Snow Day

March 26, 2009

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Today, Boulder is getting one of its famous spring storms. Already it’s snowed eight or nine inches, I think, and more is expected. This moisture is welcome though since the past many months have been so dry here. So dry, in fact, that we actually had to drag out the hose and water our precious trees. Of course, it is to be expected that last weekend the weather was gorgeous with temperatures in the low 70s and now it’s dumping snow and in the 30s. Ah…Boulder.

We managed to get Clare outside this morning after 10 minutes of getting her in her snow gear. The trip outside lasted about half the time…and she was D-O-N-E after five minutes of snow blowing in her face. Poor kid. If only she would learn to love sunglasses, she might have been a little happier. Oh well. We returned to our cozy home and toasted our five minute expedition with some freshly made hot chocolate. With that, Clare was happy.

In the last few weeks Clare has really begun to come into her “twos.” As if she needed any further reason, other than being the daughter of a sensitive personality such as yours truly, the “twos” have made her even more sensitive. Her emotions are worn on the sleeve and it doesn’t take much for the dark clouds to roll in quickly and rain on us all. Justin and I just look at each other during moments like this with our eyes wide with disbelief. Thankfully, the storms pass as quickly (most of the time) as they arrive and we are able to regroup and go about our merry way again.

Clare’s latest has been singing “Rock a Bye Baby” to her doll, Emma, which is damn cute. She has also, in the last month or so, grasped the concept of what it means to make a joke. She’ll do little things here and there to elicit a laugh from Mommy and Daddy and it’s priceless. Yesterday, while we were in bed reading books together (a wonderful morning ritual we’ve developed), Clare was sucking her thumb. I asked her what her thumb tasted like and she said, “fruit snacks.”

The Shacklettes were recently here for a visit and Clare had a great time reconnecting with her grandparents. This visit taught me that no matter how considerate and wonderful and thoughtful and easy-going a houseguest can be, it’s tough to have houseguests…period. It makes me a little worried for what this summer will be like when our house becomes a hotel with both families coming for visits to “help” with the new baby. I guess we’ll just have to play our cards and see how it goes.

Baby #2 is growing and doing just fine, thankfully. I visited my OB-GYN yesterday and while the weigh-in about crushed me mentally, it was nice to hear that the little guy/girl is growing exactly on target (29cm size belly). I am in my 29th week now, so only 11 more to go. It’s a little crazy to think that this belly is going to get bigger, because it surely will.

Yesterday, I also had a massage with my favorite massage therapist in town, Kala Spangler, thanks to a thoughtful gift certificate from my in-laws at Christmas. For 75 minutes, I was rubbed down like royalty and the baby seemed to enjoy it, too–kicking up a storm for a good half of the session. Seriously, if I had zillions of dollars, I would hand out hour-long massages to my friends as tokens of love. Everyone needs to experience this kind of body work. It’s unbelievably wonderful. After the massage, Kala told me that she was getting a very strong “boy” vibe from me during the session. That was interesting to hear. Many folks have been saying that they think I’m carrying a boy, but hearing it from Kala seemed to hold more weight. Maybe it’s her intimate knowledge of the body and all of the hours she spends with her hands on flesh, prenatal and not. Either way, it was sort of like a fortune teller gave me the news…and who doesn’t want to believe in fortune tellers? The last massage I had from Kala was February 28th, 2007. My water broke that night and Clare was born two days later. I’m telling you, she has some magic hands!

This weekend, my best friend from high school, Caren, is coming for a very quick visit. In town from Park City, UT for an education conference in Denver, Caren will spend Saturday afternoon and evening with us in Boulder. Unfortunately, her flight back to UT is Sunday morning, but we’re really looking forward to seeing her.

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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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Pregnancy Pounds

December 16, 2008

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Thankfully, I have landed safe and sound in my second trimester and along with that milestone has come a new burst of energy. Hmmm…maybe “burst of energy” isn’t the right phrase for what I am feeling now. Basically, the lethargy and fatigue that plagued me throughout my first trimester has been lifted, and I am somewhat back to my old self—plus 10lbs.

Now, mind you, I barely gained anything during the first trimester I was pregnant with Clare, and here I am in my 15th week already 10lbs up! It is not the most pleasant of occurrences, that’s for sure. But, I am relying heavily on all of my friends who have been down the “baby #2 path” before me, who say our bodies remember this journey and therefore, everything happens sooner the second time around. True or not, seeing it happen in-person is not all that fun.

I know, I know. My focus should be on the baby I’m growing, and my amazing daughter, Clare, who charms me daily. But still, I can’t help thinking down the road of all the pounds that await me and the many months ahead of trying to painstakingly remove them. It took basically an entire year to get back to my pre-baby weight after Clare was born. A year! That is a LONG time, people.

So, because I have been so damn sedentary these last 14 weeks, and I now have some of my old energy back, I have been getting my arse into gear (somewhat). Without raising my HR too dangerously high, I’ve been hitting the gym. For the first time since we moved into our new house, which was in August, I actually got off my bootie this past Sunday and paid the neighborhood rec center a visit. I spent some time on the stairmaster, the treadmill and breezed quickly through some weight-training.  But, I did it, and, that’s what matters!

My buddy, James, and I have also visited the gym at work the last two days, and I am quite proud of us! James is my “work husband,” and we probably eat lunch together at least four times a week. Growing up with a lot of male friends, many of which I remain friends with today, it is so nice to have another male friend in my life. His long-time girlfriend, Felicia, and my husband, Justin, are completely in the know about our work marriage and often the four of us hang out together, which is always fun. Having James at work has made things better for me. Especially now, as I try to sustain some consistency in my workout frequency, it’s great to know that James will be waiting for me in the gym.

Don’t get me wrong – I know that I will gain weight during this pregnancy. My goal is to not let it get out of control and to increase my fitness level overall. This will help during labor and delivery as well as the many months of exercise and weight-loss that will follow. Wish me luck.

(Men, you have it so damn easy.)

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