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: http://puzenski.com/

and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/puzenskiphotography?fref=ts

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!