Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gwendolyn Catherine Copeland

We are so proud to announce the birth of our perfect daughter, Gwendolyn Catherine Copeland!

At 9 lbs and 5 oz, she was born at 1:11 am on April 20, 2015. She's the most adorable thing that I've ever seen. I never knew I wanted a daughter so much until I laid eyes on her. I'll post her birth story a little later on, but we're so happy that she's healthy, active, and ours.

Her big brother absolutely adores his little "sweetie pie."

Friday, April 10, 2015

The day I nearly became an astronaut

This is going to be one heck of an embarrassing story to write. However, I've been thinking about it, on and off, for 5 months and I've just got to share before my Baby Sequel comes and I forget everything in the haze of newborn sleeplessness. I hope you enjoy it!

I know you're wondering how this kooky mom almost became an astronaut. I went to Space Academy when I was 12 years old, but this story isn't about that. On a day in November 2014, it wasn't about holding to the ideal of "the right stuff," but it was about holding some stuff.

Adam had been at a conference in Williamsburg, VA for a couple of days. Latham (wild 2.5-year-old that he is) and I had planned to go to Williamsburg on a Friday afternoon so that we could have a family weekend when Adam's conference wrapped up. I was four months pregnant. As usual, for my pregnancies, I had been sick as anything for the past three months. Hypermedesis gravidarum is a condition that I know only too well. My sickness had lessened, thank goodness, but I still needed to drink a lot of water on a regular schedule just to keep my mouth clear of any acidic taste that might trigger a bout of barfing.

I planned to leave after lunch so that Latham would nap in the car on the 2.5-hour drive over to Williamsburg. We had done a few car trips in October and he had thrown up in the car at three different times. I was terrified that he would get sick, and I would be sick, and that I wouldn't be able to handle all that sickness by myself. Hence, the meticulous planning.

I picked Latham up from daycare right after lunch. We drove to a friend's house since she had graciously burned some Christmas music CDs for me to listen to on the drive. Then, we got on the road. We drove south, toward Staunton, and he was slowly getting sleepy. About 30 minutes or so into our drive, we turned onto the highway toward Charlottesville, and, thanks to the car ride plus the soft, soothing Christmas music, Latham was asleep. Huzzah! My plan was working.

I drove for about 30 more minutes. I was feeling confident now; I was, maybe, 90 minutes away from Adam, and Latham might just sleep for the rest of the ride. I had a chicken sandwich and lots of water. The Christmas music pleased me. All was well.

Then it happened. The baby kicked. I had thought that I felt some flutters that previous week, but it was a little difficult to tell. Plus, I was only 17 weeks along, so I wasn't sure if it was kicking or gas or nausea or just a bump in the road. Then, bam, I felt another kick and another. Dang, I had a little soccer star bumping around inside me! Wow--I felt so pleased. A toddler napping in the back; a baby happily kicking in my uterus; going to a fun weekend getaway with my little family--I felt like I had it all.

My little soccer superstar, though, then started kicking on my bladder. And, although the kicks stopped soon, that baby must have decided that my bladder made one heck of a comfortable pillow. The water I had had earlier in the day, the water I had had during the trip, and the pressure from the baby was just making things rather tense down there. Dang, I had to go pee! If I stopped, Latham would wake up. And I KNOW my son; he wouldn't just go back to sleep. Plus, I felt like I was at emergency level. If I stopped, I couldn't just run inside someplace and pee. I'd have to get a grumpy toddler out of his carseat, bring him in to wherever, try to use the bathroom with Mr. Grumpy...it would be a trial.

At this point, roughly 1.5 hours into my 2.5-hour trip, I was feeling like I was going to explode. I looked back at my son, sweetly sleeping in his carseat, and felt a burst of jealousy. He was wearing a diaper and, heck, he was probably peeing right now in his sleep. Lucky son-of-me, he could just go wherever and whenever he wanted. Two-year-olds have it so easy.

My eyes went back quickly to the road and, as my sight focused on the highway, I remembered that Latham's diaper bag was right in front of his carseat. My life had gotten more complicated. Now I couldn't just grumble and be jealous. I knew that there were extra diapers in that diaper bag. And I knew that diapers could hold liquid waste.

I pulled out a diaper and put it in the passenger seat. I did it mostly as a lark. I looked at it and laughed (quietly, of course, because the toddler was sleeping). How silly would it be for a grown woman to wear diaper? I mean, how many jokes have been made about the female astronaut who wore a diaper while she went to confront her married lover? I was so smug that at least I wasn't crazy enough to do that. All of this thinking, too, distracted me from my full bladder so I just started thinking about all sorts of random things and kept my mind off the pressing problem.

I was about 45 minutes away from Williamsburg when traffic slowed, nearly to a standstill. And the baby started kicking again. And Latham started mumbling and looking like he would wake up. This was not good. I thought to myself "Is this really going to happen? Am I going to become THAT person? Is this where my whole life starts to lose meaning & purpose? Am I REALLY going to DO this???" The darn baby did a couple of karate chops and tae kwon do kicks, and I was sold. So, I grabbed the diaper and kind of tucked it in where diapers are supposed to go. At that point, I said, "Ok. I'm still normal. I haven't USED the diaper. But it's there if necessary." Thinking/saying that helped. A little. And I started thinking that if I DID use the diaper, it may not contain all the contents because it was made for a 2-year-old rather than a 35-year-old. Oh, the thoughts you think when you have a diaper down your pants. There were a lot of self-deprecating thoughts going on. Trust me.

At that point (post-diapering), Latham did wake up. He was in a good mood and, luckily, traffic picked up again. Latham and I sang songs and talked as we finished the trip to Williamsburg, and I found that my mind was distracted enough that I could leave the diaper dry. Adam met us outside the fancy hotel where we were staying, and he immediately opened the driver's side door, explaining that he'd be happy to drive to the parking garage. I told him that I had to go pee and that he needed to shut the door, so I could get the diaper out and walk like a normal person into the hotel. I won't soon forget how his face managed to express surprise, confusion, a slight bit of horror, and a lot of hilarity; but, he did close the door, I pulled out the DRY diaper, jumped out of the car, and briskly strode into the hotel to find a bathroom. Relief was sweet.

So, when I next get pulled into the drinking version of "I've never..." (and when DON'T you get pulled into those games as a 35-year-old?), I can still say that I've never peed into a diaper as an adult. Thank goodness. If someone else declares that they, as an adult, have never strongly considered peeing into a diaper, well, I'll just have to say "Bottoms up!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Love Times Thrice

My wonderful man is three years young! Sometimes it feels like he's always been in my life (especially when I'm sleep-deprived and anxious). He's grown so much this year, it seems.

His communication is off-the-charts fantastic; he just talks and talks and questions and vocalizes his observations and talks. He has opinions and preferences, and he's not afraid to make them known. He's crazy about sports and so good at hitting, kicking, bouncing balls. He's my southpaw. He knows his letters (he loves "his letter"...i.e. L), the days of the week, months of the year, numbers, characters (from Daniel Tiger to the Octonauts to Dusty to Buzz Lightyear). He LOVES to clean and get up early in the morning, so Adam and I know that he's not just following our lead!

He's inquisitive and so smart and funny. I know that every mom says that about their child, but, hey, my boy is amazingly smart and handsome and I feel lucky every day. I also feel tired and overwraught almost every day, but I try my best to see the sparkly side of Latham rather than the frustrating side.

Here are a few pictures of his year.

He's going to be a great big brother, but he'll always be mommy's boy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's a Dragon Picnic!

We threw Latham his third birthday party this weekend! I still can't believe that my boy will be three in just a couple of days. He's amazing and exasperating, and I'm so thrilled that I get to be his mommy.  He's become so talkative this past year, and he cracks us up with his personality and expressions. When we asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he immediately said "cupcakes!" Later, he elaborated that he loved picnics and dragons more than anything else, so we created a loose theme of a dragon picnic.

The main creative activity I planned was a Dragon Egg Hunt. Two of Latham's favorite dragons, Toothless and Percy, had hidden easter eggs outside in our yard. The goal was for the kids to find all the little easter eggs and then they would all then receive some bigger, glittery "dragon" eggs with stickers and raisins inside. It worked really well, and the kids seemed to have a blast!

Then we had an excellent rendition of "Happy Birthday to Latham." I can't get it to upload right now, but I'll keep trying. I'm so glad that he had fun, an that he had so many wonderful friends that helped him celebrate in true dragon-picnic style.

I'm so proud and amazed by my boy! He's the smartest, most adorable creature on earth. Happy birthday to you!