Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all: Day Trip to Brevard

Every year we try to do a corn maze/pumpkin patch trip with the kids.  This year, I found a deal for Stingy Jack's Pumpkin Patch on Groupon, and Jay approved since it was near Brevard, so we bought the tickets and planned a day trip.  It was a full day of fun for everyone!

On our way, we made a pit stop in Marion. Jay's Graphics students at MTCC do a mural in downtown Marion a few times a year, so we went by to see it in person.  This is my favorite one so far: huge pumpkins, candy corn, and a cornucopia. The kids loved it, too. Arwen had her picture made with Snoopy and Woodstock, and Wake wanted a picture rolling one of the giant pumpkins. 

After the pit stop in Marion, it was time to head on up to Brevard.  Jay had taken the kids to the toy store there a while back to buy a slot car track (don't ask) and had raved about their downtown. For once, he was right.  Our first order of business was to get lunch.  We weren't sure whether to try out Mayberry's or Rocky's Grill and Soda Shop, so we took the extra time to walk to both and check out their menus.  In the end, we chose to have lunch at Mayberry's and stop in at the Soda Shop later for ice cream because Rocky's was pretty busy.  In the end, it was the right call. At Mayberry's, you walk in, grab a menu, order at the counter, and have a seat.  O. P. Taylor's Toy Store provides toy to occupy the kids while you wait.  We all had sandwiches, and they were to-die-for!  I had a turkey and ham club, and the turkey and ham were slices straight off the Thanksgiving dinner table--no deli meat here!  Jay had a cheesesteak sandwich, and the kids had pb&j.  All of the sandwiches were served on delicious homemade bread--heck, even the peanut butter was homemade!

Our next stop was O. P. Taylor's toy store. Jay had raved about this store since his trip with the kids (I wasn't invited on that trip--he has a history of failing to invite me, or in some cases un-inviting me, on trips).  It really is a great store.  Downstairs, there's a slot car track that Jay and Wake raced on while Arwen and I played with the Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse Set.  Upstairs, Arwen found a shopping cart, which she promptly filled up. There were riding toys, stamps, stuffed animals, a marble maze, and a million other things for the kids to play with.  When we headed back downstairs, Arwen spent some time with the Thomas the train set.  In the end, Wake bought a Lego Minecraft set, and  Arwen got some maracas and a wood block. All in all, a successful trip to the toy store.

After checking out some of the other shops (including The Children's Emporium where all sales go to help abused and neglected children in Transylvania County), we were ready for some ice cream, so we headed back to Rocky's.  The counter was empty this time, so we took the opportunity to let the kids sit at a real soda counter. Even Arwen sat on a stool like a big girl! Jay, Wake, and I got the Black Mountain Brownie Sundae, and Arwen got some choc choc ice cream (and she shared my sundae, of course!).  I had NO IDEA what I was getting into when I ordered that sundae--it was huge! It was also delicious, so we all cleaned our bowls! Check out the before and after shots! lol!

After all our fun in Brevard, it was time to head to Stingy Jack's Pumpkin Patch.  We had never heard of it before finding tickets on Groupon, so we were just hoping for the best!  When we hit a gravel road that made me sorry we took the Jeep instead of the truck, I started to worry, but never fear--all was well in the end.  $5 for parking and trading our Groupon for four wristbands, and we were on our way.  (Arwen was actually free, but it was still cheaper to get the Groupon for four than pay for three regularly priced tickets).

Our first order of business was to take a look around and see what all Stingy Jack had to offer.  There was a hayride, two trails (one spooky, one not), a DJ and dance floor, a Zombie Challenge, several food vendors, a catapult launching pumpkins into the woods, a haystack maze for the kids, a shooting range (BB and paint ball), a human hamster wheel, face painting, and a marshmallow shooting range. In other words, tons to keep you occupied for a while.  Actually, Stingy Jack's doesn't open until 5:30 a lot of their attractions are designed for after dark.  Most activities are included in the ticket prices, but some are a little extra (nothing too extravagant, though).

We did the hayride (which was actually shorter than the time we spent in line--not sure it was really worth it), and Arwen and I did the maze.  Jay and Wake did the Zombie Challenge, which was an extra $2 each, but Wake seemed to enjoy it, and it wasn't too scary (you have to be 10 to enter).  Apparently, it was a series of challenges, like puzzles and obstacles, with live action zombies.  Later, Jay and Wake checked out the Spooky Trail, which Wake assured me was none too spooky, while Arwen and I watched the fire dancers.  The fire dancers were cool, but not as exciting as I'd hoped--maybe we were just too far away from them.  Their show was a bit long for my attention span, too.  Arwen's favorite part was the DJ and dance floor.  There was a dance team that performed a couple of times, but Arwen preferred to do her own dancing.  The dancing was occasionally interrupted to shoot a pumpkin in the woods.  We could see and hear the launcher, but I never once saw a pumpkin.  Jay says they should paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint and launch them at night. Speaking of pumpkins, I think it is important to note that Stingy Jack's Pumpkin Patch is a bit of a misnomer: there weren't any pumpkins to pick or purchase, really.  Just a few that you could buy for kids to decorate with stamps and markers. Not the quality you would want to bring home to carve.

Anyway, I think the highlight of the night for us all was the Twilight Trail.  At first we thought it was just a little 1/4 mile walk through the woods with Halloween lights and come columns of carved and lit pumpkins (see above).  We were wrong.  After crossing the road (they have people to direct traffic), we entered the actual trail.  They had several scenes created out of carved, lit pumpkins--it was super cool! I really think that alone was worth the trip--well, that and watching Arwen dance the night away! Jay really liked how they used multiple pumpkins to create one picture--I'm interested to see how this idea translates to the kids' pumpkins this year! I also liked how the spelled words with the pumpkins--I see a "P" pumpkin in our future! Or maybe three pumpkins stacked to spell out "Boo!" Stingy Jack's pumpkins are not real pumpkins, of course (can you imagine all of those pumpkins rotting? Yuck!), but I think the concept would be the same.

Arwen would have been happy to dance the night away (see below), but we called it a night a little before 10 and were home (with both kids asleep!) by a little after 11.  Jay and I, of course, were exhausted the next day (truth be told, so were the kids!), but it was worth it.  We are thinking of going back next year, and think Jay and I might take a date trip back to Brevard some time soon to check out the waterfalls!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cute things Arwen says--so that I don't forget!

Arwen has come a long way since her first word, which, by the way, was "Mama," just like I wanted.  Ok, really, she said, "Hey," before that, but I don't count that. At all.  Anyway, now 26 months, she's whipping out full sentences and new words every day.  But there are just some things that she says that are too adorable not to share and that I want to make sure I never forget, so here we go:

1. We've gone from "Mama" to "Ommy." She just does not do that "M."  She also doesn't do the "W" in Wake, so he's "Ache" or "Achy" (Don't worry if you just got that Billy Ray Cyrus song stuck in your head right then--I did, too).

2. She calls seat belts "beat belts."  No, I am not abusing her.  She has absolutely no concept of being whipped with a belt and likely never will.  I have no idea where "beat belts"came from, but lots of things besides seat belts are "beat belts," such as belts (makes sense), buttons (doesn't make sense), and snaps (yep, also doesn't really make sense).

3. One of her latest things is "need."  Everything is "I need..." This started a few weeks ago and culminated in her screaming, "I need MawMaw!" in the middle of her dedication service.

4.  Another favorite of hers in "Help!" This started at one of Wake's awards programs. I was at work, so Jay and Arwen went by themselves.  She did pretty well at first, but then, as little ones will do, she started getting squirmy.  She was desperately trying to escape from her daddy when she suddenly screamed, "Help!" just as they were calling Wake's name for an award.  Everyone around Jay apparently started laughing, which if you know Jay, you know he just loved getting that attention. That was months ago, but she still loves "Help!"  A lot of times now, it's "Help, PawPaw!" or "Help, MawMaw!" Jay says that in Arwen-ese "Help" means "Free me from my oppressors."

5. We have been working on animals, colors, counting, and ABC's.  Arwen pretty much knows all of her farm animals and their sounds and has for months.  She's gotten quite good at her colors lately, although she has trouble with red vs. orange and pink vs. purple.  I've heard her count up to 6 and do her ABCs to "p."  She's been really into the ABC song lately, but for Arwen, it comes out "A B Keys."    She also refers to letters as "A B Keys."

6. Arwen has special names for lots of things: "neigh-neighs" or "yee haws" for horses, "Me Maow" for Mickey Mouse, "Min Maow" for Minnie Mouse, "Yo hos" for pirates (you know, "Yo ho ho"?), "EE EE OO OOs" for monkeys, and "po" for pillow.

7. One of her favorite things is Gerber Grabbers--or any of the other brands, though we call them all grabbers.  Or at least everyone but Arwen--she calls them "gabbas," as in "I need a gabba, Ommy."

8. Arwen is, of course, spoiled rotten, and she has already learned how to manipulate and get her way.  Her go-to: "Peas," aka "Please."  Who could say no to that? She also says, "Tanks" (thanks) or "Ting Goo" (Thank you).

9.  Arwen loves to sing, and just like her daddy, Arwen likes to make up songs. Some of her favorites are "The Mommy Song," "The PawPaw House Song," and "The MawMaw House Song." Mostly they consist of saying the title over and over. Also, "house" usually comes out "how," so it's really "PawPaw How" and "MawMaw How."

10.  Even at 2, Arwen gets a lot of mileage out of "okay" and "'kay."  If I ask her to do something, it's "Okay, Ommy!" If she falls, it's "'kay, Ommy!" as in, "I'm okay, Mommy."  You think this is because I we always says, "You're ok!" when she has an accident so that she doesn't have a meltdown???

11.  When Arwen was much younger (yes, I know she's only 2; you know what I mean), Jay taught her a bad habit (I know you are shocked, but it is true).  If they were playing and she took a toy, he would say, "Hey!" in this completely indignant tone of voice. Well, guess what Arwen says now anytime you have to take something from her? And, yes, she has indignant down.

12. And my very favorite of all...As badly as I wanted Arwen to say "Mama" first (which she did, remember?), I wanted equally badly to hear her say, "I love you."  Now she does, and, of course, like all things, she does it in her own Arwen way: she says, "I uv oo, koo, Ommy!" ("I love you, too, Mommy).  Well, I mean, she tells other people that she loves them, too, but I thought I would use Mommy as an example. You understand, right?)

I'm sure there a plenty that I have overlooked and plenty of new ones to come, so I may have to write a sequel in the future, so be warned! My sweet girl marches to the beat of her own drum, and I love her for it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Arwen's Birth Story: The Delivery

The one thing I said through my whole pregnancy was that I didn't want to have a c-section.  It wasn't that I wanted to be a hero and have Arwen naturally and without medication: I didn't want an epidural because I was scared of the needle and what the medication might do to Arwen. I hoped perhaps I could go without the epidural, but I was realistic in my expectations--if I needed it, I would do it.  I figured that if the pain was bad enough, I wouldn't care about the needle. The major reason that I wanted to avoid a c-section was because I wanted to be able to hold Arwen right away.  I wanted her to be able to nurse as soon as possible.  And I wanted the experience, too, I guess, since I knew that Arwen would most likely be my only biological child.

In the last weeks of my pregnancy, when I started swelling and my blood pressure started creeping up, I had to go in twice a week for monitoring.  My blood pressure never got into the danger zone, but it was always close.  Arwen, though, was always perfect! She passed every test with flying colors.  When I got to the point that I was going in once a week, I was hopeful that I would be starting to progress, that I might be dilated at least a centimeter.  Uh, no.  Every exam was the same--NO progress at all. In the end, my doctors let me go until my due date, but that was it. We were told to report to the hospital by 5 pm on Saturday, July 23, and they would start the induction process. No one, including me, thought it would go very well because I hadn't progressed at all. My doctor warned us that the induction could take up to two days. Well, that was WRONG! With the first dose of Cytotec, I was told that they would check me again in a couple of hours, and if nothing was happening, I would get another dose.  And, the nurse told us, it was likely that I would need at least one more dose. To everyone's surprise, when she came back, I was having contractions, so no more doses.

I had to be on the monitor the whole time, so no walking around, no trying different positions, no birthing ball. I could get up to go to the bathroom, but that was about it.  Jay and I caught up on True Blood (much to one nurse's dismay who came in as we had the computer paused at an inopportune moment on the show--I'm sure she thought we were serial killers!) to pass the time.  On one bathroom trip, I stood up and felt a little gush.  I told Jay I thought my water might have broken, but I wasn't sure, so he called the nurse.  By the time she got there, I was sure--about the time I got to the bed, I had that big gush like you see on tv!  At this point, the doctor started pitocin.  Of course, then the contractions got really bad really fast. I still wanted to avoid an epidural if I could, but I was already hurting so bad that I couldn't stand it, so I talked to the doctor and decided to take a dose of stadol to try to get me through a little longer. The doctor assured me that the medicine would have worn off by the time Arwen was born and there would little, if any, effect on her. The stadol allowed me to rest and relax for a while and, as a result, the next time the nurse checked me, I was at a 6.  Once the meds wore off, the pain was more than I could handle, so decided I had to have an epidural or I wasn't going to make it. I couldn't get out of bed anyway because I was on constant monitoring, so that argument was moot. We explained how terrified I was of needles and the whole idea of the epidural, and the anesthesiologist was so understanding and just amazing that I did great.  Of course, I don't even remember the whole experience now, and then, I was hurting so badly that I really didn't care.  

The next thing we knew, I was complete and ready to push. That was some time Sunday morning, maybe around 7 or so.  My whole labor process was about 12 hours total, but most of it is a total blur. While I was in the stirrups, my doctor asks, "Have we ever told you that you have a really small pelvis?  And that you may have trouble delivering?"  Um, NO, they hadn't, and mid-pushing was not the time to bring it up.  I loved my doctors (still do, in fact!), but maybe I would've handle the whole debacle better if I had know ahead of time what might happen.  I wonder, too, if maybe there was something I could have done to help, to loosen my pelvis.  I wonder a lot of things, but what's done is done.  

When Jay and I went for our Lamaze class and hospital tour, the instructor had shown us all an internal monitor that in some cases had to be screwed (yes, I said "screwed") into the baby's scalp.  It looked like some kind of medieval torture device, and I so hoped we wouldn't need it for Arwen.  I should have known. I wasn't making much progress by pushing, and the doctor was concerned that the process was putting to much pressure on Arwen, considering my small pelvis (who knew that anything on my body was small???).  So, she pulled out the medieval torture device. I tried to push a couple more times to no avail, and the doctor said that Arwen was not handling it well, so she said we had to do the c-section stat. I cried and cried. I wasn't tired, I wasn't hurting, I felt like I could do it. It was my worst nightmare come to life. Everything happened so fast that I never had time to fully digest it all. I wanted someone to show me what was happening with Arwen, to explain everything to me so that I could understand, to prove to me that the c-section was necessary, but there wasn't time. I would never risk Arwen's safety, so I didn't argue.  I was beside myself, though.  I cried uncontrollably, and poor Jay did his best to assure me everything would be ok. The fact that he had to leave me while they took me to the OR and got me prepped didn't help.  They strapped my arms down (which I HATED), but at least didn't have to cut off my rings (I was afraid they would--they were stuck on due to the swelling).  

I don't remember much about he delivery.  I remember the curtain, and seeing Jay bring Arwen to me and kissing her and talking to her.  And I remember crying pretty much non-stop.  I remember asking if she was ok, if she was healthy.  I remember Jay trying is best to calm me down.  Jay cut the cord, which was what I wanted, but he had said he didn't want to, so that was a nice surprise.  I told Arwen that I was her Mommy and that I loved her. Then they took Arwen to the nursery.  Jay went with her, so that was comforting, but again, I just really wanted to hold her and bond with her. Since I had the c-section, I was in for some additional surgery to remove a cyst from my ovary, so, of course, that meant it would be even longer before I got my hands on my baby.  Soon enough, though, I was out cold, and when I woke up, it was only a few minutes before I was able to see her and nurse her. 

I was so disappointed about the c-section, but I was so happy that Arwen was here and healthy. That's all that mattered.  For a long time, I cried every time I thought about Arwen's birth.  I felt like a failure because I couldn't deliver her naturally. I guess I still feel that way sometimes. I don't think about it as much now as I used to, but when I do, it is still upsetting.  I probably always will be, to some extent.  In some ways, I feel like I let Arwen down. But she's here, and she's healthy and beautiful and perfect, and I love her and she loves me.  That's really all that matters.  Like I said before, I wonder sometimes if there was something I could have done to change the outcome, like maybe chiropractic or yoga to stretch my pelvis.  I wonder if things would've turned out differently if I had been allowed to go into labor on my own rather than having the induction. And even though I trust my doctor, and I know she did what was best for Arwen and me, I still sometimes wonder if the c-section was really necessary.  Once I was back in my room and settled, my nurse told us that she was so happy that my doctor had ordered the c-section.  She said that she had seen babies with shoulders displaced and worse in similar situations.  I knew, logically, that she was right, but it was, is, still hard to accept.  Still, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, that it is all God's plan.  Maybe if I hadn't had the c-section and had the cyst removed, I would've had some kind of serious complications from it.  Maybe if I had tried 
to have Arwen vaginally one or both of us would've been in jeopardy.

In the end, my healthy, intelligent, beautiful little girl was born at 8:04 AM on Sunday, July 24, 2011, weighing 6 lbs, 14 ounces, and 20 inches long. She has brought such joy that I can't imagine our lives without her. She has completed our little family. She is truly a blessing every day, and we are so thankful for her. She is Mommy's baby, Daddy's little girl, and 
Bubba's best friend. Happy first birthday, Arwen Rose Perry. We love you!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Arwen's First Perry Easter Egg Hunt

Ok, all.  Here's some advice.  DO NOT try to compete with my in-law's Easter egg hunt.  You will be sorry.  Remember, this is just a family event--not like a church-wide hunt or anything.  Just the grandkids. We hid 250 eggs.  Yes, 250.  5 grandkids X 50 eggs each = 250 eggs filled with candy.  Let me tell you, hiding the eggs is a chore, and we were thankful for good weather this year so that we didn't have to hide them in the house again, but I'm confident that the real chore is stuffing 250 eggs. And my in-laws are painstakingly careful about making sure that all of the kids get equal amounts of candy, so I imagine this takes them hours to do. In addition to stuffing the eggs, they have also marked the eggs with each child's initial so that there are no mix ups or hurt feelings.  My grandchildren, if I am blessed enough to have any MANY, MANY years from now, will probably not be this lucky!! Ok, some more advice--when hiding 250 eggs, make sure that you note WHERE you hide the 250 eggs.  This may require a detailed map and some tedious marking as you hide, but if you do not follow this advice (we never do), some lucky person (in our case, PawPaw) will be finding plastic eggs full of melted chocolate in the yard for weeks to come! 

So, to properly conduct a Perry-style Easter egg hunt, first, the kids must hide in the house, preferably upstairs in the playroom where they cannot sneak peaks out of the windows.  Second, the parents must hide the eggs in locations of varying difficulty around the yard.  If you are like my husband, you may take this approach: make an effort in hiding the first eggs (say, 10, 20, 25, depends on his mood) and then simply toss the remaining eggs randomly around the yard.  Don't toss them too hard, though, or they will pop open and spill their precious, chocolate contents! If you are like me, you will probably make an effort hiding all of the eggs and be the last one finished hiding because let's face it, it's hard to find 250 perfect places to hide Easter eggs!

At this point, you are ready to call the kids. Have them line up... 

and then go with the traditional "Ready, Set, Go!" (Or, if you are a Perry male, throw in a "Ready, Set, Stop!"or two to really get them wound up!)

With this number of eggs, expect to have your child stopping to count multiple times to see how many eggs he or she has left to collect.  Also expect to have to help your child find the ones that you hid too well.  Do not be upset or aggravated about this: remember, this problem is, technically, your fault.  Being too good at hiding Easter eggs is not really a positive. Oh, and this is important, while the children are finding the eggs, and you have a short (very short) break, begin planning your excuses for why you will not hide the eggs again.  It is good to work with the other parents on this one: you know, safety in numbers, a united front, and all that.  If you have a baby in the family too young to hunt, this can work in your favor: have the kids hide the baby's eggs.  You will have to go find them, but you will get a break in between, and this can be a trade off for your refusal to hide the eggs again (it worked for us--next year, we won't be so lucky, though!) 

You may also want to set aside some time after you child goes to bed to scope out his or her candy-hiding spot so that you can sneak some treats. After all, it is not healthy for kids to have so much sugar, so you are really just being a good parent when you do this.  Just try not to overdo it, or your child WILL catch you and may employ a candy alarm in the future (ala Grant Perry).

If you fail to follow my advice and try to recreate this Easter egg hunt with your family, please note that 50 stuffed eggs will not be sufficient. You will also need to supply each child with an Easter basket full of treats, including their favorite candy.  This year, Granna used mini utility totes from Thirty-One, which was brilliant.  The boys were camouflage, and Arwen's was floral.  These totes were the perfect size and now can be used as a great storage container for toys in the kids rooms, in the living room or den, or even in the car.  

After all is said and done, if you are the lucky grandparents hosting this event, send the kids home full of candy and excitement, sit back on your couch and relax or lie down for a nap--I personally would go for a nap, but it's really a matter of preference--and giggle to yourself about how much trouble your children will be having calming the grandkids down for the night and pat yourself on the back for another spoiling job well done! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Arwen's Birth Story: Telling Jay

Ok, I don't know how long it will take me to do this, but my plan is to do a series of posts telling Arwen's birth story from the BFP (Big Fat Positive!) to her much anticipated arrival.  So, here's my first installment: Telling Jay....

It really all started, thanks to Wakefield, on the day Jay and I got married, July 26, 2008.  On the way home from the reception (yes, the RECEPTION), Wakefield asked me, "So, do you have a baby in your belly now?"  Apparently someone (not us) told him that once a couple got married, they had a baby.  Well, he took that quite literally and fully believed that, once the ceremony was over, a baby would suddenly appear in my belly!  Love that kid!  Anyway, I would have been all for starting right away, but with our marriage came a lot of changes--I moved away from my house and my family, left my job of ten years, became a wife and a step mom, all basically overnight.  Plus, we were renting a house from Jay's parents and trying to sell mine in SC, so financially, there was no way for us to afford a baby.  And, to be entirely honest, Jay wasn't 100% sold on the idea of having another baby.

After what seemed like forever, we were finally able to sell my house in SC (thanks a lot, terrible housing market!), and in the summer of 2010, we bought our house.  At that point, I was ready to move on the baby front, and I drug Jay with me kicking and screaming. I went off the pill before we even closed on the house and started using ovulation tests.  I knew that getting pregnant wouldn't happen over night, but that didn't make it any less disappointing each month when nothing happened.  After trying all summer and early fall, I was getting frustrated.  I guess it was only-child syndrome kicking in, but I was getting impatient (shocking for those of you who know me, I know!).  So, around September-October, we started backing off and taking a "whatever happens, happens" approach.

When our family birthday season rolled around, I didn't think there was any way I could be pregnant. Jay's birthday was on November 6th, Mom's on November 8th, and I was feeling fine.  Completely normal.  No nausea, no nothing.  My pants seemed a bit tight, but that's not all that unusual in my world, and I figured it would be too early for me to be gaining any weight from a pregnancy.  Then my birthday rolled around on November 16th, and I was late. Never in 34 years had I been late, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.  I mean, there was VERY LITTLE chance that I was pregnant, so I figured it was just a fluke.  I decided to wait until that Saturday, the 20th, and if I hadn't started, I would take a pregnancy test. I got up early Saturday morning (Jay was still snoring away), and no period, so I took the test.  First time in my life I had ever taken one, and way before the three minutes were up, it read "pregnant."

I did a quiet little happy dance in the bathroom, got ready, and crept quietly downstairs and out the door. I had always known how I would tell Jay I was pregnant: I was going to buy a Carolina onesie and give it to him.  Not very original, I know, but I felt it would be perfect for us.  So, I headed off to Wal-Mart, hoping Jay wouldn't wake up before I got back.  He didn't. I ended up buying a little 3-6 months Carolina sweatsuit that I felt like could work for a boy or a girl, on the outside chance we had a girl (ha, ha!). I came home, put the pregnancy test in the bottom of a gift bag, the outfit on top of that, and covered it up with some tissue.  Then I started trying to get Jay up.  I thought I would never get him downstairs!  He didn't want to get up, couldn't figure out why he needed to come downstairs--man, was he cranky!  When I finally got him down to the kitchen table, he was barely awake and very confused by the gift bag on the table, as his birthday had already passed.  When he pulled out the baby outfit, he wasn't quite awake enough to put it all together and just had a puzzled look on his face.  "There's more," I said, and he reached in and pulled out the pregnancy test. When he read it, his eyes bugged out of his head, and his mouth fell open.  It was complete disbelief!  After it all sank in, I asked if he was happy, and he said yes, at which point, I promptly burst into tears!

Eventually, Jay made me take another test "just to make sure," and it was positive, too, so we made a doctor's appointment.  Jay wanted to go to the doctor and have them do a test, "just to make sure" (do you see a pattern here?), but when we went in, they pretty much said that OTC pregnancy tests today are extremely accurate, so they just proceeded on the assumption that I really was pregnant--much to Jay's dismay.  I'm not sure he was entirely convinced until we had our first ultra-sound, but at that point, there was no doubt, we had a little Perry on the way!

We told my mom first, on my insistence--Jay wanted to wait, but I was freaking out about every little twinge, so I wanted her to know so that I could ask her questions and calm myself down.  We took Wake to the beach over Christmas break and told him while we could have him one-on-one to answer any questions he might have.  The three (well, I guess, technically four) of us went out to dinner, and Jay broke the news.  We weren't sure what Wake would think about the whole thing, but I have never seen him smile so big! He was so excited, and that made us all the more excited! We told Jay's family on Christmas Eve and the rest of my family on Christmas Day.  As a matter of fact, we drove to SC in a snowstorm so that we could share the news with my family. In hindsight, not our brightest idea, by the way, but we made it.

It's hard to believe that on that day when I told Jay we had a baby on the way that Arwen was only about the size of a poppy seed.  Look at her now!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let's Blow Something Up, Daddy!

The Wakester is in third grade, so this year was our first foray into the world of science fairs.  Individual participation for third graders this year was optional, but Jay felt that it would be a good experience for Wake, so he told him he had to at least compete at the school level.  Wake, of course, didn't want to participate at all, but Jay did a pretty good job of getting him on board by talking up all the different experiments they could do.  Wake really wanted to do a volcano (he got one for Christmas a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it), but Jay felt that wasn't original enough (quite true!) and encouraged him to do something else.  Well, Wake just wanted to "blow something up!"  Thus, our Acidic Reactions science fair project was born.

The goal of the project was to see what acid would cause the greatest reaction when combined with baking soda.  The boys looked at lemon juice, bleach, soda water, cola, and vinegar.  Wake learned what kind of acid was in each of those liquids, and his hypothesis was that the soda water would cause the greatest reaction "because it was bubbly." Then he learned that the bubbles were caused by carbonation. Jay bought him some test tubes, safety goggles, and a mask, and they got to work.  In the first round of tests, they found that lemon juice actually caused the greatest reaction.  Wake really enjoyed doing the experiments, and his daddy really enjoyed going over the top in designing his presentation board.  This is what happens when Daddy is a graphic designer....

In Jay's defense, he did ask the teacher if he could help Wake with the board (she made the mistake of saying yes), and Wake did pick out the colors and pictures for the design.  So, it was Wake's idea, Daddy just helped with the designing and printing part! :)

When Wake got to school with his project, the teachers were very disappointed that he had not chosen to compete at the county level should he place at the school level, so he and Jay decided to go for it.  Jay helped him get together the research paper he needed to turn in (most of which was already done to meet the school level requirements), and they entered.  Wake ended up placing second in his school (the only third grader to place--go Wake!!) and went on to the county competition.  He didn't place there, but he did get an awesome medal to go with his cool trophy! We were all very proud of all of his hard work, and we can't wait to try it again next year!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mommy, You've Been Holding Out on Me!

Arwen is all about some fruit, just like I knew she would be!  We started out with applesauce for breakfast with some cereal either mixed in or mixed with breast milk when I had enough extra.  Arwen liked the applesauce pretty well, but she prefers it without the rice cereal. We went for prunes next.  I personally wouldn't eat prunes if my life depended on it, but Arwen was a bit clogged up from all the new food, so I knew we had to give them a try.  Luckily, I didn't have to feed them to her--that fun job went to Daddy and Grandma! Oh, and they worked, by the way! Ha, ha!  Apparently she liked them pretty well.  (Per my earlier post on Beech-Nut vs. Gerber, I have to get Gerber prunes--Beech-Nut doesn't have them, at least not in Stage 1).

After the prunes, we went on to bananas, which were a HUGE hit, as were pears. Up next will be peaches, which I expect Arwen to go nuts over, but I tried oatmeal with her tonight because I felt like she was probably tired of the rice cereal, so we will have to try that for a few days before adding in the peaches.  I'll probably try oatmeal with applesauce in the morning and see what she thinks.

So, now Arwen is eating fruit and cereal for breakfast (or lunch, depending on when she gets up for the day--she's like her mommy and likes to sleep in!) and two veggies and cereal for dinner.  This has really affected my pumping schedule.  When I first started back to work, Arwen was taking three bottles while I was at work, so I got up at 6 and nursed her and then pumped before going to work, then pumped twice at work. I was blessed to have a dear friend, Deidre Westmoreland, agree to teach my class during her planning period for about 15 minutes EVERY DAY, so that I could pump at around 9:30.  Then I was able to do my last pumping session during my planning, so I was only disrupting one class.

Since Arwen has started solids, I've been able to drop the before-work pumping session, and I don't have to do the planning period session every day either.  Arwen quickly went from three bottles while I was gone, down to two bottles, and now to usually only one.  Basically, she's spaced herself out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Luckily, I have an inclusion class third period this semester, so the EC teacher that helps me out watches my kiddies while I pump.  At some point, I'll have to do a post on pumping at work.  It's not fun, but it is doable, and I'm glad I've been successful with it.