By now news has spread about Baby R. being a girl. I’m thankful to say that the overwhelming response has been positive! We’ve had a few naysayers, “Oh man, I really wanted you to have a boy this time.” Or “Are you sure you’re ok with that?”
Because, you know, if I’m not I can just wave my magic wand and turn Baby R. into a boy.
So let me say it now, not only am I ok with it, but I’m positively thrilled about bringing another little girl into the family.
I am one of three girls and have no brothers as a reference point, so I realize I’m biased going into this. But I love having sisters. Yes, we fought quite a bit as kids, but for every fight, there was more playing, more coordinating dances and acting out made up plays. There were extensive parades wearing mom’s old formal dresses and cheerleading uniforms and impressive attempts at putting make up on one another. There was hauling the dog into the baby stroller and dressing her up in our doll’s finest.
(P.s. How much does Sarah look like my youngest sister MC?!)
As we got older we were able to support each other in the feminine aspects of life, especially when Shannon and I got pregnant at the same time. Now we share in the chaotic, but awesome bond of motherhood. Plus, sisters seem to have an intuitive bond with one another, both emotionally and well, whackily. For instance, it’s really not fair when Shannon and I are on the same team when we play Cranium – a hunched back walk is quickly identified as “Ghandi” and the other players throw their arms up in disgust.
Event with my youngest sister, I’ve walked a similar path seven years before she has, and she calls me for help and advice. I’m sure you can do the same with brothers, but I am so thrilled my girls will have a feminine resource in one another.
I hardly have to buy any clothes for Baby R. Granted my girls won’t be born the same time of year, but with all the mamas adding to our growing collection of girl clothes, we’re covered. Plus, I get to dress Baby R. in all those smocked dresses I got, borrowed, and bought, thus making my husband feel somewhat better about their initial purchase.
Also – we bought most of our big stuff gender neutral first time around, but a few things were extremely girly, namely the crib bedding and the bouncy chair. No need to make a little man suffer the indignity of pink!
Another girl! I’ve done this once before! Yes, I know no two kids are ever the same, and I am trying to prepare for that. But my gosh I can recognize a yeast infection, know how to properly clean a little girl and can expect some of the other girl side effects that come with being an infant.
4. WE’RE NOT MISSING OUT
Well not really. My nephew J is four days younger than Sarah and is like a brother to her. They spend every day at daycare together and usually at least one weekend day. Both of my girls will have their rough and tumble boy cousin to keep them in check and teach them how to get appropriately wild and dirty.
Is there some disappointment about not having a boy this time? Well I’m sure Mark would love a running buddy in his growing house of women, but any underlying disappointment has already been squashed by the thought of more girlish giggles and pigtails.
That’s right, our household is preparing for double the pink, costumes, shoes and endless episodes of Doc Mcstuffins.
But, baby girl tried to be coy with us. When we went in for the ultrasound today, it was quickly established that Baby R is breach and had her back to us. The ultrasound tech told us that most babies who are positioned that way don’t show and tell.
It had been a bad day leading up to this moment, so I was really counting on the gender reveal to be the bright spot in our day. My disappointment slowly creeped up, but I held it together and was happy to see the baby moving around and looking 100% healthy. But then, with a little jab of the ultrasound wand, she spread ‘em and showed us that she is indeed a girl.
Part of me thought I might be a little disappointed if it wasn’t a boy, but as soon as the tech announced girl, a great joy settled over me and I started having flashbacks of plays and dress up and dancing with my sisters when I was little. I truly could not be happier, and I am so glad Sarah and Baby R will get to be sisters!
All of Baby’s measurements look good. She’s weighing in right on target at 10 ounces. The only problem they saw was that my placenta is a little on the low side. They aren’t too worried about it though because it usually moves up as the baby continues to grow. Still though, we’ll have to have another ultrasound next time around to make sure it’s moving up like it’s supposed to. Can’t say I’m disappointed that I’ll get to see her sweet face again in four weeks.
Speaking of faces, technology is pretty cool!
We find out today, so stay tuned!
By the way, I really hate that I couldn’t wrangle in a morning appointment. This is going to be the longest day of waiting ever.
What’s your guess?
After moving out of the house when I was 17 into a college dorm room, and then later into Mark’s townhouse, I didn’t think much of not having a yard to speak of. At college, we would all migrate out to the soccer field to lay out a towel and soak up some sun, and at the town house, well, we walked along the path by the nearby river and got our sunshine that way.
And then we got Leela.
Having a border collie in a town house was no small feat… especially when you get the dog as a puppy who has to be house broken. And border collies have lots of energy and need to run. Of course Leela went with us by the river, but we also spent some time in the scrap of side yard throwing ball for her. It was not enough. Plus, at the town house we had a psycho neighbor who would very literally scream at us when we went outside, lying in wait to spring on us.
Needless to say, we looked forward to the day we could move to a place with our very own private space.
When we began house shopping over three years ago, a fenced in back yard was on our “must” list. And boy did we ever come across the perfect, big backyard.
Leela thought she was in heaven, and we also took a sigh of relief in knowing we had a private space to hang out in. Bonnie joined our family shortly after, and those two still run all over the yard chasing squirrels.
Then we had Sarah. Baby Sarah could only be calmed by susurration of the leaves outside, so we spent a good portion of my maternity leave enjoying the back yard sunshine.
As she began to grow and walk, her sense of curiosity took Sarah all over the backyard. Even now, when she needs to let out some emotion, we go outside and she runs, rakes, plays in the mud, in her swimming pool, her play fort, and now her tire swing. I like nothing better than spreading out my giant towel blanket, taking a seat in the sun and watching her enjoy nature.
And then when Sarah’s second birthday arrived, I was so happy to have a great big space we could decorate, play and share with our friends and family.
Never have I been more thankful to have my own backyard.
We have been up to our eyeballs in birthday parties. Sarah now thinks every weekend means a bounce house and cake, which is just fine by her.
There was Cousin Jacob’s second birthday party.
One of my favorite photos of my family ever.
And the Belle and Evie’s Tea Party – where Sarah decided she’d rather skip the whole sitting down at a table part and just wear hats.
And then Mark’s birthday celebration - more food and cake and a grill cover she was rather taken by.
And Mia’s Scooby Doo party too!
Throw in visits to see my grandparents, a trip to the Maker’s Fair (where I bought that adorable owl dress), lots of visiting friends and family, it’s no wonder we are both exhausted (but happy). And all that staying busy also means that this pregnancy is flying by. My phone notifies me when I’ve started a new week of pregnancy, and Sunday took me by surprise when it lit up with “18 weeks.” That’s right. I’m almost half way done with this pregnancy already and it still feels like I just started it.
We have events the next two weekends too, and then we’re taking a much needed family vacation. The waves and the sun are calling my name.
This list could be really long, but I’ll keep it to a couple of things that have really gotten to me. I try not to respond to these things when I see them on social media, because my immediate response is inflammatory and I don’t want to permanently ruin any relationships. That being said, maybe people should think before they post.
1. I have the utmost respect for stay at home moms. As I’ve posted here before, I’ve realized just from staying home with a sick kid for a week what a monumental tasks they face every day. That being said, I would really like it for the respect to go both ways. This week on Facebook I have seen the following: 1. A mom saying she doesn’t understand how working mothers can leave their children every day. And 2. Someone who posted a picture of the “ideal” family structure showing the father as the provider and bread winner with the mother sheltered comfortably under him with her only responsibilities being the children and home management. The comment that went with this photo was, “Every family would be happier if they followed this model.”
Now, as I’ve said before, I have the utmost respect for families who do follow that model. But please do not assume we are an unhappier family because we do not. I take great pride in my job and my work and deep satisfaction in being about to financially support my family. I need creative work to keep me happy, and I need dedicated time at home with my child and my husband too. This does not make me a bad mother and we are a very happy family.
2. I had a grown woman tell me today that having a 2 or 3 year old means that your life shuts down. She said that they are just so bad you can’t go anywhere with them anymore. Normally I would have just rolled my eyes and moved on, but this same woman had recently woken a baby I spent 20 minutes rocking to sleep. So, I turned to her and said, “I have a two-year-old and our life certainly does not stop. She has had to learn to roll with it, or pay the consequences if she refuses to. She needs to learn that she doesn’t get her way just by fussing about it.” The woman looked at me and said, “That’s because you only have one, I have two grandchildren I have to look after and we can’t go anywhere.” I left the room. Sometimes you just have to walk away.
I realize that motherhood comes with a lot of advice and opinions, and I have been guilty of sometimes asserting mine where it doesn’t belong in the past. But what I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to take a step back, respect all mothers as long as they are raising a healthy kid and doing the best they can, and try not to assume you know what’s best for all families.
Yes, being a working mother is tough sometimes. I get frustrated when daycare means several months of sickness and doctor visits, or when I have to make the decision that Sarah is “well enough” to go to daycare. But there are so many wonderful sides to it too. Sarah has been socialized so well by the other kids at school, she spends the day with her cousin Jacob, her teachers have all been amazing and seem to genuinely care about her and us as parents (as evidenced just this past week by their willingness to help us with the involved routine I created to kill her yeast infection). I am personally able to have a fulfilling, creative work life in a mission I love and care about, socialize with my adult co-workers, provide financially for our family, marvel when my daughter comes home from school counting to 10, and really enjoy those hours in the mornings and evenings, and especially weekends, when we hang out with Sarah. So yes, it’s tough, but I’m proud to be a working mother and I’m proud that I just keep going with Sarah and show her what real life is all about.
So the birthday party went really well this past weekend.
Though when Sarah woke up with fever Friday morning, I had a minor freak out and briefly thought we were going to have to cancel the whole party and all the work I put into it. But, I took her to see the doctor where she was quickly diagnosed with double ear infections. She started an antibiotic and we were back on track for the second birthday party extravaganza the following day.
I went just a little overboard (or, if you ask my husband, WAY overboard) planning her party because I was so excited about it and because I can be a bit obsessive about what goes into food.
We themed it a “Mad Tea Party,” partly because Sarah girl loves to play tea party, partly because she’s mesmerized by Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and partly because I have the cutest Alice dress for her – and went from there.
I took photos to put on the invitations and I was really pleased with how they came out.
I also ordered her this shirt for the actual party because I knew she’d be hitting the dirt running and a dress isn’t always the most practical outfit for that.
I also made a banner and cupcake toppers, and purchased some tea party decorations and “mad” party favors from Oriental Trading Company.
Isabella models some of the “mad” party favors.
For the big day we had a jump house, a big long table and lots of balloons.
My awesome sister-in-law volunteered to help me the night before, and we put together most of the food, which included carrot cupcakes, strawberry and cream cupcakes, three kinds of sandwiches, corn dip and fruit salad. My mom and sister also brought a couple of food items for me. It was all dye free and safe for kiddos!
The day of the party we were scrambling to get everything together, but it came together just in time AND, miracle of miracles, Sarah napped right up until party time. By the time I woke her up, the party was underway and she truly was in Wonderland.
I’m not sure which the kids enjoyed more – the jump house or the giant pile of leaves we didn’t dispose of before the party.
Oh and my wild, wonderful, beautiful sister dressed up as Alice for the party. She was a hit, especially with the older kids!
I was so fortunate to have Kelly there of Powell Photography taking photos. Despite all the DIY projects leading up to the party I invested myself into, I’m battling terrible sciatica and heart skips this pregnancy, which made staying on my feet and taking pictures for 2-3 hours impossible. Plus I wanted to be able to enjoy the party and Sarah without having to try to make sure I captured it all on camera. That truly was the biggest relief of the party!
We couldn’t have had better weather or a better turnout. I’m so glad this girl’s second birthday party was a huge success!
So this is what two looks like.
Two looks like pigtails and wild hair, bruised shins and toothy grins. It looks like shovels and dirt, spaghetti and burritos. It looks like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and “cuckor crayons.” Two looks like carrying baby dolls and giving kisses, pointing to eyes and “dose” and “mout.” Two looks like swimming in the tub and clapping hands. It looks like unreasonable tantrums and battles of will at the dinner table. Two looks like diving into leaf piles and hopping all over the house. It looks like daring, climbing and pushing the limits.
Two sounds like “Wuv you” and “Hi dada!” and “’Sillwee’ girl.” It sounds like “’Mindy’ Mouse” and “fruit ‘pow’” and, when she’s done with something, “Dere!” It sounds like “tinkle tinkle wittle store” and “nana peas” (banana please).
Two smells like Burts Baby Bee shampoo, dirt and maple syrup. It smells like dogs and books and day care. It smells like lavender and crayons.
Two feels like hugs and kisses, clinging to arms and legs. It feels like head butts and foot stomps, high fives and piggy back rides.
Two, Sarah, is tough but amazing. Two is learning and making decisions, having opinions and choosing your own clothes. Two is singing and dancing, attempting to jump rope and screaming when things don’t work out like you want them to. Two is pulling up mama’s shirt to look for baby, and enthusiastically counting every group of items you come in contact with.
And, most importantly, two is love. Two is realizing how much your daddy and I love you, and seeing you plop unexpected hugs and kisses on us and saying, ””Wuv you.” It’s watching you transform into a little girl, a little person, our little love.
Happy Second Birthday Sarah! My how much we love you.
I know they say second pregnancies are often different, often harder. And I knew that logically going in, but my body has surprised me quite a bit. Of course the heart stuff has been strange, but outside of that other things have been different too.
Nausea, for one. With Sarah I was sick for the first 15 weeks. I threw up a couple times and was happy living on mashed potatoes, saltines and ginger ale for that period of time. I lost 12 pounds in my first trimester.
This time around the nausea has been there, but it only lasted 12 weeks, and was touch and go. In between feeling sick I could chow down on a plate of quesadillas like it was nobody’s business. I didn’t lose any weight, but I didn’t gain any either.
I also really struggled with smells with Sarah. The smells of coffee, popcorn, maple syrup, Mark’s truck and hamburger grease all sent me running to the bathroom. This time around, smells don’t seem to be a problem at all.
The first time around I lived for fruit, especially strawberries. I craved avocados and potatoes, and the sight of meat made me turn green. I wanted sweet things, especially ice cream and shortbread cookies, and near the end of my pregnancy, my waistline was not particularly happy with the Dairy Queen right around the corner.
This time is nearly the exact opposite. Occasionally I’ll want something sweet, and by sweet I mean a Popsicle or a graham cracker with peanut butter on it. I’ve craved hamburgers, pickles, pot roast, hummus and salsa - the saltier the better. I haven’t been allowed to eat chocolate, but I haven’t really wanted it either.
Though both times I shunned my favorite meats (chicken, fish and turkey). I’m not normally a red meat person, but it’s all I’ve wanted thus far.
Heartburn tormented me the first time around from the very beginning, but it’s almost been nonexistent this time (though I think my affinity for sugar was part of the problem last time).
Physically though, this pregnancy is already a lot harder on me. With Sarah, I had no discernible baby bump until 7-8 months in, and even then, I carried all over and never out front. This time, I’m just shy of four months in and baby is sticking out there and saying hello. None of my maternity bras from last time fit – they’re too small. Ligament pain came on early and fast and sciatica is already taking me down if I stay on my feet too much.
Yes, this time is going to be different, and I’m sure as I come into the larger parts of my pregnancy things are going to get tougher. But as I was sitting in the car with Mark the other day and I felt the baby giving me tiny little nudges, I said, “Even with all that hard, crappy stuff, the little movements make me love pregnancy.”
Baby saying hi at 15 weeks.
Sarah is recovering from Croup and double ear infections, so she couldn’t be around other kiddos today. But we took her out to her grandparents’ anyway and had an amazing day.
Checking it all out.
Her favorite thing: the jump rope.
She thoroughly enjoyed her very first Cadbury Egg.
Modeling her Easter dress Mimi got for her.
Hunting eggs at Nana and Grandaddy’s.
I hope your Easter was just as happy!
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