Not Every Day

What I saw on my drive home from church last Sunday....


All she wants for Christmas is . . .

Compared to the loss of the other front tooth on Thanksgiving (flying face first into a moving treadmill), this one was much less dramatic. We stopped at Target after work to get a Christmas gift for my niece. A blew part of her allowance on a rice krispie treat and an Icee. She bit into her snack and then suddenly the tooth was hanging by a thread, quite literally. I convinced her to let me yank it out lest we find ourselves in the predicament of searching on hands and knees for a tooth hopelessly lost on the white floor in the toy aisle. All it took was a tiny tug and it was out.

So, s's are a bit challenging now (I made her say theven, therendipity, and thuthpicious just for my own amusement) and also . . . the tooth fairy is going broke. Two more teeth are also loose. I mean looth.

No, not embarrassing at all.

Yesterday, I received this email from my daughter's teacher:

Just wondering if A showed you her homework slip for reading last night? She said that she didn’t get it finished because she had chores to do all night and there wasn’t any time when the chores got finished. I had written on her slip that she needed to read chapter 3 and 4 (which she was supposed to do in class and write a summary). This was given to her group and they had 45 minutes to work on it. She chose to only read chapter 3 and then read other stuff. I told her that she needed to complete for group later on in the day. So when she came to group she didn’t have it finished and she was given as homework chapter 5.

I'll just come right out and say it: my daughter's time management skills leave much to be desired. Sometimes I wonder why we are bothering to save for her college education, when the odds of her making it to her classes seem so very small. I worry about her future career and can only pray that it is one that does not require her to show up for work at any specific time. You know I love my child with all my heart and soul, and I am surely her biggest fan, but she does have this one teensy little flaw. 

On weekdays, her alarm clock goes off at 6:00 a.m. After her dad and I nag her for the next 15 minutes, she throws us a bone and finally takes off her pajamas. 9 times out of 10, she is still naked at 6:30.  And her breakfast is cold. We've tried rewarding her, punishing her, taking her shit away - you name it! Before she was born, we showed up at places on time. Now, we go skidding into work, movies, birthday parties, church, etc. about a minute after we are supposed to be there. And it's all because we cannot take a naked child with us. We have to require clothing and in our home, at least for one member of our household, getting dressed is an ordeal of epic proportions.

So, I feel her teacher's pain as I'm sure that A's time management skills don't magically improve once she gets to school. When I read that email from her teacher, embarrassment was the first emotion to register in my brain. I assume you caught the line about CHORES ALL NIGHT?! Fortunately, I know teachers are wise people who do not believe every word a child says. It is true that my daughter has a short list of chores:
  1. Dust once a week
  2. Pick up dog poop twice a week (we have suspended this one for the winter)
  3. Take a bath every other day, as independently as possible. 
  4. Make bed daily.
It is also true that Tuesday was the night she was expected to dust. If she focused on that task, I believe it would take her a maximum of 10 minutes. However, she starts a task but then finds ways to prolong it. She dances and sings. She rifles through the candy jar, kisses her dog Gretchen on the lips, and watches shows on the Disney Channel featuring preternaturally cheerful teens. She may even stop to do some impromptu coloring.

I was at yoga on the night in question but I can assure you that she had ample time to do her homework and the one chore she was asked to do. In theory, she should even have had lots of time left over to play video games with her dad and whatever else she wanted to do. But that's not how she rolls.

In any case, I did respond to her teacher with assurances that we'd work harder at making sure our daughter completes all assignments. I also let her know that we did not require the little fibber to do chores ALL NIGHT. When I called my mom and told her about her granddaughter's latest escapade, she laughed until she was out of breath.  "Well, she sure threw you under the bus!" she exclaimed.

I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time under that bus.

Conversations with Kerri


Kerri: "Mom, guess what?"

Mom: "What?"

Kerri: "I'm an endangered species because there is only one of me!"

Life with Kerri is smiling.

Customer Service

There is a little bath shop that I love. The store carries gigantic bath fizzy balls, soaps, fancy lotions, rubber duckies, and countless other products related to bath and body. For me, there is nothing better than a hot bath on a cold winter's day. And, if I smell halfway decent when I climb out . . . so much the better.  I'm a sucker for bath-related products. This particular store is located in a college town a couple hours from me. I stop in whenever I'm in that neck of the woods. My mom has accompanied me on one of her visits as well.  I've been in the soap store at least a dozen times, if not more. Guess how many times an employee has asked me, "Can I help you?"  Zero. My mom experienced the same thing when she was with me one time.

Now, I don't know if maybe I just look like I haven't got any money. Or maybe I'm not hip enough for this upscale shop in a college town. I have no idea. I have noticed that behind the counter at this store they have all sorts of oils and, as I understand it, you can customize the scents. I'm not really sure since no one has ever offered to tell me about them. Sure, I could ask for help but I always feel a little sheepish about doing that. I mean, I'm not even sure I want the custom-scented oils - I guess I just want to know how it all works. I always buy a few things - some bath fizzies, some lotion, etc. One time I bought my stad a toothbrush there and he said it was the best toothbrush of his life. If one of the hipsters behind the counter took the time to approach me, ask me what kinds of scents I like, etc. . . . I can't help but think they'd stand a chance at increasing their sales significantly.

Anyway, it's become sort of a running joke with me and my mom. I'll tell her, "Hey, I went to that soap store and the record remains unbroken!" She suggested that I contact the store after I told her about my most recent visit there in November.  So, I sent a little email through their website.  I basically said, "Hey, I love your store and am a big fan but for what it's worth . . ."

I got a response from the owner of the store thanking me for my feedback.  However, then he added this:

Some times too when people are shopping together I hate to interrupt their conversation with "may I help you?"  That is the same when people are on cell phones or playing with their hand held devices. 

So, let me get this straight - I didn't get squat for customer service and . . . it is probably my own fault? For the record, during my last visit I was in the store with my daughter. She was in an aisle by herself, picking out some bath beads shaped like dolphins and whatnot. I was in another aisle, also by myself and definitely not on my phone. Believe me, I worked retail for several years and I am not the yahoo who talks on the phone at the check-out. I am also not a big text-er. Thanks to my non-bending thumb, it is just too tedious for me to do it with any regularity. But sure, maybe it was my fault somehow.

Lest I leave you with the impression that I am a chronic complainer, I want to share a quick story about good customer service. For my wee baby sister's birthday, I ordered a custom 'mother's necklace' for her from an etsy shop. The necklace features a disk on which my three nephews' names are engraved. Their birthstones are also attached.  When I got the necklace in the mail, it wasn't exactly as I had envisioned. I agonized over whether or not I should contact the seller. Finally, I mustered up the nerve to contact her and she responded right away with an offer to make the changes I was requesting.  I sent the necklace back and a few days later I had a replacement that looked just like I wanted it to. Therefore, I can happily recommend that if you are looking for unique and/or custom jewelry, check out Rips Designs.

In my job as a project manager in web development, I also provide technical support to clients. More often than not, when a client calls with an issue, it is probably a 'user error' sort of situation. However, I can't say, "This is your fault. You clicked the wrong thing." It would be rude, for starters. My goal is to help them with their problem and to have them hang up feeling like they've received assistance without condescension. If I get it right, they stick around as happy clients and I get to keep my job. It's a win-win. It's really not that hard to be nice to people and treat them decently.  So sayeth I.

9 Weeks and Dreams of Burgerville

Today is the 9 week mark!  My little Nugget is growing strong, and according to my apps, is either the size of a cherry, green olive or a grape.  A cherry seems plumper to me and so that's the fruit I will be going with this week.  Babies should be round and plump!  One interesting thing that I didn't know is that Nugget's gender has been decided but the sex organs won't be distinguishable for another month or two.  He or she has eyes and eyelids, a 4 chamber heart that beats really fast, nerves, ear lobes, little webbed fingers and toes, and no more tail! The images that the apps show still make Nugget look like a little alien with a head as big as the whole rest of the body, but whatever.  I love my little alien. :)

I am going to gush on my husband for a second, so if that bugs you, skip to the next paragraph!  I for sure made the right choice when I married him.  I'm just constantly amazed at how unselfish and how supportive he is.  I haven't cooked a meal in probably a month, and don't even get me started on the housework (which I usually do thanks to a day off in the middle of the week from work).  When I have to run to the bathroom to throw up, he just brings me water and leaves me alone (thank goodness).  He offers to go buy me anything I want to eat, or warns me when to not watch the TV (like during the Walking Dead's most recent episode...gory). When the smell of his tacos was a little too strong for me, he offered to go eat in the other room.  He bought me a nightstand lamp so I could go read in bed and not have to get up to turn the lights off. He's giving me space, he's letting me do what I need to do and just supporting me and loving me and being happy with me.  I just love my husband.  He's committed to going to all the doctor's visits with me, and he's going to go on hospital tours with me and I don't feel alone. When I burst into tears during Fantine singing "I Dreamed a Dream" when Les Miserables on TV (like, gut wrenching hiccup crying) he just gave me a hug and told Nugget to stop making Mommy cry!

He asked me the other day how it felt to be pregnant and the first word out of my mouth was "weird." And maybe that's not a very "glowing pregnant woman" thing to say, but it really is.  Everything I think, everything I feel, the way my body looks and how it moves, it all feels just weird and it's different.  It's just like my body isn't mine anymore, and I'm pretty used to my body being my own!  And I know, it's only going to get weirder.  But every week that passes, I feel more relaxed and more excited.  We're almost out of that first trimester danger zone, and I will tentatively say while knocking on wood that my morning sickness hasn't been so bad the past few days.  I've been eating regular food and though I still feel nauseous in the mornings, mostly it's not so bad the rest of the day.  I even had a craving for Burgerville yesterday--Washington people know about this west coast fast food chain.  Trust me to have a craving for chicken strips from a place called Burgerville that's 2000 miles away.  This better not be how the next 7 months go!!

My goals for the next few weeks are to start reading to Nugget so he or she will grow up to love reading and be an early reader and very smart, and to make sure I go to bed by 10pm or earlier.  Even worse than the morning sickness is the FATIGUE!  I constantly feel like I need to just go lay down.  I'm noticing that I'm sitting more often at work, and having to drag myself through the last half of my ten hour days.  It's definitely hard to feel excited and do the glowing thing when you just feel wiped out.  Maybe one of my apps will have tips on how to keep my energy up!  Christmas season is here and I can't afford to feel too tired when there is shopping to be done!  I keep going through things in my head...last Thanksgiving, just the two of us, last Christmas, just the two of us, last birthdays just the two of us.  Thank goodness though, I asked Mark last night if he felt ready for a baby and he said "No" pretty quickly, which is just how I feel too.  Again, so nice to not feel alone!

That's all for this week.  Still no belly pictures, but mostly because I don't think I have much of a belly yet.  Although, my work pants DID feel a little tight yesterday...so maybe I shouldn't wait too much longer!

Love,
Ilea

PS-So, a well wisher gave Prince William a onesie with "Daddy's Little Co-Pilot" written on it at a recent event.  He said, "I'll keep this" and gave it to his aide to hold onto.  Could this be a sign that the rumors are true?!  How exciting!

Boots and dinner.

Yesterday evening, after Daddy got home from work, we headed to a department store to buy new winter boots for Kerri.  It has already snowed, and the new boots we bought her last month are too tight on her now and caused blisters.

It was not easy finding a snow boot that would fit comfortably: Kerri has a wide foot, and one foot is bigger than the other one.  But we finally settled on a pink and black Kamik boot, size 4.

We ended the evening at Boston Pizza for dinner, where Kerri eats free (they had a promotion where you donated a small amount to their charity and they gave you a card worth five free kids' meals).  Kerri learned quite a bit about boxing since they were showing an HBO Sports boxing special on the wide screen TV's in the restaurant.  It led to some interesting conversations about sports, injuries, the value of a good education, career planning, and money.  And after all that, Kerri's last question was: "Do female boxers also have to box with their chest naked?".

Life with Kerri is constantly answering questions.

Conversations with Kerri.

At the dinner table last night, we were discussing what kind of practical stocking stuffers we would hypothetically like to receive.  It was Daddy's way of trying to find out what Mommy wanted for the holidays.  I was surprised at just how many small things I could come up with! 

And then Kerri said: "Slow down Mom, the Tooth Fairy only left me $20.00; can you come up with just one or two things that I can afford?"

I smiled.  Because my heart swelled that my kid was thinking of using her cash to buy her Mom a gift.  So I told her she did not have to buy me anything, because I already have everything I could ever want. 

Life with Kerri has already received the best gift ever: our beautiful daughter Rao Wan Zhen.

Thanksgiving

Since I'm sure you were wondering . . . 

Yes, the manhole cover turned out to be fully edible. And yes, I made my mom's dressing recipe without incident. My dressing did taste slightly sweeter than hers - I probably screwed up the bread cubes to cornbread ratio somehow. I also used less pepper than she does because, to quote my mother: "Claudia thinks a mashed potato sandwich is too spicy." She has also been known to call me a "candy ass" because I'm not big on spicy foods. And keep in mind that I am her favorite!

The made-from-scratch cloverleaf rolls did cause me some angst in the afternoon when I began to fear that the yeast was not doing its job. The dough did not appear to be rising. However, eventually it thought better of becoming a failure and did what it was supposed to do. Homemade rolls are labor-intensive but oh so good. Carb heaven! The vegan gravy was pretty good. I can live without it but it wasn't bad.

My daughter helped with the mashed potatoes. And by "helping," of course I mean "caused the process to take ten times longer than it normally would." All in all, though, it was a very nice Thanksgiving at home, with just our little clan.




The dollar something or other store lesson.

With her tooth fairy money inside her purse, Kerri ventured off to a dollar something or other store with her Daddy.  I gave Daddy strict instructions: Kerri wanted to go shopping with her money, and she would have absolute freedom in how she would manage her finances, purchases, and decisions.  The only time Daddy was allowed to intervene was if she was choosing something unsafe or inappropriate, and even then he was supposed to make her think about her choices (only saying "no"if she really insisted on purchasing something not safe or inappropriate).

Kerri had already scoped out the store the other day with me, and had to choose between items because I was not buying her every thing she wanted.  At the time, I had told her when she had her own money, she could buy them if she wanted.  Now that she had her own money, I was curious if she would go back and get the things I refused to buy.  My hope, which I explained to Daddy, was that Kerri would learn a valuable lesson about monetary value, making choices, and consequences. 

They returned home with much less than I expected.  Kerri had a composition book, a whoopee cushion, and a squishy porcupine looking ball.  Not one of those things was anything she had looked at on our prior visit.  I asked Kerri how much she spent, and I was shocked.  She told me: "Nothing.  Daddy bought it for me.".  Instead of learning the lesson I had hoped, I thought the only lesson Kerri learned was to spend Daddy's money instead of her own.  I gave her Daddy my disapproving "we will talk later about this" look.

And we did.  Later on, when Kerri could not hear us, I asked him why he threw away the opportunity for her to learn a valuable lesson, when we had already discussed and agreed on this before they went out.  He told me that she did learn a lesson.  He said that she was careful about the choices she made: she would pick up things and then put them back down, saying "I don't really need this".  She was trying to get the most value for her money.  My husband reassured me that he did not influence Kerri at all, and that she did not ask him to pay.  Kerri was prepared to pay the cashier, but since it was only three items he decided she should save her money and he offered to pay for them (since he had made some purchases of his own).

Kerri still has her tooth fairy money.  So the lesson is incomplete.  Or maybe Kerri wasn't the one who learned a lesson. 

Life with Kerri still has much to learn.



It's Been a Quiet Week Here....

Though it was the week of a major, often stress-inducing American holiday, it was still quiet around here. Thanksgiving dinner was a relaxed, low-key event with only half the people we had attending last year. My boys surprised me by skillfully cleaning house on Wednesday while I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room ("Mom! Guess what we did! We mopped all the floors!") So with the house clean, a menu that I could now cook in my sleep and only a few guests, Thanksgiving was just no biggie.

I refuse to participate in the corporate and consumerist circus that has become Black Friday. There is plenty of time to shop for Christmas gifts without using the day(s) of giving thanks for the important things in life (faith and family, home and health) to increase our meaningless material possessions. So Friday was also spent quietly with some comfort baking (another pumpkin pie) more visiting family and books to read. Well... and a flat tire while in town but feeling so blessed, it didn't disturb the peace.

Since the wedding and apple turnover season ended my Saturdays have become blissfully mundane. After the holidays I expect to have many Saturdays booked with bridal meetings once again, planning wedding cakes and pie deliveries. For now the Saturdays are like those in years gone by, spent in halcyon homekeeping activities. I've been feeling a niggle of guilt for not planning some pie making classes during this prime time pie season, but I just can't bring myself to clutter up my calender when it is so pleasingly bare. So today, with the housekeeping and laundry in control and no pressing appointments I was able to occupy my pottery studio once again for a couple hours. I think it was the second or third time this year that I had my hands in clay.

Fresh coffee, Garrison Keillor on the radio and the whirr of the pottery wheel. 
Just like old times!

Sweet...and bitter chocolate.

Yesterday Kerri took her "ex" to a chocolate cooking class.  They are, after all, the very best of friends.  So she made sure he knew it was NOT a date.

On the way home, the ex tried to invite himself over for a sleepover.  Kerri politely informed him that her father would not let her have boys sleep over.  And her Daddy quickly added: "Not until you're 40!". 

And under her breath, but loud enough for all of us to hear, Kerri muttered: "With you, not ever."

We couldn't help but chuckle, and feel sorry for the ex.  I quickly told the boy that we only had one sleepover, and that we would most likely never have another, so it had nothing to do with him personally.

So the chocolate cooking class was a sweet success....but the ride home might have left a bitter taste.

Life with Kerri is bitter sweet sometimes.

You shoulda seen da other guy

My daughter is scared to death to pull a tooth out of her head. When she lost two bottom teeth last year, there was a lot of drama and trauma involved.  So, she decided not to tell me when her two front teeth started to become loose earlier this year. She didn't want me nagging her ass, I guess. I figured it out eventually, however.  I've been asking her about the teeth periodically for the past few months.

"How about we pull them out today?"

"No."

"Tomorrow?"

"Mo-om!"

I just worry that the new teeth are desperate to grow and, if not given a proper opportunity to claim their rightful spot in my daughter's mouth, will revolt and grow in at a 90-degree angle just for spite. I've tried my best not to nag her too much, though.  Fast forward to Wednesday night. The three of us kicked off the four-day weekend by going to a hockey game. The kid insisted on sitting in her dad's lap for the entire game (might get a little awkward when she's in her twenties, but seems okay for now). Between plays, she was showing us how she could push out her loosest tooth with her tongue. The tooth was barely hanging on.

When we got home, she brushed her teeth and the gum tissue around the loose tooth started to bleed. I almost had her talked into letting me pull it, but she got spooked and I didn't want to force the issue. I just told her that the tooth would come out eventually, one way or another.

On Thanksgiving Day, we ate dinner and then headed to my friend Sarah's house for dessert. My daughter was playing with her sons.  The boys are roughly the same age as A and they get along pretty well. Anyway, my husband and I were sitting outside when I got word that my kid was bleeding. I'm not one to panic but I hurried inside to find out the scoop. I found my daughter in the bathroom, crying and clutching a Kleenex up to her mouth. I knew right away that the tooth had made its escape at last.

Apparently, the boys had been showing A their parents' new treadmill.  My daughter climbed aboard willingly. I'm not sure what the speed setting was, but what I do know is that my child is not super coordinated.  She plunged face first onto the belt, knocking her tooth out in spectacular fashion.  The tread marks from the rubber were imprinted in her nose and lip. So, there it was - our Thanksgiving excitement.  I sat with her in the bathroom, attempting to console her. "I won't get any moneys because I don't know where the tooth is!" she wailed.

"The boys will find it," I assured her. Sure enough, the boys rounded the corner right at that moment, tooth in hand.

"Hey, can I see the blood? asked the younger one.

I imagine we won't soon forget this Thanksgiving!  It doesn't really show up in the photo below, but she still has the treadmill marks on her nose and lip. And now she's snaggle-toothed, but still cute as all get out. Oh, and she's four dollars richer.


Scream!

This morning, at 6 AM, Kerri woke us up with her cries.  She had a bad nightmare, and we quickly calmed her down and went back to bed.

A few minutes later, we heard her scream.  But this time it was for joy!  The Tooth Fairy left her a $20.00 bill under her pillow and she found it.  She kept telling us the fairy made a mistake, because Kerri only asked for $2.00. 

The smile on hubby's face was priceless. 

Life with Kerri bets you can guess who the Tooth Fairy is in our family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving last month.  But it is Thanksgiving today in the United States.  So we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning we played hookie from school to go to the dentist.  Kerri had two teeth pulled, and she was so very brave.  We had a bit of bleeding, but she handled it very well.  As a matter of fact, she complained that she wanted to go back to school.

Instead, we spent the afternoon playing and shopping for holiday gifts for Daddy and Nana.  And later tonight she has Brownies.  It has been a very productive day, and tonight the Tooth Fairy has to do double duty!

Life with Kerri is grateful for all the blessings in our lives.

I'm a grown-up; I can do this

I'm preparing to make Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I ordered a turkey breast for my husband from Heavenly Ham. Yes, that's right. They sell turkey at the ham place. For me I bought . . . a Tofurky Roast. I have sandwiches made from Tofurky deli slices all the time, so I suppose I already have an idea of how it will taste. I am guessing that Short Stuff will decide to pass. Different or unknown = baaaaaad.  The Tofurky is stuffed with dressing and comes with a container full of vegan gravy. I'm pretty curious about how the gravy will taste in as much as I haven't eaten gravy since I was a kid.

In addition to the main dishes, I am also making:
  • Stuffing/dressing
  • Cloverleaf rolls (from scratch, yo!)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole 
  • A brownie torte 
After dinner, we are heading to a friend's house to enjoy some dessert (and, if a girl can dream, some wine). I am taking my brownie torte along. I brought it to my parents' house one year for Thanksgiving. My stad spotted it on the kitchen counter and asked, "What's that? A manhole cover?"  The name has stuck ever since. Let me just say that my manhole cover is delicious, dammit! 

I am making the dressing from my mother's written recipe, passed to me a long time ago. The recipe has no ingredients list and no quantities are mentioned. Also, the word "moist" is used more times than seems necessary. The recipe is peppered with statements like "I don't really have a recipe for this" and "just cook it 'til it's done," so I can't say that I have complete confidence in my ability to complete the mission.  Another gem from my mom: "Yeast is a very tricky thing."  This little tidbit will come in handy when I make the cloverleaf rolls.

In case you are wondering, my mother is well-stocked with one liners for her children. Another example: "I don't care if you kill each other - just do it in your room" (I'm bummed that I never get to use that one, since A is our only child).  The other day, my mom and I were reminiscing about another old nugget: "WHO THREW UP ON THE WASHINGTON POST?"  I keep thinking I should have that one printed on a tee shirt. My middle sister and I had taken our wee baby sister out for drinks on her 21st birthday. There were a lot of shots involved, so I guess she expelled those shots onto the Washington Post when we got home.  Ah, the memories.

In any case, I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal. I hope everything turns out to be, you know, edible. I'm going to start the day off with a yoga class in case that helps me to focus and not overindulge for the rest of the day.

I'm also planning to do some Black Friday shopping . . . on Friday. I know I wasted a lot of energy ranting about this last year, but I still say it's ridiculous to open a store on Thanksgiving. So, I will go on Friday and hang out with all the other crazy people. I have coupons and a strategy and umpteen nephews to buy for. My youngest nephew was born on December 26th, so we're not sure how to handle that (celebrate on the 26th? a few days later?)  Poor kid. And just wait until I tell him that his mother once THREW UP ON THE WASHINGTON POST!

Happy Thanksgiving!


8 Weeks-It Just Got Real!

Yesterday, Mark, Nugget and I had our first visit with the doctor.  It was a moment I was equal parts excited and nervous as heck about.  Is there really a baby in there?  Is it's heart beating?  Good gracious, could there be TWO in there?!?!  We were immediately reassured as soon as this image came up on the ultrasound screen.

Yep, that's my little Nugget!  Growing strong and healthy.  You can see the head to the left, and a small arm bud sticking out at the bottom.  We also got to hear the heartbeat, which sounded perfectly healthy and fast and probably the coolest sound I ever heard.



My wonderful husband kept his stoic calm while the doctor was in the office, but as soon as she left I got a big, huge kiss, so I guess he was happy!

Although we had some previous ideas on how to tell our parents, that night I ruined them by being unable to wait a single second more to spill the beans.  So I called my parents first, and then we hopped in the car and drove over to tell Mark's parents.   I'd already kept this a secret for 3 weeks or so, how could I wait any longer to tell them!?  So far, everyone seems really happy and excited, and just like I thought, it's helping me feel more excited too.

At least, I would feel more excited if I didn't feel so SICK.  My morning sickness started about a week and a half ago, when I was at about 6 1/2 weeks.  And oh boy, is it fun.  I've loaded up on bland food, ginger ale, granola bars, gatorade, water, everything I can think of to make sure I'm keeping food down and staying hydrated.  Doing ok so far, but feeling nauseous 24/7 is not my idea of a good time! 

We have a few major decisions ahead of us, namely, what hospital do we want to have the baby at, and what screening tests do we want to have.  I've mentioned some of my fears on previous posts and now that I have the choice, I'm really not sure if I want to go through the screenings and any required subsequent testing.  There's definitely pros and cons to each side.  Mark told me something though that has definitely made me feel better-"Everything is right until someone tells us it's not anymore."  When I start to worry or feel afraid, repeating that to myself definitely helps take my mind away from the what if's, back to what IS.  And what IS is that I have an awesome little human growing happily away inside of me, and it's going to be the best darn baby there ever was!! 

My official due date is July 3, 2013, and we'll be able to find out the sex of the baby at 20 weeks, which should be somewhere around Valentine's Day.  This baby seems to like holidays...8 week ultrasound right around Thanksgiving, first trimester over around Christmas, hopefully morning sickness over by my birthday, next ultrasound at Valentine's Day and birth sometime close to 4th of July!

Interesting point of fact...all those many years ago, my husband first told me his feelings for me on July 3, 2003, when we were in Chicago for the fireworks. We started dating shortly thereafter in the summer before we went to college together at U of Illinois.  That means that our baby could be born 10 years to the day since this whole adventure started.  That's a nice round number. :)

My next doctor's visit will be Dec. 19 and at that point the first trimester will be over and maybe I'll be showing a little bit!  I haven't taken any belly pictures yet but I hope to start that tradition this weekend.  I'm on Pinterest looking all the time for ideas-do a weekly picture?  Monthly?  Wear the same outfit?  I don't know, so I guess I need to think on it more.  We're going to try to start clearing out the future nursery soon, because it is still a bit of a catchall room from when we moved to the house last April.  This winter and spring are going to be very busy around here!  But I love it, and I'm going to enjoy every second of it. :)

Love,
Ilea

PS-It's no secret that I am slightly obsessed with Kate Middleton...and rumor has it, she's pregnant!  (Although, to be fair, that rumor isn't exactly new.)  That would make all this even better...it's reassuring to think that if she IS pregnant, she's about where I am now, and having to do royal events, wear high heels and all kinds of things while feeling sick too.  If she can do it, and still look that good, I really have no excuses! 

Charity Schmarity

With the holidays upon us, I find myself wondering, once again, if I am doing enough to encourage acts of charity from my child. I am uncomfortable with the focus on charity reaching a fever pitch around the holidays and then lying dormant the rest of the year. Or at least that is how it seems to go for most families. For our family, we are heavily involved in a charity (Boxer Rescue) so for us it is a year-round affair (feeding and caring for dogs that don't belong to us, attending rescue events, etc.) However, we are still faced with the specter of our daughter's lengthy Christmas wish list each year. I feel the need to counter the "I wants" with at least one concrete, tangible "I give."

Last year, we adopted an angel tree recipient named Bianca. I purposely chose a girl who was close to my daughter's age in case it might help A to identify with Bianca in some way. Well, I am embarrassed to admit it, but my kid did not lose any sleep over Bianca's plight. There was no real empathy, no mi casa, su casa action.

So, I think I should try a new tactic this year. I think maybe I should let her choose a charitable endeavor on her own. I sat down with her this afternoon and suggested that she should think about donating part of her allowance to a charity. She gave me an odd look.

"A charity?"

"Yes," I said. "You know . . . do something nice for, or give a little donation to, someone you don't know. A stranger."

She looked even more confused now. "A stranger?  Well, we don't know the people in that one house down the street. I guess I could give them some money." 

"Oh, I didn't mean to pick a random . . . hey, let's talk about this later, okay?

I don't know. I don't feel like a charitable act should be something that's forced. Charity shouldn't be limited to the holidays either, of course. What's a mom to do?

At the holiday parade with her pop

My Eyes Are Not Accustomed to This Light

My boy installed new lighting in my kitchen. Just in time for Thanksgiving menu prep!

I knew there was a good reason I pushed out five boys!

Growing up.


Life with Kerri is growing up too fast.

Don't forward stupid crap (please)

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who
created the universe, and the vast majority believe you.
Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.
- George Carlin

I got this email yesterday:

Distribution has begun...Refuse new coins!       

True Americans will refuse these

It has begun..

REFUSE NEW COINS

This simple action will make a strong statement.
Please help do this. Refuse to accept these when they are
handed to you.

I received one from the Post Office as change and I asked for a dollar bill instead. The lady just smiled and said 'way to go' , so she had read this e -mail.  Please help out..our world is in enough trouble without this too!!!!!

U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins
You guessed it

'IN GOD WE TRUST'  IS GONE from the front and back!!!
If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!!
DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE
Together we can force them out of circulation..

Please send to all on your mailing list!!

The font of the original email was much, much bigger. Because, you know, your crazy talk will somehow make sense to me if each letter is the size of a grapefruit. The email was sent to me by a woman who runs a local health and wellness center.  The center itself is an asset to our community. Its focus is on natural approaches to one's well-being. For example, they bring in massage therapists, reiki practitioners, yoga instructors, etc. They also have a lot of seminars. At some point I must have gotten myself on the mailing list for the center. The emails have always bugged me because every other words is a different size/color font and reading them always makes me feel a little stabby. But, I thought the intent was good so I subdued my anal-retentive need for consistency and balance and readability.

Anyway, I unsubscribed from the mailing list once I received the email about the coins. If one more person tries to tell me how to be a better American, I might just lose my shit. Seriously.

Oh, and does no one do any fact checking, for crying out loud?  I don't have any dollar coins, but according to Snopes, "in God we trust" is on the dollar coin - it is just on the edge instead of the traditional location. Read the whole thing if you wish (and here is another article as well). From what I've been reading, the dollar coins aren't even being produced at this point. I think most of us hate them anyway. I don't know how many versions of the dollar coin there have been, but some of the ones I've seen in my lifetime have been far too close in size to the quarter (the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin comes to mind). Try handing one to a sixteen-year-old cashier if you want to see why it's a problem. But, I digress.

Another point that people seem to forget:  "in God we trust" was not added to paper currency until the late 1950s. It was added as a knee-jerk reaction to the whole "Red Scare" business. Apparently we thought that if we put something about God on our money, it would scare away those wicked commies. Maybe we thought a reference to God was their Kryptonite or something.

I get so tired of misinformation. My wee baby sister and I were talking about this the other day. People say that Obama is trying to take away their guns. False. He has periodically made statements about assault weapons (you know, machine guns and whatnot), but in general, he supports the Second Amendment. He seems to avoid the issue as much as he can. President Obama is also regularly accused of being soft on immigration (he does say that he favors immigration reform . . . whatever that means), but record numbers of people have been deported since he took office in 2009.

I just wish people wouldn't blindly forward every stupid email they receive.

Let me just say this:

- Whether or not it says "in God we trust" on our money
- Whether or not same-sex couples are allowed to marry
- Whether or not people smoke wacky-tobacky in the privacy of their homes
- Whether or not my friends/neighbors/co-workers/elected officials believe in God

 . . . it does not affect my life in any way.

I wish people would just focus on being decent human beings instead of worrying so much about whether everyone else meets their definition of a proper American.

Orthodontist.

Today I pulled Kerri out of school to go see an Orthodontic specialist for the very first time.  Her teeth are crowding, and there is really no room for them to come forward.

The specialist really made quite the impression on Kerri, and Kerri won the entire staff over with her personality.

The good news is that we are going back to our dentist next week to have Kerri's two baby teeth removed early, so her adult teeth have some space to move forward.  We will follow up with the specialist in six months to see if he needs to put a spacer in then.

He asked if I had any other kids, and I made him laugh when I apologized that Kerri will be his only client from us. 

After a quick sushi lunch, Kerri asked to go back to school so she would not miss library day.

Life with Kerri is glad my little girl likes going to the dentist.

Art School

We've added something different this year for school. Samuel has been enrolled in an art school in the big city. He goes one day a week to learn to draw, paint and make lego animation movies.

I took this photo on his first day of school, suited up with his satchel of art supplies and his sack lunch. It was the first time he ever went off to the city for school and he had a bit of trepidation. I hadn't sent a child off for school at dawn in many years so it felt strange for both of us.


The art school is a Christian school that teaches art in a classical way, by teaching the students technique before they ask the kids to express themselves with their paints. This makes complete sense to me since when I teach my children to write, I first instruct them in printing, cursive, English grammar and sentence structure before I expect them to express themselves in story or verse. I have always thought that art instruction in public schools was severely lacking in teaching good technique starting with basic drawing. The founders of this art school thought so too because when they couldn't find good instruction for their own family, they were moved to start this school. Due to its successful results the school has surged in enrollment the last few years.



The school offers many different types of art instruction but the drawing and painting classes are by far the most popular and fill up immediately. The school is currently adding more music and drama to their offerings.


The success of the art classes is due to the fact that the students are taught how to use their brushes and tools by copying masterworks.


Alyssa is also enrolled in this school, attending a day of classes for college age students. This is a pastel work she is finishing for the school exhibit that is coming up.


I have seen a number of the paintings done by students, young students and I am stunned by their proficiency. If you take time to look at the online gallery you will see what I mean. Look at this page of work done by the 9-12 year olds!


This is the very first practice painting that Samuel brought home.



I am really excited to see what else he is doing but we parents aren't allowed to see the finished works until the school exhibit coming up next month. I think I may have to enroll myself.

Life and loss and unspoken things

See this handsome guy (with très adorable bébé)?

His name was Andrew. He went to my church.  He died suddenly a couple weeks ago (apparently from a bacterial infection of some sort).

Andrew and I were friends - not close friends, but friends nonetheless. I used to (jokingly) threaten to unfriend him on Facebook because he was always posting about bacon. So one time he posted an infographic about vegetables and tagged me, saying that he had only posted it so that I wouldn't unfriend him. Earlier this year Andrew became a dad and was thrilled beyond words. The posts about bacon became less numerous, and photos of baby Jaxon took their place. Andrew and Jaxon's mother were not together, but I know Andrew spent a lot of time with his son. It breaks my heart that Jaxon will not know his father, at least not in the direct, physical sense.

I have a tiny confession, which is that even though I'm a happily married old lady, I had a small crush on Andrew. I liked his dark eyes and his ever-present smile. I admired his spirituality and the way he seemed to approach life in a non-traditional way. I remember one time he talked of going camping in the winter. To me, camping in the summer is borderline crazy. Camping in the winter . . . I don't even know.

Losing a friend who's in your age group is always hard to process.  I'm still having trouble accepting that my friend Kevin died, and he's been gone a few years now. I still miss him so. Andrew was a couple years younger than I am. Jaxon needs his dad. The world needs Andrew. It's hard to comprehend this sort of loss.

Now, I know that when someone dies, everyone says, "Every day is a gift," and so forth. It may seem sort of schmaltzy, but in Andrew's memory, I'm endeavoring to make sure my friends know that I appreciate them. I don't know how I got so fortunate to have so many amazing friends. I am blessed indeed.  So, I have been contacting my amigos, mostly just as their names pop into my head, and letting them know, "Hey, I appreciate your friendship."

If you are a friend of mine and you haven't heard from me yet, there are a couple of possible explanations:

1. I just haven't gotten to you yet, but I will.
2. There is a very real possibility that my brain is thoroughly convinced that I've already contacted you and told you of your awesomeness. Like I said, I am an old lady.

I am not including my family because we are a demonstrative lot and do not hesitate to lob the L word at each other with abandon. So, they already know.

One of Andrew's friends posted this on Andrew's Facebook page the other day.

I always assumed you knew how important you were to me, but I never told you outright. Maybe I did, but not in so many words. I wish i had. Even though we weren't together often, my heart is very heavy. 

I am sure that Andrew knew.  However, for those of us who still have a chance to say it, it's worth saying.

The call.

This morning, the cooking school manager called me - before I even had a chance to call her.  The mom of the other boy had called early this morning to complain, and the manager wanted to hear what I had to say.  She was not happy that her staff did nothing about the behaviour.

So, the outcome is that she will be talking to the parents of the children involved, and the parents either have to stay in class with them or the kids are not welcome in the class anymore.

In other news, the Mama Mobile was towed this morning to the dealer.  She decided she liked it there and wanted to return, so she put her "check engine" light on and sputtered a bit just to show off.  Now we are waiting for them to call us and tell us just how much money the dealer needs to keep the Mama Mobile happy. 

And Kerri's finger (the one that was dislocated) is stiff, and hurts a bit.  She cannot bend it all the way down yet.  I told her if it was still bothering her today I would take her back to have it looked at.

Life with Kerri is waiting for another call.

Oh, the shame

I was rearranging some stuff in our home office slash guest bedroom this morning and came across my college diploma. I opened the green holder and took a gander. My Bachelor of Arts - English degree was conferred upon me by George Mason University. The diploma also includes lettering embossed in gold: "with distinction" - added because of my high GPA. (Me so smart!)

I need to mail it back. I do not deserve to keep it any longer. I have a confession to make: I'm reading "Fifty Shades of Grey."  Each time I'm part of a gathering of women, the book eventually comes up in conversation and, without fail, I'm the only one who has not read it. I guess I wanted to see what all the buzz is about. Now, normally when the whole planet is into something, I dismiss it. I know that sounds snooty, but I offer you the song "Macarena" as proof. Something can be universally adored and still suck ass.  However, I also got curious about the buzz on "Downton Abbey" and, as it turns out, the series is amazing. I watched three episodes in a row last weekend and was in heaven. 

Now, with "Fifty Shades of Grey," I wasn't completely in the dark. I knew that critics mostly hated the book. I'd heard that the prose is pretty awful.  I was curious, but didn't want it sitting on my bookshelf for the next decade. I also didn't want to check it out from the library. Then I remembered: P has a Kindle Fire. I bought it for him for his birthday. He does not use it to read books. He uses it to play online poker with strangers (and cuss loudly at them because, when he loses, it is only because "those motherfuckers got lucky").

I downloaded the book and have read about half of it. I had to make a solemn vow to delete it when I'm done. 

Yes, the writing is . . . not good.  The main character says things like, "Double crap!" Some of the dialogue is downright painful to read (and not because the topic relates to BDSM). Anyway, I'll finish it but I doubt I'll read the whole trilogy. I don't think my pride could take it.

I feel like I should dig out some Faulkner . . . re-read "Light in August" or something. Maybe tackle some Dickens and Steinbeck. 

I'm sorry for letting everyone down like this, reading low-brow fiction and all. :::sigh:::

Cooking Class.

Last night Kerri and her friend Natalie went to a cooking class.  We watched them learn how to make pastry, chicken pot pies, mini butter tarts, and rustic apple pie.  And while the girls had fun in the kitchen, hubby and I had a "mini date" in the waiting area.

It would have been perfect, except that there were two male cousins in the class that spent the entire two hours rough housing with each other, not paying attention, and throwing raisins all over the place.  At one point, another boy - tired of the horse play - wanted to leave.  The boy's Mom, hubby, and I took turns walking by the cooking class, and looking in.  They did not like that we were watching them.  That helped quiet the boys down a bit.

On our way home, Kerri, Natalie and I talked about it, and how a few rowdy boys really made it hard for the rest of the kids who really were interested in the class.  And I commended them for doing their best to ignore them, and still managing to turn the class into a positive experience, despite the distractions.

So the girls learned a few things last night - more than we expected!

Life with Kerri is looking forward to talking to the cooking school Manager on Monday.

Dislocated.

When I showed up to volunteer for the last school swim class, Kerri showed me her middle finger on her right hand.  It was swollen, and black and blue at the knuckle.  She said it hurt a little, and that she could not bend her finger all that well. She told me that a ball hit her hand, and bent her finger all the way back during recess.  But when she showed it to the teacher on duty, they said it was nothing.  Kerri's teacher knew nothing about it.

When we got to the swim meet, I pulled Kerri's teacher aside and told her we would need ice, and explained what happened.  She was shocked, and after taking one look at Kerri's hand, procured a blue rubber glove that had been filled with water and frozen.  Kerri went to the pool holding this against her finger, and all the kids surrounded her, marvelling at her big blue turkey looking ice thing.

The last swim meet was a total success!  Kerri had to be reminded she still needs swimming lessons, since my over confident little girl decided she could do flips into the deep end with no flotation assistance.

By the time we got home, Kerri's finger looked even more swollen, despite being on ice for over three hours.  Nana tried to convince me it would be OK and was probably just sprained, but I decided to take Kerri to the doctor just in case.  It turns out Kerri's finger was actually dislocated at the knuckle.  The doctor popped her finger back into place and taped it up.  Kerri did not flinch or cry.  And then he decided Kerri needed the first of two flu shots.  Kerri refused to look away and watched the needle going in.  And my brave little girl tried to hold back the tears, but her eyes were overwhelmed.  Her dislocated finger was no big deal, but the flu shot hurt.

Since I know Kerri does not process pain the same way normal kids do because of her sensory processing issues (hence why she is able to get dental work done with no numbing at all!), I figured there was more to the finger injury.  But I was shocked she actually thought the shot was more painful.  Even our doctor is astonished at how well she deals with pain.

Life with Kerri is on the mend, but not looking forward to the next flu shot in four weeks.

An Alluring Project

Not too long ago someone gave Sam a camping and wilderness survival book. The boys have been gleaning lots of ideas from it. Recently they disappeared into the garage for about a day and a half.


When they emerged they brought out this-


They built an animal trap. I didn't check the condition of the garage when they were finished.



I'm actually very impressed with how well made and functional it is. As far as I know it hasn't caught anything except the cat yet... but we'll see...

Well, thank goodness

With apologies to my conservative friends, I'm doing a little jig right now over the election results. Be glad you can't see it (my jig, not the election results - you are free to look at those).

While I acknowledge that President Obama perhaps has not done enough for the economy (and has not succeeded in reducing unemployment as much as one would like), I think it's important to remember that he's one man and that he's accomplished quite a bit despite the erection of sizable roadblocks from the GOP.  (See, it is possible to use the word erection in a sentence and not have it mean something dirty!) Our memories are short, though. I had to do some Googling myself in order to be reminded of the President's many accomplishments.

Although Mitt Romney may have a certain amount of business acumen, I'm not sure it makes up for all he lacks. During the campaign, he made his disdain for women, same-sex couples, and low-income families pretty clear. Had he become president, I was also extremely concerned that he would strip away environmental protections. At times he has stated that he accepts the concept of climate change, and at other times he has rejected the concept. The dude makes me nervous. I think it makes me a little bit apprehensive any time someone rejects science. And don't even get me started on axing PBS (.00014% of the federal budget) and Planned Parenthood (check out this graph if you haven't seen it - one of their primary activities is doling out birth control and the more they dole out, the lower the abortion rate will be . . . or at least that theory seems viable in my mind). I will say that as frightened as I am of Mitt Romney, I was even more frightened of Rick Santorum. :::shudder:::

My daughter accompanied me to the polls on Tuesday. She fully understands that her dad and I belong to different political parties. We also practice different religions and have lots of other differences, too (music, books, movies, etc.) So, if nothing else, she'll grow up understanding that she has lots of choices. I'm trying to raise a free thinker here! She accompanied me into the voting booth, and I showed her my ballot and how it all works. I'm hoping that she'll remember the importance of voting and of paying attention to what elected officials are up to (good or bad).

I did a little math and my daughter will vote in her first presidential election in 2024, when she will be 19 years old.  I will be 54 . . . assuming she hasn't driven me into an early grave. She seems to be making that her full-time job lately (lots of eye-rolling, smart ass comments, etc.), so we'll see . . .

See the hand on the hip? Sassy 'tude.

Updates.

  • Nana has been spending part of her vacation with us, and we have been having lots of girly fun.  So far, we have bought clothes, gotten our nails done, gone out to lunch and dinner - and that's just us big girls.  Kerri and Nana have been drawing, hugging, arguing like sisters, watching movies, and eating - lots of cookies!
  • Our city has changed our garbage pick up to once biweekly, and it really stinks.  Seriously, two weeks of garbage is really gross.
  • We have been dealing with some bullying at school and on the bus, again.  In one instance, Kerri got punched in the face by a first grade boy at recess for no reason.  I am so sad.  Kerri's nightmares have resumed, and she is waking us up several times a night.  This morning, she was up and dressed for school before I was!  I have talked to the school and they are addressing it, but it seems that when one stops, another boy takes their place. 
  • And as far as bullying is concerned, I have been shocked at some of the things I have seen posted on Facebook during the U.S. election.  People, your kids are watching and learning.  We can agree to disagree respectfully and without resorting to bullying tactics and mean (rude and nasty!) name calling and comments. 
  • Today is the last swim class of the year for Kerri!  She has done a great job, and her confidence in the water has really grown.  I foresee more lessons in the Spring!

Life with Kerri has been busy.

Glorious Autumn

Our season of Autumn is especially beautiful this year.

Maybe we haven't had enough wind or rain these last two months because the leaves are lingering on the trees, glowing with colors that seem more vibrant than other years.


I'm noticing many more reds in the landscape than usual. Even the fruit trees are turning red instead of displaying the usual golden and brown tones.



I've heard that the intensity of fall color is influenced by the amount of rain during the summer and fall. We've had lower amounts of rain than usual since August.


Here in the temperate Pacific Northwest we don't have the hardwoods and sugar maples that other parts of the country have so usually our fall colors tend to be golden but I'm loving the extra reds this year. These beauties are native dogwoods that flower gorgeously in the spring.



With our hilly, mountainous landscape, the colors often look like a patchwork quilt in the distance. The orchards are planted in alternating rows of variety for pollination and in the fall this causes stripes of colors. The low field is blueberries, a new crop for our valley.



Right now we are having an extra bonus of exceptionally warm weather too. It was near 70 degrees today so we are savoring the last of the sunshine. All too soon, cold rain will arrive.

The one where I throw out my back and then whine incessantly

I'm home from work today, so I thought I'd bore you with some details from my weekend. My daughter and I left town Saturday morning and didn't get back until Sunday evening. I gave my husband two jobs while I was gone: 1. Turn the clocks back and 2. Clear off the deck. "I'd better write this down," he told me when I passed along my requests.  I can see how two items on a list might be pretty overwhelming.

As far as why I'm home today . . . it seems that my on-and-off back problems have come to a head.  Before we left town on Saturday, the kid and I went to a craft show. As I was getting into the car, I heard my lower back say something along the lines of, "ZOINKS!" I was in pain for the next couple of hours on the long car ride. When we stopped for lunch at a deli, I sort of rolled out of the car and then muttered under my breath until my spine adjusted to the standing position. Once I'm upright, I'm fine. My back has established the following spectrum:

Lying down = mild discomfort but nothing major
Standing up = Minimal pain
Sitting = Holy fuck that hurts

Anyway, I didn't want to ruin the weekend, so I soldiered on. After lunch, I took my daughter to a children's museum. She had a blast. I wanted to run around with her but mostly hung out in a corner, crumpled up like a newspaper. From there, we stopped at Trader Joe's to grab some odds and ends for dinner and then checked into our hotel room. We were volunteering at a dog fair the next day, so that was the reason for our little getaway. Needless to say, she immediately started a campaign to convince me to head straight to the pool. I poured some wine into a plastic cup and escorted her down to the pool. I knew better than to postpone the inevitable. We swam for a while, which my back didn't seem to mind at all. Gravity is the real enemy. The hotel was pretty crowded because of a wedding and some sort of Army event. Get this - while we were swimming, someone took our towels and my cup of wine. Who does that (and no, a cleaning person did not come through)?

Eventually I climbed out of the pool and left A to play with some other kids. I had one of those "ack, my heart hurts" mama moments. I watched her in the pool with the other kids and noticed that they were stronger swimmers than she is. Also, they were taller.  I could tell that she was too embarrassed to use the pool noodle I'd brought along for her. She was only tall enough (to reach the bottom) in the 3" area of the pool, which was basically one small corner.  I saw the look on her face and wished I could fix everything for her. I was done swimming, but got back in the pool to play with her anyway.

The next morning, my back was no better but we got up and headed to the pet expo anyway. As long as I remained standing, the pain was pretty minimal. The kid spent all of my money on spin-the-wheel games at some of the other booths.  We worked at the Boxer Rescue booth for a few hours and then headed out.  We stopped for lunch and then did a little outlet shopping on the way home. A worked on her Christmas list in the back seat. It contains the following items: slushie maker, ice cream maker, cotton candy maker, and Blizzard maker. I laughed out loud when I saw it. She must think Santa's on crack if she believes he is going to bring any of those things.

Anywho . . . it was an eventful weekend and I don't think my back had a chance to do much (any) healing. So, I figured it was best if I stayed home today and tried to rest. Lying on the couch is actually pretty challenging for me. I have things to DO, ya'll. However, a girl could get used to this not wearing a bra thing. I'm wearing flannel pajamas, a fleece robe (made for me by my mama), and a pair of slippers that doesn't match either one. Honestly, I'm not even sure how my husband will keep his hands off me when he gets home.





Dreaming of Baby

I will be 6 weeks on Wednesday, and I know that I could expect pregnancy symptoms to start in the next week or two.  Not that I want to feel sick, but I have to say that I do hope I start to feel SOMETHING.  It will make it all seem so real, to feel pregnant rather than to just intellectually know that I am.  Just over 2 weeks to go until my first doctor's visit.  Today is an excited day :)

Last night I read a blog post about something that made me so sad-a woman who gave birth to a baby, and right away knew that it had Down Syndrome.  She talked about feeling like her baby had died-the baby she had dreamed about and expected.  So (of course), last night I had a nightmare that the same thing happened to me.  But when I woke up, I actually felt relieved, because a few months ago I had a dream so much more powerful.  I know that the dream I had last night is only my fears being given free rein as I sleep, but I want to tell you about the dream I had that changed my mind about being pregnant.

It was a while ago-last May or so.  Mark and I were not close to starting to try for a baby, and I had a LOT of insecurities.  Most of our friends have started having kids already, and my best friend's experience with her first born was to me, just another reason not to try to have kids.  Too much risk, too much potential heartache.  Not to mention, too much time, too much money, too much change in a life that is already good. 

But then I dreamed of her.

I dreamed about my daughter.  And I can't even tell you how real, how vivid, how TRUE that dream was.  I dreamed about her labor (it hurt like a truck running over my body, but I did it!), I dreamed holding her in the hospital, I dreamed looking at her while sitting with her in the backseat as Mark drove us home, I dreamed carrying her in the front door to her new home, I dreamed breastfeeding her, I dreamed waking up with her in the night.  I dreamed about Mark's parents meeting her.  This dream has stayed with me for so long, and I don't remember any of my dreams for as long as I've remembered this one.  It left me feeling so at peace.  She was (is) mine, my child.  I woke up with the feeling like I was just waiting for her, waiting for her spirit to come into our lives.

I am no theologian.  My religious beliefs are informed by a bunch of different sources, from the Bible, to the Seth Material, to the TV show Ancient Aliens.  But I believe this dream was a gift.  A gift from God, a gift from her soul, a gift from my subconscious telling me that my body knows how to do this, that I don't need to worry.  I felt so calm, and every time I thought of having a baby I thought of her.  I still do.  Round blue eyes with a full head of dark hair, and a little pink cap on her head. 

I believe she was waiting for me to be ready.  She (or someone) was sending me a message that it was ok, and I got a little glimpse of my future with her.  My daughter.  And even now, remembering that dream gives me so much comfort, because I am ready to meet her.  

Only 8 months to go. :) 

Love,
Ilea

PS-Mark and I have started discussing baby names.  Like most things, we don't agree at all on most of them.  Last night he made his first "real" baby name suggestion (ie: not "Robocop" or "Batman"), which was Luke (shortened from Lucas).  I agreed that I liked it for a boy (even though, we are going to have a girl, according to my dream!), and then he said why he liked it.  "Because then I can go up to him and say 'Luke, I am your father.' " Oh, how I love my husband. :)

Enough is Enough

I am right now baking the last of the apple hand pies for the season.

Over the last ten weeks, Alyssa and I have made seventy dozen of these babies for my client, an orchardist with a popular farm stand. With the extras that we made for us and others, that is close to 900 apple turnovers!! Samuel and Peter peeled 100 pounds of apples (probably more) and Alyssa rolled a trailer load of pie dough. Oh- what did I do, you ask? I made the dough, the filling, shaped the hand pies, baked, packaged and delivered them.

We are sooooo done with it.

Last night, as Alyssa and I formed the last two dozen, we noticed we no longer have our hearts fully in the project and are just so glad to be finished.

We are sick of apple hand pies.

Wee Lady Thunder.


Life with Kerri pillaged and plundered (candy, that is) on Halloween.

What Kerri did while I was in Montreal.

So while I was resting a few hours away, Kerri was busy.  So busy, in fact, that the family room looks like a hurricane went through it.

While I was gone, Kerri went to the movies with her Daddy to see "ParaNorman" again.  She made a shark out of a recycled juice bottle.  She created jewelry with one of the kits she got on her birthday.  She made lots of drawings too.  I found a cardboard box that was made into a dollhouse.  And there is pink yarn everywhere.  I have no idea what that is all about.

Both hubby and Kerri tell me they had a lot of fun together.  From the looks of the house, I think they did!

Life with Kerri is cleaning up.