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You know that line in A Christmas Story?  The one that goes: My mother never ate a hot meal in her life.

Most mornings it’s at least 10:30 before I realize I have not eaten breakfast, but my son has.  I am trying to get it together so we eat together in the morning, but coffee is my priority and that’s about all I can make while making his breakfast.

This morning was much like most mornings, except I DID manage to toast a bagel and put cream cheese on it with 20 minutes of him eating his breakfast.  E was playing so I sat down, coffee, bagel, & computer.  I’d taken a few bites from the first half while reading something on-line.  Damned if I can remember what it was, but it was captivating and thus I ignored that strange sound to my right.  When I finally did look over my effing cat had licked half the cream cheese off my bagel!!!! I held it for a few moments, debating whether or not I should still eat it. I came very close to chomping in and then remembered all the dead mice and birds she leaves us, and thought better.  I tossed it and did not have time to make a second one.

Just now I looked outside to see the same cat drinking from the birdbath.  Man am I glad I didn’t eat the bagel!


Gwyneth Bean is six and a half years old. She’s always been a little feisty and we always thought she’d make a kick ass outdoor cat. My family had lost too many cats to cars and thus at some point decided to keep them in. And A and I never lived in a place where we could let her out. So she stayed in, chased blowing leaves by running from window sill to window sill, sat by the doors and meowed to go out, always keeping the illusion of a cat who wanted to get out. There was one time when she escaped and went missing for 11 days. It was June 17, 2003. I was devastated. 11 nights later, as I walked home I heard her cry as she ran towards me, never so happy to see me. She’s been in ever since.

Bean and her brother Mr. Lou spent a year at my parents house when they were three years old. A and I could not have them at my new job (where we had to live on a college campus). During that time Bean managed to win my father over and destroy all of the framing around the door ways with her gymnastic routines – running and shimmying up the frame, climbing higher with every claw sunk in the wood. And my parents tolerated this… I managed to change the pet policy and our cats came to live with us the next year. And my parents began renovations on their house, which included all new door frames.

Mr. E arrived. Our ability to play with, let alone meet the minimal needs of our cats was pathetic. Mr. Lou was sick and we had to out him down with in weeks of Mr. E and Bean, well she got used to how things were. But she’d still pester us now and again. As we settled into life with our boy we were able to bring her back into the picture providing her with proper playing time, remembering to feed her, change her box, etc. And when we decided to move into my parent’s house, we decided we’d grant what seemed to be her life long dream of being an out door cat. Ideally she’d get her crazies out outside and just sleep indoors.

The first morning we were here A took her to be sure she was up on all her vaccinations. I wanted to wait a few days before letting her out so she would acclimate to her new home and be able to find her way back. And then she got a running start that ended at the top of a door frame. Out she went. She had no idea what hit her. She gingerly walked across the grass and literally circled the house, not straying more than two feet from the physical structure. And then she wanted to come back in.

She never asks to go out. Not even on the beautiful sunny days. (Ok, she’s so obsessed with us that once she asked to go out when A was outside walking Mr. E. And then we forgot she was out till after dark.) Other than that, she goes out when she’s bad, which is just about every morning. I know right when she’s gearing up for a climb and I will say “No Bean!” She’ll usually cry back and then do it.

A and I are flabbergasted that going outside is a punishment, when she’s spent almost seven years desperately trying to get outside. All this time I thought we were being so mean, forcing her to stay in, and now she likes it. In some ways I don’t blame here. She’s comfortable and all her needs are taken care of inside. But it’s still shocking given her behavior.

The grass is always greener. I think my cat is here to remind me of this.

Hello Bloggers,

Well this being a new mommy thing has kept me busy and left with little time to post – though I am still reading your blogs daily. For the most part we are all doing really well. Sometimes the sleep deprivation pushes me over the edge and it’s not easy being the milk mama night after night, hour after hour. But I am not complaining. I love the bonding Mr. E and I experience and I do fall back to sleep quickly. I just don’t know why he can sleep four hours at a time during the day and only 2 -3 hours at a time at night (perhaps I should just count my blessings that he sleeps 2-3 hour stretches at night).

A went back to student teaching last Tuesday and my mom came for the week. Mr. E and I had a lot of fun with my mom. We went shopping, out to lunch, and planned a ‘meet Mr. E party’ for when we go to the Cape next month. Mom spoiled us by buying take out (delivery, no less) every night! She does not have this luxury where she lives and loves to indulge when she visits us.

Mr. E continued his visiting when he meet my cousin and her partner yesterday and then spent this morning with my dad who drove out to visit for the day. He’s got another visitor coming this afternoon, one of my best friends from childhood. It’s so great to see all these people and to get to show Mr. E off, but I am also exhausted and plan to start implementing nap time starting tomorrow. I will nap at least once every day. I’ve only taken about two naps since he came home, and it’s starting to show…

I’ve written a bit in the past about our sick cat, Lou. He’s had digestive problems for four years and we’ve carried out an intense daily medical regimen for the last year and a half. When he got sick in December we were told the medicine was no longer working and our only option was surgery (seriously, the Vet would not talk about euthanasia – that’s a whole other story). After much thought A and I decided the next time he got sick we needed to put him down. We felt the surgery was extreme and his quality of life post surgery was questionable. He was doing really well, and had been off meds for two weeks, but yesterday he got sick really fast, and it was clear he was in so much pain that we could not make him wait till Monday when out Vet was open, so we opted to take him to an emergency animal hospital and had him put to sleep last night. It was really really really hard. Not a decision we made lightly, but we know we did the right thing. He was eerily quiet on the ride there (he usually cries and bangs around in his carrier when in the car) and didn’t make a peep once inside the hospital (he usually hisses upon entering the Vet’s office). I took his silence as a sign that he was ready to go, that he’d fought long enough. We’ll miss you Lou.

I am super busy at work this week, exhaustion has set in and I’ve not kept up on blogging. And I am frantically trying to finish knitting Nephew #2’s Christmas stocking, which I plan to do tonight…and hopefully the finishing decorative touches will happen tomorrow night, right after I go buy the things I need to do the decorative touches (and then we leave town Saturday). And while I am talking about work…we hired a temp to cover my maternity leave! This has been quite a process and I am so glad it’s working out!!!!

Thank you, everyone that has weighed in on names. It’s so fun to hear what you all think. Sorry to be so secretive about the names we are considering. We’re just not cool with putting them out to the internet at large. You’ve given us a lot to think about. Perhaps when the baby is born there will be a password protected post with the first name. Maybe.

I am 35 weeks today. And I feel it. I am just more tired, and move really sloooooooooooow, and get sore easily. Sleeping is getting harder. I am sleeping in longer chunks than I was a few weeks ago, but it’s not deep sleep and I wake to reposition often. My cat INSISTS that the bottom part of the Snoogle pillow, the part that curves tightly to come from your back to between your legs, is her bed. Every time I wake up, she has climbed back in there and I have to move her. I got our Boppy nursing pillow out for her, hoping that would satisfy her, but nooooooo (though the other cat loves it). I think she wants my body heat and the pillow since I currently sleep with the room at about 50 degrees (and I always wake with no covers on, and yes the air conditioner is still in the window – guess we’ll have to remove it before the baby comes, but for now I like it cold).

We met with our favorite midwife yesterday and she confirmed with out a doubt the baby is head down. We’ve thought so for a while, but now we know for sure. Everything else is going well. She seemed a little surprised that we’re traveling for Christmas, but I did ask her a long time ago if it would be okay and she said yes as long as everything is going well. And it is. I would be so very depressed to stay home this Christmas. So we’re going ahead with our plans to travel three hours by car.

Tomorrow begins mine and A’s 11 day vacation! (Sort of, I have to work a few hours Saturday morning…but I’m ignoring this fact). I am ready for the time off. I hope it gives me a chance to catch up and rest. I fear that all the running around I am doing at work these days is going to leave me exhausted when it comes time to actually have this baby. The break will be nice and maybe I will be able to hold onto the vacation feeling until I have the baby. We’ll be at my parent’s from Saturday through Wednesday and then once we return home a very good friend is coming to visit Thursday through the weekend. I don’t think we’ve seen him since we were in our last tww and we wanted one more visit pre-baby. Our New Years plans fell through, but that’s really okay with me. I’d rather not have a plan and just see what happens. When I told A this she said she thinks I am afraid of commitment and can’t believe I married her. Ha ha. I’m not afraid of commitment, it’s just that I don’t really like schedules. And honestly, I am not sure I will have any energy to do anything on New Years.

Okay…I am off to finish knitting the stocking.

We have two cats. Mr. Lou is orange and Gwyneth Bean is black furred. I love them both, but I have a very special connection to Gwyneth Bean, mostly referred to as ‘Bean.’ I’ve never had an all black cat before her, and after having spent some 6+ years caring for her I am convinced that black cats are, 1. smarter, 2. more athletic, and 3. higher energy. Now, this next one may be only applicable to Bean, but I also think they are more cuddly and loving.

Bean and I have a strong connection. She talks to me. Not in any way that I fully understand, but if I speak to her she will often “talk back.” And when I am telling her “no” and she does not like it, she really talks back. She speaks with different tones to express different things. There’s the I am so glad you are home, pet me, love me, feed me tone, and the leave me the eff alone, I want to climb this door frame tone, and so on. She has slept with me almost every night since we brought her home. She claimed her spot on the bed then and she will fight for it now. There have been nights when she’s crossed the line into A’s space. A does not like her to snuggle with her at night, so she’ll try to push her back. This is one of those times Bean fights back with all her determination. And sometimes she wears A down enough and gets to snuggle in. Only sometimes.

Perhaps the cutest things Bean does comes at night just before we go up to bed. She spends her evenings hanging out with us on the first floor. Each night as I get ready to go up to bed, I say “Ready for bed, Bean?” and start walking towards the stairs. She jumps up and runs up with me. She then runs to our bed room, jumps on the bed, and rolls around on her back and yelps in what begins a nightly ritual of petting her. When my alarm goes off the next morning, she immediately gets up with a purr and walks up the length of my body. The other day she crawled in the curve of my belly (if it’s possible that I still have a curve…), while purring. This cat is so freaking adorable, that there are times I just can’t stand it. And she’s been so loving lately that I just had to write about it. I am not sure how she’ll deal with the new baby. But one thing is for sure, she won’t be giving up her spot on the bed.

Why cats insist on throwing up on the carpet instead of the wood floor where it is much easier to clean up. This is also to say, our boy is sick, again.  We’ve started the intervention medications and hope this will not end in a trip to the vets!

Or to be more accurate, catching my breath!

The last week has been a whirl wind! A. and I worked a half day last Friday to get a jump start on the Cape traffic. Thankfully we were successful. Our host student did not end up coming with us. We were sad but also relieved since this was turning into a family weekend and it just would have been hard to have her there. Saturday we enjoyed a peaceful day on the beach and headed back to the house in time to shower and get dressed for our baby shower.

The shower was so much fun. I felt like a kid at Christmas opening all those gifts, but even more special was how excited everyone was to come together to celebrate the baby we are having. People are truly excited and want the very best for us. We were amazed that several family members drove long distances through summer Cape traffic just to celebrate. Here are some pictures (Flickr friends can see identifiable pictures):

We spent the next day on the beach as well. All day. It was amazing. The time finally came when we had to pack up and leave the beach. We showered and hung out at my parents house for a late dinner. You see, our strategy was to leave late to avoid the traffic. The only problem was, about 6 zillion other people had the same idea. We made it over the bridge with out a problem, thanks to my native Cape navigation skills which make it possible for us to avoid the highway. But once we got over the bridge and onto the highway we were dead stopped. I am talking 5 to 10 mph for two and a half hours before I started to loose it. By then we’d been traveling for three hours, it was 10:30pm, and I was tired, cranky, and pregnant. Oh and I needed a bathroom.

We pulled off to assess our options and use a bathroom. Not far in the distance was a hotel and I was seriously starting to consider forking over the money for a bed. Only problem, we travel with cats…our boy needs meds everyday and it’s (usually) easier to take them with us than to get someone to come in everyday and hope he will cooperate. So now we need a hotel that permits pets. Great. The only hotel chain I knew of that would allow our cats to stay with us is Red R@@f Inns. We got back on the road looking for such a hotel.

I nearly cried when I saw a somewhat familiar red sign…we pulled off and got a room for the night. A. claims it was the worst hotel she’s ever stayed in -to give you an idea- it took them FOUR tries before checking us into a room that was ready for guests (the first three had dirty towels on the floors and the beds were not made up). Once in our “clean” room we noticed the window was cracked and then tapped over. But it had a bed. That was all I wanted!

We both slept horribly. But we were horizontal, and not driving. We got up early in order to continue the last two hours home in time to shower and make it to work. Of course we were exhausted. And A. may have even called in sick for two days (she’d gotten Harry Potter over the weekend) but she did spend one of the two days painting my office – which has made more difference than I ever knew it could!

The week has continued to be crazy. I am prepping for my busiest time of the year. Today began the long days – I put in 10 hours today and the next two weeks will be at least 12 hours days. I have this weekend off and while I really just want to SLEEP and lay in my bed and recover and prepare my body for the next couple weeks, I also really want to meet my new nephew. So I think I will wake early tomorrow and do a 24 hour visit so as to come home early Sunday – avoid traffic and sort of get a day at home.

I’ll be MIA in blog land for a while. After labor day, I’ll return, and a new academic year will open. God I hope I am ready!

After several weeks of sleeping with my Snoogle Pillow, I have figured out how to make it work for me and it no longer feels like a big huge obstacle in the bed (well. A. may say something different about this). I’ve been sleeping better and not waking up in pain. This is a very good thing. However, our cat, the one that usually sleeps at my feet seems to have just noticed this new pillow and has decided she too needs more support. It started with her wedging herself between it and my legs, and this morning when I woke she was between the Snoogle and my upper back! She LOVES this thing. I am not sure how practical it is to have the cat between me and the back support… But I never notice she’s there until I wake up. So for now I guess Gwyneth Bean has got my back!

Not much is new. I have less than a week before I go back to work. I guess I am ready. I just want to fast forward into the second week of September. That’s when things will settle down.

I’ve already vowed that I won’t put in 18 hours a day six days a week as I usually do in August. It just isn’t healthy for this baby! My co-workers will just have to deal. My Assistant Director will have to do more. What a fun year this will be… I am going to talk to the midwife at our next appointment (a week from tomorrow) about how to go about talking to my boss about how I just can’t do what is expected for this school year’s opening. She just can’t expect me to put in the hours that I usually do. I’m not sure how that conversation will go… I also want to meet with our human resources department so I can get a grasp on my maternity benefits. And to do a little poking around about my rights. I am not sure how my boss is planning to work out our on-call rotation that I will NOT be in while on maternity. But I fear she will expect me, in “fairness” to others to make up all the time I will miss during the spring while I am still working in the fall. I am pretty sure this is not cool. And it would make me crazy. So I will brave the dreaded HR department in hopes of seeking some clarity/support. Oh yeah and I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when I show up pregnant- they don’t know!

I spent some time today melting wandering around the Noho side walk sale – the temperature read 99 degrees at 4pm. I didn’t buy anything but there were a lot of good deals and cool stuff. I wish I had myself together enough to start holiday shopping.

Before heading to the sidewalk sale I found a great kids consignment store in our town that sells kids clothes, toys, accessories, and maternity and nursing clothes! I got three shirts and a jean skirt for $12! We will be back there once this baby arrives! And I am sure I’ll go back to check on maternity clothes from time to time.

Our cats have been driving us crazy and the orange one tried to sit on the black one twice yesterday. Not sure what that’s about and I had to break it up each time. Today they cuddled in the window. It’ll be two more years before they touch each other again.

I will play along to We Are Fambly’s tag, but I am thinking about my eight things…I swear I’ll do it! (What else do I have to do since I am not working?)

I think we’ve decided to find out the sex of moonbeam. It’s been a struggle and I’ve changed my mind almost daily. I’ve tried to answer to myself what was preventing me from wanting to find out. And I really can’t figure it out. I think it mostly has to do with the social construction of gender and knowing that if we find out our baby will only have dodged the forced gender crap for only five months in utero as opposed to nine/ten. But I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that once it’s here, the World will see it as girl or boy and treat it as such. So really I’m not protecting it from much by finding out four months before birth. But honestly this could all change before the ultrasound.

And I’ve saved the best for last. Today a total stranger on the street asked me when I was due?!!! I am showing to people who don’t know me! I think the fun part of pregnancy is about to begin! Today is also our 14 week mark! So for the third week in a row we get to celebrate entering the second trimester! This time there is no question, all sources agree that by 14 weeks, you’re there! And this is what I look like:

seven weeks and today at 14 weeks!

Yesterday A. and I returned from our week on the Cape. We had some great beach weather and some not so great beach weather. This is an annual trip we make, with several rituals. We’ve come to treasure this time as we indulge in summer’s magic. We did not make it to our favorite beach. I am a little sad, but as I told A. it’ll be there next year (but will we?).

As we enjoyed day after day after day (yes three gorgeous beach days in a row) I remarked that we should appreciate the time even more than usual, since next year there will be a little babe and, well our beach time will either be nil or perhaps spotty while watching after Moonbeam. It certainly won’t be hours on end of warming our feet in the sand while consuming books and jumping in the water to cool off from time to time. This was my first (of many) “last” experience- knowing this was the last time I would truly enjoy the beach as I have come to know it. There were so many other thoughts like this. Eating out, late night trips for ice cream, sleeping in, taking off unscheduled for hours on end, etc. My mother will most certainly jump on any and all opportunities to watch the babe while we enjoy time away, but it will not be the same. God willing I’ll be breast feeding…and well, ya know that ties you down, and I know we’ll always be thinking about the babe, and then there’s the fact that mom’s a work-a-holic. So while this summer’s vacation was my first dance with “lasts” I am comforted to know next summer’s vacation will be full of new and exciting “firsts.”

I am glad to be home. And I think the kitties are glad to be home too. Today is Lou’s 6th birthday! Old man. A. is at school and I have a list of things I need to do. I’ll be happy if I make it grocery shopping and manage to pack away clothes that no longer fit my expanding belly. One of the websites that I read informed me my uterus is the size of a large grapefruit – and my pants are very much aware of this fact. I have about a week and a half before I return to work – where did the time go? I am dreading going back as August and early September are dreadful times at work – too much to do in too little time. I’ll just look forward to mid September when A. and I are (hopefully) going away for my rescheduled birthday get-a-way / trip as close to a baby moon as we’ll ever get. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

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