Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Plans

I have decided to turn over a new leaf tomorrow and start getting up to shower before Rob leaves for work, instead of staying in bed until after he leaves, often with a child or two who has joined me. There has been quite a bit of laziness around here since preschool ended and our schedule opened up into its lovely summer spaciousness. Not showering before Rob leaves results in me turning on TV for the girls while I shower and just a really slow, unproductive start to our day in general; watching TV so frequently in the morning just isn't ideal. And it's not like I'm getting a lot of really restful, restorative sleep during that time anyway.

Ugh, pregnancy-induced sleep troubles... I'm definitely getting to that point, 30 weeks pregnant now, down to two months and a few days until my due date. I am in general getting to "that point", actually-- swelling, heartburn, restless legs, BEING VERY LARGE. I have had my first moments of thinking, "Wow, I am really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore." It's so interesting what one's mind and body does through this whole process. In my first trimester this time around, I had anxiety and actual fear about doing the labor/birth thing again. This was new for me; I don't ever remember feeling literal dread and fear about labor and birth before. I went back and read my birth stories with Grace and Violet and I felt apprehension and dismay about having to do that again. The intervening months have changed my perspective, though, and now I would be perfectly happy to push an 8 or 9 pound baby out of my-- well, you know-- in exchange for not being pregnant anymore. And it won't be very long before I will be all AAAAACK GET HIM OUT OF ME CAN'T BE PREGNANT ANYMORE and would be open to the idea of actually cutting into my abdomen to get him out, if it came to that. So take that as you will; the characteristics of pregnancy are such that eventually options that once struck fear in my heart now seem like not-half-bad ideas. Biology, man-- it's like magic.

I do still have some anxieties, of course-- two main ones. 1) With Grace, my water broke and then nothing happened. I know in my mind that this is very unlikely to happen again (one's body tends to get things going much more easily/quickly after the first time around) but I still sort of dread it. The OB practice I was with at the time would give you 24 hours to go into labor after rupturing membranes and at that point (when I was still having no real contractions and was not dilated at all), we started on a full-on pitocin induction and constant monitoring and all that, and almost ended up with a C-section. It was... not very pleasant and I really don't want to do that again. (With Violet, my membranes didn't rupture until I was fully dilated and about to push, in case you're curious.) 2) I reallyreallyreallyreally hate having an IV and the thing most likely to make me get one would be if I turn out to be positive for Group B strep. For the uninitiated, this is a strain of bacteria that can live in the birth canal (among other places) and cause a serious infection in the baby. If you have it (they test for it around 36 weeks) they give you IVs of antibiotics during labor so that the baby gets the drug and won't get infected during birth. I am not cavalier/dismissive/fearless enough to refuse the antibiotics if I am positive for GBS, but oh, how intensely I hope I am not because being able to labor untethered and comfortable is SO much better. In fact, I dislike having an IV so much that I am probably going to indulge in some magical thinking and try some old-wives-tale type preventative things before my GBS test. How's that for logical analytical decision-making?

So I have big plans for getting up and showering earlier every day, and also I have plans to be more intentional with Grace and some reading and handwriting this summer. We haven't been very consistent with that and she is actually showing excitement and interest about it, so I am going to try to invest some more time in that. When I think back to that testing she did for the magnet programs, I am sort of puzzled that she could score so highly when she wasn't really reading at the time. She does better now with sounding out words, but at the time she wasn't able to smoosh sounds together to read a word. I guess that the tests weren't really testing skills like that but "ability", whatever that means? I don't know.

The past two weeks got swallowed up with swimming lessons and although I still find this somewhat inexplicable, I was unable to do much of anything else besides get us to the pool with all our gear and sunscreen and packed lunches, and then back home again with baths and laundry and the post-swimming routine. Violet's skin turns out to be pretty sensitive to the chlorine so the bath and laundry and all that was necessary, even if it did suck away the last bit of my energy every day. Being at the pool was soooooo lovely, though. It really helped with my swelling and I felt much more comfortable on those days; we shall have to dedicate many days this summer to the pool, even though that session of lessons is over. I might do more lessons for Grace; she did really well and can actually swim now. She can't yet take a breath without stopping (so here is what she does: swim swim stop stand breathe swim swim etc.) but she can actually propel herself forward in the water and looooooves it. Violet, on the other hand, spent the entirety of the swimming lessons yelling in protest. She is not afraid of the water and she is perfectly capable of doing everything the teacher wanted her to do, but she DID NOT WANT TO. She didn't want to be part of the cute group of toddlers playing games and getting their heads wet and blowing bubbles and whatnot; she wanted to go do what SHE wanted to do, which now includes going off the diving board. "I need to stand up there," she points. "I need to jump." I think she will do better with swim lessons next year at 3 and 1/2 when we can explain to her that if she wants to swim in the deep end and go off the diving board, then she needs to do what her teacher tells her to. There is not so much reasoning to be done with her at 2 and 1/2. It's comical how different she is at this age from Grace. Grace has always had such an instinct for participating and joining and doing what a teacher says, while Violet is independent and her own person and yes, sometimes, recalcitrant. It does make me wonder if keeping Violet home from preschool for another year of maturity and learning discipline at home might end up being a really good idea after all.

Monday, June 13, 2011


The middle of June is a time of celebrations for us. Last Friday was my birthday (33 years!) and then tomorrow is our anniversary (9 years!) so it feels like there is lots of fun and special meals and making merry. I did a much better job of having a fun birthday than last year when life was so crazy with having the house on the market and planning our move and Abbey being so sick and everything. Wow, it's almost hard to believe how much life has changed in the past year; I have visceral memories of the stress and anxiety and just how not fun it was to sell a house and plan a big move but it seems very distant now. Anyway, THIS year was much more enjoyable. I had a lovely massage and I bought a pear almond tart from a really good bakery here and we walked down the street to a Middle Eastern restaurant with outdoor seating where we sat in the shade of a tree, eating our pita and baba ganooj and listening to jazz played at the outdoor patio of the restaurant across the street. Basically, it could not have been better. I also had an OB appointment that day with my 1-hour glucose tolerance screen (all normal) which was less fun but I certainly won't complain too much. I have another appointment in a month and then I start going every 2 weeks-- yikes! It's like maybe I'm going to have a baby soon or something.

And then tomorrow is our anniversary, our ninth! What a transformative, joyous, liberating thing being married to Rob has proved to be... We have a babysitter coming over and are going on a date to a new-to-us fancy-ish Italian place downtown. I hope the weather stays nice because I made a reservation out on their patio. I tell you, living in Salt Lake is revolutionizing summer for me. It's like it's an actual pleasant season or something.

Hmmmm, what else is going on? I put Violet's hair in pigtails for the first time, with very adorable results:

Funny face

Also, today was the first day of swim lessons for us. Grace is in a group class and Violet and I are doing a parent-tot class that runs at the same time. I signed up for these classes about a month ago and then was struck with some anxiety a few weeks later because it had still not really warmed up much. The classes are in an outdoor pool and oh, how I've been hoping it would be not be freezing cold. The pool itself is heated which obviously helps a lot, but on an overcast not-truly-warm day it is rather unpleasant and I end up with blue-lipped shivery children. It's only in the 70s today but fortunately it was sunny so we had a lovely first day. We ate lunch after their lessons and then stayed to play in the pool for a while. Being in the pool feels soooooooo wonderful to me, and I imagine that feeling will only intensity as the summer gets hotter and I get bigger. I had sort of forgotten what an undertaking going to the pool is, though. There's so much to pack to get there, and then the whole process afterward of bathing/showering everyone and rinsing swimsuits and doing laundry makes me feel like I can't accomplish much else that day. Oh well, it's the price to pay for floating about in the pool, I suppose.

For about a day, I thought that Grace had a loose tooth. She was eating an apple and all of the sudden got this startled look on her face, then declared her tooth wiggly. I was skeptical at first because I couldn't feel it wiggling, but she was so consistent about it for the better part of a day that I eventually believed her. She hasn't really mentioned it since that day so I don't think any tooth loss is imminent, but that evening I started a little tooth fairy pillow for her with a tiny pocket for her tooth to go in. Projects like this are so pleasurable, where I use only stuff I have on hand to put together something pretty and fun. I will admit that after looking at line drawings of teeth and then embroidering that tooth on the pocket, I feel totally unconvinced that the shape is recognizable; it just looks like an amorphous blob to me now. Also, Grace insists that she wanted me to put the pocket on the other side, but it's too late for that now and I think it's cute, so there.

Tooth fairy pillow

I've been sewing quite a bit lately, come to think of it. Sewing mojo tends to come and go in waves, greatly affected by life circumstances such as first trimester exhaustion or moving or there being a lot of good stuff on TV or whatever. The stars have aligned and I have been sewing almost daily, churning out completed project after completed project. I sewed a handful of maternity skirts for me and summer things for Grace (Violet wears a lot of hand-me-downs so most of my little-kid sewing is for Grace) and I've even reached the bottom of piles of planned projects that I haven't gotten to for AGES, which feels lovely. Having energy and time to pursue fun hobby-type things is AWESOME. I'll enjoy it while I can.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moving Day

Yesterday was moving day for our chickens, leaving the little cage in our garage with its heat lamp for the coop outside.

All done!

Ready for new tenants

Moving day

Violet likes the new coop too

Exploring the upstairs

Making themselves at home

I am so happy with how the coop turned out; Rob used these plans to put it together. The upper floor has the roosting area and the nest boxes and the bottom part is where they eat and drink and eat bugs and explore. The sides lift off to access the upstairs for cleaning and whatnot. That ladder/ramp pulls up using a pulley to secure the upstairs for nighttime. The chickens seem to be doing well so far, although they haven't yet learned to go upstairs in the evening. We've been manually putting them up there before pulling up the ramp.  Hopefully they will get the idea soon. (Supposedly this is something chickens naturally want to do?) They can get down the ramp and we are pretty sure they are capable of getting up the ramp but they don't seem particularly interested in doing that. Mysterious creatures, these chickens. And can you believe how much they've grown? They looked like this just SIX WEEKS AGO.

Oh, and I don't make the girls wear their helmets to play with the chickens or anything. It just seems like they always go straight for their bicycle/tricycle when they first go outside and then they end up running around with their helmets on all the time.