Sorry for the lack of posts, but everything just about exploded over here the past couple of days and we welcomed sweet little Lee Dalton into the world. When I can finally see past the end of my nose and get more than one hour of sleep at a go I will try to recap the past 12 or so days. They included one five year old birthday party, a birthday for me, a birthday for Charlotte, and and birthday for Lee.
I am so glad to have Dan around. I'd be crazy by now without him (confession: I already am just maybe a little.)
Also, when Lee and I got home from the hospital I finally broke the tub in the upstairs bathroom.
Last night I didn't fall asleep because I was too hot, and possibly too pregnant, but mostly just too hot.
So this is what I thought about out:
I'm going to have a baby at a hospital that I've never been to before. I tried to schedule a walk through only the next available one is on my due date. So there goes that.
I'm so hot. How can I get myself cooled off?
I've decided that the only thing I REALLY need to know is how to get into the hospital after hours. The hospital and staff are so friendly, I'm sure if I just walk in looking like I'm in labor I'll get ushered to the right spot.
Maybe if I turn my fan on it'll cool me off.
When I went to the hospital with Greg there were numerous people who pointed us in the right direction. Then again, Dan had already worked that floor of the hospital.
I have to flip the switch to turn the fan on and that will turn the light on. That could wake Dan up.
Hey, Dan works at this hospital. I should just have him swing by the labor and delivery unit and pick up the paperwork to fill out. Oh and ask where we go if we want to get in after hours.
I don't care if it wakes Dan up. I'm doing it.
Also, maybe I should figure out what to do with my other two kids when I need to go to the hospital.
Then I fell asleep. Only to be awakened about 40 minutes later because Greg had to pee.
Two things have recently been a pretty big frustration for me.
First, the job I do at church. I voluntarily teach the Sunday school class for 4 year olds (Charlotte's class). I have eight of them and that's only half the 4 year olds that attend our congregation. I started in January and have been struggling with it ever since. Last year I taught the 6 year old class and it was wonderful. I loved that group of kids and their abilities and though I did miss out on adult time, it truly felt like I was doing something important and that what I was doing was actually getting through to the kids. This group is so different and each week I stress over getting enough material ready that their attention spans will be able to cope with and then invariably it never works out as I had wanted. Honestly sometimes I look at these kids and think, is there anything going on in that little brain of yours right now? which is not at all the feeling I want to be having while doing service at church.
Second, my kids' attitudes. Charlotte and Greg are fighting lately. And picking on each other. And fighting me. One of them starts and the other one is more than eager to jump right into the ring. And also I've had to start telling them to do things three, four, or five times before they will even move their little bodies to get the job done. All of this amounts to me not really wanting to spend time with them. Me not wanting to spend time with them leads me to feel guilty because I really do feel like they are awesome people.
That is why I wanted to record Sunday and Monday. I cleaned the upstairs Saturday in preparation for Charlotte's birthday party this coming Saturday and in preparation for having it clean when I go into labor. While cleaning I listened to the latest general conference messages from the leaders of my church. This is something that I normally don't do. There were a few pearls of wisdom I got from that. First and foremost in my mind was that I really should just try to spend more time with my kids doing things that they want to do. I spend all day, every day with my kids, but seldom do I remember to sit down and let them have control over what we're going to do. I also learned that when I honestly try my very best to discern the best use of my time when trying to serve then I will be met with more success. I think I was trying to over-prepare for my lessons.
So Sunday rolled around and I prayed for help. And I can honestly say that I 100% received it. Dan was at work all day so that meant that I would be on my own with the kids. Usually that means a very busy, stressful day. I don't know how to really pinpoint anything that was different. I don't think it was because of me that our day was so relaxed. I had plenty of time for everyone and everything before church. Then my lesson, though much simpler than intended and heavily influenced by playing games, went really smoothly and I think the kids might remember the general topic.
That night, instead of a fancy Sunday dinner my kids and I sat on the floor together and ate hard cooked eggs, cheese, crackers, carrots, peanut butter bananas, and hot dogs for a goodie plate. Our picnic dinner was simple and enjoyable because there was nothing that my kids don't like. I was even gratified with each child eating an entire carrot.
Then this morning, after Charlotte's dentist appointment, I let the kids decide what we were going to do. We looked through the toy aisles at Target, and had lunch at Panera (OK, so maybe I did veto McDonald's but there was no way I was going to eat there today), and then came home and played all our board games. There were still plenty of minor battles between the two of them and with me, but putting out those fires didn't seem to exhaust or anger me.
In short these past two days have been great. Now let's just hope we can keep this ball rolling.
I realized two things have finally happened today.
First, I'm now considered full term. 37 week! Yeah! Note to Lee: "Please don't come early. Daddy's last day of this rotation is your due date. Please, baby, please don't come early."
Second, it took almost a year, but I think I have finally bonded with my dog. She is big, and sheds everywhere, and naughty, but there is absolutely no way now that I'd get rid of her. Also, I would probably defend her if I thought she was in some sort of trouble (thought what trouble she could get in that I could help with I'm not sure). She's been my almost constant companion this past week and tends to obey me much better than either of the kids. Well, that's not true, but she doesn't talk back or cry so maybe I just appreciate her silence.
Just in case this happens to you and you are dumb enough to think it's a good idea, here's how my day went.
First go grocery shopping with both kids knowing that it's going to take a looooong time because you are stocking up. And getting post delivery supplies. On the one hand, it has to be done. On the other, you really should know better than to do it with both children. This is probably why you are in remedial motherhood.
This, as every mother can tell you, will end in disaster.
The one and only funny part of the whole thing is when the lady ringing you up asks if you want a gift receipt for the newborn size diapers. Honest enough mistake I guess, but wait, at 36 weeks you look ready to go at any minute. Side story: While I was on vacation in Washington I went with my parents to Cabela's. While in the shoe department baby Lee gave a particularly strong kick right into my side. I gasped from the strength of it just as a worker was coming around the corner. He thought we were for sure going to have a baby right then and there in the department. I kind of like making complete strangers nervous.
Back to grocery shopping from Hell. Because you can't think past the red colors that seem to have risen behind your eyes and beating your children, you should probably call your mom. Minus points for lack of creativity, positive points for avoiding beating your children. She will tell you to distance yourself from the kids until you have calmed down.
Your solution: make the children sit on time out with their noses in separate corners for the entire time it takes to unload the $200 worth of groceries and put it all away. And maybe clean out the minivan and move it to the driveway, but they wont know the difference.
Then at lunch your daughter brings up helping you paint your bedroom. In a fit of nesting, you decided last Saturday (while Dan was home to spread the parenting duties) to paint it, but then forgot you didn't have a paint try. Of the millions of big and small home improvement supplies you moved from your last place, you neglected to move even a single paint tray. You moved about twenty paint keys, but not a single paint try. Now that you have it you are poised for action. You might be feeling a little bad about how you handled the grocery store and a strong urge to get this done today (because you are your mother's daughter and that's how things work in our brains).
You decide that it would be OK to have both children help you paint. They are so eager and so excited when you say OK that you think maybe this is a good thing after all.
YOU ARE WRONG. This is another reason why you are in the remedial course. Even when you have taped off every possible surface. Even when you have spread plastic drop cloths over all the floor you will be working on. Even if everyone is eager to get this job done. It is still a bad idea.
Did you know that a four year old can in fact use a paint key flawlessly? Yeah, neither did I. Also, a two year old can use nothing related to paint flawlessly? Also, when said two year old steps in paint he forgets the one and only rule you gave him (stay on the plastic) and immediately runs toward the carpet to wipe off his foot?
It does not matter how hard and fast you work. They out number you and are also working with a vigor reserved for the truly carefree creative spirit, unconcerned with trivial things like even coverage.
In the end you decide that it's "quiet time." Child number one takes off the paint clothing and heads to watch TV in the basement. Child number two takes a nap. You end up working as hard and as fast as possible to smooth out the paint before it dries.
So although this is a bad idea that you should never, ever repeat, there were some positives. First off, your kids absolutely loved it. They were so proud to show Daddy what they did when he got home. Secondly, you worked up a sweat. Exercise can be checked off for today! Thirdly, at least you recovered your sanity before irreparable damage was done. Fourthly, it was kind of awesome to see the look on your husband's face when he realized that there was a home improvement project that got done and he had absolutely nothing to do with it. And fifthly, because he had nothing to do with it you were able to throw the rollers in the trash can outside instead of washing them out like you hate doing. Shhh...he'll never know.
*Editorial note* about the paint. When we went on Saturday I found out that Daniel only really prefers working with neutral colors. Not only that he really prefers neutral browns. Except in bathrooms where he thinks they should be some form of aqua. The super expensive tiles that we got a screaming deal on are neither brown nor aqua. Having convinced him to just go with the stinking grey already (as it matches the tile in the bath) he went to find a gallon of paint for the guy to mix. He got mad because he could only find paint + primer. We have tried paint + primer and do not like the results. If you like them kuddos to you, but we did not. I told him that the guy probably knows what to get and just give him the paint sample already because standing in The Home Depot makes my back hurt. He did as I somewhat less than nicely had requested. When we got home he noticed that the guy had gone back and found the zero VOC type of paint (read: more expensive). Baby in utero: healthy. Husband in bedroom: beheaded. He was so angry it exploded.
My cousin Hilary is only a year younger than I am. Growing up we spent two weeks every summer together. We were with their family for every Christmas as well. I think our families are just about as close as you can get when living in two different states. I love her and her husband with all my heart. Her little boy Finn is about the closest thing to a cousin that my kids have on my side of the family. Then on Monday tragedy struck. My heart is just breaking for them and I can't seem to think about it without tears. Since there is absolutely nothing I feel I can do to actually ease their pain right now I am simply mourning with them and praying for them. Please send them your prayers.
My husband and I were married July 2, 2005. We just finished medical school in St. Louis. Now we are doing a five year stretch in Minnesota. I'm just trying to keep everything together at home while we wait to see the next curve in the road.