Sunday, November 21, 2010

40 weeks: I'm ready!

Well, Tuesday, Nov. 23rd is the big day! But only big-ish. Because Hunter may not come then. He probably won't. But that does mark the 9-months of active people-building on my part, which is pretty impressive. God lets us make our own people! How awesome is that?!?

So I would like to state that this pregnancy has officially been different than the last in that the last trimester has been MORE DRAMATIC THAN COULD EVER BE EXPECTED. --My photography business took off (a GOOD thing, but makes for a busy me!) and I am STILL editing shoots from my uber-busy October.
--John and I made some crucial financial decisions.
--We had to move on Nov. 6th (thank you landlords...), which is NOT what a nesting mama wants to do! We are still unpacking (and probably will be for awhile) but had some awesome people come help us out--friends and family which are all amazing in my book.
--My grandpa passed away yesterday.
--My grandma is very sick.
--Thanksgiving is Thursday.
--We found out that John has to go to Minnesota for manager training (good thing) in January (at least not this month or next month) for THREE WEEKS (bottom lip quivering).
I am officially ready to not have any more drama, good or bad. But I am ready to have this baby!

I am still editing the last two boudoir sessions I shot (the day before we moved, I should add). My plan/hope/wish is that I get all the photo stuff done and in client's hands before I have Hunter. Had we not had to move, that would have been nearly effortless, but having to stop all post-processing for packing and unpacking was a serious problem! Thankfully all my clients are extremely patient with me. <3

Tonight I finished packing everything for the hospital trip...the whole while thinking that this is DEFINITELY one of the reasons to have a baby at home. Ridiculous to do all this packing for a spontaneous trip that has no set length mere miles from my house. Ugh. But, then, I would have had to to about half of this packing anyway as a backup. So I am ready. We would have about half an hour of scurrying around the house collecting things like toothbrushes and cell phone chargers, but the bulk of it is done. Thank God.

We have Jack packed with sensible things like clothes and diapers, but also my childhood suitcase (that bears the phrase "going to grandmas" on the side) full of new little treats for him to enjoy/stuff to keep the grandparents sane while he really wants Mama. I bought him a picture book, a book called "If I Could Keep You Little" which makes me so sentimental I don't know if I'll ever read it to him, a set of Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper, a Thomas the Train DVD and a Thomas the Train book that plays music. AND a slew of plastic dinosaurs and we'll throw in trucks and cars last minute. I hope he enjoys them. :) I hope he goes to sleep for everyone fairly easily.

My little love has been so sweet when he's not a holy terror for being the age he's at. The social and verbal connections he's making blows me away, but he's still just a wee boy and still wants me to hold him. "Mama, hold you?"

When we go through animal sounds he'll start with, "Howwww bowwwwwt...a cow? Mooooooooooo!!!!! Howwww bowwwwt...a sheep? Baaaaaaaaa!!!"

When I found out grandpa died I cried for about half an hour. Jack came in and saw me, then said, "Right back, Mommy. Teh-EE bear." He found his white teddy bear and gave it to me to make me feel better. How sweet!

Last night when I tucked him in bed, I leaned down to give him a kiss. He grabbed both sides of my face and put my head near his nose, breathed in and said, "Mommy spmell nice." He kicked off his blanket (which he used to call "gank," then "ganket" and now it's "mangknet") but five minutes later asked for it back, whispering, "Please Mommy, mangknet." After I draped it over him he whispered, "Thank oooo, Mommy" and fell asleep.

Tonight he didn't want to sleep in his bed, but on the floor where I normally sit or lie down on another pillow next to his bed until he falls asleep. So we cuddled there and he told me how all the characters from the show "Kipper" were sleeping, individually. Then he put his hand on my cheek and fell asleep. :)

If he hears a sound from John or I when we're out of sight, he will come over to us and ask "Mommy/Daddy okay?"

He will often hug my tummy ("the baaaaaaby") and rub it or kiss it. Last night he showed Hunter his book and all the animals in it.

We have not tried to actively potty-train, but he's to the point now that he will tell me most of the time when he needs a new diaper. This only works if it's a pee diaper. If he poops, he'll hide and cry saying "Hurts!" because, obviously, if he doesn't tell me and I don't notice, it isn't comfortable for me to clean him when it's been there for a few minutes. I am looking forward to potty training him, but not worried about it for awhile, given the change of moving and the coming change of Hunter arriving.

I know this post is long. It's long for me, not you. Because I won't remember all of this stuff, but if I type it, I will remember it again later. So if you're still here, I'm going to talk about my pregnancy too.

I have finally reached a point that I'm getting weary of being pregnant. I really do love being pregnant, as I've said before, and I know I'm lucky because some women have a miserable time. Sometimes I'm miserable, but the good always outweighs the bad for me.

I love the small amount extra of attention.
I love the loose waistlines and no expectations for me to LOSE weight.
I love that I remember to take better care of myself because there is a helpless person inside me that needs that.
I love feeling the baby move, 'cause no one else can experience it like I can.

But I think I'm okay if he comes out now. My hips hurt a lot when I'm in any position for two long. It's hard to change position, especially in bed. Just today I've had to pee probably 20 times, each time just a trickle. That gets really old. Especially when it feels like OMG-if-I-don't-pee-I'll-just-die. And that's even more difficult when I have to heave my giant self out of our super-soft mattress to do it! Hunter is way TOO strong to be kicking me for very much longer. It's painful sometimes. I'm tired of sharp, stabbing pain here and there and WAY down there. I'm tired of heartburn that shows up BEFORE I eat. Seriously.

So, Hunter, you can show up anytime. Your Daddy has been anxious to hold you for weeks, especially this past week. Everyone's excited to meet you and I can easily psych myself out when I think about going through labor, so if you could just come, we could get it over with and I could just meet you and love you and feed you 10,000 times each day. And love it. Love you, tiny one.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

38ish weeks: Running out of time?

So we've moved! We're at our new house, which is kinda close to the Desert Vineyard. It's nice and seems to be big enough to hold our stuff. The compromise has been in one less bedroom (yet more square footage) and closets about half the size in the non-master bedrooms (tear...). My house is a disaster, although I nearly have the "social areas" ready for the general public. The kitchen is nearly put together, minus random junk that I should just sweep into the trash since I can't remember what's still out till I look at it. The dining room table is set up and looks pretty--I can look at it and feel like there's some semblance of order here. The only real disasters are the office and the boys' room, but that shouldn't take too long to organize, given that I have help coming over soon! I am happy we've moved, although I keep going on "auto-pilot" to the old house.

I am not unhappy as a pregnant lady still, but more of a worrisome one. The baby is doing fine...Hunter is huge and strong and shows me nearly every moment that he's doing great. I am just antsy to get all my photo editing done so I can really, actually rest after I give birth and let my only care be the occasional bill and facebook updates for you nosy people out there. :) I am finishing one wedding, one birth, three family shoots and I think SEVEN boudoir shoots! October was really GOOD to me but this move really put a kink in my workflow! So I am letting my mind gel back into place here for a moment as pictures upload, then back to work!

Jack seems to be doing really well to the adjustment, even though he has gotten really bossy over the past few days. Lots of "Get me water, Mama." and "No! Move over!" So either our move has coincided with a burst of independence and brattiness or it's just the adjusting that is bringing out this curious side to him. If we go near the old house he shouts "Yay! Old house!" which makes me kinda sad. And other times he asks to go to the "New-d house" which kinda makes me laugh, since it basically sounds like "nude house." Which then makes me laugh at the irony since I'll be doing boudoir shoots here and--well, you get it. LOL!

As far as labor and delivery are concerned, I have half my hospital bag packed. I still need to get some essentials like comfy clothes and underclothes for myself. I have all the goodies for Jack's survival pack purchased, but need to get some snacks and such too. Oh, and pack clothes and diapers and all that crap. School the babysitters-to-be on car seat installation. Pray that I go into labor after Jack has already gone to bed and is exhausted enough to sleep till the morning. Stuff like that. Basically if I go into labor now, I'll be scurrying around for awhile getting stuff ready. It irritates me greatly that I HAVE to have a to-go bag since I really wish I was giving birth at home, but that's more of a wish like "I'd love to go skydiving sometime" than a "I am freaking out and can't handle this choice" at this time. *shrug* I'll just try to save up (ha!) for the next one so we can have a midwife for the third baby.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

37 weeks: Out of my flippin' mind

So I don't think this will be quite as long as the others because my life is crazy and I should be packing. Yes, packing. We found out about a week and a half ago that our landlord pulled the plug on our month-to-month contract and wants us out by Nov. 30th. Of course, we're not going to WAIT that long because baby Hunter is DUE Nov. 23rd. Ugh! I guess it's better that we didn't just have Hunter and it be almost Christmas when we had to uproot. But that is a small consolation.
We DID find a place, near the Desert Vineyard in a pretty little cul-de-sac. We're excited because there's new carpet, tile, paint and kitchen appliances! We're going from $950 to $1100 but I believe that's doable.
NOW it's a race against time because we're already paying rent for the new place and each day we're at the old place we'll be billed against our deposit. And I really want more money back than less, you know? So we're moving THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, then collapsing Sunday.
I'm trying to pack everything, but I'm fairly useless (read: slow) at doing everything. Take my friend, Melissa, who came over and in ONE HOUR packed Jack's whole room. That would have taken me like three hours, not counting breaks. I love bossy, motivated, NOT pregnant women. :) (Thank you, Melissa!)

On the "merely" pregnant front, I am doing well. Hunter is kicking me like crazy and my stomach has relocated to my throat, causing the mere thought of food to create a firestorm of heartburn the world has never seen. Good thing I love things like fruit juice, tomatoes and spicy food, huh? But I don't even think it matters. I got heartburn from bananas clearly matters not what slides down my gullet.
I have to keep moving or changing positions or my joints settle into that position permanently. I'm basically the Tin Man.
I found three little stretchmarks. I'm happy with that. No more stretching, Hunter. No more!
Today the baby email says that Hunter could pop out and would be considered A-OK for the world. Oh please oh please oh plEASE take your time in there, kiddo! I want you on time, or slightly late. I really don't have time or the mental/physical/emotional energy to do all the stuff I'm doing AND have a baby (which then becomes me not doing ANY of the stuff I'm doing EXCEPT having the baby).

My photography business is doing GREAT, praise God! If I wasn't moving then I would just happily sit at home, enjoying my blessed maternity leave, cheerfully editing pictures at my leisure (and the "leisure" of a toddler). Instead I pack like a madwoman then take my "breaks" by collapsing on the couch with the laptop to edit edit edit edit EDIT! I really, truly love my job. Honestly I do! I am just amazed at how much work I have to do right now and I'm so SO SO grateful to my clients for being patient. :)

Alright, this is long enough. See you next week. Maybe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

35 Weeks: my little love and my tiny love

Time is definitely rushing by. My photo business is booming and I have more work coming in than I may have logical time to edit! (Never fear, clients: it will be done!) I praise the Lord for the opportunity to bless so many people and help support my famiy as well.

At the same time, it seems like time is crawling by. I am in a hurry (read: nesting) to get everything set up and just SO for this tiny love. I want the bassinet next to my bed, ready to go. I want the second dresser in the boys' room (boys? BOYS!!!!! PLURAL!!!) and the crib set up and the clothes all washed and organized by size so I can take inventory on what I have. I can't decide where to put Jack's bookcase or whether to put a chair in their room or put the changing table there...although I really don't use a changing table, so that answers that.

I want it all set up...maybe because I want this new one in my arms and maybe if I get it all done then he can come out! I'm not saying I'm done being pregnant. I LOVE being pregnant, even with the fairly persistent heartburn/gas/aches & pains that I experience. I'm just in a hurry to see his beautiful face and make sure he's okay.

Let me explain.

I'm certain that this tiny love of mine is perfect in every way. God created him and I know he's exactly as God expected, so I should not expect less. However I tend to be a glutton for punishment and wander on the internet...often not on purpose. For example, through one blog I follow I have found another blog that makes me cry. And I was reading a photography e-newsletter I get that featured an article written by this girl whose baby went Home in January.

And my heart breaks.

If there's anything I could say I don't understand (respectfully) on this earth, it's how the human heart can handle such a loss. Even made in God's image (and I'm the roughest sketch of THAT image, let me tell you), I can't believe that God's grace can sufficiently carry us through such difficult times as the loss of a child. Now I'm not sitting here expecting this tiny one to up and die on me. I'm NOT!!! I sometimes just feel...a little too blessed when I see others hurt. I'm not saying I deserve less, but my heart wants to heal their wounds and I feel a pinch ashamed at getting to have what I want when others cannot. You don't have to make me feel better--I don't feel BAD--I've just had these people on my heart lately and need to vent a little.

All that to say, I praise God for the blessing of Jack and the blessing of this tiny love inside me. I feel more fortunate than ever before, than in any other stage of my life. I am writing this and Tiny Love is rolling and kicking and moving about, telling me, "Mama! I'm doing okay!!! I'm healthy and happy and I can't wait to meet you!" And when I come home Jack will yell, "Mommy's home!!!" and give me a big hug and really that's so so SOOOOOO much to take in each day that my heart overflows. Thank you, amazing, astounding, ever-present God, who has blessed me with so much despite my gross failures and shortcomings! So much pregnancy hormones right now, but it's good!!!

Jack is completely adorable. His presence in my life teaches me something every day (sometimes the same things repeatedly as I either forget that he is the age he is or forget that I am the age I am). I am constantly surprised at how innocent a child's love is, how pure their motivations are, how sincere their love is. I am so impressed with him, and not just because he's just totally awesome in general. I am amazed that he is growing so tall and strong. His vocabulary is taking off astronomically and he absorbs SO MUCH of what we say around him! He is learning things that I though he'd never catch on to, like using tissues to wipe his nose (THANK G.O.D.) or following specific directions to get something for me.

I want to capture all the wonderful little ways he talks:

"Mommy, whaddya-doindere?" (What are you doing there?) to check on me.
"C'mon, Mommy, build/draw/truck/cars/sit."
"Mommy shower. Mommy all done shower. My shower too! Mommy dressed."
Anytime he wants something he will say "My hungry/step/jump/car/drive/draw/watch/etc too."
Now that he listens to what we say all the time I realize I'm a loud driver. He will shout behind me:
"GO CAR GO!!!!" "C'mon!!!" ....Gotta watch that, huh?

He has started to take what he sees on the few cartoons he watches and actually talk about them throughout the day. He likes watching Caillou, which is a Canadian cartoon featuring a 4-year-old bald kid named Caillou. I don't know why this kid doesn't have any hair, and he whines a lot, but often the show teaches good points. Anyway, there's a set of twins that Caillou has as neighbors in the show named Jason and Jeffrey. Jack will talk about them while playing with cars or blocks.
"Hi Caillou! Hi Jason! Hi Jeffrey! Jason and Jeffrey house. Jason and Jeffrey eat. Pizza..."
It's cute that he has started to carry things with him like that

He intently watches John play video games. I have mixed feelings about it, but if it's not gory and there's no foul language then I mind less. Jack will intently look for his "troller" (controller) so he can help Daddy play, or just cut to the chase and grab one of his plastic water guns or Pirate of the Caribbean Disney pistol and shoot the bad guys, even going so far as to whirl his hands around where you'd put the powder as if to load it. Pretty much anything sticklike he will use as a weapon though. It doesn't take much!

That's it for this week!
Little love, I can't wait to hold you after work today!
Tiny love, I am so glad my belly is holding you now...but I can't wait to have you in my arms!

Friday, October 8, 2010

33 weeks: Lots of emotion (whining)

Please forgive the complete disregard for order in this post. Many of you may be used to it and wouldn't have noticed anything unusual, but I felt apologetic for once. Which leads to the topic of emotion.

I am officially a mess. I am at a stage I recognize well, where I am emotional, unrealistic and have low self-esteem. I am not writing this so you will say, "Oh, Elaine, I never noticed your butt was big. It's just the pregnancy hormones. Don't worry...when you have two boys you won't ever get to sit down and it'll just work itself off." Thank you, imaginary comment. :\
What I mean is I am starting to dislike things about my body that I am normally able to just...well, ignore. Or give up on (read: accept). My front side now matches my backside, but the back isn't cute. I mean, no one is squealing with delight and asking to rub my bottom in any capacity. But that's okay. I'm at peace with that.
I dislike my hair, which is stupid since my hair is great with all the hormones and my body's "hold-on-to-every-strand"ishness that comes with this baby bump.
I feel very plain when I see myself in photos. Maybe I'm really getting to the topic of self-esteem rather than emotion? I'm proud of my belly, my baby, my family, my home (if you don't look in any other room but the one I sit you down in). Just not really myself today. It's just not working for me.

At least I don't have any new stretch marks.


But my belly button looks weird. It sticks out at the top, but sinks in at the bottom. It's as if it wants to be an outie but the incredible WEIGHT from my baby/souvenir-from-Jack-and-last-Christmas is dragging it down.

OKAY! Enough. On to brighter subjects. Like how I'm doing psychologically. A real, page-scroller, you can guess.

I'm...well, stressed. Okay, I'm happy, but stressed. Anxious? There's a lot to worry about, mostly manufactured worries in my head.

*Money. 'Nuff said. Why can't I substitute teach with a newborn? LOL I canNOT imagine nursing in front of 20 teenage boys. Nope!
*How will I ever get Jack to bed early enough so John and I can actually spend some quality time together? Schedules don't stick...our days change and it all depends on whether he has a nap. Sometimes he doesn't nap but is firmly against going to sleep after he's become delirious, dramatic and angry (or is that me?). Sometimes he konks out in the 1/2 mile between my mom's house and mine and he is thus unrousable for 90 minutes. Then John is asleep before Jack falls asleep and I feel like my evening was wasted. How will this work with the new baby?
*I am a defeated nester. Read that as: constantly irritated by the condition of my home but stopped short by my utter lack of energy by the time I'm home. The rental we're in came with big stains in the carpet and I can't STAND IT!!! It's getting worse as I get closer to my due date. One day I may just rip it all out. Just kidding, John.
*We aren't eating healthy enough. I feel like I've failed taking care of this baby as opposed to how I took care of Jack in utero. I'm lucky if I take my prenatals some days and with Jack I was downing (healthy) pills like an addict. I'm afraid of the potential guilt I'll have if this baby isn't as healthy.
*I wandered too far in the Internet universe and found websites and stories the broke my heart about certain little babies. In the words of Cookie Monster, "That DUMB thing to do!!!" Now I have more fears, or at least my heart cries out to the families and I wonder why I am so blessed to have Jack and been able to hold and giggle and snuggle him for so long.

(You realize with Jack I kept a private diary on my computer and with this one I haven't had time or made the effort or some other guilt-inducing excuse, so this is why you're reading all this crap.)

Physically, I'm doing as well as I'd expected. I feel "trimmer" than with Jack, but that's probably just because now that I've BEEN pregnant, I am expecting my whale-shaped figure to return. I'm more like an orca this time. I know that counteracts all the self-esteem stuff I said at the beginning, saying I'm smaller when I just whined to you about how big I am. Shut up.
I get lots of twinges and sharp pains, "welded" joints when I stay in a position too long and back pain. I usually only get headaches when I work at Littlerock High. Interesting. I get heartburn a lot...I think my stomach is actually located just below my throat. If I bend down to pick something up, I feel heartburn. Ridiculous!

This tiny bear is more like a wildcat. A wildcat that's been poked with sticks. He moves ALL the time. Big, sweeping body twirls. Tiny, piercing elbow drags. Weird hand movements. The loud cries. Just making sure you're paying attention. ;) But, really, if I'm TOO hungry, then he is a tornado of hungry anger. He will kick and punch and twirl and make it KNOWN that he is not happy. Or maybe my stomach is empty and he's taking advantage of the extra centimeter of space. Never thought of that... Either way, I am terrified to think about taking too long to nurse this little kid!

I have more to write on my little baby bear but I'll save it for next week...suffice it to say that he's adorable and precocious and I'm in love with him, even if he's always futilely challenging my authority. And he found a permanent marker a few days ago. But he's my joy, my favorite (for now), my love.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

32 weeks: My hiccupping jicama

Alas, I forgot to blog about last week, so I will catch up.

I have a hiccupping jicama. They say he's a jicama-sized kiddo and just when we made the discovery, the hiccups soon followed! Sort of natural, no?

I don't have much to say, since what I want to say applies to week 33, but I wanted his sweet little week documented, even if it is a grossly inadequate record.

Love you, tiny bear. For you see we have a Daddy bear, a Mama bear and a baby bear already (toddler bear sounds stupid), so you have to be tiny bear. I guess the next one will have to be a girl so we can call her Goldilocks. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

30 Weeks: Bulldozer Baby

This baby is moving and turning and kicking and all sorts of things all day long. I love it. It's so nice to be reminded of this little life within me throughout the day. How strange to hae a living being within me! He is head-down already and I know right where his feet are...right at the top of my belly! There is a spot I can push and he almost always pushes right back. I'm happy that he's already in position and "organized" although I know he could move. It DOES makes me think about what I don't have ready yet if this baby comes early... Honestly I'm glad that this is my second baby because I am relaxed enough to know that there is only half an hour between being unprepared and having a pack of newborn diapers and the bassinet set up. :) What a blessing to be a mama-to-be for the second time!

Our biggest hurdle right now is simply picking a name. We have some options on our list, but we haven't settled on anything concrete. We have a name pool going so people can bet $5 on possible combinations from our lists and could possibly win a lot of money if they're right! (Contact Jill Moran or Melissa Jackson Pleer on my friend list for the chart and more details.) Of course, now that I've given them my first and middle name lists, I keep hearing other names that I'm not opposed to. I'm going to mess it all up, I know it. LOL

I am feeling pretty good now. I walk a little slower and occasionally I have aches and pains that feel quite foreign to me, but nothing impossible to bear. Painting my toenails is a long ordeal because I have to pause and lean back for air! The polish definitely has time to dry between coats! I think so far the hardest things for me are having the energy/willpower to keep up with housecleaning, to turn over in the middle of the night or get up period, and--honestly--to put on pants!

I will say that it seems to be much harder this time around to take good care of myself. I think it's because I'm doing so much more than during Jack's pregnancy that I forget. I forget prenatal vitamins occasionally. I forget to drink enough water. I forget to eat lots of protein. I DO however feel much more confident in my ability to get through this labor. I have studied much more about labor to realize what my uterus is doing and how to relax through a contraction (efficiency is yet to be seen, of course, but I'm so excited about the Bradley method!). I feel more confident that I WILL survive the actual delivery and very sure of what I want to happen/not happen during my labor/birth, barring honest complications. That helps to overcome the anxiety that lingers over the hospital birth issue.

That's about it this week! I'm so happy to be a mama!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

29 weeks: To-dos pile up as I slow down

I am officially starting to slow down. Or, rather, become encumbered with this belly. I'm waddling about, amazed that this belly will get BIGGER, amazed that, as our little weekly baby update tells us, this baby will probably triple it's current weight of about 3 lbs. !!! I am amazed that these weeks are flying by and my time of "rest" (insert maniacal laughter here) is coming so quickly!

I'm worrying about all the normal things: going through labor again, going to the hospital this time and how that experience will be, the what-to-dos with Jack when that time comes, the financial end of the whole thing, taking care of TWO instead of one. I know I'm not alone in these worries and not all of these will be resolved as this baby appears. But I have had an overwhelming peace for the past, oh, three months. I don't get it and I could attribute it on pregnancy hormones or a positive attitude or what have you, but I really have to give God the credit for this. See, I'm a chronic worrier by nature and somehow when I think about my ten days of bedrest with Jack or when the van's registration bill comes in the mail, all that professional worrying has been reduced to a shrug and a seemingly-naive "It'll all work out" in my head. So that's gotta be God, cause it's not me!

Business is good...building slowly. Having a small business is quite a tangle of things to do and keep up with and while I'm grateful for the break to reevaluate and spend time with my family, the over-achiever in me wants to book portrait sessions on my due date. Yes, I'm also crazy. I'm just really excited at the idea of being able to work from home, even if it's harder work than babysitting teenagers six times a day. (More work, but much more respect...I'm *hoping* no one really calls me a *itch at a photo shoot, but I've gotten that in the classrom!) I am most excited about supporting my family doing something I love, something that brings joy to other people and is a positive thing to add to the world!

That's about all that's going on this week. The next week will be here before I know it, but only 11 weeks left...maybe less!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

28 weeks: How can this be?

This week my baby is the size of cauliflower or Chinese cabbage--sources conflict. . But I'm in my THIRD trimester--how could this happen so quickly? Surely Jack is partially to blame. I can't just sit and marvel quite at this new love as much as I did with him. I'm already catching on that my life is really going to change again and the constant conversation at home will probably not even include John or I!
Jack is learning and growing at an exponential rate. It's really extraordinary. I can't keep up and I guess that's okay.

Here are some recent "snapshots" of Jack:
*He will shout "Truck!" "Car"! "BIG truck!" "Baby truck!" "Firetruck!" "Bus!" from the car as we drive around.
*He will often say "Mommy" over and over with no discernible reason for doing so. I can answer him each time or not and the repetition stays the same. I like to think he likes to say my name and see me smile at him expectantly.
*Regarding names: If I don't answer to "Mommy" right away, he will bellow "Laaaaaane" to mimic dear Daddy who will do the same thing when I am running late or Daddy is running early.
*He often runs to me, lifts my shirt and kisses "the baby"...which has sometimes turned into him licking my tummy, but I don't quite get that. LOL
*He loves Rex (from Toy Story) and hugs the one Lollie got him, insisting on taking him nearly everywhere. The only other substitute is a white Mommy bear or white Baby bear that someone got us at some point.
*Yesterday he had Rice Krispies with cut up strawberries in it. He doesn't like food mixed or touching (thank you, John), but apparently if I leave him alone long enough, he stops protesting and eats it.
*When we are getting ready to leave, Jack asks, "Home?" meaning he wants to leave home. When we're out and he's ready to leave, he asks the same thing.
*Whenever we leave home or arrive home he wants to pick a "purry fower" of the little clover flowers or dandelions that pepper our lawn. Then, invariably, he will behead the flower, exclaim, "Fower brok-key (broken)" and toss both pieces in the car or on the ground.
*He will grab living spiders and hand them to me as they squirm and fight for life. Yesterday he grabbed a Daddy Long Legs and said, "Mommy! O-puss! (Octopus)" Sheesh! I don't want him to be terribly scared of bugs but a little fear would be appreciated. At least before he tries to hand me a black widow or brown recluse.
*In the evening I will strip him down to nothing and let him run around the backyard, so he can go "swimming"...which is just him trying to splash around and make the biggest mess possible in 4" of water in a plastic kiddie pool. Then he runs around and tries to throw things at poor Brownie girl. Jack has started asking for this at all times of the day, saying, "Daddy home? Swimming?"
*Late at night, more nights than not, Jack will wake up, open his door and come into ours. Our ginormous Cal King bed is a little high for him to climb into without help, so he will pat my back or arm and ask, "Mommy? Mommy? THIS bed?" Then in my sleep-induced stupor I may pull him over me to sleep in between Daddy and I or be a wise Mama and heave myself up, take his tiny hand in mine and take him to his room. He will climb in bed and I will cover him, then I'll sit on the floor with my arms and head his bed until he falls asleep. Yawn. Then I go back to bed and pray that the alarm doesn't ring in 10 minutes.
*With much much MUCH harrassment, Jack is starting to understand that he can play with toys from the toy box or his Mega Blocks...and has to put one away to get the other. Otherwise the living room becomes a vertible mine field of pain.

Here are some recent "snapshots" of Baby:
*He kicks like a punter. Not painful yet, just surprising. Whenever I stop moving, he'll take a turn. This is so much fun! I love that I can enjoy him whenever I rest.
*No stretch marks yet (not counting the tiger-mauling that Jack already provided this belly).
*My belly is huge. Much bigger than I thought I was at the same time with Jack. It doesn't feel like there's anymore room to my stomach or give to my skin (see STRETCH MARKS).
*I am starting to freak out now...not a full-out panic, but I'm definitely aware that HOLY CRAP I'M GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY! More specifically, I have to go through LABOR AGAIN. And at the hospital this time, which is NOT a relieving thought in my mind. And I have to RECOVER from labor. Ugh. I hope things go smoothly.
*I eat and drink more when I'm at work than when I'm at home. Doesn't make any sense.
*I waddle. Have for like, four months. Maybe I just gave up.
*I have a few spider veins. That's gross, but not as gross as vericose veins, so I'm grateful.
*I have all the boy clothes I could ever want, so PLEASE don't buy me any. I need diapers and a new crib mattress and a nursing pump and cash. That's just about it.

To Jack:
Little love, you are everything to me. For now, I love you the best--I can say that! I love your big grin and how you say "rEEEEEEEad-a-book" and for your Mommy-esque love of cereal. I love the little curls that fight against this mainstream haircut to come out. I love your giggles...and how you giggle when I SAY giggle. You are fun 99% of the time and I can take 1% of anything for all of that. THANK YOU for being the baby I got, for this perfect, God-given combination of John and I and so much more that neither of us could have given you ourselves. I love you. I love you. I love you.

To Baby:
I am waiting for your arrival, but I don't have to wait long! Only 12 weeks until we're close to showtime! And what if you come earlier? Wow! This pregnancy has gone so fast. I hope you're doing great in there, though your ultrasound 8 weeks ago looked perfect and your kicks and bumps and swirls tell me you are just as active as your brother. I am always in awe that I have a PERSON inside me...that you will come out and cry and nurse and learn to talk and walk just like Jack did. I am in awe that you will have your own personality--perhaps like or perhaps completely unlike us or your brother. It's hard to imagine that we can make a different combination...that it won't just be another Jack. But I'm glad for it. That would be fun, but boring at the same time. I am excited to see your scrunchy face and pack the pounds on you through our many, many nursing sessions. Grow strong, sweet one. I have so much to show you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

21 weeks: Pregnant and everyone knows it

I really do feel sad for women who have a difficult pregnancy or who do not like being pregnant. I'm not saying pregnancy is a piece of cake. There are plenty of things I don't care for while they're happening: morning sickness (which ranges from a rumbly tummy to dry heaves to full-out losing all your stomach acid and anything else in there), random joint pain (which for me usually consists of my hips acting like they've welded shut after being in one position for awhile), random ligament pain, an overall feeling of barn-like proportions, kissing my feet goodbye for a few months, an intolerance for Jack's whining about me not being physically able to pick him up and carry him everywhere, etc. etc. etc.

But I LOVE being pregnant. I really really do.

I appreciate the lack of expectation from others. No one really expects me to do a whole lot of lifting, carrying, dieting, strenuous exercising, yard work, housework. Okay, not true. I can't get out of housework or dirty laundry, toys and smashed Goldfish crackers would eat us alive. But I can get people to lift the dog food into my cart and even lift it into my car without looking or feeling like a lazy bum. Pregnancy appeals to my lazy side.

I appreciate the knowing smiles I now get as people look at my face, down to my belly, then back at my face. It's the "aw, a pregnant lady" look that is not annoying to me at all. It's not like the "Oh, you have a HUGE mole on your face/peg leg/tattoo of a naked girl on your rotund gut! Okay, I'm not going to look, don't look, don't look--agh! Had to look." look. Also I am already on the curvy side, so I think that this is one period of my life when the front legitimately balances out the back guilt-free. So pregnancy appeals to my pride as well.

I appreciate the attention I get. Yes, this may be related to pride, but all in all I think it relates to my self-esteem. I try to act like I have plenty of "esteem" and confidence, just like all of you women reading this. But we are little liars, aren't we? We know about the cellulite hiding within the walls of those jeans. We walk quickly by the mirror after we get out of the shower and pray that we had the water hot enough to fog it up in case we steal a glance despite ourselves. We are flaw-finders, in ourselves and in others. A nasty, ugly habit. So to have people in a general state of awe, glee and respect for my bulgy, swollen, overheated body is pretty much one of the biggest boosts I can get any day of my life. If I try to get the same enthusiasm out of people when my kids are in high school, trust me it won't happen. So pregnancy appeals to my self-image.

I appreciate life more.
Who can honestly say they aren't in total awe of life in general when they're pregnant? God lets us make our own people!!! I know that sounds kind of childish, but I think it's amazing that God gives us partial credit in this process. And that, each time, He somehow manages to take the best of mom and dad genetically and blend them together into a child. I mean, I tried one of those "upload your photos and see what kind of kid you'd make" and apparently without God's help my child would always look like a transvestite. Seriously. it looked like me with an Adam's apple and a five o'clock shadow. People begged me to take it off myspace. So I am in awe of the whole process, especially when the kid is OUT and you think "If someone said they had to put this IN me I'd say NO WAY!!! It'll never fit!" And somehow it did. So pregnancy appeals to my optimism.

I appreciate my body more. I mean, I actively strive to take care of myself as a top-three priority. Now I'm actually thinking about things like "I need to eat protein within the hour" and "I will just have a sliver of chocolate cake. Really." I'll even keep track of my water intake, which I never usually do. I usually just drink when I'm thirsty and that's about it. So pregnancy appeals to my body as a whole.


Jack is growing by leaps and bounds...literally. He jumps everywhere. Women stop me and tell me how gorgeous he is and never, EVER cut his hair. All those golden locks entrance women young and old. That's it--I'm shaving his head when he hits puberty.
He was so good today...we went into Bed, Bath & Beyond and didn't even get a cart...he just held my hand and we walked around the whole store. Then we walked down to Trader Joe's to look for asparagus, which was way too expensive, so we went to Petsmart and looked at all the "fishies" and "birdies" and "kitties." Then we saw one of the really long firetrucks, which Jack loved. We drove to Costco and we walked in the back to get asparagus, then Jack carried one of the bags up front alongside isn't that adorable? I'm hoping it equals a good nap in a few minutes. :)

Baby #2 is growing and growing. I no longer look just chubby. I have a pronounced baby bump and am very happy to strut it around (because I would catch myself subconsciously sticking my gut out in public to accentuate the bump and now I don't have to.).
We found out a week ago today that baby is a boy! We are so very happy, and so VERY sure. My second son, ahem, takes after his brother in, um...well, there's just no question. (Baby girls take note, I guess, for 20 years down the line.)
I have felt him kick on several different occasions--just a flutter here and there, but it makes me so happy. He's got my placenta and a little "Jack-era" pudge to kick through, so he must be pretty strong already. Sources are confused as to whether he's a banana or a carrot, but he's between 11 oz and a full pound now. I believe the full pound. I've definitely grown a lot, even just this week.

I love you, my little ones. I can't fathom life without you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Burning the midnight oil--well, I'm whining, honestly

I am having a lot of trouble sleeping during the past couple weeks. I don't sleep in any later, yet I'm finding myself up at ridiculous hours. It is 1:12 a.m. Jack has been asleep for about 90 minutes. John has been asleep since 10 p.m. I am exhausted, yet my mind keeps going, going, going.

Going about money.
Going about photography jobs I've got coming up.
Going about photography ideas I really want to play out but need willing subjects.
Going about photography equipment I think I need in order to get more photography jobs.
About the money I need for that.
So I need jobs.
And then there's housecleaning.
And all the things I want to do this summer...and it's already July, meaning I only have a month and half until school starts again (wahhhhhhhhh...).
Then I think about being huge and working again. Blech. But I am excited to work again because I need to chug out days and days and days from August to the middle of November so we can 1)pay monthly bills and 2) sock some money aside so we're not starving for a few months after the baby comes.
The toilet runs at random intervals and it's annoying. Sometimes it wakes up Jack.
And then there's worrying about my nutrition and Jack's, since I get lazy and don't fix/eat things I/we should sometimes. It was so much easier when Jack was inside me, quietly growing and I could THINK!
Then there's my office, which is the only room in the house that I really don't want anyone seeing because it's a DISASTER!!! (Anyone have a bookcase they can spare me? And a week of time to babysit so I can file 7 years of paperwork away PROPERLY?)
I haven't gotten the electric bill yet...I get it on my anniversary (July 9th)...ha ha ha. I am torn between sweating like a pig and not getting anything done out of sluggishness and passing out from seeing the bill because I chose to be comfortable. Ugh. Would have loved a swamp cooler.
The landlord is so much grumpier than any other we've had, so I don't dare ask for anything again, but there are ants, spiders and cockroaches. I've never had a landlord say they won't exterminate, that it's my problem, until now.
I need to put a firm handle on what we buy for food each month. I mean, everything that could possibly enter our mouths that's not free from someone else. Because the more random it is, the more expensive it is. And I have to overcome the laziness that is letting John grab a lunch out instead of packing one.
Then there's Jack and how he relies on me so ridiculously much that if my sisters (or John!) tries to give him something, he won't accept it unless they hand it to ME and I HAND IT TO HIM MYSELF!!! I need him to rely on John too, 'cause this new baby is going to be all Mama-clingy with the nursing/co-sleeping thing going on and I just can't have him needing me to do absolutely everything and crawling into bed sometime during the night. There's just no ROOM!
So I'm sure there are other things that bug me. Who can't think of just one or two or twenty more, seriously? But these are things that are on my mind now and it has helped to spit it all out for you. I think maybe I can sleep. G'night.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 19: My little mango & my gigantic watermelon

Sweet new little love,
I don't know where this time is is zooming by so quickly and I am nearly half-way to holding you in my arms! I don't even know if you're a girl or boy yet, which is maddening, but also really special. I like not being able to harbor thoughts of you based on gender. It is all still a mystery and that's nice. However, your Daddy and I ARE chomping at the bit to start picking (arguing over) names. As soon as Daddy saw your brother on the ultrasound, he just announced his name to anyone within listening radius after that, so I am wondering what story we will have to tell you about how your name was chosen.
I don't have morning sickness anymore--praise GOD!!! The relaxin that courses through my body, relaxing joints and ligaments is working overtime and I am frequently having aches and pains that don't make a whole lot of sense. I follow a prenatal yoga DVD at least twice a week, which wears me out and relaxing me at the same time. Your brother climbs all over me and tries to knock me down when I am in various yoga poses, so that's Jack saying hi when you get bumped by a big head or feel me gently tumble to the floor from a triangle pose.
Daddy and I can't believe we're nearly halfway there...and I am still waiting for a definite sign from you that you're doing all the stretching and squirming I keep reading about. We worry about silly things like money and bills, but only because we want what's best for you and Jack. We love you so much that it's often hard to talk about the love we feel--but I know you must feel it already through me.
I can't wait to "see" you on the 7th during the ultrasound, little mango. I know I will cry and Daddy may too (but that's because this love fills our hearts and spills over this way!).
See you soon, tiny one!
Love, Mama

To Jack, my little love and enormous watermelon,
You amaze me every day. Every single day. I can't believe all the things you learn. Now you're speaking short sentences "I'll do it" and you will call out for things when you're looking for them: "Shoooooooooooooes....where are yoouuuuuuuuuu?"
You preface each thing you say with some sort of gibberish that seems to introduce each concept. Confusing but adorable.
You love water and call any water you see a "bath," including oceans and lakes you see in books and on TV. You say, "No Brownie!" when she tries to sniff you or give you kisses and you lay on your stomach in front of the sliding window, chin propped in hands, ankles crossed behind you and talk to her, saying "Hi, puppy!"
You have begun to say "Hi!!!" and waving, often when you know you're in trouble and you want to distract me with cuteness (it does, but I don't show it). You whine a LOT when you don't get your way.
For about a week now I have been able to read you stories in the rocking chair in your room, then get you to lay down in your bed, read you a few more and then practically smother you--at your request--so my skin touches yours, until you fall asleep. Miraculously, this has worked from the first day we tried it!!! We still face the issue of you getting up before we're ready to and climbing into our bed, which limits my options severely and wakes Daddy up for the day. I don't know how much longer I can handle that with my growing belly, but I'm trying, love. I love your soft skin and how you often sleep with your hand on my face. How cute is that?!?
Your diet consists mostly of yogurt, bananas, cereal and the occasional meat we feed you from our plates. You are a particular child. You could eat fruit and dairy all day, just like Mama, but you have certain likes that surprise me, like Daddy's spicy rice and chicken dish...and cabbage ("leaves).
I can't believe you're nearly 26 months--how could your birth have been so long ago? You are so big and so strong and sooooo stubborn. I love you more than anyone right now, anyone on earth. Sometimes I fear something happening to you, ripping my joy from me, but I can't dwell on that. I enjoy you wholeheartedly and love you totally. I will hold you today, cuddle you today, kiss you over and over again today and not fear tomorrow for I'm too weak to stand the thought.
Love you, punkin pie.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My little avocado

I look forward to every Tuesday now: it's this little one's "birthday"...the day the baby turns one week older and I get more excited about all the preparations that go into bringing another one in the world. I can't wait to see what it "is" (boy, girl, dragon, Italian chef...), but hearing the heartbeat last week was wonderful enough. It made me cry, so the doctor gave me a tissue. :) I just can't believe I am capable (through God, obviously) of sustaining life within me--a new life that wasn't there before and that is totally different from Jack! I hope to feel something, but that's my impatience...I loved feeling Jack move inside me and I am so excited to feel this one!

Tomorrow I will know what "fruit/vegetable size" it is for this week, but this past week the baby has been as long as an avocado. When we were at the farmer's market on Saturday I pointed that out to John and we shared an excited, dopey grin!

I am fully in maternity clothes now, which I was not dreading. I actually like them (while I'm pregnant). I am drinking iced pregnancy tea like crazy and popping pills each day (prenatals, DHA and other "hippie" supplements that made Jack the way he is today). I try to eat well, but either way I eat often, and drink tons of water. I exercise to a prenatal yoga DVD as often as I remember and am making an effort to bake things at home that are more expensive to buy, although I am reluctant now that it's so hot. (I wish the oven was in the garage...but I don't want to work in there either. Grrr.)

I am treasuring this time with Jack, trying to imagine how it will be with another baby...wondering how bad the jealousy will be, since Jack has been the center of my universe for more than two years now. I'm going to have to stop calling him my favorite or that I love him "best of all" too. ;) At least he's too young to know when I leave those things out.

I am so busy this month already that I feel like I can't breathe, but it is different than regular work. It's not a matter of putting time in and going home. I have to work around Jack and John and sometimes that is the harder thing.

My photo business is picking up and I am trying a few new business methods that I'm excited about. I think the hardest part of advertising my boudoir photography is that morally I only want to photograph engaged or married women, but it sounds rude to say to people interested in my services. I mean, I'm not going to bend the rules for the sake of not appearing rude, but I do realize that somewhere down the line this will cause me to lose business here and there. However, in the end my intent is to serve God by strengthening marriages so I am not worried about the occasional lost sale.

I DO hope boudoir bookings will pick up and I can possibly replace my substitute income with this sort of thing, as it is much less of a time-suck. (I think to replace my income I only need between six and ten clients a month.) And I LOVE doing this, which is much better than being disrespected by teenagers and sometimes feeling like I barely survived the day at the high schools!

To John: I am so excited about our growing family--who knew when we met at that bbq ten years ago that we'd be married with a beautiful boy (and another on the way)!

To Jack: I love this time with you, just Mommy & her precious boy, playing games, running through the sprinklers and eating pb&j's together. I love cuddling you and spending time with you, even when you are desperately trying to snatch the mouse from me like right now. I love you, punkin pie.

To my little growing one: I can't believe I get another opportunity to be a mama! I am so excited to see you, to feel you, to have a little one grunting and rooting to nurse, to give baby baths to and deeply take in that delicious newborn smell! Being pregnant with your big brother taught me all the little surprises that come with pregnancy and new mamahood, but I think I can enjoy this time even more with you, since I know what things I most look forward to enjoying again! I want to just stare at you, watch your sleep, enjoy nursing a little one again, search for nearly microscopic baby socks in piles of laundry and NOT WORRY AS MUCH! I am already in love with loving you!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Random thoughts

I love Indian food. And Greek food. Okay part of that is because the Indians have raita and naan and the Greeks have hummus and tzatziki and pita bread. And there's nothing people love more than taking one thing, dipping it in something creamy and lovely and then eating it. Mmmmmmmmm. Yes.

I think if my pregnancy could have a voice, it would say, "More fruit and dairy please." I don't really want meat or veggies (unless cleverly concealed in dairy, such as tzatziki or raita). I just tried making myself a salty lassi, which is basically a slightly savory yogurt drink, with a little mint from my hanging-in-there mint plant and cilantro from the fridge. It wasn't fantastic, but it was dairy, so I liked it alright. It's s'posed to be good for digestion. Yay, digestion.

Weaning of the binky has begun. Which means I am hearing a litany of "Beeta beeta beeta beeta mama beeta!" every time he thinks about it. I'm trying to keep it just for naps and bedtime, but he's used to using it when he watches a show on TV or rides in the car, so this may not be easy. However I can see his two top teeth turning in slightly and, well, they don't make then bigger than the mouth of an 18 month old so it's starting to look ridiculous with the corners of his mouth peeking out the sides. He looks adorable when he uses it, but it "gotsta go."

School is out! Yay! I could be depressed at the lack of money that will swiftly ensue, but that's a downer, so I'm celebrating a chance to exercise more frequently, eat better and play with Jack! (Oh and clean and such, but no one wants to talk about that.)

We planted corn and it's not growing. Who can't grow corn? It's like grass.... Poop.

There are a bunch of baby sparrows jammed in our porch light in a nest, with mama hurriedly escaping every time we try to enter or exit the house. So we don't use the porch light so we don't burn their baby eyes forever. (I'm guessing blind birds are not going to be the fittest that survive.)

My sisters are awesome and work so hard at their respective colleges! I'm so proud of both of them! Theresa and Liz, you kick ass!

Only a few more days till I see Dr. Kurian. That's good. Then I can finally find out how much weight I've packed on with all this eating 'cause we don't own a scale. What a weird thing to celebrate, but who wants to own a scale anyway? I don't need that kind of pressure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fourteen weeks already!

Journaling v. Blogging

It feels like a long time since I have recorded anything here. When I was pregnant with Jack I kept a Word document on my computer and filled it with thoughts and fears, excitement and worry about everything that is pregnancy, birth and beyond. I eventually tapered off that journal and I'm sad about that. Why would my pregnancy and birth seem more important, more signficant, than today, when he is 2 years old and dances vigorously to any music at the end of any sitcom we watch?

I have always treasured the concept of keeping a journal, writing in one, yet I can type much much faster than I write, so I simply don't keep a written journal. I wonder what our kids will appreciate when they're older, even in the ever-advancing technological age we're in. Will my children be glad that I typed up my thoughts so they can read it on a screen someday? Will they be sad that they don't have something tangible to hold beyond whatever they might send through the printer--the information old but the paper new and without a feeling of history? I know I would have loved to read journals from my grandparents, my parents, but journaling is not that common. Blogging, thankfully, is, so I hope and pray that my musings are treasured somehow by the ones I love later, as long as Blogger exists!

Pregnancy: 14 weeks

Sorry for the tangent, I get distracted easi--"SQUIRREL!" (Loved that movie.)--ly these days. I am 14 weeks along today! Yay! I am in the second trimester, which doesn't yet feel any different than the first trimester in an alleviation of symptoms, but I feel fatter, so that's new. LOL It's more of a fullness than anything.

I still get morning sickness, often brought on in the wee hours of the night when my DARLING son wakes up crying, saying "Mama? Da--y? (he leaves the double d's out) Door?" then proceeds to just lie (lay? I can never remember) there, eyes open, watching my every move.

Last night, after sitting there a good half hour, trying to patiently endure stretches of silence only to see him rustle or turn over or pick his head up to see that I am still at my post, I managed to crawl, sloth-like, out of the room and use a finger placed gingerly between the carpet and the door to close the door an inch at a time. Then I had to go the kitchen to pig out on hummus (JOY!!!) and pita bread with a chaser of apple juice. Which didn't do the trick and so my amazing husband got me a ginger ale out of the garage about twenty minutes later. (John, you are amazing. Really. Muah!)

So the morning sickness isn't gone. I find it inextricably tied to my body's great idea of being hungry every half hour. No joke. Eating has always been a pasttime of mine, but now it is a full-time job. Almonds, yogurt, cheese, oranges, bananas, graham crackers, hummus (JOY!), strawberries, and cereal. All the time. I have failed to incorporate any leafy greens, which I really need to do. And more whole grains. And less corn syrup, for crying out loud!


This is my last week of work, which is terrifying on the financial aspect of things--summer seems long without money--but we have saved a little and hope that a little stretches to a lot magically. I know God cares for us and has always managed to pull us through using many resources (and parents), so I'm trying not to dwell on that. Plus, the summer allows me to take care of this baby, possibly (fingers crossed) introduce the potty to and eliminate the binky from Jack's daily routine. And I want to experiment with making more things myself and buying less processed/sugared up foods. Should be cheaper too if I don't go crazy, right?

Littlest Love

My baby is the size of a lemon.

Littlest one, I try so hard to stay still, hoping I can feel you even though I know it's not time yet. It is weird for your brother to be out of me and you to be in me and I don't even know you or who you are! But God knows just who you are and who you'll be, and I'm honored to be part of His plan for you--what a big job for Mommy and Daddy!

I can't wait to see whether you're a boy or girl, can't wait to seriously think of names, can't wait to feel your growing arms and legs move about inside me! I love being pregnant and I'm already growing to love you more and more each day! You are a great surprise, a great blessing, a great addition to this family. I praise God for you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Corn syrup!

Okay, I have heard before that corn syrup is bad for you. Well, especially high fructose corn syrup. And I read this great article about it, which proved very informative and very frightening.

Here I am, subbing at AV High School today and, with just a cursory glance at my bag o' pregnancy-sustaining treats, I have found FIVE things that contain high frutcose corn syrup: ginger ale, yogurt, trail mix, granola bar and jam on my pb&j.

The article states that fructose contributes to the following things:

• Insulin resistance and obesity
• Elevated blood pressure
• Elevated triglycerides and elevated LDL
• Depletion of vitamins and minerals
• Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout

None of those are helpful to me everyday, but especially now that I'm pregnant. I need MORE vitamins and minerals. I want LOW blood pressure. I do not want gestational or any other kind of diabetes.

Now, apparently high fructose corn syrup is not the only bad guy out there. Agave syrup, which I bought and used in tea as a substitute for honey and sugar, contains
a chemical that is especially bad for pregnant women, as it can cause a miscarriage. It's also usually so refined that there is nothing good in it. Obviously all those pink and blue packets are nasty too.

Basically, this is what I've gleaned from the info I've read this morning:

Good: stevia herb, organic cane sugar, organic raw honey (not heated), real maple syrup, molasses, palm sugar

Bad: refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, agave syrup

I am trying to read a lot more on this so I'm not basing my decision on two articles, but at the same time, this already troubles me. I have always been wary of following any particular way of eating because I've been afraid of trying to be too trendy. I mean, if we cut everything out of our diet that people say is bad, we may not even to get to drink water. So I don't want to get uppity about the way I choose to live my life, but it sounds like this is important enough to take notice of.

What do you guys think? Total fad or justifiable concern? Have you found great evidence on the contrary?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sooooooo worth ten minutes

I can't wait to cook with Jack. Okay, yes, I can wait a little while. But I'm excited for this stage. Although I don't think John will let him get away with telling him, "Shut up, old man." But you never know...child actors these days say much, much worse.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jack at (nearly) 23 months

Dear Jack,

You are growing up so fast! I can't even believe how much you're learning, even when I do nothing more than let you play around the house and occasionally be brainwashed by cartoons. You are hard to mislead, that's for sure: if I try to hide something from you, you're sure to find it. You are a firm believer that my possessions should be carried with me at all times. If I leave my phone on the couch, you will bring it to me within seconds, saying, "Hold? Hold?" You'll also bring me both remotes and any glass of water I leave behind, even if only to get a snack or swap the laundry. You have learned to put all your shape puzzle pieces in the right places all by yourself, and I love to watch you concentrate on it and place the pieces so quickly. You will ask for food and then grab my hand, trying to pull me up off the couch. When that doesn't work, you'll try to push the laptop closed.

Yesterday I followed a pregnancy yoga video and you thought it was a great game. You would mimic my poses right under me, laughing and pressing your forhead into mine. For each standing pose, you would try to run between my legs, which did not work so well since you're taller than my legs are long, so I had to just forget the concept of balance. Not quite the peaceful experience I'd hoped for, but I should have known.

You absolutely and completely love are a cuddlebug and must be touching me in some capacity in order to fall asleep. Your favorite way to fall alseep on me is to pull my shirt up and rest your head on my belly, which will be adorable when my stomach is the size of a hot air balloon.

Your hair is long, blonde, curly and wispy. You've only had one haircut and you're in dire need of another, but I love your curls so. After a bath, the back of your head is filled with a myriad of little ringlets and I fall in love with you all over again.

Jack, I love you! You make me so happy, keep me on my toes and teach me constantly about how to be a better mom. I'm sorry for the times I lose my temper or get frustrated with you. You don't really understand yet and I know that. I just want to be able to communicate fully with you, but I really am so grateful to cherish this time where your broken English is cute and permissible, your playtime is fully uninhibited and your smile lights up your face when you see me.

Words you often say: "Dee-doo" (thank you), "Mama!" (the exclamation point is very important here), "Mama-Da-ee" (your new name for Daddy...weird) or "Daa--ee" (Daddy), "huuuuuu-gny" (hungry), "nack" (snack), "wahn-wah" (sandwich), "nana" (banana), "nigh nigh" (night night--bedtime), "bat" (bath), "tee" (brush teeth), "nyo-ra-njjjje" (orange), "ki" (Caillou cartoon), "mnow" (milk), "crakrrr" (cracker), "tits" (cake...seriously), "shitties" (Goldfish crackers...supposed to be "fishies"), "beet-ah" (binky...pacifier), "tooooooo" ( have to have two crackers, two slices, two pieces), "may-oes" (tomatoes), "min-ya" (Mickey Mouse), "wah-saw" (raisins), "nuu-nuus" (noodles), "ow-sigh" (outside), "ing-sigh" (inside), "mooooo" (moon) and "watccccccchhhh" (wants to watch tv).

When you're angry, your first inclination is to throw something. This drives me absolutely nuts, because I don't know where you learned this from, but binkies, toys and food will sail across the room, accompanied by a growl of protest. I have not found an effective punishment for this yet.

You are impervious to spankings. You might cry, but it's more a cry of anger than anything else. More often than not you just grunt in my direction and do whatever it was one more time.

You love to eat cheese, bananas, cookies, graham crackers, Goldfish crackers, pb&j sandwiches, tomatoes and fruit popsicles. You will occasionally eat avacados, strawberries, oranges, apples, chicken, beans and tortillas. You love to drink any kind of juice (just like me) and milk. You also love soda and, in a brief but unfortunate not-taking-everything-with-us-when-we-leave-the-couch episode, beer.

You love to be chased, love to chase back, love to throw sand at poor Brownie (grrrr), love to play outside. You're inquisitive, hard-headed, extremely resilient and you open my eyes in a whole new way to the world around me.

I love you, I love you, I love you! You make my day complete, with your squishy face and your warm little hands. Even when Daddy and I are out on a "date," we think about you and talk about you constantly. Daddy loves you immesurably and he can't hide his excitement when he walks in the door and you run into his arms. You make us so proud and you're not even two yet!

I love you, little love, goober, punkin pie, monster mash. I love every minute of this journey, even if it whizzes by at such an incredible speed.


Monday, March 29, 2010

At home or in the hospital?

Now some of you have been waiting for an opportunity to weigh in on this sort of decision, since so many people called me crazy for having Jack at home. Unfortunately, the only thing putting this choice up for debate is money, or the lack thereof. I trust God to take care of us either way, but this is a source of stress for me, so perhaps talking about it will help me get through it or over it.

At home:
I loved loved LOVED having Jack at home. Not only was the idea novel in today's society, but I could stay at home, in familiar surroundings, with only our germs. No new people, no foreign atmosphere, no one following procedure over what I want or need. I can't say it was exactly peaceful when I was going through a contraction but I was surrounded only by people I chose to be there in my own house.
Many people criticize this method of birth because if something goes wrong, they say, it may be too late to get help in time. This seems to come from a mindset that no one is monitoring me at all while I'm in labor at home, and that's simply not true. Our midwife, Justine, was once an EMT and is now a licensed midwife of more than 200 successful births.
She monitored me by phone before arriving, came over once I'd reached a regular pattern to my contractions and checked on Jack via Doppler and me via pulse checks throughout my labor. She carefully studied my condition throughout labor and assisted in the crowning and birth, as well as directing us in what to do with the cord and later, birthing the placenta. She examined me after the birth, applying a couple stitches as needed. I took a little too long to stop bleeding, so she sent me to the hospital as a precaution, but by the time I got there, the problem had righted itself. She accompanied us to the hospital, remained there as long as I was there (most of my stay there was to recover from the Demerol they gave me...what a doozy) and came back to the house with us.
I never felt that in any way my safety was compromised, since Justine could recognize any signs of distress and act on them accordingly.
Our dilemma is actually purely monetary: the midwife fee went up and if health insurance covers it, it's on a reimbursement basis, so we still have to shell out the money, which we don't rightfully have.

At the hospital:
I know hospitals play a very important part in successful births, especially high-risk pregnancies. I do not discount the hospital staff's expertise or the mother's wisdom in choosing to have their babies there. I do feel, however, that many of their interventions are unnecessary and more for their own convenience.
It is not always necessary to give a woman pitocin to start labor or speed up labor just because nothing is happening. It's not always needed to ripen the cervix when dilation is not happening quickly. Epidurals are useful sometimes, but what you give the mom reaches the baby. It is horrible to make women push their babies out while lying flat on their backs, since that means you're essentially pushing your baby uphill, up the curve of your tailbone.
I want to be able to walk around, sit on a pilates ball during contractions, get in a tub, and not be tied down by machines and wires and people poking around where they don't need to be. I can only have two people with me (I had Justine, John (of course), Jaimie and Jana at my house for Jack's birth). Basically, I don't want people trying to boss me around and I don't want to deal with the anxiety of people telling me what they think I should do and me having to argue with them.
Honestly, I'm scared to go to hospital. I don't care how many people have gone there and had successful births. Going to the hospital is scarier to me than giving birth at home any day. But it could be practically free with John's new insurance.

I'm stressed out about this. Again, I know God will care for us, hospital or home, rich or poor--as He always has. I'm just picky and hope that if I have to go to the hospital that I can get over my own fears.

A good movie to watch if you want to better understand where I'm coming from: The Business of Being Born.

Pregnancy Update: Morning sickness started today, so I stayed home. And I had a splitting migraine since yesterday, which already shows me that this pregnancy is different, since I never had a headache with Jack. Vomiting with a migraine is definitely on my top ten of most horrible feelings. Pants are just a little tighter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The pros and cons of pregnancy.

I titled this post as if I was making the decision to get pregnant, but I want to write about what I remember about my pregnancy with Jack that I did or didn't like. I know, I know, I know that this pregnancy may be completely different. But I've been thinking of all these things throughout the past few days and I thought I could relish them in greater detail here.

  • I actually loved the attention. I knew it would be the last time it was "all about me."It was kinda fun to have everyone fuss of me.
  • Not having to suck in my gut anymore.
  • Feeling the baby move. It's such a private, adorable thing to experience. Sometimes not so comfortable, but still awesome.
  • I love maternity pants and their lack of useless belt loops and buttons that dig into me. I think over-belly pants are gross, but the ones that sit under your belly are wonderful
  • I actually admire the maternity close at Motherhood Maternity when I'm not pregnant. Now I can wear it without looking like I've just given up on my figure entirely!
  • No one argues if I have to sit down.
  • High schoolers are brutally honest at eliminating dumb choices for names. But another post on that later.
  • I am big for a good reason. Not big for a bunch of lazy excuses, which is the rest of the time. ;-)
  • No migraines! We'll see if that changes this time around, but I loved that.
  • Great hair, skin and nails from hormones and vitamins!
  • Sometimes people would gravitate toward my orb-like frontside like a moth to flame, walking toward me with a mile-wide smile and outstretched arm, as if the Force was drawing their hand there. It never bothered me one way or another--I didn't get defensive and I didn't quite embrace it--but sometimes it was just weird. Like one day a guy walked by with his family at Wal-Mart. He came over, unannounced, rubbed my belly and grinned a goofy smile. He whispered, "Congratulations!" and went back to his wife and kids. Weird enough. I can't imagine how confused and weirded out I'd feel if John touched a stranger's belly, then walked back to me as if it was normal. But here's the kicker: she looks at him and snaps, "What?!? Was three not ENOUGH for you? Do I not make you HAPPY???" Uh................ I didn't stick around for the rest of the argument.
  • Why does everyone want my kid to be born on their birthday? Don't you realize that that just means I will NEVER come to your birthday party?
  • Morning sickness, hands down. And the subsequent purchase in ginger ale stock.
  • Having to waddle when I walk, which took FOR-EV-ER when trying to get to the bathroom. I would have to use the bathroom between EVERY CLASS. Add the aforementioned slow waddle, possible stairs and a million rude students in my way and I would be late to each class. Every. Time.
  • Stretch marks. Ugly things, I know, but maybe, just maybe I won't get more because the old ones will just reappear??? Don't contradict me on this one. Just let me dream.
  • Listening to people: I'm sorry, women, but many of you are thoughtless and ridiculously rude to pregnant women. I am trying to think "happy thoughts." Only another mom would try to add to a conversation about labor by describing how Mrs. So-and-So had a 8,670-hour labor and the epidural only numbed her throat so she couldn't tell the doctors when something was wrong and the baby came out with a leg growing out of his forehead and had no liver so he died an hour later. This is not helpful!
  • Old wives' tales. Scratching your belly doesn't damage your belly skin unless you are Wolverine. The way babies "sit" in your belly does not always tell you what gender you have. My baby will not drown if I have him in water! There are tons of ridiculous things that people share!
  • Not being able to reach my feet. John would have to lace up my Converse for me.
  • Only being able to safely sleep on one side every night.
  • Heartburn and the inability to enjoy tomatoes, orange juice or anything acidic.

Second update on cleaning

So I haven't exactly gone in exact order and the office remains mostly untouched, but I have made progress, which is awesome.

Saturday: the living room & hallway: DONE!
Sun.: Jack's room: DONE!
Mon.: office: file paperwork away & make desk functional again, then vacuum -- NOT EVEN CLOSE
Tuesday: hall bathroom: DONE!
Wednesday: our bathroom: (mostly) DONE!
Thursday: our room: vacuum, dust, organize closet and dresser
Friday: guest room: vacuum, dust
Saturday: kitchen: DONE!
Sunday: vacuum living room & hallway again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The beginning of TWO: Pregnant again!

I've been meaning to start documenting this experience beyond posting a Facebook status and a picture of my peed-on tests, but, honestly, I've been kind of incredulous the whole time. I mean, it was quite a surprise! This is not the best time for us to have a baby, but it is definitely not the worst--John just started a new job, which is both exciting and a little scary and we just moved into a beautiful house that we can somehow magically afford each month without much help.

I don't need to document everything--you people will want to eat happily and even have good dreams sometime, so I'll spare you any conception details. But I just knew. Did you ever, um, well just know, way before you could ever take a test? I knew. And John laughed at me, a tad nervously and suspiciously, telling me I was crazy. And secretly having a twinkle in his eye, since getting pregnant was still something we'd planned on doing again after Jack.

So we waited. And while I wasn't against being pregnant, I was hoping that I wasn't. Because, you know, we weren't trying or anything. And I can (and do) logically talk myself out of getting pregnant because I need to work and sometimes the overwhelming desire to puke my guts out vetoes that need when I'm pregnant.

So Monday night (the 15th) as I crawl into bed I try to nonchalantly ask John something that can ONLY be "chalantly" asked:

"Babe, have I been extra bitchy lately?"

Because if I had been, then that would probably mean that I've got PMS and therefore not pregnant. I hadn't had my monthly tearful breakdown about something irrelevant and petty, so I was fearful of his reply.


"Just asking."

"Well, no, actually you've been really nice to me. Really nice. Like, I didn't want to mention it in case it would break the spell."

[Stunning revelation here about how crappy I treat my husband once a month. Sorry John.]

We sit in silence, side-by-side. John has his Tom Clancy book open but he's no longer reading. I'm mindlessly flipping through a Bed Bath & Beyond circular, barely looking at the pictures.

"Do you think you're pregnant?"

"I dunno. Maybe."

And if you have ever met John or spoken to him or even emailed him, you know that he is a man of action and not not NOT a man of waiting patiently for nature to reveal it's obvious answer. He got dressed and went to the store to get me a 3-pack of EPT, commanding me to drink water in his absence. (Yes I know you don't take tests two days before you're s'posed to start with practically no pee. There was no reasoning with him.)

After two glasses and one inefficient test later, nothing I could tell. There was a super, super faint line there, but what does that mean? Was the super faint line there before I took the test? Dammit. I couldn't remember. So we went to bed but John instructed me to take test #2 in the morning with "good pee."

Morning comes, have a "good pee," forgot to look for faint line before taking test because I was near comatose from getting like 4 hours of sleep. Still a super super faint line. I whispered "The test said no" as I kissed John goodbye and resolved not to take the last test til Sunday morning.
(I also want to remember later that when John woke up he didn't believe my answer, so dug through the bathroom trash to find the test to see for himself.)

Wednesday is s'posed to be D-Day. Nothing. Is my belly fat s'posed to be more...I don't know...fatty? It feels weird.
Thursday, nothing.
Friday, nothing.
Saturday morning I wake with lots of "good pee" and think, what the heck, I don't want to waste it, might as well test. So I do and the super super faint line is...much more distinct today. And all I can do is smile. My mind races, trying to think of the great idea I once concocted as to how to tell John about the second's gone forever. So, I just take the test, walk out to the garage and shove it in front of him while he works on target stands to shoot at.



"I think so...go get me another test from a different company."

With lightning speed he hops in the car and shouts, "Call Jaimieeeeeeeee!" as he speeds away.
I tank up on more water.
With lightning speed he returns with one of those newfangled digital ones, which will clearly say "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant." Thank God--no more lines to interpret. Why haven't we been using these the whole time?

I try to feign extreme interest in the instruction pamphlet while I wait FOR-EV-ER for the stupid thing to spit out one word. I read for an extra minute just to give it some space.


And there was much rejoicing.

Update on the will to clean

Okay, so I said I'd try to report every day on my house-cleaning status. That was Saturday and it is Tuesday now. So let's do this thing.

Saturday (living room): honestly, got a little distracted cause I found out I'm pregnant so I vacuumed, but forgot everything else. Will be done today!
Sunday (Jack's room): ALL DONE! The closet is organized, the bed is in place, everything's clean! Yay me!
Monday (office): ha haha
Tuesday (hall bathroom): to be done today!!! plus I'll catch up on Saturday and Monday. I honestly should have given the office two days.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The will to clean...

So, I have to say that I have a big BIG problem with motivation when it comes to cleaning.

Let me just say, I love having a clean house. I feel satisfied then and comfortable with staying home and just enjoying my squeaky-clean house. But on any given day really, I find decimated Goldfish crackers ground into the carpet, piles of "we should keep it but what should I do with it?" statements and receipts in the office, the dreaded laundry, my ever-shedding hair on the bathroom floor and approximately 8,353,982 toys littering the house (despite me packing up two boxes of toys away).

And somehow it is a miracle to not have a single dirty dish. One day, one ant will wander in and hit the jackpot, then bring his three billion friends and won't I be sorry? So I find myself needing to sweep and scrub everyday and, while there's satisfaction in it, it's so hard to be disciplined!

I think that I've even posted on this just recently, but I want to make a public resolution so you can all kick my butt if I don't follow through.

I have a week off for spring break, so my resolution is to get the entire house clean. If I clean one room a day, I should be all done before go back to work. Here's my schedule (because lists are cool):

Today: the living room & hallway: vacuum, dust, baseboards, windows, clean toys
Sun. : Jack's room: put toddler bed in, disassemble crib for the 700th time, vacuum, dust, organize, tackle Jack's closet.
Mon.: office: file paperwork away & make desk functional again, stack books for when we find another bookcase, then vacuum
Tuesday: hall bathroom: mop, clean counter/mirror/tub, put off cleaning toilet...okay, fine, toilet
Wednesday: our bathroom: ditto above, plus fix sink, that is stuck in "plugged" position
Thursday: our room: vacuum, dust, organize closet and dresser
Friday: guest room: vacuum, dust, organize closet
Saturday: kitchen: mop, scrub, wash, sanitize
Sunday: vacuum living room & hallway again.

Yes, I realize I'm vacuuming nearly everyday this way. Well, it just works for me. Or it won't and I'll just vacuum the whole house on Sunday. Tempting...

So, I'll try to report on my progress each day, so keep me accountable! Today's work starts right after a dirty diaper change! (Ew.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just happy...

Do you ever feel...just happy? Not everything has to be going well. Bills are still due. Spilt spaghetti sauce stubbornly burrows in unsealed kitchen grout. Ants begin "aimlessly" wandering in to escape the "heat." Cars still leak oil. But you're just happy. That's what I am today.

Of course, there are reasons for my glee today. It's John's last day at the "old" job. This is a little bittersweet for him because he's good at what he does and his boss will really miss him, but as a family this is great because he works 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Let me spell that out for you: NO MORE 2 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT SHIFTS! WEEKENDS OFF! HUBBY HOME FOR DINNER! The old job really blessed us with a regular paycheck after a few other less-than-profitable positions that painfully tapered down with the faltering economy, but this sounds even better. The new job starts Monday. Praise God!

Reason two is that John gets his "last check" today, which is not like a million dollars, but it is coming on the exact day that we absolutely must have more money or bills will be late and interest rates will go up. So I pretty much want to do cartwheels about this reason, although I've never been able to do one.

The third reason is, well, today is the last day of work (which also feels like school, since I'm a high school substitute teacher) before a week off for Easter break! No one CALLS it Easter break anymore, and they even distanced it two weeks away from Easter so the dumbest people in the world cannot make the connection. But now I'm veering towards Negative Town, so I'll come on back to "happy." :-)

My photography business is starting up again nicely and little "happy thoughts" are to be listed here too:
  • I have a couple super-exciting projects coming up that I need volunteers for!
  • I have a new camera coming on Monday (took long enough...) and Nikon's fixing my broken one that I'll use as a backup.
  • I've got a wedding on the 27th!
  • Maternity/newborn shoots for a dear ex-student of mine.
  • and even more that I can't mention just yet!

My "middle" sis actually has spring break off next week too and is coming home from UCSD! So we can actually spend time together!

I know there are still things I can be sad or mad or stressed about, but for today...well, I'm just happy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reality check?

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . .

Life is like an old-time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.
~Jenkin Lloyd Jones, journalist

What do you guys think about this quote?

I feel like it's pretty accurate. I know it sounds a little depressing, but Jesus was never about hiding the nitty gritty of reality from those who would listen, and I think this isn't totally off the mark.
Most of my day is spent dealing with verbal abuse from teenagers who obviously were NOT held to any discipline standard during their upbringing, then coming home to a poopy diaper, dirty kitchen and piles of laundry. Then I see my son, sitting at his new little table and chairs, playing with a toy car...and that is my beautiful vista for the day. I know ALL about delays and sidetracks, dust (literally) and jolts. Misunderstandings often lead to the smoke and cinders. But the sweet moments in between make it all worth grunting through, and possibly enduring with a smile.

And all I can say is, praise God!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

'Cause Debt-Free is the Way to Be

I am proud to announce that, with the refund from Uncle Sam (and the $800 handout of funny money from Obama), we have paid off one credit card and one outstanding medical bill, with another medical bill to follow tomorrow!!!! We have never been able to make more than the minimum payments, which of course sentences us to 8,000,000 years of debt, as the now-required-by-law handy dandy chart tells me on each statment. But if I only increase my payment to $644 per month...well then, I'll be done in 3 years instead. Or something like that.

So now, with $165 of monthly bills out of the way, I'm channeling that exact amount on top of the minimum of our next smallest bill, which should cut 3 years down to about 8 months! Then, shuffle $190 on to the next bill and so on. If we can only stay at the same stable level of poverty for, say 5 years (unless we make MORE money, obviously), then I think most of our debt will be gone! Hooray! I canNOT even fathom what life would feel like with only a mortgage, car and utility payments. Unbelievable. I want that even more than show lemons.

Last week I planned every dinner and some lunches. I didn't make most of them ahead of time (that to come soon, I hope!) but it was wonderful to go shopping and know I didn't have to go to the store again until the week after. Plus, it's great to have that plan posted on the fridge. I feel like I have control over that area of my life. I've actually grown to internally leap for joy when it's "junk mail day" because with that comes all the store ads! Yay! I have not turned into a full-blown coupon junkie, but I have my little accordion file and will often keep John from buying something if I know I have a coupon for it at home.

I know it's easier to praise God when times are good and I have to constantly remind myself to praise God when times really suck and we're eating spaghetti with that cursed Prego sauce for the 90th time in a row! We're definitely not out of the woods--we've only begun to see a little light at the end of the forest--but it is so encouraging to finally start getting a break!

So, how are you guys doing with the battle to avoid/eliminate debt?

And, speaking of debt...look at this beautiful, custom bed!!!

They don't tell me how much it that means it costs too much! *tear* Shoulda gotten the hint from the "custom" concept, huh?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rain, rain, go away...

photo by Arthur Leipzig

...come again later when my Jeep dries out completely because my roof leaks and by the time it stops smelling musty (yes, Theresa, that's a word!) in there and I think I can seal the hole, it rains. Again. It's raining NOW.

And if it's raining (and cold) I can't let Jack play in the backyard, which is an integral part of

So, please.

Stop raining for just a few weeks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do we really need show lemons?

I've been struggling with a desire to buy stuff. Join the club, right? We moved in to our house more than a month ago and I've had it with bare walls. At our first rental we barely hung anything on the walls because I was afraid of making holes. Then I realized how easy it was to putty up a white wall so I hung lots of things up at our second rental. And about two months later, we moved. Grrrr. In with my father-in-law, who had just remodeled and, understandably, didn't want any holes in the walls. GrrrrrRRRR!

So now I don't care. Putty is made for a reason! So is white toothpaste! So I want stuff on the walls. I'm going to hold off on painting, which is what I really want to do. Makes no sense to invest in the walls on a month-to-month rental. But we sold most of our decor items in garage sales to make way for Jack and to consolidate our stuff to fit in my father-in-law's garage.

I've taken up a hobby, therefore, of window shopping on the internet, bookmarking things I want and things I'd like to have a cheaper substitute of on my Amazon WishList. It's kind of addicting. Side tables and art and bedframes, oh my!

My issue is balancing buying things I think are pretty with living within our means. I want to buy a print of a painting to hang in the kitchen, but wonder if I should just deny the urge and put the equivalent value toward our looming credit card debt? Does the empty wall bug me more than the bills? No. But it's just difficult for me right now to figure out where spending a little (or a lot) on making a house a home fits in our budget, or if it really matters.

I want a coat rack. Or at least a series of hooks on the wall by the front door. We want a full or queen bed in the guest bedroom, obviously. With that should come a nightstand. And a lamp. And a TV stand for the living room that actually contains the game consoles and wires. And might as well get a flatscreen tv, right? Kidding, kidding... Do I really NEED two prints of songbirds in the bathroom? Or another tablecloth?

In the movie, The Break-Up, Jennifer Aniston gets extremeley irritated with Vince Vaughn because he doesn't buy enough lemons to display in a bowl on the table as a centerpiece. Not lemons to use, necessarily, but to show off. Do we really need "show lemons" to make us feel content? Where does that fit in with bills? Am I buying something to make me happy, or look impressive? Hmmm...