Friday, January 31, 2014

39 Weeks!

Just a few more days!

Baby: Since I'm almost to my due date now, baby is just busy putting on weight and continuing brain/lung development (getting smarter every day!). Over the last two weeks, I've been able to breathe better, so I'm fairly sure baby has dropped (at least somewhat) and is ready for delivery. Everything is healthy and on track according to the docs, so there's really nothing to report.

Mommy: Excited and anxious for the day to arrive! I can't wait to meet this little one and find out if we have another adorable little boy or a sweet little girl. ♥ I'm not horribly uncomfortable or anything (I've been very blessed with both pregnancies to avoid that!) and have minimal complaints. I'm still getting to the gym a few times each week (and now that it's the end of February and people's resolutions are wearing off, it's nice to not be faced with an overly crowded cardio area!). I'm also so excited that Lauren and I have settled on a few names of each gender. There was a bit of frustration that came during the girl process, but we're both really happy with our final few choices.

Daddy: A bit under the weather lately and feeling somewhat stressed. I'm (reluctantly) hoping that he has this weekend to relax and decompress before the big day comes. I think he could really use it. :)

Next Up: Just waiting for the big day. Since I've already given birth once, the doctor's love reminding me that it could happen at any time. We have the hospital bag packed (finally), the nursery ready, and everything else in place... so whenever it happens, it happens. I do have a 40-week appointment scheduled for next Thursday, but I am not-so-secretly hoping I don't need it. ♥

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Toddler Speak & Other Strange Behaviors

Brayden is at that stage of language development where he knows exactly what he wants to say -- and thinks he's communicating it perfectly to us (so seriously, why aren't you getting what I'm asking for???) -- but Daddy and I are left clueless.

During bathtime, he'll point to his huge basket of toys and say something like "beee!" Since we don't have a bumble bee anything in the house, that's not what he's referring to. He could be referring to something blue (he typically says the first sound of each color when identifying it). He could be referring to a block. Or a bath book. Or even something that he thinks starts with the letter B.  Lauren will go through toys - one by one - and watch as he shakes his head no with increasing frustration.

But look how cute I am, Mom! 

And then there's the receptive language. We have to call things by the right name - the name he knows. An anecdote from this weekend:

Lauren and Brayden are looking through a pop-up book together. Brayden's way of interacting with it is to point to various objects and have us tell him what they are.

Brayden: (points)

Lauren: That's a vice. It's used for clamping down things.

Brayden: Nnnnnnhhhhhh!

Lauren: It is a vice!

Brayden: Nnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhh!

Krystin: I call it a tool. I didn't really know what it was.

Lauren: Seriously? Fine. Brayden, it's a tool.

Brayden: (happily points to something else)

Lauren: That's a rat.

Brayden: Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhhh!

Lauren: What's the problem here??

Krystin: It's a mouse.

Lauren: Brayden, why don't you take the book to Mommy and have her read it. Apparently, only she knows the secret language.

I think this stage of language development could easily be made into a gameshow. Lauren and I do so much trial and error guessing (especially at meal times) regarding what Brayden is trying to say. He's certainly saying more words, but they're just not coming quickly enough for his own mind.

He also enjoys doing a variety of other activities that leave us somewhat clueless (or leave us staring -- and laughing -- in amusement). A few recent gems:

While I was making dinner, Brayden decided to put potatoes inside an empty dog treat container.
He was extremely methodical about which ones went in and what he did with them once they were there.

Kinley has stopped playing fetch with Brayden. Maybe it's because Brayden decided the game wasn't
challenging enough for her (so he started putting the Frisbee in difficult-to-get places).

Rearranging food on his tray in a way that I'll never comprehend.

I don't know. I just... don't know.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Favorites

Has this week felt long to anyone else?

With Lauren staying at work late and me chaotically trying to get everything ready for our imminent arrival, it has felt never-ending to me. However, amid the chaos (non-napping toddlers and cabinet doors falling on top of me for example), there's been a lot of good. ♥

Some of my favorite moments and photos from the week...

1. The scare.

You know when you accidentally scare someone so badly, they jump in the air and yell at you? And even though you didn't intend to do it, you sort of wish you had because it was just so awesome? That happened today... at almost 4:00 in the morning when Lauren was coming out of the bathroom and I was going into it. It was epic. He yelled for a good 10 seconds.

2. Brayden's new response to doing something wrong.

When my son gets frustrated, he throws things. He knows he shouldn't do it, and whenever he does, I calmly make him walk over and pick up the item he just hucked across the room. This week, he started reacting to his own misdeeds. When he throws something, before I can even respond, he throws his hands up in front of his face to hide. (Because clearly, this way I can't see him and make him correct his error) If he's near a couch, he ducks behind that, too. Honestly, it's taking every ounce of self-discipline I have not to laugh when he does this. It's such an immediate reaction. "I threw something. Crap. I'm in trouble. Better get the heck out of here."
There's no way she'll find me in here.

3. New camera lens.

I bought myself an early birthday gift. A new camera lens that allows me to better deal with the poor lighting in our house. I already love it.

4. Seeing my son pick up the phone and pretend to talk on it. 

Not a bad act, right?

5. Brayden trying to say banana.

He's trying to say more words lately, and this week we encouraged him to say banana. It started with a "buh-", ended with a "-nana"... and had about ten addition syllables in between. Freaking adorable.

6. Walking in on my dog snuggled up in bed. 

I have no idea how she put herself under the pillow.

7. A break in super-cold, rainy weather!

So happy we got out for some walks and playground time this week. Being cooped up inside is so hard during the winter.

8. Baby preparations

The more we do to get ready for the baby, the more excited I get. Cleaning out the nursery and buying our new little one a lovey were such sweet additions to the day. And how cute is this giraffe?

9. Brayden's ABCs

Between the puzzle that Grandma got him for Christmas and the alphabet magnets on his board, Brayden is learning his letters so fast. He doesn't know all of them, and he doesn't get them right all the time (he loves saying sounds instead of letter names, but will usually still bring me the letter I asked for), but it's awesome seeing his little mind expand.

10. Greatest video ever.

Brayden was playing with an empty photo-storage case this week. He went all baby-Schwartzy on me and started repeatedly lifting it, saying "big" over and over again.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

36 Weeks!

Less than a month left?!?! Holy smokes...

Baby: Our little one is basically done with key developments now. The remaining few weeks will be mostly weight gain and brain/lung development. The baby is also getting pretty darn big - somewhere around 5.5-6 lbs now - and is starting to run out of room in my belly. (My guess is that baby is on the big side of that spectrum since Brayden was over 8 lbs. at birth) Don't get me wrong though, the baby still adores moving around. It's just getting a bit more difficult I suppose. I had a doctor's appointment this week and the baby is in head-down position (hooray!) and everything is looking just perfect. 

Mommy: I'm getting more excited with every day that passes. I can't believe that in less than four weeks, I'll have a newborn! It's funny how time plays tricks on you. Some days it feels like Brayden was just there... that it was only a few months ago when he was coming home from the hospital. And then other days, he seems so old - so mature and skilled and capable. One thing that doesn't change is how monstrous he seems in size all of a sudden. I pulled out our gender-neutral newborn clothes from Brayden's early days and cannot believe how tiny they are! Brayden seems like Godzilla to me now. 

Must. Destroy.
The last week has been an exhausting blur. With Daddy out of commission due to his workload, I've been racing around like a crazy lady trying to get everything ready for the little one. Since we don't have many more "safe" weekends (where we're sure the baby won't yet be here), now is the time to get things done. Cleaning out the nursery. Washing baby clothes, sheets, blankets. Getting the car seat installed. Making freezer meals for those initial post-baby weeks. Staying up until 1 am to accomplish said tasks. I'm certainly feeling burned out and could use a few days to relax. Not sure if I'll get them, but it's definitely on my birthday wish-list. :)

Otherwise, everything is going well. I'm still having some lower back pain (so it's becoming even more of a nuisance to carry a 26-lb. toddler up and down the stairs) but am still getting to the gym 3-4 times a week and doing prenatal yoga and strength a few times a week. 

Daddy: He had a brief reprieve from work-chaos but is now crazy busy again. He has a few big projects coming to an end right before my due date, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this situation doesn't get messy.  

Next Up: Just finishing getting things ready for the new addition. Which includes that pesky and elusive name-thing (this time definitely feels more difficult than it did with Brayden!). Thankfully, I've managed to go through a few baby name books and add to our current list of options. Now it's just a matter of narrowing it down to a few of each gender. Pretty sure I have a few favorites... so we'll have to see what Daddy thinks about them. :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Positive Attitudes

Every month or two, I end up having the same conversation with my hubby. I lament my most recent observations about what I hope isn't becoming the predominant attitude of society: the driver who was livid to have to wait for a mother and her toddler to cross the street in a parking lot, the customer who blamed the cashier for a return policy she has no control over, the moms at the park who sat around doing nothing but complaining.

I’m grateful to see a lot of good around me as well, but there’s just something about a negative attitude that really bothers me. It’s not just the way attitude is contagious, or how it influences everyone within your radius. I think what bothers me is the idea that so many people choose to notice, discuss and focus on the bad instead of the good in their lives. It’s the way suffering has become some kind of badge of courage. It’s almost a contest. Someone talks about getting stuck at the office until 10 at night, and their conversational buddy has to counter with his or her astronomical number of hours worked that week. Someone mentions being tired; their friend bounces back with how tired and sick and stressed they are. It almost feels like there’s a stigma to someone who answers the question “how are you?” with an enthusiastic “great” – surely,  they must have it easy or just not be doing it right.

It’s a truly bizarre phenomenon to me. I mean, why wouldn't you choose to be happy about all the good in your life instead of angry about the inevitable imperfections?

Although it’s not a regular habit of mine, I’m certainly not guiltless of this crime myself. Occasionally, Lauren will come home and talk about his long day – and I’ll do the same in response. Or he’ll mention a sore throat and I’ll throw in that my back is hurting from toting Brayden around all day. The funny thing is; I’m not sure what provokes me to do that. Why does a complaint have to be answered with another complaint? Why even complain at all?

Hubby and I have talked about this a bit (like I said, this is a repeated topic of conversation for me). The best we could come up with is that people have this overwhelming desire to let everyone know that they’re working SO HARD that they’re suffering. That if you don’t complain about things, or if you don’t tell people exactly what you've accomplished, they won’t notice or appreciate it. And if I’d like to refrain from thinking that people are just becoming more negative, I suppose that’s as good of a reason as any for this trend. But it still bothers me.

It’s no secret that one of my choice avenues for self-expression is writing. I keep a journal, I write poetry; I do all those inky-type things. I always end my journal entries with things I’m grateful for. And it’s amazing how long the list can stretch. Even on bad days -- even when things are difficult -- there’s always something to be grateful for or happy about. I've been through a lot over the last few years and I can honestly say there wasn't a single day that was 100 percent bad. Sure – maybe on one of those terrible days, the best I could come up with was sleeping in or a tasty bowl of ice cream, but right about now I’d be pretty happy with either of those. ;)

If I had a societal wish list, it would definitely include a shift in attitude. I would love to see people focusing more on the good than on the bad. I would love to see people talking about their joys instead of their sorrows. I would love to hear more people answer the question “how’s it going” with something other than “eh, I’m fine” (or a laundry list of complaints).

In addition to being a writer, I’m also a goal-setter. I love making goals for myself. I never have just one New Year’s resolution or ambition. I always have about 20 of them. For 2014, I decided to focus on one specific area of my life each month - and make changes in those areas that will add more joy and peace into my world. For January – my focus is on positive attitude.

I might not be that bad about complaints or negativity (my husband has always praised me for my positivity), but there’s always room to improve. And you know what they say - you have the be the change you want to see in the world. With that in mind, I've vowed to stop needlessly complaining (or answering complaints with complaints out of that weird habit), to expand my gratitude practice beyond my morning journal pages, and to just let myself be happy. To continue seeing all the good in my life and let it fill me with so much joy that when someone asks me how I’m doing, my smile just says it all.

Cheesy? Sure. But really, I’d rather be cheesy and happy than miserable and negative.