Thursday, November 29, 2007

They Ain't Gossip Girls

I started telling colleagues at work about Swimmy about nine weeks ago. I've told some people for whom I think it will matter for future planning and mention it to those who are friends as well as co-workers. And I'm still telling them.

Remember how I said I work primarily with engineering-type men? After nine weeks, I still have yet to tell someone who has heard it from someone else. Each person is surprised and congratulates me, even guys who work for hours each day in close proximity with other people who already know. It just doesn't occur to them that it's news.

That's really refreshing in the sense that I sure know that folks aren't talking behind my back, or at least not about my pregnancy. They are lacking the gossip gene.

Note – I've never actually seen the show Gossip Girl, but I liked Blake Lively in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, so therefore the picture.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Repeat After Me, I Do Not Have Celiac Disease

I do not have wheat gluten intolerance. I do not have a food allergy. What I have is an overactive imagination. And probably some preggers indigestion. If I say this enough times and remind myself that I had a sandwich with wheat bread for lunch yesterday, and I felt just fine afterwards, I should be able to return to my regularly scheduled routine of worry and not add this complication.

In a totally unrelated note, I thought I would share a photo or two of the Weekly Roses. One of my colleagues grows flowers in his backyard and brings them to the office on Monday mornings. Lucky us, we get to have a fresh rose for our desks every week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Calling All Literature-Loving Friends

Have you read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde? If so, did you like it?

I mostly enjoyed it, but didn't find the book brilliant. I'm wondering whether someone with greater literary knowledge would gotten more inside jokes and find that this was the cleverest novel ever. I'm no slouch when it comes to reading, but will freely admit wide gaps in my background. For instance, I had to look up Martin Chuzzlewit in Wikipedia to make sure it was a real Dickens book.

The Eyre Affair had a great concept – people in a sort of alternate English universe become able to enter works of literature – and I like the main character, Thursday Next. The villain, Acheron Hades (heavy handed, anyone?), was unfortunately too one-sided. I didn't see a motivation for him beyond "evil is fun!" and there was no apparent reason why Thursday was able to resist his nasty mind-bending abilities. . . . unless I'm missing some big connection that's obvious to you literature specialists.

A fun book, but probably not going on my re-read list. Thoughts?

Monday, November 26, 2007

They're Baaaack

Darn it, I'm lazy for just one day, and I miss the inaugural picture for the second annual Christmas light display series. If you recall from last winter, our next door neighbors are highly enthusiastic about their holiday lights, and we can content ourselves with merely placing a mirror on our side of the street if we want to add to the festivities.

They had put up simple blue icicle lights last night, but I was sleepy and didn't go outside to shoot them. Today, there is already net lighting all over the bushes and a glowing Happy New Year sign over the door. Before we had Q, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm going to miss their decorations when we move away. The little dude so enjoys examining each nightly addition.

It's non sequitur week here at Chez Lady M, so I'll continue with more totally unrelated tales. This afternoon, Q brought home the prints we ordered from the tragic preschool photo shoot. I opened the envelope and pulled out the one we'd selected. He came over to look at it and chirped, "Not happy!" Yeah buddy, next time you could smile a little.

He did smile plenty for one of our dance friends who stopped by to pick up some music. He insisted on displaying several toys and performed a section of the Russian dance from Riverdance for her, a nice contrast from some more shy interactions he's had lately.

And on to a dance topic. Aside from teaching one class at the university in October, I haven't really danced in three months, my longest inactive period in over a decade. Yuck. Now that I'm finally starting to feel better, I did a little searching for studios near our new (fingers crossed) house. There are three schools, including one with an excellent reputation, only blocks away. Hopefully, one of them will be amenable to renting space to us for rehearsals, and it's also exciting to feel strong enough to dream about running out to take class.

Q and his cardboard camera (a clever magazine ad for Nikon that we cut out for him).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Not What I Intended to Write

. . but various hours of bill-paying and paperwork have eaten up the thinking part of the evening. So, a quick post for tonight.

Q has somewhere learned the concept of Hide and Seek. At preschool perhaps? We went to the local zoo and park this morning and ran around my favorite colorful maze. He hid his eyes and counted to 10 before searching for SwingDaddy. When it came time for SwingDaddy to take his turn counting, Q couldn't bear to tear himself away to hide, so he was "found" pretty quickly.

In other random thoughts, I'm tidying through bookshelves in preparation for the move and finding that I have indeed read all the books I received last year for Christmas (except one), but still have a backlog of others I've picked up along the way at bargain sales. I think that this year I'd better ask for moving help rather than books, so that I can catch up!

It's been freezing around here (ok, don't laugh, I just get cold easily), and I am reminded of a gleeful moment last autumn when I realized that Q was a portable heat source. And this year, he's bigger, for even better snuggling. Awesome.

Lemurs on a cold day - just balls of fur!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Home, Home on the Wange

I just came across a poster for a plush food show for last weekend in Los Angeles. Can you believe how specialized a niche that is? It would have been so much fun to see the cuteness, but it's just as well I missed it. I would have spent all our money and then how would we pay for the house we just found?

House? Yep, we've been mighty busy these last days. First we found out that Swimmy is a boy, and then we made an offer on a house and it was accepted! If all the inspections go well, we'll be in the new place before the holidays. We're a bit in shock, but very excited.

The school district is excellent and teacher Momma to LG vouched for the local elementary school. The neighborhood looks very well cared-for, with sidewalks for comfortable strolls. We're thrilled at how much more space we'll have for Swimmy and out-of-town guests. With the exception of some unfortunate early-eighties foil wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, the house is ready for a move-in.

I don't want to say a lot more yet because I'm afraid of jinxing the deal, so I'll close with some more plush. The apple and corn are by an artist named Anna Chambers and the Pirate Vegetables are by artist Kate Sutton.

P.S. Post title from Q's favorite new song.

P.P.S. I had to add one more picture. Look at what they have a Krispy Kreme: Cute non-plush food!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Do You Keep Their Creativity?

To anyone who reads this blog regularly, it's well known that Q loves to drum.

He came up with this setup entirely on his own. He started out with a pair of plastic bottles, now replaced with real drumsticks, banging the bin for his oversized toddler Legos. A few weeks later, he stacked the ramp supports for his train set into a tower to use as the high hat. Later, he noticed that the wheels of his tricycle looked like cymbals, so he turned them sideways and arranged them around his drum. Most recently, he found a blocky memo pad and placed it under his foot for the kick pedal.

I love this. I love how he made this whole drum arrangement out of his own imagination. While we do plan to indulge him in some more "real" instruments, I hope that we can encourage that creativity and not let it get squashed by the academics and organized activities that will inevitably crowd his days as he gets older.

Right now, a music book with a little toy keyboard can be held sideways and called an "accordion."

And the handle of a miniature wagon from my parents' friends becomes a top notch microphone.

Keep on with the dreaming, little guy. I'll do my best to keep up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh Boy, Oh Boy

The game Rockband was released today, which is an ultra form of Guitar Hero. One player is the singer, and the others play drums, lead guitar, and bass guitar. Between my husband and two sons, we're all set to be champions.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Klassy with a K

Over the weekend, we ran into YF and family at the mall while they were picking shoes for Fi. Mom and daughter had selected different pairs and were debating the adorable merits of each. Ah, the joys of girl shoes. Q now has two pairs of sneakers courtesy of my parents, so he gets to choose ("Blue or White?" "Blue!") when we go out. It's a miracle that he gets options, given the small selection for boys.

In any case, we admitted to the YFs that we'd arrived at the mall to grab a quick dinner, and they said the same, except. they'd eaten at the Nordstrom Café and we'd dined at Hot Dog on a Stick, because we're Klassy like that. And we love us some cherry lemonade. So on our next trip, which we hope will be January after the holiday rush is over, we're heading to Nordstrom to check it out.

This morning, my nose bled when I blew it, my gums bled when I brushed my teeth, my back was sorta achy, and I couldn't be happier. For me this is a sign that I'm returning to the normal-style pregnancy that I enjoyed with Q, the kind that doesn't involve regular retching during the second trimester. So I think we're still on an upswing.

Photo credit: ZY

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Tar-jhay and Tentacly

It's been a while since we made it to the fabulous red and white aisles of Target, so we've been running low on many household items. I've been redistributing Kleenex from the fuller boxes to the empty ones for so long that there were about four tissues left in each box. (We don't actually use Kleenex though. The favored brand is Puffs, with a special container of Puffs Plus With Lotion set aside for illnesses. They're sort of slimy for regular use, but God's gift to noses when you're sick.)

I'd also been pouring liquid hand soap from container to container in an effort to keep all sinks afloat, so I dropped by the soap section to pick up lovely, lovely refillable Method soft soaps. And what do I see? The much longed-for, blogged-about SQUID SOAP!

I now have my very own Squid Soap. I mean, Q has his very own Squid Soap, um, just as soon as I'm finished pulling the stretchy tentacles.

After two and a half months of being basically useless for errands, I had 45 minutes of bliss strolling Target. Better than therapy, I tell ya.

In other sealife news, Lady O was kind enough to send me a link on crib bedding that she thought I really needed to see. Is this perfect or what?

Swimmy and I must have this rug. And these pillows. And blanket.

Speaking of Lady O, please send condolences her way, as pet Oreo has gone to ratty heaven.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Probably Condemning Our Child to a Lifetime of Minimum Wage

We played hooky and skipped our preschool's parent program tonight on Kindergarten Readiness. Q is two and a half, for crying out loud. I figured that we'd wait until next year, but I can't help but wonder if we're missing something really important. Does he need to know his polynomials?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We Like Our Letters

It's a new game. Tired Mommy sits on the couch and hands flashcards to her small son, who runs across the room and finds the matching floor mat. Works great until he says, "Your turn! You can do it!" and she has to start running around too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hey, Feeling Like a Human Being

It was very exciting today to be able to answer the basic question of "How are you?" without lying. I felt GOOD almost all day. Thanks, Swimmy! I hope this is the beginning of a trend.

In other news, Q and I have been majorly overindulging in Riverdance in all its video forms (original flavor, Radio City Music Hall production, Geneva edition) while SwingDaddy has been on the road this week. It's educational, right? Music, culture, uh, something like that.

Many thanks to my folks for all their help over a long weekend, giving SwingDaddy a break and lavishing Q with attention. I had to stay low-key after Friday's doctor's appointment, and it was safer to not lift him for a day or two. The little dude is getting heavy!

Here's a link to some excellently expressive pumpkins. SwingDaddy's sister is expecting twins in a few months, and she and her husband carved their jack o'lanterns to show just how they are feeling about it. ;) I had to wait until we'd had our first ultrasound to post about it, to make sure that we weren't also expecting twins. Otherwise, some Photoshop work would have been in order.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Contest for the Most Unrelated Series of Content

My sister was interested in a videogame called Beautiful Katamari. (Aside: If you really must know, see the Wikipedia link. It has a Japanese storyline involving a tennis ball ripping a hole into the fabric of the universe and needing to repair it by rolling objects into an every increasing ball of stuff. Returning to my not-so-important point now.)

SwingDaddy went online to order it, and I thought I kept hearing him say, "Beautiful Calamari" and imagined cute little squids curling their eyelashes and giving each other pedicures. I was sad to find that it wasn't about calamari after all.

I have to write this one down because the little dude has almost lost the habit of calling arachnids by the name of "eensy weensy spider." Last week, I was packing my lunch in the kitchen, and I heard Q say, "It's an eensy weensy spider!" and go tearing off to his room. He returned moments later with a wet wipe, picked up the spider, and put it in the trash.

He doesn't seem to differentiate actual size with the adjectives though. It wasn't all that long ago that I was looking out his window while he was sorting the stuffed animals in his crib. He suddenly bolted to the other side of the crib, calling, "Eensy weensy spider!" and shaking his arm. I saw a HUGE spider on the wall and decided that I wasn't up to evacuating it, so I picked up Q and evacuated us from his room instead.

He's started calling them just plain old "spiders" now though. It was cute while it lasted.

In other randomness, I have to protest my current roll of paper towels. It looks just like all the other Bounty towels that were in the twelve-pack, but it's secretly an agent of frustration. It might as well not have perforations at all, because then I wouldn't get annoyed when the towels keep tearing in a location completely unrelated to the alleged perforation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

No, We Still Don't Know

My alpha lobster, Rhedd (so named to match a childhood toy Scarlett), was acquired on our honeymoon, kicking off almost a decade's obsession with cute plush sealife. SwingDaddy asked how I knew that Rhedd was a boy lobster, requiring that I educate him in the way of plush creatures. "Easy! A girl would have long eyelashes or a hairbow!"

Well, these rules do not cross into biological life. We had our first ultrasound, and while we wouldn't expect visible eyelashes anyway, Swimmy was playing coy and didn't reveal the clear presence or absence of other key parts. Neither the technician nor doctor were willing to commit to "boy or girl," so we have a few more weeks before we need to start working on a name.

Not Rhett, not Scarlett, not Moses, and definitely not Madysynne.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Can Totally Pass For Seventeen

No, it's not my dewy, youthful look. It's the acne!

When I turned thirty, I thought I might be able to shed my teenage blemishes, but no such luck. It took a traumatic delivery experience. Q gave me an unexpected and welcome gift when he was born – two years of great skin.

However, after a seamless first trimester transition between heartburn and nausea, pregnancy hormones have brought back both the spots and the extra time doing makeup each morning.

Something isn't fair about needing Clearisil and Botox at the same time, so I hope that Swimmy obliges with a nice dermatology favor for Mommy.

Photo Credit to Nanny J's husband, ZY.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Totally Not What We Signed Up For

As I've written before, we're quite fond of the little preschool Q attends. Of course, nothing is perfect. A few weeks ago, they hosted a parent education night with the most misleading title ever. "Parents: Building Support For Yourself." We figured they'd have some good tips for balancing work and home life, trading childcare with friends, or otherwise engaging the community around us. Totally wrong.

It was an introductory class on yoga. Yoga. Which if you think about it, is kind of "building support" in a physical way, but really not what we expected.

By the time SwingDaddy and I figured out the topic, it was too late to leave. We were crouched on tiny preschool chairs in a semi-circle with a bunch of other parents, facing a highly enthusiastic instructor. Some of our Mommy Group friends were on the other side of the circle, and we waved at each other, wondering if this was going to be a big waste of time.

Actually, it wasn't. We practiced a bunch of breathing exercises, which were nothing new, but still relaxing, and did some stretches. Where we got in trouble was when the teacher, who was a nice, mystical type, started trying to get scientific and tie the principles of yoga into biological reactions.

I generally just tune out this kind of thing – I can recall a motivational speaker that was trying to explain how our emotional intelligence was tied to the amygdala in the brain and doing a pretty valiant job, but I'm content to let them get "close enough" on the science and use the concept as a metaphor, if the purpose of the class isn't actually scientific.

This instructor started getting off track discussing the fight or flight syndrome and asking the audience questions. We were trying to all help her by answering in a way that would help the lesson, but we couldn't figure out where she was going and it was getting confusing. SwingDaddy couldn't help himself at one point and had to point out that while she kept on referring to cortisol, it was actually ephinephine that was the hormone under discussion.

Then she started asking what happens to chameleons when they go into the sun, and someone answered, "Change color?" and we spent the rest of the session trying not to make eye contact with anyone lest we burst out giggling. YF and Andrew's Mommy almost had a stroke smothering their laughs while Tfence looked on tolerantly.

We thanked the teacher politely after class and escaped outside like naughty little kids. We laughed and snickered and caught up with each other – building support for ourselves indeed, if not in the way described in class.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Right Back Atcha

A few mornings ago, Q was chillin' in his bed, hands tucked behind his neck, feet propped up, looking all the world like a teenager scheming to ditch chemistry class. He sang a little bit of nonsense and turned to me. He said, "I love you!"

And it just really doesn't matter how pukey and achey I am. I love this boy and his little sibling-to-come with a fierceness that I can't describe.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Am A Superhero Too

Have you ever worried whether someone would enjoy a gift you've chosen and then have it turn out way, way better than expected?

(And Lady O, if you're reading this and I'm totally wrong, please let me stay in blissful ignorance for a few weeks.)

I've been eyeing the necklaces from Superhero Designs for a long time, especially after admiring Karianna's at BlogHer last summer. I finally had an excuse this week for Lady O's birthday. What better time to select something pretty that will remind us of our strength and powers than when we're both expecting?

I picked "Joy" for me and "Grass and Sky" for her, since she's fond of green. I wasn't sure if she'd be crazy about the style, but somehow it felt important to give her this necklace.

I wore mine to Chez Lady O for dinner, and she noticed it immediately. "Is that a Superhero necklace?" I had no idea she'd even heard of them before. As it turns out, she's heard the artist speak at last year's BlogHer in San Jose, and found it a fascinating story. I managed to keep my mouth shut for almost ten minutes before I made her open her present.

The little enclosure says:

This is your very own
superhero necklace
it will protect you from harm
attract people to you
and create magic in your life

We can all use a little bit of that.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Being Photogenic Now and Again

After the ol' Iron Eyes portrait fiasco, one would think that Q wasn't much for photography, but that's not the case. It just has to be when he wants pictures.

On Halloween, SwingDaddy took a few nice shots of Q and me with the pumpkins. Then the little dude points to his dad and says, "Your turn!"

So we switch places, and I take a snap of Q snuggling with SwingDaddy. Q chirps, "One more!" and smiles at the camera.

The boy, he is well trained. When he feels like it. I have no idea how our Christmas card photo shoot is going to go this year, but I know better than to jinx us by saying that it couldn't be more eventful than last year.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

For a Zillion Dollars and a Crate of Macaroni and Cheese

We saw a dream of an open house this weekend. For ten minutes, I strolled through the brand new home, imagining us living in the lovely, open spaces, with plenty of room for Q and Swimmy to play, a spacious guest suite for visiting grandparents (and bloggy friends), and a top notch school district.

Of course, then I had to imagine cleaning five toilets (since there were four and a half baths), occasionally misplacing a child for days in the vastness of the master bedroom, and needing to cook on a regular basis to justify the high-end granite-and-stainless-steel kitchen, besides the fact that we'd be eating ramen noodles for the next ten years to afford the mortgage.

I read articles on about how there are two million homes for sale in the U.S. and how nothing is moving, and I wonder where they are, because they certainly aren't around here. In the five towns where we're looking, there were two houses in our price range on the market last weekend. This weekend, there are zero. The one we visited is listed above our target, even before everyone comes and bids up the price.

I crave a big beautiful home, with enough space to pursue hobbies without scattering scissors and needles across Q's play area. I want a place to entertain, to host a stunning baby shower for my sister and little dance parties. I want a guest room that isn't also called the "living room" during the daytime.

However, I also want to feel financially secure and not overextended. I want us to work because we enjoy our jobs, not because we'd instantaneously sink into a mire of mortgage debt if either of us were to need a breather.

We should probably hunker down and stay in our place for another half year, although SwingDaddy is more optimistic that we'll find a house that's just right. Swimmy can sleep in our room for the first few months, so that buys us some more time while the market shakes out. We're cozy and snug where we are, and that's good enough.

Or at least, that's what I keep reminding myself.

Every good industrial engineer's child knows how to work the tape measure. Q checks out his play space and wonders if a new house will meet his standards.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yum. Sigh.

I really want a pearl milk tea. The caffeine content would make Swimmy do backflips so I'm abstaining. I'm having a little sense of what it's like for pregnant women who miss their daily coffee, evening glass of red wine, spicy tuna rolls, a cigarette break, crack coc@ine. I indulge in none of those things, so I'm lucky – there isn't that much for me to miss. Except a pearl milk tea. Maybe just a few sips?

In other news, my team successfully committed my project into the next phase. It's been a huge amount of work, and I'm looking forward to a few calmer days. I like the study in contrasts – one day at the supermarket, rejecting a can of soup because it's not on sale, yet the next day at work, deciding whether a return on investment of hundreds of millions of dollars is enough to pursue the product. It's good practice in shifting perspective as a parent.