Tuesday, January 28, 2014

36 weeks...still pregnant

My feet are the size of balloons. Overnight they can get back to their normal looking selves but after just  getting up to use the bathroom and brush my teeth and they are swollen. I know this is a normal and common pregnancy symptom especially this late, but I never really dealt with it with Levi until after his due date and even then not to this extent.

I am getting more and more tired with every passing day and Levi seems to be getting busier :)

I am so thankful to family and friends who continue to support me and our family in this season.

Baby girl continues to be a mover ad a shaker. She is head down so I am experiencing kicks in the rib cage for the first time also - Levi was transverse until right at the end and I got all his kicks in a totally different place. Ouch! Now, I know what all you ladies are talking about!

At our scan this week however, her growth rate had slowed which isn't necessarily a bad thing but its something they want to monitor closely. She and I passed all the other standard tests they did and her fluid levels are great so its nothing to freak out about (yet). My doctor did say that sometimes it's simply an inaccurate measurement taken during the scan that can make it look way worse than it is. Because her head is so far down in my pelvis is was hard for them to get a good scan picture so I am hopeful that that is all it is, but it is a little worrying all the same. I jut want her to be healthy!

We are also in the middle of a bathroom remodel project that we want to complete before she arrives so as much as I want to have this baby, I want to have a working toilet and sink at the very least before that happens! The tiles on the floor are done (almost) so this weekend we can start to put things back in there.

I truly feel as though each day I wake up unsure of how I will make it to bedtime. I am napping through Levi's naps pretty constantly these days to get a little more sleep but it doesn't make up for nights disturbed by getting up to go to the loo, hip pain, and Levi being unsettled - I am so excited for his teeth to come in but the bulging gums are sure taking their sweet time to pop out those pearly whites.

I am trying to plan to do things that allow Levi to run off energy but he likes me to play with him so at the play gym he wants me close by to shoot hoops or lift him up to get on the slides and other play equipment. At home, being in the back yard, he runs around and digs in the dirt. The fresh air seems to agree with him but it's still a lot of effort to get him bundled up and then unbundled and washed clean once we are done.

I am not sure if all the lifting of Levi will mean she might make her appearance even earlier than we have planned but I am becoming less and less opposed to the idea as each day passes. My sweet hubby has a business trip next week for a couple of days and I am terrified that she will decide to come while he is gone - he promises he ca get back quickly if needed!

I feel as though I have so much to say; so many thoughts running through my mind about all kinds of things, but at the same time I have no energy to really form thoughts beyond surviving the next few weeks until the baby is in my arms. 

Ok, off to bed. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Who do I pick?

I am a mummy watcher. I observe children who behave the way I desire Levi will, or display character traits that I would like to instill in my children and I watch how their parents interact as a way to get ideas about how they parent so I can emulate it. I have always been a people watcher, so this is just another piece to that puzzle :)  I feel blessed that so many of the mummies I am looking to emulate are already my friends. The task of parenting two babies, 18 months apart is made less daunting when I see so many women doing it so well around me. I don't mean to say that all my friends are telling me it's easy, in fact they are telling me there will be days I don't think I can make it and times when I want to give up (I can very much believe that) but they are also living day to day in a way that illustrates they are doing it and that for the most part, they are doing it well. I see them laughing, I see them wearing cute outfits, and that they have managed to shower. I see them on playdates and laughing with their kids. Their beautiful offspring who remember to say "please" and "thank you" and eat their veggies.
I often wonder how I will find the balance between caring for a newborn and entertaining a toddler. I see them wrestling with this balancing act too and it gives me hope and ideas :). For some the needs and wants of an older child always take priority and for others the baby receives the weight of attention. This is not a judgement, just an observation and its just the way life works for them in this season, hats off to you mamas! It just makes me wonder how our life and family will take shape when baby girl gets here.

Levi is 17 months and (in the words of Tom Hanks' pre-Meg Ryan girlfriend in Sleepless in Seattle) he's good at it. He is busy and can be loud. He is a thrower of all things, and while he is starting to understand something about being gentle but it takes a lot of close, hands-on, parenting to help him in those moments when I can tell he is ready to hit.
I wonder if his louder voice will drown out anything little girl has to say for a while. He can and does ask for help and demand attention. Of course, some maybe most of that behaviour is age appropriate but I want to make sure that he learns life is not all about him. My desire is that he will see time given to his sister that he is not a part of. I want them to develop a good relationship, and not create unnecessary jealousy but I also want to create an environment and a schedule that enable me to have time with both children doing activities that are specific for them. He maybe louder, but I so dearly want to make space for her voice to be heard and time to get to know her deeply.

Levi is active and needs opportunity to run. I am sure this will mean our morning trips to the play gyms will continue for both or sanity. It is always a fun opportunity to meet up with friends and get some adult conversation as well as giving Levi some time with his buddies. I am hopeful that at first baby girl will need to take a nap during some of our gym time so I an give Levi attention; throwing basketballs and pushing him on bicycles while she sleeps. I am also hopeful that his independent play will continue to develop in a way that I can have time to be with her and play at home while he amuses himself. Maybe I'm dreaming? Maybe its not possible? I guess I will find out soon enough. I am sure some days will be better than others as we all adjust.

There will be times when I am nursing for example and he needs something when he will have to wait - or she will? He is getting more independent but he is still a baby in a lot of ways. I know that there is little point to worrying, so much of these questions and wonderings will figure themselves out after baby girl arrives but I can't help it :)

[Thankful beyond words to have such a dilemma to process.]

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Bigger Story

On Sunday at church, our Pastor gave a message that encouraged us to trust that the small ways we love and serve each other are serving as part of God's bigger plan. I know as a stay at home mummy, I have felt as though the days can pass without me having time to do anything worth a lick.

Yes, I keep Levi fed and watered, I change his bum and try to keep him entertained for the hours he is awake. But when I hear a friend is sick, my first response isn't always to offer to take them a meal or watch their kids so they can rest because I am feeling like its just too much. I see need but I carry a heavy burden of not doing enough, not loving others well enough, and failing (over and over) to live into God's plan for my days.

After Sunday, I realised how the enemy loves how overwhelmed I can feel somedays. He loves that it can incapacitate me and I see more clearly how I have let that happen. So instead of feeling that way, I am choosing to celebrate the small and seemingly insignificant events of the day and even in the past few days I have seen how beautiful life has become. Nothing has changed except a time to intentionally celebrate but there is so much joy in my days, even the lazy ones :)

Yesterday was such a day. A lazy one. One where the only time we left the house to to drive thru Starbucks to get me some coffee and also pick up the mail. I wore pajamas or yoga pants all day. The TV was on more than it was off (and I had been doing so well with not having it on during the day- fresh start tomorrow, right?) Levi took a terrible nap which meant that he was overly emotional, our afternoon playdate was cancelled because our friends were sick and J had to teach a class after work and didn't get home until after 10pm so I was on duty for all of the bedtime routine. I guess looking at it like that it's hard to see the beauty. It sounds like one of those overwhelming days.

In someways it was.

But there was so much to celebrate.

How Levi started sitting on my lap, facing me and placing his hands gently (without being prompted) and asked for the baby to move, and the smile and giggle that would melt my heart when she did! I think she likes him because she responded almost every time.

Then there was the 30 minutes he and I spent building with his blocks. We made towers and a chair for his Lovey. Simple time together.

Then he loved when I would fold down tthe collapseable tunnel, and he would step inside with his little arms above his head and yell "pop" at which I would let go and the tunnel would pop open above his head, knocking him down in a pile of giggles, while he yelled "more pop!, more pop!" Over and over and over.

For his dinner tonight, I made him white fish with mango and tomato and reheated some sweet potato fries that I had made for our dinner last night. He eats well, I had egg on toast - I can get away with that type of dinner when J isn't here! I love how well Levi eats, and I pray he will continue to grow healthy and strong.

And then there is bathtime, when he was splashing on his belly "wimmin" (swimming) as he calls it, and I ask, "who has the cutest little bum?" and without missing a beat he turns to look up at me and says, "daddy". Ha ha!

He is growing into the most precious child. A true gift from God. Perhaps it wasn't the most productive of days, lots of things I wish I had done differently or better but eve just these little moments show me that our time together IS important. I am planting seeds. I am encouraging his development, showing him love, creating a safe place for him to grow without fear. I don' know the plans God has in mind for Levi' s future but I trust that they will be beautiful and wonderful and mroe than I can even imagine.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

34 weeks, and so over it!

I have not done the greatest job blogging during this pregnancy, or at least blogging about this pregnancy. It makes me a little sad to think that some of the feelings have been forgotten already but honestly, pregnancy and parenting a toddler do not leave a lot of time for thoughts beyond surviving the day.

I enjoyed most of my pregnancy with Levi, those 9 days post due-date were the worst and the initial sickies were not pleasant but other than that the swelling belly and constant rolls and kicks were enjoyable.

This time, I have not felt the same. The sickness and exhaustion were overwhelming for so much longer this time around and all of a sudden here we are at 34 weeks; the swollen feet and hands, the uncomfortable giant belly, the constant movement and the not fitting in any of my clothes are so not anything poetic to write about.

I understand that without the belly and the discomfort etc. etc. there would be no baby girl and I am thankful to be experiencing it (even if it doesn't sound that way, I truly am). However, this time the symptoms have just meant that my activity level with Levi and even in general have been very limited. I want to be able to run around after Levi, push him in his little car, crawl through his play tunnel and generally throw him around :) Not to mention going up and down stairs to do laundry without being out of breath and without feeling like the bending over to get the clothes from the washer is going to send me into early labor. I'm ready to have my body back (or what's left of it) and also to have some control over my energy levels again (even if that's just in my head because let's face it when newborns want to feed every few hours and your toddler is up at 6am you will be exhausted!) Still, I am ready embrace non-pregnant motherhood once again!

I anticipate these final weeks will pass slowly with the holiday activities over and not much to keep us busy. I am trying to plan playdates and we have wonderful friends to share time with, but I am losing the creativity or energy to do much outside of the house these days. I hope that Levi will have grace with me as I start to parent more and more from the couch. He has just started to climb everywhere at home, he has been honing his stills with our built in bookshelves and he really enjoys climbing onto the chair in our hallway to gain access to some light switches, he is so quick that sometimes I am only alerted to the fact he is up there when teh hallway light starts flashing! This new development has come at a less than ideal time with my ever growing belly making lifting him down (especially when I have to hoist myself up off the couch first::) ) a tiring task - especially because he does it multiple times in a row with seemingly little care for my discouragement.

We have some (kind of big) house projects on our "to do" lists before baby girl too. They involve our two upstairs bathrooms and doing some "simple" updating. We have made some plans, but still need to choose and order tiles and other fittings before the work can begin. With the days ticking away I am starting to feel my nesting instincts and the anticipation of work projects not getting done in time competing with one another for space in my head - they are heading towards and knock down drag out battle and I am ready for something, anything, that indicates the projects might be done before she arrives...if it doesn't happen soon I might find myself chipping off tile or whipping out the paintbrush myself just to satisfy the urge! I think the anticipated arrival of our new dresser/change table this week will ease the nesting somewhat because I will be able to fill drawers and organise clothes and diapers, oh the pink and sparkles :) I even have an art piece to hang on the wall in our room above the dresser and some fabulous paper balls from my baby shower (I have another post about that coming) to hang from the ceiling to give our girl a tiny space of her own.

I am just ready to meet my daughter.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dear Levi - 17 months old

Dear Levi,

You are such a little man these days. No longer my baby - I think when you can ask to pretend to be the baby and want to be rocked it means you are officially old enough to be classified as a toddler. Sigh.

Your words continue to come at a pace that astounds me. I can no longer list your vocabulary because its increasing every moment.

You have started to request to be picked up by saying, "hold you" and saying the same when you want to hold something we have, such as our phones. You are also excited to have our full attention and when you are throwing a basketball into a hoop or doing something else you consider note-worthy you will call out across the room "watch you" to make sure every adult is watching you :)

Speaking of basketball, the hoop you got for Christmas from your Grandparents continues to be a favourite toy. You can even make baskets with all kinds of balls, you have certainly be practicing hard :) You have quite the arm.

Ball sports are your favourite (Football, basketball, baseball) - and they change day to day as to which ranks highest. You have started taking the inside of kitchen paper rolls and instead of them being trumpets they are now baseball bats. I see broken windows in our future as you hone your skills :) As much as you are loving football and basketball on the television I know that baseball season will be a thrill to you too. You also argue with us about your broom which you sometimes want to use as a bat.

"That's your broom"
"no, bat"
"It's a broom, can you sweep?"
"No sweep! (scowl) Bat!"
"But it's a broom"

I give up.

You are starting to get a sense of self, you refer to yourself as "Lovey"  - I guess it's close to Levi, but it can get confusing as you play because you still call your loveys, "Lovey" too. You have started to do much more imaginary play, where your stuffed animals take turns throwing balls or hitting with your toy hammer, even taking bites of food or sips of drink (that can be messy). Its sweet to see but you can get frustrated when you ask us to give soemthing to "Lovey" and we try to give it to you - or to your Lovey - and you mean the other :) Thanks for showing us grace as we try hard to understand you ;)

You are also starting to get much more opinionated about life in general. You are no longer my happy cart rider at the store, you are standing up every few minutes and fussing to get out. Not exactly handy...You have also started to have a voice in what you want to wear, specifically in the sock area. You have a few pairs you really like to wear and if they are available/visible, and you make your voice heard. Your favourites are the penguin pair I picked up at the dollar bin at Target for your stocking and a bright, bright green pair that match exactly none of the clothes you own.

As frustrating as this can be at times, I know it is a part of you growing up and I am embracing the opportunities to shape and mold you in those tough moments - just as you are shaping and molding me all the time.

You may be more fussy and throwing more tantrums than previously but you are also laughing so much more and have become great company too. Your sense of humor is developing in a way that shows how easily you find the funny side of life. Your laugh fills our house all the time and it brings such joy to my heart to hear you.

You are starting to use a spoon at mealtimes with enough skill to get food in your mouth - even though you still ask for help when you are tired, or maybe just lazy :) This month saw you experience your first tummy bug which in turn led to us eliminating bottles from your life. You still drink milk. Maybe more than the average bear at this point, but you have it in a sippy cup as a part of meals or snacks.You haven't asked too much about it and I am glad it hasn't seemed to be too traumatic. I was worried because you were pretty attached. I am glad you still snuggle when you are having snack time.

Now we just have to work on that settling to sleep by yourself thing. Your separation anxiety and "mummy only" opinion have continued into this month but we re hoping that we can work something out anyway :)

Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives. We love you so much.

Mama x

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

The new year has arrived. Thankfully, we are all healthy to welcome her :)

Levi stayed the night with his grandparents which allowed J and I to celebrate with friends. Our friends host a Hogmanay themed party watch year and while we didn't don any tartan (next year we'll do better) we did enjoy the festivities; haggis, cock-a-leekie soup and shortbread to name a few of the traditional delights. It was so nice just to be out with my husband having conversations together without one of us having to jump up every 12 seconds to prevent Levi getting into something he shouldn't! Even though we had nothing to get home for, life with a toddler meant that we celebrated east coast new year at the party. There was a bagpipe player and we sang "Auld lang syne" by the fire as a Chinese lantern flew up into the air taking the bad of 2013 with it, and allowing space for the good that 2014 will hold. Happy New Year to us - and all of you.

The past couple of years, I have chosen a word that I have tried to focus on through the new year. This year, with so many changes on the horizon for our family, choosing one word has been hard but I have finally decided to keep it simple - literally, the word for this year is Simplify.

As we journey through the year this word will look very different. In the first couple of days of the new year it has taken on a very practical look. We are making room for our baby girl and that means I have been going through and organising Levi's clothes into bins so I can know where it is to lend out as well as making space in his closet. We have also been clearing out the spare bedroom and it's closet because it had become the dumping ground for everything that didn't have a home of it's own, as well as being my craft/wrapping room and Jeremy's office and where we hang the laundry. It's chaos in there. And somehow, since we started cleaning it out - despite the multiple bags that have already been set out for recycle or trash - it seems to be eve more chaotic at the moment. I guess it was one of those, has to get worse before it gets better scenarios. Hoping to find motivation to finish up that project in the coming week.

Wishing you all health, happiness, learning and adventure in the coming year.


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