Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodbye August!

Another month is coming to an end, and once again, as so many of the months that have come before this one, I am amazed with how quickly August has come and gone.  Not that this baby didn't seem real before, but as we get into the final weeks (I'm due in less than 5 weeks), it seems more real than ever.  My stomach is huge--I wish I could have recorded the look on Edward's face when he saw me on skype yesterday.  It had been awhile, and his shocked expression was priceless.  He asked things like, "How do you stand up?  Does your back hurt?"  and I think he said "Wow" about 10 times before we moved on and started talking about something else.  I often look down at my stomach in disbelief, or catch a sideways glimpse when I walk past a mirror, and am just amazed that it is possible to get so big, and then to shrink back down to normal once the baby is born.  It's pretty unbelievable.  I have an ultrasound tomorrow and am excited to have a quick look at this little one.  It's been 17 weeks since I last had an ultrasound so it will be fun to see how big the baby is.

As I look forward to the birth of this baby, I get more and more excited to see Lilly as a big sister.  She seems more grown up by the day and I look forward immensely to watching her with a little one.  She's ready; well, as ready as she can be without completely understanding what's going on.  Lilly seems to have everything at home under control.  This morning, she was lying on our bed with me while Jim was getting ready for work.  Jim picked up a folder off my dresser that he needed to take with him today, and Lilly removed her one from her mouth to inform Jim, "No Daddy, that's Mummy's book.  She needs it for tutoring."  And when he proceeded to take it out of the room, she called after him saying, "Jim, put Mummy's book back on her dresser."  She has real conversations.  She calls Jim, "Jim" when she is saying something to him that I would say.  She "helps" with everything.  Here is Lilly helping Jim clean his bike the other evening:

Lilly and I always spend lots of time together but I find myself appreciating even more the time the two of us (and before and after work and on weekends, the three of us) have by ourselves.  We have some nice little routines that I know will change in the weeks ahead.  In the past few weeks, we've gone to the aquarium where Lilly saw her first Imax movie--a movie about dolphins, which she still talks about.  While she enjoyed the whole aquarium, she was especially excited to see an exhibit on frogs, sponsored by UBS.  Most two year olds would prefer the frogs to the UBS slogan painted on the wall.  Lilly, however, couldn't believe her luck.  She kept saying, "UPS Mummy...where Daddy works...not RPS."  This topic deserves it's own blog because it is a constant source of amusement for Jim and me.  But, as I seem to be writing less frequently these days (and in turn, sleeping more frequently), I'll take a second here to emphasize how much Lilly loves talking about UBS.  Every time we drive by the building, she says hi to Jim and "UPS" (Lilly thinks that Jim works for UPS and as a result, also gets very excited when she sees UPS trucks driving by).  She knows that he doesn't work in the RBS building across the street, so she can't mention UBS without saying, "Not RPS" in the same sentence.  We had lunch with Jim at UBS one day last week and since then, a day has not passed without Lilly asking to go back to UBS for lunch.

(I'm not sure why there are meerkats at the aquarium, but Lilly loved them!)

We've been spending a few mornings a week at different parks, where Lilly now loves climbing up rope ladders to get to the slide.  Her fearlessness when it comes to climbing often gives me minor heart attacks but I guess that's all part of being a parent.  We go to the library once a week and Lilly loves picking out books for "Daddy to read to me before bed."  We seem to leave each time with more and more books.  We were at the library on Monday morning and when I asked Lilly to choose some books to bring home, she came back with a stack of books we had checked out on previous occasions, or books we already have at home.  While Jim and I relish in the idea of having new books to read, Lilly loves reading the same ones over and over again.  When I tried to explain to her that we had already checked out those ones, it just didn't make sense to her.  And why should it?  If Lilly loves reading and singing Yankee Doodle, Michael Finnegan, Miss Mary Mack and Mary had a Little Lamb (which she calls Miss Mary Lamb, as she read Miss Mary Mack first), then in her mind, why not check those books out again?  Lilly adores all of those books, where you (well, actually, Jim) sings the story.  I love seeing her excitement when we walk into the library.  I love snuggling up in bed with her and reading books before her nap.  And I love watching Jim read to her at night.  Mum and Dad instilled in all of us a love of reading.  We were surrounded by books we loved and were allowed to stay up later at night if we wanted to read.  As a result, we all love books today.  Jim and I both think that developing a love of reading is important, so Lilly is always surrounded by books that she loves.

We've been going out for walks together.  As my walks are getting shorter and shorter, I let Lilly bring Judy in her stroller, and we go out on "expeditions, looking for heffalumps."  Dad wrote one of my all time favorite blogs, about Lilly and heffalumps, here so I won't go into too much detail, except to say that when Lilly hears the word "heffalump," her eyes light up.  She spent all weekend asking Jim and me if we would go on expeditions with her to find Lumpy, her heffalump.  Jim would hide Lumpy behind a cushion on the couch, and Lilly squealed with delight every time she discovered it.  Yesterday, while we were talking to Mum and Dad on skype, Lilly asked Papa to go on an expedition with her to find a heffalump.  So, Dad and Lilly both went their separate ways, and both returned with heffalumps!  Lilly cannot believe that Dad has a heffalump too and is so excited to go and visit "GigiPapa" (as she likes to call Mum and Dad) because now they have a Lumpy too.  Mum and Dad have been cleaning out their storage unit and have come across lots of toys and books from when we were all little so every time we chat on skype, there are new things for Lilly to see.  The latest of these was the heffalump.

Taking a walking break to balance.

On one of our expeditions!

Lilly and I have also been spending a lot of time at Trader Joe's, or as Lilly calls it, "Trader Joef's."  She is convinced it is named after her Uncle Joef, and asks to go almost daily.  Whether it's the name of the store, or the appeal of the Lilly sized shopping carts, or the plethora of stickers that the cashiers there give her, she can't get enough of the place!  The other morning, Jim turned to me as Lilly was jumping up and down saying, "Hippeeee, Trader Joef's!" over and over again and asked me what exactly she thinks Trader Joe's is.  I don't really know, except to say that if it makes grocery shopping more fun, I'll take it.

Lilly even wheels one of the bags out to the car in her cart!

It's impossible to capture how quickly Lilly is growing up and to write down all the moments and conversations that Jim and I want to remember.  We have so many pictures and stories, a lot of which are recorded here.  And thanks to our iPhones (where all of the pictures from this blog entry are from) we always have a camera at our fingertips.  For moments like this, when Lilly said,  "Daddy, lie down and lift up your shirt.  I'm going to measure your stomach, like Dr. Sharma does for Mummy's baby."

Or like yesterday, when I walked in to check and make sure she was asleep during her nap, and found this:

Lilly had fallen asleep, but not before getting off her bed and moving Daisy and Daisy's pack 'n play onto her bed.  It's sweet that there is so much empty space in her bed, so a little pack 'n play doesn't make a difference.  You can also see Spot up next to her, and Lumpy, the heffalump, next to Daisy.  Lilly's bed is just like her crib used to be--a very busy place.

Finally, here are some pictures of Lilly's first carnival.  We lost power a few weeks ago (amazingly we didn't lose it during the hurricane though) and we decided that since we didn't have power, it was the perfect night to meet up with some friends and take Lilly to a little carnival in Greenwich.  It was so cute and there were a few perfect rides.  Jim went on all the rides with her--I wasn't sure I would fit too well, so Jim really lucked out there.  And to top it all off, the poor guy was in his work clothes because he asked me to bring him shorts and a t-shirt when I picked him up and after telling him I would, I completely forgot.  (I also forgot to bring his contacts to Steph and Austin's wedding a few weeks ago, as well as multiple other things that Jim has asked for.  At least he expects it now, and just shakes his head and smiles when I forget the one thing he has asked me to bring.  Pregnancy really does a number on my memory!)

Goodbye August!  Bring on September.

(yes, Lilly decided to wear her rain boots down to the pool on a gorgeous, sunny day.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Brother Named Lisa

I'm sitting here writing while Lilly sleeps, and by doing so, there is a laundry list of things that I'm choosing not to do.  Over the past few days, when I should be doing things like cleaning out closets and rearranging furniture, I've chosen instead to knit hats and make blankets for my friends that are having babies this fall, make necklaces that I'm currently obsessed with (in every color), finish my book, and now, write this blog.   As this baby's arrival gets closer, I find myself sitting and thinking a lot more.  Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, or maybe it's just the natural feelings that come with being a mum.  Whatever the reason, I enjoy these quiet moments that allow me to reflect, and I've been enjoying them more often lately.  Whether I'm out for a walk by myself or swimming alone in the pool, or lying in bed in the morning while Jim is out training and Lilly is still asleep, or passing time in the middle of the night when I'm finding it harder and harder to sleep, I think.  And wonder.  Lilly seems so grown up at moments and then so little to me at the same time.  Last night, Jim and I went in to check on Lilly before we went to bed, as we do every night.  And in that instance, she looked so tiny, and so perfect, in her bed.  We started hypothesizing about this new baby.  Do we even remember how to take care of a newborn?  What if this baby doesn't sleep?  Will this baby have hair?  Do you think we'll have another active baby or a baby that prefers sitting to running laps?  In a nutshell, how is this little baby going to compare to Lilly, the only baby we really know and love?  Even though we know that in a year, we'll look back on our life before this baby and be amazed that there were ever just three of us, and we know our love will increase exponentially once this baby is born, it's hard to imagine one year down the road right now.  It was just as impossible to imagine how Lilly would become such a central part of our lives before she was born two years ago.  We know that there are no two Lillys in this world!  So what is this baby going to be like?  No doubt, he or she will be unique, just as Lilly is.  Only time will tell...

I think that Lilly is starting to understand more and more what is going on.  She talks about the baby in my tummy all the time, although she still tells people that she's going to have "a brother named Lisa."  Whenever she tells anyone this, they always look at me with a confused face, like Lilly is speaking the truth.  Unless Lilly knows something that we don't, her prediction will probably not come true, but it's sweet that she arrived at this conclusion on her own.  Lilly comes up and gives my stomach kisses all the time.  She puts her one on my stomach and says she's sharing it with the baby (I'm sure she'll feel differently about sharing one when the baby is here!)  When I ask her to sit on the couch instead of the ground so we can put on her shoes, she responds by saying, "Because it's hard for you to bend over Mummy?  Because the baby in your tummy is so big?" She points to the box that contains her old crib packed away and tells us that it's a crib for the new baby because she's a big girl and sleeps in her "huuuuuuge bed."  Lilly loves my doctor's appointments--I'd even venture to say that she enjoys them more than I do.  And why not?  I go in and get shots and blood taken and she comes away with a roll full of princess stickers.  When we get home, she takes out her doctor's kit, takes my blood pressure and tells me that "it's good, Mummy," and then tells me to lie down so she can listen to the "baby's heart beep" which goes, "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh."  Whenever I tell her that we're going to the doctor, her eyes light up, she jumps up and down and yells, "hippeeeee" (Lilly says hippeee instead of yippee, and I corrected her once so she said yippee for a little while but went right back to hippee.  I've decided that I like hippee much better!)  Although I don't think she'll really understand what is going on until the baby comes home, she knows there's something different.  She snuggles with us a lot more and asks for more "huggies."  Both Jim and I are very happy to oblige.

One of our favorite Lilly expressions at the moment is, "Oh yes, of course not."  Somehow, she has confused two expressions (I'm not sure how or why, but confusing expressions does tend to run in our family.  Mum and I are both pretty good at mixing up idioms, and Joseph just wrote a blog about how Liana does the same maybe it's a girl thing?)  Anyway, I'll ask Lilly if she wants to help make dinner and she'll run into the kitchen yelling, "oh yes, of course not."  You only have to look at her to realize that she means, "of course!" but somehow, the "not" has just slipped in there.  Jim asked her last night if she wanted to go to bed so he could read her some books and again, we heard, "oh yes, of course not!"  We gave each other one of those looks--one of those smiles that says this is a priceless moment, and then Jim went in with Lil to read her books.      

Lilly's favorite afternoon pastime: "making Daddy a card."  It requires markers, crayons and stickers.  And a lot of concentration.

Steph and Austin's Wedding 8/11/11
32 weeks pregnant!

This is one of the necklaces I'm loving making at the moment :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weddings, Pregnancy and Toddlers

I haven't written for awhile.  I was sure that once summer arrived and I finished tutoring and teaching SAT classes that I would spend a lot more time on my blog, but over the past few months, I've actually written less than normal.  I'm not sure why.

It could be the weddings--so far this summer, Jim and I have been to five weddings, all of our really good friends from high school and college, with one more to go next week.  This means that we've found ourselves away for most weekends.  We come back just in time to unpack, get groceries for a few days, and then pack everything up again for a weekend away.  We've had a great time, but are definitely looking forward to a few quiet weekends to ourselves.

It could be the pregnancy.  I'm almost 32 weeks pregnant (in the picture to the right, I'm 28 weeks along, so have grown quite a bit since then!) which means that our little one will be arriving in about 8 weeks.  In the past few weeks, I've gone from feeling "cute and pregnant" to "huge and really pregnant."  I've said all along that my stomach is bigger this time, and Jim has agreed.  A few months ago (I was exactly 22 weeks pregnant, as I remember statements like this), Jim casually remarked to me that he was sure my stomach wasn't this big with Lilly until much closer to the end.  Jim is great like that.  He can say things that make the casual observer grimace in disbelief, but knowing him and some of the things that he comes out with, I knew he meant no harm.  And he quickly redeemed himself by making sure I was aware that only my stomach was bigger this time.  Words every pregnant woman wants to hear, whether they're true or not.  Dad has also contributed to my feeling of "hugeness".  While Mum and Dad were up in Lake Placid a few weeks ago, I asked them to be on the lookout for a Lake Placid sweatshirt to replace the one I got up there in 2007 when Dad and Joseph were racing.  Mine has seen better days.  After informing me that they couldn't find it, Dad followed up by telling me that there were ones that zipped all the way down, but he figured I wouldn't want one of those as it would be "like trying to zip up an overstuffed duffel bag" if I thought about wearing it in the upcoming weeks.  Nothing like having a supportive family by your side when you need them most.  But, today, my doctor confirmed that I am indeed "measuring bigger" this time.  When I was pregnant with Lilly, whenever she measured my stomach, I was always a week or two behind (I still don't understand how they have standard measurements that apply to everyone, but they seem to know what they're doing so I go with it.)  This time, I'm measuring a week ahead.  Not huge, but bigger.  It could level out in the next few weeks so we'll see what happens, but words like, "bigger, August, heat, humidity..." don't really go that nicely together.

It could be the extremely busy toddler who is more opinionated than ever, chattier than ever, and asks more questions than ever.  Unless Lilly is asleep, she is talking.  She talks right up until the second that she falls asleep.  As I'm sitting here writing this, Lilly is in bed for the night, talking and singing away.  As soon as the talking stops, you know she's asleep.  Imagine if adults did that!  Imagine if I got into bed and started singing songs at the top of my lungs before embarking on a stream of chatter that encompassed whatever thought was running through my head at the time.  That's exactly what Lilly does.  I don't know how much longer she will talk herself to sleep, but I hope it lasts for awhile.  It's so sweet and innocent, and Jim and I never get sick of listening to it.  A second ago, an ambulance went by, so Lilly is now saying, "eeeaaaawwwwww, eeeeeaaaaawwww...ambulance, Judy...Daisy, ambulance.  It's helping people who are sick."  The conversations with her stuffed animals and dolls are my favorite.  As far as opinions go, this was Lilly's pile of books for Jim to read to her last night.  How could he say no to that smile?

Last week, Lilly and I drove back down to DC with Mum and Dad, as they stopped in Connecticut on their way home from Lake Placid (where Dad finished his 10th big deal really.  I'm sure all two-year olds can say their grandfathers are competing in their 10th Ironman, with number 11 in the not very distant future).  I was thrilled at the prospect of being a passenger on the drive to DC instead of driving down by myself, as I usually drive down mid week with Lilly and then Jim takes the train down after work on Friday.  After driving for about 15 minutes (we'd gone two exits on 95), Dad just started shaking his head in disbelief.  It was a shake and a sigh that I remember so well from growing up, but this time, I was pleased that sigh was directed at my daughter instead of me.  Lilly had talked non stop for those 15 minutes, saying things like, "green means go, Papa," (as if Dad didn't know that a green light means go), "not this lane, Papa, move to that lane, " (repeating directions I was giving Dad),  "D for Daddy...I see a D for Daddy!" "Where are we?", "Who are you talking to, Papa?" "Who sings this song? What song is this? You have Hakuna Matata on your iPod, Papa?" get the point.  If the thought entered Lilly's head, she verbalized it, and Dad seemed to be the person she was directing most of her comments and questions towards.  Thankfully, on long drives, Lilly has her talking phases, her quiet phases (because her one is in her mouth), her sleeping phases, and once again, her talking phases.  On this trip, the talking phases outnumbered the others, but the first 15 minutes were definitely the chattiest.  

The past few months haven't been the most relaxing.  But, weddings and pregnancy aside, it's hard to have your typical relaxing days with a two-year old present.  We have, however, managed to work in some time at the pool, some quiet days here and there, and we've had a lot of fun catching up with family and friends that we don't often get the opportunity to see.  As the summer is winding down, I'm looking forward to some time at home before the fall, and with it the tutoring, begins again.  Oh, and we'll be having a baby in there too :)

Relaxing outside with her "yogurt ice cream"