Thursday, May 31, 2007

OMG! I'm such a geek!

I had to share this with you:

lolbots

Which is a play on:

lolcats

I'm such a geek that I get a lot of the robot references. Aieee!

This
one made me smirk loudly.

Geek girlz RULE!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Doctor! Doctor!

Went to my 21 week check up today. Oh the things you learn!

Weight: +36 lbs
Fundal height: 29"
Heart rates: ~150s
Babies: 2 (still)

We're still not within anyone's window of viability, should anything go horribly wrong at this moment. The first stage of beginning external, NICU supported viability is around 24 weeks. The same time period when women pregnant with twins are grounded from flying. You know how Misty got on an airplane at 37 weeks? They'd never let me near the airport at 37 weeks!

Then again, by the time I reach 37 weeks, I imagine I'll either be signed up for my c-section or laying in a bed somewhere wishing I was having a c-section!

By the way, the doc casually mentioned that I appear to be at 35 weeks. Yay me! I look and feel like and 8 month-er, but I've got 3.5 more to go!

ARGH!

No talk about bed rest, but she did tell me to keep an eye out for early labor signs and to take it easy. Oh and to get a Prenatal Cradle - belly band thingy. I'm also searching for comfortable maternity bras. The larger size regular bras I'd picked up? Too small already. Not having any idea of a) just how big I'll get when I'm at full size or b) how big I'll get when my milk comes in, it's all a crap shoot as to what size bra to get right now. Let me just tell you, though, I'm way past letters that I'm used to seeing in my lingerie drawer!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Twenty weeks and all is well!

"Well" being a relative term.

Personally, I don't think I'm gonna make it. I'm already crazy uncomfortable, breathless, tired, achy, itchy!, hot, grumpy and HUGE. I limp as soon as I stand up. I waddle when I first start walking. Emma shoves so hard right underneath my bellybutton that I feel bruised from the inside. I can't sleep through the night and I'm only half way done!

How huge? This huge:
No, really, check this out:
People, I'm full of baby! And my toes are long gone. There's no point in even trying to photograph it - it's belly all the way down.

Check it out - pregnancy progression! That's 12, 16 and 20 weeks.
Click on the image for the large version.

By the way, Misty:

I'm in ur clothes, bein' preggers!

Thanks! It's like Xmas, only better because it's all for me!

I'm sorry if I'm whining, but holy frijoles! This being pregnant with twins is a whole lot worse than a singleton! I didn't get this whiny until the 8th month last time! Argh! And trust me, every woman complains miserably towards the end of their pregnancy. You can't be human and not complain when you feel like this.

At market, people can't help but notice the beach ball I have stuffed under my shirt and they ask the inevitable question: "When are you due?". When I respond with "End of September." I feel compelled to add, "I'm having twins." Then their eyes bug out of the heads and the comments come pouring in - generally all size or luck based.

"You're huge!"
"You must be so excited!"
"You're so lucky! I've always wanted twins!"
"Wow...!"

I have finally reached the acceptance stage of I'm-going-to-have-twin-ness and am sometimes even excited, but Oy! Four more months?!

I'm going to need more ice cream.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Women in Art and Film

I see Misty's Women in Art:

(which I loved and thought was awesome!) and raise you one Women in Film.

I love all the black and white photography!



I'm fascinated by how few of them ever look the viewer in the eye, straight on. Just not done! in either portraiture or photography, with women, very often at all. Mostly, only men get the straight at you position. It's about power, you see.

But then, you weren't surprised by this, were you?

This link looks good. This one is good too! And this looks really good as well. I was actually looking for a research project I'd seen at one point on the web, but can't find it now. Oh well. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Whew!

I might be tired and I might be pregnant, but put a few new plants in my hands and I'm good for hours of planting fun!

Eric and I went to the Plant Mecca today since I determined that it was warm enough to pick out my pond plants, fuschias and something fun for my cool new ceramic pots out front. We were shopping for about an hour, looking at this and that when I decided on some succulent ground covers for my pots, a pair of fuschias for a hanging basket to go in my tree to lure hummingbirds (Still no sign of them! Argh!), a pair of hardy water lilies and 2 very odd water plants for my pond.

I have to admit that I was all giddy upon taking them home!

I didn't buy any plants at all last year except for tomatoes and since I'm growing piles of plants this year, I didn't know if I was going to buy any, but I did. After all, it's not like I can grow water plants from seed! The extra non-water plants were due to some fabulous photographs in the Summer 2006 Container Gardening issue of Fine Gardening magazine. There are some really nice combinations in there, but the main one that stuck with me was the image on page 90 of dichondra, echeveria, hens and chicks and thick plant all bubbling out of a footed urn together. It just looks lush without even a single flower in sight, so I thought it would be fun to try that. Unfortunately for me, I didn't notice the crazy selection of hens and chicks until after I'd seen the piles of succulents. Maybe next year! Or if I'm feeling wild and flush, I may go back and fill some other pot!

Here's what I picked up:
  1. Fuchsia Diva Rose/Blue (looks pink and purple to me!)
  2. Fuchsia 'Angel's Earrings Snow Fire'
  3. Sedum hispanicum 'Purple Form'
  4. Sedum album 'Murale' - says it's invasive! Good thing it's in a pot!
  5. Sedum pachyclados
  6. Sedum spurium 'Tricolor'
  7. One pink and one red hardy water lily
  8. 'Red Fox' curly sedge
  9. Hard rush - really weird miniature rush plant with curling leaf-type structures.

I'll take pictures of everything tomorrow so you can see. I'm excited to see how the main planter with the sedums fills in over the summer. Since they're perennials, I may be able to either overwinter them in the pot or pot them up and save them for next year. Same for the water plants - they're all perennials, I just need to figure out how to keep them alive over the winter.

I do have one large pot that I'll be filling with plants that I've grown from seed myself, this year. However, I ran out of potting soil before I could fill it, so I'll send Eric off shopping for a bag while I'm selling plants at The Market and then I'll fill the pot with Chinese fountain grass, dichondra 'Silver Falls', lobelia 'Riviera Blue Splash' and a heliotrope, because they smelled so nice last year! A photo will be available once I'm done.

Hurray for spring!

Kicking Daddy

Eric got kicked late last night. In the hand.

By someone in my belly.

It's about time!

Why is it when you try to let someone else feel the kicks, the kids all seem to go ninja. "Someone's out there, waiting for us! Hide!" Then, after that person has gotten bored or their hand has gone numb, they give up, walk away and then kick! kick! kick!

Kids! Persnickety even before they're born!

I wonder if they'll have hiccups together and/or separately and if I'll be able to tell the difference? I remember how funny that felt when it was just Caitlin. With two? I bet that will be interesting!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Plants, plants, plants!

This is what 84 plants look like.
This is what they look like after they get potted up to 4" pots - 18 to a flat.
And this is what approximately 661 plants look like:





Go on. You know you want some! They're for sale!

However, most of them are not quite ready for sale. Technically their roots must fill the container of soil before I can offer them for sale. Getting close! I started off with 5 flats of plants for sale on 4/21. (Remember that list of plants I told you about last year?) Now I'm down to 2 flats of plants that are salable. Each week that passes brings me closer to bringing in the hordes of plants that I started from seed this spring.

Organically grown. From seed. By hand.

The Hatchet knows her plants, baby. And her thumb is green.

Swearing In, Swearing At

It's all in how you go about it. Lawyers and proto-lawyers, they all like to be sworn in. I don't know what the big deal is! Although I remember hearing something about not being able to practice law....Whatever!

Last Thursday

First, we lunched! And I couldn't help but notice the World's Largest Peppermill Grinder. Phallic symbol, anyone?
Duuuude! This thing was taller than Caitlin! And I'm not just saying that because it was on top of a cabinet, either. The one in front is about 18"-24" tall. It's clearly the one they break out when a diner requests a lot of pepper. And keep your distance, you cretin!

Lunch was yummy, only spoiled slightly by Men That Stare Too Much and these two looked pretty happy.

Passing the bar is a team effort. This is Team Scott and Sierra. He who provides the cookies and She who studies until her brain leaks out of her ears. Notice that their relationship survived the bar exam? A good omen, that! To tell you the truth, I kept expecting him to ask her to marry him right there at the table! Nope. He saved that one for Saturday.

After lunch we toddled/waddled/walked on over to the Theatre and met up with this fine young proto-lawyer.
Here she is pretending to be shorter than Eric (Who looks faaabulous in a suit, doesn't he?) by standing on the next stair down. Congratulations, Angela!

Public Service Announcement:
Tall women! Rejoice in your height! Be not ashamed! Do not hunch your shoulders! So saith Hatchet, she of technically average female height who somehow surrounds herself with Women of Unusual Height.

And then it was ceremony time.
The Supremes filed in - the Court, not the singing group!
And there was the talky-talky bits. Eric fell asleep. Caitlin sat on the floor amusing herself with something or the other and I considered the inside of my eyeballs.

Lunch + dim room + pregnant = Sleepy

Then there was the swearing!
Eric stood up to take his vows over again. Almost like renewing your vows at another person's wedding, I guess.

There was much rejoicing. Hugging and hand shaking ensued. Eric pleased Sierra with a quiet, "Congratulations, Counselor." and all was well.

Finally, there was ice cream and pie. A long drive home. And naps. Ahhhh!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Male privilege

***WARNING! This is going to be long. And angry.***

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and strippers came up.

This friend of mine is fantastic, deeply thoughtful and extremely...evolved for lack of a better term. There are, however, occasionally times when male privilege rears its ugly head and I am somehow always surprised and disappointed. I thought he had evolved past certain points, but sadly no.

Men and women are different - no shocker there. We live different lives. We experience different things - even at the exact same moment under the exact same circumstances.

This was brought to my attention, yet again, when we had lunch celebrating Sierra's swearing in ceremony last week (I'll write that up later - with pictures!). We were out in public, with Sierra and Scott, her family and friends. Sitting down to lunch, there was a table of 3 men sitting behind Sierra, that I was facing. Three men who stared at me long enough to make me uncomfortable. In public.

Why?
  • Is it because I'm pregnant? Possibly, but that doesn't take minutes of examination to determine and isn't helped once I'm sitting down. You can then no longer see the enormous baby bump I'm carrying around.
  • My beauty? Debatable. Some days, I look fabulous! Somewhat unusual, dark hair and dark eyes and olive skin. I could be from anywhere. Other days, I look like hell. Most days, I just look ordinary. Mediocrity - the bane of civilization.
  • Is it because of my clothing? Nothing sexy, let me tell you. Although I was wearing a maternity skort, it (and my legs) was also no longer visible once I was sitting down.
  • Did they know me? Don't think so. If they did, surely they would have come over and done the whole..."Hey! Remember me?" thing.

No, they were staring because they could. Because somehow, in our society it is OKAY for men to stare at women - old, young, thin, fat, tall, medium, short, pretty, plain or ugly - until it makes the women uncomfortable and the men do not have to deal with any consequences for doing so. The onus is then on the woman to do something about the rudeness of the staring, or not. If she does, she is an uppity bitch and they weren't "doing" anything. Doesn't she appreciate the male gaze?! If she doesn't do anything, yet another man gets away with behavior that should be frowned upon by polite society.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not talking about the appreciative glances, the ones that say, "Hey! You look nice!" Those kind are relatively short lived and don't make you feel like there's a porn fantasy playing out behind the observer's eyes. Even being told "You're beautiful." by a perfect stranger can be accomplished in a way that doesn't diminish or threaten either party. However, if you're sitting in a public forum and are staring at some woman for minutes on end until she can feel the weight of your gaze repeatedly, there's something wrong. With you.

It's not OK to break women down into parts - pieces of meat - and comment on each, as if we really need to or want to know what you think about our ass, rack, legs, face, etc.

This is where the disappointing conversation with my friend ended abruptly. We were talking about bachelor party rituals and the inevitable visit to a strip bar came up, which I (unsurprisingly enough) do not agree with at all.

"But there are strip bars for women!" my friend complained. This is true. However it does not make the existence or use of strip bars for men either equivalent or equal to those for women. When we reached the point of the conversation where I expressed that it's not OK to reduce either women or men to parts to be oggled, my friend left me, angry that I was trying to make him feel bad about his past choices to go to strip bars.

He's mad at me, I think, because inside he knows it to be true.

Pornography is wrong.

An entire industry that thrives on breaking women and men down into lumps of sexually titillating meat for others to watch and get off on? Most of which portrays violence against women. How is watching this good for you as an individual, the women in the industry or for the human race as a whole?

Many men can't seem to make that leap from women as object of porn/scorn/derision to equal/co-worker/boss/love.

That statement always gets me the response of something equivalent to, "Well men have it bad, too!" To which I call bullshit.

Let's just have a quick jaunt down memory lane to see how different my experiences have been, in life, from my friend's, shall we?

How often in the average male's lifetime have any or all of the following happened to them?
  • Had a man, in a trench coat naturally, expose his erect genitals to them at the age of 8?
  • Had men follow them home from school, from junior high through high school?
  • Had men demand that you "Smile, honey, you'd look so pretty if only you'd smile!" from elementary through college.
  • Had a man grab them in the crotch, from behind, on the way to school in high school?
  • Had a man chase them in a car, at night, right outside of their own house, up and down the block? At high school age?
  • Had a man chase them and a friend, at night, in heels, in high school?
  • Had men sit touching them on public transport, because they could?
  • Had men scream, catcall, hoot, holler and make sexual threats at them from junior high through college?
  • Had a man, or a women, begin to turn into a stalker on them after dating them for a little while?
  • Let's not even talk about what happens at work: dismissed, treated like a servant, talked down to, hit on, etc.

Is any of that OK with you? Because it's not OKAY with me and my examples (And they are my actual experiences!) are simple, common and ubiquitous. Ask any woman about her experiences with harassment - your mother, sister, friend, co-worker.

If we return, momentarily, to the issue of strippers, how many of them are there because they want to be? Oh, you know someone? Everyone always seems to know one person who is somehow expected to prove that all of the women in those situations want to be there. The men have the same problems? Not even! Again, neither equal nor equivalent. How many male strippers do you think live with the fear that at some point they might be stalked, raped and possibly killed by their clientele?

I agree with you that men are also raped and that it is under reported. However, this does not mean that it is either
equal or equivalent to the number of women that are raped and do not report it every single day in our nation. Do you think that behavior is happening in a vacuum? Do you think some percentage of our population is bent on stalking/raping/killing the other half of the population without some sort of reinforcement?

It's every where. The constant cultural reinforcement that women are not human is every where. It's in advertising, movies, music, books, television, etc. etc. etc. We are not considered "normal". Normal is considered to be male. Not human - MALE. That leaves half of the population of the planet to be considered as abnormal. Something that can be degraded. Something that should be controlled.

Perhaps my friend can't see this since he is, after all, male?

Here's the thing: even if you can't see it, it's still happening. All the time. Every day.

Pornography doesn't help the situation any. It exacerbates it. Participating in an industry that enables the further degradation of women (Yes, AND men!) does not help to alleviate the issue. Yes, you are only one person. But if we can accept that each individual person can make a difference by voting, by recycling, by choosing to eat organic, by choosing where to spend their money, why does that equation suddenly collapse when pornography enters the picture?

My friend doesn't want to feel bad about enjoying the privileges of the bachelor party. However, if there's nothing to feel bad about, if the profession of a stripper is so respected then is it OK for my daughter to become a stripper? What about your mother/sister/friend/daughter/wife? Is it something that should be on their list of acceptable, nay coveted! career paths? Right next to brain surgeon, firefighter, and veterinarian is pole dancer? Again, if the equation breaks down here, "Well, no, it's not really a good choice of careers..." then why would you participate in it? Clearly something in you recognizes that there's something wrong with it if it's not a career path you'd suggest for your friend's child or family members. And if we break out our empathy for a moment, you might remember that those women, writhing around poles are someone else's daughter/sister/friend/mother/wife. If it's not OK for some other men to get off while watching your
daughter/sister/friend/mother/wife dance while naked, it shouldn't be OK for you, either.

Look, I am trying, very hard, to become the woman that I want my children to see as a role model. I want my daughters to want to be like me. I want my son to accept that this is what a real woman looks and acts like. That he should accept no less than a strong, independent, intelligent woman as his mate. (Or a man - I've no idea what his sexual preferences will be!) I want my children to understand that emotionally secure people don't play passive aggressive games. No lying, half-truths, secrets, or word games. "I'm fine!" isn't something you should say, unless you mean it. Stamp collecting should involve actual, physical, stamps.

My children need to know what it's like to be strong and to look after themselves. They need to know what being real and not a stereotype means. I want them to respect me, as a woman, as their mother, as a representative of my sex. I want them to grow up feeling that they really can do anything and that they can and will have the skills to protect themselves and stand up for themselves. Skills that I never had as a child or teenager. Skills I wish I'd had as a young adult.

I'll have those hard conversations with them that my mother didn't have with me. That's it's not OK to let someone hurt you, either physically, verbally or emotionally. That this is your vagina and
that is your penis and it's not OK for someone else to touch you until (and unless!) you want them to. That this is how you defend yourself against verbal attacks and that is how you defend against physical attacks and this is how you respect yourself enough to not get into certain situations to begin with. That no really does mean no. That being a good friend means looking out for your friends, even when they may not want you to. That the world isn't fair and that no one is going to protect them in the long run, except themselves. That when bad things happen, you're usually all by yourself and you'll have no one to rely on but yourself. Getting the skills and the mindset to prepare you to deal with those situations is just as important as scholastic achievement - and will likely have a longer lasting impact.

Here's what it all boils down to, for me:
  • The world is not a safe place.
  • It's actively worse if you're a woman.
  • Don't add to it by your actions or inactions.
  • Empathize.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Future Caitlin?

Girl calls for police help over messy room

BERLIN: A nine-year-old German girl was so upset about having to tidy her room she put up a sign in her window urging passers-by to call police for help.

You can't make this stuff up! Follow the link.

Just when we start thinking we're going to sell her off for glue, someone else's kid puts it all into perspective for us. If Caitlin were to make a sign, it would be over tooth brushing. She's actually pretty darned good about cleaning her room - she'll even do it without being asked...sometimes. The caterwauling over tooth brushing is pretty annoying, though.

I'm starting to think kids actually get tougher to parent as they get older instead of easier. As infants, it's all about being exhausted, physically. But you don't have to put up with the emotional roller coaster of whining, foot stomping, talking back and the like. At this age, you get the mini teenager and you start longing for long weekends away (either her or us, but separately!) from one another and week long camps start looking reeeeeeally good. Don't get me wrong! I know that we're really very lucky and that she's quite well behaved, but there are times....

Times when Eric and I have that conversation that Calvin and Hobbes' parents had where one says, "We could have had a Daschund, but noooooo YOU said...!"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Congratulations!

To Sierra and Scott on their engagement.

I saw this comic and immediately thought of you both.

It's from yesterday's 9 Chickweed Lane, one of my favorites comics.

May your future together be merry! And filled with smooches. Always a plus.

Discovery of the Week

I am made of Catnip.

No, really!

At the end of the day, when I get ready for bed, my Cat Guardian ensures that no harm comes to me in the Water Room. There, one or the other of them wait patiently for me to finish up my nightly ablutions and then head to bed, where they will jump up and curl next to me for their nightly petting and snuggling. The Momma Cat = Catnip observation is due to the fact. that every time I drop my shirt to the floor, Domino (usually) or Kaboom immediately have to sit on it.

Roll in it. Sniff it some more. Roll. Chew a little. Knead it. Generally act as if they are rolling around in a pile of catnip. Thus, I must be made of catnip, or sweat catnip.

Or else they're madly in love with the Momma Cat, but know that that kind of intense rolling, kneading and biting would get them chucked out of the room if applied directly to the Momma Cat skin. It's odd, but quite endearing.

And that's the way I like my cats, friends, family, children and husband: odd but endearing.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Eleven years, man! Eleven! Years!*

* Points for figuring out who said (roughly) that, in what movie.

The day of our anniversary dawned bright and early. Unfortunately, we missed it. Instead of going out to the nice breakfast we'd had planned, we had to rush around to get Caitlin ready to go to her first of 2 separate birthday parties. After dropping her off at the first one at 10am, we went out for breakfast at a local place that we thought we remembered as being OK. Not high end, but OK. Good enough for the starving Preggosaurus, at any rate!

Oh were we wrong.

Let me give you a little hint: if your menu ever says "We proudly serve...Hormel, Heinz, Kraft, Ore-Ida, Green Giant..." and the like, you are most likely not in for the taste bud tantalizing meal of your life. Instead, you are in for a Breakfast of Sadness. It might even look like this:

What was I thinking?! All I wanted was a waffle, with fresh blueberries and raspberries on a nice, crisp Belgian waffle. Maybe some whipped cream - from a can would be OK, so long as it was real, you know? Some eggs and a couple of slices of bacon for the protein content and I'd be good to go. Instead, I got berries that had clearly been frozen and defrosted and plopped onto my soggy, decidedly non-crisp, very poor excuse for a Belgian waffle. Oh and goodness only knows what the syrup was - I'm betting straight corn syrup with "caramel food coloring".

Horrors!

I was frankly scared of what might be in the bacon, but was desperate to eat something, so I ate the eggs and the bacon, drank the clearly reconstituted orange juice and tried not to weep for my denied celebratory breakfast.

The Moral of the Story: Do NOT mess with a pregnant foodie woman's food!

Eric spent the next two meals making it up to me. He felt awful, even though it clearly wasn't his fault. Considering that the weekend before we had been noshing delightedly on fresh raspberry-strawberry-banana crepes with both blintz and Suzette sauces, this was clearly an aberration. A horrible trip down Middle American Food Lane. I think a few of my taste buds committed suicide, but I'm not sure.

We waddled off to the bookstore (Have I told you I'm waddling now, after I've been sitting too long?) to grab the bookstore to get a present for the next party. Books - yum! Got a couple for us as well.

After we recovered Caitlin from the first party (Who was up to the cake and ice cream part of her party when we arrived and even that food was terrible!) and then immediately dropped her off at the next party, we immediately went to lunch (Yes, I'm that hungry, a lot, but it was made worse by not eating a filling breakfast) at one of my favorite yuppie food locations. I had calamari with mizuna greens - sort of an appetizer salad and an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade mixed together, in case you didn't know).

It was

SO.

MUCH.

BETTER.

My feelings of nausea and sadness went away. The cure for Yuppie Foodie Depression: fancy Asian inspired calamari. Mmmmm! No photos of that, though. We were too busy eating.

After collecting Caitlin again, we returned home where we engaged in the celebratory General Hanging About Phase. Lounging on the sofa with my feet up, reading my new book. Reflecting on how last year we were in another country on a whole 'nother continent and eating fabulous food and walking for miles every day. And reflecting on the fact that we won't be doing that again for years and years and years. And then we considered weeping, but we were too busy planning our celebratory dinner at a fabulous Indian restaurant with completely addictive Chai. It's where Lee and Misty had their reception dinner.

Mmmmmm - chai tea!

Then more and more book reading until it struck me that we've been married so long that a quiet evening at home, unable to find a babysitter for Caitlin wasn't so bad after all!

Here's to you, Eric! Eleven long years.

Thanks for still being my confidante and conspirator.

I love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Emma and Logan*

The Preggosaurus walks into the room and lays down on the slightly padded flat surface. Her engorged midsection is covered in blue goo. A strange device is laid against the blue goo covered, engorged midsection and the lights dim...

...and the screen flickers to life...

...and once again we take on the role of fetus voyeurs - peering, judging, measuring, exclaiming and even laughing.

"There's your sister!" Preggosaurus says to the Caitlin-a-saurus. She looks up once and then returns to her excited study of the underside of the Preggosaurus' supportive flat surface.

"Don't touch anything." The threatening whisper emerges from the throat of the Daddy-o-saurus who is distracted from the events unfolding on screen.

The exam continues. The Preggosaurus tries not to think about her very full bladder and concentrates on the pictures. Her hips start to ache; laying on your back without moving gets uncomfortable fast.

Things keep looking good. Spines inside skin. Heart: 4 chambered. Kidneys: 2. Stomach: 1 (each). Brains: inside tiny plum-sized skulls (Yummmm...plums!). All 8 arms and legs accounted for, again (I'm having an octopus!). Placentas: fused. Membrane between amniotic sacs, still in place. Heart rates, femurs, humeruses (i?), skulls, stomachs, spaces in the skull, spaces in the spine, amount of fluid in the sacs - all measured. All systems are GO! All data is within the normal range - for singletons! Apparently all of the eating every 2 hours is paying off.

Logan Reid is somewhere around 13 oz and appears to be at 20 weeks developmentally. Emma Rayne is slightly smaller (the Daddy-o-saurus failed to keep her data stored in his brainpan), appearing to be 19 weeks 6 days developmentally. They both appear to be at 20 weeks and 20 weeks 1 day gestationally. No, I have no idea how they determine those numbers. I just know that it sounds like one egg may have technically dropped the day before the other one and that Logan is beginning to out weigh his sister, if only by a wee bit, but that both of them weigh just as much as they should if they were each singletons. That was the single most gratifying piece of news to come out of the visit (other than the prime news of They're still OK).

Logan, however, is already in trouble. He was caught, on film, kicking his sister in the head! Tiny complaints were heard:

"He's kicking me!"
"Am not!"
"Are too!"
"You're laying too close to me!"
"Maaaaaaahm! He's touching me!"

They were laying yin/yang to one another and thus the kicking in the head was not only possible, but inevitable. Emma was curled up facing downward, as if she was trying to protect her tiny skull.

Terrible scanned ultrasound pictures? Of course!
Emma:
Logan:

Unfortunately, the shot of him kicking her in the head didn't scan well at all, so you'll just have to see it in person.

The picture, not him actually kicking her in the head!

You'll have to wait a few more months to experience that one live!




* Whatever happened to Brandon, you wonder? Eric nixed it since the idea was to use a name from his side of the family depending on whether it was a boy or a girl. Once it was determined that there was one of each he said he felt funny naming them both Emma and Brandon. Thus the name change! I think I'm going to be calling him Wolvie...you know, just as a nickname. Hopefully he won't stop growing at 5', won't be hairy or develop claws. Mutant healing powers would be nice, though. I am totally cool with him fighting evil.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hatchet, How Dost Your Garden Grow?

Why...I thought you'd never ask!

It's been quite nice to have actual water fall out of the sky and even though it's not as much as falls in Jersey, I have had quite the happy garden! It certainly helps a lot that the garden we're speaking of is a xeric garden! My plants are really coming into their own these days - this is their 2nd to 3rd year and they are filling in nicely. The weeds are trying to fill in nicely too, and I have made some short forays out to rip them out of existence.

You know, it's not as easy to weed when your baby gut gets in the way and kneeling or sitting for too long makes your back ache. Being pregnant is crampin' mah gardenin' style! Be that as it may, I've still got some gardenin' in me and I'mma get out there as often as I can before I explode into hippo-ness or twin-ness. And before it gets too darned hot, too.

Without further ado, here are the latest images from Hatchet-land!

The Bees Below Your Knees garden is filling in nicely! The yellow flowering plant in the bottom left corner is about done now, sorry I didn't photograph it last week! It's called Basket of Gold alyssum - it's a perennial.
Right strip of BBYK garden. We had very few winter deaths, actually. I'm very pleased. However, someone managed to run over one salvia, one blue flax and someone else ran over a phlox subulata at the very bottom of the hill. Sigh. Now I'll have to move another salvia from the backyard. Ruined my symmetry, man!
The left side of the BBYK garden, also filling in nicely, although not as quickly as the right side. I think it's because it's a different mix of plants. Looks pretty good, though!
The Shrub of Doom Replacement Garden. Look at those yarrow go! It's aaaa-mazing the difference compost makes! The big lettuce-looking plants are Papaver somniferum 'Danebrog'. Those should look really nice when they bloom. Big, too!
Here's the whole thing, as of May 13th.

To compare Before and After pictures, you'll have to jump into the Wayback machine, or follow this link, and this one, and this one and this one. Neat, huh?

Here's a length-wise shot of the first 5 feet, this is the section that is most heavily filled in and currently in bloom.
Here is a seriously beautiful indigo blue columbine. I only wish I could reproduce it from seed. Instead, I may have to experiment with root cuttings - that's the only way I'll be able to make an identical clone of this plant. It's from a European columbine seed mixture and is significantly different from the state flower - note the lack of spurs and the depth of the color. I may try my hand with root cuttings in the fall. Too pretty to let die away!

Also, if you notice the serious bokeh of the photo, that's because of my flashy new birthday lens.

Now the only thing missing are the hummingbirds. I've got my feeder out! I'm waaaaaaiting! Maybe they are timed to arrive when the majority of my hummingbird plants are in bloom? Hmm...that's going to be a few more weeks, although the Keys of Heaven are budding out now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mulch for Mother's Day

Eighty wheelbarrow loads.

Eighty.

8-0.

That's how many were there in the end - 480 cubic feet or 18 cubic yards. Eric moved it by himself and with a little extra motivation from the city code enforcement people, did the majority of it on Saturday and woke up early on Sunday to finish it off. It's now all resting...waiting...lurking! in the backyard waiting for me to relocate it around assorted flower beds. And it's composting away, too. Eric dug into it and waves of heat came off of it - some of the sections were so hot that the green leaves had turned to ash. It will compost happily in 3" deep piles around my plants, but not as quickly as it does in one giant pile.

Whee!
Here's Eric somewhere between load #45-60. He got the last 20 loads in on Mother's Day.

Yay Eric!

Oh, and I also got a fabulous breakfast of French crepes with strawberries, raspberries, bananas, blintz cheese sauce and Suzette sauce. Yum! Caitlin helped to prep the fruit and made me a pair of cards and a bookmark (at school). I helped to prep the batter the night before, since I knew Eric would be busy for awhile first thing in the morning. Yay for yummy breakfasts!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Caitlin's buddy

Caitlin's school did this thing that I'd never heard of before - they had 5th grade "buddies" that came into their classroom and helped them on assorted projects. I have never actually met Caitlin's buddy, although we did get waved at a few times by an older kid who Caitlin just explained was her friend.

What did I know?

Turns out, they had a whole appreciation class for them where thank you notes and little presents were exchanged on their last day together. Seems they hit it off really well and Caitlin cried when she thought her friend, who is moving on to 6th grade (and a whole new school next year), may not be able to visit her sometimes! Then there was the note from the 5th grader - so sweet!


Sorry it's kind of chopped off - the whole page doesn't quite fit on the scanner!

Wow! I spoke to one of the other mom's and she mentioned that Caitlin's buddy is the school champion spelling bee queen. Funny, to hear of a 10 year old child speaking of a 6 year old child's "promise in life". Her parents are probably really proud of her - I would be!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Funny for the day!

I have to admit something to you - I have a terrible crush on Stephen Colbert. Apparently, I'm not alone.

Jane Fonda was on last night and I saw it replayed on Comedy Central online and I've gotta tell you: I laughed so hard I cried!

Now it's your turn:


And if that's not enough for you, try this on for size (I saw it over at BitchPhD):


Mind your ribs! Mine are aching.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Let the mulching begin!

The tree dudes really did show up at 8:00 am this morning, much to my surprise. They finished up, removed the large chunk o' trees and were on their way, leaving behind a tremendous pile of mulch.

Eric has started schlepping it into the back yard, one wheelbarrow-full at a time. He went through 14 today and has only really begun to make a dent in the front pile's worth as seen in yesterday's picture. We've got a lot of mulch, but then again - I've got a lot of garden!

The backyard feels strangely open - as if we're now on display without the trees to block the view to the street. Exposed, if you will. I think I'll either have to get over that feeling, or get a pergola built over top of the deck! The pergola idea has percolated about in my head for a few years now, but it is lower on my priority list than a chest freezer. Or a refrigerator for starting plants that need cold stratification (columbines). That sort of thing.

My ability to garden is seriously hampered by my inability to breathe. I have to keep stopping and rest here and there. Clearly the amount of gardening I normally do is excessive, but this is seriously cramping my style! The weeds wait for no one!

Ah well, one weed at a time.

Newsflash!

Kaboom, the cat that never comes downstairs while company is visiting and is terrified of small children was seen downstairs, during a playdate today and let the other child pet him!

Remarkable!

I have remarked on it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mulching the menace

What is 25' long, 8' wide and just about 4' high?

If you said Hatchet's Pile of Mulched Trees, you'd be right!

Except that they aren't even done yet!

They came back late yesterday (surprise! "We'll be there at 10:30 am" turned out to mean "We'll be there at 1:50 pm"!) and continued their massacre of the trees. (Actually, it was a paid hit, not a massacre.) This time no limbs were dropped on the deck. Hurrah! They did remember to bring back my pile of mulch and deposited it in the street (Whew!). Once they were gone, I took a picture of Caitlin next to it for scale. Eek! You know it won't be me moving it, either! Poor Eric!

I'd like to think of it as "free" mulch, except it isn't. Instead, it is probably the most expensive mulch I'll ever buy, but it's also the sunification of my backyard. Also:
  1. The not having to clear out my gutters every month-ification
  2. The won't have to pick up fallen branches after every weather event-ification
  3. The Kate won't have to carry an Epi-pen due to the hornet-ification
  4. The Ick! What just dripped on my head? from the aphid-ification
  5. The threat to my house-ification from random large limb dropping action during a weather event (Doesn't have to be a blizzard, either!)

They also trimmed the dead wood out of the aspen tree and let me tell you, it's now the saddest looking remainder of an aspen tree you'll probably ever see! I'll mollycoddle it this year and see if it somehow snaps back. If not, I'll have it removed next year (maybe I'll have scads of cash then?!) and replace it with something pretty. It won't cost as much as the Aus trees, either.

My next tree issue will be to feed and water the heck out of the remaining ash trees, to encourage them to take advantage of all of the room and sunlight they now have. They're not insignificant trees, but when constantly compared to your weedy 60' neighbors, most anyone is going to look a little scrawny.

End of day 2 of Menace to Mulch. Tree #1.
Trees #2 and #3.
This is my tiny crab apple that Eric and Caitlin bought me for Mother's Day a couple of years ago. It was miserable in the shade under tree #1, so last fall I had Eric dig a giant hole, dig this tree up and relocate it down here, to the sunnier south side of the yard. Turns out that there was actually very little to the root structure left and we probably moved it just in time! The little tree is so much happier in this corner (I threw a lot of compost into the hole), in the sun, that it bloomed its little tree heart out this spring! They are a light pink and lightly scented.

The mass of weeds behind it are sneering at me to pull them. Since it's been raining on and off, the ground is nice and soft, making ripping them out very easy. It's taken me a lot more time to do any gardening while pregnant this time. Whew!

Well, the tree dudes are coming back tomorrow to finish up. They say they'll be here at 8am. We'll see!

Twin Comic



Hah! Six Chix comic from 5/8.

Of course, the last really fabulous Mother's Day gift I got was when Caitlin potty trained herself at 2 years ago for MD. Now that was a Mother's Day worth celebrating!

Doctor! Doctor!

Just got the call on the final, official amniocentesis results - everything is A-OK, all the way down to their tiny genes.

Yay!

Then, of course, I had to tease Eric that the boy had two heads, whereupon he riposted with: "Well, we'll have to name him Zaphod then!"

Eek!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Play Date!

Eric and I had our very own play date this weekend!

Scott and Sierra came over and we played WoW until I fell into an exhausted slumber. Of course, I had the added disadvantage of working at the Market this morning and having woken up at 5:30 am! The rest of them stayed up until 2:00 or 3:00 am!

Slackers!

But we had a great time, as did Caitlin, who really liked hanging out with both of them. Then we spent the majority of Sunday with yet more gaming and killing of bad guys. I tell you, a good time was had by all!

For those of you that we used to have sleepover gaming sessions with - we miss you!

Our geekiness knows no shame!

From menace to mulch

It has taken a whole lot longer to get to this point than I had anticipated, but we're finally here. Strapping young men with chainsaws are in my yard at this very moment absolutely destroying the Trees of Doom and Despair.

Oh, it's gonna be a hot one this summer without these trees, but they are way more trouble in messy broken branches, potential house damage and attracting hornets than they are worth, so out they go! Then, the ash trees will get more light and will (I hope) take off and fill in even better. The ash aren't slouches, but they are being crowded by the weedy trees.

Then there will just be the debate over whether or when to get new trees, of calmer, cuter, more controllable height and width with which to replace them. I'm thinking about crab-apples with really dark pink flowers and that have leaves that turn red in the fall. Brandywine comes to mind. That would be much nicer. I can live with dropped apples (I can rake them up and turn them into compost!) better than threat to my house and dodging hornets. By the way, cutting down 60' trees is expensive, but should result in a ton of mulch for the back yard.

Tree #1 - in progress. Yes, that is a big sucker!
Tree #2
Tree #3. This is the one that threatens the house the most and has been voted by the other trees as Most Likely To Smash The Roof or Deck In.
Limbs everywhere! from tree #1:

At the end of the day, it's almost like a totem pole!
Tree #2 looks just about as naked.
Mulch them! Mulch them! Unfortunately, they ran over one of my phlox subulata as they backed up over that corner of the front walkway garden. Le sigh!

Later...

The guy drove off with my mulched tree bits, but will be back tomorrow. Here's hoping he brings my mulch with him!

Hey, so when do I get the kind of job where I can say, "I'll be there at 9:30am." but then not show up until 12pm and yet not have to either a) be embarrassed or b) suffer some sort of hourly fine for not being on time? Must be nice to have service jobs like cable, tree cutting, plumbing and the like! Humpf!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Caitlin Sings

Live! In concert!

With 17 other classmates!

Caitlin had an end of year concert today with her class, for the benefit of parental and grandparental units. A good time was had by all.

However...

Considering the sheer amount of time, effort and VOLUME that child puts into singing around the house, I never would have expected her to go all mousey at school. We could barely hear her over the other more vocal children.

[Interesting note: Emma is turning in my gut right now and wants you to know that she enjoyed the singing. No comment from Brandon.]

What happened to my outgoing child? Where did the little leader go? What happened to the loudest, most popular girl in the room? Man! Kindergarten has brought on a whole bunch of changes and some of them have been...unpleasant. Some of them have been great, don't get me wrong, but I've been surprised repeatedly by the ways she's changed. It really is like having a mini teenager around the house some days.

Anyway....The singing was great. Great, I say! I look forward to getting Eric to do the fancy uploading moves on our dying video camera recording and then I'll post it here. Did I mention we're in need of a new camcorder? Oh, yeaaaaaah! We've got a 6th birthday coming up and twins! So, we're in need. The Shopper has been doing his research - it's just a matter of time until he finds the "right" one. Crazy as it may seem, the digital camera can't touch the video camera for actual live action memory capturing moments. I love looking at the videos from Caitlin's first 4 birthdays. Eek! The cuteness! Her voice, mannerisms, hairstyles - it's all too much when you see them from the lofty 6 year distance. Makes me fall in love with her all over again.

I still can't figure out how I'm going to love these two new ones as much as I love Caitlin. I suspect that I'll figure it out somehow. You know what? I couldn't imagine how I could possibly love Caitlin as much as I loved my cats before she was born, but that worked out, too. As a matter of fact, I remember the exact moment that I fell in love with her.

I was in my hospital bed, somewhere around Day Two after my emergency c-section, with Caitlin in my arms snoozing and all manner of tubes attached to my hands and arms. The drugs were finally wearing off and I was coming out of the coma (Felt like I kept blinking and hours would pass: blink - end of c-section; blink - into recovery room; blink - attempted nursing; blink - eating something; blink - visitors; blink - attempted nursing, etc.). I looked down at the 6 lb 14 oz bundle in my arms, I stroked the softest skin and hair in the world and I felt this warmth. It was like a warm, heavy, invisible blanket descended over my head and shoulders, wrapping me up. I sort of relaxed into it and my heart flipped over in a way that I'd only ever read about in books (And I thought they were exaggerating!). That was it. There was an actual moment.

Every day, I fall in love with her a little more*.

I'm looking forward to the twins having their moment, too.




* Except for when she's being impossible. I'm only human after all!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Landlord

You need something funny. I can tell you do.

Here you go.

Not safe for work. : )

Doctor! Doctor!

Still two heartbeats in there! Looks like the amnio has had no lasting bad downside, other than a bizarre conversation with my mom, the feeling of having your uterus popped that won't fade and 3 holes that are healing quickly and fading fast.

Today, I experience the world's fastest doctor visit...

So tell me why I bother showing up 5 minutes early if they are going to make me wait 30 minutes just so I can see a nurse to get my weight and blood pressure, wait another 5-7 minutes for the doctor to show up and only then do I get a fundal measurement and doppler for heartbeats. Man! With my own damned tape measure and a doppler I could've phoned that one in!

She asked if I had any questions and really, I don't. I've been doing a lot of reading (you know, you've been subjected to it!) and if they aren't going to actually offer me advice or suggested reading...what am I supposed to ask them about? I did have to ask if perhaps I should see a specialist since I'm all "high risk" and such and the answer was "No, actually."

Turns out that for being in the high risk pool, I'm apparently wading around in the low risk end of it! Second pregnancy after successful live birth, fraternal twins (thus removing the twin to twin transfusion issue - icky!) and I'm apparently gaining enough weight steadily that they don't feel the need to either mention more eating or slowing down. They don't seem particularly concerned with my twinnage and my "advanced age". Then again, they did mention that I'm right in the middle of the pack of preggers they normally see, if not in the low end of the age spectrum. Huh. I'm a low risk/high risk pregnancy.

I'm a conundrum!

I like it!

Statistics:
  • Weight: +28 lb
  • Fundal height: 26 in.
  • Stage: 17 weeks

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Data on twins

I was poking about my extremely cluttered inbox and ran across a link that my kid sister had sent to a site called Twinstuff.com. Finally being curious, I popped over and spent not a little time reading this and that and the other.

I found this: What are the chances of my having twins? Which has a couple of drop down boxes where you select your age or race and it gives you your odds.

Turns out that "natural" fraternal twins are 1:60, according to their sources. However, race and age for White 35-39 is 1:27 (as of 1997 figures) and Black 30-39 is 1:28. So where does that leave me? 1:27.5? I think I was set up!

And this: Ideal weights for twins during pregnancy.

Ooh! Ooh! I'm ahead of the curve! Their chart says that at 16 weeks, they should be about 4.2 oz, to reach the average twin size at birth (ranges from 37 weeks = 5 lb 14 oz to 40 weeks = 7 lb 2 oz). From our amnio appointment, they pegged them at 7 oz each! Two weeks ahead of schedule. Hey! If we keep that up, they'll be a fair size at birth!

Yay crazy eating!

As I mentioned before, my goal is healthy, full term babies with little to no time in NICU. If that means eating like a sumo wrestler, I guess I'll have to do that, although it is harder than it sounds!

I figure, since my initial wish list items of healthy results from the amnio and then one boy and one girl were granted, I'm doing pretty well! Now I'm placing the long term wishes. I want them to be awesome like Caitlin was. I'd really like to be able to breastfeed again for a good long while. I'd say 13 months, but I'll take what I can get! I'd like to not develop any horrible pregnancy related complications (HELLP, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, death, etc.) although I do plan on complaining miserably about a) the heat and b) the swelling. Probably also my back aching and not sleeping. I'd like them to delay teething until they are 12 months old, just like Caitlin. Lots of other things that dwindle into trivia, but I think I'm good.

So, to recap: healthy, good weight, full term, no pregnancy related diseases or death. Then the others: awesome like Caitlin, positive breastfeeding experiences, no early teething.

Yay for Emma and Brandon! Or maybe not Brandon, but Baby A! (Eric is having second thoughts on Brandon. On to negotiations!)

Crying Wolf

So there we were, Caitlin and I, she having a bath and I doing the bathing. As usual, we were going over the events of the day when suddenly....

Caitlin: "My friend S was complaining about her hair. She said that her hair was flat and lifeless [What? Are they watching shampoo commercials?] and that mine is poofy and beautiful. Then she said, 'I'm going to cut your hair off! I'm going to cut all of it off!'"
Me: "What?!" Tension rising. "What do you mean? Was she kidding?"
C: "No, she meant it."
Me: "She's jealous of your hair?"
C: "Well, S only has short hair and was complaining about it." Something about lifeless, dull, flat hair - I'm not kidding!
Me: "What happened next?"
C: "She jumped up, got the scissors and cut my hair!"
Me: Beginning to get angry. "Where?" The tresses do not look shorn, but that doesn't mean I'm not missing something.
C: "Just a little off the bottom."

Gah!

Big discussion ensues where I point out that it's not okay that her friend cut her hair off and that it's not okay to let your friends do things to you that you don't want them to do. To be passive. Threw in examples of friends hitting, or using scissors on other parts than hair, inappropriate touching, throwing stuff around in her room. Her eyes were really large and round at this point. Big talk about how no one gets to cut her hair unless it's me and how no one gets to do things to her that she doesn't want them to. Not friends, not family, not even Grammy, mom or dad. No one.

And that it's up to her to keep her friends in line. First you ask nicely, then if that doesn't work, yell and if that doesn't work, it's OK to hit them.

I was referring to stuff that put her in danger. Stuff like inappropriate touching and lopping off her hair and/or coming at her with scissors with intent to harm. I figured if she couldn't get a "friend" to stop after asking or yelling, then hitting would be an appropriate escalation. My process also assumes there are no teachers or adults about when these random semi-sinister happenings take place. Hell, the "hair cutting" took place with a teacher in the room, according to Caitlin!

I turned the remainder of bathtime over to Eric, since I was then winded (Did I mention the 14 oz of twins gets me winded really easy? It sure does!) and needed to calm down and drink some water. Eric returned to me and told me that he had to reword some of what I'd told her because she translated my mini self-defense talk into:

"It's OK to punch T's little sister when she messes up my room!"

Errr...NO.

I asked Eric if he could talk to Mrs. M., the teacher on duty at the time and possibly S's mom to see what all was up with the hair cutting. Riled, but righteous, we wound down the night.

Next day, Eric handled the discussion at school. Mrs. M. is stunned as is S's mom. Everything will be OK, everyone decides and no permanent harm was done - Caitlin didn't come home looking like an underage punk rocker. Later, however, I met up with Mrs. M. after school and she checks in with me and tells me that the whole episode never happened.

Whaaaat?!

Blood pressure...rising!

Turns out that while they may have had the conversation, Caitlin admitted that S never actually cut her hair. There was very little time for S to have done so in the time frame she laid the story out. Besides, all of the scissors in the class are behind where the teacher sits, so she would have noticed a snatch-and-grab.

Oh.

Embarrassment...peaking!

What The HELL?!

You know how you're supposed to always "Believe The Children"? How are you supposed to do that when they make up stories?! ARGH!

So then we had the long talk about lying, making things up and the importance of telling the truth, especially when mommy has asked you repeatedly, "Are you suuuure?!" Then the apologizing to S and her mom on both Caitlin and Eric's part and the feeling not a little foolish on my part for somehow not knowing that while the jealousy may have been real that the cutting wasn't.

Kids!
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