Monday, September 29, 2008

Look who's here!

Bravo has arrived!!

Wesley Thomas
8 lb 3 oz
20 inches
11:00 AM, Sunday, September 28

8lb 3oz, 21 inches Wesley Thomas

My water broke when I got up on Sunday morning at 6:30 so we headed to the hospital, handed off Charlie, got an epidural, and had a baby. It really did seem that fast! Everyone is doing well. Wesley nurses like a champ... a really pinchy, hungry champ.

Small feet
Charlie thinks his feet are HILARIOUS.

More later...

Friday, September 26, 2008


As we speak, I am cooking a pot roast. It's in the crock pot. It smells like adults live in our house. In fact, I was very confused when I woke up from my nap that somehow I woke up at my grandparents' house, in Maryland, in 1987.

I think I will greet Ryan at the door wearing heels and pearls and carrying his favorite cocktail in one of those heavy, smoke colored Old Fashioned glasses with the diamond grid on the bottom and a ship etched into the side. Then I will shoo a freshly bathed and impeccably dressed Charlie off to play quietly so Ryan can read his paper while I put the little white hats on 'the roast' before serving. Where do the little white hats go? This particular roast has nothing sticking out of it that looks particularly hat-worthy.

Or maybe (like last night) I will hand him Charlie fresh from a time-out then flit back into the kitchen without so much as a peck on the cheek muttering appologies about the huge mess and the fact that dinner won't be ready for another half hour before asking him if he would mind running out after he gives Charlie a bath because I forgot to buy milk.

At any rate, nesting has taken a tasty turn in this house.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Communication Breakdown

Driving to our church's mom's group this morning I turned around at a red light and saw Charlie chewing something.

"Charlie," I said "What are you eating?"

"Cheerios!" he replied.

We were having an actual conversation, it was so cool! Then I asked (because I couldn't remember the last time we had brought Cheerios in the car)

"Where did you find the Cheerios?"



Charlie did great at my OB check today. He exclaimed "MAMA POTTY!" as I undressed for my exam. He was very curious when we listened to Bravo's heartbeat. He politely turned the other way when I shook my fists at the heavens upon learning that not only am I STILL at 1 cm, Bravo's head isn't low enough to do anything productive.

I think Bravo knew I wanted to watch new episodes The Office and ER tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I feel like I should be knitting hats or something.

On Monday I caused quite the stir when I described to the nurse on the phone the doubling in size of my ankles and hands that occurred over the weekend and got myself my very own nurse practitioner's appointment.

While I was getting ready for Church on Sunday, Charlie saw me trying to cram my feet, which looked like something you'd buy at a bakery, into my cute little crossed-strap Mary Janes and encouraged me to "PUSHHHHHHHH!!" I can take a hint. I wore my sneakers. Converse All Stars to be exact. The laces provided just enough mechanical advantage to get them tied. And then I sat through an hour-long Sunday School lesson completely unable to move my toes before saying to Ryan "We have to go home. I can't go to church. I am very uncomfortable."

So I called the nurse on Monday and said "I'm sure it's nothing, but my feet and hands were about twice as swollen over the weekend as they were on Friday..."

[urgently] "Can you come in at 2:00?"

Uh, OK.

My blood pressure and protein were fine, but I had managed to gain four pounds in three days, which concerned the doctor who said it was all from fluid (this made me want to go buy a big box of Hostess Cupcakes immediately because fluid! It's all fluid! Nothing I ATE made me gain all this weight!). So I was sent home with orders to sit around with my feet up as much as possible and to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day (I complained about the water part to Ryan because a "glass" is hardly a standard unit of measure and therefore it is not possible to know whether I am having enough water or not. Also, more water means less sitting around and more waddling to the bathroom).

Sensible advice, but I still had to run some errands, pick Charlie up at daycare, then stand in the sun in the culdesac with my friends for an hour while the kids played, then wait another hour for Ryan to come home before I could start following it.

I was disappointed when the doctor didn't say "You're fine, but I think we should induce immediately... just to be safe."

So here I am... still giant, hot, not sleeping, caffeine restricted, puffy... but certainly drinking more water. I have another checkup tomorrow. Charlie will be there, so I don't have my usual hope of being asked to go straight to L&D (although what a GREAT story that would make! "Here's my birth partner. He's two!"). I'm thinking animal crackers and our garage door opener will provide enough distraction (he has, after all, just reached the age where he will think it's HYSTERICAL that Mama's taking off her pants in public), but it will be during naptime so let's hope it's FAST.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

C is for Cookie. But T is for Terror.

We took an nice little video the other night because Charlie was enjoying Elmo on YouTube so much (that's the first part). Things took an ugly turn when Cookie Monster came on singing "C is for Cookie".

Remind me of this when I complain about spending our retirement savings on Charlie's therapy bills.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Looks like I am the proud mother of a healthy 7 lb fetus who is perfectly comfortable right where he is despite my repeated pokes and jabs and injunctions to "Move baby! Mama has an borderline clinical anxiety disorder!"

(He usually retaliates by kicking me in places no one should ever be kicked. Although he is vertex, so it's probably more scratching and punching than actual kicking)

I also learned that he is still a boy before we had to discontinue the ultrasound when I started seeing little shiny gnats flying around and my hands started to go numb. I felt better, and very silly, once I was allowed to sit up. I felt a little bad for the poor ultrasound technician, who was obviously some kind of morning person, who had me, definitely not a morning person, especially after only five and a half hours of heartburn and teething toddler filled sleep, as one of her first patients for the day. She was very nice. I was very 2nd pregnancy please hurry no need to look for his face again that's very kind, but I can't feel my hands and I can't see and I'm going to throw up.

Most people don't respond to "Let's see if we can see your baby's face!" with "I think I'm going to throw up."

Most people also don't threaten physical violence against their doctor out loud in the waiting room to their husband if she tells them that they are anything less than three centimeters dilated.

I really need to calm down.

Ryan assures me that I was very polite, but I think he is scared of me. The cankles create an illusion of strength.

Based on my exam, my doctor estimates I have at least a week left. "Still about one centimeter!" she said brightly before dashing off to deliver her FOURTH baby of the day (at 9:00 am). "Oh good!" I said, muttering something nonsensical about that being better for Charlie anyway, you know me, I hate to complain. She struggled to understand my logic, but it was hard, seeing as there wasn't any. Unless another week of boring, grumpy Mama is just what Charlie wanted for Christmas.

So now I am now at home consoling myself with donuts and Christmas music. Dr. Advisor IMed me to see if I could take on some consulting work and I had to turn him down because of all the really important waiting around I have to do instead. The idea I had while pregnant with Charlie of placidly working on my laptop in the hospital (post-epidural, of course) while in labor was a little optimistic, I now realize.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Forgive me if this post doesn't make any sense, I've mistakenly created a toxic cloud by mixing the fumes from Windex, 409, and Pledge.

I don't think nesting has anything to do with some ancient biological urge to prepare one's home for the arrival of a new baby. I think it is a more 21st century phenomenon caused by being confined to one's messy messy house during those last few, incredibly cranky and impatient, weeks of pregnancy. When everyone encourages you to get off your feet and relax but instead you fly into a near pre-eclamptic rage when you walk into the kitchen and simultaneously step on a pile of Cheerios, trip over your flip flops, and send an avalanche of junk mail sliding to the floor from the kitchen counter.

Suddenly, the thought of adding some burp rags, takeout containers, and nine hundred members of your extended family to your usual level of chaos make you wish they still knocked women unconsious during labor and delivery. And that they could do it this afternoon.

So I've been doing a little straightening up. Getting rid of clutter, sweeping, wiping down the kitchen counters (which required a blow torch and pneumatic pressure washer).

I washed the freaking WINDOWS. Even the one where there was a scorpion stuck between the glass and the screen that I was positive could find a way to sting (read: kill) me through the glass if it really wanted to. I did not realize (but probably should have) that getting a dog and having kids would mean twice-weekly window cleaning would be necessary. (Although I still don't clean them twice a week, I like to wait until I can see the nose/tongue/finger prints from the car as I am pulling into the driveway before taking care of it. I was recently spurred to action by my friend who cleans the windows and vaccuums the stairs every single day. Ask me when the last time I vaccuumed the stairs was... I think it was the fourteenth of NEVER. Which is why it looks like we chose to carpet the stairs in dog hair).

As a special bonus, with all the walking around, reaching, and squatting required to get things just right I'm sure my cervix has taken a pounding. I'm hoping for 3 cm by Friday. Or ten. Ten would be even better.

And also? All those Papa John's coupons that have been falling off the fridge and driving me CRAZY for the last few weeks? Are expired. Time required to put them in the recycle bin? Two seconds. Go me.

And now it is time for my reward--for cleaning TWO ROOMS in my house plus the windows, which still took all morning as I had to take frequent breaks to catch my breath and check my email--lunch at Pot Belly, whose deli mustard I could eat with a spoon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We all knew it would come to this...

Because everyone who blogs about their kids ends up talking about poop at some point, right? Tonight, Ryan was putting Charlie to bed and I was downstairs "relaxing" on the couch when I heard Ryan exclaim "YOU POOPED! GREAT JOB! YOU POOPED! GOOD BOY!"

We are not potty training right now, but let Charlie sit, pantsless, on his potty or on the big potty when he is interested. He particularly enjoys using toilet paper and flushing. He doesn't realize yet that as a boy, neither will really be expected of him until he gets married one day.

Tonight he asked Ryan if he could sit on the potty, so Ryan got him situated and HE WENT POTTY. They then came downstairs, Charlie diaperless in his pajama pants, so we could all celebrate together. Charlie was a little overwhelmed, but later Ryan was getting him ready for bed and Charlie related the experience.

"Poop! Potty! Papa proud! Mama proud! Grandma proud!"


This afternoon I finished the nursery alcove. I found the cute crib bedding on Craigslist and we went to pick it up last night (in the middle of NOWHERE from this hippy lady who was expecting her second and had decided to cosleep and talked to us for several minutes with her shirt pulled up around her boobs stroking her tattooed belly). It came with a crib mattress which we are using as Charlie's crash mat to go beside his bed (he hasn't fallen out in a while, though).

Ryan and Charlie's reading corner:

And of course, the giant mess of a changing table with TWO sizes of diapers on it. (Ryan on Sunday: "Why did you buy all these tiny Pampers?" Me: "I know right? They're for the BABY who's going to LIVE HERE in TWO WEEKS. I was surprised too.")

The nursery completion was spurred by the huge number of BH contractions I had all day. There were like three an hour, including ones that occurred during the walk around the culdesac, the shower, and the nap that the nurse said would make them stop if they were not real. But they are still quite irregular and weak (ish, there have been a couple of doozies). I don't expect any action soon, but I will keep you posted.

UPDATE: Heh heh, THAT WAS WEIRD! No babies yet. Contractions have left the building!

Friday, September 12, 2008

He knows

So. Now that I am on a brief hiatus from freaking out about my dissertation, I have lots and lots of time to think about other things. Like, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE OMG I NEED TO FIND A JOB BUT NOT A FULL TIME JOB CHARLIE'S STILL SO LITTLE HE NEEDS ME HOW CAN WE BE DOING THIS TO HIM WHAT IF I DIE DURING CHILDBIRTH AND NEVER GET TO SEE HIM AGAIN HE WON'T REMEMBER ME AND HE NEEEEEEEDS ME AND I'M GOING TO HAVE A PULMONARY EMBOLISM AND THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO HELP MEEEEEE. Completely rational, you see. Also, completely un-fun at three o'clock in the morning.

When Ryan comes out of the bathroom after his morning shower, he greets me with "Good morning, sweetie! Did you sleep well?" I respond "I need to find a job TODAY. And if I die will you still keep the house nice for Charlie? Dammit I need a bowl of cereal" then spend twenty-five minutes hoisting myself out of bed, picking my way gingerly down the stairs (avoiding putting any weight on my pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, or feet), and bumping around in the kitchen muttering about how damn hard does it have to be to find a damn cereal bowl and a damn spoon and why are there so many damn toys on the damn floor damn damn damn.

Then Charlie gets up and I manage to pull myself together for long enough to get him wherever he needs to go where he then helps me by affecting the Posture of Great Sorrow as soon as he realizes we are at day care and he will be staying there. The quivering lower lip, the moist eyes, the limp arms and legs. I kiss him goodbye, tell him I love him, and assure him brightly what a great day he's going to have then walk out to my car and try really hard not to cry (and usually fail).

This mommy-phase he's going through is particularly ill timed and severe. At breakfast with my parents the other day the only place he wanted to sit was straddling my belly with his head on my shoulder. At the pool yesterday after thirty minutes he got out, asked for his towel and then asked to be wrapped up and held, content to rest with his head on my shoulder on a lounge chair instead of splashing around in the baby pool. When I go in his room after a nap he pats the bed next to him and says "Mama?" so I lay down with him and he pretends to sleep. He refuses to let Ryan help him eat, instead waving the spoon in my direction pleading "Mama help? Mama help? Mama help? Mama help?"

It also doesn't make any sense. I am hardly the fun parent right now. I am grouchy and make funny noises when I try to get onto the floor to play with him. I tell him he has to wait for Ryan to come home to play outside or ride his bike because I can't handle being outside for long when it is so hot. I only let him ride the elevator once at the library. I don't let him eat the sushi samples at the grocery store that have been sitting out all day. Yesterday it finally cooled off enough to go to the pool and we stopped for a Sonic slush on the way home. Charlie was happy and relaxed, I was happy and relaxed. It was great. But then I had to use my serious voice when he kept taking the top off his drink while I was driving us home. And then he dropped the drink by mistake and grape slush was leaking out of a huge hole in the side and he was crying and I was trying to explain that I wasn't mad, it was just an accident and I would fix it, and I did--I found another cup to put the damaged cup into and gave it back to him--but he is so sensitive. When we got home he asked for hug after hug after hug and just wanted to sit with me quietly while I watched the news.

Ordinarily I would just enjoy the extra hugs and cuddles, because really, what could be better than that? But because I know that my attention is going to be split in a few weeks, it is really killing me right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How did that happen?

A couple of weeks ago I divided my dissertation into two parts because having the large file open on my laptop kept causing it to crash. I've been focusing on revising Chapter 5, Results and Discussion for a week, improving it before Dr. Advisor had a chance to read the old version and summarily dismiss me from the program.

Finishing Chapter 5 (~65 pages) on Sunday morning before church felt really really good and I made a point to send it to Dr. Advisor at 9:30 so he'd know I was up and working as much as I could.

Yesterday afternoon and today I wrote a four page Conclusion and Recommendations for Future Work chapter that I'm really hoping at least approaches what it is supposed to be because after Googling "science dissertation conclusion chapter" and finding nothing useful I winged it and used a sort of hybrid format between my last publication, Dr. Advisor's thesis, and my own imagination.

Once in undergrad I stayed up nearly all night to finish a Heat Transfer final project and at three o'clock in the morning I declared it to be a work of genius and went to bed. The next day when I proofed it right before I had to turn it in I found that not only was it not genius, it was barely written in English (I got an A. It was a miracle). I am hoping that I won't have the same experience with this chapter. Especially because I sent it off to Dr. Advisor this afternoon.

Which means that Dr. Advisor has a COMPLETE FIRST DRAFT (the one I sent a few weeks ago, we both understood, was more of a draft to the first draft, thus my ambivalence about sending it to him. Ambivalent, of course, except for the panicking). Somebody hold me.

So anyway, it was still divided into pieces, so I was hazy on the actual page count. After I sent off the last chapter, I put the two halves back into one Word document and SHAZZAM, 120 pages! So that's like fifteen-ish pages in a WEEK? Thank goodness for figures, is all I have to say. Big, beautiful, half-page figures.

Apparently I work best with very concrete deadlines. Charlie's induction nudged me into completing my qualifying exam. And while my fellowship running out was not enough of a kick in the pants, the impending birth of our second child was just the thing I needed to get me over the hump, so to speak.

I was very surprised to learn that the first draft was done. I will spend my time now outlining my defense presentation (deep breaths) so it'll be ready to go post-Bravo. Trying to defend in the first three weeks of Bravo's life is more than I want to put my family through, but maybe I can sneak something in between that and the six week growth spurt, or at least before Charlie's first day of kindergarten. Or law school. Whatever.

For now I just have to wait for Hurricane Ike to make landfall to hear from Dr. Advisor.

I can has Cheerios?
"I have to forage for my own food while my mom finishes her dissertation."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

You may be seated...

I'm not going to tell you exactly how Ryan and I spent our evening, except that it involved homemade chocolate chip cookies, this website, and the United Methodist Hymnal. Also, it's good we don't live in an apartment.

I promise we really are more normal than we sound.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

House Appreciation Week Month

We're done! Except for, you know, the giant mound of stuff that we moved into Bravo's "room" while we were working on the other rooms and have not since touched since we've been spending our evenings busy with our Blue Bell ice cream and all the yelling at the TV that has to be done when the only thing on is the RNC.


If I had known how nice it is to not climb into an erupting volcano every afternoon when it's time to go get Charlie I would have done this a LONG time ago. Also, Charlie gets to push "the button" twice every time we go out. This makes him very happy. On the way home he starts asking for "the button" about half a block away. Then when he pushes the button and the door goes up he gleefully shouts "UP UP UP!" from the back seat, marvelling at his power.

If you squint you can sort of see the SECOND CAR SEAT behind the driver's seat. Holy mother of pearl we're gonna have TWO KIDS.

Here is "Ryan's side" of the garage, heh heh.

Have you ever seen so many wheeled things in your life? Eleven of those wheels are inflatable and frequently flat which keeps Ryan busy with his compressor and patch kit. I contribute by rolling the jogger through the park and picking up thorns. Only in Texas can thorns at a children's park puncture TIRES. Gee, whattayathink that would do to a tender little 2 year old knee?

Next up, the guest room! Remember what it looked like just after we moved in. Fortunately none of our guests have developed PTSD after waking up being patted to death by an army of pastel colored clowns. Remember how I said I hated painting? Turns out I hate it just a little bit less than I hate pastel colored clowns.

Baby Bravo's Room

Doo doo doodoodoodoo doo doo doodoo. AAAAHHHHH SCARY SCARY CLOWNS!!!


OH MY GOSH is this house inhabited by ADULTS? (Well, adults who still haven't bought pillow cases to go with the new quilt. But rest assured, if you come visit us, I will find some pillow cases. And you will not be attacked by circus folk). Not pictured: framed art that will go over the bed. That "limit your color palatte to two main colors" advice they are endlessly spouting on HGTV is SOLID GOLD. I won't go into how much our old house looked like a nursery school.

Also, our bedroom has curtains and the stairs have a baby gate, which makes the post-bath hysterical naked running around (Charlie, of course) a lot safer (and less visible from the street).

(My parents came over this weekend and helped us start and finish all these jobs. Also? They brought Congo Bars. Big thanks. HUGE.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You can take the family out of their somewhat boring heartland college town...

I called Ryan on Friday and said--without taking a breath--"I was coming home from getting Charlie and there was this huge line of cars and I went around it but then this mean jerk wouldn't let me get in the left lane so I could turn into the grocery store parking lot and then I went through the intersection to try and take a left into the gas station so I could get back to the store but there were no breaks in the traffic and the car was getting hot so I got back on the road and went up to the next street to try and find my way through the neighborhood back to our house but then I got lost and by the time I finally retraced my steps and found my way back to the grocery store it was 5:00 and there were no parking spots and Charlie was cranky so I just came home and we don't have any food for dinner. Would you mind if we went out?"

Ryan laughed "I was just going to call and see if YOU wanted to go out."

Every once in a while we both get sick of our strict, savings-oriented budget with its little envelopes of cash dedicated to groceries, dates, and "running around money". Fortunately we have enough cushion (and simple enough tastes) that every once in a while we can blow off some steam by having an unbudgeted dinner out or splurging on something for the house (like the time we went to Home Depot for light bulbs for the ceiling fan and came home with $55 worth of landscaping materials instead).

Ryan said we could go anywhere I wanted. I pored over the possibilities. The local ice house nearby? The mom and pop barbeque place? The fancy but not too fancy for Charlie place I've always wanted to try?

When Ryan came home I met him on the front walk. "Hi Buddy! You know where I really want to go? DENNY'S! Can we go to Denny's?"

Being married to a pregnant person must be a laugh a minute.

We went to Denny's. I started to panic as we walked through the doors. "I have no idea why we are here" I said "It just sounded really good for some reason." And then we sat down and opened the menus and I started salivating over all the glossy pictures of yummy yummy diner food. I asked Ryan what he was going to get and he said, monotonically and without taking his eyes off the menu "Everything in the 'Favorites' section. And some fries."

Charlie was in a delightful mood, this being before the great tooth invasion of 2008, and was chatty and polite and very enthusiastic about his chicken nuggets and fruit cup. By enthusiastic I mean HE FREAKING ATE FOUR CHICKEN NUGGETS which are ostensibly made from and probably even taste like some kind of meat (meat being between terrorism and baby seal clubbing on Charlie's list of blights on the western world). Clever clever Denny's for making them into pretty little moon and star shapes. He didn't even ask me for one of the four servings of french fries I had on my plate that mysteriously were all consumed by me (?) by the end of the meal.

After dinner I suggested we hit Target on the way home to pick up embarrassing pharmacutical product number three for the week and while we were there I remembered that we also needed diapers and both kinds of milk. And THEN because we are W-I-L-D we splurged on a gallon of Blue Bell's Centennial Cupcake ice cream (even though our grocery budget puts us more in square ice cream box territory). The next morning I said to my mom "We went to Target last night and bought everything we wanted!" She replied "Ooh, fun! What did you get?" I said "Um, a jumbo pack of diapers, skim milk, whole milk, and ice cream. AND before THAT we went to DENNY'S!!!"

If that's not wild, seat of your pants living, I don't know what is.