Work

I have been in my current job for nearly 5 years. It is a position that was essentially an extension of the work I did for my master’s degree, which is what I did for the three years previous. Yes. It took me three years to complete my master’s. To be fair to myself, I went into a forestry program with a focus in economics, with no background in either discipline. But I digress. I like my current position. I’m pretty good at what I do and we can eat and keep a roof over our heads with my maintaining a .6 FTE (essentially being salaried to work 24 hours a week).

The catch is, and always has been, that I’m working on soft money. What does that mean? It means grants. My boss has grant money to pay my salary and benefits, and I sign a contract every six months for the next six months. The end date is based on how long the grant money lasts, and the understanding I’ve had with my boss is that my funding will run out on June 30th of this year. She’s retiring in the next couple of years, and her current focus is not research, so she let me know a few years ago that this was the plan. Know what else June 30th is? The day before Leah’s ‘due date’…as I’ve said before, we like living on the edge.

In November I was approached by a member of my church community about there being a reworking of the administrative position in the fellowship, and I’ve been really excited about that job. Until two weeks ago. A professor and avid Darwin aficionado told me to come by his office for a chat about work, where he continued by outlining what is, for someone in my position and my field, the job of a lifetime. A job in which I would be working with leading experts, who have created some really innovative computer models for exploring questions about wildfire. As of Friday I was informed that I’m on the team.

The bitter to the sweet is that I had to tell people who are very dear to me that I wouldn’t be applying for the church position. People who have taken time and energy to talk to me about what they envision for the position. It’s grand. It is, in it’s own way a once in a lifetime option. The challenges will be entirely different. In some ways what I’ve chosen is more challenging. I’ll be expected to publish in my first year. In other ways, less challenging. I will be continuing in a field in which I have a depth of knowledge, and a good understanding of what we don’t know. I’ll be working on hard problems, but they’re hard problems that I’ve made my own already.

Anyway, I know this is still relatively cryptic. I haven’t signed any papers, so I’m being light on detail, but the real take home is: job. Work I love. Bills will be paid. Baby bee will have a home to be born in. I can’t wait.

22 weeks

How is it that, by any measure, we are now more than half-way through this pregnancy?? Probably because I dropped the ball on weekly updates…so…

22 week question:

Highlight of the last 4 weeks: The ultrasound! Seeing our little bumble bee was thrilling. As of (exactly) 20 weeks, all looks good, and we’re only getting more excited!

When is the baby most active? Baby is most active at night/early morning and when I’m in class. Presumably this is because it’s when I’m most still. It can be weird and distracting especially when I’m in bed, but gives me something pleasant to focus on during statistics. On the flip side, she’s least active whenever you (Rachel) try to feel her kick. Regardless of what she’s been doing immediately prior.

Favorite foods: Favorite foods are bacon and cheerios. I seem to have let up on my milk obsession since starting the cal/mag supplementation but I’m still having some every day in my tea (no more coffee, thank you heartburn) and at least one bowl of cereal a day. The bacon thing started a couple of weeks ago, around the 20 week mark (remember, I was a lifelong vegetarian before this) and I’ve had bacon 3-5 times a week ever since. I’ve been pretty unimpressed with protein again lately, so it’s good that at least there’s one source that still sounds good!

Any updates on the blood sugar issue? I’m not testing my blood sugar regularly anymore, though I’ll do that again at 28 weeks. For now I’m spot checking when I’ve either gone a little overboard with sugar and want to make sure my body is handling it, or if I’m feeling low and want to check in. So far I’ve remained in normal limits (around 90 before meals and under 130 an hour after eating). So far I haven’t had a single reading over 130, even on days I’ve had donuts or binged in girl scout cookies! So I’m feeling pretty good about that.

Goals by the time the baby arrives: In terms of goals for before baby arrives, most of mine have to do with making it through spring term. I’m registered for 3 classes (1 more than I would usually take) but am pretty excited about 2 of them and the third I’m hoping won’t be too demanding. But I’m also hoping/intending to continue avoiding gestational diabetes, submit my IRB for my research project, and figure out the sleeping situation for the time when there are 4 of us sharing a room. A friend is moving to Puerto Rico in the sputtering and has offered us her king size bed so I’m hopeful that that works out, but trying to keep my eyes open for other possibilities in case it falls through. We also have some work to so in the nursery to help it accommodate 2 little ones! I’m hoping to avoid having to buy a new dresser (much less fit it in the room) so that means finding storage for diapers and a second (albeit tiny) wardrobe. I’m also hoping to have several freezer dinners made and ready by the time the bee shows up, but I’m not going to start on that just yet since it’s still kind of far out.

About the baby:

Size: 10.9 inches (measuring foot to crown now!), and 15.2 ounces! Also known as the size of a papaya…

From the other mama: The last month has gone very fast. Seeing the little bee on the ultrasound was so exciting (and for me and my anxious self, relieving). I’ve also secured a job for the foreseeable future, and I’ll update on that separately soon. Another big relief!

Sleep (what else?)

The topic of the month, sleep is something of a non-topic most of the time here. Not that it’s a non-issue, but that we kind of studiously avoid it. When Darwin was a newborn I thought we were so lucky. She would sleep in 2 and 3 hour segments regularly at night and I was more rested than I was during my 3rd trimester. Well, as time went on she continued to sleep in 2 and 3 hour segments at night, even as day time sleep was reduced from napping every couple of hours two every 3 or 4 hours. And interspersed among the nights with 3 or 4 wakings were nights with 8 or 9 (or more), usually coinciding with teeth eruptions or illness.
At around 7 months Darwin stopped going to sleep easily at 7 or 7:30. We tried before bed baths, but often that would bump bedtime back to the point where she would be completely manic (problems of working parents). I started drinking coffee.
She’s now closing in on 18 months and has just begun to put herself to sleep after nursing, laying on the bed next to me. It’s only happened a handful of times but we’re trending in the right direction. Until the back molars start.
All this is to say it’s what I expected but living it is damn hard some days. I have yelled ‘just go the eff to sleep!’, which while completely anti-helpful for the goal of getting Darwin to close her eyes and drift off, has allowed me to release some modicum of frustration when feeling desperate. I have put the baby down some nights and walked out of the room to breathe (Or cry. Or eat a spoonful of Nutella). I have told Leah I’m done and left her to care for an inconsolable child as long as my sanity can take it to get a break. I’ve begged Darwin to go to sleep. On the other hand, I’ve watched her eyes droop and her head nod while nursing until she’s dreaming. She has held my hand while drifting off to a good nurse. She has woken up enough to see my face and gone back to sleep.
Sleep with infant has been hard, good, sweet, exhausting, frustrating, and more. It gets better, it gets worse. There are still often nights where I see every hour of the day, as is not uncommon when nursing and bedsharing. Mostly I can handle it right now. It is worth it to me, and I’m more functional than most people I know in similar situations. Biology? Maybe Darwin sleeps better than I think? Who knows. Whatever the difference, while I look forward to the days when we have kids who sleep more than they don’t sleep, what we have works for us right now. And that’s all anyone can hope for.

17 months

Here we are again with a late monthly update! This is a small, random conglomeration of what’s going on in the life of the Bugaboo. I’ll do a bigger update at some point when I’m writing on something with a real keyboard.

The good:
All the talking ever. And singing. I’m no longer listing her words, they’re now beyond my desire to count (I got to 127 last week and decided we’re good). The singing though, pretty much melts me. So far we have figured out that she sings parts of Baa baa black sheep, twinkle twinkle, and the ABCs (same tune, different words), as well as a kids song about cars to the tune of Frere Jaques. Sometimes she dances while singing.
Our newest addition to the routine of our days is a nightly walk. Darwin often insists on it,even if it’s pouring down buckets of freezing water, so we’ve tried to adjust our lazy habits to meet her needs. I’ve ended up very much enjoying it and even insisting upon it myself when I’m feeling overwhelmedby the transition from work to home. Of course, any time the sun is shining we also run out the door as fast as possible!

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A morning walk in the sunshine

She has started rocking baby dolls and stuffed animals. She’ll sway back and forth saying ‘rockaby’, and then throw the toy on the floor. Ha. Super sweet, super 17 months.

The ‘bad’:
Seventeen months has brought with it many, many things, but most notably in the bad (or really simply difficult) column, tantrums. If this kid doesn’t want something, like food, or to be in her stroller, or to get in her car seat, or…you get the idea, she becomes a wriggling, writhing mass of screaming toddler. She’ll hit, kick, and melt into a puddle on the floor. This was a bit mortifying in the middle of the hospital maternity ward tour the other day (we’re planning a home birth but it’s always good to be prepared).
Most of the time it’s a matter of slowing down and going her pace, but when we can’t (in the morning getting to work), we’ve come up with an ever changing variety of options to help transitions. Sometimes it works, sometimes I get smacked in the eye.

The ugly:
There is no ugly. She’s just too wicked adorable.

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