Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Big Day Is Here!


Well, the big day is here. No, not Pavenzia's birthday (although I wouldn't mind that one bit!) Nope, it's Halloween...the day Paprika has been looking forward to since November 1st 2010!

We had a quiet weekend at home.

Decorated a Halloween Gingerbread House (yes, they make such things).

Decorated the outside of the house with plenty of spooky things.

Bought lots of Halloween candy.

Only opened one bag of candy...which somehow has disappeared right before my eyes...which is why all the other bags of candy remain unopened! I just don't trust myself! ;-)

Stocked up on last-minute glow sticks and glow necklaces for the girls. Made sure the flash lights have fresh batteries.

Ran out for some last minute face paint (since mermaids have to have face paint, or so I am told)!


Tomorrow begins a big day of festivites for us, starting with Paprika's School Halloween Parade bright and early. Since I am the classroom photographer, I have to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for it.

Hopefully my water doesn't break between now and then! Or maybe I hope it does! That would make for a very memorable Halloween! :-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photos To Burn!

Do you ever take pictures of yourself that you don't like...but then think that in 10 years, you'll probably love that photo? My big (not so secret) secret is that I never delete a photo. Like ever. Not even the bad ones.

Because you never know how in the future you may cherish that photo. Also, I think if I did delete photos I might get so caught up in perfectionism that I'd only have a few left! Haha!

So, here is a photo from last week that I want to burn. Mostly because the wardrobe choice. Can you believe I've worn this shirt through my last three pregnancies?!!! Eeek! Photos I do not get rid of, but ugly orange shirts are another story. ;-)


This picture was taken last week when I was going on 37 weeks pregnant. I am now almost 38 weeks pregnant. Tick tock! I am so in denial that my belly is that big. But it is. Actually, this week, it's about 10% larger (or at least it feels that way!)

Here is another picture of me in the lovely orange sorbet shirt. But, it's me with obviously it's a keeper. Ha!


We had such a great time with Ann here. My one regret is that we got zero pictures of her and Paprika!!! What were we thinking?! I was a lazy photographer, what can I say. But we got some great ones of her and Ginger.




This week has been so busy! We had an awesome trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and now (as of last night) Grandma Pat is visiting. So, now I can go into labor at any time...because we have someone to watch the girls while I am at the hospital.

Last week when Ann went back to Indiana and before Pat arrived, I had visions of driving myself to the hospital (1.5 hours in traffic) with the girls in the backseat of the van...and then setting them up with a Barney video in my labor and delivery room while Pavenzia was born. Because that was the plan...

And, P.S., I am having crazy painful contractions this pregnancy. Like all the time. But so far nothing has happened. No progress. Nada. This is definitely my pregnancy that cried wolf! So, I am staying home and not going back to the hospital until I really go into labor. We'll see how that works out! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Days!


We are now in late October, and Paprika has been in school for almost two months (and while I realize that is almost no time, it seems like so long!)

It has been quite a big adjustment for all of us. I am so used to having her with me every moment, and it's just not that way anymore. In the past two months, she has encountered bullying at school, sensory overload, and has been exposed more to the real world than she encountered in her first five years of life.

She is in Developmental Kindergarten this year, which is for kids who are not yet ready for who need an extra year. It's tricky with Paprika because while in many ways academically she is way ahead of her peers, socially she is just not.

Paprika really struggles with anxiety, and so in some ways school is great for her. She loves the structure. The rules. The predictability. On the other hand, she is exposed to many simple things she just cannot handle, and I see her struggling with that on a daily basis (translastion: mental breakdowns over very small things).

Ahhh, being a mom is hard.


So, for now we have decided to keep her at school. She loves it. Why, I do not really understand. Every day I give her the option of whether or not she wants to go (I know people are going to think that is crazy, but at this point I have decided to leave it up to her for now). I want her to love school and love learning, and she does!

Of course, because her school issues aren't academic...the instruction she gets in school is not pushing her. School is 3.5 hours/day and includes playground the big scheme of things, it's kind of a blip in the day. I mean, there are 24 hours in a day, so we have 20.5 hours/day when she is not in school...and if you know how little my kids sleep, we have to got fill that extra time somehow!

So, I've been doing basically a full homeschool curriculum with Paprika at home. In the past few weeks since we've started, she has learned to read. Yes, read. Not memorize words from a book and parrot them back (which we know she has been doing since age 1)...but really read them.

We started out with the program Reading Eggs (love it) and she is whizzing through it. I also bought a ton of books on Ebay for us to read together. Even though we have a pretty hefty library at home, I wanted her to have some new (to us) books. We got a bunch of Arnold Lobel books (we had been using Mr. M's from childhood but they were ahem, getting destroyed I put those away). I got a huge lot of Dr. Seuss books on Ebay for a fraction of the retail price. These new books really round out our already sizeable Seuss collection:


Some Amelia Bedelia books on Ebay (which in hindsight Paprika is not ready for because she doesn't quite "get" the humor yet...a few years from now maybe):

amelia bedelia

And some other Early Reader books (also Ebay)...these are the Noodle series, which Paprika loves.


I also picked up a bunch of used books on Amazon that she is loving. Just books about things she's having anxiety losing a tooth, for example. Not that she has a loose tooth- but she day... ;-) The best one so far has been a book called Dear Tooth Fairy. It is adorable!

In addition to reading (and writing), we have been doing Science through Discovery Education, and Math through IXL and Math Whizz. We do lots of hands-on stuff at home, and reinforce with the computer programs. For the IXL and Math Whizz, I have to sit there with Paprika the whole time and guide her through the problems...and let's face it, she is just so much more interested in reading and art at this point than any other subjects. Math is like pulling teeth with her!

So, I have decided to just focus most of our time on the reading at home for now and everything else will fall into place later.

Of course, Paprika is now on the verge of reading chapter books (a year before she is set to enter kindergarten). In school last week they learned the letters P, M, and H. Which is great. Great that Paprika is not struggling academically.

Except now I worried that she is going to be bored at school. But...socially, she is just not ready (in so many ways) to go up a grade at school. I know that the Developmental Kindergarten is a great fit for her at this point. It's just hard. Hard for me to feel like she is struggling to find her place and fit in amongst her peers. Hard for me to see her having a hard time, when here at home everything is comfortable and safe for her. Just hard!

So, we take it day by day. So far, she is loving school and that is what matters, right? I just think this first year is going to be a big adjustment for all of us...maybe the biggest adjustment for me! ;-)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Full Of Life!


Paprika (aka Yaya) still has swim lessons 4 days/week (3 group lessons and one private lesson). So, that means that Ginger hangs out at the pool 4 days/week. She wants to get in sooooo badly. She wants to be big, and swim, and jump right in!

So, because she can't, she literally sprints everywhere...climbs everything...her energy knows no bounds. When Ann was here, she commented that she has never met a child with so much energy. And Ann has three very active boys! Ginger is: Non-stop motion, with a penchant for mischief.


She is not just that way at the pool, of course! Everywhere we go (including home), she is into everything, climbing to the highest point she can find...she has no fear. And no "off button." She is, quite simply, full of life.

Those words have come to mind with Ginger for a long time now. It's funny (not haha funny, but you know...) because the name Vivian means Full of Life. I decided on Vivian's name before she was born, and even after everything that happened, it was still her name.

But I can't help thinking that Ginger really channels her older sister, Vivian, in that I have never seen anyone more full of life. She has the most magnetic personality. So confident. So social, so extroverted. So ready to celebrate life.

And soooo hard to chase after 9 months pregnant! Ha! :-)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Auntie Ann Visits!


Auntie Ann came to visit us from Tuesday night until early this morning. We did so much on her visit here, and yet there was so much more to do, too!

We squeezed in a few trips to the beach. The week before she came, it was sooo hot and sunny. Then, she arrived from a chilly Indiana autumn only to find out that it was the same temperature here this week as it was there! (Mostly). Even with the cool temps, we still had a blast!


I am just increasing all the time! The first night Ann was here, I ended up at the hospital in the Labor and Delivery unit for very bad contractions. I stayed overnight, and Ann stayed with the girls while Mr. M came with me to the hospital. The girls had a great time bonding with Ann while I made sure everything was okay with Pavenzia!

It turned out to be a false alarm, and although the doctors could tell I was having big contractions, nothing was happening, so I got sent home! The rest of the week, I tried to take it easy and stay off my feet as much as possible!

Here I am last week at 36 weeks pregnant! I am feeling big, big, big. Eating is getting harder (I can just eat a little bit stomach is so squished!) Rolling over, getting up, and getting out of bed takes some premediated thought and a little planning (and a lot of maneuvering). Things are not as simple as they were a short 10 weeks ago! I have to walk really slowly and have gotten used to pretty much always being in some sort of pain. I guess that is just nature's way of getting a women excited to give birth. Haha!

Grandma Pat arrives on Thursday and I am crossing my fingers and toes (and everything else- ha!) in hopes that Pavenzia does not arrive before Pat gets here. If I have to go to the hosptial, Pat is staying home to watch the girls while I deliver at the hospital with Mr. M. My dad comes next week for two weeks, so we should be covered here on the homefront, assuming I can just last until Thursday. (Again, fingers crossed and knock on wood!)


In the meantime, I have lots to do to keep me busy! Ann helped me pick out some last minute items at Tar-jay the other night. Of course, I had to ride the motorized scooter around the store. Any excuse to ride that thing, and I'll take it! :-) Seriously, though, walking around the store at the end of the day was just not an option!

I have lots more pics of Auntie Ann's visit, which I hope to upload soon! I wasn't great about taking pictures while she was here (I did not even get out my DSLR!) but...I have some really cute ones of her with the girls. Those pictures (and the memories) are going to have to hold us all over until our next visit. Living far away from people you love can be really difficult sometimes. But I guess it just makes the time we do have that much sweeter.


Friday, October 21, 2011

New Wheels!


We've had the new van for exactly a week now, and I am loving it! The road to this baby was quite bumpy. We started off by scouting out cars at Carmax...and even after I thought I'd found the perfect van there, Mr. M thought we could find a better price by going with a private party.

So, next we looked at a bunch of cars on Craigslist. We drove all over Los Angeles, including the Valley on a 100+ degree day. The best one we saw was a beauty in Van Nuys, but after a little bit of prodding, we realized that a deal too good to be true probably is. ;-)


Mr. M decided to hit a few car auctions, and see what turned up. And that is where we got this van! It's a 2011 Sienna, and it has everything we wanted! It also doesn't have a bunch of things that we didn't want (like a dvd/entertainment system). The last thing I wanted was for Paprika and Ginger to start asking me to watch DVDs everytime we got in the car. I love our daily sing-alongs of Raffi too much for that. Ha!

Anyhoo- I am sooooo relieved that we got the van. We now have space for Pavenzia when she arrives, and we can also drive around guests...and I can even carpool if I want! It's a suburban mom's American dream I'm living here. ;-) But it's good...I am really happy with it, and so proud of Mr. M for surprising me with such an awesome van! :-)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

She Likes To Party!


Daisy gets to take her E collar off on Sunday. She has already pretty much torn it apart, and it is hanging on by a thread...but it's still working.

Mr. M keeps asking her if she's been to a party because she's wearing a lampshade on her head. I don't think she is amused. Ha! :-)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

36 Weeks!


I am now 36+ weeks pregnant! Next week I will be full-term, which really means: any day now!

I feel large. It is hard for me to eat more than a little at at time because there is just no room in my stomach. So, frequently, I will eat and then I am hungry again an hour later.

When I wake up in the morning, I feel like a train has run over me. When I go to bed, it's the same. Actually, that's how I feel pretty much every moment of the day! Ha!

The baby is kicking a lot - and often I feel like she is going to burst through my belly button. She is most active at night (2am-ish), and likes to kick me a lot when I am sleeping. Not that I am sleeping much...going to the bathroom every 45 minutes to an hour takes care of that! ;-)

We spent Saturday over at Devon's house. She took these pictures of me, thankfully, since I hadn't gotten around to taking any recent ones myself! She also talked me into this photo, which I was really hesitant about...but what the heck. It's not too often I'm 36 weeks pregnant, right?


I am getting so excited to meet this baby. I have a lot of anxiety with this pregnancy, but I am doing my best to put it out of my mind and focus on the positive.

Oh, how could I forget to mention...we got a minivan on Thursday! So now we have something to drive that will fit us all. Mr. M got it at an auction, and it wasn't quite as sketchy as that sounds. Or maybe it was. The point is, we have some pretty sweet wheels that can carry us all and that is a good thing! I will post pics of that baby soon. It is beautiful. Mr. M did a fantastic job picking it out, and I am so proud of him (and can hardly believe it's our car!!!)


This week my friend Ann is coming into town to visit! Yay! The last time she was here was in July 2008 (when I was in the hospital with the twins). I am so excited to see her, and I am going to try to rally and not be tired, lethargic, or moody while she is here. Wish me luck!!! :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Baking Time!

First things first, for everyone who is wondering...Daisy is doing much better. She is back to being her same old hyper-puppy, chewing on everything in sight, and wanting to play 24/7 self. She still has the lampshade collar on to keep herself from hurting her stitches. I took a few pitiful pictures of her last night with the lampshade on her head - I will upload them when I have a chance. You know, as a keepsake for her baby book. ;-)


In other news, we are in the full swing of Halloween around here. I am being a little more low-key about it this year because of my (ahem) physical limitations. It is hard to get up on top of the house and hang lights when you are 9 months pregnant!

So, Mr. M gets to decorate the outside of the house with the girls when he has a chance. The girls are really looking forward to it, and I did my part and bought all the decorations at Target! ;-)


My Halloween activities with the girls have been much more crafty. Baking brownies, drawing Halloween cards, just stuff like that. I am doing it the easy way this year (as if it is really different than any other year?!)...Halloween brownies in a box! But, they seem to love it just as much as the kind you labor over from scratch, and they taste just as good (well, probably they taste better!)


I also got a Halloween gingerbread kit that we are going to try out any day here. It's like a Christmas gingerbread house, but you know...spooky! We did one last year, and it was a huge hit.


The girls had a blast making this, and it was so easy. The Halloween pan really adds something, I think! ;-) I am thinking of using the pan to make banana bread, and other baked stuff. The girls got such a kick out of it.


Originally, I was going to frost the brownies with orange frosting (and I even bought it). But when we went to put on the frosting, we all agreed that it looked more like the fake cheese you get with nachos at the movie theater. So, we passed on that. Still, the girls were soooo proud of their little baking creation, and it was easy enough that we will probably repeat it again at least a few times before Halloween. What can I say, nothing goes better together than being pregnant and eating brownies! :-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happier Days!


These pictures all taken last week, when canine happiness was at a much higher level than it is today.

Yesterday, Daisy got spayed. She is not a happy camper.


Her vet recommends the procedure at 6 months old, and she will be 6 months tomorrow. We could have waited longer, but with the new baby coming in a few weeks, it seemed like the best time to do it.


Well, I was totally unprepared for how sick and miserable Daisy would be. She has that horrible collar around her neck (the lampshade one) and it is driving her insane. She is on Tramadol and Carprofen, which I think are making her feel worse than she would feel otherwise.


Last night she spent the whole night crying, nonstop. In our bedroom. At 3am. At 4am. It was rough. That, mixed with Ginger's antics last night (let's just say she is a wild girl and no longer believes in diapers or using the potty)...

it was just a long night.

Then, Paprika asked me what was wrong with Daisy, and when I told her about the surgery, she started crying and was so upset for Daisy. "She won't be able to have puppies?! What have you done?!!! Why would you do that to her? Why did you let them hurt her?" Made me feel like the meanest mommy in the whole world.

So, I am trying not to feel guilty about it. But I just feel so bad for Daisy, so bad for Paprika...some days are just hard being a doggy mommy, too, I guess! Hopefully Daisy will be feeling better tomorrow and happy days will be here again!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thirty Five!


I am now 35 weeks pregnant! Overall, the pregnancy is going great (knock on wood). I can't believe that now I have about three to four weeks until we meet this little one. Okay, five weeks if I make it to my due date, but Paprika and Ginger were both delivered at 38 weeks...which is just three weeks away. Yikes!

Mr. M has been working a lot (a lot a lot a lot), which is why there are no pictures of me. I need to just set up the camera on a timer and take some because I really want to document how enormous I am getting! (On second thought...ha!)

I had a doctor's appointment with Dr. K on Monday, and everything checked out. He told me he is going out of town for four or five days right around my due date (gasp!) - which took me a little off-guard. But it's okay - it will work out.

I can hardly believe my due date is so close, though! We are getting down to the wire here, and I have just started realizing certain we still have no minivan. No diapers ordered. No clothes for the baby.

No clothes for the baby, you ask? Well...let's see. Paprika was an August baby and Ginger was June. So all I have are summer newborn clothes! Nothing long-sleeved. Thankfully, shopping for baby clothes is one thing I do enjoy doing quite a bit. So, that has been distracting me from the gazillion other things I've going on right now.

Mostly, I just can't wait to meet her. I am starting to let myself get excited, and dream about how she is going to fit into our family.


Life has been keeping me busy, busy, busy!!! I am doing all the stuff it takes to run a household (some of it fun, most of it not so much - ha!) and making sure that Paprika and Ginger are having lots of fun.

I am doing a lot of homeschool type stuff with Paprika right now (in addition to her regular school work), and Ginger of course is right there in the middle of it, and she is actually picking up so much...she blows me away!

Most of what I'm teaching Paprika at home has to do with reading. It's so gratifying to see her catching on and figuring it out! Paprika has zero interest in math (scratch that...less than zero interest in math). She loves art, books, reading, and life science. Everything else she would rather leave alone!

I thought Paprika being at school half-days was going to give me a little break, but between all the drop-offs and pick-ups, and volunteering in the classroom, etc., I have come to the realization that having her in school is not a vacation for me! Ha!

I also signed up to be the classroom photographer. What can I say, it sounded better than some of the other jobs available - like class party thanks! :-)

Paprika also still has swimming lessons four days/week, and ceramics class once/week, in addition to school. That plus hanging out with friends keeps us really busy!

Ginger even made a new friend recently, and they are so very cute together. Ginger thinks all of Paprika's friends are her friends (why wouldn't they be?!) - so for her to have her very own friend is cute overload and makes my heart smile.


It seems like every day is just packed with things to do. I know it is making the time fly I really want to just slow down a bit and enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy! I am just really grateful to be where I am and to have the family that I have. Not every day is perfect, of course, but overall I am enjoying the sweetness of it all.