Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wonders (Never Ceasing)

Looks like we are still in the game for another quarter. Its not like Larry Bird has joined the team, and we are still trailing in points but someone is still cheering. Today's beta was 124.7, or 174.2, I forgot which moments after the nurse hung up. She was pleased, though, with the numbers. Despite the obvious late implantation, week of spotting/ bleeding, and cramps that bound me to the hammock, the doubling time is reasonable at at least 1.58 days. Likeliest story is that more than one embryo implanted, and at least one miscarried and at least one is still growing.

We are leaving the Vineyard tomorrow for my parents house near Boston, then taking 2 days to drive down to Asheville, NC for the last week of our vacation. My extended family will be joining us from OK, CA, and NC and I am keen to get to know them all again. I'll find a place close to our river front cabins to keep getting my blood levels monitored. *If* this ends up being viable, what a pregnancy story we'll have to tell the kid. If it doesn't last, then it will be yet another sad skeleton to add to our family-building attempts closet. For the meantime, weaning is on hold and Monito, particularly, is ecstatic. I really dislike the early pregnancy rollercoaster, but I'd rather be riding it than not.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Thee Wed

After 9 years together, it was still a thrill. We went to dinner at the brew pub down the block for steamed garlic mussels and calimari. I saved all the mussel shells and will make a wreath out of them because I tend towards the goofy & sentimental.

We married at 5:30 pm on the porch overlooking the ocean, park and gazebo. We were surrounded by cans of fresh zinnias from the roadside farm up the road, out of which I had also made our bouquets for us and the kids. They acted as ringbearers which was a bit like the keystone cops there for a bit until they settled down and actually delivered them to us. We added a few vows of our own to the justice of the peace's regular ceremony and it was moving and really lovely. The neighbors on both sides cheered and clapped when we kissed, then came over to take pictures of our whole group. It was just us and our kids, my parents and the officiant

We toasted with champagne and headed off for a ride on the Flying Horses antique carousel, the kids' favorite part. Lobster and Perrier Jouet after the kids go to sleep.

Belated Beta hCG? Check

I'll know after Thursday what's what. The island hospital was cracker jack, the nurses peppy.

Now I guess we ought to get back to writing the wedding vows for tonight. Seriously? I wouldn't know a dull moment if one whacked me upside the head.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Comments Necessary

(insert F-bomb here)

I have my cell phone back after 2 days of drying it out. Monito tried to wash the chocolate ice cream he smeared on it off in the pool. Yeah, I've felt a little cut off.

I'd have posted an update sooner, but you know, no phone, 2 negative home pg tests in the days preceding my scheduled blood test and my PERIOD, well, I've been busy. Luckily the island has been a huge balm to all our souls, as it usually is.

Then today I was feeling so badly I passed up the sunny beach - ! - for the hammock and tea. And, after a bit of mulling, a third pg test, which the pimply faced boy at the grocery store was so embarrassed by he popped into a brown paper bag when I bought it. And it is definitely positive, 11dp5dt or 18dpo. And I've been spotting for almost a week and bleeding with bad cramps for 2 or 3 days. And - ah, hell, this will remain inconclusive until I arrange for blood draw orders to be faxed here and get a real beta test tomorrow. Let me just say that it took a huge leap of faith to post this at all, since this is the time when no one knows what to say. There really isn't anything to say except geez, Homestead Mom, I hope your now stabbing abdominal cramps pass soon, and all the ibuprofen and medicinal G&Ts you've consumed to ease the sting of BFNs end up not having a negative effect on anything, um, important.

More later, unless my phone totally tanks.

Ice Cream

They are getting it every day, as promised. This was hoodsie cups - remember those? The kids get a lot of laughs sitting naked on the porch from passersby. I think everyone wishes they also could be naked on the porch.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Early Adventures

Grandpa came in early to fetch my boy. They are going garbage truck spotting - in a resort town there is much action early as the town is put to rights for a new day of happy tourists. I watched him ride out the back door into the rainy morning on grandpa's shoulders, grinning. Let the adventure begin! They'll both come back sticky with baked goods, full of stories and merriment. And I don't have to go. I'm sitting reading and drinking coffee on the dry couch. Ahhh, vacation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Night

We arrived earlier than expected on the island, having scored an early standby spot on a ferry. Swimming in the wading pool on the porch, ice cream, bedtime stories on front porch read by grandma (happy joy), bloody noses; aaaaah, vacation has begun.

Homestead Mama and I are lying on the massive, spacious king-sized bed waiting for them to fall asleep in their pack'n'plays and seriously discussing selling our queen bed, the year-old fab eco-comfy organic wool/ latex mattress and trading it in for a king-sized one. By that I mean forking over gobs of money again to get more space. We are currently crowded with 4 people in our bed and have no intention of ending the modified cosleeping system we have. We'll see. It is enticing to imagine that Mr 100th percentile won't have to share my pillow, and Ms. Roundhouse Kicker will not have me as a target anymore.

Hot still

So crammed onto the ferry are we that I cannot open the doors on the drivers side. Tired kids with no naps to fall back on are literally using the car as a jungle gym. I've heard that my sis and her family have been sleeping in the room we are going to use (we need the biggest bed for cosleeping) so no easy naps when we arrive. Maybe we can get through the rest of the day on ice cream and the sheer joy of being with grandma and grandpa.


Welcome To Cape Cod

Bourne bridge is the gateway to the Cape and islands. Yippee!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I almost laughed myself off the road* when I read Academomia's latest post. Voice operated automated answering systems are the bane of my existence for the same reason. Sheesh.

I once happened across a website with a spreadsheet of number codes to push to immediately get an operator for all the big companies one might call for customer service. If I can find it again, I'll post it. The best advice was to try hitting zero first; if that doesn't work, hit the wrong set of keys 3 times and they think you are so stupid that you need a live body and come on faster.

*Well, I *started* reading it at a stop light. I only drove a little ways before putting down the Crackberry and finished it at the next red light. Yeah, yeah, I know, unsafe. Kids weren't in the car, though, in my defense.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Economy, My Nemesis

I just heard on NPR that the economy is beginning to exit the recession. I know that this is good overall, yadda yadda, but what it means most to me is that my parents likely won't move here if the recession lifts. I am crushed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Afternoon Delight

What a crock. My afternoons have been sucking. I have these hyper-competent mornings where I get tons done, make jam, refinish dressers, harvest basil and make pesto to freeze for eating in February, put up quart after quart of preserves/ sauces/ pie fillings, get the dog to the vet, the kids to camp, myself to acupuncture, then get us all home, fed, napped, and fed again. Then it all goes to pot. The kids don't listen to me and make huge messes. I yell more than I want to. We all end up on a forced-march-type play activity, like digging and filling post holes, or spreading mulch; something they'll participate in even if they don't really enjoy it.

Today I told them Mommy needed a time out and they watched two whole episodes of Sesame - more TV than usual and with no fights. Homestead Mama has been working late all week, then some nights heading to softball too. Argh! I was in their room waiting for Pequita to fall asleep when Homestead Mama came home. She knows not to bust up the sleepy zone. Next thing I know, I get an email from myself on my Blackberry. H-Mama sent me a note from my open gmail account downstairs saying, "I'm home, sweetie. I'll start cleaning. Xoxo." A bright spot in my day, much needed.

Vacation is 5 days away. It can't come too soon.

I've Been Needing a Break

This night has flown by! I've awakened enough to register that the boy is still in his own room and relish all the space I have to roll over. But now it is 4 am and I've awakened with a start (and engorged boobs) to find that Monito is STILL in his own room. He's missed his 10 pm nursing wake up. He slept through his 1 am request for 'nye nye peese, Mommy' which has been denied for weeks, but hey, old habits die hard. I've had quite possibly the best nights sleep in months and then my internal clock wakes me instead of HIS internal clock waking me and I am up. Phooey. Then I start thinking that he must have smothered on his nice new fire truck pillow or been abducted by aliens who needed a torture device and decided to go with the model that causes sleep deprivation. I have to go check. He is still breathing, curled up alone in the middle of the big double futon, his sister having joined us on H-Mama's side of our cramped (its the new cozy!) queen sized bed hours ago.

Crap. Now I'm awake. There is no justice.

Pitter pattering is heard. Apparently, my touching several parts of his body to make sure he was still warm enough to be alive disturbed him. (Hey, the first few places were very cool to the touch.) So now I have company, and we are back to the regularly scheduled program. At least my boobs are happy. If I have to be awake at 4am, at least I get to snuggle up to the cutest boy ever.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paul Bunyon

15 minutes before Monito's two year well visit this was the scene I woke to as my phone beeped the alarm. Egads. I carries two heavy babes to the car and made the appointment.

Monito is off the charts for height at 38". His weight has gone up to the 99th percentile at 36.25 lbs. For comparison, his sister is 37" and 38 lbs. We are growing a giant.

Sadly, the pediatrician had no vaccination for the selective hearing that plagues Monito. Actually, it plagues me; he is just fine with it.

In other health news, Pequita's lead level was a respectable 3.4, which means we can relax a bit. Hoorah! She had a tantrum when I told her we wouldn't need to get her more blood draws at the hospital. Seems she will miss the chocolate pudding in the caf after the venipunctures. Oy.

Whether You're a Mother or Whether You're a Brother

Homestead Mama took the morning off today to tend to the kids while I had a date with destiny in the form of another FET. I was lying on the table in the darkened exam room after my handsome doc transferred 3 embryos into my peaceful ute trying to enjoy the new age air pudding music piped in - I really was trying. I ended up coming to the realization I always do in this situation, that if I have to prep for this event like I do for a date then I ought to get the romantic ambiance *I* like. Since I had actually showered, used the perfumed soap and groomed the heck out of all my private parts for this oh-so-sexy transaction (what woman doesn't get all weak in the knees when she hears the words, "I'll need you to scoot down another 2 inches, dear") I want music that actually carries me away. New age muzak is the drivel I make mental to-do lists to. I want to hear Etta James, Otis Redding, Van Morrison. I don't think it is too much to ask to focus on the love in this situation. So I did what any modern woman would do - I dug out my Blackberry and let Bob Dylan on Pandora carry me away.

After my requisite lying-in period of 30 minutes I hopped up, stole a few surgical masks and hats for the kids and drove home. Cruising through town on my way to meet H-Mama and the kids for ice cream cones Stayin' Alive came on the radio. Even the kids know that Mommy loves disco. I boogied through each of the myriad stoplights never looking left or right. I get self conscious if I *know* people are watching me; I'm good if I can assume the trucker waiting next to my car has something better to laugh at than the woman channeling John Travolta in her front seat.

I was met by these faces. Apparently picking mulberries was on the camp docket today. Perspective is a good thing.

Compassionate Mothering

When it rains there are worms visible on the path through the tree line from the yard to the meadow. Pequita is currently terrified of worms. The only way she'll walk through the leafy shaded tunnel is wearing shoes and holding a hand. Her hand of choice? Her younger brother's. He takes his responsibility seriously, loading his pockets with all his cars, gloves, rocks, etc. to keep his hand free for her. Yes, they are sweet-natured kids but I take some credit for this. I've been quietly encouraging empathy, supportive behavior, gentle touch, and respectful treatment between them since they could hold their heads up. It is manifesting now in clear ways, and is gratifying. And awfully endearing.

That being said, the new house rule, as of yesterday, is that if Monito pinches his sister, Pequita can pinch him back. He does not like this one bit. I've spent weeks discussing, meting out gentle punishments for, ignoring, and discouraging this pinching habit of his to absolutely no avail. So we try this way for a bit. I'm just glad he isn't a biter like I was. My mom gave my sister this same advice - "bite her back!" - when she hit the end of her rope with me in the early 1970s. I totally get it now. Oh, how I get it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Comment answer

I meant to say this in the last post:

Michele asked in the comments if the kids are waking earlier since I'm putting them to bed earlier. The answer is no, when we manage to get them to sleep earlier they sleep right through to their normal wake time. Fab, eh?

One word of warning. We've been experimenting with denying Pequita her nap in an attempt to make it easier to fall asleep. Huge success. But she immediately started having night terrors, half waking and screaming, crying, totally inconsolable. We went through this when she was a baby, so knew to take her outside into the night air, turn on lights, dunk her feet in cold water etc to wake her. My buddy Tif remarked in passing how her friend's son suffered from night terrors when he stopped napping. Uh. Whoops. The next two days I orchestrated naps all around chez Homestead and no more night terrors. It is a clear winner for me to trade an early, easy bedtime in exchange for the whole family not having to get up several times each night as Pequita cries. Let this be a lesson for all of you. It takes a village, clearly.

A Visit From Coxsackie

The kids got to bed really late tonight which is unfortunate because they have their first ever day of camp tomorrow. Or I hope they do - they have been suffering from the Hand, Foot and Mouth virus over the past week; worst is the canker sores on their lips and tongues. These caused much crying when they tried to eat or nurse. Lots of sleep disruption as well, with late-night application of Oragel to quell the screaming.

I haven't heard back from the woman who runs the program a bout them attending, but their doc said they are only viral for 3 days so they should be in the clear.

They are doing really well sleeping together except for an annoying compulsion on Pequita's part to bite her brother once he is drowsy or asleep. This behavior brings much joy to all as you might imagine. She did it again tonight and after calming him down I hauled her out of bed by her foot, assured Monito that I'd be right back and unceremoniously plunked her down on the desk in the office and glared in her eyes. I asked in a dangerously low voice WHY in heavens name does she bite her sleeping brother?!? Her barely audible answer was, "Bubba wake up have FUN". Ahhhh. That clears up that mystery.

Having just redecorated on Friday and Saturday, I put her to bed in our nursery's new version of solitary confinement, the stack of two crib mattresses in the corner that is the 'love seat' upon which to sit and read. It is much harder than the cozy double futon upon which her brother now slumbered alone, something she was quick to point out. I wholeheartedly agreed and commiserated but left her there. She was asleep in 10 minutes.

Now I just have to pack their little bags for camp and try not to cry. Yes, I'll be elated and feel free if it works out and I actually leave them both in the shadow of the yurt and teaching garden tomorrow. BUT. Monito has never been left with anyone ever. Pequita, at least, had playgroup once a week without me for several months last year. I am having pangs, people. I hope to finish prep work for the patio bulldozing tomorrow and maybe dig another row of post holes. As of Tuesday morning I'll be relaxing physically if not mentally while I try not to forcibly expel the 3 recently thawed embryos out of my nether regions by digging up boulders and sinking posts in my garden. How annoying to have to stop mid-fence like this. Back to my knitting I guess. Much more lady like and genteel.

I Wonder What I Could Accomplish In A Whole Day?

My new gym is in my garden. Weight machines are for the faint of heart - posthole digging kicked my butt today! Most folks would put the fence in before planting the garden, but we were running out of growing time so we got the garden in first. On Saturday our amazing friend Una dropped off several locust (rot resistant) logs culled from her own acreage in our driveway - while I napped with the kids right there in the car. Clearly a mother who remembers parenting toddlers, she just left the logs without waking me up.

Today I had some time while H-Mama tended the kids. With Pandora blasting Johnny Cash on my Blackberry in my pocket I got seven posts each sunk 2 feet deep in the field in about two hours. It is hard but very satisfying work. The decision to do it myself instead of the ever-tempting hiring it out is mostly about wanting to make my mark here on our homestead. I want to build a lovely, rustic, magical, fenced garden which feeds our family in years to come but is still delightful to behold, and I want to do it with my own hands.

I have another 35 or so posts to put in for this incarnation of the garden; eventually the fenced area will be five or six times this size and will encompass the orchard and berry beds. For now, I just want to give our veggies a fighting chance against the deer and other varmints.

Today I also managed to transplant two of our red currant bushes into the garden after stripping them of berries. If all goes as planned, their former location will be bulldozed and graded to become our kitchen patio on Wednesday. It is not a great time to move the bushes because they were covered in berries, but I want my French doors a lot more than I want those currants bushes. And now I have enough currants to whip up some jam or a pie.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Operation No Nap: Day 2

Last night was rough. Even with no naps, Monito was up until 8:30 and Pequita til 9:45. Tonight, I tried something that is so unintuitive I didn't believe it would work: I put them to bed earlier. They were both asleep by 7:45. This truly hasn't happened since they were infants. I'm all giddy with the possibilities of success with the tweaks I have planned for tomorrow night!

Ding! Ding! Round 3!

LH test at the REs office proves that I ovulated today; transfer is next Tuesday. Can't help but think that I'll save a ton of money on embryo storage fees if I transfer 3 blasts instead of 2. Possibly the wrong motivation, but that's kind of how detached I am this cycle. It was supposed to be a medicated cycle but, um, I couldn't fully wean my son and daughter. Whoops.

This will be great - by the time I either get two blue lines or bleed I'll be thoroughly on vacation. Maybe the distraction will help - the beach on Martha's Vineyard is always rejuvenating for me. Oops - was that negative thinking? Maybe I should focus on the bright side possibility of having morning sickness while on vacation with my entire extended family in cabins around me with no internet. I didn't have morning sickness last time, and can't remember when it kicks in. Regardless, I won't notice it while riding high on my laurels after beating my family at Euchre, 500, Oh Hell and whatever other card game they dish up. I can't wait! Grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, childless-so-far cousins: it is my goal to hold my kids as little as possible for the duration. I yearn to miss them a little during the days. Nights are taken care of, as Monito just learned what spooning is, and now backs up to me as he falls asleep fitting himself into the space of me and sighing happily. Two at this (st)age is draining, but I LOVE being a mom.


She didn't cry at all during her blood draw to retest her lead levels. All the practicing, playing doctor and witnessing me get blood drawn a few times a week at the REs office has really paid off.

She is so grown up in some ways.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Hmm. Interesting Moxie today. Can't wait to see the responses.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Walnut Grove

With ten acres of mature plantings, we have many spots on the property that are already gorgeous. Walnut Grove is a grouping of black walnut trees on the edge of the western side of the yard that borders the huge meadow that makes up the bulk of our property. The sun sets through the grotto of trees, and the shade is delightful in the sunny afternoons. We chose this place, the portal from the mowed yard to the wild meadow, for our pet cemetery and there are many slabs of slate harvested from our property laying flush to the ground over our beloved dogs, cats and birds that have died. Homestead Mama saved several of them in the freezer for years in order to bury them on land she owned. I found it odd and a bit charming to have to go fetch a bag of frozen peas from the same freezer as her parrots when I first met her.

After a month of rain, the two whole days of sun have really gone to our heads. We spent almost every waking moment outside. Yesterday was spent on errands, yard work and sewing for me. Today the day started with the kids sleeping in until 8:3O, a gift not to be overlooked! We had a lovely morning picnic in the park with friends & other toddlers. Playground, river walking and crayfish discovering, mulberry picking and eating, and lots of laughter. After naps today, the kids and I packed a basket of snacks and hiked across the yard, and I hung up a hammock in Walnut Grove. I had to bone up on my bowline knots but got everything hung safely. The kids and I then frolicked in the new hammock while H-Mama finished mowing the yard. They loved it. The decorative mosquito netting that we've played with inside also was hung under a tree near the hammock, and it is now a perfect little outdoor room; I tied it up so H-Mama could mow underneath it. I love our yard more and more each week. The kids can enjoy toys and activities in each corner of it. They are grooving on each other all the time now, carrying on dialogs, translating for each other, telling each other made up stories that we can barely follow but that they earnestly track, nodding and interjecting when they have something to add. It is a new experience to have them carry on a whole discussion without parental involvement. I find it very poignant, and know that the amazement will fade soon; I want to lock it into my memory.

I really hope we can get a chicken coop up by fall and add some chickens to our family. I am enamored with the idea of the chicken moat that I found linked to on Gardening Without Skills. Love it - protects the chickens from the dogs, and makes use of the design and fence we already have to put in for the garden.

Home Alone

I was [am] a creative woman. I yearn to have time to do any of the many pursuits I used to easily fit into my life, sewing, knitting, stained glass making, gardening, woodworking. I have largely reconciled the fact that I am investing my creative time into my kids, and mostly I am ok with that. I have huge notebooks of ideas and inspirations that I add to daily to refer back to when I have time to invest. It is a difficult balance.

Homestead Mama took the kids out for breakfast Saturday morning. I managed to transform a couple yards of fabric picked out by the kids into special pillow cases for them. Each has a little pocket with a toy tucked into it. They immediately squashed their pillows into the doll strollers and paraded them through the house, which is the equilvalent of high praise. I am not happy with the local fabric choices for Monito, who only wants trucks. I'll like make him another version with construction vehicles in a colorway that I enjoy as soon as I can find the website I saw it at...

I also found a house frame - no idea what one is supposed to put in it - at the thrift store. It was a dark brown stain, and it mounts on the wall. I painted it white, decoupaged some patterned paper on the back of it and gave it to the kids. I showed them their peg people and they quickly set to work trotting the wee folk up and down the stairs and bringing to life many dramas together. I'll mount it on the wall somewhere they need a distraction activity soon. Right now it is on the kitchen island. Huge success!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


And so it begins. She selected the one with black hair like her. Even still, $0.50 is too much to pay for body dysmorphia. Now I have to find her some of those un-Barbies with proportional measurements and send this one to the cornfield*.

*Twilight Zone, anyone?

Dry As A Bone

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa. The new coats and boots are spectacular, and we have gotten more use out of them than we EVER expected to this summer.