Thursday, January 22, 2009

Out And About

Well hello again!

Some days, I feel like a horrible blogger. My posts have been few and far between lately. I think I was anticipating more time on my hands, but our first winter is proving to be very busy for us... and I don't even think we have had a good chance to really do all the stuff we would like to do, because this pregnant belly of mine is hindering a lot of outdoor activities.
Let's face it, it's hard enough to run away from bears when you aren't pregnant.

OK, OK, I know... bears are hibernating this time of year. All the more reason to not accidentally find one that happens to be awake right now, if you ask me.
But enough on my fear of bears.

Well, as you can guess from our post title, we have been "out and about"!
OK. I am probably about to take a little flack from friends and family, and maybe even a few concerned readers, but...
Bed Rest just isn't going to happen.
I'm adding a disclaimer here... my midwife and I had a good talk last visit, and somewhere in my exhaustion from our return trip from North Dakota, I think I finally made her understand that being trapped in the house with a 15 month old was probably more of a risk than anything else I could be doing. As I posted last time, she took me off the progesterone, and I think she's starting to surrender to the fact that I am going to be one of those "non-compliant" patients when it comes to bed rest.
In my defense, it's not my fault. Anyone who disagrees is welcome to come explain to Beans why she has to be content playing indoors for the next three months while mommy sits on the couch. And while you're here, if you can train her to make her own meals, change her own diapers, do laundry, clean the house, and maybe even bring me a snack, I'd be more than happy to comply with bed rest.
Meanwhile, I must preserve my sanity, and that involves leaving the house.

So... after a week-long bout with a double ear-infection and a sinus infection (Beans), followed by a few days of being out of commission myself with "the crud", we decided it was time to go make friends. Or at least get out of the house. This also involved taking advantage of how travelling messed up Beans' routine, and I, out of selfishness and pure desperation to meet other people, decided to ditch her morning nap. A couple days of a really cranky toddler, and soon, we were adjusted and ready to go.

We have been to playgroups that led to other playgroups, Library Time, MOPS, and various other things going on in the community. From this, I have met moms with kids the same age as mine, a few with some similar interests, and most of all, have had contact with humans who are 1) not related to me, 2) don't smear peanut butter on my favorite shirt, and 3) don't throw blocks at me when I say it's time for a nap.
In other words, I have been having LOTS of fun!

Seriously. In all honesty, Library Time was a little more "work" than I was hoping for. Seems that Beans doesn't quite understand the concept of sitting in a circle and reading stories. Especially when the library has one of those really cool train set tables she could be playing with instead. But I think we can overcome that with a little practice. Maybe. Beans IS pretty determined, especially when it comes to trains.
MOPS was also not a great success for us. Um... Beans has never spent more than a couple hours in her entire life away from "My Momma!" (me), and while I was able to leave her in the nursery successfully, it didn't take long before she noticed my absence. I was called out of the MOPS group to retrieve Little Beans, who was sobbing "MY MOMMA!" in the arms of a frazzled looking teenager.
I have been told it will get better. J, on the other hand, remains unconvinced of this, and has made me promise to never leave her in a nursery again, until she is at least 15 years old.

OK. Before I get too much flack from our readers on that as well... I should (or maybe I shouldn't?) mention a couple of our own Moose Nugget Family Rules.

For reasons that are way too yucky to get into on this blog, we have a general rule that we don't leave kids with sitters until they are old enough to tell us what happened while we were gone.
We have met several other adults and family members who seem offended by this Family Rule, and many who think that we are "ruining" our kids, not socializing them or making them learn to be away from us, wondering "how on earth" we'll ever do anything as a "couple", and even people who are offended that we don't need or want their baby-sitting services.
To those, I have to say, "Get Over It".
J and I are not offended or inconvenienced by our daughter's presence. And having followed another Family Rule of "get your dating done before you get married or have kids" might help some people to understand that I don't "date" my husband. We're married. Oh, don't worry. We still have special time, "grown-up time", and do lots of fun things together. We just do fun stuff as a family, and save the grown-up stuff for when babies are in bed.
And as a side note, to "not making our kids learn to be away from us", well... I don't know too many kids who needed mommy or daddy to come to college with them. I'm sure the day will come soon enough (or even too soon) that Beans and her siblings are more than happy to leave us old parents behind.

Another Family Rule contributing to the ban on nurseries is this:
J's primary job is being a fire-fighter, and his role in our home is to bring home the bacon.
MY primary job is "mom and wife". He brings home the bacon, I cook it. We are both committed to the fact that my primary job as "mom" is to mother our children. As much as I DO enjoy getting out and doing a few things by myself from time to time, we both agree that if someone else is doing my job (a.k.a. the nursery), then there better be a REALLY good reason I have abandoned my primary duties.
I know, I know. Extreme. I probably made half the women reading this gasp in horror. I never said YOU have to do it, but it works for our family.
For those concerned, I DO get out and do things on my own. My husband, while definitely NOT a very good stay-at-home-mom, IS a great dad. And by that, I mean, he changes diapers, plays with the kids, and manages to not set the house on fire while I'm gone. And even if he did, well, he's a firefighter, so I trust him. (That trust does NOT extend to laundry, or cooking anything more complicated than tacos, however. Just taking care of the kids.)

ANYHOO... Those rules may help explain why J was more traumatized than Beans over her ordeal in the nursery.
But don't worry MOPS gals! I'll be back! J is usually home on those days anyway, so she'll still be home with daddy while mommy gets a chance to get away and play!

Speaking of getting away... J has been doing some getting away himself.
He's been off ice fishing, and starts helping out with some hockey team this week as well.
The ice fishing has been "prosperous", and he came home with a nice dinner the other night. Two trout, one of them was 17 inches! I have discovered that my pioneering desires end at having to behead or fillet fish. J was kind enough to handle that, and I pan fried the little one and baked the big one with a garlic pepper and lemon peel seasoning. It was a good teamwork effort... J bringing home dinner, my preparing it. Even little Beans was thrilled, and munched on dinner, chanting, "Yum Yum Fishy!"
Looks like Ice Fishing should turn into a weekly habit (and hopefully bringing home some dinner each time!), as a friend and neighbor has decided he can tolerate J's company in an ice house for several hours on a regular basis.

Oh. I didn't mean for that to sound so mean. But I think most married women can agree with me on this: I like my husband's company from time to time. But too much of a good thing... well... No one should have to spend that much time with any one individual. I love him, but after a few days of his company, I'm a little desperate to get out, too. Plus, he talks more than I do, and it's really not very nice to tell your husband to "PLEASE, shut up" as often as I do. (Hey, I DO say "please"!)

In Other News:
We have an appointment (and consequential trip to Fairbanks) to see the midwife this upcoming week. Should be able to send along a little baby update for everyone next week.
For those of you asking, NO, we haven't decided on a name yet, and when we do, we probably won't share it until the baby gets here. I'm crazy superstitious like that, and besides, every time I find a name I like, I meet a bunch of kids with the same name, then have to change my mind again. Besides, no offense, but I don't care if you like or don't like the baby's name. She's the one who has to live it with it, and I have to call her by it. So if I want to name her Petunia Gertrude Picklebottom Merrill, I will.
(Just kidding. I won't really name her that, even if it is unique.)

Weather Report for Friends, Family, and Readers in the Lower 48:
It's cold. And windy. Did you expect anything different?
We had an incredible warm-up last week (over 40 degrees!). I thought I would love that, as I'm not exactly crazy about 40 Below, but all 40 Above did was turn everything to slush, then it froze over again.
I had my first slip and fall on the ice which caused J to panic, but all I really wounded was my pride. Little Nugget and Momma are just fine. Beans, luckily, was in the house (it happened when I dashed out to start the car... another reason I want auto start on my vehicle for next winter!), so she wasn't in any danger either.
Also, 40 Above didn't do much for me except make me anxious for warmer weather. Last week was nice, to be out in a light jacket, or even no jacket at all. This week, we are back to below zero temps (though not nearly as bad as previous weeks), and I was really unhappy to have to face my thermals again. Especially since my belly just keeps growing and growing.
I know I've said it before, but I REALLY resent the fact that no one makes maternity thermals. I am currently feeling a bit like a stuffed sausage.

Meanwhile, daylight is creeping back in slowly but surely. We are back to 5 1/2 hours of official light (sunrise to sunset), and it may be my imagination, but it seems like dawn and dusk hours are also lengthening. While the sun doesn't officially rise until shortly after 10 am, you can see traces of light along the mountain range starting at 8:30 am, and though the sun "sets" a little after 3:30, there is still evening light until around 4:30 or 5 pm.

Clear days are absolutely beautiful. The winter light casts a crisp pink glow on Mt Hayes and the rest of the mountain ranges, and I love to take a few sips of my coffee while gazing out the kitchen window, staring at the mountains and hoping for a glimpse of our local moose.
I have even developed a sort of "love" for the overcast days...
I know (and have recently heard) a lot of people who are "tired" of winter and ready for spring, but for me, as each day grows longer, I feel a certain sadness and longing for NEXT winter already. The only thing I'm "tired" of, is the below zero business. I could live without that.
Maybe in coming years I will feel differently. Maybe I am just "in love" with the winter because it is our first one here... and my first true winter after eight long years in Alabama. I can understand why some people don't like this weather and the "dark", but I just don't see how I'll ever tire of it.
Maybe I'm crazy. (No comment from friends or close family on that one!)

In other babbling:
I have also been keeping busy with crochet projects, sewing projects, and a few good books. I've finally started a baby blanket for Little Nugget... a challenging pattern, but coming together nicely. I am still working on a cross-stitch that I started when we moved here, but got sidetracked with other projects that were more fun to complete.
On the current Book Reading List:
- A Laura Ingalls Wilder book, letters and diaries from her trips in adulthood, to visit her daughter in California, as well travels from De Smet (Dakota Territory) to Missouri, and some travels she and her husband made later in life. (Mom, if you haven't read this one, I'll send it when I'm done! It's good and has lots of photos and stuff in it!)
- Wicked, by Gregory Maguire. It's the first in a series that has been out for a while, and a friend recommended the series. I'm finally reading it, since everyone else seems to have enjoyed it.

And a ton of pregnancy, natural childbirth, labor and delivery books recommended by the doula, the midwife, and plenty of other pregnant chicks. I have read so many of these books now that I am convinced they all serve the same purpose... to convince women that drugs in labor are terrible and going to kill you and your baby, and to make you feel like a big crybaby for thinking labor is going to hurt.
For the record... labor DOES hurt. It is not "uncomfortable" as one nurse tried to convince me when I had my first child.
And, as much as I really would like to achieve a drug-free labor this time around, I am not above making myself somewhat comfortable if I feel the need. Also, if anyone knows a labor book that doesn't involve techniques like: mooing like a cow, making primal birthing noises, or birthing in an ice bath, surrounded by a dozen chanting medicine men (or whatever some of these books recommend), THOSE are the books I'd really be interested in checking out.
I still refuse to moo like a cow.

ANYHOO... that's our update this time around. Our upcoming weekend and week involves
- Trying To Make Beans Go To Church, a.k.a.- "How dumb can mommy get?"
-Midwife visit, to convince the midwife that bed rest is seriously overrated and remind her that I am NOT going to moo like a cow through labor.
-Shopping in Fairbanks. This also involves the next size up in maternity pants, as my belly refuses to cooperate with my wardrobe any longer. Also, there are rumors that I can get pita bread in Fairbanks, which would be so nice, as the recipe I have involves loads of effort, and sometimes doesn't produce nice "pockets", but gives flat llittle disks of bread instead. (Wow. Whoever thought I would be thrilled to find things like pita bread? And my oldest son is more concerned that I have no clue what an Ipod Nano Touch is. Hmmm.)
-More ice fishing, playgroups, cold weather, wind, and crochet projects.

I hope everyone else is staying warm and out of the wind! For those of you getting glimpses of spring in the lower 48... I envy the fact that you will be gardening months before I am!

Until Next Time...
Happy Moose Trails!


Anonymous said...

You are fabulous! I found your blog through Susan Stevenson's and I just wish I still lived up there and could visit with you. Alaskan winters? Done that. Bed rest with toddlers? Done that, twice. Non-compliant patient? Still am. Carry on, you are doing great!
Army Wife, stuck in FL

Tammy Kauffman said...

I agree with you regarding sitters. We only left our little ones with grandparents or brothers/sisters. To this day we don't have anyone watch them when we are not living near family. They will soon be 11 and 14. Almost able to leave them at home alone, which is safer than some sitters. Glad to hear from you. Take care and enjoy the Alaskan winters. I miss them greatly. Can't wait to hubby retires in 4 years from Army. We will be back in Fairbanks for good. Take care. Tammy in Maryland

Susan Stevenson said...

Good to see an entry from you! Too bad we'll be in Hawaii when you come to Fairbanks. We'll have to hook up the next time - maybe BEFORE your belly is gone, so I can actually see you pregnant!

Sorry I didn't respond to your last email. Things get nuts here too - and the darkness has me baying at the moon. *grin*

I loved the warm up, but loved seeing the snow again too, to cover up those icy roads.

Take care!

Chassidy said...

So THAT'S why you never took me up on watching Maddie so you and Josh could go out when you lived down here! LOL!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...came across this blog and read most the posts (I guess I must love torture). This post is actually the only one that doesn't consist primarily of complaining and whining. Kudos for that, I suppose.
On another note, you may want to talk about more than just you and your fam....unless it's just a blog to stay "distantly connected" to your far-away friends and family.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts! And I totally agree on your rules of daycares/ husband and I believe the same way...we had the kids, they are our kids, we will raise them, no one else will! I can count on one hand the amount of times someone watched the kids for us so we could 'go out'...if we went out, we brought the kids with!! LOL Really enjoyed your posting about your trip to ND as you were about 3 hours from me!
Lynn in MN