Monday, August 30, 2010

Emotionally Spent

I knew it was going to be hard leaving Evan behind after we walked him into his classroom this morning.  But I honestly didn't expect it be this hard.  I've had a knot in my stomach from the minute I woke up this morning until now and I don't think it's going away any time soon.

As soon as we walked into Evan's bright purple classroom he immediately began playing with all the "new" toys placed around the room.  With a huge frog in my throat, I immediately approached the teacher to find out the earliest time I could pick him up without disturbing their set program.  Robert and I stood and watched Evan for awhile until it became obvious that we couldn't stand there forever.  Evan gave us each a kiss goodbye and we headed out the door in the midst of his playtime hoping he would be distracted enough not to notice.  We managed to get out the door, but the small square window gave us away as we turned to get one last glimpse.  Evan broke down in tears, Robert rushed back in and I stood frozen fighting back a surge of emotions.

Evan's teacher consoled him while also assuring Robert everything would be fine.  I waved Robert out of the room and we made our way back to the car.  As soon as I sat down in the seat I completely fell apart.  I couldn't stop crying.  It was a flood of emotions that had been dammed up since first thing this morning.  I literally cried all the way home.

It's been two hours since we dropped Evan off and I feel like he's been gone all day already.  This emotional roller coaster has left me feeling so exhausted and completely silly at the same time.  I realize Evan is in good hands and will have loads of fun with his new friends - but this is simply about me missing my baby boy - the baby boy who has been at home with me for the past 25 months.  This is gonna take a whole lot to get used to.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Naked Thought

Now Let's Ride...

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School

Evan starts "school" on Monday.  Yes, you read that right.  Our little two year old was accepted into the Belin Methodist Learning Center today - just a couple of days shy of the first day of school.  We are pumped!

We decided we wanted to get Evan into a program for several reasons.  (1) He desperately needs to be socialized with other children.  He needs to be aware that this is not Evan's world.  (2)  With Mattie due to arrive in a just a few weeks we felt it necessary that she gets my full attention for a few hours a day since she will only be at home with me for 3 months.  (3)  Let's face it - it's just gonna make it a hell of a lot easier on me. In order to get any of my writing done I need to be sure I can get at least two hours of silence per day - that probably isn't very likely with a newborn and a two year old fighting for attention.

I was so ecstatic to get the phone call today that Evan was accepted into the two year old program.  We've been on the waiting list since April and things were not looking too favorable.  Evidently families from Georgetown all the way up to Myrtle Beach are trying to get into this school - we got lucky!  I actually spent the better part of my day today researching more programs because I was reaching the point of desperation.  Most programs in the area begin on Monday so if you were not contacted by August 1st that meant they were full and more than likely would not have an opening until the following May.  I had basically given up on the idea that Evan would possibly get into Belin so I was putting him on waiting lists for other programs I wasn't nearly as fond of...I wasn't sure what we were going to do because we received no phone calls by August 1st and I will be going back to work in January (I will talk more about that later).

This morning, in my desperate state, I sent Robert to what would be better described as a day care and he literally walked in, got one glimpse of the place and walked out.  He called me and said, "Absolutely not.  Our son is not stepping foot in that place.  It smelled like a dog kennel in there."  This pretty much sums up what many of the local day cares were like - dirty and chaotic - two qualities that just aren't gonna work for me.  We wanted Evan in a structured environment where activities were carefully thought out and planned.  We wanted him to be surrounded by kids his own age and be in a classroom where every child gets the proper attention they deserve.  Our hope was that the program we found would be focused on reading and literacy, but also incorporate physical activities and fun.  We found all of this and more at Belin.  Thanks to a family dropping out at the last minute, we were called to attend Open House tonight and were so excited with everything we saw and heard.  Evan's two teachers are fabulous and he only has 6 other kids in his class.  You can't get a much better teacher/child ratio than that.

This is not only a big step for Evan, but a huge step for me too.  I already started crying during our meeting at Open House.  I'm sure I'll be a blubbering mess on Monday morning.  But I know this will be such a great experience for Evan.  We also felt by starting him now rather than after the baby is born we can prevent Evan from feeling like he's being pushed out because of the baby.  We wanted him to feel like this new experience is solely for him and for no other reason.  Of course we also had no choice but to start him now unless we wanted to give up his spot and that was definitely not gonna happen.

I actually feel like I'm the one starting school on Monday.  I'm excited, but nervous and feel completely unprepared.  I'm praying my follow-up posting to this will be a sane one - I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Technical Difficulties

We'll just call it a minor setback.

After folding laundry while Evan played with his cars in the living room, I returned with the intention of sitting down and getting some work done on my computer - if you can even call it a computer in this state.

First of all, please excuse all the nasty smudge marks.  But yes, this is how I found my computer.  Evan decided it would be constructive to take all the keys off the keyboard.  Luckily I didn't have a full load of laundry to fold because I may have come back to a completely bare surface.  I was speechless.  But very angry too.  I think I initially started crying because my first thought was that I wouldn't meet my deadline for the day.  But then I was just angry.  I took a deep breath and calmly sat down and told Evan he was a bad boy for doing that to Mama's computer.  I then spent the next hour reapplying my keys.  Of course now I just laugh.  It's easy to look back on and think Ha Ha - Evan is so funny.  But present tense - I wanted to strangle him!

Another lesson learned - don't leave computer unattended in the presence of a two year old.

Blog Book

I came across a website this morning where you can turn your blog into a book.  How ingenious is that?  For those of us attempting to keep a life journal of sorts this is a perfect option once you feel you've reached a point to produce a hard copy for your children, family members, etc.  I'm already in the habit of creating a photobook of each passing year, but to be able to have my day-to-day musings nicely organized on glossy pages would be pretty awesome.

My only question would be when is the right time to publish?  I guess it's possible to create a pregnancy journal.  Or maybe a journal pertaining to a baby's first year?  Robert suggests creating a book every 5 years starting with Volume 1 - I think I like this idea.  Whichever way chosen, it's a great option to have in order to pass along your memories.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back from Chicago

I feel like I have just returned from a week long visit to Chicago when it was really just a couple of days.  I guess the amount activity that comes with the arrival of a newborn and a first birthday party can make a couple of days seem a bit longer.  But I felt so fortunate that I had these days to spend with Tim and his family.

Baby TJ is perfect.  He is beautiful in every sense of the word and seems to be a good baby so far.  Tim and Ruth just might be blessed with another "easy' baby.  It was amazing how small a 7 lb. baby felt in comparison to Evan at 9 lbs - he seemed so fragile.  But holding him felt so natural which gave me a little boost of confidence for our own little adventure in October.

As for the birthday girl - well, I just wanted to eat her up.  I've never seen a happier, more adorable little girl.  Isabel was even more precious than the last time I saw her.  Of course she had no clue it was her birthday, but she thoroughly enjoyed all of the attention.  She was also very sweet to her new baby brother.  She showered him with hugs and kisses and gave him an occasional "pat" on the head - this had to be monitored since she doesn't seem to know her own strength.

My brother is planning a visit to SC in November to see our newest addition to the family roster.  I'm hoping he will bring my Izzie along so she and Evan can hang out.  Eventually we'll be able to get both of our families together so that all the cousins can hang - I'm really looking forward to that time!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So Typical

Nature or Nurture?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Nephew is Here

At 7:30 this morning Ruth (in full-on active labor) and Tim headed to the hospital reeling with excitement to meet their sweet baby boy.

Tyler Jonathan was born at 8:51 am weighing in at 7 lbs. 13 oz.  Both Ruth and little TJ (no, Tim and I did not purposely give "J" middle names in order to have TJ and MJ - just a coincidence) are doing well and expected to go home on Friday.

My mom and I are thrilled that we will not only be able to share in Isabel's first birthday, but we will also get to spend some time with the newest addition to our family.  I am so overjoyed and excited to make my way to Chicago on Friday.

Pictures to come later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Baby Machine

Evidently I should have babies for a living according to my doctor.  My results came back from my 3-hour glucose test and she claimed they were the best numbers she had ever seen.  No gestational diabetes for me.  She added that I was made to have babies - whatever that means.  Maybe I should've considered this as a living...a lifelong surrogate.  Ha - absolutely not.

Weight gain for the past two weeks?  Not horrible - almost 3 lbs.  I'm thinking I'll gain about 40 lbs by the end of it all.  My initial goal was to not exceed 40 lbs so I won't be too disappointed with that.

Thirty two weeks and counting.

In other baby news, my brother and my sister-in-law are patiently awaiting the arrival of their son.  Ruth has been having contractions for the past two days and is dilated 3 1/2 cm.  Her contractions are about 7-8 minutes apart.  Once they drop to 5 minutes they will be hospital bound.  Yeah!  Being that my mom and I are flying to Chicago on Friday for Isabel's first birthday, it sure would be a bonus to meet my little nephew too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sneak Peak

With just a couple of last minute additions left, Evan's big boy room is almost complete.  But I wanted to go ahead a give a little sneak peak to show off my two favorite aspects of the room - the first being the book shelves using vinyl house gutters.  This was a project that I had read about on a few different blogs and I always loved how they turned out.  Not only do they save space, but they look so much more attractive because the books are positioned with the covers facing forward rather than the bindings.  Supposedly studies have proven that this positioning also encourages reading for the little ones.

Materials:  1 10' gutter cut in half to make 2 5' shelves, 6 brackets (3 per shelf), 2 right end caps and 2 left end caps, sheet rock screws - you simply mount the shelves where ever you want them and screw in the brackets - Done!  I followed the tutorial from this blog via Little Green Notebook.

The second project I absolutely love is the chalkboard wall.  Evan's new room is rather large leaving a lot of wall space to fill.  Because the room has slanted ceilings towards the front I thought one side would be a perfect place for a chalkboard wall - and I was right.  It turned out great!  I mounted another gutter shelf to use for chalk and erasers which has proven to be a great decision.  I also purchased two magnetic boards from Ikea and hung them at one end of the wall to add another option of activity.  Evan LOVES it so far.

Materials:  1 pint of moonbeam chalkboard paint (applied two coats)

I will reveal the completed room in another week or so.  I'm in the midst of painting a bed (craigslist find) and waiting on the arrival of a table and chairs.  It's gonna be lovely.  Can't wait.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Fourteen has always been my "lucky" number.  Not only is it the day of my birth, but it graced the back of all my sports jerseys growing up, it's the first number I play in the lottery and it's the one number I know I will always remember.  But unfortunately, it's now remembered for all the wrong reasons.

July 14th, 2009 - I welled up as usual as I said goodbye to Jonathan.  He was heading back to Charlotte after spending a week in Ponce Inlet for Evan's first birthday.  I told him to please drive carefully and that I loved him and would see him soon.

August 14th, 2009 - I can still hear the desperate, muffled sound of my dad's voice on the other end of the line.  The feeling of panic came over me because my first thought was something had happened to my mom.  When my dad finally spoke all I heard was "Jonathan is dead" before everything seemed to go silent - I just hung up the phone and collapsed to the floor.  Shock and disbelief immediately set in - since then every stage imaginable has followed.

It has been one year since my brother's death.  And a hard year at that.  But I've come to terms with a lot and have learned a great deal about myself in the process.  I will always be haunted by the circumstances of Jonathan's death, but I believe in my heart I will eventually, one day, be able to smile every time I think about him.  And maybe the number fourteen will once again be a positive force in my life.

Jonathan, because we did not receive your will in time, this song was never played at your funeral as you requested - so I hope you're listening and singing along.  I miss you terribly.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Registry of Sorts

With MJ's due date quickly approaching we have had several friends and family members ask about our needs as far as baby gear goes.  Because I saved almost everything for Evan we have most of what we need with a few exceptions.  I don't believe in registries after the first baby, so I thought I would list our few needs here to make it a little easier on those who are interested.

(Thanks, Jess for the heads up on this bag-very functional.)

I realize these are larger items, but due to the demise of our other stroller and car seat, the fact that we borrowed a swing and had to give it back and my stupidity for never getting a real diaper bag in the first place - well, this is where we're left.  The baby wrap is more of a want because I witnessed how easy my sister-in-law carried around my niece and I told myself that I would have one of those for the next baby.

Pregnancy Stats

I have definitely neglected MJ as far as pregnancy updates go, but this is not to be taken any other way other than I've been there and done that. I am more knowledgeable this time about symptoms and routine tests so it seems pointless to report - but this pregnancy has definitely been different so it's necessary that at least make note of that.

I am just shy of 31 weeks and really starting to feel big and uncomfortable.  I have gained 25 lbs. thus far, but five of those pounds were in just the last two weeks!  My doctor was a bit concerned because not only were my glucose levels elevated, but gaining weight more rapidly could indicate gestational diabetes.  I have to get a more thorough test done on Thursday that will determine whether I do in fact have gestational diabetes.  My doctor thinks that I am fine since my numbers were only slightly elevated based on their standard.  She checked my sugar just last week and my levels were great - so I'm fairly confident that Thursday will bring no bad news.

I have failed to mention the effect this pregnancy has had on my skin.  Contrary to my pregnancy with Evan, I have had no problems with pimples or blemishes.  In fact, my skin quality has been better while pregnant than not pregnant.  That's always a plus.  Although I'll deal with a few pimples over being pregnant any day.

Another issue I've been dealing with that I never really experienced my first pregnancy is what's referred to as "baby brain."  It's essentially memory loss due to those raging hormones.  Many times I simply can not remember where I left my keys or if I took my prenatal pill or not.  I'm sure I've taken a double dose several times not even realizing it.  It's an extremely frustrating feeling so I hope to never deal with Alzheimers or anything similar in the future.

Nine more weeks - and no, I'm not ready.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Four Little Fishies

The hotel pool was well utilized this afternoon.  Luckily I had four extra hands to catch, throw and guide the little fish we call Evan.  Amanda and Scott more than fulfilled their aunt and uncle duties and got a complete workout in the process.  And of course we got more than enough footage...

To complete the pool experience we also took some video footage to make sure we didn't miss any of the action:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We're Baaaack

I suppose we'll never escape Florida completely, but that's how I prefer it. So far I have found visiting is much more pleasant than being a permanent resident.

We hit the road again yesterday to make our way down to Orlando.  Robert is spending a few days at the Wonder Works Orlando while Evan and I take advantage of a nice hotel and make our mark in the shopping mecca of the southeast.  Unfortunately making our mark will consist mostly of browsing, but there are a few stores that I'll be hitting up that I don't get the chance to visit very often.  Hello H&M...

Evan and I ventured out this morning to the Florida Mall where many high end designer stores can be found.  I would normally go to all the great designer outlet stores, but the Florida Mall has H&M which is known to be extremely affordable, but still stylish.  I was more than disappointed that I had to skip over the entire first floor since my body won't be fitting in any regular-sized clothing any time soon.  I headed up to the kids department instead where, to my surprise, I also found a maternity section.  Evan scored a pair of "designer" jeans and a shirt while I took advantage of a great sale and bought two shirts for this ever-expanding belly.  Our visit was short due to Evan's demands to go "bye bye!"  He absolutely hates to shop.  Every store that I tried to stroll him into after that he kicked and screamed until I turned around.  Thank you for the huge candy store where I was able to purchase a ring pop (his favorite) to distract him.  I compromised and only took him to a couple of other stores.

Evan was happy to be heading back to the hotel, but instead of smiling he finds it way more entertaining to make funny faces at the camera.  His school pictures should be interesting.

While baby boy is napping I am finishing up some work and may possibly nap myself - I always say that, but never do.  We're taking it poolside when Evan gets up since all I've heard since we got back is "pool, pool, pool."  Evan spent at least 10 minutes staring out the window at the pool below.  I must say - it looks inviting.

We're also expecting Amanda and Scott tonight.  They are spending the next couple of days with us here in Orlando.  Yeah.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Santel Visit

We are so fortunate to be living closer to good friends.  Not being able to plan a weekend visit in a matter of a few days is one thing that made living in Florida such a bummer.  But we are finally able to reap the benefits of living in closer proximity and in just two short months it has already made our move back worth it tenfold.

We had a great visit from The Santels yesterday.  They decided on a whim early last week that they would drive over from Durham and spend Sunday with us and venture over to Broadway at the Beach today for a little Myrtle Beach action.  I was so excited to have them here and FINALLY get to spend some much needed time with them.

Evan and Ella got along as well as toddlers can considering they all seem to live in their own worlds.  They swung on the swings and slid down the slide, played their own version of soccer and took wagon rides with Robert as their chauffeur.  They definitely played hard and were left red-faced a sweaty by the end of the day.  Bedtime couldn't come quick enough.

The adults were able to catch up on each others' lives and share many laughs in the process.  The only regret I had about their visit is that it wasn't longer, but I know now it only takes a quick decision and drive to have this experience again.