Monday, December 29, 2008

Only

Since we got home from all the Christmas celebrations, Evan has been completely delightful. He walked around the house with a perpetual slobbery grin, entertaining himself or tagging along with me peacefully. I was worried that he would be lonesome without Ethan but he seemed to be enjoying his temporary only-child status. Maybe it was nice to have a break from getting knocked down all the time and be able to choose whatever you want to play with. He's been talking more, too, saying "Tay doo" over and over, with the same inflection as 'thank you'.

Sunday morning, however, the tides changed. Evan was fussy all through church, trying to escape from us to go play with the kids nearby. He remained crabby all day at home and didn't want me to put him down not even for ONE TINY NANOSECOND. Matt and I watched him scream on the floor, with his little red angry face and waving furious fists, with some amusement. (Yes, we are great parents. The suffering of our children entertains us. Maybe we should get out more.) "I bet he thinks, other babies said this works- just lay down and scream and you'll get your way." Matt wondered. Sorry, Baby, people at your house are Unfair.

This morning has been a little better but he still wants to be carried around most of the time. I wonder if he's starting to miss Ethan. I know I am. Maybe it's time to head down to Crete.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Blessing

I wish I would have had my act together enough to publish a really meaningful post on Christmas. For my whole life, the emphasis of the season has been about the birth of Christ, but only in the last few years has the enormity of that great gift truly hit me. Only recently have I begun to understand what a grueling experience it must have been for Mary to travel a long distance -on a donkey!!- while hugely pregnant, then give birth in a stable. (And I doubt it was as clean and spacious as it is depicted in my kids' books.) What an incredible gesture of faith for Joseph to raise that child as his own. And eventually to watch that precious son give up his life on a cross... that I cannot even begin to fathom. God is great, indeed.

::::

We had several very merry, though slightly abbreviated, Christmas celebrations. I was starting to worry that we wouldn't make it to Crete at all due to bad weather, various illnesses, and a minor (?!) fire-related ranch incident. Kirk and Kasey were driving home from their ski trip to Colorado on Tuesday night and picked up Ethan so at least one of us would be sure to get to Gramma's house. Recalling fond memories of singing and playing instruments with my aunts and cousins, I sent along a band set for him to open. I should have known that others would have that same idea- both aunts also brought instruments for him, and I'm sure my mother would have if I hadn't talked about my idea every weekend for the past two months.

So Christmas Eve arrived, comparatively warm, and everyone seemed pretty healthy. The smoldering ash-pit that used to be a pumphouse didn't seem so bad by the light of day and our insurance agent thought that the well/wiring/components/whatever would be covered. We decided to head east, and approximately 6 hours later were on the road. We had a wonderful time celebrating with our families, and no matter how old I get, opening presents is always a thrill!

Ethan is still at my parents' house. We needed to drive back Christmas Day night but he wasn't ready for the fun to be over. They got together with my cousins, aunts, and uncles today, and I am so glad for him to get plenty time of time with all those people that love him. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas celebration, as well. God bless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter

I think the high yesterday was 2 degrees (yes, Fahrenheit). Clearly the only reasonable course of action is to keep the oven on and stuff baked goods into our mouths as fast as we can in order to stay warm.
Also: painting. Apparently Evan hasn't eaten enough cookie dough; this should round out his nutritional intake for the day. Don't worry, poison control said it's not toxic.


Also: long, warm baths. For the boys. Someday I will have one, too. Right?



Hey, you just said I had to have underwear on- next time be more specific.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wordy

Ethan was pulling a little cloth wagon around the living room this morning. "Mom. You and me and Evan are at the ocean," he announced. He put some stacking cups in the wagon. "Here are some seashells." He held one up to his ear. "Can you hear the ocean?" I asked. "No! I hear a fish-star!" he said excitedly. "Wisten!"

His language has evolved again. Suddenly he can say Ay-gert instead of Egg-gek and 4-wheeler instead of foladohl. Everytime he drops a baby word, I worry that he won't sound cute anymore, but fish-star is plenty adorable.

Evan rarely uses words but manages to get his point across pretty well. He'll yell Mom or Dah when he's being ignored (which is all the time, you know), and often when Matt comes home he'll call "Mah! Mah!" excitedly as he races/stumbles/whatever to the door. He has very specific sounds- an angry oooh when he wants something Ethan has (by the way, that's a good warning to get out of the way of his teeth), a desparate ah-ah-baaaaaah when he can't get down from whatever deadly piece of furniture he has climbed onto, and sweet little ah-bah-goo-da noises when he's on my lap or playing on the floor. He also has assumed responsibility for any timers that go off. When the microwave beeps, he'll stand in front of it and bellow ah, ooh, ah! while slapping his thighs and pointing at it. Ethan used to run to get a hot pad when the oven timer dinged, but Evan doesn't seem to want to get it himself, he just wants to make sure everyone is aware that the food is ready. And good luck trying to explain that you just set the timer- you have to open the door and show him there is no food, then laugh at his disgruntled expression. Because, seriously, there are few things funnier than a mad baby.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ouch

We went to town today, which of course included going out to lunch. Ethan bit into a mini corndog at Runza (hey, 'member when I was a good mom? Me neither) and exclaimed "I hatched it wif my teeth!" Evan sat peacefully in the high chair, slurping down mandarin oranges. They were so well-behaved and pleasant, which I had completely forgotten was possible after being cooped up in the house with them for the past three days. I really enjoy their company these days, and actually I couldn't think of anyone I would rather have gone out to lunch with. When we were finished, Ethan wrapped his arms around my leg and said, "Thanks, Mom, that was a weally fun time." And it was.

Both boys had well-child checkups (although when I called for the appointments I said 'well-baby.' No, I'm not having any trouble accepting that they are getting older, why do you ask?) Dr. Pruden was duly impressed with their growth and development. I am always beside myself with pride, beaming like drunken Cheshire cat, when a doctor (ok, anyone) tells me my children are perfect. Like she's really going to go into an examining room and pronounce someone's child boring and average.

Evan had three shots and we will go back in 4 weeks for a flu shot booster, in 3 months for more shots, and 3 months after that to finish the series. I believe all the research that shows no correlation between autism and vaccines, and both of my doctors have whole-heartedly reassured me that they trust in the safety of the vaccines...BUT. The night before and the day of the Many Pokes, my mind can't stop replaying the stories of children whose parents say were perfectly happy and healthy one day, then irreparably changed the next. I say a few extra prayers for the safety of my child and watch him like a hawk. Oh no, is he avoiding eye contact? Why is he tilting his head like that? Then after a few days, I'll settle down and go back to pretending that I can protect these innocent little guys from harm. When -or whether- to vaccinate is just the beginning of the never-ending decisions we are asked to make for our children. How much should I shelter them from, and how do I let go? When should I give up on time-outs and start smacking? There are a thousand different opinions for every aspect of childrearing but the one that matters most is not so easy to pin down. So, a few extra prayers, a lot of guesswork, and, of course, I'm going to call my mom. Hopefully I won't mess these kids up too badly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A good day

Play date...

Sharing ice cream with Dad while watching Mary Poppins.

I am LOVING ABCfamily's 25 Days of Christmas- in between the crappy Santa movies, we've enjoyed Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol, Curious George: The Movie, and now Mary Poppins. It's fun that Ethan is old enough now to watch stuff we all enjoy, although by 'we', I guess I mean 'he and I'. "I hate this movie," Matt said when Ethan left the room. I was genuinely flabbergasted. "How could you HATE this movie?" "Look at it!" He groaned. "How could you not?" Bert and Mary were singing; they had just jumped through the chalk painting and she was wearing one of my favorite dresses of all time. I suppose when you think about it, it's not exactly Matt's kind of movie, but STILL. To actually hate Mary Poppins? I'm still in shock.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Party

Another day, another sugar rush... (Dr. Sears would be so disappointed in me.)



Ethan had chosen a football cake when we celebrated on his real birthday, but this time at the last minute he wanted a baseball cake. He did NOT want the layers stacked, so Tessa improvised. Thanks, Tess!
Lots of presents...thanks everyone! We had a wonderful time celebrating with our family. Surrounded by love, indeed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today

I was thrilled that Evan was playing quietly while I finished putting cookies on the cooling racks. Until I saw that he had taken the almost-empty can of Crisco out of the trash can and was scooping it out with his fingers. It was in his mouth, his hair, his ears... Grossting! to quote Ethan.

::::

Ethan keeps climbing into a big box, closing the flaps, and yelling "Mom! Come see what you got for Chwistmas!" I open the box and feign surprise and delight to find an Ethan, or Baby Jaguar, or puppy. Well, the first 6349587 times I was able to act delighted. Now I am seriously contemplating duct taping the box shut. How bad would it really be?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost in Translation

This morning I was changing Evan's diaper and directing Ethan while he made "hot chocolate milk". When the microwave beeped, I told him to be careful taking it out because it might be hot. "It might be not hot!" he reported. "OK, enjoy!" I called. He was quiet a second. "Go AWAY?" he replied incredulously. "No, Buddy, enjoy!" I laughed. "It means, 'I hope you like it. Have fun.'" Isn't it funny, that for so much of what he understands, something minor like this can still throw everyone for a loop?
Then he wanted to eat a pickle with his cocoa. Now that makes absolutely no sense. Moments like that make me glad I'm not pregnant.

:::
Evan has been sitting on the floor next to me for over 5 minutes, running his fingers through the soft carpet. Occasionally he lifts his hand up and examines it closely, like maybe this time he found the hidden treasure. He hasn't entertained himself like this in weeks. Whatever floats your boat, kid! My callus thanks you.

:::

Here are some pictures from last weekend, before Kirk got sick and after Ethan and Grampa were feeling better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Birthday

Ethan is 3 now. When Tessa asked him about his birthday, he told her he would be old enough to play with matches. Sorry, kiddo, maybe next year. We did have a fun day despite the lack of pyrotechnics. We made a football cake and he opened the camera we got him. He loves to play with mine so I had planned on getting one of those Fisher-Price ones but then decided to just get a used Kodak from ebay. He loves it and we've had fun taking pictures of each other.



One of my two frosting-coated helpers. After he pilfers something delicious, like a spatula or a chicken breast Ethan has dropped on the floor, he makes a dash for the wagon like I can't see him scarfing down his trophy.


video

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ethan

I'm never really sure where to begin Ethan's birth story- on Tuesday during our childbirth class when contractions began in earnest but I was only dilated to 2 cm? Dr. Hansen came in with a big smile and said "I bet I'll see you tomorrow." There was a huge snowstorm and Matt's work paid for a hotel room for us so we wouldn't have to drive the 60 miles home. We walked around and around the room and told the baby that now would be a very convenient time to come. Lots of contractions, no baby. Wednesday morning they slowed down so Matt went to work and I went to Cindy's house for some distraction. Later Matt called and said the doctor had been trying go get ahold of me all morning, thinking that we would be showing up at the hospital anytime. The contractions were bad that night and I felt really nauseous. Dr. Hansen said to come in Thursday morning- 3 cm. She hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Wow, look at those contractions, said a nurse. Yes, they do look a wee bit painful, DON'T THEY. An hour later I was dilated to 4 cm. I think this is it! Dr. Hansen said with a hug. We walked the hallways. An hour later, at noon, I was at 5. The nurse started taking all the new-baby paraphernalia out of the plastic wrapping and laid out the tiny T-shirt and cap. We walked the hallways. At six o'clock that evening Dr. Hansen came back with another hug and a cheery, I bet we're close! Let's get ready to have a baby! Uhh...no. Still at 5 cm. Are you fricking kidding me? We walked the hallways. She came back later than evening- still 5. The contractions were intense and close together, so Pitocin or breaking my water wouldn't do any good. She suggested that an epidural might relax my muscles enough to dilate the rest of the way. I started to cry- that wasn't part of my birth plan. She said we could wait til midnight. We walked the hallways, stopping every couple steps to get through contractions. I was getting discouraged.

Wendall the Anesthesiologist was a very outgoing man. I told him all the epidural horror stories I had heard from friends. He asked where they had given birth. Interestingly enough, they were all at the Blair hospital. "Ummm, yeah, I know that guy," he said. Wendall had been doing this for over 30 years and was the president of the Nebraska Anesthiologists Whatever Group. Okay, I guess you're qualified enough to stick that huge freaking needle into my spine. He and Matt talked during the whole procedure. He was very entertaining but I was too tired and discouraged and creeped out by the HUGE NEEDLE IN MY BACK to notice. Almost immediately, though, the pain disappeared. Ohhhh, maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. Dr. Hansen was back with another hug and some encouraging words. Then she ruined it by saying that she was getting concerned about all this stress on the baby and if labor didn't progress any further by morning, she would have to do a c-section. That definitely was not part of my birth plan.

I called my mother at 4 am and started sobbing when I told her about the cesearean. I was so worried about disappointing her- like she had ever shown anything but unconditional love and support to us. "Oh honey, you'll just have to do whatever it takes to get that baby safely here," she reassured me. "God bless you." Good thing I had my pregnancy books, I had completely skipped the chapters about c-sections. I was going to have a natural birth. I read and prayed. (Fun Fact: On the list of potential side effects of surgery, number one was death. Sheesh, they couldn't have started with rash, then worked the way down to paralysis and death.)

Frday, December 9th, 6 am
5 cm
Dr. Hansen told us what to expect about the surgery and the team started assembling. By that point I was just ready to get the whole thing over with and hold my baby. Wendall reappeared and added The Good Stuff to the epidural. I wondered how the baby was tolerating all these drugs. Was I going to give birth to a crackhead? He probably already had a 'roid problem from the steroids we were dosed with back during the pre-term labor drama. If I had known that when it got down to it, he would refuse to come out, we could have saved ourselves a lot of hassle.

The operating room was so cold. The whole thing felt surreal. After much, much, much pulling and prodding, Ethan was lifted out. His little squeaky cries were the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Matt followed him over to the incubator, then gently carried him back so I could see him. I will never forget the tender, awestruck look on Matt's face as he held our son. We had the most beautiful baby ever, of course. Dr. Hansen agreed. Wendall took pictures. The surgeon stitched me up and I headed to the recovery room while Matt, the baby, and his team went to the nursery. After the longest half-hour of my life, the nurse took me to my room and Dr. Hansen and Matt came in with Ethan. She helped us get situated to nurse (by ramming him rather violently at my chest) and he latched on like a champ. We marveled at this tiny, perfect being. Matt reported that the respiratory person had suctioned some fluid out of his lungs and we were supposed to keep track of his O2 sats. Also, we had to keep his body temperature above something or they would take him back to the nursery. (For weeks, Matt freaked out if Ethan's foot poked out of the blanket or his hat slid off his head a little, ever fearful that the nurse with the thermometer was lurking nearby to snatch him.)

So, the happiest possible ending was ours. Ethan was safely in our arms, his lungs were fully developed, and our lives would never be the same. God is good.

Flashback 2005

Matt looked so cute in scrubs- he should have been a doctor. (That's all there is to it, right? He also has the perfect signature.)


Ethan Joseph Eggert

This was pretty much the best picture I took all year. Go figure. The flattering gown, perhaps? Or maybe the morphine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last Man Standing

Mom and Dad succumbed to the Evil Bug yesterday, and Tessa is steering clear of this plague-infested house, so Kirk is the only one left to provide any sort of fun this weekend. Luckily he is Super Uncle - building colossal block towers, providing horsey rides, and snuggling on the couch with a little guy when he wasn't feeling well.

Evan has been even clingier than usual lately, which I did not think was possible but it must be because I have an actual saddle sore on my left hip. It is red and raw and hurts like heck when I carry him, which is ALL THE TIME. My body has changed a lot since having these children, obviously, and I am okay with the saggy boobs and larger jeans, but I am not prepared to spend the rest of my life with a baby-shaped callus on my side. Seriously. I don't know what trauma I have inflicted on him to cause these major abandonment issues but it must have been bad and I AM SO SORRY KID I PROMISE I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU PLEASE STOP SCREAMING WHEN I PUT YOU DOWN TO WASH OUT THE BARF BUCKET.

So, Super-Fun Pre-Christmas Weekend: Fail. How are you guys?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Update

We are cozily settled at my parent's house this weekend while Matt and his friends are deer hunting. Our house quickly filled up with orange vests, ammunition, and testosterone yesterday morning so the boys and I headed east for some pre-Christmas fun. They both slept for most of the trip (yay!) and we spent the afternoon with Grandpa and Grandma Eggert, then got to my parent's for supper and Kirk came out to play. Then Ethan threw up. On Kirk. Then again, and again, and again.... Crap, so sorry everyone...I swear I had no idea these guys were so germ-infested. Evan barfed a few times during the night but by now they both seem to be fine. I canceled their photo appointments this morning but maybe they are recovered enough that the rest of the weekend won't be shot. Here's hoping!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Happy birthday month to Ethan! Evan's month of celebration sort of fell apart, and I'm guessing that Ethan's will too, what with sharing it with Baby Jesus and all. But today, so far, has been a lot of fun. We ran tons of errands and both boys were great li'l shoppers. I asked Ethan if he wanted to go out to lunch and he answered enthusiastically: "Oh yeah, Mom! Can we have Chinese?!" That's my boy.

We have been listening to Christmas music and putting up decorations. Well, some of us put up the decorations, others just carry them around. Let me just say that stepping on a wise man while stumbling to the bathroom in the dark does not fill one with Christmas spirit. Yesterday we made egg yolk cookies and tonight we got sugar cookie dough in the fridge to roll out tomorrow. I had the brilliant idea of making lots of batches to have some ready in the freezer but it turns out that the number of cookies I make = number of cookies eaten. Oh darn, we'll just have to keep baking.



Ethan was being pretty rotten to Evan yesterday- grabbing toys, knocking him down, not sharing, etc. After countless timeouts and separations, I finally overheard him using his sweet little nurturing voice. "Here you go, baby, do you want a bite of cookie dough? I will share with you. OK. You are such a nice widdle baby," he was saying. Without turning around, I silently congratulated myself on my excellant parenting skills and the quality relationship I was fostering between my children. Then I saw him tenderly holding the little plastic Baby Jesus from the Veggie Tales nativity scene, putting small bites of dough on its face. Okay, quality relationship with and concern for inanimate plastic objects: check.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Like riding a bike?

I'm not really sure how to get back in the blogging groove. What can I write about the trip to Wyoming for the funeral of our beloved Aunt Liz? Or the puking flu I've had since early Thursday morning? I can't even think of any cute things the kids have done. There must be something... umm...

I am hoping to get the Christmas decorations out tomorrow. Cute pictures and less self-pity coming soon!

Ty (Sean & Heather's son), Ethan, and Brian

Ethan and Brian


Ethan and Kent


Tanna (Sean & Heather's daughter) and Evan


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Changes

Babycenter.com sends weekly emails with tips, relevant articles, and of course advertising geared for your child's age. This morning the subject line was toddler bulletin or something and I opened it with Ethan in mind, then almost fell off my chair when the headline said '7 Foods Your 12-24 month old Should Avoid'. They meant Evan?! Oh right, I knew that. By the way, I'm pretty sure he ate everything on that list yesterday alone. Ooops. At lunch, Ethan shared one of his PB&J sandwiches (Wook, Mom, Evan is eating a twiangle!) and I figured it would be easier to do the Heimlich if needed than pry it from Evan's little fingers of steel. He has been eating popcorn with us in the evenings since about week 2, and incidentally has mastered the pincer grasp, as evidenced by the dexterity with which he can nab a single M&M at the bottom of the bowl. In the gross motor development news, he can climb onto a kitchen chair and then up on the table. Good times ahead, I can tell.

My mom finished Evan's baby blanket in time to wrap it up for his birthday. This morning he was all snuggled up in it. It was adorable, but I can't find my camera so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More birthday pics


Evan's legs aren't quite long enough to propel the 4-wheeler by himself, so he climbs on and makes engine sounds. He quickly progresses to squawking if no one takes the hint to start pushing him around.

A teddy bear from Jessica.

And Ethan with his bear from just 2 short years ago. Thanks, Jess!


And while we're looking back...


Monday, November 17, 2008

November 15, 2007

5 am- The alarm goes off. I've been asleep since approximately 4:12. I would lie down, then remember that Ethan's favorite book was under the rocking chair- what if he couldn't find it in the morning? I'd get up and place it next to his bed. Oh, better put one more load of clothes in the washing machine- my parents will have their hands full taking care of Ethan for the next few days, they shouldn't have to worry about my laundry, too. Check the suitcase one more time- do we have enough clothes for the baby? Is the outfit going to be too warm/too cold/too scratchy? One last glance through "The Essential C-Section Guide"- it's very very very rare to die during the surgery, right? Promise? The alarm goes off. We get up, fumbling to get dressed in the dark. We peek in at Ethan. I want to do something to commemorate this moment as a family of three, since next time we will be together we will be a family of four. But I can't think of anything, and we shouldn't wake him up anyway. "God bless you," my mom whispers. We get in the car. It's so cold. I talk silently to the baby- are you ready? I can't wait to meet you. I pray for our safety during the surgery. Tears stream down my cheeks. I really don't want to be cut open. Matt takes my hand. We alternate between nervous chatter and quiet moments.

5:45- We arrive at the hospital and walk through the silent halls to the pre-op area. My friend's mother is our nurse; she greets us with a hug and a smile. I change into the lovely hospital gown. Someone puts the IV in. It seems to be in an odd place on my arm and it hurts when I move. I ask Matt to go get Kate to fix it. Matt says the nurse knew what she was doing. I've had plenty of IVs and this is a bad one, I snap. The anesthesiologist comes in. I ask how many epidurals he's done; how many bad reactions have occurred. Let him do his job, Matt hisses. He is pale. The anesthesiologist is very reassuring. I lean onto Matt while that huge freaking needle goes into my back. He says just the right things.

6:50- They wheel me into the operating room. It is so cold. They wrap extra blankets around my arms and neck but I can't stop shaking. Matt comes in and takes my hand. He is adorable in scrubs; he should have been a doctor. I worry that the epidural won't work. You won't feel a thing, the doctors promise. Kate kisses my forehead, Matt squeezes my fingers. He looks over the drape as the doctors begin. What's happening? I ask. I can feel them pulling and tugging. I can't stop the tears. I feel sick. The anesthesiologist says he wants to hold off giving me the anti-nausea meds as long as possible so the baby won't get as much drugs. Still no baby. Is he ok? Can he breathe? Why is it taking so long? As long as you are breathing, he is breathing, Dr. Pruden says. OK! I can do that! Inhale, exhale, finally something useful for me do. They're making the incision bigger, Matt tells me. More pulling, oh my god I thought this was supposed to be easier than labor.

7:26- He's out! He's not crying, why is he not crying? I catch a glimpse of my baby as they bundle him into the incubator. He is tiny. He is beautiful. Matt follows him. I want to hold him so badly. They put me back together and tell me I did great. Yes, I must admit I did a fantastic job of lying on my back and not puking.

8:00- The recovery room. Kate stays by my side, checking vitals and wrapping me in warm blankets. My temp is low- oh, ya think? Matt is with the baby. I want to see him. Dr. Pruden comes in and tells me he is healthy and wonderful. He aspirated some fluid. He is on oxygen now and they'll do a chest x-ray but I'll get to see him soon. She gives me a hug and says he'll be fine. My IV hurts and I feel sick.

An hour later, they get me ready to go back to my room. We can go by the nursery, Kate says, but remember those tubes and monitors look pretty frightening. I don't care, I just want to see him. Matt is standing by his crib. He -Evan! that's Evan!- is so tiny. I stare and stare.

Matt comes into the room to check on me. He shows me some pictures of our baby. A specialist looked at the x-ray. His lungs are a little underdeveloped. The gestational-age tests put him as a 36-week baby, not 39 weeks like we thought. But he'll be fine. He hugs me and goes back to the nursery. I call Ethan and tell him our baby is here. I miss him so badly already, I can't imagine staying in this place away from him for four days. They will come visit soon. I make more phone calls. In the movies, the father handles this while the mother, with combed hair and clean teeth, peacefully nurses the baby. This sucks.

2:30- Matt and Dr. Pruden come back. Two nurses are behind them, pushing a huge machine with a tiny crib. The baby can be in our room now but we can't hold him yet. I stroke his little hands with my finger. He sleeps.

My grandpa comes to visit. He has driven up from Lincoln but doesn't stay long. He peeks at the baby and says he is proud of us, then heads home.

Dr. Pruden comes back and checks our vitals. I can hold the baby!! She carefully transfers him to my arms and tells us what numbers to watch for. Matt listens carefully. I breathe in the scent of my baby. You are Evan, I marvel. I am your mommy. He keeps sleeping. He won't nurse. It's OK, Dr. Pruden says. He's had a rough day. He needs more rest than food. He'll figure it out. I cradle him to my chest.

Tessa, Ethan, and my parents arrive. Ethan runs to me and Matt helps him onto the bed. He bumps my IV and elbows my incision but I don't mind. This is your brother, we tell him. Here is our baby. He smiles and watches him closely. Cindy and Brayden come in, and my dad takes the boys out to the play area. I am glad to see my family and friends but I can't focus on the conversation. Matt takes the baby.

During the night, he latches on. He nurses and nurses. Thank you, God. I hold him close to me all night.

The next day he is breathing well and his numbers are good. They take away the big incubator-crib and bring in a regular little bed but we never put him down in it. Other people are allowed to hold him. We position him on Ethan's lap and take pictures. My parents and Tessa cuddle him. How is it possible to love this little tiny person so much, when we didn't even know him until now? How is it possible to have been so happy before we knew him, when only now that he is here, I am whole?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Celebrate

So, Evan is one. A full-fledged toddler. Ethan and I will have to stop saying "Hi, Baby" when we see him. We had a wonderful celebration with my family. Saturday began at an incredibly early hour for Matt, Dad, and Ethan, who bundled up and headed out to 'boom some deer'. The rest of us enjoyed a celebratory birthday breakfast. "I can't believe he's one!" we kept saying to each other. "Remember, last year..."

We watched the football game, played Scrabble, and put the finishing touches on the birthday dinner. Thanks, Tess!
Evan didn't really seem to enjoy the actual party. He screamed in his high chair and wouldn't touch his cake. The sugar rush isn't such a novel idea for him, I guess, considering that I caught the boys splitting a Kit-Kat from the Halloween bucket that morning.
"Here, Evan, I will teach you how to open pwesents," Ethan told him as he gently guided Evan's hand to the wrapping paper. Matching Husker hats from Kirk and the 4-wheeler from Tessa were big, big hits.

As was the wagon from my parents. "I think it's a tway-lor" Ethan had announced when Kirk carried the huge box inside. That kid can spot a trailer a mile away.
Then we took the celebration on the road to a bar in Burwell (just terrific parenting, I know), where I rocked the karaoke machine while Tessa, Kirk, and Matt played pool and shuffleboard.
The boys had a great evening with Gramma, Grampa, and Grandpa Joe. They even went to sleep like normal children! On Sunday we were all ready for extra naps, though.


* I am having all sorts of problems with Blogger right now, so I will upload the 1-year slideshow and mushy birth story later.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Eve

Despite the extraordinary amount of time this week spent wiping noses and trying to convince children to frickin'gotosleepalreadyseriouslywhatisyourproblem, I have gotten a lot of cleaning and decluttering done. Today we have all lost our groove, though. I don't know if it's because the end is in sight - only 6 more hours til Gramma comes to help!- or all the germs are wearing me down but I have no motivation left. Luckily I've got these helpers:
If you need someone to dump large amounts of water on the floor, I mean, wash dishes, Evan's your man!

And somehow we can always find the motivation to make a few calorie-laden treats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday

Falling off the Napoblahblah wagon (thanks for noticing, Sarah!:) ) is sorta like eating an entire chocolate cake on the fourth day of your diet. Once you've blown it, you might as well eat a cake the next day, too. And the next. Hmm, now I'm hungry. All I've done the last couple days is wipe noses and sanitize the house. Neither of those activities provide much inspiration for blogging. I haven't taken any pictures, either; see: Noses, runny. Uggh. I have handled diaper blowouts from Hell but I hate dealing with mucus. Just typing it makes me shiver.

Anyway. Both boys want to be held all the time. As soon as their feet hit the ground, they wrap their little tentacle-arms around my legs and hold on for dear life. It's like a nightmarish octopus attack. This is lame, but it really makes me claustrophobic. The instant one applies his death grip, I start hyperventilating. I don't know what my problem is. It's not like I'm accustomed to much personal space. I guess I need the illusion of freedom- at least the possibility that I could run away if I need to. Instead, I try to take deep breaths while cracking eggs or stumbling to the bathroom, muttering 'I'm going to miss this, I'm going to miss this' to myself.

So I feel a little guilty that my family is coming into this germ-infested environment but I can't wait. Ethan pretty much ignores us when the really exciting people get here. Hopefully Evan will hit that developmental milestone soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scenes from (another) winter day

More snow outside and both boys have wicked colds. I've been keeping the Tylenol flowing but unfortunately it hasn't made them sleep any more than usual. It has given them that glazed look in their eyes that, combined with the heavy mouth-breathing, makes me want to preface introductions by saying "My children are really very smart." Luckily, we haven't ventured from the house for a couple days so it hasn't come up.

We counted and sorted beans.


We put a band-aid on the teddy bear because he got stung by a 'wops' (or wasp).


And of course read lots of stories. Thanks, Nick!


video

Remember when snow days used to be relaxing?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Matt


Last night, Matt and I lay in bed surrounded by little boys. For the sake of our eardrums, we had admitted defeat after listening to Ethan scream about the injustices of life in his own room and let him come in by us. (Sometimes it's hard to be a little guy, isn't it? Matt had whispered sympathetically, rubbing Ethan's back to calm those shuddering, choky breaths that always follow an extended shriekfest.) Evan had finally fallen asleep after a marathon scream session himself but popped back up with a smile when he realized Ethan was nearby. Happier than they had been all day, the boys giggled together and climbed around.

"When they're older, I'm going to wake them up at 5:30 for every night they keep us up like this." Matt declared. "How many goats should we get for them to milk?"

"A lot. And our pasture won't have a single thistle in it," I replied.

"Or they'll be straight-A students."
We held hands and optimistically pondered a future in which the boys wanted to sleep. We imagined the glee that would accompany our demands for them to get up! Do chores! Move bales! Mow the lawn! Wash my feet!


So often, small children systematically hammer away at the foundation of the relationship that brought them into this world in the first place. The lack of sleep and the infinite demands to watch dis, help me pweese, I wanna poooooooop, do not provide an enviroment conducive to romance or even a minute to catch up on the day's activities. But for the most part, the challenges of parenthood are bringing us closer together. Matt rarely left my side during the 30+ hours of labor that ended with Ethan in our arms and kicked off this exhilarating journey of parenthood. He was steady and encouraging and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. After Evan was born, I struggled with guilt and feelings of inadequacy and despair and guilt that I was ruining our children and helplessness and did I mention GUILT? And again, Matt was steady and encouraging and believed in me and made sure I got the help I needed. Lately I'm not doing very well at expressing just how much I appreciate him. Not many guys will work 45+ hours a week at a job they loathe, work many many hours at the ranch, and come inside to take the night shift with the babies. He is an amazing father and we are so blessed to have him. I should go tell him that right now.

video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tenacious E

Evan is really figuring out items that go together. If he is playing with a bowl, he wants a big spoon to stir around in it. Most of the time, he can get the right blocks in the shape-sorter thing. This morning he was holding an empty Gatorade bottle and digging through the lids drawer. He pulled out the little orange lid triumphantly and tried to put it on the bottle. One day he brought me a sippy cup and lid, and squawked til I put some water in it. He definitely knows his own mind and is not afraid to express himself.

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"I'm gwoing up", Ethan announced after he finished his lunch. "I'm going to be a daddy or a mommy or a baby. Or a pumpkin. Or a baby pumpkin. I want to be a baby somefing. I'm gwoing...little."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Someone's in the kitchen

Wow, I thought I was just barely going to squeak in an entry tonight because it feels like midnight but it's not even 10:00 yet. I am seriously looking forward to my future in a nursing home- just me and my TV. I am NOT getting out of bed to play Bingo. By the way, November is National Blog Posting Month and I am participating in a challenge to post every day for 30 days, if case anyone was wondering why I am writing more often about less interesting things. Feel free to not check back til December.

Except, ha ha, I have a cute story: This morning I heard Ethan pass through my room to go downstairs. I intended to get up, of course, but fell back asleep. When I got downstairs a little later, there was an empty yogurt container with Ethan's favorite spoon on the kitchen table and he was quietly lining up his tractors with his tools by his side. "Good morning, Mom!" he exclaimed delightedly. "I am doing my work!" And mine too, apparently. Let's see, am I an incredibly lazy parent? Or doing his future wife a huge favor by encouraging self-sufficiency? I think I'll take this glass half full, unless he decides he needs to use the oven for breakfast tomorrow. Yikes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This post doesn't deserve a title

I'm pretty sure something happened earlier today that I started a mental post about, but of course now I have no idea what it was. It was probably inspiring and thought-provoking yet humorous, commas were not overused, and not a single sentence ended with a preposition. Huh...your loss.

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We are all having some trouble adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. The boys wake up waaay too early with the sun beaming through the blackout shades but aren't as quick to adjust their bedtimes. I've moved up the baths and storytime, of course, but the actual time Ethan surrenders to sleep is usually around 11. (Parenting: FAIL) So, he's a little irritable. This morning, Evan was walking around chattering, 'bah-goo-da-ah', etc. "Evan!" Ethan snapped. "DON'T say bah-goo-da-ah!" I could barely keep from laughing at his crabby little face and furrowed brow. Often I recognize my own words or tone when I listen to his conversations, so I quickly racked my brain, hoping I hadn't snapped something like that recently. Nope, I'm pretty sure I haven't told anyone not to say bah, goo, or anything lately. I have even managed to not tell Ethan to stuff a sock in it when he goes on and on AND ON about Diego.

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It's Friday night, and no backup troops are on their way out here. WAHHH.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What? November?

In all the excitement of the past few days, I have completely forgotten to start celebrating Evan's Birthday Month. Not that every day is all ice cream and presents, but during the month of March I like people (re: Matt) to spend a little more time than usual expounding on the wonderfulness of my existence, and I feel that the same courtesy should apply to my children. I suppose it should apply to Matt, also, but it's already like EVERY DAY is his birthday around here, I tell you what.

So! November... no longer just the cold, bleak waste of time between autumn and Christmas. Last year at this time I weighed 58 more pounds than I do right now. Ethan and I did a lot of baking and decorated the house early since we had a good excuse. Matt handled all the year-end appointments with the craptastic FSA, for which I am forever grateful. Maybe being pregnant wasn't so bad after all...

Hmm, clearly I am too tired too think straight. Stay tuned for another thrilling installment tomorrrow.

Brrr

Yesterday:Today:
WTF, Nebraska?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

Last night, I laid on the couch with my babies and watched Barack Obama become the next president. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to his words. We as a nation chose hope. We chose a person to lead our country because of his intelligence and honesty. We did not fall for the lies and hateful tactics of the other candidate. I have never been so proud to be part of this nation.

I am so proud to be able to tell my children, you were part of this. It is because of you, your future, your innocence, my dreams for you, that we were able to make this happen.

I voted for Obama because of what his policies will mean for my family, but as I watched him on stage with his wife and children, I was struck by what his election will mean for all families, especially the many black children growing up in homes without fathers. What a role model for those young men- a Harvard-educated man who is devoted to his wife and daughters; who has faith that he can bring change to the system that, 50 years ago, would have tried to keep him from voting.

Yes we can.
Yes we did.
Yes we will.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History

We voted tonight! I was torn about whether or not to vote early and get it over with, in case a blizzard kept us from getting out or something. I really wanted Ethan to see the process, though, because we have been talking about this election so much. He recognizes the candidates and VPs (Jon 'Deere' Stewart is his favorite show, after all) but I haven't been sure how to explain the actual voting. (Our house is not a democracy in any way, shape, or form. I like to pretend to be in charge but, you know.) I decided to wait and go to the polls when Matt got off work, hoping that we could all go together and get ice cream or something to make it Family Fun. It was awesome! My eyes filled with tears when Ethan pointed to Obama's name (settle down, he just recognized the B) and he helped me color in the circle. What an amazing opportunity for us to participate in. I am watching the speculation and waiting on pins and needles, but I am so glad the campaigning is over. It will take a long time for this country to recover from the struggles we are facing but right now it seems possible that we will. I get a little hysterical when I think of McCain winning, but I know that God will take care of us no matter what happens. God bless America, and the Lord will bless and keep us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Summer's End

We have had some very warm days lately so we are trying to soak up as much sun as possible before it snows again. Of course that includes going to a playground every time we have an errand to run.


I can't get over how much has changed since our first trip to the park this summer. Evan slept in his carseat or I carried him around. Then he graduated to the baby swing and the fun that is crawling around eating sand. Now he thinks he can run the excavator! It will be awesome to watch them run around together next summer. Can I start bringing a book?


We planted bulbs last week. I dug the holes, Ethan put them in, and Evan took them out. A very efficient team, if I do say so myself. At least this time when Ethan watered them, he didn't use so much water that the bulbs rushed away in a river of expensive soil nutrients. (Poor lilies.) We found a lot of worms. The first one was tiny and Ethan carefully carried it over to a chair. "This baby needs his mommy!" he announced. So we found another one. "It's OK, Baby, we found your mommy. She will take care of you," he reassured the little one as he brought the 'mommy' over. He spent the next several minutes constructing a nest for them, then wandered back over to me. "Are the worms happy now?" I asked him. "They need their Gramma to come," he informed me. Well, don't we all. He was ecstatic when we found another one. "Here is your Gramma, little wormies!" he cried. "NOW they are so happy."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween

We had a great Halloween. On Friday afternoon, there was a little kids parade in Sargent followed by trick-or-treating at the Main Street businesses. Ethan was mesmerized by all the different costumes. Ten minutes before we walked out the door, he decided to be a football player. I ended up carrying his helmet and ball, of course, but he was pretty thrilled with the whole process. It was a really warm day so we didn't have to try to stuff their snowsuits under their costumes or anything. In the evening we went to a few different friends' houses and came home with lots of candy. Ethan seems to have forgotten about it already so there is plenty for Matt and me to enjoy.

Ethan, the original Punkin Baby:


Thanks, Gramma!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Ready







We carved our pumpkins last night (obviously). Ethan thought the whole thing was great; Evan was bitter because no one would let him use the knife. We roasted the seeds and Ethan pronounced them "grossting," his own special hybrid of gross and disgusting. I can't tell if he's being funny, a la ginormus, or if he thinks it's an actual word.


Ethan is still undecided about his costume. His choices are ghost, football player, clown, or Bob the Builder. So what does he say when people ask what he wants to be? Usually, dinosaur. When the librarian asked him on Monday, he said butterfly. ("That's unique," she smiled.) Then in the car on the way home, he suggested "Mom, you can be a butterfwy and I will be a fruit bat." What?!


Here is a picture of the pumpkin we carved last year. Granted, it was in November (bed rest is so inconvenient that way). I remember that whole day so fondly. I was off bed rest and getting ready for the baby, but treasuring those last few days of solo time with Ethan. We carved that pumpkin and made pumpkin cookies and pie. We talked and I marveled at how grown-up he seemed. We had had a lot of fun together that summer, he and I, and I worried about how we were going to incorporate another person into our little team. Now our family is whole, and I am treasuring (most of) these days with two boys.