Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Very Long Week

I spent this week in student conferences for my 1301 classes.  Some sixty students later, I'm tired!  We've been over their papers, checked in to see how things are going, and once again, I find myself shaking my head at some of the things these students have gone through and are going through.  I've had students in the hospital, students whose children have been in the hospital, students who have been evicted, who have had their books and computer stolen, who aren't sure they can keep their financial aid, etc.  I think I sent five of them over to retention services this week (which I'm sure DN appreciates, as I gave all of them her business card). 

The rest of this week has been spent doing additional things.  I've been trying to read about assessment and get through a ton of materials I have about assessment, and I've been thinking about what I might write for Emerging Dialogues, which is an online journal/newsletter (I'm not entirely sure what to call it) about assessment that our director of assessment is an editor for.  I actually didn't have any meetings this week, though, which meant that I was able to spend my Friday at home with the girl.

But by the end of the week, I've been able to get other things that have been on the back burner done.  I'm writing an article on the Anatomy Act of 1832 (which allowed corpses that had been 'abandonded' at workhouses to be sent to medical schools for dissection.  Previously, there had been such a shortage of bodies, people were grave-robbing to get them, but this law meant that poor people had their bodies donated to science, whether they wanted it or not), and I was actually able to do some research on it this week.  I've even been able to sit down and edit a couple of chapters of my book! 

Speaking of book news, I've pretty much abandoned the sequel as it is and am starting over with it.  My main character just wasn't...well, honestly, enough of an asshole.  He wasn't as nice in the first book as I was writing him in the second, and that doesn't just change overnight.  That's something we've got to see happen gradually.  But as far as the first book goes, a friend of ours is going to design the cover for me, which I'm very excited about.  Now to just talk to my brother about putting me together a website...

My sister-in-law spent a good portion of the week in the hospital, thanks to her gallbladder, which has since been removed, and I know she's glad to be back home with my brother and my niece.

And tragedy struck near my hometown, when Officer Daniel Ellis of the Richmond, KY police department was ambushed and killed.  The entire community has just been shocked by the whole affair.  My alma mater is hosting the visitation and funeral and has suspended classes (at all campuses, no less) from Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon to accommodate the proceedings.  They know precisely who was responsible for the whole thing--the man is in custody and will not be leaving...ever--but all I can think about is his poor wife and his little boy. 

Among other things, it makes you feel gratitude for what you have, particularly the people you have.

It's a grey, rainy day here in the Coastal Bend, the kind of day that makes you want to snuggle up with a book and a blanket and the baby--the kind of day that looks like it out to be cold, but is really just sticky and humid.  Right now, she's on her activity mat for tummy time and fussing about it, but she's getting good at holding her head up, and she could already pretty much hold herself upright when sitting.  And if you don't watch her while she's on her tummy, she will scoot herself right off her mat.

We taught her how to mimic us sticking our tongues out, and this week, she's started initiating it, sticking her tongue out first to get a reaction out of us.  And KC is so very, very close to laughing.  It's like she has the facial expression, but hasn't quite managed to get the sound out.  She's also had some better nights where she only woke up once--and then we've had other nights where she was up every two hours (and wasn't that fun with twenty some conferences the next day.  Gramma took her the next night so Mommy could get some sleep).   

She was also Wonder Woman for her first Halloween and was absolutely adorable.  She's growing like a weed, too.  She's outgrown her 0-3 clothes, not because she's fat, but because she's so tall.  Last week at her two month appointment, she was 23 1/2 inches long (and 11 lbs and 4 oz.).  My girl is growing and changing every day, and I look forward to what's next.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Back to Work

My girl is eight weeks old today, and it's amazing to me how much she changes each day.  She's learned to mimic people somewhat; if you stick your tongue out at her, she'll stick hers out in return.  She's gotten much stronger in the last week, lifting her head up far more, and if you hold on to her, she can straight up her whole back.  If you hold her and let her stiffen her legs out, she can put her whole weight on them (with support).

She's also smiling a lot more, particularly when she wakes up--she's just glad to see everyone.  Those smiles made it a lot easier to go back to work this week.  I felt horrible when I left for work on Monday.  I just didn't want to leave my baby, even though I knew perfectly well that she was just fine with her gramma and papaw.  But when I got home, I came in, and the moment KC saw me, she just broke out into a grin because her mommy was home.  That made everything worthwhile.  And she's just smiled more and more and more as the week has gone on.  Her hair is starting to come back in where she'd lost it--it's looking like she might not completely lose all of it and be bald until she's two (like her mama was).  Most of the time, I think she looks like me, but every once in a while, she will strike a facial expression and looks just like Dear Husband.  And she and her cousin have the same exact smile!

Sunday, we took her to church for the first time.  This lead to what is one of my favorite pictures of her so far--and definitely my favorite that I've taken.  Her Bunny had bought her a new church dress when they were here, and she looked positively adorable. We took her into church, and she was so good.  She just looked around at everything, and listened to the organ.  I had to take her out and change her and give her a bottle, but she never really fussed loudly.  We took her up to the altar rail, and Father M blessed her--he was tickled, I think.

And, as mentioned, Monday, I went back to work.  There have been a few bumps in the road, but they have either been smoothed out or are in the process of being smoothed out, and they weren't really unexpected.  I'm slowly getting caught up, and getting to know my students again, since I only saw them all twice before KC came along.  (I did show them the picture of her in her church dress, and they were all suitably impressed, as they should have been.)

My world lit class remains amazing.  They're so invested, and I barely have to do any work, because they go back and forth in discussion.  On the other hand, getting my American lit class to talk is like pulling teeth, and I'm trying to figure out how to really get them going.  I'm thinking about breaking them up into groups and giving each group a discussion question, and seeing what happens.  We're doing more poetry on Tuesday, rather than short stories, so we'll see if they do better with that.  And my 1301 classes are moving along, and they all seem to be pretty well involved in the class. 

Friday, there were meetings, and I took KC with me to the department meeting so my colleagues could all meet her, and again, she was so good.  I had to take her out to change her diaper twice, but she behaved so well, just snuggled with me, and looked over my shoulder at two of my colleagues while the meeting went on around her.

We were expecting a huge rain 'event' this weekend, and much of Texas did get it, something on the level of 12 inches of rain in spots, caused by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia and a low pressure system, but the clouds parted over town much like the Red Sea, and all the rain really went around.  It is windy today, but the high is a balmy 70 degrees, and I have the windows open.  (The cats love that.)

Saturday morning, my FIL left for home.  He'd driven down with my MIL, and then flew home.  He will be back at Thanksgiving, and Gramma will be taking care of KC, which makes me feel so much better.  It's wonderful having her here.  Saturday was also DH's birthday.  It wasn't celebrated with great fanfare, but DH said that it was amazing how different his priorities were.   It's yet one more example of how much things have completely changed in the last two months. 

I'm preparing for next week right now.  I've only had homework to grade this last week, and this upcoming week will see my first week with major assignments and work to deal with.  I'm also taking on some additional responsibilities at work, which I'll be able to talk more about next week.  This week, I was also honored by the college with a Disability Advocate of the Year award.  I don't know who nominated me--and I wasn't able to make it to the ceremony, but it made me feel pretty good about the impact I'm having here. 

And that's been the week.  There's no telling what the next week holds, but if it goes as well as this one has, I'll be pretty happy. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I've been having weird dreams in the short spans of hours that I sleep at night.  I've had weird dreams fora while, since before KC came along--probably starting in my second trimester.  They've continued since, often with some reoccurring themes.  (A tunnel space created by trees and plants?  At least I'm not dreaming about my teeth falling out again.)

Sunday night, however, I had one of those dreams that was so incredibly real and vivid that it's stuck with me all week in its entirety.

I dreamed I was at my mom and dad's house, and I came around the corner from the hallway to stop in front of the front door, because standing there was my Mamaw Ree.  It was a full stop, an almost jolting one, because all I could stammer was, "But you're dead." 

Mamaw just shrugged and said she had to see that baby.  So we settled her in to the chair in the front room, and I pulled up the piano bench to sit next to her, and she held KC and made over her and loved on her, and KC smiled and babbled at her.

Finally, Mamaw gave KC back to me, and told me that she had to go, and I began to cry, because I knew what it meant.  She was going, and it really was the last time I would see her.

And then I woke up, not because KC was making noise, but because the dream was over.  KC was asleep in her basinette next to me, and I looked up at the ceiling, but instead of wanting to cry, I felt an almost overwhelming sense of peace.

I don't believe in ghosts or astral projection or any of that nonsense, but if there ever was someone stubborn enough to bend time and space and dimensions to get to visit their great-great-granddaughter, Mamaw would be the one.

I may not have cried then, but I've felt like it now and then since, thinking about it, but I have a very firm picture in my mind now of Mamaw--as I remember her from when I was a kid--holding KC and calling her a piss-ant (just like she did me). 


I did update this blog last week, but as I finished it up, KC began fussing, so I never managed to put a link to it on Facebook.  This week has had its ups and downs, like any other week.  I go into my office tomorrow to meet with my substitutes and do my return to work paperwork, and I will be back in the classroom on Monday.

I am not suited to be a stay-at-home mom.  I know that.  And in academia, I couldn't take ten years to be a stay-at-home mom and then return to the field.  It doesn't work like that, even if I wanted it to.  So here I am, getting ready to go back to work...and I so desperately don't want to.  The Modern Mother Guilt Cycle (TM) strikes again.  It's not just that I feel like I need to be home and won't be.  It's that I know good and well that I would go nuts if I was, and therefore, feel guilty over that. 

Already, I know that the idea of 'having it all' is a myth.  You can have a lot, but something will always get missed through the cracks--and it's probably sleep or health or social life or something like that.  I'm seriously terrified of trying to figure out this work-life balance thing.  Balance?  What's that? Even on maternity leave, I've been constantly checking my work email--and been right to do so, as things would have slipped by me.  (Crap, I've got to get my book order for spring in tomorrow.)

The last year, I've always worked really hard not to have to take work home.  That meant more time in the office, but what time I spent at home, I was able to spend at home with Dear Husband and actually be more than just physically present.  I'm not going to be able to do that now.  And that means that I'm going to be working a lot from home, and I worry about KC growing up to find her mama always with her nose buried in her laptop, grading and working.  (I worry about KC growing up with her mama and her daddy having their noses buried in their phones, too, but that's something we're actively working on.)

I know I'm not going through anything any other mother hasn't gone through.  And hopefully, others will be able to read this and say "Hey, it's not just me!"  But for right now, the fear and anxiety are still kind of at the forefront, but I suppose I'll eventually figure it out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Weekend of Home

My parents were finally able to come in this weekend to meet KC for the first time.  Mom's medication has been really putting her through the wringer, but for all the side effects, it seems to be working somewhat--well enough that she and Dad flew down Friday to spend the weekend. 

Despite the fact that my dad had told us that we did not need to meet them at the airport because we didn't need to have KC out, we did anyway, which was obviously the right choice.  I don't know that I've ever seen my parents so excited.  Mom went straight to find the Purell so she could hold KC right away while they waited for the luggage and Dad got their rental car.  We went to the hotel with them so they could spend some more time with her Friday evening.

Saturday morning, Dad and I performed our weekend ritual that we've always done and went to the grocery store.  It wasn't quite as early as we usually go--it was 8:30, rather than 5:30, and believe me, HEB would probably be bearable at 5:30.  Then he came to the house and spent some time with KC while Mom was asleep resting from the flight at the hotel.  Then we went and got Mom, and they came over for a while.  Mom was pretty worn out, so after spending some time with KC, she went back to the hotel to rest some more, and Dad and Dear Husband and I had dinner.

Sunday, Mom felt much better, and she and I went shopping.  She got KC some new outfits--including a dress for her to wear to church, which is completely adorable, and a Halloween costume/every day dress up.  I'm not telling what it is, because it should be a surprise for people, but it's completely adorable.  Mom also bought her some baby toys--the ring stacker that every kid has and a bucket with the different shapes that go through the lid.

Mom may have also bought me these.  I've wanted the Wonder Woman Chucks since I first saw them, and I LOVE THEM. 

She and I came back to the house, and she snuggled with KC.  DH made dinner again, and I think my parents might be impressed with his cooking skills.  I'm glad, because Lord knows I'm not much of a cook.  (My rolls were good, though, because I *can* bake.)

Monday, KC and I went back over to the hotel when DH went to work, so we could spend a little more time with Mom and Dad.  I mostly managed not to cry when I left.

KC has done a lot this week.  I think this is going to be the last package of newborn diapers we use, as she's growing so fast.  She's grown completely out of her newborn sleepers--both because her feet are too big for the footies, and because she's so tall that she's stretching them out too far.  So she's been sleeping in a onesie and her swaddler, but since fall is coming, it's getting chilly in the mornings, so I have some long gowns that she can wear with her swaddler too.

I take pictures of KC every day to send to her grandparents/post on Facebook for family to see, but I'm trying to be mindful about how much time I spend on my phone or looking at her through a screen.  I don't want her to grow up thinking that my phone is more important than she is, and I want to actually live my experiences with her, rather than simply record them.  So I am trying to be not always be taking pictures. But when it comes to pictures, this is one of my favorites that I've taken of late--her daddy talking to her last night.

I officially go back to work on October 16th.  That's a Friday, so while we don't have any classes, I'll be meeting with some of my subs to get records and discuss the class with them so I can get back into the classroom on the 19th.  My mother-in-law will be here that weekend, and she will be watching KC while I'm in class.  I am a little worried by how much work I think I'm going to have to do at home.  I've spent enough time in my office in the past that I was usually able to leave work at work, but I think I'll be grading at home again.

I've got my schedule for next semester set, and I should be home each day by about 2:30, so KC won't have to spend the entire day at daycare.  

And she is waking up, so this post will have to end. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mama Life

It's not that I haven't had time to write a blog post.  KC sleeps a good bit, being not quite a month old (and how she's almost a month old, I have no idea.), but when she's asleep, I spend my time either asleep myself, doing some basic housework, reading, or--to be honest--just rocking in the chair with her asleep in my lap.  This is the first time that I've really opened my laptop, though--I've been checking Facebook and email via my phone more than anything else.

I don't feel the last bit guilty about the just rocking with her in my lap either.  I don't remember exactly how my great-grandmother put it to my mother, but I remember the general gist of what she said, as I've heard my mother repeat it many times--don't wish for them to grow up.  They will anyway, and you need to enjoy the time they're little.

So that's what I've been doing--enjoying this time that won't ever come again.  I understand why my mother also says that this is so special with your first child.  Any siblings that come along will have to share my attention with KC (and vice versa), so I won't get to spend all this quiet time just looking at them.

Yes, I said sibling, because even though I swore to Dear Husband that I was Not Doing This Again the day that KC was born, it didn't take me long to decide that I could, in fact, do it again, because I've experienced a joy I've not known before--even when KC is crying in the middle of the night.

And it's not just joy--it's fun, too.  Case in point--KC's first bath in a tub.  She was so mad!  And DH and I were laughing so hard, we could barely wash her.  I ought to feel awful about that, but I don't.  (Bathtime tonight was much less traumatic.)

I've learned a lot of things about babies in general, and KC specifically over the last few weeks as we keeping getting to know one another.   In general: babies get acne (!), their skin peels a few weeks after they're born (they've been floating about in water for nine months), and projectile pooping is totally a thing that no one warned me about.  Also, little boys are not the only ones who sometimes pee the moment their diaper is off.  (The changing pads Gran bought us have saved both couch and bed from unfortunate incidents.)

KC specific: She makes a certain sound when she's hungry, and if I don't get her bottle fast enough, she starts banging her head against my boob, even though she's not getting anything to eat out of there.  She hates baths and being undressed in any capacity.  There is no keeping socks on her feet at all, and her feet are so large that they're, honestly, too big for her sleepers.  She has certain facial expressions that she repeats--like this one to the right, which we call her 'ooh' face.  She also sticks her pouty lip out and while I realize her smiles right now are really just gas, she does have a definite frown sometimes!  If I'm not moving fast enough, she shakes her head and gets frantic, which makes you get frantic.  She likes her rocking chair that Gran bought for her, and can sleep in it for a long time.  She also eats like a horse, but mostly at night time.  During the day, it's almost like she grazes, but at night, she eats a lot and then sleeps pretty well.  Generally, we sleep between 3 and 4 hours at a time, and that's not too bad.

Some people have asked me how the cats have adjusted to having a new member of the household, and the answer is pretty well, actually!  Cat, pictured left, doesn't seem to mind, so long as she can still share me.  As you can see, she was sharing my lap with KC in this picture.  Ding could really care less.  Sometimes she'll come give KC a sniff, but then she wanders off.  Mostly, she sighs a lot, especially when she hears KC cry--she sighs and goes off to sit on her pizza box.

What's been most surprising--and what I was hoping most for--has been Bergie's reaction.  Bergie has not hidden from her.  In fact, the cowardly lion seems to have found his courage.  When DH and my in-laws were moving furniture, he put himself between KC and the noise.  He walks over to the playpen when she's asleep and sits up on his haunches so he can see her, then walks off when he's checked on her. 

That's not to say that we haven't had non-KC adventures in the last few weeks.  Someone tried to steal the wheels off the Jeep--I figure they saw the light go on when I got up to feed KC in the middle of the night, and they scurried off, but because we didn't know that someone had tried to steal the wheels, we pulled out of the driveway, and all the lug nuts fell out, and the wheel was essentially destroyed.  Cue a two and a half week mess trying to get it fixed, which has once again convinced me that I am never, ever dealing with the Jeep dealership down here again.  It is fixed--well, mostly--the tire pressure sensor was apparently damaged and since the insurance didn't know that, the dealership won't fix it without charging us--again, not dealing with them anymore, we'll get it fixed when we go home for Christmas--it's not a big deal.  Of course, on our way to pick up the Jeep, a rock hit the windshield of the Focus and put a chip in it, but that's going to be fixed on Monday.

That's been the main adventure.  I'm going to go back to work October 19th.  Won't lie--not looking forward to it.  I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I can certainly understand the appeal now. At the same time, I don't think I could do it long term, so going back to work is probably a good thing. 

And next weekend, my parents should be here to meet Katie for the first time!  They are flying down Friday to see the girl, and I'm so excited.  I hope they have a good trip down and it doesn't wear Mom out too much.  I'm looking forward to it.  :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Best Day Ever

I meant to write an entry last Sunday.  It was going to be about the first week of school--chatty notes about how classes were going, the 'we survived the first week' faculty party, and an incident in which I put the smackdown on some students talking about me in the hallway.

The last had actually really ticked me off.  Today, I couldn't care less, because in less than a week, my life has completely changed, all because of last Sunday.

I'm sitting here writing this while my daughter sleeps in her bassinet.  That sentence alone doesn't cover the enormity of our lives right now. 

I have a daughter.

I'd been having some contractions Saturday night--nothing too bad, and fairly far apart, so I went to bed as usual.  Contractions woke me up about four the next morning, again, nothing too bad, so I dozed until about 5:30--when my water broke.  Contractions started coming faster, so we got up and headed to the hospital.   The contractions had stopped by the time we got there, but my water had definitely broken (unlike the week before where I wasn't entirely sure--now I know exactly what it feels like), so they admitted me about seven.  Over the course of the day, I discovered that there are lots of things they don't tell you about labor that they probably should ahead of time--and then discovered that none of that mattered.

At 11:59 pm, Katherine Carroll made her appearance in this world, at 7 lbs and 19 1/4 inches.

They laid her on my stomach for a brief moment, long enough for me to see her before whisking her away to the warmer for her Apgar scores, etc., but the thing I remember most about that very moment was the look on her daddy's face--wonder and awe, like he couldn't believe this had just happened.  He was completely breathless.  He went over and trimmed the cord--the doctor had already cut it, as we had a brief fright because the cord was wrapped twice around her neck, though everything was just fine.  They finished tending to me, and he brought her back over to me, and I got my first good look at her.

She was--and is--without a doubt, the most perfect, beautiful thing I've ever seen. Dear Husband and I just looked at one another, and he whispered, "Look, Emmy.  We made this."

I don't have words to express the enormity of that emotion--looking down at her, I felt what must be the most pure, all-encompassing, terrifying love that exists.

I also understand my own mother a little bit better.

Monday, her first visitors were our priest and his wife.  I'd asked them to come, and Father Phillip leaned over her and gave KC her first blessing, brushing the shape of the cross on her forehead.

Suddenly, I understand Mary, the mother of Jesus, a little better as well.  I've prayed more in the last week than I have in a very long time--thanking God for this precious little soul that's been entrusted into our care, asking for strength and guidance to raise her, and asking for every blessing He can bestow on her. 

My mother and father-in-law arrived Monday night.  They'd packed up the moment DH called to tell them I was in labor and spent the next two days driving down to see her.  Having Papaw and Gramma here has been such a blessing to us, especially as we get used to having a newborn.

I am doing well and recovering fairly quickly, though I'm still in some pain, particularly if I move around the wrong way or try to do too much, but I can do a little more each day.  Mostly, though, I just want to sit and hold her and look at her little face and watch her little eyes look at everything around her.  Those dark blue eyes have a special wisdom in them.  My mother always referred to Youngest Brother as having an old soul, and I can see that in KC's eyes. 

Little one, your mommy has so many hopes and dreams for you--not about what you will do when you grow up, and not just for you to be healthy and happy.  I want you to love deeply and be loved deeply.  I want you to choose happiness always.  Be merciful, even if you feel like mercy is undeserved.  Be kind, even when it's difficult.  Look for the stories all around you--in books, movies, and in people.  Be a godly woman who follows Christ's laws of love and accepts all, just as He did.  Remember that your mommy and daddy are always here for you, no matter what.  You can always come to us for anything, and we will listen, and we will always, always love you.  You should know, always, that for your mommy and daddy, the day you were born was the best day ever.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Year 2: Back to School

The last few weeks have been eventful and interesting.  My summer session finished two weeks ago, and to be honest, I was sad to see that class go.  There were only six people in it by the time we finished, but they were a great group of guys who worked really hard and did a great job.  I had a lot of fun with them, and it was neat to see the Northwest Center, which I'd never been to before.  And a couple of the guys have signed up for my lit classes this upcoming semester, which I'm also looking forward to.

Last week was what I refer to as as my "in-service" week, though that's not an entirely the proper term for it.  Monday was convocation and our division meeting, Tuesday was my day to work express registration, Thursday was our professional development day, and Friday was our department meeting. 

In the meantime, I've been working on finishing up schedules and syllabi--and perhaps most importantly, lesson plans, as I've got substitutes coming in to teach while I'm on maternity leave during part of the semester.  I've almost got everything for my 1301 classes finished, so I just need to complete that (about two weeks of lesson plans more for there), and then get my lit classes together.  I'm teaching three sections of 1301 this semester,  American Lit II and World Lit I.  That said, I'm not entirely sure that American Lit is going to make, but we'll find out tomorrow--people can still register tomorrow, so it may yet make. 

We had a childbirth class Thursday on caring for your newborn.  Saturday, we were supposed to go to a getting ready for childbirth class.  This was complicated by the fact that yesterday morning, I spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon in the Labor and Delivery ward getting checked out to see if my water had broken.  It hadn't, but we missed the childbirth class entirely, and there's not another one until after Little Bit is born, so I'm bracing myself for some YouTube research, because surely, there's a video about it on YouTube somewhere. 

In the meantime, we've been preparing quite a bit.  The playpen is up, Dear Husband put together the crib yesterday, and the car seat is ready to go in the car and the stroller is together, which he is going to take care of later today after the weather has cooled off a bit.  Ninety-six degrees is a bit much to be fiddling with things out in a hot car.  I've got all Little Bit's clothes and blankets, etc. in the washing machine right now,   It's hard to believe that she might be that tiny....

And the truth is, she may not be!  I had an ultrasound on Wednesday, and she's already weighing in at 7 lbs, 2 oz., and the doc told me that we are going to have the biggest baby in the nursery, and there's some concern that her head, which in the best family tradition (on both sides), is quite a bit bigger than might have been expected--like a whole month ahead. 

I was disappointed yesterday that we weren't going to have a baby this weekend, but it's just as well.  I really need to get through the first few days of class--preferably the first week--before I go on maternity leave.  I'd like for my students to actually be able to see my face before I disappear on them for a while! 

I have been having contractions off and on, though.  Nothing regular, and generally not particularly strong, though they were stronger last night than they had been.  But baby is still a way off, and in the meantime, she's wiggling about almost all the time now.  So she and I sit in the recliner (which DH bought for me last weekend because I've been having heartburn so badly I can't sleep) and put my feet up and rest as much as possible right now.  I have a feeling I may be spending some of my office hours in the faculty lounge, where I can sit on the cough and put my feet up there.  It's not that I don't have my nice big comfy chair in my's just that I can't really get in and out of it by myself right now! 

This does not mean that we are ready for Little Bit's arrival, by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think we're ever really going to feel ready for her, so we're doing the best we can.  So we're on baby watch here--and at home, also waiting for Little Bit's cousin, and I'm going to be sitting back trying to rest as much as I can before she gets here.  It's going to be an exciting semester here, and while I'm not sure I'm ready for it to get started, it's here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer: 31 weeks and counting

Not a lot has been happening lately, so I've taken a break from the blog, but things are starting to kick back up a bit, so here I am.

The house did not work.  The inspection report came back with way too much that needed fixed--I'm sure the owners were horrified when they got it, because they've already put a lot of money into the house, an,d now they have a lot more they need to do.  It was too bad, as we really liked it, but there's not much help for it.

Not getting it means that we've put off finding a house until after Little Bit arrives.  The timing now would just not be right putting us moving at the beginning of the school year and right before she comes, so we're just going to wait until after she's here before we start looking again. 

My Summer II class made, with nine people.  There are only eight in the class, as someone waited until the middle of the first class meeting to drop the course.  It meets twice a week in the evenings for three and a half hours, but because there are only eight people in the class, I doubt it's ever going to go the full time, because it just doesn't take as much time to get through everything.  It's a 1302 class, which I really like teaching--honestly, I enjoy teaching 1302 more than 1301, but that's because I'm a research nerd.  I've got a student in the class that I've had before, so it was nice to see a familiar face, and the people up at the northwest center, which is where I'm teaching, are really nice.  And I get paid extra for it!  This class will end a week before school starts; that week before school begins will be taken up by in-service activities--convocation, meetings, professional development day, etc.

Other than that, I've been spending time working on craft projects.  Some quilting, some cross-stitching, some crocheting.  I've always got more projects going on than I need to have going on, but it gives me plenty to do, and to be honest, the actual quilting on a quilt (that I've been working on for longer than DH and I have been married) is probably going to have to wait until winter, because it's just too hot to have a quilt covering my lap while I work on it. I've even learned how to applique this summer!

But I also have some baby projects--I bought muslin to make some swaddling blankets, which at 1.97 a yard is a lot cheaper than actually buying blankets.  I've found some patterns for burp clothes and bibs as well, so I'm going to be working on some of those for Little Bit and for her cousin.

I'm starting to have trouble moving around--to be honest, I'm spending a lot of my time teaching actually sitting down.  Little Bit definitely is running out of space, too, if the movement I've been feeling is any indication.

We also got to see her face for the first time with the 4D ultrasound. 
I cried when I saw her, and I think it threw DH for a loop.  My whole family swears up and down that she looks just like me.

My mom and dad ordered her crib, which arrived this week, and my in-laws have a bassinet that they will bring for her to sleep in until she's big enough for the crib.  I went out to the Baby Depot at the Burlington Coat Factory and got some things for her yesterday--some more bottles, more onesies, a little healthcare set with the nasal aspirator and a thermometer, and some tiny little headbands with bows.  I see people with hats for their babies, and to be honest, I'm not sure if she needs those--it's so hot down here, does she need a hat?  I need to get her some of those little mittens so she won't scratch her little face with her nails.   We still need to get a playpen and a car seat and a stroller.  We've been trying to decide whether or not to get the car seat/stroller combo, or to go ahead and just buy a big car seat that will grow with her for a while.   The only things we haven't really gotten have been diapers and formula.  I do have some newborn diapers that were in a diaper bag of supplies that one of my students gave me, but until we get closer to her being born and I have an idea of how big she's actually going to be, I've been kind of reluctant to get them.  Same with the formula--I don't want to get a big container of something that's going to upset her stomach. 

My Gran and Bud have sent a whole bunch of baby things--a tub, for one (yay!) and bath essentials, changing pad and liner, and a swing.  I think she's going to be pretty well outfitted.

Right now, I've been put on a low-sodium diet by my OB/GYN, because I've been retaining too much fluid.  DH has been really good about helping me find things to eat.  Being a picky eater is a pain in the butt--please don't think that I want to be a picky eater, because I don't. I just can't help it.

So that's what's going on in our neck of the woods.  The weather has hit the hellacious part of the summer--over 100 degrees and very humid, so I'm spending a lot of time inside. 

Don't expect weekly entries through the rest of the summer--I'll update as needed, but regular updates will probably return once school starts back up in the fall. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Week 4: Old House, New House

I missed last week's blog post, but it has been a very busy couple of weeks here, thanks to house hunting.  Last weekend, Dear Husband's parents came down, which was delightful.  We'd both hit the serious doldrums of missing our families, and having MIL and FIL here helped ameliorate all of that.

We took them to look at one of the houses that we'd liked, and our realtor had found a few more, so we went out Saturday to look at them.  We looked at the one that had been our favorite so far, and then found another we hadn't seen....and to be quite honest, it's just about perfect.  It was built in 1975, so it's stood up to a hurricane or two, and unlike the other house that we liked...this one is not in the flood plain, so that--plus being more affordable--pretty much made the decision between the two for us.  It's a lovely house--three bedroom, plus an enclosed garage (that will serve as an office/man cave), a nice big kitchen with a dining area, a formal dining room (my estrogen loft, I think) a great entry way, and a huge living room.  It's got a nice backyard, which has enough room for Little Bit to be able to go out and play.  It's located in a neighborhood that's mostly retirees, it seems, so it's very quiet.  We actually got to talk to one of the neighbors on Monday when we went back, and it just made us feel even better about the house.

So Monday, we put in an offer on it.  We got a counteroffer back on Wednesday and accepted it.  Our inspection is Tuesday, which I hope can still be done easily.  Why?

Well, it turns out that there's a "tropical disturbance" coming out of Mexico, which the weather service is expecting to strengthen to a tropical depression or, worst case, a tropical storm, and which is making tracks for the Coastal Bend.   It's already starting to cloud over here, and we're expecting rain starting tonight or tomorrow morning and lasting through Thursday.  (Because yes, that's what we need--more rain.)

This might not be that much of a concern, except for the fact that the house in which we live right now is in the storm surge area.  Likely, a tropical storm would not put up enough of a surge to bother us, but there's also the possibility that we might be without power for a while.  So today, we went and finished out our emergency kit.  We've had a pretty good one since we were living in Middle Tennessee--living at the conjunction of Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley will do that to you--but we needed a few other things.  So we picked up supplies for making survival candles today--which we did this afternoon--water, extra batteries, a new cat carrier (big enough for Cat and Bergie to share, and which we've needed for some time), some extra cat litter and some disposable litter boxes (aka foil roasting pans).  We've got a good first aid kit already--something we bought at Smoky Mountain Knife Works when we were there a while back and which we have kept stocked; a weather radio, which Mom bought me when I moved to Nashville; and basically, everything that's suggested that we have; and a five gallon gas can that DH bought when we bought the lawnmower--though it was for emergencies, not the lawnmower.  So we should be prepared to weather out a storm here at the house or to pick up and move out if we need to.

And it's a good thing this is happening before we close on the house, I feel--and with that much rain coming in, the inspector will have an easy time telling us about how the new house does with water.   But I do understand why when I got an estimate for insurance for the new house, windstorm insurance was twice the amount of the homeowner's!  (Talking to Dad though, it's not that much more than what he pays, so that's not bad.  I haven't priced out flood insurance for it yet, though, but I'm guessing that shouldn't be too much with it being actually out of the floodplain. We may not even need it.)

In other news, I finished two prayer quilts, which turned out very nicely, and pieced a quilt for the baby, which has to be fixed, as it is currently diamond shaped. *sigh*  Little Bit's mommy isn't very good at geometry, but I think all I need to do is to take out and resew three seams.  I just haven't done it yet, as I've not felt terribly well this week.  The hotter it gets here, the less energy I have, and to be honest, I've been a bit depressed, particularly once MIL and FIL went home--it was suddenly very lonely here! 

But I've also got lots of projects to keep me busy--the baby quilt, an afghan, another quilt, a cross-stitch project, plus a whole Pinterest board full of ideas for things to do when I finish these.  (Okay, maybe not the cross stitch project, but I've got plenty else to do.)

In the meantime, I've got a cat sitting in my lap who is glaring at me, because Little Bit keeps kicking her.  Ding figured out how to unbuckle her collar and get it off today.  They keep life interesting.  I can't wait to see how their lives get interesting when Little Bit arrives.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer: Week 2

Church yesterday was a solemn affair.  The church was more full than it usually is--a lot of people showed up, partly for comfort and partly in a show of support for those who are still missing.  This week has been very hard for our church family.  Michelle, her dad Ralph, and the McComb's son, Andrew, were all found this week.  Two more female bodies were recovered Saturday night, and we are waiting on confirmation that they are Sue Carey and Laura McComb.  We are still waiting on news about Michelle's husband Randy, her son Will, and the McComb's daughter, Leighton.

The thing is, we've been working through the Bible in church, using a condensed version of the Bible called The Story.  This week brought us to the fall of Jerusalem, and verses that are not the most comforting in the world.  But Father M reminded us that in the face of such tribulations, God's promise always prevails.  It was a sermon that everyone needed to hear, and I think that by the time the service was over, the church was just a little lighter, a little more hopeful than it was when we had all come in.

We've had a fairly productive week here.   Dear Husband and I have been looking for a house, and we've found a contender.  Nothing is final by any means, though I think the realtor would like for it to be--there is another house that we would like to look at before we make any final decisions, and it's entirely possible that we might end up not getting any of them, and decide to keep looking.  MIL and FIL are going to be here next weekend, so we will take them to look at the houses and get their opinion. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to keep myself occupied.  I still don't do time off well, I've discovered.  I realize I should be savoring this time--this will be the last summer I have without a kiddo underfoot, but still.  It's a bit like last summer--I should have been savoring it, but was spending too much time worrying about whether or not I would have a job come fall.  I've been working on catching up on craft projects, and working on cleaning the house one little bit at a time.  I've gotten one prayer quilt top completed, and one to go, then I need to tie them and bind them.  I also have an afghan I'm working on, and there's a quilt upstairs that I started handquilting that needs finished and found, and there's a cross-stitch project halfway through...I really do have plenty to do!

Little Bit has just been kicking away.  She's kicked her daddy good and hard a couple of times this week, which just fills him with wonder.  I, on the other hand, have been experiencing the stylings of a future martial artist, I think.  She kicked me so hard in church yesterday that I had to duck out to go to the bathroom.

Well, it's time I run out and go to the bank and pay rent and go to the grocery store for some odds and ends that seem to keep getting missed every time someone goes.  Errands ho!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer: Week 1

I've slept.  I've slept a lot, with the exception of a couple of days, when restless leg kept me very awake, and I've worked a bit on cleaning the house.  (It didn't get messy in one day, and it's not going to get clean in one either, unless someone comes to visit.)  My summer I class was cancelled due to low enrollment, so I've got the next six weeks off work.

The conversation here has been almost entirely about the weather, though.  The flooding has been severe north of town, towards San Antonio.  Three families from our church are currently missing--the father of one of the families was found and is in the hospital.  A tornado hit near school last night, though there was only property damage.

And in light of continued prayers that these families will be found safely, everything else--little worries and troubles--seem incredibly meaningless.

I've had all sorts of thoughts this week of things that I thought should go into my blog entry for the week.  Some of them I still have in my mind, but again, most of them seem very unimportant right now.

I will include this from this week--our blessing.  That's our girl.  It's the first good picture we've had of her little face.  She was opening her eyes and her mouth during the ultrasound and had hold of one foot with her hand.  She's exactly the right size and growing well and seems to be as healthy as a horse.  I saw the regular OB/GYN the day after this ultrasound, and when she was listening to the baby's heartbeat, Little Bit kicked the doppler, so I heard the wub-wub of her heart and then a pop that was her little foot connecting with the monitor.  It made the doctor laugh.

Here's her profile.  She weighed a little more than a pound and a quarter, and I have started to actually get weight back, rather than continue losing it.  I'm even getting some stretch marks across my belly now.

What was even more special was that Dear Husband was able to feel her move for the first time this week.  I've been feeling her quite a bit, but it's just now able to be felt on the outside of my belly. 

The next time I see the doctor, I will be into the third trimester.  It's a little odd, sometimes, to think that I'm going to be somebody's mom. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weel 2.17: When it rains....

This week has been interesting.

The Coastal Bend has had some very interesting weather in the last week.  Monday and Tuesday nights were stormy enough that neither Dear Husband or I could sleep--it's hard to sleep, after all, when it's raining sideways, and I began to understand why our neighbor had put his hurricane shutters down.

Over two days, we got ten inches of rain.  Ten.  Naturally, this meant that the garage flooded again.  But it didn't just get some water in it, the way it has in the past--spreading over a quarter of the garage.  No, we had almost half an inch of water over most of the garage. 

And we still had boxes out there.  Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a trip to Walmart for a new mop and bucket, and sweeping water out with the rubber broom.  All well and good.

Wednesday morning, things were still pretty bad.  In fact, they'd gotten worse.  We couldn't make it out of our driveway to get to school on time--and I had a final exam to give at 8:00, but we very simply weren't going anywhere.  It didn't help that our electric went out about 5:15 that morning either.

We waited until some of the water drained off and headed into school.  Most of my students were there for their final--I'd told them all to wait, as I would be coming in a soon as I could, but I had some who were similarly flooded in to their houses--one student couldn't get out until well into the afternoon.  Campus was also flooded, and I have to admit, while I've had weeks of school cancelled for ice storms, even seen finals postponed....I've never had to wade to get to an exam before.  And wade I did, right across the parking lot, as the English building was pretty much surrounded by water. 

We'd let the landlord know what was going on, and he showed up at our house Wednesday evening, not long after we got home to find that we still had no electricity.  It finally came back on about nine, after AEP Texas dug up the lawn of one of our neighbors to get to something, and fortunately, thanks to a very well-insulated fridge, we lost nothing but the milk. (The same cannot be said for some of the boxes in the garage.)

The landlord came back out Thursday--I'd run to school to give the final makeup exam and to turn in my grades (yay!)--and did some other maintenance work around the house as well, like taking care of part of a fallen tree in the backyard that was too large for DH to get without a chain saw, as well as graciously changing out the chandelier in the front entryway for a light that doesn't hang down and upon which DH cannot continue to concuss himself.  He's dug a small ditch out by the side of the house, which come Friday, and more weather, served very well.

And here is where I would like to say how much I miss Bill Meck, the chief meteorologist from Lexington's WLEX-18.  DH was working graduation on Friday, down at the American Bank Center, and having headed down to the information center, he realized the weather was getting bad and called me, which was good, as I'd fallen asleep on the couch.  They'd issued a tornado watch, not that I would have known, because there was no alert that came through my phone (unlike the EAS flood alert that scared the crap out of me Wednesday morning), and because Corpus Christi apparently doesn't have storm sirens.  So I turned on the TV to one of our local channels and just wanted to bang my head against the wall.  Unlike other times, they didn't go back to regular programming--thank goodness---but still.

So I went and moved stuff around in the pantry so I had room to hide.  There'd already been a funnel cloud over my neighborhood earlier in the week--which again, we never knew about until afterward because there was no siren and, oh, yes, we had no power.   (The NWS office in Corpus Christi really needs to do a better job.)  There was a funnel cloud over the children's hospital downtown--which was right down the street from the arena where DH was, and then they had the hook echo on the radar over our neighborhood.  Two tornadoes were confirmed that day, though neither were in town, and eventually, it all went out to sea.  The street flooded again, but the garage did not!

But all of this has made us determined that we need to get out of this house as soon as possible, so we went to the bank Saturday morning and should be approved for a home loan later this week.  Now we can start looking in some kind of earnest.

I turned my final grades in on Thursday.  The emails about how my students "can't afford to have failed English" started promptly Friday morning.  (That's what happens when you don't complete one of the major assignments, imagine that.)  My grades were not stellar this semester--out of about a hundred students, I gave out five As, three of which were in my sophomore lit course. My composition students did not do well at all, and I was more than a little disappointed.  That said, DH says that the college graduated ~750 students with 900 degrees or certificates on Friday night, and that's not too shabby. 

Summer classes start the day after Memorial Day, so in just a little more than a week.  I'm teaching Mexican-American Literature during Summer I, and I'm more than a little apprehensive about it.  After all, my ethnicity can be described as Extremely Irish, but I can teach students how to read the literature, and that should be the most important thing, I think.

DH has just gotten in from mowing the lawn.  We finally broke down and bought a gas-powered lawnmower last week, which has made DH's life much easier, since he can use it to mow the backyard, which he couldn't before with the manual, since it kept getting stuck in the sand.  That meant he was spending every evening out in the backyard with the weed-eater until the charge ran out, trying to keep the grass down.  He doesn't have to do that anymore, thank goodness.  He's now attempting to cool off, as it's already oppressively hot (and humid) here, even though it's only May.  What August will look like doesn't bear thinking about.

So it has been an eventful week here, to say the least.  But I have the next week off, which I will partly spend prepping for my Summer I course, but also partly vegging out.  I see maternal-fetal medicine tomorrow morning, so I should have new pictures of the little one tomorrow, which I'm very much looking forward to, particularly as I've started to really be able to feel her move about and kick this week.  (She very much disliked the storms, by the way.  Takes after her mommy that way.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 2.16 - My First Mother's Day

Well, my first mother's day according to Dear Husband.  I wasn't so sure, since Little Bit isn't even here yet, but he insisted.

And to be honest, I felt a little weird about it all day yesterday.  Sometimes the thought that I'm going to be a mom hasn't sunk in entirely, and at other times, it sinks in far too well. 

These feelings were all compounded by the party we went to Saturday night.  It was a department get-together, and several of my colleagues came and brought their children.  One of the kids was an adorable and precious seven-month-old little girl, who quite happily submitted to being passed around.  I spent part of the night with her wiggling in my arms, looking around to see what was going on, having my shoulder gummed, and occasionally, watching her reach out to my husband to get a better vantage point.  (Her daddy has a beard, so she didn't shy away from DH the way my cousin's daughter did the first time she saw him.)

One, watching DH hold and bounce this tiny baby, I knew that his worries were unfounded--he's going to be a great daddy, and probably spoil Little Bit rotten.  (I just know she's going to like him best, because he's never going to be able to tell her no, and Mommy's going to have to be the one to administer punishment when something goes wrong.) 

On the other hand, while I loved loved loved holding this little girl, I felt that sudden and unrelenting terror settle back down on me, and it hasn't quite gone away.  I know parenting is not the idyllic scenes you see in laundry detergent commercials.  I suppose I've been trying to manage expectations, but while the "what if?" game often works for most regular anxieties, it actually makes this particular brand of anxiety worse.  This was compounded a bit this week by a very bad bout of vertigo--the kind that I haven't had in probably ten years.  But everything is just fine--Little Bit was moving about quite happily, and I went home with a prescription for Antivert, and unless I get up out of the bed too fast, the vertigo is gone.  But for a couple of hours on Wednesday, DH and I were both completely and utterly terrified.  And again, everything is just fine.

Honestly, I don't know how people do this.  While I'm excited for Little Bit to get here, I'm also scared to death, and that's been kind of what has made me so boggled over Mother's Day.  I know excitement and terror are all part of being a mother, but in about four months, I'm going to have a tiny little person I'm responsible for, and I can't keep a house plant alive!  Whose idea was this?

I've always had some trepidations about having kids--I think that's something that particularly happens when you have a mental illness.  I'm desperately afraid that there will come a day when it is no longer well-controlled, and I revert back to long periods of depression and occasional bursts of anger, in which my facility with words turns ugly and they spill out without care for where they land.  I'm afraid that this will be something that I genetically pass along, and I don't want to see Little Bit suffer in any way.

DH says that the fact that I'm worried about it--and the fact that I can recognize when it happens--means that it's going to be okay, because I'll keep a close eye on it, and that of course, he's here to help with that too.  Still, it scares me.

And I think about my mom and the difficulties she had raising us--particularly Middle Brother, who is still too smart for his own good.  (Love ya, Bro.)  But keeping him occupied and challenged--and therefore out of trouble--was a full-time job, and she had me and Youngest Brother besides.  (We were fortunately model children.)  And at the same time, all three of us kids had medical issues at one point or another in our lives.  My mother didn't leave my bedside for a week and a half when I was in the hospital, despite being in the middle of a lupus flare that had been brought on by the stress of having a child in the hospital.   Needless to say, I'm praying that Little Bit gets her daddy's constitution.

And in other ways, it feels odd.  We went out and bought a real lawnmower yesterday.  DH has been using a manual one--like from in the 50s--but it simply does not work on a yard that's primarily grass growing out of sand, and he was having to weed-eat the yard every night, because the charge on the weed-eater only goes for about twenty minutes, which was not nearly enough time to weed-eat the entire yard.  So we bought a gas-powered mower, and brought it home, and he commented that he was feeling depressingly adult.

I looked down at my belly.  Now he feels depressingly adult?  But I got the sentiment.  We're still going to be fun, aren't we?  I mean, half of what we have for Little Bit already is geeky in nature.  (Actually, this poor child probably doesn't stand a chance on that front.) 

For those who haven't had kids yet, and see the idyllic photos of pregnant mothers or parents and babies?  Bullshit, guys.  Yeah, I feel like that sometimes, but most of the time, not so much.  I'm just terrified.  Oh, and let's not forget the guilt that's already setting in.  I only have a Ph.D. (and also thousands of dollars of student loan debt).  I can't stay home with the baby full-time.  For one thing, we can't afford it--particularly with the aforementioned student loan debt.  Plus, again, I have a Ph.D. that I've worked for over ten years to get.  And I'm not saying that there aren't moms out there with advanced degrees who stay home with their kids, but here's what I'm referring to as the Modern Mother Dichotomy of Guilt: Keep working and you're abandoning your kid to the vagaries of daycare and mediocre education OR Stop working and waste the last five/ten/thirteen years of your life and your education to stay home.  Also, there's maternity leave--I'm not planning on taking the full twelve weeks--see above student loans.  I'm going to take four to six weeks--depending on how things go--and then go back to work.  No, Little Bit is not going into daycare--her grandma is going to come stay with us for a while.  But I would have loved to have taken maternity leave for the entirety of next semester.  But again--can't afford it.  (Insert complaint about the US being the only developed country--and one of only three in the world--that doesn't offer some sort of paid maternity leave.)

There is nothing wrong with my choice to keep working.  Fortunately, I have the benefit of having a reasonably flexible schedule, and I may not work summers after this.  It'll depend.  But the guilt is still there because of a societal expectation that I fit into one category or another.  Well, screw that.  (Guilt still there.  Dammit.)

DH kept asking me yesterday if I was okay.  And I was, really, but all of this was going through my head.  It hadn't coalesced yet--that doesn't really happen until I sit down and "write myself out."  Was I okay? Probably not, and then again, probably so, since I know this isn't anything that every other mother out there has to deal with.  It's enough to make you take to your bed.

But I have final exams to finish this week and grades to enter in, and speaking of which, it's about time I got up and headed into the office.  Whee.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 2.15 - Finally

This is really the first chance I've had to sit down and write up my blog this week.  Things have been very, very busy.  This is the last week of classes--finals start Thursday (thank goodness!), but there's been a lot going on. 

Friday, we had our yearly assessment meeting, where we went over papers by a random selection of sophomore lit classes to see how they were stacking up to our program outcomes.  I brought Derby pies to assessment, because I'd discovered that no one down here knew what one was.  They were a hit, which was great.

This weekend and Monday, I worked on formatting our program review.  I'm almost done--we have a few tweaks yet to make, but a document over 200 pages long is almost complete, and thank goodness.  I think we all could throw up the next time we hear the words "program review."  That said, we have some recommendations that are getting passed along up the chain, and hopefully we'll be better off for it.

Naturally, there's also the end of the semester catching up on stuff that I've got to do.  I did cringe a bit earlier this week, though, as my department chair stopped to tell me that even if I wasn't giving a final exam--which was fine, since they do have a final assignment that kind of works as an exam--anyway--I had to have my students come in during the final exam period from now on.  *sigh*  I felt like a grad student again, to be honest.  And I'm not in trouble or anything--I didn't know we were supposed to do that--but it just served to underscore once again that I'm still junior faculty, for all that I've learned over the last year of teaching here. 

In the meantime, Mogo has become very active in the last several days, particularly in the evenings.  I've been drinking iced tea by the gallon, and I have to admit to indulging in the stereotypical pregnant snack--pickles and ice cream.  Shut up, I didn't have them together, just one after another.

I've also been very grateful this week for my kitties!  The bugs are driving me CRAZY.  Flies keep getting in the house, much to my chagrin, though Dear Husband has been going after them with the Bug-A-Salt, which is exactly what it sounds like--a salt gun he shoots at flies.  (I'd much rather clean up the salt than deal with the bugs.)  His cat is also quite the flycatcher.

They'll tell you that everything's bigger in Texas.  This is also true of the bugs.  What's creeped me out has been what is referred to in polite company as a 'palmetto bug.'  What it is, in reality, is a very large, very scary, flying subspecies of cockroach.  Naturally, the assumption is that your house must therefore be nasty and not clean.

Yeah, no.  Palmetto bugs are simply part of living along the coast.  Everyone has them, no matter how clean their house is (though SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB OMG SCRUB EVERYTHING), and everyone hates them.  And what freaked me out was when I noticed that Ding was watching something over my head in the bedroom...and looked up and saw one crawling along the wall.

I shrieked, Ding kept close watch, and DH came and rescued me and flushed the offender down the toilet.  Ding then sat in the bedroom for several hours afterward and watched to make sure it didn't come back, and cuddled up to me--as in the picture to the right--to protect me.

Trust me, I'd *much* rather find the dead one in the floor that they've caught than a live one, and I am telling you, while I know people have been concerned about the cats when the baby comes, the cats are staying, because I am way, way, WAY more worried about the bugs than I am the cats.  WAY more worried.  I feel much better with the deadly hunters on watch.

Sorry, just had a full body shiver.  (A friend of mine who is a recent transplant to Orlando is having the same issues and the same reaction.)

And note that this does not include the mosquitoes!  Mosquito season in Texas goes from April to November, and they're already fogging neighborhoods.  This is ridiculous, and like the palmetto bugs, the mosquitoes here are again, much, much larger than their counterparts in Kentucky or Tennessee.  The kitties have been chasing them too, but we will definitely be investing in a mosquito net for over Mogo's crib. 

It has not all been doom and gloom here, though.  We did go out to the beach on Friday afternoon and spent the afternoon out there, which was undeniably pleasant.  I got a little sun, but not burned, thanks to copious applications of sunblock (see, I'm learning).  We took a little cooler out so we had drinks and a snack, and read on the beach for several hours.  We were expecting the water to be cold, so DH hadn't brought his swim trunks, but it was actually quite warm once you waded out into it, so he will bring them next time.  I don't want to get into the ocean while I'm pregnant, though apparently, the college has an amazing pool, and one of my friends has suggested using it during the summer, as it will be cool and help buoy my weight.

We also took a break Saturday afternoon to go see the new Avengers movie, which did not quite live up to expectations, but was still entertaining, nonetheless. 

We have an end of semester get together for the department this weekend--I'm going to make a key lime pie and some brownies for it.   (Yes, after once again scrupulously scrubbing my kitchen.)  Like I said, finals start Thursday (thank goodness!), and all of my students have their papers due this week, so for finals WEEK, I only really have presentations and a final exam to give, which isn't too bad, though I'll be taking most of the week to grade all of those papers.

And really, the last week has been really good. I've been able to see students really making strides over the last few weeks, and if not academically, then certainly personally.  I've been really proud of some of my students who are working past some really hard times.  There are some who probably need beaten about the head with a reality stick too, but most of them have figured it out.  I'll know more when I get my grades all situated, which is how I can really judge how I'm doing.

And of course, as soon as I'm done, I start putting together syllabi for my summer courses.  Mexican-American Literature and ENGL 1302, here I come.  (But after a couple of weeks break.  Trust me, I need them.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 2.14 - Oh, my head.

I stayed home from work today.  I had a migraine a good portion of yesterday, and it had not abated by this morning--in fact, it had gotten worse and was continuing to do so.  Dear Husband took one look at me this morning and told me to call in and go back to bed, which I did.

So I slept for a while this morning, got up, ate something, graded, then went back to bed.  The migraine is doing its lurking thing now, but I hope that it will go away soon.  Usually, when weather comes through, the headache disappears, but since we seem to be the only part of Texas that didn't get inundated with severe weather last night, I still have it.  Better a migraine than a tornado, though. 

Most of the time, I'll suck it up and go to work anyway--of course, those are the days that I can medicate with a couple of Excedrin Migraine and a pot of coffee (and Advil if necessary)--not really an option right now, when a couple of Tylenol and one Ale-8 is all I dare do.  It got worse because this one settled in behind my eyes, which made things look weird.  I definitely had no business driving.  I thought for a while this afternoon that I was going to also lose everything I'd eaten today, but it all stayed down.

But like I said, it has gone back to lurking.  One loud noise would bring it back, so the TV has stayed off.  Proof that I've not felt well--my furry children have not left me unattended all day. 

But I did manage to finish off giving feedback for my student papers--I'd already done most of it this weekend, and I only had a bit to do today, so I got that finished.  Also got an email from the dean to let me know that my plagiarism appeal student had abandoned the appeal process--which I'd guessed when I'd gotten the email from DH's office that said student had dropped the course (which rendered all of this a moot point).   I suppose discretion (or dropping the course) is the better part of valor and/or not getting a more severe punishment handed down by the college.  That is at least one thing off my plate for this week--thank goodness!

Last week was more of the same slog through the end of the semester, but we're getting there.  I was mistaken about getting an ultrasound--I probably won't have another with my regular OB for a month or so, but I should have another one at maternal/fetal medicine in about three or four weeks.  My appointment went well.  She told me to try to stay hydrated and not get over-heated, as that's been partly to blame for the light-headedness and dizziness, and no, don't stand up for long periods of time if that's what causes it.  In other interesting news, I've also lost weight--I actually weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant.  This was concerning DH and I a bit, but she says that as long as I'm not spilling ketones (which would indicate that my body was cannibalizing muscle tissue) and that the weight loss is not rapid (which it is not), then she wasn't worried about it.  Apparently, some women do this and end up weighing less after they give birth than they did when they started.

(The cats are changing shifts.  Cat has left the couch for the chair, and Bergie is taking up his post.)

Eczema has been driving me nuts, admittedly, but there's not a lot that can be done about that, other than using plenty of lotion and staying hydrated, which I'm trying to do.  It's coming up on my fingers again, which is irritating in the extreme.  Again, normal pregnancy stuff.  Apparently, I look gigantic, though, for only five months, but Mom said that she went through the same thing when she was pregnant with me--at five months, people were assuming she was due any day.  (I had a lady at church say the same thing to me yesterday.  When she found out I was due in September, I could see her cringe.)  I'm going to be enormous by the time September rolls around.

But I am feeling the little one move more and more.  She started moving about in church yesterday again--once that organ starts, so does she.  A couple of times, I feel like I'm taking a foot to an internal organ.  One of my students, who's dual-credit and in high school, and so about sixteen, asked me a few weeks ago, "Dr. Stewart?  Is it, like, weird being pregnant and having something inside you?"  I laughed and said "Yes.  Yes, it's very weird."

(My father is sending me text messages with bad crossword puzzle puns.  I got this one - "Navel buildup?" Answer: Lint.  He said to give Dusty a drink of Ale-8 for a reward.)

I picked up another class for summer--a two-night a week night class at the Northwest Center.  It's not very far from actual campus, and having a bit of extra money will come in handy with the baby on the way.  That will run from the beginning of July through the second week of August, and then school starts again two weeks later, I think.  So I'll have lots to do this summer and lots to keep me busy.

But for right now, I'm waiting for this semester to be over.  Two more weeks of classes and one of finals, and then I am happily, blissfully off work for three weeks.  Just got to get there.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 2.13...the week that would never end. (But did so pretty happily.)

Guys, I've got news for you.  Last week was kind of rough.

It was rough in the way that a day spent outside in mosquito country is rough.  A hundred little things that all line up to make you miserable. 

Sunday: We'd just gotten back from San Antonio, where we'd had a blast.  We went to bed, only to be woken a few hours later by what was perhaps the single most frightening (non-tornadic) thunderstorm I've ever been in.  The lightning was incredibly intense, and the wind just buffeted the house.  Dear Husband got up, unplugged the computers, came back to bed, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  I, on the other hand, laid there awake for an hour while it stormed.

Monday: I got to my office to an email from one of my students.  This student has had a very, very difficult time this semester, and is one of the ones that I've been constantly remembering in my prayers.  Life just got a bit more difficult for her.  Say a prayer for her. 

I went to see maternal-fetal medicine, and the doctor was incredibly...un-reassuring?  Certainly, he was not someone whose bedside manner was one that I appreciated it, and I was very grateful that he, at least, will not be delivering this baby! 
But I got to see Mogo, which was awesome.  This was the anatomy scans, so I got to watch her for almost forty-five minutes while they took almost a hundred pictures.  She kept her little hands in front of her face most of the time, but I could see them flex (and count all five fingers), and she already has big feet.  (That's Mommy's girl.)

Tuesday: I had to confront a student over a plagiarism case.   This is the second instance with this particular student, and said student was quite angry with me for the zero I gave the paper.  After all, unlike the first time, there was no copy/pasted material from elsewhere.  However, there were no in-text citations, and given that this was the second time? 

Tuesday also saw an email to the entire faculty list-serv from a disgruntled (former) student that I would really, really, love to parse down for you, but which I really can't.  Suffice it to say that I feel jaws were dropping all over campus, and it's possible someone may end up getting sued for libel.

Furthermore, Tuesday had another horrible storm that morning.  This flooded the garage again, despite the "fix" of a gutter that the landlord installed on the back of the house.  That's how hard it was raining, but it also managed to be raining sideways.  I ended up excusing absences for all of my students who couldn't make it to class, as the weather was that bad in spots (and I had students emailing me that they were flooded in, complete with picture documentation.)

Also, Tuesday let me know that we were going to have to register the Jeep in Texas...and therefore pay taxes on it.   Again.

Tuesday also saw me with another student who is having some issues.  I spent more than two hours with him in my office, in retention, and in counseling.  It was difficult.

Wednesday: We discovered that the garage had flooded.  I also had a terrible batch of papers turned in and many of them did not pass, which is always disheartening--but most of those that didn't pass didn't pass because they didn't follow the instructions.  (Thursday, I was informed by one of my students that he never gets on Canvas for anything.  I wanted to bang my head against the wall.)

Thursday: Plagiarism student informs me that he is intending to appeal his grade, and then spends the rest of the week pestering me for information about how to do so.  *pulls hair out*  Student has until tomorrow to get it in, as five business days are the limit. 

I also had a meeting Thursday afternoon, which went just fine, but I've come to the conclusion that people do not need to state the obvious.  Yes, I'm getting more and more pregnant by the day.  That does not mean that you need to draw attention to my expanding waistline in a room full of my colleagues.  

A new teaser for the new Star Wars movie dropped Thursday, which made me feel better.

Friday: I slept in.  I just gave up and slept, which believe me, I needed.  I finally dragged my butt out of bed about eleven-thirty, and that was when my week *really* got better.  I'd just finished eating something when my Gran called me to tell me that she and Bud were in San Antonio and would be in Corpus in about three hours.  (She said she'd called then to surprise me to make sure I wouldn't rush about doing things to get ready for them.  I ended up just managing to do all of that in a shorter amount of time.)

So Gran and Bud came by, which was the highlight of the week.  They've been on one of their adventures across the country, so they came in, Bud played with the kitties, they got some grapefruit off the tree.  The neighbor came over--because I know he just couldn't stand it that someone was over here and he didn't know who they were--and mistook Bud for my daddy.  Also, Mama, I've sent your Alamo magnets home with Gran. 

Gran and Bud had also brought six cartons of Ale-8, just in case they made it down here (they weren't sure that they would), so I now have 144 cans of Ale-8 left, as of today.  That ought--with any luck--run me through to the end of my pregnancy.  We went out to eat at Harrison's Landing, which had been recommended to me by a student, and is right by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club out in the marina.  It was very nice!  I had a summer salad that was to *die* for--I've never had feta that was that good.  DH had amberjack fish, which was interesting.  It was pretty firm, which I like better than a flaky fish.  (And Gran and Bud were there, so there's proof that I tried it.)  Gran had shrimp.  There were four on the plate, and that was all you needed.  These shrimp were almost the size of salad plates.  And Bud had fish and chips (only with onion rings)--fried catfish, which he said was also good.

They managed to get out of Corpus before the storms came through.  We spent part of that evening with a tornado watch down here and some nasty storms.  There were some weak tornadoes, but they all either went north of us, right between Corpus and Victoria, which was where they were staying, and one south of us.  They had to evacuate the Fiesta de la Flor festival downtown - this was a big festival celebrating the life and music of Selena, the pop star.  She was from Corpus Christi and was murdered here as well.

Saturday, DH spent the day cleaning out the Saturn, in preparation for selling it. He and his boss are taking it to the mechanic tomorrow to get it checked out.  Trust me, cleaning out that car was going above and beyond the call of duty. 

Sunday, we overslept and didn't make it to church, and given the week we'd had, I don't know that you can blame us!  But Sunday was also my parents' 31st wedding anniversary.

And today, I had so much to do, I didn't get this blog entry out in the morning.  But I can say that I am, for about five minutes, caught up with my grading, and I have a journal interested in an article I'm working on, so I have until July 15th to send it in.  I imagine that this is going to end up with me spending a day at TAMUCC using their library, since Del Mar doesn't have a lot of library resources (we're tiny---comparatively speaking--and you don't have a lot of really serious research going on here). 

So that has been the past week.  I'm really hoping that it calms down this week.  I see my regular OB tomorrow (and I should have even more new baby pictures, as they told me at the beginning that I would have a 20 week ultrasound--with video!--and believe it or not--I'm 19 weeks along.)  I have two and a half weeks of school left before I finally get a break, and believe me....after this week, I could use one.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 2.12 - Hanging around by the Alamo...

Friday at lunch, my husband was apparently wandering around the internet when he discovered that our favorite podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, was hosting a live show in San Antonio on Saturday night, and what was more important--there were tickets left.  (Given that this show typically sells out within hours of tickets being posted, this was nothing less than a small miracle.  Apparently, though, the show in San Antonio did not sell out, which says something, I think, about Texas.  More on that in a second.)  I'd already been horribly jealous of the BFF and her husband, who had gotten to see the show in Nashville last week. 

So I bought tickets, made some hotel reservations, and when DH got home, we packed up and headed for San Antonio, which is about two and a half hours away.  Mostly, this was to see the show, but I'd also always wanted to see the Alamo, and San Antonio has some very nice things to do, including a zoo and aquarium, and the river walk, so Saturday morning, we got up and headed into downtown.

The first thing we did, naturally,was visit the Alamo.  My mother had always told me that the Alamo was somewhat underwhelming, and I begin to understand what she meant.  The Alamo is literally in downtown San Antonio, on a fairly small plot of land.  That said, we were there during a very interesting exhibit about firearms, which delighted DH to no end.  Also, Santa Anna was a bastard, but I wonder if Travis could have made some better decisions himself.

One thing did irritate me a lot at the Alamo, and that had nothing to do with the Alamo itself, but everything to do with the anti-abortion protestors who showed up as we were leaving, with signs and rather descriptive shouting that turned my stomach. (There were children there at the Alamo.  I pity the parents that had to explain why these people thought Boko Haram and abortion clinics were the same.)  DH pointed out that engaging with them only meant that they won, but I was very angry.  (Again, asking myself What Would Jesus Do? I was reminded that flipping tables was not outside the realm of possibility.)  Passing judgment on passers-by and declaring that no one there wanted to repent (I assume they also meant me, the very obviously pregnant woman) also irritated me beyond belief.  I am against abortion--any one who knows me knows this.  But I also know that there are a lot of women out there who feel they have no other choice, and until you've made it so these women don't have to make that choice, you need to lay off.  What I wanted to do was to go up to them and ask them, point blank, what they were doing to help women in circumstances where they might be thinking about an abortion.  

I calmed down when we went to visit the river walk and got away from them.  The river winds its way through the city, and walking along it is very pleasant.  There are tons of restaurants--we had lunch at an Irish pub, and it was rather lovely.  We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe and got me the requisite T-shirt.  I used to have quite a collection in college--I could go almost two weeks and wear a different Hard Rock shirt every day until I eventually wore them out and made them into a quilt.  Most of the river walk--at least on the river level itself, was restaurants, but there are some kitschy shops.  The Five and Dime amused me the most, though, because it was where I found an entire kiosk selling sequined hats. Naturally, I thought of my Mamaw Loretta and her sequined hats, so I took a photo and sent it to Dad, which he liked.  I had one of those sudden waves of--not grief, exactly--but of definitely missing her when I saw them. 

We saw some other interesting things, including this massive glass sculpture in an art glass store, which I promptly took a picture of for Mom. We passed by it again on our way out, as by about 1:30, we had walked several miles.  At that point, I was exhausted, my feet were swelling, and it was starting to rain (which incidentally chased away the anti-abortion protesters, and I'll let you make your own joke there), so we went back to the hotel for a while, and I promptly fell asleep.  Afterward, we indulged in the free dinner from the hotel, then headed back out to the show. 

The experience of the show was odd.  And I mean that in a way that was odd for me, not the normal oddity that is Welcome to Night Vale (which, if you're unfamiliar with it, is a podcast that basically combines NPR with H.P. Lovecraft and is delightful).  I had, naturally, brought my Night Vale t-shirt that my in-laws bought for me last year, so I was ready for the show in my "All Hail the Glow Cloud" t-shirt. My geek colors were flying, and I've never had a problem with that before, so why would I now?

At the same time, I've never had the experience of getting to a geek event...and being the most normal person there.  I am a person who goes to Star Trek conventions in uniform.  We got into line to get into the theater, and I realized that DH and I were the oldest non-chaperoning people there.  There were a lot of teeny boppers, usually with strange hair-dos, and drawn on third eyes and tattoos (which only makes sense if you've been part of the online fandom of Night Vale, and even if you are--as I have been--is still somewhat irritating).  One girl came in with a Glow Cloud umbrella, and half the audience called out "ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD" in unison.  I had on my Glow Cloud t-shirt, and had people pointing at me and calling "All Hail" at me, which was somewhat disconcerting (particularly since I was not the only person there with this t-shirt).  We felt quite out-numbered.  Welcome to fandom after 30, I suppose.

The show itself was excellent.  It's neat to be able to put faces to the voices I've been hearing for all this time, and it was very entertaining to be, somewhat, part of a Night Vale story.  The musical guest was not terrific--DH kept cringing.  The baby, who had danced halfway to San Antonio to the music her daddy was playing (and singing along with), moved once during the entire musical performance, and was apparently equally unimpressed.

We'd thought about going to the zoo today, but I was sore and tired when I woke up and it was pouring the rain, so we came on home, which was fine.  San Antonio is close enough that you can make a day trip to the zoo if you want, so we may do that at another time.  We got home, and I promptly fell asleep--so soundly that when DH came to try to wake me up, I was completely unresponsive and he decided just to let me sleep.  I overdid this weekend, but we had a lot of fun.

I have an appointment with maternal-fetal medicine tomorrow to have the anatomy scan for the baby, to ensure that everything's okay.  I'm more than a little nervous about this, so say a prayer that everything is just fine, and that I don't completely freak out between now and then.  (This was probably a good weekend for a trip, as it kept my mind off things.)  Other than that, I have quite a bit of grading to do that I would have (maybe) done this weekend, and a meeting on Thursday.   The semester is drawing to a close--thank goodness--because I am definitely looking forward to some time off.