The first video has been in the hopper for a while. In fact, some of you may have already seen it on our Vimeo site. But in case you haven't, you'll want to see Calvin's very own Monkey George tattoo.
Monkey George Tattoo.
The second video is from a couple Mondays ago when I was working in the yard and older kids couldn't seem to stay out of my pile.
And finally, what many of you have been waiting for, some moving sights and sounds of the newest little Higgins baby.
It's a Baby.
This is what Calvin requested for his first face painting experience. In his words, "a wy-ful gun", translated "rifle gun". Yes, we know it's not actually a rifle, but for some reason he thinks all guns are rifles.
This face painting occurred Saturday night when Sean-the-awesome-dad took the two older kidlets to the Fun Fair that our church had. I'm pretty impressed that one of my small group girls was able to paint such a nice gun with no previous experience (hi Bethany!). Here is Maggie's more traditional face painting choice, executed with glittery excellence by Kimmy...
Speaking of actual rifles, since I still haven't posted pictures from Maggie's birthday, you haven't been entertained by this one of Cal at her party.
Hey, how else is a future man supposed to enjoy a tea party?
I have always seen a strong, strong resemblance to Sean in Maggie, but we frequently hear how much she looks like me. This has also happened in reverse with Calvin - he is a carbon copy of my dad at his age, but we always hear how he looks just like Sean. I'm guessing that this has a lot to do just with the fact that Maggie and I are girls and Calvin and Sean are boys. Hallie is still up in the air - the consensus is split between her being identical to Maggie or Calvin.
All of that to say that thanks to our friend Joan (and her apparently abundant free time in Photoshop), I don't think I'll be hearing any more about how much Maggie looks like me...
You may need to look a few times to figure out what it is exactly that you're seeing here. Is it Maggie? Kind of. Here's the majority of the picture...
But here's the (darling) face that's been Photoshopped on...
That's Sean's Kindergarten school picture. Look how cute he is! Anyway, I am very thankful that our girl can look so much like her dad and still be a beautiful little lady as well.
I know you really want to hear about Hallie. That's understandable. Rest assured more will be said and shown of her soon. For now, enjoy the following exchange between Calvin and Maggie as they enjoyed dessert together a few days ago.
Calvin: "After 'ssert play ba'ball?"
Maggie: "Or, we could dance?!"
One we came across today gave me particular amusement - it was from Sunday school and featured drawings of various things - cats, pizza, carrots, etc. Maggie had written initials by each of the drawings, and she explained that these were the initials of people that liked the thing pictured. I admired the initialing and then suggested that we throw it away. She was appalled - "Mama! It's to help me remember that Annie...Annie...Annie, I can't remember her last name, but she's in my Sunday school, likes carrots!" I really didn't have a response to that one. I also enjoyed that the initials by the cats were "MH"...I guess just in case she forgets that she likes Newman? Let's not even get into what, exactly, this has to do with whatever they are doing in Sunday school.
Anyway, there was one paper that I felt was worth keeping, and skh took a quick picture for me to share with you.
It looks like Maggie is planning on attending skh's upcoming seminar. We're not sure where she's getting the $50 from, but maybe she's just counting on her dimples gaining her free admission. My favorite part is that her phone number is "2 am".
First, we had the fall episode of the semi-annual-pre-clothes-shopping-trying-on-a-thon a few days ago. This has been the bane of Calvin's existence previously, and I was dreading going through it. However, as he likes to do, Cal surprised us all by displaying great joy and a willing spirit, even through the piles and piles of shoes. When he tried on his snow pants, he asked if he could "go show Dada 'no pants!", and skh took a picture. Notice how badly Cal needs a haircut - it looks like he's growing wings above his ears.
Here's an ugly girl for you. :) Mags got to go on a date with skh to Starbucks the other night. They both had a great time, discussing many topics, including what subject she was looking forward to most in first grade - art, of course.
We got to go on a family outing to Albertson's a few nights ago for me to check my blood pressure for the millionth time - big fun! Actually, it was apparently lots of fun for the other three who can still hop on one leg...
And then my favorite picture from the recent past. skh took this one last night as Cal and Maggie were headed to the Greens with my parents.
And for all of you kind inquirers, here's a Hallie update.
- I have not had significant times of nausea for the past 6 days - praise God! There is no explanation for why it would stop at 35 1/2 weeks, but hey, I'll take what I get. :)
- My blood pressure remains elevated but not high enough for concern, so that is a praise as well - it's just causing some headaches and dizziness for me, no danger to Hallie.
- Here are the most pressing issues as of my appointment today - Hallie is still solidly breech and seems to have wedged herself into that position, the amniotic fluid looked a little on the low side and the placenta is still not ideally located (although it's better than it was a few weeks ago). All of that adds up to us not knowing anything and me having another good reminder that I'm not in control. So we're having a more detailed ultrasound tonight and depending on the fluid levels and the exact position of both Hallie and the placenta, they will be scheduling an external version next week - a procedure where they try to turn the baby into a head down position. Then after that...well, then we'll see what God has in store. :)
The toddler bed has been sitting in his room for a while now, letting Cal get used to it's presence. He has enjoyed laying in it, reading books at rest time, and even asked to sleep in it once, very early on in the process. That lasted about twelve minutes. This time was my idea, and for some reason, he thought it was a fantastic idea.
However, now that I've posted this, he will probably wake up and start screaming his head off in a little bit. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and we still have a few months before Hallie hijacks the crib.
It is a very ugly pool. Very ugly and kind of cheaply made - the built in sprinkler broke during the first five minutes of use, the kids were not really interested in the slide, and we started to think we had wasted our twenty-two dollars.
Then the wild side of Calvin kicked in, which triggered Maggie to be a little more reckless, and we decided that even if the pool broke that day, it was totally worth the money. Here is some video of the craziness to enjoy - if your name isn't Grandma Higgins, you will probably only need to watch a minute or two before you've had your fill, but it includes some great snot footage, Maggie showing off her knowledge of the months of the year and Calvin "counting". Right at the end of the clip Dada comes home and the craziness ramps up.
Whale Pool from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.
First, here's Cal enjoying his first (I'm pretty sure) ice cream cone at the Green's on the 4th. The ever talented Jesse Martin took this picture, as well as an even cuter one on his cell that I can't figure out how to get for myself...so you'll have to deal with this one's slightly lesser level of cuteness.
Yesterday the kids got to have a quick swim in our little kiddie pool before dinner. They both loved it, but while Maggie's little body stays warm indefinitely (Higgins blood), Cal gets cold pretty quickly (Light blood), so he ended up begging to be wrapped up and set in the sun to get warm again. skh captured the warming quite nicely.
After dinner we decided to take a very slow, very short walk as a family - mostly to try to get my pregnant body moving around a little more...months of laying in bed is not very good for you, so for me it was more of a grueling marathon. This was Maggie's first time riding her bike on a family walk *WITH ONLY TWO WHEELS* (as she tells everyone we meet), so she was very excited to go get ready. We were not expecting her to come out dressed like this, though...
It's really too long and ridiculous to type out but I'll sum up what I gathered in five points.
1. When you are pregnant, very
2. When you are taking one child to the pool who is known to be dramatic in that particular situation, it's really incomprehensible why you would also take your loud, strong-willed 2 1/2 year old with you...especially when there were other capable adults that had offered to watch him for you.
3. The mothers sitting by the pool will show no mercy or pity towards you, even in your pregnant state, when both of your kids are bawling and / or screaming at the top of their lungs, clutching on to your neck, acting like you are drowning them...while only their legs are actually in the water. In fact, they will glare at you and even shake their heads with seething disapproval. They will continue their staring and head shaking even during the time it takes to get your bawling children dried and out of the pool area.
4. 7 years of teaching swimming lessons will not prepare you in any way for this experience. It will not give you an inkling of an idea how to handle any of it. It will only contribute to the rapidly increasing notion that you are a complete failure and a very strong urge to start bawling yourself. On a related note, explaining to your almost 6 year old daughter that not one of the hundreds of children that have been in your aquatic care have drowned will not matter to her at all.
5. Paying $8.00 for approximately 6 minutes of this lovely experience is going to make you even more
There are some positives. First, I don't plan to be this foolish again. Second, the experience did end with something that made me smile. I had forgotten to bring undies for Cal to put on when we took his wet suit off, so here he is, going commando.
Anyway, a year ago, Mags was experimenting with a no-training-wheels bike at the Green's house - a house full of extremely adventurous children that Mags considers her best friends. She seemed to be ready, so Boppa took off her training wheels here at home and we began to work on this new skill. About sixteen seconds into the first session, Maggie decided that this was a scary / new experience, and the freaking out began. We continued to work with her, on and off last summer and fall, making absolutely zero progress and "enjoying" lots of freaking out. Since riding a bike is not a necessary life skill to possess at the age of 5 1/2, and there is plenty of drama to deal with in the necessary parts of Maggie's life, we decided to just leave the bike as it was and wait awhile to see what happened. When we pulled out the bike this year to see what the status was, Maggie had clearly progressed in gross motor skills but was still freaking out, so we pretty much dropped the instruction again.
And then something weird happened.
Maggie was showing off her "new trick" to us on Monday night, which was kind of scooting around the driveway on her bike. We really didn't pay much attention to this, to be completely honest. She seemed perfectly content to scoot, so we figured this stage would last a long time. Last night, while Geet and I were at a bridal shower, Mags begged Dada to take her outside so she could scoot some more. Dada agreed and he and Cal proceeded to play catch while she scooted around. Sean said that he glanced up every minute or so to check on the scooting, and without warning, one of his glances found Maggie doing this...
I Want to Ride My Bicycle from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.
No drama, no freaking out, not even an announcement of "hey, lookee here, I'm riding my bike!". It was like it was completely normal and she'd been doing it forever. Sean said that she immediately was even able to make pretty tight turns and demonstrated her skidding ability. She absolutely loves it and has been riding for most of the day today...in fact, she's riding right now and Calvin is yelling directions at her through the window - "Leg down! Mah-geeee, leg down! Watch out! Cars!".
So now I'm trying to figure out how to apply this to learning to swim. (Yes, that's right, the daughter of a former competitive swimmer, coach and instructor who has taught, oh, seventy kids between the ages of 3 and 6 how to swim can not swim a lick at the ripe old age of 5 5/6, and has me more stumped than I've ever been in regards to instruction.) The freaking out combined with the public nature of available swimming pools around here has proved an insurmountable obstacle thus far...oh, and throw in Mag's natural inability to float because her body density is so high. It gets old really fast to have everyone near the pool staring at you, wondering what sort of torture you are putting your poor child through that would cause such screaming and sobbing...and it's only her feet that are wet at that point. Obviously it's not going to work to just toss her in the pool to find the equivalent of "bike scooting" and expect a solo swimming demonstration shortly thereafter...drowning would probably interfere with those plans pretty early on. Maybe the new calm, no-big-deal attitude will just carry over to our next pool visit. I'll keep you updated.
I ended up with this...
(Sorry for the weird picture, it's as good as I could get from my bed with my cell phone.)
Here's what I learned. You can't go for months in a mildly dehydrated state while you are pregnant without ending up with some consequences.
I entered this pregnancy armed with a lot of information about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, unwilling to have the same unknown, awful experience I had with Calvin. I learned a lot of things. One of the things I was most interested in was how to avoid IV hydration, because I absolutely hate IV's. It's not a subtle dislike, it's a full on bitter hatred. I can't stand the thought of a little tube being inserted in my arm, left there to drip "lactated ringers" into me. Ewww! Anyway, I figured out that if I stayed just hydrated enough to continue having some "output" and used sugared beverages just enough to avoid ketosis, the doctor would leave me alone and not try to insert said tubey things into my arm. I thought I was free and clear - it was a struggle to keep up enough fluid intake to do this, but during Cal's pregnancy, I did acquire a vomit-holding superpower, so I made it happen. I thought I had tricked HG and scored a point or two in the game.
Well, I wasn't even aware of this other game that HG was playing with me until it scored it's own points. I am now in the hospital, being treated for a severe kidney infection with antibiotics and hydration - both via IV. It turns out that if you don't have enough intake to properly flush out your system, a lot of yukky stuff builds up and ends up taking over. The final take over is quite painful, shows up unexpectedly and causes you to beg your mother to drive you to the emergency room immediately so that you can go get the previously dreaded IV full of pain medication.
Anyway, this has been another excellent reminder of my stubborn pursuit of reliance upon myself instead of God, as well as His faithfulness to pull me back to Him. You'd think I'd get the message, but it seems to be taking a while to learn. It has also been an excellent opportunity to enjoy the weirdness of hospital life.
Here is what I was brought for dinner tonight...
I thought a tuna sandwich was pretty safe, but I hadn't factored in the possibility of baby-food-tuna-paste as the filling. I am staying in the labor and delivery wing, so maybe it's to prepare you for the gross things you'll be feeding your baby someday? Not sure.
I was also surprised to find that my Pacific Northwest hospital brought me some midwest-y Cool Whip fruit salad...
Yum yum. Fortunately, I have had very kind visitors bring me snacks, so I'm not forced to put any of this in my mouth.
Okay, one last picture, mostly because I'm a little bored and I have internet access. Here's how they covered my IV site for a shower...
I like that I'm a biohazard! That sounds important or something.
Your prayers are appreciated. I get to go home tomorrow morning, I'm no longer miserable (which is a huge praise), and Hallie/Halle/Halley is doing great. Calvin is doing well as long as he doesn't come to visit - seeing Mama in a weird bed, hooked up to weird things while Dada and Maggie are still gone seems to be more than he can handle. I can't wait to get home, cuddle Cal and sleep in my own bed. Sean and Maggie return tomorrow night, and I am more eager to see them than ever!
I didn't really expect his fun to be crowned like this.Especially for a birthday party for a dog.
Here's a couple pics of Mags, just because I miss her.
skh didn't get any pictures of Midget and Mocha eating their cupcakes (Maggie told me they made them for the dogs too), but here's one of the crowned child enjoying hers.
Cal : "Me go out?!"
Grownup : "Yes, you can go out."
Cal : "Me feet flop flop?"
Grownup: "No, you don't need flip flops on."
(Repeat the last two lines about 50 times, and then add the grownup saying "Please stop asking that.")
Cal : "Me doggy feet?"
Grownup : "What?"
Cal : "Me doggy feet?"
Grownup : "Uh, doggy feet? We don't know what that means, just go outside."
Finally, we have an answer about the doggy feet. As my mom was having this discussion with Cal today, she had an epiphany! Doggy feet = Bare feet. Cal sleeps with quite the menagerie, including a doggy and a bear, and he has always seen the two as interchangeable. Anyway, we are glad to understand and he is glad to be understood.
Here is the previously mentioned family portrait that Mags painted immediately upon returning home from the ultrasound.
From the left, we have Maggie, Baby Girl Higgins, Calvin, a line that apparently represents the child / parent divide, skh and it ends with me on the far right.
Here are a few observations I have.
- We are all insanely tall and thin. Well, except for Baby Girl, I guess.
- Sean and I have very small heads compared to our children.
- Our Baby Girl has shoulder length blonde hair.
- Calvin, our white haired child, is sporting a brunette look here.
- My mouth is open. (skh found this quite amusing)
I'll try to post some ultrasound pictures tomorrow - my scanner is having some issues currently. For those of you not really in to deciphering ultrasound pics, you can just shut your eyes and picture some mostly unrecognizable gray shapes with accents of black and white.
This revelation puts to rest, at least in my case, the debate as to whether HG (hyperemesis gravidarum, i.e. insane morning sickness) is tied to the baby's sex. Nope. Seems to be tied to being pregnant with anything but my first.
We're hovering very close to a decision on the name, and we'll post that as soon as we finish the summit. We had Haddon Hobbs selected for a boy, so skh did throw out something like "Haddonia" as a possibility. At least she'd never have to tack her last initial on the end to distinguish herself from all the other Haddonias.
For those wondering about reactions from the OutsideKids...Calvin made a loving noise and kissed my belly before running back to his putting. Maggie (who got to come to the ultrasound) was, and is, completely thrilled to have the future bunkmate she's been praying for. When we got home she got busy painting a picture of our new family that I will also try to post tomorrow. I'll give you a teaser - we are all VERY tall and this baby has shoulder length blonde hair.
We'll start with this one...this also gives you a nice view of the underside of his tongue, in case you were looking for something like that to frame. Ignore the ketchup on his face, he would only cooperate while eating.
Here's a different angle.
And finally, a nice close up...
I'll try to get an updated picture of this tomorrow, since now he is sporting a great eyeshadow-looking bruise along with the nasty scab.
This owie represents one of the things I love about Teresa Weinberg. Most of you probably know at least some of what the Weinberg's have been through this past week. It's certainly an understatement to say that it's been emotionally draining for Teresa as a mother. Anyway, while skh and I were at the annual GBC Elder's Retreat this week, Cal and Mags (being watched by the kind Vanderbekens - more on that later) got to visit the Weinbergs at the hospital. Teresa, in the midst of this ridiculously difficult week, poured tremendous energy into playing with my kids as they visited, including a wild game of Mrs.-Teresa's-leg-is-a-horse with Calvin. Apparently her leg is a bucking bronco, because Cal ended up connecting his eye with the floor. Teresa of course felt terribly about this, but I don't at all. The hospitality of the Weinberg family is legendary, but to see this spiritual gift displayed in the hospital where their son was recovering from being dead only a few short days before...well, it's pretty amazing. God IS good, and I'm thankful for the scabby reminder above our son's eye.