Monday, October 30, 2006


It's been a pretty shitty day today. I got a call from one of the midwives at the birth center about the fact that I tested positive as a carrier for cystic fibrosis. Now Husband has to get tested to determine if he is, too. If he isn't, there's little to no chance that our baby will be born with the disease. If he is, then the baby has a 25% chance of being born with it. I immediately called Husband after hanging up with the midwife and burst into tears when he answered the phone. My thought was not of this baby in my belly, but of Bean who exists already. I now think I needn't have worried about her, because in reading descriptions of cystic fibrosis on-line today it looks as if Bean would already be a sickly child indeed if she'd been born with it. Still, both she and Sister have a 50% chance of being carriers themselves, and now I have to fear for any children they give birth to in the future as well as this new baby of mine.

Then again, I may not have to think about this new sibling because--as if the threat of cystic fibrosis wasn't enough--I'm spotting today, and have been since 5:00 am. I haven't had cramps so I have no way of knowing what the hell is going on, and neither do the midwives. I just have to wait and see, and in the meantime I'm pretty freaked out about it all.

Part of me also sees the irony in being so freaked out recently about the prospect of having this third baby so soon. Now I'm just worried that I won't.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Free time

This was a gorgeous, windy, bright fall day here in NC. I spent most of it indoors, unfortunately, stuck in a whole day's worth of Girl Scout leader training. The morning session was 4 solid hours and the afternoon class was a jam-packed 3 hours. By the end of it, I was information saturated and I think my eyes were literally glazing over. By the time 4:00 rolled around, I kept having to read the same sentence in our books several times before I could comprehend it. But in between those 2 grueling sessions I had an hour and a half lunch break. A whole hour and a half to myself where I wasn't expected to be at home or anywhere else, where the kids were taken care of, and I could do what I pleased.

I was practically delirious with the restaurant options for my solitary lunch.

My grilled reuben dripping with Russian dressing, pastrami hangings, and yummy sauerkraut was delicious, and the cannoli I had afterwards was tongue-shockingly sweet, creamy, and crunchy all at once. Because the deli was take-out only, I ate it all in my car with the windows rolled down to catch the stiff breeze. I licked my fingers afterwards.

But possibly even more delicious than that was the walk I took to a nearby park afterwards. The weather was, as I mentioned, lovely for a brisk walk, and with a little time to myself I fully realized that I am pregnant. It sunk in today. I noticed that I felt poochy today, though granted that was probably because of my recently gobbled lunch.

It wasn't just that, though. I just felt pregnant all of a sudden, sort of roundish and full of busy cells and blood and life.

This is the last time I'll be going through pregnancy, and I was so glad to have a bit of free time to pay attention.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My life without blog

Our internet connection has been spotty at best for the past few days. For some reason, Time Warner Cable has to deal with this problem in our neighborhood everytime it's a bit rainy outside. I've missed my blog, and more than that I've missed your blogs. But on the other hand, I do get quite a lot done without the blog vortex sucking me down during naptime hours. Witness,

  1. I finished planting 2 flats of cute little Johnny-jump-ups in my front bed. They've been waiting for me right by the front door for 3 weeks now.
  2. I mulched most of that same front bed to lessen the quantity of mud that comes sliding down the front walkway everytime I try to water the new plants I've put in there. Plus, mulch will control the little fall weedies that are popping up everywhere.
  3. I dug up 5 azalea crowns from diseased, old azaleas growing unhappily at the side of the house. I don't much care for azaleas anyway. Too ubiquitous in Southern suburbia, and they're only pretty for a couple of weeks in the spring.
  4. I got a start on digging a giant hole in the backyard for a redbud tree before I hit what must've been a bed of prehistoric sandstone. Ten minutes of trying to scrape some headway and my heart was racing, I was dripping sweat, and the shovel felt like it was made of lead. Yes, I am out of shape, thanks, but that was some damn heavy clay shit! This is a job for Husband to finish, I think.
  5. I made a big batch of buttercream for decorating some pumpkin cupcakes with Sister and a friend who's over today on this, a teacher workday. I love teacher workdays. It's almost enough to make me consider home-schooling except that I know that my days would not be spent baking cupcakes and letting Sister veg out in front of movies. (Or would it...?)
  6. I ordered hundreds of flower bulbs!
  7. I gave some thought to Thanksgiving dinner!
  8. And I talked with my mom about her visit with my brother earlier this week. He looks great, she said, and is currently living with 2 other recovering addicts in a condo owned by their mother. He seems to be getting back on track and as long as he's employed and staying clean, he's welcome to live there. Considering he's spent the last 2 winters living in a tent, my mother and I are both very relieved that he'll at least have a warm place to live.
See? Very busy without the blog as an option. It's been quite cozy.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I had my first prenatal appointment this morning at the birth center where I had both Sister and Bean. Not all the midwives I remember are still there, but enough of them were there that I felt very welcome. I'm sure it's a nice validation when they get repeat customers, especially when it's for something more than just buying your toothpaste or your sewing supplies or what have you. They couldn't yet hear the baby's heartbeat since I'm only just over 9 weeks so far, but the RN went overboard reassuring me that my uterus "definitely felt pregnant" and the right size for gestational age. I'm not worried.

But I also walked away not terribly cheered up, as I'd hoped to be. I can't tell if I'm just super hormonal or what, but I just feel blue today. Probably it's got something to do with a talk that Husband and I had last night at the dinner table. A little back story is in order here.

I have a brother 2 years younger than me who is homeless and a previous heroin addict, probably still using. He lives in a city a couple of hours from here and, needless to say, has made a complete mess of his life. He has 2 sons by different mothers, neither of whom he's allowed to see anymore. He pays no child support to their moms, and is employed only some of the time. When he did work steadily, he was a stone mason and made good money at it. Now when he works, it's at drudge construction jobs, and I suspect that his money is spent on fast food meals, helping various friends with whom he sometimes lives for a few weeks at a time pay their rent or gas or whatever, and yes, drugs.

My mother is going to see him tomorrow for his 33rd birthday. She's taking him out to lunch, and to get a haircut and some new, warm clothes. She asked me on the phone last night if she could invite him to Thanksgiving, which Husband and I are hosting this year, if my brother seemed o.k. I told her I thought it would be fine, but that I didn't think that we'd be comfortable with him staying overnight in our house. This may sound harsh to you, but if he's really still an addict, then he could very likely do something stupid like steal cash from our wallets when we weren't paying attention, or make off with some small electronic thing he could pawn or something. My mom thought this was reasonable, and even said she'd likely put him up in a hotel because her own husband, my step-father, wouldn't want him staying there either.

When I mentioned this conversation to Husband, he just got silent. I asked him if this made him unhappy, and he told me frankly that he didn't want my brother to come to Thanksgiving. At all. He didn't want him in our house or around our kids. He'd been keeping tabs of him through his county's courhouse website, had seen his arrest record and mug shots, and just didn't want him here. I didn't know what to say. My mother has also been keeping tabs of him that way, and says that he was arrested once this year for possession of drug paraphernalia and 3 times for failing to appear in court. She thinks he's more or less o.k. now.

I emailed my mom to tell her about my conversation with Husband, and she told me she understood, but emailed me a link to the courthouse website so that I could see for myself my brother's arrest record. When I looked, there were pictures of my brother that I couldn't believe. Just devastating pictures. He looks like a homeless person. He's dirty and underweight and has uncut hair, and in one photo his eyes were rolling from whatever he was on as the picture was snapped. And my mother was wrong. He'd been arrested 4 times this year for possession of drug paraphernalia.

So my husband is right and I don't feel comfortable having my brother around our kids and in our house either, even for a few hours of Thanksgiving dinner. And this is such a shitty thing to admit, that I'm keeping my door closed to my brother, knowing that he won't be with family, won't get to meet Bean whom he's never seen, and will likely be eating a Thanksgiving meal at the homeless shelter, if he eats anything at all. I feel horrible.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The first of many pregnancy gripes

A good friend of Husband's was over this afternoon with his wife and kids. It was very pleasant despite the rainy afternoon--the kids all ran around screaming, helping themselves to the plate of cookies in the kitchen at frequent intervals while the grown-ups sipped hot cider and tea (me and the other wife) or cold beer (the husbands) and talked.

These friends have 2 kids born 12 months and 2 weeks apart. They're 6 and 7 now and their crazy, newborn days are long over. The parents seem downright serene and content, so I asked the mom what advice she might have for me once I'm the mom of 2 very little ones. Her advice was damn funny. She told me right away, "Just don't go anywhere or do anything," which made me laugh. Of course! I mean, I knew that! It makes total sense. By the time you've got them both dressed and in clean diapers and their giant, shared diaper bag packed, and snacks packed, and then one of them needs another diaper change, and then you lug them both out of the house and buckle them both into car seats...well, it hardly seems like it'd be worth getting to where you're going. So this mom said, and I can see it.

Husband and I went to dinner at a different set of friends' house last night with both Sister and Bean in tow. We met this couple at the birth class we took when I was pregnant with Bean and they're the only ones we've kept in touch with. Their son is a month older than Bean, and they're now pregnant again, too, a month ahead of us again. While the guys talked techie stuff, I talked with the other wife about how she was feeling physically, how she anticipated her little son would handle it, how her last birth had gone and that sort of thing. She made it clear that it was freaking her out some, contemplating a second child with her first so young. When I mentioned this to Husband upon returning home, he asked me, surprised, "Are you freaking out about this?" To which I replied, "Uh, yeah. You're not?" And apparently he's not.

My first prenatal appointment is tomorrow and I'm wondering if I can let my mixed feelings show, or if I'm going to be asked annoying, leading questions like, "Are you so excited?!" from a beaming, midwife-intern type. What I really want is someone who's going to say to me knowingly, "Honey, you're in for it. Now here's what you need to do..." and who will then go on to tell me all their secret mommying tips for staying sane with 1 kid in school and 2 still at home. 'Cause I spend a fair amount of time worrying just how the hell I'm going to pull this off with any sort of grace or sweetness. Grandi, whose been-through-it-all grandmama perspective I find incredibly helpful and reassuring, commented on my last post that someday I'd have the privilege of hearing my kids talk over the dinner table about how much fun it all was. I just hope that's true and it's not them talking about what an absolute bitch I was, which frankly seems like the more likely scenario.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Okay, quick! Our third wedding anniversary has snuck up on me, and I've just learned that it's our leather anniversary. Leather! A Google search for "third anniversary leather gifts" has yielded either very boring or very expensive ideas--leather luggage, leather briefcases, leather wallet, leather belt, etc. Husband neither needs nor would want any of these things. Anyone out there got any brilliant ideas? Lay them on me, please! If, however, you're a friend of Husband's thinking of doing him a favor, just know that "leather-clad escort" is NOT an option. (One of the expensive options I ran across on a Google search, that one.)

Help me!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Big question

I've been back from my fabulous beach vacation for 2 days now, but was so immediately plunged back into the daily grind that it's taken me this long to get to blogging again. I didn't think it would wear off THIS fast, dammit! Ah well. It was worth the back-to-real-life shock. We had 2 full days of having to do absolutely nothing. I read magazines I've been meaning to read. I wrote in my journal. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I damn well pleased, and didn't have to fix any for anyone else. I went to bed very late and got up late, too. Most strikingly to me, though it was a subtle thing, was that when I woke up in the morning I just lay there awhile. Opened my eyes and stared up at the ceiling and thought quietly about things before I pulled back the covers. I can't remember the last time I did that.

But I'm mostly solidly back now. Not sleeping great because the baby's still, STILL not sleeping great. Rushing through mornings to try to get Sister out the door to school on time. Lunch packing. Homework supervising. Laundry folding. Sigh.

One of my friends asked me while I was there if I had any strategies for coping with things once spring rolls around and there's another little baby on the scene. The question stopped me cold as I realized how damn hard it's going to be to have 2 such young children. I told her that basically I would be kissing my own interests and hobbies goodbye for the next couple of years and just keeping my head down. I already don't have much time for doing the things I like to do, and soon I'll have zero time. I'm just glad that Sister will be almost 9 by then and perfectly capable--as she is now--of taking care of many things herself. She really is an incredible big sister.

But I don't mean to sound as if having this third child is something I don't want to do. I did want one last baby and if the timing was off by a couple of months that shouldn't be SO daunting. But I'm beginning to realize that it is very daunting indeed and asking myself, "What the hell have we done?!" Mixed feelings? You betcha.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Packing list

2 pairs of fat pants? Check.
1 fat skirt? Check.
Large beach towel? Check.
All my favorite CD's for the road? Check.
Grocery bags and a cooler stuffed with chips, crackers, pates, cheeses, chocolate cherry chunk cookies, and all manner of very delicious snackies? Double check.
Bathing suit? Check.
Bikini wax? Are you kidding?! These are my girlfriends! No check.
Gleeful expression and loud heart thumping as I realize that I am minutes from walking out the door to my fabulous all-ladies beach trip for the next 3, baby-free nights? Check, but I'm keeping those low key for the sake of my poor, put-upon husband. God bless him.

See y'all on the other side!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Beginning the new garden

Bean woke up at 4:30 this morning screaming, and then woke every ten minutes after that for the next 2 hours, crying her loudest. I was exhausted, and still kind of am, though I'm coasting on a couple of dark chocolate cherry chunk cookies that I just got out of the oven. (I'm baking a couple kinds of cookies to take to the beach--good, grown-up kinds with chunks in them.) But the good thing about Bean depriving herself of so much sleep was that she fell asleep in the stroller while we were out walking the dog this morning, and this meant that I got to garden. I just left her sitting in her stroller in the front yard and dug away at the bed in front of the house til she woke half an hour later.

It's been a few months since I was able to plant anything and now, of course, we're in a whole 'nother garden space. It's nice dirt here--heavy with all the clay, but still workable because previous owners have also done a little gardening and lightened things up a bit. I planted some hardy lantanas, some catmint, a sweetspire bush, 2 white flowering camellias, and some pretty purple asters, just for some color right now. I'm trying to go with a few new gardening assumptions at this new place. Namely, that global warming is here to stay and I should really be planting as much that is drought-tolerant and tough as possible. Also, that you just can't force soil conditions. The beds by the house appear to be moist-ish and rich, but when I get around to planting by the street it'll be plants as close to cacti as I can stand to make them since the ground out there is bone dry. And lastly, I had the recent realization--just this morning, in fact!--that I can make our gardens here full of smells that my girls will from here on out associate with this house and this life and maybe with their mother who loves them. Lantanas, lavender, sweetspire, gardenias, and tea olive are all present in these beds already. I'm going to start going with more good-smelling stuff to see what kind of smell associations I can instill in my babies. Seems like a nice way to try to be remembered.

And one final, parting comment about gardening before I quit boring those of you who couldn't care less. I forgot how much I really love it after this long, busy, extremely hot summer. It felt really wonderful to be back out digging in the dirt again. I can already see what this garden is going to look like in my head, and I can't wait to really get started, heavy clay and all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Countdown til Friday

It's official. I have all the emotional maturity of an 16-year old high school girl. The playgroup mom who dissed us yesterday? She sent an email last night with "I am SO SORRY" as the subject line. She'd been in California and it had completely slipped her mind to let us know she wouldn't be coming to the playgroup. She was extremely apologetic and we're all good playgroup buddies again. Makes me glad I phrased my email to her as neutrally inquisitive as possible, inquiring after her well-being, even. I am NOT a weirdo that other moms try to avoid after all.

But now my mental attentions are straying to the fact that I'm going to the beach this weekend. Husband isn't going. Neither are Sister or Bean. Who IS going? Me and four of my very good girlfriends, (including Mommygoth!) on our annual all-ladies-all-the-time oceanside estrogen-fest. I'm desperately excited about the prospect of 3 nights' worth of uninterrupted sleep, no dinner preparations, no children to entertain (God love 'em), all the grown-up girl talk I could possibly want, walks on the beach if I want, reading trashy novels on the oceanfront porch if I want, cookies for breakfast if I want, and yes, dammit, a glass of wine if I want. Dreamy, no?

But I've got to keep my head down and still.get.through.this.week. Here's what I have left to do:

  • 3 more nights of teething Bean waking to scream her head off at least once and probably more times per night. She'll then wake at 6 am, insisting that it is too time to get up.
  • 2 afternoons hassling Sister to finish her homework already and get into her bathing suit for swim class across town. Then entertaining Bean in a gym for 40 minutes when the childcare isn't open, and anyway Bean screams her head off if I try to drop her off at gym childcare.
  • 1 Brownie meeting, including snack for 15 girls, that's only partly planned so far. I'll probably need to run to the store at some point for craft supplies, too. (Crap, better do that tomorrow...)
  • 1 baby music class across town, which is mostly fun except that about halfway through the class Bean starts bogarting the laps of any dads that happen to be present. This generally pisses off their own offspring, makes me feel a bit awkward, and makes all the other parents stare at me as if I am secretly doing things at home to make Bean scared of me.
  • 6 dog walks, 6 animal feedings, 3 dinners to prepare, 3 toilets to scrub, many loads of laundry, etc.
But after that, I'll be hitting the road around lunchtime on Friday, the car stocked with my favorite road trip CD's, the windows down, leaving Bean with her beloved Papa and Sister to be picked up from school by my Ex. They'll all be fine and will miss me. I'll miss them, too, of course.

But I can't frickin' wait!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dissed by a playgroup mom

I just finished hosting the second meeting of our playgroup at my house, but for some reason one of the moms didn't respond to my email or bother showing up. This meant that it was just me and one other mom because so far we haven't had anyone else in the vast mothers' group list want to meet on Monday mornings. This no-show mom's absence was pretty conspicuous, then, as you might imagine, and I couldn't help feeling like I was back in high school again or something. Like I planned a party where I invited someone I liked--because I did entertain visions that this mom and I would really like each other--who just didn't come. I'm wondering now what did I do to scare her off. I mean, I didn't even cuss lat week! Am I some kind of weirdo? Oooh, or maybe it was the crappy, 80's hair band music that the other mom played in the background when we met at her house last week that scared this California native off? (Actually, I thought it was a pretty weird choice of music myself, but what do you do when it's someone else's house?) I don't know. But I can't help feeling a little rejected. Stupid, huh? When I'm in my mid-30's now, happily married, with a pretty sound self-image?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More on food

Aw, shucks! Y'all are just so nice to be saying congratulations and asking after my level of barfiness and all. And not one of you asked if this pregnancy was planned like my mother did. So sweet!

We're in the throes of homework/snack time at the moment, and so far Sister has been at her eating and homeworking for just over an hour now. I keep thinking the snacking is coming to an end, but I happen to be trying to get a jumpstart on dinner at the same time, and the girls both keep begging me for pieces of what I'm making to supplement the perfectly adequate snack of cheese and crackers and dried strawberries they've already eaten. Sister likes this new kind of dill pickles after all, it appears, and who knew that Bean liked pickles at all? I gave her a little cube of one and she immediately dragged her high chair over from across the room so that I could give her much, much more. Little part-Polish girls after my own heart.

Me? I'm having a hard time with the food lately. I'm only slightly barfy in the mornings, which is usual for the knocked-up me. I'm also starving at various points during the day. Already! At seven weeks! But the hard part is that I can't think of a thing I feel like eating, and believe me, I'd be happy to eat! I gained 50 pounds with Sister and 40 with Bean and, well, whatever. It all came off after nursing awhile. Most of it did anyway. Stupid recommended 25-35 pound weight gain. But fabulous nursing!

The one thing I've found that is very delicious to me is drinks with ice in them. Ice is SO yummy to me right now. Oh, and Ben and Jerry's, any flavor. They sort of balance each other out, dontcha think?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Long time no blog

I have zero excuse why I haven't been blogging or even keeping up with others' blogs lately. I'm busy, but when am I not? I have projects going--transforming the antique quilt top I bought a few weeks ago into a full-fledged quilt, tiling the top of a perfectly nice, round table that a neighbor discarded by the side of the road recently, cake-baking, soup-simmering, homework-supervising, etc, etc--but these days I usually have some kind of project working, so even that is no excuse.

Maybe it's because I'm pregnant? Yeah, maybe.

'Cause while I've got all these other things going on, I basically didn't know what else to blog about as long as I was keeping my knocked-up state a secret. So now that I've told my mother, most of my friends, and hell, even my insurance agent, I guess it's time to tell all of you. I am about 7 weeks pregnant with my third and probably last child.

I know, it's a little early to be spilling it all over the internet, but in the event that I miscarry (God forbid), I'd want to blog about that, too. So how 'bout that? I'm pregnant again...