Thanksgiving

on 25 November 2011

We had a great Thanksgiving yesterday.

All of us locals descended on my sister's house to feast and talk and laugh together.   The dinner was delicious, the conversation was lively, the setting was informal; it was everything I look for in a familial holiday celebration.  Though, we all admitted that there had never before been so many vegetables on our Thanksgiving table.  Thank you, Gestational Diabetes.

My Dad, Chris, and my BIL Jeff all hung out outside with the frying turkey.  While us women-folk stayed inside minding the roasting turkey and the sides.  Who am I kidding?  I did quite a lot of just sitting and chatting because the Belly is growing epic and developing it's own gravitational force.  Don't stray too close to me or you'll end up having to orbit me until the BIRTH.

It really was fun, and I'm not someone who LOVES Thanksgiving, but Chris does, which means he gets particularly sassy.  And who's NOT amused by that?!  The Boy did more playing than eating, but at one point (somewhere between the Feast and the Pies) I walked in on him in the kitchen with a big ol' fistful of  turkey just munching away.   My little happy savage.

We all stayed until dark and then began to drift back towards our own homes.  Chris bathed the Boy and then cleaned up our own kitchen (I had cooked all of the veggies before getting to Sherry's.  I knew the kitchen would be crazy, but I left the MESS for later).

***

Chris is working today.  He volunteered because he is a good guy and a team player and all of that stuff.  We're going to put up our Christmas tree this evening once he's home.  And then tomorrow he and the Boy are heading down to Savannah for his great-Grandmother's 105th birthday celebration.

Yes, I'm nervous about him taking the Boy.  Yes, I'll probably worry about them all weekend.  But yes, I'm still going to pack their bags and kiss them good-bye and let them go.  They will have a blast together.  Chris will get to do all those things that I frown over when I have to watch (like taking the Boy out on the 4-wheeler and feeding him ice cream at 9 o'clock at night).  And the Boy will get some good lovin' from his Pa-Paw and Aunt Nancy and Grandma Mildred, and then they will come home.

As for me, I'm going to use my time wisely to work on some Christmas gifts that I've been neglecting.  I'm hoping that with a wide open schedule and no one to need me, I'll be able to crank them out in good time.

***

I try to do some good thinking this time of year.  I like to use Thanksgiving, rather than the busyness of Christmas, to take stock.  I like to ponder about the year that's been, the changes that have come, and are coming.  And most of all the blessings (some more overt than others) that have come our way.

It's been a hard year.  A good year, but a hard year.  Chris and I were talking last week after hearing about the most recent rejection and we were chuckling over how it seems a long time since we had an EASY year.  But for all it's struggles, it's highs and lows, it's frustrations, irritations and expectations, we remain grateful.  It was a good year.  We spent much of it insulated by family who consistently reminded us to have faith, to be obedient and patient, to take care of each other, and gradually things would work out.  And while some things have (i.e. the Girl), other things have not (i.e. the Job).  But for all that, we have each other and we have the Boy, and we have our home and our family and just enough.  And this year, that is a Blessing indeed.

The Breakfast Sandwich Bandwagon

on 23 November 2011

I'm a-joining the breakfast sandwich bandwagon.

I've been on an egg-kick with this particular pregnancy in a way that I have not known...oh, EVER.  But after a month straight of soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, I thought I might need a change.  And the nutritionist recommended english muffins since they're lower in carbohydrates than regular bread.  So I picked up some whole wheat ones and began scrambling the eggs and adding cheese to it.  And what do you know?  Delightful. 

The only problem is that after a week straight of those, I'm a little tired of it already.  So I'm looking for variations on the breakfast sandwich.  The eggs are going to be the base and it all has to fit on an english muffin.  But beyond that, I would like to solicit your suggestions.  The only limiting factor is that it can't add sugar or starch to the overall sandwich.

The really good news?  After one of these bad boys, my blood sugar is so normal it's like I was never diagnosed.  It's brilliant.  And according to the nutritionist, if I can start the day off with good blood sugar it's oh so much easier to maintain than if I start it off with high blood sugar.

And yes, I did try to explain that little girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice and that THAT is the real reason why my blood sugar was ever so slightly elevated.  Alas, those medical professionals, always so quick to write off folklore, they did NOT believe me and gave me the glucometer anyway.

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad WEEK

on 21 November 2011

Last week was just plain awful.  There's no mincing words, there were very few redeeming moments, Chris and I were both VERY happy to write the whole thing off as over and done.  Thankyouverymuch, what's next?

I met with the nutritionst and began testing my blood sugar.  The problem is that I'm an easy bleeder, so one little finger prick and I'm leaving a trail of blood behind me like some horrific Gretal character.  The one redeeming moment is that, as I get better about knowing what I can eat when, and how much I can get away with, my blood sugar has dropped right back down in to normal range.

Please note:  I have already started a mental list in my head of all those foods that I want but can't have, or can't have as much as I want, for the future date when this little Girl decides to make her appearance.

I also met with my Ob/Gyn, what a colassal waste of time that was.  UNC's VBAC policy is that the attending physician has to sign off on the VBAC before it can be attempted.  My doc ran a variety of different scenarios with resulting percentages of success and the conclusion of all of this?  It's really too soon to tell.  It all depends on Her and when she decides to make her appearance.  If she comes a week or two early then all will be well and fine...if she lingers until her due date, then I'm staring down a scalpel.

May I just ask, What was the freakin' point of me going down there for that?!  I could have told them THAT!  And I'm not even a doctor!

That was Thursday, also known as The Day M Reached Saturation Point with all Her Various Anxieties and had a Ginormous Meltdown.  I spent most of that day in tears, the poor Boy kept getting suspicious of my sniffles (I try never to cry in front of him) and saying, "What you doing, Mama?"  To which I would reply, "Mama's just a little bit sad/scared/frustrated."  At which point he would come over and say, "No you are NOT sad."  It was funny and sweet all at the same time.

The Boy has been on a Grinch kick lately.  He requests it almost every day.  On Friday we were watching it and there's that scene at the beginning, where the Whos are cutting down the Christmas tree and the Boy says to me, "What they doing, Mama?"  And I said, "They're cutting down the Christmas tree to decorate it."  He looked at the screen again and furrowed up his face and said, "That not very nice to those trees."  At which point I laughed until my face hurt.  Some days I wonder how such an amazing kid came from my body.

Friday night we found out that Chris did NOT get the job that he has most recently interviewed for.  The one we thought for sure he was a shoe-in for.   The one the VP had insisted he was perfect for.  And yet...not so much apparently.  We were both depressed and relieved all at once.  The job is mostly mediating interdepartmental conflicts, and Chris does not do well with contention.  He takes it personally, or he loses patience.  He can't seem to keep it at work, so he brings it home with him which then translates to increased tension in our home.  He gets depressed because he can't make people happy.  So, maybe it's a blessing.  But rejection is still hard, especially when we've gotten our hopes up again and again and again.  And AGAIN.  Only to have them fall flat.

And so we get to begin all over again.

My Big Fat Science Experiment

on 16 November 2011

Well, I met with the nutritionist this week.  I got my very own glucometer and guidelines.  They told me a lot of stuff I already knew and a few things that I didn't.  There was another (very obnoxious) woman in the same little orientation and I was very glad not to be in her shoes.

I'm trying to establish trends, so that I can figure out which of my habits spikes my blood sugar, so I'm tracking everything I eat in addition to my blood sugar.  I showed my lovely little spreadsheet to Chris who replied rather tartly, "Oh good!  Something new for you to obsess about!"  But for all his tartness, he's filled our fridge and freezers with protein for me and hasn't once asked me to make something sweet, which, when you think about it, is very thoughtful and kind of him.

In the meantime, I feel like a big, testy science experiment.  The Girl is currently positioning herself for Most Uncomfortable Baby EVER, I have no idea how she's laying in there but it's quite painful, and perhaps I should remind her that my left side, just under my ribs is not an expansion pack, nor is it an EXIT.

It's otherwise one of those wild and crazy weeks where we have something going on almost every day.  It's only Wednesday and we're all already exhausted.  The Boy and I spent yesterday in our pajamas in an attempt to recover from the hurricane of Monday, and I'm planning on spending Friday in a similar fashion.

And now that I've considered everything I need to do, just this morning, I really should get to it.  I'll leave you with some visual proof of just how tired we all are around these parts. 





 This was AFTER a 2 hour nap in his bed.  I woke him up, he climbed up on the couch, curled up and went back to sleep.

How Sweet it is...

on 10 November 2011

I failed the 3-hour glucose test.

And so I have the added pleasure of gestational diabetes for the next 8 weeks.  YAY!  Just what I always wanted!  Sugar-free holidays!

***

You know, I spent about 4 days sulking over it and then I woke up one morning, shrugged my shoulders and said, "Oh well, M, you can't be good at everything.  What's next?"

And much as I wanted to be good at being pregnant and having babies, I'm just not.  And after 4 days of sulking, I'm ok with that.  I'm good at other stuff.

Sadly, this likely means that my chances of a VBAC go down the toilet.  I'm meeting with my OB/GYN next week to do the evaluation and we'll see what he says, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

***

I've started listening to Christmas music 'round these parts already.  And surprisingly, Chris is fine with it this year.  I think he's accepted that it's almost impossible for me to be sad or discouraged when I listen to Christmas music. 

I decided two years ago that I would try to add at least one new Christmas album to my collection every year and this year I want to add two.  She and Him has a quirky and fun Christmas album out and I love their sound, so I'm off in search of that.  And then Mindy Gledhill has a new Christmas album out, and I've loved her contributions to other compilations that I have so that one I'll order off of amazon (it would be nearly impossible to find it in a store).

***

You know, the hardest bit about pregnancy is just how humbling it is.  I have no control over what's going on in my body right now.  And I had hoped to spend November and December serving my family because I'll need their help once the Girl gets here.  I didn't want to feel beholden or dependent in any way.  But I will be.  And I'm trying to feel like that's ok.  It's ok to need people and to rely on the family.  It's ok to ask for help.   I'm going to keep telling myself that in the hopes that by the time it gets here it will be a little bit easier.  

***

This is the Boy's favorite song right now:



He wakes up in the morning and says, "Tall and Green, Mama! Tall and Green!"  It's not a Christmas song, but he does DANCE and dance at full TILT.  It's awesome.

***

I have to meet with the nutritionist next week.  I seriously contemplated being bitchy or contemptuous at the very least, because, seriously?  We eat pretty healthy around here as it is.  And then I realized, it's not her fault...it just is what it is.  And you know what?  Pregnancy can have my sense of humor when it pries it from my cold, dead hands.

***

The ladies at the bank gave the Boy a lollipop and now he positively STINKS of high fructose corn syrup.  He loves it (of course), but ugh, he stinketh.  He keeps coming over to hug me and I keep plugging my nose until he goes off to play again.

***

Chris finished up his interview process this morning.  Now we wait.  We're hoping to hear from them one way or another next week. 

***

The fall leaves have been so beautiful this year.  I remember my first Fall quarter at the UW, I was so engrossed in my classes and school work that I didn't even notice the leaves at all.  I had started school when they were all still green and when I surfaced and looked around me, the trees were completely bare.  I had lost a whole season out of my life.  It was a very strange feeling.  Since then, I've tried to be more aware of how the earth under my feet keeps track of time passing.

***

I keep thinking about all the different kinds of sweetness in life.  Natural, artificial, the sweetness on our tongue, but also the sweetness in our ears and on our skin.  The people in our lives that sweeten the difficulties and smooth over the irritations.  I think about all the little limitations, frustrations, irritations and how it seems like Heavenly Father thought of them all...and made sure that there would be appropriate sweeteners for all occasions.  Not an absolute removal...but just enough to make the bitter bearable.

A Tale of Marital Restraint

on 07 November 2011

Chris snores.

It's not a disparagement on him at all, lots of people snore, but my man snores like a ROCK CONCERT.  It's amplified.  It's loud.  It's beyond LOUD.

Now, normally, I can get him to roll over or change positions so that it resumes it's soft, breathy quality.  But every once in a while...oh my, every once in a while the man snores so loud I worry that the neighbors will call the police on us for running a chain saw in the middle of the night in an apartment!  And those are usually the nights when I cannot budge him, oh no, it is very much like a Dead Man Snoring in my bed.  He lays in the same position all night long, snoring at full volume in my ear.

In those moments it's hard not to feel like he's doing it out of SPITE.

After all, this is the man who can sleep through ANYTHING!  Literally.  I can get up early, turn on lights, read, shower, run the blow dryer, plop the Boy into bed next to him, cough in his ear, dump the cats on top of him and nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  He just snores right through all of it.

And believe me, I'm no picnic to share a bed with right now...I'm awash in a sea of pillows and blankets in my (mostly) vain attempts to get comfortable enough to sleep, but my bones hurt so badly that I end up shifting from one side to the other all night long as I try to relieve the pain in my hips and back.  But one would think that given my level of discomfort while gestating his progeny, the man would cut me some slack and try to keep the snoring to a minimum so that I can sleep.

But no.

He snores at top volume and I'm left laying there contemplating one of two options:

  • Hit him over the head as hard as I can with one of my pillows and then glare at him until he realizes that he is the reason I am not currently asleep.  In more ways than one.  Or...
  • Retreat to the futon because getting even more worked up will not help me on the sleep front.
Tempting though the first option ALWAYS is, I have yet to choose it.  I usually retreat to the futon, which is now a decidedly chilly options since I'm refusing to turn the furnace on.

And as if being driven from Bed Sweet Bed were not hard enough, I then have the cats to contend with.  One more night like I've had recently and I'm taking them both to the POUND.  Leike sleeps all day long--and that's no exaggeration, unless we vacuum, she sleeps ALL. DAY. LONG.  And then prowls all night.  Having passed Cat 101, she enjoys her nocturnal wanderings.  And usually I am oblivious to her weaving herself in and out of the blinds or chasing her tail, or hunting her gray mouse toy (complete with hunting cry).  She can also open doors, so long as they aren't shut tight.

Agnes on the other hand, apparently FAILED Cat 101 because she parks herself between Chris and I in Bed Sweet Bed for the entirety of the night.  When one of us (i.e. ME) leaves Bed Sweet Bed, she's at a complete loss.  She knows not what to do.  Stay with Chris?  Cuddle M?  And if you shut the door, even if the latch doesn't catch, forget it!  She's completely trapped!  She can't open any door to save her life.  So she resorts to howling at top volume until someone comes to her aid.

So between Chris snoring like a chain saw, Agnes howling (I foolishly tried to minimize the volume of Chris' snores by pulling the door to the frame), Leike hunting, and my own inability to get comfortable, it all makes for a sleep deprived and decidedly disgruntled M.

Lately my fantasies have elaborated to include a soft hotel bed, solitude, and a spa bathtub.

A Weak Week

on 02 November 2011

Chris interviewed for his boss' job yesterday. 

We knew that she was planning to retire at the end of this year and so we've been patiently watching to see what would happen.  Chris is very private and mostly modest (he puts on a bit of a jackass bravado, but that's just for show...when it comes to reality, he's quite modest and occasionally insecure...you know, just like ALL of us), so he'd never talk about this, so I will.  Last spring he took a job that he's embarrassingly over-qualified for.  But it's honest work and better than sitting at home on his dignity while he waits for something better.  Chris would rather provide for his family, than sit around and whine about the economy and how he DESERVES better.  (cough...Occupy Morons...cough.)

So naturally, when he learned that his boss would retire at the end of this year, he threw his hat into the ring.  He works hard, and he's very well educated.  We're hope-hope-hoping that he gets this position.  It's what's next.  His educational background is in hospital administration (mainly management), but with the economy as it is, it's incredibly difficult for a recent graduate to acquire a management job when they're competing against people who have 7-10 years of management experience and were laid off.  In order to progress, he has to gain experience.

Now you see why we're hope-hope-hoping for things to work out with this position.

So we all spent Tuesday on pins and needles while Chris went to interview.  Many many prayers were said, and hopefully by the middle of this month we'll hear something.

***

In other news, I failed the 1-hour glucose test a couple of weeks ago.  So I get the repeated joy of the 3-hour glucose test this week.

I worked so hard in preparation for that 1-hour test (only to fail it!), that I've been pretty apathetic all week, eating what I feel like, when I feel like it, and consequences?  Whatever.  The test is Friday, and 2 weeks after that I get to have, what I'm sure will be, a charming consultation for a VBAC evaluation.

We're down to the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy, and I am ready.  Samwise asked what else was on our wishlist, but the truth is, the things we really wish for, no one can give us.  We wish for a smooth VBAC.  We wish for a good milk supply so that breastfeeding is a little easier this time around.  We wish for a little girl with curly, red hair.  Mostly, we wish her to be healthy and normal and not to torture her Mama too much with the Exit Strategy.

But dear, Samwise, if you really want to send us something, we never turn away blankets in this house.  Chris and I are stingy with the heating around these parts, and the Girl is due in the middle of winter, so if you want to send a flannel blanket or fleecy jammies or anything cozy really, feel free.  I'm sure Baby Girl will welcome the coziness (coziness being something we prize highly in these parts).  We've all tried to keep the pepto pink to a minimum in favor of bright, cheerful colors (I suppose I'm secretly hoping to create some truly miraculous clashes with her (hopefully) bright hair).

So that's our week...if anyone wonders where we are or what we're doing...know that we're all probably feeling a little light-headed and nauseous.  Hopefully, next week will be a little stronger.

Tales of a twin bed or New Ways to Break your Heart

on 01 November 2011

We set up the Big Boy bed last weekend.

Yes.  Finally.  My nearly 3 and a half year old child is now sleeping in a twin bed.  He picked out his own sheets (yellow!  and I mean lemon pudding yellow), and he's happily installed in there with his bright yellow sheets, his animal friends and his Thomas stickers.




(Dear Susie,  the Boy LOVES the Thomas stickers--good call on that one!  He goes in there just to sit on his bed and talk to his Thomas stickers.  It's adorable!)

We spent all weekend in there, cuddling on the bed, reading, playing and just generally being together.  What I had suspected but not really embraced was that the rocking chair cuddles (an integral part of our bedtime routine for the past, oh, 3 and a half years) have now passed away.  He wants a book and a cuddle IN the big boy bed.

And inevitably, the evening concludes with him hugging me and saying, "Mama.  You don't want to LEAVE me!"  And I sit there torn between laughter and tears, because of course, I don't want to leave him.  But I also know that someday, he'll retreat to his room, to this same big boy bed having just said something along the lines of "LEAVE me ALONE." 

Can someone wiser than me please explain why this is so hard?  Why these children break our hearts so repeatedly and like FOOLS we keep going back for more?  I know he's going to grow up and fall in love and leave me, and the worst part is, I WANT him to.  I gave him life so that he could LIVE it...but why oh why it has to break my heart so repeatedly in the process, I know not.


Maybe I'm just really pregnant right now.