Friday, January 6, 2017

What’s New in the New Year

It’s been a while since I blogged, huh?  Aaaand, I really haven’t written a single thing about this pregnancy, which I’m already more than half-way through.  So I suppose this will be another catch-up post that’s more for me than for you, because I love to come back and read these later. I know that a year from now I’ll really be laughing at how simple things were with just one kid and how I had no real appreciation for that fact.

So let me start with a quick recap of 2016, then a little about what’s coming up for our family in 2017, and wrap up with some fun facts about baby #2.

2016 was a great year for us.  It was fairly uneventful, but full of good times.  18 months – 24 months was my favorite age with Maddie, so the first half of the year was just so fun watching her vocabulary grow and personality shine.  We played with friends, enjoyed the outdoors, attended library storytimes and music classes.  Maddie and I traveled to Pittsburgh on a fun little trip visit my friend Katie.  Then Maddie turned 2 and we had a fun lemonade themed birthday party.  Tom & I enjoyed an anniversary weekend on South Congress, then we all made a last minute trip to Port Aransas in June for a fun weekend on the beach.  Maddie started dance classes and went swimming a lot over the summer.   In the fall, we celebrated a new pregnancy and we were so excited to find out it’s another girl.  Maddie had a blast dressed up as a clown for Halloween!  Then in December we took our first trip to Disney World and had the. best. time!  Our holidays were filled with friends, family, food, and fun.  Maddie loved Santa and all of her gifts.  I mean really, 2016 was just wonderful for us.  I know we’ll always look back on this year fondly.

And now I still can’t believe it’s 2017.  Every year seems to go faster than the last.  I’m certain 2017 will be a real whirlwind of a year too.

Maddie just started a T/Th morning preschool program near our house.  We decided to enroll her for several reasons.  First off, we thought it would be nice for me and baby #2 to have some quiet time together without a tornado toddler around.  But we also know that having a new little sister will be a big change for Maddie, so we wanted to start her preschool program early enough that she has time to get acclimated there and it will already be part of her routine. Second, we also felt that Maddie would really LOVE going to preschool.  She is always super eager to learn and she has been talking about kindergarten all the time (a new elementary school was just built a few blocks from our house).  And third, let’s be real, Mommy needs a break.  I know I’ve complained about it before, but two is a hard age.  Maddie has started to push boundaries and intentionally break rules.  I know it’s a normal and natural part of her development, but it is dang exhausting and patience-testing for me.  Yes yes, I know, I left my job so that I could spend more time with Maddie.  And I still 100% love my decision and the time I spend with her, but maybe I need more of a happy medium.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I’m certain that having just a few hours apart from each other each week will be good for both of us.

So what am I going to do while she’s at school?  Grocery shop, run errands, clean the house.  Catch up on continuing education credits to maintain my CPA license.  Play with my new Silhouette Cameo ;)  JK, but really, I want to get all of my “chores” done while Maddie is away because I can get them done twice as fast without her “help” and then I can truly devote my attention to her when we’re together.  Often times while we’re playing together (coloring, doing a puzzle, having a pretend picnic with her animals), I find that my mind is off in 100 other places thinking about everything I need to get done and all the other things I “should” be doing.  I have a hard time compartmentalizing my time and tasks.  Maddie used to nap consistently for 2 hours every afternoon and that’s when I tackled my to-do list.  But now I’m lucky if she naps for an hour and it’s a struggle to get her to sleep almost every day.  Plus, ummm, I may or may not be napping with her.  Being pregnant and keeping up with a toddler is exhausting!  Anyway, point being, my hope is that my busy mind will be more at ease when we’re together.

Also, there is a good chance that I will also going back to work very part-time for a couple months this spring during busy season.  The details are still being sorted, but I’m hopeful this opportunity will pan out.  More to come :)

[Update since I started drafting this a few days ago… Maddie’s first two days of preschool were ROUGH.  The first day, she cried because she wanted to go outside, then when it was time to go outside she cried because she wanted to go back inside.  I suppose it might take a little while for her to get used to a strict schedule.  It’s not like we give in to her every request at home, but generally when it comes to something like asking to go outside (or go back inside), it’s easy to accommodate.  On day two, her teacher said she cried most of the morning because she “wanted her mommy to come back”.  When I asked Maddie how her day was, she said "I was sad."  And when I asked why she was sad, she said, "I missed Mommy."  I asked if her teachers gave her a hug when she was sad, and she said yes.  I asked if she got to sit with her teacher and she said, "No, I just be standing by the door waiting for Mommy." :( :( :(  It was hard to hear.  I prodded and asked about everything they did all morning... "Did you have fun at the playground?"  "No, I didn't want to play. I was sad."  "Did you like music class?"  "I be just a little bit sad in music class."  I know it's just a phase, but man oh man, I hope it passes quickly.  She did at least tell me that she was a good listener when they went outside and that she will "maybe be happy next time"]

Not a whole lot new with Tom these days.  He’s been with Maxwell Locke & Ritter for a year and a half now, and still enjoying it.  He works a few hundred (yes, hundred) less hours a year and that has been amazing for all of us.  Family stress level is down several notches!  Busy season is still busy season and it will forever have long hours for as long as he’s in public accounting (and he plans to stay for the long haul), but at least it is much more flexible now.  He comes home for dinner most nights and logs back on after bedtime if he needs to.  We definitely need baby #2 to hang tight until at least April 15th though! 

Other than having a baby, we don’t have many other big plans for 2017.  That’s probably enough though, right?  No trips or vacations planned.  No moves or career changes.  Our main goal for the year is just survival ;)

Alright, so on to baby #2.  To be really honest, it feels weird to call her #2.  Because, she’s actually #3.  We just never got to meet #2.  But it also seems weird to call her #3 and then explain every time that we only have one living child, and one lost to an early miscarriage.  I struggled with it a lot in the beginning when other people referred to her as #2.  Obviously they meant no harm by it of course, but the pain of the miscarriage was still heavy on my heart and every time I saw that “#2” it felt like another reminder of the loss rather than a celebration of the new baby.  Time has helped to heal and I’m not as bothered by calling her #2 now – if anything just because it’s the easiest thing to do.  Ideally we would have a name for her, and then I could simply call her by her name.  But we’re struggling with the name game this time around.  Got any ideas for us?  I’m all ears!

This pregnancy has been different from my pregnancy with Maddie.  This time around, I was nauseous pretty much 24/7 from weeks 5 to 14.  I didn’t have any food cravings – just aversions.  Nothing sounded good to eat and grocery shopping was especially awful – all those food smells in the grocery store, ugh!   Also, my bump started to show much earlier and this baby is sitting much lower down than Maddie did (thanks stretched out muscles that I never worked to tone).  My belly button has already popped out this time around but it never did with Maddie.  And my skin complexion has been terrible this time but with Maddie it was clearer!  Interesting how pregnancies can be so different.  I’ve also already started having Braxton Hicks contractions and that is pretty terrifying.  I don’t recall ever having them with Maddie, but it’s also possible that I just didn’t recognize them.

I took weekly bump photos when I was pregnant with Maddie and I journaled every week about my pregnancy and how we were getting everything ready for her.  I kept a separate planner for all of my appointments with notes and questions for my doctor.  This time, I’m doing monthly photos (hey, better than nothing!) and I’ve written down absolutely nothing.  Nothing.  It makes me a little sad to write that and I wish I’d done a better job.  I wasn’t going to make any New Years resolutions this year, but maybe I’ll commit to documenting this pregnancy better.  Now seems like a good time to start ;)

How far along:  23 weeks

Due date:  May 5 (which means that yesterday we were exactly 4 months out.  When I think about how much our family and day-to-day life will change, it seems so soon.  But when I think about being pregnant for another 4 months, it seems like an eternity!)

Size of baby:  A papaya (roughly 11 inches long and just over 1 lb)

Total weight gain:  14 lbs  (which is actually exactly how much I’d gained at this point with Maddie, I went back and checked. I also noted that I gained a whopping 35lbs in total with Maddie and that is WAY more than I remember. Yikes!)

Symptoms:  Knock on wood… none right now (other than being super hungry all the time).  My 2nd trimester has really been a breeze.  Last time I had a lot of back pain that started around this point, but fortunately I haven’t seen any signs of it this go around.  Maybe spending my days being active instead of sitting at a desk is making a difference.

Cravings:  Just like last time, and all the time really, I’ll forever have a sweet tooth (several sweet teeth?)  Soups also sound good to me all the time.

Sleep:  Pretty good.  Occasional insomnia.

Movement:  Lots of movement, and it can now be felt from the outside as well.  Tom and Maddie have both felt baby sister kick!

Gender:  It’s another girl!  We found out at 13 weeks via a genetic blood test, and confirmed at our 19 week ultrasound.

Name:  “Baby Sister” for now.  We’ve been narrowing down our list of names, but none are really jumping out at us as “the one”.  Some of our favorites are Mollie, Mackenzie, Abigail, and Mabrie.  Mollie is my favorite, Mackenzie was on both of our lists and was a backup for Maddie’s name, and Abigail is Tom’s favorite.  I tried really hard to convince Tom on Maxine, but he’s not having it, so I traded Maxine for Mabrie.  I’m pretty sure he hates it too but not as much as Maxine so it seemed like a good plan to him.  I’m also trying to convince him on Louise as a middle name.  My great grandmother (Maddie & Baby Sister’s great great grandmother) just passed away this year at 95 years old and her name was Louise.  I think she would be a wonderful namesake.  I mean really, Mollie Louise Cooper – isn’t it just aesthetically pleasing??

Style:  Maternity clothes and stretchy/comfy clothes (athleisure?).  Last time around I hated full-panel pants because they seemed so restricting.  But this time, I’m loving them because I feel like they give my belly more support.

Nursery:  Oh sweet Baby Sister, you get your big sister’s nursery.  And we’re really not making any changes to it.  I’ll swap out Maddie’s name above the crib and that’s about all :)  And so begins this baby’s struggle of being the second kid.

Well, as usual, this post was sufficiently longer than I’d planned for it to be.  One of these days I’ll get it together and blog regularly.  Ha, who am I kidding?  Talk to you guys again in 2018 ;)