Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life with Lola

I've learned a lot the past three weeks and surprisingly forgot a ton in the three years since Maximo was a newborn, although that was a totally different experience.

Things I've learned:
  • Girls can projectile pee just as good as boys
  • Cleaning a girl is a lot more work than cleaning a boy
  • It's not as easy to "sleep when the baby sleeps" when you have a toddler (although John has been super helpful with getting Max out of the house)
  • House help is really nice when you have a newborn - the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry! *Not that we have this now*

Things I forgot:
  • The amount of bodily fluids that come out of a newborn is astounding
  • Newborns multiply laundry by 300% (connected to above point)
  • How little newborns are (and Lola was double the size of Maximo at birth)
  • How newborns really do NOTHING at this point
I have no new pictures of Lola. It's already happening to this child #2, the neglect - the lack of photos... I'll try to take some this weekend. We need to take some for her US passport picture, which should be fun.

Here's a cute one of Maximo that John took on Christmas Day when it was snowing. He's been doing pretty okay as a big brother - a couple of (pee) accidents and he's been a bit of a nightmare to put to bed. Today he got quite jealous when John went to the store with Lola in the Baby Bjorn.

I love the outfit - Christmas jammies, winter jacket and fireman rain boots!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa's Coming Your Way

Santa strawberries - cute & yummy!

Very proud kids posing after finishing the Thomas puzzle.

We had a really great Christmas Eve with the Welbes family (extended) stuffing ourselves full of food and letting the kiddos open a gift each.

Lots of hugging to say Thank You! for our presents!


Max was tired when they left and asked for his milk and to go "night-night" (at 7:30) then talked to himself in bed until 9:30 - we think he was a bit wound up from the Christmas Eve festivities and the thought of Santa coming after he went to sleep.

We had a nice Christmas morning - just the four of us.

Trains to the left of me, Dinosaurs to my right = Happy Boy!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Little White Lies - Christmas 2010 - Day 18

As proud parents, we'll tell you how smart our little boy is. Luckily, he can't read, yet, so he has no idea he missed out on anything on the Christmas Countdown.

He had to eat his meals, so I just sprinkled a little "holiday spice" on them. Today, Lola slept at just the right times for me to prepare his lunch (and John had Max out at the playground) and the hot chocolate took all of one minute to put together this morning after his breakfast. He seemed content enough - that and watching The Grinch (three times back to back) this morning.

I love edible food markers!

A "special Christmas lunch"
(It's all about the title and how you sell it to a toddler)

An apple present, Christmas tree PB&J,
the Grinch's sleigh with cheese and dog presents, and red 'jelly'

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Irony

Max wore this onsie when he was almost 4 months old - it's newborn size.
(Knock on wood) She has been sleeping really well at night - 3 1/2 to 4 hours at a clip.

The 16th and 17th

Poor Max has lost his spotlight on the blog the past two weeks. He's had some ups and downs this week since Lola and I have come home. Now John's on vacation for three weeks, so we hope that with a bit more family time that he can get more adjusted to being a big brother.

Today he had a Christmas party at school with Santa, and I totally forgot! Oops. But he was excited and surprised when I picked him up - I haven't been able to drop him off/pick him up for weeks. He was also very proud to show me his Santa artwork.
"Look, Mommy. M-A-X-I-M-O. MAX!"

Yesterday was the first Christmas Countdown activity since I've been home that wasn't just reading a book. We did an Eskimo craft. Is "Eskimo" even a P.C. term these days? He loves pom-poms, so it was a hit. He did a great job gluing them onto the hood of the eskimo's jacket. And tonight, he must have played for over a half hour as a "clamshell crane" picking up pom-poms with the kitchen tongs and dropping them into cups.
Tonight was movie night and we watched The Grinch - the old animated one. I'm not sure he got the story, but he enjoyed it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dear Julie, That's No Christmas Cookie

Part of the "fun" of having a child in another country is really not knowing what to expect. Sometimes what we think of as normal is very American and is just done differently in other places. I have never had a child in the US nor even had a prenatal visit in the US, so I really have nothing to compare it with except for friends' stories.

In Peru, we enjoyed ultrasounds at every visit (as we did here). Our doctors, both the ob-gyn and the pediatrician give out their cellphone numbers to patients (a bit crazy for them, but great for patients). We dealt with circumcision, although it is not commonly done there. I was not allowed to leave the country with Maximo without PERMISSION from my husband.

Here in Japan, John wasn't allowed in the operating room for the cesarean section and my doctor seemed uncomfortable talking to me whenever he was there. Lola had my name scrawled across her leg after birth in permanent marker (you can still see it a bit). The birth certificate has no name except Julie Lemley. No father's name. All her hospital records refer to her as Baby Lemley.

And then the day of her birth? maybe the day after, one of the midwives came in with something in a napkin. It looked like a cookie covered in powered sugar. She was saying something about "tradition" and letting it dry out and then keeping it in a box. I was a bit out of sorts and her English was only so-so. A day or so later, I was explaining it to John and had him check out the "cookie" in the napkin that was drying on the counter.

Jule, it's the umbilical cord. Thank God you didn't eat it.


Later, John noticed in our gift bag of samples and what not, there was a little wooden box with tissue inside and a drying packet to keep the umbilical cord in.

As I was packing up on the last day, it took every ounce of me not to dry heave as I moved the cord off the napkin into the box.

Today, Lola lost her umbilical stump (I really hate that word, stump), so I felt it fitting to tell the story. I was relieved as it really kind of grosses me out and Max lost his way before he ever left the hospital.

The umbilical cord - the bond between mother and child.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Seventh of December

Although Lola's appearance in this world was a lot less dramatic than her older brother's, it still should be documented. On Monday, twenty four hours before my scheduled cesarean, John and I walked to the hospital. Before we even left our apartment complex, I got this huge blurry floating thing in my field of vision It was probably just caused by stress or my upcoming "labor" but then I was thinking, "Oh my God, what the heck is this? Am I going to have a stroke? What were we thinking having another baby."

At the time, I thought my anxiety with the pregnancy was over. I was going to check into the hospital, no worrying about contacting the hospital in Japanese, no worries about dealing with going into labor in the middle of the night, no worries of my water breaking as I got my last haircut, and no worries of another premature baby. As I was completing the paperwork for my admission, I was really struggling to fill out the paperwork and sign the documents, I was nervous and couldn't see very well. But, I made it through and a few minutes later, a nurse came down to escort us to my room. Soon after, the blurry blob disappeared.

We unpacked and I got settled in. Nurses, my doctor, and the anesthesiologist came in and out to explain the procedures and get more signatures. I was started on an antibiotic drip and was told to relax. I had dinner and wondered if I'd ever fall asleep that night.

Before I fell asleep, I wrote Maximo a letter. I had planned to do this weeks ago, but never got around to it. I felt it necessary to write him a letter just in case something happened to me during the delivery. With all the talk of excessive bleeding and just being an all-around worry wart, it was something I had to do. I wanted him to have something personal from me. Unfortunately, I had no nice stationary or any paper at all, so I had to rip out a page of the Dinosaur Train coloring book that I had gotten him as a surprise to entertain him on one of his visits. Well, I sobbed and sobbed through it, hoping that none of the nurses were going to stop by while I was writing it. And really hoping that he'd never have to read it.

I did actually sleep better than I had expected. The next morning went surprisingly quickly too. I couldn't eat or drink ANYTHING, so I brushed my teeth about four million times before surgery. Midday, John came by and by 1:45, I was being wheeled into the operating room. The anesthesiologist first gave me my spinal block, which was uneventful. It was actually good because I could still move my toes a little (I hate the feeling of being paralyzed from the "bits"-down, as it happened with my cerclage surgery and my c-section with Maximo).

Everything was being prepped, the sheets pulled up, the lights put in place, then I heard a bit of a commotion on the other side of the sheet. Now, I don't know if this is a benefit or not, but I cannot understand anything that is going on in between the nurses and doctors because they are all speaking in Japanese. The anesthesiologist then says, "Well, your water just broke naturally." So December 7th was the day it was going to be, regardless of my scheduled c-section. Lola was ready!

Before the doctor could start on my c-section, she needed to remove the stitches placed in my cervix during my cerclage surgery this past summer. It took her almost a half hour. Then, when that was all done, she told me it was time for delivery! The whole time, I was trying to watch what I could in the reflections of the big surgery lamps, although it was a bit distorted. About ten minutes later, at 2:52 pm, Lola was born. When she came out, she gave a hearty cry and the midwives and pediatrician cleaned her up and checked her out. She scored 9/9 on her apgar, which was great, but made me think, Hmmm, I have no idea what Maximo scored. Really, it's probably better I didn't know.

After about ten minutes, they brought her to me to see. Is it horrible to say it wasn't love at first sight? She looked part monkey - part old women and I was struggling to find any Lemley-Wood resemblance at all. I gave her a kiss, then they took her to the nursery where John got to meet her and pose for some pictures with her. It took the doctor about a half hour to close me back up and I was back in my room by 4:00 pm.

I immediately asked for the baby and they brought her to me. She latched on well and was soon asleep. That first day, Lola slept almost 24-hours straight. I think I fed her twice. I was a bit concerned, but the midwife assured me that they can actually survive for almost three days with the stores from the womb.

It was a rough three days for me, on top of not being able to shower, I had spinal headaches, contractions, not to mention the pain that comes with being cut in half. By Friday, I was feeling a bit more human although slow and achy.

In Japan, c-section births require a 7-day stay and regular births are 5-day stays. It was nice not being rushed out of there, but I may have gone crazy if I had to stay any longer, although my *3* dinners from the Sheraton made the time a bit more tolerable.

So, Monday, John brought Lola and I home. Max has a cold and is adjusting - some minutes are better than others. She's eating-pooping-sleeping like a good baby should and is going 3-4 hour stents at night (which took Maximo about 6 months!).

Here's a few pictures of our newest addition:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa, Baby

Lola and I made it home today! Oh, it's so nice to be home. I'm recovering well although those first few days were VERY rough. I'm a bit sore and a little slow, but I'll get there.

I'll post more tomorrow or in the next few days to come about Lola and our life at home with big brother.

For now, here's a little Christmas message for Maximo from Santa that I made that I'll include on his Christmas Countdown tonight.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

She's Here

Lola Caroline Lemley
7 December 2010
2:52 pm
7 lbs something
Rokko Island Hospital
Kobe, Japan

I'll post better pics tomorrow!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 06, 2010

'twas the night before the baby

As I sit here hoping the next 24 hours go quickly and smoothly, I'm thinking about the night before Maximo was born. I wasn't as worried as I should gave been, and I'm glad my ignorance got me through the night.

I wasn't feeling too fantastic because I was hooked up to machines, I had just had a failed surgery and was on meds to prevent going into labor at least until I got my next bout of steroids.

John was right there with me as he was through the whole pregnancy; he stayed with me that night and slept on the couch/futon in my room.

Just as I was about to drift off to sleep, he started to snore. I was hooked up to an iv and a baby monitor was on my belly which was hooked up to a big printer. Needless to say I was stuck in bed. So I started throwing stuff at John- anything I could reach to get him to roll over. Unfortunately nothing worked and it was probably good I didn't get up because I wanted to kill him.

He woke up in a sea of pens, hair elastics, my cell phone, and I don't even remember what else. The look on his face when he woke up in the morning was unforgettable - like "what the heck happened here?".

Tonight will probably not be that eventful. I'm hoping to get a few hours of sleep. Hopefully my anxiety won't prevent that.

I'll keep you posted about tomorrow. I'm scheduled to go to surgery at 1:30 pm. Which is 11:30 pm. EST Monday. I'm not sure when the earliest John or I will be able to post, so (Mom) go to sleep on Monday night and wait until Tuesday morning to see pictures of Lola Caroline.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Rokko Island Hospital

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I can't wait...

  • To meet Lola and see what she looks like
  • To see how Max interacts with Lola
  • To be done with heartburn
  • To be able to put socks on with ease
  • To be able to go to the grocery store
  • For the other small child I birthed, 'Roid to go back where he came from
  • To wear normal clothes and my high-heeled boots
  • To not have pain in my pelvis/lower back
  • For the next 48 hours to go quickly and uneventfully
  • To be back home again as a family of 4

Saturday, December 04, 2010

And This Is What We Do In Our Spare Time

This is why both John and I should work... Because in the matter of 36 hours we made this,
Peanut and Cashew Brittle

and this:John's HOMEMADE ravioli

and these:
Day 4 Christmas Countdown Activity - Make Gingerbread Cookies

and we made these too, but I didn't take any pictures of them.

Thankfully I'm on a sweet weight loss plan - I hope to lose about 15 pounds this next week!

Here's the before picture (my last pregnant picture - 37 weeks and 4 days):

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas Countdown

Since I saw "Advent Activity Calendars" online last year, I wanted to make one for Maximo. I like the idea of building up to Christmas... and understanding just how far off it is before Santa comes in a fun and visual way. So, after ordering an advent calendar last year and scouring the internet for ideas, I've created our own Los Lemleys Christmas Countdown, which I hope will continue as a tradition, although it will be harder in the future when I'm back at work.

A couple of things I considered:
1. Not getting Little 'Mo hyped up on sugar before breakfast (or bedtime for that matter) with chocolate treats
2. I wanted it to be a bit more exciting than finding the number and opening a paper door.
3. I didn't want him to get 25 gifts as a countdown to Christmas, when he will already get plenty between being a new big brother and Christmas itself.

And Christmas Countdown 2010 was born!

Last night we started off with a book, Ten on a Sled. It may have not been the most exciting start, but I didn't want to start off with something super crazy and then have to live up to that each day and we are trying to keep school nights more low-key.

Our bucket of books and activities

We told him that he could "get his Christmas treat" after dinner, since he spotted the calendar as soon as he got home from school. So, he pulled himself up at the dining room table and started requesting dinner (at 4:30).

I've only put activities/clues in the top three rows, because I have a feeling he may start pulling some of these things out.

I can't take credit for all of this... I originally got the idea from TeachMama and then found other things all over the web. I got a "Busy Box" (their website is down, or I'd link, like a good teacher should) to help with my lack of creativity for some of the art projects and am using books because books are fab, and from the idea from Celia.

Here's our calendar, which is on the refrigerator:

This is an example of what the papers in the calendar pockets look like:

Tonight, we're going to do a craft project. I'll try to post pictures as we get through some of the activities, although I probably won't post on each one, as it really isn't that exciting to see pictures of us reading.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Almost There...

I had my last (LAST!) pregnancy check-up today. Some days (most days) it feels like I've been pregnant for years, but it's pretty surreal that we're going to have a baby in less than 6 days! The check up went well. I've gained two pounds in the past week (and my stop by McDonald's after the appointment sure didn't help) and Lola is now about 7 lbs.

I'm shocked, stunned, amazed glad we made it to December, for the health of the baby, of course, but also because I like December better than November. November has it's turkey, which makes it a contender, but it's just there... Fall Break is over, it's almost Christmas and the end of the teaching semester, it's almost...

I need to squeeze in one last pregnancy picture this week.

John's now on paternity leave (with a couple of quick visits to school for meetings) until next Wednesday. He gets ten days, but it's hard this time of year with finals, so he may be going in a bit part-time and won't use all his ten days, but he gets three weeks for Winter Vacation, so the timing couldn't be better!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never Thought I'd See This!

Well, at least not while the baby was inside me!

I go to the doctor tomorrow for my last check up before my hospital admission on Monday. I'll let you know what happens, since I have nothing else exciting to report!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas

Tonight we put up our tree. I know for most Americans it is too early because it's before Thanksgiving. Well, we don't even have off for Thanksgiving here, and we had a three day weekend for Japanese Labor Day (I think), so we felt it was the perfect time to do it. Especially with a baby due WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS!

Maximo had a lot of fun going through the Christmas trunk and pulling out all the holiday paraphernalia and ornaments. He was actually helpful *that sounds horrible, but usually when "Max do it", we add on an extra hour to most activities* giving parts of the tree to Daddy and putting on ornaments. He did a great job putting on ornaments, although the bottom part of the tree is definitely a bit heavy on ornaments.

We listened to Christmas music.

We ate made/ate nachos (a new Lemley tree decorating tradition).We donned our new Santa pajamas.The only problem is that we think Max thinks Santa is coming tonight... Don't worry, Son, only 33 days to go!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week 35

Let's just say there's not a whole lot for me to post about since I don't really leave the house, and I'm sure you're not interested about what I made for dinner last night or the laundry I've done, or how there's a fly in the house that's driving me crazy. But an update is due.

I did leave the house a couple of times in the past two weeks. One was for the Shi-chi Go San ceremony that didn't quite happen (for us). Max refused to put on his gorgeous kimono and he and Mom ended up in tears, both taking an early nap at 10:00 am. That afternoon, after sleeping off the morning catastrophe, we ventured out into the beautiful fall afternoon onto the Green Belt behind our house and got a couple of nice pictures, not like the family ones at the shrine I was envisioning for our Christmas cards, but they're cute nonetheless.
Yesterday, I had my check-up/second blood draw. Lola is active and running out of room! Her measurements put her a couple weeks ahead size-wise (with a huge femur and belly) and her guesstimate weight this week is 6 lbs! I've read online that that can be off by a pound or two (either way). I think she has bruised my ribs internally; her cute little flutters and kicks are full on karate chops which have me in pain and make me a little nervous (like I'm going to pee my pants) when they end up on my bladder. My second blood draw (of 3) was yesterday, and felt much better than the first one, so I actually ventured to the 100 Yen store (in the same building) for wrapping paper and stocking stuffers - talk about a big day out!

Not much else... Just anxiously waiting for the 7th. We hope for logistical reasons that I can make it to that date, but really, we've made it SOOOOO far and she's practically full term, so we can't complain at all!

Monday, November 08, 2010


We've been talking a lot about Lola lately. This summer, Nana gave Maximo many "big brother" books and they are regularly making it into the nightly mix. He knows where baby Lola is and is using words like "little sister" and "baby", but really, he has no clue.

He was intrigued when John installed the baby hammock, and wanted to climb into it. Then he pulled some of the teeny diapers out of the diaper changer, so I figured, let's practice on his stuffed animal monkey. We talked about him helping change Lola's diaper and holding her (only when Mommy or Daddy is around!). He seemed to enjoy giving his monkey the attention at least for about 3 minutes - enough to put a diaper on him, swaddle him, rock him a bit, and then tuck him into bed and read to him.

We're really interested to see what Maximo is going to think of all this. I'm sure we'll have plenty of stories to tell.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Yummy 'sabi

Just a normal dinner at Los Lemleys.

Maximo licking the package of wasabi that comes with take-out sushi. And kind of liking it.

Most nights at dinner, John and Max have a "silly face-off". This is when we exercise our face muscles and see what we can do - raise our eyebrows, flare our nose, roll our tongue... you know important things that he'll probably be doing behind my back before I know it!

Side note: The band-aids are more of a fashion statement than a necessity. Anytime he bumps himself he wants a bandaid. We're slowly trying to wean him from this sick addiction that make us look like we abuse our son or that he should constantly be in full armor, or at least a helmet.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Big Girl

The latest guesstimate from the ultrasound:

(A screenshot of my iPhone as I use my handy-dandy metric converter)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

My visit today went well. We're now at 33 weeks and she's measuring a bit big (on Japanese charts) which is fine by me!

The doctor didn't scold me for my weight gain... 3 lbs in two weeks. (I just think she forgot as she was getting my paperwork ready as I was leaving.)

Incompetent Cervix is proving competent when you stitch her closed.

Blood banking starts next week for the three weeks up until my scheduled c-section.

Are we going to make it?

Oh, I really do hope so!

Location:Rokko Island Hospital

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Only Evidence

We live in a two bedroom apartment, so we've been trying to figure out how this baby's going to fit. Sleep schedules are important to us - imperative to me, because I'm a train wreck without sleep. So after many discussions and different scenarios, we've decided to keep Lola in our room at least for the first six months and then maybe bunk the kids together.

Since our two bedroom apartment happens to be in Japan, we don't have huge rooms. It's more common for Japanese families to all sleep together. Normally they use their tatami rooms for this and pull out futons, but I think younger families actually use beds and bedrooms (I don't know what else you'd use the "bedrooms" for). We currently use our tatami room as our dining room and have no heating/air in that room, so that doesn't really work for us anyways.

Since it's nearly impossible to fit the crib in our room with our bed, we're going to try using a baby hammock. Friends of ours from school gave one to us, so we're going to give it a whirl. Hopefully it'll work out. Let's see if we manage sharing a room with Miss Lola for six months (I'm sure John will find his way to the couch, which is where he'll need to be to get a decent night's sleep since he's got to get up for work). And then after that... who knows. Maybe the boys will bunk and the girls will bunk... or maybe, just maybe, the stars will align, and the kids will easily share a room. I used to love jumping off the top bunk on to sharing a room with my sister.
So for now, besides me being a current fixture on the couch, this is the only evidence there's a baby joining the family:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Hasn't Even Begun, but We're DONE!

We've carved a jack o 'lantern, we've made Halloween art, we've dressed up, and have eaten tons of sweets.

Carving a pumpkin with John - although Max was too delicate to get dirty.

It's only October 30th, but we've packed away the costume and are done with Halloween for 2010.

Last night, Maximo participated on our apartment complex's trick-or-treating. It was very organized and precise: Three teams of kids with adult chaperones. A map with locations and order of apartments to go visit. Candy bagged by parents handed in early and then distributed to be passed out (I didn't get my bags back). Three doorbell rings. Twenty-two bags. Not a bag leftover. Precision.
John went out with Max and all the Japanese moms and I stayed home to pass out the candy. Max had a grand old time and only asked for candy as soon as he got home. He's forgotten about it since. He was cute and had fun with the pack of kids.
Max and John's group's map:There's another Halloween party for the Canadian Academy families tonight, but Max is a bit under the weather, it's a dreary day and John has been superman as it is and I'd hate for him to have to do one more trick-or-treat. And really, does Maximo need to trick or treat 3 times?

It's glad we're retiring the T-Rex costume, as it was a bit small (although it said 3-4T on Amazon), especially around the crotch. It looked a bit like a banana hammock. I'm a little sad we didn't take a close up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Difference Between a Japanese and Expat Halloween

Here is what we are bringing to each:
Can you tell which one is for which?

Answer: Japan is about everything cute. The cute jack-o-lantern baggies are for the trick-or-treating around our apartment complex on Friday night (that I need to turn in early). The other for CA teachers' kids to go trick-or-treating. These will get dumped in a bowl and passed out from someone's doorway.