Friday, October 29, 2010


This has been kind of a rough week (does it seem I say that a lot lately?).  I feel like a dope saying that, since I realize just how wonderful my life is, even during these "crappy" times.  I've heard enough bad-news-by-proxy (dear friends who have lost a parent, online acquaintances who lost good friends or other family members recently, way too much death just all around) to know that I have little to complain about.  But still, I've been plagued by fatigue and overall crabbiness most of the week, and it's hard to tell how much of it is caused by external events vs how much of the crab-inducing external events are colored by my already foul mood.

Zach thought he was gonna have to go on a business trip sometime in December... as in, during baby-could-come-any-day time.  He's trying to get the trip re-scheduled for November instead (either during Thanksgiving week, which would suck b/c, you know, it's Thanksgiving but at least his parents would be here so I'd get some help, or the week before which would also suck b/c then I'll be 8+ months pregnant and have D to myself for several days).  If the trip still happens in December, he's just not gonna go.  Which then sucks for him work-wise, but is a HUGE relief off my shoulders.

Also, in continuation of Sierra's tooth saga, last night I took her to a cat dental specialist to get a second opinion on her teeth/gums since the vet I saw last month couldn't really tell me anything other than suggest a full cleaning.  This new doctor was able to tell me a lot more (Sierra has pretty severe gingivitis on one tooth which will probably need to be taken out, and the canine with the swollen gum might very well be another resorptive lesion... and there's also extended swelling next to it which she said is odd and could be a cyst or even a tumor. I know, fuck).  There may also be other teeth that are affected, but it'll be hard to tell unless they do x-rays.  So, currently our options are A) do a full dental cleaning, involving anesthesia and probably extracting at least 2 teeth, also x-rays to check her other teeth to see if any others need to come out, and then just wait and see if she has more problems down the road, or B) go ahead and pull ALL her teeth, which would mean no more worries of having to go through this again in another 6 months or year, but cat teeth are also apparently notoriously difficult to extract (especially the bottom ones, as the roots are multi-pronged and tough to get out, and the jaw is so thin anyway so not a while lot of wiggle room and there's risk of breaking the jaw) and so is not exactly a simple solution... though may be needed long-term anyway.

Option A could cost anywhere from $600-$1,300 depending on what all is exactly required when they get in there and which vet go with.  Option B would be about $2,000.

At this point I don't really know what we're going to do.  I relayed all the info to Zach after the appointment, but we haven't talked about it more since then.  I don't think either of us is exactly eager to make a decision one way or the other since, well, DAMN, that's a lot of money.  So for now Sierra's kind of like the elephant in the room at our house.

Also, Nev is going stir-crazy because I'm keeping her inside this week (she's a black cat, it's almost Halloween, I just don't even want to think about it).  So she's spending her days alternating between meowing forlornly at each and every door of the house (even to the garage), and then going and picking fights with Sierra.  Because, clearly, she doesn't have enough to deal with already, what with her defective teeth and all...

In happier news, I'm excited about our Halloween plans for this weekend, and for the costume I think I've pulled together.  There's toddler-friendly stuff going on both tomorrow and Sunday, and we should get to hang out with friends at each event, so yeah that will be nice.  I think the weather's supposed to be pretty good both days, too. And hey! I bought Halloween candy, like, three or four days ago and I haven't eaten ANY of it yet!  That deserves some sort of a medal, doesn't it?

Time for some Tums, tea, and (non-Halloween) chocolate.  'Night, all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

parenting while pregnant

This week has me all mixed up. Yesterday I kept thinking it was Tuesday already. Today I keep thinking it's Wednesday. This could make for a long week...

I don't like what pregnancy is doing to my parenting.  I am short on energy and patience, two things that are fairly essential when dealing with a toddler, especially when you are trying to practice gentle discipline.  I go from calm, happy mommy to crabby mommy in the matter of seconds, and immediately feel bad because he deserves better than that (and so do I) but it doesn't always feel like I can help it.  So I lose my cool more often, and also resort to parenting "shortcuts" like TV more often... though then also discover that these "shortcuts" also tend to come back and bite you in the ass a lot of the time.  For example, this morning D was clinging to my belly (literally-- he was following me around, keeping one hand on my belly) so I figured I'd buy myself an hour of peace and quiet by letting him watch TV, while I got to eat breakfast, get dressed, and get ready for our morning outing without an external toddler attachment.  It was nice, but was it worth the massive tantrum he then threw when it was time to turn off the TV and get in the car?  I don't know.  I also know that so much of how positive or negative our interactions are depends on how I react to him.  Nothing is ever 100%, and sometimes tantrums happen no matter what I do, but I can also head off many of them if I take the time to answer him or redirect his attention in the right way, but that usually takes patience and forethought and when I'm short on those I just snap at him instead and it all spirals downward from there.

I know this is temporary.  Just last night I was remembering how I haven't always been like this, how I used to have more patience with D.  As the birth starts to feel more imminent (and less like some far-off event in the future) that, the temporary nature of our situation as it stands right now, is becoming more real.  At the same time, it's not like the time/energy/patience issues are going to get much better after the birth... at least for a while.  I worry about these missed opportunities with D right now (6 months of crappy parenting doesn't seem like that long, except that it's a  pretty significant chunk of time when you're only 2.5 yrs old), and about bad habits that we form (like relying on TV for entertainment/breaks) that may be hard to break later when I don't need as much of a crutch.

One wonderful thing is that Zach has been great at picking up the slack any time he can.  He does his share (and more) of the household chores, and he makes a point of taking D off my hands when he can.  On Sunday he spent the morning going to the farmer's market and grocery shopping (and ok, he did also go shopping for snow shoes...) and then when he got home, despite desperately wanting a nap, he instead loaded D up in his rain gear and took him outside to splash in the rain and puddles.  He's also made it clear that, especially during this late-pregnancy/newborn transition period, childcare help is a priority and worth spending money on even at the possible expense of the rest of our budget.  This is a huge help to me, as those breaks are/will be wonderful and something I would otherwise feel guilty for "indulging" in.  I love the 2 mornings D spends with Arjun and their nanny, as a) it gives me a break and time to get other things done, and b) I know he's getting a full morning of fun, active, outdoor playtime with a very fun caretaker and little friend.  It's a win-win.

I heard someone once say that the great thing about kids is you always get a second chance-- each new day, each moment, is a new opportunity.  I can't change what I did yesterday, but I can try to handle things better today.  So, my goals here-on forward are to be realistic with myself, and try to take each encounter as it comes and know I can also do better next time.  One silver lining is that each time I lose my cool is an opportunity to then apologize and model for D how to gracefully admit and accept your mistakes.  And so, I keep trying, and hope I'm not screwing my kid up too much in the process.  ; )

Friday, October 22, 2010


My brain feels like mush right now.  I sit down to try to write something cohesive, and it just...doesn't  So, instead, you get brain drivel.

I'll be 33 weeks this Saturday... which is starting to freak me out a bit, because 33 weeks means there's only 4 weeks left till I'm officially "full term," and while I don't expect to go into labor right at 37 weeks I do figure it'll probably be relatively soon after that (D came right on time, and although there's absolutely no reason or evidence to think this I'm kinda expecting to give birth around 39/40 weeks this time... though it could easily go longer than that, and yes I do realize that my 42 week mark is Christmas Day itself).

So for a while now I've kept thinking, "Oh, we still have a ways before baby comes..." And suddenly I'm realizing, NO, it's actually getting kinda close, and while that's exciting and all it's also a wee bit scary.

Little by little, though, we're all getting prepared. We have more itty bitty baby clothes than we'll know what to do with.  My newborn cloth diaper stash is all set (just need to buy a few disposables in case they're needed).  I'll see my midwives on Monday, and I bet we'll start talking about what supplies I'll need to gather up for the birth.  Even D seems pretty excited about the whole thing-- he loves talking about his baby brother who's growing in my belly, and often says that once his brother is born he'll share his toys with the baby.  Today we were able to talk to my mom, sister, and her 1 week old baby, and D seemed totally into watching his teensy cousin-- he even threw a fit when we had to hang up, because he wanted to keep watching them on the screen!  I'm sure it'll still be tough adjusting to having to share Mommy, but he does seem to understand a lot of what's going on.  

I keep walking around our house and thinking, "This is where our baby will be born."  It's a pretty neat feeling.  =)  In some ways I'm a bit apprehensive about what's ahead-- I'm remembering the not-fun aspects of labor & birth, and I'm certainly not looking forward to the sleepless nights ahead or the challenge of trying to meet two children's different needs.  At the same time, despite the anticipated pain, I'm actually looking forward to giving birth, to having a little baby to snuggle, to breastfeeding again, and all of it.  Everything is about to change so much, so quickly, so constantly, I'm trying to remember to stop and savor the Now-- life as it is now for the 3 of us, the anticipation and excitement over things to come, etc-- while I still can.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

mountain weekend

We spent Friday through Monday in Tahoe City with a few friends- Cyrus, Julia, and Sophia drove in from the bay, and our friend Wes and his wife, EG, came all the way from Texas (well, they were vacationing in San Francisco...).  It was fun getting together with them, and Donovan was SO EXCITED to be reunited with his buddy, Sophie.  It was also pretty darn adorable for us to watch them interacting, as they've both developed so much in the past months so they were playing together and having conversations, and just interacting on a whole different level.  As a fun coincidence, it turns out both Julia and I are pregnant (actually all 3 of us this weekend are pregnant! lol) and it looks like our #2s will have the same age difference as D and S have!

Zach was a bit disappointed not to get a good, hard hike in, but he still got plenty of time outdoors (which, as usual, gets him talking about how we should buy a house/move to Tahoe) and the kiddoes got to play in the dirt, throw sticks and stones, etc, to their little hearts' content.  They even got to play in the rain on Sunday. ; )  All in all, it was quite the fun trip.

I took several of our lenses with us, but ended up only using my new 35mm the whole time and I gotta say I'm very pleased with how most of the pictures turned out.  Thanks to D taking an abnormally long nap this afternoon, I actually got a chance to keyword and edit them and will upload tonight/tomorrow to share.

Ok, Zach just got off the phone with his brother and wants to watch an episode or 2 of Mad Men tonight, so I'm signing off.  Will share pics tomorrow.  =)

Friday, October 15, 2010

PS- Blog Action Day 2010: WATER

Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is WATER.  I never got it together enough to officially sign up to participate, but as I pondered where I am in life right now, today-- pregnant, and constantly thirsty; celebrating the healthy, safe birth of my sister's child-- I figured I could take a minute to write a few words.

First of all, as a woman who is 7 months pregnant, I *need* water. Constantly.  I chug it all day long. If I don't, I notice the difference in how I feel, and I know it makes a difference in my health and that of my growing child.  I am lucky that I can simply walk to any of the many taps in our house and pour clean, clear water into my glass to drink.

As a new aunt, and soon to be a mother of two, I also cannot ignore the massive impact access to clean water has on childbirth-- it is one of the biggest factors in how to lower maternal and infant mortality.  It's that simple.

My personal favorite water-related charity is charity: water.  Check them out to see what they do, or look through some of the links on the Blog Action Day website to read even more great info on water, why it's so important (did you know that dirty water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war?), and how you can help the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who don't have it.

and there was much rejoicing

My sister had her baby yesterday!!!

I won't say much about the birth because that's her story to tell (and while I know it might take a few weeks/months to get around to writing it, I CANNOT WAIT to read the whole thing) but I will say that I am so very proud of my big sister, she is a total rock star, and she birthed one of the most beautiful little baby boys EVER.  =)

Now I'm just upset that I can't be there, and that I likely won't get to meet this little guy for a while.  I'm also dying to practice taking newborn pictures with him!  But, I'll just have to wait... I am excited about how our babies will be just 2 months apart in age, how cool is that? =P

And now, after getting my fill of pictures on Facebook, I must tear myself away from new-baby thoughts and get us packed and ready for a weekend getaway with a few friends.  Busy morning ahead...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

The irony of this weekend, is that Zach and I had planned a mini-"babymoon" for ourselves.  My sister was going to come in from SF to watch D, while Zach and I spent a night at a Bed & Breakfast about an hour away.  Instead, bad news came in, and as an odd twist I got 3 full days "off."

As luck would have it, D got sick while in Texas.  Thankfully it was short-lived, but he got some stomach bug on Sunday that kept him low in energy and wrecked his sleep for the rest of the trip.  It's a strange feeling, being so used to being with your kid every day and then having him get sick when away from  you.  Zach called me often to give me reports, and I took comfort in knowing that he certainly had plenty of helping hands to nurse him back to health.

This was D's longest trip away from me.  I think there's been 2 or maybe even 3 times that we've left him with my parents for 1 or 2 nights at a time...  but this was four full nights.  I missed him dearly.  This has also been my longest break in the 2 years and 8 months since his birth, and soon I'll be a mother of 2 and will have an infant attached to my boob for the next full year (or longer).  And so, I felt little guilt yesterday as I treated myself out to a yummy breakfast at one of my new favorite spots nearby, then spent much of the rest of the day sprawled on the couch watching Julie & Julia (adorable!) and most of season 6 of Sex and the City (will I ever tire of that show?).

And now in a few minutes I'll leave to pick up Zach and Donovan at the airport, and everything will go back to life as usual-- the diapers and frequent snackings, the delicate maneuvering of words to avoid and diffuse tantrums, the toys, the questions for "just one episode" while I try to muster energy to take us to the park instead...  and also the funny faces, the mischievous smiles, the ongoing monologues telling me all about that Bob the Builder episode he saw 3 days ago, and going on an A320 airplane.  The waiting for the sound of the door handle at the end of the day when Zach gets home from work, and then snuggling in bed with him for a few minutes before we fall asleep at night.

It's good to get a break.... and it will be good to get back to life as usual.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Pizza Company

A few weekends ago Zach, D, and I went to Arjun's 2nd birthday party.  It was a great big bash, with tons of kids and cool toys for them to play with.  For food, they had hired The Pizza Company, a small business that has a mobile woodfired pizza oven that they bring around to several of the area's farmers markets, and also use for catering events.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed that they don't have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, because this pizza was some of the best I've ever had.  Seriously.  It was amazingly delicious.  They made everything from classic pepperoni, to gorgonzola and caramelized onion pizza, and at the party even made one with figs used as a topping.  Most (if not all) of their toppings come from other local farmer's market vendors, so everything is fresh and local.

As you can tell, I was so blown away by their food and service that I felt compelled to write about them here, and I highly recommend them to anyone in Sacramento who's looking for party catering.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


It was so strange dropping Zach and D off at the airport yesterday.  D was so excited about the flight, looked so adorable, and I felt such tugging at my heartstrings to watch them go inside the airport.  It's pretty nice being all on my own, without a 2 year old to dictate our day and schedule... but gosh do I miss him (and Zach, too, of course).  I talked to Zach and my mom for a few minutes earlier today, it does seem like D is having a grand time in Texas.... as usual. ; )

I'm torn between using this time to take advantage and get out to do things that are harder to do with a kid, like explore the adorable-looking shops nearby or treat myself to a solo brunch out at a restaurant with no distractions, and spending the time lounging around at home and just relaxing since that is also a very rare activity normally.  So, I'm kinda doing a little of both.  And, I'm catching up on some reading and to-do's that I usually don't ever get around to.  Today I slept in a bit, uploaded some photos, did a few chores around the house, and spent the afternoon window-shopping and reading magazines at Barnes & Noble.  Maybe tomorrow I'll spend a bit of time on Etsy, getting a start on my Christmas shopping.

But now, to bed.  Good night. =)

Friday, October 08, 2010

sad news

Earlier this week we received some unfortunate news-- my step-siblings' mother passed away unexpectedly.  My heart breaks for them, I cannot imagine their pain.  Zach was also pretty taken by the news, as he'd known her since he was 6 years old (he and my step-sister went to school together as kids).

After lots of talking back and forth, comparing flights, etc, we decided that Zach and Donovan would fly to Texas for the funeral and to show their support.  I wanted to go, too, but between ticket prices and Zach's concern about me flying at 31 weeks pregnant we figured I might as well stay here.  So now I'm spending my morning prepping everything for their flight, which will be the first time for Zach to fly alone with D.  Luckily D's getting old enough to be a bit more manageable on flights, and is also excited enough by the whole prospect of AIRPORTS! and AIRPLANES! that he's relatively entertained just by the sight of them (on our last trip, most of the down-time at any airport was spent sitting at a gate by a big window, watching the airplanes and the luggage carts go by).  And, he's also pretty dang excited to get to see all the family again.  We were talking about it this morning after he woke up, and he kept going on and on about seeing his grandparents, his cousin, even the pets, lol.  Then he kept saying he wanted to leave for the airport, and I had to explain that it wasn't time yet.

So, while the reason for the visit sucks, it will be fun for him to spend a few days surrounded by everyone.

I've been trying to figure out how to prepare him for what will likely be a much more somber mood to this visit than all previous ones, though.  We've flown back for a funeral before, my grandfather's last summer, but while that death was sad it was also much more foreseeable, one that we had been preparing for already, and D didn't see much of the grieving and sadness (he was also much younger, 18 months or so).  I'm sure it will be different this time, and I want to prepare him somehow as I'm sure he'll see people be sad and upset.

There was one point the other day when I realized what had happened, and I just burst into tears.  D came over and when he saw me, he just stopped and he looked so frightened.  I'm sure few things are more alarming to a young child than seeing his parents upset.  So I told him that everything was ok, but that his aunt's mommy was very sick and that was making me sad.  This morning as he was eating breakfast I started telling him how his aunt and cousin might be kinda sad when he sees them, and he got visibly upset, and then said to me, "But they're gonna be ok." I didn't want to press it as he didn't seem to want to talk about it, but tried to just say that they may be sad and he might even see them cry, but that it's ok and they'll be happy again later.  So we'll see what he does with that.

It must be so strange to be his age. To be old enough to pick up on so much of what happens around you, but still not understand so much of it, either.  Sometimes I really wish I could get a peek into his little brain and see what he's thinking.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

where did my time go?

It seems lately I've been spending less and less time at the computer.  During the day, I've been having to avoid it anytime that D is awake since the computer and TV are right next to each other, and if he sees me on the computer (say, when he's playing intently with a toy so I try to sneak in a few minutes of use) he'll come over and ask to watch a show.  Then he's also lately been wanting to watch Bob the Builder rather than Mighty Machines for his TV time, and while Mighty Machines is a DVD that he can watch on the TV, Bob comes to us via Netflix streaming meaning he occupies the computer while watching.  That leaves naptime, which is approx 1hr long these days and filled with things that need to get done.  And at night Zach and I have been watching Mad Men on nights we have extra time, or hitting the sack after the evening D-to-bed/dinner/clean-up routine.

Thankfully I have my ipod touch, so I can still check twitter and facebook way more often than I need to during the day... but blogging, as y'all can see, kinda gets the shaft.

We met with D's new pediatrician this morning.  I figured I should try to meet her and make sure we like her before the baby comes.  I expected a bit of resistance at our plans to birth at home, but thankfully while she did say she's completely against it she also leaves the decision up to us and isn't going to give us a hard time or anything.  So, that's nice.  And, nice to know that she is ok with dissenting opinion, that she won't be mad at us for deciding to do something different from what she recommends.

Tomorrow we get to visit a different doctor... D and I will take Sierra to the vet to check her teeth again.  I'm curious to see what D will think of it.  After the way me just telling him about the vet left such an impression a few weeks ago, I'm curious what sorts of play and conversations actually going to a vet visit with me and the cat will spark in him.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

on my boring wardrobe and possibly-faulty camera

I've been meaning to sit down and blog each of the past 4 days, but never got around to it.  Life feels busy, even though daily activities are relatively few.  I guess part of that is underestimating how much being pregnant takes out of life.  At least I hope so...  am getting scared of how little I'll be able to do once I have 2 kids to care for, if I can barely get this much done now with one.

The overwhelming, all-consuming fatigue has stayed away most of this week, which is WONDERFUL.  I've been making a point to drink more water, get to bed a little earlier, and also switched up some of my vitamins (more B's).  Not sure which of the changes is responsible or in what combination, but I'll keep it up.  I'm at 30 weeks now, and I keep alternating between "Wow, 30 weeks already!  That's 3/4 of the way through!" and "Ok, I have 2-3 more months of this...  ugh."  Doesn't help that this kiddo apparently already feels like my uterus is too cramped and so keeps pushing OUTWARD around my belly button trying to make more space for himself, which is not very comfortable. At all.  And snuggling with D is getting harder as my belly keeps getting in the way of his moving arms and legs, and in short I'm getting kicked and poked both from the inside and outside.

But, then D comes up and asks to snuggle with my belly button, and points to it saying, "My baby brother's in there!" and it's just too adorable.   ; )

In other pregnancy-related news, I am very much looking forward to cooler weather if nothing else because I am so completely bored of all my summer pregnancy clothes.  I know the sooner I get into my cooler maternity clothes the sooner I'll get sick of them, too, but every time I go to look in my closet I just think, "ugh."  But I also don't want to go buy more, since I don't have that much longer to go and don't know if I'll ever need them again.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for Donovan's friend and nanny-share partner, Arjun.  It was a super fun time, D loved all the toys and activities they had set out, and I busied myself with taking pictures of everything for them.  I'm going through the photos now, and some are great... and others, I'm really frustrated by because they came out really soft and I can't tell why (was it my fault in not using the right settings, or is there something wrong with the camera/lens?).  I printed out a focus test sheet and tested the auto-focus on my 17-85mm lens and it seems to be back-focusing severely at 17mm, but be spot-on at 85mm... which corresponds well with how the pictures turned out but seems very odd, haven't heard of that before so not sure if, again, it's user-error or what.  Would love input from any of you other photography-types.

And now it's already 4pm on Sunday afternoon, and I've got a few more moments of solitude while Zach and D ride around the block in the 3-wheeled push scooter a neighbor just passed on to him, and I think I'll go put my feet up, eat some chocolate, and thumb through the Parents magazine that just arrived the other day, nearly a month late.



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