26 December 2008

Merry Belated Christmas!

Our holiday was quiet, which I think is the best time. Others might take issue with that, prefering hoopla and craziness in an effort to get enough holiday spirit in to last till next year. And I think Christmas should be celebrated like Jewish holidays - starting at sundown the day before. At least that's how it feels to me. My mom's entire family is Polish, and in Poland, Christmas Eve is almost the bigger holiday. We grew up having Polish food on Christmas Eve, which is a tradition I want to keep up with Natalie and whomever may come after her. It's also a good excuse to make pierogi, which I only ever eat if they are homemade, because I have yet to find store bought ones that compare to my family's recipe. So we had pierogi and gawumpki (stuffed cabbage) after Christmas Eve service at church, which was great. It was geared for families and was in the upper room instead of the sanctuary, so there was some space to move, comfy chairs instead of pews, they had bells and maracas and tambourines for the kids to play along with the carols, as well as families doing some Christmas readings and making a living nativity. And instead of ending the service with candlight while singing Silent Night like just about every single other Christmas Eve service I've ever been to anywhere, we sand it with glow sticks. GLOW STICKS. IN CHURCH. It was awesome.


After chuch was the Polish food fest, and it was good. Then Natalie got to open one present, her Olivia Helps with Christmas book and the Olivia pajamas I made her. Big hit. In the morning, we took our time getting up, opened presents, took a break to have french toast on home made honey whole wheat bread, opened more presents (I say "we" opened presents, it was really just Natalie), played in our jammies till after lunch time, then crashed. Natalie didn't want to nap, but I did, so she was forced against her will to have rest time in her room. Horrible, aren't I? I guess it wasn't so terrible because all was quiet from her end of the house in less than 20 minutes, and when I went in a little later to check on her, I couldn't get in the door. She had stopped mid-protestation to play with her blocks that are next to the door, and had laid herself down on the floor, with a blanket, and fallen asleep. When I got down on the floor and tried to reach around and move her out of the way so I could at least squeeze in and put her in her bed, she said "No, mamma, I sleeping here," pulled her blanket up and rolled over and was out again.


We ended our Christmas with more food followed by a walk around the block to look at lights. Ran into a neighbor who ducked into his house to get a gift for me (me!)...we had made cookies and banana bread for a bunch of neighbors and Bob is diabetic (must remember that for next year) so he gave them to his main squeeze as he called his girlfriend (he's in his late 60's). She loved them and gave him a pretty scarf to give me. Fun! And other neighbors left a little gift card to the toy store in our mailbox from Natalie. These are the somewhat new-ish neighbors who came from Long Island and are the types of people who give New Yorkers a bad name. They're just kind of cold, but maybe that is them being nice. Obviously they liked our cookies and Natalie is psyched to have her own "credit card" to go shopping with. And tomorrow we go to our other neighbor's house, the ones we love and do lots together with, for a Hannukah party. Can't wait for that one - latkes galore! All in all, it was a nice holiday, leaving me feeling calm, a little warm and fuzzy, and ready to take on the world. But not till next week.

17 December 2008

A few thoughts

#1 - depression sucks, as usual.
#2 - retail therapy is good, except when you step back and look at just how much retail therapy you've been doing
#3 - keeping busy is good, until you start to bite off more than you can chew and wonder when it's all going to get done
#4 - someone seems to think that when there aren't any diapers, she'll wear big girl panties; till then, don't bother her with such triffle, she has 4 pretend mice to take care of under the dining room table.
#5 - christmas + unemployement = suckiness
#6 - waiting for my period, only day 30, so not many worries yet.
#7 - looking forward to my pap smear next week, the one retesting due to atypical cells on my last one.
#8 - i dream of 12 hours home alone in my house
#9 - i've also been dreaming about having sex with old guy friends (not necessarily boyfriends, just guys i've known). not day dreams, but actual vivid night dreams that are i remember so clearly it's kind of freaking me out. hoping it has to do with hormones and a period that's about to arrive.
#10 - opening a bottle of good wine for no reason other than it's a tuesday is very nice.

11 December 2008

Losing my mind

Someone, all 27lbs of her, has been driving me CRAZY. Every. Thing. Is A Battle. And I'm ready to throw in the towel and not argue or cajole or plead or beg anymore, but Jim isn't of the same mind. So I end up being the bad cop, she'll do anything for him, but I'm the one with her All The Time. Sure, he's unemployed and around a lot, but is he the one getting her ready for bed? Fixing her meals? Sitting with her while she attempts for the 14th time in one day to pee on the potty? No. It's me. And I've had it. Thankfully we're headed to grandma and grandpa's for Christgiving. Or Thanksmas. You decide. A whole weekend with two extra adults to thrust her upon, as well as a small hyper dog to help keep her occupied. I've got a good book (Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie) and plan on hiding out in my old room a lot. Don't know what Jim plans on doing during that time, but he's not going to be near me.

30 November 2008

Stewing

I'm angry and bitter and congested all at the same time, which isn't the best of combinations. It's my turn to be sick, and damn it, I want to take a sick day. Instead I'm still the one up early with Natalie, making her breakfast, changing her poopy diaper (use the damn toilet already!), etcetera ad infinitum. What did Jim do? Sleep in, lounge on couch. He doesn't "parent." He doesn't say "OK, news is over, TV is going off - lets get play clothes on and do some puzzles!" He just sits. Natalie runs willy nilly. I can hear from the other room when amok is occuring, yet it's in front of his face and he doesn't catch it. And while I lay in bed, trying to breath through my mouth and just rest while waiting for the tylenol to kick in, a small someone keeps coming in to talk to me, or climb up on the bed to play with me, and on and on. Has Jim become so involved in a chore that he's ignoring her? No! He actually put a movie on. No, he didn't change the channel to a movie, he actually got up, got out a DVD, and PUT A MOVIE ON. Natalie ended up running around half the morning in her all together. Did he bother to look at the clock? Notice that she needed food? Anything? No. He kept saying that he was going to take her out so I could have the house to myself*, but that didn't happen till an hour before her nap time. She's still getting over being sick, she needs her nap time. But even if they walk in the door this second, we'll have screwed up bedtime. It's like I have to physically leave the house without child in order to be truly alone, and when you feel like shit, that isn't something I want to do. I don't know what they'd think at the coffee shop about a sniffling sneezing harried looking frump curled up in one of their big comfy chairs, nursing a large hot tea for 4 hours.

* Last sunday, Jim was on his dealthbed, or so it seemed since he, like most boys, turns into a big baby when sick. Natalie and I left the house at 9 for church, and went out to lunch afterwards since he wanted to sleep a little longer before we came home. We were out of the house for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS!!! I just wanted him to return the favor. He looks at me like this request is akin to cutting off his left testicle.

28 November 2008

In the spirit of...

Today is day 3 of sick Natalie. It's no fun. She's so not herself. At least her fever has somewhat broken - it's only in the 100-101 range instead of the 103-104 range. She doesn't want to eat much of anything (although she did down some turkey, tomatos, and broccoli at dinner yesterday), and she's hardly drinking. I was worried about her dehydration yesterday, but she's had two wet diapers already today and finished off about 6oz of orange juice. Poisoned orange juice, that is. I swear yesterday was like one of those spy movies where the poison is in one of the drinks and it's all suspenseful as characters start taking the wrong cup and you lose track of the poison and wonder who's going to get it. We had almost a whole shelf in the fridge with orange juice, chocolate milk, yogurt, sorbet, cranberry sauce - all laced with amoxicillin. It's like she's got radar for the stuff and would refuse to touch anything we had spiked, which we did behind her back while one person distracted her and the other added a teaspoon of medicine to her beverage or food. Problem was the food she did eat is kind of hard to hide pink bubble gum flavoring to. I think she'd be suspicious of pink turkey. I did wonder if we could inject it into cherry tomatos...she pops those like an addict pops percocet. We've had to force a dosage into her twice - one of us holding her down and one squirting into her cheeks. Vomited it up both times. Not because she didn't swallow it, but because she was in such a state that I couldn't calm her down fast enough before she got into such a tizzy and horked it all up anyway.

But I'm thankful for a pediatritian who was in the office on a holiday that I could call to ask for help. Thankful for access to medicine, and a roof over our heads to keep us comfortable as well rest and heal.

26 November 2008

Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving

So much for fun with the family and mom's home cooking. We'll be staying home, eating leftovers and whatever I can scrounge in the fridge while Natalie mends and Jim and I try not to catch her strep throat. Poor baby. She fell asleep on my lap on the couch for the first time in at least a year and a half. If she wasn't so sick I would have loved it 12 times more. Thankfully we saw the pediatrician this morning so she's on antibiotics. She's perkier, her fever is better, but she was so tired this afternoon. Fingers crossed she takes a nap appropriate for a sick toddler, not her typical hour or hour and a half. Doesn't she realize that sleeping makes everything better? Geez!

18 November 2008

2 and 3/4

What with all the hormones and everything of late, I never got around to posting for Natalie's 2 year and 9 month "birthday." She's cute, and tremendously stubborn, annoying, tempermental, and frustrating all at once. Fortunately (for her and my sanity) the cuteness is at an all time high. Lately she likes to play kangaroo, where she sits on my lap and pulls a blanket across her chest like a mama kangaroo's pocket. And we'll have entire conversations refering to each other as mama kangaroo and baby kangaroo. She also is obsessed with "Olivia Forms a Band" and the section where Olivia goes to put on make-up before going to see the fireworks. Natalie insists on re-enacting this scene everytime we get in the car. She takes the chapstick I keep in the front storage receptical, smears it on her lips and beyond and says "wipe that glop off your face right now, young lady!" Laughs hysterically, and then sometimes she'll ask for a tissue to wipe it off. We also spell a lot these days, and Jim and I were mentioning how T-I-R-E-D someone was. "T-R-D?" she says back? "Do you know what T-I-R-E-D means?" "It means nap time." Classic. Like the time she told me her name was "Natalie Claire Stop-it."

(PS - this is not a leftover summer picture, it was taken last weekend, when we were at the bay, and it was 72 degrees out. Now they are under a winter weather advisory, so I guess it all evens out in the end, but still, sand castle weather in November is awesome.)

17 November 2008

71 Days

It took 71 days to get my period. 100mg of progesterone, a lot of stress, bloating, crankiness, and general PMS-y malaise. But it's here. such a relief.

On to new excitement - turns out I had an abnormal pap smear. Yay! The fun just never ends, does it?

16 November 2008

Period Watch 2008

Nothing. Day 70 today, one week post progesterone, wondering when I should call the doctor to say "um, nothing is happening." Starting to get mildly worried that something bigger is at play than just "we're not sure what's going on" which is usually how things in my body have been interpreted.

09 November 2008

Fun of another sort

It's been 63 days since my last period, I'm on my last day of Provera to induce a period, and still nothing. Usually within the first two days of taking the progesterone I get it, but not this time. I can't even count the nimber of times I've taken the stuff to induce a period yet I don't ever remember it taking this long to come. I'm bloated as all get out (could barely shove my re-sized wedding rings on the last two mornings), cranky, and a hormonal wreck. Wondering what difference a fibroid is going to make to my usually light cycle. Wondering when the glucophage is going to kick in a start helping regulate my periods. Wondering if I have the strength to not eat my body weight in chocolate tonight.

07 November 2008

Fun

70 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze. So we went to the zoo. Just another reason I love DC, free attractions like PANDAS. And rocks to climb on, and paths to run on with friends. And running into other friends who you didn't plan on meeting. Which meant Natalie's playgroup boyfriend and sunday school boyfriend met for the first time. Perhaps they'll face off in the future about who gets to date her. Funny, they are both about the same size with really blond hair. Perhaps at 2.5 she already had a type? All that fun = a good nap today. At least that's what I want.

03 November 2008

Thoughts

I find myself home alone for the first time in who knows how long. Jim took Natalie to the groccery, which will take at least an hour even though there are only about 6 things on the list and the store is 5 minutes away.

Daylight savings sucks, nothing is worse than darkness at 5pm which still feels like afternoon. Sure, getting up at 6:30 or 7 and having daylight is nice, but I'd rather have my daylight when I'm functional instead of when I'm only good for dragging my feet to the couch and turning on the news, knowing the toddler will be up in moments.

Glucophage is nice. I haven't had any side effects of it yet, other than something that is probably TMI to post here. Ok, maybe not. I'm farting all the time. Gross, yes, especially with a husband who was raised by a puritanical southern mother, and not in a household like mine where bathroom habits routinely come up at family dinners. Anyway, I attribute it to the meds. Haven't stepped on a scale, I only worked up to the full dosage this weekend, so we'll give it another week or two. I did find a pair of pants I didn't know fit...I'm hoping they were in my draw because they had gotten too tight and now they aren't, instead of just my clueless self forgetting I had them. Which is hard to do when you only have 2 pairs of non-jeans that fit.

I'm trying to be abstinant with sugar. Not working. Someone at OA this saturday mentioned that she had been off plan for a few weeks, but that today, this morning, she was abstinant. The whole concept of a fresh start, etc. I like that. However, that line of thinking doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe it's time to seek out a sponsor. I don't know. I just want the weight off, I want to be healthy, fit into my clothes, not be disgusted with myself to the point that I am. Hmm...I'm purposefully missing the monthly mom's social at church tonight - the topic was body image, my therapist is the one speaking. Yeah, didn't need to be there. These are women I don't know too well and am hoping to foster friendships with, but I have too much baggage in this department to risk crying in front of a crowd. I know, silly. Still, it's my own inhibitions keeping me back. That and/or I worry I'd be too upfront and piss some skinny bitches off. Whatever. I'm not going. Instead I intend to park myself in front of the tv for the SNL election special with my crocheting and some tea.

Unemployeed husband situation sucks. Sure, we haven't killed each other yet, but I feel more than ever like I'm in a rut. Like I can't break out of my current situation till he has a job. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the near constant fear that he'll be judgemental, or his constant comments about how I do everything, from driving to cooking to pruning bushes. Throw an every tempermental toddler on top of it and I just want to run and hide till he gets a job. I want something special to happen in my life, something exciting, something to look forward to. I need to do that for myself, and I need to learn that I can't let outside circumstances hold me back. Or not. I don't even know anymore. Doesnt' help that when things get tough, I find myself thinking of old boyfriends. John mostly. S a little. And T who was never a boyfriend but with whom I always wondered what if...

30 October 2008

Happy Halloween Eve!

Brownie points if you can guess what she is:

29 October 2008

Survival

I have a pile of blog posts that I've started in the last few weeks, none that I've finished, many that I've half-heartedly abandoned.

Life in unemployement land continues to suck ass. At least the hyper-home repairs have stopped thanks to cold weather and my sister-in-law's birthday. Since we had some exterior work that had to be done before winter and her 40th birthday party was going to be on our back patio, Jim was insane, going to home depot or the local hardware store multiple times a day. At least the house looks awesome and the yard is shaping up in a way that we'll be able to plant more grass seed during those first weeks of spring when the ground begins to thaw. The party went great, she was thrilled to pieces, and the best part was the fire pit we borrowed from friends. Nothing makes a party more awesome than a bonfire in the burbs with smores.

Health wise, I've been on glucophage for almost 2 weeks now and already we're seeing improvements. Was at the GYN today for a follow up to my yearly exam from the 13th; since starting the glucophage, my uterus that was not even close to producing a period is ripening just fine now, hopefully something will happen since it's 52 days since my last one and we know there's nothing growing in there (fetal or otherwise). I'm feeling better in general, I've been able to watch my diet more since I know this med is going to work. My ovaries were nice and polycystic, too. Most exciting, we saw a fibroid on my sonogram which is all kinds of fun, since my mom had a hysterectomy at age 41 because her fibroids made her uterus the size of one at 5 months gestation. Nice. Mine is singular, not teeny, but not big. So we'll see what happens. I figure at least we can see it now and keep an eye on things in there to make sure what happened to mom doesn't happen to me. Or at least catch it before it gets out of control, especially with laproscopic procedures and such that they can do to rid a uterus of these pesky little intruders.

Most fun, my very very good friend and neighbor had her baby last thursday. Little Mollie is scrumptious in that way all wrinkly little newborns are. I have yet to snuggle her, but I may head over there tonight for a cuddle. She's got long eye lashes and big feet and nurses like a champ. Which means the amount of poop this child is putting out is shocking my friend to no end. Always amazing how such adorable little teeny bodies can produce such massive quantitites of excrement. We've all rallied and coordinated meals for their family for the week, which is nice to help out. I know these ladies would do it for me (and hopefully, sometime next year, it will be my turn).

16 October 2008

All hope is lost

It appears that nap time is a thing of the past in our household. Rest in peace, oh sweet hour and a half of free mommy time, you will be missed.

15 October 2008

Joys of working from home #41

Having a glass of wine while working on print requests and work orders and wading through gallons of emails? Much more fun than having your 7th cup of coffee in a cubicle.

End of week 3

Tomorrow marks three weeks since the layoff, so far, no jobs. No interviews, no nothing. However, the exposed basement part of our house has been painted, the rust has been chemically removed from the shed door and frame, new lights including motion sensor ones have been installed in the rear of the house/tenant's entrance, the interior wall of the basement where the eletricians were working has been sheetrocked (over the painted 70's era paneling), trimmed, and primed, and new windows will be installed in the basement (this is a walk out basement with big windows on two sides) this weekend. When we are scrambling for groccery money in a few months I'm going to point out to Jim how good the house looks, but remind him that we can't eat the leftover paint and dryway cement. He's been to home depot or the local harware store every day for at least the past week and a half. Starting to give me an ulcer.

10 October 2008

2 years, 8 months

Natalie, sweet Natalie. Yesterday you turned 2 years and 8 months old. Crazy, I know. I can't believe how fast you are growing. You are one heck of a stubborn little toddler, as you have been for a while now, but I continue to be amazed at how strong a will someone who only weighs 27lbs can have. School has been the highlight of your life the past month - You would live there if you could and the only downside for you is that you don't get to take the bus there. When we wait outside before school, everyone is kind of hanging out, holding mommie's hand, but you? No, you are running around, trying to climb the fence to get in the playground where the older kids are finishing up their class, screeching with excitement. Then as soon as the co-oper's are let in, you are standing on your tiptoes, trying to see in the window, wondering when Miss Debbie will come back out to tell you it's time for everyone else to come in. And when she does, you beeline for your classroom. It's a good thing you only weigh 27lbs and are one of the smallest in your class, because you'd leave a wake of disctruction and fallen toddlers in your path. No kisses goodbye, not even a backward glance. You are hanging up your back pack and you are ready to Play. It's awesome. I love your excitement and sheer delight at any mention of the word school. We get to go back tomorrow for the fall picnic and I know we'd better dress you in the grungy of grungiest play clothes because after 2 hours of playing, picnicing, playing, and then more playing, we're going to have to chip the dirt off you before even getting in the car.

As usual, my life has been a roller coaster. I felt like we were getting to a good place and BAM! Daddy got laid off. So did 37 of his co-workers. Which leaves all three of us home all day every day together. It's messed up my schedule, but you seem to have adapted quite well. My depression has given me some dark times the past two weeks, but I see my doctor next week and hope to get some additional help - at least we have health insurance through the end of the calendar year. But, it also means trying to make you a sibling has been put on hold indefinately. Not that we even know if we can make another kid, but we were just ready to start trying. I guess God really didn't want child #2 concieved right now. We've been praying that His timing and His will is bigger and better than what we want or think we need. In the meantime, while that next great job is still in the works, we pray for provision and we thank God for the friends and family that have been so supportive. Still, the whole thing sucks.

The weather has been beyond fantastic, and with daddy home, it's been fun going to the park in the middle of the day as a family, or dragging him to music class with us. As soon as he finishes some outdoor projects on the house (that we had to get done before the weather changed too much), we're going to hit the zoo, the pumpkin patch, the natural history museum. You and daddy had a blast going to the Jim Henson exhibit at the Smithsonian. Although I'm not sure what you liked more - seeing muppets or riding the metro. Anyway, we're all hanging in there, thankful for the blessing you are to our lives.

09 October 2008

Continued Blech

Day 32, no period. As my mom says, "Women in our family tend to get pregnant when their husbands are out of work!" To which I think I shocked her when I told her, "Yes, but you have to have SEX to get pregnant." There's been none of that in this house for weeks. My breasts feel like I'm still nursing, they are so tender, and I'm having afternoon nauseau. No migranes or cramps, but still, I'm 97% sure this is PMS related and I know the stress of an unemployed husband isn't helping. Today I woke up with a killer back ache and I've been having insanely crazy dreams. Like going to Africa for work, but flying first class and taking Natalie, and being excited to go to the swimming store there that Michael Phelps shops at, but bummed that I can't go across the street to another country where there's a good restaurant, because that street is actually part of Australia and I didn't bring my passport. If that's not crazy, how about the fact that the geology department from my alma mater was also on the same flight as me. I never took a geo class in my 4 years there. I just hope I get my period soon so this insanity can all go away.

07 October 2008

Blech

Stress + PMS = throwing up in the shower

02 October 2008

Octoberfest

For the first time since who knows when, I voluntarily put on a sweater today. Mmmm. Haven't pulled out the wool socks yet, but it's getting close. Maybe even the flannel jammies will make an appearance with a cup of hot tea while watching the VP debates tonight from under a big afghan. The sun is bright and the wind is blowing, it's crisp and clear out and my allergies are telling me how high the pollen count is but I don't care. It's a good feeling, first in a week, so I'm going to try and hang onto it.

01 October 2008

Hanging in there

We're on day 6 of Job Search '08. So far, no leads. Hahahahaha, like I really expected some. But he has filed for unemployment, made sure all the right signed papers were back at what is now his old job so he can get his severance check and we can have health insurance till the end of the year. He's updated his resume and started looking online for jobs and applying for whatever he can find in his field (HR). Enough friends know and are looking out for him, one even knows of a job opening in her company that hasn't been announced yet so she's getting details for him today.

I'm just trying to hold it together. Monday was hard, I think because I had a previously scheduled appointment with my therapist. Today I'm feeling a little better. Not great, but OK. Helps that my sinus infection is all but gone. Sweet people from OA have called to check on me which is so kind. Even that 2 minute phone call that says "How's your day going? You hanging in there?" means a lot. I've shared a lot with these women in the handful of saturdays I've known them, because they understand where the root of my struggle comes from. I got pissed at a nicorete gum commercial yesterday - "Nicorete gum can help control the cravings" and I'm thinking "Why the fuck can't they make a gum that can help control my cravings for ice cream and french fries?" It's so irrational it's frustrating. Actually, it's not irrational. I take that back. It's more a backward way of thinking - food can make you feel better. That's somewhat rational. Food does fill a hole, it's just that it's a never ending hole in your stomach and not the hole in your soul that you think you are fixing with food. Deep thoughts for a wednesday afternoon.

Jim and a neighbor (a contractor who blames the economy on why people keep backing out on him - "No, I think we'll wait till the new year to redo the kitchen/bathroom/basement love den" - and is desperate for work) are working on the house today with one of this neighbor's guys. they are scraping the exterior wood trim on our brick house in order to prime and paint it before winter. While a lot of our home repairs got put on hold, the trim had to get done since it was barely this side of rotting. Nice to help a neighbor out, he's cutting us a decent deal because Jim is handy and helping. They are also sledgehammering and ripping out the old brick BBQ in our yard. My mom doesn't understand why we aren't saving it, but the BBQ is rusted shut and the bricks are crumbling. It's down to a pile of rubble - they took one load in this guys truck to the dump already - and I'm amazed at how much bigger the yard looks without this 4ftx4ftx4ft cube in the middle. I just wish they had let me have a go with the sledgehammer.

26 September 2008

F*CK

Jim got laid off.

Nothing more to say, mostly because there's way too much stuff in my head. And of course I immediatly started thinking of all the comfort foods I love, so while I don't want to go to OA on saturday because I'll spend it crying my eyes out, I know I need to go because I can't eat my way through the upcoming weeks/months.

Good thing I was already planning on making everybody's christmas presents this year and I had already ordered a metric buttload of fabric (which came in and is AWESOME). And I guess getting that etsy shop up and running would be a good idea, not to mention maybe going through all the clothes I don't wear and ebaying some stuff...

Thank God I see my therapist on monday...

24 September 2008

Casualty

We awoke this morning when we heard a loud THUD on our bedroom window. A sparrow and flown right into the glass and was laying, dead, on the patio roof below. It's still there. Guess I need to get a broom or something and lean out the window the sweep the poor fellow over the side where we can then dispose of him properly, out behind the shed where I put the dead mouse a month ago. I'm sure the neighborhood cats will appreciate the treat. Still, it was kind of a freaky way to wake up.

On another note, I'm in denial that I'm getting sick. I've got that sick taste in my mouth and while my throat isn't sore, those glands are feeling funky back there. I'm sipping lots of hot tea, zinc, and vitamin c and will be napping while Natalie naps this afternoon. Provided she does nap this afternoon. She didn't on Monday and that just doesn't do me a lick of good. Especially since today Jim is going to a baseball game after work which means no daddy distraction in the evening. I'm flying solo all day and if I have a cranky non-napping toddler on my hands till bedtime, I might lose it.

23 September 2008

Update

I think the momentum of my first few weeks of OA is wearing out. A gal at saturday's meeting suggested I add anothing meeting into my week to stretch out the good vibes and not have to wait a whole 7 days for another dose. I think I may do that. I'm still not focusing on my diet, I'm focusing on those cravings and the mindless eating and the reasons behind my urges to eat when it's not meal time. I realized it's not anger or boredom that fuels those binges, it's frustration. Frustration at a toddler who won't listen. Frustration at my self for not being able to figure out how to best manage my time, frustration at my husband for being a dolt. "I'm not angry at him, I just wish he didn't act/say/do things like that." That, my friend, is frustration. And for whatever reason it drives me to want to eat, as if food is a soothing balm for my soul that will absorb the acid eating away at my self.

The opposite of frustration, at least the best that I can tell, is peace and contentment. So that's what I'm trying to do. If it means leaving for an activity substantially earlier than planned so if Natalie starts pulling out the stubborness, we can still get places on time. It's accepting that sometimes there's no chance of convincing her to do something else, and to be OK with it and just move on. She's being herself, this is what toddler's do. I'm the one who needs to find peace with her actions and not turn to food to try and find peace.

So I'm trying to take deep breaths, be more accepting, and channel that furious need for effeciency into my work, which I've been doing a lot of lately. I kind of created a big project for myself and have been chipping away at it. If I can't accomplish my daily routine in a way that satisfies my need to be speedy, efficient, and not wasteful of time or energy, I find that completing another chunk of this project comes with a serious sense of accomplishment. And when this project is done (probably end of this week), it will go off for comments and technical editing and be out of my hands for who the hell knows how long. So I'm going back to sewing. Sewing brings me peace and accomplishment, and maybe I can finally get that etsy shop up and running before the Christmas holiday shopping season is in full swing.

22 September 2008

Oy

My therapist has me reading this book on boundaries. It's really good, because I see myself in a lot of it. It's really bad because I see a lot of Jim in it. For instance, this morning.

Today is "don't drive your car to work" day. There is a bus stop, less than a mile (probably only a half mile) from our house that drops Jim off across the street from his office. He's taken it a whole 3 times in the last 2 years, and those 3 times were all in a week when his car was in the shop. He decided he'd take it today, being HR and all and being the one sending messages to employees about the event (it's DC-metro wide). Did he get his ass up in time to catch the bus? Yes. But did he get in the shower in time, or not sit on the couch watching the news for 10 minutes, etc.? No. So he's running out at 7:30 to walk a half mile to catch a bus that comes at 7:32.

If I was a good boundary setter, which I'm not, the rest of the morning would not have played out as it did.

He came back a minute later, grabbed Natalie and my car keys and said "I need you to drive me to the bus stop and I'm getting Natalie in the car right now" as he ran back out the door. Um, ok. My pajama clad self (tank top, no bra, crocs, orange plaid pants, glasses, and serious bed head) shut the door behind myself as I climbed into the driver's seat. Off to the bus stop. It wasn't till we were stuck at the second traffic light which is a looooong one that Jim came to the realization he wasn't going to make the 7:32 bus. The schedule said there was one at 7:47. Jim made me wait in a parking lot near the stop till the bus came just in case. And just in case turned out to be "but I need to get to work on time and can't wait for the 7:47 bus that's obviously running late." So I had to drive him to work. And thus starts my week with 40 minutes in the car and pissed off at my husband.

Sure, I could have said, "no, we're not waiting" and driven off as soon as we dropped him off at the bus stop. I could have also made a run for the shower as soon as I heard him walk back in the door. I just hate confrontation I'd rather bite my tongue, suck it up and deal so as not to have a pissy husband. Yet my boundary book has made me see where my errors are (inability to say "no" firmly and set limits) and to see where Jim's are (inability to set boundaries on his self so as to be on time and then blaming others for his lateness). Did you know that sometimes because I talk to him too much in the morning that's why he's late? And other times when I don't talk to him at all so as to give him his space to get ready quickly he gets sulky and whines about how he didn't get to talk to me before he had to leave? It's a no win situation on my side. And I used to be a public transit commuter for 5 years before working from home. If I missed a shuttle to the metro or got a late start and had to take a later train, I got into work late and I dealt with it. I also knew enough to plan ahead for potential lateness, knowing that if I got in early, I could scoot out a little early, too. This is a concept beyond Jim's comprehension.

Tomorrow, Jim is taking the bus. And I'm not rescuing him. I'm going to tell him this firmly but nicely tonight. He needs to do it for himself, and to see that the bus is a perfectly good option. I'll pack his lunch and dig up a magazine for him to read at the bus stop and if he misses the 7:32 and the 7:47 is late, then he has to deal. I'm not coming to pick him up.

19 September 2008

Eek!

Don't tell Jim, but I just spent $93 on fabric at reprodepot.com. Yes, I am a fabric addict.

15 September 2008

Update

Saturday was my third OA meeting. The only thing I don't like is that I didn't start going sooner. I am so encouraged each week, not so much by anything specific people say, but just by being in a room full of people (women) who struggle with food the same way I do. That alone has given me confidence; I can see others who have succeeded and yet even they still need the support of OA to keep on the straight and narrow. This is so much bigger than me, and even when I lose weight someday, the issues I have with food will still be there, but I will hopefully have found the strength and the support to deal with them better than I have in the past.

I don't feel like I'm losing any weight yet, but I don't mind. Going each week gives me confidence to keep on and I was actually looking forward to this past saturday's meeting. I find the biggest change so far is that I'm more conscious of my food choices - I find myself really asking myself "am I hungry or just bored? or upset? or frustrated?" before reaching into the fridge. And it's not that I didn't do that before; it's just that now, I don't beat myself up for whatever choice I make. If it's a good choice, that's all it is - "yes, I am hungry, I'm going to have this yougert." But when I find myself eating for reasons other than hunger - these are times where I need to work on identifying the need before I eat instead of after - I don't lay on the guilt about a lack of self-control. I know somehow that this is a learning process, that others have struggled before me, and I'm able to move on, not dwell, and do better the next time I'm tempted.

That's my goal for now, besides learning the 12 steps which I kind of like, I'm going to focus on eating for hunger, stopping when I'm full even if my plate is not empty, and not eating when I'm feeling other emotions. From there I figure I'm slowly meld into making better food choices, and the weather is going to start cooling down substantially where soups and chillis and other vegetable laden yumminess is going to be on our dinner menu weekly. I know what I should be eating, it's just all the other trash in my head interfering with my ability to make those choices, not to mention telling me I need food to feel better.

So of I am on this journey, all 205lbs of me (see picture from labor day weekend). My doctor wants me at 185 by christmas, and for the first time in a while, I feel confident I can meet that goal. March is a family reunion of sorts on Jim's side and there will be swimming in a hotel pool - I'd like to be fitting into my cute bathing suit again. Maybe be 170? From there, my doctor wants me to get down to 150, but I say 145 so I can call it an even 60lbs lost.

11 September 2008

Soon...

...to be posted for purchase on my yet to be created etsy site - christmas ornaments made from recycled holiday cards

09 September 2008

A big day

Dear sweet Natalie, not only did you turn 2 years and 7 months old today, but today was your first day of school. You have been waiting for this for WEEKS, it's all you talk about. We've been fortunate enough to not only find a great little school, but a school full of other parents and teachers who are truly excited about learning, not to mention are just all around nice people, too. We've been having playgroups at the park all summer with these folks, so you already know most of the kids in your class. Last week some of us even went to the zoo and you had a blast with them - your teacher even came, too. All this before class officially started. And today? You were your usual toddler self, all stubborn and mood swing-y, and prone to flip flopping on the major issues like car seats and lunch. But as soon as I mentioned it was time for school, you ran like Usain Bolt for the car and immediately got in your car seat, strapped yourself in, and announced "I GO TO SCHOOOOOOOOOOL!!!" And when I picked you up two hours later, you were totally zonked, and all I got out of you was that you colored with markers and sang new songs. And then you slept for 2.5 hours. Needless to say, it was a good day for mommy, too.

Your vocabulary as usual is growing exponentially. Your favorite comments are that something is "kinda funny," "kinda silly," or "kinda tricky," when it's a puzzle or drawing you want to get me to do for you. You're also laying on the pressure to mommy and daddy that you want a baby sister. We don't know where this is coming from, but it's kind of funny. You want to read, constantly, but I'm starting to get a little bored of your favorite books. If I have to read "Arthur Babysits" one more time I may shoot myself. I'm always trying to get you to read different books, but I guess you have a current list of favorites and that's all you want right now.

You are still a huge sesame street fan, which I love, but I also love how I can hear you counting with them, doing the alphabet with them, answering the questions posed to the audience. I even got you to get dressed the other day by getting you to pretend you were on Elmo's world and Dorothy the goldfish wanted to know how to get dressed. So you narrated the entire process to Dorothy and I couldn't be happier. "Dis is how I get dressed, Dortee. I put one foot in here-a, and den I put foot in here-a, and den I pull my pants up - Mommy I need help pees! See Dortee, dat's how I get my pants on!" Adorable. And it's a good thing, too, because there are time when I want to hang you upside down out the window by your itty bitty toenails because you can be so stubborn and strong willed (which I know is a phase because your friends are all going through it too at the same time, still, doesn't make it any easier to deal with 24/7). But then you come out with the sweetest and kindest thoughts about mommy and daddy and your friends and what you love and I just want to squeeze you as much as possible because I'm reminded what a blessing you are and just how much I love you.

07 September 2008

Nothing much to say

I have my period (cramps, headache, the usual), Jim is being an asshat, Natalie has been 2 and a half All Week Long, tomorrow is monday, I've got a mile of errands to do this week and no money to spend, and after the tropical fun of Hanna yesterday, I realized something very important: I do not own a raincoat. Haven't found one yet, but I did treat myself to some purple polka dotted rainboots from target. My reason was that I'll need them for co-op-ing as Natalie's teacher said they go out to play every single day and the playground has been re-graded twice but still has a mud issue in one corner. My kid will be the one to find that corner, so I might as well have boots with which to rescue her from it in. Does that sentance even make sense? Whatever. Must go make use of the quiet house - Jim actually agreed to stop whining about how we were out of diet dr. pepper and take the groccery list - AND THE TODDLER - and do a shop. Which means he'll be home soon with tons of things we don't need that weren't on the list, but at least we'll have milk and cheese and diet coke and I won't have had to drag a stubborn toddler with me to get it all.

Whew.

03 September 2008

Scary but good

I went to an OA meeting this past weekend. I think I've found what I need.

28 August 2008

Odd

I am actually looking forward to football season.

Growing up in a family with two parents who went to the University of Michigan, every single autumn saturday of my life was spent watching football and watching my parents scream at the TV. We always got to get take-out for lunch, which was a huge treat, usually hoagies or pizza from the local Italian place. And on sunday's mom would be attempting to conduct the church choir with absolutely no voice. Nice one, mom. Michigan fans are a unique bunch. I think ESPN was the reason we got cable back in the day, so they could watch games not being broadcast on network TV.

Now that I'm an adult, with a husband who went to a school with a halfway decent (most of the time) football team that is local and therefore broadcast on TV on the podunk UDC channels if not on national network or cable, I've sort of gotten back into it. Not that I actually care about the team, but there's something comfortable and familiar about watching football on a saturday in the fall. So much so, that I find myself a little bit excited that regular season play starts this weekend. I love the fall, so now that football is starting, school starting soon, it being cold and rainy today, all this combines to give me warm fuzzies, which are kind of nice for a thursday morning.

25 August 2008

Joys of working from home #72

I wrote half a 1200 word article while watching Sesame Street with Natalie. Now we're off to the gym and meeting a friend at their pool, where I will be expecting a business call that I'll probably have to return poolside. Not because I'm trying to be 'that girl' doing work at the pool, but because it's a timing issue and the stuff as to be taken care of by COB today. And thank God for cell phones, because it means I'm not stuck at home waiting for a call, or waiting for an email (although I could probably pay the extra fee to get web access on my phone, I just refuse to be that reachable). I'll probably finish up that article this afternoon during Natalie's nap and while watching a Law & Order re-run with my feet up and sipping ice tea. You can't do that in a cubicle.

22 August 2008

Issues

I swear sometimes, I am a complete head case. Last night Jim and I went out to the annual members meeting for Natalie's new school. Since it's a co-op, there's lots of info and parental involvement. And we love this place more and more every interaction we've had and this is all before she's even started there. So, lovely meeting, we even grabbed a quick dinner at the local chinese place beforehand, and Natalie was home with Jim's sister, our only close family in the area.

Let me get it out upfront that I think Jim's sister, A, is one of the most well meaning people in the world. But she and I couldn't be more different. One of the things that is gauranteed about her babysitting is that she'll straighten up. Sure, most of our babysitter's will clean up the messes that they and Natalie make, but that's kind of expected. I just don't like people touching my stuff to the degree A does. I'm one of those messy-yet-organized people. It may look like stacks of stuff, but things are actually sorted depending on category, where they have to go, that sort of thing. I also like to actually put away Natalie's toys, putting all the play food and kitchen items in her house, etc. It makes my skin crawl to come home and see that my house has been tidied*, that my kitchen is now spotless where before it was just clean, yet to find dishes in the wrong place in the dishwasher (if the bowls face the other direction from how she put them in, you can fit more - it's really not as anal retentive as it sounds). And Natalie's toys have all been shoved in her playhouse, which I find pointless, as there are things that belong in her room in there, and stuff piled up to the point where I just have to pull it all out and make another mess in approximately 2.4 seconds so that Natalie can get in there to play the next morning.

I know A means well, I know she's just trying to help, I know exactly where this annoyance of mine comes from (a live-in-grandmother who was always into our stuff and doing our chores for us which sounds find at first but as you get older and she's still doing it despite repeated requests not to, even a teenager can recognize the lack of respect for our family's boundaries in her actions). Still, how do you ask someone not to clean up when you know she's just doing it to be nice? I know I could ask as sweetly and kindly as possible, piling on the complements and thankful attitude for her willingness to help out. But this woman is also a champ at passive agressivity - and I'm a champion at feeling guilty. So I'll still end up feeling bad and she'll know just the right comments/body language/attitude to make me feel like I'm the most horrible and ungrateful person in the world.

As soon as she left, I found myself digging around to re-make my piles, or pulling stuff out of corners to actually put away instead of just being in hiding. And I cleaned the kitchen!! I swear it was clean, but it's like she heard us pull in the drive and quick used some fantastic as air freshener so it would smell all institutionally clean when we walked in the door. Now Jim thinks A cleaned and I had left the kitchen a mess for her knowing she would do it. Argh. The kicker about dealing with all this? Jim is totally unsupportive and tells me I should just suck it up and deal, that I'm being ungrateful. The way I figure it, her kindness, which wasn't asked for, ends up creating more work for me. Not to mention my own baggage of the situation. And I wouldn't say I'm ungrateful, it's just that I want me and my stuff to be left alone. At least it's good to know my therapist has an oposite opinion than that of Jim's.

*She did the same thing while we were in the hospital with Natalie...nice to come back to a clean house, but the baby whites that were in a laundry basket to be washed in Dreft had been folded and put away, so I had to dig them all out again to be washed. Bills that needed to be paid were now buried in a neat but hidden stack of mail and papers that had been on the dining room table. There were even little things like dishes in the wrong place in the kitchen from her kind-hearted efforts to empty the dishwasher. Sure, nice actions, but for a new mom recovering from a c-section and struggling to breastfeed? I really didn't need the extra work - I already felt like the world was trying to beat me down, I didn't need a sister-in-law's kind deeds to be a part of that, too.

19 August 2008

Some thoughts about baby #2

I found myself laying in bed the other night, trying to rearrange in my head the furniture in Natalie's room in such a way as to accomodate a 2nd child in there. Basically, I think the changing table has to go and we can do it, provided there is either a daybed with big draws a la Ikea's pretty white one, or bunk beds with ample room for under bed storage boxes. This whole nesting episode got me thinking, "Am I really ready to get pregnant again?" The first time around wasn't so great - although we did come out the other side with the greatest little girl ever. For all the reasons I can think of not to get pregnant again, I can think of a myriad of ways that certain situations would be better this time around.

Weight - I am at an unhealthy weight as it is right now, and getting pregnant at this weight would not be optimal. However...I see a psychologist who specializes in womens issues and would help work out a nutritial plan for me and would keep me accountable. And I know the first trimester, if anything like pregnancy #1, will be horrid, and I will only be able to stomach saltines and ginger ale and the occasional plain bagel, lest I eat anything more substantial (or flavorful) and just barf it up.

Depression - There were some VERY blue periods during PG#1, not to mention the lovely PPD afterwards. However...this time around, we know how I react to certain anti-depressant medications, so medicating during pregnancy might not be out of the question if things get bad. Plus my psychologist would be prepared for this, and my therapist, and I have such a good support group in my mommy friends, friends that I would not feel ashamed or nervous about asking for help during any dark times. And, tying back into weight, I would know not to self-medicate during the 3rd trimest with a nightly bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Breastfeeding - Sucked the first 6 weeks of Natalie's life, so much so that I barely remember her during that time, only the constant struggle of nursing around the clock. Now I know I have low supply, and I know that the second #2 is out of me either vaginally or via c-section, she's going on my breast and staying there the entirety of our hospital stay. Not to mention feeding with an eye dropper or a nursing supplementer or whatever to keep the jaundice and sleepies away. And I'll have Marie, our local La Leche leader on speed dial, and I know she'd come visit in the hospital if I asked.

Exercise - I pooped out around month 4 and couldn't last more than 15 minutes to walk on the treadmill. Probably contributed to the 60lbs I gained. This time, I have a Y membership instead, and that means INDOOR POOL. I will haul my giant pregnant ass over there, drop Natalie off with the Bollywood loving child care ladies, and dunk myself in the pool with a kickboard, maybe even some flippers, and just kick back and forth in the water, giant belly all afloat, it may not be much, but it will burn some calories and feel great. That's during the winter. Once it's warm out, I can still drop Natalie off and go do the same thing in the outdoor pool.

Jim - The chance of Jim getting laid off from this job, one he's been at for 2 years now, are slim to none. The job he was at when Natalie was born laid him off when she was 7 weeks old and he had only been there 90 days. Cause of lay off was totally office politics started before he was hired. His current job is more normal, hard working intelligent people, and his bosses wouldn't lay someone off with out warning. And he'd be able to take a week or two off guilt free unlike last time, where he took a whole 3 days off and then was back to work at 75% for a week and full time the next week. Not a good thing to leave your PPD wife home alone during that time. He was also a clueless idiot. Now he's just clueless, having somewhat dropped the idiot part.

Probably the biggest challenge facing a second baby in our family would be finances. I don't know if I could keep up the amount of work I do (although I know I can type while breastfeeding). And if I could keep up, I don't know if I could do it without some sort of serious, once or twice a week scheduled help. I barely do it now with my sporadic once a week or once every two weeks help. But my therapist reminded me of last time, how Jim had taken this new, better paying, job, how I was trying to coordinate part-time from home work that wasn't working out, only to have Jim's job disappear, and to actually be thankful that I had a full time position I could go back to for 4 months in order to keep us from forclosing on our home or living only on ramen noodles. Then lo-and-behold, Jim gets a job even better by 10 times than the one he was laid off from, and my part-time from home proposal was approved with nary a question. This is because it was God's plan, and his plan was better than our plan. I think remembering that, and not trying to over plan financially and what not for #2 and just keeping it all in prayer to Him is the way to go. We are faithful Christians, we tithe, we pray, we believe - and part of that belief system is trusting that God takes care of his people. So why bother trying to over plan for everything and every possible scenario before fictional child #2 arrives? We'll make sure we have a little extra money in the savings account, get our leave time approved in advance, and have faith that God will be there to pull all the other little bits into place and that afterwards, we can look back and see his Hand in it all.

Afterall, this is all assuming we get pregnant again. Natalie was a fluke, we can't explain it, the doctors can't explain it. I have PCOS and yet I got pregnant without trying. I see my gyno in another month for my yearly and I'm going off birth control. I went on it because I was bleeding for weeks at a time 8 months post partum. So we'll see what happens. We'll do our part, and hope that if it's meant for us to have another child, God will somehow make sure that happens one way or another.

17 August 2008

12 August 2008

Choices

I have some money coming my way for my first freelance graphics job...don't know how much it's going to be, though. It was my old old boss, who retired 2 years ago from government and took a position in the private sector. Now he's leaving that job to start his own consulting firm. He needed a logo, knew I was somewhat creative, and called me up. Happened the same week I had finally installed my Adobe software. So I didn't want to charge him an hourly rate because I knew it would take me way longer than someone who already knew the software, but I was also psyched because it was a great first project to do where I could learn a bit while I went. So, money coming, don't know how much.

However, I've narrowed my spending choices down to 3 things. This was after deciding I'm spending the money on something I want to spend it on and not just depositing the check in the general household fund like every other penny I earn. Choices are:

#1 - a new tat (been wanting a celtic cross - like the one in the stained glass at the front of our church where we were married - just above the inside of my left ankle. Not to mention that whole potential trying to concieve thing in the fall, which would mean 9 months + 2 years breastfeeding before I could get it)

#2 - new Doc Martan's. Yes, I still wear Docs. Got two pairs on overstock.com when I was pregnant of sizes large enough for my bloated and sore feet - black t-straps (cute!) and brown slides (super cute!). Wear them all winter. Come on! I went to high school at the height of grunge. It's in my blood. Not to mention wicked comfortable. Anyway, I've been really sad since Natalie's pregnancy that my classic 8-eye black boots no longer fit (I grew out of most of my shoes, which I gave away, thanks to my feet growing a whole size). Haven't been able to get rid of them yet, but I'm thinking I need to stop pretending (or trying to be what my husband thinks I should be?) I'm some sort of preppy grown-up who shops at banana republic kind of person and just by myself a new, bigger pair.

#3 - an Elsa Peretti for Tiffany's necklace for my mom. It's a sterling silver apple pendant on a silver chain. Mom collects apples. When she graduated college someone gave her a glass apple paperweight - an apple for a teacher. She's graduating this summer with her master's in music education (thesis and orals are over, just waiting for her diploma!), and this would be the PERFECT gift for the 6 years of hard work she's put in doing this degree while teaching full time, dealing with my asshat brother, and my ill grandparents (her in-laws). I'm so proud of her, I'd be happy to spend my money on this gift for her.

Now, to decide....

11 August 2008

2 and 1/2

Natalie, this past weekend you turned 2 and a half. Although you've been acting this age for a while now, it's wierd to think you are now closer to 3 than 2. So many changes are in store for you soon, most noteably school starting in a few weeks. Funny to call nursery school "school" since you'll only be there 4 hours a week, but still, it's school. You'll have a teacher and you'll learn things like how to behave in a group, how to play better with others, and we're really hoping your listening skills improve greatly since you pretty much ignore most anything I or your daddy say. We're kind of not sure how to handle that. I do know that if I make you look at me, you'll listen a little better, the problem is you know when you don't want to listen, you are really really good at avoiding eye contact at all costs.

As usual, your vocaublary and verbal skills leave most people astounded that you are only two and a half. You told me the other day "Mamma, I growing up be a big girl. I going to have big roo-roos like mommy!" Your latest saying is "I don't think so!" when you disagree with something. You are talking in paragraphs most of the time, and I find you babbling more now than in the recent past. I think this is because you know a LOT of words, yet you've realized there are still some words you don't know, so you make them up. It's definitely more pretend-words than nonsensical babbling. Regardless, it's adorable. Makes me want to just eat you up.

You've also discovered a love of diving. A while ago we happened to catch a snippet of olympic diving trials on tv. Since then, you'll run and leap into your paddling pool, or slide head first off the couch, and call it diving. With the olympics on now, we've been watching a fair amount (tough luck, kid, you come from a swimming family) and you will half heartedly glance up at the swimming or gymnastics and could care less about any sort of team sports, even beach volleyball, a sport played in one of your favorite substances on this planet. But as soon as we point out that diving is on, you stand transfixed, eyes wide, mouth open with corners curling up into a wide smile. Should we be worried that you are fascinated with the concept of throwing oneself off a high platform, doing a few flips and twists in the air and landing in the water? Probably. Instead, I guess we need to get that water safety down and start teaching you the difference between a tuck and a pike. I have no problem with you being a diver. It's like dancing or gymnastics, but without all the body image issues.

You still drive me crazy from time to time. Or 23 out of 24 hours a day. But those moments when we can just be, reading a story, playing together, sharing a meal - you continue to melt my heart even more than before. You are turning into such a smart, loving, caring little girl, it makes me so proud. I love you my sweet Natalie.

08 August 2008

Games

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Olympics. The last time they were around, opening ceremonies were on feb 10, 2006. "Wow, what a memory!" you're thinking. Actually, I remember that because I was in the hospital, with a barely 24 hour old little creature in my arms, delious from lack of sleep, a c-section, an overcrowded maternity ward burdened because of an impending snow storm, and the damn IV that they couldn't take out yet so I could shower. We watched the opening ceremonies, me from my bed propped up with pillows cuddling a teeny little Natalie, and Jim on the couch with a hospital blanket half asleep.

We watched a lot of those winter Olympics - I was feeding Natalie every 2 hours (combo of pumped breastmilk and formula) and pumping every 3. The next week I weened a newborn off a bottle (learned my lesson for fictional next time around) and now had what my friend Alice refers to as a boob-tick. So again, we found ourselves nursing for hours at a time, watching reruns of hot curling action or biathalon at 3am.

This time around, she's 2 and a half (officially, tomorrow). She's fascinated with divers and swimmers, and I'm sure she'll be mesmerized by the opening ceremonies, or at least ask us "why?" about everything. Just makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy. If you think of the Olympics as a mile marker of sorts, we've come a long way from the last one.

04 August 2008

Best words a mamma could hear:

"Mamma, I tired. All that playing at Ikea make Natalie sleepy. I need go to bed now."

That, my friends, is a successful morning.

03 August 2008

Wild and crazy

Just got home from seeing the Black Crowes. Outdoor concert site, place was packed, awesome seats (42nd birthday present for my neighbor from her mom - how cool is her mom?!), gorgeous weather, fantastic dinner beforehand. Kind of nice to do something out of the ordinary, you know? Just get out with a good friend, talk, listen, jam, laugh, bond. A good night. Especially since Deb is I think the only person other than my therapist(s) who really understands what I'm going through because she's been there too. So when I say I feel like shit, she knows what that means and doesn't dwell.

And now I have to send that work email I meant to send all weekend because I had promised the info to people for their inboxes first thing on monday. Oops. Actually, I think I'll just draft it and hit send when I get up tomorrow morning.

01 August 2008

Long week, long summer

Is this heat ever going to end? We've been teased with thunderstorms so much, and not many have really come through. Even though I know in the grand scheme of things one thunderstorm at the end of a hot humid day is not really going to cool things off but more likely make things more humid and sticky instead, I still like they way the quiet down the day, cut out the noise of sun and heat, and bring about some peace. I find too much light or a too bright day/room to be "noisy." I don't know how else to describe it. Maybe that's yet another reason I'm addicted to mellow, mood-lit coffee shops. I think it's partially the blue eyes (I'm a whore for sunglasses - can't leave the house without them, even in winter), partially my state of mind. There so much swirlling around up there that crowding it with bright lights seems unnecessary.

I've really not been doing well lately. It seems like grandpa's death was a turning point of sorts. I was literally sick for 2 weeks afterwards from what we can only assume to have been stress and anxiety. And while I'm not nauseause or having daily headaches, my head and heart don't feel any better. I broke down last night, cried for the first time in I don't know how long. I was so angry and Jim, at myself, at the world. I wanted to throw things. Shoes, dishes, punches, whatever. I wanted to scream my head off. I wanted to go into my non-existant studio and put those emotions to canvas. Instead I ate half a bag of potato chips that I was stupid enough to buy at the groccery. Then Jim got all huffy because I didn't want to talk about it. More like I didn't know what to say. Maybe, Jim, instead of trying to therapize someone, just giving them a hug and letting them lead the way on talking might make you less of an asshat. Just a thought.

Today my eyes are puffy and aching. The unfortunate aftermath of a good cry. Otherwise I feel drained. I dread another hot summer morning with a toddler whose attention span is approximately 2.4 seconds and whose favorite activity is climbing on top of my head. I wish I could just park her in front of PBS all day with a hamsterwheel for exercise and one of those automatic dog bowl feeders full of goldfish crackers. I'd climb back into bed and try to feel normal. Instead, we'll probably haul off to the pool when Sesame Street is over and camp out for a few hours. I have no brain power right now to come up with anything else that will keep her occupied and prime her for actually taking an afternoon nap. If she doesn't nap? I will surely have a meltdown again.

28 July 2008

Something to think about

Interesting article in The Post today:

Deci's research into the counterproductive effects of threats and rewards has been replicated among high school students learning verbal skills, preschoolers trying to draw, and adults targeted by weight-loss, anti-smoking and traffic safety programs. In each case, external threats and rewards made it less likely that people would feel internally fired up about the goal.

So why are rewards and punishments employed so liberally?

"People like it because it is easy," Deci said. "
It is easy to offer a reward, but it is not easy to help people find their own motivation."

24 July 2008

Yet another family funeral

R.I.P. Spike
1993 - 2008

Spike live in my mom's kitchen for 15 years. We got him because our neighbors daughter got what she was told were 2 girl rabbits, but 29 days later it was discovered that they were one of each and now they had 6 babies to find homes for. We got Spike and his brother, Raven, as they only found homes for 4 of the babies and we were a known rabbit family. Once they could be weened from their mother, Spike came to live in our kitchen and Raven became a "working rabbit" out back. This meant his hutch had a mesh bottom so his poops went into a pan underneath and mom collected them for her rose bushes. Spike was a working rabbit too, although litter box trained, and before going green was so hip, mom used all natural litter and would dump his box straight into our double barrell compost bin. Can you tell my mom has some of the best gardens in the neighborhood? Raven also learned to dump his food dish to entice wild rabbits to come visit, so it was quite the rabbit yard in more ways than one.


But back to the rabbits...You could hold them in one hand they were so little. Mom wanted to name them Fluffy and Snowball, but my dad, brother, and I refused. I started calling Fluffy Spike, and it stuck. I wanted to call the outdoor one Mud, as he was pure white and obviously with some angora in his little rabbit lineage. One of mom's sayings growing up was "If you do that again, your name is going to be MUD!" Anyway, dad nixed Mud as a name and came up with naming the white rabbit after a black bird. Yes, we have warped senses of humor.

Raven died a few years back at the ripe old age of 13, and Spike just kept on. He was always gentle having never known anything but kindness. He like bananas, which cracked Natalie up and she loved sharing a morning banana with Spike when we visited papa and grandma's house. When Spike was just a few years old, we had a carrin terrier and my grandmother (Busia) living with us. Carrin's are supposed to eat small rodents, but she didn't seem to mind Spike. Spike was also excellent with his litter box so he got to hop around the kitchen. Then he learned that Busia gave out treats, something the dog knew since she didn't get treats from our table. Next thing you know, there's the dog sneaking off in that way dogs sneak where they don't let their toenails clack on the tile floor, and there's Spike, sneaking off behind the dog, where Busia would give the dog puppy treats and the rabbit some cucumber. We would watch the whole thing quietly so as not to let on that we knew what was happening and would be in tears by the time they came scampering back. It was like having two naughty 4 year olds in the house.

Spike had mirrored grandpa lately - incontinence, falling over, inability to focus...but was still pretty chipper even when we were there last month. Tuesday he could move and didn't want to eat. The really telling sign that these were his last days was when the dog (now a bison frise) started to lick him in, not in that mmm-tasty-rabbit kind of way but in that somethings-not-right kind of way. She'd also lay by his cage and come check on him often. It was obvious he wasn't getting better, so mom took him to the vet yesterday, where a very curious vet wanted the chance to check out what extreme old age does to a rabbit, and it was decided he should be put to sleep. So rest in peace little Spike, up there in the big carrot patch in the sky.

23 July 2008

Woohoo

Thunderstorms today! Am I the only wierdo looking forward to a lovely afternoon inside, sitting on the couch watching a movie while crocheting a baby blanket (congratulations, Rachel!), listening to the rain and thunder, knowing my baby is going to be taking a looooong nap? Nap will be long today, I can feel it, because I've got the whole morning planned out - version A, B, and C depending on when the rain starts.

A - meet our co-op class at the park like usual and play as long as possible, then hit the Y for a workout;

B - go to the park, but rain starts before we can get a really good run around in, then hit the Y followed by a trip to Barnes & Noble to play on their train table in the kids section;

C - can't go to park, so we go to the Y, then mommy showers and we head over to the indoor toddler gym. This is the most expensive option, not because the $10 to go the the toddler gym is so much ($10 for my sanity? Yes please!), but because my friend told me the shoe store next door is having a huge sale. And there's a great toy store in that shopping center, the kind with lots of wooden toys and learning toys and books and the works. The kind that tempts me to spend way too much money.

(Someone just ran in and showed me how she can put all the marker caps on her fingers. Great. She's already discovered that you can do the same thing with olives.)

Speaking of books, anyone seen the story about "The Mole Who Knew It Was None Of His Business"? about a mole who wakes up to find someone has pooped on his head and he goes around trying to find out who did it? They even have a 'plop up' version out. I read this in French yesterday to my friend's 10week old at playgroup. I had seen the English version and it's just hysterical. Somehow poop in French is quite funny, too. Ty liked it, but then again, he's 10 weeks old and likes most anything if it involves cuddling and fun sounds.

My big freelance project of this summer is done. Not finalized done, just done enough that I sent in my final first draft, an invoice, and am waiting for comments so we can edit. Editing is much more painless than writing these sorts of things. But because this is done, I feel like I finally have some time on my hands guilt free to do some fun things. And I have enough money coming to me that we can really seriously start kitchen cabinet shopping.

***

Saying we're redoing the kitchen sounds so extravagent - visions of granite countertops and fancy lighting and tiled floors and such come to my mind. Really, we're fixing it up because in our worse-case-scenario-we-have-to-sell-the-house-in-this-crummy-market format of home repairs, we couldn't sell this house with the kitchen the way it is. The cabinets are half stripped (As far as I got before getting pregnant), no doors, and even if they weren't, they came with the house covered in about 6 layers of paint (I did the stripping, so I know this as a fact - including on some, a layer of WALLPAPER), and were covered with flower decals. Yeah. Made me shiver too.

Our plan is to install cabinets on the wall that has nothing (currently a chefs shelf overflowing with stuff), including a countertop and a shelf to raise the microwave off the countertop. Then replace the cabinets that are only along one wall with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, and better maximize the space. This also includes knocking down three walls of sheetrock that are covered floor to almost ceiling with ugly bathroom tiles. The cabinets will be new, we'll have to pay a contractor to install, and we'll spend the extra on our electritian to put an extra outlet or two up (only have one free one to use and half of it has the phone plugged into it), to move the garbage disposal switch from inside a cabinet to something more normal, like over the sink, and to wire up an exhaust hood for the stove (yeah, don't have one of those) as well as some undercounter lights (I could take it or leave it, but Jim really wants these). That's it. We're going to use the same sink (probably need a new facuet just because ours is falling apart), and stock countertops from home depot. Anything is better than the stained ones we have with the faint tiki-pattern on them circa 1960s. Then a touch up of the light pale yellow paint we put up last year and we'll be 10x better in no time.

THEN, sometime next year or the year after, the fun happens. Ok, new cabinets are going to be pretty cool. We'll splurge on cool counter tops, some fun tile for a backsplash (recycled glass is my first choice at this point), an undermount sink, and maybe if the budget allows, a proper tile floor instead of the vinyl tile we put down last summer as a quick but sturdy fix. The nice thing about a small kitchen? You can splurge on some of the fancy things simply because you only need about 5 feet plus 2 feet of counter top. Being in DC, we can probably find some 2nds or returns that can be cut down to fit. And maybe we'll go with a neutral backsplash but do a strip of funky mosaic. Anyway, that's for another freelance project, and hopefully one that is way more fun than the past two I've worked on.

22 July 2008

Yikes

Got my hair cut. Love it. However, it is short enough in the back that I now get bedhead like a little boy.

21 July 2008

Longing

I am dreaming of sock weather. Firstly, my poor feet are getting so beat up and dry and calloused by wearing sandals all day everyday. Second, when it's cool enough to wear socks, it's not going to be so hot as to keep us inside every afternoon. Not to mention that socks make me happy, I have a whole drawer full of argyles and stripes and florals and woolly ones that Jim makes fun of. He has no sense of creativity, he just has brown, black, and white in his sock drawer. I can't even get him to wear a classic neutral argyle. In my opinion, he's the wierdo, not me. Mmm...it's been scorching lately, and the thought of wearing jeans, a t-shirt, socks, and shoes seems dreamy. In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep praying for some serious thunderstorms to come through and cool everything off. Almost got one last night, but damn it, it disipated by the time it reached us and we just got a little drizzle.

16 July 2008

To die for peach pie

Crust:
2 cups ground whole oats and 1/2 cup ground almonds(I use the coffee bean grinder to pulverize them into a nice powder), 1 stick of butter, softened. Use a fork or pastry blender to mix till pea sized lumps form. Press most of the mixture (you'll need the rest later) into a pie plate (Bottom and sides). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool.

Filling:
1 and 1/2 packages cream cheese (softened), 1 egg, 1 pkg vanilla sugar free pudding mix, 1/4 cup milk. Use electric mixer to whip these all together till nice and smooth. Smear into pie crust.

Peaches:
3-4 fresh peaches, sliced thin. Arrange slices in a pretty pattern of your choice on top of the cream cheese filling.

Topping:
1/4 cup whole oats, 1 tsp vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/4 cup agave (nectar of the gods). Combine with the rest of the pie crust mixture till crumbly. Optional: 1-2 tbsps brown sugar (I find brown sugar to give such a nice bit of carmel flavoring to toppings that agave doesn't, so I cheat and use a smidge sometimes). Sprinkle over top of peaches. Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes, till top is just brown. Let cool, serve straight from the fridge.

This was absolutely delish, and my non-sugar-watching friends didn't realize it was practically a health food! Best compliment ever, in my opinion. We will be making this again. The crust feels almost graham crackery, the inside is like cheese cake, and then the peaches and crumble are so yum.

15 July 2008

Losing it

I had written a long post and decided not to post it. To sum up: Natalie is driving me up a wall, something to do with being 2, being smart, devious, cute, and stubborn all at once. Add in me, with depression that's been kicking my ass the past month, and you have a recipe for one stressed out mamma who is ready to throw in the towel. I feel like I'm just barely managing to keep things together, between toddler wrangling, work, and trying to keep the cleanliness level of the house just above the point where vermin would start to move in. One of the biggest annoyances of the smallest family member is her insistance that I not do anything that doesn't involve her. She can be playing by herself, but she's got a 6th sense for when mamma opens a book ever so quietly and FWOMP! There's a monkey hanging on me like I'm her own personal jungle gym.

So I went to the craft store tonight in a fit of desperation and combed through my odds and ends to creat Mamma's Sanity Box. It contains all matter of things from pipe cleaners to scraps of wrapping paper, pom-poms, glue sticks, stickers, safety sisscors, to bits of ribbon, feathers, and odd buttons. Throw in some construction paper and a few old magazines and it's an afternoon of fun. It's stuff that I can have her doing and walk away from knowing that I'm not going to come back and find my curtains have been colored in (already happened, and when crayola says "washable" they aren't kidding - curtains are back to white with nary a hint of wrong doing). Hopefully, she can be busy and I can just sit and read a book for a little break. That's all I want. Or to check my work email - not really "do" work, just check email and reply back quickly if needed. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to go to the bathroom. ALONE. Although it is kind of nice being told "Wow, mamma! Good job doin' poopies in da potty! Natalie flush fors you."

14 July 2008

Randomness

So I learned a new word today: Epistemology = the study of knowledge, best summed up by the questions "What is knowledge?" I can buy that, epistles are books, books are for learning, epistemology is the study of knowledge. Makes sense. Also sounds like one of those philosophy classes in college that would have produced much forehead banging against a brick wall by yours truly.

Anyway, my life is much more pedestrian than to sit around contemplating the existance of knowledge. Instead, our playgroup discussions have gotten way lively lately, with two pregnant women and one who recently popped out #2. The two preggos are in that erotic dream stage of pregnancy, and they like to share. Deb has had sime interesting encounters with our old tennant in hers, Sylvia's are mostly ex boyfriends who show up in her shower or back yard or other inappropriate places. No lesbian dreams yet, but Alice said she had a few of those when she was pregnant. You can tell I consider each of these women a best friend, because this is definitely conversation fodder that would not appear in chats with most of my other friends. You gotta love a friend you can talk about sex with. Thank God for la leche league, too. Total fluke that we all ended up at the same meetings - there are others in the area, but we all went to this one and that's how we met, and here we are 2 and a half years later, still hanging out. We just need to hang out more sans kids and with alcohol more often, LOL!

Here's a dilemna I'm having - say you hooked up with an old friend on facebook or myspace or something. You guys had kind of lost touch in college, mostly because she turned flakey thanks to a large dosage of pot she started smoking on a fairly regular basis. Then graduation came, she moved home and you moved to another state and you that was the end. Then, because she has a totally unique name, you find each other later. Both in commited relationships, with jobs and a mortgage. Yay! It's been fun catching up, we picked up like we left off many years ago. Now another person you were friends with in high school finds this other friend with the unique name. Now unique name friend recommends you be a friend with this other friend. This other friend is one I stopped talking to sophmore year because she went from shy, quiet, hard worker to sorostitute who only slept with the kappa sig guys, as if that was somehow ok? Here I was rowing crew, working, and with an insane course load, yet she wasn't shy about telling me I was boring, bland, and beige. Thanks, "friend." I could care less about this person who turned what was a good friendship into something that made me feel like shit and I was happy to be rid of her from my life. Now, do I acknowledge her on this networking site? Try to start something that hasn't existed for 10 years? Wait for her to acknowledge me? Do this stupid junior high-esque dance for ages? The three of us were all so close - we did everything together in high school. We would hop on a greyhound to visit in the begining of college when we were all sans cars. I don't know. This is one of those downsides to the internet I think. In past generations, I wouldn't know how to find her unless we somehow stumbled upon each other in the street. Whatever. I can't let this stress me out.

I've got work to do this week, and what was a relatively empty calendar is filling up fast. My hour of sesame is almost up and we're off to the Y. Then, I don't know. I'm hoping last weeks napping strike was just a phase, because I was a wreck. I'm not ready to give up those hours of downtime (and work time). Fingers crossed the wee beasty sleeps today!