Monday, April 30, 2012

What I am into this month: April

Still just greening.
On My Nightstand: I'm still reading An Omnivore's Dilemma and Changer (sidenote: if you want an eclectic, though-provoking author-blog to add to your reading list, I highly recommend Jane Lindskold's). I've started both Introverts in the Church and Here I Stand: A Biography of Martin Luther, both of which the DDH got me for Easter. I'm slogging or have slogged through a million billion baby books (or at least it feels that way).

I did actually read the entirety of Free Range Kids. Unfortunately, I then decided it would be a good idea to give it to the DDH to read, and he has proceeded to provide me with a list of the exact charges he would level against Skenazy after DHS took her kids and she ended up in his courtroom.

Never marry a lawyer, ladies. -_-

I also read all of Having a Baby, a pregnancy/baby book that my mom read when she was pregnant with me in the mid eighties, written by Danielle Steel (yes, that Danielle Steel, of bodice-ripping romance novel fame) and six of her friends who were all pregnant at the same time in 1983 or so. It was hilarious (please click the link and look at the cover. I implore you). And reassuring? Also, apparently less than thirty years ago women not only still drank while pregnant but drove around in cars with their babies on their laps instead of in car seats. What the what.

Want to Read: The books that I've already begun! Ouch. I blame the fact that I've been opting for naps and worry over reading lately.

Oh! If you want some excellent book suggestions from a variety of ladies 'round the web, check out Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy's Book Carnival going on today! Really some excellent suggestions.

TV Show Worth Watching: Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Castle, Bones. CommunityAlcatraz. The usual.

The DDH and I have also been watching Mad Men on Netflix. We finished season one and are working on season two. That show is simultaneously BORING and engrossing. It is so. slow. Like snails high on weed crawling through molasses. And every last character is a jerk and/or a creep. BUT. They're all so fascinating, in a train-wreck kind of way. A gorgeous, beautifully costumed, impeccably set, stoned-molasses-snail train wreck.

Movies I've Seen (in or out of a theater): We may or may not have rented a movie or two at some point. When it gets windy (aka every day in the spring), our internet gets unreliable because the giant untrimmed trees snag the cable that leads to our house. I feel certain the DDH rented some movies to remedy this, but I can't even remember. This month has been a haze of all-day-sickness and exhaustion.

More importantly: The Hunger Games. Here is my review: The DDH agreed to go see the movie after I had read the first book, but said that young adult novels are dumb and he doesn't read them. We saw the movie Friday night. Saturday he bought the first book on his Kindle.

In My Ears: I hate music right now. This is apparently my pregnancy aversion: noise.

What I'm looking forward to next month: More appointments. Starting to tell more people (though not telling work...I mean, I'll have to eventually, but I'm not looking forward to it. Or to deciding what my plan actually is about work in the future). This mystical sense of well-being and energy that I have been promised will be mine in the second trimester.

Goal Progress: I posted some goals for the new year, and I figured these monthly wrap-up posts would be a good chance to check my progress throughout 2012.
The Budget: I don't even know. We're fine right now. Still trying to figure out what's going to be what with my work situation in the next few months/years.
The Garden: I ate a snap pea off the vine yesterday. It was delicious. We also planted six tomatoes, four peppers, and a ground cherry plant on Friday.

Food: No @#%$ comment. Blech.

The Craft Room: Miraculously I did actually work on this some the other day and might even share my progress on here at some point.

What a difference a month makes--when that month is April!
How are you doing on your 2012 goals? What are you looking forward to in May?

I am a reader: The Book That Changed My Life Carnival

Happy to be linking up to The Book That Changed My Life Carnival at Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Head over to Anne's site to read about more people's life-changing books!

I don't remember when I first read Watership Down.

I know I borrowed it from the library, that first time and many times after. So many books I remember only vaguely, by the stamp of some emotion they left on my soul long after title and author were erased by the endless succession of library books devoured and returned.

But Watership Down I remembered. Watership Down I checked out and read over and over, until finally, in high school, I used a birthday gift card to Borders to buy my very own copy.

For those of you not familiar with this classic, Watership Down follows a group of rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and travel across the English countryside to make a new home.

As with the best animal books, the rabbits talk and have some human characteristics but still retain their essential rabbitness. They are not merely miniature humans in fur suits but very definitely Other.

The story of Fiver, Bigwig, and their companions teaches many lessons about bravery, friendship, perseverance, brains-over-brawn, faithfulness...the usual suspects.

From it, however, I also learned a sad lesson--a necessary one, perhaps, but a truth parents wish their children never had to learn:

Nice people aren't always nice. Evil doesn't always wear a black hat.

(Spoilers beneath the bunny.)

Perhaps the greatest lasting impact of the book:
My succession of pet rabbits.
In a pivotal scene in the book, our rabbit heroes stumble upon a warren filled with fat, sleek, friendly rabbits. After weeks of wandering a hostile landscape, escaping death by predator and weather alike, and worrying about how they will start a new warren without any female rabbits, this place and its co-ed inhabitants seem like heaven to our hero rabbits.

They are given a warm welcome, and several of the group argue that the journey should end here, that they should assimilate into this warren and cease the search for a new home.

There's only one problem: it turns out the nice, friendly fat rabbits are trying to kill them.

There's more to it than that, but the point is this was, if not the first book, than the first book I remember reading that presented evil in such a nuanced light.

Most children's books follow the simple moral duality of old westerns. White hat/black hat, good witch/bad witch, Superman/Lex Luthor. The main story arc of Watership Down follows the same formula--later the rabbits steal female rabbits away from an evil, openly oppressive warren and an epic bunny battle ensues.

Life for a little kid is like that, too. Everyone you know is nice to you. If you have a teacher you think is mean, that teacher becomes the Mean Evil Teacher and you see no redeeming quality in her at all. Life is as black and white as the Wicked Witch of the West versus Glinda the Good Witch.

But slowly you come to see the gray in life. The Mean Teacher turns out to be the best one you've ever had. Your best friend betrays you. The worst criminals are the ones who can masquerade as normal and friendly. Normal people are capable of committing terrible acts in the name of "the greater good."

This last is what those fat sleek rabbits were really guilty of. They grew fat and sleek because a farmer spreads food for them in a nearby field--but in exchange, he periodically places snares there and kills them. The rabbits hope that our heroes, unaware of the danger, will not be cautious and will be snared and killed, sparing their own number for a little longer. They have traded freedom for convenience and try to kill fellow rabbits so that they can maintain their lifestyle.

The lessons are chilling and many. But as with the best books, I never consciously defined these lessons until re-reading the story many years later, with waaaay too many hours of critical reading classes under my belt.

It is, at its heart, a good Story. And that lesson, too, is important: that power of Story to captivate the heart as well as the mind, to cross the barriers of time, space, culture (and even species!) and speak to us all.

Perhaps it was in Watership Down that I first learned how seamlessly Story and Teaching could be woven together.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I am doing pregnancy wrong.

As soon as you see that positive result on a pregnancy test, everyone and their mother (and your own mother, and your husband's mother) wants to tell you what to do. They want to lay out The Rules.

Well, here are some of the ones I'm breaking:
  • I'll be twelve weeks on Monday and so far I've lost five pounds. I'll admit some of this is probably due to muscle mass turning into fat. Most of it is due to the effects of a diet comprised mostly of Saltine crackers. I know eventually I'll be complaining about how much weight I'm gaining, but not yet!
  • I still drink the communion wine. Apparently there are some women who flip their lids demanding grape juice instead. Ladies, it's a thimbleful of crappy wine once a week. Alternatively, the blood of Jesus can't hurt your baby.
  • I still eat Sam's Club hot dogs that have been sitting in the warmer. Mostly because Sam's Club hot dogs are made by angels in heaven and sent winging earthward on potato bun wings and therefore could not possibly give me food poisoning.
  • I participated in a comic medication back-and-forth with the doctor's office. "Stop taking that medicine!" "No that medicine's okay; stop this one." "Never mind, just keep doing what you were doing. Just don't do this." Sigh. Depending on who is actually correct, I possibly have caused or am continuing to cause irreparable harm to Critter.
  • I didn't feel all that excited when we first saw Critter on its ultrasound. It was cool and all, but I'm just not that emotional a person. I wasn't too terribly stoked about my wedding, either.
  • I don't have any cravings, at least so far. And I don't have aversions to specific foods, just to eating in general.
  • I'm not freaking out about every twinge or rushing constantly to the doctor to demand extra tests and ultrasounds. I'm very que sera, sera about the whole thing. Apparently this is unusual.
The thing is, I always have and always will do everything wrong, according to someone.

For instance, my doctor told me to keep exercising but just make sure to keep my heartrate under 120. My mom told me I shouldn't raise my body temperature by working out too hard or taking hot baths. A friend said her doctor said all of that was old wives' tales and she could do whatever she wanted, which she proceeded to do, and her healthy son is now two.

When different authorities give you contradicting advice, you just can't please them all.

And it's just going to get worse once Critter is born. No matter what I do--crying, no crying, spanking, no spanking, infant baptism and feeding and diapering and sleepovers and extracurriculars--someone will tell me I'm doing it wrong.

You know what else? They'll be right. I will be doing it wrong--for them. What I choose to do during this pregnancy and in rearing Critter and its eventual theoretical siblings could be the completely wrong things for other people to do.

But barring gross negligence and inevitable learning experiences (aka mistakes), what I do is and will be the right thing for me. And the DDH and Critter and theoretical future siblings, etc., who get a certain amount of say in the situation.

Because one size fits all, doesn't.

Just live.
What are you doing wrong in your life that's actually completely right?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am traveling.

Aaaaah! Blogger, what did you do to me? Why does my blog post window look like a GoogleDocs page?

Confusion. My poor brain does not do well with surprises.

Anyway, assuming I'm actually operating this system properly, let me tell you about my awesome weekend. (This was supposed to post Monday but I had Technical Difficulties getting the pics off my phone).

Tired travelers.
Like how it started Friday night when I took the DDH out to a splendiferous surprise dinner as a thank you for being the most understanding and supportive spouse to a pregnant woman ever in the history of spouses and pregnant women.

A friend has been recommending the restaurant run by students at a technical college near my house for a YEAR now. Yes, a full year. And I finally made a reservation last week and we went Friday night and oh, it was spectacular. Scallops and rabbit and truffles and swordfish and more scallops and basically just death by awesome food, plus cheerful friendly waitstaff, a helpful sommelier (for the DDH), and when I told the waitress I "couldn't" have wine (but not why), a different waiter rushed over with sparkling peach juice for me.

Oh yes. So lovely.

Then Saturday morning I had to work and it was miserable so we'll skip over that to--driving to Oklahoma City for an impromptu roadtrip!

Friday night (nothing like the last minute, right?), I asked the DDH if it would be crazy for us to drive to OKC for Megan at SortaCrunchy's book release party Saturday night.

He said yes, if I expected him to drive back to Tulsa afterward, it was crazy. But if we got a hotel room and made a weekend out of it, it wasn't.

So we packed up the dogs (for the first time ever! it was too late notice to find a sitter) and hit the open road.

Things I loved:
  1. The wildflowers growing along the side of the highway.
  2. Meeting Megan (finally!) face to face and hearing her read from her book. She is as warm and friendly and awesome in person as via the internet, and at some point I hope we can meet again.
  3. And meeting Laura, too, who was a gracious and friendly hostess.
  4. Picking up some excellent hooker boots at the new outlet mall (which was otherwise rather a disappointing place).
  5. The La Quinta where we stayed didn't just accept dogs but had a lovely courtyard with baggies and trash cans for walking your canine companions--very nice!
  6. A lazy retro lunch at Pops.

But the highlight of the weekend was definitely the dog park with the pond for the dogs to swim in. Watching Jayne fulfill his Labrador Retriever destiny of retrieving things from the water was just too much cuteness.

Kaylee didn't care for swimming. She would run to the edge
of the water and stare at Jayne until he came back safely.

Jayne and his new Corgi friend.

What he was bred to do.


The only picture of Kaylee swimming (she's the splashy one in
the middle of the photo and Jayne's the dark speck farther

How were your weekends, friends? And how do you face Monday graciously after such a good time?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

Now that I'm starting to slllloooooooowlllllly transition out of the all-day-sickness phase (whoever coined it "morning sickness" was the lyingest liar of all liars ever), I've actually been getting dressed!

I mean, I've been wearing clothes all along (my coworkers thank me), but I've finally been wearing some outfits.

Oh dear. Upon reviewing my last What I Wore Wednesday post, I realized I am way behind. So here's a brief rundown of the last two months:

Shirt: Loft; belt: Target; pants: Target;
Dog: followed us home.
Well this is the point of doing these posts: I had forgotten about this work outfit and I really like it. Simple yet outfit-y.

The only problem is that the pants were pushing it with their size eightishness before I got pregnant and, even though I'm not yet really showing, I think they already need to be retired. SIGH.

Sweater: Target?; skirt: Old Navy?; shoes: Target
Headband: Target; "pearls": Gordman's
Hey look guys, it's spring! And what's more springy than a pastel skirt (with a flower on it that you can't see), and a white short-sleeved sweater? And fake pearls and a white headband. And white shoes. White white white.

Shirt: Old Navy; scarf-as-belt: ???; skirt:
hand-me-down; shoes: Sears
If I recall correctly, this was Palm Sunday. Because the skirt had sort of a leafy green pattern on it. GET IT? Yes, I dress thematically for holidays.

Anyway, the scarf-as-belt worked amazingly on Sunday and less amazingly with pants the next day at work--it kept coming untucked. Still looked awesome, though. I just need madder scarf-tucking skillz.

Necklace: Target; tank: Old Navy; jeggins:
American Eagle
I'll leave you with this casual outfit and save Holy Week and beyond for next week. I'm not really sure this outfit did me any favors, but it was bright, cheerful, and comfortable.

And yes, perhaps future decades will deride jeggings as one of the twenty-teens' great fashion debacles, but I love my pair from AE and don't care who knows it. They are like...denim skin. Cozy and stretchy and comfy. The only drawback is the lack of pockets--they just have butt pockets so I keep sitting on my phone.

This picture also reassures me that I have wide childbearing hips. That's comforting.

There we go! That's what I wore (a month ago)!

What have y'all been wearing lately?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

So far, so good.

Look who wanted to say hi!

Little Critter
I am fully aware that ultrasound pictures don't look like anything, especially when snapped with a cheap cell phone camera off a television screen. But Critter's head is on the left, and doesn't it look like he's waving with the little limb sticking up in the middle?

Oh come on. Indulge me.

The ultrasound was amazing. There s/he was, wiggling around all cozy. He kept kicking his teeny legs and waving his arms around, but of course all the pictures the doctor printed managed to get him just when he had put his limbs down so he's just a blob.

Still. It's crazy that there's this little guy (or gal) in there wiggling all around and being so active, yet I can't feel him at all. Admittedly he's all of an inch long and deep in the recesses of my abdomen; it's not like I should be feeling him. Or her. It was still astounding to see.

S/he measured 10 weeks, 1 day on Tuesday, which puts my due date on November 12.

Yay. ^_^

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I am graceless.

Basically I'm trying to figure out why I ever thought having kids was a good idea.
And if I really wanted them so badly, maybe we should have just adopted them.

I am rarely sick and I hate being that sick person, whiny and dependent. I show up. I power through. I do things I don't feel like doing and get them done and don't complain.

(The DDH may view me slightly differently...perhaps I should amend it to say I don't complain, except to him.)

But this. I'm exhausted. I'm sick. My allergies are worse than ever (turns out Claritin is nowhere near as effective as Allegra. Obviously it's the ingredient that actually works that's harmful to the baby). I drag myself out of bed twenty minutes before I have to leave for work. I sit at work staring at the computer, willing myself not to throw up--or fall asleep. I drag myself home again. I can't stand up for more than five minutes without feeling like I'm going to pass out. Eating makes me sick. Not eating makes me sick.

I'm in a bad mood all. the. time. Every time things get tense with my boss I just want to walk out and quit. Even though he's actually been relatively sane lately and making me feel indispensable. Which makes me feel worse and more conflicted about the fact that I do still intend to quit.

I haven't told anyone (other than immediate family) because I'm scared--scared of how my boss will react, scared that I'll miscarry, scared of being the center of attention when I usually do my damnedest to disappear into the wallpaper--so for all anyone knows I'm just being lame lately for no reason.

I skipped C-Fit yesterday not because I didn't want to work out--though truly I was exhausted and sick-feeling and not sure it would have been a good idea to jump around in a class where, again, I just look weird for not doing everything full out the way I used to--but because I got depressed and convinced myself no one else in the class likes me and they would all be happier if I didn't come.

I just don't want to do this. I'm scared of labor. I'm scared of newborns. I know what I'm like when I'm sleep-deprived, and it's not pleasant for anyone involved.

The DDH is pretty much the best darling devoted husband ever in the history of husbands. Although he admits that he's sad not to have homecooked meals all the time anymore, he doesn't complain about it. He does the dishes and empties the dishwasher and on Saturday he even vacuumed. He hugs me when I cry for no reason and tells me that it's okay for me to complain.

So of course all that just makes me feel worse. I should be better and more deserving of him. I should at least cook him dinner occasionally.

And why should I be whining? So I don't feel great. Tough. Lots of people feel worse. I could be (and, I suppose, at some point will be) feeling just as bad but have a toddler running around I have to care for. I should just toughen up and do things anyway--

But then my head spins and my heart beats too fast and I sit back down before I faint or throw up and nothing gets done and I am the most useless, pathetic weakling ever.

I can find grace and empathy and understand and reassurance for everyone.

Except myself.