Tuesday, September 27, 2011

39 weeks

For most people, 39 weeks has little significance.  After all, who counts anything in weeks?  People expecting babies...that's who.  Today marks one week until my due date.  And for the past 35 or so weeks, we've been counting down to this baby's arrival.  We wanted to put life in fast forward, especially during the middle weeks, when it seemed like this baby would never be here.  Now, we want to slow these last days down.  It's strange to have an idea of what's in store for the days ahead (just a little thing I like to call, labor) but to have absolutely no idea when it's going to happen.  Who knows?  Maybe this time I'll have some warning, but since I only have my experience with Lilly to go on, I'm expecting it to happen pretty suddenly.  At my doctor's appointment yesterday, she told me "I've still got time."  Famous last words.  I heard them on Lilly's due date at 3pm when we talked about inducing a week later, and was in labor later that night.  But in my head, even though I know there's the possibility that this baby may come early, I'm not expecting his or her arrival until Tuesday--my due date.

The unknown is one of the most amazing aspects of having a baby, which is why Jim and I love waiting until the baby is born to find out whether it's a boy or a girl.  Everything can be planned these days.  In many cases, giving birth is planned.  My doctor offered to induce me today, so that we could have more control over labor and slow things down a bit.  And as amazing as it would be to plan for a specific day, when given the choice, we're choosing to let this little one make his or her arrival when he or she is ready.

The days and nights leading up to the baby's arrival are very similar to the days and nights leading up to an Ironman.  As Dad said before Lilly was born, "you just don't know when the starting gun is going to go off."  Aside from having a baby, training and racing in an Ironman was the biggest challenge I've had in my life.  And, given that these races tend to dominate a big part of my family, it's natural that I compare the two, especially when talking to the boys in my family.  Last night, while I was out tutoring, my phone was more active than usual.  Edward called to check in and see how things are going.  We didn't get a chance to talk because he was at work by the time I finished tutoring.  Joseph left a message that only Joseph could leave, telling me that the fourth quarter was winding down and the only question that remained was if I was going to go into overtime or if there was going to be a 2 minute drill at the end.  Given my affinity (or lack thereof) for sports, I just shook my head and smiled.  When we were chatting later in the evening, Joseph kept telling me how excited he is, and said he obviously has no idea what I'm feeling like these days, and asked if it was like the lead up to an Ironman.  It most definitely is.

It's something we've been preparing for for months now.  We think we've done all we possibly can to be ready for this baby's arrival (well, except for choosing a name, which we still haven't done...)  I go through moments of being incredibly excited for the baby's arrival followed by moments when I'm nervous about how he or she is going to enter the world.  Just like the Ironman, there are times when I wish the hard part was over, and I had my medal (or in this case, our baby) in hand.  Jim has been giving me these funny looks over the past few days.  And doing a lot of staring.  He looks at me like I'm a ticking time bomb, which I guess in reality, I am.  When we woke up this morning, Jim told me he had about 6 different dreams last night that I was in labor.  And each time, he woke up, realized I was still asleep, breathed a sigh of relief, and started the dream all over again.  I can't imagine the feelings Jim experiences in these last few days and during labor.  While I'm not exactly in control of the situation, I'm the one who is physically experiencing having this baby, so I don't feel powerless.  I have moments where I question my desire for a natural birth and then I read some more, or call my good friend who is about to have her fourth child, and we talk about all the amazing things that come out of having a baby naturally.  I know that at the moment, Jim feels powerless.  As much as he wants to, he can't do anything for me, and that goes entirely against Jim's nature.  I understand that, which is why when I catch him giving me a funny look, or staring at my stomach like it's about to explode, I smile at him and give him an extra hug.  I tell him I'm going to be fine and that I can't wait for us to be parents again.  I would never be able to do any of this without him--he is just as important a part of labor as I am and having him by my side reassures me that everything is going to be okay.  Just as I had my best ever 2k erg test in crew when I knew Jim was behind me cheering, the same is true for having a baby.  Only this time, there's a little more support, a little less cheering, and at the end, we get a baby...not just a score.

I need an updated picture of my stomach, which I don't have yet.  But we'll take one before the baby is born so that I can look back in disbelief, just as I do at the pictures before Lilly's arrival.  I'm going to miss being pregnant, because I do love it.  But I'm at the point where I'm ready to feel like myself again.  I'm not really uncomfortable and I'm still sleeping well so I can't complain.  But I can't bend over easily to pick up toys.  I don't have a lap for Lilly to sit on when we read books.  I can't paint my toe nails.  Putting lotion on my legs is an athletic achievement.  I'm sick of people bumping into my stomach and strangers touching my stomach without asking.  I'm ready to stop going to the doctor every week and looking forward to having a beer or a glass of wine with dinner again.  That being said, Jim and I are enjoying every day leading up to this baby's arrival.  We're giving Lilly extra hugs, as she definitely senses that something is going on.  And we can't wait to have some exciting news to share in the days ahead!

Just testing out the baby's toys.  Revisiting her favorite bouncy chair and discovering that the papasan chair is rather comfortable, especially when the mirror is positioned so that she can see herself!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Look, I found it! There's Wisconsin!

A little bit less than a week ago, after two 16 hour car rides and an Ironman, Mum, Dad, Lilly and I all returned safely and soundly from Wisconsin.  As nice as it was to be away, Mum and Dad breathed a pretty loud sigh of relief to drop me off in Stamford, where I was no longer their responsibility should the baby arrive.  I too, was relieved to be home, although I didn't think this baby would arrive 3 weeks early.

It was a fantastic road trip--Lilly's first road trip over 6 hours--and I have to say that the drives there and back were some of my favorite parts of the week.  We took Dad's truck (even a week later, Lilly still asks to go for a ride in Papa's truck), and I was sprawled out in the back seat with pillows, blankets and my trusty backseat companion, Lilly.  Dad drove and Mum directed...and did quite a bit of knitting along the endless highways.  We split the drive up into two days each way, stopping to spend the night in Toledo, Ohio.  Or, as Lilly calls it, "Opio".  She now asks to go back to Opio frequently, although I really can't imagine why.  We spent our time there in a hotel, rest stops and on the highway.  Nothing that exciting, but apparently it stuck with her.  The drives were hysterical.  Between Dad's stories and hypothetical situations and Lilly's constant narration of the trip, there was little silence on the road.  Except when Lilly was sleeping.  And when Lilly slept, we all enjoyed the hours of silence.

We learned about the "Move Over America Law" when an Indiana State Trooper pulled us over and lectured us for a good half hour about the importance of the law, which apparently is a law in every state but Hawaii and DC.  Who knew?  He let Dad off with a warning.  I think it might have had something to do with the Australian accents, a woman knitting in the front seat, a 2 year old asking constant questions about the policeman and a pregnant woman in the back.  Dad made sure to follow the law closely for the rest of the drive and has educated everyone he has come into contact with since then about the law.  

Lilly perfected her ability to ask "Whyyyyyyyy?" in almost any situation.  She spent hours reading a variety of books, although her preference when given the choice was to read her princess book--a gift from the girls next door that is more popular than I could possibly have imagined.  In particular, Lilly became enamored with Tarzan, who for some reason, she calls "Johan".  I have no idea why, as she's perfectly capable of saying Tarzan.  She'll actually correct me when given the chance...something along the lines of, "No, Mummy, not Tarzan...Johan."  So, she became an expert on the story of Johan.  We had the same conversation about Tarzan about a dozen times.  It went like this:

Lilly:  Why is Johan nuny nuny Mummy?
Me:  Because he lives in the jungle.
Lilly:  Why does Johan live in the jungle?
Me:  I'm not sure why.  (I didn't want to tell her his parents were killed so he was raised by the apes).
Lilly:  Why is Johan wearing undies?
(after we all stopped laughing...every time...it never got less funny!)
Me:  Because everyone wears undies.
Lilly:  What is Johan saying?
Me:  (I made my best Tarzan noise, complete with chest pounding)
Lilly:  Whyyyyy?
Me: Because Tarzan is happy.
Lilly:  Whyyy?
Me:  Because he lives in the jungle with Jane and the monkeys.
Lilly:  He's nuny nuny Mummy?


You can see how we would go around and around in circles.  Sometimes Mum and Dad would chime in but eventually, the only way out was to change the subject...or stop for a bathroom break, which were very frequent indeed.  Lilly learned to go straight to the "big bathroom" (aka the handicapped stall), so we could both fit.  She learned to recognize the Dunkin Donuts logo and to ask for a pink donut with Halloween sprinkles, which she would eat off one by one, followed by the frosting, leaving only the bottom of the donut which she so kindly offered to Papa every time.

We listened to music, which Lilly expressed her opinions on.  She often asked who was singing.  While we were listening to Mozart, Lilly told Dad, "I no want to listen to Wolfgang, Papa.  I want to listen to Prince Ali."  Prince Ali, from Aladdin, is currently her favorite song.  She and Jim sing it together every night and Lilly knows more of the words than I do.  I hear her singing it to herself (rather loudly) before nap time most days.  While we put on the Disney playlist once in the car (at the end of our first day driving, when we'd been in the car for 11 hours), Lilly spent most of her time telling Dad what music of his she preferred.  When she didn't like something, we'd say, "If you don't like it, you don't have to listen to it," to which she responded, "okay" and sat there looking out the window.  Here is a snippet of Lilly singing Prince Ali in the car.  You have to know the song really well to understand anything other than "Prince Ali."  And I think Lilly takes after Jim.  She makes up the words when she doesn't know them!

Lilly is generally very good in the car on trips, but I had no idea how the 16 hour drive each way would go.  I have to say that this was one of those times when I was extremely proud of her.  There was no crying or whining.  She was happy to read, look out the window, have snacks, take naps, talk and talk and talk, and do it all over again.  She made the trip entertaining and fun for all of us.  We drove well past her bed time and ate at restaurants when it was way too late for her, but she was happy.  She slept on a toddler aero bed in our hotel room, and loved it.  We kept telling her we were going on an expedition to Wisconsin, and every time we got in the truck she was just as excited as the first.  Mum and Dad chatted and sang with her, and we all enjoyed the drives much more than we thought.

Here are some of the pictures I sent to Jim while we were on the road.  They're a pretty good recap of our time in the car.

Wearing Papa's hat

My lopsided (huge!) stomach.

Lilly's aero bed, next to my pull out couch bed, next to Mum and Dad's bed.  We were nice and cozy in Toledo, OH.

While the time in the car was memorable, the real reason for going all the way to Madison in the first place was for the Ironman.  While some of us spent two days in the car getting there, others flew in with about 4 hours of total travel time.  Mum, Dad, Lilly and I arrived in Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon.  Jim and Brogan flew in on Thursday morning, and Joseph and Liana flew in on Friday.  Similarly, they all flew out after the race, and we (well, really Dad and Jim) packed up the truck for the two day journey home.  There may have been a little bit of bitterness; when Jim mentioned that he had a crying two year old on the flight, Dad looked like he was about to punch him, and said he hoped that nothing awful happened, like running out of pretzels or something equally catastrophic.

When we arrived at the house, Lilly pointed to the house and said, "Look, I found it!  There's Wisconsin!"  And from then on, she referred to the house as Wisconsin.  Once again, like all the Ironman houses we've stayed at, this one had its quirks.  Describing them won't do them justice.  Mum and Dad's pictures and some of the ones from my phone will.   (I lost my camera charger so have NO pictures from this trip...)  It had a beautiful balcony and was right on a lake, so we all enjoyed the time there and spent the majority of it outside.  These are the lead up pictures to the race.

Lilly claimed this full size bed as hers.  Lucky Brogan, her roommate who is at least 6'3", slept in a twin bed.  Lilly was obsessed with Brogan and woke up in the morning, would walk over to his bed and ask him to read her princess book to her :)

Mum's personal favorite.  On our first night there, Mum was lying on the floor with tears pouring down her face because she was laughing so hard after discovering this!

Lilly and Gigi sitting on "the beach," as Lilly called it.  Lilly quickly learned that she was only allowed to go to "the beach" with a grownup.

Playing with her new buddy, Brogan, at the park.

"Brogan, why do you have a kangaroo (tattoo) on your leg?  I no have a kangaroo on my leg?"

There's something not quite right about this picture!

And I officially lost Jim to the world of triathlete fashion.  Shaved legs, compression socks and shorts.  I sent this picture to Ellie with a plea for help, as she is disgusted by the fashion, or lack thereof, at an Ironman.

Lilly and "Wiana," as she calls Liana, on an expedition because Liana is a grown up.

Gigi, Liana and Lilly, hanging out on "the beach"

Loved her morning bagel and cream cheese!

Off to test out their bikes

Helping get the transition bags ready.

And of course, the reason we were there...Race Day.

Joseph wrote about what it was like to race in Wisconsin here.  He also has some great blogs leading up to the race.  I loved reading about race day from Joseph's point of view.  In particular, his description of Mum on race day is perfect.  I read it a few times and every time, loved it more, because it describes Mum and all that she does so beautifully.  We spent the week missing Edward and Ellie.  It felt strange to have all the boys racing an Ironman and for Edward not to be there.  I know it was hard for Edward not to be there.  We talked to him daily and he wrote a letter to the athletes that made me cry (I've cried more in the past few weeks than usual, and I'm blaming it on the pregnancy!)  And Ellie is the most fun spectator to have with you during the long spectating day, so she was sorely missed on the course, by athletes and spectators alike.

As I said, the emotions for me on race day were running high.  Hearing the cannon go off. Mike Reilly's voice and U2's Beautiful Day playing, as the athletes started swimming made me burst into tears.  I thought of Jim out there with the other 2799 athletes.  I knew how much time he put into training for this race.  I thought of him fighting to find space to swim, getting kicked and punched until the field of athletes spreads out.  I heard this little voice next to me yelling, "Go Daddy!" over and over again.  Not only was I cheering for my husband, who I love more today than when we first started dating almost 11 years ago.  But I was cheering for a Dad, who along with my Dad is the best Dad I know.  And I couldn't help but cry.

These are the only videos I have from race day.  And they're ones that we'll keep forever.  I meant to get video of them all as they passed by, but it turned out that being nine months pregnant and looking after a toddler proved to be quite the job.  I couldn't manage the flip video as well.

I wish I had captured Lilly's face as she was cheering.  She thought the man in the kayak was Jim, so she wondered why he wasn't going anywhere!  Lilly was so excited to cheer and to "see" Jim out there.

Joseph's recap of the race sums up most of the day.  It was a tough race for everyone--especially Dad.  When I learned from Mum that she'd seen Dad come into T2 and that he could no longer keep any liquids or food down, I did what I do well these days and burst into tears.  It's one of those things that doesn't seem fair to me.  Dad loves this sport more than anyone I know.  He puts so much time and effort into his training and epitomizes everything great about triathlons.  He's raced them from the very beginning, and even as these Ironman races get more and more extravagant, Dad remembers what they're all about.  He doesn't set out to break records; he sets out to enjoy himself and have a great race.  So it doesn't seem fair that someone who loves the sport so much encounters insurmountable obstacles like this on race day.  Dad handled this as he handles all situations--with integrity, and with nothing but supportive family by his side.  I know there are many more races in Dad's future, and I'll be there cheering.  

While we were out on the course, Lilly and I met up with Butter, a good friend from BC who Lilly now talks about daily.  Butter spent the day on the course with us and I wouldn't have survived without him.  He played with Lilly, and we spent lots of time chatting while we waited for the athletes.  Butter kept checking to make sure that Lilly and I were both okay and just made the day more fun overall.  Sarah and Ross were out on the course too, and it was fun to see familiar faces and cheer with them on the bike course.  Lilly was thrilled to see her Aunt Ween, Ross and of course, Blue the dog.  Lilly and I took a cheering break in the middle of the day to go back to the house and rest, and then came back out onto the course to cheer during the run.  We saw everyone out there, and as it was a hot day, we got to chat with everyone racing as they came by.  They were more than happy to stop and catch up for a few minutes before starting the run again.  Lilly loved seeing Brogan, Dad and Jim out on the bike and run courses, but for some reason, she didn't react too well to Joef.  I think it may have been the spikey hair...or the the beard...or his entire outfit.  I'm not too sure.  Either way, she backed away from him and protected her apple until she was sure he was safely out of sight.

We saw Jim many times on the run course and were there when he finished, after what was a long, hot day of racing.  I couldn't have been prouder of Jim and what he accomplished out there on what I know was a difficult day.  Every time we saw him, he smiled, gave us both kisses, and went on his way.  He was in great spirits after he finished.  It meant a lot to me that Lilly see her Dad accomplish what he did that Sunday.  She's seen him come home from countless hours of training, and even though I don't think she'll remember Ironman Wisconsin, I'll always remember hearing her cheer for Jim at the start, and seeing her face light up every time she saw him on the course.  She even offered to share her smoothie with him on the run, and Lilly doesn't often share smoothies.  She loves her Dad, and I love my husband.  Jim made us both proud that day.  When it was all over, we gave him hugs and Lilly promptly fell asleep in her stroller.  We sat by the finish line until close to midnight while Jim and I chatted and laughed and he filled me in on the race day details that you only experience by being out on the course.  And so ended Ironman Wisconsin 2011.

Our amazing little spectator, proud of her dad and sleeping by the finish line.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Who knew that one word could slowly drive a person insane?  I've been waiting to write a blog dedicated to the word, why, for awhile now, and apparently the right time for this is at 6:30 on a Sunday morning, while Jim and Lilly are sound asleep and the baby is doing gymnastics and hiccuping in my stomach, thereby preventing me from joining them.

I've always heard about the dreaded "why" phase that children go through, and a few weeks ago, I was thinking about this phase and (wishfully) thought that we had skipped it.  I assumed that Lilly talks to too much to slow down and ask, why?  It was a short lived wish, and within days, Lilly (and as a result, Jim and I) were fully immersed in a world of "whys".  Jim thinks it's great!  He loves making up answers every time Lilly asks why we're going to the grocery store or why she can't read one more book before bed when they've already read 8 books or why the bathroom isn't the best place to built a fort out of pillows from our bed (see picture above) or why she can't have a popsicle for breakfast or why Jim works at "UPS" and not "RPS".  It's constant entertainment for him and Lilly just goes along with it.  I have learned that the goal of any successful why conversation ends with Lilly nodding her head and saying, "oh."  That means the whys, for the time being, have come to an end.

Sometimes we have simple why conversations, like the ones mentioned above.  Sometimes, they're a little bit more involved.  With all of the unusual things going on around us lately (earthquakes, hurricanes, stock market woes), we decided one evening to put on the news before dinner.  Lilly ran to claim her favorite seat on the couch, one chosen for its prime television watching position.  It doesn't matter what is on TV--Lilly becomes mesmerized.  Jim and I were wandering in and out of the living room, watching bits of the news while getting dinner ready, but Lilly didn't move.  Once we all sat down for dinner, the following conversation ensued.

Lilly:  Who's Qaddafi, Mummy?  (Jim and I looked at each other with a, "where is this going?" smile.)
Me:  He's not a very nice man.
Lilly:  Why?
Jim:  He ran a repressive regime so the Libyans don't like him.  (smug smile coming from Jim...)
Lilly:  (Who now turned to me with a confused look on her face...Lilly does not just drop a conversation)  Why is Qaddafi not a nice man Mummy?
Me:  He hurt people so lots of people don't like him.
Lilly:  Oh.  Did he hit them?  (again, Jim and I shared a smile as we saw the world through the eyes of a two year old)
Me:  Yes, and he did other things too.
Lilly:  Why?
Me:  I don't really know why. (that is often enough to put an end to a typical why conversation, but not this one).
Lilly:  Where's Qaddafi?
Jim:  He's hiding.
Lilly:  Why?
Jim:  (In an effort to avoid the whole, "the rebels are in the process of hunting him down and would like him dead" conversation, we circled back to the whole, 'he's not a very nice man" train of thought)  Because he was mean to people and he didn't have any more friends and so he went away.
Lilly:  Oh.  Did he hit them?
Jim:  Yes.
Lilly:  Why?

I don't remember what brought this conversation to an end.  It was probably changing the subject to talk about green popsicles--Lilly's favorite summer dessert.  And since that evening, Lilly will throw a, "Where's Qaddafi?" into a random conversation.  It just goes to show how absorbent little ones are, even when you think they're just watching and don't really understand.

There's no easy way to transition away from a conversation about a Libyan dictator, so I'm going to drop it and finish by saying, we have decided to go to Wisconsin!  It might be completely crazy, and on paper, I know it sounds crazy.  I'm due to have a baby one month from today (!) and technically could have that baby at any time.  But I feel great, my doctor said it was fine, and it will be so much fun to spend a week at a lake out in Wisconsin, cheering on people that I love as they race the Ironman out there.  It's Joseph's tenth Ironman, Dad's twelfth (I think!) and Jim's third.  As I have been here for all of Jim's training and know how much effort he has put forth preparing for this race, I am looking forward to cheering him on out there on race day.  We did our first Ironman together, and will always have a special Ironman bond.  If I can't be racing with Jim--and I most definitely cannot be out there at the moment--I certainly want to be there supporting him.  Lilly understands enough this time around to know that her dad has done a lot of training for this race.  Usually, she sees him as he comes back from a ride or a run and gets so excited, jumps up and down, runs over to him and stops short of giving Jim a hug saying, "You're all sweaty Daddy...you go and have a shower?"  I can't wait to see her out on the race course, and hear her words of advice for all the athletes, especially her dad.  

Mum and Dad are going to drive up here today and then on Tuesday, Mum, Dad, Lilly and I are going to embark on a 15 hour drive across the country, which I'm sure will be full of "why" conversations.  I can see Dad's face already. (Jim is noticeably absent from that list.  He is flying out on Thursday; a short, peaceful flight.  Seems a little unfair, doesn't it?)  Joseph and Liana are meeting us there.  I'm not sure why, but for some reason, I have a feeling that a certain Uncle Joef is going to absolutely love these why conversations.  As Dad said, between the drive over and the incessant questions from our little two-year old, race day might be the most relaxing time for those racing.  He told me they're all going to drag it out and see how close to the 17 hour cutoff they can all finish.  My response: Why?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Adventures at the Doctor's Office

I'm not a worrier.  At least, I try not to be, but it's really hard to always stay positive when there's a little person growing inside you, who depends on you for so much.  Well, today is one of those days where I breathed a big sigh of relief.  At my doctor's appointment two weeks ago, the doctor said that she thought the baby was breech--it's little butt was down where his or her head is supposed to be.  She just said it in passing, mentioned that it was no big deal because babies flip all the time, sometimes even during labor, and said we'd know for sure at my ultrasound today.  I tried to tell myself it wasn't a huge deal, and that worst case scenario, the baby refused to flip and I'd end up having a c-section.  At the end of the day, we'd still have a baby.  It wasn't my ideal situation, especially given the ridiculous number of surgeries my stomach has been through with hernias and my appendix, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.  Even after I told myself this, I worried.

I spent the past two weeks doing everything I could to get this baby to flip.  I talked to Mum, who gave me yoga to do and points to hold.  Mum had even found Youtube videos for me to watch!  I discovered that there are tons of websites out there with suggestions on how to get babies to flip.  My favorite one was http://spinningbabies.com/.  It's amazing all the things you can do.  Jim would just look at me and shake his head as I was crawling around the living room with Lilly, or doing handstands in the pool (which I can imagine was quite the sight, seeing that I'm rather rotund at the moment), or lying in any number of positions suggested to provide the baby with maximum room to move.  And then this morning, we found out that the baby is, as the ultrasound technician said, "head down, face down and ready to go!"  Granted, this baby moves a lot so could flip around but, once again following Mum's suggestions, I'm spending lots of time doing "squats, squats and more squats" to get this little one to stay down.  The ultrasound estimated the baby's current size as just over 6 lbs, which would make it a much bigger baby than Lil when he or she is born (closer to 9 lbs if they're right), but they overestimated for Lilly (who was 6 lbs, 13 oz one day past her due date) so I'm guessing they're overestimating this time too.

So, huge sigh of relief aside, I have to share our waiting room experience this morning.  Jim, Lilly and I were all at the doctor, and spent quite a bit of time in the waiting room between the ultrasound and seeing the doctor.  In that time, all the nurses came out to say hi to Lilly.  She even went back into their offices with them (without so much as a glance back at Jim and me) to go and get stickers.  Once again, she came out with a huge bag of them...everything from Mickey Mouse, to Hannah Montana, to Tinkerbell and this time, she even got some Batman stickers.  She was chatting away in the waiting room and was thrilled to discover a fly that had been trying to escape for sometime and seemed to be giving up on life, which meant that it wasn't going anywhere.  She sat there watching this fly, and called Jim over every few minutes so that he too could experience the fly.  The other people in the waiting room were smiling and laughing, and eventually, started talking to her as well.  As Jim and Lilly were sitting on the floor watching the fly, the following conversation took place with the lady next to them.

Lady:  (to Jim) She's absolutely adorable!
Lilly:  Thanks.
Lady:  What's your name?
Lilly:  Wiwwy.  What's your name?  (Lilly asks everyone what their names are now...it's only natural seeing as how everyone asks her what her name is.)
Lady:  I'm Holly.
Lilly:  Oh.  This is Jim. (pointing to Jim).  Everyone in the waiting room started laughing.  Jim later told me that nothing makes him feel less like a dad than his two year old daughter calling him Jim.  He definitely felt like "the boyfriend" here.
Holly:  Is Jim your Dad?  (said with a huge smile on her face)
Lilly: Oh, yeah.
Holly:  What's your mom's name?
Lilly:  Oh. That's A-maya (close!  Amelia's a tricky one to say).
Holly:  How old are you Lilly?
Lilly:  I'm TWO (trying to hold up two fingers...sometimes it's one, sometimes it's four. You never know)
Holly: Wow!  You're two!  When's your birthday?
Lilly:  April (WHAT?!?! Jim and I were floored.  We had no idea that she knows her birthday is in April.)
Holly:  When's Jim's birthday?
Lilly:  Ummm.  On Friday.  (We explained to Holly that Jim's birthday is in fact in March.  When Lilly's not sure when something is, she makes up a day!)

Lilly proceeded to show everyone her stickers and was definitely the morning's entertainment.  She has gone from not wanting to say hi to anyone when we're out to having conversations with everyone, which means that I'm meeting a lot of people while we're out these days.  She started talking to the lady in line in front of us at the deli today, who I subsequently learned still doesn't have power after the hurricane and is living on her boat for the week.  All these things I'd never know about the people around me if I didn't have Lilly by my side.

Anyway, after being in the waiting room, she came back to see the doctor when I was called, got more stickers, a cupcake from one of the nurses, and left with a cup of water from the cooler (which may as well be magical water to her, probably because she gets to pull the lever and pour it herself).

For me, this morning would have just been a doctor's appointment.  Seeing the morning through Lilly's eyes, it became so much more.  For her, this morning was an adventure.  Maybe even an expedition, although those usually involve heffalumps.

Now that I have the all clear from my doctor, do I go to Wisconsin for the Ironman or stay back in Stamford with Lilly?  As Mum and Dad's plans depend on my decision, it's got to be made soon.  I'll talk it over with Lilly and see what she thinks.

Here's our little character at breakfast yesterday, after "getting dressed" which involved changing from short sleeved pajamas into long sleeved ones, with Jim's help of course, thus creating even more work for me once he headed off to work...

Very proud of her newly discovered ability to display "hook em horns".  Papa taught her how to do this when she was in DC last, and she's been practicing.  When she gets it by herself, she's pretty excited.  Wait until her uncles see this :)  I think a trip to Texas should happen in the not too distant future.