Thursday, April 22, 2010


For some reason, coming up with a name is much harder this time than it was last time. Or maybe it was equally hard last time and I've just blocked it out. (Apparently, the latter.) Either way, we're past the 34 week point and still haven't really made any progress on names. Well, we did sit down this weekend with our spreadsheet* from last time, with popularity data updated and prior grades and notes removed, as well as some names added, and then we regraded and rediscussed. But I am not feeling at all settled in our rankings, and certainly don't feel as though those rankings represent our selections. Or at least mine.

I think for me, the main issue is that of significance. Harry's name has meaning to me. And we have a few more boy name choices that have some significance (three of our top four, in fact), though my top pick among them isn't Ps. But we can't get there with girl names. (And we are waiting until birth to find out what we're having again.) In part, this derives from the fact that many of the women in our family have had names that are decidedly unfashionable today, and I just couldn't saddle a baby with one of them. The names of our combined grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and sisters of our grandparents and great-grandparents are: Edna, Esther, Wilma, Mildred (x2), Helen (x5), Marie, Blanche, Adelaide, Emma, Clara (x2), Florence (x3), Meta (pronounced MEE-ta), Wilhemina (x2), Anna (x2), Mary (x3), Margaret, Magdalena, Elizabeth, Theresa, Lucile, Edith, Almira, Maude, Ida, Joyce, Eva, Ruby, Lillie, Effie, Bessie, Gertrude, Cecelia, Marian, Agnes, Althea (with the number in parantheses noting when that name was used more than once, and the order generally reflecting their proximity (i.e. grandparents, then great-grandparents, then siblings)). I tried going back another generation, but mainly got another set of Marys, along with a few names we'd never use because they really don't work with our last name.

The second problem is that using family names is wholly unimportant to P. I think he'd prefer not to use a family name. Which just doesn't work for me. But it looks increasingly like it will be the case, as only one or two of those names got an even remotely positive reaction from him.** This kills me. But I can't just override his preferences, as much as I may sometimes want to.

In all honesty, I think it kills me in part because of the fact that Harry's name does have this connection with the past. When people ask our kids why they got their names, I hate that one will be able to give a lengthy explication while the other will only be able to say that their name was one of the few that one or both of their parents didn't dislike. No "it has this great family history" or "it has an awesome meaning" or "it's the name of a favorite character in a much loved book." And that makes me sad. And makes me hope we have a boy for this reason alone.

* Did I mention the spreadsheet last time? I got sick of feeling like his principle contribution was the veto of every name I suggested, so I decided we would each make lists. I then combined our lists into a spreadsheet and, for each name, added potential nicknames, popularity ranking, and meaning. We then went through the list and came up with a combined grade for each name on a 1-5 scale and made notes on the name, also adding possible middle names. We then resorted by grade. It was incredibly geeky, but incredibly helpful.

** Note that some don't work because of our last name -- pretty much any name ending with M or any name that is two syllables and ends with A is out. And some of the above are actually funny with our last name (for those who know our last name, Emma is probably the funniest of the above choices, though Uma is definitely the most comic overall). The best choices tend to be longer names. Also, we are nickname people, so if the name doesn't lend itself to some kind of tolerable nickname, it becomes much tougher for us to imagine using.

Monday, April 19, 2010

PTL (Not Me)

Our friend who is due with twins (two girls!) in June has been having a rough pregnancy. Terrible morning sickness was followed by a strange problem with her back causing pain to radiate throughout her torso. When that finally got under control, the Braxton Hicks began, landing her in the hospital a few times. Over the past week, they have become painful, and an ultrasound showed that her cervix had shortened significantly, so she was put on bedrest.

Her first day of bedrest, the contractions increased in frequency, and she was admitted to the hospital. After steroid injections and a drug to stop the contractions (neither mag nor terbutaline -- because I wasn't familiar with it, I have forgotten what it was), the contractions stopped and she was moved from L&D to an observation floor. She was supposed to come home yesterday, but still wasn't home when I last checked in earlier today.

If you could keep her in your thoughts, I'd appreciate it. And if anyone has any suggestions for she and her husband with respect to getting through a month or more of bedrest, send them my way and I'll pass them on. (And to the one of you who knows her, I'm not sure how public she has been with this info, so please don't mention it unless she has mentioned it to you.) Thanks!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Joneses

Friends of ours bought a new home last fall. They knew the market was bad and that they wouldn't be able to sell their old one for anything approximating what they felt it was worth, so they rent it out for approximately what they pay on the mortgage each month. Between their two homes, they own approximately three times as much house as we do, property-value-wise (space-wise, it's more like two times, and I don't have a clue regarding equity). I have no idea what these friends earn, but I don't imagine that it's significantly more than what we do.

Other friends of ours are currently looking to buy a new home (they currently have a condo). The places they are looking at are definitely out of our price range by a reasonable margin (not that we're looking -- I'm pretty sure we're underwater on our mortgage as it is). And they, combined, earn quite a bit less than we do.

I don't feel like we spend frivolously (but maybe we do?) or do anything crazy as far as finances go. Our debts are limited to 1. mortgage 2. student loans from law school (not huge) and 3. car loan (also not huge). For assets, we have our house, two cars (one paid for, the other worth far more than we owe on it), several retirement accounts (I think P has two from his current job, plus an older one, and I have one from my current job, plus an older one), a brokerage account, Harry's college fund, and our basic bank accounts. In the balance, we have a decent net worth, despite the craptastic economy and its effect on our home value and our various retirement and brokerage accounts. Yet somehow it feels like other people in our same geographic area (and therefore with a similar cost of living) seem to be able to stretch their money further. Part of it, I'm sure, is my uncertainty regarding my future job situation -- I feel like we have to maintain a reasonable savings level in order to ensure we can get by when I lose my job. But the rest of it? I have no idea.

Having had the realization that others seem to live better on less (and, yes, I recognize that it's a "seem to" issue), I signed up for in order to better track our finances, though it's a bit tough since P and I still (after nearly five years of marriage) haven't merged our accounts, so it really just reflects my finances right now (though I do earn 75-80% of our household income and am responsible for most of our expenses). I have also started pulling together a binder of important financial info, containing current statements from all our various accounts and copies of insurance policies, etc., both so we have a comprehensive record of everything should anything happen to one or both of us and so that we can begin to evaluate where we stand. To that end, I think we need to consult a financial planner. I need someone else to look over our stuff and tell me where we're going wrong (or tell me that we're not). I've started formulating my list of questions, but am not entirely sure where to begin. (I'm open to advice on that subject.)

Does anyone else ever feel like they missed some important day at school in which planning for the future and figuring out how to manage one's financial affairs was covered? Or is it just me?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Might Have Been

I often have subscribed to the semi-magical belief that the body into which your soul was placed was just too imperfect, or perhaps your soul was just not ready, but that you would come to me, to my life, on some later date. So the you that might have been wasn't really lost. But, as for me, I'm pretty sure that me really was.

Perhaps this is callous to acknowledge on your unbirthday, but I often suspect that I mourn more the me that might have been had you not left what you knew of this earth too soon than I do you. Among other things, for this I am sorry.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

It's Friday, so it's time to join Danifred for some leftovers.
  • Every week or two, Harry decides to switch up what books must be read before bed. After a few weeks of A Cat and A Dog and Bear Wants More, we are now on Bear's New Friend and The Little Engine That Could. Multiple reads of each, of course. I love that he knows parts of Bear's New Friend, though. Right before the two eyes peek-a-boo, he covers his eyes. And then he says "hi," as he knows it's what Bear says next. Finally, he pretends to splash when the animals are swimming. It's amazing to watch him as he learns and remembers things.
  • I am trying to do the Hypnobabies Home Study course, but am finding it very hard to find time to listen to multiple tracks on CD/iPod every day. It ends up being about an hour a day and would be more if I started listening to the VBAC tracks, which I know I need to do at some point.
  • There's some secret benefactor out there who just wants to give us a Bumbleride Indie Twin, right? I think that's what we've settled on. The perfect one popped up on Craigslist (brand new, 2010 model, for $300 off the list price) but I wasn't fast enough :( Damn.
  • Yesterday's Cake Wrecks was awesome. And so gross. Soooo gross.
  • I'm taking today off work and trying to get some things done while Harry is in daycare. Thus far, I've got Harry some new short-sleeved white onesies, as he has outgrown most of the ones he has and I like to use them as undershirts for him, and some light-weight footie pajamas, as well as a raincoat. I also finished painting the trim in Harry's BBR and wiped down the walls. Slowly making a dent in the list. I also went to church, since it's Good Friday and all.