Sunday, January 28, 2007
I can't believe we haven't taken a single belly shot of this pregnancy!!!

As soon as Jared is done putting Emmie to sleep (one hour earlier than normal...ugh) I'll have him clear up the memory card and take a darn shot of my growing belly. I was hesitant to do this a few weeks ago because of the marks Em left on my belly, but in all honesty I'm proud of them. Someone once told me that they resemble a lotus flower, and that comment did wonders for my self confidence!

Savvy is moving around so much today, especially when I eat cold things. Of course this means that I ate lemon ice and a pudding pop back-to-back. :)

Pictures coming...soon...

Posted by Kier at 8:36 PM | 3 comments
Random picture of the day: My nephew Josh posing with my mom. Notice their feet; on Mom's, a cast-type boot to fix her foot that was broken for 2 months without her knowing it. She stumbled on the way to the tube in London with my sister and couldn't get in to see a specialist, hence the now even more broken foot. On Josh's foot, an aluminum foil cast, because of course his foot is broken just like Gram's. Words can't express how much I want to gobble him up sometimes!

Moving on then!
Yesterday I reached 20 weeks, the halfway point of this pregnancy! My belly is noticeable (thanks to the squashing of internal organs way up high, I look farther along than I am) and I'm feeling pretty good. Savannah is moving around but Jared can't feel her yet; I'm expecting to feel her from the outside somewhere around week 24 (like last time).

We went to Joshua K's first birthday party yesterday and had a great time chatting with our friends and playing with the kiddos.

Lisa, Derek, Zelda, and Preston (hiding within his mommy for now!).

Joshua squishing birthday cake in his face. Oh, the fun he had!!

It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated Emma's first birthday, and I know that a whole year with Savannah is going to fly right by us. Thank goodness for quiet nights when I can remember the joys of being a mom and take the time to slow down a bit.

Posted by Kier at 2:48 PM | 3 comments
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I have to admit, I'm pretty darn good at planning successful baby outings! Today we went to the Aquarium of Niagara (located, duh, in my hometown of Niagara Falls). Jared's mom is here for a visit so obviously she came with us, along with our friends Lisa, her daughter Zelda, and Kelly and her son Josh. We had a fantastic time! My father got us all in for free using his family pass. The story behind that is that his business stripes their parking lot for free (has been doing this for years), and he takes his kindergarteners there every year as well, which adds up to lots of free visits for our family. Having young children and being extremely frugal, I am thrilled at this!!!

Anyway, back to today. Our first stop was the penguin exhibit, which all three kids adored! Penguins have a special place in my heart because when I was little my father read me "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and it became our special book. For years I collected penguin everything, and I still love the little guys! Emma laughed and got so excited to see them and kept returning to knock on the glass and wave hello to them, much to my great joy! Penguins are her new favorite animals. :)

Mommy Popper's Penguins:

She loved those aquatic birds!

We got to the aquarium just in time for the sea lion show (which my father used to volunteer in), and the kiddos were amazed by Squirt, the lovely 20-year old female sea lion. I was especially touched that Squirt was our performer today, as my mom calls Emma her little Squirt. :) After the show we stayed up on the second floor and looked at no-eyed fish, piranahs, fish that eat stones, albino freaky things, and lots and lots of skeletons. After a quick trip to the diaper changing station the babies toddled around the first floor and enjoyed the sharks, huge fish, and sea lions (the view from under the water). We stayed for about an hour and a half, which is amazing considering we had 3 toddlers. And NONE of them got cranky, not even for a second. Fishies are magic, I tell ya!

In case you didn't believe me when I said where I was today (and introducing Squirt):

Watching Squirt jump over bars, balance balls on his nose and other fun tricks:

In other news, we're having a lovely visit with Jared's mom (Emma calls her Nani). She arrived on Tuesday morning and we spent that day lounging around lazily enjoying Emma. Yesterday, after Jared went to work, Nani, Emma and I went to my parents house to eat a lovely dinner of chicken caccatore (or however you spell it) and dessert of chocolate cake. Oh, my mother makes all my favorite foods when company comes and I loooooove her for it! My mom is the cutest; the house was spic'n'span, the dining room was set up with table cloth, fancy place setting & candles, and she was all dressed up! MIL really appreciated the nice touches, as did I. We had a wonderful visit and left late, our bellies full of yummy food. Unfortunately Emma's belly seemed to be overfilled, and she had bounced and played so heartily that she made herself sick. Halfway into our drive home she became hysterical and I had to pull over at a church and grab her out of her seat...just in time to pat her back and catch the vomit. My poor, poor baby! I sang her a Kindermusik song and got her to sleep, then put her back in her carseat and held her head while Nani drove home. Of course, she felt much better when I got her changed and was awake for another 2 hours, leaving us enough time for a tubby and more fun!

Emma's wonderful grandmothers:

Today we had fishy day, followed by a 2 hour nap for Emma and Nani, quick dinner, and shopping at Tar-jay - paid in full by MIL. Oh, how wonderful it is to be spoiled. I got a really beautiful tea kettle and 2 new maternity shirts which I will model once my bump is a bit bigger. We ended the night with more dinner, tubby, and lots of fun. Tonight is supposed to be the coldest of the year. Boy, am I glad to live in Buffalo! Oh well, I'll just snuggle up to Jared when he gets home (1.5 hours!) and be thankful that it's been such a wonderful week. Coming soon: details about Jared's first week of work (hint: IT'S FREAKING FANTASTIC TO WORK FOR THE CAVEMAN INSURANCE AGENCY!!!). For now, here are more pictures of our day at the aquarium:

Daddy with Emma, clapping for Squirt.

The three friends enjoy the sting rays:

Pointing to her favorite fish:

Look out behind you!

Emma, Daddy and Nani enjoying the show:

Posted by Kier at 11:05 PM | 2 comments
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday was our final class of this session of Kindermusik, and we're taking a break from classes next session. BUT! After that, Jared will be joining us for class! I can't add enough of these -->!!!!!!! to show how excited I am by this!

Here are a few shots of our lovely showcase day at Kindermusik. My mother was able to come (this is her 3rd or 4th time and she loves it - as do Emma and I!) We have a great teacher, Miss Kelly, and wonderful friends in class. I can't wait to do it again, but this time with help because I can't see my huge pregnant self hoisting Emma up and down and all around anymore!

Emma played the resonator bar after waiting patiently for her turn!

The 3 Muskateers: Emma, Joshua & Zelda, with the 3 older Muskateers: me, Kelly & Lisa.

Emmie and I enjoying quiet time and a private snuggle, which Grammy caught on camera.

Here is a great example of what I'm becoming too large and exhausted to do anymore:

Just like an old fashioned college drum circle! The babes gather to play to the music. (Tiny Sophie and blonde Lily are in the background with their moms).

Kelly's husband John, holding Josh, follows us during the Irish Trot dance. I still think it's amazing that John and I reconnected through myspace after all these years (he was a high school buddy) and now his wife and I are close friends. What's even more wonderful is that our children are growing up together!

I'm trying to find the best sewing machine & serger for our $$ (they will *hopefully* be birthday presents for me in a month!) but am not having any luck. I'm a beginner and will use them to make cloth diapers and other baby items after taking a class. I'm so excited about this! And my husband thinks it's hilarious that his wife is so into crafting. Hey, he knew this when he married me! I'm simply branching out to bigger and better things!

Posted by Kier at 12:07 PM | 3 comments
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Meet Savannah Hailee, our sweet little bean. :)

Posted by Kier at 10:34 PM | 4 comments
We were blessed to find out today that our baby is a girl! We've chosen the name Savannah Hailee for Emma's little sister. We are very grateful that Savannah is growing and developing right on target and that everything looks perfect. She weighs about 8 oz. and is about 6 inches long now; our little girl has so much growing to do before she's ready to be welcomed into our arms! With Emma I felt a sense of urgency to get to the end of pregnancy, but with Savannah I'm more relaxed and ready to enjoy the 22 weeks that are left. I'm looking forward to our time as a family of four but I want to cherish this alone time with Emma now. It's a little overwhelming to think that we'll have two children under the age of 2 soon, but we're so thankful for this gift we've been given.

Today's sonogram was as exciting as Emma's was in June 2005. We recorded the sonogram and can't wait to watch the screen as Savannah bounces and moves and stubbornly tries to keep her identity a secret from us! For awhile I didn't think she'd let us see but we were finally able to get a good shot and the sonographer is 99% positive it's a girl. This time around we were able to tell the heart, kidneys, stomach, bladder, brain, etc. before the sonographer even pointed them out because it feels like we just did this with Emma! Savannah hid her tiny little face with her hands but we were able to get some amazing pictures to keep and fall even more in love with.

When Jared and I got back to my parents house after the appointment we scooped Emma up, took her into the bathroom, and told her the news privately (not that she understood anything we said, of course!). Then we handed her a baby doll and had her give it to Grammy, Papa, Joshie and Lis. On the pink blanket were the words "I'm going to have a BABY SISTER!", which was our way of telling the family about Savannah. (There's a picture below of us with Emmie's baby wrapped up). Later on we told Jared's family the same way via webcam and they were thrilled.

I feel lucky beyond my wildest dreams, yet my heart is heavy with longing for friends and loved ones who are still waiting for children. May we all be blessed with healthy children in the very near future.

Posted by Kier at 8:21 AM | 3 comments
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Last night while lying in bed with Jae I had a little hormonal breakdown. My neck hurt almost unbearably, my head was pounding, and none of the hypno*birthing relaxation techniques were working. In fact, the more my dear hubby tried to get me into a state of zen with his "5-4-3-2-1" method, the more anxious and uncomfortable I felt. Suddenly the idea of labor happening again so soon after Emma was born was more than I could handle. I even said to him "F*@% it! I want a damn epidural! Screw my natural, hypnocrap, screw the no meds!" (well, I said something like that while crying). That, for me, was a big breakdown. I didn't even want any meds last time when the pitocin was enough to make me think Freddy Kruger had found his way into my uterus and was tearing me apart. (No, really, that was the most vivid memory I have of contractions). Last night I just couldn't imagine going through that again so soon.

A lot of people I know would roll their eyes and say I'm crazy/naive/stupid/being a martyr for no reason. But I'm being honest when I say: There is nothing I wouldn't do to have a complete med-free, epidural-free, vaginal, hypno*birthing, homebirth. NOTHING. Homebirth is out of the question as Nina (midwife extraordinaire) only practices in hospitals. But all the rest sums up my greatest desire for this birth. The c-section was completely necessary for Emma's safety; the cord was wrapped around her shoulder and every time I contracted the blood flow was cut off and her heartrate dropped considerably. I hear it was a very scary time, but for some reason I was calmer during labor than I'd ever been in my entire life. Unfortunately, after we brought our healthy and beautiful little one home my disappointment at not having a vaginal birth grew until I could no longer handle it. Add that to the breastfeeding difficulties, the never-home-when-I-needed-him-hubby and the no help from family and I was a real mess. PP depression (PPD) settled in and ruined our lives for months until I got some help.

Now, looking back on all of that, I'm terrified of repeating the cycle. This time around I know that we'll succeed with breastfeeding because there's NO WAY it could possibly be more difficult with Bean than it was with Emma. And somehow we persisted and had a great bf-ing relationship for a year! If I'm showing signs of PPD I know what to do and who to call to get help ASAP.
But I have absolutely no control over how my labor and delivery will go. I'll fight tooth and nail to avoid being induced, I'll kill anyone who suggests an epidural if I didn't ask for one and I'll refuse to give up. But when it comes down to it, Nina and I have made a deal. No plans this time. No birth plans at all. No labor plans, no meds plans, no delivery plans. We'll go into this birth with a clean slate, no expectations and no negative thoughts. We'll use hyno*birthing and Jared and I will hire a doula (which is my #1 priority) to be in charge of pushing the nurses and staff to let us labor as we want to.

We'll see how it goes. I can't help but worry about all of this, but I'm trying to leave it up to nature. This, of course, does not go well at all with my natural control freak tendencies.

Posted by Kier at 10:46 PM | 4 comments
I decided to go ahead and make a baby registry today because I'm sure our enthusiastic families and friends will be asking what they can get for the new one (it's here if you want to check out the big bunch o'bedding I can't make a decision about - opinions please! We're registry #36201573).

It's strange, though, doing this registry. I know we won't be having a baby shower this time, because as an older relative put it "It's just tacky". Hmm....I didn't think so, but who am I to argue with that? A few family members have said they think we'll have one, so we'll see. But the bigger dilemma I'm having today is what the heck to even register for? What in the world are we having, anyway? (Yeah, a baby, thanks, I know!). I don't even know where we'll end up living in a few months so I can't plan on whether we'll have an extra room for the new babe or if the two scrunchkins will be sharing a room. At least I know that the baby will be in our room for the first 6 months the way Emma was. This time, we'll use a co-sleeper attached to the bed so I don't have any terrifying "WHERE'S THE BABY? UNDER THE COVERS? DID I FALL ASLEEP WITH HER IN MY ARMS? IS SHE UNDER JARED? IS SHE SUFFOCATING? OH GOD OH GOD!!!!!!!" moments like last time. I nursed Emma so often in the middle of the night that I'd wake up sweating bullets, patting myself down and thinking I'd fallen asleep with Em on my boob and that she'd somehow gotten to the end of the bed and we were kicking/suffocating her. Oh, the horror! I'd have to jump up and grab the bassinet to make sure she was safe, then spend the next hour panicking until she'd awaken to nurse again and the cycle would continue. For hours on end. Weeks on end.

NEVER, EVER AGAIN! Heehee...this time, the baby will be right next to me, safe in his/her cozy sleeper and I won't have to panic, just look over and *poof* DBT's gone.

I'm going back to registering now. I'm glad that some of you have found this new place! I deleted my old journals so quickly that I'm now regretting it, having lost precious memories along with those posts. This journal will stay open long after I'm done with it, whenever that may be.

Posted by Kier at 12:50 PM | 4 comments
Monday, January 08, 2007
Jared will be working overtime all week long and on Saturday this week, so Emma and I are in for a lot of alone time. Now that the holidays are over and all the family has departed for their homes it's a lot less stressful (I was going to my parents house every day and having to put up with my irritating sister). I'm looking forward to staying at home and getting things done here; finishing the dishes today, scrubbing the sink and kitchen floor, putting away Christmas decorations, and cooking dinners in advance are all on my to-do list. We'll see how far I get with Emma tagging along, yelling MAMA! every 3 seconds! Hehehe.

I can't make a decision regarding boy names with this baby, and it's driving me (and probably Jared) crazy! With Emma it was so simple; either Emma Grace or Kaleb Ethan. There was never any doubt! But with Beanie, I'm changing my mind every other minute. Elijah Gabriel? Alexander Ethan? Kaleb? I don't know! Jared is set on Alexander and says he likes it a bit more than Elijah. But he's easy to sway and I know that we'll agree on whatever name it comes down to. My mind is really not focusing lately and I'm having all sorts of problems remembering things and making decisions. Now, girl names, that's a bit easier. Savannah Hailee. That's all. :)

I know there was something important I wanted to write about, but it will have to wait because:
A. I've forgotten what it was, and
B. Emma is awake. After a 12 hour night of uninterrupted sleep! WOOT!

Posted by Kier at 9:10 AM | 2 comments
Friday, January 05, 2007
Jared went for his third and final interview for a new job tonight, starting at 6pm. By 7:50pm I was a nervous wreck wondering why he hadn't called and anxious to hear whether he'd been hired by the huge insurance agency. I left a message on his cell saying "Call me as soon as you can, I'm kinda freaking out".

10 minutes later he called to tell me that he'd been hired on the spot. Our lives are going to be changed by this enormous blessing. Thank you, Lord. We've waited and tried our hardest to be patient, and now it's finally paid off. We'll be able to cover all bills, rent, groceries, and extras. Extras! It's so difficult to put into words how frugal we've been these past few years. Any extras have had something to do with Emmie (Kindermusik, clothing, toys, etc.). And now we can look to the future with hope and renewed faith. Someone truly is watching our efforts and rewarding us with blessings we've only dreamed about. Without the ridiculous health insurance we're paying now, the parking costs, the gas for his 30-40 minute commute, we are saving a bundle. Plus the extra money he'll be making a year, of course (this job pays much better!). Oh, my heart is joyful and my nerves are finally calm. I can't remember the last time I felt this at ease with our future.

It's a 2nd shift job - 4:30 to 1am, just 5 miles down the road. Jared is really looking forward to the 10 minute max commute down one single straight road as opposed to his long morning commute to downtown Buffalo, where he fights road ragers and stress and busy highways. I'm looking forward to knowing exactly where he works and how to get there within 10 minutes if there is ever a problem. We're both extremely excited about spending every day together as a family, especially this summer when Bean is born and we can go to the park and the zoo and the aquarium with our three babes (Joshua will always seem like our first child, no matter how many I give birth to myself). In my mind I see us walking by the river with Lisa, Zelda and their new little one (due a week after Bean!), Kelly and Joshua, and Emma and Bean. I'm nursing Bean in the sling while Jared pushes Emma's stroller, and we're enjoying our dear friends and children. This past summer was so amazingly wonderful with the girls and their babies, Emma's first friends her age. I can't wait to do things like that with Jared!

I better get to sleep...Jared is working overtime tomorrow to make a little extra and we have a very busy day. The whole family is going to Adam's hockey game and then we'll be spending the rest of the day with Breanna as she leaves for London again on Sunday to begin her teaching adventure! Oh, what amazing opportunities are coming our way. Today has been...well...there just no words to describe how good this feels.

Posted by Kier at 11:46 PM | 0 comments
Recently I've been finding inspiration in the least likely of places: In blogs of people I knew in elementary, junior, and high school (although I wasn't friends with most of them, just knew of them because we were in the same grade). Thatch-Work, written by S, is an account of her life with three children (twins included) and as a family of missionaries returned from Africa. I am amazed and humbled at how much she has accomplished in her life and find myself craving her faith. Zigzag Mommy, written by M, gave me strength and hope when I found out I was pregnant with Bean. I was so overwhelmed (and still can be at times) at the thought of having two children under the age of two but find that reading M's journal makes me look forward to the joyful experience of being a family of four. Mommy Muse, written by T, inspires me to look for the joy beyond the frustration of daily life. And Elephant Dreams, written by D, inspires me to dream the big dreams I haven't dare to in years.

We find ourselves in some financial trouble lately, and it's been wearing us down to the point of exhaustion. It's nothing new for us, but the thought of a new baby and this stress is overwhelming. Being pregnant isn't helping, as I'm emotional and prone to having fits of worry that take over everything. My faith is not as strong as it was years ago, and I'm struggling to give up these burdens and let someone bigger handle them for us. Some days I wish for long bouts of sleep and endless mugs of tea to soothe away these worries, but mostly I'm just wishing to get out of this hole we are in. Jared and I push one another to keep going, keep believing, keep working towards our dreams. I know now that without Emma and Bean, we would have given up a long time ago. I am so thankful for my babies; the thought of them warms my heart and calms my soul.

Oh, my silly beautiful girl. I don't know if you will ever understand all that you are to me. Perhaps this knowledge will come when you have a child of your own. My life is no longer my own, but full of deeper meaning and greater joy now that I have you. Thank you for the million ways you make me keep believing.

You've changed so much in 13 months, Emmie. I can't believe you're going to be a big sister! I love you, mouse.

Posted by Kier at 1:01 PM | 2 comments
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I've officially put Christmas away for another year (halleluiah!). The tree was sitting there half taken down for 2 days and the cards were irking me from their doorway hanging positions and even the manger with the lovely baby Jesus was starting to annoy me. So this morning, while Emma munched Cheerios and watched Sesame Street I kicked myself into high gear and:

1. Took down the entire tree, put it away, and stacked it in the kitched for Jared to store later on.
2. Vacuumed while holding Emma. This may not seem like a feat, but believe me - vacuuming while holding a wriggly toddler and being 4 months pregnant is anything but easy! She's terrified of our vacuum (it's insanely loud) and screams in fear if I turn it on and Daddy's not around. Hmm. Why is it that Daddy's presence makes Emmie 100% uninterested in the goings-on of the vacuum, while Mommy's presence makes Emma curl up in the fetal position and cry her lungs out?
3. Rearranged all the living room furniture. Something I know I shouldn't be doing by myself. But I couldn't wait.
4. Did as many dishes as Emma would let me before her screams of "MAMA!" made me throw down my sponge in frustration.
5. Put away (organize & pick up) all of Em's new toys.

The little monsteroni is now sleeping peacefully after fighting a nap and I'm ready to collapse. But a shower is waiting for me and I can't wait to slather on Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion aaaaaallllllll over my body. It's the strangest pregnancy craving I've ever had; I swear, I'd eat the stuff (or my arm) because it just smells so good!

Now that the holidays are over there are many projects I'd like to finish (or start, in some cases). I have Emma's handprint quilt to finish, a picture collage for the relatives and friends, and once we find out Bean's gender I would like to make something special for him/her as well. Now if I only had ideas...

Posted by Kier at 12:39 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
While visiting my husband's family on Long Island we had a visit from our dear friend Pat. Jared and Pat went to Junior and High School together, then we all attending SUNY Fredonia together and Jae and Pat were roomies with 2 other guys in an awesome suite. I've missed Pat's intelligence, humor, and sincerity in the past few years and it was awesome to see him again!

My in-laws: Nani, Poppi (what Emma calls my MIL and FIL), me, Aunti Erica. (Bottom): Aunt Katelin, Jared, cousin Arynn (Erica's darling boy), and of course, Emma!

Aunti Beez holds Emma and Joshie, who are both so pleased that she's home from London for a visit!!!

The women of the family gather together on Christmas Eve while the men eat. :) (Top: Mary Sue, Kathy, Vicky, Chrissy, Ruthie, me, Maureen; Bottom: Erin, my mom Margaret, Aunti Ann; Bottomy-Bottom: Bre).

Julie (Paul's girlfriend), Erin, and Paul (my dear cousins)

Paige and Emma greet one another with huge hugs!

Daddy and Emma sharing a look of love. This melts my heart every time I see it; I'm so grateful to have married this man and to have created life with him.

Emma tries out Elmo's nonnie (what our family calls a pacifier). Strange because the kid has always hated nonnies!

Posted by Kier at 1:22 PM | 0 comments
I'm back to blogger after Wordpress failed to impress me. Posting pics just wasn't as easy as it is here.
Not too much to say today; Emma and I are getting a little better after the worst colds ever took our noses and lungs hostage. I almost threw up from coughing so hard last night but Jared didn't hear anything! I can't believe how deeply that man can sleep. One peep and I'm up and running no matter what time it is.
I think I'll just post some picture of the family at Christmas. It was the best holiday season since my childhood and I'm just so thankful that we could spend it with family.

Erin (cousin extraordinaire) and I making our Gram's famous sour cream cookies. There was a funny incident when Erin started grabbing the dough exclaiming "We need about 3 more cups of flour!" and I attacked her yelling "THIS ISN'T HAND DOUGH!" and scraping the dough from between her fingers with a big spoon. Yeah, you kinda had to be there. This pic was taken immediately afterward:

Emma kissing her new baby from Grammy and Papa; also her favorite Christmas present! She's really fantastic at taking care of her babies, so we're hoping this crosses over to taking care of her new sibling!

Emma and Josh dancing to "The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling!", a favorite DVD of both of them and my godson Joey.

The official Christmas card photo this year:

Just the four of us, although Baby Bean is hiding!

Jared and I took a break from being Santa to snap a picture of how happy and excited we were. It was the best Christmas of my life, thanks to Jared, Emma, Bean, and all of our family and friends.

Simon, Bre, Erin and I enjoying the annual Christmas Eve party at AuntiAnn & Uncle Bob's house.

I have a picture of me playing this organ at Ann & Bob's when I was just a bit older than Emma is here! My favorite Christmas picture of this year. :)

My sister Nicole flew up with her precious daughter Paige, who turns a year in January. We've only seen her once before this visit, so were were all thrilled to spend time with them!

Jared, Emma, me, and Bean (deep within but so close to our hearts) on Christmas Eve.

More pictures to come....probably posted above! :)

Posted by Kier at 12:44 PM | 0 comments