I've always been a deadline-driven kind of person, hence repeating what happened last year with a late-hour blog post coming in just before midnight. (Sorry mom, it's pretty obvious now that I do not have a future career as a blogger.) Also like last year, I'm typing this up in a hotel room. Much closer to home this time, just a little local weekend getaway and not out in warm and sunny San Diego. Would love to trade the snow away for that again, but at least it means we were able to visit the grave today. Kind of. This is what it looked like right after Christmas.
And this is what it looked like this morning.
The crazy thing is that her area HAS been shoveled and snow-blown this season by friends and family. It's just the snow has been drifting so much that all that work was filled in. When we took the kids this morning, the kids and I stayed in the car while daddy got himself through the trenches of snow to place our balloons for us.
Each of us picked a balloon. I chose purple, daddy chose orange, big sister chose red, and big brother chose green. Unfortunately, my purple popped against the van as we were getting ready to place them. But I was so relieved that it wasn't the red one that it didn't even phase me. The red one popping would have meant a 30-minute round trip to replace it or be faced with dealing with an 8yo's broken heart. I had originally thought we would release the balloons, but I offered that or weighing them down, and she chose to keep them there.
Big brother fell asleep on the way there and is usually cranky when he wakes up from a rare nap, so I prepared myself for that with some chocolate coins from the balloon shop.
Later in the day, I found out someone did go and shovel. So after the kids were picked up for the weekend by grandparents, daddy and I stopped by before the sun went down. Much better!
If we'd had snow like this in 2013, I think we definitely would have waited until spring for burial.
As far as updates since last year... My last time pumping was 8 months, 2 days ago on June 24th, for a total of 16 months. I slowed down gradually since my blog post on May 28th. Skipping a few days at the end was strange, and I really thought I'd end up wanting to try "one more time" after that out of curiosity, but I didn't.
I got a positive pregnancy test on big brother's birthday, July 28, which is actually the day after I posted my last blog post. I have never been an early pregnancy announcer, although I broke that rule with Naomi. I knew I wanted the kids to be some of the first to know, and also know kids can't keep secrets. And I wanted to know for myself if this baby's skull was intact before I had anyone asking me. So we waited until ~11.5 weeks for an ultrasound, where we found out everything looked great, and didn't start announcing publicly until after 13 weeks, in October. One advantage to this is that pregnancy feels a lot shorter when people don't know until you're already in your second trimester. :) We also had a ~20 week ultrasound where everything still looked great, as well as finding out the sex of the baby.
Yes, Naomi is getting a little sister. I'm 35 weeks now and no, we don't have a name picked out yet. We usually have a pretty firm short list by this point, and Naomi had already been named for a couple weeks by now in her pregnancy. Hopefully this changes soon because I'd really prefer some time to dwell on a name and be sure of it before putting it to legal paperwork.
In the picture above is the very first gift this baby got, little soft socks from auntie. The little giraffe is something big sister picked out at the Holiday Shop at her school for Christmas. And the onesie is the first hand-me-down we got this time, from a friend.
Physically, this pregnancy has not been easy on me. It amazes me that I was able to parent and run a household with my husband 3 hours away during Naomi's pregnancy, when I can barely go to the grocery store this time. My already low-levels of housekeeping have dropped even further. I'm seeing a chiropractor regularly and that's helping a lot, but I still just can't do much. The kids are now used to me asking them to pick up something off the floor that's only a step away from me, or that I have to sit down frequently. My midwives say it's not because of being older, but just that subsequent pregnancies get harder on the body. I think it's also that my gaps between pregnancy have gotten shorter each time, and I was really out of shape. I'm actually looking forward to being more physically active after I give birth, which is a first.
I still have a ton of stuff to do to prepare for new baby's arrival. Her dresser is in place with a few clothes in it, and I've purchased the few things we needed (new carseat and stroller). I still need to do a big clothing sort to fill the dresser, wash all the baby gear, and most importantly, make some more space in this house so we have places to put said baby gear. But having done this before, I at least realize that while it's nice to be prepared and ready, it's not a big deal to just wing it if things don't get done. The co-sleeper and carseat can be done in half an hour, and those are the only true necessities.
When I first figured out my due date of April 2nd, it didn't feel that close to February 27th. And I'm sure in other years it still won't. But being 35 weeks and this big, it does feel a lot like February 2013. Thankfully without the norovirus part.
Oh! Almost forgot to share. I have worn the Naomi Grace necklace for two years, but have been thinking it would be nice to have more variety. (Some dear friends actually pooled money for me to pick out some items like this for Naomi's last birthday, and I do finally have some things in mind, but I have not brought it to fruition yet.) So this is what my husband picked out for my birthday, one birthstone for each of my four children. Yes, that is April's stone you see there, but he assures me that he checked and we can swap it out for March's stone easily enough if baby comes early.
Facing the idea of bringing home a living baby is fresh and scary in a new way, different then when I had my first. I'm sure it will remind me of exactly what we missed out on with Naomi in a way that the faint memories of her older siblings don't register. But for now, we stick to what we've been doing for years now - prepare however we can and wait on the rest.
Happy 2nd birthday, Naomi Grace. As your sister wrote on her balloon to you, "we love you and wish you were here. xoxo"