Friday, December 28

Blog Dark

School's out,
Holiday shopping.

Cookies, pictures,
Present wrapping.

Boys running,
Toys playing.

Doctor's office,
Project making.

Family visiting,
Friends talking.

Who am I kidding?
Blog dark.

Happy New Year. I'll greet you then.

Wednesday, December 19

Dancing Baby

Sometimes, I wish I could see what you are doing. I feel those little kicking feet and grabbing hands, the spinning and dancing. I can see your movements as I rest my hands on my abdomen, and they bounce up and down. When you are moving, I dare not use my belly as a book-rest, as the words will not stay in place.

Sometimes your head causes me to feel lop-sided, off-center. Sometimes, it is difficult to breathe. Then I gently caress your precious skull, nudge it out of the way so I am more comfortable. Sometimes you let me stay in comfort for a while before returning to your previous cozy position.

I don't remember feeling so much when your brothers were babies. Perhaps I was less attentive then, or perhaps my body was simply less worn down by the work of time and chasing two boys. There are other things that I don't remember: early contractions, not painful, but the odd sensation of an involuntary hug for my little boy, and those ailments that were probably the victims of selective memory: lower back pain, aching joints, too-frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Too, I sometimes feel over-sized and over-stuffed, ready to bring you into this world, although by the numbers you still have seven or eight weeks left in the warm confines of my womb. I am convinced, through my hazy memory, that I didn't feel this full with my previous babies until much closer to their due dates.

It is partly this feeling of fullness, partly stories related to me by friends and strangers alike, partly the abundance of feeling, and partly a dream last spring about a baby girl that leave me with a little fantasy, despite multiple early ultrasounds witnessing to the contrary, that I am carrying both a boy and a girl. I try to enjoy this fantasy for what it is, and take no expectations from it.

I wonder if you will arrive early, if the hospital is really baby-friendly, if labor will again be induced, if I will avoid anesthesia or drugs, and if you, like your brothers, will come quickly. But your birth will be what it will be, when you are ready.

Harboring expectations would not be fair to you, my dancing baby boy, who, like your brothers, reminds me to look at the world with new eyes.

Saturday, December 15

Front Porch

(not raw, but half-baked)

A bird serenades me
the warm sun caresses my skin
an airplane drones its path from here to there
parrots cackle.

The buzz of a large insect catches my attention
When I open my eyes I discover instead
a hummingbird has come to visit the bird of paradise.

Cars hum along their concrete path,
not knowing I am here.

A bit of music wafts on the breeze.

Leaves, brown and dry
rustle on their limbs before
fluttering to the ground.

Wind chimes tinkle and
the rope clangs
against the flagpole
across the street.

An old man rattles past
pushing a walker
his leg bound
in a large bandage.

Mysterious specks of light
(dust, pollen, rain?)
drop from the trees
to the ground.

Baby rolls over
tells me to sit up straight
and breathe.

Flower stalks waver in the wind.

Cars drone on,
the road rumbling with their passing.

The breeze tickles my toes and
cools my cheek.

And the serenade is back.

Live now with me baby
soon you will know these wonders on your own.

Linked to Wrapped Emotions, The Gift of Every Minute.
This moment was a gift to me this week.

Precious time alone

AD has taken the boys to "climb to the top of the mountain", so I have some time to myself today.

What to do?

The house is a disaster, packages strewn about from the Inventor's birthday, floor needs vacuuming, kitchen needs cleaning, laundry needs to be done, and the Painter suggested that I go to the grocery store while they are hiking, because we are all out of juice boxes (not out of juice, mind you, or milk, or water, but those juice boxes are a critical part of the Painter's kindergarten routine). And AD just asked me to check if we have any film for our old 35 mm cameras, and to see if they work, since I've been wanting to take some photographs to celebrate my gravid state.

Or, I could have a shower, or -imagine- even a bath.

Or, I could catch up on blog reading, and respond to your comments.

Or, I could dig out the Christmas decorations, now that Hanukkah is over, and do something that I do love - decorating.

But the sun on the porch is beckoning me just now, so I think, for a while, I will just go sit.

Thursday, December 13

Taste of the Future

I experimented with working from home today. I have been telecommuting two days a week for more than a month, but usually work from AD's office, while D watches the boys at home. Now that D is gone, I thought I would try working from home so that AD could also get some grading done ... and so that I don't have to lug this anvil of a computer up the stairs at the office.

The verdict is ... (as many of you probably already know) that it is very difficult to concentrate for any span of time on work while also watching the boys.

Today wasn't an ordinary day, as we had the Inventor's three year check-up this morning, but still, I am reminded of the difficulties. Whereas it doesn't take a lot of mental energy to fold the laundry while the boys are playing, and that and similar tasks are easy to pause and return to later, trying to figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing, concentrating on an analysis, or even thinking through a response to an email is much more difficult with the constant buzz and interruptions of life and children. (They are currently happily occupied, playing with geo-mag's, but I am sure that the minute I try to concentrate, the calm will turn to chaos.)

But today was a good trial for me in another way. I found myself tidying up this morning (nesting perhaps), and thinking that I would rather do that than my work.

That's right. Right now cleaning the house (and setting a nice centerpiece on the table) is more interesting to me than work.

I guess I'm moving in the right direction.

Happy Birthday, Dreamer

You are beautiful and amazing.

Born in Colorado three years (and three days) ago, you have become quite the traveler, following mommy and daddy on our gypsy-path to three cities and two states, as we searched for a place to work, and a place to wait.

And, you will follow us again, as we search for a place to call home.

You have learned so much in such a short time.

But we have also learned from you.

Life is messy, but that is part of the fun.

Tuesday, December 11

Ready or not ...

... change is happening.

What's happening?

For more on the details, check out AD's post.

What else?

I had at first thought my OB was being over-cautious, when suggesting I take off work at week 30 or 32. Now I understand her advice. The last few days, back pain has left me uncomfortable while I am sitting, and nearly crippled when I get up. Probably just the effects of too much exertion coupled with too much sitting in the car over the weekend, but it makes me glad I will soon be able to avoid the commuting, walking, chair-sitting, and stress that are by-products of my job.

Last but not least ...

Although a corner of my mind remains unwilling to admit that the 20th will be my last day of work, not just for 4 months, but for quite a while beyond, we have started admitting our plans to our family.

Come about April, we will move to the land adjacent to the south-west corner of Lake Michigan, although the exact location has yet to be determined. For obvious reasons, AD's mom, who lives near Boston was visibly upset by this news, while my parents, who live near Chicago, were delighted to hear it (even when we inadvertently may have given them the impression we expect on-call gratis baby-sitting services from them on a regular basis).

The two primary factors in moving to that part of the country as opposed to another are the cost of living, and, more importantly, family density. In addition to my parents, we will be within a few hours drive of my three surviving grandparents (who aren't getting any younger), a half-dozen aunts & uncles, my brother & sister-in-law who are working on adopting some cousins for our brood, and a smattering of my cousins and their families. I miss seeing my family on a regular basis, and I am excited that we will be nearer to them soon. Home is where the heart is ... and my heart is with my family.

My Mother's Life

This spilled from my mind last week ... and now I have edited enough.

There was a time in my life when I feared becoming my mother. It's not that I didn't love her or appreciate her loving mothering. But, I saw her as a failure, as someone who had given up on her budding career before it ever went anywhere and became "just a housewife".

When Mom started college she wanted to be a doctor. She graduated with honors, with a BS in the sciences. At the time, though, she was engaged to my father and decided not to continue her education. She applied for a few industry jobs, but with an engagement ring on her finger, she was subject to the kind of discrimination that we, thankfully, don't see much today. The story I heard about one company's attitude was: "What if your husband gets transferred? We don't want the trouble of finding someone new then." Although she was very qualified, they didn't hire her. (And 37 years later, my father works for the same company and was never transferred far enough to consider moving the household.)

Those rejections were a good excuse to get started on a family. I was born 10 months after Mom & Dad were married. She substitute taught while pregnant with me, and didn't return to work until a few years after my brother (two years younger) was in school. That's about 8 years of being "just a mom". When she went back, it was to a teacher's assistant position: not a career I considered worth aspiring to when I was a young woman, but something that allowed her to be home when her children were.

I always thought Mom had given up on her dreams. But, in the light of my own experiences, I see that if she had really wanted to pursue becoming a doctor, had wanted to pursue a job in industry, she probably could have done so. Mom is not a much of a fighter, and it would have been difficult ... but I think that if she really wanted to pursue these career choices, then she would have kept at it longer, tried harder. Perhaps she thought that some day she would return to her dreams of a career, or maybe she didn't. But ultimately, that wasn't her choice.

When she became a teaching assistant, a lowly "teacher's aide", Mom achieved many things I imagine she wanted. Time enough for family, to raise two beautiful self-confident children who could dream of astronomical careers, time enough for religion, time enough for personal pursuits, and a job where she could work with kids and help people. Although her work was not at the top of society's standards for success, she was respected, and used her mind. She taught Sunday school, and became superintendent of Sunday school for the church. She became president of the church. She was active with her sorority, and held various leadership positions. She read, a lot, and shared her love of reading with me. She sang in the church choir. She has done many wonderful, worthwhile things with her life, even without an ambitious career.

When I was younger, it was hard for me to accept my mother's choices. The conflict I feel about leaving my career now leads me to believe that it is still difficult for me to accept, especially from myself. How can I, that young girl that dreamed of the stars, accept that my career is no longer important to me, that it's okay to let it go? The path is right in front of me.

In the past, I have feared becoming my mother. But I am no longer afraid. With the haze of fear removed from my eyes, I recognize what a wonderful role model she has been for me. And I see that she still has much to teach me. I will live, and love, and move in new directions.

Thanks, Mom.

Monday, December 3


Now that I know when I'll be taking off work, I am feeling a lot of (self-induced) pressure to leave things in the best state I can for those who will take over for me. Even before the 20th, there are deadlines, and oh-so-much to do. So while I have lots of ideas for new posts, they'll have to wait until I feel more caught up. One thing at a time, step by step, I'll get there.

Sunday, December 2

My book picks for kids

In response to Bella's question (#7), here are some of my favorite picture books for 3-6 year olds.
  • The Umbrella, by Jan Brett. I love this book, which was given to us as a gift several years ago. The vibrant depictions of the cloud forest and its denizens beautifully illustrate a cute story that I don't mind reading again and again. As an added bonus, the story introduces the reader to simple Spanish phrases courtesy of a tiny green tree frog. Read it. You won't regret you did.

  • Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Whimsical illustrations of a small orchestra (and some attending animals) accompany delightful rhythmic verse about different musical instruments. We received this book and the next few while participating in the Brighter Vision Learning Adventures program.

  • How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani, illustrated by Eve Tharlet. As the cover so aptly states, this is a "guessing-game story" in which the reader is encouraged to help remember everything that the protagonist Roxanne and her baby want to take to the beach. Colorful illustrations. Originally translated from German. Although we have the English hardcover, it is apparently also available in a Spanish/English bilingual edition.

  • I love you Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt, illustraed by Cyd Moore. A sweet story with colorful illustrations about the depths of a mother's love for her imaginative child. Little did I know there's a whole series of "Stinky Face" books. Check it out at Amazon.
The Inventor (turning 3 next week) just woke up to confirm that these are some of his favorite books, too. Along with half the bookshelf, I suspect. :)

The Painter's current favorite is Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel. The story steps through the alphabet four times exploring funny foods and crazy kitty capers. I find it to be longer than I have patience for, but it apparently well tickles the five-year-old funny bone.

Good morning everyone!

Saturday, December 1

Happy Birthday to Me

Thirty-six years ago today, I was born. In honor of my birthday, I am participating in the LTMD Group writing project. It has taken me all week to come up with these rules or I might have posted sooner. But, better late than never ...

The Law According to Me
or, "10 Eclectic Rules to Live by in the order that they occurred to me"

1. Stop & smell the roses. Although it may be cliche, this is one of my favorites. I love roses. I love the fragrance of roses. I try to always stop and smell the roses (and lavender and rosemary, etc.) and in so doing, remember to appreciate the beauty in life.

2. The minivan is not a mini Cooper. It's always bigger than you think it is. Corollary: it's not any cooler with those scratches on the bumpers.

4. Communicate, part I. No one can read your mind. For that matter, no one can read my mind. So if you have something to say, just say it.

3. Communicate, part II. Yelling is not talking. Whining is not talking. One "very" is enough. I can't understand when you talk with your mouth full. I can't translate meow-ish or woof-ish or Painter-ish or Inventor-ish. If you want mommy to answer you, then please speak calmly in English.

5. Make love not war. This one is tough to manage even in the microcosm of our own household, but as the benefits are great, it is worth trying.

6. Take time to reflect. Really. If I did this more often, writing down ten rules to live by might come more easily.

7. Write. In your blog or your journal, or in letters to friends, or a poem. Writing helps me connect with my emotions, to understand my feelings; I get lost much more easily when I neglect to write.

8. Turn off the TV. This is second nature in our household by now. We have a wonderful wide-screen flat-panel TV that gets, on average, an hour of use each day. Poor thing probably feels neglected.

9. Get out of the house. There are always things to do around the house, but you'll be happier if you get out and away from the usual distractions.

10. Celebrate life. On your birthday and everyday. Celebrations don't need to be extravagant to be beautiful. Life is a wonderful journey. See rule #1.