Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An update

Remember my post about my friend (Jared's wife) whose mom was in critical condition and dad had cancer?

Her mom died 9 weeks ago. Her dad died today.

Can't even imagine how hard that must be.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reasons to lose the baby weight

In no particular order.

- The very few photos taken of me since Elizabeth's birth must be burned
- I can't wear my engagement/wedding rings
- I have to fly to AZ in March and won't fit in the seats
- My gut is so big it gets chafed in the front where it rubs against my clothes
- I only have 3 pair of (non-maternity) pants that fit me. Even my fat-girl sweats are too small.
- I weigh more than my husband - ooh, such a turn on (not)
- I have gorgeous and ridiculously expensive Joe's Jeans that are ~4 sizes too small
- I am a crappy role model for my two girls
- It is bad for my health, big time
- It makes me unhappy. Unhappy mom = bad mom.
- Back, knees, ankles - all designed to carry 50 lbs. less
- I am withdrawing socially. I don't want to go anywhere, see anyone looking like this.

I don't even recognize myself. I haven't lost a single lb. in almost 6 months and I am miserable. Yet I can't seem to get it together enough to do something about it. I've yo-yo'd before, but this is the first time that I've ever been honestly worried that I won't be able to do it and I will be fat and unhappy forever.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Bright Side

The only good thing about a husband who never gives you flowers is that when he is deep in a doghouse of his own making and THEN sends you flowers, you at least know he understands that he really screwed up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proud of someone I never knew

My dad sent this out today, about his father. My grandfather died the year before I was born, so I never met him. I knew he had won the silver star, because it was engraved on his headstone, but hadn't heard the story.

To honor all veterans today I will share this story of this one hero.

"90 years ago today my dad, a 21-year-old Marine, participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France - now know as the Battle of the Argonne Forest. 1,200,000 Americans along with soldiers from other countries participated. Forgotten in history, it was reported as the bloodiest battle ever for American soldiers, although it seems ot me there were bloodier battles for Americans in the Civil War.

Early in the battle he single-handedly attacked and wiped out a German machine gun nest for which he won the Silver Star.

Two hours before the armistice was called, my dad was walking along with four of his buddies, two on each side of him. A shell landed right next to my dad killing the two guys on each side of him and he escaped uninjured. Without counting, I think he has over 150 direct descendants now. "

Thanks, Grandpa. And thanks to all the other people I never knew who protect our country and others.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Big-a&& Baby

The girls and I go to a playgroup every Monday - we've been going weekly for almost two years now. Since Elizabeth was born, there have been two more baby girls born in the group. Amaya is 4 weeks old and Nadia a mere 4 days - just born last Thursday.

Today we took a shot of our 2008 girls... and it's crazy!! It looks like someone took two pictures of babies from different perspectives and spliced them together!! While 4 months difference is a lot in babyhood, it's still just a few months.

But, man, what a difference it makes:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Even more too much information

The kicker is that Kate pooped on purpose because she wanted to see what it looked like.

Why, oh why, can I not get this kid to sit on a potty???

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rub a Dub Dub, Kate Pooped in the Tub

Things I would rather have done tonight than cleaned poop out of the bathtub (and then sterilized it and all bathtoys):

- Write my 30 very overdue thank-you notes
- Clean my kitchen floor with a toothbrush
- Finish folding the clean laundry
- Wash the dirty laundry
- Have a root canal
- Write a decent blog post

Isn't my life sexy?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Too Much

Life has been a bit out of hand for me these days. I felt I was just barely holding it all together with the two kids. Add in one major construction project and it's all in chaos.

But then comes a dose of major perspective.

My good friend Laura (Jared's wife, for you Austinites) could possibly lose both of her parents soon. Her mom had a clot in her mesenteric artery, which killed a lot of bowel. She was in failing health to begin with, and this just threw her into a spiral. She's not been conscious since the surgery over two weeks ago - she's been on full life support. And it sounds like perhaps they're not expecting recovery any more.

Meanwhile, her dad is in the midst of yet another chemo for his metastatic kidney cancer. Today they find out if it is working.

Her folks live in Boston. She lives here with Jared and their two kids. She's an only child. I can only imagine being so far away (although of course she's been there often the past few weeks) and having no one else to share the burden and the grief.

Makes the petty foibles of my life seem pretty minor.

If anyone feels like offering up prayers for a stranger, she could use them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Thanks to everyone who asked about the baptism. I think it went really well. We did a group baptism service outside the Mass instead of doing it as part of the Mass. But, we were the only ones in our "group" so we wound up essentially having a private service.

The service itself was fine. Frankly, considering that was all we were there to do (no communion, homily, etc.) I thought it took way too long. But it did the job, I guess. I guess I should just be thankful we never had to kneel.

Elizabeth was enraptured by the deacon as he talked and seemed to pay more attention than any of the rest of us. Then he took her to be dipped (our church does baptism by immersion, so she was stark naked and dunked in the pool up to her chest three times). She cried, of course, like all babies do (although the water was nice and warm) but then every time after that the deacon so much as looked at her, that bottom lip came sticking out and she fussed. As a parent, I finally really understand what my parents meant when they used to tell me they could "hang a bucket on that lip". She knew he had taken her from me and gotten her wet, and she wasn't going to forget it!

Through most of the service itself, Kate was up at the altar with us, and loving being up at this "stage" in front of all the family in her princess dress. At first it was subtle, looking out, smiling & being coy. Then she moved over and sat down on the steps. Then down the next step, smiling and flirting with her cousins in the pews. Then back up the steps and the whole thing started over. Pretty soon she was practically prancing up and down the steps and around the alter, loving having all those eyes her direction. Meanwhile, I'm holding E and trying (pretending?) to look all serious and spiritual and thoughtful as the deacon spoke, unaware that Kate was completely stealing the show behind him. My mom finally couldn't take it anymore and started trying to get Kate to come sit with her, when the deacon called everyone up to the altar to witness said dunking. Not a moment too soon. A few minutes longer and I think there probably would have been a tap dance and perhaps a song or two.

The luncheon afterwards went well, too. I went easy this time around and just did ham & turkey sandwich bar with salads, chips, bars, etc. It was really nice to be able to just take saran wrap off trays and be able to eat so quickly. I had a new innovation in my entertaining process that we're going to carry forward. I knew we would be tight for counter space for all the food, so I had mapped out in advance where I wanted everything to make sure I knew what went where. I wrote post-its for each thing (beverages, coffee, salads, meat, cheese, etc.) and put them on the counter where I wanted them. I got more than a little flack for that as family arrived, but it worked great. As Pete helped take things out, he knew right where they went. Similarly, as family arrived bringing things they also knew right where to put them. Just that tiny extra bit of planning probably saved at least a dozen questions at a time where I had other things to be doing!

You see, everytime we entertain we do a "post-mortem", where Pete and I talk through what worked well about our gathering and what didn't quite work, to look for ways we can improve for the next time. It's really helped us make entertaining less stressful and more seamless. I know. Dorks. But hey, at least we haven't started a spreadsheet to track these things. Hmm. A spreadsheet on parties... to track things we learn.... hmmmm

Okay, we're off to go look at rocks. Seriously. More to follow later on orchestra and house...

Saturday, September 6, 2008


That's how I feel right now. Squeezed by everything I have to do in the next 48 hours.

Tomorrow is E's baptism, followed by a family lunch here at our place. That may not sound like much, but between my family and Pete's that's over 30 right there. Throw in just a couple of friends and it's a madhouse. I'm keeping it easy this time - just sandwich fixings, etc. as opposed to the sit-down brunch I did for Kate, but it's still a lot of work and I'm just not feeling up to it. Plus, I have nothing to wear. The weight simply refuses to budge and other than some cheap summer clothes I have two pair of pants that (almost) fit and no shirts except maternity. I have to get this weight off.

Part of the issue is that E is having a growth spurt. So she's up during the nights and eating constantly during the day. She's nursing so much I feel physically worn out.

We also were supposed to choose our contractor last night, but we were just too tired. I'm at a point where I need to stop thinking about it until later.

Tomorrow night is also my first orchestra rehearsal of the new season, and I've hardly practiced. Thankfully, the music will be simple enough to sight read - even considering how out-of-shape I am. But I also have to get seating figured out for my section. I guess I'll do all this tomorrow after everyone leaves. Last night I dreamed that they took the new cellist we have joining us this year and made him principal. Guilty conscience, you think?

So wish me luck. My happy thought right now is that by Monday this will all be over, and then I can focus on the house stuff again and getting my fat butt in the gym.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I can take a hint

Happy Labor Day weekend! Here are some relatively recent pictures of my girls!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Apparently my wee one did a 180 today - tummy to back. And I missed it (at the salon for a much-overdue hair appointment).

It's amazing how exciting it is. I thought perhaps it wouldn't be quite such a thrill the second time around, but it is!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm almost scared to type it out loud... like it will somehow jinx it and make it never happen again.

Elizabeth slept for 12 straight hours last night. She's 12 weeks old.

Again, unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kids: 1, Mom: 0

I definitely lost the battle today (and my sanity, and my temper).

The destructive power of a 2 year old on a rainy day is remarkably similar to a big puppy. I didn't sleep worth a darn last night (shoulder/neck issues), and was woken at 5AM (by said 2 year old) thanks to the thunderstorm. All a recipe for an unhappy day.

God grant me the grace and patience to be a better mama tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Emily's post today was quite appropriate, since today was my first major practice session since April 27th. I've picked up my cello now and again since Elizabeth was born, but just for a few minutes at a time. Now, with my orchestra season less than two weeks away, it's time to get serious.

It's like coming home.

Things are a bit tight, especially since I'm always carrying at least one child in my arms and my trapezius is generally a wreck. All things considered, though, it wasn't too terrible. It's quite exciting, really, how much my chops have come back since I got my new cello. Last summer in particular I practiced a lot and I think was pretty much back to my college level (in fact, I have surpassed my abilities then in some areas thanks to the playability of this instrument).

I heard auditions last night and it was just such a joy to be back with my fellow principals. I'm looking forward to getting my seating figured out for the season. I only wish this season had a bit more excitement musically. After Ein Heldenleben, I suppose anything is going to seem anti-climactic, but the first concert is focused on Opera, and we have several members of the MN Opera coming to sing with us. Woohoo . Don't get opera much, and the cello parts are BORING. In fact, for one of the pieces we're doing I think we have 4 different notes through the entire piece. I guess I should look on the bright side that bowings and fingerings will be easy to get done!

Now we'll just see if I can practice enough in the next two weeks, with all else I must do, and E's baptism coming up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What was I thinking

In the past, I've twice given Kate's hair a little trim, and it's turned out quite well. Well, third time was not-so-charming.

I have been debating whether to cut bangs for her or to grow her hair out. The issue is that to grow it out I have to find a way to keep it out of her face. It's hard to find clips to stay in her very fine hair, and the few I have she takes out as soon as she's out of my eyesight. I finally decided I had to get her bangs.

I'd trimmed her hair before and it was fine, and it appears my ego got the best of me. I totally butchered her hair (front and back). The bangs are way too short and are crooked. The back didn't start out so short, but she kept moving and I kept trying to even it out, so it just kept getting shorter and shorter. It needs to be on the shorter side - she doesn't have enough hair to grow it long yet - but this is crazy. People will think she's a boy.

I am literally just sick over this. I can't get over it. I feel so bad - I'm so glad that she's too young to get how goofy it looks. And we have Lizzy's baptism in 3 weeks, with pictures, etc. Ugh.

Pete is "disturbed" that I am so upset by this, but I have a thing about hair. I know I get freaked out by haircuts, etc. That's why I've never taken her anywhere to have it cut - I was too afraid they'd make her look weird. Well, there's no way they would have made her look this weird. I know it's probably not healthy that I'm this upset by it and this is not a good thing to be "modeling", but frankly she's now less cute than she was a few hours ago, and it's my fault.

I kind of want to take her somewhere to have it evened out, yet at the same time I REALLY don't want it to get any shorter. I think I'll just have to keep trying to pin the bangs back until they grow out enough to even them off. Then I'm going to let them grow completely - I don't like a true "bang" on her. I don't know what to do. I guess I'll get a deserved penance just having to look at her for the next month or two or however long it takes for her to start to look normal again.

My poor little princess.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Updates

I cannot believe how fast August is flying by. It's crazy. I remember when I was a kid my Dad telling me that time seems to go faster as you get older. I thought he was nuts. Man, it's so true. Pete's theory is that the perception of time is a parabola and that sometime around 70 or so it starts to slow down again. Wouldn't that be nice?

Elizabeth continues to be a ridiculously easy baby. I don't remember the last night she didn't have at least a 5-6 hour stretch. In fact, two nights this week she's slept for 8 hours straight, followed by a four hour stretch. It's amazing. I think Kate was 9 months old before she slept 8 straight hours. I put her down for naps drowsy, but awake, and she puts herself to sleep. She almost never cries, and smiles and coos like crazy. I know - I almost even hate myself. But I figure she owes me for all that puking.

We had her two month appointment last week. She's a big girl. She's off the charts for length (24 3/4") and 90-95% for weight (12lbs., 12 oz.). Not quite as big as Kate, who was off the charts for both. Still, that means I probably have a month or so before she outgrows her infant car seat. I don't quite know what I'm going to do if she's too big for that but too little to hold her head up consistently. I guess I'll have to hope I can snag a shopping cart with the built-in baby seat(and hope she's not too heavy for it).

Kate is doing great. She's been very into music lately, and even once last week demanded we go downstairs so I could play cello for her. She sings a lot - mostly songs she makes up. She has also recently decided that the English language doesn't have enough words in it, so she makes up new ones. Makes for some confusing conversations.

She's a very affectionate big sister and has to kiss & hug Lizzy often through the day. She's starting to show interest in dolls, now, too. Her favorite (whom she named "Poppy Seed") looks remarkably like Elizabeth. Kate will bring her on the sofa when I'm nursing, lift up her shirt, and put Poppy Seed's mouth on her belly button so she can "nurse" her baby, too. It cracks me up.

We also have another addition to the family - a new Honda Odyssey minivan. There are several moms in my neighborhood who eschew the minivan. To each their own, I guess, but I'm thrilled to have one. The automatic sliding doors, all the space, the rearview back-up camera... it's this mom's dream car (for now). So, if you know anyone interested in a 2002 Ford Explorer with a little body damage... what? what's so funny? why are you laughing?

This week is Pete's birthday. Since I got him the Wii for Father's Day, I'm probably not going to do the PS3 for Bday. I'll save that for Christmas. I'm debating between a digital TiVo and an XM radio. Decisions....

We got our RFPs for our house out a couple weeks ago. I've been crazy busy meeting with contractors who come out to ask some questions, measure, take pictures, etc. It looks like we'll get 7-8 bids altogether, and our deadline is next week. I'm looking forward to getting a handle on what this is going to cost us (and hope we don't regret buying that minivan).

Lastly, I have tried twice to start Weight Watchers, and quit both times because it killed my milk supply. This is seriously bumming me out. It's true what "they" say - it's tougher to lose it the second time. It just fell off after Kate, but this time I haven't lost a pound in 6 weeks. I am 35 lbs. above my prepregnancy weight (55 lbs. above my pre-trying-to-have-a-baby weight). And I can't diet and feed my baby at the same time. "Bugger" seems to sum it up pretty well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Me, that is.

Of the people who were in SuperTarget tonight at 9:27 PM with their approx 2 yr olds. All three of you.

Go home, put your kids to bed, and find some other time to do your shopping.

...ah, I feel better now.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I don't know why I'm fretting so much about the Wii.

I just ordered a new set of cello strings. 'Bout the same price as the Wii, and will last about 6 months, if I'm lucky.

Why did I ever try the Larsens?? Now I can't go back to anything else, and I think they're the most expensive strings on the market.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Wii or not to Wii

Awhile back, Pete was reading an article about the Wii, which he was saying made him pretty interested in getting one. He hadn't been all that interested prior, but whatever it was impressed him. Mental note made.

I wanted to get him one for Father's Day, but as many of you know, Wiis are a bit thin on the ground these days. After months of staring at a blank spot on the shelf at Target, I walked in on Sunday and asked if they actually ever got some in stock. He moved over to show me a stack of 100 Wii units they had just gotten in that morning. I bought one on the spot.

The next day I don't even remember how I got on the topic, but Pete made some comment about wanting a PS3 because there's going to be a Top Gear game coming out (a British car show he's crazy about). I nonchalantly asked him if he'd rather have a PS3 or a Wii, and he said a PS3.

So now what do I do??

Not every blade of grass is greener...

The worst thing about being a stay-at-home parent is definitely the isolation. It gets really tough when the most meaningful conversation you have during the day is trying to explain the concept of a bank to a 2 year old. Today is one of those days.

When I first quit my job, that year was really tough. I hadn't really met other moms or my neighbors, so it was largely just Kate and I staring at each other all day. As I started getting some activities scheduled and as Kate got older, things got much better. I'd reached the point where I was pretty "independent" again. Kate didn't nap and was a trooper about running errands, so we could pretty much go where I wanted when I wanted. During the school year, we had activities scheduled 4 days a week (the 5th was grocery shopping). We were busy and it was fun. Now I feel I am starting over.

Knowing Elizabeth was coming in June, I purposefully didn't sign up for summer activities. I figured I would be as physically out-of-it as I was after Kate's birth and it would be more than I could handle. Wrong. I also thought, since it was summer, we could be outside all day long together and it would be idyllic. Wrong again.

Kate is bouncing off the walls the last couple months, not having more stimulation. She's watching more TV than I could ever admit to the internet. We can't be outside that much, because it's too hot for Elizabeth (and I find the heat much tougher to bear with all this extra weight). Elizabeth is a lousy on-the-go sleeper. For her to have a decent nap, she needs to be at home in her crib. Suddenly, I am house-bound again and it is killing me. I am tired from the night wakings and I find myself crabbing at Kate in a way that makes me so sad. I am a shrew of a mom these days.

I spend way too much time on the computer - I think trying to feel connected to something. (Thank God for the computer - I can't even imagine what it was like for my mom - home with 4 little kids with no car, computer, PBS Kids or Nick Jr.) There just isn't anyone to talk to. Everyone I know is either working or busy with their own kids. And I should be busier with mine than I am, but I just can't seem to get engaged without that activity in the morning to get my butt in gear.

I think this post could he written by a lot of stay at home parents, but this self-pity party was inspired by something specific. I had arranged for my niece Maddie to come over and get Kate outside today so I could clean and do laundry. I called my sister this morning and she had totally forgotten and made other plans (my sister's completely insane self-absorbed schedule is a whole 'nother post). I don't know who was more disappointed - me or Kate. I feel just terrible that she is cooped up in the house with me all day. I am so mad at my sister - and I know it's probably not fair - but I had canceled having my other niece Dana come over because Jen had been pushing me to ask Maddie, and then bailed on me. I just felt like that was going to be a bright spot in the week and it fell through because my own sister completely forgot that she had made a commitment to me. Nice.

So I'm scraping through the day. I was going to work out when Maddie was here, but instead I am on the sofa eating Dove chocolate (the 50 lbs. I have to lose are also a whole 'nother post). It's gloomy and muggy outside, and I really can't call my mother yet again, so it's coming out here. I know I'm just being a whiner. I know full well how many parents would love to be able to stay home with their kids. I totally get how lucky I am that this is something we can do.

But right now the thought of back to back meetings and more emails than I could possibly read sounds pretty appealing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I walked into the nursing bra section of Target today where a 60-ish woman was shopping. When she saw me, she said, "Oh good, you'll know about this. My daughter is 4 months pregnant with her second. What kind of bra would be good?" A long conversation followed about maternity vs. nursing bras, underwire vs. not, and the need of a lined bra cup when you're pregnant (which no "maternity" bras seem to have).

She then noticed the kids in my cart and asked their ages. "2 1/2 years and 7 weeks," I replied.

"Seven weeks!" she exclaimed. "And you're pregnant again already?"

I informed her as politely as I could that I have yet to regain my washboard abs since Elizabeth was born, (but geez, thanks for pointing that out).

Just plain mean.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a Zoo Out There

Today I took the girls and met some friends at Como Zoo for an outing. It was really a beautiful day for that kind of thing - not too hot, but nice and sunny. It went pretty well, over all, considering it was my first big outing like this with both of them.

Some things I learned from this excursion:
  • I love my BOB Duallie stroller. It totally rocks. And it really does fit through doors.
  • You can never have too many snacks with you.
  • It's darn near impossible to use a public restroom with a toddler and an infant (and a diaper bag, etc.). I had to pee from 10AM until 2PM.
  • Zoos geared towards children still somehow manage to be built in a way that totally blocks them from seeing squat from the stroller. They have to be picked up. What the heck??
  • Watching Kate's little hand squeeze under the sunshade to pat Lizzy on the head when she fussed was about the sweetest thing I've ever seen.
Nice to be back in the week after our busy weekend. Cul-de-sac party on Friday night. Meigan came to visit with her adorable girls on Saturday AM. Friends for dinner that night. Pete's Grandmother's 90th birthday party on Sunday. Ugh. Never thought I'd reach a point in my life where I look forward to weekdays as a chance to "relax".

Speaking of which, I'm off to bed. G'night.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Please stop posting about bugs

Okay, between Carrie's wood ticks and Meigan's centipedes I have the creepy crawlies like I can't describe. I swear there are little bugs crawling all over me and am going a bit psycho about it.

Please, no more buggy posts. Or at least give me a few weeks to recover...

Yeeeech (shudders) Compared to those two stories, I'll happily take the poop.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Poop Hunt (or, The Glamorous Life of a SAHM)

I just spent ~30 minutes on a poop hunt. Kate had such a big one that it went up her back. Then, she leaned against something and it kind of stuck there (she's in a dress, no less). I didn't realize it, and then picked her up and carried her up to change her - only then to realize we had been dropping teeny bits of poop the whole way...

I've had more fun in my life.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Name That Tune

Who needs sleep?
(well you're never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep?
(tell me what's that for)
Who needs sleep?
(be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War)

I know, I know. It's really about insomnia. But still.

Elizabeth is actually doing quite well, but between her and Kate I am the walking dead.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Girls

I know it's just gas, but it's still cute...

Taking a little nap in pink...

Kate loves to kiss and hug Elizabeth, but just asked to hold her for the first time yesterday. She's a proud big sister (who has mastered the classic toddler "fake smile for the camera").

Birth Story

Things are finally starting to resume some sense of normalcy in our house. Pete went back to work on Tuesday, and I'm pleased to report that the adjustment to two kids hasn't been quite as tough as I expected so far. Elizabeth has been an easy and generally contented baby, and Kate has continued to adapt well to her presence.

I wanted to share the story of Elizabeth's birth before it had been so long I started to forget things.

Sunday night (June 1st) I noticed while taking Kate up to bed that my knees were hitting my stomach when I went up the stairs. That was my first hint that the baby had "dropped", and according to What to Expect, in a second-time mom that normally doesn't happen until labor is "imminent". Sure enough, around midnight I started feeling contractions. While it was enough to wake me up, I was able to mostly sleep through them until almost 2AM. I hadn't gone to bed until 10:30, and assuming I would have a full day of labor ahead of me, I wanted to get as much sleep as I could. Around 2, there was no sleeping through them anymore, but I still tried to rest inbetween and started casually timing them. They were about 7 minutes apart for 45 minutes or so when I decided it was time to get up. I kind of figured that once I was up and about that they would starting coming faster/harder - I had no idea!

I got up and had a bowl of cereal and tried to get a few last minute things ready and time my own contractions. By 4 AM I couldn't time them myself anymore - they were too strong. I woke up Pete and we started getting ready, but at this point they were coming really hard and fast. We essentially threw a few final things in the bag and called my sister-in-law Sue to come stay with Kate and then the doctor. I told Sue to "come now, but you have time to brush your teeth, etc." Heh heh. By the time she got here, the contractions were so strong that I could barely recover from one and the next hit. The doctor still hadn't called back, but I told Pete if she didn't call by the time Sue arrived, we were leaving anyway.

Thankfully, the doctor called as Sue arrived, which was good, because at about the same time my water broke. Here I'd spent weeks dreading this moment of driving away from Kate - of being so worried and sad for her that I cried and cried thinking of it. Had someone asked me about it then, I think I would have said "Kate who?" Things were a bit intense.

Got to the hospital and Pete parked outside the ER and ran to get a wheelchair. We managed to get me in it between contractions and he flew to the L&D triage unit. They were expecting us and got me in for assessment. My first words were "I would like an epidural!". She checked me and I was at 8 cm. I heard her call out in the hall - "I need a room - I have a ruptured 8" and then there was a flurry of activity. They just wheeled the triage bed - fast - into a delivery suite. Turns out there wasn't time for an epidural, but there was for something called an intrathecal (like an epidural, but just a spinal injection - not a catheter). The L&D nurse was my total hero at this point - she frantically got an IV in and squeezed that saline bag for all it was worth so I could get the intrathecal.

At this point I wanted to push like mad, so she did this in between really helping me fight that urge. She had these really intense blue eyes - isn't it strange the things you notice at times like that? Oddly, looking at her helped me keep the focus better than looking at Pete. She had this great "Don't you even think about pushing - you can do it, girl" look on her face that I needed. Pete looked too... caring.

The intrathecal was a godsend. It worked fast and I was numb from the waist down. Pete and I joked that we probably "spent" about $2k for that shot to get me through 4 more contractions. It was worth it! The doc arrived in about 10 minutes and I was ready to push. I started pushing and count to 10 - and then to 10 again - and again. Then the doctor said, "Look down!" I thought she was going to show me she was crowning, but instead there Elizabeth was! My first exclamation was, "She's OUT already?!?!" I just couldn't believe it.

There are a lot of differences having your second compared to your first, as I discover daily. A big difference was that Elizabeth looked about how I expected her. She looks like Kate, without question, but not identical. Yet still, there was an instant familiarity I didn't feel the first time. It's like the first time you're still learning how to bond - how to make that connection - and this time it came right away.

She is my daughter. My beautiful baby girl.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Little Lizzy

Doing this one handed, so will be brief. Here she is, ready for her close-up. More to follow.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Elizabeth Anne

...joined our family at 6:38 this morning. She weighed 8 lbs., 2 oz, and is 21 inches long.

Labor wasn't quite as fast as Carrie's, but close. She came 42 minutes and one push after arriving at the hospital. We are all doing great.

More info and pictures to follow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Too much time on their hands

I actually had a comment on my post from yesterday that was someone hawking some crapola heartburn remedy. Seriously?!?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now with a side of heartburn

The fun just keeps mounting here in the final countdown. Now I have some pretty fiendish heartburn almost every time I eat, but especially when I eat chocolate.

In some ways, cutting out chocolate is good. After all, I'm at the point where I know that every ounce put on now will have to start coming off in the next couple of weeks. But still, I'm huge, uncomfortable, exhausted and I can't even have a brownie??? C'mon!

Kate is taking a very rare nap at the moment, so I'm off to get stuff done. I've gotten so much done around here the last few days and am starting to feel good and ready for whenever this baby may come. Just a bit more to go...

Besides, I have a date with a Tums bottle.

Monday, May 26, 2008

iTunes 101

A couple of years ago I got an iPod Nano. Hardly had anything on it, used it seldom.

Pete bought me an iPod Touch for Christmas. It is pretty much the coolest gadget ever, and inspired me to start really getting on board with it. With that, though, I've still been lax in terms of getting music loaded, and definitely in terms of getting my music organized through iTunes.

I feel like I'm just finally learning the very basics about iTunes, even though I've used it for a couple of years, because I'm just now really getting organized. Until today, I probably had a GB of classical music all in one playlist titled "orchestra". I haven't really taken the time to think through what I want to do. The complete flexibility and control is almost too much to wrap my brain around - it's such a huge mental change from CDs. I finally realized that it's essentially a relational data warehouse, upon which I can build all sorts of views to access the data in different ways. Once I started conceptualizing it that way (my IT nerd background coming in really handy) it all started making sense.

So the light bulb has finally turned on regarding how this will revolutionize my classical music collection. Classical music is different. Very rarely do I feel like listening to "something Brahms", like I would feel like listening to something by Barenaked Ladies, but don't really care what. Generally, I want to listen to the Brahms double, or the B Major Trio, etc. The sucky thing is that classical CDs almost always have many different compositions on them - sometimes by many different composers. So in our 400 disc changer, I not only have to figure out which CD it was, but which track, etc. All that is gone, now. I can have playlists by composer, by music type (symphony, concerto, etc.), by artist... it goes on and on. I could spend months and months slicing and dicing it so many different ways (well, after spending months trying to get everything loaded).

Now I just need to figure out all this compression/bit rate stuff, so I can make sure I'm not totally destroying my classical music. Although, frankly, most of the time my iPod will be used in situations where it's not an ideal listening experience anyway, so some quality loss is probably not the end of the world. I have no plans of ditching my CDs as of yet, and I suppose that when I get to that point, memory will be so cheap that to store everything in a lossless data format will be much more feasible than it ever could be now with my 8GB Touch.

Ah... I love technology.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Braxton *#&$% Hicks

I've had far fewer BH contractions with this pregnancy overall. My doc says it's probably because I get more rest, have more access to the bathroom and am better hydrated since I'm not working. Completely valid.

However, all of a sudden it seems my body has realized it needs to squeeze this giant baby out (the average guess right now is around 9 lbs. - I'm huge) in the coming weeks, and is practicing with a vengeance.

They are definitely BH, not the real thing. But MAN are they annoying. They were actually waking me up last night because they are strong enough to squeeze all the air out of my lungs. I can only hope it will pay off when D-Day arrives.

Leave it to my uterus to function just like I do - wait until the last minute and then cram like crazy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting There

Thank you for the encouragement last week on the bag. I actually got a good deal of it done that day. I got smart this time and just bought travel-sizes of several things, so I can just get them in the bag. Other than needing to load some music on my iPod and toss in a few things, I'm pretty much set.

One question - a lot of books recommend packing food for the husbands. We didn't do this last time in part because we had no time and in part because we had a doula who had told us she was willing to do food runs when needed. Did any of you do this? It's pretty easy to throw in a granola bar or some nuts, but at our refresher childbirth class they practically suggested a picnic. That seems excessive to me, but perhaps it is a good idea...

Last night I went to get a "big sister gift" for Kate. I got her something from us and something from the baby. Last week we bought something for her to give the baby, so that's all ready. I'm feeling SO much better having this done. That was the one huge thing on my list I was concerned about not having done. At this point, if I went into labor tomorrow I would be in decent shape *huge sigh of relief*.

However, given my appointment today, going into labor tomorrow is a long shot. There's pretty much nothing going on. Of course, it was the same way with Kate and she came out eventually, so I'm not too concerned. I still don't feel quite ready yet. I just have the mindset that she'll come within a few days of the due date, like Kate did. Of course, if I keep retaining fluids like I have this week, I'm going to be hoping that comes fast. I put on 5+ lbs. this week... no wonder I can hardly bend my fingers!!

Speaking of which, I've reached my laptop limit for my hands (they get numb in about 15 minutes) so I'm off. Have a great sunshiny day!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Big Girl Sleeping

This weekend we finally got Kate's big girl room put together. The bed is in and made. The dresser, lamp, bookshelf all ready to go. Books and little girly things moved. The only big thing we're missing are the curtains (and some stuff on the walls, but I suck at that). I bought the curtains at Pottery Barn Kids and I discovered after ironing them that one was about 2 inches shorter than the other. ARGH. I'll have to take them back this week and just have them open packages there until I find two the same length. (and then I can post pictures) I also still have to move her clothes over this week.

Anyway, Kate wanted to sleep in there tonight. My brave girl. I had to snuggle with her for a long time, and even after that it took her FOREVER to fall asleep - so much new to look at, I suppose. But she's asleep right now in her twin bed (no bed rails!) and so far, so good. She looks so little in that great big bed.

After I tucked her in, I went into the nursery to get some more wee baby things to wash and prepare. The room smells like Kate, yet looks so bare now with all her things gone that I let myself just weep for a few minutes.

My big girl. I'm so proud of her.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not packing

I have reached the point of pregnancy where I no longer want to do anything but sit around. This is problematic, since I still have a lot of things to do to get ready for having this baby.

For one, I have not yet even started packing a bag. I did the same darn thing last time - thinking, oh, I have a list, it'll just take a minute to throw stuff together. Well, it took us FOREVER to get everything pulled together when we had Kate, to the point where we then wound up stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital. And this time, I will have to focus that pre-hospital time on making sure I've got everything lined up for Kate. I need to get this done.

Why do I find it so intimidating? It just sounds like a lot of work.

I guess that makes me the nursemaid

Was outside with Kate this afternoon and had to come in to go to the bathroom (what else is new). I was holding her hand when I told her, and in a tizzy she went boneless and collapsed to the ground. When the intense crying/screaming started, I assumed it was just 2-year-old in action and slung her in my arm like a sandbag and hefted her in. She stood in the bathroom door, holding her hand and saying "Arm hurts! Arm hurts! Kiss it, Mama!"

I still thought it was just drama, but when we went back outside and she wanted to snuggle instead of run around like a crazed weasel, I started realizing something was up. Pete came home and within a few minutes we realized she wasn't using her arm at all and if we touched or moved it she sobbed anew. We knew we had to act when she wouldn't lift that arm to take the wrapper off her Dum Dum sucker (desperate measure to cheer her up).

Apparently, hand-holding+boneless toddler = nursemaid's elbow. Poor girl had a pulled elbow. After about a 40 minute wait, it took them about a minute to fix it. Within 5 minutes she was totally back to normal, and very happy that her arm felt better. And I felt like the world's worst mother. Although, as Pete kindly pointed out, it really was more of a "joint effort."

Har dee har har.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Irrational Fears

My latest: that for some reason (intruder, fire) I will need to use the escape ladder to get out of an upstairs bedroom with both kids by myself. How will I manage it? How would I carry them? What will I do if one of them starts slipping? Or both?

Just another joyful scenario added to my ongoing fear about what to do if the truck somehow wound up in deep water and I had to get both girls out of their carseats and swim to shore.

It's like I rehearse these scenarios in my head - and always end up inconsolable with fear. I thought I was through this stuff, but it's come back again lately with force. Here's hoping it's all part and parcel of the hormones and will go away...

...and that I never, ever happen to see Sophie's Choice.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Home Stretch

4 weeks, 3 days until my due date. Please, please, please God, don't let me go over. I can make it to then - I'm prepared for that. If I go late, I may go crazy.

In general, I'm doing much better than I did with Kate. Not sitting in meetings all day definitely helps. Back pain is almost nonexistant. Pelvic pain has been sporadic, but is starting to settle in. The swelling and carpal tunnel have taken off admirably in the last week. At least this time I know it will go away. Last time I think I reached the point where I was convinced I would be like that forever.

April 27th was my last orchestra concert until September. Ahhhh. It had gotten really impossible to play. I'm carrying more out in front this time so trying to get comfortable with this big belly was a losing proposition. I'm very glad to be done for awhile.

We have yet to do much of anything on fixing the house. It was supposed to be my "job" to get bids lined up, but the energy ran out right at the crucial moment. I really need to lie down during Kate's naps to help the swelling, and by the time she goes to bed, I'm worn out.

Kate's room is also taking WAY longer than expected. We did two colors of pink on her wall (Pete did a beautiful chair rail on the wall). The bottom pink is perfect, but the top pink wound up too blue. It was a true challenge to our marriage when I insisted we redo the top part. But it is done now and the bed is painted and all at no thanks whatsoever to me. My dear husband has really come through on this. We should be able to get the bed set up this week and then start moving everything in. Hopefully the dresser will arrive in the next week or two (over a month late!) and we can get Kate in there.

Kate is a doll. She's excited for her new room, and seemed to figure out all on her own that her baby sister will sleep in her crib, since we certainly never said that. She keeps talking about her baby sister using her baby room when she moves. Smart, sweet kid. She's big into pretending these days, and when she doesn't insist on wearing a dress so she can be a "pretty, pretty princess" (what happened to my tomboy??) she is busy pretending she's a baby wolf or kitty or some other animal. At this moment, I am mama bird, feeding her a snack as she sits on her "nest" of blankets. It's just amazing to me.

I've been busy doing fun things with her the last couple of months. While I finally believe that this baby will be something for us to experience together and Kate will love her, it does sadden me a bit that it won't just be us anymore. Lately, she's wanted me to snuggle with her until she falls asleep at nap time. I know that conventional sleep wisdom says that's a horrible idea, but for me it's this precious time where I can hold her closely and talk and sing and enjoy her with no distraction. My ability to do that will be greatly reduced if not gone so soon - I'll take every moment I can get. She's growing up so fast.

I remember when Kate was born, someone asked Pete and I what our biggest surprises were. I couldn't really come up with one - I had felt pretty prepared for having an infant. I think I know what my surprise is, now. I never understood that as much as parenthood can fill your heart more than you ever thought possible, it also breaks it just a little bit at the same time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Arizona Highlights

Here are a few highlights/pictures from Arizona. The first highlight was visiting Pete's grandparents, who live in Mesa. They are rapidly approaching 90 and in fantastic shape. Pete and I can only hope to be that active (and that happily married) in another 55 years!! Kate had a blast picking oranges, lemons and grapefruit right from the trees, and also got to help her great-grandfather scatter birdseed to feed all the quail and pigeons that practically live in their backyard.

Kate also loved being able to get outside. We dedicated quite some time in search of a decent playground in Scottsdale, AZ. It doesn't exist. Seriously - we are so grateful for all the wonderful playgrounds and parks at home now!! We didn't realize what a rarity that is! Still, she managed to find some enjoyment...

OK, so she doesn't look to excited in that last picture, but that's more because Mom was making her sit still for a picture. I just love the shot, though. (BTW - who is this grown-up "kid" and where did my little baby Katester go??)

Of course, no trip to 80+ degree weather would be complete without the obligatory afternoons in the pool. Kate is a fish and loved being in the water! When we went in at the start of the week, she had us just drag her around. By mid-week she progressed to holding onto a "noodle" and having us tow her and by Friday she had figured out how to kick those little legs and wave those arms to sort of doggie paddle around the pool under her own steam (all of this while wearing a life jacket, fyi, so don't go signing her up for the Olympics or anything). She was just so darn proud of herself it was so much fun to watch!! Here she is in the "noodle circle" with Daddy.

She also came on a very easy hike one day. Pete and my Dad took off and my Mom and I sauntered with Kate for awhile. Being now in my third trimester, Kate and I are at about the same speed. We saw lots of flowers and cacti and even a Gila monster!! Here she is taking in the wildlife with Grandma.

All in all, it was a great week. Kate has already adjusted to the time change, and was thrilled to see snow again. Wish I could say the same!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gone too soon

Our friend Mitch died on Friday, after a long battle with cancer. He and Pete have been friends since high school - when he fought bone cancer. He managed to stay cancer free until about 5 years ago when he was diagnosed with a GBM (brain tumor). He tried so hard, but this one beat him.

He was 34 and left behind two darling children. He was a wonderful, gentle, funny man and a fantastic father.

He will be missed.

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

We're back from a gorgeous week in Arizona.

The week started out a bit rough, as both Pete and I got Kate's cold and arrived feeling pretty lousy. Mine quickly developed into a sinus infection. We got lots of sleep and took it easy the first couple days, but still really enjoyed the wonderful sunshine and the new activities for Kate.

We got home yesterday and I'm still recovering from the travel. Just like with Kate, I've hit the third trimester and suddenly feel like my energy has plummeted. So off to bed.

I'll post more about the trip and a few pics soon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cabin Fever

Today is day 2 of not leaving the house because Kate is sick. She's doing much better today - fever is gone and she's left with just the other cold symptoms. However, she's still just sick enough to be a royal, whining pain. We're both pretty nutso about not getting out and about the last couple of days, but we're on vacation next week so I really wanted to take it easy and give her every chance of beating this thing before our flight Saturday.

We're off to AZ to visit my folks. I'm REALLY looking forward to some nice weather and to getting her outside every day. She needs it even worse than I do. It's time for this winter to be OVER!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Catch Up

Like Carrie, I have been a bit busy lately, so now I will try to catch up.

First of all, the dreams/anxieties have stopped. I think I finally worked through them - came up with what was probably a pretty good guess as to what they meant - and since then haven't had another one. In fact, go ahead and shoot me, because I've been about as happy as it's possible for me to be lately. I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

The orchestra concert went of superbly. I cannot quite believe we pulled off Ein Heldenleben, but by all accounts, we did. Thanks to many last-minute hours of practicing, I probably only had 6 or so measures that I didn't have nailed (but faked quite well, thank you)! I'll take it - that thing is so beastly hard. Other than some horrendous rushing by my dear section in the second movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, even my nit-picky self can't really complain about the performance.

Of course, we also had a really fun trip up to see Carrie & Steve and meet their darling Dahlia!! She is soooo adorable - I just wanted to squish her! Of course, she's still too much of a peanut for too much squishing, but she has the bluest eyes and the cutest little button nose you ever did see. It was so fun to hold a wee one again! It was also neat to see Kate worry about her when she'd whimper and bring toys over to her, etc. A fun preview for our lives in a few months. It was great to catch up with Carrie, and it's always nice to have more chances to get to know Steve. All in all, a very fun day!

And I noticed that Carrie outed me today - yes, it's true. I am now a knitter. I took a class in September hoping to have the blanket done by her shower in November. Sadly, I got about half done and then morning sickness struck and since that's gotten better I have issues with my hands swelling and going numb, so the blanket is not yet done. I can't wait to not be pregnant anymore so I can get back at it. I love to knit. It's wonderful to have something to do while watching TV or a movie that is actually productive (instead of my usual cryptogram/sudoku/karkuro habit). It's also tremendously relaxing. So if you feel like talking knitting, I'm in!!

Lots of other stuff has happened, but I think this post is long enough for now. Off to do something productive while Kate naps. (After MONTHS of not napping at all, she has been taking 2+ hour naps nearly every day the last couple of weeks. Not convinced it will last, but I'm loving every minute of it.)

Have a happy, sunny day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Guilty little pleasure

I have a confession. Whenever I'm needing a bit of a pick-me-up, I go out and watch the Paul Potts Britian's Got Talent audition on YouTube. I could watch it over and over just to well up and get that tight I-can't-quite-breathe feeling in my chest. Somehow that makes other things seem better.

Another freak out night last night. I'm so tired of having these irrational fears creep up on me at night. I'm sick of having horrible nightmares. I think I've had a dream where Kate is drowning in one fashion or another probably every other night for the last few weeks. I sort of feel like I'm losing my mind. Pete seems to recall me having these kinds of anxiety dreams when I was pregnant with Kate, too, but they were about things happening to him. I just want them to stop.

In the meantime, I guess I'll keep YouTube on my favorites list.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Snow & Sweatpants Day

Since my cold is hanging on, we had to skip playgroup this morning. It's snowing outside, we have food enough, and I was so busy this weekend that I sort of miss Kate, so I've declared today Sweatpants Day and we're just going to hole in and be together.

I've already spent more one-on-one time actually playing with her today than I have in over a week. I'm going to get the laundry done and make some calls and in general enjoy not doing my hair or putting on makeup and just spend some time with my girl.

Another one of those moments that makes me so incredibly grateful to stay home.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Strauss the Sadist

Or at least Strauss the cellist-hater.

Holy cow, is Ein Heldenleben hard. I will admit that it's coming along for me personally better than I thought it would when I first read the part, but it's still unbelievably demanding. I mean, what was he thinking having cellists shift all over the nosebleed section to double the firsts in unison??? Intervals that are a small extension for a violin are an 8-inch shift for us, and we have to do it in a nanosecond. Ugh.

My biggest saving grace is that Strauss is still Strauss. Having played Death and Transfiguration both in college and again in BSO a few years ago, a lot of this is a bit easier to figure out. In fact, the main themes from D&T come back at the end of EH - so at least I knew that part!

The biggest challenge is just the shear physical athleticism required to get through it. There are so few breaks in playing, and the playing is so aggressive, that it's exhausting. Especially when I'm still trying to adjust to my growing belly. I actually have a "cello workout schedule" just to prepare for having to play the whole thing front to back.

I really hope my section is preparing that much, too. It was pretty clear in our sectional last week that there's still a long way to go, plus most of them still didn't have the bowings in their parts (ARGH). But I can't make them practice.

With all my griping, though, I must admit it's really fun to play. It's great to be this challenged in a community orchestra. While I think this is a bit too much of a stretch for us, it's certainly better than doing things that we can read cold.

On a funny cello note - I had a dream this week that I was auditioning for the Minnesota Orchestra. That I had forgotten all about the audition and was there and desperately trying to figure out which concerto I had in the best shape for the audition. That wasn't fun - I haven't had a dream like that in a long time. I guess I'm STILL not practicing enough!!!


I was lucky with Kate - I was pregnant March-December 1st. Since I avoided the heart of the cold & flu season I never got sick when I was pregnant with her. Not so this time.

I have a horrible cold and can't take anything for it. I'm a total wimp with colds and dose myself regularly with anything and everything to help prevent a sinus infection (to which I am prone). I'm going crazy doing this "drug free"! Pete is sick, too. The first time in the 10 years we've been together that we have a cold at the same time. Definitely a sign that we've been running ourselves a bit ragged lately. The only good news is that Kate so far shows no signs of it.

The biggest bummer is that this weekend I was going to go meet Carrie's Miss Dahlia, which will now need to be postponed. :-( I'm dying to see them both and to hold a little baby again!!

Hope you are all healthy and well!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Best Husband of All Time

I have him, in case you were wondering. Lately I find myself so incredibly grateful for my husband. Pete's never been a 'bring home flowers for no reason' kind of guy, yet he does a million little things for me every day that make my life easier. He can be so very considerate (and sometimes so not considerate in other ways, it's interesting). Lately I can only see the positive.

I think being pregnant really makes me appreciate having such a great partner, and I am so lucky to have him.

You can all go throw up now.

Wiped Out

I'm officially exhausted today. Sunday was crazy busy as I: did laundry, rehearsed with my sis-in-law and niece (we played as 2 vln/cello trio at the funeral yesterday), did my own practicing on Ein Heldenleben (damn you, Strauss) and for the funeral (did a solo, too), prepared for cello sectionals on Sunday night, prepared clothes for the funeral, washed & filled the truck, went to rehearsal.... etc. etc. Up way too late, and then up bright and early yesterday to get down to New Ulm by 9AM.

The funeral was nice. They really kept things moving, which I appreciated. I had mixed emotions about playing at the service. I know it made my mom happy, so I never would have refused, but it really complicated an already busy time, and frankly would have rather been able to just sit through the service with my family rather than jump up and down do play. I was doing really well through the service emotionally. I had an inner monologue along the lines of, "It's just another gig. You don't know these people." So I held it together and the playing went well, and I finished my solo and completely lost it. Kind of surprised me, actually.

Last night I was again up way too late, but just for psycho pregnant-woman reasons. Every now and again since I've been pregnant I just get these emotional jags where I am overwhelmed with worry about Kate. All I can do is think about how much I love her and am just crippled with this terror that something might happen to her and that I don't know if I could survive that and how on earth will I be able to function when there is a second little being that I love this much?? Fun, huh? It only happens when Kate is sleeping, and it's always gone when I wake up in the morning. I'm very much hoping this goes away when this baby comes.

So today I am pooped. Pete's sister is coming over for dinner and I'm moving in sloooow motion (thank god for crock pot recipes). I have a to-do list as long as my arm, but I think I'm just going to let most of it go until tomorrow.

An interesting preview to what my sleep-deprived life with a newborn will be like.

On the plus side, my darling girl just pulled up a chair next to me and proclaimed, "I'm so CUTE, Mama!" Hmmm, think she hears that too often?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


In an unexpected development, the mediation did go forward yesterday. At the start of the day, the builder's insurer still didn't have authority to give us any money, but apparently the mediator worked with her and the attorneys for the other parties and managed to get that resolved. (Bonus: we got to be involved over the phone and didn't have to spend our day in the mediator's office, as expected) We're still waiting for an agreement etched in gold, but we're very close. The mediator thinks he can get us a few thousand more so he's going to take through Monday to see what can be done.

For those who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, a quick recap. Last May we decided to have our 1998-built stucco home tested for moisture intrusion. We'd read all the newspaper articles about homes from that era (particularly stucco) degrading internally from wet-rot, we saw a few neighbors have issues, and we knew we were coming up on the end of our 10-year builder's warranty, so we wanted to have it checked. Correction: Pete wanted to have it checked. I was too cheap to spend the $415. We did it (thank God). We have significant problems. Attorney hired, suit filed, yadda yadda yadda.

So here we are. While we're not ecstatic about the numbers we're talking in this mediation, we are satisfied, and we're looking forward to getting this darn thing over with. We're sick of attorney fees and I'm hopeful to get this work done pre-newborn.

Here's hoping the final details work out and we can just move on.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


ARGH. Attorneys suck.

Our mediation on our house tomorrow will likely be canceled. Apparently, the attorney for our builder has yet to receive any authority to negotiate from the builder's insurance company. Without that, we can't have any productive discussions tomorrow.

This pisses me off to no end. We've been dealing with this for 8 months. We've spent close to $10k already on attorney fees. I want to get this house fixed before I have a newborn in it. We just want the damn thing over with and the builder/insurer have been a total pain in the a$$ since day one. We'd just say screw this mediation thing, but a trial will likely cost us $30-50k in and of itself, so that's really a very last resort. I'm just so damn frustrated.

The one bright point in my day - thank GOD - is that Kate is taking her first nap in 4 weeks. At least I have some down time to deal with all the crappy stuff in this day.

She's Gone

My grandma died today. I'm so relieved for her - she's had essentially no quality of life for a very long time. She couldn't communicate at all. She had no dignity. I'm glad her suffering is over.

I'm so sad, though, that my mother wasn't there. She's been loathe to leave her side for days. Apparently, she had just left the hospital when her father died, and she's always regretted it. She's been very clear she wanted to be there when grandma passed. Today she had - of all silly things - a hair appointment and wanted very much to cancel it, but my Aunt Nita was convincing her she should just go and get it done. (Kate and I spent about an hour there this morning and heard the conversations) So my mom went ahead and left - just for an hour - and apparently shortly after she left, grandma died. I know that will break her heart, so it's breaking mine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Valuable Lesson (or, I am an Idiot)

This morning I was in a huge hurry - getting ready for our cleaning service to come and trying to get out of the house to meet our friends at 9:30. I had a few dishes from last night that sadly just didn't get hand washed, so in a flurry this morning, I stuck them in the oven to get them out of the way for the cleaning gal. (The second time ever in my life I have done this). Then I went on with my day.

Tonight, distracted by a screaming toddler, I turned on the oven to preheat for dinner, totally foregetting about my little stash trick. Thankfully, Pete called 10 minutes later and as I got up to get the phone I noticed large orange flames through the window of the oven. ONe of the dishes was a plastic bowl, which had caught fire at a fairly low temperature. I grabbed a fire extinguisher, and within a minute the flames were out and our kitchen and family room were full of noxious odor, smoke, and fire extinguisher chemicals.

I am sharing this very embarrassing story for two reasons. First of all, I'm sure you are all too smart and too organized to use the oven for anything other than its created purpose. If, however, you ever find yourself tempted to use it as storage - THINK AGAIN! Secondly, and most importantly, if you don't have convenient fire extinguishers in your house, I beg you to get them. We were lucky - this wound up being just an inconvenience. We're out a bowl, we'll have to replace the fire extinguisher, I had to clean soot off everything in my freshly cleaned house, and Kate learned a couple of not-so-appropriate words. However, if we'd not had that fire extinguisher, it would have been much worse.

Before moving into this house, I never had a fire extinguisher. Now we have a couple on the main floor and based on this are going to add them downstairs and upstairs. Hopefully you'll never have a moment of idiocy like mine that would require it, but if you do, you will be so grateful you had this small, effective tool available. I sure am.

Monday, January 21, 2008


My first sewing project is floor pillows for my downstairs. I have an extra set of drapes from down there (long story) that I've taken apart, so I have a ton of free fabric to learn with. I spent probably about two hours on it tonight and I got one - that's right, ONE - 27" pillow cut out. It is remarkably hard to cut fabric. Well, at least to cut it straight, with the grain, in right angles. At this rate it's going to take me a YEAR just to do these darn pillows.

My parents flew home from AZ yesterday. My Grandma is in really bad shape. She's stopped eating or drinking anything now and is totally unresponsive. My mom is arranging for hospice care to come in and make her comfortable, but the general assumption is that she won't last much longer. Thankfully, her sister flew in and is helping her with all this stuff (her brothers are useless). It's hard to watch my Mom go through this, and harder still to even conceive of having to make such decisions myself someday. Makes me glad that Kate will at least have a sister to help her when we're the ones in the nursing home.

So...ugh. That's pretty much all I have to say about today.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Does Elmo make YOU cry?

We took Kate to Sesame Street Live this morning - it was a blast! She wasn't really dancing or clapping - she's not really that kind of kid - but she was enthralled. She seemed to enjoy the show, and she definitely liked the popcorn and the giant Elmo-head balloon we got her as a souvenir. I was a bit worried if she would like it since she's really not very interested in Sesame Street anymore, but she didn't stop talking about it all day!

The show started and I looked at Kate's delighted face and Pete and I were snuggling her and I totally teared up. I was just so overwhelmed by how lucky we are to have her and how much I love her and Pete and the baby and - ahhh! Please tell me I can chalk up "welling up with emotion at Sesame Street Live" to pregnancy hormones! Otherwise, I have completely flipped out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2008: The Year I Learn to Sew

2008 is a year of many things for me. First of all, it's The Year We Fix the House. We'll be redoing the exterior of our house (thanks to faulty stucco wet rot - more to come on that later). That will be an enormous and expensive project - I can't even really comprehend how huge it's going to be.

Obviously, it's also The Year of the Second Baby. So, in other words, all other "Year Of" goals better be accomplished by early June, because once the little one makes her appearance, all bets are off for me getting anything else done for the rest of the year. My only goals beyond that point will be to sleep and to take off that baby weight faster than last time.

I've also decided it's The Year I Learn to Sew. I've had a sewing machine for years. When we bought this house my mom helped me sew some pillows for our family room, which turned out great. Since then, though, with the sole exception of mending a torn painting tarp, the machine has been stashed away. I couldn't tell you how to wind a bobbin right now if my life depended on it.

This, in itself, would be no real issue, if it wasn't for the undue influence of my mother. You see, anytime I've decorated a room or had something sewn for me, my mother somehow manages to convince me to buy extra fabric for pillows, accents, etc. She convinces me it's so much cheaper to do it myself (which is true) and that she'll come up for a couple days and help me (which is NOT true). So I have a LOT of fabric that I'm tired of looking at, and the time has come.

I should be able to figure this out, right? I mean, I'm a reasonably smart person. I used to manage dozens of people and projects costing tens of millions of dollars. Why does that little white machine intimidate me so much? It's crazy. So today we went to JoAnn fabric and I got some supplies to get me started on my upcoming sewing binge. First up: floor pillows for downstairs.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big Girl Bed

I've been having a ball lately finally getting moving on preparing a "big girl bedroom" for Kate. We went back and forth a lot about whether to move Kate or just move the crib into a different room and decorate that room for the baby. However, we knew we weren't going to buy another glider, and decided that since that room was designed for a baby - and we've had a few instances of Kate climbing out of her crib - the time had come to move her.

I have some old twin beds my mom got at an auction years ago, which she gave to me when they moved up from Austin. I'm going to paint one white and get a white dresser. I'm being a total lemming and doing Pottery Barn Kids (Audry) bedding for her, but I just can't help myself - it's so darn cute!! So much of the really kids-y stuff is so cheaply made, and thankfully Kate's not yet into Dora or Princesses to the point where she has an opinion, so I can still make the decision. At least the PBK stuff is nicely made and adorable. I think we will go pink on the walls. It's so much fun!!

Now I just need to get rid of my old bedroom set that's still taking up space in Kate's soon-to-be room. It's such a pretty set (many of you may remember it from my room in Austin), but it's a full bed and our rooms just aren't big enough for that. The bed and dresser fit, but then there's no room for anything else, and I really like the idea of her having some play space in her room, so she can entertain herself while I'm in the shower, etc. So, if you know anyone in the market, let me know. My sister may take it - it was actually hers first - but if not it'll have to go on craigslist. Makes me kind of sad, but as I get older I am far less attached to "things" and much more appreciative of getting stuff we don't want/need out of the house!

It feels sort of strange to be really making strides on this, now. I guess we're accepting that there's most likely going to be another teeny tiny person around here in a few months!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

But for the grace of God

There was another story in the paper today about some college kid dying of alcohol poisoning, after a night of partying. "They drink a lot all the time," their friends say. "They didn't even seem that drunk." It seems there's a story like this every week lately.

I so clearly remember being one of those kids. Most of you who read this blog were right there with me - often literally by my side. While we were pretty good at looking out for each other, we pushed those limits so very far so often. We were damn lucky.

I read these stories and it's not the kids I identify with anymore - my heart breaks for those parents. Never once did I realize how much I was gambling with something so precious to my parents. You just don't get it until you're on the other side. And I hope and pray my girls are more wise, more careful.

Or at least just as damn lucky.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Guitar Hero

Well, I think I finally have all the holiday decorations put away and the house back to normal. Whew. I've never seen a tree drop so many needles - 45 minutes of vacuuming, and I'm sure there are still some hiding in there somewhere.

Last night Pete and I took a whirl with his Christmas present from Kate and me - Guitar Hero for our XBOX360. It was pretty fun! It's kind of nice to have an XBOX game where I can hold my own with him, at least. We have played Halo together, but he's so much better than me that I'm mostly just along for the ride. I'm not at all interested in even trying the driving/racing games. I've crashed enough cars in real life so that even crashing an animated one is a bit stressful.

The best part about it is that it's something Pete and I can do together. We've been married for 6 1/2 years now, and it's just too easy for us to spend all our evenings totally engaged in our own things and not really interacting. While I think some level of that is healthy, we should probably be more attentive to spending time together. We've had too many friends divorce in the past few years to take anything for granted (not that I'm at ALL worried about that for us, mind you). So, anyway, it was fun to spend time together.

I have to say, even holding a pretend guitar with 5 buttons is really uncomfortable to a cellist. The hand angle is all off - I cannot get it to feel natural - and sadly, the game has features that would prevent me from just holding the guitar like a cello. My hand is actually sore today (I can relate to Meigan's Wii induced "tennis elbow"). Not so good, since I'm still procrastinating tackling the behemoth that is Ein Heldenleben. Now I just need to make sure I'm not spending my time "practicing" guitar, when I should be really practicing! I have to get my cello-playing in while I can still reach around my belly!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mmm, those fingers are tasty...

An audible sigh of relief

Little One passed the ultrasound with flying colors. Every single thing they looked at - normal. Not a single question, concern, soft marker, anything. Even the perinatologist flat out said we didn't need an amnio. I still have a low-lying placenta (no longer covering the cervix, but still really darn close) but he also said he would be surprised if it didn't continue to move out of the way. All in all, it was a wonderful relief to know that the early measurement was an anomaly and we have what seems to be a healthy baby on the way.

We're both pretty gosh darn excited.

As for the gender, I must admit we caved. We decided to be practical regarding planning and names, and because I have sometimes thought it perhaps slowed my bonding with Kate, because I was so sure she was going to be a boy it took my awhile to accept she was a girl.

I'll have to see how I feel after delivery and all, but right now I'm glad I know. I really like knowing and I swear I feel even more attached to the Little One than I did this morning. Of course, that could be in part because I finally believe this baby is really coming. She is really coming. And we all can't wait to meet her.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Most mornings (when she doesn't want oatmeal or demand goldfish or the like), I give Kate a small bowl of cereal and small cups of OJ and milk. She likes to pour the milk on her cereal herself.

This morning I noticed a weird look on her still sleepy face - as she ate a big spoonful of Wheat Chex swimming in orange juice.


To see or not to see

We have our level II ultrasound tomorrow. First of all, we are really hoping we find out we have a healthy little monkey in there.

About 6 weeks ago, we did a "First Trimester Screen" based on advice from by OB. Since I'm now the ripe old age of 35, there seems to be a general fear in the medical community that I will give birth to a two-headed goat or something, so they want to test anything and everything they can get their hands on.

The First Trimester Screen looks at an ultrasound measurement called the Nuchal Translucency and then also assesses some bloodwork to determine your overall risk for Down's Syndrome and Trisomies 13 and 18. I won't to into the whole traumatic ordeal we went through there. The highlights were this - the ultrasound showed a "borderline" measurement - meaning it was on the big side which indicates a problem (either the above-mentioned or a cardiac defect). Thankfully, the blood work was so good it negated the trisomy risk and my overall screen came back "normal risk".

While I feel strongly this baby is healthy, because of that experience it seems less of a given than it did with Kate, so I have to say outright - most importantly, we hope it is healthy.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about a far more trivial matter: should we find out the gender? We wanted to and planned to with Kate, but she was modest, and we wound up kind of enjoying the unknown. So we're trying to decide if we want to know now (for planning, names, etc.) or if we want to wait it out again. If we do find out, we're trying to decide if we're going to tell other people or at least try to keep it to ourselves.

I guess I'll just have to see what mood takes me at the appointment tomorrow. I almost wish I felt strongly about it one way or the other, because it would just be easier. Or maybe I am focusing on this one, relatively unimportant detail because it keeps me from worrying about finding a two or three chambered heart or something else that would be incompatible with life.

Either way, I look forward to getting this over with.