Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

It seems lately I preface all of my blog entries with the phrase "long overdue", and this one is no exception!  Life has been busy since the holidays came and went, and I've finally had a chance to upload some photos, and put together some thoughts about our very special Christmas celebration.

This year was by far my favorite Christmas as a mother thus far, mainly because Piercey was aware of the excitement and spirit of the celebration for the first time, and Hayden was completely taken with the ideas of both Santa and baby Jesus.  All around, it was a year of wonderment and excitement for both of the boys, and that added a little extra special touch.

It has been our tradition since moving to Texas to host a Christmas Eve party at our house, and invite our family and friends.  So Christmas Eve morning started bright and early with a major holiday meal prep.  It's kind of our one night to really cook a nice meal, with no cost or diet restrictions, and to set a beautiful table and just enjoy a night of food.  This year we planned a menu of stuffed leg of lamb, candied brussel sprouts, roasted parsnips and carrots, and rosemary potatoes.  It was simple, but elegant, and full of foods we don't normally prepare or eat.  Fun!  The boys (and myself) were completely intrigued by the fresh brussel sprouts we bought - I had no idea that brussel sprouts came on huge long stalks!  Ever since a bad childhood brussel sprout experience (umm I was force fed them pretty much and never recovered), I have avoided them like the plague.  But I decided I'm 30 now and I can probably let those bad memories go haha.  After I cut all of the beautiful, big sprouts off of the main spine of the vegetable, I let the boys play with it like a sword.  Pretty funny.   It was just one of those mornings where the house smells delicious, the kids were happy and helpful, and the Christmas music was keeping us all in a cheerful mood. 


Our friends and family showed up in the evening, and we enjoyed a lovely night together, including spending time with my best friend's new little boy, Nolan, who is about the sweetest gift anyone could get for Christmas.  The food was so good, the wine was flowing (for everyone except me!), and we had a great night.  Because Santa was bringing an extra special gift for Hayden that could only be assembled in his room, we had to be creative about our sleeping arrangements that night.  I remembered back to my own childhood, and how we always spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor of our parent's room.  We did this because our house was always so full of relatives, and I have such fond memories of falling asleep beside my brother and imagining all the exciting things Santa would bring for us in the morning.  So we decided to continue this tradition for our boys, and we blew up the air mattress, and settled them in for Christmas Eve slumber party in our room.  It was SO darling!  I came in to check on them later, and they were all snuggled up together, and slept that way the entire night.  I love how they are growing into such great friends.

Santa was bringing a brand new big boy bed for Hayden, so we became those parents who stay up MUCH too late trying to assemble complicated toys and items.  I had read some reviews that this bed might be time consuming to put together, but of course my husband assured me that with his infinite carpentry skills that he would have it done in no time!  Sadly he was mistaken haha.  Turns out that his carpentry skills are superb, but his interpreting difficult non-word picture-only directions are not so stellar.  Finally at midnight, we put ourselves to bed, content that our children would wake up to a Santa scene worthy of the good boys they have been all year.

And wouldn't you figure, on this of ALL mornings, when Nathan and I were SO excited to see their happy little faces, they slept until 8 am!  We were up before them, staring at their cute little sleepy selves on the air mattress, willing them to wake up lol.  Finally, they did, and Hayden immediately expressed surprise that he hadn't heard Santa or his reindeer at all!  Nate and I were equally amazed by this turn of events, and assured him that Santa is just very quiet.  So we all headed out into the living room, where Pierce discovered his brand new ball pit, and they both had beautiful handcrafted wooden step stools with their initials on the sides from daddy.  They opened their many smaller gifts from Santa with glee (well Hayden was more excited about gift opening, while Pierce was content to climb up and then throw himself off his stool with abandon over and over), and then we suggested to Hayden that maybe Santa had left presents in other parts of the house.


First he checked the kitchen and backyard, then he headed to the front of the house, and his bedroom.  Immediately his face LIT up with happiness upon seeing the bed that he had picked out weeks earlier at Ikea.  I was a teeny bit worried, because when he saw it at Ikea, it was in it's loft bed form, but Nate and I decided he was a bit too young for a bunk bed, and certainly Pierce could not be trusted climbing up there, so we kept it as a regular bed for now.  I wasn't sure how Hayden would respond, but he just zoomed right in the canopy of stars, and was thrilled to death.  He was jumping up and down and clapping in delight, and both boys raced up onto the bed to check it out.  They even pretended to lay down and sleep together, complete with snoring noises.  It was a hit, and continues to be!  Later in the day, he opened presents from Gigi of brand new Lightening McQueen sheets, and a cool moon lamp for the wall, which completed the scene.  So much fun, and I love that he can now fully stretch out, and stay covered all night long.  He does occasionally talk about turning it into a bunk bed when he turns 4 (we'll see about that), but for now he is very content with Santa's gift.


We headed over to my parent's house for the afternoon on Christmas Day, but first we skyped for the longest time with Mammaw and Grandpa, which the boys loved.  They got to talk all about their new gifts and discuss the festivities.  I know they miss their Colorado family a ton, and being able to see them even across a computer screen is a great bonus.

And even our trip driving over to Grammy and Poppy's house was fun, since the dogs were going for their inaugural ride in our mini-van (thanks to my parents for inviting them for Christmas!).  Pierce kept feeding Dallas crackers from his snack trap and both boys thought it was quite hysterical.

Our Christmas Day celebration at my parents was again full of fabulous food, and some great friends and family.  The boys got to open gifts from grammy and poppy, as well as our extended family from Wisconsin.  They got so many fun things!  I don't know about any other parents of 3 years old, but I was quite amazed at Hayden's ability to whip through gifts.  "Can I open another gift mommy" every two minutes.  I was starting to wonder if he even SAW what he was opening, but luckily once all the gifts were opened, he settled down and explored them all, and is still enjoying each and every one.  But my gosh, he would not give up until EVERY one was opened lol.  I guess that is a kid thing.


I'm so thankful for all three of my amazing and special boys, and for our extended family, and our friends, who have become party of our family.  What a great Christmas!  And just think, next year, we'll have one more little blondie to be thankful for :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the Post Before Christmas!

Well it's December 23rd, and I am officially DONE WITH WORK for the year!  I've wrapped up a project that has been my main task for over 2 years now (since before I went on maternity leave with Pierce), and it feels so good to have met my goals with success, and to be able to now enjoy my family and the holidays without a weight of stress on me.  Thank you to my whole family who sacrificied so I could meet these insane holiday deadlines! 

And now it's time for fun.  I finished just in time to be able to participate in some fun Christmas activities with my friends (whom I haven't seen in over a month), and my boys.  Christmas in Dallas is BIG, just like everything else here, and there are no shortage of holiday themed events and festivals and displays.  We discovered the most amazing model train display last Christmas, called the Trains at Northpark.  It is actually a charity, which makes it really cool, and it's just a bunch of model train tracks filling a whole room at a local mall.  First of all, this mall is spectacular in itself - it is Dallas shopping at it's finest.  There are about 2 stores that I could actually walk into without feeling like "Pretty Woman", but the Christmas decorations are gorgeous, and the holiday theme is alive and well.  The model trains are sort of separated into themed displays - like New York City, downtown Dallas, the Texas State Fair, the Polar Express (Hayden's favorite), the Grand Canyon, etc.  Even as an adult, there is something wondrous and fun about model trains (we always had them as kids).  We made a night of it with some friends, and the boys eyes were as big as saucers as they walked in and heard the "Polar Express" theme music playing, and saw trains as far as the eye could see.  Hayden made sure to get each of us (adults included) conductor hats, and we set off to explore.  "Thomas" and "Percy" even made appearances on some of the tracks, which thrilled Pierce.  What a magical, fun evening with my family.


My best friend from high school, Lindsey, who just happens to live here with her husband, just had her first baby two weeks ago, Nolan.  He is an absolute cutie pie, and we hosted them for a little impromtu pizza party the other night.  I was a little nervous about having such a small and fragile little baby over, with my two rough and tumble boys, but I supposed such a meeting was inevitable, and Lindsey is amazingly calm and laid-back, so I hoped nothing too bad would happen!  I got down the baby swing from the attic and set it up in the living room, and obviously my worst fears were confirmed as Hayden and Pierce BOTH climbed into it and began to swing and push each other violently high, all while giggling "BABY" and laughing like hyenas.  Can you just picture a 7 lb newborn being exposed to this danger?!  So frantically I got two toddler chairs down from the attic in an attempt to distract them, and just prayed for the best.  Luckily I needn't have worried!  They behaved like perfect little gentlemen, and were respectful of the baby and didn't get overly close.  Hayden asked to hold Nolan, but we explained he was still too tiny, however Lindsey let both the boys come sit right next to her and gently touch baby Nolan's head and check him out.  Pierce even gave him an eskimo kiss as he was doing his go to bed kiss routine.  So not only was I proud of my boys, but I was just glowing with happiness that there I was, sitting wtih one of my best friends from childhood, and her new precious BABY, and my boys, and our husbands, and it just felt so right.  These boys will grow up together, and it was fun to see them meet for the first time.  It's funny, because there are three of us that have remained close since high school (I posted recently about our friend Nicole's visit), and we now have 5 boys between us, all 3 and under!  How much fun are our gatherings going to be down the line with all these boys so close in age?  I love it.


What happened next is not a happy story, but one that must be told nonetheless.  Because of my work schedule, I couldn't travel to Colorado for Christmas this year, and we booked some last minute plane tickets for the boys to go for our annual family Christmas.  Hayden was beside himself with excitement about both flying on a plane, and see his beloved Mammaw and cousins.  So we arrived at the airport bright and early, and 1 hr and 45 minutes before their scheduled flight I might add.  We were stuck in the "slow line" because we needed to add an infant to Nathan's ticket and couldn't go through the kiosk check-in and bag-drop.  We began to get nervous as we saw our line was basically at a stand-still with only ONE ticket agent serving about 30 passengers with specials needs (pets, small children, missed flights, etc).  I repeatedly told the airline employee manning the lines that my family was in jeopardy of missing their flight if something didn't happen quickly, but she was rude and dismissive of me, and told me their policy is to arrive 2 hours early for a domestic flight (first of all - since WHEN, and second of all, 15 minutes would not have made a difference at that point).  Sure enough, once we finally got to the ticket counter, it was 35 minutes before their flight, and they were not allowed to travel.  Instead, the counter agent suggested stand-by, but all the remaining flights for the day were oversold as it was.  So my boys got in the security line and I left them, with no gaurantee of actually making it to Denver.  Our worst fears were confirmed, as Nathan waited it out through FOUR stand-by flights, to no avail.  What made it difficult is that they needed 2 seats next to each other (Hayden cannot sit alone at his age), AND Nathan has no priority status with American Airlines.  Finally, 7 hours after arriving at the airport, and 5 hours after struggling alone with 2 small children in the airport, taking trains from one terminal to another chasing flights, my husband finally admitted defeat, and headed home.  Although sadly their bags and carseats HAD flown to Denver on the original flight, which was just a further aggravation, but thankfully my parents had carseats we could borrow until we got our luggage back later that night (which we had to go pick up).  Ugh what a mess!!!  We are clearly planning to raise a fuss with AA and try to get our money back, but there is no gaurantee.  Nate said that Hayden just sobbed everytime they didn't board a flight - it was so confusing to him!  But I was so proud of all of them, and Nathan mostly, for keeping such a great attitude, and taking care of those boys under such stressful circumstances.  Sadly they all missed Christmas in Colorado, and missed seeing their two new cousins who were recently born.  But clearly they tried as hard as they could to get there!  It was just not meant to be this year.

As much as I was sad to see them miss their trip, and sad for my mother-in-law, who was so hoping to spend Christmas with her son and grandsons, it still ended up being a nice family weekend for us.  Nate was so proud of their good behavior at the airport that he just wanted to spoil them all weekend!  It was cute.  Mammaw had been planning to take them to the zoo in Denver, and Hayden was counting on it, so we decided to head up to the Gainseville Zoo with the boys on Sunday as a consolation prize.  What an adorable zoo, and we had the whole place to ourselves!!  We literally only saw 4 other families there the whole time!  They have this great raised wooden walkway, with all the savannah animals (zebras, giraffes, big horn sheep, gazelles, etc) grazing below, and they also have great little interactive displays with the smaller animals.  I was extremely impressed with the place, and we watched with pride as our boys enjoyed themselves to the max, and were so well behaved.

This is Hayden deciding that his brother wasn't moving quickly enough, and "escorting" him to the next exhibit :)



The petting zoo station was dominated by one very hungry goat!


The missed trip to Colorado also meant that the boys could attend a few playdates with their group of friends here in Texas, whom they hadn't seen since before Thanksgiving.  Again, the circumstances for them being home were sad, but the experience of sharing Christmas with their best buds was nice afterall.  My friend Eren hosted a pajama party / sugar cookie decorating playdate, which was a blast!  In particular, Piercey J took a new likely to his friend Annelie (aka Muffin), and there was a lot of affection going around!  Hayden was thrilled to see his friends, and couldn't stop hugging Jack.  Every year we try to line the kids up for a couch photo, and it keeps getting harder as they get older and more free-willed and squirmy lol.  So here are some attempts at a Christmas group shot, as well as some of Piercey J and his new girly friend Muffin.


Speaking of friends, I've talked about Hayden's (girl)friend Tatum from school.  Well yesterday her mom and I arranged a park playdate for the afternoon.  When we pulled up to the park, Tatum was already there, and I gave Hayden permission to head up there while I got Pierce out of his carseat.  Well Hayden took off RUNNING at top speed, flung open the gate of the park, as simultaneously Tatum came down the slide and went running for the gate from the other side.  They embraced like long lost loves, and kept saying, "I've missed you so much!".  It was like something out of a movie!  Keep in mind - it's been 2 weeks since pre-school ended, and they are 3 years old.  Wow.  So much love!!  They were absolutely adorable, and after spending some time with Tatum, I can see why Hayden enjoys her company so much.  She is a bit of a tom boy, and just very friendly and fun and up for anything.  I think Hayden already has great taste.  Sadly we had to part ways eventually, but rest-assured, today Hayden asked to write Tatum a letter.  Nate sat with him and wrote out what he wanted to say, which included, "Tatum, will you go to a movie with me", and "I think you're really nice" lol.  Where does he come up with this stuff?  Soooo cute.

Yesterday was midwife appointment day for me, and I decided to take Hayden along for a change, so he could hear Ruthie's heartbeat.  My midwife was so amazing with him, and let him pull a chair up next to the exam table, and she let him feel around on my tummy and pointed out where Ruthie's little bottom was, and back, and head.  Then she let him hold the doppler while she found her heartbeat, which thrilled him.  Finally, she actually let him listen to his own heartbeat with the doppler, while explaining that his beats slower because he is bigger.  As we were leaving Hayden called, "Thanks!  I'll see you when my baby sister is here!".  Adorable.  We then proceeded on to Chili's for a mommy and son lunch date, which was just too much fun.  He had macaroni and cheese and a special raspberry lemonade, and we just chatted about a million subjects.  He's just getting so grown-up, and sweeter and smarter by the minute.  Unfortunately I also took him shopping for a gift for grammy, and he promptly told her what it was as soon as we walked in her door, sigh.  Note to self, do not let 3 year old pick out a gift, then tell him it's a big secret.  It's too much of a temptation for him haha.

Well this post has gotten long enough!  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and I'll be back after the holidays!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter Update

Sorry for this LONG overdue update.  My work schedule has been brutal this month with a deadline looming, and it's all I can do to keep my kids dressed and fed, let alone take time to write a blog entry.  It's not been enjoyable, but the end is in sight, and we are all looking forward to taking a break for Christmas and the New Year!

So where to start?  So much to update on between Pierce, Hayden and baby Ruthie (in my tummy still).  I guess I'll start by mentioning some fun events we've been to in the past few weeks, and then I'll go on to some brief updates about each of the kids and their recent milestones and stories.


A few weeks ago we ventured down to Glen Rose, Texas, to meet some friends and explore Dinosaur World, where they have this pretty little trail that you can follow that has lifesize dinosaurs roaming around along it.  Glen Rose is known for it's dinosaur artifacts, including some neat footprints preserved in the rocks in the river valley nearby (that we went to see last winter), so it's an appropriate setting.  The kids were THRILLED, and got to do a dig for dinosaur bones and teeth, and play on the dinosaur themed playground.  All around a fantastic day for everyone.




We had so much to be thankful this year, with our two healthy boys, and a healthy baby girl on the way, so our Thanksgiving celebration was full of joy and happiness this year.  We invited over some close friends and family, and set a pretty fall table, and enjoyed a FEAST of delicious food.  We attempted to take some family photos for our Christmas cards this year, and you can enjoy the outtakes.  The results are pretty consistent with what our normal life is like in this busy household - nothing really goes as planned!  This one was ALMOST perfect, except Hayden was looking down!  It's the best of the bunch.


Nate has fond memories of going to a night-time parade in Denver as a child, where all the floats were decorated with Christmas lights.  Ironically, on the Saturday before I was leaving for London, he asked me to look around for a fun family event, and by chance the Fort Worth Parade of Lights event was happening.  So we invited Grammy and Poppy along and headed down to Sundance Square for dinner and the parade.  It was one of those nights that is just perfect - the kids were so well-behaved, with nothing but smiles all night.  The parade was gorgeous with all of the twinkling lights, and kids were thrilled to see Santa riding on the last special float.  There were horses and cows (I mean it was Fort Worth afterall!), vintage cars, marching bands, and clowns.  A nice lady gave the boys some extra antlers she had, which they wore with enthusiasm, and the parade was a HUGE success.




Despite a lack of enthusiasm on my part, I ended up traveling to London for work, on what ended up being the COLDEST and SNOWIEST week ever in England.  One highlight of the trip was being able to travel on a 747 for the first time, and the boys and Nate and I watched it land at DFW prior to dropping me off.  It is pretty spectacular watching a heavy plane like that land at such close proximity.  It really is beautiful.

While I wasn't that thrilled about leaving my family for the holidays, and flying 10 hours while very pregnant, I still was excited to see my brother and his girlfriend, who live in London, and to spend some quality time with them when I wasn't working.  Jeffrey and I checked out Hampton Court Palace, which was super interesting for me since I have always enjoyed history about the English monarchs, and Henry the 8th in particular.  This was his main palace, and it was fascinating to be able to walk the same hallways as Anne Boleyn and the entire Tudor court.  The gardens were beautiful even in the winter, and despite it being VERY cold, it was a great day. 

Unfortunately additional sight-seeing was not really on the agenda for this trip because of my long work days while away, but Jeff's friends were extremely generous in entertaining me in their homes for dinner, and Jeff and I also attended my first Arsenal "football" match.  What a wild experience!  I'm a pretty avid sports fan, and have been to many professional American football, baseball and basketball games, but a European soccer match is a whole different ballgame (literally and figuratively!).  Instead of your basic chants and cheers, the fans of the Arsenal (mostly males I might add) are really vocal, and have songs (many of them filled with dirty words!) for each player that they sing with gusto each time said player makes a good play.  They also have a whole bunch of team songs, for when the team as a whole does well.  And of course no one is afraid to call a player (or the entire team) a bunch of wankers if someone does something wrong!  The Arsenal ending up winning, which put them "top of the league" for the first time in a long time, over their rivals Chelsea and Manchester United (Jeff will kill me if I am wrong about these stats haha), and the entire tube ride home, you could encounter happy soccer fans, waving their red and white scarves and chanting "we are top of the league, we are top of the league" at each station.  It was definitely a cultural experience, to say the least. Super fun.

While I was away, the boys were in very good hands, which made me feel so good.  Nathan of course was a steady, loving presence for them, and my mom helped out in her usual stellar way.  Then the icing on the cake was that Mammaw flew in from Colorado for 4 days to help out, which made the kids so happy.  When I would skype with the boys there wasn't even a hint of sadness in them, as they were thrilled to be spending time with their grandparents and daddy.  I'm blessed to have so many people in our lives who are willing to help out so I can make trips like this and not go crazy with worry.


Right now, Hayden is all about relationships.  I think as he gets older, he realizes how important various people in his life are, and he loves to talk about all of his friends and family.  And I love the stories he comes up!  He loves to tell me everyday that Mammaw gives him butterfly kisses (with her eyelashes), and his new thing is to give them to me ever since Mammaw was here a few weeks ago.  He is also deeply looking forward to his sister getting here.  He regularly hugs my tummy and tells me that he feels her move (even when she isn't!), and he will talk to her as well.  It's really adorable and heart-warming.  Yesterday he told me, "Mommy!  We need to tape Tangled for Ruthie to watch when she is here!"  For those not in the know, Tangled is a new Disney movie based on the Rapunzel story, and Hayden has told me a few times that it's a "girl movie" (don't ask me how he came to this conclusion?).  But I couldn't believe how sweet it was that he wanted to make sure she got to see this movie.  I can't wait to see if the warmth remains when she is actually here!

Hayden's preschool semester just ended, and was capped off with his first ever Christmas Program!  It was so adorable and of course I cried, which may have had to do with pregnancy hormones, but more likely had to do with how grown up and proud my little boy was.  His teacher had told me that he was the loudest singer of the bunch, and I had wondered if he'd get stage fright, or if he'd pull through with the singing.  I needn't have worried.  He was THRILLED to be on stage, and waved at me and just beamed before they started signing.  He did ALL the hand motions perfectly, and I could see him singing the words clearly and loudly.  I was so so proud of him, and for the amazing achievement that pre-school has been in general this year.  He went from being so scared and reluctant, to honestly loving his classmates and teachers, and embracing the whole program.

Speaking of loving his classmates, Hayden definitely has his first crush!  For the past few months he has been talking about Tatum, a cute little brunette girl in his class.  It's been obvious that they are best friends, and as I walked into class to pick him up last week, the teachers were all giggling and pointed out that Hayden had pulled his nap mat up to Tatum's, and they were completely snuggling as they rested.  She apparently had been playing with his hair earlier in the nap!  Dying of the cuteness.  I chose that same day to let Hayden and Pierce play on the pres-school playground for awhile after school ended, and Tatum's mom brought her two out to play as well.  I clicked with her mom, and found out that they live in our neighborhood, so we agreed that we'd have to do a Christmas break playdate.  The kids overheard us saying this, and were thrilled with the idea of getting together.  Well....Hayden misunderstood that we wouldn't be getting together immediately that afternoon, and he cried the whole way home about missing Tatum, and could he please just call her and talk her, and could we please invite her over to play?!  This whole scene oddly enough reminded me of how it felt to part ways with my best friend after our first semester of freshman year of college lol.  Not a day has passed since school ended where he hasn't asked if Tatum can come over and play!

He was also invited to the 4th birthday party of one of his classmates, Brock.  We arrived and a bunch of little boys were already jumping on the trampoline, and Hayden joined right in.  I was chatting with Brock's mom, who teaches the other 3 year old class, and she said she had asked Hayden's teacher who she should invite from Brock's class, and she had said, "oh you MUST invite Hayden, he is just the sweetest little boy".  I loved hearing that from his teacher, who gets to see him without mom's watchful eye reinforcing good behavior.  I always wonder if his teachers get to see the sweet and intelligent little boy that I have the priviledge of knowing, and this confirmed that indeed they do!

Not surprisingly, Hayden is super excited for Christmas (mostly still because he thinks Ruthie is coming the day AFTER Christmas and has yet to grasp that that isn't exactly true), and has asked Santa for a "black zhu zhu pet" and a "matchbox car".  What's odd about these requests is that he NEVER plays with zhu zhu pets, and he has about 100 matchbox cars that he also rarely plays with.  But a boy wants what a boy wants, and these are easy enough requests to fill!  Nathan and I also have a few surprises up our sleeves that are sure to thrill him, which I'll share after the holidays.



Where do I even start with this little monkey?  He is just the BEST, most fun, happy, silly little 20 month old ever.  His speech has just blossomed over the past month or two, and he is easily making sentences with 4 to 5 words, and has such a sense of humor!  He is smart smart smart, and can already sing his ABCs and count to five or so on a good day (actually counting objects).  I'm sure a lot of this can be attributed to learning from his brother, but I'm still impressed!

He has a couple of tried and true behaviors and sayings that just have me laughing regularly.  Currently, my favorite thing that he says is "OH (gasping loudly), a SOUND!" whenever he hears anything unfamiliar or loud.  For example, when we are playing outside and a plane flies overhead, he will look up and gasp, "OH SOUND!"  I just love it.  Then I'll answer him and say, "Yes Pierce, it sounds like an airplane" and he'll say, "Yeah mommy, airplane SOUND!".  He says this at least 20 times a day, so curious about the world and sounds around him.

He's also started calling Hayden by the name brother, which comes out sounding like "Bradoo".  The first thing he'll say when he wakes up (after repeatedly saying "EAT, EAT, EAT) is "where Bradoo go mommy?" and then when he gets out to the living room and sees him he claps and says "Hello BRADOO!" with a big smile.  For awhile he would just refer to him as Bradoo to Nathan or I, as if he is talking ABOUT him, but for the past week he has actually been directly addressing Hayden and saying things like "run Bradoo", or "outside Bradoo", or "Braddo help", etc.  And Hayden only calls him by his nickname of Wubby.  So we've got a Bradoo and Wubby around here :)  I'm anxious to see how their relationships evolves when their sister is born.  I'm hoping it brings them even closer together!

Pierce is getting much more loving and affectionate lately, but still has a very playful streak in him.  We have this fun game that we play where I'll say, "Piercey, can I have one kiss please" and he'll tease me and shake his head and say (very matter of factly), "no mommy", with a naughty little smile.  So I'll pretend to be upset, and then he'll plant a big one on me, and it's so cute.  He has adopted Hayden's habit of wanting kisses when he gets hurt, so whenever something happens, he'll just rub a spot on his head or knee, or wherever, and say, "hurt mommy", and he'll come over and I'll ask him if he wants a kiss and he'll nod and say, "yeah" and hold out his hurt part for me to kiss.  Then he'll crawl into my arms for a hug, and lay his fuzzy head on my shoulder, which is a rare treat.  This affectionate side is just very new, and I'm loving it!

But with the good, comes the bad and ugly!  We still have problems with tantrums with Pierce, and it's only getting worse!  He's a man who knows what he wants.  Where Hayden threw silent tantrums (laying facedown in protest), Pierce just SCREAMS at the top of his lungs when something doesn't go his way.  It would be comical if it didn't happen so often, and so regularly in public places!  So Piercey anti-tantrum boot camp has started in our house, and the rules are being established.  It's not particularly fun for anyone, but we are hoping it pays off and our little boy learns some boundaries.  He's cute as can be, but naughty as a monster sometimes!!



Well I am officially 30 weeks pregnant (I'll probably be 35 by the time I actually find time to finish this post!), and things are going well.  Not surprisingly, things aren't as easy or comfortable this time, and I'm finding myself more achy and tired than I remember being with Hayden or Pierce.  I'm also extremely busy and stressed with work, which isn't helping, but I'm hanging in there.  Sleep is becoming elusive, as it always does near the end when you can't find a good position in bed because your tummy is HUGE, and because your little daughter has decided that night-time is her favorite time to be awake and party in there.  I was also diagnosed with anemia about a month ago, so have started taking iron supplements to try to help me recover some of my energy.

But despite the drawbacks, I'm still really enjoying this pregnancy, and find myself bonding in a different way than I did with the boys.  We're "the girls" now, and I feel a special little kinship.  She is definitely very active, and moves constantly and drastically.  If I lay with my stomach against Nate's back in bed, he is kept awake with her kicking!  She is up in my ribs, and down in my hips at the same time, making me think this is one long lady.  We'll see when she is born!

I continue with twice monthly appointments for now with my midwives, and I get to like them both more each time I go to visit.  They are both so patient and willing to take time to answer all of my questions, and they genuinely seem to care about me and my little girl.  It's almost like chatting with a girlfriend when I go to my appointments, but they are also really professional and complete in their exams.  I get to hear her strong heartbeat every appointment, and so far I'm measuring just a few weeks ahead, which is typical for me and my large babies.  My blood pressure remains good, my weight gain is similar to the boys, and she is already head down and ready to go!

So physically things are progressing normally and healthily, but around our house we are making very little progress on getting things ready for our little lady.  Things have just been so hectic, and we haven't been able to start on her nursery at all, although we DO have a closet full of pink and purple clothes, since no one in my family can seem to resist them after all the boy clothes we've been buying for the past 4 years!  I decided on sort of a do-it-yourself purple woodsy theme for her room, and I've picked up a few key items, like sheets, a bedskirt, a rug, and a changing pad cover.  We are still tossing around ideas, but I think we will be keeping our white birch trees that are painted on the wall, and adding little big-eyed owls and lavender birds, and perhaps a few purple butterflies.  I also want to paint the letters that spell her name to hang on the wall, and paint a pretty little birdhouse to hang.  We'll see how many of this projects I actually get to!!  The life of leisure I led while pregnant with Hayden is a thing of the past!

Well thanks everyone for hanging in there and reading through this post.  Hopefully I'll be able to post more regularly once things calm down for me at work, and when I go on maternity leave.  But who am I kidding?  I'll have THREE kids then!  Yikes :)

Happy Holidays!