Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And Added to the Lineup -- Whitney Elizabeth Parker

My dear Whitney, here is your first letter from your tired mother.  Please know that when you're eating and you look up at me with those intensely gorgeous eyes, I don't always look like a haggard shrew who smells like Cheetos and b.o.  Before you were born, I actually showered every day and did my hair and bothered to wipe yesterday's mascara out of the corners of my eyes.

 1 Month!!!
So now that we've cleared things up...let's talk about your birth story.

Your brother came fast and furious and was two weeks early.  So, I was told by my doctor that you, too, would probably be about 2 - 4 weeks early and I should be prepared.  Fast forward to week 39, when I still had no inclination that you would be arriving any time soon.  At my 39 week appointment, my doctor basically said, "Welp, no contractions, we'll see you next week."  Later that day my former mid-wife had me come in to see if I had progressed at all (b/c mommy's doctor, much to her chagrin, would not check her).  On Friday (exactly 39 weeks), I was dilated 4 cms and 50% effaced -- terms I'm still not 100% sure about, but it meant you should be coming soon.  But, alas, I felt nothing...no contractions.

Monday, October 17, I woke up with a slight pang that I thought might be a contraction.  But then, nothing for the next several hours.  Your brother and I went grocery shopping, picked up some pumpkins, and went about our day per usual.  I would feel mild contractions sporadically, but nothing ever consistent and nothing that I had to breathe through (which I guess means you're near going into labor).

That night, I started to feel really uncomfortable, like you were sitting funny.  I got into bed around 11:30 and just did not feel right.  Around 11:45, I looked at your dad and said, "Imma having this baby tonight, pa."  5 minutes later you kicked really hard and my water broke. Well, broke is an understatement...my water, ahem, exploded and flood warnings were issued.  I immediately began having hard...HARD contractions.  My friend, Jen, hurried over to stay with your brother and your father broke the sound barrier racing me to the hospital.  Fun little anecdote: whilst driving to the hospital at midnight, I felt the urge to push...it's true.  So your father put the petal to the medal and bounced like the devil (shout out, Hova).  He tried to get around someone on the two lane road on which we were driving.  The other car took this as a drag racing challenge and immediately went into db mode and began to race us.  I was this close to sticking my head out the window and shouting something pleasant.  But please, who's going to beat the Grand Marquis?  The geriatric-mobile totally beat that jerkface.

We got to the hospital and they wheeled me up to L&D.  I love when you get to L&D, writhing in pain,  leaking amniotic fluid and tell them you're in labor and they say, "Are you sure?"  I'm sorry.  Nope, I must be peeing myself for the last 20 minutes...without stopping.  And this pain, must be indigestion in my lady parts.  Silly fajitas for dinner.  YES, I.AM.IN.LABOR.  So they wheeled me into the birthing room, stripped me down, got me in bed and told me to fight the urge to push as the doctor was not there yet.  Oh...okay.  Just stop trying to push.  Done.  While we're at it, why don't I stop breathing and digesting my food.

Finally, they knew they couldn't hold you back any longer.  Doctor or not, they were doing to deliver you.  At this point, as I was experiencing a very al-fresco situation, your grandma walked in.  The look of "holy crap" on her face said it all...you was a-coming.  My doctor walked in like 10 seconds later.  I pushed once and immediately felt a fiery pain unlike nothing else.  One more time, and there you were.  At 1:02 a.m. there was my sweet girl, screaming your head off.  So, just in case you haven't been keeping track, you were born in one hour.  ONE HOUR.  Thank you.  You are very efficient.

They immediately put you on my chest and my heart was yours.  You were the most beautiful, goop covered little thing.  I cannot describe in words that moment when you meet your child for the first time.  It's beyond anything I have and will ever experience.  It is the most amazing gift the Lord can give a mother. 

You were 7 lbs exactly and 20 inches and had a head full of dark hair.

I stayed in the hospital two nights, even though they told me I could go after the first night.  A.) Our insurance paid for two nights, so I was taking advantage of that and B.) I wanted that time where it was just you and me, and the occasional nurse who made sure my uterus was de-stretching.

This last month with you, while tiring, has been phenomenal.  You have your occasional bouts of gasiness (due in large part to the pizza I ate the previous day...why did it have to be pizza that causes your gas? WHY??).  But you are a champion breast feeder and pretty much low key.
I just want you to know how in love with you I am.  After having Eli, I didn't think I could love someone as much as I loved him.  My mom would tell me, after I would mention to her that my brother was the favorite child, that as a mom, you love your children equally.  One child does not hold claim to more of the affection.  So true, mom, so true.  It's incredible how wonderful it is to experience this much love.

And even when you're wide awake at two in the morning with no signs of packing it in for the night, I will just stare at you in awe.  You are a beautiful creation and I will love you beyond forever, my sweet Scout.

No Squirrels, Mama: Eli 31-33 Months

Let's start this by saying 2 has been very...VERY challenging, and I'm hoping we've reached the apex of terrible twoness.  That being said, I completely understand your frustrated spirit manifested in your "paranormal activity" behavior.  This year has been hard on you...too many changes.  Sometimes, I want to throw things and tell people "no" in the most blood boiling way.  So here's to hoping.  Dear 3, please come in like a lamb.  Here are some highlights from the last three months, my dear Eli.

When I was little, according to grandma (although I do have vague recollections of a scary clown and a terrifying man dressed up like a gorilla), I was scared of pretty much everything.  These things included, but were not limited to: black cats, men with beards, lawn mowers, the beeping sound forklifts or tractors made, clowns, and the Fonz (who took on the the antagonist role in my nightmares).  So, it should come as no surprise to me that you, my son, who shares my genetic make-up, would also be a little high strung (I'm being very generous with the word "little").  You would also think that I would be sensitive to your plight, as it is something I've experienced; but, I find myself getting frustrated that we can't play outside without you needing a Xanax at the sight of a squirrel or that the sight of our church sends you into a catatonic state or that the waiters bursting out in a happy birthday song at Applebee's necessitates us to take you out of the restaurant until the absurdity is over.  I'm convinced that you still have nightmares about trick-or-treating from this year.  Just so I can remember this, Halloween was spent with you holed up in your sister's room shouting "NO MORE TRICK OR TREATERS!!" every now and then, me answering the door while trying to breast feed your sister and sweating like a large, hairy man in June. I'm sorry.  I guess I'm frustrated that you don't feel safe and there's little to nothing I can do to help you.  I feel powerless against your fears.  I don't think that you being afraid is silly -- it's a very real emotion for you, and I understand that.  I just wish I understood how to make you feel safe and why these things scare you.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout these past months: uncertainty.  You, my friend, like to test your boundaries.  And I, like the new guy on border patrol, am uncertain what's okay to let pass and what needs a blow dart to stop it in its tracks (I, of course, speak metaphorically...I have not used a blow dart on you) (also, isn't that a horrible analogy?  I mean I'm averaging 5 hours of sleep a night, so...just...okay?).  Right now, when you tell us "no" or hit or scream or throw your toys or object to watching Jeopardy, sending you to your room seems to do the trick.  You haven't seemed to realize that your toys are in there, just that we're not and you hate it.

But there have been many blood-pressure raising moments in stores, restaurants, parks, basically out and about.  I can't send you to your room.  And I know people have told me, "Just leave the store."  But when I have a cart full of food or Target goodies, I am not going to do that, so leave me alone perfect parents.  I will endure the 20 something female giving me a dirty look as you scream in the shopping cart. (You're welcome, 20 something, for your birth control for the day).  You've almost become this equation I need to solve.  How can I get X (my son) to travel through/endure Y (the store, the restaurant, my dr.'s appt) without wanting to Z (scream into a pillow)?  I've discovered that time and food play a major part in the equation, as does my stress level.  But there are so many unknown factors, like wind speed, air pressure, whether or not that stranger looked at you funny, were there squirrels in your general vicinity? You know...things beyond my control.

So, I'm sorry if you feel frustrated with my frustration/uncertainty.  It's been a rough year for you, and you've had to accept a lot of changes.  However, you can't use that excuse every day...you've reached your quota, my friend.  Please know that when that little vein in my forehead becomes glaringly apparent or I raise my voice or I insult Bob the Builder, it doesn't mean I don't think you're still incredible.  I will always think you're a wonderful little boy who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, not even Coldplay tickets.  And I hope you never doubt I love you and think that you are smart and talented and overall amazing. 

Moving on to something not so uncertain; let's talk about you talking.  I, admittedly, was a little worried about your speech development.  I felt you should be saying more and talking more.  People assured me you were fine, but I worried.  Should I get you into speech therapy?  I didn't want you to feel like I dropped the ball in this area.  But as soon as we adiosed that pacifier, the words, they don't stop.  The other day you walked into the living room after a particularly messy toy day and said, "Mama mia, look at this mess."  Your dad just looked at me as if to say, "Where has he heard that?"  You love to sing, you love to talk ALL THE TIME.  A car ride does not go by without you narrating everything that passes by or comes into your brain.  I'll never miss a red light because you let me know when they're occurring. I love hearing you talk.  You have so many wonderful (and some not-so wonderful...ahem...let's say bye-bye to the word "no") things to say, and I'm glad you are so excited to share your thoughts, observations, whims.  You're amazing to me.

Favorite things you say right now (this is for me for when my memory is shot due to all the Twilight I watch): when we don't quite understand something you're asking for and then we finally get it, you'll say "oh, that's what I'm talking about"; when you think something is great, "oh, mama, that is just beautiful"; "mama mia"; "oh, it's perfect" when we do something for which you're pleased.  You're it, kid.

you and your cousins

Finally, we welcomed "baby sister" a month a go.  It's heartwarming to see you with her.  You are quite the protective older brother.  If someone other than me or your dad is holding her, you become very concerned and make your discomfort known.  The other night, your dad took down her pack and play b/c we bought something else for her to sleep in during her wee months, and you broke down.  "No, daddy...NOOO!!  I want to keep her...I love her!" You thought we were 86ing your sister. Break.my.heart.

It has been a challenge to keep both of you happy, and I'm sorry if you have felt neglected, because, my precious boy, for you to feel anything other than completely wanted and loved makes my heart hurt.  You are beyond the most wonderful creation.  I cherish everything about you, even when you throw my phone across the room.  Now go to your room.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This Weekend...

Can I be honest? While I do enjoy warmer temperatures, I am an annoying creature of habit.  When the calendar says it's October, I expect temps in the 50s and 60s -- perfect for hot cider, long sleeves without coats, and Joni Mitchell.  Also, my summer maternity clothes are not fitting over the belly right now, which makes for some awkward outings.  I would prefer it if I could wear my colder weather maternity clothes that I had with Eli to cover said expansive belly.  I know I'm in the small, small minority.  Aaaand, yes, I know that when it is negative 50 and snowing in April I will curse myself for wishing the warm weather away, but these are not the seasonal temps to which I am accustomed and it's making my brain fuzzy.  I was telling Ben my thoughts on this last night, and he just rolled his eyes and said, "How could you not enjoy 80 degrees in October?"  Well, I don't...okay...so just...okay?

Anyway, this weekend, we took Eli to a train extravaganza at the Jackson train depot.  It's called the "Heritage Tour", and I guess this train, which is a museum inside, is traveling across the U.S. and stopping at several depots to commemorate Amtrak's 75 years.  Just so happened that it stopped in Jackson, MI this weekend.  That's right...our proud little depot, which sits across from famous Jackson watering holes Coney Island and Potter's Gentleman's Club was chosen as a stop for this traveling museum.  Aaaand since it was 80 degrees out and Eli has a slight obsession with trains, we thought, hey let's mosey on down. 

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned lately, but I'm very pregnant right now...very pregnant and uncomfortable...very pregnant, uncomfortable, and awkward behind the wheel of a car.  So, I'm trying to find a parking spot at this train-a-palooza.  I drove into a parking lot by the station and it was full, so I decided to back 'er up and continue my search.  So, I pulled behind a car to get ready to back 'er up, and then I apparently blacked out.  Okay, not really...but my 16 year old self took over behind the wheel and hit the gas when she should have hit the brake and hit the car in front of me...the parked car.  Stupid 16 year old me. I honestly don't know what happened.  I pulled behind the car, baby kicked suuuuper hard or elbowed or pile-drived my kidney or whatever, and I was temporarily insufficient to handle heavy machinery, and I hit a car.  I HIT A CAR!  Okay, so I was going 2 miles an hour and no one was hurt or strained or driven to labor by brief moment of 16 year-oldness, but I did put a dent in the bumper of the car, oh and ours, too.  Baaahhh...I hate my stupid self.  So, after I determine that I, in fact, did not just give birth and that everyone is okay (including my poor father, who was in the car, too, and who I'm sure had Nam-like flashbacks to when he was teaching me how to drive), I consulted with my attorney (my dad),  called the police to see if they had to come out (which they didn't because it's private property), took pics of the debacle, wrote my info down and stuck a note on the impaled car's windshield praying that the owner of the car is a rational person who will not make me cry for hitting his/her car.  I have yet to receive a phone call from said vehicle owner. 

So during this whole scene, my child was perfectly calm and serene.  He even offered to give me a back rub.  Oh wait, that's right, he was hysterical.  One moment screaming for "GAMPA...GAMPAAAA!!"  the next "CLOSE THE DOOOOOR!!!  MAMA, CLOSE THE DOORRRR!"  the next "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO" the next "GET ME A DRINK!!"  Just kidding on the last one, but he did need some sort of sedation to help him through this crisis which will forever leave a black mark on his fragile psyche. 

Then, as if he could hear my panic attack coming, my dear husband called.  You know when you're sick or had a bad day or hit a parked car and you hear that one person's voice who can stir the deluge of emotion just kind of hanging out there and then you burst into tears?  For me, it's my mom and Ben.  So, Ben calls to tell me he's coming down to the train station on his break to see us and I tear up and tell him that I'm an unfit mother whose keys should be taken from her.  I honestly felt like a crack mother who took a joy ride with her child...I felt AWFUL...for the rest of my life.  Ben's response was perfect.  He wasn't mad, he wasn't chastising...he was understanding and gracious and lovely.  I love that guy.

So, we found a parking spot in the middle of a field away from any other cars (I'm not joking) and enjoyed the train-a-palooza.  Eli was not too thrilled about the museum inside the train, mostly because there were people in it he didn't know, scary mannequins, loud sounds.  At one point, we walked into a car where there was a recording of a conductor yelling, "ALL ABOARD!" and Eli looked at us with fear in his eyes and said, "No, no not all aboard...NOT ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!"  He did have fun inside the depot where they had Chuggington train tables set up for kids to play with and a big electric train table.  He loved it. 

So that's my tale.  It's harrowing and I'm expecting Lifetime to call for the rights to it at any moment.  Until then, you can enjoy my pics from the event (sans the ones I took for my insurance company).

 "For the love of all that's holy, NOT ALL ABOARD!"
 Scary mannequin...1 o'clock.

  Completely enthralled by the electric train display.

Oh, and remember my midwife told me to be ready to have this baby at 36 weeks?  Good times.  I am officially 38 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor in the near future...so there's that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Before and After: Kids' Rooms

I finally finished Scout's nursery today.  In honor of the completion, I thought I'd post before* and after shots of her's and Eli's rooms.  These are for you, grandpa! :)

(*The before shots were taken prior to us moving in...they are shown as decorated by the owner at that time)

Eli's Room: Before

Color: Periwinkle, Border: Flowers

Eli's Room: After

 Eli's "Fort" Bed
We still have two pics to hang up over his bed...one of Comerica Park and another baseball one.

 Where the Wild Things Are and Baseball growth chart

Color: Tiger's Blue and a Beige color, Border: None

Scout's Room: Before

 Notice the super cool valance that I nearly killed myself with when I tried to take it down myself.

Scout's Room: After
 Notice the air mattress set up for mom and mom-in-law (separate visits) post baby.

 Her initials will go in the middle frame...monogram style

  I have a wooden letter of the initial of her first name that will go in the empty frame on the left, and then I'll put pics of her in empty frames.
 My $10 garage sale dresser that Ben sanded, repainted, and re-knobbed.
Color: Grape Cream (I was looking for a purple-grey color) Drapes: Grass (color) Eclipse Drapes (the ones that are supposed to be energy efficient)


Monday, September 26, 2011

36 Weeks & 31 Months

This first picture was taken by my way-too-literal husband after I said, "make sure you get the belly."

And then this one was taken after I clarified instructions:

And this one was taken cause this kid is so stinkin' cute (this is how he smiles for the camera...eyes closed saying cheeeeese):

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hooray for Scout!

Yesterday, my dear friend Sara threw me a shower for my impending bundle of loveliness.  And in Sara Luke fashion, it was incredible.  The food, the decor, the company -- all contributed to a perfect Saturday afternoon topped off by the fact that I was not responsible for watching my child for three hours.  I received some great gifts and am feeling more ready for the blissful chaos that will descend upon my life in T - 5 weeks.  sweet mercy.

 Thankful for all these lovely ladies (and those who couldn't make it).  My friends are such a blessing!

 The genius behind the day.  Thank you, Sara!

 My 34 week belly.  Pardon the lighting...I am currently taking donations for a camera upgrade.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Eli is 2 1/2

I haven't written an update for you in 6 months!  I have been writing things down using, what historians will later call, pencil and paper as you've grown these past 6 months, but I haven't gone all fancy and typed them up on this fancy computational machine.  Why, you ask?  My dear child, I have no reason other than you turned two, I turned pregnant, your father started a new job, and we moved; and my initiative to write took a backseat to all those things.  I'm sorry.  You'll probably hear me say that a lot as you grow, but I am sorry if you feel slighted by the absence(s) of an update. 

So here's how this is going to go down.  I'm going to post some pics from each month that I did not update, along with some fun facts about you from each month (referring back to my archaic writing methods).  Thennnnn, I'll do another post wherein I go into more detail about the little man you're becoming.  Then, there will be no homework.  Any questions?

Here we go:

24 Months: Jan - Feb:
  • You turned 2
  • You were dedicated 
  • Your adoration for Thomas and all things trains has grown to President of Fan Club status
  • You love to finger paint
  • You love to ride the elevator in our building (former building)
  • Temper tantrums have become more prevalent
  • You looooove beans and rice 
  • You found out you will be joined by a sibling
25 Months: Feb - March:
  • Your great-grandpa and Laura Jean came to visit
  • You enjoyed unseasonably warm temps
  • Your "will of your own" has tested my patience on numerous occasions
  • You like to exert your "will of your own" in public, especially at Target and family dining establishments  
  • Your mom is sick a lot due to sibling in her tummy
  • Your favorite book is Pigeon Wants a Puppy and you mimic the voices I make
  • You can point out a McDonald's within a 2 mile radius 
26 Months: March to April:
  • Your daddy started a new job, which means he's not around as much, something for which you vocalize your disdain on a regular basis in the form of screaming fits...it's awesome.
  • It snowed in April and I cried.
  • You will play with your matchbox cars for hours...and love to bring them all out to the lobby of our building.
  • You love collecting rocks...after a walk you will come home with a batch of new rocks that sit in your wagon until our next venture.
  • You're starting to become fearful of people and things and have become very clingy with your mama.
  • Your memory of things both astounds and frightens me.
     27 months: April - May:
    • We started looking for a new house.
    • You loooove hanging out with your daddy's RAs and being one of the guys.
    • You're not adjusting well to your daddy not being around as much.
    • You threw the mother of all temper tantrums at a mall in Grand Rapids during which I'm sure child protective services was called, b/c I took you in a bathroom and you screamed for 10 minutes straight...screamed like you were being beaten (which you were not).  And then I cried most of the way home due to frustration and a feeling that I was failing you as a parent.
    • Time outs are becoming more prevalent.
    • You looove hanging out with your friends Ben, Bryleigh, Avery, Nolan, Bailey and little Aubrey.
    • Sharing with your favorite friends is a concept that escapes you.
    • Church nursery scares you and you cry the entire time.
    • You are turning into quite the comedian and crack me up with your expressions or what you say on a regular basis.
    • You loooove spaghetti.
    • You love rice. 
    28 Months: May - June:
    • We moved!!
    • You started sleeping in your awesome big boy bed (that your dad picked out, so it comes equipped with a built in fort).
    • You get to see your friend Ben a lot more because we moved across the street from him.
    • It is the hottest summer since the earth cooled from its lava state, and we have no air conditioning.
    • You are talking a lot more; you and I are having conversations, which is awesome.
    • You loooove being outside at your new house.
    • You found out you are having a baby sister.
    • You and mommy have breakfast dates at Dunkin' Donuts once a week where we share a big thing of chocolate milk...oh, and we eat donuts. 

      29 Months: June - July:
      • We got to spend a week and a half disrupting visiting with your Grandma and Grandpa Parker.
      • You watched fireworks for the first time (in the safety of a car, b/c you are currently afraid of loud sounds...like clapping).
      • Your favorite new expression (which you learned from your grandma) "Go away, go see your mom"...usually said to bugs.
      • Both you and mom were sick and miserable together.
      • I thought we might melt in our house due to alarming summer temps. 
      • We swim at your friend Nolan's house A LOT!
      • We swim at your Grandma and Grandpa Rick's house A LOT! 
      • PACIFIER IS GONE!!!  You gave up your pacifier around the time you got sick, b/c you were throwing up.  It was much easier than I thought.  I canceled our appointment with the hypnotist.
        30 Months: July - August:
        • I'm really at a loss on how to help you feel unafraid of things.  I went through a similar phase when I was your age (so I've been told) during which I was afraid of men with beards and lawn mowers and basically anyone other than my mom...so maybe it's genetic.
        • You're talking has skyrocketed since the pacifier took its exit.  It's insane.  Your father turned to me during a particularly talkative car ride and said in a voice that mimicked mine "Ben, do you  think he'll ever talk?"
        • Whenever we ask you where your baby sister is, you lift up your shirt, point to your belly and say, "in Eli's tummy". 
        • I'm trying to be consistent with church nursery, so you'll get over your fear.  I don't think I've heard an entire sermon from beginning to end in the last two months. 
        • Your current toy obsession is your water table that your grandma and grandpa bought you at a garage sale.  You brave the vampire mosquitoes just to be able to play outside with it.  
        • You went to Lake Michigan for the first time with mama and some of her college friends.  You l-o-v-e-d it, as well as my friend Mandy's little girl, you little Casanova, you.
        • Count down to big-brother duty (hee hee - duty) - 2 months.