November 30, 2008

We’ll be back after these short messages!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:18 pm by Erin

The end of Thanksgiving break heralds the busiest weeks of the semester for me.  The last week of classes, with the assorted papers and assignments and tests that are all being done, and final exams.  Plus my choir concerts and P's birthday/birthday party.

We had a great time at Thanksgiving with J's parents.  Seriously.  Why are you looking at me like that?  I swear I can have fun with them. 

I only had to bite my tongue a few times.  I'll tell you about most of them later, but the worst example occurred the first night: We were playing Apples to Apples with J's parents, his cousin, her husband, and their two kids.  I had never met the cousin and her family before, but she mentioned that she felt like she knew me already because they've read my family blog. 

For those who have never played Apples to Apples: the first card that's thrown has an adjective on it.  Each player has a handful of noun cards–people, things, places, random objects.  Everyone except the judge chooses the card they think is best described by the card that was thrown, then the judge chooses the winner.  In our game, the first card thrown read "Offensive".  All the cards were thrown in and the judge that round was going through them.  One of the ones put in was "Democrats", and J's cousin's husband pipes up with "I couldn't think of anything more offensive!"

Mind you, if they read my family blog, then they know I'm a Democrat.  And I only bit my tongue halfway off.  I was impressed with my self-restraint.

So I'm off to finish the semester and hopefully regain my health.  Have I mentioned that, since the walking pneumonia (10 days of antibiotics), I've also had a sinus infection (10 days of antibiotics) and now have bacterial pinkeye (5 days of antibiotic eyedrops)?  J thinks the walking pneumonia killed my immune system and I can't disagree with him.  He expressed the hope that none of my students come in with the flu in the next two weeks.

Me too, love.  Me too.

November 21, 2008

Sometimes I wonder why I bother

Posted in Teaching traumas at 7:19 pm by Erin

Sometimes teaching really drags me down.  I have a lot of very difficult students this semester–the ones who whine about being penalized for not completing the assignment as it was directed, the procrastinator, the ones who don't want to know anything except what's on the test, the ones who just complain about everything (even the temperature in the room).

I know a BIG part of it is that I have no science majors this semester, that all of my students are non-majors and really don't care about being there.  There's very little positive feedback from them in this situation, because all they want is to finish their requirements and get done with the class–and any work I ask them to do is too much work.  They don't need to know this for their majors, so it's unimportant and simply a waste of their time.  I'm trying to keep that in mind, but it's the end of the semester and it's wearing on me.

Next semester, the only classes I'm teaching are for health science majors.  It is a huge difference to have motivated students who want to do well and actually care about the information since they know they will use it in the future.  I'm also trying to remember that.

Metformin 1, Erin 0

Posted in TTC woes at 6:54 am by Erin

I started back on metformin (850 mg extended-release, which is what I've always taken) last week, on Wednesday morning.  I had some stomach rumblings that evening and a few more the next day, after another pill on Thursday morning.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were fine, so I decided to add the second one on Sunday evening.  I did the same thing Monday evening, though I felt very mildly nauseated.  Tuesday night, I felt nauseated to the point that I turned down J's amorous overtures, pulled the covers over my head, and went straight to sleep to escape the nausea.  I felt fine on Wednesday morning and through the day.  Wednesday night, I had a brilliant idea–if I wait to take the metformin until I'm about to go to bed, I'll sleep through the nausea and my body will start adjusting!  Sure enough, I had a small snack along with my metformin as I was about to go to bed and fell asleep no problem.

All was good until about 3:30 a.m., when I woke up feeling very nauseated.  To the point where I laid there for 10 minutes debating about getting up to go throw up.  Finally, I decided that I did in fact need to throw up, went to the bathroom, vomited repeatedly and horribly, and after copious mouth rinsings (did you know you shouldn't brush your teeth right after you throw up because you can brush off tooth enamel that gets softened by the stomach acid?  I learned that from my dental hygiene students.), went back to bed with my stomach feeling pretty well settled.  I woke up at 6:30 feeling like you would expect from having been so sick in the middle of the night.  Bleh.  After a few hours, some water, and some Cheerios, I felt pretty much like my normal self.

Both of the previous times I've started metformin again (once before getting pregnant with P and once when we were TTC#2), I've only had minor stomach upset.  I couldn't figure out what happened this time.  Then I realized–when I added the second pill each of those times, I would alternate days and do 1-2-1-2 until my stomach was OK before going to 2 pills every day.  This time I completely forgot about that and, once I was adjusted to one pill, went straight to two every day.  Oops.

So I took yesterday off the metformin entirely and will go back to taking just one per day for the weekend.  Then next week, I'll alternate days for two.  I'm going to do it for a full week, because we'll be at my IL's house for Thanksgiving and I don't want to risk middle-of-the-night vomiting in a bathroom right next to their bedroom.

On the bright side, I've already lost 2 pounds and have been feeling significantly fewer food cravings.  I think it's already really helping to even out my blood sugar levels.  I do have to be careful to eat a well-balanced meal with good protein in order not to feel faint between meals (small snacks are good too).  Since I would really like to avoid the type II diabetes that my mom has already developed, I know this will be helpful.  It's frustrating to feel like all you can think about is that next carb-loaded snack, and I'm really glad this is helping me.

As long as I can avoid the vomiting.

November 20, 2008

I should start a separate blog for teaching vents

Posted in Teaching traumas at 1:22 pm by Erin

So again, feel free to ignore this one.

A student e-mailed me last night to say that he was really sorry, he couldn't come to the test on Monday because he had to go out of town, and could he take it any other time.  I e-mailed back to ask what was the reason that he suddenly had to leave town on Monday since the test was on the syllabus on that date back in August.  I thought maybe he had some sort of family emergency and was already leaving town, and knew he wouldn't be back by Monday (trying to give him the benefit of the doubt). 

He said he was going to visit family and was really sorry that he hadn't been on top of the flight arrangements but didn't think he could get it switched.  Mind you, we had class yesterday afternoon.  Did he say anything then?  No.  He chose to wait until the last possible minute and then e-mail me, rather than talking to me in person.  I have had several other students who've had the same issue (family members making their flight arrangements without asking them about their schedules), but every one of them came and talked to me about it weeks ago.

I checked my syllabus to see exactly what my written policy is for the class, and it is that they must inform me as soon as possible, all make-ups are essay-style, instead of partly multiple-choice, and they will be given on the first possible date after the scheduled test.  I wrote back that this was the policy and that I would let him do a make-up, but that I had didn't believe that he had just booked the tickets the day before and that he had actually informed me "as soon as possible".  I said something about how it showed a lack of responsibility for his coursework to procrastinate informing me about this until the last minute.

He felt it appropriate to write back and say something to the effect of "I'm sure you can relate in my procrastinating since you haven't written the test for Monday and sometimes don't get PowerPoints up until right before class."

WTF???????????  I'm sorry, what makes you think that's something appropriate to say?  There is a huge difference between procrastinating telling me that you aren't showing up for a test that's been scheduled for 3 months and me working on my PowerPoints until class time because I simply did not have time to finish them earlier.  Or between procrastinating telling me about your flight arrangements and me deliberately waiting to write the test to see what material we've covered before then.  I rarely procrastinate professionally (because I stress about things until they're done, and it's just not worth the stress).  I've been writing the test for the class that I have before that one.  I've been writing lectures for the classes I will see between now and Monday.  Guess what?  You are NOT MY ONLY TEACHING PRIORITY.  There is a BIG difference between prioritizing and procrastinating.

Must go write a test now…ha ha.

November 19, 2008

My baby is TWO YEARS OLD!

Posted in Adventures o' K at 10:28 am by Erin

I can't even believe it.  We had K's birthday party the other day (and we even all survived) and it felt incredibly surreal the whole time.  Last night when I was making cupcakes for his class, it felt surreal.  It's hard to wrap my brain around it.  It just seems so fast.  I know that it has been a little over 8 months since he came home, but it has gone so quickly.  The three months until we got to go get him took forever.  These 8 months have sped by.

I have so much to write about him.  He is the most special little boy.  In some ways he is a very typical two-year-old, complete with tantrums and attitude.  Most everything is "MINE!" even though he doesn't say 'mine' yet.  I could swear that I heard a toddler-ese "I do it!" this morning, which frightens me even though I knew it was coming.  There's plenty "I-want-it-give-me-that-it's-the-best-thing-in-the-world-nowNowNOW-I-don't-want-that-are-you-kidding-me-quit-torturing-me-by-giving-that-to-me!"  (This morning we went through it with a banana.)

But there is so much more to him than that.  He's so affectionate and cuddly–J and I often wonder how we ended up with the cuddliest kids in the world.  He blows kisses every time he says "Bye bye" and charms simply everyone with his beautiful smile and long, curly eyelashes.

He loves to play, though he's still in the parallel-play stage and it's hard to play with him because he hasn't quite figured it out yet.  He loves puzzles and has gotten quite good at them.  Trucks and cars and trains are still his very favorite toys, and he LOVES the ball pit that my parents got him for his birthday.

K is walking and dancing but not yet running or jumping.  He's also starting to talk but is still quite delayed.  We've had 6 months of speech and physical therapy and are continuing them on the recommendations of both of his therapists.  Regardless, he's such an energetic kid!  He loves to be on the go and has come to regard both his carseat and booster chair at the table as torture devices akin to the iron maiden.  The booster is a little better because at least there's food associated with that one–but he usually takes the food in one hand and tries to get out of his chair! 

He's really funny.  This morning, he was dancing around with tiny steps and chanting "Nana!  Nana!  Nana!" while I peeled a banana for him.  (This was, of course, prior to the "bananas are the enemy" part of the show.)  Last night he would come into the kitchen, look at me until I looked back, and then raced away with giggles spilling over as I chased him around the house.  When he was tired of that, he stopped until I caught up, gave him hugs and kisses, and went back to what I was doing.  Then he would come back in and start it over again.

There is so much more to write that I hardly know where to start.  He loves to hear stories and to "read" on his own, and his attention span has increased quite a bit.  It's funny that the thing that makes him most content and allows him to fall asleep most easily is when he brings his Elmo book into bed and looks at it for a few minutes.  (Sometimes Goodnight Moon.)  He wants to hear stories and heaven forbid that I forget to sing him a song, but he still wants a book in his crib.

In adoption, there's often talk about preserving the birth order of the adoptive family but there's almost never talk about preserving the birth order of the adopted child.  Both P and K are oldest children in their biological families, and P continues to be the oldest child in our family.  K, although a younger child in our family, displays a LOT of characteristics that are often attributed to oldest children.  According to this site, first-born children are energetic, logical, ambitious, enterprising, and scholarly–and (except for enterprising, which I suppose we'll have to find out in the future), that's both P and K.  Middle children, which is what K will ultimately be, are supposed to be flexible, diplomatic, rebellious, attention seeking, competitive, and peacemakers.  I would certainly not characterize K as flexible or diplomatic or a peacemaker.  He is attention-seeking and competitive, as younger children must be.  It's really interesting to see how both of my children display the same traits.

I could go on about him for hours.  Seriously.  He is so precious.  And now he's two.

Happy birthday, my baby.

(Picture popped!)

November 14, 2008

K is turning 2!

Posted in Adventures o' K at 6:53 am by Erin

His birthday isn't until next week, so I'll blog more about him then.  What I can't figure out is how in the world I'm hosting a birthday party for a 2 year old that has 32 people coming to it, 16 of them kids.  And that's with 7 families who can't make it.  Can you tell that I was a little excited to celebrate his birthday when I invited people?

2 years old.  16 kids.  None over age 5. Half of them K's age or less.

Maybe I should have gone on Prozac instead of Metformin.

November 13, 2008

Just a quick vent

Posted in Teaching traumas at 1:48 pm by Erin

Feel free to ignore it.

Gave an assignment to my students that was due today.  It said right on there that late assignments would be penalized 10 points.  Had a student who came up to me 2 minutes before class to say "I don't have the whole assignment because I couldn't find the sheet that we needed to turn in."  When I explained that I would be happy to help but he would still be penalized 10 points for turning the assignment in late, he walked out of class.  Then he proceeded to write me a long e-mail about how unfair that was and how I should consider that some students might need more help than others.

I never end a class without saying "If you have questions, please come ask me!"  I respond to student phone calls and e-mails as soon as I get them.  I take as much time as my students need to help them.  PLUS, this wasn't a misunderstanding.  This was a case where the student lost a sheet from the assignment that they were to fill out and turn in.  Several students e-mailed me over the last 2 days for the same reason.  I attached the file and sent it to them.  It took 10 seconds each time.  I also posted it on my website so they had access to it without e-mailing me.  FWIW, I gave the assignment a month ago.

HAD the student taken some personal responsibility to be sure that he had what he needed more than 2 minutes before the assignment was due, this would not be an issue.  But to both fail to take responsibility for it and blame me for reminding him that there was a penalty for doing so–that's ridiculous.

If anyone wants to know my biggest pet peeve?  Failing to take responsibility for your own actions.  That would be it.

And now I've given way too much time and thought to this situation.

November 4, 2008

How to make a fool of yourself

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:11 am by Erin

Be in your office with another professor, joking with two students that the two of you share; one has them in lecture and the other in lab.  Have them walk out of your office practically shouting with laughter over something that was said.  Take a sip of soda.  At that very moment, watch as the president of the college sticks his head in your doorx to comment on the situation (favorably, of course).  Choke on your soda as you try to say hi to him.  Cough all over the tests that you were grading.  In front of the president.


xThe president's office is on another campus, and I don't think I've seen him but once before on our campus.  So it was something of a surprise to have him poke his head into my office.  But still.

November 2, 2008

It’s for my health, really

Posted in TTC woes at 9:08 pm by Erin

I'm going back on metformin.  And I've been off birth control pills for months.

J knew I was off birth control pills.  They were completely killing my sex drive, and neither J nor I was particularly happy about that.  I had told J that I needed to call the doctor and see about going back on one that I'd previously been on, but I never did and J knew it.  I would tell him when I thought I would ovulate.  I would tell him when I was post-ovulatory.  But we'd never actually talked about what that could mean.

Meanwhile, I have had two or three cycles since going off birth control.  And each time I've gotten my period, it's been fine.  Sure, I've wondered each time if maybe it might happen but when my period has come right on time, it really has been perfectly OK with me.  As J said, when I told him, I have normal person emotions about it!

Today, I asked him about what he thought about me going back on metformin.  I said it's unlikely it would actually lead to me getting pregnant, since we did have the whole three years of TTC after having P that didn't work, but it could possibly happen.  And if I did get pregnant, it would reduce the risk of another miscarriage.  But for health reasons, and the fact that we do actually want to TTC again, I'd like to go back on.  He said go for it.  K's going to be 2 in a couple of weeks and, if by some miracle I managed to get pregnant again (and not miscarry this time), he and the potential next one would be about 3 years apart.  P and K are 3 years apart.  We like the age difference between them.  It would be OK.

We're not TTC.  We'll keep going with our lives as we've been.  If it happens, we'll be thrilled.  If not, I hope I can maintain this feeling of contentment with my life and lack of disappointment when my period shows up right on schedule.  And if it doesn't happen, we'll probably do IVF next fall as we'd planned.

I guess we'll see…