(in no order)

1 – I’m thankful for my husband, Marc. Because I feel more like me when he’s there, because there’s nobody I’d rather spend time with, because he loves me all the time. Because he’s brilliant and strong and the best father I’ve ever seen. My kids are so incredibly lucky to have him.

2 – My stepdaughters – the gifts I didn’t ask for, they came along with their dad and have added so much to my life and to the lives of my children. It’s been a joy to watch them grow – they’re amazing young women.

3 – My beautiful daughter Jessica Mary – who made my life so complete when she was born. She made me a mom, and I’m amazed and blessed to have been given her as a daughter. She stuffed the turkey all by herself yesterday, made sixteen placemats for everyone there, and I spent all day so incredibly proud to have this child in my life. She’s beautiful and kind and sweet and so smart it takes my breath away.

4 – My angel boy Samilicious. The boy I never planned on (for some reason, I always thought I’d have just girls), and the one I can’t imagine my life without. Even when I don’t understand the fascination with poop and guns and superheros – he’s taught me so many lessons about patience and love and I’m so proud of the boy he’s coming. He’s my big boy now, and even though he’d so much rather hang with Daddy (Daddy’s way much cooler than Mommy), he’s always going to be my little lovebug, my bestest hugger and my sweet boy.

5 – My tiny little green pepper sized bug – my daughter I haven’t met. This pregnancy still seems unreal to me, it’s unimaginable that I’m going to be lucky enough to have another child. I dream of you at night, wait for your movements all day and can’t wait to hold you. This whole family is waiting with baited breath for your arrival – there has never been a more wanted child in the world.

Finally got a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing today and LOVED it. Totally recommend it – I read it in one sitting. Such a relief to read about actual people who have been where I am. It’s odd – my family is very pro-nursing, at least in the beginning. I think if I had switched to formula at six months, they would have been fine with it. After a year, they were slightly confused, when he was two, they were slightly horrified and now that he’s three and I’m pregnant -forget it, I’m out and out crazy, and the best reaction I get from them is “…. umm, okay, if you want to….” in a tone that makes it clear that they disapprove. I also get a lot of open hostility towards it – and have battled it out too many times. I’ve simply reached the point where I no longer discuss it with anyone. I love my family – but they really have NO clue about extended nursing.

Sam’s three years old – and has never once been on an antibiotic. In fact, with the exception of the two times he was put on a nebulizer for really bad colds, I’ve never had him in for a sick visit. And he’s a talkative, independent, FUN kid – who plays by himself, mixes well with others, and I’m immensely proud of him. And proud of myself for going this far… I certainly never planned on nursing this long, but it’s what’s worked for Sam. I’m incredibly frustrated that I have virtually no support from anyone re: this.

Nursing while pregnant isn’t easy, but I can only tell you that weaning during pregnancy would have been infinitely harder. It’s a quick, easy cure for everything, puts him to sleep in minutes, quiets a temper tantrum immediately and fixes bumbs and bruises in seconds. It’s also painful – really painful and frustrating and time consuming – but the choice really is clear. Sam’s not ready to wean. And I haven’t gone this far to wean cold turkey. It wouldn’t be fair to him, and it would be incredibly hard for me.

That being said – I still wish he didn’t need to nurse. I also wish he was potty trained. And if wishes was all it took – then I’d have the most well behaved, perfect children in the entire world. He’ll get there, on his time, and when he’s ready. I distract as much as I can, push off whenever it’s possible. I don’t nurse in public anymore. There’s a lot about parenting that isn’t what I thought it would be – extended nursing is just one of many things I thought I’d never do. I thought it was icky and weird, only to discover that it’s just… natural. It’s no more odd than picking him up for a cuddle or getting him a cup of milk or taking him outside to play. It’s just one of the many tools that I rely on for parenting.

I don’t know that I’ll be able to tandem nurse. I don’t know that he’ll continue nursing thru the pregnancy. He nurses rarely now, just for comfort, really. But one thing I’ve learned – there’s no point in trying to predict anything. Ideally, he’ll be done nursing, potty trained, sleeping thru the night in his own bed all the time – but I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that it might not happen that way. I think we can probably get potty training down – but I’m not going to take away nursing from him until he’s ready for it.

Marc and I very similiar in a LOT of really important ways. We have the same attitudes towards family, academic excellence, intellectual curiousity and we’re both really patient and tolerant. We’re both pretty social, like to have people over, have a lot of activities, like having a lot of children, etc. But on some levels, we couldn’t be more different.

Marc is much more organized than I am. Especially around the house – he does the meal planning, organizes our cabinets and tupperware supplies according to some principal that only he understands. I not only don’t understand it, I don’t care that much about it. I hate meal planning, am willing to cook whatever he has bought, but hate trying to figure out what to buy. As a rule, when Marc comes home at night, he spends about ten or fifteen minutes puttering around the house, gently reminding me to try to remember to put away the jelly, or make sure the top is on the peanut butter, or to make sure the bread has the little fastener for the bag. Things that just aren’t on my radar. On the flipside, he never vacuums, never touches laundry and wouldn’t dream of picking up a toy. Just wouldn’t occur to him to do it, not that he objects strongly to it, it just isn’t on his radar.

One thing that Marc is really crappy at is putting the kids to bed. He’s Fun Daddy – and the only way to transition out of that, for him, it seems, is to be Mean Daddy. I know that he could get the kids to bed – his preference would be to literally put them into bed and ignore them until they slept. I don’t do that – Jess is just now (at six and a half) at a point where she’ll go to bed and fall asleep on her own. I parent them to sleep – and combine sterness, kindness and an absolute conviction that they need to go to sleep, right now, and it works, no tears, no pain, and Jessie, at least, is usually asleep between eight and eight thirty.

I went out last night, to an Education Committee meeting that had been postponed. I missed the e-mail on that, and showed up anyway. And decided to not come home – after all, it was Daddy’s night with the kids and I figured the last thing they needed was more time with me. The kids needed this time with Marc, they had been looking forward to it, Marc was looking forward to it, and I just …. wandered. Hit the library, read in the car for a while, wandered around the grocery store by myself for a while… and came home around nine fifteen or so, to be met by a teary eyed six year old who was crying so hard I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I didn’t even bother to try and sort it out, just dropped the groceries on the table and took her to bed. She fell asleep pretty fast (it was nine thirty!!) and then came out to the living room, fuming, because Sam was still pumped up from playing with Daddy all night and nowhere near ready for bed. Marc went to bed almost immediately, and I sat up with Sam and chilled him out, nursed him a bit, and he dozed off easily enough.

I was thinking that probably each of us are firmly convinced that the other one just has no clue on how to do what the other one does, not only that, but we both are firmly convinced that it’s not worth trying to meet the other’s standards. I don’t care where the cereal goes in the cabinet, or if the tupperware all comes cascading out when I open the cabinet (I like the sense of adventure, honestly – I think it adds a little something to the day). And Marc doesn’t really care when the kids go to bed – they were having fun and everything was great. And it probably was – Jess would have been fine, I’m sure, if I hadn’t come home for another hour or so, she was just awake enough to know that I was home, and once she saw me, she started crying because she was so overtired. If she hadn’t seen me, she would have eventually fallen asleep. Sam was having a blast with Daddy, and if I hadn’t come home, Marc would have sat up with him and eventually, he’d have fallen asleep too.

Even though we’re so different in the way we handle these things, I think the fact that we still somehow manage to co-exist so happily and so easily is fabulous.

And on the upside, I bet the kids will go to bed super early tonight 🙂

Negative – which in this case, is a totally positive thing. Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I’ve got this nagging sense of pushing my luck – I’ve already got two gorgeous healthy children, am I asking too much to have another? And I didn’t know, until I got the results today, how worried I really was.

In other news – I TOTALLY FELT THE BABY MOVE! That popcorn popping sort of sensation, or butterfly wings fluttering – however you describe it – it was real and I felt today for the very first time.

Very happy pregnant girl today 😉

Today’s kind of a quiet day, and I’m sleepy… Jess was up a lot last night coughing, no fever, and she was fine this morning so I shipped her off to school. Sam slept in this morning, so no nap this afternoon, I’m assuming – which’ll actually work out well for me, because Marc is going to the gym tonight.

Anyone have any suggestions on what they’d like me to write about? Any questions or comments – I’m running low on inspiration these days. I think there are a lot more readers than commenters (I’m assuming – what with me getting no comments on most of these posts). You guys have anything in particular you’d like me to write about?

Baby still isn’t moving – sometimes I pretend that I might be feeling something, little quivers, but I think I’m just fooling myself. Not quite seventeen weeks, and it’s average to feel movement between 18 and 20 weeks, but I’m so ready for it. I feel SO much better though – I heart the second trimester. Sam is doing well – still not potty trained and still not weaned, but getting so much bigger every day that I have to catch my breath sometimes around him, he seems to be growing up so fast! I’m resigning myself to tandem nursing, although still not looking forward to it. Committed to doing what’s best for my kids, though, even if it’s not what’s best for me. And point blank, he’s not ready to give it up, and that’s okay. I haven’t gone this far down the road with him to cut him off cold turkey. Jess is also growing amazingly fast, I’m seeing more and more signs of the grown up girl she’s becoming. She’s still over the moon excited about a baby sister – I’m really looking forward to watching that relationship flourish.

Waiting anxiously for test results today – I had blood work done, the screening for downs and all the other scary stuff and the results are supposed to be in early this week. Trying to resist calling and bugging the doctor’s office, I know they’ll call when they get the results, but I want to know NOW.

I was planning on a very lazy night – Marc wasn’t coming home tonight after work, going to the gym instead. I was going to order in and go to bed as early as I could get the kids to fall asleep. But then he changed his mind, decided to stay home, and asked if we could go out to eat instead of getting take out. Because I know the kids would love it, and I remember being a kid and LOVING eating at a restaurant, I said okay. But I hadn’t showered in… a couple of days, lets say, and knew that I’d have to get cleaned up. So I took a very long, very hot shower, and then got dressed. I have a lot of comfy maternity clothes, leggings, long t-shirts, but no jeans. And I’ve been wearing leggings for the past 16 weeks, and I’m sick of them.

I dug around in the closet and found a pair of pregnant girl overalls. They look hideous. They have to be a hand me down from someone, because God knows I would never have bought them. But they aren’t leggings, and at this point, who cares what I look like, right? At least that’s what I was trying to tell myself – because I think I look horrible. I’m clearly pregnant, but still feel like I look fat. Anyway, so I haul these things on, and then went to go change Sam’s disgusting diaper (will he ever potty train – I’m beginning to doubt it). I look terrible, and know it, and I trudge out into the living room, disgusted with myself – and Jessie takes one look at me, gasps in wonder, and says “Mommy – those look BEAUTIFUL.”

Thank God for Jessica. I wish I’d had her all my life – I could have used this ego boost when I was sixteen 🙂

Now that I know I’m having another girl – I’ve found a whole new set of things to think about. Wondering what this little girl’s personality is going to be like, how her personality will be influenced by having a big brother as her closest sibling, what it’ll be like for her to have three older sisters, what will her relationship with Jessie be like. My own sister is six years younger than I am, with two brothers between us, and I’ve always had a more maternal relationship with her. Will Jessie fill that role with this baby? My sister obviously liked my mother best – but I was next best when it came to comfort and solace. I remember feeling like babysitters would watch my brothers and I would take care of my sister. I hope for that, for my girls (I really LOVE saying that), in a lot of ways, and in some ways, I’m wondering if that’s necessarily a good thing. Is that too much responsibility for Jess? I’ll have to watch that – especially because she’s already planning on taking over for me with the new baby when I’m busy with Sam.

Jess is very maternal with younger kids – she watches over Sam and takes care of him in the most adorable of ways. Yesterday at the ultrasound, without saying anything to me, she hoisted Sam (he weighs all of five pounds less than she does) up so that he could see the monitor as well. Don’t get me wrong – my kids can throw down with the best of them – but there’s a level of love and care and attention to each other than I find enchanting – and Jess is definitely the caretaker in that relationship. I’m sure it’ll be the same thing, only that much more, with her baby sister (especially because she’ll be so much easier to carry around).

My sister really loved being the “baby” and it’s a long standing joke in the family, that in my next life, I want to come back as Mandi, because it seems as though it’d be SO much easier to be the youngest. But the truth is that given the choice, I wouldn’t trade my place in the family for anything. I do want to be aware of it – the tendency to put more pressure on Jessie because she’s my oldest, and the tendency to let the little one skate out of responsibility because she’s the baby. Because that’s what I know, that’s how I grew up, and I don’t necessarily want to repeat that whole pattern completely in the next generation. I want Jess to have more freedom, less responsibility, and my little bug to still feel as though she’s strong and capable and responsible as well.

She’s so excited about having a little sister.

I love my Sammy Boy, and in some ways, he feels almost more precious to me now that I know he’s my only son. I wonder what his life will be like, with four sisters. I worry sometimes that we (Marc and I) tend to separate out by gender too much. It’s not a conscious thing, and I do believe that there are hard core differences between male and female. Sam worships his dad – just flat out worships him, and follows his lead in all things. He likes to help take out the trash, and fix things around the house, play computer games with Daddy and watch old documentaries on the History channel. With Sam being the only boy now – I want to make sure that we also give him chances to be himself, not just Daddy’s Mini Me. He LIKES being Daddy’s Mini Me, it’s not that we push him in that direction, he just seems to naturally gravitate to whatever it is that Marc likes, in a way that Jess doesn’t. It wouldn’t occur to Jess to go sit outside and watch while Daddy hits the punching bag – and I want to make sure we don’t get to the point where it doesn’t occur to us to invite her outside because we assume that she doesn’t like doing that kind of thing. Does that make sense?

I’m still absolutely thrilled about having another daughter. My family is girl centered in a lot of ways, very matriach oriented – and there’s something glorious for me in the thought of having daughters. I think I’d be equally thrilled with the thought of another boy, just in a different way. Two boys – my boys, I’m kind of sad that it didn’t turn out that way. But mostly, I’m just thrilled. Finding out the gender has really made me feel so much more connected to the baby, so much more excited about this pregnancy.


I’m so happy. I think I’d be equally as happy about it being a boy, but finding out the gender makes it seem so much more real to me. I’m carrying a little girl – I’m going to have two daughters and a son. How incredibly perfect. I’m absolutely delighted.

The ultrasound went great – everything looks nice and healthy. The baby is very active, moving all over the place, measurements were great, placenta is lovely. And the tech was more that 90% certain that this is a tiny girl for me. Jessie is, obviously, beyond thrilled and Sam is mostly happy, although a bit bitter because he was hoping for a brother.

I talked to Marc last night about finding out, we had planned on not finding out, because Marc didn’t want to. And if he felt strongly against it, I would have gone along, but am so glad that he was okay with me finding out. It’s just easier for me to bond. We found out with Jess and didn’t with Sam – and with Jess, from the second she was born, it was an immediate bond because I had been waiting to meet my Jessie for months. With Sam, I initially had to get used to having a boy. I loved him from the start, of course, but think that not finding out made it a little tougher to feel that immediate connection.

I can’t stop smiling – I’m so happy.

It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was lovely. We did absolutely nothing, for the most part. Jess stayed home from Hebrew School, Marc didn’t want to send her out into the world yet, the fever is gone, but she was still coughing. We didn’t have Lilli and Sarah, because we didn’t want to unnecessarily expose them if we didn’t have to, and plans for Saturday night at my sister’s were cancelled due to them coming down with the flu. Friday night, we went out to dinner, Saturday, we lazed around the house most of the day, braving the cold for a while with a brief trip to the park and the library, and then back home. Marc took Sammy to the store to do the grocery shopping, and today – we did absolutely nothing. Watched movies, I read three or four books, Jess finished up her homework and Marc watched the game.

It’s odd, because we spend so much of the weekends running all the time – have to get up early, get the girl dressed and off to Hebrew School, picking up Sarah on the way, then rush to drop Sarah off at dance, pick Lilli up from dance, back to pick Sarah up – and then the afternoons are so loud and chaotic with four kids running around the house and screaming. This weekend was so incredibly peaceful and relaxed and easy – I feel guilty because I enjoyed it so much. The kids are both better, Jessie cough has mostly subsided, we’re all still sneezing a lot, but everyone is feeling good and it was just so nice to have it just be the four of us.

The morning sickness has really gotten so much better. I’m still really lazy though, no energy whatsoever. I doze a lot more and wish for naps when I don’t. The ultrasound is on Wednesday and I’m really, really nervous about it. The baby isn’t moving yet, and I spend most of my time (because I’m just laying around mostly) trying to will myself to feel the movement. Even though I think maybe I’ve felt it a couple of times, it’s nothing substantial, nothing real – and it’s freaking me out. Especially because I’m not out of my mind sick. Rationally, I know that it’s average to feel it closer to 18-20 weeks, and I won’t be 16 weeks until Friday – but STILL. I just want to know that the baby is okay and everything is fine.

I’ve had a lot of both this past week. Poor Jess has been home sick with a fever all week, and I’ve been trapped alone in the house with both kids by myself – and there were definitely times when I didn’t handle it well. I’m a yeller – I come from a long line of yellers and it’s obvious that my children have inherited (or learned) the tendency to holler when things get tough. I’m making a serious effort to remain calm, to speak softly – but on more than one occasion, I found myself screaming at them for screaming at each other. Which doesn’t make any sense, but is certainly loud.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that they both want to be on me. All the time. Both my kids are cuddlers, thank goodness, and for most of the week, when I sit down, they both come and crawl up beside me. (Leading me to worry about where on earth I’m going to put the baby when it comes, both sides of me are taken). And I’ve been so grateful, all week long, that I can do that – that I can sit and just cuddle my cherubs and not have to worry about calling in and missing work. I can read to them for hours, or curl up and watch movies, or play on the computer or just talk… and not every mom gets to do that, so I’m thankful for that this week.

I’m fifteen weeks pregnant today – fifteen weeks. That’s huge, and so fast. I worry about the baby a lot, this is a tough time in the pregnancy because it’s still to early to REALLY feel the baby, the morning sickness (thank God) has faded a lot, and I’m just sort of… hanging in and waiting. Still don’t have a girl’s name picked out, starting to worry about where I’m going to get the money to pay for what we need (like a bassinette, dresser, clothes, etc…) and where on earth I’m going to put the stuff, once I get it. How the kids will adjust – will Sam be okay giving up the coveted “baby” spot in the family? Will Jessie be okay with my attention being split even more than it is now? Will I ever get my body back? After nursing for three plus years, am I signing up for another three? Sam has cut way down on nursing, but will he start back up again when the new baby comes? How do I give that baby all that I gave to the other two, when I’ve still got the other two to take care of?