Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My First Meme and Two Conundrums

Ok, the gist of this Meme is pretty simple: 25 Random Facts About Me. My friend Genny did it over on Facebook, and I will crosspost this over there at some point. Genny's was really entertaining and interesting and I wrote mine and then decided it was possibly the most boring thing on earth, but in keeping with my theme of boringness (a live weasel, remember?) it might just be appropriate for my blog. Here goes.

25 Random Things About Lindsay:

1. I eat Raisin Bran every morning, but I would way rather eat Corn Pops.
2. I have become a bit of a pain-in-the-ass advocate for the proper care of hermit crabs. Most people who keep them as pets are terribly uneducated about the way they need to be maintained.
3. I am left-handed, and secretly hope my girls are too, although I don't really know why.
4. My favorite television shows involve medical anomalies: born without eyelids, my son has two foreheads, the 300 lb. 5-year-old, you know the type. Dearest can't stand them.
5. I unabashedly sing in the car, mainly Indigo Girls or Ani Difranco. I do not apologize for that.
6. I was a total cat person until I got a dog.
7. For 11 years I drove the same car, and when the tow truck came to take it for the last time I had a total emotional meltdown. I still miss my Taurus.
12. My last name changed 4 times in 4 years.
13. I moved a lot as a kid, but every house we moved into my dad planted a pink rose bush for me and a yellow one for my sister.
14. Even though I am not religious, I found the Vatican to be totally awe-inspiring.
15. I am not at all afraid of bugs or spiders, not even bees. Only crickets. I HATE crickets. (shudder)
16. I wanted to go garage sale-ing this summer to get some stuff for my classroom, but every time I pulled up to one I chickened out and couldn't get out of the car. Something about rejecting other people's stuff in front of them or something.
17. Every time I watch Dr. G, Medical Examiner, I wish I had her job. Truly if I had my education to do over again I might have become a coroner.
18. My favorite food is fair food: corn dogs, kettle corn, mini doughnuts, etc.
19. But I try to eat organic and whole foods as much as I can too, which directly contradicts the whole fair food thing I just said.
20. I teach the kids in my class all the funny camp songs my mom taught me when I was little. I bet they go home and sing them and their parents wonder what exactly I am teaching their kids.
21. I gave myself roughly 60 shots this summer, mostly in my stomach.
22. I'm all about saving the earth, but not about reusing other peoples stuff. Most used baby stuff people give me goes straight into the charity pile. Somebody else can reuse it.
23. I have had the entire Tampa Secret Service in my living room at one time, complete with a battering ram (which they had just used to knock down my front door) and bullet proof vests.
24. There is no limit to how many times I could watch the movie "Moonstruck."
25. I do not like bananas or banana flavoring. At all. In any form. Yes, I know it is terribly good for you.

There you go. My first Meme. If you are the blogging or Facebooking type, I invite you to do one, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Now onto my 2 conundrums.

Number One: The crib mattresses have arrived! Hooray! I had to special order them, because it was really important to me that my babies be on organic crib mattresses (can ya hear me crunchin' on the granola from where you are?). I know not everyone shares this philosophy, and to those who don't and who think the price we paid for them is ridiculous, I say this: if you want to have kids and lay them down to sleep in a vat of chemical flame-retardant, knock yourself out. I'm not telling anyone else what to do, I am just saying for ME this was the right choice, and if we can afford it then so be it. I was willing to make financial sacrifices elsewhere. ("WHERE???" I can hear Dearest thinking, "WHERE did you make those sacrifices???) Just trust me, I did, OK? But, here is where the conundrum starts. The mattresses were delivered, as I said. But we were not billed for them. Hmm. So... what do we do? I mean, I know the right thing would be to call and tell them we didn't get billed. Clearly, that would be the right thing to do. It IS however a little tempting to just let it slide. What with me not working and all. But do I really want to put my babies down at night on STOLEN mattresses? That doesn't seem right. But then again, it is a lot of money... I think for now we will take a wait and see approach, and just see if the charges hit our account in the next few days. It's just that we ordered them a while ago, and it seems like they have had lots of time to bill us already.

Number two: Scrapbooking. How am I going to do this? It's really not clear cut, and believe me I have AGONIZED over it. Scrapbooks or traditional baby books? One book or one for each baby? I went into Michael's today and stood staring, mouth agape, at the line of Martha Stewart scrapping stuff, which I had never seen before. I poured over the aisles of beautiful paper. I drooled at the embellishments. I thought about when I started scrapping and how very limited the choices were and how much more creative I had to be to get a finished looking page. I thought about how maybe that was better, because all these choices are a little overwhelming and I am afraid I am going to "screw up" which has never crossed my mind when thinking about scrapping before. So here's where I am at. I have a small (8X8) scrapbook that will be the pregnancy book. I bought 2 old-school, fill-in-the-blank with some room for pictures baby books. They should each have their own, right? But scrapping 2 from scratch seems like way too much. With the blanks, hopefully I won't miss too much in the blur that is babyhood, plus it has some empty pages to put stuff that is not covered on the scripted pages. I kinda feel like I am cheating by going this route, but I am scared that if I don't keep it simple it is not going to get done, and that I would really regret. I am also contemplating keeping a family scrapbook in my normal format (12X12) but is that kind of redundant at this point? I mean, what are Dearest and I going to be doing worth recording this year that is not tied into the girl's lives? See what I'm saying? The other thing that could be good or bad is that the baby books do not have coverings on the pages, which means I am going to have to go very light on the embellishments, plus the pages already come kind of decorated. Is this stifling or am I doing myself a favor here? Help!!!

Stay tuned, February belly shot soon to come (oh, the humanity!), plus I will post a link to how you can see the whole maternity shoot as soon as I get one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Nursery and the Nurser

Even though it's still awaiting the final touches, I am chomping at the bit to put some nursery pictures up here. The paint came out so cute, and when mom and I finally unrolled the rug which tied everything together I could have jumped up and down. Well, really, no I couldn't have. But I wanted to. All that is missing is the crib mattresses, wall decor (the girls names over their cribs, framed baby pics of family) and curtains. It's so close, and I couldn't wait to share.

There has been a little controversy in the household recently. About two weeks ago, I got my maternity pictures taken, and about a week ago the preview shots came back. I am beside my self with happiness about the way things went- the shoot was lovely and intimate and not at all forced, the chemistry with the photographer was great, and the pics so far look amazing. The controversy involves some pictures she took of me at the lake where I am sans shirt. I AM covering my boobs with my hands. I really like the pictures. Dearest is not so convinced- he is pretty sure that any pictures of women with out shirts are, at the very least, soft core porn. (When did he get so conservative? He's always had a thing about public nudity, I guess.) Anyway, I don't see it that way at all, in fact I kind of like the way my body looks in the picture which is amazing because I have found my body slightly horrifying as of late. So... not that I was planning on ordering it in poster size and hanging it over the TV or anything, but is this picture inappropriate?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Week for the Strong

Wow, the past week has flown by. I don’t even know where to start.

My mom flew down on Friday, and I was so happy to have her here. Saturday was our baby shower, thrown by my friend Kel, at her beautiful home. It was an absolute blast. We had 52 guests, and the day went off without a hitch. I know dearest was a little reluctant about the concept of a “Jack and Jill” shower, he was at first of the very strong opinion that baby showers are for women only, but he was a trooper and I am so glad we went in that direction. So many of our friends are guys, and it was wonderful to include them. I don’t have words for how special it was to have all of these people who we love, family, old friends, and new friends, all in one place and all genuinely excited for us and exuding all of this great energy for our girls. The pile of gifts was almost embarrassing, but it was so fun to open them! We got most of what was on our registry, and a TON of adorable clothes! Some of the most special gifts were things that were hand made for the babies. The most generous gift of all was Kel and Doug going to all of the effort to organize and host the shower: from the invites to the delicious food, to tolerating our crazy friends and family, it was truly one of the most special days of my life.

Sunday mom and I stayed busy washing and putting away countless adorable little frocks, but we did manage to take a break to go to the Tiki Bar for lunch, the weather was nice and the lake side atmosphere pretty much unbeatable. That afternoon Dearest had the guys over to watch the games, so mom and I ran to Target to pick up a thing or 2 we needed, and then it was back to nursery duty. We assembled the bouncy seat and the Sweetpeace swing, which you would think would be no big deal but which wound up being ridiculous, resulting in mom and I laughing so hard that Dearest came upstairs to check on us. By that night we were pooped, and we were happy to climb into the hot tub to unwind for a little while.

Monday mom had to go back already. Just like that, it was over. ☹ We got so much done though, I am sleeping much better at night for it. The nursery is basically all set (except for a few strictly decorative details) and it is ADORABLE if I may say so myself. Their dressers and closet are organized, clothes washed and hung by size, bedding washed and put away. If we brought them home tomorrow, we would be ok, and that is a huge comfort to me.

Today we had an appointment with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists at the hospital, and all continues to look good. Sophie is weighing in at 2lbs 9oz, and Livi is 2lbs 5oz. Last visit we saw a lot of Sophia, this time it was Olivia’s turn to show off. (Taking turns already! How sweet!) She was doing a lot of breathing practice, which the ultrasound tech said was awesome. You could see her little diaphragm moving up and down about the whole time we were looking at her, and that fluid going in and out of her lungs. Wild. We got a couple good pictures of Livi, she is still transverse across the top of my belly and her face was visible this time. It’s getting harder and harder to get good pictures of the babies because they are majorly squished. Our days of getting both of them in one screen shot are way over. Sophie has backed the truck up and is no longer head down, she is now transverse also, pretty much curled up into a little ball in my right hip area, way down low and on the side. The cutest part of her ultrasound was when the tech pointed out that you can totally see her hair! Yup, she has hair on her head already, even a little ducktail on the back of her head. So cute! Here are the pictures of Olivia today, don’t feel bad if you can’t make them out, the bigger they get the harder it is to see what is going on in there.

Of course I have to mention Barack’s inauguration today, and how thrilled I am that my children are going to be born under a President who is an absolute visionary and how much hope I have that my kids can live in a world where they can be proud of their country. I will be sure my girls never take their good fortune of being born in America for granted: I want them to understand how hard people have fought to create a place where anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation, can have a voice and can make a difference.

A new game we have been playing in the Fontana household is one I like to call “Poke at the Hard Bits.” Yes, it sounds a little dirty, but truly it’s not. Did you ever play the game Mousetrap? You know the one where you turn the crank and the boot kicks the bucket and the ball drops on to the teeter totter etc etc etc until the mousetrap drops at the very end? Well Poke at the Hard Bits is a lot like that game. First, you push on the belly until you find a hard piece of baby. Then you debate with the other players about exactly what that hard piece could be: Olivia’s knee? Sophia’s butt? A head? A back? Then you poke at the hard bit, hoping to reveal its identity. This is where the Mousetrap part starts- say you found Olivia’s elbow and you push on it. This will cause Liv to try to escape the poking, and she will kick her legs, kicking Sophia in the face, causing Soph to flail about, roll over, pull her knees up, and kick me directly in the colon, making me go “Whoo!” and change positions, which results in the presentation of a new hard bit to poke. Repeat. This game is even more fun if I eat some chocolate first, because then they are already thrashing about before the poking part begins, making identification of the hard bits even trickier.

Anyway, I’m off to bed. This has been a busy couple of days, and I need to recharge my batteries! Thanks to everyone who came to the shower and made our day so special. We are so lucky to have so many excellent friends, we can only hope that our girls are as blessed!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Like the Night Life, Baby

Now that I am not working anymore, it’s time to buckle down and really start getting ready for these new arrivals. I am officially in the third trimester, my shower is this weekend, the nursery is being painted even as we speak, and my mom and sis are coming to help me get things all buttoned up. The reality of this whole thing is starting to really sink in. I hate to admit it, but after what we went through to conceive these babies, it’s been hard at times to accept that this will result in actual small cranky human beings coming to live in our house.

The girls, in the meantime, have done all that they can to declare their very real presence, even being so intent on their mission that they now wake me up nightly just to be sure I don’t forget while I am sleeping. Thanks, ladies. Their movement in the last couple of weeks has gone from lovely taps and flutters to what sometimes feels like full-fledged kick boxing matches, complete with referee, in my uterus. You can actually see them move from across the room now, and I learned the hard way this morning that if I put my iPhone on top of my belly they can quickly deposit it on the floor. Sometimes if they start when I am not expecting it, their movements actually make me jump. Surreal. They have settled into somewhat of a routine:
7am-8am Yoga
1pm-2pm Tap Dancing
7pm-8pm Gymnastics, including floor exercise, vault, trampoline
2am-4am Cage match to the death

One thing I have learned the past 7 months is that pregnancy is not a cure for infertility. I still visit the blogs of friends struggling with this issue, some of whom have gone on to have pregnancies and some who have not, and I still feel the same kinship with all of them. I kind of thought that conceiving would erase all of that, that we would get so lost in the excitement of being parents that the reality of our struggles would melt away. I guess it’s not that simple. Soon we will have decisions to make about siblings, about the frozen embryos that are waiting across town, and about how to tell our girls the story of how they got here. I have started to work on my pregnancy scrapbook, which of course includes the IVF saga, because to me it’s an important part of the big picture. I guess they will just assume that all babies got to earth via a Petri dish until we tell them otherwise. How long do you think we can put that off for? 16 years? 18?

A note, while I am rambling on, about pregnancy brain. It is, without a doubt, a real phenomenon. I am willing to accept that I am not world renown for my memory, it’s actually pretty crummy, BUT it’s getting much much worse. Example: Dearest and I are sitting on the couch after a hectic but productive weekend. I turn to him and say “Wow, we did a pretty good job of keeping ourselves busy this weekend!” Dearest looks at me like I have grown a second head. I’m like, “What?!” and Dearest replies, “You just said that. Like literally 30 seconds ago. Yes, we were very busy today.” My perfectly logical response was to reply by bursting into tears. Hormones, anyone? Oy.

Anyway, we have an appointment with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist on Tuesday, and hopefully the nursery will be completed this weekend, so I can put some pics up. To my friends and family in the Midwest: stay warm! Come visit!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lamest. Ever.

Usually I come back from the doctor's with tales of baby cuteness and new "specs" on how the ladies are growing and thriving.

Not today.

Today, we had the man doctor.

The practice just hired him, and based on this morning's experience, I give him a C-. The other 2 doctors at the office are both female, both very friendly and chatty and outgoing, and both take plenty of time to admire these little creatures we have made, and to talk about and calm any concerns I might have. Not the guy doctor. He was literally in and out in about 4 minutes, and that included another Fetal Fibronectin test and (Hooray! my favorite!) a world famous "digital" cervical check. (Whyyyy can't you use the ultrasound? It's riiiight theeeeere.) (That was to be whined, as I was whining it in my mind.) He also looked at the babies hearts, only to confirm that they are in fact beating. Literally that's it. Not at all the personal touch the ladies were giving us. No cute pictures. No speculating on their future personalities. Nuthin,

So, according to the internets, the girls should be just shy of 2 lbs. each, and close to 14 inches long. I do know that Soph is still head down and Liv is still transverse across the top, head on my left, feet on my right. Nothing new there.

Sorry there is nothing cute for you. I will leave you with my 26 week belly, pics of the girls from Winnie Palmer's 2 weeks ago, and the hope that next Tuesday, when we are back there, there will be more cute babiness to report.

The 26 week belly:

Sophia, in profile:

Olivia, looking right at the camera. Can you see the tooth buds?

And, as an added bonus to attempt to compensate for the lameness of this post, "Pinkie," one of my Hermit Crabs:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's in Your Wallet?

Two years ago, I didn’t even carry a purse. I wore cargo pants. And everything I needed was within reach in my pockets or on my belt.

Funny how things change.

I was cleaning out my purse today, and the contents really exemplify how much my life has changed, how much I have changed in the past two years. Here is what I cleaned out of my purse:

What is funny is that even though I have been teaching for quite a while now, I still have all my tech gear on a shelf in my closet, ready to spring into action, as if I might put my steel-toed boots and head lamp on at any moment and head out for a day of Deck 1 at Nemo, or even Head Rigger at Tarzan. And I COULD, I mean mentally at least, I still remember every step of both of those tech tracks, and I still, sometimes, think of myself as a tech.

The transition from tech to Kindergarten teacher was not an easy one. I wonder sometimes what my team thought of me in those initial meetings, when I was far more tech than teacher. I would come lumbering in to one of my new colleagues' abodes, dressed in blacks, tools on my belt, grease on my hands and arms, painfully aware that I had no idea what I was doing yet 100% certain that I was going to figure it out and kick its ass, even if that meant I had to wear a sweater with a teddy bear embroidered on it.

But I have noticed the tech side of me, the rough and gruff “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on” side of me, shrinking. I still curse more than anyone else on the kindergarten team, that’s for sure. And there is no “off” position on my sarcasm switch, clearly. And I actually take a lot of pride in being a “tough” teacher, it has served me really well and the kids certainly respond to my tough love approach. But still, I am softening. The contents of my purse (hell, the fact that I even use a purse) make it undeniable.

And I think, of course, about motherhood. I believe that the tough love approach that has worked for me at school will serve me well as a parent, and I certainly have had plenty of time to practice it. I wonder if it will be easier or harder with my own kids. Or will having my own spawn soften me further, perhaps rendering me unrecognizable? I don’t really want that, to be one of those moms who lost their own identity and sense of purpose in the flurry of diapers and chapped nipples and all that my life is about to contain. Those people are painfully boring to me.

Now that I am on leave from teaching, I feel another part of my identity, the Kindergarten teacher skin that I have just fully grown into, slipping away. What will my purse reveal when I clean it out next time? Who will I be? What do the contents of your purse (or pockets) say about you?

Coming soon…. 26 week belly shots and new ultrasound pics! Stay tuned.