Friday, July 3, 2009


I have been lightly and only partially admonished for not keeping up with this blog and, therefore, having heard from Lisa (and others of you) only a handful of times since I left KU two years ago. The few times I've jumped on the blog, I tried to piece together everyone's recent histories, got overwhelmed, and disappeared. I will do better.

It would be good to see Lisa on Facebook. This summer is an exception (see below), but during the busy school year, I find it's a great way to take 30 seconds every few days to see what everyone's up to, with histories that are easy enough to follow should you fall behind. This comes, of course, at the expense of having all kinds of peripherals and tangentials able to see various amounts of your personal life (although you do have a fair amount of control), as well as it asks you to condense your life events into tiny snippets.

This blog is great because it allows posters to elaborate in their own way. I try to make my Facebook entries somewhat amusing and blog-like, and a small minority of my friends there seem to take the time to read and respond. Just like this forum, but it seems like the virtual equivalent of Lisa's and my parties: the Hostess with the Mostest has a better attended blog than I ever will and seems to throw it together and maintain it with much more ease than I ever could if I were to start one.

This summer has been an exception to my typical sporadic Facebook behavior because I'm bored and like to see others’ updates. I'm about 6 months pregnant and generally have been avoiding being outdoors because the prairie heat is much harder on me than usual. We continue to do home improvements, but in my state and with my limited skills, there are many things I can't do, especially when home alone during the day. I've passed on opportunities to go to Costa Rica (for research advising) and to Alaska (for meetings) because they needed too much pre-planning, and early on I had no idea how functional I'd be throughout pregnancy.

So far, the process has gone absolutely as smoothly as could be hoped. No problems, complications, concerns, or risk factors. At last measure, baby girl was 60th percentile for size (this is one of those things about which you want your child to be average). I've had very by-the-books nausea, fatigue, and general misery during the first trimester, a pretty good second trimester, and a third trimester that promises to be filled with tiny, frequent meals.

Walter and I finished a breastfeeding class (it turns out this is not a process covered during any part of one's preparation as a mammalogist, but yet it needs covering) and we are now in the midst of a natural childbirth class. I would like to go 100% natural and am leaning towards water birth but still reserve the right to request drugs if "necessary" at some point. I almost feel silly talking about all the classes and research we've been doing, but it's really hard to gain real-life experience before the event actually happens. To be honest, I'm pretty confident about the next 18+ years but am freaked out by giving birth. I'm slowly getting to the point where I'm just waiting for it to happen.

Our home improvements include a brand-new kitchen, done mostly by ourselves, that needs only grout between the tiles and new floor trim, which is waiting in a pile of unfinished wood because the kitchen shares a "logical" space with the dining room and living room, both of which are in earlier stages of improvement. I'd like them done before the baby is due in late September, as they seem to form a self-contained home-improvement unit. But also, we've got to finish the baby's room! Walls and closet are painted bright green, but we're at a stopping point because we need to replace the closet and hallway doors (and there's only so much you can fit into a Prius) and are 95% likely to commit to new windows in the house, which means that baby's room will remain without trim for another 6 weeks. Oh, and the wood floors need either to be seriously redone or covered with carpet. Not sure what we're waiting for on that one.

I'll end my essay here. I really do plan to be better about lurking on the blog and look forward to hearing more from Lisa and the rest of you! I hope everyone has an enjoyable 4th of July!


Sparkling Squirrel said...

Great to hear from you Heather! Interestingly, I am not particularly concerned about giving birth because it will be over in a finite amount of time. While I am confident that the Mister and I will be good parents, I am also pretty sure that I don't deal well with lack of sleep (nor does the Mister) and am really dreading this fall and going crazy. It also doesn't help that I have very very few friends locally (parties here have been mostly real duds).

Erin said...

Hey Heather - Kudos to you for enduring the prairie heat 6 months pregnant. I don't think I could do it. Sounds like you are busy getting ready for her arrival (any names yet?) I hope Osa doesn't get too jealous :)

Cathy said...

Fun hear the updates, Heather! Sounds like your mellow summer may be a prelude to much busier (and sleep-deprived) fall... more reason to rest, relax, and enjoy kicking back now!

Irene said...

Heather, glad you posted here! I read your posts on Facebook of course (even if I don't comment on all of them) but it's nice to hear a more detailed big-picture description of what's happening in life.

Heather York said...

I, too, suffer from lack of a local support network. I get along well with my colleagues, but most of those closest to me socially live in Crete (and I'm in Lincoln), so we're separated by a half-hour drive. I have met the wife-of-a-guy-Walt-works-with who is about 5 days behind me in her pregnancy, so we've been forging a friendship, but even trying to meet couples at our birth class has been futile.

Lisa, what does your leave plan look like? Luckily (and thanks to a department-wide scheduling and number-of-majors issue that was asking us to teach more hours than students could take), I have been able to get all fall and January-term off, plus the summer, with pay (but also with research advising, academic advising, and committee duties) and without having to hire a replacement. My absence is making things much easier for everyone else in my department, and the big-picture timing is great, so my complaints about summer heat come with a grain of salt.

Osa got to practice with a 6-month-old whom we babysat a little while ago, and she did GREAT! I think her border collie awareness and dedication to the pack are going to shine through, and she'll be a good big sister! If nothing else, she's already figured out that being on the floor under baby during feeding time is a smart move.

We have a short list of names but may be fighting a war of attrition as to our individual top choices. I like my top 2 a lot but am also looking for JUST the right name - something unique and clever and meaningful but not weird or awkard. I've been scouring neurons for things like names of significant places or the scientific names of cool organisms, but nothing really stands out. I liked Acacia (a kick-ass plant with a cool ant mutualism and one that I've tinkered with in the tropics), but it was vetoed. But anyway, I don't want suggestions! It's just a thing with me.

Jennifer said...

Heather - I love the name Acacia, sorry to hear it was vetoed. I a impressed with all of your home improvements. As a new homeowner I am just completely overwhelmed by all that needs doing. Little things that did not bother me as a renter seem very important now - cleaning the front door, getting the paint off of the trim, pulling the weeds in the cracks of the driveway.

What color green is Baby's room? I am curious as I have been deeply submerged into shades of green paint lately!

Sparkling Squirrel said...

HY- I am taking the fall semester off without pay. In a scary commentary on the state of things for ecologists, we had lots of good candidates for a one semester replacement (in a three person program there is absolutely no way that we have enough people to "cover" someone elses classes. Considering how hard we searched for our other positions, I had thought this suggested that I was easily replaceable until I realized that we set it up so that the candidate won't have any plant classes (just ecology and Bio 101) and all of our good candidates were animal people, mostly wildlife-- which won't do for long term.
I have not figured out what we are going to do for child care come January when I return to work.
I also have not figured out how I am going to concentrate on editing papers (rather than just napping myself or washing cloth diapers) during Mervivian's naps.