7 Months and “Almost Three”

January 28, 2010

If you ask Clare how old she is, she will tell you that she is, “two right now, but soon I am going to be three and then four, and five.” I keep reminding her that she will be three very soon and that her birthday is coming up. We then rattle through the list of birthdays that fall in the first many months of the year. First, we say, it’s Daddy’s birthday, then Uncle, then Nolan, then CLARE, then Mommy, and then Bryce. Clare is so much more into her birthday this year than she was as a babe last year turning two. We talk about who she’d like to have at her birthday party and discuss the ever-important menu—ice cream cake (mommy and daddy’s fave) or cupcakes, we ask. I think we’ll just go real crazy and do BOTH!

And so, our first baby is turning three soon (March 2nd) and our last baby just had her seven-month birthday. And, boy, are we IN IT. It’s always interesting speaking with other parents –no matter what age their children are. They could be parents to teenagers, or even empty-nesters with kids in college.  They all give us the knowing grin and head shake when we tell them that our girls are almost three, and seven months. They’ve been there, of course, they remember it like they do a visit to a foreign country, where they ate exotic food, got drunk and passed out in the sun. It was fun, but man, they’re glad that they’re not visiting that place again.

Most of the time it’s manageable, but then there are those moments (often) when Bryce is screaming her head off because she  just can’t bear to sit in that highchair one more second and it’s usually at the same time that Clare is asking for something, or needing a refill on her milk, her lunch made, whatever. Or, when I am just about to sit down in the living room chair in order to nurse Bryce and Clare jumps into the chair with a smile plastered on her face. She thinks she’s being cute–sitting where Mommy and Bryce were going to sit. And, I have to ask her (more than once usually) to please get up so that we can sit down. She does, we sit, Bryce latches on, and then Clare wants to be close to Bryce and manages to climb into my lap and wrap herself around Bryce and hug on her, kiss her, all while Bryce is attached to me  by a very sensitive body part.

We just returned last week from a nine day trip to Florida where we visited both sets of grandparents. It was not exactly a vacation for Justin and myself, but we were glad we went. Visiting the Blooms was difficult because there just isn’t the space required for us at my parent’s house. Clare slept in a room with us for the first time in her life (and was consequently up every day an hour earlier than normal) while Bryce slept in my brother’s old room in a pack and play. My mom has two dogs, who on their own are very nice and all, but a bit neurotic when there is an almost three year old in the house to tease them or follow around. While I love my parents dearly, we were happy to hit the road after our four days in Miami and head to Melbourne where the Shacklettes live.

Going to the Shacklette’s house was probably as close to “vacation” as one can get while traveling with two small children. My mother-in-law is amazing. There were toys for both girls, separate rooms for all, and lots of little thoughtful details laid out. We hit up Seat World one day, got out on the boat and fished (Clare’s first time doing both) and everyone went to the beach one day while Bryce and I stayed home for her record-long morning nap (2 1/2 hours). It was a good visit all around.

Except now I can’t help daydream about a REAL vacation…the kind where Mommy and Daddy get to leave the babies with their loving Nanny. Any suggestions on where to go for a 4-day getaway in North America?

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And in the blink of an eye…

December 20, 2009

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Caterpillar, Butterfly & Monkey

Shazam! It’s December. And, more than two months since I last updated my blog. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Having two kids– in case no one has told you– is a LOT of work!

Since I last wrote, I returned to work. My four-month maternity leave came to an end, and I went back to my job in advertising. Bryce did an amazing job adjusting to daycare. Other than taking short naps for the first couple of months,  she has taken to it like a kid in a candy store. The room is so cheery, filled with pictures and toys, and the babies are well-loved. What’s not to like?

I only wish that my adjustment was as pain-free. Instead, I returned to “the job” and landed on an account that was in the throws of a lot of work without enough of members on its team. My work life quickly became insane and my Wednesdays at home with my girls are usually spent with my iPhone in my hand sifting through hundreds of emails. Rather than risk my job by elaborating, I will instead say that I am taking the necessary steps to improve my situation. Hopefully, 2010 brings lots of good stuff.

In October, we welcomed Aunties Jessie and Shelva for a visit. This was their first trip out to meet Bryce and they spent a lot of quality time with their nieces, playing in the basement, outside collecting leaves, and preparing a kid-themed dinner (hamburger faces). It was lovely to see them both and we are looking forward to seeing them again, when they have their commitment ceremony at The Culinary Vegetable Institute, in Ohio, this summer.

Halloween was memorable this year for many reasons: 1) This was Bryce’s first Halloween, 2) Clare was really into it this year and got to wear her (handmade by Nanny) butterfly costume numerous times, 3) Clare and Bryce’s costumes went together (Bryce was a caterpillar), and 4) My grandfather passed away after 94 years of life.

Over Halloween weekend, Bryce and I flew home to Miami to be with my family after Poppa’s death. It was good to be home and see my brother, who was taking it very hard. For me, oddly enough, the entire thing was very anticlimactic. When we visited my family last in February of this year, I knew it would likely be the last time I saw my grandfather. I had said my goodbyes, cried, and mourned the loss of a fantastic presence in my life. Going home eight months later for his funeral, was very different for me than it was for most of the family, I know. Jay Burton Keys was one in a zillion. We are all lucky to have had him in our lives.

A month later, at Thanksgiving, we welcomed Nancy and Larry for a visit. We had a fantastic turkey dinner, which I did not have to prepare. The grandparents spent oodles of time with both Bryce and Clare. I got out for a haircut, yoga, and walks with my girlfriends. Oh, how I wish that we had family here. It’s so good for everyone— the kids, our family, our marriage and our sanity!

I can clearly remember other people telling us that when you go from having one child to having two children that it is exponentially harder. I’m not necessarily denying that this is true. It’s hard to quantify exactly what the hard parts are. It’s more about the lack of time that there now is for everything: yourself, your marriage, your other children, your friends, and on and on and on. Before, when it was just the three of us, we were two parents per one child. When one of us needed to get in some “me” time, it was okay because 1-on-1 with Clare was doable. Now, when one of us has to be out of the house, it’s 2-on-1 and that is not so easy. Bryce is a baby and Clare is a tornado! Yes, a whirling ball of energy that talks a mile-a-minute and has endless questions, needs, and demands. I, of course, (still) only have two hands and so that can be difficult.

One of the things that I have struggled the most with is the guilt that I feel. This guilt is like one of those glass prisms you hang in the window– each time the light hits it, a new color is reflected on the wall. For example, I feel guilty when I am giving Bryce my attention, playing with her on the floor, and blowing raspberries on her belly. I am worried that Clare will get jealous or her feelings will be hurt. I feel guilty that I am not giving Bryce enough of the attention that she needs/deserves because Clare’s needs are more immediate, LOUDER, and well, Bryce is happy to hang on the floor chewing on a plastic toy. I feel guilty when I get out for some “me” time because my husband rarely takes time for himself. I feel guilty that I work outside the home and my daughters are being cared for by someone else four days a week. Guilt…it’s not just for Jewish mothers anymore.

What’s been really wonderful these past few months is watching Clare get excited about Bryce’s growth. Bryce is no longer a newborn. She can sit, eat with us at the dinner table, pick up toys, roll over, and can recognize all of us. Clare calls Bryce her friend, and she will tell you about all the things that she and Bryce are going to do together, “when Bryce gets bigger.” Every once in a while when the fog clears for a few minutes, I get a glimpse of our future, of the girls as little people, friends, together, giggling, sharing stories, in each others rooms, and each others confidants. The mutual affection that they share is one of the unexpected gifts having a second child has brought. Not only did we create another member of our family, someone who will be in our lives forever, but we have given Clare a friend for life…a sister. It’s been amazing to see what that has done to and for her.

And, in the blink of an eye, Bryce is six months old. Kapow! I know I need to buckle my seatbelt now, because the next six months are going to be a wild ride. I remember with Clare all of the leaps and bounds that take place in a baby’s development between six months and a year. Hard to imagine that, over the next six months, Bryce will be standing, (likely) walking, and communicating with us (words/signs).  Look out, 2010, we’re headed your way.

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The Loves of My Life

July 16, 2009

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Long Overdue

July 9, 2009

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Yes, finally! I am terribly overdue (runs in the family, obviously) on publishing this post.

On the evening of June 21st, I began what would be a very short labor at around 10:30pm. Laboring at home until almost 3am, we headed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. I was 5cm dilated. The nurse called the doctor and told her that we were happy to have my waters broken if that would expedite things. Our doctor came in at 4am, checked me again (I was at 6-7cm and fully effaced) and broke my water at 4:15am. The next hour was INTENSE and INSANE and it all seems like a fog now. Our gorgeous and perfect daughter was born (without any drugs) on June 22nd at 5:29am after some wicked labor and two pushes. Weighing 8lbs and 7oz at 21 1/2 inches long, Bryce Anne Shacklette, was finally here (only EIGHT DAYS LATE).

Of course, looking at this absolute miracle…she was worth the wait. bryce

Since June 22, our lives have been, well, crazy. Now, when I say, crazy, I don’t mean in the “please-check-me-into-the-loony-bin” kind of crazy. I mean that we were all in a routine with Clare, our eldest, and shining star before Bryce’s arrival. Since Bryce’s birth, we have been trying to get back to that normalcy of everyday life with our “plus one.” It’s been an adjustment (more on Clare’s adjustment later), but we are managing and everyone has succeeded in getting fully dressed each day and swallowing at least one nutritional thing. I call that a success. Of course, bathing has become a little more infrequent, but hey, we figure it’s summer anyway and Clare’s getting in plenty of slip-n-slide time at school so that’s gotta count for something, right?

We’ve done our best to try and keep Clare’s life as “normal” as possible, which means that she continues to go to school four days a week and can I just say, “THANK GOD,” for that without sounding like a terrible mother? Honestly, I don’t know how other moms have done it all of these centuries–caring for a newborn with a toddler at home. It’s hard on those days when Clare is at home and thankfully, I’ve got the best husband in the universe, which enables us to have man-to-man coverage of our two girls.

Clare has been very excited about her new little sister and upon coming home everyday comes running into the house asking, “Where’s Bryce?” as if she might suddenly disappear as quickly as she came into the world. Of course, Clare has done her fair share of acting out but she is also two years old so, really, who’s to say that it’s all directly related to Bryce? Regardless, while we have seen an increased number of time-outs in our household, we are trying to give Clare as much undivided attention as we can. So far, Bryce has been pretty accommodating in that mission.

There’s so much more to say, but I fear that this post might go on forever, so I will just say that in my brief years as a parent, I have heard other parents talk about explosive poops–the kinds that hit the walls and end up everywhere. I had never really experienced that kind of display before…until TODAY. Yes, while changing Bryce’s diaper, she had the most explosive poop I’d ever seen and I had her feet positioned up over her head at just the right angle, I guess, in order for her to shoot mustard yellow (the dijon variety) across the changing table and onto the wall, hitting, me, her hamper, and the floor in the process. Wow.

…And you thought I was going to wax poetic about my expanding heart or something else equally as emotional. More on that another day. In the meantime, I leave you with these heart-warming photographs of the first days of Bryce’s two and a half week old life.

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Four More Weeks?

May 18, 2009

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In many ways it’s hard to believe that we are already in the middle of May. But, for those that have seen me lately and the size of this belly I am hefting around, one would think that it’s the middle of August, and I am two months overdue! Of course, getting comments such as, “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?” doesn’t help the ol’ self-esteem much either. Seriously people, do you not know better than to ask a pregnant lady such a thing?

This weekend marked the end of week #36 and the beginning of #37. Yes, I know I am getting “close,” but honestly to think that there are FOUR more weeks of this is a bit depressing. I am ready for our newest one to make his/her arrival –even though I know it will mean night-time feedings, craziness in our household, etc. Whatever. I say, “bring it,” and let’s get the show on the road.

We had our doctor’s appointment this morning where we saw Dr. Swartz, who we’ve chosen to fill in for our regular OB, Dr. Jensen (out on maternity leave). Swartz actually delivered Clare two years ago as she was the on-call doctor, so we feel pretty comfortable about her handling the remainder of this pregnancy. Everything looked good, she said, but the baby’s belly during the ultrasound was measuring big so we are going later this week to get another measurement/ultrasound. Nothing too alarming, they just want to be prepared for the labor, should the baby actually have the buddha belly it appears to. For us, it means another look at the baby come Thursday morning when we have the follow-up appointment scheduled. Meanwhile, baby #2 is head down, face up, and sitting in my uterus froggie style–just like Clare did.

Clare is doing great. She continues to make us laugh daily at the things that she says. We’re making some progress on the potty training front, which is also a good thing. Some of the kids in her class and one good friend who lives in our neighborhood are close to being potty trained and the peer pressure is working! Just last night, before beginning our bedtime routine, I asked Clare if she wanted to try and make pee pee. While Justin and I folded laundry, I peered out of our bedroom and watched as she marched herself into the bathroom, pulled her shorts down, took off her diaper, sat on the potty and took care of business! ALL BY HER SELF! She was quite proud of her performance, too, and together the three of us celebrated the accomplishment.

Hopefully, she will continue on this path and the arrival of her sibling won’t set her back. We figure that once baby #2 is 2-3 months old, we will try to put Clare into panties and make the big push to fully potty train. We’ll see.

Over the weekend, we managed to squeeze in a lot of activity. We hit up the Sunflower Farm (a Clare favorite) for a friend’s birthday party. Clare had been (and still is) singing happy birthday to Lucy all of the time. Clare loved feeding the goats and would have done that all day, had there not been cupcakes and hot dogs to lure her away from the bucket of corn.

We had a babysitter Saturday night and got out with the Bieners for some bbq. Justin and I even stayed out later and indulged in some Ben & Jerry’s before going to see a friend’s bluegrass band play at a local bar. Sunday morning, my girlfriends honored me by getting together for a baby #2 brunch at Q’s in downtown Boulder. I am fortunate to have such good girlfriends and they’re a great support system. In the afternoon, following a playdate with Nolan & Francis Kelly, Justin and I left Clare at home napping with a babysitter while we snuck out to see the new Star Trek (awesome!) movie.

Meanwhile, Justin hit up Home Depot and Target, fixed our sprinkler system, unpacked more books to go on his newly hung office bookshelves, planted new lavendar bushes, and whipped up pancakes for a tasty breakfast one morning. I have an amazing husband.

This Friday, our friends Caren & Scott MacClelland arrive with their kids, Chase (almost 5) and Gracie (almost 3) to stay the weekend with us. We’re looking forward to the full house, the Boulder Creek Festival, watching the kids play together, and having a bbq at Chautauqua Park with a bunch of families.

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End of an Era

April 17, 2009

I’ve thought about this before, but on Wednesday, while spending the day with Clare, it really started to become more real. Our time with Clare –just the three of us– is soon coming to an end, and it makes me sad. These mother/daughter days that we have each Wednesday will no longer be for just the two of us. We are soon to be a trio on Wednesdays with the new baby’s arrival in mid-June. Our family of three will be a family of four and while this has always been a planned event, the reality of it is really starting to hit home.

Clare will likely have no memories of these early years in her life. Her earliest memories will probably start with her life with a sibling. She won’t remember that we were once a threesome and will instead always know as as a foursome. I guess, in some ways, that’s good for her and not something she can take with her into her one day therapist’s office, with tales of, “I remember the day they brought home the other kid and, boy, did that suck.” Sure, she might have some of these feelings as a toddler when we do bring home a screaming, pooping, little potato, but she likely won’t even remember that day. I hadn’t really expected these feeling though, which is why I write about them. They were a surprise side-effect of pregnancy.

Wednesday was a great day though. Clare is really a lot of fun right now and definitely one of my favorite people to spend time with. She makes me laugh and her hugs and kisses are powerful enough to melt even the hardest of people. The fact that she gives them so freely is proof positive that her heart is so open. Every day when we pick Clare up from daycare, she goes from child to child saying goodbye to her classmates –giving each one a hug. I’m pretty sure that Clare is the only kid that does this upon leaving each day and it’s incredibly endearing, of course.

In the last month or so, she has really solidified her grasp on numbers. She easily recites the numbers from one to 10 and can actually count things. Meaning, her comprehension of 1-10 is not just a memorization, but she knows what one apple looks like versus three. The kid can count, I tell you. Her grasp of the alphabet is coming along, too. For some reason, that seems harder (to me), because not only are there 26 letters in the alphabet, but the capital and lower-case ones look different from one another so there really are 52 letters to learn. She definitely knows the letter “C” and calls it “mine” whenever she sees it in books, on shirts, etc. Clare is also singing the A, B, C’s and usually gets to somewhere in the middle before starting over at A again.

My 36th birthday was last weekend and Justin surprised me by arranging for his mom to fly out and watch Clare while we flew to NYC for the weekend. It was a great trip. We stayed at the W in Midtown East, saw the show “Chicago” in front row seats, had dinner with an old friend of Justin’s, ran into an old friend of mine, ate at the Gotham Bar & Grill (delicious) and slept in both mornings. It was wonderful.

Clare did amazing with her Nanny while we were away and greatly enjoyed the Easter basket Nanny gave her. Here she is with a blissful grin enjoying m&m’s and jelly beans from the basket.

On the pregnancy front, I am about to finish my 32nd week. Eight weeks to go until June 14th.

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Clare Jaye Turns TWO!

March 5, 2009

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It’s hard to believe, and I know that all parents say the same thing, but the last two years really have gone by quickly.  This past Monday, our little baby turned the big TWO. Birthdays have always been a big deal to me and I am all for celebrating, sporting the birthday grin all day, and lapping up the attention that this one day affords each year. However, for Clare’s birthday this year, we opted for a nice intimate gathering of her closest friends, Nolan Kelly and George Wirt, at our house on Sunday morning.

Nolan and George were there with their respective parents and it was a lovely morning with fantastic food. We served what my Dad lovingly refers to as “Jew food,” (bagels, cream cheese and lox) along with mini-quiches that were a huge hit with all. Clare and I baked her cupcakes (thank you Duncan Heines) the night before and she loved that. Just mention the work “cooking” to Clare and she immediately asks for her apron and stepstool so she can assist in the kitchen. Sunday morning, before our guests arrrived, Clare and I whipped up some tasty buttercream frosting (thank you Jessie & Shelva) and in a tradition passed down for generations, I happily allowed my daughter to lick the beaters. She was in heaven.

The party was a success…a glorified playdate really with great food. Clare seems to now understand the concept of “presents” and likes opening them, too. The biggest hit was a new doll, only her second, named Emma that we bought for her in preparation for potty training. This little baby doll actually drinks and pees, although we haven’t clued Clare into that yet. We’re waiting to introduce this cool piece of functionality when we engage in potty training (stay tuned on that topic) very shortly. Clare loves Emma and has already practiced putting the doll on the potty and giving her pretend M&Ms for a job well done.

Over the weekend, I thought a lot about how different Clare is in just one year. At her first birthday, she was a new walker and was communicating with sign language. In just 12 months, she is now running, climbing, hopping, galloping, walking backwards, talking in sentences, making jokes, expressing her thoughts and narrating her life to us. Not a week goes by that I am not amazed by something that comes out of her mouth. Just last week while we all sat at the table eating breakfast together, Clare started squirming in her seat and said, “Shake your bootie.” Granted, I have said these very same words to her when encouraging her to dance to the music playing in our house. But, this was the first time she said them on her own and completely unsolicited. Justin and I shared a knowing smile over our cereal that morning as we marveled in this new addition to her linguistic repertoire. The kid is funny, I tell you.

With this birthday, we have also experienced some new TWO behavior. Sunny skies can turn to thunderstorms in about half a second with Clare. Her emotions appear to be finding their place and we have witnessed these crazy mood swings with wonder, and are happy to chalk them up to toddlerhood and the terrible twos. Of course, we are always grateful when the tantrums and tears dissipate and usually it’s as easy as distracting Clare or helping her find her voice and use her words, which we are very fond of reminding her.

On the pregnancy front, I am finishing up my 26th week and can now understand why being pregnant with a toddler at home is much harder. While pregnant with Clare, I had the luxury of sitting down whenever I needed to and could relax as soon as I walked through our front door. Things are different when there is a three foot boss in the house that requires attention, meals, and caring. As hard as it is this time around, I am ready to meet this new baby and June 14th can’t some soon enough for me.

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Getting bigger and getting bitchy

February 9, 2009

I’m currently in my 23rd week of this pregnancy and I feel like I’m in my 33rd week. I know it’s true when “they” say that the second time around women show a lot earlier in pregnancy. Not only am I displaying a round belly, but all of the other glorious pregnancy side effects are coming to fruition such as shortness of breath, walking differently, having to sleep with pillows wedged every which way in bed (poor Justin), and the one that my husband is really loving (not) these days…bitchyness.

Not sure why Mother Nature decided to throw such a whammy our way when the art of pregnancy was designed, but I have to tell you that we could probably all do without the mood swings in this house. Afterall, we do already have a toddler living with us and while we don’t embrace the behavior, we are okay with attributing her crazy-sometimes-bipolar antics to being (almost) two years old. I have only pregnancy to blame. And even though that seems a legitimate culprit, god forbid if anyone (Justin) other than ME is able to point it out.

In other news, Clare has been amazing us every week with the expansion of her vocabulary. It is really hilarious and so much fun as a parent to hear what your child has to say and the thoughts that jump around in their mind. Her memory is like that of an elephant’s, which is also astounding.

For the past few weeks, Clare has been sleeping in her “big girl” bed. We had two goals we hoped to accomplish prior to the arrival of baby #2–move Clare out of the crib and into her recently acquired twin bed and graduate Clare from diapers to the potty. So far, we’ve accomplished the bed goal…we’re waiting until after her second birthday to work on potty training.

I have to admit though that I was pretty nervous about the crib/bed transition. As with most milestone events in Clare’s life, I tend to overanalyze, research, speak with friends with kids about their experiences, etc. Fortunately, my daughter is an adaptable little bugger and she took to the new twin bed (and the new space it afforded for jumping) like a fish to water. After the first three uneventful days, we disassembled her crib completly and retired it to the utility room to await its new inhabitant this summer. I have a feeling, unfortunately, that potty training might not go as smoothly!

Two weeks ago, we had a visit from my brother, Simon, over his birthday weekend at the end of January. Clare had a fantastic time with “Uncle,” and was a fantastic sport with him–giving up hundreds of hugs and kisses on-demand. We hit up the Denver Zoo one day and then the pool for swimming on another. Simon treated us to an amazing dinner one night while Clare stayed home with a babysitter. It was a wonderful visit and we look forward to his return this summer when the newest Shacklette arrives.

This Saturday we are headed back to the airport for another trip to Florida-this time to Miami to see my family, especially my grandparents. Last visit we kept a pretty low-profile. This time around we need to get in lots of family time and are looking forward to seeing aunts, uncles and cousins. We’re also hoping to visit the Miami Seaquarium one day and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival on another. The journey should be an improvement on our last airplane trip since Clare will have her very own seat on the plane. We have ALL been looking forward to that!

To see some of the last few weeks, check out these pictures:

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Out with the old…

January 3, 2009

Happy New Year.

I have to admit that because I have been so preoccupied lately the fact that we are no longer in 2008 hasn’t quite sunk in. I guess I still have one foot planted in 2008 and need to make the jump forward to 2009 with the rest of the world. But man, what a year 2008 was for the Shacklettes.

Here is just a glimpse of what 2008 included: two job changes for Justin (Lifepics and now Gorilla Logic), a job change for me when texturemedia was acquired in June by Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, the sale of our first home and the purchase of our new one, a major remodeling of the new house, two trips to Miami, FL, a visit to the McClellands in Park City, Thanksgiving in Indianapolis to see Jessie and Shelva, Christmas in Melbourne with the Shacklettes, and the conception of our new baby (due June 14, 2009). We covered a LOT of ground in 2008 so it is understandable that I am not quite ready to say goodbye.

I am not one for making resolutions at New Year’s, but I do think that intentions are reasonable. It makes sense to take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months and then use what I’ve learned in order to say, “Boy, that was a great decision,” or, “Man, I never want to do go through that again!” The application of these lessons are what I want to bring with me into the next year and those that follow.

2009 is sure to be another banner year for us with the birth of our second child in the summer. Our lives will change drastically when we welcome this new baby into our home. Of course, Clare is my primary concern with this major change headed our way and I want to do whatever I can to help make the transition as easy as possible for her. (I’m open to suggestions on how to make that happen, if you’ve got ‘em.) Everyone we know with two kids has told us that going from one child to two isn’t just a matter of doubling the work, tolerance, patience, etc., but tripling it or more. Hard to imagine that that’s the case, but I trust these folks and am bracing myself for the impact.

As I take the next couple of weeks to think more about this coming year and what I would personally like to gain from it, I will take the opportunity in this post to tell you that we had a great visit with the Shacklettes in Melbourne over Christmas. Clare’s Nanny and Granddad were fantastic hosts, per usual, and the weather was ideal. We hit the beach twice, the zoo once, unwrapped countless presents, ate way too many cookies, I finished two good books (Tender at the Bone and The Owl and Moon Cafe), and we made it through two flights (3+ hrs each) with an awake toddler on our laps.

The pics below are a snapshot of the good time that we had in Florida.

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It’s official…our family is getting bigger!

December 3, 2008

Yes, now that all of our families are in the know, I am free to share our good news with everyone. Justin and I are expecting a new baby next summer on June 14th. We are excited, of course, and a little bit wary of what a new baby will mean to our current family dynamic. But, we have always wanted two children and it’s what we both know, so we are looking forward to meeting this new kid and seeing who she or he will be.

Which brings me to my next announcement…we are NOT going to find out the sex this time around. With Clare, it was great to know for the first pregnancy, first child, first everything what to expect. Having gone down the road of pregnancy before and feeling quite the veteran about it, we figured that not knowing the baby’s sex will help make this truly a different and new experience for us. Plus, I would be completely happy if we had a boy or a girl so finding out on “game day” will be even better. Of course, our families and friends are all a bit surprised that we won’t know ahead of time, but that should make calling them from the hospital even more fun.

So far, this pregnancy has been a lot like the one I had with Clare. I am fortunate not to suffer morning sickness or any sickness for that matter and I am very grateful for that. I have been pretty damn tired though and am looking forward to hitting the second trimester where vague memories tell me that this lethargy will improve. Hope so. Today marks 12 weeks and 4 days, so that second tri is right around the corner.

Our trip to Indianapolis to see Jessie, Shelva and Justin’s parents was a great time. The Thanksgiving meal was gourmet, as expected, everyone had fun doting on Clare, and the trip to the amazing children’s museum was successful despite the crowds. If you ever have a chance to visit Indianapolis, go to the children’s museum (with a kid of your own…or even a borrowed one). It’s four-stories of fun and coolness, and kids of all ages will love it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have been sick (AGAIN). Clare came down with a stomach bug while in IN and, per usual, I picked up the nasty bug within 24 hours. I was, fortunately, at home in my own digs for the 24 hours of viral hell, but am happy to report that I am doing jus’ fine now. If there are any other moms out there who have figured out how to NOT get sick every single stinkin’ time that your child does, I will gladly pay you to know the secret. Bring it.

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