Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Big Brudder

My littlest guy is SO VERY EXCITED about becoming a Big Brother (or Brudder, as he pronounces it).  He kisses my belly daily and keeps the baby updated on life in Langanland.  He'll hug my belly say things like, "Baby, it's snowing outside!"  Or "Baby, you are going to have some chicken for dinner tonight."  Sometimes he whispers to the baby and won't tell me what secrets they're sharing.

He is constantly helping me plan for the baby.  One day he came to me and said, "Mom, make sure you get baby wash for the baby so the baby can take a bath but get the kind that won't hurt the baby's eyes."  He also wants to know how many blankets we have because he knows that babies need baby blankets.  

He watches Baby Story with his sister and has prepared me on what to expect after the baby is born:  "The baby will come out all messy and then someone will hand the baby to you and you get to hold it, mom!"  I have a book that shows a baby's development from the moment of conception through birth.  My son loves this book and always wants to know which picture is most like our baby.  One day he was looking through the book and saw the birth pictures.  He brought the book to me and said, "Mom!  Do you KNOW that when the baby is born, it is going to come out of your PEEPER????"  (As if I didn't know, but it was so cute that he was so surprised by this.)  Then he looks at the picture again and says, "Wait a minute.  Or maybe it comes out of your bum?"

I think he thinks that becoming a Big Brudder is a rite of passage that will be his ticket to everything that is currently off limits.  He was eyeing his sisters' Valentines and candy that they received at school and said, "When I am a big brudder, I will get to go to school and get Valentine candy too!"  And then today he said, "When I am a big brudder, I will get to go on Thunder Mountain Railroad!"  (He was desperate to go on TMR at Disney but was too short.  They gave him a pass so that when he is tall enough, he can walk to the front of the line and get on without waiting.  He keeps reminding me of this.  I think he thinks that as soon as the baby is born, viola! He will be tall and big and privy to things that he is currently too young or too small to do.)  

He is also looking forward to teaching the baby how to play sports.  I am trying to break it to him that babies pretty much just lay around for the first while, unable to play sports.  He really, really, really wants a baby brother.  He has informed me that he "only likes boy babies".  I have told him that the baby might be a girl.  He has finally resigned himself to this fact and said with defeat in his voice, "I will love the baby, even if it is a gwill."  (He says gwill instead of girl.)

In other news, my 5 year old decided on Sunday that he was definitely going to run away.  So he told my husband before he left that he was running away to the garage.  He took his coat with him (at least he plans ahead) and went out to the garage and had a good cry.  He came back inside a while later.  He warmed up a bit and then asked me if I had changed my mind about his punishment.  I said, "Nope.  You're still not allowed to go swimming."  So he headed back out to the garage again.  After a few minutes my husband went to check on him.  Apparently he was just sitting in one of the strollers, quietly thinking.  He came back inside with my husband and has not threatened to run away again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day

Everyone in Langanland had a very good Valentine's Day!

The morning started with a sleep-in for me and my husband.  Normally the kids are up at 7AM but the boys were at our neighbor's house for a sleepover; the girls were happy to entertain themselves while we got some extra sleep.  I rarely sleep-in but figured I might as well . . . once the baby arrives, I won't be able to sleep-in for at least 2 years.

Our morning started at 8:30AM when the girls wanted us to get up because they were hungry.  Yes, they are capable of getting themselves breakfast but my husband made pancakes every Saturday morning and today was no exception.  However, today the girls used heart-shaped cookie cutters to shape the pancakes.

After breakfast, my husband took the girls into town -- which seemed a bit odd to me at the time -- but I was not interested in going out in the cold and decided that some quiet time (the boys were still at the neighbor's) with a cup of coffee would be a treat.  No sooner had I settled on the couch with my coffee mug when they came back from town -- with a huge bouquet of fresh tulips!  Tulips are one of my favorite flowers and I definitely was not expecting a gift this Valentine's Day as we are working on a tight budget (but isn't everyone, in this economy?)

Then a flurry of activity:  the boys came home, my younger daughter left for a birthday party (an American Girl tea party) and I took my oldest daughter to cheer at a basketball game.

When we got home from the game, I had just enough time to take a nap (I love naps!) before we headed out to dinner -- without kids!  A local church was sponsoring a Parents Night Out in an effort to raise money for their puppet team to travel to a regional competition.  We only had to pay $25 for all four kids to be there for four hours!!  (We usually pay a sitter $15/hour so you can imagine why we were so eager to take advantage of this deal.)  They fed the kids dinner, provided a craft, games, movie and puppet show.  We dropped the kids off at 5PM and headed out to dinner ALONE.  I brought our list of baby names as well as a baby name book and we were able to come up with a boy's name and also eliminated some girls' names from our list.  After dinner we went shopping and ended up buying a few Christmas presents.  Yes, Christmas presents.  I know its only February but we found some great deals and decided to buy early.

The kids had a lot of fun tonight and we enjoyed our Date Night.  This is the best Valentine's Day I've had in a long time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Birth Plan

With less than 3 months to go before D Day, I have decided to change doctors, therefore altering my birthing plan.

You would think that I'd have all of this figured out by baby #5, but quite the opposite, it has been really difficult for me to make a decision regarding my prenatal care during this pregnancy.  In an effort to help you understand my situation, it may be helpful for me to briefly explain the births of my other children.

Baby #1:  May 1999, daughter, 6 pounds, 4 ounces.  Total labor = 15 hours
I had my first-born at a local birth center.  It was fairly textbook, everything progressed normally, albeit slowly.  During the labor, I was allowed to go into the jacuzzi to help with contractions and the effect of the water on the contractions was AMAZING.  The water acted as a pain-reliever and without the pull of gravity, the contractions were much less intense.  I was actually able to fall asleep in between contractions and was so comfortable in the water that I asked if I could deliver in the jacuzzi.  The midwife screeched, "NO!" and promptly made me exit the jacuzzi.  (This was really annoying because I was no where NEAR ready to deliver -- I pushed for 1 hour and 17 minutes after exiting the tub!)  In the back of my mind I thought that if I ever do this again (who knew I'd go on to have 4 more children?!), I wanted to try a waterbirth.

Baby #2:  June 2001, daughter, 7 pounds, 4 ounces.  Total labor = 9 hours
When I got pregnant the second time, I decided on a waterbirth, which was not so easy back in 2001.  I could find only 2 birth centers who would facilitate a waterbirth.  Both were about an hour away from my home and both offered waterbirth in a standard bathtub only.  I really didn't want to give birth in a bathtub.  I felt that the bathtub was too shallow and too narrow; I didn't think it would provide the range of movement that I wanted.  So I opted for a homebirth attended by the birth center midwives (and nurses).  We rented an inflatable tub; I got the range of movement that I wanted but there was not as much support (sides of the tub) as I would have liked.  The second labor was faster and I only pushed 3 times for a total of about 2 minutes (or less) to give birth to my second daughter.  (Who, by the way, was one whole pound heavier than my oldest daughter.)

Baby #3:  June 2003, son, 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  Total labor = 4.5 hours
Since everything went so swimmingly (no pun intended!) with baby #2, we planned the same birth scenario with baby #3.  HOWEVER, he was late, late, late and I had to be induced at 42 weeks.  Induction took place in the hospital but after they observed me for a couple hours, they let me go home so that I could proceed with my homebirth plan.  As I left the hospital, I said to the midwife, "I will call you when I get into pain."  What I did not realize is that this baby would come MUCH FASTER than the previous babies.  My painful contractions started at 11:40PM and I gave birth 40 minutes later around 12:20AM.  The midwife was still driving to our home (remember that the birth center was about an hour away) so my husband had to deliver baby #3!!  My husband, who is squeamish, was completely cool and calm and delivered our son with ease.  YES, it was scary and intense and the most relieved moment of my life was when my son was born and was breathing on his own.  The whole experience was completely surreal and not something I want to repeat.  (The midwife arrived about 10-15 minutes after my son was born, in time to deliver the placenta.)

Baby #4:  May 2005, son, 7 pounds, 13 ounces.  Total labor = 4.5 hours
I was planning another homebirth/waterbirth for baby #4.  However, I had to be induced again.  This time it was because I had gestational diabetes, thus I was induced on my due date.  Again, induction took place at the hospital and after an hour or so, I was released so I could go home to labor and deliver.  However, once I got home, I found that I just couldn't concentrate:  too many kids, too many dogs, too much noise.  So we packed up and headed for the birth center.  Although I was able to labor in the tub and planned a waterbirth, once again I had to exit the tub to give birth.  It turns out that my son was posterior, meaning he was born face-up instead of face-down (most babies are born face-down).  Posterior labors are longer and more difficult than regular labors and it was very difficult to push him out.  Thus, I had to exit the tub in order to birth baby #4.

So to sum it up, my oldest and youngest were traditional births that took place in birthing centers.  My middle two children were born at home and in water.

So here we are with baby #5.  My first choice was to have another waterbirth.  However, I did not want to travel an hour to give birth in the water.  Nor did I want to wait an hour for the midwife to come to me to attend a homebirth/waterbirth.  So I decided to opt for a hospital birth:  the hospital is close to home and I get to stay for 48 hours after giving birth.  I know I will have lots of interruptions with staff checking my temp, my blood pressure, the baby, etc. but at least in the hospital no one is going to tell me that their sister is pulling their hair or ask for help with their homework or ask me to pack extra chips in their lunchbox.  I was actually looking forward to 48 hours alone in the hospital with the baby.  

Except that the closer it gets, the more my hospital anxiety kicks in.  I've never birthed in a hospital and cannot even visualize doing so.  I am terribly afraid of someone sticking a needle in my back for an epidural but I think it might be difficult to have a baby in the hospital without access to a tub for laboring.  

So I started rethinking my birthing situation.  And guess what????  There is a birth center 30 minutes away that JUST STARTED offering waterbirth!  I remember checking their website when I got pregnant but they didn't offer waterbirth at that time -- but they do now!  So I went to visit and they have a brand-new waterbirthing suite.  The bathroom is like a spa bathroom and the tub is a real waterbirthing tub:  it is wide and deep and has jets and is the one recommended by Waterbirth International.  

So I am officially changing my prenatal care to the birth center and am looking forward to a waterbirth in a proper tub.  Assuming I get to the birth center in time to birth in the tub!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Run Away

This morning as we were heading out the door for school, my 5 year old decided that he was going to wash his crocs.  (Apparently they had gotten muddy yesterday.)  So he douses them with water and then started to have a freak-out when I said he couldn't wear them to school because they were wet.  I put his sneakers on him instead.  He HATES his sneakers and never wants to go to school on gym day, just because he doesn't like wearing his sneakers.  (In reality, he only likes crocs, nothing else will do.)  I tried to explain to him WHY he couldn't wear them but it didn't matter, he threw himself down on the ground and clung to the railing on the steps and refused to get in the car.  So I had to drag him to the car.  He continued to wail all the way to school.  I was tired of the antics so I informed him that he would not get to watch tv today as a punishment for his behavior.  This announcement caused him to cry even more.  I told him that "from now on" he will not get tv if he cries in the morning.  (He cries almost every morning.  If its not the sneakers then it is the socks or the pants or his shirt or his undershirt.  I'm not joking.)  Anyway, he pulled himself together by the time we arrived at school.

However, on the way home from school today, he asked me if he could watch tv and I reminded him of his morning behavior.  I guess maybe he thought I had forgotten or was hoping I'd changed my mind.  So after thinking about missing tv for a day, he announced:  "Tomorrow I am going to run away."  And I was like, oh really?  Why?  He said he wants to run away to a family where the mom is nicer than I am and will let him watch as much tv as he wants.  So I suggested that he run away to my parents' house.  Afterall, Grampy watches LOTS of tv and would probably let him watch tv all day.  So he thought quietly for a couple minutes (I truly think he was contemplating running away to his grandparents) and then said, "I don't think I want to run away to Grammy & Grampy's house because I would be homesick there."

A-ha!  So he admits that life is not so bad in Langanland afterall!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Going Batty

Ok, so I'm sitting here at the computer and had just finished typing the previous blog entry . . . when I noticed a shadow in the window . . . so I look up and there is a doggone bat flying around the room!  Of course I start screaming like a banshee, and I do mean SCREAMING.  Everyone was in the basement, filling the pool with water so I knew my husband wouldn't hear me unless I was screaming loud enough to shatter glass.  Honestly, I was screaming out of fear, I hate those darn bats.  

Here's the thing.  As soon as I saw that it was going to be 50+ degrees today, I knew the bats might stir and that we might have an unwelcome visitor tonight.  As a result, I decided against taking a nice, hot bath in my clawfoot bathtub because the tub is on the 3rd floor (presumably where the bats enter the house from the attic, although I'm not sure about this) and I did not want my relaxing bath interrupted by a bat.  

Something has gotta give.  I CANNOT keep living like this.

Last Trimester

It's official -- I am entering into the last trimester of pregnancy -- my due date is 3 months from today.  All is well and I'm feeling good.  But pregnancy agrees with me.

I started my graduate class this weekend:  Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday.  It was tiring and I don't really know why because all I was doing was sitting there for hours on end.  The class is fairly interesting (ADHD for Educators) and the workload is not too overwhelming -- we do get class time to work on assignments -- so aside from the sitting, it wasn't too bad.  I have one more weekend to go and then class will be over.  And then I start a second class . . . don't even want to think about that now.  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Loving Lady

My 3 year old is completely enamored with our golden retriever these days. He spends LOTS of time "loving Lady". And I mean LOTS of time, probably about an hour a day. He just lays on her and hugs her and kisses her and cuddles her. He cannot get enough of her right now.

I can always tell when he's been "loving Lady" because he is COVERED in hair and I do mean covered. The kid is going through 3 outfits/day because he spends so much time with Lady that he has enough dog hair on him to cover a small mammal. He likes to spend time with Lady on the sly; if I walk into the room he will immediately run away from her. If I ask him about it he will say, "STOP! Don't SAY that!" I'm not sure why he is shy about it, we all try to tell him that it is good for Lady because she needs loves.

What is not good is the amount of dog hair that my son manages to transfer from Lady to me, to the furniture, the carpets, etc. Oh, and did I mention that he SMELLS like a dog? Oh yes. For HOURS afterwards. Even after he changes his clothes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day

Today started out as a 2 hour delay but quickly turned into a snow day. What could be better?!

As it turns out, the roads were fine by lunchtime so we headed over to our friends' house to sled. (We have a small yard and a flat neighborhood so we always have to drive somewhere to go sledding, or sled-riding as it was called when I was growing up in Pittsburgh.) Of course I did not sled, being 6 months pregnant, but here are a few pics from the adventure.

Here's my youngest getting ready to go down the hill. My oldest is next to him, giving him a pep talk before he goes. Our friend is behind him, ready to give him a push.

I'm including this next pic because it is the only pregnancy photo that has been taken thus far. Some people have asked for preggo pics, so here you go. (I know, it is probably not quite what you were looking for but it's all I have.)

Here's a pic of the whole gang:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Add Coconut to the List

You can now add coconut to the list of nuts my husband is allergic to.

He ate a couple Girl Scout Cookies last night, the ones that are short-bread covered in chocolate, coconut and caramel, called Caramel Delights. He did not have a full-blown attack like last time, but his allergies were bothering him. Darn! I LOVE coconut, as well as other nuts, and am finding that I have to change my cooking/baking habits so that he doesn't have a reaction. This is harder than I thought it would be.

He visited the allergist and found out that he is allergic to almonds, which means he is allergic to ALL tree nuts, as well as apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums and prunes. All of the "pit" fruits are related to tree nuts in some way. (I know, it seems a little weird to me too.) He has a sensitivity to soy, which means that although he is not allergic to peanuts, he may develop an allergy or sensitivity to them since they are closely related to soy (in that they are both grown in the ground rather than on trees.)

I guess I won't have to share my coconut cream pie ice cream anymore.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Emma has been with us for 7 months now and I think she is FINALLY, well almost, housebroken. I'm happy to report that she has had only 3 accidents in the month of January. Compare that with 15 in December, 12 in November and 23 in October!

She is finally letting me know when she needs to go outside and most of the time I stand at the window and watch her so that I can reward her with a treat as soon as she goes. My husband thinks this is overkill but I think its working beautifully and I don't plan to change course now!

An update on the patient:

He is doing very well. He went to church today (the first time he's been dressed in 4 days) and he stopped taking his Rx painkiller on Friday. Most of the time he does not even need Tylenol so I think he is doing very well. He'll be back at school tomorrow and life will be back to normal.

And just for fun, here are some pics of the Langan house in the winter:

This is the warmest spot in the house. Every morning the first person (or dog) awake gets the prime spot right in front of the heater. On this morning, Emma happened to get there first so the kids had to settle for a back-row seat. (Most mornings there are 3+ kids and one dog all vying for the spot.)

This is Emma's favorite place to nap during the day.

Lady spends her days in front of the heating vent that is adjacent to her dog bed. She has become quite fond of laying there for HOURS and I do mean HOURS. The dog hardly moves these days. But then again, she is almost 14 years old. When I'm 98 (14 dog years x 7 human years) I might want to lay around all day next to the heater too.