Category Archives: babies & kids

Short term plans – school and glasses

Wednesday is my first day of classes.  As you may recall, I’m going back to school to get certified to teach high school business.  I have class just one day a week, for like 5.5 hours.  It should be fun, and interesting, and ok, maybe a little scary to be going back to school after a decade. 

My in-laws are going on vacation for a month soon.  For the last, oh, three years, my mother in-law has bitched and complained that she hates her drinking glasses.  However, because she is frugal and resistant to change and maybe just a little bit crazy, she refuses to get rid of the glasses she hates because “there’s nothing WRONG with them.”  I bought them a set of nice glasses at Macy’s the Christmas before last, and while they have yet to make an appearance, they also weren’t returned, as I discovered the box at the back of their hall closet recently.  I assume this means they like the glasses, but since the ones they hate are still “fine” they simply haven’t put them into commission yet.  Well.  I have a plan.  While they are on vacation I am going to kidnap all the glasses they hate, and populate their drinking glass cabinet with the new glasses from Macy’s.  Maybe I’ll even leave a note from the old glasses, saying they’ve gone on to better things and they will miss their old home.

In other news, my garden is a pretty decent success this year, which for me is saying a LOT.  I had built raised beds in the spring, and almost everything in them is doing fairly well.  I had a little patch of corn that all came down with a fungus called “corn smut” which sounds way more fun than it really is.  All my corn kernels got crazy huge and popcorn-looking, but greyish black.  The intertubes tell me this fungus is a delicacy in Mexico, where they cook it into quesadillas, but like many so-called “delicacies” I will leave it to the natives.  My corn smut got cut down and dumped into our back woods for the groundhogs to feast upon.  Besides the corn failure, however, the garden has been productive.  I’ve made a couple batches of salsa and pasta sauce from my tomatoes, my peppers are actually giving me peppers, my herbs are mostly thriving, and I even have a few watermelon and butternut squash that have set and are getting visibly bigger on a daily basis. 

I have one bed dedicated to scallions, carrots, and radishes, and those are…. OK.  The carrots aren’t getting much bigger than babies, but they are sweet and yummy if not prolific.  The scallions are fine, but the radishes haven’t done much except grow lots of leaves.   A few gave me a decent bulb, but whatever.  I don’t particularly like radishes, I only grow them because they are fun and quick.  Oh, I added a couple rows of broccoli in place of some radishes but that’s just at the seedling stage right now.

And still pregnant.  🙂  I’m in my 20th week, which means I’m halfway through the pregnancy right now.

Man, it’s hot. Get on it, central air!

It’s hot here.  Crazy hot.  Like 101-degrees hot, not even looking at the “heat index” that makes it feel close to 110.  Ick.

I’m sweating like a pig, which is an interesting turn of phrase considering pigs don’t sweat very much.  But alas, I am.  Partly because I come from a long line of heavy perspirators, and partly due to my own internal thermostat being cranked up because I am 12 weeks pregnant.  (Yay!)  So, I am way supah sexayy right now, to be sure.

Our central air was just not doing its job very well.  Our attic fan is going full-bore, but when it’s only got 100-degree air to pull in, there’s only so much it can do to help!  I went around and made sure blinds and curtains were closed as much as possible, especially because our windows are original to the house and thus lack any semblance of energy efficiency.  Then I figured, maybe there’s stuff I’m not thinking of, and took to the inter-tubes to get any other little tidbits of air conditioning efficiency wisdom.  Came across a couple that are helping, I think:

1) Changing the air filter.  This is a bit DUH, right?  But once I read it, I realized we hadn’t changed the filter in, oh, maybe as long as we lived here?  There were a few spares in the garage, so I retrieved one and opened the return duct grate and…. ick.  So it is changed, and I vacuumed out the whole inside of the duct that I could see, and the grate as well. 

2) Run your dehumidifier.  This doesn’t necessarily help the air conditioner very much, but it helps make it feel cooler even though it’s not really cooler.  We have one, though its bucket had become full about a week ago and I neglected to empty it.  So I did that, and it is running, and hopefully it will also make a difference.

But yes, so, I finally got knocked up.  🙂   I’m due January 23, and we have already had an ultrasound a couple weeks ago and a nice strong, fast, 160 beats-per-minute heartbeat was observed, and the baby was measuring perfectly for dates.  Ultrasounds always make me nervous because my very first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and it was discovered I was going to lose the baby on an ultrasound at 10 weeks.  I’ve had so many more ultrasounds go well since then, but that one that sucked really really bad gets me a little freaked out for each one.

We’ve basically found out gender for each of our first two kids, so for this one we’re going to keep it a total surprise.  Not my choice, but Frank wanted a surprise for every kid and I never let him get his way. 

OK, I’m going to go back to laying around and sweating, and occasionally checking the thermostat to see if the temperature has dipped at all.  Stay cool!

My kids are so cool

Lane has decided she wants to make a copy of the book Snuggle Puppy.  Which, in my opinion, is not only one of the cutest little books in existence (could those puppies be any cuter??), but also the cutest song ever.  (The song link will download the sample of the mp3 from Amazon; do not fear!!)   So, she’s using red construction paper, re-writing all the words, and drawing her own pictures.

I also decided, because they were on a good sale, to have lobster for dinner.  Supermarket cooked them for me, I steamed them a bit to warm them up at home.  I bought some jumbo shrimp for the kids, under the general precaution of them freaking out at the sight of a giant red bug on my plate and wanting nothing to do with it.  But, cool kids they are, were more than eager to try the lobster, and more than happy to also try the thyme-garlic clarified butter I made, and more than happy to eat ALL my claw meat. 

How did I luck out with such cool kids?

Hello, insecurities

As Lane has ventured her way through kindergarten, we’ve had to deal with a handful of social issues that have come up.  None particularly crisis-inducing, but just that stuff that happens with a bunch of kids together in a room.  She got in a fight with her best friend and they weren’t talking for a couple days.  One girl, who she’d never been particularly friendly with but is the only other kid from her class on her bus, made a point to tell her that they were *not* friends and Lane wasn’t sure what to do with it.

And as we muddled through these various little things, I felt all those school-age insecurities get dredged up.  I went through elementary school as, I shall say it, one of the most popular girls.  Until about fourth grade (it seemed in my world) being smart and active and friendly and nice were enough that most girls were friendly to me, and I had a plethora of friends.  Then I hit about seventh grade, and being smart and friendly and nice became the assets that made me a target for the more queen-bee-ish of the friends I’d accumulated.  No time in school was particularly harsh, and I was thankfully wise about judging about who my real friends were.  Getting involved in sports helped a lot, too; I and the other athlete-girl-types mostly were straightforward and avoided the general social pettiness in which the rest of the girl population wallowed/thrived. 

To help better understand the dynamics of the stuff Lane would be faced with, but that I never seemed to understand in school, I read Queen Bees and Wannabes not too long ago, which was incredibly insightful.  I borrowed it from the library but I know it’s a book I’ll want to own a copy of.  Happy to say, while I spent a bit of time as a Target/Torn Bystander type while I was learning to navigate the social circles of junior high, I pretty much evolved into a Floater in the Queen Bee/Wannabe vernacular… comfortable in a number of different groups, confident, keeping myself above the fray, etc.  Turns out I did pretty good for myself after all.  I had always thought of myself as more of the victim, and conflict with other girls — especially those super-cliquey, power-hungry types — would give me a cold sweat just thinking about the possibility. The truth is (which I realized while reading the book) was that I handled them well.  No one ever got a second chance to be entrusted enough to be mean to me.  I think my true test of social endurance and personal fortitude happened in ninth grade.  A true queen bee, this mean, wicked, power-hungry girl who I shall call Samantha found out that a junior football player stud-type (who I shall call George) liked me.  (George didn’t like me in a “wow, you’re amazing and smart and I want to get to know you better!” kind of way, he liked me in a “Wow, you wore leggings the other day and you looked hot and I want to stick my penis in you really bad!” kind of way, so while it was, honestly, a bit of an ego boost to be noticed that way, I was decidedly not responsive to his interest in me.)  However, I didn’t make it widely known that I wasn’t interested, I just sort of shrugged it off.  George, however, did make it pretty widely known that he wanted into my panties.  This was incredibly threatening to Samantha, as George was her well-known target of lust and affection and I assume she had been-there-done-that with him, or had publicly aspired to do so.  Therefore, George’s attention paid in my direction seriously undercut her power accumulation and I was a very serious threat, without doing anything at all.  There were confrontations, and rumors spread, and other lovely things, and I distinctly remember being amused by it and feeling above it.  I shrugged it off, I laughed with my friends about it, and when George (with much fanfare, and for some reason everyone knowing he was going to do it) invited me to be his date to a party, I turned him down privately, though I’m pretty sure Samantha never found out I’d said no until she got to the party and he was there without me – I only told a couple close friends I’d said no, and certainly George didn’t go bragging about it.  It was a fun few days of watching her struggle so strongly to try to tear me down for her own ego.  It was an episode I’d never reflected on an awful lot until I’d read the book, and realized how much more power this girl could have had over me if I’d let her.

But I see the uncertainty and the insecurities I felt rear their ugly head as I am starting to help Lane navigate these new waters.  I’ve also caught myself assuming she might be more apt to be a target/victim than an instigator/manipulator.  I really don’t know why I would make that assumption — can a mom with absolutely no tendencies toward manipulative, power-seeking, queen bee type behavior have a daughter who becomes that stereotypical “mean girl”?  Sure, why not.  I honestly don’t see it in our case, but weirder things have happened… so as I’ve started to give her bits of insight into her own actions and those of others, I’ve started to take into account that she could shape up to be a victim, or a perpetrator… but ideally, neither. 

Luckily she  has at least a couple more years before the girl-cattiness starts showing up in significant amounts.  I hope I can guide her to realize being above the fray is way better than trying to win at it, and the best friends she’ll find are the ones who feel the same.

These balls, they are in the air

Lots going on, but what else is new?

Got consulting work to do, which will have me camped out in front of the computer for a good week.  I also have a wedding to shoot tomorrow, which is always fun, but I always get a case of the butterflies before that.

I’m also coaching my daughter’s tee ball team!  This is my first foray into head coaching — I did some assistant coaching for a boys’ youth basketball team in college.  So far it’s been fun.  The parents have all been great, and VERY complimentary (most express disbelief at my patience and energy).  Our team is the Sea Lions, so I’ve found whenever I feel a bit annoyed, I yell to the team “What’s our name?”  and they all yell “THE SEA LIONS!!”  Then I yell, “What sound does a sea lion make?”  and they all go “ARR ARR ARRR!” in that sea-liony sort of way.  It’s hilarious.  I’ve also taken on a mission to make after-practice treats a new experience for them.  Yesterday, I gave out candy buttons.  Remember those — the little dry dots of candy stuck to paper?  Most kids had never seen them, and were wide-eyed at the idea of it.  (Even a couple parents asked to have some!!)

And a big bit of news is that I was accepted to grad school to get my teaching certification, so that’s exciting!  Frank’s on board with the pursuit, so I have to send in my intent-to-enter paperwork.  I also have a couple undergrad courses I have to take to round out my general education requirements (part of the state’s certification requirements, not the school’s) – just a couple basic English courses – one literature, one composition.  I’d taken one lit class in college but I need 9 total English credits, at least 3 being comp.  Not a big deal, and they’ll be fun to take, I hope.  And I can do them at the local community college, for which I’ve maintained a continual state of acceptance in case I ever wanted to take a course or two.  No rush to get them done, as I have until my graduate program is complete (which going part time may take 2-3 years; I want to time it so that I’m not student teaching until Jake’s in kindergarten, so that gives me two school years to do the course work part.  Hopefully it will all work out exactly as I have it planned in my fat noggin).

I’m feeling good this week, though.  Mostly because the kids and I have established a new routine.  Lane and I had been sort of in a bad cycle of staying up too late, and waking up too late.  So we talked and agreed on an earlier bedtime, so that we could get up earlier, eat a leisurely breakfast first thing, and take our time getting dressed and to the bus stop.  This week it’s worked out great.  No yelling in the mornings, no rushing… it’s been setting a good template for the rest of our respective days, I think.  Must keep it up!

As for the whole pregnancy thing, still nothing happening there, but my body seems to behaving better (periods acting a bit more normal and all) so it could happen, maybe.  If it did, it would mess with the upcoming plans for school a bit, but oh well.  🙂

3 days and counting… I think

I was perfectly content to wait 12 days to find out what was going on in my uterus, just sit back and chill and try not to think about it.  We were scheduled to bunny-sit Lane’s class’ bunny over MLK weekend, but otherwise not much going on and I figure I could distract myself with things like housework and going to the library with Jake and whatnot.

Then on Wednesday night, right about when I was getting ready to head to bed, Lane comes wandering out of her room and is hanging out in the kitchen.  I go to direct her back into bed, and am just overwhelmed by the massive, disgusting smell of vomit coming from her bedroom.  She had puked on nearly everything on her bed.  Pillows, sheets, blanket, duvet, bedskirt… nothing escaped the wrath of her stomach contents.  The fireworks continued for about six hours, on a 15-20 minute interval.

Two evenings later, Jake and I both succumbed.   Sunday, Frank had his turn.  None of us were sick with the same frequency Lane was, but the adults also got to experience crazy diarrhea and chills.

Needless to say, I didn’t have to do much to distract myself these last few days.

And then yesterday, I spotted a little, and figured despite the ultrasound tech’s enthusiasm about our chances this month, that I guess my body still wasn’t ready to catch that train just yet.

And then I wasn’t spotting anymore for the rest of the day, and I woke up today to not a hint of anything remotely seeming like a period.  And words like “implantation bleeding” start bouncing around my brain.

On top of that, ever since being sick I’ve had little spells of queasiness.  I’m not sure if it’s all related to being sick, or if at some point it transitioned from being sick to something to do with my reproductive system.  You certainly lose confidence in reading your own body when you spent 6 hours puking and crapping your guts out a few days previous.  When I was pregnant with Lane, I started feeling queasy a full 5 or 6 days before ‘they’ say I could have gotten a positive pregnancy test, so by the time I got that positive pregnancy test it was really a surprise to no one.

So, that’s where I am right now.  Three days away from testing, not sure what the hell my body’s doing because it seems to have a mind of its own.  But…. it’s now 24 days since my last period, which is the longest cycle my body’s procured since Jake was born.  So if nothing else… that’s something.

Bigger picture, I’m turning 34 next month.  Not old by the relative standards of modern reproductive practices, but I had sort of had it in my head that I wanted to be done with all this babymaking business by the time I was 35.  I didn’t want to have to deal with the specter of ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE.   And Frank’s no help, at all!  When I started spotting, and told him that it looks like maybe I’m not pregnant, he was definitely more disappointed than relieved (especially because he thinks it would be mega-super-awesome if I was pregnant with twins).  So I say, “OK, do you want to try, then?”  And he gives me an “Ehhh….”  Not an “I really don’t want to” sort of Ehh, but more of a “I can’t decide, but I’m not against it” kind of Ehh.  Like I said, no help at all.

I think what this means is we’re trying, but I’m just not going to really tell him we’re trying.  Assuming, of course, this month’s a bust (and who knows about that).  He’ll get to participate, and I’m sure he’ll ask questions about my motivations on certain days, but I’ll spare him the minutiae of figuring out the best days to try.  Heck, that’s basically been the modus operandi for Lane *and* Jake, and he’s been pleased enough with the outcome.  🙂   So, assuming again this month might be a bust, I think I’ll give it about six months.  I also need to talk to the grad school I want to apply to, and find out if it’s possible to defer my enrollment if I do turn up pregnant.

By the way, we did still bunny-sit.  The bunny was way wicked cute.  🙂

Stuff happened, and is happening, and may or may not happen

Gosh, I suck at this blogging thing lately.  This even started as a draft two weeks ago and never got finished.

Santa Claus was good to us.   Frank got Rock Band 2 for our Wii (well, really, we all did) and I got… wait for it… a fiberglass rug for in front of our woodburning stove.

To make up for it, I’ll be getting a Motorola Droid for my birthday in six four weeks.  I have a closet case of iPhone envy.  But, I refuse to abandon our Verizon Wireless service.  It works so nicely and has always been really reliable for us, and I get a hefty discount on our bill because my old company feels no need to tell Verizon that I haven’t worked there for over two years.

I might be going back to school in the fall, or at least eventually.  I had been informed by someone who should know better that I had all the education I needed to take the tests to get certified to teach high school business.  So I got that bee in my bonnet, and started thinking about getting certified, and even started registering for the certification process, and in doing so realized I didn’t really have all the right education lined up for it.  But the bee’s still in the bonnet, and the schooling wouldn’t be too intense.  I can’t really see myself going back to corporate work, and while I love doing it, I’m not sure I have the cutthroat mentality to make my photography business be my full-time gig.  (Mostly because I don’t want to lose all my weekends to it, and I feel bad charging too much money for my work, so my income there will continue to be supplemental at best.)  However — schools that offer a line of coursework towards certification as a business teacher are few and far between!  My main choices are in Westchester county (but with a very hefty tuition price tag) or a small private college in Albany, which is somewhat farther to drive but with a much more reasonable tuition charge, and a full time option.  It would be a rough nine months, commuting to Albany (or maybe even renting a room up there to avoid some commuting) but we as a family feel like it’s a really smart choice for us, even if it takes me some time to secure a full-time position — most schools around here want substitutes that are NYS certified, and they pay decently for them.  But that’s a maybe because….

We’re also not not trying to get pregnant.  If you remember, my body is acting a little screwy, and my new midwife (who I love!) wanted me to get things checked out, even though we both theorized that it was Jake’s continual (though less frequent) nursing that was making my uterus misbehave.  Blood tests all came back with normal results, so she also wanted me to get a pelvic ultrasound, which I did last Thursday.

But let me back up just a bit.  Last Wednesday (ie., the day before the ultrasound), Frank and I had intimate relations, as married couples are wont to do.  Afterwards, he asked if I could be ovulating.  I said, “Well, I suppose it’s possible, now’s the time when I would be, if I were, but I don’t think I am.  But I suppose I might have, and if I did it would be about now.”  Once he unscrambled his brains from hearing that statement, he asked what may be the funniest question ever.  “When you have the ultrasound tomorrow, will they be able to tell we had sex?”  As in, will they be able to see his little guys swimming around?  I assured him they couldn’t (it’s not done with a microscope, after all!) but even if they could, I’m certainly not the first woman to have an ultrasound the day after having sex.  🙂

So Thursday came, and I went for the ultrasound.  I wanted to ask a zillion questions of the tech as it was happening, but she assured me she was not allowed to tell me anything of a diagnostic nature.  But I was chatty and friendly with her, and told her about having sex and Frank’s funny question, and soon enough she was pretty forthcoming about the state of my ovaries.  She started looking at my right ovary, which she described as “quite plump” and full of healthy-looking follicles (where the eggs come out).

Then she moved onto the left ovary and said, “Oh, look at that.”

OHMYGODWHAT, IS THERE A MARTIAN LIVING IN MY OVARY?  I asked, or perhaps something that sounded less batshit crazy.  “Oh no,” she said, “but it looks like you very very recently ovulated, like yesterday or this morning.”  Oh!  Well, that’s unexpected but welcome news.  She continued, “Actually, I see two follicles that look like they just ruptured.”  (For those uneducated about the workings of the female reproductive system, one follicle releases one egg; two follicles means two eggs.  Which can lead to two babies, aka fraternal twins.)

I asked, “So… not only does it look like I ovulated this month, but that I may have ovulated more than one egg?” and the panic in my voice must have been a little palpable, as I imagined telling Frank we were pregnant with twins.

She said, “Well, often, both don’t take.  But this month looks like a really promising month for you, based on what I’m seeing and that you had intercourse yesterday!  Do it again tonight just to make sure!”

OK then.

Now, she’s a tech.  I understand she wasn’t supposed to tell me ANY of what she said to me, and she might be completely wrong.  But at the same time, I have to think she’s got a fair idea of what she’s looking at.

We didn’t do it again that night.  But Frank and I aren’t panicked either.  I guess neither of us really felt the need to increase our chances beyond what seemed pretty good already.  🙂

So, right now, it’s T-minus about twelve days until I could maybe register positive on a pregnancy test.