Friday, August 26, 2011

Let's get the show on the road!

I didn’t think I’d be ever saying this, but miraculously we’ve made it to full term on the longest pregnancy known to man. Yeppers, you read that right. This baby could be born today and (crossing fingers) would go home with me tomorrow! But let’s not jump the gun here.

As a typical hormonal pregnant mommy, I’m actually feeling pretty darn emo. I guess when I went into labor at 23 weeks, I assumed that I would be meeting this bambino a lot sooner than now. The past 14 weeks have been rough. I’ve seen a 1.5 lb baby, and that’s rougher. The shots, bed rest, meds, compression stockings, dr. appointments every week, diet, inability to exercise, heartburn and nausea, 1000 daily contractions…they all did their best to bring us down. But God’s grace held us up. Our little family of 4 is stronger thanks to the presence of another human being who has yet to show his face.

So what’s next? I know it’ll be hard. The kids will be jealous and vying for my hugely sleep deprived attention. Our house will be in shambles and we’ll eat pizza every night. The TV will replace me on the floor, playing and breaking up fights over who gets which toy. Eli will come home after work to start his second job of picking up my slack. I’ll be sore, cranky and relearning how to nurse and get a baby to sleep. However, pulling together as a team, each one of us will learn how to adjust and enjoy the new family dynamic. Even though these are small sufferings, they'll still bring us closer to Christ. We look forward to giving more of ourselves and become servants, just as Jesus called us to do. Our kids are especially blessed because from such a young age they naturally learn the virtues--Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance, Prudence.

Our latest sonogram measures the baby to be 7 lbs, and I’m fully effaced and dilated 2 cm. Let’s get this show on the road! We can't wait to meet you baby and find out if you're a boy or a girl. But baby, could you just wait until after this Thursday? We're a bit busy this week:)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to school, to prove to dad you're not a fool!

Dear Emily and Leo,

There I stood, same usual place and time to wave goodbye to Daddy, but today it was different. It was so quiet that I could hear the morning runners’ feet pad the sidewalk. As I looked out, your two tiny faces were craning to wave to me from the backseat squished with a princess backpack, nap mats, lunch boxes and a “nigh-men-men-keen” (lightening McQueen) backpack. It’s the first day of school. I held back a tear and showed my best smile and mouthed I love you.

Emily you’re a lucky girl. All the 8th graders at your school (classmates of Aunt Teresa) practically shove through a crowd to yell hello and ask for a hug. You love all the extra attention, and pride yourself in being your teacher’s “good helper girl” since you know the drill from last year. For the past couple weeks, you’ve awakened with the squeaky yet raspy voice of a 4 year old asking “today, mama? Can I go to school today?” You’ve had your uniform set out for weeks, have been planning to spend lots of time in the home center and hoping the boys don’t take over the block center like last year. I can’t wait to hear all about your new friends and what new tattle tales you’re excited to tell me.

Leo you‘re a lucky boy too. “Pe-NA, mommy? Fwiens?” Yes, Leo, you’ll have a blast with Mrs. Pena and your friends. At the meet the teacher day, without any prompting from me, you marched straight up to your teacher and said Hi Pe-Na with a big hug. She already loved you and couldn’t wait to meet the nephew of her former students. You went from 2 yr old to 2 yr old waving, hugging, saying hi. I knew from that moment that I just have to stand back and marvel at all you can bring to the world. Mr. Independent--not afraid of being curious, sensitive, generous, rambunctious. This morning you’ll insist on buckling your carseat all by yourself and carrying your very own big and heavy backpack. I can’t wait to see you grow up to be a boy full of character, but for today (and everyday until the new baby is born), you’re still my sweet baby boy.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Terrific Two's

The first year of a child is a constant whirlwind of changes and milestones. As new parents, your entire world has been flipped upside down and you begin to obsess over how much or little your 10 lb. chub eats or sleeps. Over time, the sweetness develops some kind of sleep pattern, and you sigh with relief after crossing the first hurdle of parenthood. Whew, you think to yourself, thank goodness I'm such a great parent and totally have this new baby thing under control. With each new challenge mastered, you pat yourself on the back and march forward with your chin up. Each new milestone is documented with 127 pictures and carefully marked in the baby book. When Emily first rolled over at 8 months, I called my parents so excitedly that they thought we won the lottery. All of the hours reading child development books have paid off!

But then, something very strange happens:

The age of 2.

You see, kids are smart and they've heard about the infamous terrible twos, and they know they have to bring their A-game. They don't mess around. There's only 365 days to live up to this terrible two phenomenon, and boy are they going to live it up.

It's all gotta start somewhere. They make one sly move of independence just to catch their parent off guard, and then BAM! It's on.

When Emily turned two, she got lucky. Eli and I were drowning in a pool of new baby Leo plus buying our first money-pit ( Nothing quite says "now is the time to make my 2 year old debut" as 2 adults running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.

So wouldn't you know, Emily took charge of her life on August 11, 2009. That night, she decided that she was just flat out too old to sleep in a crib. In fact, she's too old to sleep period. Absolutely no naps ever again. And while she was thinking about it, she decided to refuse the high chair too. And sippy cup. She was on a roll. No more diapers. She'd rip that sucker off with disgust. "I dooooo eeet" was her favorite phrase.

Have you ever met a 2 year old? She weighed about 20 lbs and couldn't reach the door handle. I'll show her who's boss, I thought. I'll whip her into shape in 5 seconds flat.

At least, that was the plan.

The next 2 years were slightly a blur.

Leo's 2nd birthday brought the gift of stubbornness. He's slowly unwrapping it, savoring each moment. You see, he has an older sister who's still hanging onto that 2 year old gift of stubbornness, and she's about to be 4. So he's got plenty of time to use it up and wear it out.

Looking back on pictures, I have to tell you the truth. I'm a bit scared of the future. 3 kids, 4 and under. We're definitely outnumbered now. However, there will come a day when Emily will harness this fortitude and perseverance into something positive. And absolutely nothing will stand in her way. So watch out world!

Here's a look back at some of Emily's favorite ways to assert her independence and creativity:

The facial.
We'd had a long summer of applying sunblock, and by then it was just second nature to rub something all over your face. Nevermind if it was lotion, mayonnaise, glue, or diaper rash cream.

The Sneakout.
Remember how Emily liked to protest cribs and naps? We'll just skip the part about her extreme sleep issues all together and look at these cute pictures. Even as an almost 4 yr old she still fights sleep with all her little might and continues to be an insomniac. I'd go to her room in the middle of the night and discover her missing, panic, then find her sleeping under a chair or on a shelf.
Or on the cold tile floor.

The Robbery
We finally drew the line on the pacifier when we realized, hey! You're completely potty're too old for this! Then commenced the frequent sneak into baby brother's crib and take the paci right out of his warm mouth.

The Baglady
This phase followed an intense basket-lady period wherein an urge to clean turned into hording and clearing out drawers and cabinets compulsively. Personally, I loved all the time spent working diligently to fill the laundry baskets. If ever a friend or family member gave me the "I'm in the neighborhood and would love to swing by and see your new house" I'd put her to work. Not so handy if you're looking for your toothbrush or keys or clean underwear and need to sift through 10 bags real quick.

As you can see, Leo has some very large 2 year old shoes to fill. He's not quite as willful as his sister, but he's a boy. And I hear that's a whole different ballgame. Wish me luck!