Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

The family got together for dinner Saturday night to celebrate my mom's birthday at El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley.

Seriously great time had by all!

I drink a lot of water and milk these days and have been trying to think of something fun and creative I can drink on special occasions. Maybe I should look up some mocktails online? Unprepared, I ordered a Shirley Temple to my embarrassment in front of the server. When I finished my first one, he came by and said, "Would you like another...kiddie cocktail?"

And Kai got to feel the baby kick!She has been so active these days! There are a ton of big and small kicks, but there are also just a lot of squirms going on. I'll press my hand against my belly and feel the different knobs and lumps of her body moving against it. One time I used my hand to sort of press (what felt like) a knee or elbow to the side. She immediately retracted the limb and started kicking repeatedly in response. That literally had me laughing out loud.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pregnancy Paranoia

Michael had to work on Friday night. I was home alone.

I already had a lot of windows open because we were trying to air out one of the bathrooms we're having re-caulked. So when I started smelling this mechanical, oily burning scent, I didn't know if it was coming from inside or out.

I tried walking outside to see if I could smell it (I couldn't), I tried closing the windows to see if the smell got worse (it did), I tried laying down to see if I could just ignore it. When I started getting very sleepy and felt a little headache coming on, my fears that I was being air-poisoned were cemented. I was convinced that our house was slowly filling with carbon monoxide and that Michael would return home to find me dead.

That's how I found myself alone at an 8:40pm movie in my sweats, carrying a bath towel to give myself better lower back support. With no bra on.

I was so rocking the homeless-chic look.

I stopped and bought a carbon monoxide detector on my way home.
It didn't detect any carbon monoxide, if you're wondering.

Side note: I saw The Dilemma, which was "meh." It had a couple of funny moments but it was mostly just sad - it's about a man (Vince Vaughn) that finds out his best friend's wife is cheating on him, and doesn't know if he should tell him or not. Maybe my low opinion was influenced by how tired I was.

We also recently saw Black Swan and The King's Speech. I enjoyed both. Black Swan was quite a trip, having you never know what's real and what's not. The King's Speech was SO good, I'm really hoping it wins Best Picture!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Raining Babies!

Exactly two months until the due date, y’all! (Though my money’s on her being a little late.)

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is pregnant right now? We know one woman who gave birth earlier this month (boy - Santiago is his name.). TWO people gave birth on 1/25 (both girls - a Regan and a Genevieve). We know two women who are due in early February (one boy and one unknown). I’m due in March (so is a coworker – she’s having a boy). My friend Lyndsey (boy) is in April and Jaye is in June (girl).

That’s 9 babies! Good carp!

4 boys and 4 girls and 1 question mark.

Wouldn’t you just love it if I could somehow gather all of these women and their babies and place them on one big mat? And the babies would just lay there next to each other like little hams, all within six months of each other? Can you imagine all the stories we 9 moms would have to share?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Resolution Revolution

I've decided that my New Year's resolution is to stop making ridiculous faces in front of the camera. It always happens the same way: someone pulls out a camera, I think it'd be a great idea to be funny, I make a stupid face and later find out that my idea of a silly face just turns out horrifically unattractive.

Starting tomorrow. Because today I have some pictures from this weekend to prove just how bad these can get.

First of all, Shake 'Ems. Shake 'Ems are made by relaxing your face muscles, shaking your head vigorously from side to side and snapping a photo. Granted, the point of a Shake 'Em is not to look pretty. Nice one, Rem and Cole.This is what you get when Remi commands you to "look sneaky."
This face reminds me of the time that Michael and I played Cranium with Jaye and Derek and I had to act like Marlon Brando. I didn't know who Marlon Brando was, so I lost my turn and was promptly made fun of for not knowing who Marlon Brando was.

So I took another turn, and this is what became of it:










I don't think Brando was accused of being a good-looking man during this point in his life, so I doubt it speaks well of me that I seem to look like him often in pictures.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Babysitting, Brownies and Bathtime Bieber

Sleepovers at Auntie Julie and Uncle Michael's
Are sometimes augmented
With delicious sweet treats
For all to enjoy.
Favorite moment of the night: overhearing the following conversation during bath time.
Michael: What song are you singing?
Kai: I need somebody to love.
Michael: I know that song! Does it go like, "Can anybody find MEEEEE, somebody to LOOOOOVE?"
Kai: No.
Michael: Then how does it go?
Michael: That's a pretty cool song. I've been there. I know how he feels.
Kai: Me too.
Michael: You too?! You're three and a half!
Kai: So?
Michael: Oh, okay. I gotcha. Three and a half year-olds need somebody to love, too, huh?
Kai: Yeah.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Cat's Sad Hour

I've noticed a pattern in my blog posts from when we hang out with Remi and Cole...we always end up doing things involving wildlife. In fact, our first outing with them was to the zoo. Since then, however, our bouts with living things also involve the death of those those living things, as seen here and here. (Actually, now that I look back on it, the zoo post also had a dead baby turtle, so we apparently can't get together without some poor creature suffering.)

I'm convinced that this blog post will cement in your mind that we are an accursed bunch who attract animal death. Also, that this post will get us on some PETA watchlist or something.

We headed over to Remi and Cole's on MLK Day to hang out, with ideas of complete normal non-animal-death related casual time. But as soon as we found out that a stray cat had died on their property and was just decomposing until they could figure out what to do with it, well, Michael insisted we get involved.I'm not entirely sure why Michael thought it would be best to climb up on the wall to try to get to the body from above.

Nor am I sure why Michael's the one getting all up in there while Cole watches from a safe distance. Major side-eye, Cole! This is a great shot of Michael reacting to the smell and sight of the poor creature.(I really wavered on wanting to post these pictures at all because I didn't think I could capture the "feel" of the day. I'm sure this is coming off as really sad or morbid, but as gross as it was, Remi and I were also laughing our heads off watching the guys try to work this out.)

Okay, people this is the part where things get gross. I managed to capture this image right as Michael was lifting the cat - in full-on rigor mortis - on its way to the garbage bag. IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO THESE KINDS OF THINGS, READ NO FURTHER!




And because I find this whole thing so disturbing, so grotesque and yet fascinating, I have a close-up for you.

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, GROSS PICTURE AHEAD! DO NOT VIEW IF YOU ARE FEELING BARFY!






(*Shudders*)
Look how the cat is only half supported by the shovel, and yet the other half of the body still extends out as if supported. It looked like a very old, very dirty square of shag carpet. But I imagine the smell was quite worse than any carpet could possibly claim.

Michael considered throwing the cat over at us girls to have a good laugh. Considering that one of us was pregnant and the other one was carrying a 9 month-old baby, I think his decision to refrain was a smart one.

Cole was supposed to hold the garbage bag open, but the gag reflex is a strong one. By the end of it all, there were tears from laughing so hard, screaming, a lot of coughing and gagging, I had pee'd a little and had also shouted - from the laughter - "I think my belly button just popped out! I'm pretty sure my belly button just popped out!"
I can't imagine what Smith, the baby, thought of all of us adults.

Please don't report us to PETA.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The View from Here

I'm 31 weeks along as of this weekend - more than 3/4 of the way through! As you can see, there's no seeing my toes unless I lean forward.

It feels like time is passing so quickly. Wasn't it just last week that I was thrilled to be in the double digits (10 weeks along)?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nursery Nesting

Is this what they call "nesting"? If so, I has it.

For some reason the just awful grammar used on the LOL Cats/I can has cheezburger site cracks. me. up. And normally I’m sort of a spelling and grammar policewoman, which is not a very charming quality in a person, if you didn't know. Especially when I sometimes misspell and grammaticize and make up words (recent ones include “competitious” and “grammaticize”). Anyway, it’s not as cute when you don’t have a picture of an adorable animal along with it.

I’m in the nesting phase, methinks.

Or maybe it’s not nesting so much as it is me realizing that this baby is going to be here in about two months and we don’t have her room done…not even close. We painted the “office” a lovely light yellow while both knowing that the “office” would soon become a “baby room.” We both knew it’d be nice to have a gender-neutral color. Problem is, now that we’re having a girl and we looked at bedding and everything, yellow just isn’t what we want.

We were originally just going to paint the walls some color and be done with it. But the more I think about it, the more I look at pictures, the more I’d like a little something to make it special. So let me run some nursery ideas past you and see what you think. I’ll try to create a poll so you can vote!

Our colors: pale pink, ivory, light brown, chocolate brown, accents of bright pink.
Some ideas for the walls:

Solid painted wall. Simplest option for a girl in a time crunch, with the exception of leaving the walls as-is (not an option). Color options: a light brown, an almost-white pink
A chair rail of some kind. This could get costly (we’d have to have someone come in and put one in) and is very permanent. We’d likely do a two-tone paint job above and below. Color options: many. I like the idea of dark brown below, ivory chair rail and ivory above.
Wall paper border. Splits up the vast expanse of wall the same way a chair rail does but is easier, cheaper and an easier modification if we decide we don’t like it. The problem is that we have textured walls and I’ve read that it’s really hard to get this right with textured walls. So we could just paint on a dark stripe to look like a border.
A stencil design or decal. This idea is really cute and I’ve seen it done a few different places and ways. It really gives you an asymmetrical design to the room, an accent, but has to look good to be pulled off. Color options: same as solid wall options above, probably with dark brown stencil, maybe a small bright pink accent like a bird, flower or butterfly:

Some kind of 3-D wall ornamentation. I’m kind of leaning toward this. This could be done with any combination of the above. You then stick these things on your walls to spice it up, either using adhesive or pins that go into the wall. This is a lot less permanent than any paint ornamentation and I love the texture it gives – it just pops out at you, you know? Color options: what I’m liking right now is a light brown with dark brown butterflies or butterflies in all of the colors mentioned above.

I wonder if I could make something like these myself? Am I getting too ambitious for someone with only two months to go?And don’t worry, Michael will be doing all the painting. I don’t have much of a hankering to expose BabyShock to paint fumes.

Please vote in my poll which idea you like the most, or comment with suggestions of your own!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Commute of Ill Repute

Don’t read this. Really, don’t. It’s not happy.

My commute has got me so down, peeps.

(Please keep in mind that this post was inspired by my hour and a half commute this morning. Normal morning drive: about 35 minutes. There was a big wreck on the freeway and the one main surface street leading out of our area was also a parking lot. I started out on the freeway, moved over to the surface street, went no higher than 5 miles per hour for a couple of miles and then went back to the freeway.)

I’m just so tired of all this driving. And I’m tired of other drivers.

I don’t like to drive in the left-hand lane anymore. This is because I spend all my time in standstill traffic looking into my left side mirror watching all the solo people speeding by in the carpool lane. It infuriates me that I follow the rules and stay out of the stupid HOV lane when tons and tons and TONS of people (by themselves) take advantage of it. I hate it when I see a person in a huge supped up truck with clouds of exhaust billowing out of the tank driving in the HOV all by his onesie. I wish there was a battalion of cops out there just to catch the people that abuse the HOV lane.

And can we talk about cutters? The spot on my drive home where the line to merge onto another freeway just stretches on forever. I used to be SO MAD at all the people who would zoom up to the very front of the line and put their blinker on and expect to get let in. I’m not as mad at them anymore…now I’m mad at the people who let them in. “You’re letting this happen!” I want to shout at them. “The reason why it takes so long to merge for us law-abiding citizens is because you’re letting 14 cheaters cut in front of you! Do you know how much faster the whole line thing would go if the cutters were stopped from being let in!?”

I let my blood boil and refuse to let people squeeze in between me and the car in front of me. So they pass me by and cut two spots ahead instead. So I didn’t teach them a lesson, I just inspired them to move two spaces further up the line.

I listen to my Hypnobabies Affirmations every day in the car. I have to turn it off during parts of my commute because I don’t want to subconsciously link my negative feelings with listening to those pregnancy and birth affirmations.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself lately: fairness is very important to me. I’m not just talking about driving. I’ve got this guilt complex that pretty much keeps me on the straight-and-narrow (most of the time, at least), and it irks me to no end to watch people cheat and fib and take advantage of their way through life - and still get ahead. To watch someone spend all day surfing the web, contribute one item during the day and then blab about how great it is to anyone who will listen until everyone thinks they are the best employee they’d ever seen.

Life isn’t fair, we’ve all heard it. Diligence and truthfulness don’t always pay off. People will drive alone in the carpool lane every day and not get caught. The loudest and self-promoting get ahead before the people who keep their heads down.

And those of you who have unwisely chosen to read this tirade will have to decide for yourselves if I’m really this blue or if you can just blame it on the pregnancy hormones.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby Sneaks

A trip to the Nike Outlet store normally leaves me bored while Michael peruses the aisles for sneaks.

This time, however, I had things to distract me.
So what if they're overpriced?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day Care Debate

Michael and I have settled on which day care we're going to use for when I go back to work. I'm getting 12 weeks off, if you're wondering. I only legally get 6 weeks because I haven't been at this new job long enough, but I asked for 12 weeks and they kindly gave it to me.

The day care we're going with is actually considered a school. It's also, quite frankly, pretty expensive. It was not the most expensive place I've seen, but it was the most expensive place we truly considered. In the end, I think it's worth it. If I can't be with my girl, if I have to leave her in the care of someone else, I want it to be with the people that are really top notch, you know?

Day care. I have such conflicting feelings about the whole thing.

The world is really separated into the divisions of working moms and stay at home moms (SAHMs). There are some pretty strong feelings out there about these two options and the thing that bothers me the most is how passionately people feel that one is better than the other. I wish this world didn't feel like such a competition all the time. Is it just me that feels this way?

A part of me would love to stay at home with my kid(s). I've heard the old saying, "Why have kids if you're not going to be the one to raise them?" The idea of being away from our baby girl all day does make me sad sometimes, especially when I think that I might not be there when she takes her first unassisted steps or says her first word. How much easier some things would be if I could stay at home! I could breastfeed without worries (no awkward pumping breaks scheduled into my work day). I could take naps throughout the day when my baby napped to catch up on some sleep I'd lost in the night. I could get other things done during the day, too. (I'm not saying that life as a SAHM is a cake walk, I'm just saying that - and I think we can all agree on this - SAHMs have to do the laundry at some point in the day/week. Working moms have to do the same laundry at some point, but they also don't have the hours between 7am-6pm to do it.)

If I drop my daughter off at daycare at 7am and pick her up around 5pm, how much time can I really spend with her before she's asleep for the night? How can I make those fleeting hours count? Will she still even view me as her Mom? She'll spend more waking hours with the staff at the school.

These thoughts make me sad and make me wish I could stay home.

And then other thoughts make me glad I'm going back to work. I'll start off with my most selfish reason: I want to have an identity outside of "Mom." I've known for my whole life that I want to be a mother. Oh, how I want(ed) to have kids! But I also wanted to do something, be something. I wanted to contribute something to the outside world. So, yes, I'll admit that I selfishly feel like I would be unhappy without some kind of adult, intellectual stimulation in my day. I think I'd go just a little crazy if I spent all day, every day speaking in motherese. I want the title of "Mother" to be a huge part of my life, probably the best part of my life, but I don't want it to be the only part of my life. I'd also like to contribute ideas to projects, to be able to solve problems for the organization, be held to some standards and responsible for something big.

I also think that day care could be a good thing for BabyShock. I visited our selected school twice, sitting in the infant room and observing. I read through the infant "curriculum." I saw the daily schedule for the infants. I just don't think that I have the ability (mentally, emotionally, physically) to provide that kind of developmental support day after day. I don't know if I'd have the discipline to find social interaction time with other kids, teach basic sign language, have educational music time, reading time, exercise time...every single day. Maybe I underestimate myself. I'm sure if I were home every day I would be able to do some great things with the babe. But I also think that the people who work at the school might be able to provide her with a more dependable learning environment than I can provide.

I've already told some people about the plan to return to work after the babe is here. I've already gotten the holier-than-thou people who think I'm doing a terrible thing by essentially abandoning my child to strangers from the street. But I've also come across some people that were very reassuring. These people remind me that different things work for different women, and going with one way of child-rearing isn't a life-long commitment.

I'm sure I'll go through another million cycles of going back and forth on this debate in my head before the baby is born. But still, we're going to try this route and hope that it works as well as I'm planning. I have a good feeling about the school we picked, I've got a full 12 weeks off work, I've got a husband who's helpful and kind... and I'm feeling good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stares at the Casino

One thing I didn’t mention at the end of my reunion post was that, after dinner, a group of us went downstairs to the casino to hang out for a little.

Did you know that pregnant women get stared at A LOT in casinos?

Why is this, do you think? Is it because casinos are associated with drinking and smoking, so people think a pregnant woman shouldn’t be in a casino because it’s bad for the baby? Is it because they think preggies should be home resting and not out at casinos at midnight? Is it because of the smoke? (I’ll admit that the smoke was off-putting. I wasn’t planning on staying if the smoke was as bad as I remember it being in certain Vegas casinos. But I have to admit that – perhaps because this place is so new – they had these little circular vents all over the ground that were pumping fresh air into the place. Sure, there were little pockets that were pretty smokey, but in general I didn’t think it was that bad. I would have left if it’d been bad – get off my back, Mom Police!)

Maybe people were staring because they were adoring my baby bump? Or because I looked smokin’ hot? This is what I will tell myself.

Anyway, we enjoyed a blackjack table for awhile, winning some hands, losing some hands (I ended up doubling my money!). When we’d win we would holler and clap and high-five and act as though we’d just won the big bucks. People would come over to see what all the commotion was about. Pit bosses came over with clipboards to see who the high rollers were that were causing such a scene and maybe taking the house down. Then they all spotted that we were sitting at the $10 table ($10 minimum bet, cheapest in the house) and that we were placing minimum bets. I thought about loudly proclaiming that I’d wished there had been a $5 table to make myself seem even more classy.

Gambling is tough. Winning feels so good…losing feels so very bad. The whole idea behind using chips is genius, having these little brightly colored pieces of plastic (porcelain? What are those made out of anyway?) to throw around makes you a whole lot more reckless than if you were using actual $10 bills. You have to go into the night with a certain amount of money that you would be okay losing and think of it as entertainment. I am paying $60 for the entertainment of playing games all night. If you lose, well, you’d been expecting it. If you win or come out even, you feel pretty darn good.

Sometimes you stop and realize what you’re really doing, which is an odd experience. For example, I get dealt an 11 and I double down. (This is when you have to match the amount of money you already bet with the understanding that you will only get one more card. This is sometimes a good idea when you have an 11 because there’s a fair chance you’ll get a face card – worth 10 – and end up with a 21.) That’s when you realize that you’ve got $20 floating around (that’s enough for a new maternity top! Or a movie date night! Or 20 McDonald’s apple pies!) based only on the hope your next card will be a 10. And this is when you've only made a $10! What if I'd been feeling confident and had put out an original $20?!

Why did I start talking about this again?

Anyway, it was a great time with great friends, made especially good because most of us walked way in the black.

The next morning, while Michael went golfing with my dad and the Out of Towners, Keely and I hung out and caught up. This is a cool little shot Keely took from her phone of my parents' backyard.
Adam and his little family went in the hot tub (it was pool-sized to those adorable little kids) and we all sat around and talked.
I hope none of them were creeped out by the fact that I kept staring at their little girl in her ruffled swim suit dreamily, picturing my own little girl.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reunited and It Feels So Good

My family had the extreme pleasure of having some family friends in town this weekend. You might remember the Avery family from the post about Amy and Erik's wedding, where I mentioned that our two families have been linked since the dawn of time, or what feels that way.
Bob's wife Suzanne started planning a surprise for his birthday, my mom helped do some organizing while the Averys tried to get as many of their number in town as possible. We ate at the glamorous and gorgeous Orange Sky restaurant at the top of the new Talking Stick Resort. Bob showed up expecting to be eating with my parents, me and JP. This was him when he rounded the corner and spotted his in-laws, daughter Keely, son Luke, daughter-in-law Rebecca, grandkids Sam and LiLi (LiLeigh?), plus those mentioned above. Actually, he had the cutest expression and made a loud "Oh!" upon seeing them, but the first picture I got was blurry.

Here's the background on my friendship with Keely. We were born exactly 3 months apart (me on 3/3, her on 6/6) and have been friends since then. (As I remarked earlier this weekend, those first three months of life were rather dull and dreary until she came into my life.) This is us around age 5, I'm guessing. I don't know why I'm so much bigger than her, but I do know why I'm so much better dressed. We only had one really great dress-up outfit, so one person could dress up at a time. The other person was left with a measly crown and wand, hence why Keeks is still wearing the standard kid dress and tights while I look like I'm borrowing an outfit from Jessica Rabbit.
And here we are about 20 years later. One of us is pregnant and the other is living in LA becoming a rich and famous singer of soul!(I'm still much bigger than her, but in this case horizontal instead of vertical.)
I love seeing these guys. We always have a great mix of reminiscing, talking about the present and laughing about the most random stuff.
Luke, JP, me and Keeks.
Suzanne had also planned for another good friend to show up, but he arrived a little later due to flight schedules. Ernie popped up behind Bob and gave him a good surprise.
(Wish I could pinpoint when it was that I started calling my parents' friends by their first names. Growing up it was always Mr. and Mrs. Lastname.)
My dad put Sam in the Cradle of Sleep (changed from its original but more interestingly named Cradle of Death.) Many a youngster has succumbed to sleep in this little hold.
And we sang and ate cake.
And the last of the surprise lineup was when another Avery child showed up - Adam, who used to babysit me and JP all the time as kids. I hadn't seen this guy in over 10 years, probably!
I know Bob looks composed, but I promise that I was always just a little too late in my photo captures. He was totally surprised!Aw!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tragedy in Tucson

I’m sure you’ve heard about the shooting that took place in Tucson this weekend – where a congresswoman was doing a chat-with-the-people type event outside of a grocery store and a 22 year old guy (boy? man? lunatic?) started unloading bullets into the crowd.

I’m still unsure about a lot of the details. I know that he shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords through the head – and miraculously, she’s still alive. I know that a judge was shot and killed. I know that a 9 year-old girl was killed. I don’t know if the shooter was randomly shooting into the crowd or if he was picking out people and shooting them point blank.

You want to hear something sad? The 9 year-old girl had just been elected to student council and was interested in government. She was invited by a neighbor to go to this little rally. She was born on 9/11. Her poor parents. That poor neighbor. That poor girl.

This sucks, guys.

It sucks because we live in an age where you have to consider the danger to your life if you are considering going into politics. It sucks that it is surprising, but not THAT surprising, that a shooting like this could happen. That it is common enough that a shooting is not unheard of, that there are people out there that consider killing other people a reasonable reaction to unhappiness or dissatisfaction.

It sucks that this is what politics feel like. That there are such crazy extremists on both parties that use such threatening vernacular when describing the other side (“fascists,” “socialists,” “communists”). The use of this kind of language can usually be filtered out by people with sound judgment and a mind of their own. (“Okay, is Obama really an Islamic terrorist? I think not.”) But there are people out there that hear this extremist talk and don’t have the mental stability or capacity to recognize that it is just that – extremist. This 22 year-old person was probably insane. The more information that comes out about him points in this direction. So he might have been a wacko that got an idea in his head and took it to the worst place imaginable. And with that, perhaps it wasn’t the hateful feeling behind politics that really set him off. But there are people out there who hear extreme terms like those and feel that they personally are being threatened by a political figure – maybe their freedoms, families or livelihoods are being affected. That kind of fear in the mind of the wrong person can lead to things like this happening.
It sucks that a person could be killed doing something like this. It took place outside of a grocery store. Was someone hit by a stray bullet when they were just running into the store to grab some eggs? Was someone just walking up to see what all the commotion was about? Because this is what it comes down to:

I don’t want to live in a world where I have to be afraid to go to the grocery store. I don’t want to worry about Michael being hit by a stray bullet as he walks through a parking lot in the middle of the day. I don’t want to even consider that I could be shot at if I just wander over to investigate why there is a crowd of people gathering, which is something I like to do. (I was going to write something about what curiosity did to the cat, but it doesn't seem cute anymore.)

I don’t think there is a solution, do you? Gun control wouldn't do it…the criminals and wack jobs out there have their own ways of getting weapons that have nothing to do with securing a permit. Limiting freedom of speech to try to cool down the political hotbed is out of the question unless we want life to imitate those near-future dystopian society novels I love so much. Cracking down on mental health assessment and increasing involuntary institutionalization (a suggestion I heard about on the way to work this morning) might sound like a good idea initially, but it could never be pulled off, plus it just leads to further stigmatization of people needing behavioral health services. Can we blame it on media violence? Irresponsible parenting? Global warming? Stephen King’s Rage?

We can’t blame it on any one thing, so how can we stop it?

When I was a kid I went on field trips. One time I took a trip to downtown Seattle with my 6th grade class to visit a multicultural company, go to an authentic Chinese food restaurant and market and a fortune cookie factory. We also rode the city bus around Seattle. Later that year my entire 6th grade class went on a two-night trip to Camp Seabeck where we were divided into cabins and teams and did all kinds of activities. I cried on the first night because I never wanted to leave.

I'm pretty sure they don't do stuff like this with kids anymore. Will our daughter ever be able to experience things like this? Will she ever be able to test her independence by venturing out on her own, or will the world be too dangerous? Will I let her ride her bike to school when child abductors could be around? Will I let her spend hours in forts she built with her friends a half a mile away?

My poor girl, our poor children. That they have to grow up in a more limited world because it's just not safe enough out there.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A New Year, Some Old Ways

Michael and I spent New Year's at a family friend's house. While I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to stay up 'til 1 am, I was not surprised to find that I am still awkward in most social situations.

Take, for example, one conversation I had with a delightful British couple who I was meeting for the first time. They asked the mandatory question of when I am due.

Me: Oh, end of March.
Her: So that puts you about 6 months along?
Me: Well, 7 I guess. I'm 28 weeks, which is about 7 months, right?
Him: But you're due in March?
Me: Yeah, it's weird because you're actually pregnant closer to 10 months. You know, the duration of pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is closer to 10 months. Which is also weird because it counts the first two weeks of pregnancy when you're not actually pregnant yet, so...
(At this point I realize I'm on the verge of lecturing the poor people about ovulation dates and luteal phases and conception timelines. I panic and decide to try to charm them with an airy dismissive giggle.)
Me: So, yeah, I guess I'm 7 months along but (cough) have 3 more to go. I don't know. I don't know how it works.
They stare at me with wide-eyed wonder. I can only imagine that they think I'm either incredibly stupid or insane.
Me: But yes, I'm due in March! Can't wait!

So, if you were worried that pregnancy has bestowed upon me a certain social grace, worry not! Still as awkward as ever!

Here I am with Lyndsey, who is about 4 weeks behind me in her own pregnancy!
And Michael and I with our New Years hats on!
You might remember my post from last year about the British tradition of the men all bringing in the New Year from outside. They did again this year, but not until after the countdown due to some poor timing on all of our parts. We even withstood the cold (since when did it get down to 35' in Phoenix?!) to light some sparklers. Don't tell the Feds, we're still not sure if these were legal or not. Happy New Year to you!