Friday, July 30, 2010

Trip recap, and trying to build a village

So the rest of our time in Texas came and went in a flash. As you may have noticed, I hardly blogged at all, partially for lack of a good computer.  Which, in a way, is kind of a laughable excuse since Mom & Philip's house probably holds at least 5 working computers and who knows how many other computer components... but most of those are personal laptops, and the communal computer I did use had a wonky mouse and a keyboard that caused me to type the wrong letter every other word.

Or maybe those are just excuses so I don't have to admit that I was just too busy taking naps and eating ice-cream to blog...  ; )

Either way, the week was pretty great, as usual.  Mom took most of it off from work so she was around most of the time.  With the plethora of grandparents around at all times, I think I maybe helped put D to bed once or twice, as everyone else was itching to help out-- even his 7 year old cousin, Ryan, who read him his bedtime stories a few times!  There were many trips to the neighborhood pool, lots of driving in the battery-powered Barbie jeep in the backyard (he figured out how to power the pedal and the gears this time, was a total pro after, like, a day), and we even went to a mom-and-me yoga class where I spent most of the time stifling giggles at how adorable D looked trying to do the various poses.  My dad continued spoiling D with gifts of toys with wheels on them.  D also got to help my step-dad fix a part on a car, run around on a slip-and-slide, and play piano, drums, and even an old trumpet.  Why yes, my son did pretty much have the time of his life.  (click here for pictures)

Before we knew it Sunday night was upon us, and then we flew out Monday morning.  The flight back went ok, all things considered.  D really is a great traveller-- he doesn't throw tantrums on-flight, and for the most part follows my directions and entertains himself happily with a few toys.  But it was still a rough slog, partially thanks to no longer having the option of a direct flight so had to deal with a lay-over, and also this whole pregnancy thing that leaves me tired and makes it more difficult to do things like trying to lug 2 carry-on bags and a toddler at the same time.  And then there was the massive, messy poop he decided to take in the middle of the 3hr flight... But we got home, safe and sound, and with only a few frazzled nerves.

It's nice to be back home. D is always super cute upon returning to our house, to his room, to his toys and books, almost as if he's being reunited with an old friend.  It's nice to be back someplace with cooler temperatures, almost no humidity, and oh yeah NO MOSQUITOES.

But I am also acutely aware of how great it was to have family around, especially family that's as loving, supportive, and helpful as ours, and how much we're missing out on by not being able to live closer to them.  This feeling is made worse by knowing that it might well be a long time before our next family trip to Texas-- we won't be going again during the next few months of my pregnancy, and after that I'll have two kids to deal with and I don't know when I'll be prepared to handle that load by myself.  So there's a very realistic possibility that our next trip to Texas might not be till next summer, if not Christmas 2011 (I'm thinking those might be the times when Zach can take off enough vacation to go with me and stay for a week or so, to make the cost/pain of travel worth it).  This kind of makes me want to cry.

Zach's working on a plan to just get everyone to move to California instead. Jenny and Andrew are already in San Francisco, now he's working on trying to get his parents to move out here.  And, thankfully, we're also building up a local support network-- baby-sitters, a drop-in daycare center I've found that D loves, a mom group that meets often and has so far been incredibly nice and welcoming.  I'm hoping all these things will help make the transition from a family of three to a family of four a bit easier.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

et tu, sierra?

The other night night after D went to bed Zach opened up some windows and the door to our back patio, since the air outside felt so nice.  Nev, who usually spends her days stationed by the door waiting for any opportunity to spend time outdoors, bolted out, and Sierra gingerly followed, eventually.  The patio has been a pretty nice spot for the cats to hang out, as it's got lots of plants for them to smell and chew on, but still has a fence all around as an attempt to keep them inside.  Of course, Nev has already figured out how to jump onto the fence and walk around on it, and has even started climbing the tree.  I have a bit of a moral dilemma as Nev is technically supposed to be an indoors-only cat (she lived in foster care before we adopted her, and has never been a stray so hasn't learned to deal with life outside), but she enjoys being out so much that it feels cruel to keep her cooped up all the time.  So we let her out and try to keep an eye on her, hoping she won't figure out how to jump back down from the fence onto another yard, but knowing it is a distinct possibility and so we hope that she has enough good sense in her to come back (or at least, that her microchip will help her out).

Anyway, so the cats were out, and Zach and I stayed inside eating our dinner, talking, and checking on the cats every once in a while.  At one point Zach was watching Nev and started getting suspicious that she'd try to jump down onto the neighbor's yard, so he went to get her down... and then I heard this shocked, "Sierra?!"

Now, Sierra is not what you'd call an adventurous cat.  When she goes outside it's by tiptoe, and she runs back inside, freaked, at the slightest sound.  She spends about 20 minutes debating with herself on whether or not she can make the jump onto a dining chair.  She has never been the one we felt we needed to worry about.

But there she was, walking along the top of the fence, just a few feet from where Nev was perched.

It appears Nev might be corrupting our sweet little Sierra...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Have I mentioned that I hate mosquitoes?

Disclaimer: I am typing from a weird keyboard at my parents' house, and I'm anticipating lots of typos. Sorry in advance.

So we're here, in Texas... have been for several days now.  Zach, D, and I arrived a little before midnight on Thursday night. The flights went pretty well, D only whined a little despite being up pretty late.  The main purpose for this trip was a family reunion in honor of the passing of my grandfather one year ago, so most of the weekend was dominated by that.  The spirit was surprisingly up-beat. with uncles and aunts gushing over my and Criss's pregnant bellies, and my grandmother even wearing bright colors and florals and marveling at how amazing and wonderful it was to see her whole family (children, grandchildren, and even a great-grandchild with 2 more on the way), all a product of the marriage between her and Grampa.

On Sunday my 2 step-sisters hosted a joint baby shower for Criss and I.  It was small, mostly family, but lots of fun.  We each got some new clothes for our bebes.  We did also manage to squeeze in some family bonding time with a shopping trip to South Congress (including my fave store ever, Parts & Labour) and an evening jaunt to Spiderhouse (I've almost forgotten how nice warm Texas summer nights can be-- and being able to sit outside without a sweater and not be cold!)

Zach, Criss, and her hubby all left to go back home Sunday afternoon, and Jen was back off to SF on Monday. Since then we've been mainly hanging out here, me taking lots of naps and Donovan being entertained by his grandparents and niece.  It's been nice. =)

You know what else has been nice? So far I've only taken about 150 pictures. I didn't even grab my DSLR from its bag till Sunday (normally by now I would've worked my way through my first 2gig memory card).  It's kind of liberating to sit back more and not worry so much about capturing every moment.  Of course, I will probably get yelled at by *ahem* certain family members for not taking enough pictures. ; )

What's not so nice?  MOSQUITOES.  Both D and I have bites all up and down our legs and arms. He even has matching bites on each cheek.  I've tried to make sure he's covered in bug spray anytime he goes outside, but don't always get to him in time (or expect the bugs to be out and biting).  At least they don't seem to be bothering him hardly at all... mine, instead, itch like the dickens.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In-laws + San Francisco + ultrasound + photos of it all

I feel like life is going at a pace of about a million miles a minute these days.

The in-laws were just here with us for a week.  I thought I'd have all this time to take care of a bunch of stuff... and there were several things I did get to do, like appointments and visit a couple of preschools.  But we also all went to the local zoo, and checked out the railroad museum, and I took a few naps, and before I knew it it was Friday evening and the long to-do list I'd imagined completing was only about 1/3 done. Oh well.

Saturday we drove to San Francisco for the weekend.  Unfortunately, we got so spoiled by how nice and traffic-free the drive to SF used to be from San Jose, especially on 280.  This time we hit some traffic on the way, along with a decent slow-down at "the maze" before crossing the bay bridge.  Suppose we'll have to make sure to leave earlier next time.  We stayed down in Chinatown, down the street from Zach's brother's place.  That night the in-laws put D to bed at the hotel while Andrew, Jakki, Zach, and I went to see my sister perform with the dance company she joined several months ago.  It was a short, informal performance at their studio, and Jenny was only in one dance but it was awesome to see her in it.  She's always been super athletic-- she danced, swam, and cheerleaded in high school, and was on the rowing team in college-- and she's always pretty much kicked butt in whatever she was involved with at the time.  True to form, she rocked on Saturday.  =)

Sunday morning Zach and Andrew went to the Y to play basketball, and Hank, Susan, D and I checked out the Cable Car Museum and then shortly after noon we all went to the Civic Center where a massive crowd was gathered to watch the final match of the World Cup, and where Jenny was celebrating her 26th birthday with a bunch of friends.  We got there towards the end of the game, which worked out pretty well-- D played at the playground for a while, then as the crowds started dispersing a bit we found Jen and her crew and joined in as everyone cheered and danced and celebrated Spain's win.  D was super tired by then, past his nap time, but even he joined in on the dancing and fun.Finally we headed home, leaving Hank and Susan at their hotel so they could stay in SF the rest of this week.

At the railroad museum

Mama and baby tiger at the Sacramento Zoo

Enjoying the view from our room in San Francisco

World Cup crowds

Post-win dancing


More pictures here

Then yesterday, Monday, we got to try out a new baby-sitter while Zach and I went to my ultrasound appointment!  The appointment itself went ok, a bit boring as I couldn't see the screen for the vast majority of the time, but then at the end we got to check out all the little baby parts and skeleton, which was really cool, and then we got to find out that we're having a second little boy, which is also exciting. =)
Baby#2

I then came home at about 1:15pm, and the baby-sitter said she'd just put D down for a nap about 15 minutes before. Sweet! I thought, I still get free time while D sleeps...  Of course, no sooner had I thought this that I heard footsteps upstairs, and looked up to see D, who had apparently woken when he heard me come home, looking down at me.  So I paid the girl, and went upstairs to try to get the kiddo to sleep some more, but no dice.  Which sucked, as I was then having flashbacks to other recent days when he's missed his nap, and let me tell you those days were NOT PRETTY so by then any excitement I had over the ultrasound and finding out the sex of the baby was gone, replaced by utter frustration.  I know I shouldn't let him influence my moods this much, but it's hard to avoid-- his day pretty much dictates how mine goes.  But, I did get him to agree to some "quiet time" in his room while I got a couple of things done.  And thankfully, he wasn't in too bad a mood, at least not until bedtime when Zach was getting him ready and suddenly D formed into Demon Child and I tell you, it's not often you hear that level of screaming from him.  At least he was so tired that after the yes-you're-getting-your-damn-pajamas-on battle he went to sleep relatively quickly.

So now I'm trying to get a few things done while also trying to make sure we have a couple of pretty low-key, calm days... since Thursday afternoon we fly to Texas for 10 days!  Which will likely be our last trip home for I-don't-know-how-long since I don't think we'll make it again before this baby is born, and after that... oh god, I have no idea how I'll try to manage with a toddler and newborn on a plane.  So family, y'all will all just have to fly out here to visit, 'k?   ; )

Thursday, July 08, 2010

MariaMontessori.com

Several months ago I was contacted by a fellow Montessorian named Matt, who was putting together a website that would serve as a resource for teachers and parents alike to learn more about Montessori.  He asked me to be one of a number of bloggers who would post on the website.  Honored, I accepted, making it clear that I might only get around to 1 post a month or so.  I got to see a preview of the site, and got really excited-- for a long time I've struggled to find someplace to send people to who ask me about Montessori, a resource that helps explain the philosophy and what the classrooms are like (and why) but that isn't too overwhelming.  I think this website is it.

As of just a few days ago, MariaMontessori.com is now LIVE!  And I hope you will all go check it out.  It's a beautiful website with blog posts from very talented and wise Montessorians (oh, and me, too), explanations about Montessori and what the environments are like for the different age groups, audio and video clips to listen to, etc.
Screen shot 2010-07-08 at 4.35.03 PM

Basically, it's a really cool site, and if you've ever wanted to know more about Montessori this is the place to go.



As a related aside, the other day I visited a local Montessori school (we're starting to look for places for Donovan to go to).  I had an appointment for a tour with the Director of Admissions, and when I got to the building a man opened the door for me and introduced himself. "I'm Matt," he said.  "Hi, I'm Marcy," I said back to be polite, and started turning towards the woman I knew I was supposed to meet, as I recognized her photo from the website. "No, I'm Matt" he repeated with a bit more emphasis.

*Click*

Yes, it's the same Matt from the website. I had no idea he lived in Sacramento, or worked for this school.  Small world, huh? ; )  It was nice to meet the person with whom I've been emailing back and forth all this time.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Awe




(I know I already posted the plane photo, but I just thought these 2 went so well together...)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Tale of Two Prenatal Appointments

I've had two prenatal appointments in the past two days.  Yesterday I met with my midwives for our first appointment.  Earlier today, I saw a nurse practitioner at Kaiser for a prenatal and to have my records transferred from my previous OB's office.

The two appointments were like night and day.

For my midwife appointment, Zach came with me. We drove up to their office, which is the bottom apartment of a converted 2-story pink victorian.  Both midwives, Claudia and Jen, were there. They welcomed us in, got us each a glass of water, and we sat down in comfortable chairs in the living/common area.  They handed me a few booklets with information about pregnancy exercises, baby's growth, etc, along with a chart where I am to record my food intake for one week so we can talk about nutrition at the next appointment.  We filled out my basic information for my chart, and went over several legal forms.  At the part when usually you're expected to sign on the dotted line trusting that the document really does say what they told you it does, instead Claudia instructed me to take them home, read them fully, then bring them back with my signatures and/or any questions I had about them.  They asked me about Donovan's pregnancy and birth; how this pregnancy was going so far; talked about their fees and payment plans (which we can pretty much plan out however we like, as long as we do actually, you know, pay); and they answered all my questions thoroughly, often throwing in an appropriate anecdote or two.  They emphasized that from now through post-partum care, they are both on call for me 24/7-- if I wake up with a sudden worry at 3am, I can (and even should) call them, and gave me each of their cell phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses.  Before long we realized we'd blown through the entire two hours they had allotted for this first appointment (future ones will likely only be one hour), and their next client was at the door.  Jen invited the next couple in and began the consult with them, while Claudia took Zach and I into the adjacent bedroom/exam room to check my blood pressure, heart rate, weight, urine, feel my uterus, and listen to baby's heartbeat with a doppler (around 152bpm!).  Finally she asked if we had any other questions, we booked our next appointment, and with a hug good-bye we were done.  (BTW we kept D at home with Zach's parents for the appointment, because of the length and timing, but they do have a play kitchen and several other children's toys in the office and he is welcome to all future appointments-- which is a very nice perk)

Today I went by myself.  I drove up to the huge Kaiser Permanente complex, parked, found the elevator up to the third floor, and checked in at the desk, where I handed over my insurance card, ID, and $30 copay.  I then sat in the waiting room for 25 minutes before they called my name.  The nurse/office staff/not even sure what the proper title is took me to the back, checked my weight, blood pressure, and asked if I'd brought my own urine sample (apparently I was supposed to collect my first morning urine, but no one had mentioned this to me when I made the appointment).  She then booked my ultrasound appointment (for monday!) and gave me updated paperwork for the second part of my blood screening.  Then she asked me to change into the gown on the table (at least it was cloth, not all paper) and wait for the nurse practitioner with whom I had the actual appointment.  The nurse came in a while later, asked me what symptoms I was having, noted that D's birth was listed as normal in the charts, made sure all records had transferred properly, then gave me a breast exam and listened to the heartbeat with a doppler.  She asked me what doctor I'd like to see from now on, I mentioned that I was seeing midwives outside of Kaiser and was considering not continuing double appointments, and she pretty much forced me to make my next appointment at 20 weeks.  Then we spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out how to print out my records so I could give a copy to my midwives.  In total, from check-in to when I left, I spent an hour there, about 45 minutes of which was spent just waiting-- for my name to be called, to schedule future appointments, for the nurse to come back in the room, for my records to be printed.

Now, the staff I dealt with today at Kaiser was pleasant enough.  But I think you can see why I prefer the midwives. ; )

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Tour of Donovan's New Bedroom

So far, this is the one room of the house that is DONE.  And i actually still want to pick up a comforter for his new bed, but that can wait a bit... like maybe till fall, when it actually starts to get cool again. ; )  I'm pretty pleased with how his room has turned out, though, and D seems to like it, too.

First, the biggest change-- his NEW BED!  We figured it was about time to get him a true twin-size "big kid" bed.  Donovan LOVES it, and talks constantly about his new bed... which is a relief, since I was a bit worried about how the transition off the floor would go.  (I know, we still need to get a bed rail for the side of the mattress, so for now at night we put down a thick blanket and a few pillows along the floor beside him. He's been using the new bed for just over a week and rolled off once... and went right back to sleep after climbing back in!)

The coolest thing about this bed?  When D grows a bit older we can flip the entire frame upside-down and it becomes a loft!  =)

Pretty much all the furniture is Ikea... the bed, the toy shelf, the table & chairs, the dresser, even the laundry hamper and new rug.  What can I say? It's affordable and functional.... and if a piece gets broken, it's not that big a deal  ; )


The animal prints are from an etsy shop called Fall Down Tree.  I discovered this shop at least a full year ago, if not longer, and have been waiting for the right excuse to buy up a few of their prints.  I think the llama is my absolute favorite.



The embroidery above is hanging right by the door to his room, and was made for Donovan by the Brazilian grandmother who lived down the street from us at our last house.  I know, how awesome is that?

Above his dresser I also hung a print from the West Willow etsy shop that I could not resist, since this is the song I sing to Donovan each night and at nap time before he goes to sleep.

For now I've moved his diaper supplies into the hall bathroom, as a hopeful preparatory step to potty training later this summer.  Can I tell you how nice it is to go from sharing a single bathroom for the whole house to now having 2.5 bathrooms??  Zach and I get a huge master bath, and we still have a hall bathroom for D that's big enough to stash a changing table and diaper pail into.  SO. NICE.

The rest of our home is fairly well set up furniture-wise, but I'm trying to figure out what to do with the walls.  Eventually I'll figure that out, and can then post a photo tour of everything else.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The planes! The planes!

So, I knew that Zach's office was located inside an air force base (hey, it's cheap rent, and they're a start-up on a budget).  He'd sent me camera phone pictures of the airplanes in the hangar by his office.  But somehow, I don't think I'd properly taken it all in... or quite realized that he literally walks through a bunch of airplanes to reach his office.  Or that this is the view when he steps out of the office door:

Donovan and I picked up some Panera and then met Zach at work to have lunch and get to check out the planes.  I think D's head just about exploded from all the coolness. There were small planes, big planes, and everything inbetween, and he got to walk right by them and get good, close looks at it all.



We'd walked through 2 hangars, and Zach knew there was a third that had a big 747 jet parked in it. We happened to run into a woman who let us go into that hangar and not only see the plane, but get a tour of the inside:

Turns out she works for the Fry family (as in Fry's electronics), and this is one of their planes.  They'd recently bought it from a Saudi prince, and were in the process of figuring out quite what to do with it and how to renovate the inside.  There's an upstairs area that looks a lot like the first class section of a commercial plane, but the main floor had a bedroom, lounge area, etc.  D even got to check out the cockpit!  The woman showing us around said the one thing they had changed so far on the plane was take out the operating table and body bags.  See, apparently the prince who'd owned the plane before had a bad heart, and he always traveled with a surgeon and a live human donor who I guess was then expected/prepared to give up his life at any moment should the prince's heart fail, and give him his own.

Seriously.

So.  Today was pretty much Donovan's BEST. DAY. EVER.  And he already can't wait to go visit Daddy at work again to get to see the planes.  Apparently Zach's boss is thinking of moving to a different office space, so we may need to take advantage of this "work perk" while we still can. ; )

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I have a midwife!

Two of them, in fact. ; )

I've been on the hunt for a midwife here in Sacramento ever since we became certain we'd be moving here. I contacted a few via email, got a bit of information... then waited, impatiently, until we actually moved and got settled enough to start booking appointments to actually meet them in person.  Last week I met with one midwife who was lovely-- Zach came with me and we both got a great feel off her.  However, her office is a good 20-25 minute drive away, so while I was tempted to just tell her right then and there that I'd go with her, I waited until this week to meet with another midwifery practice that's based much closer to our home.

Well, I met with them yesterday morning and after talking with them for nearly an hour and a half about their practice in specific, and birth in general, I went ahead and scheduled my first prenatal appointment with them for next week!

The practice focuses on home births and consists of two midwives, Claudia and Jen.  Both were there today, and they both will see me together for my first and second prenatal appointments, along with the 36 week appointment,and they'll both come for the birth.  For all other appointments, I'll be seeing one or the other.  Appointments tend to last about an hour, they said, and we'll meet monthly until I think 27 weeks, bi-weekly till 36 weeks, and past 36 weeks they'll come to our home for appointments every week until I go into labor. They only take on between 3-5 births per month, so chances are very good that they will both be available for my birth.  However, since there are two of them, in the event that another client goes into labor at the same time as me they can split up and I still get to use one of the midwives I've been seeing for the previous many months, as opposed to a back-up I've met once or not at all.  They both have loads of experience, including more potentially complicated births like VBACs and breech vaginal births, not to mention more common complications like shoulder dystocia, infant resuscitation, or postpartum hemorrage and have both the tools and know-how to deal with them in a safe and effective manner.  On the very low chance that I might need to go to a hospital for some reason, they can stay with me, and their hospital transfers have almost always gone very smoothly for the mom and baby.  After the birth one of the midwives will come to our home to check on me and the baby at 1, 3, and 5 days, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks postpartum, and then we'll have one final appointment in their office at 6 weeks.  (doesn't that sound so nice? I *love* that midwives do home visits. Nathalie did this after D's birth, too, and it was so reassuring)

I initially became sold on wanting a home birth when I started looking into options in San Jose and realized the only 2 real options available were hospital with an OB vs home with a midwife.  Here in Sacramento there is actually one birth center around, but now that I've gotten used to the idea of being able to just stay home in labor, not have to get in a car to go anywhere but stay here where all our things are and where we're all comfortable, it's hard for me to want anything different.  The midwives will bring with them all the equipment that you'd normally have at a center, and will set up and then clean everything up for us (including the setting up and breaking down of a birthing tub, which is one of my personal birthing must-haves).  That means all I have to focus on is birthing my baby, and then snuggling up with him or her afterwards.  =)  And, in case of a true no-time-to-lose emergency, there's a hospital literally about a mile away from our home.

So! That's settled. And it feels pretty nice.  I'm excited to start my care with these midwives.  And as odd as it may sound to say, I'm actually really looking forward to giving birth again.  I felt pretty confident about my body and my abilities last time, but now that I know I can do it, now that I know exactly what I'm capable of, I have a whole new level of confidence and calm about the process.  The one thing we'll still have to figure out about is Donovan-- I'm torn about whether I'll want him to be here for the birth and share in the experience with us, or if we'll want to find someone who can take him for that night/day.  I have some thinking and exploring to do about that.

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