Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The last week or so has been a whirlwind of activity. Valentine's Day, in kindergarten (and, probably, subsequent grades, but this is as far as we've gotten) is serious business. The kids were asked to decorate a box that they could then transport their received valentines and treats home in. I liked how they stressed that this should be the CHILD'S project and to let the CHILD do the decorating. Apparently some neurotic parents went a little overboard? Me, I'm happy to let Ainsleigh do it. I like her style. And, I don't enjoy crafts. Good combination.

So Tuesday night I tell Ainsleigh that we're going to work on her box (this is after signing her name on 21 valentines with suckers and mini-m&ms inside). I begin looking around for a suitable box. I come across a white cake-box-looking thing and decide this is perfect. A blank canvas. I don't have to paper it to hide the Amazon label or anything. And THEN, I remember that I do have an assortment of scrapbooking supplies (lying mostly dormant) that could definitely help. So I begin pulling out patterned paper, pens, stencils, borders, etc. Ainsleigh's eyes just about fell out of her head as she gasped, "I didn't know I had all THIS!!!" heh - you don't. This is my stuff. But I'm letting you use it.

So we lay it all out on the kitchen table and I begin to point out the various things we could do ("a border around the outside, and then maybe a bunch of different hearts, maybe we'll write "Ainsleigh's Valentines" on top..."). And she very slowly says, "Uh, mom...are you SURE about this creative stuff?" I burst out laughing and reassured her that, yes, it would look great, all the while, the inner-me was chewing my lip nervously while looking side-to-side suspiciously, wondering if she had seen through me. The thing is, I'm no decorator. Scrapbooking Ainsleigh's first year of her life was an arduous task, and one that I haven't repeated since. But she must have at least half-believed me, because she went along with my ideas. She thought that folding paper in half and cutting hearts out that way was a genius idea. So, too, was she impressed with my "fix" of adding curls to the letters after she accidentally made "valentines" possessive. "Oh, GOOD one, mom," she said. There's nothing quite so satisfying as your almost-6-year-old heaping praise on you. And so, days later (a day we did not leave the house, and therefore excuses her clothing color combination), I took a picture of the blessed box:

And the innards:

Donovan has had a juicy hacking cough for the last couple days (did you just clear your throat when you read that? because I just did typing it, as I do just about every time I hear him cough), though it seems to be getting better since last night he actually slept until 5 am before coming, coughing, into our bedroom. And lo and behold, he actually went back to sleep after that. Miracle of miracles. I took him to the doctor today because we needed to get him a new inhaler any way, and she pronounced him awesome, gave us some samples to help dry out the phlegm, and a prescription for a new Flovent inhaler. We go home with said inhaler and when I took it out of its packaging, noticed that it has a counter on the back. A COUNTER! Thank heavens someone working at Glaxo-SmithKline (or whoever made it) had a brilliant idea. How many times have I squinted through the aero-chamber and wondered, "Is that still spraying stuff? Is it empty? How long is this good for?" (I *see* the expiration, but does that mean it's full until then?) And so some blessed soul had the wonderful idea to incorporate a counter, telling me EXACTLY how many pumps are left. And see, this is totally uninteresting to the non-inhaler-possessing community (and perhaps some of the inhaling), but for me, this was a ray of sunshine.

Also a ray of sunshine? Sunshine. It's amazing how much my mood is affected by weather. And yet, for the past week or so we've had beautiful days (interspersed with snowy-but-not-sticking days. On Friday it was a balmy 55 degrees and although we did have a little snow left in the back yard, the kids were able to play joyfully back there for the first time in months. And, actually, the little bit of snow provided hours of fun as they filled small pails and toted them around. It made me realize how much I have missed my backyard. And watching them swing and slide and climb and laugh back there on our swingset made me so incredibly glad we spent that chunk of money on it last year. And so incredibly full of love for Jeff and Kirsten for helping us put it together. It wasn't the most relaxing vacation they've ever spent, but it was kind of like "relatives-without-borders" as they slaved away and left something behind that has been and will be enjoyed for years to come.

To celebrate the warm-ish weather, I proposed a picnic of sorts, which the kids thought was a great idea. So I loaded up little baskets of sandwiches, grapes, cookies and bottles of water and they were thrilled to eat at their picnic table. Behold:

It was even nice enough that I left the back door open for a while so I could hear them playing back there while I worked in the kitchen. It was a breath of fresh air for my body and my soul. They declared that they would eat in the backyard all the time. Of course, two days later it was snowing, but it was a good idea at the time.

On Saturday Joel made dinner for me in honor of Valentine's day, as is his tradition. We didn't eat until 10 pm, but that's because he had worked that day and I didn't want to eat with the kids. It was worth the wait. This is what he made:
Chicken, Shrimp and Beef Sates with Peanut Sauce
Sauteed Vegetables With Chile-tamarind Sauce
Indonesian Fried Rice
And let me tell YOU - that tamarind sauce is out of this world. And judging by the amount of tamarind paste and dried chiles we have left over, it's a good thing because we're going to be eating a lot of it. Seriously, I was dropping it all over the rice, as well. It's soooooo good. Yay Joel. The guy doesn't cook that often, and when he does, it's lengthy and messy (although, that could be fixed by choosing less complex recipes, ahem hem), but when he does, it's usually amazingly delicious.

As for me, I had a great check-up last Monday. Baby is growing well and has a good heartbeat. My doctor was awesome, answering a billion questions I had. We interviewed and hired a doula. And I got my hypnobirthing cd in the mail. Did I just say doula? Yes. Yes I did. Did I just say hypnobirthing? That's right. I am going to drop-kick this labor and delivery thing. I'm going to SHOW it that we're working together, not against each other. Third time's the charm, right?

In not-quite-so-confident news, I have learned a valuable lesson in bladder control. As in, I'm losing it. I've always been the kind of person who thinks, "I'll just do *one* more thing and THEN I'll go to the bathroom." It's like a grown-up version of Donovan pacing in circles trying to tell me something until I finally cut in and say, "DONOVAN," in an attempt to break him out of his bathroom-stalling-reverie. He gives me that wild-eyed look while continuing to pace and I say, "Go.To.The.Bathroom." And he kind of jerks to a halt and then his face brightens as he says, "Oh yeah, I do," and runs off. It's like he doesn't realize he needs to go? Anyway, you'd think, as an adult, I could break out of my own reverie and say, "Look. Just GO to the bathroom." As a pregnant adult, you'd think I'd recognize the value of emptying my bladder early and often. But see, I get annoyed at the thimble-sized bladder I now have - the dribble that taunts me as if to say, "haha, you were busy and I made you stop all for hardly anything" as if my bladder is crying wolf (what, you don't have conversations/teasing matches with your body parts? Riiiiiight). But last week, I finally headed to the bathroom after an hour or so of knowing I should and as I stepped into the toilet area I sneezed. Generally (while pregnant, at least) I try to sneeze with my knees together. Generally I try extra hard to do that with a full bladder. Generally I *know* that sneezing while walking is a BADTHING. Let's just say that the outcome wasn't disastrous, nor would it have been embarrassing had it been in public. However, I have now learned a lesson in respecting my body's needs, and the need for fresh underwear on hand.