June 22, 2014

Pregnancy This Time

Sometimes I wonder how I haven't yet documented this pregnancy, but then I see photos like this. This little guy keeps me busy.  But, wow, I'm really at 32 weeks already!

It is also true that pregnancy seems to go by a little faster the second time.  At times I truly forget that I'm pregnant (not as much these days though).  This first bump shot was around 22 weeks, not too long after we found out that we're having a girl. 
We were pretty excited to find out that Miles will have a little sister.  Steve and I both had a feeling she was a girl, but would have also loved the idea of brothers.  Of course, now that we're getting closer, we're all pretty thrilled to have a little girl join our family.
It wasn't until recently that Miles started to seem to understand what we mean when we talk about the baby.  He now points to my belly and says "baby" and sometimes "sister."  We point out other young babies to him, and although he doesn't show a great interest in them, we're hoping that he will find his own little sister more intriguing.
This pregnancy has been different in some ways.  At the beginning, I felt a little sick throughout the day, especially when I had little food in my stomach.  Gatorade and hard candies helped, and thankfully, I never really got sick to my stomach.  It was just a little more "blah" than I had felt with Miles.  I was also very tired.  Those waves of fatigue are tough, especially when watching an energetic toddler.  Frequent bloody noses returned (I had these with my first pregnancy too), and I finally decided to get my nose cauterized (it would be the third time in my life).  Not a fun experience at all, but it's been worth it!

I had pretty vivid dreams and craved ice cream, Asian noodles, and other sweets (Talenti gelato bars are my favorite).  These were the same things that sounded good to me when I was pregnant with Miles, and, if I'm honest, sound good to me pretty much all of the time. :)

Just like they say, the second trimester was the best.  I started to feel better, had more energy, and loved feeling the baby move more.  I noticed that she rolled and kicked the most when I would lie down at night, and I started to look forward to this "time alone" with her.  While lying in bed, I imagine what she'll look like, how she'll be the same or different than Miles, and what it will be like to have a daughter.  
When we went down to Santa Barbara last May, I had Steve snap another bump shot at the beach.  It was fun to compare this one to a very similar shot in Hawaii, about two years ago.  I was around 25 weeks in each of these.

Ah yes, and then there's the third trimester.  This was a few weeks ago, at 30 weeks.  I just look tired.  And that's pretty much how I sum up how I'm feeling when people ask me: good! But tired.  Overall, I have nothing major to complain about, but since this is a chance to document (and I want to be honest, right?), my tailbone and lower back hurt, and it takes a lot more effort to carry myself and the extra weight around.  Now that summer is here, I am looking forward to starting a new plan--one that includes lots of walking, yoga, and massage (hey, my doctor gave me a prescription).  

I'm also hoping to have a little time to rearrange Miles's room, and eventually turn it in to a space that he can share with his sister.  It will be a little while until baby girl sleeps in her own crib, but I'm having fun thinking of ways to keep the room mostly neutral, with a little bit of pink thrown in.   I'd call my inspiration "geometric." :) 

dip-dyed stool  // acid etched letter (M for Miles + another)  // black plus sheet //  pink chevron sheet // Love X type print //  artecnica themis prism mobile // colette the cat // crib (for baby) // mur mini triangles decals // cushion // crib/toddler bed (for Miles) // quilt made by katie // mint kaleido tray

So, the countdown is on.  A little less than 2 months to go.  On my to-do list: packing up the kitchen for a remodel in a week or so, and beginning to organize/store baby clothes.  Here's to a productive, fun, hopefully-relaxing-at-times summer!

June 20, 2014

Catching Up: 19-22 Months

I'm catching up on many months with Miles, who, I must say, is a true toddler.  Over the past 3-4 months, we've seen him grow and change more than ever before.  There's so much to love about this age, and at the same time, it's incredibly exhausting.  One thing I never knew about toddlers (or maybe chose not to hear) was that they may abuse you.  Pulling hair, grabbing your face, or accidentally smacking you in a tantrum is a real thing.  And those tantrums can be hard to predict--sometimes even harder to solve.  But the heartwarming and awesome moments definitely (usually) outweigh the bad.  Many nights, Steve and I feel like we need to debrief the happenings of the day with Miles--the new words, the tantrums, the parenting choices, and the funny moments.  There are so many at this stage!
First, some basic, estimated stats.  Since he hasn't been to the doctor since 18 months, I'm not sure how much Miles weighs.  He does have a long torso and wears mostly 2T clothes.  He eats like crazy one day, and hardly wants to touch his meals the next.  His favorite foods are Lara bars, rice cakes, berries, smoothies, most meats, beans, peas, corn, pizza, and milk.  Not much has changed there, and I'm always on the hunt for new foods for him to try.  The other night I succeeded in getting him excited about his broccoli ("look! trees!"), and at least for the time being, this is also a favorite.
Miles is still pretty serious, but laughs the most when we tickle him or say words that he thinks are funny.  He'll repeat the word--like "scoot"--over and over, cracking up as he says it.  He has a few funny faces, like his scrunched up nose face and furrowed brow.
At the end of April, Miles and I took a trip to Arizona to meet up with my grandparents, mom and sister.  Surprisingly, he loved the pool (he had seemed skeptical the last time we tried) and talked all the time about "Nana" "swimming" "kicks" and "purple" (the noodle).  I don't know what it was about the trip, but by the end of the weekend, Miles's vocabulary was beginning to take off.  He started repeating what we said, naming characters (he loves Richard Scarry books about "Huckle"), and recognizing  some letters and colors.
While in Arizona, we found a little farm in the middle of the dessert.  "Tractor" became the newest obsession, and Miles still talks about "driving" it in Arizona.
Just a week later, we headed to Santa Barbara for Steve's sister's graduation.  After back to back weeks on airplanes and at airports, Miles really became interested in planes (and any other vehicles really). He loves all things with wheels--taxis, buses, planes, trucks, diggers, motorcycles--and carries his toy vehicles with him everywhere we go.  The beach in SB was also fascinating to him, and without Steve holding him back, Miles would have taken off, right into the waves.
One of my favorite things about being a parent is watching Miles get excited about new things.  When he's amazed by something, smiling, laughing, or desperately trying to tell someone else about it, the happiness is contagious. 
Miles has also become more affectionate and asks for hugs and holds our hands often.  These signs of attachment are endearing, but also problematic when we leave for work.  Lately, he says "Back!" (come back) and "Hug!" "Promise!" usually getting a little teary as we go.  Other times, it like he's the boss of the house, shouting commands like "No! Don't!" or "Get it!" and "Kiss it!" (when he bumps or falls).  I'm trying to take advantage of these moments and teach him to use please (he says "peeeeeeas" in a high pitch voice) and thank you ("tank too").
Overall, I'm the most amazed at the speed in which Miles is learning and changing each day.  He remembers so much, wants to talk and narrate everything he does, and is better able to adjust to new experiences (something that has been hard for him) as long as I get him excited about some aspect of it. For example, we've been really trying to get him to transition out of his too-small whale tub.  It dawned on me that getting him excited about swimming could do the trick.  Now at night we get ready to "go swimming" in the big tub and he hops right in.
Miles's interests are really changing all the time, but right now, he's a huge fan of "mowing" (when he first received this toy mower, he spent at least an hour straight mowing the lawn in the back yard), "driving" (sitting the in front seat, playing with the steering wheel and listening to music), "gee-tar" and "pano" (strumming the guitar and playing the piano).  In the last few days, he's been loving his stuffed animals as well, asking for each one to read with him, or "nap" with him in his crib.
He really cracks us up.  Miles loves to talk about people he knows and associate particular experiences or sayings with them.  When we ask him what his Aunt Robin says, he exclaims, "whaaaat??" and "hi bud" for his Uncle Josh.  He'll introduce himself to perfect strangers, patting his chest and saying "My-wuls" multiple times.  He points to shiny trucks on the street and says "Nice!  New one!" as if admiring them.  And of course there are the funny words that he's somehow picked up (probably learned from his dad ;) ) like "bum" "naked" and "toot."
I really feel so blessed to watch him grow.  As my belly also grows, I have to admit, it's as tiring as ever.  But I wouldn't trade it!  We sure love our buddy Miles.

June 10, 2014

10 on 10: June

As usual, I had a hard time capturing many photos from work.  But, it's almost summer time!  Happy 10th!
Linking up with others on Rebekah's blog.

June 5, 2014

Remembering Grandpa Jack

My head is full of thoughts this week, which marks 11 years since my dad lost his battle with cancer.  Has it really been that long?  Then I remember that since his death I have graduated, taught for close to eight years, married and given birth, and it sinks in.  Life has gone on.  Life has been full.  I wish more than anything that my dad were still here to see it all.  But when I really try, I can see him smiling, and feel his hand grasp my shoulder, just like he used to do at the end of my track races.  Someday I'll go through it all for him again, play by play.  And I think he'll be proud.

This week my family also prepares to celebrate the life of my Grandpa Jack, my dad's dad, with a memorial service tomorrow.  He died about a month ago, and over the last few weeks, my mom and I have been sorting through photos, meeting with funeral planners, and collecting memories, stories, and songs.  It's a lot to do, and it's a lot to take in, but at the same time, the process of reflecting on an individual's life--and a life like my grandpa's--is inspirational.  Amidst the sadness of loss, there's gratitude for what he taught me, and continues to teach me, today.
As I scanned photos onto my computer to prep for a slide show that will be shown this Friday, I smiled at the image of little "Jackie," the child who wasn't more than 3 when he began singing and dancing with his brother, Evan, on stages in Spokane.  I could almost hear the quick piano music, the beat of those little tap shoes. I imagined a town and life that would have been so much simpler in many ways--with open fields, kids playing outside, running to the corner store to buy Cracker Jacks and candy corn.

But this was also the Great Depression and soon it would be war.  I felt a lump form in my throat as I scanned the photos of my grandpa in his uniform.  How do young men leave their families and their homes to fight?  What kind of courage did he, and all of the others like him, need to wake up with each morning?  My grandpa's stories of flying in the Army Air Force as a bombardier weren't his favorites to tell (he preferred to repeat the one about swallowing two nickels when he was 3, and, well, searching for them afterwards).  But he was proud of his commitment to our country, and so am I.  I think of families today, sending their loved ones away for service and I'm reminded of what true sacrifice is.     

A few weeks ago, I thumbed through the wedding book of my grandma Maxine and grandpa Jack.  There were plenty of pictures of them, young and in love.  "Max and Jack."  I love that.  And I love that they loved each other so deeply, through my grandma's cancer, and up until the end, when she died in her mid-sixties.
I looked through a baby book that my grandma Maxine had put together, not of my dad, but of his younger brother, Brad.  The photos of their family of four made me smile.  They are so similar in a way to my own childhood photos--four of us, standing in front of the Christmas tree, or capturing a quick moment on vacation.  And soon, like my grandma, I may hold my second child in my arms, in front of a Christmas tree.  It's snapshot of a joyful life, a reminder that God blesses us in so many ways.
And then it hit me, as I stared at their faces.  They're all gone. All four of them have passed on, and all, with the exception of my grandpa, left earth before what many would have considered their time.  I'm reminded that we really don't know how long we have with the people dearest to us.  Life can change so quickly.  

How did my grandparents endure the loss of their son, Brad, in a tragic accident, when he was only 12?  How do parents survive this?  What fears did my grandparents whisper about in bed at night, as they realized that my grandma's cancer was not going away, despite chemo and radiation, and trips abroad for experimental treatments? What sadness pierced my grandpa's heart when he buried his first born son, my dad?  These things break us and make us question God's goodness and presence in our lives.  Did Grandpa lose hope sometimes?  I'm sure he did.  But anyone who knew him would say that he lived a life full of joy.  His pale blue eyes always sparkled.  He had a fabulous sense of humor.  And he was giving--so giving--of his time, resources, and love.

My grandpa's resilience in hard times reminds me of one of my favorite verses, Romans 5:3-5:
And not only that, but we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

I believe my grandpa knew that God's love is poured on us, even when life itself feels like it's pouring on us.  I know he found strength in God.  It was this strength that allowed him to continue to do extraordinary things with his life.
At age 81, he ran his first marathon.  Afterwards, he decided to take up weightlifting and went on to win two world gold medal titles when he was 82 and 83.  At age 30, I can hardly motivate myself to do yoga.

And then, a few years ago while playing tennis, he collapsed from a cardiac arrest.  I wrote about my fears of losing him back then, and believe God was not quite ready to take him home.  He moved into a memory care facility, and although his body was strong, his mind gradually succumbed to the effects of his injury.  On one of his last days, I took Miles to see him and say goodbye.  He was still talking and held my hand and whispered, "I love you SO much." He was known for his love for his family.  "Family," he once said, "is where all the love is."

I feel so blessed to have many memories of growing up with my grandpa.  I will always remember his cabin on the river where we spent many holidays and summers, snowmobiling, playing on the swing set, planting vegetables, and having BBQs on the deck.
Perhaps  more than anything, I will always remember his loving kindness.  That genuine way he would hug me, say "hiya Rach!" and tell me that he was proud of me.  I pray that I will be that kind of parent to my own children, telling them how much they mean to me, and never holding back at opportunities to show affection.
 Tomorrow will be a celebration of Grandpa Jack's life, I have no doubt.  Here's to you, Grandpa!  I'll miss you.