Wednesday, December 16, 2009

She's here!

Or as Dave Coates, linguistic anomaly, texted; let the Age of Lila commence. We'll post more details and stories, et al later, but have a look at Lila Josephine. 7lbs 13oz, 19" long, born at 3:28pm. Dang, that's a good looking person we made.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yup, still pregnant.

Well, well, well. Lots of updates to report. Firstly, I am officially one week away from my due date! We had our 39 week appointment yesterday and here's the update:

Dilation: Still hanging around 1.5 cm (booooo)
Effacement: 80% all around (last week, she was only able to check the front which was 90%
effaced - now we are 80% completely)
Station: +1! (see the drawing on the right) I had a theory that she couldn't get any lower than 0 station without me being in labor, but I was wholly incorrect! No wonder I feel like there is a head between my legs ALL THE TIME!
Cervical Position: Moving forward! The doc was able to check everything for the first time this week, so we're making progress!

In other news, I got laid off from my job on Monday. Although another unexpected variable in our already changing life, in a lot of ways it is a relief. The immediate reward was a few bonus "days off" for a very pregnant lady! And, I think it will be the best for both my boss and our family in the long run. The math doesn't really add up financially, but as my dad says, "God loves to provide!" We trust that and are doing our best to hope in that despite the stress of a new baby in t-minus a few days and having to figure out how to live on Eric's income alone. We would love your prayers! It has also long been a desire of my heart to stay at home with my kids and I feel like, through losing my job, that the Lord has given us His permission to at least do that for a season.

Sooo, I'm free as a bird. Well more like, free as a beached whale who doesn't have to go to work anymore! So, what am I doing with all my free time? I'll tell you.

I spent not a small amount of time trying to navigate the automated lines of the Kansas unemployment department. I now have a lot more sympathy for people who have to deal with government red tape on a routine basis. When I was able to get through in the first place (about 70% of the time, I got a busy signal when I called in), I was hung up on (by a machine, mind you) each time after sitting on hold listening to the oh-so-quality musack for about 10 minutes! I finally wised up and looked up any number for the Kansas Department of Labor I could find and just started dialing until I got a human! Poor guy. It became very clear that a) I wasn't the first to have this brilliant idea, and b) he knew squat about the unemployment department. He was very helpful, though and took my information to pass on to the correct department and told me truthfully that it would probably be at least 2 weeks before I got a call back! Yikes! This is a little disheartening since in very bold letters at the top of the information sheet I printed out it says: Your unemployment insurance claim DOES NOT begin on the date your job ended or your hours were cut back. You must apply first. And I can't apply until I get a call back from someone! I could avoid all this and apply online, but as is always the case, my situation doesn't fit the standard requirements for online application since I worked in both Kansas and Missouri with my job. BAAAAAHHHHHH!

On a lighter note, Eric and I decided to get in the Christmas spirit and have a home-bound Christmas-themed date night. We rented Scrooged from the library and set about decorating a gingerbread house. As is usually the case with dates that my sweet (although not so detail-oriented) husband plans, things did not exactly go according to plan. In this case, however, it was much more fun than if it had gone smoothly! The initial problem started when he didn't read the directions (after reading me the bold print at the top that said, Read these directions thoroughly before beginning!) and he made all of the frosting instead of the half that he was supposed to make. Not to be deterred, he decided to go ahead and start building the thing, only to realize after the fact that you are supposed to let each wall set for an HOUR before you add another wall. The result was hilarious. I had to document it:

This was that, "I wasn't supposed to put meat in the trifle!" realization.

And then, ever the optimist, "Well, I might as well see what happens if I plow ahead and add glops of frosting to the already caving roof!"

"Oh, that's what happens." One would think this picture would be documenting the beginning of our adventure when in actuality it is capturing Eric admitting defeat.

No matter, still edible. Sorta. Mmmm, gingerbread and frosting sandwich.

We laughed a heck of a lot more during this disaster than we had in a long time - a little soul healing from a rough-ish week! Thanks, God for giving us emotional releases like fits of laughter! I keep thinking I need to keep taking pictures of what we do in these last few days so that I can show Lila what we did the days and weeks before her arrival! Come on, Lila! Life's really fun out here!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jellycat and Sock Monkey: Friends...for now

Well, we now have our very own Jellycat and Sock Monkey thanks to Lila's generous Aunt Jessica and Nana (respectively). They seem to be getting along just fine for now:

We'll see what happens when they have our sweet daughter's attention to fight over:



Then we'll see who wins!

Speaking of our sweet daughter, she's working on making her entrance. Here's the weekly update:

1. Dilation: 1.5 cm (yes, still)
2. Effacement: 90% (almost there)
3. Station: 0 Station (right on the base of the pelvic bone, ready to enter the birth canal)
4. Cervical Position: still posterior, but a little farther forward (hey, progress is progress!)

Also, my feet look like this:
Now you know where I acquired the nicknames "Hobbit Feet" and "Sausage Toes." Come soon, Baby Girl so I can have my old feet back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knock, knock

Who's there?
A very pregnant lady.
A very pregnant lady, who?
Uhhhh...I don't have a clever ending to this joke so carry on reading and pretend like this never happened.

Hello. It is I. The Pregnant One. How pregnant, you say? Very. Very. Pregnant. Which is why I've been a bit MIA in the blog world. Here's what I've been doing:

- Nursing my enormously swollen feet. These days you'll see me padding around in the diabetic socks I bought at the drugstore or the Husband's socks and slippers. The other day I was in the baby's room and I was vaguely aware of Eric walking all around the house as though looking for something. Then he came into Lila's room and said, "Aha! Quit stealing my slippers!" and pointed at my feet. Whoops. I hadn't even realized I had put them on!

- Attending birthing classes (so I can figure out how to get this crazy little booger out of me)

- Making pregnancy craving-motivated trips to the grocery store (the other day it was chocolate croissants and cinnamon graham crackers)

- Attending baby showers (hosted and attended by my sweet, generous friends)

- Attending my now weekly doctor's appointments during which I get an update on the progress my body is making in preparation for labor and delivery.

Today was our 37 week appointment. For all you non-pregnant people out there, here's a little refresher. Warning: the following may be a little, como se dice, "TMI" for some of you, so if words like cervix and uterus and pelvis make you uncomfortable you might just wanna skip on down a few paragraphs.

There are four signs that the doc checks for at each appointment:
1. Dilation: the diameter of the opening of my cervix measured from 0-10
2. Effacement: the thinning of my cervix measured from 0% to 100%
3. Cervical position: the cervix starts high and back and ends low and forward - like a little slide for the baby to just slip right down, right? :)
4. Station: the position of the baby within my body measured from -5 (high in my uterus) to +5 (crowning). 0 station is basically right at bottom of my cervix with baby's head on the pelvic bone.

Last week my cervix was still pretty far back and high so the doctor couldn't measure how much I had dilated or the percentage of my effacement, although she told me the baby had dropped (I had noticed because my tummy was practically resting on my lap and I had made about 73 trips to the bathroom in a 24 hour period) and that I was effacing. Her report was that we were on schedule for due date! Hooray!

Today we got a little more concrete progress to report. I am dilated to 1.5 cm (I think she gave me the extra .5 to be nice!), 50% effaced (halfway there!), the baby is at -1 station (low, low, low!), and my cervix, while still pretty high and back has moved forward at least enough to measure the other things! I have also been having several "practice" contractions throughout the last few days which she diagnosed as "good." Ha. Good job, uterus! Keep practicing. Practice makes perfect!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so I plan to stuff what little of my stomach is still reachable amongst all that baby. I am working with limited space, so I may have to narrow it down to just my favs: mashed potatoes, cheesey potatoes, stuffing, rolls, turkey, maybe some more potatoes...hmmm...we'll just have to see how it goes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Monday, November 23, 2009

BEST. DAY. EVER.

I know I already said it two weeks ago, but it's almost here. For real. We're full term as of Friday, patient friends and family. Our OB took a look and said she doesn't expect Kelsey to go past her due date, so that's encouraging. And Lila is certainly sitting lower than she has been. I can tell by the shape of Kelsey's belly, Kelsey can tell because she can now breathe easier, but has to pee like 49 times a day.

So crib number three is on its way. Let's hope this one's a keeper. With any luck our nursery will be done when it arrives; if not, she's just sleeping in the stroller because three is my quota for crib building. Actually, I've rather enjoyed it. I didn't think I would be excited about baby gear, but every time we bring something home that requires some level of assembly like the pack 'n play (thanks Ungroup) or our stroller (thanks mom and dad), I can't wait to start putting it together. It's like Graco knew exactly how to sucker dads into participating. Nice scam, guys.

In other news, THURSDAY IS THE  BEST DAY OF THE YEAR. Those of you who know me should also know how much I love Thanksgiving. How the other 364 days are spent in sweaty anticipation of the one. And even though she's not actually here to take part, I am delighted about Lila's first Thanksgiving and how much more exciting it makes the prospect of future holidays. Get ready for turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, daughter. It's all happening, people. It's all happening.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nothin' as sweet.

It's been thirty-four weeks, friends. 3-4. Which means in two to six weeks we're going to have a Lila. Seriously. Starting about ten days from now it's Any Day Now territory. Yikes. I'm a little overcome with anticipation and impatience for meeting my first born, and I'm not even carrying her. Just imagine what Kelsey is feeling.

I've been listening to a fair amount of Lightnin' Hopkins and Hank Williams Sr. today. Why is it that country-western and blues artists had so many daddy issues? Lila better not grow up to be a country singer, cause all the good ones pen depressing lyrics about painful memories. So you hear that, baby? You can't be a country artist. You can be any other kind of musician, except German techno-pop. It's really just nauseating. I did hear this uncharacteristically happy tune from the first Hank in the midst of the songs about crying and drinking and more crying. Granted, it's a love song and 'baby' has a wholly different context, but it still warms the cockles of my fathering heart:

I like candy, I like cake, I like jam but goodness sake.
There's nothin' as sweet as my baby.

I feel like a honey bee, when she's buzzing around with me.
There's nothin' as sweet as my baby.

Got pounds of candy kisses, but I can't spare an ounce.
She's sweeter than wine and brother she's mine,
And that's the only thing that counts.

I like candy, I like cake, I like jam but goodness sake.
There's nothin' as sweet as my baby.

Well that's all I have today. You fathers may be able to tell me if this is normal, but I'm feeling this weird paradoxical excitement and weariness all at the same time. Wonder when that goes away. We have our pre-admit appointment tonight, so maybe that jump start the freakouts. Here we go.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jellycat


I want this to be the stuffed animal that Lila carries around with her wherever she goes:

Too bad I can't force her to like what I like. What a wonderful, twisted world that would be.

Monkeys and Pizza and other Semi-aimless Discourse

Ohai, friends. Guess what? I'm done traveling for a while. Kels and I went up to Minneapolis this weekend for yet another wedding. The wedding was great and it was fun seeing friends, but dang that's a long drive for a twenty-fourish hour stay. Especially with a pregnant wife who can't get comfortable in any position that a passenger bucket seat will accommodate. The drive up there was worth it when we saw a Davanni's right across the street from our hotel, though. You'd better believe that's a good pizza. Take my word for it- eat one.

So since Kelsey gave me the news of Lila's existence in April we've flown to L.A., driven to San Francisco, Chicago, Table Rock Lake (thanks again Marty), and the Twin Cities twice. I think we packed in a good bit of the U.S.A. before the kid comes, and I'm spent. It's home for us for the next few months.

The problem is, the more we're home and have access to Lila's perpetually-in-progress nursery, the more we want to change things (I use the pronoun 'we' rather loosely. I'm mostly the one who moves things when it's already been determined that they should be moved/replaced). But we did find these cool mid-century white and pink dressers that are moving in this weekend. I cringed at the idea of buying any furniture the same week we have to drop a new engine in Kelsey's car (that's a whole other debacle), but they're totally the kind of dressers that will last her at least until college. So I can check that off the list. Bedroom furniture until she moves out. Check.

NEW RULE: No one is allowed to name a baby girl Lila for the next 10 years. We found it and it should be kept unique and special. Ok, so I don't have any claim to that name. I'm sure there have been thousands of Lila's before ours. And if you're reading this and want to name your baby Lila some day I guess I can't stop you. But I will consider our daughter to be her namesake forever and you can't take that away from me. Ha.

Finally, as supremely cool as the Jellycat undoubtedly is, I always pictured Lila as a sock monkey kind of kid (in review, that sentence is hilarious if you stop reading after the word monkey). So no offense, amazing and lovely wife who is currently enduring the discomfort of carrying our first child, but I'm pulling for the sock monkey. There's something classic about it; I can just picture her in hip little jeans and pink Chuck Taylors with a blanket in one hand and her monkey in the other (for arguments sake, let's call him Giuseppe) with a look on her face that boldly says, "yeah, a sock monkey. And have you heard the new Grizzly Bear album? I have. That's how awesome I am." Can't you picture it?



Thursday, October 15, 2009

I would like the world to know what kind of a husband I have

(Confession: I totally ripped off that title from my friend Bethany's blog about her awesome dad)

So the other night I was asked the following question: What do you consider your best attribute?

My response? The ability to choose a good husband.

I mean it. I really think that's the best thing I have going for me. And this is more and more apparent with each progressing day of my pregnancy. We have 9 weeks to go before this little creature makes her entrance into the world. And while many things in pregnant world are better since that painfully long first trimester, there are a few new developments that I can't say I'm altogether happy about. Gone are the days of vomiting and picky eating, but gone also are the days of a cute little rounded belly, an ache-less back, normal-sized feet, and the ability to get to sleep without a good dose of Tylenol and a heating pad. I am now officially ENORMOUS. Now when I say that out loud, all the experienced moms in the room give me a look like, "just you wait, sister." I know, I know. I'm going to get even bigger. And then bigger again. And then bigger some more. And then just when I feel like I might explode, I'll get just a bit bigger still. I know this. I'm just saying I am, at this moment, enormous. Don't argue with me or I'll sic my big belly on you.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. I have an awesome husband. Let me brag on him for a little while. Get ready to be jealous.

Over the last 7 months my husband has:

  • rubbed my feet nearly every night
  • cleaned up my vomit from the passenger seat of his car (just once, but that's enough I think)
  • made countless midnight trips to the grocery store to satisfy my cravings (this week it's been those really delicious $.99 frozen pizzas that I loved when I was in middle school and had the metabolism of a cheetah)
  • forfeited his space in bed to make room for the new additions of my 2 king-sized pillows, my huge belly and my huge...well, just take a guess at that last one, er two.
  • cooked us dinner almost every night of the week
  • willingly gotten on board with my brilliant hippie ideas like cloth diapers and natural childbirth
  • attended childbirth classes with me and been attentive and helpful (I've received comments every week from the other moms like, "He's a good man" as he willingly hops up on my request to fetch me a bag of crackers, a water bottle, the paperwork I hadn't picked up, etc)
  • made me feel like I CAN do this, that I'll be a great mom, and that I'm attractive to him - giant alien belly or no
  • gotten up in the middle of the night to refill my hot water bottle, bring me a glass of water, or just comfort me
  • made late-night trips to Walmart to buy me my yoga ball (feels so good on my back), my cocoa butter lotion (feels so good on my belly), my hot water bottle (feels so good on my everything), etc, etc
  • sacrificed a free ticket to the Wilco concert to be at our childbirth class
  • tactfully kept his mouth shut when I have been irrational and moody
  • patiently endured my incessant moaning and whining about my body hurting
  • patiently endured the constant state of transition that Lila's room has been in as I keep changing my mind about what I want it to look like (by the way, "transition" requires his muscles moving the furniture around according to my whims)
  • patiently endured my irrational, hormonal outbursts of tears or anger or both
  • patiently endured...living with a pregnant, emotional, ever-expanding, demanding wife
  • not complained a-once


I could go on and on. I seriously have the best husband ever. He has been attentive and supportive and self-sacrificing throughout this whole pregnancy and I am so grateful for him. Lila, your Daddy is the best man in the world. Your are so lucky. We are both so lucky. Come soon so you can meet him and see just how awesome he is.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Winning the human race.

It astounds me that we as a species have survived as long as we have. I say this because I can't grasp how an event as huge as having a first baby can happen a few thousand times a day to people who have had no practice and continue to perpetuate itself generation after generation. And I don't mean practice with kids in general- I mean people, like ourselves, who are totally ignorant to what parenthood really entails. Seriously, think about that. The greatest responsibility we've ever had and there's no way to test it out, to get experience, to fall into a groove before we have to do it for real. And somehow, human beings are still here. God bless childbirth classes.

Kels and I started classes earlier this week with a really fun biologist-turned-doula who we're really glad is our teacher and is not going to be in the delivery room. I mean no disrespect- I'm sure she's awesome at her doula duties, but we're introverts and we like our space respected with sensitivity and she seems a little, um, intense. But the first class went well- we mostly covered early labor and when to relax, when to walk around and help the awesome kid work her way out, when to not freak out, when to go to the hospital and how to breath. Did you know that they don't teach lamaze anymore? Turns out the medical community found out moms were hyperventilating and they threw up their collective arms and said "our bad." Essentially. Which brings me back to my original point (yes, sometimes I have points, however feeble); how the crap are we supposed to know this stuff?

Well, clearly parents have made it on little information and even less sleep before, so I shouldn't be worried. I suppose I should stick to the things I do know, like mix tapes and rock band onesies, and leave learning all the other things up to grace and mutual dependence between Kelsey and myself. And parents and siblings who are eager to help, right?

And speaking of awesome onesies, Dave Coates (friend and writer, not the motorcycle stunt king. Google it) sent me the following text a few weeks ago: "Danny Glover just started a children's clothing line called 'I'm Getting Too Old for This Shirt.'" If only. That's the kind of celebrity endorsement I could get behind. Thanks, Dave. Now come back in December so you can meet your pseudo-niece.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lila's Favorite Dance Music, vol I.

Well, Sarah, I'm glad you asked. You see, being much immersed in popular culture and not yet in being a father, one of the things that most excited me about impending parenthood was the realization that BABIES CAN HEAR MUSIC IN UTERO. Yep. I yelled it cause I mean it. So one of the first things I planned to do during Kelsey's pregnancy was create a mix tape for the life growing inside her (let's be honest- it was probably the first thing. And yes, I said tape. It commands a greater and more earnest sense of authenticity even though the only cassette deck I still own is gathering dust in the garage).

After entirely too much deliberation about possible narratives and tone and song selection (I'm obsessive about mix composition) I settled on a playlist with a pretty simple theme that I think will do Lila right. It's just fifteen of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Now I have to clarify that statement a bit; these are not necessarily the definitive top fifteen most beautiful songs ever. I have plenty more, but I don't want to go overboard on her before she even meets me.

You may be asking yourself what exactly qualifies one of the fifteen most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Lucky you. I feel like sharing. Some of these tracks are simply stunning instrumental arrangements (I know, I know. I put my own band on there. Sue me), some have heartbreaking vocals or poignant lyrics, but some just voice a desire I have for my first born or values that I hope she grows into. So, those of you who want to analyze it, or those who just want to know what she likes to dance to, here'go. Lila's Beautiful Song Mix for the Womb:

1. Welcome, Lori Chaffer
2. I Will, The Beatles
3. The Golden Age, Beck
4. When The Saints, Sara Groves
5. Lonnie's Lament, John Coltrane
6. Different Names For The Same Thing, Death Cab For Cutie
7. Her Innocence, Her Armor, Builder
8. The Scarlet Tide, Elvis Costello
9. God Only Knows, The Beach Boys
10. When It Don't Come Easy, Patty Griffin
11. Sweet Thing, Van Morrison
12. Clowned, Robert Deeble
13. When The Stars Go Blue, Ryan Adams
14. :Hallelujah., Jon Shirley
15. Where Will I Be, Emmylou Harris

By all means, ask me for a copy or make your own. Then you can listen along with Lila and you'll have something in common with the awesome kid the second she takes a breath. And who wouldn't want that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

All she wants to do is dance, dance.

video

No, that's not a scene from the director's cut of Alien. That's my daughter, the Dancing Queen. She likes to freak her daddy out by contorting my tummy into bizarre shapes. We just thought you all would like to see it with your very own eyes. Freaky, no?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

For all you whiners who don't like to read and complain that our blog doesn't have enough pictures:

So...way back at 13 weeks (remember 13 weeks?) Eric and I decided to take weekly pictures of my belly to mark its growth progress:
And then I threw up for four weeks. Which threw a kink up in those plans. The new plan is to take pictures every 13 weeks as we are now 26 weeks into the growing of our child. So 13 weeks after our first photo session, we are making progress, both in belly growth...
...and nursery plans. We made some significant progress in the nursery this weekend. Eric put together the shelves we bought for the nursery at Ikea (Franny helped):
You might have noticed in the background of these pictures the disaster zone that was our nursery. I had just thrown stuff in there as we had acquired it. It was my Saturday project this weekend to get the room to a place where I could stand to look into it:
It's by no means a finished project, but at least it's starting to resemble a room in which I wouldn't mind letting my daughter sleep!

Other exciting news of the weekend: I bought my first vacuum cleaner. We had been given a used vacuum cleaner when we got married, but it wouldn't suck the dead bugs out of the rug in my daughter's room so my nesting hormones said, "Go buy yourself a vacuum cleaner that works." As a result, I am now the proud owner of an 8 pound Simplicity vacuum cleaner thanks to the nice folks at Marbeck Appliances who stayed 15 minutes past their closing time to answer all of my questions. I know you're thinking, "A new vacuum cleaner? How can your pregnant body handle all that excitement!?" The answer is, a lot better than my husband's not-pregnant body, as he is currently passed out on the couch next to me from all of the excitement of the weekend. I hope your Saturday was more fun than ours!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hey, you! Preggo!

So, the other day I stopped in at Mr. Goodcents to order a sandwich:

Guy Behind the Counter: What can I get you?
Me: Half pepperoni and cheese on white, please. (I know, sounds gross, but it's a childhood favorite and has been a craving throughout my pregnancy)
GBC: What kind of cheese?
Me: Swiss, please.
Pause while he gets the bread out and cuts it.
GBC: So, do you know what you're having?
Me: Confused look. Yeah, pepperoni and cheese.
GBC: Laughing. No, I mean your baby.
Me: Embarrassed and looking down at my protruding belly. Oh. I forgot about that. It's a girl.

In my defense, I'm not used to strangers commenting on my belly. It's taken me off guard recently that complete strangers now notice that I'm pregnant and want to talk to me about it. It used to be that I couldn't go 5 minutes without being reminded that I'm pregnant by that ever-present threat of nausea and exhaustion, but now that I'm feeling better I sometimes forget that I'm pregnant. But I'm also much more obviously pregnant which, I guess, explains the aforementioned incident.

Since finding out that we're having a girl, I have been in full-on nursery obsession mode. Much to Eric's dismay, I have already bought and returned 4 rugs, 2 bedding sets, rearranged the room thrice, and have wavered on my plans for colors, themes, painting, etc more times than Lila kicks me after I eat cookies and milk (which is a lot). My dad says her kicking should be interpreted as "Quit feeding me junk, Mom!" I know better. She's saying, "Mmmm, good stuff! More of that!" I read in my baby book that this season of pregnancy is often accompanied by a surge of "nesting" hormones. Meaning, I feel the uncontrollable urge to clean and arrange and plan even more than my norm! Which maybe explains why I overreacted to an "small" infestation we had last week - but I'll leave that story for another post.

In the meantime, as Eric mentioned, I'm celebrating my functioning pancreas by indulging in some good ole cookies and cream...or maybe some Thin Mints. Lila and I thank you for your prayers!

I scream, you scream.

Ahoy mateys. Everybody have a good Labor Day weekend? Kels and I were in Minnesota for a wedding and to see friends from Bethel. We did a little experiment and took Franny with us, too. She did really well for the most part- there was a not-a-dog across the hall at one of our hotels that was yipping in the middle of the night, and Franny was a little agitated, but other than that she was pretty low maintenance. Which is good, since Kelsey is needing fewer and fewer things to maintain every day that we get closer to December.

We got some things for the nursery at Ikea (it's a quaint little Swedish mom and pop furniture boutique, but maybe you've heard of it), so that's getting closer to completion. It was fun getting a whole new round of people who hadn't seen Kelsey's belly and hadn't said congratulations and shared in all the excitement in person. And, in case you haven't heard me mention it before, the Twin Cities are awesome in September. So go up there sometime and hang out by a lake. They have 10,000 of them, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one.

Lila is still kicking like a nutter, which is a good sign, and Kelsey got a call from the doc this morning regarding her test last week. Good news- no diabetes. Shazaam. We're going to celebrate tonight with some ice cream. Plus it's Kelsey's first day back to school today and it seems like ice cream mends the wounds that twenty-two first graders inflict. Come to think of it, I can't come up with a problem that ice cream can't solve. I think I just discovered the solution to fix the world. To the bat cave.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea.

Look, I don't know if I've somehow instigated a self-fulfilling prophecy or something, but Lila is rocking. I mean rocking. Kelsey is confidently under the impression that all that movement is an enthusiastic approval of Girl Scout Thin Mints, but you know what I think? I think she knows that I know she rocks. And you all know she rocks. And she's having a rave in there just to let us know she's going to bring the rock when she emerges, screaming with rock fists in the air.

Seriously, she moves. From across the couch last night I saw Kelsey's tummy bounce and reverberate like a timpani head in some some kind of twisted Anne Geddes nightmare orchestra where all the instruments have babies inside. I know, I know. Weird, but kind of awesome. And in my fascination with the new, busier movements of my first to-be-born, I completely neglected to check to see if she was in rhythm. Maybe I'll play some music and tap some beats on Kelsey's belly button to see if Lila responds. It's only a matter of time before we start a family band and tour the country (and you will be invited).

That's about all the updates for now- Kelsey's getting checked for gestational diabetes this week, so it's possible we'll be an all diabetic household for the next few months. Joy. Let's hope not, because Lila apparently loves Thin Mints, and the only road from cookies to her is through her mom.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Those About To Rock

Ok, friends. I know it's been a while. But I had to let that last post resonate for a while. Plus I think my capacity for talking about myself has a ceiling of only a few weeks. So hurry up, Lila Jo. Because I'm gonna talk about you on and on like there's no tomorrow.

Remember how this whole thing started out as a forum for me talking about how awesome my kid was going to be? At least that was my m.o. Kelsey might tell you it's for informing our friends and family who we don't see all the time, but I contend it's for bragging.

Anyway, about the time Kelsey and I decided to try and get pregnant I noticed that, unlike the ubiquitous overalls and sailor suits of my babyhood (no offense, mom- the 80s threw a clever fashion ruse at you), some of the clothes for babies and toddlers now are awesome. Awesome enough for the Awesome Kid. Of course, not actually being pregnant yet, Kelsey wouldn't let me buy the Star Wars and Run DMC tees that beckoned me from the Target racks. She's very rational. And now, as pop-culture fate would have it, they're no longer available. Dang. Oh, wait. Have you all heard about this thing called "THE INTERNET?" Yeah, I yelled it. It's that exciting. You can get just about anything on this internet, including awesome baby-sized vintage t-shirts. So game on. Just imagine how cool Lila is going to be in this:

And this:

And especially this:
Tommy Lee would be proud of a kid so awesome. Now I have to start working on ideas for her first awesome Halloween costume for next year, because Chuck and Joyele already took the all-time awesome costume when Josie went as a ninja ballerina. Thanks, guys. We salute you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The story behind a name.

Isaiah 43

The Savior of Israel
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name;
you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

For the longest time, this has been one of my top favorite passages of the Bible. It holds such promise, such hope, such comfort. It speaks of our identities as ones who were and are created, formed, ransomed, called, accompanied, protected, saved. I often find myself proclaiming these words over those I love when praying for them, and claiming them as true for myself during times of crisis. I have always especially liked the idea that we are called by name and told by the Lord, "You are MINE." Doesn't that feel so good?

You may be thinking, "Hold it, I thought this was a baby blog, quit preaching!" Well, I promise, this is relevant. Hold your horses.

So, the news is out: It's a GIRL!! Hooray! AND she has a name, but before we get to that, let me tell you a little story...

A few years ago, our dear friend Isaac came up to me at the Gathering and said, "Kels, I've got a book you need to read." You see, Isaac and I have this deal. He reads lots and lots of books, and then he tells me the ones that are worth plowing through. You see, he has this capacity for reading and absorbing information that is somewhat legendary. I do not have that capacity. I don't have even one ounce of desire to trudge through a bunch of verbose musings just to pull out the one sentence that makes the book "worth reading." That's what Isaac is for in my life...among other things...like Chik-fil-a adventures. But I digress.

Anyway, despite this lack of motivation to read for the sake of reading, I do consider myself a reader, a book-lover, and a reasonably literate person. So, with all this in mind, Isaac reads and reads and reads and then I read the 1 out of the 100s he's read that he thinks is really worth my time. So far, this little system has worked out beautifully. Through it, I have enjoyed such masterpieces as Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk, G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, Buechner's Telling the Truth, and, probably most-appreciated, Marilynn Robinson's Gilead. The last of which is extremely relevant to this story.

As Eric and I talked about names for our baby we had a few we kept coming back to that had that "almost, but not quite" feeling. Lily was one of those names. We loved the sound of it, the sweetness of it, the classic and traditional feel it had. However, my students seemed to be pouring into my first-grade classroom all announcing that their younger sisters were named Lily and, if you'll recall, one of my rules (see previous blog post for our ridiculous rules for child-naming) was that we would not name our child a name that was really common among her peers. So, although we loved the name, Lily got kicked to the curb and we kept brainstorming.

Then, I picked up the sort-of sequel to Gilead. Home. And as I read, I came across the name of a character that I had loved from Gilead - the wife of the narrator. In Home, I learned that her name was Lila. (Actually, Amy G. informed me that her name is revealed in one conversation in Gilead, which I had missed.) Anyway, I read the name Lila, realized it was the name of this character I loved and began repeating the name to myself, trying it out. Later, I mentioned it to Eric and he seemed to like it, too. It was almost Lily, but not as common. So, I put it to the next test and looked up the meaning on Babynames.com. That sealed the deal. Here's what I saw:

LILA

The meaning of the name Lila is Lilac Tree

The origin of the name Lila is Persian

Notes: Also a Hebrew name, meaning 'you are mine'.


Did you notice that last part? In Hebrew, the name Lila means "you are mine." As I read those words on my computer screen, that passage in Isaiah started running through my mind, "I have called you by name, you are mine." Then, I saw in my mind the words "you are mine" being replaced by a single word that held the meaning of those three words: "I have called you by name, LILA."

And MAN, if that's not the alpha prayer of all my prayers I have for my baby girl - that she would know the One who knows her by name, who calls her, who ransoms her, who saves her, who comforts her, who walks alongside her through floods and fire, who is forming her as I type, as you read. That she would hear him whisper deep in her heart, "I know your name. YOU ARE MINE." That's all I really want for my daughter. And now tears are spilling out of my eyes because, as I type this, she's kicking me (right in the bladder, thanks Babe) and I am overwhelmed with the desperate desire for her to know her true identity. So, Lila Josephine, know this: the One who created you has chosen your name; He has called you by name and you belong to Him. So says the Bible and your mommy. So it must be true.

Friday, July 31, 2009

And the winner is...

WARNING: The following post may (and does) contain spoilers!

We had an awesome last hurrah, baby-free, vacation last week. We spent the first three days visiting our dear friends Jenny and Brian in LA who were, by the way, the best hosts EVER. They drove us around the insanity that is LA, acted as our own personal tour guides, housed us for free in their cool-guy apartment (which had four pools, an on-site restaurant, and was a quarter mile from the beach) and they even forced us to sleep in their bed while they slept on the floor (which I would have fought tooth and nail against except that I'm really fat and pregnant and they so would have won that battle). Then we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco and spent two days exploring the sights (Fisherman's Warf, Union Square, the Golden Gate Bridge and, of course, the Full House house). I think we would have been super bummed to come home from our awesome vacation if the next day hadn't been THE day. That's right. Thursday.

Ah, Thursday. Ultrasound Day! Or, as my cousin wished me via text, "Happy Finding Out the Sex of Your Baby Day!" It's also, "Let's Make Sure Your Baby Has All the Vital Organs It Needs to Survive Day," but that's a mouthful. The sonogram tech poked around my belly and identified the heart (four chambers, good), the upper lip (no cleft lip, good), the abdomen (all the right parts there, good), and the other organs which all looked, well good. All of this is according to the tech and, to be honest, to me it all looked pretty much like a fuzzy blur with some vague resemblances to humanish characteristics, so I'm gonna take her word for it.

Then, she asked us if we'd like to know the sex of the baby. To which we said, "Sure ya-betcha." So she poked around a little more before saying..."You have a baby girl!" And I cried. And then I felt a twinge of guilt for being more excited about the fact that she's a girl than the fact that she has all the right organs. I'm a novice, okay? I'll get better, I promise.

The thing is, somehow the "realness" of this whole baby-growing thing became more intense. We no longer had an "it" in my belly, we had a "she." We have a daughter. My parents will have a granddaughter. My sister will have a niece. Isn't that CRAZY?!

So there you go, folks. I know you've been waiting with bated breath, checking our blog every 3 minutes (Paige), and just clamoring to know that the wiggly little being in my belly is, in fact, a sweet little girl. Crazy, no?

HEY YOU GUYS!

Salutations, friends. Why yes, it has been a while since we've provided updates. But that's because we've been traveling, so settle down. Kelsey and I took our last pre-kid vacation to the sunny world of California. Well, technically the awesome kid was with us. Check out the kid in Hollywood:



And at Pier 39 (there were too many people blocking all the basking sea lions, but trust me, they're there):


And in front of the Full House house:


And the Golden Gate Bridge was fogged in, but this is what it would've looked like had we taken a picture that day:


The excitement of the vacation was nothing compared to the excitement that awaited us when we got back. But I told Kelsey she could share the news. So read on, friends.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The instructions for my brain


The other day, Isaac (see photo on the left) handed me some instructions from a game and told me, "Here, these awe the instwuctions for my bwain." I'd been looking for those! Now if only I could find the instructions for my brain. It seems that as the baby (and my belly) get bigger, my brain gets smaller. I can't seem to stay focused on anything and I find myself several times a day standing in the middle of the room saying out loud, "What was I doing?" The good news is, as Eric announced, the throwing up is over (we hope). I've got to admit, after two funerals, one doggie dying, adding a new doggie, 2 high-maintenance college girls living with us (just kidding, they're anything but high-maintenance and I might cry when they move out), and more vomiting than...not...vomiting, I'm ready for a season of low drama. Okay, Baby? Please?

Well, we're at 18 weeks, folks. Which means only 2 more weeks until our sonogram which will reveal the answer to the question that everyone is asking me these days. Boy or Girl? The votes have been coming in, and although I think it's a girl, the boys have kept a consistent, albeit slight, lead. I check the poll frequently as though its results will actually determine the sex of our baby. Did you guys know you had such power? Evidently in my mind you do.

So, keep on voting because you've only got 13 days left before the polls close and we announce the, uh, winner. And then I get to do what gets my little heart pounding: organize, plan, decorate and arrange! I've been holding off on plans for the baby room until we have an answer to the gender question, but after July 30th, LOOK OUT! Husband? Are you ready to arrange and rearrange some furniture? Your pregnant wife isn't allowed to move heavy objects, so you're up, Buster. I know you're excited.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hooray for not throwing up.

Hey all. Fantastic news. Kelsey has gone over a week without having to run to the bathroom or stay home from work. And she can hold down something besides baked potatoes and Chipotle, both of which dominated our dinner menus for the last eight weeks. It's a glorious thing seeing my wife enjoy being pregnant again. Thanks to all of you who volunteered earnest sympathies. Even you, Mrs. Shirley, who had to painfully endure gagging twice in your first trimester. Sorry.

More good news this week! After a solid twenty-four hours of grieving, we were convinced by others who have had to put dogs down that it would be cathartic and restorative to start looking for another dog immediately. So we did. And now we have one. Maybe we're crazy, but we knew we'd get another dog eventually and we wanted to make the transition from dog to dog and baby as smooth as possible, so we settled on sooner is better. Franny (given name Fran, but I like the J.D. Salinger reference, so we added an extra syllable) is an Australian Shepherd from Beatrice, NE and, so much as we can tell so far, awesome. She's just about as sweet as Maddie and twice as inclined to cuddle. So here we go again. Check her out.


There's one thing we could use some prayer for, those of you who are so motivated. We got Maddie's blood work back from the lab and it looks like one of the contributers to her kidney failure was something called Leptospirosis which dogs get from drinking unclean water. It's also one of the very few things that can be transmitted from dogs to humans through fluid contact. It's pretty rare- Kelsey's uncle Dr. Mark said he's never actually seen a case -but one of the effects in women is spontaneous abortion. None of the professionals we've talked to seemed too worried about it, but Kelsey is on antibiotics just to be on the safe side and we're trying to not submit to the anxiety. That's really the more pressing deal that needs the most consideration at this point- not freaking out. So thanks, friends.

We'll try to keep up on the frequent posting; these past two weeks have been kind of crazy, but we should have more news in the coming weeks. Short Round is the size of an avocado now, which feels surreal, and we'll know on the 30th if he's a he or she's a she. Although everyone seems to have their money on boy. If it's a girl I don't think we're going to see one cent of that, though. We'll just have to see. Feel free to throw a prediction our way via our poll on the right. Peaces.

UPDATE: I spoke with our vet Thursday and he clarified some things about Leptospirosis. The two traces that they found in Maddie's blood are too old to have been transmitted at this point. So we're in the clear. Thanks for asking Kelsey about it and for your prayers. You rock.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rest in peace.


Tragic weekend in the Kautzi home, friends. On Thursday we took Maddie to the vet to have her teeth checked out (see previous posts on the world's worst dog breath) and they had to run some pre-anesthesia blood work to make sure Maddie was up for the teeth cleaning procedure we were planning on doing. On Friday afternoon Kelsey got a call from the vet letting us know that her numbers came back and her kidney function was horrible- essentially irreparable -and her red blood cell count was way too low. Jessica said if she was a human with those numbers she'd be on dialysis at least three times a week. The doctor said she'd been toughing her way through discomfort for months or possibly years, but it was going to get worse very quickly. In short, we had to make the unfortunate decision to put her to rest rather than let her suffer over the next few weeks, watching it get worse.

Apart from the sudden nature of it and losing the most entertaining member of our family, I think the worst part is knowing how good Maddie would have been with a baby. She was as sweet as any dog owner could ask for; those of you who were lucky enough to meet her can back me up. When I was initially trying to convince Kelsey that we should get a dog (which I did frequently since our wedding day) I used the familiar excuse that it would be great practice for a baby. While she was a bit skeptical of the parallels between dog ownership and parenthood, the idea of getting a dog gradually grew on her and, after an intense few weeks on the hunt, we came home with the sweet border collie that most of you affectionately knew as Maddie. And you know what? Even though it might have been a feeble excuse to win my wife over, I think she really did help prepare us for Short Round's arrival. If nothing else, our hearts were tethered to Maddie in a way that I've never experienced before. And while I'd never compare the love of a pet to the love of a child, I think we're a step ahead of where we would have been had Maddie never been in our lives. Perhaps I'm bandying about the sentimental drivel a bit too freely, but it's still fresh. Thanks for extending a little grace.

So, those of you who have been there know. It's tough. But while the last eighteen hours have been filled with tears and frustration and grasping for affirmation that we did the right thing, nothing can take away the joy of what is coming in December. Sure, I expected our kids to grow up and fondly remember growing up with Maddie, The World's Greatest Dog. And I imagined her looking skeptically at the new naked puppy thing that we brought back from the hospital, wondering why it stole all the attention from her. But we're doing our best to remember the wonderful two years she gave us. Well done, Maddie. We're so proud of you.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Practice.

Some of you know our dog Maddie. Those of you who do also know that she's somewhat neurotic. Borderline manic, in fact. Not that I can blame her; her puppyhood involved being passed around between shelters and questionable home environments only to be abandoned regularly because she didn't eat for a day or because she killed a chicken. Whoops. While they're mostly entertaining, sometimes her idiosyncrasies are a little intrusive on normal life, like when we're out of town and she gets nervous and won't eat or poop until it's absolutely necessary. Or when we return and she poops seven times in less than twenty-four hours, including one time in the laundry room. Quick play by play of Sunday night/Monday morning:

11:30PM. Per nightly routine, I let Maddie out. Poop.

2:30AM. Kelsey wakes up to an alarmingly familiar odor. Uses her phone LCD to scan the floor in the dark. Looks in the laundry room. Poop.

3:15AM. I wake up to Maddie's bad breath in my face and her tail wagging in anticipation. I let Maddie out. Poop.

4:00AM. I wake up to the ringing of the bell hanging from the back door and Maddie wagging her tail once again. I let Maddie out. Poop.

7:00AM. I've already hit the snooze twice. I wake up to Maddie's bad breath for the second time. Guess what? I let her out. Poop.

8:00AM. Maddie wakes Kelsey up looking like she really really wants to do something. Possibly outside. What could it be? Poop. Plus Elissa, one of the interns we're housing for the summer, let her out again later that morning. More poop.

Why such detail about our dog's poop habits? Because, after the 4:00 wake up call, I found myself in agitated disbelief that I had to get up for work shortly and my sleep was being interrupted because this creature of ours was having stomach issues. Then it hit me like a ton of poop. Pardon the expression. Just wait until December, friend. Someone that you like a whole lot more than Maddie will be a whole lot more demanding of your attention at regular intervals throughout the night. And it won't just poop in the laundry room and quietly ring the bell. It will scream unapologetically, unlike Maddie who looks remorseful every time she wakes me up.

I think Maddie is smarter than I give her credit for, though. See, Sunday just happened to be Father's day. My first Father's day. And I'm relatively certain that Maddie had the presence of mind to pick that day to begin preparing me for what's coming. Or her resentment for introducing a new presence in the house is starting to churn and she's taking it out on me. Or she's just a dog with anxiety issues and sometimes poops a lot. I have a feeling we'll see more evidence of the latter over the next couple months. Just heed this warning, Maddie: we just had the carpet cleaned. Kelsey spent an hour and a half raking your fur out of the floor that Short Round is going to be crawling around on. Do not mess with her.

Now check out the video that Paul made for Shoebox chronicling a similar experience with my parent's dog. The little weasel.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For Jason

Here. A picture. Now will you read our blog?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baked Potato, Please.

Ahh, the second trimester and its promise of pregnancy bliss. Pregnancy bliss my rear end. As I rounded the corner on week 13, I was naively anticipating a total body rejuvenation. All the books say the morning sickness lessens, you start to have more energy, you make less trips to the bathroom, your belly begins to look pregnant instead of just fat. In my fantasies, the second I hit week 13 my body would, like clockwork, turn off the nausea. But now as week 14 rears its ugly head I have wised up. If you were a fly on the wall in our house a few days ago you would have overheard this conversation:

Me: Baby, you must not have read the same books I'm reading. I'm supposed to be done with this puking stuff.

Baby: (no comment)

Me: Baby, I'm almost 14 weeks and I'd really prefer to be done with the whole throwing up thing. Can we work on that?

Baby: (still, silence)

Me: Well, you just let me know when you're ready.

Sheesh. I'm such a push-over already.

Which leads me to my newest list:

Depressing Revelations of the 2nd Trimester

Depressing Revelation #1: My child is already the boss of me. That's right. I haven't even seen its cute little finger that I will inevitably be wrapped around and Baby is already taking charge. Sorry, Mom, I'm calling the shots and I say you'll puke for as long as I see fit.

Depressing revelation #2: 2nd trimester not all it's cracked up to be. I won't subject you to the gory details of my last few weeks, but suffice it to say it has not been the euphoric season of a blooming belly and a settled stomach that was promised. Well, maybe the belly part. That part seems to be progressing on schedule. Or maybe all my pants shrunk.

Depressing revelation #3: I'm slow. Yesterday Eric and I went on a short run. I use the word run loosely because as I was chugging along, Eric was doing his best to not leave me in the dust and still get his heart rate up. At one point he even started walking next to me and he could still keep up. At which point I moaned breathlessly and tried to pick up the pace just a little bit so it wasn't a total waste of a workout for him. A few blocks later I said in between breaths, "Am (pant) I (pant) running (pant) any (pant) faster (pant, pant, pant)?" To which he kindly replied, "Yes, a lot!" He may have been lying, but I willingly believed it.

Depressing revelation #4: My list of tolerable foods is quickly diminishing. Basically I subsist on baked potatoes (I've had one 5 out of the last 6 days) and Chipotle. And the list of Foods That Make Me Gag or Worse is growing longer and longer. What's a girl to do?

To add a ray of sunshine to the storm cloud that is this blog post, I'd like to share with you a recent discovery my dear friend Kathleen made that I'm certain will revolutionize my pregnancy: Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper! Have you ever heard of such a glorious thing? Do you know what this means?? It means I can now consume the bubbly fuzzy goodness of the one craving that has outlasted all of my fickle food urges without even a smidgen of guilt that I'm shrinking my baby's head or whatever other terrible things my caffeine intake was doing before! Forget the high-fructose corn syrup and the complete lack of any positive nutritional qualities. This discovery is going to change my life. And Kathleen, you have been officially promoted to my new best friend. Congratulations.

Now, do we have any ice?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

With apologies in earnest to all Fern Gully enthusiasts.

Seriously. I didn't know the Gully was remembered so fondly. For those of you who I offended and let me know about it in person or in post, sorry. But take heart, friends. There are more of you than I would have imagined.

So Kelsey was on the last straightaway out of the first trimester when Short Round got feisty today. Tomorrow marks the start of the second trimester which, as I understand it, is the fun one. Apparently expectant women feel great, can travel with less concern, and really start to show. Well Shorty had to go and throw in one last jab before the fun started and Kelsey has been throwing in all day. And by in, I mean up. And by all day, I mean all day. My poor wife.

Let me tell you, though- I'm experiencing a psychological test of will that I hadn't counted on. On any given day I have to remember to not leave any spilled substance on the counter, mention any food that may contain the word (or ingredient) marinara, or let the dog breathe within 20 feet of where Kelsey happens to be sitting at the time. And that's a toughie, cause Maddie seems to favor breathing.

So if there are any guys reading that are planning on one day being fathers, listen. Your already sub-par standards of hygiene and your lack of awareness that you're constantly bringing up nauseating subjects in conversation are going to be amplified when your lady is pregnant. Take heed, gents. Best to just lay low until the exact second your wife needs something, then spring into action like a sort of domestically paternal James Bond. She won't forget it. Right honey?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parenting 101

Jason Carrigan told me a definition of the word blog he found online the other day. "Never have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few" (did I get that right, Jason?).  Anyway, it was something to that effect.  To which I say, in my most gangsta voice, "tru dat."  In fact, when I do find myself browsing through the blog world, my most frequent thought is, "Does this person actually think anyone cares about this stuff?"  Yet somehow, I conveniently forget that definition when I begin my ramblings on this very blog.  So if you are reading this, I'm going to assume you are either really bored...or you just really like me.  Either way, I'm glad you're here.

I got some parenting practice today.  I am spending two days a week this summer with two kiddos who aren't very cute at all (note sarcasm).  Tatum, 14 months and Isaac, 3 years.  I'll try to get some photos to post soon.  We had an eventful day today which I'd like to share with you now.  Here's the play-by-play:

9:00 I arrive at the Anderson's.  Tatum tosses her bottle aside and toddles toward me babbling. (My heart swells...nothing like a cherub-cheeked, curly-haired cutie-pie coming toward you with her arms raised)
9:08 Tatum is down for her nap after refusing her bottle and wrenching her binkie out of my hand then pointing to her crib.  The girl know what she wants.
9:09 Isaac and I have all the cushions off the couch and we are building our fort.  This is our routine; he bosses me around and I rearrange couch cushions to suit his fancy. 
9:18 Isaac is a "snapping tuwtle" in his cave (formerly our fort) who is mean (he tells me), but I'm instructed to pretend that I am peeking into his cage so that he can scare me.  Also, he periodically becomes a tiger and I'm a dog that is scared of the tiger.  This generally involves him chasing me around the couch growling and I'm supposed to whimper and howl in fear.
9:24 Isaac suggests we play "wed lump" again - a game in which he hides under his red blanket and I'm supposed to comment on the strange noises and movements coming out of the red lump that has mysteriously appeared where Isaac once was. Oh my! What a big lump!  Oh! It's moving! I hope it's a nice lump.  Oh! There's a foot sticking out from the lump!  That lump is giggling! What a wiggly lump! 
9:38 We play Red Lump for the 28th time.
9:45 Isaac finds his cars and we build a tent for them to park in.  It has to be "weally, weally dawk, okay?"
10:00 Tatum wakes up and is ready to go!
10:03 The fort is destroyed in less than 30 seconds by the Tate-zilla
10:08 I say "Be careful, Isaac" 87 times as we spend the next 13 minutes jumping around on the couch without the cushions. 
10:21 It's raining and we're beginning to go a little stir-crazy.  Tatum wants whatever Isaac is playing with and squawks with discontent when she can't have it.
10:30 We decide to go up to church to play in the famed Tree House Room.  A little change of scenery will help, I think.
10:45 I pack lunches, grab a few diapers, wipes and sippy cups and throw them in my bag.
10:55 We're in the car and Tatum is "singing" something akin to "ee-i, ee-i, oh" but Isaac does not want to sing that.
11:00 At church we are looking for my dad, but he's not there.  Instead we commandeer his office.  Isaac makes him a "drawing" of stamps and staples.  Tatum opens drawers and pulls out files (sorry Dad).
11:10 We decide to distract Jordanne from her work - a feat we easily succeed in accomplishing.  I'm guessing it's probably pretty hard to focus when you have a toddler squawking and chattering on incessantly just outside your office.
11:20 We eat lunch.  Isaac has a cheesy hotdog. Tatum has a spaghetti something which she spits out with every bite I shove in there.  Stinker.
11:30  We clean up our lunch and Isaac's artwork and head down to the Tree House Room.
11:47 I change Tatum's diaper, much to her displeasure.
11:48 Tatum poops in her new diaper.
11:52 I change Tatum's diaper again and discover that we've had a bit of an explosion.  Her cute stripey pants are the casualty.  She's now stripped down to diaper and t-shirt.
12:00 Tatum hints at the beginnings of a meltdown.
12:01 Meltdown confirmed.
12:05 We head down the hall.  I hold Tate's binkie in front of her to motivate our progress toward the car.
12:08 I realize it's raining a LOT harder than it was when we got there.
12:14 I enlist the help of Sara and Jordanne to play with the kiddos while I pull the car up as close to the building as I can.
12:18 Tatum and I make a run for the car as Isaac looks on with trepidation.
12:20 Isaac and I make a run for the car as Tatum looks on with binkie in mouth and therefore no discernible emotion other than contentment.
12:21 I pull the umbrella into the car and realize just how wet I am.  Very.
12:22 We pull away from church.
12:23 It starts to hail. A lot.
12:24 I debate going back to church vs. driving through the weather, but Tatum, wearing no pants and now dangerously close to nap time, has dropped her binkie and the drama begins.
12:40 We get back to the Anderson's and nap routine promptly ensues.  Prompt is not soon enough for Tatum who is now in full-on melt-down mode.
12:45 Isaac is watching Curious George, drinking his warm milk and Tatum's bottle is ready.  We had upstairs and Tatum devours her bottle.
12:48 I put Tatum in her bed and she flops down willingly.
12:50 Clean up time.  Isaac watches his show while I replace couch cushions and pull Legos out from under the ottoman.
1:20 Isaac tells me he's ready for his rest now.  I am ready for my rest, too.

About 20 times today, I thought, "Am I really ready for this whole parenting thing??"  Probably not.  Is anyone ready before they actually are parents?  The thing is, even when they aren't my kids, being with them, watching them learn, engaging their imaginations, cuddling with them...it's so worth it!  Minute by minute, it's worth it.  Meltdowns and poopy diapers are worth it.  And if it's worth it with other people's kids, surely it will be worth it with mine - who, by the way, is now the size of a medium shrimp, though nothing about my body feels shrimpy these days.  But even that, I'm sure, will be worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello, My name is...

I once thought that naming my baby would be easy. In fact, before we got pregnant, we actually had names all picked out. Names we both agreed on. Names that we could rearrange depending on the birth order of our children. If we have two girls and a boy, these names. A boy, a girl, a boy, those names. Four girls? These. The thing is, now those names seem like they belong to all of our imaginary pre-pregnancy children. And I can't name my real baby a name that belongs to those fake babies! My real baby needs his or her own name! So we're back to square one.

The thing is, I'm pretty opinionated. I know that surprises the lot of you, but it's true. And naming a kid is a big deal. After all, this is what they will be called for the rest of their lives. So, you gotta think about ways kids might tease them, the nicknames they might have, how hard it will be to spell their name, whether they will have to correct their teachers' pronunciations every year, whether is sounds good with Kautzi.... This is tough stuff. Bottom line? The wrong name could really screw a kid up.

You know, I'm beginning to wish I had the kind of relationship with God that Sarah and Abraham had. Not so much the make-you-a-promise-and-then-make-you-wait-300-or-so-years-to-fulfill-it kind of relationship. More just the "you shall name him Isaac" kind of relationship. What I mean is, I wish God would just say, "name your kid, ______ cuz it means _______ and that's pretty cool." And then when people say, "What the heck kind of a name is Naphtali?" (see Genesis 30:8) we could just say, "Hey, don't hassle us, God picked it."

Well, despite my requests that God would speak to me in a dream and tell me what to name my child, I've had no such revelation. So up to this point, our approach has been to set up some rules. (I like rules.)

Here are a few of them:
*Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is named any of these names, we're sorry. We don't think they're bad names, we just don't want our kid to have them. Don't get mad.  We like you.


Eric's Rules:
1. No made-up names. Now this one is debatable and really just comes down to whether or not Eric thinks it's a made-up name. He particularly doesn't like the trend of adding "en" to the end of other names and sounds: Aiden, Jaden, Jaxen, Caedon, Peyton, Clayton, Braden, etc, etc. I have tried to reason with him, but he insists they aren't real names. *See Disclaimer
2. No names that are hard to spell or pronounce. No weird spellings of common names. Ashleigh, Ashlea, Ashly. *See Disclaimer
3. No names that all of the cheerleaders had when we were in high school. Caitlyn, Nikki, Ashley, Katie, Mandy, Brittany, Tiffany. *See Disclaimer
4. No names that Kelsey really really likes. (Just kidding on this one. There's really only one name that fits into this category, but I won't bring it up. Sore subject.)

Kelsey's Rules:
1. No names that will make our child the next Katie or Sarah. *See Disclaimer. Meaning, no names that 500 other kids in the first grade will also have. This is a hard one to predict because you just don't know if the brilliantly unique name you've just chosen for your unborn child is the very same brilliantly generic name that 10,000 other new moms and dads are also choosing.
2. No names that don't have a good nickname. Now this applies if either they don't have a nickname at all or their nickname is terrible. Al. Chuck. Pete. Hmm...I just realized I have uncles with all of those names. Sorry Uncle Al, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Pete. *See Disclaimer!
3. No names that Eric will say in a funny voice. (See previous blogpost)
4. No arbitrary names. It has to mean something. I refuse to pick a name just because it sounds nice. I want a good story behind the name. The trick is to find one with a good story, a cool meaning that also sounds nice.

In all honesty, it's the boy names we're having trouble with. And since everyone seems to think we're having a boy, that's a problem. How do you find a boy's name that's not made up and that 500,000 guys out there don't already have? I'm getting to the point that I might just settle on Eric Jr. and have done with it.

Good thing this kid's not coming for another 6 months. The thing is, come the end of July, we might find out that we're having a girl and we'll be able to avoid the boy name dilemma altogether. Until then, I'm still listening for that still, small voice saying, "You shall name him, Chuck."

POINT.

I love Pixar. I would think that most of you who are at least relatively familiar with their work would say the same. I mean, it's almost uncomfortable anymore sitting through an animated feature that they didn't produce; with the slew of trite scripts, sub-par animation and weak art direction that most CG toons seem to be built on, I rejoice every year when the trailers for next summer's Pixar feature start popping up on the interwebs. And for that I am thankful, Steve Jobs. Even though you're a bit of a jerk and a resounding control-freak, you went above and beyond developing a mere computer empire and created what is now undeniably the best animation studio in the industry. Good one.

Before Kelsey and I went to see Up last night (re: the title of this post), I'd been hearing that it left all of Pixar's previous work in its wake of awesome. I was reluctant to accept such a hyperbolic review, seeing as I love Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and Wall-E, and I think Brad Bird's Ratatouille and The Incredibles are two of the finest films ever made, animated or otherwise. Tell you what, though. As a man of constant exaggeration in regards to pop-culture preferences I will be try to be particularly clear on this: I have literally never laughed as hard for as long in any movie I've ever sat through. In fact, we have to go back and see it again because we lost a good 25% of the dialogue under the cacophony of the audience's laughter. Plus it was in 3-D which, to be honest, didn't make a huge difference, but everything felt more jovial in funny glasses.

So what does this have to do with pregnancy and baby plans and prophetic notions of Short Round's relative awesomeness? During the trailers (which were all for 3-D animated features) Kelsey leaned over and said something to the effect of, "Isn't it weird that this is going to be the norm for our kids? They won't grow up with regular cell animation like we did." To which I say Huzzah! Well, I didn't in the theater. But I do now. I am perfectly content with our kids growing up on Pixar. In fact, considering how many CG movies I'm going to be watching with them on a weekly basis, I'm almost inclined to declare our house Pixar exclusive (except for Kung Fu Panda- good stuff, Dreamworks). It made me think of all the horrible merchandise-pregnant animated garbage our generation's parents had to sit through before animated features started getting good again. Sure, there were quality films like Lion King and Aladdin and The Emperor's New Groove. But there was also Fern Gully. And Watership Down. Sorry, mom.

The funny thing is there weren't that many kids in the crowd last night. The vast majority of the audience was high school and college kids and kids in their twenties. And a few kids in their fifties. And they were all laughing or crying or both from the first frames of the pre-feature short to the end credits. So the studios are looking out for us, the young parents. And be joyful, because it's about time. If we didn't have the options that we have now, I'd be playing The Iron Giant on repeat in our house every day. Not that I'd necessarily have a problem with that.