Archive | January, 2013

Once Upon a Time, I Had Something to Say.

I feel like this has become more robotic than ever, and for that, I apologize. I could slap together another “Stuff I Bought” post (which, really, I love), but c’mon. I have no groundbreaking reveal there. I could tell you about readying our house to sell, but .. um, that’s all planning right now, so I’m not even blessed with Before & After pictures to share. I could fill you in on the recent Private School Woes, but .. to be honest, if I go public with those, it will be to media outlets, so. I’m just kind of tired.

Also, FULL DISCLOSURE: This is shaping up to be a post where I write about how I have nothing to write about. Feel free to click elsewhere. I would.

I’m not even in a bad head space, honestly. I’m just over..wrought? Over..committed? Over..beingpregnant? I feel like I have no head space for ME, which is being highlighted by my idea of reading one book a month. ONE BOOK. OVER A MONTH. This is proving too challenging for me. Me, who used to devour books in a day. I am now 35% through Gone Girl, which I didn’t even have time to start until a week ago, and I’m gloomily accepting that I may not make my month-end deadline.

Every minute feels like it’s spent catching three other balls, which is fine. I know this is temporary; this is just the Now. But maybe being a full-time student while working full-time was a bit optimistic, is what I’m saying. I hear stories of people doing it, making it work, but I don’t know HOW. Then again, I can’t IMAGINE being in school for longer than a full-time course load would force. I want to be done NOW.

And then there’s the stress of a baby on the way, with nowhere to put him. Do we room the two older boys together? They are six years apart, with one onĀ  the verge of Teenage Years. I don’t think that’s fair (to either kid). Do we room the two littlest ones together? They are five years apart, with one being a newborn. I don’t think that’s fair (to either kid). We’re looking at baby furniture and trying to figure what would take up the least amount of room but has other pieces available for when we move into an unknown house and MY GOD, I want to be done NOW.

The house. Oh, the house. Our house is actually in pretty good condition, just needing some typical wear-and-tear TLC before we list. But there’s the time aspect of having contractors in and out (I cannot/will not do much of the labor here), and the money aspect, and then the showings and I WANT TO BE DONE NOW.

This all sounds very whiny, and I know that. In my head, the tone is NOT whiny; it’s just urgent, sounding very much like a FIVE ALARM FIRE all the time. Not whiny, just persistent. All the time. Like the running ticker during a weather situation, scrolling along the bottom of my mind no matter what else I’m doing, with that constant BRRRRP BRRRRP BRRRP every two minutes to catch your attention.

(There is also the car dilemma, also the school dilemma, also the private school dilemma, the work dilemma, the other work dilemma, and the list scrolls and scrolls and scrolls.)

So here is my question to you: What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? In trying to avoid stress overload, I’ve asked this of anyone within earshot, and I have found the answers to be very polarizing. For instance, I am not a Tagalong fan. AT ALL. However, I would cut someone for Samoas. (I have found that there is common ground for all in Thin Mints.)

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To Everything, There is a Season

This morning, we all piled into the ultrasound room at the OB’s office: Tony, Bryan, and (obviously) myself. The goo was squirted, the machine whirred, and we all stared at the screen.

And there it was, plain as day.

“Congratulations!” the tech chirped. “Aren’t you guys excited?”

Bryan and I tilted our heads both ways. We had seen many ultrasounds in our day, and yet.

Tony was unfazed. “Is it a male or a female?” he asked stoically.

“It’s a boy!” she announced. And then we could breathe.

Really, my main goal with every visit is to just to ensure that there’s just ONE baby in there.

****

He’s a dancer, this much is known. Last night, Bryan felt him kick for the first time, which I’ve been having the pleasure of for a few weeks now. What were initially flutters now cause me to stop and take pause, which freaks the engineers out constantly. I’m clearly not having the baby, guys, I’ll soothe them. But he’ll let me know when he’s displeased or pleased or energetic or feeling Michael Flatley. He’s quite the mover.

****

Okay, fine, this is the REAL ultrasound.

Yes, clearly that’s a boy. (?!?) I’m sorry, but that looks like a TSA screening of a bowling bag.

He measures perfectly, as do I .. except for the weight gain. Oh, I knew this was coming. I don’t know WHY I’m gaining so much, so early, because it’s not like I’m gorging. In fact, I rarely eat sweets anymore. I eat full meals, three times a day, and it turns out that my body likes to keep those meals around. Namely on my hips and thighs. Make smarter choices, my doc coached. (I love my doc, I really do. He’s a good guy.) Don’t be deceived by liquid calories. He says this like I have not monitored every stupid bite and sip I’ve ingested since I was 18 years old.

“Oooh, great idea!” I replied. I’m an actress.

****

Bryan was supposed to leave for Columbus, Mississippi, after the ultrasound, where he was staying until Saturday, but we were hit with a freak ice storm that left all of us homebound. Roads and bridges were closed pretty quickly and I had flashbacks of snOMG of 2011. Tony indulged in some Shaun the Sheep for a few hours while Bryan and I worked from home, then we all took a nap, and when we woke up, the sun was shining. We have not seen the sun in – literally – over a week and a half. Maybe two weeks. It’s rained for WEEKS on end.

The most maddening part about the constant rain is the many times we’d glance at our floors and say, “Oh. God,” because, you know, we have three dogs who constantly run in and out. We tried mopping daily, but within fifteen minutes – no lie – it was as if we never did anything.

Mabel, who we affectionately call Little Dog, was the worst. There is nothing she loves more than being out in the inclement weather. We’re not sure why, but she’s always been this way. We have to lock the dogs in when it rains, or it’s a guarantee that she’ll be out there, just sitting in the rain, surveying her yard.

Even today, as ice and sleet were pelting the city, she was out, wandering in it. She stayed out most of the morning, only inside when we locked the dogs in.

It was her way. It’s when she was happiest. Well, I take that back: her happiest involves the boys out in the inclement weather with her.

****

We got home from dinner tonight, after most of the ice had melted off, to find fresh mud and dirt tracked in the house. Belle, our youngest dog, was particularly covered in sludge. What in the hell?, I chided her. It hasn’t even been raining. What made you this dirty? Beau was also covered. We went about our bedtime routine with Tony, and when he was in the bath, Bryan mentioned that we hadn’t seen Little Dog in awhile.

He went out in the yard to look for her while I checked on Tony in the bath. He met me in the hallway.

We lost her.

On the one end, she truly was happiest outside. I firmly believe that she went painlessly, and in a peaceful way. On the hand that will bother me for awhile, she was alone when she passed.

Until we realized.. she wasn’t. The dogs were covered with muck because they stayed with her.

And maybe we should all be so lucky, you know? That’s love.

****

Mabel was my first baby, adopted when I lived in Louisiana in 2000. I would often call her our oldest child, because she was. She was every bit a mutt – deaf, squatty, one ear permanently raised – and had been returned to the shelter several times before I found her because her owners called her a “behavioral challenge”. She wouldn’t respond to their commands. I soon learned it was because she couldn’t hear them.

She had the sweetest disposition of any dog I’ve ever, ever owned. She was fairly grumpy in her old age, but only with the other dogs, and only when they would bother her. She was incredibly gentle and sweet with every child she ever met, an amazing “training” dog for the boys in particular. In fact, she was of such a great temperament that I often debated training her as a therapy dog.

She may have been sweet, but she had TONS of personality. For being a deaf dog, she could communicate marvelously well. For instance, she could talk. I know. I KNOW HOW SILLY THAT SOUNDS, but really! She would howl when you came in the door, and it straight up sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire saying “HeelllOOOOOO.” And she had no idea she was any smaller than our 60 lb lab. She was, in all ways, a spitfire of a dog.

I am sad to have lost her, just because now I have another baby boy for her to train.

Tony told me that it’s okay. His teacher’s mom died, too, he said. She will take care of Mabel in heaven.

And as she had for me, for many years – Mabel will take care of her too.

****

So it’s been a day. Highs and lows and everything in between.

They say there’s a season for everything.

I think typically they don’t all collide in one 24-hour period, though.

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My Review of Our SleepNumber Bed.

I have thought many times that I’m already prepared for a newborn because it’s been since July that I’ve gotten any consistent sleep over consecutive nights. (I thought this even just this morning, as I drug my weary carcass into work.)

The problem initially was that Bryan is a snorer. He actually has pretty moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, which I think is worse than just run of the mill snoring; a constant noise is easy to drown out, but the illogical silence and sudden gasping for breath would rouse anyone. Seriously, they should try it on coma patients.

So we’d take turns: one night I’d sleep on our couch, the next night I got the bed while Bryan took the couch. And while two or three nights a week of sleep was good, it was taking a toll on our marriage.

(Also, it turns out, it was taking a toll on my hips.)

Yes, Bryan’s tried the CPAP – both the full mask and just the nose – and they don’t work for him. Next up is surgery, but man, we were looking for anyway to avoid surgery. That’s scary crap!

So we agreed on a king-sized bed. I argued that we’ve slept in hotel rooms just fine, and maybe the extra real estate between us would allow the sound to dissipate. I don’t know. It was me, grasping at straws. We went to Sams and tried out some mattresses, but weren’t really wowed by anything. We tried a couple of mattress stores and we weren’t blown over. So we went to a SleepNumber store.

SleepNumber starts by analyzing your body and how it distributes weight. I know it’s SHOCKING, but all of my stress is squarely in my hips! (Bryan didn’t have an obvious stress point.) So we began to try out the different models and found one in the middle range that was simply HEAVEN. It wasn’t the top of the line, memory foam SleepNumber bed, but it wasn’t the bottom rung basic model, either. It was a pillowtop with an adjustable base.

(We are now basically the old people from the Craft-o-Matic Adjustable Bed commercials now.)

It was delivered sooner than expected (YAY!), along with the fancy pillows and fancy nano-technology-infused sheets we also purchased. It’s now been almost two full months in the bed, so here’s my review.

The Pillows: As you may recall, I had recently purchased a pillow from Brookstone that I was in love with. Bryan had a MyPillow that he was less thrilled with. So we both decided on a new pillow (we needed king-sized pillows anyway). Mine was a memory foam for side or stomach sleepers; his has an air-intake valve for varying firmness. We’re both kind of “meh” about the pillows. To be honest, my Brookstone pillow was more comfortable, but this isn’t unbearable by any means. Bryan likes his new one more than his MyPillow, but that’s because he hated that MyPillow. Hated it.

The Sheets: DO NOT BE SUCKERED IN AS WE WERE. They sold us on some nano-technology within these sheets, that supposedly regulate your body temperature by absorbing the heat and redistributing it and keeping you cool. The first two nights, we both woke up SOAKED in sweat. (And I’m the always-cold pregnant lady!) The sheets feel extremely cheap – rough and scratchy, no matter how many washings – and the sheets cannot be returned. So do what we did – go buy some cheap sheets at Target or WalMart and make do. We sleep WAY better in normal sheets. Nano-Technology is not for us.

The Bed: All in all, we’re happy. It has not been a magic, life-altering experience, but perhaps we set our expectations a little high. I adore the adjustable base.. when heartburn kicks up, I can reach over with one hand and increase my incline without even really waking up. On days when my feet swell, I can put them up with the touch of a button. I really love that. As for the actual SleepNumber technology? Bryan and I were surprised to find out that our ideal numbers were actually exactly the same. So we probably just could’ve found a mattress to that specification and stuck it on an adjustable base. Sidenote: Tony, however, loves it. It’s his favorite thing in the world to randomly set one side to ZERO and then pretending he did nothing, leaving us to fall into a practically empty air mattress.

If we had it to do over again, we might have still gone with the same model bed and skipped the sheets and pillows – which, honestly, would’ve saved us a HUGE chunk of change. But the bed itself has been lovely, and I can only imagine as I get further in this pregnancy that the adjustable features will become more coveted.

These opinions are my own and we have not been compensated for any portion of this review. Trust me. Because, DAYUM, this stuff is costly.

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Blue or Pink: What Do You Think?

How many of you, while pregnant or while pampering the hell out of your pregnant partner, engaged in speculation about the gender of the baby?

It’s become an ongoing gag around here; Bryan is firmly planted on the side of a girl, Tony swings back and forth (he likes to idea of a girl, but would LOVE a little brother), and Jack just wants us to know that regardless of the genitalia that put it there, he is NOT doing diaper duty.

Because it’s been an interesting discussion, prompting some faux-heated conversations, I thought I’d fill you in on the old wives’ tales regarding gender, and where I fall in those parameters.

Your body gives you cues. Traditionally, it’s said A Girl Steals Her Mother’s Beauty (and also Causes Acne), Dry Hands Mean a Boy is Coming, a Larger Left Breast Forecasts a Daughter, and Dark Nipples Indicate a Son. Um, all of this seems very weird to me. Without going into too much detail about my breasts, those definitely point to a girl. I always have dry hands – I actually have a condition called dyshidrosis regarding it – so I don’t know if that’s a firm yes in the boy column or not. Basically, my body says MAN, I HATE BEING PREGNANT.

Craving will determine the gender. According to old wives’ tales, the food you crave will indicate what gender the baby is. Sweets = girl; sour = boy. This was proven true last go-round: I ate fried pickles for almost all of the end of my pregnancy with Tony. And I’ve not particularly wanted sweets this go-round, either. In fact, my cravings stay firmly planted in the salty/sour range. (But I’ve also heard this is an indication as to the temperament of the baby as well.) So this tale says BOY.

What color is your urine when mixed with Drano? I’m embarrassed anyone ever went for this. I most certainly did not. While I’m not above examining my urine (as the brilliant Metalia said recently, you reach a point in pregnancy where you can define using the toilet as a hobby), wouldn’t you think that they would do this in a doctor’s office if there was any truth to it? Instead of another ultrasound (that they’ll bill your insurance $4156K for), why not just throw some Drano in there? BECAUSE THIS IS STUPID.

How you carry your baby indicates baby boy or baby girl. Um, okay. I don’t know about this. Traditionally, low = boy and high = girl, but Tony was pretty square in the middle (until he dropped before labor, obviously). Also, they say you carry a boy in front but you expand horizontally with a girl. Thanks for the wonderful options there. With this baby, the bump feels higher than last time, but I don’t put much faith in this one, either. If we follow tradition, though, this says GIRL.

Heart rate can be an indicator for gender. While researching this, I was shocked to learn that it IS actually medical fact that girls have a higher heart rate during labor. Isn’t that weird? Anyway, there’s no such factual basis on the heart rate while you’re carrying. However, the tale is that a heart rate above 145 is generally a girl, while boys tend to maintain a lower heartrate. I can’t remember what Tony carried, but this baby is usually in the 160 range, which .. um .. sounds scarily high, right? While I research infant blood pressure meds, we’ll put this one squarely in the GIRL category.

The Daddy’s Sympathy Weight Gain tells you gender.I don’t want to really tackle this one, but traditionally, this tale says that an expectant father putting on some sympathy weight indicates a girl. So, um, well. Let’s just say that Bryan will be tickled PINK that I don’t answer this question.

Are there any old wives’ tales that I missed here? Because right now: this list seems to proclaim that Bryan gets to wave a big ole IN YOUR FACE right in my .. face .. on January 16th when they add some Drano to my urine perform the revealing ultrasound.

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