Friday, December 21, 2012

37 Week Doctor Appointment

Boy did this one feel like a downer after last week's excitement. I kind of got my hopes up after the last appointment that baby girl would be here early. I should know my uterus (and offspring) better than that! I just got to thinking how neat it would be to have her early and be able to spend time at home with my family when they visit, instead of being stuck in the hospital.

But alas, it does not appear meant to be. I had cramping and contractions at the end of last week. The contractions were actually painful and somewhat regular for a short time last Thursday. And then... nothing. I felt annoyingly fine.

Apparently things around the house have been hearing me say that I wish my water would break and have attempted to help out. First the Keurig and then the washing machine broke. Both had to be replaced. Then on Sunday we noticed water coming out of the meter in the front yard and there's a big leak from the water main. Broken water everywhere! Just not the kind I was hoping for.

My appointment this week was on Wednesday and nothing had changed from the previous week. Same dilation and effacement. I'm 38 weeks today and there's really nothing notable going on in the general pregnancy arena. I still have a tiny behind stuck in my rib cage.

So it would appear that next Friday, December 28, will be our big day to meet our little girl. That's what I'm hoping at this point, despite all the disappointment, because I want to enjoy Charlie's Christmas. I still feel annoyingly fine, so I think I'm safe.

Anticlimactic, huh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

36 Week Doctor Appointment

I ran around like a crazy person today trying to get ready for Christmas and almost missed my doctor appointment. Since my only experience with pregnancy was with Charlie, where nothing exciting ever happened progression-wise, I just kind of take for granted that these routine visits will be boringly routine.

I did have my last ultrasound scheduled as well, so you'd think I'd be more excited. I'm just so preoccupied with the holidays and my mile-long to-do list that I didn't even feel excited until we were waiting to be called back. And when I say "we" I mean Charlie and me. Brad is working and couldn't come.

It's been tough to see the baby clearly throughout the pregnancy because of the anterior placenta and how she is positioned. We've gotten a few good shots, but nothing compared to what we had with Charlie. So maybe knowing the visuals were going to be limited affected my enthusiasm too.

Anyways, during the ultrasound I found out that she has a bunch of hair (!!!), is head down and that really is her behind pressing up against my ribcage. Her weight estimate, which I put almost no stock in, was 6 lbs, 11oz. Seems like those are frequently wrong, but that would put her around Charlie's birth weight (8lbs) at her due date, so it could be right.

She is still really tall. Or long. Whatever you call it when they're still in utero. A tall baby in a short-waisted woman. Discuss.

Actually don't discuss, I'll tell you: ouch. Uncomfortable. No room! I now look at long waisted pregnant women with envy.

Baby girl's hand was across her face, so there was no way to get a good face shot. She was moving her little lips in a sucking motion like Charlie always did. He came out ready to eat, so she might too! It's so cute on the screen - they look like little guppies.

The ultrasound techs felt bad about the lack of pictures since it was my last ultrasound, so they took a photo of her foot. That's all I got: some hair, a face with an arm across it and a foot.

I had my doctor's appointment after the ultrasound, so I got to see my all-time favorite doctor, Dr. D. Is it weird to feel sad these appointments are coming to an end? They are always so fun. Anyways, she did a check and I am 1cm dilated and 70% effaced. Baby girls' head is really low and all positioned to make her exit.

To hear I was dilated and effaced was actually pretty exciting for no other reason than I never, ever dilated or anything with Charlie. Ten hours of pitocin couldn't yield that result with him. So I had this very foreign feeling of actually being capable of all this birthing business. That probably sounds strange.

After Dr. D told me this news, we discussed what to do if something major happens and she wanted to know when the baby daddy was done with work travel. He'll be home in 2 days until after we have the baby. He's been instructed to have his phone on and ringer on high just in case something major happens before then. But really, I'm not much of a dilator - what could happen? Fortunately I have several friends close by who have offered to help in a bind.

So there you go - progress! Actually pregnancy progress. What a concept. My next appointment is next Thursday, so we'll see how things are looking then. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Brother Charlie

** Part of the reason I have not been blogging as much is that I've run out of space! Blogger won't let me upload any more photos, so I have to bite the bullet and buy some storage. Some boring, photo-free posts until then.....

Charlie is going to be a big brother in about 3 weeks. A lot of people have been asking if he's ready or how does he feel about it.... and I'm not sure. He acts happy about the baby coming and loves to talk about how he will help and what he will do when she gets here. When he puts on a shirt or pants that are too small, he hands them to me with instructions to give them to the baby. He also tells me she's going to be a very good girl.

Now will it be like that when she actually gets here? I'm not sure. He's pretty comfy in his position as the Center of the World, so some jealously wouldn't surprise me. I just haven't seen anything like that just yet. It's all fun and games until someone gives birth.

We went to Build a Bear a couple of weeks ago and Charlie made a bear to take to the hospital to give to his little sister. The one he picked for her looks like a tie-dye bear. It's actually really kind of ugly, but he was very pleased with it!

Eleanor is bringing Charlie a gift as well. Someone at preschool brought Transformers for show and tell and the teacher told me Charlie absolutely loved them. Being a girl raised with two sisters, Transformers had never really occurred to me. Fortunately, they have occurred to Eleanor, who will be armed and ready to make a good first impression on her big brother!

We also went to a sibling class at the hospital, which Charlie mostly enjoyed. There was a classroom portion, which he found kind of boring as it required Sitting Still and Being Quiet. The next part of the class was a tour of the nursery and post partum hospital rooms and Charlie thought that was pretty neat.

We saw some tiny new babies (behind glass) and she showed them how the hospital beds moved when you pushed buttons. I would have been ok if Charlie didn't learn about the moving beds. I foresee that being kind of risky!

We're going to have lots of family visiting around Christmas to keep Charlie busy while I'm in the hospital. Brad will be home for a few week, which Charlie will love. And preschool will start back up in early January. He *loves* his preschool. That routine will be helpful in keeping things more normal for him.

We are in the process of getting Charlie comfortable with the babysitter that I've found to come help me out in the late afternoons/evenings while Brad travels. Charlie seems to like her. I like that she's willing to cook dinner for him if needed and help with the laundry! I had been pretty anxious about juggling two while Brad traveled, so knowing I have help coming each day is big relief.

So that's kind of how he's doing. I guess you can really only prepare them so much. We've read books, talked about it a lot, watched some stuff on TV, done the class.... and now I'm just hoping he adjusts ok.

It will be hard to see it if he is sad or feeling like he's not getting enough time or attention. While this pregnancy has flown by and I'm anxious for it to be over and her to get here.... I'm relishing these last few days of just the two of us. That part is very bittersweet for me.

If anyone is still reading this blog I barely update and has any tips on making the transition, I would appreciate them!

Monday, November 26, 2012


When Meredith and Lucas came to visit a few weeks ago, she shot the funniest video of Charlie and Lucas having a conversation. Well, Charlie tends to dominate the conversation a tad. They cover important topics like facial hair, Charlie's boo boo and getting BIG!

She posted it on her blog here.

34 Weeks Bump

I'm not sure this photo adequately shows how big I really am... or feel. I feel huge and imbalanced and achy and ready to not be pregnant anymore. I have less than 5 weeks until my c-section and I'm WHINY. 

I've reached the point in pregnancy where most of the maternity tops no longer cover everything and full panel jeans are sooo uncomfy. I rotate between yoga pants and these drawstring grey pants mostly - because they go under the belly. When I'm feelin' fancy - leggings! 

Homegirl has not been shy about letting me know her accommodations are now inadequate. Much like with Charlie, my ribcage receives the message most frequently. Seems I've got another Baby Cullen in there. Ahh, the perils of being short waisted. 

My beloved chiropractor went and quit the practice. Something about his dream of starting his own practice, blah blah blah. Said practice will be at least an hour away so all I could think was HOW can he leave meeee???? I've been to see his replacement twice and it's just not working. I've gone from feeling great to hurting all the time. I foresee a breakup. It's not me, it's you. 

Insomnia has set in, just getting me ready to be a night owl. I collapse in exhaustion around 8:30 or 9pm and then am up and ready to go at 3! I've been fighting it, but I really should just get up and do stuff. It's the way Mother Nature intended. I start to get tired again when it's time for Charlie to get up, though. 

The nursery is coming together - hopefully I can post some pictures soon. I still need to find a rocker/glider chair and get the rug laid down. Just need to buy a few more items and I'll feel mostly ready for baby. I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, but that's why there's Amazon Prime, right?

I have a doctor appointment this week and then my final ultrasound on December 10. After that I will see the doctor every week until delivery. Brad is hopefully going to be done traveling for a bit by mid-December. Sooo... that'll be handy if I go early for any reason! I don't know why I would, though. Even thinking about going early feels impossibly optimistic. 

So that's all that's going on in the land of discomfort! If I get any bigger I'll post another pic! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Charlie had his Thanksgiving program at preschool today and it was adorable. Apparently he didn't sing at all during rehearsals, but sang his little heart out during the actual program. Perhaps he needed a large audience for motivation?

I was kicking myself because I realized right at the program was beginning that I had left my phone in the car and couldn't video it. When we got home (and he had changed from school clothes into a soccer uniform, naturally) he agreed to sing for the video camera. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lessons in Totaling My Car

I hope your car never gets totaled. And if it does, I hope nobody is in the car and the person who hits you has excellent insurance. We are almost done with the whole process and I'm pretty sure it's aged us a few years.

Not having ever been in a serious accident or totaled a car, all of this was totally new to both Brad and me. We learned a lot. It is stressful, that is for sure. And I say that as someone who is mostly happy with how her insurance handled the whole thing.

I bought my new-to-me car today, so we are almost towards the end of getting back to normal around here. I was thinking about things I wish I'd known and decided to write them down. Please pin and read later! Kidding. But just in case you ever need it, here's what I wish I'd done differently and some things I'm glad we did.

I wish I'd understood how our rental car coverage works
We had rental car coverage, which was huge for us because Brad drives an older 2 door car that has no Latch system for the car seat. We ended up having the rental car for 3 weeks, so the extra coverage was definitely worth it. But not all rental car coverage is the same.

Some insurance companies will provide you a rental car until they've cut you a check for your car or a few days after they extend the first offer of compensation. We instead had a dollar amount that we could spend at Enterprise and when that was spent, our coverage was done - no matter where we were in the process.

I wish I had known that from the get-go. I would have turned down the obnoxiously huge SUV they gave me for something cheaper so we could have kept it longer for car shopping purposes.... and because our claims adjuster worked at a snails' pace. But I didn't read and understand our policy, so we had to give up the rental car before we were settled in a new car.

I'm glad we did extensive research on our car's value
Apparently (from what the claims adjuster told me), a lot of insurance companies use a third party vendor, CCC, to evaluate how much totaled cars are worth. While CCC has a lot of data, they may not be versed in your particular car and the warranties, options, etc. If you want to successfully disagree with the amount CCC comes up with, you better have some backup information to provide as to why.

This is where Brad and his mad skills come in. If I can brag for a minute, the man can do crazy fabulous things with a spreadsheet. And that's exactly what he did to document every shred of evidence we found as to the value of my car. Comparables, evaluations, values for each of the upgrades, etc. All compiled neatly and averaged precisely. It took him several hours when he also had deadlines looming - but ended up paying off.

We provided all this information to the insurance company since our average was higher than what CCC came back with. Our claims agent's manager called me and said it was clear there were several things CCC did not include in their evaluation, so they were going to give us the average that Brad had determined in his spreadsheet. Talk about time well spent. I'm telling you. MAD SKILLS.

I wish I'd started locating a replacement car immediately
We bought our Volvo when it was almost 2 years old, paid it off a couple of years ago and planned to find an equivalent car that cost no more than our settlement. This was a challenge. Finding a used car with specific options and mileage was tough - there was not a lot to choose from.

We ended up with something pretty close, but it took a lot of nail biting, phone calls, waiting, hoping, panicking... so yeah, I admit, I kind of freaked out last weekend that I had no car to buy and no more rental coverage. I got lucky in that something popped up in our price range earlier this week - I could have been waiting for a while. I should have some salesmen searching for something during the entire claims process.

I wish I'd figured out where my smashed up car's title was immediately
This was kind of a mess. After we settled with the insurance company on the amount, they told me I needed to sign and send in the title to my car. I went to our files and... no title. I went to the DMV to replace it and couldn't without a copy of the release of lien letter from the bank that once held our loan. So then I had to wait for the bank to give me that document. It added a few days to a process where time was already of the essence.

Also - be sure to get your wrecked car's license plates. This will save you some money and time with the DMV. I just found this out today when I went to buy my car. The CDs, carpool number and reusable shopping bags that I did get out of the car have not been nearly as useful.

I wish I'd hounded the insurance company to release the check ASAP
Boy did they drag their feet. They don't like letting go of their money. I had a car waiting to be bought and a claims adjuster who had everything she needed... and still sat on the check for a few days. It's enough to make an already hormonal woman go mad. I should have called her boss.

Ok, so now that I evaluate, I guess there were more mistakes than things we did right. And I can't even really take credit for the thing we did right - that was all Brad. I told him tonight when I came home with the new car that I couldn't have done this without him. And he told me if I hadn't smashed up my car, he couldn't have done this without me either! Ahh, it's nice to be useful.

I really do love my new car. I thought for a while I was just going to have to feel disappointed in what I ended up with because there were so few options out there for me. And that just made me madder at myself for getting in this stupid accident in the first place.

I'm trying to get over that. Accidents happen, and I was very, very fortunate mine was not any worse and nobody got hurt. But there is no better incentive to drive extremely safely than going through the headache of the "total loss" process. So I hope you never have to.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clothing Wars

The above photo, while cute, is of a child wearing seasonably inappropriate clothing. You probably can't see the children playing at the park behind Charlie, but they are in jeans and jackets. We are having MAJOR battles over here about wearing shorts and t shirts on chilly days. So much so that today I am packing up all short sleeve shirts, soccer uniforms and shorts until the spring.

I can live with the fact that Charlie only wants to wear athletic looking clothing. I even bought him 3 pairs of the "training pants" that he loves so much last week. I've gone ahead and mourned that I can no longer dress him in cute outfits. I'm over it.

But when he's going through the dirty clothes to find the SAME short sleeve t-shirt and shorts he wore 3 days in a row, that is covered in the residue of about 5 different meals and it is presently 48 degrees out, I have to draw the line. Do they make laundry baskets with locks on them?

I finally managed to throw out the too-short training pants that had a hole in them. And the too-small pumas Charlie christened his "Chelsea shoes" that he found and has decided are the most awesome shoes ever, even though he wouldn't touch them for a month after we bought them. We don't move on easily around here. His "Spiderman shoes" are looking pretty tired, but I honestly don't have the energy to try and make him move on from those.

This is the outfit Charlie fished out of the dirty clothes this morning (the photo is from a couple of weeks ago) and it is COLD today. Another standoff for us before he can go outside to play!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


We have entered to fun years of Halloween! Charlie "gets it" and spent the entire month of October excited about Halloween night. Brad cut his work trip short so he could be back in time to trick or treat with us. I haven't been this excited about Halloween since I was a kid. 

Charlie's been telling me since, oh, August, that he wanted to be Batman, though there was a week there where he switched to Spiderman. I bought most of his costume on Etsy, which is where mothers who don't sew can go to buy things from mothers who do. The cape is actually reversible, with Spiderman on the other side, in case he changed his mind. And then I just added a black t-shirt and sweatpants from Target. He loved his costume. 

On Halloween morning there was a parade of kids in costumes at preschool before they went back to their classrooms for their Halloween parties. All the kids looked so cute. Charlie looked like a deer in headlights, but Spiderman was coaxing him along. His classroom has this group of little boys that are all good friends - and big fans of the superheros.
One thing I hadn't accounted for was how to keep Charlie busy between preschool pick up and our neighborhood Halloween potluck. Fortunately, we received a special package of fun Halloween things from my Aunt that kept Charlie busy for quite a while.

We decorated one of the pumpkins with the Mr. Potato Head skeleton kit:
And played a lot with these lasers that strap on your fingers and light up. These were a huge hit.
The rest of the day I implemented a plan of forced physical labor. We swept off the front walk and back deck, which were covered with piles of leaves and pine tags that dropped during the hurricane. Charlie loves doing anything outside and it was a beautiful, chilly fall day after a few days of clouds from Sandy.

Finally it was time to get in costume! We headed across the street to our neighbor's driveway for our potluck dinner with our neighbors. I made the macaroni and cheese from the Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food cookbook and oh. my. gosh. That is a yummy recipe.

Getting the kids to eat was a challenge, per usual. Charlie was so excited when Daddy got home that any hopes of eating real food were dashed. Let's just get this sugar rush started.

Charlie and his good friend Owen were bouncing off the walls! Owen dressed as Darth Vader. At one point we couldn't find them and they had walked right into our other neighbors' house and started playing in their basement play room. Make yourselves at home boys!
Each year trick or treating in our neighborhood gets better. There have always been several block parties, but more and more families with young kids have moved in and this year it was swarming with munchkins in costumes. I saw some people even drove over and parked to trick our treat in our area.

Charlie trick or treated a bunch with his friend Superman. His mom was wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt that I am very jealous of. I have always been a huge Wonder Woman fan. Next year, that's my costume!
I ended up leaving a bowl of candy on the front porch for the trick or treaters so I could walk around with Brad, Charlie and our friends. It's always so much fun seeing everyone. It's also usually fun to try out all the fun fall-themed cocktails different people bring. Oh well, next year!

Some people really went all out with their decorations this year. I feel like a bit of a Halloween slacker. I'll have to put some more effort into it when Charlie gets older and doesn't want me trick or treating with him anymore.
It was so much fun watching his excitement this year. He ran from house to house and was so excited to say trick or treat and collect candy in his bucket. He told just about everyone all about his costume. He started digging into his candy, but we managed to save most of it for him to have a piece of each night after dinner. Chocolate is an excellent tool to bribe some good behavior out of him.

At the end of the night, though, we had a pretty upset kid. He didn't want the fun to end. And he definitely didn't want to go to bed! The next morning he told me he was going trick or treat again that night. When he saw me pulling down the Halloween decorations, he burst into tears and told me to stop! Now that's a kid who loves Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh Sandy

Greetings from Central Virginia! Where we close school for some rain. After a terrifying weekend of being told this storm was going to hit us hard, you'd better prepare, this thing is going to be worse than Hurricane Irene..... nada. For two days.

They've cancelled school the day before by 4pm the past two days and with that kind of certainty I keep expecting something to happen. Like maybe a stiff breeze? I even checked the raindrops to see if there was something special and toxic about them. But they were just boring old raindrops.

Don't get me wrong - I am VERY relieved we didn't get hit. I just don't understand why we keep insisting around here that It's Coming. Brace yourselves. Businesses were all closed by 3 yesterday for something awful to happen last night.

Apart from dropping and breaking my favorite hurricane from Crate & Barrel, nothing awful happened. It's nice to have power. I love power! We lost it for a week after Irene and I thought that was what we were in for this time. Fortunately not. 

My sister Meredith is in her apartment in Brooklyn with Lucas and a girlfriend who got evacuated from lower Manhattan. They so far have power and wine and netflix movies. The wind has been pretty crazy there but their neighborhood hasn't seen any flooding. They are supposed to take the train down this weekend to visit and I HOPE Amtrak is back on schedule by Friday. We are dying to see them!

Brad flew out as normal yesterday morning. Flights to New York, Boston and Philly were all cancelled, but he wasn't going there. He comes back tomorrow in time to trick or treat and that flight should be fine, too.

Today I will practice the art of entertaining a 3 year old who doesn't nap inside all day. Assuming nothing happens, maybe we will leave and try to find a not-too-crowded indoor place to play. I can't be the only parent thinking this, so the crowded part is probably just a dream. We have reached the "caged animal" portion of this weather system.

I'm sure we'll also bake something. Charlie and I love to bake when it rains. And we have a TON of apples left. If anyone wants to come over and play with Charlie so I can concentrate on it, I'll bake you an apple pie! Promise!

If you are reading this from an area actually hit by the storm, please be safe and I hope you keep power. If not, come to my house! We have baked goods!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

29 Week Bump

I am 10 weeks from my delivery date and things are getting LARGE. I guess I'm technically at the beginning of the third trimester and tasks such as picking things up off the floor, tying my shoes and getting comfortable are more challenging. 

I'm also getting tired of wearing jeans - they are just aren't as comfortable now that the tummy is stretching the belly panel on them so much. I don't like things pushing on my belly. Hip-slung yoga pants feel like heaven, though. Bring it.

I had a huge appetite last week, so we might have had a little growth spurt. It's back to normal this week. I have to be very, very careful of the portions I eat because if I eat too much I feel awful. Just overly full and uncomfortable after what would typically be a normal sized meal. Too much food actually makes my back hurt, which is strange. 

I've been so busy lately that I haven't been very good about working out. I need to walk the poodles each day, but it can be hard to carve out time while Brad travels for work. I basically have the preschool hours of 9 to 12, but usually end up using those to take care of things I can't do while Charlie is around. Motivation to exercise is looooow. 

I'm still going to the chiropractor, which continues to help with my back and rib pain. I wouldn't say I'm pain free, but I feel much better than I did with Charlie at this point.

That pain at the top of my stomach/bottom of my rib cage has made its debut this pregnancy. I had that with Charlie, too. It's like a burning sensation and I'm not sure what causes it. It usually starts up when I've been on my feet for a while. So basically all the time!

Despite all my aches and pains, I still forget I'm pregnant sometimes. Having a Charlie can make it hard to remember anything! I promise baby girl, I won't forget you once you get here!!

From the other side:

A Bad Week

We've had a rough go of it around here this week. Charlie and I were in a pretty bad car accident this week, on Wednesday. We are both fine, the baby is fine and the driver of the other car is fine. I can't tell you how blessed, fortunate, lucky, amazed I am that is the case. Especially after going to see both cars again at the body shop yard Friday.

The accident was my fault. I was driving Charlie to preschool on Wednesday morning and got momentarily distracted. I actually can't even remember what distracted me. My phone was in my bag, so it wasn't that. Must have been something in the car. I wish I could remember. When I looked up, the car in front of me was at a complete stop, waiting to turn left into his neighborhood to go home. I ran right into the back of him.

My airbag deployed and the back windshield of his car shattered. I was confused right afterwards and thought the powder from the airbag was smoke so I ran around to Charlie's side of the car and got him out of his car seat immediately. He cried right after we hit because he bit his tongue and it bled a little bit. I asked him what hurt and he just said his tongue. The ambulance EMTs looked him over and said that seemed to be the extent of it.

The driver of the other car was young, maybe a teenager or young 20's, and as sweet as he could be. He ran over to check on us. He wasn't hurt and his airbag did not deploy. He started trying to call his mom and all I could think about was how worried she was going to be - just as I would be if Charlie was in an accident.

I got a chance to speak to his mom after the ambulance released me and my neighbor came to pick me up and so I got to tell her how incredibly sorry I was. She was so lovely and compassionate. She had every right to be angry with me, yell at me and do or say any number of things people typically do after an accident. But instead she told me they were praying for me. She and her son forgave me and for that I am so grateful.

I am also grateful for the bystanders, firemen and EMTs that all came to help us. The firemen gave Charlie stickers and the EMTs showed Charlie all around the ambulance. I didn't have the heart to tell them he'd just ridden in one two weeks ago.

And I am ALSO grateful for all my neighbors and friends who have helped us after the accident. Lending us a car until we got the rental, picking us up from the accident, watching Charlie while I went to the OB, feeding us, taking us to get the rental car, cheering me up and being supportive. I couldn't ask for better friends.

I'm not sure how much impact the baby felt, but she seems to be fine. The EMTs had a doppler and were able to find a heartbeat very quickly and I didn't feel any pain. I went to the OB a little while later and they hooked me up the monitor to watch her for a while. After 45 minutes or so, my doctor was happy with what she was seeing so she released me.

Brad was in St. Louis for work at the time and I know it had to be frustrating to not be able to do anything from where he was. He made phone calls to the insurance company and spent a lot of the day on his phone checking on us. I think it was pretty miserable until he was sure all of us were ok after my visit to the OB. He flew home the next day.

I have some bruising from the seat belt and my neck and shoulders have been sore, but I am otherwise fine. Well, at least physically. I I feel guilty for putting so many people at risk and causing so much damage. Sometimes I'll have a little flashback and remember the sound of the cars hitting. Both cars are totaled so the person I hit now has to deal with all of that as well.

I have a rental car for now while we wait for the insurance company to determine the value and issue a check. I'm hoping to find a replacement car very similar to what I had. I really loved that car and am sad I ruined it.

I have been smothering Charlie with hugs and kisses ever since. He's a pretty snugly kid but even he's been like MOM! Personal space! I don't know what I would do if anything ever happened to him.

Anyways, that's the story. The title of this post is kind of an understatement. Go hug your loved ones! And drive carefully!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Charlie and His Cousin

We took a road trip up to Ashburn, Virginia last Sunday to meet our new little nephew, Gregory. He was born in late July to Brad's brother Bill and his wife Christina. We all loved meeting him, especially Charlie, who asked to hold him and did a great job!

Gregory already looks just like his daddy. I keep meaning to look through our old photos and see if there are any of Brad and Bill like this - I bet it would be very similar!

Where did September go?

If the rest of my pregnancy goes by as quickly as September did, this baby is going to be here in what feels like 5 minutes. Brad got home from London a month ago and I'm not sure where the time has gone.

It has been so busy, yet I feel like I can't get anything done. Sure does make me miss Charlie's nap, which always helped me feel like I could stay on top of things. Instead, laundry and dishes pile up until his bed time, at which point this pregnant lady is very tired from a day full of 3 year old shenanigans.

I am behind on thank you notes, need to get started on Christmas shopping and have all of our files to organize. I'm not sure how to make all that happen! All I want to do after Charlie's bed time is watch Vampire Diaries on my ipad. It's my new ugly addiction. I blame my hormones. I wasn't expecting much (well, besides the flock of very hot men that star), but it's actually a really good show! I'm on season 3 and there has been no shark jumping and the plot changes always surprise me. Love love love.

Our shipment of stuff from London arrived this past week and exploded all over the house. I try and keep our Stuff from getting too overwhelming, but it has felt out of control since all those boxes arrived. Charlie is, of course, thrilled to have all of his toys back. He dumped them all over the playroom floor, which now looks like a war zone.

All the clothes that were packed in boxes smelled like... shipping container? I guess? That took about 15 loads of laundry. I'm finally getting the last of it sorted and put away. I have yet to tackle the play room. I'm scared.

Charlie really loves his preschool class and teachers this year. He goes four mornings a week. They send home the neatest projects they have been working on and Charlie is bursting with stories when he gets in the car. He stays after school one day a week to eat lunch and take a soccer class.

We also have him signed up for Saturday morning soccer class at SCOR. Brad usually takes him, though we had a birthday party right afterwards yesterday and I got to watch. It is mass chaos. You almost have to use quote signs and call it "soccer" because it is a very loose interpretation!

Since Charlie also has a very bad habit of just jumping in swimming pools and scaring us to death, we have started him in some indoor swimming lessons. He started off loving it, but as they have worked on new skills, has started hating it and cries some. I'm told this is normal. We had to take this week off because of his stitches and tomorrow when we go, I'm not even going to tell him where we are going! I do take him for frozen yogurt afterwards - a win for us all.

I think we are going to finally move Charlie to his big boy room tonight. My father-in-law very kindly offered to refinish the beds I found at Hope Thrift store and they are bringing them from Williamsburg today! I still need a bedside table and dresser for his room, but the beds should be ready to go! I'm excited to hang up all the stuff we bought in London on the walls and get him settled in there. Then I can focus on the nursery!

We finally got rid of binky last week, which has led to some pretty interrupted sleep around here. I realize we are way late to lose the binky, but this kid did have to endure an international move this year, so we let him keep it since it was so comforting for him. After having to hear about the Dream Lite 10 times a day, we offered to exchange binky for the giraffe Dream Lite that Charlie was dying for. When it arrived in the mail, Charlie tossed his last binky in the trash.

Unfortunately, a few days later the Dream Lite lost its appeal and Charlie wanted to renegotiate for the binky. He even offered to give the Dream Lite to the baby. We also have a brand new fear of the dark. Some nights we have a wake up around 2 or 3am. Other nights it takes a while for Charlie to go to sleep. And he's regularly waking up an hour earlier than usual. I hope all this will even out in another week or two. I'm glad we're getting it over with before the baby comes.

Speaking of baby, we have been the recipient of many generous hand-me-downs from friends, including clothes and baby gear and toys. I think I'm going to wait until December and just see what we still need at that point, but it won't be much! I've also been able to borrow some awesome maternity clothes from my friends, which has been awesome! 12 weeks to go and I am really trying not to buy much. I can only justify it if it will be good post-partum too.

I got a barely used City Mini stroller on Craig's List to replace our MacLaren, which looks so awful after heavy use in London. We've used it a couple of times with Charlie and love it so far - what a great stroller! I'm going to get a running board on the back for Charlie to ride on after the baby comes. I would have gotten a double stroller if he would ride in it for more than 10 minutes. It just didn't make sense for us.

We are getting very excited for Halloween around here. Charlie wants to be Batman and I've found some cute things for his costume on Etsy. I got a basic black t-shirt and pants at Target as the base. I hope we have good weather this year for trick or treating because Charlie is so excited! Our neighborhood really makes a big deal of Halloween - it's a great time get out and see everyone.

Brad took two weeks off work when he got back from London and has been working from home since. Tomorrow he starts back up traveling and will be going to St. Louis each week. It's going to be a hard adjustment for all of us, especially Charlie who is all about Daddy and has gotten very used to having him around. It's going to be a long week. :(

Brad doesn't get back until late Friday night since they have some team event in Dallas on Friday until the evening. Why they have to schedule them like that and cut into their employees' hard-earned weekends, I'm not sure. But Charlie will basically say good-bye to Daddy at bed time tonight and not see him again until next Saturday when he wakes up.

We're pretty well settled now back into our house and have lots of fun things planned for the fall. We're getting reacquainted with our friends and planning play dates and dinners, going to birthday parties, etc. I started a new book club since my last one fizzled after a few members moved away. We had our first dinner/meeting at everyone's favorite Vietnamese place, Mekong and it was good times. It's a nice group that will be fun to meet up with each month.

So that's what's going on with us. Things are good and we can't believe we'll be a family of 4 in just 12 weeks. That concept is really kind of amazing to me since 12 weeks doesn't sound very long. I'm starting to dream at night about holding her already. :)

Well, time to tackle the playroom. Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

Photo Phail

For some reason, we haven't really ever had professional photos taken of our family. I'm not sure why,  but I guess we've just never really gotten it together enough to find a photographer who shoots on the weekend (since Brad is usually out of town during the week) and get them scheduled.

But then my friend/neighbor across the street had a good friend who started a photography business and took some beautiful photos of her family in the spring. So I booked her over the summer for last Saturday and we were FINALLY going to have some family photos done. I was thinking Christmas card, maternity shots, some photos of Brad and me for our 10th anniversary, etc.

I went and had my hair blown out and got us all dolled up in coordinating outfits. We got to the botanical gardens and met the photographer, Meredith, who had some great ideas on where to shoot the photos. We started shooting and got about 10 or 15 minutes into our hour-long session before Charlie started getting restless. Doesn't take him long!

We decided to let him go run around in the green space behind us while Brad and I took some photos of just the two of us. Charlie started climbing the stone steps up to the gazebo when we heard him fall. Meredith ran back to check on him and then asked Brad to come back and told me to stay put. Then Brad told me to stay back too.

I finally caught a glimpse and saw blood. I couldn't really tell how much because Brad was keeping Charlie's head near his shoulder. We rushed over to where they were setting up for a wedding at the building next door to see if they had a first aid kit. They didn't, but got us some wet towels.

By this time, there was blood everywhere. He had tripped up the stone steps into a brick ledge, which hit him right at his hairline. The cut was somewhere on his forehead and OMG those bleed a lot. I knew this in theory, but seeing it person on your 3 year old is like a punch in the gut. It was hard to breathe.

Brad and Charlie rode up with one of the landscapers in his cart to the main building while Meredith and I walked up. When we got there, Charlie was laying on the ground with pressure on his wound, which was still bleeding too fast for us to tell how big it was. We talked about taking him to urgent care, but the botanical garden staff asked if we could instead have an EMT come assess him and decide what we should do. This sounded reasonable.

For some reason, we were thinking the EMT was someone on staff. But they actually called an ambulance and all the sudden we had 3 ambulance people around us. After getting details about the fall (face forward, uphill, etc.) they told us they didn't think we should have moved him from the spot and wanted to get him assessed for neck and spinal injuries. That's when Things Got Real. That's when I went from worried to panicked. That's when I cried.

They had to put one of those little neck braces on him and strap him to the board to go on the stretcher. Charlie got scared and cried at that point. I held his hand and we went and got on the ambulance. Once we were in the ambulance he went from scared to realizing he was in an ambulance and this is the coolest thing ever. The EMTs seemed relaxed so I tried to relax. There were no sirens. That was good; it would have really freaked me out.

We got to St. Mary's, which has a really good pediatric ER and Charlie could see enough to notice the other ambulances parked outside. This was Very Cool. It was quiet in the pediatric ER, so we had about 6 nurses in our room immediately. Charlie was talking up a storm at this point, Brad showed up after driving our car over from the gardens, and the doctor came in to do the spinal evaluation.

Within 5 minutes of being there we were told there was nothing to worry about and his neck and spine were fine. After that we breathed a huge sigh of relief. The adrenaline subsided. All there was to do was get stitches and we would be free to go. They used some gel on his forehead to numb the wound and 30 minutes later they stitched him up.

Charlie was such a trooper the whole time. He talked to the nurses about his Halloween costume, his favorite soccer teams, his friends at school, his dogs. Had some apple juice and played games on my phone. During the stitches he sat perfectly still and didn't cry. I was so proud of him.

He ended up getting 5 stitches on his forehead that should dissolve soon since it's now been a week. The cut was underneath his hair, so for the most part you can't see anything. His hair was pink from the blood, but that all came out.

Also - if you ever need to get a tough blood stain out, the doctor told us soaking in hydrogen peroxide and water before washing would get it out - and he was right!

I got the sweetest messages afterwards from Meredith, the photographer (not to be confused with Meredith, my sister!), worried about Charlie and about us. She did the session on the house and sent me a CD of the photos she did get, some of which were just amazingly good considering the limited time she had to shoot.

Richmond folks, if you are interested in Meredith's photography, here is her web site:

and Facebook page:

It would just figure the one time I finally get us all together to get photos done this would happen! But we are very grateful Charlie wasn't hurt any more seriously. And I am grateful I got a few good shots to remember this time in our lives. I hope I'm better about scheduling photos at regular intervals after this next baby comes. I already have Meredith booked to come do newborn photos in January!

So that's the story. When you get our Christmas card and see the photos you'll have all sorts of context on what that day was like!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

26 Week Doctor Appointment

I had a my 26 week doctor appointment and follow up ultrasound this afternoon. I can't remember from having Charlie - is 26 weeks a normal interval for an appointment? I may have just had it because my schedule is weird moving back from London. Anyways, the ultrasound was to get some photos of her spine, which the ultrasound tech wasn't able to get last time.

Thinking it would be a quick scan (it wasn't) and that Charlie would think it was neat (he didn't), we brought him along with us for the appointment. What a grouch monster! He was seriously such a pill the whole time. I even brought my ipad for him!

I think he was tired because he gave up his binky this week and isn't sleeping as well. At any rate, about 10 minutes into the scan, Brad had to take him outside for a mega meltdown. I was able to walk out of my scan, ask the nurse which way the screaming child went and find them pretty quickly.

The scan went well, though she, like the tech last time, had a hard time getting the spinal shots because of the baby's position in my tummy. But everything looked good, fluid was good, pretty little heart beating and arms waving around. And she was medical professional #3 to say it's a girl! She even sent me home with a "money shot" of the girl parts, which I will spare you. And her.

I also had my glucose test, which I have no idea if I will pass since our playdate this morning started at Krispy Kreme and I have no self control there. We had to go, though - my friend's son had to withstand his 4 year old shots this morning and I ate those donuts FOR HIM.

Then we saw Dr. D, which was fun because she loves to see the babies she's delivered and Charlie, of course, chewed her ear off. Brad is also pretty convinced he's her favorite out of all the husbands and he hadn't seen her in quite a while. So we got all caught up.

We are on her schedule for a December 28 c-section - (Amy I saw your comment last time about the last minute tax deduction and I'm sure you weren't surprised - 2 CPA's having a baby!), unless the baby comes earlier. That is such a strange possibility to me since I couldn't even dilate a single centimeter last time, but hey, I guess anything is possible. All I ask is that she not show up before her Daddy is done with his December trave.

Baby girl seems to really be growing well; both the ultrasound tech and the doctor commented on her size. She already almost 2 pounds! And very long. Charlie was 8 pounds even on his due date and we will have her a week before her due date. So maybe 7.5 pounds? Is my guess? I know it's so hard for them to tell in utero. She probably just had a growth spurt recently - I have been hungry lately!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Touch a Truck

We took Charlie to the Junior League's Touch a Truck event last weekend. Just like last year, it was a huge hit with Charlie. I think he may have been even more excited than last year because he was a bit older.

Don't even ask me what he's wearing. It was a fairly warm day but with a cool breeze, so I had picked out pants and a t-shirt for him to wear. I was so naive to think I had a vote in his outfit! He found the sweatshirt that he wore last year (now a bit small), the one with the excavator on the front and paired it with some lovely matching shorts and socks with a double decker bus on them. I told him I thought he may be too hot and he made a point of telling me several times during the morning that he was not hot. Mommy, I not hot. 
Last year I took Charlie to the event by myself since Brad had just left for London. This year he was able to come with us! He seemed to have a great time talking at length to both the firemen and the helicopter pilot. In fact, Charlie and I had to move on to another exhibit because Brad spent so much time talking to the pilot. When I went by to tell him we'd be at the Fun Bus, the pilot was just opening up some hatch at the front of the plane to show Brad something. So glad both my kids enjoyed Touch a Truck! 

Charlie and his friend Ben had a great time pretending to be helicopter pilots. This picture kills me because they look so grown up!! Especially compared to last year. Little boys instead of our babies. Sniff. 
I tried to get a few photos with Charlie, but he wouldn't really cooperate. Here's the 24 week bump standing in front of a cement mixer while Charlie pouts about having to take a photos: 
It was neat seeing Charlie get so excited about so many of the trucks and machines. He knew the names of just about everything. I couldn't have picked most of them out of a lineup before I had a son. 
After checking out the non-truck exhibits of bouncy castles and games, it was clear Charlie was fading. While the food options last year left something to be desired, this year there were food trucks everywhere. We promised him an ice cream to get him out of there (Spiderman ice cream, natch) and hightailed it to the car. 

I wish I could have hit up the taco truck or panini truck. My pregnant nose was causing my pregnant stomach to die a little in desire. Richmond is having a food truck "thing" going on lately, but that's fodder for another post. 

Anyways, it was a successful Touch a Truck day! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

10 Years

Ten years ago today, Brad and I got married. It doesn't feel like it could possibly be that long, yet it feels like we have been through so much, all at the same time.

Those people who say that marriage is hard? They are right. It is. Sometimes it is very, very hard. But making it ten years with him is one of the things I am most proud of in my life. It did not come without work and sacrifice on both our parts.

Every year on our anniversary, I wear the same perfume that I wore on our wedding day and on our honeymoon. My mom helped me pick it out a few days before the wedding. It was her (extremely good) idea to wear it each year on our anniversary to remember. Something about the scent sticks with me and brings back a flood of memories for both of us.

In a strange coincidence, the perfume I picked that day was new at the time, and created for Queen Elizabeth to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Isn't that crazy? And then 10 years later we were in London, celebrating her Diamond Jubilee!

If I have learned anything in the past 10 years, it's that you just never know where life is going to lead you. It's certainly been an adventure together so far! And I hope it always will be.

For this momentous occasion, we are going to order Thai food and watch a movie. Actually we are going out to dinner Saturday night - we aren't completely lame! Though being pregnant on any kind of big occasion automatically means you will be somewhat lame. I'm too tired to be exciting!

We are anxiously awaiting our oh-so-practical anniversary gift to each other of deck furniture. Which I believe I have been asking for every year for the past ten! It should be here in a week or two. You should come by for dinner! We'll sit outside! Finally!

I stole this off of Pinterest because I thought it was neat. It's supposed to be a card, but that would require me to be crafty, which I'm not:

10 Years
3,652 Days
87,658 Hours
2 (almost!) Kids
2 Poodles
4 Cities
3 Homes
100's of Fights and Makeups
A handful of times I wanted to give up
The number of anniversaries I hope to celebrate with you: Infinite

Happy Anniversary Brad. I love you. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First Day of School

Charlie started back at St. Mary's last week. He is in the 3 to 4 year old classroom four mornings a week. So far he seems to really be enjoying it. There are several little boys in the class that he talks about playing with. And Juliette. We seem to be quite taken with Juliette. 

It took us a few days to get into a routine of Charlie waking up early enough to plod through his breakfast at a painfully slow pace, get dressed while debating the merits and wearability of each item of clothing I attempted to put on him and get out the door in time for school. I think we're almost there.

The first day of school proved difficult to get good pictures. We had awkward hair. We were tired. Then we stumbled into some bad lighting. Ahhh memories. I think in future years maybe I'll just stage the first day of school photos a few days ahead of time. 
Since Brad was still off from work, he was able to go with us for drop off. Very exciting to have Daddy there at preschool. I do believe Charlie had the firefighter costume on within 2 minutes of drop off. See Daddy??? I'm a firefighter!! I've done so many drop offs at this point, I was kind of ready to go at that point, but Brad wanted to stay and watch a while. So we did. 
Charlie has two teachers in this class and they seem very on top of things. This class is a well oiled machine and feels quite a bit more grown up than his 2 year old class last year. It took ME a few days to get with the program. I wasn't here for all the summer communications, so I am Clueless Mom. They don't want the kids to bring backpacks, they want tote bags. So goodbye Peppa Pig backpack. They want them to bring cups...but without lids. And so on. Buy a clue Mom. 
There seems to be a routine forming of the teachers mass emailing the parents with an update each Sunday night. These also include requests for the week, which I semi-affectionately call My Preschool Homework. I had to find photos, an appropriate shoebox and pack some backup snacks this past Sunday. I told Brad I couldn't possibly go to bed until my homework was complete. Clueless Mom must redeem herself! 

The teachers seem to have a lot of neat activities planned for the class, which sound fun. They took them out into the woods surrounding the church yesterday for them to collect things "from nature" and Charlie brought home a big ziploc of goodies - which he gave to his Daddy to keep. They also have a music class, which I was told he very much enjoyed. He sang me some of the songs on the way home. 

We're looking forward to a great school year this year! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Hole in the Ceiling

On Saturday we did some stuff. Had some lunch. And then this happened:
Can you picture my leg dangling from the ceiling all Christmas Vacation style? Because that's how it happened. Right down into the nursery/Charlie's current room/baby's future room.

This is what I get for being productive. I went up to the attic to go through some old baby clothes. There's a consignment sale coming up, so some are going there. Some are gender neutral and are saved. And the rest I just can't possibly part with yet because I want little bitty baby Charlie back.

So I'm up there, rearranging bins and feeling so gosh darned organized. I took one step back off the plywood into the sea of pink fluffy insulation and bam. Right through the ceiling.

I screamed, of course, worried my entire pregnant body was about to go through to the second floor. I also looked around because I had no idea which bedroom I was over at the time.

I managed, after a couple of false starts that actually made the hole bigger, to get myself up and scream for Brad again. He looked... shocked. Worried. And then, a few minutes later, when it was clear I was fine, like he was suppressing laughter.

After I'd calmed down, he went downstairs to survey the damage. I was still sitting on the floor of the attic and I heard him saying hello! Hello up there, can you see me?

Very funny Brad.

The ribbing has continued. I asked him earlier to grab Charlie's towel for after his bath and he asked me "The one by the big hole in the ceiling?" Yes. That towel.

My hip, ankle and shin were hurting a bit last night, but this morning I was fine.  I hope I'm not here when the handyman comes to take a look. I frankly don't need the judgement!

We had a sitter last night so we could go have dinner with friends and I asked her if the hole bothered Charlie when he went to bed. She said it freaked him out some, but he went to sleep. He was up about 4 times last night for different reasons and each time I thought to myself, this is because of the ceiling!!

Anyways, it now needs to be repaired before baby gets here so she's not inhaling leftover insulation and drywall. I'm assuming that's a parenting DON'T.

Anyways, that was my weekend. What did you do?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oh Yeah, I'm Pregnant

I already feel kind of bad for this baby. She is getting seriously shorted on blog airtime. With Charlie I posted about every single aspect of my pregnancy. Ad nauseum. This time around is more like a highlight reel.

Several times during this pregnancy, I have actually forgotten I was pregnant. We have had a lot going on lately. And trying to keep up with Charlie can be quite distracting. He's been getting some Dennis the Menace comparisons lately. He's sweet as can be and means well, but is so curious that he is always getting into trouble! I don't know where he gets some of his ideas. It can be a full time job trying to anticipate them.

Anyways, focusing back on this poor baby who gets so little attention - it is just so different from last time when I was so consumed with being pregnant every single day. This time I'm mainly just focused on it when I could really use a nice strong cocktail! Then I think to myself oh yeah. You're pregnant. Put down that tequila.

As if my body has a vested interest in making sure I don't forget I'm pregnant, my back pain from being pregnant with Charlie has flared up nice and early this go round. It's mainly along one rib - the one that popped around 36 weeks with Charlie and earned him the nickname "Baby Cullen" at work.

It hurts so bad! I got a prenatal massage yesterday and the therapist said it felt like it was popped out some. I'm seeing a chiropractor, but I'm not sure what all he can really do about it. My best friend is my heating pad. Overall, I'm feeling like this bod was not made for birthin' babies. Definitely not at 36.

My other near-constant reminder I am pregnant - the heartburn - all gone! Prevacid is a wonder drug. I love it. No longer getting heartburn from a glass of water. Why didn't I take it last time??

So I found out today from my doctor I have an anterior placenta. Why was I at the doctor you ask? Because I hadn't really felt any kicks for about 24 hours and I freaked out. I've tried so hard to be more chill and zen this pregnancy, but there I was, bugging the triage nurse and running in for an unscheduled visit. So much for my experienced mom "I Got This" approach.

Charlie never left me wondering what was going on in there - there was constant movement. My little Karate Kid. This little girl is a bit more calm. And because of the placenta, it's like she's kicking through a pillow (Dr. D's description), so it's much more subtle.  Dr. D suggested I rent a doppler for peace of mind in case it happens again. I told her I thought those were just for paranoid moms. Oh. Yeah. Guilty.

On a more fun topic - we are making nice progress on Charlie's big boy room. As soon as I can get him moved over to it, I can get started on the nursery. I need to figure out what outstanding baby items we need for her and start looking for those as well. Some things we borrowed the first go round so there will still be fun things to shop for and pick out!

Between that and a busy fall of activities and Christmas shopping, I think I just need to embrace the fact that I will feel under-prepared by the time she arrives. That's kind of been my way of life since having a child, though!

So that's kind of an update here at the 24 week mark. 16 weeks to go, which is unbelievable. It's kind of flying by.

Dr. D asked me today what fruit or vegetable equivalent the baby currently was (I always knew with Charlie).... and I had no idea. Sad. Don't worry little girl, Ringo can relate when you get here. We have about 300 pictures of Zoe as a puppy and about 5 of him. You guys can be kindred spirits.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Charlie's Cafe

As happy as I am to be home, there are parts of London that tug at me. Friends that I miss and places that I miss going. As preschool gets ready to start here in Richmond, I find myself missing my friends from Charlie's school last year and some of that old routine. Well, not the bus part.

Next to Charlie's (old) nursery in Notting Hill is a cafe called Charlie's. Funny, right? I was really confused the first day of nursery when the headmistress told me to go wait at Charlie's for an hour or so to make sure Charlie settled in ok.

I spent the first few mornings of the term there, drinking coffee and reading a book. And then as I met some of the other moms of children in his class, I began joining them there right after drop off in the mornings.

Some mornings we'd spend just a little while there, enough to get some caffeine before going to work out or run errands. Other mornings, especially when it was pouring rain, we'd sit for hours, talking over lattes and pain au chocolat.

I've only been home a short while, but I already miss those mornings. Most of all I miss those friends.

If you find yourself in Notting Hill, Charlie's Cafe is worth a visit. The food is so fresh, shopped from down the street at the market. And your 7th coffee is always free!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back in Richmond

Charlie and I have been back in Richmond for about 3 weeks and Brad just got here Sunday night. We were all under the same roof in our own home for the first time since January! It felt awesome. Brad is of course handling the jet lag much better than I did - sleeping in the very first morning instead of wide awake at 5am like me!

I had this great visual of Charlie and I waiting outside the gate area at the airport when Brad came out... But Charlie fell asleep in the late afternoon and we didn't make it in time. He is so hard to wake up when he's fallen asleep. He was dozing off in the car seat on the way to 

Brad brought Charlie back a Play Mobil fire truck from Hamley's, which ended up being the most complicated Play Mobil to put together ever. So much fun to do after traveling for 16 or 17 hours. But Charlie was thrilled and has been playing with it ever since. 

Charlie woke us up Monday morning by telling us that it is morning and Chuck e Cheese is not closed anymore! We've been waiting until Daddy got back to go and Charlie thought that meant on the way home from the airport! We told him it was closed, but hey! Not closed anymore this morning! 

We managed to get him to wait until today and he and Brad went. It was so much fun that someone got very upset when it was time to leave. Brad, on the other hand, couldn't get out of there fast enough. Ironic considering how often he and his brother loved to go as kids!! 

Other than that we've just been trying to get Brad settled here and his car in working order again. We've been taking Charlie to the pool at our new gym and he could swim for hours. I also have him signed up for swimming lessons at Aqua tots. By the end of class he is usually in tears, but he is improving very quickly! I think once he learns the basics he will love his lessons. He starts preschool on Monday. 

I didn't get a chance to blog much because I was so busy - but the first couple weeks home went by very quickly!  Getting the house back in order and going to doctor appointments were the top priorities. I made it through a giant mountain of mail and bills. Organizing cabinets and closets. Piles of laundry. Various dog-related errands. Good times. Charlie also went to day camp at our church one of the weeks. 

We've also gotten Charlie squared away with shoes - finally! I never could find some he both liked and were in his size in London. Ordering shoes online just barely exists there. He threw the biggest fit in Saxon while trying them on, like we were just torturing his little feet. That poor salesgirl. 

I bribed him with some Spiderman sunglasses just to get us out of there with something that fit his feet! Bribing someone to get new shoes - such a foreign concept to me. He is pretty cute in his sunglasses, though. 
We had our first visit at the pediatric dentist, which went so well, I was shocked. Charlie really behaved beautifully. I don't mean to sound so shocked, but he is a 3 year old boy and unpredictable behavior is the norm. After freaking out having to go through the agony of trying on shoes that morning, he calmly sat there and let them clean and floss his teeth. 

He bumped his tooth on something while we were living in London and it turned a little grey. They did x-rays and it's fine - no damage to the permanent tooth. We are just supposed to keep an eye on it and hope he doesn't hit it again. It has gotten less grey since his appointment, which they said might happen. 
To celebrate after the dentist, I took him out for Sweet Frog! Because nothing says Mommy cares about your dental health like a big bowl of post-dentist ice cream. 
Well this post is all over the place and I just can't seem to organize my thoughts! Sorry! I'm going to stop now. Anyways, that's all from here. Oh and working on Charlie's big boy room. But that's another post for another day and hopefully a more coherent set of thoughts!

Here's a parting shot of Charlie with my ipad looking just like his Daddy.