Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not a friend in the world

If I were forced to change schools as a kid, I'm not sure how I would have survived. I was painfully shy, self-conscious and unsure of myself. Eager to fit in, I desperately wanted kids to like me. Switching schools would have devastated me.

So, I get how Julie is feeling right now. School started a few weeks ago here in Georgia and she's doing OK. But, she is not exactly feeling comfortable. She tells me every day how much she misses her friends in Chicago and her old school. At recess she plays with "Nobody," so she says. "I just walk around and throw a ball to myself."

I'm not sure I could envision a more heartbreaking scene.

I've encouraged her to ask the other kids to play or join in one of their games. Her only reply is "I don't want new friends. Why do I need new friends? I already have friends back home."

This all is definitely worrisome and sad, but Julie's story is a familiar one. When we moved to Chicago from Pennsylvania, she also insisted she would never make new friends because she only wanted her old friends. Of course it didn't take long before Julie made several best friends in the neighborhood---those same friends she writes to and FaceTimes every week.

While Julie might think her plight is hopeless right now, I know she's a strong girl who will find her way. She's much more resilient and confident than I was as a kid and I know she'll be just fine.

(Johnny, on the other hand, was completely fine from day one. He has found a best friend, a girlfriend and a teacher he loves. I'll save his story for a different blog.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

This old Mom needs to Relax

It was a steamy August morning. The air was thick and the sun was scorching. But I was ready to run the 5K around the adorable little vineyard north of Baltimore.

Did I mention I was 8 1/2 months pregnant?

I was 27, fitter than I had ever been, and I was determined to remain active through the entire pregnancy (my first of course). I worked full time until the day I gave birth, got up at 5 a.m. every morning to run 4 miles, swim and lift weights. And I filled the weekends with fun activities with friends and family.

But, the 5K that humid August morning changed my perspective a bit. Scott, who had never before ran a race, insisted on running along with me because he was so worried. Three miles was nothing to me, but the heat was unbearable. People were passing out and getting sick along the route, and a couple runners were taken away on stretchers because of heat exhaustion. About halfway through that race, I got scared. I had started walking. Sweat was pouring down my protruding belly. And I felt the exhaustion.

I made it to the finish line, but I definitely learned a lesson that day---I wasn't invincible and I didn't need to prove it.

Fast-forward almost 9 years. I'm 36 now and pregnant with my third baby.
I pretty much popped out by week 10. I'm tired, emotional and I don't feel a bit bad about eating ice cream every night.

And, I'm taking it easy. I was kind of forced to. A couple weeks ago, during the "big" ultrasound, the doctors determined I have placenta previa. If you Google it, you'll probably find some terrifying stories, like the one about Tori Spelling almost bleeding to death, or about women who go on bed rest or deliver months early because of this condition where the placenta is covering the cervix. The risk of bleeding is pretty high, and a C-section is almost certain.

I've never had issues with my pregnancies, so this came as a shock. I'm not going to lie. I'm scared, but I'm also not trying to over-react. I may be 6 years older than when I delivered Johnny, but I'm still healthy and I take care of myself. I'm just going to follow advice and not push it.

Of course, it's not always easy to stay off your feet, when you have two kids and a very energetic dog who needs exercise. I think the key is to just listen to my body and to learn to relax (something that doesn't come easily for me.)

Delivering a healthy baby is much more important than checking off a to-do list or trying in vain to stay fit and trim.

It's my last baby so I'll prop up my feet, read a few good books and enjoy my ice cream.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy 85th Birthday to a wonderful woman

I'm not sure I've known a more sweet and gentle lady than Scott's grandma, Thelma Hubbell. She raised six children (one of them Scott's mom), and rarely spoke an angry word. She's patient, kind, loving and opens her heart to everyone.

I met Thelma about 13 years ago, when Scott first took me to visit his family in California. She greeted me with a warm hug and a plate full of rice and beans. Somehow she seemed to already know everything about me.  Before long, I found myself calling her Grandma. (Both of my grandmothers had passed away and I almost instantly felt like she was another grandma to me.)

Grandma Thelma celebrated her 85th birthday last weekend with a big family party in Cambria, California. Her six children, and almost all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren came along. Wearing a sparkly little tiara, Grandma was the center of attention---which isn't usually where you'll find her. Her three sons Frank, Gil and Bob (along with a couple friends) reunited their high school band "Frankie and the Rebels" and jammed to some 50s tunes. Grandma Thelma danced with her grandsons, and grandkids sang songs and told jokes. We all cried and laughed watching family videos and shared countless memories of Thelma as a mom, grandma, mother-in-law, and great grandma.

One of Scott's aunts put it best when she told Thelma: "You are the glue that holds this family together."

Scott's mom, Janice, with his Grandma, Thelma

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First day (mom) jitters

A new school year. A new school. My youngest going into kindergarten.
What was there not to worry about on the first day?

I couldn't help but be nervous. Would we get to school on time? Would they make friends? Would the kids know where to get off the bus? Would Johnny remember to wipe? How would I cope for seven hours without any kids?

Monday was the first day of school here in Alpharetta, Georgia, and my mind was racing. I wanted that first day to be perfect.

Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Adorable first-day-of-school outfits. Sweet notes from mom in their lunch bags. And big hugs goodbye.

Julie and Johnny practically skipped into the massive school of almost 1,000 kids. They were more than excited...not seeming one bit nervous (despite their mom's anxiety.) At one point Julie even had to assure me "Mommy, it's going to be OK." (How were they not freaking out like me??)

The day, however was not without a few hiccups. Julie had a minor meltdown trying to put away her huge bags of school supplies. And the school inadvertently assigned the kids the wrong bus number. So, I frantically spent half the day on the phone with the transportation department trying to remedy the situation.

Despite the snafus, the kids hopped off the bus full of smiles and stories.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


"Well, I thought you were putting on some weight"---That was my mom's retort when I told her I was pregnant. A month prior she and my dad were visiting, and apparently she thought I was getting hefty--though she kept that comment to herself until I told her I was pregnant. Oddly enough, I was only a week or two pregnant when they were visiting--not really at the point where you start showing.

Despite my mom's not-so-tactful comments, she was right. I had put on a few pounds recently, which seemed to make me look pregnant very early on in the pregnancy. Add to that the fact that this is my third child, and I look like "it's about to come out", according to Julie.

Yes. I'm 19 weeks and I have definitely popped, which is entirely fine with me. I'd much rather be obviously pregnant than chubby/pregnant.

This is the phase I love. Where people ask when I'm due and whether it's a boy or a girl. My absolute favorite question has to be "Is this your first?" It makes me feel young. When I reply that it's my third, I usually get an "Are you crazy" look followed by "Wow.  Congrats."

If I happen to be with both kids and our dog, then the response from strangers is usually--"You've got your hands full."

It makes me laugh. I used to be one of those moms---just in awe of anyone who had more than two children. Especially when we only had Julie---I would marvel at  moms who juggled multiple kids. How could they possibly do that?

Well, I admit I don't have all the answers yet to life with three kids. I'm 36 with two kids and I'm no dummy. I've been there before. I know it won't be easy and life will be exhausting and challenging.
But, we'll all be OK, and before we know it, life will little kids will be over.

Right now, I'm just going to enjoy my big ole' baby bump.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Onto the next phase

 I saw my little sister Kelly in a wedding dress.
Considering she's 31 years old, the sight shouldn't seem terribly abnormal or shocking.

But, she's my little sister---five years younger. Because of our age difference, we've always been at different stages in our lives. When I was partying in college, she was in high school. When she was in college, I was getting married and having my first baby. As she has flourished in her career and enjoyed single life, I have been devoting my days to kids and family life.

Kelly and I at the engagement party

Though we are close, it has always seemed like we are light years away, in terms of our lives.

Now she's getting married.

Last week Kelly found the dress. We were visiting Maryland for her engagement party and Kelly, Julie, my mom and I spent the day dress shopping. At the very last shop Kelly tried on a dress and we all new it was the one. It fit perfectly. Her eyes lit up and she seemed to just sparkle.

It's time for the next phase.

Kelly and her fiancé Rob at their engagement party