17 February 2017

Four Things

1. I'm 16 weeks pregnant. Well, I think. I haven't been keeping very good track this time around, plus I've had my due date moved thrice. And it's just sort of hard to remember what fruit your fetus is the size of when you have 1.5yo and an 11yo and a dog and a husband and a full time job. Anyway, pretty sure that's all going as designed. I have the ultrasound where I find out if it's a boy or a girl on March 14th! Oh and I mean, also that's the major anatomy ultrasound to make sure that the baby is developing apace and things are as they should be, which I guess is more important than whether or not it has a penis. EXCEPT THAT I REALLY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE BABY'S SEX ORGANS OKAY. IN FACT I WANT TO KNOW EVERY SINGLE THING.
Speaking of knowing what kind of baby is in there, there's a lot of assumption that since I have two boys, we must be trying for a girl. Well, unless you are having a designer baby and literally actually picking the sex, I don't think it's a good idea to 'try' for a boy OR a girl. In fact, I am of the strong opinion that one should not intentionally get pregnant unless what one is trying for is an alive human person.
HOWEVER AND ALSO, I have two boys, why the fuck would I be having another baby if I didn't like the ones I already had??
Also, this baby, who will be 22mos younger than Everett, because of school year cutoffs will only be one grade apart, and how adorable would two little boys a grade apart be? SO ADORABLE!
I mean, a girl would be great too, I'm here for girls. I just, I am also quite fond of boys. FYI.
If I do have a girl, it makes me want to have a fourth spite baby, just to PROVE that I am not 'trying' for any imaginary gender (sex) completion of my family.

2. Work is a source of stress and upheaval and feelings of under appreciation lately. I don't really want to talk about it, so I won't.

3. Gabriel is taking ukulele lessons and it is 100% the best. He plays You Can Count On Me by Bruno Mars for the baby and the baby COOS at him and it is a god damn delight. I have no regrets about the big space between these two kids. Their relationship is amazing and wonderful.

4. The world is terrifying. I got passports for the kids. I am about two headlines away from hoarding coffee.

19 January 2017

Assortment of Episodes

Sitting at my desk this afternoon, I picked up my bottle of juice, and gave it a shake before I took a sip. Except the cap wasn't screwed on, so I just covered myself and all of my work surfaces in juice. It was a nice, vigorous shake.

Last night, I had Everett on my lap, and I noticed that his ear was red. A few minutes later, I thought, I'd better check and make sure there's not a bug in there or something. THERE WAS A TICK IN HIS EAR. It was burrowed right into the fold. We had to hold him down and hold him still and dig in there with tweezers and it was very traumatic for all involved. We soothed him with cheese. THERE MIGHT BE A BUG IN YOUR EAR. 

Last week I bought myself lunch and then I needed to go to Target so I drove over there and was sitting in the parking lot, eating alone in my car before I went in for errands. My mouth was full of Thai Chicken Wrap when a lady opened up my trunk and started loading her bags into the car. I was still trying to swallow when she opened up the back door and flung her purse on the seat. I was just getting ready to say something when she opened up the driver's side door and got ready to sit down on me. It was just then, and not a moment before, that this woman (on her cell phone) saw me. Her eyes got big, she ended her call, she backed away sputtering. I think we both wanted to disappear into the ground. Except, she had to regather her things, so our interaction went on a bit longer than preferred. After she was fully extracted from my vehicle and into her own, wherever that may have been, I looked around the parking lot. There were ZERO other cars of my make and model in the lot. NONE.

13 January 2017

Gifts for 11-year-old boy

Gabriel's birthday is at the end of this month, so I'm going to tell you about his birthday party and gifts.

First, his party: We are doing it at the indoor climbing gym. He's inviting 6 friends (mix of cousins and school friends). The party is formatted with an hour in party room, and two hours climbing. My plan is to order pizzas to be delivered there, and additionally have drinks, cake, fruit and chips.
No party favors, because I feel uninspired about favors.
I will probably buy some balloons. Maybe some other decorations (tablecloth? party napkins?) but Gabriel is at an age where thematic 'kid' stuff is no longer cool. So y'know, no minecraft table runners or anything.

Next, presents! Here is what I bought my own particular brand of nearly-11-year-old, whose interests include fiddling with things, reading, and things that will get him killed.

A subscription to Tinker Crate ($20/mo). I will give him his first box on his birthday (it shipped today). We used to get Kiwi Crate, and Gabriel was a fan, but then I canceled for the summer while he was at his dad's and then I never re-subscribed, and then he was a bit old for Kiwi Crate. Mail is very exciting, so I was looking for a subscription box that he'd like. I also considered an art box, and a survival box. Ultimately I decided that we are up to our eyeballs in art supplies, and while I think he would be SUPER INTO a weird prepper survival box, maybe I don't want to get my 11yo fire starters (for instance). He likes building things, and he likes following directions/a plan, so I am hopeful about Tinker Crate. If he hates it, I can cancel! I can also cancel if I get tired of junk in my house.

Miscellaneous clothes that he needs masquerading as gifts. He needs new pants, new socks, new underwear, a sweatshirt. I am calling these items gifts!

Pogo Stick, $40.

Slingshot, $7
I also got him this ammo, which is also around $7. It says all over the description that this is not a toy, and I know it is not a toy, but I also know that Gabriel will love it. Will I regret getting my son weaponry? Probably. I can always confiscate it if he is being too dumb.
The Chronicles of Prydain, $21 for 5 book set
These are The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, etc. I don't know if you read these when you were a kid, but I did, and I have been meaning to get them for Gabriel. They're right up his alley, and I think he's a good age for them.
The Ruins of Gorlan, $7
So one of my coworkers reads similar books to Gabriel, and he recommended this series to him the last time Gabe visited me at work. So, I'm getting him the first book!

There were many, MANY other books that I wanted to get him, but I had to cut it off somewhere.

For Christmas he got tickets to a Warriors game (and a day at Warriors basketball camp), a Kindle Fire, a manga drawing book, colored pencils, paper, an obnoxious flying thing, and a couple pairs of pants.

03 January 2017

2016 in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Voted for a woman for president of the United States.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really, and I don't think so. I've been pretty meh on resolutions the past couple years. I resolve to stay alive.

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Mira! Julia! They both had super adorable baby boys and their babies are the best.
Many lovely internet ladies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
A family friend passed away.

5. What countries did you visit?
Copying prior year answer:
None. The last time I left the country was when I visited my brother Duncan in Chile in 2005. I got my passport renewed the year a dear high school friend got married in Mexico (2008? 2009 maybe?) because I really WANTED to go to her wedding, but I was just too poor. I hope I need it at least once before it expires.
And adding this: I am getting the boys passports this year. We don't have imminent travel plans, but with the Current State of the World, I feel it would be wise to have our documents in order. 

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I would like Quentin's worker's comp case to be resolved and settled in 2017 (it has been ongoing since 2014).

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
3/23/16 - Quentin got his guts put back together.
11/7/16 - the last good day.
11/8/16 -  the start of a scary new chapter in our shared history.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I did my job well, with two kids at home, and one of those kids is a baby.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I did not do enough politically. Maybe if I had phone banked? MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE WORRIED MORE??

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My year was not personally injurious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
It seems like my answer every year is Gabriel, but he's seriously a great kid who handles some STUFF pretty well.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Gabriel's dad, which is as usual/same old/same old. Although some of it was extra bad this year. Whatever, nothing surprising I guess.

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Julia's baby! Mira's baby! Getting out of town! Gabriel getting to spend time with his big sister!

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
That mannequin challenge song (I don't actually know what it's called)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Slightly thinner, but on a fatness trajectory (because I'm pregnant!).
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping. I'm running on a permanent sleep deficit.
I always wish I had done more socializing, but in the moment I never want to leave my house.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
On the one hand I hate pumping with the power of a one thousand burning suns, but on the other, I'm glad that I pumped until Everett was 11mos old. That seems pretty good. So IDK. I hated it, but now that it's over, I'm glad I did it.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Gabriel was at his dad's house this year. Christmas Eve Gabriel got to open all of his presents, and then he went to the movies and roller skating and arcade with this cousins and uncle. We had dinner at my grandma's which is as usual. She's still doing great (she turned 90 on 12/27!). Gabe got picked up from there.
Christmas day my brothers were all in town. Visited my parents' house briefly in the morning, then went to my MIL's house for a few hours, then back home, then to my parents' house for dinner.
All in all, it was all very pleasant. Everett was a satisfying Christmas baby. I wish Gabriel had been here, but I wish that every other year.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Luke Cage

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't know if hate is correct, but I have a lot of Big Feelings of hopelessness and disgust towards....a sizeable portion of the US population. I'm tired of hearing about how a bunch of people who voted for white supremacy aren't racists. Okay.....I know you don't like being TOLD that, but you are though.

24. What was the best book you read?
I just read several books. Reread Uprooted, which I got for Christmas in 2015. I LOVE it. It's a fantasy/fairy tale book, in case those things aren't your bag. If they ARE your bag, it's excellent.
Just read The Fifth Season, which I got for Christmas this year. It's very entertaining, I definitely want to read the next book in the series.
I am reading Underground Railroad (also a Christmas gift). It's....really good, but really just....upsetting to the core, also, because, y'know, the realities of slavery are extremely fucked up and terrible. The fabric this story is embroidered on is fundamentally depressing.
But it's good. And I don't feel like we learn enough about slavery as a stand alone historical THING. We learn about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, sure, but we don't learn about SLAVERY, really.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I came late to the Hamilton train, but I am happily aboard.

26. What did you want and get?
I dunno. Oh, a raise, which I successfully negotiated when I got back from maternity leave.

27. What did you want and not get?
I wish we had fewer ongoing house projects.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I took Gabriel to see Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them and I just LOVED it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34. I was in San Diego with the family, on a quasi-vacation (a work conference that I dragged my family on). It was labor day! 

30. What is one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time at home.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
What can I wear to work that I can also pump in without getting naked?

32. What kept you sane?
My babies.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Eddie Redmayne! He might be his most attractive as The Dutch Girl. I dunno.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
This shitshow of an election, combined with motherfucking Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, North Korea, whatever the fuck China thinks it's doing, countries leaving the EU, the fragility of NATO, Operation Impending Doom 2.

35. Who did you miss?
I'm really sad that I haven't met my friend Molly's baby (who is Everett's age).

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Baby Clover!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
People don't care about doing the right thing. People would rather usher in nationalistic white supremacy than elect a woman as president.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Immigrants, they get the job done.

2009 - Apparently I didn't do it in 2009

29 November 2016

2016 - what a time to be alive

The world seems very terrible lately. Maybe I am being hyperbolic, but I do not FEEL hyperbolic.
We have a fascist, rapist, misogynist president elect, who does not appear to believe in the constitution.
The EU seems poised to break apart.
Russian aggression towards....everyone else seems likely to increase exponentially once the United States is run by a Very Scary Man.
The Middle East.....remains troubling and unimproved.
North Korea continues to test nuclear weapons.
China continues to bully its neighbors.
Hey, don't forget about ISIS, to say nothing of Boko Fucking Haram which seems to be running fucking WILD.
Oh yeah and Mexico appears to be run by drug cartels.

Anyway, I don't feel like I'm being dramatic, but I do feel like we are careening towards some kind of WWIII event.
And that's the global look, because let us not forget the uncertainties about healthcare, about global warming, about police shootings of unarmed brown people. 
What a time to be alive.

I feel generally on edge and I'm not sure if or when that feeling will ever go away.

2016-induced anxiety - is that a thing?

19 September 2016

Baby dolls that are not (overly?) girly, not white, and not too expensive

Everett will be one tomorrow!
I've noticed that Timehop counts the days from 5am - 5am (instead of a midnight to midnight cycle) so this morning I woke up to my baby Everett announcements! He was technically born at 2:54am on 9/20, but y'know what, Timehop? I appreciate the sentiment. It DID feel like one big long day.

While I did more or less/accidentally live tweet Everett's arrival, I don't know if I've ever laid it all out in one place.
- I had a midwife appointment on Friday morning, and I was 'checked'.
- A few hours later (I SUSPECT THIS IS RELATED BUT WHAT DO I KNOW I'M NOT A DOCTOR), my water broke! Not like a big whoosh but more like a slow....dribble. My mom took me to the hospital and Quentin met us there and they were like yeah your water broke, are you having contractions? And I was like nope I'm sure not, so they monitored me for awhile and then they sent me home and told me to come back in the morning or when I went into labor, whichever came first.
- Saturday morning we re-arrived, I was still not in labor. They gave me cervidil, which was uncomfortable but didn't really do anything. And then like 12 hours later (and like 30 hours since water breaking) they were like heyo so y'all both look fine but a timer started when your water broke so let's giddy up.
- Anyway they started a pitocin drip at 11:30pm and it was TERRIBLE MUCH WORSE THAN NATURALLY OCCURRING CONTRACTIONS HOLY SHIT NO WONDER PEOPLE NEED EPIDURALS and they weren't checking me b/c infection risk and I got a shot of fentanyl, which didn't make anything hurt less but it sure made me not care.
- And then I had an overwhelming urge to vomit and poop at the same time which I will STRESS REPEATEDLY IS NOT THE SAME AS THE OVERWHELMING URGE TO PUSH but then while I was puking into the hamper while I sat on the toilet I DID find myself experiencing the overwhelming urge to push and I was like help I need help and they sort of muscled me back into the bed because my walking was not great and they grabbed the OB walking down the hall and she was like holy shit here's your baby and Quentin was like holy shit what is happening and anyway the baby arrived about three hours after the pitocin was started, so it was really a very quick affair, even though it went from Friday all the way to Sunday.
So. Everett's birthday is technically tomorrow but I am surely thinking about it today. We are having a small party, mostly for the benefit of my MIL who has exactly one (1) grandbaby.
I bought Everett a fancy party hat, and a ride-on....thing, and a wooden doggy that you pull on a string.
I also got him a baby doll, which turned out to be a frustrating endeavor.
It is startlingly difficult to buy a non-white, non-girl baby doll.
We ended up getting this one.
It was at Target, which is where I was. The lavender smell is more of  sachet/actual lavender smell, and is not overly gross. It's PRETTY girly, but I figure purple is the color of kings! It is also pretty white, despite the 'ethnic' description. It is not AS white as the regular Baby Stella dolls, but....yeah. Nor is it brown.

I went on an amazon quest to find something not too girly and not white and not one million dollars and here is what I've found, bookmarked in case Everett loves babies as much as Gabriel did. It's also possible that he doesn't care at all about baby dolls and this is his first and last.
Anyway, results!
La Baby 11-inch Hispanic Washable Soft Body Play Doll, $12.99

This one is probably the best one I found. It's the first one I'll buy if baby doll demand increases. I find that the dolls that look the most like my kids are the 'Hispanic' ones.

This is not a boy doll, but again I will tell you that PURPLE IS THE COLOR OF KINGS! That said, the thumbnail picture of the black baby doll is pink/frilly and not the same as the picture that comes up when you actually select this option.
My fourth pick is this same doll, but the Hispanic version.
Decidedly and definitively more girly than the purple stripes. But again, I feel like the 'Hispanic' doll color option is the one that best matches my boys, if that's what I'm going for (and it is).
Childcraft Multi-Ethnic Baby Dolls - African American Doll - 10 Inches, $12.99
My Amazon searching revealed a whole variety of these Childcraft dolls. They seem to strike the proper balance between 'realistic enough' and 'looks like a dead baby lying on the floor'. If we really get going on the baby doll thing, this is another one on the list. 

25 July 2016

Family updates, and Everett is the happiest baby

Chugging along through the summer over here. Gabriel has mostly been at his dad's, which is as usual/nothing to report.
He's at sleep away camp this week, which technically counts as one of "my" weeks, even though....he is not here. I think it should count as nobody's week, but I also think it's important that he get to go to this stuff, especially when it means going along with his cousins, etc. So here we are.
Susannah (niece) turned four last Friday.
All the cousins were available for her party (she's pictured here with my niece June, as well as a friend). My brother and sister-in-law completed their residencies, and have taken jobs in/moved back to California. And it's great having them living closer.
I love that Everett has a cousin his age!
Everett and Baby Duncan
Everett and baby Duncan are 4.5 months apart (which is the same age difference as Gabriel and his cousin Elliot). Because of school cutoffs, baby Duncan will be in the grade above Everett.
I wonder when baby Duncan will get tired of being called baby Duncan.
His parents report that they want to call him Mac, which is fine! Except I've never actually heard one of his parents call him that. And also our grandfather is still alive and well and named Mac, so the rare times my brother HAS referred to his baby as Mac, I thought we were talking about an old man.
Everett is Everett's middle name (his first name is Quentin), so here both the babies are juniors, and I would like to share my naming wisdom. We got RIGHT OUT THE GATE with Everett. In fact, I think quite a few people are not actually aware that Everett's legal first name is Quentin. (My brother) Duncan dawdled on the whole nicknaming thing, didn't establish a preference until like a week ago, and it's just hard to come around now.
Well maybe he will be successful in his bid for Mac.
I'll let you know how it progresses.
Everett is just the happiest baby.
Chest clip is too low!
His basic disposition is "delighted by life, and all that it contains."
And we are all delighted by him.
The face of a boy who just learned that popsicles exist
He occasionally gets overtired.
And he still wakes up in the night for a nurse.
And sometimes he needs a STOP EVERYTHING emergency nursing session in order to keep his life together.
Emergency naked nursing
He learned how to clap! It's pretty much the best. I highly recommend baby clapping to cheer you on in your day to day life.
He has two tiny teeth.
He is SO EASY about going to bed. I put him down in his crib, and he snuggles down with his butt in the air and chatters at himself for a few minutes, before drifting off to sleep.
Gabriel is more difficult about bedtime than Everett.
Also, Everett eats more than Gabriel. Like in absolute, quantitative terms, he consumes more food. And yet, he's not a very big baby (hey, he poops a lot).
He now occasionally stands unassisted. But only if he is distracted into letting go of his perch.
For instance, if he needs to clap.
Is he always this happy though?
Well, yes.
He really is.