Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My One Week Old Baby

So, it's been a week since my little baby was born and what a week it's been. 

I can't wait to write about his birth story and just as soon as I can find the time to write it, I will. My life consists of three hour increments---attempting to be a decent mother to my three other kids, execute a  load of laundry and put away toys before I need to nurse again is proving to be extremely challenging. But day by day I get a little more accustomed to the schedule. Today, for instance, the kids were back to school and our morning routine went rather smoothly, yay!

But the truth is, I've got a squishy, soft, warm little peanut to cuddle with all day long, and that more than makes up for it. 

Hang tight, I'll be back writing soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Twas the Night Before Your Birth

Tomorrow morning I will meet you face-to-face and I'm so thrilled I could just scream. Which would be a bad idea since I don't want to wake up the rest of your sleeping family. You're daddy is laying right next to me, snoring of course. Your awesome sisters who normally can't stop talking are silently sleeping and dreaming about their newest teammate. Your big brother is sound asleep in his crib clutching two plastic horses and a Thomas blanket. And as of this moment, Chance is still my baby, but 7 hours from now you'll take over that role thrusting Chance into a Kuya status,  which is "big brother" in Tagalog--a role I know he'll be awesome at. Your dog, Rizzo whom you've heard bark every single day is sleeping on an over sized Pillow Pet of another dog, which is hilarious, actually. Your Lolo and Lola, who flew all the way from California to meet you, are right across the hall, nestled all snug in their bed.

Visions of you are dancing in our heads.

I can feel you move around, though I sense its pretty tight in there.Wait till you see what this world has in store for you--it's so much better out here than where you're at right now, trust me. But with every move you make, all I can do is smile. You're inside me!!! And have been for a long time. The whole process is just so beautiful that it never gets old. Okay, sometimes it does. But not right now. Right now, I want to feel every move and every kick because I know its the last time my body will embrace this amazing journey. 

The smell of lilacs just came drifting past me, which I know will always make me think of you and the moments leading up to your birthday. You see, growing up we had a huge lilac tree in our yard and every spring I'd spend hours hanging from the branches to get a better whiff of their exuberant scent. In fact, my mom would leave all the windows open in the house so that the smell of the lilac bushes would suddenly fill our house with the promise of summer. Lilacs were the undeniable symbol that a new adventure lay ahead.

Kind of like you.

This week, like my mother, I have showered our house with fresh lilacs from our yard.

They're in every room.

You see, I always want to associate this time and this smell with you. 

I even hit up my local Yankee Candle Co. store so that I can have a lilac candle 
waiting for us when we arrive home together later this week.  

Until we meet tomorrow morning, good night sweet baby of mine.


As I was leaving the store I noticed a whole new line of candles that are marketed to men. Like an idiot, I smelled the bacon candle. DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT SMELL THIS CANDLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE PREGNANT, YOU JUST MIGHT START DRY HEAVING RIGHT THERE IN THE STORE.
Or so I'm told. :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Uterus Is More Washed-Up Than Shannon Doherty

"Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers" --Michelle Duggar

Pardon me, while I call BULLSHIT you crazy ass mother of NINETEEN HUMANS!!!! Flowers have like a one month time span, tops. Crap, even my flowers can't seem to make it past a week. But children? They will suck you dry FOREVER. How dare you compare children with flowers. You see, this is my fourth and definitely my last and no one is happier about this decision than my flimsy-mesh-like uterus.

In fact, my uterus is pretty pissed right now. It's temperamental, it's painful and it's out to get me. It all began when I reached my third trimester and my doctor very non-chalantly mentions that he's diagnosing me with AMA. And I shit you not, for a nano second I thought rock-on, I've got an awesome taste in music and I'm sure the American Music Association would love to know that I....

Wait a second.

"What exactly is AMA?" I asked.

And his horrific response was "Advanced Maternal Age."

And I nearly body tackled him to the ground. I mean it's one thing that I already feel like Jabba the Hut but to basically call me a geriatric Jabba the Hut was just WRONG. He even prescribed me with a twice weekly non stress test because of it. And every time I went, a nurse would always ask me why I was there and I'd have to mutter under my breath, A-M-A, all defeated and shit. That's of course, after I told the nurse I didn't hear her question because my hearing aid isn't working so well. Uugggh! Don't these doctors know that 38 is like the new 24????

But back to my uterus. 

85% of the time, I'm a pregnant rockstar. Constantly in motion, keeping up at a pace that I'm proud of, minimizing couch time as much as I can and getting things done! And then there's the extra 15% of the time where I would rather slowly fork my eyes out then take another godforsaken step.  Which is exactly what happened when celebrating the other night. My awesome sister and dear friend Tiffany schlepped me out for a girls night in hopes to recreate the awesomeness of our last 2010 pre-baby outing, Girls Gone Wild.

Our dinner was lovely. Lovely in the sense that we each consumed about 1700 calories in under 40 minutes. Our fancy dinner reservation was at 5:30 and we had barely finished licking the appetizer plate  (literally. we lose all manners when we're childless and hungry) before our main courses arrived. And none of us even had a chance to politely burp under our breath before the check was handed to us.

It was 6:15. We all kind of stared at each other with the what the hell do we do now look?
Thankfully, we were at Oakbrook Shopping Center and not some awful Home Depot strip mall. A night of shopping and browsing and laughing and talking and ENJOYING EACH OTHER'S COMPANY sounded like a dream date.

We hit up Anthropologie first and my sister and Tiffany were off galavanting while I hid in the jewelry department, sadly the only section that would fit. I mean come on, hobbling around stores when you're 39 weeks pregnant is just downright embarrassing.

And that's when my uterus struck.

First, it was a mild cramping while I was walking. No biggie, I can handle this I thought. Then I noticed my sister and Tiffany laugh under their breaths when they turned around to see a traffic jam of people stuck behind us. And by us, I mean ME, the girl who is walking at a SNAILS PACE. With every step I took, I'd get a sharp pain. Almost as if my uterus was saying

"You feel that Gina? That's what you get for putting me through this a 4th time"


"And that's for the up-all-night, loud and unruly tenant that's been living here for 9 months"


"And it smells like shit in here."


"Oh, will you look at that, did I just make you tinkle?"

I mean I could barely walk. I don't know if it was the food or if it was complete retaliation but it hurt like hell. I kept making sideline pit stops to pretend to "enjoy the beautiful view" but shit-damn, the entire mall was under construction making me look like an even bigger idiot.

It was one of those nights that will forever remind me of this pregnancy. Thank you Gabrielle and Tiffany for putting up with me and allowing me to sit every 5 minutes.

Now to bring this story completely full circle, (OMG) HAVE YOU SEEN THIS COMMERCIAL?????

Let me preface it by admitting that I watch very specific shows on television and hardly ever watch TV when it's live--so if I've seen this commercial then you know you're in trouble Shannon. Come to think of it, I don't know what's worse, Shannon Doherty accepting this gig or envisioning a board room of executives wracking their brains until someone finally pounds their fists to the table and proclaims, "I've got it!!! Shannon Doherty!"

Less than 48 hours people, it's happening!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Special Dates

This week is becoming blurry. My to-do lists on top of our regularly scheduled programs has me going from 6 in the morning to about midnight, every night. For me, nesting is so much more than just getting things ready for the baby--it's every other ridiculous project that I'm somehow convinced must be done before the baby arrives. Like reorganizing my make-up drawers, or adding curtains to a craft room, or finally tossing out all those damn 12-24 month random unmatched socks that have accumulated at the bottom of Chance's sock drawer.

Important? Hell no. But necessary in my mind? You betcha. I've been trying to explain myself to Eugene that its really more about getting this stuff done so that I can CHILL THE HELL OUT for the next couple months. I really envision slowing down to a pace I'm not normally used to. I want to enjoy these beginning moments with my family as much as I can and not worry about these silly un-important tasks.

Now whether or not I'll actually chill out is still to be determined, but that's my hope at least.

Nestled in my daily to-do's was special one-on-one dates with my kids before the baby arrives. I did this last time right before Chance was born and it was so meaningful for me to have that time together just mother and child, soaking it in. In 2010, Mia and I went to the zoo and Bella and I went fishing and strangely enough I remember EVERYTHING about these dates. I can't remember where I left my phone most days but by golly I can recite our conversations verbatim.

Whenever I have a kid date, my mission is simple--make a connection. A real, honest to goodness connection that assures them how important they are to our family and to me. I make it a point to discuss the upcoming changes and hope to help clarify any uncertainty they may have. It's always so much easier to talk about these things when it's just the two of us. 

Bella knew right away that she wanted to go to the Museum of Science and Industry with me. Which didn't surprise me in the least since she's so fascinated with the WHY'S of life. We walked and talked and guessed what it would be like with another boy in the house. We envisioned future road trips with another child singing along loudly, we anticipated how difficult night time routines may be when daddy's out of town. 

But my favorite part was when we talked about her birth and how much her grand entrance changed everything about my life--for the better. She laughed when I told her what her dad and I used to do before we had kids. I told her how I used to spend my time working, shopping, hanging out with friends and traveling the world. 

The museum was a perfect place for us to just roam. Bella discovered her inner scientist and was validated with a sticker when she proudly told an attendant that ostriches and penguins are, in fact, winged birds that cannot fly. 

We saw the Animals-Inside and Out exhibit that's by the same creators as Bodyworlds. It was mind blowing to see the inner workings (bones, muscles and blood vessels) of a real 20 foot giraffe, a massive bull and even an ostrich. Her and I walked around hand-in-hand looking at every detail. Something I totally wouldn't have the patience for had I brought my other two kids along. As we were leaving Bella made sure to write a little note in the guest book, showing me just how grown up she's becoming. She just began writing--not asking for a suggestion or a spelling change--nothing. I even politely (pathetically) tried to offer some advice, but no, a quick "I got this Mom" was the response immediately sending my tear ducts into overdrive. 


For Mia's special date we decided that we wanted to explore our inner creativity and decided that a night of painting would be perfect. We enjoyed an unbelievably awesome dinner at Panera, where I discovered that she's quite the companion when she's not surrounded by her siblings fighting over god knows what. My mission with Mia was to make sure she understood what was going to happen to me in the hospital. We talked about the procedure, the recovery, my limitations etc.

She told me she wished she could spend the night in the hospital with me (awwwwe) and when I responded with a genuine "I wished you could too" she sensed I really meant it and immediately got out of her seat walked over and hugged me. She's so in tune with everyone's emotions, its crazy. I adore that quality of hers. 

After a delightful dinner we strolled the streets of downtown LaGrange until we found the ceramic art cafe where we planned to paint our own pottery.

We decided we would make 2 bowls, one for her and a large snack bowl for our family fun nights. Being the only two people in the cafe, her and I laughed and painted and talked. We talked about how important her new role will be when her brother arrives. I reassured her of what a great sister she is and begged for her patience during bedtime when it may be difficult for me to put four kids to sleep and REALLY stressed the importance of my "only 1 child crying at a time" rule.

She understood.

But my jaw dropping favorite moment of the night was when she told me that "she definitely had some leftover space in her heart to love a new brother."



For my special date with my little lover, I just knew he'd go nuts over a picnic and an afternoon of uninterrupted race car driving. Several AWESOME moms I know lent us their electronic cars for the day and let my little guy ride his heart out. Thank you Sharon and Sharon!

We headed over to my Aunt's house and little Andretti was off!

He was SO happy and so independent without his older sisters bossing him around.

He'd go between both cars like a true salesman. We made an imaginary gas station and he pumped his gas with a yard stick.

He loved it when I sent him on "errands" like the grocery store, where he came back with milk and 2 apples or should I say a pinecone and 2 leaves :)

With Chance, I knew I couldn't go into the "future of our family conversation" or the "medical explanation talk", but I could remind him that he's loved. Over and over I reassured him how special he is, how he'll still be loved when his brother comes and that he'll spend the rest of his life being appreciated by all of us, unconditionally.

Which, in between mouthfuls of Dunkin Donut munchkins, I think he understood.

Here's a quick video clip that I'm posting here in case it ever gets deleted from my phone. I love this clip almost as much as I love him.

Now I gotta dash--the post office, bank and Goodwill drop-off calls my name. 

3 days and counting!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mama Mia's 5th Birthday

It's 11:35 at night and yet I am somehow managing enough energy to type these words. Perhaps its my fancy new wireless keyboard that Eugene got me for Mother's Day. What's so great about a wireless keyboard you ask? Well, it's for my KINDLE! Which basically makes it a super small and convenient laptop instead of some swipey e-reader. No, this changes everything! I can blog from the comforts of my own bed, which I'm sure will be handy in the next couple months. 

Yes, Mother's Day was great but what was best about today was the end-of-birthday week bash we threw for Mia. 

Here's a recap of her week.

On the morning of May 8th we started with pancakes.

Later that morning, Eugene, Chance and I joined Mia at her school so we could celebrate her birthday with her. They have this really great birthday tradition of celebrating every year of life as it coincides with the earth's yearly trip around the sun.

Our little flower child got to walk around the line 5 times for the 5 years she's been alive. She has been looking forward to this all year long.

Later that evening, she got to chose dinner and we all jumped for joy when she chose Noodles and Company because we ALL love it and no one has to do dishes, win-win. After Noodles, we headed home for some cupcakes and a few birthday presents.  

For her birthday present this year we bought Mia her very own super dainty peignoir set, which is french for a fancy nightgown and matching robe. Why do I feel like that line was straight out of Fancy Nancy?

It blew her away--we couldn't have picked a better gift for her. In fact, the moment she steps into the house from being anywhere she immediately makes a beeline for her gown and robe set.

She's such a girly-girl. Except when she hits. And yells. And grunts. Yeah, come to think of it, she spends her days in two different worlds, a princess in a fairy tale and a truck driver at a monster rally. And that's what I love about her---her variety.

On the morning of her birthday party my sister treated the girls to a salon day at Sweet and Sassy where they got fancy up-do's, manicures, glitter makeup, sticker earrings and a butload of overpriced accessories.

Meanwhile, I was at home getting everything ready for Mia's birthday party.

She wanted a Wreck-It-Ralph birthday party because "it has forever been my dream to be Vanellope Von Schweetz, Mooooooooom."  Which is the lead girl character in the movie. Wreck-it-Ralph meets Vanellope in the Sugar Rush video game---think Mario Kart meets Candyland.  Yes, that's the kind of birthday she wanted.

I smelled a challenge.

In the movie, Ralph is a bad guy who desperatley wants to be good but would only be considered a "good guy" if he earned a medal. So, for our party we decided that every family member needed to earn a medal by passing a test which would allow them to advance to the next level (which was the dining room btw).

And just like Sugar Rush, we all had our own candy inspired player names!

Hearing my mom innocently call herself Nana Wanna Ding Dong was the single funniest thing of the day (That's what she said.) And little Chance would only respond to anyone unless we called him Skittle Boo Chancey Chew. Clearly, my family is committed to my themes. 

Here's the birthday girl with her minute-to-win-it challenge: try to get the cookie into your mouth without using your hands, only your face. It was hilarious!!!!

And the good news is that all Sugar Rush family members earned their medal and was allowed into the dining room for lunch!

By the way, I totally recommend Target's party supply section! They have such fun items to chose from and are a lot less commercial than Party City.

Mia chose the menu and decided that an Oreo appetizer would be a perfect start to her Sugar Rush lunch, followed by garlic bread, carbonara and homemade lasagna. Mia, I want you to know that your awesome dad even took the time to make home made noodles for the lasagna, now that's love.

My sister wowed the crowd with an awesome Wreck it Ralph cake for Mia that almost had me setting up dentist appts just from looking at it. It was DELICIOUS! I can't thank you enough Gabey for all the time and effort that you spend on my kids, they're so lucky to have an Aunt as cool as you.

Seriously, they went NUTS over this cake. What child wouldn't, right?!

It was even rainbow on the inside which had Mia smiling from ear to ear.

Chance was pretty proud of the plates.

And of course, we had to light it again so that little man got a turn to blow out the candles too!

Mia also wanted to give out cookies that were like the medal that Vanellope made for Ralph, so I put my baking skills to the test. 

Overall, the party was exactly what she wanted, right down to the fancy blue fan that she asked us for. 
Mia, your daddy and I love you with all of our heart and can't wait to watch you celebrate 
many more birthdays to come. Watching you grow and evolve is one of my greatest pleasures! Happy Birthday Mia!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got 6 days to prepare for A NEW BABY!!!!!!!!!


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