Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Waddle Song

So I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now...pretty much ever since the song came to mind, I've just never actually sat down to really make up the words. It's not "Weird Al" quality by any means, but the title line sure gets stuck in my head whenever I waddle anywhere.

Anyway, this is sung to the tune of "The Wassail Song," which is a rarely-sung New Year's song. I only know that because I looked it up. I always assumed it was a Christmas song. Of course, that might be due to the fact that the first time I heard it was on the California Raisin's Christmas Special when I was like 10. If you want to hear what the tune sounds like, go to this website.


Here I come a-waddling
I used to be so lean!
Here I come a-waddling
This big, I've never been!
Love and joy come to you,
And someday you'll waddle too!
And God bless you, and send you
A healthy little kid!
And God send you a healthy little kid!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bottoms Up

Parts of this may be tmi (too much information) for some of you. If you or your spouse has had a kid already, it's probably not, but if you haven't, then just be prepared or don't read the first couple of paragraphs. _DO_ read on after that though!

So VNB and I went to the big, 36-week check-up on Monday. While there, they did all the normal stuff (weight, pee in a cup, listen to heartbeat, answer questions, measure fundal height), plus a few more things (more bloodwork, vaginal exam, and two midwives independently checked the position of the baby).

Well, as usual, my weight gain was twice the "normal" of a pound a week, but they've stopped mentioning it at all, so I guess they figure that there's nothing to be done about it at this point. Plus, no one that knew me before can believe that I've put on 40 lbs, so it must at least _mostly_ be Baby. Peeing in a cup was normal, as were the heart tones, and I haven't heard anything back from the bloodwork, so it was probably fine too.

The midwife said that I was probably already a little dilated, about 50% effaced, and that she could feel the head. Then both of them felt up my belly and determined that the baby was head-down, as it's supposed to be at this point. So, things were good!

BUT, I was measuring small again (that's that fundal height thing), so I should go for another ultrasound, just in case. Their first available appointment was next Friday, so we weaseled/whined our way into a 10:30 cancellation.

The very first thing the tech said to us? "Well, the baby's breech."


Now, Baby had definitely been doing some major acrobatics in the waiting room, so it's possible that s/he just turned around for the pictures...but it's also possible that Baby's butt is round enough that both midwives thought it was his/her head.

Baby's still in the "frank breech" position that they were at the last ultrasound (remember how cute we thought it was that they were going to be a gymnast or a diver because of the pike position? Yeah...not so cute anymore.). If Baby doesn't turn, and if we can find a midwife/OB willing to do so, this is actually the only breech position that can be delivered vaginally with relative ease (the butt's not shaped _that_ much differently than the head, it's just a little smaller)...but otherwise, we're looking at a c-section. Our midwives have already told me to go ahead and schedule an appointment with their back-up OBs, just in case.

In the meantime, there are things I can be doing (exercises and stuff) to try to convince the baby to flip over. Also, there is anecdotal evidence that my stress level may cause the baby to feel the need to comfort me (or him/herself) by snuggling up by my heart and voice. So, theoretically, now that I'm done with meetings and rehearsals and concerts and can relax some, Baby should relax and flip over. I can also try putting ice packs on the top of my belly with light and music (or VNB's voice) near the bottom (of the belly).

Then there's "moxibustion." An acupuncturist takes these sticks of something, lights them, and puts them as close as I can stand to my little toes. For some reason, this makes the baby move around a lot and apparently flip over. I, personally, have always shied away from acupuncture. I'm not a huge fan of getting needles stuck into me to begin with, but to have them stay there for long periods of time while I look at them is like the worst thing ever. But add to that all of the "eastern mysticism" stuff and I'd just rather try something else. Except that this doesn't involve needles, and I've heard (and read) from multiple sources that it's actually pretty reliable for getting babies to turn. And getting this baby to turn is something that I'd _REALLY_ like to do. But I'm still in a bit of a quandary...because a lot of acupuncture, I firmly believe, is based on you believing that it will work. If I don't think it will, then it's probably not gonna. But I also don't want to leave any stone unturned.

Anyway, so I'd be interested in your opinion on acupuncture/pressure and/or moxibustion.

I'd also like all of you who are pray-ers to be praying this baby over for me. We were really hoping for an all natural birth in the birthing center rather than at a hospital. If Baby doesn't turn and we don't change practitioners, we're looking at major abdominal surgery in a hospital with lots of drugs, a much longer recovery time, and which adds all sorts of health risks to both me and the baby.

This baby may only be half "Turner," but as my dad said, "Turn! Turner, Turn!"

And, this baby just needs to realize that it should go ahead and practice for all those years ahead of him/her when, to the amusement of many a minister/musician, the entire congregation of mostly non-drinkers throws back their "shot" of grape juice during communion. That's right Baby, "Bottoms up!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Open Letter to Crest Pro-Health

Dear Crest Pro-Health,

When you tell me that, unlike other brands, Crest Pro-Health "protects [among other things] gingivitis and plaque," you make me want to avoid your product. Why would I want a toothpaste that keeps gingivitis and plaque safe? And yet that's what that woman in a white lab coat tells me with a smile every time your commercial comes on. Like it's a good thing. To protect gingivitis and plaque. Are they going extinct? Do they really _need_ our protection? If so, wouldn't it be _far_ more protective for us to not brush our teeth at all?

These are the thoughts that run through my head every time I see your commercial. I don't think that's the message you're trying to get across. If it _is_, then I apologize for taking up your time, but I ask that you find a way to return to me the brain cells that I have expended in trying to answer these questions every time I see your commercial.

Thank you.


Princess Leia

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Toting the Weary Load...

We're coming to the end of the line here in terms of the pregnancy, thank goodness. It's really not that I think we're completely prepared to be parents or anything, nor have I really given much thought at all to what the baby will be like, even though I keep hearing that that's what all expectant mothers's just that gestating a baby is hard, exhausting work. I have never been so tired in my life. Our house is a complete wreck right now, but I just can't get up the energy to do anything to fix that. We've got a Christmas tree....that has nothing on doesn't help that we're also getting in the cabinets for the kitchen that we ordered days before VNB's car died. He's putting those in himself, so right now every available space in the kitchen (and dining room) is overtaken by what was in the old cabinets which have already come down. The rest of the house is overtaken by clutter and or new cabinets, still in their boxes.

BUT, there IS a light at the end of this tunnel. While I've had something to do every evening since last Friday (last Thursday was my last free evening, and the earliest I've gotten home since then was about 8:30 PM...after leaving most mornings around 5:45 AM), we have the next two evenings completely free!!!!! VNB can work on the cabinets (once he gets the "pantry" cabinet in - and that's the first, apparently - a lot of the kitchen clutter can find a new home), and I can rest and do small projects (tonight's assignment is actually to clean out the cars as they weren't exactly "neat" either). Yay! And then after our last Christmas musical performance on Sunday night, we've got an entire WEEK of free evenings!!!! Followed by a "date" on Saturday and Christmas Eve services on Sunday, followed by another whole WEEK of free evenings (well, we're having dinner with his aunt and uncle one night, but that's not _so_ bad in terms of staying out late, etc.) _AND_ at least one day off of work for each of us, _AND_ my folks will be in town visiting, which might raise VNB's stress level some (mostly because he's worried about not getting the kitchen back together before they get here), but it'll help with mine considerably, I think. Then it's New Year's and then the last ~two weeks before Baby finally appears.

But that last month, we've got NOTHING. No FAITH training, no choir rehearsals, no specifically-planned group activities. If we go out, it'll be because we just want to hang out with each other and/or with friends. And the rest of the time, we'll be home being homebodies and resting before the "big show." :)

And I am looking forward to that, let me tell you. Last night, the last night of the marathon week, I had made it almost the whole way through the rehearsal. I wasn't standing to sing in order to save my strength for the weekend, but even so it was hard. And when we got to the very last song, just out of the blue, I had to fight back tears of exhaustion. I think it was because, at that moment, I was hit by the realization that on Saturday and Sunday I get to do, not only what I'd done that night (and to a lesser extent on Monday night as well), but do it while standing a good bit of the time, in a black dress, and with even more stage lights turned on at times (making it just that much hotter). And when the choir spontaneously decided to drop their music (not a song I have memorized, which adds stress), sway (extra motion and heat), and clap (something that requires concentration at least at times), I think I just couldn't take any more. I'd mostly gotten control of myself by the time the song ended, but I think the guy next to me must have seen some of the emotion because when he sat down, he promptly told me to go home. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth (and knowing that everyone would completely understand), I got up, got VNB's attention, and we left. And it was good.

I'm not necessarily ready for a baby, but I'm definitely ready to not be pregnant anymore. I should be "trading it all for the joy of the Lord," but right now I'm just fighting to stay upright and not cry from the strain.

But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I really hope it's not a train.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well that was...unexpected

So yesterday morning on our way to work, the dreaded "Check Engine" light came on in VNB's '96 Chevy Blazer that he bought from his uncle for ~$3000 about a year-and-a-half ago. While we waited to pick a friend up, we used his handy-dandy little code reader thing to find out what the error was, causing the light. It was error code 1870 - bottom line, transmission troubles.

So, after dropping me at the metro, VNB brought the car to the local dealership. Later on he called me with the news: They can fix the current issue for ~$500 and put a 5-mo warranty on it, but if something else dies (and that was highly likely), they'll need to replace the whole transmission. They have one on the shelf, but it'll cost ~$3000. After only a few minutes of discussion, it was decided that it wasn't worth it to put a new transmission (costing the same amount as the car did) into a 10-yr-old, we can afford a second car note right now that I'm working....but we don't anticipate me working (even part-time) forever, so if we're gonna do it, we should do it now rather than later.

So...we were buying a car. We very quickly decided against a brand new one (VNB wanted it, but the instant depreciation was too much for me), but both of us wanted a relatively late model that we knew would last us for a while. Since it was the end of the month and dealerships would be wanting to meet quotas, we figured we should start looking immediately, so VNB checked out CarMax.

First car that popped up from his search? 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD automatic, 22k miles, $22k. That was definitely a car we'd discussed in the past, so he had CarMax hold it for us for the day so that we could take a look at it after work.

But when he returned to the dealership to pick up his Blazer, they were waiting for him. They told him to search the lot for a car he was interested in. Of course, waiting for him was the Equinox that he'd been eyeing for years - 2005, AWD, automatic, 33k miles, $19k ("but we can go lower"). They couldn't hold it for him (and I was in a meeting right then, so couldn't answer when he called), but they could let him test drive it for the night and bring it back the next he did. There was clearly some wear and tear on the car (door handles and buttons were worn, a wheel hub had obviously scraped something, as had one bumper, etc.), but it drove _pretty_ well (VNB notices vibrations that no one else can feel), and it _definitely_ had a lower step than our Blazer or my Escape (non-hybrid) (this is an issue for me right now with my big belly - lifting my feet to get into a car has become painful).

So we test drove the Equinox to CarMax to check out the Hybrid (heehee).

We both got to drive the hybrid (VNB thought it had stalled one time that it switched over to the electric motor), and the salesman (who wasn't expecting us as early as we came and so was involved elsewhere too) gave us plenty of time to discuss. While we were discussing it, we happened across another Equinox in their showroom - same make, model, amenities (except no sun roof), about the same miles, and in better physical shape...but only $17k.

Not liking the feel of the Chevy dealer's Equinox or the fact that their initial price was so much higher, we took that off the table. So the decision was down to the Equinox at CarMax (that we hadn't driven), and the Hybrid. We went through the math of how much we were gonna save with the _MUCH_ better gas mileage with the hybrid (a minimum of ~$40/month), figured out how long it would take us to recoup the $7k difference in price (a long time), wondered about tax credits for used hybrids (still don't know the answer to that one), wondered whether maintenance would cost more on a hybrid and if CarMax's extended warranty would cover the "hybrid" parts too (except for the batteries themselves, it does), didn't want to buy it just because it was "cool" (although that was definitely a factor for both of us), wondered why a lightly-used hybrid was sitting at CarMax when it was only two years old, and basically were both afraid to make a decision.

So we did what anyone would do in that situation. That's right. We flipped a coin (hey - that's how they picked out Jonah...casting lots is entirely Biblical...really.... ;p ). Heads, we took the hybrid, tails, the Equinox (or at least, not the hybrid, not right now - although they couldn't hold it for us overnight, so it might not be there later if we wanted time to think it over). Mostly I just wanted to see how we reacted to the coin flip - if we were happy/relieved to see that it was heads or disappointed that it was tails (or vice versa). It was heads...and we were both scared to admit that that was what we wanted.

But we both knew that wanting something and knowing that we ought to buy something are two different even flipping a coin didn't really help that much (although the anecdotal "signage" from God was mounting).

But CarMax has that nice 7-day no questions asked return policy, so we figured we could still take our time with the final, FINAL decision and still not pass up on the opportunity.

So after waking up with no expectations of getting a new car anytime soon, we went to bed with a 2001 Escape, a 2005 Escape Hybrid, a borrowed 2005 Equinox, and a 1996 Blazer.

Since the Blazer's transmission is going to die very soon, we figured we wouldn't get a very good deal from CarMax for it, so we're going to give it to a charity we just have to figure out which one. So, to aid in that transition, this morning VNB drove the Equinox with me following behind in the Hybrid (probably one of the last times I'll get to drive it :). We dropped the Equinox off at his work, he dropped me off at the metro, then dropped the Hybrid off at his work, drove the Equinox over to the dealership, and presumably gave it back, returning to work in the Blazer. The Blazer will stay in the lot at his work until we find a charity to take it. Which means that we're driving the hybrid home and will be back to having only two cars there. It was/is quite the dance.

Life (God) keeps doing this to us. Leia's back from Iraq for two months? Oh - meet VNB. Six months later? Engaged. Six months after that? Married. Two months later? Pregnant, and a new/old job. We finally get caught up on debts and bills, with a little in the bank? Need a new car. Two months from now? New baby, job/life drastically changes. I feel like I'm in one of those Nationwide commercials - "Life comes at you fast. Don't you wish everything did?" Just two years ago I was travelling the world, with very few strings to tie me down. Now I'm married, about to have a baby, with a "real" job, a mortgage, and two car notes.

I feel like I need to stop and catch my breath (at the very least). Another part wants to run. I've chucked it all once before, why not again? But then I look on my desk and see VNB staring out at me from our very first picture together. Not only am I reminded of how hot he is every time I see that picture, but his eyes do for me exactly what they do in real life - they settle me down. There's no doubt that being with him is the right thing and right now, that means marriage, mortgage, car notes, and a baby on the way.

Next to that picture is one from our wedding. Now, he's hot in the first picture I described, but that's in an approachable kind of way. On the day of our wedding, he was scorching, too-hot-to-touch hot (I think it's the combination of the haircut and the suit...and just his general hotness...have I mentioned that I think he's hot?). But that's all really beside the point.

Next to that picture is the sonogram pic I posted several months ago of our baby sucking his/her thumb in utero. Despite my ever-expanding girth (pics to follow soon) and my constant state of discomfort, it's still hard to believe sometimes that I'm pregnant and will soon be a mommy. But the little one in that picture is so precious, with all of those little baby parts being so perfectly knit together...and is certainly making sure I know they're there with the constant indigestion and the dance parties... Despite the excruciating leg cramps and dreams of Martha Stewart (don't ask) that interrupted my slumber last night, and despite the fact that it's getting hard to walk with a 35+-lb bowling ball strapped to my belly...I know that the baby's just _right_ for right now too. (Plus, with walking as difficult as it is, running is certainly out of the question, and even if I _did_ run, the baby would still be attached when I got to where ever I was going, so there's not exactly any escaping this one. ;p )

I guess, really, I've just exchanged one type of spontaneity and freedom for another. Before, I could go where I wanted, when I wanted (basically). Now, there's someone who's got my back if something goes wrong, and with whose management we've been able to get to the point where it was OK for us to be unexpectedly pregnant, and to where we could discover one day that we needed to buy a car...and actually buy one that same day (and have it be a cool one!!!)!

So, surprise! We've got a hybrid, and we think it's cool! And so far, I think we're gonna keep it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So let me recount my Sunday morning to you. Believe me, it's worth the read...

I got up in plenty of time to take a leisurely shower, fix and eat breakfast, get dressed, and get to church in plenty of time to get ready to sing the special music at the 8 AM service. I had a good bit of stuff to carry in, so getting out of the car was a bit of a chore, but I managed. So I sang in the service, then sat in my Sunday School room, reading a magazine, waiting for everyone to get there when VNB called...

"It's going to be really hard for me to get to church today." You see, I had taken his car instead of mine since his has a tape deck and mine doesn't and I wanted to go over my song a few times on the way. That wouldn't have been a problem except that I'm the only one with a key to my he was stuck at home.

So I wrote a note to the class explaining our absence and began gathering my things when I realize that I couldn't find my keys. I'd set all of my stuff down in several locations throughout the church over the course of the morning though, so I began retracing my steps. Coming up empty, my last stop is in the church office where I asked if anyone's turned any keys in. Since no one had, the office manager offered to check my car for me (did I mention that it was VERY rainy on Sunday?). As I'm standing inside, waiting for him to return, someone else who's just come in asked, " that _your_ car that's on?"


So the office manager returns, verifying that a) the keys are in the car, and b) the car is indeed running. (And had been since I'd gotten there two hours previously.)

So I went back to my Sunday School room to borrow a car to go get VNB (who has spare keys to _his_ car, just not mine). One of the girls let me borrow her car and I proceeded to pop the hood with my left hand while keeping my right hand on the emergency brake. After closing the hood and successfully disengaging the brake, I began my trek home to get VNB.

It is at that point that I performed the most difficult task of all - I called him to let him know what was happening. He very quickly told me to turn around because there's a key in a magnetic box under the back bumper....oh, and when I left at 7:15 (over an hour before he got up), I left the front door open. Now, our door has springs on it, so it's not like it was wide open or anything, but the springs aren't strong enough to actually get the door to latch, so it wasn't just unlocked, it was obviously open.


So I turned around and headed back to church. As I (almost 7-months pregnant, in a dress and heels, holding an umbrella, in the rain) was squatting behind the car, searching in vain for the hide-a-key, one of the guys from the church walked by and offered assistance. He managed to find the key, but neither of us could actually get the box (which was pretty wet by then, as were our hands) open. So we went inside, dried off the box, practically had to break it, but finally got it open.

So we trekked back out with the key, opened the door and discovered that not only had the car been _ON_ for over two hours, it had been on and in _DRIVE_ for over two hours. I'd put the emergency brake on, but had never put it into park.


So then I returned my friend's car keys and headed home to pick up VNB. We missed Sunday School completely (although they _DEFINITELY_ enjoyed a "few" chuckles at my expense - especially as I came and went with story updates), but made it back in time for the service.

You know...they talk about "pregnancy" or "placenta brain," but up until now (despite what VNB might tell you), I haven't been any more absent-minded than normal really....but wow....all of that to happen at once! Here's hoping that I've gotten it all over with and will now revert to normal, because it's going to be a very _long_ two months otherwise.

Yeah...I'm not holding my breath, don't worry. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Hopefully most of you have seen "The Dark Crystal." It was a (kinda slow, but otherwise VERY good) movie that came out in 1982 whose cast was entirely Muppets (but no one from Sesame Street or The Muppet Show - and incidentally, there's apparently a sequel in the works!). One of the characters was named Aughra. In looking for pictures of her, I've discovered that she's both male and female, just that the male part of her has shrivelled by the time of the movie. Who knew? (Well, beside the guy whose website I got that tidbit from...) Anyway, I'll call her a "her" since that's how I've always thought of her (and I think how they address her in the movie).

So here's a pic:

Now you might wonder why I'm posting about her. Well, the reality of the situation is that, while I'm still part hobbit in my eating habits (and expanding hairiness), I think I'm now becoming part Aughra too. Not only does she do a good "pregnant lady" impression (leaning forward with a pot belly and holding her back), but she also groans/grunts like every time she moves.

Especially at night now (when I'm lying down) or when I'm trying to get up from a chair or the couch, that's become me. I've even woken VNB up a couple of times as I've rolled over in bed, not because of the motion, but because of the grunting required to turn my hips (with their extra 30 lbs). It's not pretty.

Pretty funny, but not pretty. :)

Anyway, for those who wonder how pregnancy feels/is treating me...well, apparently I become Muppet-like. When I start growing purple fur, a big orange nose, or wings, I'll let you know.

Fire Drill

So we had a pre-announced fire drill in our building today. Let me rephrase that - we're currently having a pre-announced fire drill in our building today. Why am I sitting here blogging, you ask? Well, the building/company policy is that pregnant women (and the otherwise infirm) are supposed to stay in a room with a window and a phone with someone who is not infirm, call 911, and wait for the firemen to rescue them. So, while the rest of my office has to wait outside in the cold, I get to sit in my office and blog. Theoretically, I'm supposed to go to someone else's office to wait for the firemen, but since we know it's a drill (and we're not supposed to call 911), and he knows that I'm in my office (he's walked by twice now), I get to sit in my office and do whatever I want.

The only downside is that our hallway's fire alarm is literally right outside my door...and not only that, but there's a HUGE amount of static for the "There HAS been an emergency reported in the building. Please immediately evacuate using marked stairways and exits. Do NOT use the elevators." The siren is usually the annoying part. This time it's all the rest. And I get to listen to it probably for the entire half-hour that the people are supposed to stay outside.

I feel like I'm playing hookey from school or something (only with a _LOT_ more static). Baby moves around, I wonder what s/he is thinking of all the noise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ego Boost

I, a lady who is (at least in my own eyes) obviously pregnant, was hit on by a construction worker when leaving the Metro this morning.

You heard me right.

Dude had been sitting in a seat near mine and had handed me my lunch bag when it threatened to roll away during the trip. After we got off the train, he introduced himself and asked what I did. When he heard that I was an aerospace engineer, he (like many people) started talking about airplanes. When I mentioned that I was more into rockets, he then explained how his model airplane hobby really wanted to take a rocket kind of turn.

When we got to the main escalator (which I use as my daily exercise regimen - that's one LONG escalator and I manage to walk my ginormous body up it every day), he said that what he really wanted to talk to me about was me.

Now I give him several points, so single guys out there, listen up:
1) He was bold. But he wasn't scared to talk to me. That was, incidentally, one of VNB's main selling points (among many other things, but that was definitely one of the first things I noticed). Now, this can be taken too far, but it's refreshing when the guy isn't afraid of you.
2) He was obviously being sincere when he said it was something about my eyes (HA!). I mean, seriously. How does one not notice that a girl is SIX MONTHS PREGNANT?!!! unless they're really only looking at her face? Now granted, during the time that he was admiring my eyes, I was seated with a jacket on over a sweater, but still...he didn't talk to me until we were both standing and walking. He could have bailed at that point and I would never have even noticed.

When he said that what he really wanted to talk about was me, I responded with, "Well, my husband probably wouldn't appreciate that, especially with our little one six months on the way (while patting my belly)." Again, two points in the guy's favor:
A) He looked genuinely surprised when I mentioned being six months pregnant (which reinforces point 2, above), and
B) He immediately backed off. I mentioned that walking the escalator was my morning exercise and he made a motion to walk with me, but then changed his mind.

It was a very pleasant encounter from start to finish, all things considered. But all in all, it was quite the ego boost and honestly made my morning far more enjoyable than it otherwise could have been.


(Another, unrelated "HA!" - apparently Blogger's spell check includes the word "ginormous!" Ok, that one's more of a "Heehee," but still...)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Updating (for two)

Well, we've been incident-free since the notorious "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." Additionally, VNB's been able to work almost "normal" hours the past two weeks, _AND_ we finally got old appliances out and all of our stuff has a home again (except for one very small box of odds and ends that I've already gone through), so life is returning to a semblance of "normal." The nursery is basically done. We've gotta put the knobs back on the dresser, but otherwise, all painting, bordering, and re-organizing is done! I've even managed to start the last of our registries. The bulk of the baby stuff is registered for at Target. If the link doesn't work, you can just search for me in MD and the event in January and you should find us pretty easily. As I said, it's only a start (the store I went to didn't have a very good selection), but it'll do for now. I'll add more in the days to come.

VNB is catching up on his childbirth class reading...and man is he dangerous when he knows things. He's starting to actually make sure that I've been doing my exercises! I've been skating by up till now because he was too stressed to pay attention to things like that. Now I'll actually have to work! :) And, God bless him, he did the dishes last night. I didn't ask him to, and they hadn't even been there that long...he just got up and did them when we got home. We'd even had company on Saturday and used the nice china (we finally have enough for four people!) which had to be done by hand. Have I mentioned how nice he is? ;p

But it's amazing how much the stress is reduced when the house is in some semblance of order. No more piles of things on tables. We can come home and relax because we're basically caught up. There's just not much else to do that doesn't require multiple free hours on a Saturday (like laundry). I'm sure this is just the calm before the storm of holidays followed closely by new baby, but it sure is nice! Of course, we don't have a completely free Saturday until possibly the week before the baby comes, if you count major holiday weekends as "not free" (i.e., we don't have specific plans for the Saturdays before Christmas or New Year's, but we'll probably have family in town, so there will likely be things to do)...but the rest of life is no longer pressing in all around us.

I guess that's good since we have our official "kick-off" meeting tomorrow for the big contract I'm gonna be working on (FINALLY! Something to do at work!!!). That'll be really cool work, but might require some extra hours over the next couple of months. That's good though. Every hour I work extra is either one less hour of sick leave I have to take for baby appointments (which happen every other week now!), or it's one hour sooner that I qualify for FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act - I'll be 10 hours short of the required minimum at the start of the day on the baby's due date). :) Plus, while I won't get "overtime" (i.e., time and a half pay), they _will_ actually pay us for our extra hours, as opposed to normal when they claim that we're salaried, so shouldn't get paid more if we happen to need to work extra (but try and turn that logic backwards to explain why we shouldn't have to take vacation/sick time to account for less than our normal hours and see how quickly that changes!)! is good and restful right now. Which is nice because every time I move, something hurts. :) The joys of being almost 30 lbs heavier than normal! I tell you what though, for all they say that being pregnant makes it difficult to breathe (which should make it hard to sing, theoretically), I've had no such problems (so far). Instead, I feel like I can sing better! I've always had such a wimpy, little ("sweet") voice - primarily because I've got such a wimpy little frame (aka "resonant cavity"). I mean, it was like when we were playing catch outside the dorms in college. My guy friends would tell me to "put my weight behind it" when I couldn't throw very far. I'd remind them that I was - I just didn't weigh as much as they did. Same with singing - the bigger your rib cage, and the more "heft" you have behind it, generally, the "bigger" your voice (which is why opera singers tend to be big boned). Well with a painfully expanding rib cage and 30+ more pounds on me, my resonant cavity and extra heft are doing wonders! I'm rockin' out in choir right now! It's awesome! :)

That's not to say that I intend to _keep_ the extra pounds once Baby escapes...but it's been a nice little added bonus. :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ok, just in case I didn't mention this, IF Baby Jones is a boy (we don't know), his middle name will be the same as his father and paternal grandfather's middle name, and his some-number-of-greats-on-VNB's-side grandfather's first name - Alexander. Plus it's such a great book, and the title was very fitting to yesterday, that we're going with it for now. But that doesn't mean that we know the sex of the baby, because we don't. And that's all you'll hear about his/her name too.

Anyway, on to yesterday...or the days before really....

Looking back (and with a _MUCH_ clearer head than I had yesterday), I can see some signs that might mean I was fighting some type of infection Sunday and Monday...but there was nothing overly significant to really catch my attention. I just didn't sleep much Sunday night, which made me feel bad enough that by the time I _got_ to work on Monday (very late), I'd decided to come back home. After a nap, I thought I was doing better. Still, VNB and I took it pretty easy Monday night.

Tuesday morning, I'd slept better (although still not well), but I was running late, as usual. So when I finally convinced myself to fight the bed gravity, I did what all pregnant women do - I ran to the bathroom to relieve myself. While wiping, I saw what all pregnant women fear most - blood. Not a lot, but definitely fresh blood.

Knowing that this is a SIGN YOU DON'T IGNORE, I called our midwives' emergency line. I gave the lab tech the info and she said the midwife would call me in a few minutes. Then I called VNB and told him what was happening and that I was waiting for the midwife to call back. Then I called my mom and Aunt Mom and left (apparently very frightened-sounding) voicemail messages for them to call me back ASAP. My poor mom, being at school, couldn't call me (I was coherent enough to leave my number (which is just a button to her on the phone at home), but it didn't occur to me that it'd be long-distance, so she wouldn't be able to call back), so she called my dad and sister (who were both home for fall break) to get them to get more info. But she spent a while in agony, I'm sure, wondering what was wrong and with whom.

Anyway, so the midwife called and we talked through my symptoms and she said that I should put in a pad and she'd call back in 30-45 minutes to see if there'd been any more bleeding. She thought that it _probably_ wasn't an emergency, but this would let us know with at least a little more certainty. So I did that, then called VNB back (he'd called twice while I was talking to the midwife). Sweetie that he is, he was literally already on his way home. Sure, there was a big guy from headquarters coming the next day that they had to prepare for, and sure he's currently doing like three peoples' jobs...but one teary phone call from me that something _might_ be wrong, and five minutes later, he's in his car on his way home. I know I mentioned the other day how great he is, but it definitely bears repeating.

Then there was nothing to do but wait. I didn't have to lie in bed or anything, but I really wasn't good for that much, so I ended up just sitting in our Lay-Z-Boy. Monkey (the cat) very astutely climbed onto my knees and lay down, purring. No attempts at getting me to pet her, no rubbing of any kind. She just climbed up, laid down, and purred. There is very little in the world that is more soothing than a cat who is actually not being needy.

I'd like to say that I spent this time singing praise songs or reading my Bible or something similarly "religious," but I didn't. Mostly I sat there talking to my belly, telling it to kick its mamma. Baby was always very obliging, if a little weaker than normal. I couldn't really think much past that and trying to stay as calm as possible.

But the time finally passed and the midwife called back and there hadn't been any more bleeding, so it probably wasn't anything serious. We could get an ultrasound to see if the placenta had moved or something, but otherwise, there was really very little they could do to try to figure out what had caused it. Medically, she thought I was fine to go to work. Emotionally, she thought I was fine to stay home.

About that same time, Aunt Mom called back and got the scoop, then Elianna called and while I was talking to her, my dad called and VNB came home. Poor VNB was very patient in letting me field phone calls before he'd even gotten the whole story. But he finally did get the whole story and we talked about the sonogram. Since it wasn't necessarily going to show us anything (the bleeding and pain weren't ever anywhere close to bad enough for it to make the midwife think it was a placental abruption or previa, which were the only things that the sonogram _would_ be able to show), and since we'd basically have to go to the sonogram place and sit there, hoping they had a few minutes to fit us in, we decided against it and in favor of just taking the day off.

We both had conference calls for work we could sit in on from home, so neither of us lost the _entire_ day's work, AND we (mostly he) ended up getting a lot of the house back in order (it was still a mess from moving everything out of the nursery for redecorating - not everything has found a new home yet). That was a BIG stress reliever for both of us.

I spent most of the rest of the day in my bathrobe, forcing myself to eat and go to the bathroom when I needed to. Part of me would rather just not look than see that there might be more blood, but I'd always convince myself to go eventually, and there was never anything there to be worried about. Occasionally, someone would call to check up on me (or I'd have visions of emergency c-sections and months in neo-natal intensive care for a baby born three months premature) and I'd get a little teary again, but mostly my brain just rested and regrouped.

Eventually VNB and I went out for dinner, then spent a nice, quiet evening in. I think I might have finally found a pillow combination that is actually conducive to sleep, so after a few minutes of feeling like I was too wide awake to ever sleep again, I blinked and it was like four hours later. That convinced me that I _could_ sleep, and I did (very well) for the rest of the night. Today VNB and I are both back to work, like normal, and I feel fine. Baby is back to kickboxing as hard as s/he can (and that's pretty hard, let me tell you), and the day that started out so terribly, turned out for good.

I'm still very glad that it's over though. And I hope that we never have to do that again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Is This Parenting?

So I just got back from a funeral. I only remember meeting the guy who died twice, but his sister is a dear friend of mine and was one of my bridesmaids, so I went to the funeral. Dennis was the same age as my older brother (32) when he died suddenly and unexpectedly of what they suspect was pneumonia.

My first memory of him was from high school. His family had moved into the Laurel area shortly after my family had left, but he was in Sunday School one of the times I came back to visit. I don't remember really talking to him, but I remember thinking he was kinda cute. Many years later (and yet still many years ago), I played piano for his twin sister's wedding. At the reception, he ended up sitting at my table for a while. We chatted/flirted during the reception until near the end when he finally asked if I was ever going to dance. I told him I'd dance if anyone would ever ask me. So he asked (after a minute where the thought that was clearly going through his head was, "It can't be that simple"), and we danced. The next Sunday, his mom told me that he'd said I was the prettiest girl at the wedding.

So, while those are both very pleasant memories, I really didn't know him at all. But I still found myself crying during the funeral. Partly it was because my bridesmaid gave the eulogy, with tears in her eyes and voice the whole time, and I'm definitely a sympathy crier. Partly it was because Baby hormones make my crying proclivity much harder to keep in check than normal. But mostly, I think it was because I was imagining myself in the situation of having to bury my child. It didn't help that one of the songs played was "Held" which talks about the unfairness of a two-month-0ld dying in their mother's arms while she prays.

I've heard my mom and dad talk about that thought a couple of times and brushed it aside as silly thinking...but the full horror of it really hit me while looking at the family sitting in front of that box.

Is this what parenting really is? Thinking about all of the "what ifs?" What if they get really sick? What if something goes wrong? You're warned about midnight feedings and colic and dirty diapers, and you get to experience through friends' kids the joys of playing and watching them grow...but is this really the secret that is parenting? The horror of "what if?"

But the thing is, as hard as it would be for us to lose this baby at any point in his or her's hard to even hard as it would be, "we" would still be a "we." I'd still have VNB with me. I wouldn't have to go through it all alone.

But if it were him...and I had to somehow raise our baby alone...

Part of me misses the time when I could quit my job, sell my house, and move to Baghdad on a "whim." (And part of me is now ashamed at what I must have put my parents through when I did that.) Because then I wasn't tied down...there was no one else to consider. Sure, that meant that no one had my back when I could have used some help...but I was truly independent. Now I'm not. Now I have a husband and soon a child to care for...and to worry about.

I know that God gives grace in the moment, not in advance...which is why this is so scary right now. I'm sure that, in the moment, I'd be able to handle whatever happened. But the choice between being in Heaven with 'my Boyfriend' and being here on Earth with my husband (and child)....well that's a hard one. And it didn't used to be.

But the verse that keeps coming to mind is Mark 8:38 - that we can't know what it means to _really_ live until we throw away our lives for the sake of the Gospel. While it was "easy" enough to 'throw away' my own's not so easy to think of doing the same with the alien growing (and kick boxing) in my belly or with the Very Nice Beloved for whom I'm so grateful.

I guess this is where we mimic Jesus' prayer the night before He died and say, "Father, if it's possible, I'd rather this didn't have to happen.....but the bottom line is that what I want most is for Your will to happen, whatever that is."

Sometimes that's easier said than done though...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So, on my way to a meeting at church last night, I stopped into the local McDonald's for 50 grams of protein, otherwise known as two double cheeseburgers. That's half my daily required total right there, boieee! as I walk into the place thinking about how late I am and that I don't have time to use their restroom, I notice (at approximately the same time that he notices) an acquaintance from grad school. Basically, he got a grad assistantship at the research lab that my advisor directs (and where I'd worked as an undergrad), so while I was going part-time and working full-time, he was going full-time. I don't think we had any classes together, but he was always (overly) friendly whenever I was around the lab.

So it was one of those slightly embarrassing/uncomfortable moments of him greeting me like we were best friends and me being glad that I remembered his name. Not that there was ever anything socially or otherwise wrong with him...he just always seemed to be more familiar with me than I felt I was with him. Just one of those "not really on the same page" kinds of friendships.

But that's all beside the point. I haven't seen this guy, I guess since before I went it would have probably been Jan or Feb of 2003...over three years ago. Now, before then, my "story" was rather, shall we say, unusual - "rocket scientist," owned her own house at 23, KC-135 flights, business trips to Europe and Japan, saw a total solar eclipse while standing next to Scott Carpenter, lumps, had a former astronaut/Harrier pilot/Marine Colonel for a boss, not to mention a career high of 17 cats, worked on the Space Station Program, and that I was as involved as I was in my church.

But now you add to that...chucked it all, moved to Iraq for a year and a half with a humanitarian organization, fixed schools, fed the hungry, then came back, finished my MS, met a guy, went to Africa for a few weeks, married the guy a year after meeting him, and am in the process of having his baby 11 months after that while working for the same company I used to work for before going overseas, currently on the Space Shuttle Program, but hopefully switching to the Orion (Shuttle replacement/Moon landing) program soon.

Dude. Why does anyone believe me when I tell them this stuff? I mean, seriously?

Granted, every bit of it is true...but still...

It's like I'm Walter Mitty or something...only not making it all up...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Catching Up....For Two

Sorry it's been so long. I've had lots to say, just never got around to saying it. And, of course, now I'm drawing a complete blank. So I'll go with the "joke" part that I still vaguely remember. Maybe the rest will come back as I type.

I'm sure most people have heard or have said themselves that, when pregnant, someone is "eating for two" now. Well these are the variations that I've heard (or said) so far in my own pregnancy:

- After hearing that I had backed into a support post in a parking garage (with no damage to the garage, and minimal damage to my car), Aunt Mom told me I needed to be careful because I was "Driving for two" now. Much to my own personal amusement, since it was over email.

- After giving up his (slightly more comfy) chair to me at a staff meeting, a co-worker explained that it was because I was "Sitting for two" now. Much to the amusement of the staff sitting around.

- While watching CouponMaven (who is also pregnant now! Woohoo!) play hackeysack with GIJoe and some others during the clean-up after some friends' wedding, and while marvelling at the fact that a) she could hackey in the first place (even without a big, fat, baby belly, I was never coordinated enough to hackey much), b) she could hackey while in 2"-heeled boots (wide heels, so it wasn't like she was in much danger of falling or anything), and c) she could hackey while pregnant, I commented that we were mostly amazed because she was "Hackying for two." Much to the amusement of the others waiting around with us at the time.

I think I had a couple more examples, but they're lost to me at the moment. Feel free to add pithy comments. Only rules are that your examples have to take the form of "verb-ending-in-ing for two" and shouldn't be _too_ risque. PG or less, preferably.

In terms of catching people up (for two), things are good right now. As you can see in my previous post, VNB has been very good to me lately, despite having huge amounts of extra stress at work (a co-worker quit, leaving him responsible for two full-time jobs, which has been exacerbated by inexperienced underlings, honeymooning and vacationing staff, and other staff just not showing up). At the same time though, we're about to pay off the last of our big (non-school, house, or car-related) debt, the nursery is slowly coming together (all that's really left is to put up one last small strip of border and re-install the closet doors), which means that the rest of the house is losing its clutter, bit-by-bit (schweyah, schweyah), which, with the addition of a dishwasher that actually works means that the house is cleaner and less stress-inducing. Plus, I'm feeling _worlds_ better and can do lots more. And the "discussion" VNB and I had after the first childbirth class really helped out with getting us on the same page about the baby and how we're both coping emotionally. It really feels like we're a team now. And that's a very safe and comfortable feeling, which very much adds to my general sense of peace and contentment.

Baby is going to be either a boxer or a dancer, I'm not sure which. All I know is that if these kicks/punches/pirouettes get any stronger, I'm gonna get bruises. My fundal height measured a bit small this past appointment (which might mean that the original due date was closer to accurate, although according to the "Woods method" we heard about in class last night, we're looking at sometime in early February!), but this time the midwife didn't "yell" about my weight gain (which was unexpectedly high - 6lbs in three weeks instead of a pound a week as recommended), she just asked if I felt like the baby had gone through a growth spurt. With the round ligament pain (basically uterus growing pains) I was in the week or so prior to the appointment, and the fact that I am suddenly unmistakably pregnant, regardless of my clothing (as opposed to possibly just having a big belly and/or wearing a really big shirt)...and then given the fact that pants that just last week would zip up with lots of room in the belt now have _much_ less room in the belt _and_ the zippers are at about half-mast (maternity pants with panels in the zippers so that they can be opened as you grow)...well...I'm guessing that there was some sort of growth spurt (although you'd never know it from my former waist-line measurements, which have been increasing very steadily). Everyone still comments on how small my belly is for 5.5 months though (I, of course, feel GINORMOUS and wonder how much bigger it's possible for me to get without my belly ripping off).

But there have been moments of terror too - like when Baby was kicking especially hard and I spoke gently, but firmly to him/her about how s/he needed to stop kicking his/her mommy so hard...only to realize that a) I was one of those crazy women who talk to their bellies, and b) I was going to be someone's _MOMMY_!!! That seems like a silly/trivial realization....but it was a moment of sheer terror/wonderment.

Now that I'm obviously pregnant in just about any piece of clothing, it's a little easier for me to deal with being "big" for the first time in my life. I don't have to worry about people thinking that I've put on a lot of weight for several reasons. For one, other than the big belly (and possibly my hips/butt), I haven't really. I mean, my bust is definitely more...ample...but not weirdly so, and I haven't really added any (or at least much) weight in my face (which is usually the first thing to fill out when my weight fluctuates). Plus, I can still fit into two of my five Sunday dresses...and one of them has only recently left the rotation and then solely because it was getting too short to be worn on stage with the burgeoning belly....which really makes me wonder at how much those clothes must have hung off of me previously that my waist can be almost a foot bigger than normal and _STILL_FIT_ into the dresses. But for all that I tease VNB (and he _HATES_ it when I do it) about me being "fat," I'm really just not. Pregnant, yes, fat, no. It's good now that I don't have to worry anymore about people mistaking that distinction. Of course, it makes me see exactly how vain I was/am about my figure, but VNB probably doesn't mind that too much as it'll be a good impetus for me to get it back, post-pregnancy.

What else? I dunno....I'll take some pictures once we get the nursery really "complete" and will make sure to add in some "look at how fat I am" pics too. :) But for now, I need to be be eating lunch (for two).

A Very Nice Boy

** Mush Alert **

Once upon a time, there was a Very Nice Boy. He grew up in North Carolina, but moved to Maryland for his job, post-college. He started going to a church in Maryland where no one said hello to him. Then I went overseas and he left that church, then came back and made some friends there. Then I came back when he was about to leave again, but he stayed.

My pastors were the first to tell me about him, but I thought he was too young. But he was refreshingly forward and cute, so when we started talking, it was pretty much all downhill from there for both of us.

In an amazingly sweet and thoughtful way, he proposed and became my Very Nice Betrothed. With minimal angst, we prepared for marriage and eventually had a perfect day when he became my Very Nice Beloved.

Since then, it's been about as blissful as expected (which is to say, not always bliss), even with unexpected things like it taking months for me to find a job and then discovering Baby before I started that job. Just the existence of Baby, added to my extreme sickness those first few months made life difficult, but he took good care of me through it all, which hopefully I repaid in kind when I could during that time, in addition to afterwards when his arm was broken, and especially now that I'm feeling better and his work has been so hard.

For all that neither of us was prepared for Baby to come so soon, he's been incredibly supportive of my desires for natural childbirth with midwife support. And when I felt like he wasn't really "into" the baby, he proved me wrong by painting and decorating the nursery, then by setting up the crib (as a surprise) one day during his third 60+-hour work week in a row (with several more expected). That same week, he fixed our broken garbage disposal AND got me a new dishwasher (ours put more dirt _on_ the dishes than it took off...which, when combined with a backed up sink, made for a pretty messy kitchen).

Fixed garbage disposals and new dishwashers may seem commonplace when talking about proposals, weddings, and babies (and surprise cribs, including bedding sets which had to be sent in secret from Grandma and Grandpa (his in-laws) in TN), but when everyone's stressed about the messy house and your VNB is working himself ragged, those kinds of commonplace things...and especially the time and energy they took to arrange, get, and install...are really some of the sweetest and most romantic guestures someone can make.

But sweetest of all, really, was the fact that my VNB, who at first had a really hard time sleeping with someone else in the bed, and with whom there have been many discussions over the appropriate amount of blanket and bed space to consume, discovered last night that he couldn't get to sleep without me there too.

Yeah...I'm a little crazy about him. He's even enjoying the childbirth classes we're going to! And still finds me sexy, even with my ginormous (well, to me anyway) baby belly.

Am I glad I waited all those years? Yeah. He's definitely been worth it. But mostly I'm amazed at how perfectly He brought us together, and at how good He is to me by giving me VNB. My baby's gonna have a great daddy. :)

** End Mushiness **

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I (Don't) Vant to Suck Your Blood

So I wasn't sure when I came back from Iraq if I could give blood (like I had pretty regularly prior to going). I had to get the malaria vaccine prior to going though, so I figured it was a pretty sure bet that they wouldn't take my blood. Since they didn't have my address or phone number anymore when I got back, they didn't call, so I didn't try.

But after I'd been at least out of Iraq for a year (although I'd been in Jordan that time a year previously), VNB was going, so I tagged along. Turns out, they wouldnt have taken my Iraqi-tainted blood, although my Jordanian-tainted blood was ok. But then I remembered that I'd just gotten back from three weeks in Nigeria. So it was another year (ending August 21, 2006) before I'd be eligible again.

Fast forward to now. There's no donation center anywhere near my work, so I wasn't really stressing about it too much...but then the building decided to organize a blood drive. Easy, convenient, close...but I wondered if I'd be eligible while pregnant, so before I signed up, I checked out their website.

You guessed it: nope. Come back six weeks after the baby's born.

Now, I gave like two days before either going to orientation or going overseas, but it'll still be February-April of 2003 since I've given blood and March of 2007 before I'm eligible again. Four years of them refusing my blood.

And I'm O+ - not universal, but the next best thing. And it's not at all that I begrudge the Baby my blood or anything...I guess I'm just wondering what I'm being protected from or supposed to learn by not being able to give blood for so long.

And I'm kinda upset because I was hoping to catch up to my dad someday (who's on like his fourth or fifth gallon by now), but a four-year hiatus won't help with that much (neither will the fact that they consistently forget to mark my card).

Anyway...they don't want me, and I feel rejected. Somebody who wouldn't have otherwise given needs to go out and give in my place since I can't.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Language Practice

So while wasting time at work today, I was playing Dominoes online at Yahoo! Games. You play against another person and there's the ability to chat with them while you play. Well, to begin with, someone who was just "watching" threw some Arabic (that I could actually read and understand) up, so I responded in transliterated Arabic (Arabic, but in English characters). They responded, but the font was so tiny, I couldn't make it out.....that was kinda cool though.....

But as time wore on, my opponent dropped out and another one joined. This one asked me how I was in French. I responded and we had a long conversation about what we did and were I lived, all in French! I was very proud of myself, especially when I remembered to ask where this other person was. When I found out they were in Algeria, I asked if they knew Arabic too! They did and asked if I wanted to speak that instead. I said it was fine, but I wasn't very good and I only spoke Iraqi. They asked if I knew the Classical (or Modern Standard) Arabic....I said no, just Iraqi.....and then we switched to English and I got back to work ( after the game ended.

I feel very sophisticated being able to carry on conversations in French, Arabic (well, sorta), and English! :) I'm actually kinda proud that my middle/high school French was as good as it was and that I managed to keep from mixing up the two languages! :)

Anyway, I was proud of myself and thought I'd share.

As Stewart says, "Look what I can do!"

Big, Fat Fatty McFatterson

My father-in-law had some vacation to kill, so he called up last week asking if we had any projects he could come up and help us with. Since we'd bought the paint for the nursery during the Labor Day sales, he came up to help with that. He was tasked (by my mother-in-law, who couldn't come) with taking pictures of me and VNB, the nursery, and our cat (their grandcat) Monkey. Well, here's a picture of me and Monkey (the only way to get her to stay anywhere is to have her "momma cat" (that's me) nearby).

Good Lord, do I look HUGE!!!!!!! And that's just my hips! We're not even talking baby belly. It's like I've grown to mammoth proportions....and there are still FOUR MONTHS to go!!!!

Granted, I'm slouching and that doesn't help, but I don't really look much less house-sized in this pic of me and VNB.

But I'd only gained four pounds this past month when I saw the midwives yesterday, so I didn't get yelled at this time. But goodness gracious....I'm going to be the width of an elephant if this keeps up!

Sir Mix-A-Lot wasn't kidding when he said all those years ago, "Melissa's got a big ol' butt (oh yeah)!"

But the nursery's mostly painted (we've just got a few more touch-ups to do, then a border to put up before putting all the stuff back), and I've got two of my three baby registries up now (Babies R Us for the nursery set and Amazon for books). So now it's just a matter of convincing VNB that we need to take the time to go to Target and set that one up and we're as ready to go as we can get.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moms & Dads for Modesty

I've had considerable time at work lately to surf the internet and have been led through a friend to (the author had severe morning sickness, FAR worse than my own), which led to (because damomma posts there weekly), which led somehow (who knows how) to (another "mom" blog, this one from a Christian perspective), which led today to her friend Jules' blog

Jules is a mom who has become increasingly concerned about the immodest clothing that stores are putting out for little girls to wear. Since apparently "mom" blogs are very important to marketers (moms buy a _lot_ of stuff), she's starting a petition of sorts. Basically, if you agree with the Mission Statement, you leave a comment on her website saying so.

Here's the statement:

Moms & Dads for Modesty Mission Statement

  • As a Mom or Dad for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.
  • I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.
  • I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.
  • I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.
  • I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

Here's the campaign logo, hopefully linked to her site. You're welcome to take this .gif for your own site, just make sure you link back to hers too for "signing" purposes. I'm gonna try to put this on my sidebar too, but it might take some work.

So, regardless of your religious affiliation or non-affiliation, if you're tired of seeing things written across the bottoms of little girls, even if you don't have any of your own, leave your support for this initiative on Jules' site.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Good News!

It's not often that you hear of hope in Iraq. Most of the stories are about violence or war, simply because war, death, and violence are more sensational than life.

But this story gives you a taste of the life that is still occurring behind the violence. In the midst of destruction, people are helping each other to start businesses and rebuild homes, not to mention trying to achieve their dreams.

The people in Iraq aren't _just_ Shia or Sunni or Arab or Kurd - they're also just _people_ who want to live in peace. And more people are working toward that goal than are working toward civil war and destruction. Unfortunately, LIFE just doesn't sell as many newspapers as death. That doesn't mean it's not news though.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Due Date Bingo

Ok, so the due date has been changed (since the sonogram) from January 24th to Jan. 15th.

Now's your chance to see how good you are at predicting things. This is what I propose: write a comment for this post and include enough info about yourself that at least I know who you are (you can still comment as "anonymous," just make sure you say something so I can figure out who you are), and then your prediction for the baby's birthday. You can predict more than once, but only your latest prediction will be counted.

I haven't figured out yet what the winner will get, but if I think of something, I'll let you know (or give me ideas in your comment).

If you're worried that someone else has picked your day, then you can just be more accurate by adding in a time.

Keep in mind that first babies often come "late" and at the least convenient time possible. Those two may be competing factors, however since I will be 10 hours short of what's required for the Family Medical Leave Act as of the morning of January 15th. BUT, coming later makes things far more inconvenient for VNB since his store's semi-annual inventory is the two weekends prior to the 24th (he's supposed to turn in his final paperwork on the 23rd).

So, to be "convenient" for me, the baby has to come after 9 or 10 AM on the morning of the 17th. To be convenient for VNB, the baby should either come early (as in the first week of Jan or so), or very late (as in its original due date or later).

I was three weeks "late" according to the doctors (but right on time, according to my mom), and VNB was two weeks early.

Old wives' tales say that birth is approximately 5 months after "quickening." Well, I've been feeling movement for about two weeks now (first time I was pretty sure of what I was feeling was on Sunday, Aug 14th, putting baby right at its due date).

Let me know if there is any more information you'd like prior to making your guess, and I'll put a link to this post itself on the side so that you can come back later on to add/update your comment.

The First Shoe

I know that the saying is "waiting for the other shoe to drop," but the implication of that isn't really accurate for me. It implies or connotes that something bad has already happened, and you're just waiting for the rest of it.

Well...nothing bad has all...and it makes me nervous. Other than a few unexpected delays (and one unexpected lack of a delay!), my life since I've been back in MD has been as close to "charmed" as it could be. Met and married VNB, finished my MS, got a job, and got pregnant with a very healthy, normal baby.

I think, especially with the baby, I'm just sitting here, waiting for the bad news that is sure to come. I think the main problem is that I've watched too many "Birth Day"s on Discovery Health where babies are conjoined, or moms need emergency C-sections, or they're having quadruplets and three don't make it, or...something. But those things are very compelling, and even without them, all you hear about is pregnancy problems - premature labor, pre-eclampsia, hypermesis, toxmoplasmosis, etc., and those are only confounded by birth defects, SIDS, Downs Syndrome, and childhood cancers (to name a few). Not to mention all of the birth/baby horror stories that everyone seems to have (mom didn't know she was pregnant until about 7 months, then baby came in about 5 minutes - no urban legend, I _know_ these people). Then you add TV births to that where the woman is standing there normally, grabs her side, announces that the baby is coming "RIGHT NOW!", and five minutes later is pushing, whether Worf is ready or not.

It's like with the war in Iraq and elsewhere. No one ever tells the good or normal stories. Just "this is how to prepare for the bad that might happen" or "these are the horrible things that have happened in the past or are happening now." You only hear about the stories with "drama." Gestational diabetes-related inducements, poorly-delivered pain meds, midwives that don't make it in time, (potentially brain damaging) umbilical cords wrapped around the head....and those are just the stories for me and my three siblings (in no particular order).

Don't get me wrong...every baby's birth and every pregnancy before it has "drama" just from the mere fact of what it is - bringing new life into the world - but you don't hear about the ones (like mine, apparently) that go "by the book." Perfectly healthy, perfectly formed, take a normal amount of time, don't have any complications...

Now granted, something could still happen to me and/or Baby. We're only half-way there...but I think this "focus on the bad to prepare for the worst, just in case" mentality that we all seem to have is the main reason that I haven't really felt that "connected" yet to the reality of this Baby. I mean, we're preparing the house, I'm taking my pre-natal vitamins, I'm eating right, we're getting ready to register, etc., etc.....but it just hasn't seemed that real, like I'm still in shock or something. Maybe because, deep inside, I'm preparing for the worst "what ifs" babies have to offer by just not letting myself get attached.

Now that Baby has become a Mexican jumping bean that likes to tap dance on my bladder (and smush intestines) from time to time, it's harder to ignore, especially now that I've _SEEN_ him or her, even if just in profile. But it's still not quite "real" yet. I'm sure this is a normal process that will get better once we settle on names...but I guess I'm still waiting for that first shoe to drop so that I can spring into action and fight something more real than "your life is about to change drastically forever and never be the same (or even remotely close) again."

In the meantime though, it's time for "second breakfast." I think I'll have soup.


So I began my day, as usual, going through the email that arrived since I left work last night. As usual, several of my emails were "Baby" emails - websites I've registered on that send me emails giving me info about the development of baby, and other useful information. I usually read whatever sounds interesting from the initial email, then follow interesting-sounding links below each story until I run out of things to read. Well, today, one of the links was to the words to "typical" lullabies. As this is something I've been contemplating recently, I checked them out. There were several I hadn't heard of, but I some of their choices for "favorite" lullabies.

For instance, the song "Clementine." You know the one - "Oh, my darlin', oh, my darlin'..." Yeah, well, read the verses. She's a beautiful girl and her boyfriend is the one singing about her. She goes down to the river to drive in some ducklings, trips and falls in. He can't save her because he can't swim. Her dad commits suicide because of her death. She fertilizes the roses in the churchyard now. He dreams about her in wet clothes, but won't hug her like he did in life because she's dead now and he's got to draw the line somewhere (you think I'm kidding). Artificial resipration could have saved her. And he missed her till he kissed her sister.

Wow. Yeah, there's a gem that I'm _SURE_ to sing to MY kid.

The other one that really caught my attention was "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." ("Comin' for to carry me home...") That song is all about laying down your burdens to die and being carried home to heaven. Now, I want my kid to have the hope of heaven...but this song sounds a "little" defeatist to me for new life to hear. My child is not a slave in a field picking cotton. It's a newborn baby living a comfortable life in middle-class America. It's got healthcare, its parents have good jobs, it has a house and will have plenty of food and clothing. IMO, the "burdens" of dirty diapers and momentary hunger aren't enough to call for the "Sweet Chariot" to come.

Another interesting choice (although not one I necessarily disagree with) is "Amazing Grace." They include five of the seven verses, and leave off the one tacked on by an anonymous writer which has come to be known as the "last" verse ("When we've been there ten thousand years...") since it a) has nothing to do with the rest of the text, b) wasn't written by John Newton, and c) like with "Swing Low..." has to do with death more than life, so again, not something I want to associate with my newborn. So I wholeheartedly agree with this choice, although it wasn't one that would have come to mind without their suggestion.

Other than that, their list is pretty much just full of standards (Brahms' Lullaby, Rock-a-bye Baby, Twinkle, Twinkle, etc.). But nothing but "Clementine" will come to mind when I'm singing to Baby.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Baby's First Pictures!

Not a great quality photo (quick digital pic of the printed sonogram which was uploaded to my computer as a .tif, saved as a 24-bit .bmp, then exported as a's been a long morning!), but a great pic nonetheless! That's Baby Jones at approximately 19 weeks (further along than we'd previously thought), and yes, s/he is sucking his/her thumb!

Baby was _very_ compliant for his/her pictures yesterday, both moving and staying still (at least for a while) on command.

There were waves at the camera, acrobatics, "running" motions, and yes, thumb-sucking. It was all very exciting!

In addition to the profile view shown above, we also got close-ups (at least on the screen, we only took home profiles) of the following:
- 1 multi-lobed brain
- 2 eye sockets
- 1 nose
- 2 lips
- 1 chin
- 1 spine (fully-formed)
- 1 heart (with four working chambers!)
- 1 bladder
- 2 kidneys
- 2 arms
- 2 legs
- 5 fingers on each hand

The pulse was 129 which is apparently right in the middle, so no old wives tales for us about fast or slow heart-rates meaning a particular sex. Speaking of which. We did _not_ see whether baby was a boy or a girl. VNB doesn't want to (although his resolve is wavering at the moment), and I'm ambivalent, but even if _we_ knew, we wouldn't tell anyone else. I have a horrible phobia concerning roomfuls of pink clothing. I literally get chills and look away when I pass "Libby Lou's" at the mall. So yellows, greens, reds, blues (and VNB wants purple - his school color).....just not loads of pink.

But the doc said that everything looked perfect! It certainly was amazing to see all four chambers of the heart pumping up a storm!

It's slowly starting to hit me how different life is going to be forever after this. I think that really started on the MS trip when I wasn't allowed to tote and lift like I normally do. Plus, I got to watch the two ladies each with two small kids who weren't able to help much at all due to baby duty. As that's always been my preferred role in situations like that, it's going to be different sitting on the sidelines. It's not that I won't be working (I've chased enough babies in my day to know very differently)...but I won't be working like I've worked all my life.

And while I've been ready to give up 9-5 _office_ life pretty much since the day I started it, it's...weird...for me, with my dreams of going to the Moon and being an aerospace engineer, (not to mention my degrees), to set all that aside. It's not that it isn't worth it, it's just...weird. To have had so much angst over finding a job....only to be pregnant by the time I started it! My company has already verbally said that they'll let me take as much time as I need, then work with me as much or as little as I want to afterward, so I'll be able to keep a foot in the door...but it won't be the same as if I'd worked full-time all that time.

The diapering, feeding, living with a baby doesn't worry me...but the being at home all day does a little. In one way, I can hardly wait for it! No more waking up at 4:45 in order to ride in with VNB and save oodles on gas! No more "nice" clothes every day! The ability to keep the house clean(er)! And cook! And do stuff at church when asked! To read! To have some "alone" time where I don't feel guilty about being in another room from VNB since I _like_ being with him! To be able to hang out with my friend Catnip who works nights now and never gets to see anyone! But at the same time...being home, with just me, never-ending housework, and a squalling baby almost all day, almost every day! Having people think that I just sit around and eat bon bons since I'm a "stay-at-home mom" now! Feeling trapped inside the house (especially since all of this will begin in the middle of winter!)! I've been there and done that (although minus the squalling baby) before and made it through...but it's still nervewracking coming up to yet another season of it.

Life is going to change drastically. And, unlike the waist that is completely gone now (I'm getting to the point where I pop out of my shirts, not in the bust area (well, there too), but in the belly area!), there's not even a chance of getting the old one back. And it's not that it won't be completely worth it...but it'll be different...and different is always scary. At least a little.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pics from the Trip

This one was taken one morning at the hotel in MS. I had run downstairs for some milk prior to gathering our stuff, putting on my shoes, and heading out to the bus, when my Min of Music decided that this was the most hilarious thing he'd seen in a long time - me, barefoot, pregnant, and in the "kitchen." You can't really see how big I am, but it's still a pretty funny picture.

This one spotlights not only VNB's broken arm, but my burgeoning belly. Granted, I'm sitting down, but you can tell that I fill up my shirt more than I have in the past. This is also, incidentally, the next-to-last day of the trip (the last day was just the drive home), and I was feeling pretty poorly those two days. So if I look like I haven't eaten much and am a little pale....well....I hadn't and I probably was.

Oh, and this is the "new" hair cut....except that it was about four inches shorter when I got it.

Home Again!

Well, we're back! It was an exciting trip, all around. And yes, "exciting" is one of those words with multiple meanings and connotations.

First off...Scot, I meant to bring my cameras, really I did....we just simply forgot, so you'll have to rely on the pics of others (to be supplied momentarily).

If you want a good blow-by-blow description of all the action, check out our Minister of Music's blog: But I'll give you a nice summary.

The trip down was uneventful. I only entered the bus bathroom twice on the trip - once on the way down, and once to change later on in the week. I felt great most of the days, with only a couple of mornings of ickiness, and only a couple of all days of ickiness (close to the end of the week when I was tired and probably not drinking as much as I needed to).

We got down there earlier than expected (which made the hotel staff nervous), but gave us extra time to settle in and rest before the first night....well, except for VNB and a few others who joined the pre-production crew to finish getting the stage and site set up.

Each afternoon threatened thunderstorms (with several following through on their threat), but it only rained out one event - the main community festival on Saturday evening. Even that was just postponed to Sunday afternoon (we'd built in a little spare time, so we waited to leave for FL until later than planned).

While we were in the process of re-prepping the stage (after a short shower) just prior to Sunday's event, a gust of wind decided to fill the sail (the backdrop) and cause the light trusses to topple. I and another person were in the middle of the stage, while most others were off or on the outskirts. Fortunately, someone looked up just as the toppling began and was able to warn us all. Being in the middle of the stage with backdrop behind me, choir risers and railings to my left, people, instruments, and audio paraphernalia to my right, and stage falling forward, there was no way for me to safely escape, so I just watched where things were falling and avoided everything. My SCUBA "control your panic" training definitely came in handy in those moments. Even so, I took my time walking out of the rubble to keep my slightly shaky limbs from tripping over something. I think everyone else was far more concerned about me (and baby) than I was (especially those who saw me inside as the trusses fell)....but as I reminded Pastor D, I lived in Baghdad for a year and a half. This was just an accident. There, they're aiming for you. :) (That's a joke, btw....I never felt endangered while there and logical reasoning said that I was never a target.)

Anyway, so after a minute or two to collect ourselves (and with people starting to show up for the fair), several of us started the clean up, while the rest went on with the rest of the fair (face painting, moon bounces, hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones, popcorn, etc.). About 20 minutes into the clean-up, VNB found a box lid, tripped over it, and ended up chipping the Radius in his left arm up by the elbow. Now, if you ever talk to _him_ about it, be sure you say that the story you heard was that he single-handedly held up the collapsing stage to protect his wife and unborn child. That's _much_ nicer for his ego than tripping over a box lid.

So....while the clean-up continued and the fair (sans musical entertainment) went on, VNB and I sent to the emergency room. We were literally in and out within an hour! And the only even remotely "sub-standard" service that we got was that they didn't give him a percoset or anything to tide him over until he got his pain med prescription filled. But even that was livable. It was definitely uncomfortable for him on the bus the next few days, but we both survived (I have yet to get a cast to the face during the night). Plus, it gave me a small taste of what it's going to be like with baby (except that with baby, I'll be able to sleep during the day too instead of having to keep going) - he was up frequently during the night, for more meds, to change position, etc., and he needed help dressing and bathing (at least initially).

The worst part was that, due to the pain meds, we decided that it just wasn't smart for us to take the equipment truck and drive to NC for his friend's wedding. So, the team stepped up and drove the truck for us, and we just went back with the rest of the group on the bus.

But God was good to us, and the trip was an unmitigated success. Really. Let me count the ways (in no particular order):

- All of the concerts that we performed were great.
- We were able to encourage the FBC Nicholson folks, the teachers at Nicholson Elementary School, and all other concert audiences (not to mention others).
- The gust of wind happened before the concert rather than during (lots more people on the stage (all with their backs to the parts that started the fall), and audience in the area onto which everything fell).
- Someone looked up just as things started to fall and had the presence of mind to warn everyone else.
- No one was seriously injured (one boy got a slightly bonked head and a skinned knee, but nothing serious or requiring treatment).
- My past experiences (and the grace of God) allowed me to not panic, which would have been the worst thing for me and for baby.
- We had removed the heavy stage lights prior to that point (they would have made it all fall faster, giving people less time to get out of the way, not to mention the extra glass clean-up and huge expense of replacing all of the bulbs).
- An awning was there to shade the audience chairs, and it graciously sacrificed its life to provide an extra couple of seconds for the last people to get out of the way.
- The whole experience spooked our minister of music enough that we didn't set up the stage/backdrop at the other churches we went to, reducing set-up/tear-down time and aggravation. :)
- VNB's arm is "just" chipped, and chipped in a spot that isn't serious.
- VNB and I are married now, so there was someone around to take care of him (he'd be in serious trouble otherwise - pants don't button themselves, you know).
- He didn't break his arm until I'd gotten over the worst of the morning sickness, making it so I had the energy/lack of nausea to take care of him.
- The rest of the choir was gracious to help us out with getting the equipment truck back and unpacked, even though VNB could only give directions, not help physically.
- Instead of coming home Sunday night and having to be back at work the next morning, we had Friday through Sunday in which to rest and recouperate from the trip.
- While we didn't end up getting to see his family (since we didn't go to the wedding), my folks were able to join us in MS and Daddy even got to sing with the choir!
- My folks being there meant that their pop-up trailer was there and was available for use as an air-conditioned spot for the pregnant and otherwise infirm of the trip (well, and as our Min of Music's "green room").
- We got to see through the testimony of one of the youth on the trip how God is already being glorified through Jay's death.
- It allowed our Min of Music and fam to be with his extended family as his 10-yr-old niece undergoes surgery to remove an egg-sized tumor from her brain stem (today - Monday, Aug 14th).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I (Part II)

As I sit here valiantly trying to keep my eyes open at work (and having a very sleepy brain try to rationalize that it's ok to shut the door for a few minutes of shut-eye), I figure I'll let y'all know that I probably won't be blogging much for the next week-and-a-half or so. Our church choir is headed down to MS tonight. We'll spend about three days there with our adopted church, leading a crusade, doing some rebuilding work, and having another "block party" event to give people a little break from life. After that, we work our way back up to MD pretty slowly, with a day in FL, and a couple of days in GA.

VNB and I are riding the bus down with the rest of the crew, but will become the equipment truck drivers once we leave MS. That'll allow us to peel off from the main group on our way through NC. One of Ryan's high school friends is getting married on the 12th in his hometown. We'll finally make it home on the 13th just in time to unload the equipment truck.

Like the time around my birthday, this will be a very in-law-intensive time. My folks will be meeting us in MS (they should be arriving any time now, actually) and will be there with us, then we'll stay with his folks while we're in NC. That's not a bad thing at all...but still stressful since we're both still adjusting to all that married life entails.

But by far the biggest stressor for me is the bus ride down there. We'll be on a nice charter bus with a bathroom...but I've literally had nightmares about the trip - all 21-22 hours of it! My actual nightmare included things more like driving too fast and running into things, but I think my real fears have to do with adequate food (having the right thing to quench the cravings), and being sick. Next to that is the realization that just about everyone in the choir has known me for years and years....which means that they're going to be smothering me with worry and attention. While it's nice that they care.....well....that could be difficult for me who somehow managed to hide my pregnancy from them (despite the constant and sometimes overwhelming sickness) for most of three months. On the way back (when we're in the truck), my main fear is the need for pit stops. Since we're not staying with the group the whole way anyway, maybe it'll be ok for us to stop whenever we need to.....but maybe it won't.

The last fear was only cropped up last night. Until then, I hadn't hit that "always hot while pregnant" milestone. I was still my normal, cold-blooded self. Well, being outside in the heat doesn't really bother me that much (honestly), but I had serious trouble while at the maternity clothes outlet at the mall last night (ironic, huh?). I'm sure the mall's A/C was on power-save mode, but just all of the sudden, I was so hot I couldn't see straight. I quickly finished my business in the store and sat down on a bench in the walkway. After a few minutes, I thought I was cool enough to keep going....well, after walking a little further, I knew I wasn't. I was never actually light-headed or anything, just exhausted and overwhelmingly hot. After finishing all of my business in the mall, I sat in what was clearly (from my travels) the coolest spot available for probably 30 minutes. At the end of that time, I was actually almost chilled and did much better on my way out. But that, of course, brings up lots of fears about how I'm going to do in the early August heat and humidity of MS! We'll be outside a lot of our time there, sometimes doing relatively hot work (singing under lights, canvassing neighborhoods, clearing debris, etc.). It's gonna be hard!

And to think...when I signed up for this trip, I wasn't even married yet!

But it's going to be a great trip! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again, and to seeing how much progress has been made since I was there last. We'll also get a chance to actually go into downtown New Orleans to see what it's like there. I've never been there before, so I'll have nothing to compare it to, but I'm sure that the damage will be evident.

I probably won't be posting much, but if you'd like to follow along on our travels, check out my minister of music's new blog: He's promised to post daily updates.

Now I just have to figure out how to stay awake for the next 2.5 hours!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Random (and Not-So-Random) Thoughts

First off, Scot, I don't think anyone's taken a picture of me since the wedding...hopefully there'll be a couple taken this next week or two that I can share. But really...for all that 5.5" is a lot, as long as I keep my unbuttoned pants adequately covered, no one would notice a thing. As a friend pointed out on Sunday as I was showing off my "big" belly, "Now you look like the rest of us!" So...I'll post a picture when there's one to be had, but don't expect it to look _too_ different from "normal" me.

That's leads me to another thought...a realization, really: I'm a very little person. I've always thought of myself as pretty average....but I'm beginning to suspect that I'm actually very small. For instance, when I get "regular-length" pants, they drag the floor, even when I'm wearing 2" heels. And, even though my belly is 5.5" inches bigger around than normal, no one would notice unless they saw my unbuttoned pants or I pointed it out to them. I'm not complaining (although, all you non-miniature people out there would be surprised at how difficult it is to find clothes that fit)....I've just never really thought of myself that way.

Which begs the question, "why are so many people intimidated by me?" I mean, if I'm microscopic, why does my company president look like a scared little bunny whenever he talks to me? That's not even a "rocket scientist" thing because he's one too (or some kind of engineer anyway, but he started an aerospace firm, so I think that lets him into the rocket scientist club). I will continue to be fascinated by this phenomenon until it ceases to be true.

But I'll leave you with something to think about as the entire country complains about the heat. Right now, there are ~150,000 US servicemen and women (not including the Brits and the rest of the multi-national forces) who are in Iraq. Today it is 109° F in Baghdad. Temps this week will range from 111° to 115° F. And that's still not the hottest part of the summer. At the end of this month, temps will range into the 120s, 130s, and even possibly the 140s (yes, it's happened....I've been there - and if it doesn't get that hot, people complain because then the dates don't ripen). During that time, these ~150,000 servicemen and women will wear their DCUs (desert cammo uniforms) or their new BDUs ("desert-colored" battle dress uniforms) which are long-sleeved, usually with a t-shirt underneath, and whose pant legs either tie around their ankles or are tucked into their boots. They're made of heavy, thick material to provide protection and last in difficult circumstances. When they're in a vehicle, they're required to add to that a heavy, dark, flak helmet, and 60 lbs of "battle rattle" (flak jacket), not to mention their weapon (usually a rather hefty M-16). If they're on guard duty, they'll often be in direct sunlight for hours at a time, and if they're guarding (or in) a tank (which can be cooked on, even in cold weather), they get even more heat. So keep that in mind as you complain about the sweat that develops as you walk from your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned house. Yes, the humidity is lower there....but even factoring that in, they've still got it worse!