Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hazing Week

I'm finally done with a very hard week. P has been traveling for work this week, so it's been just me and the kids all week long. I am such a wimp in the face of others who have spouses gone for months at a time. I have no idea how they make do without them. I'm sure that the personal challenges that come with being pregnant don't make it easier, but even the lack of P's company was a burden. Just a voice that didn't sound like Mickey Mouse would have been a nice change this week.

I found out Monday morning that P would be leaving Tuesday before dawn. There was no time to prepare, no time for a trip to the grocery store to plan quick 'n' easy meals. For some reason this was a very big deal to me. I may have cried a little bit. I needed to find a way to make the week easier. So, I ordered some dinners from a company in our area that will pre-assemble meals for you to take home and put in your freezer. It was a lot of money, really, but much cheaper than eating out (which would have been impossible anyway) and more nutritious than eating brats every day this week. I only used one of the four meals I bought in the end, but I think the psychological benefit was worth it.

I love my children, I enjoy their company, but there is something refreshing about having Daddy at home in the evenings. P helps out a bit with the household chores and it is easy to underestimate the benefit I receive from it. Just this morning, P scrambled some eggs for the kids and made me some french toast. While I was eating and helping Anna with her breakfast, he was putting dishes in the washer. Yesterday, I would have had to do that ALL MYSELF.

Aside from these wonderful perks, having P here gives the kids someone to talk to that ISN'T ME. Bless their hearts, but my babies love to talk. They have so much to say and so many questions to ask. While I usually enjoy this aspect of their personalities it can be too much for anyone to handle unassisted. There was no other conversation apart from Anna and Thomas, but Lord, there was plenty to be had.

Anyway, it's over for now and I can return to laying on the couch and moaning about my gestating misery. But now that my first trimester is ending even that my be coming to a close. Who knows? Maybe next week will find me able to accomplish such grand and noble feats like vacuuming upstairs or folding some laundry! With P home, there is no end to my optimism.


I got up this morning and looked out my window.

I wish I hadn't because it's snowing. Snowing! It's late April and we're getting snow. After two days of cold rain this is really insult to injury. Just this week I dug up a bit of earth in our back yard so Thomas could plant some zinnia seeds. I thought that waiting until May seemed a little overly cautious and I thought we could get ahead of the ballgame.

I should know by now you can't get one past the weather.

While we were planting the seeds we came across an interesting bug. I'll spare you the picture of the disgusting larvae, but I'll share a picture of my kids' fascination with baby June bugs. That's as cute as it can get.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Little Light on the Matter

So, maybe this will shed a little light on why I've been feeling cramped in our house lately.
Baby Nuevo #3 is nearly 12 weeks along right now. I realize it's a little early to announce, but P is about to post on his website, so I figured that I should do the same. It's about consistency.

I've tried to think of a clever way to break the news, but I think the placenta has eaten my brain cause I've got nothing.

We wanted this baby, there was a lot of anticipation, but now that it's upon me I've been riddled with the same apprehensions that I had when I was expecting Anna. Does anyone ever expect a baby without worrying how it's going to work out? Now that we've started to tell people I've been more excited than anxious and I've been able to get caught up in everyone's excited expectations. It's been a nice change, emotionally.

And even though I've waited a while to share the news here, you can feel free to consider yourselves lucky. You've missed weeks and weeks where I had little to share apart from how tired/sick/sore/sick/nauseous/sick and anxious I felt. Hopefully the next few weeks will bring less whining and more rejoicing. Truly, I think this is why people "advise" waiting before sharing the big news--It's not the difficulty of sharing a disappointment, it's to spare casual acquaintances the burden of hearing about how tired and ill you feel. I'm sure P wishes I'd waited until now to tell him, too.

So, as we all eagerly await early November (seriously--all of my pregnancies have been due the same time of year), let's get together and pick out some baby names. P and I are stumped. At this point I'm considering Harry. Works for a boy or a girl, right?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Size Matters

Lately I've been feeling cramped in our house. We've lived here for over eight years and I don't remember ever feeling so penned in.

We bought our house when we had been married less than a year. It felt unwieldy then. The two of us rattled around wondering what we were doing with so much space. We hoped to fill it up with a few children, so we enjoyed the space while we could.

Thomas came along and our house grew a little smaller. We still had plenty of space, but our house was starting to feel like a better fit. One of the rooms upstairs went from being an office to a nursery and everything was great.

Then Thomas grew and little Anna came along. The last office disappeared and Thomas was moved from the nursery into the bedroom next door. Our den/guest room on the main floor turned into a playroom and the house started fitting a little more snugly.

I know that this house is going to feel smaller before it starts to feel bigger again. The kids will start taking up even more room as they grow and develop new interests. And in truth, by modern standards, this 1959 home is on the small side. But we don't want to leave. Financially, this house is a good fit for us, we like our neighborhood, and we have friends nearby.

We aren't a family that is prone to clutter, though the kids create storage difficulties of their own. Our basement is full of out-grown clothes that will once again be useful. Small children seem to require some amount of variety in the toys that are available to them, particularly when they spend very little time absorbed in videos.

I keep wandering around our house trying to figure out what I can get rid of to create some more space in which to live. I eye our little upright piano speculatively ("Perhaps they could learn to play the violin instead?") and I make routine passes through the toy room to weed out underused playthings. I try to discard any kitchen accessories that don't get used regularly.

What else can I do? What are some of your space-making tricks?

Monday, April 14, 2008


So, I have a question for the Internet.

What constitutes "exercise"? Really, what is considered health-promoting exercise and what's just messing around?

I'm wonder if I'm actually getting any.

I love runners. I totally admire the kind of crazy that takes a person out in freezing cold or blistering hot weather to run and run and be in pain. Even the indoor track runners are a marvel to me. They look so uncomfortable, like they are in total misery, but still they continue to run around and around the same, dull indoor laps. I can tell they are getting exercise. They are sweating, their faces are twisted into tight grimaces, and they are red all over.

I will never be a runner. It isn't that I haven't tried, because I have, but I just can't get over the misery. It doesn't feel good. I feel so miserable after attempting to run that I need to have ice cream to help myself recover.

I like to walk and hike. I don't mind spending a half hour on our elliptical glider. But I want to know if these things count as exercise like running counts. Or vigorous swimming. Or cross country skiing. I don't need to be a sculpted Apollo; I'd just like to be healthy and live to be eighty. Or ninety. I can go for an evening walk with P and the kids and I don't feel sore. I feel like I've gotten out, enjoyed the fresh air and moved around a bit. After a half hour on the elliptical, I feel tired, but energized and refreshed. I'm even a bit sweaty. But I don't get on and work terribly hard. I'm not out of breath and I'm taking a relatively easy pace. I try to enjoy myself. I feel better the next day for having done it.

What about you? What do you do for exercise? Does it sound like I'm getting any exercise at all or do I need to work harder?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No One to Blame But Myself

In the end, it all came down to me.

I'm sure you've heard about the upset with American Airlines this week. Sadly, P's business plans were caught up in the confusion. Or not sadly, perhaps. He was able to accomplish all of his work and because of the canceled flights he was able to come home a few hours earlier than anticipated. Hurrah!

I don't remember being so exhausted in years. None of P's previous business trips have been so draining. I have nothing to offer as an excuse except that my energy levels have been compromised in general and that this is the week that the wee ones chose to really test the limits of my patience. They scarcely played well together, which is something I can usually count on. Between that and my health, I was a pulpy mess by the time P (mercifully) walked through the door. Divine grace! He went to the office for the afternoon, but he spent a happy lunch hour here with us. He praised my cooking, he played cheerfully with the kids--I have never been so glad to clap eyes on another person in all my born days.

You might say that this is just what I needed--P was home to provide the necessary childcare so that I could party with the knitters! However, I am not exaggerating when I describe my physical and emotional state by the end of the workday. I spent the afternoon considering that an evening out might be just what would boost my spirits. And then this happened. Winter Storm Advisory. Heavy rain and sleet. And we all know what happens to rain and sleet at night when the temperatures drop. I just wasn't up to it. It's not only freakin' cold, but it's WET, too. Once I drove to St. Paul I would still need to walk a number of blocks to get to the event. So, instead of laughing with knitters, I took a hot bath (the first one in many years), drank some tea, and read The Mummy Case alone in bed.

And you know what? I feel a LOT better. I think that just looking at P helps.

Baby Parrots

So P has been away this week and I have learned so much more about small children! For example, did you know that little kids are just like parrots? After hearing something over and over again they are able to repeat it with absolute clarity! It's true! I learned this today at lunch when Anna stood up in her high chair, waved her graham cracker at me and yelled, "You're driving me nuts! You're making me crrrrrraaaaaazzy! You're driving me nuts!"

At least she was laughing when she said it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wall of Disappointment

My husband works for schizophrenic monkeys.  Monkeys with no ability to organize.  He likes his company, but working for wild primates has a lot of challenges.  For weeks and weeks he's been anticipating a business trip that gets scheduled with tickets purchased, then canceled, then scheduled and then canceled again.  I don't mind.  Flexibility is my middle name.  Now it looks as though the dates for his trip have actually been set--the project has been finished, tested, launched, and now it's time for The Trip.  But seems as though the Malicious Monkeys of Madness have conspired against me.  It wasn't enough to jerk P around.  Now they've spoiled my plans.

A local yarn store here in St Paul has organized an event for the Yarn Harlot's latest book tour.  I got to go to the last one and had a great time.  I enjoyed going with my sister in law Rachel and seeing all of the knitters.  I nearly cracked a rib laughing at Stephanie's talk.  I even got to stand in line and have her sign my copy of her first book, Yarn Harlot, though I learned that I am unavoidably awkward in public and that it's best if I don't go through the book signing line again.  She said some very nice things to me and I could only bumble out a half-coherent, probably impolite response.  I wonder if she gets used to people becoming star-struck whenever they get within five feet of her?  Meeting Salman Rushdie didn't faze me a bit, but Stephanie Pearl-McPhee?  Bumbling goon.  It's lucky for me that I hardly ever come into the presence of Greatness or I'd never be able to string words together again.
Just the same, I thought I could manage to go to the event and hear her speak without embarrassing myself too badly.  I had tickets.  I got them the weekend that The Yarnery announced the event.  I've been planning this for months, a night of laughter, yarn, and knitters.  I was even going to get a new book.  But then what happened?  The Inevitable.  The trip got scheduled for the night of the event.  All grandparents are booked.  The kids are too young to be left alone, despite my brother's helpful suggestion that I could always leave them in their rooms with newspaper on the floor and a box of Cherrios.  Drat.

I'm trying to be Brave and Grown-up about this.  I don't feel as though Christmas got canceled or like my birthday was forgotten, but it does rather feel like we decided to skip Mother's Day.  P feels badly about it, not that he is responsible for this or that there is anything he can do to change it.  

The only positive thing I can think is that perhaps there are a couple of knitters who didn't get to see Stephanie when she was last in town and that now they'll be able to go.  I did get to see her once and I'll still be able to buy a copy of the book, which I am certainly looking forward to reading.  And I'll be able to enjoy the book in bed, with a hot cup of tea, and no long lines of people.  I think I'll need it after a week on my own with the kids.  Bah-humbug.