Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Before I launch into my daily not-so-deep thoughts, I have to share something from last night that I thought was really funny.  I told Doug that Keilana had gotten lots of compliments on her pictures, to which he responded (quite seriously), "Yeah, but that isn't her best stuff."  I immediately started laughing and pointed out that she's 4, but I had to also acknowledge that he's right.  She takes pretty good photos these days and these aren't an example of her "finest work", composition-wise, but most of the other pictures she takes are of the birds, the cat or McDermont.  I thought pictures of her family were a bit more interesting:)

The other night Doug said something that got me thinking.  After our drive on Sunday, we stopped up at Paul and Christa's, since we hadn't seen their new house yet.

(Side note: Their new house is very cute!  It is indeed new, part of a relatively recent development up in Fresno.  Its a nice house and I am rather jealous of their giant bathtub--I could so use a soak in a big comfy tub right now.  It looks great and I'm sure will look even better once they get a chance to get their blinds up and their grass growing!:) )

We were all talking about places we would/could/may go in life and Christa said she could never live in a big city, with which I heartily agreed.  Doug said, "You say that, but if that's where you felt like you were supposed to be. . ."  I said that was true, that I could do it if I had to, but I wouldn't be thrilled about it.

On the car ride home, he brought it up again.  "You say that," he said, "but 'if I have to' has never been your reaction when it comes right down to it."  He's right.  I haven't usually gone with my first choice on a lot of major decisions in life, but rather with the choice I felt was the right choice, and I've always been happy about it.

BYU-Hawaii was a perfect example.  I always said if I got in there, that's where I'd go because it felt like the right thing to do.  But in some ways, I wanted very much to go to a school in Wisconsin instead.  There would be plenty of snow, the school's strengths were in the exact programs I wanted, it would be easy to hop on a train or a bus if I needed/wanted to go home and they had offered me $24,000 in scholarships and a job on campus.  But Hawaii was where I supposed to be.  And, though not without its challenges, it was an incredible experience.

The same was true of moving to San Luis.  At the point we made that decision, we were considering several other options and Cal Poly was at the bottom of my list--it would take the longest, cost the most, and be farthest from the things I knew.  And certainly there were parts of the experience I wouldn't want to do again, but I loved it and was happy to go.

Its not in my nature to see things as the burden I have to bare right now or just what I have to get through to get to the next step of my life.  When it comes right down to it, whether I'm headed where I think I'd prefer to be or not, I usually see changes as an adventure.

One of the things that make Doug and I well suited to each other is a shared strong curiosity--about life, the world, ourselves.  Each new challenge or move gives us an opportunity to indulge that curiosity.  We are both regrettably stubborn individuals, and yet each of us is surprisingly willing to be molded for the sake of our adventures.

We've been talking lately about dreams.  So many people never go after what they really want because they have 1,000 reasons why their dream isn't possible.  What they really mean is that is isn't possible without significant sacrifices.  Well, if there's one thing our experiences with McDermont has taught us, its that if the dream is a good one, the sacrifices and risks--the long days, the frustrating setbacks, the fiscal, emotional and physical toll--are all well worth it to see that dream come to fruition.

President Hinkley once said that you can never think of something as a sacrifice when in the long run what you get back is far greater than what you give up--that's an investment.  But you don't have to be just biding your time until that payday comes.  Even in the midst of the "giving up" part, where things are challenging, you can be happy and having a lot of fun.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ok, so today I work from 5:30 to 9:30, tomorrow I work from 9 to 5:30 and next weekend I work Friday night and all day on Saturday, too.  I am not looking forward to going.  I love McDermont and for the most part I enjoy working.  But rarely having any time to spend with Doug on the weekend (or, worse, having to find a babysitter because we're both occupied) is wearing on me.  So is being on my feet for 4 to 9 hours at a time.  So is one particular coworker that I can't stand and Doug can't stand and both of us have to work with.  Etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, so last night I was saying something about work this weekend and Doug said, "Have you given them your two week notice yet?"  And I replied that I hadn't, that I was gonna work through the end of October so I still had a few weeks to get it in.  He said, "Why?  You're the one that decided to keep working that long.  Why don't you just give them your notice now?  Its getting to be more of a burden than a benefit at this point."  For some reason (I blame ditzy pregnancy brain) it never occurred to me that I could quit in the middle of the month.  So I am handing in my 2 week notice today, and the last day I'll be working is October 11th (and I've already got my schedule through that week, so no waiting around to see what happens/how much will be on my paycheck).  I'm glad to be finishing.  Two more weeks and I'm outta there (though I imagine I'll still end up over there a lot, just not working).

And even more exciting news. . . .(drum roll, please). . . .Mom and Christa are coming to see me!  Last night I called my mom to discuss some rather huge life course changes we may make in the next year (more on that as it develops. . .) and she told me that she and Christa are coming down to Vegas for a conference and decided to rent a car on Friday and drive over to see us.  So they'll be here on October 17 & 18.  Its a quick trip (and mom will be back in December to meet Kylie), but I'm so excited.  I told her that we'd have to take Christa out for a birthday taco (her birthday is the week before that).  I saw them both when we went home in June, so it's only been about 3 months, but I usually don't get to see family that frequently.  Its a nice pre-Halloween treat!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reading Readiness!

The kids have been horribly under-stimulated for most of the last several months due to my fatigue (and my horrid mood swings).  But we've been trying to get back on track lately and it seems to be paying off.  Keilana is enjoying school and learning lots of new things there, but she is also doing very well at home.

Writing her name (which, believe it or not,  just 3 or 4 months ago, even at 4, was still almost impossible for her), is old news now.  She writes both "Keilana" and "Clark" quite easily and legibly, and is always very proud of herself.  She is getting pretty good at the rest of the letters, too, though some of them are still hard for her (she loves "x", but still seems to have a lot of trouble with "s" without tracing it).  She is reading!  Well, kind of.  We bought her the first set of BOB books.  If you're not familiar, they're a popular early reading set.  Things like "Mat and Pat Sat." and "Pat and Cat."  Anyway, she's sounding out the words and reading me the books.  Its still slow, and every now and then she gets a little hung up on pictures instead of paying attention to the words, but she is reading.  Very exciting!! She's very proud of herself and is making progress pretty quickly now.  Its fun to see her learn.  Everyday while we're walking home from preschool she tells me all about her day, her new friends, what they had for lunch, what her job was that day, the butterfly she saw on the playground, the bunnies in the classroom, and anything else she can think of.  The girl loves to talk!  Doug's office is between here and the school (everything is close--its only about 1/3 mile to the school), and she loves the days when he's actually there (rather than at McDermont or one of the other projects) and she's able to stop and tell him about her day.  I'm afraid she has betrayed me.  Always my little ally, she has switched over to her dad's side.  She has become most definitely daddy's little girl in most every way, and he has become her partner in crime!

And Dylan. . .Oh, Dylan, my delightful little weirdo.  He just hit 2 1/2 last month.  He's still behind on his verbal skills (though finally progressing nicely) but he's whizzing ahead on a few other things.  He only knows about three colors (blue, red, and yellow) and will usually only count to 3 before he loses interest, but he's got the alphabet down.  He recognizes pretty much all 26 letters now and knows the name and sound of each one.  He understands concepts very well, frequently being able to put pictures in an ordered sequence without help.  His social skills are very good.  I've mentioned before his uncanny confidence, but he is also very good at sharing and taking turns for a 2 year old.  He does it without protest or problem with most kids besides his big sister (what are younger brothers for, if not to agitate?) He'll start to yell at his sister or cry to get her in trouble if she's got a toy he wants or is doing something he wants to do, but as soon as I say, "Dylan, you have to take turns," he says "OK" and patiently waits.   We'll see how he grows up.  But I'm thinking that either the charm or the good looks has to wear off by the time he hits high school, because if he still has both when he becomes a teenager, we're gonna have a lot of trouble on our hands.

I've been whining so much about myself lately, its been a while since I updated on my most adorable and brilliant children (hey, don't judge me--you know you think your own kids are, too).  They are thriving and happy and riding through mostly unaware of the stresses of the grown-ups in their life, and we love them for it.  They're a joy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 29

Neither of my first two pregnancies created the kind of demands for my expanding belly as this one has.  Did none of you care how fat I was 2 or 4 years ago? Anyway, in an effort to hush the whining, here is another picture of my belly.  I promise that I do have other maternity clothes.  I actually don't even wear this shirt all that often, but it seems to be the one I always have on when the annoying requests for pictures get the best of me.  I am starting to feel quite elephantine.  I have a posteriorly tipped uterus and the baby is sitting a bit sideways--I hate to think what I would look like if that weren't the case. . . .So, just a sliver under 3 months til I deliver (and just in case you are as rude as my coworkers, yes I do still have that long to go!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lifting thoughts from OSC

For Valentine's Day last year (for full disclosure, given the subject of this post, I should probably state that I don't generally celebrate that holiday), one of the things I gave Doug was a bumper sticker that read, "My reality is better than your fairy tale".  It was a joke (though a rather serious one) that sprang from a conversation we'd had a few weeks early.  Both of us love fairy tales--we're both big fans of Disney movies, Disneyland, classic tales and the like.  But both of us have very little patience with the common habit of being overly focused on all the wrong parts of those things:  the terrible light mindedness, the tendency toward self-focus, the fanciful parts that are there for window dressing.

I had a few friends ask me about the sticker and my own somewhat blase attitude toward romance in general.  I found myself at a rare loss for words as I tried to explain it.  Or rather, the right words--I had plenty of words, but the order they were coming out in really wasn't explaining anything very well at all.  A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a post by Orson Scott Card in which he was actually talking about romantic comedy movies but got off on a bit of a side-note about romance that captured what I had been trying to say.  He wrote:  "Its simply a fact of life: No matter how much you think you're 'in love' when you get married, you just don't know what love even is until you've created a life and a family with somebody, with total commitment, year after year.  The madness of longing that we call 'romance' is only an emotional blip compared to a true, deep human connection."

I really appreciated this remark, because I have had people look at me in such a way or say something to me that made me feel like they thought my lack of obsession with romance was somehow an indictment of my femininity or my understanding of or ability to love.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not anti-romance.  I love it.  I think its charming and delightsome and fun.  I also feel that it is, in the grand scheme of things, hugely superficial.  I have long contended to these purveyors of romantic fantasy that the reason I don't focus on anniversaries and flowers and kisses in the rain is that what I have on a day to day basis is so much bigger and better than that, I have no great need for such momentary displays.

Don't get me wrong--I love unexpected flowers and intimate dates and kisses under the stars, but I have no need for them, or even really any great desire.  The moments where I find my husband irresistable, where I fall more in love with him and can't stand the thought of being separated from him, are so much more magnificent and simple than all that.  Its when he scoops up our daughter onto his lap and showers her with kisses; its when he's going full force, stomping and growling, playing "monster" with our son;  its when we're sitting together silently in the Celestial Room;  its talking til 2am again because the conversation just carried us away; its when the car breaks down 200 miles from home on Saturday night and he stays in good humor.

Mostly, though, its something I can't find adequate words for.  Its a trust, an understanding, a completeness in each other.  I've only been married for 5 years--I know a lot of people who have a lot more of it and understand it a lot better than I do.  But I do understand that its something that isn't and can't be found in rose petals scattered across the bed or well-choreographed dates, no matter how much fun those things may be.

Monday, September 15, 2008

LA Trip

Doug and I headed down to LA on Saturday morning.  I thought we were going to pick some stuff up for the Flowrider.  Turns out that, unbeknownst to me, we were going down to see some old friends of ours from BYUH, Josh and Lindsi.  

We haven't seen them in four years, since just after Keilana was born.  Which is really kind of silly when I think about it, since we've lived in Lindsay for the last 2 1/2 years, and they've lived in LA for 2 years, and its only about a 3 hour drive between our houses.  

Anyway, it was a kick to see them again.  They live just a couple of miles from the Santa Monica Pier, so we headed down there with the kids and enjoyed the sunshine and the sea breeze.  Its been so hot for so long, the moderate temperatures and little breeze felt fantastic!  Keilana, normally my shy one, must've felt that she had a kindred spirit in fellow strawberry blonde-haired Lindsi, because after getting over that initial few minutes of quiet and shy, she became quite talkative.  She told Lindsi about her little sister, about how she was going to be Ariel for Halloween, and about going to Disneyland.  I got in trouble a few times for interrupting:)  

The kids (small and grown alike) enjoyed the Santa Monica pier carousel.  Dylan loves horses, be they real or carved, so his first protest of the day came in having to leave when the ride was over.  He soon consoled himself in trying to climb over the edge of the fence on the pier and wildly chasing the poor frightened pigeons that were everywhere.  

That evening we tried to find the Rockler store in Torrance so Doug could pick a few things up, and he learned the joys of trying to navigate LA when you are being served by a horrendously bad navigator (that would be me--I do not exaggerate, I am SO bad).  Anyway, we did eventually make our way there, and fortunately there were several car dealerships across the street, so Josh was able to go car shopping while Doug looked at wood and tools.  We made it back to the apartment in time for Doug to watch and become rather depressed by the Fresno St/Wisconsin game.  Three points.  So sad.

Sunday morning after Josh and Lindsi left for church, we got in the car to go exploring.  We drove by the LA temple (so huge!) and through Beverly Hills, which was weird.  Its always strange to me to realize that that many people live that extravagantly.  Stranger still to realize that I don't envy them.  There were some beautiful houses and some beautiful views (and Obama yard signs everywhere--further proving, of course, that Republicans are the party of the rich.  Ha ha.)  Once we found our way down out of the hills and back onto major roads, we headed up the Pacific Coast highway.  Malibu was not nearly as exciting as I was expecting ('course, I'm not sure what it is I was expecting), but the beaches all the way up were beautiful.

We drove up 101 clear back into San Luis Obispo and then headed up to Morro Bay.  Keilana had been all set to "see the fishies" when we went to Santa Monica, but the aquarium ended up being closed, so we stopped at Morro Bay so that she could feed the seals and sea lions and walk through the small aquarium there.  For some reason she's been a little obsessed with octopus and jelly fish lately, and seeing a couple of those and some star fish seemed to satisfy her.  We enjoyed a walk out on the pier in Cayucos (where we saw some dolphins! I've never seen live dolphins before) and some time on the beach.  There was kelp just covering the beach, so Keilana stayed up on the dry sand, but Dylan and I headed down to the water.  Every time I thought we were far enough out to satisfy him, he'd point to the ocean and say, "Ww rr!  ww rr!"  He loves the water--creek, lake, pool or ocean, it doesn't matter.  The kid's a fish.

It was a great weekend--good friends, good weather, good times--and couldn't have come at a better time.  We both needed to be farther than an hour from Lindsay for more than a couple of hours.  It was rejuvenating and I was so grateful for the mini vacation!  But, obviously it didn't restore my brain power completely, as I seem to have loaded the pics from our trip in nearly exact backwards order.  Oh well, you get the idea.

Dylan doing a little light reading on the way home.  We bought this at Target to keep him occupied while Josh and Doug watched football.
Keilana reacts to watching the sea lion perform for some fishie parts.  He was a pretty big show off.
Despite knowing and being able to pronounce the word "seals" and "sea lions", Keilana still insists on calling them both "Arr Arrs"--which isn't helped by the fact that that is what Dylan now calls them.
Dylan tosses the sea lion a fish head.
Keilana preparing to build a sandcastle (which is lot harder to do when the sand is that dry!)
Dylan explains a few things to one of the seagulls on the Cayucos pier.
Doug and the kids heading down the pier--and into the wind.
The view looking northwest off the Cayucos pier Sunday evening.
Lindsi's hat was the hit of the weekend.  Dylan kept putting it on and saying "Yee haw!"
Annoyed that the pigeon wouldn't come to them, Dylan and Keilana decide to go to the pigeon.
Most people try to get pigeons and seagulls to go away.  My kids try to get them to come.
Keilana cheesin' out on the Santa Monica Pier.
Dylan pats his horse as he goes round and round on the carousel.
Keilana is such a ham.  As soon as she sees the camera come out, she starts posing.
Lindsi tries to decide whether or not to dunk Dylan in a fountain at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
Doesn't Keilana kinda look like she could be Lindsi's kid?  Which is funny, because since Josh is Pakistani, Lindsi's own kids probably won't look this much like her.
The fountain was actually a spitting tricerotops, which Keilana and Dylan both loved.
Dylan is happily dunked feet first into the fountain by Josh.
Doug thought this was a good way to go in.  Dylan disagreed quite heartily.
But he was very happy to have his legs submerged over and over and over and over and. . . .

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Fair

There were so many different vehicles--cars, tractors, etc--we had to let him get on at least one of them!
Keilana learns what it feels like when a cow gets milked.  She could turn on the milking machine and put her fingers in :)
No oinking for these two--they do out and out grunting and snorting.  Oinks are for lightweights.

Enjoying some tasty lemonade after running around looking at all the animals.
This kid loves to run--and he's very, very quick!
Dancing while the band did some covers of Johnny Cash songs.

Daddy playing keep away with Dylan's hat. . .this was the end of the game--Keilana got the hat!

We took kids to the county fair in Tulare last night.  They really enjoyed it.  Doug and I probably would've enjoyed the arts & crafts and fine arts buildings better without them, but all in all we had a good time:)  They really liked the cows (they see cows ALL the time here, but its different seeing them up close), but Dylan's favorite were the pigs.  Making pig noises is one of his favorite things to do, so he was pretty excited to touch a few.  

There's always a small petting zoo set up at the fair, and when the goat moved away from the edge of his pen, Dylan tried to crawl in with him.  The pygmy goats were more accomodating, sticking their little heads right out so that he could touch them.

After we'd all wandered around for a while, we got some drinks and funnel cakes and found a nice place to sit.  I think that was the best part of the evening for the kids. The temperatures are finally getting a bit more pleasant outside (the hottest parts of the day have only been hitting the mid 90s), so after refreshing themselves with some lemonade and tasty treats (or just lemonade and the whipped cream off the top of the funnel cakes, in Dylan's case), they got up and started dancing to the band.  That turned into a game of tag (kind of), which in turn further devolved into running around like wild monkeys.  We haven't been to the park for most of the week, because of campaign phone calls to be made, doctors appointments to be attended, and extreme fatigue wiping me out by half way through the day, so they were both VERY happy to just run free for a while.  And run they did! Man, those two are FAST!

And good news! I did my glucose screen when I went to my appointment on Wednesday, and the office called to let me know my glucose levels were great but I am anemic--so hopefully if I pick up some iron today that will help with at least some of my fatigue!  Yay!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Random stuff

I had another appointment with my midwife today.  Everything looks good.  I'm at 28 weeks (12--or rather 13 1/2--to go!) and my uterus is measuring 29cm (the height of the uterus generally corresponds with the week of pregnancy, so she's still measuring a little big).  Her heartbeat is nice and strong, though it took a while to find because she's sitting a little sideways.

But the exciting news is that. . . .Keilana wore a sweater to school this morning!  Ok, so maybe that's not exciting to some people, but it is for me.  When we left the house at 7:45 this morning, it was only in the mid 50s.  Its 11:30 now and still only in the low 70s.  Fall might be on its way after all!  Hallelujah!  

The bad news is, Keilana has her first cold of the season.  Yesterday morning she sounded a little stuffy when she got up, but I wrote it off to yucky Central Valley air quality.  But today she is definitely very stuffy, a bit tired and has a very mild cough.  Hopefully she'll be better in time to go to the Tulare County Fair tomorrow evening!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A lot of whining, then some rejoicing!

Ok, so as evidenced by my blog the last few months, we've all been feeling a bit worn down at our house the last few months.  I rarely have an evening or Saturday off, and Doug is at work all day of course, so we haven't had a lot of together time.  We're desperately trying to pay off the last of our revolving debt, so we're committing huge chunks of our income to paying for things we already have (you know, tiny, insignificant things like computers and washing machines and fridges), I am pregnant (and in case you haven't caught on, its been a rather long pregnancy this time around), we're adjusting to the new school routine,  I've been having trouble staying on top of things for Young Women, so I'm constantly playing catch up, and Doug's job is just delightfully stressful and taxing in every way (though we love it).   Then this weekend the Bishop asked us to get in gear doing our part to help out with Proposition 8 (this is a proposed amendment to the constitution of the state of California that would state only marriages between a man and woman are valid and recognized in this state--the First Presidency has asked all members in California to actively support the measure, in time, money, and campaigning).  So there are phone calls to be made and doors to be knocked on.

And the heat!  Oh the heat!  Its supposed to be over 100 again today.  How I loathe the long, hot summers of the Central Valley!  I was not built for this kind of weather, I tell you.  I have been enviously eyeing the weather reports back home, and thinking how delightful it would be to have 65 and 70 degree days with snow on the mountains!  Snow--I hardly remember what it looks like.  But there is hope.  The rest of the week, the highs are supposed to be in the mid 90s--still hot, but progress is being made.   I want so badly to have cool weather so I can drink cocoa, make stew and soup, wear sweaters and snuggle up under blankets.  I'm so ready for real fall.

But there has been a reprieve.  I was supposed to work all evening this past Saturday, but I was scheduled on the Flowrider which *groan* still isn't running, so I had all day off.  Since I wasn't going to be working, Doug took Friday off of work and drove up to Fresno and picked grapes (this weekend was the harvest at the church welfare vineyard) all day so that he didn't have to go up Saturday morning.  All day, neither one of us had to go to work.  We slept in (more or less--I didn't get out of bed until 8:15, anyway), went for a drive, did some shopping (Doug bought some oak to build a pretty coffee table to replace our currently falling-apart-due-to-flimsy-construction-and-lost-screws one) and relaxed.  In the evening, Paul and Christa came over so Doug could take them around McDermont (they hadn't seen it since last Halloween).  So he showed them around--he was excited to host Paul, since he works in construction and can appreciate the coolness of it all in a different way than most--while I played with the kids.  The loved the bounce houses, of course (tho Keith wasn't all that fond of the boxing one--what can I say?  My children are aggressive).  The arcade was more of a hit than I expected, though.  Dylan and Keith were both awesome on Whac-A-Mole, and I didn't even have to spend any money to keep them both entertained for quite a while on the Nascar cars.  After the tour, we all headed back to our house for pizza and a movie.  We're so busy that sometimes I visit friends or Doug does something with friends, but we haven't done much together and it was a lot of fun to spend some time hanging out with another couple.   It was the first Saturday in months that actually felt like a Saturday.

This coming Saturday I was supposed to work from 8:30am to 2pm, an then from 5:30p to 9:30p, but as it turns out, Doug is probably going to have to drive down to southern California for some stuff for work, so its altogether likely I'll take the day off and we'll all go together.  Perhaps we'll hit the beach along the way.  Two real Saturdays in a row are almost too much!  I'm so excited.

I think we're both very much looking forward to Februaryish of 2009.  I won't be working anymore.  McDermont will be finished.  The bulk of all the major design work on all the other projects should be done.  The baby will be old enough she will be starting function on something resembling a schedule.  Our callings should be a lot easier to stay on top of, given the easing of other demands, and all our revolving debt should more or less be paid off.  Oh, that just sounds delightful!!  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good Stuff

Ok, I was feeling a little bad about my rant yesterday, but glad I have so many great friends who left me comments/messages to make me feel better or "feel my pain" so to speak.  Its nothing more or less than any other pregnant woman who doesn't want to be pregnant anymore! :)  I do have a lot going on, but 8 weeks from today is my last day of work! Woohoo!!

Before I got ranting yesterday, I was actually thinking about how grateful I am for several things in my life.  Here's the top of the list, as its crossed my mind the last few days:

*A car.  Many people ask us if its frustrating or difficult to only have one car.  Its annoying or slightly inconvenient at times, but most of the time I'm just grateful I have a reliable, good car to get around in.  When I was this pregnant with Keilana, we had to carry all our groceries home from the store on foot (about half a mile), a rather arduous task I can't say that I miss at all (especially since we buy a lot more groceries now than we did then).  We're always able to get where we need go to go in a reasonable time frame.  I am grateful for that blessing.

*Our location.  A big part of the reason that one car is doable is that can walk to work.  I can walk Keilana to school, the park, the plaza and the grocery store.  I'm grateful for that proximity that makes it easy to be out in the fresh air and sunshine often, instead of locked inside a car going from place to place.

*Small towns.  While I still prefer Mission small to Lindsay small (Doug tells me I'm not from a town, but a village), I am tremendously grateful that there are so many wonderful little towns scattered across the US and I've been privileged enough to live in several of them.  While there are aspects of city life that are undoubtedly appealing, having spent some time in small cities and major metro areas across the country, I am always glad to come home to a small place.  I am and will always be a country girl in my heart.  As my great-great-grandfather wrote after his excursion to New York City, "Give me a cot in my own mountain home over a mansion in the great city of America".  I couldn't agree more.

*Free public education.  OK, so I realize its not actually free--a lot of tax money is pumped into our schools and they're are far from perfect.  But I have had friends from countries where even basic education for children could cost parents a tidy sum, and that has made me grateful that I can send my kids off to public school without any undue financial burden on our family.

*Prayer.  While I do pray formally, I admit I am not as good at making a continual habit of it as I should be.  I tend to be more of a Tevya type--certainly if anyone saw me, they would think I was having a conversation with myself and was a wee bit loopy.  I love being able to express my joys, frustrations or just daily thoughts at any time and be confident that someone who cares is listening.  I am grateful for the peace and clarity that comes from formal, appropriate prayer--the calm.

*Modern healthcare.  I am so thankful that I can bring a child into this world with the confidence that the risk to me and the baby is really quite minimal--something I try never to take for granted, knowing that that simply wasn't true (quite the opposite) for most of history and still isn't for millions of women around the world.  I am more grateful than I can say that when my baby got sick, I had no real panic or fear, because I knew I could and then did quickly find an ER where there were doctors, nurses, and various scanning equipment and labs where they could find out what was wrong quickly and had the modern medicine to treat it effectively.  We had a frustrating and difficult week whereas a half a century ago we may have ended up losing our son.  

*Seasons.  Hawaii was beautiful.  But there was never much variance in the weather beyond "raining" and "not raining".  San Luis Obispo was 74* and sunny about 80% of the time.  It was beautiful and fantastically boring.  I love the crisp mornings and pleasantly sunshine-y afternoons of fall. I love the snow and sweaters and cocoa that marks the winter.  I love the bursting greens and pinks of spring, with warm sunshine on my back.  I love running through sprinklers and swimming and camping in the summer.  The summers are so hot and long here that by the end I am just so ready for summer to be over.  Its still around 100 at the hottest points of the day, but I've been pleasantly surprised to walk outside in the evenings and instead of walking into a wall of heat, easing into the lovely 65 or 70 degree air.  It gives me hope that fall is coming after all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are we there yet?

I am so done being pregnant.  My due date is almost exactly 3 months away.  That's discouraging.  With Keilana I was induced 9 days after she was due (actually, 8 days, but she didn't arrive until 38 hours later, so she was 9 days late), but had the circumstances--my mom leaving the island, Doug's graduation rapidly approaching, still having to pack and ship my entire apartment--been a little different, I could've been pregnant another week or two and not cared.  I really wasn't that uncomfortable, save for the inhuman amount of swelling that made my ankles disappear altogether and made my fingers look like sausages (hey, I was 9 months pregnant in Hawaii in June--it was hot and HUMID!).  With Dylan, I had a very exhausting and mildly nauseous first trimester, and a miserable last month and a half of constant pressure on my sciatic nerve, so I was pretty ready to be done when we induced 10 days passed his due date (and arrived barely into the 11th day--but only 18 hours this time, a huge improvement over his sister's stubborn refusal to leave my body).   But I have never been this ready to be done being pregnant this early on.  Last Friday I had a friend over at the house and joked that they should just induce me on Halloween.  Its starting to sound like a good idea.

The whole first trimester I was pretty much constantly nauseous, and threw up multiple times about every other day.  I was fighting to stay awake constantly, and at least once a week would get one of those horrid migraines that takes over your whole head and makes the slightest noise or flash of light unbearable.  And I live with Keilana--I love my daughter, but she's a shrieker and a yeller.  Through the first half of the second trimester, the fatigue continued unabated, but the nausea slowed to about one day a week, with no throwing up, and the headaches became way less severe and only hit about once every two weeks.  Then, the last few weeks I had this glorious reprieve where I felt really good, my energy was normal, I was able to eat as much as I wanted (probably more than I should have, actually) and exercising actually helped increase my energy rather than leave me feeling drained.  

Now, heading into the third trimester, I can't stand being around myself.  The fatigue has returned with a vengeance--no matter how healthy I eat and exercise and sleep, I feel like I'm running on little to no rest.  This little pill in my tummy is still putting a bunch of pressure on my pelvis, kidneys and stomach, but now she's also big enough that she pushes against my ribs and makes me breathe much harder when I'm going about my daily activities.  All of that wouldn't be so bad, as I've done all that before and find it annoying but tolerable. 

The worst part of all is that I never remember being this ridiculously hormonal.  I have no patience--with the kids, with Doug, with myself.  The littlest things irritate or just outright tick me off--I have no idea how to deal with such emotions, since my nature generally is to barely notice life's little irritations.  Most days being patient with my kids or myself or anyone else comes fairly easily to me.  Not so much these days.  The stupidest little things make me want to yell at my kids, which certainly doesn't make them behave any better.  Usually, my husband's more annoying habits or less desirable traits are pretty easy for me to just ignore or be patient with, but I'm turning into a nit-picker lately.  Thankfully, he has dealt with all of this quite well with a big dash of humor in that so-utterly-lacking-in-charm-that-its-charming manner that he employs so well.  I want to do nothing about 90% of the time, but become incredibly frustrated and angry with myself if I just sit around, so I'm not relaxing anyway.  Normally happy to be engaged in multitasking, I don't want to do anything--I want to hire a nanny and a maid, quit my job, get released from my calling, have my groceries delivered, get a secretary/accountant and spend all day every day in bed reading.

But the kicker is that I've turned into a crier.  I hate crying, particularly if there is anyone in the room but me and, consequently, I don't do it much normally.  But I'll get so frustrated at myself for yelling at my poor, pent up 4 year old all day that I'll shed tears of aggravation.  Doug will say the wrong thing or say something the wrong way and the next thing I know I've got tears.  If I have to speak in front of people or in a roomful of people for any reason, even if its not anything I feel particularly strongly about, my voice wavers all over the place.  Its as if my brain can't tell the difference anymore--since my normal speaking voice is relatively low most of the time if I speak up my brain thinks I must be upset and tries to make me start crying.  

I must get my hormones back to normal because I am driving myself crazy!!