party, party, party

This weekend was a big party weekend. Gwen's co-birthday party with her classmate Colin (who shares her birthday) was Saturday, and another classmate had a bowling party on Sunday.

Gwen's cake

Colin's cake

Besides the parties, Saturday night we got a good amount of snow. But Sunday was so warm (in the 40s), so perfect for heading outside to play.

Gwen and Daisy were quite excited.

And it was great for getting out some of that energy!

This week is our first full week back since before Valentine's Day (and my first week back since before Christmas!). I'm also back to yoga tonight, which I'm excited for, but a little nervous about too! I'm going to be hurting tomorrow. Wish me luck!


return to "normal"

Yesterday was my first day back at work. I was so distracted with Gwen's birthday, and her being sick,* that I hardly thought about my return until the night before. I did decide on my clothes a week or so prior, but otherwise, nothing.

Then Tuesday night it hit me. "I go to work, TOMORROW!" Talk about an eye popping moment.

Thankfully the return itself was fine. We had talked out a new morning routine, which gives everyone a more relaxed time getting ready, and it worked perfectly, getting us all out the door early. That didn't stop my train from being late (or so full that I had to stand the whole ride in, in brand new boots, ouch), and it didn't stop Gwen from getting sick again, but the work day itself went well.

Last night it was still surreal that I would be repeating the whole process today, and then again and again and again indefinitely! Its amazing how quickly we get used to certain things, or get "un-used" to them.

I'm sure by next week this will be old hat again, and it will be surreal that I ever wasn't here. For now though, I am spending my days figuring out what happened in my absence and reacquainting myself with my documents and spreadsheets.

*After recovering on Friday and Saturday from her stomach troubles that developed on Thursday, she felt well on Sunday and Monday (her actual birthday). Monday the two of us went out to breakfast, then walked around a pet store looking at the animals, then to Chuck'E'Cheese (her choice), then home to watch a movie. Trav came home early, picking up Chinese food on the way (again, her choice for dinner!), after which she opened her birthday gift from us and we played with it for a bit before bed. Unfortunately (which she had off for a snow day), she started coming down with a cold, and Wednesday it hit her HARD. We got a call from daycare in the morning, and Trav picked her up and worked from home the rest of the day. His arrival found her sitting miserably holding tissues against her nose and feeling feverish.  :-(  My poor girl. He took today off and is home with her again. Hopefully she will be recovered enough to head back to school tomorrow, and *fingers crossed* be well enough to safely and happily enjoy her birthday party Saturday.


birthday interview: 5 years old

You can find the preview years here

Me: “Hey Gwenie, how old are you now?”

Gwen: Five.

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen: Dominic and Jordan and Mason.

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: Color.

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen: Blue.

Me: “Do you have a favorite food?”

Gwen: French fries and popcorn chicken and junk! My favorite junk is lollipops.

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with mommy and daddy?”

Gwen: Go out to eat. And play in the playground. And even go to the swimming pool.

Me: “What is your favorite toy?”

Gwen: Ninja turtles, but I don't have those.

Me: What's your favorite that you do have?

Gwen: The troll guys.

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen: I want to be a mommy.

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen: Spending time with you, playing, and watching movies.

Me: “That makes me happy too! And what is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen: When Dominic and Romie are mean to me.

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen: No.

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen: Jake and the Neverland Pirate!

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen: The Harry Potter one that tells us all about the creatures [the Creature Vault].

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen: Animals, and what they do and stuff.

Me: “What are you excited about for your birthday party next week?”

Gwen:  Getting legos! And I'm trying to plan for everyone to have glowsticks!

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen: Wendy's! [the restaurant, oh boy...] And the buffet where I get to pick all my own food, and they had watermelon.

Me: “What are you teachers names?”

Gwen:  Miss Steph, Mr. Brendon, Miss Katie, Miss Danielle, Miss Makayla, Miss Georgie 

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen:  Cotton-candy lollipops.

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen: Black labs! That's Daisy, our dog.

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen: No.

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen: Everything except dresses.

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen: Playing Ninja Turtles with Mommy!

Me: “Sounds like fun!”


5 years old.

Dear Gwenivere,
Today you are 5 years old. That seems so big to me. This is the year you will start school, real official school. Where has my baby, toddler, preschooler gone?!

4.5 - Taken by Gruncle Wray

What a year this past one has been for you. All the normal growing and changing for sure, but even bigger then that, this year was the year of Surrogacy. I cannot even begin to tell you how proud of you I am. I'm always proud, but in the past month and a half since the baby was born, you have really blown me away. You accepted the idea of this baby that I was growing for someone else right from the first, but I still was unsure of what it would be like when he actually arrived. Any worries I had were put to rest immediately. You handled me gently, wanted to take care of me, and showed a genuine interest in the family. Overnight our normal routine was gone, replaced by a Mama who was slower and a little tender, who slept in the mornings instead of getting up with you. You took it all in stride. (I do have to give your Daddy a ton of credit for talking you through it all.)

This year you've really turned a corner, and you are just so much more mature than you have ever been before. I'm amazed. Though it's not all sunshine all the time - you discovered your sassiness this year for sure, which is ahead of its time. In someways, you seem to be 5 going on 15. But that intelligence, that wit, all the things that make you so trying at times, also makes you so amazing at other points. It's fascinating to me how much you grasp. You're so on top of things and you pick up on everything. You don't always want to do what we ask you to do but it's amazing how readily you understand.

Even when you are frustrating, I love being with you. I miss you on the nights that I go to yoga; I don't get to see you at all before you're in bed asleep. But I will call you on the phone, or Daddy will let you call me, and then I get to have the most amazing conversations with you. You tell me all about your day and at the end when it's time to go you blow me kisses and tell me over and over how much you love me, and that I should have sweet dreams and you'll see me in the morning. I always end up with the biggest smile on my face after these phone calls. I love to hear you tell me how much you love me and how you hope I have good sleep. It means so much to me that you say it without prompting, and that you mean it so sincerely.

You offer genuine apologies for things, as well now, hours after they happen; and show a real understanding of why you are apologizing. At the end of the day though, when you ask me to carry you up the stairs to bed, and you wrap your arms around my neck snuggling into me, well there are no need for apologies. I know I won't be able to carry you like that forever, but I'm so glad I can now.

Gwen, I could write for pages and pages about who you are in this moment - your love for superheros, your desire to be a good helper, how stubborn and strong-willed you can be. Instead I'll just say this: for every frustrating moment, there are twice as many amazing ones. Ones that give me glimpses of the strong, compassionate person you are growing into. I'm so proud to be your Mama, every single day. I hope you always know how proud you make me, just by being you.



rumbly tummies

My poor girl who has only thrown up twice in her life previously, threw up twice in 4 hours yesterday. So today was a sick day home with Mama. I never want my girl to feel bad, and it cuts me up to not be able to just fix it, but a day of snuggles and movies wasn't the worst. Especially since everything stayed down today, and despite not feeling 100%, she felt better. It was nice not having to stress about a sick day too. No taking off of work, no trying to sneak in work, just being with my girl. I'll soak this up while I can before its back to work on Wednesday.

Thankfully it's the weekend now and she can have two more days to feel back to perfect before her birthday Monday. She'll be home with me then too, though I have some fun things planned... breakfast at the Pop Shop, bouncing at the local bounce place, and then a dinner of her choosing. Should be a great day (fingers crossed/knock on wood!). 

In the meantime, here's hoping for good sleep tonight for everyone and better bellies tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!


Transformative weekend

I'm in my last full week of leave, and I'm torn between wanting to get just a little more done, and wanting to suck up every last second of not having to do anything. 

This past weekend was full and ... transformative. Friday I headed up to Bethlehem for a tattoo appt, making a stop to exchange snow pants for Trav. The tattoo took almost 4 hours, my longest single sitting to date. 

I'm so in love with it! 

I got home just in time to put Gwen to bed. She loves it too. 😊

Saturday morning Gwen and Trav went to do the monthly kids project at Home Depot, and I headed to the viewing for a friend's grandfather. After that Trav went to work, while Gwen and I headed up to my parents' place, and I got my hair done. 

We hung out there until early evening then headed home. 

Sunday we went to look at 3 houses, but no luck. They were all pretty crappy. We headed home for a late lunch, then a lady came by to pick up my pumped milk (turns out the preemie bank required a minimum of 300 oz which I didn't have since I stopped pumping). I had about 160 oz frozen for her. We have so much room in the freezer now! The rest of the day was low-key, movie watching and snuggling. 

This week? Well, I'm finishing a book (the Goldfinch), and have a massage scheduled for Friday. But at this very moment... SVU marathon!  ;-)


february - the best and the worst

Its been cold lately, and snowy/rainy. Today its supposed to rain all morning, and be generally dreary. That is the best and worst thing about being home during the winter - all those days I would normally say, "I wish I could be home reading a book and drinking tea, curled up under a blanket with Daisy," - well that's exactly where I am! But it also makes it very hard to get out of the house even, or especially, for a walk around the block. At least Wednesday is supposed to be in the 40s and dry, so hopefully I can get out at least once this week.

Other random things that are also "good" and "bad":
I'm down to pumping once a day, in the mornings, and am almost done with that. I plan to try to drop that pump in the next day or so, only pumping enough to make myself comfortable if needed. It will be nice not to have to worry about pumping anymore, but it will be weird too. There are no more pregnancy planned over here, which means no more breastfeeding/pumping either. Of the last 5 years, since Gwen's been born, I've now spent 3 years and 4 months of that either nursing or pumping or a combo of both. There was something very empowering about the whole "my body can feed people!" thing, and it is a little saddening to think that I am going to be completely done with that.

At least, while it lasted I got to help feed multiple babies! Gwen exclusively, Baby Boy about 1/2 his needs for the first 2 weeks, I donated 100 oz to a mama when I was pumping for Gwen, and now I have somewhere around 150 oz frozen, which is going to go to a preemie milk bank to help preemie babies! So that is a pretty awesome feeling.

The pumping also helped me. Physically nursing/pumping releases hormones that help your body recover from pregnancy, labor, and delivery; and it also burns extra calories (about 500 calories a day for someone feeding a baby exclusively). I've lost most of the baby weight and my belly has shrunk down nicely.

That said, and let me preface this with a big I know my body needs time, but its much more noticeable when you aren't caring for a newborn just how weak your muscles get after the shredding they go through in labor, and the subsequent disuse during the rest period. I feel strong for what my body did during pregnancy and delivery, but my body feels very weak right now, and that is not a feeling I enjoy. Two more weeks until I'm cleared for real workouts, and can return to yoga. In the meantime, I've started working in some gentle stretching to at least start waking up, warming up, and loosening up my arms and legs.

For now though... I'm going to have a nice curl up with a book and dog session!