the mcflu crew

I stumbled all over myself in a meeting with a family today when I realized the date was in fact the last day of September. Didn’t this month JUST start? Weren’t we just at the beach for Labor Day? Wasn’t the home opener last weekend?

So I must have made quite the impression on that family as I interrupted my discussion about home care services to express just how unbelievable it was that tomorrow is October.

October. I love October. The air gets crisp. The leaves change. Caroline’s cheeks get rosy. I buy more Apple Cider than I can drink. The heat goes on overnight, though the ceiling fan mysteriously never stops. The Sucktaculars don’t rake. We run out of leaf bags. We forget that you cannot rake and watch a toddler at the same time. The Sucktaculars do a fine job of sitting on their lazy butts watching us try to rake THEIR leaves from our front yard. I think they get festive about it actually; make mulled cider, pass around spice donuts, laugh at us. That is when we begin to curse fall and commence whining that winter is just around the corner.

Now that I think of it, the wretched leaf issue doesn’t really come to a head until late November when we have just about enough of the leaves. So I can actually enjoy October after all.

Tonight we’re celebrating the start of fall with the onset of flu season. We’re hoping to all be considered well enough to get the flu shot tonight. Talk about a fun family activity! Nothing like giving your kid a shot 90 minutes before bedtime, though the shot of Motrin to dull the ache in her arm is sure to help her sleep well. We’re still thinking and talking about the other shot, you know the one everyone else is thinking and stressing about too. Knowing that that other one I refuse to name here won’t be available until the end of October makes me nervous, but it is pushing me along in getting us all vaccinated with the seasonal shot asap. Caroline’s pediatrician will not actually have their supply of seasonal vaccine until mid-October, so I made an executive decision and post Texas Dry Rubbed Porterhouse dinner we are all going. Steve’s disclaimer is that in college (his one and only flu shot experience) he became incredibly ill. While I do not doubt this to be true I also pointed out that he was probably not eating well, resting enough (ha!), and had waited in line with every other sick kid on campus for the shot. So I’ve been forewarned, but this year, we’re not taking any chances and while I know this will not guarantee a flu free year, better to take precautions.

"you want to come?"

What a weekend!

While I tried in vain to prevent Caroline’s cold from spreading any further with handwashing to the cracked skin degree, she enjoyed a whirlwind trip to MA to see Baldwin.

On Thursday the train fervor reached its peak when she told Katie (for what I believe was the upteenth time that afternoon) that she was taking a train and seeing Baldwin. “You want to come?” At Stop and Shop picking up some last minute items that night, the cashier got the same invitation. In fact, anyone who would listen to her excited Baldwin banter could have come along and she would have been delighted.

We made our train and connection with ease at the cost of just one buttered adult pant leg. She did beautifully on the train itself snacking, watching Lady and the Tramp, talking noisily and happily about the train and the man who took our ticket. It all fell apart in Providence, but she really did so well that in a pinch I know we can rely on the train again. My plan to unearth the sling for the ride and game proved to be a great decision. Not only did it make it easier for me to carry her and all her stuff on the train without squishing Baby Macadamia, but she liked having the security of being wrapped up and snuggled close. I’m considering getting another more newborn friendly version because wow, I forgot how much I love that sling. Though there was once again no nap at the game, but during our 3rd quarter break she snuggled right into me in the sling and recharged her Eagle fan batteries to help cheer BC onto their overtime fumble recovery win over Wake Forest.

And the SALE! I’ll post a full report over on McDeals & Steals, but I found pretty much everything on my list and more, all within my sale budget. When you are me and you love a good deal, you bring cash to the sale because just knowing that you have a check can cause a total budget breakdown. (though in retrospect, they accepted only local checks so wouldn’t that have been a bust!) Kiki helped me sift through the 2T and 3T racks and she found MOST of the must haves. Oh, how we love a good sale!

With the cold symptoms mounting I’ve been trying hard to pump myself full of fluids, keep my hands washed, and rest as much as possible. There was a little glitch yesterday though when a certain someone decided that they did not in fact need a nap, though I desperately did. It was a bit of a whiny afternoon, but bedtime came early and easily and the adults of the house were snuggled under the covers at 9pm; coughing and sniffing, but resting nonetheless.

we had a craving

and ground meat was buy one, get one. Haven't made stuffed peppers in years!

hi reese

"Mommy, we have to be nice to Reese. We don't hit her."

Tolerant kitty, adoring toddler.


Wearing an outfit from the sale (those pants are sparkly cords people!)

choo choo

Watching lady and the tramp, trying to get off at every stop, but
enjoying her ride north

btf: "don't stop believing!"

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

May 26, 2009

There is a pregnancy test that reads "YES+" sitting on my kitchen windowsill far out of the reach of the toddler, but within frequent glancing distance for Steve and I to keep checking that we aren't mistaken. We attended Marc and Kelly's wedding over the weekend and on Sunday, back at the beach Steve looked at me before bed in my clingy cotton long sleeve t and said "are you sure you are not pregnant?" This sent me into a tailspin.

All week I had been noticing that I was gaining a bit of a spare tire. I made mental notes to lay off the mint milanos and spend more time with Jillian Michaels. I looked at my side profile in the bathroom mirror while taking out my contacts and thought "no way, but hmm, sort of odd that those milanos seem only to be hanging out in my mid section, completely ignoring my hips."

I thought about the many trips to the restroom the night of the wedding that I had blamed on my 12:30 snack attack with a full bottle of water and several glasses of coke and OK, a corona or two at the reception. I recalled the alarm I had felt looking down at my dress while primping that I was seriously packing it on and RIGHT before bathing suit season! I thought about this the entire ride home to CT and when Steve ran out to the grocery store to pick up a forgotten item for our Memorial Day BBQ, I made a beeline for the scale.

I had LOST 2 pounds since my last weigh in. Though I technically was not supposed to take a test before Wednesday, I ripped into the last one assuring myself that I could get another before then and this would allow me to push the thought that I was already pregnant out of my mind completely and focus on severe caloric reduction. Alone, with the test blinking back its positive message, I fell onto my knees at Caroline's feet and covered her confused cheeks with salty sweet tears before spending nearly 20 minutes ALONE pacing the house waiting for Steve to return with the forgotten portobella and cheese bistro burger. Perhaps in retrospect taking the test at that moment was less than my most shining moment. Caroline heralded the news to Steve by handing him the test (there was not time enough to practice new phrases) and his face was a beautiful mix of surprise and bliss.

Despite the many months that have gone by and all the PINING for this miracle, we are still shocked. Shocked and elated. Shocked and itchy to move back to Boston. Shocked and giddy. Shocked and thankful.

When my grandmother passed away, I had hoped that her spirit and this baby's spirit would pass out there in the unknown. I had prayed that she would help guide this little creature to us and in doing so, get to meet him or her. This month with her passing, I have been more positive than ever that this miracle would happen for us and she did not disappoint. The amazing combination of positively, help from beyond, some herbal tea, and a little luck may just have pushed the scale to the other side for us. If this really is real my grandmother already has the naming rights, which I will execute on her behalf. She would be tickled to know that my very opinionated husband readily agreed.

I go this afternoon for confirmatory bloodwork (Progesterone, HcG) that they will use to validate the positive test results and to determine how far along we are. At this point I suspect that this all happened much earlier than we thought possible and I guesstimate that we might be as much as 6 weeks along. The little poochy bloat I am sporting tells me so. How I instinctively knew to take it easy at the 80's rock wedding is beyond me. If there was ever an opportunity to pour drink after drink down my gullet it was Saturday and yet, I was relatively tame, choosing soda over cocktail often, but not always. At a wedding where the most popular cocktail was jack and soda. In the middle of a crowd rocking air guitar and splits. A mother knows.

baby brother practice

Caroline executes a diaper change with her baby complete with "disgusting" wipe, diaper cream, and a Mommy attack

"that man said no"

There might such a thing as doing too well in the “get your kid excited” department. This weekend is a big one; a BC home game, seeing the aunties and Hokie, both sets of grandparents, BALDWIN, a consignment sale I am itching to get to, and a train ride.

It has been no small feat to organize. Kiki procured a car seat, which was graciously offered by Steve’s cousin Kelly, and handled the clothing drop for the consignment sale to Terri. Terri had to be on the receiving end of several emails about the sale, about the drop off plan for the clothes, and actually get the clothing to the sale in my place. The aunties both wonderfully offered to watch my little girl during the sale. A village people. So thanks to these special ladies for helping make it happen for us. We CAN do it all, but only because of you!

Caroline looked at me earlier this week, tilted her head, opened her eyes widely and asked “I see Baldwin this weekend?” So I went on and on about all the plans, who would be there, and we talked at great length about “than man said no.” Two weeks ago I tried to convince her to come with me to the pregame Fan Fest to get an eagle on her cheek. Though she had been excited about this in the car en route, it was now the very last thing she wanted to do, until on the 7th trip to the restroom she saw another little girl with an eagle on her cheek and I think you can figure out what happened. I raced her over to The Plex and wouldn’t you know that they close all the family fun stuff 30 minutes before the game? What do they want people to actually be in their seats at kick off? A man at the door politely alerted me that they were closed and it turned into “that man said no.” She has not stopped talking about that man in two weeks and when I told her that this week we could try again she was not so sure because “that man said no.” I have started telling her that “this week that man is going to say yes.” She is skeptical. These football games are becoming such a part of her life and it is wonderful to see her not simply putting up with daddy's obsession, but enjoying it, looking forward to it. Even if the details are a bit scattered; Baldwin is with the Red Sox and the Eagles play baseball. She kept making me say “Yay Eagles!” on the ride home yesterday. This may be why I had a dream last night that a much older Caroline decided she did not want to go to college at all because she did not want to go to BC and she really truly thought it was her only option. Of course she can go to any school she wants to!

The area where I truly went overboard in the get excited department is the train ride. Logistically it was either take the train or take two cars up, so we’ll be riding up and Steve will drive up solo after work. Caroline has been talking NON-STOP about that train ride, “mommy, I go on a choo choo by myself?” I doubt she will even notice my presence on the train anyway, what with all the excitement of riding on a train! It was the very first thing she asked me this morning, “choo choo?” as in “is today the day I take the train mommy, plllleeeeaaaaasssee say yes!” We take a very early train tomorrow morning to another station to catch our Amtrak service to Boston. We’ve only done this one other time and it went alright, but she was much younger then. With the DVD player, an arsenal of snacks, and a solitary backpack to wrangle, I think we can more than handle this. Getting her to pass for under 2 might be the biggest challenge of the morning.


I mentioned here yesterday that Caroline is all “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” lately. It is both endearing and exhausting to be Mommy. I sigh deeply when I need to once again stoop down to pick her up into my arms. Moments later my heart swoons as she takes me by the hand and leads to whatever imaginary situation she has concocted. It is harder being Mommy now that I have a baby brother in my belly, busy making his presence known with kicks and growing at an alarming rate (nearly a pound and the size of a spaghetti squash this week). Still, most of the time it is amazing being Mommy and my heart aches a bit when I see Caroline push away from Steve or tell him that she wants me instead. She doesn’t realize how lucky she is… or does she?

Steve had a work dinner last night that kept him away until long after Caroline had fallen asleep. He was waiting for us when we arrived home from daycare, but had to leave again before the girls even sat down to our reheated lasagna dinner. No sooner than he left, “where daddy go?” “Daddy had to go to work, but he’ll be home later.” A few bites of lasagna and a car door closing outside. “Daddy?!?!” “No munchkin, not yet.”

After dinner she retired to Max and Ruby, her new evening ritual, while I took care of the dishes and made her lunch. The house was a bit darkened from non-essential lights being turned off and she had difficulty leaving my side, something that never happens when Steve is home. It’s funny because as safe as our house feels, it always feels a bit less safe without him in it. Clearly she felt the same way because every time she went to skip off to somewhere else she came tumbling back into my arms proclaiming, “Scawwy!”

Caroline truly missed Steve last night, asking about him often, calling for him post bath as I helped get her pajamas on. She wondered aloud where he was during tooth brushing and book selection. When she finally realized he wasn’t making it home before she went to bed, she slid into the crook my arm on my lap and told me “want to go night night.” We were only one book in and she was toast. A gentle lullabye, one more question about when Daddy would be home, and a reassurance from Mommy that when he came home he would come and say goodnight to her - even if she was asleep.

And he did, without Mommy asking.

"use the force caroline"

4 days, 96 hours, 27 pairs of wet undies, 1 package of wipes, 3 bags of candy to taunt the pregnant woman, 1.5 rolls of paper towels, and countless accidents.

While the weekend was far from a wash, we are far from done. Our supportive ambivalence appeared to be backfiring on Saturday when she stood frozen, arms flapping, seeking help from Mommy, peeing all over herself in the afternoon hours without so much as move toward the potty. Yesterday morning I talked with her again about how it was up to her and I was here if she needed me, she just needed to ask, and how proud we were of what she was doing. I felt like Obi Wan reminding her to "Use the force." She made many solo trips all day, getting up from even her most beloved treat “Miss Spider” to try for a moment. Imagine the devastation when your attempt leads you to miss the ending of the show ushering in naptime. Not a happy camper.

Our biggest challenges right now appear to be sense of urgency and her complete reluctance to sit for more than 3 seconds. I even tried getting her to eat her treat on the potty for another 2 precious seconds, but it hardly made a difference. The urgency seems to be pretty common for new trainees. While the lack of actual sit time is a major issue for success, I am all for letting her go 10 times in a row rather than sit her in front of a program for 20 minutes knowing she won’t connect the urge to go with the potty sitting - accidental success.

I cannot even talk about the excretion of the other variety from yesterday without shuddering. If I wrote about THAT incident I don’t think I could ever blog again. It was just that terrible. Later when we were both able to look at one another in the eye again I watched her plop her baby on the potty reminding her to “push, baby, push!” I had to laugh at that one, in fact I may have laughed to the point of tears it was all just so ridiculous.

I think I may have learned more than she did in the process. Let her do it alone. Stop reminding. Help only when asked. Offer lots of support for the misses right along with the cheers for success. With all this attention to the potty I was able to predict about when the next deluge would occur – 8:45, 10:45, before or after naptime, 3:45, before bed. That is far more information than I had before and frankly more than any mother really needs to know, but taking some of the unknown out of the equation helped me cope a bit better. She is super clingy to me right now - her potty partner - but we are hoping that in time that will lessen as well as she becomes more and more capable of doing it all by herself.

The weekend was full of cheers and some disappointments, but we have definitely launched ourselves forward with gusto. As depressing as it is to consider that we spent one of just four weekends home between Labor Day & Colleen’s wedding in January doing this, we were really able to focus and ultimately - I think it was a worthwhile use of our time. Granted I kept imagining all the things I could have been doing with all this TIME, at HOME, with NOTHING planned, but I ended up with perhaps the cleanest house we have had since we moved, so it isn’t a total wash. Though my hair could really use a decent trim. And yes, four weekends home in the next four months. Laugh with me will you? I am already cracking open the calendar to plan which BC Football game(s) Caroline and I will be sitting out of because holy hell!

Not sure yet if school will be able to help us gain any forward momentum this week, but the plan is to continue the at home training in the evenings. She’ll get there!

Now if only we could speed the first fall cold out of the house.

2.5 days in

It is now Sunday afternoon. Steve and I are settling in to watch the Pats while the little angelface snoozes away upstairs. We're two days and change into this potty gig and wow, I am exhausted. Friday and Saturday were mentally and physically exhausting. I've been tweeting away about all the updates, misses & close calls. She's keeping me incredibly busy racing around playing ring around the rosy (all that falling down and get back up to do it "AGAIN!" are a bit much for this pregnant mommy), laying on the floor with her snuggling, baking cupcakes, feeding baby, making puzzles. I am her play slave. A clear outcome of this potty thing is an even more focused MOMMY centric attitude, which we will work through. She cannot stand to be away from me and I can understand that - these are strange and stressful times.

Friday I was all about helping, but standing back. Saturday we knew she was so close. Caroline is stubborn because she is the product of two of the most stubborn people on the planet and we wanted it to just happen already for her because she was SO close. Today I went back to an info sheet I read online about potty training strong willed children and a parental united front has been formed with emphasis on a new method: supportive ambivalence.

This is harder than you could ever know unless you have tried this method yourself because YOU KNOW she has to go, you can SEE the squirmy potty dance, you know she has drank her weight in milk and yet you must refrain from reminding, from putting the potty in close proximity, from doing anything she does not directly ask you to do and you know what? It's working.

I had a nice chat with her first thing this morning about how we are so proud of all her hard work with the potty, that I am sorry I keep reminding her when I know she is a big girl and can do it herself. I told her Daddy and I are here to help her if she wants it, she just has to ask. We know she can do it herself! She has sat herself down SEVERAL times solo, complete with pulling pants up and down herself, and she is so gosh darn proud.

Even if we missed the morning one because the tree removal across the street was too enticing to pull ourselves away from, we just got new pants and went on with business as usual. We missed one during a CVS run and she announced with teary eyes, "I peeing!" I reassured her that she had on her pull up and it was ok and we would just try to catch the next one. I thanked her for letting me know.

In the middle of all of this she has developed her first fall cold, which is awesome. She woke up after being asleep about an hour last night crying and coughing. It had been so long since she has woken up period that I wasn't sure what to do. No temp. Just some complaints about a "boo boo" on her ankle. Steve happened to be out, so I snuggled her, closed up the house and let her lay in bed with me. She eventually asked me to go back to her room and slept peacefully the rest of the night. My little girl is growing up so fast, but she still needs me. She still wants to be in my arms. Like I told her last night, she'll always be my baby girl and she always will be.

Onward we go.

new plan for this afternoon

rewards next to the potty to encourage sitting and to try to keep her
there for longer than 3 seconds. We are so proud of her!

Undies on the line

4 wet misses, 1 not so wet miss, 2 this am and 3 this afternoon. We
tried to get the not so wet one, but after the whole 5 day drought
from yesterday, well fill it in for yourself. Plowing ahead.

btf: puzzle piece?

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

April 21, 2009

I suddenly realized that with Caroline, I had at first tried to avoid taking the metformin altogether. I dabbled in herbal remedies for a couple months before giving in and filling the prescription. Thinking back, I drank that herbal tea in the car while I worked for hospice for that entire spring. I have already located that terrible Dong Quai tea and the Yogi Women's Mooncycle and said "bottoms up!" Hoping that this might be the missing puzzle piece?

not alone

She immediately removed all the clothes and announced "I take off the
baby diaper!" misery loves company? FYI- she us NOT naked:) and we've
moved onto ordering another baby around...

2 m&ms in for two sits...

dee day

My father told me one D-Day about something he had heard on the radio that afternoon. The announcer had asked his audience why they had called it “D-Day” and a caller’s response was that it was “dee day they was doing it.” There is nothing funny at all about D-Day, but the response became part of our family lore.

Friday is dee day we are doing it. We are giving up diapers in favor of pretty big girl undies and my hope is that on Tuesday morning she will be sent to school sans diaper like the big girl she so desperately wants to be. All week she has been sporting a pair of big girl undies over her diaper and inappropriately displaying them to anyone she happens to see. This included my HR woman Monday afternoon. It was less than an opportune moment, but it broke the icy air so well-played Caroline, well-played.

All the signs are there and have been there for some time now. She’s waking up dry most mornings, she’s dry for hours at end, things are predictable; save one very big deal exception. She wants to wear the big girl undies and she slides her bottoms down at will to sit herself on pint sized potties throughout the house. Though she hasn’t really had much success yet, she “do it myself!” Tomorrow I give her that opportunity. There will be fanfare and Twizzlers and lots of cheering her on.

This is the last weekend we will be home for over a month between football games and our anniversary. It is the last time I will have more than a day at home to work with her on this and though I suspect it will take much longer than this weekend, we have to start somewhere. I am not expecting it to be easy. I am not anticipating that the house will smell like roses. I am not planning on her tossing aside her Pull Ups completely, but I am excited for her and this milestone.

Now. That one exception is a big one actually. The little miss is in complete control of her bowels and we have theorized that she isn’t particularly keen on pooping now that she is escorted to the potty as soon as we get the signs that she is busy. Last week she went four days and this week we are up to five. She’s still eating normally, in good spirits etc, but with all the apricots and butter I’ve been giving her I cannot imagine how she is holding it in!?

So like all parents I am now stuck in the move forward or back off position, unsure which move to make next, unable to understand what is happening inside her bright little mind. We're going to see how it goes...

Wish us luck as we embark on this messy adventure.

white flag

I give up.

I pulled the maternity clothes down from the attic when I pulled the boxes of newborn clothes for the sale. They sat there beside the bed until early this week when I made the big closet switcheroo. All the fitted tops and non-preggo pants that cannot work with the Bella Band have been stowed away. My entire preggo wardrobe now hangs in their place with a handful of things I think I can still reasonably pull off. I use the word reasonably cautiously because I actually thought it was ok to head to the grocery store this Sunday in yoga pants and a way too small Mickey Mouse T shirt. Sorry to all the BigY shoppers who got an eyeful.

We are 21 weeks along in this pregnancy already – more time down, than time left to cook. Our son is certainly quite active, with a fondness for cheddar cheese and raspberries and let’s face it, guacamole. He has been getting into some seriously uncomfortable positions lately, but overall I feel like we are just sailing along. We’ve even had wonderful conversations about names with far fewer "absolutely not" responses; nose crinkling, head shaking, or full on laughing. On our drive back home Sunday afternoon we even created a short list thanks to that wonderful tome; The Baby Name Wizard. I wish we had this book way back when! Steve’s happy with the options we came up with and I am equally pleased that there are several unique ways to honor my grandmother among the bunch.

So in honor of my wardrobe retirement, here are some shots courtesy of my phone’s pregnancy tracker app. Some weeks I remember, others I don’t, but how handy!

15 weeks – at the beach wearing aforementioned yoga pants

19 weeks – note the box of preggo clothes in the background, non preggo Forever 21 jeans ladies, they stretch to amazing limits!

21 weeks – this morning, there's Reese, and poof the box of clothes VANISHED. This one isn’t particularly flattering, but ehh! I am working that blazer like Chris Farley's "fat guy in a little coat."

you might be an aquarius if...

It suddenly occurred to me that it is very likely there will be two children falling under the sign of Aquarius in our house. I’d bet on it actually since the sign covers all the dates between January 20th and February 18th. There does exist a possibility of different birthstones (amethyst for February, garnet for January), but that would hardly matter to our son in the long run would it?

At two and a half we are still just beginning to see many parts of Caroline’s developing personality and I wondered, do any of these traits go along with her Aquarius sign? Would her brother share these same astrological qualities? Would that mean they would be likely to get along well? It's fun to read about as we get to know her, though I don't actually put a lot of faith into its accuracy. Unless it specifically mentions that in 12 years there will be no door slamming or kvetching that I couldn't POSSIBLY understand. In that case, I believe it with my entire being.

What various web sources had to say about Aquarian personality:

“Open-minded, tolerant, extroverted, experimental and emotionally detached.”

She tries new things. She tolerates small changes in routine. She can be extroverted with those she is comfortable with, but takes a great deal of time to warm up. I would never call my snuggly emotional drama queen detached. Ever.

“Aquarians can be shy, sensitive, gentle, and patient at one time and edgy, enthusiastic and lively at others.”


“They have strong convictions and are forceful in their opinions.”

Does my daughter have an opinion? Yes, yes she does and she makes it known. Oh you don't agree with her? She's probably off and running to either her time out step or the couch where she will leap head first into the cushions SOBBING away. THE HUMANITY!!!

“Aquarian individuals have strong imaginative and intuitive powers.”

Anyone who has been given an “egg,” a “cake,” had their hair styled with pretend spray bottles, or watched on as she changes her baby’s diaper (“hold still baby!”) can attest to her amazing and at times odd imagination.

“Do not easily accept that they are wrong and have been known to have a temper.”

HAHAHAHA. Yes, that and more! See strong convictions.

“When very angry, an Aquarian can either be downright rude or adopt a threatening silence.”

We aren’t seeing the rude YET, but the silence is definitely there; scowl, furrowed brow, arms crossed silence.

“Loves an opportunity to be alone, because it is at this time that he recharges himself.”

True. Actually requests to go to her crib to calm down. See also retreats to time out step.

“Aquarians have an intrinsic taste for drama, music and art. Original and inventive in their ideas, they impress people with their uniqueness.”

Well, she certainly has the drama covered that’s for sure. Her first stop most mornings and afternoons is her table to color, paint, or play with stickers. Not sure if people are blown away at her uniqueness yet, but her “TADA!” tells us that she thinks they should be.

“Aquarians have desire to do something on behalf of the world that will help those in need or suffering from oppression.”

Social Worker mommy approves! Go baby girl and change the WORLD!

btf: ka-ching

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

March 12, 2009

Met with the Reproductive Endicrinologist. He suggested a battery of tests and the mother of all blood tests. I scheduled the first ultrasound and then called to talk about the costs and insurance coverage. All the kind lady on the other line could tell me was that my coverage was 80-20, but as far as what the actual costs could be, I got nada. Since we exhausted the balance of our Flexible Spending Account for Caroline's ears, we decided to wait until July to do the tests when our Account will replenish. We can hopefully avoid feeling so overwhelmed with what could be a very large cumulatative medical bill. Until then I will remain on the same met dose. We hold onto hope that maybe things might figure themselves out on their own, but if not, we'll reschedule once we have the assurance of the flex spending. It might be a very expensive medical year for the McFam.

peeking in

At daycare pick-up yesterday I walked in to find an empty, unlit classroom. Confused, I gathered Caroline’s belongings, checked the daily nap/diaper chart, and looked toward another room for an explanation of where exactly I might find my little darling? “Still outside.”

I went to the back door thinking I could just pick her up from there and be on my way, but the group was already gathering at the door to come back in. She didn’t see me yet. Instead of knocking on the glass to let her know I was there, I stood back against the wall and quietly watched the scene play out.

I spied her stealthy maneuvering to get to the very front of the line (a skill that will serve her well at the TKTS booth someday) and smiling widely up at Mr. Eric. I gazed upon her rosy from running everywhere cheeks. I stayed still as they all marched past in a disorganized line of midgets and strollers. I watched her follow the teachers into the kid’s bathroom to wash her hands and then wait by the classroom door to be let back in. It was like seeing into her private world – the world when I am not with her – and I liked everything I saw. I was filled with such pride that this little beauty was my daughter, listening to instructions, and having a great day -even if I wasn’t with her.

When I could bear it no longer (and thoughts drifted toward the dinner that needed an hour in the oven) I scooped her up in our typical pick-up hug. “Mommy, you here to get me?!” The highlight of my workday; this embrace that seems endless, the bottomless “squeeze” that reaches my soul and circles it with a sense of well-being.

So long as I have that hug, I have everything I need. I imagine a time in the not so distant future that this day will bring questions about the day that is tomorrow. I just hope that my own squeeze, my own embrace will be enough to reassure that all is well, that she is safe, that we have all we need.

So, now that I made myself cry at work, I’ll leave you with a funny thought because I cannot end this post that way. I just can’t.

We have been invited to join Steve and his boss for dinner tonight. I laughed, literally out loud, until I realized Steve was serious and his boss was not just being polite. He wants to meet us and it is TERRIFYING to consider the limitless apocalyptic possibilities that await us this evening at dinner. I brought snacks, amusements, a clean shirt. I am just praying for a well-behaved sweetheart to melt this guy’s heart completely. Maybe with some Baldwin and Red Sox mentions he’ll decide to move us back to BOS on the spot? Maybe I just need to focus on living through this dinner.

memory nuggets

Last spring I went to this amazing sale and with the help of my mother found so many adorable deals for spring/summer that the thought of possibly missing the next one made me sad. The fall sale is scheduled for September 26th, a date better known in my house as BC/Wake Forest @ home. I pouted about this a bit, sad that the morning sale and the afternoon (or will it be evening? Who knows?) game could not coexist happily. When we found out we were having a boy, I became even more upset that we’d be missing this chance not to replace our pink confections, but to refresh our newborn clothes with blues and browns.

I remembered Terri sharing that she consigns and volunteers to earn an earlier shopping opportunity. So I checked out the sale schedule and lo and behold, consigners can shop on Friday evening and bring a friend with a $5 donation to a local food pantry. I could do that! We could plan on leaving extra early! Terri offered to help get my cleaned, tagged, and pressed items to the sale location. We could do it all!!

Until I went into the attic and pulled down the boxes of the smallest clothes that had been lovingly tucked way. Until I was left with just one small box of keepers; things I cannot (at this time anyway) even consider parting with. Until I brought the pile of sell items down to the dining room, dropped them onto the floor, looked at Steve, “it was really, really hard,” and cried. Silly tears really. To his credit as supportive spouse to hormonal preggo he told me not to sell them if it makes me sad, but why keep everything? It isn’t practical and last time I checked; she won’t be suddenly reversing her sizes either. It isn’t reasonable and with an whole new baby coming there will be many more boxes of things to store away, more boxes of things to go through and edit, less room in the attic. I came upon many precious items. I was able to hold them in my hands, close my eyes, and absolutely see, even smell, my little baby Caroline with her hands up by her head – that sleepy smile on her sweet face. I kept the special things like that. I tucked them away, for now at least. In many ways, stumbling upon these little memory nuggets made me not yearn for her babyness, but instead gave me permission to celebrate the arrival of another baby. A baby who will have special things that will cause this very same reaction in his mother when she goes through his things in due time. We are so very lucky.

Exhibits A and B of items that made my heart melt.

I have been granted the power to look to the future with a house of both pink and blue, to cherished memories of not one, but two babydoms. It has ignited a flame in me to purge and prepare not just my home, but myself. The stacked boxes, hangers, and folded baby items ALL OVER THE HOUSE are making me a little crazy at the moment. Truth be told, I'm fearful of a time when I will be coordinating clothing management for 2 kids. It's not a pretty thought for an anal retentive.

The real quandary I find myself in is splitting my time at the sale between the 2T/3T girls and the baby boy sections. I have specific things I want to seek out for Caroline and absolutely no clue for baby Mac. What do you Moms of two or more do in these situations? Particularly if you are working with boys and girls?

And since we’re talking about Caroline’s babydom – she is/was one darn cute kid. When searching for a random post recently, I came across these videos and was blown away with how little she was, our sweet baby Caro.

March 2008, what she used to do at bedtime.

Bathtime gigglefest with Daddy. I love her reaction when she realizes I am filming her.

Just about a year old... My own favorite is the blanket.


It was a successful first tailgate adventure on Saturday to watch the Eagles embarrass my own NU Huskies. Though we all could have done with a bit cooler temperature, we all had a great time tailgating, playing with little friends, and watching the game. Caroline was a bit confused; “I see Baldwin at the Red Sox!” Steve and I continue to be amazed at the level of attention she maintains at the games, though deep into the third quarter she did turn to me and ask me to “go buh-byes.” Apparently the NU blood in her was beginning to feel the sting of the embarrassing score a bit too. Despite the heat, she took just one lengthy break in the day for ice cream with her friend Sammy, attending his very FIRST game. That break wasn't even for her, it was her pregnant Mommy who could not stop sweating and needed to get out of the sun. Though Caroline and I might not make every game this season, it is nice to know that she will really enjoy her BC football experience again this year.

The weather burped over night up in MA and we went from a scorching Saturday to a breezy fall day on Sunday. Sweatshirts and long pants were a common sight all along the beach and the sad revelation once again settled in that fall is just around the corner and coming fast. Though seriously Mother Nature, would it have been too much to switch those days up for us? Fall is for football, Summer is for beach. Get it straight!

We avoided even the thought of holiday traffic by leaving Sunday night at bedtime. A suddenly not tired Caroline stayed awake in the car well past 9 with absolutely no amusement beyond her own imagination. There was lots of pretend play with the new baby boy in her school classroom Mason. “Mommy, feed Mason. Mason hungry Mommy!”

When we encountered a few cars unfamiliar with the 95 to Pike transfer (and honestly aren’t we all sort of "unfamiliar" because it is just.that.kookoo) Steve had to lay on the horn to alert a confused motorist that he was right behind him and that he actually knew where he was going. I giggled to myself as I let him handle the urgent “what happened Daddy?” rapid fire questioning from the back seat. “That car didn’t know what they were doing, that car was going slow.” “Ohhh, that car was going SLLLLOOOWWW. That car go slloooowwww daddy?”

I have found that since I gained an aware toddler as my copilot I honk, throw my hands up, and say things like “Oh, CMON lady” far less often. It has been interesting to me that I seem to reserve my irritable driver side for the most blatant and infuriating things on the road. I am usually explaining, “that lady turned, but she didn’t let me know she was turning and she might have caused an accident. She needs to be more careful.” Suddenly, “that car was being a lost idiot going too slow for me” doesn’t seem all that bad does it? If I can’t explain it without it sounding dangerous or terrible, it isn’t worth grousing about because I know I am going to have to listen to questions about it for the next 5 minutes. Steve is a bit faster with the hand to horn contact than I am and it is usually very justified. He had never been asked to explain his actions to his daughter before and it was funny to listen to him have to calmly explain it all to her. If nothing else, her questions do make it seem like no big deal a lot quicker.

Once home safe and sound, we all enjoyed a restful day together on Monday. Steve accompanied us on our weekly grocery pilgrimage. He helped me cope with a grumpy toddler post nap. We got to spend some time together just "flopping" and we all needed it. We're all back to work and school today, a nice short week before we do it all again.

go eagles!

I missed the shot with the NU shirt, but with a halftime score of
38-0, that is really ok. She is having a blast!!!!


Spotted on the parkway, NY plates, seriously flying up the road.
Wanted to wave the NU shirt, but thought better.

btf: RE

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

February 23, 2009

I phoned my OB/GYN and explained my concerns that things don't seem to be happening the way they did back in '06. She referred me to a specialist; a reproductive endocrinologist. I found another practice to seek out a second opinion should that be necessary. My body just isn't kicking into gear on these meds the way it did way back when and I am frustrated. Without knowing what is happening internally, I am feeling incapable of persuing this. I am also pretty sick of taking the meds because the side effects are oh so lovely. Steve continues to be a positive support in all of this and is willing to do whatever I need him to do to get through this. A topic of recent conversation was that we wish we had started thinking about this sooner, but in retrospect we really were not ready before. Just like with everything else, once you make up your mind to move forward you want it to happen now now now. We've got big girl room bedding and furniture to purchase, a nursery to FINALLY finish painting, plans for the relocation of the laptop. We've also got a little girl who just the other day told me that she has a baby sister. I so wish I could have looked at her and told her that she did. Watching her interact so sweetly with Baby Tommy and talking with her non-stop about "Ann's house" and "Ann's baby" has really shown me that our Caroline would be an amazing big sister. The appointment is in a few weeks. I am hopeful that at that time I will have some answers or at least be on the road to finding them.

at school today

Every so often we hear funny things about Caroline from daycare. Our place doesn’t provide us with a sheet about “what happened today,” so most days we try to glean what we can from the calendar, the projects she brings home, and her hilarious self-report of the day which on some days includes things like, “I was mad at Bailey.I say NO Bailey, NO!”

Miss Katie, our afternoon caregiver, recently shared that Caroline often will get out some books and “read” to the younger children. She said they gather around her and she tells them to “pay attention!” Every third or fourth phrase actually goes along with the book, but the kids don’t seem to notice and Katie thinks it is adorable.

Most of what I am able to pick up from the day is told via play cellphone to Kiki on the ride home. Yesterday was “Hello? Hi Kiki. I have so much fun with Miss Katie today. Ok. Ok. Bye!” I reminded her about our weekend plans and encouraged her to “call Kiki back” and tell her. “Kiki I go see BALDWIN!! I see BALDWIN!!!”

Steve got a cute one from Michelle about a recent afternoon activity involving paper from a roll that the kids were playing with, rolling up into big balls and rolling themselves on top of. It came time to clean up because parents would be starting to come soon and our Caroline was in a huff, “NO SHEL! I having too much fun!” Michelle agreed and let them play for a few more minutes because HOW can you make a child stop having too much fun???

We made progress last night in operation accept baby brother. As is often the case with a precocious toddler, I have found that it isn’t so much what we talk about, but instead HOW we talk about it. Instead of simply asking her if she was having a baby brother, I asked her if she was going to teach her baby brother how to brush his teeth. I pointed to the sink and told her that when she was a new baby she took a bath there. Would she help Mommy give her brother a tubby in the sink? Would she wash his piggy toes? You know what? She totally bought in. All through bedtime stories last night she kept reaching for her feet, telling me that she was going to clean her brother’s piggies. It is almost like a bulb went off, “I get to do things for this baby, I get to boss him around!”


The ultrasound tech asked us if we wanted to know. I hesitated. I gulped. I looked at Steve. My full bladder and I finally answered “yes.” She noted my hesitation and asked it we were absolutely sure. “Yes, we’re sure. We’ve got a two-year old to prepare and we want to know.” So off we went, examining bones and brain, watching that little heartbeat on the screen. There was lots of kicking and some complaining on Mac’s part. Caroline had been annoyed at the intrusiveness of the ultrasound wand too.

We sat dazzled, me a bit teary at times, Steve searching the scan for a sign of gender identification (admit it, you TOTALLY were). A whole body side view at the end of our scan revealed to us all we needed to know. The tech positioned the image just so, leaving it for us to see and interpret ourselves, giving us a knowing glance. Steve and I looked at each other and practically shouted from the rooftop, “It’s a boy!”

It’s a baby brother. It’s a constantly running, send my blood pressure through the roof daredevil. It’s a snuggly momma’s boy. It’s a future BC Eagles Superfan, class of 2032. It’s an eat me out of house and home teenage eating maching. It’s a protective despite being younger brother to watch over Caroline and disapprove of her many suitors. It’s a rabid Sox fan. It’s a truck and dinosaur loving little boy. It’s a son. It’s a gift. It’s an amazing blessing. It’s a boy!

Now if only I could focus on work and stop browsing online at all the baby boy end of season sales. The McFam is excited to add some blue to their life! Caroline, well, she’ll get there. So far, she hasn’t been very open to the idea of a baby brother and more recently the existence of a new baby at all. My little shopper is sure to love helping her mommy select a few baby boy things for her new sibling. The boy she will adore and protect fiercely. The baby she will beg me to hold and snuggle. The infant she will shh and soothe. The boy who will become her best friend.

With each knit and pearl, my heart knew that this sweater would not be ours. Everytime I pondered whether or not the kicking being in my belly might someday be enveloped by all this pink, I knew in my gut that it would not. This cotton candy pink sweater was always meant to end up in another baby girl’s closet, to be worn in the chilly fall air and not the bitter winds of winter. After I sew on some cutie buttons, this one is making its way north to the little angel it was always meant to keep warm and snuggly.
(to those who already got wind of the news, how CONFUSED were YOU??? Gotcha!)


What's that? You've been refreshing all day in hopes that there might be some crazy big news or something over here? Really?

Seeing Macadamia this morning was astonishing - little femurs and tibias, a developed spine, kicking feet, even a thumbs up. Our tech was sweet and reported that everything appears normal and that feels absolutely wonderful.

We're taking today to share the news with our family, our close friends, and to relish in the secret for just a bit longer. I can say that I already feel in my heart that finding out this time around was 100% the right decision.

'til tomorrow.