Monday, October 20, 2014

signed, sealed, delivered. the story of atticus james.


joel left bright and early on october 1st, to pick his mom up from the airport. i had agreed (reluctantly) to come in around noon to start the induction process. after taking bella to school, getting his mom, getting her signed in and picking up bella, joel returned right at 11:45am. 
we got his mom settled, and at 12:30pm, we walked to the hospital. 

for the next 4 hours, i sat in the waiting room. they took some blood and ran some tests and i sat. at 5pm, i went back with the doctor, and she explained to me that, yes, my baby was huge. while there is a margin of error of about 20%, he could be smaller, but he could be bigger. and he could get stuck. (side note: i did not want to be induced, and did not agree with the assessment that i couldn't birth this kid, but i was tired of fighting a fight that had been going on for 4 weeks, and with a due date that was relatively up in the air, i was also second guessing everything).

i was resigned to what was happening at this point and so i think i probably muttered some kind of, "letsjustgetthisoverwith", noncommittal statement and sat down.

i was given a pill form of cervidil with instructions to go away and come back in 2 hours. joel and i went for a walk through the vineyards, looking for a place to eat dinner, and then went back to our room to watch some episodes of castle. (another side note: while i hate being induced, i do like the calm moments of "just us" before our new arrival. it's like a last meal.last hurrah before bringing another little munchkin on board) i went back at 7pm and they put me on the monitors and decided nothing was happening and that i could go to bed and get another dose in the morning.

so we went to our room, put back on some castle and i laid down. i fell asleep around 10 and at around midnight, i woke up to a contraction that wasn't painful, but was a little....strong. ish. so i went and sat in the shower for a bit, before climbing back in bed.

at 1:50am, i woke up, pretty uncomfortable, and stood up. i felt something weird, and some pressure, and i decided that it was probably time to go. so i woke joel up and we headed to the delivery ward. the short walk down the hall consisted of walking quickly and then stopping about every 30 seconds to prop myself on the wall and breathe through contractions. i got there, and was hooked up to the ctg machine (finicky machine that measures contractions and the baby's heart rate), while the midwife prepped the delivery room. about 2 minutes later i had had 2 painful contractions and at 2:12am, i rang the bell and told the midwife that things were definitely getting serious.

we walked into the delivery room at 2:15am, and my contractions started to get painful. i want to take a minute to describe the delivery room-it was amazing. there were woven wraps hanging from the ceiling, tied in loops at various points, over big squishy mats to stand on, there was a giant tub on one side and a large round chair/bed thing in the middle. low lights, aromatherapy, music, these blue curtains that looked like clouds woven into the sky. it was a beautiful, very un-clinical, very peaceful room.

over the next 15 minutes, i had contractions that were painful, but short and during the breaks in between, i felt present and pain free enough to joke with joel and ask for water. at 2:30am, i started pushing.

{at 2:36 a,. atticus james came into the world
at a whopping 9lbs, 7oz and 23 inches long. 
ten fingers, ten toes and a perfectly round little head.}





i delivered completely free of any pain meds, and kneeling on the giant squishy bed/table thing. it went too quickly to get in the tub, but that aside, it was better than any birth experience that i could have imagined. no tearing, no getting stuck, no complications.

the midwife was amazing-through the whole process she told me how amazing i was doing, she had this calming presence and voice and was very encouraging. afterwards, when she got me settled into my room, she thanked me for allowing her to be present and share this experience with her. she told joel, "we did a great thing here!" right afterwards.

and unlike my births with bella and cora, this experience was this amazing bonding moment with joel. it was just the 3 of us-the midwife, joel and me. there were no bright lights, no people running in and out of the room, no medical equipment, no sterile feeling environment. and for moments here and there, it was just him, encouraging me through a contraction and cheering me on.





Friday, July 25, 2014

decluttering: phase 1

after i posted the other day about how we wanted to start getting rid of our "too much stuff" i became overly enthused by the prospect of not having so much. especially after i walked into the girls room and saw how much they had covering their floors. 

let me start by saying this: bella cleans her stuff and her room {almost}every day. she is very good at putting her dishes where they go and her trash where it goes. BUT messes still occur, and she doesn't clean that stuff unprompted. usually, right before bed time, we have a cleaning party and she and cora clean the living room, which has become their new favorite place to drag their toys to, despite my protests and threats.  

no, it is not easy. she whines annoyingly complains that "no one will help" her pick the stuff up, and i tell her that's because no one helped her make the mess. but she does it. right after i threaten to vacuum up anything still on the floor.

so when we decided we would be decluttering, i had visions of mess free afternoons dancing through my head. (currently popped by the coloring book and crayons all over the floor. but i can handle that.)

and so, one afternoon, i went to work. and this was my yield from my first go


that may not look like too much, but that is about half of the girls toys. i realized that, while they do have too much, their too much isn't too bad, really. on top of this, i got rid of a lot of baby clothes that i had been hanging onto that wouldn't sell. and there is still more i want to get rid of-puzzles and games and things that make big messes and i dread bringing out. but i will save that for a day that joel can take the girls to the park. 

i've decided to take the house in stages. 

phase 1: kids stuff

my first goal 
is to combine the girls closets into one, with all of their hang up clothes and shoes in one place, to make room for baby stuff. 

my second goal 
is to consolidate all of their toys into the two toy drawers under their play table, and clearing all of the toys out of the stand up closet in the girls room. 


my third goal 
is to find a better system for storing their clothes. right now, we have 2 closets and 2 dressers to split between 3 kids, and all of the clothes are stored between 2 rooms. so getting dressed is a little disjointed. but clearing the toys out of the stand up closet is a big key to doing that. 

i've learned that my biggest problem is organization. we have two very good, though small, closets at our disposal, and so far, they are not being utilized to their fullest. i want to get a second bar cut for one closet, which i have been meaning to do since we moved in two years ago, doubling up on the hanging space. since their clothes are still tiny, i can easily fit 2 rows of clothes in there. the stand up space is all shelves and currently, one closet stores toys and the other closet stores.....random stuff. mostly things that need to be sorted and stored properly and permanently, or sold. 

that all seems a little daunting, but maybe my "nesting" instinct will kick in, making it easier to tackle. especially if i can get a few hours of alone time to do it, without both girls insisting that everything is their favorite. 

i am going to continue to post the progress here to hold myself accountable! 

the start of something new

it is officially official! i have become a jamberry consultant. i'm not sure why it took me so long to bite the bullet, or why i have surprised myself by doing it, but i am excited! 

i am not usually good at selling things for the sake of selling them, but i have been wearing jamberry for a while now and i just love it so much. i really believe in the product and that it is the best of its kind. so here goes nothing! 






Monday, July 21, 2014

things are getting serious

we have had the conversation. the we have "too much stuff" conversation. 

i always bristle when joel brings it up, because i know we have too much stuff, because i am the one who picks up "too much stuff" on a daily basis. a lot of our "too much stuff" is present in the fact that we have boxes in the basement that haven't been opened since we lived in the states. and some of our "too much stuff" is a result of someone's need to fix things that are not broken. 

but the "too much stuff" we are getting serious about belongs to our small people. when bella was littler, i would buy every melissa & doug toy i could get my hands on. i filled her shelves with learning toys and puzzles and games designed to make her brilliant. 

and then she turned 2 and when we went to target she zipped down the little people aisle, and so we filled the drawers of her table with little people. which then spilled over into the closet and the shelves....

and then she turned 4 and got an opinion and she decided to fill her shelves with lalaloopsy and my little pony. 

yet we still have all that other stuff. because cora is old enough to play with it all. and there is another baby coming soon, and once cora outgrows it, he will be playing with it. 

and so "too much stuff" just kept growing and growing. 

but we've had enough. in the wise words of my husband, "they will be no less enriched if we take everything away." 

we aren't getting that drastic. but my kids don't really play with their toys. sure, they have a few sets of things that they love and play with all the time-cora, the kitchen, bella, her trains and her my little ponies. they play together with lalaoopsy and occasionally they build a small village of little people. but all the rest of that stuff is just stuff. and they play so well withOUT stuff. tonight for 45 minutes, they played "watch what i can do" on a giant body pillow. 

and so i am on a mission. tonight, i got rid of a huge basket worth of stuff and they didn't even notice. the challenge will be keeping it down when christmas and birthdays come around, but santa has a plan for that. 

i saw on pinterest an idea that i think the jolly fat man will be adopting this year....

something they want, 
something the need, 
something to wear
and something to read. 

and that's all, folks. no mountain of toys under the christmas tree this year. 4 simple gifts, per child. 

we've only made a small dent in the "too much stuff" and will continue to chip away slowly, until we aren't ruled by our stuff. and we are only just starting there. i want to extend it into our stuff. movies and kitchen gadgets and {deep breath} crafty things. 

maybe i will even take pictures......

Sunday, July 20, 2014

i can't take the heat.....

the heat is getting to me. 

as i write this, i am sitting on the lukewarm floor in front of a fan, sweat dripping off of my forehead. i just can't.......

i am not a summer in germany person. the summers here are relatively short, and therefor, no one believes in a/c. and while i love the beach and the pool and lakes and any body of water, really, if i can't escape the heat, i am not a nice person. 

i wake up hot, then have two little hot bodies who want to snuggle just as the interior temperature reaches "sauna", and a little hot potato just keeping my core temperature up. 

our fabulous px, which is notoriously never properly stocked has no pools, but an abundance of goggles and floats. like, the annoying floats that always go on sale at the end of the year for $2 because NO. ONE. BUYS. THEM. (side note: the person stocking our exchange needs a new job.) 

joel is TDY this week back to the states, where he he sleeps in an air conditioned room, then drives to an air conditioned building to sit in an air conditioned conference room, and finally to an air conditioned restaurant with ice in their drinks and service that is quick, where he eats by himself with no children, a meal he doesn't have to cook in a hot kitchen and then clean, while small hot people cling to his sticky legs begging to be held.....and my attitude about that has just been horrendous. 

in 9 years, i have not complained about a deployment or a tdy. but this time, i find myself very complain-y every day. 

i find it pertinent to share, because in this community of fellow military spouses, it can be very tempting to hear someone else complain about their situation and guffaw at their attitude. i've been there. especially when my husband is deployed and someone complains that their husbands weekend corporate work trip is really stressing them out. that's a bad attitude to have too. because everyone handles what they are dealt differently. this is the shortest TDY joel has been on, and mostly because of the heat, i have struggled with it more than any separation we have faced. 


so this week, i'm asking anyone who happens to read this to pray for me: 

for my attitude to not be dependent upon my room temperature. 

for patience with my children, who aren't being any more "child like" than usual, but with whom i am losing it, because the heat already has me irritated ("please don't touch me" has become a common phrase lately, and i don't like it.). 

for this heat to break (70's are perfectly fine. but 90 degree days are just not ok....). 

for my attitude when joel gets back, as it will still be upper 80's when he gets back. 

and for bella, who keeps turning the fans off because they are making her cold. bless. 





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

because i said so

"why? mommy why? but why? whywhywhywhywhyhwy?"

that question is about to out me in the loony bin.....

don't get me wrong, i love and encourage the curiosity of children. however, this is not curiosity. this is one 4 1/2 year old trying to drive me insane. 

today in the car, she screamed as i was merging onto the autobahn. naturally i very irrationally screamed  calmly and rationally responded, "DON'TEVERSCREAMWHENIAMGETTINGONTHEAUTOBAHNUNLESSYOUAREDYING!!!!!!"

because that is the only way to appropriately respond to that situation. swearsies. 

i feel like a rational person would realize at that moment that it is not a good idea to scream in the car. but 4 1/2 year olds are not rational people. so she yelled back, "WHYYYYYY?!!??!!?!?" 

"........because i said so. "

"but, why?"

"just don't do it."

"but WHY????"

you may be thinking, "well that's rational, why don't you just explain it to her???". that's a great question. and i have an even better answer. see, every time we are in the car, she picks the worst possible moment to just....scream. inexplicably. sometimes it's when i am merging lanes. sometimes it's when i am making a left turn across traffic. and occasionally it's when i am at a stop light. the only real explanation that i have is that she is a girl and little girls, for some strange reason have this impulse to scream at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason. or she may suffer from tourettes. 

and for each time she has done this, i have explained to her that it scares me and i'm driving and if she does it while i am driving and can't see her, i think something is wrong and i may wreck and we could die. because all good explanations end with a fiery ball of flames. i can't tell you how many times i have given her this very slippery slope turn of events that will undoubtedly occur one day.

and then she does it again. and i tell her not to do it. and she asks why. every. time. 

WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY?????? 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

rompers and ruffles


if you know me, you know that when i find something i like, i talk about it. a lot. because i definitely believe in the power of word of mouth. and when i find a small business (or a big one) that i love, i want it to succeed and so i "vote with my dollars", so to speak. 


several years ago, a friend of mine started a business making custom monogrammed and appliqued kids shirts. what started as a modest facebook page, and website, grew to have over 2,000 fans. 

each week, tabitha runs a sale, featuring a theme, with several different designs, and lately she has expanded to include monogrammed hats, purses, diaper bags, coolers and casserole dishes. she carries kids back packs, matching lunch bags, and does presales for things like squeaker shoes, mud pie and christmas items. 


speaking of christmas items, this friday, she will put on a special "christmas in july" sale, where she will have all kinds of christmas goodies up for grabs.



but this isn't a unique idea-many boutique style places have sales and preorders and "auctions" like this. but when you order from R&R, you aren't ordering from a store, or a large business trying to expand into social media. you are ordering from one mom. and that means you are getting very personalized service. 


i've been ordering shirts, shoes and pajamas from tabitha for a few years now, and i can't get enough. not just because they are adorable (though yes, that is a huge reason), but because i can message her and say, "i like this fabric with this font, but what do you think??? can you make this extra thing for me??" and she puts her creative brain to work, making just the right combination of colors and patterns work, perfectly. 

not only that, but she is so willing to go out of her way to make sure everything is right with your order. i got my mom a goblet (because what fancy grandma doesn't need a goblet with her monogram on it?!) for her birthday, and tabitha packaged it up, and delivered it to her at her work. you don't get that kind of service from a chain or even most stores. 


i've had so many personalized experiences, which you can only get from a small business. when we went to disney, in paris, i emailed tabitha and asked if she could hook me up with something. she spent a little bit figuring something out and sent me an image of the eiffel tower with minnie in front of it, that i absolutely loved. 



this one is another one i had made special-bella's fourth birthday. i sent tabitha a picture of bella's favorite lalaloopsy, and she made it happen. bella loved it.


i love stocking up on holiday and seasonal shirts each year. they are absolutely the cutest shirts around. and they make me feel super festive. 



when cora was born, this was her coming home outfit. and this next baby has his very own special shirt headed my way right now which we will use to announce his name! 



we got cover ups for the girls for the summer with their monogram on them. any old cover up would do, but i really love having personalized ones for each girl. and they like them too. 


each time i get new shirts in, the girls rip into the box like it's christmas. and cora, my little fashionista, lover of cute clothes, squeals like a little.....well.....girl. 

 this weekend is the special "christmas in july" sale, featuring pajamas, stockings, tree skirts and more.