In the spirit of being a little overwhelmed and sleep deprived, I am once again way behind on the announcement of Nathan's birth. So, here goes:
Nathan Thomas Culler entered our lives early in the morning (12:57am) on Wednesday, July 1st. He weighed in at a hefty 7 lbs and 15 oz and was 21 inches long. He started his life with a healthy cry immediately. He has very lush, black hair and even had to get it combed in the nursery during his first bath!
We are totally fixated on him. His big brother, Jack, is OBSESSED with him. Jack loves being a big brother, holding his little brother, and helping to take care of him. Stay tuned for more posts to follow.
Yesterday, we went to the Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo. This is part of the week that I'm calling "Jack's Extravaganza", as this is his last hurrah before the new baby arrives. This is one whole week dedicated to Jack and all of the things that he wants to do. Stay tuned...Saturday we're going to take him to the races at Angola Speedway.
We visited the newly opened (on June 6th) section called the African Safari. It was amazing and you felt like you were in the bush on a safari. We saw monkeys, zebras, lions, and giraffes. Looking back on it, I wish we would have paid the money to have Jack feed the giraffe a lettuce leaf, but there's always next time when we visit in the fall with our friends, the Saris'.
Of course, Jack's favorite part was not the monkeys, lions, or zebras in the African Zone or the rainforest area in the Indonesian Zone. No, predictably my child enjoyed the part called "Indiana Farms", which involved normal farm animals, John Deere tractors (huge suprise), and goats that you could feed and brush. His favorite part: the goats. That is, after he got over the fact that one really hungry one tried to eat both his hat off his head and his t-shirt!
Yesterday was our official 20 week'ish ultrasound. (I am actually 22 weeks today.) All baby systems looked good: spinal cord is "beautiful" according to the technician, two arms and two legs, functioning kidneys and bladder, and the skull looks normal.
The baby is 1 pound and is in the 41 st percentile for growth. At 21 weeks and 6 days (calculated by my ob), the baby is measuring 22 weeks and 1 day. We're right on track for growth and development.
Then the money question....what is the gender???? Mother's intuition once again failed me. My ob's prediction failed me. My mom's prediction failed me. Yes, we are having another one...a BOY!!!!! Claire (the dog) and I are soon to be outnumbered by testosterone and raised toilet seats. All in all, kind of lucky for me because I couldn't create a french braid to save my life!!
Now we have some direction for working on a name---our next hurdle. Any suggestions?
Last night we got back from our week-long trip to St. Thomas. Jack went along this year and we had a great time. We stayed in a villa (condo), which is much more tolerable with children than a traditional hotel room due to two bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, and full kitchen. This vacation was much less of a disaster than Mexico two years ago with a standard hotel room, a six month old in a crib, and Ben and I in bed by 8:30 with all the lights turned off and the TV on so low you can even hear it!
As it turns out, our boy is a "Beach Boy", as he calls himself. He LOVED the beach and sand. Given the choice between picking the pool or beach, he always went with the beach. We also rented a Jeep Wrangler which he LOVED. With the windows pulled off the side, he could have the wind blowing through his hair and still be outside. He's requesting that we buy one back at home...
It was interesting and entertaining to spend a solid week with him. Last summer we took a week here at home to spend it at the lake with him, but we always have some sort of family around and we probably hired a teenage babysitter for a night so we could go out to dinner. Not this vacation....it was pure Mommy, Daddy, and Jack uninterrupted time. Some of the things that he says are hilarious. Ben and I have to laugh behind our hands so he doesn't see our reactions, as that eggs him on. Some of the things that he does are downright infuriating. I guess you have to take the good with the bad...
This was a great vacation...but a different vacation. Better than the Mexico fiasco. Better than last year when we left him with Mimi and Pop and went by ourselves because we missed him terribly. One thing we've learned and talked about extensively is that a vacation with your kids is not really relaxing. You always have to be on your game. We were up by 6:30 Island Time every morning (5:30 here before the time change). You don't sit in a lounger, sip a drink, and immerse yourself in a good book. You spend the time running after your kid, saying "don't do that", and playing with them. Great vacation, but I may be more tired than when I left! One bonus...our unit had full laundry facilities, so no dirties when we got home. The laundry queen can retire for a few days:)
Do you ever wonder where your kids come up with some of the things that they say? Do you wonder who they're telling your business to? It seems that I have a child who not only likes to chat, but sometimes embellishes stories too.
So, Jack and I are hanging out at my parents one afternoon last week after I got off work. He and I are both laying on the floor talking to them. He said to me, "Mimi, mommy, mimi, I mean Mommy". (He gets my mom's and my names mixed up sometimes.) So, I asked him what my real name is. He said, "Mommy". I then asked him what my real, first name was. He couldn't remember. My mom asked if my first name was Ben, Tom, or Bryan. He replied no to all three.
My mom then told him that she would give him a hint. She asked the million dollar question, "What does your Daddy call your Mommy?" (Meanwhile, I'm thinking "oh, crap!" on this one. I knew that it would be a wild card on what would come out of his mouth.) Sure enough, he didn't disappoint. His reply was an emphatic, "Sugar!".
Now, anyone who knows Ben knows that he would NEVER call me Sugar. I don't know where this kid gets it...I suppose Sugar is more complimentary than some of the other things he could have come up with...
Come to find out that earlier that day he told my parents that Ben kisses me on the lips and then demonstrated it. Needless to say, I rushed home to tell Ben the whole story in a very hushed voice and then read him the riot act about watching what he says AND does. Even when you don't think Jack's paying attention, the little sponge is absorbing EVERYTHING! You never know who he's going to tell it to, and when he does, it could be a bit embellished or skewed!
Today Jack and I checked out his preschool for next year. He will be attending the older three's class which meets three days a week starting the day after Labor Day. Jack's favorite part of the tour was not the classrooms and all the talk about the learning opportunities, but the full-sized gymnasium and the large outdoor play area with tons of playground equipment! We are very excited to get him started in his big boy school and I think that he is too! The one hang up is that he REALLY wants to ride the bus. First of all, no bus service is offered to preschool. Second, I would NOT put my three year old on a bus. He doesn't care though...in his mind, big kids ride buses and any of you that know Jack know that he THINKS he is a big kid!
I can't believe how involved preschool is! I was reading the Parent Handbook this afternoon. We have an ice cream social in August, 2 parent-teacher conferences during the year, and field trips (where he has to wear his special shirt that is issued to him ahead of time).
Don't get me wrong...I think that sending him to preschool is probably the best thing that we can do at this point. Until the end of last November, he was the only grandchild on both sides and, of course, our only child as well. His life is about to change dramatically with the addition of our new baby and by spending more time with Quinn (aka "Cookie") and Christopher this summer. I have to say, I wonder how the time has passed us by so quickly...I'm feeling a little sad to be sending my little man off to spend time elsewhere. It's funny to realize that he's going to have a life outside of our little family. I know that this sounds totally silly...but I can kind of sympathize with Moms who experience the empty nest syndrome when their kids go off to college. I know he's not moving 2 hours away, but the other side of Fremont is far enough for now!
I have to brag about my son...It's now been three nights (tonight is number 4) that he's gone to bed in his big boy underwear and not had any accidents. I hesitate to go on about this, as I am paranoid that I will jinx the whole thing. Tonight, he is wearing his new Mickey Mouse/ Donald Duck PJ's that he got as a big reward for being such a big boy. When did my little boy grow up and become a little man????? It seems like just yesterday that he was a baby!
As an update, I have been asking Jack if he wants a brother or sister. Each time his reply is, "Just a baby, Mommy!". Maybe it's a good lesson for all of us that we shouldn't be so obsessed with gender, but rather health and well-being.
I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, and confidante. I am loyal to those who I care about and opinionated when it matters. I feel that my life is pretty mapped out for me, but the occasional blip on the radar sometimes trips me up. Like all other mothers, I am trying to make the best decisions for not only my child, but my family...sometimes successful and sometimes not. Live and learn!