Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clifton's First Sweet Ride

And finally the long awaited stroller post!

May I introduce the newly released Phil and Ted's Navigator in Golden Kiwi.
First of all, one of the things that I love about this stroller is that the entire stroller seat zips and snaps off to take it down to a bare bones frame stroller. This is good for two reasons. Cleaning and Looks.

Cleaning - as everyone with kids (and many without) know, kids are mess makers. They spit up, they throw Cheerios, they stomp in mud. And all of that gets crushed into the stroller. This allows you to pop off the entire seat and clean to your heart's content.

Looks - When using the stroller with a car seat or with the face-to-face seat (which we did not purchase this time around) or with the bassinet style accessory (which we will never purchase because I find it to be really insecure for an infant as well as trying way to hard to appear retro, for goodness sake, this is a jogger, not a pram, plus I am not British and I am not a time-traveler, and this is now officially a crapload of commas), it allows the stroller to look much more streamlined, rather than having the car seat locked in above a fully reclined seat.

The most basic setup that the stroller has is definitely the regular stroller seat. I expect to be using this from about 6 months until the next little one comes along.

With sunshade

Fully reclined. It can be set anywhere between this and fully upright.

And this takes us to the famous Phil and Ted's double setup. Two seats, single width, awesome handling. This can also be done with a car seat on the front and the double seat on the back. Another snazzy setup is the double seat above the fully reclined full seat. This would be really handy for a toddler and newborn, but Jared's currently weirded out by it and so we didn't document. His exact quote, 'You're smashing the newborn!'. For the record - I was not. I fully expect to use that setup in the future. If nothing else, to freak out Jared.

And a big thank you to our wonderful models - diapered Bear (by Mei) and Clifton's bunny (handmade by Haylee).

Also a huge thank you to everyone who contributed toward this amazing gift. It really took a load off to be able to put Clifton's baby shower monies straight towards this sucker. Thank you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Baby Cookin' Update - 36

Thirty-Six Weeks                                           

Size of Baby - A watermelon. About 6.5 pounds. Although, by this point babies really grow at their own pace. Ryann was born at almost 39 weeks and was a mere 6 pounds 11 ounces, so who knows where Clifton is right now.

Cravings - Still jiving on the fruit. I've also found that in the last week or so that I absolutely cannot last from breakfast until lunch and from lunch until supper, no matter how heart of a meal I eat. So we're apparently already entering the phase of being eaten out of house and home by our boy. I finally did a rough calculation the other day of how many peaches I eat and figured that it's a bit over $20 worth PER WEEK. Of peaches alone. Oh my.

What is different this time around - Last time Ryann's room was ready for her long before this point whereas we're still working on Clifton's. We haven't done a theme for either of them, but I've definitely been pickier about Clifton's room. There are a few things that I've seen and absolutely had to have. But it's paying off. Clifton's room is already my favorite room in the house and I have no doubts that it will be his as well. Every time my sis and her family come over, Mei makes a beeline for Clifton's room. So we must be doing something right.

Symptoms - So very sore and slow. Every morning it takes me several minutes to get out of bed and walk out my kinks. My whole pelvic area - hips, lower spine, pelvis - just feels ridiculously unstable now. But as I said earlier, as long as this points to a faster delivery, I'm okay with it. We're going to be trying for a natural labor again and I have high hopes that it will happen this time. With Ryann we stalled at 3 cm and after 17 hours we opted for an epidural. She was born after 20 hours, and even though I don't regret getting the epidural, I'm hoping to not need one this time.

Appointments - We had a great meet and greet with our pediatrician and have decided without a doubt to go with him. Apparently after Ryann died, the whole hospital was buzzing about her case. Surgeons and physicians and nurses were all going over and over what had happened. Our pediatrician sought out one of the pediatric surgeons to block out a plan of attack to ensure that our other children will not end up in the same boat. They decided together that they would like to run an upper GI scope on Clifton when he's around 4-6 months old. This should show up whether there are any abnormalities (which they do not expect) and should give everyone some peace of mind. Once again, no one believes that we have a higher risk of more children with Ryann's conditions, but we are definitely following the course of 'better safe than sorry'. Having come to the meet and greet prepared with plans of action and knowing our history, this pediatrician has already gone above and beyond in caring for our family. We don't want to have to live our lives constantly paranoid for our kids and this doctor has given us the confidence that he will cover this for us so that we can cover everything else.

Woo hoo! Still in my pre-pregnancy jeans and still regularly rocking my
pre-pregnancy slacks to work. Of course with some elaborate rubberband rigging going on.

Jared always gets an evil joy in taking these pictures
that make my belly appear freakishly huge. Thanks.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Down the Weekend Rabbit-Hole

I have never been so happy for Fridays as I am now. I'm still doing well in the mornings, but by afternoon my energy is flagging and it's all I can do to get through to 5:30pm. Since I work at an Adventist school, Fridays mean getting off work at noon and finally being able to take an afternoon nap!

My take-anywhere-morning-jar-of-yum.
Quinoa with fresh peaches topped with a dollop of plain
greek yogurt and a drizzle of agave nectar.

This is one of the most ingenious items I've seen in a long while.

Mind blown. What else can I say.

Love this short history of the type.

I've been missing my bike this whole summer, since Jared has asked that I abstain while the wee one resides in my abdomen. I'm already plotting my return to the trails in the spring and hope to be atop this beauty with Clifton strapped to the back. (I'm opting for a step-through frame this time, with the thought that it will be easier to mount with multiple kids eventually affixed to the frame.)

Our big Clifton splurge was ordering the latest Phil and Teds stroller. It was on backorder, but finally arrived last week. We can't wait to put it to use! (A huge shout-out to everyone who pitched in for this longed for Clifton-swag. Special all-stroller post coming soon.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From Ryann's Library

Ryann loved books. As active as she was, she was also always happy to sit down to read. She never intentionally tore a single page of any of her books, and the one page that she did accidentally tear out of an old book made her feel so guilty she cried.

Although she loved all of her books, she had her specific favorites. Some of them unsurprising, some seemingly random. One of her random choices was Jack Kent's illustrated Twelve Days of Christmas. However, the book and song are so long that we would usually just pick it up on the last verse. The inside covers have the tune written out and Ryann would sometimes poke her finger along with us to the tune.

This was one of the songs I found myself singing to her as I held her for the last time in the hospital. One of the songs I said goodbye with. In all the times of singing through it with my crazy, tousle-headed girlie before bed, I never imagined I would be singing it to her still, unhearing ears. It was well loved by her, ridiculously silly, and completely nonsensical. A perfect fit for the occasion and the sweet recipient.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Clifton's Book Nook

In lieu of an actual bookshelf, we've rigged up some moving boxes to temporarily serve as book and toy storage.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


For as long as I can remember, I've always had a lot of control over my dreams. When I was a kid I actually liked going to bed because it felt like I could just watch TV all night long. I would dream about whatever I wanted to and if I ever did have a bad dream, I always easily woke myself up by simply opening my eyes. As I've gotten older, both the frequency of my dreaming and my control over my dreams has decreased, although I think that I probably still retain more than the average person.

This is why it came as a surprise to me that after Ryann died, I didn't dream about her. I assumed that she would fill my dreams. I wanted her to - and also dreaded it. I was desperate to see her, to pretend she was still here, at the same time I knew that it would be excruciating. But I didn't dream about her. I tried to, but I couldn't. I dreamed of all kinds of things, but Ryann never made an appearance. I was so frustrated, so mad. I knew that I still had a perfect memory of her in my mind, but I was afraid that it was fading without ever being fully seen.

About nine months after she died, I finally saw her. I dreamed that I woke up in my bed with Jared beside me. Our room was sunny and cool. The baby monitor was sitting next to me on the bookshelf and I could hear her. She was awake and happy in her crib. Babbling and reading and sounding exactly like she used to after a good night's sleep. Exactly how I had forgotten how she had sounded. I got up and walked down the hallway, listened at her door. I opened her door and saw her room in its perfect, cool, morning light. She was standing in her crib, waiting for me. As soon as she saw me she grinned one of her wide, open-mouthed, gap-toothed grins and started bobbing up and down in anticipation. And I woke up. Still standing in the doorway. Just out of reach.

But it was a good dream. I woke up crying, but happy. I carried her with me all day. I felt as though I really had seen her. It was a reprieve from her absence.

I hoped that the dream would somehow break the dam and I would be able to dream of her regularly from then on. But it didn't. It was another couple months before I had another dream.

This time I dreamt myself back to her funeral. Everything was exactly as it had been at her actual funeral except for instead of her little cherrywood box holding her ashes, there was a tiny open casket with her laying inside. She looked perfect. More perfect than she had actually looked when we saw her at the funeral home. No bruises. Rosy cheeks. Silky hair. And in the middle of the service she opened her eyes and grinned. Again it was that impish wide, toothy grin of hers. She laid there for five minutes or so - us looking at her, her grinning at us. And then she started to get tired. I could feel that she was going. I tried to will her to stay, but her eyes started to flutter. She smiled at me, then closed her eyes. And was gone. And the funeral continued.

Last week I had my third dream. It started out as a dream about my baby cousin, Sierra. She has Down's Syndrome, and in my dream was a sweet beautiful two-year-old. There was a group of people who were trying to kidnap her in order to experiment on her. Jared and I were chasing them and something happened so that I caught up to them far ahead of Jared. I grabbed Sierra and was ready to leave when they showed me they also had Mei, my baby niece. I grabbed her in my other arm. And then they showed me Ryann. They had her. She was happy and healthy and had no idea she was in harms way. And I wanted so badly to grab her and save her, but my arms were already full. In order to save her I would have to give up either Mei or Sierra. And I couldn't. I tried my hardest to smile and say hi to Ryann before they took her. To keep from scaring her. To let her feel safe. And then they took her. And she was gone.

As awful as this most recent dream was, when I felt myself starting to wake up I tried to keep dreaming for as long as possible. Even the glimpse of Ryann being taken from me was better than waking to a world in which she is no longer alive. Eventually I woke up. Crying. And desperately wishing I was still sleeping.

Jared hasn't yet dreamt of Ryann. When he sees me crying after dreaming about her, he comforts me. He understands how hard it is to lose her again. And how wonderful to have seen her. To talk to her.

I assume that the reason it took so long to dream about her and the reason why it happens so rarely is a self-preservation mechanism. I hope that someday my mind trusts me enough to let me dream of her more often. I hope that someday I can not only see her, but hold her. Touch her. And I have to believe that even if that never happens in my dreams, it will happen eventually. And at that point there will be no sadness crashing in to end it all.

The grin that I miss so much.
Ryann running back to me after Children's Story.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Baby Cookin' Update - 35

Thirty-Five Weeks                                           

Size of Baby - Large cantaloupe. Approximately 20 inches and 6 pounds.

Cravings - I cannot make it through the morning unless I eat a bucket of fruit and a hefty portion of some protein in the morning, usually an egg-cheese burrito. We recently splurged on a small container of vanilla ice cream, which I would normally adore. Jared's been having a bowl after supper with fresh peaches cut in, yum! But I don't think I've had any of it yet. In the evenings all I want to eat is straight fruit. And I do. Jared's also been jamming on fancy omelets loaded with fresh herbs from our withering garden patch. Those have hit the spot like never before. I almost had one last night at 9pm.

What is different this time around - I think Ryann's room was pretty set by this point in her germination. Clifton's room is definitely on it's way, but still has a ways to go. This last week we finally went out and bought his car seat and have the base ready to go in the car. We also got our amazing stroller in the mail and have it all put together ready to go in car seat mode. I'll have to post specifically about that beauty some other time. It's too amazing for a couple sentences. We have our baby monitor charging and are waiting to get the call that our mats are ready to pick up so that we can hang everything on his walls. The biggest thing yet to do in his room is to settle on a bookshelf for all the books and toys to reside in.

We specifically decided to purchase a new car seat and stroller for Clifton, rather than reusing Ryann's, even though Ryann's is gender neutral, still in good condition, and served us well. I have a feeling that Clifton will look a lot like Ryann, especially when he's still in the newborn-blob stage. If he does, I know that seeing him in Ryann's carseat would give me those split-second jabs to the gut. Even though it's ridiculous, my immediate thought would be that it was Ryann. And it's not. And those jabs are not too pleasant. So, to minimize the jabfest that I'm sure is to come, we decided to keep the carseat and stroller in storage and get little Clifton his own ride. We have decided to reuse Ryann's pack-and-play, crib, and changing table.

Symptoms - Although I had some aches and pains last time, I'm feeling like I'm getting the full pregnant experience this time around. My hips especially have been giving me grief. Up until now it's just been my right hip that's been tweaking out due to a pinched nerve. However, now my left hip will randomly join in the fun. But lefty seems to be gimping it up from the relaxin, getting all loosy-goosy. It's annoying, but as long as that means Clifton will shoot out in record time, I'll deal.

Appointments - Our next midwife appointment is on Monday, as is our meet-and-greet with a pediatrician. When we were initially looking around for a pediatrician we had several recommendations, most for a specific pediatrician we had met before. At the hospital the night Ryann died. He was the one on call, the one who seemed distant, and apparently the one people loved. Every time someone mentioned him we immediately dismissed his name. We just assumed that it would be too hard to work with him again, that he wasn't who we wanted. However, as we began forming out must-have list for our wished for pediatrician, we started to see what a perfect fit he might actually be. He knows exactly what we have been through. He will understand our worries. He himself will probably be extra-vigilant in keeping an eye on Clifton. And I imagine (and will find out) that coming from a non-American background, he will be friendly and understanding toward our anti-circumcision stance. We're looking forward to making our final decision on Monday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sneak Peak

Clifton's room is slowly coming together, but so far I think one of my favorite
things in it is the Artecnica Icarus Lamp I scored for half price off of ebay.


Yesterday my sis and her family came over for the afternoon and we subjected Mei to pigtails for the very first time. After her initial confusion over what happened to her hair, she remembered her priorities and continued playing with her batoys (bath toys) and checking in on the lahm-P (Clifton's lamp).