Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grrr! Hospital called to say they may not have bed space to induce labor tomorrow. It only has 300 deliveries a year! We'll see in am.

Douthat for the Day

On Saturday, the girls and I went to Douthat State Park. My friend, Kristen, and her boyfriend were coming to camp, so we hung out with them for the day. A part of me really wanted to be camping, but my good reason kicked in and I remembered that I was 9 months pregnant - sleeping on an air mattress and having to walk a distance to the bathroom every hour in the middle of the night, probably not the best idea.

It was gorgeous outside and the girls had so much fun. While we waited for them to arrive, I was able to snag them one of the campsites close to the lake. The girls had so much fun just playing in the dirt and throwing rocks in the water to see who could make the biggest splash. I love going to Douthat because it is so peaceful and relaxing.

After we ate some lunch, we headed to the beach area to swim. I didn't get to take any pictures because I was a little preoccupied making sure both my girls were safe, since Chuck didn't come with us. Lucy has NO FEAR and just wanted to do whatever she saw other kids doing. It is funny how their personalities show through during different situations. Leland was very cautious and didn't want to go too deep. Lucy on the other hand would just keep walking out farther and farther with the water up to her shoulders and I would finally have to make her turn around.

Kristen was helpful in trying to get Leland to feel more confident in the water. We did take their life jackets off and try to get them to float on their backs. Maybe, next summer I'll do swim lessons.

I couldn't get that close to Chuck's favorite restaurant and not get him some food, so I took a little detour and surprised Chuck with take out from San Juan's. Even though we missed him at our favorite place to go as a family, I am very proud of how hard he is working on finding a job and preparing for the bar.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Updates on Gates baby via Twitter

If you are interested in getting the most up-to-date information when the baby comes, please sign up for our new Gates Family account on Twitter.

I realize that the majority of you are thinking, "I keep hearing about this Twitter thing. What is it exactly?" Let me explain.

Twitter allows an account holder to post "status updates" to announcing to the world what they are doing at that moment (up to 140 characters). Other people sign up to “follow” this person's "tweets" so that they can read them as they come in. You can receive them to your RSS feed reader (i.e. Google Reader), but the most popular is to receive them directly to your cell phone as a text message (hence the 140 character limit).

It is a good tool for notifying your group of friends about stuff. As an example, suppose Chandler Bing wants to tell all of his Friends castmates that he is heading down to Central Perk for coffee so that they know to come join him. Instead of calling them all or texting them individually, he can send a single text to twitter and they all get the message.

Now, you are probably thinking, "Big deal - why is everybody so gaga about it?" To be honest, it is also the geeky cool thing to be doing. I’m not totally convinced of its value for most people, but there are some valuable applications in the marketing and political realms, so I thought I should have an account.

More to the point, Twitter’s functionality is great for when the baby comes and I want to send a text message to all of my friends and family announcing what is going on. Instead of texting tons of individuals, I can text my status to Twitter and everybody who is signed up to “follow” me gets the message.

If you want to sign up, this video explains how to get started at Twitter.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Name Game & Patience

This past week, all Chuck and I have been trying to figure out is what we would name a baby girl. Our boy name (Edward William) has been picked out since I was pregnant with Leland and is just waiting to be used. We really like using family names. Both of our girls' first and middle names can be found in our lists of ancestors. I would like to continue in that tradition. It's been hard choosing a favorite though.

Chuck has the idea that since this baby will be born close to July 4th, then the name should be patriotic. I'm not so keen on that idea. Here are some of his ideas:
  • Liberty Belle
  • Glory
  • Star
  • Amber (as in waves of grain)
  • Justice
  • Reagan
Here are some of our other actual ideas:
  • Charlotte
  • Virginia
  • Carolina
  • Brigetta
  • Annalee
  • Isabelle
Chuck thinks that since we can't decide on a girl's name, then it's a sign it is going to be a boy. We went to the hospital expecting Lucy with a few names in mind. The first time I held her and started talking to her, I called her Lucy. So, we will just wait to decide at a similar moment.

Yesterday, my aunt came to our house for the day. I was able to run a lot of errands and just wandered around Wal-Mart for a while. It's amazing how quickly you can get things done with out lugging 2 kids around with you. Chuck and I also were able to go out to dinner. It was really nice and the girls had so much fun with her.

I'm trying to be patient for this last week of pregnancy. I think most pregnant women are just done and ready to have the baby by the end. I keep reminding myself that a baby is a whole lot easier to take care of inside my belly. I am pretty uncomfortable, but it's not unbearable. I am choosing to be induced on July 1st. When you have older kids to make arrangements for, scheduling something is extremely convenient. Part of me would like to wait for the possibility of a July 4th baby, but I'm not that patient.

[Chuck's addition: In the comments, people asked about naming the baby Lexington, which we strongly considered along with Alexis or Alexandra and calling her Lexi. We both love it, but we never set out to have all L names and we don't really want to establish that trend. But it is not completely off the table.]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Smith Mountain Lake

Last week we were able to have a mini-family reunion with my family for 3 days at Smith Mountain Lake. My sister Christine and her husband Todd were coming to his family's lake house for the latter part of the week. We were able to stay in the cabin a few days before they arrived and we had so much fun together. My sisters Christine and Suzanne with their families, my aunt Barbara, and my mom all came. All 8 cousins were there and they all got along great.

The ulterior motive was me training Todd and Suzanne my job responsibilities. We worked for few hours each day and played for a lot more.

The cousins had a great time swimming in the lake, playing in the sand, and just running around crazy. The house was huge and had plenty of room for all of us. The adults were even able to play a few games. We had our own little beach area and dock to play on.

The only good picture of one of the kids going down the slide into the lake was of my niece Emily and it's a great one! She surprised us all by wanting to go down the slide, she is usually a little more timid. Her mom wasn't even around at first, she just walked right up and got in line behind her cousins and down she went. We were all so proud of her.

Noah was a little streaker. He is potty training and would just pee anywhere while outside. It was so hilarious. One of the joys of having boys, I guess.

Chuck was able to do some fishing. He even fished early one morning in the rain. He only caught one 10in catfish that he released, but still enjoyed himself. Lucy was able to have her first fishing experience. She absolutely loved it. She caught on pretty quick and would just have us cast over and over so she could reel in the line. I was surprised how long she sat out their fishing.

The second night we were able to take a quick boat ride to dinner.

We were so glad Nana made it here just in time for the boat ride and dinner.
While waiting for our dinner Lucy and Noah broke out their dance moves.

This is oddly similar to a video from 2 years ago of their older sibs Leland and Nick seen here during a dinner out with cousins. Lucy and Leland even sport the same dance move.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What to do?

After 7 years with my job at Professional Image and probably 14 years of always 2 jobs or a job plus full time school, I now only have ONE JOB - a MOM! I can't believe it! Today, was my first day of not having responsibilities to fulfill with Professional Image. For my last 4 years with the company, I have worked from home part-time. The timing worked out great for both me and PI for me to no longer work. The last two days were partly spent training my sister and brother-in-law who will be taking over my job. (Yes, it takes 2 people to replace me :-)

I have to admit I have been a little teary at times about my job ending, but I am about to have 3 kids for goodness sake. I have also had some recent moments of breakdown because of my work responsibilities. That has increased my husband's support of me not working anymore. I have kept thinking, what am I going to do with this free time I now have? Well...

Today, I finally finished a baby quilt that I have been working on. It's my first quilt that I've ever done and it is just okay. Definitely beginner's work. I just used a bunch of scrap fabric that was red or blue. It has floral and stripes. I would consider it pretty gender neutral, but more boyish I guess. I also took some old plain white burp clothes and spruced them up with ribbon and fabric. Last night, I was also able to organize a lot of our baby stuff and made room for a spot in the corner of our bedroom for the baby to sleep. I found the 2 outfits for me to take to the hospital. These are the same 2 outfits I took when Lucy was born.

Just 2 weeks to find out boy or girl. I'm planning on being induced July 1st. I'm already 3cm, but I was like that with both my girls through the last few weeks of pregnancy and still went to just a few days before my due date.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Chuck

I wanted to write a special birthday message to my wonderful husband. This adorable little boy has grown into such a wonderful husband and father. I love watching him interact with our daughters. He has so much patience and love for them. They are so excited when they see him no matter if it's in the morning right when we wake up or when he comes home in the evening.

I am so proud of all he has accomplished. Getting a law degree is impressive in it's own right, but also doing it with a wife and 2 kids has not been an easy feat. I'm so grateful for how well he is able to balance all of his responsibilities. He is such a hard worker and willing to serve others.

I am truly lucky to be married to this man. He helps me be a better wife, mother, and person. I love his desire to do what is right and his trust in our Heavenly Father. I love his desire to learn and his ability to teach me and our children all that he has learned.

I love how much fun we have together, even just while relaxing at home. I'm excited to share many more years and adventures together.

I love you sweetie, Happy Birthday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gates Wildlife Preserve

This little baby deer hung out at our house for a weekend. One Saturday morning the girls were jumping up and down and screaming by the back door. This tiny baby deer about the size of small-medium sized dog was strolling through our backyard with his mother. By the time I grabbed my camera they were headed up the trail behind our house.

Sunday morning we noticed the baby deer curled up under the fence that runs next to our house on our neighbor's property. It was about a foot from the curb of the street. As I walked closer, I thought he would jump up and run off but he didn't. He was breathing, but would not move from his curled up position. We were concerned that he was hurt and/or abandoned by his mother that I had seen him with the day before. The mother was no where in sight. We decided to head to church and would call animal services if he was still there when we returned.

He was in the same exact spot a few hours later, so we called Animal Control. They suggested we call the Wildlife Center of Virginia to see if there is anything we should do. While Chuck was on the phone, Leland and I went outside to take a picture. While we were out there we noticed 2 adult deer in our neighbors yard across the street from the baby deer. One was sitting down with her head and ears perked staring straight at us. The other was in the brush just next to her.

Turns out this was nature in progress. According to the Wildlife Center, and as described on their baby deer website, "[f]rom birth the fawns are left alone while their mothers go off to feed. The mothers will stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators to their location. They will return at dusk and dawn to move and/or feed their young." Sure enough, the fawn was gone the next day.

We also have a family of ground hogs living in an old tree stump in our backyard, only about 15 yards from the house. The first year here, we only saw one really big and fat one, but the next year, we saw two regular sized groundhogs. This year there is at least one regular adult and two babies. It may be 2 adults and 2 babies. We never seem to be able to get any good pictures of them. Last week the 2 babies were wrestling and playing in the grass right outside our door.

The girls love watching all the other creatures in our backyard. We have a variety of squirrels, bunnies, and birds (red robins, blue jays, orioles, and others). You would think we live out in the country and not in the town like we do. I think because we have such a narrow backyard it forces the animals to be really close to our back door.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucy

I'm taking a break from Disney World posts to record our normal life a little, so I don't get behind.

Our little Lucy is 2 years old! I still can't believe how quickly these last 2 years have flown by. This little girl has so much personality and is a very determined child. Lucy loves her big sister so much and loves to do whatever Leland is doing. She is into princesses now, especially after getting to meet most of them at Disney World. She knows all of their names and knows which songs belong to which princess. She also loves Peter Pan, which is helping her speak with a British accent (Pee- tah!).

Her favorite foods are yogurt and beans. The girl can also down a bag of jalapeno Cheetos with her Daddy. Leland and I won't touch them. She is a great eater, but sometimes needs a little encouragement to get her started. She'll ask for Choo-Choo! so that Chuck will pretend her spoon of food is a train going in her mouth. She thinks it's so silly.

She has a great sense of humor. She loves to wear hats, sunglasses, headbands, or anything on her head. She still loves her binky, but we try to keep it to only in the bed. She loves to read books and I will find a stack of books in her bed with her in the morning that she will have gotten and thrown in there.

Her favorite songs are "You can Fly" from Peter Pan, "Bibidi Bobidi Bo" from Cinderella, the Star Spangled Banner, and Tura Lura that her Daddy sings to her.
When she is mad she usually just throws her self on the ground in quiet protest (sometimes it's a screaming fit). She will sit and look at you out the corner of her eye all sly trying not to let on that she is trying to look at you. Usually I will just walk away from her and she will eventually get up, but she once did this in the Wal-Mart parking lot. She sat down right in the middle of the cars pathway. Luckily, Chuck was with us so he could pick her up out of harms way (she's getting quite heavy for me to pick up).

We recently took one side off her crib and put on a bed rail, so she could get in and out herself. She's done really well with it. Once, I found her asleep on the floor next to her bed. The funniest part of it was that we had a harder time keeping Leland out of Lucy's bed at bedtime. She would say that she just wanted to cuddle her sister. Lucy now has her own toddler bed. We took down the crib altogether and she has done very well.

I decided to pull out the potty seat for Lucy even though I am no where close to having the desire to potty train her. She is just so interested in helping eveyone going potty - getting the toilet paper for you and flushing for you. So, the first time she sat on it, she stayed for about 20 minutes (never actually went). She refused to get off because I would try to put her diaper back on her. She got books and a game and just settled in. She sat a few other times over the next few days. Another time, she sat on it, stood up and peed next to it. I think this startled her a little and she hasn't sat on the potty since.

On her actual birthday, we made some blueberry muffins for breakfast to put candles in. She was thrilled that we sang Happy Birthday to her and kept saying "Again! Again!" I think we lit candles and sang to her about 5 times. She loved it so much. We had some friends over for dinner and cupcakes. They got her an awesome bubble making gun. It claimed 10,000 bubbles a minute and it did not disappoint. The kids were thrilled.

2 year old stats
36 inches tall - 90th% percentile
31 lbs - 93rd% percentile

I've been thinking that Lucy was a lot bigger than Leland was at her age, purely based on what clothes I remember Leland wearing around 2 years old when Lucy was born. Lucy doesn't fit many of those clothes. Well today I looked through Leland's stats and she was Lucy's 2 year old size at 3 years old!

one day old -- one year old