Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pleased* to introduce...

Our baby girl, Tamsin Margaret, arrived on Tuesday, November 27th at 10:12 am.  Weighing in at 7 lbs even, and measuring a whole 20 inches, she is smack dab, size-wise, between her brother and sister. 

She is an amazingly sweet and pink little thing with fluffy auburn hair, and eats and sleeps surprisingly well... and aside from taking her time showing up, she has been very accommodating and considerate of the Huff household. 

Lettuce first take a look back at the few days preceding her arrival.  (Obviously, bedrest works, as she managed to stay put for 39 weeks and 6 days.  Or, as my doctorb put it, perhaps my cervix was like me:  short but mighty.  (No, I wasn't laughing.))

Here I am on Saturday evening, quite certain that her eminence was imminent.  I had had some crippling, clonic contractions, called the Warden to come stay over (and Aunt Joanne, too!), and decided that the Blue Spandex needed to make one last appearance.

...and here I am on Tuesday morning.  After waking up at 1:30 am with even more contractions, and deciding to watch a bit of Wipeout, I got Chris out of bed around 3 am, because let's face it:  when Wipeout is no longer funny, it's time to go to the hospital.  After some triaging, some time in the jacuzzi, and some walking, I said, "hook me up!" and got me an epidural.  And then some pitocin.  Guess how I felt about it?  IT WAS AWESOME.  Maybe I appreciated it more because I had done it twice before without, but wow, what a... yes, I'll say it... pleasant experience!  Eventually, they broke my water, I pushed for a whole NINE minutes, and voila!  A Tamsin is born!

Big Brother and Big Sister came to meet the little one - they were SO excited, and still are.

This is Thursday morning, getting ready to come home.  I again had a lovely hospital stay, and can't say enough good things about the nurses, doctors, and food services.

Tamsin's Birth Day celebration (thanks, Grandma!).

Tamsin's first bath, with a very enthusiastic helper!  He took off his shirt so it wouldn't get wet.

Tamsin yukking it up with proud Daddy. 

 The first car ride with a family of five.  The new addition is snuggled in our other new addition, a Volvo station wagon.  (Shut up.  It's way cooler than a minivan.)

Our little Tamsin, 7 days old.

*  How pleased, you ask?  Why, pleased as Punch(y), of course.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Why 3-year-olds should be in charge of naming babies

The budding comedian of the house started giggling this morning during breakfast. 

"I have a silly name for the baby," he said.

"For a boy or for a girl?" I asked.

"For a boy."

"Ok," I said.  "Let's hear it."  Pubert is still a front-runner, of course, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Now, note that lately, toilet humour has been number one (hey-o) -  most of his attempts at humour end in "in the toilet", followed by maniacal laughter.  Such as "Knock knock/Who's there/Pepper/Pepper who/Pepper in the toilet".  And so forth.  Good times.

But today, it was a pleasant surprise.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.

A new possibility for the Punchy's name, should it be a boy, is...


drum roll...


Ungerness Toonamint.*

Now, if that's not a funny name, I don't know what is.**

* spelled phonetically, of course.

**  "Hey!  Joey Jo-Jo!" - anyone?  anyone?  Ok, fine.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

And still, I embiggen

Seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY???

Thirty.  Nine.  Weeks.

Another doc's appt, another doc's appointment booked for next week.  Sigh.

Every day, I make sure that something else that has been appropriately "nested" is pointed out to the belly, as in, "Look, Punchy!  Here's your car seat!  You can come out now."  Or, "Hey, Punchy!  Your diapers are all folded and put away, and your bed is made.  Time to come out."  Or, "Oh, Punchy?  I washed and dried all of your toys, so they're clean and ready for you to play with." 

Today's effort was a bit smaller:  "Hey, Punchy, I did my nails."  Just in case that was what was holding it back. 

I've been considering, lately, that some people just aren't comfortable with this whole Miracle of Life business.  Like me, for example.  Here I am, on my third baby, and am still creeped out horrified disgusted ... no wait, that's all how I actually feel, so I'm taking back my strikethroughs:  I own that I am creeped out, horrified and disgusted by this process.  Still.  Yes, it's amazing.  Yes, it's incredible.  But there is YET ANOTHER little being inside of me who has not only grown bones, but fingernails and toenails, too.  Shudder.  It's just not natural.  Not to mention the weird, yucky side effects, which don't need to be discussed. Bleah.

Ok, fine, since you insist.  Below, a recently-rediscovered effort at explaining about what pregnancy does to your body, drafted when I was the host organism to Huffalump the First, who became Vaughn.  I regret that I never finished it, as the third trimester is really the "best" part, but don't have a scanner at my desk anymore.

Yes, of course my resume says "sweet powerpoint skillz".*

And yes, I am available to present to 7th-9th graders.  I figure that the whole truth would reduce teenage pregnancy by a lot.

*However, my transferring-powerpoint-to-video-file skillz aren't as good, apparently.  Apologies.

Friday, 9 November 2012

And in THIS corner...

...weighing in at 122 lbs, measuring 36-38-36, is an angry mess.

37 weeks, and no baby. 

I'm chugging raspberry leaf tea by the potful, doing lots of walking (though a mad dash across the street for the bus almost dislocated my pelvis)...and my grandmother will be happy to know that I even tried castor oil the other day.  I am pleased to report that it worked (wow, did it ever), but it didn't bring on labour.  :P

So, one could imagine that my mood is less than stellar right now (although, TMI warning, my colon is clean as a whistle!).

This morning's post is brought to you by a whopping dose of Righteous Indignation.  And it carries a Very Large Pregnancy Card.

I just got back from the grocery store, where I needed to pick up some diapers (Ailsa's still in them at night, and the let's-try-to-overnight-in-cloth-diapers, which was attempted last night, resulted in a change of diaper and pj's at 11 pm, and a very stinky set of bedding this morning.  Back to (environmentally-conscious) disposables for now) and some evaporated milk (let them eat fudge!)*.  I pulled into a middling-full parking lot to see a woman pulling into one of the stork parking spots, clearly marked as "reserved for expectant and new mothers". 

"Nice car," I thought, as she got out of her fancy Mercedes, wearing a black fur coat.  But she wasn't holding a baby.  And, not to judge, but she didn't look any less than her late 40s. 

So, after finding a farther-away spot of my own (non-stork), I waddled briskly into the store, on the lookout for a fancy black fur coat. 

Aha!  There she was, in the produce section.  I was careful to assess her physique (her coat was now open) and noted her admirably flat belly (and nice hair and nails, I suppose, if you're into that sort of thing.  Snif.) before approaching and saying, pleasantly, "Excuse me, but I noticed you parked in a spot reserved for expectant mothers."

She turned to size me up (half her height, and 3 times her girth) and said, "I made sure that there was one available." 

Erm, the other one was full too.

I continued, a slight bit more icily, "They're reserved for a reason."  I indicated my offensively large midsection.

And she said, "It's not the law."  AND WALKED AWAY.

Possible retorts included, "Neither is me punching you in the face," but I think that is against the law, in retrospect, so it was a good thing that I just called after her, politely (I swear), "Have a nice day!"

I fumed throughout the rest of my 2-item shopping, and waddled back out to my car.  Hers was still there.  Hmmm, I thought.  Retribution time.  I mentally sorted through my inventory.  Keys?   Too much, and also a felony.  Lipstick?  No, I really like that lipstick.**  Aha!  Pen and paper!

I tore the top portion of my receipt, and just wrote "Karma", then drew a little flower beside it.  I tucked it under her wiper blade, and left.  I feel better.  I was tempted to hang low, and wait for her to come out and find it, but darn it, I wanted fudge more.

*  Ok, "me".  Let me eat fudge.

** I used to have a hot pink lipstick in my pocket for that sort of thing.  When I lived in Sandy Hill and Chinatown, people would block my driveway all the time, and many people returned to their cars to find "Thanks for blocking my driveway!"  cheerily written on their driver's side window, with a nice smiley face beside it.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Halloweenies 2012

Another Halloween has come and gone, and it was fantastic.  (Of course it was!  It's Halloween!)

The kids were very specific in their costume choices this year.  Ailsa, who fits perfectly into V's awesome lion costume from last year, insisted on being a punkin.  I was trying to plant the seeds from February onwards, but her mind was made up.  Punkin or nuffin.  Well.

And Vaughn's vision was to be, well, a killer whale.  Hmmm.

Ha ha ha!  Good luck, Grandma!  I said, and Mom set to work making these kids look as awesomely ridiculous as they did.  She did a great job, as usual.

Trying on the costumes for the first time, admiring their reflections. 

Rear view.  You can see V's dorsal fin and tail. 

This was taken at playgroup.  They had face painting, and V wanted to wear my "ears" anyway, so, "Why not?" I thought.

Ah.  This is "why not". 
How fun was it to explain, repeatedly, that although it looked like I intentionally dressed my son up as a victim of a killer whale attack, it really was innocent.  Gah.
I washed his face before we went trick-or-treating.

Pumpkins, clockwise from top left:  Ailsa's design, Vaughn's design (I was the consultant and knife-wielder), and my let's-just-get-this-over-with design.  The fourth pumpkin was a ghost (again, quick and effective), and the fifth was handed as an empty pumpkin shell to Amanda for her decorating! 

Devil or Buddha?  And here I am, large as a barge and in charge, as they say.  Later that night, I had half changed into my pjs, but thought I should get at least one photo of the belly at 36 weeks.  Am "starting" to get disgruntled that, 7 weeks after my end being at the receiving end of steroid shots and a prescription for bed rest, the baby has not yet escaped its uterine prison.  I am officially allowed to have it this evening (Mom and Dad will be back in town), however.

Can't wait for next year!  Hopefully the next 'lump will be as much of a h'weenie as the rest of us!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Quck snapshot from early summer

These were taken in early summer, before the insane heat and long drought (note that my lovely lawn was still lush and green, not light yellow and sad-looking).  You can click on them to enlarge.

There is only one possible caption required for these photos.

Wait for it...

"Man, these Hufflings sure are intense!"


(Note:  if you need this explained, please contact me in person so I can remove you from my address book)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Sweet CP WC Skillz

Note:  This is not a drinking-friendly post.  If you're holding a glass of apple juice or warm beer, you might want to finish it, then return to this.

I am a woman of limited skills.* 

Actually, that's not true.  I have an amazing ability to rapidly achieve mediocrity in almost anything I've ever tried (can I be proud of that, please?), with the exceptions of snowboarding and competitive fitness.

Learning to snowboard (winter 2006) was a painful, slow, awful, steep, painful (did I say painful?) and humbling experience.  On the 7th lesson of the 8-week program, I finally stayed on my feet for one entire S-curve.  The rest of the time, my claim to fame was being to get up again very quickly after I wiped out, after spending only seconds (tenuously) upright.  At one point, there was a pig-pile of about eight of us, despondent, dejected and bruised, watching a very old man slowly snowplow by us on skis.  "Oh wow," someone breathed.  "That looks awesome."

The other notable exception was competing in fitness.  The whole thing is suspicious, frankly, and I don't think I'm out of line to call "shenanigan!" on it.  First, what are the chances that my ongoing love of muscles, acrobatics, extreme bounciness and high heels could come together into one sport, just for me?  It seems a bit too orchestrated, or intelligently-designed, if you will.  And second, I'm still suspicious of a sport that I did so well in.  If I was that good, it obviously can't be very hard, and thus I really shouldn't feel as ridiculously proud of my trophies as I do (the only trophies I've ever won, as you don't get trophies for mediocrity, apparently).  To sum up, as it is a pretend sport that was apparently created just for me to make up for a childhood and adolescence devoid of any great performances (aside from the "I'm Short" speech of 2010), it really shouldn't count.

Hey, remember this look? Next time I go onstage, I'll make sure that my fake eyelashes aren't gluing one eye half-shut. I promise.

Which brings us to the ongoing struggle to develop new skills -- dare I say expertise -- as an adult.  I did some research and decided to focus on an activity that I've worked on (and succeeded at, briefly) in the past:  peeing in a cup.

As a pregnant lady, you are expected to pee in a LOT of cups.  A lot.  Every time you see a doctor, a nurse, a lab technician, or even just a latex glove, you are required to produce a little cup full of pee. 

The first few times I went in, it was a bit messy, I admit.  But as the months go by, I got better and better at it - more in the cup, less ... well, everywhere else.  With each of my bellies, in months 5-7 of pregnancy, I think I could have competed in the Cup-Peeing World Championships (which I'll shorten to "WC" for fun).

But like every good sports psychologist and Human Kinetics student knows, there is a performance curve.  Now, I'm not saying that I've psyched myself out of producing a quality cup (and a dry hand), but I'm just admitting that, perhaps, lately I have been feeling "off" and "missing the mark". 

I blame not being able to see jack squat.  Or myself squat, for that matter.  It's really just a guessing game at this point - am I aiming right?  Or am I even holding a cup?  I don't know.  Do I still have feet?  No idea.

To sum up, I have now peaked at the one thing that I've been completely awesome at lately.**

Maybe I should go back to competing.

Random Foot Check, 22 October 2012, at 34 weeks pregnant. 
Sometimes I can't even see the floor, let alone my feet. 
Yesterday, in the car, my belly actually startled me into tears, it looked so big. 
I'm ok now. 

Second Child Syndrome?  Ha!  Try Third Child Syndrome! 
This is the most recent ultrasound of Punchy, and, I believe, the only one I've uploaded so far. 
Oh, the parental shame. 
You can eerily creepily actually see its eyeballs
The position of its tiny upraised fist make it look like it's knocking on my uterus, as if to say, "Please let me out now." 
Or possibly, "Why you little..."

*Ok, fine.  Limited marketable skills.  Better?

** Although I DID make a pie about which Chris said, UNPROMPTED, was one of the best pie experiences he'd ever had.  (The secret is the vodka.)  (Shhhh.)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Desperate Housewife aka A Cry for Help

Hey, does anyone remember the last flowchart I made?

Well, for some reason, we seemed to have more options way back in June 2010.  Here's the current Plan for my contacts during labour: 

Now, this won't be a problem at all.  In fact, we can completely ignore the bright yellow panic icon if the baby hangs out in utero till November 6th (I'll be just about 37 weeks along) (at which time the sun seekers will have returned from their vacation*).  However, the doctorb has repeatedly gotten my hopes up warned me that this one is ready for an early exit.

Which leaves us with a two-week window in which the arrival of Punchy will be more ... problematic... than not. 

So, faithful reader(s),** I throw myself on your mercy!!!  The kids, of course, are in daycare (and the Amazing Amanda has been picking them up from our house every morning - incredible!!!), and in the unlikely event*** that the baby should arrive in the middle of the night, you'd just be needed to show up, sleep, eat breakfast with two deeeeelightful Hufflings, etc, until Chris can come home from the hospital.  Any takers?  We have cable and internet, a stocked freezer and liquor cabinet, are close to downtown and RCMP HQ (hint hint), and we would be in your debt forever.

So, really, please let me know if this would be an option for any of you.  Please.  Think of this as a telethon to update my flowchart, but with less entertainment.  And more desperation. 

The Fine Print:  An offer of help could possibly result in a phone call at 2 am, requiring you to leave your nice warm bed/bar and sleep at our place.  The kids wake up at 7, and get picked up at the door around 8/8:30.  They need to be picked up by 5 pm (but I can negotiate with Amanda for a drop-off, too - did I mention she's amazing?), and honestly, once the labour part of the hospital stuff is over, I don't need Chris around, so your time commitment wouldn't extend past, oh, 12 hours or so. The "debt forever" bit is true, but we can bargain - how would you like our first born son?  He's really quite something...

* Query:  if you're already retired, do you really need to take vacations?  Really?  From what, exactly?

** Of course, if you're a random stranger reading this, maybe you should skip this part.

*** "Unlikely" in that, sure, the last two were born at 5:20 and 6:45 am, respectively.  At one point during labour with Ailsa, I saw Chris look at the clock, and I said, "I know what you're thinking."  "Do you?" he said.  "You're thinking, 'I bet some people have babies at reasonable times of day,' aren't you?"  He was.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

DG Decorates for Dictators

Little dictators, that is.  Cute ones. 

The challenge of putting two strong-minded Hufflings into one room, and keeping it fun, organized, and, well, to the taste of each actually wasn't too hard.  The main challenge is keeping it neat, as we're still housing half of the basement toys up here, and, as a friend recently said, the "entropic power" of small children is quite staggering.

The other challenge, of course, is making two best friends go to bed and stay in bed, when really, they just want to giggle and sing and poke at each other all the time.  It's completely, utterly adorable.  Until about 8:15.  Ailsa, who used to barely stay awake till 7:30 and have to be woken up at 8 am or later, given her druthers, is now a willing sidekick and emissary to her brother, who likes to inform us at, say, 2 am, that his blankets are tangled, or that at 5:40 am that he has to pee.  He sends in his messenger first, who informs us that "Vaughn needs you." 


The room was already a nice sunny blue, and we had put the super-cute animal decals back on when it was just Vaughn's room.  But since his favourite sister moved in, we thought we should change it to suit both of their tastes.  Which meant that neither would get what they wanted, although alternating trucks and "pincesses" might have been interesting, but I knew that one curious little monkey could bring them together.

There were plain white Eclipse curtains up on the walls before (to keep out light and insulate the large window a bit more), but the new decals required some colour so that everything looked finished. Being on bed rest, I naturally decided to take the kids to Fabricland for a horrifying stressful fun adventure. I don't think we'll be welcomed back, as it is apparently the most fun store ever. So many colours! So many patterns! And for Ailsa, so much PINK! "More PINK!" she squealed.... "Mommy!  Lllloook!  PINK!"....over and over and over...

Anyhoo, I finally sat down with my trusty sewing machine (which hasn't been used since the last Curtain Debacle of 2010) and put these beauties together.  The Warden (who has returned home now, as Fis is back) (daily internal debate over which is worse continues) wouldn't let me hang them, but we both agreed that they give the room a nice finishing touch, non?

Next project:  insulating the windows in the new baby's room.  The baby turtle, being a third child, gets hand-me-down decor from Ailsa, but I think I can update it enough so that it's none the wiser... until it's old enough to read my blog.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

DG Presents: SNBs,* Halloween edition

This morning, with the Amazing Amanda busy, the kids stayed home with me till just before lunch.  Being home on bedrest anyway, it was no problem at all.

Rest, my foot.

I decided to buy some Halloween cookie cutters yesterday at Bulk Barn (yes, of course I had a coupon).  The Warden had left for her art class, so I snuck out to buy some deeeelicious raspberry leaf tea (delicious in a uterus-toning way only), and noticed that they not only had copious amounts of crap-in-my-mouth** on special, but also some fun cookie cutters.

During dinner (roast chicken on a bed of garlic, onion, fresh rosemary and white wine - the DG is down but not out), I mentioned to the kids that I picked up some neat cookie cutters, and asked what kind of cookies they thought we'd need for Halloween?  Vaughn guessed the ghost and bat, and Ailsa chimed in with "punkin!". 

I made the dubious call of telling them that we'd make cookies in the morning.  This meant no sleep for anyone, because Baking with Mommy is Very Exciting.  In a Mommy-needs-a-drink and you-kids-need-a-timeout kind of way.  But the results were delicious. 

No photos were taken during the process, as I needed both hands for smacking little hands, fingers, noses and mouths that kept trying to incorporate themselves into the dough.

And now, for that rest.

* Unfortunately, inside jokes are only funny to a few people.
** See above.

Friday, 21 September 2012

LA "vacation" - Part 2 - "Guess I was wrong"

So, day 8 of our "vacation", we bit the bullet and headed to Disneyland.  I know, I know, who in their right mind would take a 1- and 3-year old to Disneyland?  Chris, however, convinced me that because we travelled on points, stayed in a hotel that his conference was paying for, and we had come SUCH a long way, how could we not?

I countered with, "it's going to be soooo crowded", and "they're far too young", followed by "it's awfully expensive for somethng they won't remember or understand", also adding, "they have no idea what Disneyland is, and won't miss out."  But Chris insisted (and possibly reduced Vaughn's reported age by 3 months or so, in the interest of thrift), so off we set.

The first person we saw when we got through the gates was Mickey, leading a marching band.  Both kids yelled, "MICKEY!!!!", unprompted by us.  Guess I was wrong.

The day was still unseasonably cool, which was AWESOME.  Being robust, stalwart Canadian types, we enjoyed the quiet grounds (even though it was a Sunday, and March Break, the park wasn't busy at all), and just made sure to keep our fleeces zipped up.  With only two exceptions, we didn't stand in line for more than 5 minutes.  Yep, wrong again.

First stop, the carousel.  I was still feeling ill, tired, and sad, but tried to enjoy myself.   The kids' smiles and giggles really helped - they were so blown away by everything they saw! 

There is a picture, taken in 1974, of my mom in front of this very whale.  I made Chris take it despite my feeling a bit maudlin, as in the 1974 picture, Mom was very pregnant with my sister.  I was very aware that, despite hopes and plans, I was most definitely not.  (Guess I was wrong; it turns out that I was, but my body wouldn't tell me for another month and a half.) 

On the walk over to It's a Small World, we stopped to watch a drumline.  Vaughn and Ailsa caught the beat, then Vaughn got to join in the drumming.  What a great experience!  Small World was delightful, and the kids still hum the song and sing a few words, five months later.  Guess I was wrong about their memory, too!

Next stop, ToonTown!  We followed Goofy around till we got hugs, and for something so big and, well, goofy, he wasn't scary to the kidlets at all!

We finally met the man, the mouse, the legend.  Mickey was in the middle of filming a movie, but took the time between takes to meet his fans.  This picture doesn't do the kids justice - they were so excited that the 15-minute wait flew by!  After the starstruck photos, they each gave him hugs, lots of waves, and "Bye, Mickey"'s ... and still talk about it. 

We stopped for lunch, then when Ailsa conked out in the stroller, Vaughn and Chris went for a drive.  I believe Chris operated the pedals, and Vaughn steered them into everything he could!  He still talks about his orange car, and Chris still laughs (nervously) about the experience. 

The last ride we went on was Nemo's submarine, after a 30 minute wait, which I expected would be awful - really cool effects, beautiful scenery, and the Nemo storyline, too!  They weren't scared of the shark or the angler fish at all, and just felt really lucky to have been on a submarine!  Guess I was wrong.

After 5 1/2 hours of walking around the park on his own two feet (our little man is incredible...yet sometimes is "too tired" to walk to the end of our street!), we made the requisite stop for Ears.  Still smiling, and full of memories, Disneyland was something that I'm so glad we experienced together.  Vaughn, of course, is full of stories and specifics (and "It's a Small World"), and Ailsa, as her language develops more and more, brings up surprising facts, which up to now have been hidden inside that amazing little brain of hers, about the day.  Guess I was wrong!

I'm not going to say that the vacation was in any way relaxing (even the spa part was somewhat stressful, due to the unfortunate "naked" bit), or good for my health, but I can't thank everyone enough for their support and guidance, especially Diana, vacation-planner extraordinaire, who gave me the low-down on all the attractions and what the kids would like, Chris' parents, who took the kids and gave me time off while they spoiled them rotten, and of course, Laurel and Mike, with whom we shared precious grown-up time.

Was it worth the (surprisingly limited) expense?  Definitely.  The kids had new experiences every day and remember the oddest little tidbits about their adventures, not to mention the bonus time they had with their grandparents, who they don't get to see enough of.  The stress, illness, lack of sleep, and hormones I could have done without, not to mention the no-vacation-for-me-because-this-is-it (and no, bedrest is not a vacation)...and I would have loved to have Chris share in observing their curiosity and pure delight at everything we saw, but all's well that ends well, I suppose.

After all, the next one will involve THREE Hufflings, and we'll look back upon this "vacation" as easy.  Gulp.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

March "Break" in Los Angeles (retro post, part 1)

March Break 2012, Chris had the luck to have a conference in LA.  "You and the kids should come!" he said. 

Hmm... let me think on this.  He'd be in a workshop all day, every day, with some dinners and meetings in the evenings.  I'd be using up my entire vacation allotment for the year, staying in a single hotel room with two small children of inconsistent delightfulness, pretty much by myself, unable to even watch tv after their 7:30 bedtime.  "Thanks," I said, "but I'll pass."

He finally convinced me by saying that both his mom and his dad would be able to visit the kids while we were there, and... (guilt kicks in) how could I say no to that?  I finally agreed, with the explicit understanding that he'd owe me.  Big Time.  And of course, my favourite person on the planet, TP#2, had recently moved there, and maybe I'd get a half day's escape to hang out with her...?

The night before we left, I started feeling lousy... streppy throat, fever, chills, body aches, migraine... now THAT's the way to start a vacation!  The kids were wonderful travellers, as usual, but I was unable to appreciate it, as I was far too sick.  The week was fairly rough, health-wise, as "sleeping" in the room with the kidlets wasn't really sleeping, V came down with a cold that required being propped up to breathe (enter body pillow/Mommy), and generally, I didn't feel better at all for the first 6 days.  I tried to be a trooper for the kids, but I was fairly cranky to Chris, every chance I got.  (sorry, babe!)

For March in LA, I was surprised by the Canadian weather!  We left 24-degree days, and arrived to 50-degree days.  As I have no idea how this Farenheit thingy works, I just knew that it was chillier than at home, by far, and the wind was cutting.  It didn't stop us from bundling up and exploring, though.

We started out small:  the local Santa Ana Zoo, which promises to always have 50 monkeys on site.  For an intro to the vacation, it was small enough to be manageable, but still interesting for our little monkeys, reasonably-priced...and 5 minutes from our hotel! 

That afternoon, we caught up with Grandma and Grandpa Huff.  Chris went to a meeting, and we went on a long, ill-fated, GPS-ruined (it lies!) walk to find dinner, but were eventually saved by Grandpa's brilliant solution:  In and Out burgers.  The day was saved!

The next day, I drove for an hour and a half to meet up with them again (cursed the GPS again - it was only 15 minutes away!), and we all went to the beach; their hotel was right across from Huntington Beach.  Despite the briskness, the kids loved it!  Sand, surf and sun, and smiles all around!

This pic made me reminisce about his last beach experience - check out the last photo from this post.  He's gotten so big!!!

That night, we met up with Laurel and Mike for dinner - so great to see them again!  I was also able to impose on Grandma and Grandpa's good will - the next day, I dropped them off again (hey!  it was only 15 minutes away!) and went off alone, to meet Laurel.  I started out at a Starbucks, then we drove down to the Barboa Boardwalk, where we walked, lunched, met with a psychic, then sat on sand dunes to watch a pod of dolphins and some pelicans have lunch on a school of fish.  Amazing.

We took a day for the hotel pool and some shopping (for fleeces!  brrr!), as well as a trip to the Discovery Centre, starring Dora and Diego!  Laurel was kind enough to come along - I have no idea how I would have managed without a second set of hands (and two more sets of eyes - hey-o!).  With it being March Break, the place was lousy with daycamps. Despite the crowds, it was a really cool experience!  That night, we said goodbye to Chris' dad and stepmom.

The very next day, who should arrive but his mom and stepdad!  Grandma and Grunkle were ever-so-happy to join us for meals and a few outings.  They declined the invitation to Legoland on the Friday, but joined us for breakfast before we went.

I can't believe I forgot my camera - we spent 3 hours in Lego heaven!  As it was the first amusement park we had ever gone to, there weren't any tears about being too small for most of the rides.  We went on Fairy Tale Brook, which was fantastic for both of them, and Vaughn got to go to Lego Driving School, which was hysterical - he drove a car all by himself, while I offered encouragement from the sidelines.  There were a few that Vaughn could have gone on with me, but Ailsa couldn't (and it felt wrong to strap her in and leave her in stroller parking), so we spent a lot of time looking at massive Lego reproductions and the neatest interactive musical lego fountain ever.  So cool.  Vaughn was a trooper, walking the whole time, but I started to get a bit frustrated at the end of the day, trying to find one more thing to ride, but my amazing boy said, "Can we go on the little green boats again?"  He just melts my heart.  Again, no camera.  Humph.

Chris, Grandma and Grunkle took the kids on Saturday, when I was released again to spend time with Laurel, this time at a spa!  Mani-pedi heaven.  I didn't know what I was getting into, but they had the full experience, with baths, steam rooms, etc, and not being prepared, I had to go... (kaff) European.  I apologize to Laurel, again.  And to all of California. 

It being Easter-y, they found a bunny carousel - so much fun for everyone!

I don't know who smiled more on that trip - Ailsa or Grandma! 
She gladly watched the kids on Saturday night while we escaped again for one last outing with Laurel and Mike.

Part 2 to come - one more day left in LA - what could we possibly do to top all this?

Well, that was fast...

2 weeks ago, 28 weeks along

After a quick stint of (dubious) respectability, I will be leaving the shiny golden hallways of SSC to go on "modified" bed rest,* effective 2 pm today.  Woo. 

The lesson we have all learned from this is, "Be careful what you wish for," closely followed by "Practice abstinence." 

The baby is fine, but my doc is quite worried about it planning an early escape (hopefully not too early, but if it's NOT too early, I will lose my doodle. Seriously). 

I went to the hospital for a steroid shot in my leg, so that, if Houdini arrives this weekend, its lungs will be nice and ready.  And I get another one today! Possibly in the butt!  Admit it, you wish you were me.

I digress.  For any fun/witty/snarky comments, stories, and forwards, please send them on to me at home where I will be lounging about in my jammies, possibly unwashed, and wallowing in self-pity and daytime television. Visitors welcome, as are anonymous deliveries of bonbons.

Texts are good, too, if you're too damn lazy to pick up the phone to actually talk to me.


PS - please don't mention this to anyone on hiring boards (R-squared), just in case they don't want to call me in for an interview...

* I choose to include Starbucks, DQ, and lunch with friends in the term "modified".  Call me.  I may even shower.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Terrible, terrible

So Thing 2 is officially a Terrible Two. Jeebus. It's like a switch flipped.

Last night, about 30 minutes after bedtime, V comes out of their room, sidekick close behind. He had to pee.

Ailsa calls down the stairs, "Mommy, you watching tv?" (Picture the way her voice goes up, up, up when she asks a question).

"No, I'm reading the newspaper," I replied.

"I like read newspaper too?" (up, up, up)

"Sorry, sweetheart, but you already had storytime. It's sleepytime now."


Screaming, crying, "No, Mommy! No! Mommy!" etc. I gave her a hug, and she sobbed, soggily, back to bed.

Oh well, it had to end eventually. After the unbelievably-screamy first 5 months of her life*, when I was left with the unbelievably-delightful little girl she'd become, I kept saying to her many fans, "She got it all out of her system," and "Hey, after what she put me through, I EARNED an angel baby."

But apparently, she has now used up all of her good humour.

Also, she's a Gemini. Like her father.**


*18-20 hours a day of screaming. Every day.

** Hey, I like his good side.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Thot Plickens

Well, with Chris being away, the kids going haywire, and that stomach flu I had last week, I must have accidentally, quietly, and ill-advisedly asked, "What's next?" 

And the universe, of course, replied, "Challenge accepted."

I had an ultrasound last Wednesday (to see the Huffling's "morphology"), and boy, is it cute!  (photo to come)  Another wee little nosey, some chubby cheeks, cute little hands... you know, another Delightful HufflingTM

And before we left, the tech said that I had a short cervix. 

Mom, who came with me (as Chris wasn't there!), immediately panicked and googled, even though I told her, in no uncertain terms, to not google anything.  After all, IF they thought it was a big problem, they would have said something when I said, "Great!  I'm going to teach an hour-long, high-impact aerobics class tomorrow night."  Even though they can't diagnose or give medical advice, if it was enough to be a concern, it would have triggered something.  Like that time that the doctor's office called (after my glucose and syphilis tests) and said, "you need to come in to discuss your results" and I said, "is it my blood sugar?"  and they said, "we can't discuss results over the phone" and I said, "Oh my god, I have syphilis" and they said, "it's your sugar."

See?  A plan so cunning that if you put a tail on it, it would be a weasel.

But no, they were smarter than me.  The next night, my doctor's office called and said, "Your placenta's low.  Don't lift anything heavy."  I asked whether my two delightful children counted as heavy objects.  "Yes," she replied.  "What about aerobics?"  "No aerobics."  "Light weight training?"  "No."   "Walking???"  "Walking is fine."


So, Universe, not only am I still, essentially, a single mom, but my mother has moved in (damn you, Google).  Dun dun dun.  I can't work out.*  I can't lift my kids up,** or do laundry.  So, I walk to work, grumbling, eat lunch at lunch (what is UP with that?), and go home, watch my mom bathe the kids, lift them into/off of things, and push them in the stroller to daycare, since that's "heavy" too. 

And nope, still can't drink.

A girl's gotta do something:  I decided to go buy some karma today, as it's Miracle Treat Day.  If it helps the kids, I'll even have another Blizzard tonight!  Anything!  For the kids!  I am such a good person.  Nom nom nom.

* A coworker thought it was great:  I could "finally just relax and put my feet up!"  Note that, in 36 years, I have not done that, because I don't like it, not because I've never had the opportunity!  I don't want to start now.  The only possible positive is that I don't have to suffer the Ridiculous Gym Outfit fiascos 4 times a week.

**  V said, "Are you still allowed to hug me?"  Awwww....

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I am Woman; Hear Me Whimper

Disclaimer:  this is just a vent.  It is NOT a cry for help.  Unless you can find a loophole in which I can drink which case, HELLLLP!

As I may have hinted at in recent-ish* blog posts, the main reason that the blog went so long unupdated (it is SO a word) was that there was too much going on, too many changes, too many uncertainties, and too much stress.  So, where to begin?

(and yes, the March "vacation" and Ailsa's birthday posts are still coming, I promise)

Well, there was the excitement of Job Uncertainty, not knowing whether we would have any income at all, as I am still on contract and Chris was "affected" (I know - that one is just handed to you), and then coming up with Plan Bs for both of us, my part involving copious cover letters, tests, and interviews, all for low-level jobs that I'm not interested in, in the slightest.  (Just kidding, new boss!)  (kaff)  And then Chris got to keep his job after all.  (ha-kaff)

There was the rollercoaster of discovering, in late January, that I was pregnant, and the subsequent sorrow of a miscarriage.

There was a trip to LA, in which I was not only deathly ill for most of it, but also still not pregnant, which I discovered, ironically enough, at the Happiest Place on Earth. 

Then there was the subsequent discovery, a month later, that I was, in fact, pregnant, and apparently had been for some time, if the ultrasound was accurate in any way.  Also upsetting:  having wasted a perfectly good day at Disneyland being depressed.  Boo.

Of course, crippling sciatica, weeks of nausea, inexplicable weepiness at commercials and youtube proposals brought me back down to earth fairly quickly.

All of this leading up to a finite amount of time to make a big career move before I'm on mat leave again (woo!...eeek), and how being a trooper, yet again, has bitten me in the ... maternity jeans. 

I, the always-supportive wife (despite my smart mouth), fully supported and endorsed Chris' decision to take on an amazing developmental position, far away, for three months.  (see also:  job uncertainty, 2 small children, pregnant and dubious-mental-health-at-the-best-of-times)

"No problem!"  I said.   "You're more trouble than you're worth!"

"He's pesky and underfoot!"  I'd say.

"I can cook vegetarian meals again!"  I'd boast.

Well, he left on Sunday morning, early. 

The day started well.  We were up by 7, fed and dressed, and went to the gym, then the grocery store, came home, played in the sandbox, and baked some cookies!  This was all before lunch.  So, after a Very Short (from my perspective, anyway) Naptime, I was a bit lost.  It was another ridiculously hot day, but we waddled on over to the playground anyway (it is shady in spots) and I supervised kids climbing up and down the slide and other unsafe behaviours.  When I got too hot, we waddled on home, had some water, and (gasp!) watched Dora for half an hour while I made dinner, which I'm ashamed to admit used Sidekicks as a base.  A quick sponge-off, jammies, stories, and bed.  Great!

I hopped in the shower.  What was that noise?  Huh.  Must be my imagination.  Then the bathroom door opened, and two little kids stood there, one with large wet eyes and a shaky wail. 

"Ailsa's crying," Vaughn said.  Whatever his faults, he sure does look out for his little sister.

"I'm saaaaaaad," wailed Ailsa.

I was too soapy to give her much of a hug, but I promised to come tuck them in again once I was clean.  She settled in again, I towelled off, then cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed.  Day One done, I thought.  Piece of cake

Monday morning:  no problem!  My stomach was a bit off, but I managed breakfast with the kids, got them dressed, got them to daycare and myself to work, threw up in the bathroom, and was home again by 10 am.  The rest of the day is a bit of a blur, but it involved dry toast (nope), and a non-cooking-intensive dinner of PB&J sammies with a banana/yogurt/graham shake (belly said NO).

Tuesday morning:  I'm on this!  Up, Rice Krispies, kids to daycare... me back to bed.  The belly accepted the cereal grudgingly, and by noon, I decided I was in the clear.  I cleaned and organized a few things around the house (between long stretches on my couch and bed), and wandered over to pick up the kids by 5.  Dinner was a stir-fry of chicken, peppers and onions over garlicky noodles, treat was a handful of grapes and one of those cookies we made together, and I threw the kidlets (Sweaty Eddie and Sweaty Betty) into the shower to de-stick them.  They thought it was awesome, it only took 5 minutes, and they were in bed by 7:30.  Super Mom has returned.

So, it's been three full days, and I've only broken down sobbing once... about 20 minutes ago.  I called Chris, and he couldn't hear me well.  "That's because I'm crying," I said.  "I don't want to do this."

The hardest part, of course, isn't the doing it.  I know I can, because I have before, just not for this long.**  It's the having-no-choice part and the if-I-hadn't-acted-all-brave-from-the-get-go-I-might-not-be-in-this-mess that's driving me crazy.  To be fair, I know that it wouldn't have changed anything, but I hate eating my words, admitting that it's too much for me.  I want to be the superstar at work that I was when I convinced them to extend my contract 2 months early.  I want to cook healthy, tasty meals, hang the cloth diapers on the line, and weed my garden while the kids play nicely outside after dinner.  I want to be a great role model at the gym, too, teaching a killer class as my belly grows; I'm going through that miserable pregnancy identity crisis right now, too, where I have to reduce my activities and not be invincible Captain Fitness for a while, as my body tells me hourly...oh yes, the diasteses of my abdominals and pubic symphysis are in full swing... (men -- and not-yet-mommies -- google those at your own risk). 

Is it wrong to dream that, or to expect it of myself???

I had a beautiful, relaxing weekend at a cottage right before Chris left, and it was all I imagined it to be (without the sunburn part, that is), but I don't see how it will be enough to get me through the next 74 days.

Truth time:  you know, if I could drink, none of this would even be an issue.


* "recent-ish" being relative, of course.

** not the 3 days, silly.  It's the upcoming 74 that are really looming.