Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week in Review (and Possible Technical Difficulties)

So, I may have just signed my life away because I signed up for Google+.  I only did it because I think it gives me more storage space in Picasa, the photo site that houses the images for Blogger.  Last night when I went to upload photos from the last week, it was telling me I had reached my 1 GB capacity for a free account.  Only took me five years, I guess.  I love this blog, and could possibly pay $25ish bucks a year to keep it intact and growing.  I also could just cut it off and do a fresh start given our new addition in a couple months, but that's annoying because I like having everything in one place.  So for now I'm trying this, and it appears my photos uploaded correctly, so I'll just cross my fingers for now.
 
Anyway, let's go back to last week.  In between our two meals, Jacob was determined to get into his baseball stuff, and the boys did get to go outside and play some ball before it got dark.  Here's my handsome little man, who actually posed nicely for a change...

As I mentioned last week, after dinner the family--including Craig's Nana--got into a rousing game of Wii bowling.  This picture was taken after Nana got a strike, and even though our nephew jumped into the photo amidst his jubilation, you can still see the joy on Nana's face!

This is a random picture, but I took it anyway.  No, it's not a pumpkin...it's my big belly in my orange sequined tank top.


And here's Jacob enjoying his game of Wii bowling...

After getting back to Rochester on Friday and rushing to get my car, we headed out to the Knighthawks' championship ring banquet.  Against our better judgment, we took Jacob with us.  It took a lot to keep him occupied through some of the more boring parts--including both Craig's iPhone and my iPod Touch, and pen and paper...

Got another good pose from my handsome little man...

Craig was among the special ones who got one of these special engraved lacrosse balls...
Notice his name across the bottom...
And now what we went there for...the bling!
Notice his name along the side...
At the end of the night we won the centerpiece thanks to Craig's upcoming birthday being the closest one at our table, and part of the centerpiece was this little lacrosse stick.  It's much like the one Jacob toted around with him when he was between the ages of about 18 months and three years old, but a better size for him now.  I couldn't decide which of these pictures I liked better, but considering they were taken WAY past his bedtime, they're both pretty darn cute...


Anyway, it was a crazy couple days followed by a crazy weekend.  Then we headed to Craig's great-uncle's funeral in Buffalo on Monday night and Tuesday before heading back to finish off the work week.  I'm finding myself pretty exhausted these days, but I'm not sure if it's because the second trimester glow is wearing off early, or because the past couple weeks have been crazy, or because I'm not sleeping well.  I'm just about 26 weeks now...crazy!  Time is flying and it's not about to slow down now! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Settling Back In...

It turned out to be a pretty crazy four-day weekend and I can't believe it's already over.  Usually four days away from work feels nearly perfect--enough time to recover but not enough time to get too used to the feeling of freedom.  But this time around there just weren't enough hours in the day to get everything done--including relaxing, which was much needed as well.  I spent much of the weekend decorating the house for Christmas, culminating in finishing up the tree last night.  I took a lot of breaks and watched some TV.  Jacob played and colored (and whined and talked back...).  Craig worked.  He did get his Knighthawks championship ring on Friday night, which was cool.  But he had a full day (literally--he didn't get home until about midnight) on Saturday.  I got my car Friday night, but for whatever reason (cold weather, perhaps?) I couldn't motivate myself to go out to the garage and get my car all set up--put things back in the glove compartment, sort through the stuff I pulled out of my car in a hurry after the accident, set my radio stations, play with the settings, etc.--which I'm somewhat regretting today since I'm now fighting the distraction of wanting to figure it all out mid-drive.  I didn't even start reading Thursday's or Sunday's papers (all those ads going to waste...), and barely got a couple other items on my to do list finished up.  It was still a productive weekend, though.  It's just unfortunate that I am SO tired today.  I was hoping to come back refreshed but that didn't really happen. 

On top of it, we have to head back to Buffalo tonight because Craig's great uncle passed away over the weekend.  We're happy to go, of course, but it doesn't make it much easier to get back in the groove when we're packing up again and headed back down the Thruway after one day back at work.  It should make the week go more quickly, however, and the best news of all is that I'm off most of next week to use up the week of vacation that would have otherwise been used for the trip to Florida.  I have a whole list ready to go for those four days off and I just hope I maintain some level of motivation to actually do it all.  Jacob will be going to daycare all but one of those days, since I promised him that we'd do a mother-son trip to Strong Museum.  I figured we should take advantage since we're able to go at a time when everyone else is in school and the place won't be mobbed.  The rest of the week will be spent Christmas shopping, cleaning, and organizing.  I have a boatload of donations to record for tax purposes, and I'd really like to put my VHS-to-DVD converter to use while I have some large chunks of time to focus on it.  Craig also mentioned spending a day together if he can pull it off.  His 40th birthday is next week but I'm not planning anything elaborate.  Call me a bad wife, but given that I'm pregnant, it's Christmastime, and I'm still mentally recovering from the accident upheaval, I'm just not sure what to do.  Our families are pretty much all in Buffalo, Craig has a Knighthawks preseason game the following Saturday, and Jacob's Sunday School Christmas program is that Sunday.  My parents will be on vacation that weekend and I'm not sure if Craig's immediate family would be up for a trip here just for the few hours we'd have on Sunday evening.  We don't have many close friends, but we do have a good number of acquaintances who I'm sure would be happy to celebrate a bit, so I'm thinking of just putting an open invite out on Facebook to meet us somewhere. Nothing set, exactly, just "We'll be having dinner here and would love if you'd be around at the same time..." or something along those lines.  Is that terrible?

Still, despite everything, being able to go to work in my own car this morning (different though it might be) was one step toward getting back to normal.  Everything still feels a little "off", almost like I just can't entirely process what's happened in the past couple weeks.  Everything was sort of compounded by the holiday and being out of our normal routines as it is.  I'm constantly checking on what I'm bringing with me out of the house, since I've been toting around my garage door opener, parking pass, EZ Pass, and various electronics cords separate from my car for the past week and a half.  I'm just out of my usual groove and it tends to throw everything off. 

Even the mere fact that I'm pregnant is causing me a little bit of disbelief at times.  Depending on how busy I am or how little the baby is moving, it's easy to get caught up in other things and momentarily forget this baby is there.  That's so weird to me considering that my belly is getting hard to ignore, but I guess there's just a lot of other things going on.  Thinking back to my last car accident, I recall this same feeling of being "off", but I also recall a major onset of "pregnancy brain" where I seemed to forget a lot of stuff.  I don't really feel like that was the case this time (or if it was, I haven't remembered any of it yet), but I'm sure pregnancy alone would have complicated a lot of things.  I wonder if I should credit the detail-oriented world of motherhood with keeping the "pregnancy brain" to a minimum thus far, since the million things I need to remember as a mom may be keeping my brain in tip-top shape.  It would be quite ironic since most of the time I feel like a spaz, but perhaps compared to pregnancy brain this is pretty good.  I will say that there's been a prevailing sense of mental exhaustion since the accident, where at times I just don't want to delve into the deeper details of things because it's just too exhausting to think about, but eventually I work up to it and I do what I have to do.  It's all been a bit of a process, but slowly but surely I think things will get back to normal. 

Of course, another thing I didn't do was get out my camera and pull off pictures, so that will come another day, I promise.  Soon. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful

Obviously there's a lot to be thankful for.  Even before last week we had a lot to be thankful for.  Our home, jobs, families, Jacob, and our little dude on the way.  And then last week happened.  Yet amidst all of the stress, fear, and loss, there was still so much more to be thankful for...that I was safe, that the baby was safe, and it wasn't any worse than it was.  As everyone kept saying, "Cars can be replaced..."  Of course, that feeling of safety and simplicity can't be, which is probably going to be the lasting legacy of this accident.  Every day, twice a day, my commute now stands as this imposing barrier between me and the next portion of my day.  I need to get past the morning commute to do my job, and I need to get past the evening commute to have my night at home with my family.  It's so much more of a burden now, and while I hope that feeling will fade with time, I hope I can keep up an extra eye toward safety in the long run.  Not that I didn't before, but it never hurts to stay extra-aware. 

Anyway, yesterday it was nice to step back and appreciate our lives away from the craziness of the last couple weeks.  We got to enjoy some time with our families, and after days of Jacob being extra difficult, he was actually a sweet, lovely little boy yesterday.  We started the day with church with my parents, with the added bonus of seeing my friend Heather and her husband, who were in town visiting her mom, and being able to wish Heather a happy birthday, on her birthday, in person!  We had a delicious lunchtime meal with my parents, my aunt, two uncles, and my cousin, who were all new faces to have around the table.  The food was awesome--including pumpkin ice cream pie made by my uncle with the recipe from our family's favorite restaurant that no longer exists.  It was a little touch of my grandparents' legacy to finish off our meal. 

We headed out to Craig's family after that.  I was sorry to miss an evening with my extended family, but I was looking forward to another wonderful meal with Craig's family.  Pregnancy has its perks, although between these two meals, even that saw its limits!  The food was once again amazing, and Jacob had a great time with his cousins.  The weather was warm enough to play baseball outside without a coat, and he had a blast!  As we went around the table saying what we were thankful for, this year I had very little trouble coming up with a response.  One that touched me specifically was Craig's Nana's.  She's the only grandparent we have left between us, and she has not been in great health recently.  She's a tough-as-nails woman who has been through a lot in her 93 years.  I value her presence greatly, possibly because she reminds me a bit of my grandpa, who despite his often-gruff exterior, had this undertone of love and pride toward his family.  My cousins and I probably made him nuts at times, but there were moments where you'd see the twinkle in his eye and know he was pleased with the family he had helped to create.  Anyway, Craig's Nana was thankful to be there with the family and hopeful that she'd stick around long enough to meet her newest great-grandchild.  I, too, hope that she will.  In fact, when I found out I was pregnant, that was one of my greatest wishes for this child.  I am still sad that Jacob never got to meet either of my grandparents on my dad's side, and I'm grateful he had the time with my mom's mom that he did.  I barely knew my grandfather on that side and always wished he'd have stuck around longer so I had memories of him, as well.  As I recall, I met one of my great-grandmothers on my mom's side, though I only have vague memories of that.  I knew one of my other great-grandmothers quite well and feel fortunate to have a nice set of memories of her (and one special keepsake) before a broken hip started her long descent.  I know Jacob (and most certainly his brother) won't have memories quite like that, but I treasure the picture I have of Nana holding Jacob when he was a tiny, scrawny baby, and hope to have another just like it with his brother, just so he knows that he met his last great-grandparent and was loved by her even for a short time. 

Possibly the best part of the day was watching everyone, Nana and Jacob included, play Wii Bowling!  Both of them had a bit of a hard time with the controller, but it was so great to see the joy on their faces when they did well.  It was a little hard to capture on film, and I haven't had a chance to download the pictures or video yet, but suffice it to say it was fun to watch! 

As I said, with all of the food even pregnancy saw its limits.  By evening my belly was sore and felt even larger than usual.  I think the added stretch of a full stomach was a bit much for it and I had a hard time staying comfortable.  The baby also wasn't moving very much, which was a little weird and slightly disconcerting.  I felt him enough to know he was there and fine, but all I can figure is that a day of carbs and tryptophan has the same impact on a fetus as it does on its mommy!  Or maybe the full belly made things extra cozy in there and he just snoozed the day away!  He's been kicking as usual today and I'm relieved to be much more comfortable. 

Craig had to work today and I was supposed to be spending the day getting the house decorated for Christmas, but instead I got the fall decor put away and am relaxing a bit while Jacob naps.  Once he wakes up we'll be off to the bank to get the check for my new car, and then we'll rush off to get the car before going to a dinner tonight to celebrate the Knighthawks' championship season.  Nice to know I still have two days to be productive before heading back to work Monday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Healing and a CURE

Yesterday was an interesting day all around.  Busy again, at the very least, but a lot of emotions (good ones, mostly) running through the day.  Both days this weekend I woke up early--too early--and couldn't fall back to sleep.  I think it was around 6am Saturday and 5:45 Sunday.  This morning was 5:30, so I don't think I really like this trend.  Not sure what the deal is, as I'm comfortable and not particularly anxious.  I'm totally wide awake, too, but I'll admit it's annoying.   However, yesterday I took it as a sign.  We had an event to go to at 11am, which would cut it too close to our normal church time.  So, I figured that if I was up in time and not exhausted, I'd make an effort to go to the early service at our church, which I'd never actually been to before.  It's a more traditional service and it's rare that I'm willingly up and out of the house that early on a weekend.  Normally Craig would come as well, but I knew getting him up that early would be asking a lot given the activities later that day.  Anyway, waking up early obviously wasn't an issue yesterday, and even Jacob was up relatively early.  I made an attempt to get him ready as well, since he seemed to like the idea of going with me instead of going off to Sunday School, but when I figured out that church was actually 15 minutes earlier than I originally thought, I couldn't quite get him ready in time and left him home.  Ultimately, I think there was a purpose in that, as it turned out that I needed that solo morning very badly.  I think Jacob's presence would have infringed on it a bit and I wouldn't have had quite the focus and clear mind that was needed to properly appreciate it.

I got into Craig's car and turned on the Christian station (K-Love) because I know it's an easy preset on Craig's radio.  I was driving along, my first time behind the wheel since the accident, and it occurred to me that going to church was extra important for me on that particular day..  I don't know how to describe it other than to say that I just needed to hear whatever God had to tell me.  Last week was pretty hellish (despite all we still have to be thankful for) and bad stuff like that just doesn't seem to make sense most of the time.  Why was I in that place at that time?  Why did I have to put my safety and the baby's safety at risk?  Why do I now have to spend a lot of extra money fixing this situation, when we're already approaching another financial challenge (more daycare and diapers)?  I just wanted to hear something, anything, that would make any of this make sense.  I'm not normally like that, either, but I was just desperate for something.

As I was sitting at a light, the DJ came on with a verse of the day...Matthew 11:30, which says, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  I don't even know if they read the two verses before that, because all I really needed to hear was that one, but for context, they are, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Pretty much immediately I teared up.  I don't know what did it...whether it was the idea that God could take this burden and make it lighter, or whether in the grand scheme of things our burden should have been so much worse (due to sin) and (thanks to Jesus' sacrifice) the trials I'm facing now are small in comparison...but ultimately, it didn't matter.  It was something I needed to hear, obviously.  I teared up pretty bad for the next couple minutes before forcing myself to compose myself so I didn't look like a total mess walking into church.

I had a couple moments in church as well (it is ever possible to sing "Amazing Grace" without a hint of emotion?), mostly surrounding the notion of God's grace and how it brings us out of even the worst circumstances into His arms.  There was communion, as well, and even that had an added element of thankfulness and emotion involved in it this week, perhaps a sort of cleansing, if you will.  It was good to be there, for sure, and I came home from it all feeling just a little bit lighter.

Once I got home, we headed out to an event involving one of Craig's clients, CURE Childhood Cancer Association.  They support families of kids with cancer.  Craig has done a lot of fundraising events for them via the Knighthawks for years, and he was bringing out the mascot and a player to their big "Recipe for a CURE" event.  There were hundreds of people there and it was a brunch event with live and silent auctions.  Basically, there were food stations galore--a pregnant woman's dream!  They had stations with omelets, waffles, salads, seafood, carved meats, pasta, breads, crepes, pancake-like puffs, candy, and assorted desserts, much of it custom-made by chefs at each station.  A-MAZING.  The food was fantastic.  They had "kid chefs" at many of the stations, and they were some of the kids the organization helps.  Omelets were the first things we got, and the girl who put our chosen ingredients into a cup to pass down to the chefs was a beautiful 14 year old with big eyes, lots of makeup, long fake eyelashes...and a bald head under her chef's hat.  She's been fighting cancer since March.  I also had a five year old boy make me up a cupcake--totally not according to my specifications, but we were all laughing too hard to really care!  It was really an amazing event...and not just because two people practically dueled it out to the death (of their bank accounts) for possibly the cutest puppy ever that was being auctioned off.

Seeing the profiles of these kids up on the screens and seeing them helping out in person really added a whole different perspective to life as we've known it over the past few days.  Yes, we've had a rough few days, but they could have been scarier and far more tragic than they were.  But our kids (both of them) are healthy and this whole mess will more or less be over within a week or so (aside from the 4-5 unplanned years of car payments).  We're not facing months or years of cancer treatments.  We're not facing the possible loss of a child.  We're not watching them endure horrible, painful side effects.  We're not making a million life adjustments to make room for doctor's appointments or hospital stays.  Many of those kids are younger than Jacob and are facing a lifetime of health issues.  I just can't even imagine.  I have college friends whose three year old daughter had a tumor removed from her spinal cord near her head, and while I don't know for sure that it's cancerous, she's still facing radiation and chemo as part of a treatment study to ensure that she's cured for good.  It's going to be a long road for them, and each time I read one of their Caring Bridge updates, it just hits home how lucky we are.  They are committed Christians so they definitely have a fantastic attitude about it, all things considered, but it's still such a burden to bear.  It makes mine look like nothing.

Although I was stuffed to the gills and incredibly tired by the time we got home, I had to head back out for round two of car shopping.  I walked into the dealership that's closer to us and literally said, "I have two questions--do you have a Corolla in stock in Tropical Sea Metallic, and can you beat the other dealer's price?"  They didn't have my crazy color choice in stock, but they did beat the price, so hopefully within the next week or so I will be the proud owner of a teal-ish green car that I've never actually seen the color of in person...but it looks promising!  I just have to wait for the insurance check, make some decisions about funding, do a couple other housekeeping things, and wait for the car to make its way to the dealer.  It's still going to be a crazy week, particularly with the holiday, but at least I only have to drive five minutes there instead of 20. 

Oh, and I also got a haircut while I was out.  But needless to say, by the end of the day yesterday I was spent.  Between the emotions early in the day, going to the brunch, dealing with a difficult Jacob prior to his late nap, buying a car, a stressful week, and a generally long weekend of errands and too little sleep, I was falling asleep in my chair by about 7pm.  I recovered enough to get some laundry done, read some of the newspaper, and head off to bed early.  Thank goodness for a three-day work week. 

Oh, and one more little interesting moment today...I picked up my rental car this morning, and as I was installing Jacob's carseat, I realized that the radio in the car was already set to K-Love, the same Christian station I was listening to yesterday morning.  The odds of that have to be pretty slim, considering it's not exactly most people's first choice.  It was a good reminder that God's with me through all of this, and that He was already with me in the car, ready for the stressful first drive back on the highway. 

Also, I just did the math, and I'm figuring that despite having two accidents on the same stretch of highway, I've probably traveled that stretch about 3,000 times during the morning commute alone (not counting numerous drives to sporting events, shopping or other things).  That means I've only had incidents there during .06% of the driving I've done there.  Add in those other events and it's probably closer to .05% all-time.  Ultimately it's still an issue of "wrong place at the wrong time" no matter what the odds say, but those odds are pretty tiny and I need to focus on the fact that I've had plenty of good commutes in the meantime, just to remind myself that I can.  I'll be extra careful, though.

Let's hope I can manage a low-stress week and enjoy the holiday to the fullest...     

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little Better

I can't say things are back to normal, but I'd say I'm a little better.  I'm still nervous to get back on the highway.  I haven't even driven since the accident, in fact.  I went to look at cars today.  I didn't quite get the exact answers I wanted, but I think it was progress nonetheless since I'm equipped to go to my second dealership tomorrow and lay out my demands.  If they can't match it, too bad.  There's still a lot of stuff to work out--funding, shuffling money around (basically, getting the insurance check, clearing it, and getting a new check issued quickly), and getting the insurance worked out--but we'll figure it out.  The whole thing is still a bummer and I'd have been perfectly happy keeping my old car for years...but it seems like the new Corolla might have some nice upgrades to soften the blow a TINY bit. 

I just have this whole pre-accident/post-accident perception of things that's still messing with me a bit.  It's like, I see a picture of something we did before the accident and I feel like there was a prevailing sense of innocence or something...and now that's gone.  It's almost like there's a shadow hanging over things now, in contrast to the relative innocence that surrounded us before the accident.  I'm hoping it will fade over time.  But I think that I'm not replaying things as much now, and I've slept better for the past couple nights.  I still question how to avoid this situation again when it was the result of a split-second reflex.  How do you reprogram that when you're not even 100% sure what exact reflex you're reprogramming?  It's hard to describe, exactly, but that's my big hangup right now.

In the end, the physical soreness really only lasted one day, and I only ended up with bruises on my arm and my knee.  Not bad considering how bad the damage was.  Even the bruise on my arm, which bothered me quite a bit the past couple days, isn't bad today.  The baby's been kicking away plenty, and I'm extra grateful for that nowadays.  I just worry now about my ability to keep this little guy (and his big brother) safe.

I did take a new picture of my belly today.  It doesn't look a whole lot different than the 20 week shot, but indeed, four more weeks have passed.  The belly doesn't stick out significantly more, but it has definitely rounded out a bit.
24 weeks!
I'm mostly just looking forward to this week, getting three days of work out of the way before a much-needed four-day weekend.  My plan is mostly to get out all of the Christmas stuff, and even start shopping if I can.  I already started a running list of gift ideas and have done some scouting when we've been out or when I'm browsing online.  Blame the nesting instinct for making me want to be super organized, but perhaps I always start out this nuts and get discouraged.  At least this year the Christmas stuff isn't making me nauseous the second I walk into the store.  I'm hopeful, and I'm really hoping the Christmas stuff gets my mind off of the past few days and pushes me into a happier place...rather than having the accident continue to be a buzzkill.  At least it's something to potentially keep my mind occupied.

We're keeping ourselves busy this weekend as well.  Carpet and car shopping today, and more shopping and a brunch for one of Craig's clients tomorrow.  Jacob has been quite difficult this weekend--extra distracted and mouthy--so we're working through that and hoping that a nice, normal bedtime tonight will make tomorrow better.  And if that fails, it's getting to be time for drastic measures.  I'm not sure what the missing puzzle piece is for him to understand that the potty talk is a problem and that telling us "no" when we ask him to do something is unacceptable.  We don't let him get away with it, but he still doesn't seem to learn from it.  I'm hoping this phase passes before baby #2 is with it enough to pick up on the rudeness.  God forbid he does, because my patience is already waning.

Anyway, keep praying for a sense of peace and the subtle refinement of my driving instincts/skills to ensure this never happens again.  Mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally, I just can't do this again.  There's far too much at stake now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recovery

With the dawning of a new day today, I awaited the inevitable physical remnants of yesterday's accident.  I don't know if it will get worse again tomorrow, but so far it's manageable.  The worst of it is probably a rather large bruised area (no pretty colors yet) on my right forearm, which I'm guessing might be from the airbag.  It's in a spot that gets a lot of action, so that's bothering me most.  A spot on my upper chest where the seatbelt was is a little sore.  A spot on the back of my head above my right ear is sore, though I don't know if I just hit it on the headrest, or what.  The bridge of my nose is a little sore too, but again, I have no idea why that spot is sore since it seems like something else would have had to get hurt for that area to be impacted.  Maybe my sunglasses fell on that spot when they popped out of their holder.  My neck and shoulders are a little sore, too, but that could be as much from my Tuesday class at the gym as the accident.  I also have a bruise on my knee, but that could be from almost anything.  But all things considered, I'm fine.

What's probably not fine is my mental state.  I have a feeling that part of recovery is going to take a while.  I'm nervous about getting back behind the wheel on a highway.  I'm worried about driving with Jacob, and even more with the new baby once he's here.  Yesterday, before these minor injuries set in, I felt like the physical toll wasn't that bad.  But as more aches and pains have cropped up today, it's becoming more apparent that the forces on my body were pretty strong.  The baby is still kicking away, but could all those forces have knocked his brain around?  I don't even want to think about what it would have done to Jacob, or worse, his baby brother.  Kids (particularly babies) are so much more susceptible to those forces (hence why I'm a major proponent of keeping them rear-facing as long as possible), and it scares me to think of what might have happened with them in the car.  I know how mentally traumatized I am by everything that happened.  I can't imagine the nightmares Jacob would end up with after going through something like that.  It was scary.

Like I said yesterday, my first accident had a clear lesson to be learned--be extra careful when changing lanes in traffic and don't follow too closely regardless.  But this one...it was such a split-second reflex thing, and I'm not sure how I could have or should have done it better...or how to completely avoid it next time.  Swerving happens, but how do you make sure you don't get in an out-of-control one when you're going full speed on a highway?  I'm just not sure how to prepare for that again, and it scares me.  The more I think about how much worse it could have been--the baby, broken glass, injuries in other cars, real injuries to me, kids involved, etc.--the more freaked out I get.  What if we're not as lucky next time?  I feel stupid about how much damage my car ended up with, to the point that I won't even let Craig post the picture he took.  It was just a swerve...it should have been nothing, but something just went wrong and I can't pinpoint it. 

I'm worried that I'll be held liable, which is not only tough on my ego but also on my wallet.  I'm not thrilled about having to shell out more cash for another car either, when I was a few months away from being done with payments for the foreseeable future.  I went through the ridiculous DMV forms tonight and have my title ready to send off, so at least that stuff is done.  I dread the new car bargaining and the endless paperwork.  I'm worried about having a new car and worrying about the first scratches...or God forbid, having to go through something like this again.

I spent most of last night waking up every hour, recalling the long day, and drifting back off again for a while.  A day like today on not a lot of sleep wasn't really advisable, as I know that lack of sleep does nothing for my positive outlook on life.  I'm concerned that this is going to cast a pall over our holidays, which I was so excited for.  I just can't think of much else right now, and that's a problem.  Work was probably good for me today because it forced me to do some other things, but inevitably my thoughts always drifted back.  When will that stop?

The accident is over and the car can be replaced.  But when you can't get the image out of your head and can't help but worry that it will happen again and impact other people, it's so hard to truly move past it.  Pray that I can.  I wrote last week about God's master plan, and I'm still trying to understand why I was in this particular place at this particular time.  We could have been in Florida...or I could have spent another minute at daycare with Jacob and avoided the whole thing.  So, why?  I really don't get it.  This whole situation has really stolen my joy--I've felt pretty much mechanical since it happened--and given that I am pregnant and the holidays are coming, I need that joy more than ever.  Pray, please...for sanity and safety.

To end on a lighter note, I did try to move a little more toward normal last night.  I have been very unhappy with the state of our bedroom pretty much since we moved here.  Our room is fine--comfortably big--but the rug is pink and nasty.  Our comforter, which I bought probably six or seven years ago, just wasn't doing it for me, and I didn't want to spend money on curtains for three windows or any real decor items if I wasn't sold on the comforter.  Fast forward two and a half years, and our room is still the same.  The carpet needs to get done--that was the plan for this weekend, actually, though car shopping might push it off if we can't fit in both--because Jacob's new room needs it, too, before we can do anything in there.  Last week I happened to check an online bedding store I've always kept an eye on, and I saw a lovely quilt that just struck me as exactly what I wanted.  After looking at the Sunday paper ads for years and finding nothing that fit my taste, this one was lovely and screams "grown-up bedroom".  A real quilt with beautiful colors, in a nice pattern that should look pretty with our bed frame...and it immediately inspired the design bug in me.  But it wasn't particularly cheap.  I managed to find a 15% off plus free shipping code, but still wanted to think on it.  Then yesterday I got a one-day 30% off plus free shipping offer, which knocked off another $17 or so.  That seemed about as good as the offer was going to get, particularly since their quilts come and go with the seasons.  While spending some money on bedding (of all things) didn't seem like the best thing on a day that would cost us a lot of money in the long run, taking the first step toward a bedroom I will love (finally) sounded like a pretty decent idea.  And this quilt should hold up and last us many, many years, so buying quality seems like a good plan.  Once it arrives, I can work on getting curtains to replace the ugly ones that came with the house that I never bothered to replace, and then get something to decorate the wall above the bed.  That alone will make the room more like a lovely retreat, which will be a welcome change of pace.  It's the little things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Day I'd Like to Forget

So...I'm two-for-two in car accidents while pregnant.  Yup, today I got in an accident.  A pretty bad one, in fact.  I'm fine, the baby's fine, but my car is not.  Thankfully I had already dropped Jacob off and it was just me and my belly in the car.  Long story short, I was on the highway, up to speed with traffic in the left lane, as my left-hand exit was about a half mile ahead.  Suddenly someone in the middle lane swerved into my lane to avoid a truck.  I swerved, and at that speed I lost control and ended up swerving into the next lane a little sideways, got hit on the passenger side, continued into the guardrail, which took off my front bumper, then momentum carried me back across a lane and a half, where I ended up halfway between the middle and left lane, nearly perpendicular to the side of the road.  It was scary, no doubt.  It happened very fast.  Some airbags deployed, though I barely noticed them.  In the end, two other cars were involved, including the original swerving van, and one that was just minimal.  Thankfully, that woman said she saw the whole thing and there just wasn't much I could have done. 

Obviously, first and foremost, I'm beyond grateful that it wasn't worse.  Until I talked to the first person at the insurance company, it didn't even occur to me that my windshield could have broken.  It didn't.  I immediately took stock of my belly when it happened, and nothing hurt.  I felt no pressure around the seatbelt and my belly felt fine.  Even now I'm not sore yet, at least not beyond what would have already been bothering me thanks to yesterday's workout.  I credit good seatbelt placement and a thick winter coat for softening the blow, literally.  It took a while for the baby to start kicking again, but I was obviously super happy when he did.  Everyone was giving me grief about going to the doctor, but knowing that nothing hurt I wasn't too concerned.  I did call them, and when the nurse confirmed that the baby was moving and that I wasn't bleeding or cramping, she said everything was probably fine but I was welcome to come in for a check if I was concerned.  I didn't go.  He's still kicking away, and I'm still fine.  Call it a risk, but that was the first thing I thought about the instant it happened, before the adrenaline could have fully flooded my system, so I was pretty confident things were fine.

My car, however, is totaled.  Just a handful of months shy of paying it off, of course.  Because, as you may recall, I got it nearly five years ago when I crashed my old car a couple months shy of my due date with Jacob.  That one was definitely my fault--but pretty routine--since it was a basic rear-ending in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  My car was also older so it wouldn't have taken much to total it.  This one was obviously a lot bigger and more of a gray area.  I swerved to avoid another swerver, but the question is probably what I could have done to not end up across three lanes of traffic.  I was going with the flow of traffic, probably between 60-65mph, on a busy highway.  There wasn't much of a shoulder in that area, and it all happened so quickly that I'm not sure what could have been done.  And that's probably what bugs me most.  I'm replaying the thing over and over in my head wondering what I could have done differently, what I would do differently next time.  And I'm just not sure I have an answer.  It was all a reaction thing and at that speed I'm not sure what other action might have prevented what happened.  It's just a vivid reminder that you never know.  And it scares me that next time Jacob or baby #2 might be there.  I would never forgive myself for putting them through that...or God forbid, hurting them, no matter how much this was or wasn't my fault. 

So now we start what is sure to be a couple crazy weeks of insurance companies, rental cars, and car shopping.  I think I pretty much want to get the same car, even though everyone is insisting we need an SUV or minivan.  If gas wasn't nearly $4/gallon I'd consider it, but I just can't justify the additional cost for the vehicle or for gas at this point.  I survived my entire childhood in a sedan with another sibling, so for now I think we're fine.  We'll re-evaluate next time we need a vehicle (hopefully not on my account, and hopefully years down the road when Craig's car has seen better days) to see whether two kids (and any assorted sports equipment) make the cost worth it.  I don't really trust myself to drive a higher-profile vehicle anyway, given the nature of his accident and the fact that I'm not the best at judging depth perception (not a lot of evidence of that, but perhaps just a lack of confidence on my part).  I dread the thought, but we should get a decent settlement from insurance so what we finance will hopefully be minimal compared to normal.  It just stinks considering I was almost done paying.  Ugh.  I just hated the craziness of all of this last time I was pregnant, and now to have to go through it again...it stinks.

Today was also Jacob's Thanksgiving dinner at daycare, and I didn't want to miss that.  Fortunately, Craig came and got me from the accident, I hung out at his office for a bit to make my insurance calls and make sure I didn't have to go to the doctor.  I figured it was easier hanging out there with access to a car, rather than going to work, particularly since we had to head out to daycare a little before 11am anyway.  We broke the news to him during the meal, but tried to keep it light and simple--"Mommy was in an accident...she doesn't have a car right now because it's broken...etc."  He's pretty fascinated by my not having a car, so that's pretty much his focus right now.  He knows that I had an accident when he was in my belly, which is why I had to get the car I had (until this morning, of course).  So perhaps he'll just think this is normal.  Great. 

The financial implications of this are frustrating, and the mental toll is unfortunate.  I'm definitely beating myself up about this and wondering what I could have done to change things.  But at the end of the day I know I have to be grateful because this could have been SO much worse.  The baby could have been impacted, I could have been hurt, or Jacob could have been in the car.  Heck, someone else could have gotten hurt.  So I know that in the grand scheme of things, we're incredibly blessed and God was watching over us.  Now I just need to pray it never happens again and He gets us through a stressful couple weeks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Workout Worries

Last time around I continued going to my class at the gym right through 7-1/2 months.  It wasn't always easy, but I had the benefit of having two older women in class with me, one who was going through chemo and another with some physical limitations, who both did the countless modifications of the class exercises with me.  Maybe the class was easier than the one I'm taking now...or maybe it just felt better to have people right there with me.  It's hard to tell. 

But here I am around the five month mark (I think--I'm nearly 24 weeks, so whatever that works out to be), and I'm starting to doubt my ability to keep it up.  My original goal was to keep it up until Christmas.  I figured that there would be enough distractions during Christmas that I might miss a class or two, and once that happened it would be extra hard to go back.  But I was hoping to make it until then.

However, I'm starting to doubt myself.  I'm already making a lot of modifications.  Tonight at class I had a period of time where I had to skip a few sets because I started to get a little lightheaded.  I remember that happening once or twice last time I was pregnant, too.  It would be one thing if there was a magic formula that caused issues like that, but there isn't.  I can go through the exact same workout two weeks in a row, and one week it could affect me, and the next it won't.  It's not just a matter of working out too hard, because I'm very conscious of that and do my best to take it easy.  It could be a certain motion, or being a little extra tired, or being a little warmer.  But I don't really know what might cause it until it happens. Fortunately, it's pretty apparent to me when I'm heading down that road, so I can usually stop doing what I'm doing, take a break, and recover without a problem.  That's what happened last time, and that's what happened this time.  I took it easy for the rest of class and everything was fine by the end. 

I don't want to give it up entirely from one iffy experience that may have been caused by one perfect storm of circumstances. So, I'll try again next week, be extra careful, and see how it goes. And if it happens again, I'll think about it again.  I'll admit it all makes me a little nervous, but again, if it's just a mix of circumstances I don't want to give up my level of activity prematurely.  I don't want to risk getting out of shape, gaining too much weight, or becoming inactive enough to start getting random aches and pains.  I credit my workouts last pregnancy with helping me stay in shape and feel good for pretty much my whole pregnancy, and I really don't want to risk that this time.  I think I worked out twice a week last time and right now I'm only managing once, so that may be making things harder, as well. I'm a little bigger this time around, too. 

The next step down is just doing the elliptical or walking on a treadmill, which is doable but boring.  I will step down to that, sooner than I did last time for sure, but I don't want to give up class before I have to because so much of it is still doable.  I'm still probably doing more than some of the older ladies in the class, but perhaps I just need to give myself a break, lighten up on the weights, slow down, and see how it goes.  I'll check my ego at the door and just do what I can until I can't do it anymore.  Something is better than nothing...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Non-Stop Weekend!

From start to finish, this weekend was BUSY!  On Friday after work we headed out for a quick dinner and then did some shopping for a couple weekend celebrations we'd be attending.  The next morning, Craig was up bright and early to participate in a stair climb event for charity.  He walked up 20 stories of stairs in the Bausch & Lomb building here in Rochester to benefit the American Lung Association.  He did it in just over 10 minutes, which is great!  In the meantime, Jacob and I went out to a local church's garage sale (it was half price day and I was curious to see what they had), and then took a quick trip to the library since we hadn't been there in ages.  We all met back at home for lunch, then packed up and headed out to Buffalo for two days full of activities.
 
The first stop was a baby shower for Craig's cousin and his girlfriend, who are due for a baby boy in January.  Luckily it was a family- and guy-friendly shower, so we all got to go.  Admittedly, we kept Jacob occupied with electronics, coloring, cookies, and cheese puffs, but he did well.  Craig came in second in one of the games, the one where you pick a length of ribbon that corresponds to the mama-to-be's belly size.  It was nice to catch up with some family and receive some congratulations of my own from some family members we hadn't seen.  I comiserated with the mom in more ways than one--not only could we chat about pregnancy, but we could also chat about having four-year-old boys and being a little disappointed about not having a girl.  Another pregnant woman there was having her second girl, so she was on the other end of the spectrum. 
 
After the shower we headed to Craig's parents' house.  Craig went out with his father and brother, Jacob went to bed (nearly perfectly, might I add), and I worked on posting some long-delayed pictures to Facebook while Craig's mom (who's healing up, slowly but surely) and I watched a movie. 
 
Sunday was supposed to be a beautiful day, and when you get one of those in November, you take advantage of it!  It was nearly 70 degrees!  We had plenty of other plans for the day, but I figured we had enough time to sneak in a long-desired trip to the Buffalo Zoo.  We had wanted to go for years--Jacob's first trip was when he was about a year old--and given that we have a membership here that gives us a discount there, it seemed like a great plan.  A lot of other people thought so too, so it was busy, but it's big enough that it wasn't a problem.  The animals were active and it was an awesome day!  Here are some of my favorite shots: 
I like the profile shot of the eating elephant...just thought it looked cute :)
One of the things that drives us nuts about the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester is that the otters are pretty lackluster.  There's a few of them, but they're almost never visble.  I don't know if they're just not on exhibit, or if they like to hide, or if their exhibit isn't conducive to playing, but it's so rare to see one out playing, let alone more than one.  In Buffalo, there were three, and they were so playful!  They were running around, swimming, playing with the ball in their pool, and having a blast--together!  It was so cute and we loved chasing them from window to window as they moved around.  It was hard to catch them without blur, but I liked this picture because the one is getting smooshed by his buddy...
His face practically says, "Duuude, do you mind?"
There was a little children's zoo area, and Jacob loved this boat.  The thing above his head is a rudder.

In addition to two giant pigs, some sheep, a cow, and some turkeys, there was also a big wagon for photo ops.  Here's my big boy, almost smiling on command...

The most interesting part of the day was when we saw the gorillas.  Jacob has a stuffed gorilla that he's always talked about taking to the Buffalo Zoo, so getting to see the gorillas was exciting.  Turns out there's a baby!
So little!
The funny thing is that gorillas are much like humans in that the adults were lounging around and the baby was all over the place!  When we got over to the window where the baby was hanging out, he was climbing up the wall to wedge himself between the window and the wall.

It got crazy, though, when he saw Jacob's gorilla!  He kept banging on the window.  He pounded his chest.  He appeared to be signing.  And apparently he almost seemed to do a rocking gesture, like he was rocking a baby.  I wish I would have thought to record it, because it was amazing to watch!  I could have watched that baby for hours, in fact.

We saw so many animals--big cats (we could hear the lion roaring as we walked around the rest of the zoo), a bear, zebras, anteaters, birds, reindeer, and monkeys.  We also saw buffalo...

And the giraffes...so gorgeous...

We had a great time and I was so happy we went.  What a lovely day!  On our way back, we stopped downtown to check out the new French Connection statue outside the First Niagara Center.  Luckily, Craig had brought his old Sabres Hockey School jersey (from the late 70s) for our next stop, and it worked well to cover up the Montreal Canadiens shirt Jacob was wearing!

Hard to see us, but here's Jacob and me in front of the statues.  Behind us you can see pillars, each marked with a decade and bearing the names of every Sabre that played during that decade.

Look at this handsome little boy...

I don't know how well you can see it, but here's our little #7 standing below the big #7--Grandma's favorite Sabre, Rick Martin.

We hopped back in the car and headed to the hockey rink in Hamburg to go to an open skate with Jacob's cousins.  Jacob took a little rest on the way there, and when Craig woke him up to go in, he immediately said that he wanted to go on the ice right away!  Jacob has always wanted to skate, but has never been able to.  This was his chance!  He even got a hand-me-down pair of skates from his cousins that he gets to keep.  Here he is, all padded up and ready to go!

He headed out on the ice with Craig and a support bar.  It was very slow going!  He had a hard time staying up, but he had a blast.  He kept trying to do it on his own, but that would not have gone well.  Such an independent streak!

After the skate, we headed back to Craig's parents' house for a double birthday for both Craig's Nana (93!) and our sister-in-law.  Jacob and Craig played some baseball with Jacob's cousins until it got dark, and then had a great meal and some ice cream cake before finally heading home.  It made for a late night, but luckily Jacob slept for most of the trip and snuggled right into bed after we got home. 

He was a bit difficult at times today (a couple out-of-character accidents and a rough nap, for starters), but I think it's just the weekend hangover getting him off-track.  Let's hope tomorrow is better.  The weekend really wasn't bad, all things considered, so hopefully today was just a blip in the radar!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

His Purpose Prevails

Quiet moments during pregnancy can lead to a lot of deep philosophical thought.  I mean, when there's another human being growing in your body, it's pretty miraculous, and if that can't make you ponder life and the universe, perhaps nothing can. 

The other day it occurred to me that nothing about this pregnancy has really gone the way I originally envisioned it.  When we first had Jacob, the plan was to have kids three years apart.  I decided that the four years between my brother and me was too many, but two years was not only too close for my sanity, but could be a little too close for giving my kids the social space they'd need.  Too far apart and there's not enough common ground, too close and they can get into each other's business uninvited.  However, when the time came to start working on the three-year span, there was no way.  Jacob was way too much of a handful, and the thought of paying for that much daycare for that long was intimidating.  We figured we'd wait a year, see how things were, and hopefully the financial situation, Jacob's behavior, or both would have improved by then.  So, on to four years we went.

Two summers ago, I went off birth control in preparation for working on baby #2.  I was hoping to get pregnant within a couple months (which, despite our difficulties, did end up happening last time) to aim for a late spring due date.  My cycle never seemed to get on schedule, just like last time, and I attributed it to "laziness" of my system after being on birth control for so many years.  Turns out it's a touch of polycystic ovary syndrome, but that's just another little unexpected detail.  We unsuccessfully tried to figure things out for months, then took a little baby-making break to work around the trip to Florida, which, ironically, didn't end up happening. 

I went to the fertility doc after nearly a year of trying to take care of things on our own.  I wasn't really sure if the treatment would work right away, though there were moments where I was torn.  If it worked right away, I'd get pregnant earlier than I wanted and set myself up for a winter baby.  If it didn't work, we'd be closer to getting on our ideal schedule, but there'd be the fear that something bigger was wrong and leave us wondering if we'd have to resort to more drastic measures.  Putting it off entirely to aim for better timing would mean having to go through the whole process again another month--figuring out my cycle (a challenge itself--we just happened to get lucky that time), getting another ultrasound, etc.--so we'd risk things taking extra long.  So, we went with it.  Craig was actually on the road for work on our "target" day, but things worked anyway.

I got pregnant on that first try, which was great, though my pregnancy test wasn't an obvious positive right away, which was different than last time.  Once we had confirmed things, I expected to feel like crap for a month or so, like last time.  Nope.  Two months.  Solid.  It made summer a bit more of a challenge than usual.  As a result of feeling worse longer, I was hoping this one was a girl.  Nope.  Not meant to be.  I'm settling into that fact, by the way.  I've also had random mini-issues during this pregnancy that thankfully weren't serious, but that was something I didn't have any of last time. 

So, here we are...having kids nearly five years apart, heading for a wintertime due date, and expecting another boy.  This is definitely not what I expected, but at the same time, I know it's all part of God's plan.  Despite my best efforts to do everything differently, this is where things stand.  That makes it extra obvious that I'm not in control and God has a greater purpose here.  I don't know what that purpose is or why He's taken us down the path He has, but we're here and have no choice but to have faith that there's a good reason for it.  God's master plan is far bigger than any of us.  In some ways that's awesome and exciting, and in some ways it's scary because God's plan often has some twists and turns we don't expect.  So to think we're part of a bigger plan is both awe-inspiring and anxiety-inducing...but in the end it's a plan and we're along for the ride.  Thank God He's the one driving... :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little Taste of Christmas

The other day, as Jacob and I were getting in the car after grocery shopping, Jacob asked me if he was good last year.  It was a pretty vague question and I really had no idea where he was going with it.  I answered somewhere in the "Not really" range, basically alluding to Jacob's obvious issues with listening.  He's well aware that we're not thrilled with his behavior a lot of the time, and whatever I said wasn't anything he didn't already know.  Basically, he can be a good kid but a lot of the time he just doesn't listen.  Anyway...

Upon hearing my answer, he responded with, "So why did Santa bring me toys?"  Oh crap.  So busted.  Apparently it sorta sucks when your kid gets old enough to start making connections and relying on actual logic to think through things.  I know there are benefits as well, but the little white lies we tell as parents to simplify life (for both parties) apparently have an expiration date.  Ugh.

I did some quick thinking and responded that Mommy and Daddy had to call up Santa and beg him to bring him toys so he wouldn't be sad on Christmas.  I explained that we told Santa that he was sorry and he was trying (ha!), so please bring him toys.  We also discussed the fact that we give him gifts in addition to Santa, which becomes difficult when I can't remember what I assigned to "Santa" and what we said was from us.  I could always tell from the paper I wrapped gifts in (so in pictures I'd have a clue) because I always pick Santa paper for the Santa gifts.  So when Jacob asks who bought him his Batcave (pretty sure it was Santa), I have to hope I remember correctly (or fake it really well). 

In the end I told Jacob that we really didn't want to have to call Santa again this year, so he really needed to be good and start listening to ensure Santa brings him gifts come Christmas.  Bringing up Santa sometimes tends to work in the moment, particularly when we move toward a phone, but I'm not convinced it's going to solve the greater issues we're dealing with.  And, of course, what happens this year when Santa does, indeed, bring him gifts even if his behavior doesn't improve?  I suppose we have a few options:

1) Say we called Santa again - We could just call Santa again, but I don't really like the precedent of bailing him out.  That doesn't bode well for the future.

2) Make all of his gifts from us - We could do this, and given our difficulty surrounding not being home Christmas morning and all that, it would make things simpler...however, I think he's still a little young to go shattering his Christmas dreams like that.  It might make quite the statement, though.

3) Give him a "warning shot" of coal - Perhaps if we give him coal in his stocking--we can buy the coal candy and not tell him it's candy since he can't read yet--perhaps that would send the message that if he keeps it up, he's going to get a lot more of the black stuff next time around.

4) Tell him Santa must have seen that he was trying - The cop-out, which is probably a sub-point of #1, is to tell him that Santa must have given him a break since he could see that he was trying to be better.  I would probably only use this if we did see moments of vast improvement. 

We're in a bit of a bad spell at the moment where most requests are receive a "No" or are ignored completely, or at worst, responded to with a swing, kick or falling-down tantrum.  For example, in the morning if he gets ready quickly enough, we use the opportunity to play with his Legos as bait for a smooth morning routine.  Of course, when the time comes to leave the house, he just has to do "one more thing" or make everything perfect before he leaves, which time usually doesn't allow for.  Same thing goes for bedtime, and usually there's a major meltdown when we try to drag him away.  And for the record, we do give him fair warning like you're supposed to do with kids, but no matter what, we get resistance.  So, perhaps those opportunities are going to go away completely and he'll learn the extra hard way.

He's also been having quite a crappy run at daycare, which is unfortunate because generally he'd been pretty good there in the past year (since his behavior caused him to miss last year's trip to the pumpkin patch, in fact).  There's some talking back, some potty talk or general mean talk (which is a big problem at home, too), and some disrespect toward toys.  I know that a lot of this stuff is a product of hanging out with a lot of boys at daycare (there are maybe two or three girls in the room most of the time, as opposed to a LOT of boys), and once in a while we get a, "Well, ______ was saying/doing that," at which point we give the whole "If your friend jumped off a bridge..." talk in terms more appropriate for a four year old.  I know he didn't get a lot of this behavior from being in our house, so that part is hard and is definitely the top downfall of daycare. 

He insists he wants to be good and do better, but even when we point out times that he's not obeying us, he still can't seem to control himself.  He even told us the other day that he doesn't know how to listen.  Part of me felt bad for him (because as a parent you fear that perhaps you really did never teach them how), and the other part of me wanted to strangle him (because how hard can it be to just do something?).  So, I've been trying to give him specific examples in moments of difficulty that "listening" would entail doing whatever it is I'm telling him to do at that moment. 

The tough part of all of this is that aside from these (many) moments where he's giving us a smart mouth or a tantrum, he can be SO awesome.  When he's being good, he can be really fun to hang out with.  He's got such an imagination and he can say and do the funniest things.  His bedtime singing of late (which we hear over the monitor) has been hilarious.  It's obvious that he's very smart and has a very good command of language.  He can be a very engaging child, and he's a very good independent player.  When he puts it all together and cooperates, it's so amazing to hang out with him.  But those moments are too few and far between.  Most of the time he's fixated on what he wants and won't settle for less.  We do our best to not let him win, but I'm at a serious disadvantage since I can't carry him, can't battle him, and have to protect my belly.  Yelling doesn't work, threats of discipline make the behavior worse at times, and everything seems to escalate into a bigger battle than it should be, which dilutes the effectiveness of battles in general.  But we don't really know what else to do so we feel a little stuck.

Hence why Santa even comes into the picture.  This time of year it's about the best threat in our arsenal.  Sad, isn't it?  Let's just hope we can get it to work well enough to get him in good habits that last...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another Reality Check...

My computer at work uses a slideshow screensaver that shuffles through the pictures in my photo folder.  It even shows videos sometimes.  Today when I walked into my cubicle, this video was playing:
video

I knew right away that the video was taken in the spring of 2010, right after we moved into our house.  I remember the day well.  He cracked up so much when the limbs popped off his Ironman that I had to capture it on tape.  It still cracks me up.  I couldn't even hear the audio today, but the smile on his face was awesome.  

But seeing a two-year-old Jacob, and realizing how much older he is now, how little he was then, and how long ago that really was, really blew my mind.  I forget sometimes that Jacob is getting so close to five years old. In fact, it'll be five years this weekend that I found out I was pregnant.  Apparently the past 2-1/2 years have flown, because it doesn't seem like that long ago that Jacob was that silly little boy.  Yet here he is now,  all grown up.  

I'm sad that I don't have many videos from more recent times (mostly because I either don't think about it or because the second the camera comes out he's uncooperative), because I know this era is going to go by just as quickly and it will be just as precious down the road as these old videos are now.  It's hard to remember all of the little details and quirks from when he was younger--sleep deprivation may have something to do with that--but these videos bring back little bits of it.  They're so awesome to have.

Of course, now we're on our way to having #2, and we'll have another baby to take pictures and videos of.  Second children have a reputation for being forgotten in comparison to their first-born siblings, but I hope that doesn't happen in our case.  I hope I have learned from experience and remember to pull out the video more often.  In fact, I want to get a better digital video recorder since their file sizes are generally a little better than my regular camera, and I'd be more willing to just video random longer clips with something like that.  I'm looking forward to some great interaction between the boys, if nothing else!

Of course, seeing that video made me happy we're doing this all over again so we have another giggly baby to look forward to!  Time goes too quickly...and I need to capture it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Comparisons...

Having had this blog since early in my last pregnancy is definitely paying dividends these days because it's interesting to look back and see how things were going around this time last time.  It's a little hard to tell because I don't always know precisely where I was in the pregnancy, but I can approximate here and there based on when I did mention how many weeks I was.  I was just looking back, and around this time I posted a bit about my belly.  I posted a pic (I will get another one up here soon, I promise) and discussed a bit about my belly's shape and how I was feeling. 

So...where do things stand now?  Well, I'm nearly 23 weeks, which doesn't even seem possible.  The belly is pretty prominent these days and as a whole I'm pleased with it.  My belly button is still a sinkhole in the middle of it, but I suppose it beats an outie.  I never got one last time and hope that holds true again.  There's also a little blob of fat at the bottom of it, which I suppose is where my mom-pouch used to be.  It makes it look not quite as round as I'd like it to when I'm wearing something fitted, but it's not bad.  I'm pretty sure, though, that I'm carrying lower than last time.  Last time my belly sat very high, and while it's not hanging low this time, I feel like it's lower because it seems like there's more space between my chest and belly.  Last time I remember the waistbands of my shirts being a little smooshed in that area, but it doesn't seem to be an issue this time.  I could be wrong and things could still change, but it's interesting.  Another reason I think that is because my pants are bugging me more.  The waistbands feel like they're tighter or at least squeezing me in an odd spot.  I remember some of that last time, but I feel like it wasn't until later.  I'm up about 11 or 12 pounds (I started at around the same weight last time), which is slightly more than last time.  But I don't really think I look any worse, so maybe it's in my chest or something.  Last time I mentioned feeling like the area above my belly button was chubby, which I don't feel is the case at all this time.   However, I think I'm still trending a couple weeks ahead this time, and that may have been an issue this time before the belly rounded out.  Hard to tell.  But really, for the most part I like how the belly looks.  Perhaps this time I'll have to take some bare belly pics for posterity.

As far as baby movement, that's finally starting to pick up.  It's still not consistent, but on a day like today when I was wearing jeans that were squeezing me when I sat at my desk, I felt a lot of movement.  I could see and feel some of it.  The other day I physically had to shove the baby over a bit (first time of many in his life, I'm sure) because he was parked on my right side (Jacob loved that spot, too), and it was really uncomfortable.  I just had to push a little bit and he shifted.  Today he did much the same and I tried to give him a little rub and nail scratch.  He didn't seem to respond directly, but who knows what he's thinking or feeling in there.  Does touch feel good, or is he like, "Stop pressing on me!"?  The kicks are becoming a lot more obvious on the outside, though, which is entertaining.  Still eagerly awaiting his first set of hiccups, though!  Inevitably they'll be when Jacob used to get his most of the time--right when I'm trying to fall asleep!

As a whole I'm feeling good these days.  My energy is acceptable.  I have uncomfortable moments, but right now it's manageable.  My round ligament pain hasn't been too bad lately (just a couple pains when I was walking while Jacob was trick-or-treating and after my workout last week), and (knock on wood) I still haven't had any leg cramps.  Thank goodness for that.  How I feel now is a far cry from how I felt during those miserable two months of the summer.  That period alone is what makes me wonder if I could really ever do this again, assuming the other issues with having a third child worked themselves out.  But now is perfectly acceptable and even fun a lot of the time. 

My one concern at this point is how long I'll be able to continue working out.  I kept going to a class right up through about 7-1/2 months last time, and now at 5ish months (I think), I have moments where I'm not sure I'll make it that long.  I'm already having to do a lot of modifications in the class I take right now.  This week I felt fine afterward, but last week was tough.  Last time around I think I worked out twice a week or so, and this time I just haven't been able to pull it off.  My evenings are too precious.  Time with Jacob and time to relax are rare enough.  That could certainly impact how much weight I gain and my general fitness level, but we'll see.  At this point I'm just hoping to make it until Christmas.  Inevitably that time of year is hard to squeeze workouts into, so my fear is that I'll take time off and lose the level I was at, but by then I'll be at a point in the pregnancy where I can't get back without risking an injury or complications.  So, if I can make it to Christmas still going to class, I'll be doing well.  That's still considerably earlier than last time, but the class is different and the timing is what it is.  Whatever I can do to stay active...

Anyway, things are good.  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and even more to Christmas (already, which is weird).  Must be the eternal optimism that comes from being pregnant and looking ahead to the future... 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Random Reasons Why I'm Bummed About Florida...

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, it appears our trip to Florida isn't happening, at least not anytime soon.  I talked to the doctor this morning during my monthly visit (on a side note, my December appointment is my last monthly visit before going to every two weeks.  I can't believe we're already getting to that point!) and asked about traveling at 35 weeks, which I would have been in the first week of February.  She said they normally don't recommend it after 34-35 weeks because there's just too much risk.  If something happens, you have a premature baby stuck in a hospital far away, for however many weeks it takes to get them healthy and ready to travel.  Add in that it's simply not comfortable to travel or be super active by that point, and they just don't recommend it all around.  OK...so I guess that's good to know.

Anyway, as I said previously, I'm obviously disappointed as it would have been a fun trip and Jacob would have had a blast.  The doctor also said, by the way, that her youngest was four when they went, and she doesn't remember a thing.  I'm pretty sure Jacob would remember bits and pieces (I do from when I went that young), and he's constantly bringing up minute details of trips we've taken and things we've done.  I know a lot of that is because we've talked about things and looked at pictures after the fact, but I guess it was good to hear that perhaps it's not a bad thing if we have to wait a little longer, at least for that reason.

Along with all of the usual reasons I'm bummed the trip isn't happening, I have some random ones, too...which is just extra proof that pregnancy is an odd, awesome, life-altering experience...

1) It would have been a great time to immortalize the bump - My belly still hasn't rounded out perfectly, but it's definitely reaching a better stage of cuteness and it would have been a nice time to capture it in vacation photos.  I'm not massively huge and uncomfortable-looking, either, so this would have been a cool period to have splashed across our photo album for posterity.  It would have dramatically upped the number of pregnant photos I have of myself, if nothing else!

2) I really wanted to use my summer maternity clothes - I was pregnant for about a month and a half of warm weather last time, so I amassed a pretty decent amount of summer attire.  Nothing crazy, but enough to get me through quite a few weeks of work and lots of evenings and weekends in a very warm house.  I had a few pairs of capris, a couple pairs of shorts, some solid t-shirts, and a handful of adorable tops.  I was really looking forward to getting at least some use out of them during this vacation, since the rest of my pregnancy will be spent in the doldrums of winter.  Now I'll just have to look through them one more time with an eye toward what could be layered under sweaters, and leave it at that.  Bummer.

3) I really wanted a churro - When I went to Disney when I was nine, I discovered the joy of churros.  What a delightful little piece of fried joy!  I was excited about getting one when we went to Disney five years ago, but for some reason I never did.  I don't know if I decided they were too expensive, or the one churro stand I found wasn't at a convenient snacking time, or what.  But this time I figured I could plan things better, and perhaps the churro would even qualify for the meal plan-approved snack for the day.  And since I'm pregnant, I'd have fewer guilt issues about digging into a giant piece of fried food dipped in sugar.  I guess it will have to wait until next time.

4) I think my bathing suit would have still fit - A year ago I bought a bathing suit on clearance that I thought was a good choice for someone hoping to have another baby.  It was plain black, a little retro-looking, with ruching up the entire front.  It left a little room for a bigger belly (either for early pregnancy or post-pregnancy) without making it painfully obvious or looking too matronly.  I hadn't actually tried it on recently, but I was hopeful that it would still fit so I had something to wear for our days around the pool.  I wasn't sure I could say the same for my tankini, and I'm just not sure I'm bold enough to go all Hollywood and wear a bikini while pregnant, no matter how tiny and tight my belly may be.  So, this was really the perfect window for that bathing suit.  If we somehow manage to book a date at some point in the next month or two, which would be great but isn't looking likely, I'm not sure I'll be able to avoid shelling out the cash for a maternity suit given how much time we could be spending poolside.  Hmmm...on second thought, maybe I'm bolder than I thought ;-)

5) I finally set up vacation ahead of time, and it still didn't work out - I'm slightly famous in my department for putting in late notice on vacations.  It's not really a problem, but it just seems that when you have a husband with a crazy schedule, along with a child, sometimes it's not particularly easy to plan way ahead unless we absolutely have to.  Even the Atlanta trip was only booked a couple weeks in advance, and beyond maybe one trip with a few weeks notice each year, most of my vacation days end up being one-offs here and there that I decide on a week ahead.  This time I was able to put the vacation days on the calendar practically at the beginning of the year.  They'd been there for months and I was able to plan around them for a change.  And then, of course, it didn't end up happening.  On one hand it's nice because it validates my hesitance to plan ahead, but as a whole it just makes me shake my head and wonder why I'm never able to live a nicely planned existence.

6) Scheduling vacation is hard - It may seem like a good problem to have--we have two months left in the year and I now have 5.5 vacation days left to schedule, on top of the four I had already allocated for Christmas week since my company's holiday flex time setup isn't as flexible as I'd like it to be (making up 22.5 hours of work in full-hour increments when you have a kid on a set schedule is not easy).  And while I can definitely use some time off to prepare for the baby and the holidays, it's a lot harder to pick days arbitrarily than it is to have a set vacation that has been planned in advance.  When days are more random, there's more guilt about potentially missing something or not getting something done at a certain time.  When time is this short, there's just never a "good" time to be off because there's always something pressing. 

7) Getting past the stress - Traveling, though awesome, can be a rather stressful experience.  From taking care of work prior to the vacation, to getting everyone packed, to navigating the airport with bags and a child, to hoping for good flights and hotels, to just enjoying the time, it can be a little stressful.  And knowing I'd be pregnant and we'd have a rather large group of people to move around and accommodate, I'll admit this trip worried me a little at times.  I knew that in the end we'd have fun and see so many awesome things, and hopefully enjoy some fantastic weather, so the stress wasn't crazy, but there were specific moments (like the airports and flights) that I had some anxiety about.  Disney is magical, no doubt, so I figured that regardless of any stresses that might pop up, that magic would carry us through.  So while on one hand I'm relieved that I won't be dealing with that kind of stress while pregnant, on the other I'm guessing there might still be a trip at some point down the road and most likely we'd be doing it with a baby on top of it.  So, whereas going on the trip now would have gotten me past that anxiety (and hopefully made me less worried about future trips), now it's just sort of hanging out there as a "what if" for the future.  Bummer.

8) Christmas made easy? - I figured that going to Disney would give me a head start on Christmas since we'd have dozens of shops to check out.  I could buy gifts for my brother's kids, potentially, and we'd have our nieces and nephews right there to get instant feedback or gauge their interest in certain things in preparation for buying their gifts.  And of course, we could always get things for Jacob, too.  In addition, perhaps some experience there would even spark a new interest for him that we could have used for Christmas gift ideas.  Back to the drawing board, I guess...

9) I was hoping shopping would get me more excited for a boy - Last time we went to Disney when I was newly pregnant, I was a little bummed walking around the stores because as much as I wanted to get something for our new addition, so much of the baby stuff was gender-specific.  I had the same feeling when we went to Atlanta, as well.  But now we know that there's another little boy in there so we could have gotten something special for him on the trip.  And knowing that I would be picking out a special gift chosen specifically based on all we know of him so far (that he's a boy), I think I could have gotten pretty into that hunt.  Even last night when we were at JC Penney, I was browsing a rack of clearance items and found myself getting a little excited about the prospect of buying a whole new crop of cute little boy stuff.  Not that this baby will need a lot, but I'm sure there are some holes to fill given seasonal differences this time around, and sometimes something is just too cute to pass up.  And even the boy stuff last night was cute enough to get me a little excited...so imagine what Disney would have had to offer!

10) Sibling equality - The last time we went to Disney, I swore I would never go there again while pregnant.  The screams from the roller coasters had a Pavlovian effect on me and it killed me to be missing out on those thrills.  Fast forward nearly five years, and what was on the agenda?  Yep, another pregnant trip to Disney.  Famous last words...or so I thought, since in the end my declaration might actually hold true after all.  We always joke to Jacob that we have taken him to Disney (although his view from my belly was presumably less than ideal--ha!), and I was looking forward to continuing the joke with the next one, as well.  Seemed only fair, right?

Anyway, I'm well aware that there are bigger bummers pertaining to this trip than these 10 items.  I feel bad for Craig's mom that she's had to go through the health issues she's had, and I feel bad for both her and my sister-in-law in regards to the significant amount of planning they put into this trip. At this point I don't know if there's going to be any financial losses from all of this, but I'm hoping they'll be minimal.  I'm bummed for our niece and nephews who have never been there and are all old enough to realize what they're missing out on.  I'm hoping they can all still go at some point soon, even if we can't. 

So, again, I know these are tiny little problems in the grand scheme of things.  So many people are dealing with so many worse problems right now (my thoughts and prayers are still with everyone impacted by Sandy), and even within the realm of this trip itself, these are tiny little issues compared to the true bummers of the trip.  If you've heard the term "first world problems", consider these the upper tier of that.  I'm well aware that they're tiny little issues and could probably be considered shallow, but I figured it was funnier to talk about these than rehash the same old stuff.  I hope you agree...