Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Month Old

Today my beautiful second born son is already one month old. I am doing my best to cherish each and every moment I have with him in his infancy, hold him, kiss him, love on him as much as humanly possible. I know how fast this time rushes by and so every spare moment goes to loving on him, smelling him, cuddling with him....(hence the lack of blog updates. Opps). It seems like yesterday his eyes would barely stay open wide enough and long enpough for me to see how stunningly piercingly blue they are and now he can hold my gaze for several seconds at a time, intently and wide eyed. He is growing out of clothes and into new clothes already. Gone are the 5-8lb Gerber wrap shirts and premie 0utfits that once fit him so perfectly and snuggly. Now he is finally wearing his newborn* sized clothes and footed pajamas. Big brother Finn is soooo good and sweet with his little brother, constantly running to his attention whenever he cries, rubbing his head, giving him kisses. Finn even helps change diapers (by throwing the dirty ones away). Eating and sleeping are Elliott's favorite pastime. Right around 4 weeks he went from eating every 2-3 hours to eating 3-4 hours, which means that I get a little extra sleep at night.

So all-in-all life is good really good. Apparently the economy is in the crapper, the world in shambles but here I sit in my own little Utopia, ambovelent to other harsh realities because this is my reality....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Elliott's Birth Story

When I went to my 38 week appointment, the doctor checked me and I was 2 cm. dilated, near completely effaced, and baby was at -1 station. I was measuring 42 weeks and possibly had low AF. The decision to induce labor was discussed and I decided that it was the best for both of us. The "birth date" was set for Wednesday July 1st, 3 days before my due date. I was hesitant to be induced again only because I had never really experienced any labor pains and/or didn't have a fun "water breaking in public" story to tell one day to my children who will more than likely not care anyway. I decided that waiting was silly and along the same lines of trying for a natural childbirth.

The morning of July 1st I woke up and got ready complete with make-up and freshly straightened hair. Finn was dropped off the night before to spend the night with Mimi and Papa Duck. I call the hospital an hour before (as instructed) and I am told that all the beds are full and maybe they would be calling me by early afternoon. What?!? The "waiting place" is the most horrible place to be when the thing you are 'waiting' for is a human life. There is pretty much nothing that can keep my mind off that and almost immediately I started feeling nauseous. Ahhh....but John knows me all too well and decided that we should spend the morning shopping. It actually turned out to be a lovely morning, just he and I together, which is so rare these days. Then the morning came and went and soon it was the afternoon and there was still no call from the hospital. My stomach ache returned and was followed by a mild headache.

My parents arrived from Chicago around 3PM. Then finally around 4 PM the hospital called and told us they were ready for us. Finally!!! Of course we were all packed and ready to go and rushed right over there. We were checked into our room at 5:15PM.

My final belly shot at 39 Weeks

The story becomes painfully boring at this point because I am checked again for dilatation and nothing has changed from my 38 week appointment and they start the Pitocin drip at 2mg. A half an hour later it is turned to 4mg. Then another half an hour the new 'feisty' nurse turns it to 6mg, all the while I am feeling nothing and just reading magazines. At this point the nurse disappears for over and hour and the next person to walk into my room is Dr. Meckler who explains that my nurse has been working on an admin issue involving me not having an HIV test on record. Oh, please. She clears the issue and sets the pit at 7mg. It is about 7:30 PM. The Pitocin keeps getting turned up like this and around 1:30 AM they page the on call doc in to break my water. I wonder to myself if I should ask for the epidural even though I am not in any real pain, just a bit uncomfortable. I decide to wait. John falls asleep. Nothing continues to happen.

Looking a little disheveled but still smiling...

I decided to get the epidural sometime around 3 AM, mainly because I was hoping it would help me relax and get some sleep. At this point the nurse decides my fluid levels are too low and pumps my uterus with water to give the baby more room to move. At 7 AM my doctor returns and I had just been checked by the nurse and was still only 3-4 cm dilated. You've got to be kidding me. My doctor heads into surgery and I continue to wait. At this point the Pitocin is up to about 18mg. I feel no pain, just tired and hungry.

Finally somewhere around 8AM I start to feel a whole lot of pressure and I tell John that I am positive I am close to 10 cm. I feel ready to push. My nurse comes in to check and sure enough I am ready!! But my doctor isn't so they turned the Pitocin off and turned the epidural up. Fantastic...more waiting. I stayed like this until almost 11 AM when my doctor showed up and they prepared the room. Five easy pushes and 15 minutes later Elliott was here but not before he made a grand entrance, just like his big bro. This boy had the cord wrapped around his neck and so when he came out he was grayish blue instead of the nice rosy pink color he should have been. The baby nurses immediately started massaging him and extracting fluids from his mouth. I, on the other hand, nearly bled to death on the bed while being injected with several doses of blood clotters and yet somehow I could not have been happier.

The bleeding eventually stopped and they brought Elliott to me all wrapped up and looking quite pink and healthy and hungry. He immediately latches on enjoys his first meal a la boob.

You know, all the waiting was a pain in the ass. It really was and seemed sooo many times that it could have been avoided but I tell you, I would have waited an eternity to enjoy those moments after birth when he was brought back to me to eat. It was one of the happiest I had ever been in my life. I felt cheated out of this part of the experience with Finn. He was taken from me and sent to Special Care for 72 long horrible hours. So after an entire day of waiting to check into the hospital, 18 hours of a long boring pit drip, 15 minutes of painless pushing, almost an hour after birth of near bleeding to death it was all so worth it to be able to hold my baby in my arms and nourish him for the first time outside my womb. He never left my arms after that and slept by my side on the bed all through the night. Another precious and gorgeous baby boy. My second little man. Elliott William.

How so VERY easy it is to open your heart and love someone else so much, so fast. Sooo EASY.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So In Love...

I can't put him down long enough to type out a coherent sentence. Somethings I will note about this week though.
1) I love having John home and fear the day he returns back to work.
2) The boy loves Boob. His discharge weight was 7lbs 3.5oz!! Pretty darn good for a BF baby.
3) OMG..he is so darn cute. How did I get so lucky to have two really cute baby boys?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Surprise! It's a Boy or a Girl?

I'm all about steering my children away from gender stereotypes but this, in my opinion is taking it too far. I keep Finn's hair on the long-ish side for a boy, I have let him apply lip gloss to his lips, and when he stares lovingly at himself in the mirror I choose to call him "cute" rather than "handsome". Heck, I even let him walk our streets with a little pink stroller. But if he comes to me as a Kindergartner asking if he can wear a dress to school...the answer will be a very carefully constructed and sensitive "No".

Kids can be cruel! Pops parents are paving the way for a lifetime of teasing. We live in a society where gender roles happen to be strictly defined, perhaps a bit too much, however that is the way it is. To each there own, I guess, but this is a child and he has no voice in the matter.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome Home! Love Your Outfit.

The way I see it, my poor gestating fetus has been buck naked for 9 some odd months. The least I can do is dress he/she up in some fancy clothes to come home in, after all this is my area d'expertise. So I have a couple of wardrobe options depending on sex, skin tone, shape (or build if he is a he)**, and other important personal characteristics. First and foremost, the most important feature here is comfort. I am going with 100% organic cotton. I also want to pay attention to the baby's healing belly button and make it as easy as possible to change diapers. I present you with option #1:

This is a chocolate brown infant kimono with a lighter brown coffee-ish colored piping and it is so small you would think it was made for dolls. Completely adorable. Option # 2 is a cute striped number by Zutano's Itzy Bitzy line for newborns:

This, being blue, looks more boy-ish to me and even though I would have no problem dressing it on a girl, I think I would only choose option 2 over option 1 if we have a baby boy who is pushing 9+ pounds. So with that said this is a definite contender. I also purchased a few packs of sex-specific receiving blankets made By Dwell Studio for Target (ridiculously sweet/affordable line that, style-wise, is right up my alley):

**Realizing that all newborn babies look like miniature sized, old, Asian men but STILL.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

36 1/2 Weeks

This update comes a bit late (shocker, I know) as I will actually be 37 weeks on Saturday. The late afternoon exhaustion that I encountered in my first trimester has reared its ugly head and it has become hard for me to do much more during Finn's nap than surf the interwebz reading scads of other women's birth storys or the latest news on the Gosselins (Seriously- what is up with them? Quit the damn show already. Whatever it takes for your family, right Kate??).

So there's that. And my child is the size of some Swiss Chard this week I think...and weighs about as much as a crenshaw melon (that's about 6 pounds, of course, but you knew that). Baby E is moving a lot less this week - not a whole lot of room (!) - but I am moving a whole hell of a lot the bathroom.

Speaking of that, I am not sleeping well these days. I have been waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, which I know is very common and many women have to go several times in the night, but I never had to and until now and have enjoyed decent sleep to boot. Not to mention the heartburn/indigestion....I am averaging about 6 tums a day at this point. It is also become pretty hot in our bedroom due to the 90+ degree weather. So, I'd say that I am almost ready now. I'd say give me another 1-2 weeks to get all the rest of 'my ducks in a row' and I'll be searching the web for a good eggplant parmigiana recipe....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

We arrived home safely and happily from our quick getaway to the River this past weekend. It was the first of three important events that I did not want to miss by going into labor early, followed by my hair cut/color on the 25th and ending with the last day of Finn's swim class July 2nd. We had a lovely time, basking in the glory that was our cabin hideaway in Dora, Mo overlooking the quite majestic North Fork River. The idea for the vacation was conceived by John wanting to get away for his birthday to a river, other than the Meramac, either in MO and AK. Since this was what he wanted for his birthday, I decided to take the responsibility of finding the 'perfect' place. His one and only criterion, other than the river not being the Meramac, was that the cabin overlooked said river. Luckily, being the master of inter web searching that I am, I was able to locate The River of Life Farm. I evaluated each of there cabins and not shockingly chose the most expensive one only to be disappointed to find that it was booked the weekend of John's birthday. We decided this spot was too good to pass up and changed the weekend.

Upon arrival, we were not surprised why this cabin is booked solid through out the summer. I mean....WOW.....just wow. Reality far surpassed the elegant pictures that accompany their website. It was everything that one could hope for in cabin up in the trees overlooking the river. Some highlights of the weekend included sitting outside on the deck reading and listening to the peaceful sound of rushing water below, watching a bald eagle soar above us and then perch itself on a dead tree branch directly across the river from us, taking a float trip in a Canoe with virtually no one else on the river but us, and hiking (yes, me, I hiked) up a trail to a spot called "Inspiration Point" where we were able to take in spectacular views and spot more juvenile eagles and the bald eagle once again.

As much as this weekend was for John and a celebration of the beginning of his 31st year, it was also about taking a vacation for the last time, just the three of us. I often think about these days, days that Finn will never remember, as an only child. I wonder why I tried so hard. Why I decided to dedicate the entire month of May to doing fun things with him, just he and I, when he won't be able to remember the laughter and the smiles. Hopefully, one day when he is old enough to understand he will be able to read this and rifle through countless pictures and know that this was important to me as his mother. That I will be able to tell him about the month before his brother or sister was born and how much fun we had togther and how much I cherished these past 20 months of togetherness more than anything in the world and how special and beautiful it always is....most of the time. That I am so anxious and excited to see how great of a big brother he will be to the newest little duck.

* Our weekend ended with a lovely visit to The Nixon's home in Arkansas to visit with Jerry and Katy and enjoy a delicious lunch and engage in good conversation. Finn was smitten with Katy, and she got a few hugs from our new found cuddily little boy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

35 Weeks

A Blog? Um, what blog? Wait I have a blog? Oh, I forgot.

Yeah, that about sums up how I feel these days. That and the late afternoon extreme exhaustion/still can't nap during the day syndrome, coupled with the feeling of carrying a watermelon between my legs walking around wondering if a baby may just fall out on to the floor at any moment (how was that for a visual, huh?) Oh and wait, I forgot the ever present feeling of guilt of not being able to keep up with my very active toddler. He runs much much faster than me these days and has the energy level of emo raver strung out on coke at an all night disco. Can't. Keep. Up.

But wait! There is light at the end of the misery tunnel! In my inter web research I was able to find that being 8-9 months pregnant is actually harder than caring or a newborn + toddler. That is reassuring news!! So really I am no longer scared of the creepy floaty baby in the sidebar anymore. 30 days left? Yipppee Skipee!

We've been out having too much fun...

So what have we been up to the past couple of weeks? Well, in an extreme self-loathing moment when I was on the phone in near tears with my mom my dad offered to come pick Finn and I up for a much needed 'break' away from the monotony. We had a wonderful three days in Woodstock, one of which included a trip to the Abbey Grand Lodge, the resort I vacationed at as a child to use there indoor pool facilities(in true Woodstock fashion the weather was cold/rainy and in the 50's). My mom drove us home on Friday and babysat for us that night so I could take John out for his birthday. We had a lovely outdoor dinner followed by....wait for it....BOWLING. Yeah, what a sight, right? Aside from the fact that I felt like I could tip over at any moment and roll down the lane and I looked like I was stealing one of the balls on the way out, it was actually quite fun!

A rare pic of Finn with my mom, if even just of her back, at the park in Crystal Lake

Well, that brings me to the first week of June, aka, the start of the last month of my pregnancy. I didn't realize until today that I have a PACKED CALENDAR this month. Finn started his summer day out program at Webster Presbyterian Church this past Monday. Next week we start swim classes. Next weekend we leave for our river vacation. The 4th of July will be here in no time flat. This boy (?) needs a name ASAP!!!!

Appropriately dressed in black as if mourning the loss of my pre-babe body

*Update on the pregnancy: I went to my 35 week appointment today. Baby is doing well, measuring 5lbs/11oz. I am 1 CM dilated and the head is down.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh, the Places He'll Go!

So it's official. Finn is heading to PRESCHOOL this fall. Yep, he is and I couldn't be happier for him. He is going to learn to speak Spanish. He is going to interact with lots of children his age and he is going to love it. I, on the other hand, sort of want to die a little inside. Mah BABY!!!! Noooo!

This was not our plan at all. The plan was to find a good school that he would be able to attend in a year or so when we were all ready for him to go. Then a couple things happened. We found a great, no amazing, school where he could learn more than just his colors, letters, and numbers. The school is aimed exactly for children HIS age. And that's not all folks...he is ready to be away from me for a few days a week. He yearns for interaction outside the house. I know it. He is bored with our coloring, our toys, our playgroups. I can play with him all day long and can still get the sense that he wants more. Not to mention the fact that he has a new brother or sister on the way and my time will be split even further. He's ready and I'm heartbroken just thinking about it, and oh, did I mention that it's just for 3 days a week until January?

"You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sites! "

He will be attending the International Schoolhouse in Olivette which is a Spanish immersion program I was lucky enough to find while researching a local Charter school. We met his coordinator and teachers and they were so SO impressive. The price is right and honestly I haven't felt this passionate about a school related decision since I decided to move to NYC to go to FIT. He will be in a play-based class with children who are 24-30 months old until January and then he will move to 5DAY A WEEK class until he is ready for Kindergarten. This means that he will be potentially be there for 4 years. We have NO INTENTIONS of sending him to Kindergarten early, in fact, quite the opposite.

"And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. "

I am so excited for him. I am eager to see him grow in this new challenge and learn a new language (actually more than just being excited for him I am jealous...I want to learn Spanish too. Insert sad frowny face here). I have been struggling planning each of our weeks with fun activities and attending as many playgroup dates as possible and I know he is a happy child. But....what else can I do? Each day that I grow more and more pregnant it becomes harder for me to run around and chase him and throw him around and I can tell he senses a big life change is headed his way. He is a perceptive kid. He sees this growing belly. We read him the Little Golden book Baby Dear where the little girl gets a new doll and a new baby sister. He totally gets it. I am constantly conflicted with I doing enough? Is he getting bored with me? He is such a social child and he only regularly sees maybe 3-4 people in his life. He needs/wants more and he will be able to have that in a safe and lovely setting. So off he goes August 31st which marks the second biggest day of our summer.

"You're off to great places! You're off and away"

I would just like to take a moment to congratulate my future sister-in-law, Rene, on graduating from LAW SCHOOL this past weekend. I think Dr.Suess would be very impressed with this very important direction you've chosen as am I. Well done.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sick Tot & Ouch....Not Doing Well Today

Poor Finn. He was/continues to be miserable with a cold. It sounds like it is breaking up but it is hard to say. I also thought I caught him a couple of times grabbing at his throat, but when I went to go touch it to see if he reacted, he laughed like crazy. A ticklish Adam's apple he has.

Poor me. I am a crampy, contracting mess. Its bothersome even when I am lying down. I called the doc just to be on the safe side and they moved my appointment from Friday to tomorrow instead.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

31 Weeks & Living Someone Else's Pregnancy

SO it appears that I have skipped another weekly update. Oh well. I am beginning to reach a point where I can see the light (baby) at the end of the tunnel (birth canal). I guess that's natures' way of taking care of things in due course. During my 2nd trimester I felt like I was on top of the world; full of energy, life, confidence, even feeling somewhat attractive and happy with my fuller pregnant figure. Nesting overdrive I have been able clean out the basement and send a whole big bag of stuff to Goodwill, clean out the spare bedroom closet, wash the 0-3 baby clothes/bibs/blankets. Now knee-deep in my 3rd trimester, I, for the most part feel tired, bloated, less confidant, and not at aaalllllllll attractive. I have gained 37 pounds already (poundage from 0-31weeks), which means its going to be REALLY hard to stay within my 35-40 pound weight gain goal. I may have to revert to the doctors numbers regarding weight gain to feel better about it all (according to my doc who saw me at 9 weeks I have 'only' gained 25 pounds). Not to mention the fact that I have developed new symptoms I never experienced before with Finn. For example, I am actually have contractions/cramping. Yeah, CRAZY. I also feel a sensation where the baby is so low that I feel like it could almost just fall out when I am walking around (my bff, Nicole, first made me aware of this and now I know exactly what she was talking about. Not cool).

The baby is moving around even more these days and the movements are so exaggerated and strong that I feel like I am carrying around a toddler in my belly instead of a newborn. Which reminds me of my most recent doctor visit. The baby is measuring 'big' when she measures my uterus with the tape. I am going to have a 35 week ultrasound for growth, so it not just me...this baby might actually be really big! At this point the baby should weigh about 3.3 pounds, the size of a bag of navel oranges or perhaps a nice big meat-y sirloin steak.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are You Goin to Scarborough's Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme....are all growing in my backyard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

29 Weeks & oops...I Somehow Skipped 28 Weeks

That's what happens when you are having too much fun running around all day with your toddler chasing leaves and catching the wind. Nothing monumental happened my last week worth writing about anyway. My symptoms never changed and transitioning to trimester three proved to be quite anti-climatic. Yay!! This week I am even sleeping better than normal, which means falling asleep easily and sleeping soundly until 6:30 AM. Something new that has happened this week is that I am anxious to find out more about this person moving inside of me. This is the biggest downside to not finding out the sex with your second child. You are much more in tune to what is happening inside of you and it feels weird now that he/she's movements are so....human-like....that I yearn to know more about them. Not sure if that made ANY sense, whatsoever. I also feel a bit unprepared and anxious when I think about the sex of my child. If she is a she than there are a few "feminine" baby items I need would like to have ahead of time. If he is a he, then he needs a name. This is just ridiculous and I blame it on nesting.

Since we've only had 2 days of insanely good weather here (have I mentioned that I run cold-er during pregnancy than even normal which is insane) I still cannot bare my stomach to even my most loved and cherished friends and family. I give you a 'covered' 29 week belly shot:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Finn-tastic Week

I dedicated this entire week to having fun adventures with Finn. Just the two of us doing whatever he loves best which more often than not will involve sticks or running or a combo of the two which for me spells D-A-N-G-E-R. The closer I get to becoming a mother of two (the floating baby tells me I have 71 days left), the more anxious I feel about spending as much quality time as possible with my beloved firstborn baby. Finn is living out his final days of only-childom and even though he doesn't realize it quite yet, I do and I feel the need to make this time as special as possible for him. John and I also planned a mini river vacation in June, not only to celebrate John turning 31 (a little late), but to take our last trip as a family of three.

I really wanted to try and take him to new/exciting locations that we have never visited before or change it up appropriately by adding new activities. I give you a week in review via photos:

Tuesday afternoon spent gazing at eye level airplanes at the Science Center

Wednesday morning spent at Mary's house with the playgroup, playing with all of AJ's toys

An amazing Thursday afternoon feeding the ducks (and swan) at Lafayette Square Park

Friday morning running through the hosta plants after feeding the fish at the Botanical Gardens

And finally the topper on the cake, the grand finale to end all of fabulous weeks...a sunny Saturday afternoon spent with Dee-da (Finn's new name for John):

In Tower Grove Park where Dee-da scored Finn some balll-ooons...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fashion Friday: Fun with Finn!

Location: The Botanical Gardens Childrens Park
Striped Tee: Splendid Littles,
Cargo Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Puma 'Drift Cat II' Sneaker, Nordstrom

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Old Friends and New Friends

The weekend was fantastic. First, there was really nothing better than getting to see and catch up with some of my oldest and dearest friends. Second, my Dinner party went off without a hitch and the happy couple got hitched and all around the birds sang a sweet song. This was only my second official planned party to date with the first being Finn's birthday (I consider it to be a party when there is 10 or more in attendance. This particular party included 12 people). A couple benefits to being pregnant is that one, if you look remotely decent you're going to get complimented. People, in general, have really low expectations of how one should look when pregnant like fat and bloated, for example. I am luckily still in a stage where my huge boobs overshadow much of the bloating and the huge beach ball attached to my waist. And two, people are gonna go out of their way to help clean up because God forbid you should have to be up on your feet working at 7 months pregnant. Anyway, the food and drinks were consumed by all (except yours truly) and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Finally, you know you hosted a good party when the last of your guests walk home strumming a guitar and your toddler's potty doubles as a puke bowl. Good times.

The last of our weekend guests left yesterday and today it was back to our old routine. I felt like I had jipped Finn out of an entire week of fun activities in lieu of preparing for our big weekend so I am making it a goal to take him somewhere new and exciting everyday this week. Not to mention the fact that I just missed him. That one on one best friend stuff that we normally do together. Which is crazy if you think about it....I mean I am with him everyday yet if I am not mentally involved in our daily activities I feel like I am missing out somehow. He is sooo my BFF. So, today we went to the Science Museum and ran around all the exhibits like a couple of crazy weirdos. Tomorrow we have a play date with a new mom's group. Later this week I hope to go to The Loop and listen to records and chill on the playground and eat ice cream since the weather is (finally) going to be IN THE 80's. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In completely unrelated news I decided to go BACK to the bangs. You know how 'they' tell you never to make drastic changes to your looks when you are pregnant? Well, I am SO glad I did. The bangs cover my ever expanding fat face. They were soooo necessary. So screw you, THEY, and your stupid rules.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet Me (and Finn) in St.Louis....

A huge advantage to staying at home and raising children is being able to familiarize oneself with the city they live in. For me that city is none other than the great St.Louis, Missouri. After being home with Finn for the past year, I feel pretty well versed in kid-approved day trips in/around St.Louis. In my personal experience the following destinations are not only fun for the young ones but also for 'kids' of all ages. I now present you with The Ducks' Top Destinations for fun in St.Louis (in no particular order):

The St.Louis Zoo, Forest Park:

This is probably one of my favorite spots to go in St.Louis and I have sung its praises here and there and pretty much to anyone who will listen. This is my favorite zoo in the whole wide world and delicious icing on the zoo cake is that it is FREE. The St.Louis Zoo is the third largest in the country and is home to 22, 805 exotic animals many of them rare or endangered. Some of our favorite exhibits include the sea lion show, The river's edge (an elephant exhibit), and the big cat country. There is also a great children's zoo where kids can pet the animals and carousel, both of which are free the first hour of the day that they are open.

The Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove:

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark with 79 acres of beautiful scenic landscaping and structures. The entrance fee is $8 for adults and free to children 12 and under. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings it is free to everyone. Some of Finn's favorite activities include feeding the giant Koi fish in the Japanese Gardens and running through the maze gardens. The Botanical Gardens can even be a great winter destination with a visit through the Climatron, a glass geodesic dome through which you can stroll through even when there is snow on the ground.

Grant's Farm South Saint Louis:

Animal shows, a tram ride through the wildlife preserve and a petting area...what more could a kid want? It is home to more than 100 different species from 6 different continents. The farm is owned and operated by the Anheuser-Busch family estate and was once owned by former president, Ulysses S. Grant of whom the Farm is named after . It is free to all ages and there is no reservation required.

The Delmar Loop (named after the old streetcar turnaround), University City:

The street known as Delmar Blvd (Soon to be Barack Obama Blvd.) is a destination in itself. Founder Joe Edwards, music promoter and one of Johns hero's, single-handedly turned one of St.Louis sagging neighbors around 30 years ago turning it into a cultural attraction today. The Loop has something for everyone: great little one-of-a-kind inexpensive restaurants, playgrounds, unique stores, and theatres. One of our family's favorite jaunts in the loop is a record store called Vintage Vinyl. It has music stations set up with headphones and new music available to listen to on the spot. Anyone can download music clips from youtube or itunes but in my opinion nothing beats a good old fashioned headphone in the record store experience.

The Gateway Arch, Downtown St.Louis:

Although Finn has yet to visit The Arch in downtown St.Louis, this is an attraction for older kiddos and is not be missed. Standing 630 ft. tall, The Arch is our nations tallest man-made monument and has plenty of exciting activities. You can take a tram ride to the top, see a documentary film about the history of the Arch, or explore the Lewis and Clark exhibit. The Arch has been one of St. Louis most popular tourist attraction since it was built in October 1965.

Monday, April 13, 2009

27 Weeks, Maybe 28

Every OB visit my doc goes back and forth with my due date, sometimes it's the 4th of July and sometimes it's the 11th. At my 8 week ultrasound I measured on the 11th and then my 13th and 16th week ultrasounds I measured on the 4th. The actual "due date" doesn't really matter to me because really, only 5 % of babies are actually born on their due dates. Not to mention that I don't see myself actually ever going into labor. Water breaking, contractions, mucus plug. Doubt it all to the third. This baby will probably be forced out a little early just like Finn. The bottom line is I just started my 3rd trimester. Yay!!

So, my little Chinese cabbage is growing nicely....just a tad over 2 pounds now and about 15 inches long. Some new symptoms have presented themselves, some continue, and some are now long gone. I am starting to get ligament pain, which is not really pain so much as an odd stretching/pulling feeling in my hip/lower abdominal area. I remember this very clearly from last time and it's not that bothersome. Also, DREADED heartburn has set in. So far it's not as bad as last time (probably b/c I am remembering 9 mo heartburn vs. 6 mo heartburn). I am waking up everyday at 5:45 now vs. 6:20. Damn. It's just going to get earlier and earlier from here, I suppose.

My nesting habit has gone into O-V-E-R-drive. Let me tell ya, today I made no less than 7 lists. I even made a list of lists. And I can't even be IN the house if the house is not top to bottom clean. Laundry rarely sits and waits for a full load before it is in the wash to be cleaned. I have a date set for the First Annual Duckworth Spring Cleaning Event and I am literally counting down the days. If I could, I would replace creepy floaty baby ticker with a Spring Cleaning ticker. Maybe a little washing machine going round and a round with 19 days left counting down for me. Now ThAT is more my speed these days. I am so sure my little cabbage could care less about clean laundry and organized closets is what it is.

I am SERIOUSLY no longer underweight. NO longer is that an ISSUE anymore, Self. So get the memo, kay?? I had to hide the girl scout cookies from myself which is quite easy these days since I have pregnancy amnesia. I have NO idea where they are, so GOOD. So in light of that I give you a 27/28ish week pic:

(There will be NO MORE exposed belly shots while my HUGE stomach is pasty pale white)

**A side note about my firstborn...Finn does not have a hernia, which means no immediate surgical intervention is necessary. Yay! However, he does have a hydrocele. Boo. The surgeon says it could disappear by age 2, so we have a follow up visit in 6 months so he can decide if it needs to be removed or not.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finn Fashion Friday: A Brisk April Morning

Location: Natural History Museum in Forest Park
Cable Knit Sweater:
Gap Kids
Plaid Flannel Shirt:
Denim Jeans:
Old Navy
Boots: Vintage

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fashion Past and Present

In my pre-house wifey/mommy life I lived and breathed fashion. I would leaf through fashion magazines drooling over the glossy pages like a sex addict with a copy of penthouse. I saved stacks and stacks of mags and when it got ridiculous I would cut out my favorite articles or editorial pages and stash them in a binder for future reference (I still have these binders upstairs in my spare room) I planned my outfits out meticulously and sometimes I would write down my favorite 'looks' in my journal for future reference. It was my one true passion and it was what defined me most. In the fall of my Junior year at Purdue University I was leaving my fashion marketing class after recruiters from F.I.T came to speak with my class, that I wondered what the hell was I doing in West Lafayette anyway? If I was really serious about turning this into a career I needed to be in the fashion capitol of the U.S., plain and simple. The day that I decided to move to New York City will forever be burned into my brain, along with my wedding day and Finn's birth.

The 3 1/2 years that followed were filled with constant affirmations of my decision to move there. The classes were taught by professors who held real life fashion executives roles in their former lives and I received the best education of my life. Not only that but I spent my spare time shopping trendy, one of a kind stores and attending Museum Openings celebrating the careers of people like Bob Mackie and Cher. There job placement program landed me several interviews proceeded by several offers and I was left to decide which option I was best suited for. In the end I chose to stay in New York and took a job with Federated Merchandising Group working as a Product Assistant for INC. I learned a great deal about the business of fashion that first year and was quickly promoted. I was also lucky enough to attend a photo shoot in the Meatpacking District featuring Heather Mills as our celeb model. One day we were standing around the studio when lo and behold Sir Paul himself gets out the limo and kisses his misses goodbye (good times..... and poor unknowing bastard).

It was around that time that I decided enough is enough with New York. I'm broke, yo! And after a series of events including falling in love with the man that is now my husband, I moved to good ole St.Louis. So what's a Manolo-clad, Gucci-bag toting girl to do in the city best known for it's huge metal monument and Cardinal baseball?? Like kismet, the same month I started looking for a job, a Nordstrom was opening its doors nearby. I started in Sales in the Designer Department and in eight short months I became the manager of the department. In my role I was able to not only dress people in amazing fashion and build a kick-ass clientele, but I was also able to put my signature mark on the department through merchandising and business development. I became a mentor to some and I was known for my great style and eye for colors and putting looks together to suit peoples individual personality. Yay! My calling! Cue the singing angels!

Fashion was here and there and everywhere and I not only worked the business end but I also had a quick stint in modeling (kidding, I'm not). I made a friend at Nordstrom, a keen business woman who quit to open her own store. She asked me to model clothes for her store and several months later she would ask me to catwalk a runway (yikes). She would pay me in clothes from the store, which were worth there weight in gold.

(my past life colliding with my present as I prepare to walk the catwalk, 2 months pregnant)

The passion I felt for my work would only be out-numbered by the intense love I felt for my son when he was born and knowing that being without him for the majority of the day was no way an option for me. Every smile and coo from him was like a drug and I needed my fix like a typical junkie. It was a whole new and exciting world and I LOVED (love) every minute of it. Fashion continues to play a role in my life, albeit a much smaller role and it comes through in strange ways (Finn is by far the best dressed baby in his playgroup hands down, peeps). But day in and day out I am reminded by what I would miss the most....the fashion. The days new shipments would arrive in the department filled to the brim with brand new Missoni and Cavalli and all the girls nearby would flock like sheep to drool over it. The days my favorite clients would walk into the department looking to me to show them what's new, what's hot or dress them for local events. The days when I would spend way too much time standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear or what accessory goes best with what outfit. And then I look over at my son, with his thick and tosseled sandy colored hair rocking it out in cowboy boots and thin wale cords and think I am totally were I am supposed to be right now.

(So innocent and unknowing and has no idea what crazy ideas his momma has in store for him)

Monday, April 6, 2009

26 weeks & Closing in on 2nd

This weekend marks the beginning of the last week of my 2nd trimester. So long 2nd!! Thank you for the size D's, the healthy appetite and all the energy. Thanks for keeping me relatively sane, despite a few emotional breakdowns here and there. You were the best trimester and oh how I will miss you dearly! And now on to my last and final trimester. The evil 3rd. Please go easy on me, no heartburn, sleepless nights, and NO obese face-itis this time, please....pretty please?

I am kicking myself for adding the creepy floaty fetus ticker to the left of my blog. Every time I come here it sits there with its huge head floating around, numbers dwindling down before my eyes, reminding me that there are just days left of this pregnancy. You see, months seem so much longer. It's like you say....well I still have 3 months. 14 weeks. Okay, that's a lot of time to me, but 90 days...NINETY DAYS...wha...whah..what??? THAT'S IT?! See ya! I got to get to Target to get some more newborn swaddlers and nipple cream, STAT!!

(unfortunately, obese face-itis has already set in....)

So fetus 2.0 continues to be a super duper active baby and is really starting to enjoy or hate passionately the Baby Plus monitor because he/she kicks wildly every lesson. I am constantly being asked if this pregnancy has been different than the first. Pretty much it has been the same. I would definitely say this baby is more active on the whole. Not to mention that he/she kicked me for the first time at a mere 13 weeks! I am not sure how much of this/that has to do with my keen awareness this time around. Everything was so unknown and questionable last time.....was that a kick or the tuna melt I ate earlier digesting?

According to Babycenter at 26 weeks, the fetus' ears are now more sensitive and may be able to distinguish my voice to others. Cuteness!!! Time to start getting back into music/stop bitching at John all the time. Speaking of Babycenter, I could hardly wait to find out what food my babe was compared to this week after last weeks rutabaga debacle.....Ready for THIS???? Well ready or not here it is...........................................................................................

(an English hothouse cucumber)

I don't know about you, but for me there is nothing like a large phallic looking vegetable to get me in the mood for birthin' children.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thought of the Day

When one can't wait for April showers to bring May flowers....

....One doesn't always have to. Oh, my sweet and thoughtful husband. I do loves him alot.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


This week marked the ever magical age of 1 & 1/2 years of life for Finn. I think magic is definitely the appropriate word to define this age. He is learning and doing all of these new things daily that it makes my head spin in wonderment. New words blurt out of his mouth like magic....this week I can add bus, teddy, door, mole, and hand to the ever growing list of word and before long I will no longer be able to keep track. I find myself wondering "how did he learn that?" when he puts puzzles together and stacks blocks by color. Our new favorite activities include finding the "little mouse" in Goodnight Moon on each page and racing small cars to see "who" will win.

Every little thing he does is magic. Every little thing he do just makes me smile. Even though my life before was tragic. Now I know my love for him goes on.
I get chastised for not making a big to do about birthday's as an adult, but with children it's another story. A story where this week is one of the brightest and happiest of my life because I am the proud mom of an 18 month old perfectly amazing human being. And if that is not a reason to celebrate than I don't know what is.

On to less sappy topics. I took Finn to his 18 month check up today. Some good news, some potential bad news. First his stats:

Weight: 27 pounds, 13 ounces (75th percentile)
Height: 34 inches (97th percentile)

So the good news is that developmentally speaking he is right on track. In fact, the boy was showing off in front of the doctor. He said 'ball' and 'teddy' right there in front of her, almost as if he had been coached (no, I didn't....I would neeeeeevvver do anything like that). He's running, he's pointing, he's stacking blocks as tall as his head. No problem.

So the bad news is he may have a hernia. I know. Sucks. We have a consult with a (gasp) Pediatric Surgeon at Cardinal Glennon Hospital. No sense in worrying about this until we get it confirmed, and even then, it is apparently "really common" and "nothing to worry about." So that is that.