Wednesday, September 29, 2010

week 12: finding my footing.

people will tell you a lot of things about pregnancy, especially if you ask them. i currently own two books about it, one of which i actually like and the other which makes me irrationally angry at its judgmental tone (i'll come back to that. it's a whole thing.).  there's just pregnancy a-go-go all over the TV (at any given time, you can watch a show about not knowing you were pregnant, giving birth, giving birth somewhere else, adopting, dealing with having 8 children at one get my drift) and all over the internet.  i signed up for babycenter updates, which i love. every week, i get a new email telling me how big Baby is and what's happening to me.

(they're fun. they're always comparing Baby to a food. this week, s/he's a plum-sized fetus! i find it somewhat strange, but slightly hilarious at the same time, until i don't know what the food looks like. then i just feel dumb.)

so my point is i am nothing if not awash in information.

last time i was at the doctor, he mentioned that at week 16 (about a month), they traditionally do a blood test to gauge your risk of having a baby with genetic abnormalities.  i had always thought that i would never have these tests, because the purpose of these tests seem to be to make a decision about keeping a baby that might not be the way you thought s/he would be, and that was never, ever a question for musicboy and i. 

but cue the anxiety for me.

so here's the thing: the last few weeks have been very...anxious for me. i didn't think i was an anxious person. i don't fret about small things.  i worry about big picture things, and how to deal with them, but mostly i fret for a while, realize i'm fretting, and then i make a plan and move forward. i would consider myself a forward-moving person as a rule.

but this pregnancy thing--it has had me paralyzed in a sea of extra information.  if you need a mental picture, picture me neck deep in a pile of books and papers, just looking around with a stunned look on my face.  it's been wearing me down.

but i didn't realize what it was that was wearing me down. i knew i was anxious, i knew i was scared, but i thought for a while that was normal. first trimester and all, i thought it was pretty normal to just be waiting it out and hoping all was well.

but when it didn't really go away after we saw the baby flailing and kicking and heart-beating away, i knew it had to be something else. the worry just shifted--it didn't go away.

a few nights ago, i broached the subject of my worry with musicboy. i just couldn't figure it out--couldn't even really articulate what it was that i was worried about, since all of the things that i was worried about i didn't actually believe were true (see if that makes sense--it doesn't).  sure, i could have chalked it all up to hormones and move on, but that didn't make anything better.

i wanted something to be better. i was tired--bone tired--of worrying.

as i was talking to him, i said something truly profound.  i said "i think i'm the complete opposite of most people. i am not at all afraid of when Baby gets here, of what to do. i have 100% confidence that we will be good parents, because we will work hard and we will just figure it out, day by day.  i'm not even afraid of giving birth to Baby--people have been doing it for thousands of years. i'll figure it out.  i'm afraid of growing the baby."

what a revelation to me.  i'm afraid of growing the baby? what the heck? 

so i began to try to think about why.  and here's what i've come up with--and it rings true for me.  ever since i got pregnant, and even before, i have relied on other people: books, websites with symptoms, other pregnant women, people who just had babies, anyone and everyone who would tell me what to expect, what to do, what to eat, how much to rest.  i was just a seeker, looking for information everywhere. though i stopped that, to a certain extent, early on in the pregnancy, that impulse didn't go away. the action did (i stopped trolling websites, for example) but the impulse didn't.

i kept looking for answers outside of myself.  i had no trust, whatsoever, in my ability to read and understand my own body, to have faith that things were good, to listen to the voice inside my heart that, because i didn't listen, gradually got fainter and fainter.

i stopped listening.

why? i have no idea.  perhaps it was somewhat overwhelming. perhaps i just got swept up in it. perhaps this is a lesson that i need to learn in preparation for my entrance into parenthood, but regardless--i am learning it.  while i still love my pregnancy book because it's so very exciting to read that Baby will be able to discern sound in a few weeks and that his/her eyelids are clamped down over eyes that are the color they will be for his/her whole life, i think i'm beginning to realize that i have a responsibility to trust myself.  to trust my instincts. to seek after and trust the guidance i receive from Above.

it feels a bit like i'm coming out of a fog.  strange, perhaps, but true.  i feel like, in some ways, i lost a bit of myself in all of this seeking and asking and clinging.  that's not who i am.  i'm not a person who lets anyone tell me what to do.  i make decisions and then i stubbornly stick to them.

i am not a wave, driven with the wind and tossed. but i have been letting myself be tossed.

i think i'm really done with that. 

the strange manifestations of this have come quietly to me over the past few days. i've been thinking a lot about turning off the noise in my life--having some time, every day, when i just sit in the quiet and study and read and do something that lets me rejuvenate.  i've been finding answers in small places--on our healthy living blog, one of my friends suggested (as a stress reduction tip) to always do something in the house every day, no matter how busy you are.  i really liked that, as it seemed to answer some concerns i had about how outrageous our house gets from saturday to saturday.  i can do a little bit.  i've been thinking of starting some letters to Baby, as a way of writing down all of the things that are going through my mind about this journey we're about to go on together.  i think, of all my ideas, that one is the one i'm most excited about. cheesy or not, i think it might be the ticket to helping me and this little fetus (who keeps growing and is starting to force me out of my jeans) connect amid the bustle, haste, and hurry of the household of musicboy and teachergirl.

i feel like i'm setting out, purposefully, on my own path.  just looking forward and trying to pay attention along the way.  pregnancy, so far, as left me a bit timid and unsure. 

i'm happy to be finding my way back to myself.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

living for the weekend.

i've never been a person who really lived for the weekend, who craved it and needed it and, what's more, who hated sunday nights because they meant the end of the weekend and a return to work.

i have become that person.

there's much to do.  so much that i don't seem to be able to do during the week that i am able to catch up on during the weekend.  musicboy, on game days, has to be to rehearsal at 7:30, which means that i am up and going by then as well.  this saturday, i was awake at 6:30. Baby rarely lets me sleep much past 8:00 anymore, which is okay because i either just switch locations (our craigslist couch has saved me over the past few months) or i get up and get going before crashing again later.

i usually end up doing a whole heap of laundry, straightening up the house, baking or making some sort of homemade food, and preparing for college football. inevitably i also end up doing work for my classes.  sometimes i get more done than others, but it seems like there's never enough time. 

then on sunday, there's church and choir and by the time we're home and settled, it's almost over. 

the weeks are long. the weekdays are longer.  i want to keep my commitments, to be where i say i will be when i say i will be there, but sometimes the effort of even meeting those obligations seem to take all that i have.  some days, i'm quite pleased that i do that.  but i want to do more, i want to go back to the gym, i want to work ahead.  but the strategic use of time can be quite draining.  i'm just...sort of at a loss about how to fit it all in. 

this all sounds very forlorn and sad. i don't mean it that way and i don't particularly feel that way.  i just mean that i am still figuring it out. i wish that i could figure it all out a bit more quickly, because i feel like just about the time that i do, it will be time to figure something else out entirely.

isn't that always the way it is?

i don't like mondays.  i don't know that anyone does, but i don't like this new incarnation of monday dislike.  but all i can do is all i can do, and right now that includes grading speech sheets and planning for my 12:50 class. 

i hope you all are keeping it all together much more efficiently than i am.  :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

i don't get it.

  • you're on a cell phone in a hallway in a building full of academic offices.  the hallways are made of tile, so they are echoey, and they're old, which makes for even more echoeyness.  and yet, you persist in talking at the top of your voice like the phone is from 1963 and is the first incarnation of cellular technology.  it's okay. they can hear you. oh, and guess what? so can i.
  • if you think that you are so above the class, and you're happy with just getting by with a b+, why do you ask me about points and grades ad nauseum? why do you even come to class? clearly, you know everything anyway.
  • am i invisible? because you clearly didn't mind walking directly in my path so that i had to stop for you. oh, no, it's okay. walking more than half a mile is easy for me right now, especially while hauling a bag full of assorted teaching stuff.  it's okay. i'll wait for you.  oh, and while i'm waiting, let's let this biker not hit me as well.  seriously. am i invisible? because when i left the house, i still had a reflection.
  •  you just don't come to class. as in, i haven't seen you since the second week. you don't call, you don't write, you don't show up.  why? 
  • you're on a pastry chef reality show and you are losing your crap over some red hots and a grapefruit shortage.  i don't think it's too much to call you mentally unstable. you're the kind of contestant who's going to pull a knife on someone, and i know the producers know it.  you used blue food coloring in your elimination challenge dish, and it looked like smurf poop.  and yet, you are left on the show because you are reality gold.  i hate cynical manufactured reality show nonsense, and yet i keep coming back for more. bravo, i can't quit you.
  • i never really wanted a publix sub that much before, but now that i know that i'm not supposed to have it, it sounds like a delicious mecca for my tastebuds.  i could order a hot sandwich but...shudder...that's not a sub.  i've never been a person who wanted something just because she couldn't have it, but maybe i'm becoming that way? 
  • how come i go to bed earlier and earlier every night and yet end up going to sleep at the same time? musicboy suggests that perhaps if i turned off the tv, it would help. pfft.  i hate it when he's right.   

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

feeling a little weary today and rundown by my schedule.  putting one foot in front of other this morning was at times painfully difficult.  not knowing how i could face my day, i decided, after finishing one of the tasks on my mighty to-do list, to youtube a song my old roommate texted me about. 

it was a good choice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

it's tuesday and there are blessings.

when i found out we weren't going to get paid for like, three extra weeks, i paid our tithing.

we are terrible crap at paying tithing consistently. i am vigilant about deducting it, and it never gets spent on anything else, but i never have a checkbook at church and i am usually running here there and everywhere and insert relevant excuse here. they're reasons, not excuses, but they don't make it better.

so we had a pretty sizable sum to pay when i wrote the check.  the amount made me think i really needed to get on a better, more consistent system of payment.

i usually go through this process when i find myself in potential financial...pressure (not crisis, not bind, just...stress).  i pay my tithing straightaway. this time, i tried to identify and to think about why i do that and why it works for me. obviously, it's because i have a testimony of the principle of tithing, as well as a testimony of the principle of obedience: that when you do what He asks, the Lord will bless you.

but i don't do it only for blessings.  when i forked over the sum that i had been holding on to for too long (and forked sounds like it was hesitant, which it was not--maybe a better term is submitted, for many reasons), i did it because i didn't want to mess up. i didn't want, for one little minute, for there to be any thinking that maybe that money could be "borrowed" for a little while until i got it back, or that it would be my buffer just in case.


it's not my money. it's the Lord's. i wanted it out of my hands and into the hands of an agent who had no potential temptation to use it for something else.

and in the moment when i did it, i was relieved. not stressed, but relieved. because, though i certainly didn't expect a windfall of money to arrive on our doorstep, i knew that the act of obedience would ensure that we would have sufficient for our needs.  and we did.  we weathered the financial pressure with grace. and it turns out that i actually got paid from one of my jobs on the 15th and didn't even realize it. 

so i had a buffer, but it wasn't the Lord's money.  and things started lasting longer: like printer ink and gas and goldfish and sour cream.  things that might have gone bad, like milk, stayed good for much longer than i thought it would.  and i remembered that, hey, i can actually go without things and when i can't, i can be wise about how to best spend money. 

and when i looked online and saw that i was getting paid a pretty hefty sum from collegetown u on friday, a great big sigh of relief and gratitude filled my heart.

i didn't do it for those blessings.  i did it because it was right and it was His.  but i knew that the law is irrevocably decreed--when you obey, you are blessed.  maybe blessings are an okay reason to obey, so long as you are obeying. but i worry about myself when i get into a mindset of "if i do this, i will get this." i don't know the Lord's will. perhaps His will for me was to figure out how to make a week's worth of groceries last three. i don't know. i can't sit and expect that He will tell me His plans for me, down to the minutia.  i know better than that, so i don't ask. i just try to do the right things, sometimes unfortunately delayed by my own innate humanity, and hope that it's enough of an acceptable offering.

and every time i do, with that attitude of submission, the reality of His love is confirmed to me.  how much He is anxious to bless us is confirmed to me.  when we love Him, and show it, all is well.  all He asks us to do is trust Him, trust His ways, and exercise a little bit of faith and self-control.  when we do?

we are happy. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the weirdest pregnancy observation ever. and some other random stuff.

my stomach feels like old cheese. inside.  (this is not a cellulite complaint. that ship has sailed.) that's the only way that i can explain how i feel routinely, but no one but me understands it.

also, it's sunday night and i have no idea how i'll get through the next week. but i got through the last one and the one before that, so there's that.

i have gone off the rails in terms of what i'm supposed to be eating. there were cupcakes and frosting and cheese pizza and chili's chicken fajitas and i ate too much of all of it and did you know that copious amounts of sugar equal BAD TIMES?  but did that stop me? heck no.

(i.e. i can't really eat pancakes with syrup--too much sugar--and i can eat chips ahoy, but not too much and usually only with milk.  in some ways this makes me very happy. too bad i don't listen to the voice in my head that says DANGER!)

i have to get back on the rails.  i didn't eat any cupcakes today, even though there were many left.  i did eat too many chips ahoy, but baby steps. so i may have gained all the weight that i was supposed to have gained over the past eleven weeks in the past four or five days. 

so there's that.

i haven't been paid yet for, like, anything that i've done for the past four weeks in terms of teaching.  oh the bureaucracy of the university systems.  i  hate you.  i need money.  mama needs some fruit and salad and, you know, to pay the light bill.

thank heavens (quite literally) for tithing and for savings. 

also, nectarines are delicious.  i would like a case of them to not go bad and be delivered to my home so that i can eat their deliciousness every day.

pretty sure that's all i got. 

old cheese, man. does anybody get what i mean?  so bizarre.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

our first purchase.

we went to old navy and bought our first baby thing yesterday. paid full price (last time i'll do that!) and everything.  it looks like this, except instead of star wars, it says "eating machine" with a pacman and pellets graphic. i can't find it to save my life (why, old navy, why?).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

planning the big picture.

i am a planner.

if you know the intricate workings of my overanxious brain, you know this is true.  i need to have things laid out, planned out, so that i can face the future with a small sense of control. i don't think i'm a control freak; it's my coping mechanism. if i know what's coming, i can figure out how to deal with it, even if it's bad.

this sometimes leads to a great deal of unnecessary stress. i recognize it, and sometimes have the capacity to recognize that some things i will not know, cannot know, and have to trust that i will have what i need when i need it.

(childbirth, for example, is one of these things. i am just not stressed about it. my body is a machine. it's sometimes a rusty, clanking, horrible jalopy of a machine and other times a sleek italian beast.  whatever. it does its job quite well and i'm just going to try to prepare to let it do its job. since i know that no one can possibly describe the process to me adequately, and since i know that every individual is different, i am chill.)

however, sometimes this leads to awesome. sometimes i think the Lord uses my planning nature to achieve His ends, or to help me help myself. 

case in point.

since Baby comes in early april, i can't teach traditional classes.  we do, however, still need traditional money to pay for traditional things like food, rent, and student loans (ohhai phd. you were expensive. but worth it.). 

cue my overplanning nature.

i start emailing my bosses.  i call it my "putting the ducks in a row" process.  i just need to know that there are ducks and that there is a row. the ducks can change color and the row can get shorter or longer, but i need to know that it's there.

(read: i need to know that there will be sufficient income for our needs, even though i know that we will always have sufficient for our needs.)

first email got me a promise of two online classes from the place that gave me four this semester. i was sort of counting on four.  but, awesome coordinator guy said he would try to find as many as he could for me.  i know he will, and actually think that he probably will find me at least 3 if not 4. 

panic ensued.  i started doing calculations in my head. we would never survive on just that.

(of course, this does not include the other OIOHL that i can work for every six weeks for as long as i want, basically, if i hustle a little bit.  so...panic was not necessary, but it was there.)

instead of freaking completely out, i emailed the department head at local cc, where i started this fall. i really like teaching there and just got a glowing evaluation from the adjunct coordinator. 

this was her response: "For what it’s worth, pregnant women have dibs on online classes. "

and suddenly i begin to see that, even when it seems scary and dark, there are people everywhere that want to help and ways in our lives that the Lord is working quietly and mysteriously and completely. 

i think i sort of needed a reminder of how much He works in our lives, even when we are forgetful, slothful servants. i think i needed to remember how very much He has our backs when we exercise even a little bit of faith in Him.  i've been feeling lately that my life is very much out of whack--i spend a lot of time on things that mean very little. our lives are so busy and frantic and fraught with to-do lists and responsibilities that we don't spend very much time getting centered.

i know that i don't spend enough time putting the best things first.  

i have felt, for the past few days, a pressing need to make that right.  i have felt like musicboy and i need to figure out how to put first things first and have faith that all the rest will fall into place. we are, right now, trying to fit the golf balls into the jar after the sand's been poured in.  nothing fits right and it's frustrating.

we need a bit of a switch.

today's truly tender mercy--even in its vague promise of comforting times ahead--testifies to me that, when we listen, when we heed, when we put what's most important first, we will have everything we need. we won't know where it comes from or how it works.  we won't understand it but we will see it everywhere in our lives.  

i genuinely think it might take this entire semester of crazy for me to learn a tiny lesson about prioritizing in faith.  i think it might take me three months of making little moments count to learn that what we do with all our little moments counts.

but i'm going to try.  i'm going to keep trying.  i may not get it perfect--i may not get even close--but i know that this time, right now, is essential.  our lives are changing and, for the foreseeable future, they will be just as busy and require just as much prioritizing (if not more).  i feel so impressed that the lessons of this insane eight class, marching band semester are little practice rounds for our lives as parents.  

what we do now matters because what we do now sets the tone.

i want the tone to be faithful, focused, and fun.  

in this case, planning will work for us.  in this case, i am grateful for the small glimpse of the bigger picture that helps to reorient me and redirect me. they are rare, those glimpses, and i hope that i can do justice to this one that i've received.  

it's important.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

switching gears.

i feel like a car whose transmission is shot--i feel stuck in one gear for too long, as opposed to being the shifting beast that i normally am.

(i understand why. i, however, still don't love it.)

today i spent the vast majority of my day managing student issues. granted, it was my office hours day, but i remember days of yore when no one would ever come to my office hours and it was hours of uninterrupted time to get things done.  i do not begrudge students who come to office hours (even though it seems like i am); i am actually especially happy when students are coming in early, before their assignments are due, in order to make sure that they are meeting the expectations of the assignment.  given the fact that i am, apparently, intimidating and often off-putting (or have been in the past) to my public speaking students, i am so pleased to see that students feel like they can email me and are taking me up on my offers of support.

on a pedagogical level, it means that they are invested and that they feel like i am invested in them. it means that i am doing what i am supposed to do.  on a purely pragmatic level, after getting my evaluation today that mentioned the superlow evaluation scores compared to the rest of the department, this must mean that my students feel comfortable enough to come and speak to me, to seek me out, and that must mean that they will be kind(er) in their evals.

i can only hope so, though i am beginning to feel like maybe my time with that department is ending. it's great money, but i'm not sure they're going to keep me around forever. maybe that's just paranoia, but maybe it's not a bad thing.  we'll be taken care of, no matter what.  who knows.  we'll see.

speaking of that eval, how is it just totally typical me that instead of seeing the GLOWING way in which my boss described my lecture and class, i focus on the elements that are very clearly just there to document what has happened in the past few months.  even when discussing the things that i have messed up on, there's a heap of positive feedback. 

but what does crazy me feel?  defensive.

gah.  whatever.

but anyway, back to my point. i spend huge chunks of my day answering student emails and responding to student mistakes.  especially in my online teaching world, it seems like NO ONE FOLLOWS DIRECTIONS. it's not that difficult, is it, to send something to the online receptacle for papers instead of emailing them, right? especially when it explicitly details that on the syllabus?  it's not that difficult to submit things using the correct, universal filetype rather than whatever you have, even if it means an extra step, right? especially when i forgive the first few times you don't, and remind you to do it correctly? when i email and post announcements and jump through HOOPS GALORE?

apparently it is.  because i spend WAY too much time on this nonsense.

i also spend a lot of time worrying about the fact that some students have 0% commitment to their classes.  part of me is like "i am a zombie. i have NO desire to deal with this nonsense, so if you have no commitment to this class, i have no commitment to you."


that's not my nature. i worry about students who never come to class, who show up to class 45 minutes late (but with mcdonald's iced coffee, by the way) as a routine, who don't seem to be engaged or invested.

i just do.  but all of this management, all of this administration--it takes so much of my time that i feel like i don't have the kind of time to devote to prepping and grading and getting ahead.  it worries me, it really does.

we're something like 1/4 of the way through the semester. i'm hoping i find my way, that i find a way to balance and a way to deal with this fragmented brain.  it's like i'm thinking of 100 things at once but can't commit my full energy to any one of them for fear i'll lose touch with something else that i have to worry about--it's exhausting and very different. 

i'd like to be able to switch gears much more effectively.  it would make the road a lot easier to travel.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 weeks plus: and already with the attitude.

today, we got to see a little heartbeat.  a little heartbeat and a baby fist pump.

i'm not even joking.  our baby was moving around like a totally active, full-of-attitude baby.

and it was suddenly all real.

i have been anxious. i'm not going to lie.  anxious and scared and worried that all wasn't well. i have heard of at least five women who have lost their first pregnancies, and i was worried that this would happen to us. it was the kind of worried not grounded in reality, and i could tell--it was the same kind of fear that i had about not getting pregnant at all, and look how that turned out--but it didn't go anywhere. it was still there, lodged in my heart just enough to close my mouth, to make me wait, to keep our news to ourselves.

in some ways, i'm quite glad we made that choice. it gave me time to adjust, time to try to figure out what i was doing, time to settle into the first trimester without worrying about a lot of people asking me questions. sometimes i like questions, but other times i just don't want them in my face. that's true of me in life as well, but i have felt more anxious and less adept at this pregnancy thing than i thought i would be, so time was exactly what i needed.

since we told our families, we had a support system, so it's been good.

it was only yesterday, really, that it began to feel real.  the kind of real that makes you inexplicably cry at a taylor swift video that shows a growing family, the kind of real that makes you nearly sob as you're driving home to "all because two people fell in love" and you picture how that phrase really just means everything to you right now.

the kind of happy that, in some ways, i haven't felt until it became a bit realer.

today the real just escalated.  i went for my first real ob appointment, with the meeting of the doctor and the exams and...finally...the ultrasound.

it went so quick that if you blinked it, you'd miss it.  but there Baby was, moving and jerking and looking so very baby-like. i barely saw the heart, but musicboy was there and saw it immediately. in those brief moments before the doctor froze the picture for measurements, i saw a spine and little hands and feet and the sweetest baby fist pump.

genuinely. it looked a little like a collegetown u cheer, which to this born and bred fan thrilled me.

what i loved most was, in that moment, i saw a little person with its own little personality.  and, for a moment, i thought "oh boy. this one's going to give us a run for our money."

bring it on, little baby. you wouldn't be ours if you didn't have sass to spare.

8 weeks: feeling real suddenly.

some friends of ours had a baby this morning around 5am. we know them from church, and because they were induced, they were READY. and because they had to wait longer than they thought they would, the dad was posting videos on facebook throughout the process.

and because i couldn't sleep last night, i watched them and felt like, somehow, i was getting a window into something totally precious and amazing.

when i finally went to sleep, they were a little more than halfway there. i knew that by the time i got up this morning, a new little boy would be in the world.

that's an amazing thing.

what was more amazing, though, was what started to happen to me when i watched these videos. the first ones were just labor updates.  then it was some serious labor, tracing contractions on the screen and talking to parents and family members in the room.

and i started to realize...that's going to be us.

up until now, nothing has really felt real except that i feel bad.  but i've felt bad before and not had something miraculous to show for it at the end of nine months.'s still surreal. my body doesn't look or feel particularly different, i don't feel a baby moving yet, i haven't seen an ultrasound.  i haven't heard the gentle thwushing of a new heart beating.

it's all an idea at this point, with physical indicators to testify to its reality.

or it was, until i saw those videos. and for a moment, there, i could picture myself in her place.  nervous, scared, anxious, worried, excited, thrilled.  i could see musicboy asking me questions and documenting the whole thing on video, probably until i just want to throttle him.  i could see family members coming in and out, friends coming to visit.

and then, when i woke up this morning, there were videos of their new baby. hearing those little cries and seeing that baby being weighed and measured and take stock of the new world that he's just seeing for the first time--it was like being hit with something extraordinary.

i said it over and over again, in awestruck wonder, to musicboy.

we're having a baby.

that's going to be us.

we're having a baby.

and suddenly, that feels real to me.

we're having a baby. i couldn't be more happy, delighted, scared, or apprehensive.  i couldn't be less ready or more ready. i couldn't be more juxtapositionally feeling than i am right now.  i am in no way an expert on bottles or baby care. i am in no way ready to be an expert at feeding or managing the schedule of a newborn.  but i am more than ready to love our baby with everything i have.  the rest will fall into place, i know.  i am nothing if not a planner.

welcome to the world, little michael.  we're glad you're here.  thank you for letting us share your birthday, and thanks for helping me begin to get ready to welcome our little one.  

you'll never know how special your birth story is to me.

8 weeks: can't publish this yet, but i just have to write about it.

just when i think that i've got this whole pregnancy thing figured out, a day like today comes along.

that's right. we're pregnant. 8 weeks on thursday (it's monday, august 23rd right now--first day of school.) surprise!

yesterday? felt pretty good. got things done.  cooked a whole dinner.  like with vegetables and everything.  i ate said dinner and did pretty well.  toward the end of the night (which is traditionally when i feel like death), my stomach started flipflopping but i managed it and it was okay.


totally different deal. i woke up every single hour last night (except for maybe 4. i might have missed that one, but i definitely saw 12, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6).  i ate breakfast and felt it coming on--the distinct impression that eating, today, would not be so supereasy. but i was intent on getting to school on time and doing my dog and pony syllabus show, so i managed to sort of be fine.

class was done, and i got to come home, and that's when it really hit me. i felt both hungry and nauseous at the same time, so i ate my planned lunch (leftovers from last night) at about 10am.  flip-flop. (i don't throw up, just tmi fyi, i just get really nauseated.)  i packed half a peanut butter sandwich for my trek to collegetown u and some water.  felt gross the whole time i was there.  ate my sandwich afterward, which was okay, but was exhausted.  came home, ate some cookies (bad plan--body doesn't like sugar when nauseous, but it's sometimes the only thing i want to eat) and basically passed out--the kind of sleep that begins with a "i think i'll lay down for a while" and ends with you waking up having to do math to figure out how long you've been out.  woke up with some serious nausea.  bad stuff.  inhaled some tortilla chips and salsa to try to kill the ill.

(my particular brand of nausea only really stays at bay if i eat wisely every few hours--but that's hard when i'm not feeling well.)

now i have zero energy to cook, so i ordered chinese food for me and musicboy, who will come home in an hour having had a 13 hour day, and all i can offer him is some sesame chicken. i am sure he will be fine with that, but i keep thinking i should have cooked and it should have been more healthy.

i don't think i really ate a vegetable or a fruit today unless you count salsa and guacamole. i do try, but it's hard.

tomorrow's another day.  so far, i haven't gained any weight despite feeding my nausea. i'm not trying to lose weight, but i definitely don't need to be gaining weight at this point.  but on days like these, when i eat tortilla chips because it seems like the only thing that i want to eat, i wonder how that can possibly continue.  grasping at carbs to save me is not what i want to do. i want to grasp at carrots and cantaloupe.

some days, i just can't manage it.

i think it's time to simplify those choices.  if i make it easier to eat carrots than to eat tortilla chips, maybe i'll be more likely to do it.

some days, it's so easy to plan ahead. other days, it's like i'm just desperately grabbing at anything to make  myself feel better.

i don't begrudge the nausea. in fact, i am glad to have it because it is a little message to me that all is well.  that, in combination with a host of other symptoms, tell me that the little one is growing well.  i like that.

i just wish i was a bit better at this whole thing.  it's a whole new world. everybody tells you that. nobody tells you that it's a hard one and takes a whole different approach that you just keep learning every day.  it's moving and checking and doing your best to do your best.

i'm guessing that's how parenthood is too.

i'll take it.  but i need to remind myself to take it with a side of broccoli instead of chips ahoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

when i woke up this morning, i was not pleased that it was monday. i'm not sure i'm ever pleased that it's monday, but i've grown to covet sundays with a fierce unyielding passion that suggests that only that one day of rest will restore the craziness of the week before and prepare both musicboy and i for the craziness to come.

it's my island of not-have-to-do-anything-ness, and i love it and i don't like it to go away.

there's something tremendously difficult about monday mornings, with the wide expanse of musicboy-less-ness ahead of me and the reality that planning and grading and hurtling to and fro will, once more, take over my life.  musicboy just has a beast of a schedule--it's horrific and i am so impressed by his ability to handle it with the grace and panache that he does. he is just the epitome of a TROOPER.

i don't know how i deserve him, but i'm awfully glad he's around.

but i don't see him much, and when i do he usually has a lot of things to get done before he practically collapses into bed.  he, of the blissful sleep, is shortly thereafter off into dreamland.

for me, the hormonal wonder, that's not always true. between having to pee 950 times a day and my recent span of anxiety dreams and just...not being comfortable (i know...the best is yet to come), it's sometimes hard for me to get to sleep.

so when the chirping of some rainforest critters from musicboy's phone tells us that 615 has already arrived, i am not always the happiest camper.  it sometimes all just feels like too much to handle, too soon. 

but today, when i was grumbly for no good reason other than it's monday and i'm tired, my dear husband pulled out the lesson that i had given the 18 month old children in church yesterday.

in his words: "we can choose to be happy, and when we are happy, other people are happy."

while i hate it when he's right, not because i need to be right all of the time or that i resent him being right but mainly because it means that i am so very wrong, he's right.

we can choose to be happy. we can choose to see the good in any one day, whether that day brings us heat and humidity or blissful fall breezes. we can choose to see the good in other people, whether they cut us off in traffic or kindly shake our hand when we meet them in our shared office. we can choose to see the good in a situation, whether that be a really nice office to squat in as an adjunct or the fact that we have a break to eat lunch before heading off again. 

we can choose the good, even when what seems like stress descends upon us. we can choose to be happy, and when we do, we make others happy.

musicboy chose to see the world through his particular brand of optimism today, and he (perhaps unknowingly) fundamentally changed the way i approached my day.

today is made of good, if i choose it.  i'm trying awfully hard. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

a month of this, and you'd be pretty quiet too.

two pink lines on august 4th at approximately 5am has made me loathe to talk about anything until i see a little heart beating on a screen somewhere.

that day should be tuesday, but i can't really keep it to myself anymore.

for a long time i was scared, then superstitious, then overly cautious.

but now the burden of knowing what i know and what's coming and having SO MANY QUESTIONS without anyone to ask them of is wearing quite thin.

plus, we told our parents basically that day and my mom has been dying to tell everyone on the sweet green planet ever since, so i called her a night or so ago and told her that she was free to start leaking the information.

and then i immediately felt compelled to be like ACK.  so i told my old roommates.  it was like pulling the bandaid off a little at a time.

then i let a hint drop in another blog post somewhere else, a hint that no one picked up on thankyouverymuch.


now i've just decided that, whatever, i'm talking but i'm not talking loud until tuesday. 

so here's me not talking loud, but telling you that it's been the most anxious, nauseous, surreal, mindblowing, and long month of my life.

definitely more to come.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a tale.

you're all atwitter with anticipation, aren't you?

good.  settle in. grab a snack. don't worry--i end up looking good, if not strong, in this story.

once upon a time, in the land of the collegetown u, there lived a newly crowned doctor named teachergirl.  somewhat uncomfortable with her newfound title, she walked around as if she was a commoner, a peasant named a teaching assistant even, rather than embracing the idea that she was, in fact, a bonafide and well-deserved NOBLEWOMAN. 

that's right. in the land of collegetown u and in all associated rural, local, or otherwise existing u, cc, or OIOHL, she had earned the right to wear a crown of awesome and to be worshiped with a few extra letters behind her name (it's a like a cape!) and the honor of a few extra before them as well (it's like a title!). 

but she, unwittingly, had not yet begun to don the noblewoman's habit and instead moved around the campus as if she was just like she always was--overworked, overtired, overconcerned that her superior noblepeople liked her and her performance, and overanxious that she was doing all she could to improve herself.  she held classes, answered questions, and somehow seemed to portray the idea that she could, in fact, be challenged by questions at every turn.

this didn't happen with every class.  nay.  it happened only with one, a class with a peculiar personality that was held in a windowless cave-like room with too much furniture and not enough lecture space.  even here, it was not every student in this class, though initially she thought that was true.  nay.  it was only really one, maybe two, of the strong personalities that came to congregate in her class.

one balmy afternoon, after a plague of mild proportions had descended upon teachergirl and she was just mustering up the energy to be enthusiastic about basically anything, the confrontational student unleashed what had to be the longest, most protracted, most somewhat illogical yet deceptively worrisome litany of questions yet.

teachergirl responded, initially, with the classic and noble "turn it around" technique.  you want to know why that principle of grading is in place in this class that has very real world applications? you tell me. 

and she was pleased to not only see people raising hands and engaged--people other than the student in question--but was nearly overcome with joy when the other seemingly aggressive student stepped up with perhaps the best example of the real world application EVER. 

and it was good.

yet, confrontational student did not like these answers, i can only imagine because they did not solidify his position as the King of all Rightness, and continued to ask follow up questions and "respond" to the comments with contrary comments.

and it was beginning to become annoying.

teachergirl began to look around, having decided earlier that day that, when dealing with this particularly unique class, she would be very careful to pay attention to the needs of the many rather than focusing only on the needs of the one.  she has spock to thank for that pearl of wisdom. 

she looked around, and was more and more pleased to see not just that she was off-put by the barrage of off-topic points (in the grand scheme of things, and in the context of what we were doing), but so were most of the students.

and the groundswell of that opinion began to build.

and it was good.

the students began to take back the class, stopping the argumentative student from taking any more time and refocusing our attention on what we had begun to do.  teachergirl began to do it too, having been embiggened (thank you, simpsons (not jessica)) by the support she saw in the faces of those who not only saw the validity of the points she was making but were convinced of them.

they reminded her of her noble position, if only through their collective respect, and taught her a valuable lesson.

though the arguments continued after class, teachergirl was not the same. no longer rocked back on her heels by the approach of this student, she began to stand her ground.  respectfully, but with some authority, she addressed his concerns and dismissed his complaints, trying always to find a fine line between communicating her desire to help said student succeed and holding fast to what she knew was true.

to take a line from kevin mcallister, and adapt it, the lesson was this: "this is my class, and i HAVE to defend it."

and it was good.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i'm officially sick...of myself!

i've had a cold for like five days. nowsaboutthetime when i just get sick to death of myself, the way i am when i'm sick, and especially of being sick.

but mainly i just get sick of sitting around, whining (although i think i've done comparatively little whining this time, at least out loud) and acting all woe is me.

but the kicker is that i don't yet have the full energy to do everything that i need to do.

(quite honestly, i haven't had that energy for AGES.)

i just have enough energy to get annoyed and get on the internet.  but at least it's a start.  i feel ambition coming on for the weekend. though i'll have to moderate my ambition and break it into bite-size pieces, so as to not kill myself, i think i'll have a go at the heap of prep work i have left for my online classes (it would be bliss if i could get those things done) and the cesspool that is my house.

somehow, i thought that having a washer and a dryer and a dishwasher would make the chores easier.  i have to keep reminding myself that you actually have to put things in said appliances and turn them on to make magic happen. 


my poor husband. he's just...slammed.  i don't know how else to describe it.  marching band takes up 10 hours a week, but it's a 1 credit class. he's taking two classes where he has to learn another instrument, which means that he is currently responsible for playing 4 instruments. 

he also has, you know, other classes, including a theory class that is just demanding.   and the TA didn't return his email about a perfectly legitimate question about the assignment, which just rankles me five ways to sunday because, you know, i have like a 24 hour turnaround time and sometimes catch crap from students. 

(sometimes i think i really don't recognize how good i am at things.)

such is junior year.

once his semester began, i began to remember how much i have always loathed junior year. it's evil. it was my worst year in high school and by far my worst in college.  my third year of the phd sucked too.  it's just that icky uncomfortable transition year, when everyone seems intent on making it abundantly clear that you don't know jack and that you'll never succeed.

it doesn't last, which is the good news, but it sucks big time in the midst of it.

and i got him sick.  poor guy.

if i had the energy, i'd make him some kind of amazing dinner.  instead, the best i could do was pack a lunch and a dinner snack for when he works until 9pm tonight. 

oy vey, fall.  i'm just begging you to stop being a beastface.


have you ever noticed how classes have personalities? i have noticed this, especially at collegetown u.  it's like each class is a person, with its own distinct set of tendencies and quirks.

two of my classes are fairly awesome, easy-going and nice to be around. they are both held in the same room, though (obviously) at different times.

the other is just...antagonistic.  i think that's really because of the VERY STRONG personalities of a few of the people who i was choosing to give attention to (because i genuinely like the rest of them...they seem like people i would like outside in the world) but nevertheless...they come across as almost claustrophobically confrontational.

that class is held in a cave of a room, and i'm beginning to think that if that class was held in my other room, i might be less feeling like they are crawling up into my personal space and more like they are just them. 

an interesting phenomenon, i think.

i have no theory for why my local cc class refuses to talk or would openly admit to not reading on the basically the 2nd day of class when they were required to read, but there you go.

also, i believe that my level of email has exploded exponentially.  i don't remember getting this much email from ANY set of classes at any point this early in the semester.  i now have three institutional email addresses, so i feel like half my day is spent on email. 

(that's a blatant lie, but there you go.)

how can so many people have so many questions so early?

and why on earth don't they read the DANG SYLLABUS? i've had like three people try to turn a paper in more than a week early.  they don't read the syllabus, they don't read the assignment sheet, and they wonder why i send slightly snarky emails at the beginning of week 2.

anyone who's written a syllabus knows it's not a cakewalk.  it's not really that fun.  it's annoying and why do i bother if you're not going to read it?

there should really be some sort of basic requirements before beginning a class--the first of which is that everyone understands that they have to read the directions.


right now, i love 98% fat free hot dogs and french fries. i do, however, keenly feel the absence of mustard and relish in my house.  right now, i do not love vegetables. i do okay with fruit (megaprops to some yummy cherries and unsweetened applesauce, which might be the best thing ever) but me and broccoli have been at odds of late. i can down a salad occasionally, and i like when vegetables are a part of things i eat (like soup...somehow i like soup lately) but crossing the vegetable divide is proving difficult.

i'm beginning to wonder if i'd do better with raw broccoli and some ranch dressing.  everything's better with ranch dressing, and broccoli is a slammin' superfood.  maybe i'll make it my goal in life today to eat a serving or two of broccoli. 

you should do that too.


though i haven't been to the gym in more than two weeks, i have eaten only the serving size of my ben & jerry's bogo purchases and put it promptly back into the freezer when my serving size is done. and i have recorded all my food.

i win.


august has been overwhelming and challenging and wonderful and mean and bodyslamming.  i welcome september and its excitement and settling influence and routine.  i think september is going to be good to us.  i think it's going to be very good.