Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hey, Legs!

Bizarre title, I know. But I think this is my new pet name for Eli (I haven't decided yet). The backstory:

On Thursday, one of my students, a particularly attitudinal, attention-seeking girl, asked how long I've been married [almost seven years] and then wanted to know, "Don't you get tired of him?" I was caught a little offguard, of course, because of the randomness of the question and what it had to do with lining up to go to lunch, but the co-teacher I have during that period jumped in and explained that she had been married for over 20 years and that no, she wasn't tired of her husband. The girl looked at me and said, "How do you still have things to talk about?"

How would we not?

What questions from a 12-year-old.

I told Eli about this later and his response was, "Do you ever get tired of your legs?" I thought this an odd response, so I asked him to explain this on-the-spot analogy. So (sorry, Legs, if I don't get this exactly verbatim) this is the gist of what he had to say:

Your legs are an integral part of you. Sometimes they hurt, sometimes they're painful, sometimes they go to sleep. But when any of these things happens, do you ever just say to yourself, "Man, I wish I didn't have legs!" No. You don't, because even though sometimes they don't feel brand new, they are still very important to how you function. They are a part of you that is necessary, even when they're having a bad day.

Eli is more eloquent than I will ever be, so that sounded a lot less WOW! in the recap than it did in its live debut. Nonetheless, it is so very true.

We then went on to talk about shared experiences (volunteering, Bible studies, family events) and responsibilities (Timmy, Coco, and Elsie) that keep up growing and changing and talking. It's also our independent experiences that provide fodder for our marital stability. For instance...

I had a meeting after church today and Eli sent me a text during it that merely said, "Poosplosion!!! Bath time..." which was later followed by a text that said, "Well, I can say this: she ate more peas than she dropped on the floor." He was, of course, referring to our jaunt to the Indian restaurant after the Auburn baseball games yesterday. We were served rice with peas in it, so we squished a few of them up and fed them to Elsie. She liked them a lot, but her pincer grasp is still developing the ability to handle rounded objects so we did pick up quite a few from the floor before we left. But this still elicited questions that couldn't be answered over text.

So, yes. We've been married almost seven years and here's our secret of longevity: we've made it this long by talking about poop. First Timmy's. Now Elsie's.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recommend books?

A movie just came out that I haven't seen, but I've done better: I read the book. The Lightning Thief, the first in the Percy Jackson series, is an EXCELLENT book that I can recommend to any middle schooler. The series is a modern take on Greek mythology, and it introduces mythology in a way that students remember and can connect to. For instance, today in my 30-minute reading block at the beginning of the day, we discussed the seven wonders of the ancient world (yesterday, we had talked about Oedipus and the Sphinx, so this was a natural segue, of course). There were three items out of the seven that reference mythology: the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Colossus of Rhodes (giant statue of Apollo). Several of the kids knew who Artemis and Apollo were already (from PJ book 3, The Titan's Curse). Small victory. I'm almost through the fourth book, and the fifth and final book is looking at me from the shelf, beckoning me to read it. So far so good.

But this has gotten me to think about another series that I love: Harry Potter. I have extremely mixed emotions about recommending this series, even though I adore it. It's weird. My hang-ups have nothing to do with the magic or anything. My hang-ups have to do with content. Let me explain:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is about a 10-year-old boy who has been through great loss in his life. In this book, he is finally finding a sense of belonging, a place where he fits in, friends, and a purpose. The book is so well written. I was in awe of the language used and the pictures painted with words. Every time Snape snapped, I had to smile, because it is physically impossible for me to read that without the corners of my mouth twitching. And when Dumbledore "twinkled" at Harry (furthermore known as HP), I would have to turn and twinkle at Eli. Loved it.

I would say this book is age appropriate for 10-12 year olds. Maybe. The problem lies in the fact that HP ages faster than his reader will. That 10-year-old will pick up the first book and read it. And then want the next one, where HP is 11 years old. And then the next one where he is 12. And this same ten-year-old reader (probably almost an 11-year-old by now unless he's particulary voracious) will then pick up the fourth book, the one in which HP is 14.

The Goblet of Fire and all the books after it are very dark. It goes right along with the story, and makes sense. But that didn't make it any less shocking when the first of several characters died. I was stunned speechless after reading it. And I was...21 years old when I read it? Can't believe it has been that long.

The battle between good and evil is genius (I do love the bit about the Elder wand), and you have to know that good prevails, as it will in most kids' books at this age, but that doesn't mean the imagery is appropriate for the same audiences that the movie makers are trying to appeal to.

So, it makes me uncomfortable. How is it that one of my favorite series of books EVER is something that I can't honestly recommend to my students because they're at that stage where they still want every book to have a happy ending--delayed gratification is NOT acceptable? I don't know if I would want my 10-12 year old reading past the third book due to maturity of subject matter. And if my child was not allowed to sit down and devour all seven books as the story unfolds, having to wait, then isn't that just as torturous as waiting for the seventh book to be published was??? Those six years from book four to seven were some of the worst waiting years of my life--so bad, in fact, that I refuse to start series that aren't complete anymore if I can help it(sorry, Eragon). So, no. I don't recommend them. To children, anyway.

But I don't shy away from magic, just to be clear. The legends of King Arthur and Merlin are excellent. The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) are excellent. The Dark is Rising series (Susan Cooper) is excellent. The Strega Nona picture books (Tomie de Paola) are fantastic. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are good if you're willing to chew chew chew on the jam-packed wordiness of Tolkein. (I vowed I would only ever read them once. Period.) And anything by Terry Pratchett (though he has few books intended for children). Anyway, I've read so many books that I'm sure there are many, many more that I'm leaving off, but I hope you get my point.

I've been reading magical books since I was a little girl, and I like to think that I'm pretty well-adjusted if not more normal than I sometimes would like to admit. I grew up in the church, and I had good answers and information from my parents. I hope to introduce Elsie, et al., to the world of reading and the wonder of storytelling, including stories with magic (hello fairy tales).

And that, my friends, is what my brain needed to unload this evening. Thanks!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bananas, Plums, and Grapes...oh, my!

This morning as we got up and were getting ready for church, I took Elsie and fed her the second container of bananas, plum, and grapes, a Gerber concoction. She had had it before and liked it well enough. And then I got ready and re-packed the diaper bag, something I tend to do on Sundays before church, mean to last the whole week.

We get in the car. We're driving. Elsie coughs and sneezes. Eli turns back and says, "Ew, I think there was a little more to that sneeze." I turn back. There's a splatter of pink/purple/brown concoction on her white bib. I wipe it off with a paper towel that's in my hand. We keep driving. Elsie coughs.

At the light by the mall (one light from our house, about 3/4 mile), Eli turns around and goes, "Eeeeeew!" I turn around. No splatter. Full purple/pink/brown concoction coverage. Ick. Elsie doesn't mind. I do. When the light turns green we cross the intersection and pull into the Panera parking lot to investigate.

This is bad. Really bad.

Elsie has puked up her breakfast. All of it. And it's all over her clothes and carseat. So....we strip her down right there in the parking lot and she's now unhappy about being mostly naked in public. We wipe down her hands and arms (ew) and put her in a clean onesie. We clean up the carseat, but it's wet and gross, so we make the decision to go home and switch cars. To do this, Elsie had to ride in my lap. I was a wreck, and was sure that we were going to be pulled over by the police. But, we made it home, and Elsie rather enjoyed facing forward.

We found some pants to go with the onesie, we started a load of puke laundry--carseat cover, blanket, clothes, socks, etc.--we found some more clothes to put in the diaper bag, and we left again. Over an hour after our first departure. I was ready for a nap.

Anyway, that was our technicolor adventure today.

On another note, I hate Charter. I'm ready for some competition to come to this area. Turns out that we had inadvertently been getting the expanded basic cable package for the last year and a half. Two days ago they corrected it. Not a problem, really, because it was their mistake. But, honestly, could they have not waited until the Olympics were over to do their audit? I've missed more than a couple curling matches and I'm none too happy about it.

What really makes me mad is that I've been telling people what a really good deal we've gotten at Charter, not realizing that the deal is not available to them since Charter messed us up. So I have been promoting a falsehood. Grrr.

And, our cable "promotional" price ends next month, so I think we're dropping it altogether, because, honestly, of the channels that come with the basic package, the only ones we watch are network channels, so why pay for that when you can get them for free? That, my friends, is why I had never had cable in my life until September 2008. The only problem is that we don't have a digital converter box. We'll see what happens.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ultrasound -- It's a...

SURPRISE! The moment came for us to decide if we wanted to know, and we stuck to our guns. We'll wait until August. The tech measured me at exactly 15 weeks, so my new official due date is August 12, not too far off from the original estimation, but as the tech mentioned, a week makes a huge difference at the end. :)

BB2.0 is not as photogenic as Elsie was, though is totally cute and laid back with legs crossed at the ankles. Actually, s/he was camera shy and kept getting lower and lower, moving behind my incision scar, making the poking and prodding with the ultrasound tool very uncomfortable. Here's the best picture from our study:

I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through the next several months blogging about this baby and not committing to he or she in pronoun use. So I think I will just alternate back and forth with masculine and feminine pronouns from post to post, but not in the same post.

So, before I go, I want to tell you that this morning I got Elsie out the door since Eli was at Bible study, and on the way out I said adios to the cats, "Bye, boys." And Elsie, from her carrier, said, "Buh buh." And yes, it was followed by other buhs, BUT she recognized that I made the sound. She is so cute. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random & Baby Stuff

Random #1: I'm surprised parents have teeth. The number of times Elsie has bonked her head on my mouth is innumerable. Tonight, I have a fat lip, in addition to the gash on my cheek where Elsie accidentally scratched me on Saturday.

Random #2: Call me sheltered, but I just realized what the Fantasy Suite on The Bachelor is all about (yes, it's the 14th season). Skanky. I feel so betrayed and let down by humanity, but really I just put too much faith in reality television to not spread their germs and bacteria so freely.

Random #3: Eli just told me that he's glad we didn't meet on The Bachelor because he would have cut me early because I don't know how to walk in heels (or, at least, I didn't when I was 20...I've had a decade of practice and though I continue to fall over while standing still, I'm not as bad anymore).

On to the baby stuff...

The weaning has begun, with me down to nursing twice a day. I went to school today and did not pump. Sigh. It's the beginning of the end.

I've been thinking a lot about VBAC. On our initial visit, the doc said I was a candidate and gave me a brochure. But everything I've read has disqualified me--I'm over 30, it won't have been 18 months since my c-section, and I made it to 10cm before having surgery. Three strikes. Am I out? I need to know this before I make an effort to find a doula. I've inquired with four in the area and have struck out four times for various reasons, so before I expend effort and get my hopes up, I want to know. I WANT TO KNOW!!!

Because if I'm NOT a candidate, then I have the pressure of picking BB2's birthday. And there are lots of implications there. You know, since Beavers are prime!

3, 5, and 7 are too early in the month. 11 might also be too early. 13 is a Friday (not a problem--it's my lucky number, but it's been done three times by Beavers--me, M, and dad-in-law). 17 and 19 have been done by Mom-in-law (17), and Eli and S (19). And then you're hard pressed for 23, 29, and 31 as they're late in the month. See. Too much to think about. Lord, let this child come in Your time. Not mine.

Truth be told, if I have to choose, I have chosen. And it won't be prime. GASP! I'd still prefer not to choose.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weird, Lonely Day

Eli's out of town. I'm lonely and bored. Yesterday, K came over and kept us company for a while. Today, we went to the library to hang out with other moms, and we were the only ones there for the first hour and fifteen minutes. Then A showed up and we talked for over an hour, so it was good to get adult time.

But even with that, I can't even put into words what it means to have Eli here, so when he's gone there's just this void that no matter how much anyone tries to distract me from it, I still feel it sharply. I miss him.

He called this evening and we watched the Olympics together over the phone for about fifteen minutes--some women's moguls and short track. He said he felt like he was in high school watching TV over the telephone. I laughed. He forgets when we were in college and we read the entirety of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to each other over the phone long distance, back before we had cell phones. My dad told me it was a waste of a 500 minute calling card. I didn't think so. :)

So, now the cats and I are curled up watching some television as I wonder where on earth I put the remote control. Good thing there's only one thing I'm interested in watching tonight.

Eli will be home by supper time tomorrow. Hooray!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Snowy Day

The best possible scenario occurred today. School was cancelled. And Monday is the make-up day. Why is this wonderful? Because everyone gets a three-day weekend! Initially, the kids were going to be off on Monday while the teachers had a professional development day. Now we all take time off. Unfortunately, this is the weekend that Eli is in Florida at a Coast Guard conference. I have a three day weekend, and I have to spend it alone! Well, I'll be with Elsie, but you know what I mean.

We got out this morning early before the snow started coming down, mostly to take Elsie to meet J's son. I left her there for about 45 minutes while I ran to the grocery store. By the time I was at the check-out line, the heavens had opened up. When I picked Elsie up, we stood in the falling snow for a minute and she didn't know what to make the weird stuff that wasn't rain (she loves to be rained on...weird child).

Anyway, today the Christmas wreath finally came off the door. Yeah, I know. It's almost Valentine's Day. I kept meaning to take a picture of it, but never had the chance. And the one time I did remember (about two weeks ago), the camera didn't have a memory card in it. Ugh. So, it stayed up so that I could record it for posterity. So, without further ado, here is my Christmas wreath:

I didn't cut all those pieces...just the red ones. At some point I bought a pack of 1"-square heavy paper in the scrapbook aisle at Hobby Lobby or Michael's (could have been YEARS ago) in primary colors and in bright colors. On the night of the SEC championship game in early December, I sat down and was determined to make a wreath for the door from materials I already had, so I laid out a rough circle of green squares and taped them all together, and then layered more on top and taped and taped and taped. I'm most proud of the 3D bow. I engineered this bow design back in 2001 when I lived with Daphne in Austin and I made a paper wreath for our apartment door, but I traced my hand a million times for that one. So, here's my beautiful bow:

And, while I was outside snapping pictures of the wreath before it got "recycled", I turned and snapped a picture from our front porch facing toward the pool. This was still early in the snowfall (3 hours, maybe?), so in the end, by the time the sun went down the whiteness was opaque.

So, now Elsie is in bed. I'm waiting for the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver. I'm going to make a cup of hot tea and cuddle with the felines and my Sports Illustrated Olympic preview issue. Stay warm!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

9 month doctor update

We took Elsie for her 9-month checkup today. Here are the stats:

Length: 28.5
Weight: 18 lbs. 13 oz.
Head: 18.67 inches

She's still speeding ahead on noggin size and length, but her weight is slowing down. That's good. I suspect she'll be 20 pounds well before her first birthday.

We talked to the pediatrician about weaning, and she said, hey why not? Not exactly as helpful as I wanted (step by step, someone, please!) but it was good to be encouraged. Elsie loves to eat and honestly doesn't care if it's from the bottle, the box, the jar, or from me. Is it edible? She'll eat it. I'm down to pumping only once at school this semester (lunch time, with the motive of not having to keep the silent lunch crowd) and feeding Elsie in the morning and at night--about two nursing sessions a day, sometimes three. Any advice or ideas about this? I just don't want her being jealous or wanting to nurse, too, when the new baby comes.

I'm also not sure how this feeding thing progresses from here. When do we start giving her table food? Meat? I just don't know and I don't want to do it wrong!

Elsie is not feeling well. When Eli got her up to get dressed this morning, he said, "Whoa!" I thought he might have found a poopy diaper. Nope. It was a snotsplosion! All dried and crusted on top of her nose, her lips, her cheeks. The cribsheet was a mess. Can you say yuck? I nursed her in the dark this morning, so I didn't notice more than her snorting and having trouble breathing through her nose. (And I had a little dried snotsky on me, come to find out.) I don't think it's a cold, as she doesn't have a fever, she's not particularly fussy, and her appetite isn't affected, but the doctor said that her eardrums are a little inflamed and gave me an Rx for antibiotics just in case. I think it's allergies. If this weather would just make up its non-existent mind! The changing back and forth is wreaking havoc on my sinuses, and Elsie's too.

Okay, it's officially 8 o'clock. I can go to bed. I was ready for bed at 6:45 p.m. and realized that that was a little insane, so I've stuck it out for as long as I could. Goodnight!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's in a Name?

Tonight our middle school hosted a writing event for families called "OMS Writes". Original, right? It's a part of the Our Community Writes initiative around here. Anyway, on each grade level team (of which I am on the Achievers), the social studies and English teachers were to create a writing lesson that appealed to families and somehow tied in writing and history, preferably recording family history.

There's a piece by Sandra Cisneros in The House on Mango Street that inspired our event tonight. It's called "My Name", and it's written it from the point of view of a little girl talking about her love/hate relationship with her ethnic name. I thought--Perfect! Everyone has a story about her name, or about a name meaningful to him. So even though we ended up not using that particular piece, it inspired our presentation.

So, yes, I planned the whole thing. It was my idea. I told the social studies teacher what he would be covering, and then I stayed up late last night putting together a PowerPoint presentation. I spent a good part of today tweaking it. We used humorous quotes and examples.

Mostly, I'm shocked at the number of parents (who are presumably my age or older) who couldn't tell me the importance of names in Romeo and Juliet, The Neverending Story, or Rumpelstiltskin. Really?

But, I think they really enjoyed writing about names close to them and sharing their writings with their children. I'm also proud to note that the social studies teacher did some writing. It was a pleasant surprise. :)

Time for sleeping. Or recovering from the whirlwind responsibilities from that last four days (remember the tea party?).


Sunday, February 7, 2010

9 Months

Wow! Where has the time gone? And this past month in particular has been quite a doozy.

Let's see, shortly after turning 8 months, Elsie

1. Decided it was time to crawl.
2. Two days later, she decided that it was probably time to sit up on her own (rolling onto her stomach and pushing back into a sit).
3. A couple of days after that, she decided that those two new skills would be complemented with being able to pull up onto her knees.
4. Within a week, that turned into pulling up to a stand.
5. In the same week, she started consistently babbling her Bs (still working on luck yet, while Eli pushes luck for him either)
6. And she started getting mad if we took something away from her, say, anything that has a cord.
7. And she, as of a few days ago, has started tentatively cruising down the length of the couch to get to what she wants.
8. Today, she was standing up in the playpen while Eli was folding clothes, and she fell backwards onto her bum and said, "Uh-oh." And then she did it again, just to prove it wasn't an accident. And then, just to confuse us, she spent about two minutes going through a string of "uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-ohs".

The pulling up has become second nature, as if she's been doing it all along. Crazy girl. She likes to pull up on our headboard and slap the wall behind it. And she likes to stand facing the cushions on the back of the couch and jump up and down. We are going to have a bed jumper here.

Nine months. It just doesn't feel like it has been that long. And the little girl we have has been infused with so much more life in the last month--a spirit of adventure and exploration. She's getting more bold while I'm getting more tired.

She's going to walk before she's a year old in May--that's my prediction. She tried a couple of times to stand up in the middle of the floor but lost her balance. Eli has held her and then let her stand and balance on her own, and right now she can do it for under ten seconds. That is sure to change as rapidly as she did over the last month.

Okay, time for grading papers. I must do this. And there might be a football game on in the background.


Saturday, February 6, 2010


At one point I knew what RSVP stood for, but I forgot, so sometime earlier this year I looked it up again.

Respondez, s'il vous plait. Or, "Respond, if you please," in English.

I'm sitting here saying the phrase alound to myself, trying to work on my French pronunciation, which is admittedly bad, and Eli is cringing. I think he may cave one day and get me some Rosetta Stone help just to put me out of his misery, but today's not the day (on this note, he can't stand when we drive into Louisiana and I try desperately to welcome us to Louisiana in French, as it is on the sign--Bienvenue a Louisiane).

Anywho, the Ladies' Tea was today, and it was so much more than I could ever imagine! My volunteer hostesses did so much and worked so hard to pull this off! The themes were varied and wonderful. And so I don't forget next year, here's what they were:

1. Tulips and Teapots
2. Love (Valentine's theme)
3. Beach and Blue (live goldfish in the centerpiece!)
4. Fancy Fillies
5. Angels (Willow Tree)
6. Roses and Lace (I'm naming this theme for what was on the table)
7. Pirate's Tea
8. Rub-a-dub-dub
9. Spring Tea
10. Tea with the Queen

That last one was mine. I wanted an Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter theme, but time and money ended up working against me. I'll have to table that idea for next year (pun intended). Thanks to ATB for sharing food with me!

This week was a little bit crazy with people turning in their RSVPs late, and there being a minor breakdown in communication when some of the hostesses knew that a few guests wouldn't be coming, but didn't mention this until this morning. My table was supposed to be overflow, with four people and two extra seats, but I ended up only having three when one of the college girls flaked out. So, in total 8 people sent in their RSVP and then did not show up, giving us 52 guests total. In the end, I didn't need to host a table, but that's okay. We were prepared for 60 plus any extras, so there was a lot of food.

For next year, I'm thinking maybe each hostess should be responsible for filling seats at her table, and following up with her guests to make sure they are going to come. I don't know. Maybe we should have people pay ahead of time to reserve their spots. This was the first year we did this, so people didn't know what to expect. Next year will be different, I'm sure. I had several people mention how they would like to host a table next year after seeing all the tables. So maybe there will be a next year.

The best part, I think, is when my friend came up--the same friend who told me that the idea of tea was antiquated--and admitted that she was wrong and I was right. That's quite a statement, and it made me smile.

So, here's to next year! (Anyone else want to coordinate?? Haha!)

[I didn't get to take any pictures, but JC did, so I'll post them when she gets them up on FB.]

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream Life...or Which Baby Do I Get?

You may think you know me. But the truth is, you only know the awake, somewhat sane side of me. Eli, bless his heart, gets to be here for the dreaming side of me. After nearly seven years of marriage, I still wake up and say, "I had the strangest dream," as if that doesn't happen all the time. Again, after nearly seven years, Eli looks at me like, "What else is new?" and then patiently lets me tell him about the oddities of the night.

I have weird dreams.

Ever since Elsie has been here, I have weird waking dreams about babies. When I awake from a dead sleep to her crying, I'm terribly confused. How will I know which baby is mine? Which baby do I calm down? Whose baby is crying? Where is my baby?

I get about halfway to the room of crying babies before I remember that there's only one and that she'll be easy to know, since there are not actually any others.

I think that this baby confusion started when Elsie was brand new. I would tell Eli that I felt like I had multiple babies, since they all had very different personalities--sleeping baby, happy baby, hungry baby, crying baby, SCREAMING baby, sleepy baby, content baby. She was the same baby, but she was so many things that were contradictory from moment to moment. It was really an emotional roller coaster.

All this to say that last night I woke up to Elsie crying at around 3 a.m. I was really confused...again...about which baby needed to be calmed or fed. And when I went into Elsie's room, I found that my confusion was not unfounded. When I went into Elsie's room, there were two babies, two pairs of eyes looking at me. One pair of eyes said, "Feed me!" And the other odd pair of eyes said, "I didn't do it."

The big, fat, white furry baby that was in the crib next to her must have crept into the room when I went in around eleven. I usually keep the door open when I go in so that I can help even out the temperature in there--it usually gets colder in there without air circulation, and the cats are usually asleep on the couch when I do this. Last night, they were up and around and I didn't even notice.

The good news is that he kept Elsie warm (or vice versa), and that in her almost nine months on the planet, this is the first time that either of the cats have slept in the crib with her. When she woke up screaming, I don't think Timmy knew what to do. He did eventually jump out of the crib and run away.

I told Eli about the two babies when I came back to bed, and he incorrectly guessed that it was Coco, because cuddling is something we expect from Coco. Haha. Timmy has really turned into a big old tolerant tub of lard. He lets Elsie pull his ears and grab handfuls of his fur, and he doesn't hiss or run away. He puts up with Elsie WAY more than he does Coco. Weirdo.

Anyway, that's the news from my weird waking dreamness. Last night I was NOT losing my mind and I did get the right baby. :)