrasound.  And we're having...

another baby boy!

We are so excited.  Just a few seconds into the ultrasound, I knew.  "Do you want to know the gender?"  the lady asked.  "It's a boy, isn't it?" I asked with a laugh.  I am no ultrasound tech, but I recognized that image.  And even though I had been guessing that it was a girl, I felt so overjoyed by this surprise that we are having a baby BOY!

The funny thing is the entire ultrasound experience was almost exactly the same as Eliot's.  The lady joked that our new boy was not shy about showing his gender.  And then she pointed out that the baby's legs were up over his head--just like Eliot.  She said he was practicing breathing and while the baby's arms were mostly covering his face, she did get us a quick 3D image for free and said that the baby has the same nose as Eliot.
These always creep me out, but I do think our boys look similar!

When we told Eliot that he was having a baby brother, he asked, "More cars?"  Exactly!

I almost feel guilty that I thought our son was a girl....  Everything with this pregnancy was different--from my morning sickness to even which side I prefer to sleep on.  All of the old wives' tales lined up to suggest a girl, but I suppose that is why they're old wives' tales to begin with.  I thought it had to mean something, but I guess every pregnancy is different.  And I honestly do wish stores offered more cute boy outfits, but now we're just talking about clothes....  And a life is so much more than headbands and dresses--I can see our family growing together with two boys so clearly.

The other night, I played with dinosaurs with Eliot on the playroom floor.  He made growling noises and then made a shark join the battle.  This is amazing.  I thought to myself.  I was in awe of this little boy and felt so blessed in that moment.  And though I had thought for some time that our baby was most likely a girl, I dreamed of another baby boy.  I dreamed of two boys to play dinosaurs with.  My emotions would ebb and flow as I speculated the gender, but I always came to the same conclusion:  I would be happy either way.

I think sometimes people want one boy and one girl so that they will be different.  The thing is, though, that all people are different.  My sister and I are both girls yet we have always been opposites.  I just hope the whole pushing thing goes the same this time around since I only had to do two sets of pushes and Eliot was out.  That'd be nice again.

Chris and I have already agreed on a first name and are working on a middle name.  We could never figure out a girl name that we both liked.  Girl names are tough for me, and there are countless awesome boy names!

I am excited to see how much this baby boy looks like Eliot and also how he will look different.  I am excited to see our baby boy wear Eliot's old clothes, especially all those newborn sleepers.  I am excited to watch Eliot and his brother grow up with each other, enjoy games together, and even get in fights from time to time.  I can't imagine a more beautiful thing for my Eliot than to have a brother close in age.  Eliot was a beautiful newborn, if I say so myself.  I can't wait to experience a baby boy all over again while my big boy continues to grow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

18 Weeks

It's hard to believe that in just two weeks, I will be halfway through this pregnancy.  It goes slow at first and then super fast, especially since I have been distracted by Eliot.

The most exciting change since my last update is baby movements!  I thought I was feeling flutters or quickening at 15 weeks and 5 days.  That seemed way too early to me, but they kept on and grew stronger.  Now I know for sure it was that baby.  Chris hasn't felt the baby kick or move yet, but one morning, I could really feel the baby's shape from the outside.  The baby was high and forward and my tummy was hard.  Chris knew exactly what I was talking about when I put his hand on my tummy.

I am very happy that I am no longer feeling sick.  My morning sickness finally stopped about 15 weeks.  I still get those headaches from time to time, but less frequently and less intense.  I was feeling drained and exhausted all the time.  Then I started taking a new prenatal vitamins more strictly and felt much more energized in just a matter of days!  I bet I was deficient in iron--iron is more difficult to come by since I rarely, rarely eat red meat.

As for cravings, I have been wanting elaborate desserts.  Chris always encourages me to indulge, yet these desserts are hard to make at home.  And I'm not sure they even exist.  Plus, I think that I probably should be trying to eat more healthy, beneficial foods.  I generally end up making a smoothie for myself instead, but we have gotten a $1 sundae from McDonalds a couple of times.  I'm not actually eating more than usual, I don't think.  Just that extra smoothie each night (and, really, pregnant ladies don't require that many more calories).  I'm not gaining as much weight as last time (I'm at five pounds, and I gained 23 pounds overall with Eliot), so I think maybe I should try to eat more frequent, healthy snacks throughout the day.  I try to remind myself as well that I'm chasing a toddler this time, so I am constantly on the go, just like him. 

I've been trying to get the house together for Baby.  The nursery is cleaned, the crib set up, and the floors are steam cleaned.  In the coming weeks, we will probably paint the nursery and Eliot's room.  It feels great to get that nursery cleaned out--it was looming over my head for weeks.

Our next biggest challenge will be agreeing on a name.  Chris and I have similar tastes, but there sure is a lot of pressure when naming a kid!  We aim for something not too popular, yet not too weird, yet not too "old," yet not copying anyone else, yet not selecting a name with weird associations, yet meaningful.

p.s. Gender ultrasound is tonight, so I will likely post about that tomorrow morning.  Or!  You can follow me on instagram to get the news about 7:00 pm!  My username is kttherobin, and it is private (I just want to know who is looking at my photos), but I approve anyone who isn't obviously a robot and I'll follow you back.  :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eventful Week Ending in SNOW

I've had such an eventful week, which has been great!  Eliot got to play with Lesley's boys, I exchanged Chris for my friend Kimmy for an evening (he watched basketball with Kimmy's husband at her house and Kimmy watched tv with me at my house), my mom watched Eliot while I did dissertation work, and Eliot and I went to the aquarium with my sister, mom, grandma, niece, and nephew.  And then it snowed!
Eliot leading my niece to the rays at the aquarium.

I'm trying to "be a better pregnant person," so I got myself some legit prenatal vitamins and then some DHA fish oil.  I am horrible (THE WORST) at taking pills.  I gag on everything.  These "petite" pills are still kind of big but flat, so I'd rather deal with three of them a day than spit up a regular pill.  Seriously, last time I took a normal prenatal vitamin, it brought me to my knees (I literally fell on the floor from gagging--I'm that lame) and I don't remember if I ever got it down....  And this Omega Swirl stuff is amazing!  I should be their spokesperson.  Pina colada flavor?  Heck yes.  I could eat it like candy.  I'd eat it if I didn't have to!  No fish flavor at all, just like a melted Starburst.  And Eliot eats it right off the spoon too.  Then he cries for more.

Enough rambling.  You really want to know about the snow, right?

In Lynchburg, we can kind of count on at least one sturdy snow a year.  That isn't always the case in Chesapeake.  Snow is a big, big deal.  I was kind of bummed that Eliot might not experience snow this year, yet here it is.

When it first started snowing, Eliot was in our bedroom by himself.  I heard a weird noise (I thought he was going through our closet), so we went to investigate.  We couldn't find him!  Chris was freaking out as I checked everywhere.  And then Chris found him.  Behind our curtain, looking out the bedroom window, mesmerized by the falling snow.  Each time we tried to look at him, he'd pull the curtain to and tell us "no" or to "go".  I guess he wanted to look alone!

When we got him out in the snow after it had accumulated some, he was so excited.  Last year, he was like "meh" and wanted to help shovel.  Totally different this year.  He loved the snowball fights and the sledding (Chris running around the yard pulling him, of course).

And I gotta say, this is the most beautiful boy.  I don't know how my and Chris's genes combined to make this face, but, man oh man, he gets my heart going.

Eliot and Chris are so lucky to have each other.  They have so much fun together--and I love just watching them play.

Chris and Eliot made some complicated waffles.  Nine grain, chocolate protein powder, banana, walnut, chia seed (as an egg substitute) waffles to be exact.

This week went by kind of fast, and I have had work to do as well.  I'm thankful for all of our friends in the area--it's something we had been missing.  And it helped get my mind off my much-anticipated appointment this up-coming Tuesday evening.  The gender ultrasound.  I'm counting down the days.  I can't wait to start dreaming more specifically of how this baby will add to our family, pick out a name, and begin getting the room ready.  Not too much longer! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warmth! And Now Cold.

We had a glimpse of warmth over the past few days, so we finally got out of the house to do something fun!

On Saturday, we walked to a park in our neighborhood.

Sunday, Eliot was talking about boats all morning, so in the afternoon, we headed to Norfolk where we looked as the USS Wisconsin.  It was super windy by the water, but when the wind died down some, Eliot was very excited.  Nauticus (a maritime museum) is a little pricey and you have to buy a ticket to board the Wisconsin, but we were able to look at their Naval floor for free.

We had simple plans for Monday.  Chris was going to join a 24-hour gym and then we'd take Eliot to the pet store right next door so he could see the "Nemo fish," which we had been promising him.  Well, the people at the gym were kind of grumbly and then the pet store didn't open until noon!  This was around 11:00 am.  Sigh.  Eliot was screaming, Chris was bummed, and I didn't know how to fix it all.  Easy fix:  I drove us out to Animal Jungle in Virginia Beach.  Animal Jungle was my favorite place in the world as a kid.  It's huge with every type of pet you can think of.  Eliot had a blast.  And I was way creeped out by the snakes because it was feeding time.  Shudder.  I'm generally cool with snakes, just not when they're eating rats.  Ugggh.

By the time we left the zoo--I mean, Animal Jungle--we were all hungry.  So we decided to splurge and eat out.  But when we got out of the car, Chris and I saw that the pressure was low on one tire. After lunch, we dropped Eliot off with my mom so Chris and I could drop the Jeep off to check on the tire.  We really needed to get at least one new tire since the tread was low, so I wasn't too bummed.  Turns out, there was a nail in the wall of the tire, which couldn't be repaired.  I thought this process might take two hours tops, but we ended up hanging around my mom's house for five hours.

It's just funny that we were planning a short, fun trip to a pet store, but ended up being out all day.  I really think we needed it, though, because we have been feeling a little cooped up.  Plus, Eliot got to go on adventures, play with his cousins, and visit his grandparents.

And since it is freezing again, today we've been playing around the house, I got Eliot's room spotless, and plan to finish tidying up the baby's room in preparation for operation steam cleaning and painting, which we'll do over the next couple of weeks.  It feels great to clean these days.  It always does, but I am feeling extra relieved.  Maybe it's nesting or maybe it's just feeling like I've been in transition for months with the move.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nesting Part I: Boxes

Since the move, I was able to get the main living area and our bedroom in order.  Eliot's room and the baby's room still had boxes, but looked presentable--OK, so the baby's room had a lot of half-full boxes and did not look presentable.

I feel materialistic saying this, but as I get excited for the baby, I just want to buy things to prepare.  As I said before, there isn't too much to buy.  I have not been stoked about getting the nursery itself together because I'd have to deal with those boxes.  And I didn't know what to do with them.  That's what I really should be focusing on doing, not picking out a double stroller and acquiring more clutter.

Well, the other night, Chris and I looked at eachother and felt bored.  And before I knew it, we were unpacking those last few boxes, moving the crib into the baby's room, storing Eliot's old clothes in the closet (which I will later either go through if it is a boy or sort out the unisex items and give the rest away if it is a girl), and putting the newly-emptied boxes in the recycling bin.  It felt so good to get going.  And now the baby's room and Eliot's room both look way, way worse.  Ha!  That always happens....  I get to organizing and it looks like a huge mess before it gets better.  I am a non-linear cleaner.

Eliot was very interested in helping with the cleaning and putting the crib together.  He'll make such a great big brother.  (By the way, looook at that mess behind us.  About half of it is cleaned up.  I just gotta find a home for these things.  And who wants to sniff blankets and pillows to make sure dumb dogs haven't peed on them?  Not me.  In a new house with two boy dogs that oddly enjoy peeing on plastic bags and boxes--they're so weird--it is an unfortunate reality).

This toddler is hard at work!

But this section of the room looks pretty good so far!

We're getting there and it honestly will probably only take one more cleaning session before we can start "rebuilding".  We need to find a home for the lingering items, steam clean the carpets (dogs.  ugh.), and buy a dresser (not absolutely necessary).  Then we'll have a blank canvas to work with to prepare the nursery.

When I start feeling behind, I remind myself that I didn't even have a crib yet at this point last time.  I'm only 16 and a half weeks!  I'm thinking underwater theme if it is a boy.  If it is a girl, well, I have no idea.  Maybe something floral, but not too girl-y?  Or maybe underwater anyway.  We find out the gender in nine days!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Style Attempts, Maternity Ed: 1. Finding Pants for Petite People

I have always had trouble finding clothes to fit me.  Growing up, I was always the shortest in the class and quite, well, petite.  I was teased in intermediate school for looking anorexic even though I didn't know what that meant.  In middle school, I wanted to dress "older," but was stuck in the kid's section in Sears.  I still wear xsm in the junior's section of Target....

When I got pregnant with Eliot, I worried that it would be even more difficult to dress in a reasonable manner.  I didn't want to wear baggy pants and tee-shirts throughout my whole pregnancy, yet I didn't know where to find petite maternity clothes.  I wore a bellaband for a lot longer than it was comfortable and vowed to make the switch earlier next time.

So, here I am at 15 weeks (last week), wearing maternity pants.  And feeling great about it!  I switched over to maternity clothes much earlier this time around and it just feels better to me.  Despite being under five feet and weighing 100 pounds (95 before this pregnancy), I am able to fit into Old Navy size 1 maternity jeggings.  They're kind of long, but I just roll them up (no big deal).  Last time, I had one pair of Old Navy maternity skinny jeans and decided that I would like to have two pairs of pants this time around....

Feeling comfortable and also slightly fashionable is among the besttt in the world when you're pregnant.  So, if you're uncomfortable, just give in.  Get the maternity jeans.  And Old Navy is priced reasonably well.  You'll feel better--at least I did.

I have no clue what I'll do when it gets too hot for pants--I carried Eliot into the fall and winter--since this baby is due in July.  Skirts and tank tops?  I'll figure it out and report along the way!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Wilbur, my grandmother's boyfriend, passed away yesterday morning.  We were all very worried for my grandmother--and she seemed to be taking it hard--but we went to see her in the evening.  She was doing much, much better.  I think we were all worried that she would have an emotional breakdown over it and not adjust well; however, she seems to be mourning in a healthy way.

Here is one of my favorite photos of Wilbur.  I like it so much because he didn't realize it was being taken.  This is from Christmas 2008--four years ago--when my nephew (Matthew) was a little over a year old.  Even though these weren't technically his great grandchildren, he never treated them any differently.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Binaries: Grief and Happiness; Fear and Hope; Death and Life

I have felt like I have a lot of words to say lately.  My heart is pulled in many directions, I have much to share, yet I worry that I am bothering people just by opening my mouth.  I feel grief and guilt for also feeling excited at the same time.  And hopeful.  And fearful.

My grandmother's boyfriend or partner or whatever label you want to use has been battling brain cancer and cancer of pretty much everything since last April.  Well, actually, it started with prostate cancer about seven years ago, which they got under control and returned and was then managed again.  His physical state has been growing worse over the past few months and I guess he has taken a turn for the worse--much worse.  We aren't being told much since we aren't technically family (though he has been active in our lives for ten years), but they do not expect him to last much longer.  He is not my grandfather, but he has been "part of the family" as much as he could for a long, long time.  I do admit that I resisted the idea of a live-in "boyfriend" for my grandmother and they had ups and downs and drama, but he is a, say, honorary member of our family.

I feel full of sadness for my grandmother--she is doing better than this summer, but I worry that this will shake her again.  I feel sadness for his family.  Cancer is a nasty thing to watch and brain cancer is even worse.

And then I feel as if I should stop there.  I shouldn't talk about feeling happy at the same time.  But the truth is that I am trying to hold onto hope and life instead of only staring at death.  I am happy because I am celebrating my son's second year of life.  I am happy because I feel little bits inside of me that almost seem like baby movements.  Can I really be feeling the baby move (just a little) at 16 weeks?  I am happy because I saw my son and husband's eyes light up as they set out on a walk with our dogs.  I am happy because I enjoyed watching my son and my nephew play together for a couple of hours. 

I am happy because I am thankful for life all around me, even the bits that seem boring.  They're important to me--they're most important.  And I hate knowing that someone else dear to me is suffering and others are feeling theirs lives shatter while I sit here in my comfortable home and breathe.  I know they would love to be able to breathe without pain or the worries of their situations.  I feel guilt about that.  However, I think that we should appreciate what we have and cherish every moment, and if I were to sit around not cherishing the life I have, that would be a waste.  And that would be worse.

Dear Eliot: Two Years

Dear Eliot,

Now that you are two years old, I can tell people your age in years, not months.  I tried that when you were a year, but people just acted confused.  "How old is he?"  "A year and three months."  "Whaaat?"  "...Fifteen months..."  "Ohhhh!"  Like months makes more sense?  From now on, I'll just say you're two or two and a half or three.  Whoa, wait a second.  Three?  Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  You're two.  For now.

We've had a lot of changes this month.  First, we moved, which was no fun for babies.  It's no fun for anyone, but I think that the past month or so filling out paper work, packing, moving, and unpacking has been especially un-fun for you.  So much boredom.  However, you were a great sport and love the new house.  We let you run around everywhere.  No more baby gates!  About time!  You're a big boy, and without the threat of dangerous stairs going down to the basement, we're all much happier.  Not to mention the backyard.  Every day, it's "go-er'side" and we can't get you back inside, even when it is coooold!

Also, did I mention that we finally announced our big, big change to everyone?  Yep, you are going to be a big brother in July (or maybe late June)!  The funny thing is that it was like you knew before us.  We had been hoping for a baby, but before I could test, you pointed to my tummy and said "baby" frequently.  We hadn't coached you into this at all.  Trust me.  I don't know if you understand all the way now (because after we started trying to tell you there was a baby inside, you'd point to your tummy and say "baby" too), but I like to think that you had secret baby understanding or something.  I know you'll make a great big brother because you love babies.  You might get jealous some at points, but we'll work it out.  I joked that we needed to get you a baby brother or sister because you think you're a dog.  The dogs are your best friends.  People think I'm joking until they see you drink out of the dogs' water bowl (bad idea!).

Along with the changes has come a lot of celebration.  You had your second Christmas, which was even more fun (though smaller) than last year.  You received a train table along with some fun new toys, but your favorite present was a box of Gushers.

Then, just a couple of days ago, you had your second birthday party.  This year, both sets of grandparents could come (my whole family was knocked out with a puking virus last year) along with some friends.  It was a Cars-themed party with lots of balloons and streamers.  I wanted to get things that make you happiest, so for your cake, you had a strawberry-frosted donut and cupcakes for everyone else.  Your dad says that one of his earliest memories is eating a strawberry-frosted donut with his dad.  I wonder if yours will be the same.

The theme of this letter is seconds.  About a week before your party, you got your much-needed second haircut.  This time, you weren't as laid back.  And maybe that was because the stylist actually went through the effort of trying to get it straight, getting it wet, and using clippers for a final touch.  However, after a little bit, they gave you a lollipop and it went much better.  You did great in the end.  And it looks perfect!

In earlier letters to you, I'd write about your cognitive, physical, and speech development.  I hardly know what to write about these things anymore because you seem to be doing everything!  You have preferences and sureee make them known.  You like Finding Nemo and eating peanut butter sandwiches and flipping light switches off and on (over and over...) and pressing buttons at the aquarium.  When we try to stop you from getting into trouble, you push us away, point, and command us to "go".

You recognize letters, but usually call them E, L, I, O, or T--notice a pattern?  It's your name!  We have been working on shapes and colors too.  You don't always say the right color, but you generally bring us the right colored items when we ask for them.  For shapes, you certainly recognize stars for sure (I never really considered a star to be a shape necessarily, but PBS and Disney do, I guess), and you're getting better at the others.  I honestly haven't been working THAT hard, so I should pick it up because you catch on fast.

You love to color.  You demand to color all the time and also make others color along side of you.  You always ask what each color is, give everyone the color you want them to have, trade colors frequently, and show us exactly where you want us to color.  Micromanager or what?
 I am happy to say that you are finally eating again.  For about two months, you just stopped eating most things.  We kept you going with smoothies full of nutrients, and I tried not to stress, reminding myself that it was just a phase.  I kept offering you food and eventually you just started eating again.  Everything all the time!  Weird, huh?  Maybe it was a teething thing.

Did you know that you were once a little newborn?  Because I have trouble remembering.  In my mind, you have always been around as a two-year-old boy.  Maybe that is why you turning two hasn't bothered me as much....  And you still love to do baby things that I think many toddlers grow out of, like cuddling.  We love you as our baby, even though you aren't a baby.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Eliot's Second Birthday

Get ready for picture overload.

We had Eliot's second birthday party yesterday!  I'm no Pinterest mom and this was no Pinterest party, but I think we did darn good and didn't buy much store-bought food.  I baked the cupcakes, French bread, and crab dip.  Chris made the hummus and lemonade.  I guess the only things we bought were some salsa (I was going to make it but Chris didn't realize my grocery list had a back.  ha!), chips, fruit, and Dunkin' Donuts--Eliot's "cake" and his favoriteee.

Eliot loves cars, both Cars (the movie) and cars (vehicles), so a Cars party with lots of balloons and streamers it was.

Once Eliot woke up from his nap the rest of the way, he had fun playing with his friends.  We had mostly family and a few friends and enough kids to make his train table super busy.

Last year, I ordered fancy, gourmet cupcakes, but this year I knew Eliot would prefer a strawberry-frosted donut over any cake.  So, I made some cupcakes and Chris picked up a dozen donuts too.
Birthday donut success, which was a lot better than last year when he just tore apart his cup cake and threw it on the floor.

Eliot was showered with tonsss of perfect gifts.  Cars everything, trains, dinosaurs, balls, puzzles, coloring books...  All of his favorite things.  Here he is playing with Cousin Matthew (said in a Downton Abbey voice).

It's hard to believe that Eliot is two....  It's hard to believe that he was ever a newborn.  I thought I'd be sad about him turning two, but I'm OK with it.  And just for fun, here we are last year compared to this year.  Crazy what a year does and how fast it goes...  I hope he slows down just a little.  Just a little.