27 December 2006

Diagnosis

It's about fucking time. I had yet another doctor's appointment today, this one a follow up to the one a month ago that was to determine that I wasn't completely falling apart despite having a period that had lasted 19 days up till that point. As the nurse is poking around up my whoo-ha with the sonogram wand, we discovered, clear as day, that I have polycystic ovaries. Hence, I can say now, with confidence, that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. This explains EVERYTHING. We've kind of thought I've had this, except that (a) I was able to get pregnant without even trying which kind of goes against the core of being polycystic and (b) whenever my overies had been peeked at before, that little tell-tale "chain of pearls" never showed up.

Long story short, what this means is that when I ovulate, the ovum doesn't always get released out of the ovaries, instead implating itself on the wall of the ovary and forming a little cyst. Month after month of this and you get a string of little cysts all lined up nice and pretty. There is a link between this and insulin resistance and an increased risk of type II diabetes, which explains why I gain 5lbs just looking at a piece of chocolate (unfortunately knowing that hasn't stopped me from eating said chocolate and other assorted goodies, which is why I'm currently the approximate size of a small manatee). There is a linke between PCOS and an increased likelyhood of having low milk supply when trying to breastfeed. There is just so much to do with PCOS that fits me, and explains why my body is this way.

So, I have to cut sugar out of my diet 100%. At least to start. Once I've gotten into the groove, some whole grains and complex carbs will be allowed back in. But ice cream? Nope, only if we're at the beach. French fries? Sorry. Chocolate? No. The list is huge and utterly depressing when I look at it, but for the first time ever, I know I have to do this, and I know it will work. And if for some reason it doesn't work, well, at least I'll have something concrete with which to go to the doctor and perhaps we can work it out with medication. Hopefully by next Christmas there will be 50lbs less of me and a much larger selection of things in my closet that fit.

26 December 2006

1st Christmas

We survived! It was the most uneventful Christmas ever. Ok, maybe last year was when I was 72 months pregnant and spent pretty much the whole day on the couch eating cookies. We just hung out as a little family, opened presents, played, watched Natalie, watched movies, ate french toast for brunch, and only had to deal with parents and in-laws for brief visits via the telephone. It was rainy out which, to me, was perfect. I love rainy days, they just make me want to stay inside where it's safe and warm, and it's so rare to have one on a day where you really can stay inside and do nothing. Usually there are errands to run between rain drops and such. But not on Christmas. The only thing we had to do was drink our cocoa before it got cold.

Having a baby really hits home with the whole Christmas story thing. Being pregnant and giving birth in a barn just boggles my little mind after my cushy hospital c-section. Not to mention looking at your child, your sweet little thing that seems so innocent and pure and realizing that God sent his son in this same exact form, and I can't imagine that sacrifice, knowing that my child was going to have to die so that all of man kind could have the opportunity to be saved and spend an enternity in Heaven. It's amazing what God has done for us in so many ways. And we're not only thankful he sent His son, but that He sent our Natalie, who is the most beautiful and incredible creature that I can no longer imagine my life without.

19 December 2006

Color theory

Things we learned today:

Blueberries make blue poop.

Can you guess what the new food of the week is?

10 December 2006

Double Digits

Happy 10 month birthday, Natalie!! Wow, this seems huge for some reason. It's been a whirlwind of activity lately, and you've been at the center. You go non-stop all day and it can drive me up a wall. I just want you to sit still sometimes, but you've got too much to explore and crawl to and climb on. You've taken to nibbling at your cheerios in the most dainty of ways, but you still don't seem to like meat. Turkey, chicken, beef, you spit it all back out. Oh well. Auntie Kim the vegetarian will be proud. You are so expressive and curious, you've mastered the art of waving, clapping, and blowing rassberries and will do so on command. It's very impressive. Your giggles are infectious and I can't help but smile when I hear them, even if you are laughing because you think pulling all the DVDs off the shelf is simply hysterical.

We're gearing up for your first Christmas, but it's not that exciting so far, other than pictures of you going out in our Christmas cards. No tree, as you'd just rip all the ornaments off, and no other decorations as I have no where to put things since I've run out of space in the "too high for Natalie to reach" range. We don't even have a good place to hang stockings, so it's a good thing grandma hasn't finished crochetting yours.

I'm still dealing with depression and uterine issues, which leaves me in a funk more often than I'd like. I don't see the doctor again till the week after Christmas, but I'm wondering if I need to call sooner. I just don't know. The only thing I do know is that I'm still not the mother I wish I could be, and I worry that you (and Jim) are suffering because of that. And I also know that I love you so much, Natalie. You are the light of my life.

06 December 2006

To be infertile, or not?

Since I was 14, my girl parts haven't worked right. The most doctors could ever tell me was that I either just don't ovulate, or I don't ovulate on any sort of schedule of any kind. Knowing since you're 14 that it might take some effort to get pregnant means I've accepted the fact that I'm infertile to some degree. Fortunately, the gynocologist I was seeing was great, and even though I was not of an advanced maternal age yet, when Jim and I were ready to concieve, she wasn't going to make me wait the requisite year of trying - she was going to start right in with all sorts of tests and monitoring and whatnot to see what we could figure out and decide on a plan to get me knocked up. I really appreciated that, I did. Because of this, I've read up on infertility and treatments and dealt with my own issues as best I could. It kind of built up a thick skin, which I don't always like in myself, such as the way I have to fight not to roll my eyes when a friend talks about the baby she lost. You'd think it was a full term still birth or something when it was actually a miscarriage at 9 weeks and she had to have a D&C - which she likened to an abortion - because her body wouldn't expell the cellular mass that used to be a fetus. It was a first pregnancy, and I guess she hasn't heard the stat that one third of all first pregnancies end in miscarriage. I'm harsh, I know.

So when I go off the pill because it's making me more depressed, unable to lose weight, hypoglycemic and giving me nasty ass PMS, I start feeling good. And then I'm pregnant. My gyno laughed at me on the phone at how she'll have to cross off all those tests she had listed in my chart to do. And now that Natalie is here, and thriving and the pregnancy was free of complications (although not free of symptoms...), I find myself back where I started. My girl parts aren't working, there's now a mass in my uterus - just of clotted blood, you know, no big deal - and I find myself going to the bathroom ALL THE TIME and now I'm worried that maybe the mass isn't just a clot, but something more and it's enough to press on my bladder, so when do I call the doctor? Neurotic, that's me.

I guess I can't be considered "infertile" anymore because of the getting pregnant without trying thing, but what do you call what I am now? There's no clinical name that I know of to describe being fucked up and wishing with every fiber in my body to be normal - to have a period that comes ever 28-35 days and only lasts for a few days at a time. Not 19 days in a row, not every 6 weeks and then in 5 weeks and then in 8 weeks, and not with dibilitating PMS, and not with all the emotional baggage that goes along with it that I've been pushing to the back of my mind for the past 15 years.

05 December 2006

Well, duh

Article in the Washington Post about new mothers and their risk for mental health issues:
  • Physical changes after childbirth might partly explain why women are vulnerable, including fluctuating hormone levels, Munk-Olsen said. These, alone or combined with sleep deprivation and the demands of breast-feeding could trigger mental problems, she said. Hard data on the number of women worldwide affected by postpartum mental illness are scant, but postpartum depression alone affects about 15 percent of U.S. women.
    Mothers generally bear the brunt of sleep deprivation, and many new mothers are socially isolated or live far from relatives who could provide support, Stotland said. "There may be people who say, 'My mother raised eight children and she never needed to have mental health care,' and others will say, 'Finally somebody has noticed just how stressful this is and what people go through,'" Stotland said.

29 November 2006

Fun times

Turns out I have a "mass" in my uterus. Nice, eh? The doctor thinks it's just a giant clump of clotted blood, which would explain the fact that I'm on the 19th day of my period (if this is TMI, stop reading now) and I'm passing clumps of bright red bloody tissue. Nothing like being poked and prodded on a Wednesday afternoon to find this all out. So back on birth control I go, to (a) stop the bleeding, (b) regulate my period, and (c) make sure Natalie doesn't get a sibling any time soon. In a month, I'm back at the doctors for another sonogram to make sure that the mass has gone away, and if it hasn't, it's off for a D&C. Always an adventure down there in my plumbing. I had secretly hoped the drama would end magically after giving birth, but I guess not.

27 November 2006

Beginner's luck

I had never cooked a turkey before. That is, until yesterday. Jim's office is still stuck in the 1950s sometimes, and every employee gets a turkey for Thanksgiving. Since we were going to be out of town and didn't need a turkey for Thanksgiving, and given that we don't have a chest freezer or anything yet, we decided to invite whoever was around for a bit of a potluck and cook it up so at least we would only have a reasonable amount to freeze and wouldn't have to eat turkey sandwiches all week to boot. It was an 18lb bird, so there was a LOT of turkey. And it turned out perfect. Honestly, it was better than my mom's, and that's saying something.

Before:
After:

22 November 2006

Another place

Music has the ability to transport the listener to another world, another time, another frame of mind, right? I know I get this sweet, nostalgic feeling everytime Pearl Jam or Nirvana comes on the radio, as both bands were in their hights when I was in high school. Just something about hearing them brings me back to my flannel wearing grunge days of yore. I can also tell you what song was playing when we went into the big new year's eve bash my senior year of high school ("Red Red Wine" by UB40), although I can't tell you the slow song Bill and I danced to that night, even though it was the first time I was ever close enough to a guy with a boner to feel it against my thigh in the middle of a dance floor croweded with hormonal teenagers. I think about the future when Natalie will roll her eyes when I go to put on some Coldplay or the Shins or some other "turn of the century" band. Music just has a way of getting into your brain like that.

What has struck me recently is the song "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. If they were making a movie about my life, this song would be in it, and it would pretty much sum up my life for the second half of 11th grade. I was dating this guy, John. He's so much more to me than just a guy, though. He was my first love, the closest thing I think I've had to a true soul mate (yes, that's including my husband). We only dated for 3 months, and broke up to save our friendship. Long story short, his parents were immigrants and didn't like their son dating me, as I was not one of them. His mom eventually came around, but his dad didn't (at least not till sometime when we were in college and now he loves me. Ironic, eh?). So his dad gave John a hard time - needing the phone if John was on with me, not letting him have a car to go out with me, etc. It was tough, it was getting frustrating. But the friendship we had for years afterwards was amazing. There were occasional benefits (he was such a good kisser...), but mostly just lots of late nights at the diner talking about anything and everything. John was very introspective and wise beyond his years. Some of our best times together were when we'd just "be." That's where "Chasing Cars" comes in. Everytime I hear it on the radio, I get those tingles inside, that welling up of emotion that is so hard to describe. It's a little bit sad, as that's a part of my life that will never exist again, and John is no longer in my life, having gotten married our senior year of college and we haven't talked since. Maybe word got out that I was That Girl in the bathroom after the ceremony bawling my eyes out and his bride decided maybe we shouldn't keep in touch. I hope not. But he's still important to me, he's still the person I call "my best friend from high school." I pray he is doing well, that his marriage is blessed, and that maybe, just maybe, when he hears this song a little part of him thinks of me, too.

If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
I don't quite know/How to say How I feel/Those three words/Are said too much/They're not enough
If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told/Before we get too old/Show me a garden that's bursting into life
Let's waste time/Chasing cars/Around our heads
I need your grace/To remind me/To find my own
If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told/Before we get too old/Show me a garden that's bursting into life
All that I am/All that I ever was/Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see
I don't know where/Confused about how as well/Just know that these things will never change for us at all
If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

21 November 2006

Thankful

My brother, the prodigal son, has come back to roost. Well, not really, but he at least acted like a man and called my parents to apologize for being a jerk. This is huge, and an answer to prayer, and will make the holidays so much better for our parents. I hope he can be more of a man and earn back our trust. The Air Force trusts him to be a test flight engineer, but I don't know that I'd trust him babysit. Then again, billion dollar jets don't need to have their diapers changed.

Tim, here's to hoping you fly east for Christmas.

15 November 2006

Crazy

What the fuck am I thinking?? Three days ago I was plugging along, same old same old. Suddenly, I'm contemplating purchasing $876 worth of software and starting my own graphic design business. Insane? I'm starting to think so. Or else my fragile self confidence is eroding as time goes on.

My old boss came to me with a proposition, to do some brochure creation, writing, and editing for his new company. This would probably also include doing their annual report which is due in January. I've done this type of work before, but I've never had to make things print ready, and any idiot with a smidge of grey matter between their ears can figure out microsoft publisher. Now I'm waiting for some sort of written agreement and then I'm off to purchase Adobe Creative Suite and a big fat Adobe for Dummies book if I can find one. It's an amazing opportunity, one that I'd love to persue idealistically, and if it allows me to someday dump my current job all together, well that's even better. Realisticly? I'm starting to wonder if I'm not a little out of my mind.

The fact that a certain little beastie who shall remain nameless hasn't taken a nap AT ALL today isn't factoring into my current frame of mind. Nope. Not at all. Thank goodness cheerios and the exersaucer still hold here attention or I wouldn't have gotten a stich done today.

This is news?

TOKYO -- A small tsunami hit northern Japan, estimated at 16 inches tall, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. A second tsunami, estimated at 8 inches, followed.

Um, seriously? 16 inches can still be considered a tsunami? That's like saying...I don't know. Something so rediculous that I can't think of anything as silly as calling a 16 inch wave a tsunami. Wondering how many oceanography students were sniggering in the back of the classroom the day they learned about this meteorlogical possibility.

12 November 2006

Jealous

We went to a friend's house for dinner Saturday night. A real, grown-up dinner party with china and stemware and cloth napkins. Not to mention our friends don't have kids (yet...), so their apartment was spotless and clean and free of brightly colored plastic. On top of it, despite being in an APARTMENT, they have more square footage than we do. Their kitchen had twice the counter and cabinet space, their "small" bedroom was bigger than our "master" bedroom. And they have about three times the closet space. Ok, so they don't have a patio or anything to BBQ on in the summer, but they also don't have they metric ton of leaves to rake either. It was so frustrating. We essentially live in a three bedroom* apartment with a yard.

*The 3rd bedroom is where I'm typing from, and it's so small, I don't even think you could fit a twin bed in here. Well, maybe you could, but you wouldn't be able to open the door all the way and you certainly wouldn't have room for any other furniture. I think my cubicle is bigger.

09 November 2006

Nine months old

It's official: You've now been on the outside as long as you were on the inside. Kind of crazy when you think about it. Nine months ago you were this wee little peanut and we were in the hospital, in awe of this tiny creature that they pulled from my womb. I was also still under the lovely effects of the spinal, which made things kind of hazy and pleasant. Before the pain that was where they cut my abdomin open in order to get you out, you stubborn little thing who wouldn't move as you were so jammed into my pelvis. Lovely, eh? Deal, little Natalie, as you're just going to have to put up with hearing this story every single frickin year on your birthday. I now understand why my mom was so psychotic about calling me in college every year at 8:02am the morning of my birthday. It was really annoying at the time, as I frequently didn't have class till 9 or 10am, and had most likely been out celebrating the night before with friends and really didn't appreciate the early wake up call. But at least now I understand, and as cliche as it sounds, someday when you're a mother you'll understand too. Now smack me for sounding just like my own mom, and I promise not to do it again.

You've grown in leaps and bounds lately. You know the word for wave, and will do so on command. We're working on clapping. We also think you know that dadadadada is that guy who gets you in the morning and brings your cranky self to mommy for nursing, and who then comes home in the evenings, where you turn yourself inside out in excitement at seeing him. Only he can get the true belly laughs out of you by simply making a goofy noise or just looking at you in the right way. We haven't seen you crawl on hands and knees yet, but you are never in the same place for more than a second and you always surprise us at the speed you are able to lung, roll, and twist your way across the room, inveriably to the one unsturdy piece of furniture (laundry baskets, rocking chairs) on which you pull yourself up on. So much pride in your little face as you smile at us. You certainly think you're hot stuff when you pull yourself up in your crib and then hollar at 3am because you haven't figured out yet how to get down. We set up obstacle courses in the living room for you to cruise around, which amuses you for ages. You seem like you recognize the other babies in your playgroup, which is tons of fun. It's like baby smackdown when the five of you get together and climb all over each other. Pure entertainment.

I'm still dealing with my depression, but I think it's getting better. At least I hope it is, and that I can be more of the mom I want to be and not feel so overwhelmed and unfocused all the time. Doesn't help that I've probably got too much on my plate right now, but I've got to get better at getting time for myself, as those quiet moments are what recharge me to take on one more day. But nine months. Already. I'm just shocked as usual at how fast it's gone.

02 November 2006

Carrie Bradshaw for Nerds

I was having one of those "maybe I should renew my passport just in case, even though I have a baby and hate to fly, I still like the thought of knowing that *if* I wanted to pick up and go to Europe on a whim I could" moments and was thinking about the line for "profession." What do I put? "Analyst" is technically my title that I've had for the past 5 years as a government contractor. "Project Coordinator" is more accurate, but the government doesn't get that creative with titles for us peons. Not to mention I loathe that job (although making business calls while outside raking leaves yesterday gave me quite a thrill, stick it to the man and all, talking to colleagues who were stuck in cubicles while I enjoyed one of the last nice days till spring). Do I put down "homemaker" or "stay at home mom" or just "mother"? A little too June Cleaver for me. Besides, I'm not some militant at home mom who is out to prove to the world that this is a full time job too.

My other paying job is a writer. "Huh," I thought, "That's kinda cool to have on one's passport." Then I realized it gets better. I'm not just a writer, I'm a columnist. It's true!! I write 1200 words every month that are published. It's just that instead of writing a sex column for a New York newspaper, I write a business column for a professional publication, one that caters to a subset of white collar workers that reeks of geekdom. I know this because my dad is one of them. It's actually his column, he just doesn't have time to do it, so he feeds me resources and I do the grunt work and spit out 1200 words on such choice topics like ethics or certification, or this month's winner: Change tactics. So really, I'm a "ghost writer." But I'm totally putting "columnist" on that passport application.

01 November 2006

Better?

It's been 11 days since I started my happy pills, and 32 days since my last period (which was also my first post-baby), I just ate lunch (home made chicken and vegetable enchilada on a multigrain tortilla with 1/4 cup spanish rice, a splash of fat free sour cream, and 16oz of water to wash it down), and all in all, I'm feeling pretty crappy. Haven't made it to the gym yet, but probably won't as the hour I spent raking leaves left me drenched in sweat and with aching upper arms. I think that counts as my work out for the day.

I can't focus, I can't sit still, I can't figure out what to do. I'm as stuffed as if I just ate Thanksgiving dinner, and my fingers are crossed that Natalie stays asleep for a while, since she is not quite 9 months old and I don't think praying for a 2 hour nap is asking too much. She's exhausted from all the activity last night; Halloween and all, sitting around the porch in her lobster costume while we handed out play-doh. Yup, we were that house that didn't have candy. Neighbors probably think we're dentists now, but only one 5 year old cowboy complained that he was supposed to get CANDY. If she gets up soon, I don't know what I'll do. Leaving the house means I might have to talk to people at the park or library or coffee shop. I just don't feel like being friendly.

So, raging PMS or is the Zoloft not quite up to speed yet? I can't decide.

25 October 2006

Grief

It hit me recently that I missed out on a good four months of my daughters life. This makes me sad, and supposedly I need to grieve that loss in order to move forward. Which makes sense, I suppose.

Since hating pregnancy for 9 months, I've been conflicted between joking that there will never be a #2, ever, and knowing in the back of my head that more than one kid wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But I know that *if* there's going to be a #2, it's not going to happen at least till Natalie is potty trained. That being said, I've started thinking about our fictional child #2. I think more and more that I do really want one, partly because I know I'll be about 72 kinds of more prepared for her. The other reason I want one is that I want to be there for her the whole time - the times where she's just cuddly and sleeps a lot and is easily amused but just watching the world around her, unlike what Natalie is like currently.

Natalie is a blessing and a curse. I love how her personality is starting to come through, how she's so curious and wants to figure things out and talk and smile and giggle and take it all in. But it can drive me up a wall when she's so needy - it's a different needy than 8 months ago, when she was so teeny and had to eat all the time and be changed and held and constantly nursed. It's "needy" in the sense that, for example, she wants to stand up all the time, which is something she can't do on her own. So I get stuck with either a whining baby or sitting on the floor while she uses me for support to stand, laughing with glee the whole time. Hard to get anything done (laundry, lunch, we're not even talking about the work I get paid for) when you are being a baby scratching post. I think back to when she wasn't like this, and those were the times when I was at work. I'd be up at the ass crack of dawn, then come home by 3:30-4, only to whisk her away from Jim so he could go job search. I didn't get to enjoy her. I was so tired, and I was so desperate to be with her and hold her and make up for having to be away, as well as try to cook dinner, or laundry, and attempt to get a little downtime in for myself before bedtime rolled around once again.

It was a frantic time, the only way it could have been. I don't regret the decision to go back to work, as it was the only way to keep us from losing the house. I do regret that it had to be that way, and that is why I find myself dreaming of #2. So I can be there, and be the mom I want to be, and not feel like I missed out as much as I've missed out already. She was only 2.5 months old when I went back to work - It's hard not to think of what a sweet little bundle she was then while trying to baby wrangle a wiggly 8.5 month old on her changing table.

22 October 2006

21 October 2006

New chapter

Today starts what will hopefully be a better, brighter era in my life. As soon as the babe wakes up and we can go to CVS to pick up my presciption, I'll be starting a low dose of Zoloft.

I still have a hard time saying the word. Depression. It's scary. Ugly. Overpowering. But I'm thankful for a wonderful doctor and a great therapist and together we're going to get me in a better place. And our family in a better place, as a happy wife and mother should make for a happier husband and baby. I owe them at least that much.

19 October 2006

New found joy

I HATE to shop.

Hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. My husband? Yeah, I can lose him for hours in Macy's on a saturday afternoon. I get overloaded with too many things too look at and noise and bright lights and I just have to back away. Even Target would do me in if it wasn't for the fact that I know where everything is I need and can beeline in and right back out again. Same goes for Ikea, except that I usually require a nap after going there.

But, I have discovered that shopping for Natalie is fun. And for some reason I don't feel as guilty spending money on her, as she pretty much needs a whole new wardrobe each season, so it's not like she's not going to wear any of the stuff I've bought her. I've only bought her things (a sundress, a play outfit...) on the clearance racks at the mall or at one of the two consignment shops near by (Oilily pants for next to nothing, a bunch of baby Gap stuff with tags still on...). Consignment shop shopping feels like treasure hunting, which is why I think I've fallen quickly in love with it. The payoff feels so good - to scour the racks upon racks of clothing, only to stumble upon the perfect denim jumper that only costs $8.99 and looks like it's never even been worn. Or the Hanna Anderson tights still in their package for $2. Somehow it just makes the whole day seem worth while.

16 October 2006

Realization

I was thinking, and it hit me: Working/being at home all day is kind of like college. I can wear the same pair of jeans for a week straight and no one is the wiser, which I haven't done since senior year when I had this great pair of dark wash boot cut jeans that made my ass look fantastic. Alas, I think they were a size 6, which I doubt will ever happen again. I just wish I could fit in my fat jeans right now. My post-pregnancy jeans are too long and I'm tired of cuffing them.

But with all these 80's fashion flashbacks (skinny jeans, ankle booties, and leggings - oh my!) going on, I'm just waiting for pegged jeans to come back so I can submit my photos from 8th grade to Vogue for proof of how the style really should be worn. It's just a matter of time, really. Same goes for acid wash. If you see that on the catwalk, note that I predicted it here first!! Then acid wash the idiot who thought it would be hip and trendy to bring it back. The current trends are some that I will NEVER be able to wear thanks to the psychological damage of junior high. Not to mention how dorky my childbearing hips would look in a pair of skinny jeans. No one should ever have to see that.

09 October 2006

8 months

Wow. Eight months already. You've been growing exponentially lately, not so much in size but in development. You are no longer content to sit in one spot and play, you must move! Whether it's discovering that you can jump in your exersaucer and make a racket, or scooting on your butt over to the coffee table, where you attempt to pull up, or rolling all over kingdom come (a.k.a. the living room floor) to get what you want, be it a toy, the edge of the rug, or the stereo speaker. What melts my heart is that you think you are hot stuff for doing all this, as I'll call your name just as you are trying to claw your way up the speaker and you'll turn, make eyes at me, and smile your biggest grin. Which, as of this weekend, will no longer ever be toothless, and this makes me just a little sad.

It is a blessing and a curse that I am your most favorite person these days, as it means I am the only one who can calm you at 3am and rock you back to sleep. Daddy tries, but you just scream and scream until I come in the room, and then you fling yourself from his arms into mine and immediately quiet down, settling your sleep-heavy head into my neck and go back to dreamland. And while I hate the zombie feeling I have in the morning after these nights, I secretly love the time in the wee hours of the morning just rocking and cuddling, feeling your soft cheeks against mine, smelling your sweet baby smell.

I am more in love with you ever day it seems, little Natalie. You are so full of personality and excitment and "joie de vie." We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

07 October 2006

Oh no

I, for some reason, can not stop refering to Natalie's new tooth as her "toof," or worse yet, her "toofie." Gah, I abhore baby talk but I cannot stop myself.

Her toof is not *really* visible yet unless you look closely, which she doesn't let anyone do, but it is definately there; I have felt its wrath.

Kind of sad, as this means no more of her fabulous toothless grins. I hope her new smile is just as cute. Its the first milestone really that reminds me that there's no turning back, she's just going to get bigger. But on the flip side, it means we get to introduce cheerios to her diet!

05 October 2006

Thoughts

Dooce sums it up so much better than I ever could:

"You deserve better than this, better than the look of absolute desperation I carry in my eyes all day long. I should be more playful, should sing more songs, color more pictures, but I’m sometimes afraid that if I attempt any of these things you will see through it and know that I am lying. Right now I can’t see the world in anything but shades of very pale gray...I would not wish this crushing emptiness on my worst enemy — but now that I am here I’m not quite sure what to do this time, except trust that you and your father will stick by me, will be here when I do feel better."

02 October 2006

Thankful

Today is a good day, after a string of bad and not-so-good ones. Good because I'm loving my new mom friends, whom I met up with for coffee today, with whom I exchanged books, and baby gear to try out before shelling out big bucks for, with whose children Natalie loves to wave and babble with and share chew toys. It's good to have friends you can talk about breastfeeding and poopy diapers and sex after childbirth with. It's just good to have friends, period, something I've been lacking lately when you are one of the only people you know who goes and has a baby. It helps me look forward, at the joys of this journey called motherhood, instead of looking back on all the fun I'm missing out on with my single/childless friends.

30 September 2006

It's Official

Jim's seasonal allergies (or should I say "allergies") are about 10% actual, and 90% psychosematic (or however one spells that). Just don't tell him I say so.

It's been driving me nuts this weekend, as it's GORGEOUS outside, but we can't open any windows in thehouse because of his "allergies." Memo to my husband: You don't know this, but as soon as you leave for work, I open every ding dang window in the house. The fresh breeze is good for my soul. And that phone call I ask you to make when you are heading home? You know, so I can plan dinner? It's actually so I know to go around closing all the windows so you don't freak out. Surprise, surprise, your "allergies" haven't been bothering you much at all this fall. But this weekend, I crack a window while you are out doing errands and you come home before I close it and you FREAK OUT how congested you are all how your sinuses are going to explode and how you have to go NOW to take a cocktail of allergie meds and change the filter in the A/C. What-fucking-ever. You may in fact have actual allergies, but I think you have to spend an afternoon frolicing in a field of ragweed before they actually kick in.

(It should be noted that I, too, have seasonal allergies. I get itchy and my eyes get itchy and I have to take out my contacts and then I'm sneezing and sound like a frog. I just choose extra body lotion, long sleeves, wearing my glasses, and the occasional sudafed over being stuck inside a closed up house on a perfect 72 day in September).

26 September 2006

Guilt

It's been a rough week. For so many reasons. I could probably write 17 posts explaining why. But I won't. Something has been added to my daughters life this week that I didn't plan on her experiencing for a while: PBS

I'm not against TV, I knew a time would come when she'd become addicted to Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow and whatever animal programs were on the Discovery Channel. I just didn't think it would happen when she was only 7.5 months old. Up till now I did most anything possible to make sure she couldn't see the TV, turning her back to it if I was trying to eat breakfast and watch the news, or just not having it on when she was around. She's just gotten to a point where mamma is the only one that will do, and not just mamma, but she has to be in mamma's lap, pulling her hair, and trying to eat mamma with her gummy little toothless mouth in order to be a pleasant child at times. It's really hard to do even the simplest things with a drooling monkey attached to your hip 24/7, so one day I couldn't take it anymore and plopped her down in the exercauser (a.k.a. the poopersaucer) and turned on Sesame Street and went to take a shower. Bert and Ernie gave me 20 glorious minutes to go from train wreck to somewhat less of a train wreck who smelled nice, had food in her tum, and was even able to make a business call DURING BUSINESS HOURS. True bliss which eliminated all guilt of putting my baby in front of the TV. To her credit, she alternates between banging around on the exersaucer and watching. At least she's not glued to it like an odd little bald zombie. At least not yet. We'll see how that's going in a few years.

But it also got me wondering...do they still show "vintage" Sesame Street from the pre-Elmo days of my youth? There's all these new characters and graphics and stuff that makes me long for the old days, you know, the '80s. I must find out...

20 September 2006

Blahgger

We're starting to get into our groove over here at the aubergine household. Jim's work is fast paced and challenging, but in a good way. I'm groovin on the working-from-home thing, and Natalie is starting to get on a schedule. Except for her pesky desire not to take proper naps. 30 minutes is not enough for a 7.5 month old. I barely have time to get something to eat, use the loo, and do some mundane chore like empty the dishwasher and she's up again. No time to sit down and do any work for which I'm being paid. Which is why I end up on the computer till way past my bedtime.

I just feel so blah most of the time. I've got what I wanted (working from home for a steady paycheck even if it is rather small) (oh, and a baby) (and a husband who is - finally - gainfully employed). Why can't I be happy? There is the whole depression thing, which is a really scary thing when you slap that label on it so I prefer not to think about it that way. I can think of two things right now standing in the way of happiness: Not getting to do anything on my list of fun things I want to do (sewing projects, painting projects, photography stuff, etc.) and dreading looking in the mirror. Someday, somehow, I'll get around the the stuff on my lists. But getting rid of this body and having some sort of transformation into hot mamma? It seems far fetched at best.

I fell in love with the Shape of a Mother website and was all set to post my own tale of woe, but I find myself wanting to ignore my body all together. I'm mad at it for my breastfeeding heartaches, I'm mad it for all the bad hereditary things I have lined up in my future if I'm not careful. I'm mad at myself for always comparing myself to others and making myself feel even worse about my body. I hate not fitting into any clothes, so much so that I am already dreading going shopping to find something, anything, to wear to my husband's company's fancy pants christmas party. I find myself dressing, how one would say, "bohemian" because it's pretty much the one style that is the exact opposite of my Ann Taylor Banana Republic friend's wardrobes. They all seem so perfectly manicured and pedicured (not to mention skinny, ranging in sizes from trim to toothpick) and made up and I can count on one knarly looking unpolished hand how many manicures I've had in my life. And don't get me started on makeup. I don't know the first thing about it, except that I have a crush on black liquid eyeliner and I swear it's how I got boys in college when out dancing with my girls. But now? I pretty much feel like a train wreck. Or maybe I don't feel too bad about how I look and then catch a glimpse in a store window and want to gag. Everything is kind of on hold while I still attempt to breastfeed, and I'm not ready to take that away from Natalie, yet I really want to get cracking on getting my body figured out. And I'm kinda tired of "giving it up to God" because right now? Right now if feels like He wants me to be fat and I'm not ready to accept that.

18 September 2006

Ick

The allergy fairy has teamed up with the cold pixie for a 1-2 punch out to my sinuses. I feel like I'm going to die. Instead, I'm praying Natalie sleeps for a while so I can go take a nice long nap, too. She does not know how good she's got it - eat, sleep, play, poop, sleep some more, have every need personally attended to, rince, repeat. Sometimes I feel like I am not her mother, but her cabana boy.

14 September 2006

Things I have done today that make working from home so f'ing fabulous

(or things that would get me fired if they happened in the office):

#1 - Talked to my boss while breastfeeding

#2 - Talked to my boss while holding a naked baby who had just peed on herself and her changing table for the 2nd time in one changing

#3 - Kicked back with a beer while working on a powerpoint

13 September 2006

Morning

I look out the window next to my desk here and see three vibrant red cardinals (aviary variety, not the Catholic leadership variety) fighting over the lone cluster of grapes that survived the summer on our grape vine. Wish there were more, but they are all that made it. We know that vine was planted sometime circa 1975 when an Italian stone mason lived in our house. He used to make wine with the grapes that grew on this same vine. I wonder what his trick was to close out the summer with more than one cluster. Because those are the most succulant, juicy grapes I've ever had, and I don't want to make wine out of them; I just want to eat them.

11 September 2006

5 years

I was able to get through about 20 minutes of the morning news today, just long enough to see the weather report, before I had to turn it off and it's staying off all day. So the terror attacks on the WTC and Pentagon and a field in PA were five years ago today. Almost five years ago to the moment I'm typing this. I was in VA, in line at the DMV to get my new drivers liscense and plates (I had been living in the DC area for a year and was finally getting around to it). Some girl in line got a call from her aunt in Oklahoma City to say that she heard a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. The Pentagon was a mere, I don't know, 5 miles away from my house? There were no televisions in the DMV, and cell service was nuts. My dad finally got through to me, and my roommate, whose father works at the Pentagon and whose boyfriend worked in lower Manhattan. Not till I got home, and saw the news did I fully know what happened. And for 3 years, till I got married and moved to MD, my drivers liscense said "Date Issued: 09-11-01"

It was a terrible event, horrible. Personally, I don't know anyone who was taken. But I have friends who lost loved ones, there were a couple people from my highschool class lost, my mom even had the daughter of one of the pilots in her classes for 3 years. For some reason, I can't bear all the news coverage of the anniversary today. To me, it feels like re-opening old wounds. Sure, in one sense I'll "never forget," as we're told so many times, the events of today, but at the same time, all I want to do is move forward. Still, my heart goes out to those that are still hurting physically and emotionally from what happened. To those people, I wish you hope and peace.

10 September 2006

Seven Months


Yesterday, you turned seven months old. I now know why my mom calls me every year for my birthday at 8:02am, the time I was born. It's because every 9th of the month, I replay the events leading up to your birth at 10:40pm in my head and get a little misty. It's still amazing to me that you lived INSIDE ME for 9 months.

And today, we dedicated you at church. Big deal for us. Big deal to stand in front of our congregation and ask for their help in raising you in the church, raising you to be a child of God, and admitting that as parents we can't do it alone. But no one really listens to all that, they are transfixed watching you as Dr. Norris carried you up and down the aisle. We were swarmed by every single old lady afterwards telling us that you are the sweetest most beautiful baby ever. Some even wanted to take you home. We were tempted, as you are teething right now and have also decided that you don't really need to nap.

Your belly laugh is divine, and you will giggle at most anything. You don't cry much, but when you do it breaks my heart. If the post office still had lickable stamps, I could rent you out now that you've discovered you have a tongue in your mouth and it's obviously fun to stick out, which makes me want to use you to lick all my envelopes shut. You are so close to waving. We know this because you'll stop what you're doing, look at your hand, wave the fingers towards you, and then go back to what you were doing. Your favorite toy is this hand-me-down cabbage patch doll you got. You LOVE this thing and enjoy trying to eat it, which creeps your daddy out a lot.

There is nothing more cuddly than nursing you in my big bed in the mornings when you are all warm and toasty in your fuzzy jammies. I love you so much, my sweet Natalie, more and more each second of the day.

07 September 2006

About to throw up...

I have anxiety issues. I don't deal with change, big or small, well. I have personal space issues. I am not a morning person. Take all these things into account and guess my reaction when Jim called on his way back from the airport to say that his mom will just sleep on our couch tonight.

(a) I was overjoyed as I can't wait to see my precious darling mother-in-law, and would love to let her sleep on our couch [we have no guest room/spare bed], relax with her in the morning, etc.

or

(b) I had a mini panic attack, because this is happening! In less than an hour! She'll be here all night! She hogs the bathroom! She sleeps in! I can't sit in the comfy chair and nurse in the morning while watching the Today show! I can't watch the Today show period without feeling guilty that I'm being judged for letting my daughter in the same room as the TV! Oh, the judging! I'll be on eggshells feeling like every little thing I do is under a microscope! I'll have to close the door when I'm getting dressed! And I might have to visit with her in the morning instead of using Natalie's morning nap time to drink diet Coke with lime and surf the internet! I'm going to have to take her to the groccery store! And try to ignore the involuntary twitching I get every time she refers to me as "precious" or "darling" in that thick southern drawl. And smile graciously when she offers to cook when I know it won't be anything I should eat as she cooks things with fat and puts wierd spices in salads!

Don't get me wrong, she's a wonderful woman. Personality wise, I am not a good pick to be her daughter-in-law. There's just something about her that makes we want to be...confrontational. Not that I want to pick a fight, but just do things that I'm perfectly OK with but I know probably makes her squirm...like refusing to read into her subliminal messages when she talks as she never comes outright and says something. Or make sure I've got earings in all my ear-holes and purposefully not wear my Tiffany's necklace. That sort of thing.

Gotta get off the computer...They'll be here any minute now. It should be an interesting weekend. I'm trying to stay positive. Honest.

06 September 2006

WHY??

One of my first tasks when I started working from home was to take the time to clean out some closets. Mine because I'm short and I tend to just fling workout clothes and spare blankets and luggage up on the shelves willy-nilly. Now everything is folded and neat and the next time we're at Ikea I'm going to grab a cheap little plastic step stool to keep in there so I have no excuse for not being able to reach. The other closet was the one in the office, with Jim's spillover clothes, which are not the issue - it was the camping gear and boxes of clothes he never wears that were driving me nuts. Camping gear. In an upstairs closet. When we have a basement with a storage space under the stairs. Why did it have to be up here? So I pulled that stuff out, compressed things into less containers, and filled the new found space up with my sewing stuff which had been scattered about the house in different corners and closets and such. Sewing things I intend to use, as I have fabric to make some jumpers and pants for Natalie and other accoutrements for her room and the house (pillows and curtains and quitls, oh my!)

Tonight? He discovers (a week after it happened...) his camping stuff is downstairs. He decides the back packs and tent need to be stored up here and goes about spending 20 minutes moving things about in there in order to shove them in. Let me also add that the last time we went camping was also the only time we ever went camping, and it was 3 years ago. My backpack - he got it for me after that camping trip - has been used once: To New York City. He was the dork trying to get the rolling suitcase off the bus and over bumpycity sidewalks while I strolled effortlessly along with my back pack on my shoulders. I looked way cooler, too.

I should also add that in less than 24 hours, his MOTHER will be here, and there are sooooooo many things he could be doing to clean his crap up than moving his camping gear back upstairs. Or going to Home Depot, where he is now, to buy a valve for the tub, which will take him over an hour to do, since he has to stop and look at everything.

Times like these feel more like I have a boy roommate than a husband.

05 September 2006

Feels like Monday

I sit her typing at the desk, with the window open directly next to me, where the rain is coming down in sheets. It's lovely. I adore rainy days and find them perfect. More than a few in a row and they get a bit dreary, but after a day or two of sun I'm ready for more. Perhaps I should move to Seattle...but I digress. Natalie is in her crib, alternating between warbling and hollering (yes, they are different) where she is dead tired but refusing to sleep. Wish I could take her nap for her, but alas, I've got boring old work to do. And I've been putting off cleaning up my piles in anticipation of the houseguests this weekend, too. Should probably get crackin. I should probably be doing a lot of other chores like cleaning the bathroom, making groccery lists, vacuuming, etc. But I'm not. I find I can't make up my mind what I should do and therefore I don't do anything.

Exciting, huh? Riveted to your seat, eh?

I'm enjoying life as a "stay at home mom" which is a term I also loathe for reasons I'm not certain of. I just don't like it. Yes, I'm a mom. Yes, I'm home during the day. But I'm busy, I talk to other humans (like my boss, who called while I was breastfeeding...if only he knew...), I have a life, at least sort of. If it wasn't raining, we'd probably have gone for a long walk that culminated with a sit at the park with my book while Natalie snoozed in her stroller. I'm contemplating a library trip, but then I'd have to take a shower because I don't think they let stinky spit-up-upon mama's with greasy hair and ill fitting clothes and no bra on in there. Pretty picture, isn't it? I kind of revel in it because to me, it's one of the biggest advantages of working from home: Not having to get dressed in the morning. I'm feeling at ease lately, and *almost* happy if I dare say so. Still have lots on my mind, still have lots in there that needs sorting out. But for now, it's not so bad.

I suppose I should take advantage of my time and get to those piles and off of the damn computer. I'm back on my diet (no sugar) and man, I could really go for a milkshake right about now. Chocolate, of course. Good think it's raining or I'd be tempted to make a run for one.

03 September 2006

Only in DC

We sit down at church in a pew behind a couple of senior citizens. But, no! They are not ordinary senior citizens! Behind their fading exterior, silver hair, and spreading wrinkles, one discovers that we are actually sitting behind a former vice presidential candidate, his wife, and a former ambassador to the UN and national security advisor. Talk about a bunch of overachievers.

Makes you wonder what that young couple with the baby will be thinking many many years from now when they sit behind our saggy old selves someday...

01 September 2006

Funny

I've noticed recently that the little gmail banner, the one that supposedly scans your email content and gives you related links that the giant machine thinks you'll like, keeps spitting out recipes for spam. Haven't really been emailing anyone about spam lately, and I doubt I'll be bringing "French Fry and Spam Casserole" to the next friendly neighborhood potluck.

31 August 2006

I am now a brunette

What was I before, you ask? I started out life strawberry blond, then a nice light to dirty blond that always bleached out white in the summers. Then it become most definately dirty blond and I would sometimes get highlights if there was a special event or something coming up. Then I started coloring it "honeydip" which was cheaper than getting highlights and just made my natural color look nicer. Then I got pregnant, and my hair got beyond blah. "Poop brown" was what I called it, although it was really just an ashy brown with some blond still on the ends from where it was growing out (um, last haircut was...a year ago? Maybe a little more?). In need of some drama in my life (as if the summer of unemployment, broken AC, and plumbing adventures wasn't enough), I went crazy and bought "chocolate caramel." It's nice. And tasty. And I forgot to tell Jim I was doing this...oops. We'll see if he notices.

30 August 2006

Family matters

She is something like a 5th cousin*. Wondering if that makes me cool by association, capable of hanging with the hip British set, those tall lanky girls who run around all day in their Stella McCartney like I run around in my Old Navy cargo pants and tank top. If I'm really feeling crazy, I'll layer TWO tank tops of DIFFERENT COLORS and maybe throw on my one funky necklace. Which means: No, I am so not cool enough by association to ever even be on the same continent with my distant relations. Besides, we can't afford the air fare.

*I'd have to see a better family tree, but I think my great-great-grandmother was cousins with one of her great-great-grandparents.

29 August 2006

Busy

Obviously a lot of playing went on in a very short time before this nap:
Note: One sock is on, the other is at the other end of the crib, where she started out about 150 degrees from her current position. If I had a before picture, you'd also see that the assortment of stuffed friends were neatly lined up together. And if I did this everytime I went to sleep, my husband would shoot me.

Clean bill of health

Check up at the pediatritian went well today. 27 inches long and 17lbs 4oz! Turns out she's not as chubby as we thought...she's 80th percentile in height, but only 50th in weight. Curious. It was so sad how she was hamming it up for the nurse who was about to jam needles into her fat little theighs for this visits round of shots. But, like the trooper she is, she was back to smiles and giggles by the time we were back in the waiting room and promptly fell asleep in the car.

Not that I had any doubts about her health, she's a happy kid and everything seems fine. It's just REALLY nice to hear she's A-OK from someone who knows. Like getting a report card for your parenting. So happy I'm passing. She's much easier than chemistry or AP calculus...

28 August 2006

Shocked

It's official: I have an estranged brother. He sent my parents an email saying he doesn't want them contacting him. Evidently they screwed up his life by making him go to church and do swimming (What? He was talented enough to make it to States? It's not like the pushed him to swim and he sucked at it...). Now he wants to run his own life. I'm angry, upset, mad, pissed off, and really really sad for my parents all at once. Yet part of me wants to gloat and say "Ha! I'm the good kid!" Still, I know I'm not perfect, I just did a better job at hiding the things my parents would hate while still keeping in contact with them. I stopped talking to them somewhere around 9th grade about anything to do with boys and a social life. I continue to think it's odd that my grandmother has 2 brothers (actually, just one, as one died last year) that I've never met. They send Christmas cards and occasional phone calls. I don't know why. I was happy that at least my brother and I, while not bestest friends or anything (that 6 year age difference only started shrinking recently), weren't like that. Hopefully his estrangement won't last long. Hopefully he's got some really good influences over there in the Air Force that will make him reflect on things. It's in God's hands now.

26 August 2006

Interesting

I sat down to have a half grapefruit this morning, and as I dug in, I noticed that I go about spooning out the grapefruit innards one wedge at a time, but every other one until there are none left. Bizarre. Wasn't even thinking about this untill I looked down halfway through and noticed it, and despite it being ages since I've even had a grapefruit, I vaguely remembering eating my grapefruit this way growing up. Even more proof that I'm just weird.

24 August 2006

It's official...sort of

My request to work part time from home has been approved. At least for now, and at least till the end of the contract, which is in 6 weeks. And I still haven't meshed out the details with my contractor, so there's always that. Not that I expect that to be an issue, I just don't know exactly who I'm supposed to talk to and about what. And I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to let it be known that I now work part time from home. What I do know is that I am on task for 20 hours a week. I also know that it will be a rare week that I have 20 hours worth of work to do. I figure as long as I'm getting everything done that is asked of me (same as when I was working 40 hours a week, and spending at least half of that surfing the internet from my cube...) then we're golden.

So I guess there is a moral to our summer time drama: Sometimes God needs things to be just so for His will to take effect, and while waiting for His perfect timing, you sometimes have to put up with a lot of shit in the meantime. I'm hoping that's what the moral of our story is, because if the bottom falls out again, I don't know what I'll do. Probably just drown my sorrows in more chocolate ice cream, but we all know that that's not getting me anywhere.

23 August 2006

My therapist will be so proud

After ruminating on the notion of 'fear' in my life over the past few days, I got thinking more when out and about today. I made up all sorts of reasons why I deserved a little Baja Fresh for lunch, seeing as how I've read their nutritional info and don't let the 'Fresh' fool you - there is nothing healthy there, except mayble a salad, but only if you order it sans cheese and guac. I'm trying to lose the rest of this baby weight (ok, the baby weight is gone, I know these extra pounds are because of all the self-medicating with chocolate ice cream I've done over the past year). I decided that since I'm home, I will re-start the old diet this week. Um, yeah. While I haven't been totally bad, sneaking handfuls of Lucky Charms is just a no-no, especially when there is no one home to sneak them from.

Today, driving home with my chicken fajitas next to me, I realized I'm afraid of dieting and having it not work. I've had enough situations in the last 2 years where my body has failed me (we can start with the uncooperative cervix at Natalie's coming out party and work backwards to the thyroid gland that started going wacko a year before she was conceived). I'm so afraid that if I give this diet my all, and it doesn't work, I'll be worse off than when I started. Yeah, I may be down a few pounds, but it may have taken me a year to do it and psychologically, I just can't comprehend how crushed I will be.

In the meantime, I hate my body. So does half of the women in Amercia. I'm fairly confident regardless of my current size in a good pair of jeans, a shirt that hides any bulges, and some kick ass shoes. But shopping to find something to wear to Natalie's dedication in less than 3 weeks? Depressing. There is nothing out there that doesn't make me look like a sutffed sausage in pretty packaging. That's what drove me to the fajitas.

We have nothing to fear

When did 'fear' become such a big part of my life? I remember growing up, I was fearless. I picked up bugs, played in the mud, frolicked in the ocean, jumped out of tree houses, actually anticipate airplane trips, wore crazy outfits, followed the beat of my own drummer. Why was I able to do all this? Was it the innocense of youth? The strong, protective arm of my father never that far away? Now I feel like 'fear' has overpowered me. The other night a racoon or squirrel was in the attic. I'm hoping he was really on the roof, but it sure did sound like it was right above our bedroom. Hope he's not dead and rotting up there right now. Could make for a gross chore when Jim goes up to put more insulation up there this fall. Anyway, back to fear. So this critter was up there somewhere, and at 3 in the morning I had worked myself into such a state of fear I was sweating in my sheets. Petrified that it was something more than just a wildly lost rodent trying to find its way home, I couldn't sleep.

I'm afraid to fly and will cry upon take-off without even trying. I remember being in the hospital, recovering from my c-section and thinking "Holy shit - we're going to have to fly to Texas for Christmas in 10 months with a BABY? How the hell am I supposed to be knocked up on benadryl and vodka and take care of an infant?" Bugs gross me out to no end now, and I'm so so so thankful I have a husband I can make do all the icky work for me. I won't go into the ocean or a lake any deeper than a point at which I can no longer see my feet, for fear of all things slimy and wet and shark related. I can work myself up into a tizzy just going to the doctor for the fear that something terrible is wrong. Last night I dreamt that some friends were making my go skydiving. I woke up when we were all up in the air in the plane before anyone could push me out. And I couldn't go back to sleep. I'm afraid of change, I'm afraid of judgement, I'm afraid of what's to come. It's paralyzing, really. I feel like a big wus and hate myself even more for it. I am thankful I have a relationship with God beyond just going to church on Sunday mornings, and that when there is a critter in the attic or I'm on a plane about to take-off, I can find solace in prayer and that calms me down. Still, I don't like that there is so much 'fear' in my life. It's something I need to work on, but I don't quite know how to do that. Hopefully before the next time I have to get on a plane.

21 August 2006

How to tire out a 6 month old

You simply have to get her so excited with life that she flops asleep in the middle of her lunch time bottle. A trip to the coffee shop worked wonders, as there were ceiling fans to watch spinning, mommy to chew on, and waiters and bartenders to flirt with. Her eyes went back in their sockets when we got in the car, she slept the whole way home, got up long enough to have her bottle and nurse a little, and is now sacked out in her crib listening to Mozart, where I expect she'll stay sleeping soundly for at least another hour. So worth the drive downtown for a peaceful afternoon. Me? I'm a dork. I'll be cleaning closets. Real Simple or one of those organizational shows on TLC should hire me. I've done wonders when it comes to creative storage solutions for our house (AKA the 2 bedroom apartment with den and a yard).

20 August 2006

Ask me about my weekend...

I am now the crazy lady. After running outside to ask the neighbor's roofers if they can come over to my house and see if there is a way to shut off the water and make sure it hasn't leaked between the walls, I'm sure people were sniggering at me, all sopping wet in my green flannel bathrobe that probably still has breast milk stains on it from Natalie's first 6 weeks of life (aka the Mommy-was-starving-the-baby-because-she-can't-produce-enough-milk-even-though-the-baby-nurses-All-The-Time phase). It all started as I was getting out of the shower, and the cold water faucet CAME OFF IN MY HAND. Not just the knob, but the whole 6 or 7 inches of plumbing apparatus that goes behind it. "Fire hydrant" is an accurate description of what came next. Following by lots of yelling 'JIM!!!' (who had just left for the gym) and a handful of 'SHIIIIIIT's and 'OH FUCK's. Then running in a towel to get our tenant, who might have seen my nakid arse as I was dropping the towel to switch into the robe to go find a neighbor.

Turns out there is no shut off valve for just the bath, so the whole house had to be turned off while we jammed the pipe back in. Couldn't use the cold water in the tub/shower, though, so getting ready for church this morning was a blast. Fortunately I had had that fateful shower on Saturday, so I was clean, relatively speaking. Natalie got a sink bath, the kitchen counters were cleaned thanks to her splashing, and Jim took a bath, but as we could only fill the tub with hot water, he had to fill it and then wait for it to be cool enough to get in it. This included pouring a couple of pitchers of cold water and all the ice cubes from the freezer in there. Nevertheless, we were late. Oh! But the bathroom floor is clean. That's what happens when you have a fire hydrant in your shower and 2 inches collects on the floor.

Nice weekend, huh? A big ass gin and tonic with lime made it all better.

18 August 2006

At last

I'm HOME. Feels so good. Totally rocking my world. The nesting instinct is kicking in, though, and I have a feeling that by next week at this time, all closets will be cleaned and rearranged, including the storage space under the basement stairs. In the meantime, there will also be much playing with the babe and enjoying the sleeping in. Till at least 7. Which is huge considering I've been getting up around 5:15am every weekday for the past 4 months.

So weird

It's my last day at work. The larger work population doesn't know I'm leaving. Things are still up in the air about working part time from home, even though it's actually looking like that will fly. So I'm not handing off any files or documents or tasks to anyone, I'm just not going to be here on Monday, or any other Monday for that matter. I'll still be reachable via email and phone, so I'll still be working unofficially part time from home till something formal is signed off on, it's all just strange. This office is known for it's to-do's, it seems anything is a reason to have cake (remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine's office has cake all the time? Yea, I've thought about taping that episode a showing it at one of our many functions. But then again the cakes and food are usually homemade and really tasty, so I can't say I detest said functions all that much). But not today, not for me. If it does become official that I'm working part time from home, I will be in the office, probably once a week or so, to drop off/pick up/chat with my boss (who is so cool he flat out told me he doesn't mind if I bring Natalie with me). So I'm not disappearing forever. But then again, it might not work out and then I'll have to come in one last time to take care of handing off all my stuff. Who knows. Regardless, the pair of fancy sandals under my desk and my pictures and handlotion and coffee mug will be coming home today.

It's just a weird day.

17 August 2006

Honored

Gene Weingarten wrote me back! I feel so special...His online chats are my raison d'etre every Tuesday. Tuesday is by far the crappiest day of the week - Monday has all the franticness of being "Monday" and therefore usually ends quickly, Wednesday is hump day, Thursday is one day away from Friday, and Friday is, well, Friday. Tuesday's got nothing. Except Gene, and his chats, and discussions of breast size, bathroom habits, visible panty lines, proper grammar, comics, and pretty much the humor of everyday life. I missed his chat this past Tuesday, what with the lack of A/C and living like refugees at other people's homes, but was able to read the chat transcript on Wednesday, where I discovered the weekly poll was about breast size. Highly academic in nature, I assure you. Reminded me of my favotire movie, and on a lark, I emailed Gene.

I wrote:

Mike Myers best movie* is "So I Married an Axe Murderer." It has so many great lines, one of the best being:

Harriet: "Charlie, what do you look for in a woman?"
Charlie (Mike Myers): "I know everyone always sense sense of humor, but I'd have to go with breast size."


Priceless, and I can't believe I missed last weeks chat and couldn't submit it. At my wedding, we tried to script it into a toast given by the best man (my husbands brother) about something the groom told him about me, the bride. But we couldn't pull it off. Would have been worth it for the priceless look of shock on my grandparents faces (grandpa wouldn't have gotten the reference but would have LOVED it, while grandma probably would have had a stroke because someone said "breast" out loud in mixed company), as well as the joy of seeing those handful of friends who love the movie, too, falling out of their chairs because they are laughing just that hard.

Also, on the breast sized based poll, you should have had a third category for women, along the lines of "porn star sized bazongas." As a C-cup, I fit with the C- and D-cup women, but next to my mom, a sweet cherubic woman who is somewhere around an F-cup, I am but a carpenter's delight in comparison.

A humble panty slinger,
Katie


*I may be biased because it was my and my best friends favorite movie in college to watch when we were stressed, and usually over a couple of drinks when the studying session became a lost cause around 2am.


Gene wrote back:


I like that movie.

Wo-man.... Whoa man!

Do you know there IS a size f? One of my close friends, a young, slim woman, is a size F. She is writing a story about it.

Sweet!

16 August 2006

Funny

I saw a woman this morning out walking. Pretty average looking, middle aged mom type. Fit, slender, working up a good sweat at 6am. But she was wearing a Hooter's t-shirt. She did not have hooters at all. I can only imagine this was one of three things:

1) She just really likes the wings

2) Her family has a sick, warped sense of humor and got it for her as a gift

3) There was a luggage mix up at the airport and some Hooter's girl was left to wear mom jeans on her vacation

15 August 2006

Endless summer

It's been about 64 hours since our A/C broke. Sunday wasn't so bad, and it cooled off enough at night so that sleeping was actually rather pleasant. Yesterday we lasted through the morning, then did some errands and came home to find the house at 83 degrees. Windows are open, curtains are strategically closed, fans are blowing, and yet when bedtime came around (after spending the afternoon and evening like refugees at a friends house), the temp was up to 87. We slept in the basement. Jim got the futon since he had to go to work today and Natalie and I got the floor. It was a joy, honestly. Never has my back been this crooked and I don't think I've functioned on this little sleep since I was in college and trying to study for finals AND practice with the crew team for the big end of the year regatta in Philly (Dad Vail). This morning, when it's 7:30, the thermostat says 81, and you are dripping sweat, what would you do? Pack up toys, diapers, books, change of clothes, formula, lunch, and head to starbucks till your friends all go to work and you can sneak back into their house with your spare emergency key? Yup, you guessed it. Friends rock, though, and I even called before hyjacking Lisa's laptop (hi Lisa!!). I'm supposed to be "working from home" so I suppose checking that pesky work email would be nice.

Anyway, I'm just so beat down right now. Kind of feel like Job, except without all the destruction of crops and killing of family. Don't know how he managed it, but despite feeling beat down, my faith in God and His provision isn't failing. I'd kind of like it if He'd stop trying to teach us lessons or something, but whatever. He provided a super fun elderly neightbor who works with commercial heating/cooling units who is in the process of fixing ours at cost. He seemed insulted that we wanted to pay him for his labors, because "For neighbor? This is what I do!" So it'll really cost us just parts and a big batch of cookies I think. And that is surely God's doing. I just hope God's will includes having it all fixed by this afternoon like hoped so we can sleep in our bed tonight, since I really have to go to work tomorrow.

13 August 2006

Venting is healthy, part 2

A month ago, life was a little crazy. Since then, it's still been crazy.

Jim got a job
Car passed inspection
Eye infection came back
Went to hot dermatologist
Moles gone wild checked and removed
Moles really hadn't gone wild, just thinking about it

Still can't fit into any clothes
Had $300 worth of dental work done
Went back and spent $300 more on the other side
Teeth no longer bite the same on each side, must go back a 3rd time
Did I mention Jim got a job?
Still no word on my job...
Still no word on how we'll pay the mortgage next month...
Jim got a new tire
AC broke
New tire went flat 24 hours later
Baby had her first cold
Baby gave her cold to me and Jim
Um, still trying to focus on the good of Jim's new job...
Everyone else went or is going on vacation
We have none planned
I get to stay home with my baby starting some this week
Have to pay a babysitter for 2 days this week
Must take money out of savings to pay babysitter
But babysitter is super sweet and a possible new friend
We still have a roof over our heads
We are (reasonably) healthy

11 August 2006

She's a mutt

So we figured out what our daughter "is" last night. Harder than one might think. My family all came fresh off the boat no earlier than the 1890's, while Jim's family has been here since a few boats after the Mayflower it seems, which is harder to trace who came from where (we know most of them were in Oklahoma and Texas, but just not before that). Taking all that into account, we think this is pretty acurate: We also decided that if she marries someone who is an Afro-Asian-Latino who grew up in the middle east, we'll just have to change the name of Thanksgiving dinner to United Nations Pot-Luck.

10 August 2006

Sad but true

The only way I can guarantee my daughter will open her mouth, when I'm heading towards it with a spoon full of rice cereal and carrots, is to sing the meow mix song to her. I tried substituting "yum" for "meow," but I think she likes when I say "meow" the best.

09 August 2006

Happy Half Birthday, Natalie!

Six months ago today, I was walking around the office with a leaking amniotic sac and heading to the hospital by myself, 5cm dilated, while Jim scrambled to wrap up things at work since he knew he wouldn't be back for a few days, as he was about to become a DADDY. You were this helpless little thing that scared the pants off me; I remember trembling in the hospital when the realization hit that we had to take you home and do this on our own, without any nurses to come running at the push of a button. You didn't do much but nurse, and you snorted like a truffle pig when trying to find my nipple. You were rather scawny, with long skinny chicken legs, and we spent so much time together topless, just resting chest to chest, feeling each others warmth and heart beat.

So much has changed in your short life span that you have no clue about; and finally, things are starting to look up. Daddy starts a new job on Monday, and I'll get to stay at home and take care of you like I've always wanted. At last! I'll still be working, just not as much and mostly when you are sleeping (even if that means getting up at 5am to put in a few hours before you wake). We need the money, so it's not going to be all fun and games. There may even be times where you have to holler for a few minutes in your crib because you want out but I need to make a quick important phone call. But hopefully that will change and someday in the future I'll be my own boss and set my own rules. But for now, this is how it has to be, and it's a lot better than me having to leave your sweet self every morning to trudge to work and spend my day sitting in a cublicle.

Six months old, and you are a turning into a vibrant little girl. Everyone who meets you says the same thing: "She's so alert and bright eyed!" You prefer to observe the wild world around you, and then tell us all about it later when you are back in the comfort of your house or your room. But when you are angry/upset/frustrated, you've taken to curling your feet in and rubbing them against your bare legs like an angry little cricket when you cry. It's too funny and makes we want to pick you up and comfort you even more. You can also roll from you back to your tummy, and I burst with pride every single time you do. I can't imagine how proud I will be when I see you walk down the aisle at your high school graduation. You have always been a cuddler, and I cherish those moments when you are quiet, on the verge of drifting off, curled up in my arms making sweet little baby noises to no one in particular. I could spend all day tickling you just to hear you laugh, as it's the best sound by far in the whole wide world. Whatever comes our way, we've bonded as a family through some tough times and I know we can face whatever else God has in store for us.

08 August 2006

Deep thoughts

While sitting in the dentist's chair for the second time in as many weeks, having horrendous torture performed on my mouth for which they were going to make me pay (No wonder one hears so many jokes about dentists and sadomasochists - it's true! I wonder if there's a National Convention of Dental Sadomasochists every year in Vegas...), I had a few thoughts.

First, that new-ish Sheryl Crow and Sting duet? Yeah, that's going to go the way of so many Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Lionel Richie songs of my junior high and high school years: It will become fodder for love sick teenagers to croon together at wanna-be American Idol high school talent shows for ages to come.

Second, as something that they were using on my teeth touched my tongue by accident and tasted like I was being poisoned, I thought: "Gee, our taste receptors are in our tongues. To keep people from biting their nails, they make a clear polish that tastes awful that people can put on them [Jim has used this stuff in an attempt to break his own nail biting habit.]. Why isn't there a similar substance that one can paint on one's tongue that is effective for, say, the length of a baby shower or ice cream social, that prohibits sweets from tasting oh-so good?" Think about it: Those of us with sweet tooths who are supposed to be avoiding sugar at all costs would be saved from temptation!! But the stuff would have to taste like chocolate, otherwise no one would use it.

Third, I sweat a lot when someone is using spinning and vibrating torture devices in my mouth. It was kind of gross. They should use those paper sheets like at the doctors office that roll out over the exam table and tear off when you are done.

07 August 2006

Technology kicks ass

I got to talk to my friend in Japan this morning! Woohoo! She's in the Navy (...you can sail the seven seas! In the Navy...), hasn't been stateside (or at least on the east coast) in forever, and I happened to email her at the same time she was online, so she picked up her trusty internet phone (Is it even a phone? Perhaps just a mic hooked to your computer? I so don't even know...) and gave me a ring. Here I am, sitting at work, and she just climbed Mount Fuji yesterday.

All this excitement is masking the fact that I am dreading talking to my boss(es) today about my whole work situation. It's a known fact that I hate confrontation; I have no kahones when it comes to speaking out for something I believe in. I can't even argue with friends sometimes about why I love a movie they all think is dumb. I just get snookered in and end up keeping my mouth shut. Fingers crossed that I can come across as professional and deserving of a part time work from home (aka "off site" if we're being technical) situation.

I think I might have to go throw up I'm so anxious about it.

I also use too many parenthesis (oh well).

06 August 2006

Survival Guide: Africa edition

Our pastor is from Wales, which means he has a great accent. And being Welsh technically doesn't explain his love of being grandiose - waving the sleeves of his Presbyterian robes from the pulpit, wearing a cape in the winter (think Sherlock Holmes), or trying to out sing every other person in a wedding party - but you take this brilliant man, give him a great accent, and throw in his personality and it's a trifecta of hystericalness at times.

This morning he was telling some tales from his recent trip to visit a sister church in Sudan. While there, he was informed on how to escape from the grip of a python, as they are known to drop from the trees and squeeze their pray to death. He told us you are to (read with a thick, punctuated Welsh accent): "Rrraise one's ahrms ais if to prahse the Lourd, ahnd ais the pythin curls his tail up with which to breahk your nohse, you bite dohwn upohn it, and suppooosedly, the pythin will slip off. Not thaht I had the chahnce to try, buht there you goh."

I feel so much safer now, knowing how to extract myself from the grip of a constrictor. I'll keep that in mind next time we're at the zoo, in case we learn of an escape from the reptile house.

04 August 2006

PARTY ON!!

HE GOT THE JOB!

Happy times in the aubergine house tonight! Much take out chicken was consumed with wild abandon, faux-champagne was uncorked, then drunk, then drunk some more. Ice cream was eaten out of the container. Babies waved their icey teething rings with joy, happy to giggle along in the celebrating. Which will hopefully continue later this evening once it's a little cooler and we can get busy, if ya know what I mean. Marriage is really hard, but it does have its perks. A huge cloud has been lifted. Life isn't going to be easy, I'll still be doing whatever I can to earn money for our household and we'll still have to be frugal, but our quality of life just went up like a cajillion degrees. Jim will be happy doing what he loves with nice people and close to home, I'll be home where I want to be (who cares what I'll be doing other than taking care of Natalie), and together, we can make this work.

God has provided for us this far, with the means to hang in there, and now Jim has a GREAT new job. I'm hoping this is the start of a provdential upswing, and that more good things will come our way. Not that we, as sinners, yada yada yada, deserve any of it, but as humans who have put up with a lot in the past year, it sure as heck would be nice.