Well. This Happened.

Imagine our surprise to welcome this little one to the world on Sunday.

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Setting a family record among her siblings and arriving a full 5 weeks early, she weighed 6 lb 13 oz and is 19 inches. And quite cute.

She will stay here at Martha Jefferson Hospital for another week or so for monitoring. Maybe she will be home for Thanksgiving!

I was sad to think of her here and all of us at home (they kicked us parents out after our two-day stay). But then I talked to our doctor and heard some of the things they are watching here- her oxygen levels, sugar/insulin levels, and temperature, to name a few- and felt better knowing she will get care around the clock. Also, he explained how she should still be in a quiet, calm environment. Where sounds are muffled and lights are dim. The only sound she hears constantly is a heartbeat. You know, a womb.

Now, if he said she really needs to be poked and held and passed around and smooched and startled– we can deliver that sort of environment at home. But the whole womb-like thing? That only exists here at the hospital, for now. So we’ll let her get a little more reserves built up before bringing her into the chaos. And I am content with that.

Besides, there is something to be said for being here with her and getting to hold her for long stretches without interruption. And without thoughts of what else I might need to attend to.

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She is doing well. We have lots of help from friends and neighbors and neighbors-who-are-friends. The nurses at Martha Jeff are wonderful. It is all well with my soul.

…………………………………………………..

We thought we had a few more weeks to get things in order at home, but that time has been cut short. I need help. The one-formerly-known-as-the-baby-of-the-family has adopted an unpleasant habit of getting out of his bed during the 5:00 hour and coming into the hall to flip lights on and off. We gently (ha) and lovingly (haha) rebuke him for this transgression and send him back to his bed. Over and over. It does not appear to be “taking”. And we hope to put him in the room with his brother and put the girls together. But I don’t want to have two kids up at 5:00.

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Stay in your bed, you turkey
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Any tips for teaching him to stay in bed until a decent hour? We have an “Okay to Wake” owl that turns green when he can get up, but he pretty much comes out anyway, then comes out with particular excitement when the owl is actually green. Help wanted.

Brain Dump

This brain dump is brought to you by an empty house on a Saturday morning.

IMG_1005.JPGReally enjoying the UVA marching band practice, a couple of weeks ago.

My in-laws came yesterday and picked the kids up for a day in Richmond with their cousins. I took the kids’ Halloween pictures on the front step then loaded them in the car and then…silence.

1. Luxuries that I have enjoyed lately: waking up in my own house, sans kids. My dear husband is running 14 miles this morning, so I am quite solo. Something about being home alone feels awesome.

More luxuries: dinner this week, delivered to my door. A friend emailed me and asked if she could provide dinner for us one evening. Yes. You may. And thank you. A million times over.

One more: a gym membership with 2.5 hours of childcare. I go most Friday mornings. The baby (who is not really a baby anymore. I know.) loves it and so do I. Some time working out, then a shower, then time in the lounge to work or not work by the fireplace. Who am I and how did I end up at such a legit fancy gym?

2. My inbox is tamed. I read the article that my friend Steve linked to in the comments last month and my biggest takeaway was to process my email. Don’t just “check” it, which I was doing throughout the day. Wait until I am at my ipad (which has a keyboard) and read with the intention of dealing with it. Respond, archive, delete, move to folders. Deal with it.

I am a new smartphone owner and had gotten waaaaay sucked into checking my email on the go all the time. But I don’t like replying with my thumbs, so the emails would sit, read but unprocessed, until I pulled them up on my ipad later and could stare dumbly at the mass.

Process. Don’t “check”.

3. One of my kids woke me up at 3:00 the other night for help with a brief potty break. He went right back to sleep, but the last time I remember looking at the clock it was 4:30. I couldn’t shut my brain off and fixated on the logistics of four kids.

Where will everyone sleep at night?
Where will everyone nap or have room time?
How will I retrieve the first grader from school?
How can I protect some pockets in the day to recharge for myself?
When should we move the baby (okay, toddler) out of his crib?
Should we get back on the potty training bandwagon before the baby comes? (Hopped off that one a few weeks’ in, when the baby/toddler clearly wasn’t taking much initiative to get himself to the potty. It wasn’t making life easier for any of us, so I put him back in diapers.)

During those middle of the night hours, I kept reminding myself that things that feel overwhelming at 3:30 a.m. don’t feel the same way at 3:30 p.m. And, sure enough, by the next afternoon I knew we would figure things out and it would be fine.

To help in that figuring out, I emailed a friend who has four kids and asked if we can get together in the coming weeks. I might bring a white board and ask her to just figure my life out for me. I am a “systems” person- I like to get things in order and then let certain things go on autopilot so I don’t have to think about them. I need some systems in place for when the baby comes. Some parts of the day on autopilot. And I have a few more weeks to figure some of that stuff out!

4. Goal for November: Christmas shopping! I did this last year, in preparation for our big surgery, and it was pretty great. How enjoyable- to have all gifts purchased and ready with a few weeks’ to spare. I’m a big fan of simplifying and creating white space on my calendar and in my brain, and getting gifts in order ahead of time provides that. Anyone else want to join me?

Brain Dump

1. My goal of keeping my inbox clean (less than 20 emails) is going so-so. I have been more diligent in responding and then archiving or deleting. Lingering emails and a massive inbox make me feel like I’m missing important things (which I usually am). So I like just moving through emails and dumping them.

Some of the emails serve as reminders, like the Zappos shipping confirmation that reminds me to return the three pairs of shoes that I am not keeping. (I also have a huge box sitting in our bedroom. Some might consider that enough of a reminder. Meh.) It would probably feel better to just add “return shoes to Zappos” to my to-do list and archive the email. Too many “reminders” in too many different places and I, again, feel like I’m missing important things.

Huh. Now that I type all of that out, I realize I have a to-do list on the fridge, in my purse, and in my email inbox. That feels potentially ineffective. Must stop using email as a to-do list, stat. I don’t like lingering in email-land any longer than necessary so why make my inbox do double duty?

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2. I took the boys to the playground today because- GLORY- the sun came out for a few hours. I met a mom who is 39 weeks pregnant and she informed me she is having her membranes stripped tomorrow. When I say “met”, I mean I handed her a picnic bag she had packed and we exchanged “how far along are you”s. Then she told me about the imminent stripping.

I am not squeamish or proper about these things; rather, it just struck me as funny. Hi! I don’t know your name! But good luck with those membranes! Welp… See ya later!

3. A few Mondays ago I woke up early, as is my custom, to clean our bathrooms. My husband and I have come to an understanding that he should either a) get out of the house and go running during this time or b) get out of bed and busy himself with some sort of general cleaning task. Staying in bed is not a great option, though I should be a grown-up and just be okay with the fact that we don’t all have to suffer at the same time. Just because I think grumpy thoughts over the toilet bowl at 6:30 a.m. doesn’t mean everyone should, right?

Anyway.

Long story short is that he informed me that he will be in charge of bathrooms from here on out because I am in my third trimester, for crying out loud. He has tackled them by himself and then, also, floated the idea hiring someone to come clean every few weeks. For bathrooms, floors, baseboards- whatever. Well, twist my arm andOKAYLET’SDOIT!

This is a long way of saying that we have someone coming to clean tomorrow and I realize that I should probably do some pre-cleaning cleaning. Right? Clear surfaces? Put laundry away? I don’t know what else. Tips appreciated.