Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baby 2, Letter 5

Dear Baby,

We had Thanksgiving, and now Christmas.  We'll have the New Year, and then I'll take a nap and you will be here. I was so worried about being this pregnant over the holiday season - I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy any of it and instead just be a cranky shrew through all the preparations and festivities - but I couldn't have been more wrong. I did enjoy the season, despite my ever-diminishing sleep schedule and my difficulty moving around.  Your father was a big help and we did all the things we usually do, including getting the house all dolled up and seeing every possible friend and family member.

I've said that this pregnancy seems harder than the last one, and it has been in many ways. But one major thing has been infinitely better.  I have had no pain.  Last time, I had excruciating pain when I walked for the last five or six weeks of pregnancy.  Also, that diabetes part was pretty unfortunate and I've been glad to freely eat ice cream throughout this pregnancy.  So being pain-free made doing all the cooking and traveling and celebrating much more enjoyable than I anticipated, and I guess I should thank you for that.

Your daddy got me a wine-themed Christmas which seems sort of like torture seeing as I can't enjoy the rewards yet, but he knows me well and I love having something to look forward to. He's made a big batch of homemade wine for me and for Christmas I got all the necessary accessories to fully enjoy it.  Bubbles, baby! He got me a machine to put bubbles in my wine! And a fancy carafe that will keep it cold by the pool. He's a clever guy, your father.  You'll see.

The doctor says you are so perfect I don't need another sonogram. I mean, I guess that's a good thing, but dang if  I wasn't hoping to sneak one last good peek at you before you arrive.  I love sonogram photos.  You  look so happy in there, just floating around, practicing breathing.  That womb looks like a pretty good hang out.

I've got all your grandmas and aunts and friends lined up to come and help us after you are born and it's gonna be a big ole girl party.  For over three years, this house has been a boy's club but all of that is about to change, Sister. You and me, we're gonna show your dad and big brother what girls are all about.

See you in a few weeks, Baby.  You're the last piece of this family puzzle and we're anxious to be complete.

All my love,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baby 2, Letter 4

Dear Baby,

We had another sonogram last week, you and I.  One of the few perks of being such an antique mommy is the plentiful sonograms they reward you with in these late-in-life pregnancies.  I am loving the regular opportunities to see your little face, and by the way, thanks a bunch for being cooperative this time.  We got some nice profile shots and one good 3D view of you.  Last time you pouted, facing my spine and refusing to say "Cheese" for the camera, so again, thanks for this recent one.  You were a very good baby, indeed.

You're transverse, which means you are laying across my belly instead of head down like you are supposed to be. I suppose it must be my fault - your brother spent the majority of his gestational time in the same position.  It doesn't really matter, since we have a scheduled c-section planned, so you just go ahead and lay however you dang well please.

I saw on the sonogram that you have some hair.  No offense, Baby, but that kind of freaks me out.  And today I was sitting in a co-workers office and you started kicking so hard that my belly looked like a piece of  Christmas ribbon candy in motion.  Also, a little freaky - moreso for my co worker than myself, but still.  Even on this second go 'round I'm often stunned by the alien quality of the whole thing.  THERE IS A WHOLE PERSON INSIDE OF ME.  That is weird.  You might understand what I  mean someday if you decide to make another person of your own.

I'm excited that you're a girl. At every sonogram I plead with the sonographers. "It IS a girl, right? I mean, is there a chance you have screwed this up?"  They dutifully roll their eyes and show me your girl parts AGAIN. Not that I have anything against having a boy baby, but at this point, I'm totally married to the girl idea.  I've got the pink nursery and I've started thinking about hair and most of all I look forward so much to having a girl in the house to talk to and share secrets with.  No pressure, Baby, but I plan for you to be my BFF, so get ready.  I've got your grandma, Aunt, and Honorary Aunt Lindsey all lined up to come and help me out after you are born your dad goes back to work. It's gonna be girl HEAVEN up in here.

We're getting close, Baby. Almost too close. I hope to finish off the nursery this weekend, and I think I've collected all the necessary items.  We have Christmas pretty much under control, so come Monday all I have to focus on is wrapping up my job so I can enjoy sitting around and holding you and doing little else for several months.

It's the most fun Christmas season EVER, preparing for such an awesome gift to come right after the holiday, - a little belated but a sweeter package never existed.

I love you more than cookies, kittens, and fuzzy slippers.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baby 2, Letter 3

Dear Baby,

Ready or not, here you come.

The panic has set in.  Your nursery is a mess.  I don't have a swing yet.  Your father only gets a week off work for your arrival.  Your brother is so excited for your arrival, I'm afraid he'll pick you up by the leg to play with you like he does Buzz Lightyear, his favorite toy.

I need to sterilize things and paint things and fold things, but most of all I need a big fat nap. You are exhausting me.  I still have 7 weeks to go but I look like I'm going to give birth to twins tomorrow.

We made it through Thanksgiving relatively unscathed, and now I'm gearing up for Christmas and at the same time gearing up for you. December, you rat fink, why did you come before I was ready??  I meant to have this baby stuff all wrapped up neatly with a bow before the holidays struck, but look, here we are.  Ready or not.

Still, none of it really matters, does it?  All you really need is a drawer full of diapers and one full of soft things to sleep in.  Got that covered.  You have places to sleep and two parents who adore you and a  big brother who is over the moon at the prospect of a baby sister.

I tried to avoid the pink explosion in your nursery but apparently it's endemic to the whole "girl baby" thing and I cannot get around it no matter how hard I try.  Welcome to the sea of pink, little muffin.  It's gonna be gorgeous in there.

I wish you'd come tomorrow.  I'm ready in the way that really matters.  Ready to hold you and nibble your tiny baby cheeks and sit for hours with you in a chair, blissed out on what your Aunt Kalli calls "baby Xanax".

All my love and then some,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful, 2012

Thanksgiving morning.


I have a delightful 3 and-almost-1/2-year-old boy and I am 31 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl.

I have a job I love doing work that helps our community.

My husband is a rock, and he supports all of my hair-brained schemes.

Our families are well.  We see them often and love them all to bits.

Friends are plentiful, funny, charming, and thoughtful.

I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  My cup runneth over.

I will not say coming to this place was easy for me.  My tendency to self-sabotage in the early parts of my adulthood was strong.  I made some poor choices, I had some just plain bad luck, and I sometimes was a slow learner.  I am grateful today for so many things, but  most of all, I think I am grateful that I finally had the good sense to stop being my own worst enemy.  To simply put down the axe I was grinding, to stop living "in the moment" to such a degree that the future got bleak, and allow myself to be serene and happy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Try try again.

I haven't blogged much, here or elsewhere, since I started my new job.  I've been trying to figure out why that is, when in the past I was such a prolific and committed writer.

 I considered that maybe it was to do with the pregnancy and that I have "pregnant brain" and just can't focus.

Or maybe it is that my new, much more demanding job is sucking the life out of me.

Or maybe this parasite I'm growing is sucking the life out of me.

Or maybe I just got tired of hearing myself talk.

Maybe my life has gotten so dull I just have nothing to say. I mean, "I worked ten hours then I fed my family and then worked two more" isn't that fun to read about, overall.

Also, I don't drink.

Maybe it is all of the above. But I am going to start anew. I'm going to try. I miss it. I miss being able to look back. I liked it for "diary" purposes and I appreciate now being able to peruse my archives and do a lot of the "remember when" thing.  I'll regret not documenting, if for no one but myself, this part of my life.

Because even though I'm busier and more stressed than I've ever been, I'm also happier than I've ever been.

Maybe that's why I am not compelled to write. Maybe there is something to all that "writers are angsty" stuff.

But I need to.  For me.  It's probably not going to be very good. I'm rusty, not to mention the aforementioned boring.  So here goes nothing.  Don't feel pressured to read it.  I am setting a very low expectation for myself.  Just write a bit, at least once a week, even if it's just about much I appreciate George Clooney's ass.

Hi kids!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baby Letter 2

Dear Baby,

My deepest apologies for my lack of letter writing.  This pregnancy, it turns out, could not be more different from my last one. Not because things are progressing any differently, really. Just because I am far more busy, and therefore more tired and distracted than I was for the first go-round.  Forgive me. I do believe your plight is very similar to many not-first children.  

Still, it's all been very fun.  People (your parents included) are, apparently, really excited that you are a girl baby.  We've been inundated already with scads of adorable clothes and I have your nursery in full-swing. I'm doing my best to avoid the usual over-kill of pink but it does seem to be happening anyway.  Even I, it seems, am succumbing to girl culture in a way I never anticipated I would.  But that is what parenting is all about.  You urchins are excellent at taking everything your parents think about themselves and the world and turning it on its proverbial ear.

Speaking of ears, yours appear to be developing perfectly, along with the rest of you.  I skipped a lot of the big prenatal testing I did with your brother, this time trusting nature to do what it does.  So far, so good.  Nice job, Baby!

We have selected a name for you: Lillian Kate.  This was a harder proposition than one would think it should be.  We wanted to outfit you with a solid name that will grow with you, but still be sweet, feminine, and pretty.  Your cousin Kate is delighted to share her name with you as well, and we are very fond of the final product. We surely hope you will be too.

This week, the internet tells me you are the size of a head of cauliflower and you weigh two pounds. I find it constantly amazing that I can be THIS HUGE and all you weigh is two itty bitty pounds.  I think I was almost this big when we delivered your brother, and I shudder to think what I will look like (and feel like) come mid-January.  Baby, you're worth it.  Your dad is ready for you to be here so he can stop waiting on me.  Stairs are no longer my friend, and I am relying heavily on the kindness of your father for my nightly ice cream and laundry-schlepping needs.

In pregnancy good news, I do not have the dreaded gestational diabetes like I did with your brother, so YAY BABY! You are very good at this and I so appreciate it.  You are a good little muffin and I'm so happy to continue to have my nightly sweets since I can't share a cocktail with your father like we used to after bedtime for Johnny.

It's going to be Halloween in a few days, and your dad and I struggled to come up with something we could be that would accommodate a big pregnant lady.  What we came up with will one day make absolutely NO SENSE to you as it is based on a fairly recent feature film that will have fallen into oblivion by the time you are lucid.  Still, your dad looks sufficiently awesome in the short shorts the costume requires and that is all that matters.

Bless your pea pickin' heart. We cannot wait to meet you.  Your brother is just as excited as we are and is telling everyone he meets that he is getting "a Lily" of his very own.

All of our love and kisses,


Monday, September 10, 2012

Johnny letter, #18

Dear Johnny,

You are growing up too fast.  Stop that.

You turned three just over a week ago, and since then you've been doing long division and talking to me about the means of production and whether or not to raise the debt ceiling.

The third birthday was epic, between the Johnny Cash Birthday Bash you shared with your buddy Cash (get it? Johnny? Cash?  Johnny Cash Bash?) and the Thomas party you invited all of your grandparents to.  Kid, you know how to rock a birthday.   You started asking me about Thomas cakes six months before that party.  I was so nervous about giving you JUST WHAT YOU WANTED that I broke my own cardinal rule and had the cake store-made.  And no prefab Dillon's sheet cake job, either.  No, I had Muncher's Bakery do a layer cake with Thomas's face plastered atop it, because that is the picture you kept pointing to when we'd pour over the cake choices online.  Yes, that was the entertainment in this house for the past several months. Checking out Thomas cake options online was a nightly event.  No way was I going to attempt my own cake wreck skillz on this thing.  I had to go pro.

You also very much enjoy watching your own baby videos on my computer these days.  I think this is excellent preparation for your upcoming stint as Big Brother to Baby Sister.  See baby? See how cute and fun?  We LOVE the baby.  (Please don't suffocate the baby!)

I got a new job a few months ago, and it turns out my new job is in the same place where you go to school!  That turned out pretty neat.  I love to go in an visit you occasionally during the day, and check you out while you're sleeping, and peek at you through the window in the door to see if you are being a good boy and if you play with the other kids or if you are a loner.  You seem to be doing swimmingly at school, and you even have your first bona-fide best friend. His name, like the buddy you shared your birthday party with, is Cash, so we affectionately call him New Money around the house, and our tried and true Cash is Old Money.  Son, you are wealthy in friends, that is for sure.

Thomas the Tank Engine is still your first love, but you recently discovered Buzz Lightyear (or, BuzzBuzz to you), and your fickle attentions have been diverted, at least for the short term, to Toy Story.  It's all Toy Story, all day.  That, and SUP-er HERO!  Your aunt Debi bought you a t shirt sporting Mickey Mouse in a cape, and it has it's own real live cape velcroed to the shoulders.  You ask me every morning to wear your super hero shirt, but I am trying to limit it to once a week, in fairness to all the other shirts.

We said goodbye this week to your "nursery" as it is in prep for the new baby, and you have moved to your big boy bedroom with the new red blanket and it nearly breaks my heart every time I see your small self sleeping soundly in that big bed.  Yesterday you were sleeping in a bassinet.  Today, you have a comforter and a nightlight.  Yes, you're suddenly a little bit afraid of the dark.  And of cars.  And clowns, and flies, and the moon, and anyone who can roll their tongues.  Developmentally, you're right on track, but seriously, could we keep the fears to only one or two?  You reassure yourself constantly.  "The fly will not get me."  And then you demand that I reinforce it.  "SAY IT, MOMMY!"  "The fly will not get you, Johnny."  Only two hundred times a day.  What time of year to the flies disappear?  I want to mark the day on my calendar.

I know I say it every time, but you get cuter and sweeter every day.  I shed a tear every night when we do our night night routine and you in your little voice say "I lub you too.  See you in the mornin."

You're killing me, Smalls.

We love you more than cotton candy and rainbows and kittens all collected in a box made of smiles.  You are, without a doubt, my heart's delight.

All of me,

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baby 2, Letter 1

Dear Baby,

You are 15 weeks "old" at this point.  I've felt good so far, all things considered.  I mean, considering I started a challenging new job when you had only been in there for 8 weeks, and considering that your brother Johnny is all 3 year old boy and is therefore actively attempting to destroy our home.

Speaking of  Johnny, on his birthday, August 31, we will go have a fancy sonogram to learn what you are. I  mean, we know you are a baby and not a puppy, but we don't know if you are a girl or a boy and frankly, your mother is a control freak and I cannot adequately obsess over this pregnancy and planning for your arrival if I do not know if you are a girl child or a boy one.

Which leads me to my next issue: names.  We have been discussing names ad nauseum, and your daddy and I are having a hard time settling on anything.  I have my favorites for girl and boy and he has his, and never the twain shall meet.  I'm hoping that finding out once and for all if you have girl parts or boy ones will help us narrow the discussion and finally put it all to rest.  Just rest assured, Baby, that you will not end up with a name like Truxton or Diesel or Applyn.  We  love you far too much already to saddle you with such nonsense.  However, it has been tempting to assign you the name "Sue" whether you are a boy or a girl, for we love Johnny Cash that much.

I can't wait for that stinking sonogram.  With Johnny, we got to see him often and early, and knew he was a boy before the 15 week mark, because I obsessively submitted to all manner of genetic testing because I am so very old to be having children.  But it was a very un-fun process and ultimately resulted in no very useful information, so with you, we're just throwing caution to the wind.  You, Baby, are healthy and perfect, no matter what is going on in there, and I have no desire to go testing and prodding you before it's necessary.  Hence, no early sonograms and no early gender detection this time.  Bummer, that.

We love you with all our hearts and can't wait to meet you.  It seems like an eternity until January 22, but really it's only six months away.  Not that much time, considering we have to not only prepare your room but also prepare our minds for being "those" people - the ones who schlep not one but TWO kids and all their infernal gear with us everywhere we go.

Please don't weigh a lot.

All our love,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Critical Mass

On the weekends, when we're not running amok away from the house, I always put Johnny in underpants and try, try again to get him potty trained.

The boy does. not. care.  He has absolutely no clue how to control his bladder, nor does he care.  He doesn't care if he sits around in sopping wet underwear that is seeping up onto his shirt, and he doesn't mind if he wets all over my furniture.  If he had the motor skills to hold up his middle finger while he peed all over my upholstery, two minutes after I just took him to the potty in the twenty-seventh fruitless trip of the day, I'm confident he would.

In my head, I thought he'd be potty trained on or near his second birthday.  The third one fast approacheth.  I have six months until the second baby is here and DAMNED if I am having two in diapers.  I'm not sure what he has to be promised in order to get this done, but I'm just saying, a Porsche Boxter is not off the table.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On my last day

I can't really say that, until this job, I've had a job in my adult life that I liked.

I mean, I've had some jobs that were good in some ways, but never where I felt like I fit in, or was appreciated, or didn't have butterflies in my stomach half the time.  Much of that was my own fault; I was too  preoccupied with the non-work parts of my life to focus well on my job, or I was too immature to play the game properly.

But at LMH, that all fell away.  Even though the job was certainly not taking advantage of my education or my special skill set, I felt happy.  I didn't dread going to work.  I adored my co workers and appreciated my bosses.  I grew in my role and when it got dull I took on new projects and was able spread my wings a little. I enjoyed learning about healthcare, a field about which I knew absolutely zero when I began there, as a temp, in 2008.  I liked talking construction and having a staff of mostly men.  They're easy to work with and generally agreeable and straight in their talk.

And so, today, I go to my favorite job I've ever had for the very last time, and I carry the last of my belongings out to my car with me when I leave.  It's time for me to move on, use my degrees, skills, and special talents.  It's time for me to set my career back on track and take on a more challenging and advanced role.  But it's not without sadness that I do so.  How lucky I have been to know the people that care for the sick in our community.  How enriching it has been to learn the seriousness with which they handle their tasts, and the love they have for each patient.  How fun it has been to laugh daily with all the people in my "basement family."

I have grown as an employee and a person.  I'm ready.  And I'm grateful for the last four years and the confidence they've given me.  No way would I be ready for this new job if it weren't for this little "career interlude" I've enjoyed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#crazytalk with Megan Stuke

I'm now painfully aware that my days as a mom of just one child are numbered.  I mean, I can count them.

It's a weird feeling, because for so long we thought we'd only have the one.  I spent a lot of time focusing on the fact that I'd only get to have a first birthday party once, I'd only have a two year old who likes to hold my hand once, I'd only get to watch someone learn to talk once.  I was trying so hard to soak up every minute with Johnny, because his life, for me, was a bunch of firsts and lasts at the same time.

So now, here we are, getting ready to do it all again.  And you would think that would alleviate some of my "this is the only time" anxiety, right?  Because all that stuff? I get to do it again.  And I am delighted that I get to do it again, and thrilled to see how it is the same or different with kid #2 from kid #1.

But at the same time, it's brought another whole level of anxiety to the playing field.  And it's not the kind of anxiety you might think; it's not the OMFG HOW WILL I COPE WITH TWO AND WORK AS MUCH AS I DO logistical kind of anxiety, though trust me, there's some of that going on.  No, it's more of a "Will I get to cuddle with Johnny as much," "What if I can't hold Johnny's hand anymore," "Will Johnny never get to sleep with me again," kind of thing.

I'm not so concerned that Johnny will hate the new baby.  If he does, he does.  That is part of being a sibling.  And I'm not worried that he'll feel less loved or he won't get as much attention from us - I know he will get plenty.  No, it's ME I'm worried about.  I'm worried that Johnny's daddy will get to sort of take over with Johnny while I nurse and parent an infant in the way that moms tend to be best at in those very early months. And I'm worried I'll be jealous.

It's so irrational, I can't even believe I'm admitting it.

So for now, I'm staring at my toddler.  I'm soaking him in, begging him to sit by me in the chair, stealing extra hugs and kisses, letting him have an extra piece of cake, and caving when he wants extra books or songs at night.  Basically, I'm spoiling my kid so he will be EXTRA NIGHTMARISH when the baby comes.  Mom of the year.

So typical. I want him to LOVE ME and NEED ME so he doesn't forget me when the new baby arrives.  I mean, who is the grown up here??

But there.  I admitted it.  What were your "second child" irrationalities?  I'm curious.  Tell me I'm not alone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8 weeks

  • I'm 8 weeks pregnant and the baby is the size of a kidney bean.  

  • I'm not nauseous, though I was a tiny bit last week.  I feel healthy and invigorated, until about 8:15 every evening, when the switch flips and it's pretty much game over.  I need to change it because I'm waking up at 5:00 every morning with Todd, and that's just not okay.

  • I happily bought some low fat fro-yo the other day and am enjoying a few treats that I haven't afforded myself in recent months.  I'm trying to force myself to add a little dairy to my diet and eat a few more calories than I was before, but in general, I'm carrying on my normal (well, "new normal") eating routine, which now seems so regular I don't know how to do it any other way.  And THAT, my friends, is what Weight Watchers is all about.  A healthy LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  Boy, I'm the stinking poster child, aren't I?

  • I think I've decided against any genetic testing this time around.  It was just too stressful and painful last time.  Here goes nothing.

  • Compulsive much? I have a whole plan for what to do about kid rooms already.  Just waiting on the sex of the baby to finalize decor.  Yep, I have it all planned in my head for girl or boy, and all of it is cute and el-cheapo.  Yes.  Compulsive.

  • I feel like I have a lot of time on my hands these days.  I'm not sure if it's the long summer days or the lack of parties or what, but our house is slowly being cleaned and reorganized.  Yesterday I actually went to Hobby Lobby and bought stuff for a playroom craft and this past weekend I cleaned the playroom and hung new curtains.  Who is this girl and what have you done with Megan?

Monday, June 11, 2012

And we've ticked up the roller coaster, and are ready for the free fall.

I'm a planner.

I planned to go to college, get a degree in four years, and then go to graduate school.  I did that.  I planned to be teacher. I did that.  When I decided that Mr. Meat and Potatoes was the one, I married him, and then decided it was time for a baby and we did that too. What I can control, I like to control.  That means I can usually say with *some* certainty what any day, week, month, or year will look like.

Of course, that is barring things outside of my control, which I have completely surrendered to in life.  I stand waist deep in the "shit happens" camp.  I realize that there things - many things - some good, some not-so, that happen regardless of my plans.  And I'm good with that.  In fact, I like it.  How dull it would be, knowing all the time exactly what to expect and being the puppeteer of all of it.

So when last week happened, I said, "okay."  Last week, nothing was in the plan.  None. Of. It.

It started with my boss's mom.  You see, she died.  They didn't expect her to die.  And it just so happened that she died in the same week where the only other person in my office (there are only 3 of us) was on vacation.  That left little ole me at the helm, alone.  No biggie. I've done it before. I can do that.

And then I decided on Tuesday that I was tired of feeling crappy, and the doctors don't know squat, and I sent my husband out for a pregnancy test because I wanted to put that possibility aside before I made an appointment and went in to read everyone from my GP to my OB to the Urologist the riot act.  I mean, I couldn't be pregnant, because I'd had all kinds of sonograms two weeks ago and was assured by the sonographer and my doctor that nope, no babies in there.  My pain and problems had another source.

Since they'd never identified the source of my malaise to my satisfaction, I was gonna take that test and then go in guns blazing.

Except, the sonographer was wrong.  Hello, positive.  Hello REALLY REALLY STRONG POSITIVE.  Positive before the pee even hit the stick, if you know what I mean.  Apparently, I'm more than a little pregnant.

This, my friends, was not in the plan.  But, I'm cool right?  Okay, I'm pregnant.  I had had a hard time really coming to terms with the "one and done" thing anyway, much as I tried to talk myself into it.  This is a happy, happy thing.  I'M HAVING ANOTHER BABY!

So I'm getting used to that idea, wrapping my brain around the logistics of baby #2, mulling over names and decor in my head (shaddup, I can't help it).  I'm going to doctor appointment after appointment making sure that everything is okay in there - I had concerns because of all the pain I had and am still having.  Apparently it's fairly common in the first weeks of pregnancy. Implantation, apparently, can hurt.  Also my uterus is twice its normal size now.  That can hurt, too.

As I race around hither and yon to doctors and lab visits (three blood draws in two days! Yay!) and start telling people our news, whilst trying to hold down the fort at work singlehandedly and enduring a Mock Joint Commission survey of our facility, another bit of unexpected news arrived.

New job.  That's right, I got a job offer.  I'm going to be the new Director of Education at Ballard Community Center, and I start in two weeks.  No problem!  Wrap up everything at current job, be stupid first-trimester tired, adjust to whole new world view in terms of work and family, RIGHT NOW.  Got it.

Also, figure out what to do about the fact that new job won't extend benefits until after the 90 day mark and well, I'm pregnant.  So health insurance in the next 90 days? Would be nice.

These are all things not in the plan.  Last week was an exercise in "accept that which I cannot control."  And you know what? I'm fine.  So far.  So far, I'm happy and giddy and tired and excited and ready for an entirely new chapter in my life.  Leaving LMH is heartbreaking in many ways.  Upsetting my simple family of three dynamic is scary.  Adding the financial responsibility let alone the physical and mental strain of another child on top of our already busy lives (yes, I plan to keep freelancing as much or more than ever) is daunting, to say the least.

But it is all. good. stuff.

Some things will go out, new things will come in.  And that, my friends, is how we keep it interesting.  Boring, to me, is suicide.  Bring it on.

Friday, March 30, 2012

# 17 (I think)

Dear Johnny,

You are two and a half.  Yesterday you were two days.  Tomorrow you will be twelve.  This is getting ridiculous.  Your dad and I are committed to the idea of only having one child.  You're it.  You are my one chance to rock and cuddle and sing lullabies and dress you up funny.  So please slow down and let me enjoy it just a tiny bit longer.

You see, your mother is a bit of a defeatist.  Every time you reach your small hand up to hold mine (which is often, thank the Baby Jesus), I feel that this could be the last time.  I think, "Before I know it, he'll be a pre-teen and he'll hate me and he'll never hug me or hold my hand again."  Every time you snuggle up with me on the couch before bedtime, I think, "Well, this is it. Probably my last snuggle." And then I kiss you and squeeze you so much that you get up, wiping your face with your hand, saying "Ewwwy Mommy! Ewwy!"  Yep, see. I was right all along.

But you are a big boy in so many ways.  For example, yesterday we went to the doctor, and not to be indelicate, but I screamed at her to fix your poop.  You, son, cannot poop. You have never been particularly gifted in this area, but it's getting out of control.  For example, you tend to get diaper rash when I give you the necessary Mirilax.  Also, I believe you will never be potty trained because of this affliction.  So yesterday I took you to the doctor, handed you over, and said "Fix him."  She ordered some lab work, and so my itty bitty baby boy had his first blood draw.  But you were a CHAMP! They wrapped you up like a burrito in a sheet so that the one arm would not assault the draw site and I leaned over and and waggled Thomas The Tank Engine in your face (torture, right? Thomas RIGHT THERE and you can't touch him?) and you choo-choo'ed and All-Aboarded right through that needle stick. I'm not gonna say you didn't cry a little and I'm not gonna say you didn't have a flop sweat by the time it was over, but all-in-all, I was so proud.  When the nurse and phlebotomist were finished sticking you and taking your precious blood, you said, "Thank you," and I collapsed into a puddle of quivering mommy goo.  So did they - only it was nurse and vampire goo.  "He's the best," the nurse said. I think she really meant it.

I couldn't agree more.  You THANKED THEM for sticking you in the arm.  That, my son, is what we call MANNERS.

You are delighted with everything these days.  You love Thomas The Tank Engine more than you love your dad and me, but that's okay because we know how fickle you can be. Last month it was Spiderman.

I'm also very happy to report that you are a confident man of the 21st Century.  You proudly donned your friend Sloanie's tutu and Sesha's headband the other day and played for hours with the girls like, "What? I like pretty things, too."  And then the next day you found my dollies in a trunk in my bedroom.  Immediately you stripped the pretty blue dress off of one (apparently you are not THAT confident with your masculinity) but you have carried "him" around for three days solid, gently patting the baby's back and tucking him in for night-night.  Watch out Elmo.  There's a new kid in town.
Firemen came to Ballard.  You were, in a word, overjoyed.  3-29-12

All of this to day, you are an extremely good boy, even though you can't poop.  We love you with all of our hearts and souls and frankly, we're whipped.  Ask me for frosting for dinner tonight.  You'll probably get it.

All my love,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Crow's Nest

I think March came in like a lamb.  Which is TOTALLY okay with me.  The whole winter, frankly, was rather lamb-ish, which felt decadent like maybe we live somewhere other than Kansas - somewhere coastal, somewhere a bit more exotic.  Or, Texas.

Regardless, I'll take it.

The last couple of evenings, after putting Johnny to bed, Mr. Meat and Potatoes and I have sat out on what we like to call the "crows nest" - the upper deck in our back yard, and enjoyed the weather.  I got all tingly and reminiscent of last summer, our first summer in this house, how good it felt to be able to sit up there and look at our new neighborhood and imagine a long future of memories being made in that yard, with those neighbors, on that deck.

It seems like right now a lot, and nothing at the same time, is happening.

Spring is here.  St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, patios, and lighter clothing.  My favorite time of the year.  So there's a lot of sweeping up to do and preparation for the ensuing months of warm weather mayhem.  We'll spend this weekend reveling with our fellow Lawrencians on everyone's favorite alcoholiday, and we'll spend Sunday reveling at Sloanie B's third birthday party, though the cake may taste a little bittersweet since our friends will be permanently departing for Las Vegas in a few weeks.

We're going to start building a ground level deck and I've got some projects planned for in the house.  I'm going to hang some more shelving, regardless of the fact that hanging the floating shelves in our living room nearly cost us our marriage and sanity.

Mr. Meat and Potatoes is working 11 or 12 hours a day 5 days a week, and I'm working my regular job, plus numerous freelance gigs these days, so we barely have time to catch our breath between kid activities, home, work, and play.  

That is, except for an hour every evening, after the baby goes to bed, when we sit on the crow's nest, survey the land, and proclaim it good.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The old way

I remember when blogging used to be about just writing about whatever bizarre thing was on my mind.  It was about telling old stories or thinking about the future or just spilling the beans about whatever pointless happened to me in a given day.  I sort of miss that.

I'm glad that I can supplement our family's income by blogging now, and I enjoy very much what I do on my various sites, but sometimes I miss the days when I only had a handful of readers and could write what I wanted with abandon.

Like today.  I want to write and curse and shake my fist at life.  I want to write GODDAMN MUTHERFUCKER COCKSUCKER SHIT and not worry about who my audience has become and what they might think.

A friend is dying.  A friend who took me to my first high school dance.  Who kissed me after a football game.  Who was a sports hero and a soldier and a husband and son and brother and friend.  Who is not yet 40 years old.  Who just found the love of his life, who deserves fifty plus years with her, instead of just two.  Two.  Two years, one spent in and out of the hospital in pain, in psychosis, in grief.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The bathroom

I have spent countless hours on Pinterest, planning various rooms and spots in my house.  Nothing looks like my Pinterest plans.  At least, not yet.  But we're getting there, slowly but budget-friendly surely.

We've painted the kitchen a cheerful turquoise blue, and the dining area and living room "raw silk" - which = white.  We've hung floating shelves and WE DID NOT GET DIVORCED OVER IT.  (+1 #our marriage)

We have beautiful new gunmetal gray furniture in the living room and my mom's vintage rocker is out being reupholstered as we speak and people, I cannot wait to show it to you.  If I can't have another child, I can have this chair.  It will make me almost as happy.

We have put some art on the walls, some makeshift, some decent.  I have plans for more simple wall-filling items, like a reclaimed window frame from the Habitat Restore that will go above the entry way door in the giant vacuous space up there that haunts me at night, with its emptiness and vacuousness.

The guest room is looking great with the rustic wood furniture and my old white mattelasse (I am so happy to have a use for it) and Grandma Helen's crocheted white afghan and many colorful throw pillows that I collected over the years for many different bedroom decorating plans that never quite came to be.

Our bedroom - well, I don't like to talk about it.  I am doing nothing until we get new furniture, and we can't get new furniture until I FIND said furniture, and I know what I want and it's vintage and it's not findable.  Not right now, at least. So, it remains a space where the door stays shut and I sigh a lot when I'm in there.

I have plans for a quick rehab to the basement paneling and I know where the playroom is going - it's halfway there.  Johnny's room is as good as a 2 year old's room can be - that is, smartly decorated with lovingly handmade quilts and blankets from his Grandmas, rehabbed old furniture of Mama's, a custom curtain from Aunt Amy, and various adorable odds and ends all fitting into his "transportation-themed" space - and completely trashed most of the time.  Also, often smells like poop.

Mr. Meat and Potatoes' bathroom (our master bath) is what it is.  He has brown towels and a brown rug and I did a little window "mistreatment" so our neighbors wouldn't have to see His Hairyness through the small window in there as he brushes his teeth and does "other business".  It's fine, and no one ever goes in there but him, really.

So with all of that rolling along as well as it can, I turn my attention to my bathroom.  My bathroom is also Johnny's bathroom and it is in the hall of our 1977 split level home.  It is a nice-sized bathroom - at least as nice as a hall bath in a 1977 split-level home can be.  And, it is COMPLETELY UNINSPIRING.  I haven't given a moments' thought to that bathroom since we moved in, save hanging my shower curtain and slapping the two photos (which I do love) on the wall that I had in our last house.  It's a bit sad.

I want to jazz it up, but I'm totally without direction.  And here I am, asking for help.  The room has a large vanity and a white marble-ish countertop and above the large vanity is a huge mirror.  I will post pics eventually.  Next to the vanity is the toilet, and across from all that is the tub/shower.  I will post pics eventually.

The cabinetry is dark, plain, not terrible.  Original 1977, but I have seen worse 1977 in my day.  This can easily be painted or re-treated with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations to look new, with some new hardware.  But before I do that, I need a plan.  White? Bead board?  Or white bead board and espresso cabinets?  Wall color?  Ugh.  Help.  I need ideas, I need freshness, I need cheap.  And I need a beautiful bathroom.  Every woman should have one, right?

This gave me a bit of an idea.  What if I took my vanity completely apart?  Also, I think I could slap a painted frame around my giant mirror to give it a much more "finished" and updated look.  Thoughts?  This bathroom seems to be similar in size and shape to mine, though I have no window and the toilet is on the other side.
First inspiration
another view of the same room


Yesterday, for the first time since starting WW ten days before, I wanted a bit of sweet.  The notion rarely strikes me, so when it calls, I try to answer.

I was at work, so the cafeteria was my only option, and I thought pretty hard about what to have.  I had points to spare, but I like to come in "under" if I can, so i didn't want to go big and blow like ten points on an ice cream bar from the freezer.

I decided on an itty bitty cup of soft serve ice cream.  That way, I could control the portion size.  I sprinkled a few chopped peanuts on top and a tiny bit of lemon syrup.  I think the whole thing was just a point.  Two, tops.

This, I believe, is the way to go.  Rather than settle for some "fake" dessert, or eat something that isn't really what you want in order to satisfy a craving, just have a tiny bit of the real thing.  I took it back to my desk to eat, and it was just right. I was satisfied (I think it was only four or five bites), I wasn't tempted to go back for more, and I could put the whole "sweet" thing behind me for another week.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Lunches, and other dull topics.

Week one ended on Friday, and friends, I dropped 7 lbs - enough to make my jeans loose.

And then I celebrated with a basket of homemade chips at Mequisito and two margaritas.  Oops.

Back on that horse, yesterday I was under my point count and today I intend to be as well.

A few tips of late:

Local Veggie Burger Saves Lunch

Hilary's Eat Well is a local Lawrence, KS company.  Their veggie burger is 4 pts and their spicy adzuki burger is 3.  Sara Lee Healthy Heart Whole Wheat Buns are 3 Points Plus. I only eat the bottom half, for 1 point.  With some spicy mustard and onion, it's a tasty lunch.  Because it's so low point anyway, I even added a piece of provolone cheese for 3 points.  A bit of dairy (they want you to have it) and added deliciousness.  7 points for a "burger" with cheese - NOT BAD.  I had a bowl of tomato spinach soup (zero points) and a bunch of steamed veggies (also zero) with it.  Filling 7 point lunch.  Easily could have been only 4 had I opted out of cheese.

Margaritas are the DEVIL

Restaurant margaritas are full of an unmentionable amount of points.  Like, 9 or something.  Lordy.  Drink your margs at home, 2 pts.  Fill glass with ice.  One shot of tequila, fill with Diet Sprite, a few shakes of margarita flavored Crystal Lite. (can get the Wal Mart brand )

No, they're not the same, but you can have 10 of them for the same number of points as the two I had on Friday night at Mesquisito.  QUANTITY, people. ;)

Bananas Feel Like Cheating

I know bananas are zero points, but they are so good and filling, I feel like I shouldn't be having them.  I'm trying to keep it to one a day, but I love them so.

Free State Brewing Company

It's hard to eat out, but the Copperhead Chicken Tenders at Free State are yummy and pretty decent - not to mention filling. If you just have the chicken and sauce, it's 8 points.  If you eat the onion strings it's another 5.  Maybe just eat half of them?

Carry on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recipe planning

This is harder than it looks. ;)  I have a hungry meat-and-potatoes husband to keep happy!

Tonight:  Vegetable beef soup. I think I can make this pretty much according to my usual recipe.  Mr. Meat and Potatoes can have a grilled cheese sandwich to fill him up.

Tomorrow:  Chicken enchiladas.  Mission corn tortillas are only 2 points, and I will use 2 percent cheese and lots of chili sauce.  Maybe throw an egg on.  I think I can do it for about 10 points for 2 enchiladas.  Put a salad on the side, I should be good.

Wednesday: Maybe we'll eat leftovers.

Thursday: I'm going to drop Johnny with my mom at Mc Donalds in Emporia so he can spend the weekend with her.  Curses!!  What do I do? I'll be starving.  I'll have to go check out their menu and see what my options are.

Fat Loser

So, I've started Weight Watchers.  It's been 3 days.

The good news is I've been able to pretty much stay on target, point-wise, without feeling overly hungry or cranky.  Fantastic!

The bad news is it's been demoralizing as a cook.

I am used to 95 percent of what I cook coming out beautifully and tasting how I expected it to.  I'm used to making GOOD FOOD.  It's sort of my thing.

Over the weekend, I tried a few "new" recipes out, subbing my old no good very bad ingredients for a few more healthy choices.

I made chicken stir fry.  The chicken, sauce, and vegetables were delish and I could actually just eat them plain, and I think I will. Because I also made brown rice with coconut milk.  MEH.  The rice took an hour to cook and still didn't seem done.  Lindsey says it never gets really soft and fluffy like jasmine or basmati.  It's always going to have sort of a "tooth".  I hated it.

Then that night I made spaghetti and meat balls.  The meatballs were good, albeit salty, but that is my fault.  I used whole grain pasta.  Mr. Meat and Potatoes, in all of his supportive goodness, said the pasta didn't bother him at all, but I found it slimy and disgusting.  Again, #FAIL.

Do you know what it's like to be a "cook" and have two meals in one day come out unsatisfactory?

I have a lot to learn, I guess, about how to make this work.

The beauty of Weight Watchers is you can eat whatever you want; it's about moderation.  So I could go back to using regular pasta and rice, but I'm going to have such small portions I'm afraid I'll be hungry all the time.  So, for now, I believe I'll be on a mostly carb-free diet.  The carb choices are just too disgusting.

I've been reading about low-point tortillas, and I guarantee I'll go waste some money on some and try and hate them, but this is a journey and I'll (hopefully) soon learn which "light" products I can tolerate and which I can't.

So, dieting sucks.  But being thin doesn't. Here we go.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wherein I sort of show that I'm a reality tv/internet junkie.

Dooce is separated.

I, apparently, care about this more than I probably should.  It is possible that I have spent a tiny bit of time searching around the internet for possibly stories relating to it.  Was he cheating? Was she?  Is she checking back into the mental hospital? What possibly could have provoked this?

Why. Do. I. Care?

I've put a fair amount of thought into that question as well.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

1) I care because I've been reading her faithfully for ten years.  I have seen the evolution of that relationship happen in real time, I've "been there" for the birth of their children, their foibles, struggles, and successes.  I can't help but care a little when I see it fall apart, especially for their children.

2) She's my age.  And while we have little in common in terms of career (she's wildly rich and famous, and I am, well, not), we do have a few things in common.  We were pregnant at the same time.  We're bloggers.  We share a need to overshare.  She's hilarious, and in many ways has helped me shape my own writing.  She's smart and insightful, and I find her inspiring.

3) I don't want it to be true.  I hate stories of families dissolving.  HATE THEM.  Even when I don't know them, really.

I know too many "real" families that are divorcing or talking about divorce.  I know how easy it can be to say to ones self, "I only live once, and this isn't working.  I need to be happy."  I know that marriage is often very complicated, and often very simple.

I'll tell you this: I think the Blurbodoocery is experiencing sort of a "Jon and Kate Plus 8" situation.  Somehow, moving to the "big house" and striking it rich seems to be the kiss of death for these families.  Somehow, the expectations get all out of whack.

Regardless, it's sad.  It makes me want to squeeze my husband, my middle-classness, my marriage very close.  It makes me know that all of the flaws in my marriage, which sometimes seem insurmountable, don't amount to a hill of beans when I look at the big picture.  It's a forest and trees situation, to be sure.  And when we are caught up in the details of "he did, she did" or "I need, you need" sometimes we miss the big picture.  We are better than the sum of our parts.  As a unit, we are stronger, wiser, and our love is exponential.

I wish for Heather and Jon a journey back to home.  I wish for them a moment of forest.  The trees, they are tall and scary.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2 People

There are two people inside of me.

One writes lists and congratulates herself for accomplishing so many tasks in a day.
The other one puts things off and defiantly sticks out her tongue at "trivial" things.

One resents everyone who judges, who compares, who thinks they know "the best way".
The other one is thankful for them, and how they motivate her to do a little better at some of those aforementioned tasks.

One person inside me is an uncompromising feminist who wants to march for equal pay.
The other person inside me would like to be a stay at home mom and perfect a bread recipe.

One of the people inside me cares deeply about her appearance and wants to diet, work out, get expensive haircuts and facials, buy a great wardrobe
The other person inside me is practical, and couldn't really care less.

One person loves pets, mess be damned.
The other has new furniture and hates sweeping the floor.

One person wants to go out, see and be seen, run amok.
The other wants to snuggle under the blanket and watch reruns of Law and Order forever.

We are exhausting.