Mike & Jenny

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Location: Iowa, United States

Friday, October 27, 2006

Still 13 TP squares....

I should start measuring my belly lengthwise rather than through the thickest part of my belly. I can tell you, and Mike can verify that I am getting bigger, I'm just not getting wider--yet. I should be thankful for that. Depending on what book I am reading, I have officially hit the third trimester of my pregnancy and the seventh month. The books stop measuring the baby's length from crown to rump and start measuring from head to toe. So for this week, they say the average length is about 15" (38cm) and around 2 pounds. It is also suggested that around this time the baby will begin to experience REM sleep. What does an unborn person dream about?

As of today, we have about 89 days until the due date. We have some of the baby's furniture in the nursery and a few items of clothing that I either still had from the kids, picked up on sale or acquired from a resale shop. Nine years ago I had no problem finding gender neutral clothing, but is pretty much impossible these days with everyone finding out what they are having before the baby is born. Everything neutral these days is either yellow or green with zoo animals and stripes. For the first few weeks, the baby will be dressed like a duck. I have to say I am amazed at the amount of junk you can buy for a baby nowadays.

I wonder how much of this stuff people actually use and how much money is wasted on stuff they never do? Resale shops are full of stuff that look like it has never been used and I have found that it's nearly impossible to get rid of stuff that you no longer need. I think it is another display of how wasteful our society is. As a kid, most of my clothes were hand-me downs from my cousin or came from thrift shops and garage sales. Today, kids are wearing nicer clothes than their parents and probably a majority never have worn hand-me-downs in their lives. I know my kids dress better than me, but with my daughter's clothes, once she outgrows her clothes I give them to my niece, Lauren. My sister tells me that Lauren loves it and I feel that I am not wasting money since it is used by at least two girls. Alec's clothes on the other hand are a different story--I've got multiple storage totes to prove it. They may actually have a home with a family that really needs it--we'll see this weekend.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Working on a Saturday

At least it is rainy and crappy outside so I don't feel so bad about spending part of my day inside working on some lighting studies for a project I am trying to complete. There is hardly anyone in the office so you actually feel like you can get something done without the phones ringing, people chatting and constant burrage of email that you are subjected to five days a week. I can take my time and not feel like anyone is looking on my shoulder or about to disturb my concentration. It's therapeutic--I'm in control of my little world for a couple of hours as long as the network doesn't blow my rendering model forcing me to start it all over again.

I'm also glad to be out of the house for a couple of hours as I have had a rough few weeks. Alec has ADHD and is having some behavioral problems. He's been in some trouble at school lately and it seems Mike and I have been talking to too many people trying to get things going to help him adjust and cope with his burden. I think it is calming down a little with him as there is a plan in place and things lined up to get things straight, but I don't think I've caught up with it all emotionally. I'm exhausted and behind at work from trying to get things figured out at home. Yesterday, I felt like checking myself into the Dane County Mental Health Institute for a little R&R as I found myself crying over buying the wrong toilet seat among other things on my mind. Today I am more optimistic.

Ashlynn went home sick on Tuesday and seems to be a little under the weather and Mike had to travel a couple days this week and will be gone a good chunk of next week. So this is my little break before I am back to holding down the fort again next week at home and trying to keep up with the pace of things at the office. I think I'm starting to look forward to taking off time for maternity leave. I just hope things are calmer and more manageable so it doesn't turn into a total living hell with two fighting kids and a screaming newborn. Ahhhh, the joys of parenthood. I must be crazy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

97 Bottles of beer on the wall......

Actually, it's 97 more days until I can have a bottle of beer again. It's hard to believe how fast this is all going and after next week, I will officially reach the third trimester. Ready or not, this baby will be here before we know it. It's surreal sometimes, but once the baby gets here it will grow up fast. Right now, the baby is nearly two pounds in weight and 9" from head to rump. I'm happy to report that the baby has realized that there is still plenty of room in there that it can get off my hips and thus give my bladder some much needed relief. However, my lungs are starting to feel the difference. Overall, I am feeling good, but get tired easily and have only gained about 18 lbs so far.

Today my baby girl, Ashlynn, is turning 10. I can't believe it. She lost another tooth two days ago and just told me last night. Some kids in her class told her that the tooth fairy doesn't really exist and she purposely didn't tell me to see if it was true or not. So, I admitted the truth to her and she was a little disappointed that she had been "lied" to all her life. I told her that we could still pretend and she was a good sport about it as she really wanted the dollar for the tooth anyway. I guess it's one of those milestones that help her evolve from a child to an adult. She walked away feeling proud that she knew something that her brother didn't. Hopefully she is not left with emotional scars from the realization.

I should mention my sister, Jill, as she had a birthday on Monday. She claims that she isn't having anymore, but I want to wish her happy birthday anyway. She's only 31 and I'm sure there are many people out there that wish they were 31. It's all about perspective, I suppose. My nephew, Jack, also had his second birthday on the 14th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Norway, My Way

It has been a while since I have posted anything new, but I do have one neat thing to share. Back in May or June, my mom learned of an essay contest coordinated by the ISU Study Abroad Center, and I decided to submit an essay about my trip to Norway in 1996. I didn't win (how many engi-nerds win essay contests anyway?), but I had fun writing about my experiences. They posted the two winning essays, and after reading the first one, mine easily would have been put to shame, so I can see why I didn't get picked. They also told me that I was a finalist, so I was one of 10 essays to get mentioned. But I wonder if there were only 10 essays submitted...

So to all of you ISU grads out there who did a study abroad semester (that includes you Mom!), there is another essay contest with a due date of March 1st, 2007. I suggest you put forth your best effort and write a winning essay!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Back by popular demand.....

...it's Tuesday and I have been negligent in posting the Toilet Paper Tuesday results. My friend, Jane, got on to me last week about not publishing the last few weeks so since I am declaring her popular and by her demand, here it is. You'd think that at 23 weeks and 6 days along I'd be up to atleast half a roll by now, but I am still hovering at around 13 squares. I guess I should be grateful that I am tall with a long torso which means I am going to go up before I completely expand outward. The baby is active and moves from high up to down really low. It now weighs just over a pound and when it burrows down into my hips, it really puts the squeeze on the bladder. Some days I threaten to stand on my head to make it move up for some much needed relief. In two days, we'll reach the 24 week mark which means the baby will be considered viable if it is born now and has a chance to survive with intensive care. I pray that it stays put until its fully baked.

While the baby has nearly reached viability, the dog was almost declared at the end of his viability yesterday afternoon. Alec called me at work just after he returned from school to report that Mason had managed to tear apart a brand new box of Tropical punch flavored Capri Sun all over our off-white living room carpet. I can tell you that I had visions of punch from one end of the living room to the other, something befitting a bloody murder scene in a bad horror movie. Luckily for the dog's sake, Alec had picked up most of the ruptured bags and got them cleaned up without more added mess which not only spared the damage to the carpet but the dog's life. We now have a very noticable pink spot in the carpet, but is fairly small. Our dog is still living and a member of the family, but the next incident will likely banish him back to the crate for the 7 hours he is home alone. We love him despite his misbehaviors and luckily his little incidents are rare and usually confined to boxes of Kleenex or the occassional forgotten loaf of bread.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm going to HAVE a baby....

You'd think that I would have realized that by now, but I think just over the last week I've become aware that this kid has got to come out. At first with that realization, I experienced a little panic but that is subsiding to allow me to prepare myself emotionally, mentally and of course, physically for this baby. Pregnancy is really an emotional roller coaster and is utterly confusing and somewhat stressful. You lose your attention span, control of your emotions and body, and eventually metamorphisize into a mother all over again. I don't think people who have never gone through that really ever understand or appreciate it because so much of it seems to be internal. Insensitivity from other people makes it more difficult.

It's much like getting a new computer at work. You have to sort through all your files and delete things you don't need, save what you do need and get it all backed up on the network. It's a time consuming process and you end up revisiting a lot of files that can be painful, amusing, astonishing or just plain old dreadful. It's something that has to be done and is usually required when you already have way too much to do anyway. Eventually, you have to reorganize all that information on to your new workstation and let the old one go for re-formatting. As you work through this process, you strive to make your new computer more organized, comprehensive and efficient. In the end, in most cases, you succeed but you still forget files that you kick yourself for deleting, usually are distracted by those "hidden" files and eventually you move on to other things. You adapt to your new system.

I've spent the last few months sorting those files and revisiting a lot of things that are particularily painful. Slowly, I am allowing myself to get over them all over again with the hopes of letting them go forever. I am trying to identify my ghosts and let them go to make room for the new things to come in the future. I have no room in my life for this old baggage and I've found it to be surprising that I am just now doing this. I am chalking it up to the fact that I am in a place emotionally where I am ready to accept the new hand I have been given and learn to play a new game I don't know.

I told Mike a few days ago that I think I have just come to the realization that I am no longer a "single" parent and I no longer need to live my life in the survival mode I have lived in my whole life--we've been married more than two years now. The success of our lives is no longer solely dependant on me and I have to learn to work in a new partnership with Mike. I have to take on a new role and responsibility and that changes my priorities from my career to my family. He came from a family with a good model of what that should be and I come from a broken one. Now I have to learn to live and enjoy life. We need to build a home and we all have to pitch in with laying the foundation. I can tell you that I am venturing in to the virtual unknown, entering with some hesitation due to fear of the unknown, yet with a feeling in my heart that this is what needs to be done and things will be better because of it.

This posting is very personal in nature and a little intimidating to me that so many people I know and don't know are reading this. I am so buried now with the mental preparation of the birth of this child that I am now starting to burrow into books, soaking up anything I can get my hands on to learn new things and discover my feelings and expectations on things. I'm re-evaluating my priorities and trying to stir up positive changes within our household. It's really become my mission, because this is a big change for all of us. Our house is being redefined from Mom, Mike, Ashlynn and Alec to Mom, Dad, big sister and big brother to a new little person and all four of us have a new role to prepare for. The divisions need to dissolve and a new unity and understanding needs to be birthed with this child--this is my hope and dream. We are all going to HAVE a baby--not just me.