Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baby Shower Invitations

For the last few weeks, my mom, sister, and sisters-in-law have been planning our baby shower. I'm very humbled and touched that so many kickass women would even think of a shower for me, let alone want to take on planning something of this nature. I love to plan parties, but showers are a whole different ball game. Hell, for most showers I don't even buy a gift until the day before or day of because I'm just not good at planning ahead in these situations. When my sister-in-law Robyn called about the possibility of a baby shower, I was really touched. It makes this whole "having a baby thing" seem even more real and reminds me exactly how many people are excited to meet Baby AngieGraham. Of course, that meant having to register--not one of Graham's favorite activities--but it's really touching to see how many people feel like they're connected to this pregnancy and are excited to meet our daughter.

In July my friend Kelly flat-out asked me two questions: "1. Can I come to your shower? And, 2. Can I please make your shower invitations?" I said yes to both because I love Kelly, and I've seen what she can do with paper, glue, and some scissors, and it's awesome. A few weeks ago, Kelly met with my mom and they came up with these cute little creations:

The outside


The inside

Key details erased to protect the innocent.

I was blown away by the cuteness. Aren't these kickass? Kelly did an awesome job. I got 3 text messages the day these started arriving in the mail from friends who thought these were the cutest, most creative shower invites they'd ever seen. I love passing on the kudos to Kelly--she worked hard and deserves to know how many people think these invitations are about as bitchin' as baby shower invites can get. I like how there's very minimal pink on the invitations--I know we'll get a bajillion pink outfits and onesies and socks, and that's okay. We can't exactly avoid it, because baby girl = pink. I don't loathe pink, but it's not one of my favorite colors, and unless I see an outfit that's really, really cute I probably won't be buying too much pink on my own. This invitation looks exactly like some sort of onesie I'd buy for my kid. Still cute, still a little girly, but not bubblegum pink and screaming, "BABY GIRL COMING THROUGH!!!"

(For the record, we've already received a ton of clothes and cute little items from friends and relatives, many of them pink. Like I said, I don't loathe pink, and pretty much everything we've gotten so far is adorable. I just won't go out of my way to buy something pink if I can help it.)

I've got two invitations, both of which I plan on sticking in her baby book someday. (And by someday, I really mean someday. I keep intending to start a pregnancy/first year scrapbook or photo album, I just haven't done it yet. And I probably won't start until I'm bored and need a project. 'Cuz I'm lazy.)

These invitations are so cute, they really make me excited to see everyone next month. It's humbling to go to a party for you, but I'm starting to look forward to it.

Weekly Update: 30 Weeks

How far along? 30 weeks, 3 days. Hard to believe we told our parents 20 weeks ago, huh?

How big is baby? Nearly 16 inches long and close to 3 lbs., according to the books.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Enough to make me sad.

Next Appointment: Next week.

Maternity Clothes: Always. The only pre-pregnancy stuff I'm wearing are pj pants that were huge on me to begin with.

Sleep: The last few nights have not been fun. Cat purring on my head. Bony knees in my back. Small bladder getting kicked. It's enough to make me start my maternity leave now so I can get some rest during the day.

Best Moment This Week: Getting a mini-back massage from the purring cat sleeping on my back.

Annoyance of the Week: Realizing that I'm a fatass. Being touched constantly by people who aren't me. (No, you're not touching the baby. That's my belly button, asshole.) And, of course, the return of my nausea in the mornings. ::throws confetti::

Movement: Yup. She's primarily kicking me on the right side, though the other day she gave me an elbow to the belly button. That hurt like a motherf%(#%&!

Planning/Preparation: I want a break from planning.

Belly Button In/Out: Definitely out. It's gross to look at.

Gender: Still female.

What I Miss: My feet. I haven't seen them in a while. And being able to stand without feeling dizzy. And being able to walk without bumping into things.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Sleeping through the night sometime in the next year.

Contractions: Just some of the fake ones. I've been more aware of my stomach hardening and it's the weirdest feeling.

Milestones?: Reaching 30 weeks. 22 weeks ago I didn't even think it was possible to make it this far.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am tired.

Today is the kind of day that makes me completely tired. I am wiped. I'm talking, "Need an extra shot of espresso to get me through Glee" kind of wiped. And naturally because I'm in a mood, I'm think of the other things I'm tired of. So, indulge me. Or, just stop reading here. :-)

1. I'm tired of being pregnant. I can't believe I have 2 more months to go. My nausea's returning--yippy skippy--and I really want a freaking beer. I'm tired of everything that comes along with being pregnant, too. You can definitely say I'm not one of those women who loves being pregnant, and I can't even figure out why some women love it so much. I've had a relatively easy pregnancy, too, when you compare it to others. I feel like a brat for complaining, but I can't help it. I'm tired of feeling fat, and then confirming it when I look in the mirror. I'm tired of nothing fitting me anymore. I'm tired of being sick to my stomach each morning. I'm so over my feet being swollen by the end of the day. I'm tired of being hungry all the time and then never being able to eat a full meal. I'm tired of being friggin' tired! I just want to sleep through the night without something waking me up. I'm tired of being dizzy and I'm tired of being so damn clumsy, too. I'd like to go one day without bumping into something or tripping over myself. I'm tired of my knees and back hurting like hell.

So far, the only thing that's been enjoyable--at least today because I'm in a mood--has been the movement and baby kicks I feel. I love getting some sort of confirmation that everything's going okay in there.

2. I'm tired of kids. This one sounds harsh, but today has just been a bad day in the classroom. I think I had kids crying in every single class today. I just can't handle any more of it! Enough visits from the drama llama, please! I'm also tired of having to keep it together for the kids. So many times today I wanted to just shout, "Get it together, man!" Instead, I have to be supportive and patient, blah blah blah. It's been an exercise in patience, that's for certain. Normally I LOVE the kids I work with; today's been a rough one.

3. I miss my friends. A year ago this past weekend, I was in L.A. It was warm, it was gorgeous, and I spent every morning drinking tea with my best friend and talking about everything. I got to be lazy and selfish and just enjoyed everything around me. I hate that everyone needs to live so far away to accomplish what they need to accomplish in life. I'm happy for them and I wish them nothing but the best. But really, why does happy have to be so damn far away? Why can't Los Angeles be moving further in with every earthquake, instead of out? It'd take a few million years for Chicago and LA to meet up, but at least I could take comfort in the fact that eventually these two cities will be closer on the map. And for that matter, every city where I have a loved one stored away can move a little closer.

4. I'm tired of work. I just had a heap of new responsibilities dropped on me this week, and they've got to be taken care of before Thanksgiving. I'll be full term by then and could easily go into labor at any moment. Not that I want to. I'd really like to make it to after Thanksgiving, if I can have my way. And really, with the way some responsibilities have been disappearing, having more to do is nice because it keeps me busier and distracted. I'm just annoyed that these new responsibilities have tasks that need to be finished before I go on leave. It's like, "OH! This needs to get done, so we'll give it to the pregnant lady and give her six weeks in which to complete it all." Jeebus. I'm actually afraid that if I don't get it all done (i.e. give birth before Thanksgiving) that I'll get an angry phone call before I leave the hospital demanding that I get it all done somehow, someway. Either I'm paranoid, or it's just gotten that bad here.

5. I'm tired of people touching me. Someone is going to lose an arm sometime soon, I swear. This weekend, one of Graham's cousins actually tickled my stomach. I came really close to slapping the poor girl. Bitch, please. Hands to yourself. First of all, if I wanted to be touched I wouldn't be making faces when your hands move toward me. Second, you're not tickling the baby, you're tickling me! See, how it works is, the baby goes on the inside. Strange concept, I know. I already hate being tickled--Graham got a black eye for trying it once, and we hadn't been dating that long. I need to get me a shirt that says, "NO!" right over the belly, or "Touch me and die!" or "I'm not Buddha. Rubbing me is not good luck." Not that everyone would pay attention, but it gets the point across good enough. Either that, or the next person to touch me without asking or without provocation gets jacked in the face. I have a feeling the latter would get me kicked out of everyone's family.

6. I'm tired of being treated like I'm about to break. This is a tough one, because everyone means well. I'm so over being fawned over and asked if I need a seat or if I need something to drink. When one or two people do it, I'm okay with it. When I get asked 4 times in 30 seconds if I need someplace to sit down, it's overkill. I'm tired of people shoving food down my face and saying, "The baby needs to eat!" I've come so close to responding, "No, actually, I need to eat, and I'm not hungry right now. And for the record, I hate oranges, so get these stupid things out of my face!" I know what I need. I know what I want. I understand that everyone's excited. This is the first baby on both sides of the family in decades. This is the first baby at work in years. Everyone feels like they can played a huge part of this! And Graham and I have been together almost 10 years, so this baby is a long time coming. It's hard for me to push people away when they care so much, and it makes me feel like an even bigger bitch. "Waaaah! Everyone loves me soooo much! I wish everyone would leave me aloooooone! Waaaaahhh!" I mean really, I'm tremendously blessed to have so many people who CARE and actually give a damn. It's humbling, because I don't think much of myself at all. I have no idea why people care. It blows my mind because I'm not a crowd-pleaser or the life of the party, ever. I'm just me. And I'm weird about attention. I love to give gifts and give attention to other people, but I'm all wonky when there's attention on me. "Why are you giving me a gift? Go buy yourself food or something!" It's humbling and I will never be able to repay all the good things that have been done for me in my entire life. I know how excited everyone is....somedays, though, I just want to be ignored and I want people to leave me alone. I'm not gonna break into 12,000 pieces if I stand for 15 minutes instead of 10, you know?

Anyway, that's all. I'm a brat. It's been a long day, and I'm ready for bed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sneak Peak

The dining room reno/paint job is underway! We'd been meaning to do it all summer and just never got around to it. I had "pack up china" on my to-do list all summer and always seemed to find something more interesting to do instead. We've had paint since, what....late June? Early July?

Graham spent the week sanding down bumps and patching holes in the walls and the closet. He partially primed the other day, and I realized that I wanted to get a "before" picture before the whole job was done.


As you can see, we're finally getting rid of the ugly powder blue in the room and we're replacing it with a sunnier, more contemporary yellow. The room won't be completely finished once the paint job's done, but it's some major progress. We'll still have to rip up the awful blue shag carpet, replace the light fixture, find some more dining room furniture (like, oh, say....a dining room table), and finally put some finishing touches in the room. BUT...finally painting will give the room a nice little makeover before the major plastic surgery begins.


Goodbye, 70s blue! Or should I say, na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey! GOODBYE!*

(*I'm lame. Forgive me.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Heart Family Picnics

Almost three decades ago, Graham's family started holding family picnics each summer so each side of the family--grandma & grandpa's kids, siblings, aunts, uncles, et cetera--could all get together and reunionize. They used to meet up in a forest preserve and everyone would bring a grill and make their own food and generally just have a good time. From what I understand there were games for the kids, Olympic medal races (with medals for prizes), and a big ole sandpit where kids could dig for quarters. One of the favorite picnic traditions, at least with the kiddos, were the yearly t-shirts that said, "I {Heart} Family Picnics" and always with the picnic year emblazoned on the front.

After a few years in the forest preserve, they decided to move the picnic to Aunt Erin's home because she had central air conditioning and a toilet that was enclosed in a plastic box. Shortly after the picnic moved from the forest preserve to the suburbs, the t-shirt tradition died off.

Fast-forward to Family Picnic XXVI, a.k.a. Picnic 2009. A bunch of us were standing around looking at family picnic photos from years past and spent a lot of time laughing over old haircuts, old clothes, and cousin Bob's "Caddy Tan". The idea of bringing back the t-shirts came up again and again, and finally we said, "Let's just do it!" I volunteered to take on t-shirt ordering if I could be provided with samples of older shirts to take to "my t-shirt guy". We decided that it would be a secret among the kids (i.e. anyone who wasn't grandma or one of her 5 kids, basically) and that we'd surprise the older generations with the shirts next year.

Fast-forward to 2010. We start planning t-shirts and collecting sizes for the big surprise. It takes a bit of work to get shirt sizes for some far-away relatives, and I have to pay a few visits to the t-shirt people to make sure the shirts look the way they're supposed to. Then there's a few more last minute phone calls to the shirt people after some cousins call and add a few more shirts to the order. Finally, it's picnic day! Graham and I have a few errands to run before we bolt out to Will County for the day. We're looking forward to an afternoon of food, bags, food, games, food, raffles, and food! We run some errands and leave the shirts at home because we've got to get ice and make a few more stops before leaving. I had planned on showering and changing. We're on our way to get ice, and BAM! Rear-ended!

Lemme tell ya, the fastest way to get attention in the ER is to show up and say you're 19 weeks pregnant and have been in a car accident. We were both fine. I had some bruising where the seatbelt tightened and a hell of a bump on my head, but baby and I were good. Graham was fine, too, after the doctor came in and said, "You're all good. You can go home now." He was able to breathe again and stop shaking. The good news is that we got a hell of a preview for actual labor, and I got a sneak peak and what getting hooked up to a fetal monitor feels like. And, naturally, the speed-through in the ER was great. I walked in, explained my situation, and the nurse on call looked at the registration tech and said, "She's going upstairs." They even brought me a wheelchair so they could whisk me upstairs when someone came down. I think we waited a total of 10 minutes. Not too shabby for a minor car accident on a Saturday. Meanwhile, the guy having a heart attack in the next room over was still waiting when they wheeled me upstairs. I wonder what happened to him...

After we were released from the hospital, we had to stop and get something to eat. They wouldn't let me eat anything on the chance that I was in preterm labor or was sufferring a placental abruption. A few hours in L&D makes a lady hungry! We stopped and got some quick fix foods, ran home, changed, took photos of the damage to the car, and grabbed the shirts. Honestly, we probably wouldn't have gone to the picnic at all if we didn't need to distribute the shirts. This project was a year in the making--we couldn't NOT show. And then I'd have 30 t-shirts that were basically a year old so we couldn't use them for next year's picnic. LAME. A few texts to let everyone know what was up and we were on our way.

Once we got to the picnic, we had very little time to catch people up on what happened before we were swarming with cousins demanding to know when we'd distribute shirts. The car accident ended up being a nice disguise, though. When all the cousins disappeared suddenly to distribute the shirts, someone told the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma that "everyone wanted to see the damage" on the car. So, thanks(?) guy who rear-ended us!(?) A quick shirt distribution, and we all paraded into the backyard like Chinese tourists in New York City. It was a hell of a day, but it was a nice surprise, and everyone was really excited to see the shirts make a comeback. Best of all, it won't have to be a surprise next year! EXCELLENT!

And of course, they made cousins and their significant others line up and take a photo to commemorate the occassion:

Missing a few cousins due to distance, time zones, and the military, but you get the general idea.

Aren't we a fun bunch? I tell ya, this is one sassy, fashionable family. The family that picnics together stays together! Or...something like that.

P.S. The picnic was actually in mid-July. I'm just now getting around to posting the photo and catching up. 'Cuz I'm lame.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Great Indoors

Since the last Jane update was so popular, I figured I might as well do another one. She's one of the more interesting things going on here, anyway!

Jane is strictly an indoor cat. While she was found by the racetrack in Melrose Park, it's clear that she had a pretty sweet life as an indoor cat before she was either abandoned or escaped. She's very comfortable inside and came to us pre-trained. She wouldn't jump on the couch or the bed until we physically placed her on both, letting her know that it was okay with us if she wanted to curl up on a pillow or the arm of the couch. She won't jump up on the counters or the tables, and she loves to lay on the windowsill and look outside.

Sometimes, though, you can tell that she misses roaming free and being able to investigate anything at will. Case in point:


When the front door is open, she loves to stand up and watch the world. Today was a glorious fall day, and Jane spent the better part of the morning watching birds and squirrels roam around and cross the front lawn. Her ears never stop moving, and her tail constantly swishes back and forth.


She'll meow loudly when there's something in our vicinity that she thinks we should know about. When a bird perches on the railings she meows and comes running to find one of us. "HEY! Hoomans! This! Is! Important!" When we shrug and say, "Yeah, check it out. How 'bout that bird?" she races back to the door to stare at it some more.

I don't think she wants to hunt, though I could be wrong. When we picked her up from the shelter she was skiiiiiiiiinny, and when we play with her sometimes her prey-catching skills leave a little to be desired. Then agian, she's got that kitty cat instinct that tells her she needs to hunt. Even now, she's perching herself on a windowsill, then racing back into the bedroom, then racing into the kitchen, and back into the living room. I don't know what game she's playing or what she thinks she's chasing, but she's having a good time!



Jane also loves to observe. She hates to be left out of anything! When we first brought her home, she wanted to be left alone until she got comfortable. At night when we would go to bed, she wouldn't leave the bed! She needed to be close to us. Now, she'll stroll in whenever she feels like it--sometimes it's when I'm getting ready to sleep, sometimes it's after we've been asleep for an hour or so. While we were still getting used to each other, Jane didn't understand that nighttime = sleep for us humans, so around 2:30 a.m. each night she'd start meowing and looking for someone to entertain her. She'd chew on my hair and climb onto my chest to get my attention. She's cute, so it's hard to be angry with her, but at 2:30 a.m. I find very little to be entertaining. When she got really frustrated, she'd nip us lightly to get what she wanted. Unfortunately for Jane, those playful nips resulted in her getting kicked out of the bedroom. From behind the bedroom door she'd paw and meow and cry until we let her back in. It took 2-3 weeks until she finally got the hint, so she's much more well-behaved at night these days.

The drawback to all that re-training is that she now believes ANY closed door means she's in trouble. We try to keep her out of the basement, so whenever we go downstairs and come back up, she's waiting by the basement door very patiently, trying to show us that she's going to be a good girl and we don't need to shut her out. When I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to use the bathroom, she'll hop off the bed and follow me and meow from behind the closed door! Sorry Janey, but that's "me" time. When I'm finished and I open the door, she rushes in and noses around just to be sure she didn't miss anything fun.

Sometimes I think it would be entertaining to take her out into the yard on a leash, but I'm glad that she's an indoor cat. If she were the type to be let out early in the morning and come home at dusk, I'd worry to much about her, I think. I like knowing exactly where my cat is, even at 2:30 a.m.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekly Update: 29 weeks

How far along? 29 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? About 2 1/2 pounds and about 15 inches long. Think: butternut squash. Or as long as the front wheel on an original Big Wheel.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: According to my dr., I'm up FIFTEEN pounds since my first appointment. WHA?? And it can only go up from here. I know I'm supposed to gain weight, but dayum.

Next Appointment: Two weeks. I've graduated to two appointments a month!

Maternity Clothes: I have forgotten how to use buttons and zippers.

Sleep: I'm falling asleep fast, I'm just not staying asleep. I haven't woken up rested in months.

Best Moment This Week: Finding out I passed my glucose test. Phew!

Annoyance of the Week: Trying to remember to get enough Vitamin C. I've been back at work 6 weeks already, and kids are already getting the sniffles.

Movement: Her active periods are active. Sometimes I get a swift kick to my spleen or some other realigned organ and sheesh....it's like I've grounded her already or something--she seems mad.

Planning/Preparation: I'm still reading all the books and making sure I'm ready or readyish for every week/all the next steps. Our dining room paint job should be done or partially done by the end of the weekend, so all we'll have to worry about is painting the nursery. I've also set the dates for my maternity leave (at least in my mind), so knowing there's an end in sight is pretty great. Only 42 more days of work before I go on leave! (And that's provided baby stays where she needs to...though I don't anticipate delivering much earlier than the date I go on leave anyway. It's still a little early, but even my doctor thinks baby will stay nice and snug for a while.)

Belly Button In/Out: Out. ::sniff:: ::tear:: My efforts at poking at it and pushing it back in, all while shouting, "NO! Stay IN! Stay in, dammit!!!" have failed.

Gender: Still female.

What I Miss: Beer.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Maternity leave. My shower next month. Not peeing 14 times a day. Pants that zipper.
Contractions: So I'm a dumb ass. I've been having BH contractions for months now and just wasn't aware of it. I just figured that my stomach was getting harder at night or after lunch because my body is friggin' weird. It wasn't until lunch today when I felt my stomach tighten, relax, and tighten again that I said, "OH!" ::facepalm::

Milestones?: The end of the 20 week updates! Next week....GULP. Wow. After next week it basically becomes a matter of time. If she's born between 30 and 37 weeks, she's still considered premature/preterm, but ideally she'll be pretty healthy. From 35 or 36 weeks on, they won't stop labor if it starts, sooooo....yeah. We gotta get that nursery painted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unpopular Opinion Tuesday

I can think of no other lonlier existance than being a wife and mother and nothing else.

I really dislike my job some days, but I'll always want a job where I'm doing something each day. I think only being a wife and mom would make me terribly unhappy. I love my life, and I love my family, but I really want more. I can't imagine only living to take care of my family everyday--and that's it. I will never understand how some women do it and cope with it and like it. And even aspire to that. Call me crazy.

Things That Are Hilarious.

My most popular blog update in weeks? The one about the cat. :-) A whopping TWO comments!



I love my animal-loving friends!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life with Jane

A few weeks ago, not long after bringing Jane home, we got her spayed. It was a harrowing experience for her, and I felt terrible, but it needed to get done.

Up until now, her only experiences with being in a carrier have been stressful for her, so I felt bad fighting to get her into the carrier and taking her back to the shelter where we got her. The nurse/technician at the clinic said that when she took Jane back into the clinic and put her into a cage that she started shaking, almost like she remembered the cages and was saying, "No, not this again!" Definitely not something I should have been told. I went home and kept saying, "We don't really need to get her spayed....do we?"

After a day and a half, we were able to pick her up from the clinic and bring her home. She was walking a little funny, and she spent a few hours inspecting her normal hiding spots to make sure that everything was just as she left it. Then, we had to introduce.....
Not pleased with us.
The cone of shame.

Oh man, this was the worst part. She hated it! When we put it on her, she started walking backwards like she was stuck in something and was trying to get out of it. She'd walk backwards for hours, shaking her head and meowing. Heartbreaking! We'd leave it on all night and all day, and take it off her for a few hours once we came home, just to give her a break. It was only a week, but she probably lost a life or two stressing out about it.

One thing that I didn't mind once she was home from the clinic? The affection! Whether she was just glad to be home or thought that we didn't want her anymore and then changed our minds, or if the drugs were stronger for her little body than they thought, she was super affectionate for a few days. The day we brought her back, she spent most of the afternoon curled up in bed with me. She gave me lots of kisses, too, and just generally seemed happy to be home. Since then, she's spent a lot of time flopping over and spending time with us, like this:

I'll be good for you, hoomans! I promise!
Jane likes to cuddle, but only on her terms. Trust me--she'll let you know when she's ready. Sometimes she's happy laying right next to you in bed, and when you reach out to scratch her ears, she starts thumping her tail and narrowing those eyes. "Hands off if you know what's good for you...."

In retrospect, we should have gotten her spayed right away. I thought a two-week adjustment period with us would be good for her--it was!--but bringing her home from the clinic meant she had to do some readjusting to us. However, "the procedure" helped her in a few ways, and now that she's an official member of the family and has really settled in, she's a little more predictable. Her playing, for example. The first two weeks, she wouldn't really play with us. She'd watch the balls and fishing pole-type toys move in front of her, and she'd sniff them to make sure they weren't a threat to her territory, but not much else. Now, her favorites include a very battered feather duster toy, a red stuffed mouse flown in from Hawaii (Thanks, Liz!), and the little blue rings from a gallon of milk. She's extremely skeptical of those....

You again?!
She's also started perching. The first few weeks she was home she'd camp out on the floor and watch us come and go. She spent a few minutes on top of the couch but decided that wasn't a good spot for her; she could see more by laying on the floor. Then one day, the windows were open and she started prowling around. She's become a big fan of spying on us from the couch.

She's also a big fan of sleeping on the top of the couch.

I've always thought those pillows were quite comfortable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weekly Update: 28 Weeks

How far along? 28 weeks, 4 days. Um, what?

How big is baby? 2 1/4 lbs and almost 15 inches long. The cat's still the middleweight around here. I'm obviously the heavyweight.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm guessing somewhere around 10 or 11 lbs since I started keeping track. I don't really know. Or care.

Next Appointment: Tuesday afternoon. I need to remember to call about my glucose test, too.

Maternity Clothes: I only have my pre-pregnancy clothes in my closet  to make it look like I have things to wear.

Sleep: My constantly kicked bladder and the cramps in my legs make sleeping a luxury.

Best Moment This Week: Picking up the crib from BRU.

Annoyance of the Week: December is still a long ways away. Normally that would give me peace. Now I just want it here.

Movement: Yup. She likes to be active around  4 a.m. See "Sleep".

Planning/Preparation: Finishing off the registry so my mom leaves me alone. Doing a little more research on my classes.

Belly Button In/Out: It makes me sad to look at it. It's basically popped completely out. I hate looking down.

Gender: Still female.

What I Miss: Being able to pee just 3 times a day.

What I'm Looking Forward To: December.

Contractions: None that I can feel.

Milestones?: She can blink and she's got eyelashes! And, I got my first, "When are you gonna have that baby?" on Tuesday afternoon. I JUST got into my 3rd trimester. Holy Moses.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Naturally.

I should have known after I updated with some positives yesterday that something would come to my attention today. Oy.

Turns out that even though the newspaper articles that were published recently were nice, the powers that be weren't happy that they were caught off guard by the fact that an article went out and they didn't know about it. I'm a little confused because in the year I've been doing this job I've always just written press releases and sent them out to the papers. Now I'm under the impression that I should run them by my superior(s) first, or let them know that articles went out. I'm not really sure because the email I got wasn't totally clear. (And in a surprising twist of irony, the next email we all got was about using email and internet too much with our volunteers because it's not personal.)

A year ago I would have chalked this up to taking on a job with very little guidance from some of the individuals I work with. After all, I had just started and it took me months to figure it out. By the time I had it figured out I felt like my position wasn't a terribly viable one. A year later I feel like my position is even less valuable to my place of employment and the rules have changed without my knowing. It's hard to keep your chin up sometimes.

Oh well. I have a very strong feeling that I'm not the only one waiting it out until December...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maybe it's the baby: Work Positivity

It's no secret that I've aired some work frustrations here before. It's not the smartest decision in the world though I do my best to keep names and most information confidential. I've never been able to fully clear my head unless I write out my thoughts, though. I have a billion filled and half-filled journals from my childhood and teen years that are stuffed with angry rants and raves and "What should I do's" because I could never fully let go of an issue until I wrote it all out. Writing about work to clear my head isn't the smartest thing in the world, but I do try to keep things anonymous and I've tweaked details here and there to protect the anonymity of the people I work with. (Though I have to say there are days when I've been so angry I've thought about just laying it all out there!)

Pretty much all of my work posts have been pretty negative, but a few positive things have come my way lately, so why not share them? I've been working hard so I'm pleased to see some good things coming out of the work I've been doing. And to add to that, I want to someday bind or "publish" some of these entries (maybe all of them. I don't know yet.) for my kids so they can see that I wasn't always their lame, boring, strict mom (though they'll probably still think that no matter what because karma is a bitch), and I don't want them to think that I was always hating my job and moaning and groaning about everything.

On Thursday and Friday I got a few compliments from my boss that really helped elevate my mood. I've started to get into a bit of a funk because as I write the manual for how to do my job while I'm gone, I've started to feel like it's only a matter of time before my position is completely eliminated because I feel like I do so little. Getting some positive feedback has really helped keep me focused and of the mindset that I'm pretty darn valuable sometimes!

Nearly 2 weeks ago I wrote a press release about the start of our school year. Any other year I probably wouldn't have wasted my time, but my school is 100 years old this year so everything we're doing celebrates that fact. I decided that the 100th first day of school was newsworthy so I whipped up a quick press release and sent it to some local papers. I have also been asked to send them to my coworkers so they can send email blasts to school parents and show off our students. I did that, and then I forgot about it because I had some other things to do. Well, the press release found its way back to my boss and she raved about it! She said, "kudos" to me in an email (I love that word because it reminds me of my favorite granola bars) and then again the next day at a staff meeting. She really loved the way I wrote it and loved that I included some of the enrollment measures we took to get our student body up from roughly 230 to over 280. (ACK! That's a lot of kids!) I'm always awkward about accepting compliments and congratulations, but I was proud of myself for turning out something that she loved so much she felt the need to mention. Doesn't happen always, no matter where you work.

On Friday we had a pep rally. The older girls were put in charge of creating some posters for the pep rally and decorating the gym. I don't exactly know all the details because I wasn't there for that conversation, but I was there for another conversation and from what I can put together I guess one of my coworkers had some concerns about letting students do the artwork for the pep rally. I guess she thought it might not be done at all, or done nicely if students were put in charge....??? (I say this based just on what I was able to glean from the short conversation we had in the school office. It's entirely possible and probable that I am wrong in my assumptions.)

I walked into the office and the students were showing my boss the posters they had made on their computers. My boss was really blown away by the work they did and seemed really impressed with their handiwork. She said something along the lines of, "Why do we need to do it when we have kids who can do it like this and make it this lovely?!" (Taking huge liberties with paraphrasing here because I can't remember all the way back to Friday afternoon.) Then---this is my favorite part--one of the girls turned around and said, "Ms. G. taught us how to do this!"

Me = big smile!

Now. (Because I always feel the need to downplay my accomplishments because I never know what to do with attention.) What I "taught" them to do was actually taught to them a few years ago when they were in the middle grades. And the student who said, 'Ms. G. taught us blah blah blah!' is a good kid, but she's really good at "working the room" and brown-nosing. And what I taught them to do? It's not really that hard. I almost felt guilty taking credit for something they can probably do in their sleep.

But. But. BUT.

Kids of that age are almost exclusively self-centered. They always think of themselves first. This student didn't have to mention that she learned those skills from me--she could have lived it up in that spotlight and they all could have taken all the credit for what they did. One of them at least took a moment to say, "Thanks, but thank this lady too!" That comment says a lot about her personality but also a lot about the parenting she's received. Score one for mom and dad! Would she have said it if I wasn't in the room? Probably not--kids need visuals to cue them on most things. But hey, I got to share a little limelight with them, even if it's an eensy-weensy piece.

Today, I walked down to the office to share some information with my boss and she was wrapping up a phone conversation with someone who saw another press release I'd written in the paper, this one about our new cyberbullying policy. Honestly, I felt like this was a press release that needed to be written because it makes us look good: it looks like we're ahead of the game and trying to prevent problems, but it's also a current issue that affects all our students. BUT....I basically had to interview myself. I wrote the cyberbullying policy, and I also write the press releases. I felt a little smarmy writing it. I got to say everything that I felt should be said and I got to make sure I didn't misquote myself. On the otherhand, the whole piece of paper was basically The Angie Show. Ironic for someone who claims to hate attention. (And I promise you, I really do.)

This morning the person on the other end of my boss's conversation had only good things to say about the article--3 columns in the paper!--and wanted to see a copy of our cyberbullying policy on top of it! My boss said that whoever was on the other end of the conversation said it was well-written and intelligent, too. Telling me something I wrote was well-written and intelligent? ::swoon:: Complimenting my writing is like scratching a dog on his belly: we'll be buds for life. And using the word intelligent? ::double swoon:: Whoever was on the other end of the phone, I gotta say: whatever you want, you got! I owe you big time.

I suppose what I like best about this morning's bit 'o happiness is that whoever was on the other line wasn't just paying me lip service. They don't know me and they don't have to say anything about my work. And, I highly doubt they were paying my boss lip service, too. It feels great to have someone completely unbiased go straight to my employer and tell her that something I did was "intelligent". Squee! ::happy dance::

So there! Take your negativity and shove it! The last few days have been good days because I had something good to take away from them. It's one thing to intuitively know that what you're doing is good, it's another to hear validation for it! Despite all my frustrations, the last 3 workdays have made me happy, and that in itself is worth celebrating!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Facebook...

was intended for college students. If it was still intended for students, I probably wouldn't be using it because I'd feel like a 26 year old creeper who was still trying to live out her glory days.

Now the adult (because today I still feel like a kid) members of my family are joining Facebook. And when "older" people join Facebook (see Mom? I put the word older in quotation marks so it sounds a little more objective than my definition of the word old. This way everyone can decide for themselves. You're welcome.) there's a definite chance for miscommunication in the written word. Not even a "Hey, wonder if she's talking about me?" sort-of misunderstanding, but just weirdness in general. It gives me weird feelings when someone over 35 "likes" my status updates....and really gives me pause for what's on my page in general. Is that really what I want the grandparents of my child to be reading? (Then I remember that most of them know me well enough already so there's no real reason to censor myself.)

All I know is this: the minute I get old enough to second guess or misunderstand something I read on Facebook, I'm deleting my account. I don't want to be "that old person" online. Hannah will roll her eyes at me someday soon (if she isn't rolling her eyes already), no need to make sure she's ashamed of my online antics and statements, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weekly Update: 27 Weeks

How far along? 27 weeks, 4 days. WHO LET THIS HAPPEN????

How big is baby? Roughly 2lbs, give or take. Shooooooooooooooot. And long.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm guessing somewhere around 10 or 11 lbs since I started keeping track. The bathroom scale gave me a scary number this week....

Next Appointment: Soon. And I go in for my glucose test on Friday. Yay.

Maternity Clothes: I may never go back to buttons and zippers.

Sleep: Better if I didn't wake up twice a night to use the bathroom. If this is a preview of the next year, I. am. PISSED.

Best Moment This Week: Crossing into 3rd tri! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!

Annoyance of the Week: Sleep. Not getting enough of it. Amen. And leg cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night? Yeah. You can go to hell.

Movement: Plenty! I've started doing kick counts because I can feel so much action in there. Doc Holiday told me to pay attention during her active periods and to count at least 10 distinct movements during a 2 hour period. What does it mean when she hits an active period and I can feel 10 distinct movements in a 30 minute period?

Planning/Preparation: We NEED to actually go and pick out some furniture, but in the meantime I've been doing a lot of research. We've also started looking into classes at the hospital...breastfeeding, etc. And, after a trip to Menard's, I picked out some paint swatches for her bedroom.

Belly Button In/Out: I'd rather not talk about it.

Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: Sangria! Pretty much everything.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Getting the nursery started, let alone finished.

Contractions: None that I can feel.

Milestones?: Lots! Getting 2/3 of the way through this pregnancy gives me a little hope that the end is indeed near. And, making it to the 27th week means I've hit viability week! By Friday, if she were to be born then she'd have at least a 75% chance of survival. And, she's starting to open her eyes and blink. Sorry, Hannah--there's not much to look at inside right now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crib: Ordered!

Finally! I can scratch one major item off my list! I was getting nervous for a while because I felt like we were so far behind on getting the nursery ready (that is, once I stopped being so ambivelent about it).

This weekend Target had a big baby sale, but we did our research and found that the crib they were selling for ridiculously cheap had been part of a massive recall this past spring and summer. Say whaaaaaaaaat? So, we didn't pursue it. Then, Graham did a little more research and found that the crib we were looking at wasn't, in fact, part of the recall because this one didn't have the drop-down side like the recalled crib did. (Don't even get me started on the drop-sides. I know I'm new at this mom thing and some people really like them, but drop-side cribs make me terribly uneasy.) So, we scurried our little selves to Target, only to find that the crib was sold out. We could either make a run to another Target and hope they had it in stock (not likely) or go to Babies R Us and pay about $20 more for the same crib. We opted for Babies R Us since we knew they had it available. After a few minutes spent searching for the crib and a few more looking for someone to help us out (Thanks, Arlene!) we ended up with this little beauty:
It's a Graco crib, the Lauren model. We're pretty satisifed overall. No drop-sides, delightfully cost-effective, sturdy, and perfectly safe. They didn't have any in-store, but there were over 400 in the warehouse according to Arlene, so I'm confident we'll have it in the "7-14 day" window they estimated for us.

Now, we just need to get a dresser, rug, bookcase, and glider/rocker and we're all good. None of that is stuff that needs to come from a baby store. The crib isn't part of a set, but I'm pretty confident the finish is dark enough that we can find something that will "match" well enough, and the rocker and bookcase can come from Kmart or Target or wherever, so long as they're sturdy and safe. As for a changing table...I'm neither here nor there on that. I think we can throw the changing pad onto a dresser and call it a day. Graham is on Team Table because it gives you a bonafide place to change the baby and some storage options along with it. I figure that if it's really that important than as long as baby's room has enough space for it, why not? I figure that can be one of the last things we add to the nursery depending on our space issues. There were plenty of changing tables available at Target and Babies R Us, so I'm not worried.

Now....I need to start thinking about signing up for the rest of those prenatal classes at the hospital. Breastfeeding 101...I'm coming for you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weekly Update: Week 26

How far along? 26 weeks, 4 days. Umm...yeah. Wow.

How big is baby? Over a pound and a half already! No wonder I can feel so much movement in there. And, somewhere in the length region of 14 inches. Dang.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Hopefully I'll find out this week or next!

Next Appointment: Soon.Ish.

Maternity Clothes: I finally got myself some work-appropriate clothes! I can't get away with yoga pants everyday, sadly. Now I finally have pants that fit my expanding belly and make me look like a working professional.

Sleep: Okay, I guess. I'm still not sleeping soundly. When I wake up, I need to slap myself something fierce!

Best Moment This Week: Feeling like we're making some serious progress on baby, even if it was just registering.

Annoyance of the Week: Nothing new. If anything, it's just not sleeping soundly enough to feel well rested in the morning.

Movement: Plenty. For sure. I'm feeling at least 3 active periods a day, which is great. I'm probably not going to love it so much when I'm uncomfortable all the time, but I love getting a confirmation that she's doing alright in there.

Planning/Preparation: Registering and doing a little more research on product safety. My friend LOG went with us on Friday and she was a huge help. My cousin Katie emailed me a list of products to register for, and their input was invaluable. I think I would have broken down and cried in Babies R Us without their help!

Belly Button In/Out: I'd rather not talk about it.
Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: Sangria! And being able to see my toes without arching my neck out.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Finding furniture for her bedroom. The "dresser debate" has been giving me a bit of a headache.

Contractions: None that I can feel, but I wouldn't be surprised if I was having some Braxton Hicks already.

Milestones?: Um, last week of my second trimester already? WHOA. I feel so unprepared. I know we'll get there, but still. Wow.