Thursday, February 28, 2008

Peace and Quiet

I tearfully bid adieu to my amazing mother yesterday, and then packed up the girls to bring them to my in-laws' for a few days. And then I cried some more. I was relieved beyond belief when I returned home and saw DH's truck in the driveway.

He was already in bed and it was only 6:00. I quickly ate a sandwich, prepared for bed, fed Grant, and climbed in next to my hubby. The previous night had been long; Grant wanted to be awake and cuddling from about 2 until 5. And DH hadn't taken any Bayer PM, so he figures he got about 1 hour of sleep total, between stressful thoughts and an alert baby.

Yesterday, our efforts to keep Grant awake during the day paid off. He was awake for about an hour sometime in the middle of the night, but it was only an hour. He had nice 3-hour sleeps beyond that.

Life is now so quiet. Little Grant is such a peaceful person, and now officially one week old.

Monday, February 25, 2008

As We Adjust

Life with a son is sure special. Quite different from having a couple of preemie infants in the house. Especially when he was born weighing more than both girls combined. Especially when he's not colicky. Especially when he knows how to suck/swallow/breathe - all at the same time. Especially when he doesn't need bottles of extra calories and knows how to burp and toot. And especially when there are no health concerns, no growth concerns, and no concerns whatsoever.

We're all adjusting well in the household. My mom is here with us, offering respite and cleanup services for our busy, busy girls. The poor dear is pretty tuckered out, but what a trooper. I absolutely cannot imagine trying to recuperate and care for all the kiddos without her at this point. It's great to know that the girls are being well cared for, having a blast, and that the laundry, cooking, and cleaning are magically being taken care of while I spend time feeding/bonding with my new kid.

The girls are very excited about the baby, and both have tried scaling the bassinet to climb in. They're quick to give kisses and touches, and they look for him whenever they're out of their room. I think they have missed having mommy around, and both had a pretty tough day yesterday. Today, however, as I was a bit more rested and out of my bedroom more, the girls seemed to have a really great day. The fresh air that Gramma Pamma gives them on stroller rides might also be a factor. (That and all the good cooking - yum!)

I am feeling pretty good myself, and enjoyed wearing an entire non-maternity outfit today. Levis and a wintery sweater felt terrific! I even took Grant with me to meet up with some fellow Mothers of Multiples for dessert at an Italian restaurant tonight. The tiramisu was fantastic! And so was the company. What great ladies!

We're getting some sleep at night, and the mid-morning naps are amazing. I never had that opportunity with the girls - there was just too much to do nonstop - even when someone else was there to help. That's not to say that I feel like a million bucks yet, but I'm certainly on my way. My back muscles still feel like I've been in a car crash, but maybe I can talk DH into a backrub before we zonk out tonight.

Off to bed we go...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Big Arrival

Our family of four officially became a healthy family of five on Thursday afternoon at 4:50 p.m. Grant Matthew was born naturally after a long day at the hospital. He weighed 7 lbs., 14 oz. and was 20 inches long. He has a little bit of the softest brown hair and looks like a total boy.

A natural eater, he has been chowing like a champ, and our doctor said his umbilical cord was one of the biggest she's ever seen. No wonder this little guy was such a good size!

We arrived home from the hospital today after lunch, and now we're all going to lie down for naps. The girls are excited as ever, and everything's pretty darned good.

Friends and family are welcome to come visit and meet the little guy - just call first to make sure we're home and still in good spirits.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still No News

For those who are wondering, here I sit at home. Still nothing new, except that now my mom has joined us in our little dwelling. I'm going in for induction in the morning, if the full moon doesn't send me into labor in the meantime. So, my next post will likely contain news of a new addition to our family. Wish us luck!

P.S. I just learned that you don't get to eat once you start labor, so I'm going to bulk up tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Honor of Dear Ol' Dad

For some reason, my dad has been on my mind a lot these past few days. He's alive and well and the same old dad he's always been, so don't worry. He's just been popping into my thoughts a lot more than usual.

I realized it yesterday morning when I was polishing my shoes before my big meeting. When I cracked open the can of polish, I instantly remembered how Dad would spread the newspaper across the built in cutting board in our kitchen, and then shine all of our shoes. In the military, his boots needed to look good all the time. So, it was a given that he'd keep our shoes looking nice, as well, and we often saw him at the cutting board, buffing away.

That image then led me to Dad with the broom. How he tried over and over again to teach us girls the "right" way to sweep the kitchen. Eventually, as in years later, I think he finally gave up. But, oh, how he tried. The man has the patience of a saint.

I've also recently thought about our projects. Looking back, I realize that we kids were probably a huge hinderance. Yet, Dad used every project as a learning opportunity. He "let" us stain the tongue and groove ceiling before it was hung one summer, each day placing new boards up on sawhorses in the garage. It was a huge ceiling - covering Mom's gigantic kitchen, dining room, and living room. My sis and I appeared to have a smattering of age spots all over our feet and ankles that whole summer, no one realizing it was stain speckles.

Dad also got us involved with car care - I'll bet you never knew that I can change a timing belt as well as a serpentine belt, and of course, my own oil. And then there was the office work. Dad always was and still is involved in close to a million projects at once. This often means serving on committees. We spent many hours assembling packets, stuffing and addressing envelopes, preparing documents, you name it. But the great thing is, it rarely felt like a chore. We really enjoyed Dad trusting us as helpers.

I see it in my own kids now. And I hope as they are growing up so quickly, that I can remember to continue to "let" them help.

Now that Dad is well established in his second career - as a teacher - I see how much he needs to play that role. And since we girls aren't at home any more, I'm so glad he can use his patience and his effectiveness at educating to help with other kids. It's great to have a Dad I can be so proud of.

So, Daddy Doo, here's to you! (Not that he reads my blog, but still...)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hugs all around to start the big week

I went in for my last NST at the clinic this morning. The two nurses who take turns tending to me while I'm there for this weekly session both gave me hugs and wished me well. No doctors were in the OB clinic this morning, so several of the other nurses I see frequently also stopped in to say good luck, and to say "see ya in 6 weeks for your postpartum checkup."

Holy cow. It's real. The baby is coming this week. I talked with my mom to give her the update on the good NST, and she told me she's coming Wednesday after work if I haven't called her to come sooner. That's only two days away! How very exciting! How can pregnant women be so antsy to get those babies out - it's a scary reality! A really cool one, though.

On another exciting front, my business meeting went very well this morning. One of the guys in this startup firm is someone I pitched years ago when I first moved to town. He and I have both since taken our careers in different directions, and yet, here our paths cross again. I am so very curious to see how it turns out. There are some folks with solid business successes involved and some really tech-saavy guys - with potential for HUGE growth in the next two to three years. It's all still in the planning stages, but something great might come of it. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Their HR gal called back this afternoon to verify my rate range as well as to ask for some professional references. I take that as a good sign. Since in DH and my lives, it typically floods every time it seems to rain, I suspect this will be a big week for growth - both in our family and in my career. We'll have to wait and see how it all goes though, and of course, "I'm not a patient gir-rl."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Little Helpers

Not only are the girls helping by taking their sister's diaper to the garbage can in the kitchen, but now they're policing each other, too. When Lilli stands on the rocking chair, Breanna says, "Lala, sit down." When Breanna stands on the couch to turn the light switch for the fan and living room lights on, Lillian says, "Nana, no no."

And my favorite little help has come at laundry time. When I'm at the washer (at least once a day), I hand Lillian each piece of wet clothing and she loads it into the dryer. She's loves it! I've tried it with Breanna a couple times, but she just wants to take the lint trap out and taste any little chunks I've missed. Oh well.

They had a nice weekend, I think. DH and I went to church in shifts today so that I wouldn't go into labor during mass. Wrangling the girls throughout church is by far the most challenging part of every week, and I always need a nap afterwards. They are SO constantly busy when they feel confined. So I went at 10 and DH went at noon. I really enjoyed myself, and had lots of people come ask if the kids were sick at home when I was leaving. Glad to know these folks know who we are, because I didn't know any of their names. Nice people, though.

I can't imagine what the next time we go to mass will be like - three munchkins. Talk about scary!

As you may have guessed, the baby still has not arrived. I've been having some more contractions here and there, mostly between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. And last night, I saw a foot. It was just as cool as you see in some of those pictures. Perfect outline on the upper left side of my belly. And hard and jabbing as can be. This is a strong little fella, and his foot seemed almost as big as Lillian's. Oh boy. I can hardly wait to meet him this week! Of course, I was so shocked to watch and feel it all I didn't think to grab the camera. Do'oh.

I do hope that he comes sometime after tomorrow morning. My last non-stress test is scheduled for 9, and then I have a big meeting for some potentially very big client work at 10:30. I can't believe I'm meeting with a prospective client at this point of my hugeness, but when duty calls... please say a prayer that it pans out. It would alleviate a TON of stress for DH - and maybe me, too.

The fun never stops, or even seems to slow down these days. Have a terrific week, friends!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy VD!

It's Valentine's Day and we celebrated by wearing red and pink in our household. How exciting! That's about all we did, though.

The girls were pretty cute today, so I plopped them into the same crib and enjoyed sitting down for a couple minutes and taking some pictures. Enjoy!

For Those Who Wonder

For those who wonder why we choose to live in this freezing, wind-blown, treeless, frequently flooded tundra, I think this video clip sums it up well. Thanks, fellow MOM Michelle for forwarding the link.

ND is "Person of the Week"

ABC News selected North Dakota as its Person of the Week. Check out this video. (An advertisement plays first.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Oddities that Turn Us On

I learned something about my hubby this past week. He has a thing for women in bright white tennis shoes and a ponytail. Seriously - that's his "thing."

My mom had passed on a pair of Ryka tennis shoes to me because the fit wasn't quite right for her. Wouldn't you know - I had the Cinderella foot and they're perfect. The only thing is, I don't really wear tennies. It's a stretch for me to even throw on loafers without a cute heel. God forbid I'd ever tromp around in flip flops. Needless to say, I've had Mom's bright white Rykas in the closet for many months.

For some reason, I recently felt a little sporty - maybe because I look like I belong to a gym or something (insert maniacal laughter here - you should see how big my belly is right now!). Anyway, the truth came out as I left one evening, and DH has brought up how cute I look in tennies several times since. Prrrrrrr.

I guess I'm not too shocked; we all have our "things" that get us going. Some fellas I've dated have been all about my long, painted nails. Others about soft skin. Others about the way I smell when I bake, which is frequent.

And I, too, am turned on by something odd. Good writing. What a shock, right? Well, I never realized it until DH entered my life. Just when I was convinced that I had the most perfect life of singlehood - as in no men permanently allowed - in waltzed my smooth-writing construction-working husband. The first couple of emails he sent me absolutely shocked me. His eloquence. His vocabulary. His openness. I was head over heels long before we even hit our second official date. Until then, I'd never dated a good writer. Wow! Add to that that he smells fresh and clean and not perfumed but more like fresh sawdust, and I'm ga ga.

Even now, years later, just a single little love note scribbled on a napkin or the back of a receipt and stuck to my dash or on my pillow and I am completely smitten.

I once had a friend who was very into facial hair on her fellas. Good thing someone likes it, considering how many hairy guys are out there. I also knew of a gal who went ape for men with gigantic thigh muscles. And yet another friend of mine was all into sarcastic banter. Like, the mean stuff that I avoid at all costs. And she thrived on it! We all have our "thing," and thankfully, it's different for everyone. What's yours?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Babies Everywhere But in Our Household

In the last couple weeks, two new babies have entered our lives. My dear friend, Danyellow, had a handsome little guy named Beau the night of January 30th. Both are doing fine and are hopefully relaxing and bonding at home in LeMars, Iowa. Danyellow and I went to college together at Briar Cliff, and have stayed close ever since. She and I met up in Sioux Falls this past autumn for an weekend of catch up and belly comparisons. Beau is bound to be spoiled by his big sister, Brooklyn, who seems like she's practically a grown up already. I can't wait to see them in person - hopefully this spring sometime!

Last week our tax accountant and his wife had a big baby girl. Baby Sophia was born on February 1, and already, she takes the funniest pictures. DH and I agree that the parents should submit the photos to some sort of funny baby picture contest. She's full of the silliest expressions.

Soon, it will be our turn. I designed and order up yard signs for DH's business and I just finished my first draft of an article this afternoon, so I guess now I grant myself the freedom to go into labor anytime.

My nurse called this afternoon to report that my labwork from Thursday looks great and that my 24-hour urine collection that DH was kind enough to deliver to the lab this morning was just fine. Yay!

I've printed a hard copy of today's article so that I can pull out my red pen after a day of not looking at it. This is my first article for a new publication - the magazine is very sports oriented - so of course - that means totally foreign territory. I told the publisher that I'd be happy to write features about people, but please don't expect me to go watch a game/meet/match/competition and be able to write anything sensible about it. So, this is a story about how a female track coach got to where she is today. The lady was nice, but she rescheduled about 4-5 times before we finally met on Friday, so I was starting to get a little panicky. Luckily, it all worked out before the baby arrived. Whew!

I hear girls stirring after a nice long (almost 2-hour) nap, so off I go. Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

After a long, stressful Saturday, DH and I both slept like rockstars last night. The girls were still at the in-laws', so it was just us. We awoke at about 10:15 this morning, and didn't actually get out of bed until about 10:45. The last time we really slept that long - without getting up to bring the girls to grandma and grandpa and then going back to bed - had to have been before the twins arrived.

No wonder we both felt so much better today! DH's folks came right after lunch today to deliver our girls. We had a very nice visit all afternoon, and the girls seemed very happy (and healthy). After some reassurance from his parents, DH is feeling much more on top of our house project. And I think some time with his giggly daughters helped, as well. They learned that puppies say "Woof woof" over the weekend, so of course, it sounded like a kennel in here.

Once the girls were in bed, we sat down to eat our dinner and out of nowhere, DH started singing the lyrics to the "Somebody's prayin', I can feel it..." song we know from TEC. I asked where that came from, and he said he wasn't sure. It just came into his head and he felt pretty calm. So whoever you are who was praying for peace for DH at about 8 tonight, thanks. Know that prayers really do have an effect.

On that note, I'm going to hop in the shower and waddle off to bed for some peaceful sleep. Have a wonderful week, my friends!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Teary Eyes Abound

I've deemed this to be the mushiest time in my life. As the hormones have been doing their thing, my emotions have been all over the place. I cried as I listened to some sad story on the news. I cried when I got off the phone yesterday with an old friend who moved to LA because I miss her. I welled up when I said goodbye to my kids as they went off to the in-laws' for the weekend. Sad that they were leaving, guilty for being secretly glad to have some alone time, lonely because I knew how quiet our home would be, and of course, worried that they'll come home sick again. I'm a mess.

Unfortunately, DH seems to be having some empathy emotions, as he seems to be a bigger trainwreck than me. His tears are coming out as worries, however. I think he experienced his first unofficial anxiety attack last night. Up most of the night with a nervous stomach, high blood pressure, and the sweats, he's miserable. Now that our Parade of Homes entry has been officially submitted and paid for (over a thousand bucks just to submit - can you believe that?), the pressure is really there to get the house finished before the end of April rolls around.

Since our framing setback this fall, we've had to sub out some of the work that DH had originally planned to do himself due to his time spent framing it himself. That equates to going over budget in order to stay on time. Which means pressure to come in under budget on the rest of the house. He's now considering making our curved stairway into just a straight one to save a ton of time and a little money. I feel really bad for him because that's been the biggest feature of the home since we first drew up the prints. We're also changing to a more standard siding color because it will save us a couple thousand. I'm trying to talk him into leaving one of the downstairs bedrooms and bathrooms unfinished for now, but I'm not sure if he's buying it.

Up until yesterday, he'd been so excited. But now he's just worried about it all coming together in time and on budget and still being "cool" enough to stand out in the parade. With my unpaid maternity time and no big work projects lined up for after that, he's also really worried about how we'll survive financially on just his income. I've never seen him quite like this, and I just hope he doesn't wind up with ulcers or something.

For some reason, I've been pretty calm about the reality of it all. I have faith that it will all come together because we've made solid, logic-based decisions through it all. Our responsibility is bound to pay off - I bought a green minivan, for Pete's sake. I've built up a fat savings account. And we have some cushions to fall back on if we get desparate. Plus, I'm bound to line up more work once I'm back to myself (and out of maternity clothes!). That, and I know that God won't set us up for failure. He never does. He certainly has doled us our fair share of challenges over the years, but we've always come out fine and our marriage continues to strengthen. Why would this be any different, right?

So if you're looking for something extra to pray for this weekend, I ask you to think of my miserable, sweet, anxiety-filled husband. Please pray for some inner peace for him. And pray for this house to finish up quickly and as inexpensively as possible. (As for me, I continue to pray that our baby arrives safely in the coming week and a half.) Talk about a lot going on at once!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good-ish Dr. Report

On the bright side of my checkup today, I'm progressing the way I'm supposed to be. I'm dilated to 1.5 cm and the baby scored beautifully with his non-stress test. Add to that that the baby has grown and I've lost a half pound and this all means we're almost there.

On the cloudy side, my blood pressure was a bit high. Not TOO high, just borderline. So I got sent home with the big orange jug. On Sunday, I need to start a 24-hour urine collection so I can return it to the lab first thing Monday morning.

To add another cloud, I finally heard back about a project that I really wanted to be involved with once the baby is born. It's not going to pan out. The client is looking for more research and statistical analysis skills than industry knowledge and marketing/writing experience. I'm really bummed out - more so than I normally would be when I don't get my way. Maybe it's the hormones. Or maybe I just need a good cry. I haven't had time for one in ages and I'm long overdue. Tonight it's going to be sappy movie night with my feet up so I can get it out of my system. Now, which one to rent...

So Sleepy

Not sure why, but at 2:15 am, still awake, I came out to the couch to try to find some sleep last night. About a half hour later, DH came out and I said hi. He couldn't sleep either. So, we're both tired, but lucky for me, I dropped the girls off at Grandma Becky's this morning and I'm going to get a nap in. Poor DH has to work all day.

My sleep from 3-something on was restless, full of strange dreams of old bosses and co-workers. Not nightmares of the folks from my last ad agency, but back to the earlier days of my career. Very strange to say the least. And of course, I haven't been able to figure any of the dream components out based on my dream books, so I keep mulling them over, looking for more clues. None are surfacing, however.

Oh well. Off I waddle to try to get in a 30-minute nap before I go to my checkup at the OB office.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's new in estrogen central

The girls and I have been bonding lately, staying cooped up in our little rental unit together - the girls club. Thankfully DH came home yesterday evening and gave me respite for a couple hours once we got the girls to bed. Last night was the first time I left the apartment since we all went to church on Sunday - and it was just to run to Home Depot and the grocery store. And the cold fresh air felt SO good!

(This was also my first trip in the minivan since I bought it on Friday, and I felt as uncool as possible. I even took off my sexy hoop earrings and put them in my pocket because it felt so hypocritical.)

Breanna and Lillian are full of kisses these days. Lilli has been coming up to me, lifting my shirt and saying, "Nice baby", while she rubs my tummy, then kisses it. Then she goes over to her dollies and says, "Nice baby." It's pretty cute.

Breanna's latest thing has been to bully Lillian - like really mean stuff. Shoving, stealing, yanking hair - the works. She's become very greedy in the last week. When we catch her, we make her kiss Lillian and she then pets Lilli's head and says, "Nice. Nice." And now at bedtime when she kisses each of us goodnight, she kisses on the lips, and then on each of your cheeks. Sweet little Frenchie.

The baby is kicking away like crazy - he's a real mover compared to what the girls were like. DH was completely shocked to see all the activity when I made him sit down and watch for a couple minutes last night. He commented it's a wonder I get any sleep at all. I have to agree with him. He also commented that it looks like he'll be about 30 pounds at birth. Thanks a lot.

It's so nice to know we're likely to bring our baby home from the hospital with us when I'm discharged, though. Any time now... I'm anxious to meet him.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tough Realization This Morning

After church this morning, I was fuming, cleaning up the kitchen counters (again!), this time wiping away shredded nacho cheese - only a half hour after I'd just cleaned them all. I love my DH very very much, but sometimes, his cluttery nature and crumb-filled lifestyle just eat at me. As in: he drives me crazy!

Today I realized that the only way I'm likely to ever live in a crumb-free, everything-in-its-place world again is if I become a widow. I mentioned it to him, and he smiled and told me I'm not as clean as I think. I glared back and reminded him of the condition of my last house each time he visited me while we were dating - before he was living there.

I could vacuum twice a week and it wouldn't even need it. Nothing ever cluttered my counters. And my refrigerator never had dried-on spills, nor did my microwave. I cleaned up after myself if I was messy - as I made the messes. Nothing had a chance to dry on or stain. I was on-the-ball and oh-so-conscientous.

Oh well, I guess it could be worse. It's not like he's a big fat blonde pot-smoking alcoholic TV addict (like someone else I once married). Just a hard-working, kind-hearted, very darling, but sometimes absent-minded pigpen.

On a lighter note, he has been pushing me to work on a list of names with him, and we're actually finding a few in common. Hooray! We have a top 13 list, so once we see our little guy in person and not just via ultrasound, we can see who he looks like. (Not Frank, though.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Have you bought a diamond in the last 14 years?

DeBeers has been naughty. They have superficially elevated the diamond market and now are facing a lawsuit aimed to get some of the profits back to the schnookered. By controlling the major portion of the diamond market and nearly having a monopoly, they have been able to falsely elevate diamond prices - all of them.

If you bought a diamond for personal use and not resale between January 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006, you are entitled to a refund of a portion of the price (less lawyer fees, etc.). So when it is all said and done you might received about $12 or something like that, but who knows? They've projected a refund to us of around $1500, but like I said after fees, who knows. The suit has already been won, but claims won't be filled until all the claims are in so they know how much each claimant gets.

Anyway it only takes a few minutes and it's at least worth a try if you have puchased more than $300 of diamonds in the last 13 years. Claims will be accepted until May 19, so if you're going to do this, act quickly.

Personal Disclaimer: I didn't see anything on, and our source seems credible. But, if by slim chance this turns out to be a joke, don't get mad at me. I'm just trying to spread the wealth a bit.