Finn loves to read books. And right now his mom loves any activity that involves sitting and does not involve screen time. Win win. I wanted to start documenting his favorites so I can remember them and so I can easily recall what we liked at what age to recommend to others. At 2.5 years we are currently loving...
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
From the very first reading of this book, Finn loved it. Usually it takes a few times through for something to become a favorite, but not this one. I love the illustrations and he loves talking about the different ways the boy in the story tries to catch a star. This is a quick read, perfect for bedtime.
This has been a favorite for a long time. Finn loves to fill in the words to this rhyming book about a truck that gets stuck and the vehicles that come to try to rescue it. (Thanks to Aunt Katie for this one!)
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Dustey Rinker
This is a must-have. Say goodnight to the crane truck, dump truck, excavator, bulldozer, and cement mixer. Not too long and not too short, we read this at bedtime all the time.
Busy Boats by Tony Mitton
This is part of a great series of short books called Amazing Machines. We also have Roaring Rockets and Flashing Fire Engines has been ordered. These inexpensive (about $3.50) paperbacks are fun to read, and I love that the rhyming descriptions of the machines are filled with accurate details. They are not dumbed-down for kids, and it's pretty funny to hear Finn talk about "oxygen helmets" and "gravity boots". (Another big hit by Aunt Katie.)
The Little Fisherman by Margaret Wise Brown
When we visited Maine this summer, my mom took Finn to meet Dahlov Ipcar, the illustrator of this book, written by Margaret Wise Brown (of Goodnight Moon fame). I don't know how this book isn't a total classic (I had never seen it before, anyone?). They had this copy signed for Finn which makes it all the more special. The words are almost lyrical and it's one that I really love to read.
Back in June I dropped my iPhone during a particularly uncoordinated toddler-wrangling moment. It fell out of the side of my diaper bag as I was helping Finn (who very much did not want to be helped) into his car seat. It fell face down onto the pavement, and I finished buckling Finn in before I flipped it over for the moment of truth.
Totally smashed. It was technically still usable- if you're into picking tiny shards of glass out of your fingertips.
I took this opportunity to reward myself with an early-birthday iPhone 5 (I'm a glass half-full kind of person if there ever was one), and I put the cracked phone on my nightstand to remind myself to list it on ebay. Apparently people pay money for cracked screen phones!
Then it sat there for two months, because listing things on ebay requires effort, time, and more prohibitively, a trip to the post office. Why is getting a package to the post office so damn hard? I don't know what it is.
Enter Gazelle. This company wants to give you money for your old phone, no matter what condition it's in. A few clicks informed me that they'd like to give me $50 for my cracked iPhone 4. More importantly, they also wanted to send me (for free) a box to mail it to them in, complete with free return shipping label, an ingenious little packing pouch, and even a piece of tape to seal the thing up with. Did someone say lazy? I did have to walk the ten steps out to the mailbox, but I'll deal.
A few days later I had $50 in my PayPal account.
Do you want $50 too? If your screen isn't cracked they'll give you $100. (And not just for iphones.) Use my link and they'll add an extra $10 for each of us. I don't know what the catch is either.
(FYI this is not a sponsored post. I just thought this was pretty cool and I like ten extra bucks just like everyone else.)
I am one lucky mom blogger... Minted is helping me out with Cormac's birth announcements. I have long drooled over their designs, and now I get to choose one to announce the birth of our latest addition. I love that Minted uses independent designers, which makes it really feel like you are getting a custom created card. Here are some of the many that tempted me (and a sneak peek of Cormac's newborn pictures)...
Minted just introduced a bunch of gorgeous foil pressed cards (the last three above are from the new collection). There are holiday designs as well.
Right now all of their holiday cards are 20% off with code PREVIEW2013. The sale ends tonight has been extended until 9/30!... BUT the best part is that you can purchase your cards now, but wait to upload your photos! So you can buy your Christmas cards in September, thus feeling wonderfully organized and on the ball, but not actually have to finalize the details or the photos until you're ready. Click here to preview their 2013 holiday collection.
I'll post the birth announcement design I chose soon!
12:10 pm. I'm in the back seat of the car for the five minute ride to the hospital. Each contraction feels ten times worse than the last and they are coming only a minute or two apart. I start to kind of freak out that this baby is coming very soon.
12:15 pm. We arrive at the hospital and pull into what we think is the valet area but no one is around. My husband runs in to find someone and a wheelchair. While he's gone I have two contractions that make me scream. I am frantic. Not knowing what else to do but feeling like some alarm should be sounded, I lean into the front seat and honk the horn. I am now starting to feel pressure and I do not like the idea of being alone. I feel as though I have not been able to relax at all through this whole morning. During my first labor things built up so slowly that I had time to adjust. I labored in a tub and zoned out with my hypnobabies soundtrack. This time around I haven't even fully accepted that I am in labor and already there is so. much. pain.
12:20 pm. He has returned and I have yelled at him for abandoning me for so long. Of course I'm not sure what good it would have done either of us for him not to have gone to find a wheelchair, but rational I am not at this moment. It takes a few minutes to get through the halls of the hospital and up the elevator to labor and delivery, where we are informed that there is no room in triage. I proceed to have a horrific contraction right in front of the nurse's station and that display wins me a ticket straight to a delivery room. Do not pass go and all of that.
12:21 pm. My sweet husband, does exactly as he has been told (by me repeatedly) and asks that we get a delivery room that has a tub in it. Bless his heart. The nurse tells him there is no time and there will be no tub.
12:25 pm. We're in a room and a nurse is hurriedly checking us in and getting me to change into a gown. Something about finally being at our destination allows me to relax the tiniest bit and I think that speeds things up even more. I am feeling a ton of pressure and am laboring on my hands and knees on the bed. At her request I flip over just long enough for my progress to be checked. My husband reports this via text to our doula. (And she's right, she didn't make it.)
The fog between 12:30 pm and 12:40 pm. My midwife arrives and I am so relieved and excited to see that it's Joann, my favorite of the group. She is awesome. I switched practices partially because I was disappointed in how hands-off my midwives were during Finn's birth. Joann is the opposite. My nurse is also awesome and is giving me lots of support.
My husband though, just like last time, is my number one labor coach. He is right by my side, holding my hand, staring me right in the eyes and assuring me despite my insistence that it is not possible, I can in fact, and am in fact, doing it. He is so calm, yet so excited, and so damn positive. In between contractions we are looking at each other incredulously and saying, do you believe this is happening? We are going to meet him right now!?
Contractions are now SO painful. They are ripping through me with so much strength behind them that I begin to think there is no way I can handle this. After Finn's birth I told many people that the best way to describe labor was as "work", not as "pain". Because I was so relaxed, my job had been kind of just to sit back and let my body do it's thing. It was hard to endure, sure, but not excruciating. Well this time is different. It is SO fast that there is no time to get used to anything, no time for those fabulous endorphins to build up. I keep telling my husband how much it hurts and how I am sure that I can't do it. There is also a whole lot of "get him out of me NOW". Unlike last time, there are no questions about my pain on a 1-10 scale. There are no long-winded history questions or forms to sign. I don't have an IV or a hep-lock. In fact, not a single needle is stuck in my arm the entire time I'm in the hospital.
I am screaming, trying to remember all the things that worked so well for me during my first labor. I remind myself to keep my voice low, to buzz air out through my lips, to move my hips in a circle and try to mentally stay on top of each contraction. I remember my mantras of "you never have to feel this contraction ever again" and "there is no memory of pain" and "there is a finite number of contractions and each one brings you closer to this being over". It is kind of working. By the time I feel on top of anything the next contraction is so much more intense than the last and I'm no longer in control again. But the beauty of a fast labor is that it's over before you know it, even if it hurts like hell.
12:40 pm. I'm 10 centimeters and I'm pushing. Pushing was a blur last time. There was so much going on with my complications and with heart rate monitoring that I really don't remember the feeling of it at all. Not the case this time. I feel everything. It is so much less painful than just having contractions. Every time I push I feel him move down. This is amazing.
12:47 pm. My midwife can see the baby. (I know the exact timing because she has requested my husband hand her my phone and she is taking pictures. These will not be a part of this story; you're welcome.) She tries to get me to stop pushing and slow things down a bit to prevent tearing. It's almost impossible but with her help I manage to wait out the next contraction.
12:54 pm. I get to experience for the second time in my life the most exhilarating and indescribable life event there is as I push out my baby. I'm thankful I'm so present this time for this moment; there is nothing like it. He's crying out at the top of his lungs, the most welcome sound in the entire world. He's placed immediately on me, which is my dream goal after not getting the chance with my first birth. I meet my baby. My heart expands to make room for him just like everyone has told me it will. He's perfect and I'm in love.
11:14 am. I answer my husband's phone call with "my water just broke". I am just as shocked he is, because about one second earlier I was convinced that I was definitely NOT in labor. He says "ok well I'm on my way then". I tell him it was definitely my water and that I have felt the same pop feeling followed by a movie-style gush as I had with my first labor. When my water broke with Finn we were still about nine hours away from meeting him, though. I tell him not to rush but to definitely head home.
11:15 am. I spend the next ten minutes calling my doula, my mom, my midwife, and work, in that order. My doula says I sound like I'm still in early labor and that I should eat something and try to take a nap. My mom doesn't believe me when I tell her my water broke, thinking I'm still just joking that she should start her trip early. My midwife's receptionist says she can tell by my voice that I should not head into the hospital yet and that she'll have someone call me soon. I call my husband back and tell him I'm going to take a nap. He's on his way, about forty minutes away. I call work to tell them that I'm not coming in (for the next twelve weeks!).
11:26 am. I text one of my friends:
One might wonder why I am sitting in bed texting and calling and etc while I am clearly in labor, but I just don't know what to DO with myself! I am getting more and more flustered by the minute being alone (save for the two year old) and not knowing if I should alarm everyone or not. After my water broke my contractions seemed to pause for a little bit. I change my clothes and run around and throw a few more items into the hospital bag that I had actually only started to pack the night before. I follow my doula's instructions and grab an energy bar that I never get around to eating. Then I sit down in bed next to Finn, who has never before sat so patiently with the iPad in his life, and wait for something to happen.
11:35 am. Oh yeah, don't I have a contraction timer on my phone?
11:39 am. Wait! Must take final "most pregnant" pictures!
11:45 am. Okay, something is happening. Break in contractions over, game is ON. I'm leaning on the edge of the bed huffing and puffing through contractions that are all of a sudden coming much faster and much harder. Finn says "what are we doing mommy?". I tell him we are taking deep breaths and he huffs and puffs along with me. His nanny arrives and I tell her I'm in labor. She is awesome and gets Finn occupied downstairs. Shit has gotten real, real fast. I have gone from deep breathing to hip swaying and moaning in just a few contractions.
11:49 am. I call my husband again. He gets a much different wife than he had twenty minutes ago. I tell him he needs to be home NOW. He says I thought you were taking a nap! I say, does it sound like I am taking a nap? It doesn't. He steps on it.
11:50 am. Doula gets same "I am no longer taking a nap" phone call. She also steps on it.
11:51 am. Midwife's receptionist says I should go to the hospital. Oh, you think?
12:00 pm. Husband arrives. As does his mom. In the confusion, he has forgotten that it's a nanny day and has asked her to come over to watch Finn. She starts asking me questions about getting a new car seat and I snap at her that I do not wish to discuss car seats at the moment. She has had five children and knows by the tone of my voice that I am in transition. We rush around grabbing bags and looking for the memory card for the nice camera, which we never did find.
12:05 pm. I take this picture with Finn and give him a huge hug and kiss. I tell him I'll see him soon and he is going to meet his baby brother today! I tear up a little bit. As has been the case all day, I can't believe this is really happening.
12:10 pm. We get in the car.
To be continued...
(SPOILER ALERT... there will be a baby in 44 minutes!)
It took me two and a half months to write Finn's birth story (and another 16 months after that to write- privately- about my post-partum complications). So the fact that I'm sitting down to get these words out with Cormac only four weeks old is a really good indicator that things were a whole lot simpler this time around. So there will be no eight-part birth saga, and thank God, no follow up drama-filled aftermath post. Just a quick little timeline of birth the second time around...a (pretty special) day in the life if you will. ;)
7:45 am. I am 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant. I wake up after a crappy night of sleep and am vaguely aware of having kind of a stomach ache. I couldn't sleep at all the night before. Murphy's law says that because I am up, Finn is choosing this morning to sleep in.
8:30 am. I go get Finn from his crib and tell him he can come into bed with me and watch cartoons on the iPad. I'm way too exhausted to care about the excessive screen time he's been getting towards the end of my pregnancy. I'm in and out of sleep next to him, mumbling incoherently in response as he tells me about his Curious George episode.
9:30 am. We're still in bed. I am feeling guilty about my stellar parenting but am too exhausted to do anything about it. I'm really hurting but am still thinking it's from the lack of sleep, general end of pregnancy aches and pains, and maybe I have to go to the bathroom? As will be the theme of the morning, I'm in complete denial that it could be anything more. Finn is requesting breakfast and I decide that breakfast in bed is a fabulous idea- any way that I can close my eyes for a few minutes more. I muster up the energy to go downstairs and get him a pancake, grapes, and milk. I put it on a tray and everything.
10:00 am. I'm texting with my mom and telling her that Finn's being spoiled rotten by me during his remaining time as an only child. I mention how tired I am and tell her she should go ahead and come down to Maryland now, instead of in six days like we had planned.
10:23 am. For about the past twenty minutes I'm noticing that my "stomach ache" is kind of coming and going. So I upgrade my ailment to "crampy braxton hicks". De-nial. I text my husband:
10:30 am. I get in the shower, thinking, "gosh this is so weird, I have to almost stop what I'm doing when I get one of these weird braxton hicks contractions." This thought actually goes through my brain. I'm kind of feeling the pain shoot down into my thighs now. I start looking at the clock and notice that they're coming pretty regularly about five minutes apart. When I get out of the shower I ask Dr. Google how to tell a BH contraction from the real thing. When one of the answers is that a real contraction might radiate into your legs or back I think that the website is probably being overly cautious. I'm a second time mom so I would totally know if I were in labor. I'm definitely not, so I blowdry and flat-iron my hair, put on makeup and work clothes. I'm supposed to leave for work at 11:30.
11:11 am. Status quo, both the five minute apart "BH" contractions and the toddler melting his brain with Curious George. Why hasn't my husband texted me back? I call him, he doesn't answer.
11:12 am. I text him. He answers this time. Turns out he was in (of course) a ridiculously important meeting and wasn't checking his phone.
11:14 am. My phone rings, it's him. I hit "answer", and my water breaks.
To be continued... (I have to at least drag it out a bit, right??)
I can't say this room was finished in time for C's early appearance, but we scrambled around the week after he was born and the result is what you see here. The idea was to change up enough details from Finn's nursery to make the space feel brand new again without having to repaint or do anything major. I love how it turned out...