Friday, August 25, 2006

On the Go

I’m writing from a Barnes and Noble in Orlando (my first time posting in a public place). We came here for two reasons, first, we needed to buy some children’s books as presents to our friend’s boys; second, it was raining really hard and we probably won’t go to the second park we were planning to go to today. I’ll write more about the trip later, but so you know we’re only visiting 2 places, none of them Disney or other major studio related, with 7 day passes for each so we can stay for short periods, which is all the boys can handle.

Tonight we’re going to a friend’s house here in Orlando, and tomorrow afternoon to another friend’s house. She is my husband’s high-school friend and the last time we saw her was exactly 10 years ago at her wedding in Washington D.C. Now she has two little boys, 4 and 1, and we hope our boys will have fun playing together!

Next week we go to another coastal town (my husband’s friend also lives by the coast) where we’ll stay with very good friends who used to live in Massachusetts and whom we haven’t seen in over a year. We’ll also see lots of other friends we haven’t seen in years, since they moved from MA to Florida. Hopefully we’ll have internet access there! In these short two hours I was barely able to read my email, so I wasn’t able to check on hardly anybody’s blogs… I hope I can do it soon :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Always at the Last Minute...

I really wish I could be a neat, organized, planning ahead kind of person, but I'm not. I'm the queen of procrastination and when it comes to packing before travel, another one of my long list of defects makes my progress even worse: I have a terrible problem with having to make decisions (I "inherited" that from my dad), I guess I could say I'm a chronic "undecided." Simply having to decide which clothes to take or not to take seems to consume an amount of energy that I don't have, so I keep postponing the task, or merely accumulating loads of things I want to bring, without deciding which won't ultimately go.

As many procrastinators, I do a lot of things related to traveling and packing beforehand. I do separate the clothes I'm sure I'm taking several days before, I do a load of laundry with some other clothes I want to bring. I do my best not to buy more food and to empty the fridge, but... I still leave most essential things for the last minute and I generally don't sleep on the night before a trip. (Deep sigh...)

So, now I have to go finish packing and cleaning the kitchen, and we do have a mid-morning flight, so wish us luck! I'll try to blog and read blogs while we're away, but I don't know how our internet access will be, so if you don't see me during the next two weeks, I'll be back later and I'll be sure to share some pictures!

P.S. Hubby had a great trip (his favorite part was actually the short length of it - I just can't believe that!). I picked him up this morning at JFK (I spent the night at a friend's house). It's amazing to me that yesterday (OK, two days ago, it's Tuesday already) he had lunch with some of our best friends in Brazil and their kids, who are the same age as ours. I was looking at the photos a few hours ago and I was moved to tears at how much I miss all of them. It's hard to think that we may never live there anymore and share more than a few hours every year or so with them, that's unbearably sad, but may be true. Sorry to end on a sad note like this... (I'm actually quite excited about the trip, though :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lovely "Bloggy" Meet Ups!

Yesterday and today have been two good days... in spite of the fact that my husband is traveling (he went to Brazil for the weekend - I'm so jealous, except I would have hated to have gone only for three days - I can't stay less than a month there and even then I never do all I want to do :)

I went to the LLL meeting yesterday and we ended up having an informal conversation between mothers, which was great, because I got to talk a bit more with Jo, who's a brilliant blogger and a really cool and lovely person -- she even mentioned me and my boys in her latest post, I'm so delighted!! We love you too! Her daughter Sophia has the most beautiful blue eyes you've ever seen and the cutest smile :)

Today I met another blogger in person, in addition to Jo, Kateri, Marta, and Andi Buchanan, I now know Cloudscome (from a wrung sponge) and her lovely boys. I think this could officially classify as our first "play-date" ever -- have I been completely out of the American "mother's culture" or what? Yeah, it's not easy to be an expatriate mom, that's why I love blogging so much, it filled a void in my life in more ways that I could have ever imagined! As Cloudscome said, it is definitely cool to meet someone who blogs too, so we can talk about blogs we read and blogging, since she says all her other friends know nothing about it.

I'm so glad blogging has given me the opportunity of not only learning from other people's life experience and knowing people "virtually," but getting to meet some of these awesome people "in real life"!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Blogger Beta Version

Well, I wanted to let you know that I'm considering switching to the new Beta version of blogger. It has many features that I've always wanted my blog to have, such as labels for categorizing the posts, more flexibility and an easier way to edit the template (with the ability to change the position of things, choose colors and fonts, etc), "dynamic" publishing (no need to wait for the 100% publish, and no need to hit a publishing button, any changes are automatically saved), and some other new features. You can take a tour here.

It still has quite a few glitches and issues. The one I like the least is that other blogger users that haven't switched to the Beta version yet won't be able to comment with their blogger "identities" and will have to comment under "Other" - and I'm sure that will annoy some of you. Is anyone else considering switching? Beta versions are a bit scary because they sound "tentative" to me...

What do you think? I'll probably switch anyway at some point in the near future, but I'll warn you about it ahead of time.

Monday, August 14, 2006

And I Didn't Even Mention the Main Reason

After I wrote the previous post, I started thinking that I had not even touched upon the main reason(s) not to have another baby.

The main reason, with a twofold motivation, is work. I do want to put my Ph.D. (which I should get next summer) to good use by working again. If I have another baby, work will have to be postponed a few more years or at least interrupted for a while, since I'll want to care for the baby most of the time, and breastfeed for several years as I have been doing with his/her brothers. Of course it won't be easy for me to start to work with a 3 year old, but at least he'll be old enough for pre-school.

Apart from personal fulfillment, one big reason for me to work is an economic one. If my husband gets an academic job, I will probably need to work to supplement his income. The only situation in which we would consider having a third child would be if he got a high paying industry job, which we know is very hard to get. It's next to impossible to be hired by an industry without inside contacts and recommendations and no previous industry experience. So... I really don't want to do anything to jeopardize my family's comfort and the future child's well being. In a year's time we hope to be able to make a decision about this.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Question That Doesn't Go Away

I think about it every single day. Sometimes several times a day. And I still don't have the answer. Almost exactly a year ago it was an emphatic NO!, and most days it is definitely no, even right now, it's "no, no way."

But, but, but... My heart, that heart that one of my favorite mama writers, Catherine Newman,* once described as "seating on the curb with its head between its knees" at the very moment when she was very relieved to find out she had not gotten accidentaly pregnant with a third child -- my heart doesn't want to hear that no.

I have no idea why I am writing about this today. I haven't been feeling any particular urges to have a baby lately, but every. single. day I start a blog post in my head. A post in which I weight the pros and the cons of having another baby.

I generally dismiss the pros as being utterly selfish (the strong desire to have a home birth, baby-wearing, maybe, just maybe... having a girl?) and the cons are so much stronger -- although many of them are equally "selfish" as well! I mean, not getting even more stretch marks, getting to buy and wear any clothes I want, not just maternity and breastfeeding friendly outfits -- yeah, these have been five long years! What else, did I mention that sleeping through the night again feels great, even because it took so long (2 years!) to happen? What about looking after 2 restless boys under 5 or 6 and a newborn baby?

Nah... why am I even entertaining these thoughts? Particularly because my husband will have none of this, he doesn't even want to talk about it!

I DON'T KNOW! I can't control my own deranged mind!

So, after I transferred my sleeping "baby" from the carseat to his bed and he miraculously didn't even wake up, I just sat there, looking at him and thinking that he has to be my last baby, that it would be too hard to do it all over again, but then I had to come here and write this post. Just because knowing in my mind that I should accept something and decide that's how it is going to be done just because it's best for all of us, it's best for me, doesn't keep me from wanting another one.

*She's going to stop writing her column, by the way, I can't believe it!! I'm so sad just want to cry! After four wonderful years... it seems like I started reading her just the other day. If you don't know her , you should go check the weekly columns up, or go read her book.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More Breastf*eeding Photos!

Well, thanks to my talented 4 year old son who has become a budding photographer in the past year, I have some more breastf*eeding photos to share with you! I know I posted way too many here already, but I just couldn't resist :) I'm just that fanatic for photos...

I thought no-one would ever see these because they do show a bit of (pale) skin. I had a bit of a tan in the rest of my body because I had just returned from Brazil. I wasn't much tanned because I don't ever get a real tan anyway and I use lots of sunscreen. I had completely forgotten about these pictures, which were taken last February, but I found them when I was burning a CD for my mom with the best photos of the last six months on Monday night. Do you recognize what's in the computer screen? Blogging is truly my addiction. Oh, and you can also see the messy table where I work on the dissertation and that I'm wearing a pajama top, as I usually do at home during the winter. The baby's gesticulating wildly in this last one, maybe trying to wave to the camera :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back to Real Life

My parents returned to Brazil this morning. They're flying there (to São Paulo) from Miami as I write this. They provided me with much needed help in the past year (August-September 05, Feb-Aug 06) so I could do the final push to finish the first draft of the dissertation and now I'm on my own to do the revisions and prepare for the defense. Wish me luck (and lots of stamina), because it's not going to be easy, with the two boys, the everyday chores, and husband and I applying for jobs (this takes time and energy as well, I know -- any advice on this is appreciated).

I'm thankful for their help and I'm aware that I'm very blessed to have had them here to help me. However, now I need to finish this Ph.D. on my own and I hope the exertion brings me confidence and strength for the years to come. We've been relying on my parents' yearly help since our first son was born back in 2002 and while they enjoy spending all this time with us (particularly with the boys), they also need to be able to travel and take advantage of their retirement years while they're still in good health. From now on I hope that their visits here are merely for pleasure, for us to travel together and enjoy each other's company.

I worried about their health and well-being while they were here, but thankfully they were fine and didn't have to use their health insurance even once. My mom is going to have thyroid surgery in the next few months and I hope she recovers nicely - she has an abnormal growth (benign) which needs to be removed and she'll have to take hormones for the rest of her life.

Well, that's it for now, I'll come back later with two memes that I was tagged for over a year ago, I think!! :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Peaches and Jumps

I Just wanted to share some photos with you and I didn't want to write two posts, so you get two posts in one, OK? (I started it on Friday and saved it, but then it disappeared from the posts to edit. Thankfully I found it today, though!)

First, the yummy peaches from my uncle's peach tree. We visited him last weekend (two weekends ago, since now it's Monday) and we got to bring home most of the peaches that were still on the tree. They were so ripe that we brought most of them peeled, chopped and frozen already, or else they would have spoiled. I haven't yet prepared anything with them, but I'm planning to bake peach cobbler, make peach juice, and peach mousse soon. I'll try to take pictures.
Jumping Boys...
On July 22 we had a thunderstorm and since it was a bit cooler after it (it's been terribly hot around here as pretty much everywhere else in the U.S.), I went outside with the boys. Kelvin started jumping on the rain puddles and I took these pictures. Soon Linton joined, although he cannot jump as high yet.

(1) One jumping, one watching.
(2) When Linton gave it a try and saw the splashing he didn't want to stop!
(The 2nd photo is fuzzy, clearly below my standards, but the splashing was too good to pass it up :)

Two Jumping

Puddles are fun!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Calling All Academic Mothers!! Mama Ph.D. Book

I know most people may have already heard of this and since my readership is quite limited, I may not help much, but I wanted to get the word out, because this proposed book is literally the materialization of some of my greatest wishes!!!

Since I started blogging I have found solace, inspiration, motivation, and companioship by reading the experience of other academic mothers -- this has been vital for me, knowing that I am not alone, that other people have been there and succeeded. I also enjoy reading about all issues that face mothers who are or want to become academics. I know many of you blog anonimously, so you might not want to submit an essay in a book. It is a sensitive topic after all, and the two editors are not working in academia, although they hold Ph.D.s. I am so thrilled about this book, though, that I hope it comes to existence and I'm working on my submission as I write this.

So, here's the site with the information about the book, an anthology titled Mama Ph.D.: Women Write about Motherhood and the Academy. The call for papers can be dowloaded here. The editors are Caroline Grant (her blog has actually moved here) who's one of the editors and columnist of Literary Mama, and Elrena Evans. If you are an academic mother and you're reading this, please, please, please consider submitting something!