Monday, December 29, 2008

Two-Week Check Up

Nora had her two-week check up today. Here's her stats:

Weight: 9 lbs 9 oz, 90th percentile
Length: 22 in, 95th percentile
Head size: 14.5 in, 70th percentile

In the words of Dr. Kopas, "She's a chunk." Yeah, she gained a solid pound in 9 days. 'Normal' is an ounce a day. When I had Lillian, the lactation consultant said that my milk was more like heavy whipping cream instead of regular milk. So it's that, and the fact that I have enough milk to feed at least 10 babies. Maybe 15.

Nora fits comfortably in size three month clothes and I feel a little bit like I got cheated out of two months' worth of baby. Her head would appear to be normal sized, so hopefully we won't have to go through the whole rigmarole that we did with Lillian. Tyler's theory is that in order to get a baby with a normal sized head, we just had to super-size the rest of her as well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Tucson

Our Frommer's said that Old Tucson was lame and expensive and that we shouldn't go. Old Tucson is not, as it would seem, the site of old Tucson. It's a movie set that they've turned into a tourist trap. They filmed pretty much every single John Wayne movie there and every other Western you can think of. Maybe because I didn't have to pay to get in, but I thought it was fun.

Lillian had SO MUCH FUN on the merry-go-round. "One more time! One more time!" Who would have thought that she would have liked it so much?

The train was also a big hit.

They had a can-can review which Lillian also loved. She called the dancers 'ballerinas' through the whole thing. It was a good time, the only unfortunate side effect was that this morning, as we were getting ready for church, she walked around with her dress almost over her head saying she was a ballerina. We had to talk about how that wasn't church appropriate.

Tyler kept trying to get her to put her hand up in the air, like she was riding a bull. She didn't really get it.

Oh man, it was cold. Forty-two degrees or so. (Nora is off camera sleeping soundly in her car seat.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Girls

"Mom, I want to hold Nora's hand."

"We need animals for night night."

Family Home Evening

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee... unto the city of David... to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife..."

"being great with child."

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered."

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them"

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

And Mary brought forth Toby, the turtle... wait, what?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home again, home again

Tyler did a pretty good job of summarizing the labor and delivery. He briefly mentioned how the baby was facing the wrong way. This was actually pretty scary. It's called occiput posterior presentation, or OP, and means the baby was looking down at the floor instead of up at the ceiling. I was stuck at 9 cm for quite sometime (like three hours) because they couldn't get the baby to turn. During this time, the nurses were rolling me back and forth and back and forth. This was no small feat as my epidural was such that I couldn't move my lower extremities at all. I seem to remember with Lillian, I could wiggle a litte bit, but this time, nothing. At one point my leg fell off the bed and I couldn't do anything about it. In this state, it took two nurses and Tyler to roll me to my side. As I was so close to delivering for so long, my body started releasing adreneline which would have been very helpful if I was out on the prarie because I no doubt would have been exhausted and in extreme amounts of pain. In the hospital setting, where they were telling me not to push, it made me shake uncontrollably and feel nauseated. The nurses were great and got me warm blankets that didn't do much, but there wasn't much to be done. It was when my temperature started climbing (101.3) that the doctor decided we were going to try to turn the baby as I was pushing. My SIL Tonya, is a labor and delivery nurse and she said she was surprised the doctor was willing to try this. She said in her experience, 9 times out of 10, they take the OPs for cesarians. So I am very, very, very thankful that Nora turned and that everything worked out.

I think the prolonged back labor (even though I couldn't feel it at the time) took a toll on my body. With Lillian, a week after delivery, I felt mostly recovered. This time around, if I forget to take a Percocet on time, it feels like I got hit by a bus. This morning, I couldn't even stand up and walk to the rocking chair without Tyler's help. And even then, I walked like an old lady getting up for the first time after hip surgery. With the Percocet, though, I feel great.

Lillian came to visit in the hospital. She pretty much parked herself on Tyler's lap and didn't move. I think she was just all off kilter what with being in a weird place and people telling her that Nora wasn't in my belly anymore and this odd-looking purple thing was her sister, whatever that is.

Now that we're home, she's becoming more maternal and very helpful. She wants to take part in all the new activities, like holding the baby and rocking and giving her a pacifier, and using the breast pump.

And now, a short list of thank yous.

Thank you to mom who came for a few days and although she thinks she wasn't very helpful, she provided very important moral support and comfort (and a lot of turkey noodle soup).
Thank you to Bridget who watched Lillian while I was in labor and allowed mom to be able to be there when Nora was born.
Thank you to Shannon and Carrie, my nurses while I was in labor. They were great.
Thank you to my husband who has washed every single dish since I've been out of the hospital, (except the ones mom washed... she did a great job too), and has been at my beck and call, fetching things nonstop.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nora Allison Ball

As Amanda is a little incapacitated right now, I guess it's up to me to post something. We arrived at the hospital at 730 this morning. Not long after, Amanda had her IV and then the epidural. They gave her Pitocin, which is what actually induces labor and then we played the waiting game all day. By about 4 Amanda was ready to go. Nora decided to be stubborn and face the wrong way so the doctor had to turn her over as she was coming out. She was 8lbs and 7oz, exactly 1 lb heavier than Lillian, which, using my excellent calculating skills, means our next baby will be 9 lbs 7 oz. She was 21.25 in long and she has really long toes and fingers, so we are seeing to it that they place her in the advanced piano players nursury here at the hospital.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sand Art

These are out of order and I get frustrated trying to move them around. I'm sure you can figure it out. Today is Lillian's last day as an only child; I'm scheduled to be at the hospital tomorrow morning at 7:30. As of tomorrow, her life will in nowise resemble the life she has now, so I tried to make this morning a little special. How to special up any kid's life? An art project.

My sister-in-law suggested as a place to get ideas, and man, is it great. If you've got a kid, I'd highly recommend checking it out. This project uses salt.

Half a cup of salt with 15 drops of food coloring. Mix it together in a plastic baggie and then transfer it to salt shakers. Draw on paper with a glue stick then go to town shaking the colored salt all over the glue.

Ta Da! The website suggested this as an outside activity, but it worked just fine at our kitchen table.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No baby, yet

Last night, I dreamt that I had the baby and I woke in a cold sweat. Wow, that's not a comforting sign. I think when you have your first kid, you feel like you're in the Twilight Zone in the weeks leading up to the delivery as you have all of this alien furniture and toys and you're not quite sure what to do with all of it. Now, with number two, it's less of the Twilight Zone, more like a recurring dream that I'm not all that sure I want to have. But, for better or worse, the baby is coming on Monday.

I had been feeling really crabby and depressed, then I got a few good night's sleep and my friends threw me a surprise baby shower. Things are much better since then, I'm feeling pretty good about life. And, my sister Amy made a really good point. I had been feeling like a lame mom because there were dishes left undone and laundry in the washing machine for three days and instead of taking away the baggie of marshmallows that Lillian found as I was making oatmeal, I just let her eat them to avoid the tantrum. I felt like I was sitting on the couch a lot and not doing a lot of parenting (or much of anything). Amy pointed out that I was donating 100% of my time to my kids and family, it's just that Nora was taking all that time in the form of all of my extra energy. That made me feel better, and like less of a slacker.

And finally, a shout out to my husband. I was watching 'A Baby Story' on TLC. The couple was of some sort of Asian persuasion and the husband was very... the opposite of Tyler. When the baby cried, he would say things like, "What are you doing wrong? Why can't you make him happy?" She asked him to change a diaper while she rested and he said something like, "I've been at work all day, you've been home doing nothing. You do it." I had to turn it off because I wanted to reach into the TV and punch him. While Tyler isn't quite an empath, he would never in a million years say anything like that. For example, the other day, at around five, I had run out of steam. Dinner was in the oven and Tyler was coming home from work in 30 minutes so I put on a video and laid down. While I was sleeping on the couch, Lillian had pushed a chair up to the TV and was sitting within inches of the screen. No joke. The house was messy and I think I was wearing sweat pants. All he did was sit down by me, brush my hair out of my face, and say, "so, how are you feeling?" Man, I like that guy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

False Labor or How I've been in labor for two weeks

Nowadays, whenever I call anyone on the phone the first thing out of their mouth is not hello. It's "so, did you have your baby?" Not that I don't appreciate the concern, but the answer is no.

First, some housekeeping. In nursing school, we learned to negotiate with families to set up chains of command so that if anything happened, we didn't have to call a million people, just one or two. So, if and when I go to the hospital I will call Mom and Amy. Mom gets the nod because she's mom, and Amy because she has been voted "Most Likely to Answer her Phone." From there, they are in charge of disseminating information to the rest of the family.

I'm really starting to be irritated that I'm still pregnant. Every night for the past week or so, I've woken up with contractions. Real ones. That hurt. It goes something like this: I go to sleep around 10:30 or so, wake up around 3 or 4 with contractions painful enough that I can't sleep through them but nothing near painful enough to signal the eminent arrival of a baby. (As a side note, I was trying to remember exactly how painful real active labor contractions were. I couldn't quite remember the quantity of pain but I have a mental image of sitting in the hospital with my vision totally whited out with pain and crying and yelling at mom, "I can't do it anymore!! I can't do it" and her yelling right back, "Yes you can! Come on!" And since the contractions I've had so far have not inspired me to yell anything besides, "I wish I could go back to sleep," I don't think they're what we're looking for.) These contractions come every 5-7 minutes, but after I get up and start moving around, they peter out after about an hour. By this time, it's almost 6 and my family will be waking up in 30 to 45 minutes. Do I try to go back to sleep? Just stay awake and hope that Lillian will take a good nap that day?

Needless to say, this whole process is making me very crabby. For example, I just yelled at Lillian for putting too many goldfish crackers in her mouth. The only upside I can see is that all these false alarms help me keep my house in order and keep up on the dishes and laundry because I don't want to leave my house a mess or come back to a pile of dirty clothes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Super mom is back

I think my motivation used to come mostly from Lillian's old day care. Missy always had the most super ideas for teaching and making crafts and homemade toys and I, Lillian's real mom, was not about to be out done by someone whom the state was paying to care for our child. I wanted to be super-er than Missy. I made crafts with Lillian and we made sorting games and matching games and I had puzzle time and reading time and art time built into our daily schedule.

Then, I got pregnant and threw up for four months straight. Puzzle time was replaced by Little Einsteins and she grew out of the sorting games that we had made. Yesterday, I realized that I've defaulted my teaching responsibilities to Sesame Street (which, by the way, has done a fabulous job of teaching Lillian how to count to 13. Seriously, I had nothing to do with that). So, I decided that we would make this little book. I'd cut out the pictures and we'd sort them and glue them on the corresponding color pages.

I think it's safe to say that this book was the source of the most contention ever. Not only did she not want to help sort and repeatedly asked to watch 'Einsteims,' (not that I let her watch that much TV. She watches Sesame Street in the morning and then watches two episodes of Little Einsteins after her nap for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes of TV time per day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours, so I figure I'm doing just fine. But, if Lillian had it her way, she'd do nothing but watch TV all day long) but we fought over every step of the process. She wanted to help cut so I gave her some saftey scissors and scrap paper. She saw right through that one. Then, we only had one glue stick so we were sharing; she'd make her best attempt at putting glue on the pictures, then I'd finish it up. This arrangement was most odious to the little girl who wants to do it all herself. How insulting that I'd imply that her work needed fixing! There were many tears. Many times did I say some variation of "if you can't share and be nice and be a big girl and stop crying, you can't play with me and will have to play by yourself in your room."

Eventually, I gave up and the book lay on our kitchen table, half finished. I decided to give it another try today and things went much better. She shared the glue stick and contented herself with writing on scratch paper with the markers when I wasn't using them to write the names of the colors. I'm glad that I went back for the follow-up because I was ready to let that slacker mom take over forever after the disaster that was yesterday.

But now, Super Mom is back... Actually, now that I don't have Missy to steal ideas from, I'm a little at a loss of what to do next. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Camera

For Christmas, Tyler's parents got us a sweet new camera. Here's some of my first shots. Below is Lillian's 'say cheese' face.

Tonight at Enrichment, we were talking about how mothers never think their children are ugly, even if they are. (Which is not me. I tried to be very rational about whether or not Lillian was a cute baby and I was fully prepared to say she looked like Winston Churchill if that was the case.) Not to say Lillian's ugly, this is not where I'm going with this. But, the question was raised of when was the last time you saw a really, really ugly person? Where you were at the grocery store and passed someone and thought "ACK! That person is really ugly"? I had to admit this woman got me. The only really, truly ugly people I've seen sort of made themselves that way through years of alcohol or other drug abuse and hard living and as such have lost teeth or hair or body parts. But generally, people are just degrees of normal-looking.

Except that I'm the most unphotogenic person alive. Seriously. My adolescent years were especially bad, which didn't do a lot for my self confidence as I tried and tried to convince myself that the pictures weren't an accurate representation of what I actually looked like. So there have been times where I've seen pictures of myself and thought "ACK! I'm hideous."

The point is that I've come to terms with the fact that I don't photograph well and I'm really glad I didn't pass that trait along to Lillian. She's so darn cute in person and on film. Or, in digital form as the case may be.

And, on a weird side note, three people in the past two days, independently of each other, have come up to me and told me that I look "beautiful." I don't feel particularly beautiful as I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant. I feel more like the Egyptian goddess of pregnancy who was part woman, part lion, part hippopotamus, and part crocodile. (Tyler would probably agree that I act like that concoction sometimes, too.) I did wash my hair and put on eye liner. It must be the eye liner, gets 'um every time.

This last one is a shot Tyler took. After Enrichment, he handed me the camera and said "check out what we did while you were gone." Mmmm, sugar cookies. Although I maintain that I am the Cookie-Making Genius, as Claire once called me, Tyler is getting pretty good. I think baking appeals to his engineering brain where the measurements are very concrete. He doesn't (can't?) cook because he gets caught up on exactly how much is a pinch? and how long does one cook it if it says "simmer until thickened"? Five minutes? Twenty? What units does one use use to measure thickness?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nothing Doin'

Here's what I look like right now. The maintenance man told me that I didn't look that big for having two weeks to go. Um, sure. Whatever.

Things are mostly the same around here... pretty boring. Yesterday, Lillian was such a turkey, she clean wore me out. (Example: we went to the library. We have been going to storytime once a week, thus this is what Lillian expected when we walked through the doors. Storytime, however, has been suspended for the holiday season, so we were there for the singularly boring purpose of getting books. Oh, the disappointment. Oh, the tears. Oh, the meltdown: screaming, jelly legs, crying, the whole bit. If I was by myself, the whole trip would have taken two minutes, but with Lillian, it took about 10 of me saying, "get up! Why are you crying? They don't have storytime right now, we couldn't go if we wanted to!") After dinner, I announced that I was done being mom and had to hibernate on the couch. I woke up briefly when a be-toweled Lillian tried to bring me her pajamas after her bath and I shooed her away. The next thing I remembered was Tyler coming home from his ultimate frisbee game. (I didn't remember him leaving.) It wasn't until this morning that I realized that not only did Tyler give Lillian a bath while I was asleep (how did I sleep through the bath? I must have been really tired), he did the dishes as well. Like magic.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Update: I'll let you know

On Wednesday night after dinner, I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions (the painless ones that don't do anything) every five minutes. I just thought 'that's odd' and went about the business of going to bed. I woke up in the night and I was still having them, and I had them all day Thursday. My sister Amy and my sister-in-law Tonya both thought that I could get them to turn into real contractions if I went walking. I walked. And I walked. And I walked. Nothing much happened else on Thursday (except for everyone calling every hour to see if labor had started.) Friday, I walked some more. More Braxton-Hicks. Around 1 in the afternoon, I started having back pain and I got really excited that true labor was (finally) getting started. I had some bleeding and some other gross signs of labor. More walking. I was still having the B-H contractions every 5-7 minutes, but they weren't getting more intense. By last night, my back hurt, my abs were tired from all that contracting, and I was getting a big headache from the pressure of the contractions pushing on my blood vessels and backing up the blood in my head.

So, here it is Saturday and the B-H contractions have slowed down, but not stopped. My pelvis hurts. My back hurts. Now, I don't want to go into labor because even if it started right this second, I probably wouldn't have the baby until late tonight or early tomorrow, then I'll be stressed about what we're going to do with Lillian on Monday and Tuesday. But just because I don't want to, I will because that's just how my body is: spiteful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Labor Induction

I think there has been a change in the obstetrical winds since I had Lillian and I'm not sure if it's a timeline difference, or a geographical difference. When I had Lillian, the doctor implied that I wouldn't be induced until 14 days after my due date unless there was some other pressing medical problem. I just thought that's how it was. I moved to Arizona and suddenly everyone was asking me if I was going to get induced or go naturally. I was so confused, "Do I have a choice?" I told people that I would just wait and go naturally, nature knows best right?

I'm 37 weeks today and the doctor and I have not discussed this issue previous to today. She checked me (warning: potential overshare) and I'm almost 2 cm, 50% effaced. After she was done, she asked, "so, when do you want to have your baby?" All those 'nature knows best moments' flooded back to me, kept on flowing, and I found myself jumping up to look at the calendar and saying, "well, my mom is coming this day so maybe the day after that. (December 15th)" I asked her if this was just because I'm as progressed today as I was only after 10 hours of labor with Lillian, or if she lets other patients go two weeks after their due dates. She looked aghast and said, "Oh no! I never let my patients go more than 3 or 4 days past their dates."

I realize that if I had a midwife, they'd probably let me go late, but when I was pregnant with Lillian, the midwife recommended to me that I be followed by an M.D. So here I am with an appointment on the 15th to have my baby.

(P.S. the above picture is Lillian at about 3 weeks old with gentian violet face.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In case there wasn't enough crying in your life...

Mom asked me a while back if we had accidentally almost drowned her when she was an infant. Nope. She just really, really hates getting her head wet.

We think we've found it

After about a month of searching, we think we've found our house. It's in Rancho Sahuarita,where we looked before. You can view pictures of the actual house here. Right now, it has a whole bunch of bachelors living in it, so you may not really be able to get a feel for it (and what's with the red tapestry curtains?) If you're really interested, you can check out the builder's website and look at the model home. If you check out the virtual tour feature, you can see pictures inside. Just note, ours is a mirror image of the model (I was convinced they weren't the same house for a while. I'm not too good with all that spacial stuff).

I'm ambivalent about how it backs straight up to the lake. On the one hand, how cool is that? A lake in your backyard? But on the other hand, there's a path right there and all sorts of people could be walking past and looking at you while you sit on your porch and eat your breakfast/play out back with your kids. There's no gate, so we won't have direct access to the lake (and people won't have direct access to our backyard). Tyler tells me that I should really consider the alternative views we could have in our backyard: cactus or someone else's backyard. The neighborhood is really nice, so it's not like we would live in the type of place where I'd be constantly afraid that someone is going to jump my fence or stare at me menacingly. When we were there looking, there were some people walking past and some people fishing... all minding their own business.

And $244,000, is that insane or what?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Potty-Training Diaries

Probably a little less than a year ago, we decided we'd start introducing that wonderful concept called potty training. I didn't expect it to stick right away, but who knows, we could have had a little Allison on our hands who will take any opportunity to tell you that she was potty trained at 18 months. This was all well and good. As far as I could tell, potty training is supposed to go something like this:
  1. Just sit the kid on the potty at intervals throughout the day. They will eventually go on accident. When this happens, make a really big deal.
  2. Seeing your excitement, the kids will want to reproduce this joyous event (probably more so if they got some sort of treat like an M&M)
  3. For a while, it's a conditioned response and you, the parent, take them into go periodically throughout the day. Until, one day, the child recognizes that there's a connection between the feeling of having to go, and going.
  4. The kid starts to be better about recognizing their own signals and eventually can tell you when they need to go.
So far, our adventure has gone something like this:
  1. Introduce Lillian to the toilet at intervals throughout the day. She goes on accident a few times and I make a big deal about it.
  2. Tyler accidentally let her fall into the toilet making Lillian deathly afraid of going potty.
  3. Much bribing and cajoling goes on to get Lillian to even sit on the potty.
  4. She doesn't go on accident. Ever. I tried all the 'tricks' like trying to make her drink a lot of Crystal Lite. But, she's a stinker and won't drink if she's not thirsty. Six months goes by.
  5. Lillian begins to HATE sitting on the potty and refuses to do it. I take a break.
  6. I begin to be very tired of changing diapers, especially as Lillian begins to be more of a stinker and runs away and wiggles and I'm getting bigger and bigger and my ability to chase her down diminishes. More bribing and cajoling (and time outs for running away) to little effect.
  7. I purchase training pants to help Lillian recognize the connection between going and being wet and needing to go in the potty instead of your pants.
  8. She doesn't care at all about walking around in wet training pants with pee running down her legs. Not one bit. That little turkey.
So all you moms out there, what to do next? Do I take another break and wait for her to be a little older so she has more conversational power and we can talk about it a little more effectively? Just keep at it? Be patient? I know Allison has told me that Tristan didn't "get" it until he was almost three while Jack "got" it a little after he turned two and she did the same things for both kids, so it might just be that I need to be patient as Lillian is still only one month shy of being two and a half.

I just had a dream of not having two children in diapers at once. It seems as if that dream, like so many dreams I've had in motherhood, is just not to be.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I realize that a lot of my posts lately have been about pregnancy, but have you ever really thought about it? As we spent another Saturday morning invading peoples houses and looking in all of their closets, I started getting really tired and really short of breath. It got to the point where if I didn't really really like the downstairs, I wouldn't even bother going up the stairs. I started thinking about how if somehow you didn't know you were pregnant, you would think that you were dying. Here's just a casual glance at the "What You May Be Feeling" section of my pregnancy book:

  • Heartburn, flatulence, bloating
  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion, occasional nosebleeds, or ear stuffiness
  • Bleeding gums
  • Leg cramps
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increasing clumsiness
  • Fatigue or extra energy, or alternating periods of each
  • Hair loss
  • Extreme irritability
I left out the obvious pregnancy symptoms like, 'Fetal activity', because we're pretending you don't know your pregnant and anything with the word 'discharge' in the description, because that's just gross. I'm no doctor, but I am a nurse and know something about disease processes and if someone came in to a clinic complaining of flatulence, hair loss, bleeding gums, clumsiness, and extreme irritability, wouldn't you not only think they were making it up, but in the back of your mind, be wishing you could refer them to Dr. House?

As a side note, I think the extreme irritability is extremely unfair. Between the flatulence, leg cramps, nose bleeds, difficulty sleeping, and frequent urination, (and the fact that I'm gigantic) I think I have enough to be irritated about without any extra help, thank you very much.

In the words of my sister Amy, "If Heavenly Father wanted us to have a lot of kids, you'd think he'd make it a little bit easier."

Friday, November 14, 2008


During Storytime at the library yesterday, Lillian was trying to reach a paper apple that was suspended about 8 feet above her head. As she was stretching and reaching in vain, my friend Bridget leaned over and commented on how whimsical Lillian is. This was something I never considered before, I just figured she was two, and that's how two-year olds act. Who knows? What I do know is that Lillian cracks me up all the time with her "playfully quaint or fanciful" behavior. (Definition courtesy the dictionary.)

A bit of explanation concerning the video.

The first half is what I found when I got out of the shower a few days ago. I'm not sure who Lillian was mimicking... I don't know anyone who would hide from their toddler and read in bed. Do you?

The second half took place during lunch today (hence the mac and cheese on her face). She was telling me about the Little Einsteins episode that she saw this morning. They had to make Rocket Soup for Rocket (who Tyler likes to point out is actually a jet) because he was hungry. Rocket Soup consists of three ingredients: Cheese in the possession of the little mouse, peas in the possession of the Good Knight, and jumping beans in the possession of Joey, the kangaroo. Please do not make this for me when I am hungry. The video is take two, so it's not as funny or detailed as it was when she spontaneously expounded on the subject the first time around. But, I'm posting it because it does show how quirky she actually is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keep Calm and Carry On

I don't often editorialize on this blog (or any other blog for that matter), but I'm fairly sure Allison is tired of me calling her to complain. Did I say complain? I meant discuss this issue. Which is: I'm not sure I like being a mom. Now, let's quantify that statement: I don't feel like that everyday, I don't hate being a mom, and I'm far from resenting my offspring or spouse for my position.

I've been reluctant to post about this because I don't want people to think that I hate my life. Also, I'm pretty positive by nature, so I don't want people to think that I have this secret depressario alternate personality. But, I thought it might encourage some conversation and maybe if there's other moms out there who feel like this, they'll know they're not alone.

Perhaps an illustration. Every Sunday at dinner, we discuss our plans for the week. Tyler had average things he was going to do: work, bike ride, ultimate. I looked over at the calendar and wanted to cry. It was blank. Which meant that my days would be filled with Sesame Street, laundry, grocery shopping, reading some fabulous literature like Mail Harry to the Moon, our current favorite, and for extra fun, cleaning the bathrooms. I realize that these are things that all SAHMs do. The question is, why are all these other moms doing it with a smile and talking about how much they love being at home with their kids? If Motherhood is my divine destiny and the 'highest, holiest calling,' then why don't I like it more?

I think this feeling is a combination of factors that all surround our move to Tucson. I've moved before and lived far away from family, but I've never moved to a place where I didn't have at least one friend. Thus, I've never had to start from scratch at this friend-making business. I have made some friends here, but for some reason, it's been harder than I thought. This plus going from being a full-time student and mom to being full-time mom was a bit of a shocker.

Another stop of this pity train is the fact that I see so much less of Tyler nowadays. When we were both in school, I dreamed of the day when we would just be able to enjoy each other's company without one of us having to run off to lab or hole up in the library to write a paper. The realitiy is that I see Tyler way less now than I did when we were full-time students. We lived close to campus so there were many times where Tyler would pop home for lunch, or for an hour or two between classes. Now, his office is 40 minutes away by bus, so there's no popping; we take him to the bus stop at 7:30 and pick him up at 5:30. That's 10 hours of me and Lillian time. Just me and Lillian. I think often of my own mother who was left home with multiple little kids for months at a time and wonder at how she kept a positive attitude. I asked her about it once and she said, "well, I just did it, I had no other choice."

Oh yeah, and I'm 8 months pregnant, and I live with a moody 2-year old.

After talking with a few moms, the most popular solution to this motherhood-induced ennui is to get out more. Whether that means being more organized and getting together with other moms and kids more often during the week (this is something I'm notoriously bad at; I'm horrible at calling people and setting up playdates, and I have a notion that people are much busier than I am and that I'm bugging them, somehow) or going to work part time (which is not an option for me at this exact point in time).

Maybe I need a hobby. I read (a lot) and sew and bake and go for walks and do crossword puzzles and of course do mom and kid things, but something inside me feels like, "is that it? Is this my life?" Perhaps all mothers of young children feel like this, that it will never end. What did that forward mom sent around say? "I feel like my hands have disappeared into peanut butter never to be seen again."

Phew, I already feel better; this was very therapeutic. And Lillian is tickling her own feet and laughing histerically. Who can stay in a bad mood with that sort of thing going on?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm sorry for the poor quality of these photos. Our camera somehow all of a sudden won't hold a charge so I think we're going to get a new one for Christmas (any suggestions?). Until then, I'll have to either take pictures with our video camera (as these were) or with Photobooth, like I have been doing.

We went to our ward's Trunk-or-treat. Last year, Lillian was so freaked out, she hid in the car most of the time. This year, we let her go around to the cars and get candy, and who's not into that? We don't have any pictures of that due to the above mentioned lack of functioning camera.

Everyone agreed that she was the cutest thing they'd ever seen.

She carried her salt canister by herself, but Tyler ended up holding the umbrella for most of the night. It was kind of unwieldly for a two-year old.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm still not really "used" to Tucson

Every morning while I eat my cereal, I read the news. My google news page gives me regular and local news. When I moved to Tucson, I changed the local news to reflect the move. I knew I was moving to a big(er) city, and I knew that the crime rate was going to be higher here. But, I still get a little shock when I turn on the computer and I'm greeted by headlines like this morning: Police Investigate City's 69th Homicide.

Just to compare, I switched it back to San Luis Obispo news and the top story was Veterans Day Events around San Luis Obispo.

Just to assure my jumpier readers, I live more on the north side of the city and a lot of the problems occur on the south side. I feel like my apartment complex is relatively safe (even though Tyler's (non-locked) bike was stolen out of our front gate and on a seperate occasion, I think the gardener took two sippy cups that I had absentmindedly set on the wall outside our house after bringing them in from the car. Maybe he was just tidying up and thought they were abandonded trash. They were the nice insulated sippy cups too.) I wouldn't walk around town by myself at night, but then again, I wouldn't have done that in San Luis Obispo either; you never know what those rowdy college kids are up to.

The only person I know who's life has been personally touched by the Tucson crime is my friend Patrick that used to live here. The incident didn't even happen to him, it happened to his cube mate. In short, his cube mate woke up to find his fridge and back door wide open. Upon examining the crime scene, they found that the only thing missing was a box of Hooter's chicken wings. With a little investigation, they found out that there was hungry homeless person wandering the neighborhood looking for food.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The House Hunt

Previous to moving to Tucson, we had been poor college students for a few years. Three degrees plus one baby is not really a formula for a really solid nest egg. We decided that we'd rent an apartment for at least a year and save for a down payment on a house. A few weeks ago, we met with a mortgage broker just to see if we were on track and what all sort of house we could afford when it came time for that sort of thing. He ran some numbers for us and based on our credit scores and the market and the housing legislation just signed into law by President Bush, he convinced us that we should buy a house sooner rather than later.

Thus, what was a casual interest in the housing market became an active interest. We've been going out with a realtor every Saturday for a month and this week, I think we found at least the area we'd like to live: Rancho Sahuarita. It's a new community, so it's shiny and clean. On every block or so is a mini park with grass and a playground and in the middle is this amazing community center with a gym, pool, drop-in child care, above pictured splash park, massive play structure, little tricycles for the kids to play around in, an electric train, a lake (about the size of tri-city park for all my family in California) which you can boat on and fish in, hiking trails, and biking trails. I mean, the city has a staff of event planners.

We haven't found a specific house we like yet, but at least we can stop looking everywhere in the greater Tucson area and concentrate on one area.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Man, language is rough

Lillian pulled out the little book of pictures that her day care in SLO gave her before we moved. She was pointing to different pictures telling me all about it while I ironed. She pointed to a picture of herself and said, "It's you."

Me (correcting): it's me
Lillian (confused): it's you? It's not mom.
Me: No, it's you.
Lillian: it's you.
Me: (I point to myself) It's me. (Then I use Lillian's hand to point to herself) It's me.
Lillian: It's not me. It's Lillian.

Pronouns are tough for a two-year old.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, I care

I'm not sure why I care so much about ridiculous details, but I do. Like, when people mix up 'who' and 'whom,' or, like the lady in Claire's office, people who say 'oldtimers' instead of alzheimers, and... I can't think of any other examples at the moment except the subject of this post:

President Grover Cleveland

Last night, Tyler and I were watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Immediately afterward, Brian Williams came on holding a chart with all the previous presidents' faces. He pointed to the sea of white men to hammer home the point that we've never had an African-American as president before. He said something along the lines of, "These forty-three white men have served as president...." I rewound it to make sure I had heard him right. Yup, he said 43.

True enough that Barack Obama will be our 44th president, and probably there were 43 pictures on Brian's chart. What I would have expected Brian Williams of all people to know is that two of those pictures are of the same man: Grover Cleveland, the only man to serve two non-consecutive terms in office making him the 22nd and 24th president.

(Tyler wonders why I would expect anyone to know such obscure facts. This coming from the man who didn't know who Robert Burns was, a fact he revealed to me while we were at the Tucson Celtic Festival. In fact, he was so sure that no average person would know who Robert Burns was and offered to take a straw poll. I thought we would probably get skewed results at the Celtic Festival, but I guess I can open it up now. Do you know who Robert Burns was?)

The point is, Brian, I'm sorry to tell you this, but only 42 men have served as president. Get your facts straight.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

To answer your question:

To answer your question, yes. It was actually a little bit stressful for me. Well, a lot stressful. I'm still stressed out about it and won't rest easy until tonight when the winner is announced. For FHE last night, Tyler and I went through and read the candidate statements and decided all about who we were going to vote for. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until I was saying my prayers last night. I was explaining my choices when I got the distinct feeling that the person I had picked to vote for for president was the wrong choice. Ack! How could I vote for the other guy? We don't agree on 80% of things, but the guy I picked, I really didn't agree with him at all on that last 20%. It made me stressed and agitated and I didn't know what to do. The feeling followed me all the way into the polling booth and I stared down those two candidates' names. In the end, I said a quick "if you say so" prayer and went with what the spirit was telling me to do. I feel peaceful about it, but that was a tough one.

In pregnancy news, I'm 34 weeks and 45 inches around. A whole inch bigger than the last update. I saw the doctor this morning and she didn't seem to be too concerned about my belly splitting open. She said it was common and would heal on it's own, maybe even before the baby comes. She echoed the sentiments of yesterday: take it easy, drink a lot of water, no heavy lifting, take Tylenol if it hurts. She also said that I only have to be pregnant for two more weeks. (I thought they tried to make you go 37 weeks, but I wasn't going to argue with the doctor.) That's the go mark: if I go before then, they'll stop my labor, after, and it'll be baby central. Of course, Amy is the only Calder lucky enough to have her kids weeks ahead of schedule. The rest of us are dismally on time, or worse, late.

Also, in a category that could be labeled "oddly enough" I have never really owned anything purple except a Nalgene and a lavender umbrella. Recently, I purchased purple shoes, a purple dress and the above pictured purple shirt. I had no idea that my clothing purchases were a part of a change in the zeitgeist of the nation but lo and behold, this week's Time magazine has a whole article about purple. Kristina Zimbalist writes, "On the off chance that it has escaped your notice, purple is having a moment. And while many may assume a sudden color explosion to be just another whim of fickle fashion, the analysts and anthropologists who study shifts in chromatic preferences see this particular manifestation - the purple proliferation - as a sign of our uncertain times."

Maybe all this purple is the reason I couldn't decide whom to vote for.
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