Sunday, December 22, 2013

37 Weeks Pregnant

Dear Simon,

You could be here any minute. Like now!

Or now!

Or now!

Pretty crazy, huh? You have basically no room in there, and you remind me of that all the time with your frantic squirms. Sorry about that. But you're not the only one who's getting uncomfortable! I feel a little like a ninety-year-old elephant. I stomp around with one hand on my back, and my pelvis feels like a basket of broken twigs. I think you're going to be a pretty big guy. Feel free to come anytime after January 3rd. That's when your Memere arrives to help. ANYTIME after that. Like on the 4th, or the 5th... Or the 6th. Or the 7th. Etc.

Christmas is just three days away! And though you won't be able to open them yourself, there are some pretty exciting-looking presents under the tree with your name on them! Maddie has been circling the tree like a little shark, saying "presents!" and trying to grab some of the ribbons and bows through the bars of the gate we put up around the tree. She's having a little bit of trouble understanding that some things belong to you, now. For instance, I bought you a stuffed Winnie the Pooh when I first found out that I was pregnant with you. Maddie spotted him the other day and had a VERY hard time understanding that he wasn't hers. Ditto the very cute blue elephant your daddy bought for you. I think the idea of a baby brother is still abstract to Maddie right now (though she does yell at my belly: "Come out, Simon! Simon, come out!"), but once you are here, she'll understand much better. I know she is just going to be over-the-moon about you, and I think you'll feel the same way about her!

I'm sorry I haven't written in a little bit! I'm trying very hard to get our home ready for you, and to finish revisions on a manuscript before you arrive. And, of course, there were Christmas cards and gift wrapping and trips to the post office and Christmas shopping... It's been quite the month! January will also be quite the month - that's when you'll be born!

Your Mama

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Awkwardness of the Hedgehog

Dear Simon,

I think it's cute that your mom always starts out her letters by apologizing for not writing more. It's cute because compared to me, she's practically live-blogging this pregnancy. You don't know what live-blogging is, because by the time you read this, people don't blog. They eye-vlog or something with their Google Glass. Actually, there's probably not a Google either. Anyway, that's not the point. I think I promised before both that I would be terrible at keeping up with this *and* that I wouldn't spend all my time apologizing for it. Let's move on to a topic I've been wanting to bring up with you...

You're going to find out about this at some point, so we better just come out and tell you: We used to have a hedgehog. Its name was Pan, and it was a horrible little creature that hated us. We took it back to the pet store when we moved to Rhode Island. ('Rhode Island?!' You're thinking, 'When did you live in Rhode Island? We live in Washington!' At least I hope that's what you're thinking, because if we find ourselves living in Rhode Island again, something has gone horribly awry.) Anyway, back to the hedgehog. I'm telling you about this for several reasons.

First, you would invariably find out about this at a really inopportune time. Maybe we just had a big argument about your grades (Straight A's AGAIN?! We like variety in this family!) or maybe you've just read through these blog posts for the first time and thought to yourself, "Man, I caused my poor mother no end of trouble. All that vomiting. I bet no hedgehog ever caused her that much trouble." It is at these times that you would certainly somehow learn about the hedgehog and spend a lot of time worrying about whether we were going to take YOU back to the pet store for being bad. The answer is no. We love you a lot more than we loved that hedgehog, because it was horrible and you are wonderful, even when we're mad at you. You also aren't covered in spikes. At least I don't think you are. I haven't actually seen you yet outside of a less-than-clear ultrasound shot, but the odds are in your favor here. Not that I wouldn't love you if you were covered with spikes, it would just limit my ability to hug you. But I'd do it anyway. It's also illegal to give your child to a pet shop or circus. Don't ask how I know.

Secondly, it's so when you ask if you can have a hedgehog (or any other horrible animal that people don't generally keep as pets), I can confidently tell you no. Blame your mother for this lesson.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

31 Weeks!

Hello, Simon!

I'm terrible at keeping up with these entries to you. Sorry about that, peanut, but most of what I do every day revolves around you and your sister, so hopefully you won't feel terribly neglected. For instance, I forgot to post on Halloween and when I was 30 weeks pregnant, but I did wash a bunch of your clothes and blankets, and we've been preparing for you in all sorts of ways. I'm knitting as fast as I can to finish your sister's baby blanket, so that I can start on yours asap. (Your mom is really running behind.) So forgive me, Simon!

As promised, here's Maddie in her second Halloween costume. We went trick-or-treating in Gilman Village, and she had so much fun. I'll take you both next year!

I know what you're thinking. "My sister is so cute!" She really is. And when you arrive, she'll be thinking: "My brother is so cute!" And I just happen to be one very lucky mom, with such cute kids all over the place.

Your Granny Jill visited at the end of October, and your Memere arrived on November 1st. She's leaving tomorrow, which makes me very sad, but she'll be back in January, hopefully long before you arrive. (But not too long. She gets here on January 3rd. Maybe you could try for the 8th? Or the 9th? Honestly, whenever you're ready is fine. But I'd love to not go two weeks past my due date, if that's okay with you.) 

Your daddy and I bought a minivan on Saturday, if you can believe it. Now I'm a mom with a minivan. I really like it! I think Maddie does, too, and I hope you will. It gives us much more space, and it's really nice to have a second car, so that I can take you guys to all sorts of neat places. As soon as I get out of Scary Postpartum Hormoneville, that is. When I had Maddie, I was very lucky in that I didn't have to deal with postpartum depression. However, I did have to deal with a lot of anxiety about driving with my new baby, and about other people touching her, etc. (I even cried every time I took Maddie to the doctor's office for her first couple of months, because I couldn't help worrying about all of the germs in the office.) I imagine I'll be just as hormone-filled this time, too, but I know that it will pass, and I'll be on the road again in no time. 

We're 31 weeks, which means that you're roughly 9 weeks away! How about that! This is what we looked like at 30 weeks:

There is a very big difference in belly size in just the last few weeks! 

Your Memere wants me to say hi for her, and she says: "I love you, and I'll see you in just a few weeks when I'm back in Issaquah!" Just a few weeks! Holy cow!

I love you, Simon. Keep getting chunkier, and prepare yourself for the very wild ride that is labor and delivery. It'll be rough on me, but I bet it'll be much crazier for you, as you're going to be squeezed out like human toothpaste. What a crazy thing!

Your Mama

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Third Trimester!

Hi, Simon!

Today we're in our third trimester. That means you'll be here in 84 days, give or take. Just three months left! You weigh about 2 1/2 pounds right now, and I think you're still head down. (That's good! Stay like that.)

Last week, we traveled for a wedding (and to visit your Auntie Jill and Uncle Luke), and I was pretty exhausted by the time we got home. That's the last of our traveling for a bit, because no one wants a pregnant lady to give birth on an airplane. No one. This week, Maddie and I are recovering, relaxing, and getting ready for a couple of visitors! Your Granny Jill is coming on Friday, and your Memere will be here a week after that! It is going to be a fun and busy couple of months, and then it'll be time for you.

This is the view from our bedroom window this week.

Pretty, isn't it? When you arrive, those colorful leaves will be gone, but the evergreens will still be green. (Hence their name.)

Next week is Halloween, and your sister is very excited about it! We've been reading Halloween stories, and she runs around saying "How-eeen! How-eeen!" She has two costumes this year: the first is Madeline of the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans. She was named after that very Madeline!

I'll show you a picture of her second Halloween costume next week. Trust me - it's cute. It'll be her first year trick-or-treating, and I think she's going to have a blast. (Don't worry - I'll eat plenty of her candy. That counts as her sharing with her brother, right?)

We can't wait to meet you, Simon. We're in the homestretch, now! Almost there. My symptoms at this point include crazy amounts of exhaustion, heartburn (mostly at night), back and hip pain, and peeing my pants way more often than I'd like to. What are you gonna do. 

Your Mama

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What A Week.

Hi, Simon.

Your mama has had a very rough week. I wrote an article that was unintentionally the most controversial thing since Miley's VMA performance (which will hopefully hold no meaning at all by the time you are reading this), and I received a lot of pretty terrible, hurtful responses. It was tough, and I'm seven months pregnant, and boy, have I been in a rough mood for a couple of days. The article was about some of the decisions your dad and I are making as your parents. Now, all parents have a lot of decisions to make. Some of them are harder than others, and all have consequences. For instance, I loved exclusively breastfeeding your sister, and I'll exclusively breastfeed you as well. There are some really great perks to this, like a.) it's free, and b.) I get to spend a lot of very cuddly, close time with my infants. But there are consequences to everything. With EBF, I couldn't leave your sister at all for months. She wouldn't take a bottle, and she ate every two hours for weeks, so I was practically hallucinating, that's how exhausted I was. We also passed thrush back and forth several times, because I was on a steroid inhaler for my asthma, and let me tell you - thrush is painful. Not for her, thank goodness, but for me. Ouch. I would go into detail, but I bet you don't want to hear about your mom's nipples. It was worth it to me, absolutely, but as with every decision, there were consequences.

Anyway, I want you to know that the decisions your dad and I make are made with you in mind. We make these decisions because we believe they're best for you, and for our family. We make these decisions because we love you very, very much. All parents make different decisions for their children, but all of those decisions are made out of love, and made because it's what those parents believe will be best for their children. Your dad and I love our children more than anything in the world, and that will never change. If you're ever having a week like I am, and you're feeling down and a little sad, I hope you will remember that, and I hope you will feel a little better.

Next week, you're going to take a plane ride to Minnesota with us! We're going for a wedding, and will get to stay with your godparents, Jill and Luke. This will be our last trip while I'm pregnant, because in just over a week, I'll be in my third trimester. That means you're going to be here VERY soon! Are you ready for that? I'm ready for that. (I mean, keep baking, obviously, but I'll be ready for you when you're fully baked and ready to come out.) After our trip to Minnesota, your Granny Jill is coming to stay with us, and after your Granny Jill stays with us, your Memere is coming to stay with us! We are going to have a great couple of months, and I will bake a great couple of pies, because that is exactly the time of year it is. Pie time.

I love you, Simon. I hope you know that already, and I will make sure that you know it every day of your life.

Your Mama

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Double Digits!

Hi, Simon!

Today we are exactly 99 days from your due date. That makes it sound awfully close, doesn't it? 99 days! I am 26 weeks pregnant, and we look like this:

Today is a very, very rainy day, and your sister and I are hanging out in our pajamas. I'm sending out more query letters for my chapter book (a process that is kind of like banging my head against a wall for months at a time - but if you are going to be a writer, please don't let that scare you. There are some really lovely parts, like actually writing), and letting Maddie watch Blues Clues on my phone, which she is obsessed with. When she wants to watch it, she follows me around shouting "Clue Clue! Clue Clue!" Sometimes I worry that I shouldn't let her watch Blues Clues, and that we should be climbing a tree somewhere or sewing our own clothing out of organic cotton instead. But it's often raining this time of year in Washington, so all of the trees are wet, and I have no idea how to sew my own clothing out of organic cotton. Blues Clues will have to do. 

I'm tired these days, Simon. Part of it is growing a baby (that's you!), and part of it is Maddie waking up multiple times at night. And then insisting on getting up early in the morning. What's with that? Do toddlers not require a normal amount of sleep? Because while I feel very tired, and need a cup of coffee to function most mornings (don't worry - in moderation, it's fine), Maddie gets no coffee at all, and is wide awake at all times. The first thing she shouted at me early this morning was "Up! Up! Up!" Let me tell you, Simon, "up" is my new least favorite word. I hear it at 2:30am. I hear it at 4:00am. I hear it at 6:30am. I hear it when she's up from her nap. I don't want to be up, Simon. I want to sleep for about a week. But I will settle for a cup of coffee.

Back to the queries and the rain, little Simon. I hope you're cozy in there, and that you're looking forward to meeting us in (approximately) 99 days!

Your Mama

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall, Frugality, Food

Hi, Simon!

It's October 3rd, and the leaves here are turning all sorts of beautiful colors. I'm so glad to see them, because changing leaves have always been an important part of my autumns. I wish you could see them too, but you are still in my uterus, and there just isn't a lot to see in there. A placenta. Some fluid. Your umbilical cord, I guess. And your cute little fingers and toes, which I can't wait to see in January!

This is Issaquah, where we live.

Maddie and I walk down here a lot, and before you know it, you'll join us! 

Your dad and I decided it's time to get serious about buying a house, which means we've begun a new budget with that in mind. Christmas is tough to do on a budget, but we've found some wonderful ideas about simplifying, and let's face it, Simon - if we want to have a big family, we're going to have to simplify around the holidays. One of the great ideas is intentional gift categories. For instance, rather than buying a bunch of random stuff for you and Maddie, we'll buy in adorable (and practical) categories, like "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." There will be a few others (something to watch, something to create, etc.), but that's the idea. This will make gift shopping easy for Maddie this year, but not for you, because while we know exactly what you need, we have no idea what you'll want! Please forgive us for guessing. 

You and I are eating some delicious sugar cookies that my friend Abbie brought from Montana. Don't tell your sister. She's napping, and as a very wise man once said, "you snooze, you lose." We'll share when she wakes up and when your dad gets home from work. It's Thursday, and you know what that means, Simon. It's taco night! Your dad is actually a world-famous, award-winning taco chef. I am a Cholula aficionado, and taco night has been a part of our lives since before we were married. (We did skip weeks when I was dealing with pregnancy sickness, but we're back in business now, because I'm feeling pretty great. Exhausted, but great.)

Happy fall, Simon!

Your Mama

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's raining! (Alternatively titled: We live in Washington!)

Hi, sweet boy.

I wish I felt like doing more laundry, or like sorting through your sister's summer clothes. I wish I felt like cleaning the bathrooms. It's raining outside, like it has been for a week, and it would be the perfect time to get things done, but your mama is TIRED. While Maddie naps, I'm resting next to her. Laundry can wait until we're ready to get up. Until then, I'm watching The View and writing to you.

I'm 25 weeks pregnant, and you are doing some really strange things to my belly button. Little Simon, I have a feeling you aren't going to be very little at all. My bump is pretty massive, and I feel like I did when I was much farther along with Maddie. If you could just keep your birth weight under 12 pounds, I would be so thankful. 9 or 10 is just fine. 11 is pushing it. Let's keep it under control, Simon. Let's keep it under control.

At my doctor's appointment last week, I was given the gross gestational diabetes drink for my test. I get to take this one at home, which means it can be cold. (That beats the warm one I drank last time. There was a significant amount of vomiting.) My doctor and I were both surprised that it's already time for the drink. You'll be here in three and a half months! I'm almost in my third trimester! It's so strange to think about, because even though your dad and I feel much more prepared this time around, we also realize that our lives are going to completely change again, because you'll be here! We'll have this beautiful baby boy to love! Your Christmas stocking arrived last week, and it made us all so excited. (Even Maddie, who doesn't quite understand that she's getting a baby brother, but who does understand that Christmas stockings are fun to play with.)

I think I've mentioned that Maddie is in her toddler bed now, so the crib is all yours! (Not until you're about six months old, though. You'll be in your bassinet in our room before that.) She is really enjoying it. She looks like such a big girl in her big girl bed.

Just kidding. That's Beezus. She is also a big fan of the toddler bed.

Keep growing and getting stronger, little Simon. We're getting very ready to meet you in just a few short months! Meanwhile, there is laundry, and assembling your bassinet, and registering at our hospital. (We're running a little behind with that. But don't worry, we'll do it right away.)

Your Mama

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fathers and Sons

Dear Simon,

Hi. I'm your dad. You've been in there for 6 months and I haven't written to you once. I don't have a lot of excuses. Well, actually, I have about a million excuses, but none of them are good. Sure, I'm busy. Who isn't? Sure, your sister takes a lot of time and attention. Sure, I'm very, very lazy sometimes. But you are my son, and I should have made time before now. It's weird that my first written words to you are an apology, but you better get used to that, because I have a feeling I'm not going to get any better at this.

The problem is I don't know what to say to you. I'm excited that you're coming, of course, and I'm excited to meet you, but if your sister taught me anything, it's that I really have no idea what to expect. What will you be like? What kinds of things would you want to hear about? I could spend this whole time writing about walruses only to discover that you are allergic to reading about walruses. So since I don't have a lot of words of wisdom that may be of interest to you just yet, how about we start with this, if you don't mind me being a little self-indulgent.

I'm not really sure how to be a dad to a son. While I didn't really know how to be a dad to a daughter either, that was terrifying in a different way. Madeline was our first everything, and so all of the fears were about parenting in general. What do babies eat? What if I'm changing a diaper, and it's full of spiders? I sort of have a good feel for that now, and most of the really outlandish fears have been put aside, but when we learned you were a boy, it presented a whole new kind of concern.

See, I'm not really much of a guy, in the traditional sense. Let me give some examples:

  • I've never been good at a single sport. When I was in little league, I played right field and picked clover. I'm that stereotypical. They make commercials about guys like me.
  • I think hunting is ridiculous and fishing is just intolerably boring.
  • I have no idea how to fix anything. Cars. Toasters. I technically own a toolbox, but it's the kind where all of the tools fit in some sort of vacuum-formed plastic case.

This leads to a couple of fears:

  1. I won't be able to teach you how to do any of these things.
  2. Despite my inability to teach you these things, you'll like them anyway, and I'll be disappointing because I don't know anything about RBIs or torque or lures.
Maybe that's how it is for everybody. Maybe my dad was like, "I know how to hunt, but I don't know anything about Broadway musicals! What if my son loves Broadway musicals?" And then I came along and I loved Broadway musicals and he just figured out how to adapt. Maybe that's all this parenting thing is: learning to adapt and love things you never imagined.

Despite all of these fears, I'm still very excited you're coming. It's going to be great, and I'll look back at all of these worries and think they're just as ridiculous as diaper spiders (which now that I think about it, should really worry you more than they worry me).



I'll eat you up, I love you so!

Dear Simon,

We're getting ready for fall, and fall always makes me think of winter, so naturally I think of you! You'll come right after Christmas - my very best, somewhat belated gift. You're getting so big now that I can actually see you! Well, sort of. You make my stomach very lopsided when you ball up on one side or the other, and occasionally I see a little bump moving across my belly. That's you!

We traveled to New England at the beginning of the month because your Pepere (my dad) was honored with a memorial at the new fire station in Ware, my hometown. When we got back, Maddie came down with something. It only lasted for about a day, and was likely the result of her teething, but it was very scary! She had a temperature of 103.8 at one point, and even though the pediatrician on call said that I should just watch her and not worry, I was very worried. (When you are born, the amount of worrying I'll do will double! Now imagine if we have four children, which I'm hoping for. Your poor mother will have gray hair and wrinkles by the time she's 35!)

Wednesday, Maddie and I went to Toddler Story Time at the Issaquah Library. On Friday, we had our Music Together class. I'm looking forward to taking you to these places too, little Simon. It's so strange and wonderful to think about how there will be two little ones with me all the time in less than four months! We'll get a snazzy double stroller, and we'll go on all kinds of adventures. (Wait until we take you to Fox Hollow Farm. You are going to lose your little mind over their baby pigs and peacocks.)

Today we all went to the Issaquah Farmer's Market, and I can't stop eating the caramel kettle corn we bought there. It's phenomenal, but you know that, because you're squirming around like a very happy fetus.

I'm almost 24 weeks pregnant, and we've got (approximately) 116 more days until you arrive!

Your crib mattress arrived yesterday. It's a gift from your Memere (my mom). Maddie used to sleep in your crib, but now she sleeps in her Very Big Girl Toddler Bed. You'll sleep in our room in a bassinet next to our bed for your first six months, but then you'll move into the nursery with Maddie! I've been sleeping in the nursery for the last two days, because we've been transitioning Maddie into her bed, and all things considered, she's a pretty good roommate. I could really do without the 6:00am wakeup, but what are you gonna do. Maybe she'll grow out of that, or maybe you'll be an early riser too, and you won't mind. If you don't mind, and you're both into getting up super early, please feel free to entertain each other and let your mom and dad sleep a little!

Today I'm hoping to get some of your clothes washed and put away for your arrival, and I'll attempt to sleep in my room tonight, after your sister falls asleep in her bed, so wish us luck! We love you, little Simon.

Your Mama

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Simon Daniel Lute!

That's you, baby boy! What do you think of your name? Your first name is Simon, because your dad and I love that name. Your middle name is Daniel, because that was the name of your dad's dad - your grandfather. Your last name is Lute, because you're going to be born into the ever-growing Lute family, consisting of your mom (me), your dad, and your big sister, Madeline.

This past Thursday, we found out you are a boy! Now, I am thrilled beyond words (!!!), but not at all surprised. I was pretty sure you were a boy all along. First of all, my pregnancy has just been different this time. Less vomiting than with your sister, but make no mistake - there's still vomiting. My belly is much bigger much earlier this time, and I've been very hormonal in a rather different way this time. (Your dad says the word is "mercurial.") Let me give you an example.

When I was pregnant with Maddie, I was weepy. I wept quite a bit. With you, I'm like a burly lumberjack with road rage. Swinging my ax to and fro, shouting obscenities at the other loggers/drivers, and only crying when I'm finished being filled with rage. I'm told it's all of the testosterone I have going on right now.

I don't know whether this is my imagination or what, but it seems as though people are less sensitive this time around. They are more likely to comment on what I'm eating or drinking, what my belly looks like, what I should have called you, what they're planning to call you, what type of boy you'll be, how my parenting will change, etc. Because this is my pregnancy, and not the world's, and because you are my Simon, and not the world's, I'll tell you about all of these things myself. I eat a lot of green apples, and sometimes I eat Kit Kats. (My favorites are the dark chocolate ones.) Oh - and veggie subs from Subway, all covered in vinegar and banana peppers. I ate those all the time during my first pregnancy, too. I mostly drink water, but once in awhile, Simon, I do have a small cup of coffee, or a seasonal latte. Seasonal lattes are some of my favorite things. My belly is big, but that's you in there, kicking and thumping and twisting around. Your name is Simon, and there just isn't a lot of room for a nickname there. (Maybe "Si," if we're really pressed for time or something. Your name is kind of like my name - it's pretty solid as it is. Madeline is often called Maddie, and your dad's name is Zachary, but everyone calls him Zach. I'm just Renee, and you're just my very sweet boy, Simon.) And what type of boy will you be? You'll be exactly who you're meant to be. No matter what, I'm going to love you forever, and I will love you and Maddie (and any other children your dad and I have) with all of my heart. Maybe you'll be a software engineer like your daddy, and you'll make video games. Maybe you'll be a trophy-winning football player. Maybe you'll be a ballet dancer or a glass blower or an architect or a teacher or a writer like your mom. You'll be my Simon no matter what you do or who you are.

Would you like to see what you look like at twenty weeks?

Crazy adorable, right? I have about nineteen weeks to go until I get to meet you, but I am so excited, little boy. Your dad is, too! And your big sister kisses my belly all the time, or lays her head on my belly and says "baby" with a big smile. When you're ready to come out and meet us, we will be so ready to meet you. 

I love you already, and please keep up the belly thumps. They're very reassuring.

Your Mama

Monday, July 29, 2013

While your sister naps...

I thought I'd write a quick post to you. I had my 15 week OB appointment last Thursday, and your heartbeat was in the 150s, which is a great, solid number. Of course, I am thrilled that they found your heartbeat right away with the doppler. I'm thrilled that there wasn't even a moment of panic where we couldn't hear you (like at my 15 week appointment with Maddie), and where they had to bring in the ultrasound machine. However... I am so antsy to know what you are! Are you a boy? I think you're a boy. But I could be wrong (like I was with Maddie), and you could be a girl! Either way, whatever you are, I am crazy thrilled to meet you in five-and-a-half months!

My gender scan is in one month, on August 29th. I know what you're thinking - "One month? You'll be twenty weeks along in one month? Where did the time go?!" Well, baby, it feels like this pregnancy has both flown and crawled by. I don't know how that's possible, but it is. Normally, the third trimester is the one that goes by at a snail's pace, but I have a feeling it'll be very different this time, as you'll be born in January, and the months before that will be filled with holidays. The holiday season makes time fly, and before we know it, you'll be here with us! The best Christmas present I could ask for.

A couple of weeks ago, I could have sworn that I felt tiny flutters. Today, I am 100% certain, because they aren't flutters anymore - they're little thumps. That's you, baby! You're thumping away a little left of my belly button. It's hard to not be able to see you, and to not really know how you're doing between my visits to the OB, so I am thrilled that I get to feel you, now. Those thumps will keep getting stronger and more frequent, until I am wide awake at 3am, begging you to get your kicky little feet out of my ribcage.

I haven't taken any real belly photos yet, but here's one that shows a bit of you. This was taken on July 20th at the Fox Hollow Farm, when I was nearly 15 weeks. You might notice that my belly is showing quite a bit more than it was with Maddie at 15 weeks! Well, that's normal for a second pregnancy. Or perhaps you are a baby yeti. I guess we won't know until my gender scan, which is when the tech will take your measurements.

Unborn babies are a delicacy to cute baby goats. Did you know? (Just kidding. These are just really friendly goats.) 

Maddie's up from her nap, which means I have a diaper to change, a snack to make, and a dinner to start! But I'm always thinking about you, baby. Maddie is also always thinking about you. She rubs my belly and says "baby!" which is very cute, but she also rubs your daddy's belly and says "baby," so I think she might actually just think that "baby" is another word for "belly." Either way, I know that she is going to love you. 

Your Mama

Friday, July 12, 2013

Baby Lute #2!

Dear Baby,

I am determined to keep up with your blog the way that we did with Maddie's, and to fill out your baby book (even though I will really have my hands full once you get here), just like we did with Maddie's. I hear that these things get progressively much harder with every child we'll have, but I will do my very best.

I feel kind of bad calling you "Baby Lute #2," but I want to assure you that you are only #2 in order. We're keeping your possible names a secret until we find out whether you are a girl or a boy, and then we'll announce your name to the world and stop calling you "#2."

I started my second trimester with you this week, and you are currently the size of a peach. This is really miraculous for two reasons. The first is that new life is such a miracle! The second is that you are only the size of a peach, and yet your mother looks like she has swallowed a very large honeydew melon. I don't know how keen I will be on taking weekly pictures of my belly this time, Baby. Maybe we'll do monthly pictures. (Dr. Paley, who is my new and favorite OB of all time, tells me that I look exactly right for having a second baby, and that I am carrying you very high, which accounts for my large honeydew-like belly protrusion. He knows just what to say.)

Maddie and I are snuggled up on the couch this morning as I write to you. We're waiting for it to get just a little warmer outside, and then we'll play on the playground for awhile. I bet you're going to love the playground, Baby. And you'll have your sister to play with, once you're big enough, which is just the coolest thing.

Would you like to hear about the weekend we first discovered we were going to have you? Well, we had just moved from Rhode Island to the Seattle area, and I was pretty sure I was pregnant. We stayed at your Memere's house for a few days before we flew out here, and I hadn't been feeling like myself. I was very, very tired, and I didn't feel like having a glass of red wine. (Baby, your mom doesn't drink very often, but if someone offers a nice cab or glass of merlot, I am not in the business of turning it down. Red wine can be lovely, but only once you are 21. If you try it before that, it will taste like cigar butts and earwax.) When we got to Washington, I bought a pregnancy test, and it was negative. Remarkably, I didn't feel disappointed, because I really was sure I was pregnant. We waited a few days, and then I tested again. I got the faintest of a second line, and I told your dad, "We're pregnant!" He squinted at the test and said, "Where? What? I don't see anything!" Let me tell you, Baby, there was definitely a second line on that test. So I started picking out your crib bedding and stopped drinking coffee, and your dad was determined not to get his hopes up. A couple of days later, I took a digital test, and it was unmistakable. 

We saw your sweet little heart beating away at my 8 week ultrasound, and saw you again at my 12 week ultrasound. You looked very much like a baby at that one. As soon as Dr. Paley put the ultrasound wand on my belly, we saw you on the screen, and you turned and looked right at your dad. I bet you even winked. (Well, maybe not. I think your eyelids are technically still fused shut.) 

That's you, Baby. And let me tell you, we are so excited to meet you. I'm not horrendously sick anymore, thanks to Zofran (who has been my bff for two pregnancies, now), and I'm counting the months until January. (That's when you are due -- January 15th.) I'll write again soon, Baby. I hope you are finding my uterus very comfortable, and that you are enjoying all of the amenities, such as three meals a day and free high-speed internet. 

Your Mama

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Maddie!

Dear Maddie,

Today you are one year old. Well, technically it's still 11:30pm when I'm writing this, so you're not one yet. Although you are one on the east coast, where you were born. Here in Washington, I guess you're "What? Washington?" you're thinking, "I thought we lived in Rhode Island." Yes, I can see how you'd think that, based on this blog, but a lot has happened in the past year. A better father would have written 15 blog posts about it, but you're stuck with me, and if you'll recall, I told you when this whole thing started that I'd be terrible about updating this. So, yeah, we live in Washington now. Maybe I'll write about that, later, but that's not what this post is about. This post is about you.

My beautiful, clever, funny, loud, crazy, messy, wonderful wonderful daughter, as I write this, you are snoring on the couch behind me. You're on the couch because when we tried to put you to bed, you refused and screamed your cute little head off. But you were happy to fall asleep on the couch, and since you're much too cute to disturb, and after all it's your birthday so you should be allowed to sleep wherever you please, my job now is to sit here and make sure you don't roll off. Parenting is weird.

It's so hard to believe that one year ago I hadn't even met you yet. I'd talked to you and read to you and worried about you and dreamed about you, but your tiny little red hand hadn't yet wrapped around my finger and changed my life forever. Weird, right?

Today, a whole year later, it feels like my entire life revolves around you. I don't really know how to explain that, so let me tell you a little bit about how my days go.

You're there when I wake up in the morning, usually because you're the one waking me up by climbing up on my back and saying "Dadadadadadada" and then whispering "hi" in your cute little voice when I roll over to groggily look at you. Yeah, you're usually in our bed in the morning. We try really hard to put you in your crib every night, and sometimes it even works, but we're suckers, and when you wake up yelling for us in the middle of the night, you usually end up in our bed. I hope that this is something we can eventually move beyond, because as much as I love having you in our bed, it'll get a bit weird when you're 30.

So once I'm up and we've said our hellos, I have to get ready for work, and this usually displeases you greatly. You want me to play, and I really want to, but one day you'll learn about responsibilities and bills and all that and your life will be way less awesome, so try not to worry about that stuff for awhile. Usually I can convince you to go back to sleep before I kiss your little head and head off to work.

All day, your mom and I text each other. She tells me things you've done. Sometimes great things like a new thing you ate or a new word you're trying to say. Sometimes not so great things like a new thing you ate (and shouldn't have) or what you got all over another thing. I miss you, and I like to look at pictures of you.

At night, when I get home, you're so excited to see me. Your mom tells me that often during the day, you yell for me. Usually when she's making you do something you don't like, like eat your peas. "Dadadadada," you yell, as if to say, "My dad would never make me do something awful like eat peas." Don't worry, though, you give me the same treatment. "My mom would never get soap in my eyes," you often say accusingly, or at least that's often what I hear.

But when I come home you're so excited and I pick you up and carry you around and give your poor, long-suffering mother a reprieve from her duties and as far as I know she gets to use the bathroom for the first time that whole day. You laugh and smile and I'm happy to see you. So it's a pretty joyous time for everybody.

After that we have dinner. You usually eat something from a tube to start with. Fruit from a tube is pretty cool, but I'm not totally on board with the idea of meat from a tube. You love it, though. Way more than from a spoon. Babies are weird. After that, you generally eat some of whatever we're having. I was going to say, "You love..." and list some things, but the fact of the matter is you love almost everything. To give some examples from dinner tonight, things you love include: bread, tomatoes, meatballs, parmesan cheese, beets. Some things you DO NOT love: beans, olives. Usually you love olives. I guess not tonight. And man did you hate beans. Every time we tried to give you one, you made this awful face like we gave you poison and then just let it fall out of your mouth. You also learned to drink from a straw today. This is awesome to watch, because you seem surprised every time it works. And then sometimes you drink too much milk and let it all fall out of your mouth in a waterfall. Babies are gross.

After dinner, we play. I like to believe this is the time of the day when you tell me all of the things you did that day, but since I don't really speak your language, a lot of it is lost on your poor, dumb dad.

Then it's bath time! Oh, Maddie, I love bath time. For a long time, you showered with your mom, because it was just easier. But now we've started to give you baths by yourself at night, which at first you hated SO MUCH. You would scream and cry, and your mom thinks it's because one time you decided to eat the soap and that was a traumatizing experience for you. But eventually you got over it, and now you love bath time. Your Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy got you some dinosaur toys and we play with them in the bath. They stick to the walls, but you mostly like to make sure you're always holding one in each hand while you make dinosaur noises. You love it when I fill a cup with water and splash it on you and say, "KABOOM!" You laugh and laugh. One thing you do NOT like is when bath time is over. The tyranny of the diaper and the towel are upon you once again and the world grows a little darker.

After bath time, it's bed time. Your mom usually reads you a story...or fifteen stories. We go through a lot of library books around here. Eventually you (usually) fall asleep and we put you in your crib and say our quiet goodnights. What happens a few hours later is already documented above. Yeah, we're suckers. I already admitted that.

And then the next day, it starts all over again.

There is no part of my day when I'm not playing with you, or watching you sleep, or thinking about you. You are my entire world, and not even for a moment would I have it any other way. The past year has been incredible and crazy and scary and joyous, and sharing it with you and your mom has been perfect. I'm so excited about your second year, and I'm really going to try to do a better job of writing about it, but given the choice between writing a blog post and rolling a ball back and forth with you, I'm always going to choose the ball.

Happy birthday, little girl. Please don't grow up too fast.