Thursday, April 10, 2014

Are we there yet?

The third trimester is really doing a number on me this time around.  Keeping up with a two year old, trying to keep the house in order and get everything ready for the new baby along with making sure we stay on track with homeschooling is a lot of work.  Most days I feel like I'm going to fall asleep while I sit in the parking lot at Ellie's school waiting for her to come out.  Saying I feel exhausted at times would be a huge understatement.

I feel like our plans for Lent never really took off.  I had planned to do the Jesus tree readings with the girls each day but the closest we ever got to doing it was me hanging up the felt tree and taking out the ornaments.  They'll all still sitting in the basket waiting to be used.  Aside from the kids just being busy with soccer practices and everything else that crops up, I just couldn't find the motivation to dig out the list with the daily readings and the picture bible that went with it.  I feel so lazy with regards to this, but I keep reminding myself that the bean jar and merciful cross Lenten activities are going well.  And, the girls are at daily Mass with me most days so that has to count for something.

I decided once again to do the 40 bags in 40 days thing for Lent and that's going really well.  I've detached myself from a lot of material things and I'm still not done.  I've lost track of how much we have given away, donated and tossed but I know we've gone past 40 bags or boxes.  I just started going through the baby girl clothes today.  My goal is to get through all of the sizes Katie has outgrown before Easter.  I'm trying to whittle down what we have to a reasonable amount of clothing in case we ever have another baby girl.  For the new baby, I'm trying not to buy more clothing that what we would reasonably need.  I have a hard time resisting cute baby clothes so this is a bit of a challenge for me.

I'm almost ready for Easter.  Candy is purchased and most of what I need for the baskets I have already procured.  I still have a few items that I need to order and I suppose I should do it soon.

Tomorrow I'll be 36 weeks along.  I've been feeling really off the past few days.  I can walk a mile around the neighborhood and feel fine but going up a flight of stairs makes me feel like I'm going to pass out from exhaustion.  At my doctors appointment yesterday they were concerned that my blood pressure was elevated but after having me lie down for a few minutes and taking my blood pressure again they were able to get a slighly lower reading.  So I'm wondering if perhaps I'm on the brink of having some sort of issue.  I really don't feel right and can't recall ever having felt like this with the other pregnancies.  I go for a non-stress test and an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid level tomorrow.

Madeline's third marking period is behind us now and she's working her way towards the end.  I have most of the lessons plans for the rest of the year finished.  If we're able to keep everything on track even with a newborn in the house sometime in the next 2-5 weeks, she will be done before June.

Not knowing just when the baby will arrive makes me anxious.  I really wish I knew when labor was going to happen.  It would make things easier if I could just add it to the schedule. I'm hoping he makes his entrance sooner rather than later.  Things are getting a bit cramped and uncomforable in my torso and I sure would appreciate the breathing room.

I still don't think Katie gets that we're going to have a baby in the house soon.  We talk about the baby but it all seems to just go over her head.  I'm really not sure how she's going to react when we bring her little brother home.  She really loves babies so I'm hoping she will be happy to have a baby in the house but I'm bracing myself for what I suspect could be a difficult transistion for her.

I think this pretty much wraps up all the things I've had swirling around in my head that I haven't been able to blog about.  I have pictures of Katie enjoying the nice spring weather we've had the past week or so and also pictures from the older girls' soccer games.  I've gone to four soccer games in the past week!  I'm trying to get to as many of their games as I can before the baby arrives since I don't know if I'll be at many or any for the rest of the season once the baby is here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

She's Speaking English!

I've mentioned here and there on the blog how Katie doesn't really talk much.  It's something that really bothers me.  I read blogs of people with children close in age to Katie and have had more than a few instances where I just felt so jealous after seeing how well these other babies her age are speaking.  Sure, I could tell myself that the mom could be exaggerating in some cases, but when you see a video of a toddler speaking clearly and in English there's really no denying it.  I have friends with similar aged children who are also talking up a storm.  So it's frustrating.  It's frustrating to stand there and try to figure out what it is that your child wants because the sounds she's making don't match anything that would qualify as being a word.  And even more frustrating is to see that she's upset that she can't effectively communicate.  She understands English perfectly.  We can talk to her and tell her to do things or ask her to show us something and she can.  But speaking it has been a slow going process.

At her two year old well visit I once again brought up my concerns about her limited speaking vocabulary.  Her older sisters were speaking in complete sentences by eighteen months so in comparision to them she was certainly behind.  I was told that the number of words she was able to say and the fact that she understood what we said to her showed that she was on the average.  That made me feel a bit better, but speaking would make me feel even better.
I just took this picture of her and she held this toy aloft and said "Coach!" 

We're now coming up on the two and a half year mark and still she isn't very chatty.  A week ago I was once again getting very worried about her still not speaking much.  Then I started listening to her as she played by herself or watched one of her favorite TV shows.  Slowly but surely she was picking up some words here and there.  She can say the names of Mickey and his friends and even some of the objects they use in a given show.  Over the past two days she's come out with more words, such as spontaneously saying "Thank you" or "girls" which makes me think that we're starting to make some progress here.

I've had a few people point out to me as I lament her slow grasp of English that while she isn't talking up a storm, she is developing other skills.  She potty trained in just a few days time.  She builds with blocks, which is something that has me impressed.  Her sisters struggled with putting blocks together until they were about four years old so a two year old that actually plays and builds with blocks amazes me.  So while speaking has not been her strong suit, she is developing other skills.

I think for me, one of the most frustrating things is knowing that she can talk and that she essentially chooses not to in most cases.  She has uttered phrases like "party in the back" after Bryan was teasing her about her toddler mullet several months ago which show us that she can, in fact, speak English.  I guess the bottom line is she talks when she wants to talk and only when she wants to talk.  I suppose she's a bit like Mr. Ed the talking horse or Michigan J. Frog.

Either way, I'm excited and grateful when I hear her coming out with more and more words.  She certainly does things on her own time line which really shouldn't surprise me since she's been like this since before she was born.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hanging in there

I have no idea how long it's been since I've blogged but I know it's been a little while.  Everything is going well but I'm exhausted.  I suspect the third trimester is just taking a lot out of me.  I don't think I've ever felt this tired during this stage of a pregnancy before.

Last Friday I had an ultrasound and the baby, who is still a boy, is doing well.  Based on the measurements they did they estimate that the baby is already 4lbs 5oz.  They tell me this is around the 50% percentile for a baby at 32 weeks but it just seems huge to me.  As of right now I have about 7 1/2 weeks until my due date.  I'm really hoping that this little one decides to come early, or at least by his due date.

Saturday I had that awful tearing muscle pain that I experienced with Katie for several months.  This time it was on the other side of my belly.  Not fun at all, but I'm so glad that it only persisted for one day.  I'm hoping that it doesn't happen again.

We had a few days of nice weather so I got to go out and walk around the neighborhood.  I'd love to have nice comfortable weather for a few weeks straight so I could walk every day.  It seems so crazy that it was in the 50s and 60s on Friday and Saturday and by Sunday night it was snowing yet again.  I cannot express how tired I am of snow.

Since the ultrasound tech on Friday told me that the baby is definately a boy and this is the fourth time the baby's gender has been confirmed, I decided to just go ahead and wash the clothes I bought for the baby.  So between Friday and Saturday I got all of the baby clothes washed and organized in the closet and drawers.  It's funny.  I did my best to make sure I only purchased what we would need and I still feel like we have too much.  I did have a few people give me some hand me downs so that's probably why I have a bit of a surplus.  I am doing really well with not buying more clothing for the baby.  It's so hard to resist cute little baby outfits, but I'm doing it!

I realized the other day that I've been doing a dismal job of taking pictures of the kids lately.  I guess it's another thing I can chalk up to being so exhausted.  I am trying to grab the camera here and there and take pictures.  It's just not happening very often.

On the VBS planning front I've made some headway.  I finally got things together and registration is open.  I have a friend who graciously offered to do all of the data entry associated with registration.  Another friend is helping me to find resources that work with this year's theme, and two others are giving me input for the crafts portion of the program.  I really just need to come up with a design for the camp tee shirts and get those ordered and I'll feel like I can relax a bit.  Oh and so I don't have to run around like a crazy person the week of VBS I have not one, but two assistants!  That makes me feel a lot better about running VBS with a two month old.

Lent feels like it's slipping by pretty fast.  The girls are filling up the bean jar and covering up our merciful cross with flowers for each work of mercy performed.  Our Jesus tree on the other hand is still bare.  We just haven't found the time yet to read the stories for a single ornament.  I keep telling them that we're going to have to do a few days where we cover several stories so we can catch up but it just hasn't happened yet.  The third trimester is really kicking my rear!

Once again I'm doing the 40 bags in 40 days challenge for Lent.  I'd say we're already off to a good start.  We have already given away, donated or tossed at least 15-20 bags and boxes of stuff.  I suspect we will have a lot more than 40 bags before Lent is over.  I'm purging a lot of household items that we don't need duplicates or even triplicates of as well as a lot of clothing.  I'm coming to realize that we can't save all of the girl's outgrown clothing.  It's piling up way too fast and I'd rather see it go to people who can use it now rather than box it up with the hopes that some of it will get used by one of the younger girls.  I have a lot of clothing to go through, but my goal is to keep only the items that I know will get used and give away the rest.  I'm also trying to pare down the amount of games and toys we have since I've come to realize that the less we have the more the kids play with the toys and the easier it is for them to manage putting their toys away when they're done playing.  It's a work in progress and an exercise in detachment.

I don't think I even got around to blogging about my nephew's baptism on the first Sunday of Lent.  Bryan and I are his godparents.  It was a really beautiful baptism and I was just struck when I followed my nephew's gaze as he was being baptized and realised that he was looking at the painting of St. Therese who was right above the baptismal font.  It was a moment that just left me saying "Wow!"  As I held him for the baptism I just knew by the the look of wonder on his face that he was looking at something and I had to look over my shoulder and find out what it was.  I'm really glad I did.

Soon I hope to be blogging more and also sharing some pictures.  Right now I just don't have the energy to edit my pictures and go through all the steps to get them uploaded and added to the blog.  Provided I don't continue to feel completely run down I should be able to get back into blogging.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Headache for the week

I'm at the point where I just frustrated and fed up when it comes to the hassle I've had to go through to get the double stroller I want in the color I wanted.  I had a merchandise credit gift card for Buy Buy Baby and on Monday night I tried to place my order online only to find that the card won't work for online orders.  Tuesday I went into the the store with Katie, confirmed that the stroller was what I wanted and had them order it for me in black since they don't carry that color in the store.  What they do carry is an ugly grey that I didn't like at all.  I was in the store for over an hour and a nice chunk of that time was spent trying to get the order placed and then trying to get everything processed so I could check out.

I thought once I got past the painful order process that everything would go smoothly from there.  Only today, when the stroller was delivered I noticed that the picture on the outside of the box was of the ugly gray that I could have picked up in the store on Tuesday morning.  So I check my invoice and it says black so I opened the box, took a peek at the upholstery and confirmed that they sent me the wrong color.  Ugh!

I ended up having to call customer service and after a somewhat lengthy wait on their queue I was able to get the issue addressed.  So now I have to wait and see if they send the right color this time around. I'm not feeling very confident despite the fact that I had the customer service rep add special instructions to my order that the person packing it needs to confirm that the color is correct.

Anyway, I'm reminded of why I can't stand Bed Bath and Beyond.  It's one of those stores that just frustrates me and I do my best to avoid them at all costs.  Their baby store seems to be every bit as frustrating.  I mentioned to Bryan the other night that I thought it was very telling after my experience on Tuesday that I found myself wishing that I was at a Babies R Us while I was in the store.  It's another store that I loathe to visit, but I'd happily go there if given a choice between going there or Buy Buy Baby.  All I can say is thank God for Amazon.com and their awesome selection of baby products and their equally awesome Amazon Mom program that allows me to do free returns for items that I decide I don't want.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How to Frustrate a Customer

I've been noticing over the past several days that some retailers are really good at sending out mobile and online coupons when you sign up for their deals and others are incredibly bad by comparision.  I've been spoiled by retailers like Target where simply texting a word or code to their mobile number will get me whatever coupon I see advertized on a shelf tag or sale ad within seconds.  There's small handful of companies like Target who do these sort of deals very well.

I think the stores that instantly send out the coupon codes when you sign up for their mobile or email alerts understand that by doing so they are more likely to secure a sale.  I wonder if stores like Bed Bath and Beyond and other stores that are part of their company realize that taking up to a week to send out a coupon code could, in fact, lose them a sale.  Yesterday I was all set to make a $300 purchase and I signed up for mobile alerts from Buy Buy Baby that will allow me to save $60 on the item I want that isn't available in the store in the color I want.  So already I'm a bit annoyed that I need to spend $23 in shipping fees to get the color I want that isn't carried in the store and now I've been waiting for two days just to be able to make the purchase.  Even more frustrating is the fact that I have a 20% off coupon that I can use in their brick and mortar locations if they had what I wanted in the right color in the store,  but I can't use it on-line.

So essentially this store is driving me crazy while I wait to be able to place my online order.  I had a similar frustating experience about a year ago when I signed up for mobile coupons from their sister store Bed Bath and Beyond.  I was going to make an in store purchase but since they took 5 days to send me the mobile coupon they ended up losing a sale.

If I didn't have a gift card to Buy Buy Baby I would have already gone elsewhere and ordered the stroller I want from somewhere else, like Amazon.  I'm hoping I get the online code soon.  Third trimester nesting and having to wait just don't go together well at all.  Even though I don't "need" a double stroller for at least 7 1/2 more weeks, I want it now.  I'm a bit neurotic about making sure I'm fully prepared for the baby well before the baby is here.  It's just the way I am.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Double Stroller Denial

I've spent more time over the past several months researching double strollers than I care to admit.  For the longest time I've dreaded the thought of ever needing a double stroller.  Since my girls are spaced pretty far apart, I've never actually needed a double stroller until now.  I wasn't a fan of double strollers when my best friend needed one for her kids and I'm still not thrilled with the idea of them.  I've tried several out in the stores and have ruled many others out based on their excessive weight or their inability to accomodate the infant car seats that we have.  I think finding just the right double stroller is about as impossible as finding car that can fit two booster seats and a car seat in the back. (That was our mission near-impossible when I was pregnant with Katie.)

Up until about a month ago I was operating under the delusion that I could get away with using a double stroller for only about six months until Katie turned three.  A couple of shopping experiences with Katie ditching the stroller and running all over the store like a wild toddler walking in the store made me seriously question whether or not I'd survive outings with a three year old walking and an infant in a single stroller.  Then I chatted online with one of Bryan's distant cousins.  She, like me, had children who were spaced far enough apart that they never needed a double stroller. But all of that changed when baby number five came along two years after their fourth.  Frequently she shares stories of her youngest daughter on FaceBook that remind me of Katie.  So I asked her how she was handling the stroller situation with her two youngest.  She gave me the reality check that I needed.  The double stroller is going to be a fixture in my on the go life for more than six months.  Her suggestion was to find a stroller that would give Katie the option to sit or stand.  This would serve the purpose of being lighter than most doubles and would be narrow enough that I could still navigate the clothing racks in stores like Kohls, where I do a lot of shopping for the kids.  The thought of parking my kids out in the main aisle in their side by side double stroller was enough to make me think that I was probably going to be stuck doing all of my shopping on-line until Katie was old enough to not need a stroller.

I dragged Bryan to a baby store today after realizing that the Baby Trend Sit and Stand stroller that I picked up at Target yesterday wasn't going to work for me.  It was bulky, it was fincky to fold, and it looked like Katie didn't have the balance necessary to just sit on the little bench or stand on the back of the stroller without the possibility of falling off.  I wasn't sure if I'd find anything I liked but I wanted to see what my options were.  As luck would have it, they had a Joovy Caboose Ultralight Too on display.  The stroller comes with an adaptor to hold pretty much any infant carrier seat, a second seat that looks like it will work for Katie, and a nicely sized canopy.  Best of all, it folds up beautifully and isn't incredibly heavy.   I'm pretty sure I found my stroller.  The quality of the stroller is much nicer than the Baby Trend stroller and I feel like it has greater versatility.  I'm going to head back to the store with Katie later this week to test drive it with her in it and also to see how well the car seat I plan on using fits.

Who knows, maybe this whole double stroller thing won't be as bad as I think.  Honestly, of all the things to worry about with getting ready for a new baby, the stroller issue has to be the biggest one.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pregnancy and Lent

Apparently I'm not the only one out in blog land that has been contemplating Lent while pregnant.  Both Djiwa and Christine have discussed Lent and pregnancy on their blogs today and at the risk of beating a dead horse and looking like a copy cat and using far too many puns all at the same time, I'm going to do it, too.

We're just a few days away from the start of Lent and I've yet to decide on what I'm giving up and/or taking on for Lent this year.  Eek!  Part of this is because I already feel like I'm living a super long drawn out Lent while pregnant this time around.  I found out back in October that things like deli meats, soft cheeses, and ceasar salad dressing are all foods you shouldn't eat while pregnant.   Now I knew that moldy cheeses and feta were off limits while pregnant long before my first pregnancy, but it was news to me when I found out that hoagies, ceasar salad and fresh buffalo mozzarella were all off the menu.  And being the sort of person who always wants what she can't have, I find myself longingly looking at Wawa and wishing I could have an Italian Hoagie.

When I'm not pregnant, I'm willing to give up certain foods or even eating out/ordering take out.  Knowing how I am, I know those types of sacrifices while pregnant will make me and everyone around me miserable, so they're out.  What I need to do is find something that is non-edible to give up for Lent.

When I was pregnant with Katie I gave up FaceBook for Lent.  I've considered doing that this time around, but part of me would really hate to do it.  Perhaps that's an indicator that I should give it up since doing so will certainly impact me.  Some people are good with giving up internet during the day but I doubt I could handle that especially since that's how I primarily communicate with Bryan during the work day. Then again, I might be able to sacrifice browsing websites and blogs during the day but still utilize the messenger that I use to contact Bryan.  I imagine if I cut out a lot of my internet usage or limited myself to only a certain amount of time on line per day that I'd probably get a lot more done around the house than I presently do.

As far as taking things on for Lent, in the past I have added things like going to daily Mass two or three times per week.  I did that last year for Lent and by the time we hit Easter I was going to daily Mass Monday through Friday and have been doing so ever since.  So, unless I decide to sacrifice my Saturday mornings, the only morning of the week where I get to sleep past 6:45, I don't think I'll be able to add going to daily Mass as a Lenten sacrifice.

I'm hopeful that I will be able to come up with something that is meaningful to give up and/or take on by Wednesday.  If you have any suggestions leave me a comment.


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