Monday, August 31, 2009

Forecast: Showers all Weekend

I was lucky enough to attend two baby showers this weekend, one as a guest and one as The Person Being Showered. I had such a great time at both, because who doesn't love to take a break from real life, sit around with other women, eat cake and ohh and ahhh at adorable baby paraphernalia? Count me IN.


So Saturday was the shower for our family friend Kristie, who is due a few weeks after me. She is pregnant with her first baby and I am so happy and excited for her. We have known each other since birth, and it is fun to share this experience with her. Her family is also very excited, which I think maybe clouding their judgement a tad, because all I heard all day was "WOW! Look at how BIG you are! Kristie BARELY looks pregnant!" and as you can see from the below picture, is just not true. But I know how crazy people get about the whole pregnancy thing, so instead of reminding them that I am a few inches shorter and on my THIRD CHILD, I just laughed and smiled and agreed that yes, I certainly AM HUMONGOUS.



They did a super cute thing at the shower that I loved: brought a drying rack and filled it with baby clothes. So adorable and an easy, fun idea/ decoration.




Then Sunday afternoon was my turn! My friend Sara had a small shower at her house with a few of our close friends and what a wonderful, love-filled afternoon it was. Since my baby boy is probably the last of the 17 babies all of us have borne, I got spoiled with wonderful gifts, as well as a Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate ice cream shower cake.



Yes, I have amazing friends who know exactly how to make me happy.








Later I celebrated my fun day by getting horribly dizzy- not the flighty blond dizzy; more like the why won't the room stop spinning when I haven't had anything fun to drink? kind of dizzy. And then an hour later it became clear that I had some kind of stomach bug when I started puking. But it was over quickly enough and I laid low the rest of the night and today am mostly back to rights. Hopefully that fulfills my stomach virus quota for the next 12 months.


23 days 'til my due date.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Slice of Life. (Or... This is what you get when your kids hijack your camera.)

The girls grabbed my camera the other night and filmed themselves and were very pleased with their results.

It is pretty goofy, in a spastic kind of way, especially the part in the background where their shrill mother yells in from the other room, "DON'T RUN AROUND WITH THE CAMERA, PLEASE!!!"

Enjoy the weekend.

video

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Queen Quilter and other visual delights.


Michaela attended a quilting camp a few weeks ago and blew us away with her efforts.
I thought, How good can a quilt by a seven year old be? and the answer was, Clearly, better than what you could do, Cheryl.
She picked out the material and colors herself, and the quilt is dog-themed since she adores anything with animals. She worked really hard all week, and then my Aunt Kathy, who is an amazing sewer/quilter/crafter, helped her finish the edges and back and hand-tie the whole thing on Tuesday.
Michaela has since been on a real sewing kick, making a pair of capri pants from a pattern and starting on a matching shirt. I am beyond thrilled that she seems to enjoy doing this kind of activity and have all kinds of wild fantasies already of us going to sewing retreats and working on projects together, side by side, laughing and making rose-tinted memories.
Then I see her grab a pair of scissors, cut up the flannel that she bought a few months ago, and proceed to make fabric tacos, spaghetti, and confetti and make a holy mess of my dining room and I am reminded that she is only seven and the fantasy life will have to wait a bit to come true.
She is so proud of her quilt, and we are super proud of her.

And last but not least, for your viewing pleasure, a full -out picture of the ever growing baby belly with Jenna. It's not a particularly flattering picture of me, but 1) it was taken at 8:30pm after a tiring day and 2) one has few illusions of vanity after 36 weeks of pregnancy.

Dan just laughs and shakes his head when he sees the belly in all of it's glory. Later this week I will post the last picture taken of me before I had Jenna, wearing the same shirt, and you can see how much bigger this baby is. And how much younger and fresher I looked four years ago.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Analogies.

Had a good OB appointment today and am now in the going-once-a-week phase. Not much new to report on that front.

I've decided that being pregnant is akin to a huge home improvement project: it takes twice as long as you'd think, costs three times as much, and when it's finally done, you can show it off to your friends and family so they can oooh and ahhh.

I'm ready to wrap this project up!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Unknown Motives become clear.

So Michaela announced a few weeks ago that she was interested in going to the Boston Aquarium. We had no plans for going on vacation this summer- the Disney trip in March was our big va-cay for the year- but we thought, hey, why not go?

Dan and I brainstormed for about 24 hours about logistics, who would go (we decided I would stay home and Dan's dad could go with them), when they would leave, where to stay... the whole shabang.

At dinner the next night, I turned to Michaela. "What are you most excited to see at the aquarium?" I asked. "I didn't know you even knew anything about it."

"Oh," says Michaela, "I want to see the gift shop."

So... we decided to save the $300 we would spend going to the Boston Aquarium.

I'm going to order something from the gift shop online instead.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby #3 Update: Week 35

I am desperately hoping that this is my last update, since I do them every five weeks and the next one will be written on my due date.


Hopefully, I will be sending pictures and labor stories and great news of a healthy baby boy before long.


Hopefully soon.
Hopefully.


The last five weeks have been pretty dull physically: I am growing; the baby is really lower now and kicking alot; I have no real new symptoms or complaints. I can't lie down comfortably at all so I've started sleeping on the couch. My feet and hands have started swelling by the end of the day. I have very mild heartburn (so I'm guessing the baby will have hair when he is born... the old wives' tale about hair on the baby causing heartburn proved true for the girls). I am tired of hearing myself talk about being pregnant.


Emotionally, I have had an interesting few weeks. When I hit 33 weeks, I got pretty down about the discomfort I was feeling physically and was just feeling like the pregnancy was never going to end. I was thrown a curveball having to change doctors and couldn't reconcile feeling sorry for myself versus the worry I had for my OB and his health issues. I felt like such a crybaby about the whole thing. Now that I've met all the OBs, like the new practice and feel more settled, it is basically a non-issue.


And then this week all that miserable-ness lifted.

Every day is a day closer to seeing my boy and holding him and kissing him. I am grateful, so grateful, for the lack of drama or issues or problems with the pregnancy. I am finishing up projects, organizing the room, and seeing the results of my summer's worth of work. (Quick side note about the difference between getting ready for your first and getting ready for your third: my due dates are the same day, but Michaela's room was done by Memorial Day. This baby's room will hopefully be done by Labor Day.)


And a little part of me is holding on to these last few weeks, knowing it is the last time I will feel a kicking baby inside of me, the last time I will be waddling around, the last time I will feel this level of anticipation, worry, excitement and eagerness about a new baby of ours coming into the world.


I am a little sad that this is my last time. The pregnancy years will be over for me. It's hard to believe, especially when you've drawn it out over an eight year period.


But it's okay. I am ready to move on. I can be sad about this, mourn that part of my life and go about raising my family the best I can.


So that's my story. I am hoping it all goes well. I am hoping I do not have back labor. I am hoping that he is as healthy and beautiful and precious as I imagine he is. I am hoping that I don't miss either girls' first days of school. I am hoping that God is protecting me from harm and wrapping His arms around us in this whole process.

I read an article once about giving birth, and the woman described it as the closest you get to the sometimes thin divide between life and death.


I'm not anticipating any kind of problems ... who does? But I understand the heady-ness of it; the hugeness of the moment; the crashing together of pain and joy and hope and fear and anxiety and love; how things can go terribly wrong or amazingly right; the way your body does what it is meant to do and has done for hundreds of generations before you and you are just along for the ride at that moment in time. There is a thrilling out-of-controlness to the whole thing, where you are bringing this life into the world where there was none and suddenly there he is: defenseless, full of potential, just starting this wonderful journey of life and eager to be loved and cared for. And suddenly there you are: a parent for the first or second or third time, just crushed by new love and infatuation and a sense of responsibility and abject wonder at how you and your husband, who met completely by accident at a weekend party in a college apartment hallway 14 years ago, could come together and make something as completely perfect as the baby you are now holding in your arms.

Hopefully soon.
Hopefully.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Local Girl Tries Out High Dive; Parents Stunned.


A local seven year old has stunned her parents by voluntarily diving off the high dive at her town park's pool.

Michaela Libutti, 7 and three quarters, was at the Elm Ave. Park yesterday when she announced to her mother that she was heading to the diving pool.

"I was surprised," said Cheryl Libutti, Libutti's mom, who appeared barely old enough to have an almost eight year old daughter. "But I grabbed my camera and walked over to the diving pool with her... mostly with the expectation of calming her down when she freaked out about how high the diving board was."

Libutti was apparently buoyed by friends Michael, Aidan and Sara, who joined her in the diving pool.
Libutti patiently waited in line, then calmly but slowly climbed the steps. Looking briefly out over the pool, she jumped forward and went off the board. After re-emerging out of the water, she was greeted by the astonished cheers of her mother.

"All I could think of was 'who is this kid?'", said Cheryl Libuttti. "Her father and I have encouraged her to do many things that she has resisted- getting her ears pierced, riding on roller coasters, learning to ride a two-wheel bike- and she is steadfast in not doing what she doesn't want to do. This is a great accomplishment for Michaela and a great confidence booster."

"I just wanted to go off it!" stated an exuberant Michaela Libutti. "It was a lot of fun... I went off it, like, five times!"

"Wicked!" stated Dan Libutti, Michaela's father, when told of her adventures upon returning home from work. "I'm really proud of her. It takes guts to go off a diving board that high."
Libuttifamily.blogspot.com has obtained exclusive video of the event, shown below. Other pictures from the day, featuring Libutti's sister Jenna, are also available.


video

Friday, August 14, 2009

Counting down.

Happy Friday.

It is now only 40 days until my due date.

Preparations continue.

Got a bunch of things yesterday with my mom for the baby's room.

Still figuring out a way to wrangle an extra ultrasound out of my new doctors.

Think the baby has dropped... I can now breathe again but am feeling like I better keep my knees together lest he fall out.

Coloring my hair today so I look good in the delivery room. Just kidding. Sort of.

Have decided that another two and a half weeks of pregnancy would be ideal: he'd be full term pretty much but I'd be over with this on the early side.

Bursting to tell people the awesome name we've picked out. Hope I'm not setting the bar too high for your expectations.

Can't wait to see him, hold him, smell him, touch him, and love him all up.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Random Crap: August Edition

I wish I had some more purposeful blogging to present to you, but sometimes life just isn't that exciting. So here is a rundown of all that's going on in the Libutti house:


Michaela started Quilt Camp this week, and I, for one, am highly jealous that she is getting three hours every day this week of uninterrupted sewing time. She will end the week with an honest to goodness quilt, which is pretty impressive for a seven year old. She chose adorable fabric (it has a dog theme with bright, primary colors) and even survived an injury yesterday while wrestling with a super sharp rotary cutter. She also went to a Vacation Bible School camp last week at the local Methodist church that she has attended for years now and had a great time. It is such a well-run program and hugely popular in town; it inspires me every year to volunteer at our church's February Break VBS. Jenna watched things carefully this year and has decided to attend next year. Now, if I can only get them to whip up an infant class for Baby Boy... then I'll have all three in camp next summer... (Cheryl, for goodness sake: he's not even BORN YET and you're trying to shove him off on other people already?? What kind of mother are you??!!?? Geesh!!)


Jenna is good; she has decided that 10pm is a MUCH better bedtime for her than what us old folks want, which is about 9:15pm. We did a little back to school shopping for the girls this week and I knew Jen was done when we walked into the LL Bean store and she declared,"I don't like this store. It's TOO DARKT! And I'm HUNGRY! Let's GO!" Years ago I would have coaxed her to stay a little ... but I'm smarter now. We left and went to eat some Auntie Anne's pretzels, and everyone was happy again. I bought some educational workbooks for Jenna to practice her numbers and letters and shapes at, as she calls it, "Barnes and Nobles", and Michaela made a little chart for Jen when she has completed a few pages correctly. Michaela made a space for a star sticker, a comment from Michaela and a comment from Mommy. Who's the classic first born child??? Jenna seems to have transitioned very nicely into Michaela's room, which is a relief.


I have been reading (Revolutionary Road and Angels and Demons, both pretty good... apparently I'm going through a made-into-movies stage) and gestating and generally fretting about getting things accomplished before the baby comes. I am slowing waaaaaaay down in my activity level, though, so not much is getting done. I have tons of the Braxton-Hicks "practice" contractions, and have had two real contractions during the night which were powerful enough to wake me up. I am 34 weeks today, so I am hoping the next three weeks or so fly by and that I go early. I will give a more detailed update next week when I get to 35 weeks. Stay tuned.


I have been absolutely haunted by a news story that started a few weeks ago: a 36 year old mother of two young kids was driving with her three nieces (ages 3, 7, and 9, I think) on the Taconic Parkway (ironically, on the same day we were driving on the Taconic but much further north) and entered the Parkway going the wrong way. She drove for two miles and slammed into an SUV. She killed herself, her three nieces, her daughter, and the three passengers in the SUV. So that's tragic and horrifying enough, right?


Then the toxicology results come back and it turns out she was drunk and high at the time. All I can think of is the rage and grief and sorrow that her sister in law feels now that her three babies are gone. I cannot imagine how her life is different- on a day to day basis- how quiet and empty and lost the house must seem. How all that love and energy and effort and goodness that she poured into those girls has vanished. The horror of waking up every morning and realizing what has happened. I don't know how I could go on after that.


So combine this story with my pregnancy hormones and all I want to do is hold my girls and hug them and kiss them and protect them from every conceivable danger and control their environment as much as possible. Which is impossible. Because life does go on. But it's a tricky, tricky part of parenting, isn't it?


Well, I'm off to soothe my anxious heart with a good old dose of retail therapy at WalMart. That's sure to cheer me up.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Win, Place or Show.


My brother and his family came into town last week (which explains my lax blogging this week) and last Wednesday we all headed up to Saratoga Race Course to play the horses. We met some of my brother's friends up there - formerly rowdy boys I have known since they were about ten and now are full grown, responsible, tax-paying, God-fearing men. One of whom is an honest-to-goodness FBI Agent.
Our niece Kate

Dan and I have not been there in years, and Jenna had never been, so it was fun to show the girls around, introduce them to legalized gambling, and basically enjoy a beautiful summer day. The horses were gorgeous, and even though I am secretly terrified of horses in general (too skittish and too strong for my personal comfort level) I truly admire their grace and beauty as an animal.

We sat right near the paddock where they would walk the horses around prior to the race, so we had a great view.
Also nearby was the Big Red Spring, which spouted real Saratoga Mineral Water, which was really pretty disgusting. Michaela wanted me to take and post this picture of her spitting out the water after she took a sip. "It'll be GREAT for the blog!" says she.

Michaela got more interested in the game of placing bets on- or as she called it, "voting for"- a specific horse and she went entirely by name. And did amazingly well.

Consulting the Racing Forum with Uncle Brian
Total bankroll for the Libutti Family: $20.00
Total that we left the track with: $19.65

Which was almost as good as the last time we went, when we bet $20, lost all of it, and then found a $20 bill on the ground right before the last race.

I had explained to Jenna and Michaela that the horses were ridden in the races by very small men- men who were shorter and skinnier than Mommy (well, it's not that hard to be skinnier than a 34-weeks-pregnant German woman, but you get my drift). So as we are walking in, there is a beautiful fountain surrounded by flowers and little jockey statues- you know, the kind that look like they are holding lanterns- and Jenna points and eagerly asks, "Is that the men who will ride the horses??"

"No," I answered. "They're little men but they're not THAT little." And it was a great laugh for the day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The burden- and joy and responsibility- of protecting.

Let me start this by saying I just returned from grocery shopping with both girls, which means 1) I am exhausted, 2) I am a wee bit cranky and 3) I have been badgered for the last 45 minutes.

After our trip to the grocery store, I started thinking about the food that I just bought for my family. Is it healthy enough? Fun enough? Enough to last us a few days? Combine that with the fact that I am finishing up reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which is a companion book of sorts to The Omnivore's Dilemma and both have greatly impacted my views of food, shopping for food, what I eat and what I serve to my children and husband. I highly recommend both books.

Then, because I am tired and cranky and listening to Michaela watch TV (iCarly on Nickelodeon)at about 50 decibels as I put a roast chicken in the oven for dinner tonight, I started thinking about how much the world throws at our children and we as parents have to defend them, protect them and serve as a somewhat battered protection from the storm.

And you know what?

Today- just right now, in fact- I am tired of protecting them.

Today I just wish the world was kinder, healthier, gentler and quieter.

I am tired of defending my kids against foods that are marketed directly to them and contain nothing but sugar and fat. I am tired of being vigilant about all the things they eat. I am tired of saying no to potato chips, fruit snacks, and ice cream. (And just for the record, I do allow them to eat these things on occasion... I am a big believer in nothing being forbidden fruit.) I am tired of always suggesting a piece of fruit when they say they are hungry. I am tired of being worried about them becoming an obesity statistic.

I am tired of defending my kids against media, especially television. I am tired of loud, overstimulating shows that are exciting for seven year olds to watch. I am tired of Hannah Montana, iCarly, the Wizards of Waverly Place, and all the other pre-pubescent girls who are part of the Disney/Nickelodeon machine who have virtually no chance of developing into emotionally healthy adults.

I am tired of the clothing being offered to my girls being too short, too skimpy, too grown up and too expensive.

I am tired of being on the lookout for grown men who may somehow see my babies as fantasy objects.

I am tired of defending against bad drivers, lax mothers and absent parents who may somehow, directly or indirectly, injure my child.

I am tired of worrying about someone stealing my children. I am tired of abduction stories, tearful interviews with missing children's families, the inevitable discovery of the body and the "how could this happen??" examinations. I am especially tired of hearing what these sick, sick people do to these poor children.

I think I am watching too much Nancy Grace on HLN.

I am also tired of hearing people wax rhapsodic about the good old days, when kids could ride their bikes all day in the summer and be kids and play and explore the local woods and ride the buses and subways and go to Yankees games alone. There's always this slight undertone to it, like I'm the freak who supervises my children instead of letting them explore the world. It's a different time now, and I am not willing to risk my kids' safety to prove a point. We'll do crafts and go to programs at the local library together, thank you very much.

I am tired of Internet porn being out there, I am tired of identity theft issues and I am tired of feeling someone, somewhere, right around the corner, is out to get me.

I am tired of being worried about my own safety and the possibility that someone will kidnap me and cut my baby out of my stomach and claim him as their own. (Okay, I don't really worry about that too much, but I'm on a roll here.) I do know that when a woman is pregnant, it is the most dangerous time of her life- crazy boyfriends apparently really groove on killing their pregnant girlfriends, and that sort of skews the statistics. I don't think I'm really in any danger here with Dan.

But do you get what I'm saying? All this evil danger lurking out there, and I'm just tired today of battling the tide.

Just for the record, I am also tired of my hips hurting, my stomach contracting, my ankles swelling, and my sleep being interrupted. I am tired of being pregnant.

But.

Tomorrow is a day closer to delivery day. I am preparing a healthy meal for my family, which we will all sit down together tonight to enjoy. I am incredibly blessed with two active, fun girls who are healthy and happy. I am about to be thrice blessed with a son. I have a husband who is a wonderful partner in all of this protecting and who completely supports all of my efforts.

Later tonight, I will feel more rested and ready to resume the vigilant fight.

But for right now, Michaela can eat as many Trix yogurts as she wants while watching Tom and Jerry on TV in our room. And I'm going to sit on the couch and eat M&M's 'til I feel like puking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bend it like Libutti.


Watch out, world... there's a new footballer in town.

Her name is Jenna and she's gonna "tickt the sotter ball to store a goal."

She's fierce.

Her season starts next month and Daddy is her coach.