cake & candles for Caroline's third

We feted our preschooler (!!) with funfetti, chips, meatballs and pulled pork! She was a bit shy with the candle blowing, but loved being the birthday girl.

Here are some photos and the most precious video of a little girl being sucked into the insanity of American Girl. We've been pouring over the catalog they kindly sent along at Christmas and did that ever payoff! Her baby's name is Katie, but she calls her "baby katie."

Photos by us & Kiki/kerry

mccashew photos

Kiki/kerry photos>


Video by Kiki

caroline opens her bitty baby

Killing time

While someone looks at the house!!!!

on having a son

My whole Mom experience has been filled with princesses, pink, and pretty things. I’ve watched a little girl twirl in “ballerinas” and point to her fancy shoes fishing for a compliment. I learned how to make pig tails with tufts of hair so tiny that it took immense concentration to actually loop the elastic around four times tight. I sought out purple and pink sippy cups and I’ve dug through bins of pastel socks at BJs. I decorated a big girl room that my ohmygodabouttobeTHREE year old daughter adores. I listen to the sounds of her playing quietly; bossing around her stuffed animals, teaching Ariel to swim, reading books under a blanket on her bed. I smile when she says things like “we make soup tonight mommy, I need to look in my book and see what we need.” (the recipe) I sit by quietly while she sings the ABC song solo and I join in when she asks me to be a little teapot. I tell her stories about Princess Caroline and her many adventures. I have dreams of recitals, goals during her chosen sport’s games, party dresses, sharing secrets over steamed vanilla milk at Starbucks. I’ve been reading Queen Bees and Wanna Bes and wow, I don’t think I will ever be prepared for 6th grade, but I still feel that I am prepared to take on the challenge of having a girl.

A boy. My first “this is going to be entirely different” moment, the first diaper change. How not to get sprayed in the face? How to appropriately clean the area when it involves lifting and pushing aside and ??? He’s working on a bit of a rash, which I feel completely responsible for because of my complete incompetence at changing him well and quickly initially. There was just so much to think about! His behind, his area, the circumcision?!? I find myself surrounded by blue things, puppies, sports themed attire, adorable masculine blankets and instead of shirking away from it, I am embracing it.

During a nearly three hour “I’m wide awake, entertain me!” stint the other night, I was not annoyed in the least to be up with him. I was sick, blowing my nose and sanitizing my hands on repeat. I would have much preferred to have been asleep, but he was up and just looking for attention and I happily gave it to him. I sang to him. I played with his fingers. I pumped his little feet. I told him stories. I shared my dreams and hopes for his life. Be healthy always. Be happy more than you are sad. Be anything you want to be. Be yourself.

I’ve already said how anxious I was to have a second and find the space in my heart for him to occupy. I can honestly say that I loved him instantly and recklessly, with my whole being. He does not feel like a stranger to me, but like someone I have always known and though I am post partum and emotional given all that is happening, I look at him and talk to him and tears of happiness just spring to my eyes because was there ever a more amazing creature than my little Connor? How can I be so lucky in this life to be blessed with this twofold? I’ll learn all about boys in time and I think I’m going to enjoy it just as much as I have loved learning all about the fairies of Pixie Hollow. Whatever it is that makes their eyes widen and their excitement overflow is where I want to be.

the one I never got to write

I had this silly post planned for the day Connor was born. Auntie K was down visiting Sunday into Monday and the ladies had left the toddler and the daddy at home while we scored big at the Gymboree end of season sale. That sale could be a separate post in and of itself because THE DEALS!!! We suspect that the other shoppers were staring at us as we laid our armloads of cuteness overload on the counter to be culled down to a more reasonable level, though it was challenging to show restraint with such amazing price points. Auntie k acted as expert fashion consultant as we more closely examined the outfits we had snagged for Caroline. Perhaps the adrenaline from our big score helped push me into labor?

Or perhaps it was the hibachi dinner we had that night.

We thought it would be different and fun. We thought Caroline would really enjoy the “show” aspect of it. Right off the bat someone from another table was celebrating their birthday which meant that they needed to take this immense dragon head off the wall, make it dance, and place it on the birthday boy’s head ALL while banging the loudest GONG you have ever heard in your life about 15 times too many. For the rest of the meal, “Mommy, I no wear the dragon. I no like him.” That dragon head was directly behind her 50 feet away and yet she could not get the image of the scary dragon out of her head. Every two seconds, “no dragon, mommy.”

Our hibachi chef arrived and immediately shouted “SAKE TIME!” and attempted to squirt sake directly into my mouth. “I’m pregnant!” I shouted with my hand frantically waving the sake bottle away from my face. I think it was then that he labeled me “no fun.” Steve and Kerry rocked the sake time and definitely made up for my lack of participation. Next came flying zucchini. He tried to engage Caroline and flipped piece after piece directly into her forehead while she sat there, puss faced, unmoving, and clearly unimpressed.

Caroline watched bits and pieces of the show part of the meal and ate lots and lots of noodles. Our stranger dinner companions on the other end of the grill were very impressed with the way she twirled her noodles around her fork. I ate like it was my last meal, which is exactly what I did the night before I had Caroline. Another missed clue?

After dinner Kerry took her over to the other side of the restaurant and she enjoyed watching another chef set his onion volcano ablaze. Perhaps it was because she had already seen it that she was enjoying the second show more, or perhaps it was because it was at a nice safe distance. It didn't hurt that from that vantage point she could also keep a very close eye on the dragon.

Later she would tell us “that man threw food at my head” and that well, that made it all worthwhile.

twists and turns

I’ve been lax in sharing, mostly because we’ve been so busy, but this photo should explain why things have been extra chaotic around here.



Last Friday at 4:30PM Steve took a deep breath, retreated to the basement where his children’s screams would at least be muffled, and took a conference call with two higher ups out of the Boston office. They offered him a position he had interviewed for the previous Friday and he came back upstairs to tell me, “we’re moving.” We stared at each other slack-jawed for a few moments before he walked into the hall to call his parents who were anxiously awaiting the results of the call. I on the other hand, sat between my two children, looking back and forth between them, feeling the weight of the world suddenly on my shoulders and cried tears of absolute relief and happiness. It’s no secret we want to be back up in Boston, but in characteristically McCashew style all poop hits the fan at once. This poop however smells like roses and honey.

So we’re moving. We’ve got four weeks to pack up our life, our crazy insane with a newborn biscuit life, before Steve is expected to be up in Boston full-time. I’ve had a few less than glamorous moments with something we all know as the ugly cry. It doesn’t help at all when you receive news like this when you are a week post partum, completely engorged, and prone to hysterical crying even without the hormones. It has just been incredibly overwhelming and in one of those tearful moments my daughter, my beautiful empathetic lovely little girl, comforted me. “It’s ok Mommy, I here, shhh, it’s ok. Wipe your tears away.” She’s wonderful. We are wonderful. We will get through this. The other side of this is going to be so great.


Colleen and Greg were down to visit with us over the weekend and they completely stepped up and helped get anything that was not tied down packed up in a box, labeled, and stacked in the garage. She helped me cull down Caroline’s toys, which I would have struggled with on my own not wanting to deprive my daughter of one single thing during this crazy transition. Caroline could have cared LESS that we were packing up her treasured belongings because it meant she was going to Boston, something she asks us about everyday ten times a day. “We go to Boston soon?” “We go see the band and get high fives?” She thinks Boston is BC and won’t she be disappointed when Baldwin isn’t there waiting to help her move into her new digs as soon as she arrives? Greg handled both kids while the rest of us scurried around with newsprint and packing tape. My parents and brother arrived amid the chaos and helped with some little repairs and instigated a painting operation that I at first was adamantly against, but in retrospect am so thankful for. It was in a word a whirlwind.


Sunday brought cleaning and organizing and stuffing things into now empty drawers and cabinets in preparation for the realtor to come see the house, help us price it, and put it on the market. She came Monday at 12:30 and I have NEVER seen the house as clean as it STILL is after our massive efforts. In fact, I would buy this house again seeing it in its pristine state and that is saying a lot coming from a woman who has had no difficulty finding every single thing wrong with this place. It’s a good house, it just needs the right family and hopefully they make themselves known relatively soon.


Monday I was D-O-N-E. I felt like I had gone backwards in my recovery by 3 days, I had no energy and I felt terrible. In retrospect, it was probably my body giving itself over to the cold that has now infiltrated my immune system, which is so massively wonderful that it makes me want to scream. The baby is stuffy and not waking up to eat and I just feel a tired piece of rubber. It’s wonderful to be sick when you are nursing and cannot take anything. I suppose that is what happens when you are exposed to sickness, averaging 4 hours of sleep a night, and frantically cleaning and packing during most free moments.


So today I am sitting it out. Connor and I are going to work on feeling better. I’m no good to anyone when I am sick mostly because I am also incredibly needy and not very nice to be around.


That’s my boy waking up to eat – 3.5 hours from his last meal. More reports of the crazy to come.

dreamy contented sleep smiles

Today is Connor’s official due date is today and yet somehow against all odds he is 6 days old. I had completely given myself over to the fact that he would not arrive even one moment before his due date and I actually thought he would be a week late like his big sister. Once we hit term, I didn’t hold myself back from doing anything because if it brought on labor – OH WELL. So I stripped beds, did countless loads of laundry, organized like a fiend, vacuumed almost daily. I did everything I had been doing with one very big exception; work. My OB practice was not comfortable with me returning to work and really wanted me to remain at home resting for the duration of my pregnancy. It didn’t really make sense for me to go back after being out for a month either because I could have delivered at anytime and it would have been confusing for my clients; “Kerri’s back. Just kidding.”

So how did he arrive?

I woke up on Connor’s birthday feeling a little crampy, slightly uncomfortable, but nothing that struck me as particularly different or requiring any real attention. I slept amazingly well the night before, waking at 5am to those crampy sensations and sleeping on and off until 7. I told Steve I was feeling a little weird, but it didn’t seem like anything to worry about and sent him on his way to work fully expecting to see him again at 5pm. I ate some breakfast, had a glass of juice and suddenly something just felt odd. I suppose I can’t really tell this story without oversharing a bit that I discovered some blood and had a mini freak out. Do you know what the best part of my morning was that day? That Steve’s sister Auntie k happened to be in town visiting. I relayed my news to her, she smiled so widely, and I called the doctor to share what was happening and see what to do next. The bleeding slowed between the time I called and they called me back, but by the time Steve made it home it had started again. The office suggested I come in and get checked. I firmly believed this was very early labor. He’d check me, tell me when to call back, and we’d wait it out at home for a few days. Steve absolutely thought we were going to the hospital. We had great support here in town that I felt so comfortable leaving Caroline with should we have had to bolt to the hospital at a moment’s notice, but there was something so easy about kissing her goodbye at home in auntie’s care. There was no disruption to her day, no confusion aout where Mommy and Daddy were going, no tears. It was in fact quite the opposite; she was pretty stoked to see us go so she could have auntie all to herself.

At the office the doctor did an exam and declared that I was “3, no 4cm” and we should get ourselves to the hospital because we were having a baby. I was slightly teary, a lot overwhelmed and that might sound strange considering we have literally been waiting for Connor to arrive since before Christmas. I think it just seemed so impossible after all we had been through that it was finally happening, that he was coming, that he was big and strong and we were going to finally, FINALLY, meet him. On the way to the hospital I kept telling Steve, “I can’t believe this is happening.” His reply, “You are 39 weeks pregnant, what about this seems so unbelievable?” He was right, but as we crossed the footbridge from the parking garage to the hospital lobby I was overcome and had to stop for a moment to catch myself. I was scared. I was 4cm along and scared.

I got all comfy in my labor room, got an IV going, answered the million admission questions, and still felt like this was impossible. I did not even know the actual date, the date that would become my son’s birthday. The nurse who greeted us was the very same nurse who delivered Caroline. This brought me instant calm because not only was she one heck of a nurse, but she also had been a support group member of mine when I worked at Cancercare. I remember in ‘07 when she greeted me the morning on February 4th and asked me if I would be comfortable with her being my nurse. Having her there for number two was like a present with a big shiny bow. It was like having an old friend there watching out for me and the hug I got as she passed me off to recovery a few hours later was so very sincere. Thank you, Vicki.

I was not calm until there was “a plan” and the OB had a great plan. I think what I was mostly afraid of that I would go along relatively pain free and then WHAM feel like I got hit by a truck when the pain finally kicked in at some ridiculous point in labor when drugs would no longer be an option. I wanted drugs. Her plan: two bags of fluid, an epidural, break my water, and we’d have a baby by the end of the day. I had a slight vasovagal reaction to my first epidural, but they were more than prepared. The anesthesia team stayed close. I bottomed a bit, which is to say my blood pressure went to a more normal level, and as quickly as the lightheadedness came it was gone and I was left with fuzzy feeling legs. The doctor checked me again and I was 4 or 5cm dilated. I was feeling the contractions, but they were not painful, just uncomfortable. I breathed through them with little focus. It was when she broke my water that I looked at Steve and said, “this is going to go fast.” With Caroline that had been the turning point. It was 4 hours from water break to first push. I though perhaps it might be half as long this time. I tried to relax and let my body do the work in the comforting lull of my epidural. It was shortly after 1pm.

We watched Ina make homemade granola bars and when Sandra Lee came on I reached to change the channel only to suddenly not feel all that interested in the television because yikes, that was a whole lotta pressure. I landed on classical music station and left it there. It became much more uncomfortable and I looked to Steve for support, telling him that things were changing and they were changing fast. He watched the monitors and we realized not long thereafter that when I was feeling pressure there were no contractions. In fact, that pressure was kind of constant. We talked about when to call the nurse, should we call the nurse? It was too soon for all this, but the pressure feeling – you just don’t forget it. This was it and I knew it. We waited for one more blood pressure check to go off on the cuff and I buzzed Vicki in. She called the OB who announced I was ready to go and I could push if I wanted to. So we did a practice push to see how far down the baby had moved on the next contraction and her immediate response was “OK, NO more pushing.” It was barely 2pm.

I breathed through several more contractions while they speed readied the room and themselves for Connor’s arrival and at 2:20 I started pushing. Four rounds of pushing later, there he was in the OB’s arms, ashen, shell shocked from the speed of it all she suspected. 2:34PM. They got him to the warmer and he started crying… then peeing like a fountain of baby boy goodness. He was here and I felt amazing.

I waited all day to not feel so good and yet, that feeling never came. I was full of such happiness, such adoration for my little boy, such love for my husband and such joy at watching my little girl hold her baby brother in her arms declaring to all that “he’s waking up!”

So how are we doing? We could not be better. He’s been giving us a bit of a run for our money overnights – wanting more to be held and snuggled than inconsolable. This time around we’re feeling more confident and we are just enjoying every bit of time we get to spend with this tiny little boy. I wrote in ’07 that it felt like Caroline had always been with us and that is exactly how I feel about Connor. Whether our family is complete remains to be seen, though after his birth I did look at Steve and declare – “we could so do this again!” That is honest to God how energized I felt. What we do know is that right now our family of four is pretty close to perfection.

Though Mac/Con/Con Man/Mr. Serious continues to spend most of his time lazing in his Moses basket, we’re seeing glimpses of alertness and his simple gazes take my breath away. I worried like any mother that there would be no way I could ever love another little person as much as I love Caroline. I worried that I would feel immense guilt that I had taken away my little princess’ numero uno status. Instead my heart overflows watching them together, seeing her love and excitement gushing over “baby brother,” and it feels pretty awesome to be a part of something so simple and wonderful.

More to come. The newest chapter is literally just beginning and there is an amazing twist just because we like to keep things super interesting.

Caroline meets Connor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVwzSeRzNLk

wide awake

Four hours of sleep in a row will do that to you. Amen.

familiar

Looks like baby brother is a blanket burrower like his big sister.

Look daddy, his eyes are open

Followed by
"look, I holding him"
"look, he hold my finger"
And my personal favorite "look!"

First Moments in Photos

Connor Month 1

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life

and I'm truly honest to GOD feeling good?!?

Our little prince has arrived. Connor, whose name appopriately means strong-willed, arrived yesterday at 2:34pm, 7lbs 8oz and 21 inches long, and surprising the heck out of his mother.

Full story details to follow. There are lots of photos floating around which we'll get up for one and all to see once we get home later this week. For now we're focusing on the kidS (!), breaking it to our son that he is destined to a lifetime of disappointment as the world's newest Sox fan, and trying to figure out how exactly to allow other people to hold him while Caroline is in the room. She's quite a baby hog.

Thanks for all the facebook messages, texts, emails, calls, and well wishes. We feel incredibly loved and supported, especially given the challenges that arose at the tail end of this pregnancy. Connor held tight through the holidays, allowed us all to enjoy the wedding, waited for his aunt and new uncle to return from their honeymoon and decided to throw caution to the wind and make his big entrance while auntie k happened to be visiting. Connor. You are one amazing little boy already and we are so excited to see all the things you will do!

Her new favorite toy

Wait until she sees what it's for - it will blow her mind!

first ever cone

"I painting a dragon"

The first paint jar to go empty: brown. I improvised and mixed what wS
left with white to make "light brown" and she was dazzled.

because it has been awhile

Here is the belly at 38 weeks and 3 days.

check

I just spent almost 30 minutes wrestling with the infant car seat. Always a task master, I decided to tackle this while on hold with the insurance company to discuss questions regarding the “explanation of benefits” from my recent hospital stay. I loathe those EOBs don’t you? I hate when they list things generally and make you scratch your head wondering WHAT is this pharmacy charge for $1.14? There are some BIG issues with this hospital stay already in that the insurer and the hospital disagree on how to categorize my stay; observation or inpatient admission. I was most perplexed by the 10-minute ultrasound I had the morning after I was admitted that was listed as if it happened three separate times. And wow, that is really boring information to share, so onto the car seat wrestling match which I know isn’t all that more interesting, but what can I say… things aren’t too exciting around here lately.

It started with the Bundle Me. Ever since I brought home that snazzy Snap ‘N Go Caroline has been pushing the infant car seat around the house with her baby doll strapped in. She keeps a blanket in the basket to cover her when she is cold and moves the hood back and forth with expert maternal precision. I promised Steve the stroller would be folded flat and in the garage by the time he got home today, but how can I possibly take this novelty from my budding mommy? So with phone in hand, member ID entered into the system, hold music playing, I grabbed a hold of the fleecey warm Bundle Me and decided that I would just install it into the seat while I waited for what’s his name to retrieve my benefits information. I’m not just sitting here eating bon bons.

That’s when I realized that we had put this thing up in the attic in early 2008 and had not looked back. The straps were on the highest setting. The head support grimy and discolored and already in the washing machine. Three years ago I recall being completely perplexed by this seat. Changing the straps from one setting to the other the first time almost brought on a panic attack of epic proportions because my brain does not work in a mechanical way. I need directions and pictures and someone telling me I am doing it correctly to get through any installation or IKEA assembly.

I absolutely shocked myself by calmly moving the straps to the holes reserved for the tiniest of humans. Even when the straps ended up completely tangled and needed to be rethreaded after the Bundle Me was practically installed and ready to go, I had no issue.

Did I mention that what’s his name was still looking up my information?

Nearly thirty minutes later and after what’s his name had finally gotten back to me that all three of those ultrasounds were separate charges within the same ultrasound, I completed the Bundle Me installation and reattached the seat to the stroller frame. This second time around mom gig, it’s definitely different. Sure, it still took my thirty minutes, but I didn’t break a sweat. I wasn’t overwhelmed and we will avoid the crazy “how do we do this again?” discussion in the hospital when it comes time to pack Mac into his seat and drive him home. Home.

As of today, we’ve been prepping hard core for Macadamia’s arrival for exactly one month. A month ago I thought I was going to be having a pre-Christmas baby complete with extended NICU stay. A month ago I truly believed I would miss seeing Colleen and Greg dance their first dance. A month ago I woke up hoping it was all a bad dream and found myself attached to an IV pole and dumping pee into a container on ice. A month ago I would have given anything to make it to this day – to this week – and here we are. It’s been a hard month for us. There was a lot of running around like crazy people, many dust bunnies I tried to ignore but wasn’t able to, and there were silent prayers and tears that we would get through this storm and welcome our son safely into this world. He hasn’t made his debut yet, there is still much to be done to get him here physically (though I try NOT to think about labor), but we are so much more keenly aware of how lucky we are and how amazing life with him is going to be.

I have my weekly non-stress test this afternoon. I’m looking forward to hearing Macadamia’s galloping heart beat, even if I cannot feel it through his chest with my own hand just yet.

and to think I almost had to give up chocolate

After a week and a half of wiping the wee one’s drippy nose, getting coughed at in my face by her sweet but sick breath, and sharing intensely close quarters with a sick child who loves to snuggle close when she’s feeling under the weather, it has finally happened. Steve climbed into bed last night complaining that his nose was running non-stop and my usual wake up at 4:30AM was complicated by a sore throat (my telltale getting sick sign) and a clogged up nose that no matter how hard I tried to avoid thinking about kept me up until, well, it just plain kept me up. It’s 6:30 and I am already downstairs drinking OJ and surfing the web. A week and a half with a sick kid, a single night with a sick husband, BUT thank God I won’t have to be giving up chocolate because seriously, who does that?

“Sick, sick, sick little girl up since 2am. I may need toothpicks to keep my eyes open today. No fever- just a terrible cough and a non-stop drippy nose. If I somehow escape this illness myself I promise to never eat chocolate again.”

January 5th at 8:10AM via Facebook for iPhone

Caroline is back at school today and my plans already include loungewear, a mid morning shower, and some quality time with my body pillow in bed. To get this far and have to deal with a cold on top of everything else just seems like cruel terrible punishment doesn’t it? So to whom exactly do I lodge my formal complaint? I have a strongly worded letter for SOMEONE about the complete injustice.

things that happened today

Caroline willingly exited her pajamas when I let her pick her own clothes out. Shockingly her choice was a tunic and leggings or as they are better known around these parts; a ballerina. She not only exited her pjs, but also completely dressed herself for the day INCLUDING that darn pull up.

I left her unsupervised for about 2 minutes while I “put my eyeballs in” (what I tell her I am doing when I put in my contacts and seeing it written, it sounds pretty scary!) and found her on the floor of our bedroom, makeup bag next to her, blush brush in hand, opened blush in the other, GIDDILY applying blush to her cheeks. Closer inspection revealed that she had also opened the mascara tube and had applied a long streak of black to her left temple.

Scored a used Snap ‘N Go in excellent condition at my consignment store for just $20.00. Cleaned it up, tried it with the car seat and I am supremely impressed with what a breeze my daycare drop off/pick ups will be with Little Man Mac in tow.

For excellent behavior at the consignment store we went and played trains at the local Barnes and Noble, until another little girl came to play at the train table with her mother and Caro suddenly became SHY. The mother of the other little girl, aged 2.5, stated that she could not wait for her to turn 3 because she anticipates it being so much easier. I laughed out loud.

I woke up at 4am due to an odd pressure/tightening/whatthehell in my abdomen. After multiple bathroom trips made in an attempt to better assess the situation I finally fell back asleep around 6. Could have been heartburn, indigestion, or contractions. It didn’t happen again all day, until I snuggled with Caroline on the couch post nap and suddenly felt the same sensation. I’m not that concerned, just curious.

newborn tendencies

He who shall not be named has not officially arrived, but judging by the week we’ve had you’d think there is a newborn living in this house. Our girl’s croup and cold/cough when we returned home on Sunday had us back into the ol’ taking turns routine at all hours of the night. There were late night stoop walks wrapped in blankets and wearing UGGS with pjs. This time around when I asked Caroline to “take a deep breath” she was able to oblige and breathe in that frigid cold night air deeply into her lungs. We got through almost an entire week of multiple wake ups that left Steve and I both exhausted and headed for our bed hours before our regular bedtime.

Bedtime last night brought complaints that “my belly hurt” and led to sporadic cries of agony mixed with complete contentment watching some Mickey. Caroline snuggled into bed with some coaxing that we chalked up to being sick and developing some bad habits this week. There was quiet over the monitor save for the sounds of her U2 Lullaby CD. An hour into “The Taking of Pelham 123” came the anguished heartbreaking cries. We snuggled her, we comforted her, we took her to the potty countless times, she complained about her belly, there were so many tears. We looked at each other and wondered if this was an act of manipulation, if it was gas, it some internal organ was about to bust through her skin. She went back and forth between us asking to be held, to lay down, to be held again. Steve googled. I tweeted. He went to the pharmacy for mylicon and gripe water – hello NEWBORN much? I did my best to comfort her in his absence and found myself overwhelmed with trying to hold her in my arms, my lap, against my chest with a watermelon in my belly. I wanted desperately to comfort Caroline while also assuring the safety of Macadamia. It was a no win and I felt completely helpless to do anything but stroke her precious curls, tap her bum repeatedly, tell her princess caroline stories, and assure her that Daddy would be home soon and she would feel better.

The mylicon worked. Steve said he could see her face change from agony to relief suddenly and before long she agreed to lay down in her bed and boom, she was out. It was truly like having a new baby, wondering what the heck the baby wants/needs and feeling completely powerless. I think anyone who’s ever been in that position can attest that there is no worse feeling as a parent than not being able to make things better. Caroline has certainly provided us with an accurate reminder of the life we have ahead of us for the next few months.

Today the gas is gone. Our Caroline is back. Her nose is drying up and the lingering cough is finally starting to go away. Steve’s watching the Playoffs and I’ll be painting the trim in Mr. Macadamia’s nursery. We’ve been home all weekend, without a single plan or any direction whatsoever and that feels pretty darn good. It has been restful, restorative even, and while we imagined nearly a month ago that there would be four of us here this weekend – it’s been pretty good to have this time just us three.

limbo continues

Just one quick wake up call at 2AM last night. I walked into Caroline’s room to find her on her tummy, tush in the air, thumb in mouth, hacking up a lung. I got her into a more upright position resting her head on her pillow and climbed into bed next to her snuggling my girl close. She reached instinctively for my belly and I shh’d her gently, wiping her curls back from her face. Within a few moments she was already back asleep and I was on my way back to bed where I slept soundly until the alarm went off at 6:45. The silver lining of the middle of the night wake up cough call is that I am able to empty my pregnant bladder at 2AM and stay asleep through the dreaded 4-6AM ceiling stare.

Now that I have launched myself into “what can I do around here to get labor going,” it suddenly occurred to me that I am feeling ill-prepared for the labor portion of bringing this baby into the world. Having done this once before I am not finding myself as anxious about what it will the experience will be like; it isn’t entirely unknown. I never went into labor on my own last time, so there is a little question mark hanging over our heads on that front. We are a bit concerned about what might happen with a middle of the night emergency, but we’ve planned as best we possibly can and I feel confident that I could labor overnight at home with support from Steve… so long as my water does not break. So yeah, I guess I need to review some coping methods for early labor.

We are just in this odd place; confident that our estimated 6.25 pound son is strong enough to make his entrance, more ready than ever to finally meet him, and yet feeling completely overwhelmed still when we try to envision the change that his presence in our life will bring. There is an excited nervous energy in the house and even Caroline is feeling it. Each time we walk up or down the stairs she points to “baby brother’s room.” She enjoys detailing exactly how she plans on helping us with the new baby; feeding him with a bottle, holding him all by herself, keeping him warm in blankets, holding his hand when he is sad. No doubt there will be lots of jealousy, but I know Caroline is going to be an amazing big sister from the very start.

silence

The silence in the house today is deafening. Once we hit the holiday stride either Steve or Caroline or both of them have been home with me each day. With just one middle of the night wake up and a much happier little girl this morning who slept past 7am, we bit the bullet and sent her to school if even just for awhile. Mommy needed a nap and badly. So now I am sitting downstairs with lunch in front of me and the silence, it just sounds WRONG.

I spoke to my supervisor this morning and gotten some work that I should be able to do without much extra effort from home. I'm going to be checking in with her regularly for referrals and things that I can do via phone from the house and there is some mystery report that the granting agency is looking for that I should be able to squeeze a day's work out of. So there's that. It is hard to imagine that we thought we would have a baby before Christmas and now here we are. Macadamia is already more stubborn than his sister and until this experience I never thought that would be possible!

I've been dreaming about the boy, when I've been asleep long enough to dream about him. He's adorable of course, wearing blue newborn sized clothing and little hats. He's snuggling down deep into blankets the way his sister used to. I wake from these dreams content, smiling, and ready to meet him.

sicker

Caroline woke up from her nap looking worse than ever. Steve and I both agree that this is the worst cold/cough she's ever had. She's like her mama; wants to be snuggled, coddled, taken care of and she is sporting what my father used to refer to as "sick eyes." Her cheeks are flushed and her fever is back up over 100. Her mood is good, her listening abilities downright suck, but I'm overlooking it as best as I can. School is an uncertainty tomorrow at this point, as is our family's ability to sleep through the night. I limited her nap to two hours this afternoon and I'm hoping we'll all be out cold by 8:30. Might be a pipe dream, but we like to dream big around these parts. I'd take a photo of the sadness, but it might make too many people cry because our poor girl looks downright miz.

vasovagal

Caroline is home from school today because for whatever reason we tend to lean to the responsible side of parenting when it comes to sending her to school sick. She was up at 2 and then practically the rest of the night with a few blips of rest tossed in just to toy with us. I took her downstairs at 4 to watch a movie to let Steve sleep and to catch a snooze myself while Ariel rescued Eric, but it was hard to to with half my preggo butt hanging off the couch in the only comfortable position for my non-stop coughing drippy nosed toddler. We went back upstairs around 6:15 and the tv went on in an attempt to steal an hour of sleep. She ended up passing out at some point, but never got deep enough to stay down past 7:30. So it's been her and me today at home and her energy and my complete lack thereof have pushed my buttons more times than I care to share. Seems that the sass comes out when the sleep is evasive and well, I don't like the sass.

Steve met Caroline and I at the doctor for the ultrasound and NST. Steve offered to switch places with me at home, but he missed the last couple ultrasounds they did in the hospital. I knew that this was probably the last glimpse we'd have of Baby Mac before his arrival and I wanted him there if he could be. I got Caroline dressed and excited about seeing her baby brother on the tv at the doctor, but I've hardly had a moment to eat, drink, take my bp, or do anything today that does not involve wiping a nose, a butt, or consoling a toddler after the upteenth meltdown of the hour for ridiculous things like the light being on, the light being off, her cup being out of reach, her not being able to find the baby doll's bottle, or any number of utterly ridiculous things that all told me she was exhausted and refusing to sleep.

No sooner than I lay down on the table for the ultrasound did I start to feel lightheaded. I asked to be propped up a bit more, but I looked at Steve and he knew I wasn't ok. So onto my left side I went and the voices returned to their proper places and not miles away. I was embarassed and also desperate to catch sight of my little man, so when I felt better I went back to my back. That didn't last too long though and before long I was back on my side and Steve was suddenly on his knees as white as a sheet.

A perfect storm of crap, that's what this is. He hadn't eaten lunch, he had been up all night with us, he was watching his wife go vasovacal twice, so yeah... poor Steve. Caroline looked back and forth from mom to dad asking us each if we were ok, trying to hug a profusely sweating Daddy, telling mommy to sit down. Poor Steve. What a lovely month we've had and I can't even talk yet about the email my supervisor sent just before Christmas alerting the staff that I was starting my maternity leave early and would return "late February or March" which a. we never discussed and b. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh that's a good one.

The OB made an appointment for Steve just in case at his primary and we went down the hall for the non-stress test, which went fine especially considering how stressful the appointment had been. Steve got his color back slowly and his hands returned to their nuclear temperature. We did leave with two photos of Macadamia, but I am so sad that I didn't get to enjoy seeing him moving around in there, waving, being an adorable fetus.

While we were at Steve's appointment, the defiant exhausted toddler refused to listen pushing my patience to new lengths and added in an insulting poop at just the right moment refusing all offers to take her to the bathroom. I had planned on getting her a milkshake from Mickey D's on the way home because again, milk=bad for cough, but she needs the calories. I had to bribe her with paint this morning to get her to eat 4 bites of oatmeal. So I took away our trip for milkshakes and even convinced myself that the 7 diapers in the house will last through tomorrow somehow because there was no way I could take another single moment with her in public. Her final defiant "No!" when I told her to go upstairs for a diaper change when we arrived home sent me into a tailspin that I am obviously not proud of, but the end result is that she is FINALLY sleeping, something she outright refused all morning long. I'd nap, but I'm afraid of a repeat 3+ hour nap today that kept her awake until almost 10:30 last night. 10:30!

So she's sleeping, I'm done seething, and we cannot wait for this month to be over, which is so tragic considering the excitement awaiting us at the end of the month. There is just an ominous "what else can go wrong, because it will" feeling in the house. I'm sure a full night's sleep will do us all a world of good - hoping that comes sooner than later.

like madre, like chica

Even when she clearly feels like utter crap she cannot help but compulsively clean the marker off her little table. She's been wearing those pjs since we got home from the doctor this morning around 10:30. For the record her mother changed back into loungewear too. It was a lazy, whiney, thumbsucking, napping kind of day. Her nose is currently running non-stop and the awful sounding cough continues on, though lower in frequency if not in dramatics of the "oh my god she sounds AWFUL"variety. Her spirits are higher than they have been all day and she has been floating from toy to toy with a speed we can barely keep up with. Her throat must hurt because the only thing she has wanted to eat all day is yogurt (yeah, I know. Milk with junky cough not a good idea, but nutrition superceeds my commitment to avoid dairy right now). Even the earlier twittered delish ICE CREAM I offered with the sneaky dose of steroids was given the "no thanks." Getting her to eat a single spoonful was pure toture, but GOD HELP ME, she was eating that entire spoon with all its blue "sprinkles!"

We're hoping for a not too late bedtime and the promise of an uninterrupted restful sleep for all three of us sounds like heaven.

I've got an ultrasound and a NST tomorrow afternoon back to back. It's amazing the difference a week makes. Today alone I cleaned the bathroom, got my daughter out in the slushy aftermath to go to the pediatrician, and vacuumed the downstairs. Now that the holidays have come and gone and the Soups are joined for a lifetime - yeah, I am beyond ready to meet this troublesome boy and cover his face with kisses for allowing us to be a family for the holidays and present at the most important day in his aunt and uncle's lives to date! So what I said before little man, I'm taking it all back, GET A MOVE ON!

Mrs. Soup

It was an amazing weekend, with very little sleep for our own little McFam ladies due to an enormous amount of excitement and one persistent little Macadamia who was fully committed to making it to the wedding. Though a winter wonderland was in effect, it did not damper the mood or stifle the happy couple's obvious affection.

Every detail had been considered. The bride was perfection in her ivory confection. There were tears of joy and many, many laughs. It was more than wonderful, it was perfect.

Here's some highlights of Auntie C and Hokie's wedding weekend, though these don't even hold a candle to the gorgeous professional photos we've already seen! as in the photos they had taken YESTERDAY!!!!