Monday, November 28, 2011

Can I get a do-over?!

"Ya get what ya pay for!"

Well ain't that the truth! Last year I hit up some stores to rope in bargains on some post-Christmas sales-- and I walked away with a new Christmas tree for a whopping $25! I was stoked!

Well-- I pulled it out this year and was amazed at how the manufacturers could possibly fit a 7' tree into such a small box! Well, I was surprised-- until the "tree" was assembled.

Here's what the sorry-excuse-for-a-tree looked like:
The damn thing looked like a meth addict. Lesson learned, I suppose. Sadly, I was even more naive in thinking that a little garland and ornaments would fatten her up. So on I went with the decorations-- spending the next hour or so trying to beautify the little orphan.
Nice try, Gilbert. This pic doesn't do it justice but it was still as see through as a skanky piece of lingerie. I looked at it with my classic "Ewww! Gross!" face for about 12 hours before I headed out to buy a new one. All that face-scrunching is going to call for some serious Boto.

And down she went. She now sits on the curb, waiting for the next truck of junk collectors to scoop her up. Good riddance.

I'm much happier with the new tree. It doesn't look nearly as putrid as the last one.
And for what it's worth-- Ava sure seems to like it too!

And little Jack could care less! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Git er done!

It's amazing how much more productive one becomes when you have less time. For instance, my sophomore year in college was crazy: I was taking 18 hours of classes, doing Golden Girls (dance team), working at Johnny's Beanery nearly 25 hours a week, super active with sorority "stuff", etc. I had all of this stuff going on, allowing me hardly any free time-- yet I somehow managed to get the best grades of my college career during that semester. How is that?!?! The other semesters were spent doing far less "stuff"--and my grades reflected there was far less studying going on, too.

The difference? It's called prioritizing, folks. When you don't have extra time, you make the best of whatcha got.

I mention this because I have been one productive momma ever since we welcomed another baby to our family. Before Jack's arrival I moseyed around, doing a little here, a little there-- enjoying long breaks in front of the tv & computer-- and truthfully, getting a whole lot of nothing done.

Now? No way in hell is that happening! I am a multitasking hot mess. I go from nursing Jack to laundry to dishes to diapers to coloring with Ava to lunch to.... (you get the idea).

Surprisingly, I've gotten a lot of "to-do" items crossed off my list this week. It's surprising because they're things that despite my "free time", they remained on my list for 6 months and I never once thought about executing on them. Well, now with my shortage of time I've suddenly found the motivation to get after it.  Here's one of the latest things I tackled:
Shoe organizer turned cleaning products organizer
I wish I could take credit for this genius idea-- but the truth is, I found it on Pinterest. Did I mention I freaking love Pinterest?! I can't tell you how much room I created by getting all of these products off the shelves and into the shoe organizer. Brilliant, I tell you! Brilliant!

See?! I'm doing all sorts of things around here. Well-- except for showering. Those pesky showers still haven't found a way onto the list of high priorities (I'm lucky if I get a 2 minute "rinse-off" on a daily basis). Maybe I'll get to that after I clean the gutters, caulk the shower and hang the window treatments. Just maybe.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Jack

I would like to introduce you to my son, Jackson (Jack) Houston Gilbert. Named after my late father, he is the newest addition to our family.

The little man arrived Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011,  at 11 a.m., weighing just 6 lbs., 7 oz.—the slightest bit bigger than his sister Ava, who was born just two years ago.

The original plan was to be induced on the morning of Friday, Nov. 4. Clearly, Jack didn't feel like waiting until then. Instead, he chose 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning to start stirring things up.
He threw me for a few loops that night; I didn't know whether to head to the hospital or to just stay home. The contractions were constant, but the intensity constantly changed, which made me feel like it was false labor.

Around 5 a.m. I made the decision to head to the hospital. Ken ran across the street to wake our sweet neighbor Jean, who immediately came over to care for Ava while we went to the hospital. Bless her heart. I'm not sure what we would have done without Jean.

We arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. and I was immediately examined. The nurse checked me, frowned, and informed me that I was still only 2 cm. dilated—the exact same progress I was at as a week ago while visiting my doctor. Seriously?! I felt so dumb. I just knew it was another false alarm.

The nurse then hooked me up to the monitors and said she would check on me in a bit. She said she wanted me to walk for an hour or so to try and speed things up and then she'd re-check me to see if anything progressed.

Well, I'll have you know, we never got to that walking bit.

As I laid there watching my husband (a.k.a. MacGyver) trying to concoct a bed out of a chair, bed tray and heater, the contractions made a comeback—with a vengeance. Holy cow! I remember this garbage! There is no turning back now!

By 7:15, I had dilated to 6 cm. and I knew (based on the intensity and closeness of the contractions) that it was the real thing. In fact, the neighboring rooms must have known, too, based on the howls (and other choice words) coming from our room.

We were quickly moved into one of the delivery rooms and the anesthesiologist was immediately paged. It felt like forever until she was able to get me the epidural.

In fact, I don't know what I would have done without Chris M., my amazing L&D nurse. She was absolutely wonderful, reassuring me and coaching me along, reminding me to breathe through those horrific contractions.

Meanwhile, my husband and I were communicating via cell phone with my mom, who was en route via Amtrak from Quincy, Ill. She was due in town around 10 a.m. and we were convinced she wasn't going to make it in time for the birth, which really bummed her out considering this was the first time she was going to be a part of a grandchild's birth.

I'm pretty sure she called during a few of those contractions and heard me scream words that you definitely can't find in your trusty old dictionary.

Well, lucky for Mom, my obstetrician had to finish performing a surgery before she could make her way to my room, which meant we needed to wait for at least 45 more minutes before starting "push time." Surprisingly, the push wasn't hard on me, considering I couldn't feel a thing; I was so numb that I couldn't even move my legs. I was paralyzed from the waist down.

Before we knew it, 45 minutes had passed, my mom had arrived (thank you, Jen, for playing the role of "speedy taxi") and the OB was in my room, asking if I was ready to go.

"Um... I guess so," I said, looking at my husband with a face that said, "Holy crap! We are about to have another baby!"

They asked if I wanted a mirror to get in on the action and I turned them down flat—no way did I want to see what was going on down there. In fact, I remember seeing it in eighth grade health class and I'm pretty sure it scarred me for life.

After a little coaxing from my L&D nurse, though, I thought I'd give things a peek.

Holy shirts and pants. He was RIGHT. THERE.

And I must admit, as gory as it was to see, it was pretty cool to watch him come into this world and take his first breath. (It reminded me of a scene from "V" circa 1985, only he wasn't green ... or an alien).

With one push (yes, you heard me correctly—ONE!), Jack was here. And boy was he beautiful; complete and total perfection in the form of tiny, toe-head! They laid his gooey little body on my chest and we screamed with joy!

Ten fingers, 10 toes and an Apgar score of 9; he checked out beautifully. (How lucky are we?!) We're convinced they only give 10s to babies of doctors and nurses!

It's amazing how quickly the love comes the next time around. I immediately loved this little guy; the connection was instantaneous.

Up until today, I have been a worried mess that postpartum depression would hit me like a ton of bricks with this baby, considering my battle with PPD after my first was born. With Ava, I went to "crazytown" on day three and was a total whacko well into that first month.

Well I'm happy to say (knock on wood) that even though it's only day five, I already feel 300 percent better than I did with my daughter. Call it wishful thinking, but I think I'm going to be okay this time around.

It's funny. Looking back through pics of our family seems odd now. To see a pic of Ken, Ava and I seems strange—it's already as if someone has been missing the whole time. I can't really explain it. Even our recent Halloween pictures don't look right now. It's as if I know we are missing little Jack.
To wrap it up—because I'm freaking exhausted from chasing a toddler and caring for a newborn—I look forward to watching this little man grow and change. Don't get me wrong, I'm afraid of the rough days for fear that PPD might be around the corner, but I am content knowing I'll be okay if it does strike again.

Words cannot express how lucky and blessed I feel to call these two children mine. I look at the both of them and smile, almost in denial that I carried and birthed the both of them.

Article (originally posted on Patch): Introducing Baby Jack