Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Break and Chaz gets a Haircut

Before the advent of bed rest, I was on spring break. Sadly Ra's spring break doesn't coincide with mine but Rich took a couple of days off and on the Wednesday, must to the massive surprise of Raf, we all piled in the car to 'take Raf to school', but instead drove right past it! We were playing hooky. First we headed to the bookstore for some breakfast snacks and a play with some trains. They did remarkably well to leave with not one engine.

Next, it was time to get some haircuts. Raf led the way and showed his brother that there was nothing to be afraid of. The lollipops really helped Chaz to not be afraid... He is very motivated by lollipops.

We didn't take a lot off but we did do away with the mullet that Charlie was in danger of sporting (especially when his curls would fall away).

Raf's posh new 'do'.

Ah, very nice boys.

And then it was off to the indoor trampoline place! Charlie was asleep for some of it, but once he woke up the boys had a fabulous time. Chaz didn't so much bounce as run around chasing his brother.

The next evening the boys made pizza... with real dough.

I tried to explain that rolling pins weren't quite what we use, but they had fun anyway.

And on Friday, when I was on bed rest, the boys enjoyed a nice snuggle with their sister. I could hardly breathe!

En route home from running some chores I discovered the boys holding hands. Such good bothers and friends (sometimes....). And a special treat juice in the midst of running some chores.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Conversations with Charlie Boy.

I have to admit that I appreciate not feeling dreadful, so resting more is having a very positive effect on my physical well-being. It is a little isolating, and since I gave up FB for Lent and thus don't share poppet links, our readership is down to perhaps one reader! Physical and virtual isolation is not perhaps the best thing when on bed rest but luckily I have the funny boys to keep me company when they come home from school and our nanny's. 

This is how I get them to eat their vegetables... Chas is pretending here to be a chicken. The place is a mess after meals!

The boys are also obsessed with bottoms and privates. Growing up with all sisters I had no inkling about the obsession boys have with their privates! Running around semi-naked is part of getting ready for baths or pajamas. Every. Single. Night. Here's Chas running around delighting as he shouts, 'dinky, dinky, dinky'!

Charlie spends a lot of his day singing Thomas and Train, according to our nanny. To avoid going to sleep he'll often start singing, talking to monsters and shadows, and striking up random conversations, This was him last night.. I put on the light to tape his singing. 

After this, in response to my nose-blowing (I have a miserable sinus infection) he said, 'mummy very sick. I'm sick, too. My wheels hurt'! He then changed wheels to 'feet' and declared that his feet were sick and that he couldn't walk!

He does make me laugh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Getting Ready

I am on modified bed rest for the next few weeks. Fortunately I'm close to 34 weeks already and baby can come any time after 36/37 weeks. I'd prefer 40 plus, frankly, and so I'm hoping just a few weeks of rest will calm things down. I'm working from home and some kind colleagues are helping me out by delivering my lectures until I can return. Even a few days of rest has already helped, which is a good sign. It's also modified rest so I can pick up the boys and do a few things as long as there's no pain, contractions, etc. 

Baby girl looked great on the scan yesterday, doing her practice breathing, wiggling around (signs of a happy baby), but with her hands over her face we weren't able to get any pictures. I'll be back next week, so hoping to get some good pics for the boys. 

Before all of this, though, the boys were very helpful in helping me to put up more furniture for the baby's room. It's taking shape now, and with all my bed rest I've gone a bit mad on Etsy with sweet little pictures. I also have a lovely little blanket picked out. 

This picture does make me laugh!

Raf actually helping...!

Charlie not so much.

Yesterday the little newborn outfits I ordered arrived. We don't mind dressing her up in lots of the boys stuff but as with Charlie we bought a few little special items to bring her home in. Not that special... Chas was sick as soon as we put him in the carseat to bring home and I was glad to have bought a three pack of sleepers!

There's much to get and organise still, but we do hopefully have a few more weeks until she arrives.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stay Put Poppet 3!

It's been a difficult couple of weeks with baby poppet 3. Last week during my 32 week scan, the sonographer noted a possible abnormality with the baby's heart. Everything has looked super until this point, so it was a bit of a shock. Charlie has an enlarged aortic root and this scan seemed to show something similar. I was booked in for a fetal echocardiogram for the following Wednesday but managed to snag a cancellation for the Monday morning. So this past Monday I headed to the maternal fetal center at the crack of dawn for the echo. Thankfully baby's heart looked great and very normal. A huge sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, though, I've been experiencing lots of preterm labour signs. It seems that my irritable uterus is becoming even more irritable. On Sunday and Monday I spent most of the day confined to my bed. I have persistent back and lower abdominal pain and when I moved just a little bit I was having very painful contractions. 2 days of almost complete rest calmed things down a little bit, but after some other symptoms Monday night (oh, when will I sleep again?!) I headed to the midwives on Tuesday for a checkup and saw the lovely Jen.

Unfortunately my fetal fibronectin test came back positive, which means that I have a higher risk of preterm labour. I have a cervical length check on Monday at my next ultrasound and hopefully it will show that these contractions and cramps aren't having a major effect on my cervix. At least that's what I'm hoping. Luckily I'm already close to 33 weeks so not too far from being early term, but I'm not sure how I will return to work after spring break. It may be that I have to work remotely. Monday will determine whether complete or modified bed rest is in my future, or whether I just have to limit my activity significantly. I probably had my last run of this pregnancy last Sunday, which is a shame as I've been really enjoying going to the gym.

Still, not too long to go! And baby girl looked great on Monday and during my non-stress test on Tuesday, where she was bouncing around very happily!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Raf has had a very busy couple of weeks at school. Last week was literacy week and there were lots of fun events to celebrate - including a book fair where Raf picked up a new chapter book, 'Captain Underpants'! He finds it absolutely hilarious...! One of the events was a pajama party at the library. As a big surprise, Raf's teacher was one of the readers. The boys, though, especially Charlie, were not in the most cooperative of moods, and I was very thankful when Rich showed up half way through the evening so he could take care of Charlie, who was more interested in running around like a lunatic, while occasionally looking at some of the very cool train displays. 

Wednesday was 'wacky Wednesday' and the children had to dress up in a way to embody that idea. Raf wore all his clothes backwards as well as wearing odd socks...

Sadly I didn't get a chance to take a photo of Raf on the Friday, dressed up as someone he wants to be when he's a grown-up (a train driver, of course!). Charlie, not to be left out, dressed up as spiderman all day. He even came to Raf's swim lesson as the little super hero. 

This week was Raf's teacher/parent conference. Charlie has been very poorly but our lovely neighbours watched the boys so both Rich and I could attend. The first thing we noticed when we got to school were some really funny pictures of the children in the hallway. Here's Raf's picture age adjusted to 100 years old! He seems to age well!

Raf is doing really well in kindergarten.  He's made big improvements in his sight word recognition and counting since his last report card in January, and continues to love learning. Mrs Marshall commented on his sweetness and silliness.. and indeed he is very very silly! The entire class seems to be quite silly, which Raf must truly relish. The other day, apparently, Raf just couldn't stop laughing. Mrs Marshall had no idea about the cause. I asked Raf about it and he said, 'I just couldn't stop thinking about Charlie in his diaper this morning, and his funny little legs' (nice!). He's also being a little more daring - especially when it comes to breaking rules. The other day Raf came home from school and told me, 'Mummy, recess was a DISASTER'. I asked him about it and apparently he'd been running in the hallway with his friends and was caught by the Principal. This led to some time on the thinking chair. I thought this was a bit harsh until Raf retold the story later in the day to Rich and tackling was mentioned, too.

I like the idea of Raf being a little bit naughty at school because he's generally such a rule follower and people pleaser. One thing that Raf needs to work on (and this wasn't news to us) is his independence when doing activities. He has a very low threshold for frustration and lacks confidence when he's working on some school work.... He likes to have Mrs Marshall there when he's working, but given there are 14 other children in the room that's not always possible. He really does become frustrated, though, and we need to work on strategies to foster some confidence and independence (we have the exact same issues at home). When he worked with a literacy support teacher (who he doesn't know very well) he didn't exhibit the same behaviors so we're wondering if it tends to develop a little more when he feels very comfortable with someone. It might also be the group setting at school which triggers the anxiety and frustration.

Over all he is doing so, so well. He is one of the youngest in the class and I had worried that he might not be ready for kindergarten but thus far he's really flourishing. Indeed part of the meeting involved a discussion about his placement in first grade next year. We're considering a team taught classroom, which has children from second grade join the first graders periodically throughout the day. We think this will be a good fit for him so we're going to try and work on getting him in... we'll see how that goes. Mrs. Marshall thinks it will work well for him, so she'll be a good advocate, I'm sure.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Big Apple!

Last week I headed to New York City for a conference. It was my first time flying solo since Raf was born! It was just a couple of days and thankfully mum was still here to help as Rich generally works quite late. Our lovely, kind neighbour, Shannon, picked up Raf from school and delivered him to mum, which was such a relief as didn't want to pop him on the bus. So on Wednesday morning, before the crack of dawn, I headed to the airport for a very early flight. The plane was very delayed because apparently it was too heavy to fly in the cold conditions.. so 6 passengers were asked to leave. And then we were de-iced (which was quite a process....!)

I took a terrifying taxi journey into the city and met a friend for some tea, which was a lovely couple of hours. It was FREEZING! I've sadly outgrown my winter coats so I was wearing a much too cold flimsy thing that made walking around the city fairly unfun. But the view from my hotel window made me happy to stay inside the walls of the hotel for dinner.... and I had a very nice room service meal whilst face timing with the boys.

The hotel was right next to Time Square so a less than 30 second walk had me in the midst of the craziness.

After giving my paper (which went well.. and I met with two publishers who are interested in a possible book project), I headed out to buy some gifts for the little ones. I was accosted by several super hero characters who fleeced me out of $10 but the boys enjoyed the pictures I texted to them.

Whilst I enjoyed the trip it wasn't nearly as much fun as I was expecting as I missed the boys so much. I also flew across the hotel lobby as I was leaving to return to the airport...! Everyone coped without me, though Charlie was very sad when he realized I wasn't going to be back for the night. I was very glad to be home and mum had kindly waited up until after midnight to welcome me back. I am sure my next conference won't be a solo trip....

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nesting and Irritability

Nesting has fully taken hold of me. I decided to paint the entire house...! I started with the downstairs living area a couple of weeks ago and that's mostly finished now. On Sunday I painted the upstairs hallway a much more cheery colour, and it's looking very lovely. We do need someone to come in to paint the high parts as neither of us is going to wobble about on a very tall ladder. The walls throughout the house are incredibly grim with two dirty little boys!! Next is the spare room that will also serve as baby girl's room. At least for now that's where we'll store all of her things.

In other news, I have been experiencing dreadful practice contractions. Not really Braxton hicks but probably not doing anything, either. I seem to have a very, very irritable uterus and I've been up literally all night for the past two evenings. I keep reaching the more unhelpful midwife so not sure what to do other than hope that this is not once again preterm labour.

It's going to be a long 9 weeks!

Winter Break

Laat week Raf was on winter break. It doesn't, unfortunately, correspond to any of my breaks at school but fortunately mum was here and our new nanny was starting - so good timing. It has been an incredibly cold winter (the coldest February on record, apparently) so there were a lot of snuggles for the brothers, some movie time, and some trips out.

After work on the Monday I took the boys to the Children's Museum, which was terrible timing as there was some huge event going on in Portland and it took us almost an hour to park! Still, we had a nice, albeit brief visit before we had to pick up Nana from the shops where we'd dropped her off earlier. First things first, Charlie demanded a snack - so we headed to the snack tables and the boys played in the 'diner' there. I had some lovely veggie pretends and plastic ice creams.

Next to the farm.. to stack hay.

And 'water' the cow.

And then off to the fire truck.

Then to fix some cars...

Lots of art was created.

And the boys very much enjoyed being looked after by their nana... ice pops, movies, tucked up on the couch 

Alarmed that there was even more snow.

So the boys played 'sleeping kitties'...

On Wednesday, our new nanny, Mollie, started. She is GREAT! Both boys headed over there for the day. On Thursday they were there again... It was bitterly cold but the big boys braved the elements. Chas was a bit sad about being left inside but dressed up in James' furry costume with the massive tale and he was a happy camper once again.

So glad to have Mollie. The boys really like her and she's been great about taking Charlie and Annie out on adventures.