Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Don't be furious with me.
I've been avoiding my blog because I had absolutely nothing to update.  I didn't want to talk about how cranky I've been that I am still pregnant.  I didn't want to recount to you the endless sulking I've done and the countless times I've gazed down at my stomach and whispered, "Get. Out."  I didn't even want to mention that I now answer the phone, "I'm still pregnant," and don't even bother to call anyone for fear of getting them all excited.

So tonight I head to the hospital for some medicine to "ripen my cervix."  I'm not sure exactly what that means, except that it could cause me to go into natural labor and have a Milo in no time!  There's also the possibility that it will do nothing, or that they will want to induce me tomorrow with Pitocin (eeeeeeek - devil juice!), or that I'll continue to carry this babyson of mine into the New Year (yeah, right!).  Oh, stubborn cervix, will you please open up and let this baby out?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Still... waiting

Yesterday was a busy day.
I was busy lying in my bed, crying, and sleeping all day long.
Had my doctor's appointment, and absolutely nothing had happened in a week.  I'm still dilated to only a 1 (a barely 1).  The doctor is talking about inducing me on Monday or Tuesday, which concerns me for the possibility of NOT having an epidural.  And I'm trying to feel Christmasy, but I'd rather just stay in bed.  Walking 3 or 4 miles a night is not helping Milo get here, so why not just be lazy and save myself the trouble of waddling around?

Do all pregnant women get so cranky at the very end?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

After much anticipation... nothing

Yesterday?  Not a great day...  Not that I didn't have a blast eating lunch at the tea room with my friends, or Christmas shopping with Ann and Jen, or playing Bananagrams and watching Salt at the Danty-pants home.  It's just that yesterday Milo was due, and there's nothing quite like waking up on the due date still pregnant, and going to bed exactly the same.  As a person who appreciates promptness, I naturally assumed my babyson would love the same, but it seems my little bun is still cooking in this oven.

I vow to be more patient today, and to stop being so anxious.  I plan to enjoy the time I have with Nate and my family where I can still be the center of attention (because after this adorable child comes, I'll always be second fiddle).  I will go see another movie in the theater, just because I can.  Heck, I'll even spend another day appreciating the fact that absolutely nothing depends on my breasts.

On a side note, I just spent some time folding tons of tiny little socks, smaller than my palm, and I can't quite imagine having a person tiny enough to wear those socks in my arms.  He will definitely be worth the wait.

Monday, December 20, 2010

please oh please oh please

Well, don't get too excited that I haven't written on my blog in several days.  There's been no baby.  In fact, he seems to be more active than ever on the inside, just living it up and enjoying my cozy womb.  Poor Nate thought for sure he wouldn't have to go back to work this morning, and it was quite a struggle getting him there when it came right down to it.  Why were we both so positive that this weekend was it?

So I'm settling in for my first official day of Christmas break, and trying not to be so anxious.  I'm going to paint my toenails (well, Ann is...), clean the dining room and kitchen, finish some laundry... There will be a huge list by the end of the day.  I'm even going to cook dinner, and I should every night until Milo comes.  Maybe we'll even go to see another movie (watched two this weekend, just in case we don't get to for a long time) and take a 10-mile walk (last night we did 3 miles).

Milo, oh Milo, won't you please come today?  The 20th is the perfect time to come out and play.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Well people, I'm dilated to a 1.
Not a huge accomplishment, and I know I could march around dilated to a 1 for a week or two.  But at least something is going on down there, right?

Last night Ann and Nate threatened to lead Milo out with either a flashlight, or by using my crotch as a megaphone to yell, "Follow the sound of my voice!!!"  Maybe you had to bet here, but we all got quite a kick out of the hilarious (yet very disturbing) idea.

So do me a favor and say a little prayer that my little man makes his way out this weekend.  It would be a dream come true.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One week to go!

You might not believe it, because I almost can't, but my babyson is due in exactly one week from today.  And I feel great.  I'm definitely not complaining, because who wants to be miserable, but who'd have guessed that I would still be feeling so energetic?

Today I saw a former student that I keep up with, and she was shocked to see me.  She said, "Ms. Jackson, what are you doing here?  You're due in a week!"  Those poor kids.  They just can't get rid of me!

Anyway, per Nate's request, here is one of his favorite photos from our shoot the other day.

Ready?  Set...


Monday, December 13, 2010

The beginning of the end

Well, this weekend Nate and I went to a lovely Catholic wedding.  I had never been to one before, and I will say, I thought the amount of standing up and sitting down might help Milo come a little early.  But, alas, he is firmly in place, and seems to be quite content exactly where he is.

However, he did have one bone to pick with the ceremony.  There was a soloist who was, ahem... struggling, shall we say, throughout the wedding.  And she loved to try to hit some high notes.  And every time she did, Milo would take his little foot and jam it up into my ribs as hard as possible, as if to say, "Mommy, get me OUT OF HERE!"  Imagine trying not to laugh, or wince, and then being prodded by your babyson on top of it.  I got quite a workout without leaving the church pew!  And it's good to know that Milo already has a bit of an ear for music.  I'm hoping he loves it even half as much as Nate and I do.

Anyway, this is my last week of work.  I'm ecstatic and a little nostalgic at the same time.  I would have been just plain ecstatic had I not found some Christmas cards from some of my former students in my mailbox this morning.  They all talked about how I was the sweetest, most wonderful teacher they've ever had (I guess they wouldn't have written me if they thought otherwise, right?), and I nearly broke into tears right then and there.  Teaching teenagers - it's a dual world, where one second they're driving you crazy, and the next you want to hug every kid you see. 

All in all, I like my job today - noun clause diagramming and all.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One more...

I forgot this picture of my favorite little spies.  Look at the expression on Chloe's face!

Sunday Photo Shoot

Well, today was just plain fun.  Nate and I took the Danty-pants out to do some Christmas photos, and I had to brag on them and post a few.  They're so easy to photograph because they're just such a pretty family.  I mean, honestly, look at them!  Plus it was super cold, but you can't even tell.  They were such troopers!
Seriously, could there be any cuter children?
A gorgeous family all the way around... This was the best one, even with Conner's closed eyes (he's so darn cute anyway!).

Look at this model child.  Nate gets full credit for this one because he worked his magic.

Nate also wanted to have a go at a few maternity pictures of me.  It's easy to look decent, whether you're the size of a house or not, when your photographer is so darn hot!  Downtown Lufkin has so many cute little nooks to take pictures, too, especially during the holidays.
HUGE as a house!  Milo is large and in-charge these days. 
This happened right after the photo with my leg up on the wall.  I was demonstrating the proper way for a pregnant woman to shave her legs.  Not sure if I'm quite ready to share that one.

Almost can't tell I'm pregnant...  ALMOST...

Don't I think I'm so special in my boots and my sassy pose.


Milo's parents - cute little kids in love.
The end of our fabulous and fun day involved two tired Jacksons, some serious Taco Bell, our couch, and Extreme Home Makeover (which I would have boo-hooed all the way through if I hadn't been so busy shoving my face full).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Maternity Photos

Here are a few other shots from my maternity photo session.  Monica did such an amazing job!  Besides the fact that I still can't get used to seeing myself so large and in-charge, I absolutely love them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trivia Quiz Answers

Okay, as promised, here are the answers to the trivia quiz.  Hopefully you get as much of a kick out of reading them as I did thinking about them...

What was the last movie that Kate and Nate saw before they found out they were expecting?
  • We saw the Jennifer Lopez movie "The Back-Up Plan," which was, ironically, about expecting a baby.  We, in fact, watched it right before I took a pregnancy test!
What was Kate's original due date? What is Kate’s due date now?
  • December 28, and then it moved to December 21. 
What food did Kate crave at the beginning of her pregnancy?
  • Hot Cheetos
What girl and boy names did they consider, other than Milo? (Hint: 2 girl names and 2 boy names)
  • Max and Elliott for boys, Sophie and Lucy for girls
What is the theme of Milo's room?
  • Planes, trains, and automobiles
What activity does Kate miss most from before she was pregnant?
  • Running
What events/activities do Kate and Nate now enjoy since Kate's been pregnant?
  • We have become crazy about sports.  I think we've gone to more professional sporting events since I've been pregnant than in our entire relationship.  And, in fact, we even spend time watching sports (Cowboys games especially) and own Cowboys tee shirts.  Weird! 
How did they decide on the name Milo?
  • The first time I felt him move, I yelled, "Nate, Milo is moving!"  And that decided the name.
What is Kate's biggest fear while in labor?
  • Being naked.  Ugh. 
What 2 promises did Nathan make to Kate about she is in labor?
  • 1. That he would keep me covered and 2. That he would stay out of "my business" down there... 
What was the first sign to Nathan that Kate was pregnant?
  • My big ol' boobs 
What does Milo mean? (Hint: there are 2 meanings)
  • Soldier, and merciful, depending on the translation
How many months was Kate really sick?
  • 6 long, agonizing months

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Baby Shower

What an amazing winter baby shower I had!  Sunday we had a diaper and gift card shower at Tree's house, and I got absolutely spoiled with gifts and love.  We played such fun games, like guessing how many baby items were in a bottle-shaped container (27, by the way - an amazing amount of things to fit in there, and Amanda guessed it exactly on the dot!), and the infamous clothespin game that Janet absolutely kicked butt in.  Plus we had the trivia game that I posted the other day, which was beyond hilarious (answers coming at the end of the week.

And then there was the gorgeous diaper cake that Emily made, which truly looks like a work of art.  I can't even begin to imagine pulling this apart to use for the diapers, even though everyone assures me that I will when I see the cost of diapers and the number that Milo goes through...

 And then there was the food, which is vitally important to a pregnant woman, and especially to a preggo who loves snacks.  There was fruit with fruit dip (blue, by the way, which made it even more delightful to eat), cheese and crackers (Lily and I ate so much I wasn't sure she'd ever poo again... Sorry, Sar!), tons of gorgeous cookies...  I wish I had thought to take a picture of the little "critter cookies" that Tree made, but by the time I thought of it, I had already eaten all the leftovers she sent home with me!  But I did take a picture of the gorgeous snowflake cookies that Nicole made.  I think she's the closest to Martha Stewart I'll ever meet...

And Monica came to take maternity pictures of me the morning of the shower, and here's a little preview... The girls had it printed out as part of the decorations.  I love the way it turned out, especially because I actually look just a little bit maternal.  Monica is awesome, so let me know if you need a good photographer!  Nate, of course, looks every bit of the extra-proud daddy that he is already.  Anyway, this is a picture of a picture, but you get the idea, right?

All in all, I have been so incredibly spoiled with 4 showers for this babyson of mine - Nate's work shower, my awesome work shower, our GIANT shower, and then this perfect cap to everything.  WOW, everyone.  Milo is so loved already, and you haven't even made sure he's cute yet!  I'm ready for him to be here...  After maybe one or two more loads of laundry...

Happy Hanukkah to Nate!

We did it.  We finally got a new tv, and it looks so big and beautiful in our living room.  Chad and Tree went with us to pick it out, and then home to set it up, and I'm not quite sure who was more excited - Nate or Chad!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Shower Quiz

I had so much fun yesterday at a diaper and gift card shower at Tree's house (which I need to give you all the details on).  One of the funniest parts, though, was the trivia quiz that Tree came up with.  Jen won first place, and I'm not surprised, but even she was stumped on a question or two.  Want to see how much you know?

  1. What was the last movie that Kate and Nate saw before they found out they were expecting?
  2. What was Kate's original due date? What is Kate’s due date now?
  3. What food did Kate crave at the beginning of her pregnancy?
  4. What girl and boy names did they consider, other than Milo? (Hint: 2 girl names and 2 boy names)
  5. What is the theme of Milo's room?
  6. What activity does Kate miss most from before she was pregnant?
  7. What events/activities do Kate and Nate now enjoy since Kate's been pregnant?
  8. How did they decide on the name Milo?
  9. What is Kate's biggest fear while in labor?
  10. What 2 promises did Nathan make to Kate about she is in labor?
  11. What was the first sign to Nathan that Kate was pregnant?
  12. What does Milo mean? (Hint: there are 2 meanings)
  13. How many months was Kate really sick?

I'll give you the answers in a few days, just so you have time to think things through.  Post your answers if you're brave!!!

Hanukkah Day 4

Well, I sadly neglected my blog last week, mostly because I didn't feel like I had much to write. But my heart is really full this week, so expect plenty of updates, number one being about my fabulous husband. I try not to brag about him TOO much... But he did something EXQUISITE for me yesterday as a Hanukkah present.
I have this counter of jewelry - literally. Rings, necklaces, earrings, headbands, bracelets... You name it. And I haven't had a place to put it, so it's all been thrown on the counter in a heap, half of which I have forgotten even existed because it was on the bottom of the stack. Nate knew how much this bugged me, and he came up with the perfect solution to fix it.

No, this isn't a jewelry store, or some cute little boutique.  It's my sink area, with racks for hanging all of my jewelry (tastefully arranged like artwork), a new jewelry box for my rings and earrings, and gorgeous sticky plant decals to complete the look.  And to think I was offended that Nate wanted me out of the house for a little while! 

I'm a spoiled little girl...  Coming soon, an update on my fabulous diaper/gift card shower yesterday at Tree's.    So completely wonderful...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holy Hanukkah!

Today is the first day of December, as well as the first day of Hanukkah.  I recently learned the story behind Hanukkah, and I have to admit, I was pretty impressed.  How have I gone 29 years without any knowledge of why people celebrate?  And how could I not have known about an ancient Jewish guerrilla warfare-maker who was referred to as "The Hammer"?  Oh, I'm not kidding.  It's intense.  Thought I'd give you a brief overview with an article I found on http://www.education.com/.

It’s the season of celebrations, and, for many people, Hanukkah is at hand. This traditional Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by millions around the world, and it’s a great way to teach your child about celebrations in other cultures. Here’s a guide to the light-filled festival of Hanukkah.
Like Christmas, Hanukkah celebrates and commemorates events which happened a long time ago in Jerusalem. Around 200 BCE, Jews in the land of Israel were under the rule of the Syrian king, but were still allowed to follow their own religious beliefs. However, a new king named Antiochus IV came to power. Antiochus forbade the Jews from practicing their religion, killed many of them, and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by placing an altar to the Greek god Zeus inside it.

Mattathias, a Jewish priest, objected to the cruel edicts of Antiochus, and along with his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah, he decided to fight back. Led by Judah (known as “The Hammer”), they led the Jewish people in a revolt, using clever strategy and guerrilla-style warfare to defeat Antiochus’ much larger army.
Flush with victory, the Jews returned to find their Temple dirty and desecrated, with pots of consecrated olive oil broken everywhere. Working together, they cleaned and rededicated the Temple (“Hanukkah” means “dedication” in Hebrew). They lit the holy fire in the Temple menorah (a many-branched candelabrum and symbol of Judaism). However, although the flame was supposed to burn continuously, they were dismayed to find that there was only enough oil to fuel the flame for one day! Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight full days, and gave the Jews time to properly prepare more oil. This is often referred to as the miracle of Hanukkah.

Since then, Jews the world over have celebrated this occasion by lighting the Hanukkah candles in a menorah over the course of eight days. Starting with one candle on the first night, and ending with eight on the eighth, the ceremony involves the saying or singing of a blessing while the candles are lit by the helper candle, or “shamash.” Traditionally, the illuminated menorah is placed in windows so that passerby may be reminded of the Hanukkah story.
Since the holiday is, in some way, a celebration of oil, the practice of eating food fried in oil, such as potato latkes and jelly donuts, is a major part of the holiday. Also included in the festivities is the traditional game of dreidel and the giving of “gelt,” or money, to children.

All in all, pretty interesting, isn't it?  Or is it just that I love history so much?  Anyway, I think Hanukkah sounds like a pretty awesome holiday, considering I love lights, Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song, and potato pancakes...  But in all seriousness, what a meaningful 8 days of light.  When I consider the tradition and beauty behind this celebration, I am incredibly humbled, especially given the sad state of consumerism into which Christmas has fallen.  So maybe I'll spin a dreidel this year, just for fun.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Robe

Well, Thanksgiving break was a miracle in itself.  Sleeping in late, staying up until all hours watching documentaries and Disney films, eating leftovers whenever I wanted...  And the shopping.  Oh yes, I did some serious shopping, including 4 a.m. on Black Friday.

But throughout all of this merriness, one frustrating item kept eluding me - "the robe."  Surely you've done this before.  You've gotten one perfect thing in mind, and until you found it, you couldn't be satisfied.  Well, I have envisioned myself countless times walking around the hospital during and after labor in the most perfect robe.  Long, fluffy, and hooded.  Well, kids, that robe does not exist in Lufkin.  I know, because I've been all over searching for it.  I found a long fluffy robe.  I found a short hooded robe.  I found a men's long, hooded robe made of yucky sweatshirt material.  But I did not find MY robe. 

Inevitably, by yesterday afternoon, I had a breakdown and ended up in my bed bawling, positive that there was no way I could go to the hospital and have this baby.  But not before I had completely driven Ann and Nate close to insane with my hunt.  And then I realized that perhaps this wasn't about the robe at all.  Perhaps I just needed something to concentrate on to make me feel a little more in control of things, and somehow, packing my bag with all the perfect things for the hospital was my way of self-soothing.  The things I realize when I'm sniffling into a me-sized body pillow!

And so, after my long fit was over and Nate soothed me with his perfectly laid-out plan to make everything better, I realized that I'm going to be just fine, robe or not.  But just for the record, I went for the short, fluffy, hooded plum robe and some pj pants instead.  It's all going to be okay.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Thanksgiving Gift

Thanksgiving break, here I come!
It's 5th period, and this Tuesday is almost over.  Which means that tomorrow, I'll be sleeping in to celebrate NOT having school.  That's right, it's break time, and it's been a loooooong time coming!  And may I just congratulate myself and mention that I have not called in sick a single day since school started?  Granted, I did have to take off 4 days to go back to Rockford for Grandma's funeral.  But as many days as I wanted to get up, call in, and head straight back to bed, I hauled my pregnant self to work anyway... for which I definitely deserve a nice big pat on the back.

Now, I do have a bit of work to do over break - editing a paper for a friend.  But for that kind of work, I can sit around in my Army sweatpants and a ponytail and not have to entertain a living soul.  Who'd have ever thought that would sound so appealing?  Maybe I'm just preparing for maternity leave, where I'm certain I will wear exclusively pajamas and workout clothes (got to get my tubby self back in shape).  Hanging out with my little man all day every day sounds like quite a treat, though, and for two of those weeks, Nate will be home with us as well!

Anyway, cheers to a nice long Thanksgiving weekend, and then 3 weeks of school until Christmas break.  I love the holidays!

Monday, November 22, 2010


So Nate and I went to the annual lighting of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Pumping Unit" on Saturday. We've never been before, but I guess since I'm pregnant, we felt somewhat compelled. Plus all the little Dantlets were going to be there, so we were easily persuaded.
Anyway, Milo "wore" a pair of reindeer antlers provided by Conner, and boy did Conner get a kick out of the whole thing!  He did, however, pull my shirt up and try to find Milo, saying, "Hey, is he in there?" like I might just be hiding him under my shirt rather than inside my womb.

I can't decide what's the funniest, though - the antlers on the tummy or my mom's face in the background!  Oh, and note the short sleeves.  Yes, it's really that warm here right now.  It's hard to get in the holiday spirit when it's still 80 degrees and humid as all get-out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

a peppermiracle

Yesterday, a peppermint hot chocolate saved my (and my students') life.  Sound dramatic?  Well, that's my job.  I am pregnant, after all...

But I woke up with a stuffy, runny nose and felt like my head was huge.  I was exhausted, and I'm ashamed to admit, very cranky.  I dropped Nate off at work and decided to stop at Starbucks on the way to school.  On a whim, I ordered a peppermint hot chocolate, and after one sip, I couldn't stop beaming. It made my entire morning, and I went through the rest of the day with a song in my heart.

So I decided to try my experiment again today, and I had a peppermint shake for lunch.  Again, beaming.  Hopefully my little light will shine all the way through the rest of my day teaching adverb clauses.  Peppermint is my spark! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My lil' guy

Well, as we speak, Milo is apparently doing log rolls across my tummy.  My stomach is shaking like there's an alien creature inside fighting to get out.  At times like this, I watch in wonder, and at the same time hope that he stops before I frighten any of my poor students. 

Yesterday afternoon, one of my students came in shaking her head at me and saying, "OH, Ms. Jackson.  I am so sorry."  I couldn't figure out what was going on until she said it.  "They made me watch a childbirth video in health class today.  OH, Ms. Jackson..."  I appreciate her sympathy, but somehow it's somewhat disturbing to have your students picturing you actually giving birth, you know what I mean?

Anyway, Happy Hump Day.  Hope it's a merry one for you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


In one week from today, I will be celebrating the last day of school before Thanksgiving break.

But as of today, I am grouchy and pissy, because that last day of school before Thanksgiving break is still a loooooong week away.  And I am a hot, tired mess today, ready to watch a movie for my class - thank goodness, because my fake enthusiasm for adjective clauses is waning every day.  Hooray for the hero's journey!

All that said, I am in full nesting mode at this point.  Could that be why I'm so offended to be at school?  Because, as we speak, I could be finishing laundry, scrubbing down walls, painting the bathroom, organizing the closet...  I've been in a frenzy the last few days, and Milo's room is getting much closer to being ready for him!  Not to mention all the tiny little clothes and socks and washcloths I've been laundering...  5 weeks and counting, and Dr. A is already guessing Milo is 5 1/2 to 6 pounds this very second.  Oh my word!  Nate is pretty excited about having a chunky baby, and I'm just concerned that he fit into some really adorable newborn outfits that we got.  As long as he can wear them, I'm good to go.  I can't wait!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Learning a lesson

Do you ever forget that all things happen for a reason?  I know I do.  Because today I was contemplating several of my students, all precious in their own ways, but each irritating to me in a certain way.  And I was complaining to myself (and anyone around me) that they drive me nuts and I wish they weren't in my class. 

Oops.  Bad idea.  Because then I remembered that I spend every morning praying over my classroom before my kids ever arrive. And I remembered how I spent the summer praying that the right students would be in my classes.  And I realized that if a student is in my class, it's for a reason.  So instead of wishing that kid would go away, I should be figuring out why he needs to stay. 

Oh to be wiser.  It takes me so long to figure things out.  At least God is patient, though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's official...

Well, I saw the epidural needle last night.
Odds are, I'm going to go without.  Because somehow natural childbirth seems so much kinder than ever having a huge, thick needle with a hook on the end shoved anywhere near my spine.

Anyone know any good breathing techniques?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The dogging stroller

Most of you know how badly I want a jogging stroller, so I can get right back to training for a marathon after I have Milo.  Besides, I need to instill a healthy love of running in our little guy!  So I've been searching for the perfect stroller, and today I decided to check eBay. 

Imagine my surprise when a number of the jogging strollers were not intended for carrying babies, but for carrying dogs.  Is it just me, or could a dog just run alongside you rather than being carried in a stroller?  And could a dog not stay at home alone while you went for a solo jog?  And honestly, does a dog stroller not look just like a glorified wagon?

Case and point:
This to me seems like a waste of money.  If you're walking with your dog, why not just put a leash on him and make him walk himself?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Texas Country Reporter

Explain to me why no one told me that the Texas Country Reporter was in Lufkin on Friday.  Even more importantly, why didn't anyone tell me that he was at the high school on Friday, interviewing people for a segment on football?  And seriously, why didn't anyone tell him that his soothing voice helped me through a summer full of morning sickness, or invite him to my baby shower?

Oh, I found his vehicle, all right.  It was parked at the football game Friday night, and I spent more of the game looking for him than watching the action.  I never did find him.  But I got this great photo.

Someday I hope to lure him back to Lufkin.  I'll do whatever it takes.  Grow a world food garden.  Open an antique shop specializing in 1950's hotel decor.  Start an ice cream parlor with flavors like "funnel cake," or "granola sandwich."  But he's coming. He's just bound to...

A tale of two ovens

Okay, be honest.  Which of these would you rather have in your kitchen?  The old, beige oven from circa 1980, or the brand-new, stainless steel, flat-top, self-cleaning oven from, well, NOW.

Well, imagine this.  As previously mentioned yesterday, I am incredibly spoiled.  Remember when I destroyed our oven with the penis cookies for Chad and Teresa's housewarming?  Well, it was the oven on the LEFT.  The old, nasty oven that should be pushed straight to the curb.  And guess which oven we somehow acquired for a mere $25?  That would be the oven to the RIGHT, which Nate and Gary installed yesterday.  Now I can't wait to bake anything and everything, and I can just imagine how fabulous it will all be.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I am one spoiled girl.
Last night we had our big couples baby shower, and I felt so incredibly loved.  It's amazing, too, to think how much Milo is already loved, even though no one has ever seen him.  But my sisters and my friends went out of their ways to make last night perfect in every single way, and I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it.

First of all, there was food upon food upon food.  Soups and salads, some of my favorites!  Potato soup, broccoli and cheese soup, creamy wild rice soup, chili, tortilla soup...  Am I forgetting something?  And then Mexican salad, strawberry and spinach salad, regular salad, broccoli salad...  Plus tons of bread (which I love), a cheese ball with crackers (actually, two balls, made by Ann, if you want to be specific, and she had quite an interesting idea for the arrangement given the fact that Milo is a boy...), not one but two chocolate fountains with fruit, marshmallows, pretzels, etc.  There was almond tea and cappuccino punch.  I fully intended to spend the entire shower doing nothing but eating, but then there were the gifts...

More gifts than I could possibly know what to do with.  And the best part was that each gift contained a book to build up Milo's library, which as you know, I feel is more important than even diapers.  He is going to be so smart, and so well dressed, based on all the fabulous cute outfits we received!  Plus I was so concerned about getting our stroller/car seat set, and as soon as we walked in, there it was, right next to the cake table.  What amazing hostesses!!!

The kids (for whom there was child care, by the way) spent time decorating onesies for Milo (pictures to follow - beyond cute).  Each guest wrote a letter to Milo, which I will treasure for the rest of my life.  And let me just tell you, the number of people who came to celebrate with us was astounding.  I was so glad to have so many of my friends and family all together to celebrate our precious peanut.  If only I could just figure out a way for Milo to get here without me actually giving birth, life would be perfect!

Now excuse me. I have a lifetime of thank you cards to write, and I sincerely mean each and every one.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The joys of pregnant teaching

If I can teach an entire semester really pregnant, I can do anything.  And I can endure any comment.  For example:
"Ms. Jackson, I love your shirt.  It's so pretty, and it makes you look HUGE."
How does one respond to such a comment?  It's definitely a lesson in holding my tongue and using some tact...

I also tend to feel like a circus exhibit or a science project, as I have my students and random ones popping in to look at me and to try to feel my tummy.  Although it's not as awkward as I thought it would be, I still have some random moments of panic when I feel like if anyone else tries to touch me, I might lose my mind.

I was trying to remember if I ever had a pregnant teacher when I was in school, and the answer is NO.  How might I have reacted?  With tons of questions?  With casual indifference?  With delight when she left for maternity leave? 

Yesterday I taught my girls to diagram participles, on a curved line, and they said, "LOOK!  It's a pregnant tummy!!!  Ooooooh, Ms. Jackson.  We love diagramming these!"  It got even better when we diagrammed participles as predicate adjectives, which are the curved lines on a little stand with two legs.  Imagine their delight...  "Ms. Jackson - it's YOU!  A big pregnant tummy on two skinny legs!"

At least I got a nice compliment on my legs?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Partial nudity only

Now tell me this...
How many of you would want to give birth completely stark naked?  Anyone?  Anyone?
If you answered yes, let me know so that I can publicly call you crazy on my blog.

Because I went to birthing class last night, and the video they showed featured some very, (ahem), natural-type mothers. I believe the nurse referred to them as "earthy girls, the kind who'd squat beside a tree."  But each and every one of them was as naked as the day she was born.  Think about it.  Does anyone need to see a naked pregnant woman for any reason?  Childbirth is disturbing enough without having to see every last scrap of skin on the woman in labor.  People, it's not pretty!  Seriously, when I see myself after I get out of the shower, I even blush a little.  It's uncomfortable!!!

I was absolutely, utterly mortified that I would have to be buck-naked giving birth.  Forget the whole squeezing a watermelon out a tiny opening thing.  The nakedness was the worst thought of the night, even worse than when I was horribly startled by the sight of a baby literally coming out of a, well, you can imagine...  I can handle a lot of things, including an incredible amount of pain, but doing it naked?  That's absolutely too much.

Thank goodness the nurse informed us that this was not the norm, and that they would do everything they could to preserve at least a shred of our modesty (believe me, I already know the extent to which I'll be exposed, and I'm not happy about it).  Because I think I almost cried right then and there.  I would do anything, and I do mean anything, to not be naked.  The world and everyone in it can do without that sneak peek, especially now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A BIG baby

So I went to the doctor yesterday, and he told me that Milo is getting big.  In fact, he said it several times, in a very serious voice.  Now, common sense might lead you to ask, "How big?"  Unfortunately, I was so panicked by that statement, I forgot to even ask what that meant.  Visions of episiotomies and mandatory c-sections were going through my head, and I lost all sense of common sense.  It happens.

And then I asked if it was still okay for me to travel to the conference at which I was supposed to present next week.  The doctor looked at me and said, as serious as could be, "What happens if your water breaks while you're there?  What would you do?"  

To which I replied, "Um, it's not supposed to break until December 21st, right?"

In other words, no, I won't be presenting at the conference.  I will be sitting on my giant bum eating ice cream drumsticks and watching The Biggest Loser (it's ironic how those two things go together, eh?)

Now it seems like everyone I come across needs to tell me how big I am, and every time someone does, I think, "Well, you just have no idea.  But please, dear Lord, let Milo be small.  And let him stay put a little longer."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just a few random thoughts

One night this weekend, I dreamed that Milo was born, and so adorable, but with a full-blown mullet.  A mullet!  In my dream, I was holding my precious little newborn up on my shoulder and telling Nate, "You have to cut this mullet before anyone sees it!"  lol.  With all the indigestion I've been having, I'm definitely expecting a full head of hair, but let's hope it's a head full of cute hair!

I'm also wondering if being pregnant with a boy is making Nate and I change.  Because something very strange is happening...  We're becoming a little bit sporty.  As in, we've been to more professional sporting events since I've been pregnant than we have in our entire marriage. As in, we've been watching sports on tv.  As in, yesterday we watched both the Cowboys and the Rangers play, and we were passionate about both games.  Needless to say, yesterday was not a great day for Texas sports.  

Nursery overhaul

We did it, we did it, we DID IT!  We finished painting Milo's nursery, with these fabulous murals on the two side walls. 
Nate and April drew the airplanes, Nate drew the train, and we all participated in the painting.  In fact, Nate and I were painting for what felt like two solid days.  But looking at the finished product, I am completely delighted.  It turned out even better than I could have imagined!
Nate drew this one, and I spent a lot of time painting the basic stuff.  Then Nate went back and worked his magic and made the whole thing come to life.  He astounds me.
April did this plane - she and Nate are ridiculous!  We ended up painting the faces on both of the little guys, basically because the green faces looked a bit like Martians.  In the next pic, you should be able to tell that their faces are now a peachy-color.

Here are both planes, flying right behind Milo's crib.  Nate had to carefully angle the larger one so it didn't look like it was coming in for a crash-landing on top of Milo. He was really concerned about that!

All aboard the Milo train!  This wall is across from the wall with the planes and crib.  Believe it or not, the orange on this baby took no fewer than 10 coats of paint.  AHHHHHH!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hey Kate, how was your day?

Well, it was a little rough.  In fact, it seems like everyone has lost their ever-loving minds, to tell you the truth.

No way.  It couldn't have been that bad, could it?  And don't you just love high schoolers?

Well, you tell me.  In fact, let's make a list, shall we?

  1. I was assigned an intern.  Of all the interns that never showed, mine was the one intern who actually did.  On a Friday. At 8:00 a.m.   Note: I have no class at 8:00 a.m.  Insert awkward conversation.
  2. The teacher across the hall from me (a history teacher/coach) did NOT show up today. Nor did he have a sub. Nor did the history department feel they needed to handle his classes. So at the beginning of 2nd period, one of the other history teachers came in to me, while I'm teaching, and said, "Hey, can you just watch Coach So-and-So's class for me? They're in there, just keep an ear out and make sure they're not too loud." EXCUSE ME?  Last I checked, it is never a good idea to leave a classroom full of students all alone. The intern looked at me and said, "Um, does this happen very often?"  I told her I couldn't even talk about it right then.
  3. There was a fight in the girls bathroom during 1st period. Now, don't get me wrong.  I can't list this as a negative, because Sawyer had to go break it up, and did so by screaming at the literal top of his lungs from the doorway, "HEY! STOP THAT S*** AND GET YOUR A**ES OUT OF THERE!"  Apparently the girls were so startled and embarrassed that they literally did stop and come out, and I haven't quit laughing over the idea of this since Sawyer told me that from his classroom, it sounded like twenty lemurs scrapping it out over a bowl of fruit.  I did have to list this, though, as an example of how people have lost their minds.
  4. The teacher down the hall (also history) lets about 10 kids just leave her class every period, and they run down the hall screaming, hitting each other, pushing each other down, etc. until I have to go into the hall and give them all a good tongue-lashing.  On top of that, she also manages to show at least one movie a week.  Hmmmm...
  5. One of my students, a varsity football player, decided that he should get his phone out during 2nd period today.  Note: It is against school policy to do so, and I am required to take his phone and turn it in to the principal.  This is not a surprise. When I attempted to take it, he told me, "No, Ms. Jackson. I'm not giving this to you. It's game day." Um, what? I'm sorry, is it now an option to do what the teacher says?  I promptly wrote him up, while he calmly waited, and sent him to the office with 2 offenses - using the phone in class, and refusing to give me the phone.  The principal will do jack squat about it, especially because the kid is a football player, so I completely wasted my time. But disrespect is disrespect, and call me crazy, I can't stand it.
  6. By the time I got to 4th period, I was expecting a small respite, because it's a small class of all girls.  Of course, that was just too much to ask, as several of the girls came in squabbling about a boy, and the rest attempted to choose sides.  At this point, I told them to shut their mouths, take their quizzes, and gave myself a break.  We headed outside to do their free write, and I sat in the grass, soaking in the sun and the breeze and doing deep breathing activities.

So yes, today really was as bad as it seemed.  Aren't you glad you asked?


Thank you, Lord, for letting us have some fall weather here in Texas.  My hair has been fuzzy every single day this week, and I kept hearing rumors of a cold front.  Well, it finally appeared yesterday afternoon. 

Now, when I say cold, I mean the temperature dipped into the 70's.  (It's amazing the things I've learned to say since I moved to Texas.)  But overnight, I seriously think it may have dipped down into the 40's or 50's.  Nate and I slept with our windows open, and when I awoke this morning I was cozy and my nose was cold.  We almost didn't make it to work - either of us, because staying in that bed was entirely too tempting!

But thank you, cold, and thank you, Friday, both for getting here just in time.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

AHA!!!! It's a promise!

My husband, my fabulous husband, my sweet, wonderful, handsome husband.  Because he knows that it's killing me not to run right now, especially with most of my running buds prepping for a marathon, he made a promise today.  Let's all hold him accountable for this:

I'll make a promise to you. You and I will train for a marathon together after Milo is born. I'll help you. They can all come, but WE will run it together. I'm not sure how that will all work out since we'll have a newborn, but we'll figure it out...lol.

There it is, in writing.  Now all we need is a good jogging stroller, and we're in business!

Birthing Class #1

Yesterday the school blocked me from my blog, so I didn't have the opportunity to tell you about Nate's and my first birthing class Tuesday night.  Maybe it's a good thing I had a day to process, though...

Because nothing, and I do mean nothing, can erase from my mind what I saw.  It was the first night, and our very first introduction to the class involved over an hour of photos, stories, videos, etc. of horrible car accidents that took multiple lives and destroyed everything in their paths.  I think there were maybe 10 minutes of discussion on child safety seats, and the importance of putting a child in one in the car, but aside from that, I felt like I was taking defensive driving all over again (not that I've ever had to take it...).  At one point, Nate forbade me from even looking at the video, where Sarah McLachlan's "Arms of the Angel" played behind scenes of death and destruction.  I think he felt bad after I was so startled by the video of a man being thrown from his car and run over by other cars on a freeway.  I sat quietly and twiddled my thumbs, wondering if I was in the right place.

And then I looked around me, at the host of bloated, cranky, hungry pregnant women around me and knew that we, indeed, did wind up where we needed to be.  And as Janet told me I would before class, I felt like the hottest (and tiniest) woman there.  My hair was up, but not in a messy side ponytail.  I had cute jeans and a nice shirt, instead of sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt.  I had even taken the time to put in my contacts that morning, instead of rolling out straight from a nap in glasses.  WOW.  It was quite the scene.

Next week pairs the birthing video (EEEEEK!!!!  I'm already in this predicament, with no way out.  Don't scare me like that!) with the birthing unit tour (which I'm really curious about).  I had originally said we'd skip video night, but I really want to see what kind of room I can expect. Oddly enough, our teacher said that this night is her favorite.  I think I'd rather have a home birth than watch this video, but I know we'll end up there, and I'm positive Nate will forbid me to watch this video, too.  And I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tomorrow is a new day

This morning, as I pulled my overhead screen down with extreme force, I managed to hit myself in the head with it, striking myself so hard that I saw stars.  That's pretty much how this day has gone.

I think I should have known better than to come to school when I spent the majority of last night throwing up until I turned polka-dotted.  It's been a while, right?  So imagine my surprise when I couldn't keep my bizarre combination of bean and rice tacos, baby carrots with blue cheese, and cranberry scones to stay where I put it. 

Anyway, I should have stayed in bed, but instead I'm being a good teacher and attempting to go on with my lessons.  Somehow it's not working too well, and I'm just promising my students that tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Side Note:  I have a new phrase that I need to completely eradicate from my vocabulary.  "I just need them to sit down, be quiet, and not talk to me."

This may be the number one clue that it's about time to go on maternity leave.  Too bad I still have two months, eh?

Reality TV

Last night Nate and I both boo-hooed through the most horrible/wonderful episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

The story?  A pregnant woman and her husband, who she dearly loves, buy an old cottage in the hopes of making it their fairy tale home.  Her water breaks, he goes out to do some chores before they leave for the hospital, and he never comes back - he dies of a heart attack.  The hospital sends two ambulances, one for her husband, and one for her because she's in labor.  She gives birth the very same day her husband dies.

HOLY CRAP!  I should have known it was going to be bad when Nate read the TiVo preview of the episode and just said, "Oh NO."  Then he looked at me and said, "Are you sure you want to watch this?" 

I insisted, and we ended up sharing tissues.  WHEW.  And even though it all turned out beautifully, and she got a wonderful home and special projects remembering her late husband, I still managed to cry every few minutes.  I seriously need to stop watching reality tv.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My wonderful husband

Don't read this if you don't want to hear about the most amazing man alive.  Because who on earth has a husband as sweet and thoughtful as mine?

On Fridays, Nate's whole office gets to leave early - this Friday, he left at 2:30.  What would most men do with an extra hour and a half before they had to pick up their wives from work?  Head to the driving range?  Sit on the couch and veg for a while?  Maybe grab some lunch or spend some money on themselves?

Not mine.  He pulled up to pick me up from work with a grin on his face and a sheepish admission.  "Baby, I went to Hobby Lobby, and I spent a little bit of money."  I was just delighted that he had bought something for himself, but I should have known better!

He picked up an awesome vintage-looking train and truck for Milo's nursery, and we both exclaimed about it for a minute before he said, "That's not all," and opened the glove compartment, revealing a hot pink bag.  "This is for you."

I opened the bag and found an amazing purple headband, which I immediately put on (and boy did it spruce up my crazy ponytail...).  "There's something else in there."  I pulled out a gorgeous, huge ring, just the type that I love, and immediately went on and on about how sweet he was and how there was no way he had to do that.

"Well...  that's not all, either..."  He pulled out a Motherhood Maternity bag with an adorable dress and a gorgeous shirt, both for me (obviously).  How on earth could I be so spoiled?  Because my fabulous Nate definitely responded, "Well, you know how much I love to spend money on you." (sigh)  Perfection.  I should have a rough week more often.

Or not.  I'll just smile and enjoy having such a wonderful man.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Do you ever want to walk around and tell the entire world, "SHHHHHHHHHH"?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fashion Disaster

Today was a bad day, and I'm blaming it entirely on my outfit.  I hated it to begin with, but I wore it anyway, and I'm certain it spoiled everything.  Or maybe it was the lack of makeup and the horrible messy-bun hair?  Either way, I found myself feeling just plain pissy all day long.  Here I was, trying to switch things up and wear something different from my usual dress and boots, and it went horribly awry.  So why bother?

My theory is that if I could just find enough cute dresses to wear every day for the rest of my pregnancy, I might be able to pull off a much better attitude on a daily basis.  Because finding pants that actually stay up, with panels that don't itch, that correspond with tops that actually cover my growing tummy but don't swallow me, is getting to be more than this little fashionista can handle. 

I went to the trouble to pair an ironed (now that's a feat in itself) dress shirt under a short-sleeved sweater, with dress pants and a pair of flats.  But then there was the tummy problem, so I added an undershirt tucked into the pants (which was more than a headache every time I went to the bathroom).  I spent most of the day pulling my pants up and my shirts down, and by lunchtime I was hot, itchy, and starving. 

One of my students literally told me, "Ms. Jackson, you look plain today."  Plain?  Excuse me?  I may have been accused of a lot of things, like over-using glitter and sparkles, but I have never been called plain.  My feelings were mortally wounded, yet all I could do was sigh and say, "Well, I feel plain today."  Keep in mind, blech, uncomfortable, and irritated much more accurately described how I felt, and I almost told her that, until I realized that I was the teacher and she was the student (look at me still being professional).

I used to love a challenge, but these days, I'm just too darn tired to care.  So you may see me in the same gray or black dress every single day until Milo comes, or the same pair of Nate's old boxers that I wear every night with the largest tee-shirt I can find.  Repeating outfits.  (shudder)  It's a pregnancy necessity.  All I know is that I'm mentally filing today's outfit in the "NEVER AGAIN" category. That is, if my pregnant brain can keep track of anything...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The day that just wouldn't quit

Just when I thought today couldn't get any more exciting - or trying...  Someone threw up.

More specifically, someone in my class threw up.

Even more specifically, someone in my class threw up on her desk and all over my floor. 

And now I can't stop gagging.  Don't get me wrong - I immediately sent the ill student to the nurse and took my whole class next door to the empty room.  But when I think about heading back into my room for the next period, I literally can't hold my lunch down.  I start gagging just walking down the hall toward the classroom.  What's a pregnant girl with an extremely sensitive gag reflex to do?

You know, when I agreed to teach high school, it was mostly on the assumption that high school students don't require the level of nurturing that younger students do.  For example, they, in theory, go to the restroom on their own, blow their own noses, and at least make it to a trash can when they feel sick to their stomachs.  I'm starting to wonder, though, if the only difference is that high schoolers have the capacity for making much larger messes.  And let me say this.  The day one of my kids pees or poops his own pants will be my last day teaching high school.

Either way, I have to be finished with this post or I'm going to be the one making a mess.  And I still have one more class period to go.  Wish me luck.


Just a thought first thing this morning...
Today was the first day that Nate literally had to give me a boost out of the car.  I don't know if I was just plain exhausted or if I'm really getting that large, but the push on the booty definitely helped.
Is anyone else thinking it's way too early for all that, though?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A yay kind of day

Well, we made it!  The housewarming party was a huge success on Saturday night, and I have to say, it's all because of Nate.  He's a party-planning genius, so if you're in the market for an event planner, let me know and I'll put you in touch with him.  He handles details and pressure like no one I've ever seen.  It's a skill I am sadly lacking... but then again, I'm the girl who quit my interior design degree when I realized that I abhor details of any kind.  It's what makes Nate and I work so well together, though.  I'm a big-picture kind of girl.

So we celebrated the success on Sunday with free tickets to the Texans vs. Chiefs game, and it was awesome!  Don't think I'm a nerd when I say this, but the highlight of the game for me was that President Bush, Sr. was the honorary referee and called the coin toss.  I was completely amazed, and probably because now I can say I've seen him twice in person - once when I interned at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and just yesterday.  On top of all that, we sat in the crazy fan section of the game, where everyone dresses in crazy attire and screams choice words at the refs, and it was a back-and-forth game that the Texans ended up winning in the last minute.  By the end, I could literally feel the concrete under me shaking and my eardrums vibrating.  Milo slept through the entire thing.  Either that, or he was just completely still because he was waiting for the final score with baited breath...

I went to the doctor this morning and only gained a pound in the last two weeks.  Thank you, Jesus.  I'm as healthy as a horse, and Milo is perfectly positioned head-down.  And now that the housewarming party is over, I can completely focus on the fact that our baby shower is coming up November 6, and I absolutely can't wait!  Could things get any better?  I mean, really? 

Happy Monday, everyone!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Third time's a charm?

Tell me one thing.  What does this photo look like to you?

I have been in baking H. E. L. L.  The whole mess started on Thursday night.  We went shopping for hours for Chad and Tree's housewarming party, and I still had a batch of pumpkin scones to make when we got home.  Needless to say, the recipe turned out to be a low-fat one, and the scones were so disgusting I'm struggling for words to explain.  I am now a firm believer that scones require gobs of butter, sugar, and fat, and that they are no longer a healthful breakfast option.  The whole batch went straight into the trash, and I was left with no head start on my baking (and there's tons of it, mind you).

Fast forward to Friday night, where, after a loooooooong day of school, Nate and I ended up shopping for hours again, after which I was supposed to do a ton of baking.  I was tired, irritable, and ended up stressed about money and baking and life in general...

I spent a good thirty minutes or so trying to roll out some sugar cookie dough for little musical note and guitar-shaped cookies.  Why on earth didn't anyone warn me that the darn dough would stick to everything, including, but not limited to, my counter, the rolling pin, my hands, the wax paper, and the cookie cutter?

I finally threw the cookies into the oven and began gathering supplies for some orange muffins.  After a few minutes, I realized that the kitchen smelled like it was on fire, and I opened the oven door to a.) a giant cloud of smoke, b.) some sort of leak in the oven that was filling the bottom with a white substance, and c.) penis cookies.  Some evil gnome must have sneaked into my oven when I wasn't looking and switched out all those adorable little guitars I had worked so hard cutting out with phallic symbols.  Now tell me what you would do?  (hint: I'm pregnant, so you can imagine how I responded...)

After I pulled out the cookies and screamed for Nate, he realized that I had left the sugar tub on top of the one burner on the stovetop that has a pipe straight into the oven (And why on earth would someone set a sugar tub on the stovetop in the first place?  Again, I'm pregnant...).  The tub had melted, leaking plastic and tons of sugar straight into the stove.  Needless to say, after we turned off the oven and cleared out the smoke, I promptly sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and began to sob (I'm sure you guessed already).  In the meantime, Nate had spotted the cookies and proceeded to laugh for at least 30 minutes straight, snapping photos and sending them to all his guy friends.

After locking myself in the bathroom to weep it out, I finally just gave up.  I mixed up my orange muffin mix, threw it in the fridge, and went to bed.  And here I sit on a Saturday morning, after trying for 45 minutes to clean out my oven, with a mountain of baking to do and no oven in which to bake it.  Because, that's right, most of that sugar melted to the bottom of my oven and has now become one with it.

I guess that will teach me to assume that I should be the official baker for any sort of party, although I'm hoping this whole experience is earning me bonus points in heaven.  It surely isn't helping me win any favor with Nate.

And it will definitely teach me about making guitar cookies...  Just a word of advice - I'd skip the guitar-shaped cookie cutter.  Unless you're baking for a bachelorette party.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sneak Peek

Okay, just so you know, there's a really good chance that what's hiding in here...

 ... could look a little something like this...

IT'S ME!!!  A rolly little pumpkin who looked just like my dad.
I can't wait to hold my little Milo and see what he's like.  I already know that he likes volleyball and his daddy - he's active as can be when he's around both.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he's already learning to tune out my voice, even when I'm singing at the top of my lungs first thing in the morning.  And I'm hoping that he doesn't pull the 4 a.m. "play with me" wiggling after he's born...
But no matter what, he's bound to be pretty darn adorable.  I mean look at his mommy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maya Angelou Day

A few quotes by a very wise woman - Maya Angelou.  I used these in one of my classes yesterday and had to let most of the students out early to clean themselves up in the bathroom - they were all bawling!  Choose your favorite and tell me which one it is and why.

  • I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

  • I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

  • I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

  • I've learned that "making a living" is not the same as "making a life."

  • I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

  • I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

  • I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

  • I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

  • I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

  • I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

  • I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All Points Bulletin

Well, here's the exciting news.  Last night, I had my very first real, true craving.  In fact, it really felt like an emergency.  Milo and I wanted, no, desperately needed, ice cream.  What else? 

So Nate and I set off on a late night (9:00 pm) ice cream adventure to Sonic, dressed in our pjs and me giggling in delight.  A cold front was breezing through and the night sky was completely lit up with lightning.  Even had we come home without ice cream, I still would have enjoyed myself. 

And we got the ice cream - a butterfinger and M&M blast for me, and a banana split for Nathan.  I went to set his down in our double cup holder, and he said, "No, baby, not there...  For that very reason."  Yes, I dumped the banana split into the cup holder, managed to save some of it, and then laughed all the way home despite the mess I was about to have to clean up.  Good for Nate - he already has someone to whom he can tell, "I told you so," with frequency.  I'm a good lesson for him in child-rearing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Road Trip Part 2

Guess what?

I'm stalling.  Biding my time until I can actually force myself to figure out what on earth my kids are doing today.  That's right.  I waited until the last minute, and now I'm down to the wire with 30 minutes and a very sparse lesson.  (sigh)  Truth be told, I'm just not feeling it today, but I need to get my act together before I see a single student...

But while I'm doing that, let me tell you about Part 2 of my road trip.

After the funeral and luncheon last Wednesday, Jen, Ann, and I hit a few Rockford stops, the first being Grandma's house, which seemed completely empty without her.  Being the only knitter in the family, I got to take some of her precious needles and yarn, which made me feel good.  Grandma would have loved for me to have these things, and I even found some blue and white baby yarn to make something for Milo.  I'm going to consider it her blanket to him.

We also stopped at Beef-a-Roo for cheddar fries.  If you've never had them, I can't even begin to describe how fatty, unhealthy, and divinely delicious they are. And, of course, we stopped at Mary's Market for breakfast pastries and coffee (don't worry, just for Jen).  Were it humanly possible for me to pack up the whole restaurant and bring it back with me, I would have, because we are completely lacking something so lovely here in Lufkin.

And then it was off to Elgin to see Grandma Marilyn.  I couldn't wait to see her, especially since I was feeling so extremely sentimental.  And my feisty Grandma didn't disappoint.  She served us pizza on Chicago Bears plates, with Chicago Bears napkins, and our drinks were, of course, also served in Chicago Bears cups.  Oh, it was a feast, indeed, and Grandma even packed up a cup and some napkins to send home for Nate, who is a die-hard Cowboys fan.  Reminder:  3 weeks ago, the Bears beat the CowboysIt was definitely a high point for me, considering I was raised a Bears fan and rarely see them win.

Grandma thought I looked adorable pregnant, and after a thorough check, including lifting up my shirt to get a good view of my butt, decided that I'm not gaining weight anywhere but my stomach (and my giant bust).  I got the seal of approval, which felt pretty darn good.

After an amazing evening visiting with Grandma, we hit the hay, only to awaken at 5 a.m. Thursday.  Yes, the long trip back was about to begin.  Sarah, Bryan, Mikey, and the girls decided to sleep in Thursday and start the drive around 1 (Let me also mention that they thought they could still speed and beat us home, and continued to taunt us about it until Bryan finally got pulled over and issued a ticket.  I don't want to say, "HAH!!!" or anything, but...).  Jen had to be back for work on Friday, so it was imperative that we leave.  However, it was NOT imperative that we drive straight through without stopping at an outlet mall on the way back through Illinois.  That's right, around 10 a.m. we saw it, and an angel choir and the voice of God compelled us to stop, where we shopped our little hearts out for about 2 hours.  It was a completely worthwhile and necessary trip, especially since we were such troopers all the rest of the way home.  We made it back by 1:30 a.m. on Friday, and sleep has never felt so sweet after a week of going practically without it. 

Yes, I stopped every two hours to "fully empty my bladder and walk around for a few minutes" as my doctor instructed.  Yes, I was completely uncomfortable and itchy a majority of the way home (and the weekend after we arrived).  Yes, I spent the entire weekend crying my eyes out after I was able to be still for a while.  And yes, I am completely and utterly glad that I went.  Even though my students gave my substitute such a fit that he told on me to my department head.  But that's another story for a completely different day.

And now I'm off to my lesson plans, which I have 15 minutes to get under control.  Glad you're not a teacher?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Road Trip Part I

You're probably asking yourself about the ROAD TRIP.  Well, that is, if you have nothing better to do than keep up with my life and my blog and the promises I've made on said blog. 

It all began with a message on Jen's answering machine, a tinny, mechanized voice:  "Wut time shoood I be read-ee to go?"  My brother Mikey successfully sent a text to Jen's land line, which resulted in the funniest joke of our entire trip, Jen repeating the text in her best Midwestern robot voice at all hours so we could get a good laugh.  It got even better when my brother continued to text the answering machine while we were on the trip, leaving such gems as, "My bottom is covered in flax-seed," and "My Jen-et-als (see earlier post on Jen's new nickname) are swollen" for Jen's husband.  I can't remember the last time I was so delighted with technology, and poor Mike Dant just wanted to know why he was being prank called by all of us.

Looooooong story short (and it was a very long, 2-day story), our road trip up involved 1 caravan of 6 adults, 2 kids (3 months and 3 years old), 2 cars, one two-hour stop at Bob Evans, and a hotel stay in West Memphis completely devoid of any hot water (Jen worked it and got us our room for free).  It also involved endless streams of tears and countless burts of hysterical laughter, at least 100 window-cracks for my farting younger siblings, and at least three times that I thought Ann might hit Mikey for reclining his front passenger seat so much he was practically sitting in the back. 

It also involved one very cranky seven-months pregnant woman (oh wait, that was me) shifting around and around, trying desperately to get comfortable after 9 hours in the car.  Jen overheard a hilarious phone conversation between Nate and me. I'll describe it the way she heard it, with only my voice.  "Oh, the car ride is okay.  I'm just uncomfortable.  You know how I get itchy when I'm tired."  (long pause)  "No, baby, I said itchy."  I'll leave you to fill in the blanks.  Needless to say, I might have gotten my feelings hurt had Jen not been laughing so hard...

We drove from 6 p.m. on Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday, stopped, and drove from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 9 p.m. Tuesday, when we finally arrived in Rockford, IL.  Tell me how an 18-hour trip managed to take us all that time?  Besides the Bob Evans stop?  We had originally intended to make it for Grandma's visitation from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (which at least a thousand people attended).  Definitely didn't go quite as planned, though, which I'm understanding more and more is how life in general works.  But when we finally arrived, we were greeted by our delighted cousins, warm beds, cool weather, and one happy dog named Gus.  It was good to be "home" in Rockford (Jen and I promptly begged our husbands to let us move back, to which they both replied, "If we're moving anywhere, it's NOT going to be to Rockford.").

More on the trip to come...


Saturday, October 2, 2010


Well, my friends, I did indeed abandon you for a week.  With a sad reason.  My precious precious Grandmother, my dad's mom, passed away last Saturday, and I didn't even have the heart to write.  I've been in survival mode for the past week, and I know it's about time to snap out of it...  But I'm truly heartbroken because Grandma was my last link to my dad, and if he couldn't hold my Milo Jay, I was determined that she would.  For some reason I was positive she would be okay, just for that reason.  My only comfort is how many times my cousins reminded her that Milo's middle name was Jay after my dad, and how happy she was every time they talked about it.

My grandma, known as DoAnn, GG, Grandma Geiger, Grams, etc., was one of the kindest and most influential people I know.  Nothing could stop her, nothing could get her down.  She loved knitting (as do I), purple, and people.  She cared so much about individuals with special needs that she was the person responsible for bringing Special Olympics to Northwest Illinois, and our family grew up helping and loving these people just for her.  No one was a stranger to her.  In fact, I think that she knew just about every single person in Rockford, and I could never go anywhere without being recognized as "one of DoAnn's girls."

When my dad, her first-born son, died, she filled in the gaps for me.  I always remember seeing Grandma in the stands when I was cheering at basketball games.  She was there at every luncheon, every award ceremony, every extra event where I needed a parent.  She lived close enough for me to walk to her house, and we spent so much time with me just curled up on her sofa, while she knit away at a blanket, or a hat, or a lighthouse sweater (wink), asking me an endless stream of questions about me, the family, just about anything.  I remember going to coffee with her at Mary's Market, and how any time we were together she said, "What a wonderful little party."

Grandma also said what was on her mind, no beating around the bush.  The first time Nate met her, he was her date to a wedding that I was in.  As the husky bridesmaids filed down the aisle, she loudly remarked to him, "Well, those really are some corn-fed girls, aren't they?"  Nate had no choice but to love her, as we all did.  You never had to wonder what Grandma was thinking, and you never had to wonder if her intentions were pure and filled with nothing but love.

My siblings and I road-tripped up to Illinois for her funeral.  It was an 18-hour drive full of delirium and laughter, and I'm sure I'll have plenty to say on that another day.   But for now, I'm examining my life, wanting to make sure that I measure up now that Dad and Grandma can both keep an eye on me and see what's going on.  I feel like I should be helping more people, saying what I mean, and wearing a lot of purple.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Bigger Loser

I can not, will not, shall not watch The Biggest Loser.

No matter how much I love Jillian Michaels, I won't do it.  Not even if I hear the beautiful bleeps that let me know that she is cussing someone a new one and more than likely making him cry will I set foot in the room.

Even though I love physical fitness and extreme makeovers, I just shouldn't subject myself to this show.

Despite the fact that I adore my husband and he adores the show, it is not in my best interest to watch, no matter how badly he wants me to sit down with him.

"Why?" You might ask.

Because I'm pregnant, and feeling very sensitive and a tad bit vulnerable.  And I burst into tears no fewer than four times just watching the pilot episode.  Four too many (possibly more) perfectly good cries used last night, and I'm already a mushy mess as it is.

 I literally cried when they made the brand-new contestants run a mile because it broke my heart to see how hard it was (and I really felt for them, being a little larger than normal myself...).  I cried when one of the girls couldn't move on in the competition because she had an asthma attack that literally floored her.  I teared up at another contestant who was so kind to her.  But then I really bawled at the poor woman who lost her three year-old son to cancer because he was the cutest little black baby-son I have ever seen.  I literally had to leave the room and get into the shower, where I wept most of the time I washed.

And that's when I decided.  NO.  I absolutely should not be watching this show.
(See you next week, Bob and Jillian.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Drunken chicken

Note to self:  do not marinate Nate's chicken in white cooking wine all day and then also make a "subtle" white wine cream sauce to go along with it.  It will taste like chicken chased with a shot of hard liquor (Nate's words, not mine - don't get excited, I still haven't been craving meat).

That's right, yesterday, I had a brilliant plan.  Marinate some chicken in the same thing I'd be using for sauce that evening.  I was thinking how genius I was and how delighted Nate was going to be to have something different and exciting for dinner.  I just had no idea how exciting...

When I went to season the chicken, I poured out the liquid that had accumulated over the day and thought to myself, "Hmmmm, how weird.  The chicken apparently somewhat melted to the bottom of the bowl while it was thawing. It's never done that before!"  And as I was putting it into the pan to cook, it was practically falling apart.  Well, I had completely forgotten what I had done at this point, so I had no idea that the chicken was literally decomposing because it had been sitting in something close to vinegar all day long.

And I didn't remember until Nate took a bite of his dinner and his eyes bugged out of his head as he asked, "Um, Kate, how much wine did you put in this sauce?" 

Poor, poor Nate, who is such a trooper, proceeded to every last bite of that chicken, eyes watering and tastebuds on fire.  I couldn't even eat my own dinner because I was laughing so hard it was dangerous to put anything into my mouth.  And the only thing he would say is, "Well, I might go to sleep right after this."  Oh, and he also cautioned me not to ask him to drive anywhere.  Hah!

In short, I think my adventures with cooking wine are over.  Perhaps next time I'll marinate in something a little safer...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The mountain

May I make an odd confession?

I love grading essays.  I'm teaching 10th grade this year, and I am thrilled to show students how to write.  I love brainstorming, conferencing with them after they pre-write, and helping them enhance their stories. But most of all, I especially love to see the finished product.  Perhaps it's because I love doing any sort of editing, but I find myself really getting into making comments, suggesting improvements, and even picking out the things my students do well.  (if you're a teacher, please don't hate me just yet)

So why on earth can't I make myself grade the PILE of essays on my desk right now?  I really mean to get around to it, but when it comes to grabbing that stack and going to town, I always manage to find something else to do.  And today I even told a student, "Well, I promise I'll have them graded by Friday.  I just can't rush myself, because I tend to grade lower when I rush."  She, of course, nodded and solemnly replied, "Oh, Ms. Jackson, please take your time, then."

Seriously?  There may be a tiny sliver of truth to that, but I'm not sure where it is... because what I meant to say was, "Well, by the time I finish my day, I'm so tired that I have to eat a snack just to get me down to the car, and there's no chance I can grade your essay when I get home because I will assuredly fall asleep on top of it and smudge the entire piece with drool."  Are teachers allowed that kind of blatant honesty with their students?  I think not, especially since it might scar them for life to realize that their teachers do have a life outside of the classroom.

And by the way, since kids seem incapable of tact, and most often tell the truth whether it hurts or not, should I believe that I truly am bigger than I was when they saw me on Friday? (And by the way, I believe the quote was, "Ms. Jackson, you're HUGE!  What happened this weekend?"  Nothing quite compared to a student who hadn't seen me since last year and literally shouted, "Ms. Jackson, you're a big ol' girl now!" with a giggle.)