Sunday, June 17, 2012

Number Three

A sunny day for a hike found us at Mount Pisgah. The boys and dog ran themselves ragged and we all enjoyed the long awaited warmth of summer sunshine. Summertime is my time and on these bright and happy days when my only agenda is to spend time with my kids, the whole rest of the year is worth it. 

I wasn't feeling particularly well on this hike. The morning (aka ALL DAY LONG) sickness really hasn't gone away and I am thinking this might be as good as it gets. Sigh. I was also preoccupied by my upcoming ultrasound- would the baby be healthy, of course, but also, just what kind of baby would we be having?? We were strolling along as my mind wandered to that one single sperm who made his or her way to the egg first. That one single sperm who would become our third and last child.

We separated for a bit so that Brent and Jack could give Lu more of a workout, and Sawyer and I meandered over to the meeting spot, picking flowers and chatting about the birds and bugs who swooped down from the sky above us. We reached the rendezvous point well before Brent and Jack so we sat and ate an apple in the grass. Sawyer told me that he had to pee and so I directed him over to a nearby clump of trees and sat back to finish my snack. Now here's where the story gets a bit personal- if you don't already know this, the thing about little boys and penises is that they really have to learn to sort of uncurl things before they just let 'er rip, otherwise the pee goes straight down their legs or backside. As Sawyer began to pee, I could see that he had neglected to perform this crucial first step of the process. I quickly jumped to my feet and rushed to remedy this situation by shouting "Pick it up! Pick up your penis right now!" By the time I got to him he had realized the error of his ways and overcompensated in the pick up and had consequently, like the loose hose from a fire hydrant, peed all over his shirt, face, and hair.

And as I rooted through my bag to find a napkin or something disposable to mop the pee from my son's face with, I wondered if I could really do this all over again with yet another little boy. Could I handle one more penis in my life?

What is that old saying about slugs and snakes and little boys?

My aunt Bobbi sent me a package a few months back with these adorable little booties and a note saying "Good luck!" I cannot tell you how many times I sat and held those booties and willed this baby to be a girl. Because, in truth, it's more than just the dresses and the tea parties for me. My mom is gone, I never had a sister, and to think that I would go my whole life without a daughter made me feel, I don't know, incomplete.

Brent couldn't go to the ultrasound with me, he had an unfortunately timed final exam to attend, and so I invited my friend Amberlee (who has really be more of a sister to me over these many, many years). She was heading back from a trip to Japan and thought she might be able to make it if she changed to an earlier flight. But then one of her flights missed its connection and through a flurry of text messages the night before, I learned that she probably wouldn't be able to make it. And so I drove to the appointment the next afternoon, telling myself that it was perfectly fine to be all alone at this momentous occasion and who cares if I seem pathetic telling the receptionist that my friend might come and please let her in if she makes it.

But then for some reason I just started to relax. Everything would be fine. That one sperm, whoever it was, had made it to the egg just as it was supposed to. Sure, I was alone, and sure, it was a pretty big deal, but whatever was going to happen was exactly what was supposed to happen.

And when I pulled into the parking lot I found Amberlee waiting for me. She had gotten in to the Eugene airport at 12:40. It was 1:15. I'm still not sure how she made that happen, but there she was!

So, what did the ultrasound have to say? Well, I'll let the boys tell you...

20 weeks pregnant with our third child, our daughter.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


So it's kid birthday party season around these parts and it was only a matter of time before we got invited to a party with an actual magician. A real magic show! Balloon animals! Woohoo! It was a pretty cool scene except that the birthday boy was kind of suffering from that "it's my party and so I'm going to be a total jerk" kind of five year old phenomenon, but my kids did not care because BALLOONS! MAGIC! CAKE! PINATA!

(Also, we did not know these people AT ALL which made for some awkward conversation and some standing around and me being VERY interested in the magic show. Why were we invited to this party? The dad is one of Brent's fishin' buddies. More on that in a minute.)

So after the party wound down and the kids had each consumed roughly five pounds of sugar (and I might add they were both totally pissed at me for not letting them drink Pepsi and Dr. Pepper like the other kids did- I am such a killjoy), we hauled them and their balloons to the car and headed for home. And this was when Brent casually mentioned the idea of going fishing with his fishin' buddies from the party. Normally I am all about Brent and his fishing escapades because for one, he rarely wants to go, and for two, I understand that the man needs to stand by a river and commune with nature from time to time. But the problem was that during this particular week I had been suffering from some seriously painful digestive issues of which I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I now understand why old people talk about their gastrointestinal distress so freely, because when that shit is not working, it fucking hurts.

But I was a good sport and so I bid him farewell and resigned myself to spending a rainy afternoon stuck inside my house with two completely cracked out kids and a hurt tummy. And the dog needed to be walked, too. But miraculously we all survived and the kids played legos and trashed the house and the dog went and chewed sticks in the garage and I ate some prunes and it seemed like everything was going to be just fine.

And then came bedtime and an epic meltdown by Jack that triggered one of my darkest parenting moments to date. I had exhausted my patience and I really really really just needed the kids to get into bed RIGHT NOW DAMMIT! so that I could go to bed. Jack was flailing and writhing and refusing to cooperate and I finally reached my breaking point when he started in with the "I'm hungry"s as I wrestled him into bed. I knew I was losing my cool and instead of counting to ten like they always tell you to do, I found myself stomping into the kitchen, retrieving a string cheese, and hurtling it at Jack before I slammed his bedroom door.

Intense sobbing. "Mom! Why did you hit me in the eye with cheese? Why, Mom? Why did you do that?"

Shit! Had I actually hit him in the eye with a flying string cheese? I opened the door and assessed the situation. In fact I had. Shit! Shit! Would it leave a mark? Would he go to preschool the next morning and tell all of the mandatory reporters that his mom hit him in the eye with cheese?

I was still hemming and hawing about this when Brent came home a few hours later lugging a GIGANTIC spring Chinook salmon, which he then proceeded to gut and filet into the wee hours of the night in our kitchen. I was more than a bit concerned about the aftermath of such butchery INSIDE OUR HOUSE and I assured Brent that I would vomit profusely if I came out the next morning and caught even a single whiff of fish carnage. So instead I  awoke Monday morning to a spotless kitchen and bags of beautiful fish filets piled up in the refrigerator.

All day long at work on Monday I kept thinking about that fish and how delicious it would be. Brent has perfected his salmon grilling technique and the kids go crazy for it, so I was counting down the minutes until dinner. And then I remembered that Brent has his late class on Mondays and would not be home in time to do the grilling.

Have we talked about pink jobs and blue jobs before? Well, let me tell you that grilling falls under the category of blue jobs in this household and the likelihood that I could singlehandedly grill a fish was slim to none. No, scratch that. None. However once a pregnant lady sets her mind on a meal, watch out! I was determined to make it happen. I started googling around and found this recipe for baked salmon. Seemed simple enough and we had all of the ingredients, so why not. The only problem was that the fish filet still had skin on one side and all of the reviewers had insisted that you remove the skin prior to baking OR ELSE you will end up with a fishy tasting fish. And we couldn't have that. So I began to peel away the fish skin. This can't be right, I thought to myself as the filet flopped around the cutting board and the skin held on tight. I washed my hands and googled "how to remove fish skin." Ah, a knife! Of course. Again I began to remove the skin only this time I was wielding a knife and my hands were just as slippery and now my fingers were getting numb from handling the cold corpse and I started to get queasy when the skin just wouldn't peel. And so I phoned a friend. Two friends, actually, who both assured me I was on the right track, stay the course, keep on keepin' on, etc. Gradually I began to make some progress, but the gruesome scene and horrific smell overcame me and I soon found myself vomiting profusely into the kitchen sink. The kids heard the commotion and came in to see what all the excitement was about. I am one of those people who cries when throwing up and so they entered the kitchen to find me crying and holding a knife over piles of fish skin and a slimy pink carcass. They wisely turned heel and retreated to the playroom. I hitched up the sleeves of my sweatshirt with my teeth, used that old morning sickness trick of visualizing a lemon, and went back to work. After about 45 minutes of this, at last my fish was ready.

I worried that I would not be able to stomach the fish after that ordeal, but sure enough, that mapley garlic smell wafted through the kitchen and soon all of our mouths were watering. And Brent came home just in time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I found out later that Brent has a Special Filet Knife that would have made things a lot easier, but oh well. As far as I am concerned, skinning fish can remain a blue job.

And in case you were wondering, Jack's eye was just fine. No word yet on the emotional trauma of being hit in the eye by your mom with a string cheese. Next time I will count to ten.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On Kindergarten, the Coast, and Getting it Right the Third Time

I know it's weird and totally nerdy, but I've always secretly enjoyed filling out paperwork. Give me an extensive application, a thick survey, an invasive questionnaire- I love it all. I will happily fill in boxes and bubble in the bubbles and sign and date with a flourish of excitement.

That said, even I was feeling a big overwhelmed by Jack's kindergarten paperwork. (He will be going to French immersion school, which means we'll be spending his college fund on gas money to get him back and forth across town, but as they say, c'est la vie...) I spent a few hours putting his birthdate into boxes and determining that we do not qualify for free or reduced lunch (though we will once Felix arrives, which surprised me. I guess we are poor. Who knew?), providing our phone numbers and email addresses approximately FIVE THOUSAND times, and sifting though years of sloppily written vaccine history. And then we needed proof of his identity.

I enlisted Brent's help for this one. You see, Brent has this uncanny ability to always know where things are in the house. Coincidentally, I have an uncanny ability to leave things around the house and immediately forget where I have left them. We make a great team.

Brent rolled his eyes and headed to the closet. "I keep a file for each of the kids," he said condescendingly while retrieving a small file case that I bought years ago in one of my futile attempts at organizing my life. He pulled out a file and began to rifle through its contents. "All of their important paperwork, like birth certificates and stuff, is right here," he said proudly.

I waited.

"Ah, here it is!" he announced as he handed me that application that you fill out to order your kid's birth certificate. "Oh wait..."

No birth certificate for either kid. Oops. How did we drop the ball on this one? Yikes. Well, at least we'll have one more chance to get things right with number three.

In happier news, with the return of my appetite comes the return of recipe links. Have you tried avocado pesto before? Where has this recipe been all my life?

Also, a kid's birthday party at the vintage arcade? Brilliant. Turns out the kids are pinball wizards. It also turns out that $5 in quarters disappears very quickly when you hand it over to a three year old in an arcade.

On the way home from the arcade Sawyer tries unsuccessfully to gain admittance to the brewery. Twenty-one does seem so far away when you are only three.

And then we went to the beach because it was the holiday weekend and we needed something festive to do that involved getting out of the house. You know me, I love a good beach photo shoot. Sometimes I feel kind of guilty about the fact that we don't go to the coast as often as we could. But then we have a week of sand in the washing machine and I get over that one pretty quickly.

Despite our lack of appropriate identification, we got all registered and oriented for kindergarten. We even got to meet the teacher (we like her!) and sit through an hour long presentation in a crowded and very humid room on the importance of handwashing and the dangers of headlice. Welcome to elementary school! Jack was super bummed to hear that they don't give homework until February. What a nerd! (I was actually a bit disappointed by this as well, since you know how I feel about paperwork- I just can't wait to sign those reading logs!)

Baby Felix is a pretty big topic around here these days. Jack was not interested AT ALL when I was pregnant with Sawyer, but Sawyer has taken a real interest in this baby and loves to pat my stomach and talk to the baby bump and yell at me if he thinks I am hurting the baby, you know, by sitting up or scratching my itchy stretchy tummy or something. Jack is indifferent. I think he is still worried about his Legos.

One thing is for sure, I will be making damn sure to get this one a birth certificate right away. AND I will file it away in the folder. AND I will make sure that they write out the vaccine information legibly. AND by the time this one gets to kindergarten, I will be skipping the handwashing/headlice seminar. Like I said, this is our last chance to get it right. Wish me luck.