Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tummy Time!

24 weeks.  Here's what's going on in there...

Courtesy of BabyCenter.com

"Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon."

I know he's just over a pound...but he's realy starting to get heavy!  I feel sore and tired by the end of the day, and I've had some backaches.  Of course all the go-go-go of getting our house ready for full time habitation while continuing to sleep on an air mattress on the condo can't be helping.  What was going to be 3 or 4 days on an air mattress as somehow become a month!  Lovely.

Here's hoping for a mattress in the next week.  Wouldn't that be a "Happy Birthday" to me?!

In other news...

...Oliver is doing great adjusting to the new house.  We have been getting him over to spend time there whenever possible and yesterday and today he took naps there without a problem.  Recognizing the pack and play helped I'm sure, but I am so relieved that he transitioned so well to his new room.

Loving the new back yard and playing with daddy.

A happy little family in their happy little home.

First meal in our home.

Painting mommy's room since she did such a great job with mine!

Snack Time

New water table...thank you craigslist!

Happy Father's Daddy!  Love you soooo much! Thank you for our new Home!

Eat in Kitchen

Where have you been toys?! 
Oliver was very entertained with his toys that have been in storage... old friends reunited!

Friday, June 17, 2011

One Door Closes...

It's finally all set- we got the keys to our new little house...and immdiately changed the locks and got new keys! It's ours!  We've got a little elbow grease to put into it and make it shine, but thankfully it is not too much to take on.  My father in law will be down on Saturday to pass on his wisdom.  I can tell how much he loves to see his sons establishing themselves with homes and families, and to help them be handymen.  He's such a quiet man, but I've learned to pick up on his form of excitement (like when we got engaged and pregnant and he decided it was time for a camcorder...little things like that).  So we are very thankful to have him come down and help.  My mother and mother in law will be in town also to help me with Oliver and cleaning and painting, and both of them are excited and happy for us too.  We are so surrounded by love!

So exciting times here! But also a little sad.  Nate and I moved into the condo our sophomore year of college.  We graduated, got engaged, got pregnant, got married, nested, brought our baby home, and chased him in these few rooms. 

This has been Oliver's home.  The one and only.  For 16 amazing months.  I watch him manuever through the rooms and his routine with such comfort and ease that my heart breaks a little to know we are leaving the home he knows so well.

Our First Christmas in the Condo- These are the oldest pictures of us in the condo I can find...we've been through a few computers I guess and I lost some pictures.  But really....what says "home" like Christmas? Especially when you can see what Christmas in the condo became for us (and there are lots of pics of this last one!!!)

Our last Christmas here- talk about a change in what made the holiday special for us!  From just the two of us to our first holiday as parents watching the joy that reflected in our baby's eyes.

I wish I could find the pictures from when we first moved in back in June 2006 to show the major change in what Oliver's room became.  It started with a computer desk, TV, Super Nintendo, PS2 and a futon.  Little did we know what little treasure we would be putting in there less than 4 years later!

Bringing our sweet boy home

The Big-Boy Room it became after Oliver's first Christmas! Made me cry!

But...when one door closes...

Another opens!

I will be sure to document our journey to make our new house our home! 
Be prepared to help me decorate!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Thousand Words Thursday | ch.4

Our Day in Pictures:

breakfast. story time. a familiar face. homeowners. new house. panera dinner

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tummy Time!

Here's whats going on inside my belly at 23 weeks with my mango sized baby!

Courtesy of Babycenter.com

"Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb."

Evil round ligament pain this weekend!  I was really feeling the stretching as we walked around on Sunday especially.  Oh AND...everyone please note in the picture where the baby is and where the bladder is...now add a cough.  Yeah having a cold while pregnant makes for a lot of leaks and extra laundry!  O man!  But I guess Oliver gets some of the blame too.  First of all, he shared the germs via slobbery kisses, and he did some damage to my bladder control during his stay and exit from my body.

At my ultrasound last Thursday we cought a glimpse of some cheek chub already!  He's going to look just like his big brother!  They also said I will be needing another u/sound around 28 weeks to check on my placenta, which I guess is on the low side as of right now.  It should move up with the baby's growth, and it gives me another peek at the little cutie!  They also pointed out a small fibroid that could cause extra cramping at the most but is nothing to worry about.  It could be why I've felt a few good strong Braxton-Hicks contractions already. 

This air mattress thing is starting to get old...but I'm holding up pretty well.  With both pregnancies I've carried so low that sleeping hasn't been uncomfortable or painful.  Yet anyway.  Towards the end rolling over does become quite the challenge- so much effort shifting that weight!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review/Discussion: Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen

This book has been in our faces on "Must Read" and Bestseller lists for how long now?  I've been wanting to read it even though I wasn't exactly sure what it was about.  When I saw that it was a movie I decided it was the time, so I hit up my favorite e-book site and pirated myself a copy for my nook. (shhhh, don't tell the FBI.  But come on- I'm a SAHM with no income and literary addiction).

I liked the book, although parts of it let me down and  major part of it really gnawed at my fear and insecurites about aging.  I had very high expectations for this book, and no, I don't think I will see the movie.  Robert Pattinson pisses me off (although I do end up falling in love with him as Edward despite my attempts not too...but that's just because I love Edward so much...NOT RP! And I do try to resist the draw of the Twilight movies as long as I can, but I love those books and am surrounded by too many fanatics to resist opening weekend).

My book club already covered this book prior to my joining so I figured I'd use my blog as my outlet for this literary experience.  Maybe I'll make it a regular thing as I finish whatever it is I am currently reading.  This is just another piece of me I'd like to share.

I got the discussion questions online, HERE.

1. Water for Elephants moves between a story about a circus and a story about an old man in a nursing home. How do the chapters about the older Jacob enrich the story about Jacob’s adventure with the circus? How would the novel be different if Gruen had only written about the younger Jacob, keeping the story linear and never describing Jacob’s life as an old man?
Having the elderly Jacob relay pieces of the story helped drive home just how impactful his experience was.  Images and emotions stayed with him so intensely that he could call upon these memories so vividly, while at the same time be unable to remember names, events and conversations happening in the present.  Without the perspective of Jacob in his later years, the consequences and impact of events would have been lost.  His later reflections also helped paint the picture of how great his love for his wife was, which I don't think was told as well or as deeply by the younger Jacob.

2. Did the chapters about the nursing home change how you think about older people? In what ways are the doctors and nurses condescending? How is Rosemary different? How do you treat older people?
The nursing home chapters were very difficult for me.  I have an intense fear of age and mortality and Jacob's disgust for his elderly frame and abilities really hit the core of my anxieties.  I think the author did a good job capturing the dehumanization that happen in some nursing homes.  When I was pregnant with Oliver I was supporting a client in a nursing home and would see how terribly some of the CNA's would talk to and about patients.  They forgot that these are people and not a job, and while they might not be in  rush to put fresh sheets on a bed, the patient was inconvenienced because THIS IS THEIR LIFE.  They don't have the freedom to do what they want, when they want.  They rely on others.  The character of Rosemary was different in that she acknowledged and respected the rights of Jacob as a person and not just a job.

3. In chapter two, the twenty-three year old Jacob starts his story by telling us he is a virgin. From the cooch tent to the erections the older Jacob gets when being bathed, sexuality is woven into the whole story. Why do you think Gruen added these details? What role does sexuality play in Water for Elephants?
I think that Jacob's sexual inexperience and the experience he gained through the story are included to demonsrate the innocent sort of person he was.  Also, the more sexual experience he had, the more confrontational and combative he seemed; he was losing some innocence and learning to survive in the evironment.  Jacob's erections as an old man, I think, demonstrate the power sex had over his life, and also his lack of control over his body and it's functions.

4. When you first read the Prologue, who did you think murdered the man? Were you surprised by who the actual murderer was?
I think the prologue was cleverly written so that it would lead the reader to assume that Marlena was the murderess.  I have been meaning to re-read it having now finished the book and learning that Rosie, the elephant, is in reality the offender.  I was surprised, but glad.  Having thought Marlena had murdered someone tainted her character a bit for me.  While I can justify her actions had it been her, it changed what I thought of her as a mother later in her life.  I can understand the explanation Jacob gave for keeping Rosie's action a secret, I think his need to hold on to this truth was a little overexaggerated.

5. The book begins with a quote from Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss: “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant…An elephant’s faithful—one hundred percent!” What is the role of faithfulness and loyalty in Water for Elephants? How do different characters define loyalty? (Jacob, Walter, Uncle Al).
Loyalty and faithfulness play a part in developing character dynamics and giving the reader a morality to relate to.  Jacob, being the innocent and good character, is faithful to almost everyone.  He cannot abandon the animals, and he remembers the things that others did for him- like Camel getting him onto the show.  Walter, the jaded yet ultimately good character, also displays an authentic loyalty to others, but only after establishing an equal footing.  Once he has humiliated Jacob so that he no longer feels inferior, he is willing to help his friend at his own risk.  Uncle Al, the antagonist, is loyal only to those who benefit him.  Ultimately, that means only to himself.

I liked the use of this quote to open the book.  It also illustrated Rosie's ability to think, feel and react.  She protected Marlena, who was good to her, and she destroyed August, who had harmed her.

6. Why does Jacob get so mad about Mr. McGuinity lying about carrying water for elephants? Do you see and similarities of temperament between the young Jacob and the old Jacob?
His experience with the circus was so profound, his life took shape around it, that to lie about also coming from the same place was offensive to him.  McGuinty's lying about having a history with the circus cheapend Jacob's own very real and in some cases traumatic history with it.  Whether in youth or old age Jacob's character presented as the type to value honesty, and at both stages of his life he was quick to take offense and put a barrier against what he saw as wrong.

7. In what ways is Water for Elephants a survival story? A love story? An adventure?
The stories of several of the characters, (Jacob, Marlena, Rosie, Walter, and other more minor characters) reflected the survival elements of the story- each one acted in a way that bought them relative peace in their stations.  Jacob learned to keep a watchful eye on August and Uncle Al, Marlena learned to pacify her abusive husband, Walter knew how to keep under the radar and how to interact with others.  From what I had heard, the novel is billed as, above all else, a love story.  There are definitely romantic aspects that play a very large part in the story- Jacob and Marlena's relationship, but also Jacob's love for his parents and for the animals, but I was a bit disappointed in what Sarah Gruen wa able to achieve romantically with this novel.  I can justify the story as an adventure in that Jacob found himself surviving in circumstances he hadn't expected for himself.  Without realizing it, he had placed himself in a situation in which he needed to tread carefully and think deeply.  There are also the plot lines which put him as a hero saving other characters from their misfortunes which makes this story an adventure.

8. Water for Elephants has a happy ending for Jacob, but not for many other characters. Discuss Walter and Camel’s fates. How does tragedy fit into the story?
Walter and Camel's fates were very disturbing and sad, but I think they were necessary to make the story real.  Unfortunately, tragedy is real.  If the book ended with unicorns and rainbows (which let's be honest, sometimes we need a book with an all around happy ending), all of the drama and tragedy of the story would be negated.  The author created such a hostile setting for story that the demise of these characters only seemed to make sense...sad as they were.

9. There is an “us and them” mentality in the circus between performers and workers. How does Jacob bridge these two classes of people? Why does each group hate another group? Does the circus merely mirror society in an exaggerated way?
Jacob belonged to neither group and so walked the line between the two.  His skills were essential to the performers and his background put him in a postition to relate to the workers.  The two groups hated each other because that's exactly how societies work.  One group feels entitled and superior, and the other feels overworked, undervalued and mistreated.  The circus was able to mirror society by having a class system, although in this mobile society they were made to cohabitate in very close conditions for very exaggerated conflict.

10. Are you satisfied with the end?
The part of me that hates aging and nursing homes was very happy with the ending.  The realistic side of me said "Really?! WTF?!"   I liked how the 30's portion of the story was wrapped up, as fantastic as it was.
11. In the Author’s Note, Gruen writes that many of the details in the story are factual or come from circus workers’ anecdotes. These true stories include the hippo pickled in formaldehyde, the deceased fat lady being paraded through town and an elephant who repeatedly pulled out her stake and stole lemonade. Gruen did extensive research before writing Water for Elephants. Was her story believable?
Parts were and parts weren't.  Uncle Al's character was unfortunately believable to me.  As was August (however I'm not sure he was schizophrenic, I'd say more anitsocial).  Being able to walk away with a pregnant woman, a dozen horses, a mourning dog, an elephant and chimpanzee...and having things fall into place rather easily- that part was a little harder to swallow.  BUT, that's the great part about reading a book isn't it?  It takes you away from reality for a little bit.  (I hosted a meeting for my bookclub on The Gargoyle and everyone harped on the fantasy elements they had trouble believing...I on the other hand believed all of it because it was a book and therefor I can. Great read by the way, totally recommend it).

12. Rate Water for Elephants on a scale of 1 to 5.
I give it a 3.75-4 rating.  Very good, not quite great.  Like I said before I had higher expectations about the romantic elements of the book that simply were not met.  I get that the characters loved each other, but not why.  Sarah Gruen failed, in my opinion, to establish an emotional footing for Jacob's infatuation for Marlena and for her reciprocated feelings.  The survival story in this book redeemed it for me.  Jacob's care for the animals and his assimilation into the shows environment were more enjoyable for me.

To Oliboo

This post is for my Oliver- the best little boy I know!

 You are growing and learning everyday.  I am so in love with every little thing you do.  You love it when your daddy throws you around.  You love it when mommy tickles you.  You love your shoes.  You always make sure things are put away.  Shoes go in the closet, keys go in mommy's purse.  You also love to "unlock" doors, and sometimes it's the only way to get you in the house...and only mommy's flipflop keychain works.  You love doggies.  You call me "Ba" instead of "Ma".  You demand a bath at night and love to dump water over your own head.  When you give daddy a hug it usually has to be backwards.  Mommy gets your head on her shoulder.  You love your bedtime routine and will remind us if we do something wrong.  You love cereal, just like daddy.  You sweat A LOT, just like daddy.  You love fresh grapes and blueberries, but not fresh strawberries (too prickly), and we think you may have been allergic to Mema's raspberry jelly.  You are in love with Baby Julia and try to give her kisses, but her bouncy seat throws you off a bit.  You lift mommy's shirt and kiss your baby brother who is growing in her belly.  You love leaving the house and making sure everyone gets their shoes on to go.

So what's new with you, my little Oliboo?  Over the past week or two:
  • You have two new teeth, making a total of 16.  You take teething like a champ, only the top lateral incisers gave you trouble (tylenol every night!).  You didn't even bat an eye at those molars.
  • You learned how to jump.
  • You are nodding your head "yes".  Usually you only do this when you are eating or drinking and it means: "Oh yes! This is good!"
  • You tried to kiss your Music Together teacher, a big open mouth kiss that you are so good at.  You gave him a hug goodbye, too.
  • You learned to make your way down the stairs at Nana's house.
  • You have lost all patience with shopping, if the stroller stops your complaining starts.
  • You learned how to turn on the AC.  Shortly after you learned to turn it off.  You are very good at following instructons and love to celebrate with a "Yay" and a round of applause for your good listening.
  • You are learning how to climb, but still need lots of help, and thankfully you listen when your told not to climb on something...so far.
  • You were brave enough to let mommy put a quarter into the rides in the mall.  You can officially drive a hotdog car.
  • You can put on your own diaper.  By "put on your own diaper"- I mean that you know where it goes.  You can also "put on" your own socks.
  • You are much better about holding hands to walk on your own, but you still give us a difficult time with this.

We love you Oliver! All the things you do and all the things you are learning to do!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Friday Night

Nate has to work tomorrow.  We are sad about that.  Everyone shed a tear with me...ready? tear.  Ok moving on.

To make up for it he took us out to eat tonight.  We rarely dine out, and I always forget how hard it is with a baby.  Quite the hassle sometimes.  We had to wake Oliver up so we had some tired crankies to deal with in addition to the near starvation level all 3 of us were at.  We went to Friendlys.  Cheap dinner with dessert included.  Service, however, leaves much to be desired.  They are nice enough....but sloooooow.

Is it just me...? or is it terribly annoying to wait forever for your appetizers (with a fussy, fidgety, famished toddler making things all the more stressful, even though inside I feel the same as he does), and the second the appetizer hits the table your meal follows one second behind.  I hate that.  What can you do? At least it got there. 

Food improved Oliver's behavior.  It's so hard to order for him because I feel like it's always the same thing.  He can be so darn picky that things are usually hit or miss.  There can be something he'll eat usually but he will still refuse it.  Feeding him has been getting pretty frustrating (especially with my limited culinary skills/interest).

He loved his first ever sundae.  He's had bites of our ice cream before, but never his own.  He was in heaven!

We had to walk off all that ice cream so we headed down to the West Haven boardwalk.  It was PACKED tonight.  There was a free concert we had no idea about, not to mention all the high schoolers that walk around in groups, picking fights and being otherwise obnoxious the minute the weather gets warm.  They are so terrible.  Yes trashy girl, I want my children to see every inch of your skin and hear every curse you can think of.  Seriously.  Go do your homework!

No makeup, frizzy hair, and a double chin...and he still loves me.

A Thousand Words Thursday | ch.3

***Internet wasn't working last night. AGAIN! So here is Thursday's post on Friday***

Our Day in Pictures:

puffs picnic. growing belly. growing baby. brotherly love. laundry overload. cutest Oliver outfit.  wet kisses. staying cool (playing at the mall).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Picture Catch-up

I meant to post on Monday but couldn't find any energy.  Gosh it's so hard to lie in front of the computer isn't it!  Here are some of my favorite shots from the weekend.  Oliver and I went down to NJ while Nate went to Boston and visited his grandfather who is recovering from his 10ft fall off a ladder.  He is out of ICU and making amazing strides!

Smoochin on Grandpa

Eating breakfast with Nana and letting Mommy sleep :) I love how his feet are crossed while he watches Sesame Street on the iPad

Hanging out with his "cuncle" Aaron.  Aaron came up with this term as a combination cousin-uncle (he is my 1st cousin, our mothers are sisters, so in our South American culture that would make him Oliver's uncle)

Lunch at CPK....I need one of these in CT sooooo badly

Enjoying Fusilli w Alfredo Sauce

Sleeping in the car while Nana does her realtor thang.

Love those pouty lips!

My puppy Genie.  We got her the summer before my 7th or 8th grade.  Once we get our house I want to bring her to live with us. 

She takes very little interest in Oliver but is so patient and lets him abuse her, such a sweet old gal.

I NEVER thought this would happen...Oliver learned how to hug and cuddle and I have been getting LOTS of love out of him lately!  I still wish he would lie in bed and nap with me but I don't think I'll get that lucky.  I swear I'm going to ruin the second baby with the co-sleeping we didn't really do with Oliver!