How We Measure Time and Why Tomorrow Is The Big Day

Ten weeks ago, Austin discovered a new game on the Disney Junior website. It's a Jake and the Neverland Pirates treasure map in which a new treasure chest opens up every Friday with new "prizes". At that time I was 10 weeks away from my due date too. I figured this was a perfect way for him to count down to the baby's arrival. We have diligently checked the map every Friday (even if the "prizes" were lame) and grown more and more excited. In these past 2 weeks I've tried to get the kids on board with rooting for the baby to come early. Austin, however, is quite insistent that the baby is coming FRIDAY when we hit the big red 'X'. As in tomorrow. He has so much confidence in this that if there is no baby by tomorrow I will be totally disappointed.

To add to the deadline, I just found out that I have tested positive for preeclampsia. I go in for a stress test on Saturday and may end up having to have a C-section this weekend. On the one hand, I really want the VBAC, but on the other, I don't want to endure 2 more weeks of pregnancy only to end up having a C-section anyway. This past week and a half has been tough - I've got first trimester fatigue and nausea back again mixed with third-trimester insomnia, contractions, immobility and impatience. The worst of both worlds. Total blah. But I do feel very blessed that Austin and Ruthie have been on one of their playing-well-together streaks this entire past week.

So if you read this, send some "go into labor" vibes my way!

I'll end this with a little sisterly cuteness. My favorite part is Ruthie's final sentence (and it is unprompted).


First Day of School

Austin had a great first day of preschool (round 3) on Tuesday. I'm excited to experience him learning to read this year. Ruthie can hardly wait to follow in her brother's footsteps.


Pregnancy Notes

This picture sums up the Johnson family survival guide to pregnancy...

Nearly 3 pregnancies complete now, I find it interesting to look back and compare them. I think my kids might get a kick out of this someday too. I've always loved the story of how my mom craved cottage cheese when she was prego with me - I can just picture my brain actually being formed out of cottage cheese.

Let's start with the similarities. For me, pregnancy breaks down like this:
  • Weeks 1-5 - I'm pregnant! Yay!
  • Weeks 6-18 - "The Black Hole". I am nauseous, tired and unmotivated. I cope by taking zofran almost round the clock, watching a LOT of TV, eating every 2 hours and giving in to any food craving I have.
  • Weeks 19-34 - Happy days are here again. I love finding out the baby's gender at week 20 - it's my reward for surviving the first trimester. During these weeks I get into a good routine of sleep and exercise, I start making real dinners again and start doing fun activities again.
  • Weeks 33-37 - Hunker down and don't let that baby come early. This is when contractions and weird pains start to appear so I start taking it really easy - killing the exercise routine and staying home as much as possible. Insomnia tends to crop up, making me pretty tired once again.
  • Weeks 38-40 - "Let's do this thing!" Exercise, do jumping jacks, pack the hospital bag. I'm ready to get my body back and eager to meet that new little baby!
Other similarities:
  • Whenever the pregnancies got tough, I relaxed by envisioning the same thing - a family trip to Disneyland!
  • Hardest things to give up: hot baths, deli sandwiches, IB profin, being skinny
  • What I couldn't live without: zofran, breathe right strips, a husband with a flexible work schedule so I can get a morning of extra sleep when I'm desperate, a mom who helps me with the kids at least weekly.
What I look forward to about not being pregnant:
  • Immediately: laying flat on my back while still breathing, laying on my stomach, no more heartburn, sleeping (ok, I know that's short lived), waking up from sleep for reasons other than peeing, aching legs and hunger pains.
  • Within 2 weeks: walking upstairs without feeling winded, laying down on Ruthie's bed when reading her books, picking up stuff off the floor, sitting on the floor without my feet going numb, rolling over in bed, taking a hot bath, doing dishes and washing my hands without twisting my torso completely sideways, no more well-meaning comments like: "I swear you're bigger than the last time I saw you", "Are you still pregnant?", "How much bigger can you get?", "You poor thing!" (The reality is I am 5' tall and now 4' around - seriously - so I try to not be offended and to appreciate the thought instead).
  • Within 2 months: running (gently), eating healthy - controlling my cravings instead of them controlling me, taking all 3 kids out on my own and surviving it!
And the differences (as much as I can remember):
(I'll have to return and edit this after the babes is born).

Frequent foodscereal, frozen burritos, jelloyogurt & granola, toast w/ jambagels & cream cheese, yogurt & granola, Wendy's burger meals
Food aversionsbeef stew, Cafe Riochickenchicken (kind of)
Weight gained (all from exact same starting weight)355060
Biggest painnausea (including an ER trip), HUGE knot in my right shoulderhemorrhoidspartial bed rest for early contractions (33 w)
Unexpected helpdiscovering Zofran at 8w"labor induction massage" (trigger point below ankle) I swear started my laborregular chiro visits - I had no sciatic nerve pain and almost no back pain
Exercise routineNightly walks and talks w/ Antho. First around the old neighborhood, later around the BYU botany pond.Circling the floors of the new SFB on BYU campus while listening to the Dune audiobook.Walking on the treadmill in the basement while listening to Fablehaven 3.
How I passed the timeWatching the original Star Wars series, again w/ commentaries, and all bonus materialReading 5 Stephanie Meyer books, then the Narnia seriesOnline games, online shopping, blogging, Spider solitaire
Why I went to TN (apparently a requirement for me when prego)My first Johnson Christmas (at 6w)-stuck barfing in Nashville for 2 daysIla's death (Antho's grandma) (at 28w)-stuck on tarmac for 2 hours alone w/ tantruming AustinClaire's wedding (at 26w)-blissfully uneventful travel
Where I was workingAltiris - full timeFlexsim - part timefull time motherhood
Major purchases (kids are pricey!)3bed condo (6mo prego)5bed house (2mo post partum)Honda minivan (7mo prego)
Early or late?induced 4 days early4 days early?
Method of deliveryinduction then c-sectionVBAC?
Difficulty of pregnancy855
Difficulty of labor6 (epidural)6 (epidural)?
Length of labor10 hours (7a-9p)10 hours (6a-8p)?
Difficulty of recovery68?
Length of recovery8 weeks1.5 weeks?


Gymnastics & Soccer

Our weekly gymnastics class has been our "summer school" this year. This is Austin's second summer and Ruthie's first. I was lucky that they had a 4-yr-old class at the same time and in the same room as the 2-yr-old mom-and-me class. Gymnastics is a great toddler sport - you get to move a lot, practice being in a class, practice following instruction and practice basic movement skills that help in all other sports.

Today was our last class for the summer. Austin has enjoyed it tons and wants to do it again, but there aren't any boys in the next classes so we'll be looking for soccer and basketball next summer. (I think boys pick it up again when they get those Iron-Cross muscles as teenagers).

Ruthie received many compliments from her teacher and other moms in the class on how well she followed instruction and on how strong she was. Her teacher commented a few times that Ruthie could do moves that she'd seen only 1 or 2 other 2-yr-olds do. Being uber prego, it was extra nice that she could remember and do the routines without much help from me (or having to be chased and coerced back to the mat).

Austin also participated in Itty-Bitty Soccer class this month. It's a 2-week 6-session class for 3 & 4 yr olds. I was impressed at how much he actually learned in the class! He came away with a basic understanding of soccer and skills such as shooting, dribbling, trapping, goal-keeping and (his favorite) running. He even learned all those soccer terms. When the kids played little scrimmages, only about 1/3 of the kids seemed to recognize the point of the game and Austin was right there in the ball-kicking mix. The two weeks was a perfect amount for his attention span too. I wish 5-yr-olds could sign up so we could do the basketball session. Hopefully he'll enjoy a longer sport next year.


Getting Excited

Yeah, we're getting pretty excited for this baby. When I pulled out the old baby bottles and clothes, the kids wanted to play "baby" with their hats and milk.


The Boy Is 5

Mr. Austin turned the big '5' two weeks ago.

We enjoyed a multi-birthday celebration for Grandma, Grandpa, Austin and Tyce at a cabin in Brighton. We ate yummy food, opened presents, and attempted to enjoy the outdoors despite the rain. (In the bottom left pic you can see the cabin we stayed in right above Debbie's head). By far, Austin's favorite gift was from grandma, a set of Bakugan transformers that change from balls into animals. He could hardly put them down for 2 straight days.

Austin got a fun truck/puzzle set from Oma and Opa that he was obsessed with for a couple days. Austin's gift from his parents was a new bike. (Top pic is of a Brighton-classic arrow hunt he followed to find it). Austin has not had a lot of success riding the bike he got for Christmas because the training wheels are unstable. We thought a new, smaller bike might be the solution. But training wheels just don't provide perfect balance no matter what. Austin was momentarily excited about the bike, but 3 minutes in to riding it got mad when Anthony let go of it and it felt unstable. He got off and huffed away, tripping over the bike in the process and scrapping his knees. When Ruthie asked for a turn, he was so mad he wanted to throw the bike across the parking lot. Needless to say, the bike went back to the store. So I guess he won't be a bike kid till he's 6 or 7 and he may just skip the training wheels phase altogether.

I've thrown Austin a big 'friend' party for the past 2 years, but decided to go low key this year. I told him he could invite any 2 friends to the Monkey Island bounce houses and he picked his three best friends: Kalyana, Kayla-Rayla and Tycey. So Debbie and I took the cousins to play and topped it off with a Wendy's lunch at my house.

So those were the celebrations. Now for some low-down on life as a 5-year-old.

A 5 x 5 View of Austin Johnson
5 Personality Traits
  1. Imaginative. Give him the right toy or idea and he's engaged for hours creating or story-telling.
  2. Friendly. He's never been shy, never held back. He goes right up to kids at the park or McDs or wherever, introduces himself and wants to play.
  3. Solver. He loves to understand how things work - from the computer cords, to food growing in the garden, to the bones in his ear.
  4. Rough and destructive. What can I say? He's a boy. Everyday I have to break up fights between Austin and Ruthie, where Austin is hitting or pushing or sitting on Ruthie (though Ruthie tries to throw a few punches now and then). We're also going to have to replace furniture someday. We've got marker drawings on his dresser and walls, cracks in a couple of doors he's kicked in anger, and scratches in our dining room table when he experimented with a sharp object.
  5. Unashamed. On more than one occassion, I've caught Austin running around outside in the nude. Last time, I left him alone in the front yard to play in the mud. When I came back 15 minutes later I found a pile of muddy clothes and a nudey tushy playing on the swingset.

5 Random Things
  1. He hides behind the couch or under a blanket when watching scary parts of movies.
  2. He coaches Ruthie on what to say when playing together. Typical phrases are, "Say, 'huh'", "Say, 'what's going to happen?'", "Say 'really?'"
  3. Austin and Ruthie find pill bugs (rolley polleys) in the sandbox then create houses for them. All pill bugs are named 'Filbert'.
  4. Anthony and I both enjoy reading simple chapter books for Austin's bedtime stories. Favorites include: The Magic Tree House, The Magic School Bus, Dinosaur Cove, Superman, Batman.
  5. He loves to write, asking me how to spell certain words. His drawing and writing often end up on himself. This one says "Super Hero Circle."

5 Favorites
  1. The color green
  2. Life cereal, apples, strawberries
  3. The number 5 (recently upgraded from the number 4)
  4. TV show 'Wild Kratts'
  5. The letter 'A' (and then the letter 'u' and 's' and 't' and 'i' and 'n')
5 Big Life Events of the Past Year
  1. He completed a great year of preschool with Mrs. Shannon.
  2. He enjoyed his second trip to Disneyland and is now completely hooked.
  3. He jut finished a fun summer of gymnastics.
  4. He has been patiently anticipating his baby sister whom he has nicknamed "Eviva" after a character on Wild Kratts. He knows she is coming soon after he turned 5 and is very eager now.
  5. He lost his front 2 teeth around March. The dentist warned us this would happen because his roots were so short on those teeth. Austin thinks the hole is cool and a handy way to drink through a straw.
5 Goals for This Next Year
  1. Learn to read.
  2. Meet Baby Sister.
  3. Attend 2 preschools - a professional one that focuses on reading and a neighborhood one where he's excited to enjoy his good friends Calvin, Corbin and Afton.
  4. Take another trip to Disneyland (of course)!
  5. And his ultimate goal: "When I grow up I want to be a Superhero and a Daddy."


You Need to Know This Before Buying A Used Car

We received an interesting, and critical, education while looking for our recent used car.

What's the hardest thing about buying a used car? Knowing that the car you're getting is a good, reliable, damage-free car. And there's always that fear that the seller isn't telling you everything. Besides checking the Carfax, doing a good thorough test drive (several checklists are available online) and getting a mechanic to check it out, there is one more thing to check out - VIN stickers. What amazes me is that I've never heard of this before, yet when we asked multiple dealers they acknowledged this was true.

Here's the skinny on VIN stickers. When cars are made, the manufacturer puts a sticker with the car's VIN # on each panel of the car. These stickers are made to shatter if they are damaged or someone tries to remove them. This means that if a sticker is missing, that panel has been replaced (or some idiot tried to peal it off). If a car is missing a couple stickers then it's a good bet that it's been in an accident and had some body work done, and it turns out that not all accidents are reported to Carfax.

When we were car shopping we drove a couple cars that were missing stickers on the driver door and the engine block on the same side. One of these cars drove a little bumpy, the other had a suspicious clicking noise when making a hard left turn. The dealer only pointed to a "clean Carfax" and when we asked about the VIN stickers, suggested that maybe those panels had been replaced because they were scratched. That could be true, but having 2 missing stickers, especially one in the engine area, and a funny noise, was enough to convince us to move on.

It helps to check out a car of the same brand you're looking at to see where all the VIN stickers are on that type of car. Depending on the car, you can find these VIN stickers in the following places (look for red rectangles in the pictures):
  • 3 under the hood: 1 on the panel that lifts up and 1 on each side of the engine block
  • on the inside of each door
  • if you have a van they are on the back of the sliding door and the inside front of the non-movable door panel piece
  • on the inside of the trunk or hatch
  • on the bumper? (I haven't found one on either of my cars so I'm not sure about this one)


New Van

And baby makes three. Three car seats, that is. No longer able to fit into our Corolla, we have been forced to upgrade. After test driving several brands, we gravitated toward the Honda for its drive-ability and reliability. We found an '08 Odyssey with 44K miles on it and took it home. It's a very basic car (no dvd player, no heated seats), but it has lots of room for road trips and stow n' go back seats. I've been surprised at how comfortable I feel driving a big car, and the kids love our new van too.