Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nesting & the holidays

I love the holidays, partially because I buy into the whole "make the house cozy" idea. I also BUY, as in purchase, into the holidays as well. I love buying new candles, ornaments, decorations, whatever. Winter also tends to bring out these tendencies in me, to make the house all cozy and warm.

Well, this year is doubly hard because the pregnancy-nesting has begun. I want the house to be just the way I want it (or as close as possible) before Skippy arrives. And combine that with the holidays, and you've got a woman who wants to buy, buy, BUY! Today, for example, Doug mentioned that we should probably purchase a new shower rack. That got me to thinking about going to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. And THAT got me thinking about holiday placemats, and holiday napkins, and maybe a new candle because now that we don't have the cats we can light them, and....

So you see the danger. I think Doug may take my checkbook away soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ode to the Kid Culture

First, a side note: Outlet malls are wonderful. Motherhood Maternity Outlet stores are even more wonderful. Parents who are willing to buy their surprisingly pregnant daughter a couple outfits, are the most wonderful. Thanks again!

So I was reading my friend Cat's blog, who is pregnant and due a couple weeks after me, and she is getting anxious for the gender-revealing ultrasound coming up this week. Tuesday, I think. Anyway, mainly anxious about the deciding factor of BOY or GIRL. I mean, that really does plan your life out - is it black-and-blue or pink-and-white? Anyway, I made a comment that it doesn't really matter, because Roman has asked for Polly Pockets for Christmas. And Cat, this being her first child, didn't know what Polly Pockets was. And I thought to myself... gosh... I've been in this underground Kid Culture for three years and already have forgotten what it was like to be a newbie.
So this post is for Cat, and anyone else who wants to know about my boy's interests and the things we like about Kid Culture.

Music: While starting out with the Wiggles, we have progressed. We still love Laurie Berkner, but I also really like Dan Zanes & Friends. His "House Party" CD rocks - I've been caught listening to it by myself in the car.

TV: We continue to steer Roman away from Cartoon Network. We do allow Spongebob Squarepants, though. His favorite shows on PBS include Curious George & Word World. I love Word World myself. Very creative! PBS was the best from the very beginning. As a babe, he liked Baby Einstein videos. My favorite is still "World Animals." Elmo was also favored, but his top was on Nick Jr., Blue's Clues as a little one, and Backyardigans at about 3. Now he has graduated to "Little Einsteins" sometimes on Disney channel, but he also likes Jo-Jo's Circus, which irritates me.

Movies: He still likes his Thomas videos, and is willing to watch any Disney video (any princess, too) except Lion King. Too scary. He likes "Beauty and the Beast" a lot.

TV/Movies/Songs: The best of the best, VeggieTales. Except we had to wait until he was about 3 for him to appreciate them. But now it's great.

Important Toys to Know: Dora the Explorer and her cousin, Diego, Animal Rescuer. Polly Pockets. Thomas the Tank Engine. The Littlest Pet Shop. Webkinz (except kids get on the Internet with them, so that's older kids). And Sesame Street is always popular!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

About 100 Pilgrims (who were Congregationalists, by the way) arrived in the New World. By fall of 1621, only about 50 total remained; 22 grown men, and the rest women and children. Even though things were already tense with the neighboring Natives, the Wampanoag, the Pilgrims decided to hold a harvest feast (which was common in England) and invite the neighbors. According to religious customs, it could not be a religious day of feasting, for only the governor could declare that.

Anyway, about 90 Natives showed up, including the chief. There is debate whether it was the chief's entire extended family, or just his warriors. Can you imagine being a Pilgrim woman and having 90 hungry Natives show up in your camp? I can barely cook for 4 some evenings. Well, it turned into a 3-day feast, and during the feast some Natives went out and shot some deer to help with the celebration. Otherwise, they ate fish, corn meal, various fowl, squashes, beans, and dried fruit. Mmmm.

Well, being a history teacher, I think about these things partially because it was so simple. No "Black Friday" to prepare for. No crabbing over if someone is working on the holiday. No football that HAS to be watched. The Pilgrims were just thankful for the harvest, that there was enough food, and that those who were still alive were healthy. And that really should be it.

So here's my "thankful" list. Even though there is a lot I wish I had, or want some things to change...
I'm thankful we have a house we can afford.
I'm thankful that Roman hasn't had allergy or bronchitis issues this fall.
I'm thankful I haven't had allergy or bronchitis issues this fall.
I'm thankful that Doug is more accepting of his job and the issues that go with it.
I'm thankful that Rebekka appears to be accepting her family the way they are, and is able to cope with it.
I'm thankful that there are no serious medical issues for anyone in my or Doug's extended family.
I'm thankful that I have a job that keeps my mind active.
I'm thankful that even though our bank accounts are less than what we could have, we always have enough.
I'm thankful that Skippy is appearing to be healthy.
I'm thankful that overall, this pregnancy is not as physically taxing as most women's appear to be.
I'm thankful that Roman has somewhere safe to go during the day and is already learning a lot.

In short, I have a house, a healthy family that loves each other, plenty of food in the pantry, and clothes in the closets. Life is good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My stomach is moving.

Yesterday at school, my class joined Bill Nelson's class for a presentation. Bill and I didn't have much to do, so we were sitting in the back catching up. I was kind of slouched back and noticed that Skippy was really moving around and kicking. I looked down and... oh wow, oh gross... my stomach was actually moving. Like, thumping, and... moving. Bill even saw it and thought it was amazing. Of course, Doug hasn't seen it, but luckily he thinks it's funny that Bill Nelson experienced it.

When Doug puts his hand on my belly to feel Skippy, all movement ceases until he moves his hand. We think maybe his hand is so warm, or so scary, that Skippy just relaxes - or freezes - until that weirdness passes. My "consultants" at school tell me it doesn't matter, eventually he won't help but feel and notice it. But for the meantime, I've decided it's kind of cool, as long as I don't think about it too long.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids, all shapes & sizes

Roman had diarrhea for the first time in his life last night. I tell you, those Russians grow 'em strong - he's only thrown up once, too, and that was from a virus. I think it was just too much "crap" since Halloween; candy, cookies, ice cream cake for Bekka's birthday, etc.... he was up three times early this morning. I took the 4:00am crying-call (the third of the night) and ended up making him a jelly sandwich (by this time he was hungry, too), and then crawling in bed with him and rubbing his back until he finally fell asleep. Doug woke us up around 6:30am, but needless to say the whole family is a bit tired. We're doing Movie Night tonight. I guess just a sneak preview of what's to come when Skippy arrives!

Skippy has been busy plumping the pillows or something in my uterus, but now there's a definite rhythm to when I feel him moving around. I notice him first thing in the morning, then again around 10-11am... awake through 4th hour, then he's down for the count from about 1pm to 8pm or 8:30, when I think he's up all night. Doug and Roman still haven't been able to feel him much - Doug got a swift kick about a week ago, but we also don't have much time to lay around all cozy and feeling my belly, either.

Speaking of the belly, the kids finally have figured out my "condition" at school. It appears a student overheard a teacher talking about my pregnancy, she asked me, and I said yes - and then gave her permission to spread the news. Thank goodness that is out. I feel much more relaxed. My 7th graders haven't said anything yet, but I'm sure it's a matter of time.

Bekka has a whole-weekend home pass, and apparently will be home for Thanksgiving Day and returning Friday. It will be interesting to see how the holidays play havoc with her.

I would blog more, but Doug just walked in with dinner - Taco Bell. Yet another drama in our life, the darn slow cooker didn't turn on today so our beautiful rump roast will have to wait until tomorrow. Ah, life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

mental health day

Today I have taken the day off. It's lovely. I'm about ready to head in for a nap, after doing some little things around the house. I actually went downstairs twice (stairs leave me winded now, all this extra weight!) to do laundry - yes, I remembered how. Had a lot of little notes to catch up on, some address changes with friends, little requests and a Christmas list to update.

My mental health day serves another purpose, however - the person that is the candidate to take my classes when I start maternity leave is subbing for me today, and again at the end of the month when I have a curriculum day to attend. I left things to actually teach, rather than busy work, so he can get the feel of the kids and if this is going to be a spot he wants. Hopefully I'll return to a good review tomorrow.

Roman is obsessed with letters and spelling now. He wants to sound out and spell everything he hears. The English language is so frustrating, however! The poor boy can't keep his Cs and Ss straight, and I hate correcting him all the time because he's so proud of himself. He's also having trouble with hard Cs and Ks, and Gs and Js. I vote for getting rid of the letter C in its entirety. I suspect it won't be long before he's reading actual little words.

Rebekka is visiting her mom's house every weekend now, but with holidays coming up I expect more stress in our household. She won't come out and say she's preparing to go home, but we can just sense it. We've asked for a meeting with her social worker, etc. next week so we can know what's next in this whole thing - we both are betting she'll be back at her mom's home before Skippy is born. Her 17th birthday was on Monday and she had a good day. Both Growth Works and ourselves held a little celebration for her, and she got to spend the night at her mom's house this past weekend, so I think all was good.

Had an OB appointment on Monday, and the recent ultrasound placed my due date around March 16 due to Skippy measuring so big. Dr. said we'll reevaluate in January, and perhaps do another ultrasound, to see what's happening with size. My guess is, I better be ready March 1. Next OB appt. in December will be the sugar test for gestational diabetes.

Otherwise, things are just rolling along here. I feel caught unaware that Thanksgiving is so close, meaning that Christmas is bearing down on me quickly. I don't believe I'll be very prepared this year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My belly has popped.

Middle school students are blind. Here they have a 5-months-pregnant teacher in their midst, wearing maternity clothes since month 3 seemingly, and they just don't see it. My belly "popped" this past weekend - I am really, really showing now. Even when I wear black, or something very baggy, you can still tell - this is more than gaining weight. It's a pregnant belly. The big celebration this week is Doug's announcement of, "honey, your belly has grown past your boobs!"

I have mixed feelings about the kids knowing. In formal school rules, you send a letter home notifying the parents of an impending leave, who is going to fill the absence, etc. You do this between 60 & 90 days before maternity leave is expected to start. Speaking of which, I should write that letter to HR pretty soon.

Anyway... so my principal said he'd like to send a letter home at Christmas. This is fine with me; send it over a break, so I don't get questioned and all in class. However... the way I'm looking at week 20, they have GOT to have figured it out by December 22, for crying out loud. Other teachers tell me no - a few will, but they won't say anything -one of the only things I think a kid doesn't say to a teacher in class. I want the kids to know, I think, just to get it out in the open and be done with it. I feel like I'm "sneaking around" and that wearing maternity clothes is daring. Like there's a part of school culture that says "you can't talk about the fact you're pregnant." And therefore I'm trying to fool the kids.

On the other hand, if the kids figure it out and I confirm it, the amount of questions that will come flying at me will be neverending. I had a very respectful group the year I adopted Roman, but even then I allotted 30 minutes to questions and answers. Well, that was a special circumstance, too.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't want to make the announcement, but I want a kid to figure it out quick so I don't feel like I'm supposed to be trying to hide my VERY pregnant belly. Of course, if I leave it to my coworker Angela, they'll know within a week - she blurted it out in the lunch line a few days ago when she was nicely buying me a chocolate ice cream. No kids heard her, though - like I said, clueless.

Craving of the week: feta cheese. And don't worry, the big bag that Doug bought me from GFS says it's pasteurized, so I'm safe.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pictures of our boys

It's difficult to get pictures of Rebekka without her squinting like Popeye (or drooling, as she puts it), so today is just a picture of our boys. An adorable shot of Roman that was taken at preschool (don't worry grandparents, you've got a copy coming!). And a couple ultrasound pictures, since I can't resist. But no, I am NOT publishing Skippy's penis for the world to see.

Below: his left hand showing that he already knows sign language


Below: The right foot, which I feel quite a bit now


Below: The "crosshairs" are measuring his eyes; nose, chin, and bulbous chest follow to the right (he's lying on his back, looking directly toward you)

And our darling Roman, who took an awesome picture this year.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ultrasound - the details

While most people know the important part by now - it's a boy! - there are more details that I will elaborate on here. My 7:30am appt. was canceled at 6:45am, disappointing everyone in the family. They called back around 8:15am and said that they had appts. available in Southfield. With some quick arranging, Doug and I agreed to a 10am appt. I had to quickly get people to cover my classes, I picked up Roman, Doug picked up Rebekka, and we arrived in time.

It was a nice setup, a little screen for me to view from the "table." You know, it's a bunch of white matter floating around until she pointed out body parts and then - holy crap! - there's a baby in there. And it was just amazing to see. Double amazing, because this was the first appt. Doug could make. His first time hearing the heartbeat, and just experiencing the baby, so that was neat. And watching him point things out to Roman on the screen, and Roman's amazement as well - that just made me very happy. Rebekka just stared at the screen, and she smiled and giggled a lot.

When we saw that the arm was moving - "waving" to us - Roman waved back at the screen. So adorable, I almost cried. We saw everything - heart, kidneys, brain, little jaw moving, full stomach, spine, femur, hands, knees, feet. Just incredible. Couldn't see if it was boy or girl at first, so I emptied my bladder so it had room to move. Still wouldn't move its legs, so the sonographer poked me in the belly a couple times, and LO! It was most definitely a boy. We admit, there was a flash of disappointment - it would have been nice to have a girl - but God knows what He's doing. I am not the kind of Mama that could raise a girl. So a boy is fine.

Rebekka, by the way, lost her bet with us - she thought it would be a girl, so now has to cook us dinner. We did all go out and celebrate last night at Cheeburger Cheeburger, where we all had - believe it or not - cheeseburgers. Again, a hint at my cravings - onion rings, burger w/feta, onion, & lettuce, and a cherry-chocolate shake. I've never had a feta burger in my life, yet those are the things I wanted.

So Skippy it is, although we have 3 names off the top of our head that we're rolling around... we'll start to make a list and see what happens. The name, however, will not be revealed until birth. Guess people have to have something to look forward to. Besides the kid, of course!