Friday, October 26, 2012

A Mouse in the House

This morning while I was in the office, I heard the kids calling to me that, "We found another mouse!"
"What color is it?"
Oh... so not a toy mouse.

After seeing it here, I ran and got an oatmeal container and caught it. It walked right up to me and my container, no problem at all. It's a tiny little one. Something like 1.5-2 inch body length? 3-4 inches of tail?

We walked down to the train tracks, hoping that they are far enough away that our mouse won't find its way home.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween party

I promised costume pictures. There are more at my knitting blog, and none of the pictures are very good. I'll have another chance to get pictures this Saturday and on Halloween.

Margaret is a mermaid. The green scarf is her "seaweed" boa and the dress was made from a fun shiny fabric and tulle at the bottom. We colored her hair blue and green. I tried to make her a crown with sea glass, but failed.

Isaac is a pumpkin. I knit the hat and I sewed the linen shirt together.

And I got a belly picture. I'm not anything in the picture, I just figured I'd wear the things I don't normally get to0 like a skirt with a lace train.

Friday, October 19, 2012


My weeks go like this: I go to bed Sunday night planning out the week in my head and realizing that I have a place to go every day and I'll never get a break. And I really feel stuck. If I take a day "off" and not go anywhere, then I'm left at home with stir-crazy children and that's not a winning situation either.

A general week looks like this. And all of these outings are with both children.

Monday: bus ride and the walking that goes with it.
Tuesday: 5-6 mile bike ride OR a 5-bus round trip (and subsequent walking), depending on the chosen park for the day.
Wednesday: 5.5-7 mile bike ride, sometimes with groceries on the way home.
Thursday: 5.5 mile bike ride
Friday: a little walk- Fridays are my day "off."

We do a lot of walking/busing on weekends as well. Errands!

And then we sometimes have extra outings like when we went to the fabric store for Halloween costumes and the dollar store.

Just thinking of all the riding I have to do in a week... it kind of sucks. But having a car sucks as well: finding parking, buckling kids in, having to move the car if you're parked in one place for more than 2 hours, street sweeping, gas... And at least biking is exercise. I don't want to give it up until I really have to. Because I never got in shape between Margaret and Isaac's pregnancies, after having Isaac, I dedicated myself to becoming healthy. I did the couch to 5k program starting at 9 weeks postpartum and have regularly either jogged or biked since then, except for some months in the winter (too dark to go running in the mornings) and early pregnancy. I can't waste all that work by quitting now.

I also feel like I have to keep going for Margaret's sake. She's an extrovert, and is so extroverted that if I tell her we aren't going somewhere for a day, it breaks her heart. She thrives and needs people. Keeping her from people is just as painful as forcing an introvert to go to parties every day. We're lucky that she has Isaac to play with otherwise I'd really have to be doing something all the time for her.

Sure, we could have preschool be her social life, but I'd still have to be taking her to/from every day or every other day. It'd still be a pain.

On the plus side, baby is growing. Fundal height is now a week ahead. BP is only 96/60, which I'm guessing is from all this exercise. Baby is solidly in a posterior position, so I get to feel lots of kicks on my belly, but eventually I might have to think about turning it. I have time. Loads of it. More than most people guess.

So that's my complain-y post about how busy life is. Right now my focus for today is to finish Isaac's costume and get decorations together for the ward Halloween party tomorrow since I'm on the activities committee. Fun times. Then I have other stuff, like my knitting and trying to turn that into a paying job eventually. I'm making stockings for commission again this fall. Yay!

I'll share the costumes and our homeschooling week this weekend.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inquisition Friday: Loud birth videos

I have a question for you all this time.

I've been showing Margaret and Isaac videos of births on youtube to prepare them for the birth of this next baby. I have childcare lined up in case I don't want them around, but even if they get babysat, I want them to know how this baby is going to be born and how the body works. They are both fascinated with the process. Isaac's four word summary is, "Baby. Belly. Vulva. Out!"

Birth videos on youtube are fine and good, but I run into a lack of loud birthers on youtube. I am not a quiet birther. At all. I'm don't scream, but I'm not a peaceful-meditation-oh-look-a-baby-how-did-that-happen birther either. I understand why louder birthers might not share their videos. One reason I haven't done a birth video is the worry of having to read, "This is why you have an epidural. She sounds like a constipated lion," comments when I'm trying to share a happy moment with the world.

But I'd like some loud birthing videos to show the kids. Even if we have a babysitter, they might hear me (babysitter lives upstairs) or wake up from my sounds. I don't want them to think something is wrong with me just because I'm loud.

So does anyone have links to their favorite loud birthing videos they'd like to share?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Inquisition Monday: Gender Bending

Jamie asked, "I was wondering (inquisition Monday?) why Isaac is always in dresses? I've noticed most of the pictures you post of him are of him in stereotypically 'girly' clothing, and was curious if this was his choice, your choice in that you don't believe in gender-specific clothing, or a cost effective method having him wear Margaret's hand-me-downs."

Good question! And it might surprise you to know, that this is actually a very recent development (just this past summer) in his wardrobe choices. Because I can't do anything succinctly  here's the long story. It all starts with Margaret.

I tried very hard with Margaret to have a variety of colors for her to wear. I knew I succeeded one day when I was hanging up her clothes in the bathroom to dry after doing the laundry. I remember smiling to myself that she had orange, green, purple, pink, blue, yellow, and red clothes all hanging up. When I found a pink shirt with a basketball on it, I bought it for her. When I found a red and yellow shirt with a lion on it in pink ink, I bought it for her. All the while, though, I wondered how I might have handled this with a son, though. Would I let him wear pink? Would I proudly hang up blues and greens and purples and pinks side by side with him?

Most of our clothing for our kids are hand-me-downs. So I didn't really get to choose many colors. One time when we had first moved to California, I was in Target- I can't remember if I was still pregnant with Isaac or not- but I remember looking at the rack of girls' clothes and seeing so many colors. And then looking at the rack of boys' clothing and seeing only blue, gray, and green. I should have gotten a picture- the difference was so stark. And it was then that I realized that boy clothing is actually very very boring. Girls can wear lots of things and it's even "ok" for them to wear "boy" things, but the other way around? Not so much. And we wonder why so few boys seem interested in fashion! It's because boys' fashion is boring. Seriously.

When Isaac was little, he wore "boy" or "gender-neutral" things (you know, green and yellow). There was a couple of times last summer that Margaret insisted that we put a skirt on him and since I didn't think it would cause "harm" I figure, hey, he's 1.

And that was it. For a while. Except for the kilt. He has a kilt and it's cute and he loves it. We had a tutu in the dress up box along with firefighter helmets. And both flowery and bold superhero capes. But in public he was always "boy."

Then earlier this summer, one of Margaret's friends gave us a huge stash of dresses. Suddenly Margaret wanted to wear dresses every day. And Isaac wanted to be like her, and started asking for dresses. Margaret would "spin" in her dresses and Isaac wanted to "spin" too. So I dug out the one dress we had in his size (we got rid of all our baby clothes because we thought we were done for a while) and put it on him. And he did his "spin" and still does his "spin" every time we put a dress on him. He wanted a pony tail, too, and I snapped a picture and sent it to McKay. So here's Isaac in a dress for the first time ever. And Margaret's posing, too. Oh, and this was in June.

For a while it was only at home. He wore pants or shorts in public. He started getting very insistant on the dresses and I couldn't find a non-sexist reason to deny him dresses so eventually I decided that you know what? Yes, people think he's a girl, but it happens. People thought he was a girl even before the dresses because of his hair. And people think Margaret's a boy sometimes.

I don't usually correct people when they guess the wrong sex; that's just awkward because they start apologizing and it's kind of a mess. Margaret, being 4 and very into categorizing, is the person who gets upset about people thinking Isaac's a girl. Once at a park (and he might have been wearing pants- but hey, curls) she came to me in tears that some kids were saying Isaac was a girl. Isaac, being 2, wasn't bothered. I told her that we know he's a boy and sometimes it's hard to tell if someone has a penis or not* when they have clothes on. She went back to the kids and affirmed, "He's a boy; he has a penis." The best part of this story is that one of the girls responded, "I'm allergic to penis." I burst out laughing; I'm pretty sure she meant "peanuts."

Because of incidents like that, Margaret will now preemptively alert people to the fact that she's a girl and he's a boy. He still wears "boy" clothes and so does Margaret (she has a favorite Batman shirt at the moment). And she wears "girl" clothes and so does Isaac.

From the post on Friday, in the first picture he is actually wearing one of our dress up tutus, which isn't allowed out of the house because it has a full body leotard built in and it's too hard to potty or change diapers with it. But he does wear pink dresses in public. And in the second picture he's in one of Margaret's old ruffle shirts because he wanted to wear green that day and we didn't have another green shirt for him since they were all in the dirty clothes basket already.

I think it's important for both Margaret and Isaac to be ok with wearing whatever they want. It's been probably more important for Margaret. Because she's in a very categorizing stage (which is normal and healthy), she'll make statements like "Boys don't have long hair," and I can say, "Well, Isaac has long hair and Grandpa has long hair and your friend _____ has long hair and they are all boys." Or "Boys don't wear necklaces," and then we do a google search for pictures of boys wearing necklaces. I even showed Margaret the picture of the Sikh woman with facial hair, whom the Internet was abuzz about recently.

To be honest, I'm guessing that Isaac will eventually catch on to what's culturally "appropriate" for boys and stop wearing dresses at some point. But he's 2 and that point is not now- it'll probably be around 4 like Margaret's categorizing stage. Or maybe it won't ever happen.

In the meantime, I need to get out our Pokemon, dinosaur, and hippo (Isaac's favorite animal) fabrics and make some skirts- so much easier than dresses to be honest! Just a skirt on over anything and you can "spin" in any outfit! It's magic, I tell you.

Arwyn at Raising My Boychick wrote a piece recently called, "On Gender Diverse Parenting Versus Parenting a Gender Creative Kid." Good read.

*I know that external sex organs aren't the only way (or even the best way) to determine sex or gender, but it's what we're going with at the moment. As they get older, we'll work on a more nuanced and complex discussion of sex and gender.

ETA: When McKay found out this was so long he said, "What's there to explain? He likes to wear his sister's clothes, The end." He thinks I'm too wordy. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

This Fortnight in Homeschooling

So like I predicted, I've totally fallen off my "unit" plans. Last week our theme was "fall" and we managed to decorate our tree for the fall.

The next two are from the local Not Back to School picnic. First is Isaac and a ladybug.

And Margaret with a pop up book.

Margaret is still enjoying her science class. She's testing different materials (brown sugar, cinnamon, sand, salt, etc) to see if they dissolve in water.

 And here she is with the group pretending to be molecules of gas running around and bumping into each other.

And they learned about how chemical reactions change substances and you can't easily get them back. Basic baking soda and vinegar (with green food coloring for fun) trick:

She wrote "chANgE" and there is supposed to be a fire above "chANgE" with an arrow to the ashes on the right to show that burning a log causes a chemical reaction. On the left page, which is difficult to see, is a picture of a physical change (ice melting).

Oh, and yes, on Sunday was the Primary presentation. I accidentally had the camera set to video instead of photo when she was up at the pulpit, so I had to do a screenshot of the video to put here (notice the UI of iPhoto sneaking in on the bottom there!)

This week's homeschooling "theme" was stories and I had great ideas of making books together and drawing pictures and "writing" stories, but Margaret kept saying she didn't want to write a book, so we didn't. She has been very interested in hearing us tell stories, though. I know she's gotten McKay to share the story of how we met and her birth when putting her to bed. She's asked me to talk about Isaac's birth and asked for stories of my childhood.

This Saturday is her last class for her music class and after this, she'll start private lessons. Emailed a prospective teacher this morning, in fact.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Pregnancy Update

Pregnancy is still happening. "Samus" is our in utero name for the baby, and s/he is kicking and all those fun sorts of things. My body is doing things I don't want it to. I'm having some sciatica nerve issues, but have started going to a chiro for that, so I'm hoping that helps. I don't have too much hope, though: my joints are so loose I don't think an adjustment lasts me the bike ride home. Also, my body has decided that, "Sorry, I don't care if you're biking an average of more than 5 miles a day with 65 pounds of children behind you, I'm going to add another 35 pounds of weight for funsies!" So I'm gaining more than I wanted to, but I'm not sure why. Sugar levels are good, exercise is regular, food is plant-based.

Placenta is whooshing and Samus' heartbeat is going strong. Emotionally, I usually have a good week and then a bad week and then a good week and then a bad week.

I think I'm done interviewing midwives. I had interviewed 3 and they each were progressively a better fit, and yet not at all what I wanted at my birth. The first midwife was a little nervous about going over 10 days postdates, and both my kids have done that. I can't have a midwife who can't handle a 42 week pregnancy. By the third midwife interview, I was finding more "ok with babies going over" attitudes, but still... Personalities weren't fitting well. I needed support for my pregnancy, not to feel drained after talking to the person that might be at my birth. After hearing my previous birth stories, they'd all end up asking, "So why do you want a midwife?..." And I was beginning to ask myself that too.

So yesterday morning I made up my mind that I had given it a good try, but couldn't find a fit and unassisted was the route. Like one of the midwives said, "You could interview midwives every other day from now until the end of your pregnancy and still not have seen all the midwives in the Bay Area." I had one last interview scheduled for the afternoon and figured I'd just get through the interview and then email everyone that we didn't need any help. And the day was intense: I had a 6.6 mile bike ride with kids and groceries for the last mile and a half. Kids wouldn't take naps despite being over tired and the midwives arrived 20 minutes early.

But interestingly, we hit it off really well. It was the first midwife pair that I actually felt like we meshed well. The older midwife has 30 years under her belt and over a thousand births, so lots of experience, but also was very reassuring and said the right things to make me feel better. Despite the long tiring morning, when they left, I felt re-energized. I hadn't felt like that with the other midwives. Maybe having given up in my search, I set the bar low?

Now I have to decide if the price tag is worth it. They'd be pretty hands-off, knowing I've had unassisted births. They are fine with going "over" and have just one opening during my due time, so I'd have to book them fast. Is it worth $4-6k for someone to just sit there most of the time? McKay doesn't care either way and with our PPO, we'd get some of the money reimbursed (yay!). Also, I wouldn't need to rent a tub or anything like that since we have a pool from Isaac's birth. Additionally, people would probably look at me less disapprovingly if we had a midwife. Two successful unassisted births is still not enough to get people off your back about the "What if..." questions. Or secretly shaking their heads in dismay at your plans.

So things are a little up in the air. I do want a blessingway/mother's blessing this time. It wouldn't be for some time yet, but I've been sending out my feelers for finding out who would be interested in coming to such a thing. I want to hire a henna artist for the party. It'll be fun.

So lots of thoughts. I'm big and pregnant and most people think I'm "due" sooner than I am (even the chiro guessed wrong this morning). Here's a belly shot to appease you all, from a few weeks ago. I'm much bigger now.