Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jumping Conor

Btw, he's saying "I jump!" after each jump.

Conor Spots Santa

The child has eagle eyes, I'm telling you. He was sitting 20 feet away and could still tell us about the smallest wooden truck he saw under the tree.

A couple of thoughts. First, it's a good thing they didn't do that story about being frugal parents this year.

Second, if it says Melissa & Doug on it, I'll buy it. Talk about a successful marketing scheme. It's appealing to the same thing in us that the cage free nest eggs do, even if we're not really sure how happy the chickens are.

ETA: I have no idea why the last couple of pictures are so humongo when you click on them. Blogger is not even letting me edit normally, so I don't know if it's me or something they have done. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Conor's First Real Haircut

We did it about a month ago. Here we are at the start.

This is about the middle, when we could see how long his hair is!

This is at that awkward stage of curly hair cutting.

And here is is at the end, just a little worse for the wear.
I have to say that like getting my hair cut, it looked much cuter after coming home and letting us wash and "style" it. And last night, I had to snip a few curls off the sides because they were too long and giving him a Bozo-the-clown-poofs-over-his-ears appearance.
I'm not sure how long we'll let it go, or even if at some point we'll cut it very, very short to see what happens. As curly as it is, it's not all that thick, so I don't know what would happen if we did cut it short. But we'll leave it like this for now. I do think we'll try a short one this summer, although the boy loves his curls. I think he would be sad to see them go. And me?! I might just sob.

Predicting Bad Fortune

Last night in bed, reading The Week: "Wow! Did you know Gerald Ford is the oldest President? He's 120 days older than Reagan was when he died. And did you know that John Adams was 90 years old when he died? That's old for back then."

This morning, after hearing the news on new MP3 player while on my run: "Guess who died last night?"

"No way! You made that happen."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa Claus

You may wonder why I haven't been posting so much since school is out and clearly I should be just be twirling around in my holly decorated Christmas apron eating warm cookies right out of the oven. Right?????

Tell that to the tenure committee. I've been working my booty off this month. I'm turning in a manuscript tomorrow and have a book chapter due by the end of the year. Then I have 3 papers due for a conference in January, two of which I haven't even started yet.


Yes, I'm maniacally shouting out HA! HA! HA! instead of HO! HO! HO! (like the transition?)

Fortunately, my life as Scrooge is not affecting (much) my own little star of Bethlehem. He is very excited about Christmas this year and has taken to walking around the house saying "Santa is coming to MY house!" (Everything is emphasized with a strong statement of MY! When I pick him up at daycare he turns to the rest of the class and emphatically says MY Mommy!!)

But back to Santa. Last night, we explained to him how we were going to leave some cookies and milk so Santa could have a snack while he was would be working so hard on Christmas eve. You could see the little cogs turning in his head as he processes this information. It's a LOT OF FUN to lie to your children and get them to believe in it!

Cookies and milk, however, have NOTHING on seeing the real (a real?) Santa come by school this week. Of course, his first reaction was to put his head down in the lap of his favorite care giver and sob. But then he recovered enough to be the only child in his class to go sit on Santa's lap and get his present. I choose to think of this as an act of courage and not of greed. Conor doesn't quite get the whole present thing still but he has been very obsessed with Santa's general being. (And can I just add a BIG thank you to the volunteers who provided this year's amazing gifts to the children. Wow.) So yeah. I'll get to see the picture of Conor and Santa this afternoon when I go pick him up. It's got to be pretty adorable.

Ok. Back to work. I'm getting cranky.

Soon, I must tell you on my new thoughts of IVF, something I had ruled out before, but now has surprisingly started to sound appealing. First, though, I must discuss this with my husband. Details.....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Update on the Zoo

Well, I have to be honest with you: we don't miss Simba. (too much) I have to write that in small letters because I feel so guilty admitting it. But minus one tiny but ferocious kitty, we are having a much easier time of it.

Mom and Dad love Simba and she is settling in as Queen of the Realm. So, it assuages our guilt a bit that she is happy and my parents are happy with her.

And I start to feel even less guilty when we are reaching a new World Record in No Inappropriate Pee Since We Met Simba. I'm telling you, it's amazing: we can leave laundry out on the floor in front of the laundry closet, my new bathroom rug has gone two whole days without being peed on, AND the gym bag has remained pee free for over a week. My LORD, that makes life a lot easier.

And Scarlett has started to blossom for the first time in years. (Why, yes! It has been about 2 years, in fact) She is sleeping with us again, visiting Conor's room and letting him pet her, playing with toys and purring with a vibration that could serve as a massage. She even hopped up onto Simba's special pillow space over our heads and has been sleeping there. They only reason she would sleep there is that she saw Simba sleeping there and she wants to try it out. We thought Simba and Scarlett were fighting over who was low kitty, but it's clear that Scarlett was on the bottom---the Kitty has been Keeping Her Down!

Blainey-Pants if you are out there reading this, we do feel guilty, but it just seems like everything is so much better.

Big Sigh.

An Explanation

There are reasons why my son will always be a little odd.

When we get undressed at night, I say:

It's time to take your shirt off!!!


Michael Chertoff!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

While We're On the Subject of Birds

Harris Teeter has just started carrying its own brand of organic and/or free range eggs. Dave and I have been opting for the organic-ish chicken for a while now, and realized that eggs of antibiotic pumped chickens are just as bad as the chicken itself.

I say "organic-ish" because there are two brands of Smart Chicken that HT carries: Organic and Veg Fed. Both are hormone and antibiotic free, but the organic chickens get organic feed and the veg fed just get regular veggie food. Since the organic is twice as expensive as the veg fed and both are much more expensive than regular chicken, I opt for the veg fed chix: no bad drugs and vegetarian fed.

The eggs are more complicated.

There are veg fed and no hormones/antibiotics, veg fed and no hormones/antibiotics and free range (for 20 more cents) and completely organic and free range for 50 more cents. For me the choice is between the veg/no hormones and the veg/no hormones/free range.

Although the cheap mama in me wants to get the veg/no hormones, I can't do it. It's like there's this chicken clucking around in my head and if I chose the chickens who lay eggs in a cage, my choice would personally hurt some chickens. I have to support the free chickens!! I have to let the world know that it's better to let the chickens roam and lay their eggs than keep them in their oppressive cages. For less than 2 cents per egg, I just can't justify chicken torture. So I get the free range but not completely organic eggs.

The reason this is an issue is that the egg cartons all look alike. So I have to read the labels to make sure it's hormone free and free range. So now, every time I purchase eggs , I leave the refrigerator case chanting in my head: FREE THE CHICKENS!!! KEEP THE CHICKENS FREE!!!

Maybe our bird's nest is a thank you for the avian world for promoting the life and health of their own.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Birdhouse In Your Soul

We got our Christmas tree and decorated it over the weekend. I am taking it as a very good omen that there is a bird's nest in it. At the very least, it's much better than finding a bat in one's Christmas tree. Unlike spotting a bat in a tree, Dave saw it and knew immediately that we had to have this one.

Our bird's nest is tiny and very well made. It's up against the trunk of the tree and it has a neatly woven pattern. We put a tiny white ornament in it and it looks like an egg there.

The vast majority of time, I believe that unusual events are just random. Thinking about someone and the phone rings? You aren't psychic, it was just a chance event. How many times of you thought about the person and they didn't call?

Nonetheless, I've decided that this bird nest is indeed a good sign. We may not get pregnant this month, but good things are going to happen to us in the next year. We may get lucky and have another biological child. We may get lucky and adopt our next child. Whatever happens, it's going to turn out the way it's supposed to turn out and we'll think of ourselves as the luckiest family on this earth.

It would make the perfect narrative if I got pregnant this month and had a healthy little baby in 9 more months. We'd already have the nickname (Birdie!) and have a great story to share (We KNEW when we saw that bird's nest in the Christmas tree that you were going to be showing up soon!!) But I don't believe in that sort of specific luck. I'll take that this is a sign that things are going to work out, but I can't believe it means that things are going to work out Right Now.

And speaking of adoption, I keep waiting for the right time to talk about what we are doing in terms of progressing down the adoption path, but really all it has involved so far is buying a few books and crying every time I read them thinking 1) I'll never be pregnant again and 2) my child may already be out there and I am not holding him/her in my arms RIGHT NOW protecting him/her from the whatever bad things the world might try to put upon him/her. In all honesty, every month I find out I'm not pregnant again, I wonder if the biological mother of my to-be adopted child has just found out she's pregnant and doesn't know what to do. I want to tell her that it's going to be OK and I'm waiting to take my baby as soon as I possibly can.

All that emotion and I'm not even on progesterone right now.

So, yes. We have a bird's nest. It's a good sign. And it is all going to be ok.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Father and Son

I obviously write on this blog from my perspective. In my imagination, part of what that means is that when Conor gives a hoot and reads this blog as an adult or a young father he'll learn a lot about my experiences of being a new mother and what he was like as a child. For instance, unless I blog about it, I'm sure I'll forget our current nighttime ritual in which he comes out to find me before he goes to bed, gets behind me, and grabs a pocket on my jeans as I sashay into his room singing "BOOTY TRAIN! BOOTY TRAIN!!"

But what it also means is that Conor won't necessarily learn about all the rituals and special things that he and his father have shared growing up, including one that still warms Dave's heart--when I was in Atlanta and a horrible storm stalled over our house knocking out the power and rattling the windows and Conor was having a really hard time staying asleep until Dave asked him if he wanted to sleep in the big bed and Conor cried "YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!" and they cuddled for the rest of the night, happily and restfully sleeping.

So I shall now mention Dave and Conor's new bedtime routine, which is up there as One of Those Things You Want to Remember and You Won't If You Don't Write It Down:

After getting on his footie pajamas (because it's Winter and they are SO DAMN CUTE!), Conor stands on top of his changing table/chest of drawers and on the count of twee (One, two, tweeee!) and leaps onto Dave's chest wrapping his arms and legs around him like a little monkey. Dave supports him under his booty. They practice it several times on their own and then they call me in to watch their performance, my little monkey and his big Daddy.

So, I hope when Conor is reading this years in the future that he realizes that both of us were incredibly active in his life and that both of us have our favorite memories of him as a little boy.

End of the sappy, smoochie, baby blog post.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Romantic Than That?!

Last week was Dave and my four year anniversary. (Thank you, Brian and Arnie for babysitting so we could go out to dinner and save that odd $30 in babysitting fees!)

It's been a quick and easy 4 years. I really feel like it's not possible that Dave and I have been married that long. I know I am the luckiest woman alive to have him as my husband.

And he says the same of me, even after this year's anniversary present. This is the year of the appliance. Well, appliances are the modern gift. Fruit and flowers are the traditional gift. I have to say that I've reached the age that appliances are much more exciting to me than that odd pear and rose bouquet. Maybe the folks who decide what is appropriate for anniversary gifts figure that the bloom is off the rose by this point and you need to make sure the clothes are being efficiently washed.

So Dave bought me a cool new Motorola Razr cell phone. I have not had a cell phone for about 4 years or so (that budget thingy, dontcha know) so I am very excited to get one again.

I bought Dave a nose hair trimmer. He ASKED for it! I know, I know. That's the worst gift you'd ever give your lover. And it's not like I've noticed tufts of hair coming out of his ears or nose. And that's not because I haven't been observant; since becoming aware of such issues, I have noticed that more than a few men in my everyday world need some manscaping. It's just that he needed a new one, it was time for gift giving, and so he asked.

Ok. I'm really not that bad. I did buy something more romantic. MORE romantic? Is it possible?! (Thanks, Jennifer, for that exact quote) No, there is actually nothing more romantic than knowing your smoochie trusts you enough to 1) tell you he needs a new nose hair trimmer and 2) that you think that's perfectly normal because he's such a handsome man, how could you refuse? (I'm trying to make one of those clever points that gifted writers can make without telling you that they are trying to make it)

So in addition to the BEST NOSE HAIR TRIMMER I could find, I bought a KitchenAid Coffeemaker. And I'm here to tell you, hot well-brewed coffee bright in early in the morning, that doesn't suck. No, it's still not that romantic. But romance is a sweet, precious and sometimes less often event here in the MotherThing-with-a-toddler household. But fresh brewed coffee from a pot that doesn't leak? We can both have that every morning.

Who Knew

That there are actually quite good yoga podcasts out there for free. My SIL did one while she was here last week, and I was browsing last night and found this one, by Yogi Wade. There's no video so you have to know your poses and be able to follow verbal instructions. But it's a real yoga practice, 1 hr 30 minutes long with more than a few sun salutations.

It's a nice way for me to get a workout while Dave is at the gym. At 5:30 am. (too dang early).

I also just switched to the Blogger Beta version....I hope this wasn't a mistake!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Istanbul Not Constantinople

Can I have a show of hands for everyone who has said "not Constantinople" this week after hearing some report on the pope. It's gotten so bad that I was dreaming about it last night and was actually thinking in my dream that I absolutely HAD to post about it because whatever my dream was about was hyyyysterical (it involved Chocolate cake, a wacky malaprop, and the cable channel 31) and I repeated what I wanted to post again and again and again in several dreams (including when I made new chocolate icing for a new chocolate cake) and when I sat up this morning, I swear I felt the "joke" slip out of my head. I honestly sat in bed and said "Wow. After all that effort, that blog post just fell out of my head."

So there. I think of you all even when I sleep.

Nonetheless, the singing continues.....

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York
Was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that waaaaaaaaaaaaay

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cousin-y Cuteness

It's amazing what 9 hours and 45 minutes of sleep will do for you. Well, that and turning in a humongo project. I feel like a human again. Or at least, I see what a human could feel like and I might be heading in that direction.

So can you see just exactly how cute these two little boys are!??!?!?!

This is Conor and Carter at our local park and Dave is standing behind me making a googly face. I've never seen Conor like another little one as much as he likes Carter. From dawn until dusk (and often for hours afterwards), these two had fun with each other. We shall only briefly mention the Debacle of the Nap which involved standing, nay, jumping in their respective beds, laughing and screaming in joy.

It's the first time I've seen why that sort of behavior was not as much fun for my parents as it was for me.

But except for the Nap Incident(s), all of their fun was our fun from visiting the local aviation museum, to the park, to running in the back yard kicking the ball, to hiding in the big box. (A leftover from Dave's new Router!!! WOOHOO!!) Conor even started eating soup because it's Carter's favorite food.

It was really interesting to see how much these boys were cousins. The little things we've noticed Conor do but that others do not were the same little things that Carter does (e.g., high pitched screaming when excited). My brother's children are so much older than Conor so I don't remember what they did. But seeing those two together makes me pick out which part of Conor's personality come from Dave's side of the family. (Honestly, Dave doesn't let out too many high pitched screams or I would have already tracked down where that came from.)

Of course, one might also note the NASA emblem on Carter's overalls and wonder about Carter's traits that we WISH Conor had--like at 22 months distinguishing between purple and blue or pink and red. We're still working on helping Conor note the differences between white and yellow. At least everything isn't blue now, eh!? We're happy for the little things. (Should I mention how Carter started predicting the landmarks we would pass in reverse order of a road he has traversed only twice in his entire life!? Well, I just did.)

I have to say that on the last days of our family vacation, I realized that I really want Conor to grow up with his cousins and for us to spend more time with our siblings. Vacation times are precious, but so is.....((what I want to write is "but so is family" but that is so freakingly saccharine, that I can't)). I shall change that sentence then. Vacation times are precious, but so is having siblings who are old farts and new parents at the same time too. ((SEE!!! Not saccharine at all!))

OK, back to work. I want to revel in my newfound clarity after sleeping enough for the first time in weeks. Ahhhhhhhhhh........zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Simba Louise

Well, I thought I'd saved a picture of Conor and his cousin Carter on the blog, but apparently, I did not.

So I will discuss all that cousin-y cuteness at a later date. (And there was MUCH cousin-y cuteness)

Instead, I will discuss Simba and the changes in the household. I guess the big news is that Simba is no longer my adopted kitty but is now my step-sister. Yes, she's been promoted. My parents adopted her on Thanksgiving day and the cat has not looked back yet.

We've been getting a little frustrated with the pee issues of which we are now quite sure she was involved. (Duncan was involved, too, but now that Simba's gone, Duncan is no longer peeing on everything either.) So, I joked to Mom and Dad about whether they'd like to take Simba home with them (their own tiny black cat had just died in the Spring and they've been lonely). I could barely get the words out of my mouth before they said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I had known they were going to say yes, I'm not sure I would have offered.

We knew it would be a good adoption. Simba could be number one kitty again. They could take her to the beach with them (she's a good rider) and travel about. And she's a very loving cat so Mom and Dad really like that too.

Of course, we had to warn them about her aggressive night loving. The cat does ever more love to sleep on top of someone's head. And being that my Dad is "folicularly challenged", we figured she'd hop up on the bed, see his shining head and assume that man needs some fur to keep himself warm. (She's not made it to bed with them, yet, but that's only a matter of time...)

What is so crazy that even with 2 other people and a toddler in our house after T'day, it was So Much More Quiet without Simba. No cat fights, no Collie cops enforcing the house rules, just people and two old quiet-ish kitties.

And the doggie door. The doggie door is back open. We've had it closed because Simba was the only cat who could figure out how to open it. But now it's back open and Patches is shooting and and out of it like he used to. I didn't realize how much I missed using the doggie door until I saw that Dave had opened it and I stared slack-jawed at it in relief.

Simba is a great cat. She is one of the most loving kitties we've had and if she ever wants to come live with us again, we'll welcome her with open paws. But now my Mom and Dad get to enjoy her and she gets to be the queen and we get to use the doggie door again.

Deep sigh indeed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My God(dess) I'm Busy

Just taking a quick break to do a mind dump on my blog.

First, it's raining like hell here. Our backyard is a flood zone, but my clever husband and clever brother have come up with an idea to fix this problem: a dry well, basically a hole of filled with rocks to contain and drain extra water. I'm probably describing it wrong, so more on that later.

Second, I hate progesterone (the Crinone 8% supplement thingy) and am going off of it after this month. I'm a witch on it on a good day. And last month I had every single pregnancy sympton in the book from tingly boobs, to nausea, to indigestion, to cramps to every frickin' thing that made me think I was pg and I was Not At All. I'm also too sad and emotional on the Crinone and that does no one any good. So bye-bye Crinone. Thanks for playing.

Third, I've started acupuncture again. I'm looking forward to being stuck with needles and taking a 45 minute nap for $75 a week.

Fourth, Dave arrived at daycare for the fall festival and thank god(dess) because Conor would have been the only (!) child without a parent otherwise. Yay for Dave!

Fifth, Char-Meck schools are featured on NPR today, both Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Long and short of it: our public schools suck.

That is it. I must go work on this paper despite my freezing hand and feet and then start prepping for T'day. I'm looking forward to the friends and family arriving, including Conor's "little" cousin who is about 8 months younger and the Exact. Same. Size. Conor's a giant among normal toddlers and the shrimp of the current grandchildren in Dave's family. They are freaky big. :-)

Eat, drink and merry out there y'all!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Suck

Today is Harvest Festival at Conor's daycare. It starts at 11 and ends at 1, and parents get a plate of food and join their children in their rooms to eat with them. I know we've been at our daycare for the last two years during this time, but it's never seemed like a big deal, so we've missed them.

Yet. Today. Two parents asked if we were coming and I said "No." I actually have a thesis from 10 to 12 and office hours from 12 to 1, and one of the quirks of academia is that missing office hours is up there with sleeping with a student in terms of "badness" as a professor. So, I did not plan on going.

But THEN! Both of the parents told me that not only were they going, but BOTH parents were taking off work and going to attend the Harvest Festival at daycare. Conor's teacher, when I told her, was pretty shocked and promised that Conor could sit with her at lunch.


I can't go. The thesis defense was scheduled nearly a month ago, and I don't remember if I knew about Harvest Fest then or not. I'm booked for office hours with advisees for next semester's classes.

I called Dave freaking the eff out and practically begged him to go. With some switcheroo, he can fortuately attend.

What if Wendy had not asked if we were coming? What if Conor had sat all alone at lunch in his festival hat that he is so proud of that the first thing he did this morning was point it out to me? (They are all wearing their hats for lunch)


When the HELL am I going to be a decent mother and know all the "right" things I'm supposed to do?!?!?!??!

Can Conor have more a pathetic mommy?

(BTW, I am back on the progesterone supplement which as Dave can vouch to you does make my reactions a weeeeeee bit more extreme. Which considering my reactions are extreme to begin with can be scary.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

T@ste of Teeter

First, try to say that without sounding incredibly Southern, and in a bad way.

T@ste of Teeter. It's impossible not to sound like a hick when you say that phrase.

Nonetheless, Dave and I received our hand addressed invitation last week to the upcoming T@ste of Teeter because we are one of the top 100 shoppers at our local H@rris Teeter.

Yeah. We are just that good.

Or maybe we just spent that much. Can I mention (again) that once three different employees of Trader Joe's told me I was their favorite customer!? (((((sigh)))))

We love our local H.T. and for reasons that actually *do* include an annoying chatty Cathy check out woman, a transvestite, and a bagger with a seeming physical disability who farely wrestles my shopping cart from my hands so he can load my groceries to the car. I honestly adore this man. I feel guilty letting him load my groceries, but every time he insists (and he DOES!), I adore him just that much more.

BTW, I say "seeming" because I've never seen this disability slow him down one bit. And I have to be honest that I feel very protective about him in writing this post. Oddly, I don't want him to know that I have noticed his disability. He always greets me with a big smile and a "Hello" when I go in. And then I try to scoot out past him when I leave so he can't insist on helping me. Only once in my life could I not load my groceries, and it was when Conor was an infant and I just couldn't figure out how it all worked to put the baby in the car and load the groceries and return the cart and do it all before he started crying. I just can't fathom anyone helping me load my groceries, much less someone with a disability. Yet, he insists on helping me. I feel guilty and honored at the same time. Thus, I scoot out the door.

And in another BTW, employees often smile and greet us at our local H.T. and this includes the "greeter" at the vegetable section ("Welcome to H@rris Teeter!") and the veggie manager who 1) once ran out of the store to congratulate me on being pg and 2) introduced me to the new veggie stocker one Sunday morning to help make her feel welcome. I'm So. Not. Kidding.

How on earth did we luck into a small town grocery in the middle of big grocery chain in a decent sized city?

Don't know. We'll see if we can find out any answers at the T@ste of Teeter.

BTW: I am going to delete this post by the end of the week because I never want my bagger to know I've talked about him online.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Too Much for My Heart to Handle

I'm working here on a Sunday morning and expect to work tonight, too. (This afternoon, Dave and I go see Terry Gross with Carolina Karen and Mensa Boy, so I do get a little break)

But I don't like that I don't get to spend time with my son on the weekend.

Therefore, it's about more than I can handle when I see a big blue ball go rolling by my office's French doors, with a toddler running at full speed right behind it despite his unsteady toddler gait, and a white collie trotting behind them both sniffing the ground for interesting smells, and my ginormously tall husband walking behind everybody with a hot cup of coffee.

It just abouty breaks my heart.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a Great Day

The Democrats have taken back the House and Britney Spears has FINALLY filed for divorce.

What a fantastic day indeed!

And if you don't think your vote counts, then let me point out that NC House Speaker Jim Black is only currently leading by 7 votes and that in the US House race, Larry Kissel is currently losing to Robin Hayes by only 468 votes. Your vote can (could have) made a difference.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh Lordy

So over the weekend, we noticed that Conor has been singing a new song. It's to the tune of Frere Jacques, but we didn't recognize the words in either English or French. We were hoping it was Russian since one of his teachers is from Russia--we like the idea of Conor being exposed to many different languages.

Then on Sunday, Dave swore that the first words of the song sounded like "God the Father." I thought there's no way he would be learning a song starting with God the Father at school.

Apparently, there is a way. The internets told is that this is a traditional prayer/blessing:

God the Father
God the Father
Once again
Once again
We will ask your blessings
We will ask your blessings
A-men. A-men.

In case you're wondering, Conor does not go to a religious daycare.

Ok. So on the one hand, we say blessing every night before dinner and it's way more religious than that. Second, I sort of like that they say some sort of grace before meals; it's a nice ritual to be thankful for one's food.

On. The. Other. Hand. It's a little weird to have Conor learn a prayer outside of home or a religious institution. I read that prayer and don't think it's inherently bad, but I'm of the Christian flavor and I wonder what other faiths might feel about it. If we were atheists, it would bug the snot out of me. And if I really wanted to put my ultra feminista hat on, I'd point out that since God doesn't have a wee-wee, saying "God the Father" is just another example of the patriarchiacal oppression of some organized religions and it really should be something more along the lines of "God the Parent" or "God the Mother and Father." But that would be ultra me. Not the me who wants to "fit in."

Then, this morning after singing the song, Conor said "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and think that at least some of you are now staring bug eyed at your computer screen much like I did at Conor.

Here's a line. There, waaaaaaaay over the line, is the phrase "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

While I was walking around the kitchen going "Did you hear that? Did you hear that?!?!?!", Dave slunk further into his paper trying to ignore his wife who was getting more and more worked up about something that's not supposed to be offensive. To us. But we both do think it's really not appropriate.

So I emailed the director today and said that although I really appreciate the idea of saying grace before meals, I'd much prefer a more ecumenical prayer.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

NYC Marathon

Lance Armstrong ran the NY Maraton today and finished less than 30 seconds under his goal of 3 hours.

I have a few thoughts about his accomplishment. First, this is a very good time and nothing to be sneezed at. That said, he finished 30 seconds under his goal. This means he was working very, very hard to meet that goal. Who would expect less than a 6 (7?) time champ of the tour de France. Dave and I have both had very specific goals for our marathon times and to make it, you have to focus in a way that denies every feeling in your body. And considering how competitive an athlete he is, one has to imagine how hard he focused to get in under his goal.

AND he said it was the hardest physical thing he's ever done.


I'm telling you than a marathon is an evil animal that will bite you in the butt if you don't pay it enough respect. And his longest run was only 16 miles. That's craziness right there. He should have at least done a 20 miler. Everything changes once you get pastt 18 miles. Your body needs to know what that feels like.

I'm also here to tell you that Dave ran a 3:22 marathon. That's only 20 minutes slower than Lance Armstrong. Right now, there are millions of marathoners comparing themselves to Lance Armstrong and feeling a wee bit better about their own best marathon time.

ETA: I love it when I'm right! Here's the most recent NYT story about Lance basically saying at mile 18, the marathon became hell.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In a World Where Scarlett is a Normal Cat

To get the full effect of that title, you need to imagine yourself in a darkened movie theater and that movie announcer who can scare the beegesus out of you is blooming over the speaker. You know who, the guy on the Geico commercial.

So, ummm, yeah. that's our world right now. We've switched from traditional clumping kitty litter to pine pellets. The clumping litter is supposed to be bad for cats in enclosed a LITTER BOX! (Think Asbestos for kitties) So we've switched.

And Duncan and Simba are not amused. We know this from the cat pee all over the bathroom rugs. We are clever that way. We're not switching back though. 1) They are dumb and they will forget their preferences. I love my cats, but considering both Simba and Duncan had traumatic kittenhoods and accidents/fights leading to potential brain injuries, they are not the sharpest tools in the shed, not the brightest bulbs on the tree, not the ripest tomato on the vine. Ummmm. ok, whatever. Scarlett is definitely not the sweetest treat in the pumpkin, but she is at least not peeing every where. And anyhoo, 2) we're used to pee problems. I know it's disgusting and makes you not want to come over, but we clean it up and petzyme the hell out of it.

Nonetheless, it still floors me when Scarlett aka Psycho Kitty, who hisses and swats at everyone but me, is the "normal" cat in the house. It just really makes me worry about what sort of hell I've descended into.

Speaking of hell, remind me next week to discuss what a joy it is to take progesterone supplements. That witch you saw circling our house a couple of weeks ago was not some prop for Halloween. That was me! Dave really had a lot of fun hanging out with me last week!!! Also, remind me to talk about how I really want to have another child. ((((sigh)))) I can't add much more to that right now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You thought the other one was cute....well, HA! Let your eyeballs explode over this one, a full shot of cuteness!

He's so cute that you can almost understand Patches' obsession with his used pee-pee diapers. (Almost) And you would be, as we are, on the constant look out for Patches to be guiltily gnawing on said contraband diaper in his (not-so-) secret chewing spot. Or you might perhaps be as astonished as we have been at Patches forays into the potty after a successful pee-pee in the potty by Conor. I tell you, that one earns a jaw dropping, Holy-crap-that-dog-is-not-licking-my-face-again reaction.

But on to more polite conversation, how do we keep his curls so cute? I've taught Dave the curly haired secret and we both use it: 1) conditioner; 2) comb conditioner through hair in the bath; 3) never comb again until the next bath; and 4) dry gently with a towel. It keeps the curls mosty frizz free. Of course, if we moved out west, all of our hair would look better. But that's not so much an option right now.

I promise this is the last blast of cuteness you're going to have to endure for a while.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

Can you stand that cuteness? Isn't your head about to explode!? This is my little firefighter as we headed off to the neighborhood costume parade. (Costume parade!! That alone allows for massive overdoses of cuteness!!)

Handyman Daddy made the ladder for the firewagon. I just have to say that seeing this guy in all his costume-y adorableness pretty much makes my heart shoot out of my eyes. It's, oddly enough, too much feeling and not enough at the same time.

BTW, I just figured out that if you click on that picture, a Very Big Adorable Firefighter will appear on your screen. (Of course, I mean a toddler firefighter!)

Activist Me

I've signed on with MoveOn.Org to help in their get out the vote campaign. Last week was my first session, and tonight I shall do another hour of calling.

It's not as bad as I thought it could be, although there were a couple of cranky old people who cursed at me and hung up the phone (my first call!!!). I don't know, I'm old and cranky enough myself and I have a great deal of experience of handing back exams to students, so it would take a lot for someone's anger to really hurt me. I did contact 3 people who are now going to vote who wouldn't have before, so I feel good about that.

I would like to say that I have now developed preferences for how to handle folks who are calling you that you don't want to call you. Just kindly say "Oh, thank you, but no" and hang up. It takes a split second more than just hanging up and it's, well, kindly. We have a button that we can click that says "hung up" so it's not like we're not expecting it. But it just makes everyone's interaction a bit more pleasant.

We also have a button that says hostile. Don't be hostile. It will come back and bite you in the butt. Not from MoveOn.Org, but sending that kind of random mean karma out there is just not good.

If you are interested in helping, sign up. The more volunteers who help, the more likely we can make a difference out there. If each of 30,000 volunteers gets 3 people to decide to vote in this election each hour they call, you can see how this program will work.

So there. Back to regularly scheduled cuteness soon. I have a picture of Conor in his Haloween costume that's going to make your head explode. In a good way.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Say What?

Anita, as the drawer shuts on her finger, "$)#(!! #()*$#%!!!! @)(*#$....."

Grabbing her finger, "#)(*$#@....."

Rising from a crouched position she finally admits, "Wow, if I was ever tortured, I would squeal like a pig."

Dave coming to look at throbbing finger, "But they wouldn't understand a word of what you were saying."

Anita thinking that during her tirade her voice had risen to a level only dogs could hear asked "Why?"

Dave calmly replied as if it was self-explanatory, ")#@(*$."

Monday, October 23, 2006


HA! We are not nearly as geeky as you thought we were!! Elvis Mitchell, on NPR's Weekend Saturday Edition waxed poetic on how great Battlestar Galatica is. Elvis is not geeky at all, so by extension, neither are we!

We are, however, tired. And I am still overweight. I currently place all the blame on my son's tiny shoulders. First, I gained the weight because of him. And second, he has been thwarting my early morning exercises by waking up entirely too soon and wanting to, nay, forcing me to snuggle with him in bed for another 30 minutes or so.

And the child has yet to learn good bed manners. Well, the progress is that the three of us are no longer sleeping like an H. (guess who the - is?) We have sort of moved into more polite sleeping arrangements like "spoon" and "nook." Spoon, I'm sure you know, except in Conor's case, it's Reverse Spoon so that we face each other. It's apparently quite important for him to breathe on me, too. Which would annoy me with a grown up, but his breath still smells like cookies so I don't mind.

"Nook" you may not be so familiar with---it involves sleeping with one's head in the nook of one's partner's arm. Conor will start in a traditional nook, but soon moves into cross body nook (legs on one side, head in the nook of the other arm) and full body nook which involves nooker's head on nookee's shoulder neck, rest of body like a dead weight on nookee.

So there. I'm fat and tired and it's all his fault. It as absolutely nothing to do with the big frosted chocolate cookie I bought at HT yesterday. Nothing at all.

Oh, and thank god for the blog world---I remember when Ema's Miss M started waking at 5:30, so I don't think it's an "issue" with us as much as some bizarre developmental stage.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Poor Little Boy

We've been lucky for the last 6 months or so. I really don't recall any scary sick baby stories involving our little monkey. I mean, he's had a fever or a cough or cold here and there, but nothing has made him even really cranky as far as illness goes.

So when Dave called yesterday to tell me that Conor was running 102 fever, I thought, "Well, it's another virus, but probably not a big whoop." I gathered up stuff to work at home because I figured even if Conor wasn't really sick, they wouldn't let us back in the next day with that temperature.

Then I arrived at daycare.

The poor little guy was sitting on the bench outdoors (he never sits outdoors) pale as a sheet and he started wimpering as soon as he saw me. I picked him up and he melted onto me, lying his head in the crook of my neck. That's when I found out they were getting a 102 temperature under the arm. You can add at least 1 degree to that for the booty temp.


I took him home, put him on the sofa and gave him some ibuprofen. 45 minutes later, it's still 102, and he is still out of it. We ended up calling the doctor's office because the fever wouldn't go down and he was incredibly lethargic and only wanted to be held. To be honest, last night the only time his feet hit the floor from the time he got home until he went to bed was when he took two steps to get from Dave's lap to mine while we were eating dinner.

We also started the alternating motrin/tylenol "trick" to work on stubborn fevers. Every 3 hours, you switch from one to the other. Fortunately, after the first Tylenol dose, his fever went down to 99.7 under the arm. He slept fitfully until 1 at which point we brought him to bed with us and we all slept fitfully. Although that was because he turned into snuggle monster to the nth degree. I've never had any body sleep that close to me in my life. I will admit that there was some extraordinary cuteness when at about 4 am, we all woke up (fever back up; more meds) and I kissed him on the nose. That was followed by about 2 minutes of constant chin kissing from him to me that was heart melting.

The good news is that the fever is completely gone today and besides being a bit cranky from being hungry and tired, he seems no worse for the wear. It was not fun last night. Our little boy never hangs around in our laps with no affect or interest. It scared me when one of the first things the nurse had me do after I told her there were no other symptoms (e.g., cough, runny nose, rash) was to have him move his neck! Meningitis immediately sprang unwanted into our minds.

Thank God(dess) it appears to have been none of that bad stuff---just some unknown quick virus. He seems just fine today and is back to his energetic self---we even danced around this kitchen before lunch to Ralph's World (Have a little lunch! Take a little nap! Shake your booty!!)

So all's better in toddler land. Oh! But selfishly back to me: I forgot to mention that I also have a fever blister: hives, twitchy eye, thrown out back and a fever blister. "Now showing on Must See TV: Anti-Bonita Anita." Lovely.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Exactly How Stressed Am I?

Yes, we are in a particularly eventful stage of the physical manifestations of my stress.

The inside of both forearms covered in itchy dry hives. My chest a veritable map of the Andes with wetter yet itchy hives. The twitch in my left eye whenever some bad thought enters my head. The stunningly painful upper left shoulder where I pulled a muscle this morning washing my hair.

My jaw remains loose in my head, but only because I note every time I my teeth touch.

I am in a pathetic shape. And I don't see how this is going to ease up for another good 9 to 10 months.

And since I'm off alcohol. Geez!!!!

I must say that the scratching o' the hives is very attractive, especially the ones on my chest. I'm sure it's odd to be in a meeting with me and to see me scratching like a monkey during our entire conversation. Lovely.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Think, Therefore I Google

Big surprise, eh!? Yes, I am chronic google. And I'm a repeat googler, too. Because when I want to put some information out there to the Internets and I didn't save the site I want to talk about, I re-google, and that takes up a lot of time. And, as a psychologist, I know it's important to do that because we tend to misremember a lot of the information and thus, we should doubt ourselves more than we do (like I just did, thinking that misremember was a Bushism, but in fact, no! it's a real word!)

ANYHOO, so a few weeks back, I may have mentioned I was googling about something interesting. And I was. And you may have suspected it had something to do with pregnancy. And it did. However, google though I did, it didn't mean anything and I'm not one of those lucky get-pg-right-after-a-m/c-chicky-poohs. But I will tell you about my googling so that someone else out there can stumble onto this blog and perhaps find use(less) information.

I thought I had implantation spotting on 6 dpo last month. I was using the progesterone supplement/icky goop Crinone (which I often google Cronine, which sounds sort of prehistoric to me) and there was a spot on the applicator. Apparently, I just poked myself. The timing and amount was right for implantation spotting, but the progesterone supplements make one "friable" which basically means easy to poke and bleed.

So, uh, yeah. Nothing. A big nada and no bun preheating in the oven.

I also found a site this week that is much more sobering, literally. I have a big distrust of research on drinking and pregnancy because it often falls along the lines of "If you drink 5 drinks a day your baby may have fetal alcohol syndrome, so don't drink anything at all ever while you're pregnant." America has its prohibitionist and puritanical past, and their alcohol fears do not explain France or Italy.

But I did find some research on Friday on mice (who apparently have a lot of pg similarities to humans) that shows that regular moderate alcohol intake by mice before implantation leads to egg muck ups and more miscarriages.

Well, crap.

Guess who's off the bottle? Not Conor, he's been off the bottle for a while, but still on the boob!!! But considering my history and my love o' the vine, I'm now loving my green tea to a pee distracting lifestyle. The bummer is that it takes about 3 months for an egg to develop, so my lifestyle now affects my egg in three months (at least). So even if I do get pg now, I'm not holding my breath. But I am feeling positive that in 3 months, the eggies will be doing the best they can do. So there. that's the google life I lead.

Now it's time to go to my 5:30 meeting for work. Yippee! I'll see Conor right before he goes to bed. That is not yippee-ish.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just How Geeky Are We?

I need to work on an analysis, yet I procrastinate. So, I shall procrastinate more by blogging. ;-)

So Lost has started its season back up. I love it! It's such a great show. I like Ugly Betty, too. I think it's a bit fluffy and a good deal campy but I think it's fun to watch.

Those two shows don't necessarily make me geeky. This one does: Battlestar Gallactica. And it's good. Reaaaalllly good. I'd have to say Battlestar gives Lost a run for the money in as much as how good it is for a TV show. People who think of the 80's Battlestar as what is happening on this series are way off. As much as the old one was cheesy, this one is serious. And the current season starting last Friday night (with a two hour special that pretty much had Dave and me levitating in our seats) opened with a clear analogy to the Iraqi war, except "we" (the humans) are the Iraqi civilians and "they" (the Cylons) are the Occupiers. If you want a lesson in empathy, check that out.

It's a damn good show.

Dr. Who precedes Battlestar and although I'm not as big a fan of Dr. Who as I am Battlestar, I do like this one, again, much less cheesy than the 70s-80s version, but cheesy enough to be on SciFi. (And of course my dh loves, loved, and will always treasure the 70s-80s version) I like this Dr. Who. But I love Battlestar Gallactica. And just so you know, I never really got into Stargate SG1; it is good, but not great. I really liked Farscape, but I always had a hard time figuring out who was who and what their names were. Still, I really liked Farscape. Though I still question Dave's dating skills when soon into our relationship, Friday nights consisted of watching Farscape on SciFi while eating nuts out of a can and plain boiled pierogis from Trader Joes. (In all honesty, the FOOD choices only lasted one night---I cooked after that. But the SciFi was every weekend)

Dave has also geeked me on the comics I read in the morning. I still have my "cool ones" like Pearls before Swine, Pickles, Zits, Lio (my new fave), Get Fuzzy (which I'm not as thrilled with any more), and Jump Start. (I liked Boondocks when we were in LA, but the Charlotte Observer doesn't carry it) But I have also started following Rex Morgan, MD. Call me granny right now! That is such a Not Cool Strip, but I like it! It does move slowly. And it is completley predictable. Well, actually, no. It's not. Sometimes there are twists. But it is definitely uncool. However, in my defense, that's the only one I read. Dave still reads Judge Parker and was say into Gil Thorp when it was in the paper. So, HA! He's geekier than I am.

Although no one would ever be surprised at my geekiness. But sometimes it does catch me off guard.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Green Tea and Fish Oil

Despite my devotion to evening primrose oil from AF to ovulation, I'm a bit wary of "alternative" medicines, often because they haven't been examined in high quality studies that address both their effectiveness and safety.

None. The. Less. I have become a big advocate of both green tea and fish oil of late, mainly because I've been listening to the People's Pharmacy on my Saturday morning runs (to combat the weight gain from my food-and-wine self-medication from m/c #1 and m/c #2, dontcha know).

Anyhoo, in the last month, they have reported about research in JAMA (no slouch) on the benefits of Green Tea and Fish Oil. And I have fallen for these supplements hook, link, sinker and teapot. Apparently, there is a strong dose-response curve for green tea which shows that drinking at least one cup of green tea reduces death for women 2% and for drinking 5 cups or more, over 15%! (Actually, the data says over 20% but I just can't buy that). Of course, all my scientific friends say, no you can't say there's a causal relationship---drinking more than 5 cups of green tea a day may mean you spend all day in the bathroom and hence can't die from much else. Nonetheless, I find it an interesting finding and I'm drinking as much green tea as I can daily now. (It's also believed to increase fertility.) So live longer and get pg? Brew me up a cup!

The fish oil issue is also interesting. JAMA also reports a positive effect of omega 3 fish oil in reducing heart attacks, however it's important to take at least 1 gram a day and as these things are horse pill in size...that's a lot! And you can read for one more day or so this article in the NY times that says that it would be considered malpractice in Italy not to prescribe fish oil to someone with heart disease. Also, fish oil doesn't have mercury (from a study of 20 supplements), so women don't have to worry about that. But it's very important NOT to take too much of this---so if you eat fish one day, you're not supposed to take the supplement. Only 1 gram a day is what you should take. And folks on blood thinning medicine should NOT take it. (Read the links! Ask your doctor! I'm not an MD, I only play one on the internets!)

In any case, we're trying to be healthy around here. What I need to be doing in addition to these supplements is RUNNING and EXERCISING, because I am currently fat. There are not two ways about it, I'm a big girl right now. (I feel rolls of fat on my neck. YUCK!) Conor poked my belly last night when he was about to nurse and said "booby!" I replied, "No, belly!" and he said, "BOOBY!" That's a roll of fat, my friends, when your belly rolls look like boobies.

And there's yet another new study that gaining weight between first and second pg is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Even just 8 pounds, which is where I'm at this morning. Bleah.

So there. I am getting up and running at 5:30 in the mornings 3-5 days per week. I can tell already that my pre-Conor pace is finally coming back. (I'm having to run a longer distance to go the same amount of time. This is good news). Now, i've got to get ahold of what I'm eating. Or let go of what I'm currently eating and eat healthier. I'll get there. And then I'll hopefully get pregnant again and gain it all back. I hope the next pregnancy sticks so that I can gain weight out of happiness and not out of coping.

Off to work.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Miscarriage Central

Sometimes I write posts here knowing that eventually someone is going to be googling information and find what she needs from my own experiences. I even will check out the referrals to this site and see that someone has come here looking for information on HCG not doubling twins or some variation of a search on days past ovulation, heartbeat and miscarriage and arrive at my dismal news. Sometimes I know from their search they will have good news and sometimes, I know they will not.


But I still feel like I'm providing useful information to folks out there on the Internets.

Well, this weekend, I got to provide useful, although not always happy, information to my real life friends. One friend had a miscarriage last Monday night. Another had a chemical pregnancy this weekend. And another is experiencing spotting in the early stages of her pregnancy (twins!).

I'm really glad that I can help the Internets. But it was honestly more touching to me to be able to help my 3 friends. I am not glad at all that I have had the experiences that I've had. But I was so glad that I could share my experiences and the information I've learned to help my other friends out. If my crap could help 3 other people feel a little better about what has and is happening, then I'm proud of my freaky characteristic of sharing some of the most intimate details I can with known and unknown other people.

I don't think women have always known the other women in their life who've had miscarriages. In fact, when I told a friend at the beginning of the last pregnancy that I was pregnant she replied "Well, I guess I'm old fashioned; I didn't tell people until week 13." And I responded "Why? If I had a miscarriage, I'd tell you to!"

Am I supposed to be ashamed if I have a miscarriage? It it because we're discussing something that is vaguely associated with my nether regions that I'm not supposed to tell a soul that I'm pregnant until I'm showing? Helloo!!! WORLD!!!! Get past Queen Victoria and stop blaming the mother for everything that happens!!!

I do understand the awkwardness of having to explain to someone after the fact that you are no longer pregnant. I was thinking of inventing a button that says "I'm not pregnant anymore, but I'm OK!" But if I had kept my pie hole shut, I'd never been able to talk to my friends this weekend who needed a shoulder, some information, and a "sister's" about what they were going through.

So there. I'm not going to shut up. Not that I ever could.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Scatting Lullabies

A few weeks ago, when Conor was requesting lullabies, he mispoke and instead of asking for Hush Little Baby, he requested Hush Little Mommy.

I sang:

Hush Little Mommy
Don't you cry
Baby's going to go to sleep
By and by.
And if that baby doesn't sleep
Baby's going to give you candy really sweet.
And if that candy's sweet not tart*
Baby's going to give you a love filled heart.
And if that love filled heart does break
Baby's going to give you a chocolate cake.
And if that chocolate cake is dry
Baby's going to go to sleep by and by.

I was pretty proud of myself. (*and yes, the giving "candy sweet not tart" doesn't make sense, but it works in the larger scheme of things!)

Since then, he's been requesting lots of made up lullabies which has been quite fun. The latest hits are "Twinkle Twinkle Little Banana" followed by "Twinkle Twinkle Little Apple". The key rhyming words in these songs end up being "Hananah" and "Snapple". Most of the times I remember the same words, and he's even started singing along to a couple of them.

Speaking of singing, at the library last week, we checked out a sing-along Mary Had a Little Lamb book which recounts the story of Mary's little lamb going to school (even against the rule) and playing kick ball with the kids, eating grass, and learning to write his name. It ends up that the teacher changes the rule so that the little lamb is always welcomed.

That story is in stark contrast to the other Mary Had a Little Lamb book in which the little lamb followed Mary instead of staying Exactly. Where. It. Should. Have. and ended up getting kicked in the head by a horse and falling in cow poop. The poor lamb is abused by every other animal on the farm!

So the moral of these two vastly different stories: break the rules and have some fun vs. break the rules and get a kick in the head. Guess which one we censored? Maybe I'm setting myself up for some hellish teenage years, but I am not so anxious to have my 2 year old learn that if he explores options or challenges the system, he will be punished.

Fine. We'll deal with our choices and raise a child to Question Authority. Can't hurt, the naive activist mother of the toddler says.

And because of course I would do this, I searched on whether genetic mutations are recurrent. And some reseach does suggest that yes, indeed, women who have a child with a chromosonal abnormality (either viable or non-viable) have a slightly increased chance of having another one. But here is one time where age works (sort of) in my favor. It's much more of a problem with young women than for older women. That is, young women who have a chromosonal mutation pregnancy are more likely to have another one compared to other young women. That sounds worrisome until you realize that even the "worst" case scenario as far as their probabilty for having a chromosonal problem is still much, much, MUCH better than any woman my age.
So, uh, yeah! I'm not at a higher risk for a third m/c due to a chromosonal problem. But I'm still at risk--about 2 to 3%---that the next pg will end in m/c. Or the next pg. Or the next.

Soon I must talk about our revised Plan A and Plan B for our next child. Soon, but later than right now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Trisomy 8

We found out the results from the genetic testing of the miscarriage: Trisomy 8, a genetic abnormality not compatible with life. Trisomy means that there are 3 chromosones instead of 2, and trisomy 8 is one of the more common ones. Downs, of course, is the most common one.

I am sad. But so relieved. There is no way this could have been passed down from us, because babies with complete trisomy 8 cannot live. There is a syndrome called mosaic trisomy 8 in which some but not all of the cells have trisomy 8. It is characterized by expressionless faces and joint problems. And although I sometimes accuse Dave of having flat affect (compared to me, Charo has flat affect), we are not carriers.

So relief. We are not the source of these miscarriages. I do not have a clotting problem. We do not have unknown genetic problems we're passing down. This was a spontaneous problem during fertilization.

Of course, there are some reasons. I'm old. My eggs are old. The risk of a normal woman my age having any genetic problems is 1/42---about 2%. That's higher than I would have had 20 years ago (1/500), but I still think it's a low number. And the fact that we can get pregnant quickly feels encouraging. I may be fooling myself. And, btw, I'm not being overly maudlin. Most trisomy problems are "of maternal origin."

But I do feel better than the next pregnancy or the next one or even the next one if we get that far will be ok.

The subchorionic bleed didn't do it. We are not passing along something weird. Well, besides our personalities and general geekiness, we are not passing along anything weird.

That feels ok.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Gritting My Teeth

The dentist told me last week that it looks like I'm gritting my teeth: I have a "real fracture" on one of my teeth---apparently the one sensitive to heat and cold. He says I have to Stop! gritting my teeth. The other option is a plastic thingy (I think) that I'll have to wear at night and perhaps the day, too.

I told him that I thought could stop based on all the yoga I've done. He scoffed. (He was foolish) I think people who do not do yoga do not realize how well it helps you to focus on particular body parts. So I have been focusing on my mouth for the last week or so.

And here is what I've discovered.

I do indeed grit my teeth! I don't think I do it at night though because I imagine it's hard to snore and grit at the same time. I do grit a lot during the day. In fact, after I say something stressful or have a stressful thought, I will just simply bite down hard. And since i"ve been pretty much stressed all the time lately, I'm a constant gritter and biter!

But I've been focused on letting my jaw hang, yoga like, during the day. I'm turning that into my habit instead of biting. It's working. I notice when I bite and I'm stopping.

The weird part in all this is how sore my face has become since I've stopped biting! Why is that? Is that part of my face been so compressed, it's finally able to relax? It's gotten easier to tell when I'm biting because now, finally, it starts to hurt when I bite.

So there. I'm a nut. I clench/grit/bite. But I'm getting better.

One thing that does NOT make me clench my teeth: DAVE and all the work he's doing around the house. I have not mentioned our new French door in the living room. So now I shall. Beautiful!!! It makes such a big difference in making that part of the house seem brighter and bigger.

And last weekend, he ripped off the rotting siding of the house, pulled out all the dead wood, went under the house (surrounded by dozens of camel crickets---or hoppy spiders as we call them) to brace the house from all the rotting wood damage, put up new siding and painted. In one weekend!!!

He's quite the bargain to have around the house. And he most certainly NEVER makes me clinch my teeth. Because how could I give him a big sloppy wet kiss if I was gritting my teeth?

Back to work.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pee Pee in the Potty

Oh, yesterday was a big day in the Mother Thing household.

Conor went pee pee in the potty for the first time!!!!

It was just before his bubble bath (which, I must add, is always preceded with running through the house shouting BUBBLE BAAAAAATH! Who shouts? Uh, maybe Conor and me). Dave was in charge of the bathing, and he called me in. Conor had asked to sit on the potty before got in the water.

I honestly figured that pre-bath would be the appropriate time to start potty training as Conor loves to watch himself pee once he gets in the water. (That's a story he's going to love at 15!) What I didn't figure on was Patches wanting to be part of the process. A dog sniffing one's nethers can be quite overwhelming the first time one tries to go.

So the three of sat in the closed bathroom with my naked little monkey repeating "I go pee on the potty" without actually doing it. And just when we said, "it's ok. You don't have to go," he went.

He was so proud of himself. Just like we were. He glowed when we told him what a big boy hi was. He even wanted to sit on the potty again once he got out of the bath, although I don't think anything could happen! (and it didn't)

Ironically, I just told Dave this week that Conor will start wanting to go potty on the big boy potty when the other kids in the class started potty training. And guess what we learned this morning? Two other kids in his class have just started. I predict that we will soon have a potty trained boy on our hands.

Wow. That's big. That's our big boy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Library

I love our public library. Really. It has been years since I've really appreciated a library and I love this one. (I recently heard someone ask if it would be possible in this day and age to set up a public repository of books so that everyone would be allowed to read them and have the government pay for this service. Ummmm....No.)

Our neighborhood 'brary is a few blocks from our house. It has a great kids section where we go to sit on the sofas and pick out the books we want to take home for 3 weeks.

And it's pretty. Fluffy, I know, but it's all bricks and glass and fits into our neighborhood architecture beautifully. Conor points and shouts, "LIBRARY!" every time we pass.

I have decided to work my way through our library reading books I woudn't buy. I've started with the A's, reading Yo! by Julia Alvarez. It's good. (Better than the Devil Wear's Prada, dontcha know)

Other things are going on. Things for which I am googling endlessly, but do not wish to share. Yet.

I am also busy with a new course prep, a new research team, new paper, a grant proposal and a miscarriage under my belt in the last month. I've worked both Saturday and Sunday for the last two weekends and imagine this trend is going to continue for at least 6 more months.

Bear with me with me for a while. Hell, BARE with me for a while; I'm still breastfeeding.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

All Stuffed With Fluffies

Ok, so first off, I *DO* wear underwear! I am SURE!!! However, they are not the size of Wisconsin. Therefore, pills could be "an issue". 'Nuff said.

Except I will say more.

I am very sorry for Anna Nicole Smith that her son died. It's even more tragic that he died when she had a newborn. She's not the brightest bulb on the tree. Still, it's sad.

I'm glad Ben Afflect's latest movie was critically acclaimed, particularly for his acting. This has absolutely no relevance for me, but still it's (pathetically) important.

I like Brangelina more now that they have had their child. I think they could do a lot of good in this world, and despite freaky tendancies, I still like them more than I did.

I do not like books by PD James. I've read 3 now, and I am just not moved by them.

I did NOT like the book The Devil Wears Prada, but I thought the movie was good. I read TDWP immediately after Prep and I have never noticed such a vast contrast between two books before. I thought TDWP's prose needed another edit. There was a lot of fluff in that book. (Like this blog entry)

I have also decided that I am not Vogue's target audience. I think the clothes are stupid and the articles are lame. I am not a Vogue woman. I may be a Marie Claire woman though. I am now and always will be a Star woman.

These are things that make me, well, who I am, warts and all. Or cotton candy and all. You decide.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baby Stuff

I haven't talked about what has been going on on the baby front for a while. And considering that has been the most dramatic part of our lives right now, perhaps that hasn't been fair.

Well, things have been going on. And I have not set aside any time to talk about it. I really shouldn't be setting time aside right now, but there is a lot happening and if I don't, I'll just come out shouting odd words like "hooha" and it will be all too confusing.

So here is the scoop.

Soon after our last miscarriage, Dave and I decided that yes, we are willing to keep trying to get pregnant, but we are also going to start down the adoption path. We even sent away for adoption info which has yet to arrive. Nonetheless, that door is now fully open, at least in our hearts.

We also decided after I searched like a wild woman on the Internet that we were not going to delay at all in trying to get pregnant again. My reasoning is that if a good egg pops out, I don't want to waste it. Also, the research is not conclusive that getting pregnant immediately after a miscarriage is unhealthy. Apparently, doctors just want to be able to date the pregnancy and they need a cycle start date for that. (That is, they do if the woman getting pregnant is not me who KNOWS when everything is going on) Again, they encourage waiting to help with the emotional healing, although for me, the lack of hope---"we aren't trying and we can't be pg"---is more emotionally devastating than the risk of getting pg again.

We had our post op follow up with the doctor was week which was relatively uneventful. They did not have the chromosonal tests back so he had no news on that. And he could do little more than react when I told him that no matter what he said, we were going to start trying again right away. (I said it nicer than that!)

There are some concerns he expressed---perhaps I have a clotting problem, perhaps we have a genetic problem, perhaps there are other antibody issues that we haven't discovered yet.

Perhaps there are. But it doesn't make sense to me why Conor was so easy to conceive and was such an easy healthy baby if I had these Really Big Problems.

Instead, I think I'm just an old hag and the miscarriages have had genetic problems. Maybe I'm wrong (and we will know soon about the last one), but it just doesn't make sense to me probability wise if I "won the lottery" on the first try without much effort.

But the doctor wants to do something to help us have a baby, and I truly appreciate his sincere interest in helping us out. So he has prescribed progestrone supplements to help us out. He readily admits that the research on its helpfulness is mixed (I'll blog more on that later), but it is not likely to do harm and it is possible it might help.

The supplements are interesting. First, I have to use a gel after ovulation. And then, after a positive home pregnancy test (we're thinking POSITIVE, people!) , I have to stick pills up my hooha for a couple of months. That's right. I said Pill and I said Hooha. Now, these are not ordinary "suppositories". I even found out yesterday that yes indeedy, these are pills designed to Look Like Pills one takes orally. But you stick them up you hooha. Two pills twice a day: once at night and once in the morning before I come to work.

The word last night at the dinner table was "Clinch". Talk about your eight hour Kegel exercises!! Maybe the reason this thing works is NOT that the extra progesterone helps, but because you're squeezing so hard the baby has no choice but to stay in there and get healthy.

I just really don't want to be walking down the hall and drop a pill on the carpet. It was bad enough walking around with breast feeding paraphenalia, but this could top it quite easily.

So now you are up to date. We are talking no time off between the D&E and trying to get pg again---we don't have that luxury. And if we do get pregnant again soon, that will be very good news. But I'm not looking forward to walking around my office. I just have to be honest with you.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kissy Kiss

Last weekend, we went the the Charlotte Greek Fest. This is a big event around Charlotte and a lot of fun---although I can't figure out why. It's a fair with some small kiddie rides and yes, there is some amaaaaaazing food, but this is a big deal in Charlotte. Everybody goes and every time I go, I have fun. I just don't understand why. (Alcohol helps, I'll be honest)

I will say it was a lot more fun this year, because of the kids. Conor rode his first carnival ride--a very simple swing that I rode with him. Then we put him and two of his best kid friends in the "helicopter ride" which sounds scary for a toddler, but was just a more stable swing with better seatbelts. The toddlers were all very safe and, as evidenced by their screams (of delight!) thrilled to ride on their own. However, we arranged them in the worst possible way with biggest toddler Conor on the inside, middle sized boy toddler in the middle and smallest girl toddler on the outside. When the ride started going around and around, guess what happened to the kids? They began to spin out on the seat until toddler girl was squished in the corner with humongo toddler Conor in the middle with lots of free space. Every time he spun past me, I shouted "Conor! Move In! Move In!!" until he finally understood my hand motions and pulled himself back to the his side of the which point he let go and squished the other children again.

It was very funny.

Apparently, toddler girl was not upset as she demonstrated later by kissing my son. Repeatedly. To much laughter from people around us. In all honesty, Conor started it and he tends to be a wee bit kissy. Nonetheless, when Toddler Girl (TG) reached up to grab a curl during their open mouth kisses, I sort of freaked out.

Conor goes to daycare with TG and the director told me last week that she heard TG's mom talking about the incident: she described how we had all gone to Greek Fest together and how they were kissing and kissing and almost making out and that the people at the other tables were laughing and how they weren't sure if they should separate them. Then she turned to the director and said "Wow! You're really red. It's really funny, isn't it. " That's when the director realized that she was talking about Conor and TG at the Greek Fest.

And not about Dave and me.

I guess Conor has to inherit it from someone!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Things are Going On Around Here

Dave has been in a home fixin' frenzy. And I, as a result, am the lucky recipient of some fancy pants things in the house. To wit: a new litter box. "Litter box?!" you say. "How fancy can that be!?" Well when the blueprint comes from This Old House, "Pretty damn fancy," would be my reply.

So check it out.

And you were thinking what? A plastic litter box!? No! This is a litter bench! And note the basket by the door. We now flip our shoes off as soon as we walk in the door and (theoretically) prevent dirt from entering. This is good because we are stunning lazy asses and never wash our floors.

And here we have a picture of the litter box in use.

As a bench! I am so sure you think I'd show a kitty doing his bidness in the box. We do love the litter bench.

And Dave has also added shelves to the cabinet in our dining room, thus turning a useless storage space into Toy Central.

(Note the pumpkin that we're still using from last Halloween). I have to say it's made the who dining/kitchen/play pen area much nicer.

And all I needed was a hot dude with a few power tools and some paint. What more could anyone ask for?!!?

The Toilet Paper Challenge: Scott or Charmin

So here's the scoop:

While our friends were living with us this spring, we were introduced to a new brand of toilet paper: Scott Tissue. Yes, I am fully aware the Scott is not a new brand of toilet paper, but it was new to us, "Must see TP", as it were. At the time, we roundly mocked our friends because Scott Toilet paper is merely one step up from sand paper. That stuff is not cushy; it is not soft; one does not mistake Scott Tissue for anything comforting and pleasant.

But it lasts.

It lasts a long, long, loooooong time. Or maybe it just feels that way.

Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating. It doesn't really scratch. And it is more pleasant than having kittens lick the bottom of one's foot. But it ain't ever gonna be mistaken for cushy.

Charmin is cushy. Charmin feels really, really nice. But I can go through a Charmin roll in about 2-3 days.

So the question around our house is: economy or cush on your tush.


Oh Fudge

I know I'm not supposed to find this funny, but the astronauts just dropped a bolt while they were doing repair work on the space station, and they couldn't find it. I have this image of them looking bit by by through infinite space to find some lone bolt that's low floating around.

I wonder if anyone said "Fudge."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Busting My Ass

You'd think that after not posting for a few days, that when I said I was busting my ass, you'd think I was just being very busy. However you'd be wrong.

Because if you'd been here this morning you would have seen me fall flat on my ass from the top of my deck to hit the bottom step exactly on my tail bone. My hands were full with my laptop and thus, nothing broke my fall but my Fat Ass.


I have a big bruise on my arm and an ugly bruise on the joint of my pinky. And my booty hurts! I can sit down ok, but leaning over or standing up is not a pleasant experience.

So let's hope this is the third (as in trouble comes in threes) embarrassing event following my pjs in the hotel lobby and the dive on hotel floor. Yes, this is different because no one saw me this time. But it was still work related.

I was commuting. ;-)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Of Course, It Could be Duncan....

Not for the hairball, that is definitely Scarlett. And not for the circle of black fur on my side of the bed, that is definitely Simba, and yes, I do positively reward that behavior by giving her tons of lovin's when I see her sleeping there. No, Duncan could be the peepee culprit on Patches' bed. He has had a UTI recently, though we have already medicated it. And lately, we've thought Simba was the pee monster on our laundry until we caught Duncan red handed. (Red tailed?!) So yes, it could be Duncan. But it just seems like a lot of effort for him to come into our room and pee on Patches bed and NOT try to jump up and sleep with us. Nonetheless, how exactly can we get into the wee (!) mind of a cat?

Speaking of cats of an entirely different nature, I'm sure you haven't followed the story of the Panther's fan Catman, who Fox Sports played a mean trick. The gist is that the Fox football commentators wanted to keep viewers tuned to the end of the game and thus promised to give away a car. They picked one of our most popular fans, Catman, and essentially humiliated him on national TV by playing a joke: telling him he won a car, building up his excitement, showing his excitement live on TV, and then giving him a matchbox car.

The Charlotte Observer sports columnist, Scott Fowler, wrote a pretty scathing article about how cruel it was to play a joke on our most famous fan (who works counseling troubled kids for Pete's sake!), and the next day the president of Fox Sports announced that he personally would be giving Catman a brand new truck. Apparently, Charlotte Observer readers and Panthers fans were not amused by the joke and emailed every possible version of Fox Sports until they admitted their joke was stupid and they made a mistake.

Why bring this up here? Fox Sports is never going to un-humiliate that man. They will never mention again that they actually did give him a new car. They won't apologize on national TV for playing a stupid trick. The story that this man was embarrassed by a trick will never be corrected. So I'm doing it here. Phhhhht on you, Fox Sports. And Yay for you, Catman!!!! Drive that truck knowing the entire city of Charlotte is thrilled silly for you!!

I can't figure out how to seque from that to the other topics on my mind: Toilet Paper--softness or economy? Which do you choose. Or the Open House last night at Conor's daycare where we saw a couple from our childbirth class whose daughter is in the same room as Conors. Weird!! Or adoption/next pregnancy/emotional rawness and hope.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Let's change the topic of the blog today, shall we, from all the sadness in my body to something more interesting, say, like Simba with all her piss and fur.

Yes, darling Simba. The kitty who sleeps on our heads and wakes us up in the middle of the night with a paw gently placed on our foreheads or eyes or even in our mouths. (The latter, not so much endearing in the human world, if you know what I mean) Simba has taken over our bed at night and turned into a veritable 6 pound purring kitten of love. Very sweet.

Peeing on Patches bed every night? Not so much. Although we haven't caught her flagrante delicto, she is our prime suspect because the other free pee-er of the house (besides Conor) is Duncan and Duncan is so wracked with arthritis right now, he can't jump on the bed to sleep with us. Thus, he has given up visiting the bedroom altogether. So, Simba is the lead suspect. She pees. We wash, dry, febreeze and petzyme. She pees. Repeat indefinitely.

I have decided to take action. My thought is to get one of those bedwetting alarms and put it on Patches bed. Thus when a kitty (most likely Simba) does her thing, 1) it will scare the beegeesus out of her and 2) we'll see who is actually doing it. It will likely scare the beegeesus out of us, too, but if we can prevent the pee-wash-dry-spray-pee cycle again, it will be worth it. Now where can one buy one of those things? Do they sell them at Target?

We know that Simba is just doing that to show her love and possession of us. But it's irritating. Sort of like the 12-inch diameter of black fur she leaves on my side of the bed whenever we don't make the bed (sadly, this is a frequent problem). Simba is the smallest cat, but she is by far the biggest shedder. We finally brushed her yesterday and we were left with an additional kitten's worth of fur to put in the trash can. What's weirder is that when we brush her, she sheds black AND white fur, big clumps of white!!! She's a solid black cat!! Where is that white fur coming from!? When I look under her fur, I don't see white! It's very odd.

Oh, and speaking of fur. Did I mention that Scarlett is a long haired gray tabby? She sheds a lot less than either Simba or Duncan. But she tends to leave "gifts" of her undigested fur around the house. If we're lucky, Patches gets to it first, and we have, as my sister-in-law calls it, a self-correcting problem.

If not, we have a toddler. And my newest lesson as a mother is this: when one's child says "What's that, mommy? What's that, mommy? What's that, mommy?" for the seven zillionith time in an hour, it really is worth it to go over and look at what that is before said child steps on it. Gray furry cat yak in between a child's toes is the definition of gross.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Hardest Thing....

about not blogging for a while is to think of a clever title to explain my absence. "Busy", "Still Healing", "Very, Very Busy", "I thought I was All Fine, But Then I Figured Out I Wasn't", "Busier Even Still", and finally, "HOORAY! Trader Joe's is coming to town!!!!"

Ok, so now you're pretty much caught up from my last entry.

First, HOOOORAY!!!! Trader Joe's *IS* coming to town. They are opening their first store in south Charlotte (boooo, too far away, yet I will still travel) and they are also looking at areas in Midtown Charlotte, which is a hop, skip and a jump from us. HOOORAY!!! It's the best news in a while!

Next, I thought I was doing fine, but I'm still having some bouts of sadness about the miscarriage. Even though I knew it was coming and I was prepared for it, I'm still quite sad that we're not pregnant again. Especially since my body continues to think I'm still pregnant as the hormones fade out of me. The boobs no longer hurt while nursing and on the Saturday after the m/c I was ravenous as I could eat for the first time in 5 weeks without indigestion. But my temperature is still up and I'm quite sure my HCG is still well above 0.

I'm ok. But I'm still quite emotional with both a short fuse and a tendancy to weep at about anything. And I'm tired. I'm soooooo tired. It's tough trying to recovery emotionally at the beginning of the school year. But them's the breaks.

In case you are wondering, (well, are you?), we're going to start trying again right away. I've have checked out as much as I can, and yes there is a slight increase in m/c if you get pg immediately after a D&E because the uterus may be irritated. But you know what? I'm irritated, too. And I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to waste a good egg, if it happens to be the next one up.

So there. That's how I know my HCG is still high enough that my body thinks I'm pg. I have gotten positive OPKs which somehow or another also measures whether your body thinks "something is going on" down there. After the last m/c, my first cycle returned really quickly, but I think it's because my HCG count was pretty low by the time we had the m/c. I think we were still high and it may be a week or more before my body finally picks up the notion that the womb is empty and it's time to move on.

I have a feeling that quite a few of you are freaking out reading this. I don't know why, but I do. Perhaps I'm still freaking out. I'm ready to move on and start trying again, and I'm a little disappointed that my body is slow to catch up with the program. BUT (!) I also completely trust that my body is moving at the right pace and when it's ready to try again, it will let me know.

My body reminds me of my husband right now: Somewhat irritating on the small stuff, but completely trustworthy.

I am SOOOOOOOOO going to get in trouble for that sentence!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cuteness and then Not So Much

Oh, let's start with the good parts, eh!?

On Saturday, we attended an afternoon party. Conor was adorable, natch. But there was one part where I thought my heart was going to explode from the cuteness he was exuding.

He played badminton.

For some reason, that fact alone does not make other people sink to their knees veritably watching the clouds part as the sunbeam shines upon him and the angels sing a Hallelujah chorus. Those other people are clearly not paying attention, because I think this has to be the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life.

There were actually 4 people playing badminton. One adult (on Conor's team) and two other children around 8 and 9 years old. I have to admit that Conor, despite being the cutest, was not the most talented member of the team. Nonetheless, he kept his eyes on the other team. And every time the girl on the other team swung her racket at the birdie, Conor swung his racket, although not exactly at the birdie. And followed up his swing with a quick run to other side of the net and then back to his assigned spot. Honestly, the birdie was nowhere near him when he swung. It would have bopped him on the head if it had come near him. Still, he "played": he was concentrating on the moves of the other team, he was swinging his racket, he was moving around the court and he had a partner.

I tell you, it was enough to bring me to my knees and have my heart explode. If I had seen him for the first time in my life at that exact moment, I would have fallen in love with him. It was all I could do not to run out, tackle him, and cover him with kisses. And considering how much wine I was drinking at the time, I really did have to restrain myself.

On a much heavier note...

The procedure went fine on Friday. This time I was in out patient surgery at the hospital instead of same day surgery. This time, they also gave me something before they took me into surgery---something like Nubain, I am thinking. It knocked me out so that I barely saw my doctor as we were walking (I was riding) down the hall into the operating room. And it took me a really long time to wake up after the surgery. I actually had a much rougher day after this miscarriage then after the other one because I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep.

Which is, of course, ironic because I can't sleep at all at night now.

There is more that happened including a weird incident where the anesthesiologist dropped off a pair of baby feet on a pin as a rememberance of the baby (WTF?) and there has been great debate among the household about whether that was a misguided gift or just plain fucking stupid. Did I mention that the pin comes from pro-life sources? No? Well, now I just did.

There as also been great debate about whether I had Nubain or not (I really have no idea whether I did or not) but I do know that I felt a lot worse after this procedure than the first one and I simply Could. Not. Wake. Up. whereas before I seem to recall feeling absolutely fine after the procedure. And the nurse admitted, after I said "I'm getting dizzy", to "slipping me something" just before we headed to the surgery. I don't ever want that again. It made recovery so much harder.

So with the great debates, there is clearly stress around the house. Overall, though, we're doing fine.

It's just been more fun to talk about badminton than to talk about losing another pregnancy.

So there.

More on our future plans in the future. Right now, I have to go analyze data for a paper.