In Need of Artistic Help

May 31, 2007

I’m a left-brained person.  Not in the “I tend to think logically” sort of way, but the “what’s a color wheel?” way instead.  I might as well have been born without a right brain altogether, because I’ve used it so infrequently that it’s probably withering away as it is.  Give me a math problem to solve any day, but I would rather re-learn advanced calculus than decorate a room.

Hence, my problem.  I’ve been agonizing over the issue of the nursery for months already.  I thought I had a theme back when I was planning to decorate it gender-neutrally.  Now that I’m free to go blue-crazy, I hate the old idea for a theme.  Technically, the theme itself wouldn’t be the problem as much as making it look good.  When my first and most important purchase to bring the theme together–the bedding set–ended up not meeting my expectations, I was ready to scrap the idea and start over.

That’s exactly what I’ve done.  I searched for bedding sets at last night and stumbled upon one I liked almost immediately, after hours of persuing what had to offer and leaving disappointed.  The set was also on clearance if I could live without a dust ruffle for about half the price of the other cheap one I’d picked out from and learned to hate.  The one is ordered already, along with some coordinating wall hangings, a window valance, and a rug (all together less than $100!).  I also found a generic toddler bedding set in what appears to be coordinating shades of blue.  As long as the colors truly do match, I’m most of the way to a decent nursery theme.

The problem I’m left with is the walls.  They are beige, boring-as-it-comes beige.  M and I are both reluctant to paint, so it comes down to creative wall hangings and shelves and the like to turn a boring, plain room into a nursery that works for both a newborn and a toddler.  That’s where I need help.  Here is the crib bedding set I ordered earlier.  I need, first of all, ideas for what to put on the two matching shelves we’ve already bought and installed in the room but never bothered to decorate.  Next, what else should I put on the walls?  The coordinating wall hangings will fill up the one blank wall without a shelf, but I still think I need something around the shelves on the other walls.  And third, how else do I bring the theme into the room without overdoing it?  The only furniture in it will be the two cribs, thanks to an active toddler who will use anything else in the room as a toy.  This means no lamp, diaper stacker, or hamper until PJ can be trusted again.

Okay, ready for your ideas and suggestions.  Please, please help.  I will not laugh at any idea you suggest, even if it totally does not fit our style.

Could I Be a Hippie Mom?

May 31, 2007

The more plans I make for this baby, the more I realize I really do have a touch of that hippie mom in me.  Remember when I mentioned her several weeks back?  I felt bad for making the comment, even in jest, because I didn’t want to unintentionally offend anyone.  But I think we all have basic ideas of what this hippie mom looks like and how her parenting style differs from the stereotypical suburban mom’s.  Since it’s kind of important in my point of the post, here are a few of the hippie mom’s stereotypical qualities, at least in my mind:

  • adamant about natural birth, to the point of using midwives, doulas, water births (at home, of course), and the like
  • a breastfeeding activist, of course
  • insists upon co-sleeping and family beds
  • cloth diapers–disposable are bad for the environment
  • make their own baby food, most likely all organic
  • baby-wearing in some sort of sling

Have I forgotten any?  When I look at my list, I realize that my own mother fits at least a few qualities of a hippie mom.  She delivered four children without any drugs–not because she wanted a natural experience, though, but because drugs weren’t an option then.  She used cloth diapers–because they were cheaper at the time.  She made most of her own baby food–because Gerber’s wasn’t as readily available and was more expensive.  And of course she breastfed, but she wasn’t a member of LLL or anything like that.  My mom did all these things because they made more sense to her, not because she was trying to make a statement with her actions.

As time goes on, I find myself conforming more to the hippie mom than the suburban mom as well.  I would love to have a completely natural birth.  I’d even love to do it at home, but I know my previous complications will prevent that from ever happening.  I will breastfeed again.  I’m hoping the baby sling works out so that I can “wear” this baby.  A part of me wishes I could make my own baby food, too, although I highly doubt that ever happens (ever eaten my cooking? don’t). 

Again, though, while my actions make me feel like a hippie mom, I know in all truth that I don’t have the right attitude to fall under that hippie mom stereotype.  In fact, I’m much more likely a suburban mom at heart, driving my kids around to soccer practice and Girl Scouts (ok…Boy Scouts) in my mini-van equipped with the DVD player.  Just because I happen to breastfeed and own a baby sling will not change who I am at heart.  And you know what’s sad?  Despite how it sounds when I talk about this hippie mom, I almost wish I could be her.  I’m much more critical of the stereotypical suburban mom who plans her C-section weeks in advance, buys the best and most advanced formula to feed baby, owns stock in Gerber’s and Pampers, never leaves her mini-van, and depends on the best in technology to care for her children.  Even if that’s me.

Adventures in Baby-sitting

May 30, 2007

Last night was the big night, when I got my chance to care for one of the sweetest baby girls ever.  No, really.  I might be biased if I had one of my own, but since I don’t and haven’t spent much time with baby girls, this one managed to win my heart quite easily.  It helped when she fell asleep happily in my arms after smiling at me for about an hour.  She cried some, but our trick of walking, rocking, and patting the back that we mastered with PJ worked like a charm again.  The two kids didn’t spend much time together, but the time together was at least peaceful.  PJ didn’t start wailing when she was crying; he laughed instead.  He was a little jealous, but we made sure to split our time between them evenly and he got over it quickly.  Overall, it was a great experience.

Here’s what I learned from those two hours of caring for two children at once:

  • There’s a lot bigger difference between a 3-month-old and a 19-month-old than you realize is happening in those sixteen months.
  • It’s wonderful to have a kid who can feed himself.
  • It’s much more satisfying to help a newborn stop crying than a toddler, mostly because the newborn’s cry is one of discomfort and involuntary.  You’re just giving in to the toddler’s voluntary demands if you do something to make him stop crying.
  • There isn’t much difference between a boy and a girl at that age, other than the colors they get to wear.
  • I’m apparently not intended to be the mother of a little girl right now.  It felt weird to have a baby girl in my arms.  It could simply be that the baby wasn’t mine, but I think her gender was half the discomfort.  I’ll be more than happy to hold my nieces and friends’ girls, but I can tell that’s not what I was cut out for.  Suddenly, I’m okay with that.
  • I won’t say having a newborn isn’t hard, but especially at this age (3 months), they require a lot less than a toddler who demands attention nearly every waking moment.
  • I’m going to love having that sling (that I’m planning to order online later this week) when I’m trying to calm a crying baby while following PJ around the house at the same time.  My arms will thank me, either way.

And while last night’s experience got me thinking about what BabyN will be like, how about we take another look at BabyN?  I should have thought ahead of time how hard it is to make head or tail of some sonogram pictures, especially when they’re as unclear as BabyN’s were.  Hopefully the labels will make the best face picture a little easier to interpret–if I can ever figure out how to upload this picture here.

Feast for the Eyes

May 29, 2007

Okay, let’s shoot for coherent today, contrary to last night’s post.  Before I get to the highly-anticipated ultrasound photos, I have to share with you how my morning went.  I woke up several hours earlier than normal to intense, shooting pains in my belly.  Before I could panic that something was wrong with BabyN, I quickly felt some lower belly rumblings that convinced me I was feeling the worst gas of my life.  I could barely move.  Breathing only intensified the pain.  I managed to stumble into the bathroom to find our stash of Gas-X and take one, but before it could kick in I got to experience the most excruciating pain of my life.  I was writhing in bed, moaning in pain, broken out in a cold sweat, and praying for death.  And I’m only slightly exaggerating.  In all truth, I was looking fondly back to labor, thinking I would gladly go through that five times over than ever have to feel that kind of pain again.  I called M halfway through the morning to let him know how I felt and that if it didn’t get better, I might need him to come home to care for PJ when he woke up (he blissfully slept very late this morning).  M had been having uncomfortable gas, too, so I’m positive that’s all it was.  Thank goodness it has finally eased up now.  I wish I knew what had caused it, though, because I will avoid that food for the rest of my life if I need to to avoid ever feeling like that again.

On the bright side, I uploaded a few pictures to flickr, as promised.  Here’s the best 3D ultrasound picture of BabyN’s face.  They all still look alien-ish, thanks to his early age, but they should look much more realistic and defined if we make it back there next month.  It’s still cool to see the baby’s face, though, even if he looks more like E.T. than his daddy right now.  And here’s proof that he’s a boy.  Look where the tiny arrow is pointing.  I doubt any of us have any doubts about this shot like that last one.

I downloaded all the pictures from the weekend as well and found some of my favorites.  I’ll save the family ones for the family blog, since they’re most likely the only ones who really care about them anyway, but here’s one of PJ with his new big boy haircut, as I promised last night.  He looks like a tiny miniature pre-schooler, not just an overgrown baby.  It’s amazing the difference one haircut can make.

My mom took some belly pictures before we left yesterday, and I’m hoping to persuade M to take some of me with make-up on later this week.  I’ll post the best of those as soon as they get taken.  I’ve definitely gotten bigger.  My belly button is barely there anymore, and rolling over and getting out of a reclining position have gotten nearly impossible.  I’m goiing to look awfully funny in another three or four months at full-term when I truly am all belly.  Those should make for some interesting pictures, if I can even still stand up at that point.

Runaway Train of Thought

May 28, 2007

We’re home.  I’m fighting a low laptop battery, exhaustion, and allergy eyes, so I’m not writing much tonight.  My goal for tomorrow is to get our ultrasound pictures uploaded to flickr for all of you.  The 3D ones aren’t great, but you can actually see the face, not just an alien-looking outline like in the first sonogram.  We’ve decided on a name, we think, but we’re coming up with some back-ups just in case my dream from a few nights ago comes true, where he doesn’t look at all like said name.  I’ll call him BabyN on here.  If you want the real name (and don’t read the family blog), e-mail me and I’ll be glad to send it on.  I just don’t want it google-able.  He’s kicking up a storm tonight.  I think he’s as glad to be home as the rest of us.

I have all sorts of PJ stories that need to be recorded soon, but I’ll probably do that tomorrow on the family blog.  He grew up this weekend.  He left as a young toddler and has come back a young pre-schooler.  It’s crazy.  I think it’s mostly the big boy haircut he got (I’ll have to remember to upload a picture for you) yesterday, but he had fun showing off for all the family as well.  His vocabulary virtually doubled in the last three days.  He thrives on all that attention and simply being around new people.  I guess we need to come out of our shells more and make friends to hang out with–for PJ’s sake as much as our own.  Speaking of that, though, the people who watched PJ during that first ultrasound are in need of a baby-sitter for tomorrow night for their two-month-old daughter.  I’m so glad we get to return the favor!  I’m going to have so much fun reminding myself how to care for a newborn, especially with a toddler around.  Besides, she’s such a cutie.  I think we might just end up as decent friends with these people.  If you remember, these are the people who took the dog off our hands back in January; they are actually taking her to obedience school tomorrow night.  It does only seem fair for us to baby-sit for them since it’s our fault they have to go in the first place, doesn’t it?

Ugh, sorry for all the rambling.  My mind is racing, and I’m unable to control it.  I’ll stop here and try to come up with something a little more coherent and littered with pictures for tomorrow.  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day.

I Warned You

May 26, 2007

Sooo…tired.  All I want to do is sleep.  The weekend so far has been crazy, to say the least.  What did I tell you?  Between possessive in-laws, a toddler who doesn’t want to sleep in his playard at his grandparents’ house (he has to), and still being the only one watching said toddler as he wanders throughout the non-baby-proofed house, I’m exhausted.  I haven’t gotten enough sleep and have only had stress added to it in the meantime.  At least PJ has turned cuddly to M and me anytime he gets cranky, which is often considering how little sleep he has gotten.  And M and I have had more time to snuggle as well, which is certainly helping all aspects of our relationship.  And private BIL-BIL chats have bonded the two add-ons to this crazy family as well as calmed some of M’s fears about my little brother.  So far it’s been exhausting but worth it.  We’ll see how I feel after another early morning and busy day tomorrow.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for.  I was trying to find some uber-creative way to give the news, but I’m too tired and lazy to care any more.  It’s a boy!  He was stubborn about showing off his face for the 3D part of the ultrasound, but he was eager and willing to show us “the goods.”  Just like his big brother at that age, he’s not shy and apparently reasonably well-endowed for a fetus.  I’m a little early to get good 3D shots and knew that when we signed up for one today, but they still felt bad that we didn’t get the quality of shots that they usually can get, so they offered us a make-up appointment in a few weeks.  We’re tentatively set up to try again in about a month, if we still want to make the drive up here then.  I’m excited because they totally didn’t have to do that.  I wanted to either see a deedle or not and anything else was already icing on the cake.

I’m finding myself a little more disappointed than I thought I’d be.  I’m justifiably jealous of all my siblings and friends who will be welcoming their little girls into the world over the next few weeks and months.  I probably won’t ever get that chance.  I’ll always be that mom with the boys, the one outnumbered at home.  I feel a sense of loss at the same time I’m excited to think about the two brothers playing together and all the spoiling the grandsons will get.  I think I’m just too overwhelmed right now to sort through the mixture of disappointment and excitement.  At least we know for sure one way or another so I can spend the rest of the pregnancy picturing my two boys and not get my hopes up any longer.

By the way, speaking of pictures, I don’t feel like searching for that CD we got from the ultrasound place to upload the pictures to show all of you.  I hope you can wait another day or two (probably until Tuesday) to see the specifics.  Take my word for it, though, that the “deedle” picture is quite clear this time.

Just News

May 24, 2007

Sorry, nothing sweet or hilarious to be found here today.  It’s just stuff you probably need to know so you don’t all panic if I start blogging sporadically this weekend.  For all of you Americans reading, you may possibly be aware that this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, including a national holiday on Monday giving us a three-day weekend to start the summer.  If you don’t know that, then crawl out from under that rock already!  M and I are celebrating this patriotic weekend by finally visiting my parents and getting an ultrasound.  I’m not exactly sure how that’s patriotic, but whatever.

Anyway, we’re leaving tomorrow afternoon, hopefully shortly after lunch.  I will likely be busy packing all morning, so blogging before we leave may not happen.  I’ll attempt to blog sometime between the time we get there and the time I go to bed, but remember that nobody in my family other than M knows about the blog, so I can’t exactly do that publicly.  Blogging will only happen when I can sneak away with the laptop without looking suspicious.  I know I can always “go take a nap” (thanks Baby for giving me that excuse), but who naps with their laptop, even if it is the treasured birthday/anniversary/Mother’s Day gift?  Creepy.  Even M doesn’t love technology that much.

Still, I will make an effort to blog at least a quick blurb on Saturday when we get home from the sonogram.  It’s at 2:30, central time, and you can factor in at least half an hour travel time before I make it back home.  I also figure the grandmas (yes, both will be there) will want to take me shopping ASAP to buy gender-specific baby stuff just because they can.  I figure the soonest I’ll be able to blog will be 3:30 central time, but it’s much more likely I won’t get to it until much later in the evening.  I don’t mind if you check repeatedly all afternoon to see if I have any news (my blog stats will love it, actually), but I may have to keep you waiting for a while.  Sorry.

We’ll be back sometime on Monday, probably late afternoon.  If I haven’t blogged recently, that’s when you can expect more frequent posts again.

Briefly about the ultrasound…I am starting to be more excited that all the family will be there for it than what we might find out.  I think I might just have come to terms with the idea of having another boy.  Yes, I still want a girl, but my gut still says boy and I’m finally ready to accept that fact.  As long as it’s healthy and obedient (i.e. not deciding to come early), I don’t care.  And if it’s a boy, then we will have the only grandsons on both sides of the family, which should bring some spoilage.  PJ will have someone to play with at family functions who isn’t afraid to get their pretty dresses dirty.  It will also give me the loophole to get M to consider having a third, if indeed I decide to brave this minefield known as pregnancy again.  So having a boy wouldn’t be so bad necessarily.  I don’t think I’ll cringe if the tech finds a “deedle” this time; I’ll leave that for my MIL.

A Moment I’d Nearly Forgotten

May 23, 2007

Last night, M and I were snuggled together chatting right before bed.  As usual, M started dozing off in the middle of the conversation, so I kissed him good-night and continued to lie close to him as I watched him fall asleep.  All of a sudden I had a flash of one of my favorite scenes from a movie, in Casper when the sweet ghost watches his human, Kat, fall asleep and whispers to her, “Can I keep you?”  She mumbles, “Mm-hmm,” in response, which apparently satisfies the lonely ghost.  I whispered Casper’s question to M, and as if on cue, he replied, “Mm-hmm,” in his sleep.  I doubt he even remembers this morning.

This movie line has always been special to the two of us.  As you may have gathered, Kat is the shortest nickname that can be derived from my real name, so early in our relationship, M started calling me that every so often.  He’d also recently watched the movie.  Before the end of our first weekend together, he had brought up that movie scene, noting the similarities.  In a sweet romantic moment, he asked me, “Can I keep you?”  Although I’d already suspected that would be the case, I was reluctant to admit to such that soon into the relationship.  I avoided answering the question and continued to do so every time he asked for the first couple of weeks.

Then one day he asked again, and I whispered, “Uh-huh,” in response.  That was my way of telling him that I knew at last.  I don’t think he was any happier when I said those magic three words to him for the first time–I love you.

Somewhere I heard the idea of writing letters to each other to read right before our wedding, before we’d seen each other for the first time on that special day.  I thought it would be a good way to tell each other just how we were feeling about being married to each other, but I never realized that recording them in letter form would be a way for us to always keep the memory of those feelings.  Our letters are forever side-by-side in our wedding album now.  Every so often I glance back at them when I’m in a nostalgic mood.  I always get a bit teary-eyed when I read them.

The last line of M’s letter, written hastily while trying to avoid distractions from his brothers the night before, was “So, can I keep you?”

The last line of my letter, written in a quiet place in the church the morning before the wedding, before ever receiving the letter from him, was “Yes, you can keep me.”

Feelings and Stuff

May 22, 2007

I avoided mentioning it yesterday, and I’m glad now that I did.  M and I have been going through an emotional time handling this pregnancy.  M, as I’ve mentioned before, is anxious about it somehow, and that has created some friction between us when I unintentionally say something that sets it off.  It happened the other night when M happened to glance over my shoulder when my blog was open and read one line about him that could potentially be taken out of context.  He knew he must have taken it out of context and refused to bring it up with me because of that, but instead withdrew altogether with hurt feelings.  I finally dragged the truth out of him and explained exactly what I was writing about in those two posts from last week about my flip-out and the resulting compromise.  That led to another discussion about what was happening with him when I talked about the baby.  Every theory he had about why he got anxious when thinking about Baby I tried to counter with words of comfort.  Instead of comforting him, however, they led to an even worse anxiety attack than before.  We both fell into a restless sleep with nothing resolved.

The next day (yesterday) when he called on his way home for lunch, M and I continued the discussion and finally realized what was probably behind the anxiety.  M was feeling overwhelmed with the thought that he was going to be responsible for taking care of four people now, both financially and otherwise.  Last week’s illness when I was incapable of helping much around the house forced M to truly care for all three of us and the house virtually alone.  No wonder the guy was overwhelmed.  So I’m now making an effort to do more now that I’m feeling human again.  Already it’s made a huge difference; M is more relaxed when he comes home to a relatively clean house and doesn’t have to immediately assume responsibility for PJ as well.  I hope I stay feeling well enough to keep contributing and taking more from M’s workload.

In a complete change of topic, I had another baby dream last night.  Our little baby boy was born practically before I realized I was giving birth–at home–and very prematurely.  For some reason I thought in the dream that I was at 30 weeks.  The baby was perfectly healthy, though, and we never even bothered rushing him to the hospital to get him checked out.  The only problem with him was that he didn’t resemble the name we had already chosen for him.  Anybody care to analyze the dream, or is it too blatantly obvious what’s on my mind?  I’m so paranoid first and foremost that this baby will decide to be born before it’s done cooking.  I hope once the progesterone shots start, I’ll stop worrying quite so much about this possibility, but I doubt that will happen.  Right now I’m just hoping and praying the baby stays in at least one more week, and next week I’ll pray for the same.

More and more I’m recognizing some bad feelings towards my SIL (the bad one).  I hope everything I’m feeling about her is wrong.  But I can’t help mourning their coming baby.  When things blow up between my brother and my SIL, I hate the thought of a baby being between them, either keeping them together when they shouldn’t or being hurt in the process.

While I’m mentioning extended family, can I say again how excited I am about our weekend trip?  Not only will I get to see my parents and pictures of this new baby (remember our 3D ultrasound on Saturday?), but it’s possible my sister and BIL will make it for the weekend as well.  Oh, and my in-laws might be there for the ultrasound, too, but I’m not quite as excited about that.  I’ve neglected to mention all the stress they have caused us with the weekend’s plans, and I’ll be good and keep it that way.  I can’t decide if I’m more eager to see all my family for my own sake, or to see how PJ reacts to them, or to see how they react to this new toddler PJ.  It will be fun no matter what.  Friday can’t get here soon enough!

The Weekend Quest

May 21, 2007

Sorry I took the weekend off from blogging.  I just needed a break, was too busy anyway, and hey, it was the weekend so nobody was reading anyway.  But I’m back now and raring to go.

 Friday night I was feeling considerably better, so M and I went out to eat for our belated anniversary dinner.  While there, we tentatively made plans for Saturday if I continued to feel well.  I did, thank goodness.  I was actually eager to get out of the house again.  We decided that when PJ woke up from his afternoon nap, we’d trek across town to the one store we knew of that sold our brand of crib so we could price a similar crib for the new baby.  While across town, we might walk the mall or find something else to do in that area since I used to live there.

Of course, PJ woke up from his nap incredibly late, and it took us a few minutes to get ready to go.  Our fast route to the other area of town was marred by construction and an accident in the construction area (huge mess).  By the time we pulled into the parking lot in front of the store, it was after 6:00.  We suddenly had the thought that this was the kind of tiny, weird store that might close early on a Saturday.  Sure enough, it was closed.  They’d actually closed at 5:00, though, so we never had a chance of making it.  (Seriously, who closes at 5:00 on a Saturday in a huge commercial area?)

Frustrated but unwilling to let our trek become a total waste, we decided to walk the nearby mall to find some new maternity clothes.  It turns out that they’ve added tons of shops around my old familiar mall and changed all the parking, and most of the decent shops are moving from the mall itself to the area around the mall.  It was a total bust; there wasn’t even a maternity clothes store.  Tired and frustrated, we turned around and headed home as fast as possible with nothing to show for our efforts.

When I still felt great yesterday, we decided to continue our quest.  M found another store in another area of the city that sells this brand of crib, so we made plans to head there.  We both got up before PJ, oddly enough, and got ready for the day before noon.  We checked this store’s hours before leaving and knew they should be open if we got there early afternoon.  It turns out that this trip was much easier and actually closer.  The store was bigger and nicer and happened to be having a big sale.  We found a crib of the same brand but not the exact same crib that is actually half the price.  It should coordinate nicely with PJ’s crib.  M’s parents are checking with a place near where they live that gave us a good deal on PJ’s nursery furniture, but if they can’t beat this price, we’ll be headed back to this store later this week to buy it.  I guess this is one thing partially crossed off my list.

As far as baby is concerned, several big changes have happened this weekend.  For one, I have definitely “popped.”  I may only be five months pregnant, but I feel like I’m in my third trimester.  The belly is huge and tight and awkward-feeling.  I have to be careful how I sit and how I stand up or even roll over in bed.  Every day my belly button gets a little more shallow, and I expect it to disappear in the next couple of weeks.  It never went away altogether with PJ.  M debates with me daily about whether I ever got this big with PJ.  I keep telling I must have if i was nine weeks father along when he was born, but I’m starting to think it’s getting pretty close.  My legs have started swelling if I stand or sit upright too long.  I can feel feet and elbows all over the belly, not just below the belly button like I had recently.  Oh, and in the moments I feel particularly big, I’ve started walking in that familiar pregnancy waddle.  I have a feeling that this is going to be a very long third trimester if I’m already this uncomfortable and a full month away from the third trimester.  I may need some reminders over the next few months that I’m doing everything I can to prevent a premature birth, because I’m probably going to wish I could have one by the time I hit thirty weeks.

Update: We have a crib, sort of.  M’s mom called him right after lunch to tell us the guy she knew couldn’t get us a better deal on the crib; it would cost him more to get it than we would pay for it at this place.  I called, and sure enough, they would take purchases over the phone.  They have a great return policy if we change our minds, too.  It’s really a fantastic deal and a fantastic place.  I’m thoroughly pleased, even if we don’t quite have the crib at home and set up yet.  It’s officially ours either way!