(I told you his outfit was gonna be cute!)

Isn't she cute? Yea level II ultrasounds!
To Everything Turn Turn Turn...

Yesterday I wrote about the sadness of death, now here is the joy of new life. It's a GIRL!!!!

Family Duty

Once you take someone into your heart, you never really let them go...a little bit of that love stays with you not matter the outcome of the relationship. Dave was the anti-me in some ways: pro-hunting, pro-fishing, pro-trapping, anti-liberal. But for a while, he was my brother. He spent the first part of his marriage to my sister living at my house with my parents and me. We had a lot of good times. We could always have a laugh and make fun of my sister together.

I went to Dave's memorial service today, supporting my 10 year-old niece Summer and 7 year-old nephew Bryce. It was such a strange situation: his three former wives and four children, it was like we needed name tags identifying which set of family we were from. I eventually said "I am the sister of wife number 2."

Dave's children are 16, 10, 7 and 1 1/2. Eric is the oldest and for reasons found mainly on the Doctor Phil show, he has been kept apart from my niece and nephew for the past six years. Summer had a lot of anxiety about seeing him again, and had to really get a grip. Imagine that, you are there to mourn the loss of your father and your main concern is seeing your former tormenter/brother. Isn't every family a soap opera though?

Most surreal moment of the day: introducing Bryce to his big brother. Bryce never had any memory of him, so I had to introduce them. Wow.

The memorial service was nice, just people standing up and giving their memories of Dave. I thought about telling the "Dave seeing my Dad naked for the first time" story, but it just wasn't the right venue, ya know? I told it in the car though, it really lightened the mood on the way up there.

I feel emotionally drained, physically beat after driving many hours between babysitting friends and the service, and even a bit light headed. I just keep thinking about the big displays of pictures at the service. To see Dave so alive and strong in those pictures...I just kept thinking he'd show up at any time you know? How can such a strong man, so young and full of life be gone?

Dave, I'll miss you. You are in my heart.
America's War On Boys

Both boys and girls have cute clothes to begin with right? Cute little pink or blue outfits with animals all over them for the first year, then the path splits off. On one side you have an endless supply of frilly pink goodness designed to make little girls look cute, on the other side you have a corner in the back with two racks of blue and orange clothes that either look like miniature Abercrombie & Fitch outfits or sports jerseys. WTF? Why do clothes makers hate little boys? My boy is still cute dammit, and I will fight hard to keep him that way.

Case in point: Easter clothes. Even the friggin 7-11 down the street is selling cute frilly Easter dresses with matching hats and a free slurpee, but who is selling Easter outfits for little boys? No fucking one at all! I have been to JC Penny, Hechts, Old Navy, The Children's Place, Gymboree, Carter's, Osh Kosh, Gap, Target and some other awful stores while my son kicked and screamed. What do they have? A sorry-ass sweater vest set with khakis. That is it. It's crap I tell you. And what is the message this send to our boys? "These are your standard issue dress up clothes that everyone else wears, enjoy it till you die."

I will not accept mediocrity! My child will not wear sports related apparel because it is against the religion of Colleenism, nor will he be caught on his second Easter in some crappy khaki set that everyone else settled for.

So after I lugged my tired LARGE pregnant butt all over God's Green Earth, I came home and bought something off of the Internet. Here it is. Pretty cute huh?

The MAN will not keep me down, not while I have a credit card and Internet access! Power to the people! Fight the power! By the power of Greyskull! Neeeehhhh.

*disclaimer: sorry if you expected a normal entry, today is a rant day super-fueled by pregnancy hormones, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Restoring The Balance

Ok, so you know Connor likes Star Wars and "Peeeeee Paaaaaawwww", well guess what he started liking today? Hmmm? Keep guessing. The Little Mermaid! Woohoo! My DNA made it in there after all. I got him to eat his yogurt this morning my singing him the soundtrack and telling him that "Mermaid eats yogurt" (last night it was sharks and crocodiles eat potato soup, and turtles eat veggie bacon). He was so excited after breakfast that he was running upstairs yelling "Mermaid, Mermaid, Mermaid!" I put on The Little Mermaid and for the first time he was REALLY excited about it. He had seen the movie 3 or 4 times now, but NOW it has sunk in.

Was met up with Daddy for lunch and I told him that our son could now sing like Ariel, so I started in "ahhhh ahhhh ahhh, ahhhh ahhh ahhh..." and Connor chimed right in. Daddy was impressed. "You taught him that just today?" Yep. And he gets his first Disney princess dress tomorrow.

Ok, maybe not. Boy the ultra religious conservative parents here on base would LOVE that. I think the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is in effect for toddlers too.

Man I hope I am having a girl. Can you tell?
Change Of Shift

Jason starts a better rotation tomorrow, one that lets him off in the afternoon! Connor and I have been missing him so much, I can't wait to have a second parent around! Woohoo!

We got a rare day together yesterday though and that was nice. We went to the mall and got haircuts...just Jason and I, Connor will be due for a haircut when he gets enough hair - maybe a few years from now. Connor now takes a nap at 1:00 pm so we had some time to spend, still though trying to do everything while Jason had time and before the boy expires was a race, Throw in an earache, a cranky tude and a waddling pregnant woman and you have a great concoction for fun. It was funny to see Daddy make rookie mistakes though: leaving the sippy cup in the car, thinking he could carry a cranky child in the mall, giving him caffeine. I had to tell him after he was in distress that the stroller is for HIS protection!

We did do something for the Pea in the pod, I got the bunny I had been wanting from Build A Bear. It is a limited edition bunny, and I figured even if we were not 100% sure on the sex of the baby, we could get the bunny now and buy the outfit later. It made me so happy. I had dreams of buying the bunny and a cute frilly pink dress to put on it right after the level II ultrasound, but since that was a bust, this was as close as I could get.

After nap time (both Mommy and Connor) Daddy put Return of the Jedi on so that Connor could enjoy the movie AND his new Darth Vader helmet toy at the same time. I don't know who was cuter, Jason or Connor. They had a great time playing "Peeee Pawwww" (thanks TJ!) and using light sabers together. I swear, if there is a guy dressed as Darth Vader at Disney MGM when we go, Connor will run up and hug him. I never thought I'd have a child that loves the scariest villain of all time. Oh well, it's cute.
Mommy Life

Connor had his first real play injury today, he went head-to-head with an older boy and came out the worst for it. You know when a blue bruise forms immediatley you are in for trouble. This boy bumps his noggin all the time and just carries on but not this time, he was crying without end on the sidelines of the playgroup and I had to take him hom for some Nemo therapy. He cried the whole car ride home and even up the stairs to the bedroom for Nemo. We watched Nemo and I held an ice pack to his little bruised forehead for a long time. I even gave him pizza and cookies for lunch. Somehow he survived with his new "ouchie".

I am really excited to show him the animals at Disney because he just lives for animals. I am having an internal dialog about zoos v/s Disney though. At the Disney Animal Kingdom Park the animals are out in non-cage-like environments, with the large animals in an open safari set up. To me this is tons better than an animal in a zoo cage. I REFUSE to take my kids to regular zoos like that. The message I would be teaching them about how animals should be prisoners for our amusement goes against my principles. But as opposed to my more staunch animal rights days, I do believe that children and the animal world can benefit from some interaction. Humans are the main detroyers of habitat for many of these creatures, and unless we can instill a love for these animals into future generations, then they are up a creek right? I will do my best to give my kids chances to see many animals in the wild where they should be, but until then, Disney's Animal Kingdom will have to do. D.C.'s National Zoo with the worst animal mortality rate way. Swimming with wild manatees in Florida (again) absolutley. Don't even get me started on the circus though, I have been a protestor so many times!

How do these views go over with the ultra-conservatives on base? Yea, well. Hopefully I can educate them. Ringling Brothers is about to come to town. They are hideous. They have a bad record for animal treatment and the treatment of thier own workers. Do me a favor, read this before you make up your mind about taking your own kiddos. The inhumane treatment this company has served up should not be a part of your family fun. Ringling Brothers.

I am starting to show. I am exactly 20 weeks today, so I should be showing, but I don't have a full length mirror in the bedroom, so I have been looking at myself from the chest up in the bathroom mirror. I got a good look today while we were out. Yep, baby on board. Pea was banging on me today telling me to get up and put some food in my belly. Pea also likes to kick me when I lay down to go to sleep. Nice to know that the little bugger is in there having a good time. But what does it say about (her?) the baby when I keep craving Doritoes and Cookie Crisp? Connor craved pancakes, orange juice, chocolate cake and fruit. He had healthier interests. I am afraid that this one will be a junk food fanatic. Mmmm, Cookie Crisp. What was I saying?
Level II Ultrasound Results: 19 weeks

Ok so the good news: there is no sign of a cleft, and as far as they can tell the baby has all fingers and toes accounted for. The baby kept it's hands balled into fists, but it looked like all of the knuckles were there. The kidneys were slightly dilated and larger than they should be at this stage, but that kind of runs in my we will just wait and see on that. Connor had a minor kidney issue that has turned out to be no big whoop, same for his cousin Bryce. The important thing is that all of the other organs and limbs were symmetrical and normal looking.

Is it a boy or a girl? Hmm well...

When I was at 16 weeks, the doctor told me she thought that the baby was a girl, but couldn't tell for sure on her ultrasound equipment. Her advice was to "wait till the level II ultrasound on March 4th". It is March 4th, guess what they told me? "I think it is a girl but wait till ANOTHER level II on March 23rd." Ahhhhh!

So our fingers are crossed for signs of pink, but we will have to wait another few weeks to determine the baby shower theme (come on Disney Princess!). If we have a Star Wars shower, that is fine too. Connor would love it. Peeeeeee Pawwwww!

I hope to have better pictures on March 23rd, maybe even the cool 4-D ones if the baby will move it's hands away from it's face long enough to let it work properly.

Thanks for all of the positive mojo you sent my way!

Biting My Nails

The big day is coming! This Friday I get the level II ultrasound and hopefully even 3-D image of the baby in mah belly. According to the geneticist I have a 94% chance of having a completely normal child, very goods odds since the average person has a 96% of delivering with no congenital problems. But my hands sweat when I think about it, my pulse races, I have bad "daymares" is that a word? I am just concerned.

My family is also dealing with a personal tragedy. My sister's ex-husband (father to my niece and nephew) is in his last hours. After a grueling battle with cancer - staying the course for over two years when the original diagnosis was a few months - this 36 year-old father of four is about to lose his life. My sister and the kids went to say goodbye to him on Sunday. Can you imagine that? Being 10 and 7 years-old going on a trip to see your father one last time before he dies? I can't pretend that I always agreed with this man's decisions, his divorce with my sister was not pleasant, but he was a part of my family for a while you know? And when there are kids involved, then they are still connected to you know matter what.

I'll look past the obvious difference between Dave and I: hunter v/s animal rights activist and remember the good times we spent together.

I remember Dave:

- I remember answering the phone the first time he called to talk to my sister and giving him a hard time about it in front of my family. "You mean you are a MALE and really want to talk to MY sister?"
- I remember him playing a game where he would pin my dog to the ceiling, it was pretty funny. - I remember him helping me move into the dorm at college and hugging me, telling me how much he was going to miss me, and that I was like a sister to him.
- I remember Dave telling me that he knew my sister was the one for him because anything they did together was fun. He told me that they could just sit in lawn chairs by the side of the road watching cars and it would be fun because he was with her.
- I remember the silly look on his face when he and my sister told us that they were engaged, they were sitting on the love seat in the living room holding hands and smiling their faces off.
- I remember the two of us getting very drunk and watching "The Elephant Man" together as a pre-wedding bonding experience.
- I remember hanging out on the back steps of my parents house late one Summer night shooting the breeze, when my father walked outside to tell me that I had a phone call. I said "Dave what was that thing on Dad's nose (breathe-right strip)?" He replied "Thing on his nose? The man was BUCK NAKED!" I was used to that part, Dad was always like that at night. That was Dave's first introduction to my Dad's "pajamas".

Goodbye Dave. I'll remember the good times.