Saturday, December 29, 2007

double double toilet trouble

Saturday was my "golden" birthday: I turned 29 on the 29th!

Stuart kept himself busy.

First, he baked me a cake:

And then he accidentally flushed a cloth diaper down our one and only toilet, rendering it useless for a full 16 hours until a plumber could get here. This happened around 7:00 in the evening, so we went all night without a decent place to pee. When it became obvious that the diaper was not to be extricated without the aid of a professional, I called a plumber. Evidently, last weekend was National Clog Your Toilet Day in Madison because of all 24-hr plumbing places I called, only one bothered to call back and he said it would be the middle of the night before anyone could get here, if at all, because they were so busy with calls. By 11:00, things were getting desperate. Stu and his dad "melted some snow" in the backyard under cover of darkness, but my MIL and I, being female and also unwilling to bare our bums and squat in the snow in 10-degree weather, decided to go to a nearby fast food joint to relieve ourselves. On the way out of the driveway, I noticed that our neighbors across the street were still up, so I pulled back into the driveway where I left the car and all my dignity, and knocked at their door. Of course they let us pee in their toilet because they are kind and gracious people, but the last time we imposed on them, it was to drop Daniel off for the night because we were heading to the hospital when Anya was born. We owe these people. Big. Time.

Sunday morning the plumber showed up at 11:30. We'd been out to breakfast at Lazy Jane's, so we'd all had the chance to use the bathroom in a decent and sanitary manner, but I was still VERY glad to see his van pull up. Of course, it took about 10 seconds to pull the diaper out of the U-bend...and you don't want to know how much it cost. I think we can safely say Stu won't be making THAT mistake again.

Happy Birthday to me...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

my kids

Enjoy these, folks. More substantial blog post coming soon...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

9 days

Anya is nine days old today and so far, everything is going rather swimmingly. She is a very snuggly, cuddly little girl who likes to sleep and loves to nurse and is starting to develop a little bit of chub. Daniel is handling everything well so far, all things considered. Every so often I feel a pang when I see that he needs something I can't help him with because I'm in the middle of breastfeeding or changing her diaper. But he's very taken with his little sister, and says her name with a tone of awe and reverence: "Anya Anya Anya."

What else can I say about the new baby? We're totally in love with her, of course, but other than the tandem diaper changes (when do they potty train, again?), the constant breastfeeding, the endless laundry, and the night wakings, there's not a lot to tell you.

Here, look at a cute picture:

Stuart's parents are here until New Year's Eve, and I'm so glad. Daniel hasn't seen them since July, so he's spending important time with them. My MIL is happy sitting on the couch for hours at a time holding Anya while she sleeps, and my FIL can send Daniel into happy hysterics kicking a ball around the house. The fact that it takes four adults to do what I'm going to have to do on my own in a couple of weeks frightens me, though. I wonder if I'll have opportunities to do certain tasks like use the bathroom and find my lunch without all these extra hands to help with my children.

But for now, we're having a good time. Stuart and I are enjoying watching the TeeVee after Daniel goes to bed. We Netflixed Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is like a raunchy, unscripted version of Seinfeld, starring its co-creator, Larry David. We find it completely hilarious, though if you're going to watch this show with people as wholesome and upstanding as my in-laws, I suggest you skip the "Porno Gil" episode on Disc 1...just sayin'

The biggest glitch so far was last night's dinner. We made pizza from scratch. This is something Stu and I have about once a week, so I didn't expect to screw up. And in fact, everything was fine until the pizzas were in the oven. After less than 15 minutes, we noticed the smell of burning and a lot of smoke seeping out the back burner. It appeared that the pizzas were burning, even though the cheese was barely melted on top. Thinking they couldn't be done, I left them in the oven. This was obviously a mistake, as a few minutes later, smoke was pouring out. There were few frenzied minutes as I ripped the smoke alarm off the wall, Stuart put an exhaust fan in the kitchen window, and my FIL hurriedly pulled the pizzas out of the oven, nearly burning himself, even though he was holding potholders. (Fortunately, the kids were totally oblivious--Anya was sleeping and Daniel was playing with a light switch.) (Hey, did you see that I just referred to my "kids"? Does that make me a real adult now? Yikes.)

So anyway, the good news is that we didn't start any fires or sustain any injuries. The bad news is that eating dinner required the skills of a mediocre surgeon, or perhaps a good butcher. I watched my husband and his parents hacking away at the burnt crust, scraping off the toppings and half-heartedly claiming that The Pizza was "really good if you just don't eat the burned part," while I, far too angry at The Pizza to eat it, munched a peanut butter sandwich. I couldn't figure out what went wrong. I've made pizza hundreds of times, and there was nothing different about the dough or the pans or the oven we used.

(My MIL finally solved the mystery: we set two big pans side by side in the oven, where they barely fit, leaving no room for the heat to circulate around them. Therefore, all the heat was trapped underneath and scorched the bottom of the crust and failing to cook the top. Since Stu and I just make one pizza at a time, this hadn't happened to us before, though I vaguely recall this problem with cookies when I do too many at once. I guess you learn something new every day, huh?)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

There's someone I'd like you to meet

This is Anya.

She introduced herself to us at 1:50am on December 14, a full 16 days before her due date.

I was so relieved.

I had this great post planned with clever references to how I finally drank a whole beer this evening and how I won't get my diploma until May because with being in the hospital having a baby and everything I didn't get my paperwork turned in, but I'm sure that you understand I'm a little too tired now to put something together that's all witty and fun.

All the same, I'm sure you'd like a few of the deets, so here's a little Q&A for ya!


8lbs, 2 oz (See why I'm glad she was early?! Good Lord, can you imagine how big she would have been on time!!?)


From whence the name Anya?

Dunno. We just like it. Buffy fans may suspect otherwise, I realize.

Length of labor?

That's a little hard to say. As I despaired in my last post, I was getting contractions at 7:15 the morning of Dec. 13, but they were on and off for a while. They finally started without letting up around 6:00 that evening, and she was born just before 2:00am, so I'd put it around 8 hours.

You'd better believe it. Never go into labor without a doula, I say. Ours, the same one who assisted when Daniel was born, is pure genius with the rice pack and massage and focus on the breathing and the whole bit.

Was amazing. Simply amazing.

Not a one. Everything happened quickly enough I didn't need them.

How is Daniel doing?
He is doing just fine. He's been saying "Anya Anya Anya" nonstop since we got home today, and he touches her head ever so gently and he's going to be a superb big brother, I can just tell.

And how is Anya doing?
Just fabulous. She latched on perfectly from the start, and basically sleeps all the time as long as someone is holding her, and by the way isn't she just so perfect? (I'm her mother. I'm allowed to say that.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I am just a little bit frazzled today because I woke up at 7:00 having regular contractions every 5 minutes. After an hour and a half of that, I started calling all the people I need to call--a sitter for Daniel, the clinic, the doula--and Stuart called in to work saying he might not be in today.

I also canceled my appointment with the graduate school to deposit all my Official Papers in order to graduate this month. Tomorrow is the deadline. If I don't get this stuff in tomorrow, I don't graduate until May. Now, this technically isn't a big deal because I wouldn't have to register for the spring semester or pay tuition or anything; it's just that the degree isn't awarded until the end of spring term. But to me it's kind of a big deal to get this all wrapped up and officially done with in 2007. It's just tidier that way, no dangling ends. Doctorate and baby, all in the same month.*

And then, of course of course OF COURSE, the contractions became less frequent, though no less intense. Another false alarm? Maybe. I don't really know yet. In any case, I sent Stuart to work, called off the sitter, and told the doula not to meet us at the hospital yet.

So I'm frustrated that I don't know whether I'm really in labor or not. I'm exhausted because I only got about three hours of sleep last night, no thanks to insomnia. And also, the contractions haven't stopped; they've just gotten less frequent. I had a big one in the middle of a poopy diaper change. That was fun, believe me.

Thank goodness Stuart's workplace is pretty close to where we live, so he can come home quickly if I need him to. Thank goodness we have an awesome doula who has called me every few days to check in and be supportive since last weekend's false alarm. Thank goodness I have not one, but two people at the ready to watch Daniel when we need to leave. Thank goodness my bag is actually packed this time.

Now, it's just time to wait.

*When I spoke to the secretary at the graduate school, she said I could have someone turn my things in my proxy, so I might have Stuart take care of it tomorrow if I'm in the hospital. I'm not kidding about this. I want my #$*%ing doctorate, damnit!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

some pictures of the little man

He loves his juice.

Learning about static electricity:

very excited about a new stuffed kitty a friend of mine gave him:

Watching football with Stu. Yeah, I don't know what he's pointing at or why. Just use your imagination (maybe it's a guy thing...):

Sunday, December 09, 2007

two things done, one still pending


The Dissertation

Revised copies have been distributed to each member of my committee. Theoretically, they will read through it and let me know if they find any mistakes, but I'd be surprised if they did much more than skim it, considering 1) it's 82 pages long, 2) my major professor has already read and approved it, and 3) it's the end of the semester and they're all preparing finals and grading term papers and the like.

Stuart made AWESOME bread this weekend, and it's the easiest recipe ever. It takes a while but requires no kneading. Stuart concurs with Mark Bittman's assessment that a six year old could make this bread. And it's so delicious: crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside...we scarfed a bunch of it down for lunch today. There's a video tutorial right here, so now you can make some, too.


You guessed it...
There's nothing that can try a person's patience like false labor. Dudes, we really thought it was happening this weekend. I started having contractions Thursday night and they were on and off for the next 36 hours before stopping completely. I've felt nary a twinge since yesterday morning. Even though I've got three weeks to go before the due date and should therefore be exhibiting more patience, I admit I'm having kind of a hard time, though today is better than yesterday. Yesterday sucked. I felt like someone put all my emotions into a blender and made me drink the whole cocktail in one big gulp.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Are you guys sick of hearing me go on about pregnancy and dissertation? Me, too.

But this is good news, and it's quick, so here goes. I just talked to my teacher/adviser/mentor a few minutes ago, and she LIKES my revisions and REALLY LIKES my paper. Do you know what this means? I really am DONE with the writing!! Tonight I'll need to scan it for typos and patch all the revisions in and spend god knows how much getting it all printed at Kinko's (I need, like, 7 copies, and it's at least 80 pages long by now). Yes, that will all take a couple of hours, but it's a HUGE relief to know that the only work I have left is basically busy work. No more agonizing at 2:00 in the morning with Word open and staring me in the face. No more guilt over knitting or blogging when I could be writing.

I think by next Friday you'll be able to call me "Dr. Susan."

Monday, December 03, 2007

a list of lists

This is my little reward for finishing another batch of revisions today. More writing! (Hey, wait, that doesn't make much sense. Huh.)

5 things I want to do before 2008

1. have this baby
2. drink a beer (Stuart is saving me a whole six-pack of Oberson, bless him) (notice that this is contingent on #1)
3. see the movie Superbad
4. finish at least one knitting project I've started in the last two months
5. take Daniel to the children's museum with my friend Stephanie

5 things I need to do this week

1. finish revising my paper
2. turn in my paper
3. drop off Very Important Paperwork at the school of music and hope my committee actually signs it this time (see #1 and #2 about finishing the paper to make this possible)
4. pack a bag to take to the hospital, just in case (ha!)
5. clean off at least one flat surface in this house that has been taken over by god-knows-what, probably just junk mail and library books, but it's really starting to get on my nerves (can you say "nesting"?)

5 things I need to do tomorrow

1. make bread
2. go to the grocery store so we have something to eat besides yellowed broccoli and ice cubes
3. revise another section of my paper
4. go to the library and pick up a book which I am not allowed to read until my revisions are done, but said book will be placed on the desk next to the computer as an enticement to get my butt moving
5. scrub the kitchen floor--when your 22-month-old son is pointing out all the gross spots, you know it's time

5 links you should go check out

1. Steph's most recent post on her tradition of watching the entire LOTR trilogy in one weekend, and this year's added bonus of re-casting the entire thing in drag. She needs suggestions. Go forth and offer them (Feral Mom, if you're reading this, I just have a feeling that would be right up your alley...)
2. Pam just put up some of the songs we recorded on her MySpace page. Go listen to us!
3. OK, I lied. That's only two links. But hey, if there are three of you out there with something interesting or funny or poignant to share, leave a note in comments, and I'll add it on.

5 baby names that were not only rejected, but mocked heavily (note: this list is not in any way comprehensive, as there are a lot of seriously funky names out there)

1. Arkansas
2. Blue
3. Duff
4. Anise
5. Dorcas

and now, evidence that this is the lamest post ever...a list of 5 more lists I need to make
1. groceries to purchase tomorrow morning
2. Christmas presents--what's taken care of and what isn't
3. names and addresses of everyone I owe thank-yous for this semester
4. stuff to take to the hospital, cause I can't really remember what all you're supposed to have with you...all I remember is a change of clothes for me, some decent shampoo (the stuff in the hospital sux), and something for the baby to wear coming home
5. all the other stuff I need to do but will probably forget unless I write it down

Saturday, December 01, 2007

birth stories

I learned this afternoon that my teacher was born in the toilet. Early one morning, about three weeks before her due date, her mother woke up with a back ache and asked her husband for a massage. He obliged, she fell asleep, then a couple of hours later she woke up with the same back pain and the sudden urge to use the bathroom. So she ran to the bathroom, used it, and discovered upon reaching down to, you know, wipe up, that the baby's head was starting to come out. She screamed for her husband, felt one (that's right - one, single, uno, ein) pain, pushed, and M was born. Her father caught her before she actually fell into the toilet bowl.

I have a friend who recently gave birth to her third son. I don't know all the details, but it sounds like they barely made it to the hospital on time even after screaming through rural Kansas roads at 90mph in the middle of the night. This woman has spent less than half the time I have in labor, and she has three children. I just have one.

If only it were that easy.

I have just over 4 weeks to go before my official due date, and lately I've been thinking a lot about what to expect, how it might go. We have the same doctor, the same doula and will be at the same hospital. Hopefully, it won't take 30 hours this time around, but you never really know what's going to happen.
All I know is that I'm ready. NOW.

I remember before Daniel was born I wasn't bombarded with unwelcome advice so much as unwelcome birth stories. Not that I don't enjoy a good birth story, especially now that I've been through the experience myself. And I didn't mind the interesting ones (see above). But I really minded the ones about someone going overdue because I thought if I had to wait even until my due date I was going to kill myself. Good thing Daniel was born on time, or I might have died of desperation.