Archives for category: parenting

Two weeks. Today Alexander is two weeks old. I feel like it has been simultaneously the longest and shortest two weeks of my life. When I look back I cannot believe that at this time two weeks ago I was still pregnant. Starting labor. I had yet to meet this little bundle of joy. At the same time so much has been going on and some nights have been restless for him, making it seem like an incredibly long time. It is a bizarre feeling. Having two sensations of time at once. That is parenthood though. The same has happened with Jackson. Looking at him I cannot believe he is pushing 4 years old! I remember him being a little squish that I nursed round the clock. At the same time it feels like forever ago that he was tiny like Alex. Time flies. Time drags. Depending on the season or moment.

I haven’t started officially working out again. I have started going on walks with Alexander.

Our very first walk

Our very first walk

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He's my new favorite accessory!

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He’s my new favorite accessory!

We walk around our neighborhood. It is a couple miles. I am contemplating doing a post natal pilates video that is designed for post parturm starting at 0 weeks. Meaning I am two weeks into this recovery so it should be all good. We will see if I fit it in later today. I have gotten to the point where I simply cannot sit around doing nothing anymore. The walks have been so refreshing. The air is crisp and cool, so it feels very cleansing.

Happy two weeks my sunshine face. I look forward to each day, week, month, and year with you!

A happy Sunday morning!

A happy Sunday morning!

I am on day 4 of being a mom to two boys! On Sunday, September 28th, at 4:38pm Alexander was born. 7lbs 2oz and 20 inches. He is pure sweet shiny new perfection. 19-DSC_6613

I was not planning on having a baby on Sunday. I had a long to do list of things. I definitely wanted to go grocery shopping. I was going to call a spa around 10am to see if they could fit me in for a prenatal massage. My shopping list was ready to go before 8am. I decided to not workout that morning. I was feeling pretty tired and realized I could use a rest day.

The day before I walked 2 miles on the treadmill. I even threw in a couple jogs. Very short and slow jogs. Nothing crazy. I did a touch of arm work after the run and a lot of stretching. We all went to Apple Fest with my mom, sister in law, and niece. We walked around a ton there. I started having contractions. Not just tightening but enough to stop me in my tracks a few times. They got down to about 7 minutes apart. We decided to head home and see where this took us. In the car I had one last one and then they stopped. Later in the evening I had a few more, but again they stopped. I figured just more false labor. I went to sleep, not knowing in less than 12 hours I would be in active labor!

Around 8:30am I hopped in the shower and I was having even more painful contractions than the day before. They were closer this time. I ate some breakfast and got ready for the day. I was still not convinced. Around 9:30 they got even worse than they had been and were coming 2-3 minutes apart. I walked the staircase in our backyard over and over until I reached 10:30 and they had been happening for an hour. Jackson spent some time walking with me! I called my OB. She told me to head on over to the hospital. So much for that massage.

My labor walking partner

My labor walking partner

By the time I arrived to the hospital I was 5cm dilated. 6 days before I had only been 1cm! I said “I am not going home today, am I?” The answer was no. It was time. I wanted a natural birth. That was my plan. I declined the epidural and fluids. I agreed to a port during my blood draw just because it is easier to do it then instead of during an emergency. I also agreed to letting my Dr. break my water because she explained it progresses things faster and she hates to see people in pain longer than they need to be. That is when the party got started. My husband took some photos during my labor. I was initially pretty mad because I had no idea. Now, as I write this, I am a touch thankful.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

As contractions are wont to do, mine progressively got worse and worse. The pain was incredible. The downtime was heaven. But then, my downtime started to disappear.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

The contractions kept getting closer and closer together. Totally normal. Then, the downtime started to vanish. I would be on my way down from a painful contraction, never quite hitting 0, and another contraction would start. It would spike off the charts again and have to work its way down. Sometimes I was having 3 minute long contractions. The break in between those would be a minute or a minute and a half. IMG_8931

My Dr came in and asked for me to consider agreeing to a fluid IV to try to hydrate me. She thought I was dehydrated and that could be why these contractions were overlapping. She wanted to get me a break of 2-3 minutes in between each one. I agreed to the fluids. They ended up not helping much. She came back later and said I still wasn’t always getting a break and when I was that they were only maybe a minute and a half. She mentioned I still had the option for an epidural. She hated sitting out there at the desk watching the monitor knowing what I was going through. I hadn’t dilated past 7 at this point. I was frustrated but I held off.

The contractions started to exhaust me. I just wanted to sleep after each one. I felt like I was at the end of a long hard day after every single contraction. But I never got the rest time. It was boom boom boom. The pain was in my back, uterus, and would shoot down my quads into my knees. I tried all kinds of labor positions. Kneeling almost made the leg pain worse. I found nothing that worked in helping me work through it. There were contractions where I couldn’t even breathe through them. I was trying but even breathing hurt. My mom was trying to remind me to breathe. Jason was having a very hard time seeing me in such pain.  I started to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to push. I was so tired. So so so tired.

At my next check I was 8cm. At the check after that I was still 8cm. The epidural was mentioned again. I asked how long I had to decide on that. The nurse told me as long as I liked. I could get it whenever. She left the room. I had another long contraction. I told Jason to go tell her to get the anesthesiologist. I felt as if I were caving. This wasn’t my plan. I am a strong person, I should have been able to do this. I was just so tired. I know I am a great pusher. I know I have the core strength to push him out, but my energy had been depleted. I was really worried that when it came down to it, during those long contractions, I wouldn’t have the energy to push. Which could result in a C-section. I knew that was number one on my ‘I don’t want it” birth list. So my decision had been made. I weighed my options and went with the one that I thought would still result in the birth I would be most satisfied with.

After the epidural I was able to relax. It wasn’t long before my next check. My Dr said I was just about 10. Asked me to give a little push to try to get a part of my cervix to complete its disappearance. She said “oh you are a good pusher. His head is right there. I was going to have you push one more time but never mind. It is time to deliver. I am going to get ready.”

My mom left the room at 4:26. The doctor and nurses finished getting everything all ready. At 4:30 I started pushing. At 4:38, Alexander John entered this world. He entered with the cord around his neck and he was blue. My husband said that my Dr got that cord off so fast it was amazing. In one swift movement she unwrapped it from him. The cord was also wrapped around his leg, which I got a glimpse of. When they put him on my belly he was blue and not crying. My brain was racing “why isn’t he crying. He should be crying.” It was a blur. A nurse (who happened to help deliver Jackson as well!) started to fuss with him and he started crying. My life was complete in that moment. They put him on my chest and I held that sweet boy for the very first time. They took him away to get him ready for some more snuggles.

My first photo with my sunshine face

My first photo with my sunshine face

We were able to go home the next day, per our request. We wanted to get settled into our home with both of our sweethearts. We hate hospitals. Don’t most people? He is mostly healthy. Very tiny and a little jaundice. So his pediatrician is monitoring that. He has lost 8% of his birthweight. We have a follow up tomorrow to see if we packed some ounces on him. I have been nursing on demand all week. He eats close to every hour over night. If he even whines I offer him a boob! Ha! Time to chunk this little monkey up.

Jackson is over the moon for his baby brother! He is wonderful with helping. Jason and I are doing a great job being partners and making sure Jackson gets some one on one attention too. Family time and one on one time with each boy. We definitely got this. IMG_8785 IMG_8889 IMG_8957 IMG_8990

We are in love and I really do feel like my life is complete. I am so happy to have two children. I am enjoying the balancing the needs of both. I truly feel like I was born to be a mom. I do other things. I love teaching Pilates when I am working. But nothing gives me joy like being a mom first and foremost. I easily throw all of my energies into my family. I feel satisfied and content with that role. My heart is warm and overflowing with joy. Even if I haven’t slept. Even if Jackson was asking for Cheerios while I was trying not to pee my pants and make him a bowl and Alexander started crying at the same moment and I realized my husband put the old almond milk I wanted to toss back in the fridge and now I can’t tell the difference between the new and old. Which was this morning. It lasted 3 minutes and was chaotic, but it was home, it was life, it was uniquely mine and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing!

Welcome to the world sweet boy. Welcome to our family. You were made especially for us and you are perfect. 12-DSC_6563 11-DSC_6558IMG_8966 IMG_8979 IMG_8980

When you’re a parent to young children you hear time and time again “it flies by. They grow up so fast!” You hear it from family members, friends, heck even your own brain lets you know this. Not convinced that you tell yourself this? Go ahead and take a stroll down memory lane by perusing over old baby photos. You won’t believe how much things have changed without you even noticing. I did that recently. That chubby baby from 3 years ago is no more. Instead there is a near 4 year old little boy.

This week I didn’t need a stroll down photo memory lane. I had a moment at the grocery store where it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was checking out. We shop at Fresh Market and our location is small and quaint. Jackson was sitting on the bench across from my lane while I was waiting to pay for all of our food. He was playing on a phone my husband had recently restored for him. It is strictly for games and taking photos. Taking photos, his new obsession. He was clicking away and saying “Momma, I took a picture of my leg! My LEG!” Beaming with so much pride.

I just watched his little face as he concentrated on his task at hand. I lost my breath for a moment. He is a little boy. How he has changed from last fall! His legs are so long and thinned out. His body is rapidly losing that baby chub. Actually, it is all nearly gone. He still had his soccer gear on, which made him look even older.

Every day he is so engaged with life and with me. He has a million questions and things to show me. Lately I feel like every sentence starts with “momma look at this!” He doesn’t only request Disney Jr shows anymore. He has started wanting to watch shows on NickToons. Every once in a while he scolds me saying, “No I can do that myself!” Part of my heart aches a little each day as I notice how much he is growing, but part of me knows that all I can do is love and support him. I cannot stop it. I am certain I wouldn’t really want to stop it. I can’t keep him a baby forever. I have so much fun with him now. We do so many cool things together. I have always gone out of my way to do fun things with him. We started Gymboree classes at 7 weeks old. Now, though, he is very engaged in those things. Now he asks to go to certain places “Mom we haven’t been to the Children’s Museum in long weeks! This many!” He holds up a bunch of fingers.

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Soon my world will be filled with baby moments again. I am pushing 38 weeks here. 38 weeks this Saturday! My world will actually be filled with little boy and baby moments simultaneously. The best of both worlds. Now when I go out and about and have our adventures I will have a little boy that understands our activities as well as that sweet babe discovering the world for the very first time. Only to slowly grow and change daily before my eyes. In 3 years I will be writing how I have officially left the baby world behind for good. Trudging full steam ahead into all things little boy world. But, let’s cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I am just basking in the loveliness that is being a momma to boys. To those sweet tender little men that love me with all their hearts and think I am just the bees knees, whether they are a baby or a little boy.

Sunday mornings around 7 is my usual workout time. Well, every day around 7am is my usual workout time. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to do with this lull in my routine. Sitting. I hate that word! Yesterday was so beautiful outside. All I wanted to do was go for a nice walk with my family. My husband wouldn’t have it. He thought the park we would walk to was “too far” There and back is 1.4 miles. I have previously used my running app to measure the distance.

I did a lot of tidying up yesterday. I reorganized some closets and drawers near our pantry. I decided to make room for Jackson’s Legos. They normally sit out on our very long island or kitchen table. Now he has a shelf and a drawer to at least put some of the boxes. I also made a shelf for Alexander’s diapers/wipes and other hygiene accessories we want to keep downstairs. It is a low enough shelf that Jackson will be able to reach it if I ask him to help grab something. I washed/dried several loads of laundry. Today I will get around to folding it all. These are the exciting things I am up to this weekend. 

Yesterday did bring a big day though. It marked the start of week 36. Today I am technically 36 weeks 1 day. Every day counts to me at this point. We are less than a week closer to being early full term. 

36 weeks

36 weeks

My husband rearranged our SUV a bit as well. He moved Jackson’s carseat and added Alexander’s. It is crazy to see two carseats in the backseat! 

We are reusing Jackson's baby car seat. Oh the memories!

We are reusing Jackson’s baby car seat. Oh the memories!

Today I will pack up a suitcase a bit, just in case tomorrow’s appointment brings bad news. This way we are not scrambling to grab things. Or rather, my husband isn’t making 5 trips back and forth to get everything I want. Tomorrow I will be prepared. I hope in the deepest part of my heart that it will all be for naught. I also want to put together a big brother gift basket for Jackson.

I just thought I had so much more time to finish up small things. I certainly didn’t assume I would be scrambling around during week 36 to get these kinds of things done. Life is funny that way. I should know better. Everything big in mine and my husband’s life together turns into an adventure. It is to the point that we usually are really great at going with the flow and laughing about it all. Which is a great outlook to have, I know. It would be nice though if we didn’t always have a grand story to accompany our big life events. Dating, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, Jackson being born, buying a house, major roof repairs, Alexander’s prenatal care, they all have dramatic stories. We always make it through together though. We always always always laugh about it after. We always say “It’s an adventure” Instead of “it’s a disaster” I am glad to have that outlook with him. I see this on Pinterest a lot: 

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” – Bob Bitchin

That is how we see our life together. Adventure. This sweet baby boy is just keeping pace with his adventurous family. 

I am lounging on my couch as I start this post. Not necessarily because I want to be lounging around, but because I am supposed to be lounging around more. 

Wednesday I went to my weekly OB appointment and follow up ultrasound. The appointment was at 11. I expected to be home by 11:45 the latest. Instead I was sent to the hospital by my OB and immediately admitted for further tests. The reason I was having a follow up ultrasound was because they have been monitoring my amniotic fluid. Well, the results of this week were 5.8. Which is borderline immediate induction low. Below 5 and they would have induced me being 35 weeks along. 

I was tested for a break in my water bag. That came back negative. Well, all 4 tests for that came back negative. They put my on IV fluids and there I stayed. I wasn’t supposed to get up for much more than to pee. The plan was continuous IV until Thursday morning when they would give me another ultrasound. If my amniotic fluid was 8 or higher I would be released. 

I happened to have fallen the previous Saturday. I was playing soccer in my driveway with my son and husband. Nothing intense as Jackson is 3 & 1/2. Just normal kicking the ball around. I went to get the ball and my foot got stuck in between one of our brick pavers. I fell down. I landed in a lunge (yay Pilates!!) So my left knee took the brunt of the fall. My belly next to my right leg, which didn’t hit the ground. I was fine. I stopped playing and went inside, but there was nothing to worry about. I did mention it, just in case. Turns out, I should have kept my mouth shut. The labeled me a FALL risk because of it. I had awful obnoxious signs on my door and I got a lovely accessory. IMG_7749

Even my husband laughed at me for this. It was so over the top. A non pregnant person would have wiped out too. The tip of my foot was literally stuck in a hole! I probably went down better than most people because I am in such good shape. I made my opinion on this heard. That I thought it was absurd! 

My sweetheart came to visit me after school. I was so happy to see him. He really cheered up my day. I missed him terribly after he left though. I certainly would have preferred to be at home snuggling with him over sitting in a hospital bed pondering the fact that in a few hours I may have a premature baby.

My sweetheart

My sweetheart

Things were a little boring after he left. My husband stayed with me. My mom took Jackson to our home and spent the night with him. I didn’t sleep much more than an hour all night. Labor and delivery beds are NOT comfy for overnight sleep, especially if you are not in active labor about to meet your new baby. Plus, my separated pelvis was highly irritated from sitting and laying on the rock hard surface. I listened to two babies be born. I listened to my unborn baby’s heart beat on the monitor. I listened to different mediation tracks on Spotify. I worried about what the morning would bring. I had a nightmare about a garish blood draw. I finally gave up around 6:30am and got up for the day. 

My breakfast left something to be desired. I was pretty disappointed with my burnt toast. I didn’t order anything else except fruit. I ate the toast. But it tasted like it looks. 

mmm burnt toast

mmm burnt toast

We were supposed to be waiting until 11 for my next ultrasound. I kept counting the hours. How many more I had left. I finally switched to sitting in the rocking chair. Ahhh sweet relief for my pelvis. The nurse came in shortly after. It was just past 10am. My primary OB was in the hospital and changed my ultrasound to right that minute. We were thrilled. Again I was constantly sending mental vibes to my uterus, “please be at 8 or higher. Please” I laid there watching the screen and the face of the tech, trying to determine the results. I saw him type very low centimeter results in all the scans. 1 here 2 there. In the back of my brain rationalizing, they must add that all up. They must! Finally he told us “It is looking like it is 8. Yeah 8.”

I was hopeful on the ride back to my room, but ultimately it was up to my OB to decide what to do. Almost 3 bags of fluids and I was just at an 8. Not 8 point something. Flat 8. We sat in our room waiting. Finally the nurse came in and said “The gods must be with you. You’re being released!” 

That was the fantastic news. The bad news. I am not out of the woods yet. We have a follow up ultrasound and appointment on Monday. It is likely that I will be closely monitored from here on out. Also, I am not allowed to exercise anymore. I am not on bedrest, but I am supposed to take it easy in general. I can do normal every day activities. I have to watch what I lift. I am not supposed to lift Jackson unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Monday will determine what happens next. I will be just over 36 weeks, still not full term. It will help to decide how often I have to see my Dr, how often I need an ultrasound, if I need to be sent back to the hospital for more fluids, or if I need to be induced. It is a big day, that Monday.

I am not good at sitting still. I hate it too much, actually. I am pretty upset that I cannot exercise anymore. I do not know the last time I went this long without working out. 8 years? I don’t know. My husband is treating me like a porcelain doll. Another thing I hate. I am very independent. I don’t like being overly babied. I hated being pushed around in the wheelchair. You have read my feelings on the fall risk situation. I like to do things for myself. It is hard to take a break. I insisted on grocery shopping myself today. It is a normal every day activity. I didn’t lift one grocery bag in or out of my car though. I went to Old Navy for comfy yoga pants to lounge in. If I have to be lounging, I want to be able to wear something comfy. I also got a pedicure. That was the only thing I didn’t have to defend to my husband. He is fine with spa treatments, since you sit around being pampered. As I was leaving for my pedicure my husband said “you have almost used up all your allotted walking time today” He was hoping the Dr would put me on bed rest or at the least very limited activity. I have explained to him being told not to exercise is a prison sentence for me and that since I can do normal every day activity he has to give me some room here. That being said, I have been taking sitting down breaks. Compromise. 

That is where I am this Friday afternoon. Sarcastic, annoyed, and well, frankly, a little worried deep down. I don’t want him born prematurely. It is a hard balance. I want to be my normal exercising active self but I don’t want to cause harm to my little spitfire. Wish us luck on Monday. I am going to take it easy this weekend. Other than Tae Kwon Do for Jacky, we have no plans. I will be trying to not be a cranky lady who hasn’t been allowed to workout. I am trying to adjust to my new normal. 

I am in the middle of week 34. It is crazy to think that this baby boy could be here in 5 & 1/2 weeks. 

34 weeks 1 day. I can't wait to put all of these belly kiss photos together.

34 weeks 1 day. I can’t wait to put all of these belly kiss photos together.

Realistically he will be here sometime in the next 6 weeks. I am hoping for 5 1/2-6 weeks, not sooner. Big brother Jackson was born 4 days after his due date. He thrived. He was alert from the moment he left my body. Born with wide open eyes. This is the first photo of him I shared with people. 

Jackson

Jackson

See, very alert just an hour or so after he was born. I want the same for this sweet boy. Healthy, strong, alert. So I am fine with waiting past October 4th if I have to. But either way, 6 weeks will fly by with a 3 & 1/2 year old to keep me busy. 

We made a lot of progress this past weekend on Alexander’s bedroom. It is practically done. All I am waiting on is my new glider. It was set to arrive at the end of August, so tick tock. But the major things are all completed. 

IMG_7048

Crib, bunting, and garland

This was the first thing I had completed. It was all by its lonesome while we waited for a situation with the dresser we ordered to be fixed. I am so excited about his color and pattern schemes. I have had some fun mixing different patterns and colors. It feels so fresh in there. 

IMG_7517

Hand painted sign and toy basket

I painted that sign for him. It is one of my hobbies. I don’t paint as much as I would like but I do from time to time. My favorite things to paint are things for my boys. Jackson has an assortment of paintings. This sign in particular is special for Alexander. It is from the song that inspired his name. I fell in love with the name Alexander because of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ song Home. I had to incorporate it into his room somehow and I solved the problem of creating my own painting. The basket is a Colonial Mills rope basket. I have a few of those throughout his room. I also have a couple from Target. I went with the woven basket theme for storage. 

Speaking of storage….

IMG_7497

Closet

This is his walk in closet. It was the only bedroom closet on the 2nd floor the previous owners did not have redone at The Container Store. I felt I had to spruce it up a touch. I simply lined all the shelves, 9 total, with chevron shelf paper. It took a bit of time to cut them all down but I am very happy with how it brightens up his closet. Those grey baskets are the woven ones from Target. 

Dresser

Dresser

This dresser was an adventure. It took us over a month to get all the pieces from the company. I won’t go into the long story. It looks really nice though. I am obsessed with that lamp! I had to have it. It is by Zutano. I purchased it off of Amazon. The curtains are from Pottery Barn Kids. They are blackout curtains. Grey chevron. They are lovely and do a great job of blocking out the sun. The blue basket is Colonial Mills and again the grey is from Target. The floating shelves are also from Target. I like Target, ha! The seat turns into a bassinet and we may use it in our bedroom for a little while. We will see. Jackson was in his own crib about one night after we got home. But this chair easily switches from a bassinet to a seat while baby is in it, so it will be perfect for use around the house. 

That is where we are with Alexander’s bedroom. Once my glider arrives and I get my pouf and side table I will share that set up. All of his clothing is washed, folded, and put away in his drawers. He has newborn diapers, wipes, tons of blankets, and swaddlers. We are using Jackson’s infant carseat. I have our new Joovy Sit N Stand stroller. That hangs out in our dining room. 

Carseat, Joovy Sit N Stand stroller, and a carseat cover from Etsy

Carseat, Joovy Sit N Stand stroller, and a carseat cover from Etsy

I am also obsessed with this carseat cover. I love it. Being an October baby in Chicago, I am guessing he will get a lot of use out of it. 

I even have my diaper bag, which I definitely treated myself to. I decided that since my whole world is now men, that I would get a diaper bag that screams me and is truly for me, reflecting my style. IMG_0015I have an obsession with Kate Spade everything. Not just diaper bags. I keep this sweet thing in the plastic wrap in the shipping box. I haven’t taken even one tag off yet. I have considered starting to pack it a bit for the hospital. That will probably happen in the next week or so. A small secret? I definitely got this during their recent flash sale. So not only did I get a perfectly me diaper bag by my favorite designer, but I got it at a steal of a price. Triple score. 

And now, we wait out the next handful of weeks! I cannot wait to cuddle with both of my little boys. 

 

 

I am a bookworm. I have been since before I learned how to read. I have vivid memories of my mom reading to me when I was a little girl. After learning how to read, I couldn’t put books down. I would spend hours in the library deciding on which books to check out next. It was always torture that I could only take a few at a time. My grandma would take me to the library with her and we would spend hours? there. To me it seemed like hours. I am not sure how long it was in actual time. As a child though, I was in that magical wonderful place for what seemed like an eternity. In college I spent a lot of time studying in the library. If I had time in between classes I would head there to read, study, work on things, or just be there.

I have worked to pass that on to Jackson and soon Alexander. Their book collection is extensive. I even have a book box where I add new books all the time and Jackson gets to pick a new book rather often. Last night I decided to grab two new books that I wanted to read to him. One of them is titled If I Could Keep You Little.

I bought this book a while ago. I read it in the store and cried. The premise is a mom who would love to keep her child little but knows she would then miss out on all the great things they did as they grew. I think this is my number one struggle as a mom. The idea that one day my boys will leave the nest. That one day I will have to let them go play outside in the big world without my hand a few inches away. I try to not be a total helicopter parent. I don’t hover constantly, especially in our home. I let Jackson play on his own. But outside, in the big scary world? He is only 3 & 1/2. I am not ready to let him wander. I don’t have to be ready quite yet, but one day I will.

The tantrums and arguing back can be hard. The bad days where we all don’t seem to sync up can be rough. But that is not the hardest part for me. With those moments I have about a 2 second rebound rate. I never feel defeated or that it drags out to the next day or even the next moment. Sometimes I can reset with just 20 minutes. It is the letting go that I know I will struggle with more and more as my boys grow.

Having a new baby on the way 4 years after we were expecting Jackson has proved that. I have seen now how much I have let go over the past 3 & 1/2 years. Much to my surprise. Things changed a little every single day. I do it, but it doesn’t mean that it was easy. To be honest, I usually still feed Jackson dinner. He can do it. He prefers me to help him. Much to my husband’s eye rolls. But one day he won’t want mommy to scoop his food and feed him. I will probably be trying to convince him to sit down and eat with us! Those are the kinds of things I think about. While I am saying “But Jackson, you are a big boy, you can feed yourself, right? You do it at breakfast and lunch!” In my head I am just perfectly fine with scooping that pasta into his mouth for him.

I made it through the book this time without crying. I didn’t even choke up when I read it to him. I even was able to point out similarities in his life and watched a big smile beam across his sweet soft face. My lap has less room these days. My belly is getting big. Less than 2 months to go until I have two boys squirming for space. But each day we cuddle on Jackson’s old rocking chair and we read books. We adjust every day to that growing belly. I suppose that is what parenting is. Every day you adjust to the changes just a touch. You have to wiggle something over to make room for something new and different. Some new skill, ability, task, thought, need, or want. Sometimes it happens without you even realizing it. When did my belly get so round? When did Jackson have to learn to sit differently on my lap? It wasn’t in one fell swoop. We grew together.

How I long to keep my boys little. Even looking back on infant photos of Jackson, which I have done more and more lately, I wonder, how did he grow into this boy? As we tucked him in and he had to show me one last fancy trick before being snuggled under his blankets I just watched his face. The book fresh in my mind. He used to be this squishy little infant, with a personality, but certainly not this specific personality. When did he grow into this little boy and leave that squishy infant behind? When did I stop using onesies? When did my world revolve around themed tshirts and pajamas? Spiderman adorned my sweetheart from head to toe last night. No more sweet baby blue footie pjs for him. He used to fit into all the clothing I have purchased for Alexander. Now, you couldn’t get a foot in some of those.

But, like that book tells me, if I kept him in those, I would miss out on him calling to me as I left “Mommy one more hug and kiss. Hugs and kisses are my favorite.” They are mine too sweet boy, whether you’re a newborn or a grown man. They will always be my favorite, in every stage you pass through.

Our growing family

Our growing family

I should start this off with the fact that Jackson has been daytime potty trained since early this year. We started potty training in January. He took to it very quickly. His accidents were minimal. There were better days than others, but overall it wasn’t too tough for us to master! I really can’t complain about our potty training experience. We didn’t follow any kind of “method” or ways to do it in 3 days. We simply waited until he was ready. We rewarded him with small toys for successful moments. We eventually weaned that out and over half a year later here we are.

Sleep time potty training is another adventure. We haven’t pushed it, just like we didn’t push the initial potty training. We communicate with him and we have asked him how he feels about trying at night. He tried a few times here and there, a few successful sleep sessions and other accident ones. Totally fine. I tend to pick my battles with him. Eliminating nighttime diapers is not one I feel needs to be overly dramatic at this point. So, I go with the flow and keep our conversation open.

The last several days my husband decided to bring up that conversation again. Jackson insisted on giving it a shot! We haven’t had a totally dry night since, but he is really trying. He has told us he has gone on the potty once each night but had an accident later on. I always reassure him he doesn’t have to stay in bed if he wet it, he can come get mommy and I will help him. I also have told him if he wants help going he can come get me and I will be happy to help.

Friday night/Saturday morning he finally took me up on my offer. After an accident he came to find me. Around 1am. I heard a little voice say “mommy. mommy” It took a few moments to register that I wasn’t dreaming. He was crying and upset so I ushered him upstairs to help fix everything. My husband hopped out of bed and followed. I changed Jackson while Jason worked on the bedding. After all was dry, in his little tired voice, he asked “Can we read a book mommy?” Of course! We cuddled on his rocking chair and I read a book at 1am.

Unless he is sick he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore. He never comes to our room and crawls into bed with us. He loves his room and his bed. Even after transitioning to his big boy bed and then moving homes a couple months later we only had maybe two nights of him wanting us. I can’t help but totally love the other night. Even though I was a bit tired Saturday morning, being 30 weeks pregnant to start with, I am usually always a little tired! I loved that he found me when he needed me. He knew where to look and decided to remember what I had told him about if he needs me, I am there for him, even if it is nighttime.

I love my sleep, don’t get me wrong. Ha! But there is something about your little one needing you at 1am, and you being the one to comfort them, that just feels so special. I feel that it makes motherhood and fatherhood that much more sacred. No one else in the world is the one they want at that moment. That goes for a 3 & 1/2 year old or even a tiny newborn. You are their person. You are their home. You are the comfort. You are their warmth.

I have to admit that I am a little nervous about recurring sleepless nights come October. Mostly because this time I won’t have the same luxury of napping all day when the baby sleeps. I have a preschooler to care for too. But that little taste of being needed in the wee hours of the night helped to settle my heart about that. See, this time I am wiser. I know it doesn’t last forever. It may seem like it is lasting far too long, in that season. But at some point they grow. They are 3 & 1/2 and only come and find you when it is sickness or a bed wetting incident. They learn to sleep all on their own, every single night. That phase of your parenting fades away slowly over each day, night, week, month, and eventually years. You only have that for a short time.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be a day where I am crying to my husband that I really just need a nap and could he please entertain our sweet boys for an hour! Ha! No, we all need some sleep at some point. But my wiser parenting brain will be in the background reminding me how quickly it all changes. Sleep shall return and then I will savor the nights when a little voice makes it way to my side of the bed and whispers “mommy mommy I need you”

 

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

Being a mom is one of the most adventurous things I have ever done. I have traveled. I have gone all over. I have had adventures close to home. I have seen some crazy things living when living in downtown Chicago. But I will say being a mom is still the most adventurous thing I have done. Every day is something new. The moment you feel like you have everything figured out, things change. That doesn’t mean in a bad way either. Life is just always evolving when you have kids. Your kids are always evolving, growing, learning, and changing.

I LOVE to have adventures. I love doing things with Jackson and soon with Alexander as well. I do not think there is a week that goes by where Jack and I don’t leave the house and do something, anything, just enjoy the world. We stay busy on a regular basis. Last week alone we made a trip to the park, Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, a local fest, and a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Spending time with him is truly one of my favorite things to do. I miss him if I go to the grocery store by myself. He loves to help me and is a fantastic helper. I know I see a lot of sarcastic things out there saying something along the lines “you know you are a mom when going to the grocery store is a vacation” I don’t really follow that motto deep in my heart. Sure, there are moments where I need a breather, but give me 20 minutes by myself. Even quietly sitting on my couch, and I am usually able to reset.

We have had so many adventures together in the 3 and 1/2 years he has been my little partner in crime. I had so much fun downtown this week. He is getting to the age to finally understand the city. He was so observant. I have taken him down there before, all over. In fact, he has been to Navy Pier many times already. This time though, he had a million questions!

We went to the Dinosaur exhibit. It was a temporary thing going on. It was not our favorite part of the day. I don’t think it will be something we jump at going to next year if it comes back, but we made the best of it. Then moved on to other cool things at the Pier.

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As you can see in the top photo, he was not impressed! Ha! Mostly he didn’t want to stop for a quick photo. We really didn’t spend much time here. It wasn’t as cool as the commercial made it seem.

We went and ate our lunch. I was the only crazy (smart?) parent who packed her own lunch. There are so many restaurants to choose from that people usually eat at those places. We love our picnics though. I even offered to skip our packed lunch after he saw all the places to eat, and as always, he picked my lunch! Then we made our way to get some ice cream for Jackson. In a waffle cone! It was messy and delightful for him. I don’t eat ice cream, but I enjoy watching him eat that special treat once in a while. He loves it so much and the delight on a child’s face when the eat a big ice cream cone is something you can easily get lost in.

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We made our way to the carousel and HUGE ferris wheel. That ferris wheel is so big! I was proud of him for being brave enough to want to try it. He was so excited. We talked about how we could see all the different things over the city. He was pointing out different boats he saw zipping around Lake Michigan. I had to keep prepping him for the exit, because you have to get off while it was still moving. That was a little tricky for him but mostly because he was in his own world still wanting to observe everything. Ha! IMG_6692 IMG_6702 IMG_6695

 

Our plan was to next head to Build A Bear to make a Ninja Turtle. They recently started carrying them to promote the new movie. We saw the display when we arrived that morning. We made our way behind all the action and ended up walking through the Crystal Gardens. It was nearly empty and very quiet in there compared to the rest of the Pier and to the rest of our day! Jackson was enamored with what he called “the jungle!” He wanted to see the plants and wanted to see all the cool different water fountains they had. We were in there for quite a while. I know where we will eat lunch next time. They even had tables and chairs for meals set up and they were nearly all empty. He sat watching this one fountain for quite sometime. I asked if he wanted to take a photo with the cool fountain and he said yes. Then instructed me he wanted it like this:

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He is such an old soul. I had a hard time getting him out of there. He probably could have spent an hour in there. Next time, I know we will hang out in there a bit longer.

Eventually we made our way to Build A Bear and he made his Turtle. Raphael. He hasn’t slept without him since that night last week. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. He has made animals there before, but again, something about 3 and 1/2 makes a difference. He gets it now. He is excited. He is inquisitive. He remembers.

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Our plan that day had been to just go to the Dinosaur adventure. I figured on a lunch break, then we would head back inside and keep doing fun Dinosaur things. My plan didn’t include many actual Navy Pier attractions. But, life is an adventure! I was so happy that we just went with the flow and ended up having a blast all day long. Doing all the cool things we wanted to do, even if the initial thing wasn’t as cool as we hoped.

I have been getting out and about with him since before he was a month old. I started mommy and me classes when he was 7 weeks old. I love keeping active and busy. I know things won’t change once Alexander comes along. We might get out the door a little slower at first, but I know we will still be getting out the door on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, Alexander will be born smack dab in the middle of Jackson’s fall soccer time!

What does this week hold for us? I am not sure yet. We might go to the park today. Possibly go see Planes tonight. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays are usually our adventure days. But today I have a Dr appointment and tomorrow night we have a Natural Childbirth class (I hope to write about that!) So Thursday will have to be our big day out, but what shall we do? All I know is, I will be spending time with that little man. Holding his hand and being adventurous together.

 

It’s the 3rd Trimester! I am one day into it, actually. Yesterday was the official 28 week marker. I have said this about 100 times this pregnancy, I cannot believe how FAST it has flown by. I should probably stop saying it. Ha!

I am still keeping up with all my fitness. I am still running. As a matter of fact I celebrated the start of my 3rd trimester with my fastest run since probably early on in the 1st. I even managed to go for an outside run yesterday. Instead of my treadmill.

On Thursday I ran over 2 miles, went to the Children’s Museum for the better part of the day, then swam in the pool before dinner. I did a Prenatal Jumpboard class on Friday. It was amazing. That is one Reformer accessory I don’t have yet and I will be purchasing one this week I think. Yesterday I ran and swam. Needless to say, today will be a rest day. With a swim, though, I am sure. I rarely get away without swimming almost daily. When you have an indoor pool and a 3 & 1/2 year old who has been swimming since he was 3 months old, it is hard to skip a day of swimming. I am not complaining though!

This was from the 4th of July. So I was just shy of 7 months.

 

July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

You can see the 3 & 1/2 year old swimming his heart out in the background! My little sweetheart fishy. I am assuming this one is going to be the same, since he won’t know life without a pool to take a dip in. I plan to introduce him into the pool as early as I did Jackson, if not earlier. We are swimming people in this family.

I am still maintaing my clean eating. With occasional cheat moments. Which is kind of normal. By this I mean, I allow our family to have pizza night from time to time. Or I will indulge in some kettle corn. But for 98% of the time I am making my own meals and keeping it nice and fresh and healthy.

My husband is about done with painting the baby’s room. Today he will put together the crib. I have to order a mattress and a dresser. We are waiting on the glider to be shipped. It is all coming together.

Jackson keeps me busy as ever. He loves to do things and go places. And when he has had enough of our activities he will tell me he just wants to stay home for the day. I love being able to communicate with him so easily. Preschoolers are great that way. They are so honest and can tell you exactly what they are thinking. Sometimes it makes life interesting but for the most part it makes life a little easier. He is so excited to be a big brother. I didn’t really want a second child for the longest time. I planned on him being an only child. But now that I am 12-13 weeks away from having a 2nd, I know this was the right choice. Our first was born to be an older brother. He kisses my belly and rubs my belly daily. Here is he is giving me a check up, another thing he does all the time . “I want to check your baby”

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A few weeks ago on a walk to the park he said “I just wonder what his face will look like mom.” I think that every day! What a mature thing for a 3 & 1/2 year old to be thinking about. His heart is so warm and big that I feel we are giving him one of the greatest gifts. The chance to be a big brother and have that sibling relationship. I am aware not every moment is going to be sunshine and butterflies. I have two younger brothers of my own. I remember the brawls and fights between the 3 of us. Heck, sometimes we still go at it, but overall, that is a good love. Jackson is always thinking of Alexander. He wants to buy things for him. He gets worried if we have enough blankets for him and other baby items. Recently he asked me if we had any baby diapers. When I said we didn’t yet, he was very adamant that “We need to get some baby diapers!!!” Out of nowhere he asked me that. We were not even talking about diapers. These are the things his mind thinks of.

I mentioned I did my fastest run in months and trimesters. The time is not what I would consider fast on a normal run. As a matter of fact, if I ran a mile that slow while not pregnant I wouldn’t even talk about it. I was in the 12 minute/mile range! Yikes. I am normally in the 8:30ish range. So accepting how much I have slowed has been hard. I actually don’t talk about my time much anymore. I even turned off the voice update on my running app yesterday. When I am on the treadmill I usually have my iPad over the screen and just slide it over to see how far I have run. I know once I have the baby and start retraining myself I will get my times back to normal, since I have done it once before. So I try to not overly focus on my current snail’s pace. My trainer asks each week how much I run. Whenever I tell her I usually say something like “Oh only 2-3 miles each run” The other day she said “You say that like it is no big deal, but it is because you are 7 months pregnant!” I hadn’t thought much about it that way. I am 7 months pregnant and STILL running multiple miles a week! That is a great achievement, no matter how slow those miles end up being.

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

I am looking forward to the rest of this trimester and eventually holding my sweet baby boy in my arms. And eventually cuddling on my couch with my two little sweethearts.

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