Thursday, May 31, 2007

26 Weeks- Pictures

And, I forgot to mention in the last post- I just found out that Dick Van Dyke is my ninth cousin once removed! Honest!

Digital camera came today! I managed to successfully attatch the wrist strap, install batteries and a memory card, take two pictures, and figure out how to go back and view the two pictures. Not bad for the first day. The instruction book(s) are overwhelming, though. Even in Spanish.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

26 Weeks

Good morning!

(Hang on, I didn't sleep much last night... must groggily search for coffee to reheat...)

*Signs of the Coming of the Third Trimester*

1) I am so Big now that it doesn't seem possible to me that anyone could fail to notice I'm pregnant. (Although I haven't yet had a stranger ask "When are you due?", which maybe doesn't happen until you go from being Big to Very Big to Ginourmous, right?)

2) My back has actually been doing better but now my rib cage is hurting. Poor posture? The inevitable results of rapidly expanding midsection? *CENSORED: [Need a bigger bra (again)?] <\CENSORED>* Note that I can still mention this complaint because it is not YET the third trimester and thus not time to launch the Complaint-Free Third Trimester Initiative. (Incidentally, though- is[n't] there a difference between *stating* in a very factual and objective way that some part of you hurts and actually *complaining* about said ailment? Like, if I just TELL you that my rib cage hurts, that doesn't necessarily constitute a complaint, does it...?)

3) Contractions and kicking are on the increase. I have seen my stomach visibly move(!!!)

*intermission: time to make scrambled eggs. The baby is hungry*

4) Weight gain! Threatened to be exponential, until today, when I got on the scale and realized that yesterday's salad menu must have knocked off whatever weight I gained over the weekend eating 17 desserts at my parents' house. (Do you think I am exaggerating for comic effect when I mention that I ate 17 desserts over the weekend? Ha!) My scale must have had deja vu this morning because it registered exactly what I weighed a week ago, 151.2. The baby is gaining something like half a pound a week now (she's currently about 2 lbs) so there likely won't be many more weeks like that.


5) When I sneeze or cough hard, I, um... "leak" a little bit! AAUUGGHH!!


6) Last round of bloodwork planned for Friday this week! To check for anemia, syphillis (I would have asked to skip that one except that it was already checked off on the paperwork), thyroid problems, and gestational diabetes. Can I emphasize how excited I am about drinking The Disgusting Icky Orange Drink?!? Yeah! At least it isn't carbonated, according to the sources I've consulted. [Reminder to self: CUT DOWN on desserts 24 hours before test. No more than 6 or 7. If you fail the first round of testing, I've heard the second round is pretty bad.]

7) I am increasingly thinking: 1) "Need to 'prepare' for childbirth [whatever that means]. Note to self: discuss with Jordana." 2) Must have The Talk with OB sometime in the next couple of months. Although I can't say I'm looking forward to it- sort of have bad vibes about what his viewpoint might be on the issue. [However, based on the way my prenatal appointments have gone so far, I *seriously* doubt he will be in any way directly involved with the birth of my baby. Instead, Miss Perky (Physician's Assistant) will actually be present when the baby comes out, and then once everything is done, she'll say Dr. Namewithheld wants to come in and say hi! And then thirty minutes later he will pop in, chuckle a little bit, shake hands with Nate, say something abstruse and confusing, and then pat me on the back with a hearty "Congratulations, Nancy!" on the way out the door. I'm serious!] 3) Need to prepare for breastfeeding...? Somehow? Read a book about it? 4) And after writing the Baby Stuff checklist, which was a lot of fun, I realized: this is kind of like wedding planning. When you plan a wedding, it's easy to get caught up in the details of registering and orchestrating arrangements and so forth while forgetting that it's really so much more important to be preparing for the Marriage, which will last a lifetime. So while it's important to make lists of what we need and do things like write a Birth Plan, I think it's probably even more important to be putting some thought into Parenting. I have to remind myself that there's no rush to try to Figure Everything Out Now: I am told that when the Invader first arrives all she will really need is food and sleep and diaper changes and cuddling. But it wouldn't hurt to do some reading or put some thought into things like Bonding and
how to handle sleep issues and things like that. And- are there habits we want to start early? Right now every night before we go to bed, Nate prays for her (usually something like "Please may the baby not bounce around too much," which I think is Nate-speak for "help her grow strong and healthy and safe"), and I would like to keep doing that after she's born.

Okay, I have now been on the internet Way Too Long, but in closing I will just mention: last week I was informed that my grading position for the summer would have to be changed and possibly canceled because the course was being reassigned to a grad student (and grad students don't have the luxury of a grader- they have to grade their own students' papers.) And I was pretty disappointed, because we need the money(!!) But then there was Good News: I would get a new position, after all! But then there was the Bad News: not only is the new assignment still with Professor Horrific (the prof I TAed for last fall!!! AAUUGGHH!!), but instead of Easy Calculus the course is Baby Real Analysis. Which lasts all summer, and will likely be much harder to grade. But still I am very glad to have the job... this afternoon I'm going in to pick up the textbook at start reading it and meet with Her to see if she has anything for me to grade yet.

Okay, time to get off and start getting things done.

Love, Neb

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nesting! (A post about Baby Stuff)

A few months ago I made a checklist of things we will definitely "need" and might want as we prepare to welcome this baby into the world, and as the weeks tick away I guess it's time to share it with the rest of you- both for input/suggestions, and because it's just plain fun. (Well, some of you think it's fun. Some of you couldn't be more bored. If you fall into the latter category, remember that the internet is big- go read something else.)

It's funny because when I first got the Baby Lust a few years ago, I used to spend hours online ogling over custom designer nurseries and cute, color-coordinated stuff; now that we are actually HAVING A BABY (are we actually having a baby? sometimes it seems like it still hasn't really sunk in) I am so much more practically minded. In the past couple of weeks, friends have given us some of their baby gear, a lot of it in very good condition, and between that and realizing how much good stuff is available at places like garage sales, I'm wondering if we need to buy anything (other than clothes and diapers) brand new.

Anyway, here's my checklist:

1) A place for the baby to sleep. Our options are:

A traditional nice wooden crib, like this:

Advantages of this option are that it looks very nice and tasteful, and, many of the models they have now convert to a daybed and/or full size bed (as pictured). Also, if we went with this option we could get a beautiful dresser/changing table combo that matches, and, a cute bedding set. And matching curtains and wallpaper border and rug and light switch cover and decorations, etc etc! Disadvantages are: price. Hundreds of dollars, at least if we get it new (I'm sure there are nice used things out there). And, we're not sure about how our baby is going to sleep, especially the first few months; I am definitely interested in trying co-sleeping. So it's likely that we may end up getting a crib like this, but not until the baby is a little older (and after we've moved and settled into our new home.)

A co-sleeper crib:

This attaches to an adult bed so that you don't have to actually get up in the middle of the night to retrieve a crying baby. Advantages: appeals to my laziness. Provides a safe place for baby to sleep close by. Disadvantage: I have heard many reports that people who buy this don't actually use it for the baby to sleep in, because the baby wants to sleep IN bed with you, not just next to you. So maybe a waste of money...? Still an option to consider, though, especially if I can't get the hang of falling asleep while holding/nursing an infant or can't overcome my fear that I'll smother her.

A Pack-and-Play:

This is, in my opinion, one of the great inventions of modern baby gear. It has everything-in-one! A playpen, bassinet, changing table, diaper stacker, wipes holder and mobile. And it's portable, perfect for trips to Grandma's house. We want one of these anyway, for the portability, so I'm thinking if we just use this for the first few months we can delay the purchase of a regular crib/changing table...? Am I right?

2) A rocking chair, like this:

But we just got one from Paul and Sara! It's really comfortable. I might pick out some pretty blue fabric and try to re-cover it.

3) Diaper pail: Do those of you who have babies like things like Diaper Genie? Or should we just stick with a little trash can with a lid?

4) Maybe some kind of cute storage baskets like these:

to hold clothes, and a laundry hamper?

5) Baby bathing and hygiene items: a bathtub, towels and washcloths (already got some from Chris and Jordana- thanks!), nailclippers, hairbrush(?), and of course, the everyday items that will have to be purchased on a regular basis: diapers, wipes, lotion, powder, soap, shampoo.

6) Clothes and blankets! Thanks to my mom and Bethany and Chris and Jordana, we already have a good start in this department, and I'm sure if I have a shower we'll get a lot more. Same story for the other fun-to-buy item: Toys!

7) A breastpump:

This will likely be one of our most expensive purchases (or gifts? If people chip in together?) The one pictured here is (supposed to be) Very Good, but also Very Expensive; honestly, I don't know whether or not one of the cheaper models would work just fine, considering I probably only need to pump occasionally...? This is one item where I would definitely like input from those of you who are experienced nursers.

8) Other nursing accessories? Bottles/storage sets/nipples? Burp cloths? Pads? Lotions? What do we need? Again, advice/input welcome. From Paul and Sara we got a Boppy in great condition:

I might just get an extra slipcover for it. As for a high chair and sippy cups and dishes, it makes sense to wait until she's actually eating solid food, right?

9) A stroller/car seat/infant carrier:

Already got it from Paul and Sara! Thanks guys!

10) Sling and/or baby carrier of some kind(s): Again, this is an item where I would definitely appreciate input. I have heard good things about the Maya wrap, and I know a lot of people like Baby Bjorn's things... maybe this is something I'll have to wait and try out for myself, since, like the breastpump, people's individual needs and preferences seem to vary a lot.

11) Places to put the baby down/attempt to soothe her to sleep: swing, walker, bouncy seat, jumper...? Paul and Teresa are giving us a swing and walker; maybe we need a bouncy seat, maybe we don't. That's one of those items that your baby might love or hate, and there's probably no way to tell before you get it, right?

12) Diaper bag and changing pad: I might just use my Vera Bradley bag as a diaper bag, since some have commented that that's what it looks like, anyway. ;-) (Mine doesn't have a zipper though; might be inconvenient.)

13) Baby moniter? We don't need it if she's sleeping in our room.

14) Thermometer? The ear kind or the new ones that take temperature by scanning on the forehead? Or the pacifier thermometer:

Pretty clever, huh?

15) Finally, a little luxury item:

This, my friends, is a Wipes Warmer, designed to provide cozy warmed comfort for your little one with every change. We probably won't seriously get it. But I do think it's rather a nice thought. ;-)

Okay, that's it for now I guess; anything obvious I've left out? Again, I would welcome input from those of you with kids, re: what's worth it, what you could skip, what you can't live without, favorite brands/models, etc.


PS Those of you who love us and read this blog (that's you, Mom and Dad!)- please don't jump the gun and buy anything featured on this page yet. I didn't pick out exactly the things I want, just representative images. I'll probably have a detailed registry within a month or two. :-)

25 5/7 weeks

Well, I'm rather late with this one, aren't I am I not? But I should at least report that as of last Wednesday I weighed 151.2 and that I am apparently growing very quickly (according to my mom, who saw me last Monday at graduation and exclaimed on Friday [several times] how much bigger I am now.) Not being in school anymore= increased food intake. I realized my eating falls into three categories: I eat certain things because I'm hungry (ie, morning bagel and cup of coffee); then I eat other things because they're healthy (banana, salad); then I eat OTHER things because they taste good (pudding cups, pizza.) So I think I'm eating about three times as much food as I need. Ideally I could just eat the healthy stuff when I'm hungry, but, oh well. I guess I won't worry about it too much unless I significantly cross the pink line in the chart...

In other exciting news, we have ordered this:
So assuming it gets here sometime this week, this blog might be graced with an absurd number of pictures of things like our bathroom. And my toes. You never know what I might photograph. (Ideally I'll get set up on Flickr or Photobucket or something so that you can safely visit this blog without being bombarded.) Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have a husband who Knows Things about photography? If it weren't for him I would still be trying to pick a digital camera when Madelaine is 18...

[I just spilled coffee on Teresa's white maternity shirt!! Auuggh!! The white shirt that I love and want to continue wearing and then return to her in perfect spotless condition! But I Zout-ed and rinsed in cold water immediately and it looks good...? Sometimes it seems like half the battle of life is getting coffee stains out of white shirts... When I am a mom will my stain removal instincts suddenly kick in? I sure hope so because otherwise we're doomed.]

Saturday morning was my brother's high school graduation in Gettysburg- complete with banjo music! And Lincoln impersonator! Yeah! It was pretty sweet. Rock on, homeschoolers. We went down to Maryland afterwards and hung out with my family for awhile (after a quick stop to see Nate's favorite spots on the battlefields- what beautiful scenery. What a shame about the loss of lives.) Last night Chris invited several of his ultra-geek tech friends over for an event known as a "Lan party," which seemed to consist of 6 enormous computers (when I say "enormous computer," that means the screen is big) and a huge pile of junk food and soda in the middle of the floor. Whatever makes him happy...? We got home late last night, around 12:30, and after sleeping in this morning we're on our way to Nate's dad's house to eat meat and watch movies.

It's almost June! I'll be 6 months pregnant on Wednesday! The hot weather is settling in, I think! Another OB appointment tomorrow! Gestational diabetes test soon! Camp in a few weeks! More later!


Thursday, May 24, 2007


Graduation was Monday morning at 10 am. I was the last candidate in alphabetical order to receive an MS in the College of Arts and Sciences, which meant I scored this great front-row-center seat. On stage here you see the president of Lehigh and our graduation speaker, who was a blind mountain climber with a cool German Shepherd.

I actually managed to make it from 9:30 to 1 pm without using a bathroom. Amazing.

The senior class president talked about failure- how he started as an engineering major, couldn't hack it in a technical field, and changed to philosophy. How failure is part of the journey to success and part of real life. It seemed strangely fitting.

When my name was called, I shook President Alice's hand and had my picture taken, then heard a huge cheer. I thought "Who...?" then realized the guy in line in front of me had unzipped his robe to reveal a Speedo. No complete nudity, thank goodness. I prayed for no nudity.

The math department hosted a lovely little reception after the ceremony, but by the time we got out of traffic and made it back to the main part of campus, several people had already left- including Professor King. It was too bad because I really wanted my parents to meet him.

To the left we see Ken, who made coffee that tasted like the washing up and had a great plaid couch that came with free therapy; Jen, who was in the office across the hall and kept me sane; Prof. Algebra (from first semester- the one whose chalkboard lectures looked like an ocean of indecipherable squiggles); and Professor Friendly (who taught Big Kid Real Analysis)- a champion always. I'll miss them all.

Here is Mary-Ann, our fabulous department secretary, and my friend Stephanie, who also is leaving with her MS.

When all is said and done, I will have good memories of this place.

Love, Neb

Saturday, May 19, 2007

So how about the new layout?

It was time for a change. Can you guys see the two pictures on the sidebar and the ticker above? Does this look okay in different browsers?


Today's Nebiverse Forecast:

Breakfast: Cinammon toast with butter (mmm. butter. made from milk=full of calcium=Good for the Baby ;-)), coffee

On the radar today:

1) It's a beautiful day! Time to "exercise" again.
2) Need new athletic shoes...? I truly do but I hate to spend the money at this point.
3) Sort through Ginormous Bag of Fantastic Maternity Clothes from Teresa (yay!!)
4) Clean up this dump of an apartment before my parents get here tomorrow night.
5) Let's buy a digital camera! Let's do it Today! (Have I blogged about this before? Can't remember.) I've been thinking about this one for awhile- going digital just makes sense when you have poor photography skills like me and don't want to pay for all the bad photos you take. Plus it would be so much easier to post pictures of the baby every day next year on this blog. :-) (Yes, every day. Consider yourself warned.) The reason I haven't gotten one before now is that technology purchases always overwhelm me. I am always paranoid that whatever I get will be the wrong thing, or outdated too quickly, or too hard to use, or too easily broken, etc etc. Plus we rarely buy anything as expensive as a digital camera so to us it's a big deal. My usual strategy has been to defer such questions to Nate, but every time he starts looking at digital cameras he ends up looking at the Big Person Real Cameras with Film and Lots of Lenses and Parts that Cost Hundreds of Dollars, which is what HE really wants. (He acknowledges the practicality of a digital model for me to use but I think gets discouraged looking at what's available in our price range.) And even if we were settled on a certain brand/model, there are just TOO MANY choices today for how to go about making such a purchase: new in a store (we have so many stores close to us)? Ebay? Craigslist? Other used sources? Like I said, overwhelming. Fortunately the overwhelmingness of such things usually prevents me from buying Big-Ticket items. But it makes it hard when it's time to actually do it.

6) It's our 6th Anniversary! To celebrate, I am tentatively planning on taking my husband on a Hott Date to see this:

and then out to dinner here:

for some enormous slabs of red meat. Because, indeed, how can you celebrate a 6th anniversary properly without enormous slabs of red meat?

Then, we will come home and get ready for some Hott Pregnancy Post-Date Anniversary Action!*

*This means we will sit on the sofa together for five minutes flirting and fake-propositioning each other, pretending that we are preparing for some Hott Pregnancy Post-Date Action, and then either someone will fall asleep on the sofa and start snoring gently while the other one watches PBS and wonders why we don't have cable, or the other one will fall asleep in The Big Bed while the other [other] one thinks about something related to Fortran and abstruse sciency-things.

I am sort of thinking right now: 1) Should I make some kind of Special Dessert for tonight, for after the restaurant? 2) How about a card/love letter/small present? The Boy has been sick with a cold the past couple of days and hasn't gotten a chance to get me anything so maybe we should just do dinner and a movie and leave it at that...

This week's long-term forecast:

To think about: private tutoring! Yes! Remember that post earlier when I calculated income for the summer? I conveniently failed to consider the 4 days I'm taking off this summer and Memorial Day, which brings the LCCC total down to $1890. (Sorry, sorry for the money talk! It's my blog, though! It's like my thinking pad, sort of. You can skip reading this if offended.) (I found out the MS rate at LCCC is $12, not $13.) Anyway so I REALLY need to think about either private tutoring or getting another part-time job, but since I'm going away for two weeks this summer (camp and my cousin's wedding in Houston), the private tutoring thing would probably be more practical. Right now I'm thinking: PR and Kaplan charge an absolute arm and a leg for private tutoring; can't I somehow market something similar that's much cheaper? The key is, finding good, non-flaky families who are ready to spend a lot of money on test prep and committed to making their kids do homework for it. Hmmm...

Alright, should go do things now...
Love, NEB

Friday, May 18, 2007


My sister had Lasik on her eyes last week- if you want to read a nice detailed account, go check out her blog (linked on the side.) Also, there was a fire near her building in downtown Houston and she made the evening news- there's a link to the video clip- check it out. :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

24 Weeks: Geeky Math Nerd Edition

Greetings, loyal blog fans!

Well, maybe the universe is in a steady state or contracting (I have no idea), but the Nebiverse is clearly Expanding, as evidenced in the chart above. (Thanks to Vivian for her mad Excel-chart-to-Jpeg-via-Powerpoint Skillz! couldn't have figured it out without you ;-)). The pink line is based on Babycenter's weight gain guidelines: 2-5 lbs first trimester, and then a pound a week until the last couple of weeks of the pregnancy, for a total of 25-35 lbs. The blue line shows that I have been steadily trending upward for the last several weeks and will likely finish somewhere close to target. (OCD, yes? You all know I am rather OCD about some things.) Now that school is over I am definitely eating more often, and Madelaine is gaining weight much more quickly, too, so the rate of Expansion is likely to remain high.

Speaking of physical fitness (were we?), I've relaunched my annual summer "exercise" campaign, "exercise" being in quotes because many of you would not consider what I do to be legitimate physical exertion (going for walks in the park next door.) Tuesday night I did two trips through the park, which I think used to take me about 45 minutes but this time took closer to an hour... am I waddling now? I won't even talk to you guys about my knees and back, because there's a Secret Complaint-Free Third Trimester Initiative underway- secret because if I actually ANNOUNCE that I'm going to try to not complain about anything in the third trimester, then I would feel some sort of obligation to stick with it, and we all know that won't happen, right?

(Crap. It's not a secret anymore, is it?) Anyway.

In other seat-grippingly-exciting Pregnancy News:

1) Nate felt the baby Kick for the first time! Last Thursday! (or was it Friday...?) I was sitting on the patio and she was moving a lot so I came inside and held Nate's hand on my belly for a minute, and then he got this strange look on his face and said "Was that gas...?" and I said, "No, honey, it's the Baby kicking! :-D" and then he was all Weirded out. There has not yet been a repeat performance.

2) wants you to know that my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball! And:
"Your baby's growing steadily, gaining about a quarter of a pound since last week, when she was just over a pound. Since she's almost a foot long, that makes a pretty lean figure, but her body is filling out proportionally and she'll soon put on more baby fat. Your baby's skin is thin, translucent, and wrinkled, her brain is growing rapidly, and her taste buds are developing. Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" and cells that produce surfactant, a substance that helps the air sacs inflate easily."

3) I realized recently that our obstetrician gave us this huge stack of paperwork sometime at the beginning of this pregnancy gig, some of which is stuff that requires Action on our part, in the form of insurance things to fill out and so forth. We are supposed to preregister at the hospital, including going for an hour-long meeting with a nurse at week 34, and take a tour of the birth center, and maybe go to a Breastfeeding class? Is a breastfeeding class worth it? Would I get more out of just reading the user manual that comes with the newborn? Newborns DO come with user manuals, right? Anyway, I guess eventually I should try to get my act together and wake up to the fact that WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS IN 13-17 weeks!! That's not much time! We need to, um...?

There was more stuff I was going to say in this post but since I've been writing it for three days now, time to post and then just start a new one. Time for some coffee, too. (This one's for you, Alysia. ;-))

I love you all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chipped and Incomplete

I realized my grades would be available online tonight.

I got the incomplete I was promised in Stats, and an A in Cryptography (which didn't surprise me).
Mark gave me a B+ in algebra. So my GPA has gone from a 4.0 to a 3.93.

Zelda would be proud. :-)

Love, Neb

And Beginning Again

Yesterday was my first day back at work tutoring at "L*ast Chance" Community College (as it is affectionately dubbed), and it was a lot of fun to see old friends again and catch up. Out of the people I used to know there, Ed, Lisa, Damien, Stacy, and Mr. Malozzi are still around, as is Michelle, who has now been promoted to Director- a lady named Deb took her old job of lab supervisor. A lot of things were different (renovations, additions to buildings, new picnic tables, a "totally smoke free campus" [how do they pull that one off...? Wow. What do smokers do?] etc.) but many things haven't changed. I was amazed to see my file folders of handouts just where I left them two years ago... and walking across the courtyard oustide the tutoring center I saw Steven G., who, when I was there a few years ago, took pre-algebra four times before passing (onto Algebra I!) He's still around. Wonder if he's passed Alg. I yet...? Good times.

On Sunday, to celebrate Mother's Day and my status as a mother-to-be, Nate and I took a leisurely-paced 4 mile hike at Lehigh Gap (along the AT); I asked him to pick an "easy" trail but what we ended up with was uphill and rocky. Still, it was really nice because we took our time and the weather was perfect (sunny but cool- it was so windy at the top that I got cold.) I took pictures but since we haven't bought a digital camera yet, I don't have any to post here... okay, searching my photo archives reveals that the only picture of me hiking on our computer is from our 2005 camping trip, but I was wearing an orange tye-die shirt and green plaid shorts in that picture, so you don't get to see it. Wait, Nate says he will draw a picture of me hiking for you all:

Observe: 1) there is a white blaze on the tree, showing I am following the right path.
2) my stick figure is Pregnant.


We stopped at the store on the way home and got stuff for sandwhiches, then came home and watched Phantom of the Opera and had ice cream. A happy day together.

Today I have been very busy doing odds and ends- returned library videos and bummed around Walmart for awhile (stocking up on things like laundry detergent and a few little luxuries like bubble bath and new sunglasses and two shades of [glittery] nail polish- my inner 6-year-old couldn't resist!) Then I came home and figured out some financial stuff (yes! we CAN take all the money we've put into our IRA's out without penalty! and, yes, Nate's student loans are now with a new company) and finally went through the big stack of paperwork that's been accumulating, unfiled, while I've been busy with school. [Do any of you guys have any tips you want to share about the Care and Organization of "important papers"? Specifically, what constitutes an "important paper"? I know you need to save photocopies of old tax returns, and I want to have available records of our savings accounts and student loans and car maintenance, but what about things like old paycheck stubs, credit card statements, checking account statements, receipts for charitable giving, etc...? How long should we save all this stuff? A lot of our things are strictly online now, which cuts down on the clutter; and I have a filing box with our current year's papers and manila envelopes holding previous years' stuff, so it's not terribly disorganized, but I have this feeling that we really don't need to be holding onto old utility bills from our first apartment in Wheaton...? Am I right?)

This afternoon we went to Lehigh and dropped off various pieces of paperwork so that I can graduate. Some of the paperwork at Lehigh doesn't really make sense. Months ago I filed a "Master's Degree program" form showing all my courses and grades, which had to get signed by the math dept. advisor and the dean's office and then given to the registrar's office. When I decided I wanted an incomplete in statistics, a lady from the registrar's office emailed and said I should file a NEW "Master's Degree Program," with the statistics class left off, but then a lady from the dean's office (who was informed that I was getting an incomplete) said she would put through the paperwork change for me. But apparently she forgot, because Monday I got an email from a different lady in the registrar's office saying "you have to get the incomplete removed to graduate!" and I was like, "No I don't, it's not a requirement for the degree!" and she emailed back and said "you need to file new paperwork by Wed. morning!" So that was my running around today to get all the signatures again. What I don't understand is: why can't the registrar's office just look in the stupid catalogue and observe that without the statistics class I've STILL met all the degree requirements? Why do they want a new sheet of paper with the incomplete class left off? *sigh* I guess bureaucracy is not designed to make sense. It was funny, though, because today's experience was so much like the bookened of what happened when I applied to Lehigh two years ago: both times I had less than an hour to get a Very Important Form to Mary Ann H. in the College of Arts and Sciences office. Kind of weird.

On the way home we stopped by church to drop off our camp applications for Pastor L. to sign, and then Nate stopped at our local polling place to vote in the local primaries. (I couldn't bring myself to vote when I don't know a thing about a single person running.) And since coming home I have just been vegging in the AC with a pudding cup (and a slice of cheese and some apple juice and a mini snickers bar... I'm almost third trimester, okay? we like to Snack now...)

Oops, there was a Yawn. Time for Coffee.

Love, Neb

PS This was a boring post, wasn't it? Looking back in the archives, two years ago, I was funny once in a while. It must be the Aging process...

Thursday, May 10, 2007


This morning I got up Very, Very Early after going to bed Very Late (and not sleeping much inbetween because our room was too hot.) I finished grading the final exams, totaled the scores, uploaded them to the online gradebook system, and then spent some ridiculously long amount of time trying to get Excel to drop the lowest two quiz and homework grades for each student. (If any of you ever need it: =SUM(range)-SMALL(range,2)-SMALL(range,1). ) Around 1:30 I was all done, so I sat outside for awhile reading and then went with Nate to the Math Department Chili Eating event. (I had a very small amount of chili. Heartburn-inducing foods are NOT what I need at this point.) His chicken-peach chili (yes, you read that right) was very popular. I liked the chocolate cake.

Also I got my Algebra final back; I got an 83. Which means, I am really, really Done.

In the two years of graduate school, there hasn't been a lot of time when I have felt Free. Last summer and over Christmas break I came close sometimes, though not being Finished yet always made me feel there were things I could study, ways I could be better prepared. On the whole it is an entirely new experience to feel Liberated, to feel that there is absolutely not a thing in the world I am Supposed to be doing. Some moments it is exhilerating, and some moments it is Confusing. I am rather disoriented. The things that Normal People do, do not come naturally to me anymore. I have to remind myself to pick a book to read, watch a TV program, take a walk in the park. I think I need hobbies? Again.

It is probably only the warped perspective of too-recent trauma when I say that this year in school was the hardest thing I have ever done.

I think it's time for bed.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

23 Weeks, Part 2- In which I wear Baggy, Tent-like Maternity Clothes

23 Weeks

Have any of you suddenly forgotten that you're pregnant? This morning when I woke up (which was just now), I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought "Why do I look so BIG...?" And then I was like, "oh yeah..."

Does anyone know why my pregnancy counter at the top is off by a day now? I am 23 weeks pregnant TODAY, not yesterday. It used to be right!

Out of yesterday's activities listed, guess which ones got accomplished and which ones didn't? That's right, 0 grading and grade entering. I think this is the part of the semester where I hang out at home in my pajamas and sleep a lot and ignore the professor's requests for work...? Um...? No it's okay, I just have to get it done today. Unfortunately I found out (in a brief phone conversation fraught with minor miscommunications- this is Professor Logic from last semester we're talking about) that he doesn't know how to made Excel drop the lowest two quiz and hw grades, so he was hoping I could do that- I'm sure there's got to be a command for that, right? I will shake the trees or talk to my home posses or whatever to ask. (Nate knows, right?)

I need COFFEE. I needed it 10 minutes ago. (That's a phrase I got from shows like ER or Rescue 911 [come on, you all watched Rescue 911, too, in the early 90's, didn't you! didn't you!], when someone needs something like 2 quarts of Blood and they're like, "He needed it 10 minutes ago!") There's a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, Caffeina-Starbuck in her old age seems to brew slower and slower. Or maybe it's just that in my old age, I need coffee sooner and sooner...

My Uncle Charles (dad's older [half]-brother) successfully made it through quadruple-bypass surgery ealier this week. Am I the only one that thinks the word "quadruple" should not belong in the same sentence with "surgery"? (Although, come to think of it, if I were having quadruplets I would much rather have a C-section than give birth by any other means, and then it would be a "quadruple C-section," right? And that would be okay. Well, okay in the sense that we would get Free Diapers for Life [wait a second- given the astounding rise in multiples rates due to the astounding rise in IVF, I bet quads are no big deal any more! I bet you have to have at least 6 or 7 babies at once to score the Free Diapers for Life and the free van and the spot on 20/20...], but Not Okay in the sense that I don't think one human being can care for 4 newborns full time and remain anything close to Sane. Last night we had dinner with friends from school and I found myself confessing how RELIEVED I was when it was confirmed that we're not having twins...)

Why is most of my text parenthesized? Maybe subconsciously I think it's weird for you to be reading the Insides of my Head.

Oh, this is supposed to be my Weekly Pregnancy Post, isn't it? Well, I've now mentioned pregnancy in some way at least four times, but still, maybe some of you hunger for the Normal Information. [And maybe some of you are like "THANK GOODNESS, we cannot stand the drudgery that is reading Neb's 'normal information!!'"] [Hang on, I have to go actually Start coffee if I want to Drink coffee in 10 minutes, right?]

Normal Information:

I weighed 147.4 yesterday and I just went to weigh again, just for the sake of complete accuracy, and this morning I weighed 147.8. [At some point at the end of 2003, right before I started thyroid treatment, I weighed 161 at the doctor's office. Pretty impressive, huh?]

The baby is kicking! A lot! Nate has not felt her yet. No one has felt her but me. But sometime! Sometime the timing will be right and he will feel! Also: I have contractions. When I mentioned this to the nurse at my last OB appointment, she said "Irregularly?" which, to me, shows tacit approval of the use of the term "contractions." When I mentioned this to the physician's assistant, Kara, she said "Actually, those aren't contractions, they are "uterine irritation," and they usually mean you need to drink more water." And I was like, "okay..." So, pregnant people that read this blog [Jordana]: Painless cramping/tightening of the uterine muscles that lasts several seconds and then goes away...? Anyone? Anyone? CONTRACTIONS, yes...? Braxton-Hicks...? I think so. I think I know more than Kara, ha ha. It's not like she does this for a living. My insurance just pays her a lot to test my urine every month.

Anyway, yes. Ahem. What else? I have heartburn occasionally. I sleep on my back sometimes. My wedding rings still fit but I check every day, just to make sure. My belly button is still an innie, but Nate and I were looking at it last night and there are definitive signs it's going to pop one of these days (maybe a few more weeks yet, we'll see.) I outgrew my jeans (as mentioned in the last post) so my tiny maternity clothes wardrobe is looking pretty tiny. I think that's about it. Does the third trimester officially start with week 26 or 27, by the way? Either way, we are just a few weeks away from some serious Third Trimester gestating action! Yeah! [Oh help me, I think Cheerleader Kara has rubbed off on me...]

So I should actually go grade now, huh? Okay, okay...

Love Neb

PS Pictures tomorrow probably.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I went shopping! Want to see what I got...?

From Motherhood Maternity:

For the weddings I'm going to this summer: fabric swatch included free of charge.

Something to wear to camp:

I don't think I'll be wearing the little bow in the front though...? (Advice, fellow pregnant people: what's with all the BOWS already...? Okay to tie it in the back?)

From JC Penney: the skirt, not the sweater. (I don't think this is exactly the skirt I got, but pretty close):

Also: a pretty basic pair of khaki pants on clearance (for some unexplainable reason) for $1.97! Yay!

Randomata for your reading pleasure

The container of blueberry yogurt I ate this morning expired April 7th. Does anyone think that's a problem?

The street in front of our apartment is in the [apparently multi-day] process of being repaved. This event appeals strongly to my husband's inner 4-year-old, as he was up at eight this morning (just for a quick bathroom trip, not permanently, mind you), saying, "Honey, did you see the paver?!?" Apparently this is a near-street-sweeper-like phenomenon. (And I bet that just might be the first time in human history that someone used the phrase "near-street-sweeper-like.")

Today I need to upload the children's HW and quiz grades, and finish grading the other half of the final exam papers. I am also taking Sylvia for a transmission fluid check (we think she's been Leaking...?) which means a trip to the next-door mall for some maternity clothes shopping. In the past couple of weeks the percentage of my closet that I can comfortably and reasonably wear has dropped off sharply, and since I'm used to having a huge selection and not doing laundry very often, it's hard to adjust. I'm trying to not go overboard, but realistically, I think at least one pair of jeans and a skirt and a few more shirts would be in order.

Oh yeah, Saturday morning at 5:55 am, 3 paramedics with a bunch of equipment knocked on our door. I told them, "It wasn't us...!" They somehow didn't know which apartment needed them.

And last Friday morning, Nate's grandmother died. This was the Good Grandmother, the one he got along with, so it was sad, but not unexpected. Saturday morning we went down to Reading to help his parents do some things, including go through things in her apartment. To me the weird thing about that process is not deciding what to do with all the old letters and photos and furniture, but seeing the half-used containers of toothpaste and dish soap and mayonaise sill lying around. There were dirty dishes in the sink and laundry hanging up to dry.

We'll miss you, Nana.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Money talk

I am so happy because I just got an email from LCCC with my tutoring schedule for the summer: Mondays and Thursdays, 9-2:30 and 3-5, which comes out to 15 hours a week. This is great!! Hopefully Nate can go into school the other 3 days a week, and/or go Mon. and Thurs. evenings if he needs to get stuff done.

I would like to make around $4700 gross this summer, which will likely (after taxes) come out to a little less than what I've been making as a grad student, but still not too bad. So the Plan is:

1) LCCC: 14 weeks tutoringX15 hrs/week X $11/hr= $2310 OR
(new pay rate because I now have MS? not sure about this): 14 weeks tutoringX15 hrs/weekX$13/hr= $2730

2) Grading papers for a course at Lehigh for 6 weeks (should be easy- the class are small, like no more than 20): $925 (I think)

3) Private tutoring (goal- I don't have anything lined up yet): 49 hoursX$30/hr=$1470 OR (if LCCC pays at the higher rate) 35 hoursX$30/hr=$1050.

Overall it seems like a pretty easy way to make a living. I guess I should work on finding some private tutoring students, huh? My Inner Accountant is happy.


Thursday, May 03, 2007


Yesterday I took the final exam for Algebra, and right after the test I went over my answers with Mark to make sure that I had gotten enough right to pass. (The class, not the test- I only needed, by my calculations, about a 40% on the final to pass the class.) I got a whole lot wrong and left a lot blank, but we were both persuaded that it was Enough. And with that, I was Finished with all the requirements for the master's degree at Lehigh.

I drove home and somewhere along the way, the realization of being Done sunk in and made quite an impact.

I don't know how to describe it to you. Other than to say: it feels really, really Good.

Love, Neb

22 Weeks- Gratuitous celebrity pictures edition

(EDITED to add- I forgot to tell you all- I weighed 146.8 this morning.)

Well, this week's pictures didn't turn out so great- I just look Weird in them. (And the shirt I'm wearing looks Weird.) So no pictures for you!

To compensate, I was going to post pictures of a pregnant Audrey Hepburn, but, alas! Apparently Audrey was not photographed while pregnant! Or at least, the internets don't know where the pictures are. If any of you have Mad Wicked Search Skillz and can find pictures of Audrey Hepburn visibly pregnant, let me know and I'll send you a dollar*!

Here are some non-pregnant picutres of Aurdrey for your amusement and edification. Above, Audrey is pretending to eat a Bakery Product, no doubt in mockery of the Irony of Modern Life (clearly, the woman never consumed anything like a Carbohydrate. Or a Protein, for that matter.)

Here, Audrey is still looking uber-cool in that classic black dress, no doubt about to feed her cat after a night out of hard partying.
Here, Audrey reminds us all: Bangs, and Champagne, can be Cool.

Okay, I've got to get to school so I can help the Children do double integrals, then proctor their exam 12-3. Should be lots of fun.

More later, love,

*You all know I am way to lazy to actually mail anyone a dollar, right? This is a fake offer.