Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birdcage: Check!

Remember this beauty?

before birdcage
I picked her up in Goodwill back in August, and after removing the “bow” and the “moss” she’s actually looked pretty decent “as is” in our living room.

But then, in my quest for nursery ideas and inspiration, I stumbled across this photo:

birdcage inspiration
(Side note, I love the blog I stole it from.)

So, I polled you readers on what color I should paint my Goodwill birdcage, and the votes were pretty well split between green, pink, and orange.

But, I just couldn’t get past how much I loved the inspiration picture, so……

I went with a turquoise-y, aqua-y blue:

birdcage after

And heaven help me, I can NOT get the lighting in Baby Girl’s room to cooperate for decent photos, but……I wanted to at least show you that I’ve gotten this one task (sorta) completed.  I have intentions of making birds to hang in the birdcage, but I haven’t decided if I want to tackle felt, follow the original paper instructions, or bribe someone else to do them for me.

Anybody want to volunteer?  I’d even provide the fabric……

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

32w Update: 80% cooked

How far along: 32w.  The end feels very much in sight.  35w is my next goal/milestone, and that’s just three weeks off.  Three weeks!  That’s nothing!  As of this Thursday, we should know what Baby Girl’s birthday will be; I’m so, so excited to get that date on the calendar. 

Total weight gain
: It’s been almost two weeks since my last weigh-in, where I was down a pound.  I expect to be back up one or two (hopefully, no more than that) at my visit Thursday.

General disposition:  Fairly good.  When people ask me how I’m doing/feeling, my general answer has been “just pregnant.”  I can’t really complain outside of feeling big, puffy, and in a constant state of either starving or nauseated (from heartburn).  All my clothes still fit, though even my maternity tops are hardly covering my bump at this point.

I’ve found that I do better with a half-dose of Ambien than a full dose, so other than some unsettling dreams, I’ve been getting much better through-the-night rest. 

Best moment this week:
Unrelated to pregnancy in anyway, it would have to be the weather.  We have had abundant sunshine and mild temperatures.  There is just something about the definitive arrival of spring that just has risen my spirits. 

:  Like crazy. =)  I thought Seth and Duncan were rambunctious; they’ve got NOTHING on their sister. 

Labor Signs/Body Changes of Note: Still having pretty strong contractions, but nothing too severe or regular.  I’ve started to notice some, um, mammary changes, but I guess that it to be expected.  And I take it as a good sign.  With as many problems as I had with nursing Seth, it’s kind of nice to know my body is already getting into gear for Baby Girl’s nutrition needs. 

What I miss : Freedom of movement.  I feel like I have to plan and execute even the smallest maneuver, like getting off the couch. 

What I am looking forward to:
An official countdown to D-day; weekly ultrasounds and time to just “hang out” with my girl.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday randomness

I know, I know.  Not a whole lot of good content around here lately.  Sorry.  I’m stalling on the nursery reveal; we’ve run into a furniture glitch with the bookcase(s), so that’s the hold-up.

And there is no baby news to report until my appointments on Thursday.

But I do have some random things I’m willing to toss out to the blog world, if you at all care.

  • Jim is awesome.  He got an unexpected supply of Best Buy Reward Zone bucks to spend, and came home Saturday with the Valentine’s Day soundtrack.  I love it; I love HIM!

  • I love Chris Daughtry’s music.

  • I am desperate need of a pedicure.  It’s been almost four months.  Eek.  As soon as my c-section gets on the calendar on Thursday, you better belief the next appointment to get booked is going to be for my tootsies.

  • It is supposed to be GOREGOUS here in Nashville all week, and I’m so excited about that, even though I can’t really get out an enjoy it.  I think I might treat myself to a quick swing through the Farmer’s Market when I’m downtown to pick up some flowers – just because. =)

  • I have mastered unclogging toilets.  And I have this pregnancy to thank for that.  An unexpected skill to have inherited, I must admit, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy in coming years.  I still have awful memories of the time my brother Adam overflowed the half-bath when us kids were, oh, maybe 11, 9, and 7, respectively.  None of us knew what to do about it, so my poor mother came home to a big mess, and a flooded hall, and three crying children.  Not a good day.

  • When I sit in the nursery, I get a faint odor of something burning….like something in an electrical outlet.  But I’ve checked everything – the outlets, the cords of the lamp and monitor (the only things plugged in), and the light fixtures.  Everything seems to be fine.  Hmm?

I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for now.  Anything random you, dear reader, want to share with the blog world?  Feel free!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wanna get away?

Ah, summer vacation.

Are you starting to plan yet?

I know that as the weather warms here in Tennessee, thoughts are rapidly turning toward the fast-approaching spring break, but chatter also buzzes regarding the tempting, can’t-come-soon-enough event of Summer Vacation.

This isn’t quite an “event” in our home yet, as our children aren’t quite old enough to appreciate the effort, cost, and planning that goes into a week-long trip to the Outer Banks, or the Smoky Mountains, or the Grand Canyon, or Disneyland, or any of the other places that Jim and I may dream of schlepping our littles off to someday.

And for Jim and I, we manage to keep our calendar from May from September full of “mini” adventures like camping weekends, fishing trips, and family picnics, so we have yet to embark on a Clark Griswold-style adventure.

But all that is going to change this summer….at least for one of us.

Guess where Jim is jetting off to this summer?


pig trotters traffic

His trip is still over three months away.  The proposed timing is actually pretty ideal given our annual family picnic in Pennsylvania.  I’ll be well recovered from my c-section and, hopefully, adjusting to life as a mommy-of-two.

But still.  Forgive me for not jumping up and down over the thought of Jim in Taiwan for a week.

I know I’m not the first wife to send her husband off to a foreign country on business, but it is the first time I’ve had to do this.  And up until I received an “FYI” email from Jim this morning, outlining the potential dates of travel, the idea of “going to Asia” was just talk, tossed around our house, surprisingly, a lot.  But now….it’s not just talk.  It’s actually going to happen.



Pray for me, interpeeps.  I’m not sure three months is long enough for me to get used to the idea.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Fine, you win.

I called the doctor.

She said go to the hospital.

So I did.

The nurse I had was mean and rude and made me cry.

My water didn’t full out break, but is leaky.  My contractions are strong, but not regular.  My cervix is soft, but closed.  Translation: Baby Girl is fine.

I fed her Fritos after I was discharged from Labor & Delivery.

I’m home, I’m cranky, and I’ve decided I’m going to delivery the baby myself at home without any mean nurses nearby.

And I’m going to ask Jim to get me McNuggets for dinner.

End of story.

(Imagine me sticking out my tongue……not at you, per se, just at the world in general.)

(I told you I was cranky.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random Wednesday observations

  • We have run out of ice cream in the house.  This is a travesty.  It’s bad enough that our small town is deprived of a Mr. Freeze-type establishment; now we can’t even make homemade milkshakes.
  • Huggies Naturally Refreshing baby wipes are my favorite, hands-down.  Maybe there are greener, cheaper, better wipes out there, but this is one of those things – like JIF peanut butter and Kraft mac ‘n cheese – that I’m just not going to compromise on.
  • I have some of the coolest friends.  Today, I salute my gal pal Kelly, and her husband Marty, for doing one of the craziest things ever.  They are from Iowa, but are completing a two-year stint in Connecticut for Marty’s job.  They stumbled across their dream home back in Iowa, and although they won’t be able to live in it for another solid year…..they bought it anyway!  She’ll blog about this, and do justice to the story much better than I just did, but I’m just so stinkin’ proud of them for chasing the dream like this. =)
  • I’m already over American Idol this year.  I think Tim Urban is adorable, and I’d give him a spot on Glee in a heartbeat.  I happen to like Didi Benami, and hope she sticks around, because I like her voice, and frankly, I’m bored with the majority of the female contestants.  There is no denying that Crystal Bowersox is in a class of her own – and of course, I’m rooting for the fellow northwest Ohioan.  I have issues with Aaron Kelly.  I can’t be the only one who can’t help but reference back to the kid a couple of seasons ago that they nicknamed “Chicken Little,” can I?  Anyway, who cares what I think?  Obviously, not FOX, or I’d be guest mentoring instead of seriously-can’t-you-find-a-pair-of-REAL-pants Miley Cyrus.
  • When I got out of the shower on Tuesday, I thought my water broke.  No, really.  I truly stood there and watched a puddle form on the floor.  I’m not sure what it was – I know it wasn’t pee, because, sadly, I’ve done that, too, in this pregnancy.  (Stupid poor bladder control.)  And it wasn’t just pooled water from the shower.  But it was quick, and somewhat minimal, so I just sat there for a minute and it stopped….  Probably not the wisest move I’ve made this week…..but I’m pretty sure I’m okay.  I think.
  • I’m finding myself completely at a loss as to what to pack in my hospital bag.  You’d think I’d know, having done this twice, but all I’ve got so far is my hairdryer and my favorite pair of black yoga pants.  I’m open to suggestions.
  • Is this not the cutest picture of Seth you’ve seen all week?

    seth carousel

Monday, March 22, 2010

Like New Year’s Eve, only better


The “It’s A Girl” balloon wrapped itself around Andrea’s mailbox last Saturday.

As we left the party, Andrea encouraged me to grab the balloon; I didn’t want to.  It was raining, and hefting myself out of my mother-in-law’s minivan for a simple mylar balloon just didn’t appeal to me.

But, it should come as no surprise, given that I’m pretty much constantly singing her praises, that Linda saved me the hassle, and got out of the van, in the rain, to grab the balloon for me.

She dried it off, and placed it in Baby Girl’s room, where it has shown no signs of deflating, even though it has been a week.

Not that he understands, but we’ve taken to telling Seth that when the balloon comes down, Nonna and Gramma will come back to stay.

I have no idea if there is even a chance that this solo balloon will stay inflated until Baby Girl makes her arrival; if I had to bet, I’d say no.

But still.

Each time I walk past her room, and see her balloon floating happily above her crib, I smile.  I smile because it is still as high as the day we brought it home, which means I still have time to “prepare.”  I smile, too, because I know that what goes up must come down.

Sooner or later, the balloon is going to deflate.  And I’m going to have a daughter.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ten months

This is not a “comfortable” time of year for me.  Spring is slowly coming to our area.  65-degree days are mixing with 40-degree days.  Brave daffodils are poking through mulch and soil in need of tilling.  Warm rays of sun spill through the trees onto our deck.

Our deck, that overlooks our wooded lot.  Our lot, that afforded someone the opportunity and privacy to violate our home.  Our home, that for the month of April 2009, felt cold and disorganized and cluttered and upside down.


And I thought April was the upside down month?

April brought police reports and ambulance rides and cold sores and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Prozac and elevated blood pressure, and then I blinked….

…and it was May 19th.

May 19th, upside down got redefined.

Upside down became so much more than an empty safe, a broken door, a stolen identity.

Upside down became an empty womb, a broken heart, a stolen innocence.

I hate that this time of year takes me back to a really dark, really sad time in my life.  Because right now I feel that Duncan’s story – the chapter of my life where he is front and center – is drawing to a close.  Not that his presence will vanish…..but if I’m being honest….time is shifting.

A baby is coming.

A (God-willing) living, breathing, crying, pooping, gurgling baby that will take center stage, for a time, in our home.  A baby that will become my most recent-born, shifting Duncan into his eternal role as our middle child.

Is this making any sense to anyone other than me?

I guess it doesn’t need to.

I know in my heart where I’m at; what I’m feeling; how I’ve healed; and how, at times, I’m still grieving, even if I can’t articulate it.

Apple Jack,

You’re getting a sister for your birthday.  Is that okay?  (Say yes, ‘cause I can’t do anything to change that.)

You hold a special place in my heart; in Daddy’s, too, though he doesn’t say much.  You are our son.  Our second-born.  Our fighter, then and always.

Change is coming, and I know to many, it’ll look one way, when in fact, it’s not.  I know you don’t need Mommy to defend it, but….well, that’s just how I’m made.  You would’ve learned that.  (I tend to overcomplicate things.)  Please just know that your place is secure.

I love you.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to make Green Spit

First of all, just let me thrown this disclaimer out there: I HATE that Jim’s family calls this dessert “Green Spit.”  Hate it.  But, alas, that’s just one of those things that you accept when you marry into a family.

Some people inherit Christmas in July, or a crazy Uncle Bert, or ugly china.

Me?  I got unending grass-stained laundry, Pittsburgh Steelers paraphernalia, and Green Spit.

Despite its name, it’s yummy, and it’s one of the things that my mother-in-law knows makes me happy pretty much any day of the week.  Like dark chocolate and Garden Salsa SunChips.

So, when Seth was in Ohio in February for his extended visit, Linda took it upon herself to teach Seth how to assemble this treat for me.

Interpeeps, I give you Seth’s step by step guide to Green Spit:











I’ll be sure to leave you with the actual recipe, but just in case you had any trouble following Seth’s pictorial instructions, it’s basically:

  • start with a big bowl of Cool Whip;
  • taste;
  • maybe add mandarin oranges, if the fancy strikes;
  • taste;
  • dump in marshmallows,
  • taste;
  • dump in more marshmallows;
  • taste;
  • dump in the rest of the bad of marshmallows;
  • and eat whopping spoonfuls between each step.

But make sure Grandpa isn’t invading, which is what the last few pictures seem to say to me:

“Hmmm…..what’s he doing?”

“Okay, he seems distracted.”

“More for me!”

Could you not just eat him up?!  So sweet!

And speaking of sweet….here’s the recipe:

Linda’s Green Spit

2 small boxes pistachio pudding
1 9 oz. tub Cool Whip
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)
1 can crushed pineapple 
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows

Consider this a belated St. Patrick’s Day post! =)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

30w update

We’re rounding third! =)

How far along: 30w.  It is a little unreal.  I remember trying so hard to make it to this milestone with Seth, and then I did, and then things seemed to move rapid-fire from there.  So….to be 30w with Baby Girl makes me feel like history may repeat itself; that all of a sudden, I’m going to blink, and she’ll be here.  (Which wouldn’t be a bad thing….I just don’t feel ready.) 

Total weight gain
: Due to the nastiest 24-hour bug I’ve ever had, I was down about a pound and a half at my last appointment.  And yes, I took perverse pleasure in having the nurse move the weight to the left of the mark I set it on to start with.  It will be short lived joy, I’m sure.  But whatever.  It felt good nonetheless.

Maternity clothes?  Yep.  Almost entirely.  Although I do have on regular yoga pants and a regular sweater today.  Only maternity thing is my tee shirt.  (And really, I think this is the last week I’m going to bother with this question, because, let’s face it, I’m only getting bigger from here on out.  Let’s put it this way: I’ll let you know when I’m completely OUT of maternity clothes.) 

Not really impressed with my Ambien script just yet.  I’m only taking half doses, per Dr. M’s instructions, and it seems to take FOREVER to kick in. 

Best moment this week:
Taking my mother to my 30w ultrasound.  This is something I’ve gotten to share with all the grandmothers now, and it really meant a lot for me to have her there to see Baby Girl in utero. 

:  Like crazy. =)  She is a little wiggleworm to be sure.  She was head down at my appointment Thursday, but I swear, she already has flipped over again, and is tap dancing on my cervix.

Labor Signs/Body Changes of Note: Nothing notable.  Because I’m anemic and now taking an iron pill, I’m having some serious conversations with my digestive system, but nothing too bad.  Yet. 

What I miss : Eating without heartburn repercussions.  I’m so over TUMS.

What I am looking forward to:
scheduling my c-section at my 32w appt. on 4/1.

Stats: B/P: 127/78; heart rate: 128; est. weight: 3 lbs, 2 oz. (49%); next appt: 3/18

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Surprisingly, not dead

I have a lot to talk about.

I’m, obviously, still alive, though it’s been a fight, and I’ve taken down a couple comrades along the way, but I doubt you want the gory details of that.

I’ve had a wonderful, crazy, noisy, emotional, pink, sugary weekend, and it’s left me feeling completely emotionally zapped.  Not necessarily in a bad way….just in an exhausted way.  I’ve smiled a lot, laughed a lot, slept a lot, cried a lot, eaten a lot, and loved a lot.

Which has left me no energy to blog.


Tomorrow is a whole ‘nother story. ;)

For now, though, to offer up proof that I am indeed alive and well and healthily pregnant – at almost 30 weeks!!! – here is a glimpse of a part of my weekend:

blanket w text

I promise to be back ASAP with more pictures of Baby Girl’s party, details of my fun girls’ weekend, a status report on Baby Girl’s last MFM appointment, happy birthday shout-outs to some of my favorite girls, and maybe a cute picture of Seth thrown in for good measure.

Thanks for sticking around, faithful readers.  I was on a roll in early March….and then….well, life.  It happens.

Be back SOON!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I may be dead.

I’m not 100% sure, but I think I just might not be alive anymore.

I sat bolt upright in bed at 4:36 am Tuesday morning, and realized I felt sick to my stomach, which I ruefully blamed on the new iron pill I started taking because, apparently, Baby Girl has decided to make me anemic.

Anyway, I tossed, turned, woke Jim up, and basically prayed to heaven that the queasiness would pass.

And it did, sort of, about 6:40 am, when…..ahem…..yeah.  Let’s just say that there isn’t enough Lysol in the world to rectify the damage that I did to our master bathroom this morning.

I (lovingly, of course) got rid of Seth, and spent the entire day in bed; or on the bathroom floor.  It’s currently 7:43 pm and I’ve managed to keep down a piece of toast and a cup of flat 7 Up.  But the night is young.

Oh, and did I mention I’m about to have houseguests?  Yeah.

I’m glad they love me, because the house is NOT ready.

The sheets haven’t been changed, the fridge has not been stocked, the counters have not been cleaned, and I generally feel unprepared to play hostess.  Oh, well.

There is much a “pregnant Monica” that is a study in humility.

In the meantime, please pray that this “thing” was just the sad result of a last-minute decision to have Backyard Burger for dinner on Monday, and not something like a delayed case of the swine flu.

But I’ll let you know.

I have an ultrasound with MFM tomorrow, hence the delay in the 29w update.  Hopefully, I’ll be back – alive – with a good report tomorrow night.

If not….assume I am, indeed, dead.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Rude awakening

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Daylight Savings Time is NEXT SUNDAY?



How is that possible?  And Easter is on April 4th?  I’m as ready as the next person is for some sunshine, but does this seem EARLY to anyone besides me?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

28w Update

How far along? 28w2d.  It feels really, really surreal to be this far.  I mean, on one hand, the pregnancy has been eternal, already; but on the other hand, I can remember the day I took the home pregnancy test like it was just yesterday. 

Total weight gain
: I’m up 4 lbs since my last ob appt, which puts me at 8 for the pregnancy.  Dr. M continues to assure me that she is still thrilled with my gain – to be this far along and only 8 lbs up.  But the fact remains that all this weight is in the last 5 weeks, and I currently weigh the most I ever have in my life.  I know it’ll come off.  But still.  Any time the scale creeps (up) into a new range, you cringe.

Maternity clothes?  Yep.  Almost entirely.  I did get into a pair of my regular pants last week, and I even got them buttoned.  But I couldn’t breathe normally, so I took them off. ;) 

It’s been elusive.  Like, usually only 2-3 hours a night elusive.  So I finally asked Dr. M for an Ambien prescription, and it’s currently being filled at our friendly neighborhood Walgreen’s. 

Best moment this week:
Welcoming Eliana Jane, the sweet daughter of my dear friend Stacy.  Her healthy birth is a direct answer to much prayer by many people.

:  Like crazy. =)  She is a little wiggleworm to be sure. 

Labor Signs/Body Changes of Note: Some stretch marks have started to rear their ugly heads, but I’m dealing. 

What I miss : My reflection without puffy, dark-circled eyes.

What I am looking forward to:
having my 30w ultrasound with my mother present next week.  I’m sure it’ll be a treat for us both.

Stats: B/P: 120/60; heart rate: 145; next appt: 3/11

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Either my Prozac needs to be upped, or I just had a really bad case of the “Mondays”

I know Tuesday is my usual Baby Girl status report, but since I don’t see Dr. Morgan until Thursday, I figured I’d postpone it until I actually had something worthwhile to report.

Instead, I’m going to be very indulgent (to steal a quickly-becoming-overused phrase of Idol judge Simon Cowell), and just vent about how lousy my Monday was.  Sometimes, as petty as it seems, just getting it out of my head and down on paper can help me move on.

12:11 (just past midnight): give up trying to fall asleep in my own bed, and stumble to the couch in an attempt to get comfortable.

1:04ish: doze off in a fitful sleep

2:34: awake, startled, and flee to the bathroom, where I lose the contents of my stomach in a very yucky, violent manner.  Down a couple TUMS, pat BG in reassurance that she, too, wouldn’t be yanked up my esophagus, and collapse back onto the couch.

6:08: stumble back into bed when Jim leaves for work; toss and turn

6:30: hit the snooze button

6:38: hit the snooze button again

7:00 – 7:22: enjoy a slight reprieve in the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad morning to feed, snuggle with, and see off Seth

8:20: fall back asleep, and dream of boys from high school. (Jed, Joel – if there is any chance you’re reading this…..hi.)

12:01: wake up, feeling worse than before.  Marvel in horror that it is NOON and realize that I am NEVER going to be able to fall asleep tonight.

12:32: head to the local tire repair store, where Jim assured me that it would be “simple and cheap” to repair the nail puncture in my right rear tire.

2:28: tire repair guy comes into waiting room (where both my bladder and my back were protesting the 2-hour stint in a plastic chair) to tell me he can’t fix my tire.  He motions me to follow him to the garage so he can show me exactly why (as if I’ll understand any of it).  Long story short: he can’t fix the tire; he won’t put the tire back on my car; I either have to use the spare or buy a new tire.  All I’m able to translate is: what a waste of time!

3:18: see on Facebook that a friend is expecting her fourth baby.  Happy for her…but…..oh, hello, Jealousy.  I see you’ve brought your companion Bitter along this time.  Rather than reiterate, here is what I posted to my online gal pals:

A friend just announced she is expecting #4 on FB.

I'm jealous.

It's not fair.

I've been pregnant 5 times with 6 babies, and will have 2 to show for it.

I am over the moon grateful for Seth, for Duncan, and for this little one I'm carrying. Wanting "more" feels selfish, but yet....

I'm sad that I'll never again post "another little one is on the way...."

I'm sad that the decision to stop the growth of our family has been taken from my hands.

I'm sad that I have to feel resentful of people who I genuinely care for, just because they are blessed with uncomplicated fertility.

I hate that I think I need to up my Prozac dosage, because I hate being on it in the first place.

I hate that my fertility and inability to healthily carry a baby to term has shaped so much of who I am and how I think and how I respond to the world around me -- especially given this baby-making stage-of-life that we are in.

3:21: unclog the half-bath toilet. I’ll spare you the details of that one.

3:23: spill an entire bottle of Blueberry Pomegranate Gatorade all over the counter, the dishwasher, the cabinets, me, and my shoes.

4:10: rip the elastic bra out of my favorite yellow pajama top while trying to pull it over my growing torso.  Grr.

7:19: Seth smeared the remnants of a brownie on the cream upholstery of my dining room chairs.

8:49: Bachelor Jake let Tenley go, and proceeded to propose to Vienna.  Ew.  (Seriously?)

11:45: Jim got called back to work.  Yes.  At almost midnight.  Sigh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

School Daze

My boy is home from a two week vacation in the great north with snow and grandparents galore, and it is back to our daily routine.

We wake, pop a “toastie” (either a Toaster Strudel, Pop Tart, or waffle) in the toaster, and curl up with Playhouse Disney for a bit.  A cup of milk, a clean diaper, and a wardrobe change round out the seven o’clock hour, and then we begin our vigil: waiting either at the window or on the front porch (depending on how eager he is) to see Miss Jamie’s minivan come down the days 006

One of the best parts about having Seth picked up for “school” (i.e. Mother’s Day Out) by our sweet friend Jamie is that she lives just up the street.  In fact, we can see her driveway from ours.  And nothing brings a smile to my face faster than seeing Seth’s delight as he notices Miss Jamie’s garage door open.

He’ll jump and clap and grin up at me like a fool for the entire 35 seconds it takes for her minivan to pass the five houses that separate us.  She’ll pull in the driveway, hitting the button that automatically opens the rear door, and just like that, he’s off – climbing up into his seat, waving goodbye to me, struggling to disentangle himself from the straps of his “pack-pack.”

He returns to me, eleven long hours later, crumbs from lunch and a daily report crammed into the bottom of his Thomas bag.  His babbles on about Mac and Hayden and the rest of his “peeps,” placing his shoes next to the front door – just like daddy.  He helps set the table for dinner, keeping up a constant stream of chatter all the while, and just basically, grows up a little more each night, right before my eyes.