Saturday, August 29, 2009

Daddy Rocks!

Just a quick little second to tell you how much your daddy rocks, Matthew....he (thankfully) made it out of the wilderness, though he slipped and fell flat on his back on some rocks on the last day so I hope that doesn't haunt him for years. He called me from the airport in Minneapolis a few hours ago and told me he bought a book. I thought he meant a book to read on the plane. He then prompted me and asked if I knew what book he bought. All-knowing as you will find your mommy to be (ha ha), this one escaped me. I expected to hear some war or dog title (favorite subjects for him). Nope. He proudly said, "Have You Ever Seen a Moose Taking a Bath?" He bought you a book, even though he CONSTANTLY tells me that you already have a library (it's true, you do!) upstairs. He's just too darned cute and so excited to get back home and see you move all over my tummy. I'd love to say he was excited to get back to see me, but even Dixie agrees--we might be second-fiddle to you right now. Actually, she told me that *she* may be second-fiddle. I'm third!
Anyway, here's what your new book looks like. Daddy's first book for you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day...

Matthew, your mommy is TIRED! (And Lord help me if ONE MORE PERSON tells me to "Just wait until the baby comes" because I *so* get that I will be tired...hearing it over and over does not cement it for me.) I was so frustrated with yesterday that I couldn't even talk about it....well, except for my love of Walm*rt. Open House for this school year was a fiasco. I can't even begin to explain it, save that I am just shocked at what things I heard, shocked at behaviors I saw, and SHOCKED that I kept my mouth shut (mostly) since it was Open House and I was *trying* to be positive. I will say one of the highlights of the day was being told (by somebody clearly aggravated that I was pregnant and would be taking time off) that at least it was "only 6 weeks or something in your contract, right?" that I would be out of school. While that statement wasn't as bad as another colleague who once heard, "Couldn't you plan this for the summer?" when she was pregnant, I was not happy. Trust me, I completely understand walking into a classroom and seeing the teacher is pregnant and wondering how that is going to affect my child...I assure all out there I would feel the same way. In fact, for EVERY (and there were lots) parent who asked me when I was due and how long I'd be out for, I was very honest and told them that I would have to play things by ear after the baby is born and that is the truth. Just as their main concern is certainly their child and not me, my main concern is my child. That's life, and to expect teachers to be any different in their desires and lives is just ONE MORE nail in the "Teachers aren't supposed to have lives" coffin.

ANYWAY...I sweetly assured that lovely parent that I could leave tomorrow if I chose to, but my love of my students is the reason I came back and I will work until I am no longer comfortable or able to. I also assured him I was well aware of my contractual obligations, as well as the law with regard to how long I will be out, but that the long-term sub was fully qualified and would do a lovely job should I not return.

On that note, I have to say that I am so truly in awe of women who are pregnant and have no option BUT to work because their livelihood depends on it. Granted, whether people realize it or not, being an elementary school teacher is VERY physically demanding and I realize that lots of women have jobs that allow them to sit more, relax more, HECK...GO TO THE BATHROOM WHEN THEY NEED TO. But I also know that there are a lot of women who have no choice but to work and they are in demanding jobs also. I have been so stiff and sore and uncomfortable for the last few days, and I just hope that it's because of the intense amount of time and work I've been putting in the last few days for the start of school. As I limped into the chiropractor this afternoon, he asked me if I had talked to my OB about when I had to stop working. I told him that she said she could tell me to stop because of blood pressure or something measurable like that, but the amount of discomfort I was putting up with was my call and she'd go by that. He then looked at me and said, "I have a feeling you'll be talking soon." Super. PT said that yesterday. I hate to say it, but they may be right. So, I'll be in prayer for the guidance to make decisions I need to make. I can't wait for John to get home...he'll be able to really give some insight.

In the meantime, the kids today were not too bad, and all in all, it was a good day, minus the exhaustion and the pain in my back. Worse, my feet are swelling some and shoes don't fit so well. I may be tennis-shoeing it for a while at the very least.

And I have to just say how excited I am for Christina and her new addition!! CONGRATS! I just am tickled blue!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Oh I hate, hate, hate Walm*rt. (Borrowing from Maria, since God forbid I be libelous.) Before I start my rant, I have to say that I was really impressed with the article on the CEO of this store that was in Parade Magazine this weekend. I was pleased with the philosophy, and he seemed really down to earth. If only my store was like the ones he profiled. In the meantime, let me count the reasons why I've shopped there for the last time.
  • Parking is a NIGHTMARE. People pull through parking spaces into the lanes and look at you like YOU are the one who is in the wrong. Not to mention that you have to park in another state if you plan to park at all. Or you could just sit in the middle of each lane waiting for 34 minutes for some parked car to pull out.
  • The carts will NOT come apart. Period. Not to mention that if you FINALLY get a cart pulled apart it is inevitably fraught with weird-wheel syndrome. If the wheels work at all.
  • NOTHING is where it should be. And finding someone to ask where to find someone is like finding a needle in a haystack. Heck, that would be easier. And when you DO find someone, they again look at you as if they can't believe you have the gall to ask them such a dumb question as "Where would I find a heating pad?"
  • Find something to buy and it is not priced appropriately. Candy bar says $.50 at the end of the aisle? It says $.64 when it's rung up. Argue that and get a look. A mean, then confused look.
  • People at this store think the 20 items or less checkout is a 20-ish item or less. And by 20-ish, they think 50 is ok. Or, 3 people shopping together ought to have 20 things EACH. And God forbid you say anything like, "Ummm, I think that exceeds the limit," because you will get told, "Are you the checkout police?" Do people not realize you should NOT screw with a pregnant woman? Lucky for them I was tired and reveling in the thought that I will NEVER GO TO WALM*RT AGAIN, God willing.
  • The main reason that I went to this place was because a couple of weeks ago, a friend told me that I could get a gallon of the organic milk I've been drinking (and plan to continue) for $5.93 a gallon, where as it's way more elsewhere...even at the commissary, it is $3.54 a half gallon, so that's a nice savings. Couple that with the coupons that I have been diligently using on some of the lower prices I admit this place has, and it could be worth the trip. I went two weeks ago for the 1st time in a year and a half, and it wasn't terrible. Of course, I went in the morning, mid-week. I thought to myself then that I could probably muster up the courage to do that trip every now and then to save some pennies. Well. I go today to get milk and the expiration date for the gallons are in 5 days. I can't drink a gallon of milk by myself in 5 days. The last time I got milk there it was like that too but I thought maybe I caught the tail end of the shipment. Nope...that's how they roll. The half-gallons had longer dates, and I think that they just store the gallons. Shoot...if I am not even saving on the milk, there is really no reason to go. And frankly, after today, saving $1.00 is NOT WORTH IT TO ME. I doubt I am even saving a dollar because who knows how many things are mispriced and I don't bother arguing?

I could go on and on about the cleanliness, the organization and the conversations the employees have about being dropouts of the local high school and not allowed back because of the ankle bracelet they wear, but I'm just tired. And frustrated. Because I haven't even *MENTIONED* how Open House went today....

And that's all I'll say about that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Mama...

Per Cindy's request, I figure I can post a progress picture or two...these are from a fun outing I had with one of my cutie patootie little girls from last school year. We went to a movie and lunch (which was actually popcorn and Cheesecake Factory's Blackout Cake, but poe-tay-toe, poe-t-ah-toe) and she and her mom wanted belly pics. Actually, believe it or not, I did too since John has been gone forever and I wanted to keep him up on the progress. If you are a Facebook friend, you've already seen it, but since this is for Matthew's book too, here they are: About two Fridays ago...

It was a VERY hot day...gotta love the humidity!

My poor little sweetheart is totally being covered by all that is ME (and Matthew)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

You're a mover and a shaker!

I just got off the phone with daddy (before he's incommunicado for his Man vs. Wild extravaganza) to let him know that when he gets home, he'll be able to see my tummy move because you are kicking me. He's been waiting for that for months! I have been thinking it would be creepy...but I have to say that it didn't creep me out like I thought it would. You've definitely been kicking enough to seriously feel you, and even see *little* blips on my tummy...but just now, as I am on the sofa in the most comfortable (or least uncomfortable, if truth be told) position I can find, I see my stomach bouncing all over the place and find it kind of funny. Daddy said, "Kind of like Alien, huh?" and yes, that's sort of what I had been thinking, but not imagining you as an alien. He said it was cool, and probably made it seem more real like I was nurturing something real. Hmmm...I've been feeling like that for a LONG time, whether you moved or not! In fact, now that your brain is really in overdrive for development, mommy's working on your scholarship-getting skills by taking an even more amped DHA/EPA supplement. The bottle says it is great lemon-tasting flavored, but it fails to mention how OILY it is...but that's ok if it gives you more super brain cells!

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you are really starting to flex your muscles and my bouncing belly is proof. I'm sorry daddy isn't here to see it, but I have no doubt that when he gets home, he'll be hawking my tummy to look for your karate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What is Elvis trying to tell me?

Again, feeling lonely without my baby daddy here. He's in Minnesota, getting ready to go an an awesome (by his standards, not mine!) trip with Uncle Brad. They will be dropped off in the middle-of-nowhere, Minnesota. They will be given a canoe, some food and some good luck. Then they will rough it for 5 days. Now, knowing John's penchant for treating his stomach well, I'm curious to see the true extent of 'rough it'....knowing him, it won't be that rough unless they don't catch stuff. In any event, in no way, shape or form does that sound appealing to me at all, so THANK YOU, Uncle Brad for being interested in this and taking one for the team. John can't wait until Matthew is old enough to do that. Hmm. I can. Last thing I can think of wanting is my two dearest loves in the middle of nowhere and something happen to them. John assures me he has some device that should life or limb be at risk, he can push a button and get help. Here's hoping they don't need that.

In any event, as loneliness often leads me to internet searches for who knows what, I decided to google my mom. It's been a while since she died, so there wasn't much in the first few pages and I wasn't up for going further. I did go to her old Xanga site, though, which is comfortingly still up. I went to August 22, 2002 (the last August post she had) to see what she was thinking. August 22 was a fairly benign post, but I kept reading and found her August 17 post to be interesting. Remember my August 16 post about missing my mom and Elvis? Well, her August 17, 2002 post was about Elvis too. Now, finding this a lovely coincidence at first, I then realized he passed on August 16, 1977, and the coincidence was more timing, but anyway...

This is what she had to say:
"If Elvis hadn't died....
I wouldn't be watching his stacked up movies on the movie channel. Blue Hawaii was the only one that really appealed to me, although I may have enjoyed Love Me Tender if I had seen it all the way through. I was small when the latter movie hit the screens, although, as I reflected today, I am only thirteen years younger than El, had he kept on living.
If Elvis hadn't died, he'd be alive. (DUH!) He'd be an aging faded, star. Maybe. I think newer generations will be spared the idolatry we of the Elvis generation have to tolerate. It's time to leave him alone. Wouldn't have said that a year ago, but I certainly now have my fill of hero worship. He left this world in an undesirable fashion but, despite the narcotics and quirks, he did it his way. That's important, when you can .... do it your way. I have no other news. I woke up with a sense of foreboding which I don't care to go on about and will probably head back to the sack for my . . . Elvis movies?

How funny. And, as much as I knew about my mom and her love of Elvis, I didn't know that Blue Hawaii was her favorite. There's nothing like learning things about your parents, even if they aren't here any more.

Sadly, while reading her couple of days worth of August posts, she commented about how she was feeling regarding her cancer and her chemo...."What makes me a more likely candidate for the five-year-survival rate? It's scary. Downright frightening. BUT, as hubby says, "We have to give it all we've got." So off I go to the research pages, leaving a few links that will encourage me, and others, to put every effort into conquering the beast. Should I lose, I hope that I will be remembered as highly as Diane whose tribute by notforprophet almost made me cry."

This made me mad--my dad telling her they have to give it all they've got and 7 years later he can't even be bothered to remember she lived and was his wife and my mother. It also made me sad that she was worried about how she'd be remembered. I remember her every day, and though I don't know how highly this Diane she speaks of is remembered, I can guarantee that my mom's memory is right up there as she would have wanted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So grateful....


Mommy's very tired today. I have been back to school working on my classroom and in just another day, I'll be back full time. I'm already tired just thinking about it. I just got off the phone with daddy a little while ago, and was sad because I miss him but also because my back really hurts and I am worried about how things are going to go in the next few weeks and months. I'm really stiff and sore, tired and achy. Then I came across this video at Kelly's Korner and realized that even as stiff and sore, tired and achy, worried and frustrated as I feel right now, I am so, so, so grateful that I can feel your little acrobatic moves and know you are right there under my heart. (Although my lungs would like you to move a bit, but they know better than to ask!) It is an amazing miracle that I have this time with you--no one else on the planet will ever be as close to you as I am right now, with you safely inside me, waiting for your nightly Lucky Charms. And as uncomfortable as it is right now, I really and truly can't thank God enough for the unbelievable blessing you are, regardless of the discomfort. This video just reminds me that it'll be all too soon and you'll be on your own...and these days where it is just you and me will be priceless, no matter how sore my back was. I so love you, baby boy, and though I never will want to let you go, I know God has special plans for you and He'll see you through them. In the meantime, I'll love and cherish you and give you all you need as you find your wings.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whew...what a day!

I won't even bother to ask if you've ever had one of those days where you just wonder at the end of the day how you survived (and even laughed at) it because I know EVERYONE has...I did today!

I was soooo tired last night and even more tired (and sore--horrible crick in my neck) this morning when the alarm went off. I even contemplated missing church because I was just that tired and sore. I got up and got moving, though, had a lovely morning in church (even though I have succumbed to taking my lumbar roll everywhere I have to sit for more than five minutes and sort of felt like a dork, but whatever....). Then I drove home.

I've been listening to Elvis Radio (channel 18 if you have Xm/Sirius) on Sundays to and from church because it reminds me so much of my mom and my grandma...two ALL-TIME Elvis lovers. I know Elvis's versions of old gospel hymns like the back of my hand, and I totally take advantage of listening to what *I* want to when John's gone. So, on the way home, the Elvis American trilogy song comes on...if you are (gasp) not an Elvis fan, it is a compilation of three songs--Dixie, All My Trials and The Battle Hymn of the Republic. And the tears just start POURING. Now I realize that I am hormonal (ya think?) but I also still miss my mom very much, especially being pregnant. And this was one of her favorite medleys of Elvis's and brought back soooo many memories for me of growing up. Then I started throwing myself a pity party about being lonely and missing my mom, my grandma, John, Elvis, Ed McMahon and an assortment of others...*THEN* as I continued listening, I started to get VERY mad at my dad and was contemplating the letter I was going to write to him...a plethora of emotions just overtook me. Thankfully, the song stopped, I wiped my tears, laughed at the ludicrousness of crying like that as I drove and took a deep breath.

Only to hear the trilogy START ALL OVER. AGAIN. Seriously, it started all over again. First I laughed. Then I cried more. Then I started laughing and thinking that even though my mom wasn't here, she was obviously, in a sense. I loved it. I even started thinking about all the old Elvis movies I remember watching on tv when I was growing up and how I missed them and never saw them anymore...

I finally got home and played with Dixie a bit, calmed down and laughed a bit more and then headed to pick a friend up to see The Time Traveler's Wife. As we got to the movie theater, I reached into my purse to get my wallet and guess what? It wasn't there! It wasn't in my purse, it wasn't in my car and I started to freak out. I tried to tell myself that it was at home, on the table and I should just enjoy the movie. Which, by the way, I didn't. At least in my hyper-hormonal state of mind, that is! If you go, take tissues. Anyway, when I got home, I could not find my wallet anywhere. I then started to retrace steps and they went back to me working at school yesterday (yes, a Saturday...and I probably overdid it but had no choice) and being in Annapolis the day before. While my sweet school secretary offered to go in my room and see if it was there, I went back over every store or place I was Friday in Annapolis...with the last place being Babies R Us. So, I called them, thinking it was probably not there since I had used gift cards. Well, guess what? After initially being told, "No, we don't have any wallets," the girl then said, "Wait, what does it look like?" I described it again and she asked, "Is your name Lo--" and didn't finish. I squealed, "Yes, I'm Lori! Lori Ennis," and proceeded to tell her all about my wallet.
"Yep, we have it." THANK YOU GOD!

The fun part is that Annapolis is about an hour and a half away. And Babies R Us was closing in about two hours from the time I called. So, I raced into my car and headed up there...they would only give it to me in person, which I can appreciate, but was dreadfully inconvenient. Thankful they had it, though, I was just glad to be on my way. Until, about 40 minutes into the drive, I realize I only have 13 miles of gas left in my tank and pulled over to get gas. The problem THERE was that these days, gas stations expect payment. Which I could not offer. I started to freak out. I begged the cashier to allow me to just give my credit card number (which I know by memory due to my online shopping prowess) but he said his manager wouldn't allow it. I then offered to call my sister or mom and have them give a credit card number. No go. Finally, the manager actually came out of the back room, saw I was basically an unassuming, crazy little pregnant lady and let me give my number. Again, THANK YOU GOD!

The rest of the trip there and back were thankfully uneventful. Three + hours later I am home and thankful that they had my wallet (though we are registered there and they've had it since Friday and I can't imagine why they wouldn't at least check and see if they could find a phone number, but again, whatever!), I had the opportunity to get it and I didn't drive away from the gas pump with the hose still attached. (Um, I guess I should add, again.)

But as I sit down and turn the tv on to just veg a minute while I eat my nightly Magically Delicious Snack, what in the WORLD do you think is on tv? It Happened At The World's Fair. Not one of Elvis's best, in my opinion, but lots of cute songs I liked and for Pete's sake--an ELVIS movie! I haven't seen any on tv in probably years...and guess what the TCM channel is doing? Showing Elvis movies for hours...and hours....King Creole, GI Blues (one of my favorites!), Roustabout and The Trouble With Girls. SERIOUSLY? Call it what you want, but when I see rainbows, I think of John's dad...when I see butterflies (my mom had a bumper sticker that read, "I brake for butterflies" and the day of her funeral, we saw more butterflies than I can ever remember) or hear Elvis, I think of my mom. And those times we pray to God for little pieces of comfort and assurance come to us in this way. Thank you, yet AGAIN, Lord.

Matthew...just wait until you hear Elvis. And trust me, you will.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boys vs. Girls....

Well, aside from the fact that there really ARE more cute girl clothes than boy clothes out there, there are also some significant differences in behavior, disposition and attitude. Any mom of a boy will tell you this. Funny, isn't it, that girl moms don't always tout this mantra while boy moms seem to eat, drink and live it! As a teacher, I have always known this to be true, and honestly, one of the best compliments I have ever received was a parent telling me that they thought I was such a good "boy" teacher!

So...the post that I've been meaning to write so I didn't forget finally gets here...though sitting for any length of time really makes my back any more miserable than it already is, so I hope I do it justice. By any length of time, I'm talking about 15 minutes.

The best part of the conference I went to a couple of weeks ago is that it is finally getting more and more common-place to scientifically back up assertions. I'm not talking about a few facts and figures scientifically backing things up...I'm talking magnetic resonance imaging, PET scans and such...looking at what a 7-year old little girl's brain does when faced with a task and comparing it to what a 7-year old little boy's brain does when faced with the identical task. And watching how the brain works in both is amazing.

Life is all about bell curve math...and of course, there are always the outliers and anomalies...children who defy the generalizations--over (and under) achievers, if you will. But generally speaking, did you know:

***Boys typically have bigger of the brain that act as the center of emotions...than girls. Yep--that's right...emotional centers that are bigger than girls...and also more predispositioned to aggression because of this larger emotional center and larger quantities of testosterone developed.
***The corpus callosum (which connects the hemispheres and allows communication between both) is bigger in girls...hence girls seemingly more able to access both hemispheres of their brain quicker and more easily. It's true. They can.
***The hippocampus (memory center) is larger in girls and develops faster. Boys really may just not remember and girls really can rival an elephant's memory.
***The cerebellum of boys is better functioning and develops faster and typically stronger than in girls. The cerebellum is what controls large muscle movements--coordination and organization of muscle movements. Which is why boys prefer to use those large muscles more often and are more visible in doing so.
***Boys and girls brains not only develop at different paces, but in different sequence...which means that when one looks at a little girl and sees what she can do and then wonders why a little boy the same age can't do the same thing, they are wondering about something that little boys (or girls) simply don't control--their brain's development.
***Typically, boys hearing and vision is slower developed than in girls...which means that placing boys at the front of the classroom is not only a good idea for them to help lessen distraction, but to encourage learning--they need to be closer to see and hear better. More than that, when your little boy repeatedly says, "Huh?" or feels like he has to be on top of the tv or he can't see, he may not be in control of that either.
***When given problems to solve, and simultaneously having their brain activity measured while doing so, the parts of the brain that rely on deductive thinking are highly active in boys, while the parts of the brain that rely on inductive reasoning are more active in girls. This basically means that boys like to start with general principles when reasoning, whereas girls prefer concrete examples. Yep...that's SO John and me. I need details and want them to form my plan. John prefers a bigger picture and doesn't like to be bothered with details. It's our wiring.
***Movement stimulates the male brain and helps relieve impulsive behaviors. Girls do not have the same brain activity noted when moving and learning something new, nor do their impulses change in predominance. So, when your boy is sitting at the dinner table working on his homework and he can't seem to sit still (or even sit in his chair at all), while your little girl sits like an angel and quietly works--well, that's just how his brain works. Hers too. Which is why I've always been a big advocate of letting my male students stand or wiggle if they need to when they are working.

There's so much more that anyone can Google simply by looking for the differences between the young male brain and the young female brain, but the gist of this whole day of learning for me was really eye-opening in some ways, scary in others, and comforting in more--bottom line? Boys brains simply ARE DIFFERENT and develop differently than girls. This is so important to remember because the entire education system for as long as it has been a developed system has been geared (not necessarily purposely, but probably more conveniently) for girls and the way girls learn. Why? Because the way girls learn is more in line with the 'traditional way' that we think learning should occur--girls prefer written texts, focus on emotional workings of characters in literature, don't need as much space to learn, prefer concrete things they can actually see, are better listeners, follow conversations more aptly, don't need as much logical sequencing, are able to deal with and manage boredom better than boys, use words as the learn them and prefer to do so--all of the things we typically feel a classroom is like or should be. And while I am a teacher and I totally think that that type of classroom is a lot easier to manage, it is not one that is necessarily the most conducive to a little boy's learning...and so is it any wonder why it's typically our boys who are the 'trouble-makers' in the classroom? The classroom is not (usually) geared to help them learn best simply in structure and design, while it is tailor made for a little girl. More than that, think of who usually picks the books out that a little boy is supposed to be interested in? Mom. Or a female teacher or librarian. And while we are good at trying to diversify, what interests me with regard to reading material TOTALLY differs from what interests John...and I'm sure that was not different when he was a kid.

More than all that....guess what? Neuroscientists typically agree: Our brains were not necessarily wired to naturally read. In fact, when watching the brain activity needed to read, there are several different transactions that need to take place in several different parts of the brain in order to actually read something. Factor in the fact that several of those parts of the brain develop faster in girls than they do in boys and then one can see why reading seems to come more naturally to girls than to boys and it's no wonder that boys get so frustrated when it isn't as easy for them as it seems it is for their girl counterparts. One better? Of those several parts of the brain necessary for reading, most are not developed thoroughly enough, girl or boy, until about the age of 7-8, yet here we are pushing that ALL kids must read by 5 or else they are doomed to failure. We are under the misguided impression that reading ability = intelligence and folks, that just isn't so. I was reading at 3 and a half. Big words, too...and I was able to very clearly and concisely articulate my thoughts about what I read. John? Well...he'll still tell you he isn't the best reader and he certainly never was. My father-in-law wasn't really reading until about 5th grade. Yet those two men, John and Dad, are probably the two smartest men I have ever met, and though I admit my IQ is not too shabby, I know theirs run CIRCLES around mine. No, reading does not equal is highly thought that reading ability serves as an indicator of intelligence and success. While this may be sometimes true, it is a vague generality. If one were to use John's reading ability to predict his success...well, let's say the prediction would have been dismal at best. And yet, look at him--he's proof that wild, crazy boys who have BB gun wars, need tutors in school, get accused of setting fire to the neighborhood, are poster children for ADHD (adult ADHD too!) and probably are lucky to be alive today turn out to be wildly successful and marry well (ha ha). Again, neuroscience's general feelings on how education ought to be is that classrooms should be set up more by ability and less by generic age. Some even go one step further and suggest that classrooms for boys and classrooms for girls are more successful in learning as learning styles can be addressed as best needed by students. This theory has already been tested, and funnily, it has been tested because of the fear that girls do not have the advantage in school, specifically with regard to math and science. Yet our boys can so benefit too!

The moral of all of this is that even though we often know and feel it, science backs it up: boys and girls have different brains. They are wired differently, they develop differently. And it's up to us to make sure that our girls and our boys are in the best environments they can be and have the freedom they need to be who God designed them to be. I don't think it is any coincidence at all that boys and girls have different brains--God created us to be different and more and more every day, I just feel honored that I was chosen to be the mom of a son.

So Matthew...I promise you I will not be disappointed if you are not reading at 4. I will always back you up in the classroom when you are simply acting like the boy you were designed to be. I will try not to cringe when you ride your bike or skateboard because I know it is intrinsic in you to take risks and the part of your brain that helps you make functional (and good!) decisions won't really be developed thoroughly until you are about (gulp) 25. I will say prayers for you every day when you play with your friends, as I know that bb gun wars or throwing darts at each other in the dark really is not something you do to simply make me cry but because you truly don't fully grasp all the potential harm in those activities. When you complain about doing your homework, I will remember it is because your little brain isn't ready to understand the relevance to the future doing well in school has and that you do not seek your approval by doing well in school. I will remember that in puberty, your body will produce 1000 times the testosterone that an adult male does (and that in and of itself is a lot!) and I will remind your daddy that you cannot, cannot, cannot control your hormone production (or your outrageous appetite!). I will not cry if you are not a 4.0 (or higher) high-school graduate. I will not cry if you do not go to Harvard. In fact, I *might* cry if you don't become a Hokie, and I don't care what any of those 'Hoos say--your daddy and I didn't do too badly! I am ready to accept you for the ADHD Jr. I already suspect you may be, and I hope you will always feel loved and embraced for exactly who you are. I will always want the best for you and will encourage you to work to your best potential, but I will always understand that when you are, it may not seem like it...and that will be ok.

Most importantly, if you ever have a sister, I will never, ever compare you. I know you and she were designed to be different.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thank you, Lord...

As I drove to church this morning, that same nearly-crippling fear that I tend to be having these days just overcame me. Will John be safe? Will the baby be safe? Is he okay? Will we be here a few more years? If we aren't, what will we do about the houses? Will Dixie be okay? What will I do as my poor Matthew grows up in an increasingly God-less world? What would happen to us if something happened to John? Is healthcare reform going to make already bad healthcare even worse? What are those crazy North Koreans going to do? When and where will the next act of terrorism be? And so forth...I'm talking just overwhelming, heat-flash inducing panic and fear and anxiety...anxiety and I are certainly well past the "getting-to-know you" stage, and probably have been since birth. I've been really trying very hard, though, to just not worry and not stress because I want no extra stress for Matthew. How does one literally turn her brain off, though, and just stop thinking? Because really, sometimes it seems all I think about is anxiety producing. Sunday School, not even 15 minutes after my hot flash, what do I read? Phillipians 4:6 -- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Can it get any clearer? Right before? Phillipians 4:4 -- Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice!

I always joke that I'd love for God to just write me a note here and there and let me know what He wants me to know. Yep...He's that good and I feel great.

I know I wrote that having a human being move around inside was weird and I still stand by that. I want to add though that it is absolutely amazing also. Matthew has been hiccupping and it's just unbelievable that I have been given such a gift and am able to experience it. I often say that pregnancy is just a means to an end for John and me to be parents...and it is. But I don't ever want to forget what an amazing and miraculous means to an end it is. Just thinking that there's a little human inside who is floating around and dependent upon me is a feeling that I never thought I would have, but more than that, such an awe-inspiring one. I am so humbly and truly thankful to God that I was given this miracle of life I don't even know how to put it into words.

While this mush and gush *may* be hormonally inspired, it is nevertheless true...I do not know what I've done to deserve the sweet baby boy I am carrying, but I'm so thankful for him.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Random ramblings....

Some things I've thought I needed to note for posterity:
(Though I have NO memory any more...especially with words, which drives me...what's the word? know, not comfortable, ummm..frustrated...NUTS! That's it...NUTS!)
  • I can't believe I've broken down and done it but I have. I have used, a couple of times in the last few days, parking spaces designated for "Expectant Mothers" and I was very thankful for them. Mobility is increasingly becoming decreased and while I HATE that I'm using them, as I said, I'm so thankful they exist. Especially since that sadist chiropractor keeps aggravating my piriformus whatever and making me miserable.
  • Deciding on important things really makes my whole indecisiveness genes come out in full force. JUST when I think I know what cloth diapers I'm going to order, I see a review of another brand that leads me to another website that leads me to another brand that leads me back to option 1, and then I have a mess to think about. And deciding on a pediatrician? HOLY COW. There are a few in the area that people adore...but hate their staff. OR adore, but hate the staff and the waiting time in the office OR just don't like even though EVERYONE else loves them. OR seem to be *perfect* and so very highly recommended but a good 40 minute drive, which then makes one of my prime considerations of quick and easy access sort of moot. UGH...I'm hoping that in the next two weeks as I meet them, I'll just get that vibe...waiting time in an office is a concern because I don't want a kid any sicker than they already are, but I also understand that to have a good doctor who is willing to see you whenever you need them to, you have to wait. And really...what doctor is going to own up to long waiting times? SO...I'll just have to see what the next two weeks hold.
  • I think it really is amazing that a pregnant body really does have a mind of its own. I do not like chocolate. "Yes, mommy, you do," says my boy--and who am I to deny him? Crazy. 3 months ago the thought of a Krispy Kreme donut (something normally loved--but *NOT* when hot!) made me want to puke. Two days ago? I totally detoured across 3 lanes of fairly busy traffic (using the lights, of course) to get to the Krispy Kreme drive-thru, giggled with glee as I bought a dozen donuts (just for myself) and literally could not open that box fast enough. Since when can I eat a dozen donuts by myself in 2 days? Or am ALL over Chic Fil A chocolate milkshakes like they're going out of style. Chocolate.
  • Feeling a human being move around in your body is weird. Miraculous, yes...but weird nonetheless.
  • I don't think it is fair that there are SO many more cute girl things than there are boy things in stores. Yes, there are some really cute boy things out there. But let's be real...the infant clothing industry focuses VERY heavily on girls and not-so-much on boys. Maybe that's a good thing, though, because I could probably go bankrupt.
  • I am huge right now. SO huge I'd almost have a friend take a picture of me looking like I did the other day in a dressing room trying on a skirt just to prove it...but it was HORRIBLE! The PT lady said I gave new meaning to the word waddle? Yeah, well to look at me, you'd think I give new meaning to what one looks like when they swallow a yoga ball. The big size yoga ball. Too bad John isn't around for pictures, ha ha!
  • I've been super impressed with my coupon-ing ability--even in this little area. It's work to peruse the ads, but little savings add up and I get so excited! Sunday I got two bottles of my saline solution and a tube of toothpaste FREE after rebate--that's $14! Yesterday, I got 4 mondo-size boxes of Lucky Charms (they are not only Magically Delicious, they are a fabulous night time snack!) for $12 and some change at Giant. If you bought 4 boxes, at $4.99 each, you got $6 bucks back. PLUS, I had a coupon for $1.00 off two and the cashier was SO nice she scanned it TWICE since I bought 4! It was awesome. I know, I know...nothing like Maria's deals, but baby steps--that's what I'm saying. I also got several deals at CVS and ended up with $8 in the extra bucks, which I then applied to other sale stuff. It DOES add up.

Okay...enough rambling. All this talk about Lucky Charms has given me incentive to get off the sofa (which kills me to sit on, so it's never long anyway!) and have a snack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back it up...

Okay, I feel like *such* an ungrateful whiner, but since this will serve as historical documentation for Matthew, I feel it only fair to let him know what he's doing to my back. Of course he's certainly not doing it intentionally, and I *gladly* offer my body as the vessel for whatever healthy growth he needs. That said, should he one day decide to bring some hoochie-mama he swears he's in love with home to me and his daddy, it's only fair for me to remind him of how in utero, I begged him NOT to...and since my back is SO jacked up, he might want to consider repaying me by giving aforementioned hoochie-mama the boot.

I'm getting to the point where there is really no relief...massage through PT or John (not for a while, though, since he's in Colorado for a while) helps as it's being done, but the effects are not long-lasting at all. Heat in various forms--clay pack, heating pad, moist heating pad, buckwheat pad, whatever...just maybe dulls some of the ache, but again, not-very long lasting effects. The chiropractor is a sadist, who basically reminds me each week that we are just doing damage control since the second I walk out the door, my body goes back to the work of undoing whatever he just did in preparation for birth. I haven't had enough acupuncture to really feel much of a difference with my back, though my sinuses enjoy it and are doing better. Tomorrow I will do some therapeutic yoga, in hopes of relief and maybe strength-building to help with labor.

The problem is that there is really not just *one* place that's pain-causing. The good news is that I haven't really had any sciatica problems, which are the more common pregnancy back issues. No, unfortunately mine are probably due to the fact that I didn't have a great back to begin with, and though it is strong, according to all my various practitioners, the fact that I am carrying so much more weight in my stomach and chest in comparison to my total body weight really stings. My PT lady was looking at me today and told me I gave new meaning to waddle. I look like I swallowed one of the big yoga balls, and my tummy is just basically pulling the crap out of any and all my back muscles, in random forms. Some days it's just my right lower Ql muscle. Most days, actually. Some days, it's the pelvic girdle. Or the piriformus (somehow connected to sciatic), which the chiropractor constantly irritates (no pain, no gain?) whenever he sees me. Then there are the fun days where I wake up with problems with the left QL and by the end of the night, it's back to the right. Worse is that sitting makes it worse...even with the lumbar roll. SO...when my sweet husband sees that I can hardly breathe (I don't even know if my lungs are still talking to me anymore since they are so mad at being so smooshed!) just from going up the stairs and he tells me, "Sit down, rest a bit," I can't....because it hurts! Believe it or not, moving around constantly is better, but then I face a bigger problem--I'm pregnant and get tired easily!!!!

So...the moral of this story, Matthew is this...please, please, PLEASE don't bring any hoochie-mamas home. Mommy will consider it a fair trade for all the back issues.

Oh, and don't step on any cracks while you grow up. Last thing I need.