Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Edition

We've had a great weekend. OK, so for those of you whose lives do not involve raising children in the suburbs, it might sound pretty mundane. But from where I'm sitting, it was pretty awesome.

Friday night we hit our favorite Mexican restaurant, Fiesta Atzeca, where it is so loud and boisterous that no one can hear Jacob's magnadoodle clattering to the floor for the twenty seventh time. Yes, this would be the same restaurant where I took Jacob into the restroom with me and he very helpfully and loudly advised me to "POINT IT DOWN, MOMMY!" Yes, indeedy - kids do listen to what you tell them, and they repeat everything. As further proof of this fact, on the way home, we hit a very important milestone - Jacob used the phrase "Y'all" for the first time! I was so proud!
On Saturday, Bella and I hit the mall. Now, I'm not really a mall person. The consumerism gets to me. Yes, I am somewhat of a liberal hippy and walking by Hollisters/Abercrombie and Fitch and seeing rich kids with no jobs shell out $48 for a t-shirt really bugs me. It also bugs me that its so dark in there and what's with that smell they sort of pump out through the front? The throbbing music and bare chested mannequins and shuttered windows all give it that seedy night club feel and frankly I think it is a little weird. It reminds me of high school when we used to go to a teens only night at a club for Battle of the Bands. We'd sit there at like 7 p.m on a Tuesday and listen to our angst driven friends belt out covers of Sunday Bloody Sunday and People are People and think we were so cool. All that aside, I was able to get some things and am very happy to finally be out of maternity clothes.
On Sunday we took Bella to church for the first time - she did great, no fussing or diaper blow outs. We even attended a luncheon afterwards and she was happy the whole time. Afterwards, Will and I drove around to look at Open Houses. We go to Open Houses like some people blog surf (you know who you are!) - we just like to look. Since Bella was asleep in the car we took turns at one house, one person going in and the other waiting in the car with the kids. So I went into one place and the real estate agent asks me "So, when are you due?" Not the highlight of my day, especially since I had thought I was looking fairly good for only 6 weeks post-partem. Let me tell you, she couldn't have sold me the Taj Mahal for a buck after that!
Sunday night I went to the grocery with Bella. Our HEB has lots of organic foods and plays very good music and has warm tortilla samples, so I really don't mind going. I wear Bella in her sling and other than the fact that she toots a lot and people can't see her and assume it's me, we have a good time. I came home and Will and Jacob and I cooked up a variety of meals to have for the week. Jacob helped me with the Mexican casserole, he is very good at adding ingredients and stirring. We had Bella in her bouncer and it was nice to all be in the kitchen together. At one point Jacob picked up the wrong end of the bag of shredded cheese and it all dumped out. Two observations 1. Three cups of cheese looks like a lot when it's dumped out of the bag. 2. Sheltie dogs really like cheese.
So, that was our weekend! Sometimes nothing special is special, isn't it?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Days of Our Lives

Last Saturday, we held what Jacob calls his "Big Big Birthday Party". We had a lot of friends and family there and everyone had a good time. The party was held at a gym with games, music and activities led by Kids In Action. This was the first birthday where Jacob could understand that something was coming up in the future and could begin to really look forward to it and talk about it ahead of time. It was really fun for Will and I as we put together a party with all of his favorite things - the cake was decorated with scenes from his favorite book and all the music was from The Wiggles. There was one point at the party where Jacob was dancing to the music in the middle of the room and he just looked so happy!

On Wednesday, Jacob went to Tadpole Club again and this time I took some pictures. The session was about life in the pond and the rangers took the children out to the frog pond and dip netted creepy crawlies such as water spiders, tadpoles, fish and a crawdad for the children to look at.
Anabel continues to be a joy and wonder to me. I cannot believe she is already six weeks old. She completes our family so seamlessly, it is as though she has always been with us.
It is hard to juggle two children with such different needs. First off, there's just the logistics to figure out. Say you are in the parking lot - which child do you put in the car first? If you put the 3 year old in first then in order to have both hands free to buckle him in you have to put the baby in her carseat on the ground which is undesirable. If you put the baby in first then you don't have a free hand to hold the 3 year old's hand so he could wander off into trafffic - also undesirable. (Solution, have 3 year old "help" you with the baby seat so that they are in between the car door and your body or sometimes I have Jacob climb into the backseat of the car first, shut the door, then put Bella in on the other side, and then go back around and buckle Jacob in. Sound complicated? It is and I'm open to suggestions!) On the other hand some things work out great, like nursing Bella and reading to Jacob at the same time each evening. This is actually a really pleasant arrangement for all of us and one of my favorite times of day.
Then there's the emotional side of it. At some points during the day you have to make choices that you just don't have to make when you only have one child. Bella would like nothing more than to slumber in my arms all day and Jacob blossoms when I play with him and craves my undivided attention. I haven't yet figured out how to be in two places at once and so my heart aches a little each time I have to turn my attention from one child to the other. Thank God for the sling because it keeps Bella happy and frees up my hands to play with Jacob.
So, here I am, half way through my time as a temporary stay at home mom and it seems like I am just now figuring out how to handle everything and I'm feeling well and no longer so tired, inadequate and overwhelmed. It is pretty cool, to look up and realize, hey I'm enjoying this!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Jacob!

To celebrate Jacob's third birthday, I thought I would share some favorite pictures of him.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And They Lived Happily Ever After...

I think that we have turned a corner in terms of Jacob's adjustment to life as a big brother. The past few weeks have been trying - almost anything could set him off and the simplest request such as "Please put on your shoes" could be met with defiance or a 15 minute temper tantrum. Seriously it's been like living with an alcoholic or something. We would find ourselves cautiously addressing him in uber-happy voices, "Umm.. Let's go to the park? Jacob? You like the park, right? and juice boxes? um, we could take snacks, right?" just hoping and praying that he would be amenable. This of course was a huge mistake because a three year old can smell fear a mile away.
The spell appears to have broken and on Sunday I felt like I had my old Jacob back. He was sunny, polite, helpful and loving towards his sister. We had no tantrums, and no potty accidents - not ONE. It was so wonderful! He has started to tell anyone who will listen "This is my sister, this is Bella." He also has a small pillow that he has designated as Bella's pillow and when we settle down for story times he insists that she needs to be on her pillow right next to his. Thankfully, Anabel is an extremely easy going baby who didn't mind being propped up on a tiny elephant pillow for a reading of Olivia followed by several loud renditions of "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Michael Row your Boat Ashore".

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Adventures of Jacob Fisher

Jacob has become quite the traveler this summer. First the trip to Paris in May and now last weekend's trip to Colorado & Wyoming for Great-Great Aunt Lou's 85th birthday. Not bad for a two year old!

In other news, today Jacob joined the Tadpole Club at Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center. This is a weekly program for preschoolers where they learn about nature, animals etc. It is led by Park Rangers and involves puppets, stories, crafts, nature walks etc. Jacob was very impressed and interested in everything but decided to "play it cool" by hiding behind my chair most of the program. He was eventually won over by a juice box and a particularly realistic hawk puppet. I'll try to get some pictures when we go back next week.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bella's Birth Story

I can't believe that just three weeks ago I was still pregnant and wishing very much to go into labor! I was truly in bad shape - unable to sleep or really function because of Braxton-Hicks contractions, itching and worrying. I didn't even want to form the words in my own mind, much less write them here but with cholestasis comes a heightened risk of still birth. With Jacob I had cholestatis, but I didn't know it until after the fact. This time I knew what could happen and my heart was just so heavy.
On Monday morning, August 13th, we had an ultrasound and fetal non-stress test and were reassured that the baby was absolutely fine. I, on the other hand, was a complete wreck and it was at this point that they offered to induce me. Midwives don't take induction lightly and it wasn't strictly necessary - it was offered because I was sort of falling apart. After examining me, the Jana told me that she truly believed that labor was imminent. In fact, she said she would not be surprised if I went into labor that night. Will and I talked about it over lunch and decided that we would only induce if it was truly medically warranted, we were really encouraged because we felt like the end was in sight.
We both actually returned to the office and finished out the work day. We got home and Will went to home group bible study with the specific intention of asking for continued prayers and I stayed home with Jacob. I had been feeling crampy with a back ache all day but nothing was coming consistently, so I resolved to be patient.
It was about 6:45 pm when I began to feel sharper pains - I began watching the clock and sure enough they were spaced about 15 minutes apart. Well, we'd been down that road before, so I still was not firmly convinced that this was "it". I got Jacob fed and changed for bed and we sat down on the couch to watch A Wiggly Wiggly World. I don't really mind this movie normally but on this night it was really getting on my nerves, I just felt really irritable and couldn't get comfortable. After I'd had contractions for an hour I go ahead and call Will at bible study. Funny thing is that right when it was Will's turn to say his prayer requests his cell phone rang and it was me telling him to come home. So everyone at bible study wished him well and he came home.
Once he arrived home, he began to make calls and load up the car. I was desperate to get away from The Wiggles and just like a mama cat I wanted to be where it was dark and quiet, so I went into our room and Will brings me this pad of paper so I can write down how often the contractions are coming. Will would come in and check on me and ask if it was time to go yet. I just kept saying no, I didn't really have a set combination of factors in my head, I just felt like it wasn't time yet.
Eventually, a contraction came and I heard myself make a noise in response to it and I remembered that that was a vocalization I had made when I was in labor with Jacob. It isn't screaming or yelling or anything like you see on TV - just sort of a low "ooohhh" sound. When I heard myself make that sound I jumped up and ran to the door and said "OK, now it's time." Except that then Will took a shower. Then we drove to the cash machine. Then we drove to the BBQ place where we met Will's Mom so she could take Jacob for the night. THEN we drove the 30 miles to the hospital. On the way we listened to a compilation CD that was made for us (thanks Matt & Kim!) - sort of like the ultimate road trip tape.
We arrive at St. Luke's at 9:47 pm and it seemed like we walked down miles of corridor before we got to the elevator. They kept offering me a wheel chair but I felt like I wanted to walk around a bit after being in the car. Jana meets us in the room and it turns out I am 100% effaced and 4 centimeters dilated, so they put me on the monitor for 20 minutes and we decide that Will has plenty of time to go downstairs to call our parents and grab something to eat. Jana leaves to check on some lab work and I am alone with the nurse when my water breaks. Without the extra cushion of amniotic fluid I am suddenly feeling like the baby was really about to come soon. Jana comes back into the room and checks me and announces that I'm 8 centimeters dilated. They quickly call Will and tell him to get up there right away. Good thing he came upstairs quickly!
I'm pacing back and forth in the room and I ask Jana "Why are they [the contractions] coming so close together? I can't seem to get on top of them" and she says "Because you are in transition!" and I just can't get my head around how fast everything is happening. I'm still thinking But I haven't gotten into the whirl pool bath yet.. Where's the birthing ball? Where's the jam box so I can play my special music? All these things that I had planned and thought I would need and it is like my mind cannot seem to catch up with my my body.
Suddenly I hear myself say "I need to push, she's coming NOW!" and they are all telling me to get on the bed but the bed is so high and it just seems like the most impossible thing and I'm convinced that I am going to have the baby on the floor. It takes all my concentration to not push and I get up on the bed. They are running around getting tables and lights and gloves and finally they are ready and I can stop not pushing and she is born and Will catches her and places her on my chest. And she is there in my arms looking at me, just calm and wise with this "Oh, there you are Mommy" look on her face. And STILL my head is not taking it in. It is 10:42 and she is born and I didn't really do anything except just let her be born.
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh
The Monday afternoon that Anabel was born I was sitting at my desk at work listening to the CD that my friends made for me for birthing music and I just kept playing this one track by Steven Curtis Chapman over and over, here are the lyrics -

I watch you looking out across the raging water So sure your only hope lies on the other side You hear the enemy that's closing in around you And I know that you don't have the strength to fight But do you have the faith to stand and... Believe Me now Believe Me here Remember all the times I've told you loud and clear I am with you and I am for you So believe Me now I am the One who waved my hand and split the ocean I am the One who spoke the words and raised the dead And I've loved you long before I set the world in motion I know all the fears you're feeling now But do you remember who I am? I am the God who never wastes a single hurt that you endure My words are true, and all My promises are sure So believe Me now Looking back, I think I've learned, or at least been given the opportunity to learn, something about the power of just being still. Psalms 46:10 says "Be Still and know that I am God" - by following the command, we reap the promise. Maybe it has it taken all of this to get me to a point where I can appreciate the strength of accepting and trusting and getting out of the way. Maybe Bella's birth story is a birth story for me as well.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Whole New World

I feel that I am just now sort of emerging from this whole birthing experience, the birth was just so quick and so easy - it has kind of messed with my mind. Suddenly, in like an hour, the whole pregnancy culminates and is over with and then I was immediately plunged into this sleeping schedule where I sleep in 2-3 hour chunks. And I am all alone in my body after so long and it is wonderful and awful at the same time. Wonderful to move freely and sleep on my stomach and get off the couch by myself, but also lonely in a way that is hard to explain.

Having a newborn is much easier for us this second time around - I think we are just more confident and relaxed. I mean I can look at Jacob and feel encouraged, clearly we've raised one kid so far and he's doing great, so we must be doing OK with this whole parenting thing.
The hardest part so far I think has been keeping up with Jacob - he is handling things so well but there have been some major temper tantrums and it has been hard for me to discern when to apply discipline and when to just give him extra hugs and patience. He is grown up in so many ways that I have to stop and remind myself that he still really can't verbalize most of his feelings yet. Over the past few weeks there have been times when he has responded so fiercely - throwing a toy with such anger and deliberation or climbing into my lap and wrapping his arms around my neck so tightly and just sitting like that for 10 or 15 minutes - he just has this intensity that I haven't seen in him before, so I know he is processing everything in his own way.
This weekend Will and Jacob are in Wyoming visiting Will's great-aunt Louise. I miss them very much! I have a bad cold, so Bella and I have been doing some major vegging. I don't honestly think I've had this much uninterrupted time to myself in years. I've actually read two issues of Texas Monthly cover to cover. I've watched bad movies on Lifetime and ordered Chinese and surfed the net. Apart from being sick, it has been quite nice although I'll be more than ready for my guys to come home on Tuesday!
Enough about me, on to the pictures -
Is that a smile?
Jacob's first trip out on the boat -

Lady feeling left out these days -

So peaceful -
This one isn't in focus but it was still so sweet I had to post it!

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