Thursday, December 31, 2009

ringing in 2010

I sit here in my basement, listening to the sounds of the kids playing "pet shops" on the living room floor, happily sipping my warm (sweet and creamy) coffee, sucking the remains of some chocolate off my teeth, waiting for 2010. Bill and I just had a nice cuddle (now he is plugged into WOW for the evening) my belly is full- baby is quiet and for the moment I am comfortable... what a great opportunity to reflect on what the past year has given us, and look forward to what we are yet to receive.

2010 is surely going to begin an amazing adventure for us; with the ever approaching arrival of the baby, things will certainly be changing! I am anxious for the stroke of midnight, the drop of the ball... I am so ready to meet this lovely little boy, but I also have some trepidations... this will be uncharted water for all of us! 2009 was quite an interesting year- with many highs and lows... and when I think about where we have been, where we have come and where we are headed it becomes a bit overwhelming! I think we are ready: the kids are happy and healthy and doing great at school. The critter are all well; Beau seems to be holding his own (thank our lucky stars and knock on wood!) and I am looking forward to riding in the spring! My ankle is healing well, PT is going great and I am getting stronger every day, despite the ever growing abdomen. We are physically ready, financially ready, and hopefully emotionally ready for our new little one and I can't wait to meet him. To see what he has in store for us; to begin this new chapter in our lives. 2010 is shaping up to be a great year.

Beyond the new baby, Bill's Mom and Dad bought back their original home and will be moving back to the farm this spring. My Mom and Dad just purchased a cabin an hour or so North of here- what will prove to be a lovely place for us all to meet for summertime (well, winter too!) fun and relaxation. I hope to be back in the saddle fairly quickly come spring... if baby and ankle allow! I want to revisit Acadia, start some home modifications (another bedroom and bath... maybe a mudroom too?!) and just enjoy time with our family. Remembering to take time with each of the kids individually will be a top priority, but beyond that what 2010 has in store for us is anybodies guess.

Monday, December 28, 2009

37 weeks

Today marks the 37th week of our pregnancy, and brings me to 3 weeks from my due date (Jan 18th) and I sure do feel pregnant today! I have a bit of an ache in my back, and my feet are killing me! Ok, so I've also been off my crutches for a full week now, and that might be part of the feet problem... I did quite a bit of putzing around the house today too, sorting thru our bedroom and putting away our Christmas gifts, cleaning and doing laundry etc. So, maybe I just over did it. Either way, my belly is big... my ankles and feet are too and I think he may be getting a little lower. My physical therapist (whom I have been seeing 3xs a week) asked if I felt like he was heading downward- she thought my belly looked lower today. I have an OB apt tomorrow and will ask about some aches and pains I have been developing; but I am pretty confident that we still have a while longer to go. He has been stuck right up under my right ribs for a while now, and while he may be a bit lower in his jabbing, I can still feel him quite high up... not that I have anything to relate this to, but something tells me he isn't ready yet! We have our final birthing class Wednesday night, I have his bag packed for the hospital but not mine. I keep putting it off, as I don't have a good suitcase to use, or enough stuff to put things in and not use them for what could be 3 or more weeks. I got a few more things for Christmas (the next size in our cloth diaper stash and a play mat- thanks Mom!) and feel pretty good about being ready. The car seat needs to go into the car, and there is the bag to pack, but otherwise I'm feeling pretty ready!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Christmas came to our house yesterday! There were three very happy and excited kiddos around these parts... We had a wonderful (all-be-it long) day! I have learned a thing of two over the years, and thus they were told 7am was the magic hour. They were welcome to get up at any point, however they couldn't wake ANYBODY (siblings or parents) until 7am. About 5:20 or so the first of the little feet began to pitter patter over my head, and bless their little hearts they fed the horses and just ogled the piles without touching anything! Around 6:30 I started to rouse Bill, and he was awake enough at 7 when they came down to get up without grumbling. A first as far as I can remember! I'll have to do this again next year as it worked out very well for us, the kids were just about bursting with excitement and Bill was much happier! I had set up the coffee pot, so it just needed to be switched on and the horses had their breakfast and we were ready to go... Santa was good to us; the stockings and tree were loaded!
Clearly a major highlight of our Christmas was Olivia's big gift. Bill and I got her a cell phone... she has been pestering us for one, assuring us she "needs" it... and we agreed that the time was right- Kids and technology. sheeze! She was certainly thrilled. We got her a very nice touch screen model and added her to our plan- so she can make calls and text and we will go from there. I had the grand idea to hide the box among the gifts (I fully charged it, wrapped it last second and left it turned on) and then ring it under the tree. I thought we could have her squirm for a while and ring it a few rounds before she found it, but Billy guessed the box right away and she opened it among her first gifts! She was one happy girl~ Bill on the other hand is a bit jealous. He thinks her phone is nicer than his...
The phone was a big deal for Olivia but I got spoiled too! Bill got me the most amazing gift, and I felt a bit badly as we said we weren't going to do presents for each other- you know how this goes... but, with the financial stress of the season as well as baby expenses, we really didn't need to do extravagant things for each other... we really have all that we need. I did mention though, that before the baby comes there are a few things I want... a new camera (a nice SLR please!!) and a new head for our central vacuum... Well Mr. Houston listened and spoiled me terribly. He presented me with a lovely new Canon EOS and I couldn't have been more excited! We had fun playing with it, and some of these shots were taken once I figured it out... I am so happy to have a nice camera to record the baby with! I love my Easyshare, and have not had much trouble with it... I just really wanted an upgrade. For sure, an unnecessary expense, but man oh man... I sure am one lucky lady! And, to boot- I got him bedroom slippers.... sigh.
Savanna got a new camera too, and a docking station for her i-pod. Auntie Anna passed her her "old" phone to use until the contract expires so she was pretty happy at the end of the day. She also got clothes and some toys- Wii stuff and an easy bake oven plus some other goodies too. Billy got a new bike, a few DSI games he has been coveting and was the major impudence behind an X-box 360 (which is for the family, but was something he asked for) and a few games for it. He got pokeman cards, spy gear and a nerf set/game as well as some "constructable" gifts: legos and erector sets, playmobile. Olivia got her phone and a drafting table as her major gifts. She got some great art supplies and clothes too. A few computer and Wii games and she was pretty stoked with her gifts. All in all, we were all spoiled and treated to all the things we really wanted and had a great day with family around.
We opened as a family in the morning, then Bill's Mom and Dad and sister/brother in law arrived for a yummy brunch. We had round 2 of gifts with them and cleaned the living room for a second time! Then later in the afternoon my parents and sister/brother in law and nephews arrived for round 3! We had some munchies opened AGAIN and picked up paper and boxes AGAIN then all packed into the car and headed up the street for a lovely dinner at Anna and Ed's. Bill's sister Anna just redid her upstairs, including kitchen/dining/living room and we had a very nice meal there with both sides of our family. Even Bill's farther afield sister Krista and his brother-in-law Brad made it from Mass. It made for a long day (especially for my Mom who worked nights at the hospital Christmas Eve.) but the kids were great, and we made it thru without a meltdown! I was so impressed!
I love Christmas and in my opinion today marks the countdown until next year... I get so excited at the opportunity to spoil the kids and love watching them light up as they get all the things they really don't think they could possibly get. Today Savanna is a bit run down and fighting a bug... but otherwise we are just playing with our new stuff; enjoying the gifts of the season. It is such a nice treat to have a restful relaxing day to recover and relish in the love and generosity of our family and friends! Now we can start anticipating next year, and now the baby countdown really begins!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Well, I think it is official. We have decided on Benjamin Jack Houston. I think that Olivia, Savanna, Billy and Ben sounds nice, and really like the way it all flows. Bill is still requesting that we wait and see him for the final call- He wants to retain the right to change back to Westley (or Wesley) if he has red hair. Bill has a feeling he may be redheaded, and in that case he thinks Wes will suit him better. But for now, Ben it is!

Christmas tree '09

Getting the tree- as far as I am concerned, walking out into the tree farm and scouring the snow for the perfect shape and size is among the best parts of the process. I certainly remember tagging and cutting our trees as kids, and hope that these kiddos fondly remember the "hikes" thru the snow and such. I remember the year Bill felled the tree onto Olivia and I watched as she was "leveled" by the falling tree! We laughed about it on the way out to get our tree this year, and I was sad to have to stay in the truck. You never know what might happen out there!
We cut our tree from a small local farm across the street from my friend Linda's home. Beau and I (and Sonny once too I think) have trail ridden thru this farm and although I don't pay too much attention to them, we have ridden among the Christmas trees. So, in that respect I felt "connected" to our tree in a way I never have before. Bill and the kids did a great job picking one out... its a bit "thin" with spare branches and an uneven shape- but it has tons of character, and I think they got us a good one!
The girls helped Bill set it up, while I rested in the recliner. The did a great job, and we are enjoying the new spot Olivia picked out. We moved the bookcase, and will use this space for the baby's pack-n-play after the holiday. It is a bit close to the stove, but we are careful to water every day and it is doing great! I was afraid it might get too dry... but we have been really lucky- that's the difference with a fresh tree. Plus the change is furniture is fun for the kids, and I am enjoying it too, now that the recliner has been moved back into a usable position.
The kids did a great job decorating. Olivia strung the lights, and we all helped with the balls and ornaments. Grandma and Grandpa Houston arrived just as we were finishing up, and we were all able to enjoy the glow after the sun went down. I sure do love the shimmer and shine of all the Christmas decorations.
Bill is always a bit "bah-hum-bug" with the tree- and he was annoyed with me stressing him out about the horses, so this was his view. I think he put one ornament on at the very end after Savanna begged him! He drank coffee, took pictures and just let us enjoy the process. I had to do most of my work from my rolling desk chair- but all in all the tree came out great!

I'm sure like anything, beauty is in the eye of the beholder- but I think it is lovely. It has all of our family ornaments and colored lights and balls, and plenty of candy canes! I wonder what the tree will look like next year?! I suppose with an 11 month old, there will be far fewer balls at ground level!

4th grade Chorus Concert

Savanna had the opportunity to join either (or both) Chorus or Band this year. She opted to sing and we were so proud of her for picking it up, and sticking with it... she really enjoys music, and we knew she would do well... but it meant giving up a few recess periods and going to practices etc. She did great, practicing at home and really being involved at school.
This past Monday was their holiday concert- I didn't get any good shots of them up on the risers singing, but Olivia managed to snap a few of her waiting. She wore her holiday outfit (well shirt and necklace) from last year with brown leggings and the high heeled brown boots she has been coveting of Kate's. Kate is such a great friend... she gave them to Savanna for Christmas, and our little singer was thrilled to wear them to her concert! The kids were great- they sang beautifully. I know I am biased, but Savanna and Kate were in the front row right in the middle and sang their little hearts out! I think we have a Tony award winner in the making- she ate the audience right up, and was all smiles and swayed to the music. I love the sounds of little voices ringing in the season, and Savanna and her chorus made it extra special this year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sibling Class

Even though these kids are "older" and pretty experienced at being brothers/sisters, I wanted them to have the full experience with this new baby. So, last night they went to sibling class! Well, actually it wasn't really a class- a private run thru for them as we had to miss the class Monday (Billy's concert) night. They did diapering and dressing, got to see the hospital rooms and all the equipment and watched a pretty lame video. I think the usual brother/sisters they get are much younger, but Savanna for one was very excited to have HER class... since Daddy and I go to ours all the time! They made cute fleece blankets for the baby and hopefully got their questions answered and a sense of comfort with the hospital and birthing unit. One more event down, and another day closer to bringing him home!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2nd grade Holiday Concert

There is nothing like 200 K-2nd graders singing jingle bells to get you in the Holiday mood!
Monday was Billy's Christmas concert- the school and music teacher do such a nice job putting on an evening of holiday cheer. The kids were all so cute in their Christmas outfits, and we love to watch Billy interact with his peers and perform up on stage! This will be his last year in the "little" kids concert- next year he will be in the 3-5th grade group! Savanna is in the chorus in 4th grade and we will attend her concert next week, but there really isn't anything else like the sound of so many little voices to make my heart swell for the season!

It's Off!

Monday morning I had my follow up at the Orthopedics's office. I was thrilled when they took the hard cast off- even before x-ray! On film the ankle looked great- there is quite a bit of hard wear, I was impressed with how it all looked from the inside. Based on the great level of healing, and the support of all that metal the Dr. suggested we skip the air boot and get right to walking!
Since I only have 6 weeks until my due date, that was fine with me! This way we get right on to weight bearing, and hopefully I'll be walking without the crutches in a few weeks, and by January will maybe be feeling back to normal! For now though... it's pretty ugly!
The whole limb is massively swollen and looks pretty icky... not maybe as bad as it could, but still pretty gross with dead skin and such. I took the liberty of soaking in 3 tubs full of hot water before I took these, so you wont be too disgusted! The swelling is such that the leg has no real definition, it's quite alarming sometime to look down at it! The scar (in my opinion- having no other scars) is pretty impressive, and will likely be visible even after the healing is complete. Oh well, battle scars and good stories- I'll have them both!
The top of my foot, and heel are a pretty purple and red combination, while the incision site is still pretty red too. The edema should go down in a few weeks, especially if I am able to slowly start to work it. Small steps for now, with the crutches or pushing a chair ahead of me... 2 weeks or so and hopefully I can go unassisted... then a few more weeks for strength and flexibility... then it will be baby carrying time! For now I'm doing what I can, resting when I need and trying to avoid meds. We are doing well so far, and although there is some pretty significant discomfort I'm working thru and can't wait to be back on my feet full time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First real snowfall

Given that I can't venture out, I'd have to guess we got about 5 inches of fluffy white powder over the course of the afternoon and evening yesterday- it was our first measurable amount and has really added to the festive mood! I hate the thought of a brown Christmas, so while this will not likely last, it gives me hope for the holiday!
All of the kids were anxious to be out and enjoying the first snowfall of the season, Billy and Savanna played quite a while this morning, and then after her BFF Kate arrived Savanna and she headed back out for an afternoon romp! Otis was extremely glad for the snow- as it was cause for a good deal of outside time! I had forgotten about wet snow suits and soggy mittens, snowballs in dog fur and pads, slippery tiles around the doors and melting puddles across the house... but I have to admit, that even with all of that, I'm glad for the snow! Plus, there is so much to be said for rosy red cheeks, tales of snowball fights and mugs of hot cocoa. Welcome winter!

Getting Ready

Tomorrow will mark the 34th week of our pregnancy. My girlfriend Kelley and her hubby Geoff will welcome their little boy this week (her high blood pressure is cause for an induction... not the original plan, but necessary for a happy mom, happy baby) at their 37 week mark... prompting me to "get serious" about getting ready. I hope that between this week and next we can accomplish the rest of the prep we have left....
Top on this list is the assembly of quite a number of items: a super cute swing from Auntie Anna and Uncle Eddie, our new (had to return the original...wouldn't carry an infant seat) stroller from Grandma and Grandpa Houston as well as the car seat and pack-n-play my Mom and Dad got us. Bill better get busy- this pile of boxes is blocking our dressers!
We have piles and heaps of toys and odds and ends that need to be "homed." I can tell this little one is going to take over our lives with his stuff! Its already crowded and he's not even here yet!
His dresser arrived on Thanksgiving (thanks Mom and Dad) and is all set up and filled with clothes and blankets. His changing pads are covered and ready to go. I have a lot of arranging to do, and there is still quite a bit I'm not sure what to do with, but I know we will sort it all out once we get to actual use the things. Heaps and piles- that's how it looks for now, but I'd better get going... my goal is to have all of this out of the way before we get too much closer to Christmas... I want to be ready in the event that we "go" early (as Kelley is having to do) and also I want to be able to relax (as best I can- this belly is starting to get in my way!) and enjoy the holiday before the baby madness begins!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Parade

Our Junior troop took the opportunity today to exhibit in the local Holiday Parade... Our town had a tree lighting, but no parade, so we went to the next town over, and rocked the parade! The girls took first place in the youth division! I was so proud of them. They worked very hard to design, plan and decorate their float, they were all so well behaved and festive in action and spirit.
The Parade theme was "Christmas in the Future" and the idea for our float was "respect the earth now for green Christmas's in the future" They decorated with mostly recycled materials with a silver "futuristic" color scheme. They had a big robot decorating a tree made of soda cans. They also had 2 big piles of boxes wrapped as well as recycle items made into decorations on the sides of the float. Instead of handing out candy they passed out little baggies of bird seed. I think the spin on the theme impressed the judges, and we were very happy to get a big trophy our first year in the parade.
The girls were thrilled with the "win" and really seemed to have fun walking/riding the route. I was a spotter in the truck as Bill drove- I wish I could have walked, but there is always next year right?! To boot, we were blessed with the first real snowfall of the season which "made" the parade... we had a slight dusting a few weeks back, but are getting our first measurable snowfall today. The parade, and the weather have really put me in the mood... maybe decorations tomorrow?!