Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daddy's Red Dot

Big Philip has a red dot just below his left eye. Little children are enthralled with it and often ask "what's that?" or simply try to poke his eye to get a better look at it. If you've been around our house lately, you know that Little Philip wants to be just like his daddy these days. As the red tub crayon seems to be at its end, the last tip of it made a perfect red dot, just like Daddy's. Little Philip was very proud.

Playgroup Potluck

Somewhere between three and two years ago, a group of women all had babies and got to know each other through the Brookwood Best Start Group. Since then, there have been more babies, and lots of memories together as we evolved into a playgroup for our children, who are all around the same age. Tonight, we decided to bring the families together, and, at the very least, have our husbands meet each other! The Binkleys hosted our potluck and we managed to get an almost perfect group shot of all our children together. Thanks, Binkleys!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fever Virus Hits Home

Last week, I attended a pandemic flu planning meeting for Birmingham-Southern College, learning how our local county health department monitors influenza like illness (ILI) as well as confirmed cases of influenza. On Monday, our house became one of their statistics. I left work in the afternoon, feeling very dizzy and achy, knowing I had a mild fever. NeeNee took care of Little Philip since Big Philip was in Starkville. I returned to work for an evening meeting with my Honor Council, sitting as far from everyone as possible. When I came home, I found my husband flushed with 101.3 fever. Little Philip had gone down for the night, thankfully, with no problems. We took him to school this morning and the two of us promptly went back to bed, all day. We both feel horrible (bad headaches, very sore throats, dizzy, achy) but feel a little better this evening, after we ate a little soup, showered, and got back on our feet a little while. We are praying that Little Philip doesn't fall victim to this nasty fever virus. We sure don't want to go another round with this thing.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Latest Adventure

Today, I had to share some difficult news with people I care about. The news was that I am resigning from my position at Birmingham-Southern College. If you've followed this blog at all the last four years, you can see where BSC meshed with our lives both before and after parenthood, all in good ways. For the last year, we've prayed a lot and considered a lot, as we discerned what was best for our growing family. And so, I'm coming home to be a (gulp) stay-at-home mom, as baby Helen makes her debut in a few more weeks.

While most people that resign from their job have a feeling of elation and relief, this is a very bittersweet decision for me. I've worked in college student affairs for eleven years now, and it is a huge part of who I am and I like that. There is no corporate greed or corporate ladder in college work. It is not paper shuffling, or data entry. When I leave at the end of the day, my "work" tends to be in a very different place the next morning. College students like to keep you on your feet like that. I love my students. I love the challenges each day brings, and I love being a part of shaping a student's college experience. College was an incredibly fun and memorable time for me. Doing what I've done the last eleven years was the closest I could get to staying in college forever!

Changing jobs usually means building upon skills you have gained in previous career positions. Coming home to my children and home is incredibly daunting and provokes great anxiety for me. Talk about a lack of skills! And, I am the biggest hypocrite you will ever meet. If you knew me five years ago, you never, ever would have expected me to be a stay-at-home mom. Because of this, I have a great deal of respect for working mothers and their commitment and ability to provide for their family. I wish I could be a superwoman and continue to do both but my position is simply too challenging to continue to be a good mom, wife, and good dean to my "other children" at BSC. My BSC students deserve a more committed dean, and my son and future daughter deserve a more committed mother.

I tried very hard to share the news quickly and personally today so that it would not seep into the very small BSC grapevine in a way that was hurtful or overly dramatic for students, faculty, and staff with whom I work. I plan to stay on at BSC until the contractions start (somewhere around April 8th) or the paramedics tell me I have to go. I'll take April and May off for maternity leave and then come back for a few weeks in June to finish major projects and reports, ensuring that my replacement can start the new academic year moving forward rather than playing catch up because of any of my unfinished projects. In announcing my resignation now, it allows BSC to post the open position early, in the hopes of gaining a very strong applicant pool. This is a great position for someone and I am confident that BSC will be able to find a great new dean, someone as excited as I was and still am for what BSC offers. I started my career at BSC in the summer of 1997 and I will be leaving there in 2008. If not for BSC, I never would have entered student affairs, which means I never would have met my loving husband.

I can't say that I'll stay gone from higher education forever. Let's just call it an extended sabbatical, with my research focused on an eighteen year study of child development prior to the college freshman year experience. I'll certainly have plenty of material with which to work.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Getting back to normal and baby watch update

On Tuesday at lunchtime I went to the health department to get a copy of my birth certificate so that I could on Friday morning, get a new driver's license (I also had to show my W-2 form, glad I pay taxes!), so that I could then go straight to the Social Security Administration to get a new SSN card. Being pregnant, I'm becoming an aficionado of chair discomfort. As far as painful chairs go, the Social Security Administration makes sure that you are in writhing pain when your number is finally called. It was miserable, but only about 40 minutes of pain since I arrived at 8:30 when they first opened. And so, the document recovery efforts are over and I am, once again, and American citizen.

Big Philip was in Atlanta today for a college fair and my plans were to have a nice chicken and veggie roast waiting for him when he got home. Unfortunately, I realized that without a check card, and only the small amount of cash for emergencies that Philip left with me before leaving town, a nice dinner was not a possibility. Thank goodness NeeNee was here in town, feeding my men while I was at a BSC admissions function. Still, I really did hope to be suzy-homemaker for my hard working man. Oh well. Maybe later this week.

On the baby watch front, this is week 32 of my pregnancy which means Baby Helen is just under four pounds now. The babycenter site says she is about the size of a jicama. I didn't know what a jicama was but after googling it, it's not pretty enough to make the cut for the blog. Just picture a really ugly bulbous rutabaga or turnip. That's about what a jicama looks like. I could be the complaining pregnant woman who tells you how miserable I am sleeping right now, if you would call it sleep, and the violent acid reflux that plagues me no matter what I eat and how much Pepsid I take. However, I'm really, really, really, trying to stay positive for these last few weeks! The good news is that Little Philip is sleeping much better now, after we "sleep trained" for the last four nights. The training was similar to the sleep plan our friends the Mathews shared with us about two years ago, when Little Philip was six months old. This time, there is no talking once we put him to bed, not even a kiss or a pat on the back. No matter how many times he gets out of bed and bolts through his door, we simply place him back into bed. Eventually he tires of the routine (approximately 6-20 times later), and tuckers out for the night. If he wakes up at 2:30 a.m., we repeat the routine (last night I only had to put him down once), and he simply goes back to sleep on his own, in his own bed. Thank you Dr. Marc Weisbluth (Health Sleeping Habits, Happy Child).

I'm hoping we can post a picture of Big Philip's new "office" but the project is ongoing. Once he finishes, I'll be sure to show his handy work. Little Philip is down for the night, and without so much as one banshee cry. With that, I think both Mommy and Daddy are going to head to bed ourselves. It's going to be a long week!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mommy's No Good, Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day

1:00 a.m. - Little Philip wakes up, a bit feverish, still fighting some awful bug. Mommy gives him Motrin and gets in bed with him since he will not go to bed without her (again, sleep issues continue to plague us).

3:00 a.m. - Mommy realizes she is still in Little Philip's bed, so she carefully gets up and goes to her bed.

7:30 a.m. - Little Philip wakes up, feeling great with a temperature of 99, pretty much normal for his age. Mommy and Daddy decide he needs to stay home just the same.

7:55 a.m.- Mommy goes to her car to go to work to discover that someone has opened the door (unlocked, bad Mommy) and worse, taken Mommy's wallet from her purse.

8:30 a.m. - Homewood police officer arrives to file police report. Little Philip is thrilled to see a real live police car and real live police officer. Mommy is not thrilled when the officer asks for Mommy's height and weight. Insult to injury to an enormous pregnant woman.

All bank accounts are frozen, and police report is filed. So far this morning, we are told we are one of about nine calls to report car thefts in our neighborhood.

9:30 a.m. Mommy drops off new checks for tuition at Little Philip's school since she had to cancel the entire series of checks from her wallet and tuition checks turned in last week have not cleared yet.

2:30 p.m. - Daddy emails Mommy to say that he smelled smoke during Little Philip's nap, only to discover that the TV seems to have caught fire. He turned it off and now it won't go back on at all. Also, Little Philip's fever seems to be back, this time, 101.

And to top it off, the robber seems to have taken most of Mommy's hershey kisses from the console of the car. Too bad he/she didn't take the Barney DVD we've seen about 500 times.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thank you Mamie and Aunt Emily!

Mamie Moss and Aunt Emily were our special angels last weekend as they came down to help us organize the house, to make room for baby. We have tried to do it ourselves but for whatever reason, just could not make any progress with our work. Little Philip is always underfoot, me exhausted and pregnant, etc. So, Mamie and Emily, along with Martha and Elizabeth, came down for a visit and to help us get straight.

Baby Helen's room is ready for baby to come home. We still need to get some artwork and some pretty shelving on the walls, but that is where my sisters, Elizabeth and Ellen will come in. We ended up being able to keep the double bed in Helen's room. This will be a must for family coming to help out when Helen first arrives in just a few more weeks. A little selfish on our part since we think family would be willing to stay a little longer so long as they are not forced to sleep on an air mattress (our original plan).
As I uploaded all the pictures from this weekend, I realized that there are no pictures of Emily, Mamie, or cousin Elizabeth. I think that speaks to all the hard work they did, even with Emily pregnant herself! We can't thank them enough. Martha and Philip were little munchkins, able to entertain each other with only an occassional interruption from us adults.
Before we made progress on Helen's room, Little Philip got his big boy bed, complete with his truck bedding. He really loves it, if he would only like it at night when he is supposed to be asleep (see previous posts for that struggle). Again, we still need artwork but his aunts, Elizabeth and Ellen, have some homework to do to make that happen.
And one final picture, that I just had to post. These are my Philips, sporting their Mississippi State sweatshirts. Little Philip is not only so grown up in this picture but it also captures just how attached he is to his daddy these days. This morning I took him to school, with him wailing the entire way "I WANT DADDY TO TAKE ME! GO BACK!!!! GO BACK!!!" I think that the male bonding time is beginning, sad for Mommy!