Saturday, July 27, 2013

And Now, Five

I have a huge amount I want to write about Archer's birth...all the ways it was better/easier than my previous two (spoiler: almost every single way) and the ways in which it's been a little harder. How I'm feeeeeling (generally good) and thoughts I have about, well, everything.

But for now, just some photos in the form of a virtual birth announcement. We had these taken at the hospital...I was skeptical to say the least but I love them wholeheartedly and I'm so glad we did it.

I'm home now, adjusting to a new reality (though not really because my parents are here helping) and navigating these first few days of getting to know a new person and reconciling the fact that the world keeps turning and life goes on despite the hugeness of the change that occurred within our family.

Welcome, my new son, we are SO glad you are here.

Archer Birth Announcement

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


We were expecting Pacey to lose another tooth since his dental xrays showed both adult front teeth ready to pop through. Sure enough, he's had another wiggler for the last week or so. He handled this one better, although I think he still doesn't particularly enjoy it.

Anyway, this morning I was getting some clothes out for him and he ran into his room.

"Wook Mom, it came out!" He announced it so proudly and showed me the tooth, which he then insisted on brushing (?) Then, "Tooth fairy Mom! Six dollars!"

I'm not sure what I'm more proud of: the fact that he handled the whole thing so much better this time (and clearly *gets* the whole concept); the fact that he announced verbally, in a clear and complete sentence that he'd lost it; or the fact that he recalled the tooth fairy left him five dollars last time and decided to jump right in there and negotiate a raise.

If you think there is any way he's NOT getting six dollars, then you completely overestimate my ability to be sensible.

(I haven't been able to get a good picture of him sans two front teeth, but I'll keep trying. He's darn cute...)

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Ugh, that whiny Manifesto of Crabbiness I posted last night is exactly why I haven't been posting much lately. No one needs to read a list of complaints, most of which are distinctly First World Problem in nature.

However, who doesn't want to read a list of awesome things? I'm making a point of sitting down this morning before the day has beaten me down, to record some of the great things happening lately.

Help is on the way. One of my greatest personal challenges in life is to learn how to accept offers of help graciously and gratefully. It's sort of ironic that this is so hard for me, given that the single most fulfilling act I can commit is to provide help to someone else. Accepting that I NEED the help has been the first step, and one that I've had to confront time and time again in raising small children without a family support network readily available. I've made such great friends though, and I am learning that help is available and that it makes other people happy to help too. Lately, I've had one friend give me virtually all the baby gear one could possibly need, another friend who I met through the awesomeness of blogging come over with her kids and entertain my kids while I spent some time going through all the various baby gear and organizing the nursery, and one more friend bring food for my husband and I, just because. We have received countless other offers of help and support while we get adjusted to life as a family of five and I am planning to accept many of these offers, with grace and appreciation.

Sugarfina. The candy blogger I read linked to this site and reviewed some of the candies available and I am intrigued. We are officially going on a Spending Moratorium in August to recover from the insane costs of moving, so I plan to do a little shopping for post-partum treats while I can.

Daily Life Skills. The other morning as I groggily came to, I heard Pacey come in the room and Chris exclaim "oh, buddy, look at you. Let's get you cleaned up before mama sees you." I couldn't bring myself to look and see what exactly needed cleaning up (although it's been years since I faced a morning Poopocalypse the residual trauma runs deep) and I gratefully fell back to sleep while Chris dealt with whatever it was. Turns out he had just woken up early and hungry and helped himself to the remainder of a batch of muffins I'd made the previous day. He delighted in sharing that he'd eaten them ALL UP, and I suspect that at least part of the delight was in that he'd gotten up early enough and eaten them fast enough that he hadn't had to share (firstborn, anyone??) It's a small thing, but I love to see him embracing his independence in this way.

Brighton, for her part, appeared yesterday morning at my bedside and whispered that she needed help snapping her shirt in the back. She'd selected a very *four* outfit including a tutu and gotten herself dressed (getting dressed is often a fight in our house). I complimented her on her efforts and she told me that she'd been awake for awhile and wanted to do something to help me. She's perfectly capable of getting herself dressed every day, but for her I was just really proud to see her developing awareness of others and wanting to help out. Kids - by design - are so darn self-absorbed for the first few years and it's always nice to see that they probably aren't going to be psychopaths.

Free Entertainment. I mentioned the parks and rec playground program earlier in the summer, and I continue to be pretty amazed by it. Twice a week I have the option of bringing the kids to a playground where there is a team of teenagers ready to run the kids around, play games and do some crafts with them for an hour and fifteen minutes. It's not really enough time to do anything and I prefer to stay anyway, just as an extra set of eyes on Pacey, but I can sit and chat with my friends who have also signed their kids up while someone ELSE is responsible for entertaining my kids. Score! I also learned recently that the city will provide a one-on-one aide for a child with special needs in order to facilitate participation in any of the parks and rec programs. Not a bad deal there.

Tiny baby laundry. There are piles of it in my living room, freshly washed and folded and awaiting wrinkly little newborn limbs.

Reinforcements on the way. Less than a week until my mom gets here! (and my dad a few days later). Then - and only then - I will be truly ready to have this baby. It's been almost a year since my parents' last visit and I'm so excited for them to get reacquainted with the kids and see our new place. And my mom is really awesome about doing laundry ;)

Babysitters. The other evening I had two of the most adorable thirteen-year-old girls from the neighborhood stop by to give me their resumes/business cards for babysitting. Although I love the additional reassurance that comes from hiring twenty-somethings, there is a real appeal to these girls who are clearly actually excited about hanging out with little kids and earning some money while they do it. These two were so earnest and had clearly prepared what they wanted to say, it just really touched me. Plus, I'm betting they are a much better deal than the college students we've been hiring!

Wine. A given, sure. But I'd forgotten that traditionally many people bring booze to a housewarming party!! We are now very well-stocked in the wine department and I am planning to take the opportunity while my husband is out of town to go through a hide a few select bottles til a few weeks from now.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dee You Double En

That spells DONE. I am so done. Done with the flux we've been in for such a long time, done with feeling powerless against the moodiness characteristic of my pregnancies, done with physical discomfort.

The house projects continue...we had to have some drain tile installed to address the surprise water issue discovered before closing. I didn't really realize what it would entail, and following the final massive clean of the house in advance of our party last weekend, the basement is a mess of torn up landings, cement dust and furniture I'm incapable of returning to its rightful place.

I have become unfortunately familiar with the ins and outs of regular pest control services, and today got a full run down of all the previous/established/OHMYGOD mouse activity around the place. Eradication of the disgusting creatures and all the other creepy crawlies is underway, but just another fun surprise that comes along with purchasing a new house.

My kids and I are locked into what feels like neverending cycles of awesome/terrible behaviors. I'm conscious of trying to enjoy what time we have left before the next big change but I keep planning and trying to execute things I don't really have the energy for. I get crabby and snap about small infractions and they respond in kind by committing bigger ones. My patience is at an all time low and I can only hope that they don't remember what a colossal CRAB their mother was during this time. In some ways I love that Hedgehog's arrival comes in the middle of the summer, in other ways I'm just sad that by the time I feel vaguely like myself again it'll be time for school to start. Oh well, I suppose there's always next summer.

We did have a very successful party (final RSVP count was around 70...we had a few no-shows but suffice it to say there was a LOT of traffic through here). I'm really glad we did it and it was a great opportunity to connect with friends and meet neighbors before we go underground for a bit. But good lord was it tiring. I think I took three naps the following day and didn't do much in a vertical position at all.

The 4th of July was just ok this year, but with the party two days later we hadn't planned anything massive. It was fun to hit the local small-town celebration and see the kids' parade (which turned out to be...a parade of local kids. Heh)

Today I had my second-to-last OB visit and all is still well. Hedgehog is big enough and active enough it's actually painful at this point. I won't be surprised if he's a good sized little beast. A friend and I took all the kids swimming this afternoon at a combination sandy beach/chlorinated pool in a regional park near our new house. It's a great place but again, probably more than I should have attempted at this point.

And now, I need to go love on my kids before I throw them in their beds and hope that that's what they remember in the morning. Perhaps some pictures tomorrow if I can summon up the energy to download them (you know, amongst resting periods on my fainting couch)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Some Things

I'm finally starting to feel at home here in this house. It's funny what triggers that for's the really mundane things like developing the muscle memory for that step down into the living room so it doesn't always surprise me. Emptying the dishwasher enough times that I don't have to think about where things go. Knowing which light switch controls which light (ok, that's still a work in progress). Cooking and baking our family favorites in the kitchen. And most of all, having a place for everything and everything in its place.


I went and took a tour of the maternity unit at the hospital I'll be delivering at this past weekend. I was the only non-first-time-parent there, the only one with a scheduled c-section and the only person without the father present. It was actually really entertaining to watch the other expectant couples (that sounds patronizing but I don't mean it that way). I can recall so vividly how terrified I was at the birthing classes I made it to before Pacey was born - never got to the tour part - and I am so deeply grateful not to be going down this road for the first time. It was really reassuring to get the lay of the land, so to speak, and it helps me to be able to visualize where the birth will happen in a few weeks. It's really weird to know that Hedgehog will be born at a different hospital than his brother and sister. With Pacey in the NICU for eight weeks I got so familiar with our hospital in California and it felt completely natural to have Brighton there. However, this hospital? Contracts with a company that provides post-partum therapeutic spa services. And I? I will be availing myself of this last opportunity to pamper myself for awhile. Plus I'm hoping that an aromatherapy leg and foot massage might mean a quicker resolution of the cankles from hell.


We actually accomplished enough yesterday afternoon that we had time to hang out in the yard and enjoy a perfect late Sunday afternoon before our first grilled dinner of the season. Just another small event that made me feel so much more settled. We ate our dinner out on the screened porch which is the perfect compromise for me; love being warm and feeling the fresh breeze but hate the bugs and general distractions of being outdoors. Plus, the view made up for the whining, complaining, spilling and endless demands that come with dining with small children.


We took a walk down our street last Friday evening to deliver the invitations I had printed up for our housewarming party (you know, the ones I forgot to include the DATE on....dooohhhhhhh). On our way home we met some of our neighbors who were out playing with their kids. Their boys are a little older than our kids but definitely in the same age range, and I also learned that the family directly across the pond (sort of our next door neighbors) also have two kids a little younger than ours and she is due with their third, a boy, on 7/15. I actually exchanged a couple of emails with the mom who is on bedrest (can't imagine) and she seems really nice. I'm so excited to start to get to know these people. Hopefully some will make it to our party and those that can't we will likely meet at the neighborhood summer block party the following weekend. Seems like a very congenial group of families...just need to meet the ones who have daughters of babysitting age!!!

Brighton displaying her portrait of Huff. She
was totally miffed that he seemed disinterested
in it

Can't stress enough how much of a fish P
turned into over his weeks of swim lessons.
He has such better control over his body now.

Gotta love a sweaty handful of drooping
dandelions presented with earnestness

Little Harry Potter

Highly recommend a cheap inflatable kite on
a short string. If you have persistent kids, they
will run around "flying it" for hours

Me and my boy

This girl is suddenly all long limbs and big
words (used correctly, too)