Nervous, Anxious, First Time Mother

Today, I scared myself. I have a little card that I received in the mail from my insurance. On the front of that card, I filled out my name, doctor, doctor's phone number and my due date.

On the back of the card the insurance company had put a list of the symptoms of early labor. And I had two of them last night. TWO.

Last night at the time, I thought that they were just symptoms of my violent coughing. Today, after reading the back of that card, I hyperventilated. Okay, I am exaggerating. I almost hyperventilated.

I called the nurse in a state of panic. The state of panic has almost become my default state when it comes to all things baby-related.

The nurse calmed me down. She said I had nothing to worry about, and confirmed my conclusion of last night that these things were normal for someone coughing a lot.

Crisis averted for now.


No Changing it Now

The problem with early voting is that something can come up that makes you completely regret who you voted for.

I voted last Friday afternoon. I did not have to wait in any lines, and I was in and out in minimal time.

For most of the races - like for the president - I feel completely solid with my decision. I thought that I felt that way about all of the candidates that I supported.

Yesterday, I saw a political ad online that one of the state candidates ran against their opponent. The ad slammed the opponent's personal beliefs, and at the end of the ad there was an obviously fake voice (supposedly the opponent's) saying something that would have a negative impact on the voters of the state.

Some of you will probably recognize the ad that I am speaking of, because the story made national news.

I am ashamed of the direction that our political system has taken. Why all the personal negative attacks? What happened to letting the public know what a candidate stood for instead of slamming opponents? And even though I personally find negativity distasteful - if a candidate chooses to be negative, can they not find enough ammunition? Was compiling a bad (and obviously false) audio clip really necessary?

Citizens deserve better. If I had seen this ad before I did my early voting, I would definitely have changed my vote.


Staying in for the Day

Today I decided to avoid the haven of germs that is my office and work from home. J works from home full-time now, so both of us in the office on our respective computers all day was an interesting experience.

I am hot and want the fan on. He is cold and wants the door shut. He is on a conference call and I am trying to focus. I want classical music station and he wants the History Channel. I want the office to be bright with the window open and he wants it closed because there is a glare on his computer screen. The dogs do not understand why we are both home, so they whine the whole day.

But despite all of that, I would much rather be at home with my husband than at the office any day of the week. We may not agree on everything, but both of us rely heavily on the presence of the other one. There is no one in the world that I would rather argue the temperature with.


Is this the Infirmary Up Here?

One of my co-workers from a different department walked up the steps to where my department is located. Out of the four people up here today, all four of us have the cold that has been sweeping through our office. The other two people are out sick.

The entire day has been a mix of various sniffing, sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing sounds.

"Is this the infirmary up here?" he asked.

The germaphobe inside of me cries out to go home.


Not Again!

A special (sarcastic) Thanks to the guy at my work who came in coughing, sniffing and sneezing all week last week. As a result, I now have the cold that you were so anxious to share.


Trunks, Treats & Elvis

Tonight, my sister-in-law hosted an annual "Trunk Or Treat" Party next door. Just in case you have never been to one of those, you decorate your trunk for Halloween and all the kids come around and get candy. It is like old-fashioned trick or treating with less walking.

In addition to all the trunks, each of the "sets" of our family were required to decorate a scene along my driveway for a G-Rated spook trail.

Before the party I painted Monkey T's face to complete her transformation into Zombie Hockey Player. She & Meltdown (a Princess) were very excited about all the CANDY.

As unofficial event photographer, I spent most of the time taking pictures of trunks and kids, while J got the job of handing out the candy. Ha! Part of my master plan!

My job came to an abrupt end when I came upon Meltdown faced with an adult Lion. The Lion took her mask off, but Meltdown was unconvinced of this strange, dangerous creature. Besides, right behind the Lion was a full grown Bird and some other adult animal that terrified her. She was so horrified that she forgot all about CANDY and required me to carry her through the rest of the trunks.

So, what's with the Elvis dog? Well, the Elvis mask was sort of a roving costume for people who did not come dressed up. So naturally when Simon the greyhound wandered over, someone put the mask on him.

All things considered, the night was a complete success. All the kids went home with a car full of sugary goodness and I collapsed of exhaustion.


Max in a Jacket

When we first got Molly, the first toy breed dog I have ever had, we became those dog-owners that other people (who just don't understand) make fun of.

I bought her a little hat and raincoat. I bought her a t-shirt. I bought her antlers to wear for Christmas photos. Needless to say, Molly was not amused. Molly looks like a dog that might tolerate that kind of thing, but she is definitely not.

Max, on the other hand - our ferocious little boy dog - he completely loves it. When it is cold outside, he will drag his jacket out of the toy bin where we keep it. He's so smart.

This morning, it was finally cold outside, so it was time for Max-in-the-jacket.


All the Quiet

Yesterday J went out of town for work. This is going to be an every-other-week recurring event. The last time he was gone, it was for a whole week and my dad came and stayed with me. This time (and the future recurrences) are just overnight trips. So, I stayed home alone.

This is no big deal, right? Have I mentioned that I live way, way back in the middle of the woods?

Luckily, no masked murderer decided to stop in last night. The only real problem was my vivid imagination. It is so quiet at night where I live. It is the kind of quiet that makes your ears hurt.

When the morning finally came around, I realized how thrilled I was that J will be home today.


It's a Girl!

After finding out yesterday, we have spent the last day telling everyone that we know!


17 weeks, 2 days

Dear Baby Girl,

That's right! We found out today that you are a girl! Your Dad & I did not really have a preference, but we are so excited to learn as much as we can about you! We were not sure that we would be able to find out today. The technician slowly went over all the measurements of your little organs. She saved that moment until last. She told us, "I know what it is, I am just trying to get a better picture!" Of course, as with all the times that I have gotten to see you - I cried.

We got lots of pictures of you today. The one above is my favorite, because it has a clear view of your form. Your little legs were curled up and moving around most of the time. This particular photo shows your hands in prayer position. Your Grandma B will be so proud!

After the appointment was over your Dad & I had to go back to work. I called your Grandpa E - you will love him - and he was so, so excited. I tried and tried to get your Grandma E, and finally left her a voice mail. I finally reached her around lunchtime, and she was bursting with excitement as well. She was already talking about dolls that she had seen earlier that day.

During all of that time, your Dad was having much better luck reaching all your family. When I called your aunt, I found that he had already reached her! She answered the phone with "I am having a niece!"

You will be entering a family full of boys, so I know that everyone will go the extra mile to spoil you!

Since you are a girl, we know your name. If you had been a boy, it would have been much, much harder to figure out.

Our next big task for you is picking out a theme for your room, and all the "stuff" that I am so excited to buy for you.

I am beginning to feel you flutter inside my belly. Each little movement you make thrills me to so end. I am so proud of you - from the moment of your conception and always!

Love Always,

Your Mom


Oh How I Want a Decent Night's Sleep

When my sleeping problems begin, I heard of this miraculous invention that would cure my nighttime discomfort. The Snoogle.

I have always slept on my belly. When that was no longer an option, I moved to my back. Now that is no longer an option, and I have to sleep on my side. I have discovered that is much easier said than actually done.

When I heard of this Snoogle, I toyed with the idea of purchasing one. At first, I thought "Nah, it is too expensive for right now. I will make do with extra pillows on the bed." About two weeks later, I was desperate enough to order it anyway.

I ordered my pillow on a gloomy day at the beginning of this month. It was set to be delivered on the 14th at the latest.

The 14th came and went. No pillow. No miraculous sleep cure.

I wrote to the online store from which I ordered the pillow. The response I got was dismissive - "Let us know if you have not received your order by the 20th.

But you do not seem to understand, Mr. Automated Response. I am NOT SLEEPING

So now the 20th has come. First thing this morning, I wrote again. This time I wrote a lengthy novella proclaiming my disgust and disdain and the step-by-step method in which they could appease my dissatisfaction by sending me another pillow. IMMEDIATELY. The response I receive?

"I am sorry, but I must assume your package has been lost in the mail. Unfortunately, I am unable to send you a second item, because the item is now out of stock. I will refund your purchase promptly. Please choose XYZ CO again for your next ABC purchase."

Um, I do not think so. You, company XYZ are very lucky that I am too lazy to fly up to your company headquarters and yell at someone important there for a lengthy amount of time.

I could not even respond to that email. I was way too angry. Instead, I found the Snoogle miracle cure sold in a different online store. As a bonus, it was a little cheaper there. Now I find my self - again - waiting on my miraculous sleep cure.


Borrowing Etiquette

When someone does something that offends you, I find that a nice way to vent your frustrations is to write them a letter. It does not need to be sent, especially if you want to avoid causing a cold war. Just the writing of a letter helps. So, here is an example based on an incident that occurred while J & I were out of town yesterday.

Dear S,

When you borrow something from someone, such as their lawn mower trailer, it is a good idea to ask them first. Just because it happens to be in outside in their yard, it does not mean that it is free for the grabbing. If they are not at home, there is a neat little device called a cell phone that makes them completely above to keep in touch at all times. Using this device is especially important when you intend to keep this object for a few days.

Furthermore, when you go to borrow said object and there is plastic tarp on top of it, do not simply put the tarp on the ground and go about your merry way. Perhaps you missed the 5-month-old puppy watching you with a big grin on his face because he realizes that you have just provided him with amusement for the next two hours.

All the Best,



Day at the Lake

Today we celebrated my grandfather's birthday with my family. We had a nice party at the lake all planned out. We would each bring picnic foods to spread out under the picnic shelter.

Oops...no one realized how cold it would be outside. We bundled up my grandparents, but it was still just too cold.

For the longest time we just all looked at each other - no one wanting to admit that we were all freezing.

Finally, my aunt stood up. "It's too cold. We are going inside."

A voice of reason in a sea of stubbornness. We all got up and ran inside.


Scratching Away

For the last couple of weeks as my nausea has eased quite a bit, a new symptom has taken its place.

Itching. Constant, mind-numbing itching.

At first, it was just a couple of itchy spots, and lotion provided relief.

Now, nothing helps and I find myself unconsciously clawing at the skin all around my belly and on my legs.

To top it off, I cannot stop encountering mosquitoes. They wait for me outside the door to attack me as soon as I leave. They sense a weakness. I am already itching and they want to make it much, much worse. Darn those mosquitoes.


In My Inbox

Today I received a very nice apology letter from the store's customer support. They acknowledged my complaint, and vowed to try to train their employees better. They explained that they do not tolerate rudeness towards customers or other employees. They said they would be sure that the proper people were notified of the problem. Then of course, they appreciate my business and hope that I will return so that they can show me how wonderful they are.

Now, in reality they may have tossed my complaint in the trash or had any contact whatsoever with the rude manager. But, I honestly do not care. Writing the letter made me feel good to vent, and receiving their response made me feel validated.

Most importantly, I felt that I did not allow someone to completely walk all over me without doing anything about it.

Mission accomplished.


Not Going to Take It

Today I went to an unnamed chain store to buy a printer. We decided to get one of the all-in-one machines so that we can print, fax, scan and copy to our hearts' content.

I knew the model I wanted, so all I had to do was go in the store, find it, purchase it and put it in the car. Simple, right?

Nothing that I do is simple.

I have a practice not to give out my phone number whenever possible. Almost-identity-theft makes you paranoid like that. So, when the cashier asked for it, I simply told her that I do not give it out. Now, I was completely aware that they have it on file. I have one of their super-special customer cards that is tied to...my phone number. So, there was no reason for me to announce it to the line behind me. If she had to have it, she could just scan my card.

This baffled the poor girl. She turned to her manager who happened to be standing behind her talking on a cell phone. Taking a personal call at work. Gasp! This manager did not want to be interrupted and became increasingly rude. At one point she said something to the effect of "well, if she (meaning me) won't co-operate". When I finally pointed out that they had my card, which was all they needed anyway, we completed our transaction.

Normally, I let rudeness pass. Maybe I should not, but I understand that we all have a bad day every once in a while. But for some reason, I just could not forget about this incident.

So I wrote to the store's customer support. I let them know all about my displeasure. And it felt good.


Welcome Autumn

As soon as I stepped outside the door this morning, I realized something. It finally feels like autumn. I love it!

10 Favorite Things About This Time of Year:

  1. Cooler Weather
  2. Leaf Colors (Red is my personal favorite)
  3. Decorations
  4. Apples & hot apple cider
  5. Halloween candy
  6. Bug population begins to decrease
  7. Sitting by the fire
  8. Did I mention cooler weather?
  9. Pumpkin pie
  10. Christmas is coming!


Cedar's Bad Day

Today was the day that every male puppy dreads. Okay, well, the owners of said male puppy. The visit to the clinic for being neutered.

J helped me get Cedar in the car, and I dropped him off on my way to work. That actually sounds way easier than it was. Cedar refused to budge and I had to carry him - all of him (he is bigger than an armful) into the clinic and put him in the temporary holding place.

My brother-in-law, our fabulous Vet, called a couple of hours later. Someone brought in a contagious dog, so I needed to pick up Cedar ASAP instead of waiting until the end of my workday.

When I walked into the clinic up the counter, I heard a cat whining. I could not see it, but I felt really sorry for that cat. Then the Vet brought out the whining animal and put him in my car. It was no cat. It was my poor, barely awake Cedar.

He proceeded to whine all the way home, as the anesthesia wore off.

A few hours later, he was feeling better - especially after seeing Molly & Max.

P.S. We have water now. (Hallelujah!) It turns out our exterminator put too much pressure above one of our water pipes the last time he "reset" the bait station that sits on top of the pipe. So, we had a leak. The french drain below the house works so well, that we had no idea there was a leak. Anyway, I did a dance in the kitchen when I turned the sink on after the well people left.


The Waterless

Tonight we have a small problem. THERE IS NO WATER. I went to wash my hands in the sink and heard the dreaded sound of pressure...then silence.

I will now retreat to my bed in mourning.


Cedar Goes for a Swim

Today we decided to try out Cedar's new-found ability to walk on the leash without dragging. We have a long, long, long gravel driveway with several hills and it is pretty good exercise.

We walked down the driveway at a pretty slow pace (Hey! I am lazy pregnant!) Cedar was doing pretty well, although easily distracted. We arrived at the creek.

"I wonder if Cedar will walk down to the water and stick his paws in?" J asked.

Answer? No. But he will try with all of his might to prevent himself from being pulled down there on the leash.

"I'm just going to throw him in." J said grinning. I laughed.

Then he picked Cedar up and threw him in the creek. He ACTUALLY did it.

I screamed. I could not fathom that J actually did it. I thought he was KIDDING. The look of confusion on Cedar's face was more than I could handle. Especially as he went UNDER.

So, Cedar can swim, as J verified. He paddled to the edge of the water and came running back up to where I was standing with concern. He's such a sweet dog. He was much more concerned about my screaming than he was about his swimming experience.


Pizza Night

Tonight we went over to my brother-in-law's house for pizza and a movie. I may complain about living in the middle of nowhere, but the best part of living there is being close to these guys. They are so much fun to hang out with. It is so nice to know they are right down the road.


J Comes Home

J came home a day early! He arrived tonight. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my dad, but wow - I sure missed J.

I was almost as excited to see him as our dogs were. Dog greetings are so wonderful. They acted like they had not seen J in at least a year, and that since he was gone he is sure to have brought them bag dog treats.

Maybe I will finally get a good night's sleep knowing that he is right there beside me where he is supposed to be!


Spending Time with my Dad

J is out of town until Friday, so my Dad came to stay with me.

Since I am pregnant with their first grandchild, my parents will take no chances with my welfare. Okay, the fact that I am not the most graceful, lucky person in the world may have something to do with their distrust.

Whatever the reason, my dad - who just happens to be the world's greatest dad - came to stay with me. I can completely deal with that, because I just happen to tremendously enjoy his company.

Today I took the day off work so that we could spend time together. We spent the day shopping for maternity clothes, shoes and miscellaneous Target-list items. It was so much fun. Really. For both of us.

My Dad is the best guy shopper ever. He can find a deal like nobody's business. And, he understands his role is to hold purchased items. J is so much different. He just whines about being in the store the whole time.

Anyway, by the end of the day we were all shopped-out. We stopped by the Japanese food place (yum) and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening taking turns playing the piano for each other.

It was a great day!


Mystery Image

Guess what this is?

Some blurry modern work of art?

No, just the crack in my windshield from the gravel truck in front of me. I stayed way back from him, but did that help?

Of course not.


The Day Cedar Learned About the Garage Door (or Why I Was Late for Work This Morning)

Looks like I have some catching up to do. My cold has improved, so now I can get back into the swing of things!

We have developed a morning routine. We distract Cedar by feeding him on the front porch. As he chows down, we sneak Molly & Max out the side of the house through the garage door. This way, Molly & Max can use the outdoors in peace.

This morning, since J is out of town, morning dog duty fell to me. I fed Cedar, and he happily began chowing down on his food just like he is supposed to do.

Then as stealthily as possible, I snuck out the side with Molly & Max. The garage door opened...and there was Cedar.

So, this morning the dog routine instantly tripled in time. Did I allow extra time to get ready for work since I knew I would be taking the dogs out? Nope. Oops.


Carrying on the Name

Today Monkey T informed me that I should be having a boy. For weeks, she has been rooting for a girl. Why the sudden change of direction?

"I've been thinking," she says. "We don't have that many boys to carry on the B family name. We really need to preserve that, so you should have a boy."

Hmmm...that sounds like something Grandma might say. Much more like Grandma than a 10-year-old girl.

If she starts telling me I have to name him "Junior" we are really going to have to have a long sit-down talk.


Not-So-Bad Family Time

This weekend, J & I attended the wedding of one of my second cousins. I do not know him all that well, since we have lived in different areas of the state for many years now. I always got along with him when we were kids, so I thought I should at least put in an appearance.

I can also confess to you, dear Internet, that certain people on that side of the family (see here, the part about the distant relatives). Because of this, I have been dreading this for a while.

Furthermore, J had absolutely no desire to go to this wedding - especially since we had to drive two hours to get to it.

To our complete surprise, the evening was not so bad at all. We almost had fun. The wedding was very low key, yet nice, and they served a complete dinner.

Being pregnant probably help, because people were really nice to us when I did not really expect it.

I was able to successfully avoid people that I did not care to talk to, and catch up with the ones that I did. If this keeps up, I might show up to a future family get-together. Who knows?


Unwelcome Visitor

I spent some time trying to weed out grass from one of my plants. This was no easy task, because I had Cedar's full attention. He thought he should be involved in what I was doing.

At one point, I looked up at Cedar for a second when something caught the corner of my eye. Less than two inches from my hand, there was the biggest tarantula-size spider I have ever seen in my life (see terrible, horrible, scary photo at left).

I grabbed Cedar away and proceeded to dump the entire can of spider spray on that horrible, horrible creature before it began to shrivel up and die.

I ran in the house trembling.

On second thought, that grass looks perfectly lovely in the middle of my plant. I have a feeling it will be there for a while.


Fixing My Roots

Today, with my doctor's approval, I was able to have the hideous color mess that is my hair fixed.

I am naturally blonde, with darker roots and lighter ends. I like the natural color of most of my hair, just not the roots. So, I have them lightened periodically.

When I found out I was pregnant, I decided to err on the side of caution and not have my hair dyed until the doctor recommended 14 weeks had passed.

My sister-in-law, a hair stylist, does my hair for me. She mentioned to me a few weeks ago that she had noticed my hair really needed something bad. This remark sent me running for the bathroom in tears, although she only meant it from a clinical/hair expert perspective. J assured me that it was un-obvious to the untrained observer that my hair was in desperate need of help. But, what do men know? Other women notice these things. And, obviously, they comment on them.

So today, I triumphantly marched into the salon and had my hair darkened. I went dark so that I would not have to mess with it again for a good while.

I also had the opportunity to do my eyelashes myself. I have this done periodically as well. (If you have never tried, and you have allergies like I do, having your eyelashes dyed black is an incredible thing. No mascara running down my face, ever!) Long story shortened - this turned out to be a mistake because I closed my eyes, they watered and I got the dye everywhere.

I left the salon with my newly dark hair and dark eyelashes - ready to take on the world again.


It Began With the Ear

Last night, my ear began throbbing. This morning my throat tingled. This afternoon the sneezing and waterworks began.

I, even though I am fighting it as hard as possible, am coming down with a cold

A cold! Me! Since I found out I was pregnant and read that my immune system would be weaker than normal, I have been crazy with the hand sanitizer and avoidance of all who sneeze, sniff and cough. And yet, it still found me.

I am in the midst of a mini-panic session, because of not wanting to do anything or get any sicker in a way that might affect the baby.