Friday, October 30, 2015

Upgrades, upgrades

Big news around here...we are getting a...king size bed!!!  It was delivered today.  We probably would have purchased one with our bedroom set in 2009 but in the old house (I still think of you often, old brick house!) the bedroom wasn't big enough for one.   Justin is always having some back related issue and this recent pregnancy was physically rough for me and every night was torturous.  Also, we are not exactly petite people.  After our weekend in Montana in August when we spent two nights in hotels with king beds we woke up not in pain and wanting to murder each other we decided to get one.  Justin called the furniture store and found out that we could still get the matching headboard and frame that goes with the rest of the furniture and the order was made. 
Well, a frame that matches our furniture was delivered but it wasn't the same as the old one.  Furniture stores...they always have some sort of drama up their sleeve.  I've heard about it happening so many times.  Justin stopped there yesterday afternoon after tilling our garden and the person there was understanding but said he would know more when the manager was there today and the woman who sold it to us is on leave now.  I kind of like this one actually.  The metal bars match the drawer pulls on the dressers.  What we don't like is the fact that the headboard is really low so with pillows you can't really even see it.  So who knows what will happen with this.  At least we have the mattress officially in the house and can sleep on it!
You can see the old one in this picture.  The two are definitely related and have the same style of legs and are the same color.
I miss this old place!  From my occasional drive byes it looks like those curtains are still there. 
I have been searching for sheets and blankets to outfit this new monster of a bed.  It is quite and investment because of the yardage involved.  I never really paid attention to how expensive king bedding is.  I finally settled on this duvet and sham set from my beloved source of domestic fantasies, Pottery Barn. 
Cleary Organic Duvet Cover & Sham
It has all the colors that I needed to match.  The walls are grey and we are not painting anything anytime soon so it had to match those.  There is some light green, which is the color that is prominent in the wall hangings so I wanted them to still match and there is a lot of blue and turquoise, which I always gravitate toward.  Now the yellow lamps will look kind of odd so I will probably be on the hunt for new lamps. 

Cleary Organic Duvet Cover & Sham
I am not going to post a picture of the finished product.  One reason is that the lightweight duvet filling blanket I ordered from slow as a snail flash sale site Zulily isn't here yet and may not arrive at all.  I received a message last week saying there was a delay and if it doesn't ship by the end of October they will just give me a refund.  I don't want a refund.  I want my 70% off down alternative blanket but what can I do? The other reason is that our room looks EXACTLY like the one from the Pottery Barn design team so you don't even need to see ours!  Just like in the picture, I always keep a vase of fresh flowers on my night stand!  I cleverly conceal the diaper rash cream, baby wipes and various tangled charging cords that I use at night these days hidden at all times because WHO can live with such clutter?  NOT ME!  And I always keep the space under the bed clear because of the principles of Feng Shui.  I have plenty of other places to store my duffel bags and box full of old CDs. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Theme Days

It is a special week at Ben's preschool this week.  I can't remember the name exactly and I threw away the flyer about it but it is sponsored by the United Way and there is a bake sale and fundraisers and that sort of thing.  The kids also are dressing up each day to match different themes.  Monday was "crazy hair" day.  He just had his hair cut the day before Milo was born so it is still quite short so I wasn't sure what to do to make his hair crazy.  On Monday morning I remembered that Justin used up the endless bottle of generic men's hair gel that we have had for years so I had to use some pomade balm of mine that smells tropical and beachy.  I did a center Mohawk and told him it was spikes like a dinosaur so that made him happy and amicable to having his hair fixed since, on a daily basis, having his hair fixed causes screaming and fighting. 

This is the best picture I could get in the morning rush.  Yes, that is the glowing blue light of an animated PBS show cast on his face. 

Here he is after school.  I guess my pomade doesn't have very much holding power. 

Friday is, of course, Halloween costume day.  I was disappointed that pajama day was yesterday, on a day when he didn't have school.  That would have been fun for him since he has so many fun pajamas with Paw Patrol, Lightning McQueen and the snowman from Frozen on them. It would have also been easy for me. 
These theme days have reminded me of one of my favorite memories of my school days which was Homecoming week.  We had theme days like this.  Monday was always pajama day.  Most of the girls would get up and get ready as usual and then put on some cute pajamas.  I know I would usually do that and change out of whatever crappy oversized basketball camp t-shirt I slept in.  Friday was always school colors/pep rally day but the other three days were voted on by the student council every year.  We had all sorts of crazy days including toga day, inside out day, formal dress up day and opposite sex day. This day probably is not allowed anymore but the guys all really had fun with it.  I think men secretly enjoy having an excuse to wear women's clothes and act silly.  In college there was a Mr. NDSU pageant every year and the lip sync portion was generally 90% devoted to imitating female singers!  I can think of countless examples of this phenomenon, including the girls basketball team dads wearing the oversized 90's cheerleading sweaters and doing a routine at our send off rally when we went to the state tournament where my dad and most of the other larger dads pinned two skirts together and one even wore a skirt on each leg...yes that happened...and my brother and his friends "losing a bet" or some nonsense and getting girl makeovers from my sister and her friends where they ended up with full clown makeup and wearing my mom's old dresses from the 1970s complete with shoes and pantyhose.  There was also "grunge day", although we all dressed so bad in the 1990s that I don't know why that was even a theme day!  It could have been "wear your normal crummy t-shirts, baggy jeans, flannel shirts and sweatshirts that are 4 sizes too big" day. 
One year, the student council could not agree on could not agree on what to designate as the theme for the final undecided day and a senior girl said with a shrug, "How about we just have 'Wacky Day' and everyone can dress in whatever theme they want?".  I was at that meeting and it was like she spoke the words of a genius and a new tradition was born.  Now, students could engage in any craziness they wanted.  If you felt like wearing a toga but there was no toga day that year?  You could still wear a toga!  You wanted to wear your older sister's prom dress from the 80's but you were a guy and there was no opposite sex day that year?  You could wear your sister's prom dress!  I remember being in college and calling my mom and asking what my brother and sister wore for Wacky Day and she reported that my brother wore a pair of my size 8 tight fitting boot cut jeans and a Ford Dealership work shirt and was handing out pens in honor of the near retirement salesman who worked there.  That was perfect for wacky day! 
Oh, how I wish I had my high school photo albums here but they are at my parent's house.  There is photographic evidence of everything I spoke of here.  There is a whole roll of film devoted to my senior year homecoming week and let me tell one is wackier than seniors!  It's probably a good thing those pictures don't exist in digital format.  There is also photos of the dad's cheerleading squad and my brother and his friends as middle school aged women wearing polyester mini dresses sewn by my mom in 1974 and high heels.  I never did see a picture of my brother wearing my jeans but I'm sure one is out there somewhere. 
Oh, the fun that lies ahead for my kids.  I hope fun things like theme days don't end up being taken away because of someone complaining because it makes them offended somehow.  I know my old school took theme days away from the elementary students because it is distracting and to give them something to look forward to when the get to jr. high and high school which I suppose makes sense but I'm sure they wish they got to be like the older kids like we always did.   And the student council used to keep track of which high school students didn't dress up and at the end of the week pep rally they held "court" where those students had to do something embarrassing.  That was banned because one student's parents complained about it being hazing.  Oh, the big "H" word...I do NOT condone actual hazing activities such as physical violence, forcing people to drink alcohol, offensive racial songs or activites or doing things that are dangerous AT ALL.  I was in a sorority and Justin was in a fraternity and, although you often hear news stories about the a$$holes who do those activities and end up really hurting people and making us all look bad I can say without hesitation that we did NOT do that stuff in our houses and we would never have hurt anyone and no one every hurt me or made me uncomfortable.  It was almost reversed and when we joined we were told repeatedly that if anything made us uncomfortable to leave, speak up, or anonymously call the national headquarters or the student activities coordinator on campus to report it.  And this was just about singing songs and joking around.  The older members said their "hazing", before all such activities were banned completely involved nothing more than wearing silly outfits and running around fraternities and campus at night and I always though that sort of thing seemed like it would have been fun.  The homecoming court of law in high school involved really silly things like drinking Powerade from a baby bottle and shooting free throws with a blindfold on.  Oh, the horror!  I really do feel like younger people are missing out on the joys of life by everyone being offended by everything. 
Well, anyway, that was quite a tangent.  Today was "inside out and backwards" day at preschool and I put Ben's shirt on backwards but he didn't like it but he did wear a pair of sweatpants inside out so you can see the pockets.  Hilarious. 
Guess what else I saw when I pulled out of the garage this morning...Yes indeed, the first snow!  It's already melted and this is perfectly normal for late October, but still...dang.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Milo at Two Weeks Old

As everyone always says as they realize time has passed, I can't believe the baby is two weeks old already.  At this time two weeks ago I was sitting on a pillow that was covering the metal joint in the middle of my hospital bed, enjoying my room service complete with cheesecake and still shocked that we had a baby the night before. 
He's doing fine.  His sleeping is like a newborn with wakeups in the 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.  hour and also, if I have already gone to bed, during the midnight or 1:00 a.m. hour.  He slept for a six hour stretch a few nights ago and I thought it must be too good to be true and it was but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel of fractured sleep. 
I keep waiting for my to lose my mind with three kids since I have heard that having a third can be a tipping point to total chaos but I have also heard that it's not any harder than having two.  I guess it depends on the family.  I really haven't found it much harder than having two.  We have had friends and neighbors bring us meals and since Ben is in school most mornings and Tessa naps in the afternoon I have lots of time with just two.  I have another mom walking Ben into school so I don't have to unload the other kids which is really nice.
 The worst days are the days when he doesn't have school because we can't really go anywhere and I get really bored being stuck in the house all day.  We can't go to the Y until Milo is two months old and I am not ready to go to public places like stores yet.  Tessa is in the worst phase of toddlerhood when it comes to shopping and won't sit or stay in a cart or any kind of restraint and likes to run off in the opposite direction of where we are going.  I know this phase will pass but for now she is better off staying away from Walmart, the mall or any other place like that.  I did take all three to MOPS this morning because there is no school today because of the state teacher's convention and it went fine. 
I think the main reason I don't feel that different is because I don't have time to think about anything!  I remember changing Ben's diapers when he was a newborn and becoming overwhelmed at the thought of the years of diaper changing that were ahead of me and terrified of being left alone with Ben and Tessa when she was a newborn.  And of course, I had to process the loss of my youth and freedom.  But I have accepted all of those things a long time ago and have hardly thought of them lately. Well, maybe I do when an old favorite song from college surfaces on my playlist or when I step outside on a crisp autumn night and suddenly transport back to 2005 and recall myself walking to the bar with a slight buzz with my best friends but I am usually snapped out of those little reveries quickly!  Also, now my sister and my cousins and most of my friends have had and are having babies so I don't feel like I am so different. 
So, so far, so good.  That sentence looks weird.  I wonder if that is a correct way to write a sentence?  Here are a few pictures from the last few days. 

Here he is in his Halloween pajamas.  They are size 3 months but I realized that there weren't may days left in October so I better get them in the rotation and they actually fit pretty well.   He's growing!

I like this picture because he is so alert.

I found this outfit in the newborn box.  It was Ben's "coming home" outfit but I didn't think he would mind if his brother wore it!

Tessa loves to sit in the car seat and other baby holding apparatuses.  Here she even snuggled into it with her blanket. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pumpkin Patch

Although such activities usually end up being far from the idyllic portrayal of family life that you see in Pottery Barn catalogues and parenting magazines, we have tried since having kids to do all the traditional seasonal activities like attending Easter egg hunts, visiting Santa at the mall and going to parades on the 4th of July.  The weeks leading up to Halloween mean one of the activities with the biggest potential for photos...the pumpkin patch.  Social media has been so flooded with pumpkin patch and apple picking photos  in the last month that I didn't even share any this year because everyone has seen the same pictures 1,000,000 times and I shared the same exact photos the last three years and also I have been sharing baby pictures in what may be considered excess.  But all of you get to see them!  Because the  pumpkin patch is such a pretty fall scene and it sure is fun.  Last night the weather was perfect and the wind was still so we didn't even need jackets.  The weather will be turning tonight with our first hard freeze expected (It's been a good summer, tomato and pepper plants, but I've eaten enough of your fruits to last until July 2016!) so we took the opportunity while we could. 
At the entrance there was this perfect "posing pumpkin" and we tried to arrange a picture with baby Milo in the middle but that didn't work at all.  They were to excited to run off and play. 
Then I tried to sit with Ben and Tessa and they both bolted as soon as I plopped myself in between them. 

On the continuum of pumpkin patches, this one is pretty good.  It's large and there is a massive obstacle course of hay bale structures to climb on.   There is also a huge bouncy trampoline/inflatable mat, a playground of wood trains and tractors with slides, zip lines, horse rides and of course a large variety of pumpkins and gourds. 

We started at the most popular attraction, which is the corn pit. 

We first brought Ben here when I was hugely pregnant with Tessa and he loved the corn pit.  He still loves to play with corn.  He has a bag of dried corn from the farm that he dumps in a pan (and, OK, I admit it ends up all over the floor and the whole house) and "farms" with his toy tractors and construction machines.  The corn pit is like that corn x 1,000.


Milo slept the whole time we were at the patch. 
I thought Ben would be obsessed with the tires but Tessa was more than he was. 

 He sure loves climbing!  See him up at the top of the pyramid?

Tessa loved this tunnel.  She ran through it countless times. 

Ben was not very interested in the pumpkins because we grew a patch of our own at the farm, although none of them got as big as these.  Those roundup resistant weeds really can take a lot out of a crop!  Tessa roamed around in them though and was giving them hugs.  Awwww...

Ben came here with his preschool class last week (the morning after Milo's birth, actually!) and he remembered what he wanted to play on and that was this combine and truck.   As soon as we approached that area he shouted, "I see the auger!!!"

 Tessa loved anything with a slide. 

So it actually was a very nice night.  That is until we had to leave. That's when the whining and fit throwing commenced.  This patch is near the river (which explains the heavily wooded environment) and about a 15 minute drive from our house and as we were pulling onto our street Ben was still wailing, "I don't want to leeeaaaaave!" even though the reason we left was because it was closing for the night. 
Here is a baby Milo picture.  He had a weight check today and was 7 lb. and 12 oz. which means he has gained back his birth weight so that is reassuring!  He's been a good baby and doing all the baby stuff such as soiling approximately twelve diapers each day and eating nonstop.  This morning we had his newborn photos with some shots with the siblings too so I look forward to seeing those.  The siblings were not exactly cooperative but I know the pictures of him will be perfect. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Milo Update

Baby Milo is 5 days old today.  It is Monday, which means that we are back to our old routine.  The visitors are gone, Justin is at work, and the world is moving along.  Although, I drove through the bank drive up window on two separate occasions before I realized the reason it was not open was because of Columbus Day.  Oops. 
The first big hurdle of the week for me was driving Ben to preschool with three in car seats for the first time.  The seats don't fit in my vehicle so I am going to be driving Justin's pickup for the foreseeable future because three car seats fit across the back.  This whole ordeal is quite a pain because, as you may know, it is not acceptable to leave your kids in the car, even in a safe and always busy and watched place like a preschool parking lot like our parents would have done.  So I have to haul everyone inside twice on the mornings he has school and his room is also up a flight of stairs.  Another mom offered to walk him up for me so we might try to arrange that, at least for the next month or two.  But I pulled it off for today and I am strangely proud even though Ben had to remind me to clip his car seat straps before we left the parking lot and also I forgot his backpack at home. 
Yesterday was a rough one.  I realized that poor Milo truly didn't have a spot in this house.  There were no empty drawers for his clothes, and we don't exactly know where his crib will be when he's older, and I don't know where I could fit his name on the wall of whatever room he ends up in when the times comes like I did with the other two.  I know babies don't care or know the difference but it made me sad.  So we embarked on a huge and exhausting closet cleaning and clothing sorting mission which took all day and I was already half delerious from lack of sleep.  Being surrounded by piles of clutter and crap that only you can deal with is very draining to me and not sleeping a full night in days didn't help.  We threw away an old dresser that was falling apartthat was in a closet taking up space.  The drawers were almost in pieces.  It was my childhood dresser so that was weird since I've never lived apart from that thing but it's good to get it out of here!  We also removed many boxes of outgrown clothes from the closets upstairs.  Now they will be barricading whatever we are looking for in the crawlspace in the basement.  So basically we "churned" instead of actually cleaned but at least they are out of sight.  While all this was happening, Tessa and Ben were in full demon mode, constantly fighting, screaming, throwing fits and getting in the way.  They DESTROYED the living room by dumping out every single bin and basket they could find while we were busy elsewhere.  As usual, I was just overwhelmed with the crap to storage space ratio in the house.  I don't think there is a house in existence that has enough storage for us and I have given up on minimizing.  Whatever I try doesn't work and I have been trying for years so I guess this is just the way it will be. 
Milo himself is doing good.  He seems a bit confused about night and day and slept the afternoon away yesterday, which was good because otherwise we wouldn't have done anything, but you know what sleeping all day means.  Up all night!  This pattern seems to be shifting though so I feel more rested today. 

And he sure is cute!  This morning on the drive to preschool I realized how quiet it was in the back and I looked and both Ben and Tessa were just gazing at him and smiling.  Ben talks about his cuteness constantly and loves to help by bringing him his blankies.  He talks about when he can play with him and have him sleep in his room and when he can go to the farm.  Pretty cute. 

People may be wondering why we chose his name.  Well, we didn't know what we were having ahead of time, and we hadn't committed to a name for either a boy or girl.  We had a short list which mostly had middle name options drawn from the first and middle names of various family members.  Milo was my grandpa Glenn's middle name and that morning at 3:00 a.m. after the commotion of the birth had settled down, we were sitting in the hospital room on the internet looking at lists and trying to choose a name.  We both realized we liked Milo for a first name.  Yes, I know it is a cat's name (FYI, before you watch "Milo and Otis" again do some research about the making of the movie.  I did while watching it with Ben awhile ago and learned that it was filmed in Japan in the 1980s and they had no laws protecting animals and the way the animals were treated was not good.  It lost a lot of its charm for me after that) but I think I will be able to move on from that image.  Since it was my grandpa's middle name I also associate it with a vintage feel.  So we chose Milo but didn't make if official until the next morning.  Timothy is my dad's name and we thought it flowed nicely with Milo.  All the nurses kept telling us they loved his name, although they probably tell everyone that! 

Here are some pictures of Ben and Tessa from the last few days, so they don't feel forgotten about.  Ben had his first swimming lesson on Friday.  His preschool includes swimming lessons which I love because I am a lifelong swimmer.  One of my earliest memories is of swimming lessons and I was probably only 3 years old myself.  His grandparents were here so we went to watch.  I wasn't sure if I should watch since, as a former swimming teacher, I have seen the way kids can kind of melt down and act like big babies as soon as they see their parents and be just fine when the parents are not there but we were behind glass and he was happy and smiling the whole time and I was pretty impressed with his swimming too!

I remember when Ben would not stay away from this bouncy seat when Tessa was a baby.

Now she is following the same pattern.  I caught here in full on baby mode, batting at the dangling objects with her feet in the air. 

It's a good thing they aren't very heavy!

Here is a nice photo of Ben trying to play combining with Milo.  He doesn't get it yet. 

Here are a few pictures of Milo meeting his family members.  There are still many more to meet. 

Here he is with cousin "Baby Claire".

Claire and Aunt Andrea.
Here he is with Nana and Grandpa.  This is their 9th grandchild and the first one they missed seeing at the hospital because they kicked me out of there too quick. 

Here is our first family picture besides the one with me in the hospital bed.  We are in gym clothes and I am wearing several strands of mardi gras beads but it's not going on our Christmas card or anything so who cares!

Content little baby...

And I have achieved victory number two for the day!  I made a quite lengthy blog post that mixed storytelling with some humor!  Oh YEAH!  Now I am going to move on to one of my favorite post-pregnancy rituals...they removal of maternity clothes from my sight!  Although I might keep a few pairs of leggings out for a few weeks...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Milo Timothy

It's NDSU Homecoming today!  I haven't missed this event since 2001 and this year I'm not there.  The reason?  We had a baby!  I knew this would be the case since I was scheduled to be induced on the morning of October 8th.  I was induced with the other two kids and have never gone into labor on my own so I was fully prepared to have a baby sometime during the day on October 8th.  We had my mom arranged to come the night before, we had planned to spend the 7th cleaning and doing last minute preparations and I even had a MOPS meeting that morning that I had already prepared my pot luck breakfast dish for. 

Well, on the evening of the 6th I wasn't feeling the greatest but who is when they are 40 weeks pregnant?  I had still gone to the Y and swam laps that morning and I cooked supper that night and spent some time talking to the neighbors out in the cul de sac.  I told Justin to take Ben to get a haircut since his school pictures are next week and then he took each of our vehicles to the car wash.  By 9:00 I was exhausted and feeling crappy and frustrated about how much we still had to do before the 8th.  I had spent the whole weekend cleaning and putting away toys and crap around the house and the house was already completely trashed.  I might as well have spent the weekend throwing cereal crumbs all over the house and dumping out every toy and game in the house.  We hastily put the kids to bed because I was DONE with the whining and destruction.  Looking back, I regret this behavior but I didn't know what would be happening soon. 

After noticing some really strong pressure on my lower back did I think about it and realize that what I was feeling might be the start of labor.  I stopped cleaning and sat down on the couch with the pamphlet from the hospital about what to do if you think you are in labor and started timing the cramping I was feeling.  This was in the 9:00 hour and I suddenly knew although Justin wasn't convinced.  I insisted on calling our next door neighbors just in case we had to leave the house in the middle of the night to see if they could take care of Ben and Tessa and they said they would listed for the phone.  After about an our we decided to head to the hospital and they over and carried my sleeping babies over to their house.  I still feel bad that I never said goodbye to them that night because they were sleeping and that I had put them to bed with a negative attitude.  Of course, the next morning they remembered nothing about it but I always will. 

We were in our hospital room by 11:30 and found out that I was indeed in labor and already 7 cm dilated.  I was surprised how far along it had progressed already and everything moved very fast from there and at 1:18 a.m. our baby was born!  We waited to find out if it was a boy or a girl this time and it is a boy! 

Here is the first picture (excluding the slimy scale photos with part of the cord still attached...I will spare you those) of Milo Timothy, who weighed 7 lbs. and 10 oz.  He was 21 inches long.  I'm still in awe that he is here and of what happened that night. 
The next morning, Tessa got to be the first to meet her brother since Ben was at preschool.  They had a field trip to the pumpkin patch and they were taking a school bus, which is something he has been talking about for the last year so we didn't want him to miss it. 

She was pretty cute and wanted to "pet baby!" which means she wanted to aggressively paw at him and bat at the little ball on his hat.

Ben had his chance that afternoon and he was excited.  He kept saying "he's so cuuuuute!" and wanted to hold him and have Milo lay by him. 

We headed home on the 8th.  I could have had another night in the hospital because he was born after midnight the night we checked in but I was doing fine and, more importantly, Milo was too, so they sent us on our way that evening.  At first I kind of wanted to have the extra night of ordering room service (for hospital food it was pretty good and I had cheesecake for desert at every meal!) and having help with the baby at night but the bed was like a torture device, with a hard mattress and a metal bar across the middle right where my tailbone sat.  Ow.  So I was glad to get out of there. 

I caught this cute moment when I happened to have my camera in my hand.  Allan approached the carseat...

then he investigated for a few seconds...

and decided this was nothing he hadn't seen before.  Then he turned and sauntered downstairs. 

Now he has a new napping friend. 

Here are a few more pictures from my phone. 

First family picture! 

Family picture outtake...

Wide away little baby!