Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just like gorillas

Now that we have this huge yard, we have a whole new set of issues that we really didn't anticipate. Of course we have deer that meander through and eat everything. OK, so we have a fence around the garden and we'll see if it works. We have birds and squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits, tent caterpillars, ladybugs, wild strawberries, weeds, mushrooms...all of these things we expected and accepted. Somewhere along the line we forgot about ticks. Yes, our yard is teeming with ticks. I'm not even sure when tick season is but whenever it started we knew immediately. We had to pluck a few ticks of Peanut within a week, I've had a few, honey has had a few and of course the dog has some riders.

Now I know which ticks are which and how long they need to sit and eat before I get nervous, but honestly, the whole thing is just gross. We spray ourselves and the dog before we go outside to play and do a tick check before we come in. Today Honey caught one traveling on Peanut's arm after we came inside. Got it before it bit her so that was nice. The other night, Honey came to me with the tweezers and pulled his shirt up so I could get one off of him. Then I did a quick check and found one I'd missed before as well, so he pulled it off me. We are starting to feel a little like the gorillas you see on nature videos picking nits off each other! Try to do a tick check when you are 9 months pregnant - it is a little hard to see your whole bod. Now, Honey has to check all the parts I can't see to make sure I am not missing any. Thank goodness, because we found another I would have totally missed the other day.

I have been trying to talk up the idea of getting some chickens so we can have fresh eggs. I recently discovered that chickens eat ticks, so now that is my strategy for pushing the idea of a chicken coop. Plus I think it would be pretty funny to have chickens right at the edge of the golf course. We could train them to be quiet until someone started to swing...

Mommy Stress

Peanut has started taking a little music class, and we have gone to three classes so far. The kids are 1-5 years old so there is a big spread of age and ability, and the class is pretty short (30 minutes). The teacher does lots of different things with singing, instruments, movement, drama and it all seems fun for the kids. Now I know my Peanut, and she takes a bit to get warmed up to things like this. We have taken one other class before - sort of an open gym - and by the last few classes she was really getting into it. Now we are three classes into this thing and my little one is the only one who runs circles around the room and around me while the other kids are all sitting and mostly following along! She does come back when there is something she is interested in, but mainly, she runs. There's a part of me (OK, the part with the masters degree in child development) that knows not to expect a two year old to sit quietly and follow directions, but there's another part of me (the mommy me) that knows the other moms are watching me and thinking "why doesn't she pull her kid back in?". I think since I am hugely pregnant I am being cut some slack here, but I do feel like I am supposed to be reining her in more. But she is a wild woman and I like that about Peanut!

I had no idea how much stress can occur about what other mommies think of my parenting and my kid! Learning for us is happening all the time and the best way to learn is by fostering what a child likes to do and being there to support her in her exploration. Sometimes though, I do feel like there is a little structure missing from our learning that other families seem to have tied up nicely. Oh well, she's a sweet, loving, curious, impish, two year old - what are you gonna do?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Since I Needed Something Else to Do...

I decided to scrapbook Peanut's birth. I figured that instead of having random papers and pictures and footprints in a box (mixed in with our wedding mementos) I would get them into a book before the new baby arrives. So, I needed a book, some paper, a little glue, and some markers. All non toxic/non acidic or whatever so the photos don't get ruined. This seems simple enough, but of course, it is not. I arrive at the store list in hand and realize I need all kinds of stuff to do this "right". I need stickers, a paper trimmer, adhesives, etc. And a new addiction is born.

I've done some scrap booking before, when it first became "the thing" to do and when I realized I was not using my 1700 kinds of scissors or my foam die cuts or my papers or whatnot, I gave it all away on freecycle. Now I want it all back, but I'm sure my old stuff is no longer appropriate in the new scrap booking world, so maybe it is just as well that I had to spend $150 to set up a book for my daughter 2 years after she was born. I have to admit, that it is turning out beautifully and I am thoroughly enjoying reliving the whole thing. Our doulas had written her birth story and taken pictures throughout labor and delivery (don't worry - we have edited which photos are in the album significantly!) and it is so nice to see it all together.

Meanwhile, of course, there are a million other things that I really need to do. Like yesterday I moved the car seats around so I could install the base for the infant seat. The cover is still drying (had to wash it from being in the shed) and I hope to get it on and the seat installed before little one's arrival. The funny part of that is seeing Peanut facing forward for the first time today in the car. I had no idea what she was doing back there - she is usually pretty quiet and reading her books, but has lately begun to ask for "mimit" (this means "music"). So today, she asks for music and then as she listens, has this thoughtful concentrating expression before she either says "this" and then begins bobbing her head to the tune or scowls and says "more mimit" since she doesn't like this song and wants another. The dancing head is what got me - she is really jamming out back there! It is so funny to see.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Turkey Time

For whatever reason, the expectation is that when you are pregnant you are thoroughly uncomfortable. This is so true in our culture, that I think women try to have more symptoms and make them more significant than they really might be. I have also noticed lots of people deciding that since "full term" is 37 weeks, that they could "pop at any time" after that, and then start to get really antsy when they are STILL PREGNANT. This is ridiculous, since "full term" just means that the baby will likely be fine and no longer a preemie if they are born then. Most pregnancies go past 40 weeks if left to their own doings. My "guess date" is in the beginning of June, but since Peanut was born well after her guess date I am prepared for mid June to be it. I'm happy to wait it out until this baby is ready to go - I do have to say that I feel a little like a turkey with my belly button popped out like the Butterball timer.

So far, I have felt "appropriately pregnant" this whole time, and while I have the usual aches and pains and such, I have focused on the positives. For example, as my hips have slowly stretched apart and loosened to the point of sometimes not being able to walk immediately upon awakening, I have told myself "my hips will be so relaxed and loose that this baby will just fly right out!". When I've got raging reflux, I think "thank goodness the baby is pushing up high and not yet down low making me take pit stops every 15 minutes". Well, today is the day I will take advantage of my right as a pregnant American woman to fully complain about how achy this all is.

I don't understand this "nesting" thing. How can people have a burst of energy and do all these crazy things and not feel like they are going to drop dead? I did a little painting yesterday and some gardening, and today I did some more gardening and felt like I would fall into the mud. I have projects I want to do, but I am sitting on the couch watching the Duggars. Last night I woke up several times to change positions (this is not new - sleep is short and very interrupted) and every time had something click. pop. contract, kick, or just generally ache. I slept on my hands and knees for a while which seems the best spot. Why there has not been a pregnant sleeping sling invented I'll never know. Seems like a good idea with an endless supply of consumers.

And what about the stretching? Oh my - my belly feels tight and hard and stretched to the max even though I know I was bigger last time. My ankles are swollen, my lower back aches, my calves are so tight, and my veins are bulging. Shorts are a necessity in this hot weather, but I just feel badly for those around me at times for having to look at my possibly half shaven legs - I can't see the whole darn things! Who knows how close I got to getting them clean shaved?! And know that the waddle is thoroughly integrated into the gait pattern, I just feel larger than life - like I am taking up an immense amount of space.

You know what? I like being pregnant. I am so excited to be able to carry a baby and create a life. It is all worth it. So that is my complaining, and now I am done. One week or four more - I'm in for the duration. I am so grateful that my body works this way and makes a sibling for Peanut possible. Even if I do feel a little like a turkey.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Home Stretch

If you need to know how to put on weight - I'm your go to girl! At my midwife appointment yesterday, I had gained 7 pounds, yes that is seven, in a week! Looks like eating ice cream and completely giving up exercise does wonders. Since that might be a little much to gain each week for the next few, I had an apple for dessert last night and have already finished my workout today. I also realized that my not working out also makes me a bit crabby, and makes dealing with an almost two year old nearly impossible to do with any amount of patience.

We met with our doulas last night to go over final plans, questions, issues and all. We are feeling pretty relaxed and comfortable with this upcoming birth so it was mostly a nice visit and catch up time with them. I feel like these final weeks are really all about birthing - everything else is secondary. It's all we talk about with Peanut - she is really into the "big sister" books and "new baby at your house" books. She vacillates on whether she wants a baby or not, but overall I think she is understanding the plan. I've been listening to my scripts at all hours - if I wake at 3 am and can't get back to bed, or midday if Peanut gets a nap, or last thing at night before falling asleep. I have a birthing affirmations CD in the car and listen to it at least a little each day. So if you are stopped at a traffic light next to me and our windows are rolled down, you might do a double take when you hear what I am listening to!

We are planning on using this long weekend to finish a few baby related house projects. I'd also like to make my play lists, find our video camera charger (for Peanut's antics and possibly quite discrete labor videos - I'm not a fan of the birth video when I am the star), and put some plants into our garden. Every time I do something, I think of how I need to organize it for during or after this baby's appearance. Even meal preparation relates to birth - I am making LOTS of extra so I can freeze the leftovers for when I don't want to cook. We'll go to the farmer's market this afternoon too and stock up on fresh veggies for the week so my 7 pound gain becomes a one time deal!

While life has been a little stressful this week, and my patience has worn thin, overall, I'm feeling great - happy and content, excited and anticipating what is to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thinking I am Being "SO GOOD"

So this pregnancy I have been able to anticipate the issues I had last time and start dealing with them early which has made a HUGE difference in how I feel. I started with an osteopath and chiropractor to ensure my pelvis and hips stay aligned (not quite together, but at least next to each other this time) which has kept me way more active. I have been exercising and eating well, taking my vitamins and drinking lots of water. I'm doing my prenatal exercises, sitting the right way to keep this baby turned name it, I am probably doing it. I have felt great!

Last week, when I went in for my midwife appointment, I had LOST 2 pounds and was measuring small. You'd think - what pregnant chick doesn't want that at 9 months?! Right? Well, it turns out that they get worried about that because then the baby could be in too little fluid or not getting enough nutrition, or whatever. So they set me up for an ultrasound to check it out, but I couldn't get in for almost a week. So what to do in the meantime. Well, I am an idiot and go on the web and do a search and find out all of the worst case scenarios and totally stress myself out. Even though I don't really think there is anything wrong, I stress. Then, I got so annoyed that taking such good care of myself had still got me into a worry situation, that I had Honey go out and get ice cream and I have been having some every night. So HAH!

OK, maybe a little immature. Anyway - we had the ultrasound this morning, and everything is fine. Of course, it took us almost an hour and a half to get to Fairfax from here (should be 30 minutes tops) and my blood pressure was so high by the time we got there I'm surprised the baby wasn't bouncing around in there yelling at the drivers. But baby was calm and happy, hanging out in there with his/her foot well into my ribs. See you soon baby!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A little bit of Sha-na-na and some really ugly mushrooms

Today has been an interesting baby day - lots of moving around in there and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions! At work this morning, my train of thought was interrupted by a little bladder dance going on in there. This afternoon, I have been imagining my uterus flexing its muscles like the guy from Sha-na-na - doing a little practice run to make sure everything is ready to roll when the time comes.

Peanut has had a rough day - for the first time ever, she wailed when I dropped her off at daycare. I was shocked and her sitter said she asked for me several times throughout the day as well. I know she is understanding that a new baby is coming and I wonder if she realizes that life will for sure be different for her. We talk about it, read about it, and everyone asks if she is excited to be a big sister, so I can imagine she may be a little stressed about it. The bedtime routine is getting longer and longer too - a sip of water, a trip to the potty, another "hold mommy", and then several sips of water for baby doll...and then it begins again. Tonight I just finally said "love you, night night" and left. She settled down after a few minutes, but maintaining the calm is exhausting.

I did get into the garden a bit today. We got some plants from a fabulous gardener on freecycle on Sunday, and I got most of them planted this afternoon. Some azaleas, jack in the pulpits, lily of the valley, day lilies, liriope, grasses and yarrow all found new homes in our yard. I have to keep reminding myself that this garden will take years to build and I need to focus on one little patch at a time. Having this much space is hard for someone who has always had a zillion plants mashed together into a tiny space! As I was planting, I noticed a crazy looking thing sticking up out of the soil. Unfortunately, our camera batteries had died and I can't remember where the extras are, so I had to run out and get new ones which took some time. The neon orange of the mushrooms is not so obvious in the pictures since I think the mushrooms dried out by the time I got around to taking the photos.

I think these are a little creepy looking. They are stinkhorn mushrooms, and you can see all kinds of interesting pics of them here -

Ah, the fascinating world of mushrooms. I never knew there were so many kinds until I lived here!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Waddle

It's official. I am waddling. Really, I only have a few more weeks to go, so I should have anticipated this day, but I have felt so good during this pregnancy that I thought it would just last forever! My days of gracefully walking around the block are over - now I will have drivers slowing to check if I am in labor or if I need a ride. I also had to take my rings off today - that was a chore! Lots of cream and elbow grease, so I'm glad I did it today otherwise they would have had to be cut off!

The plan for the day is to have Peanut hang out with our babysitter/mother's helper while we finish projects up around the house. We've got plenty to do, and now that the house is sparkling clean it feels like there is some inspiration to complete these unfinished details. We always start with a huge list though and realize halfway through the day that we will never get it all done. Oh well. We do have a few more weekends, and my nesting instinct should kick in hard soon!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


For the past few years, we have been cleaning our own house and it seems to go fine albeit in spurts. We did have a company come out when we first moved in to do a thorough cleaning and a few times after as we were doing so much construction, but i thought "Oh, I can clean - I'm home some of the week now and will be here full time when the baby comes". Then reality started to sink in, and I realized it would be a question of how dirty I was comfortable with it being. Well, we decided to give our housecleaners a biweekly gig - just to try it out and see. By the time they were done with the main floor today I was sold. I went to work this morning, came home midday and had a mostly clean house! When I came back from my afternoon appointments, it was spotless - cleaner than I think it has been in months. What an amazing thing - I told Honey it was the best idea we had since getting married and having kids. I felt badly cooking dinner tonight because I didn't want to mess up the kitchen. And I am savoring our stainless appliances without fingerprints!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oh Happy Day

I keep thinking that this will be the week that everything slows down and I have a minute to catch my breath. I look at the calendar and think "oh good, when that is done, I'll have so much free time" and then something else pops up. Oh well, I guess that is what life is all about.

My wish for Mother's Day was to sleep in and not do any cooking and get to play outside all day. I did "sleep in" but really, how do you do that when you are a mom? Peanut fell out of her bed last night (first time she has done this and it's been a while in the new bed) and we sprang out of bed - I don't think I have moved so fast in months. She was fine, but then woke several times complaining and of course I start to think about concussions and whatnot... so I slept until about 7am and then I was awake for good, but I forced myself to lounge in bed and let Honey get up with Peanut. She got into bed with me while breakfast was made for all of us and then she got her shoes on, brought me my shoes and the dog's leash. The girl had a plan!

We walked the dog, then started building the sandbox that great grandma (Goose) got for Peanut. I did get to be outdoors for much of the day and it was really beautiful today. Perfect weather for working and playing in the yard. Peanut loved her new sandbox and sat right in it to dig. She helped with some raking (I wished I had my camera outside when she picked up the big rake and tried to rake the pine needles all in her little pink outfit with her pink baseball cap on backwards) and weeding, and kicked her ball around the yard.

As I looked at the backyard, I had this realization of how huge of a project this yard will be! I've always had a plan for any house I have lived in and been able to tackle it in a year or two at most. This yard is going to take a long time to plan and pull together. I think that will be fun though since it will change with our family and our needs. It is hard though to stick to basics and not go nuts planting and building patios and all - there is so much potential. So we have our garden plot and our sandbox. Next we need to start lining out planting beds and mulching, but i think we will do these one at a time.

Honey grilled up some filet mignon (from the farm - we are truly spoiled!) and made a salad. I have never seen a little tiny person eat so much steak. She had probably 1/3 of my cut! We all ate well, she is gone to bed, and now I have a moment to relax. Ahhh, maybe Mother's Day should be once a month...