Friday, September 28, 2007


Did you know that we are in the middle of another Jewish holiday right now? It is called Sukkot. As Jewish people we eat our meals and sometimes even sleep outside in "booths" called a Sukkah. It commemorates a time long ago when there was so much work to do at harvest time, the farmers would actually live in the fields in booths until the work was done. It also commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, when the Hebrews lived in fragile booths and didn't have real homes.

The boys were so excited to see the walls and roof of the Sukkah up. They were even more excited when I told them that they were old enough to decorate the Sukkah themselves. It is traditional to hang fruits/vegetables from the ceiling. We use plastic fruits/veggies from Michael's Crafts. And we like to also hang twinkly lights. It is very pretty out there eating our meals under the lights.

Here is a picture of my crew in the middle of decorating. I took the pic through the kitchen window.

Newest belly pic, 31.5 weeks

Here is my belly. The top of the fundus has been in contact with my ribcage for over a week now, and the reflux is fairly constant. But this is pregnancy stuff. Same as when I was in my 20s.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Devan's potty training summary ;-)

Anything for you, Devan. :-D

New potty training update first. HE USED THE BIG POTTY AND IS SO PROUD HE KEEPS DOING IT!!!!! This may not sound like a big deal, but it really helps with my feng shui, so to speak. Now when DH or I want to take him out with us, we don't have to drag a full potty, although it is convenient to leave it in the minivan on the floor between the seats, but all we really need to bring is the potty seat insert. So picture us at any restaurant or store and we hear the dreaded words, "I have to go potty" 80 I know I even have a folding potty seat insert stored in some box somewhere. Ah well, I'll probably locate that after he doesn't need it anymore.

Potty Training Synopsis (for boys--girls tend to potty train themselves)

1. Encourage the little one to sit on the potty and try to tinkle. Find a time, such as when you are drawing his bath, that it will be almost irresistible. There is something about the sound of the rushing bath water that makes boys want to tinkle into the bath. So sit him on the potty instead and see if he goes. Keep trying this off and on before bed or 1 hour after drinking juice. He needs to have some control over letting the pee pee out before he will be ready for the intensive program. The last thing you want to do is to set up a power struggle with the boy. He will win. That that will be a bad thing. He can't realize how important this is to you. Try to keep your voice light-hearted and do nice high-fives when he is able to make it work.

2. When he seems to have some control, usually starting about 2 3/4 years, you will need to pick a time where you have 2 or so days with little scheduled. Plan to stay home and spend a lot of time chasing your little one and watching him like a hawk. On that day, place the potty in the family room where all the playing/TV watching and family action takes place. Take off his diaper in the morning and place him in only a T-shirt. He may complain and ask for a diaper. Think of some excuse. "The diapers are tired, they need a rest" worked over here. Then start on your morning routine, eating breakfast, and suggest sitting on the potty about every 30 minutes or so. He will eventually dribble a little in there. The moment that happens, make a big celebration and get him a sticker. He can put it on his shirt or on the inner potty lid. Every half hour or so keep suggesting sitting on the potty. Depending on how much he has been drinking, he will probably not potty every time. But each time he does, another celebration and another sticker. The stickers work well to enlist his enthusiasm. That is essential.

3. Next step is to see if he will potty without your prompting. Keep an eye on him and if you see him peeing on the floor (you may want to place comforters over the couch because he might forget when he is sitting and relaxing) pick him up and race him over to the potty. Hopefully, though, he has pottied enough that he will take himself over there and use it, even if you are off typing on the computer or fixing dinner. This is a very big step. Another celebration and sticker, of course. Your question will be, what about poo poo messes on the floor? This is rarely a problem. Of the youngest 3 boys I have potty trained, there was 1 poo poo mess, and that was diarrhea. I don't think he could help it. And the stain eventually came out of the carpet with numerous passes with the Bissel steamer. Mostly they wake up poopy in their diaper, so you don't need to deal with it. And who knows. You may discover a poop in the potty one of these days. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Then move the potty into the bathroom. Be sure to show him where it is and bring him to it a few times.

4. After a week or 2 without pants (diapers only for nap and sleep time), try some loose pants. Maybe pajama bottoms or absorbent sweat suit pants. No underwear. The underwear, even cloth training pants, will make his mind think "diaper", and he will wet. He will have accidents in the loose pants, too, so have a bunch of them available. The cloying wet feel of wet sweat pants is unpleasant. He will probably take off the pants himself and you will find them around the house. Eventually he will have fewer and fewer accidents.

5. At that time, you will want to place him in regular big-boy underwear. This is harder to pull up and down as there are 2 layers of clothes. But I know that some preschools will insist that they wear underwear and pants. You may want to suggest that he potty at times, to keep him in the habit of having dry pants. So have him pull them down and maybe help him pull them up until he gets the hang of it. He may have more accidents, but don't lose heart. You have gotten this far. Each accident is a learning experience. Bring lots of back-up clothes when you are out. Bring the potty with if you have a big enough car. Every time you place a diaper/pull up on him during the day, you are *un-training* him. Resist.

6. Make sure you do not teach him how to pee in the standing position right away. He may find this fun, but it will make it much longer before he learns how to make poo poo in the potty. So have him pee in the seated position, pointing himself downward so the spray doesn't come forward onto his clothes. The next step is using the large water toilet. A potty seat insert and a step stool help a lot. That way they aren't teetering on the edge. Encourage him to use the big potty, but allow him the choice of potties.

7. Eventually he will learn how to use the big potty without the stool and insert. You may want to help him learn to balance this way. That will make leaving the house even easier. And you can introduce peeing in the standing position, but only if he has mastered making poo poos in the potty. Otherwise wait a month or 2. There is no hurry.

I hope this helps. GL and remember that every kid will potty train eventually. :-D

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Making progress

I feel like my life is revolving around the countdown for baby. 9 more weeks and counting. The potty training is going well. We have made it to level 4. He is wearing Fruit of the Looms under his pants now. He is still afraid of the big potty, but I just located the padded toilet seat insert from the garage that he can use to sit on the big potty. Hopefully he will find it cute and want to try it out. I'm pretty relaxed about the whole thing. We went to the park today, and I brought the potty in the car. I was pretty sure he would have an accident during play, though, which he did. He was wearing corduroy pants which were very absorbent. His socks didn't even get wet. He looked so shocked and walked bow-legged all the way to the car. I think it might have been a "learning experience". :-)

I also went through all the older boy clothes and divided them by sizes and donated a bunch of stuff that was not to my liking. For example, all the "camp" t-shirts that nobody wants to wear anymore. And the wide-waisted pants that never fit anybody until the legs were too short. None of my boys were husky like that. I had to look for the clothes because I knew there was a bunch of size 5 stuff that DS needed, and if I didn't dig it out, he was basically out of clothes. I found the mother lode, and now he has tons of pants, shirts and sleep wear. Yay!

The sock drawer was out of control, too. Does anybody want a bunch of cheap, never-used socks that cut off the child's circulation around the ankle? Me neither! :-D I tossed those.

I also found the boxes of baby clothes. I will have to go through them another day. I'll have somebody move them upstairs so I can do it slowly, then launder them. I know there are about 4 preemie-sized outfits that work on newborn babies. I like them in those for the first week or 2, otherwise they are swimming in the 0-3 months size.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The nurses rolled their eyes...

...when I told them that the ffn test had been performed about 4 hours after DTD. They later told me that the ffn tests for protein, and that semen or blood *will* cause a false positive. Not maybe. Will. I didn't know. I had heard rumors on the internet, of course, and mentioned it to the doc office in the afternoon, not the morning, but I guess doc was CYAing.

So there were a couple of good contrax and a few very small ones. More of an irritable uterus. And the little guy had a nice heart rate that responded well to his kicking and the contrax. She said his tracing looked "beautiful". Another good thing was that I got to go scope out the parking situation. I haven't been down there for my official hospital tour yet, and I didn't want to have to walk a mile to L&D in full labor. They have these nice parking spots in front of the ER that are for maternity drop-off. I'm still a little perturbed to have to be going to a new hospital this time. The hospital I had delivered my 2 youngest boys at closed their maternity ward last year!!!! It was a 10 minute drive to that hospital. And so now I have to drive 35 minutes. Which may not seem like a lot, but in full labor, every block and bump while driving is agony. And my labors go so fast. I better get into the car a little earlier than I did for the last one. 6cm when I got into the car and 7cm when they checked me at the hospital. A longer drive would *definitely* have affected things.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Off to labor and delivery

It's not as dramatic as it sounds, lol. I tend to get preterm-ish bh contrax with every pregnancy, and never delivered before 9 days before the due date. I had been getting more this past week and complained to the doc about it at my checkup this am. I told him that they were coming sometimes every 3 minutes in the evening about every 3 days. Which is really typical for me. He did an ffn test to be safe, and told me my cervix palpated as long and closed. I just heard from the doc office that the ffn was positive and I need to report to l&d to get on the monitor. I asked if BD 4 hours before the test might cause a false positive. They said even if it is a false pos, I need to be monitored. I'm not too bothered, because I really have been worrying about the little guy. I'm a worrier, and the little one has been having a lot of hiccups, which I also told the doctor about. He assured me the hiccups were fine. So now I'm waiting 45 minutes for dh to get home from work. No way I'm dragging 3 boys to l&d, ages 8, 4 and 2. I'll bring my crocheting and a reading book and maybe get some shut-eye. ;-)

Ooops. There was a mild contraction. Maybe I shouldn't have vacuumed my car out just now. But I couldn't STAND the crumbs anymore. :-?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

DD is adjusting to college life

This is my daughter's first year in an apartment. She has been calling me more often now, and the former attitude is gone. I'm glad. She and I had always been close. Maybe staying here all summer just got on her nerves. Of course, now it is her roommates who are getting on her nerves. She ended up with a group of party animals, and she feels out of place. She is stubbornly refusing to stay up until dawn smoking and drinking with the rest. I told her I was proud of her for being herself, and not feeling like she needs to "be cool" like that. She goes to sleep at 10pm with ear plugs in her ears so the partying doesn't bother her. Hopefully the kids calm down when classes start next week. In the meantime, her roommates cook in her pots and pans and then "forget" to wash them. I asked her about the vacuuming situation and she said that though her room is spotless, the rest of the apartment is in "squalor" with so many fast food wrappers on the floor that there isn't room to vacuum. She can't wait to get a smaller place with more normal/mature roommates and live more up to her standards.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A belly pic and random updates

Here is my belly at 30 weeks. I barely fit into this dress, which is really a nursing dress. But with my wardrobe dwindling quickly, I need to squeeze into all the random clothes I can. Only 2 more months (or so) and I'll have a lot of my wardrobe back again. Or at least the pieces that are amenable to nursing an infant.

I'm feeling mostly good. I had a little tummy upset a couple of days ago. Not fun when the intestines are cramping and the little one is kicking right into the spot. 8O Otherwise I have not reached the completely miserable stage yet. I am able to bend over to pick up toys off the floor, but I prefer to make the boys do it as good training for them. I can still run errands, but if I overdo it I tend to get a lot of contractions afterwards. I'm not too worried about the contractions. Of course I'll run to the hospital to get checked if they come too close together, but the painless contrax prior to 38 weeks never led to anything with me in the past 5 pgs. I refer to it as my "cast iron cervix". Never birth a baby before it's time. :-D

I'm not looking forward to labor and delivery. I can handle most of it, except the the last 30 minutes. Eeeeeek! That is the point that I lose control and decide to run away. But there's no place to go. :-(

Potty training is going well finally. The youngest has graduated to level 3 potty training. Level 1 is the potty in the living room and he is undressed from the waist down. That lasted for 2 weeks. Level 2 was wearing loose pants with no underwear (underwear makes him think it is a diaper). Level 3 is wearing loose pants with no underwear and moving the potty into the bathroom. The next step will be levels 4 and 5, transitioning into underwear under his pants and then learning how to use the grownup toilet. But I really am content to take things slowly at this point. No rush. I am no longer perspiring and chasing after him. He rarely has accidents. He runs to the potty and handles things himself when he has to go. He only wears 2 diapers/pullups per day now, at nap and bedtime. And he went poo poo in the potty a couple of times last week, which is a big step for a boy his age.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy week

I have a lot to do this week.

Yesterday, I hardly had time to catch my breath. I got up early, got myself and everybody dressed, got DS to the school bus and went to work at the office. When I got home after lunch, I pulled together the snow pants, jackets, knit hats and gloves for the 8-y-o and 4-y-o for their ice skating class. They had a great time. Then home again, rushing to cook dinner, and greeting the babysitter because it was back-to-school night for the 3rd grader. Good thing I went because this is going to be a challenging year. DS will need to pass tests at school on material that we never studied at home. He will need to extrapolate from prior spelling tests to spell new words altogether.

And tonight is Rosh Hashana. I already baked the special bread, Challah. The house is smelling good. And there is a nice beef stew in the crock pot. I got some apples and honey as well. Apples dipped in honey is a traditional food for a sweet new year. I told my 4-y-o about it before naptime and he ran around the house telling his little brother "HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW YEAR!" I love the enthusiasm of children. :-D The 3rd grader is happy because he gets to have Thursday and Friday off of school.

Yesterday was September 11th. I felt bad because I had *no* time to sit and reflect. Thinking back to that day, I feel desolate. So many innocent lives lost. I remember I had just dropped the kids off at school and turned on the radio driving home to hear the DJs gasping and talking about New York. I rushed home to turn on the television. I watched the news all morning, in my apartment, while spending some time on the patio applying stain to a new toy box. I remember my anger at hearing that this was done on purpose by organized teams of Arab terrorists. In addition, an upstairs neighbor of mine sang LOUD Islamic chants for about 3 hours straight, the type you would hear at a mosque. This man had never before prayed publicly and never did it again after that. Only on THAT DAY. I could not understand the words, but on a day like September 11, 2001, it sounded an awful lot like a VICTORY DANCE! :-( I was so angry I was seeing red, so I held back from searching through the complex for who it was. I later called the FBI tip line and reported the incident.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Underwater adventures

Also, the question was asked, exactly how did I get all the kids to post like that underwater? Here's how it went.

I wanted to make sure that I took a good group shot of all 5 kids before September, so I could include it in my Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) cards. All of my kids love the water, and I thought an underwater shot of the entire crew would be unusual and fun. In June all of them came to live with me from their various locations. DD returned from college, and DS-16 from his Dad's house. One problem was that DS-8 was scheduled out for a 3-week vacation with his dad from mid July through the first week of August. Also, earlier in the summer, both of the youngest boys were unable to hold their breath underwater. They were in private swim classes, though, and that program emphasized how to hold breath underwater, among other safe-swimming strategies. So I decided that mid-August would be a good time for it, and made a mental note. I needed all 5 kids to be *home* in mid-day when the sun was at it's zenith as well, because evening shots in the pool are too dark. There was a day in mid August when both teens were off work on the same day and all the little ones were home from classes/camps. I informed them that I had heated the pool to 82 degrees and that it was time for our group picture. I went that morning to get a waterproof disposable camera, and they were sold out at the first store, so I had to go to another store, where they had one left. Then I asked the kids to please put on their "long" suits, because I would want to share the picture widely, and I didn't want to feel like I was showing their little chests/bodies around on the net or to all the relatives. I made DD wear my black swim shirt over her bikini, and she wore jogging shorts. Everybody else wore their wet suits. The hard part was that I, too, had to suit up for the water, because *somebody* had to take the shot. I had a brand new pair of goggles, too, that turned out to leak like a sieve. I didn't realized it until then, but leaky goggles are worse than no goggles at all, because they hold the water on your eyes, even after you come up for air. All the other goggles were in use by the kids, so I found an old mask of DS's and it was water-tight, although I don't like my nose plugged up. But anything for art, right? ;-) So I got them into position, DD holding the youngest and DS holding the next-youngest, and the middle one in the middle. We took about 10 dunks total. There were only 2 shots where dd was looking at the camera instead of ds, and I liked the look of that better. That really narrowed it down. Then between those 2 shots, I picked the one where the most kids were smiling. I had 30 pics printed at the drug store, and I've been mailing out 4 by 6s in cards this past week. The relatives love them. And DS-4 got an assignment from his preschool to bring in a family picture for back-to-school night, and that is what I'm sending with him. I bet *none* of the other kids have a pic like that. :-D

To Do

Someone on another site asked for pre-baby to do lists. After I posted, I thought it would be fun to share it here:

There isn't too much to do before baby, as this is my 5th boy in a row. But I do have some plans:

* finish potty training youngest DS (age 2.75)
* purchase a Moby Wrap
* purchase a Miracle Blanket
* ask oldest DS to set up the bassinet again.
* locate the newborn boy clothing, launder and place it in baskets under the changing table (still set up from prior ds).
* pack hospital suitcase including Maya wrap ring sling and Over the shoulder baby holder ring sling. I love to have slings in the hospital. The nurses can't believe that the baby is so happy and content. :-D
* type up Thanksgiving recipes/menu for my mom in case I'm not available to help out on T-day.
* call the caterer and get things set up as much as possible for the bris (Jewish circumcision get-together on baby's 8th day).
* make and freeze lasagnas/casseroles.

Friday, September 7, 2007

DD is off and away

I know it is the natural way of things. Teenagers' relationships with their parents grow in friction until they feel driven by a need to move out of the house. I don't know why I hoped to be spared this little ritual. But I swear it was tough having my dd here all summer. Most times when I would say something to her she rolled her eyes. I could site a laundry list of further transgressions, but you parents of teens probably already know the story.

So she wanted me to meet her dad today with all her stuff in the car. He wasn't available at a convenient time for me, so we set the rendezvous for Thursday evening (last night). DD said that was fine, but she figured I'd want to spend one more day with her. Ya. I really want to spend ONE MORE DAY with a sullen, moody, hermit who only emerges from their inner sanctum (bedroom) to eat all my popsicles. So I got a babysitter to come over and watch the boys because we had to remove all the seats from the van to get all her stuff loaded in.

She is moving into an apartment with 10 other kids. And is sharing her bedroom with 2 other girls (5 bedroom apartment). I wish them luck. She had a hard time here having a room to herself. I hope she learns a lot of politeness in the next few days or it's going to be interesting over there....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Still on target

My weight gain total as of this morning is 14 pounds. With 12 weeks to go, that puts me at 26 pounds weight gain total gaining a pound a week here on out. I gained 2 pounds the last 2 weeks, so things are going well. I have been enjoying some nice lunches out lately, craving and consuming french onion soup and large plates of beef ribs. Yum!