Yesterday was one of those days where I just had to get out of the house. I was feeling a bit stir crazy. The cabin fever has been setting in big time. So I texted my sister-in-law, Moonshine, to see if she wanted to hang out with the kids somewhere, anywhere, and suggested the museum. It turns out that the public library in her city has discount passes for pretty much every local museum so she swung by and scored us a 50% off a trip to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH which is a non-profit marine science education organization. They have so many fun activities and displays to teach the community about the ocean and how to maintain its health. I am pretty sure I enjoyed it as much as the kids did and am already planning on going back again soon… though perhaps when Catriona is a little bit older and walking.
A Day At The Fair
Today we got up early to go to the Annual Rochester Fair in Rochester, NH after a full night of sleep (thank you Oni!). It took us quite a while to get out the door this morning as Liam was feeling emotional in the way that only a two year old can causing us to take twice as long as normal to get out the door.
An example of our morning conversation would be this:
Mom: “Lets put on your sneaker so we can go get in the car”
Liam: “I don’t want sneakers, I want boots!”
Mom: “Ok, wear you boots then, that is a good choice”
Liam: “I WANT BOOOOOTTTSSSS!” (throws himself onto the floor for a two minute fit)
Finally we made it out the door and drove off to pick up Aunty Moonshine and Alvine to head on over to the fair. It was a beautiful day, slightly overcast with perfect fall temperatures. If you head into the fair before all the rides are open it is free to get in so we enjoyed our day for a cost of only $5 to park. The kids, Aunty Moonshine, and I all had a blast and Liam even scored a new hat for the winter!
It is (of course) next to impossible to get both two year olds to stand next to each other and smile.
Now I am enjoying nap time to the fullest extent 🙂
For the last week or so Liam and I have been participating in the Go, Play, and Learn challenge over on one of my favorite blogs, Nerd in the Brain. The timing was perfect. Liam and I have been exploring the worlds of construction and transportation for a while now and I was more than ready for a change… apparently so was Liam as he has jumped right into this new subject to explore wholeheartedly and picked up much more than I originally thought he would with his little two year old brain.
For the most part our activities this week have focused on art, open conversation, and outdoor exploration. These three methods are what works best for Liam to learn and are how I typically address new subjects. For the subject of clouds we started and ended with outdoor exploration, Liam loved this approach as he loves to go outside and play. I loved it because our exploration included lots of walking and I am still trying to lose the last of the baby weight (as an added bonus the fresh air makes Liam and his infant sister – Catriona- sleep like rocks).
We went for walks and talked about the sky and what belonged up in the sky (the sun, airplanes, and helicopters was the list that Liam came up with on our first walk). I slowly introduced the subject of clouds in relation to his precious airplanes and helicopter, of which there are plenty flying overhead as we live in a touristy area. I often find Liam staring out a window looking up at the sky in fascination because there is an airplane flying over head (“see the airplane Mommy? I see it!”). I swear he manages to spot every single airplane that flies over our house no matter how high up they are every clear day. Liam and I had long discussions (for a two year old… so really like 15-20 minutes) about how airplanes fly through clouds sometimes because they are “way up high in the sky” (which is one of Liam’s favorite phrases). We talked about helicopters hovering under the clouds. Then I slowly began to introduce the concept of different types of clouds.
I kept things basic and did some research before we started our conversations (The best website resource I found was at Science For Kids). We only discussed three types of clouds: Stratus, Cumulus, and Cirrus. I also pared down the facts I taught him to one or two about each cloud type. We did art projects… lots of them. I introduced sponge painting for the first time (he is now addicted) as well as making pictures with cotton balls. We also found a video on YouTube of a story called The Cloud Factory which touched on some basic facts while creating a fictional and fun story about how clouds are created. We keep looking out the window, even on rainy days (and especially on cloudy days). We (still) continuously talk about the airplanes that fly through those clouds and how sometimes when the clouds are hanging low like a blanket (Stratus clouds, which he been correctly naming) we can’t see the airplanes that are flying over head. His favorite clouds are Cirrus as they don’t get in the way of his airplane viewing, though he also likes Cumulus clouds because he likes to watch the airplanes fly through them. So far I am pretty impressed and have thoroughly enjoyed watching his mind work to relate a new concept to something he already loves.
As an added bonus I also have some new art for the refrigerator 🙂
3 Months of Catriona
3 Months into our newest adventure in parenting finds us falling more and more in love with our little girl every day. I can’t imagine a life without her.
At 3 months Catriona has mastered:
- Rolling from back to belly as well as from belly to back
- Sitting up with support
- Grasping toys and bringing them too her mouth
- Mom and Dad
- Staring at her puppy brothers
- Her little toy bunny
- Endless walks in the baby carrier (as long as she is facing out)
- When mom works more than 3 days in a row
- Being moved after she falls asleep
She is stating to:
- Notice her brother and sis-co, and to enjoy interacting with them
- Play for longer periods
- Enjoy people other than Mom and Dad
- Settle into a nap schedule
That last one is my favorite thing of all 🙂
Adventures in Diaper Cream (take 2)
In the interest of saving my sanity (and personal space) I have been working on having the two toddlers nap in the same room for the last few weeks. It had been going pretty well. They usually play for a half an hour or so, read each other books, and when I creepily tell them (through the monitor I am spying on them with) to turn off the lights and go to bed they listen. I do wonder what they think is happening when all the sudden my voice comes out of nowhere and I apparently can see everything they are doing.
Today something different happened. I put the kids down and they both yelled they needed to “go potty” 5 minutes later. Since we are encouraging potty training I went upstairs and brought them to the potty. One adult size poop (thankfully in the toilet!) from one child and pee from the other one and then they were back to bed… And immediately into the toys when I shut the door. I went downstairs with my monitor for some toddler TV, but then Catriona woke up and needed my attention. During that brief 5 minute period when I was taking care of Catriona the terrible twosome opened up a dresser drawer and found a forgotten tube of diaper cream from when they were babies. I got Catriona settled and then tuned back into toddler watching. Liam was sitting on the bed talking to The Bean. He appeared to be rubbing his belly which I though was a little odd, but the video was too grainy to see exactly what he was doing so I zoomed in. That’s when I saw it… There was a tube in his hand. I ran up the stairs with agility I did not know I still had and found Liam covered from head to toe in diaper cream. The nice thick white stuff with lots of zinc in it that barely comes off a babies bottom when you wash it. It was in his hair, on his arms, nicely coating his stomach and (Thank God) not anywhere near his mouth or eyes. The Bean had one little dollop on her dress, but otherwise was clean.
I grabbed Liam and the tube and rushed downstairs. My husband, who was lounging on the couch having recently returned home from the store, took one look at him and helped me get him stripped and in the tub. He washed the diaper cream off of Liams body with soap and a wash cloth while I stripped The Bean and took a baby wipe to clean off the minuscule (in comparison) spot on her arm. Liam started screaming. There is nothing the child hates in the world more than getting his hair washed and daddy was trying to really scrub out the diaper cream. We tried every shampoo, conditioner, and Internet remedy I could quickly find that we had supplies for in the house (which mostly centered around vinegar and lemon juice as we did not have any Dawn soap). Nothing worked. We just ended up making dread locks with his hair from all the scrubbing. So my husband hopped into his sandals and drove down to the nearest store to pick up a razor to cut his hair with. Once he returned we gave Liam his first buzz cut. He loves it. I want to cry for the loss of his hair. He now has less hair than what he was born with.
They never did get their nap, but I got a whole extra load of laundry to do (thanks kids)!
On the plus side we won’t have to scrub his hair for a while… I am sure Liam will love that.
And Then There Were Two… Catriona’s Birth Story!
Well, this is a long time coming as our little girl has now passed the 7 week mark, but here it goes!
After teasing us for a few weeks with hard a frequent contractions that would last hours and then fade away our little girl decided to (finally) join us mid May, just before her due date. Catriona’s labor and delivery happened so quickly that it truly took both Conan and I by surprise. On the day of her birth Conan was leaving for work at a ridiculously early hour as he had a 5 hour commute ahead of him. Before he left the house at 5am he woke me up to see if I was feeling up to him being so far away. I had actually slept the night before and had not been feeling any contractions at all and a decrease in fetal movement for the last 24 hours. I told him that I was fine and he should go. He informed me that if I called after 9am he would be on the ferry on Lake Champlain and unable to turn around. I rolled over and promptly fell back asleep.
At 6:30 I woke up feeling a little crampy, looked at the clock, tried to go back to sleep, and then being unsuccessful at that endeavor decided to get up for the day so I could enjoy a shower before Liam woke up. By the time I was showered and dressed I noticed that the cramping had turned into contractions, but that they didn’t have a rhythm and weren’t as strong as they had been for the previous few weeks. The contractions were was all in my back, so I decided to take what was left of my free time before Liam woke up to do some pelvic tilt exercises to encourage Catriona to get off my spine. By the time 7:30 arrived, and Liam woke up, I was in much less pain (the pelvic tilt exercises actually worked!) but the contractions were settling into a rhythm .
At this point I figured it was just going to be another false alarm. I did stop and time them, they were every 5-6 minutes. At that point there was no need to call the doctor or my husband, but I did take the time to text my sister-in-law to see if she could come over and give me a hand before I went to get Liam from his room. After a few weeks of false alarms I knew that the continuous contractions could make me very cranky, especially if Liam was having a whiny/cranky two-year=old type of day.
So I waddled upstairs, picked up Liam for my good morning hug, and immediately had to put him down as I was hit by a very hard contraction. Liam asked me what was wrong, and I told him Catriona was making my belly hurt again. He then proceeded to kiss my stomach to make it feel better (and at that point I knew it was going to be a good day with him). We made it downstairs slowly (he wanted to walk by himself) and without incident, but the contractions were speeding up and getting even stronger at an alarming rate. I was starting to have to stop and breathe through them. After getting Liam changed and set up in his chair for breakfast I texted my sister-in-law again and asked if she could come over early as I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctors office and get checked just in case. I then called my husband at 8:15 am and told him he might want to turn around, but that it could be another false alarm. I called the office and was scheduled for a 9:30 appointment. Conan decided to turn around just in case. I called up my mom to let her know I was going to drive myself to my doctors to get checked for 9:30 and she (thankfully) insisted that she come and pick me up. Everyone was ready to spring into action though I was not yet convinced that it wasn’t a false alarm again so I continued to putter around the house doing some last minute cleaning and helping Liam get cleaned up and pick out some clothes for the day while stopping every 4 minutes or so to breathe through a contraction. When my sister in-law arrived she decided she needed to take some last minute early labor pictures of me. They prove that while I am breathing through contractions I didn’t care if I had a double chin in pictures or not (lol). I never did quite get around to getting Liam dressed.
At 9:15 my mother arrived and we headed down to my doctor’s office. They got me into a room pretty quickly and the nurse practitioner checked to see how dilated I was, looked up at me and said “you are a seven, you aren’t going to have time for an epidural”. I am pretty sure I stared at her in disbelief and then repeated “seven?” I could clearly remember being seen centimeters dilated with Liam and the pain was MUCH worse than what I was currently dealing with.
Mom and I were went over to the hospital, I popped my head into my friend’s office (who was also my OB for both of my children) on the way out to tell her I was 7 cm, and she said she would pop over to the hospital to deliver me shortly and then we headed out. The walking continued to be slow with all the stopping I had to do, but we made into the hospital (which is basically across the street), updated Conan, and got to a room by 10:15. By the time they got my base vitals, IV inserted, and started administering the first round of antibiotics (my GBS was positive on top of everything else with this pregnancy!) I was starting to feel the urge to push… it was 11 am and neither my doctor (Lauren) nor Conan was there yet. My doctor walked into the room 10 minutes later followed closely behind by my husband (who must have broken some serious speed records or hit the best batch of no traffic possible). The first round of antibiotics completed, and Lauren looked at me and said , “you are trying to not push right now aren’t you”. after I affirmed that she did a quick check, said I was just about 10 cm and asked if I wanted to have my water broken (she did warn me that delivery would be quick because Catriona was more than ready to come out at that point)s, which I quickly agreed to. Delivery was less than 15 minutes at that point and 3 pushes later we had our beautiful baby girl.
While she was coming out we did have to pause between pushes as her cord was wrapped around her neck twice. After delivery she also needed a couple of puffs of oxygen as she was in shock from her quick change of scenery and did not start breathing on her own immediately. There are no words to describe how stressful and elongated those moments after birth were when we didn’t hear a cry right away and then when she did start crying how weak it was. Thankfully she bounced back quickly and only needed a couple of puffs of oxygen before she was able to maintain a good level without assistance and we were finally able to hold our little girl in our arms!
There are no words to describe how happy Conan and I are that despite the challenges with this pregnancy we are blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Watching her big brother fall in love with her has been an amazing experience. She has completed our family perfectly.
36 Weeks and Counting!
We have reached 36 weeks in this pregnancy and are slowly trudging our way towards 37! Catriona has spent the last few weeks stubbornly not growing (she ended up dropping 4 weeks of growth total prior to this weeks doctors appointment). So this week we did an ultrasound to check on her growth and the amniotic fluid levels. Thankfully everything came out well. She is estimated to be around 6 pounds 11 ounces at this point (which is amazing considering how small my bump is compared to when I was pregnant with Liam!) and while my amniotic fluid levels are on the lower end of normal they should be fine for the remainder of the pregnancy. Her head is down, the contractions are becoming more frequent, and we are playing a waiting game to meet her.
I continue to have (what has become) my normal migraines, tachycardia, and passing out. For the last week my symptoms have been somewhat relieved, I even had 3 good days in a row where I was able to be up and about without any chest or head pain, but for an added treat these last few days I have been enjoying some third trimester sickness (which is amazingly just like the first trimester was). I have a cardiology consult tomorrow and am hopeful to find some answers to what can be done for this chronic chest pressure, shoulder pain, and episodes of tachycardia. That said, I am very aware that any medication that could be given to relieve those symptoms for me has to wait until after Catriona’s arrival, so I am learning to live with it and take it easy when things really start to act up.
On Monday my sister-in-law came over to the house to take some maternity picture for us since we are currently unable to travel to the photographer that we used to do the maternity shoot we did when pregnant with Liam (Linden Photography in Central NH). I spent some time this morning playing around on Photoshop and touching up the lighting on the pictures. I am pretty happy with the results, and so thankful to Aunty Moonshine for taking them for us. Though this has been a difficult pregnancy we are planning on it being my last pregnancy and I want to be able to look back on this time and remember how it has helped us grow as a family later on. I wish I had enough Photoshop talent to reduce the (well-earned) shadows and bags under my eyes… you would think someone who spends as much time in bed as I have been lately wouldn’t have any but I can’t seem to sleep for more than two hours at a time thanks to our little girls efforts to escape the womb.
We continue to be grateful for everyone’s prayers and well wishes. The support of our family and friends has truly have been an amazing help in us pulling through this pregnancy!
Poor Liam. His parents are certainly not winning any Parent of The Year awards this year.
My little guy has had a cold for about a week and a half with a funny little congested cough like it was all upper airway. His lungs have been clear, but he has been spiking fevers off and on. He has also been a little cranky off and on, but no other symptoms. Sunday morning we woke up to find ear wax dripping down the side of his face. His ear drum had popped due to pressure. So we brought him in to see the doctor first thing Monday morning and they found a double ear infection. That’s right, a double ear infection that mom didn’t even come close to catching. Apparently our boy doesn’t give the usual signs of an ear infection (like tugging on his ears or showing any signs of pain in the area). No changes in appetite or anything. He is on antibiotics now. It is the first medicine beyond Tylenol he has ever had so we are monitoring closely for side effects (which we have thankfully seen none of yet). The bright spot in all of this is that he likes the taste of the medicine so it isn’t a fight to get it into him!
I was so impressed with how cooperative and well-behaved he was at the doctor’s office yesterday. I strongly suspect it is because one of his favorite dress up games to play is “playing doctor” with his Melissa and Doug Doctor Role Play Costume Set. He loves listening to “heart beeps”, checking ears, giving shots, and checking reflexes. Over the last few months of playing with this set he has also learned to stay still when his ears, eyes, and chest are getting checked. We were able to put those lessons into practice the other day at the doctor’s office. Sometimes Liam acts like such a big boy it makes me incredibly proud and sad at the same time (and now I have Bittersweet Symphony running through my head). In less than a month he will be two (and a big brother as well). Time just seems to be going by so fast. My baby boy doesn’t really act like a baby anymore. Although I don’t wish to slow down his growing up I do miss the first years as we have stepped fully into the adventures of the toddler years (which thankfully still include the occasional snuggle for mom) and prepping to be an awesome big brother.
33 Weeks+, A Catriona Update
33 Weeks pregnant… once upon a time our original goal was to make it to 28 weeks… we have now surpassed this by several weeks and look to go for several weeks more. That alone calls for a celebration. Tomorrow we are officially 34 weeks which means we can deliver at our local hospital instead of across the state!
I continue to be home from work due to the migraine and heart issues. For fun my body has decided over the last two weeks that it not only enjoys high blood pressure, but also enjoys orthostatic hypotension… complete with episodes of passing out. Thankfully, because I have been laying low due to the pain of the migraines I have not experienced any injury related to these episodes, but that does not make them any less scary and has prevented me from driving as they are often without warning. I have also been experiencing motion sickness, something I have never had the pleasure of experiencing before in my life. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Needless to say all of this has been keeping me in the house and thanks to the side effects of the medication I have been taking it has also been keeping me sleeping for most of these last few weeks. I can safely say that I have had more sleep this last month than I have had in the last few years since the birth of my son. Staying hydrated has been the biggest challenge with all this sleeping.
Catriona is low… very low, and the contractions are frequent if I am up and about but not consistent, so still Braxton Hicks (though sometimes they can take my breathe away). She is measuring small, but remains healthy which we are incredibly thankful
These last two days have been pretty good for me with minimal headaches and nausea. I have managed to pack the hospital bag and Liam got a doll to practice taking care of. He named her Catriona and then immediately gave her a checkup. Thankfully we can now say his doll is up to date on her shots 😉