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!!!!