Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2 Daughters!

Hey, I have two daughters now! Just thought I would try typing that out to see how it looks! :)

Kathryn Grace was born 4/21/2011 at 10:05 a.m.  She weighed 7 lbs 15 ounces, 20.5 inches long and she is just a healthy sweet little thing!  We are getting into our new family groove, slowly but surely.

More to come later. Things are a little busy around here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here we go again!

We are one week away from the big day and getting super excited!  My blood pressure has gotten high this last week, and I have the very beginning signs of pre-eclampsia (sounds familiar, as this happened at the same point in my last pregnancy).  I had protein in my urine, a low platelet count, and elevated blood pressure this week.  Top that off with my very puffy fingers and feet, and my doctor was getting a tad worried.  As things stand right now,  I do not have pre-eclampsia, but apparently this condition can go from borderline to very bad in a short amount of time, so my doctor is being cautious.

I have another follow-up appointment on Monday, and the C-Section is scheduled for Thursday.  So unless  we get some very bad signs on Monday, everything still looks on track for April 21st.  The only thing I am still worried about is my low platelet count could lead to some problems with clotting after the surgery.  Also, if my count goes any lower, they will not be able to do a spinal epidural, and would have to put me under general anesthesia during the C-Section.  That is so not what I want, as I really would like to be awake and aware of my baby's birth!!! So let's hope and pray for things to stabilize over the next week!  Until then, I am on bedrest and trying to take it easy.  So it will be a week of iPhone games, TV and books for me.  Sounds fun!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kathryn's Nursery!

Well we have finally finished the new nursery! Only 11 days away from Kathryn's arrival and I just put the finishing touches on it.  It's a little different than with Alex's nursery, which we finished about 4 months before she was born! Things are much more difficult to get finished when you are trying to watch after a busy and mischievous toddler at the same time! 

I chose a Tiffany Blue and White color scheme, although it is difficult to see the color of it in these photos due to the lighting.  

I couldn't find a side table (that was affordable) that I liked in a white or pink color, so I bought a black one from Target and Rich painted it.

I made a little craft project by adapting something I found on the web.  I had planned to make the little hanging balls like the ones on her blog as well, but after I started to make the heart and saw how time-consuming it was, I sort of fizzled out.  Maybe I will do it later. :)

Wall butterflies are from Target, we just spray-painted one of them pink to go with the theme.

Now we are just ready for the baby!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Square One

Alex has been enrolled in the same daycare since she was about 4 months old.  It was 2 minutes away from our old home, based out of a church, and is a non-profit organization.  It is NAEYC-accredited (National Association for the Education of Young Children, a very difficult accreditation program that few daycares attain).  It was the first and last daycare that I toured, because I knew right away that it was perfect.  But I was really just going on gut-feeling, not because I knew much about the subject.   Now that I have toured and researched so many other daycares, I realize how lucky we were to simply stumble into such a gem.

We moved to the opposite side of town about a year ago, but I still work a sales territory that is relatively close to the daycare, so I have been making the commute with her for what I thought was a short-term basis.  It is extremely inconvenient, because half of my work territory isn't next to the daycare, so I drive 30-45 minutes to drop her off, then drive 30 more minutes out to a different part of town, work a full-day, drive to pick her up, and then drive 30-45 minutes back home.  It would make things easier if Rich and I could split up the drop-off and pick-ups, but his work is actually in the opposite direction, and even though he offers, I just don't like adding any more hours to his already over-full 60-70 hour work-week.

While I'm on maternity leave, I knew that we still wanted Alex in something part-time, just to give her some consistency and make it easier on her when I go back to work.  But the commute was going to be a problem, so I have been researching and touring many options close to our house.  I thought I found the right one, so we said goodbye to our friends and teachers at the old daycare last week.

We tried out the new daycare/preschool option this past week.  I planned to take her, stay for a little while, and then leave her for just a couple hours on the first day to get her used to it.  When we got there, the director said she needed to see how many kids they had in the classroom and make sure they had room.  What? I had already arranged to enroll her this week, but okay.  She came back and said we were fine to start that day, so we went into the new classroom.  We were greeted absentmindedly by one of the teachers, who was holding a screaming toddler and trying to shuttle 3 other toddlers into another classroom because they were now over their "ratio."

I sat down and just observed.  Observed the chaos.

Just a few of my observations:

  • The screaming toddler never stopped crying in the hour that I was there.  One of the teachers said, "Oh, he cries all day long."  It was unsettling. Now I'm not saying my Alex doesn't show off her lungs every so often just like the next kid.  But the fact that the teachers were completely fine that this poor boy had tears streaming down his face and could barely take a breath because he was crying so hard disturbed me.  
  • They had a table with crayons scattered on it, which Alex immediately saw and wanted to play with.  (Side note: What do 1-2 year olds do with crayons when unsupervised? EAT them! Which is why you don't just leave them out on a table for free-helping!)  One teacher said to the other, "Where do you keep the paper in here? Do we have any art paper?" They scrambled and got some paper, and Alex sat down with her paper and about 20 crayons thrown on the table and proceeded to draw.  She started drawing circles on her paper, and the teacher couldn't stop exclaiming about it! "Wow, she draws circles already?!" I thought, yeah, she is almost 2, but then I looked around at the other almost-2-year olds and they were barely able to hold a crayon, much less draw anything with  conscious direction.
  • I asked the teacher if she was new to this classroom (since she didn't know if they had any paper) and she said "Yeah, I normally watch the after-school kids, but they have me in here today." The other teacher said, "Yeah, I keep getting shuffled around to a different class every day too, I hate it! I don't even know the kids' names!" I then remembered that I had met a different teacher on each of my prior 3 visits to this classroom.  
  • Later, one of the kids came up to Alex and took away a toy she was playing with.  She said, "MINE!" (typical for her age) and then said "Please, Please, Please???" to the little boy (which translated means, PLEASE give me back my toy NOW!)  The teacher did a double take and said, "Did she just say please?!" I said yes, and she was so astonished that she could say please already.  Then I realized that I hadn't heard any of the other children talking at all.  In fact, they reminded me of Alex's classroom about a year ago, when the kids would play next to each other, but not with each other, and they had very few words or methods of communicating.  This was totally normally for 1 year olds, but this classroom was all around the same age as Alex. 
I think that was the point when I decided to leave (with Alex in tow).  Now I know that Alex is a smart little child, but their astonishment at her 'advanced' vocabulary and coloring skills combined with the obvious level of the other children made me realize that they weren't teaching these kids anything! In her other daycare, she doesn't stick out as extremely advanced.  They are all sharp kids and have varying levels of vocabulary and other developmental skills.  I firmly believe that children live up to your expectations (to a point) and if you don't expect much from them, they will deliver very little.

The constant shuffling of teachers (who don't even know some of the children's names!) and the complete state of chaos and disorganization in the room made me sad.  I was almost in tears when I left because I realized that this is what people picture when I tell them that I leave Alex in daycare.  They get that 'look' in their eyes, and their nose wrinkles in disdain, and they try to stutter some sort of expression of pity for us.  And I always reassure them that it is wonderful, I LOVE the people that take care of her, and she is learning so much by being in a social setting!  But they are picturing this kind of daycare, where the teachers aren't really teachers--they are babysitters.  And not even good babysitters.

So after all of this anxiety and stress, Rich and I have decided to take her back to the daycare she was in.  He is willing to drive her and pick her up because he thinks it is best for her--what a great dad!   We enrolled her for 3 days a week so that she can still be at home with me most of the time, but will get some time with her friends and give me some quality time with Kathryn as well.   We will keep looking for something else that is closer to home, but if we can't find anything, we will take Kathryn and Alex there after I go back to work in August.  We are back to square one, but honestly, if square one means having a place where you know your child is safe and happy, then it's not a bad place to be.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Alexandra, 21 months old

It has been over 3 months since I've really gotten my camera out! Yikes! I am looking forward to using it a lot over the next few months. :)

I'm back!

I have been on Maternity Leave for 2 whole days now, and I am really beginning to feel relaxed! Work has been stressful for me lately because I have not been physically feeling up to par, and I have been counting down the days to my leave.  I am so thankful that I have made it this far without going into labor.  There were a few times in the past month where I have had strong contractions and I was really worried about the baby coming a little too early! Now that I'm over 36 weeks, I am starting to breathe a sigh of relief.

At my last check-up, Kathryn was measuring between 5-6 lbs and is looking healthy and right about average in weight.  I can't wait to meet her!

In the meantime, I have a couple weeks or so to spend relaxing and getting ready for this new family member.  I am going to spend it by giving Alex a ton of quality time and (trying) to make her feel secure and ready to meet her sister.

We have been struggling with the decision of what to do with Alex while I am on maternity leave.  On one hand, I would like to have her home with me for the next 4 months, but I know that I will be returning to work full-time later this year, and we don't want to get her adjusted to staying home with me for only a short-term basis.  Also, she gets so much out of the daycare, and she is just a happier kid on the days when she has that social interaction and challenge of learning.  So we are leaning toward having her enrolled part-time (a few hours a day, maybe a few days a week).  But we decided to remove her from her current daycare because it was 45 minutes away from home (it is closer to my work) and it wouldn't make sense for us to commute over there for a part-time arrangement.  This past week was her last week there, and I have to say it was very difficult for me to say goodbye to the teachers and little friends who have been a part of our lives for the past 20 months or so.  I am so impressed by the quality of their care, and I know that they absolutely love our little girl and take amazing care of her in our absence.  I am praying that the new daycare is going to be the same.  I have visited over 5 other daycare options, and it has taken me a year to find one that I feel will even be acceptable.  Rich keeps reassuring me that if we don't like it, we can just go back to the old one.  But I am so nervous about it!

Saying goodbye to that daycare was emotional for me because it is like saying goodbye to Alex's "baby-hood."  They gave us a packet of things that they saved for us over time, and it had photos of baby Alex learning to crawl, of her first scratchy crayon drawings.  On one hand, I am excited at all of the changes that she is going through, but I also am feeling very reluctant to see her grow up.  And being at the end of my pregnancy, I am keenly aware that things are about to change quite a bit for our little family.....which we are so thrilled for, but we can't help but have that feeling of wanting to freeze time for just a little longer!