Sunday, May 10, 2015

But I wonder what would happen if you...

...Say what you wanna say
and let the words fall out
I wanna see you be brave
-Sarah Bareilles, Brave

What does bravery look like?  Over the years, folks have told me that I'm brave for watching Jay through multiple heart surgeries, for holding out hope while he was on life support, for letting him loose to be a kid after his miraculous recovery.  I've been told I was a brave daughter, helping my mom through cancer and hospice and then saying goodbye.

None of those things felt especially brave to me because none of them were my choice.  If you heard the words "heart failure," you'd get your kid to surgery.  If you heard "brain metastasis," you'd hold her hand and cry, just like I did.  You'd keep putting one foot in front of the other because there is no option to crawl in a hole.  There is no sand to bury your head in.  You wake up, you do your thing, and you don't stop moving.

Bravery for me looks a whole lot more like the picture above.  That's me, on stage with a dozen incredible women who have transformed from strangers to amazing friends.  These women were brave enough to stand up in front of 500 people to tell their stories, to share their strength, through Listen To Your Mother.  We poured our hearts out into the universe, trusting that people would laugh at the right moment and shed a tear with us.

That's brave.

We trusted that the audience would have that "Me too!" moment of connection through our stories.  We opened ourselves to others in the most vulnerable ways.  It was terrifying and incredible and empowering and exhausting.  As I try to describe it, I know that my words are not coming close to capturing what this experience meant to me - from the moment I auditioned to the moment I walked off that stage, holding hands with the women above.  But it sure felt like the bravest thing I've done in a while.  It has made me want to tell my stories, to capture and preserve and share what means something to me.

Over the course of the last week, I've survived the anniversary of mom's death, several nights of intensely emotional stories about our relationships as mothers, and now Mother's Day.  It's the kind of week that would have typically left me in a tearful puddle, desperately wanting a hug from my mama and pissed off at the universe that she wasn't in that auditorium watching me.  But I'm not puddling at the moment.  I'm smiling, so incredibly grateful for the gift of writing that I got from my mom, so grateful for the 30-odd years I had learning from the best.  This non-puddly-ness surprises me, and I'm still trying to figure out how to bottle it up for the days when I am not feeling quite so brave.

I have a million thoughts about this LTYM experience and how I've been changed.  They are big and small, but the one that keeps coming through is that I want to write more, to tell my story.  I wish that I had more of my mom's stories written down.  I would give anything to hear her stories told in her own voice.

My writing muscles are rusty.  I string together a few words and I think that what is on the page sucks.  Some of it does.  But I know that the only way out is through, to write and edit and delete and write and write and write some more.  I'm not promising daily posts here - that's going from brave to flat out lying.  (Laundry calls, my friends.)  But here I am, bravely promising to start writing again, because all of us have stories to share.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road...

...time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life
-Green Day, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

This blog used to be a place where I regularly made jokes about daily life, but apparently it has turned into the place where I drop big news and/or bare my soul then disappear for a few months.  Tis the life with three small rugrats I suppose.    Behold, more dropping of big news:

I left my job on Wednesday.

(Let me let that sink in a moment.)

Yes, I left my job as Director of the Goodnight Scholars Program.  The one I loved, my dream job in academia.  The job where I was respected and appreciated by the best students on campus.  The job with wonderful colleagues who worked hard and truly cared about students and their success.  As I sit here writing this, the only thing going through my mind is "What the hell was I thinking?!"

But here's what I was thinking:

This kid wants to play hide-and-seek, and I always say no.

This one desperately wants me to volunteer for Farm Days at his school, but I just don't have time.

And this one?  Oh my word.

I know time flies, but I am completely incapable of understanding how we went from newborn to this in approximately 5.2 seconds.

This has been brewing for a while - maybe since she was born, maybe even longer.  I tried to find the elusive "balance," and had the ideal situation that any working parent dreams of.  I had flexible work hours, a part time schedule, and the best childcare situation on the planet.  But I became more and more bothered by the time that I was missing out on with them, and more convicted that I needed to do something different to capture this time.  I finally came to the realization that I can do it all, but I can only do a halfway job of any of it.  So I'm stepping off the higher ed treadmill for a few years until I've got my feet more securely under me.

I am planning to go back to grad school.  I'm halfway done with my Master's, but I'm not sure that program is really what I want anymore.  Of course, I'm not really sure what I *do* want, so I am going to spend a little time figuring out which direction I want to head.  I know that this isn't the end to my working career, but I am really unsure what the next chapter holds.  I do hope it's back at NC State, and I fully expect that it will be.  But in my heart, I need an outlet to create, whether that is writing, photography, cardmaking, or crafting.  I am re-energized when I make things with my hands, and that desire has been ignored for a long time.  Who knows what might happen when my creative juices start flowing again?

Saying goodbye to the people I love at State has been so hard.  My students threw me a going away celebration which was just perfect.  There were lots of hugs, some favorite stories from back in the day, and a goodbye video which created the perfect mix of laughs and tears.  One of my students is Native American, and she performed a smudging ceremony, which I had never seen.  She wrapped me in a blanket as a sign of honor, then smudged me using smoke to cleanse my spirit for the next phase of my journey.  It was beautiful and touching and meaningful.  And I cried some more.

I'm in the center with the blanket around me as a shawl.  

I am not stretching when I say that this was one of the hardest decisions of my life.  I've always said that I didn't want to be a stay-at-home-mom, and frankly, I'm not sure that identity really fits me, even when I've chosen that path for myself, for this moment.  I've already lined up some very part-time work that I can do from home during naptime.  And I've promised my scholars that I won't be a stranger, so I hope to surprise them at some events here and there.  And maybe I can finally publish that book I've written in my head a thousand times over.

So far, it feels a little like playing house.  I folded 6 loads of laundry yesterday, and I had the fleeting "You quit your dream job for THIS?!" moment.  And of course the answer is no.  I'm not sugar coating the hard work or expecting that every day will be filled with picturesque moments of my children frolicking at the pumpkin patch.  But I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that this is the right choice for this season.  I can't even count how many people have said, "You will never regret this time."  Most of the time, I believe them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It ain't always pretty, but it's real...

That's the way we were made
Wouldn't have it any other way
These are my people
-Rodney Atkins, These Are My People

I hate "life is perfect" blogs.  Frequent blog readers know the kind of mommy blog I'm talking about - the kind that is all rainbows and unicorns and sunshine and "I am blessed; Thank You God!" and perfectly composed pictures of adorable, well-dressed children.  The kind that say things like "Oh, my life isn't totally perfect!  I haven't dusted in 2 whole weeks, but I just decided to leave that dust bunny under the bed so that we could go outside and dance in the rain!" Y'all know that my household is less tiny-dust-bunny and more gigantic clutter elephant.  It's less dancing in the rain and more slogging through mud puddles, then wiping muddy feet on the couch, the carpet, and the comforter.  I try to be honest about my life's messes, both literal and figurative, because I very much want this blog to be genuine and authentic.  I want to accurately portray real life, in all its mix of beauty and ugly.

And yet.

I also want my life to look pretty and perfect and polished.  I want to come across to the world as someone who's got her shit together.  I don't, of course, but we all want to look that way, right?  I want clothes that make me look skinny, even if that requires heavy duty Spanx.  I want to dress my kids in adorable matching outfits.  I want everyone to hold hands and behave in public, even when we are occasionally tearing each other's hair out behind closed doors.  I want just ONE photo where everyone looks at the camera, smiles, and no one has visible bodily fluid on their clothing.  Appearances matter.  They shouldn't, of course, but we all know that they do.  And now and again, I want to appear like I am doing something right.

Welcome to Mother's Day 2014, where I display to the world just how not together my shit is.

Since my mom died, Mother's Day has been really hard for me.  I want to hide under the covers and avoid people, and then I'm pissed when I don't get treated like a queen.  I get annoyed at the stream of "My mom is the bestest in the world!" on facebook.  I get angry when I see the pictures of 4 generations together.  I want that for my family.  I want this for my kids:

Me, my mom, Appie, and Mama Mildred.
Don't those outfits just scream "Late 70's?"

So in an effort to seek out joy and turn Mother's Day back into a day of celebration, I decided to have Meg's baby dedication on Mother's Day.  Sounds lovely - present her to God surrounded by our family and church community on a day designed to celebrate the love of mothers.  Lots of bad ideas sound lovely in theory, don't they?  Here's a tip - never put more pressure on a day that has more than enough already.  (Seriously, read that link.  Beth W. nails it.)

It started out okay.  The boys treated me like royalty, fixing a lovely breakfast and giving me flowers from the yard (even if I had to hint on the flowers!).  I got a beautiful necklace with all three kids' names engraved on it.  It was just what I wanted (I had given a hint in the past, but that just means he payed attention!).  Everyone got dressed and we made it to church only 15 minutes late.  For half a second I thought we were going to pull off a miracle - that we could make it all go smoothly.  I had this brief vision that Mother's Day could be redeemed.

Enter TheGirlWhoWillNotNap.  She didn't take a nap in Sunday School, but we still had plenty of time to rest before going into the worship service.  We fed her.  She pooped, but kept it in the diaper.  We got her dressed in her beautiful gown.  She spit up, but it wasn't too obvious.  We waited patiently outside in the hallway, where she and her brother were, if not complete angels, at least presentable.

And then.  Then.  It was time for us to walk into the sanctuary.

And the little miss began to let out an ear-splitting wail that could be heard throughout the entire city.  And she sustained said wail for, oh, approximately the remainder of the service.  Oh yes. I have seen a lot of baby dedications, but I have never seen one where the kid screams the entire time.  It was relentless.  When the minister went to hold her, it was as if she intentionally turned and screeched into the mic.  People cringed.

And it wasn't just her performing for the crowd.  The boys danced around like it was a stage.  Luke attempted the same forward-roll-down-the-aisle maneuver that his brother had attempted 4 years earlier at his dedication.  Jay wouldn't stop pulling on Meg's dress, wrapping it around himself like a scarf.  They did anything and everything they could to call some attention to themselves - which would have actually been nice if it had helped the congregation attend to something other than the Tiny Screaming One.  It didn't work.  Everyone who was willing to make eye contact gave us a look of such pity.  And the only thing that went through my mind was "No!  This is not how I wanted it to go!  This was not how I planned it!  I want a DO OVER!"

I know.  I KNOW.  I heard it all afterwards.  "It doesn't matter, really."  "She was just auditioning for the choir!" "You wanted to raise a daughter who isn't afraid to voice her opinions in church, and she sure can speak her mind."  "People love to see babies in church, even when they cry."  "She was just making a joyful noise."  (Actually, it wasn't at all joyful, for her or any of us.)  I heard all of those things after the service, and I tried to laugh.  I even said some of them myself to make it seem like I wasn't so disappointed.  People tried to joke with me about it.  I smiled.  We took pictures.  I fake smiled some more.

But if I'm really honest, I am so sad.  The only thing that anyone has said to me about it since had to do with her screaming.  No one mentioned her beautiful dress or what a special thing it was to dedicate her on Mother's Day.  No one gave me the pleasantries about what a nice service it was.  No one even gave me the sympathetic "Wish your mom could have been here for this beautiful occasion."  No one noticed anything about the service except her powerful set of lungs.  Afterwards, I asked my 4 year old friend what she thought.  Her response?

"Well, it was pretty much a disaster."

My thoughts, exactly, kiddo.  Unfortunately, those were my thoughts exactly.  (Direct quote, y'all.  I couldn't make this stuff up.)  She did give me an extra long hug, though.  My fake smiles couldn't trick a perceptive little girl who somehow knew I was nursing a bruised ego and slightly broken heart.

I know that there are real problems in the world, and if a baby who cries in church (even one who cries so loudly and so screechingly that she ruins her own special day!) is my biggest problem, well then I'm pretty whiny.  If two rambunctious boys is the worst part of my Mother's Day church experience, I've got it pretty good.  But still, I'm gonna whine.  (It is my blog, after all.)  I had envisioned it as a special day, and it won't be remembered that way, either for me or for anyone else who saw it.  And I'm not going to pretend I'm okay with that because I am not.  I am disappointed.  I am sad and disappointed.

And then, after a teary-eyed email to my wonderful angel of a friend where I finally admitted how bummed I was, I got this reply:

People will remember the real baby with the real family who made themselves vulnerable enough to stand before their church family and pledge to point this precious baby girl toward the goodness of God in a world where few things go the way we plan.

Yes.  That.  She may be the only one who actually remembers it that way.  But I'm going to pretend that's the case for everyone who was in the pews yesterday morning.  I'm going to look again at the family picture I posted at the top.

I'm going to ignore the fact that Jay appears to be wearing Meg's dress, and Luke seems to be flossing.  My smile is fake, but it's a smile, and we are all, in fact, looking in the general vicinity of the camera.

"It ain't always pretty, but it's real.  These are my people."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Like a river flows...

...surely to the sea
darling so it goes
some things
were meant to be
take my hand
take my whole life too
for I can't help falling in love with you
-Elvis Presley, I Can't Help Falling in Love With You

Welcome to the world, Margaret Katherine Foster!  Meg made her arrival at 7:43 on January 8th, and is lucky enough to share a birthday with Elvis.  She is adorable as can be, and the song isn't just cliche - we really can't help falling head over heels in love with her already.

Derek and I headed to Rex (really) early on Wednesday morning for my scheduled C-section.  After killing a forest of trees for all the consent forms, 2 IVs, and a couple liters of fluids, we headed to the OR. Derek waited in the Dad Room (the hospital equivalent of a man cave, complete with saltines, apple juice, and a Sports Illustrated from fall 2012) while they got me ready.  I think when they called it the "dad room" he was really hoping for big screen TV and cigars, but having had nothing to drink since midnight, I'd have been overjoyed at the apple juice.

Check out those awesome overstuffed recliners in the Dad Room!
Then 30 minutes after rolling into the OR, baby Meg was born at 7:43am. Weighing in at 6lb 6oz and 20 1/2 inches, she can actually wear newborn size clothes, unlike her two brothers who popped out looking like football players.

After getting settled into our sweet corner room on the 3rd floor, we have had a steady stream of adoring fans, including two really excited older brothers (who are quickly teaching her the finer points of silly face pictures).

And I am quickly introducing her to the world of all things girly.  We first got her hair done at the salon...

...then her nails...

and finally put every cute hat, hair bow, and accessory we could on her little head. 

Check out the headband Mommy made!

My AJ is a champion hat knitter!
 Everything has gone quite smoothly (except for getting that first poo off her little bum), and she is settling in to our crazy family. Thanks for all the kind words and prayers!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Well I just heard...

...the news today
Seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face
-Creed, Arms Wide Open

It's not exactly as if I just realized I'm going to have a 3rd kid, as the song lyric would imply.  But it's what's been running through my head for the last 3 days, so I'm going with it.  It's better than "I just can't wait to be king" which is what my darling son has been singing incessantly since we watched the Lion King on New Year's Eve.  Not sure what he's trying to tell me with that one.

So what has changed?  THE date.  You know, the date that Baby Girl is going to make her big entrance into the world.  I remember when I was pregnant with the boys that I would finish up every workday by cleaning off my desk and making sure that I didn't leave anything in a state of halfway-doneness.  (Confession time - most of the time, most of my projects at home and at work are in some various state of halfway-doneness.  Those who have seen the inside of my house should try to contain their shock and awe.)

This time?  We know a date.  A very set, definitive, choose your baby's birthday kind of date.  Well, if I was really choosing her birthday, she'd have been born in October when the weather was nice.  But I did at least get to semi-choose within the 37 week block the doctors approved, and I got to choose my fave doc while I was at it. And the date is?

Drumroll please...

Wednesday January 8, 2014.

Yes, people.  Next Wednesday.  As in, 5 days from now.  THAT soon.  Less than one week from today.  (I am repeating this concept for my own benefit - I believe that you, my incredibly intelligent and competent readers are getting the idea.  I, however, am definitely still in denial.)

I was totally counting on her being late and arriving in February, but I was totally wrong.  And now I'm totally behaving like a chicken with its head cut off, running around saying things like "But I have not packed my hospital bag yet!" and "But her room's not even close to ready yet!" and "But we do not have a middle name yet!"  Literary types, please note the repetitive nature of "But___Not___Yet!!"  I have lived in the but not yet phase for several weeks, totally in denial that this is happening.  

The docs kept promising to check one more time in the hopes that things would change and I could go into labor on my own.  Yesterday was the last of those checks.  Nothing has changed since 18 weeks, so c-section is the way this wee one will arrive, and early is going to be the timing.  It wasn't my plan, but I've heard the phrase "life threatening bleeding risk" enough times in recent weeks that I've come around on the idea.  Bleeding to death during childbirth is definitely not on my life's To Do list.

So, one last belly shot (bwahaha - that would imply that there have been other belly pics on the ole blog, and I think we can all agree that my posting schedule has gone from weekly to monthly to something more like bi-annually):

Poor Guacamole.  Third child problems - my pregnancy with this little one has not been documented and detailed like it was with the first two.  And I probably won't end up with over a thousand pictures of her first week of life like I did with Jay.  (I am not making this up - we have >1000 pics of him from ONE SINGLE WEEK.  I mean, it was a big week, but that's a little much, even for me.)

For comparison, similarly timed belly shots from all 3 kids:

Who looks biggest to you?  I really think that my belly looks bigger this time around - or at least it sticks more straight out.  But I'm actually measuring pretty small this time around, and when she's born at 37 weeks, she will probably be ~5-6 lbs.  That's a far cry from the 10 pound mammoth baby you see growing on the left.

And just for good measure, I'll throw in what is my fave pic of me and the boys (and girl!) ever, taken in mid-November.  Huge thanks to Liz Hunter Photography for the most fun, laid back photo session. There was headbutting, leaf throwing, rolling around on the ground, and lots of laughing. Plus the occasional tear, but that was to be expected when there's headbutting involved.

And yes, I did notice that I am wearing essentially the same thing in these pics.  That gray cardigan has been my uniform this time around.  I do have some cute maternity clothes, but I am all about comfort at this point.  Sigh.  Comfortable clothes, and Tums.

Seriously, I am trying to not wish away these last 5 days.  I feel quite certain that our family is complete, and these 5 days are the last days I will ever be pregnant.  Given my heartburn + swollen legs + general pregnancy-induced misery this time around, I kinda want to shout "Hallelujah it's almost over!"  At the same time, I do love those little kicks and I know what a blessing it has been to carry all 3 of my babies.  And in some ways, I don't want that to end.

So that's what's new in my world.  Still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that by this time next week, I will be holding my dear daughter in my arms.  Now, remind me - what *do* I need in a hospital bag, anyway?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Whoa, we’re halfway there...

...Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear
Livin’ on a prayer
-Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer

20 weeks, people.  Halfway to arrival for little Guacamole, and I have finally hit the sweet spot where I actually feel good and am enjoying pregnancy.  Please feel free to avoid pointing out to me that I will feel something approximating awful when I develop the waddle, the heartburn returns, and my feet swell up like sausages  Until then, life is pretty damn fantastic.

I am still tired as all hell, but at this point I need to stop blaming the baby and start blaming a bit of laziness, my lack of exercise, and the fact that I stay up too late watching Orange Is the New Black (which, if you’re not watching, dear Netflix subscriber,  you should start immediately).  Last Sunday I sent the fellas to church while I worshiped at our sister congregation, the Church of the Neverending Laundry Pile.  God and I had some good quality time together over a growing stack of folded towels. And the boys might be able to go to school all week - wearing different underwear every. single. day.  See?  Miracles abound at CNLP.  Too bad visitors to our home can’t even see a dent in the clothing piles to be put away.  I’m told that this sudden urge to do laundry is “nesting.”  We’ve got a long way to go before this nest is ready for a new chickadee.

I am trying to clean out clothes that are too small for the boys and finally admit to myself that I should let them go.  I know intellectually Miss Guac probably won’t need to wear cargo shorts and polo shirts every day.  And she definitely won’t need size 2T boys’ underpants – I mean, even the boys don’t really use the pee hole, but at least it seems logical to have one for them.  Unfortunately I still have just a little teensy tiny bit of a hard time letting the boy stuff go.  I have not, however, had any difficulty shopping for pink stuff.  She already has her first bathing suit.  Okay, she actually has 2 bathing suits, a coverup, AND a sun hat.  What can I say?  There still a kernel of swimmer deep down under the layers of lazy. 

In other news, the boys are boys.  Jay has had a fantastic start to Kindergarten and is generally rocking it in the academic realm.  We had a brief Ferris Bueller incident where he got “sick” and needed to come home, but I quickly determined that the illness was not contagious and instead was his testing of the elementary escape route.  After an unhappy afternoon spent in his room doing homework alone, I think we’ve nipped that one in the bud.  Just for the record, if someone wants to send me to my room for 4 hours and tell me my only options are sleep and reading books, I would cry tears of joy.

Luke is as cute and mischievous as ever.  Unfortunately, his current focus is on the mischief side rather than the cute side.  Let me give you a sample from last week:

Scene One – Me standing on the curb talking through the open car door.  Luke still buckled into his booster.
J – Okay, buddy, I know you can have a better day at school than yesterday, right?
L – Right!
J – When Miss C and Mrs. D ask you to do something, when will you do it?
L – Right away!
J – And how do we use our hands?
L – I will *not* hit my friends!
J – Great!  Now let’s go in to school.  Are you going to run?
L – No!  I am going to walk nicely.

Any guesses what happened as soon as the seatbelt came off?  You got it!  A sprint through the parking lot for the door of daycare, slowing only to pick up a handful of mulch and chuck it into the road. 

Scene Two, 26 seconds after Scene One – Me sitting just inside the door, looking eye-to-eye with the Mischief Man.
J – (sternly) We already talked about running.  When we walk down to your classroom, are you going to hold my hand, or are you going to walk beside me?
L – I’m going to RUN!
J – Running isn’t a choice.  Do you want to walk beside me, or do I need to hold your hand?
L – But I want to run fast!
J – Do I need to carry you? Or will you walk nicely?
L – No, I can run!!
J - Sigh.

And, as was reported on facebook, his new fave song goes like this:
"I’m gonna be mean and disrespectful, ‘cause I am not a super friend.” 
(Repeat x 37)

Yes, people.  Word for word, that’s the song that he was joyously belting out during timeout last night.  How could I make this stuff up?!  That is a string of 13 words that I never, ever EVER expected to come out of the mouth of my sweet babe.  What 3 year old uses the word disrespectful in a grammatically appropriate fashion?  Answer - one who hears the word way too often.  I’m trusting the sweet babe will re-emerge eventually.  And praying to the dear Lord above that Eventually = Soon. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

At last... love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
-Etta James, At Last

(Yes, I realize the pink bow is as big as her head.  It is as absolutely 
tiny as my swollen fingers could make it!)

Yes, my friends, it's true.  The Foster Four is about to become the Foster Five.  And not only that, this household is going to have a little less testosterone-overload...


I have never made any secret of my desire for a girl.  Since I got my first Cabbage Patch Dolls (one boy, one girl, of course) I have imagined having a daughter.  And when I learned that this little one is a girl, I squealed like a 4 year old girl myself.  Truly, y'all, it is a dream come true.  We had decided with great certainty that we were done after 3 kids.  And while I would have been happy to have the 3 Musketeers running around and would have truly loved a little boy too, I am just over the moon happy to have a daughter.

So, to answer the questions that everyone asks as soon as they learn the news:

1 - How have you been feeling?
Like total and complete crap.  I feel like I have had the flu for 3 months, and it is not getting better.  Everyone says you start to turn the corner around 13 weeks.  I'm at almost 16, and I see no corners in sight. I am so exhausted by 4 p.m. that I can do nothing but stumble home and collapse.  Derek has been awesome with fixing dinner, keeping the boys out of trouble, getting them to bed - all the the daily-ness.  He is ready for me to move past the useless stage.

But I have felt like crap emotionally, too.  I am no stranger to the wake-you-up-at-3-a.m.-panic-attack.  I have battled a serious case of the worries for the better part of the last 20 years.  But this is like nothing I've ever been through.  I am waking up with nightmares every night, freaking out about one awful thing and another.  In my mind, I have been through colon cancer, breast cancer, and this poor child has had every single horrible genetic condition and syndrome known to medicine.  And some that medicine has yet to discover.

This is especially unpleasant because I LOVED being pregnant the past 2 times.  They were the only times in my life when I didn't feel the constant presence of worry-wart-ism.  I had even considered being a surrogate because I felt so damn good (once I got past the first 10-ish weeks, and before I got to the huge last few weeks).  I do not love being pregnant at the moment.

2 - When is the big arrival date?
Jan 28th is the official date.  Torquil arrived a week and a half late; CheezeDoodle arrived 2 weeks early.  So this time, it's really anyone's guess.  While I hesitate to wish lateness, February has a nice birthstone for the little lady (and she'd share the month with my mom and with Luke).  But it would be cool to spread out the kids - we could have one in January, one in Feb, and one in March.  And by Christmas, I'm pretty sure I'll be begging her to arrive early.

3 - What are you calling her?
Y'all know how we are about in utero names - the blog name comes from the entertaining names we used while we couldn't come up with actual kid names.  The food craving thing worked well for #2, so baby has been known to this point as "Guacamole" or just "Guac."  It seemed entertaining enough, and was working for us.  Derek offered me all kinds of incentives to use the "Guacamole Song," as my intro, but I'm sorry.  I just couldn't do it.  As a small concession to the one who has done ALL the dishes for the past several nausea-focused weeks, I will embed it here.  True love, people.  TRUE LOVE.

(Apparently there is a Reckless Kelly version of this song, which is somewhat less awful.)

But today, my future daughter-in-law declared that she should be called "Pom-Pom."  I had originally pegged said daughter-in-law to Luke, but now I'm thinking she and Jay might be more well-suited ... but I digress.  I'm liking Pom-Pom.  We'll have to see whether Guac or Pom-pom sticks.

Because we found out so early that she's a girl, and I have had my girl name picked out since I was mothering Cabbage Patch Kids, now we are starting to call her by her real name a bit.  (No, I am not going to disclose the name yet - I already surprised you with the news that we're having kid #3 AND the fact that it's a girl ... isn't that enough excitement for one blog post?!)