Sunday, April 28, 2013

27 Weeks

Hellloooooo third trimester. This is the point at which you feel like you're comically huge but then you do some simple subtraction and realize there is still so much more growing to go. Though I'm almost looking forward to Hedgehog getting a little more cramped in there so he can simmer down the bopping around, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

Must stop taking photos first thing in the
morning. Not doing me any favors.

Also, look! Sun! We've had a glorious 72 hours of sunshine and I'm in a forgiving mood: Minnesota, you're still alright.

We went to a Twins game on Saturday afternoon, our first of the season. I was reminded of how unusual it was for Pacey to be so attentive and well-behaved at sporting events starting at age 2. Brighton was...a challenge.
Ready to catch a foul ball, mom

Before the whining started

This kid was made for sporting events
Hopefully there will be another house update to come this week...due to a moisture issue in the stucco in the last house (that wasn't revealed to us until the purchase agreement had been signed), we had to walk away. We've had an offer accepted on another house and are really hoping everything proceeds as planned. If you feel inclined, keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, April 26, 2013


Have you seen the movie In Good Company? It's a favorite of ours around here (well C and I anyway) and we frequently refer to a particular exchange between two of the characters. One (Carter Duryea) is a young 'superstar' that comes into Dan Foreman's company and replaces many of the older employees. As he starts his new position he's in the process of a divorce; the implication seems to be that the marriage didn't last long. At one point Carter engages Dan in a conversation about marriage:

Carter Duryea: Dan, you seem to have the perfect marriage. How do you do it?
Dan Foreman: You just pick the right one to be in the foxhole with, and then when you're outside of the foxhole you keep your dick in your pants.
Carter Duryea: That's poetic.

It's a little crude, sure, and keeping my "d*ck in my pants" is not something I've ever particularly worried about in making my marriage a success. It's the first part that I identify with..."pick the right one to be in the foxhole with." 

10 years ago today Chris and I stepped over the threshold into the foxhole of our marriage. It seems nearly impossible to believe in so many ways. I can't believe we were such relative babies when we got married. I can't believe that we met under such improbable circumstances and had the faith to stay committed through some difficult obstacles. I can't believe how many challenges we've faced together and how much the vast majority of those struggles have strengthened and cemented our relationship. And yet, I think both of us, if asked, would prefer to focus more on the significant number of lucky breaks we've had along the way. We are fortunate to have the family and friends we do, fortunate to have had the opportunity to build this little family of ours. 

Being married takes work, for sure. It seems crazy sometimes that our culture considers it normal for two people, often from wildly different backgrounds and at a young age, to commit to one another through the various phases of life, encountering any manner of unexpected bumps along the way. I don't take our relationship for granted, and I continue to vow, as I did 10 years ago, to hang in there through the rough parts and enjoy the good ones, however mundane they may be. 

Here's to many more decades together in our foxhole, honey. Happy 10th anniversary!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Three Things

We have this really basic (read: lame) board book we got for free somewhere that has about eight pages, each with a picture of an animal on it. For some reason, B has been picking this particular book as her last-one-before-bed story lately. I got a little bored with it tonight so I asked her to tell me three things she knew about each animal as we turned the pages. For those of you with three- or four-year-olds, I highly recommend this as an amusing activity. My favorite was the rhinoceros:

1) They have horns
2) They poke other animals with their horns
3) They sometimes have runny noses (?)


In keeping with that little anecdote, here are three things about each kid, lately.


1) The other day he went ahead and confirmed what we all suspected was the truth anyway: "Look, it's Daddy! Pacey's favorite!"

2) He has just started developing an interest in good guys/bad guys, largely due to the recent movie Wreck-It Ralph. It's hard to tell just how much of the concept he understands, but he does a hilarious evil "Mwah-ha-ha" laugh when he's being the bad guy. The other day we were killing time at a sporting goods store and decided to fit the kids for new bikes. Brighton hopped right on one with training wheels and started pedaling up and down aisles. Pacey has had a harder time mastering pedaling and he was getting a little frustrated with it, and with his little sister being more proficient. At one point Chris was helping him down an aisle and he pulled up alongside Brighton who turned sharply and toppled off her bike. Pacey pedaled right by her with a "mwah-ha-ha" under his breath. Now, I don't condone this sort of malicious delight in another's misfortune but my GOD it was hilarious and I know Chris and I were both having a hard time not laughing out loud (B was fine).

3) He absolutely cannot resist babies. We were at the pediatrician today and there was a two-week-old baby in her for her first check-up. I had to physically restrain him because he so badly wanted to hug and kiss the baby. Man was he pissed at me. I suspect our baby is going to be extremely well-loved-upon.


1) The other day she started singing, "too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt," and I about fainted dead away. I eventually figured out that she'd picked it up from a Shrek spoof of American Idol where Prince Charming sings that gem from Right Said Fred. Frankly, I'd be less bothered hearing the f-bomb come out of her mouth than I was hearing her sing about being sexy!!

2) She has recently made friends with an eight-year-old girl who has speech therapy right after Pacey. Chloe, the girl, also has Down syndrome and it makes me happy to see that Brighton accepts her for who she is and doesn't appear to notice any differences about her. Every week she looks forward to playing in the gym with Chloe while we wait for Pacey to finish up, and she's even asked me if she can invite Chloe over.

3) She continues to be extremely excited about the baby and tells every single soul she encounters that her mommy has a baby brother in her tummy. At this point I am VERY relieved that her questions about how the baby got there were limited in scope and easily addressed without too much detail. Or I suspect we'd be having a lot of seriously uncomfortable conversations with strangers.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Notes for a Hedgehog

I haven't been feeling awfully motivated to take photographs of myself lately, but the belly continues to grow. It's funny how different this pregnancy is mentally...there is so much else going on day to day that I haven't been focusing on it as much. Not to mention, we won't be settled in a new house until a few weeks before he is born so it's not like I am painting nursery walls and folding tiny laundry yet.

But, in the off chance that one day my son will be able to put aside his horror at ever having been anywhere near my uterus, I wanted to record some things about this time for him to look back at.

* This is by far the most active baby I have ever carried. I'm on my feet and moving enough of the day that the second I sit or lay down he is walloping me. There's still obviously enough room for him to change position quite a bit and I've started to see parts poking out randomly. Feeling a growing baby moving around inside you never gets any less amazing and weird.

* I have no doubt that Pacey will take the baby's arrival in stride with his usual adaptive grace; for now he's generally pretty disinterested. Brighton, on the other hand, couldn't be more excited. She tells EVERYONE we meet that her mom has a baby in her tummy and it's a boy. She is so looking forward to being a big sister and I think she's going to be a great one (they both will).

* In addition to announcing his existence, Brighton loves to inform people that her baby brother's inside name is Hedgehog, but that we don't know what his outside name will be yet. That always gets a raised eyebrow or two.

* Speaking of which, I think we've settled upon a name. We'll have to take a quick peek on delivery and check that it suits him, but I doubt we'd do a last minute 180.

* I love how much a part of our lives he already is. The kids talk about him, Chris and I muse about what he will look like and be like, and he is part of our planning for life in the future (heck, we're buying a whole house for him!)

* The only thing I'd really characterize as a craving is the one I have for Jazz apples, cold from the refrigerator. I have eaten pound after pound of them. It must be Jazz, no other variety will do (don't talk to me about Honeycrisp, yuck!)(yes I could be exiled from MN for saying that). I'll have to save a sticker from one for his Baby Box (my kids don't get baby books, just a Tupperware container into which I stuff things I think they'd like to see one day (nothing biological in nature)).

If you'd like to send out some good vibes for us, we're hopefully under contract on what will be our new house. Inspection will go forward this week and although we aren't anticipating any deal-breaking surprises (who ever does), I'm having a bit of a hard time trusting this thing so think happy house thoughts for us!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Sometimes I find myself not blogging because there isn't really anything happening that's worthy of prioritizing time at the computer for.

This is not one of those times! Things have been so crazy and busy around update by way of bullets:

* I'm 25.5 weeks and am pretty sure I'm carrying a future kickboxer. Hedgehog is a mover and shaker. Everything appears to be going fine and I have reached the point where everyone feels comfortable assuming the girth is due to pregnancy. I love how excited people get about babies being born.

* We finished the updates in our house: re-carpeting over half of it, replacing some other flooring, replacing cabinets and countertops and painting the kitchen and dining room, overhauling the master bath and countless other small projects.

* We put the house on the market on Friday evening, before the granite was even fully installed. Chris was still plumbing the new sink in at 9:00 pm and was out at Home Depot at 7:00 the next morning.

* We spent all day Saturday exiled from the house for 10 showings to potential buyers. At 6:00 pm we had an offer that just exceeded our asking price, which we accepted.

* We looked at each other in bewilderment (recall, if you will, the house was on the market for 60+ days last summer with one too-low offer) and realized we better find ourselves a house to move into!

* A whirlwind tour of nearly every available property in the surrounding areas commenced. At this point I feel certain we've seen everything that meets our criteria currently on the market. After a few houses? They all look the same. Also, I strongly do NOT recommend house-hunting if you are pregnant and have an acutely increased sense of smell. Even houses that don't smell bad just smell TOO MUCH. And the people that had several different varieties of rodents in cages in the bedrooms? Ugh. I took to just holding my breath as I peeked into bedrooms because I just couldn't deal with the smell of PEOPLE.

*We have a short list. A very short list. There is really not a lot available to buy right now.

* The house inspection on our place was this morning and I had the very awkward experience of encountering the potential buyers. In my house. When I was not expecting them. The inspection was due to go from 9:00 - 12:00 so Brighton, Huff and I made ourselves scarce til 12:15 when we picked up Pacey and came back. To find the buyers here with their agent. Soooooo awkward. Real estate transactions tend to be so anonymous and encountering them this way was just so weird. Anyway, they were a lovely older couple and we chatted for a bit. The inspection doesn't seem to have uncovered any deal-breakers so as far as I know we proceed. And they got to see what the house looks like *actually* lived in rather than staged for showing.

* As of June 26th (barring any unforeseen bumps) we will be moving into a new residence. Hopefully not a rental.

* In the middle of all this I am working on planning for Pacey's next school year before his IEP in a couple of weeks. I had a wonderful meeting with his team, and I was struck again at how hard they are working with me to find the right hybrid educational setting for my kid, who just doesn't fit neatly into one category or another. It's all still a work in progress, but I feel good about where we are going. Also, I really hope that even if we move out of the district he can stay at this school for the next year while I evaluate the pros and cons of moving to our new home district (naturally we aren't considering any that would be cause for concern, but I don't want to give up a great thing too easily).

* I also got what I believe is probably a taste of what age four is going to be last night. Brighton and I (and even Chris got involved) engaged in a throw down. She is getting so sassy and so defiant at times and as much as I like to pick my battles, you do actually have to fight them before the war is won and the winner isn't you. We've had a very good six months or so with her, which usually dictates that stormy weather is ahead. Awesome.

I'm sure there is more, but right now the sun is making an extremely rare appearance and even though it's only 45 degrees still, I'm going to go outside for a little Vitamin D. Lest my child be born with some rare and strange complication due to being gestated during the longest winter in the history of winters.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day in My Life - Spring 2013

*REMINDER* These posts are really just for me to look back on with relief they're over fondly one day. If you read on, you will almost certainly be put to sleep. Consider yourself warned.

April 3, 2013. I am 23.5 weeks pregnant and the kids are 6.5 and almost 4.

12:30 am - Get up and pee. Get back in bed and spend five minutes arrange voluminous belly around extra pillows. Attempt to block out old dog's lusty snoring and farting long enough to get back to sleep.

3:30 am - Repeat

5:55 am - A sleepy little girl crawls under the covers with me. 5:55 feels so much earlier than 6:00 for some reason. At least she has finally learned to lay quietly for a bit lest she get evicted unceremoniously.

6:45 am - Our artificial sunrise is complete and we are joined by Pacey, who has woken up in a glorious mood as usual. "Good MORNING, Mama!" he chirps. We all spend a few minutes just hanging out before the morning rush starts.

7:15 am - I don't think Brighton has taken a single breath since she started talking this morning. I head to the shower before my eardrums start bleeding.

7:45 am - Chris has left for work. I am greeted in the kitchen by chaos everywhere I look. We're replacing cabinet doors, painting, and putting in a granite countertop. Where we tore down the tile backsplash the walls had to be re-drywalled so there is a fine layer of plaster dust covering everything. Ugh. Oh, and we're doing it all for the sake of a potential buyer, as the house will go back on the market in less than two weeks.

A frustrating obstacle course as I keep
forgetting I need a wider passage these days

A little paint with your Cheerios? Don't
worry, it's Low-Odor/No-VOC.

8:00 am - Brighton specifically requests Cheerios for breakfast and Pacey insists he wants a waffle. He NEVER eats a waffle and I know this and yet my defenses are low this morning; I make him a waffle. Brighton then decides she hates Cheerios and sulks, while Pacey eats approximately one molecule of the waffle. Brighton also falls off her chair which happens at least once during every single meal.

I can't believe you gave me what I asked for
for breakfast. So mean. 
I take the opportunity to throw some paint on the walls while the kids don't eat breakfast. I think I'm developing a RSI and there's still so much more to do.

8:30 am - On our way to school. B is toting along her treasured scrap-heap as usual. It's a balmy 27 degrees outside and we are still carting full snow gear for outdoor play. SIGGGGHHHHH Minnesota.

8:45 am - Brighton is successfully installed in her classroom and we have a few minutes to kill before Pacey is due at school so I stop at Caribou to grab a coffee (we're having some coffeemaker issues and my mug this morning was decidedly sub-par). It's a gorgeous, if chilly, morning.

Excited for school as usual

9:20 am - I pull up in the drop-off lane at school, help Pacey on with his backpack, give him a hug and kiss and (per our brand new routine), wave him off into school himself. Yesterday was the first day we did this and I fully admit I went back 15 minutes later and asked the very nice school secretary to call down to his class and make sure he made it (he did) (I wasn't genuinely worried he wouldn't). Such a BIG BOY now.

9:30 - I head to my monthly MOMS Club Business Meeting. Since I'm the president I prepared the agenda and we have plenty to cover, including the elections process for next year's Board as I am retiring from the position! We finish up making some fleece blankets for Project Linus and have a great discussion with a Parent Educator from our local Early Childhood and Family Education program. Discussions like these are always so reassuring as they drive home the reality that we all face challenges in our parenting.

11:30 - I swing by the library to drop off books and movies due today and arrive at Brighton's school 15 minutes early...a luxury to sit and do nothing but listen to the radio for a few.

11:45 - I've retrieved Brighton and heard all about the preschool playground drama of the day ("Shelby DIDN'T play with me outside today!!") and we head to pick up Pacey. His teacher confirms that he is doing just fine getting himself to class and going through his morning routine. I chat briefly to another mom who moved here recently from Colorado and she shares that she is a cancer survivor (in the context of a conversation about our daughters' hair). I always find myself making an extra effort with fellow transplants; Minnesotans are super friendly but it's difficult to truly break into social circles here. I chat with another mom about our abysmal spring weather and local real estate. I never feel more like a *mom* than I do at kindergarten pick up!

12:30 - Pacey requested "chicken and french fries" for lunch and I have a really hard time refusing fast food lunch once a week. Plus, torn up kitchen. Plus, I have a soft spot for McDonald's french fries. After their pitiful breakfast the kids devour their saturated fat and sodium.

2:00 - Pacey has his bi-annual pulmonology check-up today. I'll be honest and say, I'm not 100% sure why we still see this particular doctor as often as we do. Up until two years ago, Pacey had repeated respiratory infections and was on four doses of inhaled medications via nebulizer every day. As his lungs have grown and his immune system strengthened, he doesn't need those medications every day anymore. We are still very careful about his illnesses and he was hospitalized for RSV two years ago, but overall he's gotten so much healthier. Every time we go to the pulmo I have to fill out various questionnaires about his "asthma" which I'm never exactly sure he has. The diagnosis alone muddies the waters at school, as they want action plans but he has never needed an inhaler when it wasn't related to an illness. ANYWAY, until he's old enough to reliably do a pulmonary function test, in we go every six months. At least the doc is always fast.

2:40 - HAHA, except not fast today. We've seen the nurse and Pacey's oxygen saturation is 97%. That's about the highest it's ever been when he's not on a direct stream of pure oxygen. He's also grown a bunch since last fall. We attempt to continue amusing ourselves:

Examining lung structure and function

Testing out the exam table for comfort

Having a catnap

Poking our fingers inside bronchii

Attempting to hack into the computer system

3:30 - Finally done. No plan for the summer except to have medications on hand if needed. Not entirely sure this was worth 90 minutes of our time. Still, we're lucky to have the option I guess.

3:45 - Although our closest neighborhood market has no methods for containing two children while you shop, it's my easiest bet for dinner. I extract promises from the kids that they will be good if I let them push the child-sized cart. Always a dicey prospect but no better options. We pick up a rotisserie chicken and Pacey tries to convince me he wants sushi.

Yeah right, kid

They won't actually eat this either

Supermarket sweep. We managed not to clip
anyone's heels. Barely. 
4:15 - Home and the kids disappear downstairs to play while I do more painting. I am so sick of painting at this point, it's not even funny. The only upside is that Chris figured out how I can listen to BBC Radio 1 on my phone so I have caught up on all my UK news and the hot new music in Europe.

5:30 - Chris is home and Brighton coaxes him out on the deck with her. The three of them had a dance party out there this past weekend (to celebrate the thermometer hitting 50 degrees) and the kids have requested a repeat performance every day since.

Boundless energy is wasted on the young

Grass! I see grass!!

Future career as a street sweeper?
5:45 - 6:30 - Dinner happens. I have no memory of it, but I've never heard a complaint about starving the kids so I feel comfortable assuming I put food in front of them and they ate. Or not. It's usually 50/50.

6:45 - Bath time. I posted the picture of me because I think it's very apparent how I was feeling at this point. So. Unbelievably. Exhausted. And there's the belly, at almost 24 weeks.

They have outgrown this bath tub. I am in
the process of breaking them into the idea
of showers instead. Yikes.

7:30 - Everyone is finally in their pajamas and we horse around for a minute. I feel perkier knowing the end of my "workday" is imminent.

7:45 - The kids each pick a book to read and Pacey's selection is this 150-page book from my childhood. I tell him there's no way we're reading that book tonight and he parrots my own words back to me, "Just try it, mom." We compromise on reading/discussing five pages. I get a real kick out of seeing how many random items he can identify and hearing his voice, which is still somewhat novel.

8:30 - Kids are in bed, additional trips upstairs for hugs/more water/re-tucking/etcetcetcetc are complete and I knock out a little more painting before falling into bed. I make about one-and-a-half episodes of Numb3rs before I start dozing off. I get up to pee about 412 more times. The baby has his nightly acrobatics session; he reminds me of Pacey in this respect. The second I lay down, he goes ninja on me.

10:00 - Dead to the world. Maybe one day I'll be able to stay awake later than the average 13-year-old. But maybe not.

(If you actually read this far, give yourself a pat on the back and go get a glass of wine. You've earned it.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Light, Dark

This week I feel like I'm coming out of kind of a funk, that lasted a good three weeks or so. I was still feeling extremely fatigued, frustrated with everything, stressed about a million little things and just feeling like there was no end in sight for anything. It was getting to the point where I was wondering whether I might need to talk to my doctor about a medication increase; while there were plenty of things going on that are legitimately anxiety-inducing and upsetting in some circumstances, there's a line beyond which I just know I shouldn't feel so bad.

I was reminded today, reading a post on Dooce (Heather, the author, suffers from much more severe depression and anxiety than I ever have) that the autumnal and spring equinoxes can be especially hard on people whose brain chemistry isn't quite right to begin with. It's sort of counterintuitive for me, because in a lot of ways I love the change of seasons occurring at those times. I don't know what the scientific evidence for this phenomenon is (Dooce mentions that her psychiatrist explained it to her; it's something to do with the rapid change in natural light) but I can almost always pinpoint a troublesome period occurring during this time for me.

I'm definitely continuing to learn, for me, about what constitutes normal mood changes and what warrants some monitoring. It's made much harder by pregnancy; the changing hormones and general lack of control I feel over my body muddy the waters significantly. I really like learning about how other external factors may be affecting increase or change in medication doesn't have to be the answer if there's something temporary that I know will pass and it's much easier to cope if I can understand it.

This week I can feel myself coming out of the funk. I have so much more energy and I feel like I can consider some of the changes on the horizon in a much more rational way. Last week was such a welcome break from our usual day-to-day routine and I think we are all more relaxed for it. Of course it doesn't hurt that it appears spring has finally arrived and I can start wearing two or three layers instead of four everywhere I go. Good timing too, as it's becoming a struggle to zip up even my roomiest winter jacket.

I'm tentatively planning to document another Day in the Life post for tomorrow, so watch this space for a thrilling synopsis of the minutiae of my days!