Thursday, July 30, 2009

The long absence

We'll see how long Maggie stays asleep while I type with both hands - what a luxury!

Maggie will be 4 weeks old on Thursday. It still doesn't seem real to either Jeffry or I. Maybe once life slows down a little bit - ha ha, like that's going to happen anytime soon. I have managed to make a few notes, so now I'll fill those in.

Highlights during my blogging absence ....

Jack was in his room for a nap. I heard a strange noise and asked him what he was doing. He said; "I rub a leg." Not feeling like we'd gotten the whole story, we went in to find out what he was doing. He'd gotten the sunscreen off the top of his dresser and was (just as he said) rubbing it on his legs. As Jeffry helped me get things and son cleaned up, Jack informed us he had "Ice cream rub a leg." I think he knows it's sunscreen now, and not ice cream.

One of his other antics is to run around the "loop" in our house - through the kitchen, his room, the living and dining area saying; "Superhero" or "Superman" with his fist raised.

On the way home from our vacation in Vergas, MN, he realized the power of the words; "I need to go potty." Not that he actually has to go potty or will go, but he knows those are magic words. We have good days (yesterday) and bad days (today) when it comes to training.

Before we left for our trip, I told Leesha to make a note that we needed to pack his "Maggie Doodle" (Magna Doodle - the little screen with the magnetic pen).

While on vacation, one of the many things he enjoyed playing with were some coasters. He asked me what they were. I told him they were coasters. He looked at his cousin Caelyn (age 5.5) and asked; "Can you say coasters?" just like we ask him about new words all the time.

For those of you that check regularly, you already know about his birthday phone call with his cousin Simon. We'll have to do it again sometime with both sides recording the conversation on camera. It was very cute. He kept looking at the phone as though it were Simon. Jack's birthday went by with little other fanfare. We'd done a party up at the lake for all the cousins, and his actual birthday was right after the vacation and another reunion, so I was just too tired to do anything else. It's a good thing he's only 2, because he doesn't care yet.

Maggie decided to eat right before we headed home from our vacation. We'd had enough chasing Jack around and dealing with his not wanting to eat, so we were in the parked car waiting for Maggie to finish and listening to Rush. I was sitting there with Maggie, then got out at one point. Jack said; "Mom, you sit a you seat." When I did get in the car, he said; "Good listener Mom!" Well, I guess he's heard that before.

When I was a baby, my family made up a song ... Cara Joy we love you, Cara Joy we love you. All the time we love you, little Cara Joy. With each of my kids, I've sung their names with the same tune. Jack has been overheard singing "Maggie Mae we love you ..."

A new baby means new stuff in the house - the bouncy seat is back, the carseat is inside, rather than out in the car, etc. Jack loves the bouncy seat and has informed me; "I sitting Margaret's bouncy seat backwards." We've been trying to teach him about 'in front of", "behind", "beside", etc. I guess it's a good thing we have two exersaucers - not because we won't have to transport a single one up or down the stairs, but because Jack will want to be in one if Maggie is in one.

Maggie tends to look to the right and simultaneously kick her right leg. On the rare occasions we've gotten her to look left, only once have we noted a left leg kick.

Jack has told Maggie; "Don' worry." when she's crying and I haven't gotten to her yet.

Jeffry cleaned up what I refer to as his "lair". It looks so nice when that happens. He felt bad that I didn't notice it for about 2 days, but I think that's because I wasn't downstairs.

Jeffry has changed Maggie a couple of times. At least one of those, she peed in the process. It's happened to me too.

That's it for the highlights, here's some more mundane stuff ...

We've enjoyed lots of time with family. My sister and her family returned to Thailand a week ago tomorrow. Their visits were wonderful, but a definite whirlwind. Caryn has an amazing energy and activity level. I guess being 8.5 months pregnant and recently delivered while she was here may have accounted for my lack of energy. We're looking forward to their next visit when the kids are older. Maybe if they move fom Thailand and get jobs in Europe, we'll actually be able to visit them ...

During our vacation, our carpenter friend re-finished our living/dining/hall floors. Jeffry and I moved all the furniture out so Jon could work. What a [lovely birthday] surprise when we got home to find all the furniture back where it belonged thanks to Willis West!

Jeffry was amazing on our trip. He was basically on "Jack watch". Jack, like any little one, wanted to keep up with all the big cousins. Activities weren't always toddler friendly, and nobody was old enough to keep an eye on him. Jeffry was very busy. Guess that legitimizes how he got naps and I didn't take any.

On our way up to the cabins, Maggie had a screaming episode. It started just outside of Sauk Centre and continued for about 10 minutes. We pulled over at one point, then I had Jeffry turn around so we could all eat at McDonalds. Otherwise, she was great on the trip. It was really exciting for us to ride alongside a train for a good chunk of one of the highways. Most fun for Jack - or that's what we think.

Jack didn't like the water much. Jeffry tried taking him in the lake a couple of times, but we think it was too cold. Good thing he didn't seem too disturbed when he fell in face first. I was glad he had the life vest on as it gave me a good means of retrieving him from the water.

It was great to spend my birthday with my whole family. I don't know how long it's been since I last had that blessing. We went out for pizza and took the kids miniature golfing on a warm day. Just days later, we got to see all but 2 cousins on my mom's side of the family. Another whirlwind trying to keep track of Jack, but good nontheless.

Sunday was a trip! Jeffry stayed home with napping Jack while Maggie and I got groceries. All was going well until the last few things on our list when she started screaming. That made for slow unloading of the cart as I held her. At one point, when I'd put her back in her carseat, she started coughing from her screaming and the lady behind me in line thought she was choking and jumped to her aide. I think the other lady had more of a start than I did. Thankfully the staff were willing and available to pack the groceries up while I nursed her. Paid and loaded, we carefully made our way out to the car where another lady came to help me load the car.

And, now, I think I'm all caught up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine

Jack got his first Thomas the Tank Engine train for his 2nd birthday. His Great-Aunt Doris got him a Gordon train.

His cousins visiting from other countries all were or are into Thomas the Tank Engine. As they start to grow out of it they are hading down some of their extras to Jack. So now he's received several additional tank engines to his Gordon.

However, he is having a real hard time sharing with anyone. If we sit down to play with him he stumbles over this sharing issue saying "that's my train...". It is impossible to play trains with him.

Moments ago I sat down and tried again. He said "that's my train". I asked him which one I could play with. Show me which one is mine.

He put his hand on my arm and said...

"Go sit at your compoo-pee-oh"!

I think he meant computer.

Jack Willis

This morning Jack was wearing a good looking outfit. Leesha and I were complimenting him on it. Leesha said, "You look cool! Are you cool?"

and Jack replied, "No! I'm Jack Willis."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jack's Bible Stories

Maggie grew hungry while we were at church this morning. So Cara took her to the nursing room and fed her. There was a technical problem with the video feed in the room causing the moms to miss a majority of the sermon.

At dinner, this evening, Cara asked what the sermon was about and I started to describe it's theme. While I was explaining the message, Jack gets out of his seat and starts asking Cara to read him a Bible story. He wouldn't let up, either, running off to go retrieve one of his Bible story books. Finally Cara had to page through it as she listened to my retelling of Greg Boyd's message.

It seems he picked up on enough of my words to know what I was talking about and associated that with his Bible stories. He is amazing.

(This image is not from the book Jack selected. It's here jsut to add humor).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our fist week with Maggie Mae

Wow, I'm feeling overwhelmed which seems strange since;
Maggie is a very easy baby - so far, very content to sleep - even at night
Jack has not responded to big-brotherhood with the ignore tactic nor the being mean one. He has acted out a bit, but seems okay after we give him a little attention which can even be done while I'm nursing.
Leesha has been surprisingly helpful - carrying Maggie to and from the car, holding Maggie, opening doors, etc.
Jeffry has helped with household tasks as well which sometimes just means holding Maggie while computing just so that I don't have to keep the older ones from annoying her.
I'm feeling really good. Still recovering, but up to most things I normally do when at home - cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. And the last few nights, I haven't missed much more sleep than usual. I also fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes already!

Anyhow, I suppose anticipating 5 days away from home next week and all the preparations necessary for that could be considered stressful for a new mom.

Enough griping, on to the last week ...

Maggie and I stayed in the hospital until Saturday. I let her sleep in the nursery so that I could get some sleep. That proved to be a good choice Friday night since she apparently had a choking episode and they put her on oxygen for a little bit. Glad I didn't have that stress. The normal heart murmur she had disappeared by the time we checked out. Again, our stay at Regions was wonderful. I almost feel bad I won't be going back.
So, Saturday morning, I got all ready and we waited for Jeffry to come get us. Then we waited for the nurse to go over my discharge instructions, and we were on our way. We headed up to mom and dad's for lunch and (more importantly) to pick up our little man. Funny how when thinking about Maggies birth, I never thought to make accomodations for Jack and Leesha while I was at the hospital. Thankfully, mom and dad were willing and able despite their own busy schedules.

(One of the most amusing things about my stay in the hospital was reading the following instruction on the package of sanitary pads; "use adhesive side away from body". Every time I read instructions like that, I wonder just what sort of situation necessitated that.)

Arriving at their house, Jack was excited about Maggie. He kept asking her questions almost seeming to expect her to answer. So far, he's been good with her. A little unaware of his own weight or strength at times, but hasn't seemed to do any permanent damage.
In the car, on the way home, I realized that I feel happy and complete. My family is complete now. Even though all of my kids weren't in the car, I still felt complete. I had really missed Jack and Leesha while in the hospital, and even considered going home on Friday instead of Saturday just to be with everyone. After Maggie choking though, I'm glad we stayed.

We went to church on Sunday and Maggie got oohs and aahs from several friends and people we don't know yet. One of the kids I babysit, Grace, was very excited about baby Maggie and I'm told even thanked Jesus for her during her bedtime prayers. Leesha got home from being with her dad while I was outside in the yard trying to nurse Maggie and let Jack run around a bit. He just loves being outside, and I don't think to take him out much, which is awful since we have such a great back yard.

On Monday, we had to put Maggie on our insurance and then get her to the Dr. We picked Jeffry up at work before heading downtown to take care of the insurance thing. That was quick and painless - except for the fact that the kids regular pediatrician isn't on our health plan, so we've still got to figure that out. We let the Monarch staff ooh and aah over all three kids before stopping at mom and dads to feed Maggie. The Dr. we saw in the afternoon was full of praise for all three kids and thinks Maggie is doing just fine.

Tuesday brought the need for groceries to a head, so we went shopping. Leesha pushed Maggie in one cart while I had Jack in the other. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. We'll see what I think when Leesha's back in school .... For Small Group, we went to help friends of one of the couples in group. We worked on some painting. Maggie got to meet Abby who was the other recent addition to group. The girls are about 3 weeks apart. Jack hung out with Grandma and Grandpa. Apparently while he was there, he told them that Maggie eats applesauce.

Willis West (Jeffry's brother and family) came over on Wednesday to meet Maggie. It was surprising to realize how much Maggie will grow in the next 4 months when we looked at Smith. Jack and Simon got along pretty good too. Jeffry was surprised to get work since Summer School let out on Tuesday. We were expecting him not to have work for the rest of the week, but are being blessed with more hours than he's had all summer so far. We'll make up for it with our week of vacation next week. Emily from our group brought dinner by, so I had a night off.

Thursday, Jeffry had work again! Mom had arranged to watch my nephews Nathaniel and Aaron, so the kids and I met the three of them at Como Zoo. Great zoo. We didn't have the best timing with many school groups also being there when the doors opened. But we survived - even with the double stroller. Poor little Jack, since I shouldn't be chasing him around, I made him stay in the stroller. He kept asking; "Ma-ge-out-a-st'oller please?" (May I get out of the stroller please?) While the bigger kids were enjoying a couple of the amusement park rides, I went and found the playground so Jack could have some fun too. It was so precious to see Nathaniel and Aaron attend to Jack on all the equipment - going down the slide before him to catch him, going down the slide with him. So very sweet.
On our way to the zoo, Jack asked if we could listen to some music. Leesha found a station and Jack started copying the short phrases in the song. He's learning to sing. Another very sweet moment.
Later in the evening, while I was nursing Maggie, Jack was playing with his new favorite set of toys - the little plastic animals and the wooden barn - on the couch beside us. He pulled out the dolphin and said; "That's a walrus. No, it's not. It's a dolphin. That's a dolphin." And then, quoting Raffi's "Baby Belugah"; "Dolphins play. Splash all day."

We've heard a lot of "Yashur" (Yeah, sure.) and "Gank you's" (Thank you) as well as several "I'm shawwy" (I'm sorry) (even when he hasn't done anything wrong) recently. So cute how he says it.

Now that it's been a week since Maggies arrival, I can't help but feel sad that I'll never have that again. I'm enjoying it as best as I can.

We'd describe her as a squaker. She does cry when she gets worked up enough, but when she's hungry, she usually just squaks a few times.

This last week, we also learned that the organization that's been providing a scholarship for Leesha to attend North Heights won't be able to help this next year. Ouch!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Margaret Mae

I had the foresight to ask mom or dad to go to the Dr. with me in the event anything happened to send me into labor and directly to the hospital (do not pass go, do not collect $200). Unfortunately, it was not needed. I had contractions and tried to keep them going by bumming around at PetSmart, but no luck. The midwife told me to go to the hospital in the morning if I hadn't gone already and they'd work on getting me to go into labor. I figured that meant being induced which I wasn't really excited about.
More contractions at various points in the night, not helped by a 40 minute walk at 10:40pm. Around 4am today, Leesha and I were awoken by the stereo playing Queen which kinda freaked us out just a bit until I realized the alarm on it had somehow been set. I'm glad the volume was down low, because if it had been loud, it might have been even more alarming. So, I decided to get going for the day since I'd planned to go over to mom and dad's while Jeffry did his morning bus route. I used the ellyptical for 20 minutes or so and had contractions about every 2 minutes, but they were not painful. I assembled stuff by the door, got some food together for the kids, showered and got ready. By the time I was done, I wasn't contracting any more and figured Jeffry should just stay home for the whole day.
The rest of the household was up and about around 6am. We ate breakfast and got ready to go, arriving at the hospital just before 8. I was at 6cm when they checked me. At 9:45, they sent me walking. Good timing as we'd called mom and dad to come get the kids since we didn't know how long the process would take, and they were on their way. We handed Leesha and Jack off to mom, then walked around the coomplex for an hour. Back in labor and delivery, we were roomed and the midwife broke my water at 10:05am. That brought on contractions, so I wibbled and wobbled on the birthing ball until probably about 11:30 when I started having really painful contractions and sensed that I was close to feeling the need to push.
After 2 pushes, at 11:47am, Margaret Mae Willis came-a-squalling into the world, unlike Jack who needed to be coaxed into crying. She weighs 8lbs, 2oz. and measured 20.1 inches. She's got soft dark hair and is very pink. We also think she's kinda cute, but we're allowed to be biased. Mom and Leesha arrived just as the midwife started my "repairs".
This makes 7 grandbabies for my parents. My oldest, Leesha started off the bunch almost 11 1/2 years ago and Maggie brings up the rear today.
Maggie makes 5 for Grandma Holly and Grandpa Steve. Again, my girls are on either end of the 3 boys.
So, that was our morning ...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where are you Margaret?

In an effort to try to self induce labor, I spent a 1/2 hr. on the ellyptical (sp?) last night and this morning. No luck. So, after exercising, cleaning, and some other house work, I went in to the Dr. today. I've finally progressed to 4cm which is where hard labor is supposed to begin. Unfortunately, what one midwife reads as 3cm another reads as 4cm, so without an actual ruler, nobody knows for sure where I'm at.
Since I am 6 days overdue, they put me on a monitor to see how Margaret's heartrate and movements were, and whether or not I was having contractions. I had at least one painful one there, and a few others that were 4 minutes apart, but they've stopped to my knowledge.
I'd asked mom to come along in the event that messing with my membranes put me right into labor and I needed to get to the hospital. She was nervous as we left the clinic because both the midwife and nurse seemed confident I was in labor. I suggested walking around the mall nearby to help things along, and mom obliged.
Yet, 6 hours later, I'm still having contractions that aren't giving me any cause for moving this show (oops, I just typed "sow" intead of "show" - that's mildly amusing) to the hospital.
I guess I was hoping that my water would break there at the clinic, mom would take me in and Jeffry would meet us there so that by now, our little girl would be even more of a reality. Today is the first day I've really been bothered about being overdue. It started yesterday when I learned that they would likely want to induce me after one week, rather than wait until 2 weeks. I was hoping I could go in on Tuesday the 14th when Summer School is over and my midwife is at the hospital. Today, it's just been a matter of wanting to go into labor on my own so I don't have to have a drug induced labor.

MY current plan is that the kids and I will have Jeffry drop us off at mom and dad's in the morning while he does his morning route. We'll go into the hospital once the his students are at school. We'll see what Margaret has to say about that idea.

Anyhow ....

Leesha was trying to get Jack excited about having a baby around today. She named one of the dolls "Baby Margaret" and had him cart it around, wrap it up, put it in the carseat, etc. He also chose to have her go potty which was more than he himself wanted to do on the potty today.

Signing off ....

At the Browns

We were at the Browns for small group last night.
At one point, I asked Jack if he wanted a bite of hot dog. His response; "Na wite now." (Not right now.) Guess where he's heard that before?
While there, he learned how to "drive" two battery operated vehicles. Steering was non-existent, but he got the concept of pushing the button or the pedal to move. He was most amusing in the Jeep because he just leaned back in the seat and looked very relaxed. He and Keane drove around for a little while. Keane had the steering wheel, and Jack had the gas. They would drive, stop, and then laugh. It was very cute.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Where's Baby Margaret?

Jeffry and Leesha are watching a show. Jack is sitting next to me on the loveseat while I check email, etc. He asked; "Where's baby Margaret?", then proceeded to look for her by lifting my shirt up over my belly .... funny. When I tried to put my shirt back down over my belly, he said; "No, I want to see baby Margaret." then "Gank you" as my belly was revealed again.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last night was another battle getting Jack to bed. When we took our patrol, everyone was downstairs watching The Incredibles or the USA Soccer team.

We were on the last leg of our patrol when Jack said "Go downstairs...". I told him no, we're going to bed after our patrol. I watched realization cross his expression and he started to lose it. He did not want to go to bed.

We had to close him in his room with the child-proof door handles keeping him in. He DID NOT want to go to bed.

Cara got up around 1:30 AM to turn off a fan in our room. Right away, she heard some noise coming from downstairs, so she cautiously goes to investigate thinking someone has gotten in the house! The house was dark other than ambient light spilling in from outside street lamps and the nightlight we keep on in the bathroom. She finds Jack's door open, at least it's wasn't some stranger! When she reached the stairway she finds little Jack making his way up the stairs crying and saying "Daaaaadddy". He must've climbed out of his crib, leaving his room (we opened his door after he was asleep just to keep fresh air moving for him) and went down there expecting me to be down there on my computer only to discover he was alone. That's when Cara intercepted him. We talked with him for a short while on our bed and took him back into his room. Trying to figure out what is causing this new behavior, we asked him what was wrong, Cara asked if he was cold and wanted his fleece jammies on. He replied; "No, I like these." He protested and we eventually had to fully close his doors and rely on the child-proof door handles to keep him contained again. He eventually became sleepy and climbed back up into his crib finding that more comfortable than the floor.

In the morning, he came into our room again and the three of us were snuggling. He pointed to Cara and said; "Mommy's name is Cara." Then pointing to me, he said; "Daddy's name is Jeffry." When asked what Jack's name was, he responded; "Apple Cheeks."

This afternoon, we went over to Willis West. We intentionally kept Jack awake in an effort to avoid bedtime drama. While there, he kicked a glass over, breaking it, then stepped on a piece of the glass, cutting his foot. Poor guy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 3rd and 4th

Grandma and Grandpa Willis arrived yesterday from Missouri. They and Willis West came over for the evening. We enjoyed Famous Daves in the backyard catching up and watching the boys play.
Once Willis West headed home, Leesha showed portions of her Musical on DVD. Jeffry was at his computer on the other side of the basement, and Jack was running between him and the Musical showing. At one point, he had one of the food toys we've got down there. It is a plastic scoop of ice cream that fits in a cone, and it has split on the bottom. Jack was sticking his thumb in the hole while sitting on Jeffry's lap. Then he says to Jeffry; "This hurts Daddy." No fussing or anything, just a comment
We had Grandma and Grandpa help with bedtime a little bit, and after the routine Patrol, Jeffry put Jack in bed. Jack somehow got it in his head that that was not for him, and proceeded to set up a fuss and get out of his crib. We humored him for a bit, but around 9:30 it was getting old. He seemed to want Jeffry and I to lay down in our bed and have him between us which would have been okay if he'd settled down, but he was just chatting away. I suggested a show might help settle him down, so Jeffry tried an episode of "Flash Go'don" and back to the crib. He climbed out again. Since I was trying to wind down, I asked Jeffry if he'd be okay with Jack in the basement with him until Jack crashed, so down they went. Jeffry set him up watching "Kiki's Delivery Service". By this time, I was back to being fully awake and the thougt occurred to me that maybe Jack had a "sense" that Margaret might be coming, so decided to go for a walk, shower and dry my hair. Jeffry put Jack back in his bed around the time I was wrapping things up and he still set up a fuss. So, we got the doorknob covers and put them on the inside handles of his doors, turned out the lights and left him in there. It didn't take him long to settle down and fall asleep. What surprised me was that when I went in around midnight, he had crawled into his crib to fall asleep. I'd opened his door very carefully thinking he may have fallen asleep on the floor by the door, but the little tyke had gotten into his own bed.

This morning (the 4th) Jeffry and I were up around 8 and just talking in bed. Leesha said good morning, then shortly afterwards, we heard Jack wake up, a few noises, before he walked into our room with a bright and cheery; "Good morning!" I succeeded more at suppressing the laugh than Jeffry did.

As I was getting dressed, Jack asked what I was doing. I told him I was putting my clothes on or getting dressed. He then suggested I was "putting my dressed".

Grandma and Grandpa Sorley joined us for grilling, the second half of The Incredibles, Bananagrams and fireworks to celebrate the 4th. After he'd eaten, Jack was running around n only a onesie. At one point, he paused in his play and I realized he was up to "something". Seconds later, a trickle made it's way down his leg and he realized that was not comfortable. Mom and I went to him, and he said; "No Grandma" which is unusual, because he often favors her ministrations over mine. I got him cleaned up and back to playing.

He set up another fuss about bedtime, but did eventually wind down. Jeffry is going to share more on that in the next post ....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Jack wants to go outside, so I told him he needed to put his critters away back in their hammock. An abbreviation of his narrating the process .... " Jacksaput eff'in away. Jacksaput puppy 'way. Jack ho'd you." Translation: Jack is putting the elephant away. Jack is putting the puppy away. Jack is going to hold you (as he held the puppies or other critter before putting it in the hammock.
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