Friday, June 29, 2007

Tea for Three

Today we continued the birthday activities with a special treat: tea time with mom and dad.

Sad to say we started off with a little whining about how she didn't want this or that because it hadn't been her idea to go to tea. We've been getting this recently. "Actually, I didn't want..." is getting old around here. If she didn't think about it first, she's convinced she's going to hate it. Like going to tea. Eating the tiny artichoke purse (Ohmygod! It doesn't get any yummier than that!). Drinking tea. Yet when the food arrived and she actually tasted the food, she liked it and enjoyed the experience.
Caitlin adds a lump of sugar to her Strawberry Lemon Twist tea.
The tray of delectables. They gave us crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her because they neither asked me about allergies and I didn't volunteer the information. It was OK, though, because she liked the cucumber and the chicken salad sandwiches better anyway.
Her tiny personal teapot. Cute!

Replete, we returned home for hanging around and book reading. It's a darned good thing we cleared her shelves of all the baby books. She's now received several shipments of books from Marlena, Dawn, and her 5th grade buddy (Thanks everyone!). And who knows what she'll get at the party itself on Sunday! Whew!

Again, it's good to be the Queen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!

It's good to be the Queen.

Caitlin had an excellent birthday. Snuggles in the morning, breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream on request. Hanging out with the folks. Lunch at Red Robin, where the wait staff sings to you a bizarre non-copyright encroaching version of the Birthday Song and you get a balloon and a sundae.

After that, we waddled over to the local library and picked up a stack of books. Upon returning home, we read a little and then went to go pick up Pop-Pop and Nana-Sue for our trip down to Denver for dinner at Steuben's with Grammy, Grampy and Max, before the big show.

Picking up Pop-Pop and Nana-Sue. This is what being six looks like at our house.
Waiting to be seated at Steuben's. Hilarity ensued.
Linda and Jim. Professional grandparents - they've just spent the past month entertaining Caitlin for a week, then 3 days off; Caitlin and Max for a week and possibly 2 days off. Now they have Max and Axl for 4 days or so. Then, a massage. Possibly heavy drinking. Whew!
Me with my own personal table. Jim is constantly amazed at my medicine ball and had to take a picture of my ginormousness. There's no getting around it: I'm huge.
Cousinly hugging and squishing.
Max showing me his acid green gum. That's a tattoo on his neck. This boy is into tattoos.
Caitlin opens her present from Grammy as Max looks on.
Caitlin's latest acquisition: a new Webkins kitty. Much hugging followed.
Eric with kitty. Caitlin cackled like mad and scurried away after putting it on his head. Six years old, what a sense of humor! Aiee!
Working on a collaborative art piece. Caitlin reviews Max's use of negative space.
Good friends and cousins. I suspect Max will have to make his friends form lines for when they want to meet Caitlin during visits in oh, 9 years. Maybe he can sell tickets?
Chatting after dinner. I had an egg cream. Or two. Hey! I'm eating for 3 here!
Herb and Linda, the day after their 43rd anniversary. Errr...their potential 43rd anniversary. That little divorce thing in 1975 kinda got in the way.
Caitlin gets a birthday cupcake to celebrate with. Max gets his own, sans flameage. Grey Kitty looks on approvingly.
Wait for it. Waaaaaait for it!
Blow! Now that the gods of good fortune and continued existence have been propitiated by appropriate chanting and fire ceremony, you may eat the sacrifice.
Max unhinges his jaw and inhales the cupcake. That boy can eat! We hosed him down afterward.

After all of the eating and imbibing ended, we head off to the Pepsi Center (I hate that name!) to see Cirque du Soleil: Corteo. No photos are allowed (surprise!), so you'll just have to check out their website and enjoy my unbiased commentary.


Gush! Squeee!

There was the thing, with the other thing! The ladies on the chandelier! The lady inside the slinky! OK, it was a bunch of hula hoops and she was on the high wire, but she twirled a dozen or so metallic hoops around her middle and looked like she was inside a slinky! Dan would have approved. And she didn't fall off the wire. I always like that part. There was the trampoline bed jumping part and the guy on the ladder! A ladder, people! He was great! There was the dancing and singing and music and funny little clown scenes. There was the Little Person Valentina who was attached to these huge silver balloons who got tossed into the audience just like a human beach ball at a concert! The audience sort of bounced her around from one person to the next. There was more trampoline work where the guys went flipping down the length of the stage at high speed and then the lights came up and you saw the trapeze troop arrayed above the trampolines.

Then the Flinging of the Womenfolk! No actual trapeze gear was involved, just 4 big, burly, bare-chested guys swinging the women around and tossing them to and fro while the women did fabulous pirouettes and twirls in the air and failed to be dropped. More men flinging themselves around bars, 4 at a time!

And the singing and aerial dancing and clowns and music was so good and so loud that the twins started kicking up a storm. In time to the bass beats.

The kids loved it! I loved it! The whole group loved it. It was awesome!


And then it was time to go home. Caitlin passed out within the first 5 minutes. We dropped off Herb and Sue and put her to bed completely knocked out.

It was a good day.

Six Years Ago Today

Well, not quite today.

My water broke at 2 am and woke me up with the urgent need to go to the bathroom. I knew my water had broken when I realized I wasn't actually in control of the stream. It was a week earlier than Caitlin's expected due date. I woke Eric up, of course, and told him the news. Then I noticed I wasn't actually having any recognizable contractions, so after calling the doctor's office and informing them, I went back to sleep.

Or tried to, at any rate.

Much later in the morning, the contractions started. You know, the easy ones that make you think, "Hey! I can do this! These aren't so bad!" They're the ones that sucker you in because at this point you have no idea how bad they will get later. And make no mistake, they get baaaaad later.

Hours pass by, with me pacing around the house and Eric timing me. We laugh and joke and I waddle around with the Walk of Extreme Pregnantness: it's the way you walk when you have a baby's head in your crotch. I'll have you know that I avoided waddling the whole pregnancy (big difference from this one!) and was very proud of that fact. I had gained 40 lbs but was convinced that the last bunch were related to the extreme heat we were facing. My toes were swollen up like Vienna sausages and no shoes fit anymore. I was a walking cliche at the office: barefoot and pregnant while roaming the halls at the offices of The Man. As it turned out, that weight came flying off because I peed it out over the course of the next few weeks. But let's get back to the issue at hand.

Finally, around 1:30 or 2:00 pm, I had reached the point where I had to stop talking during the contractions and they had moved to 5 minutes in between each one. Time to go to the hospital.

They assigned us a room, I got dressed in their fabulous hospital clothing and we began the long pacing up and down the hallways. Jenni, my sister-in-law came, since she was going to be with us for the birth. She was, by the way, 5.5 months pregnant with my very first nephew, Max and was very excited to get the Sneak Preview. So we hiked up and down the halls together, the contractions getting closer and closer together, the pain getting worse and worse. You could see the massive ripples as they flickered across my distended abdomen - it was pretty cool. They "checked" me to see how far I was progressing and I have to tell you, that whole "checking" thing? Sounds pretty simple but involves you laying on your back, while having contractions and having a nurse with possibly the largest hands on the floor insert into you and check you for dilation and effacement.


You know, it's very hard for a pregnant woman to move too fast, but you've never before seen me try to get away from pain like that! Damn! The result? The nurse announced that I was at 1 cm.

In case you didn't know, you have to dilate to ten centimeters in order to pass the melon-headed child through your birth canal. I had a long way to go. Keep in mind that my water had broken at 2 am and this is now somewhere around 3 or 4 pm on June 27th. So I continued walking, Eric continued massaging my lower back as hard as he possibly could with little blue handballs and the pain kept mounting. In my lower back. "Normal" contraction pain is supposed to be in the front, back labor is a lot harder to deal with for pain control, as it turns out.

I lost all sense of humor, but tried to continue to be polite to the Crunchy Granola Nurse that kept trying to tell me to appreciate The Moment. That I was Becoming A Mother and to Enjoy the Experience. I wasn't to bite her, but I was focused on the pain and trying to hold on for 10 centimeters and natural childbirth without pain killers. The contractions I was having were huge, but when checked again, I was still at 1 cm. I was nearing the end of my rope. The Crunchy Granola Nurse suggested that I get in the jacuzzi tub, which I didn't want to do since I didn't think it would help, but did anyway, because there was the possibility that she was right.

"How does that feel?" The CGN asked perkily after we plopped my no-longer-body-conscious naked and engorged, contracting self into the tub.
"Wet." I snarled. Eric sniggered, since this was me making an attempt at humor by referring to the line from The Producers.

The pain kept mounting. I told Eric at one point that I would never do something like this for anyone but him. It was my way of not reaching up and stretching his lower lip up over the top of his head a la Cosby's Fatherhood. He kept massaging my back, desperately, while his hands started cramping. I had never been in such mind altering pain in my entire life! and had no idea how much longer this would go on for.

When they checked me again around 6pm, to see how far along I was, I was hoping that they'd say 8 cm, because then it would be almost over. No such luck. One centimeter. I was fully effaced but still no dilation and unless Caitlin was in the shape of a pencil, she wasn't coming out that way. That was the moment that I started weeping with the pain and asked for an epidural. I couldn't take it anymore and was apologizing for not being able to hang in there as long as it would take, but nothing was happening and there was no escaping the pain.

As it turned out, the anesthesiologist on call was currently in surgery. The back up was at home having dinner. It was 6 pm. They paged him and I continued to weep in pain while Eric rubbed harder and harder, without making a dent in the pain in my lower back. I crawled around for another hour, way past the point of I-can't-take-this-anymore when the doctor finally showed up with needles (which I normally hate) and drugs (blessed drugs!). Then he told me to do the impossible: lay on my side, curled as tightly as possible into a ball and don't move.

Did I mention that I was shaking uncontrollably in pain? And had been for hours? Oh yes. Oh yes I was!

So I lay on my side, gripping Eric's hands, signed off on the Yes, I understand this this might kill me Waiver and curled up around my contracting belly and tried to stop shaking. I tried not to think about being paralyzed and focused on Eric's hands and that this would soon mean that the pain would be over. I felt the doctor cleaning the site with cold iodine and then Ow! the needle went in. Immediately after that, cold started streaming down my spine.

Icy cold liquid relief. The pain was immediately gone. My shakes went away, I relaxed my death grip on Eric's hands and announced that the anesthesiologist was my new Best Friend. My sense of humor had immediately returned! Well, as you may know, once you have an epidural, all though of a "natural" child birth are pretty much over. The monitors got broken out, pitocin drip started to continue my pointless contracting and I was stuck in bed, but no longer in pain. Oh and they spontaneous vomiting began.

Turns out that some folks get itchy from the epidural and others throw up, I was in the latter category. So they gave me another drug with an Irish sounding name (Finnergan? Finnegan?) and the vomiting stopped. Time passed. Nurses came and went. My contractions were crazy huge and when they checked me again: still at 1 cm. I tried to sleep, awaiting the time when I'd have gotten somewhere that looked like actual labor and woke up to bustling nurses around midnight.

Turns out that Caitlin was starting to go into distress, so they put me on oxygen. They watched for awhile and then the doctor showed up and said to me very kindly and gently that we needed to start thinking about a c-section. That Caitlin was in distress and that I was still at 1 cm and that it was almost 24 hours since my water had broken. It turns out that the hospital won't let you go past 24 hours after your water has broken because of the fear of infection. So, we were faced with a non-choice. I thought it was very nice that she made it sound like we had a decision to make, but we really didn't. I even asked, plaintively, "Are you sure?" as if there could be any doubt that Caitlin wasn't getting out in the normal fashion.

So they wheeled me out of my darkened room into the very bright hallway on the way to surgery, trailing a very tired Eric and Jenni behind me. Jenni was very excited to see a c-section up close since she was an EMT and because Max was turning out to be a Very Large Baby. (She would have a planned c-section in December as they expected Max to be around 9 lbs and she's only 5' tall. If she stretches.) Off we went. Things really started happening fast at this point. We were in the room, scrubbed and shaved and they turned up my epidural. They shoved really really hard on my stomach to see if I could feel it, but all I could feel was a distant pressure. I lay there, like a landed whale, arms spread out as if I were being crucified, while assorted monitors were clipped to my fingers and the blue sheet of You Really Don't Want To See This was draped across me, blocking the view of the horror that was about to unfold on my abdomen.

Jenni watched in fascination.

Then, zip! zip! zip! I heard the sound of newborn crying.

"It's a tape." I said to Eric who was gripping my free hand.

Jenni went into paparazzi mode with my camera and took fabulous pictures of all the things I couldn't see from behind the blue curtain. They called Eric over to cut the cord and Jenni came back to hold my hand. I desperately didn't want to be left alone, so there are no pictures of Eric cutting the cord. He returned a few minutes later with the freshed swaddled Caitlin, who had been poked, prodded, measured and scored by the nurses with purple gloves.

I'll never forget the look in his eyes. He was dazed, utterly stunned, as he stood there, exhausted, holding our newborn daughter. She was so tiny! She looked all red and frustrated with the craziness involved in getting born, but there she was: our baby.

The doctor's pronounced her healthy, hearty, hale, beautiful and a 9 on the Apgar test. She weighed in at 6 lbs 14 oz and 18.5 inches long.

Then they spent the next hour putting my insides back together. They massaged my uterus outside of my body so that it would start contracting and shrinking, reinserted it and sewed me back up properly. Then I was wheeled off to recovery. The next 48 hours were a blur of drugged exhaustion.

Blink. Attempting to get Caitlin to latch on to nurse.
Blink. Attempting to feed me water.
Blink. Taking my vitals. Taking Caitlin's vitals.
Blink. Visitors. Linda, my mother-in-law, had been there all night. She was in love with Caitlin at first sight. Doesn't appear to have worn off in the last 6 years any, either.
Blink. More drugs for itching and nausea.
Blink. Eric changes diapers for the first time.
Blink. Caitlin gets taken away for jaundice, Eric goes with her.

Time passed hazily. At one point, right as the drugs wore off, I was holding Caitlin in my arms trying to nurse when I felt this warm, heavy feeling settle onto my shoulders. This was the moment, I feel, that I fell in love with her.

And that hasn't changed in the last 6 years either.

Happy birthday, my little one! You are all I ever could have wished for.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Breaking Ground

Bags after bag after bag of 12 year old plus trash has been thrown out of the closet. Items untouched since the day we moved in. Dust gathering in layers that could tell the story of our lives in this house.

Layers of moving in dust. Layers of painting other rooms dust. Layers of remodeling dust. Layer upon layer of 5 different cat's worth of cat hair infused dust.

Today is the day that all changes. Now a new layer of dust is going down - the remodeling of this room dust.

Sierra (Thank you! Thank you so much!) volunteered to help paint the room and remove carpeting. Today we (I say "we" but really, it was Eric and Sierra - I just got my ginormous self out of the way) started with removing all remaining stuff that we want to keep out of the room (temporarily in some cases), ripping up carpeting and padding, removing the baseboards and tack strips and discovering just what kind of damage Pixel did to the subfloor. You know, considering that we'd replaced the original carpet just a couple of years after we moved in and that that room was off limits to cats for many years, it is amazing just how quickly Pixel was able to destroy that carpet. Oh, and he had to work hard at it, too, since there was grey rubber mats all over to protect the floor from the weights.

So yes. The floor.

Here's the plan:
  1. Remove carpeting and pad. Done!
  2. Remove staples in floor.
  3. Remove baseboards.
  4. Vacuum floor.
  5. Paint with Kilz to seal in anything...unpleasant.
  6. Begin painting walls.
  7. Once the walls are done, remove fan.
  8. Paint ceiling in fabulous dark blue with glow in the dark paint used on the stars.
  9. Install fan.
  10. Apply stencils.
  11. Install new flooring.
  12. Install new baseboards.
  13. Pass out from fumes.
  14. Install bookcases, crib, rocking chair and sundry other nursery items.
  15. Photograph everything for posterity because the room will never be this organized and clean, ever again.
  16. Drinks for everyone! Except the Preggosaurus, who will grumble into her lemonade while being uninhibitedly thrilled that the nursery is done and she didn't have to inhale more fumes than necessary.


Really before. This was in the middle of the sorting and removing crap from the closet.

During rip up. Half carpet, quarter pad, quarter sub-floor. And yes, that is a squat cage, thanks for asking.
After the rip up was completed.

Here is Caitlin's new fan. Eric installed it yesterday. The twins will have a matching fan. The existing one came with the house and us oooogly! Not just ugly, people, oooooogly.
The sky in the twin's room will be a night sky, I think. Gotta do things differently this time. The flooring in both rooms will match, though. Eric is going to install Pergo-type flooring in maple to match the fan blades and thus bring more light into the room. I can hear my very-allergic-to-cats mother-in-law cheering from here. Yes, we are removing the carpeting and replacing it with much easier to clean flooring. The twins' room will be first and then Caitlin's room. Then, if I haven't burned Eric out too much, I'll even have him do our room.

Ooooh, the excitement! I know, it's not much in the way of excitement but hey! I'm hugely pregnant, I can't take too much excitement!

Doctor! Doctor!

Had my 25th week appointment today. Now we start having appointments every 2 weeks.

Everything went swimmingly. Ultrasound pictures will be posted later, Eric's a little busy at the moment. In the meantime, let me regale you with a few statistics.

Vital Statistics:
  • Weight: +44 lbs
  • Waist size: 46.5"
  • Babies: 2. Found out that they are both head down, sort of head to head, with their bodies and legs curling around in opposite directions, as you look down on my belly button.
  • Feet: still swollen. Thank goodness for adjustable straps on my sandals.
  • Fundal measurement: 38 cm. Hellooooo full term size!
  • Cervical measurement: 37.3 mm. Why do you care? It means I'm not thinning out and likely to go into early labor. Anything beneath about 30 mm gets the doctors worked up.
  • Heart rates: ~147 bpm each
  • Weights: Logan - 1 lb 14 oz. Emma - 2 lb 3 oz. She outweighs him! Making up for the last month's measurements.

Everything looks good!

Caitlin, Eric and Sierra all got to watch as the tech pointed out all of the salient features on the Hatchet versions 2.0 and 3.0 while I lay there, in the beached whale position, hips aching, enjoying the show. We got a really good look at their little tiny faces. We even got to watch them swallowing amniotic fluid. This tech was very good at gently easing the doohickey back and forth to show us faces instead of tiny baby skulls. Cute vs. creepy. I vote for cute, thanks.

And they look just like...little tiny babies via ultrasound.

Bugger if I can tell what they actually look like! No sneak previews for you!

Well, other than what you can make out on the scanned pictures, at any rate.
Click for bigger images.

Thirteen more weeks to go!

From the "What the hell?!" files

Eric hollers downstairs: "Caitlin!"

Mumbled Caitlin excuses follow. Eric mumble yells (distance muffles the sound - I'm in the proto-nursery with Sierra) and then stomps up the stairs, clearly pissed. Caitlin follows with her toothbrush clutched in her hand.

Covered in paint.

What the hell?!

Turns out, the Caitlin that is less than 24 hours away from being 6 had a very 5 moment and was painting a cardboard box with her toothbrush. No logical reason for this other than: she's almost 6.

Updated to add: Eric has additional information to add to the story. Turns out that 20 minutes earlier Caitlin said: "Daddy, what does 'non-toxic' mean?"
Eric: "It means it's not poisonous. You won't get sick if you accidentally get some in your mouth."
Caitlin: "Is it permanent?"
Eric: "No, it washes off with water."
Caitlin: "Oh. OK."

So clearly, she took the time to find out that it wouldn't harm her before she put it on her toothbrush.

Damn! I've given birth to a smart alec that does random stuff.

Dreck! It's all dreck!


How to Dissuade Yourself From Becoming A Blogger


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Missing: Hummingbirds

If you'd told me that it would be late June and I still wouldn't see any hummers, I'd have thought you were joking.

I thought that I didn't see them until late last July because I hadn't noticed them earlier. I have all manner of hummer enticing plant outside in riotous bloom and haven't seen a single one.

What's the deal? Does anyone know where they are? I know I live in suburbia, but come on! I have tons of plants going out here and they should be all over the the place. I put out my feeder in April and have refreshed the solution weekly and have yet to see anyone out there. Birds I have by the bucket-load (they're very happy): finches, sparrows, blue jays, robins, mourning doves, starlings, grackles, etc. But no hummingbirds.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm a Geek

70% Geek

You are so not surprised, are you?

Eric is at 88%, but this is no shocker, either. He missed the question about Han, I snickered when I pointed it out to him, so he had to take the test over.

"Helloooo Toast!"*

We are yuppies.

I know, I know - this is no shock to you. Unfortunately, we are Broke Yuppies with a love of Gadgets.

Eric has been on a severely restricted Gadget Diet for the last few years and is feeling the pain. However, it has also given him a lot more time to do things like research a product to death, until it finally goes on Sale somewhere, at a price he can justify spending money on.

As you may (not) remember, we had a Toaster Incident last October. Ever since then, we've kept a close eye on the toaster, complaining all the while about how it does a poor job of it's main function: toasting bread.

Eric's research finally led him to this Convection Toaster Oven Broiler by Cuisinart.
The price was crazy though. How do you justify that much money on a toaster? Well, unless you have the Yuppie Monie (tm), you don't. So we waited and re-toasted our bread, watching out for flames, throwing out the seriously burnt pieces.

A couple of days ago, however, all of that changed. Forever. There it was! The Convection Toaster Oven Broiler (could this thing have a longer name?) at Costco! For almost half the price! Aieee! So we bought it and brought it home. Eric lovingly set it up and then read the manual to me.

That's right - he read the manual. And made me laugh for 30 minutes, just talking about a toaster (Jimmy Neutron's dad would approve.). Our Toasting Experience (tm) has changed forever! Perfect toast! Up to 6 slices (OK, it really only has room for 4 slices of regular bread, but 6 slices of English Muffins.) at a time! Perfectly toasted! Settings for defrosting your bagel and then toasting it! Ensuring that it's actually toasted instead of dark brown outside while still frozen in the center.

It is, Friendly Friends, a Toasting Miracle. Can I get an Ayyy-men?!

Then, after giggling with the silliness inherent in being this excited over a bloody toaster, we started wondering about Food Scientists and the person whose job it is at Cuisinart to determine that Perfect Toast takes 4 minutes, 32 seconds and not a moment longer. Food Scientist. How cool is that?

* Ooblar from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

It's Eric!

The latest xkcd cartoon.

He's such a geek about new toys.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Birthday Invites

Caitlin's birthday is in exactly one week - she will be 6 years old.

I'm not quite sure how we made it this far - heck she's a first grader now! - but we did. We have a couple of things planned for her: on Thursday we're going with the local grandparents and Cousin Max to see the Cirque du Soleil; on Sunday we're having a party for her friends and Cousin Max at the local gymnastics center. Normally we'd have the party in our backyard, but I'm too pregnant for crazy heat and rushing about serving food to 21 friends and family members. Instead, we've cut back by having a limit of 12 kids and Eric and I.

For those of you that are out of town (Marlena!), we're sorry you won't be here this year. Maybe next year!

All of this to say, I wanted to show off the invite. This is how I'm avoiding cleaning my room!

Front (folds in half):
Inside (folds in half):
Whaddaya think? This is how I'm "saving money": by creating it myself. Well, not completely by myself. I used the Japanese Foliage Brushes that this guy created. He rocks! If he ever does animals I'll never buy invites again! As it is, I may never buy invites again anyway.

Here's last year's invite:
These stamps are from the Fresh Foliage collection. Fun!

Updated to add: Forgot the key ingredient in our invites. A short note that says:
"Present optional! If you feel so inclined, please avoid Bratz, Barbies and Polly Pockets. Barbie accessories are OK (I gave in once. Oy!) Thanks! --She Who Has to Clean Up"

Because I am a Mean Mommy, that's why.

Things that make me feel better

I was reading Suburban Bliss and she linked to Looky, Daddy! and there I found this entry. The 115 comments made me feel a lot better. And yes, I read all of them.

I may not like making it to 38 weeks (I'll be how big?), but it can be done and the twins will likely have no need for NICU. That's my goal.

I think I'll go clean something now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cleaning up, cleaning out Part II

I spent the majority of the day in Caitlin's room, cleaning it out.




That child has a lot of stuff!

I threw out 3 bags of trash, plus 4 assorted shoe boxes. That wasn't even dealing with broken toys (she's been really good about that, actually) or outgrown clothing - just trash! She is prolific with the cutting and pasting of the paper and the drawing and the making of random objects from other objects. It all had to go. I'm glad she wasn't here while I was doing it, otherwise I'd have had to justify throwing out 20 tubes of black construction paper "telescopes" that she'd made. Why? Because she's five!

I have organized the hell out of the jewelry making gear, Barbies, Calico Critters (we have boatloads!), stuffed animals and assorted other tiny little bits. The best part? It's guaranteed to remain clean for at least 3 days!

Until she gets back from camp, at any rate.

She had stuff jammed in the corner and jammed in the bottom of her closet. I still haven't gone through her clothes to get rid of all of the winter stuff yet, but I'll get to that tomorrow. I have come to the conclusion that the child is a packrat and that she comes by it honestly. Her parents are packrats and her grandparents are packrats. The Packing Away of The Stuff is the natural condition. I'd kind of hoped she'd miss that gene sequence, but it must be attached to the Unnatural Fondness for Reading sequence. Oy!

On the bright side, after going through her room, I'm now motivated to go through mine! Yes, I know, teaching by example. Unfortunately, this teacher is tired!

Oh and I now know how I want to decorate the nursery. Bright yellow on 2 walls, bright green on the other two, deep blue on the ceiling with yellow stars (paint stamps), moons and spaceships, deep blue and deep purple stamps of I-don't-know-what-yet across the yellow and green walls in a wavy diagonal-ish line. And a new fan, probably in white. Confused? Trust me! It will be cool! Tomorrow Eric will be working on cleaning out the closet in that room.

Let the nesting begin!

Update: I spent another 2 hours in there today (Thursday) going through her winter/summer/too small clothes. Now I'm done! Yay! Room for summer clothing! Oh and then I fell off a stepstool (Only 1 foot high. Whaaat?) onto a small cardboard toybox, crushing it somewhat and breaking my fall on my left side. I think I'm fine....

Oh and of course I'll do before and after pictures on the new nursery. Would I leave you out of the process? Never!

Twenty-four weeks

Did someone say, "Belly shot!"

Well, I aim to please!

Here I am at 24 weeks. Click on each image for ever larger belly!
We made it back in one piece from Vancouver, swollen ankles and all.

Here's the close-up.
Here's a comparison of week 20 and week 24. Yes, you can tell a difference!
Things I've noticed:
  1. My linea nigra is climbing upwards towards my sternum, after having completed the trip downwards. I wonder how far upwards it will go?
  2. My normally very deep belly button is completely flattened out and possibly beginning to turn inside out.
  3. I can't tell if my stretch-marks, left over from my pregnancy with Caitlin, are getting worse or not.
  4. I'm at the total weight gain I was at by 40 weeks with Caitlin.
  5. This is considered the first week of viability, should something suddenly go wrong and the twins get evicted.
  6. Getting comfortable to sleep is a thing of the past.
  7. Getting up from a horizontal position is going to take heavy equipment soon.
  8. The twins are really active these days and occasionally they decide to shift over to either the left or the right and check things out. This is very disconcerting when it happens because suddenly one side starts to bulge and gets hard while the other side stays softer. Sometimes Emma tries to swim/climb upwards towards my right breast. Oof!
  9. I'm still terrifying Kate. Heeee!
  10. Fourteen (14! 1-4! 10+4! 3 1/2 months!) more weeks to go. Arrrrrrgh!

Vital statistics:
  • Weight: +40lbs
  • Waist size: 45"
  • Babies: 2 (pummeling away inside - they are very active)
  • Bathroom trips: every half hour, like clockwork (Gotta go right now as I type this!)
  • Breathing: labored
  • Feet: missing, but swollen
  • Hunger: reduced (Finally!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cleaning up, cleaning out

Eric and I are in the process of attempting to clear out the garage. It's a bigger than normal garage, it goes back a little ways longer than most of the garages in our neighborhood (Don't ask me, we just bought it this way), which means that it's filled with more than the average amount of stuff.

So we're trying to go through, throw out the old stuff, find all of Caitlin's baby gear and determine what is still useful and what needs to be given away or thrown away. It helps that she's currently out of town (What? Again?! Yep - she's at camp with Grammy for a week!) so that she doesn't have to claim great love and affection for all of the gear that she hasn't seen in 2-3 years. Or longer.

Bags and bags and plastic boxes filled with toys and clothing and crap. Bags filled with stuff that had been taken away when she didn't listen to my threats that if I had to clean her room she wouldn't like how I did it. I'd swoop in with righteous cleaning anger, grab anything laying about on the floor, toss it into a kitchen trash bag and haul it out to the garage. The crying was pretty miserable, but her room would then be clean for a short while and after a single day, she would have forgotten that I'd even taken stuff away.

Yes, she has that much stuff. We are part of the problem, being the very first grandchild is part of the problem, and so is Grammy*. When your Grammy owns a toy store, look out!

Her room just isn't that big - 10' x 10', and you just don't realize how much all of this stuff adds up until you pull it all out at one time to sort through it.

And boy, you should see her pile of books! Eric made a single pass through her room a week ago to pull out all of the "baby" books and make room on her shelves and has built a pile one foot high and three feet across. That pile was created before the garage purge started. We now have an additional two small boxes of books to add to it. Whew!

So I'm thinking the twins may not need a whole lot of new toys. Certainly not any baby toys and Emma won't be needing anything clothing, once we get out of the newborn stage. Caitlin was a clothes horse, apparently! Now we just need to figure out what we do need.

Bigger house is on the list, but alas! you can't register for one at Babies R Us!

Updated: We just spent the whole day going through bag after bag after box of clothing and toys. Whew! Now we have stuff sorted into 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 2T, 3T, 4T. That child has a lot! of clothes! And boxes of toys: infant toys, toddler and current. Tomorrow we tackle her room. Aieeee!

* We still love you!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007


I was reading I Blame the Patriarchy where there's a discussion about marriage and its downfalls. In the comments, which are often really good, there was a great deal of discussion about housework and the unequal distribution thereof, which led to this article:

The Politics of Housework

It was, in a word, fascinating. And dead on.

Every woman I know in any sort of a relationship has to deal with housework. No matter how equal you are walking in to the relationship, the burden falls to the women to handle the majority of the chores. Men are given a standing ovation for any part of household work they handle.

My own mother referred to Eric staying home with Caitlin for her first year of life as "babysitting". I corrected her and let her know that he was (and is) parenting. Fabulous as it was for him to stay home, I would still come home from work and have the "What are we having for dinner?" discussion.

We've had lots and lots of talks that went around and around the housework issues. It's the single most irritating aspect of living with another person on a permanent basis. It's our greatest area of tension and while I know that some number of you are thinking that I should be grateful that it's something as trivial as housework, try to remember: housework is daily. Surviving together, with a child in the house is a grinding business. Every day we eat, we use the bathrooms, we wear clothing and every day someone has to make the food, clean up the dishes, clean the bathrooms, wash the clothes, feed the cats and take care of the kid.

Every. Single. Day.

That continual source of stress (because it is a source of stress) wears on you. We've made a lot of adjustments over time and things are still changing.

Since I'm massively pregnant, things are different now. There's a lot that I can't do, mainly because after about 15 minutes of standing my feet swell up and my abdomen tightens down in a Braxton-Hicks contraction. As much as I hate the cat hair and dust soup we live in, I'm far more paranoid about the idea of winding up in labor at 24 weeks, so the house? It's a wreck. This is the wreck state that includes Eric doing pretty much all of the dishes, laundry and fetching chores. The stuff that invades your house (bills, schoolwork, artwork, plant matter, periodicals) is constant and becomes hard to keep up with or throw out. When we're both tired, everything falls apart.

Hiring help is a nice idea, but we' challenged at the moment and hiring someone to clean up after us is a luxury item.

Yes, rather like that trip we just went on. However, keep in mind that we went on the trip knowing that we won't have a chance to do so again for, oh, two or more years. So as continual luxury items go, hiring out the work won't be happening any time soon. Besides, if you look at the from the outside, we'd again be hiring some other woman who probably stands lower on the financial success ladder than we do, to clean up after us. We're not incapable of cleaning, we just don't want to yet we want the pretty, clean house that is not possible to have on a daily basis without either an obsessive compulsive disorder or hiring out the work.

In the meantime, Martha Stewart won't be visiting and friends and family will need to accept the current version of Hatchet House cleanliness.

No worries, though - the food (when we're not too hot/tired/pregnant to cook) is still excellent!

Wish him luck!

Eric has an interview today.

Right about now, as a matter of fact.

Wish him luck. We need it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity jig.

We ran off to collect Caitlin from the loving arms of Grammy and made the long drive there and back without any problems. Well, except for swelling feet sorts of problems.

Now we're all home again, Caitlin busy trying to sneak books so she doesn't have to sleep, me editing pictures from our trip (first day's worth are up!), cats are climbing all over us happy to be reunited, birds glad that I've refilled their feeder and plants are...well they're my plants. They like it when I look at them, I think.

All kinds of fun things are in bloom, including my giant lettuce/weed looking plants that were my Danebrog poppies. Maybe I'll snap a picture of them tomorrow.

We even had the electrician come over with 15 minutes notice and install a new line in the garage for my chest freezer and seed fridge. I haven't got a chest freezer or a seed fridge yet, but I'll get to that part next. Got to have somewhere to put a lot of food to get us by the first few crazy months of twin-ness! Feel free to bring us food after the twins come. We won't be cooking, but we'll still need to eat.

I'm noticing my stomach getting all hardened pretty much every time I stand up or do anything vertical. Sitting at the computer is getting harder and harder. I suspect Eric will need to rig something upstairs for me at some point. My gut makes it hard to type around and my skin still feels like it's on fire, right in the center, just below my navel. Le Sigh!

As much fun as it is to travel, it's good to be home. All three of us hung out in the hammock for a little while after dinner and it was nice and mellow. Caitlin is even sweeter when you haven't seen her for a week! Of course, for me, laying about in the hammock gives me the opportunity to check out the yard and mentally list all of the things that still need my attention. It's a long list and I'm running out of the ability to bend over and/or dig holes. Moving plants around in the fall is either going to have to be outsourced to Eric or will have to wait until the spring.

Le Deeper Sigh!

I have all of these great ideas about what I want to go where, but mid-June is not a good time to move established plants around. Ah well, time for bed. Must wake up early and relocate a few plants before the stump grinding people arrive and shred them. Mid-June transplant shock or no, a stump grinder will ruin any plant's day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Vancouver: Day Five

Our last day in Vancouver.

We breakfasted over at Caffe Artigiano,
Wall of Fame. Famous latte art, that is!
where I finally got a couple of pictures of their latte art.
Eric's cappuccino.
My cappucino.
Wait a minute! I ordered a chai! "Just shake some nutmeg on it, she'll never notice...."

One shot of chai art, too.
That's more like it!

Then we headed off the Canada Place once more for me to take pictures, since I hadn't the first time we were there.
Giant sail thingies reminded me of Denver International Airport. Wonder if the same group did the roof?
Shot as we were leaving.

Can you see Jackie Chan racing around on top of that crane? I totally can! Or maybe the new James Bond. *swoon*
Look! Blue sky! The day we were leaving, of course. Doesn't that just figure?
Sea planes. Da plane! Da plane! I am both airsick and seasick just looking at them.
This time there were two enormous cruise ships (although I only photographed one)
It's so big, it can't fit in my viewfinder!
looming over the viewing deck. Amazing how big those things are, really.

From there, we shuffled back to the hotel,
Obligatory street scene, inserted here.
packed up and left for the airport, very very early. We didn't want to have to rush or get stuck in the same sorts of lines we stood in on the way here, but we needn't have worried - it was nothing like the line up in Denver. So then we had 3 hours to kill at the airport. We ate terrible sandwiches and drank a mocha frappucino from Starbucks and read our books.

Later, while waiting in the boarding area, we met a sweet young man who had just flown over from China, where he was visiting relatives with his 13 month old brother and his mom. They live somewhere here in Colorado and he goes to school close by where we live, which was kind of funny. He chatted us up, that 4.5 year old, and was very sweet. Charmed the socks right off of us.

Much time passed and then we were landing at DIA. Ahhh! Home again!

Since there was nothing to eat in the house, we made tracks to The Med in Boulder. Now that we've eaten well, we're going to have a steady diet of cheap, homemade food for a few months, I think, to make up for all the expensive dining we've just engaged in this past week.

Now it is time for sleep. Tomorrow we drive many hours to go pick up Caitlin from Grammy where I hear she's had a most excellent time. Considering that she barely spoke to us on the phone says to me that she didn't miss us too terribly much!

The kitties are happy to see us, my plants appear to be alive and kicking and my bed is calling my name.

Tomorrow or Friday (or Monday) I will start adding photos to all of my adventures. Then you'll have the visuals!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...