Monday, December 31, 2012

Progress...

We've had a busy few days around here.  We're doing our best to take advantage of this time off to start working on getting this house baby-ready.  Of course, before we can do that, we have to make arrangements for the big boy that currently inhabits the baby's room.  The first step in this whole process was the carpet installation last Thursday.  We needed new carpet in two bedrooms, and we've pretty much known that since the moment we bought this house approximately three years ago.  In fact, we put in the offer on our house three years ago today, which was also Jacob's last day at his old daycare.  Crazy how time flies and things change!

In the time we've owned this house, we haven't had to do much to it.  And really, that was the plan.  Aside from buying a riding lawn mower to manage the big yard and the costs associated with the pool, we really haven't had to spend much on the house itself, which was a big switch from our old house, where we replaced the windows, front door, garage door and opener, hot water heater, stationary tub, basement windows, and bathroom light fixture, in addition to refinishing the floors and getting some minor concrete work done outside.  We could have done a ton of work on the ugly kitchen or ripped out the formerly mice-inhabited insulation and replaced it with clean stuff at a more energy-efficient thickness.  At the time, given the cost of those projects and the fact that the house seemed to small to add another baby to, it made sense to put that money into a house we'd like better, that would fit a growing family when the time came.  And after some looking, we found this one and fell in love with it nearly instantly.  We had the small detail, of course, of selling our house in time, which we did (after a lot of hand-wringing over one lost buyer and a lot of crappy concessions with the one that stuck).  In the two years and nine months we've been here, the changes have been minimal to non-existent, until last week.  The mint green carpeting with the crappy pad in our guest room and the ugly, beaten-down pink carpet in our bedroom had been on the chopping block, but the prospect of moving Jacob into the guest room was really the driving force to make it happen.  And aside from a couple minor hiccups (issues with the floor hardware for the closet doors and the fact that the bedroom doors need to be shaved down by a good quarter inch to stop rubbing on the carpet), it's great to finally have it done.  It makes it feel like a whole new house at times!  I'm in the process of getting new curtains to coordinate with the new quilt I got for our bed last month, so our room will finally start feeling like a grown-up room.  And over the past couple days, Jacob has begun transitioning into his new room.

He was intrigued by the bed we moved back into the room (there used to be two) and made up with his new sports bedding.  After sleeping on the floor for quite a while (most of the last year, in fact), his sudden interest in sleeping in a bed surprised me a bit.  Unfortunately, we couldn't do it Saturday night like he wanted because I needed to pull up the hand-me-down bedrail from the crawl space, clean it off, and figure out how to install it (since we didn't get instructions with it).  I was also hesitant about moving him over since living out of two rooms seems a little crazy.  But...yesterday I managed to clean the rail and figure out how to install it.  Then I put together a shelf we bought Saturday night to house some toys and books.  I picked out a new bed and dresser online and got them ordered.  I moved over his curtains, a lamp, and his monitor, nightlight, and clock.  He picked out some animals, Craig set up some storage for his sports stuff in the closet, and voila...big boy room in progress!

The arrival of his dresser will make a big difference because I can move over all of his clothes and make room for baby stuff.  Once the furniture is in, we can also decorate the walls with the handful of things we've collected over the past few years, and he should be good to go!  But all of the changes last night made the room sleep-ready, so Jacob had his first night in his big boy room and big boy bed!

It took him a while to fall asleep, but by all accounts everything went fine.  Here's a picture of the shelf I put together.  Between this shelf and the underbed storage he'll have, hopefully we can corral a good chunk of his toys...
The turquoise thing on the left is a hanging storage thing we got at IKEA ages ago.  It was in his room at our old house and held a few small stuffed animals.  This room had a hook in the ceiling already so I figured I'd give it a shot and see if it could serve a purpose in this room...
The room is going to be a work-in-progress for a while, but it's nice to be making any progress at all!  We've still got a long way to go before we're ready for this baby, but I'm hopeful that we can keep some momentum going, if only because we're down to less than 10 weeks to go and the ticking clock will keep me slightly panicky from here on out!

In other news, we've got a low key New Year's Eve planned.  Craig is fitting in a couple hours of work right now, and we'll probably just watch a movie and enjoy some sparkling grape juice later.  We did get a gingerbread house kit on clearance, so that should kill some time today or tomorrow, as well.  Jacob seems to be dropping his naps (at home, at least...daycare's have been shorter in general but peer pressure is a great thing sometimes), so that gives us an extra hour or two to work with, assuming we don't waste time trying to force him.  He's not really ready to be without it (he fell asleep on the way to dinner last night and woke up CRAZY), but yelling "No" for an hour or two while he asks if he can get up (despite telling him what to look for on the clock) isn't really my idea of fun, and it will be nice to not have to avoid running errands during that time, too.

I'll be sad to see this nice, long break finish up, but now begins the hardcore preparations at home and work for the baby's arrival, and that's a great thing, too!  We have quite the year ahead!  Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

30 Weeks

Well, we're pretty much at 30 weeks now, which means it's only 10 weeks (or less) until we welcome baby boy #2.  Wow.  I knew December was going to fly, and it has.  And suddenly, here we are.  We have so much to do in the next 10 weeks...it is crazy.  We've had a productive few days around here with the carpet installation in Jacob's new room and our bedroom.  I've been trying to get some elements of our bedroom finished up, though it's not going particularly well...but at the very least the new carpet has gotten me in the mindset of wanting to get things done because I know my time is limited.  Inevitably if I let this stuff slide, it's going to get lost in the shuffle of focusing on the needs of two kids, so it's now or practically never. 

The good news about the carpet is that it forced us to clean most of our stuff out of Jacob's new room.  We now pretty much have a blank slate.  We moved my old twin bed back in there, though I'm still planning on getting Jacob a better bed with storage.  I'll make up the bed with his new bedding in the meantime, though, just because it's one less thing to do and it will work in a pinch.  I'm making it my mission to get his new furniture picked out and ordered in the next few days, because getting him a dresser is really the key to making the switch.  I need to move his clothes over so I can make room in the baby's room for the baby stuff.  I'm coming to the realization that we may need to hire someone to paint the baby's room (it's purple and I'd like it to be blue), because the amount of setup and detail work needed (the trim around the entire room is a medium purple and will take a lot of skillful taping and multiple coats of paint to make white) seems beyond what we have the time, patience, and energy for.  Craig's weekends are going to be spent working pretty much starting next weekend, and I don't want to let this hold us up from getting the rest of the room ready.  So that's on my to do list as well.  Hopefully one of my Facebook friends has a good lead.  Oh, and I need to do some registering ASAP because Craig's co-workers are throwing us a shower and I have no idea what they can buy us beyond a new baby monitor, some washcloths, and some clothes.  Hmmmm.

It's nice to have a week off of work to think about a lot of this stuff.  Unfortunately the holiday and the carpet interrupted things a bit, but in their own way I suppose they increase the urgency to get things done while we have the chance.  We've also been trying to spend time with Jacob since we know how much he values his time away from daycare and our uninterrupted time with him is limited.  I'd like to do something fun with him, like make cookies or do a (clearance-priced) gingerbread house.  The past couple days we put together his big Lego police station, which was very exciting for him. 

What has really struck me this week is how I'm physically going downhill fast.  There's been a lot of temptation the past few days to push myself--to carry things around the house, move furniture, and do miniature home improvement projects.  I spent a while the other night pulling staples out of our bedroom floor since it was one of the few ways I could contribute to the carpeting project.  Craig moved most of the furniture on his own and pulled up, cut, and removed all of the old carpet and padding.  He was amazing.  So, pulling staples was the least I could do.  It wasn't bad, but by the end I was tired and all of the crawling around and trying to stand back up was harder than I anticipated.  I'm pretty sure I'm a little bigger than last time, but I feel like things are falling apart far sooner.  I worked out until I was 7-1/2 months last time.  This time things have been a little more complicated.  Last time I did a couple workouts a week (one class, one cardio), but this time I've only managed one, and apparently it's made a difference.  The holidays came at a critical point this time, because things have been crazy and I couldn't fit in a workout in the last couple weeks...and now I'm nervous about going back.  The past couple weeks have been a little nerve wracking because I've been feeling more discomfort than I remember showing up this early last time.  If I was feeling it, I don't think I blogged about it.  I recall that I never got so uncomfortable that I was in a rush to get the baby out, but at this rate that might not be the case this time.  Today I was having some sensations in my nether-regions that I don't remember having until after I stopped working out (so, at least a month beyond the point I'm at now).  I started getting them during walks and I was convinced I was dilating as I walked.  God forbid that's happening this time, but we won't know for sure for another six weeks, at which point the internal exams start.  It just makes me nervous that I'm already getting extra worn out and sore at times.  I'm very uncomfortable when I sleep, and getting up and around is no picnic either.  Bending is hard, and sometimes I catch myself waddling, which I swear I didn't do last time.  Ugh.

On the bright side, I'm pretty impressed with my belly.  It's big, yes, but I'm still getting a lot of compliments about how the belly's just a basketball and how you'd never know I'm pregnant from looking at me from the back.  Sometimes you almost wouldn't know I'm pregnant from the front either, but it's abundantly obvious from the side.  This time around I really like how fitted clothes look on me, and when I look at my bare belly, I'm shocked at how much I like it.  I still have definition around my ribcage (I still have ribs!), and my belly is perfectly nice and round.  I'm sure no one else would find it attractive, but for whatever reason, I find it much cooler this time around.  The downside of being pregnant during the winter, though, is that my bump is usually hidden under a massive winter coat, so a) I probably just look fat rather than pregnant; and b) I miss out on all of the happy looks and random comments that I got from strangers last time when it got warm enough to ditch the coat. 

As for the baby...well...based on the content of my blog posts this time around, he's already getting the shaft.  I feel like I thought endlessly about the baby last time, but this time he's sort of an afterthought.  Not on purpose, but when you have another lively child to deal with and things like the holidays pop up, it's hard to focus on much else.  We haven't even finalized a name, and like I said, I haven't done a thing to get his room ready.  Sometimes I forget that labor is coming and we'll be plunged back into a life that's run by a helpless newborn within a couple of months.  We've gotten so used to having an independent (albeit defiant) child who can go to the bathroom by himself and put on his own boots (after we tell him 10 times), and we can usually stay in bed (even if we're not sleeping) until at least 8am on weekends.  I have time to blog in the evenings and haven't fallen asleep on the couch in months.  Like it or not, those days are coming to an end.  Perhaps I'm trying to deny reality because I know how hard it all can be.  I'm savoring what I can of this pregnancy despite the discomforts because I'll probably never do it again and this is such a unique and special time.  But the craziness is coming.  It may not seem like it, but this is the calm before the storm.  I know that quite well based on how I felt after Jacob was born, but I can barely fathom life with two kids so once again I'm going into this not quite sure of what to expect.  Let's hope the "caring for a baby" part comes back instinctively and I can focus on managing Jacob and enjoying the entire experience instead.  Wishful thinking, I'm sure. 

Pardon me while I go take some deep breaths now...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Little More Christmas Cheer

Here are the videos of Jacob's daycare Christmas program. I was a little slow on starting because I wasn't sure I was going to record them both, but you'll get the idea:
 
 
 
 
The fact that these are here means that I have finally gotten all of my videos uploaded to YouTube!  I wanted to do them in chronological order, get all caught up, and then upload new ones in a timely manner so I can post them here at the right time.  I did the last batch while being confined to my couch during our carpet installation today.  The carpet is in and from what I can tell it looks good, but nothing is back in the rooms yet because Craig had to go to Knighthawks practice in Canada today and is on his way home now.  We'll get the house back to normal soon, and then we can start working on Jacob's room.
 
I ended up getting caught in a wave of nesting once the carpet was done, because I decided to take down the old valances in our bedroom, and when I did that it pulled the top level of drywall off in spots (almost like they were installed when the paint was still wet), so then I had to fill in the holes...which led to me wanting to paint the still-unpainted window trim in our room, which didn't go particularly well.  Not bad, just not great.  Needless to say, I am beat now and even dozed off a bit while Jacob was playing with some of his Legos tonight.  We should have some good family time tomorrow, which will be fun..  But for now...I'm ready to head off to bed...which is still in the living room...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Recap

Well, we survived Christmas...barely.  It has been a crazy few days (weeks!), but hopefully we can settle back into some sort of lower key routine soon.  Just in time to have things totally blown up by a baby, but you know...

So, after the debacle on Saturday night with the bike, we got up on Sunday to do our gifts like we would on Christmas morning.  The tradition in my house growing up was that we had to sit at the top of the stairs for a picture before running downstairs to open gifts.  Well, I decided to try for the same tradition at our house, even if the stairs are in plain sight of the tree and we may not have too many opportunities to do it this way, so here's the result...

As I mentioned, there wasn't really a "Wow" moment but Jacob seemed happy enough with what he got.  He did keep asking for more gifts, but I think he could have had a room full of gifts and still said the same thing.  Not sure if that's just the age, or society, or whatever else, but it does get to be quite annoying and make you feel like you've raised a selfish, greedy little brat.  Ugh.  Anyway...here he is holding a DVD of Rookie of the Year, a movie we've been borrowing long-term from his grandparents that he now has his own copy of.

And here's his new Sabres jersey (a very cheap one I found on clearance at Walmart a while back)...

In this one you can see a handful of his gifts...the little Syracuse football guys (with referee) that I ran out to Kohl's to get on Saturday night after he saw them and really wanted them (and we were running out of options), a bag of mini Twix bars (which he loves), and his new doctor kit.  

Since I usually post a picture of the tree at night, I figured I'd post one with natural daylight for a change.  

After more wrapping and packing and final details, we headed out to Buffalo and arrived around dinnertime at Craig's parents'.  The next day, Christmas Eve, we made a special visit to see Craig's Nana.  We usually don't get to see her for Christmas because our schedules just don't match up, but knowing she doesn't have many Christmases left, we got up early and made it to her place in time to spend a little over an hour with her.  It was really great to see her and deliver our present in person.  Jacob entertained her and one of her friends, and we kept her company while she waited for Craig's aunt to pick her up for the day.  It was a very nice visit and I'm so glad we got to do it.

I had a nice little time to chill and reflect and pray (given the insanity that went down earlier in the day in Webster, NY, a mere 15-ish minute drive from our house, where two firefighters were killed and two more first responders injured when someone set a trap for them) when I dropped off some food ahead of time at Craig's aunt's house.  The drive was quiet and peaceful and I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Christmas music and take a few moments to reflect and prepare for the insanity that always is our two days of Christmas.

We went to Christmas Eve mass at Craig's parents' church.  It was nice (though very busy!) and Jacob surprised me by drawing little creatures around a picture of the nativity in the program and proclaiming that they were sheep and an angel.  Hmmm. They weren't exactly anatomically correct or anything, but they had bodies and faces, which was sort of a new thing for him.

We headed out to Craig's aunt's house to see his extended family, eat some food, and exchange gifts.  Jacob got a new baseball guy, a cool coloring book, and a Spider-Man figure.  After eating a ton of Christmas cookies, we headed over to Craig's brother's house to exchange gifts with the immediate family.  Jacob was shocked and excited to receive this:

That is the Lego City Forest Police Station, not to be confused with the police station we bought him during the insanity a couple nights earlier.  This one is a bit smaller and differently themed, but he's gone back and forth wanting one or the other for a while now.  He was so excited to see this one, though, and told Craig's mom that she picked the right one!  He gave her a big hug, too.  It was cute.  We still haven't decided what to do with the other one at the moment, but needless to say, he's not getting it this time around!

He also got a cool Poland shirt...

...and some other clothes, a smaller set of Legos, and a couple other things.  The baby also got a Polish shirt of his own!  We ate a lot more Christmas cookies and had our usual late night, but at least Jacob fell asleep relatively quickly.

The next morning we got up, got ready, and headed out to my parents' house.  When we got there, my parents were on Facetime with John, Kristin, Kate, and Max in Portland.  They opened presents while we watched, and then my parents opened a big one that had been sitting in their living room for a few days...

Turns out it was a canvas reproduction of Max's first work of art!  After dinner we opened presents again, and Jacob got a sleeping bag!

He also got a remote control boat for our pool, some clothes, and some other toys.  Later in the evening we saw my extended family, and he got this cool Lego storage box that unzips into a play mat.  It's really cool, but unfortunately Jacob wanted there to be Legos in it, so his reaction wasn't quite what it should have been. He played with his second cousins and a puppy, and I had the pleasure of providing to everyone a family traditional dish, Broken Glass, which my aunt passed along to me this year.  It's basically flavors of jello cut up in whipped cream and put in a graham cracker crust.  It's awesome and some people were very happy to see it.

We had a great few days, until this morning when Jacob decided to have the mother of all tantrums over nothing, which set a not-so-great tone for the day.  I'm sure I'll blog more on that later.  We've had a busy day unpacking and trying to get the house ready for our carpet tomorrow--assuming this crazy snowstorm doesn't impact things.  But for tonight I will leave you with this--our Christmas card this year.  It's hard to see, but the top picture is Jacob learning up against an elephant statue at the Atlanta Zoo, the middle picture is Craig and me on the turf with the Cup the night the Knighthawks won the championship, and the bottom picture is a picture of my belly with our tree in the background.
"From our team to yours...We wish you a blessed holiday season!  Love, Craig, Amy, Jacob, and our Little Player to be Named Later (March 2013!)"
We hope you had a wonderful holiday!  Stay safe if you're in the snow zone these next couple days!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Unspirited

Ugh.  You know, I really felt like I had this Christmas thing licked this year.  We had an extra week thanks to the early thanksgiving, I had a week of vacation, and I had this crazy nesting instinct pushing me to stay organized.  And yet, here we are a couple days out and I have been defeated.  The gifts are all bought and wrapped, and we're in Buffalo through the 26th now.  So, I guess on that front we got the job done, but getting here has been a bit on the soul-sucking side.  I'm obviously beyond grateful to be pregnant right now, but I'm not going to lie--it has not made this season easy.  Up until a few weeks ago I was feeling good--energetic, relatively comfortable, happy to be feeling kicks regularly--but in the past week or two things have gotten considerably harder.  I feel like I'm rapidly expanding, and I have gotten increasingly uncomfortable doing simple things like sleeping, bending, and sitting.  Doing dishes gives me a sore back, and I have to pee all the time.  This week was a very busy week, as expected, but what I didn't expect was having to sit and relax so much because my belly was sore and I was slightly worried I was setting myself up for early labor or something.  I was up late pretty much every single night, and that didn't do me any favors.  Mentally, physically, emotionally...it was not a pretty picture.  I had a ton to do at work, and a lot to do at home.  The Sandy Hook tragedy was on my mind a lot (I would have blogged about it but there just wasn't time--I may still), and all of the rushing around turned Christmas into more of a chore than I would have liked.  And then last night happened.

Friday night I went out after Jacob was in bed to do some shopping.  I bought the doctor kit I wanted to get him (after his fascination with treating the animals at Strong Museum), and then settled on a bike.  I don't know if I had mentioned it, but I dropped the idea of getting him an educational tablet when none of the reviews were glowing, and decided he was at the right age for a bike.  We weren't convinced he'd be totally into it, but it seemed like a good plan.  Given our crazy schedule and the fact that I, the more mechanically inclined one, was in no shape to be contorting myself to assemble a bike, I paid the $10 to have it assembled, with the plan to pick it up 24 hours later.  So, last night after picking up some last minute gifts, I sent Craig back to Toys 'R' Us with our receipts, only to have him call and say that the cashier that checked me out was apparently clueless and didn't give me the right paperwork, so the assembly order was never placed and they didn't have a bike to give us.  They could have had one by noon today, but ummm, we were doing Christmas morning today. 

We never get to do Christmas morning at our house...or really Christmas morning at all.  Usually we're flying home from work and daycare, saying that Santa came during the day, and opening presents as quickly as possible before inhaling dinner and trying to get ready to travel, be it that night or first thing the next morning.  But this year we actually had a weekend day to work with so today was it.  And if there was no bike...well, that sort of took away the big visual we were hoping for.  And knowing that was the big gift, we hadn't really gotten a lot else.  I mean, I had a handful of things, but a lot of them were things Jacob would know were from us, so I couldn't just magically transfer them to Santa.  It was probably somewhere around 11pm at this point, and I was in tears thinking of how disappointed Jacob would be.  I know I had talked about skipping Santa entirely to send a message about his behavior, but at the end of the day I just couldn't do it.  Despite some ridiculous tantrums this week, I know he has been trying harder to be good.  His reviews at daycare this week were very good, and other than those tantrums, he was trying to be better.  Listening is still tough, though.  Anyway, because of that I figured the bike and a few smaller things would be a good mix of "Nice effort, here are your gifts," and "Perhaps there would have been more had you been on the nice list all month," but now here we were without a big Santa gift for Christmas morning.  And before you ask about why we didn't just get one in the box, please understand that Jacob is a visual kid and unless it's something he's already predisposed to being excited about, seeing a picture on a box just wouldn't do it for him.  Unless the bike was sitting there for him to hop on, he just wouldn't get it. 

Craig looked at Target, to no avail, and then came home so I could run out and get something we saw earlier in the evening at Kohl's that Jacob wanted very badly.  I had the coupon and charge account to get it cheaper, so I had to get it.  I knew regardless of everything else he would really like that and we could play it off that Santa must have seen it even before we did.  After I got back, Craig headed back out to Toys 'R' Us (open 24 hours) to try to pick up some Legos we knew he wanted.  The set is obscenely expensive, but they did have a $25 off deal and we had a $10 credit from a promo I used when I bought the bike.  It was far more than we wanted to spend, but we were sort of stuck.  However, once Craig got it home, I panicked a bit.  It was such an expensive gift and was beyond what I wanted to reward him with this year.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, but I decided we should take this one step at a time.  I wrapped it and put it up in our closet.  It's still there.  I decided that we'd see how things went this morning, and if he seemed disappointed (or if his behavior was exceptional over the next few days) we could say that it was one more gift that Santa dropped off on his way back through on Christmas Eve. 

We didn't get to bed until at least 1:30am, and Jacob was awake a little before 8am.  He was excited to see if Santa came, but he was patient waiting for us to get around to getting out of bed.  He opened his gifts with little fanfare.  He was happy with what he got, sure, but we didn't have a "WOW" moment, which was really a first for him in the years he's been conscious of Christmas.  Two years ago it was his hockey net and his little toy hockey rink, and last year was the Batcave.  This year he was excited by the last minute Kohl's gift, and he did enjoy a couple other things, but the doctor kit didn't phase him and most of the other stuff was just okay.  It wasn't that he was unhappy (though he did ask when he gets to open more gifts), but I wouldn't say he was particularly ecstatic, so that felt a little sad.  We had a special treat for breakfast, and then lounged around while Jacob played a bit.  Of course, right around the time I needed to get up to get ready for church I started feeling really crappy...tired and just a little off.  By the time I got all of us moving, I realized it was too late.  I felt so guilty about missing church since we weren't there last weekend either.  And the mess of how Jacob's gifts had panned out was bugging me, too.  I ended up taking a much-needed nap, figuring that the crappiness I was feeling was my body's way of telling me it had had enough.  I've still been pretty tired all day, but did finally manage to pack up and get out of town by 5pm.  Later than we wanted, but quite frankly, after this week I am grateful for even that. 

Most of the time once the gifts are wrapped, the tree pictures are taken and we're on the road, I'm pleased with how things have gone.  But this year...ugh.  I feel like we missed a lot of traditions.  I am not thrilled with some of our gift choices.  I didn't get to do the baking I wanted to.  I'm nervous about the foods I'm making for gatherings over the next couple days.  I'm still wondering what to do with the gift in our closet.  On top of all that, once we get back home on Wednesday, we have to spend most of the day clearing out the rest of our bedroom for our carpet installation on Thursday.  Craig did an amazing job getting Jacob's new room cleared out completely, and he got a great head start on our room as well.  I can't do a lot of the heavy lifting, so he's been on his own for a lot and has done fantastically.  We were so happy to discover that Jacob's room's old carpet wasn't actually tacked down beyond a small spot near the door, so that came up quite easily.  Our room will be a different story, though.

Jacob's been enjoying the hardwoods in his empty room for the last couple days because it makes the perfect basketball court for the mini-hoop that's been in there since last winter.  Hopefully he'll like his new carpet, too, and we can start slowly migrating him over to the new room.  We have no furniture for him yet (I either don't like what I've seen or don't want to pay hundreds for kid furniture), so for now he can use my old (plain) bedframe and we'll hopefully have a couple days after the holiday to look around, for a dresser at the very least.  Beyond that he really just needs a book/toy shelf, and we'll be well on our way to making it a room.  Our room will be able to get a slight makeover too, once the carpet is done.  I have curtain rods to hang (and I guess I've pinpointed curtains), and then we'll just need something for over the bed and it will look like a whole new room...I hope.  Next up after all that will be painting the baby's room blue.  God knows how that's going to get done.

As you can see, I have a lot on my mind right now and Christmas is just a part of that.  It hasn't left a lot of time to focus on the season and now that we're done to a couple days it is really bumming me out.  I'm not sure how I could have done much more given how I've been feeling recently and how busy we've been, but it's still a bummer.  I knew this month would go fast (hello, we're only 11 weeks away from baby time!), but just how fast it went it crazy.  And I am sad that I just haven't been able to enjoy it, baby, holiday, and all.  I'm tired.  My Christmas spirit is lacking.  And whenever I feel sorry for myself, I think about the Sandy Hook parents and realize how petty I'm being about everything.  But still, it's been a challenge.  And I'm praying that some Christmas miracle in the next couple days will strip the bad stuff aside and bring back my joy.  I don't want this season to pass without a chance to sit back and take it all in, to appreciate God's gift and reflect on how it might be different next year with another little boy to enjoy. It's going to be a big year and I'd like to send this one out on a good note. 

Much more to come (including pictures), but in the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bonjour, Montreal!

I don't really have time to do this post considering all the things I need to do for Christmas, but since my belly is a little sore and I'm just not feeling fantastic tonight (lack of decent nutrients today?), I'm taking that as a sign that I need to sit down and chill for a bit.  It's been a crazy busy week.  Evenings have been non-stop and I'm pretty tired, but no rest for the weary right now.  But the crazy week started with Montreal, so let's go there...
 
We got a bit of a late start on Friday after the Knighthawks made a major trade that was announced first thing in the morning.  Craig had a lot of work to do, and we had a couple errands to run before we got on the road.  It was a long drive up, but Jacob did well--two movies, a nap, and some time on the iPod...not to mention about 30 questions about whether we were in Montreal yet...but he did well.  We got there sometime after 6pm, and decided to head out to grab dinner at the old Montreal Forum, former home of the Montreal Canadiens.  It was a 10-15 minute walk from our hotel, and seemed like a good thing to get out of the way that night.  After the Canadiens moved to their current arena, they gutted the whole arena and created an entertainment complex--movie theater, restaurant, stores, and a giant atrium that pays homage to the former tenant.  It's a far cry from what it once was, but hey, at least it's something.  We walked around and checked out the photos and history displayed on the second floor, then headed up to the restaurant.  After dinner I took a few photos:
The boys with a "fan" in a section of original seats from the Forum

Jacob and me in some original seats, which are scattered around the building as benches!
In the center of the main atrium, center ice had been recreated.  Unfortunately, a set of breakdancers was monopolizing it the whole time we were there, and Jacob was no happy.  Before we left, we waited for a brief break in the action so Jacob could run to center ice and pretend he was playing for a second...

The next morning we woke up and checked out the view from our room.  We could see this milk bottle water tower (from a former milk processing facility), which I had actually randomly read about last week...

And in the other direction was the Bell Centre, current home of the Canadiens and the main attraction of our trip to Montreal since the Knighthawks were playing there later that night...

We headed over to the arena fairly early for the team shootaround.  We watched Toronto's shootaround before the Knighthawks took to the field.  Jacob waited not-so-patiently because he desperately wanted to play on the field.  In the end he only got to go out for a few minutes, which frustrated him even though he was a lucky little boy to get that opportunity.  That sort of set off his nasty behavior for the rest of the weekend...ugh.

It was pretty surreal being in that building since I remember watching my favorite hockey player ever, Pierre Turgeon, help open that arena, which was then called the Molson Centre.  He was the captain of the Canadiens at the time and was instrumental in the big "torch passing" ceremony that moved the team from the old arena to the new one.  I've been in a replica Canadiens' locker room (from the Forum era) a couple times at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but we actually got to go on a tour of the real thing at the Bell Centre, which was pretty stinkin' awesome.  Here's a picture of the famous quote on the locker room wall, from the poem "In Flanders Fields"...

And here's Jacob taking a seat on the bench...

We tried unsuccessfully to have Jacob take a nap that afternoon, and I took a little walk to pick up new batteries for my camera since my rechargeables were all dead and I forgot my charger.  We headed back over to the arena around dinnertime and eventually settled into our seats for the game while Craig sat high above in the press box. 
 
The one bummer about the arena was that the Canadiens' championship banners were rolled up out of sight and none of the Canadiens-specific things in the concourse were up and running.  All of the advertising in the arena is digital, so there really wasn't anything Canadiens-branded to make the arena unique to them.  They also curtained off the upper decks and the far end, so it felt like something was lacking.  It's a huge arena, though, and I'd love to be there for a hockey game.  It has to be electric with over 20,000 people cheering!  It was cool hearing and seeing the French, though I'm not sure how I'd do if I had to live in bilingual land.  It's sort of awkward at times. 

Jacob and I took a self-portrait during the game...
Not a great angle for me, but I like the silly shot anyway...

...and by the end of the night we were eager to get back to the hotel and get Jacob in bed.  It had been a long day!  He went down late and woke up relatively early, but what can you do?

Sunday was extra cold (so was Saturday, but Sunday had wind) with the bonus of snow showers.  I was a little worried because we had to walk to get some breakfast (Tim Hortons) and I wanted to stroll around Old Montreal a bit before we headed out of town.  And it was COLD.  In the teens...with wind.  Our walks to and from breakfast were almost intolerable.  Even still, we managed to make Old Montreal work, with walks in and out of shops.  It's such a cute little area.  I was very excited to see this square, Place Jacques-Cartier, because I've seen this exact view via a webcam for years.

The Bonsecours Market was in a beautiful building...

And City Hall was amazing...

We visited some shops and should have eaten there (but we didn't--long story of why that stunk, but I won't bother discussing it here), but we headed out and started working our way back to the Bell Centre to visit the Canadiens' Hall of Fame.  However...Jacob fell asleep in the car so we took a detour up to Mount Royal to see if we could find a view I remember seeing 13 years ago when I was last there.  Unfortunately, we didn't, but we did get a nice view of the Olympic Stadium.  By then it was snowing pretty steadily, and it was so blustery cold that I didn't even want to get out of the car.  Jacob woke up on our way back down the mountain, so we headed to the arena.

When we got there, the Hall of Fame was very quiet.  For all we know, we were the only ones there that day!  Jacob was happy to see this center ice circle after not being able to enjoy the one at the Forum on Friday night...

Here's a giant captain's "C"...

And the awesome view as you walk into the hall...a recreation of the outside of the Forum, mannequins simulating a Canadiens' goal celebration (including current captain and Rochester native Brian Gionta), and a fake scoreboard.  It was a pretty awesome view!

The hall of fame featured lots of hockey cards, artifacts, and a Canadiens' locker room from the 70s...

There was also a picture of Pierre Turgeon holding the torch from the arena ceremonies, along with a real torch for a photo op...

Jacob enjoyed a video trivia game, and there was also an old school train car, as well.  It wasn't huge, but it was pretty impressive.  We also got to see a 15-minute video about the Canadiens' history, which was done on a large panoramic screen.  Considering we're not real Canadiens' fans (despite my brief fandom when Turgeon played there), we do respect the team's history and we enjoyed the video and hall of fame a lot. 

By the time we headed out of town, it was after 4pm, considerably later than we had originally wanted to leave.  Still, it had been a great day and I'm glad we did what we did.  On our way out, the snow was picking up and we got stuck in traffic behind tandem plows.  It took forever to get out of town, and the snow was pretty miserable for quite a while.  However, by the time we got to Ontario, the snow had slowed down and the temperature rose into the 20s.  We stopped for dinner somewhere in Ontario, and by the time we hit New York (and eternity later) it was rainy and in the 30s.  The drive seemed to take forever, and we narrowly missed a deer somewhere in New York around Syracuse, I think.  We arrived back in Rochester around 11:30, very tired, happy to be home, and relieved to find temperatures in the 40s!  Quite a change!  Jacob fell asleep around 9:30 and transferred into the house pretty well, so at least he got some rest.  We were up late trying to get settled and ready for Monday.  I was up until after 1am on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, mostly just trying to knock more items off my Christmas to do list--including Christmas cards and wrapping.  Last night wasn't much better, and tonight is earlier but not much better either, however we're getting there.  Hopefully we can knock more off our list tomorrow night and perhaps we'll be ready for Christmas by the end of the weekend.  Fingers crossed!  Still some decisions to make and gifts to buy, and more to wrap, of course.  Then there's packing and tearing apart two bedrooms prior to getting new carpeting next Thursday.  YIKES.  We'll get there--we always do--but it's a challenge.  Just taking it day by day and hoping the baby (and my body) cooperates.  Stay tuned...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Too Much

We didn't get back from Montreal until about 11:30 last night.  It was a combination of a lot of things--things not going quite as planned, bad weather and traffic, and just trying to make the most of our time there, given the fact it's a bit of a haul to get there and we may not be back for a while.  Luckily we got Jacob to fall asleep in the car around 9:30, so it could have been worse...but once we got home there was a lot to do just to settle back in and prepare for this morning.  For example, today Santa visited daycare and I had to get a present wrapped and ready to take in (secretly), since I was debating until the last minute what to use as that present.  I didn't get to bed until about 12:30, I think, and even with a slightly later alarm this morning, that buzzer came far too early.  I woke up extra tired and feeling a little crappy.  My stomach has been a little off since last night, most likely from some odd eating patterns over the last couple days.  Nothing awful, just off.  The past few nights I've been quite congested and waking up with some mild post-nasal drip issues (which, of course, I can't really medicate), so I'm hoping that it's just allergies and not that I've caught the cold Jacob's been dealing with over the past week or so.  Long story short, today I am absolutely exhausted.

Work is absolutely crazy right now.  We have a lot of new business prospects coming in at the moment, which is insane considering it's the week before Christmas and normally things should be slowing down in anticipation.  I wouldn't think anyone would be wanting to make decisions like that (on the client's side, even) at this time of the year, so it boggles the mind a little bit that we've got that on our plates in addition to everything else we'd normally be trying to wrap up in anticipation of being done for the year as of Friday.  There literally aren't enough hours in the day as it is, and I'm taking a half day tomorrow for Craig's awesome work Christmas party.  In addition, my office's party means that Thursday is a half day, as well.  Evenings are going to be jam packed with the party Tuesday, Jacob's Christmas program Thursday, and buying and wrapping in between. I have some food things to figure out, too, between treats for Christmas and one for my office, not to mention just feeding my family for normal dinners and all that.

Montreal was a good trip and I'm glad we did it.  Jacob had his usual behavior issues that tend to crop up whenever we're out of our normal routine, but aside from that the trip was fine and I'll have a recap to post at some point when I can squeak out some time, hopefully before I forget the details.

But as a whole, today I'm just generally overwhelmed.  Between recovering from the weekend, holiday events and preparations, and work, there's just so much to consider.  And then this morning, some reverberations from Friday's school shooting started to crop up in my mental state, which was already a little iffy given everything above.  Obviously when it happened it was jarring and horrible, and I've been thinking about it all weekend.  I had plenty of other things to keep me occupied, though, so I never really had to dwell on it beyond moments here and there where I'd read a news story or have a couple minutes of quiet.  One thing I keep coming back to is the feeling I had right after my car accident.  Everyone kept saying that "things can be replaced, people can't," and yes, I totally get that and couldn't agree more.  I was so grateful that the baby and I made it out fine and that no one else was with me.  I was sad to see the car go (along with many upcoming years of no car payment), but ultimately that was just a footnote.  What tortured me most about the experience was the vivid reminder that things can change so quickly, and once they do, there's no going back.  I couldn't undo what had happened and I couldn't really shake the memory either.  It's dulled a bit in the past few weeks, but that realization of "Holy crap, that just happened...and it could have been so much worse," is still very real in my mind.  There's always the thought of what I might have done differently, or how a minute here or there would have changed everything.  And now, in light of Friday's events, I can't even imagine what's going through the heads of everyone involved, particularly the parents.  There's truly nothing they could have done, but I'm sure they wonder how things might have been different if their kids caught that cold or if they'd had a doctor's appointment that day, or somehow ended up in another class or another school or another city.  I can't imagine living with the reality that not only is your child gone, but there's nothing you can do to bring them back and nothing you can do to get the thought of how they died out of your head.  Never knowing how those last seconds went down would torture me forever.  I felt fortunate that we didn't lose anything irreplaceable in the accident, but those poor families have lost something incredibly precious for reasons beyond anyone's comprehension.

The past few days I've walked the line of being grateful for every moment with Jacob and feeling guilty for getting frustrated when he's been naughty.  He can be difficult a lot, but any time we take a trip it seems to be amplified.  I don't know if it's a routine thing, a sleep thing, or just a function of spending more condensed time with him.  It's probably a little of everything.  We want to give him experiences, of course, and have some of our own, so I don't foresee us passing up opportunities like this often (aside from what a new baby will prevent, of course), but admittedly it's frustrating when we try to do something fun and get defiance and crankiness in response.  This weekend there was a lot of not listening, a lot of demands, and a lot of "nasty mommy" when those demands were not met.  I don't take the nasty mommy thing personally because I know he needs limits and the ones we set are not unreasonable.  He just doesn't seem to understand (despite experiencing it regularly) that he's not supposed to get everything he wants, and that fact does not make us bad parents.  He flat-out defies logic, refusing to do things he's going to have to do anyway.  And half the time, I swear he's just doing it to be difficult because he likes getting a rise out of people, even if it doesn't benefit him in the long run, like refusing to do something you know he'll whine about not having done later.

This morning he had an absolute meltdown about the stuffed animals he wanted to take to daycare.  He wanted to bring two, which is normally fine, but they were both bigger and he knows he's not supposed to take more than one big one.  I also knew these two together had the potential to distract him from napping, or make him disruptive if he woke up early, so I vetoed it and told him to pick two others or only take the one.  He had a super-tantrum about the whole thing, to the extent that even Craig was yelling at him, which doesn't happen often.  It was a disaster, and I gave him a long talking-to in the car on the way (once we finally dragged him into his coat and out to the car).  I know that I should be grateful that I could even take him to daycare this morning, as there are 20 sets of parents in Connecticut that can't do that today.  I feel bad that we even had to yell at him this morning, rather than give him a dozen extra hugs and kisses like most parents probably did.  In fact, I was so angry this morning that the drop-off didn't really phase me like it probably should have.  On one hand I know that he's probably tired and the tantrum isn't entirely his fault, but at the same time, giving in isn't really the answer either because it sets a bad precedent.  It's an impossible situation.

Of course, then I get into work and when I opened my web browser to pull up a site I needed for work, I happened to see that there was an article about the first two funerals being today.  Seeing those boys' faces and reading their stories practically had me sobbing at my desk.  I was trying my hardest to keep quiet and manage the tears, but I didn't do too well.  A little while later I glanced at my Facebook news feed and saw that one of my favorite bloggers had written a blog post about it, and her blog got me teary all over again because she talked about the same guilt issues I'm having and how she felt compelled to teach her five-year-old to pray because she just didn't know what else to do.  It was really sweet and it just got me all over again. 

Tonight was much of the same because Jacob was acting all spoiled and cranky again.  He was excited about his gift from Santa (a small Playmobil pirate set that we had originally bought for a gift for someone else years ago but never ended up giving--and decided it would be good for Jacob this year), but then when I was talking to him about going to Buffalo tomorrow so Craig and I can go to Craig's party and Jacob can hang out with his grandparents, he started insisting he wasn't going.  Of course he's going to go because he doesn't have a choice, and he will have a blast, no doubt...so why the attitude?!  His behavior, coupled with my impossible week, got me upset all over again.  My heart breaks for those kids and the people that love them, and I'm here feeling guilty/cranky that I can't appreciate the child I have because he spends most of his waking moments making me angry.  What is up with that?  The fact that I'm even pondering withholding Santa this year may seem bitter and evil at its surface, but from my perspective it shows how insanely desperate I am to convince Jacob that his behavior needs an overhaul.  If he won't believe us, maybe he'll believe Santa's absence.  It seems so wrong, but nothing else is working right now and it's killing me.  But then I feel guilty because those parents in Connecticut would do anything to give even one gift to their kids, no matter how bad their behavior was.

I know this post is just a little all over the place, but that's been my day today.  I'm stressed about Jacob, stressed about work, stressed about Christmas, and absolutely heartbroken for the improbable, unthinkable tragedy that never should have happened.  The good of the season is pretty much lost on me right now, and I'm fighting time to squeak out some good in the next week.  Prayers appreciated....for me and the rest of this crazy, mixed-up world.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Surreal Day

Yesterday was a bit of a strange day.  It was a loooong day, but for the most part good.  We leisurely woke up and started to get ready for our trip to Montreal.  Then Craig got word that the Knighthawks had pulled off a blockbuster trade, so he was scrambling to get a press release together, get some interviews, and notify the media.  We had wanted to make a couple stops on our way out of town--the post office and bank--but I ended up doing the post office myself while he got ready and then we went to the bank to finally deposit the check from my insurance payoff on my car (they made it out to both of us so we had to both be there to sign off on it), and by the time we left it was quite a bit later than we had hoped. 

The GPS sent us out Route 104 instead of the Thruway (and it was fine, but I think we'll do the Thruway on the way home) but it seemed to take forever to get to Watertown for lunch at Cici's Pizza.  We heard about the school shooting on Connecticut on the way there, but didn't find out about the scope of it until I checked Facebook after lunch and saw post after post about it and realized it must have been BAD.  And it was.  It definitely took the joy out of having stuffed my bottomless pit of a stomach with a variety of pizzas and desserts, and cast a bit of a pall over the rest of the day. 

I don't have much to add about this topic that everyone hasn't already said or thought.  It's horrible, unthinkable, and beyond awful.  And knowing that we're sending Jacob off to Kindergarten next year, it's scary to think that could easily have been him.  Heck, there was a daycare that got terrorized a few years back (in another country, perhaps?), and that was crazy, too.  I can't even imagine the horror those parents are dealing with today.  They lost their innocent child.  Their child's end was horrific and they weren't there to comfort them. We're now 10 days from Christmas and the gifts those parents bought for their kids will go ungiven.  The holiday will never be the same, and neither will that community.  I can only hope that this tragedy brings about something that will change our society for the better moving forward--be it better gun laws (though I don't think any of the weapons used here was an assault weapon), better security procedures, or better mental health treatment.  I don't know...something.  I will say that it was a relief to have Jacob with us yesterday, because I know based on countless Facebook posts by my friends that it was hard being apart all day. 

Still, I was excited to come to Montreal.  I have been here twice, though once was only passing through on my way to Quebec while in high school.  The last time I was here was my junior year in college, for a long weekend during spring break with three friends.  We had a great time, and I've been meaning to get back ever since.  The Knighthawks' exhibition game this weekend was a great excuse, and after a long drive, here were are.  Although my excitement these days is a bit different than it was back in my hockey-obsessed, French-speaking days, it was still great to see the city and wander through it last night.  We decided to head to the entertainment complex that is housed in the former home of the Montreal Canadiens, the Forum, to grab some dinner and see what Canadiens' elements were left.  I'll have some pictures to post later.  There wasn't a ton of stuff, but there was some, and like I said in a Facebook status, that little bit was far more than Buffalo has left of the Aud.  Being there and knowing what was once inside those walls just added to the surreal feeling of the day.  This morning I woke up to a view of the city and the Canadiens' current home, the Bell Centre, and we'll be heading there with the Knighthawks shortly.

It should be an interesting and fun day, but yesterday definitely wins the prize for being strange and slightly surreal all around.  God bless those families.   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Little Taste of Christmas

Last Sunday Jacob had his first Sunday School Christmas program.  He's done the daycare one a couple times before, and for the most part it's been fine.  He did that whole microphone stealing thing last year (not sure why the video isn't coming up--ugh), but at least he hasn't been the kid running up and down the aisles or anything like that.  This year, given Jacob's desire to test everyone and be generally difficult, I was a little concerned about the Sunday School program since it's a bigger audience and generally a little less familiar to him than his daycare crew.  Right off the bat when he heard they'd be dressing as angels, he was less than thrilled.  But eventually he seemed to warm up to the concept and I kept my fingers crossed.
 
When the day of the program came, I did my best to get him fed and down for a nap as early as I could, so he'd be rested enough by the time I had to get him up and out the door (Craig was working but made it in time for the performance).  Well...the nap thing didn't go so well.  It would have been early enough, had he actually napped.  Ugh.  He still seemed to be in decent spirits once he was released from his room, though, and off we went.
 
We had the pleasure of being joined in the audience by my Aunt Lynne and cousin Lori (Jacob's godmother), so that was nice.   The program was mostly done by the Kindergarten through 5th grade kids, and they did a nice job.  It's always interesting to see how these things go.  The story was centered around a puzzle and there were three girls explaining to another girl what all of the symbols of Christmas mean.  For each scene there was a song, and Jacob's group finally came in near the end to do their two songs.
 
I caught this shot of Jacob on his way in, a moment before he realized we were there...

Note the finger in his mouth in the picture above, and note that it stayed there for a good portion of the time he was up front.  When he wasn't doing that, he was pointing at us, apparently trying to get us to not look at him (per what he said later).  One thing he was not doing?  Singing.  Ugh.

He wasn't disruptive or anything, but he didn't sing and definitely didn't do the hand motions.  They sang Away in a Manger and Twinkle Twinkle Special Star, then joined in with the big kids to sing the main theme song for the program.  And I'm pretty sure Jacob sang almost none of it, despite singing right along at the rehearsal the day before.  And to think I was annoyed because he didn't do the hand motions on Saturday!  He pretty much just stood there with a goofy grin on Sunday, not doing much of anything.  Ugh.

Of course, at some point he lost a bobby pin and his halo came off, which then compelled him to try to hand it off to his teacher and then come down to her where she was in front of the kids (about three steps forward, nothing too horrible) to get help.  At least it wasn't super noticeable since the focus was back on the big kids by then.  Later on I told him about the old adage, "The show must go on."  Hopefully he'll remember that for next time.  Despite that little debacle, it still wasn't as bad as it could have been, but still...arg.

After it ended we headed off to his classroom to pick him up.  His halo had been reattached and I snapped this picture of my little angel...

We got his wings off without strangling him, had some snacks, and headed home.  It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't a total failure either since he did manage to look cute most of the time in spite of his ridiculousness.  There's always next year.

Monday Jacob got a little head start on Christmas when Lori stopped by with his gift from her.  She's going to be hanging out at Disney for Christmas this year with her niece, and given crazy schedules and all that, she wanted to bring Jacob's present over early.  His first gift from her was a big Lego Ideas book, which I'm sure he will use for years to come as he tries to create many things with his overabundance of Legos.  Between the sets he's acquired and Craig's lifelong collection, he's got quite a bit to work with--though if you ask either of the boys, they'll insist they don't have enough pieces to do what they want!

Here he is opening his second gift...

This one was recommended to her by me after our last shopping trip to Target.  It's a box, of sorts, that has a Lego plate base on one side, a drawer to store Legos inside, and a carrying handle.  I thought it might be a great little device for him for two reasons.  First, he often wants to bring Legos with him when we travel, but for obvious reasons that is not a great idea.  However, this might make it a little more doable.  Second, once baby #2 is mobile, all of the Legos will need to be locked away in Jacob's room.  However, if he wants to sometime bring some down to work with when he knows his brother won't have a chance to get into them, he could just throw the ones he wants into the drawer and they'll stay mostly contained.  It's worth a try, anyway, and regardless, he'll love having another base plate to work with. 

The Lego "thing" in our house is crazy, but I have a hard time discouraging it entirely because he plays independently so nicely with them and it's better than him playing video games, watching TV, or being into any other number of annoying things the stores are hawking these days.  It's taking a lot of effort to keep it under control (i.e., not have the entire living room floor scattered with tiny foot torture devices), but we're doing what we can.  Note the dark red mini bin behind the gift--we got that at the dollar store the other day to give the loose Legos that are often scattered on the floor a nighttime home.  Figured it was worth a buck to give it a shot.

We've got a busy couple weeks ahead of us now.  We're off to Montreal this weekend, have Craig's work Christmas party one night next week, and Jacob's daycare Christmas program another night.  We still have some buying to do, and a lot of wrapping, before heading out late next weekend to start our Christmas celebrations.  Wow, this month is going FAST!  Hopefully lots to report soon!

Oh, and one more thing to celebrate--this is post #900!  Holy cow!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BIG

In the past few days, I've really started feeling big.  I don't know if it has something to do with having that week off of work, where the change from before to after is easier to notice, but perhaps I really did just expand quite a bit and it's extra noticeable now.  I know that the baby is getting rapidly bigger (he's up to over two pounds now), so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise, but there are moments I look at myself and wonder how crazy it's going to be two months from now!

That said, I like what I'm seeing right now.  My belly may be big, but it balances out my curves quite well.  Everything is still in proportion, and while I'm sure everything has expanded, nothing seems to have expanded beyond what I'd reasonably expect.  I can look head on into a mirror and not feel like I look huge.  I still have curves where they're supposed to be--a pleasant hourglass, if you will.  The belly is a little more than a basketball, but it's all still pretty focused in that area.  My chest is considerably bigger than it used to be, which has its good and bad points, but again, everything is in balance so I can deal.

Comfort-wise things are getting a little harder.  Sleeping is a definite challenge because I just can't seem to get comfortable.  I wrap myself around a body pillow, but every time I turn over to my other side (back and belly are off-limits, of course), I have to reposition the pillow which means I have to wake up a bit to do it.  Plus I'm having crazy dreams every night (nothing particularly bad, just random and vivid), so inevitably I wake up in the middle of the night to turn over and end up pondering whatever dream I just woke up from.  Sometimes it's even uncomfortable sitting in a chair.  Round ligament pain (discomfort in the area directly under the belly) is really my big complaint at this point.  It gets sore relatively easily, particularly after a lot of activity like a lot of walking or a workout. 

So far walking and other normal activities have been fine, but my workouts are definitely getting harder.  I'm still more than a month away from the point where I stopped working out last time, but I don't think I'm going to make it.  As a friend of mine (in her mid-60s) reminded me today, I'm five years older this time around and my muscles have changed, so there's no guarantee I could do what I did last time.  I'm really starting to have to do a lot of substitutions during my class, because I can't do ab workouts, lay on my belly, or spend too much time on my back.  I appreciate the upper body workout and stuff like squats and lunges that I get from the first part of class, but most of the second half I spend doing different things than everyone else.  My stuff is fine, but it's getting harder to feel like I should stick around.  Cardio bores me, but I know I'm getting closer to the time where that's all I can do. 

The baby is moving a lot these days, though he definitely has specific active periods.  I've never been good at identifying body parts, but it usually feels like there's a butt or head sticking out a good chunk of the time...and most of the time it's on my right side.  Jacob hung out there, too.  I don't really enjoy when he migrates down low and pushes out right around my waistband, because that's just uncomfortable.  But the rest of the movement is pretty fun!  (Of course, just as I finished typing that, I think he turned himself to a position where he was simultaneously kicking me in the back and pushing his way out the front.  That HURT.)  The one thing he hasn't done yet is get a case of hiccups, but I assume those should be coming any day now since my most recently weekly email mentioned they might be happening now.

I haven't had to deal with leg cramps (knock on wood) like I did last time (yet), and I've never really had issues with getting kicked in the ribs.  On the other hand--and this may be too much information--I don't so much enjoy the gaseousness or constipation that comes with pregnancy.  That's pretty much a given and while it's not crazy bad in my case, it's not particularly comfortable at times.  I also have to pee a LOT, which is getting downright annoying.  I don't know if it's a product of the constipation, the baby's position, or what, but it drives me nuts at times. 

I don't mind my wardrobe too much right now, and I'm enjoying being able to utilize non-maternity tank tops and cardigan sweaters in addition to my normal maternity wear.  I love my skinny jeans, and anything that emphasizes the bump in a curvy way (as opposed to the tent method) is great.  I did have to buy a cheap tank top on clearance the other day so I had something long enough to wear to bed, since the bulk of my current PJ tops were creeping halfway up my belly most of the time.  As a whole, my belly isn't really in the way yet, but I have caught myself having more trouble getting up from the floor or even getting out of a chair.  I'm sure the phase of bumping into everything with it (doors, shopping cart handles, either side of a tight space) is just around the corner.  I did notice it butting up against my desk today, which isn't a good sign since we have a bit to go yet.  The good news is that I have a week off after Christmas so that's one less week to manage!

As a whole I'm still feeling pretty good and trying to enjoy this experience since it will most likely be the last time I do this.  It's not always easy, but I keep trying to remind myself that babies are easier to take care of inside than out!  Still, I'm looking forward to meeting him, yet I am completely content to keep him in there as long as I can for now!  We have too much to do in the next couple months to rush anything!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sizes

This week when I was running around like a madwoman trying to complete as much Christmas shopping as possible, I noticed something funny when it came to shopping for boys clothes.  Primarily I was shopping for Jacob, but I was also looking for an outfit for my year-old nephew and in the process glancing at the tiny baby clothes for baby boy #2.  It was so weird looking at so many different sections of the boys department.  No matter where I was, there was always someone to be shopping for!

While I can sometimes pull off 5T clothes for Jacob at this point, I'm mostly looking in the big boys section now.  He fits just about perfectly in a boys' XS, but in some cases I'm not sure that will fit for long as he already fits in some size smalls!  It boggles my mind to think he's totally past the little boys section now.  Those long arms and legs will no doubt plague us for years to come.  Craig was pretty much at his present height by by the beginning of high school, so we can only imagine what the next 10 years have in store for Jacob! 

As I was venturing back into the baby section to look for a Christmas gift for my nephew Max, my eyes certainly glanced over to the tiny baby stuff.  While this baby boy is going to be pretty well-stocked with clothes once he hits the 2T range, there may be some seasonal differences until that point since Jacob and the new baby will be about three months off, which is the same span that little baby clothes are sized in.  So, while certain seasons may have a little overlap, some won't.  Most of Jacob's 0-3 month clothes were onesies because it was too hot to wear much else during that time of year.  As a result, this baby isn't going to have much to start out with aside from any gifts we get.  I've browsed some clearance and sales racks looking for some deals to fortify his wardrobe a bit (or at least buy something cute to come home in), but I'm having a tough time buying anything.  Sizes generally shift from newborn to 0-3 months around the 8 lb. mark, which is a tough spot.  Everyone knows that no one stays in newborn sizes for long, but it might be worth having one for the ride home at the very least.  But Jacob was long and skinny (just under 7 lbs.) and he was born in summer so sleeve and pant lengths were less important.  I'd hate to have the baby swimming in his first day home outfit (of course, he wouldn't be the first!), but then again it's not like I can do any shopping when the time comes so I should be prepared either way.  Hmmm.  I guess I should just get some of both from a place with a good return policy!

Looking at the sizes in between has been funny, because having such a big boy has skewed my perceptions a bit.  I look at the 18 month sizes and can't believe he was still so tiny at that point.  The clothes look shockingly small!  And to think I thought he was such a big boy then!  The newborn clothes are just laughable, but I know to just assume a newborn is going to be shockingly small.  The years in between must be a bit of a blur, because I no longer have any concept of how big or small he was at any of those stages.  It's sure going to be interesting doing this all over again because there's plenty we've forgotten!

Perhaps this baby is coming along at just the right time, to make sure I'm not too wistful as Jacob officially moves out of the baby-toddler-preschooler stage.  Even though it feels like he's been around for ages, it still blows my mind a bit that there's a five-year span between these two and a lot of time has passed since we went through this the first time!  There's a lot of ground we've covered, and now we're going to do it again...all while managing a whole new set of stages as Jacob continues to grow up.  There are moments where it's all overwhelming, but we'll get through it the same way we did the first time around--one step at a time--only with a little more multitasking this time around.  Three months to go...or less! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Way It's Supposed to Be...

So...today was the day I took Jacob to Strong National Museum of Play.  I'd been promising a day like this since, oh, early this year, I think.  Craig pulled Jacob out of daycare early and took him to the museum, where his cousins were on a field trip.  Since I didn't get to go that time, I told Jacob someday I'd take him myself.  I thought about it over the summer, but the right day never came and I sort of dreaded taking him when kids were off school.  The place is a madhouse on days like that.  The times I've been there have been under those circumstances, and I can see the place from my office so I'm well aware of the madness that ensues in the parking lot alone on holidays.  But today was perfect--a random weekday off.

We got there later than I'd hoped, about an hour after it opened.  The parking lot looked busy, but ultimately it wasn't bad inside.  To be able to roam freely and not have to wait forever to do any of the activities was heavenly.  The kids that were there were mostly well-behaved, which was a pleasant surprise given that most of the times I've been there have been full of cranky kids.  Chalk it up to being with the stay-at-home mom crowd, perhaps.  The kids were also mostly on the younger side, since most older kids were in school.  We also had the benefit of eating lunch later--it was hard to pull Jacob away from the activities--so the usually busy food court was downright deserted when we got there.  All of these elements created a very blissful setting.  In addition, I had convinced myself that this was Jacob's day, so while I did need to keep things moving a bit to ensure we didn't miss anything important, I tried not to rush him.  Keeping that thought in mind (and, of course, physically needing a rest here and there) helped me stay patient.

Jacob was, for the most part, a very good boy.  There were a couple times he didn't want to move on, but for the most part we had a very good day.  And considering he didn't have a nap, it was pretty much miraculous that things went so well.  We saw and did so much, and really had a great time.  As a whole today really was as things are supposed to be (per today's title)...a museum that was at our full disposal, a little boy who was actually a pleasure to hang out with...it was such a nice change of pace!

Here's a bit of a photo rundown of our day, interspersed with tidbits about other things we did that didn't photograph so well...

One of the main exhibits at the museum is Sesame Street...and here's Jacob on the steps of 123 Sesame Street...

In one section there's a vendor cart full of fake food.  Even though half of Jacob's face is blocked by my ice cream order, I still happen to like this shot...

Jacob's favorite part of the day, by far, was part of a visiting exhibit featuring Dora the Explorer, which is ironic since he's not into Dora (or Diego) at all.  How we dodged that bullet, I don't know, but I'm grateful :) Anyway, he loved this animal rescue station where you could treat sick animals.  There were 12 cubbies that held stuffed animals.  You'd grab an animal and put it in an MRI-ish scanner, which told you what kind of animal it was (microchip?) and what was wrong with the animal.  The illnesses changed each time, and each had a recommended treatment.  There were doctor tools there (the standard Fisher-Price doctor kit), as well as an ace bandage.  Here's Jacob in his outfit, complete with stethoscope, ace bandage, and his favorite animal, the otter.

Sometimes the animal was deemed to be fine but the scanner recommended giving it a bath.  There was a tub of fake water, and working dryers.

Jacob probably played in this section for at least a half hour in three different stints.  I took the chance to sit and rest, and at one point chatted with another pregnant mom who was two weeks away from her due date.  She has an 11-year-old boy and a little girl who looked to be just a little younger than Jacob.  She's a first grade teacher, and she's just about ready to be done!  I can't even imagine working a job where you spend most of the day on your feet!

We checked out the superhero section, played a full-body video game controlled by tilting a board we were standing on (very trippy!), and Jacob played on a giant table full of wooden cars, roads, and trees.  He also played in a fake sand box (tiny plastic beads), where we ran into the one nasty kid we encountered today.  She was possibly on a field trip and was momentarily unsupervised.  She threw "sand" against the wall for a bit, and then threw it right at Jacob, on purpose.  I don't like to yell at other people's kids, but I didn't hesitate to tell her than wasn't very nice.  After that, I finally convinced Jacob that it was time for lunch.  We shared a yummy lunch at the Pizza Hut Express in the food court, and headed back out.

Our first stop was the mini-Wegmans.  It's really a cute thing.  You take a tiny cart at the entrance, and pick up five items from the shelves around the store.  A lot of the shelves are full of empty boxes and bottles.  However, the produce, meat, and bakery sections have very realistic looking food, which was the most fun to play with.  Here's part of the produce section...

Everything in the store has a barcode on it, and when the five items have been chosen, the kid gets to play cashier with a real, working register, right down to the conveyor belt.  You get a real receipt, too!  

He then checked out a big boat and lighthouse-styled lookout, and visited a Berenstain Bears exhibit.  He had been talking about this "egg" thing, and it turned out it was there.  You could take the eggs from the chickens and see how they rated.  There was also a thing where you cranked produce up a belt and it tumbled down a series of ramps on the other side, and a place to play dentist on a giant mouth.  He also really enjoyed the restaurant, where he and a couple other kids were serving up all sorts of play food at a diner counter.

Later, Jacob got to run around on a giant ship.  He then discovered a dress-up play stage, and got in a dragon suit.  This silly picture was taken just as he darted out from behind the curtain at me!

He then spent some time in a fairy tale house (part Snow White, part Hansel & Gretel), before we headed up to play a giant version of Connect Four and check out a massive chess set.   We ran back on the big ship, where Jacob put on a captain's coat and practiced writing and drawing.  Eventually we moved on to the Toy Hall of Fame, where we played with Slinkies, a giant magnetic Mr. Potato Head, and sat down for a couple games on an Atari--bowling and Asteroids!  What a blast from the past!

We moved on to the new video game section, which was pretty awesome.  Jacob and I played a giant version of Pong on a lighted floor...

...and I spent a buck to get six tokens (yay for six!!) so we could play some of the classic video games.  I played a giant version of Tetris, old-school Paperboy and Q*Bert, and Addams Family pinball.  Jacob played a driving game and Guitar Hero.  It was cool to see all of the old games, along with displays featuring old home video games like Atari consoles, original Nintendo, and one of those 80s tabletop arcade games complete with a tiny joystick and video display.  We took a quick walk through the museum displays of old toys (dolls, army guys, trains, Barbies, and every other pop culture icon-type toy you can imagine).  It's always fun to see things you own(ed) sitting behind museum glass!

Once we finished up there, we headed back down to redo some of Jacob's favorites.  That meant we were back to the animal rescue station, Wegmans, and Sesame Street.  Here's Jacob playing cabbie to Cookie Monster and Elmo...

I practically had to drag him out of Sesame Street as they were giving us the "15 minutes to close" message.  It had been a long day, but considering how well it went, I was feeling pretty good.  Not too fatigued, and certainly not like we'd spent six hours there!  Everything just felt...good.

Today was the kid-parent equivalent of taking time to smell the roses.  We took our time (mostly) and I let him discover things on his own as much as possible.  I know that this is probably one of the last times Jacob will get that kind of one-on-one, uninterrupted attention, particularly with his baby brother arriving in a matter of three (very busy) months.  I marveled at the big boy he's become (even more apparent in contrast to the younger kids around him today) since the last time I was there with him.  Despite all of the crazy things he's been pulling lately, he has turned into quite the big boy.  You should see his school pictures...and when I get the CD and copyright release for the one I ordered, hopefully I can share one here.  He looks so grown up.  I can hardly believe he's just six months shy of turning five, and kindergarten is really not that far off now.  It's mind-boggling that it's been that long since I was pregnant with him.  In spite of all we've been through, it just doesn't seem possible it was that long ago.

When he's behaving, he can be the most amazing kid ever...smart, clever, loving, charming, silly, and  creative, among other things.  While I often hope this new baby isn't quite the defiant child his big brother is, I hope the lack of that trait doesn't come at the expense of any of these other traits.  It's hard to believe that in a few months we'll start this crazy journey all over again with another child, that we'll have another little boy to get to know as he grows up.  And we'll still have Jacob around to continue to get to know as he grows up.  By the time his brother is his age, he'll be nine and heading into 4th grade.  Holy cow.

Well, this post is long enough and before I lose my mind thinking ahead, suffice it to say it was a pretty fantastic day.  Now hopefully I have a couple productive days ahead...and tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment and we celebrate Craig's 40th birthday, too!  What a week!