Saturday, May 31, 2008


I want to have some profound and witty things to say here, but the usually relentless flood of profundity and wit flowing from my brain (at least I THINK that's how it was) has trickled down to two thoughts:
Ow. Ow. Ow.

I am so tired, and I have done nothing all day.
Now, I know the latter one is not entirely true. Growing babies is not nothing. The trouble is, at this stage it is completely indistinguishable from doing nothing. Eat, sleep, trip down the hall, repeat. (Interrupt to settle squabble, change overdue diaper, and scrounge another meal.)

The degree of boredom in a job does not necessarily indicate its importance. Not unlike pregnancy, many very important jobs are 95% boredom and 5% terror. That does not diminish the boringness of the boredom. If only my brain didn't go on vacation with my body, I could be writing the Great American Novel between checking my feet for signs of swelling (not so far, but they look like they're thinking about it). But (as is evident), I can't even come up with material for a coherent blog post.

As the danger of pre-term labor begins to fade, one naturally progresses to the next concern of pregnancy: These babies are never going to come out. It does not matter that over 6 billion people are walking around the planet as proof that babies do eventually come out, every 8-months pregnant woman firmly believes that hers will prove the exception.

I've been reading a science fiction series in which technology is available--but not always used--to incubate babies in artificial replica wombs. The idea gets more appealing all the time. But can you imagine the societal consequences? It would put all other mommy wars to shame.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, G. K. Chesterton

By the Babe Unborn

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within the world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Virtual Visit

Birdy has tagged me to invite everyone over for a virtual visit.

If you came to our house–You would see: Blankets and stuffed animals in large piles, representing either a hospital or luggage for some trip or other. Matchbox cars in long rows. A lot of piles of books. Giant exercise balls and a stroller that we can't find any home for except the living room.

We’d probably feed you: Whatever you were kind enough to bring with you. Or whatever some previous kind visitor had left. In a more normal life, I might have cookies to pull out or fix taco salad if you could stay for supper. If you stayed for a movie, we'd pop popcorn.

And offer you this to drink: Water or iced green tea. Maybe lemonade if I was feeling very inspired.

We’d undoubtedly ask if you’d read: Some of Patricia Wrede's YA fantasy series, which we have been enjoying immensely the past few weeks. The ducklings would undoubtedly ask you to read something, perhaps Cowboy Small or The Three Billy Goats Gruff. But they wouldn't care whether you'd read it before or not.

We’d want to play this music for you: Hmmm . . . I don't usually play music for company. Too much noise gets to me. Maybe Joshua Bell on the violin for some soothing background music or a little jazz if we wanted something peppier.

We’d want to tell you the latest about: Hilarious things the ducklings have said, how the twins are doing, our plumbing problem that turned out (after three plumber visits) to be a roofing problem.

We’d probably suggest a game of: It would depend on how many of you there were. For just a couple of people, maybe euchre or Rook. For a bigger crowd, probably "class struggle," a game that can be expanded by just adding more decks of cards. Or DOB might just want to teach you whatever new card game he's learned recently.

We might show off: Twin-sized baby equipment. Our kids. DOB has taken up juggling, but I don't think he's ready to show off yet.

We might get on the computer and show you: Perhaps DOB would try to get you to take a test analyzing your Myers-Briggs personality type. We might show you some family pictures.

If it was a long enough visit, we might watch: Well, we want to finish watching The Taming of the Shrew, but you probably don't want to jump in two-thirds of the way through. Maybe we'd pull out Wallace and Gromit, or if you had time for a full movie, one of our obscure favorites, Son of Monte Cristo.

Oh–and if I have to tag some other bloggers? I hate to just invite myself over, especially as I've just tagged a bunch of people. So if you want company, grab the meme!


I was once pulled over for drunk driving on my way home from work, though I had drunk nothing more potent than filtered water all day. The steering on my car was going out and even my most sober efforts could not keep it from drifting from side to side. Fortunately the officer was persuaded by a brief conversation of the true problem, and I got off with no more than a warning to get that steering fixed soon. I never had to get out and walk the line.

Since I'm not driving at all right now, I hope I will not have to walk a straight line, because I'm sure I could not do it. My walk is more of a lurch, drifting from side to side rather like the car with broken steering, scattering small children in my wake. (And woe betide any small child who has left small, invisible toys on the floor in front of me.)

In C.S. Lewis's space trilogy he compares reentering planetary gravity to being pregnant, only faster. I haven't reentered planetary gravity, but I do have the advantage on him in pregnancy, and I'm sure it's quite different. More gravity makes everything heavy at once; pregnancy is concentrated in one place. It's like wearing a securely attached but poorly balanced backpack on the front. I was surprised one day, when wearing the backpack we use for a diaper bag, to realize that I felt balanced for the first time in months. It was almost tempting to start wearing it around all the time, except it would make it hard to lie down.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This is NOT funny

33 weeks, 4 days.

Now THIS is funny

A rating system for husbands and wives, from the 1930s. I haven't actually tallied my score, but I think I do pretty well--although I do not remember to wash the top of the milk jug off before opening it (do I even want to know?), I never go to bed with curlers on, nor are my stocking seams ever crooked.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taking Pictures

We went in for an ultrasound today. All these ultrasounds are quite strange for me; we had none with D1 and only one early on to date D2. (And I still didn't believe the doctor's date. But apparently they were right.) With twins they like to do them every few weeks to make sure everyone's growing reasonably well.

The ultrasound technician at this office is less personable than the one at the old office. This is good. The other technician was always pointing out every body part to me as she measured it, in an expectant way, as if I was to coo over it. "There's the femur." "There's the kidneys." Now, I'm as daffy over newborns as any hormonally-crazed female, but I just can't work myself up into a tizzy over ultrasound images of femurs. Even faces aren't too charming on ultrasound, looking as oddly sliced-through as they do. About the only thing that's cute on an ultrasound is fingers and toes.

Twin measurement ultrasounds take forever. Well, half an hour, which is forever when you have thirty-five extra pounds sitting on your spine and have to lie back. They should invent an ultrasound table where you can lie on your stomach with a hole cut out for your belly and they run it from underneath.

Everyone is growing well, and Baby A is definitely a girl, and she has her head down. Baby B does not, but the doctor thinks he's in a good place to move around when Baby A gets out of the way. They each weigh about five pounds. That's getting to be a lot of baby. Of course, I was ten pounds when I was born, but that was two weeks past my due date.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Me and My Little Commando

DOB was putting D2 down for his nap this afternoon. D2 rooted around on the bed, looking for exactly the right spot to sack out.

"Is that where you want to lay down?" DOB asked when he had settled for a moment.

"No," D2 said, "This is where I want to lie down."

Greetings from Afar

Congratulations to Toolboy and his bride-to-be (whose online name has yet to be determined--Toolgirl?), who are getting married today. We are, alas, missing it, what with it being on the other side of the country and being a little too big to fly and all.

Owing to a last-minute discovery of a mixup in their church reservations, they are having an outdoor wedding. The weather is, if anything, a little too warm and sunny. The mother of the bride was commenting to Her Majesty on how strange it was to have it work out thus--after all, who schedules an outdoor wedding in May in Seattle?

Their Majesties did, of course, three years ago. The weather was beautiful.

And two years before that, DOB and I were married outdoors in September. We had no backup plan and we needed none. It poured rain the next day, but rain on a honeymoon is no problem.

Clearly our family is favored by the Puget Sound weather sprites. Perhaps one of us should try for an outdoor January wedding and see what happens.

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up

I had two cowboys to feed all day yesterday. Pinto beans for lunch worked great, but could I honestly tell them that cowboys eat tuna fish sandwiches for dinner?

Hey, if they can work with cows that look suspiciously like octopuses, bears and rabbits, I can declare tuna fish to be cowboy food.

Today we have one cowboy and one fireman.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Six Unspectacular Quirks

I've been tagged by Rebecca at The Space Between My Peers to come up with six unspectacular quirks, as follows:

* Link the person who tagged you
* Mention the rules in your blog
* Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours
* Tag a new set of six following bloggers by linking them

Six unspectacular quirks? What if all my quirks are spectacular?

1. Actually, I'm having a hard time coming up with six because a quirk implies consistency and I am not very consistent.

2. I have a deep, unconquerable fear of manhole covers and sidewalk grates. I do not want to walk over them. I do not want my children walking over them. The latter is getting harder and harder to avoid. Somewhere out there is a booby-trapped grate just waiting for me to walk over it, or else one that holds a large, hairy monster with a hand waiting to grab me.

3. I tend to resent the existence of the real world. Any brain type or personality test that measures intuition/abstract thought versus sensory/concrete thought puts me way off the charts on the intuition side. So I live in my own little world, but I'm happy here. As long as the interesting people who show up don't keep expecting me to deal with all these dreadful real world things. (I do understand why D2 gets so frustrated when his biscuits crumble, and so happy with two hours alone lining up cars.)

4. I love to walk in the rain and wind. It's a little more challenging now that I have to take puddle-jumpers along, who always manage to splash well above the level of their boots. (And even that wouldn't be so challenging if they could change their clothes unassisted.)

5. I think the internet is destroying what little sense of connection I had in my brain, as I flip between nine open windows, unwilling even to wait for a link to open. But it's close to the kitchen, and there's a chair there. Although I'm supposed to be bouncing on the exercise ball.

6. My real objection to home birth has little to do with concerns about possible complications, and everything to do with not wanting to be in a place where I'm responsible for anything. I do not want to be in labor and know there are undone dishes in the other room, or wondering who is going to do all the laundry. Which is an absurd reason, but there it is. A part of me looks forward to being in labor because I finally have permission to ignore everything and everyone if I want to.

And now, six spectacular people to tag to tell about their unspectacular quirks.


Wendy (or whatever Zoomlian wants to reply)
Melissa (if she can get it done before going into labor!)

Private Life of Grammar Commando

The Grammar Commando passed a semi on the freeway yesterday. On the back of the brightly painted and embellished tractor was the lettering:

"Don't you think my tractors' sexy?"

"Not with a misplaced apostrophe, it's not!" Grammar Commando thought.

(The phrase, intending to abbreviate "tractor is," requires an apostrophe where the missing letter is, not tacked at random on to the end.)

What does Grammar Commando find attractive? Good grammar, of course. It was one of the first things she noted about DOB--his fine grasp of English grammar, even in the free-wheeling world of instant messaging. Although he confesses that he had trouble with "it's" and "its" until GC cleared it up. But he cared. That was the main thing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So What Does THIS Mean?

I went into the ducklings' room and found D1 sitting on a stool, staring at the bookshelf.

"I'm watching TV," she said.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Way Things Are

I'm really doing pretty well for the shape I'm in. Here I am at 31 weeks, still on my feet (if not for very long!), no sign of pre-term labor, no swelling, blood pressure low, babies kicking like crazy. The doctor thought at least one was head down and both seem to be in a more vertical posture, so they're moving in the right direction. We'll get a better idea at the ultrasound in two weeks.

But I feel lazy. Oh so lazy. Even when I'm not actually tired (which is seldom) I have no desire to get up and do anything. Quite novel for me, since I'm usually itching with restlessness. Thank you very much to everyone for the book suggestions--I have a slew of them on hold, and when I pick those up I'll reserve a slew more. Some of you guessed a little too well and suggested authors I've read many times (most notably Austen and Sayers), but that only confirms your excellent taste!

As far as help, we are already getting a fair amount of help. DOB's sister has been staying with us at least three nights a week all year (she goes to school nearby and works at his office). She catches us up on the dishes and does other things. The rest of his family, and especially Aunt Bettie, come over at various times and help out. Grandma and Grandpa take D1 and D2 Monday evenings through Wednesday morning so I can rest and go to doctor's appointments on Tuesday. Other friends stop by and help, too.

I feel like an Oscar winner thanking the supporting people. But really, we couldn't do this alone.

Wondergirl is coming out in June to stay into August, and DOB's sister, not having school, will be around more much of that time as well. It will make a huge difference to have someone around all the time during the first few months. Being able to breastfeed the babies without any supplements is very important to us, since DOB's family has such a history of allergies, and I've heard that may require nothing but sitting still and having people hand me food and water for the first month or so. After that, we'll see what we still need. No doubt things will stay crazy for quite awhile.

I'm actually a little disappointed that I don't get comments about how huge my belly is. Maybe it's just that I don't get out much. Or maybe it's my long torso; I really don't think I have nearly the discomfort most twin mothers do at this stage. The babies can't even reach my rib cage to kick it. Although this build will plague her all her life in buying jeans, if D1 inherits the twin tendency she will someday thank me for passing it on.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Word from Grammar Commando



Two i's. Related to "finite." I realize that "definitely" suffers from the murky vowel sounds so common in English, but if you remember "finite," it shouldn't be hard to spell.

For some reason, people feel compelled to spell it "definately." That would be bad enough, but then they find themselves in another path and the letters swap and it comes out as "defiantly." And that, my friends, means something very different.

"Sounds great! I will definitely be there." (With bells on!)


"Sounds great! I will defiantly be there." (With my bazooka!)

Baby Menu Plans

I finally have trimmed down my four-week menu rotation into two weeks of only the absolutely easiest, least messy, most favored, and cheapest menus. You will notice that salads predominate. I do not like eating or preparing hot food in hot weather. Plus, salads can be fixed at any point in the day when I feel up to it or when some Helpful Visitor is here, instead of needing to be fixed right after breakfast (like crockpot meals) or right before supper (like skillet meals), both of which times seem to be when everyone needs attention and a diaper change. Also salads can be easily adapted on the fly to whatever vegetables were cheap and available this week.

Week 1
Monday: Chicken and White Bean Taco Salad
Tuesday: Macaroni Salad
Wednesday: Potato or Sweet Potato Salad and Sausage
Thursday: Chicken Fajita stuff on Rice (This needs a more exciting name!)
Friday: Tuna Sandwiches
Saturday: Lunch, Pinto Beans with chips or cornbread
Supper, Steak or Roast
Sunday: Lunch, Chef Salad
Supper, Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Week 2
Monday: Sausage and Rice Salad
Tuesday: Broccoli and Cheese Potatoes
Wednesday: Taco Salad
Thursday: Lentil-Rice Salad
Friday: Tuna or Salmon Pasta Salad
Saturday: Lunch, Pinto Beans and Chips or Cornbread
Supper, Taco Chicken (or Chicken and Rice)
Sunday: Lunch, Chicken Pasta Salad (or Fried Rice)
Supper, Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Weekday lunches are either leftovers or sandwiches (peanut butter or toasted cheese)
Notice that Sunday lunches are made with the leftovers from Saturday's supper, usually on the spot while doing the Saturday dishes, so that there's little work to do when we get home from church.

Breakfasts go on the same rotation every week:

Monday: Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Tuesday: Biscuits, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Wednesday: Leftover Biscuits, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Thursday: Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Friday: Oven Pancake, Fruit
Saturday: Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Sunday: Cold Cereal (or pre-made muffins), Scrambled Eggs, Fruit

We eat a lot of scrambled eggs (I'm doing three a day for myself right now). It's cheap protein, and it involves the least work on my part. I like doing French toast, but the last time I tried that I had Braxton-Hicks contractions all morning, so I'm backing off on French toast until at least after the babies come.

DOB's lunch is packed from leftovers on the previous evening. His breakfasts consist of hard cooked eggs (I cook several days' worth at a time), leftover biscuits or waffles with jam (fixed up the night before) and fruit if it's handy. He is kind enough to do it himself these days and let me sleep in a couple of extra hours.

Now I'm working on writing up recipes (of sorts) for each menu. It's very hard to pin me down on how much of what to put in; I just kind of guess and adapt according to how many people are eating.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Book Recommendations, Please

I should have about six more weeks to go in which I'm keeping my feet up a bit more and still have my hands free.

This clearly calls for books. Unfortunately, my brain is in a state of pregnant mush--or maybe it's just the lack of physical activity. DOB says he's felt the same way after surgery. Either way, it's not time to start Thomas Aquinas. And having read non-stop through most of the first trimester, I'm running low on my own recommendations for easy reads (or re-reads).

So I'm asking for recommendations. And then I'll frustrate you by giving an impossibly long list of qualifications. And then somebody (but I'll never admit who!) will frustrate me by recommending books that obviously violate something on the list. But here goes.

1. Light, both physically and emotionally. It's hard to hold a weighty tome while lying on one's side, and reclining is out of the question. Emotionally, this is just not the time for gut-wrenching tales of woe and misery. Especially not if small children or their mothers might be harmed or threatened in any way, shape or form. Virtue had better be triumphant and not suffer too badly along the way.

2. Well-written. My brain is just as annoyed by poor writing when tired as it is when not tired. Maybe more so. Naturally people have different definitions of good writing, so let me point out that I savor well-turned phrases and insightful characterizations and am not impressed by writing propelled along merely by plot developments.

3. Reasonably clean. I'm not going to be seriously harmed by occasional strong language or references to the things married people do with their doors closed, but too much just gets irritating and I don't want to be irritated right now.

4. I don't much care for romances or westerns, or any purely genre fiction for that matter, but I'll consider something if it's really, really well done. I do rather like mysteries but have a hard time following the clues these days. I do not like a lot of suspense.

5. Some authors that would fit this list in my mind (but of whom I've already read so much that I'm looking for something new): P. G. Wodehouse, Connie Willis, Lloyd Alexander, Jasper Fforde (though he's borderline on the "reasonably clean"), Agatha Christie.

6. Easy to get a copy of. It has to be something I can reserve and get in at the library within the next couple of weeks. Anything really new or very obscure is probably out.

7. Non-fiction is OK as long as it doesn't involve any need to act (so housekeeping books are way out) nor require too complex of thought. Or otherwise violate the list above (history books, say, are usually too emotionally intense, unless they're super boring).

There it is, in all my pickiness. Any ideas?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Story Time

Today's reading at the Charlotte Mason blog was on the importance of restricting children's reading to good literature:

For the children? They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; De Foe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature––that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life. Perhaps a printed form to the effect that gifts of books to the children will not be welcome in such and such a family, would greatly assist in this endeavour.

Now I've never been quite that strict. I haven't even read them Blake or Defoe yet. But that printed form about gifts of books . . . now that is tempting. I wonder where you submit it.

A few weeks ago a kind lady at church gave the ducklings a wrapped present. When they opened it, they found it contained a book, which, of course, we were at that point honor bound to read to them. Unfortunately, the text of the book consisted of a toddler mouse obnoxiously defying his mother at every opportunity all day long (with no consequences), culminating in running away and hiding for hours in the evening (an idea which fortunately has not yet occurred to the ducklings).

Needless to say, it was not exactly great literature either.

It might have done as a cautionary tale against overly-permissive parenting, but we couldn't figure out what the point would be in reading such a book to a small child. (The lady at church, when I thanked her the next week, unknowingly confirmed my suspicions that she had looked no farther than the "cute little mousie" on the cover.)

At this point, I improvised, which I can keep getting away with until one of them learns to read. Instead of young Tip starting the day by insisting on a different shirt than his mother had set out, my new and improved Tip proudly announced to his mother that he had already gotten dressed all by himself. Throughout the book I either re-interpreted Tip's behavior or made sure it did not go unchallenged. The final incident of running away became a game of hide-and-seek.

My retelling was not great literature either, but at least the ducklings were inspired to put on their own clothes and help fix supper and play hide-and-seek like Tip the Mouse instead of the original behaviors. Small children not yet being highly discerning in the literary line, they were obsessed with it for about a week anyway.

It has quietly gone to Goodwill. I hope they don't notice. We're back to Make Way for Ducklings and Peter Rabbit.