1st day of school 2013

Im kind of a big deal.

35 pictures and this is the only one where all 3 kids look decent.

Close up.

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I must be extremely fertile.  I am pregnant.  My cycles are only 26 days, so from when the ovulation stick turned positive on July 15th, until today it is only 11 days (DPO).

It took one month for us to get pregnant with Elliott, pregnancy #3 and this one.  With Spencer it took 11 months, but for several of those months I was waiting to regain a regular cycle ofter having my IUD removed.

I don’t feel the same level of anxiety or nervousness that I felt last year.  In fact, I feel serene and peaceful about the whole thing.  I took several tests yesterday that were positive (I know you can’t be kinda pregnant).  But, I needed the certainly of the digital test to ease my mind and be certain my eyes weren’t creating something that wasn’t there.
I wonder if my nervousness is tempered by the idea that I could miscarry.  Perhaps it is an emotionally protective measure to prevent me from being too excited in the wake of loss?  I like to think that I have matured and that I am not as neurotic as I once was (yes, I took 5 pregnancy tests in 24 hours).  I also feel like we are more ready to welcome a 3rd child into our family.  

Our New House

Pregnancy loss happens frequently.  There are tons of stats on-line that speak of 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, often before you are even aware of begin pregnant.  And, while I am a very logical, rational person, nothing prepares you for the loss of your baby.

It is life altering.  It changed the way I thought in ways unimaginable.  It has affected my relationships with people and how they view their own pregnancies.  It changes the way I view myself and my reproductive capacity.  
When we discovered that we lost our baby, it was a sadness I had never in my life experienced.  It was a pain I had never known.  There was a pit in my stomach that was empty and vast.  It was a pain, that if left unattended, could sweep on into a dark abyss of depression.  
As time has worn on, I have healed.   I have allowed love and happiness back in and pushed the despair and sadness out.  I learned to appreciate my family with renewed intensity.  I felt lucky and grateful to have my boys, when so many families long to have just one healthy child.  
My husband felt like the miscarriage was the universes way of saying that we weren’t meant to have this child.  I resented him for saying that.  I knew that science just didn’t align.  But, I also felt a small sense of relief.  The pregnancy was wanted, the baby was very much wanted and loved.  But, the timing was all wrong.
We were living in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1000 sq foot, 102 year old house.  We didn’t have heat or A/C, we didn’t have a driveway or attached garage, and we were always on top of each other.  I know that families make due with much less every.single.day.  And I would’ve made it work–but, it was beyond stressful with 2 small kids and the possibility of a 3rd on the way.  
In many ways the loss is what motivated our family to buy a bigger house.  We moved into our new house at the end of March.  It is more than 2 and a 1/2 times bigger than our previous house and totally upgraded.  4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a wonderful kitchen and yard, with a massive attached garage.  We loved living in a small space–it forced us to be cozy, uber organized, and very conscience of our purchases and possessions.  But, the kids are so much happier having their own space.  The boys still share a room, and I hope they always will.  But, they can play in different rooms and spaces and not be right on top of one another.   The boys ages or this new space has had a very positive effect for everyone: we are all finally sleeping better! 

The upcoming birthday festivities

Spencer’s first birthday is coming up in a few short weeks.  He shares a birthday with my best friends daughter, in addition to having a birthday near Thanksgiving (and once in a blue moon–on) most years.  So, planning his birthdays will be tough for a few years.

For Elliott, we have always chosen to have his birthday’s in our home town.  He has a summer birthday and occasionally his conflicts with the 4th of July holiday, but all in all it is simpler (for planning purposes) than contending with a major holiday like Thanksgiving.  
All of our respective family live in the same county.  Plus, Grandma was always more than willing to allow us to have the parties at her house.  They have a huge kid friendly yard and a pool with a water slide.  Elliott being our oldest (and at the time–only) child–parties were a pretty big affair.  Now that we have a second child–they seem less of a priority.  I now understand why subsequent children get the shaft.
The killer part for me is always the guest list.  Having the party in San Diego this year makes it a bit easier.  And in the same breathe infinitely more difficult  There is always the question of who to invite.  I don’t want to leave anyone off the list lest I insult someone, but I also don’t want to burden anyone with an invite if it’s going to be drag.  Do I invite all my home town friends?  Do I invite Elliott’s friends (who subsequently are my friends as well)?  Do I invite my friends who have kids?  How are we going to fit and feed all those folks into our house?  Since his birthday is in the winter–there is no telling if the skies will be cooperative or not.  
Then, there is the family factor.  If I have the party in our home town I can be assured that my family will attend.  It will be uncomfortable for everyone to be in the same room with one another–but they will do it in the name of my adorable son.  But, the fact that this year I have taken a stand and chose to have the event in San Diego sets my heart up for disappointment.  The last time I remember my Mom coming to San Diego was when Elliott was 2 weeks old.  My sister hasn’t been to visit me in more years than that.  And my Aunt’s last visit was my wedding–5 years ago.  In their defense, they are busy and traveling costs money.  I understand all of that.  But, it is still disappointing for me–it is only a 3 hour drive. One that I make 6-7 times every year with my kids in tow.  
Irrationally, I admit, I always position their love for me and my kids up against the excuse of not enough money and/or time–and my kids and I always lose.  Or so, it feels.  Now, I know that nothing is that simple or black and white.  But, it doesn’t change the fact that I still feel let down and disappointed.  Keeping in mind the whole time, of course, that the party is for my son and not for me.
The invitation was sent.  The only thing left to do is wait, and hope that I don’t feel disappointed when all is said and done.  

Coming around the bend

I had a post sitting in my drafts for the last 2 months.  I wrote it whilst feeling very emotional and vulnerable.  I didn’t feel, at the time, that I should post it.  However, after reading it again I decided to go ahead.  My feelings at the time were real and therefore valid.  If you are a follower–you will see a new post with an old date.

Some days are still as frustrating as I earlier described.  However, many of the days are actually becoming enjoyable.  I attribute the change to a handful of things.

The first is that Elliott seems to be growing out of his defiant stage (I should say temporarily shelving as I expect it to show up again sooner rather than later).  He is becoming more aware of the daily expectations–get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast (sitting down), go to preschool or some other activity, etc. 

He is also working very hard at adjusting to life as a sibling.  He clearly likes Spencer, but still has a hard time sharing time and/or toys with him.  He also can scarcely contain his enthusiasm and sheer joy that comes from pushing him over, or angrily ripping a toy from him hands.  I suspect that Elliott is asserting himself over Spencer because Spenc is low man on the totem pole (so to speak).  As such, I have been working on navigating the two of them more carefully.  I have also been working on the language I use when correcting the other, making sure to say things to both Elliott AND Spencer.  That has helped facilitate their relationship with one another, and if I handle it correctly it should make them closer over the long haul. 

In addition to the normal growth that occurs when a sibling is added–I too, have been growing and adjusting.  I have always felt proud of the fact that I was very patient and took the time to explain things to my child.  And then there were two…and all patience went out the window.  I am slowly, day by day, regaining some of that patience.

As I slowly take back more of my body (less nursing on a daily basis) and I start to get more solid chunks of sleep I find that I am more patient and less irritable.  Both of these things attribute to a more patient and nurturing parent.

Lastly, I am learning more about redirecting my anger as well as my children’s.  I am also working on easing up on them–they ares still so little!  Elliott is 3 and 1/2 years old–but that is still small.  He needs reminders and more reminders.  He still needs me to swoop him up and kiss his owie.  He still lets me hold his hand when we cross the stress. 

And, these days I relish each opportunity.  I try and remind myself daily how lucky I am to be able to spend my days with my adorable boys.  Very lucky indeed. 

Is three a charm?

Up until 2 weeks before I got pregnant I never wanted children. When I was younger I would tell people I didn’t want kids. I didn’t babysit. There weren’t many babies or small children around while I was growing up. With the exception of my cousin who was born when I was in my early 20’s all the other kids were my age.

When the hubby and I met I was still certain that I didn’t want kids. Then one day something inside of me changed. It was shortly after we got married that my inner clock started ticking. I tried to ignore it a first. But it wouldn’t be ignored.

After living together for several years, a good length engagement, and a wonderful year post marriage the hubby and I had a short, and I mean 5 minutes or less, conversation about if we should try and start a family.

2 short weeks later the pee stick said pregnant. I was in shock for my entire first trimester. I did not handle it well. We now have 2 awesome, gorgeous boys.

Most of my friends seem to be content and happy with one child. These days many folks start their families later. Some are less willing to give up their perceived freedom due to careers or simply the pragmatic choice of budgetary restraints and are therefore unable to stay home with their children and then, many people simply feel satisfied with one child (and some none) . Some decide on having two, but very few of our friends have decided that yet.

I am plagued.

I want a third child. Something in my heart is telling me that our family in not complete yet. There are so many reasons why a third baby would be impractical. We only live in a 2 bedroom house-1000 square feet people. 3 kids might put us over the edge financially. I might loose my mind with three kids. Where would the 3rd kiddo sit at our dinner table? Would we ever get invited anywhere again? When would we sleep again? Oh, and I would have to get pregnant again (I don’t love being pregnant, and my lady parts are still on the fritz).

There is also the global perspective and the planet to think of. It is really a good idea to populate our planet with more than ourselves as replacements? Am I being selfish wanting a third child when so many folks can’t even have one? Hubby has valid concerns too regarding how much time he would have to spend with each. Would he get the quality time with each of them that they needed? Would it be total chaos? Would we be able to give each of them the love that they needed. What would our house be like with 5 human beings living in it at all times. Plus a dog and a cat.

All things emotional and logical inside of me say yes.

The house logistics are simple. While I occasionally get depressed that our house is so small; most of the time I am content with our small, cozy quarters. I love the neighborhood, the centrality, and our yard. I know we could make it work. Moreover, I want to make it work. I like to be challenged. And living in this house is a challenge in terms of getting everything to fit. It forces me to think about things before I buy them. It also requires shared space which is a good lesson for everyone. It forces each person to respect the others space. Plus, we won’t live here forever, although the in-laws have lived in their home for 30-plus years. Hmm, we could always remodel-budget permitting.

We have the gear. I have the space in my vehicle. I know I have enough love (patience may be a bit short in the beginning and during the teenage years). I am not getting any younger and in many ways I want to be done with the childbearing part and move all my energy and focus to the childrearing phase.

I keep getting stuck in the comments of others. Am I crazy for wanting three? Will I put myself over the edge? Do I have the personality to handle three kids?

I still have plenty of time to ponder this idea since breastfeeding full time has warded off my period. But it is fun to think about. Unless we have a girl…then all bets are off.

Striving for more or never satisfied?

It has been said, by several people including my husband and my best friend, that I am never satisfied.

I never took this as an insult.  In fact, I always approached it as a positive part of my personality.  I think that striving to be better, constantly wanting to improve on what you are, and working and looking towards future goals are all very admirable traits to possess.

I understand however that it isn’t meant as a compliment.  What they are really saying is that I am never happy with what I have and I cant ever be satisfied or appreciate the present.  I am unable to stop, and be thankful.  I can rarely be present because I am too busy looking ahead. I focus on what still needs to be done and not what has already been accomplished.

There are several parts about this situation that are difficult to address. The first is the basic differences in world views.  How do you resolve something so ingrained in your personality with your spouse or loved ones? Being raised with HUGELY different parenting styles we both have traits and characteristics that compliment one another and also challenge one another.

My MIL is a role model for positive behavior.  She has a knack for speaking only positive things, for making the best of each situation and for never vocalizing the negative.   While it is often difficult to know how she really feels about something-it is very enjoyable and pleasant to spend time with her.  My Mother on the other hand, has a special ability to be honest and forthcoming.  She always speaks her mind and you know where you stand with her.  She doesn’t often take things personally and has a tough skin.  Of course, her honesty is one sided, and can often hurt those who are more sensitive than she is.

So when resolving a marital issue–do you ask the other person to change (assuming that a person can change) and moreover is it fair to even ask them to?  Do you accept this as part of their personality or do you work towards a common goal or compromise and if so, how and what?

Is this simply about perspective which can be resolved with a word choice. Is this about manipulating the words to affect the desired result.  When you are comfortable speaking your mind, is it worth taking the few extra moments to pause and think about what you are going to say and how it will perceived; and potentially alter the phrasing.  Or is that compromising your true self to satisfy others who have more fragile personalities.

In disagreements where both sides feel they are justified —  who is ‘right’ and how do you decide?

All of these are subjective, I know.  Each relationship is unique and one can not possibly advise on how to resolve a situation like this for another person.  I realize that I am asking questions that can not be answered by any another except the parties involved.

I also realize that when our words are hurting people we love, regardless of how or why, that we need to alter the phrasing and delivery.

So, what I am asking is that you provide suggestions for how you ‘make the best’ of situations even if they aren’t going as planned.  How do you see and vocalize the positive when the first thing you see is what is wrong, not what is right?  How do you keep your mouth shut when something goes wrong, and look on the bright side?  Is there a way to offer suggestions without sounding like you are criticizing the progress.  For the ladies–how do you power through hormonal periods of your life and still remain positive and upbeat?

I hope that like parenting, if my arsenal is full of suggestions and ideas, then I can be better prepared to handle the pitfalls challenges when they arise.    Being prepared is a good place to start.

Easter

We loved eating the ears off of our first chocolate bunny.  Thank you Grandma and Bobbotz!  The book was a huge success as well.

The Easter Bunny came and brought hot wheel-diggers and real diggers (kid sized yard tools)!

Dad and Elliott smiling before we leave for our Easter Egg hunt and brunch.  Looking fancy boys!

Elliott the Egg hunter.