Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some Things Are Easier the Second Time

My one-hour glucose test was highly traumatic the last time around. For any of you who haven't experienced it, the lab gives you a sugary drink and measures your blood sugar one hour later to make sure that you're not developing gestational diabetes. It sounds really simple, but I'm not a big drinker. Q could out-drink me by the time he was 18 months old.

I've only ever finished a can of soda once in my life, so when I was faced with a 10 ounce bottle of questionable orange origin, I was highly unhappy. You're supposed to finish downing the contents within five minutes so that the lab results will be as accurate as possible. I think it took me close to 15, and I almost vomited the last couple of ounces. The nurse took pity on me and did the blood draw anyway.

Somewhere along the line of early motherhood, I got the hang of drinking more liquids, probably trying to rehydrate while nursing Q. I'll never win any chugging contests, but I drank the required 10 ounces in 6 minutes today and felt a really disproportionate sense of accomplishment.

Now I'm waiting for the one hour to pass and feeling Swimmy kick around, all hyper from the sugar.

(The above written earlier today in the clinic waiting room. I felt a little squishy all day from the extra liquid, but at least the test is done.)

Other exciting news: We're this close to having the downstairs bathroom completed. The truly unforgettable 70's style foil wallpaper is gone, as well as the cracked shower floor. It's all nicely tiled now, just awaiting the contractor to install a new shower door tomorrow. It's been under construction since we moved in, so it's like discovering a whole new bonus room.

I reluctantly went shopping tonight to find a new business jacket for the office. I only have one suit-ish coat that still fits, and at the rate it's getting fuzzy with wear, it's not going to last five days a week for the last trimester. It's so disappointing looking through places like Motherhood Maternity, where the fabric quality is often pathetic. Mir would be proud of me though – I found a black jacket in a great material, originally priced at $250, marked down four times until my purchase price of $39!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How Can There Be So Many Forms to Fill Out for School Already?

We love Q's preschool. The teachers post pictures of the kids doing their activities, send newsletters of upcoming projects, and are excellent communicators. One day, his favorite teacher described the day's highlight in an email that was sent just five minutes after class was dismissed – she described and included a video clip of Q performing a section of Riverdance during free play time!

Unfortunately, the school is a bit far from our new home, too distant for driving home during the short duration of class to make sense. It's not a problem now, since Nanny J only has to ferry around Q. However, next year, she'll have Swimmy to bring along, and we don't want him to spend a whole morning in the car.

So, sadly, we've been looking for a new preschool. It's been an interesting process of elimination. Not something crazy-academic. He knows his letters and numbers and such, and I think it's too early to demand serious academics. Not immersion Spanish, since a third language isn't really the most important thing right now. Not super-churchy, since we'd prefer a secular school.

I think we've found a place nearby. It doesn't have quite the material resources as his current school, but the teachers are long-term and friendly, and they seem to have the same attitude on learning priorities. I'd like him to learn how to share and take turns, since at home, it's always his turn. The classroom is well stocked with toys and activities, and of course, there'll be other children his age, which is exactly what we can't give him at home.

We took Q to the open house last week, and I was so proud of him. He wasn't scared or even reluctant. When we stood outside the door, closing our umbrellas and preparing to step inside, I explained that this was a school. He asked, "Are there teachers inside?" He's really fond of his teachers, so it was a nice, hopeful tone of voice.

As would be expected from our rambunctious-at-home but quiet-outside fellow, he didn't talk much during the visit, but waved at all the teachers, did a few art projects, and checked the place out without being clingy. He's come a long way since we started preschool in August.

I think the new school looks good. I'm going to give us a week to mull it over, and then I'll need to tell his current school that we'll finish up the year in June, but won't return in September. I think one of the hardest parts is leaving the four other families from Moms Group who also attend, since we get to see them at occasional parent events. We'll have to try harder to get together with everyone.

P.S. Thanks for all the 'hip' advice for yesterday's post!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Can Anyone Tell My Why My Hips Don't Work?

For the last couple of days, I've been a little awkward standing up after being seated for more than a half hour. My hips are acting sort of wacky. I even dug out my copy of that wretched, wretched book, What to Fear (I mean, Expect) When You are Expecting, to see if any hip joint issues come up in the six or seventh month. Surprisingly, it didn't mention anything.

I didn't run across this with my first pregnancy, although at this point, I was still taking so many weekly ballet classes that I would have chalked up any hip discomfort to standard ballet strain. Or maybe all the exercise kept me from having problems. In any case, I sort of lurch around like a drunken sailor for a few minutes after I stand up, and then I'm fine. I'm going to add some daily stretches back into routine to see if it helps.

As you can tell from above, I decided that life is too short to not obtain a cute octopus wastebasket if one has the opportunity. Yes, I'm reading blogs about simplifying life and not buying anything new, and it's very inspiring. I've also come to grips with the realization that our life is just in a different place right now.

We're not simplifying. We're only making our lives more complicated for the foreseeable future, primarily by having another child, and also by moving to a different house. We're going to need things like a couch for the living room and a soap dispenser and wastebasket for the additional bathroom.

This isn't an excuse to just go nuts and buy the entire contents of Target (for one thing, there is our budget to consider), so I'm still thinking about what I bring into the house and working to reduce our waste. By the way, the cloth kitchen wipes effort is going very well – I can't remember the last time we had to change a roll of paper towels!

I didn't end up getting the toothbrush holder or shower curtain hooks since we didn't need either, but I did replace the floral curtain with a new one. Pardon the wrinkles – I'll have to get around to ironing the shower curtain, uh, sometime.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shorter Hair Than I've Had in 18 Years

Our hairstylist moved out of town, and SwingDaddy and I have been growing shaggier ever since. Fortunately, YF (who always has cool hair) recommended her stylist, and we went for cuts.

For the last decade and a half, it's been important to keep my hair long enough for braids, buns, and other vintage costuming requirements, but I'm not going to being dancing any Victorian gigs until Swimmy and I are no longer one. So, when Hip Stylist Guy told me that I'd look like a "new girl" and he was going to go shorter, I figured, why not?

It doesn't look like much in the photo, but SwingDaddy says he thinks it's cute, and I'm getting used to it. It's the first real change to my hair since I stopped perming it in the 90's. About time!

In other news, Q has started wrapping a blue teddy bear in his blankie and calling it "baby," complete with rocking motions. He gently put Baby on the changing table and asked me to help change its diaper. After rocking Baby some more, he decided he wanted to snuggle blankie instead and tossed the bear on the floor. Small steps.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Swimmy Makes a Break for It

Not in the scary early-contractions sense, thankfully. Just in the "let me see if I can kick through your abdominal wall" kind of exercise. He's taken to participating in our family Rock Band sessions, although he doesn't yet kick in time to the music. We've agreed to give him a dispensation until birth, to get his rhythm skills sorted out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Decisions of Immense Consequence

You'll notice that events of significance get proportionally less coverage on my blog than one would expect. I'm usually still analyzing their impact or recovering from exhaustion and not ready to write about them when the thoughts are fresh, and by the time I'm ready to write, other news has taken precedence.

That's why I'm going to post about the agony of deciding between the following two octopus-decorated wastebaskets for Q and Swimmy's bathroom instead about how we sold our old house yesterday.

I think this yellow octopus is the cutest, but all those nooks and crannies are going to be a pain to clean.

This one is pretty cute too.

If we didn't use an electric toothbrush, I'd go for this toothbrush holder.

Look at these adorable shower curtain hooks! I'm only going to admire and not purchase though. We used to have a similar set featuring colored fish, and they came off the curtain rod too easily. I like my cute sealife a lot, but not enough to re-hang the shower curtain every day.

Fingers crossed that the house sale goes through.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just Throw It In the Street - That's What They Do Around Here

See this huge pile of tree branches and garden clippings? It's what's been sitting next to our sidewalk for a few days, after a gardening team came to trim back all the trees and bushes for the winter. This neighborhood doesn't use yard waste bins, so everything just goes into the street. It's deeply weird to me.

My mom in particular was curious how it gets collected. Is there some kind of street cleaner or giant vacuum that comes by?

I managed to catch the machinery in action this morning.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oranges, Millions of 'Em

We have a clementine orange tree growing by our new front door, and we thought, hey, fun! We'll get to enjoy sweet, fresh fruit. We started picking them and picking them. And picking them.

Look, a big basketful. And uh, more of them.

This doesn't include the bags and bags I've taken to colleagues and friends already. Or the hundreds still on the tree, even after SwingDaddy made a rooftop foray to harvest some more.

Anyone want some oranges?

I got creative for the gift exchange at tonight's party and dipped slices in chocolate. First, peel and segment some oranges.

Then check for seeds. The shadow in the middle of this one indicates a seed. Eat the slices with seeds and keep the rest of dipping.

Mess up and overheat the chocolate because you don't understand how to set the unfamiliar microwave to a medium temperature. Attempt to dip slices anyway. Eat the lumpy-looking, but still-tasty slices.

Heat a new batch of chocolate successfully, dip orange slices, and arrange them in a pretty dish. Yum.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Preggo Ballgown

I had a fun red silk Regency gown made to wear to a ball three weeks before Q was born, and I was hoping to have a chance to wear it again. If all goes well, tomorrow is the day! How often to you get to say, "I wonder if my tummy is big enough to fit the dress?" Since I'm about 8 weeks earlier in pregnancy this time around, it's a little too long in the front, but probably not enough to be a problem.

Here are Swimmy and me in the gown. We're getting round.

Necklace to match.

Bodice detail. I love the beaded appliqu├ęs that my costumer sewed in.

And the tasseled sleeves.

We're going to a late Christmas party (originally postponed to early January as an Epiphany Feast, and then rescheduled again to this weekend) with old friends with whom we've danced and attended fancy dress balls around the world. Another couple has two daughters, one who is five weeks younger than Q and has been dubbed his future dance partner. They bought a new house this year too, and it will be the first time we get to see it. The costume theme is Kings and Queens, so happily, the Regency gown should be suitable. My underpinnings are decidedly non-historical, for comfort's sake, so hooray for costumes with no corsets!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cakie Cakie Cake!

I missed Wordless Wednesday, but who's counting?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If This is What He Wants Now, Wait Until He's 16

Q's little friends are all starting to turn three, so the birthday parties have begun. We're wondering what to do for his birthday. Have a playdate at a kid's gym? The indoor playground? The zoo? However, 'big crowd at a big place' is not his thing, so if we rented a kiddie park, it wouldn't really be about Q and what he'd enjoy the most. I think his idea of a heavenly party would be a gathering where a roomful of people were eating ice cream cake and everyone let him eat half of their slices.

Tonight, while admiring a thank you note from one of his recently birthday'd classmates, we asked him. "What do you want to do for your birthday party?"

You ask, and you find out. He wants to play Guitar Hero.

The staple of the college bar scene, and apparently, our living room. We're going to have to think about just how to make it work, but why not? He's certainly crazy about air guitar and drums. Maybe a few of the other toddlers would enjoy it too.

While my folks were in town, we played family Rock Band and at the end of a particularly spectacular drum solo by Q, I announced, "Now is the time when the band kisses their mama."

The little dude put down his drumsticks, trotted over and kissed my cheek. My mother raised her eyebrows.

I figure I have a limited amount of time to influence his rock star protocol, so I'd better take advantage of it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Very Last Pup (We Hope)

If we had a crowd of Competitmommies here, I would be pilloried for saying this, but fortunately, y'all are kind-hearted. Here's my admittance of truth: At the ripe age of two years and ten months, the little dude still has one of those unmentionables. A pacifier, a soother, a binky, or as he calls it, "pup."

When he was really little, we didn't mind that he carried one around, and we had a whole bowlful, so that there'd always be a clean one. When the last round of BPA-plastic warnings hit the news, I threw out all the old pacifiers and bought two BPA-free NUKs, which he's allowed to use during naps and at night in his crib.

One of them broke today.

Nanny J told him that the orange pacifier had to be thrown away, and he skipped his afternoon nap, missing "pup." We figured tonight would be a bit tough, but it's time for him to move beyond this stage. We've told him that pacifiers are for babies, not boys. He's too smart for us though.

"Let's find blue pup!" said Q. We protested that we didn't know where the one remaining pacifier was located. "Let's look!" he replied. He took my hand and walked down the stairs. "Let's look in the kitchen!"

I knew the game was up but was still playing dumb. "I don't know where the blue pup is, honey."

He pointed towards the fridge. "Look in refrigerator!"

Yeah, once he learned to move chairs and access the kitchen counters, we started storing the pacifiers in the fridge, which he can't yet open. SwingDaddy opened the door.

Q looked innocently at us. "There it is! Blue pup!"

Darn it, we hadn't thought to hide it in advance. I thought he'd forgotten about the fridge trick, since we haven't pulled out the spare since we moved into this house, but he knew exactly where it was. Anyhow, he happily went to bed with the blue pacifier.

We told him that it's the last one. That his reverse argument that "Pups are for boys, not babies!" isn't going to hold water.

The last one.

My baby. Sniff.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stop Sneaking Up On Me

The #7 Reason I Love This House: The floors don't creak. The downside is that I keep getting surprised by SwingDaddy when he enters the room, because I didn't hear the series of warning noises.

The #6 Reason I Love This House: A prolific mini-orange tree! I've been trying to eat enough daily fruit, which is getting tough with the winter selection. The other night, both our remaining apples turned out to be rotten when I sliced them open, but I was able to run outside to pick a few oranges.

I was glad to see that we have a little lemon tree too. I got used to having one at our old place – it's so handy when cooking, since I never remember to buy lemon juice.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Attacked By My Maternity Pillow

My Snoogle (TM) tried to kill me in my sleep. I awoke, struggling against its poufy arms and almost had an anxiety attack.

What is a Snoogle? It's a special maternity pillow, meant to help a preggers lady sleep more comfortably. Support for back, tummy, and so forth. I was intrigued by the idea of a body pillow when I was expecting Q, but I insisted that we didn't have the room, I didn't want to store it, didn't want to pay so much money, didn't need it, and so on. By month eight, I promised myself that next time, I would just buy a darn pillow.

Lady O and another friend recommended the Snoogle, so SwingDaddy ordered one for my birthday. Q found it really comfortable.

After it almost took me out, the little dude took it upon himself to do battle for me.

Fierce pillow.

Look at it rear up.

I lay the Snoogle at your feet, Mama.

Now that the pillow is tamed, I'm ready to try it again tonight.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thought It Was Awfully Quiet Around Here

Until I unpacked this box and look what I found!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Attempts at Eco-tude

In terms of being environmentally sound, we've been a pretty so-so household. I mean, we recycle bottles and cans, and sometimes paper (when the little dude doesn't get into the bin and scatter it willy-nilly). We take a lot of stuff to Goodwill. However, there is a lot more we could do.

For example, we use a lot of paper towels to wipe Q's hands, the kitchen table, his hands, his dinner tray, and his hands again. I've wanted to switch over to using some kind of kitchen cloth that we could re-use, but there was the question of where to put the damp, dirty wipes so they wouldn't rot while waiting to be washed.

Moving has spurred us to action. First of all, we have a laundry room right next to the kitchen, where we've designated a miniature bucket for kitchen cloths. I hang the material on the side of the bucket until it dries, and then toss it inside. Being really low on paper towels when we arrived in the house helped form the habit, and now we're saving a good batch of paper every day.

A second area of improvement is general trash. Our garbage can is literally half the size of the one we had at the old house. We can call the city garbage collection company to have them bring a larger container (and pay more for it), but we're going to try to limit our trash to fit in the new, smaller container. The first week, we didn't make it, since we had a lot of moving debris, but we had to take the trash to the curb at the old house anyway, so we just brought the extra bag over there with us.

We're going to experiment for a month and see if this works. It may be tough in the spring with the new member of the household and more houseguests, but I purchased two "extra bag" allowance stickers from the city, a sort of security blanket at $6.25 each, to tide us over in case of an extra-trash emergency.

We're helped by the fact that the city accepts a whole lot of stuff in one enormous recycling bin, so we can recycle all kinds of stuff that we couldn't easily do before. We just need to be a bit more careful in sorting, and I think we can make it.

In the spirit of not creating more trash, does anyone have any ideas for what I should do with our old Avent bottles, now that we've learned that they're not BPA-free? I hate to just throw them out, but I'd feel worse giving donating them to some less fortunate family and exposing their child to the chemicals. There's no plastic recycling number on them. Maybe some kind of craft project?

P.S. The "cherry blossom" phone decal design has won by a landslide. I'll let you know how it looks after it arrives! And yes, it's supposed to be fully removable, so that one can change one's style repeatedly, requiring more orders to the vendor.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Like a Cute Outfit for Your Phone

Ever since I discovered I wouldn't be able to have a red phone because my company's phone plan only included black and silver, I've been looking for ways to dress up my Razr. The red shell case I've used for the last year is falling apart, so I've found these decals just in time.

A site called Print & Pattern posted gorgeous photos from Lamb-Lamb, designs that really go into the range of art, rather than merely being phone/iPod covers. I don't think I'm brave enough to tackle the Korean-language ordering, so I think I'm going to go with something from decalgirl.

Which would you choose?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Toilet Interviews, the Sequel

Mayberry's daughter pretty much set the bar for quality interviews of a toilet, but Q is contributing his first effort in the field: Still Life with Toilet.

He's been fascinated with our digital camera over the holidays, and I didn't realize he'd run off with it, until he'd already made it to the bathroom. It's a good thing he didn't drop it. He also captured SwingDaddy's RockBand game and later giggled over seeing himself in the mirror.

I dug out our old camera so that I don't have to be so nervous about little fingerprints on the lens. He's pleased with it, but since the battery charge doesn't hold very long any more, the viewing screen doesn't always light up. I tried to teach him how to look through the regular viewfinder, which was tricky. He sees me close one eye (the visible one) when I look through, so he keeps closing the wrong eye!

We'll keep working on it.