30 April 2008

Blah

Feeling so in-a-rut this week. Natalie has turned into a two-year-old and on top of it, today, I don't think she's feeling 100%. Or maybe I'm in denial that she's 2 and all that whining and crankiness and not really napping is normal. She's watching PBS yet again - we could go to the park, the sun came out and it's a crisp 60 degrees out. But I don't feel like chasing her around and dealing with her whining and crying when someone else needs a turn on the swing or the slide or whatever. We could go to the mall, but I either get depressed seeing all the things I want and either can't afford or don't come in the big-ass sizes I need. And she's a holy terror at the mall, running pell-mell down the halls laughing like a mental patient with me trailing behind, trying to smile and look like I'm enjoying the chase. I've been turning to food more and more lately after being much better, and now have to add graham crackers to the list of snacks not allowed in the house since I've finished off a box of them this afternoon. Better than the lunch I had yesterday of chocolate covered peanuts.

Maybe this all has more to do with the fact that I got about two hours of sleep last night and was just snuggling down under a blanket on the couch to nap (after working my arse off to get emails and articles out and off my plate so I could enjoy some downtime) when someone woke up. I guess when the whining subsides we'll turn the TV off, but for now, it's the only thing allowing me to keep what shred of sanity I have left.

28 April 2008

A Conversation

Jim: I've got this big zit on my face. I need to get some of that crap to put on it (rummages around medicine cabinet)

Natalie: Have some? Crap?

Jim: Oh crrrrrr...er...ohhhhh nooooo.

Natalie: (increasingly whiney) Have some? Have some? Crap? Pease?

Me: (unable to talk due to tears running down cheeks and being doubled over in laughter)

26 April 2008

On that same note...

Speaking of nice neighbors and a great little place to live, Jim is doing runs to the junk yard today. He can borrow pick-up trucks from work, so he's done it two weekends in the past few months and we've loaded them up with crap from our yard. No, not yard crap, that's picked up by the county if you put it in a brown lawn bag at the curb on trash day. Crap, as in we bought a 50 year old house with a shed and said shed came with 50 years of CRAP. I'm sure I've written about it before (found it!), we were flabergasted with the amount of CRAP in there. They guy who lived here in the 70's was a contractor and would salvage things from job sites. You know, to use later. Or leave in the shed for 30 years to someone like us came along to clear it out. 5 runs to the dump later, the shed is clear. The rafters of the shed are not. Scrap wood, rolls of 30 year old linolum flooring, who knows what else. Jim is currently doing a run this morning with rotting firword and assorted building scraps he cleared from this funky patio thing next to the shed (so odd, but we - I mean "I" - will be turning it into a play area for Natalie with the awesome trash picked play house my mom got and her sandbox - perhaps a mural on the side of the shed? something perky and bright).

Anyway, I digress. Basically, he was loading stuff in the truck last night and the two junior high boys from a few houses down came by walking their dog, Benji, like they do every night. Jim has hired them for two hours of work this afternoon to help clear out the rafters. $10 an hour, and we are totally in with the boys down the street when we need an extra hand for some odd jobs and such in the future. Awesome. Maybe this means I don't have to move all the cinder blocks and bricks by myself in order to fill in the gap between the odd-shed-patio and the fence that surrounds it on two sides. Oh, these are bricks and cinder blocks that have been "artfully" piled to edge our patio and line the space we use for the trashcans and other spots around the outside of the house. Such treasures we found. Must remember to take before and after pics.

25 April 2008

Neighbors

I gotta say, we live in a pretty cool neighborhood. Not "hip" or "trendy," but as parents of a toddler, really NICE. While I'd only consider us friends with a handful of people, there are many more that we are acquainted with, and plenty others that we don't know but are nice enough to stop and chat. We know most of the dogs in the neighborhood (Benji, Gypsy, Guiness...), and their owners don't mind stopping to say hello and let Natalie give the pooch and pat and let the pooch give her a nice lick which she loves. There's a handful of elderly ladies who do laps around the block at various times of day, and if we're outside, they always want to say hello to Na and tell me how adorable she is and how much she's growing. We even have a piliated woodpecker couple that has taken up residence in the phone pole outside our house. That's something not every neighborhood has.

Deb across the street is now one of my best friends, and our girls love each other and love to run around. Thankfully our neighbors don't mind a toddler or two in their yards. Especially Bob who lives next to Deb, since the girls have some infatuation with doing laps around his driveway to his walkway and around the front gate and back to his driveway again. If you are 2, this is tons of fun. Mrs. Smiley got the girls each holiday gifts, she's recently widowed and has lived in this neighborhood since it was built in 1955. We bring her cookies. The neighbors on the other side of Deb have a 10 year old and a 7 year old, who think our girls are the coolest. And our girls think those two big kids are rockin. We have a date tomorrow to go do chalk drawings on their driveway. McKenzie (she's 10) even made the girls easter baskets this year. Next to us, before they moved to NC, was Katie and her family. She was a local La Leche leader, and thank God for her, she got me through some rough times in the begining. Even bachelor Matt who lives next to us on the other side doesn't mind a toddler in his yard, especially since Natalie likes to stalk his cat who is outside on nice days. The cat doesn't even mind either. Next to Matt is Fernando and his extended family - Natalie plays with his granddaughter when they come to visit from Philadelphia. Fernando fixed our outside AC unit (the big fan thing next to the house) when it broke. In August. With a 6 month old. After Jim had been out of work for 4 months. He wouldn't take any money over cost, so we made him banana bread. And most recently? Mary who lives a few houses down in the other direction works for the county parks and rec department. Two of the parks have little trains that run on tracks through the park. It's a couple bucks a ride per person. If you are 2 (or 43 in Jim's case) the train is the coolest way to cap off a saturday at the park. Mary just gave us a book of free tickets that will last Jim and Natalie most of the summer. Natalie is going to draw Mary a thank-you picture.

I'm a big fan of community. I can't wait for Na to start at the co-op nursery school in the fall because it is just an awesome community of parents dedicated to the school and learning. We're currently kind of so-so about our church (long story), but haven't found another place to go because the community of people there is so great, it's keeping us put for now. It's nice to know that if something awful happened, they would pull together and be there to help, especially when you don't have family in the area. It's nice to know that I think our neighbors would be there, too. Maybe not to the same extent as the church, but we'd probably get our yard mowed or have some meals show up on our doorstep or things like that. And I'd be happy to do the same for them.

23 April 2008

Oops

Nothing like being on a telcon for work, sitting on the couch, with a Crossing Jordan rerun on mute, and deciding to hold the phone with your shoulder while you unwrap a snack because you are afraid of falling asleep (nothing to do with the toddler that wouldn't sleep - no, of course not!), and your shoulder and ear contrive to hang up the phone on you. Oops.

I emailed my co-telecon participants what happened, but I guess no one is sitting at their computer. Or else no one is wondering where I went. Wonder how long I have to wait to see if they call me back. At least I was only listening in and didn't have to contribute anything meaningful, which means why couldn't we just have skipped my participation all together and someone email me what happened? Oh, right, because it probably is good to at least give the impression sometimes that I care about my job. Afterall, we'd be screwed without this paycheck, even if it is part time, and even if I am doing the same amount of work I did when I was full-time and in the office instead of at home. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Did you hear that, God? I'M THANKFUL FOR MY JOB!! Don't let my gripping make you think I don't appreciate it...Ok, I still may not *really* appreciate it, but our mortgage company sure does. And if there's another way, God, for me to bring in the same amount of money each month and actually like what I do, that would be awesome if you could send something like that my way. Thanks.

22 April 2008

Oy

One of those no nap days. Except today had a twist. After playing in her crib for way too long - there would be periods of quiet where I'd secretly hope she'd FINALLY fallen asleep, followed by continued conversations with her animals (apparently someone was taking things from her because I kept hearing "NO! MINE!" in that wee little nasel toddler voice) - I finally went to get her and there she was to greet me, with her pants down around her ankles and holding her diaper out to me: "Look, mommy! Wet diaper! Need clean one!" The good news is she didn't pee all over her bed. But man, I hope this isn't the start of a trend.

Going to pee my pants

I am so flippin' excited for my trip to CA in a little over a month. I'm having day dreams about it. I even got my hair cut yesterday when I realized this week was the halfway point between my last haircut and Karen's wedding. I'll get it cut again right before the trip so it's fresh. Probably get some highlights again, too. Debating between full or partial highlights, or if I should just get a box of blonde and go all out myself. Gotta look hot, not sure why as the friends I'll be seeing that I haven't seen in ages are mostly all girls. Something about CA, running into, you know, Gwen Stefani or something and bonding over our kids* who are about the same age. I've assessed my wardrobe and need to get some trendy, flat, metalic sandals for my trip, some big sunglasses, maybe I'll pick up a glamerous hat when I go to Santa Monica on Saturday morning before the wedding. I'm planning my route from LAX to the hotel via studio city, the Hollywood sign, maybe a drive up Rodeo, and I plan on stopping any time I see a hip outdoor cafe where I can soak up some sun and do a little people watching. I've even picked out a new tote bag I'm going to get - since I'm not checking luggage, I needed another bag for the plane that wasn't a rolling suitcase and was something I could carry while being touristy without looking like a tourist - so a tote with a hip stripe and a zip top, big enough for the good camera, a book, and my stuff was in order. JUST FOR THIS TRIP. So not like me to shop like that.

I've never been west of central Texas which is where part of the excitement comes from - I'm determined to see the Pacific, even if it is just like the Jersey shore like my brother says. But he's a dork and lives in the desert near his air base and could care less about the beach as his front lawn is all SAND. But he is psyched that I'll get to come visit him on Sunday - I specifically booked the red eye back Sunday night to Monday so I could spend the day with him. He's even taking me out to lunch because that's the weekend he gets promoted. Most importantly, I'm out of my mind itchy with anticipation to BE BY MYSELF FOR THREE WHOLE DAYS. I don't have to plan my agenda with anyone in mind except myself. No planning around a toddler or a husband who has no concept of time management. I want to go? I can be out the hotel door in 2 minutes. I'm practically orgasmic thinking about it. Such a luxury! And shopping? Sure I've heard Santa Monica is a bit of a tourist mecca, but the thought of strolling in and out of shops without a stroller, without grabby toddler hands reaching out for things (or spilling my coffee like she did in Ann Taylor yesterday - so embarassed) is heaven.

I know I'll miss Natalie horribly, but I know I'll get over it. She's two. I wouldn't be taking this trip if she was two months. I can't wait to see Jim when I get back, after three whole days of 24/7 toddler care. I hope the house is a wreck. I hope he hasn't shaved or showered or eaten an entire meal without someone stealing his food in three days. I do so much around this house and with Natalie, that it'll be validation for me to see him fail. Ok, that's harsh. But I secretly wish him well. I'd be so impressed if he did pull it off, he'd have some new respect from me for sure. I just don't quite think that's what's going to happen. Still, I won't give a rat's ass 'cause I'll be half awake and in such a happy stupor after the red eye and my weekend of girlie fun at a dear friend's wedding.


*when I was preggers I was all up on the celebrities who were also preggers at the same time. Jennifer Garner was too. Obviously I had time on my hands and choose to read People at the gym instead of read the paper or do the crossword like I do now. Yes, I guess that is admitting that I am a huge dork. Like we didn't know that already by my above post.

18 April 2008

Realization

I go out without make-up on approximately 95% of the time...I don't even always get around to it before church, my one time a week to sort-of dress up (at least as much as one can when one's wardrobe mostly involves jeans and t-shirts). Yet, today as I looked at my sad little piggies, I realized that I feel wierd going about in sandals without nail polish on my toes.

14 April 2008

Thoughts

Battling depression is hard. It sucks really, and the fact that I'm on what feels like so many meds these days for my thyroid, hormones, depression, and weight feels like life is rubbing it in that I can't handle on my own. Which comes back around to depression. There are chemicals in my brain that are slightly off and at a level that doesn't allow me to function 100% without medication. Medical fact. Still, I find I am so hard on myself when I have a rough day, where things don't feel right, where I feel off without being able to put my finger on the why.

Maybe it's the role of mamma that is always there - don't get me wrong, I love my daughter with all my being, but it's a title that I think doesn't always allow me to deal with the depression side of things. On these bad days, I feel like I have to be 'on' at all times for her. I long for a partner who would step up and say "hey, let me take her to the park for a while and you can just chill out at home, take a nap, and try to relax for a bit and get your head back in the game." I have a hard time reaching out for help like that, not sure why. My self esteem is so in the toilet (has been for a looooooong time - the original reason I started therapy a number of years back), I think I worry about saying the wrong thing to Jim, coming off as just whiny and not really in need of his physical help. And during the week? I'm on my own 10+ hours a day.

I've gotten into the habit of keeping multiple running lists in a notebook of everything I think of that needs to be done, be it errands or chores or work or fun, so I can cross things off. It helps me focus, and be able to see what my week may look like, and feel that sense of accomplishment when I can cross something off. My 5th grade teacher, one of the best I ever had in 12 years of public education, used to give us homework assignments like "go outside and play for 30 minutes." I find myself adding things to my list like "spend 30 minutes outside in a lawnchair with a book while Natalie naps." I don't know how much that helps the big picture, but it makes dealing with depression on a day to day basis a little more manageable.

09 April 2008

2 years, 2 months

Natalie, you celebrated your 26th month birthday with no nap. It was a fun day, but mamma is TI. ERD. You were such a star in music class this morning, your pony tails like two sprouts sticking out of each side of your head, dancing and wiggling and singing along. I beam with pride when the other parents comment on how adorable you are, or how smart you are, or when your teacher gives me that wink that says "that girl has got some serious rhythm!"

We also celebrated your 26th month birthday with a new potty. Not a new toddler potty, but a real live potty that doesn't run or have rust stains or a crack in its base. However, daddy forgot to buy a toilet seat, so as I type this, you and he, way past your bedtime, are at your second big box home improvement store, because evidently there is a lot of shopping around to be done when you need a white toilet seat. Who knew. Note the tone of sarcasm in my voice.

You boggle my mind how talkative you are. We've gone from being able to count your words, to wishing sometimes you were capable of being quiet. But I love it. We have entire conversations about things, like how cookie monster kept pooping and you had to keep changing his diaper over and over again. I suggested you might want to teach him to use the potty, but you said no, diapers, and that he needed some powder, too. Which just reinforces what I'm hesitant to believe, that you aren't quite ready for potty training.

This past month, our biggest challenge has been your sudden and unexplainable hatred of the bathtub. We tried everything from new bath toys to hanging out in the tub with no water and our clothes on. Eventually, and mamma is feeling quite brilliant about this, we discovered that the combination of a swim diaper and a step stool to sit on works just fine. You even will sometimes sit in the tub without the step stool. Yet when the time comes to take off the swim diaper and wash your po-po, you flip. Oh well. Maybe by next month you'll be back to bathing naked and we'll realize it was all a ploy to sucker us up for new bath toys.

08 April 2008

Her biggest fan

Natalie and her uncle, my dorky little brother, who is turning into a normal human. Wow. Who'd have thunk it?

07 April 2008

Abuse of acronyms, no?

From an email I got this morning...

"The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requires federal agencies to provide mandatory Security Awareness Training (SAT) to its employees and contractors that access information systems. ABC* is providing the Information Systems Security (ISS) Line of Business (LOB) Security Awareness Training (SAT) for all employees and contractors in the department who access ABC Information Systems...ABC is providing the ISS LOB SAT to all employees through eLMS and to all contractors through a web-based version of the ISS LOB SAT hosted by XYZ** for ABC. A computer-based instruction CD is available for facilities with no or limited internet access. Copies of the stand-alone training CD are available through your Mode’s Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO)."

This is so rediculous sounding, I just had to laugh. Kind of needed it too. It was a long weekend, with a lot of driving, somehow going south on 95 when we should have been going north, lots of visiting, and not really getting to do anything that I would have liked to have done. I have such mixed feelings about my grandparent's current state of living and health. On one hand I love how much joy Natalie gives them and I hope they are around long enough for her to remember them. On the other hand, they have no quality of life, their health is just going downhill, and I wish God would just take them peacefully and painlessly. Grandpa is 90 for pete's sake, he's lived a full life. Let him die with dignity, which he's slowly losing as he's no longer able to fully care for himself. Although he did get gussied up to see Natalie in a clean, pressed shirt and proper trousers (that come up to his armpits). We'll see what God has in store for them. Our next visit will probably be in early June, unless we have to go to a funeral before then. But for now, it's off to therapy. Woohoo!

*ABC is the governing agency, **XYZ is who I work for, one of a half dozen agencies under ABC's directorship.

04 April 2008

Good news?

Apparently, if you have decided that having another baby is a good thing and wouldn't cause you to go out on the highway and jump in front of traffic, then your PPD is officially cured.

Doesn't mean the rest of my shit is all better, but at least that's one less thing to worry about. Until, of course, that second baby comes and the mean reds rear their ugly head again. But I feel like I have such a better support system in place now than I did two years ago, so we'll see. Shrink agrees with me that trying in the fall sounds like a good idea, provided my body cooperates and looses some weight between now and then. She's starting me on a low low dose of the good half of fen-fen. Not sure I like that, but it's only for a month or two to give my body a jump start. And she wants to talk to my endo about putting me on a low dose of glucophage for the PCOS/insulin resistance stuff. That is something I can definately get behind. And once I find out what/how our insurance covers accupuncture, I'm going to start doing that. Oy.

03 April 2008

Funk

Maybe it was the trip to the endocrinologist on tuesday, the one where I had to step on the scale only to see it be 5lbs higher than the last time I was there 8 weeks ago. Maybe it was the trip to trader joe's afterwards where I was weak and brought home treats to binge on, because it's not like all my healthful eating and exercise was getting me anywhere. Maybe it's today's trip to the new shrink, where I feel like a failure and have to tell her about the endo visit. Maybe it's the impending trip to PA this weekend, where on the upside I get to see my brother and uncle, but on the downside we are spending much of the weekend visiting with my grandparents who are ailing at an exponential rate these days. Whatever it is, I've just been in a funk that I can't pull myself out of. I do have the babysitter coming tomorrow afternoon, and while I need to use some of that time to get ready to leave for the 3hr drive friday night, I also need to make sure I use the time to chill out a bit by myself. But I don't know how much the people at starbucks would like it if I curled up in one of their chairs and sobbed myself to sleep.

I am looking forward to a trip to the Polish market saturday morning with my mom. Yum. Just me and her, no Jim, no Natalie, and I'm brining a cooler to load up and bring home fresh kielbasa, busia made pierogies (since I'm too lazy these days to make them myself), and whatever other treats I can pack in there.