Monday, December 23, 2013

The Christmas season, the Christmas baby

39 weeks and 4 days. Today is the day (in gestation equivalents) that Greta was born. MJ was born 8 days later than this.
I have so far managed to not get too impatient. My Mom arrived 5 days ago, and it has been such a blessing to have her here. I was in a very, very bad state for the week prior to her arrival. I essentially put myself on self-imposed bed rest a couple days before I hit 38 weeks, because I could barely walk. The round ligament pain was so intense it would cause my knees to buckle, and I spent much of my day in tears from the pain. I stopped doing much of anything, laid on the couch most of the day, and was incredibly thankful that Greta was good at entertaining herself.
After a couple days of this, I got a bit better. Picking up Greta seems to have been the main culprit. The added weight, plus the awkward position I had to carry her in because of my giant belly, was just too much. I still was in pain by the end of the day, but I could do the barest minimum of tasks (load the dishwasher, for example).
My Mom arrived last Wednesday, and I am finally back to feeling like a fairly functional human. Having someone here to help has made all the difference. Yesterday I managed to bake cookies (oh my!) and put away three loads of laundry and clean the bedroom and change the sheets on all the beds. A week ago the idea of putting away half a basket of clothes was beyond me.  I am always glad to have my Mom visit, but I have never before been so glad to have her here.  I’m trying to not wear her out, but being as she is currently in bed with a stomach bug I’m not sure that I’ve succeeded on that front.
Aside from that, I’m just trying to be patient. I feel like I’m close, within a few days, but I’m trying to not think that way because I know how crazy it will make me if I’m wrong. There’s enough happening at the moment to keep me occupied, but once Christmas passes the waiting will feel especially difficult, I suspect. Husband will be back at work, my Mom will still be here if she hasn’t gotten sick of me yet, and all eyes will be on my uterus.
Sleep is really, really terrible. I seem unable to sleep more than a couple hours at a stretch. So I tend to fall asleep at midnight, sleep a couple hours, toss and turn for a couple hours, sleep a couple hours then get up. Then muddle through the morning and take a nap when Greta takes a nap. I am unable to remember how I functioned when I was pregnant with Greta and working full time. This time around, I have developed some sleep apnea as well, and wake up gasping for breath because my throat has closed off.
I am doing my best to try to enjoy my time with the girls, though. MJ is off school for the next two weeks and I’m trying to embrace everything 4. A couple weekends ago her and I met up with Erin and Annie and few other folks at a Holiday High Tea. It’s always so nice to spend some quality alone time with MJ, and makes me remember how special this age is, and how I so often miss it out of frustration or distraction. So I’m making strides, and it is helping. I’m trying to do something special for her or with her each day; the other day I made a scavenger hunt for her. Today it was letting her stay up late to eat cake. These little things have already brought us closer, and I need to keep it up. She’s been changing lately, in good and bad ways, and I see that she’s becoming her future self. I need to be more careful about the paths that I lay down for her. I read something about how the way we talk to our kids becomes their inner voice, and I want her inner voice to be different than the way I’ve been talking to her. So I’m trying to change that.
She’s become more sullen lately, not always the happy and exuberant child but sometimes grumpy or moody, and I’m finding this difficult to adjust to. But that is also making her more human. More of a real person instead of the animated character that is a toddler. She gets sad about friendships at school, or about arguments that DH and I have, and this is what makes her human. So I need to learn to appreciate this, too.
Greta, on the other hand, I’m finding to be just joyous. Trouble making, mess making, but gleeful and happy. I thoroughly enjoy this age, and although I was a little sad when she started walking and left babyhood behind, I’m finding it so fun to see more and more of her personality emerge. She understands quite a lot now, including “time-out” which she has landed herself in all of 3 times for viciously harassing our poor dog. She understands full sentences such as “Go find your sissy, I think she’s upstairs.” She constructs block towers (4 blocks high! and then MJ doesn’t understand why I’m not impressed by the same thing from her…) She loves to wrestle, drag baby dolls around the house and read books non-stop.
She loves her sister, always, and wants to be doing whatever MJ is doing. I find myself sympathizing so much more with Greta as the younger child, when she gets left out of something and is sad about it. I was talking to my Mom about this, who was the oldest, and she similarly sympathizes more with MJ. It’s a part of parenting I had not thought about before.
But these girls are just amazing. I feel lucky to be their mom, and lucky that I am currently past the tough couple weeks in which I was not appreciating anything about being anyones mom. I can’t believe Christmas is in 2 days! I feel like I missed a good two weeks of this Christmas season because of this pregnancy, which makes me sad. I love everything about Christmas, and haven’t gotten to do nearly as much as I had hoped to this year. I guess I still did pretty good, but much of it was a blur. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped and under the tree. The cards are sent. I didn’t think I’d get to those cookies we baked yesterday but was so happy that we did. I would have liked to do more crafts and made the season more magical, but at this moment I feel lucky for having survived. I feel blessed for our warm house (whilst it is VERY cold outside), far too many presents, my health, the help that I’ve had when I have needed it so very much, this baby that will eventually arrive, and for moments of pure joy amongst all the very tough ones.
On a side note, I think I will be moving this blog back to Blogger. My Tumblr experiment has been interesting, but I just don’t like the platform and am thinking of migrating back. I realize I may lose followers (again) but that is just the way of it. Ultimately, this an archive for me, and I find this archival format very frustrating. So look for some changes at some point….

Monday, December 9, 2013

A note for my future self, in case I think it's a good idea to have another baby.

Here I sit, 37 1/2 weeks pregnant. Impossibly pregnant, except that every day it gets even more impossible. This is my third pregnancy, you’d think I’d be able to wrap my head around the discomfort and difficulty of late pregnancy. Much like labor itself, though, I think it is a defense mechanism that we forget how terrible it is. Nature’s way of making sure we do this again, and that we don’t scare other baby-makers too much.
Although I had told my husband while we were dating that I thought I wanted 4 kids, I have now decided 3 will be the final number. At least, in-so-far as I get a say in the matter (because I realize sometimes nature has other designs). While I still think 4 sounds wonderful, I have come to realize that I am not the right mother for 4 kids. I am not patient enough. I am not a graceful enough pregnant person. I am downright bitchy for much of pregnancy. Early pregnancy because I am sick and so hormonal, late pregnancy because I am in so much pain and sleeping terribly.
It has dawned on me lately that my daughter (the oldest) is forming memories of everything that’s happening right now. She is becoming the person that she will forever be. And I am her role model. Of late, I have not been the best role model. She has ongoing problems talking kindly to other kids at school, and I can’t help but feel responsible for this. For the past 2.2 years I have been either pregnant or sleep deprived. The only mother MJ has known for all that time is some version of hormonal or tired, or, often, both.
It is time that she has a mother who is her normal self. Maybe not her best self, but at least a better version of herself. I need to be able to appreciate the children I have. To appreciate them where they are in time. To have the energy to teach them things and be kind to them. To form memories with them that are rich and wonderful. I haven’t been able to do these things, and I fear I will get worse before I get better, because I will have 2 kids under 2 years of age and will just be crazy all the time.
Anyway, future self, when you see cute, cuddly babies and smiling, gleeful toddlers, just remember that with that comes at least 15 months of hormones, fatigue and grouchiness, and ask yourself whether your current children deserve that from their mother. Because that’s how you operate, like it or not. Also ask yourself whether you are willing to give up the memories you couldbe making with the children you have simply because you’re too tired to make them.
It’s weird to wrap my head around the fact that it will probably be about 30 years before I have a front-row pass to babies again. I realize now where the longing for grandchildren comes from, because I already have it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The one month (or so) countdown.

I find it interesting, when I take the time to think about it, that now that I have so much more to say about my children, and about parenthood in general, I say a lot less. On this blog, at least. Part of it is time. There is certainly less of that. A lot of it is an inability to distill my thoughts down to discreet stories. There are simply too many wonderful, cute, frustrating, infuriating and inspirational moments in every, single day, to say much meaningful about them all. And choosing just a few is hard, so I don’t bother.
I’ve been writing a lot less. I’m not real pleased about that. I’ve noticed that many, many blogs completely die once the writer has a third child. I am 35 weeks, 3 days pregnant with our third. Does that mean I only have about 5 more weeks of life left in this blog? I hope not.
I have a lot of thoughts about this pregnancy that I hesitate to share, in part because I worry someday that baby boy will read this and mistake my thoughts for regret. I have no regret. This baby is very much wanted, and I have no doubt he will be an amazing addition to this family. The simple fact is, we didn’t think too much about all of this. I had such a difficult time getting pregnant with Greta, that I figured if we wanted a third it would have to be a conscious decision and there would be real effort (i.e. medication) involved. If it happened by accident, then, in my mind, it was meant to happen, and we were saved from having to make a difficult decision.
But I have wondered lately, if we hadn’t had such a hard time having Greta, if we would be having a third at all. If we had felt that we could time this pregnancy to our convenience, we probably would have aimed for about 2 years apart, which would mean I’d be thinking about getting pregnant right about now. And I can tell you, I can’t imagine I would have had the energy after chasing Greta around all day, to think that would be a wise decision. So we would have waited, and eventually decided we didn’t want to start at square one again. And thus, we would have two wonderful children and stopped there.
I found out I was pregnant about a week before Greta started crawling, and I think that if I hadn’t gotten pregnant EXACTLY when I did, we would have made the decision that we just couldn’t handle three. Because crawlers, and toddlers and runners are no joke. They have the ability to get into just about everything, and yet lack any understanding of why that’s a bad idea. This is really the peak of trouble making and lack of rationality. And it’s right when we’re going to add a newborn to the mix.
In some sense, it will be easier, because newborns are lumps and just lay there. And Greta will (theoretically) be a little calmer by the time the boy is moving. But also, she will be trying to shove small objects in his mouth, will harass me while I’m trying to nurse and climbing on top of the table while I am attached at the boob. So that will be hard. I already know, if this boy is not an efficient nurser and I don’t have a miraculously strong milk supply, I may just not last very long. The last two have been complicated, and I had all the time in the world to feed them.
People keep asking me if I’m excited. (Note to future self: do not ask women pregnant with their third if they are excited). I always hesitate and then feel bad for not immediately being like “Yes!! And I love unicorns!” I am excited to have a third child in our family. I think 2-3 years from now will be amazing. But this next year? I am mostly just terrified. I don’t even know how the logistics will all work. When on earth am I going to sleep? How will I ever get a shower? How am I going to manage to carry Greta and the baby to the car? How am I going to get Greta the socialization she needs?
Greta is still so much a baby. She still prefers to be carried up and down stairs. She barely has words. She mostly sleeps through the night, but I still give her a bottle before bed (hope there are no dentists reading). She’s not even 16 months yet! I recently realized I’ve been pregnant for as much of her life as I’ve been un-pregnant.
Furthermore, I’m pretty much all she knows. When MJ was born, she was going to daycare. So she had a second support system, with teachers she loved and a place that remained stable even when home became chaotic. Greta has none of that, she just has me during the days. So I feel much guiltier about the effect this baby will have on her (for that matter, I felt no guilt about the effect a baby would have on MJ.) I feel like I’m taking part of her babyhood away from her, and forcing her to grow up faster than is fair.
Also?
I just realized I’m very, very tired. So that will have to be it for now, baby boy. I am excited to meet you. I’m excited to add you to the mix. You’re like a new, unknown ingredient in this amazing pot of stew we’ve been working on. I have no doubt that you will meld wonderfully, I just look forward to finding out how.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Getting so big.

This post is only… oh… about 2 months late.  I still consider this payback for arriving 5 days after her due date (that was a rough 5 days).
Not really, though.  I’m just behind on life.  Actually, I’m mostly behind on blogging, I’m pretty caught up on life.  It really is one or the other, rarely both.
The first video I took when MJ was 3 1/2 years old, inspired by Erin’s video of Annie at 3 years old.  I decided I want to do one of these every year, I just got started a bit late.  It’s interesting to see the difference that 6 months makes, even just in her appearance.  She’s lost more of her baby fat, and more of her baby speech.  She’s really, truly, getting so big.  
She’s turning into such a beautiful girl, and I’m not talking about her appearance.  I’m talking about her spirit.  Despite some fears I had when she was 1 year old and biting everyone, she’s incredibly kind.  She cares deeply about others and almost always tries to do the right thing.  She helps everyone in her family.  She is kind to strangers.  She is so inquisitive, which drives me batty but makes me proud at the same time.  She picks up pacifiers that babies drop, holds the door for strangers, gets concerned when another kid is upset, and is an all around good person.  
On top of that, she is so friendly that we know every one of our neighbors.  Not because we have met them, but because she has met them.  I’d be willing to bet she’s the most well known person on this block.  She has calmed considerably in this past year.  She loves to sit down and work on a puzzle or color a picture.  She will actually persevere until they are finished, which gives me hope that she is developing commitment to tasks.  She will delay gratification, saving a piece of candy for the very end of the day rather than eating it right away.  These are the traits I most hope to see in her, as they are the traits that I’m convinced will take her far in life.  It is so exciting to see the person begin to emerge from the baby.
She unexpectedly busts out vocabulary that I find shocking.  Like “omnivore” and “compromise” and “oxygen”.  I am probably harder on her than I should be, because I so often forget that she is as young as she is.  
On the downside, I feel that I’m starting to see some longterm tension in our relationship.  The husband says that we’re starting to get like Claire and Haley on Modern Family (the mom and daughter) and that I’m far too critical of her.  I’m working on that.  I’m working on infusing more positivity into our interactions, and I feel like it’s making a difference.  I’m working on lowering my expectations a bit, for the sake of our relationship.  I’m starting to realize that this is our future together, and whatever tone I set now will carry on for years to come.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of relationship I want to have with my daughter, and what I can do to make that happen, without sacrificing my job as her mother.  I’ve often felt that it’s my job to be loving but tough.  I’m starting to wonder if it’s just my job to be loving, and to find other ways to achieve tough.  Helping put her in situations that are tough, rather than being the tough one myself.  If anyone knows the answer to this, by all means let me know.
But anyway, the videos speak for themselves.  Where she’s at in life.  What she thinks about.  She’s losing some of her spitfire, and a whole new girl seems to be blossoming.  But when someone crosses her, or someone she cares about, the spitfire comes right back.  I guess this is a good thing?  She’s becoming a more nuanced person.  These “Ode to MJ” birthday posts are going to get harder to write as she develops a more rich personality.  But I look forward to the challenge.
Little girl, that is so very, very big, I will love you always.  Here’s to an amazing 5th year on this planet.
love, Mom

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Day in the life, Fall 2013.

    MJ is a recently minted 4-year-old. Greta is nearly 15 months old. I am nearly 7 months pregnant (that sounds terrifying). I had meant to do this all week, but every day I realized at about noon that I had forgotten to document anything. So I chose the last possible day, Sunday, October 21st. On Friday we drove to Menomonie, Wisconsin, for the wedding of some friends. MJ had the time of her life, and she followed the bride around all. day. long. Thankfully, the bride is a sweet bride (as opposed to the other kind) and didn’t mind that MJ appeared in probably half of the pictures taken that day. The girls were up late Saturday night; Greta fell asleep about 9, and MJ didn’t fall asleep until 11, thanks to a late afternoon nap.
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    Husband and MJ.  At one of the points in the night when she was actually sleeping.
    7:15 a.m. Kids are up. Really, Greta is up, because MJ was up off-and-on all night long. I think every time I got up to pee (which is often these days) she woke up and wanted to chit-chat. And she seems to chatter in her sleep, which I hadn’t realized, so that there never seems to be an end to the talking. I don’t know how pioneers did it, with one room cabins. Two nights in a hotel room with 2 kids, a drunk husband (not judging, it was a wedding after all) and a dog and I’m spent. So I talk husband into taking them down for breakfast through a very grumpy half-haze. My whole body aches, and my hips are particularly sore. 10 minutes later they’re gone and I actually manage to fall back asleep. Vito doesn’t even whine for once (though I discovered later that husband had taken Vito with and I hadn’t even realized it).
    8:15 a.m. The crew is back in the room. You can hear the stampede coming down the hallway before they even get to the door. Husband comments that I’m the one that looks hungover, and I know he is right. I feel hungover. Two days with little sleep due to MJ has me worn out. I thought Greta would be the problem child, but I was wrong. MJ woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and never went back to sleep, and then didn’t fall asleep until 11 p.m. on Saturday night. At any rate, I get them dressed for the pool and husband takes them down. Thankfully, he’s being very helpful (if a bit begrudgingly, but I’ll take it). I grab some breakfast downstairs and chat with some of our friends that are also staying at the hotel. Our friends 21-month-old son managed to clog their toilet with T.P. which makes me laugh.
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    Yep.  7 months pregnant, in all my glory.  The detritus of a weekend in a hotel room behind me.  Greta dashing through the frame.
    8:45 a.m. We meet up at the pool. I watch MJ swim and marvel at how good she’s gotten. We’ve had her in swim lessons for about a year-and-a-half, but this is totally new. Even two months ago she still couldn’t swim comfortably on her own. Now she is swimming, underwater, back-floating comfortably. I feel like everything has clicked within the last month or so, and it’s exciting to see. After watching her for a while, I take G upstairs.
    9:00 a.m. I rinse Greta off and commence packing. As expected, I spend as much time keeping G from unrolling the toilet paper, eating the dog food and climbing on (falling off) the bed as I do packing.
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    G wearing an unnecessarily fancy dress because I forgot to pack her normal clothes.  Dashing around while I try to pack.
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    The bouquet that MJ charmed out of a bridesmaid.
    9:20 a.m. Husband and MJ return. There is so much screaming. Mostly happy screaming. Some frustrated screaming. Some fighting over a doll. A moment when the door opens and every animal in the room escapes. We chat with some friends in the hall; I’m thankful to know that everyone we might be disturbing is at least already awake. We herd everyone back inside to finish packing, and I do my best to not be frustrated with them all (but know that I fail). We finally finish packing, husband carts it all to the van.
    9:40 a.m. We are all in the car and on the road. I am so happy to return home. It has gotten cold, there is a threat of snow and it feels like winter has hit. The dreariness is disheartening, compounded by the fatigue, but the promise of home is comforting.
    10:00 a.m. I take advantage of the long drive to chat with my Dad. He has just sent an e-mail that airplane tickets have been bought for an upcoming visit, and MJ is psyched. MJ is quiet in the backseat watching the iPad and G seems to be asleep, as I haven’t heard a peep from her. That makes for an early nap, and I’m not sure how the afternoon will play out. The husband and I have an unnecessarily long discussion about what to have for lunch. He wants Pho, I want anything but. We settle on picking some things up at the grocery store.
    11:00 a.m. We arrive at Kowalski’s. Greta wakes up with a smile plastered across her face, a nice contrast to everyone else in the family. Shortly after walking in, MJ starts sobbing about an accidental scratch I give her and I realize she will likely need a nap; this is the curse of allowing her a nap the day before. It’s hard to break the nap cycle because it messes with her sleep so much. The cold of the grocery store makes my boobs hurt so badly I have to leave while Aaron checks out; this is a weird phenomenon I’ve had with every pregnancy. One that I won’t miss.
    11:30 a.m. We all arrive home and drag everything inside. We turn the furnace on, which we have avoided until now. This truly means winter is on the way. We also turn the (gas) fireplace on, thankful for some instant heat while the radiators clang away. MJ instantly starts playing bride, singing at the top of her lungs and prancing around with the bouquet she swindled (sweet-talked) out of a bridesmaid the day before. I need a break from the prattle! The never-ending talking wears me down more than anything. G starts digging through the diaper bag for food and I talk her out of an apple.
    Noon. Husband and I start working in the kitchen, making lunch for the girls. Tuna for him and MJ, grilled ham and cheese for G and I. We start putting groceries away, going through the mail, trying to tidy up the chaos of our Friday departure.
    12:30 I send MJ upstairs to nap. On the rare occasions when she naps these days she likes to sleep in the guest bed. I guess it’s a treat for her, and it makes it easier to convince her to nap. Even so, I hear her stomping around upstairs and she comes down 5 minutes later complaining she can’t sleep. She gets sent back upstairs and all gets quiet pretty quickly. The husband and I have settled in for a lazy Sunday. We read the paper, G plays, happy to be back among her toys, I think. The house is finally starting to get warm and it puts everyone in a better mood. I can no longer dissuade her from the apple, and she sits in her little Ikea chair to eat it. I am shocked when she understands “You have to sit down if you want to eat an apple”. The things she understands continue to surprise me these days. She loves apples and it’s about the only thing she’ll sit down for an extended time for. When she’s done, she discovers a hilarious game, where she puts her teether in my mouth and her mouth and we play tug-of-war. She can’t stop laughing, and there’s something about a toddler laughing that leaves anyone powerless to not laugh.
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    MJ post nap.  
    1:45 p.m. We wake up the big girl. Specifically, husband wakes her up. She’s such a daddy’s girl, which works well for me, as it frees me for the other one (and the upcoming one). She comes downstairs half asleep and immediately says “I couldn’t fall asleep” which makes everyone laugh. Seeing our two cute kids causes husband to again make the argument that we should really have 4 kids. This is something I never thought I’d have to talk him out of. I think a 3rd might break me, and a 4th most definitely. MJ asks what we’re going to do for the rest of the day, and we both say “Nothing”. We leave the baby gates open and G roams around the house for a while, which is pretty new territory for her. She’s good on the stairs and generally safe, but I generally like to keep her pretty close. Meanwhile, we put a chicken in the oven for dinner. MJ “makes” the guest room bed, which really means she has piled all of her toys and blankets and our pillows on it. I do a sub-standard job of not being annoyed by this.
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    The well made bed, shortly before disassembly.
    2:45 p.m. After Greta melts down for no apparent reason I put her down for a nap. It is apparently a day for weird sleeping, and I hope this doesn’t mess with her bedtime. She’s pretty good about going to bed regardless of her nap situation. MJ, husband and I all help pick up the house. I have a hard time bending over these days and I usually task her with getting stuff on the floor, even though it’s usually (mostly) G’s fault. Thankfully she’s great at helping and hasn’t yet objected to the inequity. I guess she has, and I pointed out that I help pick up her things, make her food, etc., and I’m asking for her help with Greta. That has been as much complaint on the subject as I’ve heard (other than just general grumpiness about picking up). She also puts away everything she has piled on the guest bed. I allow MJ to get my heels from my closet since she helped pick up. She picks some black ones but is dissatisfied with the heel height (i.e. they are too short) and she is unsure why I would have such small heels. Some other heels are much more to her liking, and we play Cinderella, wherein she puts my heels on my feet. After a bit, we take Vito for a short walk. It’s raining outside so we make it quick, but it’s nice to get a chance to walk around the block with just MJ.
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    These apparently have an acceptable heel height.
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    A game I can get behind.
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    Her chosen footwear.  Sparkly, of course.
    4:10 p.m. Come back from Vito’s walk and wake up G. She’s pretty easy to wake but not that happy to be awake. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she’ll still sleep later. We feed her while we all cook in the kitchen. We make pumpkin soup, mashed potatoes and stuffing to go with the roast chicken. It’s total chaos, but nice to have everyone together. MJ insists on helping so I teach her how to peel potatoes. She’s too slow so I peel them and then give her one to practice on, which pacifies her. Despite my caution I know she will inevitably cut herself, but it seems like as good a time to learn as any, and the cut won’t be bad. After not too long, she of course cuts her finger, which leads to much crying and drama, but quickly turns into her singing a song of her own making titled “I am tough”.
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    Have you ever seen a more forlorn look?  
    5:00 p.m The cut is still bleeding because MJ keeps messing with it. She refuses to just apply pressure and not “check on it” I’m tired, so husband finishes dinner while G and I play peek-a-boo on the couch. She has a diaper induced meltdown.
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    Another picture of G, because this is one of the rare days when I realize I’ve snapped barely any of her.  Girlfriend loves the pumpkin.
    5:15 p.m. We all sit down to eat. Everyone chows down, even G who has already eaten a fair amount. MJ eats more than I’ve seen her eat in a long time. Lately we’ve been almost forcing her to eat because she just hasn’t been hungry much, and then she’ll devote her little bit of calorie consumption to snacks or dessert if given the opportunity. I want her to have a healthy association with food, but I also don’t want her to think that fruit snacks pass as food. During dinner she announces that she wants the tooth fairy to visit, and I explain that the tooth fairy won’t come until she’s older and loses her teeth. So she immediately starts whacking her teeth with her spoon, attempting to knock them out. I am alarmed at this plan of hers and quickly explain that the tooth fairy only comes when your teeth fall out naturally. She looks at me and says that it looks like my teeth will fall out soon, since I’m old.
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    She’s become 3-dimensional of late.  She drags the stool around and climbs on things when we’re not looking.
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    Sometimes I think we’re looking cuter than we really are, and I ask husband to take a picture, because I want more pictures of myself with the kids.  At least one of us is looking cute.
    5:50 p.m. MJ returns to peeling her practice potato and finally finishes! She is so proud of herself. I am proud that she didn’t give up on peeling it after cutting herself. She is disappointed that it’s too late to make it into the mashed potatoes but vows that next time it won’t be.
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    The finished potato.
    6:00 p.m. Bath time! The division of labor is usually that husband takes them upstairs for bath time and I clean up from dinner. I know he gets the easier task, but the quiet is a nice reprieve. G is not doing so well, lots of crying, and I hope that she can make it until bedtime at 7. The house is such a disaster, and I am so tired, I’m not sure where to put my time. I wipe down the dining room table, feeling like it must have been a week since that has happened. I replace some bulbs in the dining room chandelier, since it’s darker outside now, and instantly the brightened room is nice. The girls pile back downstairs for a bedtime snack of cheese and crackers. I started instituting a bedtime snack a couple months ago, to get MJ to not wake up so early and to get G to sleep through the night. Often we eat at 4 or 4:30, so it makes sense, but on a night like tonight? It seems a bit silly, but they eat regardless. I often worry that my oldest is being underfed and my youngest is being overfed. Hopefully neither are true.
    6:55 p.m. Bedtime. Finally. I’ve been dreaming of this all day. Jammies. Bed. Stories. A short discussion about going to the library the next day, since we need some new reading material. I give Greta a bottle of milk. I’m not sure she still needs this, but she often drinks 6-8 ounces so I’m reluctant to cut it out. I convince myself that since she doesn’t fall asleep while sucking on it she isn’t destroying her teeth too badly. Still, I know it’s something we need to stop sometime. Husband and I take turns reading, G crashes around the room. We end with lights out, a bit more bottle, and tuck in. The girls are quiet quickly.
    7:10 p.m. I head back downstairs to finish picking up. Husband picks up all the toys off the floor so I don’t have to bend over. He heads back upstairs. I don’t have the baby monitor because I haven’t unpacked it yet, but I assume he’ll grab me if needed. I finally finish at 7:40 and head back upstairs; I instantly hear G screaming. Why did he not come get me? He said she’s been upset for a while, and goes down to get another bottle for her. He gives it to her, and after a bit more fussing she falls asleep. Perhaps over-tired? I don’t know. Long day, long weekend. I stay up to read and play Candy Crush (which I’m determined to beat so-as to rid myself of this addiction). I stay up much too late (as I usually do) and don’t go to bed until 11.
    (But p.s. I don’t stir until 5 a.m. I don’t remember the last time I slept 6 hours straight without even needing to pee. I go back to sleep and MJ sleeps until 7:30. She plays by herself for a while and G doesn’t wake until 8:30. Thankfully, no one had to be anywhere first thing so we all got to catch up on sleep. Nice way to end the weekend).

      Thursday, October 10, 2013

      29 weeks and a lifetime awaits

      2.5 months to go.
      I could have sworn I wrote a post a week ago. Or 2 weeks ago. Or something. But I guess I only wrote that post in my head.
      In 4 months time I will have a 1 month old. Oy.
      My most overwhelming feeling is panic. Kind of a “Holy crap, what have we done” sort of feeling. (Baby boy, I have no doubt that someday that feeling will be replaced by love and joy, so don’t hold this against me.)
      I’m up about 25 pounds, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve also started to get the “You sure there’s only 1 in there?” jokes that every middle-aged man thinks make him funny. I’ve also gotten some of the creepiest belly rubbing I’ve had with any of my pregnancies, enough to scare baby boy into staying put for a while, I’m sure.
      I have been trying to get our life sorted. The girls have been sharing a room for about two months now (did I ever mention that?) and I’m finally trying to get their room all organized. The room sharing is going shockingly well, apart from the past few nights when G has woken up screaming because she wants me to come play with her at 3:30 a.m.. Part of what is difficult is when we don’t have anywhere else for MJ to sleep when G is having a difficult night. I am determined that G will be as close to a perfect sleeper as possible for when the newborn arrives, so I haven’t been very indulgent of her wakefulness and she has been figuring it out pretty quickly. But I’m certain we will need overflow sleeping when the newborn arrives. Somebody is guaranteed to have a bad night or need to sleep away from the chaos, and I think we’re going to put a twin mattress in our family room (which is basically sealed off from the rest of the house) for just those moments.
      I’m sorting through all their clothes. Giving away baby girl clothes. Deciding to give away maternity clothes. I guess this is my commitment that this is our last, mostly because I simply can’t imagine that I am a sane or calm enough person for any more. But then I look at our babies… how could I ever face the possibility of no more babies in the house? I’m not sure how I’ll ever make peace with that, but maybe I’ll be too busy to have to make peace with it and I will only realize it once my ovaries are shriveled raisins. That seems like a healthy way to approach this.
      Even the hubs looks at our amazing kids and claims he wants one more after this one… I think he just says it to mess with me, but… I know it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to this phase of our life. Having babies, starting families, building our clan… it has been such a monumental, life changing phase. What is the next life-changing phase? Retirement? That sounds depressing.
      G has been amazing lately. So much work but so much joy. I was counting up her words today, those which she uses with regularity. We’ve got Mama, Dada, Nana, dog, bye, hi, no, and uh-oh (that she verbalizes) and milk and more (that she signs). But words she understands include cracker, pear, diaper, ball, shoes, night-night, Vito, and many more that I realize every day. She will even help in her little ways by putting things away when I ask her. But she will also get a devilish look in her eye before she attacks the dog, pulls her sisters hair or throws a jar of paint down the stairs. With MJ I found myself looking forward to when we could have conversations, and with Greta I am sort of enjoying that we can’t. The non-stop 3-yr-old jabber, while developmentally appropriate and signifying a healthy curiosity, makes my skin crawl. I seek quiet in my every day, and 3-yr-olds are anathema to that. So anyway, I am enjoying our limited word exchange.
      MJ has also just been amazing. Starting to get absorbed in things. So much calmer than she used to be, so much easier to talk to and reason with. So much easier to explain “No, we can’t go play with the neighbors, even though you see them, because I have to make dinner.” Whereas before that would be so difficult for her to accept, she now understands the reality and the necessity and doesn’t rebel so much against the inevitable. I love talking about her interests. And fairies. And unicorns. And reading chapter books with her before bed, long enough that they have a real plot and real characters and she gets invested. I love hearing about her friendships at school, and who she played “House” with, and who was hogging all the crowns.
      But this is supposed to be about you, little boy. I guess it will never be all about you, it will always be about how you fit into this little family. About how you’re the same, or how you’re different. I was so nervous before G was born about how she would fit in to the family, if she would get along with MJ. But she has fit so well, as though her presence was simply inevitable. I look forward to seeing how you fit. What niche you make for yourself. How your sisters will look out for you, because I know they will. How your poor future girlfriends will never be good enough for their baby brother. How they will paint your nails and dress you in heels. How they will someday have crushes on your friends.
      Every day, I alternate between never wanting these sweet little moments to pass and between fearing that if the day doesn’t end soon I will lose my mind. I feel the same about this pregnancy. Much like a freight train, though, there is no stopping it. And much like growing up, I wouldn’t want to. But I can still be terrified about it all.
      (p.s. Once I have this third kid, proof reading will be history. Let’s start practicing now.)

      Friday, September 27, 2013

      The known world.

      I haven’t been writing a whole lot lately. In part, I’ve been sick of my own voice. My own chatting about my kids. Don’t I have anything more interesting to say? I’m sure I do, but it gets lost in the chaos of packing lunches, finding missing shoes and fending off yet another diaper rash. I have started to find my groove staying home. I found it about a month before MJ went back to school, and now with her in school a good chunk of the week, I am feeling particularly balanced.
      It turns out, balance doesn’t make for very interesting blog posts. I manage to cook healthy meals, keep our house reasonably clean, read a bit before bed and get enough rest most nights. There are still weekends in which I am immersed in tantrums after being woken 5 times in the night with the needs of little kids. But they are short-lived and then we return to our routine.
      The weather has turned into the pristine Minnesota fall we all await in the humid throes of July. I’ve been getting a good amount of exercise, keeping my weight at reasonable limits as I approach my 6th month of pregnancy. I’ve been reorganizing the bedrooms to make room for yet another person in this house of ours. Purging stuff so that our 2,400 square foot house doesn’t feel cramped (my pack-rat tendencies have made that start happening).
      I have spent my days finding the items that Greta decides to hide. She’s been in the midst of an obsession with hiding important objects she gets a hold of. Keys, phones, shoes, things that she knows are used often, are quickly stowed somewhere only a 14 month old would think of whenever they are spotted.
      MJ spends her time dressing up, pretending to be a queen, or a bride, and dancing around the living room. Helping watch her sister, make her laugh, and keep her out of trouble. We are spending time learning big new words, like “motivated” and “pelvis”, that seem to enrich our conversations and make her think about new things.
      The littlest one, still in-utero, is kicking me constantly. Sapping my energy a little more every day, and undoubtedly listening to his sisters screech and preparing for what is to come. MJ votes for the names “Nora” or “Diego” and we tell her “we’ll think about it”, hoping she’ll forget.
      And our days plug along. I can’t believe I’ve been home with the girls for over a year now, the time goes so much faster than it did while I was working. It seems that everyone I know that has a third kid completely drops off the edge of the blogging world. I vow to not be like that, but that means I need to do a little better about blogging with just 2.5 kids. So you may hear a few more mundane details, and I’ll just cross my fingers that someday I’ll look back on all this and consider it totally fascinating.

      Wednesday, September 4, 2013

      The politics of an early start in school (etc.)

      Yesterday, I dropped MJ off for her first day of preschool.  Since she’s been in a group care setting before, and since she’s the most social child that has ever been born, I knew she would do fine.  I wasn’t nervous for her, mostly just excited and a bit wistful.  
      I can’t believe she’s old enough for preschool.  Technically speaking, she’s not old enough for preschool; at least not public preschool, because her birthday misses the cutoff by a couple weeks.  In Saint Paul, you can test in early to Kindergarten, but not to preschool.  But even if you test in early, you are bottom of the list for priority in which school you go to, which basically means you would only get into a terrible school.
      Before she left daycare/early preschool back in March, the hubs and I were feeling that she was being held back.  That she could be doing much more than she was and should be with older kids.  So we (I) set out to find a way to make that so.  We decided to start her early in a private program and then, hopefully, transfer her back to public school for first grade.  She will have less choice than if she started in Kindergarten, because most kids will have already started in the program and will get preference, but she will be able to transfer in without her birthday counting against her. 
      At least, that is how we understand it.  And if we change our minds about her readiness, then we’ll start her in public school with her regular group next year.  
      Getting to this point, though, was more of a roller coaster than I anticipated.  It was difficult to find a program that supported this desire, and almost everyone said “We’ll see…. she may be fine now but will suffer when she’s older…” This whole argument is so infuriating to me.  The decision seems to be taken from the parent.  I am biased in favor of an early start, in large part because I started early and am so, so thankful that I did.  I can’t imagine how my life would have been different if I had started a year later, and think I probably would have spent much of my schooling bored.  
      Furthermore, I think that a parent would be crazy to want their girl to mature before most of the other girls.  I remember those girls growing up…  and they had lots of attention, but it never seemed to take them places they should really be going.  Additionally, she is one of the most social kids I know; she gets it from her Dad, who is also one of the most social people I know :).  
      The downsides, though, make me a bit nervous.  She is 7th percentile for height in her age group, so she is a full head shorter when paired with kids that are older than her.  Her personality is big, and she’s not shy, so I don’t think this will be too much to her detriment.  But still… Yesterday, she came home from school so full of excitement.  But she also told me about two boys that were mean to her… one of whom was “so much older… like 6 or something…” and called her a little kid.  One of whom pushed her.  Is this what happens?  This is all new territory for me… 
      All in all, though, this school is just magical.  It reminded me of how excited I was for school at this age, and all the possibility school held.  As long as that’s how she continues to feel, I think she’s in a good place.

      Sunday, August 25, 2013

      Had to look this one up: 22 weeks

      So as I mentioned, somewhat unceremoniously, I am pregnant.  With our third child.  Also, it is a boy.  
      This little boy has not gotten nearly the blog attention that the two little girls had gotten by this point in their existence.  Greta got weekly updates.  MJ got lots of freak out posts.  But this one?  At 22 weeks old, he’s had two measly posts.  Already, it seems, he is somewhat neglected. 
      I am excited for him.  I am excited to add him to our family.  It’s just that I don’t have much time to think about it, and I am just too tired to think about it.  With my last two pregnancies, I was working in an office setting, and so I had a lot of time to sit down and rest.  This time, I am on the move constantly, chasing a new walker and arguing with a 3-year-old.  MJ was our first, so we clearly had no idea what we were doing and my posts from the time period reflect that.  Greta took a lot of struggle to conceive, and so she was my little hard fought miracle from the beginning.  And this guy?  Sometimes I feel sorry for him.  The chaos he’s going to enter into, he just doesn’t know.  But also, he will have two amazing older sisters and two very tired parents who will probably let him eat a lot of junk food and watch a lot more TV than his sisters were allowed.  
      It’s worth noting how this pregnancy is going.  In truth, it’s easier than the last two.  My morning sickness wasn’t nearly as intense (and is long gone by now).  For the first 20 weeks I was running semi-consistently; I had started running again back in December, and managed to keep at it 2-3 times a week, though my run last week convinced me that I am done for now.  The amount of pain I felt, and the overwhelming need to pee, made me commit to being done.  But the running, combined with chasing two little kids all day, has kept my weight gain down to about 15 pounds, about 5 pounds less than I had gained by this point in the last two pregnancies.  I have struggled with too much weight gain with both previous pregnancies, so keeping my weight down is a good thing.  Here’s hoping it will continue.
      I am slowing down.  I just can’t stand on my feet as much, or pick up things off the floor very easily.  Today we went to the state fair, and my exhaustion was pronounced.  I remember being there last year with a 3-week-old and not being nearly as tired.  That gives me some hope that having three little kids will be easier than having two little kids whilst being pregnant.
      I had a serious freak-out this past week.  Not for any particular reason, but I freaked out about the prospect of having three kids.  And specifically, having a 17 month old and a newborn home with me.  MJ will be in preschool Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which will help.  Greta’s at the age where she’s happy doing just about anything, so hopefully that will make my days a bit easier.  But I was specifically freaking out about dropping her off and picking her up every day.  I was imagining shlepping through the January snow, carrying a newborn and a 17 month old, because I’m sure Greta won’t walk that well in snow by then.  Also corralling a 4-year-old MJ.  Twice a day.   And this is on top of probably having to wake someone or the other up for drop-off and pickup, because I’m sure their naps won’t align.  Thankfully, I did find out that drop-off is essentially pushing them out of the car (with slightly more ceremony), which will make one aspect of my life easier.  It eased my freak-out a bit, at least.
      We’ve been busy around here readying the house.  Specifically, we moved the girls into the same room.  Other than the first week, it has gone exceedingly well.  Mornings are a bit frustrating, because often Greta will wake up MJ after her morning bottle.  But I think we’re missing out on about half-an-hour of sleep at most, since MJ generally is difficult to wake unless she’s pretty close to waking on her own.  And they are happy to play together for a while, so that helps.  Mostly, I am just sad that my little sleep-inner (Greta) has been waking at more like 6:30 than her previous 8:00.  I know that for those of you who work, your sympathy for me is non-existent.  But if I want any time to myself in the evening, then a 6:30 wakeup is just tough.  I’m not nice at that hour, never have been.  And when dealing with little kids, nice is a necessity.
      I’m rambling.  
      Baby boy.  This is supposed to be about you.  Soon enough, I will fill this space with pictures of you.  But pictures of my exploding belly are all I can offer right now, and that’s just not that cute.  
      I made the mistake of saying to MJ that I wasn’t that excited about having a boy, and now she tells everyone that I don’t want a boy.  I feel I should clarify.  I am a bit scared, because most of the little boys I know are even more high energy than their sisters, and I fear that you will be even crazier than your sisters.  I’m not sure I can handle that.  I’m told your Dad was a wild child, which I totally believe, and given your genetics you’re unlikely to be calm.  But please, can you at least not be the craziest one? 
      22 weeks & 2 days pregnant.  Sorry about the messy room, wet hair and general chaos.  At least it’s authentic.

        Thursday, August 22, 2013

        Our little walker




        I love this little waddle.  She’s been solidly walking for about a week, and already that waddle is diminishing as she gets more sure on her feet.  I should also clarify, her wet bottom is because she was playing in a creek; I do, in fact, change her diaper.

        Thursday, August 15, 2013

        Gigi rounds the bend.

        And by that, I mean she turned one.  The big 1.  It felt like such a milestone for MJ, and did not feel like much of a milestone for Greta.  I did have the obligatory “last year at this time…” type feelings, but this time I know how much more we have to go.  And by that, I mean that I don’t really know, because I do know there’s a lot more I don’t even know about.  But I realize she’s still so little this time, and have a better idea of what lies in front of me.
        Nonetheless, the girl deserved cake, and a celebration of her little personhood.  We were in New York for her birthday, visiting my in-laws, so it was a great opportunity for them to get to celebrate with her.  At 1 year, Greta was finally pushing through her first tooth, which still remains nothing more than a nub and which I still haven’t snagged a good picture of.  At 1, she’s taking steps but not exactly walking (though 2 weeks later I would call it walking, with a good bit of crawling still mixed in).  Most of all, she is my little Gigi, and not really all that little.  She’s still all smiles, and exudes joy all the time.  She gets grumpy on occasion, mostly if she’s tired or hungry, but all other times is a bucket of smiles.  She’s getting some definite curls, which makes me smile; her hair is darker and a bit redder than her sisters.  But they very much look like sisters, which makes me happy.
        One of her favorite things is climbing stairs, and if the gate is left open she looks at me to see if I’ve noticed, then races as fast as she can to the stairs.  She loves to pile things in boxes, bags, and carts and haul them around.  She is obsessed with putting objects inside other objects, which is something MJ didn’t enjoy until she was quite a bit older.  She’s not all that interested in books yet, but we keep trying.  
        She has become so much a part of this family, and trying to remember life before is difficult and seems empty.  She loves her Dad something fierce.  Despite being home with me all day, she is not afraid of strangers and is happy to smile and chatter with anyone.  She’s even open to other folks holding her, as long as they give her a moment to take them in first.  She is an interesting combination of busy and easy.  She’s into everything, but so very good at entertaining herself.  And not really all that destructive, given her age (or at least, given what I remember of MJ at this age.)
        Gigi, I can’t believe it’s already been a year.  And, also, I can’t believe it’s only been a year, because it feels as though you’ve been part of our family forever.  I love you something fierce, and I’m so happy you’re ours.
        Love, Mama
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        Monday, August 5, 2013

        Summer 2013, Day in the Life

        In the spring, I did a Week in the Life as inspired by Navigating the Mothership.  I spent that entire week pondering a brand new, very big secret, that I haven’t yet shared on here.  It turns out, I’m pregnant with our third kid.
        There you have it.  Every day, tops in my mind was the fact that I had just found out I was pregnant, and could not wrap my head around it.  This time, I can’t even hide it, so I may as well as get it out there.  In fact, we find out tomorrow whether it’s a boy or girl.  So more to come.
        Anyway. This “Day in the Life” took place on Thursday, August 1st.  Greta is 1 year and 3 days old.  MJ is almost 4.  And I am 19 weeks pregnant.
        5:00 a.m. Greta wakes up and Hubs gives her a bottle of milk.  We have just moved Greta into MJ’s room and it has been a struggle for them to not wake each other up in the early morning.  They do fine at night, even if one wakes up crying, the other sleeps through it.  But mornings are a struggle.  Greta is still in a Pack and Play while we decide if we are fully committed to this idea.  Although we have a 4-bedroom house, we would like to keep one room for guests because the Grandma’s come to visit so much.  But is it worth all the poor sleep in the meantime?  We’ll have to see.
        6:00 a.m. MJ wakes up.  We shuffle her upstairs to the family room in hopes she doesn’t wake up Greta, and this morning it works, because G doesn’t wake up until 8:00 a.m.  
        8:00 a.m.  The hubs is apparently trying to be super husband today.  Does he know this will be my day in the life?  He gets up and changes Greta’s poopy diaper.  Sleeping this late is a rare treat around these parts.  I remember my Mom always telling me that once I had kids I would have trouble sleeping in, but that has not been the case for me.  I can still sleep in like a champ when given the opportunity.
        8:15 a.m.  I start making muffins.  I had decided to do this the previous evening, because we just got back from a week away and it feels like we have nothing nutritious in the house.  I recently got the Weelicious cookbook and settle on the sweet potato muffins.  But the kids are STARVING and grumpy and Vito’s yapping about something.    I am feeling super grumpy and am not dealing well.  I continue to feel constantly overwhelmed by these kids, even when I get small breaks.  But the hubs comes downstairs and we get five minutes to chat which helps me feel more sane and grounded.  I finish the muffins, get them in the oven, tide Greta over with something in the mean time and pour some coffee.
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        The hubs snapped this before he left for work.  MJ ready to bake muffins.
        9:00 Muffins come out.  While they cool I retreat to the bathroom, only 5 feet away, for 5 minutes of peace.  It’s the only place they will let me have some quiet.  I read a post about parenting and how everyone feels overwhelmed but to enjoy it anyway, which makes me feel immensely better.  Sometimes cheesy re-posts are all I need to hear.  
        9:15 a.m.  MJ sees me scribbling notes about my day, and she is bummed that “Mom and Dad can write better than me.”  I explain the value of practicing and that I didn’t used to know how to write.  We sit down to eat muffins.  They are quite tasty and not too sweet.  Exactly what I had hoped for.  After we all finish eating I get G out of the high chair and the girls play in the living room.  
        "Mom, I’m very dehydrated right now.  Can I have something dehydrated to drink?"  I love when she picks up these big words but still gets them a little confused.  I manage to spill half a jug of iced coffee in the fridge while I’m getting her milk.  Days with kids are really just moving from one mess to another.
        9:25 a.m.  Time to get dressed.  Any time we have to move a floor I swear we have to add 10 minutes to the time one would expect.  I let Greta crawl up the stairs, one of her favorite activities.  If she catches sight of the gate to the stairs open, she takes off across the room to race up the stairs.  She’s pretty good at climbing them, but sometimes gets distracted and doesn’t pay attention to where she’s at, so I still get nervous.  Overall, she is SO much happier than she has been; I’m not sure if it’s teething, or sleep, or what, but she’s been such a grump.
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        The challenge in trying to get ready in the morning….
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        I accidentally deleted the non-blurry one when trying to make space on my phone.  Looking pretty pregnant, and very momish.  
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        What MJ looks like when she’s “ready”.  She went for a lot of accessories.
        9:50 a.m. Back downstairs.  We’re getting ready to walk to the Red Balloon book shop and I had hoped to stop to pick up my prescription on the way.  It looks like I may still have time?  But impossible to say until we’re out of the house and the kids are in the stroller.
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        Greta, happy as a clam, waiting patiently for us to depart.
        10:05 a.m. Finally on our way.  Probably not time to stop, but we’ll stop after.  Greta is so in love with walks, that if she even catches sight of me pulling the stroller out she goes nuts.  Not a peep of protest from her while we walk.  On our way, we pass by a woman with a walker who says “Looks like you’ve got your hands full”.  I get this comment so much now.  Do I really look that overwhelmed all the time?  Probably.
        10:15 a.m. We arrive at the bookstore.  I think we came here during my last two day in the life’s as well, must be something I only do quarterly as I know I haven’t been in months.    There is a piano sitting outside that MJ pounds away on, and I try to delete some photos from my phone.  Keeping space on my phone is a constant struggle.
        imageHappy for noisemaking that occurs outside the confines of our house.
        10:30 a.m. Story time starts.  The lady leading story time has lost her voice and is whispering.  It is possibly the worst story time I’ve ever been to.  I would think one of the women working behind the counter would take over but instead they let her struggle through.  Greta doesn’t sit still for a single instant during the entire story time.  She insists on going up and down the two stairs, climbing around and pulling books off the shelves, spinning the standing book rack, and generally causing chaos.  She even crawls up and tries to take the story ladies puppet.  Ugh.  I remember MJ being crazy like this, too, but I though with Greta we might escape it.  Also, MJ would at least sit down for short periods.
        imageNot remotely interested in story time.  But the rest was pretty cool, apparently.
        11:05 a.m. Get the girls back in the stroller.  Already feel worn out and the day is not half done.
        11:15 a.m.  Arrive at CVS to pick up my thyroid medicine.  It is apparently not ready, so I use this a weak excuse to stop at the coffee shop next door for treats.  I fear I’ve acquainted MJ too deeply with coffee shop treats.  We get smoothies, pick up my medicine and head home.  I am tired, and the very small hill feels like a lot to push my 55 lbs of kids up
        11:40 a.m. Home.  Greta fell asleep in the stroller, so I move her upstairs, but put her in her old room.  I’m not sure why.  I come back downstairs to bring the stroller inside and run into my neighbor, who I’ll be seeing tonight at our monthly happy hour.  She asks if I have any news to share.  I smile and say that I figure it’s not really news at this point.  She says she promised herself never to ask because she got it wrong once, which I silently find very funny because she was the first one to ask me if I was pregnant with Greta, at only 10 weeks.  But it was New Years, so perhaps she was intoxicated and her judgement was off.  Anyway.  I have been both times, so no insult.  
        11:50 a.m.  MJ is not hungry for lunch because of our pre-lunch treat.  Oy.  I let her watch the iPad since Greta is sleeping, and I sit down to a very nutritionally suspect lunch of crackers and cheese, mainly because I want to spend G’s nap time sitting and not cooking.  This pregnancy is really starting to suck my energy.  While eating, Iread Navigating the Mothership’s announcement.  I cry at her video.  I never watch videos on other people’s blogs, but this time I do and of course I cry.  I spend the rest of Greta’s nap time working on some blog stuff and some other computer stuff.  Basically, I just rest, because I have learned I need to rest when Greta rests rather than scurrying to get things done.  If I don’t, I am totally out of energy for the end of the day when the kids are being mini-tyrants and I have no patience.
        image
        My typical lunch time scene.  Struggling to keep MJ sitting down, you’d think this was a new concept for her.
        1:15 p.m. G wakes up.  My day starts again.  I rouse MJ from the iPad, change a dirty diaper and make PB&J for the girls.  MJ would subsist entirely off PB&J if I let her.  I let her have it almost every day for lunch, knowing full well that once she starts back to school she can’t take nuts in.  So maybe she’ll grow tired of it by then.  Doubtful, though.  While the girls are eating, I duck downstairs to switch clothes over and do some dishes.  Greta is obsessed with the dishwasher and I can only have it open when she’s not crawling around.  A problem I never had with MJ since we didn’t have a dishwasher when she was this age.  We finish off sandwiches with some frozen peas.  What a … nutritional (?) lunch.  The girls spend much of lunch making each other laugh, and I am so glad they like each other so much.  I am also so glad they have gotten to have this time together before MJ starts off to school.
        imageThe girls playing “nicely”.image
        Greta attacking MJ.  A lot more of this these days, but she loves it.image
        And now MJ teaching Greta how to walk.  They go pretty fast together.
        2:25 p.m.  It’s absolutely beautiful outside.  Like, perfect weather.  Although the extended forecast continues to look good, it’s hard not to feel the need to take advantage, so I decide to go for a walk.  But since Greta has been trying to take walking toys around our house and keeps running into walls, I decide we’ll let her practice walking down the sidewalk.  MJ wants to take her scooter, but we can’t find her helmet and she throws a tantrum.  
        2:55 p.m. Finally, MJ decided it will suffice if she can push a stroller with a baby down the block.  So both girls have strollers with babies and we head out.  They are quite the adorable sight.  I have to readjust Greta’s direction often, and she stops every time she hears a noise to look around.  Every house with steps she tops and tries to climb, if I let her.  Half way through, she gets pretty tired so I carry her and MJ helps push both strollers.  At one point we realize we can put Greta in hers and MJ can push it.  It’s adorable, though decidedly not very safe, but MJ is good about pushing her slowly.
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        God they’re cute.
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        Checking out an apartment building.  What’s inside?
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        Wants to be just like her sister.
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        Babies having babies.
        3:20 p.m.  Back home.  I decide our outings are done for now.  I’m beat.  Pregnancy sucks the life out of me.  We play in the living room, and then in the back yard.  Greta is obsessed with putting things inside things.  MJ is obsessed with coloring, and designing elaborate schemes.  We have a snack… blueberries and yogurt.  I enjoy the girls so much more when I don’t try to accomplish anything.
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        MJ is excited to learn “hand sewing”.  The details are unimportant, apparently.image
        Playing is exhausting.  I totally agree.
        4:15 p.m. MJ has T-Ball soon and so we need to start getting ready.  I ask her to pick up her toys and she throws a tantrum.  I get mad.  I am tired and beyond fed up.  She gets sent to her room and I end up putting several toys downstairs.  The deal we have is that if she won’t pick things up, she can’t play with them.  It keeps my life easier and our house less cluttered and has generally worked well.  Mostly, she’s tired because she got up so freaking early.
        4:30 p.m.  Dad comes home.  Him and the girls eat dinner.  I made a pretty terrible salad that no one is excited about, so we scrounge together some things from the fridge.  I ask how he’d feel about taking the girls by himself to T-ball.  He’s not terribly excited about it, but I’m just so beat and never get time to myself. He decides he wants to bike with them there, so we scurry around trying to get everything together.  Can’t find MJ’s team shirt.   Oh well.
        5:22 p.m.  Dad is off.  I sit down.  My legs are exhausted.  I play Candy Crush on my phone, which I am stupidly hooked on.
        5:40 p.m. I take a shower.  I test the upstairs shower, which we just got fixed (it was leaking) and enjoy the new (to us) shower.  It’s been broken for a year-and-a-half.  We expected a huge repair bill, but it was only $140.  Probably should have gotten that fixed earlier.  I spend more time than usual getting ready, mainly because I can.  The house is quiet, and sometimes it’s nice to actually look nice.  My hair has been a train wreck of late and I experiment with it.
        image
        Yep, definitely pregnant.
        6:15 p.m. I am ready.  I sit on the front porch, enjoying the peace.
        6:45 p.m.  I hear some crying, and it sounds like Greta, but I didn’t think they were home.  There are babies in two surrounding houses so I assume it must be one of them.  But husband comes outside a few minutes later, and we discuss finding a baby sitter for a meeting we have with our financial planner.  There was mis-communication and we end up having to call on a friend of ours.   MJ comes outside with a box to turn into a spaceship.  I realize she dumped out all my maternity clothes to use the box, and I get mad, but hubs points out that I should not.  I don’t deal well with these things, I really need to do better.  We sit on the front porch, MJ coloring her spaceship, and enjoy the evening.
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        When forced to, I guess I can part with my cardboard box for the sake of a spaceship.
        7:25 p.m. Walk down to my neighbors house to meet up for our monthly happy hour.  I haven’t made it to one in a very long time, it’s nice to see them.  We decide on a last minute change of plans, and instead of heading to a restaurant hang out on our neighbors front porch.  We scurry to let everyone know, which is tough because there were a lot of “Maybe” responses.  I like hanging out with these women because all of them have older kids.  It’s nice to talk about what the future will be like, hear about schools and generally be around women who have been doing this a bit longer than I have.  
        10:15 p.m. Head home.  Lovely evening, lots of mosquito bites.