Monday, November 28, 2011

Digging Out (and Managing Expectations)

Somewhere around Labor Day when I started feeling what I called the daily blurgh of pregnancy, I let a lot of housework go. With the help of other family members (especially my heroic husband) the dishes and laundry were washed, the bathroom got cleaned, and we still ate most of our meals at home, but the rest of the house fell into a state of epic disrepair. At first, it didn't bother me so much. I counted out weeks on my calendar based on my previous pregnancies and figured I'd feel better by my birthday and would pick things up again. Then my birthday came and went and while I felt "better," I didn't feel BETTER. No real second trimester perk up came and daily gagging and mega-fatigue remained my constant companions. "Holy crap," I thought, "Am I going to feel like this the whole time?"

Then I got sick and was congested, and as if it were possible, more tired for weeks. Then it started getting dark at 5:00 p.m. Then it started to seem like everything happening in the world was very very bad. November has been a confluence of suck. "Well, at least it's temporary," I thought. And then I thought, "I'm just going to go lie down." My dreams of heading back to my regular workout schedule and tidying up the house dissolved in the gray sludge of my mood, which now matched my physical condition in extreme blurghiness.

I'm digging out now, though. The key has been to acknowledge that it's not an all or nothing proposition. I don't have to be my normal crazily active self or lie in a big lump. Some days I can only do one thing. Some days I feel great and can do lots of things, and then the next day I have to sleep for 12 hours to make up for it. The holidays have spurred me on a bit. Thanksgiving was easy. Since it was only us, it came down to cooking and clearing off the dining room table. Christmas presents more of a challenge. Charlie has begun talking about Christmas trees, and it's going to take a bunch of good days for house cleaning to make room for that. The thing is, I'm starting to have a vision for how it's going to happen, on a manageable scale, with lots of room for naps and feeling baby kicks growing stronger inside. There will be happy children (and happy parents) in our house this December.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

In our house, it's all about the pie. The little boys humor me by eating paltry portions of all the other food I make and hope the rest of us hurry up eating so they can just have their pie already. Three years ago, I started making sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving and became the hero of our household. The rest of the meal is really for Josh and me, and we enjoy the process of cooking it together as much as eating it.

This year, I am thankful that the food aversions and nausea have dissipated enough that I could enjoy my day in the kitchen. I am also thankful (and I know Josh is, too) for our first Thanksgiving with a dishwasher - yes, that's us on the couch watching a movie instead of standing at the sink cleaning up.

I am also thankful for the opportunities life presents to continue learning things. My mother has dementia, and when I talked to her on the phone today for the five minutes of conversation she can handle, I realized how much I miss talking to her on the phone. Our conversations weren't always great, but there was a time we talked every week, and being able to share things about my life with her meant more to me than I ever realized at the time. I am grateful to understand that I don't ever want to miss things that are good just because they contain aspects that are painful, too. I want to be able to feel sad or angry without having to cede the things that are precious to me in complex relationships.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Our second trimester ultrasound is just weeks away and Josh and I were trying to decide whether we wanted to find out the sex of the baby or not. I found out ahead of time with both Ellis and Charlie and liked knowing, but since this is the last time I'm doing this, I thought it might be fun to have a delivery-room surprise to see what that's like. It's outside my comfort level as a super-planner and I like that.

My only worry was that while we had identified a fantastic girl name that we love, we were really stumped trying to come up with a similar caliber boy name. I can tell you the well runs a little dry on male names when you've already named three boys. What if our fourth son arrived in the delivery room and we were forced to settle on some mediocre name? "Sorry, kid, we just ran out of steam."

Josh and I decided that if we couldn't come up with a boy name that we loved as well as the girl name we've chosen before our ultrasound at the beginning of December, we would find out the baby's sex. That way, if the babe's a girl, we could relax, and if he's a boy, we'd have five months to buckle down and choose a great name for him.

I'm pleased to say, the pressure worked. This week, we found our baby boy name (and no, I'm not sharing either of our choices). The problem is solved and I will get to have the additional delight of discovering whether our last child is a son or daughter when he or she first arrives in the world. Of course, now I have the problem that I love both names so much, that I'm a little sad that we'll only be able to use one of them. I keep crossing my fingers for there being boy and girl twins growing in there. Josh keeps teasing me that we can just use the other name for our next baby when I forget how sick I was during pregnancy and my legendary baby lust has me begging for "just one more." Not going to happen, though, I swear. This is the last time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Outside November

The mild weather continued all weekend. We headed to Harriet Island so the boys could run around at the playground and I could take some photos. Every chance we get to be outside deep into fall feels like another opportunity to store up for the winter. It keeps my spirits high as the light fades to be close to the river and commune with the likes of paper birches.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Long Weekend

Extra time off is good for climbing trees and throwing rocks into the Mississippi near Hidden Falls. Autumn has faded into the pale chalky tones of November. The mild temperatures call us outside into the thinning light. Ellis says, "I wish this were our backyard." I think, "Close enough."
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