Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Do you know what today is?  It's November 30.  Why is that date special?  Because, unbeknown to you, I am completing a blog challenge: National Blog Posting Month.  Basically, you create a blog post every day for a month.  And I did it!  Wa-hoo! 

I didn't announce it ahead of time that I was doing it because I didn't want to look like a fool if I wasn't able to keep up.  And I wasn't sure that I could -- it's been a hella busy month at work and at home, plus I'm still wiped from the twinlets and sleepy from lack of sleep (thank you, bladder).  And, for some reason, though I did submit my blog link, it never appeared in the blogroll.  Grrr...

So, here I am... at the end of a month with 30 blog entries.  I have to admit that they have really blurred together.  I'm not sure that I could keep up with a daily entry for months on end.  I don't know that I have all THAT much to say, and we all know that blogs with nothing to say are bad reads.  Since I don't do reviews or give-aways, all I have is the writing and if it is too diluted or boring, I don't even have that.  OK, I have cute kid pictures sometimes, too.

Anyway, I'm pooped.  And I might not blog tomorrow -- we'll see...

Hey, here's an idea: if anyone out there who happens to read this wants to ask me a question, go for it!  I promise to answer with more than one word, unless you ask me something like "do you like dark chocolate or milk chocolate better"?  Answer: dark.  I can't really answer that with more than one word. OK, I could say dark chocolate and it would be two words, but you get the picture, right?

If this works, great!  If it doesn't, meh...  

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Wanna Be a Rock Star

I'm in a feisty mood today.  Not sure why, but I wanna be a tough girl, a bad girl, a rock star or something.  I don't wanna be the pudgy mama(again)-to-be that I am.  I want to have spiky pink hair and wear fishnets and have a totally hot bod.  I wanna pierce my belly button and wear shirts that reveal a gorgeous, flat abdomen with shorts so short you're not quite sure if they are underwear or not.


No, I don't.  Well, maybe the hair.

But I came to the complete realization this weekend that my body will never, ever not be the body of a mom.  Even if I lose all the weight I dream of losing, the resulting excess skin will make it impossible for me to think about piercing my navel or tattooing my hip.  My stretchmarks already show a road map of pregnancies past -- and this is without the upcoming gigundous belly I'll have as I get closer to term with the twins.

Don't get me wrong -- it's completely worth ruining my physique to have my kids.  But that doesn't mean that I can't feel a little sad about losing the rest of my body, does it?

Maybe it's the prospect of spending the entire winter in maternity clothes, including a coat that is currently so large on me that I look like I'm wearing my grandfather's pea coat.  Yeah, I'll likely need all that room and then some for my belly, but the shoulders are wide enough that I could hide Violet in there with me and no one would be any wiser.

I'm pretty sure that everyone I know is gonna get tired of my maternity wardrobe: three pairs of pants, one pair of jeans, and about 8 shirts.  Oh, well -- at least I do cute hair, right?  Nope -- my current state of affhair is not quite curly, not quite straight and mostly messy with lots of fly-aways due to the lack of moisture in the air.  It's not quite Carrot Top, but also not Rita Hayworth anymore.

My once easy skin has been a disaster this pregnancy.  Normally it is smooth, glowing and porcelain white during pregnancy.  But not this time.  Who knows where the next zit is hiding...  My chin has gotten the worst of it and I've given up trying to use concealer.  Courtenay, the red-chinned mama... had a very shiny chin...

So what DO I have going for me?  My body likes carrying babies.  Milo and Violet were happy, comfy, snug and healthy.  I can only hope the same for the twins.  I grow nice big babies -- Milo was 8lbs 1.5 oz and Violet was 8lbs 9.5 oz.  And, aside from struggling like a turtle if I accidentally end up on my back, I get around pretty well for a fat pregnant lady.  These are all great things, indeed.

But I wouldn't mind being able to wear a killer black dress and fishnets after it's all said and done...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


So, I can admit to my many crazy issues -- well, most of them aren't really crazy or really OCD, but some are a little strange.  Why am I writing this today?  Because I feel that the other creatures inhabiting my house are trying to sabotage my sanity my messing with my head in little ways.

Like yanking the sheets and blankets in such a way that they don't all line up, folded neatly under my chin with the flat sheet holding the fold together like a sandwich.  So every night I straighten my bed, getting it all smooth and ready for sleep and every morning I wake and it is a tossed salad instead of a sandwich. 

But, more importantly, is the closets.  Although, given my housekeeping skills, you might doubt it, but I like an organized closet.  Really, I do!  I like all of the short sleeved shirts together, the long sleeved shirts together, the sweaters, the pants, the skirts and the dresses all separated so that it's really easy to tell what I'm looking at when I select my wardrobe for the day.  Or the kids' clothes for the day.

I know it is impolitic to complain about someone helping you with housework, but I'm gonna do it anyway.  Love my hubby, can't stand that he can wreck a closet simply by picking out what the kids wear for the day.  Oh, I let him have his own closet any way he wants it, though I don't understand how the shirts keep from sliding off the hangers if you don't button at least the top button, but that's his deal, not mine.

Anyway, I have a very simple system in place so that I don't have to scour every closet looking for hangers come laundry day -- I put the empty hanger on the front of the closet pole.  Eventually there is a happy little family of empty hangers there and I grab the whole lot of them knowing that I usually have only a couple of extra hangers per closet, so I'll be hanging up roughly the same number of garments as I have free hangers.

However, when helpful daddy grabs clothes for the kids, he leaves the empty hanger in the same spot where it was hanging when full.  As a result I need to spend a few precious seconds sifting through the clothes to come up with the right number of hangers for the load I'm about to hang.  OK, this isn't really a HUGE deal, but it also isn't really a HUGE deal to move the darn hanger.  After all, you have to take the hanger off the pole to get the garment off anyway, right? 

So those are two of my goofy idiosyncrasies.  What are yours?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why I Hate Toy Commercials

My kids have fallen victim to the great advertising ploy that is TV.  They are beginning to make me nuts, shouting, "Mom!  Can I have this?" at every commercial.

At first, I responded with a pat, "Hmm... why don't you put it on your Christmas list," but that's not doing anything to quell the onslaught anymore.

Of particular disgust for me are the 12-inch fashion dolls advertised with real "fake" snow.  What??  After cleaning up lunar sand and modeling dough, they throw THIS crap at parents?  Real "fake" snow???  What on earth could this substance be?  And why would I want my kid playing (making a mess) with it?  Ugh...

And the one that gets Milo every stinkin' time -- the collapsible RC cars shown in a classroom with the kids tricking their teacher.  He actually said, "Hey, mom!  Those are for school because your teacher won't see you playing with them!"  Ummm... nope, buddy.  Not gonna happen with MY kid.  First of all, he's still young enough that he hasn't' figured out how to smuggle anything anywhere yet.  Secondly, he tells me everything he's doing (and I do mean EVERYTHING) all the time, so he doesn't yet have the capability to fib me to get a toy to school that he's not supposed to have there.  not to mention that he rides to school with his best buddy and can't help but tell him what hes' done and will be doing.

So, seriously, toy makers -- stop advertising your junk in ways that make it impossible for parents to explain to their kids why they don't need your junk.

And why the heck can't kids be happy playing with boxes, sticks, and scraps of yarn anymore?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Did you all go shopping?  Find any great deals out there in the madness?

Not me -- I did make a trip to the grocery store with the kids to get food for the dogs and something for the people to eat, too.  But Christmas shopping?  Nope, not yet.  Haven't even started.  Sigh...

Oh, I have good intentions.  But I am derailed by the million other things that need to get done around here -- work, kids, sleep...  sleep... eat... sleep...

The fact of the matter is that our holiday preparations have been, umm... lacking in the last few years.  Gone is the day when Scott and I sat down together and drew up a list of the people for whom we're shopping, browsing and window shopping and planning a couple of months in advance.  Oh, we still make a list, but it's just names that get crossed off as we find gifts.

It's been harder the last several years as Scott's professional schedule has picked up.  We've lost our weekends and, with the kids, it's a thousand times harder to shop in the evenings during the week.  This actually makes me pretty sad -- we used to have so much fun finding the perfect gifts for the people we love.  Now, we browse online after the kids go to bed, place a huge order, and hope everything shows up on time.

It's kind of sapped some of the joy of the season, at least for me.  It's fun to get all bundled up and trudge out in the cold, scurrying between stores, stopping for hot cocoa.  I'm kind of jealous of the people who join the Mardi Gras of holiday shopping.  At one time, I would receive an invitation for me to "go out with the girls," but after a couple of years of using Black Friday as an alternate Thanksgiving with my family, followed by a couple of years of me having very small breastfeeding children, followed by a couple of years of Scott working like a dog all day on Black Friday, the invitations have floated away -- not that I blame anyone, I haven't been able to go anyway.

Maybe I feel like I'm missing out because there's something inherently female about shopping fantastic sales.  I don't have many female friends, so I can feel very acutely the sting of not having a pick-up-the-phone-and-gab gal pal.  But then again, I'm not really a phone kinda gal.  I sometimes just feel left out as I work all week and, during this season, parent all evening and weekend alone.  Nothing could be worse than the painful loneliness I felt in 2008 when Scott was in NYC for three weeks, but living out in the prairie can sometimes feel isolating, the stern wind sometimes sweeps away my holiday cheer.

So, anyway, enough of my pity party -- I hope you all had a super shopping day!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for Full Bellies...

Yes, I am only 16 weeks, 3 days.  There are two in there and a Thanksgiving dinner!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ring, Ring... Ring, Ring...

Most pregnant women report that they are the victim of insanely vivid dreams throughout pregnancy.  I am no different.  Some of my dreams have been amusing, some sad, and some terrifying.

Last night's dream left me feeling very frustrated for no particular reason other than I was frustrated in the dream.  I hate waking up in an emotional state that is incongruous to how the day actually starts.

I dreamed that the phone was ringing, ringing, ringing and going repeatedly to voice mail as I was helping Violet in the bathroom.  Scott was apparently standing right next to the phone and refusing to answer it.  For some reason, the voice mail was piped through an amazing network of speakers run through my house, so I could hear the callers leaving messages.

First, it was my OB, saying "Please call the office."

Then it was my mother-in-law calling to say, "Your OB called and needs you to call her office."

Then the OB called back, again asking me to "Call the office."

Then my mother called to tell me, "Your OB called and wants you to call her office."

Finally, the OB called one last time.  As she was leaving the message, I was begging, crying, pleading with Scott to answer the phone because it was IMPORTANT!  And he still didn't. 

At that point, Milo stirred us from sleep for the day.  I don't know what the OB was calling about and I was vaguely resentful of my hubby for not answering the phone in my dream.  Poor guy, I'm just glad I realized that dream frustration doesn't equal real life crazy-hormonal nastiness on my part.

But, seriously, how hard is it to answer the phone for your pregnant wife??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will Wonders Never Cease??

Last night, my husband made a startling admission to me.  No, he didn't admit to alien abduction or something illegal or immoral.  But if you just knew him, you'd know how completely out of character this was.

What was this stunning admission?

He put lotion on his hands.

You heard me right -- he actually lotioned his hands.  This from a man who has dared to laugh at me every winter as I slather on the Eucerin, massaging it deep into my cold-chapped hands, healing the wounds of winter.  Every time he has caught me doing this, he always comments, "If you didn't do THAT your hands would toughen up like mine!"

Apparently the hard work of chicken farming, welding, and loading in a show in the dry brittle air has turned his thick hands into flexible loofahs.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen...

And then, in a hoarse whisper, he continued.

"And... I used Chapstick."

THAT was almost enough to send me into preterm labor, let me tell ya.  My darling cannot stand lipstick/lip gloss/Chapstick and will go so far as wiping my kisses away if I am wearing a lip treatment because he "hates the slimy feel."

Something tells me I'm gonna have to check his toenails for polish when he's asleep tonight...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Night that Never Was

Some days it just doesn't pay to even try to go to bed.

Last night was one of those loooong, never-ending nights.  First of all, it is not good for me to watch episodes of "The Walking Dead" and "Dexter" before I try to sleep.  Not good at all.  I'm not a scaredy-cat or a weenie, but the tension in these shows makes it darn near impossible for me to shut off my brain.  So, yeah, bad choice on my part.  Well, OK, I wouldn't have even watched the zombies if it wasn't for the horror-lovin' man I married, so that one is his fault.

And then there was the thunderstorm.  Yep, you read correctly.  A thunderstorm on November 21.  In Iowa.  Sigh...  Ever since we moved out into the country, Tess has developed a fear of storms.  I don't know if it's because they're louder or brighter or windier, but she'll lay at the bottom of the steps whining.  If someone doesn't respond to her, she escalates to moaning.  Then to yipping.  And, finally, to barking.  Which is the point that I fly out of bed, cursing and grumbling down the stairs to sleep on the couch.

Normally, this would be where the story would end -- with me sleeping the rest of the night on the couch, trading a c-pap wearing hubby for snoring, farting dogs.  Normally.

But not last night.  Nope.  At 3 a.m. my darling princess starts crying in her sleep.  I gave her a moment or two to see if she would settle, but she didn't.  That meant I also gave daddy a moment or two to wake up and realize what was going on, which, thanks to Mr. Ambien, he did not.  So I stumbled back up the stairs to comfort her and help her not tip into the toilet when she fell back asleep going potty.  Daddy and I met each other at her bedroom door, him looking confused and me looking like one of The Walking Dead.

No more thunder (or so I thought) and I go back to sleep in my bed.  Again, thanks to Mr. Ambien, daddy is out in mere seconds while I try to position the pillows around the rapidly growing belly for minimum discomfort.  I drift off to sleep...

Until 4:45 a.m. when a second round of storms go through and I end up stumbling BACK down the steps to quiet the dog before she wakes the rest of the house.  I conk out on the couch when click! the table lamp on the timer clicks on to start the day.  Only it's an hour early because I have forgotten to reset the time with the conclusion of Daylight Savings Time.


Uncle!  Uncle! Uncle!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All Better

Here's a little sweetness to balance my frustration from yesteray:

Both of my children adore their grandparents.  All of them -- they just love them.  They are excited to see them, sad to leave them, and always ready and willing to give them hugs and snuggles.  I love this!

Violet has been a kissy-face lately, giving me smooches everywhere just because she can -- insisting on kissing both of my cheeks, my eyes, my mouth, my nose, my ears my neck and my belly -- three times: one for me and one for each baby.  Considering we thought for a while she was never going to kiss either of us, the shower of kisses is very welcome.

Milo told us something very kind the other day.  There is an autistic boy in his class and he has an aide, Mrs. S.  Milo loves Mrs. S. and says he always gives her a hug when he sees her.  Apparently, he invited her to "have turkey with us on Thanksgiving."  She politely declined, but I'm guessing she was pretty tickled about it.

Aaaahhh...  now I feel better!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today was a tired, tired day.  I'm just wiped.  Violet was in a super mood, but Milo was tired -- and he should be.  We let them stay up a smidge late last night and then he woke up early on top of it.  It was darn sweet that he wanted to talk to the babies this morning, to tell them "Good morning!"

I just wish it had been at 7:30 instead of 6:30.

When Milo is tired, he does not deal well with frustration.  So he was not a happy camper when struggling with a Wii game this morning, nor did he appreciate it when I realized halfway into making a batch of sugar cookies, that I didn't have enough flour to continue.

So, yeah.  Tired day for mama and tired day for son.  Hopefully, well both sleep better tonight!  Although, I'm just guessing that he doesn't get up three time to pee...

Friday, November 19, 2010

'Till Jeweler Shall We Part

I had to do something today that made me pretty darn sad.

I had to have my wedding and engagement rings cut off of my finger.

How did I get into this predicament?  Well, I managed to get the sucker off when I was about 7 months pregnant with Violet.  It was tough, but after some persistence, ice, olive oil, and dental floss, I did it.  After she was born, I crammed it back on there where it has stayed -- for approximately 3 1/2 years, stuck as stuck can be.

Here I am, pregnant again and still fat.  Sure, I'm only up about 4 pounds (not bad considering there's two in there and I'm almost 16 weeks), but, as I told the pleasant jeweler who helped me escape my matrimonial bond, I'm not going to get smaller for a while.  I don't think that this was the first time someone had wandered into the store to ask for help in this predicament, he was very gentle and helpful and the skinny sales lady wasn't judgmental --I was actually afraid that someone might give me a dirty look or two for allowing myself to get fat enough to grow around my wedding ring.

But as the ring separated and the jeweler gently pried it open enough to slip off my finger, I had a brief moment of "AAAaahhhh!  Don't take that!  My Scottie picked that for me!"

I joked with my patient hubby, "This doesn't mean I think I'm not married, I promise!"  But I feel naked.  I must touch that ring a thousand times a day, the cool metal serving as an unconscious touchstone.  Now I feel a band of a different sort -- a narrow band of compressed finger fat that marks the place where my ring was.  My finger IS naked.

Logically I understand that it isn't safe to have a ring on your finger that is too small.  Logically I understand why I made the decision to have it surgically removed.  But, honey, I am still very much married to you and always will be.  I promise this.

I do.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Own Holiday

Do you know what tomorrow is?  It's no national holiday.  There's no media hype surrounding a premier event.  I'm probably the only one excited about it.

What is it?

I'm taking a whole day off.  It started with a regularly scheduled OB appointment in the morning.  Then the kids' sitter said she had to close for the day for mandatory training, so I didn't really have a place for Violet to go.  Then I added up the hours I've worked the last two weeks and realized that I've put in about 6 extra hours, leading me to decide to take the whole day off in a combination of sick time and comp time.

I think the last whole day I took was back in March when the synchronized skating sectionals came to town and I took the day to go watch.  Nope, wait -- that was just a half day.  Hmm...  I think it's been a lo-o-o-ong while since I've taken a whole day.

So, yeah.  Little miss gets to come to my almost-16 week appointment and will get to hear heartbeats, yay!  This is particularly awesome because Milo came to my 16 week appointment when I was pregnant with Violet because we left directly from the appointment to fly to California for a week-long vacation.  Talk about a funny coincidence -- when your kid is either in school or full-time daycare, they don't generally get to tag along on prenatal appointments, so I'm extra excited for this.

Not to mention that Violet doesn't really get a whole lot of alone time with both of her parents and she will tomorrow, at least for the morning before Scott takes off to pick up rental equipment for the show that puts the biggest dent in our family time.  But the morning?  She's all ours, baby...

And I can't wait!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gracias, Mi Amigos!

In the quiet cold of January, I sat restless, feeling complacent, tedious, and dull.  I wasn't sure what my next move was, didn't know where the road was going.  The winter fog surrounded me like middle-age complacency and I was lost.

A thought danced around the edge of my mind, I flirted with if, then pushed it away in a cat-and-mouse game.  Finally, it spoke so loudly that I had no choice but to listen.  It said, "Take your blog public.  Share and connect with others.  Reach out using your voice..."

And I did.

In the last year I have shared triumphs and disappointments, laughter and sorrow.  I write honestly, which can be both brutal and hilarious -- sometimes hilariously brutal.

I am not the best blogger out there and I don't aim to be that.  I'm not the funniest, the most relevant, the most heart-rending, the -est of anything.  I'm not the best writer, the best self-promoter, the most interesting.  I am me and that's good enough for, well, me.

I have been so fortunate that in this exploration I have encountered only support, that I have formed friendships and made connections.  That I feel tapped into a larger part of my world and that I can share something extraordinary with you.

Why am I writing this today?

Over the weekend I hit a milestone I never figured I'd see.  It seems small, but for me it is huge -- I have 100 people following me through Google friend connect.  That's 91 more than when I first started out.  I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support, kindness and good thoughts.  They are so much appreciated!  I hope to continue to build upon this relationship and hope that you are interested in watching my journey unfold.

Gracias, mi amigos!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Overheard at My House Today

If you were hanging out with us around the old homestead today, you just might have heard the following conversations:

Scott: Why aren't kids born with an intrinsic knowledge of how to put gloves on?

Milo: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom! MOM! MOM!! MO-O-OM!!!!
Me: What?!? (I was in the shower)
Milo: I just wanted to say I love you.
Me: Shakes dripping wet head while shivering in a towel, leaving wet footprints

Violet:  Can't catch me 'cuz I'm the gingerbread man!

Milo:  I think it doesn't get foggy in town because the buildings scare it away.

Violet: mumble, mumble, mumble
Scott: What did you say?
Violet: mumble, mumble, mumble
Scott: What did you say? Honey, what did she say?
Me: She said she has to go potty. You'd better move!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Little Miss Violet has been such a funny muffin lately.  She's been the snuggliest I've seen her since she stopped nursing and she is fascinated by my ever-expanding belly, frequently lifting my shirt to blow raspberries on it, then erupting into gales of giggles.

Out of nowhere, she has decided that she wants to keep her hair out of her face, which has me singing "Finally!"  For almost 18 months I have been trying to get her to wear her hair in a clip or something so it isn't in her eyes.  Now she's come around to the idea and has wanted me to do something with her hair the last four days.

She's also decided that, despite the fact that she has not one, but TWO winter coats that fit her, she only wants to wear Milo's hand-me-down Carhartt.  So yesterday when we went to the movies we went with two kids in Carhartt names Milo.  If anyone had been paying attention, I'm sure it would have seemed odd.

She has also begin drawing with a purpose -- she makes family portraits of us and I just LOVE them.  There are eyes, a nose, and a mouth and two legs.  Sometimes she draws a circle for a face, sometimes she doesn't.  Sometimes she draws hair and ears, too, but never a body or arms.  Most interesting, she changes the facial expression, telling me, "I'm sad in this one because Tabi died" as she points to a face with a frown.  Either that or she makes the face, then fills in the back story -- in either case, I think it's awesome that she's trying to interpret emotion already.

She's been a little bit of a stinker in regard to food lately, eating a few bites of a meal, then proclaiming that her "tummy is sooooo full."  As soon as her plate is cleared, she asks for a piece of Halloween candy.  Fortunately, it appears that she's down to about 10 pieces of candy left, so hopefully this quirk will end soon.

My favorite thing that she's done in the last few weeks was to insist that I lift my shirt and scrunch the maternity panel in my pants down so that she could share her stickers with the babies.  This meant that my belly was covered with an odd assortment of princess, Star Wars, and merit (Good Job!  Great Work!) stickers, which she found delightful.  Little did she know that my sensitive skin kept the impressions of these stickers for two days after I removed them.

Right now, everything seems to be pretty good in her world -- you might say that it's three-tastic!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

True Confessions

We took the kids to see Megamind tonight -- not too bad, they liked it.  Milo especially liked the soundtrack, which made me happy because I'm thinking that it might be nice to have something in the car besides the Glee soundtracks (that make me crazy, thank you daddy).  So maybe Santa will bring that his way this year.

However, the study of good and evil had an unintended effect on the poor munchkin.  As he drifted off to sleep in the car, the need to confess suddenly came upon him.  He started sniffling, as he choked out a tale of woe about trying to throw a pine cone at a tree, missing and harming another student.  He continued on about bumping into a classmate and knocking him over.  His little face crumpled and the tears spilled.  "They were accidents and I felt so bad, mom..."

"Oh, honey, what made you think to tell us this tonight?"

"I just thought you should know.  I'm bad, too..."

"Oh, love, you are NOT bad.  Everyone has accidents and feels sad about it, that's why they are accidents."

I squeezed his little hand tightly, feeling the tears fall on the back of my hand.  He stopped sniffling and said, "I did nice things to make sure they were OK.  I said I was sorry and tried to help them..."

"It's OK, sweetheart, everyone bumps into someone.  Daddy bumps into me and I'm fine, he says he's sorry and it's OK."

I'm not sure he wholly believed us.  He was still a little tearful as I snuggled him to bed.  So was I.  There are some accidents that can't be fixed with, "I'm sorry."  I hope he never sees those.

And so tonight I'll go to bed with a heavy heart.  Sigh...  Why is this the toughest part of parenting?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Pregnant Woman Every Woman Hates

I had a pretty lazy day today.  Well, I did vacuum my entire house (minus basement and attic) and do five loads of laundry.  And entertain my kids and Milo's best bud.  But other than that -- completely lazy.  The week was a crazy one, with a major event happening in my department, leaving it so that Tuesday was the only evening where Scott and I were both home.

Thankfully, some of my energy has returned.  I'm still darn tired, but no longer so tired that I can barely function after a full day of work.  Just in time!  With Scott gone four evenings and most of the day today, I needed to have at least my B+ game back. 

I am always a little ashamed to admit that, other than exhaustion and breast tenderness, I am the pregnant woman every other pregnant woman hates.  I'm happy, comfy, and generally not an emotional wreck.  I don't complain, don't barf, and don't count down the days until I'm done.  Especially with this, my last pregnancy, I want to enjoy the moments that I can before I'm the exhausted mother of four kids five and under.

I've been known to shrink behind a magazine in the waiting room at the OB where the other women commiserate over swollen ankles and constipation, wearing a pair of two and a half inch pumps because I was at work before the appointment.  There was only one symptom in both of my first two pregnancies that caused me pain -- with Milo, I had some constant round ligament pain at about 24 weeks right before I popped and looked pregnant and with Violet, my pubic bone decided to stretch early and I spent three weeks barely able to walk to the car after work.  As soon as I switched to sitting on an exercise ball at the office, everything was fine.  That was at about 28 weeks with her.

I have no idea what this pregnancy hols for me yet as I haven't been pregnant with twins before.  I don't know if I'll be allowed or able to work right up until my due date this time.  I don't know if I can avoid swelling and water retention this time.  Or pre-term labor.  Or constant heartburn.  I do know that I'll do the best I can for as long as I can and enjoy as much as possible since this will be the last time I get to cradle life in my womb.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Winter is Afoot

Today was the first day that made me really feel that winter is just around the corner.  We've had unseasonably warm weather this fall, in fact it was 70 degrees on Monday - not quite a record high, but certainly far above average.

But today?  Today I woke to gray skies and a chill wind.  I could smell the cold snap in the air.  What was lovely and colorful and amazingly clear two days ago has been dampened by the rain, shuttered down. 

The winter is coming.  It is creeping in to the Western part of the state tonight, skirting around us like a stream diverted, and sneaking back on Wednesday.  Soon the howling winds will try to carry away the last vestiges of summer growth, chasing the leaves from our yard across the road to their hiding place in the fields yonder. 

The animals know.  Our dogs have been making fast trips outside instead of languishing in the autumn sun.  The cat has stuck close to home, preferring the windbreak of the garage and the easier-than-hunting cat food we've left for him.  Even the chickens are adapting, laying eggs with thinner shells as they use more energy to keep warm.

And we know.  This morning as I snuggled deep into the couch with my children, I flashed forward to winter mornings, bright with fresh snow, filled with anticipation for the holidays.  I kissed their sleepy warm heads and, for a moment, wished that today could have been the first day of winter break -- that our day could have been filled with the promise of crafts and hot cocoa instead of work and daycare.

Those days are coming.  My soul cries for them each year -- the time spent hunkered down in the house, not needing to go anywhere as we simply enjoy the gifts our life brings us.  This winter will be filled with expectation as my belly expands to make room for our wee ones.  My children will get to feel their siblings moving as they sing to them made-up songs about their day.  We will all huddle together watching a movie, our cold toes whispering secrets to each other as they dance under the blanket. 

There is so much peace in the silence of a country winter, the solitude is fortifying and welcome.

So come, winter.  Come with your dancing snowflakes and singing wind.  Come, bring us the rest the earth needs after working so hard to sustain us.  Come, bring the quiet and still.  Let us refresh ourselves in the white of repose. 

Come winter, and then come spring.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Having a Larger Family (and I don't mean weight)

I have been very fortunate that everyone we have told about the twins has been congratulatory and excited for us.  Apparently there are people in the world who might not be, people who hear that you're having more than that magical number of two children and feel that they need to remind you that you're having more than the "prescribed" number. 

"Doncha know that's what birth control is for?"

"Didn't they teach you how babies are made?"

"Better you than me!"

Well, yeah, it is better that it's me instead of you if you're going to have a lousy attitude like that.  Is it really anyone else's business if we choose to have a happy, healthy, robust larger family?  Our children are loved and thriving.  They are bright, polite, and happy to be a part of our world. 

I have three siblings.  Scott has three siblings.  And there's nary a criminal in the bunch -- we're all responsible adults, making our own way in the world and passing along the love we felt from our parents to our children.

So, if anyone ever tries to suggest to me that we've bitten off more than we can chew, here's my answer: our love was too large for just two children.  Our hearts have room, our home has room, and our family has room to accommodate four children.  Yes, I know that the first couple of years will be rough.  I know that I will have times when I am overwhelmed.  But I also know that the joy will far outweigh the stress, that when my kids are grown they will have friends in their siblings -- like I do, like Scott does.  That they will learn that love multiplies exponentially and their parents cherish them always.

And can you imagine the fun of a dozen grandkids?  I can...  very easily...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mommy Brag, Part 2

And now the brag on child #2.  Our Violet. 

She is definitely a girl of her own mind -- if she's got a plan, she is stinking to it.  Miss V. is easily the most unflappable child I have ever met, she frequently encounters obstacles with a "That's OK...  I'll do it this way instead" attitude.  Her pace going through life is entirely her own, she seems unhurried and unharried by anyone else's urgency, including mine.  This doesn't mean she's disagreeable, on the contrary, she is dependably pleasant.  But clearly functioning on her own timetable.

Oh, little sweetheart... she is affectionate, kind, and a true lover of animals.  Everywhere she goes, she attracts them like a mini-Dr. Doolittle.  Uncommonly gentle, she is the first to offer a pat or a compliment to someone's pet, her little hands knowing just how to rub between doggy ears and just how to play with a cat.

My baby girl possesses an unusual sense of humor, frequently laughing at jokes without prompting, and gently chiding herself when she is clumsy or goofy.  And goofy?  Never met a kid who enjoys being silly as much as she does -- harmlessly, daintily, creatively silly she is.

I anticipate that her motivation will come largely from within, she is generally unconcerned by the opinion of others, even her parents.  This is one kid that will not succumb to a guilt trip.  Nor will she let anyone push her around. 

All in all, I think she has a great personality, particularly for a kid who will soon be a middle child.  She leaves quite an impression on everyone she meets and will always be a stand-out in my eyes.  Love you, sweet pea!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank You, Heather!

I was going to use this post to brag on my second born, since I bragged on the first yesterday, but how about I send you over to read Heather's blog, I'd Rather Be Changing Diapers.


Because she does a really awesome job featuring other bloggers on Mondays and this Monday, she's featuring me! 

I have come across some really great reads and enjoy tremendously the interviews she does with fellow bloggers.  She also does some fun give-aways and has some darn cute kids! 

If I had half that ambition...

And, in other news, my darling hubby tells me that I am inflating by the minute.  Oddly enough, I think he meant that as a compliment...  But, yeah, I've gotten past the point where I look like I ate too many chips and I definitely look pregnant now.  Apparently my appetite has come back, too, as I have spent almost the entire day searching my desk drawer for something else to eat.  Yeah, I stocked it when I had no appetite.  D'oh!

Must. resist. urge. to. go. buy. Pringles...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blooming in the Garten of Children

I feel like I have to do a little bragging on my firstborn.  When he's not trying to convince me that he knows more than I do about, well, everything, he's a pretty darn neat kid.

As I dropped him off at school one morning, he wanted me to walk him to his classroom and help him with something in his backpack.  So I did.  And his teacher came close to the door just as I zipped it back up and handed him the object for which he was looking. 

"Thank you, mom!" he beamed, hugging me before sashaying into his classroom.

"His manners are outstanding," his teacher said.  "He is incredibly consistent with great manners."

"Thank you, we work on it a lot at home."

"Well, he's just great," she enthused.

Hearing something like that really helps validate our choice to send him to Kindergarten this year as a young five.  Many of his classmates are already six and most of the rest will turn six before the end of the year.  Milo won't be six until late June.  We felt very strongly that he was more than ready academically for Kindergarten, but were less sure if he was socially ready.

But something happened this summer.  He grew confidence, enthusiasm, and an amazing sense of self.  Right now, all is right in his world -- his emotional development has, at least for now, caught up with his intellectual development.  I think that they were at odds last year and that caused him some stress. 

So, yeah, proud mama alert.  But every kid needs a shout-out, right?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sonic and Cauliflower: Revealed

Oh, so many of you were close!  Sonic and Cauliflower are...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

The names for the twins suggested by our older children.  And what we are calling them in utero for lack of a better option.

When asked, "What shall we name the babies?"  they responded immediately -- Milo quipping "Sonic for  boy!" and Violet squeaking "Cauliflower for a girl!"  Milo was nicknames "Worm" and then "Fergus the Fetus."  Violet was "Wiggle" because I felt her at 12 weeks and then "Kiwi," provided by Uncle Furry. 

And these two are "Sonic" and "Cauliflower."  At least for now.  I'm only almost 14 weeks, so I'm pretty sure we'll think of something a bit more, umm...  namely for them.  In the mean time, I very selfishly get to enjoy their twin dance party.  Apparently, they love it already when they hear their siblings voices.  Gotta love it now because pretty soon I'll be warning the ones on the inside to "quit poking your sister (or brother)" as much as I chide the ones on the outside.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trick Question

What do these things ahve in common?

Sonic and Cauliflower

If oyu can answer this question, I bow to your superior telepathic skills.

So, whaddya think?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Stuff of Which Dreams Are Made

For my 200th post, I'd like to share with you a conversation overheard by my hubby as he picked up the boys (Milo and his best bud) from school and took the to the sitter's (best bud's mom).  The young fellows were discussing nightmares.

Best bud had something pretty typical to say -- you know, the normal falling or being chased or monster scenario.

But Milo?  Did he talk of dreams where he was swallowed by a fifty-foot snake or chased through a haunted forest by deranged clowns?  Did he quake retelling a foggy tale of classroom embarrassment?  Shudder at the thought of giant spiders? Oh, no.

His nightmare was far scarier...

Milo said, "My worstest nightmare ever was when I dreamed that someone took my mom away.  That was the scariest because I love my mom and always want to be with her."

It's a mama's dream cone true to hear that her son has the same worst nightmare she does, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking the News to the Kids

We had decided to keep the kids in the dark about the twins for a while, but after the appointment when we heard both of their heartbeats, we decided that it was time to tell them of the double bundle of siblings coming their way.

The conversation started pretty casually, with Scott telling the kids we had a surprise for them.  Of course, Violet started looking for the surprise, expecting some gift or other.  We said that it wasn't a surprise that they could see yet.

"So, Milo.  Why do you think that mommy's tummy has been getting bigger?" Scott asked Milo, clearly leading him somewhere.

"Hmm...  I don't know.  She doesn't eat a lot of junk food, so she's not getting fat.  I think there's a baby in there."

"You do?  What do you think, Violet?"

"Nope, it's just a big fat belly." she said, definitively.

I laughed, "Are you sure?"

Scott prompted, "So you think there's a baby in there, Milo?  What if we told you that there are TWO babies in there?"

His little hazel eyes boinged like a cartoon character, "TWO???  Wow!  That's one for each of us to hold!"

"Yeah, a baby for Milo and a baby for me!" Violet chirped.  "Can I have some fruit snacks?"

 So, I guess they're OK with the news, huh?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Unplanned Plan

So, you'd think that by now I'd be an old pro at being a pregnant mama, but nope!  Carrying twins really throws a wrench in the works.  Everything I've taken for granted during the pregnancies with Milo and Violet seems a luxury now -- like working right up until they were born.  I don't know that I'll be able to do that this time around.

My biggest concern is that they will come early and need extra medical care.  I feel very fortunate to live in a place where that care is available, but I'd do rather not use it if I don't need to.  I'd rather have healthy, big babies as close to term as I can.

I didn't have a birth plan written for either Milo or Violet, preferring to "go with the flow" and make medical decisions as necessary.  It worked well for both of them, but I know that delivering twins requires a good deal more planning and coordinating.  It sounds like I'll most likely need to deliver in the operating room as a "just in case."  I've peeked into the ORs at the birth care center and they're not too bad -- definitely not as comfy as a birthing suite, but it will be OK.  I'm not afraid of labor and delivery, though I might ask that I not have an episiotomy, if at all possible.  Recovering from that was worse than the actual births, I think -- I was itchy and sore for days.  I tore a teeny bit with Violet, but needed only one stitch to fix it and I didn't even notice it.

Speaking of birth, how the babies will arrive is largely dependent on the positions they are in when it's go time.  If both are head-down, I should be able to deliver them vaginally.  If Baby A is head down and Baby B isn't too much larger than A, I should be able to deliver vaginally no matter what the position of B.  If neither are head-down, I'll have c-section, despite my protests that if I can deliver Milo's 90th percentile head while pushing for only 8 minutes, I could sneeze a 6 pounder out, even if it is breech.  As long as babies are cooperating, I am confident that I'll be able to deliver them.  After all, they aren't likely to be bigger than 8lb 9.5oz Violet, are they?  Could you imagine carrying 17-18lbs of JUST BABY?  Nope, can't see that happening.  Particularly knowing that they will be evicted at 38 weeks.

I am not assuming that their births will be a bad experience, just that it will be very different from my first two.  Milo's was an induction with epidural, he was born just fine.  Violet's was all natural and a truly wonderful experience.  No matter how the twins are born, surgery, induction, violent sneezing fit, as long as they arrive healthy, I'll be a happy mama.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poor Kitty... Poor Daddy...

We had a small personal tragedy last last week.  My poor, devastated husband was returning late Thursday night from a rehearsal, when I noticed him wandering all over the driveway.  He stuck his head in the house, dropped off his laptop and grabbed a flashlight.

"What's wrong?" I asked, confused by the nighttime searching.

"I think I ran over Tabi."  Tabi, the cat we'd had for a whopping two weeks.  The cat that my darling daughter adored.  The cat that was forever trying to get into our home and cars.

In fact, he had hit and killed Tabi.  And he was devastated.  Completely convinced that he was going to scar our children for life.  Poor guy couldn't sleep, he was up at 3:45, disappearing from the bed for the rest of the night.

We decided that it would be a bad idea to tell the kids before school/daycare in the morning, so he had placed Tabi in a box and set him in the garage to wait until we returned home for the night for a time when we could explain about cats not really knowing how to stay away from cars.  At my insistence, we decided to tell them that Tabi was hit by a car, but not tell them who was driving.

Although I helped at Milo's Halloween party, most of my day was full of dread.  To be honest, I was pretty sure that the kids were going to be OK, but less sure that Scott was.

Finally, the hour was upon us.  I picked the kids up from the sitter's and we drove out to the house.  They were happily chattering about going out for pizza and getting excited to trick-or-treat.  We pulled into the driveway and Scott was standing there, nervously swaying and near the cardboard box with Tabi arranged gracefully to spare the kids a gory death-pose.

Scott helped me get the kids out of the car and said, gravely, "Something bad has happened to Tabi.  I found him after he had been hit by a car.  He is dead."

The kids blinked.  Milo took off for the road, "Where is he?"

"Over here, would you like to see him?"

They peered into the box.  Violet's head tipped quizzically to the side, "Is he dead in there?"

"Yes, sweetie.  Cats don't understand how cars go, he didn't know how to get out of the way."

"Oh," she said, then sweetly, "Good bye, Tabi.  We'll miss you."

"Yeah, " Milo agreed, "You were a good cat.  What do we do with him now, Dad?"

"Well, we can bury him under the apple tree, if you'd like."

"That's a good idea.  Mom, we should call Grandma and let her know so she isn't sad."

And the children and I went inside to let grandma know about Tabi.  I had called her that afternoon and told her already, but it was very important to Milo that he let her know.

The cat funeral was quick, we said a good bye and Milo and Scott scooped the dark soil onto the small cat.  Violet shrugged and said, "I will miss Tabi.  But it's OK."

Milo confessed, "I almost cried, but I'm OK."

And, just like that, it was OK with both kids.  Maybe they understood more than we thought they did when we explained upon Tabi's arrival that farm cats don't always live long lives.  Maybe they weren't nearly as attached as we thought.  Maybe some of the lessons we've tried to teach them about how life works have taken root.  Or maybe they were so distracted by Halloween that poor Tabi's unfortunate end was less significant than it could have been.

Or maybe the pleasant black cat that wandered onto our property Saturday night, following us up to our door after trick-or-treating was enough of a Halloween surprise for all of us.  He's been hanging around since then, coming out of the garage to greet the kids, weaving between our legs and purring.  Unlike Tabi, he has a healthy respect for the car and keeps much distance when it is moving.  I guess we'll just have to see if the Halloween cat works out for us...