Sunday, October 11, 2015

It's a Boy! The Gender Reveal Party

Back in August, Marcos and I went in for the 18-week ultrasound appointment to look at our baby's anatomy and discover whether we were having a boy or girl.  When Marcos' friend and coworker Jamie found out that we were going to find out our baby's gender, she insisted on throwing us a small Gender Reveal Party at the Carolina Alehouse after work on the day following the ultrasound appointment.  She and Jeremy, Marcos' really close friend at work, are dating, and they stayed up late the night before creating a truly amazing gender reveal cake.  Since this is our third child and we already have a boy and a girl, we didn't expect anything special for this little one, and so we were tickled that they were so into the idea of a little gathering for baby #3!

Above are Jeremy and Jamie and their masterpiece.  Below is the true reason that Marcos' coworkers choose the Carolina Alehouse after work for drinks and get-togethers - the foosball table.  Yes, it's kind of a thing and there is a lot of talking smack around this "sport".  Hey, for some guys it's football, and for a bunch of computer nerds, it's... you know, foosball.  Below, Jeremy and Brantley take the game very seriously as Orion and Gigi learn from the big guys.

And then for the moment of truth.  The party was mainly for Gigi and Orion, who didn't know what we were having - we cut open the cake and inside it was....  blue!  A boy!  Blue cake and in the middle, a carved out cave stuffed with blue m&ms.  And then Gigi did the most horrifying thing - she immediately stuck her hand into the cake to grab fistfulls of the candy!  At the time I was mortified, but recently a friend was telling me about how she made a similar cake at her son's birthday party, and when the first slice was taken out two kids at the birthday party did the exact same thing.  So maybe it's a primordial kid reaction to finding themselves in front of a cake filled with m&ms...

It was so incredibly thoughtful of Jamie and Jeremy to throw us a little party in honor of our baby.  Not everyone who came made it into these photos that I included, but it was a nice group of Marcos' close friends.  Always a joy to hang out with these quality people!

Back from Sabbatical

I'm back from sabbatical.  Or, I like to think that I'm back.  My goal is to catch up on the past few months of life in Mettaland.

As I mentioned in my last post, this summer was long for me.  I am pregnant with our 3rd Prieto baby, and being sick, having low energy and managing the two kids outside of my belly was a lot of work.  Now school is back in session so Gigi is with her friends and teachers every day, Orion is in his one-day a week coop preschool, I am feeling much better physically, and I have a LOT on my plate this year.  I was invited to be on the Board of Directors of the Emerson Waldorf School this summer, so I started as a Board member in July at the turn of the fiscal year, and I am also one of the two-coordinators of the Parent Organization at the school.  Neither of these leadership roles stress me out beyond capacity, but the workload involved in each of the positions ebbs and flows.  Heading up the Parent Organization can be really demanding at times.  Luckily, we have a powerful leadership team this year (by my careful design) and my vision is that each of us end the year feeling like our commitments were worth our while, enjoyable, and that we will not feel burned out, resentful, or mad.  The group in general seems really dedicated to making leadership this year sustainable and collaborative, and they are buying into my mantra of "many hands make light work".  I have great feelings about this year!

As far as things are going on the pregnancy side, this time around has been identical to my pregnancy with Orion - low energy the first trimester, but not the nausea that I had with Gigi.  We were really hoping for a girl, but it's another boy.  Orion has totally sold us to the idea of boyhood, but this little one will be our last and I was hoping to end on a girl note.  Oh well, I'm over the mourning already.  Things unique to this pregnancy were my complete lack of interest in sweets during my first trimester (it returned when I was feeling better during my second trimester - darn!) and of course having already had two babies, my body is nice and achy in the lower back and nether regions after a long day of being on my feet.  Another unique thing about this pregnancy is that it is the first time I have gone into the pregnancy in shape (I've been steadily working out at the gym for almost 2.5 years now, which is HUGE for me) and I am continuing to exercise each week, although I'm no longer in the bootcamp classes, of course.  I feel like I look and feel better than I have during any of my other pregnancies, and I credit part of that with being in shape and being healthy.  I am due in mid-January, and I am very thankful that I can get through the holidays with my family of four before welcoming our baby boy after the New Year.  This past year I had a hard time with the long cold winter, and so I'm glad to have a sweet little person to take my attention from the depressing weather outside of my door.  Now, we just need to find a good name for him...

In other news, we have a little family garden bed now at the Emerson Waldorf School community garden.  It is only about 4 feet x 8 feet, but it was a good amount of space to do some experimenting since I have zero faith in my ability to really excel in gardening.  Gigi had been begging for months for a garden, even if it meant moving to a new house (!), so finding out that the school had family garden beds available for a menial price was very exciting.  They provide the garden bed (which was completely overgrown when we got it), the biodynamic compost, the irrigation that drips two hours a day, and a huge fence around the entire garden that keeps out the deer, etc.  My entire investment in the garden was $12.50 for the organic seeds, plus the few hours of volunteer work that I am doing in order to "pay" for the garden bed for the year.  Incredible, right?  We planted a few weeks before school started and so had to focus on late summer and fall plants, but we've already harvested beautiful lettuces, snap peas, and some turnips.  Our kale is also getting big as are the beets.  We also have carrots and some flowers.  I'm excited to put in garlic when it gets colder, and especially bulb flowers in a special place, so that we can have tulips in the spring!  We go to the garden about once a week to weed, harvest and tend the garden, and Orion is a pretty awesome gardener.  He gets out the little red kid wheelbarrow, and wheels it around taking the turnip tops to the chickens and the weeds to the composting pile.  It helps that my mom is very excited about the garden as well, and she's always up for helping and working with us to cultivate our spot of earth.

In Marcos' work life he is crushing it, as usual.  It sounds like out and out bragging to go into too much detail, but he is truly amazing.  He is providing some leadership for a small virtual device lab at work that is getting a huge amount of attention within the company, and everyone loves him.  No surprise there.  We still feel like we're playing catch up in the career path since he was a non-traditional (read: "old") student at UNC and therefore had to come into Fidelity through a training program for recent grads, but he's been told from many people that he's on the fast track to leadership, which is where he wants to be.  Not everyone in his field has the interest in managing other people and projects, but Marcos does and he will.  He's been doing technical interviews for potential employees since the beginning of the year, he has assisted in keeping his main projects moving forward with his small team, and he recently attended a conference in Boston, and presented at a NC Development conference.  He also heard about the StarWest development conference in Anaheim, CA, a few months ago and got Fidelity to send him and five other guys to attend the week-long conference in California.  So last week, as we got our first real week of cold, gray, rainy fall weather, he was doing facetime with us from SoCal and walking us around Disneyland where the conference was held.  The kids ate up every second of getting to watch him walk around sunny, warm, dazzling kid paradise.  But truthfully, in everything at work, I think what makes him stand out is that he is an extremely loyal and supportive co-worker, and from the very beginning, he decided that his MO at the office was going to be to give credit where it was due, allow others to shine, and work collaboratively with everyone.  This is in contrast to what he heard about corporate America going into the job, but his unique take has really endeared him to everyone and given him allies in the funniest places (he was out sick for a few days and the cafeteria workers kept asking his co-workers about him).  He works really hard, but often says that he feels like he is playing, and he can't believe he gets to work with such great people.  One of his best buds and co-workers, Jeremy, says that Marcos has made working fun and inspiring again.  I totally believe it.  I'm married to him.

And that's kind of where we are!  I'm going to wrap up this missive and find some cute photos to post from the past few months.  Thanks!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Summer of the Tired Mom

I wrote this over a month ago, and am just publishing it now.  This was a loooong summer for me.


This is a gross generalization, but I feel like I've talked to enough people recently to have a loose theory that parents of young children generally do not love summer vacation, and parents of older kids really do.

Well, I have young children, and I definitely do not love summer vacation.  I decided last spring that 5 years old was really young to farm Gigi out to summer camps.  Plus, we're paying for a private school tuition which includes a payment through the summer months, so the idea of paying even more for expensive camps was painful.  However, a few weeks into the summer break I was wishing that I had at least lined up a few weeks of camp.  Now I know better, and already have my plans in the works for next year.

You see, I have a 5 year old, and a 2.5 year old, and for some reason it didn't occur to me that they would fight.  All the time.  And it started approximately when my energy fell apart and disappeared, which was basically all summer until recently.  I'm 19 weeks pregnant, which meant that I was right in the middle of an exhausting first trimester when school let out and suddenly there was a need for sibling mediation approximately 400 times per day.  Gigi and Orion love each other fiercely, but they are siblings and now how to irritate each other like nobody's business.

And then recently I've been feeling better, and we've gotten into a groove that really works.  Right before school starts again, of course.  My main strategy is to have somewhere to go every morning of the week.  Park day?  Play date?  Exercise and Pool time at Tutu's house?  Gardening at our community garden?  Story time at the library?  Sure!  Just get. us. out. of. the. house...