Apparently, the heart emoticon, <3, has been banned:


Hehe, funny article.  I’m not too bummed to hear that there are enough people out there annoyed by that emoticon to allow it to hit the list.  I’ve never really used it because to me it is a pretty big leap to say it looks like a heart.

That’s just part of the list of the various things that I read when I log in to see if Bump Fairy (link on the blog list) has updated her birth story any more yet.  Yes, she had her babies!!  Congrats to all of you!

I’ve also been reading and even answering some Yahoo answers things but I’m quickly becoming frustrated with that because the answers have the chance to be voted on and the ‘best’ selected and I’m learning that there are a lot of idiots out there.  (Idiot being defined as anyone who thinks I’m wrong.)  Well, there was this one question from someone (Not an idiot, just a conflicted soul) considering surrogacy that went something like this:

“Would you rather a surrogate be around or not around?” 

Her ‘question’ (which really deserves quotations because it wasn’t so much of a question) was basically that she couldn’t have children and was considering surrogacy but was upset because she wouldn’t be able to stand SEEING the surrogate get to actually carry her child.  She wanted nothing to do with the surrogate so that the baby could magically appear for her and she wouldn’t have to think about someone else getting to be pregnant with her baby.

As a surrogate, this would not be an intended parent that I would choose to work with.  I wouldn’t want to do all of this only to have the intended mother sneer at me with a jealous hate as she swung by the hospital to pick up her baby.  Um, not exactly the dream situation any potential surrogates have.  There are SOME that are happy to go through the whole journey with less contact and more privacy than me, that is true.  Hopefully if she opts to actually do this, she picks one of those people. 

I’ve heard from some people that they would rather do surrogacy for intended fathers as intended mothers do tend to bring that ‘I hate you for having a better uterus’ bit to the whole situation.  I don’t think I’ve seen that in the intended mothers that I’ve read online so maybe that is perception vs reality?  This woman clearly had those issues but she also had not yet decided to actually DO surrogacy. 

I know Bump Fairy (just had to check again for another update) has commented that for her the relationship with the intended parent(s) is important.  What about other readers out there?  Surrogates, intended parents, people not at all involved in surrogacy that would just like to hypothesize the “if I were…”?  Would you be willing to participate in a surrogacy journey where the surro and the parents had little to no contact?  Would you perhaps even prefer that?

Thanks.  And readers, you should all know.  I ❤ you.


overdue – the blog, that is, not me.

OK, so, it’s been awhile.

23 weeks and 3 days… point of viability… sort of.  Not that it is any risk, as I’m not going into labor any time soon, (sitting pretty steady with ~1-2 contractions in a day – normal), but I’ve been hunting down birth stories for babies born at this stage just to see what is out there.  Obviously, they are all pretty tiny.  I’ve come to the rounded survival percentage of about 5-10% but that is mostly because these two are monster babies and are more the size of a 24-25 weeker baby.

Speaking of that, yes, they are huge.  Measuring at about 23.5 weeks at the last appointment which was last week (I hope I remember that correctly) they are certainly staying ahead of the curve.  I think they were about 1 pound 2 or 3 ounces each.  9 pound twins, anyone?  It seems I’ve given up all hope of trying to control the weight gain as it makes no difference at all.  I’ve already gained (according to the last clinic weight check) 30 pounds so… ya… whatever.  I’m blaming it completely on this low iron issue and trying to eat more red meat and not at all on the fact that the holiday feasting is probably a little extreme.  I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that I’m going to have to really work after these two are born to lose the extra as ‘extra’ there most certainly is.

Most disturbing to me is the swelling that I’m feeling at this point.  My skin is feeling tight and I don’t just mean the belly.  Mostly my legs although my watch and rings are just starting to not spin as easily as they did before as well.  THAT is weight that is not only uncomfortable, but not terribly healthy.  It also means that I’ve had too many carbs which I can agree to.  My goal now is to watch the sugar and breads and to drink more water.  Hopefully I can control that swelling so that my shoes will still fit for a lot longer.

On the plus side, my blood pressure was back to its former glory of 106/60-something so I’m happy about that.  Seeing the 120 at the previous appointment was very disturbing. 

P and J have still not gotten to feel the little guys move around.  It is certainly possible now – they just have to be in the right place at the right time.  Our next appointment is near the end of Jan but hopefully we’ll see each other before then.

On the family front, we’ve enjoyed our time off over the holidays.  Asher is doing spectacular in the potty training front and I expect that to just continue.  Jessie had a little holiday program in her preschool where she sang Frosty the Snowman with her class and sat with the rest of them quietly while they sang something in spanish and then did a sign language story.  With her only being there 1 day per week, I can understand how she’d not feel brave enough to do the things she didn’t learn well but I was happy to see her singing Frosty with the class.  She was the only one that refused to wear the dorky big paper top hat all the class made but I don’t really blame her on that one.

Solstice eve our big family dinner turned out to just be a normal family dinner as no one was able to make it out to our place.  The weather was mostly to blame although I’ll admit to a small amount of petty “Your holiday isn’t real enough for us to take it seriously.” being heard on my end even though no one actually said it outloud.  I tried to suck it up and be mature for the kids as we carried through with our own traditions all on our own.  Sunday morning brought Gavin into my room at about 3AM notifying me that Santa had, in fact, been there and that it was the most exciting thing in the whole world.  I told him to go away and went back to sleep.  What he really did was go wake up Jessica who joined in his early morning glee and by 7AM I could hold them off no longer.  I got Asher up and we all went to see what magic Santa had left for us.

The kids really enjoyed everything which is great.  I always get a little depressed when I see how small the collection of gifts under the tree is since we try to really limit how much the kids get for this stuff.  I think it is good for them but I can’t seem to stop comparing the stash they get to what I would wake up to in the morning.  I have to admit though, no matter how deep the gift pile was each year, even as a kid everything ended with a bit of depression as everything was opened so I think I’m doing OK by keeping the focus off of a LOT of gifts.  I felt a little guilty when I was at the in-laws and someone there was talking about her ex-husband who ONLY got the kids 3 gifts each and how upset she was about how sad the kids would be (our kids each got 3 exactly).  My logic side took over though and said that it was her ex so, probably, she’d be critical no matter what he did. 

I was most excited when Jessie asked to hear the Solstice story again and Gavin was more excited about burning the Yule log. 

My big sister and her family was able to make it out for the holidays which was really awesome!  We have tried to get the kids together as much as possible but I think I’m paying for it now.  One of the things we did was to bring the whole crew out to the Children’s Museum.  Now, I love the Children’s Museum and thought this was a great idea but now that I’m coming down with some cold and Jessie was in my bed last night saying she thought she was going to throw up (she did not), I’m reminded of the side effects of going to that particular germ factory.  Hopefully my sister and her family aren’t stuck flying home with stuffy noses.

That’s it for now.  There was more that happened but I’m already in the danger zone of being so boring people won’t finish reading.

Santa 2008: The Visit

Oh yes, we rocked the Santa visit.  We rocked the Santa visit like baby wrangling, potty training, Santa happy pros.  “Farma” came with my husband and I and it was great to have her there.  Farma, in case you don’t know, is my husband’s mother and her name is, I think, an Americanized bastardization of the Swedish or Norwegian word for grandma.  Specifically, ‘Father’s Mother’, thus, paternal grandmother.  At any rate, it is what my children call, well, Farma.  Except for Asher.  He calls her Grandma and we can’t get him to change.  That is what we get for having the cousins who ALL call her Grandma over for an extended visit, apparently.  Anyway, I’ve wandered from the topic.

I give you, the Santa visit:

The story:

We didn’t make it out Tuesday night like I wanted to (I wanted to because it was a million degrees below zero and snowing and horrid outside and if that wasn’t the perfect night for no Santa line and a decent length visit, I don’t know what is) but K came home with a headache and even though he did agree to attempt the visit, I had NO desire to go out in a million degree below zero, really bad traffic, huge hassle Santa visit with a grumpy husband who would be less than helpful.  So even though we psyched the kids up really great and had them all in their Santa outfits which, for the first time EVER, they all LOVED and want to wear all the time and never take off, we told them never mind and offered Wednesday night as the consolation prize. 

Wednesday night (tonight), however, we were hitting pretty last minute and pretty much had to go.  We got started a lot later tonight than we had been set for yesterday but we had help in Farma going along with us.  We weren’t even on our way until about 7PM, which is, sadly, 30 minutes before Asher’s bedtime.  Not looking well for us, folks.  On the bright side, Asher spent his first diaper free daycare day today having NO accidents.  He even came home in the same pants and underwear that he left the house in.  For some reason, that last sentence makes me think of college but whatever.  On the not-so-bright side, I forgot that I had packed up ALL of his spare undies and pants in a bag and left them at daycare so we had nothing to change him into other than his actual Santa pants which I planned to put on him JUST before actually having the picture taken.  Oh, and while he dutifully sat on the toilet before leaving, he didn’t actually produce anything.

We get to the mall and thankfully get really lucky with a prime front parking space.  Asher is holding Daddy’s hand and walking behind us as Farma sprints through the mall to find Santa’s workshop.  I’m not kidding, she was taking out old ladies in her wake.  OK, maybe she was just walking normal but Asher was comparatively really slow.  Thankfully, there was a car shaped stroller just sitting there outside the department store we had to walk through to get to the mall and Ash decided he was going to drive to Santa’s place in style.  Turns out, we weren’t too far away from Santa’s workshop and as we get there I see what is known as ‘the bottomless line’.  The thing wrapped around twice.  I about died and I do believe K mentioned something about forgetting the picture but I didn’t actually register it so I can’t be certain. 

We stood in line for about an hour.  Well, by ‘we stood’, I mean someone stood in our space in line while various adults took various children for walks around the area and generally tried to keep everyone in a decent mood.  There were tears.  There was hitting.  There was a little boy that Gavin befriended that was wearing a skeleton graphic hoodie and black jeans to his Santa picture who was drinking a DQ slushy which prompted Gavin to ask if we could get slushies which prompted Jessie to tug on my jacket 8 million times to make me bend over to hear her whisper “Can I get a slushie too?” which made Asher whine and scream “I need a drink!” to anyone that might hear him for about 45 minutes.  There were 3 trips to the bathroom, only two of which were for Asher and that was only because the first one didn’t actually amount to anything other than Asher learning about automatic soap dispensers and hot air hand dryers.  The second trip with Asher was just before our turn to visit Santa when I put his actual picture pants on him.

While in the line, we pointed out Santa to the kids a few times and talked to them about what they would say to Santa.  In retrospect, I was just so worried about them asking Santa for the ‘right’ thing (ie the thing that I already GOT for them from Santa) that we pushed asking Santa for the gifts WAY more than I should’ve.  I’d have liked to talked to them about telling Santa how well they decorated the tree for him and asking what kind of cookies he liked best and stuff like that.  Oh well, the night still went well enough.  The Santa workshop was set up with ‘Mrs Claus’ greeting the little ones and holding the babies (They ALL loved her and NONE cried when she held them!  Whatever kind of freaky baby dope she had in her gloves I wanna know about) and then she’d help to introduce them to Santa for the picture.  If it didn’t work with Santa, Mrs Claus held the babies on HER lap for the picture and bliss was heard through the land.  Since I was busy putting Jessie’s black hair bow clips in her hair, I missed the actual critical moment of Asher being presented with Santa’s full attention for the first time.  I did NOT miss, however, him eagerly leaping into Santa’s arms and announcing for all his worth “I want a motorcycle.  Santa, Santa, I want a motorcycle.”  Jessie was still a bit timid but she followed Mrs Claus over to Santa and told him she was really hoping to find a pink power ranger’s costume (honestly, as long as she promises to never EVER allow her significant other to vote for her in any election, I’m OK with the pink power ranger costume).  Gavin followed through with his discussion with Santa about ripsticks and Wii games and ice skates and to tell you the truth, I’m just tickled that he hasn’t questioned Santa’s potential fakeness yet.

The pictures themselves, I think, turned out about as well as you could ask for mall Santa pictures after standing in line for an hour when you are already WAY past any concept of bedtime.  We could’ve asked for more and probably even got better but in truth, I’m happy with what we have and I didn’t want to push the whole visit and risk making it all about the picture and not more about their time visiting with the icon.  Asher turned around as we were leaving and ran over to Santa and held both his hands and said “Thank you Santa!” and holy puddle of goo, people, if I could bottle that image up forever I totally would.  Plus, nobody got peed on.

We drove home and got everyone in bed by 10PM for the early rise we all have to do in the morning for Jessie’s school program at 8 freaking o’clock in the morning.  Asher was dry all night and even peed in the toilet before we put on his ‘night night diaper’ which he insists on wearing his big boy underwear over.  I settled down to watch the taped Top Chef show before login on for this blog post.  I just have to say, it was a really good episode.  I also have to say, my daughter is the biggest little spoiler you’ve ever seen.  Ever.  The Biggest Loser finale was on last night and we had taped it but I guess K watched it with Jessica before I got around to seeing it because as soon as she sees what show I’m turning on she says to me “Oh, “______” wins.”  AHHHH!  I am now going to log off and fall into a coma for about 5 hours before I need to get up and get everyone ready for Jessie’s school program.

What I’ve been doing in my spare time

I keep trying to remember how uncomfortable I was or was not with my singletons at 21 weeks.  I do not really remember.  So far I’m not uncomfortable with these two really.  I mean, I get really tired out quickly but I don’t have a few of the things I recall getting at some time or another with my other pregnancies.  Namely, I can still sleep fairly comfortably on my side.  This baby belly is really starting to stick out there though, and I can feel the little guys moving around a lot!

Ash’s potty training is going really really well.  As of either yesterday or the day before he told me he had to go before getting his pants even a little tiny bit wet for the first time.  I’m working now on NOT asking him if he has to go so that he can get the hang of saying he does.  Today he has not had any accidents at all and he has said he had to go twice.  Of course, I DO have him try to go right when he gets up, before he goes to sleep and just before we leave the house.  Since we are driving Gavin to and from school and he has nap time, that makes for a number of enforced potty attempt times. 

I’m thinking the Santa trip will be tonight or tomorrow.  I’m SO bummed!  Our regular Santa that we love to use and my kids have been pictured with EVERY SINGLE year since Gavin was born isn’t working this year!  In fact, that mall doesn’t have a Santa at all.  He was, hands down, the best Santa I’ve ever seen and I can only hope that Northtown mall is anywhere near as good.   I do recall that the year Jessie potty trained in the holiday break time frame we got in the Santa visit before potty training started so the whole mall trip could be done with diapers.  Probably an intelligent thing to do again this year but that seems to have required more forethought than I was able to carry off.  That, and I was pretty excited about the idea of no more diapered children at all.  This year it will be the biggest test on Ash yet.  I’m worried about him wetting in his special Santa outfit so I’m thinking he’ll wear different pants there.  Then we can scope out to see if there is a line or not and have him go in the bathroom, change his pants, and hope everything works out.  I’ve been working with Jessie and Asher to get them to not be afraid of him but I don’t really think there will be anything to be done about Asher.  I’m just hoping we can somehow get a reasonable picture and that I won’t have to be in it.  Asher has decided he wants to ask Santa for a motorcycle.  Hehe.  Thankfully, he just wants the little ‘hot wheels’ car type motorcycle since the one he has been playing with has recently lost it’s whole front section. 

The big kid, K, now THERE’S trouble on deciding what to get him.  Every year, even I am depressed by what I get him so I can only imagine his excitement.  At least I’ve set the bar low for myself.  I know he’d love a clean house but… ya… so would I.  It’s not easy to do that in this state and the kids are not exactly helpful.  We can’t even really hire someone to help because hired help just does the easy stuff – the vacuuming, the sweeping, the mopping, etc.  I need someone that can come in here and organize all the kid’s DVDs and videos and games into their correct cases and sort out all the toys and put them together where they belong and put some organization to the house.  That is the stuff that I just cannot for the life of me do.  Well, I’ll have to think of something.  If you have any good husband gift ideas please feel free to send them along.  Just a note, he has ZERO interest in sports.

BTW – I was trying to clean off the glass on the french doors we have into our 3 season porch.  The inside went well enough but the rag just kept freezing to the glass on the outside.  Darn this cold weather.  I ended up getting my hair dryer out and running it along the glass with the rag as I wiped it down.  Not perfect, really, but better.  It was too cold to sit with the door open any longer.

Me too

I was sitting at the dining room table with Asher while he ‘wrote’ in this little journal book just before bedtime.  He looked at me and said “I’m glad you’re here with me.  I love you.”

The weekend edition

Just an update on the potty training over the weekend.  I’d say we’re doing pretty darn well, really.  It is harder with the house so busy, but Asher is certainly going for longer periods of time without peeing at all.  This really has the effect of driving me insane because I’m worried about the accidents but he’s doing fine.  We also have to get to the point where he is initiating the bathroom stops instead of me saying it is time to go.  That is something we both have to work on as I have a hard time leaving him alone.   Today we went out for haircuts for the 3 kids and Asher made the trip with big boy undies.  I was nervous about this because he wouldn’t go for me at all just before we left the house but he was dry the whole time and went when we got home. 

This brings me to the major drawback of potty training at holiday time.  There are so many things to do!  We have to go out and get the Santa picture (gosh I’d die if he peed on Santa’s knee – although – if he SITS on Santa’s knee it probably means hell has frozen over so that may not be an issue.)  I still need to finish off the last of my shopping and eventually, we’ll be on the uber string of family visits that equates to about a road trip to California by the time we’re done going to all the houses.  A busy life for a little potty training dude and I don’t believe in pull-ups or training pants.

Speaking of the haircuts, it kills me to cut Ash’s beautiful little hair in the back.  We (well, the woman cutting his hair) managed to do a great job of trimming it up to look groomed without taking away the little boy look.  Jessie had her hair trimmed up as it was getting so long it was a true pain to brush.  We took off about 3 or 4 inches from the back and trimmed up her bangs.  Gavin came to the hair cut amidst much complaint which makes me laugh because this boy doesn’t know the meaning of having a mom tell you what to do with your hair.  The woman asked what he wanted and I said that if he had a specific idea, whatever he wants is fines, but if he says to NOT cut anything, then I’d like her to clean it up around his ears and his neck.  He apparently had no opinion so she went with that.  Gosh I hope Asher never reaches 9.

Once I finish here, I have to go find out what the amazing duo of Jessie and Ash are doing with the water I can hear them running in the bathroom and THEN, (probably after much clean up), we’re going to work on putting ornaments on the tree we got on Friday.  That is assuming I can convince my husband to go into the crawl space for the totes because I am not going to be crawling around in there.

OK, I really have to see what that water sound is…

If I don’t leave the house all day, do I still have to shower?

Potty training day two went MUCH better.

The first thing Asher did when he got up in the morning and we took his “night time diaper” off was to sit on his potty and say he made “wet”.  He got it!  From that point on he knew all about peeing in the toilet as well.  He went just before we packed him up in his car seat to drive Gavin to school and all in all only had one accident during the morning.  The evening had more accidents but everyone was home and trying to get dinner ready and Gavin’s homework and spelling practise done before cub scouts so, it was a little crazy.  I’d like to brag that we don’t even have anything as incentive for Asher to be doing this.  No candy rewards, no stickers, nothing.  The potty chair has a little red dot that turns into a star when you pee on it which he likes, but other than that, it is just ‘YAY Asher!’ and that’s it.  Jessie and Gavin both had sticker books where they got to put stickers on the pages whenever they did well but Ash is just so proud of himself it wasn’t needed.  That, or I was just too lazy to attempt the stickers and it turns out he doesn’t so much care.

So far on day 3 he has not had any accidents and he is going longer times between peeing – which also means he is peeing more when he actually does go.  Just now I had his ‘nap time diaper’ on him and we were reading and he asked to take it off so he could go in the potty.  I’m so proud of this boy!  I’d like to see a busy evening at home without much for accidents before I dare venture out of the house (besides picking up and dropping Gavin off at school where he has done EXCELLENT with no accidents so far.)

My vacation from work has gone pretty much like I expected it as well.  I’ve been called several times and done several things for only being out 2.5 days from work.  I don’t mind really.  I told them to not worry about calling me.  I’d rather be allowed to take the vacation time and be called while I’m out than be told that they need me too much for me to be able to use vacation at all.  Also, it feels good to know that I’m terribly useful there.  I’ve even spoken to HR about working part time from home when I’m on leave.  This was in case I ended up on bedrest before giving birth as I’m not planning on being out long after giving birth.  Turns out, I can, as long as I have that first 5 full days of totally being out. 

I was a little worried about all the ‘eating at home’ I’d be tempted with while being on vacation.  I think being at home with the kids takes care of that.  I can’t eat in front of them without them wanting some of what I have unless they decide it is icky.  That means I can’t eat junk in front of them unless I’m willing to share.  As much as I believe in the inherent value of sharing, I believe in it LESS when it means ME sharing my treasured treats with my beloved children.  Mostly because I know that they don’t really understand the worth of something like a pomegranate dark chocolate ice cream bar.  Why share a Sargento with someone who values Mac ‘n Cheese over spinach and truffle shaving pizza?  Not that I have any of those things in the house right now, but you get the idea.   The result is that I’ve really been eating pretty healthy.  See, I knew selfishness would pay off some day.  No one ever tries to steal my organic greens salad with cherry tomatoes.

I have to share something from earlier this morning.  Asher and I were downstairs doing a puzzle.  I was sitting on the pull-out bed in the TV room that happens to be pulled out now as everyone has been laying on it watching all the cool movies K has rented recently.  Ash was standing next to the bed doing said puzzle.  He’s gotten into a habit of wanting me to kiss whatever has been injured to the extent that he will purposefully (and slowly) shut a drawer on his hand just so he can bring it over to me and ask for a kiss.  I never turn him down.  Well, he was reaching to grab a puzzle piece that had gotten a bit far up on the bed and I guess the metal parts of the fold out bed were positioned just such that he jumped back with his hand over his now not-diapered family jewels and said “Owie Mommy!  Mommy kiss it.”  I admit, for the first time, I turned him down.  I did blow him a kiss and thankfully he accepted this.  Very thankfully.