Friday, February 27, 2009

Have you Googled yourself?

Go ahead, admit it! You've Googled your name before. I do it all the time, mostly because I have my art page out there and want to see where it pulls up on the search engines (not very high). What DOES pop up however, is photos I've put up on Facebook...interesting considering I thought someone had to be linked to me as a friend to see things on my Facebook pages. But, no matter, I don't put anything embarrassing or scandelous up on FB anyway. Not that have anything scandelous to hide!

A recent Yahoo! search of my name however, yielded something that just cracked me up! Here's a screen shot ...

(Please pardon the horrible was the only way I knew to make the text large enough to read.)

I'd like to think that IF I was up for sale, my prices wouldn't be cheap!!

What do you find when you Google your name?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why playing the lottery will get my son in a good school!

I have spent the past month researching DC area preschools and creating a massive spreadsheet outlining all the basic information of each school. Why?

Let's see, it all started back in April 2006 when I got pregnant with Peter. The news was surprising, exciting and something we shared immediately with the world. With the news that we were expecting came incredible amounts of unsolicited advice from everyone we knew (and didn't know) ranging in topic. The one bit of advice we found most amusing has now become not so amusing.
That advice came when I was just 4 weeks pregnant: "Oh, you guys better apply now for the daycare you're going to put your baby in!"
We laughed pretty hard at this, commenting that some people are just wound too tight. After all, we're not the elitist types, any normal daycare will do just fine for us.

Fast forward to Fall 2008 when we decided it was about time to get Peter started in preschool, just in time for him to turn two that January 2009. I literally had daycare/preschool directors laugh at my expectation to get my son in theirs or any other school in just a few months after an inquiry. Every school in a 10 mile radius of our home has a two year waiting list! Every school. The crappy ones and the awesome ones. I should have applied before I conceived!!! Parents begin their research 3 years out so they have a good list of 5 or 6 schools to tour, apply, and get on waiting lists. I have no words, none for this insanity. Applying to 6 schools at roughly $100 per application fee just to get on a waiting list...amazing.

What a two year waiting list translates to is the preschools can be selective (I can't believe I just used the word selective in reference to a preschool). After all, these schools have people beating down their doors for a spot for their unborn child! This means rates are high, deposits are high, app fees are high, if you want your child watched before 9am then you pay extra, if you want your child watched after 3pm you pay're financially raped to put your kid in a daycare/preschool. If you want a school that has a reputation of it's students migrating to some of the more sought after grade schools in the area...then you're paying are paying!!! Oh and then there's the interviews; parents are interviewed, children are interviewed, children have a play day at the preschool and observed and my personal favorite requirement an IQ test! OK, a school-readiness test, there are two other tests that have been listed as well - but I just nixed those schools off my list - my 3 year old isn't violent or mentally deranged ...I think that's all they need to know about him right now. He is NOT taking a damned test!

So, back to the spreadsheet - why? As I peruse each website, I find that definitely some websites are better and more thorough than others. The basic information you are looking for is not always in logical locations (like a section for tuition maybe? or the "core" hours of the school). So, I made a list of the basic info I want/need to decide if I want to take a tour. I've spent the better half of the last month digging, researching and emailing/calling the schools to get such basic info as:

- Are they accredited? By what organization
- Tuition
- Application, Registration fees, if it's refundable
- Youngest age accept, oldest ages accepted
- length of school year

These are basic things I would assume would be on the website. One school required that I submit a request for more information. Which, after I submitted was sent a huge packet of information in glossy beautiful booklets; I will admit it was extremely informative and nice to have photos of the school...all of which could have been put on the website.

Another reason for the spreadsheet; fees and tuition are not all on one page. On almost every single school's website the information was sprinkled across sections of the website; meaning I had to scavenge around to find out what hidden costs existed. Below is an example of what I'm talking about ...each item listed below was in a different location on one school's website, including the massive deposit amount that was hidden on the actual PDF'd application:

Annual Reg.Fee: $550
Ref. Deposit (nursery): $1000
Ref. Deposit (Lower/high): $3000
App. Fee: $60

Nursery: $18,700/yr
Lower School I (grade 1 - 6):$19,000
Lower School II (grade 6 - 8): $20,200
High School (grade 9 - 12): $21,300
After Care (grade 1 - 6 only): $500/trimester, take a breath. I have a massive spreadsheet right now, encompassing maybe 1/3 of the available schools in the DC area...naturally I focused on schools close to my house or that's on our route to work.

Also, I'm finding it's not as simple as locating schools with a curriculum/approach to teaching I like and then finding the least expensive in that set. Why? Because if you have a school that seems to cost less per year, but the year is only 10 months long and the school day is only 9-3 then suddenly the school that is about five thousand more per year but has a 11 month school year and core hours of 7:30 - 6 is awesome!

There is hope financially if we can win the lottery (yes, lottery) for our son to get into one of the sought after Public Charter schools or one of the public schools that offer lotteries for us unfortunate souls that don't live in their neighborhood. These schools are free, the curriculum is wonderful and they are all very full. The lottery gives hope since it's random and not first come first served. Very few of these schools offer preschool for 3 year olds and even fewer are close to where we live. So the list of free schools with great curriculum is short and getting in is all pure luck.

There you have it...where my head is right now and what I've been doing every second Peter gives me a moment to myself! :)

So...if any of you know how I can get my son into Georgetown Day School for about half the $30k tuition and also get my name pushed to the front of the waiting list...give me a shout! ;)

Meanwhile, I'll be playing the school lottery!

Oh and if you live in NW DC and are interested in my spreadsheet (such as it is) I'm happy to share it with you! I've done a lot of leg work and you might have priorities diff than mine but a least you would have all the basic info at your fingertips for a portion of the schools around here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now taking bets on my baby's birth weight!

I’m amazed at what doctors can do these days. I could go on and on about cures, etc. But what I’m talking about today is my recent doc visit. I was sent in for a sonogram because despite being 37 weeks along in the pregnancy, my belly was measuring 41 weeks. So, off I was sent to make sure the baby was OK and that there was enough amniotic fluid for the little guy. I left that appointment today knowing that my unborn child’s liver, kidneys, brain and spine are developing perfectly. I also left knowing his weight right now. I thought that was pretty cool! J So, two weeks away, to the day, from my c-section my baby weighs 7 lbs 4oz. The past month I’ve been averaging roughly 2 lbs of weight gain per week (fun, fun). Since not all of that goes to the baby and most of it to my butt and hips (I’m not kidding here)…I’m guessing another 9 lb baby…

Now taking bets…

Monday, February 16, 2009


Family, friends...I can not convey to you just how anxious I am for March 5th to get here! I can not wait to meet this new little guy! Aside from not getting any sleep from constant discomfort (I now sleep on the couch downstairs - no clue why it's more comfortable than our bed, but it is), add to the discomfort the fact that I miss sharing our bed with my husband, I'm in constant pain and now starting to get a bit of cabin fever since I am without a car everyday and any outing would require a bit of walking that I just seem unable to do without getting so incredibly dizzy! All of that aside, I just can't wait to meet the guy!

Peter is starting to understand what we mean when we say there is a baby in mommy's tummy. He now eagerly points to the baby's room every time we go past it on the way to his room. His favorite thing to do is visit the baby's room, point at everything and say baby's bed, baby's toy, baby's clothes...and on and on. SO I am hoping this is an indication that we won't have any baby-brother jealousy issues.

I received some really great advice from a mom at the park last week who told me the best advice she received was that when she came home from the hospital to NOT be carrying the baby so the older sibling will be less likely to have any jealousy issues. So, we plan to have Mark or even my sister carry the new baby in when we arrive home.

Of course, Peter will have plenty of opportunities to meet the baby before we actually come home since I am having a c-section and will be in the hospital a few days. There's no way I could go that long without a visit from my little man!

I welcome any advice on avoiding the sibling jealousy issue!!! Or, for that matter, any advice on juggling a new born and demanding 2 year old!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's in the Stars!

A recent Facebook conversation prompted me to look up the astrological signs of my family, including the unborn baby. I am not a huge follower of the Zodiac and I certainly do not base my life decisions on it. However, I think I am like most people in that I like to read about it as a pass time amusement and often drop-jaw over how close they get to my true personality.

So, here’s how me and my family pans out:

Me: a Virgo, an Earth Sign and a “Mutable Sign”

Mark: a Gemini, an Air Sign and a “Mutable Sign”

Peter: a Capricorn, an Earth Sign

New baby: a Pisces, a Water Sign and a “Mutable Sign”

So what the heck is a Mutable sign? Well, according to Wikepedia:

In astrology, the mutable signs (also called common signs or bicorporal or double-bodied signs) are a subgroup of the zodiac. They are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The mutable signs straddle two temperate zone seasons, encompassing an inherent duality in its symbolism.

In the tropical zodiac, mutable signs coincide with the times of change in the seasons. They are associated with change and versatility. Individuals born under the four mutable quality signs are thought to be adaptable, impressionable, sharp, sympathetic, communicative,[citation needed] resourceful and restless, with a gift for seeing both sides of a situation at the same time and an immense desire for knowledge, variety and new ideas. They supposedly adapt very well to new situations, possess much flexibility, seldom have any particular agenda and are perfectly happy to fill in an assigned role. However, they are also said to be inconsistent, changeable, nervous, indecisive and irresponsible, with a tendency to get wrapped up in tiny particulars. There is also a certain duality associated with all the mutable quality signs.

In all seriousness, this description could not have described Mark and I better! It is incredibly close to who we are. Poor Peter is the odd-man-out on the Mutable sign front…but then again, based on all this….stuff…. you might say maybe not “poor” Peter since the negatives of the mutable traits contains the tendency to get wrapped up in tiny particulars, too indecisive and perfectly happy to fill a mundane roll. If he is a real go-getter, like my Capricorn sister is, he’s likely to be quite a successful fellow (successful, in society’s terms)!

So, how else do our zodiacal signs pan out…some short synopses:

Virgo (Jenn):

Analytical / critical / insightful

Precise / meticulous

Orderly / methodical

Practical / pragmatic

Mental / intelligent / inquiring

Responsible / reliable


Shrewd / witty / clever

Conservative / conventional

Refined / polite / well mannered

Hygienic / clean

Reserved / cool / undemonstrative

Gemini (Mark):




Intellectual, mentally oriented

Fickle and inconsistent



Nervous and tense

Superficial – NO WAY THIS IS MARK!!











Can become cynical, biting, moody (duality)

Capricorn (Peter):


Disciplined / methodical / organized

Prudent / cautious / careful

Ambitious / focused

Trustworthy / dependable / reliable


Self-reliant / independent

Steadfast / persevering / stable

Persistent / dedicated


Rational / reasonable


Shrewd / wise

Aloof / businesslike



Traditional / conventional


Pisces (unborn baby):

malleable / impressionable


good natured / easygoing

likeable / charming

compassionate / sympathetic



instinctive / intuitive

imaginative / artistically able


gullible / naive / easily led




What does all this mean? Who knows….I found it interesting and maybe my family will too…but I doubt anyone else will :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More confessions

Holy mother of all that tastes fabulous! I've heard of women (and yes, some men) sitting down, opening a pint of ice cream and finishing the whole thing in one sitting - but I have never experienced that ... need (for lack of a better word) until today! We're going to blame this on the pregnancy and move on. I hope I never do this again, because I can just hear my arteries clogging up now!

Today I bought some Ben & Jerry's S'mores ice cream...oooohhh sooo good! Boy did this ice cream find some tiny little tucked away spot in my cravings! Next thing I knew I had eaten the whole freakin pint of ice cream. Funny thing is I don't feel miserable at all! Maybe that's not funny - that's kind of scary. I'm actually craving some pizza now...must be that sweet/salty thing.

I hope I don't have too many more of these food confessions to share!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Peter's Valentine's Day cards

This year I had Peter make his Valentine's Day Cards. We started out by having him go crazy painting on huge sheets of paper. He did about 3 rounds of this over about a week. Which was perfect because the week we chose to work the temperatures here in D.C. hit highs of about 25...kind of cold.

After allowing his paintings to dry I traced hearts on the paintings and cut them out.

While I was tracing and cutting I gave Peter several sheets of construction paper to "write" his notes. He had a stack of paper, a pile of markers, pens and crayons and had a blast.

Finally, after I was finished cutting out all the hearts and he was finished writing all of his notes, he sat in my lap and helped me glue everything to large sheets of construction paper....


Voila...Peter's Valentine's Day cards:

Hopefully I'll get all the envelopes addressed and mailed within the next couple of days!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I had three, yes, THREE! Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches for lunch today! They went down amazingly quick and easy! The consumption of such a large number of sandwiches probably has a lot to do with waiting until 2:00 pm to eat lunch! Hopefully the fact that I ate them on wheat bread helps the nutritional value of that so-called meal go up a bit.

What’s sad, is I’m sitting here trying to resist the urge to go in the kitchen and forage for whatever it is I’m still craving!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An unexpected Afternoon at the Hospital

Yesterday I had my routine check up with the OB/GYN. When asked if I have been OK or if there had been any problems, I had to tell them about falling off a ladder the day before. I KNOW!!! I shouldn’t be up on the ladder. I just got caught up in setting up the baby’s room and decided I needed to organize the top-most shelf of the closet. I was doubly smart because not only was on the top step of the 3-step ladder, but I also had on my big, oversized fuzzy slippers. I fell from the top step straight down to the hardwood floor right on my tailbone, which still hurts today. After a bit of crying, I lay down a bit, the baby was kicking as usual, I had no cramps, and just a tiny bit of spotting that stopped immediately – so I figured all was well and I would just mention it at my doc appointment the next day.

After telling the doctor this little story he said he wanted to send me for a non-stress test just to check that the baby is alright. He said he also had some concerns about my blood pressure being a bit too low. He explained the only place he can send me without an appointment was the hospital and the OB/GYN office had a doc on duty over there. I was to go next door to Shady Gove Hospital, ask for Dr. Alter and he’d get my tests done.

I walk into the Labor and Delivery waiting area, it was 12:30pm and I was starving! I tell the front desk what I was there for and what doctor I was looking for. I was asked to take a seat. I sit down and look at the very full waiting room. That’s when I realized this was not going to be an in/out visit because the people waiting in the waiting area were not only family members but pregnant women waiting to be seen! One woman was moaning in pain. I also noticed that all the women had actually already been admitted; they all had the bands on their wrists with their names and vital info. Moments later the head nurse comes out and tells me they are backlogged with about a two-hour wait and she can’t get me a bed for a while. I explained I really didn’t need a bed that all I was there for was the non-stress test and some blood work. She said she can take me back to an office and draw the blood now…and said it was best to get that done now since it took 4 hours for the results to come back! Ugh. So, I’m admitted, wrist band on, blood drawn and seated back in the waiting area. This is how my day went all day… Me, taken back for a test, brought back to the waiting area. I watched as the moms in labor were finally taken back to their rooms one by one; and the surprise on the new moms-in-labor’s faces when they show up only to be admitted and ushered to the waiting area.

Now it was 1:30 pm, I had not eaten since breakfast at 8:00am and the only test done was the blood work. I ask the front desk what was next and how long the wait might be. She called the head nurse and with in a few minutes another nurse was out front asking for me to take me down to another floor for the Ultrasound. More waiting at the Ultrasound area, I’m finally in the room and on my back for the ultrasound around 2:00 pm. We start chatting and I mentioned how hungry I was and how long I’d been there. She was genuinely shocked. She said she had to call up and ask for me to be sent down. Grrr… The ultrasound required they monitor the baby for 30 minutes watching for particular things such as flexing a major limb, she checks the spine, the heart, and “breathing”. Of course there is no air in the womb the breathing they refer to is the baby practicing his breathing. He never did, but, the technician said, that’s not unusual…it’s not something the baby does constantly. I wait outside the ultrasound room for the nurse from upstairs to come back and get me. I’m back upstairs and ask what’s next – the front desk calls back to the head nurse to find out what’s next. She says we just wait for the test results.

3:00 pm and I still haven’t eaten and I’m still waiting. I go back to the front desk and smile at the nurse there, she smiles back and says “you poor thing”. I said, can we check for the results, I think it’s been an hour since the ultrasound. She calls back to the head nurse says OK a couple of times and hangs up. She says, they’re reading the results with your doctor now.

4:00 pm the front desk nurse calls me up to the desk and asks what my due date is. I tell her I have scheduled c-section for March 5th. She repeats this into the phone says OK and hangs up. She says they’re not letting you go home, the nurse will be out a minute to take you to your room. Now let me say, I had been calm collected and unbelievably patient the whole day…all because I just knew all these tests were just a precaution and that the baby and I were just fine. However, when the nurse told me they were keeping me …the events of the day just overwhelmed me! I was tired, irritated, sooo sooo hungry and now, and worried beyond belief. I managed to say OK to the front desk nurse without a single show of emotion, and the instant I turned around to walk away a flood of tears gushed out, I dug in my bag to find my cell phone and call my husband. How he understood a single word I uttered I don’t know, because I could barely speak for the all the crying. I’m in mid-sentence when the nurses (two of them) show up to take me to my room…more gushing of tears. I get off the phone.

I’m brought to my room, told to undress and put on the gown and the doc and nurse would be in shortly. They arrive to talk to me, ask questions, and discuss the results of my tests. The doc asks the nurse about the ultrasound results, in their doc-lingo I hear them discuss the amount of amniotic fluid I have, it seems the baby’s heart rate was in question as well, and my blood pressure was discussed again. They turn back to me and ask the last time I ate, the last time I had a movement, if I’ve seen more bleeding. They turn back and discuss more. They tell me they are going to monitor the baby and hook up a heart monitor for the baby on my tummy and leave.

I’m in the room, by myself, listening to baby’s heart on the monitor. Horrible thoughts of early delivery race through my mind, and I start crying again. I start calming myself down by thinking about the fact that with only 4 weeks left to my due date that if the baby did have to be delivered now, it will be ok. To prepare myself for the baby to be in NICU for a while, but that everything would OK….just fine.

An hour later the nurse comes back in the room, starts unhooking all the equipment and says…OK, you can go home. What?! I start crying again. She says what’s wrong. I said I’m emotionally distraught and explained I had spent the last hour trying to mentally prepare myself for the baby to have to be delivered today and trying to prepare myself for a baby in the NICU. OH honey, she says, if something had been wrong, the chances you would have had to deliver today would have been pretty slim – there are a lot of things we can do! Next time, voice your concerns so we can put them to rest. She finishes unhooking me, I jump up to pee (it was urgent) call my husband and tell him to turn back around he doesn’t have to battle rush-hour traffic to come to the hospital and I got the hell out of there!

I get home at 6:30 pm and am greeted with a GIGANTIC hug from my son, and by my husband and my parents waiting with concerned faces. I explain the day, we all eat dinner, my parents go home and I go to bed.