Thursday, February 28, 2013

Holden - Two Weeks

Happy Two Week Birthday, little guy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Holden Meets His Minnesota Great-Grandparents

Last Thursday, Robin, Holden, and I took a trip to Forest Lake to meet Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Laqua. They were so excited to hold their new great-grandson (great-grandchild number six for them). I couldn't help but think of my Grandma Gloria and how much she would have enjoyed Holden; my Grandma Lovella immediately commented on the same thing. I do, though, feel fortunate that Lydia was able to meet five of her great-grandparents, and Holden will meet four; I never met any of mine.

These photos are priceless, yes?

We spent about three hours at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Robin swears he didn't take a nap.

Smothered with Love

Lydia is an extremely enthusiastic big sister. Our biggest challenge at home is teaching her appropriate boundaries with her little brother. She constantly wants to hug and kiss him and love on him. She does this at all times: when he is sleeping, when he is eating, when he is crying. This makes for some very sweet, sweet moments, but it also has made for some frustration and some laughs. 

Last Thursday, I was trying to take one week pictures of Holden. Lydia saw me with him on the sofa and quickly jumped in. The photo session didn't yield much in terms of pictures of Holden alone, but I kind of love the surprise product.

An Updated Update

At our Monday Lactation Consultant appointment, we received some frustrating information. The coping method to address pain during nursing caused my supply to drop substantially on my right side, and as a result, Holden hadn't gained much weight. We received (even more) coaching on nursing, and were sent home with a plan: nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night, switch sides twice during a feeding (Left-Right-Left or Right-Left-Right), and after nursing, pump for ten minutes on the right side and give Holden the pumped milk--.5 ozs. We went home, and I diligently followed the instructions, which proved to be insanely time consuming--each feeding took at least an hour, and Robin has been washing and sterilizing pump parts several times a day. By this morning, I was ready to a.) scream and completely throw in the towel on nursing or b.) inform the Lactation Consultant at our follow-up (earlier today) that I was going to stop following her instructions and just let Holden nurse.

Fortunately for all of us, nothing at today's appointment warranted me to scream, curse, or tell off the very sweet Lactation Consultant. Holden had gained nearly three ounces since Monday (they want babies to gain close to an ounce a day), and he received 2.5 ozs. in one sitting--enough for his weight and body needs. I was sent home with instructions to continue nursing him on our schedule, alternating starting sides, and pumping on the right side after every other feeding. I also have a prescription for a steroid cream to help heal more quickly. This feels much more manageable.

It's hard not to feel completely impatient and want this all to be done and breastfeeding to be well-established. Hopefully soon. At least we seem to be on the right track now.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Update

I blog for lots of reasons. The primary would be that it has proven to be the most effective way that I can document our days, and if you go back to March 2009 and the following months, you'll find a detailed account of Lydia's first year. During the past few months, I've worked to get in the habit of blogging again so that Holden, too, can have a record of his earliest months of life. Keeping people updated on our life is important to us, especially since we're fortunate to have loved ones all over the country, and during the final weeks of pregnancy and the first weeks of infant-hood, I don't have the time or energy to take nearly as many phone calls as I'd like, so I find some comfort in knowing that people can get updates online. Our friends' blogs make us feel like we're still living a few miles away and getting to know their children well, so I like the idea of making that possible for others.

Then there times when I write posts like my last; when I just need to write for pure catharsis and when I really need people to know my truth and where I'm at. This always feels like a huge risk, as our culture in general doesn't seem to take well to honesty, especially honesty coming from women and mothers about frustration. I always know that some people who read will consider my writing as whining, but I've gotten over it. I know how good its felt for me to read honest accounts of motherhood, and I like the idea of offering that to friends who read who are in similar situations, and I like the idea of an honest account for me, Lydia, and Holden to look back on.

Finally, when I've allowed myself to be my most vulnerable on this blog--when I've taken the risk of being heard as a whiner--is when I've experienced the most resulting uplift. The messages and texts I have received since Thursday reminds us that we are, indeed part of a village, and encouragement is always at the ready. Three days later, here's an update:

  • Holden continues to be a not-so-awesome night sleeper, but he's only nine days old. As our friend Elizabeth reminded me, the first two weeks are not really indicative of anything. Last night was especially hard, but we're working through it and figuring things out.
  • I made another call to a different lactation consultant yesterday, and we have a second appointment on Monday to get a second opinion and hopefully a few more tips. At the encouragement of so many great friends and fellow moms, I realized that there is no such thing as too much support in this department. I have pumped instead of nursed on my right side for most of the feedings in the past twenty-four hours, and when I nursed this morning, I could tell a huge difference, and feedings today have not gotten progressively more painful as they were seeming to yesterday. I am alternating between using Lansinoh Soothies (hydrogel dressings) and Motherlove cream after feedings thanks to an awesome delivery by Brook (our doula), and as of right now, things feel much better. Yesterday I was very frustrated; it felt like things were getting worse again, and my right side was not emptying well, but that has seemed to resolve itself, also. Things are not great, but I am no longer panicking that this rocky start will mean that nursing won't work, thanks to the women who messaged me and let me know about their struggles that were followed by months of successful nursing. I've stopped panicking that Holden isn't gaining weight or getting enough milk, because there is nothing to indicate that this is the case. Certainly, the intense, intense pain that I was experiencing on Tuesday and Wednesday morning seems to have passed.
  • Nursing struggles with second children are not uncommon. Nursing has been so much harder this second time around, but its a good reminder that Holden and I have a learning curve and are getting to know each other in a brand new way; because this is our second time with a newborn, some things have come more easily and with less stress and anxiety, but one thing I'll take from these early nursing struggles is that Holden is his own person, and we need to get to know him in his own individuality.
  • Regarding Lydia, our friend Kelsey offered a really great reminder: we have given Lydia the lifelong gift of a sibling. Part and parcel with this is the newborn process and decreased attention. Robin also reminded me that we consciously chose for Lydia not to be an only child, for her to learn how to share her world with a sibling along with experiencing the companionship of a little brother. 
Bottom line: Thank you for the love and support. We are blessed to have so many amazing, encouraging, wise people around us.

**There are some more photo-heavy posts coming, but I left my camera in Forest Lake. It is supposed to make its way back to us today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Tipping Point

I recall when Lydia was born a day when I crashed--when the lack of sleep, the major life changes, the toll that giving birth takes on the body--all hit me at once. Every baby book and postpartum article mentions the "baby blues"; this is a normal occurrence, part of the process of adjusting to an event that, in my opinion, changes ones life as quickly as possible as much as possible.

Yesterday was my crash. Holden has been struggling with sleep through the night; he's only a week old, after all. I woke up from a poor night of sleep in intense pain; Holden and I have been struggling with breastfeeding, not in the sense that he's not getting enough milk, but in the sense that he's latching in a way that has done quite the number on my body. Realizing that I needed to see a lactation consultant, I made phone call after phone call, only to be told that the soonest I could be seen was the next day. At this point, I had been sitting trying to will myself to nurse him on the right side for almost half an hour, dreading the excruciating pain that would ensue. I started crying on the phone, and the receptionist took pity on me. She got me an appointment with a lactation consultant a little over an hour later. We quickly got Lydia ready for school and headed to the clinic. The lactation consultant was very helpful, gave me some coaching that allowed me to nurse Holden without blinding pain, and gave me some options to help speed healing.

We got in the car and drove for lunch. We'd been planning this for a couple of days, as we had a gift certificate burning a whole in our pocket and felt ready to take Holden out for a meal. We sat down at Burger Jones, and my phone rang. I took the call, and a long conversation with Human Resources followed; I learned just how much money I will lose by taking ten weeks of maternity leave, and the weight that had left when we met with the lactation consultant was back on my shoulders. Taking ten weeks feels like a minimum to me; any longer would necessitate putting my newborn in daycare, and that isn't something I am comfortable with. I learned with Lydia just how quickly the first ten weeks go. I sat at the table crying for the second time of the day.

With that, everything that has been on my mind, all of the changes that have happened since February fourteenth at 6:10 AM came out. We finished our meal, and we got in the car. I realized I just needed to cry. I needed to cry for my breastfeeding frustration, for the financial pressure that will result in making what we think is the best parenting decision for our family, for Lydia who is so, so excited about a brother but is getting so much less attention than she did before, especially from me, and for Holden, for whom I feel such tremendous, tremendous love and affection. When Lydia was born, it took a little time to adjust to the concept of being a mother. I immediately and instinctively cared for her and wanted to protect her, but the warm, hopeful love that we feel for our children took time to develop. This time, I get it, and that feeling came immediately, and it is overwhelming. There have been so many wonderful, wonderful changes, but they come with a lot of transition for everyone involved, and I needed the emotional release.

Robin and I spent the rest of the day holed up at home, snoozing, and watching reruns on Hulu. I did a lot of crying, and it was exactly what I needed. Today I've found some equilibrium. For me and I'm guessing many others, letting myself go over the tipping point was just what it took to find myself feeling a little lighter and more balanced.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Due Date Stats and Weight Gain

Today is Holden's due date! I really assumed I would still be pregnant at this point, but here we are with a five-day old!

My milk is definitely in. Quite in. We're figuring the nursing thing out, though I'm experiencing some pain, especially on my right side. If it doesn't improve in the next day, I'm pretty sure I'll head to a lactation consultant, just to avoid further trouble. Lydia lost well over the healthy range and we almost had to supplement with formula, so I've been much more aware this time, and to make sure that we were headed in the right direction, we took him to the free weigh-in at Blooma today.

So far, Holden's weight stats:

At birth: 9 lbs. 8 ozs.
At hospital discharge: 9 lbs. 0.5 ozs.
At newborn assessment (4 days old): 8 lbs. 14.5 ozs (Still well within the healthy weight-loss range.)
At Blooma weigh-in on due date (5 days old): 9 lbs., 1.5 oz. (We're headed upward!)

Lydia the Big Sister

When we told Lydia we were pregnant, she was in awe. Robin said, "That means you're going to be..." and she finished in a wonder-struck whisper, "A big sister." Ever since then she has looked forward to the arrival of "her baby," and she is truly in love. She can't get enough of Holden, always wants to hold him, and be close to him. She constantly says, "I love you, baby," and coos at her little brother. We are very early in the game, and I'm sure that as Lydia realizes the permanence of Holden's presence, there are going to be some major growing pains, but right now, we are reveling in watching our forever-baby girl become a big sister to our baby boy.

An Inevitable First

When I found out that I was carrying a little boy, I dreaded one inevitable moment: the moment he peed while on the changing table. Little girls pee on changing tables, too, but with boys, it's a whole new ballgame. So far, we had dodged the proverbial (or not so proverbial) bullet, but today... today.

I was changing Holden's diaper and out of nowhere, I swear there was a stream of pee that rose five feet in the air. Okay, maybe two feet. Or a foot and a half. But it was a lot, and it was shocking. Robin heard me exclaim and ran into the nursery thinking something was seriously wrong, only to find me laughing and a changing table, wall, and baby covered in pee.

This necessitated a second milestone: Holden's first bath at home. He was not such a fan, as the pictures demonstrate.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Six Thousand Words

Home Sweet Home

After spending a lovely day at Abbott yesterday and introducing Holden to many new friends, we made the decision to go home. We had debated spending an extra night just to relax, but upon realizing that we would most likely be woken up less by Holden than by nurses if we were at home, we decided to be discharged. Upon receiving clearance from our pediatrician, a midwife, and clear hearing and CCHD screens, we packed up our room and got in the car. I do want to point out that our room in the Mother-Baby Center at Abbott-Northwestern was beautiful. We had an iPod dock, a large flat screen TV, a fold out sofa-bed, a glider, and a large bathroom. We really can't say enough good things about our experience in the hospital. (We would like to request that they add valet parking and improve their phone signal. Our car sat running for three hours--yes, three hours--in their drop-off because I was too far into labor for Robin to leave and there was no nearby place to park, and we both struggled to receive or make phone calls and text messages. Also, our car was perfectly fine when our doula Brook went down and moved it at 10:30.)

Anyway, we headed home around dinner time. As we got into the car, I felt a wave of adrenaline--excitement, disbelief, and fear all mixed together--realizing that we were actually taking another baby home. I had a brief "maybe we should have stayed" moment and then realized that this first night home just needed to happen. We got home, got situated on the sofa, and ordered our Valentine's dinner--delivery from a nearby sushi restaurant--and watched a little TV. 

Holden's first night at home was nearly flawless. He woke up on a 2-3 hour schedule, fed, and went right back to sleep. Robin and I both commented (and quickly knocked on wood) that we each felt somewhat refreshed in the morning. Nursing is going fairly smoothly, though I'm feeling the toll of the first few days spent breastfeeding and am very thankful for lanolin. My body is rebounding well--even better than I thought when I realized that I had gone from 10:15 last night until 9:15 this morning without any pain relief. (I then popped some ibuprofen.) When Lydia was born, I took narcotics and ibuprofen for awhile and recall being extremely uncomfortable. Despite Holden's five extra ounces and despite the fact that I exercised far less this pregnancy, my body just feels better. Maybe it's the level of activity I had to maintain while parenting Lydia, maybe it's delivering in a way that felt natural as opposed to a way that the doctor instructed me, maybe it's just that it's round two, but things feel better.

Now, we enter day three with our newly arrived little guy. Lydia and Stanley will come back home this evening, and we will begin "real" life as a family of four. We've got a cue lined up on AppleTV, books to be read, a running Target list, and little outings planned to do as we feel ready. We're feeling very, very thankful.
Robin snuggles Holden during our final hours at Abbott.
All bundled up and ready to go. We've never had to address taking a newborn out in the cold before!

The youngest of my two wonderful Valentine's dinner dates.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Partners in Crime

The Contine family is near and dear to our heart; I count our goodbye to them as one of the most difficult we made when leaving Austin. Their son, Oliver is exactly one month younger than Lyds and was Lydia's first friend, and we have missed them dearly since moving to Minneapolis. Elizabeth was one of a handful of people that knew we were trying for Baby #2, and when I called to tell her we were pregnant, she said, "Well... not to completely repeat history, but..." and for the second time in our relationship, she shared with me that our baby would be joined by a second Baby Contine roughly two weeks after his arrival.

Elizabeth was tremendously supportive during the difficult weeks of September and celebrated with us when we received good news. Elizabeth never made me feel crazy for my anxiety and continued to inquire and offer encouragement through the weeks of monitoring toward the end of our pregnancy. We have shared belly photos via text and compared pregnancies, so when I received a text in November that Elizabeth was in the hospital after a similar feeling (and more severe) pregnancy complication and Baby Contine--named Henry Charles--was threatening to make his appearance at 26 weeks, there was nowhere I wanted to be other than in Austin so that we could offer our support in person. Fortunately, things with Henry stabilized, he remained an "inside baby," and things for the Contines improved, even despite a second big scare in January. I joked that I thought our babies would share a birthday this round, but mostly was glad that Henry was a 2013 baby. A March due date baby arriving in November? Scary stuff.

So on Tuesday, when we received the message that Henry Charles arrived at nearly 37 weeks gestation at a healthy six and a half pounds, we wished we were in Austin, welcoming Henry with what would be the second birthday dinner of El Chilito burritos delivered for the Contine family, and now we know our boys are two days apart, one born on Mardi Gras, the other on Valentine's Day. Henry and Elizabeth have been quite the team and have overcome some major pregnancy obstacles, and we know that this little guy is bound to be pretty amazing. Congratulations, Elizabeth, Brian, Oliver, and Henry! We are so excited, we wish we were there, and we can't wait to snuggle beautiful Henry soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Laurie, Robin, and Holden's Birth Story

Since my due date was Feb. 19, I had been purposefully planning things between now and then. I had an observation scheduled tomorrow, knitting club and yoga on Saturday, Lydia's Valentine's Day pizza lunch at school... Earlier in this pregnancy, I had felt like our little boy would not make it to his due date. As the date approached, however, I began to assume he would be late, and I feared that my body wouldn't go into labor on its own at all.

Wednesday was a hard day for lots of reasons, and because Robin had commitments until about 9:30 that evening, I called our friend Casey to come hang out with Lydia and I while we made her Valentines for school. I kept saying things like "Since I might be pregnant for two more weeks..."

Enter 6 AM. Actually, back up. We very rarely sleep with Lydia. However, last night, a running mind kept me awake, and when Lydia called and said she was scared around 3 in the morning, I decided that, since our days as a family of three were numbered, I would go sleep with her. I laid with her and we snuggled, and soon, we were both asleep. At about 6:10, still laying in her bed, I woke to a popping feeling in my low belly, followed by some intense cramping that wrapped around to my back. Still in a sleepy fog, I realized as I felt a sudden gush that this might be labor and that, while I had overslept, going to school was not going to be in the cards today. I woke Robin, asked him to call his sister and let her know that we would need her to come get Lydia, placed a request for a sub--my long-term sub had a prior commitment today--and began making the important calls--to the clinic, to our doula, to my parents to inform them that Lydia would likely need to be picked up from school today.

Meanwhile, contraction #2 happened at about 6:35-40. This was comforting; I began to trust that my body would go into labor on its own as it had with Lydia and we wouldn't be up against an "expiration date" due to my water breaking before labor had started. I felt giddy and excited, and we quickly packed a bag--something I had been putting off--and debated going in to the hospital right away. As we waited for Heidi to pick up Lydia, I realized that my contractions albeit quite manageable, were getting closer and closer together so keeping in mind all of the stories of second labors going so much faster than first and knowing that Lydia arrived in a speedy six hours, we decided to head to the hospital with the intention of leaving if labor wasn't progressing the way we wanted it to.

I quickly started to rely on leaning over and supporting myself on the bed, sofa, etc., and making low noises in an effort to stay relaxed. I swayed like we do in prenatal yoga. It was easy to keep my mind off of panic and anxiety with Lydia running around. She was so giddy and sweet, and I knew that the next time I saw her, we would be a family of four. Heidi came, Robin got Lydia into her car, and we headed to Abbott-Northwestern. Watching the clock, I felt like we had made the right decision in going to the hospital; I was also enjoying the lack of panic in our drive; when we drove to the hospital with Lydia, I was in a lot of pain and I didn't have a handle on what was going on. This time, my contractions, while feeling more intense, were still very manageable, and I had more confidence. We arrived at the Mother-Baby Center at about 7:35, left our car in the turnaround with the intention of Robin going down to pick it up once we were settled, and headed up to the Maternal Assessment Center. I was weighed, celebrated that I had stayed under my weight-gain goal, and got onto the bed to be monitored. Baby's heartbeat looked good and he was responding well to contractions.

Then...the exciting part. The nurse checked my cervix and announced that we were at seven centimeters! She unplugged the monitors and sent us to the birthing wing; they held off on asking me intake questions or doing anything deemed unnecessary. From that point on, the nurses took it upon themselves to support me in labor. It was incredible. They helped me get into the position I preferred for contractions--my hands and knees--and rather than force me to wear the heartrate monitor on a belt, the nurse held it in place during contractions. After going through a few and deeming the baby as doing well, they took me off the monitors and allowed me to labor as I wished, free of cords and belts. Contractions were definitely becoming more intense, and Robin was doing an incredible job of supporting me, hugging me tightly between contractions and rubbing my back during them.

At some point during this time, Brook, our doula arrived. She quickly found a spot on the side opposite Robin, and I continued to labor on my hands and knees. As I began to feel the urge to push, the midwife did another cervical exam. She did the exam while I was on my hands and knees rather than making me flip over and labor on my back. She determined that I had yet to reach complete dilation; there was still an anterior lip she could feel, so she asked that I hold off on pushing. This was definitely the hardest part. Brook explained that pushing could cause the lip to swell and actually slow down progress, so I worked hard to relax through contractions and allow my body to do the work it needed to do. I took deep breaths, thought "one breath at a time," and made low moaning sounds on the exhales. The midwife strongly encouraged me to lay on my left side to encourage progress; first I opted to stay on my hands and knees, and then, when she said it might reduce the urge to push, I took her suggestion.

At that point, Robin would push on my hip during contractions and Brook would hold my hands. I was feeling really warm, so I had cold washcloths on my head and neck, and Brook and the nurse fanned me to help me cool off. Contractions were definitely getting more intense, and I was fighting the urge to push. I continued with my yoga breathing, with low moaning sounds, and kept my mind in the moment. I allowed myself to verbalize my feelings between contractions and found that by the time the words passed my lips, I had processed and come to peace with any feelings of anxiety or panic. Then, all of a sudden, I really felt like pushing was no longer something I couldn't do. The midwife did another check, saying that she would try to push the lip back if it was still there, and in the midst, I started pushing. I think she said it was okay to start, though I'm not sure. I pushed gently at first, following my body's lead. As I remembered with Lydia, pushing was such a relief. I had something to do with contractions rather than just manage them. I did not, however, remember how intense it got when the baby was actually ready to come out. I managed to continue to follow my body's lead, and my body was saying, "PUSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!" I was still laying on my left side, and at some point, I determined that I could NOT keep my top leg down anymore, so up it went. Brook stood and supported my leg with her shoulder. There I pushed for about twenty minutes and suddenly, the baby's head was out.

I had requested that, if possible, I catch the baby, but the position I was in made that difficult and I wasn't in the frame of mind to do so. I had specified that if I was not able, I would love for Robin to have the opportunity, so after the midwife situated the baby, I pushed some more, and at 9:21 AM, roughly three hours after the onset of labor and less than thirty minutes of pushing, Robin caught our son. He was placed immediately on my chest, and I felt immense, immense relief. This roller coaster of a pregnancy was over, and we had a big, pink, crying little boy. He was covered in white vernix, had a head of thick dark hair, and felt so wonderfully snuggly. When Lydia was born, I was really overwhelmed; I couldn't believe we actually had a child. With Holden, I just felt gratitude and love. Gratitude for his immediate, apparent thriving health and love for this little boy whose journey to the outside brought with it so much emotional challenge and growth for me.

The nurses and midwife respected all of our requests. They did all procedures with Holden laying on me, they waited for his cord to stop pulsing, they respected my wish to decline pitocin after delivery, and when it became apparent that my bleeding was enough to warrant pitocin, they engaged in a dialogue with me about it rather than informing me what I "needed" to do. Brook continued to massage my legs and feet, and I felt so, so nurtured, respected, and cared for. Abbott-Northwestern has somewhat of a bad rap amongst the natural/normal childbirth community, and in our experience with the HealthPartners midwives at Abbott, we felt incredibly supported in our wishes for a drug-free, minimal intervention birth. As I've compared Holden's birth to Lydia's, Holden's was so much more hands-off and centered around Robin and me. They did not automatically bathe him, they left us to be as a family, and many of their assumed procedures were things that, in Texas, we had to specify. They waited nearly an hour to weigh and measure him, letting us snuggle instead and now, thirteen hours after birth, Holden has yet to leave our sight. 

We spent the day as a group of three, and shortly after five, my parents, Lydia, Heidi, and my brother Markus came to meet the newest addition. There is so much more to be said, pictures to share, reflections to be made, but right now, I am feeling such overwhelming peace, gratitude, joy, and love, I am going to leave it at this--the amazing story of Holden's birth. I couldn't have asked for any better.


Our sweet Valentine, Holden Jay Ganser! Born at 9:21 AM on February 14, 2013, weighing in at a hefty 9 lbs., 8 ozs, measuring 20 1/2", and adjusting to life on the outside beautifully. We are so in love!

Monday, February 4, 2013

BPPs #5 and 6 plus More Progress

Nothing too much to report: Baby G2 seems to be a perfectionist. Two more biophysical profiles and non-stress tests down with perfect scores on each. In other news, my body seems to be gearing up to push this baby out. I made progress in the form of 1 centimeter, some softening, and some effacement between weeks 36 and 37, and I'm experiencing a shift in contractions from definite Braxton-Hicks to something else. Brook, our doula, came over on Saturday for some comfort measure practice, which was fun, though I'm having some waves of anxiety as I realize that I'm actually going to have to get this baby out of me in the near future. He has been given strict orders to stay on the inside through the week; I have to get my things at school in order and we have tickets to The Book of Mormon on Friday.

Nursery Progress: Put a Bird on It

The infamous crib has been finished! Robin added the final coat of paint and assembled it this evening, and it is GORGEOUS. I am so proud of him and so thankful for his skill! Lydia is clearly very excited about it. I'm trying to soak up her pure elation at the thought of this baby before he arrives and she realizes that life is going to change pretty dramatically; rebellion is sure to follow.

The mobile is a collaborative effort between Robin and me (with some help from my dad gathering the pieces of wood in my parents' backyard.) I sewed the birds from a pattern found here with fabric from Crafty Planet and mounted them on the sticks with a hot glue gun. Robin then hung and balanced them with fishing line and eye hooks. We have a handful more projects on the line, but two involve the baby's name (which is top secret), and we'll see what actually gets done before he decides to become an outside dweller.

In the meantime, I am resting more easily because the basics are pretty much covered. His diapers are washed and organized--yes, we're going the cloth route. His clothes are sorted by size and the newborn clothes are in bins in the closet, which has been cleared of other debris. The Pack 'n' Play is set up as a bassinet in our room, and the car seat will be installed this weekend and inspected next week. If Baby G2 came tomorrow, we'd survive!


We decided to take this session off of Lydia's gymnastics for several reasons. 1.) Between my classes and some obedience classes for Stanley, two of our five evenings are already booked and 2.) we weren't sure how to manage the classes around the baby's arrival and thought that picking back up after his grand entrance might be a fun thing for Lydia--something just for her. The lack of physical outlet has been noticeable in her behavior, so a couple weeks ago, I decided to take her to Kids' Yoga at Blooma, the yoga studio where I've been taking prenatal classes. The class is for kids ages four through eight, but I talked to the instructor and we decided that since it was the only yoga option for Lydia and she turns four in less than two months, we'd give it a try. It is definitely an older class; parents do not sit in and are "allowed" to leave if we want. (I have taken to getting a coffee and reading in the lobby.)

Lydia seems to really like it. She comes home and shows us new poses every week, and today after class, she put her hands on my face and said, "Namaste." I realize that sending my three-year-old to yoga puts me in a whole new echelon of yuppie mom, but seriously--Kids' Yoga is pretty cool.