Monday, May 30, 2011

Birthday Party Tip

Meg's birthday party was yesterday.  Having a baby on a holiday weekend worked out GREAT.  We spent all weekend cleaning and having the party and now we get a bonus day off to enjoy the leftover food and clean house.

The party went really well, but after all the presents were opened it looked like a wrapping paper/toy bomb had gone off in our living room.  I was already having trouble remembering what came from whom.  Also, my parents gave her a ton of little stuff and I knew I'd never remember everything in their gift.  As we started to clean up the living room, I remembered the method I used for my baby shower gifts and how well it worked.

I'm sure I read this tip in a magazine long ago and tucked it in some far corner of my brain, but when I started using it I thought it was just a stroke of genius thought up by sleep-deprived me (the shower was when Meg was two weeks old).  At the shower, someone wrote a list of the presents and who they were from, but I lost it.  So I kept the presents in a big pile to make sure I didn't forget about anything when I went to write thank-yous.  They stayed there for a month.

There were several things I wanted to return, so I decided to take them out of the pile and - genius! - take a picture.  That way I could return the items and still have something to look at when I wrote thank-yous, because, even if I wrote another list of presents, I knew I'd lose it again.  Plus, "0-3 month outfit" could describe a lot of what I got and I wanted more description.  Once I was on a roll, I decided to take a picture of all of the presents and put them away.  When I downloaded the pics, I put them in an folder called "Baby Shower Presents" and labeled each one with who it was from.  I still like looking through the folder sometimes.  At this point, I don't remember what of our baby stuff was hand-me-downs, what was baby shower gifts, or what I bought.  Its fun to look and realize something we've used a lot came from so-and-so.  Also, I used some of the pictures as filler on the baby shower page in Meg's first year scrapbook.

So yesterday as I was cleaning up, I took a picture of each present.  Everything has been put away and I don't have to rack my brain trying to remember if I'm forgetting something when I write thank-yous.  I also made a list (mainly because some people just gave money and I didn't take a picture of the checks), but even if I use the list for thank-yous, I think it will be really fun to have pictures of all the stuff Meg got each year.  When she's older, she can look through them and realize _____ got her the toy she's loved for years.  (Although I suppose it could come back to bite me if I return something and she wants to know what happened to it.  Not a problem this year, since we're not returning anything.)

P.S. By the way, I'm a terrible person and never actually wrote thank-yous for my baby shower.  But I still could, since I have the pictures! I suppose this means instead of taking pictures I should have just written the stupid thank-yous, but I maintain the pictures are still a good thing to have.  I have been really on top of thank-yous for every occasion since, because I don't want to be known as the-one-who-doesn't-write-thank-you-notes, but still...

P.P.S.  This was one of Meg's presents.  Did you have these when you were little?  You pull them out to make them longer as your feet grow.  I remember I'd have to keep stopping to push them back in, since they'd gradually come apart as you were skating.  My sister-in-law bought them, since my husband's family also had a pair.  I can't believe how little some toys have changed in 20 years!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Ever since we planned Meg’s birthday party for when I’d be 35 weeks pregnant, I’ve had a backup plan: hire a cleaning service to come just before the party.  That way our house would look awesome for the party AND be cleaner just before the baby comes.

That was as far as my plan went.  I had no idea how to find a cleaning service (we’ve never used one).  I had no idea if I’d actually be comfortable with strangers in my house cleaning.  I never brought it up with Thomas and I wasn’t sure if he’d be thrilled with the idea (I assume he’d want to save the money and do it ourselves).  I figured there would be time to figure out all that later, once the house was in cleaning-service shape (basically, picked up enough that you can actually GET to whatever you want to clean).  Which is where the plan has fallen apart.

We have a lot of stuff.  Everywhere.  Actually, I should probably say I have a lot of stuff.  I’m a packrat/saver/stock-upper.  I don’t like getting rid of anything, because what if we might need it?  The old “If you actually need it, it’s easy to go out and buy a new one” actually pushes me further into packrat territory, because I am a major cheapskate and HATE the idea of spending money to replace something I already had and gave away/threw out.  Haaaaaaate.

The major “cleaning” we have to do before the party is not cleaning-service cleaning.  It’s reorganizing.  For instance, our kitchen counters are covered with all the stuff we use daily, because our cupboards are full of stuff we never use.  I’ve been working on the cupboards for a couple months now – giving away pots/pans/appliances we haven’t ever used (a BIG deal for me, since I’m always sure the second I give it away I’ll suddenly want it), throwing away old food, and moving rarely used stuff (like Christmas serving plates) out of the kitchen.

So “cleaning the kitchen counters” is not a 15-minute task that involves a spray bottle and some paper towels.  It’s a two-month process that involves going through every cupboard we have.  The whole house is like this and it’s driving me crazy.  I don’t want all this clutter!  I don’t want people to SEE all this clutter!  But…I also don’t want to clean anymore.  I’m tired, I’m hot, I’m uncomfortable.  I want this never-ending, lifelong project of managing the amount of stuff we have to be OVER.

But I can’t let myself stop.  I keep pushing and pushing, because I know myself.  My current obsession with purging stuff is NESTING.  It’s not my natural personality.  I’m 99% sure I won’t suddenly need anything I gave away.  This is stuff I’ve held on to for far too long.  For goodness sake, most of this stuff we’ve had our entire marriage (four years) and never used.  But if I let it slide for now, I’ll never get rid of it.  Not only am I feeling the ticking clock of the birthday party getting closer, I’m very aware my due date is getting closer.  I feel like anything we don’t need that is still around when I have the baby will stay around for a very long time and I don’t want that.

Oh yeah, and UNDERNEATH all that clutter is surfaces that need to be cleaned. Can't I hire someone to do that?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is it too late to move it to the park and order pizzas?

Meg’s 2nd birthday party is Sunday. At our house. What in the heck were we thinking??? 35-weeks-pregnant lady and I-just-ran-a-marathon man don’t really feel like cleaning the house. When we planned the party, I thought it would be perfect – I hate cleaning for parties so this year I could use the whole “I’m eight months pregnant” excuse and skip out on it. Except now the party is almost here and I just can’t let people into my house when it looks like it does. Even if this IS the way we live all the time, I don’t want people THINKING this is the way we live all the time. The pregnant excuse really only works for having your house regular clean instead of party clean. It doesn’t stretch to messy and cluttered. We’ve spent so much time on Meg’s big girl room and the nursery (which still has a LONG way to go, since its currently just a room with a crib, a dresser, and a floor that’s messy due to the assembly of said crib and dresser) that we haven’t been gradually cleaning the rest of the house like we did last year. I really don’t want to deal with it. I don’t even want to deal with the party AT ALL.

P.S. We can’t move it to the park because Meg is dying to show off her big girl room, which she LOVES. Frankly, I love it too, and am also excited for people to see it. Can I blindfold them as they go through the rest of the house?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The long trip home

As I’ve mentioned, Thomas ran the Fargo marathon this past Saturday. Fargo is about eight hours by car so Meg and I weren’t really up for the trip, being that she’s two years old and I’m eight months pregnant. Since he was going alone, he decided to fly. It was a little more expensive, but not too much. He got to Fargo Friday, ran the race Saturday, then relaxed for a few hours before going to the airport. At which point everything went to hell.

There are no direct flights from Fargo to Des Moines (both smallish airports), so he was connecting through Minneapolis. There was a massive power outage in Minneapolis, leaving the airport without power and cancelling all flights in and out. Nothing Delta could really do about that, but it sucked none the less.

(BTW, he was supposed to be in an airplane at the time of the supposed rapture, so we thought of a few theories as to why the power was out. Perhaps someone cut the power so there wouldn’t be planes crashing into the city after their pilots were raptured? Or maybe a power employee REALLY thought he was going to be raptured, so there was no point going to work, and without him there doing his job something went wrong?)

Luckily, Thomas was staying in the NDSU dorms for the marathon. They did not have a one-night rate for the marathon – he had to pay for two nights even though he was only planning on being there Friday. Delta put him on an American flight for Sunday morning and he went back to the dorm, where they let him check back in and stay for his already-paid-for second night.

Sunday morning he shows up at the airport at 6 a.m. and American informs him the flight is full and they don’t have seats for any of the rebooked Delta passengers. He (and several other passengers who were supposed to be on his flight the night before) goes back to the Delta counter, where they tell him they now can’t get him to Des Moines until MONDAY morning, over 36 hours after he was supposed to get home. He looked into renting a car and driving, but it was going to cost $600.

I told him I’d come pick him up if they could at least get him close to Des Moines – maybe Omaha (two hours away)? The problem was that to get pretty much anywhere, he had to get to Minneapolis (one of Delta’s hubs), and there weren’t any seats until the next day. There was another person there in the same situation, so they decided to rent a car and split the cost of driving to Minneapolis (which was way cheaper than driving to Des Moines). From there, Delta could fly him to Cedar Rapids (2 ½ hours away), where I would pick him up.

Just in case, Thomas called a friend of his who grew up in Cedar Rapids and goes home often. He happened to be there this weekend, so he picked Thomas up from the Cedar Rapids airport and drove him to the Des Moines airport to pick up his car.

He finally got home at 9pm Sunday night.

On the upside, we now have Delta vouchers I’m going to use to fly to the Blathering.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pregnancy Update

I forgot my 32 week OB appointment. I didn’t remember until last week, at which point my 34 week appointment was close enough I decided not to worry about rescheduling the other one. The OB’s office doesn’t make reminder calls. They also didn’t call me after I missed my appointment. I find this really strange. This morning I scheduled out all the rest of my appointments, so they gave me a printout instead of writing them on cards. In the corner it said I had 1 “no-show” appointment, but no one ever mentioned it. I thought the doctor would at least say something, but she didn’t seem to notice I’d missed my last appointment. I think I could probably make appointments for whatever intervals I wanted and no one would care.

According to the scale at the OB’s, I’ve gained 6.6 lbs so far. I asked if I should be worried and the doctor said they’d been calculating my weight gain from my lowest weight, not my starting weight. I lost 6 pounds between my 8 and 12 week appointments, so I’ve gained 12.6 lbs since then. That makes sense (and means I don’t need to be worried about inadequate weight gain), but I still don’t consider 12.6 lbs my official weight gain.

When I was pregnant with Meg, I gained 28 lbs total.  This time she's been a big part of the reason I haven't gained as much.  Less sitting around eating and more illnesses.  At my 30 week appointment I was 11 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight, but the nasty stomach/intestinal virus Meg brought home the next week took care of that.  I lost 6 lbs in 8 hours.  I'm sure it was mainly water weight, but I must have continued to lose weight over the next few days as I recovered.  By the next week, I had only gained 3 of those 6 lbs back, just in time to be hit with round 2, starting the whole thing again.  I think I'm fully recovered now and just assumed I'd gained the weight back.  Guess not.  I wasn't too surprised to find out I'd lost 5 lbs in the last month, but its still not good.

On the plus side, I'm not concerned at ALL about how much I might gain in the next 6 weeks.  Since I'm only 6 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight, there's pretty much no way I can get to an excessive weight gain total!

Friday, May 20, 2011

We made it through the day (if the day ever actually ends...)

We woke up this morning to a torrential downpour, which did not bode well for our park playdate. But the rain stopped before we went to my OB appointment and was still holding off at 10. It’s supposed to rain off and on through tomorrow and there was no way we were staying inside that whole time, so we went to the park. I brought an old towel to dry stuff off and let the other people know I was still going. All of them decided to stay home. It actually worked out fine. There was a big Montessori 4-year-old preschool group there (I think it was an end-of-the-year celebration or something – all the parents came and all the teachers, so there were tons of adults). The kids were too old to play with Meg, but weren’t afraid of getting wet, so all the equipment ended up getting dried off with various kids’ pants which was nice. After the group left, we had our picnic lunch. The whole thing killed two hours and got us out of the house, so I’m really glad we went. We both had fun.

I thought our morning at the park would make naptime a piece of cake, but Meg fought it for a while. I sat in her room for 20 minutes, then left, and about 15 minutes later she started crying. I figured she’d cry for 5 minutes and go to sleep (which is what she always does). When she was still crying (more like screaming) 20 minutes later I was quite frustrated and finally went in. She’d been trying to pull stuff off her bookshelf and gotten her arm stuck between the crib and the wall. She was hysterical. I felt horrible. She refused to go back in the crib, so I let her sleep in my bed.  I laid down with her and ended up falling asleep, too. We didn’t wake up until 6 pm. Bedtime is NOT going well. Its 10:00 and she’s still awake.  It really stinks how its ruining a pretty good day.  At 8:00, I congratulated myself on a day that had gone really well.  Now I'm ready to run away from home and never come back. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting out of the house

As I mentioned, Thomas is going to Fargo this weekend to run a marathon.  Meg and I are on our own.  What should we do?  Friday morning I have an OB appointment. We have a MOPS park play-date at 10, which takes care of lunch, too.  (Everybody packs lunch and eats at the playground.)  But that’s it.  Our plans for the entire weekend end at noon on Friday.

I was thinking about going to the Farmer’s Market and/or some garage sales on Saturday morning, but it’s supposed to rain.  I have some Redbox coupon codes, so maybe a movie?  Any suggestions?  (Have you guys been getting these codes?  Text “DEALS” to 727272 every day between now and May 25th and you’ll receive a coupon code each day that’s good until June 2nd.)

I’m having a hard time thinking of out-of-the-house things to do, since I’m really not an out-of-the-house person.  I like staying home.  But 48 hours home alone with a toddler doesn’t sound too good.  Help!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four years

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary.  It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  Four years is all of college.  We certainly haven’t been married that long, right?  Plus, since I got married two weeks after graduating, this means I’ve been out of college for as long as I was in college and that can’t possibly be right.  I’d say it feels more like two years, even though the math on that doesn’t work since we have a two-year-old.  Maybe it’s because for the last two years our anniversary has been overshadowed by bigger events. 
On our second anniversary, I was 37 weeks pregnant and we had to travel to my husband’s hometown for his grandparent’s 50th anniversary celebration.  I was NOT pleased at being that far from the hospital (four hours) and I was just generally grumpy at that point.  I wanted everyone to leave me alone. Including my husband.  I was totally fine being still pregnant as long as I wasn’t expected to do anything else, like travel or go out to dinner or make small talk about how big I was.
Please tell me my face won't swell like that this time.  I looked horrific.
Our third anniversary really feels like it never happened. My sister got married 3 days before our anniversary.  It was a big wedding that took up the whole weekend between the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and next-day gift opening.  I don’t think we celebrated our anniversary at all, other than a nice dinner at home (with the baby). I continued to say we’d been married two years for months afterward.
Now that this picture is over a year old, do I have to take it off my blog banner?
This year, even though I’m not quite as pregnant (34 weeks), the baby is still overshadowing the anniversary.  Plus, I’m already in the don’t talk to me, don’t touch me, don’t take me anywhere, just leave me alone phase.  It’s not as pronounced as it will be in a month – I wouldn’t say I’m grumpy all the time yet – but I definitely don’t feel like celebrating, unless it’s with a nap.
Really, May is just so full of celebrations that we don’t see the need for another one (Thomas, my Dad, my SIL, and Meg all have birthdays).  What we need is more downtime!  It’s funny, when we planned the wedding for exactly a week after his birthday, Thomas bemoaned the fact his birthday would never be special again.  He thought the anniversary would overshadow it and we’d only have a cursory birthday celebration.  It’s turned out to be the other way around.  Plus, have I mentioned he’s not even going to be around this weekend?  He‘s flying to Fargo to run a marathon on Saturday – wish him luck!
Anyway, I actually think it’s nice it feels like it couldn’t have possibly been four years.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I like that we have such a good life together we don’t need to make a huge deal over anniversaries.  (Not that people who DO make a big deal over anniversaries don’t have a good marriage/life.)  If you look at all we’ve done in the past four years it seems like a lot.  I started working full-time, got my Masters, we bought a house, and now we have (almost) two kids.  It’s been a wonderful four years and I can’t wait to have many more.
Four years ago:


(Yes, that’s the same guy.  He’s lost 160 pounds.  I kind of feel like we need new wedding pictures.  The only problem is I’ve gained a lot of weight.  Maybe someday we’ll both be skinny at the same time!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No wonder I'm tired

May is a busy month in our family.  I spent three hours last night ordering more picture cards (right now you can get 5 free cards on Shutterfly!) and afterwards decided to count up how many cards I have to give in the month of May.

Mother’s Day:  6 cards. In our family, Mother’s Day is a celebration of all mothers/female relatives, so I got cards for my mom, both grandmothers, and my aunt.  I also got aunt cards for both my sisters from Meg, since they’ve gotten me Mother’s Day cards ever since I got pregnant with her.

Graduations:  2 cards. My brother-in-law graduated with his PhD and my sister graduated with her Masters.

Birthdays:  4 cards.  For Thomas’ birthday, I got him a card from me and one from Meg.  My Dad’s birthday is also in May.  So is Meg’s.  I wasn’t going to get her a card, because she’s two – what does it matter?  But she loooooves cards with her picture on them, so I guess I will.

Anniversaries:  2 cards. My sister and BIL’s anniversary was this past Sunday and ours is tomorrow.  I just ordered a card for Thomas last night.  Oops.  Can’t I get a break?  I gave him two birthday cards last week!

That’s 14 cards.  For just my side of the family.  My SIL and BIL also have their anniversary this month (Thomas’ sister got married on the same date as my sister, just a year earlier!) and my SIL has a birthday.  Thomas usually takes care of the cards for his side of the family, but I should make sure he did.  I know he got his mom a Mother’s Day card.  He also got me a Mother’s Day card.  And, I’m assuming, an anniversary card.  That brings our total to 19.

I wonder how many cards we receive in May?  I have a stack of Mother’s Day cards, Thomas got a bunch of birthday cards, the anniversary cards are rolling in, and Meg will get tons of birthday cards.  It’s ridiculous to think about how much money our extended family will spend on cards this month.  And that’s before buying presents!  Then in June I have to start thinking about Father’s Day cards…

P.S.  While we’re on the topic of presents, I haven’t gotten anything for Meg.  Her birthday is in two weeks.  Help!  What do you get a two-year-old?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Survival strategy

When I think about having a newborn it seems so overwhelming I just about cry. I can’t get through the day now with one kid. How on earth will I ever do it with two and no sleep?? I keep reminding myself being not pregnant will help a lot. Still, I barely survived the first seven weeks of Meg’s life (she slept for a 5 or 6 hour stretch for the first time at 7 weeks) and I’m really worried about doing it again with the addition of a toddler.

I am hoping to be a bit easier on myself this time. I can’t remember what sources I got this from, but I remember the prevailing consensus last time to be that you shouldn’t give your baby a bottle until 6-8 (or 4-8?) weeks to avoid nipple confusion. I, of course, decided that I was going for eight weeks or bust. In retrospect, this was kind of ridiculous. Meg drank a lot of bottles when she was 4-6 days old because my milk didn’t come in until day 6 and we had to supplement. She had zero trouble switching between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding in that time. I do think that was part of the reason I was so against bottles, though. Breastfeeding had been so hard to establish I refused to do anything that might jeopardize it. Plus, I already hated the breast pump and had no interest in pulling it out of the closet again, even if a bottle of breastmilk would have gotten me more sleep. So I was there for every single feeding she had the first eight weeks of her life. Even the first week when Thomas was giving her a bottle, I was pumping. In fact, I was up longer then, since I would pump until I had enough colostrum for her next feeding (2 oz, I think), which sometimes took 40 minutes.

I honestly don’t know how I did it, but you can bet I’m not doing it again. I will not fear the bottled breastmilk! I’m still not sure at what age to start giving it, though. Any suggestions? Do I wait a month? Only a week or two? I’m leaning towards two weeks-ish. But if baby boy shows starts preferring the bottle, he’s not getting any more of them until I go back to work. Pumping at work was bad enough; I’m not going to do it all the time. This time we’re going for the maintain-mom’s-sanity plan. I will only pump during working hours. The rest of the time, if he absolutely refuses to nurse, formula it is! (I say this now, but only because I really doubt nipple confusion will ever be an issue. I bet if it actually happens, I’ll surgically attach myself to the pump.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Thomas taught Meg to say the name of her baby brother. I wasn't sure this was a good idea, but he was excited about it and it was so cute. He had a "plan" to minimize her giving the name away. He only asked her what her baby brother's name is on Thursdays, since she sees my mom on Sundays (at church) and M,T,Th (for babysitting), meaning on Thursday night she's the furthest from seeing her again and will likely forget. Also, even though she knows the name, half the time when we ask her she goes "huh?" or just stays silent - similar to the way she acts when we ask her to count to 10 (which she is great at, but sometimes just doesn't want to do). She's also MUCH less likely to count to 10 or (we assumed) say her brother's name around people other than Thomas or I, because she gets a little shy, even with family members. Plus, she's only (almost) two, so even when she does say the name, we weren't sure anyone who didn't already know it could understand.

Still, she is very proud of her knowledge, so Thomas started to also doubt she could keep it a secret until July. He decided we should have her tell everyone at her birthday party (in two weeks), since everyone from both sides of the family will be there.

I'm guessing you can see where this is going. My MIL came to visit last night. She asked Meg where her baby brother is. "MOMMY'S TUMMY!" Then MIL asked what her baby brother's name is. Meg answered, loud and clear. There was no mistaking it or explaining it away. The secret's out. MIL apologized and apologized, saying she wasn't trying to actually find out - she thought Meg wouldn't know and never expected her to actually say it.

We're going to have Meg tell my parents and sisters Sunday at church, but try to keep it in the immediate family for now. Who knows how long it will last. Maybe we will completely give up on the secret thing by the birthday party. If it becomes public knowledge before the birth, I'll be sure to let you guys know what the name is.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meg's first haircut

Meg had her first haircut on Easter. My aunt is a hairdresser and she brought her stuff to my parent's house. I just finally got the pictures from my parents (we used our digital camera to take video).

I wasn't emotional about it at all - when she took the first snip and asked for an envelope to put it in (so we could save it), I thought "what am I going to do with that?" I don't have a traditional baby book for her (I make Snapfish/Shutterfly books), so there's no real place to put it. It just wasn't a big deal for me, likely because there was so little difference between before and after. Meg's hair still hasn't grown past the nape of her neck and, although it IS getting a lot thicker than it used to be, she still doesn't have very much hair for an almost two-year-old. We had it cut because one little section of bangs was starting to get in her eyes a lot. My aunt trimmed her bangs and cleaned up the area around her ears, but that was it. It was a pretty uneventful haircut.

I guess its a good thing her first haircut wasn't a drastic change, because I got to be excited about it! She didn't come out of it with a lot less hair, just without that pesky piece of hair I was always pushing away from her eyes. I suppose I could have cut it myself, but I never would have dreamed of it. My aunt ALWAYS gives the first haircut. She gave ME my first haircut!

This is obviously not my FIRST haircut, but its the only haircut picture I could find.  Coincidentally, it was also taken on Easter!  (Easter 1991, to be specific)

Mother's Day poll

I've read a lot of Mother's Day recaps and it seems every one included a special meal and a nap. I don't think I've read a single post that didn't rave about their awesome Mother's Day nap. I've been having a LOT of trouble sleeping at night (stupid pregnancy), so I try not to nap no matter how exhausted I am, because if I nap I'm usually up all night. So on Sunday instead of sleeping I...cleaned out a closet. Voluntarily. The nesting bug has hit hard and I everywhere I look there's something that needs organized. Of course, I tire quickly, so really I'm just making piles all over the house...

Anyway, what I am wondering is how many of you moms napped on Mother's Day? Am I in the minority?