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Monday, December 31, 2007

Our Giant Mailbox

Ella's lovely new rice table

We need more rice...

Ella in her brand spankin' new, princess sleeping bag and rockin' tutu

Our smily little girl

This morning, Ella decided that we should go down to the basement and build a "rice table." Down we went to check out what spectacular materials we might have that we could assemble such a thing. I love my toys, I mean tools, and enjoy creating whatever my imagination should grasp hold of at 2:00 a.m. So, those of you who know me best know well that I am a shameless wood scrap collector. I will keep just about anything. Don't laugh, I've conjured many a useful item out of wood scraps. Look at our corner shelves in the living room that hold our surround sound speakers, or Ella's book shelf and closet rod in her bedroom, or the kid table and chairs in the living room. The list goes on. And you never know when your 3 year old might decide that she needs a rice table, "just like the one at preschool."

Anyhow, Ella and I set out the find just the right scraps for a rice table when she asked, "What's that giant mailbox for?" I looked around, hunting for the giant mailbox. "Do you mean that blue tote?" "No," she responded, and pointing to the corner, exclaimed "that giant mailbox over there!" I followed her gesture, and wouldn't you know it, we hold our oil in a giant mailbox.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Resolution

Maya & Auntie Krick on Christmas Eve

Dancing with Santa

Reading The Night Before Christmas with Gram

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve

I think that we are finally ready to assert a wholehearted effort to keep our blog updated more frequently. The holiday season has certainly added an element to our already crazy schedule of daily events. It's a tight ship we run. Family and friends have commented, "You guys are always on the go," and "You are all getting very efficient at this," referring to our ever-improving time to get both kids ready, packed and in the van when it's time to go. Suz and I often look at the clock when we buckle our seat belts and boast, "Well, we're getting closer and closer to the scheduled time of departure." I think we've actually been in the van and moving on schedule a couple of times. This is quite a feat. We set extremely high expectations of ourselves, considering our assertive 3 year old who likes to move on her time frame and our no-kind-of-a-schedule infant. We always tended to pack a lot into our days and we haven't really tempered that down, despite the 2 additional family members.

After watching how much our friend, Emilie, can get done (including daily blog entries, complete with pictures) and still remain "calm as a cucumber," I have decided that we also can accomplish this feat (at least more frequent than 2 a month). For a really funny account of a gingerbread/snowman cupcake making party with our kids (we promise you will laugh) visit Emilie's site:

So, our Christmas resolution shall be to keep our friends and family better informed of our mishaps, accomplishments and general well-being. Entertainment can be found everywhere in our lives right now. Why not share it?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santas or Scrooges?

Check out the emerging dimples....

Sandi and I are working away toward Winter Wonderland (but sometimes in what feels a bit like Winter-can-I-please-get-a-Valium Land). Yesterday we went Christmas shopping with the kids (attempt number 3) and we stupidly took Ella to Toys-R-Us (also know as store of Kiddie Crack) and thought she would be okay if we let her play with just a couple of things to tide her toy hunger through the store. Then Sandi checked out (with the secretly purchased gift for Ella) and I took the crying Maya in her carrier and attempted to take Ella. In a last ditch effort to stay in what she calls "Elmo's House", she started to cry for Sandi. Now, if any of you were at the Bangor Toys-R-Us Wednesday around 11 am and heard the screams, I can now set the story straight. Taking Ella out of the store screaming "MOMMY! MOMMY!" for Sandi wasn't an attempted kidnapping on my part, it was just a mom trying to prevent her daughter from seeing her future Christmas present. So there I was, Maya's carrier in the crook of my arm, and Ella being fireman-carried out of Toys-Be-Damned and all the while I am thinking, "forget the princess computer- how about a labotomy." (Of course, in true three-year-old fashion, as soon as Sandi came out and we headed for the car she began screaming "MOMMA! I WANT MOMMA!" and proceeded to have a tantrum complete with shudder sobs, full snot and screaming in the car, "Just talk to me Momma! Talk to me!" as we ignored her antics.)

Maya is 7 weeks old now and has changed her look dramatically. She is sweet and adorable and has just started to really smile (a substantial reward for late nights and long crying jags when her tummy won't settle. Who ever thought one dimply, open mouthed grin would be enough for all the grunt work of motherhood?) If Maya had a Native name it would be Baby-Who-Needs-No-Sleep. This chick can stay awake longer than Ella- no joke. Yesterday, Maya made it a whopping 10 hours with no sleep -from 1 pm until 11 pm. It is as though she gets so overtired she cannot physically fall asleep. Ella continues to dote on her like a mother hen sometimes and other times she wants to see what Maya is really made of -there was one instance of Ella testing her bicep/forearm strength by squeezing Maya's hand until she screamed. Picture Ella with a timer, squeezing for all she's worth, and thinking, "Wow, this baby can really take it!" or "Ten more seconds 'till I break her!"

So as you might imagine, we are vacillating somewhere between bliss and misery here in this Christmas season. Luckily, it is mostly the former now that our Christmas baking and delivering is finished, presents are bought (although not wrapped) and we actually start our various Christmas celebrations this weekend. Perhaps what tipped the scales more toward the bliss end of the spectrum is that yesterday we got the best possible news we could have gotten. Now, I know you may be thinking that one of my top two current dreams had been realized- 1.) the installation of a dishwasher since I have come to despise doing the piles of dishes that mounts every second of everyday or 2.) that Mary Poppins taught me that nifty trick with the snapping of fingers and magical cleaning (I am not ashamed to admit I fantasize about having this skill often- a minimum of 10 times per day). No it wasn't one of these but we did find out that Sandi's claim for short-term disability, which she was denied, had been reconsidered and approved! This means that the unpaid portion of her leave (which we are in now) will actually be paid. What a relief for us! It just took some faith and hardcore letter writing for them to see the error of their ways (bribing and threatening would have been next.)

I will close with some of Ella's latest:

"Mommy I'm flooded." - in response to choking on her drink.

"Where am I?" - a question posed when her turtleneck was stuck over her head.

"I can't hear myself!" - this is a common one and a favorite of ours that she says when Maya cries in the car.

"Dashing through the snows..." -her rendition of jingle bells.

"I need my height shoes." - what she calls her plastic dress-up high heels.

"Watch out that the stinkin' dog doesn't get outside!" - a warning to Sandi about Mochy's constant attempt at a last minute escape as we leave the house.

"If Santa could bring me a Belle dress and a Cinderella dress, my princess clothes would be complete." - her Christmas wish list.

"I don't want to ask one more time." - a comment directed toward me as a punishment, I believe, for saying this to her.

And my personal favorite:

Me: "Ella did you poop?" (I won't get into it but potty training is non-existent)
Ella: "No."
Me: "Well I smell poop."
Ella: "Nope. That's just Mochy's breath."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Comedy Show

The other day Ella woke up at what seemed like an excessively early hour. I told her as much and she said, "It isn't even thirty o'clock yet."

Sometimes we lovingly refer to Maya as a little skunk. Last night we were driving in the car and Ella said to us, "There's a crying skunk back here."

On this same outing, on the return trip, Maya was again crying in the car (honestly, why do we even bother to go out?) and Ella said, "I can't hear myself! I can't hear myself!" I hear you Ella- that is how I feel most days!

Ella screamed about 90% of the time we were in the grocery store a few days ago. It was lovely. She lost many of her privileges and kept up with the carrying on anyway. When we were almost finished, and were rounding the dairy section, she said, "I'm sorry Momma." I said, "Thank you Ella." She said, "Can I have my treats now?" You've gotta give it to her for trying...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ella's latest

Ella has been enjoying her new found freedom as of late. Whereas most toddlers find themselves in some dicey situations with their want to touch and reach and explore everything, we have always marveled (and celebrated) Ella's relatively mild level of curiosity that begs kids to climb onto, taste, open and generally experience basic objects and household items. We are paying for it now.

Ella is into everything. Nothing is safe- even if it is nailed down. She is the busiest busybody. Today, she got into her gummy vitamins. You must understand her level of adoration for these gelatinous bears. She can have two a day, morning and night, but that doesn't stop her for asking either Sandi or myself for one, whichever mom didn't give it to her, when she has barely swallowed the gooey mass. Well, today, she took the bottle off the counter and opened it (I thought I had secured the child safe top but apparently, with all things these days, I had not completed the task and given it the needed extra half turn of the top.) She took it in the living room (think: into her private lair) and proceeded to eat the rest of the bottle. She told Tia, "I think I ate too many vitamins." You think? The pediatricians office and Poison Control concur that she will live.

The other day I told Ella that Sandi would be getting her up from her nap instead of me (which is our routine and any deviation sets her orbit adrift). I was testing her to see if she remembered - before I left her room I asked, "Who is going to be getting you up from your nap?" She answered with a snappy, "The lady feeding the baby."

When Ella finished her bath the other night, she told me she needed to use the potty (you might think my jubilation about this event that normally occurs in her pants might be the point of this story but, rest assured, there is more.) She sat down (and actually went!) and then told me she was done. I wiped her and took her off the potty and said, "Go out and see Mommy." She said, "I can't." I said, "Ella, please go out and see Mommy. I'll be right out." She said, "I can't! There's something in my butt!" I spun her around and sure enough there was the wad of toilet paper I had neglected to push all the way through. Poor bugger. These are the moms she's got right now.

We have been working toward decorating for Christmas including going on our annual trek to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree Farm with Mindy and Charissa and Emerson (maybe some pictures will be posted someday) to cut down a tree. I've got boxes of Christmas stuff everywhere- the tree is up since yesterday and has politely requested to be decorated instead of standing naked in our living room (I feel like retorting with "You need to wait your turn. We're learning how to take turns!" and then I remember that would be completely psychotic.) I'm not really working THAT much and Sandi (a.k.a. the lady feeding the baby) is home for 12 weeks but the days FLY by with little being finished and the to-do list growing. I'm trying to enjoy each day instead of focusing on the unaccomplished. This is made easier when Ella finds such delight in unwrapping our beloved snowman collection and says to me "I love Christmastime. I love the presents, lights and music." This was echoed when I showed her her very first snowglobe the other day at the store. I flipped it over and suddenly Santa and his friends were suddenly in Winter Wonderland. Her eyes doubled and her mouth stretched into a giant smile - her whole face was aglow with sheer awe and wonder- and she said, "Oh!" What a great reminder of the magic of life and especially of this season. I have to say, with all it's challenges, it is wonderful to relive the world through the eyes of a child. Needless to say, I bought the snowglobe.

Friday, November 30, 2007

We have the best friends!

A draft of this entry has been sitting on our blogger site for some time now, waiting for me to finish it. As I told a friend, I have a "to-do" list sitting on my desk that nothing is getting crossed off of... entirely frustrating until I forget about it, which I attempt to do frequently!

We have the best friends. Since Maya's birth, so many of our friends and family have brought us food, prepared meals, cleaned, offered to occupy Ella for periods of time.

Mindy, Emerson & Charissa

Meredith & Beckett

Emilie, Reed, Jason & Rosalyn
Recently, Emilie came to visit on a day that Suzanne had to be at work during the afternoon and evening. She had worked all day then picked up her kids and came to our house with an armload of food. She was the most calming whirlwind I've witnessed. She took her two kids (3 and 9 months) and Ella by storm. I have no idea how she managed to do it.... she prepared and dished out meals for me, herself, Skyler and Ella (getting them to eat veggies and all), as well as making sure that Reed got his bottle! She took all 3 kids upstairs to play, fed them dinner, got them all in and out the tub and dressed for bed. I sat in the chair with Maya completely dazed, amazed and thankful for her presence. She remained completely calm and relaxed through the whole evening. Reed must have tasted everything on our floor, but Emilie managed to get it all back out of his mouth before it became dangerous. Skyler and Ella were all over the house and and testing their 3 year old independences out, all while Emilie managed to referee with ease and patience. I am most appreciative (and still in awe).

Skyler, Reed & Ella

Emilie threw them all in the tub!! Woohoo!

A couple of nights after that, Mindy and Charissa came and brought dinner. When they asked, "O.K. what can we do to help out?" Suzanne responded with, "Nothing, the house is clean and laundry folded. Why? Does it look like something needs to be done?"
I mentioned jokingly that our microwave was a complete mess and they took it very seriously. Charissa scoured that thing for 20 minutes. I'm not sure what she finished the job with but I think she left us with a self cleaning microwave. It hasn't been dirty since. I never thought our friends would be coming over to clean our appliances.
Anyhow, I could tell story after story because the people in our lives have offered themselves and their resources again and again. We are grateful and humbled at the abundance of friendship and love we are blessed with.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Missing In Action

People who faithfully check this blog are probably wondering why we have disappeared off the face of the earth. The answer is simply put, but really very complicated in reality: sleep deprivation. Think for a moment of how it feels to be tired, really tired, profoundly tired and to fall into the cocoon of your bed and to drift, ah, so peacefully, to slip down that slide into sleep and then - BAM! Crying baby. Feed her, get her settled, kiss those 2 hours goodbye, climb under the covers, sleep - oh the intoxicating slumber, and then - BAM!! Crying baby.

Okay so most of you know exactly. And I am exaggerating a bit. Maya is actually a really good sleeper. She usually will sleep 4 hour stints in the night. The problem is that she doesn't like to go to bed until about 11:30 pm. This is very, VERY late for two tired moms. When Ella pulled this trick on us as a newborn at least we could sleep late into the morning. Now we have Ella calling cheerfully through her monitor "Momma? Momma!" each morning by seven.

It feels incredibly impossible in some moments. You would think it would be a cinch with two of us. It isn't. Sandi still has to pump one side every feeding and then Maya needs to be given a bottle after the breast with every feeding. That makes roughly 10 dirty pump/bottle paraphernalia to fill the sink along with the other incredibly sneaky dirty dishes that keep ending up in there. Then there all those clothes that have the audacity to need to be washed, folded and -imagine this!- put away. If that weren't enough, we have a three foot tall cyclone going through the house and touching everything with snotty hands and relocating it somewhere new (usually the floor). There's the corn stove to fill, the wood stove to stoke, and those pesky bills to be paid. And we won't even get into cleaning litter boxes or opening mail!

But in actuality, Maya went to bed for the night at 8 pm tonight with Sandi close behind her. My mom came up and played with Ella (and Maya who loves to be on the floor with her big sister) for a couple of hours to give Sandi a break while I was at work this afternoon. Mindy dropped off bunch of yummy food, I managed to get a huge to-do list done while wearing Maya during Ella's nap this afternoon, and I think Ella and I are finally over our third cold in 6 weeks. I am working to remind myself to enjoy this time, especially since we love Christmastime, to relish the verge of a smile on Maya's lips when she looks up at me, to love Ella 1,000 times more when she tells us that she is not Ella but actually Snow White and to please call her such, and to remember to tell Sandi how proud I am of her and what an incredible job she is doing giving up her body to our baby to nourish her (side note: I don't feel too badly about this sacrifice since she now fits back into her pre-pregnancy jeans - jeans, no less! That took me months!).

Love to all. We are thankful to all of you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nobody Told Me...

Tia, Ella & Maya

Momma & Ella Romping on the Couch

An Evening of Lounging

Big Smiles

Gramma & Maya

Hanging out with Mommy

Nobody told me just how much fun we'd be having when we came home from the hospital. Let's see.... a very rambunctious 3 year old who appears to be jealous of the shared attention and testing every limit out there (even the ones we've yet to set).... night time gas attacks that keep Maya uncomfortable and the rest of us awake walking the floors trying not to fall asleep (I remember this with Ella, but for some reason, it was easier then - at least that's how I remember it).... incessantly sore and voluptuous boobs (that part's not so bad for the short term).... a nipple that she is banned from until it heals (I won't go into details).... a perineum that is getting better but still makes me nervous on trips to the bathroom (again, will omit the details).... a house that needs constant picking up after the hurricane that is Ella runs through.... and now to add to the list, mastitis. Oh yes, two days of fever, aches, chills, sleeping, hot packs and pumping to get rid of the infection. Boy! Am I ever having fun. Eating is a part time job. A few nights ago, I went to bed as most people do when it gets dark. I eat after Maya feeds so that I'll make more milk (like most nursing moms do). Before I got up for the next day, I had consumed a large slice of turkey pot pie, a Bagel Central bagel loaded with cream cheese, a banana, a large glass of soy milk, a glass of orange juice, two waffles doused in syrup, several strawberries and 3 1/2 liters of water. Who knew we were feeding a bear??

Oh, and the roller coaster ride of hormonal shifts that produce the daily sobbing session... definitely one of the most fun parts of the postpartum period. I seem to be coming out of that as the mastitis is subsiding. All in all, I'm dealing with each minute as it comes. Honestly, I have to say that despite it all (and even though I'm still in the middle of it), I would never trade this experience. It is rich and abundant. It touches just about every emotion in each day. I feel very much alive even in the moments where all I want is to lay my head on a pillow. It's exhausting and exhilarating. It saps me and then fills me back up.

I am blessed by the joy of being a parent. I am humbled at the feet of these beings that chose to be part of our lives. I would not trade a second. And now my eyes are filled again....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

10 days old

Getting ready for bed

Running to take part in the diaper change

Momma's Baby & Little Helper

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog. It is surprisingly meaningful to write down my thoughts and stories and know that people are witnessing these snapshots of our lives. I think people actually just come back for the photos. And a special thank you to all who comment (Emilie and Jeanine you know who you are) because I am a person who loves feedback.
Oh, we've had a few bipolar days riding the highs of the highs of our new family member to the undeniable lows and overwhelmed minutes and sometimes hours. I said to my mom that Ella is like the Energizer Bunny on crack lately so for two overtired parents to keep up with the likes of her (not to mention the mess she makes) is no small feat. Ella and I had yucky colds (which made her hyper and me barely able to function). I think if anyone out there is looking for a new form of torture they should give the newborn baby- sick mother combo a try. Even worse, Maya has had some congestion and has been unsettled from her symptoms. Hopefully, this is the worst it will get for her. It will be a miracle if she doesn't get the full blown cold since it's almost impossible to keep Ella and her snotty hands away from Maya. We wash her hands, she promptly swipes them under her nose and then runs up "Hi, Baby Maya" and tries to pry her hands into Maya's mouth. Luckily, Sandi is healthy, albeit on the tired side of life, and she keeps pumping her good immunity into Maya every 3- 4 hours in the form of breastmilk.
I cannot express how appreciative I am of the people around us. Today, we ate a yummy veggie pie for lunch that Mindy made for us. The last couple of days we've been devouring bagels and cream cheese Mindy and Charissa brought us because Sandi said she was craving them as a middle of the night snack. Tonight for dinner we ate a delicious multi-course meal that Emilie made (and her husband dropped off on his way to school this morning). We had soup, salad, bread, muffins, and a scrumptious apple blueberry pie! (Emilie, true to form, even sent homemade croutons and fresh dill garnish for the soup- this is mom of two who works full time!) Oh, my goodness. Sandi said every time I come home I have a present in my hand that someone has sent home for one or both of the girls. Last night, Patti, my mother-in-love, bought us a cozy new recliner to have in our living room to snuggle up with the baby and took us out to dinner. Then today, she took Ella out for a couple of hours for lunch so we could have some peace in the house to get some stuff done. I am telling you- we have got it good!! Want all this? Have a baby!
Okay, I'll leave you with one Ella funny. Okay, actually two. I have no idea where, but Ella has picked up the expression "Sor-ry!" You know the two syllable, sarcastic sounding form of an apology? It is lovely.
Second: Ella was pretending she was a baby cat (in popular circles thought of as a kitten) the other day when I was putting her down for her nap. She wanted me to be the momma cat so we played with this for a while. I rubbed her back with my "paw" and I kneaded her belly with my "claws." I even pretended to give her a big lap up the side of the head. This produced countless giggles and shrieks. Then I told her I was going to take a "cat nap" in my cat bed while she took one in hers. She said, "Momma, we're not really cats." (We're not?) I said, "We were just pretending to be cats, right?" She replied, "No, Momma. We're real people."

A little late... Halloween Pics

Amir, Ella & Brev at Gramma's House

The Polar Bear and the Zebra

And what's a polar bear and zebra to do without a baby zebra?

2 day old zebra

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Here Come the Pics!

In a thousand words, you cannot convey what you can capture in a picture.

Maya's first night. She didn't sleep for about 5 hours after she was born. I think this must have been what our faces looked like, too. I got a cold sore after giving up that night's rest (Ella: "Momma, what is that on your nose?" Me: "It's a cold sore." Ella: scrunching up her face, "Take it off." I wish.)

Coming home.

Ella says, "I don't want to call her Pete. I want to call her Maya."

Peaking with one eye

Giving kisses (and hopefully not her recently acquired second cold of the month.)

Here we are - 6 days in. It is wonderful to be home after a truly spoiled trip to Beals Island. We ate turkey dinners, garden grown veggies and, yes, hold the jealousy- lobster. We took home as much food as we could carry (Patti teases saying she'll know when we've eaten it all because we'll come back. All the while, she is packing the food and saying, "What else will you take?"). We brought home enough veggies for me to make Sandi a yummy chicken pot pie (I don't know why this is the nursing mom's special but I ate it for weeks after Ella was born.), we had lobster salad (seriously, she sent the lobster meat all picked out), pasta with crabmeat sauce - all of which means LESS COOKING FOR ME! Thank you to my mother-in-love for all that and all the Beals family for making our trip so welcoming and special (especially to Baby Brevan who was last seen looking longingly at our van as we pulled away, saying "ga-ga" (his name for Ella) with such a sweet sadness it makes your heart break.)

Yesterday, my mom and Kathryn came to help us with our somewhat chaotic transition home. They have both been amazing and hats off to my mom who took care of Ella for two nights while we were in the hospital. Thanks Mom! Today, we had visits from Mindy, Charissa and Emerson as well as Emilie, Sam and the kids. It felt like the completion of a circle to have our closest friends welcome us home. Mindy and Charissa brought us a dappling Willow tree and Mindy helped plant it in the yard with Maya's placenta (sorry if it grosses you out but it's really cool- it is incredibly nutrient rich). This led to one of those things you hear yourself saying that when you stop and pause, you think, huh? I was running outside to bring the placenta to Mindy and I yelled in the kitchen to Sandi, "Will you stir the cabbage and hand me the placenta?" Our family friend, Diane, came and helped out this morning, lending a much needed second set of hands to me while Sandi slept. People have sent flowers, brought gifts for Maya and Ella, and friends are bringing food. We cannot thank you enough. Ella has thrived in all these visits.

The other day when we were getting ready to leave. Sandi had gotten Maya fed and settled into her car seat, all buckled up and ready for lift-off when she remembered that she hadn't changed her diaper. She said as much, and Ella went running over, saying, "Don't worry! I'll check it!" and then she rummaged through Maya's blankets in an attempt to check.

Today when Sandi was nursing, Ella looked down at her very formal, sleeveless, pink, tu-tu-like, incredibly appropriate for November, Princess dress and said, very seriously, "I'm all out of milk." Then, when I put her to bed tonight, she asked me if I was going to keep an eye on the baby while she slept. Apparently, she wants to make sure Maya is covered while she is off-duty.

We were snuggled up as I tucked her into bed and she told me: "I love the baby, you love me and Mommy loves you." I told her Mommy loved her too and that I loved Mommy and the baby loved us all. It struck me that a family truly has so little to do with your blood. Your bonds are made by the love and devotion you share, the way your hearts wind around each other like branches of a willow, entwined, bonded and certain. I breathed in the smell of Ella- of Vicks Vapor Rub, baby shampoo and innocence and I thought about how Maya did not come from me but I helped create her and she knows me- I can tell in the way she settles in my arms, the relax of her energy when our eyes meet, the promise of all the hugs and cuddles and moments to come. What could mean family more surely than that?

And in that beautiful moment, when my heart was expanding and the universe opened up and allowed me to understand, I told Ella that I loved her. She responded with a fart. (At least she said, "Excuse me.")

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Our first family photo

This is one of many photos- we haven't had time to put them on yet. For more photos you can see the ones our beloved friend Emilie took on her blog at

We were discharged from the hospital yesterday and headed for Beals Island where we can rest and recuperate (and be taken care of) by the Carver clan. It has truly been a magical ride since Monday night. I counted 22 visitors we had on Tuesday in the hospital- we were surrounded by the people we love. My mom and my sister, Kathryn, and our niece Michaela all stayed at our house with Ella on Tuesday night so when we came home from the hospital Wednesday, our house was full of fun and exuberance. Ella came running out when we pulled in and the first thing she said was, "Where is the baby?" She is doing such a great job in her new roll as big sister.

Ella had a wonderful Halloween here on Beals Island (again, photos to follow). It is such a special and wonderful place to come and she can trick-or-treat to family members' homes. She ate too much chocolate, stayed up 2 hours too late and still wanted to go on more "trips" when it was time to stop, but this was her most enjoyed Halloween yet.

Brevan, her 1 1/2 year old cousin, calls Ella "ga-ga." He has started to call Maya, "baby ga-ga." How cute is that?

I said to Sandi yesterday that I was struck by how prepared we were for Maya's arrival - the clothes were washed, the crib together, the baby gear stowed for immediate use. I had worked out the mechanics of handling two children, of stretching my multi-tasking skills to new levels and strategizing ways to develop more patience. We were ready. What I hadn't figured on, what has blown me away, is how at three days old we can't imagine life without her, how her little tiny body has an energy and a presence like a comet, how our hearts are expanded now to be a family of four as though we always were. I wake up in the morning with a humming excitement that Maya is here, in this world, in our lives, and that the world is already enriched by her spirit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Welcome Maya Annabel Carver

Welcome to the world little one!! Oh, where to start? She is beautiful and magical and, as Mary Poppin's would say, "Practically perfect in every way." (Okay, Ella has been watching it A LOT!) Maya was born last night, Monday October 29, 2007 at 10:59 pm. She weighs a slight 7 lb. 2 oz. and measures at 20 1/4 inches.

Sandi made labor look more like leisure sailing than actual work. She breezed through yesterday afternoon of ever increasing contractions. Wary to alert anyone of another false start, she waited to call the Carver clan until they were regular and close together. Even still, she was up walking, eating dinner, reading to Ella. Not too long after she says, "I think it's close to time to go." The contractions were 45 -90 seconds apart. Yikes! So to the hospital we go- for me I am acting as an extra on "ER" rushing around, bossing people around- saying retroactively embarrassing things like, "Hello- we're in labor!" to slow moving staff and waving our baby pre-registration card like a Platinum Gold credit card. We got up to the labor "suite" (employee perk) and admitted around 8 pm. Just before 9 pm, the nurse said Sandi was only 4 cm dilated (far from the holy grail of 10 cm). She was breathing, doing her peaceful hypnobirthing and things started to pick up significantly - the contractions were right on top of each other and she was shaking when they would take hold. They checked her again at 10 pm and she was still only 4-5 cm - a real downer of news when you're working that hard.

But hold tight, it gets better... Shortly after 10 pm she says, "My body wants to push." I tell the nurse, alarmed by this progression at 5 cm. She checks her again- only 30 minutes later and says that Sandi is now 6-7 cm. We agree it's time to call Debbie, our midwife. Within 15 more minutes, Sandi is getting a bit frantic blowing air out in short puffs to try not to push- no joke- by now she is fully dilated and ready to push. Synopsis- this is only 50 or so minutes after she was only half way to full dilation. Debbie showed up just in time for Sandi to push through three solid contractions and out comes the baby. She made it look as easy as Mozart playing Mary Had a Little Lamb. From 5 cm to holding the baby in one hour. A-maz-ing.

Present for the birth were Sandi's sisters Trish (Tia) and Kristi (Auntie Kricka) her mom Patti, our wonderful midwife Debbie, our friend Bridgette who took pictures and Sandi's dad Dwight who came in minutes after the actual delivery because he couldn't get there fast enough from the parking lot where he was napping in the car (now that is a fast delivery- he was called just before Sandi started pushing.)

So Mommy and baby are happy and healthy. Maya is eating like a champ. I am over the moon. But perhaps the one who is shining the brighest is our dear little Ella who was such an example of love and welcoming when she came in today to meet her little baby sister. She asked to have her beloved security blanket (yellow blankie) retrieved from the car and when she got it she took it over to where the baby was being held by Grampie- put the blanket over her and said, "There you go baby."

Pictures to follow when we get home from the hospital. I stand in wonderment today at the beauty and fullness of life. Sandi and I feel so appreciative of all the love and support everyone has shown us through this incredible journey. We'll be calling on it in the days and months to come. Love, Suzanne

Monday, October 29, 2007

Headed to the Hospital!!

It's finally here. Contractions are close and we are ready to go shortly. Keep us in your thoughts- it will either be tonight or tomorrow!! Love to all!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How do you stimulate labor??

Ella & Brooke - gymnastics buddies
Today has been full & exhausting... we've told this baby that it's time to come out and meet everyone. Suzanne has told her she's ready to meet her. I am no longer vacillating between excited and a little nervous... I am now in a state of full out determination. I am ready for the experience of childbirth and becoming impatient to meet her. I started telling her last night that it's time and I want it to happen before Debbie, our midwife, has to take further action to stimulate labor (intentional omission of details for those of you who do not want them). She has until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning - clock is ticking.
I got up early and went to the gym for a decent workout and then came home for a shower. Suz, Ella and I then headed out with a friend to hike in Clifton. It was very windy so we had to turn back just prior to reaching the top of our destination (again, omission of details - this time to keep us from a lecture later on). It was extremely windy and Ella was getting cold. We thought for sure this would stimulate labor. No.
We came home for a nap to rest up for when it did happen. An outing in the afternoon didn't work so we're now relying on the Red Sox to thoroughly exhaust us due to the late hours. If this doesn't do it, I guess Debbie's our next option, but we're planning for tonight!
There's only one link missing... Ella has told the baby that she doesn't want her to come out. In fact, she would prefer that the baby stay in for awhile. I'm nervous that the baby is in tune to Ella.
Who would like to take her off our hands for the night???

Friday, October 26, 2007

Our Day Trip





(Still Here)

We're trying not to just sit and wait for the baby so we went on a trip today to Camden to have lunch with my mom (Gramma) and walk Sandi around to try to stimulate labor (I said we're trying not to sit and wait - not that we aren't walking and waiting.) Sandi has been having quite a time of it with her camera so we did a lot of stopping to take pictures along the way both in the car and on foot.

When we got home, we were all beat. At dinner, Sandi said, "Wow, I'm pooped." Ella looked at her, thought for a moment, the gears switching in her head and said, "In your pants?"

Last night Ella was pretending to write a check (she's a bit obsessed with having her imaginary checkbook- which is weird because we mostly use a debit card). She said she was writing it to her bunny, Blackberry. "How much is it for?" I asked. "Thirty Pounds," she answered. Apparently she has been watching just a wee bit too much of Mary Poppin's (daily) which is set in London.

It's 8:30 and we are seriously heading off to bed. I just remembered it's Saturday night... inward moan...

Okay, oops - I'm even more far gone than I thought... It's actually Friday night...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ella's funnies

Blackberry's "Broken Eye" (read on...)

Ella with Hampden Bronco after Nursery School

Ella having dinner at Tia's House

Here are some of today's highlights:

Ella's bunny Blackberry got spooked inside his cage today when there was some intense dog commotion in our house. He threw himself all around his cage and tore off a chunk of fur between his eyes. Ella has been asking all afternoon, "Is Blackberry's eye still broken?" (He has been relocated to quieter premises in the house.)

We were upstairs playing in Ella's room- Sandi, Ella, Tia and I - and Ella was making some pretend meals with play food from her kitchen. She made Sandi a lettuce and waffle sandwich - sadly, it wasn't the carrot, ice cream, cherry soup that she made the night before. Tia asked if she could have something to eat, too. Ella looked at her very seriously and then said, "No food for you!" (again, a Seinfield flashback) but she did offer to make her some lemon juice to drink.

Then tonight, we were putting her to bed and she says,
"My tummy's hungry."
"Really?" We say.
"Yes, my tummy's hungry for water." Yesterday it was hungry for vitamins - today it's water. I guess we are raising a health nut after all.

Lastly, I was humming part of a song I sing to her each night (after we had gotten the water craving taken care of). She looks at me and says,
"No Momma- sing it with your mouth."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today's Quotes

Okay- here are today's top two Ella quotes.

"My belly is hungry for vitamins."
- on being asked what she wanted for lunch.
I'm wondering... do cheese puffs count?

"I look great!"
-response to the question, "How do you look?" when she looked in the
mirror with those blasted cheese puffs all over her face. (Mental image
of me shaking my fist at Tia for those stupid things. They felt like they
might be the demise of my day.)

Still waiting for a real contraction - Suzanne

The Honey Bear

This morning Ella put me through the paces to find just the right food for her senstive (picky) palate. The big hurdle was that Tia gave her a small bag of crunchy cheese balls last night and she was focused on them from the get go this morning. She complained that her cereal had nuts in it (it did not) and then that her toast had nuts in it (it did -even after I had surgically removed all visible nut traces). Her new response to all questions about what she wants is "You pick." Roughly translated this means, you pick and then I will reject.

She wanted honey on her toast and when I produced the honey bear she was quite taken with it asking, "Oh, where did that come from?" I said, "Gramma gave that to you." She pondered this- the likelihood of my mother locating a bear that happened to contain honey- and then asked, "How did she manage that?"

I did all these culinary gymnastics while trying to complete a rather rigorous yoga practice. It looked like this: Downward Dog Pose -pause the DVD- get cereal. Warrior One pose- pause- retrieve a napkin. Half Moon Pose- pause- switch the beverage. Triangle Pose- pause- make toast (which as you recall was rejected because of the nuts). By the end, my chi was flowing in stilted waves and I felt like yelling (a flashback to Seinfield) "Serenity NOW!"

We thought Sandi was starting labor last night again but alas, the cramping continues with no progression yet. It is weird and fun and exciting to be on standby and anticipate the baby constantly.

Love to all- Suzanne

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blackberry & Potty Training

Blackberry- our almost lost rabbit. He was out in his pen romping around the other day and decided, oh well, why not jump the fence? I thought he was gone for good and said a quick prayer to the Rabbit Gods (did you know there was such a thing?) and then saw his head peek up through some brush and he gave a couple quick hops. I ran and got Sandi and we cornered him- a good thing otherwise I would probably still be chasing him all over Hampden. We would definitely had some 'splaining to do to Ella had he not been found...

A love fest on the living room floor.

This is Elmo falling off the potty training wagon. This pretty much sums up the stage Ella is at with the training as we speak.
Ella had her first day of Nursery School today and she did such a good job!! We are working hard not to pigeon hole her by calling her "shy" -rather she is what my mother calls "discerning." So today our discerning youngster stayed for two hours with complete strangers and HAD FUN! So did we- we sat at Starbucks and did a little shopping. We are so proud of our big (little) girl.
Some recent Ella bloopers:
Tia was eating dinner with us and she happened to see Ella with her finger driven
up her nose in an apparent search.
Tia: "Did you get it?"
A lengthy pause and look of disdain from Ella to Tia.
Ella: "Not yet."
We were at our midwife appointment on Monday and Ella was playing with a Big Bird stuffed animal. To keep things interesting, I started to make him talk to Ella.
Big Bird: "So Ella, do you poop and pee on the potty yet?"
Ella: "Yes, Big Bird, I do."
Big Bird: "Really? Because I heard that you used to go on the potty
but that you don't anymore."
This is the point at which Ella stopped talking with Big Bird.
When we got in the car I said, "Big Bird seems to think that you go on the potty."
She said, "Big Bird doesn't think."
Here's hoping for a baby soon.... Suzanne

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our well-rounded child!

Working out with exercise bands... Do we feed this child?

Cooking in her kitchen... we had scrumptious BLT's and homemade bagels

Constructing something? at her toolbench

We've been hanging out at home over the weekend, getting caught up on some much needed sorting and sifting, cleaning and filing, cooking and dancing... general nesting! We're feeling very ready for this baby's arrival now. We met with our midwife today - the news is that we're good to go whenever "M" wants to come.
I think everyone in our family is now officially over their various colds and flus. We've had many stay here or nearby and secretly hope we'd conveniently go into labor while they were closer to Bangor (I think we've been hoping the same). It would be great if it was convenient for everyone, but this child is apparently holding out.
Ella had gymnastics this morning (one of her favorite activities of the week) and tomorrow she starts nursery school. If we do go into labor, I think getting her there will be a priority because she's pretty excited. For those of you who read our blog entries regarding her 3 year old tantrum behavior, Ella has morphed into a different child since a recent appointment with a longstanding and respected practitioner of energy work. Suffice it to say, we needed this appointment prior to the baby's arrival... Naomi makes parenting 100 times easier for us.
We have many more pictures to put on the blog. I'll probably add them to the side panel to the right.
Hope everyone is well. Cross your fingers and send lots of "crampy" energy my way. (They say you should be careful what you wish for!!)

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