Thursday, May 29, 2008

How low can you go....

The baby has officially dropped a few days ago.

On Monday, I felt fine. Then Tuesday morning came, and as soon as I woke up, I felt that the baby had dropped. Looking in the mirror, I thought I looked lower but wasn't too sure. But then getting the girls to school became quite painful-the lower pressure felt like the baby's head was in-between my legs (nice visual, isn't it?) Climbing up the stairs to get to class-holding Mara, a diaper bag, purse and another bag full of paperwork was excruciating. As soon as I walked in, a friend of mine said "oh my, look at you! You are carrying much lower now, aren't you?" and the girl's teacher looked up and told that I looked "very pregnant" today.

So at least it's not just me.....I'll have Greg take new photos tonight and you can tell me what you think!

Tuesday was a tough day, and we have a ton of activities planned this week. Yesterday I canceled our park playdate, thinking I would take it easy instead. WRONG! The girls and I ended up doing some major cleaning and I ended up moving the furniture around in the living room and dining room....I think the nesting has begun!

But overall I felt fine, and last night the girls and I spent 2+ hours outside, just playing on their playset and hanging out. I didn't do too much activity, mostly just watching them play. We came in for dinner and after eating, I went to get up and the pressure I felt was unbelievable! I made it to the couch and just had to lay there for awhile....Greg had to get the girls to bed, I just couldn't move.

Today we had art class. It is absolutely beautiful outside so we had class outside, under a big cherry tree. So nice. The class was using shaving cream, so I had brought in some of Mara's soap and we blended it in the blender for her. It worked out great and she loved it. I think she preferred being on her own separate mat, away from everyone else.

We are still having issues with Mara's cough and breathing. Over the weekend, it was horrible, to the point where she was gasping for air. Even just her breathing in general seemed off. But then by Tuesday she seemed to be getting better, so we didn't take her in. Then yesterday, they were playing tag and Mara began coughing again and had to sit for 10-15 minutes in order to calm it down. Now today her breathing seems off again and she's in there snoring....

Analese has been breaking out all around her mouth, which we believe is from drinking milk. We have cut out all dairy except a 1/2 glass in the morning and the occasional yogurt. Yesterday she had an extra glass of milk in the afternoon and her eczema-like rash spread all over her cheeks. We want to cut dairy out completely to see if their improvement-we just have to talk her into it! She doesn't like Mara's hempmilk, so I may see if she prefers rice milk instead.

As you can see, there is always something going on with the girls and these allergies! Although Mara might just have a respiratory thing going on, one can only hope!

I have a ton of photos from our week, I'll try and post them today. We went to a Sustainability Fair over the weekend and helped out in the children's tent, which the girl's school was sponsoring. It was so fun! The girls got to do some weaving of yarn through sticks, and paint a mural. The best part about the fair was that we knew so many people who were there working in different booths. It was so fun to take a walk and stop in to visit everyone :)

So another busy week for us! I have been working hard at getting the bookkeeping set up for school, as well as getting the website together. I am really starting to feel that "need" to get things in order so that I will have some time just to relax when this little one decides to come. Time is going by so quickly! This was supposed to be the girl's last week of classes, but their teachers decided to offer another 3 weeks of classes free because the children were enjoying it so much! Have I mentioned how much I love their school? I do worry that the girls will go through some type of withdrawal once the baby comes and we won't be getting out for awhile. A friend of mine just reassured me that she plans on bringing her son over to help out, and keep the girls entertained, which they'll love.

Tomorrow we are going to the petting farm-the girls are so excited! Then tomorrow night, their school is having a "chicken sculpture making party" with a potluck. I am excited to see what we can come up with :) This weekend should be a busy one, as my hope is that our room will be done and closer to being ready for this baby...wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

32 weeks, and oh so tired....

Sorry it's been awhile once again. I can't seem to find the time to write anymore, nor do I have much desire to be on the computer lately. Still a little burned out from school, I suppose!

The girls and I have been busy-very busy these days. In a way, I feel like I need to do all of these things with them since I will need some recovery time when the baby comes. The girls have been loving all the activities, which then pushes me to do even more. It's been great, but today we stayed home and that was even greater! Even the girls seemed to enjoy it, as I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone and Analese said "today is a stay home day-we are NOT going anywhere!".

One thing that has kept us pretty busy is the girls' new learning classes. It's hard to explain just how perfect and exciting these classes are, but I'll try. The learning approach is based on the reggio emilia approach, which believes in a child-directed approach to learning. On our first day of class, the teachers sat with me and asked me what my goals were for each child in the program (learning to cooperate/interact with peers and other adults) what each girl likes, dislikes, etc. Parents are encouraged to participate in every aspect of the program, and most stay during their child's class time. Right now I have the girls in the learning class on Tuesdays for 2 1/2 hours and an art class for an hour on Thursdays. I do try to kind of hang back during their Tuesday class, as my goal is for them to become more comfortable around their classmates and their teachers. It seems to work out well. Mara will play and participate for awhile and then she wants me to "hold you" and kind of shut downs and just watches. Analese has been loving all the attention and has become quite the ham! It's so funny to see, and I can't help but think about how no one else could hold her or even look at her for the first 13 months of her life!

Anyway, the class is amazing and the space is amazing! Our meeting place is in the loft of a barn on a working farm, where they are worked hard at fixing it up into this magical place that gives such a feeling of warmth. You cannot help but feel right at home as soon as you walk in there. They even have a huge tree branch hanging above the circle area-covered in different lights and mobiles. Downstairs, we have baby chicks growing, and, where to begin? They have a larger chicken coop (where we buy fresh eggs!) a pond stocked full of fish and tadpoles, a huge garden with a space for us to plant. It's just exciting, and the girls learn so much just from the experience of being there.

Just some examples of how the whole "child-directed approach" has worked:

  • Analese found a patch of violets outside and was sitting there, picking them. Her teachers helped her bring them back upstairs, where they helped her pick out a ribbon to tie them up and got them in water. Afterwards, they sat down in circle and made up a poem about the flowers she had picked. They then wrote down the poem, saying each letter as they wrote it. Analese then colored below it, as well as adding a few letters of her own :)
  • Analese has an interest in measuring, and the children were given their own ruler with their name on it. They take the rulers with them when they go to see the baby chicks, and have been "measuring" them each week and charting it onto a graph.
  • Because of the children's love for music, they were each given their own recorder, which they play for the baby chicks and the fish in the pond. I love to hear them play-especially Mara, who hums quite loudly while she blows :)
Anyway-I could go on and I feel very passionate about this! It has also been nice to become involved with so many families who are so like-minded. We had a "block-making party" last Friday, where one parent had cut out pieces of wood and we (OK, the husbands mostly) sanded them and got them ready for the children to play with. We had a potluck dinner, just talking while our children all played around us...we had such a good time that we plan to do this once a month from now on! What's amazing to me is seeing the girls become so comfortable around so many people! I watched Analese tackle another father, Mara trying to tell another mom a just warms my heart and reassures me that they are getting so much out of it.

Of course, the cost of the program is always a consideration for us, and our original plan was to only enroll Analese in the Fall. But now I am not so sure, as Mara is gaining so much as well. They do allow bartering with services, which we are doing our best to take part in. I am currently designing their website, which allowed me to enroll the girls in art class for free, and I just became their bookkeeper, which will hopefully help with this Fall's tuition. I do worry, though, about overextending myself-as Greg predicted I would, especially with the baby coming soon. I do find myself becoming so much more tired these days, and I haven't been able to get much done after the girls are in bed, as I am ready for bed myself! I am still having lots of hip problems and have spent the past 2+ weeks sleeping on a recliner out in the living room. I keep attempting to find a position in bed but just can't without pain. Ugh, I miss my bed!

It's shocking to think I am 32 weeks already! Only one more appointment before I start going weekly and my internal exams begin. That just seems so close! We still have so much to do, and hoping this weekend will provide us more opportunities to actually get some things done!

That about sums up our May so far! We have had a few unfortunate episodes with Mara-she reacted to ham that she had at Greg's sister's house and suffered from diarrhea and poor appetite for over 2 weeks. She has now developed a very "croupy cough" which only appears at night, but its scary to hear her coughing and gasping for air. Last night she slept in our bed so that I could keep an eye on her.
Analese is still suffering from allergies, and we are doing what we can for her. We started her on raw, local honey, as research has shown that could help minimize allergy symptoms. So we shall see! It's been rainy here, which has helped her (not me, as molds are my worst allergen).
Hope your all enjoying some warm weather!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finals, Date Night, and Allergies...

OK, so I thought I would have more time once school was over with! It's been a crazy week, but hopefully this week will go better. Finals are done and over with-yeah! I am still waiting on grades and such, but I really don't care at this point. Whatever will be, will be!

My date night with Greg went well. I feel like I should explain why we haven't been out in so long, as we are not complete losers :) It's just been difficult-for one, we couldn't go out to eat due to all the restrictions I have been on while nursing Mara. Movies are out, as my husband cannot stay awake if he isn't moving. Going out for drinks is out because of the being pregnant/nursing thing again.'s hard to find a babysitter! We live at least an hour away from all family members, and most would rather us drop the kids off with them then drive all the way out here. This honestly makes me a bit nervous with Mara-I would rather have someone here so that only her food is here. Our close friends all have kids younger then ours, so its hard for them to come to the house (although a few friends and I have been working on a babysitting coop among the three of us)Plus-there's the added bonus that the girls bedtime routine is very fixed, so having someone else put them to bed would subject them to too much stress (for the babysitter AND the girls).

So that's why we haven't been out. But I will say that we have had many "dates" at home after the girls go to bed. We play games, eat a late dinner, watch a movie (OK-I watch, Greg sleeps). The connection is there, and that's the most important thing. We both know that this is only one short moment in our lives-we have plenty of time for dates out when the girls get older.

OK-so anyway....the wedding was beautiful. Has anyone watched "Ace of Cakes" on Food Network? They are the one's that made the wedding cake, and it was beautiful! They filmed the bride and groom seeing it for the first time, but that was before any guests were there (so no tv appearance from us!) I was so tired, and ready to leave around 9. My feet were so swollen-I had no ankles and my shoes suddenly looked so tiny as my feet were pouring out of them. People were shocked to see them, I just had to laugh. As much as I had wanted to leave, I hung in there a bit longer as the groom was a childhood friend of Greg's and so there were many people there that he hadn't seen in awhile. We began to leave around 10:15 and actually got out the door around 11. We got to Greg's parent's house around 11:30 to pick up the girls and they both greeted us at the door :) We told Katie not to worry about sleep-if they do great, but if they didn't, that was fine too (did I mention the fixed bedtime routine?)

Last Sunday I took the girls outside and we played for several hours. The pollen count in our area is crazy high right now-I think NPR said it was 2000% higher then normal right now! I was brushing the pollen off the swings just so the girls could sit down and not be covered in yellow. Anyway- after we went inside, Analese and I started having lots of sinus pressure, nose and eyes watering, etc. Analese developed a yucky cough-I felt like her lungs were filled with pollen. We were miserable most of the week-I kept the girls home from school and everything Tuesday just to give Analese a break. Every time we went outside, she started coughing again. I hate that everything goes right to her lungs. Anyone with some natural ways to minimize outdoor allergies, please give them to me! I hate the thought of medicating her, but we cannot stay inside all summer!

So that was our week! For Mother's Day we took the girls down to the D.C. Zoo-even though the weather was supposed to be rainy and highs were only in the 60s. We lasted almost 4 hours before the rain turned into a downpour and we had to leave. The girls got to get right up close to the Giant Panda-it was literally on the other side of the plexi-glass eating bamboo ("making a mess" as Analese has been telling everyone)

Here are some photos of our week! We were busy-playdates, a trip to the Aquarium, art class, and some free time outside (the highlights were puddle jumping and playing with clay) Enjoy-and I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!

I will update again soon, as I have "new and improved" belly shots to post :)