Everyone has probably already seen this on Facebook, but Zoya Patricia was born on September the 12th at 3:24 PM weighing 7 lbs 4 oz at 19 1/2” long!
Birth story to follow…
I am down to less than 36 hours until my c-section. I really have been meaning to blog more this past week, but I have been so busy getting ready. It’s amazing how much energy I had once I kicked the various illnesses that I have had the past several weeks, and also how many last minute projects I had to take on that had been let go while I wasn’t feeling up for them. But I do wish that I had had a chance to blog more and finish my home tour and share on my girls before they became big sisters and where they are in their development and maybe even write a bit more on c-section preparedness.
Never before in my life have I felt so covered in prayer. Both prayers for the birth and prayers for a difficult family situation that has made these later days of the pregnancy so stressful. I have had such peace around the coming weeks and the c-section. This morning however, was a different story. I woke up and I just felt so overwhelmed and well, scared and worried about the surgery, worried about Gemma being so young and needy, worried about how gross my house was about to get, and what felt like 1 million other things. I didn’t even know where to begin to pray or what to ask for!
Thankfully a friend’s blog reminded me of a Bible verse that was exactly what I needed to hear today (also click on the link to learn about invisible illnesses and my very brave, strong friend’s journey in dealing with hers).
"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:26-28
I asked the spirit to intercede and I am feeling much better. In the past week my house has been cleaned, my hair has been done, freezer meals prepared, snacks bought, Big Sister Day items gotten ready, got everything sorted out for the cord blood banking, was able to attend Book Club (yay!), spend a lot of time with my big girls and get them to and from their things, tons of last minute things picked up, visited with friends and shared meals with other new moms, gotten laundry done (and done and done) and many other things I’m forgetting because it’s after midnight and I’m tired. Sure I cut a few corners on cleaning (ignore the spots on my mirrors), I need to contact insurance about the new breast pump they will supposedly provide me with, and my toes desperately need a pedicure, but it’s ok. I’m happy with the state of things heading into this birth.
Tomorrow, I have to head to the Doctor to get some preop bloodwork done and get my paperwork all together, get Isla to preschool, purchase her a booster seat because she’s a 40 lbs now, get Big Sister Day items set up, buy a birthday gift for a kid’s party Isla is going to, get her to dance, spend time with my for now baby Gemma, and I’ll probably forget many of those things in addition to things that I have already forgotten. My in laws are coming which I am so excited about, and we will have a nice last meal at my favorite Asian food place here (it’s in the mall food court because I am classy like that). My girls will be in the best possible hands with their grandparents! I don’t worry for a second about Isla, but Gemma is so little to be away from Mama for even one night, let alone up to three! But it’s going to be a great day.
Because the next day… we get to meet our newest treasure! I can’t wait.
Today was Isla’s first day of preschool! I thought about posting her picture to Facebook, but it seemed a little anticlimactic since everyone did the whole back to school picture thing weeks ago… so instead, I am just posting them here.
Love this little cheese ball!
She’s so cute it makes my heart ache sometimes, the thought that the Facebook world NEEDS to see this is running through my head right now… resisting… the urge… to showboat the… cutest kid ever.
I dressed up both my girls in Aggie gear this morning and it was quite the chore getting pictures of them both together! I’ll spare you the progression of pictures, but they are pretty funny and cute (if you’re anyone but Gemma). Isla takes her responsibilities as big sister seriously, even if the request was directed towards Gemma and not her. Sigh. She is so rough no matter how much I work with her, but it’s toughened up Gemma so that’s probably a good thing.
This was the best I managed to get! Not exactly the holy grail of family photos…
Isla of course did great at drop off and it helped that her seat was right across from her best friend Blake! She barely said good bye.
I meant to do a little preschool questionnaire, but I just forgot… however I have been asking her what she wants to be when she grows up and I inevitably get one of two answers.
Both perfectly acceptable answers for a 4 year old. I feel like I am doing something right because I want her to enjoy her childhood and I want her to be comfortable just being herself.
In the words of Soren Kierkegaard…
“Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself!”
A wonderful goal for any person.
Gemma and Isla started swim lessons yesterday too! Isla got right back into the swing of things. Gemma cried a lot, which is to be expected however she LOVES to swim and is pretty fearless and that was apparent to her Coach and she was very cooperative, even through the tears. I could also tell she liked her instructor, she just wasn’t sure about being in the water without Mama (she is a total mama’s girl) and also the other toddlers in her class cried a lot. I feel bad because I barely watched Isla, but it was so interesting to see how Gemma handled her first non parent-and-me swim lesson. Even with the crying, I was so proud of her. She is going to be a great swimmer! None of my pictures are very good.
The above picture is the instructor teaching Gemma how to roll over to float and sing a song if she is scared. That’s a skill that could save her life one day, even though it looks like she is being tortured!
I did get a few blurry, blurry pics of Isla. Dork. I have no idea what she was doing here. Love her. Love her. Love her.
And Isla started dance lessons today! I only got one picture of the back of her, doing her very vigorous shuffle taps . She is going to love ballet and tap. One of her little friends from preschool last year, whose mom I am also friends with has lessons right after Isla. I am hoping that she can get into Isla’s class on the wait-list so that my friend and I can chat. As it is, it’s nice to run into her coming and going.
Life is good right now! These years with littles really are the best ones.
So, after being the easiest pregnancy of all times EVER, this one has really turned into a doozy the past couple of weeks! Although I am now mostly over my sinus infection and completely over pink eye, I started to feel really achy and nauseated yesterday and now I’m running a low fever and also… losing my food to put it mildly! It’s not fun, but it’s ok. We will get through this, and I am really proud that I managed to get the girls to their swim lessons today, make 8 freezer meals and dinner, fold a mountain of clothes, get the recycling sorted and to the curb on time and get all 3 of us ready and to my eye Doctor’s appointment on time. I did relax with some Tylenol during quiet time and just read… even though after 2 weeks of being pregnant and sick my house is as gross as it has ever been! Cleaning it will just have to wait. Oh and I was up all night with contractions! Thank goodness for warm baths or else I would be so miserable.
Also, tell me, is this not the CUTEST newborn onesie you ever saw? Even with the rough couple of weeks, I do love my littles and I am so looking forward to meeting our littlest baby princess. I get so happy thinking about it, I just have to make it through the next 8ish days.
This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, and after two plus weekends of everyone or at least someone feeling sick and gross, we wanted to do something fun. Nick suggested we go to Balmorhea on Sunday. At first I resisted because I was 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, but then I started to get excited about the idea of making a little day trip and doing something fun with Isla. Plus I have been crazy emotional, and Nick has been working to keep me busy because I am happier when we go out and do things instead of mope and wait for baby.
Side note: I wouldn’t even cross the Causeway Bridge over Lake Pontchatrain after week 36 with Isla! Now I am making all day excursions out into the dessert. By Baby #3, I am not even remotely worried about going into labor early since I never have!
Balmorhea is a desert spring that the Army Corp of Engineers turned into a beautiful, giant swimming pool. Because it is spring fed, there are little fish and turtles that live in it, and it is deep enough to attract a lot of scuba divers. It then flows into a little river that flows into a local lake.
Here are some pictures that do it justice stolen from Google images! We actually visited last year, but I never blogged about it. It’s really lovely and such a nearby treasure.
One thing we have learned on all of our trips is that the less I plan, the more fun we have! We just come up with a lose agenda and go from there. So our plan was to get up and get going as early as we could, stop at Wal-Mart and then head to Balmorhea, which is about 2 hours away. Well, you know how things go with kids! We didn’t even arrive until 12:30 PM, and there was a 1 to 3 hour wait to even get into the park. When we finally got in, the park ranger informed us that this is their busiest weekend. Now we know for future reference!
We thought about going home, but we took the opportunity to teach Isla and Gemma about a little word that begins with P… not, not planning, but perseverance! We waited in that loonnngg line for an hour and a half and we finally made it into the park .
Also, you know you have a mama’s girl on your hands when your 18 month old would rather sit in your ever shrinking lap rather than pretend to drive! We love this little cuddle bug pipsqueak so much!
Anyway, once we got in, we swam to our hearts content! It was SO hard to swim being so pregnant so I mostly stuck to the sides. It’s very slippery at the bottom and also it gets very deep in many places, so it’s best to bring a float. It’s also coooolllddd, but very refreshing once you get used to it.
After her first time in the water, Gemma was a little bit traumatized. She crawled right into her stroller and refused to get out. She did much better our second time around in the water!
We brought along a watermelon. It’s just not a trip to Balmorhea without watermelon!
Oh and here’s a throwback Wednesday! Gemma trying her first food, watermelon, at Balmorhea last year .
We really thought Isla would do the high dive, but she was too scared! I don’t blame her. No way would I do that in one million years.
Nick did it though!
Isla did really well off of the low dives!
We had such a wonderful day and I am so glad that we were able to make it work out in the midst of all of our sickies and have some last minute fun, fun, fun before Baby Shaka’s arrival!
So first baby…
I had an OB appointment on Monday and everything looks great! My doctor says I’m all baby. He also says that this one is easily close to 7 lbs now and likely to be a chunk. His comment was that he was glad we were scheduling a c-section because he didn’t think she would fit! Although you never know, this was the sentiment of Isla’s Doctor before I went into delivery with her, the one who let me go 30 hours and 10 cm before her c-section because I wanted a vaginal birth so badly, and also not an experience that I am even remotely wanting to happen again… so needless to say, every day I feel more and comfortable with our decision to not try for the v-bac. Especially given that I got pregnant less than a year after Gemma’s birth. Gemma’s scheduled c-section was so pleasant and such an easy recovery, I know a c-section can be a wonderful birth experience, and I am looking forward to Baby Shaka’s debut! We are down to just two weeks…
I mentioned in my previous post that I was feeling run down, which was code for cold symptoms, meaning that since last week I had had congestion, achiness, a slight fever, and a terrible cough. In my book, a cold is rarely a big deal and I never take medicine for it. That’s just the way I was raised. My OB took one look at me on Monday morning and gave me a list of medications to take along with an antibiotic. I thought it was overkill until later that afternoon when whatever bacteria was infecting my sinuses got into my eye and I developed double pink eye. Fun. It got really bad, and I decided to visit my eye doctor as well. That’s why I never finished my stroller post. I needed to get some rest and get that mess all cleared up before I could do much of anything else. So it’s been several days of medicine, including eye and oral antibiotics, chloroxing everything so no one else gets sick, and also taking Tylenol PM at night so that I can get some rest! I am feeling much, much better. My house is a mess since I’ve had no energy, but I feel better!
And for our new stroller (drum roll please)…
We have purchased the Baby Jogger City Select!
I feel like I should first address the elephant in the room in that yes, this is probably our 5th or 6th stroller that we have owned. And people make fun of me for it. People who are constantly making financial decisions that I would never make and who IMHO have no right to judge me. We don’t have any debt but a small mortgage, and if I want to spend our money a stroller that works for us, then I’ll do it. I am not a big person, and I don’t like carrying around fussy 2 year olds or dealing with runaway toddlers. For me, the right stroller means freedom and less stress on outings. It’s the most important thing that I purchase with kids. We have had some major life changes in the past 4 1/2 years since we became parents. I went from a US suburban mom of 1 to a Russian urban mom of 1, who traveled frequently internationally back to a US suburban mom of 2 to now a suburban mom of THREE, with 2 of those three under 2! As our family make up and living situation has changed, so has our stroller needs. So, there! Haters gonna hate… and I’m just gonna shake it off!
(Side note: You know you’re pregnant when a Taylor Swift video makes you cry! I mean, seriously, I loved all of the “normal kids” at the end, just shakin’ it off. Sometimes that is all you can do when the haters hate. I hope my precious kiddos learn that lesson. I also don’t make a habit of watching Taylor Swift videos, in fact that is the first I’ve seen, but just kept hearing so much fuss about it that I wanted to watch it for myself.)
For the past year, we have had a Joovy Caboose Ultralite. First of all, I love the Joovy brand for their innovation and quality. They are also now carrying the Joovy TwoFold, which is US version of the Micralite TwoFold! As you know, Micralite is my all time favorite stroller brand, we loved our Toro and I will NEVER, EVER get rid of my Micralite Fastfold Superlite. They stopped distributing in the US for a while, and while I was pregnant with Gemma, I gave serious thought to planning a trip to the UK just to purchase the TwoFold, but ultimately it wasn’t the right stroller for us.
Also, I really think that I should get a finders fee or something for connecting Joovy and Micralite and for inspiring the TwoFold sit-n-stand design… note that this email of mine to Micralite is dated November of 2010!
Ok, I digress, but the point was, we’ve had a Joovy Caboose Ultralite since right after Gemma was born and I have not loved it. Mainly because Isla never loved it. On paper it was perfect! I never want strollers with more features or weight than I need, and this was all we needed. Unfortunately, it was not all that Isla wanted.
Remember this reaction the first time I used the stroller in public?
Well, Isla’s attitude towards the stroller improved somewhat, but she never really took to the stroller. Every chance she got, she would jump into the front and I would have to direct her back to the back. Also, this is the only stroller I have owned that didn’t lay flat or almost flat for newborns and I never felt like Gemma was really comfortable, and that I was always forcing it to work for her age. It did get better the older that Gemma got, but still, we never loved it for OUR purposes. I still love the stroller, and think it would be perfect for other families, but we didn’t love it.
So pretty much as soon as I found out I was pregnant with Baby #3, I wanted to move onto our next stroller. Here were my criteria:
It basically came down to two strollers, although for a spit second, I considered the Valco Baby Tri Mode Twin SE with the jump seat, and a Phil and Ted model even though those will not work as a triple.
The first one I considered was the UppaBaby Vista.
The second stroller considered was the Baby Jogger City Select.
We ultimately decided on the City Select, both because of price and also because of the two full sized seats that could be reclined at the same time. We actually purchased this in February and have been SO THRILLED with it! When we first purchased it, Isla was so excited about having a full sized seat. She was still 3 remember! As we moved closer to summer, I just stopped using it, and we primarily used our single Micralite (remember, never getting rid of it), and Isla never really noticed because the places we went, she wouldn’t have needed or wanted to be in a stroller anyway.
In early August, I ordered the car seat to go with it, a Maxi Cosi Mico and I also decided to splurge and get the bassinet. Unfortunately, you have to take apart the second seat to put together the bassinet, and I did that the minute it came in because I wanted to see how it all worked. Isla took one look at it and said “But where will I sit?” Then before I could say anything, she immediately regrouped and said “It’s ok, I can walk! The new baby and Gemma can ride in the stroller.” Phew. Crisis averted. I also reminded her that she was a big girl and could ride her bike, I haven’t even bought the glider board for her because it’s $60, and we will probably never use it. I know this was an option I wanted, but now I don’t think we will need it. I’m very proud of my big girl and the wonderful big sister she already is and will be.
So that’s what we have right now. I will probably do a better review once I have my two littles in it and I am using it more regularly. As of right now, I am so excited about it and I am pretty sure that we picked out the perfect stroller for now …!
Less than 3 weeks… and I am ready, ready. There’s nothing like 6+ pounds of baby simultaneously head butting you in the bladder and kicking you in the lungs for hours on end to ruin a good night’s sleep! That has been every night for me the past week, so needless to say… I’m run down and ready for my baby girl to come out. I’m only just passed 36 weeks, I do not know how some women go all the way to 42 weeks. I couldn’t imagine another 6 weeks of this!!! No matter how easy the pregnancy, by the end, you’re just miserable.
Also, this baby is looking to get to over 7 lbs, closer to 8 like Isla… I know it’s not that big, but it’s just not fair. I’m only 5 feet tall! I have a friend who is 6 feet tall and she had a 6 lb, 5 oz baby… now why couldn’t we have switched? Ok, I’ll stop whining , but I just feel like my babies are big disproportionate to my body. I have no room to breath half the time!
Anyway, this past weekend, we had our last set of friends over for dinner and made a quick trip to Lubbock to visit our friend Heather, and then we will probably not be going anywhere or entertaining until a while after Baby Shaka comes. We are in lock-down Baby Prep mode.
The girls’ matching shirts came in today, along with Big Sister gifts! We aren’t having the big girls give Baby Shaka anything, but they will get presents, a banner, and a cake for becoming Big Sisters! This is mostly for Isla, because Gemma is a little clueless, but Isla has been SO EXCITED about the new baby and becoming a big sister again, and she loves to kiss my belly. For the first time today, Gemma started touching my belly like… “hrmmm, something is not quite right here.”
I ordered the shirts from AddiesKakesKreations, the same Etsy store that made Isla’s birthday shirt. And I also have cute little Texas A&M skirts coming that go with them, but they haven’t arrived yet. I can’t wait to have all of my little Aggie girls together . Notice – still no name for the baby! That’s a different post entirely, but at this point Isla and Gemma weren’t named until after they were born and we have found no reason to break with tradition. We are still taking suggestions!
I’ve been making freezer meals and crock pot freezer meals, and I do think that some friends will bring meals as well! Crock pot freezer meals are the bomb. If you haven’t tried to make some, you should! I’ve never really been into “crocking”, but I’ve finally gotten the hang of it, and it makes life so much easier.
Nick’s parents are all set to come for the birth so that Nick can stay with me at the hospital, and then Nick will be able to take off at least 2 weeks of vacation to help me get the girls to their activities. He works so close to home that he can also always just step away and take them places if needed without taking off an entire day. I am a little nervous about the first 6 weeks of recovery, especially since Gemma is such a little thing and still needs so much care! But we will be fine.
Tonight we are going to put Gemma into Isla’s room in the pack and play. If it works out, then we may be moving Gemma’s crib into Isla’s room. Isla is used to coming into our room at night and sleeping in a sleeping bag, but we have been prepping her that she won’t be allowed to do that when the baby comes for a little while. She seems very understanding, but we asked her if she would feel better not being alone at night. She said yes, and she is excited about Gemma moving in with her. I still feel like Gemma is too little for them to be together, but we will try it out and see. There will be NO room redecorations for as long as possible!
Tomorrow, I hope to do a blog post on our NEW STROLLER! Of course you knew I would have to get one…
Summer is coming to a close for us. I can’t believe some kids have already been back in school for a week or more! Thankfully, Isla’s preschool and activities don’t start until after Labor Day and I am so glad. I am not ready to not have my girly home.
We have really had such a great summer! It probably seems like I documented everything we did, but there is so much that I never bothered to take pictures of because I was having too much fun while we were there. Park play dates. Walks around our neighborhood. Visits with friends. Trips to the bouncy castle place in town. Visits to our children’s museum. Our neighborhood pond’s turtle infestation! Oh wait, I do have pictures of that. We love turtles! If I knew we were staying stateside forever, I would definitely get a pet one.
It’s been lovely. Isla thinks so too! Here is a little conversation we had recently…
Isla: Mommy, can I tell you a secret?
Isla: I don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to leave here!
So Isla is so happy here! And you know what… I am happy too! I am really happy here and very much looking forward to the fall with the new baby coming and Isla and Gemma’s activities. I find myself thankful we aren’t in Houston traffic or having to try so hard to make friends the way we did in Louisiana.
We also have a very full fall schedule planned out. I almost have my spreadsheet done and I told Nick that now we both have full time jobs! Three little kids at home is a full time job. Sheesh. We will be adding a new baby at the same time that we have a time consuming, adorable toddler and a big girl with many big girl activities. It’s going to be the toughest add on yet, I think, but also, so, so, so, so wonderful!
If you’ll remember, I loaded up Isla’s June with activities so that I could figure out what she should do in the fall. We decided to not only continue her swim lessons, but we added Gemma onto swim lessons too! After that, we decided that we could not afford to do Bingham Center anymore for Isla so we unenrolled her for the fall. We had also enrolled Isla in dance for June at Art & Soul, a local dance studio, but we weren’t planning to continue it in the fall as long as we did Bingham Center since they both did tap/ballet. I really want her to be in dance… I don’t know why, I just feel like little girls are supposed to be in ballet and tap. If she hates it, of course we will pull her out, but she seemed to really like it. Art & Soul is much cheaper than Bingham Center, but at first it didn’t work with our fall schedule at all so I thought it was out. However, they updated the schedule, and not only did they add a time for Isla’s age group that worked perfectly, it was also with the instructor that I was hoping to get! I’m so thrilled at how everything worked out.
Here is a pic of my ballerina on her first day this past June! I didn’t get any good pictures of her actual class because the glass looking into her studio was very reflective.
So this is how Isla’s schedule is shaping up:
Last year Isla did 5 hours, 2x per week in preschool, but I took her out of the afternoon extended care mostly because it was just too hard to work nap schedules for my two littlest into the afternoon. I do have the option to do 3 hours, 3x per week, but I love having our Fridays free to travel or go to different activities and events. I always thought that I would get my children into very rigorous schooling as soon as I possibly could and raise little scholars, BUT I really love spending time with them and I like keeping them with me as much as possible. Also, I have been reading about Finland’s education system where children receive zero formal education until they are 7 years old, and they are consistently the highest or almost the highest ranked in performance among developed nations. It’s a 180 from how I always thought I would be. Weird. The point is, I know that keeping them with me when they still not even 5 does not mean that they won’t be able to compete academically when they are bigger.
I could seriously pinch myself that Gemma has an activity! I am sooooooooo excited. I would have killed to have Isla in something at this age. I originally wanted to get her into Kindermusik, but there wasn’t a time that really worked for us or that I wanted to make work for us. Swim lessons are at the same time as Isla and so it’s easier for me! I’m so excited!
Oh I could go on and on! I am going to be busy, busy those first few months until we really get into our routine, and even then….... One thing that I determined to make a priority is to attend an exercise class. I found the best deal in town! A local church offers work out classes during the week with excellent child care. I could never leave my kids in a gym day care, at least not until they were a bit bigger because the kids are usually kind of lumped together, no matter the age. However this childcare is split up by age, so Baby Shaka will be with other babies, Gemma with other toddlers, and Isla with big kids! Nick is very supportive and has committed to watching the kids on Saturday mornings so that I can attend a Yoga class. I also have a mom friend who offers Pilates lessons along with a babysitter for a very reasonable price that I could also use! I have to make my health a priority. It’s hard for me because I hate leaving my kids and feel so guilty, but it’s important. I know this, and Nick is 100% behind me and encouraging me.
Baby Shaka’s schedule:
I’m so sad our lovely summer is coming to a close, but I am determined to enjoy my last year before Isla starts kindergarten with my 3 blessings. It’s going to be crazy though! Seriously, cray cray , but I’m so looking forward to it!