Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Guess It's Time for the Official Announcement

I posted this on Facebook a few days ago:

It seemed about time to make the official announcement.  I haven't mentioned it here on the blog yet, either, but (I think) most of the people who read this are family and have known about it for awhile.  For those who haven't...surprise!  

We actually kept this one a secret for quite a while.  Most of the family knew.  But only a friend or two knew about the pregnancy until about 16 weeks when I got tired of starting to look like I was getting fat for no reason.  So we started telling people.  But it's not an easy thing to bring up in conversation!

I had the 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday.  They did one of the level 2 ones because I'm "elderly".  Thankfully, the baby seems to be perfect so far.  They checked for Down's Syndrome, club feet, cleft palates, etc.  Combined with some blood work they did a few weeks ago, it appears that I'm at a super-low risk for any defects or abnormalities.   Which is a huge relief.     

And, thankfully, IT'S A GIRL!!!  We will have equal numbers!  Hooray!  Which is good because this one will be the last.  Mea came along to the ultrasound with me because she was so excited to find out.  And she's been telling everyone since about how she's going to have a sister.
 This little girl was a bit of a stinker during the ultrasound.  She kept her legs crossed for a good portion of the ultrasound, so we didn't find out until the end of the session (almost an hour long) that she was a girl.  And she kept criss-crossing her arms in front of the face, which was frustrating the technician--she needed a good picture of the face to rule out the cleft palate.  She also needed good pictures of the heart and brain, but was having difficulties getting those as well.  This little girl just wasn't holding still at all.  A lot of the pictures were a little fuzzy from all the movement, just like this one:

 Just out of curiosity--am I the only one who finds ultrasounds painful?  They push so hard!  I find it with all ultrasounds, not just this one.  But no one else seems to complain about it.

Overall this pregnancy hasn't been too difficult.  Granted, I was sicker during the first trimester than I have been with all the others.  I threw up more with this one than the others combined.  But once I hit the 13 week mark, it has been smooth sailing.  It's crazy to compare it with Davin's pregnancy, where at this point, I had already been on bed rest for 2 months, but was finally able to get up and move.

The due date for this one is Nov 2, but with my tendency to have babies that come early, I'm guessing it will be born sometime in October.  But who knows--maybe she'll tease me and be late.  What's funny about her due date is that Evan will be out of town from the 1st-5th of November, presenting all his research at a conference where he will also be meeting with recruiters from universities for potential jobs, and possibly even having a few impromtu interviews.  So it's not something he can miss.  So lets hope this girl is either early or really late!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Break, Week 1

(Don't be deceived by the title. I certainly won't be giving a week-by-week play of the summer!)

Goodbye 4th and 1st grade!  Hello summer:
We have some plans for the summer, but this first week was kind of up in the air.  Spencer starts summer camp with his best friend next week, every day 9:30-3:30.  It's an outdoor survival camp.  And Mea has swim lessons every day for the next month starting next week.  But this week was looming empty.  

I noticed that some of the museums downtown Chicago were free to Illinois residents this week, so I braced myself for crowds and stress and took the kids to the Field Museum on Monday.  It's a natural history museum, and we walked through a good number of exhibits.  I didn't take many pictures, but here's a few of the hall of birds (Mea's favorite area):
 And the Native American exhibit:
 Davin was a terror (and I forgot the leash), so even Spencer and Mea were done chasing him around after just a few hours.  I'm not a huge museum person, especially when they are expensive as the museums around here.  But for free...sure, I'll take the kids.  We had fun and I'm glad we had the experience of going, but there's no need to go back.

Tuesday was the first day of our new summer electronics program.  I was getting really sick of the old system (25 minutes reading for 20 minutes electronics, 25 minutes math for 20 more minutes of electronics, repeat, repeat).  So the new one requires a variety of 9 things to be done before any electronics, with a maximum of 2 hours of electronics per day, which I think is plenty for the summer.  The nine things include:
1)  make bed
2)  straighten room (meaning nothing can be on the floor)
3)  1 chore of mom's choosing
4)  15 minutes playing with Davin
5)  20 minutes creative time (legos, origami, drawing, painting, crafts, etc)
6)  20 minutes reading
7)  20 minutes math
8)  20 minutes exercise
9)  10 minutes music practice

All items are self-directed and self-timed.  If I catch them cheating, then no electronics for 3 days.  As of right now, they keep track on this chart:
 Items "to do" are on the left side, "completed" are on the right.  I plan to make a more permanent system of keeping track, but this is working so far.  And so is the program!  The kids aren't grumbling about having to earn it, and they like having the 2 hour block of electronics all at once.  So far it's definitely a win-win!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were a variety of playdates, earning electronics, playing electronics, trips to the park and gym, swimming, etc.  And all with Evan gone from morning until about 8 pm doing grading (his last set of grading to do as a grad student, ever).  It's been exhausting.  But everyone has had fun.  And the one who's had the most fun is Davin:
 He has LOVED having his brother and sister home all day to play.  And to keep him happy at the gym.
 Friday was another free day at the Adler Planetarium, another museum downtown that we had yet to visit.  So off we went.
 Don't ask me why this was at the planetarium, but it was Davin's favorite area:

 Driving the x-mover:
 After all the other museums we've been to, the planetarium was just "meh".  I'm sure it would've been better if we had paid money to watch the films, but I wasn't about to do that with Davin.  We definitely don't need to go back.  At least it was free.

But then we were greeted by this, once again, on the way home:
 Have I mentioned how much I hate cities and traffic??  One more year...

Also this week, a raccoon decided he liked our back porch.  We saw him almost daily (he's on the picnic table in the background):

In some unrelated news, we finally broke down and bought a "real" lawnmower.  For the past 4 years we have been using a non-powered push mower.  It worked okay, the blades were sharp.  But the problem was that it didn't suck up the grass and cut it; it just sort of pushed it over and cut some of it.  So we had to make at least 2 passes over each section of grass just to get a decent cut.  And it was too hard for Spencer to help with (something he should be doing as a 10 year old!).  So Evan started pricing electric mowers, and I said no way!  I spent all my growing up years watching the neighbor boy across the street struggle with the stupid power cord on their electric mower.  So I told Evan that if we were going to buy a real mower, we may as well go all out and buy a gas-powered one with a self-propelled mechanism.  Then Spencer would have no excuse for it being too hard!  (And Evan, too--he hates mowing the lawn).  We bought a refurbished one online for a pretty good deal.  And so far, so good:
 It's amazing how much better the lawn looks being cut with a real mower!  And it was even able to cut through our 6" long lawn, something that would've taken about 4 passes with our old push mower.