Let the Countdown Begin – But Start At 5, Not 10

Child #2 is due to arrive in less than a week.  And by “due” I do not mean the natural clock within my maternal awesomeness that decides when she is ready to make her appearance (which would probably keep her in forever without medical intervention because that’s what it did with Buggy and wouldn’t it be the same for this one too – broken).  By “due” I mean my doctor has taken it upon herself to do all of the hard work and deliver my second child in the same O.R. where the first was born.

Public school Spring Break is in 2 weeks, which happens to also be when my natural due date fell.  But with some scheduling issues and recalculating of due dates I am a tad farther along than first suspected.  At my weekly appointment on Monday it was decided that my scheduled c-section would be bumped up an entire 6 days.

Hence, “start the countdown at 5, not 10”.  Even though it’s only a week sooner, it feels like it jumped up a month.  The reality of how soon we will be parents to two children came and smacked us in the face.

We are ready.  We have been ready.  Aside from last week’s laundry still unfolded in baskets, upstairs carpet that hasn’t been vacuumed in 3 weeks, and pine cones still up on my mantle (the first day of Spring was last week and as far as Virginia weather is concerned it’s been Spring since Christmas, the pine cones should never have been out), we are ready.

I am not a hormonal person by nature.  I do not go crazy during my monthly cycle.  I did not go crazy during this or the first pregnancy (thank goodness for me and especially for Hubby).  But I find myself a tad more emotional than usual these past weeks.

I feel excitement to meet my daughter, to feel those first tugs on heartstrings when I finally hold her in my arms, the wonder of who she will be throughout her life.  To see Buggy become a big brother and care for his little sister in a way that only a brother can (I am really hoping for the care part but expecting a good portion of the “I hate her take her back” part).

I feel relief that my body will soon no longer be pregnant.  I know it is a blessing and a privilege to be able to grow my own child, rather effortlessly, but it’s still taxing and tolling.  I hear all the time “women’s bodies are amazingly built to be pregnant” but really I don’t think they are or I wouldn’t have aches, pains, sleepless nights, and have to wear support socks in 80 degree weather.

I also feel sadness.  Sadness for Buggy.  Sadness that for a large amount of time, if not forever, he will lose a lot of the attention I dote on him constantly.  He will have to share his parents, share his grandparents, share his home, share our hearts.  I know it will all work out – I’ve seen it happen a dozen times with friends and family.  But you still wonder how you’ll balance all the love and attention so they both feel it 100%.

I’m a little scared.  I know what a c-section is like.  I know what the recovery is like.  It wasn’t horrible for me but it also wasn’t easy.  While I’m an optimistic person, I know the risks and occasionally they creep up to remind me to count my blessings and thank and ask God for strength, health, and life.  I’m also a bit scared about learning to manage 2 children – one being a newborn.  That fear is for another post!

Mostly I’m happy and ready.  And if happy is the feeling that overwhelms me the most then I think I’m in the right boat.

Ready and waiting...

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Party of the Year

They are awesome people.  They are kind.  They are generous.  They are intelligent.  They are caring.  They are playful.  They are serious.  They are loving.  They are the parents that raised three kids to love and cherish family, friends, America, and God.  They are my parents.

In October of last year, I realized my parents would be celebrating some pretty momentous occasions in 2012 and we would need to celebrate.  Celebrate more than the funny cards and homemade dessert at Sunday dinner; how we normally do things.  I rallied the troops (my sister and brother) and we started plotting February 25, 2012.

In March 2012 my father will celebrate his 70th birthday.  It’s crazy to me that he is 70.  He doesn’t act or look 70.  But he has the wisdom and insight as if he’s lived 1,000 years.

In May 2012 my mother and father will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  That is something most certainly to be honored.  And I know my sister, brother, and I strive to achieve that same anniversary for our marriages one day.

My mother made her own dress (stunning). My father picked his own tux (interesting).

To top it all off, my mother FINALLY decided to retire from Occupational Therapy in the public schools (this has been an ongoing persuasion conversation in our family for the past 3 years).  I’m ashamed to say I don’t know how long she has worked.  I know she got her Masters in Occupational Therapy the day she married my father (“I got my M.S. and my Mrs. on the same day” she always jokes)- so technically she’s retiring from 40 years of being an OT.  This week will be her last of work.  She has helped so many children in her years of work.

My mother in her college days.

Yes, this party needed to be BIG!

Months of planning and preparation, a crazy week of cleaning, cooking, rearranging, and decorating all culminated in one of the best nights in our family’s life.

60 of our parents’ family (near and far) and friends (church, work, gym – silver and gold) gathered at my house half an hour before the impending arrival.  I used the ruse of celebrating Cambodian New Year early (due to Baby #2’s arrival preventing us from celebrating in April) to lure them to our house for dinner at 7.  In order to keep them from coming early to play with Buggy, my brother “rode” with them and happened to show up late enough that they wouldn’t get to my house until 7.  We are geniuses I tell you.

They had absolutely, positively, NO IDEA!  They opened the door and all 60 of us yelled “SURPRISE!”  They certainly were.

SURPRISE!!!

There were numerous ways we honored them that night – not just the number of guests and the surprise aspect.

My brother and I carried out a recon mission a few weeks prior to the party where we scoured our parents’ house while they were away.  All 3 of us collected from ourselves and borrowed from our friends and coworkers.  We collected photos and mementos from their lives to display on “celebration tables”, as we called them.  My father’s sister sent pictures and an album she made.  We showcased each celebrated event with a table full of memories and honor.

40th Anniversary

Pictures, their wedding album, the ring pillow Mom made for my wedding out of her own wedding dress, their wedding announcement from the newspaper, and other mementos.

Mom's Retirement

Pictures of my mother, OT handbooks and textbooks, lots of OT “toys”, my mother’s Masters thesis.

Dad's 70th Birthday

Pictures of my father over the years, his report card and high school diploma, Texas Tech calendar, cowboy boots, Lions Club award, family photos.

My dad's yearly Christmas party pants from the past 25+ years.

The pants just had to come with us.  Aren’t they awesome?

Along with LOTS of food (as in more than we needed), there was a gorgeous and delicious cake made by a talented friend, Cakes by Amy.

We gave a champagne toast.  My brother did a wonderful job!  My sister and I blanked so we just smiled and cut the cake.

Great toast brother!

Way to stand there and smile Me and Sister!

The happy couple!

Most important were the “gifts”.  We asked guests to gift a moment, memory, or congratulatory thought to my parents in a card.  A basket in the foyer almost filled to the brim with well wishes, blessings, and memories for my parents.  Friends and family unable to join us are mailing their cards as we speak.  I know they will cherish these cards for years to come.

My super talented brother put together an amazing slideshow of scanned and digital photos that was set to music.  It played all night for everyone to view and enjoy.  He also made our own gifts to our parents (other than the party itself).  A picture map of their beginnings (Pennsylvania and Texas) and where they have called home for more than 40 years (Virginia) – which I shamefully do not have a picture of.  But greatest of all, he put together a beautiful collage for their 40th anniversary of wedding and family photo album pictures.  It is stunning.

The AMAZING "40" collage.

I couldn’t have imagined this party going any better than it actually did.  Our parents were stunned and amazed, the guests were stunned and amazed, the party planners were stunned and amazed.  It was a magical night and I can’t think of any better way to honor two of the most important people in my life.  I love you mom and dad.

For those that couldn’t join us, I hope this gives you a glimpse into the night.  Thanks to everyone who has played a part in helping to honor Mom and Dad.  Special thanks to Hubby for being such an excellent photographer to capture the night.

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My Husband’s A Genius!

My hubby is awesome for many reasons.  He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s good looking, he’s kind, he cooks, he cleans, he is 200% involved in raising Buggy… just to name a few.

He works for VCU and gets deals on basketball tickets. SCORE!

Recently his smarts increased my love for him yet again.

Over the Christmas holiday, we entered a world of change – purposefully mind you.  Maybe a bit crazily.  We transitioned Buggy to a regular bed in a new room and entered the world of toddler potty training – in anticipation of our April addition to the family.

I’m not here to bore you with the often disgusting details of potty training.  Maybe another time.

Hubby’s genius was made known in the “big boy” bedroom transition.

The bed, sheets, other furniture was set up for a few weeks before the move.  We spent time in there, playing, as I slowly added the decor and final touches.  Then Buggy was moved in.  We expected some struggles – mostly that he’d stay up forever playing and reading books – but overall expecting a decently smooth transition.  We did not expect the screaming and crying.

For the first few nights, we spent 7-10 pm going up and down the stairs to calm Buggy, leave, let him cry for a bit, go back to calm, and so on and so on.  Until he was so exhausted he finally fell asleep, as did we, occasionally in Buggy’s bed.

One night while reading books, he kept telling us “Can’t leave.  Can’t leave.”  I decided to engage this conversation (as previous attempts to ignore were not helping) and see if I could find out the reasons for his trepidations – not expecting any big revelations.  The conversation occurred as such…

Me: “Why do you cry when we leave?”

Buggy: “I cry ‘Mommy’.”

Me: “I know, why do you cry ‘Mommy’?”

Buggy: “I cry ‘Mommy’.  I scared.”

Me: “Why are you scared?  What are you scared of?”

Buggy: “Too dark.”

Well there you go.  In the comfort and safety of his former room and crib, Buggy barely had a nightlight.  Never seemed to bother him.  We had that light along with another a bit brighter in the new room.  We thought that was sufficient.

This thing.

And this thing.

Oh how wrong we were.  Obviously not enough light per the conversation with the 2 1/2 year old.  I was at a loss.  The light on the ceiling fan was way too bright.  But it was bed time and too late to buy another light for tonight.  Crap.

Enter Hubby.  He grabs the tiny dresser lamp from the old nursery – the one with the 25 watt bulb.  He goes into my craft area (don’t get too excited – craft area = piles of bags and boxes in the guest bedroom closet) and grabs some leftover fabric from the Super Grover costume I made for Halloween.

Enter dimmed night light – bright enough for Buggy to feel safe, not too bright to keep him awake.

He assures me it won't catch on fire. It hasn't yet.

Buggy went to bed very easily that night, and the following few nights.  But he was awake at 5:30 am the next few mornings.  Not cool.  Even after Hubby went out and bought a dimmer socket to make the 25 watt bulb even dimmer in the night light (2nd stroke of genius).

I had a moment of clarity and wondered if maybe the light was waking him up in the morning?  Maybe we needed to open his door, sneak in the room, and turn the light off when we went to bed?  The squeaky door hinges got a spraying of non-stick cooking spray (see, I can be smart too).  The next morning, no one was awake before 6:30.

Don’t worry, that’s not it for Hubby’s genius (I’m sure you were feeling a bit underwhelmed).  Not liking the idea of having to open the door each night, having the light’s cord stretch open in the room to the outlet that worked by the switch, Hubby came up with a third part of the plan.

While at Lowe’s the day after Christmas, Hubby picked up the remote Christmas light power outlets.  They were for next year’s lights, to avoid bending, stretching, and groaning to turn the tree on and off for a month.  But he knew they would work for our situation.

Currently, and possibly forever, Buggy’s super dimmed, furry blue night light is connected to a power outlet controlled by remote.

The box thing in the plug is part of the magic.

When we go to bed, a simple click of the remote from the hallway turns off the night light.

Oooh baby! Love the remote!

Pure absolute GENIUS!  Told you he was a smarty-pants.

(On a side note, check out my wrinkly old lady hands.  It’s a mixture of pregnancy hand swelling and horribly chapped, dry hands from washing constantly due to a pottying toddler, attempting to avoid winter illness, and washing dishes 3-6 times per day.  I need lotion – STAT!)

 

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Applying Church to Life – Toddler Style

Buggy has been in a constant state of singing lately.  If not talking or eating, we often hear…

Bum ba bum ba bum bum, ba ba bum ba bum (to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Itsy Bitsy Spider is sung quite frequently.

We also hear parts of Jesus Loves Me and an almost gibberish version of This Old Man.

My favorite part about this singing – he’s applying a particular line of Jesus Loves Me to real life situations – and it strangely works (not theologically of course), whether he means to or not.

Example 1: While climbing the stairs for bedtime, he is fascinated with how high up the banister is above him as he crawls.  He tells me

It too high up.  I can’t reach it.  I too little.  I can’t reach it for the Bible tell me so.

Example 2:  After stuffing his face full of cookies he made with his cousin, aunt, and Nana, he proclaims

I NEED MORE COOKIES!  For the Bible tell me so!

Not sure if I should be proud or worried at how strong the Bible’s influence is on his life at this point in time.

Either way, it’s absolutely adorable and we are cracking up.

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The “Merry Christmas” Photoshoot

It ends like this…

Merry Christmas from the Keos

But there is always quite a process to get to that end point.  Of course, it’s never the last photo.  It’s one somewhere in the middle of a hectic photoshoot that makes it on the yearly Christmas card.

Luckily for us, Hubby’s brother has delved into the world of professional-like photography (I add the -like because he’s not a professional by any means but he has the fancy lights, the fancy camera, and tries all the fancy techniques).

Unluckily for us, Buggy prefers to be on the side of the camera where you take pictures, not where you are in them.  This photoshoot started at 6:30 and lasted until 7:10 (Buggy’s normal bath and bed time – I know we are crazy).  The bottom string of lights on our tree went kapoot as my brother-in-law was setting everything up.  Hence the seated shots in front of the tree, with presents blocking the other dark, unhappy spots on the tree.

Here’s a few scenes to truly enlighten those of you that have yet to try and take a family photo with a toddler.

I'm running away!

I'm going to run away again!

I'm making a weird face and Mommy's hair is covering hers.

I want my close up. Or really just touch the camera.

Buggy got in on the photography action.  I’d say most of the pictures taken (not the ones above) were by him.  It was really cute, even if it drew out the process longer than necessary.

“Ready take pictures?  Close you eyes.  OK.”

Truly a pro

He mostly snapped off blurry photos of the Christmas tree and me sitting in front of it (I’m 5 months pregnant, I didn’t move from  my photo spot the entire time).  But there were a few to consider for a frame… except that our heads were almost cut off.

Buggy's best work

Can’t wait until next year when there will be 2 kiddos to wrangle.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends!

 

 

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