Month: September 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Meet Phoebe

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Dave here, subbing for the new mother of three who has her hands full of our new little girl at the moment.

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Of course, when we arrived at the hospital this morning — she admitted she was scared to death. Not about getting cut open from hip to hip again, but rather it was the spinal block she would receive before the procedure.

Needless to say, having four unsuccessful attempts at getting an IV started before finally accomplishing the feat did not exactly start off her day like she hoped.

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Alas, it only took TWO mis-pokes by the anesthesia trainee before to the real deal took over and perform the procedure to perfection to calm Leslie’s ever-increasing anxiety. But it was worth it, because at 7:44am EST, Phoebe John Grimmett came into the world.

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Coming in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and at 19 inches, the doctors must have been feeling pretty confident that she was a healthy child, because they actually let my hold her…

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Either that or they felt if I was going to drop her, what better place to do it than right by the operation room?

After our successful photo shoot, baby and me made our way over to see Mommy, who even though she was still getting everything put back in place – was overjoyed to see our new addition.

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I am proud to announce that both Leslie and Phoebe are doing wonderfully. Leslie has been on her feet less that five hours after her surgery, Phoebe has had her first bowel movement and I have gotten to change the first dirty diaper.

Leslie and I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement throughout this pregnancy. It means so much to us to be able to share it with you.

Everyone Poops and Stinkers Are Just Previews

You know you’ve reached a no-turning-back point of commitment and familiarity in your relationship when you can identify your partner not only by sight and sound, but also smell. Dave and I were leaving the hospital after my pre-op testing when I caught a whiff of what was unmistakably my husband, particularly after he’s had a little too much dairy. I call it “the sweat sox stinker.” But I didn’t even have to label it as such in his presence. I simply turned and said, “When did you have a milkshake?”

This is how well I know my husband.

I know, for some, this kind of intimacy is the stuff of nightmares, but for me, right now, it’s a comfort. Because the fact that he can endure my “forgiveness bombs” (those are the stinkers that are so unexpectedly bad, you immediately apologize for them), assures me he’ll make it through all the discomfort and grossness that comes along with childbirth. And yeah, we’ve been there before. Twice. But the need to feel not only loved, but desired, never goes away. And it’s good to know it takes more than a fart or a peek at my internal organs to turn him off.

Phoebe will be here in less than 24 hours. I’m excited, but also scared. I don’t want to die or anything. It’d be really lame for the last post on my blog to be about farts.

Make Your Own Puzzle

My kids love crafts and puzzles. This simple and fun project is the perfect marriage of the two. I especially love a craft that can be put to use like this one. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own puzzle.

Supplies:

  • Craft or popsicle sticks (any size)
  • Markers
  • Tape

Directions:

  1. Place the craft sticks side by side on a flat surface and place a piece of tape on one side to hold them together.
  2. Make Your Own Puzzle 1

  3. Flip the sticks over (taped side down) and have your child draw a picture with markers on the sticks.
  4. Make Your Own Puzzle 2

  5. Remove the tape, mix up the sticks and put the puzzle back together!
  6. Make Your Own Puzzle 3

    Make Your Own Puzzle 4

Some tips:

  • If your puzzle is especially challenging, you may want to number the sticks on the back side to help you place them in order.
  • Need to make it more challenging? Draw a picture on the other side, too!

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

It’s A Zone Defense Now. No More Man-to-Man.

Yesterday, the girls pulled out their baby pictures, curled up with Dave and me and listened to stories about when they were born. It was such a precious experience – daddy with his girl in his lap and me with mine. And though we’re all so very excited to welcome Phoebe into our family, I felt a little sad knowing these are our last days as a family of four. I’ve enjoyed this phase of our family. Right now, I feel like I’ll miss it when Phoebe comes, but my head tells me I won’t. When Lucy was on the way, I was certain I’d mourn the loss of the just-Julia experience, but honestly, it’s hard to remember what that was even like, now. Even when I look at pre-Lucy pictures, my first thought is, “Where’s Lucy?” or “Oh, Lucy would have loved that. Too bad she wasn’t there for it.” Lucy filled an empty piece of our family puzzle – a bright and vibrant one, that somehow causes the big picture to make more sense. Phoebe will do the same. But my heart doesn’t know the things my brain does, so right now, I’m relishing my time with #1 and #2 because on Friday, it’ll be gone forever. And yes, I’m crying.

The great thing about going from two to three children, however, is that I don’t have the guilt I had going from one to two. As I carried Lucy, I worried that I was ruining Julia’s life – that I was somehow taking something from her by having another child. This time, I have the wisdom and experience of knowing that a sibling can be an incredible gift.

Recently, Lucy got sick and threw up. She was outside swinging on the playset with Dave and Julia while I was at IGA picking up some essential items, like doughnuts. Dave called as I was on the way home to tell me Lucy had puked, so I rushed the rest of the way, flew into the house and ran – RAN – up the stairs to find my sick little monkey in the bedroom, looking a little green, wrapped up in a blanket on her bed with Julia reading her a story. I knelt down and inched close, touched her forehead and asked, “How you feelin’ baby?”

She stuck out a defiant hand, “NO! No, Mama. I not want you. Julia reading to me.”

I felt a little dejected, but as Dave and I sat on Julia’s bed watching the two of them across the room, I was satisfied. Julia finished one book, pulled the blanket back up over Lucy’s shoulders, offered her a drink of water, then picked up the next book to read some more. Lucy never took her eyes off her sister and I was so pleased to know they can comfort each other, depend on each other, support each other. Sometimes I have to remind myself that they can do that – you know, like when Julia kicks Lucy in the chest or Lucy destroys Julia’s art project, but it does my heart good to know they have the ability.

Phoebe will be here in just four days. And after all my wolf-crying that she’s coming early and my desperate desire to have her RIGHT NOW, it feels like it’s coming so fast and I’m filled with conflicting emotions. When a false labor contraction hits or she pushes herself under my ribs so I can’t breathe and my hips feel like they’re going to just give way, I want Friday to GET HERE. But when Lucy is on my lap, touching my cheek and singing me a made-up song about, “My Mamaaaa is so pretttyyyyy,” or Julia climbs next to me and tells me about one of her ideas – the kind she can’t share without using her hands, because it’s just so exciting – I think Friday can wait, the minutes can stretch out a little longer. And then I have to pee for the thirty second time today and I take it all back.

Phoebe, come on girl. We’re ready for ya.

Playing Detective: How to Dust for Fingerprints

Fingerprints. They’re everywhere! We’re used to cleaning them off every surface our kids touch, over and over and over again. But fingerprints can be fun!

Fingerprints

Every fingerprint is different, and since we leave our fingerprints on everything we touch (We know, right?), we can use fingerprints to identify people. Forensic scientists “lift fingerprints” from crime scenes to help them determine who was there. We found this great fingerprint lifting activity in The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do
. You and your super sleuths can do it, too.

Here’s what you’ll need.

Fingerprints Supplies

Supplies:

  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • A bowl, lid or container
  • OR

  • Cocoa powder
  • AND

  • Clear tape
  • A dry brush

Directions:

  1. Use a pair of scissors to scrape a piece of chalk over a container to collect the powder or just grab some cocoa powder.
  2. Fingerprints 1

  3. Find or make a fingerprint. We had plenty to choose from: fingerprints on the door, the windows, the television screen. We decided to use fingerprints from a glass vase.
  4. Dip the brush into the powder and carefully dust it onto the fingerprint. The dust will stick to the grease from your finger.
  5. Fingerprints 2

    Fingerprints 3

  6. Blow off any excess powder and lay a piece of clear tape on the fingerprint. Press the tape flat, then carefully peel it off. Congratulations, Detective! You’ve lifted the fingerprint!
  7. Fingerprints 4

  8. You may want to stick the fingerprint to a piece of colored paper so it’s easier to see.
  9. Fingerprints 5


Want some more fingerprint fun? Make some fingerprint people! Here’s what you’ll need:

Fingerprints 6

Supplies:

  • A washable ink pad
  • OR

  • A piece of sponge
  • Thick paint
  • AND

  • Paper
  • Art supplies such as crayons, colored pencils or markers

Directions:

  1. Apply some thick paint to your sponge or open your ink pad.
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  3. Press the tip of a finger into the paint or the pad until it is coated.
  4. Fingerprints 8

  5. Press the finger onto your paper and make a fingerprint.
  6. Fingerprints 9

  7. Use your art supplies to add faces, arms, legs, and accessories to your fingerprints to create fun characters.
  8. Fingerprints 10

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

Bravado

School is back in full swing which means I am getting up before the sun every morning.

I do not like getting up early.

I love the benefits of getting up early. But actually doing it? I despise it. I’m pretty much the meanest person on earth for at least fifiteen minutes after waking. I guess it’s a good thing I’m the first one up in our house. By the time I rouse the kids, I’ve wriggled out of my snit and am ready to annoy them awake with overwhelming cheerfulness, tickles and made-up songs.

With Phoebe’s arrival looming, I’m beginning to realize that I’m going to have to be one of those wake-up-at-4 a.m. moms. Well, that is if I want to do things like keep My OH! Momma running, this blog, exercise, bathe…you know, the luxurious stuff.

Just typing that makes me crave caffeine.

I am hopeful, however, that I will survive. Though I’m bursting with child and suffering a severe case of pregnancy-induced narcolepsy, I’ve mananged to navigate the start of school with an acceptable degree of success. I’ve stuck to my pledge to pack healthier lunches with more variety for Julia. (I found that it helps to just pack the same lunch for Lucy each day. I save time and Lucy loves knowing she’s eating lunch just like Julia is at school. She can pretty much grab it from the fridge and feed herself when it’s time to eat!) I’ve also started using a work chart for Julia. I tweaked one I found at LisaWhelchel’s website and it has been a tremendous help.

Julia's Work Chart

Julia actually enjoys using it and I figure it’ll really come in handy when I go off to have Phoebe. It makes me feel confident that even the little stuff won’t fall through the cracks. The chart tells everyone what Julia needs to do and she’s already had a few weeks of practice with it. The best part is, she’s really taken responsibility for her tasks. I don’t have to hound her to do her homework or practice piano or get dressed for ballet. She’s started doing it herself and it’s made my life so much easier.

I’ll admit, however, I’m feeling a little anxious. I’m going to have three children. THREE. I only have two hands, two eyes, and 24 hours in a day. I don’t want to let them down. I’m so worried that I will.

Yeah, I’m Still Here and No, That Baby Hasn’t Come Yet.

It’s a struggle to reach the keyboard these days. My belly is big and my brain is distracted. I also fall asleep if I stay still for more than 20.3 seconds. I discovered this the hard way on Friday when I woke up on the couch with Lucy in my lap, a book in my hands and five minutes left to get to Julia’s school to pick her up, which meant when I arrived, I had to take the very last spot in the parking lot – you know, the spot farthest away from the school. This made it particularly inconvenient that I had forgotten to put shoes on Lucy and therefore had to carry her all the way across the parking lot. Twice. Nevermind that the cups on my nursing bra weren’t clasped and I was wearing socks with sandals. No one is looking at me so much as my belly, anyway. I make jaws drop everywhere. I now know how Lady Gaga feels when she goes out.

I’m really ready to meet this Phoebe kid. And I’m tired of being pregnant.

Saturday night, I fell asleep listening to my running mix on my iPod and dreaming about the days when I can once again move. (FYI – my goal after Phoebe comes is to begin training to run the Debbie Green 5K next August with my friend Amy – and I mean RUN the entire thing in 30 minutes or less. I figure if I can do that, I can officially add “The Awesome” to my title, even if you could do it faster, sooner and better. I’ll let you call me TA, though.) Julia and Lucy stampeded my room the next morning, yanked the earbuds out of my head, put them on my belly and began a very scientific investigation of their sister’s musical preferences. The Ramones elicited a roll and at least four kicks. Fergie made her go quiet. Van Halen got her kicking again which resulted in uncontrollable flatulance that caused them to abandon their efforts and take leave of my space. It’s funny, the song they made up about Pony Farts at dinner the night before was HILARIOUS. But Mommy Stinkers? Revolting!

And so, the countdown continues. 11 days to go…

Make a Sticky Wall Collage

Something about a wall screams, “I AM A BLANK CANVAS!” to children. Their hands, crayons, markers and stickers just seem destined to touch them. So why not make it permissible, easy and fun with this Sticky Wall Collage project?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Sticky Wall Collage Supplies

Supplies:

  • Contact Paper (You can find it at the dollar store!)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Collage materials (Scraps of fabric or paper, beads, cotton balls, feathers, pasta, Cheerios, glitter, sequins – whatever you have lying around that’ll stick to contact paper!)

Directions:

  1. Gather your collage supplies and hang the contact paper sticky side out on the wall with tape. You may need to cut the contact paper to fit your wall, depending on the amount of space you have.
  2. Sticky Wall Collage 1

  3. Remove the backing from the contact paper.
  4. Sticky Wall Collage 2

  5. Let your kids create a collage by sticking their materials to the contact paper.
  6. Sticky Wall Collage 3

A few tips:

  • Be sure the tape you use to adhere the contact paper to the wall is strong enough to hold the collage, but gentle enough not to mark your wall.
  • Contact paper has the perfect amount of sticky to allow your kids a do-over, if they want. Most items will peel right off and stick back on, so the collage can be made again and again.

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

It’s a Haiku Coup!

The time has come to name our seventh Haiku Buckaroo! Woohoo!

According to tradition, the winner was chosen by the reigning Buckaroo, Julie at Stars in my Sugar Bowl. Here are the results.

Honorable mentions

Julie says, “I’d like to note six honorable mentions. In true Eat, Pray, Love style, I’ve broken them into three categories. The first two made me laugh:

It’s that time of year
When the trees are having sex
And my nose gets screwed.

Submitted by Jami at World of Wiffledust

Testing our nice tent
through fierce wind gusts and downpours:
do call us insane.

Submitted by Goofball at Goofballworld

The second two made me think.

Darkness explodes with
Peachpinkyellowwhitebrightgone
Slashing through the sky.

Submitted by Jami at World of Wiffledust

Sitting with short sleeves
I look at my goosebumps
and dream of hot soup

Submitted by Goofball at Goofballworld

(Technically, this poem doesn’t have a 5-7-5 syllable count, but not all contemporary haiku does.)
And the last two tugged at my heart.”

A fat clammy hand
reaches up and pulls my hair
and then my heartstrings.

“I love you, Caleb,”
says big brother sincerely.
Nothing is sweeter.

Both submitted by Allyson at Maid for Motherhood

Third place is a tie!

Julia says, “What can I say? I love storms and these two weather-related poems caught my eye. I enjoyed the imagery in both.”

Glancing through wet glass
at the heavy grey curtain
triggers a shiver

Submitted by Goofball at Goofballworld

A coloured arch grows
sparking new optimism
through my gloomy mood

Submitted by Goofball at Goofballworld

Second place goes to …

A soft summer breeze
Like a curious blind girl
Gently touches all.

Submitted by Jami at World of Wiffledust

Julie says, “The imagery of this poem is so delicate that it almost escaped my attention during my first read-through. I love the sensation as I read the words and the comparison drawn between the gentle girl and the gentle breeze.”

And the winner is …

Hell’s front entryway –
Bright relentless searing heat.
Texas in August.

Submitted by Jami at World of Wiffledust

Julie says, “For me, this poem captures the essence of English language haiku: a comparison between two things, crisp language, vivid imagery, a seasonal reference. I can feel the heat rising from the page as I read it. Nicely done!”

Congratulations, Jami, our one and only TWO TIME Haiku Buckaroo! You’ve won:

A Magnetic Poetry Haiku Kit

A Haiku Buckaroo Mug

A Threadless Haiku T-shirt (in the size of your choice)

$25 via PayPal (or a gift card, if you’d rather)

Haiku Buckaroo Button (White) Haiku Buckaroo Button (Black)

Don’t forget to display the super-cool button on your blog, Haiku Buckaroo! (You, too, Honorable Mentions and Second and Third Place Takers.) Wear it with pride!

Thank you to Julie at Stars in my Sugar Bowl for judging the contest and to all the participants!

I’m Hearing the Oompa Loompa Song in My Nightmares

I saw the baby doctor today. I intend to see the baby doctor two more times. The third time I see her, I will also see my daughter.

“If you don’t go into labor first,” the doctor said.

I made a fake scared face.

“You know,” she laughed, “about once a year, I have a patient with a history of c-sections go into labor and end up with a fast vaginal delivery.”

And then I made a real scared face. I’m about as ready for a vaginal delivery as I was for a c-section my first go round, which means NOT AT ALL. I’m okay with the c-section, now. After a respectable depression from failing at natural child birth with Julia and a blissful c-section delivery with Lucy, I came to terms with my surgical destiny and it’s a place I don’t mind living. This is why I’m fully convinced I’ll go into labor and give birth to Phoebe in the car on the side of the road next to a cow field in Amish Country.

This is me with three weeks to go.

Belly Shot

She’s coming early, I just know it. She’s got nowhere else to go. I don’t think I can get any bigger.

I was shocked to discover I’d gained next to no weight since my last visit. The belly tape measure said I’d grown inches, though.

“It’s all that amniotic fluid,” the doctor growled when we couldn’t get Phoebe’s heartbeat on the monitor. We could see her kicking and rolling around under my skin, but even when we finally heard her heartbeat, it was so faint and muffled – going at a perfect rate, but far, far away, buried beneath amniotic fluid that I feel might burst out of my belly button at any moment.

I’m like the not-Veruca Salt girl in Willy Wonka. You know, the blueberry girl that they had to roll down to the juicing room. I don’t want to be juiced, though. I’d prefer a surgical procedure.

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