Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Best Event: Our family's trip to Maui
Best Movie: SATC: 2 - ok it really wasn't the 'best' but it certainly was the best movie 'event'

Best Over-Played Song: The Hot Dog Song (at the end of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)

Best Book: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Best New-ity of 2010: Mae. :) She'll make her public debut in 2011, but she's been new and very much a part of our lives in 2010.

Most Shocking News of 2010: Baby M has cancer! :( and Twins for Blana with different birth dates!

MW's Word of the Year: Austerity
Jo's Word of the Year: Vomit - yah between pregnancy and Ace's battle with C. Diff... we've had quite the year surrounded in it.

Events of 2010 in no particular order:
1. Annoucing our pregnancy to the family2. Pregnancy with Mae
3. Disneyland Trips!!
4. Loving Husband gone for six weeks :(
5. Long Visit to Cali
6. Ace's C. Diff Illness
7. Babies!! Kyler, Avery, Ethan, Kaylee, Haly, Landon
8. Ace achieving sleeping through the night!
9. Surprising Carrie at her baby shower!
10. Swimming Lessons

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ace's 2010

2010 has been quite the year for our family and especially Ace. We went from a co-sleeping family to adults only again in our bed. We went from a 20 word talker to a 10-12 sentence opinionated talker. We went from have a walker to a runner, climber, jumper, daredevil.

It was a year of growing up for Ace. He has accomplished so many things in this past year and it has been a joy to experience all of them. As I mention many many times - he is a kind and sweet spirited boy - who loves others and isn't a selfish kid. I truly hope that his kind heart continues as he gets older, sister arrives, and he continues to grow and flourish into his third year of life. 2011 certainly won't be boring for him or us!

So how has Ace's year been? Well let's hit the major areas:

I think out of everything sleep has been our greatest challenge - one area that is still not mastered but is leaps and bounds beyond where we started 2010. On January 2nd we converted his crib to the toddler bed. From this point forward he went to sleep in his own bed at night. Usually with mom nursing him to sleep. Ace never slept for longer than 4(ish) hours at a time and always came into our bed after that first waking. We had some early success after transitioning him to the toddler bed... and some set backs as well. The night he slept for an epic 11 hours with only one waking was a party moment for us! Ace weened from nighttime breastfeeding around March and by mid March experienced a (late! at 19 months) first: he slept through the night! Yipee!

From March-September sleeping went in waves, he had pockets of regression and would wake and come to our bed at 1am, other times he'd sleep till nearly 4am and then come to our bed. Sleeping through the night was a RARE activity and only did a handful of times over the next six months. In September, Ace got a new bed that had magical powers helped him sleep better. Within the first few days of this new bed he was sleeping longer and even through the night a few times. It was then that I decided to create an incentive program to continue this excellent trend. So in late October, Operation Stickers was introduced. For every night that he slept through the night and/or stayed in his OWN bed (even if I had to go in and lay with him for a few minutes) he got a sticker on his calendar the next morning. From the moment we started the sticker program - with only 3 exceptions (one of which was him getting sick) he stayed all night in his bed. While sleeping thru the night is still a hit or miss wonder - if he does wake up it isn't a very long drawn out ordeal - it's a moment or two to go in and reassure him he's safe and to go back to sleep. I hope in 2011 that we will be fully sleeping through the night on a regular basis!



In the beginning of 2010 Ace had about 20 words that he was working with... and in fact it was in his 19th month that he uttered his first phrase that he enjoyed using regularly with enthusiasm! "I did it!" Whether he was feeding the cats or just turning the page in a book - he was excited to say it. Words began to pour out of his rapidly after that. Having read to Ace since he was still in the womb, he has always had a natural love for books and so always wants to read more and more stories throughout the day. He also loves to look at pictures on the laptop and his memory is chalked full of past things we've told him, he's heard, or observed - and they flow from him at any moment he can seem to connect them to something we're in the middle of doing.
Talking
A lot of times Loving Husband and I will look at one another and say 'we're in trouble!' :) Ace isn't quite ready to read books, or even terribly interested in learning his letters. However, he is extremely good at repeating after us when we read a book to him and has a good foundation for pattern matching in general, so I think reading will be on an early horizon for him in 2011. Ace also has been trying out his chops with singing. It's adorable to hear him sing a beat behind us (or even with us) 'Jesus Loves Me' or around Christmas time 'Jingle Bells' - we occasionally will hear him singing to himself - and he also enjoys making up songs. I love it.


Illness

Ace like all kids had his rounds with colds and flues in 2010. In March he experienced the flu for the first time - it was an all day affair and a relatively unhappy boy. However, he rebounded from that just fine. In the spring he had a runny nose or two, nothing to sneeze (ha!) over and then summer rolled around. Right as Ace turned 23 months old, he had another night with vomit. We thought another stomach virus - but as the days and symptoms at random persisted the common diagnosis of 'stomach virus' was looking less and less likely. Eventually, Ace was diagnosed with Clostridium Difficile Infection, he was placed on a 10 day antibiotic to be taken 4x a day and he slowly recovered. A month later he had a clustering of viruses that resulted in 3 separate days within a week of having more vomit. Mommy was frightened and convinced the C. Diff bacteria had not been eradicated. As it turns out it had and ultimately Ace recovered from that round of viruses. November, we saw another stomach bug and a few colds and it looks like we'll be able to close out December illness free! Let's continue to hope that the rest of winter when his sister is tiny, he remains healthy and happy!

Bonks

It's always curious to document your child's injuries in one centralized location. Makes ya' wonder if there is some CPS worker trolling the blogs looking for neglectful parents to cause havoc with. I'll take my chances for the sake of remembering and being able to explain later where he got 'that' scar from. Just kidding - to date no scars have been formed. His skin is still in that awesome - repair itself at all costs - phase and so he's doing a-ok! In early February Ace experienced his first true 'injury' - the first to require a trip into the doctor. Ace while playing in the playroom backed into the space heater that was on and caused a 3rd degree-1st degree burn. Meaning that it was still a 'superficial' burn but the worst of those kind. The doctor wasn't too worried, we kept it moisturized and it never blistered so there was no real chance for infection because of it. While he was sad in the moment - overall he was fine and he doesn't have to explain any fish-scale scars to his friends later in life. His leg healed and there isn't a trace of them left.


Other injuries in 2010 included a decent scrape on his back from playing in his car and two fingers that got mild blistering on them due to him touching the burner of a coffee machine. Ironically, he obtained both of those in his 23rd month. Overall for 2010 - 12 months with a toddler, that ain't half bad. Toss in a few bruises, rug burns, and the occasional scratch and Ace had a pretty unscathed year!


Ace started off 2010 still making mommy nervous with his eating habits. There were many days that I would count calories and be nervous for him at how low the numbers really were. Ace continued to breastfeed until just past 19 months, however the doctor said she was never worried about his growth. Between his 18 months appointment and his 24 month appointment he dropped off the scale entirely. However, by 24 months he was back on the scale... still in the bottom 10% for weight, but he was on it! Someone has to make up that bottom percentage! In February he weighed 20.6lbs (1.29%) and by August he weighed 23lbs. When he went back in October after that cluster of viruses - he had gained another pound! Impressive considering his otherwise slow rate of increase. As the remainder of the year has gone forward he continues to feel heavier - and on Christmas on Pop Pop's scale he weighed 26.1lbs (clothed.) Height wise at his 2 year appointment he was 34.5" and he is probably closer to a solid 36" now.


His eating habits are better than they were at the beginning of the year. I no longer feel I have to count his calories. There are some days he eats very little and others he scarfs down a ton of food that even surpasses my ability. He ceased using the high chair this summer and is now fully enjoying the excitement of sitting like a big boy at the table. He uses a 'big boy' cup at meals, while still using a sippy cup throughout the day and in bed. He for the most part is capable of feeding himself and does well with spoons and forks. Although if we're looking for a more speedy meal -mom and dad are still the experts at shoveling it all in! Appetite wise he will eat a variety of flavors and foods. He loves to go get Thai food with dad, he'll eat chips and salsa like a pro, and he loves spicy nacho dorritos. He isn't yet too into sweets and while he will ask for a piece of candy - he doesn't want to eat a massive pile of it yet - I think our days are numbered in that department. :) Since having the C. Diff we have had him on probiotics every day since mid-September. They are a powder that we put into a cup of milk and refer to them as his 'vitamins' nearly every morning he enjoys himself a banana and his vitamins first off. We plan to keep him on them through the winter and then we'll only utilize them during times of illness after that. Ace loves oatmeal and cereal, turkey, nuggets, and as mentioned Thai food. He will happily eat vegetables and likes to dip his food. Thus far he's a pretty good eater and his manners are slowly coming. We're working on the 'don't walk with your mouth full' at the moment.

As I said - it's been a busy and exciting year for us. Ace learned he was going to be a big brother and has embraced that role with enthusiasm thus far. He loves to talk to sister, bring her toys, 'rock' her, and even sing to her. He is going to go from the only child to one of two - and while many survived this transition just fine - I hope and pray that he has an easy time with it. We all are looking forward to what 2011 has to offer Ace and his busy-self.


Eating

Growth

Sleep

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...
This was Ace's favorite song this Christmas season. He would get super giddy anytime it came on the radio, he loved to sing along with it, he got really excited when I'd sing it to him as one of his good night songs (slightly counter productive, but an excellent treat!) Ace had a wonderful third Christmas - where does the time go?!

This year Loving Husband and I were trying very hard to be mindful to continue to impress upon him the true meaning of Christmas and I think we succeeded. This morning on the changing table while chattering with his dad about opening presents yesterday - Ace said unprompted "We celebrated Jesus...we celebrated Jesus' birthday!" The enthusiasm warmed my heart and the fact he said it made his father and I proud!

Ace this year was more aware of Santa - between movies, tv shows, and the like Santa is ever present in the commericalized sense of Christmas. While we don't teach Ace to believe that Santa delivers presents on Christmas night, we are ok with the idea of him enjoying the amusement of the character of Santa. A good idea of where we stand on Santa without me getting lengthy about it can be found here. While it might not be spot on with our opinion, it's not too far off. :) Ace at his father's Christmas party this year actually 'met' Santa and had his picture taken with him. Although he had zero desire to approach on his own, so I had to join him. He was very excited about this picture once it was taken and was excited about meeting Santa after Santa was merely a figment on photo paper. We didn't go through any lengthy explanation regarding Santa's existence this year - Ace wasn't fixated on him at all - and seemed pretty content to just enjoy meeting a character that happens to be around on the holidays.

Christmas Eve this year we enjoyed going to a church service around 3pm which Ace did great at. He loved to sing and clap after the songs, and did great during the parts that were more attention focused. He also loved to hold the candle during that portion of the program.

After the Christmas Eve service we headed over to Pop Pop and Gran's for family festivities and present unwrapping there. Ace's two cousins were there and they all had a blast playing in their playroom together. Food was consumed, conversation was had, and presents were ravaged. It was a nice evening. We got Ace in his pjs, loaded him up and got him to bed around 10pm. He fell asleep pretty quickly and we got everything out and ready to go for the morning and Loving Husband and I enjoyed a viewing of Christmas Vacation. :)


The next morning Ace awoke at 8:50! Woohoo! Quite a sleep-in record for our boy. He awoke, dad got him changed and I went downstairs to turn on lights, music, and ready the room for an excited boy. I then went back upstairs and took charge of the boy, while dad went down to make a fire before we came down. Ace eagerly sat patiently and waited at the top of the stairs with mom. Then we headed down.

He spotted his bike first - and he was excited! Then he turned and saw that he got new potato head pieces that were displayed on his potato heads and so he took to exploring those for a bit. After that we all dug into our stockings and spent some time with those.

Ace had waited so long for some of his presents that had been sitting under the tree for what seemed like forever. He was a very good boy and never once tried to get into them or open anything early - but he was eager to get started. Ace this year also gave presents to mom and dad. He went with each of us and picked out something for the other parent and then helped in wrapping it up and then giving it to us on Christmas morning. Ace gave dad a Walk Rock Jar to replace the simple tupperware they had previously been using to hold their rocks that they collect every time they go for a walk. As an added special bonus Ace painted the jar so that it was personalized just for Dad. Ace gave mom some measuring cups and spoons so that we can bake things together.

Present opening stalled out about half way through and so we decided to put on Toy Story 3 (one of his presents.) We took a semi-break and enjoyed watching the movie and relaxing. He played while it was on and we ate some cinnamon rolls. It was a nice morning.

A few more presents and lunch ... followed by nap time! Then Ace and mom played one of his presents: Candy Land! Ace was introduced to his first board game! Oh boy! He played about 1/3rd of the board before deciding he was all done - but he enjoyed it for the right amount of toddler time. :) While we were playing our board game, Loving Husband went to the grocery store to get us Christmas dinner fixin's .... yes ON Christmas. It was just the three of us - we could do whatever we wanted!

Upon his return the boys went for a walk and collected a rock for their new rock walk jar and we put on A Muppet Christmas Carol, along with another fire in the fireplace. Loving Husband got dinner started - steak, pasta, and fresh sauteed veggies - and we enjoyed ourselves a yummy dinner. Followed by a few more presents opened while chatting with Grammie on Skype. Then it was bedtime for the boy and the parents completing Home Alone 2 that had been started during nap time. It was a great Christmas!
Today, Christmas was dismantled and put away. A week+ early for this household, but we are now all the more eager for Mae to join us - which as of today is 2 weeks or less (hopefully!) I hope that all of your Christmases were wonderful and that you cherish the memories that you made this year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Traditions

Growing up we did almost the same thing every year for Christmas ... at least until the age of 12. Occasionally we had additional guests - cousins and whatnot that visited and added to the merriment of the season - but for the most part we had the same routine every year. There wasn't necessarily a 'focus' on the tradition of it (or not that I specifically recall) - but by the repetition of it traditions were born.

We spent Christmas Eve at my Grandma's house - a tradition that around the age of 12-14 I was mildly irked by when I wasn't allowed to go to the Christmas Eve Party at my best friend's house. We had dinner - I don't recall the meal being the same every year - but I recall it being one of a family member's favorites. Sometimes dinner was later because we were waiting for my uncle to arrive who had driven down from San Jose, or was flying in from the same. In later years my Aunt joined us as well (he married when I was in high school.) Other times he was already there or would be missing Christmas Eve entirely (meal wise) so we ate at the grandparent's standard dinner time - which I recall being pretty early (for our family) around 5 or 5:30.

We then moved into Grandma's living room (everyone!) to allow my brother and I to open one Christmas present - sometimes of our choosing - other times we had one picked out for us. Often if one was picked it was because it was a bigger item such as a bike. I don't recall the rest of the family members opening one present on Christmas eve when I was younger. Perhaps it's because I personally wasn't giving gifts at the time, so there weren't too many options if they did open one on Christmas eve, there might not be another on Christmas morning. But after I went to college - I do recall that everyone opened one gift on Christmas eve for a few years. The remainder of Christmas eve was spent playing with our new toy - or patiently awaiting the assembly of it by my dad, grandpa, and/or uncle. We'd wrap up our night and we'd load the car with all the wrapped presents from Grandma and Grandpa and head home - where presents were deposited under the Christmas tree, we got into jammies, set out cookies and milk for Santa, and read or watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Then we went to sleep... or to bed at the very least.

Around 11 or so my Uncle would venture over on many of the years and assist in more assembly of whatever 'Santa' was bringing my brother and I. In our home - Santa left presents play-ready. So the year I had received the Barbie Mansion was the year that my mom, dad, and uncle were up until 3am putting tiny stickers on all the furniture, walls, etc of that giant house. My uncle always was assigned sticker duty. Apparently that same year of the Barbie Mansion endless sticker marathon, was also the same year that Derek (my brother) decided that Christmas should begin at 4am. I somehow had ended up in my parents bed that night - I don't recall consciously joining them there - but I do recall my brother bouncing in telling me I got a GIANT house. I, at the age of 9 (10?) did not care and treasured sleep more than my new toys - at that hour. Finally, at 5:30am they could hold him off no longer and 'made the call' the call that had been made every year since I had been born. Come on over it's time for Christmas! So at 6am my Grandma, Grandpa, and my Sleepy Uncle (who treasures morning sleep like I do) came on in and we had Christmas morning BRIGHT and EARLY.

We didn't have a 'traditional' meal that was for breakfast - I often recalled muffins or donuts being what we consumed. After the family arrived we started unwrapping the presents that had been sitting under our grandparents tree for days/weeks that we had been pinching and prodding all with the threat of if we opened it - we wouldn't get it. So massive tearing and frenzy of wrapping paper would fly and the excitement would build. We'd be left in a sea of presents and occasionally the wrapping - while the adults sipped on their coffee and took it all in. Eventually opening presents from each other (and eventually presents from me... Derek took longer to get on the present-bandwagon than many kids.)

After a few hours the grandparents and my uncle headed home and we spent the morning playing with our toys - while mom readied the Christmas feast in the kitchen. Sometimes we'd watch a parade or a Christmas movie (especially if we received videos for Christmas presents) other times football was on - and it was almost always on once the family came back over for Christmas dinner. Around 4pm my grandparents would return with part of the Christmas feast in hand (sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, jello...) and the table would be set, football would be watched while the meal was being finalized, and we'd sit down to a Turkey dinner - I do not recall a year we did not have turkey for our Christmas dinner. I loved it. The evening would wind down with pie and ice cream and then everyone would head home. After a lovely Christmas.

After my Uncle married my Aunt we moved Christmas to my Grandparent's house. We were old enough that while it was a bit different and even a bit jarring - it wasn't the end of the world. We did our stockings at our house before we left - by then we were old enough that our Christmas presents weren't elaborate piles of 'toys' but electronics, cash, videos, etc. Making transport of such things simpler, if we so chose. We then went over to Grandma's around 10... sometimes 11 and enjoyed Christmas morning there with the family.

When I went away to college, I still came home for Christmas every year and the traditions we had were still held (for the most part) we still went to my grandma's in the morning and had Christmas dinner at her house. Football was still watched and family was still together. 2002 was the last Christmas that everyone was all together. After that my brother joined the Air Force and he was gone for the next 5 Christmases. In fact I haven't had a 'Christmas Day' with him since 2002. In 2004 my grandfather had Christmas up in San Jose with my Aunt and Uncle - he was attending a school for the blind that happened to fall during Christmas. I spent that Christmas with my mom, dad, grandma, and Loving Husband (our first as a married couple) at Grandma's house. It was small and quiet. New traditions began to form as older ones from childhood faded - like my mother giving my husband a tacky tie or putting bows on my grandmother's head. ;-)

Years to come we saw change. My brother was married in June of 2004 and I in July of 2004 and while Derek and Jennifer spent their Christmases together in Minot, Loving Husband graciously joined our family for Christmas Day every year from 2004-2007. We saw losses in our family as my grandfather died in 2005 and then my father in early 2006 and most recently my grandmother's passing in 2009. Christmas was forever changed - yet memories were ever fixed. While it is sad they are no longer present to celebrate the traditions and holiday with us - we have so many wonderful years to look back and remember with them.

Traditions I feel are important, but only so much as the memories that they create. A tradition shouldn't rule the holiday - it shouldn't be an item to be marked off a list. It should be a part of the joy and the fun of Christmas. Something to look back on and remember fondly. I'm trying to instill that in our home as well. Continuing on the tradition of 'one present' on Christmas eve, along with creating some of our own. Ace received an 'Advent Calendar' from his grandma last year and it is 25 mini-books telling the story of the birth of Christ - and I hope that is a tradition that can continue on for many years to come. A daily reminder of why we celebrate on Christmas day to begin with. Loving Husband and I since we were married have been exchanging stockings (and presents.) And since Ace has been aware we have made a point as a family to hang the first ornament on the tree together. It doesn't have to be a specific ornament - but just together starting off decorating the tree as a family I think it is a memory that will be nice to have in years to come. We celebrate Loving Husband's one family tradition as well - whenenver the first snow falls - the 'Deck Dive'.


All traditions begin somewhere - and I know in my family my grandmother played a large role in that. I love all the memories that I have because of her, my mother, and my family and I can only hope I can do as good of service for my family in years to come.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas with Friends

Christmas season is a wonderful time together with friends. To celebrate the holidays whether it be over a meal, a movie, a gift exchange, a game - it doesn't matter - just being surrounded with the Christmas decor and spirit is enough to make a gathering all the more cheery.

Every year a group of us girls get together for a gift exchange. It's a wonderful time for us to come together and take a breather from our chaotic schedules and share with each other. This year B&D hosted at their home and we enjoyed a delicious brunch, followed by cocoa and cookies in front of the fire while we exchanged gifts. Followed by a new game D got for her birthday! It was a fun time. It is one of my favorite Christmas activities that I look forward to every year.

Last night we enjoyed another exciting event - and evening with Vanessa and her family. The kids played. We ate a delicious roast as prepared by Vanessa. Followed by some delicious dessert a truncated game of Cranium and then present opening. Sabria and Ace played well together and had a blast running around the house screaming in excitement. Presents were a hit for both the kids and the company shared with the adults was excellent as well.

Celebrating the season with friends is wonderful and I am blessed to have so many friends to share the season with. Today I will enjoy coffee with my good friend Stacy and her little snowflake, Haly. Looking forward to seeing them.

Gift Giving

It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas. While I love to receive gifts, it is far from what I anticipate and look forward to as the Christmas season approaches. I appreciate all that is given to me and am thankful for the ability that I have to give to others. I get excited! I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning - but rather than ripping into a bunch of paper I'm eagerly awaiting the opening of the gifts that I have given, so that I can see the excitement on their faces.

Saving: I try really hard to save throughout the year so that the gift buying doesn't decimate any budget in current standing, and I try to save a LOT because I like to spend a lot. It's not the dollar amount that I'm aiming for - but more the spirit of the giving that I don't want hindered by nickles, dimes and calculators. It takes some of the excitement out of it - if I think of the perfect gift and then have to see if it 'fits in the budget.' And so I save almost all year long. To some extent that bah humbug aspect must play a role in my spending - as much as I'd like to spend on a whim for everyone - there of course is a bottom line that I ultimately have to answer to. Fooey!

Shopping: I love the hunt! While some of that is in stores, I'd say I do about 70% of my shopping from the comfort of my couch. Etsy.com and Amazon.com get decent business from me annually in support of Christmas giving. Black Friday is my fun time to go out and find the deals - and yes, I'm well versed in that a lot of the 'super duper' deals on Black Friday aren't that stellar - but I still enjoy the spirit of that day and will continue to enjoy it as long as my legs and willing husband to watch my two children will allow. ;-)

The Loot: I don't think my presents are typically ground breaking. I don't think they're even always ranked in the 'top' present list for individuals I give to. But I fancy myself a decent gift giver. Attune to the needs, wants, and hobbies of my receivers (or the ability to seek out a wish list) and therefore get excited in anticipation of my gift to be given. Not all gifts are home runs, I am certain there have been a few duds, but I love the hunt, the find, and most importantly the giving.

Giving: Why is giving so important to me? It isn't crucial or required, let me start by saying that. I certainly do not expect anything from anyone. I have been blessed with the family, stability, income, and ability to give to others and I feel that what we have been blessed by should be shared. I like to be able to share some of the joy that this season gives to me and I like to do that in the form of gifts. Small, large, homemade or store-bought. It doesn't truly matter as long as it is given from the heart with the other person in mind. Christmas cheer is a real thing if your heart is in the right place.

The Reason: Some would say that Christians give gifts in reflection and remembrance of the wise men bringing gifts to baby toddler Jesus. Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And while that maybe be an accurate reflection of history, and perhaps a valid motivation for the reason, I tend to think in a more expansive sense beyond a simple reflections of gifts given by the wise men. As Christians we're called (not just on Christmas) to think of our fellow man, to put others first, to share Christ. So why not on the celebration of His birth go that much more 'above and beyond.' And yes, while a book, dvd, game, or sweater might not immediately scream 'Come to Christ!' (although I suppose they do make those items...) I think generosity, kindness, and loving spirit are all examples of Christ being shown through that giving experience. Romans 12:12-13 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

It must be noted that it isn't simply about the gift - but the spirit and heart in which you do it. After all even the Grinch (eventually) knew what Christmas was truly about. "What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?" So while I get excited about ribbons, tags, packages, boxes and bags - it isn't the money that is spent, or even the gift that it is given - but the spirit in which it is done and the reason in why we are celebrating this holiday to begin with.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pronouncing Things...

Like with all children as they learn to talk children create their own words or variations of words. We NEVER talked baby-talk to Ace, nor did we tolerate it from well meaning friends, family, or strangers. Ace has always been provided the official word for almost everything. He does get some 'kid' terms like for his ice pack - which we refer to as his 'boo-be-gone' and I am sure there are a smattering of other things that have had unique terms adopted to them. However, for the most part as a rule, Ace is taught the proper word from the get go.

I believe this is partially why he has such a good vocabulary and sentence structure at the age of 2 (27 months.) He has in recent weeks started to read 'with' me - where we run through the exercise of me reading a story one word at a time and he repeats after me. We have been doing this with his Advent 'Calendar' which are mini-books with the telling of the Christmas story - and he is able to repeat 'frankincense' with no issue. Don't get me wrong he still has some words mushed together, and proper pronunciation doesn't come with every word - but he still seems leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to speaking.

We recently started reading every night before bed a devotional book for toddlers and each one comes with a prayer. I say the prayer first and the we go into 'repeat' mode and he fold his hands and says the prayer himself - with an enthusiastic AMEN! at the end. It is so sweet, and I love that he is excited to do it.

Monday in the doctor's office - our doctor was astonished that after consuming some dried apples and having some dust on his fingers he looked at his hand and up at her and said "Oh I just need a napkin." She couldn't believe it. These things don't strike me as astonishing since he's been doing it for months now - but I guess for a two year old it is pretty impressive and I should give him the credit and allow others to relish in his 'advancement'.

He still has a few gems that I hold tightly to, he still refers to music as 'merser' and bananas as 'banas' and he has recently switched from saying 'I am' to 'I are' or 'I'm are' - I appreciate them because while I love that he is such a little man with an extensive vocabulary and a great sense of language and words, I still like the glimpse of my little boy. He quickly outgrew the "ee" phase and I missed it when it was gone. He has been in conversation now for some time and while I love it, I miss my little boy.

Enjoy this video of us reading one of his Toy Story books.

And this one of my unprepared interview skills where we discuss a smattering of things, primarily the need for the Christmas lights to 'take a break' :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

36 Weeks

The final countdown! I am officially 9 months pregnant. Starting on the 10th month. Yes that whole 'nine months' pregnant is a myth... although to be 'fair' there are two weeks where you're not really pregnant, so I suppose that means that I don't start tallying the 10th month until week 38... but at some point I am legally tallying a 10th month and I think it should be noted that pregnancy is in fact more than 9 months (on average.)

I have had many friends who recently had babies (in October) that originally were scheduled for November babies. Stacy delivered at 35 weeks and my friend Angie delivered at 36 weeks. We'll see when little Mae starts to make her debut.

Last Monday we had another appointment and Mae's heartbeat was 144bpm and I was 1cm dilated. Which considering I was 1.5cm at exactly 40 weeks with Ace and zero before that ... I find it mildly encouraging that at 35 weeks I was already 1cm. With Ace the first 9 hours of 'active' labor I did not progress past that 1.5cm at all... so any advancement before the 'active' stage - I'm all for! Ace's labor and delivery story can be read here.

This past week and more specifically weekend, I have been cramping and contracting and extremely uncomfortable. I can't tell if these contractions are progressive or if they're just some practice... but I have had the braxton hicks with Ace (and Mae) and these have not felt like those. However, they do seem to stop if I get off my feet - so it's hard to tell. It is frustrating when I go out to do some shopping that I have to cut my venture short because I'm contracting too much to be remotely comfortable. Mae still is quite active inside - which makes me think she's tinier than Ace was. She keeps squirming around and kicking up and under my ribs, then she'll descend down and push on my cervix with some serious force. Good to know she's got some good strength and movement, but ouchie! Two nights ago I had some issues (I'm guessing) with my sciatica nerve. My entire leg felt pain, numbness like it was asleep, and that ache you get after a charlie horse. It was super awesome flippin' awful! Thankfully that symptom/issue has only occurred the once and subsided after about 20 minutes. Loving Husband was very helpful in the wee hours with helping rub, stretch, and generally hug is sad wife amid the pain.

Baby's crown to rump length is 13.8 inches. Baby might weighs about 6.3-6.5 pounds. I think she might still be a bit smaller than that - but we'll see. History shows I can grow them pretty big. :) In comparision to random objects she is now roughly the size of honeydew melon, a breadbox, or a 17" laptop screen. ;-) Her gums are firm with ridges that look somewhat like teeth, although we'll have a few months before teething begins. We are down to the final week before Mae is considered 'full term' - after that she is good to go!

Life is going well even amid the discomfort. Holiday festivities are in full swing and Mae is along for the ride. Ace is excited for Christmas and his sister to be here. We'll see which one comes first. :) We're hoping the holiday comes first!





Friday, December 10, 2010

T-Minus 30

That is correct - we have 30 days left until the due date! I'd say that it went by fast - and in some ways it has. I think it's like when we were in school. In the midst of it - it seemed to drag on FOREVER... but then when you look back wow that was FAST! ;-)

Mae is a good mover which I find comforting and a blessing. I'm glad that I don't have to do the 'count' of movements - in fact if I only felt her 10 times within 1 hour with very concentrated efforts, that would make me nervous. Both Ace and Mae move(d) a lot in utero and I'm glad for it. Even if I often do complain about getting kicked, punched, stabbed, scraped, and lurched forward, it means that she is growing and gaining strength.

I'm feeling pretty good - at night I seem to sweat a LOT regardless of the cover amount I have on me. That is less than pleasant in the morning, but overall a very small matter. I am starting to get that winded feeling - or at least I am now attributing it to pregnancy, since I am finally over the flu, the cold, the plague that I had. I went through 3 XL boxes of Kleenex since mid-November... and no I am not exaggerating. The week of Thanksgiving I developed a cough - which now is unproductive and lingering. I have to say a cough really reinforces the need for kegel exercises! Oye. TMI? Too bad.

Sunday marks 36 weeks, so be sure to check back then for the second to last 'official' belly shot. However, to not disappoint - I leave you with one that I took on Wednesday evening before the Women's Dessert.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Women's Christmas Dessert 2010

Last night marked five years of participating in the Women's Christmas Dessert - and as usual it was delightful. I dropped off the boy with his dad around 4:30 and headed into town to grab dinner at the Purple Cafe. We enjoyed a quick meal and then headed over to the church.

B&D once again made beautiful table displays and we enjoyed their artistic designs while we dined on some delicious little desserts and listened to a beautiful Bel Canto choir.


I didn't managed to get a picture of the desserts before consumption began, there was no time for such frivolity! So I snapped a different picture instead... a collection of all our discarded wrappers from our table. :)

It was another wonderful event with some of my favorite people. A lovely evening indeed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tonight!

Tonight is the annual Women's Christmas Dessert at Dana and B&D's church! Yipee! It's one of my favorite Christmas events. This was our fun last year, but we've been having this fun for several years now, enjoy a little flashback! And this collection of pictures shows that I really needed to find a new sweater! Haha which I did find for 2009!

2008

2007

2006

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mae's Movement

video

Mae is a mover, just like her brother. I always regretted not getting on video HOW much Ace moved, so one afternoon two weeks ago when she was on a moderate motion session (yes this isn't 'full speed') I grabbed the camera and started filming. This was at 33 weeks.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What is Dad Doing?

What's mom doing? What's Dad doing? What is mom doing? What is dad doing? What is dad doing? What's mom doing? What's Dad doing? What is mom doing? What is dad doing? What is dad doing? What is mom doing? What is dad doing? What's mom doing? What's Dad doing?
This is the ever repeated question or pattern of questions, typically with no more than a 30 second break between the question. Regardless of answering or the need to do so. He often asks mom or dad what they are doing when he knows fully well what we're doing. He'll ask what dad is doing (while dad is at work) and I will reply he is working. 30 seconds later he'll ask again. I've sometimes even gone further into detail hoping that our little parrot inquisitor isn't merely stuck on repeat but perhaps attempting to glean further insight on what dad truly is doing. Alas mostly it's just him stuck on repeat.

I know I'll miss it when he moves out of that phase and doesn't ask it as if it's as common as taking a breath - but then again I won't. :) I always feel it is important to answer questions that he has, but a bit daunting when it's the same one that was asked about 30 seconds earlier when the answer is still exactly the same as when it was previously delivered.

He's a talker that is for sure. While at his dad's Christmas party, his coworkers were surprised at how much of a clear talker chatterbox that he was. He is a talker - with an attorney and two former debaters for parents, its in the genetics. We can't fault him for that. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

35 Down and 35 To Go

That would be 35 weeks down and 35 days to go! Yep. I thought this date alignment was neat, so I decided to memorialize it with a blog post. Pregnancy has been going well - Mae really is pushing and stretching and is overall angsty to be having less and less room which is causing me some discomfort.

She seems to be all over the place. A few days ago I swore she was going to push herself right on out, she was so low! And the last couple of days, she has been attempting to make an exit through my bottom two right ribs! Ouch on both accounts, although I think I prefer the rib attempts.

Doctor's appointments have been going well. I'm measuring right on time and the last two appointments her heartbeat has been nice and calm. She was 139bmp last Wednesday. We've entered the weekly appointment phase of the program, so we'll be seeing the doctor more and more. Ace does really well at the appointments, and even gets excited to go see 'Mae's Doctor' - it's pretty adorable.

Baby's crown to rump length is 13.4 inches and she weighs about 5.7-6 pounds. I've been pretty steady with my weight gain at an average weight of 3lbs every two weeks. So she's certainly growing away in there. Her fingernails now reach the tips of her fingers and her overall length is around 18.5" - crazy that she fits in there still. :) My belly certainly is smaller than it was with Ace, so our doctor thinks she will be at least a little smaller than Ace was at birth. We'll see!

We are nearing the time that I should start thinking about packing bags and having things ready to go for everyone. This go-around we have to have 3 bags packed. Ours, Mae's, and Ace's. :) Oh boy! Lots to think about and plan for. The doctor isn't so sure we'll have a 2011 baby - so we might have ourselves a post-Christmas December baby!

Ace is still thrilled to be a big brother, and today he wanted to 'rock Sister' so we sat in the rocking chair and he held my tummy and we rocked Sister. He explained to me twice during our less than 2 minute rock that we were rocking Sister not Ace because Ace isn't a baby. Haha fair enough! We'll see how well his interest holds once Mae is on the outside. We visited Pop Pop and Gran last night and his newest cousin was there 11 week Sophie, and he wasn't terribly interested in her. :) Only time will tell!