All is delightful in my world today – had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving.  Every year, Jessica and I (and now Julianna) head down to my mother’s house on Wednesday.  We get up at the crack of dawn and make stuffing and get the turkey in the oven bright and early.  It was a smaller crowd than usual this year, we had twelve people total.  And it was perfect.  Everyone there was happy and content, there was no conflict, no hidden resentments – it was just a gathering of people who were happy with each other and happy to be there.  I loved it. 

HOWEVER, my poor little Jessie Bug Noodle last night – she was so incredibly overtired.  We went to Marc’s aunts house on the way home and had dessert with his family.  Which, slight digression here, was also lovely.  Nan runs a daycare, so she’s got lots of fun toys for the kids and Julianna is such a social baby.  I walked in and immediately plopped her down in my mother-in-law’s lap.  I could NOT have done that with Sam.  Sam still hates social settings and has to eased slowly into them, with a lot of alone time with one of us and slowly integrated into a party – and sometimes he doesn’t ever get comfortable and spends the entire party hiding behind my legs.  Jess was sort of in the middle, she liked people, but needed some time to warm up.   But Julie – she’s just delighted to see everyone.  People love her, she knows it and is instantly comfortable and relaxed.  I can’t get used to it – but I do absolutely love the smiles on everyone’s faces when my beautiful baby girl is loving them. 

Back to Jessie… so we got home and she was so tired.  She had gotten up at five and cooked her little heart out.  I was so proud of her, because she was right there, totally involved, mixing stuffing and cramming it into the turkey.  But five o’clock is crazy early for my girl, and she was so done by the end of the day.  I was scurrying around the house, cleaning and Marc was in the living room with all three kids.  Jess and Sam started pushing and shoving each other, fighting over which one was going to play with Julianna.  Marc tried, ineffectually, to tell them to stop and finally had to reach down and snatch Jules up, and explain to them that she wasn’t a toy and they didn’t get to fight over her.  Both of them instantly started screaming and Sam stormed off and started hollering at me about it.  I tried to talk to him, but he was just screaming so I popped him into his bedroom to cool off.  I came back into the living room, pretty aggravated at the whole situation, and told Jess that her choices were to either stop yelling or go to her room.  She kept yelling and I told her to go to her room and she got up, yanked up Julie’s play mat and hurled it across the living room.   I marched her to her room and told her to go to bed. 

I never do that – just send her to bed crying.  I felt awful – although I knew it was the right thing to do.  She was so exhausted, she just needed to sleep, and she also needed to know that chucking toys across a room is not an appropriate way of expressing her feelings.  I went in to check on her and she had curled up in bed with a box of tissues and fallen asleep, with her little angelic face all tear stained and tissues scattered and crumpled up across the bed.  Felt like a terrible mother… but she still loves me, woke up this morning and crawled into my lap for a good morning hug 🙂

I’ve got my aunt staying with me, she’s up for the holidays and waiting for my cousin’s baby to be born.  Which is lovely, and I absolutely love having her here, but it does mean that I’m fighting for computer time with my unemployed husband plus her.  Hence, no blog posting for a while. 

But all is still delightful in my world.  Julianna still has her one tooth, which she’s weilding as a serious weapon.  She’s already cut the top of her mouth twice with it, and while she hasn’t bitten me while she’s awake, she has done it several times after she’s dozed off while nursing.  She’s sitting up on her own, and still so freaking cute, it just takes my breath away a thousand times a day.  Samilicious boy is getting bigger and bigger every day.  One of Marc’s friends gave us a bunch of hand me downs and I thought they were WAY too big – turns out that they are just a tiny bit too big, and some of them fit him perfectly.  When did he grow so much?  Where did my tiny boychild go?  Jessica Mary is still my shining star – she and I are heading down (with Julianna, of course) to my mother’s house tonight, we do that every year so that we’re there for the stuffing part of Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite part of the whole day, when it’s just us cooking and talking. 

I woke up this morning with a killer headache (didn’t have coffee yesterday afternoon) and was lying in bed.  I had Jess get me some motrin and a bottle of water and begged Marc to take Julie out of the bed so that I could lay still until the meds kicked in.  And both Jessie and Sam were firmly convinced that the best way to make me feel better was to lay in there with me, giving me Sammy snuggles and Jessie love.  Even though there was a rational, logical part of me that was whimpering in pain wanted them to go away, far away, just so that I could lay in complete silence until it got better – I put my arms around them, enjoyed all the love and “feel better Mommy” and assorted comfort measures that they could come up with. 

My head is still pounding and it’s not going well – but I’m relying on motrin and coffee and lots of water and hoping for the best…

Last night, I had finally drifted off to sleep when I woke up to hear Sam hollering.  We still play musical beds a lot of the time.  I had both the girls in bed with me and Marc was in Sam’s bed with him.  (On a side note, I had put Jessie to bed with a special treat of falling asleep in my bed while watching a History Channel special on Mt. Rushmore – I love that watching documentaries is her idea of a special treat)  I got up to discover Sam was mostly asleep and yelling that he wanted to go home – he just wanted to go home.  I felt so bad for him – any kind of change is so hard for him, and it seemed as though in his sleep, he just wanted to be back home where everything was familiar to him.  I crawled in next to him and started rubbing his back.  Marc was in there too, trying to get him to understand that he was home – but he was still really asleep.  Then suddenly, he started hysterically laughing – the kind of contagious laughter, where he sounds so delighted and just tickled pink by the whole situation.  I started laughing too – because it was just kind of funny, Marc and I both bleary eyed and exhausted, trying to soothe this kid who’s really still sleeping.  There is something magical about a boy who just laughs in his sleep. 

That’s my baby girl.  We had her six month checkup today, and she’s brilliantly healthy.  She’s in the ninetieth percentile for height and head circumference, and seventy fifth for weight.  We’re still having issues with solids – she loves baby food purees but can’t hold them down.  Strangely enough, she’s great at table food, rice, beans, bagels and pizza crust, but straight up baby food makes her puke.  But since she’s obviously thriving on breast milk (and I’d say that’s still about 99% of her intake at this point), the pediatrician was fine with me taking it slowly on her having solid food.  We’re probably going to be doing mostly “baby led solids” with her, which makes me a little sad.  I really do love spoon feeding her – but she’s better with food she feeds herself.  She’s still got her one little tooth, and received many compliments on her general disposition, social skills and ability to make eye contact and engage with people. She got three shots, and is actually napping – alone – in the bed right now.  Vaccines have many benefits, but one of them is simply that after getting her shots, she naps really well. 

Earlier today – I was on the phone with my mother, trying to guide her thru Worcester traffic.  She was lost, as per usual, and frustrated and vaguely blaming me because I was the one who moved to Worcester and thus was really the reason that she had to fight city traffic to get anywhere.  And since I get lost, still (after living here for almost seven years), I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out where she was, let alone how to get her where she needed to be.  And my little Sammy love, he saw me on the phone and very sweetly asked if I needed a kiss, and then came over and kissed my arm.  He’s so awesome – I love that kid…

Really – I LOVE this house. I love every little bit of it, I love that Jessie goes to bed every night with no hassles, just picks a book off her bookcase and reads herself to sleep. I love that Sammy sleeps all night in his own bed, just like a big boy. He chooses a book off his bookcase and we read to him until he dozes off.  Last night, I walked back to check on the three kids, and they were all sleeping peacefully in their own rooms and it was so lovely.  This doesn’t seem like a big deal, when I write it, but you have to understand that in the old apartment, we just had Jessie’s little bedroom off of the living room, so she would fight going to bed in there because she could still hear everything going on in the living room.  And since Sam was sleeping in my bed, I just used to let him doze off in the living room and then lug him into our bed.  It was like camping for three and a half years.  We were all together all the time – and it was wonderful.  I loved it while we were there, but am tickled pink at how much easier it is now that we have so much more space. 

I love that Julianna has a little seat in every room – she’s become very Mommy centered, and I just tote her along wherever I happen to be and she bounces or bops or rolls around while I fold laundry or make the beds. I love the fireplace, the big picture window. I love cooking the kids breakfast in the mornings, going out in my jammies to drive Jess to school.  In the old place, I had the same appliance, the toaster oven, but only about a square foot of counter space, and had to take it down off a super high shelf every morning and wrestle space away from the coffee pot.  Now – it’s just there, on the counter, ready and easy to access.  And with the garage, I could totally drive Jess to school barefoot and in my bathrobe because I don’t have to go outside at all.  It’s glorious.  In fact, right now, Sam is downstairs playing with the Wii and Julianna is down there hanging with him, chewing on her teething ring and cheering him on. 

Had a perfectly delightful weekend. Hosted a party on Saturday for Becky and Annie, had all my friends here. I’ve collected a group of friends that are just lovely – we all have kids the same age and it was so nice to have this big space to entertain them in.  Lit a fire, the kids ran around and played and the adults all hung out and drank wine and/or coffee.  And then on Sunday, Becky came over for the day, and held my girl so I could do yard work. Becky did a little raking, a little leaf blowing, and rocked my girl for her afternoon nap. We put Julianna in her walker on the deck for a while with the kids while we worked together, and then Marc took over raking and I started with the leaf blower. It’s all done, the pile of leaves is amazingly huge.   Then last night, after all the kids went to bed, Marc and I got chinese food and he watched the game and I read a book :-).

Had Jessica’s school conference this morning – and she’s doing very well.  Well above average in reading, and slightly above average in math.  She’s still reversing numbers and transposing them as well, and we’re keeping a watchful eye on it.  It’s still developmental at this point, which is code for “don’t worry about it, she’ll outgrow it,” but if she’s still doing it at the end of the second grade, they’d be concerned.  All in all, though, it was a very nice conference.  I really like her teacher, I think she does a great job of understanding Jess, and knowing all her little quirks. 

We had a situation last week, where Jessie got sent to the school guidance counselor.  She had been writing in her journal about the new house, and one sentence talks about how glad she is because she’s got a basement to go when she needs to escape from Sam, which is great because now she won’t have to kill herself.  She used the phrase once at home last week, and we immediately explained how that’s not a phrase we use, that it’s not an expression to throw around lightly and not to say it again.  But she must have used it at school earlier that day – and her teacher, while knowing that Jess is not a suicidal kid, but more an overly dramatic one, still had to follow protocol and ship her off for an immediate intervention.  Which was exactly the right thing to do – but the fact that I had to hear about it when Jessie just happened to remember to tell me was alarming.  So I followed up with her teacher, and with the guidance counselor – who both apologized for not letting me know – but after talking to Jess for a few minutes, they were able to immediately see that she wasn’t actually talking about suicide.  They both confirmed that Jessie was absolutely fine, a happy, bright little girl, but apparently had a love/hate relationship with her brother and was exceptionally dramatic.  That’s my girl – drama personified 🙂  I wouldn’t change a thing about her, and I’m extra glad that her teachers are sensitive and so great with her. 

That’s really why I blog.  I do it because about twenty years ago, my mother found a journal that her mom had wrote in about her kids and was so incredibly moved by it.  Knowing how her mother felt about she and her siblings when they were kids was amazing for her, and I remember thinking that when I had kids, that’s what I was going to do.  Only I wasn’t going to do one little journal – I was going to write and write and write.  Plus I like writing.  A lot.  It’s my therapy, my way of making sense of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.  And even though I’ve had some problems with this blog, I’m not going to stop.  I flat out love this blog, I love looking back three years ago and seeing where I was, and how I was thinking about things.  I love that other people read it, I’ve found connections and relationships and major support (hello, JoEllen 🙂 when I needed it.  But at the heart of it, I blog for me, for my kids and for Marc. 

Jessica Mary – you are my angel girl, my first little love.  You were my baby – and I wanted to have a little girl just like you for the longest time.  You are brilliant and kind, funny and sweet.  Maternal and loving and emotional and dramatic, and so beautiful it still takes my breath away.  We have an intense relationship, there’s nobody who can make me crazier than you, nobody who can bring me to tears faster.  I love you more than you’ll ever know – and I’m so proud of you.

Samuel Earl – you are my baby boy, my love bug boy and the child I never planned on.  Not that you weren’t a planned pregnancy, I just never thought I’d have a boy.  And from the very beginning – you just swept me away with your love and devotion.  I can’t imagine how I ever started a morning without my Sammy-love.  You’re stubborn, loving, sweeter than honey and everything that I never knew I needed so desperately in my life.  I love you more than you’ll ever know – and I’m so proud of you.

Julianna Ruth – you have been such a joy, right from the very instant you were conceived.  I knew, right away with you – I started throwing up immediately.  My pregnancy with you was torturous, and you have been such an amazing addition to my life, I’d even consider doing it again.  You are all sunshine and happiness, big beautiful eyes and a smile that lights up the room.  I can’t remember my life before you were in my arms – and thank God for you everyday.  I love you more than you’ll ever know – and I’m so proud of you. 

And Marc – I wouldn’t have any of this without you.  Not my brilliant girl, my lovebug boy, or my sunshiney baby.  I wouldn’t have this beautiful home, this loving family -I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without you by my side.  I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve you – to be loved as passionately, as sweetly – you know me inside and out and have never, ever made me feel anything other than completely cherished.  I love you more than you’ll ever know – and I’m so proud of you and the family we’ve built together.

We’re almost, completely and totally moved into the new house.  It’s wonderful – I love it.  It’s about fifteen hundred square feet, with a big backyard, a working fireplace, three bedrooms, ginormous dining room.  I’m about half way done unpacking and really, really liking it. 

Sam, after having shared a bedroom (and a bed) with me for the past four and a half years, transitioned to his own bed with no problems at all.  He’s got a queen size bed in there, and a couple of times, he’s called out to me in the middle of the night and I’ve just laid beside him for a few minutes to settle him back down.  But he’s so happy with his very own bedroom.  And even though I know he’s more than old enough, even though I’m mostly happy to have him in his own space – there’s a part of me that just misses my baby boy.  He suddenly got big on me, and I’m not entirely used to it yet. 

Jessie’s room is so pretty, so much bigger than her old one was.  I’ve got two twin beds in there, so Julie can just start sleeping in there when she’s ready.  And until then, Jess is loving having the extra space.  She’s got a huge walk in closet, and I finally got all of her clothes and Julianna’s hung up today.  It’s lunacy – I’ve got so many little girl clothes.  Jess has a ton of stuff, and I had to save a bunch of her really cute stuff for the baby girl. 

Julianna Ruth is getting so big.  So smiley and happy – she’s smiling all the time, sitting up on her own, she’s got her one tooth and very pleased with it.  She’s eating more table foods now, playing with cheerios and pizza crust and french fries.   She’s still nursing pretty much non-stop, averaging between 12 and 15 times a day, but she likes eating solids.  Really seems delighted whenever I give her something new, which is so cute.  She loves her johnny jump up, and has basically outgrown the bouncy seat.  She’s getting scary close to being too big for the bumbo seat too – she’s starting to arch her back to get out of it.  She’s so sweet – and everyone seems to just adore her.  Annie, my mother, my mother in law, everyone thinks that they’re her favorite, because she just lights up whenever anyone looks at her.  She’s happy to go to anyone, as long as she can see me.  She loves her brother, loves her sisters – she’s such a joy.  Really… She still won’t nap at all unless she’s being held, but she’s a great sleeper at night (slept nine hours the night before last). 

I’m sitting here, completely barricaded by boxes.  They’re piled up all over the place, packed, unpacked, my table is covered with dishes yet to be packed.  All around me, I see stuff I need to pack.  And/or throw away.  I’ve got a lot of junk.  I mean, I guess most people do, but it seems as though I have more than most.  I saved every piece of paper that came home in preschool and kindergarten for Jess.  And most of first grade.  I realized then that I was sort of a little over the top on the saving, and after that, only saved stuff that seemed extra cute – but now that we’re moving, I’m perplexed… do I continue to save all of it?  Take the hour or so to sort thru and pick out the cute stuff and toss the rest? 

Jess is asleep in the living room (as her bedroom has been taken over entirely by boxes), and Julie is sound asleep in our room (my bestest going to bed kid – she’s a breeze.  Crappy napper, but great nighttime sleeper).  Sam is playing in the bathroom sink.  And while I realize that playing in the sink might not be the best thing for him to be doing at 9:30 at night, I’m too tired to fight it.  I’ve been packing and packing and packing all day.  And when I wasn’t packing, I was holding my teething, cranky six month old.  She’s finally cutting her first tooth, and most unhappy about it.  She’s also entering into that clingy, clingy stage (which, oddly enough, Sam is just now passing out of :-).  So I can only pack in short spurts before she starts wailing in desolation that I’ve moved more than three feet away from her.