Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Husband

I just wanted to take a second and express how blessed I feel to have Chris as my husband. I had a bad day with the kids yesterday, despite going to the pool with them. Typically I might mention to Chris simply that it wasn't a great day when he's at sea, but I don't usually go into detail. After all, he's half a world away, what can he do, but worry about us and wonder if we're doing better - which doesn't do much for his state of mind. But yesterday I'd had it, and when I went to write Chris an email, it all came out, every nit-picky detail about my day with the kids and all the annoyances it brought. After all, Chris is my best friend and the one I vent to when he's home, so it's only natural to want to vent to him even when he's not here. This was his response: "Thanks for venting to me so I can feel like part of your day."
I usually feel guilty after venting my frustrations to him when there's nothing he can do to help. Chris is always looking for ways to help me and fix my problems, even when all I want is for him to lend an ear, a shoulder and a hug. I know it's hard for him to be so far away and hear my frustrations and not be able to do anything to help, and yet he still found a way...to let me vent without guilt so I can get it out and move past it. I am a very lucky, very blessed woman.

32 Weeks

Not much longer to go! In fact, when I was pregnant with Clara, I only made it to 33 weeks - hard to believe. This time I plan on carrying full term as I did with Jonathan, although I can't say that not having to carry this baby for 2 more months in the summer heat doesn't hold some appeal.

The days of sleeping on my tummy are over. I can't quite get comfortable at night, which is a bright side to Chris being on deployment. It leaves me with the whole bed to try and find a comfortable position. Sleeping on my back and belly are uncomfortable, and sleeping on my right side pinches a nerve that leaves me numb from about hip down. So on the left side it is for the most part. I haven't quite figured out how to situate the pillows this time around to make it more comfortable. I've gained about 27 lbs in total so far, but still 2 months to go. The baby sits high like Jonathan did, so that when I sit, he presses on my rib cage which can be uncomfortable, but also leaves me short of breath when I'm trying to read the kids a book or something that requires a lot of talking. He's still moving around a great deal - making my belly look like an amoeba. My belly button is already a partial 'outie', visible through just about any shirt I wear.

Despite all the changes, I seem to be in a bit of a state of denial or ignorance. I don't think it has fully dawned on me yet that I'm having a baby soon, which is both good and bad. Good, in terms of the fact that I am a worrier and if given the chance I'm sure I work myself into a tizzy about having this baby without Chris here (even though my parents will be here to fill in and help out), whether or not Jonathan will willingly share his room or even accept him for that matter, or if Clara's going to get lost in the shuffle because I do already view her as so independent and self-sufficient. Bad, in terms of I still don't have a name for this baby -- not a clue, and honestly I haven't been searching hard lately, though I need to start. There's just no sense of urgency in my mind, so hopefully something comes to me before this baby does!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pool Time

Today's forecast called for 108 degree weather, so the kids and I took off for the pool to cool off and kill some time. We don't make it to the pool often, because the base pool here is very cold (even in 108 degree weather). Actually the big pool is not so bad temperature-wise, but Clara can barely stand on her own in the shallow end there, so she likes to hang on to me the whole time. Obviously, I still need to hold onto Jonathan the whole time as well, and since we've been here for 2 summers now without Chris, that just leaves me to hold onto two kids. Unless, that is we head into the kiddie pool, which is like swimming in refrigerator water. It literally took my breath away today when I dipped myself in just to cool off. On the bright side, the kiddie pool is only 1.5 feet deep, so it's not necessary for me to actually be in the water with the kids the whole time. Still it's so cold that Clara doesn't stay in long because she can't take the cold. Jonathan, on the other hand, doesn't seem to notice. Aside from the temperature, the kiddie pool is great. It's a nice size, fenced in with seating for the parents, and has a sun shade over the whole pool (which is also the reason the kids look blue in some of these pics). All in all, not a bad set up.

Getting used to the water temperature

They spent the first 30 minutes or so 'swimming' from one side to the other (which was actually just walking on their hands and kicking their feet behind them).

Clara 'swimming'

Jonathan also found it fun to just bounce around in the water



Mr. GQ, himself!


Time for posing again!

Clara's 'best princess pose'


Happy kids!


We came home just in time for lunch and nap. Hopefully it will be cooler outside once they wake up this afternoon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tiny Dancer

It has taken a while, but I finally received Clara's dance portraits in the mail today. I had to contact the studio, because they'd lost my order or something, but they printed the portraits up and got them to me quickly this time around.

Clara's class was actually only 3 girls, so I don't know all of the girls' names. They combined two small classes for the recital. (L-R: Haley, Jenna, ?, ?, Clara).

I wish they'd used the lighter background for all the pics, but here's Clara's solo pics.



(For the Grandparents, don't worry about saving these pics off the blog, I'll be sending you copies from my order.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Little Sayings

Jonathan is talking a lot these days. Still seems like a quiet child compared to Clara, but then just about any child would, but his speech is much more clear and the cutest things come out of his mouth sometimes. These are a few of my favorites that he says often:


According to Jonathan, this is "Circle dog"


Everytime he sees Clemson laying this way, he excitedly exclaims, "Circle dog! Circle dog!"


"That's awesome!"

"Aww, Man"


"Guess what, mom, guess what"
"What, Jonathan?"
"Tell you sumping."
"What do you want to tell me?"
(**Giggles**)
There's not typically anything he actually wants to tell me, and if there is - it's never a complete thought. Still a couple times a day, every day, we have this conversation


One of my most favorite sayings is "Lot 'sum, Lot 'sum"
For example:
"Look at those flowers, mom"
"Oh yeah, they're pretty."
"Look, there's lots 'um, lots 'um."
"Yes, there are a lot of them."

What am I thinking?

We've been having a rough go of things around here lately. Nothing really going wrong, but a definite lack of cohesiveness around here. Clara's been acting out, showing a little attitude and being argumentative, which I'm sure comes with the age, but is quite unusual for her. Jonathan has been acting out as well, which sad to say is more normal from him than not. I can typically deal with Jonathan's stubbornness, but when Clara starts in too, I easily get overwhelmed, feeling it coming at me from all sides. Any of you with kids knows, how easily kids can egg each other on. Just as you get one behaving, the other decides to see what they can get away with...and the cycle begins! With Chris gone and one on the way I've been ready to send both of the kids to their rooms for the next 4 months until Chris' return, ready to buy a Ouija board and channel June Cleaver. As I search for answers of how to regain to control, (I'm positive there was a time when I had it), panic fills my mind, "What am I thinking having a 3rd child when I can't control the 2 I have?" I assume that's what passersby are thinking every time Jonathan decides to take a stand in a store, throwing a tantrum and telling me, "No!" Quite honestly, there was a time I may have passed that same judgement on someone else, but now I stand there helpless and try to defuse the situation before I lose it and throw my own tantrum.


Jonathan has entered a new phase where he thinks it's fun to push and hit his sister. With absolutely no provocation, just to get a rise out of her, he will push her, kick her, pull on her shirt, never hard enough to hurt, just enough to be a nuisance. Clara is a willing participant, and gives him that reaction every time. In Clara's defense, she never has raised a hand back toward him, not even to defend herself...she just screams, "Stop it!" Her intent is to scream just loud enough to catch my attention and get Jonathan in trouble...as a result, they both get in trouble. I've shown her how to calmly ask him to stop and explain to him that it hurts or walk away -- even showed her how he responds favorably to that (surprisingly enough), and that I will discipline him in turn. Still, the next time, "Stoooop it, Jonathan, Stoooppppp!" They both sit in time out, he, for hitting, and she, for not watching her tone. Does it work? Nope. There's always a next time.


I thought the increase of disharmony around here was due to the long week we had last week driving into Fresno everyday for zoo camp and assumed things would get better once we had a few low key days. It took a few more than I expected. Quite possibly, because in my infinite wisdom, I decided this week would be the perfect time to try and tackle potty training Jonathan again. Bright and early Monday morning, Jonathan was sitting on the potty waiting to see what happens. We were successful at first. By 10am we had one pee-pee in the potty and big boy underwear on my little guy. By 11am, we had still just the one pee-pee in the potty and 2 in the pants, followed up by one on the floor about 30 minutes later. Back into the diaper for nap time. After his nap, 2 more on the floor. Never a care when he peed on himself or the floor, without even a hint of noticing that he had done it. We even moved our potty training outside, since he was upset that Clara was outside and he was not:



The neighbors enjoyed my futile attempt at potty training. We were most unsuccessful. We tried again Tuesday morning. After more of the same, and building frustrations, I decided it was not a good idea for me to attempt potty training Jonathan at this time. So the idea is back on the shelf for now.


As a result, the kids and I have had a couple good days Weds, and today. Everyone is well rested, getting along and for the most part - happy! We even took advantage of the beautiful weather in the evenings and went for walks, Clara on her scooter and Jonathan on his bike.



Jonathan has just finally figured out pedalling in the last few weeks since Chris left. It took him a while to decide it was more fun to go as he pleased, and not just be babied, constantly asking me to push him. Once he figured out he could do it on his own, he took off and hasn't stopped. Now when I try to help, he says, "Can you not help, Mom?"

Clara is just as tickled by how fast she's gotten on her scooter and how long she can keep it going without putting her foot down. To emphasize this skill, she often holds her 'pushing foot' as high as she can while riding on the scooter. It's hilarious, but I haven't managed to get a picture of it yet. The walks offer great quality time for just the 3 of us, and the exercise needed to tire them out so they get a good night's sleep. The other night we actually took a good 2.5 mile walk like this - the kids made it the whole way without any help from me. We all come home in a good mood, no matter the mood we were in before we left and each night they ask to go again.

I think I've found the key to happy kids: busy kids.

Knock, Knock

Earlier today as I sat at this computer, checking emails and blogs and such, Jonathan climbed up in my lap as he often does. But as I tried to help lift him up to sit in my lap, he explained, "No, I listen to your belly." and curled up in my lap pressing his ear against my very round, pregnant belly.
Playing along, I asked, "What do you hear?"
Jonathan: (gasp!) "He's knocking!"
Me: "Who?"
Jonathan: "My baby brother! Can you let him out,
Mommy?"
Me: " I'm sorry, Sweetheart, he has to stay in there a
little longer."
Jonathan: "Yes! (as if there's room for argument), I wanna
play with him!"
So maybe he does get it a little more than I thought. I wasn't sure he totally knew the connection between my growing belly and this 'new baby brother' he's been hearing so much about. He's never asked to listen to my belly before today, even though he's come to a few appointments with me and heard the heartbeat. Not much longer now and I'm sure Jonathan will be asking me if we can put his baby brother back in there :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Zoo Camp - Grassland Safari

With Chris gone, we have jumped back into our "keep-busy-so-time-flies-routine": first stop, Zoo Camp. Clara started zoo camp Monday. This week's topic was Grassland Safari. She learned all about elephants, tigers, giraffes, zebras and kangaroos. The teachers were the same as she's had in the past, but she worked much more closely with one of them this time around. Mrs. Jennifer was Clara's 'big buddy', the teacher Clara was paired with for walks into the zoo and activities in the classroom. Last time Clara's 'big buddy' was just one of the classroom helpers. Mrs. Jennifer couldn't get over Clara's thirst for knowledge, how eager Clara is to learn all she can, what a big helper she is with her 'little buddies' and the fact that she is already reading. When Clara's class takes walks into the zoo each teacher/assistant ('big buddy') is paired with just 2-3 kids ('little buddies'). Because Clara is such a willing helper, they paired her up with one of the head teachers and 2 of the youngest children in the class (the class is for ages 3-5yrs). Mrs. Jennifer said Clara was fantastic at keeping up with her little buddies, making sure they stayed together, and were OK -- very caring and helpful. Have I ever mentioned Clara's the best big sister anyone could ever have? So it only makes sense that those characteristics shine through in other ways. I am so proud of her, for simply being herself!

With the zoo being about 45 minutes away, Jonathan and I would simply find something to do each morning in Fresno for the 3 hours Clara was in zoo camp. The drive back and forth was exhausting and so was finding something to do with Jonathan. Each day we came home after zoo camp, and EVERYONE took a good 3 hour nap. (I didn't need these naps to get me through last year, but then I wasn't 7 months pregnant then either). Today Jonathan and I decided to hang out at the zoo too, with the hopes of running into Clara's class at some point so I could get a few pics of her.

Right as we walked into the zoo, they were bringing out the first 'meet and greet' animals of the day -- the Llamas. Jonathan got to hold this ones' leash for a picture.



Later we met Skye, another meet and greet animal.



As we were looking at Skye, we found Clara and her class. Here she is with Mrs. Jennifer and one of her little buddies (her other little buddy wasn't in camp today).



So we tagged along to the bird show with them. Jonathan got to sit with Clara's class. He was so excited - once they finished getting the sand out of their shoes.



When we went back to pick Clara up, she was busy playing playdough with some of her classmates.



Once we got home, I got Clara to show me the art projects she had worked on all week. Each day they do one project, and they get to bring them all home on the last day. Clara painted the grass on her art folder here.



She made a giraffe...



a prairie dog...



A leaopard mask...


...and some finger puppets.


I was trying to get a shot of her t-shirt. They get a new shirt for each week long camp. This one had all the heads of grassland animals arranged in the shape of Africa. It's a cool shirt, though not the best picture of it.

Clara had a great time in zoo camp once again. She'll go for one more week at the end of July. That camp will be a photography one like the one she did last year. I am happy to have a break from the driving for a while. We have a couple of low-key weeks coming up, so I plan on trying to tackle potty training Jonathan again. I'm using zoo camp as a bit of a motivator. He wants so badly to go, but has to be 3 and potty trained in order for that to happen. If I can get him potty trained, I'd like to send him with Clara to her next camp at the end of July. Next year Clara moves up into the next age group, for which zoo camp is an all day experience - a great introduction to all day school before she enters 1st grade. However if possible, I'd love to have her and Jonathan be together for a camp this summer first!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Haircut

So I thought I'd capitalize on Jonathan's great mood after Little Gym. He HATES haircuts. We're talking kicking and screaming the WHOLE time. Seriously, the last time I took him for a haircut about a month ago, we were asked to leave the first salon we went to because the first stylist said 'it wasn't safe for him or her to cut his hair' with the way he was acting (and she hadn't even started). I was mad and embarassed, and as if I didn't already dread taking him for haircuts, well, the anxiety is only heightened now that I know there's a risk we'll be asked to leave again! The mere mention of a haircut can get a rise out of Jonathan, but he was in serious need, so I took advantage of the fact that there's a salon in the same parking lot as Little Gym. I gave the stylist the same warning I always do, and explained I am not looking for a great haircut, just a haircut. I am not unreasonable, I don't expect him to have great style with the way he carries on, but he still needs his haircut! She quickly went down the list of "Have you tried...?", and yes, we've tried it all, but nothing makes a difference, so she took a deep breath and jumped in. Once she saw his reaction to the mere suggestion that we were there for his haircut, she suggested we just buzz it. I conceded.

I like him better with hair, but on the bright side, this haircut only took about 5 minutes...and 2 stylists, myself, and 2 lollipops! Plus, since it's so short, I'm hoping to get more time before the next haircut.


Jonathan still cried through the whole thing, yelling, "I'm done, I'm done!" As soon as his feet hit the floor, he was giggling again...what am I gonna do with him? He seemed to think it wasn't so bad since it was much quicker than usual, and he likes the way it feels when he rubs his head. So maybe this is the way to get him past it all, get him used to 5 minute buzz-cuts and work on his style once he sees haircuts aren't the end of the world. I don't know, I really do like him better with hair :) ...good thing it grows back!

Little Gym

We're finally starting to find our routine with Chris gone. We weren't able to find our routine in the short time between Chris leaving and his parents coming to visit, and last week I would've forgotten my head if it wasn't attached. Seriously, it's amazing I still have both kids with me. There was the day last week I forgot my purse on the chair at the food court in the mall. When I realized it 10 minutes later, it was gone! After filing a report with mall security, calling a neighbor to come pick the kids and I up, and a torturous 45 minutes, some kind and honest person turned my purse in as I was crying, waiting for my friend to come get us at the mall. I was humbled, thankful, and felt truly blessed. Also, the kids gymnastics classes at Little Gym began last week. I completely forgot to get Clara to hers on Monday and then showed up to Jonathan's class 30 minutes late on Saturday, thinking it started at 10:30am rather than 10am. Since it is only a 45 minute class, he was a little disappointed to have to leave just 10 minutes later. Thankfully, Little Gym has a very flexible make up policy, so we made up Clara's class last Weds. evening and Jonathan's class today. Jonathan's class is a 'Mommy and Me' type thing, whereas Clara's is all on her own, so I was able to get pictures of Jonathan in class today. (I'm still trying to figure out how to get pics of Clara in class without being a distraction).

Here's Jonathan at the beginning of class, singing the opening song and shaking the bells!

Parachute time! Seriously, that smile doesn't leave his face when he's in there.

Time to explore the stations. He couldn't wait to hang on the rings.



Check out those muscles!



He's been watching the big kids in Clara's class walk on these...



He was more brave than I was ready for!



They practiced forward rolls today -- this one ended with a tickle!



The balance beam -- see, much too brave for me!



That's more my speed :) He was soo happy to be in class today, and just totally thrilled with himself!



Ms. Bridget helping Jonathan hang on the bar.



Ms. Bridget helping Jonathan across the balance beam.



They close each class with bubbles, one of Jonathan's most favorite things!



After Ms. Bridget was done blowing bubbles, Jonathan army crawled around, blowing on the bubbles stuck on the mat to pop them. I was just relieved to see he wasn't licking them up!

We had a great time. Jonathan is excited to finally have a class that he can do. He spends so much time taking Clara around to her activities (school, dance, gymnastics, and zoo camp started again this week). He always wants to stay with her, but never gets that chance. This class is his time, and he LOVES it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Missing Daddy

I was laying with Jonathan in the living room after his nap today. The windows and doors have been open all week since the weather has been gorgeous! As I was talking with Jonathan, we overheard a male voice outside talking. Jonathan got up and excitedly said, "Daddy's home!" I said, "No, remember? Daddy's at work on the big boat." He started crying, snuggled up to me, and said, " I want to be on the big boat with Daddy."
These are the days it gets hard.

Monday, June 8, 2009

'D' is for Difficult!

Today was that day I've been waiting for. The day I got to go meet my little guy in 4D! I was so excited. I couldn't wait to get a good glimpse of him, and to be awarded the opportunity to meet him just a little early. That is until today, when I found out the 'D' in 4D stands for Difficult!

The little guy who was so 'photogenic' and 'cooperative' at our last ultrasound (direct quotes from the last ultrasound tech), did NOT want to be bothered today. He began the session with his face smooshed up against my placenta and uterus and topped it off with his hand in front of his face, sucking his thumb. None of which made for a clear picture. At one point he even turned his back completely on us. I offered to do cartwheels down the hall to get him stirred up a little. I think the ultrasound tech was afraid I might actually do it (I would've had she said it was OK!) She did let me take a potty break and walk the halls a little, neither of which made a big difference. I tried laying on my right side, on my left side, on my tummy, sitting up, laying in an inverted position, and even tried drinking cold water. He responded by moving around a lot, but never in a favorable way for a clear picture. We saw clear pictures of his hands, feet, limbs, and of course his genitals (definitely a boy!), but no luck seeing the face clearly.

Thankfully I had a persistent and patient ultrasound tech, who showed us everything she could make out. We saw him yawn, suck his thumb, blink his eyes, stick out his tongue, move his arms and legs around, and nuzzle safely inside me. Finally, after a good 1.5 hours, (yes, 90 minutes) we were able to get some decent glimpses of Mr. Difficult himself. That's right, he finally turned toward us a little and let us marvel at how precious he is. The pics are still not as clear as some that I've seen, but after 90 minutes, it was the best we got!


He almost looks like he's smiling here.


The best picture of the day. You can make him out clearly there on the left, eyes closed, head down a bit. On the right is either placenta or uterus (I don't know how to tell one from the other like the ultrasound tech could!) While it may seem the black spots on the top of his head look like he's got a full head of hair, that's just an area where the ultrasound beam was going through his skull instead of bouncing back the image.


The ultrasound tech tried so hard for me to get a good picture. By the time she was done, she had over 70 pics, though not all very good ones. She put the whole session on DVD for me, and remarked how generally, they only give about 15 pics (assuming the baby is more cooperative and the pics are better in the first place). She also said she hadn't had one that difficult in a very long time. So it's nice to see this little one will already have one thing in common with his older siblings...stubbornness!

Oh, and I had to ask because I didn't know - the difference between 3D and 4D: 3D is a still picture, 4D is with movement.

video

So here is a 4D glimpse of my little one. Happy viewing!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A New Do

Now that dance is done for a while, and I no longer have to worry about pulling Clara's hair back in a bun, it was time for a new do! Clara asked for a new haircut a few months ago, but I asked her to wait until the recital was done, so I could get that bun in there for the big day without a million bobbi pins. She was kind enough to agree. As time got closer I asked if she still wanted it cut and how -- she said yes and picked the length -- scary that she's making these decisions already and she's only 5!

The 'before' shot. Daddy loves her long hair, but she was seriously in need of at least a trim.



How short will she go?

Can you tell?



Who is that girl? Yep! she got a good 4-5 inches cut off!



Finished and styled! Her hair looks so much thicker and healthier now. I never noticed how beautiful her hair really was.



Trying out some new poses to go with the new hair. Can you tell she hates it? Sorry Daddy, it was her choice, but it was a good one. She's even more beautiful, as if that's possible :)