Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What a fun day...


The post Christmas sigh is so wonderful. The sign that once again, you have survived the holiday and all its' craziness. Yes, this one was crazy, but also fantastic.

Max awoke and couldn't wait to find out if Santa had been here. He was delighted to find the cookie plate with only crumbs, but was worried about the fact that Santa left his hat here. He was amazed by the tree with all of the gifts underneath, but at the same time was content to not dive in and open everything. He enjoyed his stocking, and opened his gift from Aunt Erin and Uncle Alex. We then had a great video chat with Erin, Alex, and my mom and dad - it made being apart a lot easier.

Mid-morning Marian, Tom, and Carrie came over, and after eating breakfast, we set to opening presents. Max loved delivering them, even if he didn't always care if the right present got to the right person. Midway through present opening, a remarkable thing happened - it began to snow. We took a break so Max could go outside in his pjs and rain boots to frolic in the giant flakes. (It snowed for quite a while, covering things in a thin blanket of white, before it began to rain and melt everything) We continued opening gifts until 1:30, and everyone received things that they were very excited about. Well, except Luke, who slept through most of the morning.

The afternoon and evening were spent hanging out and snacking, eating the delicious dinner that Carrie made, and watching the Blazers beat the Sonics (adding to their streak of now 11 wins in a row!). It was a wonderful day - magic to watch Max find such delight in his gifts (favorites were a harmonica, play food, a bike helmet and a pair of cowboy boots). Luke was a dream, and we all just enjoyed the day together.

I'm so lucky to have joined this family.....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

With Luke's birth, this month has flown by. The holiday season has really been a blur of becoming a family of four. It has been a wonderful gift, but I'm not sure I've ever felt less prepared for Christmas.

At the same time, it has been so fun to watch Max start to understand the magic of the season. I'm not sure how much he understands - and have been even less sure about how to tell him about all of the stories and legends of Christmas. He knows that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, but is still unsure about who Jesus is. Santa brings presents, and is a nice man who sits at the mall.

I was sure that this year we would have to work really hard to convince him to sit on Santa's lap. But, as we were walking through Washington Square this week, he saw Santa sitting there. He had just been talking to the interactive electronic 10-ft. bear, and that was good, so now he wanted to go see Santa. He was totally willing to hop right up on his lap with a sleeping Luke. He asked for a bike helmet and grinned for the picture.

Now we are watching the end of "It's a Wonderful Life", the presents are under the tree, and crumbs are all that are left of the cookies we set out for Santa. We are ready for tomorrow. And I can't wait to see it all through Max's eyes. No matter how much the rest of the season has flown by, I am going to be present tomorrow morning. After all, that's the magic of it all...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Trying to explain Christmas.....

Ah, the challenges of a "mixed-faith" home....

From the beginning of our relationship, Dan and I agreed to disagree where religion was concerned. We did agree, though, that our children would be exposed to religion and encouraged to make their own decisions. But I have been a slacker in my role as "sharer of the Catholic religion". In fact, Max hasn't been to church since Easter - and in the life of a two-year-old, that might as well be forever.

I didn't want to go to Christmas Mass without having talked about church, Jesus, and the real reason for the holiday. So this morning was it - my first time to take both boys to church. On the way there, I decided to have a little talk with Max about where we were going. But where do you start? The Catholic faith, and religion in general isn't particularly simple!

We started talking about the fact that Christmas is baby Jesus' birthday, and church is a place where we go to celebrate that birthday. Ok, fine - babies - check, birthdays - check. He's got it. This makes sense. But then, "We go her house?" Her who? "Her Jesus?". Ah, no - Jesus is a boy. "We go Jesus house?" Well, kind of...hmmm. This is harder than I thought. And when we got there, he really wanted to know where the baby Jesus was, like physically, right now.
Since we haven't alked about death yet, that's too hard, too.

Lots of questions. But, he seemed to enjoy watching all the goings-on. Luke slept most of the time, so that made that part more simple. But what it really made me realize is that church can no longer be a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, if I want Max and Luke to grow up with a background of faith. And while I struggle with my own faith, I really do want it to be an option for them.

Plus, I need someone else to answer those questions....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just plugging along....

We have been home from the hospital for a week now. Slowly we are adjusting to our "new" life - or at least trying to figure out what that is. Luke has been off of the bili-blanket for a couple of days now, and that has made life a lot easier. I go into work tomorrow to teach my sub how to use the gradebook program, and then I need to do report cards this weekend. After that, I am done with all school stuff for a while, and can concentrate on our new family of four.

Luke has been a pretty easy baby so far. He sleeps a lot right now, and fusses rarely. The bigger challenge has been helping Max adjust to the shift. He is very sweet with Luke - gives lots of kisses, makes sure that we are going to take him with us when we go somewhere, and talks to him all the time. The regular refrain has become, "Hi Luke. You ok? Good." It's all very sweet. But it's the other stuff - like not listening to directions and playing really roughly with Dan and I, that are so frustrating right now. We feel like we are walking the tightrope of giving him a little extra TLC and attention to offset the loss of focus as the only child and being consistent with expectations for appropriate behavior. Plus, it's more than a little strange to have both Mommy and Daddy home all the time, and much less playtime with Abby. It's all a little weird for him, and I don't blame him for acting confused. I am too!

Right now he is avoiding sleep. He's been in bed for over an hour....

This too shall pass, right?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sometimes it isn't what you thought it would be....

The last couple of days have felt a little strange. I know that a lot of it has to do with the surge of hormones that are coursing through my very confused body right now. But then there's that other part - the part that is dealing with things different than expected.

Anyone who knows me will attest to my difficulty dealing with change or reality not being the same as expectations. So having children has been a great lesson in learning to be better at adapting. Max was a great first teacher - and Luke definitely has his own lessons to inspire. To this point, they are very different babies - Max never slept, and was always very loud. Luke has been very quiet and sleepy - to the point of almost being able to forget that he is there.

I don't think this jaundice situation has been helping our situation or Luke himself at all. I eagerly await the call from the doctor every day, hoping that his levels will be low enough that we can get rid of the bili-blanket. Instead every day it has been the "bring him back in for another blood test tomorrow" call. His poor feet look like hamburger, and having a child that plugs in to an electrical outlet is really no fun at all. In so many ways I feel like we are on hold with him, waiting to get to know what he is really like when he is a healthy baby.

But at the same time, we had a great postpartum appointment today. He is back up to 8 lbs 13 oz (after a low of 8lbs 9 oz) and he breastfed like a champ getting 2.3 oz in 15 min. The nurse thought we looked great, and was very complimentary about how well things appear to be going. And that's how I feel for large parts of the day - capable, happy, and in-tune with my family.

But there are still those times when, for one reason or another, things just aren't what you thought they would be - and I'm left trying to figure out why that's so hard for me to deal with. Got lots to learn, that's for sure!

Friday, November 30, 2007

He's here....

The waiting is over. On Monday, November 26th, after 17 hours of labor, 1.5 hours of pushing, and 1 c-section, Lucas Kieran joined our family. He is 9lbs, 13 oz, and 21.75 inches long, and a happy baby.

It was a wonderful experience, and I am so happy that I tried for a VBAC, experienced natural labor and pushing, and have a beautiful baby boy. Really, no complaints. No regrets - and that was my ultimate goal.

We came home yesterday, and are thrilled to be here. While everyone at St. Vincent's went out of their way to make our stay there wonderful, it was hard being away from Max for so long. I really missed him and couldn't wait to be back in my own bed.

Things are good right now. Not easy yet, but good. I am very sore, and moving takes a lot of energy. Luke developed jaundice, so he is hooked up to a bili-light as much as possible right now, and sleeping whenever he's not eating. I feel like we hardly get any time with him yet. Max is very loving towards Luke, but is struggling with typical toddler issues of tantrums and not listening to mommy and daddy. And as much as I want to get down and wrestle with him and hug and play and remind him just how much I love him, I have to hold him at a distance so that I don't get kicked or banged up. That hurts us both. But really, things are good right now.

And they'll continue to get better....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So thankful.....

As usual, life loves to throw us curve balls. For some reason, I FULLY expected that Baby Luke would be here before Thanksgiving - the only question was would we be home from the hospital yet. But, as things would have it, it is 9:00 pm on the evening of Thanksgiving, and Luke is still nice and comfy inside.

It was a great day anyway. My mom worked really hard to clean house and make a wonderful dinner here at our house, and despite a possibly tragic flight delay, Erin and Alex were able to make it just a few hours later than expected. I got to hang out with my Dad, and Marian, Carrie and Tom came to share the day with us. It was wonderfully laid back, and the time flew by. Max was thrilled, yet highly overwhelmed to have all of his favorite people in the same room. And largely I got to just sit back and watch it all happen.

I am so lucky to have all of these wonderful people in my life. People who are willing to gather around and share time together because that was important to Dan and I. And besides the much-deserved jokes about the immense size of my belly, the support for welcoming our child into this world at the time he best sees fit.

While I am more than ready for this birth, I am also glad that I got to be here to share this wonderful day with my families.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sometimes you just remember....

I always love Dan. Obviously. But sometimes there are days that remind me just how much I love him....

Today we were driving home from a quick mall/library trip, when we saw a small cat sitting in the middle of the lane. He wasn't moving, and I was afraid he has already been hit. I sighed, felt terrible for the poor cat, and expected that we would continue on home.

To my surprise, Dan immediately turned around, jumped out of the car, and picked up the cat. It was ok - just very scared and soaking wet. We put him in a box and took him to the Humane Society. When they wouldn't take him, we headed to the animal shelter where they thanked us for bringing him in and prepared to get him cleaned up and fed. The whole "ordeal" took a couple of hours - not exactly what we had in mind for our Saturday.

It was when we were back in the car that I really thought about the afternoon. How many guys would have done what Dan had? I was surprised Dan would turn around. When he got out of the car I expected that he would move the cat out of the road - but didn't expect that he would take the extra step of making sure that the cat stayed safe. And to spend so much time doing it...

Wow. I am so thankful to have a man like this in my life. It's the model of a man that I want for my sons. A kind, caring, compassionate man.

And every once in a while, I remember just how lucky I am........

Monday, November 12, 2007

One of those days....

Ok, I knew it would happen. Saturday I was reveling in the end-of-pregnancy, enjoying-the-moment-as-a-family-of-three feeling. Today, well..... not so much.

The major projects are done, work is set up enough for a sub to start, and Luke's arrival is all I think about. For some reason, I had myself fooled into thinking that once all of that was in place, labor would begin. Unfortunately, the contractions that I have been having since 23 weeks seem to have really slowed down, and there aren't any signs of labor on the horizon.

Today was a stormy Pacific Northwest kind of day, and like happens at the end of some three day weekends, Max and I both had a little cabin fever. Dan puts up with us so well on these days, but we aren't much fun to live with. How he does it, I just don't know.

So, tonight, I want to focus on a couple recent "Moments with Max":

1. Tonight at dinner Max insisted over and over "I love beer" - no amount of reminding him that he had never had beer, and that it is just for daddies could dissuade him. Of course, Dan and I cracking up about the absurd statement coming form our two-year-old cherub's mouth didn't help much either.

2. After letting him come into bed with us for a few minutes this morning, he rolls over to me and says "I love Mommy", and then rolls to Dan and wakes him up with an "I love Daddy". Doesn't get much better than that.

And it's things like that that make me remember that even though I'm impatient as all heck right now, there are moments when even "those days" are pretty darn good.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coming to some sort of peace...

The last couple of weeks have felt frantic. For months we had done nothing to prepare for the arrival of Baby Luke, and then all of a sudden, crunch time was upon us. We hit 36 weeks and realized that things could begin sooner rather than later, and there were things that needed to be done. Over the last two weeks we have cleaned out closets and cupboards, turned Max's room into Max and Luke's room, washed all the clothes and diapers, worked on the garage, and prepared substitute lesson plans for every day "just in case". Dan's work has been busy, and I have been doing my parent-teacher conferences every morning before school and every afternoon after classes were done.

But then today came. And with the beautiful fall sun, a sense of calm has come over me. We're ready. Or, rather, ready enough. Should anything happen, we are ready to welcome Luke with open arms and excited, rather than anxious, hearts.

We spent the morning downtown picking up a gift and going to Finnegan's toy store to get a present for Luke to give to Max (a frontloader) and a present for Max to give to Luke (a stuffed giraffe). We had a relaxing lunch at Todai, and picked up a couple more diaper covers. The downtown streets were busy, but with the sunshine and fall leaves it was nice to be out and about. I had the distinct feeling that there won't be that many moments left to be a family of three, and really enjoyed the time we got to share.

So, there it is. I can't guarantee that the panic and stress won't come back at some point in what is left of the waiting game we are playing now. But today we have come to a wonderful sort of peace......

Monday, October 29, 2007

See, the thing is....

Time is flying by. I'm not sure where it's going, and I don't like that I often feel like I am missing/forgetting the most important things. I want to stop and take a breath and revel in the day that was, the memories made, and the time shared. But for all my attempts, I am lousy at keeping a journal. So here I go - let's give this whole blog thing a shot.

(The truth is, I started this blog a couple of weeks ago, but have been getting up the courage to actually write anything. I keep waiting for the life-altering moment that is the signal to "start now", but in the meantime am missing little gems of the everyday. )

Life is busy. Teaching full-time, being a mom of a toddler, and feeling every bit of the 36 weeks of pregnancy is occupying nearly all of my mental and emotional capacity right now. I really do love it all, but every once in a while I have to remind myself to be thankful.

SO here are a few of my "don't forget THIS" moments from the last few weeks:

1. Driving home with Max, when out of nowhere in this thoughtful little voice, he sighs, "Max looooves Papa." Yeah, kiddo, I love him too, and it thrills me to pieces that you think he is as great as I think he is!

2. The constant kicks, nudges, and pokes from the child in my belly, reminding me constantly just how out of room he is getting, and how soon he will be in our arms.

3. Emails and phone calls from some of the wonderful friends and family in our lives, just "checking in" to see how we are doing, and knowing that they are anticipating the arrival of our new son just as much as we are.

4. Constant refrains of the week - "No, Max do it!", "Sing twinkle little star with Max?" and "Max don't like bananas. Abby like bananas".

Really, it's all good. And I just need to notice it more.