Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ultrasound update :)

TLDR version: Everything is excellent.

Long chronological version:

We arrived for my 9:15 appointment at about 9:11. When I signed in, there was nobody ahead of me on the sheet whose name hadn't been marked out, so I figured the wait wouldn't be long.

After what was indeed a relatively short time, I was called back but told I needn't bring my husband, which was confusing. After I'd already come back, the medical assistant explained that I was just going to get weighed and such and then I'd go back out. Okay, I didn't need my husband's help for that.

I weighed 193, so 6 pounds up from last time (which was 4.5 weeks ago) and 10 pounds up overall (which is perfectly normal for 21 weeks). It's a little weird, because I always figured I'd be one of those "Yay, I get to gain 30 pounds without any lectures!" pregnant women, but instead I catch myself thinking about getting back on track to get into shape after the baby's born and not wanting to gain too much. I'm probably still going to gain 30 pounds, because I love to eat and the baby needs nutrients, but I'm taking it much more seriously than I thought I would.

Then my blood pressure was 130/80, which the medical assistant didn't like. She asked if I had anything causing me stress and I said I was probably just nervous about the ultrasound and she could feel free to take my blood pressure again afterwards if she was worried. She declined, so apparently it wasn't that high by whatever standard they use. (Wikipedia says hypertension doesn't start until 140/90, for what it's worth.)

After all the usual beginning-of-appointment stuff, I was sent back to the lobby. Another couple had come in while I was gone and the male half of the couple was sitting in the chair I had vacated. I just stood next to Scott's chair (at the end of the row), but the man got up and moved so I could sit down, which was quite gentlemanly of him.

It was another relatively short wait before we were called back for the ultrasound. "Can I bring my husband this time?" I asked, and the medical assistant laughed and said, "Sure."

So we went back to the ultrasound room and the tech (a middle-aged woman) came in and introduced herself and I hopped obligingly on the table, assisted in rearranging my clothing, and complained loudly about the gel. I don't complain about cold gel, because I'm expecting it, but when you put your ultrasound gel in a warming tray until it gets HOT, I'm going to be a little surprised when you squirt huge gobs of it onto my skin.

But I didn't have long to complain about that, because the tech asked us our opinions on "finding out" ("Sure, if the baby cooperates.") and then we got to the part with the BABY. I think my hypothesis that Baby Zumba starts at 10:00 was right, because it was about 9:30 (perhaps a little later) at this point, and the baby was just kind of chilling. I didn't have time to worry about lack of movement, though, because I could see the little heart going glub-glub as it should. (I said later on that the heart looked like a fish, and the tech said a lot of people say that.)

We managed to get a good look at the baby's profile (Tech: "There's a hand under the chin...a little thinker." Scott: "That's not surprising."), though the still picture the tech took wasn't as good because partway through the baby apparently started to wake up from naptime and was waving and squirming.

Then we got a few shots of the face, which the baby didn't like at all. Seriously, he started punching at the ultrasound wand with his tiny little fists. I found it hilarious.

Then the tech moved down (relative to the baby's body; up relative to mine) and said, "That looks like a boy." (As you might have guessed from my use of pronouns in the last paragraph.) She didn't give us a percentage or anything, but she also didn't phrase it like she was hazarding a guess, so. Grain of salt, etc. (I think people are less likely to go crazy buying gendered stuff for little boys anyway. It's not as frilly and pink and cute.) She labeled the picture she took "Boy parts", which I thought was funny. It seems like an ultrasound tech would be a little more...medical...in her terminology, but I guess not.

After that, the tech moved on to the "boring" measuring-things part. First she measured the the baby's skull, which was difficult because he had squeezed in right on top of my bladder. (Probably trying to hide from the paparazzi.) Still, she managed it, and pronounced his brain perfectly normal.

(Side note: At my own anatomy scan, 24 years ago last week, it took two techs and a doctor to get a good shot of my brain. Tad comes from uncooperative stock, apparently.)

(Is he going to be upset we didn't get a video? Probably not. He gets six pictures and a blog post, at any rate, and there certainly weren't blog posts around 24 years ago.)

(I thought about asking if we could video and then decided it would interfere with our ability to enjoy the moment. Not to mention, "cheap digital camera taking video of a TV screen" is not exactly going to produce a keepsake.)

The tech moved on from his brain to his spine (also perfectly normal) and then to his heart. I thought I had been able to count four chambers myself, but I waited until she wrote "4 CH" on the screen to say, "Good, baby knows how to count" to Scott. "The heart is supposed to have four chambers and he has four," I further explained. The tech just ignored me until she was done looking, at which point she pronounced his heart also perfect. Then she looked at his kidneys and didn't say anything, which worried me, but those turned out to be perfect too. Apparently she thought we wouldn't care about kidneys.

(I was mildly disappointed that we didn't get a copy of the "4 CH" picture. I know, most people are fascinated by faces and tiny "boy parts", but his little beating heart was the first recognizable part of him I ever saw, 15 weeks ago, and I'm a little fond of it.)

Then she zoomed out a bit and counted his arms and legs (and probably his fingers and toes too, but not aloud) and measured his femur bones, and then zoomed in on his feet. At that point, she had the wand up above my belly button (and to the right; don't most people have righty uteri?), which was amazing because I didn't know the baby was up that high yet. He was kneading his little feet against the top of my uterus, which I thought was the most adorable thing I'd ever seen in my life. (I still think so.) We could see his little toes very distinctly, but of course they got blurry when the tech tried to take a picture.

There were also a few times when she turned on the mode that allows you to see blood flow. (It looks like a radar map.) The only thing Scott and I found out from that is that he has a three-vessel cord, as he should, but I think she might have also checked blood flow to the kidneys and stuff.

After she turned the ultrasound machine off, the tech looked at her little printout of measurements and said that Tad was measuring 9 days ahead (1 lb. 1 oz. and about 10.5 inches; I remember the weight exactly but am fuzzier on the length) and asked if I normally had 28 day cycles. I laughed at her (yes, I'm mean) and explained that I have PCOS, I don't have a "normally." Then I further mentioned that I knew from charting that I had ovulated a few days early during the cycle I conceived, which would allow for Tad to be up to 3 days ahead of the LMP due date, and I didn't think another 6 days ahead of that was a big deal.

(In general I use my ovulation due date, but at the OB's office I use LMP, because who doesn't want an extra 3 days on their lease before they get evicted?)

The tech was not impressed by my math and asked skeptically if I'd had any other ultrasounds. I had. With this pregnancy? Yes, with this pregnancy I'd had three. She asked if they were done at the OB's office. Two were, and one was at a local hospital. I further added that the first one had been done when I would have expected to be 6 weeks and 5 days based on ovulation and sure enough the baby measured exactly 6 weeks and 5 days.

Apparently she gave up arguing with me after that, because she gave us our long string of pictures and sent us back to the waiting room again. 

We got called back for the third time around 10:05 (so the ultrasound didn't take very long at all) and sat around making fun of articles in baby magazines until 10:30, when the nurse practitioner finally came for my regular appointment. We discussed the ultrasound (normal normal normal normal). The placenta is apparently Grade 1, which she said was good. (I've since Googled it, and yes, it's good for this stage of pregnancy.) I've found that comforting, given my progesterone issues. She also told me that the placenta was anterior, which is within the range of normal, of course, but can account for not feeling as much fetal movement as the lucky ladies who have posterior placentas. It actually makes a lot of sense, because when I feel movement it's always really low. I assumed that's just where the baby was, but no, he's got feet up by my bellybutton that I can't feel because he's just kicking away at the placenta. The movements I do feel must be his head and fists bumping around below the bottom edge of the placenta.

(Side note, because I just remembered it: The tech seemed to think it was a big deal that Tad was head down. Personally, I'm not taking any bets based on his position at 21 weeks. My sister was a big baby and managed to flip from breech at 37 or 38 weeks [much to Mom's relief], so he's got plenty of room to flip a few times before birth.)

We discussed a few questions I had about vitamins and childbirth classes and what have you, and then I circled back around to the due date conversation. The tech didn't think Tad's size was a big deal, certainly not worth moving my due date. I said that I wasn't worried about having a big baby, although I was conscious of the risk of gestational diabetes because it can lead to kidney problems and such. (This is why I care about kidneys, silent ultrasound tech.)

The nurse practitioner agreed that yeah, skipping the glucose tolerance test would not be a good idea, but she doesn't think I have to worry about the baby getting kidney damage or anything since she's sure if I did get diagnosed with gestational diabetes I'd be "right on top of it." I agreed.

(I've since looked up the official GD diet and think it's ridiculous, but that's a rant for another day.)

Then we were done and I used the restroom again and made an appointment for the end of August and we went on our merry way. I drove Scott down to his office, since it was too late for him to catch the commuter bus (we left the doctor's office around 11:00). This gave us a nice opportunity to debrief, which mostly involved semi-officially naming the baby. (It's not official-official until it's on the birth certificate.) No, we're not telling. We want something to be a surprise when he's born.

(Translation: We don't want to hear your opinions on the name until it's too late for us to pick something different.)

I don't have a good way to wrap this up, so: We're very happy. The end.

P.S. My mother-in-law was actually the first in-law to reply. She says Tad looks like me in profile. I'll take it. :)
(I'll probably post pictures, but not today, because I'd have to edit them for identifying information and all that and I need to get to bed, but I wanted to update the 2 of you who aren't my Facebook friends.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Texas Beef Skillet

My mother somehow acquired this recipe while she lived in Texas. It's very amenable to substitutions, but what you see here is what I do. (For example, you could save yourself a lot of time and effort by using canned beans and instant rice.) 

2/3 cup dried kidney beans (about 2 cups cooked)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup brown rice
2 cans diced tomatoes (29 ounces total--because you can't get 32 ounces anymore)
2 tablespoons minced dried onion
1 tablespoon chili powder

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
12 ounces (1 bag) nacho chips

1. Soak and cook the beans according to package directions. (This might require starting the night before.)

2. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. (I have one that's 12' in diameter and it works well.)

3. While the beef is browning, cook the rice.

4. Once those are both done, add the beans, rice, tomatoes, onion, and chili powder to the skillet with the beef. Let simmer for a while.

5. Stir in cheddar cheese just before serving. Eat with chips.

Note the first: I am reasonably certain that in the past I have skipped the step in which I cook the rice separately...it cooks in the tomato juice, if you're patient. However, I will have to verify that in real life and amend the recipe if it's true.

Note the second: I'm adding "gluten free" to my recipe tags because one of my brothers-in-law has celiac. Read labels, don't take my word for anything, etc.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

On Involuntary Lenten Penances and Avengers

I wrote this months ago and never posted it. I'm doing so now because I need it today. Maybe somebody else does too.

This Lent, God pointed out to me in various ways that I need to figure out how to be angry in ways that don't  cause serious problems for people around me.

I was, amusingly enough, inspired by the whole Avengers franchise. (Or rather, it gave me a narrative framework on which to hang the ideas I was going to get anyway.) See, Bruce Banner spends most of his little story arc trying to make the Hulk stay away...trying to avoid doing anything that might get him the least bit angry or excited, lest the Hulk come out. But eventually he has to learn how to use the Hulk rather than just repress it, so he can save the world and stuff.

I don't turn into an invincible green monster when I get angry, but just trust me when I say it's not pretty anyway. I've spent a good long while trying to just not get angry...people do annoying things, and I just ignore it, let it go...except not really. It just got stuffed into a sort of mental closet, until after a while the mental closet wouldn't be able to hold anything else and its contents would all spill out at once in a jumbled and dangerous mess. I was aware that this was a problem, but no amount of schooling myself to really, truly let things go helped.

Then I read a book called Boundaries. I didn't like a lot of things about this book (that's a topic for another time, though) but one idea that I found very helpful was this: When you get angry, it's because somebody violated a boundary that you have. Whether your boundary is reasonable or not is a different matter, but anger itself is a healthy defense mechanism.

So I started asking God to help me use being angry as a way of defending whatever it was that was being attacked. This was helpful both on an emotional and a practical level. First, I didn't stew in my anger as much because I could channel it into something productive. Second, I actually got stuff done. Have I mentioned before that in real life I'm debilitatingly shy? (I've never been officially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, but I probably could be.) Except when I'm angry. When I'm angry, I make PHONE CALLS and everything. Like a boss.

The use-my-anger method worked a lot of the time, but I still ran into problems. The other day, I found myself getting angry at Scott for not getting up in the morning as quickly as I would have liked. Now, I'm not saying it's unreasonable to get a little cross with somebody in that sort of situation, but getting so angry you can't think straight in the space of 10 minutes because your spouse is getting out of bed more slowly than usual is not really inside the realm of "normal." That's like bursting into tears because the underpaid fast food worker didn't ask if you wanted mayonnaise on your sandwich-that-usually-comes-with-mayonnaise. (Oh, wait. I've done that too.)

Yet instead of trying to argue with myself about how my anger was unreasonable and over-the-top and I should just STOP IT, I simply asked, "What thing are you afraid of that's at the root of the fact that you're getting angry now?"

And I was able to answer myself instantly: I'm afraid of getting erased.

That might not make sense to anybody who lives outside my head, so let me explain: It's very, very important to me that people listen to me, acknowledge my opinions as valid, etc. (Quality Time is my primary love language. It's not even that I like talking to people. I just like having people who wait around just in case I should happen to say something, because they think I have things worth saying.)

When people don't take my opinions into account or even acknowledge that I spoke to them, I get upset. It's not a matter of, "I wanted to get pizza instead of going to that place that makes nasty mayonnaise sandwiches, and now I am sulking." It's more a matter of, "You did not acknowledge my personhood and now I feel like I don't have any." Because if nobody can see you or hear me, I must not exist, right? Except I know that I exist, so I'm going to pitch a fit until you also notice that I exist as a person with thoughts and opinions and feelings and desires that are different from your own.

The insight I got the other day is that asserting my own personal autonomy doesn't mean I get to trample on other people's. Yes, I would like to have some measure of control over what happens to me. So would my husband. A big part of living in community is negotiating the boundary line between "I can do whatever I want because I'm a human being with free will" and "I don't get to do whatever I want because you're a human being with free will." I don't have an unlimited right to make people do what I want them to do, like breathing chess pieces, because sometimes they want to do other things, and they don't like being bossed any more than I do. (This is assuming communal relations between equals; communal relations between legitimate authorities and their subjects--such as an adult and a toddler--would take another whole post to explore.)

This doesn't mean that I have a solution for every single conflict ever, but I feel like I've made some kind of progress, realizing that one of the things that makes me angry is feeling like my personal autonomy is being disregarded--and realizing that when I get angry, that's exactly what I'm doing to other people.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes Volume 4


I feel like this post is going to be kind of boring, because the anatomy scan isn't until Monday...at which point there will finally be PICTURES again. I got super spoiled by having 3 ultrasounds in the first 13 weeks; I miss pictures.

So, yeah. 72 hours until confirmation of continued not-dead-ness and hopefully confirmation of all organ systems being present and appropriately sized and all that. I'm a little edgy.

I probably won't update here until Tuesday or Wednesday or so, because I ought to email the grandparents (with PICTURES) and allow them the opportunity to acknowledge receipt before I go blabbing all over the internet. It doesn't usually take long to get a response from my father-in-law and my mother, though, at which point I consider the email received and go on my merry way.

(My mother-in-law owes a lot of her pregnancy in-the-loop-ness to her husband. He's much more the bubbly extroverted type--in a manly way--so it occurs to him to tell me that he wants to see ultrasound pictures...so he gets them, and I include my mother-in-law in the emails while I'm at it. She's much more the type who would want ultrasound pictures but not ask and then get all sad because I don't send any.)

(I am an extreme introvert. I pretty much never "push" any kind of social interaction on other people, even obviously welcome social interactions like ultrasound pictures to grandparents. You have to "pull" the interaction out of me by asking or demanding or otherwise indicating that you would like it. It's a trait I'm working on moderating, but I haven't gotten very far yet.)

The other day, Scott accidentally fell asleep on the couch. I must admit I very much enjoyed having the whole bed to myself and my growing collection of pillows. The whole pillow situation is seriously getting out of hand.

Relatedly, I wish there was a way to send a memo to my spine and hipbones and sciatic nerves (especially the sciatic nerves) that they are less than halfway done and it's only going to get worse, so there's no sense in complaining now. 

(I'm counting 22 weeks as halfway, because I wasn't even pregnant during weeks 0 and 1, and I'm not expecting to be un-pregnant again until 42 weeks. Babies run late in my maternal line; I'd be setting myself up for disappointment if I saw the due date as a deadline.)

I'm still feeling the urge to DO THINGS before the baby comes, but I've been more successful in channeling that urge into non-sciatic-nerve-using activities like making lists. I love making lists. It's my favoritest thing ever.

For example, a few days ago I stayed up past my bedtime making a list of meals that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen...'cause of course LATER I'm going to have the time and energy to make all these things on top of all the normal cooking that I do. Uh-huh. But that doesn't matter because LISTS ARE FUN. Anyone have good ideas for space-efficient freezer meals?

I've also been making a list of things that need to be done once a year or once every six months or some such. You know, going to the dentist, getting the car's oil changed, that sort of thing. That way I don't get blindsided by my car running out of oil as I cruise down the highway, because my new-mom brain forgot that cars don't just run forever as long as you put gas in them.

Incidentally, so far November and December are predictably packed. There are a lot of birthdays (in order: Matthew's, mine, Tad's [probably], Mr. Cobbler's, EEB's, EYB's) and holidays (Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas). Plus the DMV has this convenient and yet not so convenient habit of making my car registration and drivers' license and such due for renewal on my birthday. It's easy to remember, sure, but who wants to wait in line at the DMV when they could be making themselves a birthday cake instead? Nobody, that's who.

On the plus side, January and February are pretty sparse thus far in terms of recurring events. I'm due for another dentist appointment in January (I just went this week after 2 years of avoiding it. Go me! You'll hear more of that story some other time.), and I should probably get my husband on the same schedule (He can make sure nobody steals the baby while I get my teeth cleaned! I only just realized that!), but otherwise there's a whole lot of nothing. Which is good, because I recall from this past year that we have no money or energy left after the holidaypalooza of November and December, and I bet we'll be even shorter on both of those things this year.

In the books, they tell you that you should start feeling baby move sometime between 16 and 22 weeks in a first pregnancy. (I think that was what the books said, anyhow.) So around 18 weeks I started getting impatient. I reminded myself that I got impatient about "showing" around 13 weeks and by 16 weeks was obviously pregnant-looking (at least according to my mother), so I should wait it out.

And lo, a few days later I started getting discernible movements almost every day. Sometimes very slight movements, sometimes "That's sweet, but WHY are you headbutting me as hard as you can, child?" movements. I didn't post about them last time because I didn't want to end up finding out the baby had died or something and opening myself up to mockery because I projected loving thoughts towards gas bubbles or muscle twitches. But now I'm thinking you probably wouldn't do that. In fact, you all probably think I'm weird for my stance of "Act as if the baby is probably dead unless you have firm evidence to the contrary." 'Cause optimism is unseemly in pregnant women, or something.

Side note: Sometimes I try to provoke the baby with sugar. It rarely works. Ben & Jerry's Phish Food got me a whole lot of nothing. Either I accidentally sent my child into a sugar coma, or he/she is unimpressed by chocolate. To forestall the latter possibility, I'm going to have to be vigilant about prenatal exposure, because one chocolate-indifferent person per household is plenty.

(Of course, Scott would probably love to have somebody with whom he can share the delights of rainbow sherbet, but I am not eating any of that just for the sake of broadening the baby's palate. He'll have to wait until it's a toddler and can eat dessert on its own behalf to start his counter-propaganda.)

Went to therapy today. I don't have much to say about it, but since I told you to pester me if I didn't update, I'm updating.

(Scott did Google-fu and found a guy 10 minutes away who specializes in anxiety disorders. And he did not ask me if I've ever tried just not being anxious, so he might be legit.)

Just got the news that my progesterone was 53 yesterday. Dr. M wants me to try zero progesterone supplementation again; he "expects" that it will go up again in two weeks. I refrained from getting too pedantic about how given the ups and downs so far, I expect nothing. I'm going to take his advice, though. I would have preferred at least 55, to put me in Zone 3 again, but tracking with the curve and blah blah blah. Somebody might need to hold my hand, though. *holds out hands expectantly*

Also, we didn't have to have an argument about my slow-weaning protocol. Apparently he got my message from two weeks ago and tried to have his staff give me a message back saying "Sure, go ahead and do that", but they did not succeed in passing it along; all they told me was that he was out of the office all week and could not be contacted. Rebel that I am, I decided to do what I thought best and if he had a problem with that, well, that's what you get for going on vacation.

(I'm not actually very rebellious. I hate going against authority figures. But sometimes my fear of Bad Things Happening overcomes my fear of disapproval.)

So, pictures! For comparison, see 12 and 16 weeks here.

First, a random 19-week picture because my mother wanted me to take pictures of the maternity clothes she bought me. This is the only one I have so far. Bad me.

Second, the official 20-week picture (actually taken at 20 weeks and 1 day), in which I am wearing a non-maternity dress that somehow still fits.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vacation Snippets

My grandmother turned 80 at the end of May; starting last fall or so, my aunt started planning a birthday bash. We discussed a few different places, but ended up settling on Williamsburg, Virginia. (We had gone there for Grandma's 70th birthday as well.)

The trip was set for the weekend of June 22, almost a month after Grandma's actual birthday. I'm assuming it's because the little kids would be out of school and such by then. (For that matter, a lot of the "big kids" are in college/medical school/what have you.)


The original vacation plan had been for Scott and I to drive up to my parents' house on Wednesday night (June 19) so that the whole lot of us could leave for Virginia on Thursday morning.

Then on Monday Matthew started throwing up and running a fever, and the whole plan got thrown into confusion. At one point Mom was thinking that she'd have to stay home with Matthew while the rest of us went to Williamsburg.

Fortunately, Matthew's illness was short-lived. By Wednesday night he had been symptom-free for 24 hours, but of course my family hadn't done a bit of packing (and, to be honest, neither had we), so we revised the plan.

Scott and I were, according to the revised plan, supposed to leave our place at 8:00 Thursday morning so we could arrive at my parents' house at 9:30 so we could all leave by 10:00.

Scott decided he needed a shower, so we didn't leave until 8:30. We pulled into my parents' driveway at 10:00 on the dot.

Then we ended up entertaining Matthew and Teresa while my family got a whole bunch of stuff together. (In their defense, they brought all the food. And there are five of them and only three of us, and one of the three of us doesn't need any luggage. So they had much more packing to do.) We actually pulled out of the driveway at about noon, and then had to stop by Dad's plant to get ice, and then had to stop by McDonalds to get lunch, so we didn't actually get on the highway until about 12:45.

You should read that last part with little chords of doom playing in the background.


Teresa has this habit: Whenever we set out on a trip (even a small one), she counts how many people are in the car. I don't know why; she just likes it.

So that's what she did as we finally started on our voyage. Pointed to Dad: One. To Mom: Two. To me: Three. To my belly: Four. To Scott: Five. And so on until she got to eight total.

The cute part is number four, obviously.


At one point during the packing-up rush, my mom made Andrea clean something, and to head off any grumbling said, "At least it's not cat poop." Somebody (it might have been me), suggested that should be the motto of our trip.

So for the rest of the weekend, whenever things got frustrating, somebody would yell, "AT LEAST IT'S NOT CAT POOP!"

We like to keep it classy in my family.


My dad got some kind of free GPS app for his phone (it's worth every penny he paid for it, as you will see over the course of this story). Mom and I decided it needed a name, some kind of Seventies Sitcom Secretary name, and settled on Ethel.

After many, many, many hours of driving, we finally got off the highway and were driving around looking for the resort where we were supposed to be staying. Ethel tried to tell us that the resort was down this tiny gravel dead-end road with about 5 houses on it. We were pretty sure she was wrong.

We ended up calling my aunt at 1 a.m. (God bless her for answering...) and asking for directions. She got us there with a minimum of fuss, and we hauled ourselves and our stuff into our condo, went to our separate rooms, and slept like the dead.


My aunt owns a share in a condo at this particular resort, so she got discounted rates for all of us. (Scott and I stayed for free because my parents pretended that they were going to get the bigger condo anyway.) She apparently never actually stays there--because when you live in northern Virginia already you don't need a condo in Williamsburg--but she trades her timeshare for timeshares in other places.


Quote from my sister Teresa, aged 6.5: "Mommies know almost everything. Only Jesus knows everything."


I could write a whole post just on Matthew's language development at 19 months, but here's my favorite little snippet: He would wake up before everyone else in the morning, so Mom would take him into the common area and alternate between making breakfast and keeping him from playing with the fireplace. Anyway, whenever anyone woke up and came into the common area, he'd chirp a cheerful "Awo!" ("Hello!") at them before going back to his business.

Also, he apparently has this cute but heartbreaking habit of saying, "Mama? ... Mama? ... Mama?" whenever he's not within sight of our mother. (Dad took him to the playground or the pool or whatever a few times.)


Napping on a nest of couch cushions.
On Friday (our first day at the resort), we mostly lay around like slugs. Dad took the littles to the playground and ran into his brother M and M's grandson Z. So he came back a little while later and cheerfully announced that he'd left Teresa at the playground, which made us all give him the side-eye. (She's responsible enough to play in the backyard or on the front porch without immediate supervision, but not to be left down the street in an unfamiliar place.) So then Dad revealed that she was with M and Z, and we still gave him the side-eye, because Z sounds like one of those boys who gives Teresa a run for her money energy-wise, and nobody should have to be solely responsible for TWO such children. (Incidentally, Teresa LOVED running around in a pack with all our first-cousins-once-removed, several of whom are about her age.)

Towards evening we got some of our energy back, so we rotated in and out of the condo where Grandma was staying with Aunt K (the one who arranged the whole weekend) and got to have some nice visiting time. I think Andrea even scored a free dinner.


Uncle R: "So, do you know what you're having?"

Me: "I'm pretty sure it's human."

Everyone: [laughs]

Scott: "I keep trying to get her to say that we think it's Vulcan."




At some point we sorted out among ourselves the fact that Grandma wanted to go to Jamestown on Saturday morning but that Aunt K didn't really want to go because she'd already been earlier that week (and nobody else wanted to go either). We did want to go, so we crammed ourselves into the van even more tightly, picked up Grandma, and went off to Jamestown.

On a boat
I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been dealing with the tail end of "Let's have a week of really bad morning sickness at the start of the second trimester!" (Remember when my progesterone shot up by 20 points in 2 weeks? Yeah, I could tell.) As it was, it was hot and there were lots of small spaces and authentic dead animal skins and I was just kind of done after a while.

Teresa pretty much wanted to live there, though. At one point, she was on one of the ships in the harbor (I am not sure if they are authentic historical ships or reproductions) and she snuggled into one of the very tiny bunks and said that she wanted a bunk like this, and she could take the iPad and close the little blanket curtain and it would be fun.

I told her I'm pretty sure they didn't have iPads in the 1600s.


Saturday was Scott's actual birthday, though we had celebrated it the week before. While we were at Jamestown, my grandmother gave him a card. She's kind of adorable like that.



After our excursion, we all retired to our condo and took naps. Okay, maybe a couple of the grown-ups didn't nap, but I don't know because I was sleeping.

Then in the evening we went back over to Grandma's condo and had her birthday party. We were smart to hang out with her beforehand; the party was fun but there wasn't a lot of opportunity for one-on-one interactions.

At one point, my cousin N was talking about her 5-year-old son (the aforementioned Z). "He made up his own language," she said. "Who does that?"

Scott: "I know a lot of people who do that."

Me: "Scott has five brothers, so he knows just about every variation of 'little boy' imaginable."

N: *admiration*


After dinner we did pictures...all the grandchildren, all the great-grandchildren, etc. Then it started to rain, so we went inside and did more pictures. We managed to get a picture of my dad and all 5 of his siblings with their mother, which hasn't happened since Grandma's 70th, in 2003. (And before that, not since my grandfather's funeral in 1988.) There were, of course, vague comments about how they'd have to all get together again sometime before Grandma's 90th birthday.

Oh, and there was one picture of "The 10s": My grandmother was 80, my uncle M was 60, my dad was 50, Cousin N was 40, other cousins were 30 and 20, and then cousins-once-removed were 10 and 0. (Baby S was just born in March and got a LOT of attention from everybody.)

There were a few comments about how it's too bad my baby wasn't exactly photogenic, since he/she's 0 too this year. I jokingly promised Grandma that for her 90th I would make sure to have a baby before the birthday party.

(Uncle M thought that having a 9-year-old and a baby would be kind of different--and said this in front of my dad, who once had a 24-year-old and a baby. I replied lightly that of course there would be a couple more kids in between.)


When you have three older sisters, sometimes you 
get dressed as an Indian princess against your will.


One king-sized bed fits two babies. It's SCIENCE.
On Sunday we slept in until forever and then went to the pool (I got very burnt despite liberal application of sunscreen) and then lounged around and then piled into the van to attend a 5 p.m. Mass that we had found on Masstimes.org (and verified by means of the parish's website).

Well, what they didn't tell you on the parish website was that this church was closed during the summer. The sign on the locked door did direct us to another parish where the 5 p.m. Mass was actually held, though.

So we piled back into the van and entered the address of the other parish into our GPS and set off.

We never found it, though. At about 5:20 we finally gave up and went back, figuring that we'd made two whole attempts to fulfill our Sunday obligation and it really wasn't our fault that parishes closed without warning or hid from the GPS.

It's been a month and I'm still disappointed, though.


On Monday we actually managed to start our drive back at about 8:30 a.m. Of course, we were delayed when, about an hour later, one of our bungee cords broke and my duffel bag almost fell off the van. Dad had to spend a tense few minutes on the side of the highway fixing things, and then everybody was jumpy for the rest of the ride. (Teresa was particularly worried--she had her beloved Jaguar in the van with her, but Easter Bunny was in her duffel on the roof. She made sure we all knew that she would be very very sad if Easter Bunny got lost forever.)

Fortunately, we still managed to get back to my parents' house with all our stuff still in our possession. Scott and I transferred our things from the van to our car, used the restroom, got some food, said goodbye, and headed out. I think we got home around 10:15, which was terrible in that we basically spent 14 hours in the car (!!) but good in that we managed to fall into bed and get a decent night's sleep before Scott had to go to work the next morning.


I'm sure I'm leaving lots of stuff out and telling other bits very badly, but better a long, rambly, and yet incomplete post than no post at all, right?


Related: My mother's much shorter post

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

40 Bags for 40 Weeks, Parts 1, 2, and 3

A week or two ago, I invented a decluttering challenge for myself, inspired by the whole 40 Bags for 40 Days thing everybody loves to do during Lent. (I think the concept originated here.) Then this post gave me the kick in the pants (or the maternity skirt) necessary to actually get started.

So. My goal is to get rid of 40 "bags" of stuff by the time the baby comes. Since I'm already 20 weeks and change, this actually means something like 2 "bags" per week rather than 1. I think I'll manage. I have a lot of junk.

My first target was our bathroom cabinet. Our bathroom looks like this:

Really, that's the whole thing. Right there. Except there's a towel rod across from the toilet with just enough room for 2 bath towels and a hand towel. Not a lot of storage space, as you can see. So there really isn't any justification for having stuff in there that we don't use.

Underneath the sink, there was a gallon-sized ziploc full of things I brought from home when I got married and have never used since. It's been almost 20 months since our wedding, so...yeah. Probably not going to use those things ever, am I?

Things I got rid of:

Two open (used?) toothbrushes. Gross.

A grimy contact case.

A stained hair tie. (Those things are like 5 cents apiece at Wal-Mart. We're not so poor that I need to keep a functional but discolored one.)

A couple of old razors that are probably rusty or something gross. (The "W" is actually an M; my mother used to get a big package of cheap razors for my sister and me and distinguish them by writing our initials on them.)

A box of disposable contact lenses. It pains me to get rid of these, but those things have expiration dates; no sense keeping 2- or 3-year-old lenses and giving myself an eye infection. If I decide to wear contacts again, I'll get my prescription updated and get new ones.

Two bottles of contact cleaner. Same justification as above, with an added "cheap to replace" factor.

A can of old shaving cream. It's probably rusty or something, plus I don't really shave my legs ever.

Things I kept: Toothpaste, contact cases that weren't nasty looking, a barette, old glasses (because out-of-date glasses are better than none when you're as nearsighted as I am), an unopened toothbrush, and a baggie of bobby pins. I never use bobby pins, but apparently I find the idea of putting my hair up all fancy-like less foreign than the idea of shaving my legs on the regular. I'm weird like that.

The bonus of making this pregnancy-linked is that as I throw things away/donate them/whatever, I can imagine replacing them with corresponding baby items. Like, I just made room for a bulb aspirator and some baby shampoo and...whatever. Note to self: Figure out if babies need toiletries.


Part 2:

I went through that basket you see on the back of the toilet and threw out a few overstretched hair ties and a similarly useless headband. Those things cost like 20 cents apiece at Wal-Mart; no reason to keep them past their prime.


Part 3:

I went through my underwear drawer and threw away a bunch of things--if it was worn out and I had a replacement for it, I threw it away. I need to buy some new things and then go through again and throw away more worn out things.

You don't get pictures. That's gross. It came out to about 17 items total, though.

I think the baby equivalent of underwear is diapers. Hey, Conversion Diary readers, has anybody cloth diapered in an apartment with coin-op laundry? I want to know how crazy I am for even considering it. (They're so CUTE!)

I'm counting myself as having discarded 3 "bags" total, because the 3 days came out to more than 30 individual items. So there. My "bags" will get more impressively bulky when I start ditching clothes-I-never-wear. There are a LOT of those.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Car Saga

A week ago today, I used up my last packet of dishwasher soap.

This was a problem, so on Wednesday I decided to expand the scope of my Southern Errands a little bit. You see, normally on Wednesdays I go to the library and then the gas station. On Thursdays I do my Eastern Errands...Meijer, Aldi, Kroger.

There is another Aldi to the south, plus a Wal-Mart. I decided to go to Wal-Mart and get name brand dishwasher soap, because our dishes are never very clean and I wondered if store-brand dishwasher soap was the culprit. While I was down that way, I got a few groceries. I didn't make a detailed list; I just noticed we were out of bread and orange juice and stuff and so I bought those things at the South Aldi.

Then I went to get gas, and when I started up my car after filling it up, it started shaking. I was only about a mile away from home, so I made a very rattly drive back. Then I ate lunch and took a nap. Then I called AAA.

(What? It's not like I had to be anywhere, and nobody wants to wait for AAA while they're all hungry and sleepy.)

The AAA phone person thought it sounded like the transmission, so I ended up getting the car towed to Name Brand Auto Shop, because NBAS is only 0.3 miles away from my apartment, so I can walk back and forth. Walkability is important when, you know, your car is broken.

NBAS wouldn't even be able to diagnose the car until 2 hours later, and it was 2:30 in the afternoon at this point, so I called Scott and told him he'd have to find an alternative way to get home. (I had also called him right before I called AAA, to give him a heads up.) Fortunately, Oldest Younger Brother had nothing better to do that afternoon and was able to pick Scott up at the bus stop and drop him off.

Shortly before Scott got home, NBAS called and said that the spark plugs were bad and oh by the way we should also replace the catalytic converter. That would be $1200, please.

I said I'd think it over and politely wrapped up the conversation. Then I cried.

(Hormonal, remember? And $1200 buys a lot of baby stuff.)

Fortunately, Scott set up the system a few months back to enable working from home. (This wasn't always an option, which is unfortunate because there was this one time he had a cold and stayed home for a week out of a selfless desire to not contaminate everyone with his germs. There were a good 2-3 days during which he would have been healthy enough to work, if not for the contagious issue.) Anyway, we decided that on Thursday he would work from home and also call around and get car stuff figured out. Because that's how we do division of labor in our marriage. I cook almost all the meals (except when I'm having morning sickness, and then Scott steps up admirably) and do almost all the dishes, and grocery shop, and etc., and Scott cleans the bathroom and Deals With People.

(I don't know how he got the bathroom job, but that's how it happened.)

So that's what happened. Scott consulted with Name Brand Auto Shop to make sure he understood the issue, and then consulted with a family friend who knows about cars, and then we accidentally consulted with Scott's dad as well. See, I needed to buy food (because, as you recall, the Wednesday trip had just been picking up a few odds and ends), so I called Scott's mother to ask whether there would be any time on Friday during which I could perhaps borrow a car, or hitch a ride to the store, or something. Somehow, over the course of the conversation we got onto what was wrong with my car, and Scott's dad did some Phone Backseat Driving (you know, where you say things to the person on the phone intending for them to pass those things along to the person on the other end?) and we learned that NBAS is apparently renowned for misdiagnosing your car and then overcharging you to not fix the problem. He recommended a little place a couple miles away that he generously described as "hole in the wall." Not fancy, but they're honest and charge fairly, he said.

So we sorted out on Thursday evening that we'd take the car to Hole in the Wall Auto Shop and see what the guys there thought about it. Therefore, on Friday morning I left Scott at home with his laptop, working away, and walked to NBAS, paid them $42 for their diagnosis, and drove my poor rattly little car down to HWAS.

(Scott is cute, by the way. He asked me very concernedly if I was sure that I could walk to NBAS. I reassured him that it was hardly more than a block away and he reluctantly consented to my going.)

At HWAS, I talked to a man named Dave (they're all named Dave, aren't they?) and he said they'd look at the car "sometime today." Then he told me a story about an old lady who took her car to a different name brand auto shop and got fleeced and then her church family told her to come to HWAS and he fixed her car for free (because he happened to have the necessary part lying around) and in gratitude she baked him chicken dumplings and pie. It amused me because it reminded me of being back home. That's the kind of conversation you have all the time in my hometown.

(No, I am not yet reconciled to living in the city. We'll get back to the country someday.)

Scott's mother had a brief break between activities at that point, so she was able to pick me up and drive me home. She wasn't free again until about 7:00 that evening. (Scott's siblings are big into extracurriculars.)

So I went home and took a nap and fretted and probably did the dishes or something. I don't remember. Around dinnertime I had a small breakdown that resulted in agreeing to let my mother come down and rescue me the next day. Shortly thereafter, Scott's family offered to go get us a few things at the grocery store, so we got some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and were able to make a pizza. I felt better after food.

Oh, and at some point Dave called us back to say that he thought it was just the brakes, but he'd have to get the car up on the lift to determine the full extent of the problem. I said okay. As soon as I hung up, Scott asked when Dave was planning on getting the car up on the lift. I told him that if he wanted to know stuff like that he shouldn't hand the phone to me when it rings.

(Yes, I was very tired and stressed out, and it makes me lose my people skills.)

On Saturday, my mother drove down with the van and played Candy Crush on my couch while I went grocery shopping. I can't park the van worth anything. I really ought to stay in practice, too, since I certainly hope to have more than 2 children even at my less-than-rapid rate.

I came back, bearing Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk (my mother's favorite ice cream ever) and ate a hasty lunch before heading right back out to do my usual Saturday afternoon babysitting gig.

(That hasty lunch included a few spoonfuls of the Phish Food I had bought myself while getting Mom's ice cream. It was amazing.)

We had talked about going to the vigil Mass while we had access to a car, but by the time I got back from babysitting I was done in, and Scott hadn't showered or shaved because he was keeping an eye on the phone while I was gone. (And he was very beardly after working from home for two days.)

Mom wanted to know if she could go home, since we weren't going to Mass, and I peevishly ordered her to stop asking questions. I sat down at my computer for about half an hour and tried to shut out the world. (I think Mom played some more Candy Crush and ate her Ben & Jerry's.)

At about 3:45, I Skyped Scott (yes, we were sitting next to each other at the time; I wanted to have a private conversation) asking if we wanted to call Dave and get a timeline for when our car would be fixed or what. No sooner did Scott's Skype alert him to the message than the phone rang. It was Dave, calling to say that he'd gotten the car up on the lift and the brakes looked excellent; the rotors just needed to be turned and everything should be fine and dandy. Scott asked when Dave would be able to turn the rotors and Dave said he'd already done it. So we all piled in the van and drove up to Dave's and paid him $60 for his rotor work and picked up my car and then Mom went home.

In short, the "moving the car to Hole in the Wall Auto Shop" plan saved us about $1100 over the "letting Name Brand Auto Shop fix it" plan. Plus NBAS wouldn't have actually fixed the problem, considering they thought it was the spark plugs. Incidentally, Mom told me that the spark plugs on this car were replaced in 2010, so unless a squirrel got into the engine or something, they shouldn't need to be replaced again for another 60 or 70 thousand miles. (At which point I might have succeeded in having three children and buying a minivan.)

The rotors must have been getting progressively worse for a long time, because it's taken me a couple of trips to get used to braking. I thought that being able to feel the brakes bumping a bit was how you could tell that your car was slowing down, but apparently not. Anyway, the car has behaved itself well, and I am reading up on routine maintenance so that I know things like, "The brakes should be checked for wear a couple of times per year." My poor neglected car. At least my next car will be well taken care of, after all the lessons I've learned trying to keep a decrepit old one running.

This post is much too long and has far too many parentheses, but I'm going to post it anyway. Now you know what I've been up to since I last did Quick Takes and we can start over with a fresh slate.

The end.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Conversations with my husband

"I need my cape!"

(Said as he swept our fuzzy blanket off the back of the chair and wrapped it around his shoulders.)


"Why are you eating your half of the bacon before I put it in your omelette?"

"How do you know only half of the bacon is mine? Maybe three-quarters is mine."

"Why would three-quarters of the bacon be yours?"

"Because there are two of me?"

"There's only one of you. Besides, there'd have to be three of you for three-quarters of the bacon to be yours."

"Fine then. Two-thirds of the bacon."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Seven Posts in Seven Days

I was kind of hoping that I could just start posting tomorrow and make it look like an accident, but no. You'd think that after a few years of doing Quick Takes I'd realize that there's a header image and linkup for everything. :)


For more epic blogging adventures, see Conversion Diary!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes Volume Three

Tad has a new nickname over on Facebook. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

I'm thinking I need to find somebody to embroider "Never underestimate Shark Baby!" on a onesie for me.

During our July 4 ice cream date, Scott and I revisited the topic of baby names. We ended up with four boy names (first and middle) by bedtime that night, including one that hadn't been on our list before but which I have since latched onto like a leech because I love it so much. I hope Scott's not prone to changing his mind.

Girl names are harder, but we also have one first-middle combo if the baby turns out to be a girl. It's much more "timeless classic" than my favorite boy name (an "obscure saint" sort of thing), so it isn't as novel and interesting to me at the moment, but I'm sure I'll get bored of the boy name about in time for the anatomy scan and thus won't be disappointed if Tad turns out to be a girl after all.

(Actually, I'd be a teeny bit disappointed either way. This is the downside of coming up with good names for each sex. True, I'll probably have another baby later, but the names that are perfect for Tad might not be perfect for that baby.)

At some point in the last week, I went from "You know, maternity clothes might be a little more comfortable" to "I am going to crawl right out of my skin if I have to wear anything with a waistband." Fortunately, I had a big pile of maternity clothes, courtesy of my mother, that only needed to be washed.

I wasn't planning on doing another belly shot until 20 weeks, but since my mother has specifically requested pictures I might have to do a bonus 19-week shoot this weekend. Feel free to hold your breath in anticipation.

I thought I was doing a little better on the anxiety front this week, but I've been crying off and on since I got my blood drawn yesterday (it's 2:48 p.m. right now and I'm waiting for my callback), so...yeah. I know it's not a good thing when depersonalization is the only way to stop crying. I don't have a pretty ending to this take, but I have to put it here so you can all call me out if I don't have some kind of update on the situation in two weeks. Okay?

(The discouraging part is that I was doing so well in the six months or so before I got pregnant; I would have thought that 2 1/2 years of upward progress would have been enough to give me a bit of cushion. Turns out that if I take some hormones and dump supplementary hormones on top of those, I get knocked right back to square one. Postpartum is going to be fun, isn't it?)

I have been periodically having sort of early nesting fits, in which I want to organize All The Things. Of course, the trouble with pregnancy is that it's all physically limiting and stuff. I was sore for two days after I rearranged all the books on our bookcases the other week, and then I found another box of books that need to be shelved alphabetically. Boo. And this week I seem to have pulled a muscle carrying groceries up the stairs, so I have been sitting around like a slug. I wonder if I can convince Scott to unload and reload the dishwasher tonight, because I think we're out of spoons again.

Any ideas for productive things I can do that don't involve the use of my abdominal muscles at all? Because right now my only idea is eating some more chocolate. I might do that anyway. It has, like, magnesium in it, right? So it's good for the baby!

Speaking of vitamins, I switched to a prenatal that doesn't have iron in it today. I feel very daring, but considering my deep and abiding love for meat, I doubt I'm doing much of anything dangerous.

See, it started last Tuesday-ish, when I was getting severe abdominal pain just often enough to completely freak me out. I called my OB's office on Wednesday afternoon and talked to a nice lady who told me I probably just needed some fiber or something, but I should definitely go to the ER if it got worse or I started bleeding or anything. I love it when they make me sound less neurotic.

Anyway, after about 3 days of fiber supplementation I regained my mental faculties enough to realize that this whole abdominal pain thing started up shortly after I switched from chewy children's multivitamins to Taking Prenatals Like An Adult. (NB: I was taking an extra 800 mg of folic acid on top of the children's chewies. I have sensory issues, not stupidity.) So today I happened to be at Kroger and got some chewy prenatals that have everything but iron and calcium (...which are like the two most important things...) and some calcium chewies. My morning vitamin regimen is going to start looking like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. On the plus side, hopefully going off the iron will help clear up the lingering digestive issues.

(My OB's office doesn't seem to care about my vitamin regimen much, so I didn't bother calling them again to discuss the iron thing. I'll bring it up at my next appointment, or sooner if it doesn't work to clear up the aforementioned lingering digestive issues.)

Dr. M's nurse just called back (at 4:50). Progesterone was 45.9, and he wants me to go off the injections again. I told the nurse to ask him if I could go down to once a week. Her: "He said you could stop the IM injections." Me: "I know. I'm arguing with him." Her: "OH." Me: "Sorry, let me rephrase: I'm proposing an alternative plan."

So she's leaving him a message. We'll see if I have to actually argue with him on Monday.

(I have the "Dr. Hilgers does it this way" trump card if he gets uppity. In fact, Dr. Hilgers' protocol says I'd have to be over 50 to start weaning down. I get it about following the curve and being in like the 40th percentile isn't bad and etc., but if we're making judgement calls I get to play that game too.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Seven Quick Takes With Many Pictures of Dessert

Way back on June 15, we celebrated Scott's birthday (a week early, because we were going to be on vacation the following week). We had his mom's stroganoff (he claims I make it even better than she does--he definitely knows which side his bread is buttered on) and lemon cake. I was much lazier with the lemon cake this year than last year: just slapped the plain frosting on and called it good.


(We didn't have a 4 candle to go with our 2 candle, so Scott went to the gas station across the street and got regular candles. After I put all of them in the cake, he said, "Oh, were there 24? Good thing, because I didn't think to check." Me: "Maybe by the time you're 25 you'll know better.")

Also, I used GeekLady's tip from last year and made a frosting dam to keep the filling from leaking out.

It worked beautifully, as you can see.

Since I forgot my mom's birthday, I got her this:

I think she forgives me.

Last week, raspberries were on sale at Kroger, so I bought two little containers. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but raspberries are affordable so rarely that I didn't want to let the opportunity pass.

Finally on Tuesday I just made some vanilla custard.

I ended up eating my portion and then later eating half of Scott's portion, because he was sleeping and I was hungry. It was good both times.

Boring grocery budget update!

In May I spent $199.80 on groceries. I felt very smug for coming in under budget.

In June I spent $174.79 on groceries on account of mooching off my parents for 4 days while we were on vacation. We did spend $24.87 on meals out, though, and if you add that in it comes to $199.66. Still under budget, though!

My mother had to have surgery on Tuesday, so Andrea came to hang out here. (It's a lot easier to find a caregiver for little kids than it is for a mildly disabled adult.) We watched movies and ate pizza and lazed about. She reports that she had a good time. I was feeling kind of bleh the whole time (second trimester feel-goodness, where are you?) but I enjoyed myself too.

Scott and I didn't make any particular plans for the Fourth. Neither of us are excessively fond of things that go boom, so there's one option off the list. We mostly lazed about, but after I took my daily nap we went out for ice cream. We'd made the ice cream plan on Sunday when it was swelteringly hot, but naturally it was cold and rainy yesterday. We went out for ice cream anyway. And then for dinner we made stroganoff again, because I couldn't think of a "Why not?" when Scott suggested it the other day.

And now my sense of the days of the week is all thrown off because yesterday didn't feel like a Thursday. That's probably why these takes are getting hammered out at 8 p.m.

Our plans for the weekend involve our usual activities, plus a driving lesson. You may recall that Scott got his permit back in March. (Around the time I got pregnant, actually. Funny coincidence.) After we found out about the baby, obviously having him licensed and able to drive himself around shot up the priority list, so we seriously started lessons as soon as the worst of my nausea wore off. (Pro tip: If you have morning sickness, don't ride in a car that doesn't have working air conditioning with someone who doesn't know how to brake gradually.) He's improved since then, but tomorrow will be his first driving lesson outside a parking lot, so we'll see how that goes. (Things will progress more quickly once he "graduates" to going 35mph. Then I'll just make him drive to the bus stop and back and to church and back and so forth for practice.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!