Monday, August 30, 2010

Eric William, 3 Weeks Old

Eric turned three weeks old yesterday!

Mr. Serious regards the camera after his bath.

He is still sleeping quite a bit, with more and more wakeful periods in the morning and late afternoon. He loves, loves, loves to be held...but not just held: he loves to be upright as much as possible, and I often see him working on controlling his neck.

He is such a mellow baby and rarely cries. I usually hear him starting to wake up at night and am generally able to meet his needs before he starts crying. Every once in awhile, he exercises his lungs, but even so I find his cries to be pretty mild. Katie is capable of making much more of a racket. :-)

Eric sleeps well in his bassinette, but he does wake up if he gets cold or if he makes a diaper. Katie never really cared about her mussed diapers and wouldn't fuss over it and/or could sleep through it---but Eric really does seem to care. He prefers to be clean and dry. He also sleeps better, it seems, when he has on socks or feetie pajamas--I think his feet get cold otherwise.

When we eat at night, I love his little eyes peeping up at me when I take him out of his bassinette and change him. He seems to like to find my face, and he loves to nestle with me. He is my Little Buddy.

He shows some signs of tracking, but not too much yet. I have a music box that is a glass ball filled with glittery "snow" and which plays "Music of the Night." Yesterday I was showing it to him and his eyes were totally transfixed on it. I wound it several times, and he appeared to be studying it intently. He probably found the tune familiar, as I regularly sing songs from "Phantom of the Opera."

Because he loves to be upright to see the world, he enjoys hanging out in my Baby Bjorn carrier. I wear him on my front, and I am not sure what I would do without it. He likes to be in it when I am cooking with Katie.

I love my family so, so much. I don't think it gets any happier than having my husband and two children with me everyday. I feel pretty lucky, actually.

McGaugh Family Movie Night #2

This week our McGaugh Family Movie Night fell on Saturday---which I declared a "total fun day" with no real chores (other than picking up toys and doing dishes) or worries. Every once in awhile, I believe, we need to treat ordinary days as if they are actually holidays.

We stayed in our jammies for a long time, made Katie's favorite breakfast (orange rolls, eggs, and bacon), read books, played with water and kitchen implements outside, and rested. Bill watched the kiddos while I took a nap---my first nap since Eric's birth. That was a wonderful treat. After my nap, I took a late walk with Katie and Eric to a nearby park. Katie and I climbed all over the play structure, looked for intriguing items in the grass, and held footraces. Eric snoozed. Katie loved our park time and got some great exercise.

Home again, we made our angel food cake for our movie dessert and cooked our pizzas. For MFMN #2 we chose E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial. Classic. Katie really enjoyed it, and she found parts of the film extremely emotional. Spielberg's heart-wrenching moments resonated with her. She did not want E.T. to return to his planet. For the past two days, she has been pretending to be E.T.

Up next for MFMN #3: The Princess Bride. Also a classic...and one of my favorites. We seem to be in the 1980s family movie genre... The challenge is definitely to find something all of us can enjoy together. I have several films on my Netflix queue, including Rosa's suggestion of The Neverending Story. Part of the fun for Katie and for me is planning all week for our movie night. We plan the movie and we plan the dinner. It's a special time when we look forward to all four of us cuddling next to one another on the couch. I think it is important, as we establish new patterns as a family of four, that many of those new patterns are something Katie looks forward to experiencing. She has had to give up (or learn to postpone or shift the time of) some of the routines that she and I had together for so long, so I want to show her how new traditions with all four of us are even more special. As I was telling her on Saturday, our "total fun day": anyone can make any day magic or full of fun at any time. We have to create our own exciting moments, our own wonder. We can choose by our own mindset and actions to make any day feel special or extraordinary, or as magical as a holiday.

I am already excited for next weekend!

Eric Meets Uncle David and Aunt Ashley

On Friday, Eric met his Uncle David and Aunt Ashley:

I remember so clearly the first time Uncle David met Katie. He was on Thanksgiving Break during his last year at Berkeley. How fast time goes...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eric Meets Nana

Eric shared time with Nana Mitchell this morning!

I am fortunate beyond measure that two of my grandparents are still living and that I am able to experience this phase of my life with them. I miss terribly the people in my family we have lost who will never know either of my children, especially Uncle Eric and Grandpa Mitchell. Perhaps the most bittersweet loss is Grandpa Don, only in that his death in May 2008 marked a divide between my two children: with Katie he shared a small part of life, but with Eric he will not. The fact that he is gone is made new again when I realize how old my daughter is---and how she met him when she was hardly more than Eric's age.

We are thankful, though, for the time we have remaining with those we love so much:

Nana holds Eric, one of her two great-grandsons.

Great-grandchildren---a special moment.

It is all part of building a family history, and a sense of family loyalty and love. I wish we could have these times forever...

We have had a great week in other respects, as well. One of my girlfriends organized a pool day at her house on Tuesday, and the kiddos and I had a very peaceful and relaxing afternoon with her as well as a handful of other mommies and children. Eric snoozed on a shaded couch most of the time, and so I was able to play with Katie---we practiced some swimming and jumping and it was a beautiful thing just to hold her and play in the water as we had been doing so often right before Eric's birth. When Eric had wakeful moments, I held him by the water's edge while Katie played on a large shallow step. It all worked out really well, and we had a perfect time. I was grateful that my friend planned this for all of us!

Other than that, we've been adjusting to new routines and I am keeping my perspective regarding this transitory time of little sleep. Last night was rough...but I remember that everything has a season, and that I need to savor every second of Eric's infancy. I know from experience now that in just a few months I will look back on these nights with longing. I remember so many cozy nights with Katie in the months after she was first born: we nursed on the couch by our Christmas tree. I'll never forget those moments with her. In fact, the night before taking the tree down after Christmas, I stood near it with her and looked with intent and told myself, "Remember this sight. Remember this. Remember what it feels like to hold her in this magic glow." And I do... So each night now I am attempting to "look with intent" at: Venus outside Eric's window, at his little eyes peering up at me in the darkened room, at the moonlight around us in the playroom, at everything. It is not ever easy to be sleepless...but I know what two gifts I have been given, and sleep will come one day.

As far as negotiating other parts of life, I am beginning to get a handle on what baby gear we need and when. Eric seems to love his Bjorn baby carrier (he loves to be upright), and that works well for my mobility around Katie's gymnastics class. I tried a sling with Katie, but long before they were recalled, I had immense trepidation about putting her in there: she always seemed to be in danger of suffocating. I only used the sling twice for that reason. We are able to leave Eric in his car seat carrier for the market.... and we used the double stroller yesterday at the mall. Each destination is different right now. Aspects of transporting two children are easier than I thought they would be...but sometimes getting them both in the car along with myself is the biggest challenge right now. It takes a couple of hours to be ready for the day, with breakfast too...and some days I forget to eat. I am actually fitting back into at least one pair of non-maternity jeans, so being busy has its advantages!

Being a mommy to two children under three is definitely an adventure, but one that is gift... I am grateful everyday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ballet Shoes, Bath, and Gnocchi

It has been a beautiful day, albeit one on little sleep! We have had much to celebrate.

Katie and I rolled gnocchi for dinner and made some more pesto from the basil in our garden.

Katie is using the gnocchi roller for the first time.

We also made a meatloaf for Daddy's dinner.

Also, Eric had his first "big boy" submersion bath tonight, as his umbilical cord is now all the way off and his belly button is healed. I can't believe we are already past the wash cloth bath phase---Eric's infancy is going WAY too quickly.

Post-bath, wrapped in his hooded towel.

Scrubbing Eric's back.

Eric enjoys his bath!
Also: Katie picked out her first pair of ballet shoes at the dance store this morning, as she has a ballet class starting next week. When we got home, she spent several hours dancing around the house in them. Her excitement was so sweet.
This has to be a shorter post, because our meatloaf is almost done! Goodnight everyone!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Some lovelies this week:

* Katie June in front of our garden:

We have tomatoes growing and the corn is getting tall!

* Outdoor time:

Here, Katie was singing songs from The Sound of Music.

* McGaugh Family Movie Night---we are starting a new tradition on certain Fridays with our kiddos. Our first movie night, held last night, included vanilla pudding, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. All four of us cuddle together and talk about what we are watching. I need more movie recs---something we all can enjoy. Please leave a comment if you have ideas...

* A visit from a friend on Thursday (and she brought a yummy dinner)!

* Eric's second check-up: he has gained a pound and an 1.75 inches! All of his lab work came back great and he is thriving.

* Taking Eric to meet Great-Grandpa Yoder:

We are so lucky that two of Eric's great-grandparents are still with us and able to share time with us. We were also going to visit Nana this week, but she has a cold. Nana is our priority next week, and after that, I need to take Eric to touch the Valley Center land (the land of his other great-grandpa) before it is sold. I am glad it is still under our ownership at a time when both of my children can touch it and be part of it. My focus is on giving Eric a sense of his history, and to document it, even though right now he is hardly aware of it. Connecting a child to his larger family is essential, I think. Bill has also been working on a family history project...and spent most of his summer on it. We want to give our children context and family.

* Reading, dancing, and singing with the kiddos

* The Byrds' Turn, Turn, Turn: I learned that was one of Uncle Eric's favorite songs, too. It turns out that would have been a good first song for our Eric as well. I think I will just play it often for both children, since it captures my philosophy fairly well. There is a time for everything, and we must recognize that balance.

* Scrapbooking

* Family breakfast: waffles today!

* Games with Katie: Hi-Ho-Cherry-Oh, Candy Land, and Chutes and Ladders. During a family game of Chutes and Ladders with all four of us, Eric managed to win when he was barely a week old---not too bad!

* Nighttime cuddles with Little Buddy and also with my Pumpkin

* These are good times, even when I am tired... Our children are gifts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love, Told Through Pictures

This has been a beautiful week with my two children and beloved husband. Bill is back at work, but having two comes a little more naturally to me now that I have had one. Eric is sleeping well so far and though we are all making adjustments in routine, I am finding the transition to be going quite well. My greatest challenge is balancing time between both children---I think I could do better, but so far so good.

Eric had his first well-baby check-up last week and will have another this week.

Katie is a perfect big sister: she helps me with everything (giving baths, grabbing blankies, talking with Eric, holding Eric). Their bond will be forever, and I am so glad the two of them have each other. When time takes Bill and I away from this earth, I want to think of them together...having a sibling means that you will never really be lonely, at least that is how I always have felt. I can already see Eric responding to Katie's voice. I know they will love each other so much.

So, here are some pictures from the last week. They are not in order, but with two children and just a bit of free time to spare this evening, I cannot be too picky. :-)

Our life:

Eric William McGaugh, one week old on August 15, 2010

Very much in love with him....

Katie helps to feed Eric. What a great Big Sis! (As a sidenote, I love how strong yet gentle Bill's fingers are in this picture. He epitomizes what I hope Eric becomes as a man: resolute yet also tender).

What do we do when both kiddos wake up super early (like before Daddy leaves for work)? We read all snuggly in bed and then have a dance party to Cat Steven's "Teaser and the Firecat" album.

Early last week, we went for our first walk in the double stroller.

Eric is all bundled up and ready to leave from the hospital. He is using the same blanket that I used to take Katie home. I will always keep that blanket in my hope chest, a treasured item.

I love my Eric.

Meeting Daddy.

Meeting Katie.

Cuddling and reading to my two children.

Catching some sun and doing some art.

Nurse Katie performs an examination. Oh, the privilege and fun of being the older one!

Our hands.

Dappled with sun and ready for sleep.
I am savoring every second. It all goes much too fast.
Thank you to all of our visitors this past week! You have made life delightful, and you have made Eric feel welcome to our family.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Eric William!

Our son Eric arrived on Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 6:36 AM. Weighing 7 pounds and 9 ounces, he was 18.25 inches long.

He is absolutely a delight, a beloved new member of our family. I am overcome with how much love I feel for both him and his sister. The universe is a wellspring filled with infinite love, and I feel as though having children---and particularly now having two---has show me just how vast that love really is. I thought it would hardly be possible to love any child as much as I love Katie, and to know now that I can and do and that love really is infinite...well, it is humbling.

Although as late as Saturday evening Katie was saying that we would glue Eric to the ceiling when he arrived, by Sunday afternoon when she met him, Katie transformed into the best big sister I've ever seen. She immediately kissed him and wanted to hold him and said, "I love you Eric." She shares her favorite stuffed animals with him, sings to him, helps to pick out his outfits, tells me when he seems hungry, offers her favorite "cozy" blanket...She is amazing. He really responds to her voice, too. His eyes often lock onto the direction her voice comes from...and he also loves loves loves music of any kind, his eyes widening in response.

He is such a mellow baby and we are really nursing well together. Nights have been spotted with patchy sleep...but I know how fast this time goes and am just working through it, trying to savor even the bleary-eyed moments. I can now say that having two children under three-years-old is much more challenging than anyone predicts---but on the other hand, I am already so invested in my "mommy" role that certain aspects of the transition are coming naturally. I really miss being able to give all my cuddles to Katie, yet at the same time, I yearn to hold her brother... Trying to coordinate feeding them and getting dressed and nursing is a challenge of epic proportions, but I know we'll work out a routine. It took us two hours to get dressed and downstairs yesterday, so I am up early today to get started on it!

My water broke with Eric at 1:15 on Sunday morning. I was so glad my water broke again, because it was a definite sign. I woke up Bill and we got dressed and I wrote Katie a note while waiting for my parents. Boppa spent the night here with Katie, and Amie headed over to the hospital, Rancho Springs, with us.

By 2:45 I was undergoing assessment while Bill activated my pre-registration. Sometime near 3:15 AM I was taken to the delivery room. I labored for about an hour with moderate to strong contractions. At 4:00 I was checked and was at 3 CM dilation. Then I was told that I would be checked a 5 AM and given pitocin to speed labor up if I wasn't making progress. My contractions intensified, and I KNOW for a fact that my cervix was opening. However, it seems the standard procedure now at Rancho Springs is to administer pitocin...and wait for the mother to ask for an epidural. Unlike my delivery with Katie, I got the distinct impression from my nurse that she did not think I could actually labor without drugs---especially on pitocin, which intensifies and speeds up labor by making the contractions stronger and more frequent. It seems, upon further investigation, that pitocin and epidurals are the norm there. My aunt was saying some nurses never even see non-drug labors anymore. I also expressed a desire to get up and walk, and was told that I could not and that it was about the worst thing I could do now that my water had broken. This did anger me, because I know from extensive reading that bed-labor is the hardest to accomplish. No other animal that I know of labors on her back... I was not really thrilled with my nurse. This was a shame, since I had a GREAT experience at Rancho delivering Katie three years ago and loved my nurses. There was another nurse, Jackie, who appeared to start my IV and who reappeared later, and she quickly became my favorite...for reasons I will soon discuss.

So at 5 AM I was checked again and told I had not progressed after some readjustment of my contraction monitors. There was no way I was still officially at 3 CM. I could feel what was happening to my cervix and have been in tune with my body the entire pregnancy. However, my nurse used that as justification to start the pitocin.

My contractions had already been fairly intense, and with the pitocin, I experienced new levels of intensity. I thought I had experienced the depth of pain with Katie's labor, but it turns out, there are new depths. I felt solid at my core, and I knew I would never waver with my promise to myself, my child, and my husband to never have drugs, knowing it was not in their best interest. My core was solid, and so I felt strong. I kept reminding myself I was designed for labor. I was dissatisfied with how weary my mind felt, though. It was only my heart that kept me going through this mind was struggling to manage the pain. Every gate I had worked for months to build, every step of my pain management plan, seemed to be bypassed. Especially on the pitocin, my labor was going SO FAST that my mind was struggling to keep up and could not ever complete its meditations. My mom and Bill helped me to keep focused as best they could.

Essentially, from 5AM to 6AM I labored from 3 (well, I think more like 4) CM to 10CM. Going 7CM in an hour was sheer craziness. My contractions never really subsided. The tightening never released but would only peak. There was no resting in between. I can say with certainty that only my core values and belief systems kept me sustained at this point. Painkillers were not an option. I realized at that moment that mothers can endure anything to keep our children safe. We could take a bullet for our children, we could walk through fire, anything...

Then I got the feeling to push. How rapidly this came was a surprise even to me. With Katie I labored for awhile before feeling that need, and with Eric it came within an hour. I told the nurse I felt the pushing need. She said I could not push and needed to wait for the doctor to arrive. Excuse me? You bring me from 3-4 CM to pushing and then tell me to wait?? I told her again that I needed to push, and she told me to "calm down." I will never forget that... I had not been screaming or dramatic at all during the whole labor, just moaning and turning inward to my core. And now I was just stating a fact...and I know nurses are capable of delivery. My aunt in Vista delivers all the time. It occured to me then that it is probably unusual for OB nurses to see what the real need to push looks and feels like. Bill was reading that something like 75% or some number like that of women are on epidurals when the time comes to push and another 14% are on other drugs. With an epidural, you cannot feel the pushing instinct and the nurses have to count you in... You can be told to wait because there is no feeling. Without medication, the urge to push is as fundamental and primal as breathing. There is no real waiting---not without lots of pain. She told me that if I pushed "too soon" I could make my cervix puffy. Extrapolating I thought that, if this was true, it might block Eric and make it harder for him...that was the only reason I did not push. I had to hold off on pushing for about 15 minutes. The good nurse (the one I liked) came in at that point, sat down with me, and breathed with me. She was very calming...

Eventually Dr. Elfelt arrived, and at the site of his shoes coming through the door I announced that I was going to push now. Period. The nurse I didn't like so well told me to wait until he had his gloves on...right...but Dr. Elfelt said I should push now when I felt like it. Within three contractions, Eric was out! Pushing felt so so so so good.

He arrived beautifully. Even though there were aspects of the morning that I would change, I tried to focus on what he and I were feeling together---and that was beautiful. I could feel him kicking and moving still all the way down the birth canal, and that is our sacred bond regardless of how he was delivered or how I did not click with my main nurse. I was ultimately able to deliver him while feeling every sensation, and that is what I wanted. And I know he arrived in this world totally alert and ready to learn how beautiful life really is.

So many times with his pregnancy I have fantasized about a home birth. I did not elect for one because of my experience with Katie and being glad that she had access to the care she needed immediately when she was early. This time, Eric was fine and I was the one who needed the further care. I was bleeding too much---I learned yesterday from my mom what was going on (I had not really paid attention to that part of the afterbirth). I had to have a shot in my leg of an anti-hermorraging medicine and they continued to run the pitocin for a couple of hours so my blood vessel would close. I knew that I was bleeding more heavily in post-partum later that day than I did with Katie, but I did not know the full story... I will spare some of the details. I am just thankful I was in the hospital for myself this time, even though Eric was fine. There are advantages to hospital care, and ones in which I believe strongly. I just wish we could as a culture cycle back around to natural births being more common and accommodated. I think a woman should have whatever kind of delivery she wants to have, especially one that will help her have the child with the least stress as possible, because stress itself can harm the baby. For many, that includes drugs and epidurals and I support a woman's right to choose those methods if it will help her to have her baby. But for us in the minority, I also want to be supported by the medical community. I know my aunt's hospital does not use pitocin on natural patients and she even walks them around for hours if they request.

Anyway, I focus on the glorious aspects of Eric's birth. Our bonding that day was immense and powerful. We spent the rest of our time in the hospital singing, nursing, talking, cuddling. He was never out of my sight or Bill's sight. Twice Bill followed him for footprints and a blood test. We are not having Eric circumsized for many reasons, and the hospital I was at no longer does them anyway. So we spent our time in pure bliss and had several visitors who made our day delightful. I really really loved my post-partum nurses, especially my day shift nurse. She was excellent. All the post-partum nurses were. I was extremely pleased with my post-partum care and I remembered again why I wish sometimes that I had become a nurse (the two careers I was attracted to in college were teaching and nursing, and I thought perhaps my science background was too lacking).

We were discharged on Monday, and it felt so good to come home and start getting back to our routines. I will have to write another blog later about what we've been up to! Most of my pics, also, will appear on Facebook at some point. We have so many cute hospital pics of Katie and Eric meeting...

But, it is time to get dressed. The kids have a busy day: Katie has gymnastics and Eric has his first well-baby appointment at the pediatrician!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A General Update, or "Transformations"

It would, perhaps, be easy to feel a little draggy this week---it has been highly busy and my body has been expending its energy adjusting to phases of pregnancy that I never experienced with Katie due to her early arrival.

Yet I have been reminded many times this week in direct and indirect ways that so much of our attitude and disposition is what we make it. On Saturday at the Toastmasters Learning Institute (our officer's training), I had the privilege of hearing speaker Sheryl Roush whose optimism and energy immediately captivated me and made me a fan. She is a nationally ranked speaker and entreprenuer who focuses on the idea of cultivating one's "Sparkle-Tude." I have thought countless times since Saturday of my attitude and how to keep it sparkling and full of luster. While many a cynic would undoubtedly find some of the Sparkle-Tude philosophy cloying, I go all in for things like that. Why not choose to frame events and one's life in the most positive way?

Additionally, on Tuesday I then heard an entirely different kind of speech by our very own Toast of the Valley's Bob Freel, a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) who is highly decorated from his work in speech competitions. I usually enjoy Bob speaking on any topic---he's that kind of speaker---but on Tuesday for our Open House he delivered one of the most memorable speeches I think I will ever hear. He spoke of his time in Vietnam, of being the only survivor in a group of men...actually, I will stop there, for his story is really just for him to tell. I could not do it justice. Suffice it to say, I really understood for the first time in my whole life what our government has asked its young men to bear---for the rest of their lives. I guess being in my third decade now, I understand how young the early 20s really are. I used to hate it when people would say that, but 18-22 year old men are still the young sons of mothers everywhere. Bob was braver than I have ever been asked to be, not just at one pivotal moment as a soldier, but in carrying a burden his whole life so the rest of us don't have to. His speech took me to a place of real understanding, and I cried nearly the whole time he was presenting. His speech also put into perspective my everyday trials and my joys, too. There is absolutely no excuse for me ever to focus on petty things, the minor bumps in my life---not after hearing Bob's speech. On the other hand, he sacrificed so that I would have the freedom to focus on both the petty and the pretty---and I guess that is part of what made me cry also. His message is not one I will soon forget.

Too, I have been moved by how beautiful these summer days are and how life constantly flows in a balance. Do we not have the power to transform irritations into something joyous? Can we not choose to find the good in every situation?

With that theme in mind, here are some transformations I have endeavored to enact this week:

1) A virus on my computer which rendered it unusable for about a day TRANSFORMS into a loving husband who spent hours fixing it and actually making it run faster when all was said and done. (Also, I had access to my iPod Touch---otherwise, this transformation might have been difficult to make).

2) Soreness and sluggishness from the last couple of weeks of pregnancy TRANSFORMS into appreciation for Eric's life and for the fact that he continues to grow in these crucial last weeks, finishing the development of his brain and lungs and immunity. The universe will decide when he is to arrive, not me---so who am I to complain? I try to keep it all in perspective. I actually am hoping and asking him to stay in there as long as he needs to or can, no matter how my body feels. I know each day he gets stronger---so what's a little pelvic pain? Any moments of discomfort we bear as pregnant mothers is short-lived, and it is our duty to bear it. We were made to bear it, just as---I believe---we were made to bear labor. Besides, I happen to know that the discomfort I feel in these last weeks is nothing---nothing---compared to natural labor. My body is training itself for that moment: it is part of the design of women and the plan by which we are the life-bearers. I must look on every soreness as part of that design and part of the journey that will help me to deliver Eric physically and mentally in the way I delivered my Katie. Each twinge of my body reinforces the strong mental attitude I know I need in order to birth him without therefore I can only be thankful for all that I am feeling now. It is nature's way of training me.

3) Waking up at 4:00 AM daily TRANSFORMS into reading and falling back to sleep cuddling my sweet little Katie June. It also tranforms into cause for deep and peaceful afternoon naps.

4) Cleaning the master bathroom TRANSFORMS into meditation and peacefulness and productivity. But it sure is hard to bend over at this stage of pregnancy. It is quite difficult to get up and down with any kind of celerity, more than I ever imagined.

5) Finding some black widow spiders in our backyard TRANSFORMS into an opportunity to teach Katie about basic safety (and neurotoxins---yay!)

6) Eating the much-anticipated and delicious eggplant parmesan I made but then having heartburn all night long TRANSFORMS into a need to consume ice cream the next to neutralize the acids with the milk base. Am I right, ladies? ;-)

And so on.

Other good things:

1) Bill came with Katie and me to Katie's gymnastics last week. She loved it and afterwards we all went out to breakfast at Penfold's.

2) Foot rubs

3) Swimming with my girl

4) Being all packed for the hospital with a list written out of last minute items

5) Overall, I am thankful for my health and feeling great and that I have been able to live as passionately as I want to so far along into pregnancy. I have been energetic for Katie most of the time. Even though I wrestled with extreme guilt today at needing to slow down and sit down, I know that I have tried my best for 9 months to be the mommy she deserves. We decorated her outdoor fort today, replenished the bird feeders, played imagination play, read books---and most of this I could do while sitting. I felt bad when she asks me to climb in the upper part of her fort and I decline---it is just that I know it isn't too safe and getting down would be a chore. I hope she can continue to be patient with me...

6) A successful Toastmasters Open House yesterday! I am going to miss my companions while I am away...

Anyway, here is a picture of Eric and me at 37 weeks, taken earlier last week. He is a big little guy. The OB was estimating him at between 7.5 and 8 pounds last weeks. Whew! See what I mean about nature needing to train me to birth him? Katie was only 6 lbs 12 oz. My small pumpkin.