Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The last day of 2008....

I can't believe we're about to leave 2008 behind us.
This has been a crazy year for me... filled with many highs and a few lows. We found out our family would be expanding by one just weeks after I lost my beloved Daddy. We bought our first home just months after moving to Virginia from Arkansas. I started freelancing and have built myself a nice little business.
My Mama, who has worked non-stop since she was a teenager, finally had to give up working last month because she's no longer able to stand on her two legs for long periods of time. I know it was the hardest decisions she's ever had to make, but one I hope will save her from becoming totally disabled.
We've watched our little girl grow into her own person... and although she's been sick this last week she's still feisty! She has finally started calling me "MOMMA"... not Mama, but Momma... exactly like I've been teaching her after hearing "Daddy" over and over again!
Savannah is one of the two best things I've accomplished in my 36 years on earth... her brother, Julius, is the other. I don't think anyone can understand that fact until they have a child... children are miracles all in themselves.
Our country has seen a lot of changes this year... some things that scare me to death as I think about the fact of having two children in this world in just a few months. The economy has tanked and everybody is trying to live with less money while having the same needs.
I'm hoping 2009 will be a great year... despite some sadness, this year has been good to Pat and I and we're hopeful the next year will be as well.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We have had a wonderful Christmas Day at the Fitzgerald house... despite the fact that Savannah has been a little under the weather due to a few new teeth. Everyone else is taking a nap so I thought it would be a good time to post a few pictures.
We actually opened gifts last night after going out to see a few Christmas lights... we found a house nearby where you can actually see thousands of lights and decorations. The family spends several months getting things ready and gives any donations from the public to the sheriff's department.
We got back with a sleeping toddler, but she quickly woke up once she realized Santa stopped by and left a few gifts under the tree for her. I say a few because I didn't realize until she opened everything up that she actually got quite a lot... I'm glad we weeded out some of the toys she no longer played with (and ones Julius wouldn't be interested in) last week so we would have room for the new stuff.
Here is a quick list of what Santa brought Savannah... forgive me if I forget a few things: a baby doll complete with accessories, five little Wiggles dolls, a Wiggles guitar, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, four puzzles, a child's laptop computer, a set of building squares, a Tupperware toy that allows her to learn her shapes and a See and Say.
She also got clothes and toys from family and friends and should be getting a package with a few gifts from her Grandma Brenda, Aunt Lynn, Uncle Gene and Aunt Cynthia.
The child has a lot of people out there who love her and we're very blessed and grateful for that.
Here are just a few pictures of our gift unwrapping... no video this year though as I sound like a hick!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Fitzgerald holiday gathering...

Sorry it has taken me so long to post a few pictures from our Christmas gathering on Sunday... Pat and I have been enjoying our toddler-free time with shopping and gluttony (and not exactly in that order)! 
We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone Sunday and Savannah was the belle of the ball... she got lots of new clothes and a big bag of blocks.
I'm not sure what she's going to do next year when she has two other babies to share the family love with... as the big announcement at dinner was our niece and nephew, Erin and Joe, are expecting a baby in July!
Savannah will soon be the ringleader of a three-child band and Julius will have a second cousin close to his age! We're very happy and excited for the two of them and Sunday gave us all a chance to celebrate with them.
Here are a few pictures from our fun time  together.

Lost and FOUND!!!!

Over  the weekend, I noticed that my wedding ring was missing. Although most women have two rings, I've always had just one (long story that I'll save for another time). 
It's a solitaire and certainly not one with the biggest stone, but it's the one I picked out and has plenty of meaning (and stone) for me.
Anyway, I digress.
I realized several days ago that my ring was no longer in its usual spot on the baby monitor in  the living room... the makeshift ring holder for both of our wedding rings (mine and Pat's). I checked my next favorite spot on the coffee table and it wasn't there either.
Savannah loves to hold my ring and look at it... I've found her with it several times and then had to chase her down as she ran from. My ring, which I usually take off when I'm at home, can be dangerous and has scratched her from time to time.
I conducted a cursory search on Saturday, but still had no worries... we had the family Christmas gathering to go to and I had other things to do. Besides, Savannah would be at her Aunt Kathy's house for a few days so I knew there would be plenty of time to see where her small hands had taken my ring. 
Yesterday, I walked around the house checking the carpet, cleaned out the toy box and moved furniture in an effort to find my ring. I also tried to remember when I last wore my ring out of the house.
I finally decided to check our trash can in the kitchen before Pat  took the trash down for collection. Savannah loves to throw her dirty diapers (and apparently other things) in the trash can and usually gives herself a round of applause for achieving her effort.
Pat pulled the trash bag out and was about to close it when I told him to let me look inside for my ring... and he hesitated because the smell was horrible. I pulled out another trash bag and started transferring trash from one bag to the other.
First, I found smelly used diapers, empty cans of cat food and other household trash. Pat left the room and came in to tell me I was crazy to be going through the mess for my ring.
I continued until I got to the end... where I found my wedding ring among the crumbs of food! 
It finally dawned on me that I had taken my ring off the other day after scratching Savannah's arm after we got home from running errands.
I guess she wanted to get  rid of the cause of her boo boo once and for all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good news to report...

I got really good news from the doctor's office today... the three-hour glucose test shows I don't have gestational diabetes... thank goodness! It was worth the four sticks to ensure there is nothing abnormal about my blood sugar... that is one huge relief.
I also have a birthdate for Julius... he's expected to make his arrival at 9:10 a.m. on Feb. 24...  which is a Tuesday. It looks like hospital policy will force me to stay in the hospital for four days ... so we're going to be there all  week.
Just wanted to share our good news!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New pictures of Savannah...

I wanted to post some recent pictures of Savannah... sorry it has taken me so long, but things around here have gotten crazy in the last few weeks with the holidays looming and trying to finish up freelance projects.
Savannah has taken to putting her meals in her hair... so there will be a few of those pictures mixes in with some other of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Made it through the test...

A quick note to say I made it through the glucose test... after convincing the nurse that I didn't want all four pokes to come from the same hole in my arm. So now I just have two slightly sore arms instead of one severely sore arm.
Hopefully I'll get good results back later in the week... I'm going to call the doctor's office every day until they tell me my results because I thought I passed the first test only to find out I had failed a week and a half later.
While I was being poked and prodded, Pat and Savannah made a trip to the Toyota dealership nearby  and looked at a new van... all to see just how desperate they are to sell vehicles.
Apparently, they're not desperate enough as the trade-in deal they offered for my car wasn't very high and (most importantly) the monthly payment was much more than we could pay right now with a second baby on the way, one steady income and this crazy economy.
I've tried to convince Pat that when we really go to look at trading in my car we need to look at good used vehicles... because we cannot afford a new car that decreases greatly in value once you drive it off the lot.
I have lots of great Savannah pictures to download and post later tonight... after we take a little trip to shop with nieces Erin and Samantha. Then we return home to bake cookies for a cookie exchange tomorrow... that should also be fun.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More blood work needed...

I went to check in on Julius today and found out that my glucose test results from last week came back a little high. That means that on Monday, I'll have to have the three-hour glucose check.
All I can say is yuck, yuck, yuck.
This test will force me to have my blood taken four times in three hours... after fasting for at least seven hours. The nurse will take my blood when I arrive, make me drink a nasty orange drink and then take my blood every hour for the next three hours.
I would rather take a poke in the eye than have this test, but I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes.
The good thing (if there is a good thing here) is that I had to take a second test when I was pregnant with Savannah and the results came back negative for gestational diabetes... so my doctor thinks there is a good chance that I don't have gestational diabetes, but it takes my body a little longer to process sugar than other people.
It also looks like Julius will be born during the week of February 23... unless they have to take him earlier for medical reasons. The hospital regulations for planned C-sections are a week before our due date... which is March 2.
Dr. Wills told me to plan on being in the hospital three to four days... twice as long as I was in the hospital with Savannah. This is also hospital policy and not because there is anything wrong or special.
On a positive note, Julius' heartbeat was good and strong... it's steady at 150 beats per minute/

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Being a big girl...

We have finally managed (knock on my hard head) to get Savannah sleeping in her own bed again after more than a month of her refusing to go down in her crib.
I'm not sure if it was the toddler bed or just trying to be in control, but Savannah went through a recent phase where she wouldn't lay down in her crib... and I haven't had the strength or energy to fight her.
But for the last two out of three nights Savannah has went to sleep in her crib and slept the entire night... waking up late in the morning about the time her Daddy gets up.
I'm hoping that I get another good night of sleep... as these days four or five hours is about all I can count on each night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our laptop computer...

I think our laptop computer has finally bitten the dust.
When Pat and I married, we each brought a computer into the the mix... he had a trusty Mac laptop and I had a dreaded PC... it was the first computer I bought for myself and couldn't afford to make the $1,000 investment on a Mac.
Anyway, we downsized to just one computer and sent mine to Georgia for my sister, Lynn. Fast forward two years and an active toddler  later and Pat's trusty laptop has bitten the dust.
This Mac laptop model apparently wasn't built to withstand a toddler's knock overs... so after replacing the plug-in cord four times, Savannah knocked the computer over last week and broke the male part of the plug into the computer itself.
Although I finally scraped the plug out, the computer part has to be replaced... and when we took it to the "doctor" today he said it would be $350... not really worth it for a computer that is really out of date.
We have the newer iMac computer... which we bought after Savannah arrived last year so it's not like we're computer free. But the laptop was very handy and I could do my freelance work in the living room while watching Savannah instead of having to lug our big computer into the kitchen... where it now sits since we have little space in the house.
Pat is sending the laptop off to a California company in the hopes of getting it working for $200, but we won't know until it gets out there and they look at it... if it's much more we're not going to make that investment.
In the meantime, I'll be working on my freelance in the kitchen and around Savannah's sleeping schedule... she likes to climb up in my lap and play with all of the "big buttons".

Monday, December 8, 2008

A good deed...

I love "The Sound of Music" and one of the songs came to mind on Saturday while Savannah and I were out shopping. The song is "Something Good"... which Maria and Captain Von Trapp sing when they realize they've fallen in love.
Anyway, I digress.
Savannah and I were out shopping and were in the check-out line when I realized I didn't have my wallet. This wasn't a big deal since I had my wallet at the previous store and figured I must have left it in the car.
We  walked out to the car and looked inside, but there was no wallet... suddenly I panicked because I knew it was with me just 15 minutes earlier. Inside the wallet was about $50 in cash and all of my credit cards and identification... along with a few other things I wouldn't want to lose.
All of a sudden, a man pulled up in a car and asked me if I was missing anything... and in his hand was my brown wallet. Apparently he had seen it on the ground while waiting for his wife to come out of the store... and he had looked inside and saw my driver's license so he knew it belonged to me.
I offered the man some money, but he wouldn't take it... so after we went in and paid for our items I put a few dollars to the Salvation Army kettle collector and counted my blessings. I know that some people would have picked up my wallet and at least taken the money out of it.
Being a Mommy for me has meant not carrying a purse, but that will soon change when I'm not carrying the diaper bag in the store.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bringing children into a fight...

Some of you may remember my decision a few weeks ago to cease contact with my older sister. This decision came after years of a silent (and not so silent) battle that made our relationship feel more like a war than a sisterhood.
Never did I imagine my decision would have four innocent victims.
My sister has three children and it never occurred  to me that any problems she and I have would ever include the three of them or Savannah. They have nothing to do my reasons behind wanting to shield myself from long ago resentment and hatred.
So as I've been doing my Christmas shopping I bought gifts for my nieces and nephew... things they've asked for on their department store wish lists. 
Imagine my surprise last week when Mama told me that Shannon has refused her children to accept these gifts... and said if I send them she'll return them to us. She asked that we give the three gifts ... two video games and an Etch-A-Sketch... to Toys for Tots or some other charity.
First of all, I don't think it's appropriate to give video games to a charity... those gifts go to children who are probably too needy to have personal video game systems. Second, Pat and I have already bought gifts for an Angel Tree child in honor of Julius and he's too young to play with any of these items.
Shannon's decision reminded me of a childhood memory that I've always wished I didn't have... we were visiting a relative for Christmas and they were talking about how lazy my Daddy was because he stayed at home while my Mama worked.
Hearing them talk about my Daddy in that hateful and hurtful way has always stuck with me and has been a sore spot for me when it came to this relative. I decided  then and there that whatever personal issues I had with someone wouldn't involve their children.
I've given a lot of thought as to what to do about this... and then only thing I could do was ask my Mama and other siblings to open  their gifts from us before Shannon and her family come over on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
I would rather her children think we didn't send anyone anything than to realize there are no gifts under Grandma's Christmas tree from Aunt Sharon and Uncle Pat for them. 
It saddens me to think they would be impacted by my decision, but it strengthens my resolve that I've done the right thing by ending contact. 
It's another sign of the resentment and hatred I don't need or want in my life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Santa visit...

I've been meaning to post this all week, but got behind with our trip to Virginia Beach and then Thanksgiving.
We took Savannah to see Santa on Monday at the Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach. I must say this wasn't Savannah's best day... she hadn't felt good all day and we probably shouldn't have taken her in the first place.
I think Mom and Dad Fitzgerald are right... taking her picture with Santa at this age is much more for us than for her. To me, it's almost like a rite of passage and Pat just humors me.
Last year, Savannah grabbed Santa's beard as she sat in his lap... so the picture was of the two of them sort of staring each other down!
This year, Savannah started fussing the moment we put her in Santa's lap... she didn't want to have anything to do with him. They finally set up a chair in front of Santa... his "magic chair" for little kids who didn't want to sit in his lap.
This picture was captured moments before Savannah got up and started walking towards her Daddy. Her little cheeks, which were red from teething, pretty much say it all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving thanks...

With Thanksgiving just hours away, I wanted to take a few minutes to write down my thoughts about this holiday.
This has been a year of both great joy and sadness for me... happiness because we'll soon be bringing a son into our family, but sorrow because my Daddy died in June and will never really get to know my children. I have laughed and cried... many times during the same day... but as this holiday season begins I feel very fortunate and blessed for the life that I have.
Pat and I are very lucky... we have our beautiful, healthy Savannah and Baby Julius appears to be in good health (if not a little too healthy). We have wonderful family and friends who have been a support and blessing to us.
I look around our little house on the hill and see many things that remind me how fortunate I am... the rocking horse Mr. B made for Savannah, pictures of people who mean the world to me and cards from friends who let us know they were thinking about us.
Pat has to work tomorrow (something I usually did on Thanksgiving during my reporter years), but we'll have turkey dinner before he goes to the office. While we celebrate Thanksgiving in our home, people we love and care about will be celebrating with their family and friends across the country.
I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday and have a chance to think about what you're thankful for this holiday season.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our menu for Thanksgiving dinner...

I've finally decided on the menu for the first Fitzgerald Thanksgiving dinner in our little house on the hill. I thought I made Thanksgiving dinner at least once since Pat and I were married, but I realized the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette bought our dinner in 2006 and I took Savannah to Erin and Joe's house last year.
Our menu will include a mixture of my Mama and Paula Deen's recipes:
Roasted Turkey
Cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes with brown gravy
stewed squash and onions
butter peas
cranberry sauce
homemade pumpkin pie
homemade sweet potato pie

This will be the first time I've cooked a turkey on my own... I bought one earlier this week and used two coupons (one from Kroger and one from the turkey company) and ended up paying only $4 for a 17-lb. turkey.
Wish me luck... I'm going to need it!


I realized yesterday that we're about to have a tight squeeze in the vehicle department once Julius arrives.
Heather, one of the mommies at the play date we went to yesterday, gave me an extra double stroller that was just taking up space in her basement. The 39-lb. stroller, which is about the average size (and very, very nice I might add), fits into our vehicles but doesn't leave a lot of room for extras.
So once Julius arrives, it's going to be interesting to see how we fit everything into our cars.
Pat and I talked about it last night and decided it wasn't a good time to be going into debt for a new vehicle. Our vehicles are paid off and we can make do with what we have.
We're going to buy a luggage rack for the Scion for extra storage space and keep trucking along.
We'll just have to remember to take the stroller in and out of the car when we're not using it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Play date and learning lab

Savannah and I ventured out today for our first official play date... and we had a great time.
Heather, a stay-at-home mom of two, hosted the event at her house. There were five mommies and seven children (not including Julius).
Savannah was the youngest of the four toddlers and there were three infants (the youngest was two months old).
I'm proud to say Savannah did really well with the babies... all of the talk about petting Maggie softly worked well because she wanted to touch the babies and I told her that she had to touch softly.
Let's hope she does this well when Julius comes home.
She also did well with the older kids (the older two were each 2 years old; Heather's daughter, Brooke, is 20 months; and Savannah is 18 months), but the two older girls were a little too aggressive with her.
Savannah got pushed and hit a couple of times and I tried not to get too upset about it... the mothers got on to their daughters, but Savannah just looked at me like "Why did they do that to me?"... then she would cry.
When the other mothers left, Heather told me they usually pick on Brooke because she's younger and won't hit back... and I'm torn as to how to explain all of this to Savannah and if I should expect and hope she will hit the other children back.
Heather was also kind enough to give me a Graco double stroller... one she bought and used for only two days before she received one her parents bought for her that she liked a lot better. I tried to pay her for the stroller, but she wouldn't take any money.
It's a huge relief to me because that is one of the things we were going to have to buy.
I'm hoping we can have more play dates with just Savannah and Brooke because I could see the two of them becoming good friends. Plus, Julius could already have a friend when he gets here.
After our play date, we went to the University of Virginia's Learning Lab, a teaching facility where they study how children do specific things.
Savannah was tested on how well she could sort various toys into boxes. She was able to take all of the toys and put them into boxes, but she never did separate them by type of toy.
The technician told me there was no pass or fail and that some children were able to sort them while others couldn't even get them in the boxes.
I was proud that Savannah picked up all of the toys and put them away... something I've been teaching her with her bath toys.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fun at the Virginia Discovery Museum...

Savannah and I went to the Virginia Discovery Museum today to meet with other parents and their kids for Toddler Time. We were supposed to meet with some mommies we had lunch with several months ago ... but we couldn't find them and ended up venturing out on our own.
Savannah loved the museum... especially the large mirror that was the backdrop for a puppet stage. She kept going back to the stage and looking at herself in the mirror.
We went into a Toddler Time group and listened to a story about a little boy who played music with sticks. When the volunteer handed out the musical sticks, Savannah took two and happily played with the other children in the circle.
But when the music started, Savannah stood up, put her sticks down and started dancing in the middle of the circle. Everyone thought it was cute and it made me proud that she doesn't have any shyness about her.
We'll have to go back to the museum with Daddy so they can explore things together... and I have another set of hands and legs to chase after Savannah.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Savannah's new rocking horse...

Wally Bucci, who I know as Mr. B, built Savannah a rocking horse and shipped it to her all the way from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Mr. B is the stepfather of my longtime friend, Lori, and he is one of the greatest men I've ever met.
He's given me several wooden pieces over the years, but this is most meaningful to me because I know how hard he worked on it. I cried as I unwrapped it from the box.
Lori and her daughter, Brittany, painted the horse... a job Lori's mother, Dianne, would have done herself had she lived long enough to see me marry and have children. Dianne died several years ago after a difficult battle with cancer.
I wanted to share a few pictures of Savannah on her new rocking horse... she still getting comfortable on it so we've been sitting with. She pushed her Daddy's hands away tonight so she could rock herself... she's becoming such a big girl.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Christmas photos...

We had a great session at Sears Portrait Studio today and I came home with the images on CD... a great thing to have because we now "own" the images.
Here are a few of them... I'm a little biased, but I think they turned out really well.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Savannah's sleeping habits...

We haven't had a lot of luck lately getting Savannah to sleep in her own bed. She's started teething again and it's kept all of us from getting a good night of sleep.
Savannah and I spent Friday night in the recliner because she didn't want to lay down... I'm not sure if it was the pressure from her new teeth or what, but the only way she would sleep was for me to hold her in my arms.
Last night, we tried two times to put her into her crib. She woke up both times screaming and ended up sleeping between the two of us. When Pat brought her into the living room this morning she was screaming... I had to use Tylenol and teething medicine to calm her down.
I went out afternoon to do some grocery shopping (the best deal I got was a 17 lb. turkey for $4 - thank goodness for sales and coupons) and Savannah stayed with Pat. He called me right as I was leaving Kroger and I could hear Savannah screaming in background... by the time I got home she had cried herself to sleep and he was mentally exhausted!
I'm hoping we'll get a good night of sleep tonight as we have those pictures to take tomorrow. Here is a picture Pat snapped of Savannah (and Maggie) before Savannah went into this bout of teething... I thought it was too cute not to share.

Busy, busy week...

We're gearing up for another busy week here in the Fitzgerald house... it seems like we've always got lots to do and little time to do them all.
Things start off with a bang tomorrow as we have an appointment to get our family holiday photo taken. This will be our last chance to take pictures before Julius arrives and I want to document us now... plus, we haven't had any professional pictures taken of the three of us and I thought that would be nice.
I want Savannah to know we were a family unit before her little brother came into the picture.. so off we go to Sears tomorrow.
On Tuesday, I'm going to get some blood work done to see if I have gestational diabetes... this is a routine test (and one I had to take twice during my first pregnancy because I had a piece of bread that morning). They take your blood, make you drink a nasty glucose drink and take your blood again after an hour.
All of this is after not being able to eat for the eight previous hours... so it's not going to be a fun day for me!
I have play dates set up for Savannah on Wednesday and Thursday. We're going to the Discovery Museum on Wednesday with a few other mommies and children and then meeting some of them on Thursday for an actual play date.
I realized the other week that Savannah really needs to be around other children... she enjoyed interacting with the other kids at the Wiggles concert. I'm secretly hoping the play dates will help wear her out and we can get her on a decent sleep schedule... something she really isn't on right now.
I also have an appointment on Thursday for Savannah at the University of Virginia's Child Language Lab. They asked for volunteers for a study on 18-month-olds and how they interact through language... I thought it would be neat to let Savannah take part in that.
We end our busy week on Saturday night with a trip to Virginia Beach to see Grammy and Papa... that is what we're all looking forward to the most as we hope to take Savannah to see Santa Claus again at the Lynhaven Mall... hopefully she won't pull Santa's beard this time.

Little man...

I wanted to put a picture of Pat's step-grandson, Tyler, up on my blog. For all of you who don't know, Pat was married once before and has a stepson, Jamie. Tyler is, of course, Jamie's son and Pat loves both of them very much.
Tyler now in the first grade and he's grown so much since we saw him last year... the last time we saw him he loved The Wiggles and dinosaurs... and I think he's outgrown both of those things now.
It's hard to believe how fast time flies... of course, I guess we shouldn't be surprised since Savannah has grown up right before our eyes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Exercising with the Wii...

A few weeks ago, Pat bought a Wii and Wii Fit in the hopes of helping him get into shape... this is a video game system that allows you to work out ... you can do aerobics, weight training, yoga and other exercises and it keeps track of your progress and weight loss.
We thought this might be a good alternative to joining the gym because we wouldn't have to get into a contract when we don't know how things are going to be down the road.
Pat has been coming home from work each night and doing his exercises... and Savannah has been right there along with him.
He's gotten really good at the beginning aerobics and she lifts her arms and moves back and forth with Daddy! Sometimes she just bends down by his feet and watches as they move.
I'm sorry that I haven't caught it on video yet, but promise I'll do that weekend and get it on the blog.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Savannah having a blast with the Wiggles...

Here are some of my favorite photos... Savannah absolutely had a blast seeing the Wiggles and dancing with the other children.

More pictures from the concert...

I'm just going to post a few more photos... including some of my favorite "Wiggle", Captain Feathersword.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures from the Wiggles...

Here are some of the pictures from our fun time Thursday night... the second picture is Savannah's reaction once she realized "Toot Toot" was actually in the building!