Archive | August, 2016

Feels good to get back into things

29 Aug

I haven’t done anything purely crafty or artsy in a while. It’s all been home DIY projects. My sewing machine was packed away during the move. I brought my paints with me when we stayed with the in-laws, but they too sat in their bag enjoying a long rest.

For W’s birthday I thought it would be fun to do a bean bag toss game, since we were having a backyard party. I didn’t want too many activities outside besides his new play set, but we needed at least a few other things to do. Turns out Walter needs to practice his underhand throwing anyway!

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I figured this would be a good project to get my feet wet again since it’s very easy. Sewing squares together for reusable napkins is how I started sewing in the first place! I did the exact same thing but I filled them with lentils before I sewed them closed. Finishing the first one felt really good. And my machine only got mad at me once for trying to sew through a lentil.

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We also made our own board! Walter did the design and painted everything. I only taped the lines, and Dave cut the hole. I also glued on the letters that W painted. The glitter lines between the paint were a little more hands on and involved all three of us. Dave was excited to find glitter everywhere for the next few days. W placed and painted the white stars as well (while we held the stencil). We were thrilled with his patriotic spirit!

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The Universe’s Perfect and Ironic Timing

28 Aug

I’ve always wanted more than one child, and for two years we waited and wondered and worked to “make” that happen. You never know when the right egg and sperm will meet at the right time and it’ll all work out. It’s so hard when you’re going through it because month after month you never know when the end of the pain will be (though at first it’s not so painful, it’s just exciting). We would say to ourselves, “If only we knew how much time we had to wait, then we could relax about it” and it’s true. The not knowing when or if it’ll ever happen is very difficult to wrap your head around.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way. With Walter, we wanted a baby, and *poof* I got pregnant. I never took anything for granted, but it’s not the same type of appreciation when you have to struggle for something. Not being able to get pregnant when I wanted not only made me more thankful for #2 but also for every moment with W.

I suffered so badly during first trimester that I’m not sure I would have survived if Walter was any younger. He had to play on his own during the days I couldn’t get out of bed except to feed him. And, because he is older, he really understands what is happening, and that just makes it that much more precious to me that he can share in this joy with us. He was worried about me when I was so sick and that was sweet too.

And just because the universe likes to make me laugh with its unique sense of humor, I got everything that I wanted all at once. That might sound like it’s perfect, and it is great, but there is that whole “be careful what you wish for” saying for a reason. We tried to sell our house for two years. While that process is a little more cut and dry than baby-making, trying to do so at the end of a recession and recoup your money can be a little on the tough side.

But this time, it worked, and we were able to buy the house we wanted in the right neighborhood for the right price. We moved in a week after I found out I was pregnant, and I was feeling great. Dave even moved all the heavy boxes for me. All our dreams were coming true!

Then, the sickness hit. I sat around in a brand new house (to us) feeling worse than I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt so bad that I wondered why in the heck I had ever wanted another baby. My brain started changing from “this is my dream house” to “this house and its smells and everything about it makes me sick”. After working very hard to sell our house and immediately buying and moving in to another one, it was unbelievably upsetting and worrisome to Dave to have his wife talking to the realtor about selling. Again.

It got so bad I made us stay with my mom for a few weeks, which of course was confusing to W, who had been such a trooper throughout our long move. When Dave would go work on the house, he would send me pictures, and looking at them made me nauseous. I didn’t want to talk about the house or even see highway signs that said “Marietta”. I reinstalled Zillow and was looking at Midtown condos for sale. Our doctor said it was the first time he had heard of this pregnancy side effect.

As a friend of mine told me while we were discussing this, I needed to give myself a break and wait it out. Basically in one tiny period of my life I had been dealing with selling, buying, and renovating a house, and infertility, fertility treatments, and first trimester. It was a lot to handle.

Thankfully, it passed. We’re on the side of hope and excitement, waiting for little boy to get here and enjoying every kick. We’re doing puzzles on our dining room table and loving our yard and the public library, and it’s all good. It’s still going to take time to adjust and figure out this new area of Atlanta, but hey, that’s what life is. The journey.

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A beautiful, full double rainbow we saw on W’s birthday weekend.

 

Baby #2 is a sweet little brother for our W

26 Aug

After too many months of crying and waiting and testing and trying, there’s nothing but joy here to say we’re expecting another baby January 2017. Just after health insurance deductibles switch to the new year!

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Already looking pretty stinkin’ cute

We had our 20 week ultrasound this morning and everything looks great! He was moving around and even sucked his thumb while we were looking. Walter enjoyed watching the ultrasound tech take pictures for a few minutes, then spent the rest of the time asking when she’d be done and talking about his cinnamon roll breakfast.

W seems just as excited for his brother as we are. He says, “My baby will be here after Christmas, and I want to keep him forever.” I’ll remind him of that sentiment when little boy #2 is old enough to mess up his Lego and magnatile creations.

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, including a first trimester that was hellish to survive, but as I feel baby moving around in there, it’s just an incredible feeling that I’m so glad I get to experience again. This procreation stuff really is a miracle.

One Planet, One Experiment

21 Aug

I just finished a remarkably good book, Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a book that is going to stick with me a long time and continually keep me thinking. It changed my world-view. There was so much provocative information that he shared that I’m sure I will need to read it several more times.

The book seemingly got more intriguing and expansive the smaller he focused, when he was talking about living cells and how crazy lucky it is to be “alive,” and how reckless humans are in taking care of what we are surrounded with (including ourselves, which he didn’t talk about but my mind immediately went there). His last page really hit home.

“I mention all this to make the point that if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn’t choose human beings for the job.

But here’s an extremely salient point: we have been chosen, by fate or Providence or whatever you wish to call it. As far as we can tell, we are the best there is. We may be all there is. It’s an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe’s supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously.

Because we are so remarkably careless about looking after things, both when alive and when not, we have no idea – really none at all – about how many things have died off permanently, or may soon, or may never, and what role we have played in any part of the process….

The fact is, we don’t know [about extinction figures]. Don’t have any idea. We don’t know when we started doing many of the things we’ve done. We don’t know what we are doing right now or how our present actions will affect the future. What we do know is that there is only one planet to do it on, and only one species of being capable of making a considered difference. Edward O. Wilson expressed it with unimprovable brevity in The Diversity of Life: ‘One planet, one experiment.’

If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here – and by ‘we’ I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better: It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.

We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviorally modern human beings – that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities – have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth’s history. But surviving for even that little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune.

We really are at the beginning of it all. The trick, of course, is to make sure we never find the end. And that, almost certainly, will require a good deal more than lucky breaks” (477-8).

The book reinforced my theory of humans being just another “germ” on planet earth, just easier to see than, say, the invisible bacteria that exists in multitudes everywhere (which Bryson does talk about). The question is, are we going to be a cognizant, helpful type of invasion, or will the earth eventually kill us off in favor of other species?

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Barn Raisin’, not Barn Burnin’

16 Aug

From the moment we talked to Walt about moving from our old house, we made it clear that he would get a play set for his new yard. We wanted him to feel excited about this big change, and half the point of moving was to get more outdoor space to play in. When he spoke of his play set, he always made it clear that he wanted Pop, Mimi, Nini, Tashi, and Grandpa to come help us build it. And that’s exactly what he got!

A week before his 4th birthday, we had a good ol’ fashioned barn raising, complete with pizza dinner — just like in the olden days.

IMG_20160814_131121786And so it begins. It was a lot more not-put-together than I thought it was going to be. For example, the slide was just a long piece of plastic. Oh yeah, and there were a zillion wood pieces covering our yard.

IMG_20160814_133222308_HDRDuggy monitoring progress. He really enjoyed being outdoors All. Day. Long.

IMG_20160814_161037382When David saw Pop show up (his key partner in getting this thing built — I was in charge of water refills and picture-taking), his words were “Oh thank God.”

IMG_20160814_145112282_HDRMore helpers! Our picnic table was covered in hardware as well.

IMG_20160814_162422596The instruction booklet contained 20,000 pages. Luckily W’s cousin Ward showed up to help play.

Mimi shows the boys how to train for Olympic track meets. There was a lot of time for running around.

IMG_20160814_165324821Getting closer! We’re starting to see some structure!

IMG_20160814_165507259_HDRIt was a beautiful but hot day, even with the clouds and breezes helping us out.

IMG_20160814_202455511And it only took 7 1/2 hours!

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A happy boy’s inaugural slide ride! A fine end to a wonderful day spent with family. Couldn’t have done it without them!

What do you mean summer is over?

13 Aug

It’s still hot as the dickens out there. It’s only mid August. I’m just getting into the summer swing of things… and yet school has started all over Atlanta and apparently summer is over? I’m not ready! I thought summer was at least supposed to be three months long!

Luckily we decided to homeschool Walter this year, so we can really do whatever we want. Since we moved and many of his friends just posted their “back-to-school” photos, it’s a new ballgame (thank goodness baseball isn’t over yet). We’ve got to find a new groove. I signed us up for Atlanta History Center’s first Homeschool Day of the year on Monday in hopes of not just learning a bit about Georgia’s history, but finding some new friends we can play with during the week and who can teach us a bit more about what homeschool looks like in GA.

Meanwhile, we have lots of fun on our own and with the friends that aren’t quite school age yet or are not in daycare. Despite the hole in W’s tongue, this week we went to LegoLand, swimming at Mimi and Pops, and on two big hikes.

IMG_20160810_144304466This kid was so happy and excited to be at Legoland, it really warmed my mommy heart.

IMG_20160812_140654603We finally tried out Lullwater Park and after getting lost for a bit in very hot weather, we found the waterfall. We took off our shoes to climb around in the water but I was a bit dismayed at all the broken beer bottle glass Emory students leave behind.

IMG_20160813_125431888Sope Creek, my new favorite place in Atlanta, especially since we’ve gotten the hiking bug. There were several other people there swimming and playing in the creek, and some guys had trapped a bright orange snake under some rocks. David freed him even though we couldn’t figure out if he was poisonous or not. And then we left!

IMG_20160813_134332750After a short hike to the creek, the Paper Mill ruins are quite a climb but so cool to explore. If you know to avoid the poison ivy, which is everywhere.

IMG_20160813_134523670_HDRSo. Much. Love

A mostly DIY bathroom remodel

10 Aug

This is our “master bath,” but as I like to say, this house is much more humble than our other home. So it’s really just “the bathroom we all mostly use,” and it was a disaster until this weekend. Very narrow, and the pink tile was disgusting to me, not because of the color necessarily, but the grout was old and gross. I don’t really feel clean when I can literally see the dirt other people have left behind while I’m taking a shower.

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In this photo we had already removed the shiny, floral wallpaper, the lacy curtains, and replaced the counter.

I wish we could totally renovate and blow out the bathroom to make it more spacious, however, we are the type of people with a budget. A budget that was mostly spent on a brand new kitchen, floors, and a gorgeous fence around our wonderful land when we renovated before we moved in.

I am, though, particularly proud of what we were able to do to the space.

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We got the tile painted by Georgia Tub and Tile. They use a special epoxy paint, and it turns grungy tile into amazing white tile that you can’t tell wasn’t put in that way. Freedom from grime at a fraction of the price! The company was great to work with and they guarantee their work for three years, so I expect we won’t have to worry about it for probably something like five+ years.

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A little bit of elbow grease, paint, and some new fixtures, and I love the ambiance in here. It’s now fit for a relaxing bath!

(Don’t) Bite your tongue! Walt’s first Urgent Care visit

9 Aug

Sunday night we were almost about to leave for dinner, and I mean mere seconds from wrapping up our obstacle course playing on the couch and heading out the door, when Walter fell head first into our (luckily soft) ottoman and nearly bit through his tongue. There was a loud thud, crying, and a lot of blood, and I immediately took him in to the bathroom for his father to help me examine him. It took us a minute to locate the source of the bleeding, and seeing the giant gaping wound in his tongue, there was no choice but to get in the car and head to the nearest urgent care.

I have nothing but good things to say about the WellStar Urgent Care on Roswell Road in East Cobb. The staff, nurses, and doctor were all amazing. They checked him out immediately to see if we needed to head to the hospital, then saw us quickly after we registered to check him out further. The amazing thing about even fairly severe tongue injuries is that they are rarely sewn up, especially in young kids, and usually the biggest thing you have to worry about is infection — and of course the soreness of the healing tongue. They gave us an antibiotic prescription, and upon hearing that he refuses to take the white liquid medicine, worked especially to find a pharmacy near us that sold chewable antibiotics (which is not as common). We were sent home with instructions to go to Scottish Rite if the bleeding didn’t stop in a couple hours. They would need to sedate him and give him a couple stitches if that was the case.

Our poor kid was calm by this point but I think in a state of tired delirium from all the crying and pain. So was I. I felt so helpless that I didn’t stop the injury from happening and scared that recovery was going to be awful. We spent the rest of the night replacing the gauze in his mouth that was saturated with blood and saliva and watched TV — the greatest remedy for all ailments! We tried to get him to eat ice cream (doctor recommended) or some Tylenol, which he refused. Eventually he passed out and held that last piece of gauze in his mouth until morning, when he came into our room and I pulled it out and he spent several minutes dry heaving. I thought he would vomit from the blood and saliva consumption and the fact that he hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day. But he didn’t, thank goodness, and after a few more TV shows — I would have fed him ice cream and let him watch TV for a week — he was already bouncing back.

He was hungry — soft foods only — and eventually got tired of TV and wanted to play. Even though the wound was still open, he said it didn’t hurt anymore. How was that possible? If I had that wound I would be on a morphine drip! But his spirits were happy and he spent a good portion of the day talking (with a lisp) about the hole and all the blood the ottoman made in his mouth and asking if we remembered him going to the hospital where the doctor looked at his tongue. And he kept sticking his tongue out to show us the “lid” on the hole! Dave had thankfully stayed home from work to help me, not knowing what the day after would look like. Even though it was surprisingly good on Walter’s part, I was emotionally very fragile and very glad for the support.

It’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to a kid, but when it’s your kid, the baby you love more than anything else in the world, when they are in pain, it is searingly bad.

Onwards and upwards, to see what the next day will bring!

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Cuddling with my very strong and brave little boy, as he napped 24 hours after the incident.