What’s My Age Again?

Today is my birthday and I am thirty-seven years old.

I have a lot of friends who hate to be reminded of how old they are, avoid telling people their age, and don’t draw attention to their birthdays. But neither my birthday nor my age make me feel old. Only once did I completely freak out about my age and have a “bad” birthday–the kind where you lie on your bed in your jammies staring at the ceiling and petting your cat and planning out your life as the Crazy Cat Lady.

It was my twenty-fifth and I didn’t have a full-time job (I was barely paying the bills by substitute teaching), had just been dumped from a long-term (five years) relationship, and was back living in my small town that I felt was confining and suffocating.  I was sure that my life was screwed. My master plan for my future had been flushed down the toilet and I felt out of control and out of luck. I didn’t even get out of bed that day.

Within six months, I found out how wrong and ridiculous I had been. That fall I was hired in to my current school district, I had been accepted to grad school, I started dating Cortney, and I was seeing the benefits to living in a small, close-knit community.

That was also the last time I freaked out about being “too old” or about it being “too late” for anything. It was the first and last time I ever cared about my age.

So that brings us to now: thirty-seven–an age where I thought I would be a lot more…settled. I think back to when my parents were my age and I was a kid.  From my perspective, late-30’s is when you are an adult. I’m not sure why, other than that is the age when I began to be aware of how old my parents were in relation to me, so by default late-30’s are when you become an adult.

But here’s the problem: I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like to be an adult, although I do think I am probably feeling more adultish lately than I have in the past.

In my 20’s, I was technically an adult, but everything I did felt like I was a kid trying to be an adult. Even at my own wedding when I was twenty-seven I remember saying, “OMG! This is such a GROWN UP THING!  Getting married!!!”

When Cortney’s dad died, I felt like an impostor.  I was just a kid posing as an adult who knew how to cope and grieve with the loss of someone so close.

When I got pregnant the very first time I was twenty-nine. I couldn’t even look my dad in the face to tell him. I knew that he would know what Cortney had done to his daughter to make that happen. I felt like a teenager “in trouble”.

Somehow my thirties slowly changed that attitude, and now at age thirty-seven, I find myself feeling like what I guess is what being an adult feels like.  I think I thought it would feel more boring. Like, once you find yourself being an adult, you are now feeling boring and not caring about being fashionable. Being and “adult” probably feels a lot like giving up on immaturity and inappropriateness.

But I’m finding that is not what it is at all…or at least not what it is for me.

It’s hard to explain.There is a feeling of being “in charge” and being more confident, yet I’m still ridiculous and immature–I mean, farts will ALWAYS be funny.  Sorry Mom.

I have gotten two degrees and am working on applying for my third, yet I still use the word “turd” regularly.

I can take charge of a classroom of eighth graders, yet I rap to DMX (loudly) in the car (without kids, I’m not that ridiculous).

It’s like by this age I have stepped up my game of responsibility while at the same time embracing the stuff that may be immature, but makes me ME.  Some of my strongest writing is academic, but I promise you that I will never get so scholarly that I am above using words like “crap bag”.

While thirty-seven is all adultish to me, I also know that being an adult doesn’t mean my life is over. There are still lots of things I want to do when I grow up.  Ok, I am grown up…but I know I will grow up even more which means there are so many more possibilities out there.

Thirty-seven is really just the beginning of a whole new era! One where all my children are born and my husband is a part-owner of a business and I get to weigh the possibility of a new degree and even more opportunities. That is the fun of being an adult–you get to pick what to do next. You get to choose your own adventure!

You get to eat from the secret stash of birthday cake Oreos when the kids aren’t looking even though you had dessert with them a few minutes ago!

So yes, I am thirty-seven and an adult.

Let’s eat cake!

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Have you donated a book to the March Book Shower yet?

 

Netflix for Maternity Leave

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I am currently sitting in our big leather chair, a baby snoring quietly on my  lap, a cup of coffee getting cold on the arm rest, and Friends via Netflix on the TV.

I am on maternity leave.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

In preparation for maternity leave, I made a list of shows that I want to binge watch during those long days when I have a baby on me.

  • Friends – I have been looking forward to this since they announced earlier this year that the favorite sitcom was coming to Netflix. I am already on season four after spending the hours of 11am until about 2pm watching it every day.
  • Orange is the New Black – I read the book last summer in preparation for meeting Piper Kerman at Netflix HQ in California, but I was saving the show for maternity leave.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – This is the newest to my list and it’s also new to Netflix. I’ve heard hilarious reviews, so it’s on my list because I like to laugh, yo.
  • Portlandia – Cortney and I started watching this when we first got Netflix, but we never finished. It’s so ridiculous because Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the king and queen of ridiculous. It also makes me miss Seattle and want to move to Portland. I don’t even think it’s supposed to have that effect.
  • Sherlock – you all tell me it’s great, and I like great. Also I don’t see the hotness of Benedict Cumberbatch (which, by the way, sounds like a totally made up name), but you all tell me if I watch this show, I will.
  • TED Talks – Yes, I am letting my nerd show. I love me some TED Talks.
  • Freaks and Geeks – I have never watched it, yet our sociology teachers show it every year and scoff at me every year because they say it’s amazing. So it’s my goal to determine that.
  • The Wonder Years – This list would not be complete with out the ultimate throwback possible. This was hands down one of my favorite shows growing up, and it’s currently available on Netflix.

I would say this list will keep Alice and me pretty well-occupied for the next three months, don’t you think?  Is there anything we should add? I don’t like scary stuff or stuff that is disturbing–I save that for the books I read. Watching TV should be a little mindless fun, ya know?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, but am not paid for my opinion. I am provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on. All opinions (and To Watch Lists) are my own.

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Dear Alice,

You are seventeen days old today, just over two weeks. Looking back that seems both fast and slow. I can’t believe two weeks has already gone by, yet it seems like you’ve just always been part of the family. Cliche, I know, but I really can’t help it.

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Even though I’ve had two babies before you, it’s somehow all new this time around. For one, you are tiny. Daddy calls you his “dainty girl.” Your birth weight was 8 lbs, 5 oz–our smallest baby. After your first pediatrician appointment at 5 days old, you were down to 7 lbs, 10oz.  We have never ever had such a small baby! In fact, you are still wearing newborn sized clothes, where your brothers grew out of that size within the first couple days of life. In fact, Eddie never fit in newborn! He went straight to 0-3 month clothes–which look like potato sacks on you!

I’m finding your temperament is somewhere between Eddie and Charlie’s. Eddie was colicky. You are SO not like that, but Charlie was the most laid back baby in the world. You’re not quite that easy. For instance, middle of the night feedings with Eddie meant spending the night on the couch with him, but with Charlie it meant 15 minutes out of bed, tops. You take your time eating, but you aren’t fussy about it. You like to take breaks, act like you’re sleeping, then get fired up to finish the bottle.

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You are also quite the cuddle bug. You remind me of Charlie in this way. You love to be tucked up under daddy or my chin in a little baby ball of snuggle.

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I’ll admit, during your entire pregnancy I held back in reservation about having a little girl. I told myself it didn’t matter if we bought “girly” things or not since as a baby, you didn’t care. We didn’t change the nursery theme (still jungle theme just like your brothers had) and I didn’t go on any buying sprees. People very generously passed on clothes and things that their little girls no longer fit into, but there wasn’t a connection to them like I made with little man clothes. And besides, babies are babies, right?

Well, yes. Logically and rationally this is true.

But once you got here, everything in my heart changed.  Or it rearranged…or it woke up. Something happened in there.

I really don’t think I fully believed you’d be a girl.

taken by our great friend, Trisha

taken by our great friend, Trisha

At your ultrasound when we found out, I laughed so hard that tears formed. I remember thanking God for such a fun surprise, but something in me didn’t completely accept it.  When they took you from my body and announced, “Yup, she’s a girl! She’s Alice!” Again I laughed. Right there on the operating table. You are REAL. A real girl. A daughter. My daughter. My Alice.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I couldn’t imagine being able to love him as much as I loved Eddie. Yet my heart grew and surprised me with how I totally could love them with equal ferocity.  While pregnant with you, I couldn’t imagine how to love a daughter the way I love my sons. The feeling was valid because I don’t love you the way I love your brothers. I love you differently because you are my daughter and not my son.

I can’t put words to how it’s different; only my heart understands that concept.  I don’t love you more or less, just differently, but with the same passion and fire as I love your big brothers.

Everything that I have been afraid of in terms of having a daughter has faded to the back of my mind. In it’s place I see all the potential joy and good in having a daughter in my life. I have become acutely aware of my relationship with Grandma, and how I call her or email her at least once a week and how I want to share with her all the cute gifts you’ve gotten. How I was so happy to see her after each of the times I had a baby.

That will hopefully be us. We are starting that relationship right now with each snuggle and middle of the night feeding.

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You are magical, Alice.

From each snort and sigh, the way you “face pet” your soft bunny and the way your little legs go straight up when you eat, you make me so happy to be your mommy.

You make our family so happy.

Your brothers fuss over you and your daddy melts when you turn your face in towards his neck.

Our love for you goes on…

Love,
Momma

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Don’t forget Alice’s first giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Enter to win a Cloud B Glow Cuddles Bear!

Also don’t forget about the March Book Shower to celebrate March being reading month, Alice’s birth, Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and my upcoming 37th birthday on Friday!

Five Reasons to Love Cloud B

When Charlie was just two, we were gifted a Tranquil Turtle from cloud b. We were trying to have another baby at the time and we thought if he liked it, we could keep it in the nursery for the new baby.

He liked it so much that it moved downstairs when he did.  Ok then.

Recently, cloud b reached out again, and sent Alice a Glow Cuddles Bear. We were so excited because we have fallen pretty hard for cloud b products. And the great news is that one of YOU will win the cloud b Glow Cuddles Bear too! But why would you want one? Read on for the Top Five reasons to shop cloud b!

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1. Sights and Sounds are Soothers

One of the greatest things as a parent is when your child can finally put him/herself to sleep. Eddie was terrible at it, but Charlie was good. As a baby, he had a glow worm whom he called Glowy, and then he got his Tranquil Turtle. The way the Tranquil Turtle played soothing water sounds and made glowing “waves” on his walls mesmerizes him and helps him to quietly fall asleep without needing someone in the room.

2. They have actual Sleep Specialists

It’s true. Cloud b has pediatricians and parents constantly researching and giving input. I am guess that is why Alice already seems to love her Glow Cuddles Bear and it’s heart beat sound.

3. The toys are just cute

I mean…awww!!! And so soft!

glo_cuddle_bear_frnt4. It’s on a timer

Yes, these cuddly lovies turn themselves off.  That may not seem like a big deal because, hey, you aren’t in the room, right? However turning themselves off means saving on batteries AND it means if you sleep in the same room with your child for whatever reason? The light beat of the bear’s “heart beat” or the soothing sounds of the turtle’s sea sounds will not go on and on all night.

5. They make great gifts!

You don’t have a baby? That is fine! Give a Cloud b animal as a gift!  Alice agrees.

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To enter to win a Glow Cuddles Bear, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest closes midnight of March 24 and is open to US shipping addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Cloud b sent us a Glow Cuddles Bear and is providing the spoils for this giveaway. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

The Magic of Three

Dear Charlie,

Today you are THREE!

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I know things have been a little crazy and your birthday has been sort of part of a whole whirlwind of “events” around these parts, but I wanted to make sure you know how special your day is to me. We maybe be focusing a lot on Alice right now and on mommy resting and getting better, but you have been on my heart a lot.

In fact, while recovering in the hospital, my thoughts turned to you often.

I thought of our hospital stay three years ago. Your soft little head that fit so perfectly in the neck space under my chin. Our late evening chats after daddy had gone home to Eddie. The way you were immediately my little Charlie Bird.

You are now “The Middle Child,” but you are still my littlest boy. And your role in this family is very important. Not only did you make Eddie a brother, but you made daddy and I parents of kids, plural.  You taught us that our hearts don’t just make room for more love, but they actually GROW with love.

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As a baby, you were our quiet, serious observant boy. You especially watched Eddie’s crazy shenanigans closely and skeptically.  Eventually, he would be the first to make you do the belly laugh you are now famous for.  You gave Eddie the brother he didn’t know he needed and you even out his bossy, follow-the-rules, cautious personality with a dose of risk, stubbornness, and goof.

You taught us that all babies, toddlers, kids are different–that just because you have had one, does not mean you know what you’re doing with all kids. For instance, Eddie didn’t say strings of words until he was almost three, but you have been talking for a good year now. There have been times when I had to remind myself you were only two because you would say such complete sentences.

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While Alice and I were in the hospital this past weekend, you crawled up on my bed and proceeded to hold up cards and papers you found and tell me about traffic lights and how red means stop and then green is go. Not everything made a ton of sense, but you just lectured on it for about ten minutes–telling me I was in my class. You are so very animated with your big blue eyes and your hand gestures and your facial expressions. YOU know what you’re talking about, and that is what matters.

All of your emotions are big, Charlie. I remember that about Eddie being three, but you’ve had the Big Feelings for a long time now. When you are mad, LOOK OUT. Your immediate reaction is to pick something up and throw it or knock it over. You want to spit and hit and scream NOOOOO!!!! It’s very exhausting.

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But your joy and love are big too, and I’m always trying to remember during your times of anger bombs, that you are also a very happy boy. You are quick to say “thank you!” and “I love you!” without being prompted. You like to sit CLOSE to me or daddy (mostly daddy). You even like to snuggle up to Eddie, who doesn’t always tolerate your cuddles like Dad Dad and I do.

Touch is definitely your love language. Whether you are smooshing your sleepy body next to daddy on the couch before bed, or flopping yourself on Eddie to wrestle, you love to touch and be touched. It’s how you show that you like someone.

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You are no longer the baby in the family, Charlie. But you don’t seem to care as much as I thought you would. You love your sister and want to share with her and kiss her and hug her. You love to hold her. The look on your face when you hold Alice is a new one to me. I’ve not seen that pride in your face before.

You surprise us and make us laugh every single day. Yes, you are probably also the child who is turning my hair gray so rapidly, but you also make me laugh the hardest.  From the time you put your hand on your hip and said, “I not argue with you, Mom Mom,” to just earlier this week when you were dancing around, planted your booty on Eddie and said, “here’s my butt, my big butt,” and then laughed your head off, you keep us guessing what you’ll do and say next.

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Three years ago, you came into this world and helped me heal from a lot of bad stuff I had gone through after Eddie was born. You taught me that having a baby didn’t have to suck. You softly slept on my chest assuring me it didn’t have to be so hard.

You continue to heal me, son. You are important to this family. You make daddy laugh until he cries, you challenge Eddie and give him a built-in buddy, you give your little sister love, and you are the patches and stitches that healed my broken heart.

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I am so proud to be your mom.

I know Three can be a tough age, but it is also a magical age. You will do a lot of growing up this year, Bird. With that will come growing pains for both of us. You will go from toddler to kid this year. You will probably (hopefully) potty train and give up your pacifier. The last of “baby” will fade away.

I will cry. You will fight it. But we will make it.

There will be loads of joy and celebration in it too, my son.

Here is to Three. Let the magic begin.

Love,

Mom Mom

The First Days

We have been a family of five for five days.

Last night Cortney and I sat close on the couch, holding hands. Alice was snoozing in her rock n play and Eddie and Charlie were lying on the floor with a pile of pillows and blankets watching Curious George before bed. I looked at Cortney and smiled, “Look. Our whole family is here. We are complete and together.”

“It’s awesome,” he said with a smile.

And we both breathed out a happy sigh.

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Just moments before I had been crying uncontrollably. You know how postpartum hormones are. Cortney said, “anything I can do?”  Eddie asked “are you ok, mom?”  Cortney sat down and held my hand; Eddie rubbed my arm. I had been watching the boys and was equally annoyed with their loud, roughness and devastated at how big they both were. How things had changed so much in the six years since Eddie was born.

I had a crushing feeling of overwhelm from looking forward on the calendar at all whether it be for food drop-offs or visitor drop-ins or future plans. I didn’t want to look forward at all. I wanted to look at NOW. Enjoy my NOW because where did all those “nows” go with the boys when they were tiny? When did Eddie start reading and get such big feet? When did Charlie start telling me to “relax” and get such long legs?

Eddie used to be my chubby ball of toddler.

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Charlie used to be my tiny fuzzy baby head that poked out of the top of his Moby wrap.

I’m not saying I wish they were still little. I love their ages right now. Watching them learn and grow and become little man dudes is amazing. But all that change hit me funny last night.

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I’m blaming hormones and other than those weird moments, we are doing great.

The boys are clearly happy to have mommy home and being back in their regular routines of school and daycare. Both go right to Alice when they come home to tell her “hello,” and both are full of things to say to me. I find I am more patient with them than I was before. More willing to calmly talk to them when they are getting upset rather than getting upset myself.

It’s like I want to keep the peace more than ever.

I want this happy, blissful baby haze to last for all of us.

Alice fits in so well, it’s almost hard to believe she hasn’t always just been here.

Having three is a change for sure, but having Alice seems natural if that makes sense. Like she is the one that was supposed to be here the whole time. Because, of course, she IS the one.

My girl has been eating regularly every three-ish hours and sleeping nicely in between feedings. I’ve been able to get 3-4 hours of sleep at a time at night which is pretty awesome this early. The boys love her, but are still learning that they need to find a voice level somewhere between zero and eleven when they are around her…although she hasn’t really minded the noise. But they don’t know that.

Charlie is the biggest surprise of all. I knew Eddie would love his sister madly, and he does. But I had doubts about how Charlie would handle a baby coming into the family. He has surprised us all and adores her. Every day he comes home from daycare and “shares” his woof woof, monkey, and blankie with her–a big deal because no one is allowed to have those but him.

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Both boys kiss and hug her at bedtime. Both boys like to sniff and pet her head. Alice and I have been like cats lazing around the house, recovering, resting, relaxing, and letting the boys take care of us.

Alice had her first pediatrician appointment today and Cortney took her and I stayed home with Eddie and Charlie since it was after school. The report was that Alice was doing great and that he was very proud to tell the doctor that I was doing great too.

Yes, there have been tears, but Cortney has not made it a secret that he is so happy to see Alice and I just liking each other. He says I am taking the lead easier with her and she clearly prefers my arms over anyone else’s (although if you ask me, she is starting to get pretty comfy with her daddy, too).

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It’s only been five days, but we are finding our way. We are trying to find a new routine and a new “normal” for our family. I’m trying to stay on my pain meds and rest so I don’t jump start anything nasty like infection or depression. And so far, it’s working. We are surviving, and dare I say, thriving?

Yes. We are thriving.

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Want to welcome Alice and bless my classroom library at the same time? Check out the March Book Shower. Put a book in the hands of a child to celebrate Reading Month.

‘Twas The Night Before Alice

Dear boys,

Tomorrow is the day. Our world will change and our family will be complete. Tomorrow is Alice’s birthday!

I know we are all excited and even a little nervous. We think we know what to expect and we have planned as much as we can, but we also know in our hearts that there are no guarantees. Things could go awry quickly. There is no reason to expect it, but we just don’t know.  So we go into tomorrow with excitement and hope for a healthy baby and mommy.

But there is more, right? We can only guess at how our life will be different. We don’t know. Will Alice be a happy, content baby or will she have colic like Eddie did? Will she be easy to take out of the house, or will she be needy and fussy? We will find out soon!

I have a lot of emotions tonight as I write this. I look around me and see our life. There are Charlie’s trucks and Eddie’s backpack. I see Daddy’s french press and the tablet charging. Our life is nice and routine. We know how to be a family of four: Mommy, Daddy, Eddie, Charlie. Tomorrow it all changes.

How can life be so normal and yet on the verge of such change?

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Boys, I want you to know how thankful I am for all three of you. I know I’ve complained a LOT during this pregnancy, but you have all been so unbelievably helpful and supportive.

Eddie,

You are my number one. You made me a mom almost six years ago. You have been by my side helping and loving on me through this whole thing.

Many times you have said, “no mom! I will get that. I don’t want you to bend too much!” or “I just want to be helpful so you’re not so tired.”  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just grab you and squeeze you. How did I get so darn lucky to have a boy so sensitive and giving and kind?

When I have broke down in tears because I feel like a failure of a mom, you have put your hand on my arm and said, “you’re not THAT bad, mom,” and made me laugh. You seemed to always know when I needed a good snuggle, and you never complained that I fell asleep on the weekends during Charlie’s nap leaving you to watch Netflix and play Legos by yourself.

You are a wonderful big brother to Charlie, and I just know you will be everything to Alice too. You already love her so much!  You tell EVERYONE you see that your “very own baby sister will be borned on March 6!”  You told everyone in front of church on Sunday, you’ve told all your Zkids teachers and Mr. F, and you’ve told all your friends. You’ve even told people who you don’t really know!

In the past weeks our conversations about her have increased. You have wondered about her voice and her eyes. You have asked what her laugh will sound like. Eddie, you are amazing.  When I was sick, you worried about your sister being sick too, and admitted that you were afraid she might die in my tummy. That night we prayed together and you asked Jesus to keep your sister and mom safe. I can’t tell you how full you  make my heart, my Eddie Bear.

I promise to still make time for Mommy & Eddie time because our conversations mean so much to me. You made me a mommy and I will never ever take that for granted.

Eddie, you were born to be a Big Brother

Eddie, you were born to be a Big Brother

Charlie,

Oh my sweet little Charlie Bird. You fill my life with exasperation and laughter. You rage fiercely and love even stronger. At a week shy of turning three, you don’t fully understand what is about to happen to our house. Not as much as Eddie understands, anyway. You once told me you don’t like babies because “they get on you.”

However you get very excited to tell people about “Baby Alice!” and how she is coming. You pat my belly and kiss it and say your sister is in there. You have finally given up the nursery as not your room anymore, but that of Baby Alice.

Each time someone gifts us a tiny pink something or other you hug it and say “aw cute!”

Losing the baby status is going to be hard for you, Mr. Charlie Bird. Your love of being small and cute is pretty evident. You use that cuteness whenever you get a chance–although it works better with every other person (your dad included) than it does with me because I’m totally on to you, son.

You are going to love your sister, but also insist we put her down. You will want to give her kisses and then ignore her for your loud trucks. You will make her pretend food and then get angry that she is taking attention off of you. Maybe my predictions will be wrong, but I know you pretty well, my little boy.

But you are quite the lovey bug too. I know once she gets older, you will love on her like you do with Eddie and Dad Dad and me. Floppy newborn will probably not interest you much, but when you first make her laugh, your relationship will change forever. Your love languages are laughter and touch, which makes me think I will have to play defense against your tight hugs and sloppy kisses. But guess what? She will love them. Eddie might be her protector, but you will be her laughter.

Charlie I promise that you will not get shoved to the side. We will make time for Boy Time and Mommy & Charlie time. I will still cuddle with you in the chair before bed and read you stories when you ask.

That smile and that skrunchy nose. Oh Charlie.

That smile and that skrunchy nose. Oh Charlie.

Cortney,

Oh my sweet husband. I don’t know if I have the right words to even begin to tell you how much your love and support has meant to me. Not that this is different than any other area of our relationship, but more times than not I have been reminded how lucky I am to have a partner who is truly my partner. Someone who doesn’t keep score or hold on to hard feelings, but someone who gives everything he is to our team.

You have put up with my complainy, sucks at pregnancy self THREE times and you still love me and want to hug and kiss me every day. That is not too shabby. And I will say to you, WE ARE DONE! As of tomorrow, this is it. No more Pregnant Kate. You get your wife back. You know, sort of. After all that postpartum stuff, that is. But yay! End in sight!

I have spent the past nine months thanking you and apologizing to you over and over. You have picked up so much slack it’s like I wasn’t even here a bunch of the time. I know this burden has weighted on you, but you never say to me, “it’s too much. I just can’t.” Instead, you look at me and say, “it’s what we do. We are a team. You grow the kids. That’s your part.” In fact, just today you thanked me! I asked why and you said, “for growing the humans.”  And I laughed.

That is how we have always gotten through all of this hard stuff: laughter. It must be why our kids have such hilarious senses of humor as well. In all things we find the funny. That is a true gift.

My favorite thing is that through this pregnancy, I have come to re-realize that you are indeed my very best friend in the whole world. I would never want to go through life with anyone other than you.

I hope you know how appreciative I am of everything you do for me and the boys and for Alice. You are going to be the most amazing Dad of a Little Girl. I am sure of it.  You already deal with me and my crazy, what’s one more lady in the house, right?

I promise you that I will keep laughing with you (even when the postpartum hormone rush makes me cry at things like shoes on the wrong feet). I promise to go on dates with you SOON. And I promise to pat your cute butt at inappropriate times, per usual.

Let the weirdness march on!

Let the weirdness march on!

Boys, I am both terrified and thrilled that we are adding a new human to our house of crazy. Sluiter Nation will be more complete when we bring home that pink little bundle.

Just make sure not to run her over with a Tonka truck and I think we will be good.

I love you all so much. Thank you for being the best dudes a lady could ask for.

Now…on to a new adventure!! On to Wonderland with our Alice!

Love,
Mommy/Kate

Packing for the Hospital

I’m days away from having my third baby (ON FRIDAY!  WOOT!), and I decided it was probably time I start thinking about packing for the hospital.

Eddie was the only baby I actually went into labor with (if you don’t count my early labor with Alice), so he was the only one I packed a bag for and then just waited. He was also the only one who I packed an actual suitcase for…AND the diaper bag. I laugh every time I think about it.

Seriously? New mom much?

Seriously? New mom much?

I packed a million things, you guys. In my defense, the internet told me to. Really! If you go to BabyCenter or google what to pack for your hospital stay, you get these LISTS! ALL OF THE LISTS! WITH ALL OF THE THINGS ON THEM!

Whenever I look at this picture I roll my eyes because WHERE DID I THINK I WAS GOING? I had no reason to think I would have a C-section at the time, so this was all for one, maybe two, nights? Plus I think I packed 10 different outfits for Eddie. In the end, I didn’t put him in “real clothes” until we were leaving.

And then even WITH a C-section and staying three nights, I didn’t read a book!  I didn’t do a million clothing changes. In fact, I just sat in my gown until the last day because I couldn’t wear it home.

Charlie was a planned repeat C-section. I packed my bag the weekend before (my C-section was on a Tuesday). The bag (just one) that I packed was a Thirty-One Utility Tote. Not even the giant one, but the medium one. I knew I would be there for three nights, but would probably stay in my gown until after the first night because of the IVs and the catheter.  I packed a LOT smarter the second time around.

And this time around, I’m even smarter. Less is more, in my opinion. I mean, the hospital really has almost everything I need.  This is my list:

  • two pairs of comfy jammy pants (one to wear in the hospital, one to go home in)
  • two comfy jammy tops (see above)
  • fuzzy socks
  • a bra and a pair of granny undies (because C-section incision)
  • breast pads
  • shampoo and conditioner in small, travel-size bottles
  • my own soap (otherwise you have to use hand soap. not cool) and face wash and deodorant
  • a brush and a pony tail holder
  • a little bag with lip balm, my meds, and my reading glasses
  • a jammy for Alice
  • my cord blood collection kit
  • a blanket to tuck around Alice because it will be cold when we go home
  • my phone & charger and maybe my Chromebook.
  • my own pillow

That’s it.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I have really simplified since my mega-suitcase fiasco from six years ago. I feel like the simplifying isn’t just with hospital bag-packing either. As far as most outings with kids/babies go, I don’t go as overboard as I did with Eddie. Instead of packing the car with every single piece of baby gear we may possibly need, I usually just throw my Moby in the back and shove some diapers, wipes, and bottles in the diaper bag.

How about you? Were you an over-packer when it came to your hospital stay(s) or a “simple” packer?

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Don’t forget about the March Book Shower!

March Book Shower

March is when Alice is coming (the 6th).  March is Charlie’s third birthday (the 13th).  March is my thirty-seventh birthday (the 27th).  March is also READING MONTH.

March also means my last day of teaching until fall. While it is exciting to think of being done for six months, it also stressful for me getting ready to leave my students–and my classroom library–with someone else for 12 weeks.  Will the sub love and care for my books the way I do?  Will my students continue to be responsible about checking out and returning books without stealing or losing them?

What I know for sure is that I have students who are definitely reading those books. I would say that over 75% of my classes are doing more than required one independent book per marking period, and of the remaining 25% of students, less than 10% are just not reading or doing their required work.

With only 4 days left of work for this year, I would say my biggest success has been Reading Workshop. I have many things I would like to add or adjust for next year, but as my first year trying Reader’s Workshop AND being in a new grade-level and building, I would say it’s been more successful than I could have hoped.

That said, I always, always need more books. So rather than having a baby shower, I was told I should throw a book shower!

If you want to participate in my March Book Shower to celebrate the birth of Alice, mine and Charlie’s birthdays, Reading Month and the success of my first year of Reader’s Workshop just click the imagine below and it will take you to my classroom wishlist.

library

This wishlist has been compiled by my students as they read and request books. There are over 300 titles, so if you click through, you can find something you would love to add to our library.

It would only take a gift of ONE book per blog reader and my students would be able to have the books that will keep them reading!

I would love it if you would share this post with others too! You can either click on the share buttons below, or you can use this when you share via twitter or Facebook:

Join me in throwing @ksluiter a Book Shower in honor of March being Reading month, her new baby girl, and her students’ love of reading! http://wp.me/p1qChn-2yS

It’s about to get crazy in Sluiter Nation…help us celebrate!

Someday I Will…

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Eddie talks about what he wants to be when he grows up all the time, and every time it ends with “and I will live here with you and daddy forever!”

Cue me smiling hard and trying not to say, “NO YOU WILL NOT.”

Our last conversation went something like this:

Eddie: Mom, when I grow up I’m going to be an artist. And still live with you guys.”

Me: What kind of artist?

Eddie: A paintist

Me: And you’re going to live here? Why?

Eddie: Because I like living here.

Ok then.

Eddie loves crafts and painting and drawing. He also loves writing and reading. He also loves math. He also loves playing Clash of Clans and Cut the Rope and watching “good shows” on Netflix. He also loves to help clean and pick up because he “just wants to be helpful and responsible.”

He has absolutely no doubt that whatever he wants to do someday, he will do it.

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Always creating.

 

Do you remember when you had that sort of confidence about the future? I do. I distinctly remember in 3rd grade being asked to draw a picture and write sentences about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be a telephone operator so I could push buttons. I drew a picture of me sitting in a chair with a huge table of buttons in front of me and I was happily pushing the ones that lit up.

I was absolutely sure that is what I could do. I also was sure that if I changed my mind, I could do whatever else I chose too. I was eight. I had no thoughts of training or schooling or having to pay for that training or schooling.  Or moving away from my family. No, in my mind you just became what you wanted.

I asked Charlie today what he wanted to do when he was bigger. He put a finger next to his face, was thoughtful for a minute and answered “watch George.” I guess at 2-years old it’s harder to think about being “big” and having a “job”. He was, however quite involved with his tool set when I asked him after just watching a bunch of episodes of Handy Manny on Netflix.

Charlie is our putz-er. He likes to fiddle with things and “fix” them.  Last week I found him “working on his car”–a toy ride-on car that his Granny gave him. He had it upside down and was using a pencil to “fix” it. Upon closer inspection, he had also poured all his goldfish into the wheel well.

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“shh. mom. I working.”

 

Even Cortney and I are always talking about what we want to be when we “grow up”.  He finished his degree and is now a business owner.  That means it’s “my turn” again to go to school if I want to. And what I REALLY want to do is get my PhD.  I want to teach future English teachers.

With a baby coming, a new vehicle needed, and extra costs for diapers, formula, and daycare, we don’t have the money to pay for classes right now. I am, however, taking steps. I’ve met with “The Retirement” guy about retiring from my district in 10+ years. I have also been looking into re-taking the GRE (since I took it over 10 years ago for my Masters program, I have to re-take it before I apply to my PhD program). Then there are all the letters of rec and writing samples to get for my actual application.

It’s never too late (or too early) to think about what you want to do “someday”. That is something we try to instill in our kids. Education and learning new things never has to end.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Netflix has provided a year of free service along with a device to view it on, but the stories and opinions are all my own.

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