Saturday, February 4, 2017


I'm finally in the good part of pregnancy. 30 weeks tomorrow, the beginning of the 3rd trimester, and I am feeling great.
The nausea is finally gone, except the occasional 30 second wave. There are still some certain things that gross me out more than usual. Mostly hot coffee, which is a major bummer. But a few weeks ago I discovered that iced coffee goes down like a charm and JT knew the technique for how to make good stuff from his restaurant days and showed me, and now I can have my necessary caffeine without gagging every morning.
We've had our first round of illness for the year, but it really wasn't too bad. Aquaman got walking pneumonia and wheezed for almost 4 weeks, but he is fine now.
The Dude got strep. But the awesome thing about strep is that it can be cured within a day, and it just isn't as contagious as colds and such. No one else in the family got it.
Greystoke and I both got chest colds, but no further complications other than a week of waking up every 2 hours which definitely wore me out. His ears have grown up and he has not had any infections yet this season. So overall, we fared quite well. I just hope we can stay well for a few more weeks.
JT and I have a "babymoon"/early 10 year anniversary planned on the 13th, 14th, and 15th. If all goes well and no one gets sick, we will take the boys to school on Monday morning and not pick them up until Wednesday afternoon. They have alternating overnights planned with the grandparents.
We had originally planned to go somewhere...first a bed and breakfast, then some sort of cabin in the woods....and then we decided...what if we just stay home? We already live in paradise after all, and it doesn't get much easier than that. We can go to the movies, a walk on the beach, out for dinner, swim some laps and work out together, soak in our own hot tub, and take naps in our own bed.
We are also going to squeeze in one of my OB appointments and an ultrasound, JT's first since he had to miss the anatomy one for work.
As I have in almost all of my pregnancies, my fundal height is measuring 2 weeks behind, and the perinatologist had already recommended a growth ultrasound after my 18 week one, you know, since I am an old lady this time and all. Since it happens every time, I am not at all scared. The baby always measures right on track, it just seems to be the way I carry. Just another chance to see her. Hopefully she won't be sideways like Greystoke was, or will get herself shuffled around at some point since I don't think the midwives I have do any sort of turning. Oh how I miss my old doctor.
Life is still flying by at a crazy speed, but it feels less out of control since I started working less hours.
Mostly right now I am spending that extra time giving more attention to the kids and nesting. Nesting like crazy.
This is the best time to nest. I am pretty tired, getting pretty big, and for the first pregnancy ever bordering on anemic, probably because I couldn't eat well the first 5 months of my pregnancy. But I really feel quite good. It is all starting to become real. I have just been so busy that there hasn't been any time to sit and look at pregnancy books, and when I see a tiny baby out and about it all feels so foreign even though we were just there 2,5 years ago.
But it's not really scary either. We have done it 3 times. It will be as amazing and tiring and different with this one, and we will survive and thrive in it.
But with the hectic pace of life these past 2.5 years there is a lot to do to get ready. I threw 4 garbage bags full of junk out from the kitchen when I was organizing it. Gave away a huge bag of books. I'm going through every closet and dresser and reorganizing, making room. 1344 square feet with 6 can't afford to be a hoarder of anything. You can only keep what you use regularly. The only things I am keeping that we don't use all the time are some boys' clothes that have yet to be grown into and my pictures and journals, which I am storing in rubbermaid containers in the closet.
We decided to turn our master closet into little girl's room. It will work fine for her when she is little, and in 5 years or so when we are busting at the seams, we will probably be ready to break down and move. But for now, we don't have to, and that is a relief.
An electrician is coming in to put an outlet in the closet, and when we replace our air conditioning soon (we were told it would probably have to be done by this summer), we will get them to vent it too.
None of our babies has ever had their own room. For Aquaman's first 20 months we lived in a one bedroom condo. Sharing our room with our babies is our norm, so she will probably be right next to us the first 2 years anyway.
For now the boys all love to be together. I know that will someday change, but I love to go into their room at night when they are all asleep and look at that bedroom full of little boys.
I think Aquaman most of all enjoys sharing, even though he has 2 little brothers to drive him crazy. I have been realizing lately what a unique personality he has in that while he often doesn't want to be bothered or interact with others, he craves and seems to pull energy from being around people. He does not like to be alone.
I didn't get to have a conference with his teacher after his last report card because she was going out to have surgery, so I sent her an email to see how everything was going. He is still having an amazing year, she wrote on his report card that he is a leader in his class and excels in every area. He did get Ns (needs improvement) on his writing again, and then I started worrying...I know 3rd grade is a much bigger deal with the writing. What if he gets a teacher who picks on him a bunch about it again, and this teacher this year was just ignoring that he was falling behind in it? I haven't been making him do any writing at home at all. For homework, she allows him to work on his spelling words using play dough and computer programs and so those are the homework activities we select.
But she assured me that she is not concerned about his writing at all. She said he is definitely making progress and is doing fine. One thing they do now that I really appreciate is every time they write a "paper", after they write it they also have to type it. I know that typing skills are going to serve him well.
I also wondered how he was doing socially since this is his other area of struggle, though he has seemed to do much better this year. She said again that he is doing great. He works well in group projects. He still prefers to play by himself on the playground, but he is perfectly happy about it. The sweetest thing is that whenever there is a child on the playground that has no one to play with, they send him to Aquaman, and she said Aquaman is always very kind and welcoming though he obviously prefers to be alone. I love that boy.
The neighbor's 4 year old grandson recently moved into her house and he spends half of his day trying to escape and come to our house since our house is filled with boys and legos.
This is a difficult thing and a growing experience for Aquaman, if you know Aquaman. His legos are his domain. He spends hours raking through them making the perfect vehicle, and has a table full of his completed projects. But again, because he craves being around people, and having his toys available, he does not want to hide them somewhere to protect them, he just wants everyone to know not to mess with them. He has his little brothers pretty well trained. But neighbor boys are a different story.
But it is once again a sign of his growing. After about 20-30 minutes he starts getting tense and agitated and we have to try to do something else, but for those first few minutes he is becoming so much more flexible, more gracious and patient and welcoming. I was upstairs working on the closet a couple days ago and heard Aquaman say "oh, hi AJ. Did your mom say it was ok? Ok, come on in, you can play with my Legos," We have been reading in the Bible about how God wants us to love our neighbors the same way we love ourselves, and he is trying so hard.
He is growing up so big. Literally actually. He suddenly shot up and is now in the 70% for height, though he is still as skinny as ever. We finished up 6 months of OT and he "graduated" last week, which he was a little sad about. He has enjoyed the 1:1 attention and I think just the understanding the therapist had of him and way his mind and body work. But she did agree that he has grown a lot in the past 6 months...developed more coping mechanisms for his sensory sensitivities and almost caught up with his fine motor skills.

This year is the Dude's year to struggle in school. His report card looked great actually...he got the highest marks possible in most areas: math, science, phonics. He is still struggling a lot with his writing though. He continues to be unofficially pulled out for OT with another boy in his class, and she thinks he may have some sort of learning disorder, but said she is not allowed to tell me that.
I am not convinced entirely and still wonder if he is just a late bloomer.
Now that I have more time, I am spending more time on homework with him, and his reading is improving, but it is still very tedious and exhausting. I requested that we stop doing the writing homework and are now exclusively working on handwriting without tears 10 minutes a night working on letter formation. I do think he is getting better. He is just so active and easily distracted that it is hard to tell what he has trouble actually learning and what he is simply not paying attention to.
JT recalled that when reading his teachers used to block off every word but one at a time because it was too much for him to handle looking at all those words, so we are trying different strategies like that. I don't know what's going to happen. Both JT and I both very much want to have him repeat kindergarten, but for some reason the schools really don't like doing that if they are doing math and reading fine. It just makes no sense to me. If he is improving with his writing but still way below grade level, it makes no sense to shove him into 1st grade and let him fall further and further behind and get more frustrated.
He mostly holds himself together at school, but his teacher does think that his behavior is deteriorating since he has fallen farther behind and has become more frustrated. She also reports that he is much more shy than I imagined him to be in the group setting. He sometimes struggles to find friends on the playground.
But he is so sweet, so cute, and so charming when he wants to be. He and Greystoke have been getting along a lot better lately, as The Dude has finally figured out that if he doesn't want to be the odd one out at home he has to be gracious to his little brother. He used to be jealous of the attention Aquaman gave him and then pick on him, and that pushed him farther from Aquaman. He is figuring it out. That is one of the biggest things I have appreciated about my schedule. I have more space in my schedule to help them figure out their issues, come up with strategies of give and take, and watch them learn to work it out. Aquaman got wait listed for a social skills program this spring, but I am less concerned about it now, now that I have more time to help him work on them right here at home.

We are still trying to decide about a sport this spring. The Dude wanted to play football but it had already started. Then he watched one pro football game on television and decided "you could really get hurt doing that!" and changed back to baseball. And it turns out he is actually still young enough by a few days to do the casual weekly tball that he did last year. But I don't know if I am even up to weekly games at this point, especially because the baby will be born right in the middle of it all. We will see.
Greystoke is totally turning into a threenager. He is getting so big and having more and more opinions. He has a certain idea in mind for the way things are going to get done, like getting dressed, and the order of bedtime. If you do things one way one time, you have to do it that way every single time for the rest of his life. Until something new comes along that is better.
He loves puzzles and books, and his "matchy match" game and Candyland. Whenever he goes to childcare at church they comment on his long attention span. How he can sit in one place and play for long periods of time. Praise the Lord, I needed one like that.
He likes to play Legos with the big boys too. He makes "boats" putting pieces very carefully on top of each other and then showing them to everyone to admire.
He just learned how to pedal his trike by himself, and is pretty good at scootering too. His body moves at the same time as his mind, and I marvel sometimes watching his coordination.
He is all boy and as different from The Dude as The Dude is from Aquaman, and that is one of the most fun aspects of parenting. He is getting some brown hairs mixed in with the white ones on the back of his head, and I think he will be a brunette by the time he is 5. He is beautiful. I could stare at him for hours, and though I don't have hours, I catch as many precious minutes as I can.
And now I had better get off this chair. Paw Patrol is getting old and the kids are already working on 2nd breakfast. JT will be home from swim practice soon and I am sure it will be an adventure packed Saturday.

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