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.