Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spec-tacular!

In my old age, my eyesight is failing me. I might as well be legally blind. It's a good thing my computer has little nubs on the "f" and "j" keys or this could read a bunch of garbldy-gook.

Actually my eyesight is near perfect.
I have no wisdom teeth and my eyesight is crystal clear.
You know, my dentist told me I am higher on the evolutionary ladder.
You bet your bottom dollar that's a bullet on my resume.

Okay, so the wisdom teeth part is true, but I have to thank Emory Healthcare for good vision. I had awful vision until I got them all zapped and fixed in grad school. Please don't anyone find any pictures from middle school of me and post them anywhere public. So.very.tragic. But it is true that over time my balls (eyeballs that is) have changed a bit and the eye doc said I could get glasses just to make them all over-corrected again. Or, I could continue to see near perfectly.

I opted for the latter because Eric told me he fell in love with the "me" after 9pm when I took my contacts out (only on Fridays...you know I slept with those suckers in days on end) and put on the sultry library tortoise shell glasses I had prior to laser surgery.

And someone told Eric on our anniversary this summer that the 7 year itch is a lie...it's the 6th year that things fall apart. (Who does that? And no, they are not getting a holiday card this year.)

So I am upping my game, and I got a pair of specs for Eric. Actually, I got two pairs. It's a good thing, because now I can see those serifs so clearly, I might as well be a typographical guru. (Does that pay well?)

A few months back, I ponied up about $16 and got a pair of glasses from Global Eyeglasses. It was simple pimple and I used the live camera function to "try on" glasses. I also used a sewing measuring tape to guess-ta-mate my pupillary distance. I use them in the car for my driving-chic look. People take me SERIOUSLY when I pull a u-ee. But I take them off when parking because everyone knows (especially my old co-worker Ryann from work--calling you out) that I can't park. I can't let anyone take me seriously while parking. Although, it's a genetical issue, not visual. Just like my propensity for making up words.

And then I heard from a blog friend of a blog friend of a blog friend (and by blog friend I mean "blog I stalk and pretend I am friends with the author") that this company called firmoo has free eyeglasses! You just pay shipping.

Totally. Seriously. Legit.

And with my (lack of) prescription, I don't need any fancy-dancy lenses or any sort of upgrade. So for some change, I just got the following specs.

These are for my daytime look. 
And apparently my "saving my marriage" look.
Eric approved. Phew! I was worried about the stability of our relationship.

That bottom Instagram shot there? It's a two-for. You get to see the new glasses and my freshly $5 Natural Instincts Creme dyed hair. I couldn't hold out. Sorry nugget in the belly...but I had to. I Google'd the $hit out of hair dye and pregnancy, and am feeling okay with the 28 day dye choice. And think I'm sticking with #21 Natural Instincts Creme for the duration. Someone at work told me my face looked fat, and I credit it to the gray. Not the fact that I've gained a pile of weight while pregnant.


So, what are you waiting for? Go get a pair of glasses! It's the newest accessory. Right after the pick jetting straight out of the hair (that's still cool, right?).

And while you are at it, take 10 minutes and dye your hair.

It'll save our marriage.

Glasses and free marriage counseling. What am I doing thinking of a career change to typography? 

I have not been contacted, encouraged, or forced into writing about firmoo, Global Eyeglasses, or Natural Instincts regarding this post. All opinions are my own, but I am more than willing and ready to accept free swag, try it out, and/or do a giveaway from any of these companies. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lucky be a lady

With all this hoopla surrounding the mega-gagillionz happening, I am hoping it's directing everyone's attention away from the 5+ giveaways I'm entering through blogs each night. It's that or I'll spend my nights knitting while watching old episodes of Shark Tank on my laptop.

When the blog craze started percolating after I had Miles about 4 years ago, my chances seemed to be so much better. In fact, I think total I've won ~5-7 giveaways in my lifetime. All between 2008-2009. In 2010, all my luck was directed at kicking cancer's ass for Eric (and keeping a newborn and 19 month old alive), and now I'm feeling like it's about time to win a blog giveaway again--especially as every blog I follow seems to be doing a giveaway as the holiday approaches.

See--that's me doing "The Secret" without having ever read the book/guide.

Just one $25 gift card to Target would be appreciated. Or even an Oster blender...faucet from Moen? $10 to Olive Garden? Strike that. Cheesecake Factory. Beggars can't be choosers, but the can have preferences, no?

Something to restore my faith in humanity, please!

Okay, I know that made no sense but I've always wanted to say it.

'Tis the season of entitlement...

*Reality check: I truly hope my sarcasm and post doesn't come off as serious. I truly don't need anyTHING right now. In truth, I predominately enter giveaways for the sake of re-gifting to other people. I might just be brewing up some random acts of kindness for my January birthday and am looking to score some swag to pass out to unsuspecting folks.  

But you have to admit that there is a little part of everyone who likes to win regardless of the prize. In my case, especially if the payout is honor--like in the case of Scrabble.

So now go play the lotto. I hear your chances are really good. Leave those blog contests to me.

Lavatory love

Third day in a row I have walked into a bathroom stall at work and the toilet seat is up.
(read: Clean seat! That, or a man has consistently hijacked the women's WC.)
 
Coincidence or early Christmas miracle?
 
#thisisprobablyabettertwitterupdatethanblogpost
#ohwell

Monday, November 26, 2012

The naked backfire

 

Felix being, well, Felix after the bath.
 (First--dollar to doughnut that "The naked backfire" is going to go toe to toe with Toddler Porn for my most popular posts. If only I could track down who keeps these benign posts with leading titles so popular.)

Doesn’t it seem whenever you are focused on a particular topic or issue in life it appears in your Facebook feed, is a nightly news story, and is a current trend in your blog roll?
Maybe it is the season of potty training, but as we are finally ready to throw the hammer down on the final stages of getting rid of diapers for Felix, it seems the issue has exploded in all of my news sources. Yeah, Facebook is news.
 
I have learned a lot over the years in regards to potty training, and am glad to say that I know in my heart that the second go around is going to be far easier. While we have not done anything formal to date (he is burning off the fumes of Miles's "that which shall not be mentioned" endeavor), Felix has been potty trained to some degree since well before he was 2. Like at 19 months I asked him if he was willing to train his older brother. I think his response was a combo of a bark and a donkey kick to my gut. And outside of sleeping, I can say he is completely potty trained…
 
…as long as he is naked from the waist down.
 
He's a no shirt, no socks, no underwear kinda guy. It cuts down on laundry, so I don't argue.
 
Yeah, so you know that whole “naked weekend” technique that everyone boasts about? What happens when it backfires? For months Felix independently goes to the potty, puts on the Bjorn potty seat, flushes, washes his hands, cleans the bowl out with the brush, and refolds the towel into terry monkeys all by himself. Many times I don't know he has done it until I stumble upon his terry creation (or he comes out and asks for a Trader Joe's chocolate almond. Damn you lingering year old bribe!). He just has to be naked.
 
I think we've overdosed on the naked weekend concept with Miles and now Felix is suffering.
 
You put anything on Felix's southern hemisphere and it anesthetizes his bladder control switch. Actually, I think it anesthetizes his "caring" switch. Oh, he knows if he has had an accident. If it isn't soaking his pants, he'll just continue on living life, which currently consists of teeing his brother off or stealing produce from the fruit basket. But if he's really wet, he will come over and act like some third party got urine all over him. And if he is in a diaper? He'll happily run around with pee and poop in it until Eric and I play rock-paper-scissors to see who gets the lucky job. It's like, until it actually interferes with his playing, he'll withstand the soggies. And don't think he minds getting his diaper changed. It's like a free pass to play "kick Mommy in the uterus" and giggle. And I think us upgrading from the drier Seventh Generation wipes to the more sudsy Earth's Best hasn't helped.
 
I mean, I like my cereal soggy, but I'm afraid that soggy gene was passed on and transfigured when it was put into Felix. Who likes soggy pants?!?!
And I will readily admit we are diaper enablers. I might still have the shakes from the previous 2 years with Miles.
And it doesn't help that his older brother encourages him when they strip down after dinner every night and participate in what Miles lovingly calls "The Naked Run Off." (My parents were in town this past week and can "bare" witness. Oh silly pun.)
So while it’s been a pleasure watching a child essentially train himself 93.33% of the way, I think we are going to have to address the whole “how to operate in society with clothes on and no diaper" issue (ie, potty train) and soon do total diaper withdrawal. 1 and only 1 technique this time. Go big or go home.
While it would be great to say come January when Felix turns 3 that we are a diaper free house, as long as I can say 2 down 1 to go before this baby is born, I'll be a happy.
Here's to a lot more laundry and a patient/understanding childcare facility.
Worst case scenario, I reignite the hermitage plans for the backyard and make clothing optional.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving: Maslow style

I am thankful for...

Age 4: "God"
Age 3: "New pajamas"
Age 2: "Pumpkins"
Age 9 mo: "Boobies" (dictated by older sibling)

I think Maslow would agree.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ugg-a-Wugg

All I keep singing in my head is the Tiger Lily song from Mary Martin's version of Peter Pan.



Thanksgiving approaches...


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Off the grid

Yesterday's post was a slight departure from the mundane of late, and reeked of the old Alison. It was also my first attempt at making the "grid" for an online writing/blogging community called yeah write. I follow a couple of blogs whose authors participate in the weekly writing submission, and have always thought that once that elusive spare time returned, I could spend a day crafting an entry.

We all know that there is no spare time in parenthood, just moments of insomnia when you find yourself doing things like shopping on drugstore.com and scouring PBS.org for full episodes of a riveting documentaries or programs.

Tuesday night, 1am. All aboard my train of thought:

  • Hmmm, I think instead of posting all of the photos from our recent shoot and providing a long narrative, I'll spend the next couple of weeks selecting 1 or 2 photos and generating a story about how each makes me feel, or what they remind me of.
  • Oh! That one with Miles on the tree is perfect to start with; his hand grasping the bark, looking into the distance, but slightly afraid to let go of the protection of the tree. I could do a great entry on my internal challenge of living with a shy, introverted child. 
  • Whoa. I must find a traditional Ramen noodle house in metro Atlanta. That looks uh-mazing! (Side bar-please do yourself the favor of watching the few episodes of "Mind of a Chef" on PBS.org. Kimchi baby.)
  • I always have good intentions with blogging these days, but I'm taking advantage of the lack of accountability. Regardless of waning readership, I feel like I am missing the opportunity to document life. How do people do it? People like: [fill in the blank with my blog crushes.]
  • Ahhh! Coupon code! How are all the other products except the Seventh Generation dishwasher liquid on sale?
  • What if I just linked up with that yeah write group this week? I mean, you have to swing the bat, right? It's almost 2 am. If a carriage can change back into a pumpkin, anything is possible late at night.
  • Okay, let's do it. 
  • Ew, dehydrated pork shavings.
  • I should probably look over the requirements. Blah blah, 1000 words or less, blah blah...if I read anymore I'll get way too overwhelmed and chicken out.
  • Aaaand...LINK.
And guess what? I got rejected. Wah-wah. But you see, I don't do rejection well, because in my mind it rhymes with utter failure-loser-girl. I didn't have a "so what?" factor, and didn't have a traditional arc in my story with beginning, middle, end. But she liked my writing and said I would be a good fit. Thank goodness I wasn't an English major undergrad at Bates College, #7 in my class, summa cum laude, and feel especially stupid. Yeah, thank goodness. At least I can make the excuse my focus was on South Asian lit and we know that genre doesn't follow traditional arcs. Salman Rushdie anyone?

And guess what times two? I'm totally going to apply to the grid again. If you know me, you know that I don't take "nah, sorry!" lightly.

So we shall see. My goal is to get on the grid before Christmakwanzukah.

***
In relation to my struggle with Miles being exceptionally shy, I did have to make mention of the fact that part of my own journey of learning to manage my expectations has been guided by his exceptional other caregivers. My mother, his childcare director at Marist, and is current PreK teacher have all provided me perspective and reassurance that it is normal and manageable and that he flourishes at school, has friends, and is a joy to be around. So hermitage/homeschool plans are on hold...today.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Square holes

*all images courtesy of Kate T. Parker Photography (http://www.katetparkerphotography.com/)

I'm not the fly on the wall, but the fly doing backstrokes in your soup, trying to figure out your story and add you to my coterie of Facebook "friends". The anticipation of a mixer or business meeting is almost too much to handle. Any opportunity to engage in the nuances of relationship building is right in my wheelhouse.

I need noise, movement, and people to feel comfortable. As a child, I loved falling asleep to the sound of my parents bustling around downstairs, and think the entirety of my high school studying happened with Jammin' 94.5 playing on the radio in the background. Silence does not come easily to me as I know once my inner monologue takes over, the tendency for anxiety to ask for a piggy back ride is soon to follow. Or maybe I get lonely. Or lost somewhere in one of the universe's many black holes. If a woman is silent, does she exist?

Taking a tip from Paula Abdul's matchmaking advice, I found eternal companionship in my opposite: an introvert; someone adept at social situations, but not nearly as comfortable or excitable by the thought of name tags and  the back and forth of personal/professional resume volleying. It works because my husband is completely capable of governing his own social experience. Yin and yang. Peanut butter and super gregarious jelly.

Perhaps during a time that I was fraternizing with a space creature in a black hole, the universe missed my clarion call for me to birth progeny who were more inclined to mimic my own social needs and experiences. Four years down, and I admit that  I struggle, daily, living with a child who is an observer and not an eager participant in life's social situations. Whereas with my husband I feel little to no responsibility about his (anti) social idiosyncrasies, I have an overwhelming sense of ownership with my son's.

The seductive nature of new playground equipment becomes obsolete if strange kids are playing in front of him. He dissolves into a repetition of "I don't know how" or "I need a hand please" during new social situations.

I see his reticence at the start of playdates.
I hear him vocalize trepidation in regards to sharing the playground space with Kindergartners.
I feel him stroke and twirl my hair in concern when he sits on my lap during a concert.

But I don't get it.

Like any well intentioned parent, I have solicited the advice and recommendations from a variety of sources to see what I could do to change him. I have pathologized him and created a lens of disorder with which I view his behavior. I have secretly wished him to be more like [fill in the blank with a number of friends' children who are incredibly socially adept]. I have been operating under the premise that once we eliminate a general social anxiety, that an outgoing and socially comfortable personality will blossom and flourish. The sooner the better, because I operate under a false pretense that somehow his social comfort is a direct measure of my parenting success. And you know how amazing those end of the year parenting bonuses are due to commendable and successful parenting.

What I have been looking for is an avenue to change my son's inherent personality to resonate with mine. I've been so focused on fitting a square peg into a round hole, that I missed opportunities to look for square holes.

The element of narcissism in my approach is no longer lost on me.

My guilt has resulted in me imagining building a hermitage in our backyard and homeschooling all of my children just to eliminate the issue of ever having to participate in society. My guilt has also resulted in me saying some unsavory things to my husband and even denying advances for physical comfort from my son during periods of his nervousness. I have tried to truncate the periods of observation he finds comfort in when approaching a new social situation in exchange for ripping off the proverbial band aid and demanding he confront the fear head on.

While my responses have yet to be what I would consider measured, I have recently not only realized, but also believed that the goal of changing his personality may not be nearly as important as monitoring my approach.

I cannot change what I have done or felt, and much like I cannot get my son to understand what it feels like to get tickled and excited by new social situations, I also must accept that I may never "get" what it feels like for those situations to drum up feelings of worry or anxiety.

Finding middle ground is hard and taxing when it initially feels very non-committal and as though I am not honoring either of our approaches. Yet, there has to be a way to engender confidence, encourage growth, and hone skills to navigate this silly and crazy world. This journey is not about changing my child, but shifting my perspective and approach. It is admittedly uncomfortable, but worth the effort. I owe it to my son and I owe it to myself.

But what I promise you, Miles, is to start looking for those square holes and getting you through them with confidence. I vow to exploit your strengths and also honor your vulnerabilities. And I promise you can still sit on my lap and stroke my hair during concerts; just no twirling.




Goodwill Hunting: volume 9

I was dragged (insert opposite day) to Goodwill with my friend C, and of course walked away with a bag of clothes and shoes.

I'm trying not to fall victim to the "you'll wear this when you are not pregnant" because the truth is, after baby #3, I have no idea what shape this tattered corpse will be in.

But I did it anyway, and still tried to squeeze myself into small sized clothes. A girl can dream...

Ruffle-y tank top: Banana Republic, $2.50
Peek-a-boo layering tank in salmon: The Limited, $2.50 
Maternity black pants: Liz Lange Target brand from first pregnancy, $???
Way too old mini cardigan (circa 2003): Banana Republic, $???
Born flats (see below): $6.00

Goodwill outfit total: $11.00

You can almost see the flats in the original picture (before I cropped and insta-magicked my fugly face out. Yup. Made up that word. But the pale and tired face is for realz.)

And here is another purchase from this trip. It's a size bigger, so lots of room for the nugget to protrude. AND IT HAS POCKETS! Totally worth the full price tag.

Peasant chambray top (with pockets!): H&M, $5.00
Maternity black pants: Liz Lange Target brand from first pregnancy, $??? STOP THE PRESSES! Someone held me at gunpoint and made me wear the same pants 2 days in a row. I mean, I would *never* do that normally. Never, ever.
Born flats: $6.00 

Goodwill outfit total: $11.00

More from this trip to come...God I love Goodwill.


 

Monday, November 12, 2012

cricket...cricket...

I know technically, if you ask my 4-year-old, crickets don't say "cricket," but they say "chirp". But with all the twitterizing going on, I feel like you might think I am about to go on a tear about social media.

Nope.

I posted the last 7+ entries weeks ago (outside of some pictures), so in my mind it feels like an eternity since I have been here. I am in that slump again of not having much to write or say. (There are rumblings of a Felix/naked/potty post coming up. Cliff hanger!)

General status: Okay. Last week was tough for a number or reasons, and Eric thinks I am going through an existential crisis. But the baby is fine, I am slowly getting my husband back from months of Jury Duty and XC obligations, and the boys are keeping life incredibly fulfilled.

Non sequitor! (That's the old Ali we have missed and adore.)

We recently had a family shoot with Kate T. Parker, and again I am stunned by her ability to capture the essence of my family. What I love the most about her is that the process is not forced and we literally just run around a park for 30 minutes. When I first saw her images when a friend introduced me to her, I figure she had this huge camera with all these lenses and magical photography accoutrements. Nope. She has a camera and lens that is smaller than ours. And then she gets these images that take my breath away. Note--this is in no way a comment on the *quality* of her equipment, but more commentary on her composition and artistic judgement. And while it may not be the traditional posed and standard photography that some in my extended family prefer, her images are the ones I want to look back on in decades to remind me of what the boys were like.

I'll do a more complete post with images soon, but wanted to lay down 2 images that are keeping me going and positive today.

When these photos came in to my inbox recently, I was reminded how beautiful my boys are to me...




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Goodwill Hunting: volume 8

Have you noticed how flouncy my tops have been for the Goodwill series? It's all fun and games until someone gets knocked up.

But it goes to show you that I am committed to my Goodwill mission: 2012. But soon I am extending Goodwill to also be good-will. Meaning, I have 2 extremely awesome friends (wait, all my friends are awesome!) who have been willing to let me borrow their stash of maternity clothes. So along with the dregs I found in the attic (remember, I was preggo for like 2 days the first time, and on bedrest with the uniform of jogging suit or hospital gown with the 2nd. My stash is thin.), I am enjoying a totally new maternity wardrobe thanks to the good-will of my friends. (Dash added for emphasis, not integrity.)

Until the full belly panel is in effect, I can still squeeze into some non-maternity Goodwill offerings. And thank jeebus for leggings.


This was a great option because by nature, this Gap top is totally on par with what maternity tops look like. It is not, in fact, a maternity top, though!

Black button down tunic: Gap , $2.50
Aqua tank top (not seen): The Limited, $2.50
Brown Leggings (new): Random brand, $2.50
Teal flats: Gap, $6, as seen below and in a previous Goodwill post:


Goodwill outfit total (Goodwill portion): $13.50

Here is another flouncy top for you. Perfect for bump-hidin'


Silk top that APPARENTLY looks like it has a rapping ghost on the front: Karen Scott, $2.50
Flare, low rise jeans: Random brand, $3.00
Belly band to hold in "Nugs" (not seen): Free; good-will from friend

Goodwill outfit total: $5.50

Bump watch 2012-2013 commence.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trois

Isn't the French for "three" so much more gorg than the Spanish? I never took French, but am tempted to buy Rosetta Stone, the French version, just to feel legit saying pliƩ, trois, and grey poupon.

I don't subscribe to the whole "push present" (isn't the gift the baby?), and know that we will be spending the rest of our lives counting each dollar, but in a first trimester haze, I found myself purchasing myself a necklace from Etsy in recognition of finally having 3 children. Some mysteriously find themselves in their covers eating ice cream...I find myself trolling Etsy. (or both)

I have known since the spring what I wanted to get if we had a 3rd child. This past, present, future necklace from SimplySweetStudio on Etsy. I actually first came across it when purchasing a gift for a family friend who had graduated from college. The second I saw it-I purchased it for her-and then said to myself "if I get pregnant again, I'm totally getting this...unless I have twins. Then I'll be in daily therapy and won't have time for perusing Etsy at night."

Pumpkin was not included in the purchase. I'm just getting all artsy fartsy on you.

This delicate trinket has been around my neck since the day I got it. I find myself rubbing the rings, like braille, wondering what what their trajectory in life reads...how much more wonder and value they will add to our lives...and how amazing it is that Eric and I are kinda, sorta responsible for it.

Mind=blown.

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's the final countdown...

dun-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh!

Anyone else only think of Arrested Development and the opening of G.O.B's magic show when you hear that song?

Best show ever.


 So, as far as I am concerned, this truly is the final countdown in reference to my uterus. 
(Eric, start Kudzu-ing urologists.)

What better way to commemorate the experience than with a little DIYing of a maternity countdown shirt?

I am so crafty, I not only make people...I also make make shirts that chronicle my making of people.

Let's fess up: I take zero credit for this shirt. Check out the full tutorial here. (It took a bit of time, but totes worth it.)

And yes, I imagine there will be a ridiculous video montage come spring. Fun music recommendations welcome--although, I'm a little partial to the Flannery Brother's Tambourine song. 100% totally not pregnancy-related, but apparently I like to pose with instruments on my head.



I know, the pictures are dark. But the shoots take place late night on Sundays. The boys cannot be trusted with huge amounts of white background paper taped to the ceiling. And I cannot be trusted with their play instruments. Don't you worry...I've got some pictures with maracas and recorders, too.

If I was super duper crafty (and had a sewing machine), I would make a onesie out of the t-shirt upon nugget's (aka Jesus's) arrival. Mom? Looking for a spring craft?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let me stop you before you ask...

First, can we please just laugh over this photo? I was trying to stage a shot of the boys crawling through my legs while I was posing with my Halloween "reveal" shirt. The caption options here are endless.


 Or how about this one? Oh Fe...


And *this* is the kind of stuff that makes me want to do this whole pregnancy/baby/kid/debt thing all over. For a third (and a quarter) time...but that's it. Period. (Yes, period, please come back in the spring. TMI?)

An advantage of having done this pregnancy a few times before is that I can anticipate all of the questions that are asked of you when people find out you are expecting. It's not that I mind the questions, it's that I want to get back to shoving my face full of Trader Joe's sea salt pita chips and reduced guilt guacamole.

  • How are you feeling? First 13 weeks? Bliss! Outside of the undisclosed piles of weight I have gained (watch out Kim K, I've got some T and A!), I have had little to no symptoms. But what up random 2nd trimester nausea?
  • When are you due? April 22. (Or as my mom calls it, my "ha-ha" due date.)
  • How far along? Almost 15 weeks and handful of days.
  • Were you trying for a girl? Do you think it's a girl? Are you hoping for a girl? Are you going to find out if it is a girl? (ie, gender inquiries) Lemme break each of these down:
    • We "tried" to get pregnant I don't really believe in the trying for a girl/boy. But maybe because I gave up Google for lent and just don't have the energy to research a concept I'm not really sure I believe in.  
    • I think it is a healthy baby.
    • I am hoping for a healthy baby. Would we like a girl?  Sure, we would just need to take out a 3rd mortgage. Would we like a boy? Sure, we would just need to train this boy to clean toilet seats straight out of the shoot. With my 2nd pregnancy, I felt a lot of gender pressure, so I think I got through a lot of those "what if I never have a girl?" conflicts I imagine many pregnant women with boys are saddled with during subsequent pregnancies. Sure, I readily admit it is hard watching close friends go on girl dates with their daughters, but that is what nieces are for! I know people obsess about gender prediction. I'm not really one of those, but for fun, I looked up the tests, and here are some data points that people make predictions off of:
      • My Chinese age at conception was 34. (Half of the "calendars" say girl, half of the predictor calendars say boy.)
      • Heart rate: 8 weeks = 179;  12 weeks =  down to 158
      • I sleep on my right side exclusively
      • I crave coffee, salty/sour, and fresh doughnuts
      • I don't really carry high or low--I carry very "internal."
      • Nausea only appeared starting week 13.
      • Both Eric and I have gained weight.
      • Everyone in my online due date club says "boy". (Maybe due to what looked like a "nub" on my 12 week 3D/4D ultrasound?)
      • Miles thinks we are having a boy
      • Eric thought girl last 2 times, now thinks boy
      • I thought boy last 2 times, and now think boy
      • Felix just picks his nose when asked.
    • No matter what, it will be a surprise come April. Sorry, Charlie (or Charlotte?).
  • What are you going to do about your car situation? I've put in a request to Santa for a swagger wagon (right after a term delivery).
  • What are you going to do about the fact that your house is the size of a bread box? Nothing. We are going to enjoy the close quarters, maybe drink a few more glasses of wine at night (I kid), but in my heart of hearts, think this is going to do wonders for any superfluous spending, acquisition of "junk", and ability to figure out new and fun ways to connect as a family. Plus, I am sure in a decade we'll expand (the house, not my uterus), or move.
  • Are you worried about finances? Yup. And I would be with just 1 child. As I said above, I think this is going to make us more honest with our spending. I also think that $ does not award happiness. And I believe that the cost burden of children reduces with each subsequent birth (or so says NPR, so it has to be fact). Sure, I have envy in relation to my friends and family who have lots of disposable income, but I don't think it gives an automatic pass in life to the road to perfection. In fact, I know it doesn't. Sure, we won't do luxurious vacations or be able to travel easily, but I truly think that we will make less material impact on this world, and far more positive emotional and charitable impact with our actions.
  • What are you going to do about work? Million dollar question...so if you know the answer, clue me in, okay? I can confirm that the likelihood of me being a SAHM full time is pretty slim. Like Rachel Zoe slim. (See bullet above.)
  • Do you have names? We've got a good list. And lest you think that you will be gobsmacked when we announce if a penis or vagina comes out (hopefully not both), I promise you that his/her name will distract you enough from being surprised, disappointed, excited, about what lies between the legs. But just so you know, I've already 86'd may of Eric's choices: Huckleberry and Trixie. Miles wants to name the baby his best friend's name if it is a boy, and "Jesus" if it is a girl. 
  • Are you nervous about delivering early? Not really. I can't explain it, but I feel very at peace with this whole situation. I am terrified of delivering a baby past 35 weeks b/c I tore with both boys (a 4lber and 5lber), but it's a price I will pay if I can deliver at term or full term. (It's one of those dirty little secrets women don't talk about, but anyone with any degree of tearing needs to know that it still scares me third time around.) And even though I did both previous births epidural free, I am not ruling one out this time. The only thing I rule out is birthing in the field...hopefully. I am also starting weekly progesterone butt shots next week and imagine some oral procardia and bed rest will be prescribed along the course.

I have to tell you, third time is sort of a charm. I feel far more relaxed and capable this time around. I don't fear the sleepless nights. (I am also not going to lie, I anticipate my attachment parenting may hide in the corner with "ear muffs on" at some point to make room for a more gentle Ferber or No Cry sleep solution. And I'm almost convinced I can figure out a way to get Eric to nurse.) I look forward to the chaos and mustard smelling poopy diapers. (Who am I kidding...a kingdom for a child to be born potty trained. I would take it over male middle of the night nursing any day.) Mostly, I look forward to this last player of our immediate family joining the game.

Now, can someone refill my guac, please?