Believe in the Flowers.

Carol of the Zombie Jesus!

I believe that my dear friend Christy said it best, that in this wonderful season we whore ourselves out to get things we otherwise couldn't. I wouldn't go quite that far, but the statement is true enough to be applied here.

A week ago we were served with a notice stating that we had five days to pay off over $900 to our landlady; if we couldn't, our lease would be terminated. The thought of being homeless at Christmas with two little kids is absolutely terrifying, but we got our obligatory miracle and were able to pay off enough to satisfy them for now. It's a temporary fix, obviously, as we still do owe rent, but for now we aren't losing our house, and that's an improvement. I'm learning that life is very much about doing things one at a time and being patient, and I think I can be okay with that.

I also spent two very painful days off of my meds. For the record, I take 20mg a day of Lexapro, which is for depression and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). I am one of many moms who are breastfeeding through antidepressants, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind all people that post-partum depression is very real, very painful, and needs to be treated, be it through medication or therapy or both. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you need help, no matter what anyone else says. It's crucial that we keep reminding ourselves as mothers and women that we deserve to be happy and safe, too, and that part of maintaining that happiness and a sense of safety is admitting our need for assistance.

With that PSA over, let's move on. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the holiday season, as I've worked in retail for years now and have experienced the lowest points of humanity (think Black Friday). The crazies come out at this time of year, the people who otherwise hide in their padded cells all year. These are the people that will do anything they need to in order to save a couple of bucks, even if it means absolutely reaming an innocent employee or causing a massive amount of havoc. I have no idea how these people can sleep at night, knowing they've left an already-frazzled worker close to tears from dealing with said customer. The Christmas season proves, more than any other, that there are far too many psychotic soulless people out there. Remember that, next time you hassle an employee. They're human too!

For now, that's all. I'm posting from my phone, and it isn't comfortable or easy to type this much with your thumbs. I hope the holidays are finding all you relatively sane people happy, healthy, and in good cheer.

Things in this household have been nuts.

We're making progress in small places. Gabe has been without a binkie for about a month now, and it only took about four days or so for him to more or less stop asking for it. I think that's pretty impressive, considering it was a habit 2 1/2 years in the making, and that it was a 24 hour-a-day need before this. Something in his brain clicked, the binkies have been thrown away, and he is now bink-free. We went cold turkey, which actually worked better than I thought it would. Our next big hurdles are potty training and getting him to sleep in his own room. We're kind of slacking off on the first for the sake of the bink being gone, and for the second. We don't want to make him go through a lot of changes at once, especially since we're working through some pretty bad behavior issues at the moment. This will make night five of sleeping in his own room, and for the last four nights he has been accompanied by a parent sleeping on his floor next to his bed. As you can imagine, that is an uncomfortable endeavor. Tonight, because Colin is at his game night, and I have to stay out in this room with Alex, he's spending his first night in his room completely alone.

This is working, to a degree. The problem is that he's still awake, and every half an hour or so, he wanders out of his room to stand in the doorway to the kitchen and call to me. A minute ago he came out to tell me that he had farted. I appreciated this information, of course, but it really didn't do me any good and I couldn't exactly help him with anything. I congratulated him, put him back into bed, kissed and hugged him, and came back out as he begged me to hold him. Sigh.

Things are going a little better with Alex. This kid can sleep through anything, I think, and once he's asleep he spends five hours or so not particularly caring where he's sleeping or who he's sleeping with. In the playpen, on the floor, on the couch, alone in another room - it doesn't make much difference to him. A hurricane could sweep away the state and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't affect him in the least.

I wanted to exclusively breastfeed Alex, but unfortunately I've resigned myself to a half-and-half lifestyle. At night he's nursed and during the day I'll nurse him off and on, but most of his nutrition comes from formula now. I feel like an ass about this for a number of reasons, but at the moment I have a lot more to concentrate on. I hate the mantra of "happy mom, happy baby" because I feel like it's an excuse for me to not try harder to work through our numerous problems, but at this point, it's the truth for me: I can't handle the stress I'm putting myself through when it comes to breastfeeding. So for now our half and half lifestyle will suffice, we'll survive, and everything will be okay.

Our finances are still a mess, as usual. I'm pushing Colin to find a new job, but he's slacking off pretty hard with it. To add insult to injury, his computer bit the dust today, and neither of us are positive he can fix it. A new computer, or at least parts to fix an old one, were not budgeted into our tax refund money, so I can't even say that if he can wait until then, that we can fix things. We have a lot of bills to pay off and other things that need to be purchased (like new glasses and shoes for him) before we can toss a computer onto the list. I'm going to see what I can do, but other obligations obviously will be dealt with first, and I hope that will be okay with him.

Beyond that, I'm pretty much going insane over here. I've begun sorting out the baby clothes, trying to figure out what no longer fits Alex and can be put away, what currently fits him, what will fit him later but doesn't fit Gabe, what fits Gabe now, and what doesn't fit Gabe yet. It's dizzying, and I can't find space for everything, much less keep the piles and bags of clothes straight in my head. Add onto that the fact that I'm attempting to sort through the mountains of clothes that Colin and I have collected, and it's just a disaster waiting to happen. I want to eventually go through everything and throw away the junk, then donate what can be donated (or, you know, maybe sell it to a thrift store - there are a couple of good consignment shops around). I know we won't be having any more kids for a while still, but I'm loathe to get rid of the baby clothes. Partially it's sentimental, but really, it just comes down to the fact that I'm no good at getting rid of things I know I could maybe use later on. I'm a pack rat, so sue me!

Well, it's nearly 1 AM. Gabe's still awake, Colin's still gone, and Alex is still asleep (thankfully). Unfortunately, for me to go to sleep I'm going to have to move Alex and probably wake him up. Off to another night of changing a baby, consoling a preschooler, and sleeping sitting up so I can nurse a baby and pass out as a pathetic lump of person.

No, really, I am.

Some time has passed since the last time I had a chance to actually use my computer and do anything online. When we first moved into this house, we didn't have a usable phone line and thus had no internet access. We survived without this valuable asset for some time, and only within the last two weeks have we been lucky enough to not only fix the phone line (although if it weren't for internet access, that wouldn't matter much) and have our services turned back on. Unfortunately, my dearly beloved had the internet turned back on over the phone and paid some $80 for the return of services that I hadn't anticipated or budgeted, so we're more than a little behind at the moment. He considered it part of a birthday gift to himself - I considered it a smack in the forehead.

Meanwhile, we're still in the same house, still doing all right. The place is an absolute disaster area all the same, a lingering result of the changing weather (I swear it has been cold and cloudy/raining for a week now) and a week-long visit by several of my in-laws for a wedding. Now that they're gone, this place is still a lingering mess, and I'm God-only-knows-how-behind on dishes and laundry. Never mind the fact that we need trash stickers to put our trash out for the city to take, and those stickers happen to cost money, so we've a mountain of trash that can only be put out a few bags at a time. To say that I'm somewhat grossed out by this would be an understatement: it's absolutely disgusting, but there's very little I can do about it.

On the plus side, we've done some work (okay, mostly Colin did the work) and Gabe's room is actually livable, instead of just being a mess of a storage room for toys. It's a big change, and it looks really nice. There are shelves in there, a CD player/radio, and his chest of drawers, although there isn't anything in them yet. Oops. His clothes are still in the midst of being sorted, and since I have nothing to sort the too-small clothes into at the moment, it's a disaster. Everything here seems to be a disaster.

As for the kids: Alex is desperate to move. He smiles and coos but hasn't laughed yet. He's a grouchy, grumpy, gassy baby at the moment, and the "gassy" portion of this tends to cause the other two issues, in my opinion. He has nearly rolled himself over once. Our sleeping arrangements still consist of me on the loveseat in the living room with Alex either sleeping on his stomach on my chest, or laying on his back on pillows beside me, with me sitting up, when I nurse him at night. Gabe sleeps in the bed with Colin still. The number of things Gabe can say are amazing, and every day he adds another few words to his vocabulary. He has formed relatively complete sentences, is obsessed with the alphabet and counting, and is currently capable of using a computer better than most adults I know. He can turn on and shut off both of the computers, can play several games, and is a fan of Spore, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Hellgate: London. He can turn on music, and do things he probably ought not to do - including finding porn on Colin's computer and referring to it as "the Mommy game" (I assume this is because he sees women and, unless they have a name he's aware of, they are "Mommy"). Ahh, that's my boy.

So yeah, there's work to be done. Are we doing great? Eh, I wouldn't say "great". But nobody's dead yet, and that's good, right?

Assuming that I have any readers, of course; most have probably forgotten about or given up on me by now.

Baby #2, Alexavier Oliver Wendell, made his way into the world at 12:49 AM on July 23rd, 2009. He was 9 lbs, 2 oz and 20.5" long. He arrived sunny-side up, with his cord wrapped around his neck twice, and as purple as hell. He's doing fine now, although breastfeeding has been absolute hell, and the thrush problems I thought we had developed over a week ago have finally escalated to a point that I think health professionals will finally start listening to me and acknowledging that yes, I might have an idea of what I'm talking about, dammit. I've thus far had numerous useless suggestions and alternatives presented by both Alex's pediatrition and my OB's nurse, including the usage of nipple shells and the suggestion that I might simply be engorged and to pump first. Lo and behold, over a week later, his mouth is full of white gunk that won't wipe out. I'm desperate to discontinue the formula we've been supplimenting with, but I know that until this thrush problem has at least started to be dealt with, we will need to continue with it. We are fully moved into our new home, although we still can't afford it, and our old apartment has been completely demolished. It's strange to drive by the old place and see nothing but piles of bricks and stones and know that our living room once stood there, our back porch was once right there .. You get the point. It's disconcerting, as it was the first real place we'd had together where we were happy for any length of time, even if we were still broke and still typically screwed.

For now, I say goodbye - I'm on my mother's computer as we are not only without phones at our house but also without the Internet, and her poor laptop can't handle much anymore. I intend on trying to nominate her for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Wish me luck.

First, I promise that my absence hasn't been thanks to anything particularly interesting - certainly not thanks to the arrival of kid #2 (who seems to have decided that actually making his way into the world is far too strenuous of an activity to bother himself with; instead, he has signed a lease agreement with my uterus to remain there until preschool or thereabouts). At my last appointment, which was yesterday (I think?) my OB gleefully informed me during my first internal exam that I was 2 cm dilated, about 25% effaced, and that she was fairly sure she could feel his head (although he was "still high" and thus she couldn't be positive). I'd be lying if I said her joy wasn't lost on me - a mere two centimeters and a tiny amount of effacement, and a determination that she THOUGHT she could feel a head, was not particularly enough to keep me in a good mood. As of today, I am 39 weeks according to the due date given by my first ultrasound at about 24 weeks. My figuring (LMP dates) says July 16th, and the most recent ultrasound I had (a follow-up at 28 weeks because they couldn't get definitive pictures of his spine or brain thanks to bad positioning) said July 19th. So at the moment, I could be due right now, or be due the 12th of never and I'd never know any differently. Unfortunately, thanks to the kid's sheer size (I guestimated, at her behest, between 9 and 11 pounds; she giggled) she wants to start discussing induction possibilities at my next appointment next week, if I make it that long. I hope I don't, to be honest. It seems selfish, for sure, and I realize we still have a lot of things to complete at the house before it's livable and comfortable, but at the same time I'm starting to worry that my chances of an NCB are slipping away with every passing week. Here, a c-section is a guarantee of future surgeries for all children born to the unlucky mother, as the hospital has a strict ban on VBACs.

We have, however, moved. I won't get into the extreme details right now because to be honest, considering all of it still makes my head spin. Suffice to say that the majority of moving was completed in one night, with all of the big items - bed and desks included - making their way over in a single trip in a uHaul truck. It wasn't fun, and Colin worked his ass off.

When we have the internet back at our house, I'll update more - for now, know that we still have not had the new baby.

Namely, it is 5:30 AM AGAIN and for some reason I am up. I'd make some kind of sarcastic comment about the sunrise, but it has been raining for several hours on my end of things and as such the only thing that's visible is a bunch of nasty-looking gray that I'm assuming is supposed to be clouds. This irritation (DO NOT LIKE) has coupled itself with our leaky roof, meaning that now, instead of just having water running down our walls at the most inopportune times (like, say, when Colin has his computer plugged in and running), we also get this painfully obvious "drip" sound.

The dripping, you see, is from the ceiling of the floor above us. Dripping down onto the drop-ceiling tiles that we've been blessed with. Only, it's dripping down onto ONE tile in particular, and said tile is beginning to sag and look generally displeased with the water that is collecting on it.

Naturally, this tile is the one DIRECTLY ABOVE Colin's computer. If it fell I can only imagine the amount of disgusting, moldy, sitting water that will dump itself onto his monitor, keyboard, computer, power strip - you know, anything and everything useful and irreplacible. Not to mention all of the shit on his desk that I'm fairly sure he doesn't want drenched with moldy water.

The solution to this is, of course, to have someone come in and fix the roof. Except our lease technically ends today (although we're being given the "right" to stay until our house has, uh, flooring and appliances, imagine that) and the bank probably couldn't care less at this point if the house was crumbling on top of us, as long as it wasn't, you know, something they could get sued for. So instead of fixing the problem, we have a leaking ceiling. I would hate to think about what the floor above us looks like - I'm actually trying not to - and instead am focusing completely on the fact that THIS IS SO FUCKING IRRITATING.

I kind of want to scream and cry for a while.

Lastly, for today, everybody go add to the 1000+ notes of congratulations: Dooce had her baby. Marlo Iris Armstrong (MIA! Yes!) is a badass of a newborn who had the audacity to arrive ON HER DUE DATE. Seriously. She is one cute kid.

So a couple of days ago I started having some issues with swelling in my feet and ankles. This is incredibly normal for pregnancy, so I thought nothing of it. The next day I noticed that the swelling was capable of something called "pitting" - meaning that if I pushed a finger into my foot or ankle, I would leave a small indentation that remained for upwards of 30 seconds or so, or until I rubbed it out. Typically this is a sign to watch your sodium intake and monitor for further swelling elsewhere on your body (hands, face). By that night, I felt disgusting - a headache coupled with diarrhea and nausea that thankfully never turned into vomiting. I was exhausted and somewhat lightheaded, which led to me running to a local Hy-Vee to check my blood pressure (an unremarkable 130/62) - and at the behest of my husband and mother, the next morning I started making phone calls. It took the equivelant of several eons to finally get in touch with an overworked triage nurse who revealed to me, a couple of hours after the clinic I visit opened, that they were massively short-staffed. I was scheduled for an emergency appointment later that day with a doctor I had never seen or heard of, and told to keep my feet up and drink water until then.

My appointment was, at best, incredibly boring. I ended up waiting upwards of an hour just to be put back into an exam room, and once in, I had to wait another 45 minutes for the mystery doctor to show up. The highlight of my entire time there was when I attempted to give the obligatory urine sample and somehow managed to get my hand caught - resulting in the spillage of my own bodily fluids onto the back of my jeans. Sigh. I explained it away to the nurse who had been attending to me up until that point as nothing more than a simple accident - that I had put my pants down into a puddle of water on the floor in the tiny lab bathroom (the sink is directly next to the toilet in the world's best example of awkward positioning). I was too lucky that it didn't smell, and as soon as I got home I ripped my pants off and happily told Colin the same story I had told the nurse who had asked why I was trying to dry off my butt. Anyway, long story short, my blood pressure has not escalated to a dangerous point, despite my headaches and nausea. I drink plenty of water, so dehydration is not the cause. My heartrate is somewhat elevated, around 100 beats per minute, but my urine is clear of protein. Unfortunately, my feet are still swollen and a lot of the problems I started out with the other day still exist and are actually worse to some extents.

But none of this explains my frustration.

When I spoke to the doctor I saw, she told me that if I truly didn't feel well, and since the swelling and pitting was likely not going to go away, then other than a good pair of support hose the best I could do was stop working. My work conference call was switched from this morning to last night, so I emailed my supervisor to inform him that I would be stopping work earlier than expected. Of course, I'm an idiot and didn't give him a clear indication as to WHEN, but I thought I had implied that it would be ASAP - meaning that though I was scheduled to work today, I wouldn't be showing up to do so. My boss said last night on the call that he and I would discuss it today at some point, but gave no indication as to when, exactly. So I emailed him. No response. Called him this morning, left a voice mail, no response. Now I am stuck - do I go into work anyway today since I'm still technically scheduled and risk getting in trouble for having gone in if he has already removed me from the payroll temporarily, or do I not go in and risk getting in trouble because I was supposed to? I'm going to try to call him once more, but it has been agreed between Colin, my mother, and I that if I can't get a hold of him, I'm going to work this evening.

So, yes, I am frustrated - very frustrated. Sigh.

Work beckons in just a few hours, and I've been up for two and a half hours now, struggling desperately with acid reflux problems that were kind enough to stop when my insomnia kicked in about an hour ago. I'd say I'm honestly not tired in the least, as when I got up originally the sky was dark but the birds had decided that 3 AM was a GREAT time to start making all sorts of ungodly noises. Now, the sky's getting lighter by the minute. I swore to myself an hour ago when it was still perfectly dark that I would crawl back into bed, in front of the air conditioner that's running steadily and optimistically on "fan" and the "fan" that is running on "medium" in a desperate attempt to keep at least one room of this apartment livably "cool" (and yes, I know that spellcheck says "livably" isn't a word, but it doesn't offer any options that make sense, so I'm leaving it).

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been popping up off and on for the last hour or so, all about 15 minutes to our north, although the rain itself is a guarantee that I'm only waiting for right now. Thankfully, it seems we'll be escaping the baseball-sized hail yet again. Needless to say I'm okay with that, seeing as how our windshield already has a crack we can't afford to repair at the moment, and shattered dents bigger than my fist seem like an added inconvenience that I have no intention of humoring. My phone is set up to receive weather alerts from various sources - mostly the incredibly vague, irritatingly slow-updated Weather Channel - and when I hear it make that lovely little dinging noise from over by the bed I take a moment to glance at my email. Yes, I get numerous weather alerts from multiple sources. When you feel like you're living every day in fear of tornadoes and other massively unpleasant weather events, you feel justified in being over-prepared - and constantly nervous and jittery. Anyway, I tend to know that if I'm getting messages before 9 AM, it usually isn't good - either someone's trying to inform me of some life-changing event that I probably didn't want to know about in the first place, or the weather is about to try to kill me and it's time to go into panic mode until I have satiated my need to know exactly what's coming, when, and how. The problem with the updates from The Weather Channel is that they send you county-specific warnings that boldly proclaim in the first few letters that they are YOUR CITY, IN YOUR COUNTY, IN YOUR STATE, OH DEAR GOD, BETTER RUN FOR IT WHILE YOU CAN. This is, obviously, not always the case, as severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings are specifically issued for smaller areas that tend to encompass only portions of counties. Therefore, while a warning may be issued for a part of my county, that is absolutely no guarantee that my city is actually affected or is anywhere near this warning. Imagine being terrified of spiders, then getting alerts every 10 minutes or so from someone reminding you that even if you can't see them, there are typically spiders within five feet of EVERY SINGLE PERSON NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE. Especially when you sleep. And they're all brown recluses or wolf spiders (regardless of your location and their ability to survive there), and they all want to kill you. Specifically. They want to come and find YOU and crawl into every orifice. Maybe lay some eggs, who knows what they feel up to today. It's kind of like that.

So here I am, listening to the occasional and relatively faint rumble of thunder, watching the sky get lighter, KNOWING that these warnings have absolutely nothing to do with me, but dammit, I'm up waiting for the rain anyway. I can tell already that it's cloudy; the typical pretty sunrise colors that I've gotten to see off and on throughout my pregnancy-induced insomnia episodes have been absolutely glorious. Today, however, the sky is nothing but a muted, dark gray. There is some indication of texture, but it's discreet, and thanks to my failing eyesight I honestly couldn't tell you for the life of me if that texture is real or if it's me hallucinating my morning away.

Other updates are relatively innocuous - we will be staying in our current apartment until the house we wanted from the beginning of this process has appliances and flooring. Personally, I'm willing to get the hell out of Dodge as it is and live out of boxes and coolers for a while, but the owners seem to think that isn't feasible, so for now, we wait with bated breath to be told we're allowed to finally move. Our lease ends on the 16th of this month, and our original fears of being homeless between living arrangements were thankfully culled when we were informed that there was no need for us to do anything differently. Now, the problem is packing. A woman who is eight months pregnant and constantly has a two-year-old in tow has no real desire (believe me) to pack up the contents of an apartment that, originally, was intended to be a long-term dwelling. We have shit out of our ears, to be honest, and while I can't say that I'm happy about it, this is a perfect opportunity to grow the hell up and start getting rid of a few things. We've done so off and on thus far, but haven't made a serious attempt to dive into the worst of it - that, of course, being the basement and two closets. We know we have between three weeks and a month before moving day, but unfortunately, that will also be pushing it frighteningly close to the arrival of Kid #2. Here's hoping all goes well and that the little punk has no intention of making his way into the world early - I've never heard of anyone HOPING to be overdue, but this one time, my God, I want to not pop 'till the end of the month. Please grant me that one wish, won't you?

Financially we are still struggling, always struggling. Things will only get worse, for sure, when at the end of the month I finally stop working. I was loathe to set a date but realized that by putting it off I was, at best, inconveniencing the guy who had agreed to take over for me (ironically enough it's the same guy that was doing this before I took over his position). My last day will either be at some point in the last week of June or July 5th, depending on the other guy's vacation plans for that weekend, if any. If he's on vacation, I'll be working on the 5th. If not, I won't be - that simple. As it is, work has been getting more and more difficult. Standing for long periods has been hell, and the supposedly-unrelated-to-anything dizzy spells (accompanied by nausea and the distinct sensation of wanting to black out, never mind the cold sweats) have become more frequent. I am running out of clothing that actually fits, and am left with three pairs of incredibly ugly scrub pants that my mother purchased for me a couple of months ago, and a few skirts that are not considered acceptable for work. The pants, of course, are not only big around the waist but also happen to be incredibly large in the crotch - so much so that even when I pull them up to just under my boobs, the crotch of the pants is still hanging somewhere around mid-thigh. I have never felt so hideous, so exposed, so traumatized when wearing those pants. They make me feel as though I can never hope to be taken seriously.

Add in that I sweat like a half-ton man in 120 degree heat in the desert and I'm sure you can see why nonabsorbent light khaki-colored blends and I just don't get along. Because, yes, I sweat EVERYWHERE.

Pregnancy, I hate you. You're lucky the outcome is adorable.

Today we're watching our friend Esther's daughter, Bailee. She's a sweetheart, and the difference in understanding and speech patterns between she and Gabe are amazing - it's obvious that while he's a year younger, a bit taller, and a good five or six pounds heavier, she is older than he is and understands things he doesn't. She follows relatively complex instructions, she has thoughts and opinions she can voice, she can voice her possessiveness, and she understands nap/quiet time - whereas with Gabe we fought kicking and screaming (he was, at least) for almost an hour to get him just to lay down. Orajel and Motrin were, I think, our only saving graces, and despite both having had lunch and a trip to the store and clean behinds, Gabe was inarguably less willing to comply. Miss Bailee, on the other hand, is still playing quietly in Gabe's room, with the light off and the shades drawn, and the door half-closed. She's sitting on his bed, behaving, having a grand old time with his toys, enjoying herself and aware that she has every right and ability to leave the room once she decides she's done playing and being quiet. I can only hope this quiet time that she's willingly taking happens to last long enough that The Kid gets a decent amount of sleep, since Esther won't be back for another two hours, and Gabe may well sleep that long without complaint. Of course, I naturally don't expect Bailee to hang out that long in a room that isn't her's, especially without company, so I'm worrying to myself about what I'm going to do to keep her fully entertained but still keep her quiet.

I was going to nap with The Kid, originally, but Husband kept falling asleep with him and snoring. So now I'm up again, headachy and unable to focus my eyes on things, grouchy and absolutely exhausted, but awake because it for some reason seems wrong to me for us both to be napping while we're watching someone else's child, and said child is up and functioning, albiet quietly in another room. I was really, seriously looking forward to this nap and quiet time - something I won't get tomorrow, since Husband works all day and I can only assume the same situation will happen. Bailee will have quiet time in Gabe's room and The Kid will sleep on our bed as usual. And I will not get to nap, because I will be the only adult here. I will also probably be clincally insane by that point.

Does anyone know how much you get for an unborn baby on the black market?

In somewhat lighter news, all of this housing fiasco crap is coming to an end - we have the house we were originally looking at and will be paying way too much for, and will hopefully start moving next month. It will suck on entirely new levels, but at least we know now that we'll have someplace to live. That's really all that matters.

So we found out today, after multiple failed attempts at finding alternate housing, that the house we were originally looking at renting-to-own was still actually open, both for purchase and rent. Husband and I had been discussing this at length (read: I was telling him he was wrong and he kept demanding something called "consideration") and eventually came to the conclusion that with summer coming up, I would likely bitch far too much for us to live in a park and be homeless. Also, I have a problem with things that buzz and sting, and chances are that in a park, I would encounter a lot of those.

So after a conversation about what we thought we were going to do to find someplace new to live (read: after deciding we were going to hope a miracle fell from the sky) we started to get back into the routine of calling the options in the classifieds and calling just about any house or apartment with a "for rent" sign in front of it. Up until today, we had gotten mostly negative responses - either the price was far out of our range, or was within our range but the apartment itself was actually a crackhouse previously inhabited by poo-flinging monkeys. Obviously this was a disappointment for us, so hearing that the house we were originally considering was still open was a good moment, even though we both knew that actually paying $500 a month (an increase of $150 that we don't have) for a rent-to-own property that we had already decided we didn't want to buy was, uh, implausable. Right, we'll say that. Still, our days are ticking by, and while we've begun the impossible task of actually THROWING THINGS AWAY (I should've asked if you were sitting down first), we haven't been doing much packing. Our constant worry has been whether or not we'll have someplace reliable and safe to live after June, and up until today it was up in the air. Today, we decided that we would give ourselves until this Friday - and if nothing better comes up, we will be calling our landlady and making the absolutely impossible transition of moving into an expensive, smaller house. Plus side: Husband is right, it feels like a weight that I didn't even know was there has been lifted from my shoulders. And it feels damn good.

Past that, my mother has her pulminary stress/functionality test tomorrow (I'm sure you can't tell that I have absolutely no idea exactly what it is she's doing) in the morning, and I still haven't called to let them know that I, uh, can't exactly come in to do my three-hour glucose test since I won't have anybody to watch The Kid for those three hours. I could be a complete slacker and walk there, do the test, wander around in between, and keep him in his stroller, but when we have no money and he hasn't had breakfast, I can't imagine him being happy about getting up and going at 8:30 in the morning when I am grouchy and CANNOT EAT. So I need to call first thing tomorrow and try to reschedule to Friday, which should be plausible as Husband shouldn't be working. Not that I really want to do the test as it is, but if it goes as well as it did last time, I shouldn't have anything to worry about. Ha, ha ha.

Also on tomorrow's list of things to do: pick up (again) so that tomorrow night we can meet the woman we're hoping will act as our doula for the birth of #2. She seems nice from emails, so we'll see if this holds true in a face-to-face meeting.

For now, that is all!

The remnants of a late-night snack are strewn about - water in a squeeze bottle for The Kid, Simply Grapefruit (straight from the container) for me, Mini Nilla Wafers for us both (or, as someone would say, "Cookie! Cookie!"). Now he's passed out on the floor directly to my left, in need of a second diaper within the last hour. I'm exhausted, although I'm just working off of my second wind, but have a certain distaste for sleep at the moment, knowing that at some point soon we're going to be deluged with bad weather. I'm hardly a fan of thunderstorms, and am even less so when there's the possibility of them being accompanied by anything more than rain. Husband is off at game night, hopefully having a good time, although I know I was none-too-subtle about my want for him to stay home tonight. I felt guilty about it, of course, and still do to an extent, although I'm a bit less so since tonight has been relatively easy (compared to other weekends). But today has been a somewhat difficult day physically, and I feel somewhat ill, am exhausted, and I generally don't feel all that great. The added knowledge of an impending thunderstorm (or group of thunderstorms) is overwhelming - top it off with the fact that there's a wasp stuck in our bedroom window and I think I've had about all I can take for one day. 

I was supposed to work tomorrow as well, but Husband has to work a sort of odd, in-between time that would keep me from working at all during the day. My only remedy for this is to attempt to reschedule, although I'm a little worried that I'll end up simply losing the extra money and not being able to work during the day at all. Thursday's three-hour glucose retest will have to be rescheduled, hopefully for Friday; in the morning, instead, my mother will undergo further pulminary testing, in the afternoon Husband will work, and in the evening we'll get to meet with our doula for the first time. 

Now, I believe it's time for a bit of clean up, to put away my juice, and to take this poor little boy to bed so I can change him. It isn't like there's anything to do online anymore, and seeing as how it's a Sunday night, there's certainly nothing interesting on TV. After that, time to move the fan into the bedroom and shut a couple of windows so I don't spend all night hearing the door in his room creak. Odd sounds affect me more than they probably ought to.

As of the last two days, I have officially failed my accepted "challenge" to blog once a day, every day, for 30 days straight. I suppose, considering all the things happening in our lives right now, it was a bit much for me to expect of myself. On the plus side, I have succeeded beyond Husband ("The ADD Muse Says ..."), who has not blogged since the 17th! Ha ha! I will consider this my small victory and run with it.

After I got over myself the other day, I suggested to Husband that we go out to dinner with the remainder of our limited funds. My mother watched The Kid while we went to a local restaurant we have only been to once before (on my birthday last year, ironically enough), and when we came home we re-watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno - not because it's a particularly family-friendly movie, but because it's absolutely adorable under all that crass humor and foul language. We picked The Kid up from my mom's house well after midnight, when we had finally finished watching the movie and half of the deleted scenes (which, for once, were deleted for a REASON; they all sucked) and realized that we were falling asleep. It reminds me of the ending of Shrek 3, where once they've finished dealing with their new little ogre babies and said kiddos are asleep, Shrek looks to Fiona and says something akin to, "So .. Now what should we do?" It's of course meant to be suggestive, meant to be a lot of things, but a split-second later the "camera" switches to an unexpected scene of the two sprawled on their bed, fully-clothed and passed out to the point of snoring. That is parenthood. THAT is accuracy. It wasn't a bad birthday at all, and I appreciated the alone time with Husband, even if all we did was watch a silly movie and try not to fall asleep.

Since then we've been continuing our struggle with housing and money. The latter appears in the form of well over $100 in back-rent owed to our current landlady, whom I have been carefully avoiding calling back for two days now because in all honesty, I've no excuse for it being late other than the fact that we are broke (trust me, what little we spent on dinner would not have made up for the money we owe her). In the business world, being broke is an excuse, not a reason, and it seems silly to put her through more trouble when we hope that my check this week will be enough to repay her the remainder of rent and leave us SOMETHING to work with for the rest of the week. I'm finding it more and more difficult to avoid putting away plain old cash, hiding it somewhere; mostly I'm avoiding it because I worry I'll lose the money, or that the container I put it in will be packed away and lost forever once I get back into the swing of packing. I'll admit, on that note, a good portion of my laziness with packing has been that it seems odd to want to pack up all of our belongings when we have nowhere to move to.

The former, to get back on track, has come to us in the form of a string of failed apartment listings. Out of the seven or so we contacted last week, two were houses (out of our price range), one was in our price range and big but had SO many problems that wouldn't be fixed that it wasn't even worth pretending we wanted it, and the rest were tiny apartments out of our price range, which is just plain silly if you think about it. Out options have gone back to being incredibly limited, and the paperwork to apply to live in a nearby 100 apartment complex is daunting to say the least. Some 12 pages of information to provide, a credit check (hah, yeah right), a waiting list, and even then, no guarantee that before June 16th (when our lease officially ends) we will be given an apartment. To say that I'm concerned about our housing situation would be a massive understatement.

The only other news I have to report is really only pertinent if you've kept up on my Twitter updates. I mentioned a while ago that my mother was having problems and was going home from work one day instead of being admitted to the hospital she works at. She has had breathing problems her entire life in the form of asthma, and smoked for quite some time off and on throughout her life. She has had severe breathing problems before, and this time ended up buying a nebulizer for home treatments. After two visits to her doctor, an MRI, an echocardiogram, blood work, and chest x-rays, along with an upcoming stress test for her heart, the general consensus is that her heart is enlarged because of her asthma, and she is likely suffering also from a condition that keeps one of the valves in a ventricle from "firing" in proper order. This combination of problems, while just as serious as any other heart issue, can be treated via medication and careful monitoring, and as long as she monitors her own health, it seems that this is something that will not immediately require surgery or other major invasive procedures. Of all of the answers that we could have been given to her problem (emphysema, lung cancer, multiple heart attacks, etc), this is perhaps the best-case scenario, because short-term treatment does not require surgery or other expensive and painful-recovery procedures to fix it. There is the unfortunate knowledge, though, that something will EVENTUALLY need to be done; of course, the verdict is still out on what, and when. She has been given detailed instructions on how to manage her medication, warning signs she should watch out for, and how often she should need to use her nebulizer during attacks and on "okay days" - more usages than what's considered within "safe" limits, and she needs to go back to the pulminologist immediately.

The only plus side I've seen so far is that next Thursday night we get to meet with my doula for the first time and find out if we're truly interested in having her along for what little is left of our journey into becoming parents a second time over. I wanted my sister-in-law here, but she has two kids of her own living with her constantly and lives 1600 miles away - if the scheduling wasn't a bit of a problem, the money would be (and is). Even this has a downside, though, as that's the day my mom is going to her pulminologist, and Husband rearranged his work schedule to make sure he'd be working during the day and not in the evening so he could meet our doula, too - and it turns out that Thursday is the day I was supposed to take my second three-hour gestational diabetes test. Oops. So I'll have to reschedule that, though I'm hoping since Husband is off the following day I can just push it to Friday. I don't like that test and I'm genuinely worried about the outcome this time (last time I passed with flying colors), so I don't want to postpone it any longer than is necessary. I want to get it over and done with so the full results will be back before my next OB appointment on May 5th or 6th.

Well, it's a bit past 2 AM now, and the heartburn and choking that had woken me up after a little less than an hour and a half of sleep are both long gone, replaced only by a somewhat dry mouth and a vague nausea that I can only assume is thanks to the two cups of chocolate milk I drank in an attempt to quell the heartburn. Nausea I can deal with, and that alone won't keep me from sleeping, especially when I have a conference call for work bright and early at 9 AM and will then be going to work afterwards. Time to head back to bed.

I guess it's my own fault; I'm typically the "organizer" around here when it comes to events and schedules, so if I wanted something done I should've gotten on it weeks ago. We're busy people, and for our friends, weekdays are difficult days when it comes to getting together. Weekends always work better. Still, I guess I was hoping for something..

The Kid woke up at 7:15 AM, two hours earlier than usual, when Husband's alarm on his phone accidentially went off. Ever since, today has been mostly yelling (us) and grouching (The Kid), which has apparently - from what I can hear - been carried into the shower, via The Kid grabbing certain portions of Husband's anatomy. Other than that, we've had breakfast, and will be joining my mother at her place of employment for lunch in about an hour. I don't think any of us will be particularly hungry come lunchtime, but we'll manage one way or the other. Past that? I've gotten a couple of Facebook messages saying happy birthday. No other calls (except from my mother), nothing. There will be no cake today, no celebratory dinner tonight, no other gifts, and certainly no get-together (although I do my best to make sure that Husband and The Kid get a cake and some sort of gathering every year). Last year I wrote "happy birthday" messages to Husband all over our windows (one window even still states all of this stuff), hung streamers, blew up lots of balloons.

I suppose I've no right to gripe. I could've organized all of this myself, or asked someone else to do so. I got a "happy birthday" from my soon-to-be sister-in-law (in-law) yesterday. I had options, but instead of taking advantage of them, I'm finding reasons to complain. I'm not in high school anymore; nobody's going to decorate my locker and make sure that in choir, theatre, and band I'm sung to. I'm not going to get birthday cards passed to me all day. I'm hardly around anybody else for them to remember otherwise.

Ah, well. Enough griping from me, there's showering and more cleaning to be done, clothes to lay out for The Kid .. Plenty to do to occupy myself. Later, after cleaning and picking up, there will be fun in the form of getting juice and milk and bread at the store. Oh, yeah. I'm a real party animal.

My clock says 11:51 PM on April 21st, so technically I haven't lost the fight - no matter what time Blogger thinks it is (or isn't). I have yet to figure out how to fix the time stamp problem; I've tried on multiple occasions but to no avail.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 23. Today has not been a particularly good day, and I am sincerely hoping that tomorrow is loads better. I will be spending most of it cleaning the house - not an ideal sitaution, but I'll take any improvement at the moment.

Please keep this beautiful baby girl (linked, hover over for clickability) in your thoughts - she is "another" Kayleigh Anne (we have the same first and last name), and has pulled through so much recently to suddenly take a very terrible, heartbreaking dive. I hope for her family's sake that things do change, soon, for the better. They have such faith and conviction and have endured through multiple struggles, and they (and their adorable daughter) deserve so much better than this. 

And tastes damn good, too.

Husband gave me my birthday present today (my birthday is on Wednesday). I found a game a while back on Yahoo! Games, and found myself instantly amused by it. It is aptly named "The Princess Bride Game" and at the time I was only able to download a trial version, but found it adorable and amusing. The movie itself holds significance for us, as the first time Husband came down to visit me, we watched it at his behest - and shared our first kiss. It wasn't the world's most romantic thing, but we still have a certain amount of appreciation for this fact, some nine years later. I intend on installing, although I likely won't play tonight, since it's already 11 PM and it turns out I'm rather tired. The Kid is snoozing peacefully in bed, and the idea of curling up next to that warm, angelic teddy bear of a two-year-old is calming and appealing. I want to go sleep, too, and be a part of that happiness.

Thus, today's post is short - but at least I've gone three days in a row now and have managed to post something, however inane!

When The Kid was born, he was 8 lbs 4 oz. A good-sized kid, originally due April 16th. When we left the hospital we were told that his biliruben levels were elevated, and to come back the next day for blood tests. Come back we did - and within 24 hours of originally coming home, we were back in the hopsital (he lost well over a pound within his first few days).

Jaundice, among all of the potential side-effects of delivering early, really isn't the most life-threatening. I was supposedly jaundiced when I was born. Lots of people were - and everybody I know has been okay. But for first-time parents, it was excruciating to be told to leave our beautiful baby boy in a box, to let him cry because it was better to have him in that box crying than it was to take him out and risk damaging any of his organs.

Husband took to singing "Yellow" by Coldplay to The Kid when he was crying and there was nothing either of us could do. It was an appropriate song, although I don't think either of us really thought his skin had that signature yellow tint to it that jaundiced babies tend to get. In retrospect it should be relatively amusing - Husband had the common sense to sing a song that was appropriate for the situation - but the lyrics themselves seemed to hone in on a deeper emotion that we were getting to experience for the first time. 

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.
I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called yellow.
So then I took my turn,
Oh what a thing to have done,
And it was all yellow.
Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
You know, you know I love you so.
I swam across,
I jumped across for you,
Oh what a thing to do.
'Cuz you were all yellow,
I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.
Your skin,
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know for you,
I'd bleed myself dry.
For you I'd bleed myself dry.
It's true, look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine.
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And all the things that you do.

When I say that I've had a bad day, I mean that today really wasn't all that awful up until, for some reason, the point when Husband went to work after I came home. I spent nearly all of those four hours he was gone sobbing uncontrollably, and after he left to go to Sunday night game, it began again. I have only just stopped crying within the last 45 minutes or go, an accomplishment I'd be more willing to flaunt if I understood better why I put myself through so many hours of mental anguish just for the sake of bawling my eyes out. It's even upsetting #2, Little Kid, who is defiantly kicking the shit out of me in retribution for all the loud, crying-type noises I've been torturing him with.

I guess every once in a while we just need to get it all out, to find some kind of release for the pent-up anger and frustration and sadness that we box away day after day. I never was good at dealing with individual emotions, and so I think I find it easier to let them stew until I can't stand it anymore. A good cry unfortunately doesn't always do the trick, but more often than not it will help enough that I can sufficiently continue on with life without feeling like some kind of crazed sociopath. Tonight, however, the reasons for my crying leave me wanting to do little more than cuddle up with my two-year-old and be thankful that while I admit to having problems that are more than I alone can deal with, I am not fucked up enough that I would willingly and thoughtlessly starve and beat my baby boy, then leave him to die. There is a picture fresh in my mind of a gorgeous, blonde-haired little boy who met such a fate, a picture of him smiling and happy and looking as though his world is wonderful and perfect, and it tears my heart to absolute shreds to know that he is no longer alive and died at the same age as my beautiful baby boy.

I may have problems, but at least I am not a monster even on my worst days.

Meanwhile, the house is a no - rent would be jacked up to $500 total, which far exceeds our payment abilities. Back to the drawing board. It is, however, good to have a solid answer, to not wonder any longer. In this sort of situation, it is dangerous for us to have too much hope about one single option, hope that keeps us from persuing other choices because we are too hung up on the potentials - and now that this option is no more, we will move on and continue looking for other places to live. 

The new layout has a link to it on the right-hand bar, and for anyone looking for free (or cheap) layouts that vary seasonally, I highly suggest checking them out.

Until tomorrow - for now, I'm going to go pee one last time (until I have to get up again to do so in two hours) and head to bed so I can curl up with The Kid and wonder about things.

I was at Wal-Mart earlier, perusing their sandal collection and looking for something relatively cheap that I can (yet again) wear while in labor at the hospital, and ended up finding a dress to wear to our friend Bec's wedding next month, and a new shirt. It turns out that Wally World has discontinued their maternity clothing (at least locally), not that the damn stuff ever fit me anyway, yet a good portion of their everyday plus sized clothing actually functions better as maternity wear. I intend on also making some of this into nursing wear, should nursing work out this time around, although I will be honest in admitting that the concept of a nursing bra for someone my size is laughable at best. I've done a bit of research and have thus far learned the following:

People can charge a lot for plus-sized clothing.
People DO charge a lot for plus-sized clothing.
I will be spending $50 easily on one good nursing bra. ONE.

To me, this seems ungodly. The idea of spending more on one bra that I MIGHT get to use for a year and that may not fit me once #3 rolls around than I would spend on three pairs of jeans is ludacris. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem I'll be given much of a choice. Forcing a regular bra to work as a nursing bra is difficult at best given my size, and completely tearing one apart to attempt to make it into a nursing bra is a feat that is not for the lighthearted (a group that I am certainly a member of, if not maybe VP). The thought of trying to breastfeed, especially in public, and still manage some level of modesty, seems far-fetched given the circumstances I'm facing. I can't bring myself to justify spending that much money on one bra that I'll have to special-order, a bra that may not fit me in the first place and a bra that I may have to spend money on to ship - meaning if I spend a total of $60 on one bra, plus shipping, one way, I will still be out $20 once I've shipped the damn thing back after I found it didn't fit. Then I have to wait for the refund. And then I'd have to start the process again. If one bra doesn't fit, I will lose a THIRD of my investment into it (or thereabouts) attempting to get it, then give it back.

In lighter news, our living arrangements have not yet changed. A full day's worth of rain (with another day of heavy rain being promised to us by the local meteorologists) means we're still struggling with leaks on the wall by Husband's desk, and on the other side of the wall directly behind a bookcase I'm struggling to empty out. I keep meaning to work on packing, but at this point it's a bigger deal to keep the house halfway clean. My new doula, a wonderful woman I found via DONA, will be visiting in the next two weeks or so to come talk to us. I'm excited, but I'm worried at the same time - we are notorious pack rats, and have a LOT of stuff sitting around. Mostly toys. Making all of this stuff look like it's halfway organized always turns out to be a struggle of several days, and even then it's back to normal within a week. Partially because we're lazy. And partially because ... Well, keeping up a home with a two-year-old in tow is difficult. Just ask us.

We have a place in mind we're considering, and need to continue our search for other arrangements, but so far I think we've both come to terms with the entire situation. It sucks on levels I cannot begin to explain, but at this rate we aren't being given much of a choice. We can either deal with it now, or wait until the last minute and end up homeless. I'm not a fan of the second option, so #1 is all we've got for now. I keep reminding myself that one way or the other, everything will work out as it's supposed to, and as long as we're all doing okay and have a roof over our heads and food to eat, and of course jobs to go to, we're doing a hell of a lot better than we've been able to claim in the past. We will manage, we will survive, and if it means a struggle, it's nothing we haven't done before.

As a sidenote, Husband has issued a challenge to other bloggers, and to himself: a 30-day Blog-a-Thon. He intends to blog every day for 30 days straight. I accepted his challenge on what he considered to be Day 1 for him - April 13th - and promptly did not follow through. In fact, I failed by five days, if you ignore the fact that I began this post before midnight. Husband has done quite well, only missing a couple of times. I think, though, that this says a lot about us.

We're young, we have things to work on. We'll manage. Always do.

Here's wishing everyone a warm weekend and a drier Sunday than we're going to have.

Even the uplifting strains of "Come Sail Away" in the background can't make up for all of this.

We still haven't heard back from our landlady about the status of the house we were going to rent-to-own. At this point, I realize fully that I should call her myself and find out exactly what's going on. The problem is, of course, that I'm absolutely done with this entire situation. It seems unlikely at this point that we're going to get the house, and while I'm tempted to pursue it with some sort of unrealistic optimism, it doesn't seem worth all the hassle anymore. I'm painfully aware of how dire of a situation this is, but at the same time I can't begin to explain how draining it is to go through all of this at once. I had never thought that in this economy we would have to struggle so violently to WANT to pay someone money every month for living someplace! The worst part is that thanks to our combined credit histories, we have no chance of buying in the immediate future - leaving us open to the housing crisis. I worry daily about whether or not we'll be one of the world's homeless in a month or two.

We have options, of course, limited as they are. I'm single-handedly attempting to explore them all, but my expectations are depressingly low. I suppose I'm tiring of all of this drama; I'm not a fan of soap operas for a reason, and the idea of dealing with finding housing for all of us and trying, at the same time, to figure out how we will make ends meet and when we'll pay bills is becoming a strain. I usually open and deal with all of the bills we get - electric and phone go straight to me, and I deal with them alone nine times out of ten. Rent is open season but I feel I'm usually the one that remembers it needs to be paid and arranges for us to take those few extra minutes in order to do so. The car bills always go straight to Husband's desk, because they're in his name, but most of the time I'm again the one that brings up when they're due. GMAC no longer calls him first, they call my phone instead; the problem is that they can't actually share or discuss account information with me because the car is entirely in his name, so all they're ever calling to do is talk to him, or have him call them back. I pass on the message, but he rarely calls them unless I harp on him for days prior just to get him to let them know that yes, we remember they exist and we haven't forgotten that we owe them money, too.

Thankfully, though we've been denied our food stamp benefits for now (a long story in and of itself), I have an appointment to reapply for WIC next Thursday. Because we're on the medical card for the state and I'm currently pregnant, we SHOULD qualify without question, but we're still required to bring proof of our income - I'm sure you can see why this makes me nervous, considering that we should qualify no matter how much we make as long as I'm pregnant and we're on the state medical program, but they still require income verification. This is our only hope at affording some semblance of groceries on our own, and I can only hope we're approved. It's really, really embarassing to use, but at the same time I'm so thankful for the assistance WIC provides.

Keep your thoughts with us while we figure out how to deal with all of this. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, and will be speaking with my OB about seeing a therapist and potentially starting the medication I should've been on years ago.

Only, perhaps not so much.

We were informed last week that our landlady would (hopefully) let us know today whether or not the actual owner of the house would let us rent-to-own without an increase in rent. Unfortunately, the way she worded the situation last I spoke to her indicated that she had no control over whether or not the rent would increase, and there was a good possibility that it would. She said she would hopefully find out by today, but I kind of felt that even if she doesn't find out today, she still needs a yes or no on the house. This leaves us with a couple of situations; three, to be exact, since the fourth isn't an option. To give you an idea of where we stand, here are the options:

* We go ahead and rent the house while it's still on the market, leaving us open to having the house sold from underneath us while we're still living there at any point in time (this is the one that isn't an option for us).

* We tell her we'll take the house anyway, without an answer about the rent increase, and then attempt to deal with the increase if and when it happens (also not an option, because IF the rent goes up, we can't afford it).

* We find out the rent is going to increase for sure, which is also a no, but it's a potential option.

* We find out the rent WON'T go up, and thus can give her a yes on the house and stop worrying about all of this.

Obviously, out of all of those situations, the last one is the best for us. Anything else is a no, and means that we're back to the drawing board on our living situation, with even less time to try to find some kind of solution. There are numerous plus sides to the house; not only is it a guarantee of not having to deal with any stairs, but it means too that we'll have a full building to ourselves and a yard that's just our's. It isn't a perfect situation, but it's as much as we can hope for right now, considering our options.

Of course, we're also dealing with other typical life problems, namely money. That stuff is evil, although I'll avoid the cliché that it's somehow necessary in our lives. Tack on to our issues that we've suddenly been denied renewal of the LINK card this month, leaving us unable to even buy our own groceries, and it seems like everything is piling up on itself. Husband has stated multiple times that we will be okay and things will work out, and I do agree with that, but sometimes it's so difficult to actually see things in that positive light. Thus far, someone has been watching out for us - we've been lucky and fortunate enough to have that big miracle happen right when we needed it. But right now, we're in desperate need of that miracle - instead of it being us, all of our friends are finding their windfalls and we're yet again behind and struggling for the things that we NEED, and going without the few things that we want. This is rather typical for us, but it still seems grossly unfair; we've done our best to bust our asses for what we want, and for some reason we're still the ones that are being denied our few basic requests - like food, safe housing, and a little financial help here and there. I keep waiting for the state medical card to be withdrawn; we don't make enough for that to happen, and I know it, but I can't help worrying.

Today I'll likely be going out to request a housing form from Country Club Heights, a local income-based rental complex. They're almost always booked, though, and there's a waiting list that has no concern for immediate need. 

The next four months promise to be incredibly interesting.

Last Friday we receieved notice from our landlady, via a phone call, that the bank that owns this property will not be renewing any leases here, or at the building immediately next door. They've decided that, considering the increase in tenants in their own bank building across the street, it would be far more economical to tear down both of these houses and instead provide extra parking - thus ensuring that the bank can offer more rental space in their own building, and that the tenants they already have will not be as jammed into their parking spaces. As it is, two new cars have been introduced; one parks atop a rather large sinkhole that formed at some point in the parking lot's life, and which could easily destroy a portion of a car should the poor woman back her low-set SUV-type-thing out improperly, and the other parks beside us in what is, technically, parking reserved for apartment tenants of our building and the one next door. Speaking from a strictly financial standpoint, I can see why this makes sense: rent payments from the tenants of a couple of old houses that are in constant need of upkeep and repair will never meet or exceed the amount that the bank will take in via renting out the remainder of their internal office space. Even filling one tiny office will provide more than our paltry (in comparison) $350 a month, an amount that I can't imagine would be exceeded by any degree by including an upstairs tenant in this building (we don't believe there is one) and a tenant in the house next door.

This, of course, poses a problem. Not one full year ago, as of this July, we moved into this apartment. Of the places we have lived, it has seemed the most homey, although it has recently started to show its age via a persistent leak near Husband's computer desk whenever it rains, a troubled cold water knob in the shower coupled with leakage problems around the tub that have left the bathroom floor soaked in a two-foot diameter spreading away from the tub, and a mouse that has spread itself from occasionally scaring the living shit out of us on the floor to making irritating night noises by eating through the drop ceiling tiles while we sleep. All of these things would, hypothetically, be fixable, although their price ranges for doing so would vary considerably: I imagine that "fixing" the mouse would cost no more than a few dollars, but the drainage and leaking problems could well add up into the hundreds, depending on the severity. Since I'm no home improvement specialist, my assumption is that these things are expensive, and thus will not be fixed within the three months we have left in which we're allowed to live here - so, while it goes mostly against our better judgement of actually informing our landlady that we have problems here, we're avoiding it anyway in lieu of being told that none of these things are worth the bank spending its money on.

Anyway, I've gotten off topic. The problem is that our beloved little apartment, someplace we had originally intended on staying for at least a little while, will be gone within the next four or five months, and our lease expires before then. This opened us up to the question of whether or not we had the option of buying a house for ourselves; this was quickly answered after a visit to a loan specialist, who bluntly but helpfully informed us that our credit scores hovered in the low 520 range, but that there were some things we could do in order to help ourselves. It was a short, bittersweet conversation - we had gone into the process hoping for a miracle but knowing that we would be denied - but it answered the question that would determine the process we would use to continue our search for other living arrangements. So we steered away from the faraway concept of ownership and instead looked over the pathetic excuse for an apartment listing that was provided to us via the bank (along with the promise from our landlady that, as we were "dear to [her] heart" we would be given first choice of all open rentals with the bank). Most of the places were far smaller than what we started out with two years ago at our Broadway apartment, and the majority were within areas that we considered beyond unsafe to live in. We struggled with the idea of renting one of their also-for-sale four bedroom homes with a married couple we know, though that idea was quickly shot down as they own two cats and some four or five ferrets; we already illegally have our cats here with us and would hate to see the fees that would be incurred by asking for that many more pets, if they were allowed at all. Our only other feasible option was a tiny, two bedroom house with yard and basement. It was determined, after some measuring and considering, that our bed would only barely fit into the biggest bedroom, and even then it would be a struggle to get it into the room, much less positioned. The living room would barely contain all that our current living room does: a couch, an old console TV (we can't afford an HDTV), and two computer desks complete with computers. The blue rocking chair currently in our living room would have to be moved elsewhere. The basement is dirty and somewhat inaccessible for someone as unsteady as me, the storage space is questionable at best, and we would completely lose our game/dining room. One of the doors would need to be replaced, and a portion of the foundation on either side of the basement is caving in (this is bad enough on one side that they have put in wooden supports in an attempt to take some of the weight off of the original crumbling rock). Husband's biggest problem: the stove would be electric, not gas.

The exchanges were questionable. There is no dedicated parking, leaving others to park in front of the house or out behind it in the yard. There is, however, a yard - that in and of itself is a huge improvement over our ten foot by eight foot gravel pit. There's a fairly secure deck that leads off of the house, it's in a relatively decent neighborhood, there's a baseball field just across the rarely-used street, and all of the windows are new. There are laundry hookups that are easily accessible from every corner of the house, meaning that we can finally begin doing our own laundry again at home (this is a brilliant concept to me, as I have wanted for some time to get into some form of cloth diapering for Kid #2) and thus stop using so much gas just for me to go over to Mom's house to do laundry there. The biggest caveat was that, if we rented the house, we would have the entire building to ourselves. It's a novel concept for a couple of people that have been renting this entire time; we're used to sharing a building with at least one other tenant, and thus having to be careful that we're not too loud at night, that nothing gets slammed, or that we aren't coming in at all hours and disrupting the others that live there. It has meant, too, that we've been subjected to the loud late-night music of college students and the bad parking jobs of their peers. We've had to wonder who else in the building is getting our mail, and why we're still getting mail for people that, to the best of our knowledge, don't even live in the building anymore. We would be privvy, too, to the wonders of a dishwasher, to brand-new carpeting and linoleum, and to walls that are no longer a disturbing tanned flesh tone.

The point of contention was that the price increase would be some $100 a month. Not bad, when all things are considered, for a house in exchange for an apartment, but Husband wisely indicated that we would be better off by looking around and considering our other options, even if it meant giving up the dependable services of our landlady's maintenance crew and her overwhelming desire to make sure that their buildings are safe and well taken care of. My mother swore she'd be willing to personally take care of this price increase in our stead, much the same way she originally promised to pay half of our car payment every month. We went to look, we argued, we considered, we found every possible problem with the house that we could, including the substancial decrease in space. We were kindly provided with the key for the weekend, and took a trip back to stay for two hours in which we did our best to talk ourselves out of the house. We wouldn't want to buy it, we argued, as the number of expensive-to-fix problems far outweighed any potential benefit the home would provide. It wasn't a long-term option, thanks to the crumbling foundation, which would mean that we'd still have to find a new place to live in the next year or two, whether or not we liked the house or wanted to stay. There are only two phone jacks in the entire house, neither of which is actually functional and only one of which is in the proper place to allow us internet access without wireless cards in our computers - another potential problem for a couple of junkies. We'd never be able to comfortably fit our belongings into the place, and if we moved in, the entire house would look incredibly crowded - especially with the addition of another child.

Only, well, maybe we could use this portion of the basement for storage moreso than the rest. We could always clean up the yard; that would leave us with a bit of a better feeling about the whole place. If we put the TV here, and the desks here, and maybe if I switched out from a rather large table to a smaller, more reasonably sized computer desk, we had a chance of fitting things in. If we're willing to live with the few inconveniences that the size provides, we'd have a chance of living comfortably. And the table that currently takes up most of the space in the game/dining room could fit, leaves down, in the middle of the kitchen, given a chance.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

So yesterday I called our landlady and let her know that yes, we would take the house, if she would agree to a walk-through with her at some point this week. She gladly agreed. Now we again begin the long process of cleaning up, decluttering, and packing for yet another move. Wish us luck.

I suppose if you haven't noticed the silly, somewhat juvenile tickers I've added to the sidebar over there (it was on a whim, I promise I'll get over it soon), you'd be unaware that we've found our second little bug is going to be a boy. I'll admit some disappointment; we had been so sure that this one was a girl that we had thought of a girl's name and had been referring to the baby as a "she." This was the least of our stupidity, but we reasoned that even though everyone had thought that The Kid was a girl, we knew it was a boy (and turned out to be right) - so of course we were right this time, too! ... Only we were anything but. Still, there are advantages to this; we know how to raise a boy, we have boy clothes leftover, and we're slowly managing to come up with boy names. 

Otherwise we're still doing quite well. I had some mild health problems recently that have involved coming very close to fainting. I've been told that my blood pressure is all right, though, and that it's nothing more than a sudden drop in pressure brought on by extreme temperature changes. I have a feeling there's more to it, but my doctor says otherwise - so until something strange happens I'm willing to call it good for now. Health-wise, things have been great. I still have suffered less this time around than I did with The Kid, and am thankful for it. I feel relatively good, all things considered, although I still have a huge aversion to cleaning that I've had, um, ... All my life. Never mind, I guess I can't blame that on pregnancy. 

Speaking of cleaning, I suppose I really ought to get on that, hmm?

It's closer to 6 AM than it was when I originally intended to say something - anything - but I suppose I'll go ahead and explain why the hell I'm up so early anyway!

I've been up since 4:45 AM. I made the casual, understandible mistake that all pregnant women do, and got up to go pee only a couple of hours before a rather important and nerve-wracking event. Today is our "big" ultrasound, and it's scheduled for 9 AM on the dot (from what I can remember). I know I should try desperately to remind myself that kid #2 may not even be in a position to flash the goods, and that we may not even get to find out today, but it's hard to think about that when all I want to do is find out whether or not my assumptions for the last five-ish months have been correct. I want to make sure that there's nothing wrong, that the powers-that-be have been kind in their assigment of working-order pieces to this creature (which I've seen is approximately the size of a large heirloom tomato, now - leaving me thinking that I probably have an actual tomato in there, as opposed to a baby). I want continual affirmation that as a larger woman (who am I kidding, I'm huge!), I have the ability to produce healthy children who aren't automatically littered with weight or health problems. This will only be my second ultrasound (the first was necessary because the LMP date and the measuring date, due to this kid being a product of a second ovulation for NO REASON that I couldn't remember exactly when it was, were off by several weeks), so I feel some odd sense of entitlement to check on this kid once more before I go back to life as I know it.

The funny thing is that thus far, I've often had to remind myself I'm pregnant. I've had the off pain here and there, nothing dangerous, but otherwise I have been relatively lucky in that my symptoms have been few and far between. I haven't suffered with this kid like I did with #1, and I try to remind myself that I am of a numbered few who goes those first three or four months without throwing up once due to pregnancy. I haven't gained weight at all that I'm aware of; I started out at about 330 pounds with clothes on and have remained there, hovering between 329.4 and 329.9 consistently in the doctor's office. I'm proud of that accomplishment, as I've done little to change my diet beyond not allowing myself to fall into the age-old trap of eating for two. I still wear the same size pants, and am only finally starting to worry about my shirts. Pants that were too big for me pre-pregnancy are still too big, and I couldn't be more lucky. I guess there are some plus sides to being plus-sized.

That being said, I'm now at a mental fork in the road. I can stay up and likely do unconstructive things, then realize at 7:15 AM (when I only have about 15 minutes to go back to sleep) that I am exhausted, or I can go back to bed now while I'm still not sleepy and put my very cold feet on Husband's nice, warm legs. The problem then, of course, would be that if I don't pass back out, I'm kind of SOL - past a certain point in the morning, if you so much as think about moving, The Kid will automatically realize that there is some vague possibility that YOU ARE AWAKE, and he probably should be too. This has held true as early as 5 AM, so at 5:50 AM I am already taking my chances as it is. Ah, decisions, decisions.

I realize that's a bit of a frank statement for some people, but the honest part is that it's TRUE: life has a tendency to be a bitch more often than not.

There's shopping to be done today, and so much cleaning and picking up to do that I'd be lying if I said I was happy to be awake. A couple of days ago I had a random, unpleasant experience involving vomiting at 1:30 in the morning, and for some reason I'm still relatively drained. I blame it on the fact that I haven't eaten breakfast yet - in fact, the only one of us that has eaten anything is the kid, and his breakfast consisted of a couple of bites of oatmeal and some milk. This child eats like a bird, and I'm surprised half the time that he hasn't just poofed out of existence after imploding on himself. There's nothing to him, if you just look at him, but he's actually a little above the 50th percentile for weight, which makes no sense because this child has BONES that you can SEE and FEEL. Mind you, most of this discomfort and complaining comes from an overweight woman that can't remember when she last wore something that wasn't considered "XL" or "plus-sized". Maybe it's a personal problem.

I think I'm going to do what I can to get the rest of the fam-dam going - Husband is playing Grand Theft Auto III with the kid in his lap, and none of us are even remotely prepared to "face the day". But at this rate, we have no hope of accomplishing anything if we don't get our exhausted asses in gear.

I'll likely hop back on later to say something snotty about Octo-mom.

We had spent the last couple of days planning what today would be like. It's our ninth anniversery, after all - nine long years ago today, we started "going out". I was originally going to post something long, thoughtful, and insightful, but for now I'm going to suspend that post for something a bit more cynical and realistic. Today calls for it.

This morning we woke up blissfully knowing that it would be the last night we would spend on the dreadful air mattress that has been, in one form or another, our only sleeping arrangement since June of last year. Two fat people and a very squirmy, space-hog of a toddler do not belong on one single queen sized air mattress, and this new mattress was the whole reason The Kid has a skull fracture in the first place. We were told it would be in last Thursday or Friday; when Saturday came with no news, Husband called the store and asked when we could expect it. We were told today, somewhere between 4 and 5 PM without a doubt. I became understandibly cynical when 4:30 rolled around with no new information, and my concern was justified when I called the store at about 5 to inquire as to the status of our $800 some odd investment. I was told that the delivery van was just heading back from a city about 45 minutes away and it would be upwards of another hour before our mattress was brought to us - but, of course, not to worry because it would be here tonight. I felt bad for calling and asking, but at least I got some semblance of reassurance that everything will be in order, given time.

That isn't the worst part of today, though. We were going to go to a sushi place in town - not that I can eat the stuff, but Husband won't eat sushi either and instead boasts about their teriyaki chicken - and then come home and watch a movie ("Zack & Miri Make A Porno") and then, with The Kid at my mother's house, hopefully get to christen our new bed. I know, perhaps a lot of information for those with sensitive imaginations, but it's the damn truth and I'm not ashamed - for once! - to say it. 

Only, it rained today, meaning my mother is none too keen on watching said Kid because of the numerous leakage problems her house has. On top of that, this morning Husband partook (partaked?) in our orange juice and for some reason has since been suffering the ill side effects of what seems to be food poisoning. The juice is gone, as is the rinsed-out Snapple tea bottle he was using, but he has thrown up at least once and has had numerous other stomach problems all day that have basically ruled out any hope of our enjoying our anniversery evening beyond at least being able to sit at home.

I think that this sums up nine years of a relationship rather well: you can't predict 99% of it and can plan all you want, but somehow fate will find a way to mess things up sufficiently enough to make you question your sanity.

Like making you watch "Pat the Bunny" for hours on end.

So here I am, with a box of Puffs with Vicks and The Kid asleep behind me on the loveseat. I've had some chocolate milk, my "allergies" are continuing their transformation into "sinus infection from Hell", and I still have a lot of cleaning and picking up to do before we (hopefully) get that wonderful call letting us know that we are privledged enough to be getting a bed delivered today. A real, functional, useful, comfy bed that isn't inflated.

Sorry, The Kid just woke up.

Anyway, I have cleaning and picking up and rearranging to do that I have no interest in doing. If I lean over too long, my head hurts and I feel generally more icky, but that doesn't help me pick up the laundry that has mysteriously found its way to the floor in the bedroom. It's a slow process, especially since picking it up also means rearranging all of the clothes that are already stuffed into our "closet", because the damn thing is out in the open and while we are typically messy people, I really don't like the idea of strangers traipzing into our house to decide that we live in a pigsty. Sadly, The Kid - who is still rather ill - won't be making this day any easier, and Husband is out doing work-type things today, likely getting to enjoy the beautiful weather to at least some degree. I wanted to take The Kid out for a walk, since it's already almost 60 outside, but at this point I don't seriously see us getting out until Husband gets home close to 5 PM, when the sun is already setting. This is a pipe dream at best, and because of it I'm seriously considering opening some of the windows that don't have plastic over them yet. 

Of course, window opening won't happen unless this whining, incredibly ill, completely discontent child manages to feel better long enough to let me finish cleaning so I can take a shower so we can even go for a walk in the first place. Dear God, at this point I just want him to stop whining so I don't feel like I suck so much!

I will admit that there is a significant amount of guilt associated with going over a month without posting anything, even a meager update, to a blog that I know at least a couple of poor souls read (even though I'm sure they have better things to do with their time). I have excuses, pathetic as they are, and most of them revolve around the alien creature that has contently taken over my body and any semblance of coherent thought. I had blissfully forgotten about the maddening mood swings, the crazed hormonal imbalance that is pregnancy, and thus had forgotten how to deal with the depression that comes along with all of this. I argued with myself for some time about the appropriate response to my hormones; do I blog anyway and risk alienating a number of readers who think I've gone over the edge and emo, or do I take a short break and recollect my thoughts? I took the latter route, although I will say that a lot has been missed thanks to this "break."

Namely, last Tuesday (January 27th), The Kid was in an accident.

I shouldn't say that he was IN an accident, so much as there was one; no cars were involved, but we were shopping at a local furniture store and he fell off of a flight of stairs thanks to unsecured rails. It was one of those fluke of nature things, where, naturally, in the two seconds he had let go of my hand, he slipped between the posts and fell some seven or so feet straight down onto his back. The floor beneath was concrete, and needless to say there was some injury suffered. We had a horrible time with our local hospital, which included arriving by ambulance with our little boy strapped to a full body board, then having to wait half an hour before anybody even came in to look at him. Nine hours later we were driving 45 mph down the highway to St. Louis Children's Hospital, aware only that our son had a slight sub-something hematoma (a bleed beneath the skull) and a c-shaped fracture along the sutures in his skull. A drive that should have taken 2 1/2 hours became closer to 3 1/2 thanks to horrible weather conditions south of us. Thankfully, things have turned out all right; we stayed one day for observation and were released to come back home the following day. Other than a nasty headache, The Kid has been doing reasonably well, with no significant changes in personality or mood.

Of course, that wasn't enough: within a few days, he developed an upper respiratory infection that has ended in Azithromyacin, finally prescribed by his pediatrition after two days of no sleep and little food intake, a lot of throwing up, and a horrible temperature (103.4) that resulted in a useless visit to the emergency room (we were told, "It's just a viral thing, give him Benadryl"). He's still sick, but doing better when all things are considered. The downside is that now I'm getting sick, too, and am certainly feeling the effects of what I am positive is a sinus infection. It's a couple of months late for the season, but I hope it won't be all that bad.

So I'm still struggling with a lot of internal guilt, as is Husband, though we both know that nothing the past week has given us is at all our fault. Someone thought all of this needed to happen, and it has, and everything has more or less turned out okay. The Kid's skull is still fractured, but will heal on its own given time. Illnesses come and go, and come the end of July I will hopefully be able to rid myself of at least a little of this hormonal insanity - only to likely deal with more for different reasons.

No news on when we get to go for our "big" ultrasound to find out the gender of Kid Two; my assumption is that it will be sometime at the end of the month or beginning of March. We're hoping for a girl, because it'd be a lovely change of pace, and I can't think of any good boy names.

Otherwise, we're doing all right. Which, I guess, is all we could ask for right now.