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October 2009
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December 2009

Thankful still

Sam has started speaking in full sentences more often. He even says our parts for us. For instance, yesterday he tried his first piece of pumpkin pie. His eyes got really big and he started energetically using the sign language for "more." At the same time he said:

"More? More? More pumpkin pie for Sam please, can you? Sure, of course! Thank you so much."

We had a nice, super mellow Thanksgiving. In addition to the obvious (health, family, friends, food and heat) I was thankful for not having to travel and for positive results from all the stupid tests and ultrasounds I had on Wednesday. Turns out I have a healthy gallbladder - super! And that there's nothing we can do about the stabbing pain in my chest as it's likely more to do with the fall I had last week. The same fall I didn't think to mention to my doctor. But still, I'm thankful for every breath I take. Even the ones that hurt!

Me to Sam this morning: Would you like some applesauce?
Sam: Yeah! Please. Sure. Of course. No problem.
Thinking to myself as I pour the applesacue into the pink (No! Mama, orange. Please!) bowl, I'm so glad he's absorbing the more positive messages I kick down.

Stupid baby class, revisted

I signed into my Typepad account an hour ago to post and then I found myself making and ordering our Christmas cards (To whom it may concern:Shutterfly is having a sale), learning to download free fonts (learning this has been on my personal "to do" list for a long, long time), and poking around on Facebook. And then an hour happened. And now I'm going to try to go to sleep in hopes of getting a few hours of sleep in a row. This must be some kind of preparation for re-adjusting to the whole newborn in the house thing.

Along those lines, it dawned on me that the fact that I'm this pregnant means that I'll actually be having a baby soon. Which in turn means: labor and delivery, take two.

Me to Matt: "So what stupid baby class did you want to take from the hospital this time? The weekly one or the weekend warrior blitz?"

Matt, incredulous: "Seriously? We're doing that again?"

Me: "No, it was supposed to be a funny joke. But you know what really isn't funny? The fact that it turns out I'll be going through all that again and I'm getting freaked out about it. Really freaked."

Matt: "And the class will help with that?"

Me: "Forget the stupid class! Why can't you just do it this time?"
Matt: "Now that's funny. You'll be fine. Really."
Me: "Yeah, that's not easing my mind at all. Don't you remember all the [insert hideous, mysteriously forgotten details here]?"

Matt: "Well, if there was a class they'd tell you to stop going over all those parts. So start there, I guess."

Me: "Fine. Whatever."

It's possible I'm also entering the bitchier phase of pregnancy. Where's the class on that?

Zupans, guns and finding the middle ground

Sam's zupan - lil Hugh I'm at that part of pregnancy some people call "nesting." For me, that translates to trying to organize everything. Everything. It's not going so well. We do, however, now have all our CD's in one, big book arranged in order. And the silverware drawer is done. That'll help the baby for sure.

Meanwhile, Sam is turning into a Lil Hugh before my very eyes and is obsessed with his new zupan (bathrobe). His Nana brought him the cutest pj's. If you look closely you'll see why he calls them "Good Girl jammies." (They are printed with little brown labradors). But, man, this zupan is a hit! From the momenthe got that thing on he refused to take it off. He strolls around the house, hands in his pockets, looking like The (little) Man. At night, try to take him out of it. "More zupan! More zupan!" He cries after it like some kids do ... well, their parents.

Nana and Papa also brought toy guns for Sam. This created a different kind of excitement. They're made out of wood and make a little popping sound when you ... actually I don't know enough about guns to describe what happens. Anyway, Matt and I grew up with different ideas about a lot of things, including guns. For Matt, rural life included a healthy respect for guns. For me growing up in Tacoma ... guns were something gang members had and I was terrified of them. 

Before I was a parent (cue laugh track) I was pretty certain I'd be the "no guns for us" kind of mom but the more I talk to people about them and their experiences with them the more I realize it is more important to me to teach my children what they are, how to use them and why I don't ever want them to have to pull a trigger rather than pretending I can ban guns completely. 

That being said ... my father-in-law was trying to understand where I was coming from. It's not unusual for he and I to come at something from (complete) opposite points of view but we are getting better at finding our middle, and at lowering our voices.  He mentioned that he grew up playing with all manners of toy guns and he's never thought about killing anyone. I mentioned that's not what I've heard him say about certain politicians but the bottom line is this: he grew up in a different moral culture. He grew up in a country that didn't have the phrases "school shootings," "went Postal," "Columbine," etc. in its regular lexicon. 

I'm not looking for Mayberry. And I'm not pretending it's possible to even find our way back there. I'm just saying that parents of young children today can't make their decisions based on what our parents and grandparents did simply because they turned out okay. Using some of the common sense that seemed more prevalent in those generations, however, isn't such a bad idea. 

Sitting out NaNo, and other changes

When I think of the writing contest NaNoWriMo,I picture myself sitting in front of the computer at 2 a.m. while nursing my newborn and wondering what in the world I was thinking when I signed up for it that second year. Not only did I commit to the month-long write-a-thon while welcoming a brand new human being into our life, I agreed to write a weekly column for the Statesman Journal documenting the experience. It was a crazy, cool month but with the whole sleep deprivation thing I'm afraid it didn't yield The Novel of a lifetime. What it did do, though, is open the door for focusing on my writing at a time when it seemed impossible. I also got some good free-writing out of it.

That being said, I won't be doing it again for awhile. While I encourage anyone intrigued by the idea to jump in because it truly was an awesome experience, two years was enough for me until I complete a few of the books I've already started. The thing about NaNo is you have to start a project from scratch Nov. 1st with the goal of finishing it by the end of the month.

When I decided to sit out NaNo earlier last month, it was because I knew I had my own deadline approaching for a finished manuscript of Breaking Branches. The deadline I so boldly, and ugh! publicly set, in the face of being pregnant with an ever-evolving toddler. Read that: getting taller and reaching new heights, so to speak. I think I mentioned our recent run-in with Poison Control after he manged to climb up to the medicine cabinet I was so sure was out of his reach. Nothing, it turns out is out of his reach now that he's demonstrated what a clever little guy he is.

While I proved to myself that I could write, a lot, even as I adjusted to my new role as Sam's mama I also am realizing that there's a point I need to call "Uncle!" All this is to say, I've arrived at that point.

My writing is fractured again as I fight exhaustion to meet my word count goals. I'm edgy and frustrated when I pick rest over work and I'm back at that point where I feel like no matter what I'm doing at that moment, I should be doing something else.

At least I was feeling that way before I had myself a nice little meltdown and broke down on Matt. He looked at me like I was crazy. (In his defense, I was a little). Then he simply suggested I change my deadline.

"But I already set it."

"Right. So YOU can change it."

"But I announced it on my blog."

"And mostly people who like and care about you read it, right? You've said it's been an awesome source of support for you."

"Yes but ..." He kind of had me there. Then I remembered why I set the date in the first place. "But if I don't finish it now, I'll never do it. NEVER!" (There was crying at this point. Near hysteria.)

It turns out plenty of women have achieved many of their personal goals after becoming mothers. It's just hard to admit that sure, you can have it all, just not at the same time. Sometimes you have to pick your priorities and as badly as I want to finish this novel and send it out into the world, I want to grow a healthy baby, prepare for his arrival, enjoy my last weeks with Sam as an only child and, frankly, sleep while I can. Without having some help with Sam, I can't do those things plus keep working in middle-of-the-night margins. I intend to keep plucking away at it, though I haven't figured out my new goal yet. I will, of course, keep you posted.

Quitting baseboards

"I'm done doing baseboards!" I declared to a friend the other day. This, of course, implied that there was a time I ever cleaned my baseboards. (Picture The Office's Kelly Kapoor giving the slight head shake).

That being said, I was wondering why I was feeling so wiped out and like everything was taking just a little more effort each time. I figured my super-belly had something to do with my limited ability to reach things but a conversation at the supermarket put things into a rather alarming perspective yesterday.

"How many more weeks till you're due?"

"Oh, it's still months, not weeks."

"Really?" I braced myself for the "sure it's not twins?" comment.

"Yeah, January."

"So that's 8 weeks."


Blank stare.

"Oh my God. I have to go!"

And I've been making lists ever since.

Friday favorites ... yeah, I know it's Tuesday


  • Yelling "school bus!" every single time he sees a school bus.
  • Playing with his new Little People School Bus from his Omama and Opapa
  • Getting really, really dirty now that Daddy's taught him "how to do it right." Doing it right seems to mean having to strip down at the back door.


  • Being at the part of my pregnancy where I'm not so concerned about what anyone else thinks. About anything. This has its good and bad points.
  • Pretending I'm going to get all crafty one of these days. Really, I'm enjoying thinking about the things I'd like to be doing with my scrapbook stuff and the sewing machine I still don't know how to use.
  • Getting the awesome news that I am not going to be dealing with gestational diabetes, and knowing I never have to take that awful test again!
  • The mini-face lift Matt gave our kitchen cabinets.

One of my favorite things in my earlier "Nathalie's Notes" days was my"observed and overheard" category. I wondered what happened to that the other day. As I was sitting in the hospital waiting room sans Sam I realized I stopped doing it when I started having to focus completely on the care and keeping of my little guy. My ability to observe and take notes on the things I overheard gave way to my need to develop the new skills needed to survive early motherhood. So two years later, maybe I can pick it back up. Until January anyway.

Overheard this week:

I listened to a review on NPR of Bob Dylan's new Christmas album. There was a line in the review that still has me cracking up. The guy described Dylan's rendition of "I'll be home for Christmas" as sounding like more of a threat than a promise. If you listen to the clip, you'll likely agree. And this is coming from a fan.

And finally, Friday's link: you can check out cool fabrics, project ideas and download free templates. I'll be doing none of the above but it was part of that crafty fantasy I mentioned earlier.

Ain't no fountain high enough

Sam -wash hands

Sam, it seems, no longer needs help protecting himself from flu germs. He can wash his own hands, thank you very much. Note he's not standing on his normal stool because he'd pushed that over to the kitchen sink earlier. Instead, he made do with the garbage can. This can-do attitude of his earned us another call to poison control last week when he climbed his way up to the medicine cabinet and got into the Tums. So, so glad he picked the Tums over all the other tasty possibilities. Much less thrilled to know we've got a little log of calls going at the Poison Control Center. Speaking of hurling, weren't we?, I just got back from the eat a crazy diet for three days, then fast for 12 hours, then come in and slam the sugariest drink known to man and let us draw your blood every hour on the hour for four hours test. So I'm feeling a little woozy, a lot wiped out and ready for a nap. Also a little nervous about the test results.