After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

lost boy and various leakage…

 

Talking about special moments, hubby and I have started our exercise regime again (they don’t call it “working” out for nothing).
Let me tell you, it is brutal. I’m so incredible sore after doing next to nothing and it’s just so disappointing!
On top of that I seem to have completely lost my abs. They are far gone, and I worked so hard to gain them back after our princess was born. I was actually in pretty good shape after becoming pregnant with number three…
Now he is sitting there in sister’s pink baby bouncer, happy as can be with his toothless grins, while we work out, so it is impossible not to think it’s worth it (a million times over of course).
If he would only sleep more at night as to not turn mommy into a day time zombie (read; for example only shaving one leg in the shower…twice in a row…and yes, unfortunately it WAS the same leg).

I’m worried about driving my kids around in this state of acute sleep deprivation but oldest has his adventure camp! That is going okay so far but I know it’s early yet and since it’s his first week, he is still charming everyone with his big brown eyes, blond (nearly white) hair, crooked smile and smooth talking (yep, he can charm his way out of everything – until you catch on). This is totally his honeymoon phase! (Camp leaders are still smiling…I’m not about to warn them but my insides are screaming “you just wait…” While on the outside I’m also smiling, thanking them for their compliments about my son…soaking it all in-while I can!)

Today after picking him up from camp (after an early morning of getting three kids ready and a couple of hours of just having two kids-both refusing to nap with me) I have the brilliant idea of taking us all grocery shopping! (Well we are out of numerous essential, you know such as diapers and…Apple juice…my kids are “Apple juice-oholics” shush don’t tell the perfect “no juice mommies” not even the organic, “only sugar from fruit” kinds).

As I pull up to camp, both kids are sleeping (of course they are). The older one crying hysterically when I lift her out of the car brutally waking her. She is naturally refusing to walk claiming her “legs don’t work” but I need to get her little brother. As I carry her around the car, I try to explain this to her, hmm, yeah to a two-year old! I was on time, even slightly early but now I’m getting late (of course I am).

I run, half way dragging my “terrible two-er” while bouncing my little guy in the baby carrier, out of breath towards my son’s group leader. How weird, why isn’t she smiling today?
“Yes, okay, I understand, we will totally tell him about this at home and about the seriousness of staying with the group, not running away and to listen to the group leaders, yes, yes, of course, yes!”
Well, okay, hm!
As I walk, a little less bouncy back with my little loves another mom start sniffing around me announcing that somebody sure is smelly (sigh), while another mom chimes in “smelly belly” (big sigh), “someone has made a poo poo” (huge…)
Okay, I guiltily start smelling my two youngest kiddos. It’s the littlest one and I have to agree it does smell nasty (for only eating breastmilk this guy sure both poops and smells a lot).

I trek over to the restroom, only finding the men’s (oh well, while at camp!)
Of course there is no changing table and the floor is well, really dirty. I can’t go back out there with mr. Smelly pants, otherwise I would have changed him in my car (but not ready for that particular “walk of shame” at the moment).

I put my poor baby Bjorn carrier down on the bathroom floor after having wiped it off (the floor not the carrier-that WAS clean) with a wet paper towel (this is not easy mind you with three little ones in tow, infant boy hanging haphazardly while I mop the ground (not nearly good enough). Then I put the sheer dinosaur swaddle blanket on top of the carrier and finally the baby (who is not happy about this development).

Its not only a stinky one but a leaky one as well (great!) and it ends up being impossible not getting it all over the blanket…
I ask my older son if he needs to go potty, you know while we are here and sniff my daughters diaper too- but no, all good there!

Changing this diaper would go much faster if the toddler isn’t screaming in my ear while hitting her brother-who yells for me to hurry up because there are people waiting (really…) and that I really shouldn’t be in here because this is after all the MEN’S restroom (reeeaaallly)- the only thing appeasing my daughter is “to fix my hair” violently while I’m down on all fours-at a dirty men’s bathroom at a kid’s camp cleaning up poop…
Well you get it, right?

Almost all the way back to the car my oldest announces; I have to go poop!
Very pleased with himself…

We go all the way back, now finding the Women’s restroom a little closer but of course he won’t go there-oh no!
Then we wait for what seems like a really long time. How I manage to keep the little ones entertained beats me-all I know is littlest boy gets some milk and girly gets extremely muddy at the same time. I start thinking about whether I have an extra towel in the car I can put her on..and how bad she will look at the store (read dirty and neglected).

All the way back at the car, guess who smells awful?

Checking her, something brown is seeping thru her pants…and it’s NOT the mud…

The car now smells terrible because I refused to trek back to that restroom again (or any other restroom).

At the store they are all getting on my last nerve. Typically sweet and easy going baby boy has had enough, now loudly announcing that he hates the baby carrier…grocery shopping (apparently) and life in general with desperate wails and heartbreaking sobs in between, only to gain enough energy for more wails! The older kids do not want to be in the cart but drive it! – need I say more??
Such good helpers!!!

I leave my oldest son with the cart to go down the aisle to grab some rice (the good basmati kind…you know not laced with arsenic), holding my girl’s hand and trying to bounce and ignore my miserable baby at the same time.

While picking the rice I hear a store employer’s concerned voice “I’m so sorry your mom left you, we will do anything to help you find her, don’t worry my poor, sweet little man”. I have time to feel sorry for the mom, the kid probably was being a brat and ran away from her or something and this store employer is laying it on thick guilting that poor mom.

As I turn around I see that it IS my son chatting with the store worker, tears running down his face and all…

I raise my voice (scaring my two other kids)
“But I’m right here, I told you to watch the cart so I could go and get rice…
I’m in the SAME aisle”….

My face red-hot, I grab my son, mumble thanks to the confused women trying to help him, leaving the cart.

As I get my bearings, retrieving the cart, because you know we NEED those things, my breasts start to leak, spraying milk right through my dress (and it is not black), dripping down the front while I’m trying to juggle three kids AND pay for our groceries!

Lumber jacks,being outnumbered and best comment after pushing a human being out of your body..

imageimageSirens are wailing and I don’t know if I should start panicking or what? I’m pretty drowsy after you know a “little bit of childbirth” (besides, I’m starving) and the nurse looks around at the big guy who is maneuvering the enormous bed towards the elevator. He is actually laughing asking her “what, are you new here?”‘ I don’t get it? What in the world is he smirking about? What kind of alarm is that?

The nurse looks so ashamed as she quickly types something on a stationary computer near the delivery wing’s exit doors at the same time as she hurriedly whispers something in her walkie talkie phone. We back up, me and my brand new son get wheeled backwards through the exit door again in the giant bed. I don’t get it until I overhear her apologizing about it. Each newborn gets an alarm around their ankle (their very own ankle bracelet…not very fashionable by the way). My nurse has totally forgotten to disarm the “low jack” (not the lumber jack which I later call it, creating some confusion with my husband.)

We have a long night ahead. Baby is unusually “aware” for just being born, already refusing to sleep alone and crying a lot…
I couldn’t have made it without the nicest nurse (opposite from the old nag who I get the next day-trying to tell a mother of three -that’s right!-what to do with her baby)
This one lets me go to bathroom (because I really have to go and my catheter is out) even though my epidural hasn’t worn off completely yet (I swear I can feel everything-this is a piece of cake…) She half carries me to the toilet even if I insist I can walk. Then she lets me sit there for an hour (honestly) because the thought of my acid urine coming anywhere close too…well you get the point…terrifies me! She even gives my tiny boy a bath while I sit there squirting warm water with a plastic water bottle in my neather regions to make me pee “comfortably”.

The next day the two siblings can’t quite contain their excitement as they come tumbling into the hospital room. Their daddy tries and mostly fails to keep an eye on them as they both want to hold THEIR baby NOW! Big sister keeps screaming MINE. Grandma is there to help me keep them from pushing buttons, not sitting on me (ouch) or grabbing their quite defenseless little brother from his plastic see through crib (he won’t have it easy with these two as siblings).

We take tons of pictures (I look pretty darn awful in most-if not all of them) and the proud big brother (“mama, I tooold you it was a boy in there”) and the curly haired big sister with the huge innocent blue eyes (let me tell you:not so innocent that one) get plenty of cuddle time with our new addition!
When the newness wear off, it’s back to stealing my hospital food (I finally got some!), pushing buttons, trying to sit on me (not my lap!!!!) and the very funny curtains by the door (let’s see how fast we can open a shut them by running like maniacs!).
It’s about that time-goodbye time (now if they could only bring the baby too so mommy could get some sleep! Ha ha:kidding!!, sort off…eh…)
As they leave (and I hate to admit I’m relieved to get another night of alone time and care to recover some more- but I realize that it’s also good to have time to allow myself to get excited about starting life as a family of five- mommy being very outnumbered- TOMORROW!!!)
My big boy exclaims “eh, mama, if the baby is out, how come you are still FAT?
Best comment after pushing a human being out of your body-EVER!!

I forgot how much you bleed and how much having stitches hurt, how little you can do (lifting stroller out of car, carrying car seat, lifting toddler-sitting on a chair: all definite no nos) and how big the freaking pads have to be in your sexy see through mesh hospital “underpants”. The celebrity that recently said “I had no idea you have to leave the hospital in diapers just like your baby” (or something like that) was spot on – didn’t mean to be funny there-because none of this is fun really except of course the “getting to take home a real human baby as a price for your efforts” so that’s pretty worth it and you need to see it that way, and remember that, otherwise it’s easy to get extremely emotional (you will anyways-totally unavoidable btw) and a little swept away by the total messiness that is blood and mucus and clots (“as long as they are smaller than golf balls-trust us, you are completely fine- totally normal!”) and regurgitated sour milk and blow out yellow seedy poop and you know cracked, bleeding and sore nipples, leaking boobs (that if brushed against something like any piece of clothing for example will make you suicidal… As well as homicidal should someone come near you) and the fact that you cannot pee without crying…

I’m not sure I would have survived without my own mommy! She literally does everything and more!
She cooks and cleans and organizes and decorates and washes and soothes and wipes and …well you get it. She takes care of our house, and our dog and our kids AND me!

Baby boy is now already 4 weeks old, it’s insane- these weeks have flown by. The more kids you have, the faster they grow I guess because a month seems like days. So far he is a pretty easy going little guy, sweet and good natured (not at all like the other two) he has however inherited his siblings’ intensity and lack of patience, if he wants something, he wants it RIGHT AWAY! (That “something” is usually food!! Meaning ME)…
I know that the “honeymoon phase” with baby has also worn off,  and not sleeping at night is getting old (really old, I’m too old for this dang it)! It’s not as charming to be feeding this little (very lovable during the day) creature every single hour during the night and watch him sleep like a good little boy during the day (sometimes for hours at the time). My littlest one sure turns from human baby…to something else entirely during the night (I won’t get into how frustrated I can get but don’t worry he still gets plenty of attention, kisses and yes MILK-seriosly: don’t you worry) but somehow I manage to still keep him close and full-despite the three hour cry attacks at 2:14 am where nothing helps (not even food-gasp!)

At the end of mom’s stay I’m squeezing in a haircut (beyond necessary) and a much needed girls’ brunch! I’m so grateful to my mom I can’t describe it with words and now she is leaving in a week…however will I handle my life…?

 

 

Triple dose of hell…

Thursday night I feel exactly like I felt before my son was born, dizzy, nauseous and achy. My stomach is upset and I feel like I’m coming down with a stomach flu. I’m up all night, throwing up and feeling particularly clammy and sweaty and quite miserable. This is it I think, this most be it!!

No other signs follow however, no mucus plug or bloody show (gross I know, sorry), no big gushes of water or contractions. Since I know I have another doctors’ appointment in the morning to check both fluid and do the stress test I make it through the night. I know that they will take good care of me at the appointment and will take every precaution if something is truly “happening”.

By the time of the appointment I feel shaky and am having what can best be described as bad menstrual cramps. They check my water first and the ultrasound technician is asking again if I’m feeling like I’m leaking?
Next up is the stress test where my contractions start coming about ten minutes apart. The nurse eventually count six in twenty minutes and has to call the doctor, scared that it is the real deal.

My doctor comes to see me from her office on the first floor. She hasn’t been wanting to do an internal exam since the beginning of my pregnancy because of several reasons. I am strep B positive which can transfer to the baby, she doesn’t want the water to completely rupture or start labor in any way. Judging by my contractions however she says that she suspect the labor process might have already begun, so she carefully checks my dilation and cervix. I am at 3 cm!

Well, the doctor announces that I probably won’t make it through the weekend. The nurse rushes to get all my paperwork in order should I need to check into the hospital before Monday and my doc reminds me when to go in; big gush of rest of/whole bag of water breaking, bleeding or feeling sick dizzy etc. Oh, I know the drill by now!

Since I’m only 36 weeks and this baby is still not considered “term”, the doctor tells me to go have another progesterone shot. If we are lucky the shot will prolong labor or stall it for another week at least. She does suggest the steroids for the baby’s lungs as well as magnesium if the contractions pick up.  She adds that if the fluid goes ANY lower this baby will be forced to vacate following my appointment next week, while the nurse whispers “you’ll never make it that far” and my doc agrees, “it’s a miracle that baby is even inside you still!”

I go downstairs for the shot and the contractions start getting uncomfortable in the elevator. I really hope this doesn’t keep getting worse or I will have no other choice than checking myself into triage.

As I reach floor one’s doctors office they want to monitor the baby again while also checking my blood pressure, pulse and vitals. Luckily the numbers have all come down to just a “slightly elevated level”.

The registered nurse taking care of me decides that since I have more progesterone left and it is usually recommended to take these shots until at least week 37, sometimes 38, she will give me what is left in hopes that this will stop the labor process right away and carry us through to full term. At this point I agree since I don’t want another premature baby and I just want us both to be okay!

I get my triple shot and as I lay on my side sipping water, I start to feel better.

It is only on the car ride home that I have time to think; well if one single dose of the shot would win us another week, what would this much do? Will I go past due instead of delivering early? Will the shot not only stop labor but also all the symptoms with it? I certainly hope so!
It is important to know that progesterone is the pure female pregnancy hormone and getting a shot of this very thick, potent “liquid” will trick your body into thinking it is pregnant- even if your pregnancy would have ended otherwise (if you hadn’t taken the shot).this is kind of the whole idea…

It works all right, the injections! If I was “iffy” before that is no longer the case. The goal you see is to PROLONG your pregnancy. The longer, the better. To fool your body with the very hormone essential for and in pregnancy. Except I am still pregnant in week 36 and I almost made the goal, won the race, made it until term when I get this “over dose” of the pregnancy hormone directly into my butt muscle, straight into my system! Yes, my contractions subside, yes things slow down…but this is the start of a very prolonged, drawn out, miserable week of labor trying to start and my body’s natural signals trying to compete with this outside intervention of the triple dose injection…

I come home to two (incredibly cute, blond) siblings fighting. They are usually the best of friends…until they are NOT! The little one adores her big brother to no end but also annoys him until he snaps and he can get quite rough with her. As I tell their father to separate them (the only cure at this point), I also add “we might have a third one before the weekend is over!!!”

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Home for the Holidays

Hello, let me introduce myself; I’m …HUGE!

So we are back from our Christmas vacation in Sweden. Let’s just say that it was beyond nice to catch a break from reality and just be in the moment for a while. The moment of family, changed priorities and holiday spirit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always difficult traveling with little kids and the days away weren’t completely free from drama BUT the added grown ups to help and the amazing service of home cooked meals, laundered clothes and set plans were so welcomed and such a huge help I didn’t even want to fly back!

Even the one bedroom (my all pink, “old romance” style girl bedroom) felt like a relief from our house with different bedrooms, beds, bedtimes and major bedtime drama. On this holiday we pretty much went to bed and woke up at the same time- together. There is something said for bed sharing even if you get little feet in your face constantly and have to suffer through major jet lag as well as stuffed noses and lack of nighttime sleep (you see I’d pick that morning sleep over night anytime).

My parents had skillfully crafted fun plans outside the house (per my request not to have my rather wild kiddos destroy my parent’s beautifully and meticulously decorated house, and mine as well as everyone else’s sanity) and let me say they did great (both my parents AND my kids).

At our Glögg (there is that word again…remember the spiced, hot and sweet traditional wine!?) mingle with extended family, uncles and aunts and cousins etc, people actually were surprised how (get this) WELL behaved our kids were (making a lier out of me…boy, shouldn’t I just be satisfied!??)

We enjoyed a Christmas food buffet aka “a real Christmas Table” complete with the traditional glögg (mulled wine), Swedish meatballs (commonly just known as “meatballs”), all kinds of herring, “Jansson’s temptation” (basically potato gratin with anchovies), cheesecake (nothing like the American counter part) with cream and jam and of course ham, cheeses, homemade hard bread, eggs with mayo and shrimp and all kinds of chocolaty desserts!

We also went out in the middle of the pitch black woods (next time we’ll make sure to bring some flashlights) in our search of the real St Nicolas. It was the day before Christmas Eve (which is the day we celebrate Christmas in Sweden) cold, dark and crisp and impossible to even see the person walking in front of you. On our way to find Santa my darling husband thought my dad was joking as he told us he had no idea where we were going. Except it was the truth and all part of the mysterious adventure. There wasn’t any signs anywhere and we were truly in the middle of nowhere. We joked that if this would have been where we live there would have been giant neon signs, stroller ramps, (or why not elevators), huge parking lots, fees for everything, souvenirs for sale as well as restrooms (or toilets, let’s call them what they are shall we!?) around every corner!
But this was truly worth every fumbling and stumbling in the darkness due to the excitement of the collective mission to find Santa. The chilled air held anticipation and our 4 year old’s excitement was palpable when we trekked through the deep woods, slipping on ice patches, roots and rocks only accompanied by the wind and the trees (oh and all the other people on the same mission). Our 20 months old wasn’t as upbeat (being carried as not to fall…and not by mommy) until she discovered the cozy cabins, the elves workshops, Santa’s sleigh and all the pretty candles that is!
we found HIM!!!

The old man “playing” Santa Claus (I mean Santa himself) is after all doing this year after year out of the goodness of his heart, only getting paid in candles!
This is one adventure I wouldn’t mind making a permanent family holiday tradition!

Christmas Eve came and went without a hitch with our very own Santa, baby acting as his very own elf, handing everyone their gifts (after the initial fright…well he did have to loose his beard…and tummy) and little boy extremely joyful about all the gifts and attention. Even the “dreaded” wolf dog (seriously), the one my brother lovingly “tricked” my parents to take care of (gave them a task during retirement after all) …behaved (he did have to go stay in the car for awhile…the wrapping paper and Christmas goodies were way too tempting). Everyone was cheerful and the warmth radiated through the house. I mean with three generations of opinions and wishes, two rowdy kids and two even rowdier dogs it’s not the easiest task. But we succeeded brilliantly!

Christmas Day was spent with extended family out in the true “country” where our son got to dig with a real tractor and operate a real crane- oh the joy. Just hanging with all the other boys (you can see how mama wasn’t part of that equation) while the girls did “girl things” inside was probably enough to keep him happy! Little girl was happily playing Barbies and “my little ponies” with my second cousin’s daughter and the adults got to talk and laugh about old times!

Other well -thought out activities included (to my husband’s excitement) an ice hockey game, shopping (actually for his work clothes), a Bamse (swedish cartoon) exhibit and the traditional family turkey dinner of course!.

Just like he got to go to the hockey game with the boys, sonny got to accompany his mom and grandma to the theatre. Even if the first act of Peter Pan was rather “expressive and theatrical” aka terrifying, the second act more than made up for it (as did the front row seats and all the candy). Overall a great evening as the snow slowly started falling outside!

Talking about snow, the kids were beside themselves as they had been waiting since we had landed. My son even had a presentation about all the snow he would play in in Sweden at preschool the day we left. Global warming didn’t help our case and neither did us begging the weather Gods but finally, finally the white fluffy stuff was here and the heavens were cooperating. There was enough for snowballs and half a snowman and tons of fun for kids and dogs alike!

We ended our perfect holiday in my homeland in our beautiful capital of Stockholm. The deep white snow was the backdrop for more adventures of the downtown “zoo” of Swedish animals, (only complaints from the two American “men” were the freezing degrees, despite borrowed Down jackets and last minutes purchased gloves… and a quick trip to the doctor with baby girl’s ears), museums, restaurants, cafes and movie night in my brother’s apartment. Him and his wife had orchestrated some great plans to round up our trip and as we left in the middle of the night in the cold, we did so with a smile!

Two years ago I was pregnant (about the same gestation) with my little girl and home for the Christmas holiday as well (my family joking that I’m always pregnant at Christmas!) and flying back to the chaos that is our reality is now bittersweet. We might move, there might be something wrong going on with this pregnancy and last time it felt like I hadn’t been back long after Christmas before being admitted to the hospital with preterm labor. I worry about the special ultrasound happening Monday, about packing up the house and all our other plans up in the air…

Let’s just say this, I’m happy and grateful about this holiday break from reality and look forward to someday introducing my country and all its traditions to my third baby!

 

One of those weeks…

It’s been one of those weeks- you know the ones that push you closer and closer towards the metaphorical cliff of a complete mommy meltdown (psychotic break more like it). Full of blow out diapers AND toddler as well as preschool tantrums. Forgotten lunches and late mornings. Fighting siblings (“head butted” and bit lil battlers) and cancelled play dates. Runny noses and coughing kids, escaping dogs and extreme lack of sleep (for moi- what else is new?- I do try to make sure my kids get THEIR sleep). More shots as well as bad news at the doctors’ – which is really what is the worst about this week- about everything…

Our son keeps getting into trouble at school because of the elaborate “fart noises”, four teacher meetings, three different teachers just this week. We thought he was over the hilarity of the sound- until we figured out that he was copying the Gringe, who apparently was sticking his butt out making that very sound in the Christmas play we took him to (so much for culture, right!?).

And oh yes, almost forgot (not quite) I dropped my kid off at preschool without shoes- barefoot! It was 52 degrees (that is believe it or not actually VERY cold here…being from Sweden I cringe slightly at this) and drizzling (of course it was).
You would not believe the judgy eyes penetrating me as I walk him into the classroom. Well does anyone care that one of those blowout diapers happened at the same time as a preschooler’s tantrum, a forgotten lunch box (remembered at the last minute) AND being late (er than normal)…? No, probably not. So it happened and I do feel like I deserve that bad mommy award more than ever BUT I DID tell him to put shoes on- repeatedly- I swear AND I went right back home to get them (even IF my toddler slept both ways in the car forgoing her nap-and my sanity…).

Of course that very same morning I put my new cellphone (the one sent to me by the insurance company because my daughter very lovingly threw my old one on the tiled bathroom floor TWICE) on the hood of the car, in the midst of the leaky (through her clothes AND mine) diaper, the four year old tantrum, the forgotten lunch AND being late and drove off with it. Aha! Yes, sure did…

I’m way too embarrassed to disclose anything else…except my very last insurance claim allowed for the next TWO years sounded like…”cellular telephone thrown out of a fast moving vehicle”.

My son didn’t get to go to the playground that morning because his very very bad mommy had forgotten his shoes (even though said son is fully capable of putting his own shoes on- and does so every morning…excuse me, every morning EXCEPT this one), looking forlorn sitting inside on a chair waiting for me.

By the end of the school week he explains he is in so much trouble his “face” (meaning a picture of his face) is not only NOT on the board in the classroom, on its way of making it up on the “super kid” chart, but not even in the running anymore. He is actually upset about it and I’m hoping the inappropriate noises will go away (Gringe noises or not). As I pick him up on Friday there is another incident report saying another kid scratched and pinched him (it’s a scratch pinch mama!) because (get this) he wouldn’t stop his…DINOSAUR noises!!

My pregnancy is progressing and the baby looks so much like a baby even on that black and white screen now! I just wish with all my heart and soul that someone could tell me for sure that everything is okay with our baby. Hello (can you hear me?) I’m already half way there…still meaning I have to suffer the worry of another twenty weeks give or take (if this baby decides to be full term) if there is something…not right (I refuse to say- or think WRONG) with this baby kicking around inside my belly. Because if there IS something wrong it will be of the unavoidable, unfixable, permanent kind…

Honestly this week has been dragging along with the dull background pain of “not knowing”. The fog of uncertainty is getting to me more than anything. All I can do though is believe…and pray and hope…and stay strong and positive. This is another layer I didn’t want this time around (who does?) but somehow I thought this pregnancy would be the easy one, like third is the charm or something…
Going into it with the preconcisting conditions of preeclampsia and premature rupture of membranes as well as strep B and reoccurring UTIs I knew it wasn’t going to be easy per say (but not that I would have all the complications of BOTH previous pregnancies present in this one) but at least I thought the problems and fears would be related to these issues…

BUT the odds are certainly in our favor and the risks extremely low (just not as low as we would have thought/imagined/expected/wanted/wished).

I round this week up with a disastrous Christmas party,getting locked out of my own bedroom by two very short little troublemakers and the unmistaken sound of sirens as I “run” a YELLOW light…

Sisterly Love and Adulthood

Last week we made (the long overdue) trip to see my little sister (in my eyes she is still 15…or more like 5…but she is not anymore..). So much has happened in her life lately and is seems like I’m missing so much. Actually we are missing so much in each other’s lives and I can’t help feeling sad about it. I mean I know that is what happens and that its natural and even a normal, healthy progression of life but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We were once so close and I now treasure those years that we both took for granted, looking back we seemed to have it all but of course we were then too young and dumb to realize that. We grew up close but with 4 and a half years between us, she was always so much younger. In our twenties however the gap wasn’t so big and we started enjoying the same things.

The moment my sister decided to extend her summer trip in the sun visiting me to actually starting school here and moving in with me was one of my luckiest! We had years of fun, bonding time that neither one of us will ever forget. Sure it was the heartaches and the lack of money and the exams and some hardcore studying (partying) and numerous disappointments but overall it was our years in paradise. Basically no responsibilities, we were in our prime, pretty, blonde, smart, tanned, carefree and overall happy. Our biggest problems included “when will that cute guy call?” “where should we go out tonight?” “how to ace the next test”, “what movie should we watch?” “this dress or that one?” and “what to eat for dinner?”

It’s not like we just fluttered around supported and without ambition and goals, we were both in school full time and we both worked having rent and bills and “hobbies” to pay for (with tremendous help from our parents of course). How lucky were we to have each other? Sisters who didn’t only love each other because we were family, but honestly best friends! We seriously were almost always on the same page and got along better than anyone could or would have expected. We made new friends, bought and sold cars, saved up for special shopping trips, spent holidays in a foreign country away from the rest of our family, lived on little, cooked for each other and helped each other out with everything from school work to nannying to being the “designated driver”.

I went from completing my Masters program to starting my journey towards becoming a doctor of psychology while my sister worked on completing her bachelor degree in business by both working at the school and nannying. I went from nannying to internships to actually small but legit psychology jobs. We shared everything from food to jobs to laughs and most importantly friendship (and in some cases boys… kidding…sort of…).

Now we have been a part for well over five years first surviving her moving back to Sweden for a while and then to a completely different state- very far away while I met my man (had to stay for this one…) here and put down roots-becoming an American myself and everything!

My sister has been here of course but when you work and is a horse and dog mommy (read that right: my sister is not a horse…) you have REAL responsibilities you all of a sudden can’t ignore, it gets more difficult to leave your life for constant trips back and forth. When you get married, get a house, a dog and kid(s) – forget about it. We haven’t missed the huge stuff like her moving into a new house, my firstborn’s homecoming, my bed rest as well as random celebrations of Christmas and birthdays but it’s not the same as seeing each other and being there for each other every single day!

I get sad when I know I’m about to miss some crucial milestones in her life (me being older I know I pretty much have the big ones out of the way!) I was devastated that it took us a year to introduce my sister to my baby daughter… but I know that is life. As an adult you have to work and be responsible and you can’t just drop everything at the drop of a hat. I appreciate my adult life, I really do(wouldn’t change it for the world) and as a big sister, I’m immensely proud of hers!

I’ve always felt some responsibility in being the older sister and before I had kids (and even now I must admit) I worry about my little sister a lot, and I think about her and I naturally only want what is best for her! I can’t believe she made herself into the strong, ambitious and beautiful woman that she is today. Quite the careers lady with a horse and a dog to take care of, a house and a huge white truck!

She had planned an amazing stay for us in one of  the coziest and most charming little village part of her big city, where she now lives. With boat and bus tours for the kids downtown, amazing restaurants, yummy ice cream and treats and endless entertainment. We really, truly had a wonderful time (even the kids “semi” behaved. Me and my husband joked that a couple of days are plenty and very much enough with our kids- maybe you will even still like them at the end of the stay!).
The constant diaper changes (and blow-outs), car seats and strollers, wants and needs, potty breaks (and potty humor), picky eating, toys and tantrums wear you down after a while (but it’s good practice guys!)

Asking my little sister if she was ready for babies (and don’t you just love mine!!? – as they were running like crazy at a rather fancy restaurant) she looked at me with a (very) hesitant look, taking her time to answer…
– well maybe, I think….it’s different when you have your own!

DSC_0337 DSC_0344 DSC_0349 DSC_0354 DSC_0363 DSC_0367 DSC_0376 DSC_0579 DSC_0582 DSC_0439 DSC_0447 DSC_0454 DSC_0473 DSC_0479 DSC_0487 DSC_0494 DSC_0530

17828_616520025044029_1987315922_n 40676_145473168815386_8094037_n 62811_154047311291305_6082571_n 301962_10150297008121916_1687738944_n 303848_10150769197320355_431873_n  1014325_10151751582342640_823027889_n 1234028_702483743114323_2047908670_n 10984032_10153109495987640_8597160373674388068_n
I just hope I can be there for her now as she embarks on the journey of “real” adulthood and all the huge and great milestones that lay ahead!

Love you Sis!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 442 other followers

Follow drmamma on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: