Welcome to the World, Callum Leroy!

On October 1st at 8:22 in the morning, we welcomed our second (miracle) son into the world. Despite feeling extremely nervous about the C-section (only 18 months have passed since my last one, so I wasn’t up for a VBAC), everything went very smoothly and we were out of the hospital after only 48 hours. It felt good – much better than last time – to get him home and start healing / growing.

I will share the gory details of the birth later (in case anyone is keen to know more about what a C-section entails or how stubborn I can be when it comes to taking / not taking painkillers)…but for now, welcome my little boy:

His Most Honorable Callum Leroy Sack, Esq.

His Most Honorable Callum Leroy, Esq.

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I Feel Pretty.

09_12_2013 (1 of 1)Many moons ago, when I was pregnant with Blaine, I got up every morning for work. I had a lot of fun wearing cute maternity and large non-maternity clothes, and chronicled my growing bump on my blog (now defunct due to proclivity toward yoga pants, tank tops, and ball caps). So I have lots and lots of attractive photos of baby Blaine growing in my belly. (If you’re particularly curious, check out this post: A Beautiful Day).

This baby? Not so much. I’m not a huge fan of being photographed sans makeup, shower, and general aesthetic upkeep. But yesterday, I made my husband snap a few photos (sick baby in tow in the stroller) after I got all dolled up. It made me feel pretty, and it gave me a nice photo to pass on to Baby 2. (As if to say, “See, darlin’, mommy wasn’t a total slob all the time.”)

It’s amazing what a mood-booster a nice photo can be. So as I sit here on this rainy day in my pijamas (at 10:00 in the morning) and unwashed hair…I can look at this photo and think, “Yeah, mama’s still got it. Occasionally…”

Only 17 days left!

Stealing Moments

08_19_2013 (203 of 1)We live many, many miles away from any of Blaine’s grandparents. My parents come out from California to visit a fair amount since they have a place about 2 hours away in the mountains. But they don’t visit often enough for Blaine to really, really know them. When we do see them, Blaine doesn’t seem to remember them and the results just break my heart. I envy those who not only have free childcare, but children who know and adore their grandparents. Blaine? Not so much.

But we may have turned a corner last week. My mom came to visit for three days (mind you, we just got back from two weeks of visiting in July) and stayed to play. At first, Blaine was nervous about being left alone with his Nonni, as if she was going to steal him away or, even worse, I would abandon him to her care so that I could get a haircut or go to the grocery store without bringing a pacifying cup of raisins with me.

By the second and third day, however, he was pretty happy to play with Nonni while I went off to (gasp!) visit the restroom by myself, work on dinner, or even run a quick errand. And the highlight of the weekend was watching my mom dance with my baby boy like she did with me all those years ago. He loved it. She loved it. I loved it.

It is so hard to see your children not appreciate your parents (and their unending grandparent love) like you want them to. I am desperately hoping that when my dad comes in a few weeks that Blaine will take to him like a monkey to a banana, but I know the odds are slim. He’s a shy little guy, and grandpa is not much more than a stranger to him. I know that later on in life, when he’s older, he will recognize my parents more readily and he will be more excited to see them…but for the time being, it breaks my heart when he cries as they try to love him.

Oddly enough, my sister said that she applied techniques that she read in ‘The Cat Whisperer’ to meeting Blaine:

  1. Don’t make eye contact at first.
  2. Let him come to you.
  3. Use a soft voice.
  4. Don’t try to pick him up.
  5. Offer up a treat or toy.

Seriously, my kid is like an ornery kitten. But it totally works. He loves her.

Panic.

As you may have gathered, Blaine took a long time (and a lot of dough) to create. Due to ‘unexplained’ fertility issues, we opted to have an IVF and got lucky on the first one. So you can imagine my surprise when, after only one cycle and 10 months after his birth, I became pregnant with Baby Surprise. We couldn’t believe it.

And I’ll be honest – I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

 

Sorted! Let's see if Baby 2 can wear some of the stuff Baby 1 grew out of too quickly!

Sorted! Let’s see if Baby 2 can wear some of the stuff Baby 1 grew out of too quickly!

I had a baby in 2012, and I’m having another one in 2013. Doesn’t that just NOT seem possible? At all? In the most cliché of words from the last year – mind = blown.

Luckily, we are pretty prepared in terms of “stuff”. I didn’t get rid of Blaine’s clothes, we still have most of his toys / gear, and I am lucky to have wonderful friends and family who bought me a lovely second-hand double stroller. Joy! But emotionally? I’m nervous as all heck. Didn’t I just finish breastfeeding, making pureed baby food, changing 10 diapers a day, losing 20 pounds of baby weight, and peeling pee-pee soaked shirts off my body? I feel like Buttercup coming out of the Fire Swamp unscathed, clinging to Westley’s arm and looking beautiful (if not a bit ragged), only to face the dastardly Prince Humperdink and his vile henchmen.

Newborn babies are hard. Breastfeeding was extremely painful for me in the first few weeks, the winter months can be awfully long, and I desperately miss my activities (biking, hiking, running, writing). Don’t get me wrong – this baby is a miracle that I am so thankful for…but one can’t help one’s feelings, now can one? I simply have to remind myself that being a mother to two small babes is like a hiatus from your self: you must give selflessly in order to reap the reward of having children – not just babies. They will grow up. I will resume working. We will go on camping trips as a family. I will participate in triathlons and see them standing at the finish line waiting for me… and at some point I will not be covered in one of a small child’s bodily fluids. That will be cool.

The Perils of Craigslist: Dealing with the Crazies

Don’t worry, I didn’t get solicited by any creepy predators or anything – just ripped off. A little. It’s one of the hazards of buying any used product, but you always hope that the seller is of the honest variety.

In anticipation of baby numero dos, I’ve been compiling all of the necessary double-capacity items that I think I’ll need in a few months: a double BOB stroller (purchased from a friend by my friends and family), a double bike trailer in case I ever figure out how to leave the house with two littles, and a sit-n-stand stroller for high-occupancy places (because that BOB is not exactly space-efficient).

When I found an ad for a newer Schwinn bike trailer on Craigslist, I jumped on it and made an appointment to see it. The lady seemed nice enough, and even though it was an older model than in the picture (a Craigslist faux-pas if you ask me), it was still in pretty good shape and not a bad price – $60. Not to mention it was about 95 degrees, I had driven 20 minutes to see it, and I didn’t really want to leave empty-handed.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 - $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn't have) online.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 – $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn’t have) online.

Here’s the conversation we had, since I’ve never bought a bike trailer before:

Me: “And it has all the parts to attach it?”

Her: “Yeah. You attach it with the strap. It just hooks onto the bar of your bike. You can buy a plastic piece…”

Me: “Okay.”

So I bought it.

Notice that she said I “could” buy a plastic piece – denoting ‘optional’. Then I took it home and tried to attach it. No dice. The thing was obviously missing something. So I downloaded the instruction manual off the internet (ahh, internet, I love you). Yep, missing the ‘coupling attachment’ (not made of plastic, mind you) that is necessary. It’s not that you “can” buy it, you “have to” buy it if you want your bike to attach safely to the trailer and not with just the strap – which is only a safety precaution so you don’t leave your kids in an intersection if the coupler ever fails.

Missing something...unless you don't mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

Missing something…unless you don’t mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

I called her to politely ask if she had the piece so I wouldn’t have to spend an additional $20 getting it online and / or refund me $20 because I hadn’t anticipated spending that much on the trailer. I explained that the strap is just for safety and I can’t very well put two small children in a trailer that isn’t properly attached. I love them – even the unborn one. And when I reminded her that she had told me all the pieces were there, she said, “Yeah, you can attach it with the strap. I said you could buy the plastic piece. Don’t call me telling me you got ripped off.”

And then she hung up on me. A grown woman hung up on me. I am proud of myself for at least trying to explain myself to a woman who clearly didn’t know what she was talking about. (Don’t you hate it when people are so adamant, even when they’re wrong?) And it’s not worth the fight or the stress for a $20 piece of metal. Plus, she cra-zy, and crazy people scare me.

Thrifting / garage sailing isn’t always bad. Just check out this adorable trike that I bought for Buddy (currently $40 in stores) for only $8 the other day. Why pay five times as much when kids don’t care a bit if it’s missing a streamer?

He'll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

He’ll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

After losing a little sleep over the matter (getting yelled at always makes me upset, no matter when the situation), friends told me about other used-goods debaucles. One friend bought a nearly-new couch, only to bring it home and discover that it had been in a flooded home and the bottom was almost completely rotted out. Her handy husband rebuilt the frame and it was as good as new – and she loves the couch because it reminds her of how understanding and hard-working her husband is. And I will love my trailer because it will safely carry my children and remind me of the day I stood up for myself.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always carefully research an item before buying it on Craigslist – including the specific make and model.
  2. Print out the ad and bring it with you to the sale.
  3. If you show up and the item is already different than the add / picture – abort mission.
  4. Don’t stress over a few extra bucks if you do lose out – you’ll make it up in the next sale anyhow. (Like that sweet antique mason jar collection that you get for only $5 because Granny didn’t know it was awe-some!)
  5. Meet in a public place so that the crazies never find out where you live. (Glad I did this.)
  6. Pay in cash so that they don’t have any record of your existence should you complain / have a problem.

Life Lately: Our Big Boy / Girl Pants

When I took Blaine to his one-year appointment at the pediatrician’s office in March, our doctor was overjoyed to hear that we were expecting another baby. (She knows how hard we tried for Blaine.) At some point in the conversation, though, she urged me not to force Blaine to be a “big boy” too soon. Even though he’ll be a big brother, he’s still a baby, too.

Say what?

Mama can only handle one baby at a time. Literally. For six weeks after my scheduled C-section in October (joy), I won’t be able to pick up my little quarter-pounder. I need him to grow up a little…just a little. Since that appointment, he’s learned to walk on his own, which has been a tremendous help. But I still need him to learn to be a little more independent. Time at home in California has taught me that I maaaayyyyy just coddle him a little too much. I let him pull me to my feet to help him with something that I know he can do by himself. I hold / carry him at the drop of a hat. (Obviously, when things get rough or he needs a hug, I will be there. But when he gets mad at me for saying “no” and then wants me to hold him…not so much.) And I’m quick to give him his pacifier when he’s upset or grumpy. (It’s in almost every photo of our trip.)

Old Trusty.

Old Trusty.

So lately, we (and I do mean “we” – I’m training myself to not give in as often) have been weaning off of two things: a.) being held when he could walk or explore, and b.) using his pacifier instead of observing, relaxing, and engaging in a situation. So far, I give us both a B+. Except for naps and when he first wakes up, he hasn’t really missed the paci. (Side note: he’s also babbling a lot more with his free mouth, which is good!)  And he’s learning to accept my hand as an alternative to my entire upper-torso. Much more convenient.

A paci, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches. One of these things has to go...

A pacifier, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches (a sock monkey whose leg can be barely seen). One of these comfort items has to go…

 

I don’t want him to grow up too early, but I do want us all to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted by the time Baby Brother arrives in the fall. That gives us 8 more weeks of practice for the day when I’m so exhausted from sleep deprivation and 3 a.m. feedings that I can’t pick up anyone but myself, let alone locate a missing pacifier. (It’s under the couch.)

Linking up with ‘Wild and Precious’ today – check out some other fun stuff going on in their lives!

Through His Eyes

There are so many posts swimming around in my head right now – rants and raves and everything in between – because our trip to California was an eventful one. Traveling with a toddler is a whole new animal for me. I’ve taken Blaine home to CA four other times, but this is the first time he’s been a walking, talking, engaging human being. Hands down, the most wonderful part of our trip was introducing Blaine to some of the things that I loved about growing up on the Central Coast. It is so amazing to see things through his eyes – everything is new and awe-inspiring…and sometimes scary. He is a brave little man when it comes to animals, new places, and new sensory experiences.

Watching street performers at the San Luis Obispo Farmer's Market

Watching street performers at the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market

Oh, the bounty that is the California eleven-month growing season.

Oh, the bounty that is the California eleven-month growing season.

My little guy, though quick to try something new, is oftentimes nervous around crowds and lots of noise. So, I was worried that the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market might be too much for him. But he proved me wrong and loved the street performers – even daring to get too close for my comfort, considering they were juggling machetes and riding 10-foot tall unicycles. Seriously. I loved the fresh fruits and veggies and pined for a farmers market that boasted more than just three veggie booths and a dozen craft-fair-ish booths. (Sigh. One can wish.)

At the California Mid-State Fair - the best fair ever - in Paso Robles.

At the California Mid-State Fair – the best fair ever – in Paso Robles.

Sheep and piggies and horses, oh my!

Sheep and piggies and horses, oh my!

Yes, we bought a Jamba juice and a corn dog. A little bit fair food and a little bit California food.

Yes, we bought a Jamba juice and a corn dog. A little bit fair food and a little bit California food.

My brother and I took him to the California Mid-State Fair, where I showed / sold animals for nearly 10 years, and we had a really nice time. He got to see horses, sheep, cows, more sheep, a spider monkey, carnies, and more jars of homemade jelly than even I cared to look at. All the things I loved about the fair…I got to share with him. And though we couldn’t stay nearly as long as single-not-a-mom me would previously had stayed, it was okay. That’s just what you do.

 

Chasing geese (probably the same ones that bit me when I was three) at the park in Atascadero.

Chasing geese (probably the same ones that bit me when I was three) at the park in Atascadero.

Though he was a bit clingy for most of the trip, he did manage to separate himself from my bosom long enough to chase some geese (the boy loves his animals) at the very same park that I played at when I was a little tyke-ette. Just like back then, Grampa (my dad) wasn’t far behind to make sure no Blaines were harmed in the making of this photo.

Nostalgia takes on new meaning when you see your little boy as your parents must have seen you so many years ago. I can’t wait to see what places, experiences, and activities Blaine will someday share with his children. But I’m getting ahead of myself…he needs to learn how to talk first.