Thursday, December 8, 2011

I believe in God ... sorta kinda ...

Religion is a big deal. At some point the conservatives and Christians and Republicans in our country all got mixed up with one another and (though there are certainly exceptions) it seems like a lot of the Republican values and beliefs are very tied up with Christianity.  They really want to push the boundaries of the separation of church and state thing.  I mean go ahead and be Christian. I'm glad you love God and Jesus but not everyone in the country believes the same thing you do.

I LOVE religion. Personally. I don't think that means you need to love religion, too.  Do your own thing, man. Believe what you want to believe. If you want to believe that everything the Bible said is absolute truth and the inerrant word of God, then please do. If you think that there is no such thing as God and that science explains everything, then by all means, go ahead and believe that. But don't tell me that I'm wrong or that my beliefs are wrong. In either direction. Let me come to my own conclusions and I'll let you come to yours.  Seriously. Can't we just all get along?

Granted, it's taken me a little while to get to this point.  I was raised Catholic but once I got past the stage where I just accepted what I heard. I think I was 6 when I couldn't get my mind around the concept of God.

"So God and Mary were Jesus's mom and dad."

"Yes, honey."

"So who were God's mom and dad?"

"He doesn't have any."

"So where did he come from?"

"He just always was."

That didn't make any sense to me.  I went through the motions but in middle school started reading a lot of books about Wicca and Witchcraft.  Which my mom was okay with.  I think she didn't like my brief atheist phase ("I swear to the non-existant God!") but was okay when I at least believed in something.  I think she was okay when I called myself agnostic.

I did go through my reject religion and you're wrong and I'm right phase.  But then I got over it.

In college I came up with what I thought was the really unique notion that all religions had merit and that God was just the name for all manner of different concepts that people got to in different ways (well, okay, except for atheists I guess). :) When I found out there was a whole religion (Unitarian Universalism) that basically believed what I believed, I was thrilled.

And decided I wanted to be a UU minister.  As I talked about briefly in this post, I ended up getting the (2-year) Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree instead of the (3-year plus internship) MDiv (Master of Divinity) and sometimes regret it.  Becoming a minister has now become my retirement or win the lottery plan.  Or maybe eventually when I have more time (HA!) I can take one class per semester to finish up the requirements I'd need to get the MDiv (essentially 2-3 full-time semesters of classes).

So until then I chair the music and worship committee at my church and lead services (yup, including writing sermons) a few times per church year.

I also really like to pray.

So who am I praying to?  Well, I'm not exactly praying to God. When I pray I center myself and then think about the things that I want to pray about.  But I do believe in God. Kinda. My own definition of God changes frequently depending on what's going on in my life.  For awhile recently I flirted with Jesus, but then decided that I wasn't sure he really was the same person people say he is (after reading way too many books by Bart Ehrman) so I'm kinda in the "eh, God is in everyone and everything and probably isn't a separate being" phase.

But ask me again in 6 months, I might give you a different answer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A successful photo shoot :)

I have a post in the works about religion but I'm too tired to finish it right now, so instead I will give you a taste of our successful photo shoot for our Christmas card.  Jen got the photo. :) It was EXACTLY what I was going for. YAY! So nice when a plan comes together.

View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Staying Connected

On sort of the other hand from my Communication post of a few weeks ago, (which itself was related to my Disconnecting post from a few days before that), today's ease of electronic communication really does help to stay connected with people, even if it's not via voice-to-voice communication.  Being able to shoot an email to someone and know you're likely to get a quick response to something when they're available to get to it is better than trying to call them on the phone and leaving a message and playing phone tag for 3 days.  And video chat/hangouts/Skype is pretty awesome.  My brother is a big fan and it gives Nate a chance to talk to his Uncle "in person" more frequently than he would otherwise.  It also makes business trips less sad because I can still see my family and talk to them in a more personal way.

Jen and I text and IM frequently throughout the day while I'm at work or while she's at work. We even video chat on occasion. Without that option, we wouldn't be able to speak on the phone with any frequency. Since we only see each other for more than an hour at a stretch 4 days a week, digital communication is the way we stay connected.  We even make big decisions that way such as deciding that we someday want to be foster parents. We did make sure to talk about it in person later that day, but the main part of the discussion happened via instant messages.

I wonder, with all this written communication, if people are forgetting how to speak on the phone.  People who aren't comfortable making phone calls have little need to ever speak to anyone. You can make changes to flights, arrange for gutter or carpet cleaning, troubleshoot problems with your cable box and even order take-out or delivery (all things Jen or I have done recently) without ever having to speak to a person on the phone.  But then on those occasions when you DO need to make a phone call, do you hesitate or just not do it because you're uncomfortable with it?  

I don't have a problem on the phone; I have to make phone calls for my job and have, in fact, become even more comfortable with making the less enjoyable calls for personal stuff because of that.  I wasn't always as comfortable with it but when I lived by myself in grad school, there was no one else to do it.  I tend to make most of the calls in our house because it doesn't bother me.

When we first started using our current babysitter, I used to try to call her to see if she was available. That's how I got my babysitting jobs when I was a kid. I didn't have a cell phone, heck, we probably didn't even have a cordless phone. If I wasn't home, my mom or dad took a message for me or the parents left a message on our answering machine.  But our babysitter was a little slow to get back to us by calling.  So one day, I texted her. I had her cellphone after all.  IMMEDIATE response.  So now I text to arrange babysitting.  And it works VERY well.  I can't complain.  But how comfortable is she on the phone in general?

Will Nate know any phone etiquette by the time he's a teenager?  I was always very polite when I called my friends. I usually got their parents. "Hi, this is Lauren, may I please speak to so-and-so?" Nate won't even have to interact with his friends' parents on the phone because he'll be calling (or texting) his friends directly with their cellphones.  

Or maybe they'll just use the chips in their heads that we'll probably all have by then.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What's the big deal?

I officiated a wedding last week. It was a beautiful wedding for two women who plan to have a family in the future.  Jen and I never really hesitated about having a family and so far haven't experienced any issues as a same-sex married couple with a child in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I'm sure it would be different in some other parts of the country.

Up to now no one has said anything to Nate about not having a dad or any other weird comments.  He's only 3, he's not in pre-school, his almost 4-year old cousin is used to our family so doesn't think anything of it.

But I have noticed that about a year ago, when Nate was playing with toy animals that could be paired up into families, it was Mommy lion, Momma lion and Baby lion. That made sense; Nate calls me Mommy and Jen Momma.  But then he started watching television.  Caillou, Little Bear, Dino Dan, etc.  Most of the shows he watches with kids have one mom and one dad (Dino Dan seems to have just his mom and in the episodes I've seen, no mention is made of a dad and Max and Ruby don't seem to have parents...).  And slowly he started to make families with Mommy lion, Daddy lion and Baby lion.  Except for one time I noticed, he's always doing Mommy, Daddy, baby.  (That one time, he decided his 4 stuffed sheep were Mommy, Daddy, Momma and baby).

It would be nice if there were some children's cartoons where the child(ren) had two same-sex parents.  There are two very sweet (non-agenda) board books for toddlers with two moms or two dads called Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa and Me that are sweet little books with sing-song text like "Mommy lifts me up up up, Mama puts juice in my cup" and Nate likes that one a lot.  There are a few books like that though mostly meant for older kids and teaching about different types of families.  I don't want a show or book with a lesson. I just want a show or a book where there happen to be two moms or two dads.  Why does it always have to be a big deal?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Related to my last post, it dawned on me today that I don't talk to people the way I used to. I don't mean face-to-face. I still converse and interact with physical people the same way I always have.  I mean long-distance people.

With FB and email and texting, I don't pick up the phone and talk to people the way I used to.

Geeze, in high school I was on the phone all the time.  And we only had one cordless phone! If I was on the kitchen phone, which had a very long cord, I used to drive my mom crazy by walking back and forth past the table in the breakfast room and then into the kitchen and towards the hall to the diningroom, back towards the sink and then back into the breakfast room.  On the cordless phone I used to walk in circles around the living room couches and then around the dining room table in a figure 8.  Or I'd be on the phone while doing homework.  And not always strictly conversing.  Sometimes we were independently doing homework, or sometimes we were working on something together.  Or sometimes we were gossiping or talking about the most recent high school drama. Thank goodness for call waiting!

College was a little different.  We emailed a bit but it was still somewhat new so we also talked on the (still-not-wireless) telephones.

In grad school I walked a lot around town so I talked to people on my cell phone (once I finally got one in 2003) as I was going from home to class or between classes, etc.

When I got engaged I telephoned everyone to let them know.

When I got pregnant the first time, I phoned some people and emailed the rest.

When I had a miscarriage, I emailed everyone (but received phone calls in return).

When I got pregnant the second time I emailed everyone.

When Nate was born I posted it on myspace and facebook and emailed (and called my mom and brother).

Now I kind of assume people are reading it on Facebook or Google+.

And also there's texting.

Today I wanted to talk to one of my high school friends.  Like with my voice on the phone. We've arranged a time to chat on Monday.  Remember when we used to just call people at random?  I think it's combination of becoming "adults" and parents and a combination of the new forms of communication that have developed.  I wonder if people felt like this when telegraph and telephone started to become more widely used when before it had been a letter or nothing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So a good number of my friends on Facebook have recently been leaving for one reason or another.

One woman recognized that she had connected with many people from high school and even had connected with a previously unknown relative.  However, she also found herself checking FB on her phone rather constantly and felt like those moments waiting with her daughter for her son at practice could have been better spent speaking with her daughter instead of seeing if anyone has posted any new tidbit of their life.

Another person who didn't use it frequently anyway and only posted photographs of her family decided to simply start a web album for her son and shared with all of us before she deleted her account.

And then there are a number of my coworkers who have left FB to devote all of their energy to Google+.

I understand all of those points.  I definitely find that I'm curious to see what response I've gotten to my recent status update or photo or link and that I check my phone or online sometimes when I could be spending time with my family and also find myself staying up later than necessary at night because I want to "catch up" on FB or Google+ or the blogs I read.

One time recently, I found myself scanning quickly past many of the updates in my stream just after glancing at the name and then passing by without reading the update.  So I decided to hide everyone that I didn't care to read.  I figured if I missed them, I could unhide them.  Which is exactly what I did.  It's definitely fun to reconnect with people from high school and to stay in touch with relatives and friends but do I really need 531 friends? I think the next step will be to unfriend many (not all) of the people I had previously hidden.

I really don't think I'll delete my account because I do appreciate the connection I have with people.  And I do miss reading the updates from the first woman I mentioned.  But she does have a blog, which I read when she posts updates.  I also have a blog ... um, you're reading it.  :)

Somehow, I don't yet have the same reaction to Google+.  Maybe because I have more control over exactly who I share with and it doesn't have to be the same people whose status I read. Yes, I know Facebook now has similar features but it doesn't seem intuitive.  Okay, yeah, I may possibly have a bias since I work for Google and have been using it internally for awhile now, but I think it's more that I don't feel like taking the time to to customize it when there are already too many things to do online.

I think more than just social networks the problem is not being able to disconnect.

I recently half disconnected (from work stuff) when I went on vacation for 5 days.  Today is my last day on vacation and I managed to not read my work email (or internal Google+) for 4 whole days.  It was fun. However, last year when we went up to Maine for a week, we unintentionally went off the grid when the house that had had wireless the previous year we stayed there, did not have it.  Our phones also were not an option as we were so close to the Canadian border that we were frequently roaming (and don't get reception out on Quoddy Head anyway).   We didn't like it. This past vacation in Malibu, we did have wireless in the house we rented and spent a reasonable amount of time using it.  It didn't take over family activities.

I also really enjoy the new side-effect of working at Google and having initially circled so many of my coworkers and reading their personal updates (and sharing mine) instead of just work-related things internally.  I feel like I'm getting to know my coworkers better and discovering aspects of their lives and personalities that make me want to be friends with them.  Of course, there's also the aspect of sharing my personal life with my coworkers which sometimes makes me leave them out of some of my updates. Sorry, guys. :)

I think, being online and keeping up with social networks is, as with anything, about moderation.

Maybe I just need to go back to my last job.  I had so much down time that I did all my computer stuff at work and had more free time at home. But that wouldn't be as much fun as my current job. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can't just stop eating...

So this blog post has been on my mind for a long time ... like since I started this blog a couple of years ago. I've actually started a post on this topic at least 2 other times and have written it in my head a few other times on top of that.

For about 5 years I struggled with an eating disorder.  Not anorexia or bulimia but a compulsive overeating disorder (and specifically the binge eating disorder part of that). It's also considered to be food addiction.  It's like the fun part of bulimia. But not really.

So what exactly does it mean? Well, it's not "oh, well everyone does that sometimes." Sure, we all eat a little too much at Thanksgiving, or maybe you decide to have a second piece of the cake you made or a third chocolate chip cookie, which you know might be a little excessive but in the long run isn't that big of a deal. No, this is eating that second piece of cake, and the third cookie, and then a fourth and fifth piece of cake and then you've eaten that much so why not finish it, and the batch of cookies, with a glass of milk. And then an apple because at least that's healthy ... but maybe with some peanut butter because apples and peanut butter go well together and then as you're putting the peanut butter away you have one last spoonful, and then another, and then you remember you have leftover chocolate chips so you add some on top of the spoonful of peanut butter and then the bag of chocolate chips is gone and the jar of peanut butter is empty and you had just opened a new one when you sliced the apples. That's what my compulsive overeating was like. About 4 or 5 days a week when I lived by myself.  But I didn't really gain much weight since I had a gym membership and exercised every day and lived in Cambridge and didn't have a car so I walked everywhere.

So what about just not stocking sweets in my kitchen? Boxes of cereal ... jars of peanut butter ... bread and butter.  Those work too.  At least I never ate bags of flour like a friend's roommate once did. I was never quite that extreme.  And on the topic of peanut butter -- it's evil. One of Jen's friends who was bulimic and went to a treatment center for food issues said that peanut butter was a trigger for nearly all of the women she met.

Once I figured it out, I was somewhat open about it so some friends knew what I was going through and I did start seeing a therapist about it.   It really is an addiction. And abstaining isn't a solution. Can't just quit food. I also thought about food and what I was going to make ALL THE TIME. I didn't realize how much I thought about food until I did a 3-day juice fast with my church when I was eating and I still found myself starting to plan out my meals.

The therapy did help me figure out the reasons. Didn't immediately help with stopping but helped me figure out what was going on.  Of course it was about control and stemmed from body image and trying to lose weight and wanting to be thinner. The control was wanting to control what I was eating and trying to follow a diet and not having a good attitude about what I thought were failures in my diet.  So if I told myself I wasn't going to eat any sweets, or I was just going to have 1 cookie but then I had two it turned into "well, fuck it then, might as well just eat them all."

What made it go away? I got roommates with whom I was honest about my problem. Then I fell in love and got married. One day I realized it had sort of just stopped being an issue. Now I kind of do the more typical "oh whoops, I ate 2 pieces of cake" thing now and then but haven't binged since we lived in our apartment before we got married (nearly 7 years ago).  Being pregnant was tough because all my weight issues came back. Seeing the weight go up and up was hard until I gave up and realized it was going to happen and there was nothing I could do and I'd worry about losing the weight after the baby was born. I did try to keep active though by going for frequent walks.

And now I can even go "on a diet" without having the "oh I fucked up so might as well just eat the world" reaction.  I just let myself have the treat and don't focus on it.

I don't really have any good conclusion for this. Just "yay I don't have this problem anymore" because it totally sucked. And I have total sympathy for anyone with any eating disorder because it's not just something that is easy to ignore and get over.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The most delicious apple pie ever. And also chowder.

So, if you know me at least a little bit well, you know I love to cook.  Or specifically to bake. I used to bake a ton.  Fresh bread every week, cookies or other sweets brought into work every week ... that sort of thing.  Then I got pregnant. Didn't want to eat the first few months and started a new job and suddenly the baby was born and it was all I could do to make a box mix.

Lately I've had more time since Nate is more independent and also enjoys cooking with me so I've been getting back into cooking more.

If you know me more than a little bit, you know that I went through a bit of a "sugar nazi" (as Jen called it) phase when I was against sugar.  I've gotten over that but was making a lot of Eating Well recipes for awhile (and still do when I want to be more healthy).  Also, I recently got Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook which has recipes for simple foods but sometimes just a little more complicated than they need to be (though they certainly are delicious).

So today I did two things I haven't done in awhile and don't do frequently. I made a no-holds-barred chowder (it had 8 ounces of bacon's worth of BACON FAT in it plus 1/2 cup of BUTTER) and pulled out an old cookbook* sitting on my shelf and made a really simple apple pie recipe.  Both of those things turned out SO GOOD!

First, the chowder.  I took this recipe.  I pretty much made it as is except that I used a bag of frozen langostino tails in place of the lobster (same thing, sorta), left out the scallops and used a pound of Turbot in place of both fishes.  Also I only used 1 1/2 quarts of milk and 1/4 cup of butter and left out the curry powder.  I think next time I'd add a few more potatoes and maybe do some type of herb.  Not sure which.  Possibly just give the curry powder a try.  Jen's not a huge fan of soups/chowders but she loved it! SUCCESS!

The pie recipe was from Fannie Farmer's Classic American Cookbook (my version was printed in 1979). It's really simple and doesn't even bother with that fancy-schmancy egg wash on the crust. I've printed the recipe below but I will admit that I used a frozen pie crust from Trader Joe's (which is the best store-bought crust I've ever had).  I'm not a crust person. I know they're supposedly really easy but I just haven't gotten the hang of them so I'll use one I know will be consistent!

Apple Pie

Basic Pastry dough for 9-inch two-crust pie (store-bought or homemade, certainly up to you)
3/4-1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
6 large, firm, tart apples
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half the pastry dough. Mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples and toss them in the sugar mixture, coating them well. Pile them into the lined pan and dot with the butter. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top. Bake 10 minutes, then lower the head to 350 degrees F and bake 30-40 minutes more or until the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer or knife and the crust is browned.

*My dad read cookbooks. He read cookbooks for the introductions, for the little anecdotes and tidbits of information that were peppered throughout, but mostly he read them for the recipes. After he died, my mom and I found piles of saved newspaper and magazine clippings. They were all restaurant reviews and recipes. From his years observing my Chef-grandfather and reading recipes and eating all over the world, my dad had compiled a rich encyclopedia of food in his head. In all the years I watched him cook, I very rarely saw him use a recipe. All he needed to know was in his head. However, he did enjoy reading cookbooks. When he died at the age of 60, my dad had a collection of over five hundred cookbooks. He liked to tell the story of the one summer he went to the annual used book sale under a tent in one of the mall parking lots and came home with sixty-five new additions to his collection. When he came home very excited about his new purchases, my mom did not react with as much enthusiasm as he had hoped. Like many other families, there were bookshelves in the family room and a couple other rooms of my parents’ house. They were full of cookbooks. When my dad died, I had thirty-two cookbooks, eighteen of which my dad bought for me at the used book sale that summer. Of my collection, twenty-four books focused on dessert and bread making. After he died I took a bunch home with me and the Fannie Farmer's one was one of them since I ended up saving a lot of the older historical American ones that he had.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Under the wire

So one of my "mid-year's resolutions" that I posted a couple posts back (after my 6 month hiatus) was to post every 2 weeks.  Well, I think it's exactly two weeks today. :) And how am I doing with the going to sleep early thing? Not so well.  There's just too much to do! I'm really ready for those extra hours in the day anytime now. Maybe a 28-hour day would be good.

But anyway, what I really want to talk about is the upcoming ABC show Pan Am.  Why? Well, my mom was a Pan Am stewardess in the late '60s, '70's and early '80's (until my brother was born).  I grew up hearing my mom's stories about flying and her run-ins with the law in countries like Libya (for smuggling in alcohol to trade for ... something ... probably a Hermes scarf, knowing my mom ;) ) and visits to countries all over the world.


This article from the Advocate (GLBT news magazine, in case you didn't know) talks about the top 10 reasons you should watch the show and some of the points are exactly why I'm looking forward to it.  Like the feminism. I mean, sure, my mom had frequent weigh-ins but she was travelling all over the world and spoke 3 languages fluently and boy does she have some crazy stories.  I have heard her stories but it will be fun to see how the show does stuff and how many things my mom can say didn't happen that way or were exactly that way.

We had a bunch of art and stuff from foreign countries in our house growing up that I just took for granted.  You mean not everyone's family has Persian rugs that they actually bought in Iran for probably $5?  It's not normal to have coasters made from Zebra hide? (Yes, before you tell me how the Zebra was probably poached, let me remind you it was purchased in the '60s or '70s, not today).

And not to mention random things in our house that had somehow made it from the airplane into our house.  Like my favorite tongs that my mom used. When I asked her where they came from so that I could buy some when I was moving into my own apartment she said, "oh those? Those were used in first class for food service." Or all the blue throw blankets with Pan Am logos on them.  And she still has all her uniforms.  I wore the original one (similar to the one they wear on the show) for Halloween when I was in high school (and the skirt actually fit me) and then 4 years ago (when I had to wear a skirt I already owned, but the shirt and jacket fit)!

Being a flight attendant is different now and when I was trying to figure out what to do after I graduated, being a flight attendant was on my list but didn't seem quite as glamorous anymore.  Sure I would have gotten to fly the international legs earlier because I spoke a bunch of languages, but I don't think I would have worn my uniform sight-seeing.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Okay, I'll do it, too.

I have already seen a number of people posting the "where I was 10 years ago on 9/11" thing so I thought I'd add my voice in since mine may be different from the majority of Americans.

I was in South Korea on my 2nd month of a 13 month stay teaching English in a girl's high school.  I had just moved in with a Korean host family and was sitting in the family room while they watched a Korean prime time television show (it was 10pm-ish on 9/11) and I was on their computer checking email and probably scanning photos to post online.

A crawl showed up on the bottom of the TV screen and my host mother said that it sounded like a plane had hit one of the buildings in New York.  So I tried to get on a news website but none of them were loading.  I couldn't get on to any new sites.  Finally my dad came online (he and I chatted multiple times a day via AIM) and told me that a commuter plane or something had hit one of the towers.  Then he essentially narrated the second tower being hit.  Nothing was really known but my dad said they thought maybe it was a terrorist attack. Finally I had to go to sleep.

In the morning, there was nothing about the attack on the English-language paper I got every morning (I guess they went to press earlier in the night).  However, I was able to finally get onto news sites and was shocked to find out that not only had the towers collapsed, but the pentagon had been hit and a fourth plane had gone down and they were calling it a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda.

It was pretty strange.  Here was I was halfway across the world while all kinds of crazy stuff was happening.  My friends and family in NYC were all fine. My brother in Ithaca, NY was fine.  My mom in Chicago was convinced the Sears Tower was next and the 30-something of us on Fulbright Teaching Assistantship grants in South Korea were not quite sure what to do.  We were told that we were safe where we were (spread out across the country all in different cities) and to let them know if we couldn't get in touch with any family.  I was able to communicate via phone or email or IM and spoke with my mom to assure her I was fine.

I think I had a much more detached experience than anyone in the US. I still had to teach 5 classes of 40 students each that day. I'm sure I could have gotten out of it if I wanted to but I didn't feel as overwhelmed or worried as somebody in the US may have.  So we just kind of continued on.  I paid a lot more attention to the news than I may have otherwise and certainly spoke with my family a lot.

So that's my "where were you on September 11th" story

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Well that's silly. The entry I posted last week sometime has a June date on it, which is when I started a draft. I'm not sure how to change the date, but no big deal. :) 

Jen has gone up to bed after a fun (day-before) Labor Day cookout today with her family. Nate and his cousins had a blast playing together. It's nice that Nate's now getting to the point where he and his 10-month older cousin are interacting and speaking with each other instead of crying anytime the other takes a toy away.

So Jen's up in bed and I'm laying in a strange sideways position on the couch since sitting still causes my sciatica pain to act up. What an odd thing chronic pain is. It's never something I really thought about. Occasionally I'd get a pain in my back or sleep funny and wake up with a stiff neck, but then it would go away and usually Advil helped it. When you have a pain that radiates from your lower back down to your ankle anytime you sit and no painkillers really help it, you'll do a lot and change a lot of habits to get it to stop. Like standing all day. I started to have pain in late April or May and once I realized how impossible it was to concentrate on work sitting at my desk, I requested a standing-height desk. That has definitely helped (and though I was more tired the first month, I'm now totally used to standing all day).  Jen and I used to sit together on the couch all the time at night to relax and watch a little TV but now sometimes I have to stretch out on the other couch in the living room or lay on the floor. It has definitely gotten better but it's not totally gone.  I also no longer sit on the T. Those seats are not friendly. I'm one of the annoying people standing with an available seat in front of me.  SORRY!

Thankfully it is better or the 2 1/2-hour each way that I drove yesterday to go to a great friend from college's wedding would have been excruciating. There were times in July/August when I dreaded driving the 10 minutes to the chiropractor because not only was sitting in the car hideously painful, getting out of the car was almost worse. That part has definitely gotten better. I'm confident it'll be gone eventually. Thanks to stretching and yoga, massage and the chiropractor.

So Nate and I went to his first wedding yesterday. :) I have proof that he wore a tie (for about 5 minutes) and looked very handsome while he did. Even while making a silly monkey face.

The wedding was at 3 and we enjoyed the reception until about 7:30, which was after the cake. Nate wanted to stay for the cake. :) After the cake we packed up and put Nate's PJs on for the ride home.  He told me he had a fun time.  Then this morning when I asked him the best part of the wedding, he said it was the orange juice.  For some reason the orange juice was really memorable.  Possibly because he got to have it in an adult glass and not a brightly-colored plastic cup.

We have no plans tomorrow, which is one of the best things.  Maybe Nate and I will bake something for Momma, or maybe we'll all go for a walk at Wompatuck and bring a picnic. Maybe we'll just lounge around and do nothing. Maybe we'll sort through some of Nate's toys to put away the ones he has outgrown and get rid of any broken ones.  I like days with no plans!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I know you're sick of my constant blogging

So it's been more than 6 months since I updated my blog. I've been busy?

Stuck inside because of hurricane, I mean tropical storm Irene is a good reason to finally post a new blog.

I've written about 15 great blogs in my head as I have been getting ready to go to sleep or standing in front of the sink while doing dishes or on the train heading to or from work. However, by the time I'm in front of my computer, I either have to do work work or stuff for church or want to get off the computer as quickly as possible to spend time with my family.

And what a wonderful family it is! Nate's language development cracks us up. Language growth certainly results in some funny conversations. As you may have seen on facebook, Jen had this recent conversations with Nate:
Nate: "The socks are warm mumma."
Jen: "Are they too warm?"
Nate: "No they are one warm mumma."

And the other day when I was driving, Nate said I was going fast and when I asked if he was going too fast he said "No, Mommy's going nice fast."

I've been working on losing some of that weight I gained while we were trying to get pregnant and also have been dealing with sciatica pain that I've had since May. In the process of researching yoga classes (hoping the stretching would help with the pain) I found a place that has classes for 2 and 3-year olds not yet in preschool one day a week for 3 hours. So I signed up for a fitness membership and Nate is now going to a class from 9:15-12:15 on Mondays. The pain has gotten better with the chiropractor, massage and stretching. And I'm down about 5 pounds by restricting calories.

So I have a couple mid-year resolutions. One is to blog once every 2 weeks (or more frequently). And the other is to start getting ready for bed at 10pm every night. I'm going to keep you updated through my blog posts. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Door number 4, please.

So after having a few days to digest things and to see how the options settle with us, I find myself looking forward to all the things I haven't been doing for the past 8 months because for half the month I might be pregnant. Like drinking 2 cups of coffee in the morning instead of tea or a cup of decaf. Or drinking a glass of wine with dinner and not feeling guilty because I might be pregnant (even though it's likely fine anyway). Or getting a 15-minute chair massage at work because they're not supposed to do massages for pregnant women in their first trimester.

I think we've decided that option #4 (enjoy our one son and get on with our lives) is probably the right one for us right now. We're not even going to bother with the testing. In 6 months or a year, if we want, maybe we'll reevaluate and if we feel like we're missing something, there's nothing stopping us from trying some more.

I'm really happy with the thought of our family the way it is. Sure, it would be nice maybe to have a girl, but girls are problems. They can get pregnant! ;) And I don't really feel this burning need for another child. It would be nice, sure, and certainly it's something we wanted because we tried but I'm feeling perfectly satisfied with the one.

I think the only thing bumming me out a little is not getting to be pregnant again. I really liked being pregnant! :) Even gaining 55 pounds and morning sickness and being swollen and getting kicked in the ribs. It was so much fun!

Jen wasn't feeling well today (a virus of some sort with chills, fever, aches, etc) and Nate was so sweet. At one point we called him doctor Nate and then he said he wanted to be a doctor. What a sweet child we have. If he sucked, we'd definitely have another, but I think we'll keep him. :D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Now what?

I know, it's been nearly 2 months since I last blogged.

Jen and I decided to take off the month of December from trying to get pregnant and things were busy. And we were busy with Christmas so although I wrote 3 or 4 blog posts in my head while falling asleep, I never quite got anything down on paper/pixels. ;) Then we decided to give the January cycle a try. I've written about the superstitions that you start to develop when you're trying to get pregnant and I decided that maybe it was time to give a try without baring everything for the Internet to see.

But I guess, ultimately, it didn't matter what I do or don't do. We did a two-insemination cycle and that didn't even make a difference. Got my period this morning.

So now what?

We've done six cycles over 8 months without getting pregnant. It doesn't mean anything is wrong. It could just mean that the timing hasn't worked out yet. Plus, as ridiculous as it may be, I am over thirty so it can take a little longer to get pregnant then and we don't have the luxury of being able to just have sex every day to try to get pregnant.

We have a few options:
1. keep trying the way we have been
2. switch donors and keep trying the way we have been
3. get a referral to a reproductive specialist and make sure everything is hunky-dory
4. enjoy our one son and get on with our lives

We are considering options 3 and 4.

If it didn't cost us anything, I'd probably do 1 or 2 for a little while longer. But every time we try, we have to pay for the vial of sperm (if you're really interested, go ahead and check out the prices for IUI specimens at a few different sperm banks) and if we do double insemination cycles, that's twice the price. Plus shipping (which runs from $110 to $225 per delivery). Thankfully my company's insurance considers same sex couples to be "infertile" and so the doctor fees are covered (donor sperm is rarely covered by any insurance) otherwise that would be an additional $250 per appointment (as it is we just pay the $10 copay).

We'll probably get the referral from my doc and go get everything checked out to make sure there's nothing funky going on. But seeing as my cycles are super regular (every 27-28 days) and that my pee turns an OPK positive (showing that I am, in fact, ovulating), it's probably just that the timing hasn't worked out yet. Since the testing will be covered by my insurance, we might as well go for it, but then regardless of those results, we may decide to just stick with our awesome only child.

The pros for that are numerous. We can save that money for other things that we'd like to do. Kids cost money (even if you don't have to pay to get pregnant). We can spend more time and money on Nate. When Jen gets a new job, we'll only have to pay for one child in daycare/preschool; only one kid to send to college down the line; Nate will be out of diapers soon so we won't have to pay for any more of those; we can keep our guest room; won't have to get up 3 or 4 times a night with a newborn ... you can go on and on with big and little pros. Cons ... well ... we won't get to go through the cute infant phase again; I won't get 4 1/2 months paid 100% off of work again; Nate would be an only child (also a pro?) ... it's tough.

My mom was pretty noncommittal, she pointed out all the same pros and cons we have already recognized. Uncle Doug thinks Nate needs a sibling. Jen and I see both sides. Nate says he wants another dog not a baby. (Today when we went for our weekly Sunday tea at Great Nana's his 9-month old cousin was pushing him -- she was really just trying to get his attention -- and he made me pick her up.) So, who knows. We're figuring things out. We'll do the doc's appointment and then we'll really need to make the decision. Right now I think I'm leaning towards enjoying a single child. :)

edited to add: Adoption is much more expensive that donor sperm. So a large part of our hesitation is cost, adoption is not a better option. We have, however, discussed being foster parents. We have talked about his even before considering not continuing to get pregnant with another biological child, so that's always going to be a possibility.