Friday, March 2, 2012

Sugar & Spice!

It's a girl!! And we are over the moon in love already!!
It was a very strange sensation after so much much anticipation, to be lying on the table with the goo on my belly, knowing in just moments we would finally know the sex of our baby. It was so overwhelming in fact I completely freaked out. I started to shake and nervously laugh, I had tears streaming down my eyes and I started to feel a little dizzy. I have no idea what came over me! I didn't want to miss seeing Youme on the monitor but I was scared to find out the sex right then so I only peeked in and out.
I think it all became very real. I have been very blessed with a very easy (knock on wood) pregnancy, and like I said before it's all seemed like a dream, but right then at that moment it suddenly hit me - we are freaking having a baby!!!
When the ultrasound tech was done measuring and reassuring us that everything looked the way it should, she asked us if we wanted to know the sex. It was killing me that someone on this earth knew and we didn't. But we had her write it down and put it in an envelope so we could find out whenever we wanted. It seemed like such a huge moment, I didn't want to be half naked in a dark room with a stranger... I wanted it to be just Pete and I.
We went from the ultrasound to our Midwife appointment where we got to hear Youme's heartbeat again. That little thump always puts my fears to rest. I told our midwife my concerns about feeling a little disconnect to Youme at this point because I have been feeling so great. She told me because of the placement of my uterus that it was going to be difficult to feel any movement for a while. I was 18 1/2 weeks at the time and hadn't felt anything yet. She said it may even be a month or more before I could feel something for sure. Sad face.
Knowing that it may be another month before I felt Youme definitely pushed me to want to know the sex. I really wanted something to connect me. Pete and I went out to Las Olas because even though I couldn't feel Youme kick, I could feel her craving for Mexican. We sat in a corner booth and gorged ourselves on amazing food. Half way through I stopped with a mouth full of Guacamole and grabbed the envelope. "I need to know!" I managed to blurt out with a full mouth. I don't know what hit me but I needed to know right then and there.
I opened the envelope and held a tiny yellow post it in my clutched fist. I started to cry and uncontrollably shake. I didn't think I could do it. It felt like being one number away from learning you won the lottery or how I felt opening my college acceptance letters. And yet it was also the way I felt before I jumped off the cliffs on Squirrel Island for the first time - Completely freaking out and a little pukey.
Pete had to pry my fingers open one by one and then I had to find the strength to open my eyes. And there is was. "It's a girl!!" was staring back at us from the face of a little yellow post it. We both cried and hugged and ignored the crazy looks of the Las Olas customers.
Instantly I felt a connection to Youme. It was what I was waiting for. And it is a memory that we will cherish forever. Every time I eat a taco I'll think of the moment we found out we were having a little girl. A few weeks has passed and every day I feel closer to her. I love that we can refer to the baby with "shes" and "hers" instead of "its". And now the nursery is taking off with splashes of pink, at Pete's request.
Since that day I have been feeling flutters and swirls and all sorts of strange things goin on and I know it's our little girl. Last week Pete actually got to feel her for himself and that was pretty amazing. It was such a moment finally having something for Pete to conect to. He always talks and reads to her but when he felt that little jump his face went white and I knew that he would never be the same. This ain't no joke! It's an odd sensation, I think I had been waiting for a "Kick" but really it feels like a tiny roller coaster! Like driving over a tiny hill to make your tummy flip a little. Or sometimes it feels like sloshing, almost like moving your hand in waves in water or a ball within a ball. I guess that makes sense, seeing as she is basically chillaxin in a ball of water. But everytime I feel those sensations, it does bring me closer. I wonder if she is stretching or dancing. If she is scared or hungry. I just can't wait to get to know our little girl... and Pete will not win the fight on names. No way am I carrying Lorraine Brocco Jr.
What the Hell is wrong with my name?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Phoebe or Phoebo?

Our little Youme is growing by the day! And very soon we will be able to tell if it's a little Pete or a little Katie! At first I thought without question that we wanted to know. But as the weeks passed I began to doubt if I wanted to. First off I can say that I have no real preference. That makes it seem like I don't care. What I mean is I would LOOOOOVE a boy or a girl!! I hope to have both at some point. So because I have no burning desire for one or the other, why should I find out?
Its been a really strange 18 weeks and it's still hard to believe that we are going to be parents. I love the idea of a surprise but really I think I need to know in order to bond a little better with what's going on. Right now I just feel fat. Not pregnant or motherly. Just fat. I have no symptoms (thank God) and I have not felt any movement yet so really this all just kind of seems like a big joke that everyone is in on to get me to lay off he wine.
I don't have a strong feeling either way. No hunches or strange dreams. I have taken a million gender prediction quizzes and they keep flip flopping. My Chinese Gender chart says girl most of the time but then on different sites will switch to boy. We tried the ring on a string and it twirled and sawyed at the same time so God knows what that means...
I feel like once I can put a gender to lil' Youme, it will all start to feel more real. I know once I start to feel kicks it will be real, but this is something I can know now! Plus my sister is preggo too and she is keeping it a secret, so I figured my Dad should have at least one heads up! It's so crazy to think about though.
I know there is pretty much a 50/50 chance and only two options but really for some reason the possibilities seem endless! I have reasons for wanting both so I know I will be happy either way.
I have raised over 30 children and boys are by far waaaaay easier than girls, especially when they are little. I have really fallen in love with every little boy I have nannied for and have a very special bond with them. I have always been more of a "guys girl" than a "girly girl" I just get along better with boys I guess. And my Mother in law already has two granddaughters so I would love to give her a Grandson. But boy names are allot harder to come up with. And if it was a boy I fear for every pregnancy I would be worried that I would never have a girl. I could have 500 boys, I just need one girl.
On the flip side, just the thought of a baby girl makes me feel gooey inside. Lord knows I already have the cutest clothes for her ready to go! We have a list a mile long of girls names we like. If Youme was a girl I could sit back and relax for the other pregnancies knowing I already had the one girl. And though it may seem a little hippy dippy, I really feel like my mom's presence is so strong now. And even though I know she will be a part of the baby no matter what, having it be a girl sort of solidifies that a bit more for me. My relationship with my Mom was cut way too short and raising a daughter, in way makes me feel like I'm getting some of that time back. The Mother/Daughter relationship really is like no other. And plus I feel like I deserve whatever I have coming to me haha I was an awful child and an even worse teenager so I need to pay for my sins and the only that way that's happening is with a daughter haha
So we shall see!! I know knowing will really put this whole experience into perspective for me and help me visualize. And I can't wait to add some gender specific things to my lists and to the nursery ideas. But who knows I could always change my mind at the last minute and decide to keep it a surprise. We'll know eventually if little Youme is a Phoebe or a Phoebo, a Sandrine or a Darwin. Any Friends fans out there? Maybe we'll just call Youme "Chandler" regardless of the sex. All we are care about is that it's happy and healthy... and cute... and smart... and popular... with an aptitude for science...
"Do I Look Like a Rain or a Dayton? God I hope my parents have better taste..."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Together Again!

Pete and I finally made it to the movies to see the new Muppet Movie! I was apprehensive at first, there has been allot of crappy Muppet stuff floating around in the last few decades. Even when we went to Disney last year, the Muppet Experience totally crapped out, not even Disney seemed to care about the Muppets. But I must take my proverbial hat off to Mr. Jason Segal - AMAZEBALLS.
Not to insult Jim Henson's son, but I think it really took a Muppet to know a Muppet. Someone who truly loved and understood what The Muppets were all about and that was Jason Segal - A life long Muppet Lover. This movie has been his brain baby for years and years and I think he delivered just what all these babies of the 70s and 80s wanted, a REAL Muppet movie. Not a remake of a pirate movie or a Christmas Carol. A real original script where the gang bands together to come out on top in the end.
Even though it's still hard to listen to Kermit because it makes my heart ache for Jim, they really tried. The jokes were back to Muppet standards, the plot was smart and the musical numbers were fun and catchy.
I think whoever was in charge of The Muppets (Don't want to outright blame Disney or Brian Henson) lost site of who the Muppets were. They tried to gear the jokes towards children and the plots were recycled. They lost what made them so special. When I was younger I didn't understand half the jokes in the original movies. I didn't know what the hell a Presbyterian was??! But they were magical. They were talking and dancing frogs and pigs!! That's all we needed. The jokes were more geared towards the parents and when I saw my Dad laugh, I wanted to laugh. It was something we could watch together and both enjoy.
After Jim Henson died the magic went with him and suddenly The Muppets were unknowns. Sure the true fans stayed loyal and still loved them, but we wanted something new and were constantly disappointed. In the last 10 years out of all the children I nannied, NONE of them knew The Muppets on their own. I had to introduce them to all of them! So Sad. They can tell me every Pokemon character, every plot to all the Star Wars Movies and recite every Harry Potter book, but they don't know who Kermit is. It's not fair, why did Star Wars get to prevail??
This day and age the world has gotten a bit rougher around the edges. Not that The Muppets aren't edgy but to an 8 year old today, they do seem babyish. The Muppets are funny without hurting feelings. They don't rely on beating the crap out of each other or hurting someone else's feelings to be funny. They are kind of like puppet Ellen DeGeneres. They just make you feel good if you give them a chance to dance!
But now, with the release of the new Muppet movie, it's like they have a whole new lease on life!! Kids were seeing the previews on TV and seeing stars like Selena Gomez in the preview (So Smart) and they were relating to it. They had no idea what The Muppet Show was but if it was good enough for Selena Gomez it was good enough for them. Grown ups began to remember why they loved the old gang so much and children started to get interested. This isn't Elmo we're talking about here, Elmo is for babies as my goobers pointed out. The Muppets are for bigger kids. They were right to know the difference between Sesame Street and The Muppets but until now I think they were one in the same to them.
The movie was a wonderful ride. It was an adorable story that paralleled exactly what was going on in real life. The Muppets were back to their old tricks and it was so great to see the set of The Muppet Show up on the big screen. We laughed at the gags, we cried at Rainbow Connection and we actually clapped at the end ( I HATE when people do that by the way).
Seeing this movie through me right back to 1987, sitting on the couch with my parents, eating burnt popcorn out of a Florida Gator plastic cup. It was like a giant hug from my past, and right now being all preggo and emotional there wasn't anything I needed more. I went right home and hugged my old Kermit doll, the one with the pilly fur and missing tongue. I missed you buddy.
I left that theatre feeling so grateful for the trip down memory lane and so thankful that my children will get to experience The Muppets the way they should be. I pray that this helps them pick up again. I pray that when I take my own goobers to Disney The Muppet Experience will not only be fixed but added to. So thank you Jason Segal for keeping the dream alive. And Thank you Jim Henson for being the amazing, genius dreamer that you were. Your Magic Lives On In Our Hearts.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Secret Is Out!

Boy? Girl? Mermaid?
Well, I don't think it was that much of a secret. I have a feeling my lack of drinking and dropping off the face of the earth for a while kind of started rumors. Not to mention the "thing to do" right now is be preggers, so really I'm just following it "It"crowd. Or maybe I just really want to get a good jump on crossing things off my 40 before 40 list! In fact I'm killing two birds with one stone, because becoming a mother (#1) has forced me to finish a regimen of vitamins! I have been a Nazi about my prenatal vitamins and I think I have only missed 1 or 2 days in over 13 weeks! So I can go ahead and cross #10 off my list too.
Seriously though it feels really good (and Uber strange) to have it out in the open. It's like we can't take it back (not that we could) and it's all over (Even though it's just begun). It's a very strange feeling that I'm only just starting to embrace.
Unfortunately with friends and family there have been allot of miscarriages around and it was always in the back of my mind, it still is. It never really occurred to me that a woman could just get pregnant, and have a baby. Just like that without a miscarriage. I forget that a healthy pregnancy is the Norm, not a miscarriage. Even after our second ultrasound and hearing the heart beat we were still a little apprehensive about telling the world. By then our family and close friends knew but it felt scary to put it out into the universe. And by universe I of course mean Facebook.
There will always be things to worry about, I know that will never stop. But if I don't sit back and enjoy the ride I will miss all of the fun!! So far everything is looking perfect and they say we are right on track so that is what I will focus on!
It was an easy first trimester especially compared to some of my poor friends. I heard so many horror stories that I was convinced something was wrong because I wasn't living with my head in a toilet! I think I was just lucky and I am so grateful for that! I've said it before, I never win anything and nothing really ever seems to go my way the first time around so I really beat the odds with not being sick! I mean it was no picnic. I constantly felt hungover, I couldn't stand the smell of ANYTHING, I always thought I was going to throw up but never did, I didn't poop for weeks, I couldn't sleep at night and I had ZERO appetite. The only thing that made me feel better was seltzer water and watching Ellen Degeneres. Seriously, who knew she was cure for morning sickness??
Pete has been beyond amazing. So supportive and encouraging. He is reading up on his Daddy books and trying to learn as much as he can. Even though I have raised children for the last 10 years, I still need to brush up on the basics. How much do you want to bet that my Mary Poppins Nanny magic will disappear when it comes to my own child. All this time people thought I had the magic touch, but maybe it only works on children not of my womb!! Can't think like that...
We are going to find out the sex. A. I'm such a planner I really don't think I could just wing it when the baby gets here. and B. I wouldn't want even a second of disappointment when I see my baby for the first time. I fear that my "mothers intuition" would take a wrong turn and I would be convinced it was a boy and start bonding with my son. Then when "he" finally arrives and they tell me it's a girl, I just know there would be that split second heart brake and I can't take that. So for our first child at least, I definitely want to know the sex. I'm sure everyone has their own feelings about it and I'd be really interested to find out why you did what you did and for what reason!
I feel like I am training for a marathon now. I am just an information junky and would love to hear any stories (Only the good ones. Yup - No more horror please) about the birth of your children or your pregnancy! As soon as I get my energy up it's off to prenatal yoga and our first childbirth class. Can't wait to see Pete with that Sympathy belly on! He's going to be such an amazing father and I am so grateful to have him with me on this journey!! We are 13 weeks down and the clock is ticking until June. I always look forward to summer, but this summer will be like no other!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chopping #5 Off The List!

That's right, I am just flying through this 40 before 40 list! Look at me go! In case you don't remember (you really should be taking notes) #5 on my list was chopping down my own Christmas tree! Thank you Very Much New Hampshire! We actually bought a house down the street from a cut your own Christmas Tree farm! Or as Pete likes to call it "Get it yaself trees"
What a fun and super rewarding new tradition we have started! Usually we would pile in the car and head down to the IHOP parking lot to fight the masses for a $75 Blah tree that was already half dead. NEVER AGAIN!
This was so fun and sooooo easy! They provided saws and dollies to haul your trees back to them where they shake all the dead needles off and bind it all up for you! $45 got us entertainment for the afternoon and an almost 10 foot tree!!

There certainly was an air of "Hunter/Gatherer" as we waded through the pine tree forests. Every time I thought we saw a good one, it seemed to have already be taken or had a group of small children running towards it. You had to be quick and determined. At first I didn't really enjoy the idea of "killing our own tree" But then when I thought about the THOUSANDS of cut trees in those IHOP parking lots that don't get used, this seemed like a way better idea. And what a happy little life it lived, raised by a loving family with a dog and children, with a beautiful view of a barn and lake. Not too shabby. Now it lives with us.
We had the perfect spot to put this massive tree, right in the nook by our stairs! That way we could climb the stairs to put the ornaments on top and of course our star. We still needed a ladder for the front though. Because it wasn't shoved against a wall we had to make all the sides even!
Every year my favorite part of the holidays is getting out the ornament boxes and unwrapping the toilet paper to each ornament. It's like... well... Christmas! I never know which one I'm going to get and what memory it will evoke! I have my favorites from my childhood like the Czech glass ones and the babies in the walnut shells. There are my squirrels and polar bears which I collect like an addict. The racists ones from Pete's childhood. And the engraved ones that Pete started to get me the year we started dating to document all of our Christmas' together. Each one is so special and SHOULD have a place on the tree.
However this year we decided to go all Potter Barn on this tree's ass. Every year our tree looks the same, because every year we put the same ornaments on. This year we decided to go with a theme, a woodland theme! Since we have this giant farm house in the middle of the woods, it seemed fitting.
I must say it is the most gorgeous tree we have ever had, like EVER! It is covered in feathers and squirrels and mushrooms and all sorts of woodsy goodness, though as my sister pointed out, while cute, the felt penguin should not have made the cut. She's right. We have never had a tree like this before. It brings so much joy and warmth into our home. we can't help but sit on the couch and repeatedly say "Look at the Tree! Just look at it!" And the best part is I was still able to put some sentiment into it. My walnut babies made the woodland cut, The tree skirt was made by my Mom and it was on our tree growing up. Also most of the Squirrels were given to us by family and friends so that makes them extra special!
We even themed our wrapping! We have birch, birds and gnomes hugging our gifts under the tree. With hemp and raffia for bows and a galvanized tub for a tree holder the image works so well together. Also a little tip for making fancy paper go further - news paper! I bought a $9.00 roll of awesome paper at The Paper Source (Which only gives you two sheets) and really made it stretch by using it in pieces like strips. I would wrap gifts in newspaper and then add flare with the fancy paper. It gave all the gifts a unified look and I really made the good stuff stretch!
Now the hard part is waiting until Christmas to actually open all this goodness that is taunting us! And I have to let my inner child out and not be afraid of ripping the paper. Maybe next year we will have a new theme and the woodland paper won't match. I have my dreams set on a "travel tree" with vintage travel tags and all the ornaments we have collected from around the world on our adventures! But that's next year, for now I'm gonna cozy up to my furry woodland friends, and Pete.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Little Christmas Cheer

Christmas is here!! I love the Target commercial that is on now. The parents are saying goodbye after Thanksgiving dinner and thanking their daughter for a great time. When she closes the door and turns around the whole house has been decorated for Christmas and her husband is in an ugly sweater drinking eggnog. It really does feel like in the blink of an eye after you loosen your pants from too much turkey BAM! It's Christmas!
Well we LOVE Christmas around here and this is our first Christmas in our new home and we couldn't be more excited to dress it up and start some new traditions as a family! In preparation for the big tree event we started small with making some Cranberry/Kumquat garland, a few decorative pieces and I also made Pete his very own advent calendar! They were all fun to make, inexpensive and easy!
First the Garland...
We really should have used fishing wire but we couldn't find any so thread worked. We tied a match stick (with the sulfur part taken off, so it was just wood) to the bottom of the thread to catch the berries and then with a needles started to thread cranberries and kumquats. Usually I am very OCD when it comes to things like this and it has to be exact, like 27 cranberries and 1 kumquat REPEAT. This year I decided to chill out and i just strung however I damn well pleased. We made about 4 of them and other than Hurley trying to eat all of them, I think they came out great! We had to hang them off the chandelier to keep them away from Hurley until we had the tree, but now I may have to make more because I kind of liked how they looked!
Decorative pieces...
This was easy because most of the work was done at Thanksgiving! I just swapped out the orange leaves and Fallish things for pine cones and greenery. The cranberries and acorns still look great and I added a squirrel - of course! Also my forever a Girl Scout aunt, showed us all of the awesomeness we have in our own back yard! So by cutting a few branches and berries we made a really pretty piece to add some festive charm to the corner. But because it is real, you do have to keep it in water to keep it alive! we also kept it high up because we didn't want Hurley eating the berries. Damn that Dog. We also added some berries, and greenery to our lanterns and around the windows.
Advent Calendar...

This I was particularly proud of! Again, super easy. All it took was some match boxes from the dollar store, some pretty Festive paper, a glue gun and some candy! First you empty the match boxes (save the matches you'll always need them!) and tape them together starting with 9 and then decreasing by two each time. You should have 5 levels. Then wrap each layer in pretty paper and tape or glue it on. Hot glue the levels together and with a marker or number stamps, add the numbers 1-25 on the outside of the match boxes. Fill with candy, toys or little fortunes/love notes. It's a really special way to count down to Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Thanksgiving to be Thankful for!

Thanksgiving is uber important for my family. On my mother's side of the family - The Drapers, the tradition has gone back 5 generations according to my Grandfather and not much has changed. Though we don't have finger bowls anymore (don't talk about it in front of my Grandfather) We do have a very similar menu to what he had as a child. We always have place settings, sit boy/girl (no married couples together), eat with real silver and my Grandfather carves the Turkey.
The Drapers do Thanksgiving the way it ought to be, I'm pretty sure my Grandfather gave a tutorial at Plymouth Rock about how to carve a turkey and why we must also have sausages served along side it. When I was a child we had Thanksgiving in my Grandparents basement. I think there were about 50 people there, well that's what it seemed like from the kid's table. When I got a little older we started to go up to Jaffrey NH to my Great-GrandMummy's and the table would stretch through the sun room into the house. We would play in the secret passages and barn and run in the fields until our pumpkin pie came bursting out of us. Then years later my Aunt Kim and Uncle Kip took over the hosting in their gorgeous, open concept home in Groton, Ma. That's really where it has been held for the longest time that I can remember. The best years are when our Maryland family makes it up, usually every other year and we have the whole clan together, which can reach to over 30!
For me, Thanksgiving isn't just another holiday, it really represents why my family is so amazing and reconfirms how lucky I am. It's like a recharge for me. My mother passed away just days after Thanksgiving when I was 17 and it is a really hard time of year. The only thing that really makes it bearable is being with Drapers. We have had so much loss in our family, that we are bound tighter than any other family I know. Cousins aren't just cousins they are like siblings, and my aunts and uncles are more like parents to me and that goes for our extended Draper family as well. I can't help but be moved to tears every Thanksgiving, no matter how many of us can come. I look around that table and the tradition and love basically punches you in the face. I wait for it all year. It's really a time to remember my Mom and others that we have lost, it makes me feel closer to them knowing that we are carrying on the tradition. And it really helps me prepare for the Holiday season. Though it's a happy time of year and I love it, it also brings allot of sadness. So for me, Thanksgiving is like the start of a hibernation in a sense. The way a Bear eats as much as possible before the snow so it can hibernate and get through the winter. I fill up on love and family and "Mom-ness" on Thanksgiving and it helps me get through the rest of the holidays without her.

But this year my Aunt Kim had rented out her Groton house, having moved to Hull Ma. It didn't seem that we would have a place big enough for the clan to gather. Then it dawned on me, CHELLO!! Pete and I just bought a giant house that is begging for a Thanksgiving dinner! And so, Pete and I were able to cross #6 off the list of 40 before 40. We got to host a big Thanksgiving dinner, small fro Drapers (16) but big in general!
This was a HUGE deal here! (Thank you Kim for taking this on for so long!!) Not just the physical aspect of figuring out how to arrange tables and cook food but also keeping my grandfather happy. Now that he has discovered email, I felt like I got one every ten minutes. "Remember the real silver.... I must insist on drinking from a real glass... The laid pudding needs to cook for 4 hours.... Should I bring my own Bourbon... Are you making the place settings?..." It was allot to keep up with, but that's what makes it so special.
We pulled it off beautifully. It was an amazing day and it all seemed to run so smoothly (with LOTS of help!) Pete smoked a Turkey on the grill to free up the oven and our amazing neighbors let us borrow their oven for the Laid pudding (that needed 4 hours to cook.) The thank you notes I received afterward from people were so touching. It really is just as important to them as it is to me and I was so happy to be able to continue it and hopefully we will be able to for years to come. Though next year we may reach 30! THAT will be the real challenge but we are ready!
Here are just a few small things we did to make the table look festive!

First were the ever important place card settings. We had plenty of wine corks saved up (Don't judge me) so I took some old Squirrel cards we had left over from our wedding (Thank you Etsy) and I made wine cork place settings. So much easier than I thought! I think it helped that I used the fake wine corks, they were much easier to cut. All you have to do is slice a small sliver off the bottom so they sit flat. I started with an exacto knife but really a big serrated knife worked way better. Then you make a slit on the top of the wine cork, big enough to slide the cards in. Easy Peesey and super cute!
We also took some left over vases (also from our wedding) and places some fake fall foliage in the middle. I found them at Joanne's Fabric. They were wire cranberries, acorns, leaves and other doodads. I stuck them in the middle with some green plant foam and then filled the outer edges with real cranberries and acorns and it was the perfect way to add a little color and a little Fall to the table! Our candle holders were filled with extra cranberries and whole nuts in their shell. It took all of 30 minutes to put it all together and it really looked great!
The whole day was allot of work and a ton of planning but it was so worth it. I think my Mom would have been proud...