Lianne and Shad

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of year!

Well the holidays are almost over, and although I'm going to miss all the beautiful Christmas decorations that have been present in my home for the past month in a half, I will also be glad to be getting my life back to normal over the next month. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but the holidays are STRESSFUL. Between the decorating, the baking, the present buying, and the party go-ing, the holidays seem to bring on a certain amount of pressure that can make even the most easy-going person loose it.

For our family, one of the most stressful parts about Christmas tends to be money, or specifically the growing amount of money we feel we need to spend each Christmas on the kiddos. I blame Santa. After all, that old man sure does perpetuate the idea that if a child is really, really good, anything the eye desires could be awaiting for them on Christmas morning. And what choice do parents have, really? If your little one asks Saint Nick for a present that may be a wee bit out of budget, do you break their hearts or break your bank??

This year, we were determined NOT to break the bank during the holidays. Instead of paying off Christmas for the next 12 months of the year, we decided a novel concept would be to NOT overspend. So we planned and we saved, and when the kids began to make their Christmas lists, we used our powers of influence to "suggest" items that they might want to ask Santa for. For instance, when Solomon said he really, really wanted a new Nintendo DS from Santa, we "reminded" him how much he really needed a new bike instead. The fact that the bike was $100 less than the DS was just a little bonus for all of us.

We also decided that instead of overwhelming them with gifts from mom and dad, we would leave that to the grandparents. As for their gift from us, we used the money we would have spent on presents and surprised the kids with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord. We had a fabulous time, and I'm 99.999% sure the kids didn't miss the presents they would have gotten. But I'll let you all be the judge. Here is a few pics of Christmas morning and our trip.

Santa came and brought Solomon a BMX bike and Sebastian a "robot talking dinosaur" (his request- I won't get into how hard that one was to find).

Slushy Magic!

The boys, clad in their Christmas sweaters, open presents for grandma.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mirror, mirror

While in the grocery store the other day, I passed the normal gossip magazines and saw at least two cover articles about Jessica Simpson's suspected pregnancy weight gain. One article was titled "How much will Jessica gain?", the other "Jessica Simpson hires personal chef to control weight gain." I have to admit that I, like the rest of the world, am fascinated by celebrity news. Anything from weddings to babies to affairs- celebrities have virtually no privacy and I love it. But after seeing these two cover titles, my first thoughts were that they (aka the paparazzi) should give that girl a break. Or even better, give that girl a cheeseburger!

It may have a little to do with my current condition, but I couldn't help but think that criticism over celebrity pregnancy weight gain has gone a bit too far. I mean poor Jess- getting criticized about her weight during the one period in a girl's life when weight gain should be expected, even celebrated. If the average celebrity can't gain a few extra plans during this most magical time, then what does that mean for the rest of us??

I have to admit, during this pregnancy I have not been my own best critic when it comes to topics of weight gain and body image. During my first two pregnancies I gained the expected 35 pounds like a champ. I look at pictures of myself from those past pregnancies and think, ick- why didn't someone warn me I looked like that?? Fast forward to this pregnancy and 25 pounds later (yes, that's 25 pounds in 27 weeks) and my self-esteem is less than spectacular. I look at photos of myself and cringe at the double-wideness of just about every part of my body. My husband, bless his heart, still tells me I'm beautiful all the time. I figure that is a husband's job, though. After all, this is half his fault although I have reaped all of the "benefits".

From what I've learned by seeing friends go through pregnancy (as well as from my daily reading of parenting blogs), I'm not alone when it comes to being self-conscious during pregnancy. I realize there are two types of women in this world in terms of pregnancy and body image. The first type relishes what pregnancy does to their bodies. They see themselves as sexy, developing curves in all the right places. They find their ever-growing belly to be an amazingly beautiful. You will know said women by their propensity for showing off their "budding" bodies in such ways as wearing a string bikini on the beach while 9 months pregnant, taking a multitude of pictures of themselves in pregnant form, and even posing nude for a magazine cover while with child (ahem... Brittany Spears) .

The second type feels a little less secure with their growing physiques. Their newly enhanced curves are more likely to make them don a sweater than a string bikini. For these women, myself included, pregnancy brings on a certain set of insecurities that can range from slightly self-conscious to outright mortified. Hiding from the camera tends to be more of the norm than showing off in front of it. I mean, do I really need a memory of looking like Jabba the Hut? I don't think so!

Don't get me wrong, I do find growing a life in side of me to be one of the most amazing things my body has or will ever do. I try to focus on that life instead of the growing amount of stretch marks on my stomach and hips, or the size of my ass on any given day for that matter, but this is not easy. I blame the media for their coverage of celebrities like Jessica Simpson. After all, the media has taught us that our bodies must look a certain way, and pregnancy is no exception. You can't just be pregnant-pregnant, you now have to be thin-pregnant, or at least the latest gossip column would have us believe. Gaining 35 pounds is no longer acceptable. 20 pounds is now the desired amount of weight to gain for a 9-10 month period.

Looking at Jessica Simpson, I think she looks beautiful, glowing even. And if I think this of Jess then maybe, just maybe, I have to admit that I may be being a little too hard on myself. 20, 30, or 40 pounds heavier, pregnancy should be a time that we can celebrate our woman-ness, our divine ability to grow another human being inside of us, our bodies' ability to grow to gigantic proportions and shrink back down again (hopefully) all within time.

So with that said, I present to you a picture of myself, 25 pounds heavier and ever growing. Enjoy. And now I might just go eat a cheeseburger :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The real baby blues

Two months ago Shad and I were given the news that our newest bundle of joy was indeed going to be a card-carrying member of the XY variety. In short, we were destined to add a third boy to our brood. Shad overjoyed by the news- what father wouldn't be after all?? Me? Well I was a little less overjoyed. To be honest (since that's what I'm going for these days), I was crushed. I love my boys more than life itself and I couldn't imagine not having them; but when the ultrasound tech pointed out the little tiny penis on the screen and wrote the words "IT'S A BOY!" at the top, a little piece of me died.

Now I know what some of you are thinking- "How dare she! When so many people cannot have babies; when so many babies are born with fatal anomalies! She should be glad she is pregnant and that the baby is healthy!"

Let me say that I completely agree with you. I know how lucky I am to never have struggled in the fertility area. I see everyday the devastation of children who are born sick and will never recover, and I am extremely grateful that I've never had to deal with something like that.

The piece of me that died that day was simply a dream of having my own daughter. A dream of frilly dresses and pink baby bonnets. A dream of ballet classes and mother-daughter outings. A dream of all things girly really. This dream may have been completely unrealistic but it was my dream, and the news that it was never going to happen was quite sad.

Recently, I've been wondering how many other women share similar experiences from when they found out the sex of their baby. I know most women tell people, "Boy or girl, as long as it's healthy" but how many of those women really long for one particular gender? How many of those women are secretly (or not so secretly in my case) devastated when they find out that their little bundle of joy is not what they expected?

Apparently this topic is not so popular and tends to incite both appreciation for those who openly discuss it and rage at those who admit to having similar gender-favoring dreams/longings such as my own. On one blog I was reading, the author, who had openly admitted that she wanted a girl but got a boy instead, was accosted with all sorts of rageful comments. One person even referred to her as "sick and disgusting." Sick and disgusting, really?

My reaction to that ultrasound didn't last long. It took a couple of days but eventually I got out the funk about everything I was going to miss out on and realized everything I would be getting from being the mother of sons. Boys are A LOT of fun and A LOT less drama. I wouldn't have to worry about the girl drama that ensues at even the earliest of ages (as I'm told by my friends who have little girls), and I wouldn't have to deal with the I-hate-you-because-your-my-mom phase of raising a teenage daughter. I'm having a 3rd boy, and while sometimes I still get a little nostalgic when I see little baby girls all dressed in pink, I know this baby will be loved- most emphatically by me.

I had a dream and I had to mourn the loss of that. I don't think that makes me a bad person, or "sick and disgusting" but hey, maybe others do. At least I'm being honest about it.