Friday, January 31, 2014

Snack Attack

I think that the worst of the pregnancy sickness has passed.  I still feel a bit awful in the evenings, close to vomiting, but I haven’t actually lost my lunch (or dinner) in a couple of weeks now.  That’s progress, I say.  But I have noted that the days seems to be split into two very different feelings with regard to my stomach and energy level: in the morning, as long as I eat immediately after waking, I feel pretty good and have moderate energy, but I am hungry all the time, right up until I eat something lunch-ish around 11 am.  In the afternoon, I am sluggish and tired and I am hungry, but I don’t want to eat because nothing tastes good.


So, I have a snack problem.  In the morning, I snack on almonds, craisins, apple slices, grapefruit, bananas, and crackers with peanut butter.  In the afternoon, with a sour stomach, I know I need to snack, but I don’t like the sound of anything.  And I need to make healthy choices.  I’m trying to keep my sodium intake down to keep my blood pressure under control, so even though massive amounts of Pirate’s Booty taste delicious all the time, I am abstaining as much as possible (which is to say that when I have finished the Costco-sized bag, I don’t immediately run out and buy another.  I wait a few days.  For the health of the baby, you know).


At dinner, meat usually sounds awful, but I’ve noticed that I feel sicker on the nights when I have less protein.  For example, I made French onion soup last night (complete with croutons and gruyere) and I ate salad with it.  Everyone else had ham with their dinner and a lot of bread and butter.  I felt hungry for the rest of the night, in a really queasy way, and ended up eating Tums (*shudder*) and spoonfuls (spoonsful?) of peanut butter to calm things down. 


What do you snack on?  What, if you have ever been pregnant, did you most like snacking on?  What did you snack on if you have ever had heartburn so badly that the mere thought of chips and salsa makes you cringe (even though they’re delicious – such a cruel state, pregnancy!)?  I need to eat something in the afternoons that will help increase my energy, not drag me down.  Something like almonds or peanut butter, but not those things because I already eat a lot of those. 


My dad and brother are going to the Super Bowl and for them, it will be at 6:30 pm.  Super weird, right?  My whole life, with the exception of when I lived in France and the Super Bowl was at 1 am, the Super Bowl has been at 3:30 pm.  Eating football-game-watching food all afternoon long could either be a revelation or could be disastrous for me.  I’ll either feel great from constant food intake or terrible from constant food intake, especially during my usual naptime.  Anyone want to bet on it?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Screw You, Pregnancy Weight Gain Advice

You might have seen various other places on the internet last night where I mentioned that someone told me I looked like I must be due any time now.  In addition to wearing a very loose-fitting maxi dress, I was, at the time, carting my children up and down the YMCA stairs, trying to enroll Charles in the next level of swim classes.  It was 5 PM, I was exhausted, and I looked it.  And then I had to fight to get Charles into a class two levels above the class he just graduated (yeah!  Kid is awesome!) because the next level was full and only offered on Monday and Wednesday, when I have Boot Camp.  Pregnancy is an emotional state, and having just finished a stressful day at work, I nearly cried when faced with this information.  Do I sacrifice my workout for the continuity of my child’s swimming education?  Back down the stairs we went to talk with the Aquatic Director, who had to talk with the swimming instructors, who agreed that Charles could handle being in a class with six- and seven-year-olds.  Back UP the stairs we went to finally pay our money.  All the while I was yelling at my kids, “Stop punching the buttons on the Gatorade machine!” and “Don’t play on the stairs!” and “Don’t run around the pool!” like a good mother.  I got him two levels up, and I got hit with the observation that I look as much like a cow as I feel.


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I have already gained “too much” weight for this pregnancy.  But that’s what I do.  I gain weight when I’m pregnant, I gain lots of it, and I gain it quickly.  When I was pregnant with Jamie, I read all sorts of articles on how to be healthy while pregnant, how not to gain too much weight, and how to eat right, because I didn’t want to repeat the weight gain I experienced with Charles.  And you know what?  None of them worked.  I don’t overeat.  I exercise regularly.  I eat really healthy things – very little sugar and no junk food (except Pirate’s Booty.  I love it).  But my pregnant body converts every calorie I intake and then some into padding for my growing baby.  Add to that the fact that my stomach muscles, regardless of my pre-pregnancy ability to do a continuous 3-minute plank, immediately pooched out, and I am one big mama at 16 weeks.


Why am I saying this, again?  Well, because the perception out there is that you have to have a skinny pregnancy to have a healthy pregnancy.  Doctors told my mother’s generation that they should gain no more than 20 lbs while pregnant.  Doctors now say between 25 and 35 is safe.  Safe.  Well, I gained 50 with Charles and 55 with Jamie and I safely delivered healthy, full-term babies.  We pay lip service to the fact that “everybody is different” but no matter which book you read or which blog you enjoy or which pregnancy website you turn to, the party line on pregnancy weight gain is that you shouldn’t gain too much.  And too much is more than 35 lbs during your whole pregnancy.  If you “went nuts” and gained ten pounds during the first trimester, well, better make some good decisions now!  It’s time to curb that gain to make a better, healthier environment for your baby!


I’d like to call bullshit on all of that.  In my third pregnancy, I can tell you that some of us gain more weight than others and we are perfectly healthy and our babies are perfectly safe.  I eat a better diet than most non-pregnant people I know, and I certainly don’t overeat.  I exercise and I get plenty of sleep.  I am healthy, and so is my baby.  I have never had gestational diabetes and I doubt I will this pregnancy.  People can be shocked at how big I am and how quickly I’ve grown, and that’s okay.  But it’s not okay to assume that I am doing anything wrong or that I am endangering my baby.


And the looks of horror when I tell people that I’m due in July?  The stunned, quick glances back and forth between my face and my belly to, I don’t know, confirm what I’m saying or make sure I’m not lying?  That is just plain rude.


You know what really sucks, though?  As much as I know all of this, I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror and liking what I see.  I want to be the skinny pregnant lady with the thin thighs and the cute bump.  No matter what I do, it’s just not to be.  When other mothers are slipping back into pre-pregnancy clothing between six and nine months post-partum, I will be running mile after mile and doing exercise after exercise just to drop from a size 14 to a size 12… to eventually get back to a size 6 by 15 months post-partum or so.


You know what, though?  I might still be better off.  I got no stretch marks when I was pregnant with Charles and I got one when I was pregnant with Jamie.  My body knows how to get fat.  Take that, skinny moms.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Pregnant Narcoleptic

I have a lot in common with my youngest son:


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Sleeping in the hall 


When we are too tired to go on, we both simply drop off to sleep, no matter where we are.


In the past week, I have:


  • Fallen asleep before the end of a movie, something I never do normally;
  • Fallen asleep on the couch immediately following dinner twice, only to wake up around 8:30 or 9 and get ready for bed;
  • Taken a nap almost every day, regardless of falling asleep after dinner the night before;
  • Yawned my way through at least one business meeting, trying not to be too conspicuous.


This pregnancy thing is hard, you guys.  I need a nap, again, right now.  Good thing there’s a couch in my office.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Side Breather

Have you read Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner?  I highly recommend doing so (but skip the audio version; Steven Levitt’s voice is soporific at best).  It’s only 200 or so pages and each chapter is a different topic wherein the authors use economic theories and analysis (economics is the study of choice, by the way) and apply them to everyday situations.  Like naming your children, for example.  Or the correlation between crime rates and the legality of abortion.


We read (listened to) this book when Charles was teeny on our way to a pseudo-vacation in Canada.  Tony and I had decided that a tax update in Whistler in January could also be a fun family trip.  We bought our CRV less than a week before the trip in anticipation of needing all-wheel drive.  And then we proceeded to take a colicky two-month-old on a long, international car trip to a snowy mountaintop where Tony spent most of every day either in tax update classes or skiing and I spent them trying not to go stir-crazy with my baby.  We did not make the wisest choices as new parents, let’s say.


One thing that stuck with me from the book was the danger of swimming pools.  As a new parent, I hadn’t exactly formed an opinion about swim lessons at that point, but I immediately decided, upon hearing the books analysis of swimming pool drownings vs. gun deaths, that my children would learn how to swim, and learn early.


Charles began “real” swim lessons (not the “mommy and me” swim classes, but the type with an actual teenage instructor possessing of more patience when working with five three-year-olds than I would ever have) shortly after his third birthday.  I have mentioned before that we tend to continue with swim lessons for a few months, until his skills and interest plateau, and then we take a break until the next year.  So, like, January through May, usually.  This gives us a chance to do some other things, like tee-ball and gymnastics.

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He’s often just a blur


We have probably spent hundreds of dollars in swim lessons over three years.  It’s what you do, though, you know?  I always told Tony that the last thing I wanted in a yard of a place I lived was a water feature.  Children die in them all the time.  Well, children die in swimming pools and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no matter how hard you might try, you can’t watch them all the time.  Charles is quickly becoming an excellent swimmer, and there’s so much peace of mind that comes from knowing that he is unlikely to drown in a pool.


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I never expected how much pleasure I would find in my children’s learning and accomplishments.  Charles and Tony went to open swim last weekend to work on side-breathing, the one aspect of front-stroke fundamentals that Charles was just not getting.  Instead of side breathing and continuing to stroke, he would stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke and then shoot straight up in the water like a whale breaching, take a massive breath, and then do a panicked dog-paddle because he was no longer horizontal and couldn’t figure out how to get back to horizontal.  The boys must have worked hard, because when Charles got to class on Monday, he excitedly performed for his instructor.  And I was thrilled.  I didn’t jump up and down because, well, slippery poolside + pregnancy imbalance don’t mix.  But I wanted to.


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Side breather!

Swim lessons.  They’re a good investment in not drowning.  Plus, I’m looking forward to pool birthday parties in a few years!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Panic and Relief

I had the first real scare of any of my pregnancies yesterday: after fighting terrible nausea all morning and struggling through a crashed server at work, I went home to find I was spotting blood.


My blood pressure immediately went through the roof.


I made myself calm down, but only after letting a few terrified sobs escape.  I crawled into bed and tried to sleep.  I tried to be sage about it all, telling myself that “spotting is completely normal” and “it will probably be gone by the time I have to pick the kids up from preschool.”  It wasn’t, but by that time, I had to get Charles to swim lessons and put together snacks and think about what we would do for dinner.  I distracted myself for a couple of hours, basically.


After swim lessons, I was passing clots of blood.  Clots.  I called Tony, then I called my doctor – who, thankfully, has extended office hours on Tuesdays.  They got me right in, while the boys got to eat pizza at Costco and do my shopping for me.


The baby is fine – we heard a strong heartbeat.  My cervix is tightly closed.  The blood was likely a fluke, some fatigued blood vessel bursting and causing me to panic and worry.  It’s unrelated to exercise and my doctor said that it happens in 50% of the pregnancies he sees.


But it’s never happened to me before, and it was terrible.  I guess it also made me realize how much I already love, adore, and want this baby.  This is it for us.  To put my body through another pregnancy would be insane.  Shit, I was up all last night being sick and I don’t feel much better today!  My body is old and randomly busting open blood vessels.  I don’t want to make you jealous or anything, but I’ve already gained TWENTY POUNDS this pregnancy, and I have nearly 25 weeks to go.


I’ll have another chance to hear baby’s heartbeat next week at a more “regular” appointment, along with, hopefully, a more “regular” blood pressure reading.  Mine was understandably jacked up last night.


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15 weeks and change – I do pregnancy BIG.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What We Do Instead

Things to do instead of watching football*


1. Go for a run

2. Go to the park

3. Eat something special

4. Build forts

5. Watch the children wrestle

6. Go to Seattle for the aquarium, zoo, children’s museums, to visit friends, to walk around, etc.

7. Call friends in a panic because you are sick and tired and can’t manage the two children you have, Dear God, why did we decide to have another?!?!


*Soon to be titled: Things to do during tax season


I did not watch the Seahawks game on Sunday.  Sure, it was one of the biggest games in franchise history.  Shoot, I was even in the stands at the last NFC Championship game the Seahawks played in 2005.  But after the white-knuckled SuperBowl the Seahawks lost, I can’t enjoy football when it really counts anymore.  I get too stressed out.  I’d much rather watch early in the season when it doesn’t feel like it counts as much.  And I don’t really watch those, either, because the kids don’t watch football.


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I went for a run on Friday


Tony, my dad, and my brother were there, at the game, screaming their fool heads off.  My dad and my brother are going to the SuperBowl in two weeks, to freeze their fool butts off.  We’ll watch that game, of course, though by February, I am really over football and the hours it takes my husband away from the rest of us every weekend.  It’s something he enjoys, and I don’t resent him the time to do something he loves, but I am tired.  And I know that once football season is over, there won’t be any reason for Tony to be absent for a goodly chunk of every Sunday.


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We had a spontaneous FroYo date after the kids were almost really good while I shopped at Ross.  By “almost” I mean that the store wasn’t crowded and they didn’t run farther than two aisles away from me while shrieking madly the entire time.


It probably doesn’t help that we don’t have cable television, so he has to watch the games somewhere else – which means he’s not even in the same building as the rest of us.  When will we be able to order just what we want to watch on TV?  Like, I just want to order Seahawks games for the season.  It would be so convenient if Tony were watching the game downstairs.  The children could visit him, he could change a diaper during a commercial break… this “future” we’re living in is a disappointment on many levels.


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Bathtime is an activity, one during which I can sit down.


The bummer about this time of year, of course, is that we transition from “no Tony Sundays” to “no Tony Saturdays” with the advent of tax season.  I am feeling marginally less sick, at least during most of the day (though the edges of the day are tough: mid-morning and post-dinner are my sick times now), so I’m getting the kids used to spending full days with only me.  We’ve gone to Jungle Playland and the park, to Baby Boot Camp and the Children’s Museum, and we’re sure to add the zoo and the aquarium when the weather improves and we feel like driving long distances for our entertainment.


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So what if it’s 35 degrees out?  We’re going to the park, now put on your coat!


We’ll survive, we always do.  This won’t be my first pregnant tax season, but it will be the first time pregnant with two other children to care for.  I’m hoping the sickness abates soon and that Tony won’t have to start working late for awhile.  Maybe Saturdays can be enough for the time being.  In any case, I’ll find something to occupy us. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Some Days Are Not Amazing

I have this voice in my head, and it’s the same one that old ladies use to tell you to “enjoy this stage, dearie, because before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone!” that tells me that every day is amazing.  Incredible.  A gift.


And every day should be.  I am thankful to be alive and to have two beautiful children who are healthy enough to drive me bonkers.  I am thankful to have a living, healthy extended family, despite recent illnesses and motorcycle accidents.  I had a really great night last night – I felt so well in the afternoon that I went to my exercise class and drove my heart rate up to “Bitch, you CRAZY!” levels for an entire hour and then I ate salad with chicken for dinner and talked with one of my best friends long-distance – and I am thankful for the one night’s reprieve from this crippling pregnancy sickness (I am not so foolish as to think I will experience the same luck tonight, though I will hope and pray for it).


But this morning the kids drove me extra bonkers.  And while I felt great yesterday afternoon and evening, I felt terrible by 9:30 PM and spent the entire night writhing in gassy, bloated, nauseated pain (pregnancy: so magical!).  So I was tired this morning, and I let Jamie play spelling games on my phone while Charles and I took a shower. 


Now, I’m in and out of the shower.  Wash face, wash body, wash hair, shave legs, DONE!  Tony takes a little bit longer, and Charles has decided that a shower is a great place to hang out for as long as mom will let him.  I left him in the shower after I finished.  I brushed my teeth, started the beauty routine (lots and lots and lots of moisturizer, both to battle the crow’s feet and the impending belly stretch marks), and got my underwear on before I made Charles get out of his steamy shower.  At least he’s clean, right?


But then, I couldn’t decide what to wear.  And Jamie was already dressed, and Charles got dressed, so I didn’t confiscate my phone and the spelling games from them.  As I tried on outfit after outfit (nothing looks good!  I don’t have nearly as many maternity shirts as I did last time I was pregnant!  I’m not quite big enough for my maternity dresses yet!), the boys kept playing and the clock kept ticking.  By the time I finally settled on an outfit (I changed again before leaving), we were running late. 


And then Jamie and Charles decided that they wanted to eat more of their breakfast.  Except that Jamie had left his toast within reach of Buster, so he had to make new toast.  With jam.  And do it himself.  And get jam everywhere, including his hair and the floor.  And that’s when Charles drifted off to la-la-land and didn’t hear another direction the entire morning unless I yelled in an angry voice.


“Mom, you’re scaring me!”


“Charles, honey, I’m angry and frustrated, but I’m not going to hurt you.  You have no reason to be scared.  But you should be working to change the situation right now.  You’re not listening.  You have to follow directions.  Put on your socks and shoes and go brush your teeth.”


Five minutes later…


“Charles!  You haven’t brushed your teeth yet!  Now you have lost Captain Underpants for the day!”




After Jamie and I changed clothing yet again, I finally got everyone loaded into the car.  Which was another long, annoying process involving threats and then the loss of privileges and toys and some yelling.  We got to school at 8:55 AM, and I realized that I had forgotten Jamie’s school bag.  I returned home to grab it and then dropped it off, but Charles saw me when I walked in the daycare center and he started sobbing.  Absolutely sobbing.  He had left something in the car.  I dried his tears, got his toy for him, and gave him a kiss.  I finally got to work around 9:30.


Some days just suck.  Some days start off rough and get worse.  Some days are not amazing, except in terms of their sheer madness.  My expectation is to always have a great day, starting with a fantastic morning, but it doesn’t always work out that way.


More important than how the days starts or ends, however, is how we let it affect us.  Today started terribly, but I refuse to let it ruin the rest of the day.  There are swim lessons tonight, we’re having friends over for dinner, and I’m making tacos.  Nothing can be bad when it’s taco night.


I hope that if you’re having a rough day, you can find the opportunity to take a breath and count your blessings.  It’s going to be okay.  And there’s always wine and chocolate if it doesn’t get better real soon.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


1.  I just attempted to summarize the major characters and plot points of seasons 1-3 of Downton Abbey for my coworkers in preparation for a trivia night at a local bar.  Not an easy feat, but then somebody said, “This sort of sounds like Game of Thrones, but early 20th-century England.”  Yes.


2.  I never realize how much my kids are growing until I pull out seasonal wear and it doesn’t fit.  Charles started swim lessons last week and his trunks from this summer don’t fit at all.  Where am I going to find a new swimsuit in January? 


We do swim lessons for Charles every January through May.  We could do them year-round, but Charles seems to plateau after a few months and then benefit from the time off.  He starts January lessons with renewed enthusiasm and attention, and we see improvement right away.  So if your kids don’t seem to be getting anywhere with a lesson of some sort, consider taking some time off every year.  I don’t know if this would work so well with piano lessons, but maybe.


3.  I have been cooking the past few days.  Well, sort of.  I have been utilizing my crock-pot the past few days, which is almost like cooking, but I can do the prep in the morning when I don’t feel like barfing.  My go-to recipes are almost all from A Year of Slow Cooking.  Here is the cream cheese chicken, here the salsa chicken black bean soup, here the taco soup.


4.  I just finished the book What Alice Forgot and I liked it.  I didn’t think I would.  In fact, about ten pages into it, I though, oh shit, what am I getting myself into?  Was it going to be all introspective drama and musings on marital relationships and how they evolve over ten years?  Was it going to be gut-wrenchingly sad?  Was there going to be little plot and far too much character development?  I was pleasantly surprised and glad that I kept reading.  There was plot, there was action, and the story was told in such a way that I wanted to know what happened next as well as what happened “back then.”  There were enough twists to keep it interesting, is what I’m saying, and if you think you’d like a story about a woman who bumps her head (hard) and wakes up to find that she’s lost the last ten years of memories, including the birth of three children, the dissolution of her marriage, and significant relationship changes with her sister and mother, as well as a bunch of really batty and weird minor characters to liven things up, well, this book is for you.


5.  At the risk of repeating myself: I AM SO SICK.  And I’m sick of being sick.  And all I have to do to recognize that this is EXACTLY how I felt last time is read this really depressing post from when I was pregnant with Jamie.  Oh, look!  It was written EXACTLY three years ago today.  If ever I needed evidence that life doesn’t really change, there it is, I guess.


But it does change, because here is a post from when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Jamie (I am 14 weeks pregnant right now), wearing the same shirt I am wearing today (though I can tell you that the jeans in that old photo were NOT maternity and today’s most definitely are), and I am so much bigger now:


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6.  Charles visited the neighbors yesterday after work/preschool, so I Jamie and I baked cookies.  I let him do all the mixing so I wouldn’t gag over the open bowl.  He greatly enjoyed licking the spatula when we were done, and I only slightly resented him for being able to savor uncooked cookie dough while I cannot.


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And then, he washed the dishes!  If you do not do this activity with your toddlers, I highly recommend it.  Jamie was occupied for almost 45 minutes, happily splashing in the suds, and the dishes mostly got clean (I had to do a bit more scrubbing and rinsing).




Tell me he’s not the most adorable child on the planet.  You can’t.  Because he is.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mommy Power

You know what?  My mommy’s coming to visit!  Tonight, I will not have to cook dinner or get it halfway there before talking Tony through the last bit of preparation and then trying to get the kids’ attention to set the table, a task that is nearly impossible.  They’d rather do as they did yesterday: bounce all over the couch as I lie there moaning and trying not to get hit by the debris when Lightning McQueen goes flying off of the couch-cliff to crash into Dusty the Plane mid-air, causing many loud exploding noises, which inevitably require the attendance of both the fire engine (NEE-NOR! NEE-NOR! NEE-NOR!) and the garbage truck (I don’t know why) (BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP) before everyone is fine and they ask if I want to wrestle.  (Do I look like I want to wrestle?) (Boys - see what I'm saying?.)  My mommy is going to take care of me tonight.  Bonus points if she doesn’t let Leland convince her to go to pizza.  I just don’t know if I can handle pizza right now.


I’m still not well, y’all.  I even resorted to the dread Zofran last night and am reaping the constipated consequences today.


Tony is heading with my dad and brother to the Seahawks playoff game, so mom and I will be minding the children all day tomorrow as well.  What a relief!  I truly hope that someday I am in a position to help out my grown children when they need it.  There’s nothing much better than mommy when you feel sick, you know?


I hope you have a lovely weekend!  Go Hawks!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Boy Town

Every person who finds out I’m pregnant inevitably says, “I hope it’s a girl!” or some variation thereof.


My life is increasingly boy-centered these days.  Sure, I know that little girls think that poop is funny, and I know that little girls are active and energetic.  But if you have two little girls, I guarantee that your life is different than mine with two little boys.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is physical.  Whether jockeying for position while I’m reading a story or merely getting into the car to go to school, every action is taken to an extreme and turned into some sort of American Gladiators-style challenge.  There are no calm activities, is what I’m saying, and I know that little girls calm down at least some of the time. 


And it’s not just that poop jokes are funny.  They are the ONLY GREAT JOKE.  My boys wanted to call their Grandpa Roger yesterday evening, so I dialed him up and put the call on speaker.  “Hi, Grandpa Poopy-poop!” Charles shouted.  “Hi, Buppa Poophead!” Jamie shouted.  “Do you want some pepperoni poop?” Charles shouted again, while pushing his brother out of the way to get closer to the phone.  Jamie then fell on the floor, got mad, and pushed Charles off of the couch.  It was so loud that my dad could probably hear nothing but the screeching and yelling of little kids and the occasional “POOP!” shrieked by one of the boys.  Because that’s the other thing: the boys are NEVER quiet.  Even when they sleep, they talk in their sleep and snore and fart.


Farts are almost as funny as poop.  The other day, Charles was downstairs and called up to me with barely contained excitement, “Mommy!  Mommy!  I farted and it sounded like an airplane engine!”  I think it might have been the best moment of his life.  Except, maybe, for the day he had “the longest poop.”  That was a pretty great day, too.


Boys are dirty and smelly and often need bathing.  All boys are like that, but two boys, without the bossiness of a sister to make them play house or watch princess movies and keep the sweat down, are worse.  I’m convinced.  Because they need more bathing, I need more bathing.  I can put on a clean shirt in the morning and need to change within an hour of picking up the boys.  I instantly collect snot, silly putty, playdough, spit, crayon, and peanut butter all over my sweater and pants.  Don’t even look at their clothing – I’m lucky if their shirts are the same color at the end of the day as at the beginning.  And while girls want to be pretty and have their hair done, boys want racing stripes cut into their hair.  Charles now has zig-zags on either side of his head.


I would love to have a girl.  I would love the opportunity to buy clothing with flowers on it.  I love the idea that, with a daughter, I might someday take her on pedicure trips and fancy-dress shopping and teach her the makeup tips I never learned as a teenager (and wish I had).  But mostly, I just want a healthy baby.  And if we have another boy, well, I already know all the best poop jokes around.  I’ll have lots of practice mothering boys for number 3.  And he’ll come into this world with ready-made wrestling partners.


Still, I’m sure I’ll mourn the loss of the baby girl I’ll never have, even as I’m celebrating having a new boy.  Much to everyone’s delight, especially my mother’s, we will be finding out the sex of the baby at the big ultrasound, unlike with our other two pregnancies.  We’d like to prepare the boys, and if it is a girl, I’d like to shop girl stuff ahead of time.


There’s no need to pray for a girl for us.  Just pray for a healthy baby and a healthy mom. 


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Almost 14 weeks.  I’m compensating for not taking enough pregnancy photos during the last two by taking MANY this time around.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Shape of Things

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday – the kind where I just fight against the negative voices in my head.  I didn’t feel great all day, culminating in cereal for dinner (hey, at least I ate) and an early bedtime, but it was more than that.  It was looking down at my body and not recognizing myself.  It was looking in the mirror and seeing the changes that have happened so rapidly, much more rapidly than with my other two pregnancies, and wondering if I’ll ever get back.


I mean, I know I’ll get back.  I’m too stubborn not to.  But it has all happened so fast, you know?  I am only 13 weeks along, and yet I look like this:


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That’s six months pregnant size for most people (in fact, I saw an acquaintance yesterday, someone who I know is past the 20-week mark, and she was smaller than I am – her first baby, of course).  Also, my butt has balanced out my belly quite obviously.  I think it’s in part because my pelvis has already loosened and widened, so my hips and ass are wider, too.


It doesn’t help that the only time I have to exercise is in the evenings, when I feel terrible, and since I’ve been an endorphin junkie for a few years now, I’m really feeling the lack.


Why is it so hard?  Why is it so hard to love our bodies for the things they do well, like make perfect children?  I know I’m not alone in this, and I try to tell myself not to compare my body to others’, but it’s difficult.  My fitness group now includes 6 pregnant women, all due within two months of me.  I am by far the largest.


I was feeling down yesterday in my uncomfortable, changing-so-fast body, and the thing that pulled me out of the funk was a comment one of my employees made.  Unprompted, he said, “Amelia, I know you probably don’t hear this much, but I just love your belly.  It’s so great!”  He made me smile and he made me feel good about my shape.  It is ridiculous that I don’t always feel good about my shape because I truly think that a pregnant body is one of the most beautiful shapes in the world.  I guess I just get to enjoy this shape a bit earlier than I was expecting.  I think it’s time to recommit myself to speaking compliments, not just thinking them.  You never know when saying something nice, that seems so off-hand to you, might make a person’s day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pregnancy Woes; Queen of Bribery; Quinoa Salad

It’s been a touch-and-go week for me; after dry-heaving after my exercise class last Monday night, having a couple of OK days and then a bad night Friday, I went out to dinner with my family on Saturday and ate my weight in red curry at a local Thai restaurant.  I love red curry, but that was the Best Red Curry Ever, probably because of the pregnancy and it being the first meal I have actually wanted to eat in a long time.  Last night was a bit rough, and this morning I was feeling pretty icky, but my stomach has settled a bit now.  So, maybe I’m pulling out of this?


But if it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?  And more often than not, the trials seem to accumulate.  Both Charles and Jamie are fighting head colds right now, a fact that finds Jamie in our bed at night even more often than usual (which was a lot), only now he’s coughing.  By 4 am, my sinuses started to hurt.  Yippee!  I can take a whole lot of NOTHING for head colds while pregnant.  So we’re not sleeping much, is what I’m saying.  On top of which, I am dreading a preschool battle with Charles every morning for the next six months.  He’s bored, I get that.  The preschool where my kids go (all-day care, really) is fantastic, and run by some amazing people who have listened to my woes about Charles and stimulation and added all sorts of new activities (a creation station where kids can be engineers with trash and recyclables a la Rosie Revere, Engineer!) to keep him and the other kids engaged, but his whining about school is a hard habit to break (so is his nail-biting, but that’s a different issue).


I have resorted to the tried-and-true method of bribery.  Each morning that Charles gets dressed and brushes his teeth in a timely manner and doesn’t throw a fit when I drop him at school earns him a sticker.  When he gets ten stickers, he gets to go to Chuck E. Cheese.  I loathe Chuck E. Cheese, so Tony will take him.  In the four days since instituting the plan, he has earned two stickers, so we’re getting there.  The new activities at school will help, I’m sure.  When he gets his reward, hopefully he will be happy to get dressed quickly and go to school every day, but if I have to keep bribing him, I will.  It works and hey, I get paid for going to work.  It’s sort of the same.


I am truly hoping that kindergarten next year will be so engrossing and exciting for him that we will never deal with this issue again. 


And now, as I sit at my desk eating the best quinoa salad ever, I feel I must share the recipe:

Cooked quinoa (I made a lot, but I like to eat this for several days in a row)



Whole almonds

Mint (fresh is best, but my mint is wintering right now)

Olive oil & balsamic vinegar (I used this delicious white balsamic my mom gave me for Christmas)



I mix the quinoa and everything but the spinach together, then I dump a goodly scoop on top of a bed of spinach.  I drizzle extra olive oil and vinegar over the whole thing.  Yum!  I’ll say this for pregnancy: when I’m feeling good, food tastes amazing.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year’s Day

Merry New Year!  We didn’t stay up, no surprise.  The dog slept in our room, though, which was a surprise.  He never does that.  I think he really hates fireworks, though.


On New Year’s Day, we decided to pack the kids and the snow gear into the truck and head up to Mount Baker for some sledding.  The fresh, mountain air did me a world of good, but I almost vomited on those windy roads both on the way there and the way back.  Worth it for the fun we had.


photo (20)  Snowball fight!  I endured many a projectile flung at me from small hands.

photo 2 (20)

The biggest grins.


photo 1 (22)

Sledding, though, is serious business.


photo 1 (21) photo 2 (21)



photo 3 (15)  Happy as a snowman on New Year’s Day (that’s totally a saying now)



After a particularly terrible Monday night, I haven’t been plagued with quite the same level of nausea as before.  Perhaps this means that things are getting better?  Please?  Whatever it is, it was nice to feel like the new year meant a new start to pregnancy sickness.


I don’t really have specific resolutions this year.  I’m going to gain a bunch of weight and become less active, so the usual “lose 5 pounds, run a 10k in under an hour” resolutions are out.  And how can you resolve things about a person you’ve never met before?  I would love to have another natural childbirth, but maybe this kid will get stuck or something.  I would love to not gain 50+ pounds this pregnancy, but maybe that’s just what I do.  I would love to get enough sleep this summer, but maybe this child will have colic like Charles did.  I would love to get back to running by late autumn, but maybe I’ll have a huge tear from pushing out a giant baby and be unable to bounce for a sustained period of time. 


Instead, I am planning to just chill out about things.  No stress: that’s my New Year Resolution.  My Christmas lights and tree are still up.  Who cares?  I haven’t cooked a meal in months.  Who cares?  The only time my house gets vacuumed is when the housekeeper comes, every two weeks.  Who cares?  I got so sick after my last workout that I am taking a break for awhile, and yes, my thighs are getting bigger as a result.  Who cares?  We aren’t planning on any trips this year or major activities and we are actively saying “no” to invitations that feel like they would be more difficult at this stage in life than they will in, say, a year or two.  Who cares?  My friends and family know that we love them, we just can’t do everything, or even anything, right now.


Let’s just all be happy, anyway, okay?