Lilypie - Pregnancy

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

35 weeks! Only 35 days to go ....

Wow, it's getting close now.  I'm only a few weeks from full term.  Here is my 35 week post from last time:  http://alittlebitohope.blogspot.com/2010/06/35-weeks-celebrating-and-still-not.html

Life is still busy ... I'm trying to be better about staying on top of things, but MAN I'm tired.  I had such a long to-do list this weekend, and I got almost none of it done.  I feel like so much of my life gets eaten up by administrative tasks and busywork.

I'm working on a bunch of projects, many of which I'm hoping to get wrapped up soon.  Like building my coffee table!  I'm actually going to go out and work on it for an hour or so as soon as I finish this blog post.

I'm trying to get info on who should get immunized, since the baby will come during flu season and right before the holidays, and whooping cough is still such a problem these days.  I am gearing up to be nagging a lot of people to get shots, and hoping it doesn't turn into a big drama.  Not looking forward to it!

I set up our mini co-sleeper, for the moment it's in Tadpole's room and the kids got bored with it almost instantly.  I also got my free breast pump in the mail, got a few things back from a friend who borrowed them, and have a meeting set up with a doula tomorrow to see what I think.  My friend brought my cloth diapers back, so I have to relearn how to use those, if I'm going to attempt it.  Which I think I will.  Maybe.  I mean, I"ll have the au pair here to help with my older kids and all the kid laundry so ... why not?  Oh, and I also bought some used nursing shirts and ordered some others that just arrived - I have enough to last at least for the first bit, and if all goes well, I'll probably get some more.  I'm feeling so much better prepared this time!

I have another prenatal appointment on Thursday, so I'll probably update then.  Still need a name for this little bean, though.  I wish we had something that I was sure that I loved.  Still ... I didn't love Turtle's name at the beginning either, and now it's totally fine, so that may be how this works out, too.  We'll see.  Off to sand wood for my table ...

Friday, September 25, 2015

39 days left ...

I'm feeling a lot of stress right now.  Circumstances have basically forced me to let go of our first choice au pair and take our second choice.  I'm less than 6 weeks until due date, and I was induced at 37.5 weeks last time, which is only a few weeks away.  My husband and I essentially decided we could not take the risk of not getting an au pair here on time, when our second choice was essentially confirmed and ready to start the visa process.  I feel so guilty and responsible about it, though, after asking this guy to put his life on hold for the past couple months while we worked things out.  I also just feel like we've lost a great opportunity to have someone be a part of our family who would have really fit in.  I'm trying really hard to see things from the new au pair's point of view ... she's young and traveling to the US for the first time, on her own, and she'll need just as much of a warm welcome as our first choice would have needed.  The crappiness of the situation has just made it hard for me think beyond my disappointment, but I know I need to think of others as well.

My VBAC consult went well.  I think.  I'm a great candidate, everyone says.  The main thing I'm nervous about is just like last time, progressing through labor until the end, and then needing a c-section.  This time I won't be induced, though.  And they schedule a c-section for the last day they'll let me go without going into labor naturally, which in my case is November 13.  It's a formality at this point, and the OB said almost no one ends up getting that far.  But it does make me feel better.  Mostly, I wish I knew what would happen, because a scheduled c-section doesn't sound all THAT bad.  Especially compared to an emergency one.

We're still working on names for our little Nameless, and getting nowhere.  Poor little guy.  I'd like to start thinking of him with his actual name.  I wish we could make some progress  Hubby doesn't like anything I propose, and while I like a few of his ideas, I don't really love them.  Nothing jumps out at us as a great option.  It's way harder than I was expecting!

I've been looking back at my last pregnancy, with the twins.  I documented week 34 here: http://alittlebitohope.blogspot.com/2010/06/34-weeks-and-emotional.html

I just checked my ticker and saw that I only have 39 days left.  6 weeks sounds longer than 39 days, and it's actually not even 6 weeks anymore.  I'm nervous and excited at the same time.  I'm also trying to really enjoy this pregnancy, since we are planning for it to be my last.  I only have 6 weeks left to dream about the future without knowing what it will be, to feel all this movement in my belly, to read the baby magazines and books in total bliss.  Now I know a bit about what I'll be facing, so I'm a little more content to wait, instead of feeling completely impatient.

I went to prenatal yoga yesterday, and scheduled a massage for today.  I feel like it's almost time to start setting things up for the baby.  Yesterday I got out our mini-cosleeper, thinking the kids would be excited about playing with it, but they weren't really.  Sort of surprised me.  I definitely went a little overboard with this little guy.  I bought a lot of second-hand stuff that we may not use, and I'll just re-sell what we don't.  I'd rather be prepared this time around.  I don't know if we'll end up using a co-sleeper at all, but at least we have a mini one that will fit much better next to our bed, and a larger one that we can transition to later, or put in another room if I find we need to move around during the night.  We also have a pack-n-play, and a pea pod inflatable bed, which I bought primarily for travel and camping.

I need to get the jogging stroller fixed up a bit, and pretty soon I'll need to get the car seat installed.  I'm not totally sure where to put it, to be honest.  We have a minivan, and I just converted our kids' carseats to high-back boosters.  They're in the second row.  It wouldn't be bad to have them in the back row and baby in the second row I guess.  I'm not really sure.  At least the boosters aren't attached to the car so they're easy to move around.

Anyway, it's Friday morning!  And we don't have violin lessons this morning, but we should practice anyway, and then I need to get ready for a very busy day of kindergarten, errands, massage (yay!), swim meet, and soccer practice.  Here goes.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

34 weeks, au pair decisions, VBAC, oh my!

Well, writing this blog can be cathartic, so here goes.

I picked an au pair.  She was my second choice, and I had already told the first choice person that he'd been chosen, then the agency said no, then we tried working through another agency and this morning they made me extremely uneasy by basically admitting that they don't have an agent close enough to our house but they're working hiring a friend to do it and asked if I had any friends who wanted to do it just in case.  It smacked MAJORLY of unprofessionalism and shadiness, and I just couldn't stomach it anymore.  I contacted the original agency, whose deadline was last night at midnight, and they said if I could submit the online request within 30 minutes, they could backdate it to yesterday.  I checked quickly and our second choice au pair was not online, so I went ahead and picked her and submitted our payment information.  It was nerve-wracking.  I basically didn't sleep last night after missing the deadline.  Then I emailed the au pair and we connected today, and now I just have to tell the other one that after all we've been through, it's just not going to work out.  I'm dreading it.

I'm not totally at ease with our au pair.  Our conversation doesn't exactly flow the way it does when I spoke with our first choice.  I think he would have been a better fit for our family.  But this girl will be fine - she seems responsible, and will take care of our kids, which is the most important thing.  A great rapport and similar values would have been icing on the cake, but it just wasn't going to happen.

Today I'm 34 weeks.  I can't believe I'm 3 weeks away from Early Full Term.  Holy crap.  I need to set some goals for the next three weeks.  Here are some bullet points, my favorite!


  • Need to get stuff out of the garage that we will need at the very beginning.  Wash bottles.  Figure out where Nameless will sleep.  
  • I got my pump ordered and it will ship in a few days.  Yay!!!!!!
  • I need to prepare for the au pair.  Have a working bike.  Clean out the bedroom a bit more.  Get clean sheets on the bed that aren't our guest sheets.  Find out more about her, and work on having her get to know our family, and our kids.
  • I have a few crafts I want to do.  Primarily, finish the freaking coffee table I've been working on FOREVER, and make Nameless a Christmas stocking to match his big sister and brother's.  I also would like to make Christmas pillow covers for our two couch pillows, but that's really a huge bonus if I get around to it.
  • PICK A NAME.  We're really having trouble.  Like big time.
  • I need to get stuff from my friend up in the foothills, and she doesn't seem like she's going to be coming down here, in spite of her many promises to do so.  The one main thing she has that I need are our swaddling blankets.  I can get some pretty inexpensively, but it seems a shame to buy new when I have some that my friend isn't even using.  Need to figure that out, for sure.
  • Get everyone in the family immunized for whooping cough and flu.  Including the au pair.
Today I also have my VBAC consult.  In about an hour, actually.  I have a huge list of questions, a few of which are just related to pregnancy in general and not the VBAC.

I drank my first cup of red raspberry leaf tea today.  I don't know why I didn't do that during my last pregnancy, or maybe I did and I don't remember.  I'm getting ready.  Pretty excited, actually!!!

And that's it for now.  The kids are keeping me quite busy, and stress is making it hard for me to concentrate.  After last night and this morning, stressing about the au pair situation, I felt like I used to feel in college after pulling an all-nighter amped up on caffeine - exhausted, jittery, and completely useless.  In fact, I've accomplished just about nothing today, and I have to leave for the doctor soon.  It's time to get life back under control!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Thumb twiddling

Still in au pair drama land over here.  Waiting for something to work itself out.  I don't like the deadlines.  At all.  I'm overall feeling calmer, or at least handling the continued setbacks and confusion with more grace.  I think.  I hope.

My husband just got back from a 9-day trip to Europe.  I think the first day or two is always rough for me because I think it's going to make life SO.  MUCH.  EASIER!  and it doesn't.  I mean, its a little better, because the kids love their dad and he likes to do fun stuff with them, but he doesn't handle any of the housework, and he doesn't enforce them doing anything like cleaning up or brushing their teeth, so I still end up being the annoyed wicked witch.  Ah well.  It's still nice to have him home, I guess.

A discussion on one of my social media groups provoked some interesting thoughts for me.  It's a Mom's group, and I only know one of them personally, but it's a very nice, interesting, somewhat diverse group.  Well, maybe not that diverse - I think a lot of the moms are older and many have been through at least a small amount of ART.  One recently posted lamenting about how having a singleton can be considered weird, abnormal or worse, selfish.  How she is the only mom at her kid's preschool with a singleton and they put up family information recently and instead of just not mentioning siblings at all, on her kid's info they put "Siblings: None".  Someone else pointed out that having 3 or more kids was also seen as out of the norm these days, and the original poster admitted that on further thought, there was one mom at the school with 3 kids, but all the rest had 2 kids, and usually one girl and one boy.

This made me think.  We were already unusual in having twins, I suppose, and I got a lot of comments for that.  Since they were boy/girl twins, I missed out on the questions about whether we'd try for another one of the opposite sex.  Instead, I got a ton of comments saying "Perfect!  You already have a boy and a girl, now you're done!"  Now that we're having a third, I am starting to wonder what people will say.  And they're 5.5 years apart, which is unusual, too.  It sort of smacks of infertility, just like the boy-girl twins.  Which is funny, since this time around, it was not only totally natural, it happened basically the first month that everything lined up just right.

Anyway, I guess we are technically a "big family" now?  I grew up with two siblings and my grandmother living at home, but I certainly never felt like a big family at all.  My grandma was my last living grandparent, and we had no aunts, uncles, or cousins.  I was jealous of all my friends who had big family gatherings at the holidays, and we'd always be just us.  I realize in retrospect that my family had a lot of problems and our relationships weren't always very good.  My siblings and I at least got along well, but my mom and grandma had lots of weirdness between them, and my mom was a very difficult person, which I didn't start realizing until high school.  So perhaps what I was secretly yearning for was a more psychologically normal family.  I don't know.

Anyway, little Nameless is doing well.  I toured the birth center yesterday as part of my prenatal group appointment, although we started late and I had to leave before we got to the postpartum room tours.  Which is ok for a variety of reasons, but mostly that I remember the postpartum rooms very well and that's not the part I'm nervous about anyway.

At 33 weeks, I've gained more weight than I'd like, but not so much that I'm terribly worried.  Since everyone is telling me how small I look, I'm really not concerned, although I am a little concerned about how out of shape I've become.  I just managed to get to yoga again this week, and went for a walk this morning  I'm quite sore, but that's ok.  I also have been biking the kids to school most days, which is 1.5 miles round trip, so some days I'm doing 3 miles on the bike.  Not a lot, but better than nothing.

The midwife thought the baby was head down, but I will find out for sure either at my VBAC consult next week, or at a future appointment closer to 36 weeks.  I have lots of questions for the doctor at next week's VBAC appointment, which will be at 34 weeks.  Yeesh, time is going fast now.

I got a prescription for a pump, so I need to call the insurance and get that taken care of.  I might wash some bottles soon and get those organized.  I should clean the house a bit, really.  I need to get the guest room cleaned out and set up for the au pair (fingers crossed that this works out).  I am starting to work on Nameless Baby's Christmas stocking, or at least I've gotten Turtle and Tadpole's out of one of the Christmas boxes to start using as a template.  I want to start getting things where they need to go in the next few weeks, also just to get stuff out of the garage!  Our house is going to be messy and chaotic, but I'm ok with it.  I'm actually very, very happy.  And excited.  And I'm working a bit more on finding names for poor little Nameless.  And now I really need to go get a few more things done before I go pick up the kindergarteners.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Frustrations

I'm having a rough day.  We picked an au pair, and I notified him yesterday that we'd be choosing him, but today our local agency said they could not approve him because he's male and their policy is to not accept males from that particular partner agency in Italy.  I don't know why.  And they won't make an exception.  Even though I spoke to someone there who seemed to think it would be fine if the partner agency was ok with it, but I don't have that in writing anywhere.  In the meantime, they put our second choice au pair on hold so no one else would choose her, and she got an automated email about it, which she is taking to mean that she's been selected.  In the end, it probably doesn't matter, since our hand has been forced and we'll have to go with our second choice, who is totally fine and will be a good fit as well.  But it's annoying to have this experience - it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.  And we have only a few days before our "match deadline" to get someone here before the baby comes.  And my husband has been out of town.

I've been trying really hard to be happier and more understanding towards my husband, but today is testing my resolve very strongly.  He left for Europe last week, throwing last-minute party the night before he left.  He left a huge mess, and encouraged the kids to stay up late and sleep in all weekend, which made school and other morning activities last week really tough.  I'm still cleaning up the mess from the party, not to mention dealing with the lice by myself.  I can't comb out my own hair and see what I'm doing, so I used a second round of toxic lice shampoo just to be sure I didn't have anything still.  I've done more laundry in the last week than I have in the last several months.  I've managed the house and the kids and becoming an unexpected volunteer for AYSO soccer and volunteering in my kids' classroom and doctor's appointments and a ton of other crap completely alone, while he's visiting family and friends and hiking in the Alps (and yes, working, but still).  When I told my friend that he'd be coming back late Wednesday night, she said she hoped he was going to take the kids for the weekend so I could get a break.  Um no.  HAHAHAHA.  I will be taking them to two soccer games and a birthday party 45 minutes away and then to visit my mom, and he will probably not join. because he doesn't like kids' birthday parties or visiting my mom, but HELL, WHO DOES?!  Even if he comes for the soccer games, I will be in charge of getting everyone ready and to the field on time and bringing all the crap we need.  Then the kids have a violin concert up in the foothills on Sunday that he has already told me he doesn't want to go to, and a birthday party invitation at the same time in the other direction, which I'm sure he ALSO won't want to go to, not to mention if we do someone has to buy a gift for it.

I'm just feeling like I don't have much left to give at this point, and also in the meantime I'm working for his company FOR FREE.  I guess I will feel better once I get this all out, but MAN I'm irritated with him right now.  Beyond irritated, really.  Even though I know he didn't cause some of these problems and it's not totally his fault, I'm feeling really unsupported and lonely these days.

Anyway.  It's going to be a tough week, I have the dentist on Wednesday and volunteering and prenatal visit on Thursday, so two days are completely shot as far as getting stuff done while the kids are in school.  Which leaves me 3 days of 2.5 hours, approximately.  One of which is almost gone, I'm down to one hour today after dealing with all this au pair crap.  So I have about 6 free hours this week.  Actually, that tells me I better get to work.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

mid-September

Well, hubby's been gone to Europe since last Tuesday, and won't be back until Wednesday night.  It's been 4.5 days so far, and long days for sure.  We've had so much going on, first fall swim meet on Friday, soccer practices, first soccer games on Saturday, violin concert on Saturday, and tons of housework cleaning, and real work that's falling behind.  Plus interviewing our final two choices for au pair.

To top it off, last weekend we discovered the kids and myself had lice.  LICE!!!!!  It's been rough.  We treated all of us, and I spent several days washing everything in the house I could think of that might need it.  The day hubby left, I started panicking, wondering how I would manage if we hadn't gotten them all (which we almost certainly hadn't, or at least not the eggs), so I found out about professional lice removal services.  I called someone and they came out that day and combed all of our heads with their own products.  It took hours, but they found several more live lice and lots of eggs.  I've been combing every day since, and still doing lots of laundry, and I'm crossing my fingers that we're lice-free.  At least, I really hope so.  I can't take too much more of this.

I'm 32 weeks 5 days pregnant with Gecko (otherwise known as Nameless Baby), and my ticker says I have only 51 days to go.  Sometimes it seems like it's still ages away.  Other times it seems like there's no time left and I REALLY need to get life under better control.  Luckily we should have our au pair here before the birth, but we still need coverage to make sure the au pair doesn't work more than 10 hours per day ... i.e. he or she can't stay with our kids for more than that amount of time while I'm in the hospital.  To that end, I'm really hoping for an easy VBAC and very short hospital stay.

I have another prenatal appointment this week, which will include a birthing center tour.  Next week, I have my VBAC consult.  I think at some point soon I'l have to find out if the baby is head down, so I know if a VBAC is even in the cards.  I hope that these next two visits will answer a lot of my questions about VBAC procedures at our birthing center.

I have almost everything we need for our new little bean.  The main things I'm missing at this point are swaddling blankets, formula (I plan to have some on hand just in case), and a pump, plus some prep work for the things we do have, like washing bottles and bedding, etc.  I don't have a ton of diapers either.  Actually, I need to call my friend to see if I can get my cloth diapers back, and I need to review how to wash them.  I don't actually know if I'll manage to pull that off this time around, and I do have some newborn diapers already, but only enough for a couple days.

As for Turtle and Tadpole, in addition to all the sports and extracurricular activities, they've started learning to read, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's so much fun reading with them!  I'm also volunteering in their class, and the disparity between kids is really shocking.  Some kids are almost 6 already (or just turned 6!) and are way ahead of the other kids.  Some kids clearly never went to preschool  Not to mention there are a lot of English language learners, who are even farther behind.  I feel grateful my kids learned a foreign language but know English like natives, and went to preschool, too.  And have pretty involved, encouraging parents.  I wish all kids could have that, and I feel so fortunate.

Last notes - I live in Northern California, and it is burning.  Things are looking really bad.  Today in my town it is really smoky from some huge fires, one of which has burned several towns and as of earlier today was 0% contained.  I'm sending out thoughts and prayers for the people who live in those areas, and the firefighters fighting the fires ... and I'm worried about the future if we don't get any rain again this winter.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

32 weeks and getting into the swing of fall

I was just reading my last post - things got better at school last week!  Well, things have been fine with school, but we're still working out transportation issues.  Now I ride my bike with Tadpole and Turtle manages just fine, and I stop when he needs to stop and we walk up the hill.  When I pick them up, I usually bring Tadpole's bike and we do something similar on the way home.  We spent last weekend biking to anyplace we needed to go within a reasonable distance, and while she is still having trouble starting and stopping, and can't make it up the big hill in either direction, she can pedal just fine.  So that's a relief.

I accidentally signed up to volunteer in the kids' class on Thursdays.  I thought it was just a one-time deal, but apparently not.  I still need to remember to email the teacher to follow up on my verbal clarification that I am only available for the next 6-8 weeks until the baby comes.  My first day volunteering had a shaky start, since I was just sort of thrown into the mix without a great idea of what I was doing, but I mostly figured it out by the end of the hour and it was cool to see how the classroom functioned and start figuring out how to handle so many kids with such a HUGE range of prior school experience and current ability.  There were kids who were about to turn six who could pretty much already read, and tiny little English language learners who couldn't even write their names nor understand me.  I don't know how kindergarten teachers do it!

And ... I'm officially 32 weeks today!  I've entered the realm of prenatal visits every 2 weeks, which may be a bit early because I go to group appointments and I have the earliest due date in the group, but that's ok with me.  I also need to schedule my VBAC consult with an OB for about 2 weeks from now, I guess.  I'm getting both nervous and excited about it.

I'm not really ready for the baby in many ways.  I have bought almost everything we'll need, at least that I can remember that I need from having the twins, but I haven't set anything up, mostly because it's still early and I don't want things to be in the way when we're not using them.  Since I've been storing stuff in the garage, I'm worried I'll have to wash a lot of it before I use it, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there - which is pretty soon!  I'm thinking I'll start setting up the basic necessities in about a month, give or take depending on what the OB appointment tells me about what to expect for a VBAC or repeat cesarean.  Sometimes two months or 8 weeks seems like it's still a long time away.  Sometimes it seems like it's all coming up so fast!  My ticker says 56 days, which doesn't sound like a lot.  I have all the newborn through 6 month clothes organized and put away, although I don't know if I'm going to keep my current system for where things go.  I haven't gotten my cloth diapers back from my friend who lives 1.5 hours away, and I'm not sure I'm going to use them anyway.  I don't know what else she has that I might need, and so I may need to get a few more things.

Anyway - I have so much to think about.  It turns out we'll probably be able to get our au pair here on October 23, and the baby is due November 3.  That's not even 2 weeks - I'm not sure that's wise.  On the other hand, those first few weeks with a new baby are going to be hectic as hell, and having an extra set of hands around might be a great help.  I'm also torn about who to pick as an au pair - that is SO HARD.  And unfortunately, my husband is leaving for Europe tomorrow, and won't really be able to help me with the decision.  It seems like such a personal decision, to pick someone to live in your house and care for your kids for an entire year without being able to actually meet them first.  We currently have two candidates who are on track to meet the deadline in order to arrive by October 23, and I'm struggling to decide what to do about it.

Turtle and Tadpole are getting along really well at swimming these days, and they've each had one soccer practice so far as well.  Turtle's team seems super disorganized.  Practice times were supposed to get changed, the team meeting was maybe cancelled (but maybe not?), no one seems to know what's going on.  I'm feeling a bit nervous about it - maybe I'll email the coach.  Tadpole's team is VERY organized and she will know one or two girls on the team, plus they all seem pretty sweet, so I'm feeling happy about that.  They have their first games this weekend, and hubby will be gone, so I'm anxiously waiting to see what time they'll be to see how I'll manage.  They also have a very informal violin concert (flash mob), and we didn't sign up for the fall swimming barbecue in time, so we won't be doing that.  All in all, a very busy week and weekend coming up, all without hubby.  Sigh.

Well, it's after 5am, I'm hoping I can overcome my insomnia for a few more hours' sleep.  Wish me luck, please, I haven't slept well the last two nights and I never sleep well when hubby is gone, so the next 8 days are going to be extra tough.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wednesday Friends Day

Well!  Kindergarten, biking, and extracurricular activities have gone much better this week!  Whew!  I was just rereading my posts about our troubles with biking, and things are definitely improving.  We went for a bunch of bike rides this weekend, including a longer 3.2-mile loop ride, and two rides to birthday parties, and I feel like it all went pretty well, although Tadpole didn't work on starting.

Yesterday, she rode with me on the cargo bike on the way to school, since the bridge is much steeper on our side, and then I brought her bike with me when I went to pick them up.  She biked to swimming, which is only a few minutes flat ride away, and then she biked home.  She didn't really even try to make it up the hill, but I told her we could both get off and walk up, and Turtle would wait for us at the top.  Tadpole hasn't really practiced braking too much, either, but I knew she understood the concept, so at the top of the hill, I let her get on her bike, told her several times to pedal backwards to slow her speed, and let her go while I prepared to get back on my bike.  I shouted "PEDAL BACKWARDS!!!!!" multiple times as she went down, and I could tell she wasn't doing it and she was getting wobbly and I was getting freaked out.  I may have let a swear word or two escape ... there was no way I could catch her at that point, so I said a quick prayer, told Turtle "Let's go!!!!!!", and we hopped on our bikes and took off after her.

Well, all's well that ends well.  Tadpole is my little daredevil, and seemed more excited than scared by her rapid descent.  This poor mamma almost had a heart attack, though.

And today is Wednesday Friends Day ... I'm not totally sure what that means, but I think it has something to do with the fact that all the kindergarten kids go in the morning, so the afternoon class is combined with the morning class and has twice the number of kids.  And they get a buddy from the morning class for the day?  I guess?  It was a bit rough getting everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door, but we made it with plenty of time to spare.  And since we were going in the morning, we finally had a chance to participate in the school's active kids campaign.  If you sign up, your kid gets a little scanner tag they keep on their backpack.  When you arrive in the morning, three adults (parent volunteers?) are waiting near the bike racks and scan the tags with their phones.  This sends an automatic text or email to the parent, and also records the number of trips made by each kid.  During May is Bike Month, they use it to make a contest, I think, which isn't totally fair since the afternoon kindergarteners can't do it (maybe if we stop by the office to be scanned?).  Maybe it's not fair anyway, since half the time they're riding on my cargo bike instead of pedaling themselves.  I like it for multiple reasons - when the kids start biking alone, I know they've made it, and in the meantime if a babysitter or au pair takes them, I also know not only that they made it to school but what time they arrived.  And I really like the incentive to be active.  So it's a win-win!

Speaking of an au pair, we are finally moving forward.  I asked three candidates to begin applying and one has kept in constant touch with me.  I started working on our host family application again, and have gotten it mostly finished.  Yesterday we did our home interview, and I found that if everyone moves quickly and gets all their documents done by September 17th, the au pair can come by October 22nd, which would hopefully give us 1-2 weeks before Nameless Baby arrives.  My goal is to get the au pair settled in, that she and the kids feel comfortable with each other, and that we establish at least a preliminary routine before the baby comes.  So although the one au pair who seems to have the ambition to really move forward quickly was not necessarily my first choice, I did like her and it's such a relief to have this moving along.

Oh, and we started soccer, or at least Turtle did.  I feel lucky that he ended up on a team with one of his best friends, because I can rely on the friend's parents to carpool when I have a conflict because of Tadpole.  Like next Friday, when they both have soccer practice at the same time.  And a swim meet at the same time, too!  So far, Turtle's coach seems REALLY disorganized, and not good at communicating either.  Luckily, our friend is the "parent volunteer" which apparently also means "assistant coach", and I'm counting on him not only for carpooling but also for keeping me in the loop about what is going on with practices.

I'm 31 weeks, and my next prenatal appointment is tomorrow.  I have a whole list of things to discuss with the midwife, some of which I'm not sure she'll have an answer for.  I'm still having a lot of knee problems - the worst has been when I finally made it to swimming again and tried to do breaststroke, and my knee popped so badly that I couldn't finish the workout, and was sore most of that afternoon, and again for most of the next morning.  It's fine now, and I know better, but man.  This is rough.  I'm also still having trouble sleeping.

But anyway.  That's life, and overall, life is pretty good.  I'm starting to work on real "work" right now, which is stressful as always, and I'm trying to finish up this dang coffee table I've been making, but have been not feeling very motivated to work on anymore, even though it's close to being finished.  So all that is keeping me really busy.