Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 212 - July 30

When it comes to etiquette, there's no such thing as starting too early.

My mom taught me to always send thank you notes, and I'm passing that along to Michaela as well. Of course, she's still too young to do any writing, but I figured I could get her involved by having her draw in the cards after I wrote them out.

And just like me as a kid, she lost interest before we got them all done, so we have to revisit them tomorrow and get the last three done.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 211 - July 29

Ok, so... let me get this straight.

Over night, you will not sleep in the nursery napper. You will not sleep in the chair from the swing. You will only sometimes sleep swaddled in the small pack n play (that was last night's success; we don't expect a repeat performance).

But you can fall asleep like this while Daddy is trying to keep you awake???

Who designed these things??????

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 210 - July 28

First of all... Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Moving on.....

I like to call today's picture "goes against every fiber of my being."

Why is that? Well, let me explain.

As a breast-feeding mom, and someone who is very seriously considering being a lactation peer counselor when she grows up, there are some "rules" I generally advocate new breast-feeding moms follow, including myself.

One of those rules is to not introduce an artificial nipple of any kind too early in the breast-feeding relationship so that you don't mess with establishing your supply of milk, or confuse a baby with an easier-to-eat-from-than-the-breast bottle. As a general rule, "they" (you know, the experts) say to not introduce a pacifier until the baby is somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks old.

Cate is 10 days old today and she had her first taste of silicone.


I feel like a bad breast-feeding mom. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 209 - July 27

It was a sad day for Jason today.

After nine days of not shaving, courtesy of being on leave, I made him shave his beard off. He thought he was going to go with a goatee, but we're having family/newborn pictures taken tomorrow and there is no way I'm going to have a bearded man in my family pictures!!

Sorry, honey!!

Day 208 - July 26

Yesterday was a lazy day around here... again.

But that didn't keep Michaela from having a little fun at the "beach" with Daddy and all her Toy Story guys. And, really, what's a day at the beach without a guitar for Daddy and a keyboard for Michaela (hidden behind the box)?

Day 207 - July 25

I'm hopeful that I'll eventually stay caught up with this again. At least there's not a lack of pictures... it's just a lack of energy to post them once Michaela is in bed and we've gotten the chance to settle down and relax for a bit!

Wednesday night was bath night for Cate. She got the full treatment of an actual baby tub full of water this time around instead of just a sponge bath at the hospital. She wasn't really sure what to think about it, but at least there was no screaming.

Doesn't that face say, "what the....??"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 206 - July 24

In the midst of all the chaos that is bringing a new baby home, I'm also still trying to work on putting together an exhibit for a fundraising art walk at our church in the middle of next month. It's probably good the baby came early so that I still have time to get it put together after we get a little better settled.

Last week, Groupon had yet another deal for Canvas on Demand. We already had two vouchers ready for when we want to print a couple shots after Amy from Simpy b photos comes this weekend to do our family pictures, but when it came up again, I had to get another voucher so I could do a canvas piece for the silent auction.

On one of the days I was having contractions shortly before Cate appeared, I wisely ordered the print I wanted for the auction, and then forgot about it until it showed up today. I have to say I'm a little sad I'll be donating this one for sale instead of keeping it myself. I suppose I could always order myself another one, but it would never be at such a deal!

Hopefully this one makes some money - we're trying to get our parking lot repaved at church. So if you're in Mobile on August 18th at 6pm, stop by St. Luke's Episcopal and check out some art and maybe pick up a piece for yourself!

Day 205 - July 23

So there is still another kid in the house.

Yesterday, she climbed up on the couch to chill with me while she played on Daddy's iPad. A few minutes later, she bit the tip off the stylus and has now lost her iPad privileges for a few days.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 204 - July 22

We're finally caught up! Yay! We'll see how long that lasts... and how long it is until you see something besides a baby picture here....

Today was a nice, low-key day. We didn't have to go back to the hospital (we had to go back yesterday for another bilirubin test for Cate), or anywhere else for that matter, and we just chilled most of the day. Cate spent part of the day in the swing, but mostly she was either with me or Jason - the perfect place for a new baby to be.

I think she finds Daddy's lap pretty comfy. (And, yes, she is a little jaundiced..... that's not so much a white balance problem with the camera as it is her yellowish color. Hopefully that'll be gone sooner than later!)

Day 203 - July 21

Yesterday was our first full day at home. And I learned it's going to take a while to adjust.

But I'm hopeful that Michaela will come around to the idea of "Yellow" being Cate, and being a baby on the outside instead of the inside now that we're getting back to a normal routine. She had a rough couple days of going back and forth to the hospital, not understanding why Mommy didn't come home right away, and just being generally way off her schedule.

She alternates between showing Cate all kinds of love and wanting nothing to do with her. I think that's probably normal, but it worries me a little, too.

But then, yesterday morning, she left Bear with Cate while she was eating and snoozing on my lap in bed. Since Bear is her most special possession in the world, I'm choosing to believe she really does love her new sister!

Day 202 - July 20

Friday dragged on forEVER!!!!!!

I had hoped to be discharged Friday morning, but between my own issues (I had to get two units of blood on Thursday), and Cate having some elevated bilirubin levels, along with the doctors waiting all day to do discharge orders for some reason, we didn't get to leave until dinnertime. Ugh.

Before leaving, though, we got a couple partial family pictures to mark the occasion!

Day 201 - July 19

The days very quickly blurred together in the hospital, but the big order of business on Thursday was to get Cate a bath.

We didn't have them bathe her in the nursery because I didn't want her stuck there and on the warming table for hours instead of being with me. Plus, the vernix is good for their skin, so I wanted to keep that on her and rub it in as much as possible before her first bath. We had planned to give it to her on Wednesday, and the timing just didn't work, so we took care of it during Daddy and Michaela's dinner-time visit on Thursday.

Oddly enough, she wasn't phased in the least about having her hair under the water... it was just the sponge bath part after that she didn't love - because she got too cold!

And I'm in love with this picture... which I took with my phone. Go figure.

Day 200 - July 18

I think it's pretty funny that Day 200 happened to be a pretty BIG day!

So, of course, everyone read about my midwife getting hurt a couple weeks ago, and how I quickly went from wanting the baby to come anytime, to wanting the baby to wait as long as possible (which, by the way, wouldn't have mattered - my midwife is out until at least September!). But, my major concern was that Michaela was going to "lose" her birthday - I really wanted to get past that on Monday, and then past her party on Tuesday.

Lo and behold, after the party on Tuesday (well, kind of through the party and then after), I started having early labor contractions on a timeable basis. Most of the afternoon, they were about 15 minutes apart, and I even went so far as to get in touch with my doula and give her a heads up. Jason also called into work and cancelled his flight for the night... even if it wasn't the real thing, I was having a hard time doing much around the house and wasn't sure how I was going to take care of Michaela through the night.

Real labor started some time shortly before midnight on Wednesday, and I stayed out in the living room to try to sleep on the couch and let Jason get some sleep in the bedroom. Little did I know, my, ehem, "vocalizations" through contractions were a little louder than I thought and Jason started timing them a lot earlier than I did. By about 3 in the morning on Wednesday, I had timed them for about an hour and realized I was actually in labor. Like, real labor.

Things went pretty quickly after that... Jason called our doula a little after 3am and she got her a little after 4am. By 5:40, we were heading out the door to the hospital... a complete shock to me after my terrible, awful, long labor with Michaela.

We got to the hospital shortly after 6, and by 8:17, Cate Madigan Dorval had joined our family on the outside! I'll write and share a full birth story on the FlyingFish blog (complete with disclaimer for anyone who doesn't want details!!!), but those are the basics.

Even without my midwife, and with the fear of a non-VBAC-friendly staff at the hospital, I got to have her via VBAC, with the help of the amazing coach, Jason; my AWESOME doula; and an L&D nurse who couldn't have been a better pick if I could've hand-chosen her.

I'll skip the ugly, immediately post-birth, Becca picture here, I think... though I might put it on the other blog. Instead, I'll share one I took of Cate with my phone just a few hours after she was born. Isn't she perfect??

Oh, and I had to put in the one of Michaela giving her new sister a first kiss. She's definitely still not sure what to think of the baby, but we've had a few sweet moments, starting with that one.

Day 199 - July 17

Time for some catch-up!!

If I knew what the end of Tuesday was going to have in store for me, the beginning of Tuesday may have been different.

But even with a baby imminently on the way, Michaela needed a birthday party! So we had our playgroup friends over, along with a few extra friends, and threw a small party in the morning. The theme was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the activity was lots of fun in sprinklers, and I spent most of the time having contractions and not doing much else. Thankfully, Jason was scheduled to fly that night, so he was home to do all the work.

The only really good picture I got was of her cake. Wasn't it adorable?? She loved it and I thought my friend Lyssa did an amazing job!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 198 - July 16

Happy Birthday, Michaela!!!!

I can not believe that our girl is 3 years old already! Every parent says this, but it feels like she just showed up yesterday, but at the same time it seems our world was never without her. We are so blessed to have such a funny, sweet, smart, wacky girl (who is also sometimes annoying, whiny, and miserable, don't worry!) in our family. I like to think maybe we did something right as parents, but she shows us daily that her personality comes from no one else but her!

I DID teach her how awesome birthdays are - you all remember that I celebrate my birthday month, week, and day, right? - and she was most excited about the balloons we had waiting for her in the living room and kitchen this morning, and getting to open presents this afternoon when Daddy got home from work.

I have two pictures for tonight... and then when I get a minute sometime over the next few days I'll update the FlyingFish blog with more pictures since it's been a while. Tonight's pictures are my little poser, who kept looking at me as she opened a gift until she heard the shutter click; and another of her enjoying what we gave her. Seems we finally got a present right!

(And I did no editing on these pictures.... I'm just too tired to think!!)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 197 - July 15

You know you've just gotten through a night of very little sleep (thanks to a few hours worth of contractions) when you walk into your own baby shower during coffee hour at church, and have no idea until someone literally points it out to you.

That was me today.

In my defense, another parishioner was celebrating her birthday, so there was a cake, which Michaela made a beeline for as soon as we walked into the Activities room. So mostly I was focused on keeping her from putting her little fingers into more than one piece of chocolate cake.

Next thing you know, someone is saying, "Surprise!" and then someone else literally had to point to the pile of gifts and the cute ducky decorations so I got what was going on. Jason just laughed at me because he got a heads up phone call before church this morning, so he knew what to expect!

I feel very blessed, though, that our church family put together a little shower for us, and that our priest had such nice things to say about us. It's always so hard when you move so much to find a place in a new church home. St. Luke's was the first church we tried when we got here (and then only tried one other before Jason made the call to go back to St. Luke's - I wonder if that's how he ended up the Senior Warden....), and we were welcomed with open arms, and were so happy to find a place so early in our time here. It took a bit to not choke up this morning (once I realized what was going on) when I realized that the love we have for St. Luke's is definitely not one-sided!

So tonight's picture is a quick shot of all the gift bags piled up in the dining room... now to find a place for everything!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 196 - July 14

It was a rainy, yucky day here today. It stormed and rained on and off, with the sun peaking through every so often. On top of that, I slept terribly last night, so Jason let me stay in bed this morning, and we missed the window to get out for some kind of indoor activity even by the time we were all showered and dressed.

So by dinnertime tonight, I was going stir-crazy (I generally leave the house every single day for at least an hour or so). Because I had also forgotten completely about pulling something out of the freezer for dinner tonight, too, we needed to get some food. We shouldn't have resorted to fast food, but I wanted to check out the new Crazy 8 store at the mall, so we headed there and hit Chick-fil-A first. And then we bribed the kid with a ride on the carousel if she behaved at the store.

Besides bouncing off the walls (what the heck was in her nuggets?!?!?), she was great, so she got her carousel ride (along with a nice stash of new clothes), and everyone was happy.

Bribery. An excellent parenting tool since the beginning of time!

Day 195 - July 13

Friday the 13th... and I took no pictures.

So I'll share one from late on Thursday the 12th instead.

Michaela has started to ask to play tic-tac-toe. Basically, what she means is that she would like a piece of paper to draw on, and she would like to use a pen for her drawing implement, instead of the standard washable crayon. I'm not entirely sure how that's what tic-tac-toe came to mean, but there ya go.

I tell you this to say that she asked to play tic-tac-toe and then drew me the picture attached here. She asked me to draw a happy face, so the head, eyes, and mouth were my creation, but she filled in the rest.

You should look for hair, a nose, ears, arms (which come out of the ears), legs, and feet. I'm not entirely sure what the swoopy lines are just under the head and at the top of the legs, but they were drawn as part of the legs, so I'll just leave it at that.

This is the first person she ever drew. I'm pretty impressed with her skills, actually, and it's been fun watching her come up with other stuff over the last couple days!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 194 - July 12

Ah, the afternoon thunderstorm... ubiquitous to the south, and the reason why Mobile has the highest rainfall of any state inside the Continental US almost every year.

It might make it a pain to try to make afternoon plans outside, but it can also be a great source of fun. Especially if you love your rain boots and your polka dot umbrella.

It could take a week for the inside of her rain boots to dry. And I'm not 100% sure she understands the concept of an umbrella.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 193 - July 11

Ah, Michaela. Yes, we're back to her.

I have two related pictures tonight because I couldn't choose between them.

First we have the kid playing in the doorway from the living room into the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. Why she couldn't bring the toys 5 more steps into the living room, I don't know. This is the second time in a few weeks that this particular toy has stopped right here. It's fun stepping around all the plastic food, along with the grill itself. She's awesome.

Since she was grilling, though, she had to, of course, feed someone. Apparently the yumminess that cooked away in the crockpot all day wasn't as appetizing as plastic hamburgers and hotdogs. And ketchup and mustard "drinks." Personally, I'm glad to see she protected both her own and Daddy's shirts with the napkins.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 192 - July 10

Ok, I have a lot to say today. I'm going to condense it down as much as possible.

First, in keeping with the theme of last night's picture, 17 years ago today, Jason and I both walked through the archways at Chase Hall and started our journey(s) in the Coast Guard. I can't believe it's been that long. Holy cow.

Now to today. This picture is pretty crappy quality. I should've thought to take it when it was light out instead of 10 minutes ago. Oh well.

Jason brought me home some sunflowers today, to bring a little sunshine into my world. My day started off REALLY badly with the news that my midwife has broken her arm in five places, needs surgery, and will not be seeing any patients for the rest of the month, at least. Yeah. I'm due in two weeks.

I felt a little better after talking to her shortly after my minor (major) panic attack at the front desk at her office this morning (I showed up for an appointment I didn't end up having), but I'm still not in the best place. She is literally the only provider in this whole town who is fully supportive of VBACs (vaginal birth after Caesarean), which is how I'm planning to deliver Yellow, so not having her there - or potentially not having her there - is pretty devastating. Not to mention the fact that I now have to see some random doctor for the remainder of my prenatal care, and potentially have the "fight" about not doing a c-section early, not worrying about if I go over 40 weeks as long as me and Yellow are both doing fine, and all the other things that I trusted my midwife to be totally up front with me about, but I know can be an issue with some of the other OBs in the practice.

So Jason brought me sunshine in the form of my second favorite kind of flowers. He's a good man, that Jason. I think I'll keep him!

Meanwhile, if you're the praying type, please say a prayer for my midwife - that her surgery goes well tomorrow and they're able to piece her poor arm back together. And another one for me and this whole situation, that whatever the plan is for how Yellow is supposed to come into this world, it all works out in the end. I truly believe that God was at work in leading me to my midwife in the first place, so I still feel that she is supposed to be involved in Yellow's birth. But the unknown is so difficult, and having zero control is nearly impossible for me to handle! So prayers are appreciated!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 191 - July 9

It hit me about 3/4 of the way through the day.... two years ago today I was having my Change of Command ceremony and getting ready to leave the Coast Guard. I'd say it was my last day, but I continued to get paid until August 15th that year, courtesy of leave time saved up.

But it was the last day I put on a uniform, and the last day I officially did any kind of work for the Coast Guard (or any work of the outside-the-house variety at all, actually!).

I seriously cannot believe that two years have gone by already. Somedays it feels like I left yesterday and somedays it feels like my life in the Coast Guard was a whole different life, a whole lifetime ago. Don't you think the same can be said of almost any major change in life?

The funny thing about it being a full two years, and the fact that I never put on a uniform after we moved here to Mobile, is that there is still a name tag and a set of shoulder boards sitting in a decorative wooden bowl in our spare room. And they aren't Jason's. In my defense, that room sort of has a military-ish theme to it, so I'll just say they're part of the decor. Yeah, that.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 190 - July 8

She's growing up too fast. Way too fast.

Michaela isn't even 3 yet (though we're close) and she already recognizes all but 2 letters by sight (E and N give us problems), the numbers 1-10, can count pretty well (we need to work on that a bit more - at least getting past 16), and, apparently, she can write some letters, too. At least one letter.

In church this morning, she asked me to write a 7. Then she asked me to write a 1. Once the 1 was on the paper, she said, "I'm gonna write a h." And she did.

Usually she tells us she's going to draw something or write a letter or a number and then it looks nothing like it's supposed to. But today, she very deliberately wrote a capital "H."

SLOW DOWN, kid! Mommy's not ready for you to be doing this stuff!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 189 - July 7

Sometimes, I really wonder how Michaela's mind works. Then I stop trying to figure it out because it takes too much work to go there.

Apparently, before I got up this morning, M and Daddy were playing trains. Jason lined up three of the trains next to the tracks like they were parked off the side of the tracks or something.

Michaela saw that and decided, for some reason, that they were lined up to watch a parade. So she lined up everyone else, and then started talking about Moon Pies and peanuts. Apparently our Alaska girl has enough Alabama in her now to associate any parade with Mardi Gras.

There was another parade later, and we got all Moon Pies to eat, in their imaginary form. Like I said, there's no figuring out this kid's mind, but I love it!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 188 - July 6

First of all, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that I actually made it halfway through yet another year of this - 5 days ago. I'm so wrapped up in just trying to keep up, that I missed the milestone! Go figure!

Keeping up is just not that difficult when you live with Michaela, though. She provides endless fodder for pictures. I should call this 366 days of Michaela. Maybe that's what I'll do next year - just the kids. Just kidding... no one would like that but the grandparents.

When I came out to the living room to check on the kid after taking my shower this morning, I was greeted by the words, "Look, Mommy! This isn't a kit-tar (guitar) anymore. It's my violin!"And then I had to grab the camera and take pictures, complete with toothbrush hanging out of my mouth. Because you can't let a moment like this pass you by.

Had I known I would be treated to a "Mariachi show" later in the afternoon, I might have skipped the morning pictures. But who knew?

So now, along with all of our cartoon character personas (we get assigned different ones every day, based on who Michaela decides she wants to be), we also have Mariachi performer personas, complete with assigned instruments. All because the "kit-tar" is now a violin.

Oh, and I think the closed eyes come from a very soothing melody Kiki plays in a Fresh Beat Band episode called "The Wizard of Song." I guess that's how you play a violin, even if you're a Mariachi.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 187 - July 5

Know what makes a ginormously pregnant woman happy?

A GIANT bowl of popcorn.

Which might end up being followed up by some ice cream. Time will tell.

Day 186 - July 4

This one (these 2, I should say) is for my Coho Circle friends.

What would a July 4th be without some redneck-style fireworks somewhere near the Dorval household?

This year, we were not to blame. We had some friends over, and they were the ones who brought the fireworks. It was simple stuff - bottle rockets, some roman candles, some snakes - but it was enough to get Jason all excited about his launching set up.

You'll note in the first picture, Jason is actually wetting the grass down with the hose. Yep... redneck style. Oh, and bare feet. Don't forget that. At least the bottle isn't a beer bottle... it's a soda bottle. So we've got that going for us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 185 - July 3

I asked on FB - kid pic or giant belly pic - and got, "Both!" for 2 out of 3 replies, so there are two pictures tonight. I'll put the belly one on the FlyingFish blog, too, just to keep them in one place.

Both pics are about baby stuff, so there's even a connection.

So I'm just about 37 weeks now. That means that the baby is considered full-term-ish (most doctors are comfy with a baby coming at 36 weeks, though more is obviously better), and can come anytime it feels like it. Of course, I've been very clear that I want it to wait until after Michaela's birthday, so hopefully Yellow will cooperate and wait until at least July 18th (we're having M's party on the 17th).

Because I'm so close to the end, we're actually finally getting baby things out and ready. We haven't been able to do it up to this point because we have to keep getting rid of other clutter first. But Jason brought the carseat in from the garage today to put the cover back on it and get it all cleaned up and ready.

Michaela was immediately fascinated. And a doll immediately found its way into the seat. And then a blanket went over the doll. And then a blanket went over the whole seat because the baby was sleeping and we had to be quiet. Then she tried to "wake up" the baby by grabbing it by the head and shaking.

We have some teaching to do.

Anyway... the first picture is M getting her baby all situated in the seat. And the second picture is me in my 36weeks, 5 day glory. The baby has dropped, which is probably why I was measuring at only 35 weeks at my midwife appointment today (the first time she did a fundal height measurement... funny to wait so long!), but I'm also crossing my fingers that it just means this kid isn't as ginormous as its sibling was at birth, which is what my midwife seems to think. Time will tell!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 184 - July 2

While cleaning up from dinner tonight (which consisted of Jason doing cleaning and me sitting at the table, keeping him company), it all of a sudden got very quiet in the living room, where I knew Michaela was playing. 

That's never good. Usually it means she's disappeared somewhere, and is getting ready to pull out every toy she owns. Given that this happened less than 45 minutes before bedtime (and only a few minutes before bath time), I was a little worried about what was going on.

Lo and behold, she was just playing quietly with some toys that were already out - some stickers meant for decorating Easter eggs that she found in my office today - and not doing too much more damage. It made me shake my head that she was sitting in the middle of an enormous mess (can I get you some Mardi Gras beads?) and happily finding little tiny stickers, patiently peeling the backs off of them, and then sticking them onto some foam boards I'd given her (the plastic egg that was with the stickers apparently didn't have enough space). 

It would drive me crazy to try to do what she was doing with all the chaos of the beads, the coloring books, the linkies rings, markers, and paint pens around her! But she just blocked it out and focused very intently (and quietly) on the task at hand. 

Maybe that dress-up dress gives her super powers.

Day 183 - July 1

This kid is really too much.

After reading a book to her a couple of times, she will pretty much memorize it. Often, she'll just remember bits and pieces, but with at least three of her books (26 Princesses, The Napping House, and now Chipmunk's ABCs), she's got them pretty much down from start to finish. They all have short sentences, follow somewhat of a pattern, or, in the case of The Napping House, are repetitive, so they're easy ones to memorize, but still....

Anyway, after church yesterday (yes, I'm a day behind), Michaela told me we were having story time so I had to sit on the chair in front of her and she "read" me Chipmunk's ABCs. She's such a mimic and it cracks me up every time! In the case of story time (and the pretend stamping project we did last week), she's being a little Miss Cindy, her Mom's Day Out teacher. TOO much!!