Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Farewell, Cavalier!

Funny how certain things will get to a person. Today, Robin sold his Cavalier to a somewhat flaky, recent college grad who contacted him through his craigslist ad. Maybe it is just pregnancy hormones, but this has caused me to be reflective. I remember how excited Robin was to have a brand new car after he received the tragic news that his '87 Volkswagen Golf (that was specifically made in EAST Germany) was rusting out. The Cavalier treated us well: it was the car that Robin drove to Texas to surprise me when I was here all by myself, and the car he moved himself down in a month and a half later. It brought both of us, as well as all of our wedding presents, back to Austin after our wedding in August 2005, and the car we shared until I finally bought my own vehicle in August 2006.

Farewell to the Cavalier! You served us well!

Priceless comments

Working in a high school means countless ridiculous comments regarding my always-growing belly and pregnancy in general. Here are some highlights:

1.) It gets bigger every day!
2.) It looks like you're hiding a basketball under there.
3.) Are you feeling hormonal? (My response: No, you're just being rude.)
4.) Remember, kids, we don't touch the teacher. (My answer when they ask to touch my belly.)
5.) How many months do you have? (ALL of my Spanish-speaking kids say this instead of "How many months are you?)
6.) You're getting FAT! (At which point, we had a brief lesson in appropriate ways to comment on pregnancy in earlier stages. Ex: You're starting to show OR I can see the baby is growing.)
And my personal favorite...
7.) Whoa! It's coming at me! (When I leaned over a student to pass a paper to the person behind her.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

House Update: Two steps closer...

Robin officially got word today that our house passed all electric and HVA/C inspections! We are two steps closer to the elusive Certificate of Occupancy!

To-Do List: Maternity Leave

One of the things that has been incredibly overwhelming for me throughout our preparations for Baby G.'s arrival is thinking about maternity leave and childcare. I spent Sunday on the sofa trying to kick a cold, and when I woke up this morning still not feeling back to my usual self, I decided to get a sub and take a sick day. I have been able to use the sick day to park on the sofa and make some calls.

Here are the positives: 

1.) Austin Independent School District will provide me with 4 weeks of full-paid leave and then 2 weeks of leave at about 65% of my normal pay rate. This should take me through mid- to late April, depending on when Baby G. decides to make her grand debut. 

2.) Because I work for a larger agency, I am protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act, meaning that I can take up to 12 weeks after my paid leave off unpaid and be guaranteed to have my job waiting upon my return. Because of summer vacation, should I choose to take the entire remainder of the school year off, this means 5-6 weeks unpaid. Were I to work for a smaller company, they would not be required to offer me this benefit.

3.) Robin's mom has graciously offered to come down for the last week of the school year, meaning that it is very possible for me to go back to work the last one or two weeks of the school year, earning a bit more to ease the financial strain of taking May unpaid. We are fortunate that my due date falls in March, meaning that really, we only have to work out what to do with this month of May, and then I will be able to take care of Baby G. through the summer and delay putting her in daycare until September. 

Here are the negatives:

1.) Daycare is crazy expensive and ridiculously hard to get your child into. 

2.) I couldn't help but do a bit of research into parental leave laws and requirements in other developed countries, which led to some frustration. As I said, I am fortunate to work for a district that offers me some paid leave and to have job protection through the FMLA. Not all parents have this. If I feel this stressed about money and leave with these benefits, I can't imagine what it must feel like for parents that have no access to them.

In general, though, I now know what I have to do to get all of this in order. I have the paperwork, need to notify my principal, and all should be good!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

House Update

Robin has been working insanely hard to finish what I began calling our "crazy house project" over a year ago. Long story short: Our little 1940s house was moved in June, leaving our lot empty. We both really loved that house, but realized that, with the rising property values in our neighborhood, it was too small and too run-down for anyone to buy without the almost inevitable plan to tear down. After lots of consideration, we decided to redevelop the property ourselves. Robin did an extensive amount of research and opted to try his hand at designing and then building two modular town homes. The units finally arrived in late October, and we will be moving in at the end of next week. Robin has done a really beautiful job, even with several very frustrating setbacks. 

Now the challenge will be selling the "other half." While our current economy makes this a daunting task, we are lucky to live in a city that, as of December had the second fastest moving housing market in the country and happen to have landed in a neighborhood that still seems to be doing alright, in terms of real estate. The house is on the market, and as the units become finished, Robin will move his focus to marketing them. Definitely keep us in your thoughts and/or prayers, send us positive energy, do whatever it is you do in hopes of getting this house sold!

Baby update: 5 pounder is holding up well.

Robin and I are doing everything we can to prepare for this baby before we move into the new house. Most major purchases have been made, and we have taken our birthing class at Seton Hospital, where we will be delivering. Still on the to-do list are finding a daycare, though I have one in mind, and getting my maternity leave/possible disability leave in order. 

Some might be wondering about whether or not Baby G. has a name, and the answer is yes, she does. We have picked out a name that we are very excited about, but we have decided to follow the steps of some friends and family before us and keep the name a secret until it is officially on the birth certificate. Her first name will begin with an "L," and Robin has described the name to some as "classic and inspired." More information to come in March! 

At our last doctor's appointment, everything checked out well. Baby G. is measuring as a big little girl; at 32 weeks, the ultrasound estimate for her weight was 5 lb. We have been told by lots of people that these estimates are notoriously wrong, so we are holding out hope. If it is right and she goes to 40 weeks, we will be having a very big girl!

Finally, Robin and I have made the decision to have a doula at the baby's birth. After hearing about friends' positive experiences with doulas and deciding that we would really love to have a drug-free delivery, we figured a doula was a good idea. We interviewed two and felt an immediate connection with Kristen Downer, the doula who was present at the birth of Sofia, Robin's cousins Anne Michelle and Tristan's daughter. For those that are not familiar with the role of the doula, check out this website. If you are one of our Austin area friends and would like Kristen's contact info for yourself or someone else, let us know!

Not the blogging kind...

As most of you know, Robin and I have a couple major milestones in the works: we will be moving into a new house, designed, contracted, and handcrafted by Robin at the end of January (next week!) and are expecting a baby girl in March. With friends and family spread across the country, we have been discussing a blog for awhile. We figure we need a way to make updates accessible to faraway friends!

This will be a challenge for me. I am a master at starting projects like this and not following through. Hopefully, this time will be a success!