Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Favorites

This week has gone by so quickly-- I can't believe the kids will be back in school in just a few days. 

1. Christmas. What more do I need to say? We managed, somehow, for the second year in a row, to have one of those Christmases where every cent was well spent. No buyers remorse, no feeling that we spent money on something that didn't go over well or we didn't really need. No ridiculous impulse buys. What a good feeling. 

2. We got more snow. It can be a pain to drive in, but it covers up the yucky brown winter terrain that we get around here. If I can't have green, I'll take white. 

3. I have been able to nest a bunch this week. There's still so much to do, but I'm glad Rophone is willing to help with the things I can't do. 

4. I got to have lunch with a dear friend on Tuesday. I was so glad to finally meet her fiance and loved seeing her little baby bump. She's 39 and pregnant like me, and she looks beautiful. I am so happy for her. 

5. We had a Mouse Guy come out today and I feel so much better. He was able to reassure me that we don't have hundreds of horny, procreating-at-the-speed-of-light mice in our walls. I feel confident that we will be on top of our mice problem in no time at all so I will feel some peace of mind and be able to focus on this baby. We are even taking steps to block access points that should cut down on any problems my folks may have in the future. 

6. I have 4 mostly fantastic kids and a fabulous husband. What a bore life would be without them. 

7. I'm going on a date with that fabulous husband tonight. I love having in-house baby sitters!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My New Love

For Christmas, Rophone and the kids gave me a maternity pillow. Not something I ever would have spent money on myself (I mean, this is my 5th pregnancy and I have never had one), but boy do I wish I would have spent money on it myself a long time ago!

I am in love. 

In the gushing stage of love.

I went from sleeping poorly, getting up 4 or 5 times a night to go to the bathroom since I wasn't sleeping deeply enough to sleep through any kicks to the bladder or pain in my hips, to sleeping deeply enough that I have only been getting up once. How I wish I would have had this pillow for my other pregnancies (and earlier in this one!). 

This is what it looks like:

It's hard to tell, but the thing is huge. And unwieldy. Not something I ever would have bought upon seeing it in person, so I'm glad the purchase wasn't up to me. I was a tad skeptical when I opened my gift, but it is sooo much better than just a pillow between the legs.

Being able to lean forward into the pillow in front of me with a place to rest my dangling top arm or lean slightly back without fear of actually ending up on my back or leaving a dangling belly is awesome. I can't even tell you how much more comfortable it makes pregnancy sleep. I mean, I went from maybe getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep to sleeping for almost 8 uninterrupted hours last night. Seriously. 

The only complaint is that the seam up top can kind of pull against my neck a bit, but if I have the back of the pillow up a little farther than the front (like in the above picture) it releases the tension. The pillow can also be flipped around like this to solve the issue: 

And, according to their pictures, it can be used after giving birth to nurse the baby comfortably in bed:

I guess we'll see about that. To me, it looks like a good way to sleep comfortably while sitting up. Perfect for the geriatric and sleep deprived. 

It's true that this pillow is so huge that Rophone can't sleep with me anymore (we need our King bed back), but who needs him? I have a new lover in my life. One that lets me sleep! 

Note: I was in no way compensated for this endorsement, I'm just in love. It can be found here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Mice Wars

I really hate mice. I mean, really. A few months ago, Pen heard what she thought was some kind of little animal in the wall down in her room. Rophone and I didn't hear anything, so we weren't sure if she was right or not. But, a few weeks later we heard the same type of thing. 

The sounds would come and go, and there weren't any signs that the creature had entered the house, so we kept thinking maybe it had gone away. Then I started hearing sounds in the wall under the kitchen sink. Disconcerting and disgusting to say the least. I decided to clean out the pile of plastic bags I kept under there to see what I could see. 

As I was pulling the plastic bags out, I noticed poop. Little mousey poops. Eeeeek! Definitely not what I wanted to find. Playing with mouse poop while pregnant is probably not a good idea (not that it's ever a good idea!). A mouse or mice had been galavanting around under my kitchen sink, eating crumbs from the trash! Just thinking about it makes me sick. I hollered for Rophone and put him on the cleanup task. Ugh. 

Since then, we have caught 3 mice under there-- two last week and one this week. How many more are there?! Have mice been procreating and expanding their brood (at exponential rates!) within the walls of the house?! Knowing how fast mice can increase their numbers is really getting me panicked. 

We haven't as of yet seen them traipsing out and about the other rooms of the house, or seen signs that they have been, but we aren't mouse police and it's a big house. Rophone has been trying to figure out how they got into the walls in the first place, but as he wanders around the foundation of the house this non-mouse-police-person isn't sure what he's looking for. 

I'm getting quite bitter. Mice are not my friends and never will be. They are robbing me of the relaxing enjoyment I should be having on Christmas break with the kids. I'm pregnant, for heaven's sake! I have enough stuff to be worried about!

It doesn't help that I know a thing or two about hantavirus and other nasties mice can carry (stupid nature shows). Talk about upping my anxiety level. I mean, I'm pregnant so my immune system is lowered, and Rophone's medicine for his Crohn's lowers his immune system, too! Neither one of us should be handling mice or mouse poop! 

Every little scratch or odd noise that I can't identify puts me on edge. You can often find me at a crouch, holding my breath to try to pinpoint what a noise is and where it is coming from. That's no way to live! I mean, do you know how hard it is to get up from a crouch when you're 31 weeks pregnant?!?

See? Bitter. 

Knowing there are mice on the premises makes me feel dirty. It makes me not want to cook or eat. Even though I know they came into the walls of the house to escape the bitter cold outside (and not because we live in a slovenly manner), it still makes me feel like I'm gross somehow. 

I need to focus on nesting and getting ready for the baby, without fear of what I might encounter! This has to be taken care of. For real. I think it may be time to call in the big guns (using only non-toxic methods, of course). I am determined to be victorious. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had such a fabulous day today. I love the sleeping-in rule that we have, so I didn't have to get up until 8 am! And with the house being cleaned in preparation for Santa's visit, it was a pleasant awakening. (I have sooo turned into my mother)

After our traditional bran muffin and cheesy egg Christmas day breakfast and everyone was showered and dressed (and the kitchen cleaned!) we finally headed in to see what Santa had brought. 

Santa really knows the kids and what they like. He's one smart cookie.

We like to reuse boxes around here, so when it came time to open gifts from each other it looked like we'd raided the pantry. Pen was super glad that her box didn't really contain corn dogs. They would have been fantastically ripe after a few weeks under the tree. Num. 

Pretending excitement over the "food item" you received is pretty standard as you can see.

The kids did a great job of picking out gifts for one another this year, too. Big knows Ginger likes to paint her nails...

...just as Ginger knows that Big likes worker guy stuff. So, she got him some goggles so he can be safe while he does what worker guys do. 

But, considering that I later caught Big trying to use the toy circular saw and drill she gave him to remove some candy cane that was stuck in his teeth, well, I'm not sure that goggles are enough. 

It was a truly great day. See?

Yup. Proof positive. Merry Christmas!

30 Weeks and Growing

I hit the 30 week mark in my pregnancy last Monday (so I'm just a few days away from 31 weeks now) and Rophone helped me document it. 

The picture isn't a great one (there is something very wrong with my right eye), but it gives you an idea of what's going on. How I'm stretching to accommodate Big Rig Girl. The scary thing is that I can see how much I've grown this week since the picture was taken. 


Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition

This week should be pretty easy. I think. 

1. We got a huge snowstorm, which meant that the two youngest got out of school a day early (a decision that was made after it took Rophone an hour to get back from taking Pen to school) and we got an extra day off with Rophone. Not having to do the morning routine is great. 

2. Rophone and I celebrated our 16th anniversary on Wednesday. It has been a fabulous 16 years with someone I love and admire. He makes me feel special. I can't wait to see what we can do together in the future. 

3. We have a rule that the house has to be clean before Santa will come, so things are looking pretty good around here. Just a few more things to do. 

4. I got my hair cut yesterday. I always feel better afterward. 

5. I am really excited about our big Christmas Eve dinner tonight. We are breaking the tradition of having a big turkey meal (none of us really like the turkey part anyway-- the only reason I do is for the gravy to go on all of my favorite parts) and we're having those nummy Swedish meatballs Ginger and I made after Thanksgiving last month. Maybe it will be our new tradition. It's fun to be on our own so we can do things like that. 

6. I made sugar cookies with the kids today. Well, all except Big-- he decided that he would rather help his dad take the trash and recycling out. It's a work guy thing. (He did manage to do one cookie after he played catch for a bit)

7. Tomorrow is Christmas. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Superhero

Apparently, Big is some new breed of superhero. He just ran down the hall, yelling, "I'm faster than a speeding waistband!" 

Either he's got some spectacular super powers, or he's making reference to my rapidly expanding waistline. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Signs of Christmas

There are a bunch of things that signal that Christmas is getting closer-- traffic gets heavier because of all the shoppers, Christmas lights are up, stores get their displays out (although, this one can be misleading, since they're often up before Halloween), and school Christmas programs come around. 

Big and I had to attend two again this year-- one for Bud and for Ginger (they split the grades up between two days). But, luckily, likely because of his now advanced age and increased patience, Big refrained from any loud (albeit hilarious) exclamations like he did last year. I guess, if you add in Ginger's choir concert, we actually attended 3 programs. They were all shorter than last year, thank heavens. 

The pictures are all blurry, but you'll get the idea. Here's Bud singing the Kindergarten standard, "I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas":

I kind of gave up on trying to get photos because a woman in front of me kept standing up and was holding her video camera up right in the way the whole time. At least I captured the bouncing hippo. It was fun to see Bud in his first elementary school program. 

Ginger had to wear a santa hat for her performance. Her head's a tad on the teeny side, so it kind of rode low and gave her lovely shadowed eyes in all the pictures. It sure didn't affect her performance, though. She did a great job.

Her concert choir performance was fantastic, too. Waaay better than I thought it would be, actually. They did a great selection of songs and the director kept it moving along (we were out of there in 25 minutes!). Even Big clapped enthusiastically after every number. It has been hard to get Ginger to practice by 7:30 am twice a week, but hearing them sing and seeing how much she enjoys it made it all worthwhile. 

Giving us a smile before the performance started:

The next sign of Christmas will be when the kids get out of school early on Tuesday for the start of Christmas break.  I really enjoyed the programs this year, even though my pregnant body would have appreciated padded chairs. Good job Bud and Ginger!  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Favorites

I really can't believe it's Friday again, although the week seemed to drag by as it was actually happening. We have a mouse in our walls trying to gain entry to the house, but I think I had a pretty good week after all. 

1. Tuesday was my appointment with the midwife-- it's always a relief when the appointments roll around and they tell you things are great, and hearing the baby's heartbeat is always fun. I had to do the first glucose screen (that drink is disgusting!), and I am awaiting the results, but I'm hopeful that all went well. Juggling the morning to make it to the appointment was stressful, but apparently not enough to raise my blood pressure-- it came in at 103/65 (don't mind me if I faint, I probably just got up too fast). I will start going more often now, which is always exciting as it signals the beginning of the end. 

2. I am almost completely ready for Christmas (well, except for the cooking part). Christmas Eve should be a breeze (well, except for the cooking part). I might even get to bed fairly early!

3. I had a great conversation with Pen yesterday-- it's times like those that give me hope for us. I have also had a lot of amusing conversations with Big, but that is pretty standard. Thank goodness he's funny.

4. It snowed! This is fantastic because Big will go out and dig for ages. Plus, it makes it look quite a bit prettier around here. 

5. I got to watch Bud and Ginger in their school Christmas programs (Bud on Thursday, Ginger today) and then, tonight, we went to see Ginger in her concert choir performance. It was way better than I thought it would be, and shorter, too! A pleasant surprise. Having to get her to practice by 7:30 two days a week became very worth it. Plus, Ginger loves it.

6. We finally got our new dishwasher installed yesterday (after almost 2 months without one!). Our old one died a few weeks before Thanksgiving, but not wanting to rush into making a purchase we did plenty of research and finally bought the new one the day after Thanksgiving. Who knew it would take another 3 weeks to get it installed?! The Oregonian in me felt guilty for all the paper plates we used, but the pregnant lady in me overrode the guilt. 

Now, I have to go make fudge. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lists

It is once again that time of year, so Christmas lists have again been made. The kids wrote them out right after Thanksgiving, but I waited to post them in hopes I could get the scanner to work. No go, so you get photos of them instead. 

As the kids were writing out their lists, thinking about grabbing catalogs to peruse to beef them up, I felt it was my duty as a parent (obligation, even) to let them know what their lists should contain. 

It is not a chance for them to list everything under the sun that they have ever seen or craved after, I explained, or an opportunity to scan catalogs to find things they never even knew they wanted until that minute. Their list should be small, containing only those things they absolutely want or need. Not those things they think are kinda cool. Santa doesn't like greedy kids, after all. 

Big's list is short and sweet. Very to the point. (Thanks to Ginger for helping him write it out)

In explanation about the second thing on his list, right now he is using a pieced together kit made of Rophone's unused drums. To want his own is understandable, I think. As for the last thing, I don't know how to explain it. What do worker guys wear to sleep, anyway? Pajamas with an attached tool belt? Just a hard hat? I'm glad Santa has to deal with that one.

Bud also kept his list fairly simple. 

Thank goodness I know what all of those things are. Santa shouldn't have any trouble, either. Such nice handwriting, Bud!

Ginger's list is a tad bit less concise. I chose to break it into several parts, since to look at it all at once may cause a bit of sensory overload. Maybe it's the slant. 

And then, on the back...

At least she added a brief note at the end.

It's nice to know that Santa won't get in trouble if he can't manage all of it. 

It is clear from Pen's list that she is moving away from being a kid. She's definitely maturing (and suffering terribly from hormones, poor kid. Poor us.)

I can't wait to see what Santa brings!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baseball Boys

The past few days have been fairly warm (in the 40's), so to Big that means it's time to play sports outside. Perfect weather for it. He didn't play much all summer, feeling that it was too hot out, so now he's rarin' to go. I pitched some balls to him yesterday, but bending over repeatedly to shag balls just about did this pregnant lady in. Luckily, the boys roped their dad into pitching today so I took photos. 

Playing baseball is serious business. You can tell by the looks on their faces. 

Yup. Serious business. Serious, but fun.

Especially when you have a funny daddy pitching to you (work it, Rophone!)

I think the poor boys are terribly concerned about their wacky folks. 

Big was trying to talk some sense to me, but I was too busy in my own wacky world to listen. 

I think he's making plans for an intervention.