Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Megan's new room

After one nap downstairs, Megan decided she had found greener pastures, or at least a greener bed. Mac had Megan nap in the extra bedroom downstairs because the upstairs demolition was fairly noisy. Since then Megan has firmly adhered to the idea that she has to sleep downstairs, both night and day. Has she really outgrown the cute lavender bedroom upstairs? Maybe. But we really think she just likes the big bed and the covers. We're not putting up a fight until the construction is over. We wouldn't really mind her in this room, except it is the passageway to the back office, which means we can't access the computer or tredmill after she's in bed and we've already got enough obstacles to keep us from blogging and exercising!

Megan's big room is now vacant, while Liam still occupies the closet. Poor second child! Megan gets two rooms and Liam doesn't even get one! And then there's us - we are sleeping in the living room when the guest bedroom downstairs is only intermittantly occupied by visitors. Like I said, we plan to come up with more logical arrangements when we are done with the bathroom project.

Megan's stuffed entourage also moved downstairs with her. She did NOT want me to take a picture of her in her bed.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Construction Halts!

Yep, we are just two days in and we have hit our first snag. We were assured the one tiny wall we want removed wasn't load bearing, but our contractor changed his mind once he had ripped out the entire bath, rendering it non-functional. Turns it out that wall does help keep the roof from falling in. So things came to a halt while he gets permits, plans, and supplies to put in a new concealed beam. Estimated delay: minimum two weeks.

Anyway, here is a few before shots. Hard to believe anybody'd want to get rid of this seventies splendor!

You gotta dig that foil wallpaper!

Here's where we're at now:

Ironically, you can hardly tell the difference between the foil wallpaper and the foil insulation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Construction begins!

Or rather, Destruction begins! The demolition on our master bath started today. Even after a year and a half, the foil bamboo wallpaper really never grows on you!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Naming Liam

When when found out we were having a boy, we were stymied. What would we name this kid?? It seemed to us that boy's names came in two flavors: boring, run of the mill names and flash in the pan trendy names. As my friend put it,"Every boy now is named Ethan, Ian or Hayden, Jaden, and Caden." (This was really a complaint because she picked Ian for her son, but it nicely sums up the two camps).

We tossed names about. We liked Ryan, but Ryan Smith? How generic is that! In fact, I already know two people with that exact name! We talked about Nolan and Owen, Trevor and Travis (ok, really only Mac talked about Travis!), but they just didn't feel right.

"It would have been so much easier if it was just a girl," I complained to Mac, for we had already picked a girl's name: Leah.

"We could just call him Liam, it's practically the same name," Mac joked.

"I like that name." Mac admitted he did, too. As we talked about it more it became more appealing. Mac's family has a strong history of naming people after other family members: There's grandpa Nick, Big Nick and Little Nick (who's definitely not little!); Grandpa Joe and Joe, Grandma Phyllis and Phyllis; Pat and Patrick; Uncle Mike and Michael; Ralph Sheridan and Ralph William and Kendall Sheridan.

William is Mac's dad's name, Mac's middle name, and my great grandfather was Walter William. Liam was a way to use a family name, but with a fresh and more modern feel - a good middle ground between the boring, standard names and the trendy flash in the pan names, for in some ways 'Liam' could fit into either category.

In the end, the decision was made the same way we chose Megan's name: with an NCAA March Madness-like tournament with head to head name match-ups. Justin vs. Aaron, Graham vs. Grant, Thomas vs. Walter, etc. The winners moved on to the next round to face off with another potential name. Every now and then both names from a match up advanced, if Mac and I were in complete disagreement (like over Travis) and the issue could usually be resolved with new match ups. It was surprising how little we did disagree, though. Most match-ups had a clear cut (unanimous) winner. In the end, Liam ended up the name on top.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Liam's story

When Megan was three months, I told her birth story. Liam is three months old today, so here is his story. (warning: blood and labor stuff ahead).

It was President's Day weekend and my sister and her family were visiting. Friday was a long day at work for me and then we had a late night playing poker. We spent Saturday night watching a movie. Sunday I decided to do a little picking up while everyone else lounged around. While working I had a couple of contractions - no big deal, I had had a couple before. Just Braxton-Hicks stuff. I had a few more, but still, I figured, I was just tired or dehyrated, or more likely, both.

I went to rest on the couch. I figured I'd watch the end of the golf tournament and nap, but then Mac wanted me to help Megan get milk and a snack. I was totally annoyed with him for not letting me rest.

Right before dinner I mentioned to Mac that I had been having some contractions. Mr. Pessimism immidiately began panicking. At dinner, Mac had to share the news,"Pam, thinks she is in labor."

"No, I don't! I am just having some contractions," I explained calmly, as I tried to kick Mac under the table.

After dinner Mac kept asking me how I was doing. I was still having random weak contractions. "I'm going to get my watch." Mac made me page him on the phone intercom every time I had a contraction, while I was playing my favorite time waster, Spider Solitaire. The first interval was 22 minutes - eons in labor speak. Next was seven. Then back to 20. We both decided it was nothing except then I felt a little fluid. A bathroom check confirmed bloody fluid. I was sure my water had broken and so we were off to the hospital.

At the hospital, they kind of dilly dallied getting me admitted. Megan arrived 70 minutes after we got to the hospital, so I had my eye on the clock. Meanwhile I was leaking more bloody fluid.

After getting admitted, they asked for a urine sample. I poured the first attempt down the sink because it was just a cup of blood. The second cup was the same, but I didn't have to pee anymore, so I just handed it over. I stood up and dripped blood all over the floor. I tried to clean this up, but the nurse ushered me into bed. She was very calm, but made a point that she was going to go call the doctor and let him know how I was doing.

The whole time I thought my water was broken and I was losing amniotic fluid. The blood didn't concern me; labor is supposed to be bloody, right? In retrospect, It was pretty obvious something else was going on. It is, after all, called breaking your water, not breaking your blood. I know the nurse knew exactly what was happening, which is why she went to call the doctor to come in, even though I was only two centimeters dilated.

My water hadn't broken, instead I had a placental abruption. In other words, my placenta was prematurely separating from my uterus - an emergent situation for the baby as he could lose his intrauterine source of oxygen. The doc clued me in to what was going on as soon as he got there. Then he hemmed and hawed about the risks, about how long it would take me to deliver naturally, the dangers for Liam...blah, blah, blah.

"A C-section," I blurted, "You're saying I need a C-section." Somebody had to get to the point here.

"Yeah, I think it is too risky too wait and see what happens. You're baby is doing fine now and not showing signs of distress, but things could turn at any minute."

And just like that things went into overdrive. A medical army came rushing into the room. One nurse was putting in an I.V. and hanging fluids, one woman was unhooking all the baby monitors, another nurse swept Mac aside to get him gowned up and explain when he could go into the OR, the anesthesiologist was consenting me for the spinal while still another nurse was prepping me for surgery (read: shaving my lower half).

In a flash I was in the OR, under the bright lights, the spinal was in, and the doc was playing tug-of-war with my innards.

The anesthesiologists asked the baby's name. I told him between worried sobs. "Ok, guys," he announced, "let's get little Lillian out of there."

"It's not Lillian," I corrected, "It's Liam. It's a boy."

"Oh, Leland is a great name for a boy. It's a strong name. My son's middle name is Leland, named after his grandfather." I was too tired and scared to argue any more.

And then we heard a baby cry - a sweet, sweet sound because we knew it meant Liam was breathing. And then came the doc's reassuring words: "She looks great. She is doing really well."

WHOA! Mac and I stared at each other in wide eyed disbelief. A girl?? How could two ultrasounds be wrong? For heaven's sake, I had a spread eagle in utero crotch photo from one of the ultra-sounds, and let's just say you didn't need a medical degree to make out the sex!

"Oh, wait!" The obstetrician chimed in again."It's a boy! It's definitely a boy!"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mom Rocks

For Mother's Day, I got a very special gift: A onesie that says "My Mom Rocks." (Mac opted for wording that was more appropriate for two year old big sisters.)

Thank you to everyone that posted links to "my mom kicks ass" onsie sites. Your comments weren't tagged as spam; instead, they were purposely deleted by the webmaster, who was cleverly trying to keep a Mother's Day surprise. Too bad he forgot that everyone's comments get e-mailed to me!

Ironically, Liam also got a onsie that says "Mommy's Little Monster" from someone who had no idea that I had complained about not having Mommy clothes. True, this isn't exactly an endearing Mommy-son phrase, but at least there's a little Mommy recognition from the shirt!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Matching Babies

Liam (12 weeks) has the same outfit as Cousin Brooke (6 months), which makes for matching babies!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Instead of just smiling at the wall, Liam is now focusing on faces and smiling at people!

Look at that grin for Mom!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Moving Day

We have been housing four chicks in a bathtub in our garage for the past month, and they have grown quite a bit in that time. Big enough to move out to the chicken coop that Mac has been working on.

I am proud of our green construction: much of the fencing came from an old dog kennel and the coop is mostly built from old kitchen cabinet wood. However, it looks a little funny because the pen follows the sloping contour of the ground, while the coop is level. The chickens don't seem to mind.

Our previous chickens were named Ruby, Ada, and Pearl - characters from Cold Mountain and The Scarlet Letter, so it only seemed appropriate that our new chickens had similar erudite names. From left to right in the photo above we have John Jacob, Cartoons, Rusty, and Bunny. You'll have to talk to Megan about those! But she was pretty consistent -we asked her three different days what we should name them and this is always what she said.

Our Portland chickens suffered a violent end when we first moved them out here (likely cayotes), so Mac took special care to make this coop a chicken fortress, an impenetrable bastion against all possible enemies. On the second day, the chickens got out. :) Ok, it turned our it was actually a manufacturing defect in the fencing and not Mac's construction, but it was funny nonetheless. So far no signs of invaders.

Chickens start laying around 6 months old - hopefully, by September we'll be getting fresh eggs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What Not to Wear

Megan loves playing dress-up and adding accessories to her everyday outfits.

Wow - this one is particularly unflattering!

Yes, that's a skirt under a polyester cheerleader dress and you'll see Megan's pink rainboots there to complete the outfit.

Stacy and Clinton would be mortified!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Quick Ten Weeks

The last ten weeks flew by, and my maternity leave has come to a close. :(

I am sad to not be at home, but sometimes I think it is actually nice to be able to get away. It is interesting comparing work to staying at home - I am not sure which one I would say is more difficult.

Work just seems to eat up my time, in a way that being at home did not. I get up, get ready, spend nine hours at work, and then in the remaining few hours we have to squeeze in dinner and getting the kids to bed and then myself, before the whole cycle starts again. The week passes and I don't feel like I did anything but go to work. On maternity leave, we did things like go to the park, walk to the llamas, take a two day trip to the beach - we could schedule anything we wanted because our days were free.

But then at work I can pretty much do whatever I want. Sure I have to get my work done, but if I want to take a break, I can. Surf the internet, type a few e-mails - that's ok, too, as long as the work gets done. But at home the kids are the boss - when they want something, they want it NOW! They don't let me sit around, drink a latte and discuss last night's episode of Lost for another ten minutes. And I have to do a lot more multi-tasking at home, like feeding Liam a bottle, get out the art supplies and wash the dishes all at the same time. And if someone doesn't agree with you at work, they might send you a nasty e-mail, but if Megan doesn't agree with me, she might throw a tantrum from hell.

Taking care of the kids stresses me out a lot more and I am more tired at the end of the day. But at the end of the day being at home, I felt like I had done more and life was certainly a lot more interesting. And, best of all, I got to be with the kids.