Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where does the time go????!

Okay, so time is just slipping away from me, as I knew it would. George is already over 2 weeks old! I can't believe it! (new stats: 6 lbs 15.5 ounces - he eats all the time!). He is so adorable and sweet, but I'm not going to count on him staying that way since I heard it takes a while for colic to set in. Until he's a month or two old, I'm not holding my breath. Instead, I'll just hope for the best and enjoy his angelic disposition while it lasts. Hopefully, it will last until he's 18, but I doubt it.

As for Luke and Evie, they are adjusting really well. The only hard part is the fact that they want to hug and hold him a lot! Oh, and both of the kids have brought up when the next baby is coming. At the hospital, Evie asked, "When is the next one coming?" And yesterday, Luke told me that when we have the next baby there will be six in our family. I just calmly answered, "Yes, if we had another baby there would be six of us." I haven't broken the bad news to them yet, but I'm pretty sure there won't be a "next one."


We've also experienced some interesting times with me nursing George. The first time they saw that, Evie asked incredulously, "What is he doing to you?!" I had to explain that mommies make special milk for their babies. It only took one or two feedings to eliminate all questions and inquiries. I don't cover up when it is just the family at the house because, honestly, it would just be ridiculous. So, the kids have gotten used to just seeing me out in the open. I stopped changing clothes in front of them a long time ago, but for some reason, this doesn't seem unnatural or like I'm exposing them to something they shouldn't see. Still, they think everyone can see what is going on so they try to look under the blanket when I cover up for company. I've had to explain that not everyone wants to see George eating. This was a difficult concept to justify and explain. Although the kids are good with the nursing, I think I would totally freak them out if they saw me pumping. I can just see their faces if they saw me hooked up to the funky and noising machine sucking away at my you-know-what.


I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I know two of my friends had babies over the holidays (Congrats to Kari and Susan!). Mine was pretty good, all things considered. My in-laws decided that they should all celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my house. I was somewhat against this plan since we have a new baby in the house, but my wishes and suggestions were pushed aside, because really, how do you say no to your in-laws. I won't delve into the details, but suffice it to say that hosting Christmas with a new baby was not my idea. But I have to admit that under normal circumstances, I would LOVE to host Christmas every year. So, I put on my optimistic face and welcomed the idea of having all the family over to meet George and celebrate Christmas, until . . . . the day before they arrived I found out that half the family was recovering from a stomach bug and Chuck's dad was throwing up as he drove into town. To say the least, I was not pleased. But they came over anyway, despite my concerns. So, Chuck ended up with the stomach virus three days after Christmas. So far, no one else has caught it. While they were here, I made everyone use Purell, I refused to hug anyone or let them hold the baby (I don't care if that seems bitchy), and I disinfected the house immediately after they left and throughout their stay.


Now, things are somewhat back to normal, but the kids' school is closed all week, so I'm taking my first stab at being a full-time mother of three. Let me tell you, the house is a mess and I'm doing my best to keep the kids entertained beyond watching SpongeBob Square Pants and Dora the Explorer. I'm not having much luck. They're all sitting on my lap right now asking over and over, "Mom, what are you doing? Mom, what are you spelling? Mom, what does the 5 do? Mom, where's the 1? Mommy, I want to spell my name." Ahh, the joys of children.


Enough of my rambling for now. Here's another picture of George for you to enjoy. These are his hospital pictures. My little football player. For the record, the photographer had the football - I didn't bring it. I'd love to share a picture where his eyes are open, but he slept through the whole photo shoot.

A seasonal pic. We bought them all so we didn't have to make any decisions. Picking out pictures at the hospital was the last thing we wanted to do.


This is Chuck's favorite. I think we all have one of these photos of our children entitled, ". . . and the horse you rode in on too"Hopefully I'll be back in the new year with more frequent posts! Happy New Year to all of you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Drowning in Baby and Christmas

As promised, here are some pictures of the little one. He looks different from the first two. For your sake, I've eliminated all the nasty shots of the kid just coming out of the womb. Yuck. Still, I have to admit that it is an amazing and miraculous experience, but one that I don't wish to actually see first hand.

George Maxwell Berend:

Big yawn!

Evie and Grandma: Evie's not so sure about George at the hospital, but she loves to hold him now.

This one just makes me laugh. He really looks like a grumpy old man - especially when you take his hat off.

Me - pretty tired on the second day at the hospital.

First night at the hospital after George was born. Notice my hair looks great! I had it done right before I called the doctor and was ordered to the hospital for observation. What great timing.


I feel so out of touch with the world! Here I am just soaking up the time with my little George and the help from my mother. She's been great! I am getting plenty of rest and lots of help. Thank heaven, George is an angel! Still, it is tough on the system to wake up every couple of hours and stay up for an hour feeding during the night. I swear there is nothing like a full night of uninterrupted sleep. Sleeping for eight hours total during the night doesn't really give you the rest you need if you have to wake up every couple of hours. Still, it is much better than my experience with Luke which was to be awake for hours at a time and have Luke only sleep for an hour at a time. He was the opposite of what a baby should be - although he is perfect now.
Sorry to not be able to keep up to date, but hopefully I'll get better at managing everything after the holidays. It's been tough trying to wrap up my Christmas shopping and having guests in and out. I've been so grateful for the company though. Still, we have a boat load of family arriving tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with us, and I still have a few more gifts to buy. Gotta love last minute Christmas shopping and fighting the crowds. Hope all of you are more ahead of the curve than me.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I'll try to get more recent photos uploaded soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stats

One more thing.

Name: George Maxwell Berend
Weight: 6 lbs 7 ozs
Height: 19.5 inches
Birthday: December 13, 2008
Time: 12:42 p.m.
37 weeks

I'm already in love.

It's a Boy!

You guessed it! I finally gave birth to sweet little George. It was induced, but the induction came as a surprise. I left my hair appointment on Friday and checked my bp with a cuff I borrowed from a friend and the result was a very high bp. Called the doctor and was ordered to the hospital for observation. We discussed bed rest, but eventually the doctor decided to go ahead and induce on Saturday morning. I spent the night in the hospital and after four hours of induced labor and three minutes of pushing (just one or two pushes), we welcomed George into the world.

We got home late Monday and spent yesterday completely sleep deprived. Lucky for me, my mother was able to drive into town late Friday night to help us out. Now that I'm feeling more human, I'm able to catch up on a few things. I will try to post pics of our newest little one soon.

Thanks to everyone who kept us in their prayers. We appreciate all the wonderful warm wishes and can't wait for you all to meet George.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa and a Staph Infection

No, the two don't actually have anything to do with each other except that I'm putting the two topics in one post.
First: Staph Infection
Poor Luke has a staph infection on his little nose. He has little sores on the outside and inside that are making this infections super painful which is what led me to rush a doctor's appointment. How awful is that?! I feel terrible, but I don't know if I could have prevented it. We've been trying to keep his nose clean and crust-free, but I guess the sinus infection got the best of him. Doctor put him on another round of antibiotics and gave us a prescription for a topical cream. I just read up on staph infections (this is a new affliction in our house) and it turns out that they are very contagious and infants are among the most at risk for contracting staph infections. Great, right?


This is what my poor baby looked like this morning. I hope it doesn't get any worse. I feel so terrible about this and feel like a better mother could have somehow prevented this!
Second: Pancakes with Santa
On a happier note, here are some pics from Pancakes with Santa at the Club last weekend. Evie was sick so only Luke got to go. He and Chuck had a great time. Luke wasn't all that crazy about Santa. In fact the first picture showed Luke sitting on Santa's lap leaning away from Santa and looking at Santa as if Santa had just farted. I wish I had a copy of it, but I don't. Chuck got him to flash the gig 'em sign and so we got a somewhat better picture.

Here's a picture of them at the breakfast table. I just wish they would cooperate and take a picture without the thumbs up crap. It was really starting to piss me off last weekend, but they thought it was hilarious. I have 15 pictures of Chuck and Luke - all with the damn thumbs up. At least they were happy even though I was annoyed.

Despite that little annoyance, we had a great time and the club looked beautiful. We'll definitely do this again next year.

Luke made a snowman while Chuck waited in the line to see Santa (way better than waiting at the mall).

There were also two toy soldiers walking around the ballroom on stilts. Luke gave one of them a high five while we were eating breakfast.

All in all, it was pretty darn fun. Plus, Luke got to see some of his soccer teammates who were there with their parents. That's my life in a big small town! Better not go out without makeup on!

Blood Pressure

Congratulations to me! I did not have to see the doctor this morning. My blood pressure was 135/86. Not bad. I've borrowed a blood pressure cuff from my friend who suffered from preeclampsia a couple years ago. I will monitor my bp over the weekend and see the doctor on Tuesday. No big deal, right? Still, I am planning to leave work early today. I've pretty much wrapped up all my pending issues here at work so I have no idea what I'm going to do for the next few days. With my luck, all this hullabaloo about my bp will probably disappear and I'll be pregnant until my due date with nothing to do at work.

For Lisa, here is a belly shot taken this morning. You also get to see our horribly crooked tree in the background. We got the tree on the Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend. Chuck wanted to wait for the next shipment of trees because nothing looked good, but I was insistent that we were getting our tree that day! Well, I guess I should have taken his advice. Instead, we have a tree with character - a little imperfect and off center - just like us.

The kids are also going to the doctor this morning with Chuck so that we can clear up this crazy cold they have. Their poor noses look so painful!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday funny

I'm trying to pack in a lot of posts because I know my time will be cut short pretty soon. Here's a little something for the holidays! Yes, I sometimes tend toward the deranged sense of humor. Enjoy.

No Comment

Doctor didn't even comment on my beautifully groomed you-know-what! That's okay. It probably would have been weird if she had. Can you imagine, "Oh, Theresa! Wow! You really look great down here!" I heard the nurses gossip about such things, so at least I'm prepared for the hospital!


Last night I went to a panty exchange party (instead of an ornament exchange party). I got the slutiest thing there - a nice bright pink lace thong with white bows on the back. Here's a picture:



As was stated by several of the skinny bitches (and I say that strictly as a term of endearment even though they all have size 2 bodies), a person probably needs a Brazilian to even consider wearing it! I told everyone at the party I was going to wear it to my doctor's appointment this morning so I could show it off somewhere. Can you imagine the talk I could have caused at the office?!

Baby Update

Saw the doctor this morning and received quite a shock. Although I feel wonderful (full of Christmas cheer and everything), apparently my blood pressure is too high and I'm "dropping" protein in my urine (sounds yummy, right?). She has ordered me to "take it easy and rest." That means reduced work, stay off my feet (no more Christmas shopping, damn it), stay away from sodium (what the hell can I eat now?), etc. Needless to say, this was not in the plans. I have to go have my blood pressure checked again tomorrow morning. If it is worse, then I have to go in and see the doctor again. If it is okay, then I will see the doctor again on Tuesday. If my blood pressure has not improved, she will probably induce on Wednesday.

I will be 37 weeks on Saturday and that is considered full term, so I guess that is a pretty big milestone that the doctor wants to reach before George is delivered. I completely trust her judgment, so her obvious concern about the situation was a sobering experience for me. I guess I'll just do my best to take care of myself and my baby, and we'll go from there.

As for the normal part of my check up, I am dilated 3 cm - whoohoo! So, maybe little George will make an appearance on his own. My doctor is on call this weekend, so that would be just fine timing for me. Otherwise, I'm still expecting to gaze into the eyes of my precious newborn sometime next week. Little finger, little toes, I can't wait!

On another note, I'm completely jealous of the Houston crew who all got to experience hours of snow. We didn't see a single flake! What a rip. And let me tell you, Luke is totally heartbroken about it too. I mentioned that it snowed at Grandma's house and he asked if it snowed here. I said no. He started to tear up and I asked what in the world was wrong. He looked at me with big crocodile tears in his eyes and said, "Is Christmas over?" --- Ugh - back to this horrible misunderstanding that I may or may not have explained to all of you. Luke and Evie are insistent that it snows on Christmas and it is Christmas when it snows. In their minds, it absolutely, without a doubt WILL snow on Christmas. I've tried to explain that snow is a function of the weather, and not controlled by religious holidays, but apparently this is beyond their comprehension because every Christmas movie they watch shows it snowing on Christmas day. I guess that makes sense. The problem is trying to explain to them in February (when it is more likely to snow) that they aren't getting Christmas presents just because it snowed. Still, it is easier to explain that than it is to explain that they haven't missed Christmas this week and that they will still get their presents and Santa will still visit even if there isn't snow. Instead, they tell me (in their best I'm-smarter-than-you voice that it will snow on Christmas).--- So, I tried to reassure Luke that he hadn't missed Christmas, but he remained upset for at least 20 minutes until I was able to distract him with breakfast.

Any suggestions on how to clear up this misunderstanding?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting myself ready.

So, last night I decided to go to the spa and have myself "groomed" for the upcoming occasion. If this is TMI for some of you, then stop reading now.

Anyway, for those of you who aren't sqeamish about such things, let me begin again. I decided I didn't want to look like I'd been living in the wilds of Africa for the last nine months. I can't actually see anything anymore, but trust me, when I tell you I am certain it wasn't a pretty sight. So, I made an appointment at the spa for last night and went in.

Now, I've had this done only one other time and I laughed my ass off the entire time while the woman waxed and ripped causing me untold amounts of pain. I laughed hysterically at the fact that I was actually paying someone to do this to me! All I could think was, what kind of crazy person has this done to themselves willingly? Sadly, once they start, you can't really stop because the wax is already on there and you can't walk around like that, so you just have to make it through the pain. Well, after that experience, in which I repeatedly broke out in a cold sweat as I endured the pain and had to walk gingerly for a day, I decided I would probably never get a bikini waxing again. Of course, I should be smart enough to know that one should never say never.

Now, I guess I could have tried to do it myself (but I seriously cannot see a thing), or I could have asked Chuck to do it (but that's really not an option). One time I had Chuck manicure my nails and when I looked down I realized he had manicured them to look like man hands - so now I don't trust him with very many grooming details with regard to my body. So, without many other options as to taking care of this area, I came to the conclusion that the spa was my best option and I just needed to suck it up and do it. Well, I did. I have to admit that I was a much better trooper than last time and even avoided the hysterical laughing. Instead, I only experienced the cold sweats a couple of times and the technician (or whatever you call a person who gest paid to rip hair off of a person's body with hot wax) kept me talking the whole time as she waxed and ripped and groomed me as she saw fit. She asked me my preferences and all I could tell her was, that I couldn't see anything so she should go ahead with the procedure however she saw fit. Well, she did, and it looks fine - I think (again, I can't really get a good look at it). In any case, I don't think it looks like I've just emerged from seclusion and the doctors shouldn't be scared when they see it.

But through it all, I decided that waxing that area of one's body is definitely worse than child birth. Hell, the tech even asked me if my Lamaze was helping. I said, "I have no idea. I never took Lamaze." Tech, "Well, it really does work for you to blow out the pain." I was stunned into silence as I thought, should a person really willingly engage in a monthly activity (bikini waxing) in which you have to utilize breathing techniques to overcome the resulting pain? That's not for me. I swear after that statement the ripping hurt more for some reason, but I got through the whole thing mostly intact after banishing scary wilderness woman.

(On a side note, if you decide to have this done and you aren't pregnant, drink two glasses of wine in the waiting room and pop a couple of Tylenol before you subject yourself to this kind of pain. If you are one of those people who has this done regularly, then I will state for your sake that apparently this gets less painful if you have it done on a regular basis. Sadly, I cannot overcome the pain and the fear of pain, so I will probably never get to a point where this is pain-free experience.)

With all that trauma, however, I think I induced myself to going into false labor. I got home about 8:00 and started having strong (but not painful) contractions around 8:30, five minutes apart. After a while, I insisted that Chuck needed to clean the house just in case this was the real thing, plus I was totally riddled with anxiety. Who knows what the anxiety was about since I was really ready to go, but the anxiety was there nonetheless. (Of course, in my opinion, the thought of having a newborn and a third kid is enough to make a person a little nervous). While Chuck cleaned the house, he put in a movie he said was meant to ease my anxiety. For the record, Lethal Weapon 4 was not a good choice on his part. At 10:30 (contractions still coming every 4-5 minutes), I decided I needed to take a shower and go to bed. I showered (still contractions), went to bed (still contractions), slept for a couple hours and woke up at 1:00 (still contractions), and fell back to sleep around 2:00 (no more contractions). So, here I am this morning back at work and ready for anything!

Now that I've got the nethers groomed, my next step is to get my hair highlighted, my nails filled, and my toes sparkling. We'll see if I can fit it all in.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm a ticking time bomb.

Baby George has been very active today. I can't believe some of his kicking hasn't caused my water to break. For a minute there, I thought he was going to bust out of my stomach like that scene in Alien. Still hanging in there. I see the doctor again Thursday morning, but that seems like forever away.

Sick again?!!!

So, here we are, expecting a child any day now and the whole family has contracted a cold . . . again. I'm loading us up with vitamins and decongestant and constantly encouraging the kids to blow their noses. I've got to kick this before George gets here and then I've got to disinfect the house like a hospital.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More than One Private Part

During bath time this weekend, Luke proudly pointed out his penis and then pointed below his penis and asked "What is that?" I love that he was so matter of fact about it. At first I wasn't sure what he was pointing to, because it looked like he was pointing out his penis again (and we had clearly established that he knows what his penis is). He pointed again, a little closer this time and I realized he was pointing to his testicles. So, I responded, "Those are your testicles." His next question was not as easy to answer, "What are they for?" Me, "Hmmm . . . (debating whether I should really tell him) I think they make semen. Maybe you should ask Daddy. Only boys have testicles." Him, "Girls don't have testicles?" Me, "No. Only boys." Him, "You don't have testicles?" Me, "No." Him, "What are testicles for?"


I decide it is time for a man to explain what testicles do, so I leaned my head out the bathroom door and shouted, "Chuck, what do testicles do?" Chuck, "They make sperm." Me, leaning back into the bathroom and looking at Luke, "Yup, they make sperm." Him, "What does sperm do?"


Me, but in my head, "Awe hell! How did I get into this?" Me out loud, "Umm, sperm helps make babies." Now, I'm thinking I've stepped into quicksand and I quickly try to bail out saying, "Um, but only big boys make sperm that can make babies." I quickly amend it, "Only Daddies can make babies." Luke, "Babies?" He sounds very suspicious, but thankfully does not question it as I change the subject to washing his hair. Crisis narrowly averted. Better get ready for next time.


On that note, I discovered the following book in the kid's section at Barnes & Noble. It is a book written and illustrated in 1977 called, "Where Did I Come From?" It describes sexual intercourse in words and descriptions that kids will understand. It shocked the hell out of me. I was just browsing the shelves while the kids played with the trains at the local B&N and I noticed this book set among the Human Health books in the kid's section. I flipped through the pages and couldn't believe my eyes as I saw illustrated Mommies and Daddies, full on with pubic hair, breasts, and penises. The book named all the parts such as vagina, penis, testicles, sperm, etc. and then went on to describe the act of making love, specifically stating that the Daddy puts his penis in Mommy's vagina. I was seriously taken aback.


I started to do a little research on this book online and found out that it is a highly recommended book - even Dr. Spock recommends it. So, here's a link and you can make your own decisions.

http://books.google.com/books?id=auEsxjxTu70C&dq=Where+Did+I+come+From&pg=PP1&ots=wGiv1UslOZ&source=bn&sig=GZl1F2U660npFvDEf4h-3w80rzM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPP1,M1


I have to say, I'm leaning toward using this book to educate my children about the logistics of the whole thing. I think the difficult part will be trying to describe or inform them adequately about all the variations on the sexual act that are out there (e.g. oral sex, hummers, etc.). Should prove interesting for me and the kids.

Still here, but growing weary. I am moving much slower these days, and sleep is more and more difficult to come by. Still, George is kicking away. He's ready to leave his cozy home and we are ready to greet him. We spent the weekend cleaning the house and purchasing all our baby necessities. I think we are really ready to go now. I even have a bag almost completely packed. I've put all George's clothes away and moved the bassinet into our room. I set up a changing station upstairs and downstairs and marveled at the size of the tiny newborn diapers. It amazes me every time!

Forgot about all the fun necessities you need to have: nipple cream, breast pads for nursing, pads for the other end, a snot sucker (aka an aspirator), changing pads, sensitive wipes, bottle racks, alcohol for the umbilicus, vaseline for the circumcision, etc., etc. There are still a couple of things that I forgot to pick up, so we'll try and get those this week. One of the things was pads, so Chuck picked some up on his way home from church yesterday, but instead of bringing home pads, he brought home a huge package of Poise. I looked at him like he was crazy and said, "I said I needed pads, not diapers! Do I look like an older woman who is incontinent?" His only response was that he got the biggest thing he could find and he was sure it work the same way. Let's hope so. Goofball.

Evie has become super clingy - probably a result of having the baby on the way (so says Evie's teacher). We're trying to work through it, but she is in tears if we even ask her to let go of us so we can go to the bathroom. I hope she grows out of this soon, but for now I'm a little concerned.

Before all that shopping, however, we got to go see Santa at the Club. Evie was sick so she stayed home with my mom. Luke had a really good time and ate up all his pancakes. I was really impressed with this event and will have to post some pictures. Luke asked for a scooter. As luck would have it, I hear that Santa has a scooter in his workshop just for Luke (don't mention that to Luke). Santa also has a scooter in his workshop for Evie, but I have no idea if that is what she wants from Santa.

Still have a few more gifts to buy for Christmas, but all in all, we are pretty ready for George to be here and for Christmas to arrive. For now, I'm just working steadily and slowly. Trying to get through the next couple weeks. I think I'll have continually reduced hours because I can barely walk or concentrate on much for any period of time. If I had some extra time off, I would gladly trade this last couple weeks for my couch and the remote control. Oh well. I'm here and I'm making it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Christmas Songs

If you don't know what a freak I am about Christmas, then let me explain that I start listening to Christmas music in August and when Christmas rolls around, it looks like someone threw up Christmas all over the inside of my house. I absolutely LOVE it - every bit of it!

Well, this year, I've heard two new Christmas songs (new to me, at least) and I'm sharing them with you now.

For those of you who need a holiday pick me up and enjoy remembering the reason for the season, here's a great song called "You're Here" by Francesca Battistelli that my friend Roxy told me about. Enjoy:

http://www.ccmmagazine.com/news/podcasts/11596027/

Also, I heard a song by Sixpence None the Richer the other day and it brought tears to my prego eyes. If you're expecting, I highly recommend it. It is called the Last Christmas. It starts, "I feel your heart beating inside my own skin; And I think of Mary in Bethlehem. . ." It is a sweet song sung by a mother to her unborn child about about how this will be the last Christmas the mother has without the sweet baby. With any luck, this will be our first Christmas with our new baby, but it touches my heart anyway.

http://www.imeem.com/sixpencenonethericher/music/okmctutK/sixpence_none_the_richer_the_last_christmas/

Baby Photo Contest

Hey, I forgot to tell y'all that our photographer is having a baby photo contest and one of our pictures is in the running. You can go to her website and vote for us. We have the picture with my belly and all the hands. It is Number 5 and a copy is posted below. Thanks for the support!

Party

The firm party was good. You know, same old clients, same old attorneys, same old thing.

I wore my heels for about two hours and now my feet feel bruised.

I bought some new pantyhose and had to try and squeeze into them while sitting on a toilet in the office restroom. Imagine my morning difficulties and then double it. I was grunting and rotating and probably causing everyone to think I was having trouble with a bodily function as opposed to trying to put on an article of clothing. The bathroom was deserted when I exited the stall fully dressed. No surprise here.

Chuck and I ditched the party around 7 or 7:30 and went downstairs to a new restaurant called "Grace." It just opened up about a month ago and it is a pretty happening place. A few other attorney's joined us and then we ran into several other attorneys that we know. It was good, but very pricey. Of course, my glass of juice was the cheapest thing, while Chuck's 18 year old scotch was priced for Vegas.

Still, we were home by 9:30 and climbed into bed around 10. We have a less exciting party to attend tonight, and I'm certain the food won't be nearly as good as the bacon-wrapped shrimp, shrimp cocktail, beef tenderloin, and other items that were served at my firm's party. Mmmm. Then tomorrow, we are having pancakes with Santa at the Club. I mentioned it to the kids this morning when they woke up and they said things like, "No, Santa is in the North Pole. Are we going to the North Pole?" And when I asked if they were excited to see Santa they evaded my question and asked, "Where's Grandma?" I thought they would be more excited - guess I was wrong. So, I'm a little worried about how they are going to react to Santa tomorrow. Hopefully better than seeing him at the Mall - what a beating!

Just finished up with a Christmas lunch for women attorneys and then the women attorneys at the firm are going to have afternoon tea at 4:00. I should be out just in time to get to the other party. Gotta love Christmas! Jingle, jingle!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby George Update

I'm now 36 weeks, dialated 1 cm, 70% effaced, and the baby is as low as he can get without falling out. Doctor predicts the baby will arrive sometime within two weeks - probably the week after next.

I'm really good with that except for the fact that I still feel like we have so much to do. I even casually mentioned last night that perhaps I should pack a bag for the hospital. Well, I'm packing a bag tonight and I intend to go buy all our missing necessities this weekend.

Beyond that, my only concern is the fact that I have never gone into labor on my own (induced with both Luke and Evie) so I'm worried I won't know when to go to the hospital or whether I'm having real contractions. We shall see.

The best news about the early baby is that I will hopefully get to enjoy Christmas a little more, provided I get all the Christmas presents purchased. Looks like Chuck is going to be very busy this month!

Maternity Pantyhose

I truly, without a doubt in my mind, believe that pantyhose were invented by men simply to torture women (same for high heels). Perhaps I should look this up before laying blame - but not today.

While pregnant this go around, I have pretty much boycotted the idea of wearing pantyhose. This worked out just fine while it was hot outside - a great excuse to not wear pantyhose in any law office. So, I ditched the dreaded pantyhose and banished the thought of them from my mind except for special occasions such as appearances in court. Unfortunately, it has turned colder and now, I'm desperate to have something warm on my white, pastey legs. Last night it dropped into the 20's here and to top that off, today is our firm Christmas party. So, when I went to get dressed this morning, I realized that I had to wear pantyhose for the sake of warmth, beauty (remember the pastey leg comment), and the formality of the occasion tonight.

Since I have banished all pantyhose, I only ever bought one pair of maternity pantyhose for wearing to hearings and other important meetings. Well, I wore that pair once and had to search for that one pair of pantyhose this morning. I noticed that there was a pair of pantyhose sitting on top of a fresh batch of laundry so I assumed that these must be my one and only pair of maternity pantyhose. I grabbed them off the laundry and proceeded to contort my ever-growing, bulbous body so that I could stretch, pull, manipulate, and hoist the pantyhose onto my overworked legs. Poor George put up a valiant protest as I squished him in my attempts to reach my toes, but eventually, I got the task completed.

As I finally attempted to pull the enormous pantyhose up over my watermelon belly to just under my bosom (girls, you know what I'm talking about), I noticed that the pantyhose could not be stretched beyond just below my non existent waist. I muttered, "What the hell?!" I looked in the mirror and realized that I had just managed to squeeze my 8 month pregnant, maternity ass into a pair of regular sized pantyhose. I briefly considered ditching them and trying to locate the ginormous pair of maternity pantyhose that would adequately fit over my belly, but realized that there was no way in hell I was going to go through that effort again even if I actually found them (which was unlikely anyway). So, as I walked out of my bedroom I felt the top of the teeny-weeny pantyhose begin to roll down as it settled uncomfortably and precariously around the top of my hips. Thank God I have big hips to hold them up (Yes, I can't believe I just said that - shows how distorted the pregnant mind can be).

So, here I sit at work with the waist of my pantyhose uncomfortably pressing in on George's little head, the fabric bursting at the seams (I already have a run in the back), and I realize that perhaps my "no-way-in-hell" attitude was perhaps the wrong choice. I guess I'll have to figure out a quick fix to this before the party, but I have no idea what I'm going to do since there are no maternity stores anywhere close to my office. Until then, I'm pretty much just going to bitch and whine about my poor decision. Thanks for listening.

A Griswald Christmas

Even Clark Griswald couldn't top this: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-157278

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A New Tradition

We started a new tradition at our house this year, and I'm really excited about it. We now have an Elf on the Shelf. Has anyone heard of this before? I just found it at a boutique shop on Monday and I took it home and read it to the kids immediately. It is a book that comes with a little elf who sits on a shelf -- hence the name "Elf on the Shelf". The purpose of this elf is for the elf to keep a close watch on the children of the house during the Christmas season and report back to Santa every night whether the kids have been good or bad. The elf gets its magic when you name him but will lose his magic if the children touch him. He can't talk to children, but he can talk to adults, and everyone can talk to the elf. Each night he flies back from the North Pole and sits somewhere else in the house. It has been so much fun already!

We read the book Monday night and named our elf Murphy (my second choice for George's middle name). Murphy started out on our mantle over the fireplace in the den but the next morning he was on the mantle over the fireplace in our formal living room. The kids were amazed and so excited when they spotted him. This morning he was on our Christmas tree in the den. I don't know if the kids have spotted him yet.

I have reminded the children a few times that Murphy is watching them and will report back to Santa with any bad or good behavior. It has been pretty fun so far. Now that Grandma is in town, we've explained how there is an elf in our house and how no one can touch him. It has been so fun to watch the kids try to name him. Their first picks for names included "Elf" and "Mommy." We'll have to work on their imagination and creativity.

Here's a link to the Elf on the Shelf and an itty bitty picture of the book and elf.


I registered our Elf with the North Pole yesterday and will take the certificate home to include in our book. I am really impressed with this website too. It is amazingly advanced. Hope you all enjoy the website and will hopefully get an elf of your own!

Boogers

Does anyone ever wonder where boogers come from and why they turn green and multiply when you're sick? I actually tried to look this up when I was sick, but my search resulted in very generic answers about the nose producing mucus to trap foreign objects etc. Well, that doesn't exactly explain why the hell you (and your kids) get green nastiness flowing out of your nose. Yuck.

On an unrelated note, we have encountered a major glich with our new school. I guess we should have known that there would be some hiccups along the way, but it still took us by surprise. Our school failed to pass inspection with the fire marshal because it doesn't have overhead sprinklers. How odd is that? It is smaller than my house and it has more fire alarms and other types of alarms installed in every room. Who would have thought that they had to have a sprinkler system in addition to that? Anyhow, the school actually got shut down for this failure and we had to pick up the kids from school yesterday. The school will be closed while they install sprinklers (who knows how long that takes) and then we will get right back to work. We are still very committed to the school and don't regret our decision to send our kids there. I can't tell you how great it is to see Luke reading and Evie trying to write her name. For now, the kids are enjoying a vacation with my mother, who promptly dropped everything and drove up from Houston to help out. What a life saver!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Santa Cause

Just wanted to share a fun tradition that one of my friends participates in each year. It is called The Santa Cause. DFW Santa Cause is an annual holiday pub crawl fundraiser benefiting the United Way Charities of Dallas/Ft. Worth. People get dressed up as Santa, Mrs. Clause, elves, the Grinch, etc. and get on a big yellow bus to drink the night away for a good cause. There are already 249 people registred for the Dallas Santa Cause and 60 people registered for the Fort Worth Santa Cause!


I just love this idea and wish it had been around when I was bar hopping on a regular basis. Chuck and I would have LOVED it! Oh well. Instead, I am passing this on to you. If you go to the website, you can enjoy the fun pictures and even make a donation to this worthy cause. Here's the link and a picture to give you an idea of what it is all about:



Hope you all have a holly jolly day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Serious Braxton Hicks Contraction

Serious braxton-hicks contraction that really hurt. It would be interesting if I went into labor on my own instead of being induced like I was with the other two.

Pilgrim & Indian 2

Having trouble with my video upload, so here's one of Luke's performances separately. You can tell he is really concentrating!


video

Pilgrims & Indians

Here are some pictures of my little Indian and Pilgrim (giving the Gig 'em sign because Chuck ALWAYS asks them to do that when they have their picture taken - drives me crazy). In this picture, the kids had just finished their program. Here's Luke sitting ready at the beginning of the presentation. So adorable, even though he looks pissed off.


Ms. Evie looks bored, but that appears to be a common theme throughout the program for her.


Here are my sweet babies performing at their Thanksgiving Program at school. The video is pretty bad, but we just got a new electronic device that should produce better recordings in the future. This one has Evie performing and you can barely hear the words - sorry. The Program consisted of over 10 songs and all the kids knew all the words and the parts. They would sing a song and perform little actions to match it. So, so sweet and fun to see. Evie has all the parts down, but refuses to sing.
video
Even though Evie doesn't sing, Luke sings all the time! I can't stop him from singing. It ranges from the Aggie war hymn to Thanksgiving songs to Christmas songs. We can be anywhere. This weekend, we were picking out our Christmas tree at Lowes and he sang Christmas carols the entire time to the delight of all others. No kidding. People would look at us and smile and encourage him to keep singing. I don't think it had anything to do with the quality of his voice (and certainly not with his ability to get the words right), but people (like me) seemed genuinely pleased and cheered by Luke's excitement for the Christmas season. Evie, while not a singer (yet), has been spreading Christmas cheer to Chuck and me through her absolute excitement about decorating the house. I love when they get so excited while their talking that they have to catch their breath. "Are we going to (breathe) decorate the tree? (breathe) And then (breathe), are we going to, uh, uh, (breathe) put lights up on the (breathe) house?!" Her little eyes just get so wide with excitement and I can barely describe how cute it is!

Ahhhhh . . .

This was just about the best break I've had from work and the house in a long time. Spent time catching up with family and spent lots of time with my sister who will soon be moving to London. It was absolutely wonderful. No agenda, no deadlines, no worries. I am so thankful to have had a chance to actually relax.

Chuck and I also hit the stores (sans kids) on Friday morning and had a great time with one another. That one on one time doesn't happen as much as it used to, and I'm certain it is about to completely dry up with an infant on his way.

With Thanksgiving behind us, we are rapidly approaching Christmas and George's birthday - although I don't know what day that is yet. I've become more comfortable with the baby - I guess I'm just growing used to it. I'm in a lot of pain at night and find myself unable to do a lot of things, such as Christmas decorating. Nonetheless, I got two trees up in our house this weekend, and pretty much got them decorated. We have a few more things to do to prepare our house for Christmas, but all in all, it will be a scaled back version of my normal holiday spirit.

As for George, Chuck and I have finally had that "Oh-Shit" Moment - namely the moment where we realize that we are having a real, live baby and it will be here forever and we are not nearly prepared. So, I guess we'll go shopping sometime in the next week and gather together all our necessities. Oh, and I guess I should pack a hospital bag sometime. To assuage some of my nervousness, I picked up a pack of diapers this weekend. Plus, my family was so kind and gifted us with lots of little onsies, blankets, socks, etc. It makes it more and more real. Oh, and Chuck has taken an interest in the baby room which has been really sweet.

So much happened over the weekend that I'm sure I would bore you with all the details, but I might throw out a cute story here and there this week. Until then, I best get to work and bill as much as I can before George makes his big arrival.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Four Year Old is a Genius!

Yeah, I'm just kidding. You know I'm not one of those parents. However, I must brag that he used two five-dollar-words this last weekend: metamorphosis and acapella. Seriously, I had to look up how to spell them both. I asked him if he knew what they meant (both utilized at different times during the weekend). He explained metamorphosis in the most basic aspects refering to a monarch butterfly and its cocoon. And he very quickly explained that acapella means "without music." While it in fact means without instruments, I was wholly satisfied and impressed with his answer. Then, when we were at church on Sunday, the priest was singing by himself and Luke loudly whispered in amazement, "Mom, acapella!" I nodded my head, more than a little pleased with his show of intelligence, and hoping that all the other adults around us heard his genius!

With that said, my kid still puts his shoes on the wrong feet and constantly asks to go home even when we are already at home. I don't know - I guess somethings take longer than others. Still, I'm wonderfully impressed with the education he is receiving at his new school.

I'll leave you all on that note as we head to H-town. First we have to attend a Thanksgiving Program at the school where the kids are apprarently playing the parts of Indian Chief and Pilgrim (guess which one is which: Luke is the former and Evie is the later). I'll let you know how it goes. To one and to all, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. I hope we all can understand and appreciate the gifts we have been given this season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Movie Quote 8 (for the holiday)

One last movie quote before our Thanksgiving holiday. There's a pretty good clue in this quote so you should be able to guess it.

What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where's the turkey, Chuck? Don't you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where's the mashed potatoes? Where's the cranberry sauce? Where's the pumpkin pie?

Guess that Appendage . . .

George is almost always on the move now as he gets bigger and fills out my entire abdomen. These days I find myself gently pushing against various appendages that George decides to stick out there, but I can never actually tell what they are: arm, hand, foot, knee, butt? His bottom is probably the easiest to pick out, but I always wonder what the little appendage is on my right side that is constantly sticking out and moving. These days, it is the most likely thing a stranger would be able to feel moving in this big belly of mine. It is fun to gently push against whatever it is and feel him release and then push back again. It is our first form of communication and I love it.

I know I have spent a lot of time complaining about the discomfort of this pregnancy, but please don't doubt that I treasure every moment of helping God create this precious little being who is sure to win my heart the way Luke and Evie have. All in all, I really love being pregnant - especially the elastic waistbands in everything as I've mentioned before. It is an absolute joy to carry this sweet little boy with me to work and share his life all day long. I actually miss having the babies with me when I get back to work after maternity leave. It is fun to have a little companion to pat, monitor, and sometimes talk to. Even late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep, George keeps me company with his sweet little kicks and his big, painful, kicks and adjustments. But each movement and discomfort is a reminder of the sweetness he will bring to our family. I just hope we can make him as happy as he will make us.

Asian Baby

So, I heard some popping, crackling noises coming from the top of my baby belly yesterday and I decided to take advantage of my friendship with an obgyn and ask her what the heck that was. I described it as folding paper, but failed to expound upon the fact that it is more of a crackling and popping noise. She responded that the noise is probably my intestines that are pushed up really high right now and probably making funny noises, or . . . George is working on origami.

I have to admit that this comment led me to have thoughts all night about folded origami cranes flying out of my hoo-ha right before I pop out a baby who looks like an Asian Stewie Griffin (from The Family Guy). I just imagine him coming out slinging around offensive phrases like, "ha-cha-cha-cha" and "flied lice" while wearing a kimono and yielding a Samurai sword as he attempts Kamikazi attacks against his mother.



The pregnant mind is clearly unstable.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have I ever mentioned how much Chuck cracks me up? Well, he does. Everywhere. All the time. About almost anything. I am so blessed to have a husband who makes me laugh almost all the time. Plus, laughing makes you live longer, so hopefully, I'll live a really long time and have Chuck with me. Hope your holidays are filled with laughter.

http://www.family.samhsa.gov/be/Laughter.aspx

Movie Quote 7 (For Em)

This is a movie quote for Emily because Chuck and I are almost positive that she is the only one who will truly get it and appreciate it the way we do. Nonetheless, if anyone else knows (and not just by a random guess), I'll will laugh my ass off. Chuck and I just love this line out of the movie!

But the talking mice say she's the wrong girl.

Have fun today, kids!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I love that the holidays are finally here. It signals one of my favorite things (the holidays in general) and the fact that we're just a few weeks away from welcoming the newest member of our family. I hope you all enjoy this week as much as I intend to. Only two full days of work (busy, full days) and then we'll have a little Thanksgiving presentation at the kids' school and head to H-town. When we get back from gorging ourselves on turkey, dressing, pies, and family, I fully intend to start putting our Christmas stuff up. I can't wait to pick out a tree and decorate it! Plus, I have Christmas parties galore and lots of Christmas shopping! Can't wait . . . and this is just the beginning!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peace Out

Headed home to catch up with the spouse, kids and friends. Next week is Thanksgiving and I can hardly wait to catch up with my family in H-Town! I can't remember the last time I visited. Plus, must visit with sister Mary (sounds like a nun) before she heads off across the pond! Peace out for now.

Aversions to Coats

I don't know what it is, but it seems to be universal (at least universal among my friends) that little kids do NOT want to wear coats. WTH? Do they have higher metabolisms so they don't get cold? Do we get colder as adults? Are they hanging onto the baby fat to keep themselves warm? Are they sneaking a little rum before leaving the house? What is keeping them warm, and what is causing this extreme dislike?

This morning it finally got cold. I am so grateful to have the weather matching my holiday mood, but my mood turned sour when I insisted that Luke needed to wear his coat and he pitched a holy fit about having to wear his coat. I mean a serious two-year-old-lay-down-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming fit. It has been ages since I've seen such a display. I tried to explain that it was cold and that he needed to wear a coat, but he insisted in a very rude way that he was not going to wear the coat. I insisted that he had to wear the coat and attempted to zip it up at which point he started jumping up and down, twisting and turning and trying to pull his coat off.

I gave him my very best stern mother voice as I said, "Lucas Berend! It is cold outside and you will wear a coat! Now stand still." Him in the whiney voice I loathe to hear, "I don't want to wear my coat!" Me, "It doesn't matter. It is cold and you have to wear your coat." At this point, Luke turns really ugly and in between his angry little sobs he reaches out and tries to squeeze my arm with his hands.

Sounds pretty harmless right? Well, you're right, it is pretty harmless because he isn't strong enough to hurt me that way (yet), but the fact remains that he was trying to hurt me and that does not fly at our house.

My eyes widened as I watched him try to hurt me and I pulled out the Pissed Off Mom Voice (which consists of a lower pitched but louder version of my very best Stern Mother Voice) and I said, "That is IT! You will not hurt me or anyone else. Do not even try it!" I gently tapped his bottom through his jeans (no harm at all, I promise, since he pulled the magic bowed back maneuver - if you're a mom you know what I'm talking about - if you don't know, ask me to demonstrate next time I see you). I pointed to the time out spot and ordered him "Get in Time Out now, and I don't want to hear any crying."

Before moving an inch he opens his mouth as wide as he can and wails as loud as he can in my face "AhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHH!" This turns me into Hysterical Pissed Off Mom, and I yell back (I admit, probably not a good decision), "GET OVER THERE NOW!" With a loud wail he runs to the living room and throws himself onto the carpet in the designated Time Out spot. Then he rolls into his automatic complaints (whether true or not) that he is sick and he starts to cough in a way that would normally indicate he is about to give me a second look at his breakfast, but that never amounts to anything other than him torturing himself to put on a display to gain my sympathy. This continues between sobs and running tears and boogers, as he informs me "I'm sick!" Alternating with a cough-cough and attempted gagging noises. Then he proceeds to grab his stomach and complain in between coughs and gagging, "My stomach hurts."

Now, the first two times he pulled this stunt, I totally was at his side comforting him and trying to soothe him and keep him from barfing all over. After that, I figured out that it is all a contrived show to get my attention off the fact that he just acted like a total brat or was behaving poorly. So now my response (whether appropriate in your estimation or not) is, "Stop it. You're not sick and your stomach wouldn't hurt if you would just stop crying." Of course, this just pisses him off more, but there's no way I'm going to acknowledge his temper tantrum as anything other than just that - a temper tantrum. Of course, he's probably quite right that he feels bad - I remember feeling bad after throwing fits like that too. Still, I'm not giving him sympathy when all he has to do to feel better is stop crying and do what he is told.

After continued coughing, gagging noises and crying, I tell him to get out of time out and go the front door (where Evie is waiting quietly and watching the entire episode without a word - smart girl). He still is ticked and barely moving from his time out spot so I go pick him up and tell him that he is being silly. I try once again to zip his coat, but that just pisses him off even more, so I gave up and walked him to the front door. (Remember, I'm carrying a four year old boy against his will as he struggles against my prego belly, and yet, I find it amazing that I haven't really lost my cool yet, well except for the moment of Hysterical Pissed Off Mom.) We get to the door and I've given up trying to reason with Luke so I just set him down (jacket fully unzipped but still on his body) and we all exit the house into the cold weather.

Before Luke can even get to the car, he starts whining that he is cold. I look at him with my evil squinted mom eyes and think, but don't actually voice, "No Shit!? Ugh!" What I did say was, "That's why you had to wear your coat. Now get in the car so we can get warm." And that was it.

I only convey that story to say, Why the hell don't kids want to wear their coats? Do they truly think that I'm an idiot and it isn't really cold outside? Do they think coats are just a torture device created by mothers and fathers? What is it?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

George is getting comfy.

I swear it feels like George is trying to bust out of jail. At least he is strong! My eyes got a little watery with George's last round of adjustments and I had to hold my breath for just a little bit. Can babies break their own water?

Movie Quote 6

For the holiday season, see if you can guess what movie this quote came from:

Happy Thanksgiving . . . it's your turn to say Happy Thanksgiving back.

Quite honestly, Chuck and I find this to be one of the most annoying exchanges in this whole movie. I don't know why it gets under our skin, but we cringe everytime we watch this part.

On our way to wellness

After a nice visit with our doctor (who totally rocks, by the way), it has been determined that Luke has a really bad sinus infection and Evie has an ear infection in just her right ear. Lucky us. We spent the afternoon holed up at the house. I was working while the kids watched tv. After administering dosages to both kids from multiple bottles of medicine and some ear drops for Evie, Chuck put the kids down at 8:30 and I retired to my bedroom where I set up my own sick bed complete with a humidifier, multiple pills, a huge glass of water, a book, and some Christmas music. This morning was more of the same, except I got to go to the doctor and get a prescription of antibiotics too. Thank God. Hopefully, we will be well my Monday.

As for George, the doctor confirmed that he is riding exceptionally low. The feeling where my leg occassionally feels like it is falling out of my hip socket has kicked in. What a pleasure. People who see this happen while I'm walking often want to call an ambulance for me and I have to assure them (while I catch my breath and wait for the feeling to dissipate) that I'm just fine. Blood pressure was up also - 140 over 84. Sounds like George is cooking up just right and if I keep playing my blood pressure cards right, we will have an early delivery.

Until then, we have Thanksgiving and a round of Christmas parties (oh, and one major hearing) to get through. On a bright note, I saw a one month old baby at the doctor's office today and I couldn't help but stare, feel my uterus do a little flip-flop of joy, and really feel excited that we are having another beautiful baby. I think in the midst of all this other stuff, I tend to forget how wonderful this little miracle is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's settled.

Babies have a fever - guess I'll take them to the doctor this afternoon. Yay for me.

Why am I surprised?

Well, I thought I was on the mend, but I seem to have continued down the path of nasty cold. I'm not sure why I'm surprised by this, but I am. Last night I only got about 4 hours of sleep and I spent the rest of the time either trying out how to figure out if I could breathe out of one nostril or the other or thinking how many hours I had left until I had to get up and go to work. I woke up around 2:45 and didn't get back to sleep until about 5:30. Not fun, but I count my blessings that it could be a lot worse - at least it is nothing serious and it doesn't affect the health of baby George.

Both the kids are still suffering from the nasty cold too. I guess it is time to call in the doctor. Now, where do I find the time to get them to the doctor? Poor little, snotty darlings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preparing for George

Okay, I've calmed down and can recognize that sometimes I am the stupid person that pisses off other people. Still, it is frustrating.

On a happier note: The women attorneys at my office are throwing a celebratory dinner for me in honor of George's impending arrival. Isn't that sweet? No more showers for this old mother. Plus, I can't imagine subjecting anyone to the pain of attending yet another baby shower for me.

Oddly enough I am woefully unprepared for George -- no diapers, bottles, pacifiers, formula, and I have no idea where Luke's baby clothes are. Luckily I've had a few gifts of clothing that should get me by at least for a few days. Still, I need to start getting prepared, although if I listen to Chuck he'll tell me that we don't need to do anything for George. In his words, "One trip to Babies R Us will take care of everything." Unfortunately, I can't just let it all go until George's actual arrival. And my attempts at redecorating Evie's pretty green/pink nursery (replacing the pink with brown and blue) is not going well. There are still plenty of remnants of pink, and I can't seem to get motivated to make the complete transition since what I've done to date looks pretty crappy. Poor George.

I better not die anytime soon, because if Chuck is left to raise these kids they will never have a birthday party, sign up for sports, get school supplies before the first day of school, or be prepared for anything or any event (except Aggie football games). And heaven help Evie getting ready for prom - Chuck might actually get the dress and shoes taken care of (since he is such a fashion hound - yes, it surprises the shit out of me too, but it is true), but I doubt he'll remember the boutonniere, transportation, her pantyhose and appropriate underwear, pictures, etc.

Stupid

Stupid people piss me off.

London, Baby!

So, my sister Mary has decided to move to London. I'm thrilled! But I have to admit I did tear up just a little when she confirmed her decision.


She gets to work in London just a couple blocks away from Buckingham Palace. How freakin' cool is that?! She moves over in January and her family will follow at the end of the school year. Unfortunately, I won't be able to visit for a while since I'm taking 6 weeks of maternity leave. That only leaves a little room for sick days - and definitely not enough time to fly to London to see this:


Congratulations, Mary! Not only did you finish a half marathon, but you are following your dreams. You continue to amaze me.
I had to include this picture too, because I almost got myself and my infant (Luke) run over when I tried to get across the roundabout that surrouds this memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. My life flashed before my eyes as I dodged traffic with my stroller and watched as my in-laws and husband casually strolled across the street without me:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Riding low . . .

I swear this kid is going to fall out if I don't keep my legs crossed.

Movie Quote 5

I can't resist this one. Cracks me up every time!

Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!

Princesses

This weekend we pretty much stayed at home and rested since Luke, Evie, and I all have colds. I'm finally on the mend, but still pretty disgusting. Luke and Evie are about the same as me. While we were at home, we watched a ton of movies. We try to let Luke and Evie alternate picking out what they want to watch on TV. At one point, Luke had been outside helping Daddy work on the yard and when he came in Evie was watching a princess movie that she had picked out. He asked what she was watching and I told him, "A princess movie." Luke responded as his body collapsed against the couch dejectedly, "Ughh, another princess movie?!" (Read in very whiney voice). Me, "Yes, it was her turn to pick something out and you weren't even in here." (I must admit that even I am sick of her princess movies, but she never seems to tire of it.) Him, "I HATE princess movies. I HATE princesses." I continued to read the book I had in front of me and vaguely acknowledged his rant with, "Okay." But when I continued reading, he managed to get my attention saying, "Mommy . . . mommmy." I glanced up. "Mommy, I hate princesses. I don't want to watch princess movies." Me, "I hear you. That's too bad. It's Evie's turn." I start to glance back at my book, but he continued, "Mommy, I hate princesses and if I ever have to marry a princess I am not going to be be very happy!" I was at a loss for words as it raced through my mind that he would certainly be grateful if he had to marry a princess - particularly a princess that looks like any of the princesses on Evie's movies - not to mention the great monetary comfort that might come along with such a union. (Yes, these are the things that go through my mind.) So, after an "uh" or two I said, "Well, if you think so." Satisfied with my answer and apparently through with his rant, Luke located his hammer and started to "fix" his bulldozer.

I'm not sure what has put the thought of marriage into their heads, but Evie talks about who she is going to marry too. I think someone told them that you marry your best friend (not too far off, right?). The awkward part is that right now Evie's best friend is me, Luke, and Daddy. So, she announces that I am going to marry Daddy and she is going to marry me, and Daddy, and Luke. Okay, whatever you want kiddo.

With all that said, and considering I spent all weekend trapped in a house with those two little ones, I still think they are the most adorable things when they aren't being brats or throwing up.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Adoption Day

Every once in a while I get to use my law degree to do something good, and I mean really good and fulfilling. Tomorrow is National Adoption Day, and I have the privilege of representing a couple (on a pro bono basis) who are adopting a sweet, beautiful 18 month old little girl. I am so honored, blessed, and humbled to be able to participate in this momentous occasion. It is one of the most wonderful things I will have ever done with my law degree, and I am thankful that my firm is so supportive of this endeavor.

At National Adoption Day (in my area), each child that is adopted receives a book, a stuffed animal, and a pendant with their new name engraved on it. On a side note: A very special local jeweler donates the materials and his time and hand engraves each pendant himself for each child each year. This year, the jeweler will once again donate his time and materials although the event will be bitter sweet since a large donation of books will be made to NAD in the name of his son (my friend) who was killed in a car accident two months ago. It is also interesting to mention that the local young lawyer's group I am involved in honored this jeweler for his generous contribution to NAD over the years and his son (who is now deceased) presented the award to him last spring. I digress.

The best part of tomorrow that I get to present the parents to the court for the final adoption proceeding when the court grants the final adoption decree, and I have to ask the parents (and this is where I get choked up just thinking about it), "Do you understand that adoption is like a promise and that you are promising this child to love her forever and ever and to keep her as a part of your family forever and ever?" It's just the most beautiful thing!

I am so excited for this new family and all the new families across the nation that will be created or altered for the better tomorrow.

Much love to all of you, and may your weekend be as wonderful as mine is sure to be!

On top of 7 Widowed Weekends

Here I am, very pregnant and very uncomfortable, and Chuck is still pushing to go to the Baylor game this weekend (his 8th Aggie football game of the season) and asked if we could go to Bonfire while we're visiting family for Thanksgiving. I just looked at him like he was crazy!

With regard to the Baylor game, I said, "I can barely walk around my office right now, because I'm in a fair amount of pain . . . there's no freakin' way I'm going to go to a football game where I'll have to haul kids around and walk everywhere. Plus, I'm sick. I want to sit at home and rest this weekend." No response, except the ocassional comment of, "Are you sure I can't go to the Baylor game?"

With regard to the Bonfire, I said, "Do you even know when it is?" Him, "No, I'll have to find out." Me, "Well, I can't imagine it would be something we want to take the kids to yet, so we'd have to drive to Houston, drop the kids and then drive back to College Station for the bonfire." Him, - no words, just a blank stare as he tried to figure out what was wrong with this plan. I changed the subject.

Ughhhh!!!!!!

Now I'm sick . . .

Little kids are just messengers of germs. One day at home with the kids and now I've got a full-blown cold. Stuffy nose, headache, coughing, drainage . . . disgusting! Working on just a few hours of sleep and trying to keep my patience with everyone and everything. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Owww.

Contraction.

Hot Topic for Working Moms

There's a hot topic of discussion among the female attorneys in the community regarding whether working women (narrowly focused on women attorneys) are divided into two groups:

Category 1: Women who have a family and go back to work part time so they can dedicate more of their lives to raising their children; or

Category 2: Women who have a family and go back to work full time and are fully committed to their careers.

I know both types of women. And I spoke with a fellow attorney last night who has been practicing for 12 years, has had a family and has decided to work part time so that she can spend more time with her children. Noble and worthy. I fully respect her decision. But it returns me to the question, is she sacrificing her career? Is it okay for the industry to classify her as something less than the women in Category 2?

I also know female attorneys (and think I am one of them) who falls into Category 2. I work full time, bill the budgeted hours (or more), and continue to commit myself to serving the community in various capacities, even though I have to still make sacrifices so that I can take care of sick kids and attend school open houses. However, this returns me to the ever present dilemma that I am spending less time with my children. Am I somehow cheating my children out of something? Is it okay for the industry to classify me as something more than women in Category 1 and/or something less than my male counterparts?

Moreover, is it okay that we are all paid differing salaries (i.e. Category 1 is paid less than Category 2 and Category 2 may be paid less than male counterparts - not that this is necessarily true across the board)?

Furthermore, there is still the business aspect of the entire thing: Women who work and bill fewer hours bring in less profit - plain and simple. Should this failure to bring in a profit be reflected in their salaries? Should salaries be even across the board based on experience? Should salaries reflect your community involvement? At a fundamental level, every business must consider the value created by and employee and how much that employee is worth. I can't honestly say that I am as available (with regard to hours committed to work) as my male counterpart. Therefore, should I be making the same amount of money as my male counterpart?

Whereas my male counterpart can be at work every day of every week and work early and late, I am held to a daycare schedule. My husband or I have to pick up our kids at a certain time - no one else is going to do it (except in an emergency - which we have encountered). We have to stay at home when the school is closed or when our kid is sick. We have to take our kids to the doctor for regular check ups and doctor appointments. We don't have a stay at home wife who can handle birthday party planning, doctor's appointments, soccer practice, dance lessons, phone calls from the school principal or nurse, grocery shopping, picking up the dry cleaning. My husband and I split all these duties, but we both make sacrifices for our jobs and for our families. We both could potentially be more successful at work if we had the time and freedom to spend more hours there or more hours drumming up business, but instead, we choose to have a family. We both could spend more time with our children if we cut back hours at work. As it is, we balance the situation we've chosen and we still try to have our own adult time, together and apart.

Back to my male counterpart who either doesn't have children and/or a wife, or the male counterpart who has a house wife, I can easily see how a business would find that he creates more value by being able to work later, attend more after-work functions building more client relations, and by not having to take off for 6 weeks or more to have a baby. If you simply look at cash in and cash out - the male counterpart is a better choice, and it is difficult to justify choosing a woman to fill the spot when you could choose a man who is just as capable as the woman. So, I think it comes down to the fact that women simply must make themselves better than their male counterpart. Women must offer something that the male counterpart cannot, whether that be better connections, better customer service, better job performance, better attitude, better loyalty, or whatever.

I know that there are plenty of women out there who disagree with this appraisal of the workplace. Many women believe that we are entitled to have a job, get paid the same, and still take a paid maternity leave despite the fact that we will not bring in the same amount of profit as we would if we did not have to take a maternity leave. And, quite frankly, I think the entire debate sucks. It's a crappy situation, because I have to bear the children. My husband can't split that duty with me on that. It is my career that takes a hit. I am the one who has to take off 6 weeks and miss the opportunities that arise at work during that time. I am the one who will have to pass off my responsibilities so that I can exit the workforce to give birth and nurse my newborn. I am the one who will have to ease back into the workforce after the child is old enough to start daycare. Only women can take bear the child, thus, only the woman will bear the brunt of this sacrifice on her career. This will never change. It is a fact of life, and it sucks.

Thus, I am brought to the question, of how this affects raises, bonuses, and the possibility of promotion (in my case, making partner). I haven't been able to take advantage of all the opportunities that my male counter part has because I've missed weeks of firm business. I have not been able to bill or collect the same amount of money that my male counter part has. Even if I make partner, I will still have a family to raise and commitments that will arise outside of work. Luckily, I think that many males today share many of these commitments so the gulf between us after the childbearing years lessens, but there are still the curmudgeons of yesteryear who see things differently.

It is also interesting to me that women who have a family, whether in Category 1 or Category 2, are thought less of in either case. If you are in Category 1 then the senior attorneys may think, "She doesn't care enough about her career to practice full time and she'll never be fully committed to the practice of law [or fill in other profession here]." If, however, you are in Category 2, then the senior attorneys may think, "She is not a very good mother since she isn't staying at home to take care of her children." I've heard both of these comments phrased by "open-minded" men with a more positive spin such as, "I can't believe she doesn't want to be at home with her kids more." or "She has such potential as an attorney, I can't believe she wants to give up on how successful she could be by going part time."

In the end, it is what it is, and I don't think there is a solution. (But certainly let me know if you think of one). Women will always be the ones bearing children. I just think we need to support one another's choices: Category 1 supports the decisions of Category 2, and Category 2 supports the decisions of Category 1, and male counterparts recognize and support the sacrifices that Categories 1 and 2 make for their families and careers. (Oh, and I would add (while I'm on my soapbox), please don't judge another person for choosing Category 1 or Category 2. We're all in this together. I personally don't think I would be a good stay at home mom, so Category 2 is my choice. Others may be kick-ass stay at home moms on a full time or part time basis - and I tip my hat to you and respect you and your ability to do that for your children.)

Sorry for the novel, but I've been engaged in this discussion multiple times in the last week, and obviously more than that throughout my career as a working mom. I'd love to hear your thoughts. There's plenty of debate in this topic.

Advice for New Parents (But not from me)

Generally, I don't give advice to parents unless someone specifically asks me for advice. Actually, I take that back, the only advice I give to new parents is to listen to your gut since you know your child best. In my experience, new parents are bombarded with well-meaning (but often misplaced and confusing) bits of advice from everyone they know, so I try to be the one who refrains from telling you what to do or how to do it. With that said, I ran across these two articles (oddly, written by a Canadian for Canadians) dealing with advice for women on how to deal with new fathers and advice for men on how to deal with new mothers, particularly in the first weeks of parenthood.

I don't think I could fully appreciate what the article had to say until after I had a child and actually experienced several of the topics of dicussion, but my motto is "The more you know, the better prepared you will be." (Well, that really isn't my one and only motto, obviously, but it is a pretty good one). Anyhoo . . . here are links to the two articles written by John Hoffman, and I think they are very insightful even if they are Canadian (just kidding about the Canadian bit). But really, there isn't much different between Canadian and American parents, eh?

A Girl's Guide to Rookie Dads
http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/33/A_Girls_Guide_to_Rookie_Dads.pdf

A Guy's Guide to New Mothers
http://www.happyhealthypregnancy.com/info/bow/article.aspx?article_id=2646&_nc=633621637864504917&_nockcheck=true

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant

I feel compelled to post this on my blog simply because I've gotten hits from people who are using search engines to find out more about "mothers who drink while pregnant" or "drinking alcohol while pregnant" or "drinking wine while pregnant" etc. So, for those of you who have stumbled upon this blog looking for information regarding drinking alcohol while pregnant (and then realized that this is just a blog about one pregnant girlfriend seeking advice from her pregnant girlfriends), here is my disclaimer:

I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I AM NOT AN EXPERT REGARDING FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME. NONE OF THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE HEREIN SHOULD BE RELIED UPON AS MEDICAL ADVICE.

With that said, here are some links to great resources which can inform you regarding both sides of the fence (to drink or not to drink). These are more focused on a U.S. audience (I've had hits from other countries), but there is an article at the end that compares the stances taken by various countries around the world.

In my opinion (which counts for nothing since I'm not a doctor), this is a personal choice - as personal as deciding whether to get pregnant. Please inform yourself and make a decision from there. Please do not judge others if their decision is different from yours.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that no amount of alcohol while pregnant is safe:
http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/press_releases/nr02-06-08-1.cfm

Study by Oxford reveals occasional binge drinking does little harm:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article2866166.ece

Medical Textbooks still condone drinking while pregnant:
http://www.jointogether.org/news/research/summaries/2002/medical-textbooks-condone.html

Federal Drug Administration and U.S. Surgeon General's stance:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1370/is_3_39/ai_n16419491/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1
"Alcohol warning for pregnant women". FDA Consumer. . FindArticles.com. 12 Nov. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1370/is_3_39/ai_n16419491

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas/

Frequently Asked Questions about FAS published by the CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas/faqs.htm

Article "Yes, You Can Drink While Pregnant"
http://parentingsquad.com/yes-you-can-drink-while-pregnant

Articles regarding Study performed by University College of London which found that light drinking while pregnant may be beneficial, particularly to boys:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/oct/31/women-pregnancy-alchohol-birth-defects and

http://www.momlogic.com/2008/10/new_study_says_drinking_while.php

Articles regarding drinking alcohol to prevent preterm labor (this is not social drinking):
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/326763/naturally_stopping_and_managing_premature.html?cat=25 and

http://www.ehow.com/how_2083323_stop-preterm-labor-naturally.html and

Oxford Study regarding linking drinking alcohol and preterm birth:
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/159/2/155?maxtoshow=&HITS=80&hits=80&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=alcohol&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=90&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWCIT

And my favorite, an article comparing different countries' stances on drinking while pregnant:
http://www.icap.org/portals/0/download/all_pdfs/ICAP_Reports_English/report6.pdf

I hope you will take this information and make an informed decision. Again, I must emphasize that I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Happy researching, and congratulations if you are pregnant!