Friday, August 29, 2008

historic moment

wednesday evening as we were getting dinner ready and watching the news of the democratic national convention, we turned on just in time to see illinois hand things over to new york, and the most impressive hillary clinton. i called ben in and we pulled the girls on to the couch with us to watch history being made. then hillary moved to forgo the formalities and have Barack Obama be named the democratic candidate for president... it was just, amazing. i cried, ben had chills. i cried because even though this doesn't mean my girls won't ever experience racism, institutional or overt, the nomination of the first african american is a powerful sign of how far things have come. i hope as they get older and we tell them about the evening, how they just clapped and clapped and laughed, that it will truly be change they can believe in, and also change they have experienced firsthand.

here are some photos from yesterday evening.

hilina's eyelashes have grown a foot in the last few weeks. don't know if this picture really captures it.

dreaming of yet more milk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

catching my breath?

i'm not gonna front, this is really freaking hard. the past few days have been so much better than i thought they were going to be - got so much done and had a good time and just really loved being with the girls who i have been missing so much the last few weeks. it was so fun to see how much they've learned. like saida, learned how to climb stuff which is, like, a pain in the a** but wow! she's climbing! and hilina can stand up from sitting on the stoop! huge! but both the girls woke up in bad moods this morning and i was like, holy mackrel this bites the big one. if you have kids you know how eternal a tantrum can seem and how it's hard to see past the end of your nose in that moment. i realize that i am so lucky. that my life affords me to stay home with my beautiful children and that if you had asked me 5 years ago what i would want to be doing this is it. but that doesn't make you feel like less of a broken record when you say for the upteenth million time to not touch the baby. seriously, does anyone have a remedy for this? they are just curious but too rough and it's almost like i can't set him down anywhere but his crib unless i sit right there and say don't touch the baby over and over. they don't get tired and go find something else to play with. yet.

let's move on, shall we?...anywho, paige had asked how i get hilina's hair looking so cute. the answer is... I have great friends who do it for me. :) she is very tender headed, and has so much beautiful hair that about all i can manage are the poofs. i understand braiding in theory, and practice on my own hair. but i have to relearn to braid because it's upside down from how i learned. and you have to start with such small pieces that with a wiggly baby - i drop it as soon as i start! so hopefully as they get older and can sit still longer, i can take credit. until then i'll keep relying on the kindness of my friends. something i can do? take braids out. here's h getting her braids taken out. pretty awesome, huh?

and here's my first outing with all 3
judah's first trip to the market - he was thrilled

and just because...

i know i'm short on pictures of the girls lately, but never you fear, now that i am back with them full time, there will be more equal billing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

live blogging day one - no help

saida tantrum counter: 6 BUT quick recovery

not so bad. water dish made into bath/pool. messy clean up.
everyone is fed, even me and the dog. although the dog did have to share some of his food - i found a piece in saida's mouth. disgusting. almost snack time.

while trying to feed judah, saida clearly wants me to hold her. hoist her onto the couch with my leg, trying not to disturb baby. she proceeds to snap my bra strap for the next 20 minutes. hilina slides over to couch where baby is eating, saida is snapping, wants to stand. i hold onto her arm so she can pull up to couch, use my other elbow to keep saida from karate chopping judah. use my feet to help hilina position hers so she wont fall. now baby is fed and girls are having snack and some milk. even hound is sleeping. ahhhhhh.

spent the last 30 minutes playing 'don't touch the baby, no you don't have to cry, you're not in trouble, you just can't touch him while he's trying to sleep'. it's a fun game, everyone should play.

girls eating lunch, clean diapers on everyone. body starting to betray me. 30 minutes until nap time. then a big decision for me - eat lunch or sleep?!?!?! think sleep will win :) saida has started giving me kisses again, think she is getting over being so mad at me. hilina keeps feeding hound, need to pay more attention.

everyone had a good long nap, even me and judah. although then everyone woke up crying so it kinda sucked all the joy out of that. but we recovered with some quiet time. i had judah strapped to me and got the girls up from their nap. usually when i used to get them up i would carry them to the couch and we would have some snuggle time. but i had to just get them out and set them on the floor. once they realized they could either cry in the nursery or crawl over to me, they chose option b and we were all happy. minor adjustments being made here and there.

does anyone want to come walk my dog? he won't stop pacing and wimpering. i think he's still sick.... yikes. hope he can hold it a few more hours!!!!

number of times i have said 'don't touch the baby, he's sleeping' or some derivative thereof: 196
number of poopy diapers changed: 6

everyone is in bed! well, judah will be up again soon, but woohooo! i made it! this evening kenzan, my neighbor, helped me bring the girls down to sit outside for about 30 minutes, and beth stopped by with a coke, mmmmm delicious... then hilina's pt came and it got a little dicey with her crying and saida imitating hilina crying and judah being hungry and then ben came home and both the girls wanted him to hold them and so they were crying even more, and so i did what any sane person would do. i got in the shower. it was divine. and then i made dinner and fed all the babies and now all i have to do the rest of the night is sit on the couch and wait for the hills to come on. my incision is pretty sore but not busted open and so i would call today a success.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sisters. and how much they rule.

over the past 9 days, we've had the amazing fortune of having our sisters visit us in brooklyn. they didn't come here to see famous people, they didn't come here for hot nights out on the town (although ben's sister did in fact have one of those in williamsburg and kept asking me why an elderly woman dressed in leopard print would go on stage and play a trombone at a bar and, well, kind of take herself seriously, at which point i tried to tell her all about what a hipster was and then she said it was just too much for her. i think i had her at goodbye with ankle-tight jeans), nor did they come for grass-fed only organic ice cream or the panic-attack-from-hell-which-is-times-square. no, they came to clean my fridge out, throw away the entire contents of my closets, and clean up after my jealous, diarrhea-striken dog. god bless you two. all that other crap is so overrated.

hi guys! it's amanda. love you and all, but your apartment smells like a church nursery. forty love!

stoop sitting with bff's. after this, saida climbed all the stairs as ashley calmly guided her and tried her best not to freak her shiznay.

said night out, (pre-game)

i had to

Thursday, August 21, 2008

daady and hilina

ash, taking in the new baby smell

nanner and judah

milk coma

sittin' on the stoop

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

saida walks!

my girls are getting so big! i've been trying to get this video of saida walking for a few weeks now, but she'd still rather crawl than walk (she's so fast on fours) but we finally got it on sunday. and hilina is speaking her own brand of ewok that i can't seem to get on video either but i will keep trying because it's hilarious. especially when she gets mad and babbles her frustration complete with fist pumping.

afternoon with 3 babies. from Anna Thomas on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

do you see what i see?

judah has a perfect five pointed star on the bottom of his foot. which makes even more sense of his middle name, balthazar. according to ancient christian texts (specifically early ethiopian orthodox christian history), balthazar (or a spelling derivative thereof) was one of the 3 magis/kings who followed the star in the east to first visit baby jesus after his birth. he was the wiseman who carried frankincense and is represented in 3rd century art as most likely the african or "moor" magi. the idea was that the lion of judah/tribe of judah, which claim the lineage of christ, and the origins of balthazar would further tie our son to his ethiopian sisters and the ethiopian context in which i spent my first trimester pregnant with him. pregnant with him and wretching in addis ababa, lalibela, gondar, etc. plus, we also liked the idea of having his name naturally invested with the idea of true hospitality, empathy, worship, and celebration.

little girls

people warned me before judah was born that hilina and saida would seem SO BIG to me once he was born, and they weren't lying! like the other night, saida had seen me nursing judah and so when i finished she crawled over to me and handed me her bottle to feed her too. (i've heard this kind of regression is typical). anyway, i had ben put her on the boppy for me and i mean, i felt like she should be starting kindergarten the next day she was just SO BIG! they are doing pretty great, considering. it's hard for me more than them because i just miss them so much - playing with them and making them laugh and snuggling them. i keep sneaking in their room after they go to bed and holding their hands through the slats in their crib. they've been so loved on by friends and family. my mom was here for a week taking care of them and it really couldn't have gone more smoothly. my mom was an elementary school teacher when we were kids before going back to school to get her phD in child psychology. she works for early intervention in north carolina, so really, she is like the most qualified babysitter EVER for hilina and she's FREE. plus she has equal parts of patience and fun ideas to do with the girls so that they passed their days happy as clams. it was pretty cool actually because by the end of the week they had really attached to her. they love everyone they meet pretty much but besides ben and i, have never really cried when someone else left the room, or reached out for someone to hold them if they had the option of being held by one of us, or let out their happy screeches when someone came in the room, and they did all those things for my mama. makes me happy. also made me cry a lot when she left. i guess even when you're a mama yourself there are times in life when you still want your own!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

on laboring

courtney asked about my labor and so i will say labor is the most indescribable thing i have ever experienced. i went into early labor shortly after my blog post last thursday and he was born about 24 hours later. i was in early labor until about nine at which point i began to not be able to talk through contractions and starting to get that other world feeling that's sort of like a trance - very foggy. we left for the hospital about one am and checked into our room and answered a bunch of dumb questions and that's pretty much all i remember until dr. michel told me i was ready to push (19 hours after i'd gone into active labor in the first place). i pushed for 2 hours and it was clear from the shape of my stomach and his dropping heart rate that he was stuck and so was rushed in for a c-section where they found his hand placed just so next to his head and the cord around his neck twice. what started out as exactly what we wanted ended up as far from what we wanted and then right back to exactly what we wanted because he is perfectly healthy and lovely. i have the most wonderful doctor who i know did everything possible to help me have the birth we wanted and that we really tried every thing under the sun to get him down and out safely before taking him. here she is maybe 30 minutes after he was born.

besides ben there was one person i could not have done this without and that's our doula. she deserves the patience award for sticking it out with me for so long. it's hard to help someone labor when they've sort of gone catatonic on you! i did not speak for close to 10 hours ben says. but she heard me on so many levels and was able to anticipate what i needed and assured us at every step that everything was ok, and that judah was going to be ok, and that yes, labor does in fact end. i mean look at this face... does that look like the face of someone who is going to let anyone mess with you? lanice's help has been invaluable to us, i don't think i would feel the contentment i have if she had not been a part of our total experience from preparation to actual labor and as a post partum doula teaching a hormonally engorged woman how to breastfeed... she has her own room in my heart whether she likes it or not.
also that woman in the background was my labor nurse and she was so amazing as well. she really "got" us and her quiet and confident energy was really helpful to me during the pushing stage, especially as it got dicey with his little heartbeat. she also scrubbed in the surgery and took some really amazing pictures of him being born but internet, you cannot see them because i have SOME boundries and showing you my guts crosses the line.
so, yes, the surgery complicates our life a little. i can't pick up the girls for a few weeks still. but i know that everything happens for a reason and maybe this happened so that i would be forced to hide in the bedroom with our sweet new baby and memorize every detail before it changes the next day and watch his eyelashes grow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

older pictures from the hospital

this is minutes after he was born

few hours old

one day old

judah leaves the hospital

we are so happy to be home. especially me. but i think judah is too. our first night was great now that we are really getting the hang of eating. he wakes up like hey i'm hungry and i'm like hey i got LOTS of milk, let's hang out for a bit and finally getting is GOOD. in general he's just a sleepy sweet little pooping machine and i am totally in love with him. and he was so kind as to come out with his dad's lovely fingers and long long monkey toes. we still can't decide who he looks like, he's going to change so much anyway, but we're leaning towards PopPop.

leaving the hosptial!!! whooo-hooooo!!!

look! a waterfall on the east river from the cab ride home (he was unimpressed)

going home!(ready for lunch!)

afternoon catnap

evening with sisters and grandma emmy

jerah came over for some baby smooching

first morning at home, two sleepy heads. ben says judah sleeps like me but i don't know how i sleep because, um, i'm sleeping when i do that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

guest blogger (also known as husband; also known as bat nuts space cadet...)

after arriving home from taking anna's mom to meet judah for the first time yesterday, i offered to grab emily a soda from the corner store since i had to walk the dog anyway. we got home, by the way, all ripe for a nap. so i put the girls down and then took hound out before crashing.

i walked to get the soda at the corner store and then walked back to my street, happy to run into some inquisitive neighbors. i told them all about how anna was doing, what labor was like, how amazing it was to see something for the first time that somehow came from you and how you somehow oddly recognized it, and ultimately how my first diaper change took more wipes than my first one with hilina did when i actually took a pair of scissors and cut her outfit off of her. ah, those were the days. two sweet girls in a far away country crapping their brains out from their bottoms to their hair.

anyway. so after telling this to my neighbors for about 20 minutes, i walked up the stairs to our apartment and was about to turn the door before uttering *&%#! HOUND DOG!

yes. in my post i-have-the-most-beautiful-son-ever-is-this-for-real-because-if-this-isn't-for-real
-and-i-am-dreaming-then-i-hate-all-dreams stupor, i apparently bought that soda, walked right by my dog and proceeded home without him. needless to say, i hurried back the two blocks and found him still tied to the bus stop pole, sitting down, looking at me like a crazy man with three, virtually, brand new kids.

today at the hospital:

a son is born

annabeth & judahgoodness

post-circumcision (i was so there for you...)

mom & 3 kids & a load of sterile objects for saida to play with

hilina attacked by the nursing cover!

not with a bang but a whimper

please welcome into the world:

judah balthazar thomas

born on 08/08/08 at 4:17pm
weighing 8 lbs, 3 oz
21 inches long

mother, father, son, and daughters are overjoyed and exceedingly thankful for excellent health all around.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

endings and beginnings

this morning i got off the train at 77th and walked straight into labor and delivery before i realized i was in the wrong building. i know. wishful thinking. long story short the wee lad is ready to go - turned back around to the right position, 3 centimeters, something was bulging which she said was a positive sign, all the good stuff. so she stripped my membranes which ow, doesn't feel good at all, and if i don't go tonight on my own, she's going to break my water after we put the pancakes to bed tomorrow night. all that to say, at the very latest we'll have a little mushy baby on saturday. it seems SO surreal. after thinking about him for months and month and months we finally get to meet him. i hope he has long pretty fingers like his dad. and the thomas blue eyes which are so beautiful and i hope he is as funny as i am. when we were at this stage with saida and hilina, on a flight somewhere over one of the four continents we traveled across to meet them, it was christmas eve. sigh. i am feeling so lucky right now.
here is the last belly picture - 40 weeks, 3 days.

if you can pray that all goes well, and that the girls do okay we would be so grateful. even though i know they will be with my mom it will be so hard for me to be away from them, i've never been away from them for more than a few waking hours.
now it's time for me to go clean some corners again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

finer points of a conversation

what with my official due date having come and gone we decided it was time to try again to explain to the girls why mommy's tummy is so big and why it's not ok to jump on it, and how daddy should have had the foresight to buy stock in ben&jerry's the moment he found out he was going to have another baby. in the long run i know it will be so wonderful how close in age the pancakes are to this stubborn cubscout not ready to make his debut yet. but in the meantime this is the look we often get when we try to explain that they're going to have a baby brother any day now...

one year olds do not really understand this it seems. so we tried explaining to them that he was going to be very tiny and that we have to be extra gentle with him and not sneeze on him and share our toys (and mommy) with him. hilina got really excited at that part. saida, not so much...
then we told them if they were really good and didn't crawl on him or play rough with him for awhile that we would take them out for ice-cream. somehow, they got that part.

here are some other shots from this talk...

in other news, ben is sick. he's only ever been sick like twice since i've known him so it's pretty sad. he has a high fever and i'm waiting for the doctor's office to open so i can get him in there. if you're so inclined, say a prayer he's better really soon, and that i don't go into labor with him not able to get out of bed!