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Jun. 26th, 2014

staycationing for dads

we made it to our staycation destination, annapolis. let me just say that i sort of loathe the word "staycation." it seems pretentious, yet cheap. fun, but boring. something about it irks me the same way the word (and idea) of "gentrification" does. but i digress. because it was fun. and it was WAY more relaxing than any of our more long-distance jaunts post-baby have been. i think it was mostly because we were allowed to be selfish and only concentrate on ourselves. sure, LB was in tow. but we just to got hang out. just the 3 of us. in a place that felt so different from dc (ha! or rather the suburbs of dc) that it might as well have been far away. the fact that it took us a solid 2 hours to pack for aforementioned OVERNIGHT trip added to the "realness" of it all, too.

anyway, i ended up getting a nice online deal for the o'callaghan hotel. because i was feeling schmancy, i used the money we saved to upgrade us to a suite. i have shamefully started reading mom blogs and everyone i "talked to" said that, when traveling with young kids, a suite is a must. this allowed LB to have his own room and therefore, in theory, would allow DH and i to stay up and watch tv and drink champagne. turns out, LB decided only losers sleep and he could totally party until midnight with us. the best laid plans...

but the trip (minus the lack of sleep part) was pretty awesome.

we started at a wine festival that included unlimited wine tastings with your admission ticket. i briefly felt like it was a wee bit irresponsible to carry around my child and drink wine, but quickly got over myself when i saw TONS of people doing the same thing. i then realized, however, that maryland wine is about as good as texas wine. so although i was mildly intrigued by the "pineapple sauvignon blanc" and the chilled "watermelon cherry merlot," i soon realized that age, combined with having family in the napa valley area, has made me into a bit of a wine snob. so i bought $5 sangria (something that's supposed to taste fruity) and called it good. we also bought a nice candle made in a refurbished bottle that used to house our favorite champagne, and got a signed copy of this book.

sangria


we went and explored downtown annapolis, which was really nice. i consistently refuse to make the drive to "real" chesapeake bay towns, so this was a nice compromise. we got to see the water and the rich people's boats. we got to eat amazing ice cream and peruse a million (or ten) navy-themed gift shops. we scored a nice "goose" onsie to go with DH's "top dad" shirt. i considered that a pretty solid win.

mommy

town1town2


of course, because it's me, and i enjoy mercilessly dressing up my dog and child i snapped a quick pic of LB in an ever-so-maryland crab hat.

crab


we had a nice anniversary dinner at a place that i never thought i would celebrate at (visualize a beachy version of chilis alongside a store that only sold boat shoes) and had the perfect meal with my family. followed up by the largest cones of ice cream i have ever seen (i had vanilla nutella and DH got peanut butter oreo - OMG).

on our way out of town, we stopped at sandy point park so that we could hang out at a bay beach. it was overcast, but still fun. LB managed to get sand in unmentionable places, but seemed to enjoy himself nonetheless.

beach


we also travelled down davidsonville road (!!!)

sign


and ended up picking up strawberries that basically started rotting on the way home, but i decided maybe that was a good thing because it meant that there were ZERO pesticides/preservatives. an especially refreshing tidbit after watching LB devour a couple of them...

berries


it was fun to be together. on our nearby overnight stay. (so there, "staycation!")

last weekend was DH's first father's day. we had a low-key day and went to brunch at birch and barley in the city. i sort of cringed as i watched other moms use clorox wipes to sanitize high chairs and tables as my child used our unsanitized table as a teether, but ce la vie. DH is a great dad. and it was nice to have a designated day to tell him how incredible i think he truly is. LB is a lucky little guy and it is quite evident that he already has a grown man wrapped tightly (and so sweetly) around his little finger.

dad1dad2

dad3


this week we are off to home state to catch up with family. i am co-hosting a bridal shower for my sister-in-law and am SO looking forward to some rest and relaxation fun.

Jun. 4th, 2014

baby's day

lots of happenings. most of them are still necessarily secret. so, much like the super-obnoxious people that say stuff like, "ohmigod! i have this great story that i can't tell you!", here we are. full of vague. but, lest i completely forget everything that has been going on...a nice little update is in store. i've come to the realization that i think only about 5 people, 2 of which are not family, still read this blog. at first i was debating getting rid of the blog entirely because i used to obsess over who was reading this and whether i was gaining popularity. but when i graduated law school, readership took a plunge. this, coupled with the fact that i only update every couple months (at most), has nearly depleted all of the small following i had acquired. but, after some overly emo and sort of annoying soul searching, i decided that having the blog might just be good for me. because i like the time capsule aspect of it. so...yeah. while i will do my best to incorporate some wit here and there, i readily admit that this has become more for me than anyone else. and there is something utterly refreshing about that.

DH and i have been having a wonderful time with little buddy (a nickname that has taken over to the point that we now lovingly refer to him as "LB"). he started crawling a couple weeks ago (!!!) and, even though we have ZERO childproofing done, it was such a pride-filled moment. he's so kick ass. he is also pretty awesome at feeding himself and can sit unassisted for very. long. periods. he still refuses to hold his own bottle (an act of laziness more than competence, i'm sure), but i kind of love it because it allows me to be in denial still think of him as a baby. he got his first tooth about a month ago and it is razor sharp and adorable. DH thinks he looks like a toothless hobo. but, if that's true, he is undeniably the best looking hobo i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. i think the solid 8 months of telling him how adorable he is has started to make him a big ham. he flirts with everyone and giggles after he does something naughty. he loves the swings and is obsessed with textured balls (and yes, saying that conjures up several good "that's what she said" jokes). he's about ready to graduate to his enormous carseat. he's becoming this little person. i love him so much it hurts. i read on another blog that having a baby is like raising your best friend. and it kind of is. i'm so grateful to him for making me a mother. all of my tomorrows are more exciting because i know i get to share them with him.

in march, DH and i did a couple's cooking class as a belated valentine's day celebration.

cooking


in april, we went to our first super cliche yuppy gymboree class with moms that don't work, and their nannies. LB was pretty into it. we tried my gym about a month later and LB was having none of it. the side-by-side:

gymballs


we got some professional photos taken of LB to celebrate his half birthday. he was legit the cutest 6-month old i have ever seen. and yes, i know every mom says that.

family


DH's mom came to town and we got to take LB to the national (and therefore FREE) zoo for the first time. i can't say that he really cared one way or the other (the only thing he perked up for were the small bites of frozen yogurt that we shared afterward on the way home), but it was nice to experience it all together.

gma
gorilla
tulips


around that time we also celebrated a first easter, first time in a high chair (?!) and first ride in the grocery cart (?!). (he started off with a definite tilt, but giving him a bell pepper to gnaw on at the store seemed to straighten him out a bit.)

easter


my first mother's day was pretty great. surreal, but great. i got my first obligatory (but only because my husband is awesome!) breakfast in bed - and got a few dozen open-mouthed slobbery kisses from LB.

mom day


after that, we headed off to LB's first swim lesson. i learned (fairly quickly) that he literally has no fear and had no problem trying to catapult himself off of me into the water. he is thisclose to being michael phelps. (with such an obvious talent, i see no point in investing in a 529.)

phelps


(note: one-way mirrors do not a good picture make.)

i think something that really shocked me about the swim experience was that it got me to put on a bathing suit. aside from our trip to greece (where we spent a lot of time on desolate beaches), i haven't wore a swimsuit in years. i haven't been in a pool since before our car crash in 2005. the scar on my leg has kept me from wanting to be in the water. well, that and all the other female body BS that we all seem to lug around. but when it involved something my child might want to do, i got over myself. for 45 minutes. and, to me, it was sort of huge.

huge enough, in fact, that i didn't notice at first when a toddler in the class dropped a deuce in the pool. conjuring up the infamous scene in caddyshack where the candy bar floats on the water, it was kind of hysterical to watch everyone scramble out of the pool. especially because i was momentarily oblivious and blowing water bubbles at LB which involved having my mouth partially submerged in poop water. that was a nice moment. and suddenly that scar i worried about? wasn't as insurmountable.



DH rounded out the day by cooking an incredible dinner, giving some incredibly thoughtful gifts, and taking me to a movie. it was so nice. i'm part of the mom club. pretty wonderful.

to celebrate my mom, i took a day off work and we went to ladew gardens, one of north america's best topiary gardens. it was so gorgeous. i have never seen a place quite like it before, and it was cool to see LB react to it all. the array of sounds and textures seemed to excite him. he also seemed to really like trees, which, as a self-admitted tree hugger, i appreciated.

tree
flower


last weekend we decided to start a tradition with LB and participate in "Walk Like MADD," which is a race put on MADD to end drunk driving. we participated for a couple years after the crash when we were living in Texas, but hadn't gone in quite a few years. it felt really good to get out and remember how much we have to be grateful for. the fact that our tale is one of survival is such a blessed and fortunate thing. i hope we keep up the tradition and continue to pay back an organization that did so much for us when we were recovering.

MADD


the following weekend we went to harper's ferry, west virginia. it was a pretty neat place. although i admittedly have very little interest in history (i know, i KNOW), i enjoyed the view from jefferson rock (thomas jefferson claimed that the view from the rock was worth a voyage across the atlantic!) and was very excited to cross THREE states in the span of less than 5 miles. the east coast is nuts.

jeff rock


we are set to go on a little staycation this weekend to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary. i think we got all of the itchiness out of the way, so we're ready to coast on through the next seven years. wish us luck.

IDO

Apr. 27th, 2014

so yeah.

time to face the truth - i'm not going to be updating regularly. despite my best efforts, it's becoming less and less realistic.

so, i will blog occasionally. when the little one is sleeping, i don't have extra work in front of me, and DH is occupied watching a tv show i can't stand or (more likely) engrossed with sports. (quick tangent, but i'm fascinated by people that seem to like every. single. sport. i don't even like the "good ones" all that much. i only like football because of tom brady and i only like hockey if there are big fights. but DH? he watches soccer. on purpose. shoot me. the only appeal that has for me is if/when little one decides to play. and that is 99% because of the adorable outfits and pint-sized players.)

so yeah.

anyway.

lots of cool things. some pretty s****y things. neither of which i can write about because this blog is not anonymous. at all.

so i shall digress into mom bloggeryhood, instead.

ladies and gentlemen, we have a SEVEN month old.

though i can't wrap my brain around that (probably because my brain has atrophied due to massive amounts of sleep deprivation), i have, despite my best efforts, become the very mom that i used to mock pre-baby. i have legit heard myself reciting the ABCs in a high-pitched falsetto in the middle of public places and have more-than-once casually brushed snot/poop/spit-up on my jeans without flinching. i find myself saying (in a non-sarcastic tone) that i have the. cutest. baby. in. the. world. and yesterday, when we got our first taste of separation anxiety and he cried when i left the house, my heart broke in half.

the past couple months have had their highs and lows. lows where i smacked his head into a light fixture and watched helplessly (right beside DH) as he casually rolled off the bed. also dealing with some dog-and-baby personnel issues that are going to require some dog-whisperer-like behaviorist advice. so...wish us luck.

but, as is true in life, for every perceived "down" there is almost certainly an "up."
this little guy, who used to be a tiny 8-pounder who couldn't make eye contact or hold his head up has suddenly become a little person with a larger-than-life personality. he is incredibly ticklish and laughs maniacally when i squeeze his side or blow on his neck. he loves that his crib mobile has a built-in light show and hates, with the fire of a thousand suns, being left alone is his playpen. he is thisclose to learning how to crawl (he gets up on all fours and just rocks back and forth vigorously in his cosleeper - so hard it shakes our bed, too!) and has now been putting together (what i perceive to be) full sentences of straight gibberish. it's wonderful. he snores in his sleep and prefers to fall into dreamland holding my hands. (i close my eyes and try to commit it all to memory so that when he's 16 and can't stand his mama, i can remember when it was us against the world.)

it's cliche, but so true - he changed everything in my life...for the better.

as is evident from my sporadic blog posts, i think it's fair to say that i have been battling with a bit of postpartum anxiety. not necessarily prescription worthy (jury is still out) - but it took me awhile to realize that just because i am not textbook "depressed" does not mean that everything is coming up roses, either. it's hard for me to stay present and not worry every waking minute. but even that seems to be getting better with time. i feel like i'm in a really good place. and maybe the ticket to sustaining that is to focus on the good stuff a lot. so, if wittiness has to be on the back burner for a bit, so be it.

obligatory photos in the next post. (well, at least in theory.)
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Apr. 4th, 2014

knowing yourself

i have been in a bit of a blogging funk lately.

probably because i generally get only 4 hours at a time of uninterrupted sleep (somehow my six-month-old didn't get the memo that, by now, he should be magically sleeping for 12 hours solid per night) and am over being on the computer by the time i get home from work. i can't quite decide whether it's the lack of sleep that's causing me to feel so out of it (bets are all on "yes"), but everything has just seemed harder lately.[n1] i know it's cliche, but i am really struggling with the working mom thing, and wondering how in the world people "balance" everything. in fact, i'm beginning to think the word "balance" is a complete misnomer. striving for balance is like striving to win powerball. i wish you the best, but your odds aren't great. seems like instead perhaps we should all just be striving to do the best that we can. every day is new. every day has new possibilities and our future is completely untouched. this sentiment is helpful when i get teary packing up newborn clothes (hey! you get to be with this little boy for your whole life! and he keeps getting cooler!) as well as with my job (despite evidence to the contrary, this awful case you're working on will, in fact, not last forever!). maybe the possibilities of the future are the very things we need to enjoy the present. i mean, we spend enough time worrying about the bad stuff that could happen, why not spend that time thinking about all of the amazing things that might be in store?

so anyway, after that rambling...

i stumbled upon this blog, which is featuring a 4-week series on embracing self-care. i figured that participating would mean that i would be inspired to update 4 times in 1 month (can't even remember the last time that happened) and i would be inspired to actually check in with myself.

this week's topic is "know thyself." from the blog:

This week we’ll talk about what it means to know your own needs. We’ll dig down deep and ask ourselves what we need as unique individuals. What’s your personality? What makes *you* tick? I’ll explore the question of what self-care would look like for me specifically, and I invite you to do the same.


to get myself started, i took the love language quiz to figure out how i show love and what, at least theoretically, i need to feel loved. unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) i scored almost equally in all 5 categories. (talk about high maintenance!) but, reading through the options, i think my real love language is "quality time."

from the quiz:

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.


undoubtedly, this has been missing since we welcomed baby g into our family. it has been really hard to have quality time with DH, with g (it seems like we spend a lot of time tending to him, but zombie feeds at 3 am don't necessarily strike me as "quality" time), or (and this is a new realization) with myself.

as a type-A personality (which, incidentally, i'd bet about 99% of lawyers are), i want to have control over everything. but, not shockingly, it's not always possible. rather than give in and "go with the flow" - i fight for control at every corner. i spend so. much. time. worrying about the what-ifs because, in some screwed up way, i think that preparing for the worst will prepare me. this, of course, is ridiculous. i scoured the internet and found this, which i think explains it best (especially for control freaks):

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience,” Brown says. “And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”


reading this awakened me to a disturbing realization. i avoid quality time because, in some ways, i find it difficult to tolerate joy. reaching new levels of euphoria (i cannot describe how awesome it is to be a mother) brings with it a great weakness. a new level of worry. an "i-don't-think-this-is-quite-PPD-but-who-knows level of anxiety." and i'd rather run a million errands or sleep or stress eat or do just about anything to avoid just relishing in the happiness because what if something happens and i'm never this happy again?

i can't say whether this is common or not - but, as part of my own little self-help project, i'm going to try to get a bit of control (ha! figures, right?). i think it's important for me to realize that i am never going to be the type of woman that can do yoga and meditate to achieve relaxation. my comfort comes from research. from being proactive. from leaning in to who i am rather than fighting against it. for example, after describing my anxiety, my aunt sent me the book loving what is and i am excited to read it. the book focuses on something simple, but (in my mind) revolutionary: “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”

i will strive to embrace the joy of today and the joyous possibility (rather than the worry) of tomorrow. i will spend the quality time i need to feel restored. i will remember to breathe deeply and hug tightly. to relax without guilt and to love unconditionally. to trust the universe. to trust myself.

[n1] that's what she said?
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Feb. 24th, 2014

the quiet before the quieter

i keep postponing updating the blog.

sort of like g's baby book, i end up getting so overwhelmed about everything i should do that i end up just not doing anything at all. i gave myself some anxiety the other day because i can't remember the exact day that g rolled over for the first time. what if, god forbid, i write the wrong date in his baby book? what would all the other babies say? and, even worse, what about all the other moms??? i know it's ridiculous, but i have been spending WAY too much time perusing the internet and finding moms that, at least in their internet presence, seem to have their proverbial s*** together. they work, go to the gym, breastfeed, have a defined nap schedule for their (often multiple) children, have awesome multi-orgasmic sex, and blog about it all on a regular basis. and i'll just say that, particularly in a sleep-deprived state, it's a lot to compete with. it's hard to go online and not leave feeling, well, inadequate.

i've felt for awhile that facebook and other social media are designed to make us feel like we are perpetually stuck in a contest with the joneses. no one ever signs in to talk about an impending divorce. or how they wish they never went to graduate school. or how their baby has no routine whatsoever. instead, we (myself included) brag (sometimes incessantly) about date nights, vacations, weddings, baby showers, and whatever other cute-and-omg-so-amazing things. and, when my postpartum hormones are running rampant, it's hard to remember that this isn't real life. and, just like the question of whether a tree makes a sound when it falls even if no one is around to hear it, can you really be happy if you're not broadcasting it at every turn?

i worry in general. a lot. sometimes i think i do it as a morbid source of entertainment. the "what if" game, that i most often play to my own detriment, conjures up such horrific images and scenarios that it's hard to think about anything else. this works in my favor (or so i tell myself) when i'm trying to escape the latest monotonous project at work, or when i'm trying desperately to fall asleep next to a snoring husband and a bulldog that has wedged herself in the small of my back. sometimes i just am afraid to be happy. because, if i'm being honest, i've never been this happy before. and it's awesome and terrifying all at once. because once you have something, you might lose it.

and i know, even typing that, that that's a horrible way to live. i can't even count the number of vacations i've ruined because i'm already thinking about saying goodbye before i've said hello. i find it really hard, almost every moment of every day, to stay present. so instead, i seek fulfillment via my phone (of all things) where i can escape into the realities of my 300 closest "friends" online and play endless rounds of candy crush. it allows me to avoid reality and avoid thinking about whether i need to delve further into my own set of new mom issues. and general thirty something year old issues.

so i'm going to try to unplug for a couple weeks. only use my phone to make phone calls. read a book to "escape" rather than virtually spy on every friend of a friend or seek advice in the blogs of perfect strangers. and relish in the fact that i have an amazingly adorable FIVE MONTH OLD (omg!) who thinks my boobs and i are pretty freakin' awesome.

i'm also going to give myself permission to worry. to a point. but then i hope i realize that it's just destructive. god forbid, if anything happened to anyone i care about, the last thing i'd think to myself is, "gee, wish i'd worried more about them!"

we will see if that zen-ness lasts. the irritations at work are temporary. one day i'll be closer to friends and family. one day i'll sleep more than 4 hours consecutively. one day my body will feel like mine again. one day i won't feel like a date night is a missed opportunity to bond with g. one day (hopefully soon!) i'll get our wills done and then will myself (ha! pun intended) to stop thinking about every morbid possibility. one day i'll stop freaking out so much about money and realize what an utter blessing it is to have problems that money can solve. and one day, because i'm only human, i will try to get a few more update posts up on this blog. just because sometimes seeing happiness in print does make it seem more real.

Jan. 12th, 2014

a new year!

the broncos made the playoffs.

this means that DH is occupied. and that baby G, oblivious to anything that isn't shiny and reflective, is easily entertained in between plays. i have just blissfully eaten half a box of chicken in a biskits (so weird that the weight isn't just falling off!) and am taking this opportunity to update the blog before my blood sugar tanks and i pass out.

we had a really good christmas.

we traveled back to home state and got to introduce our new addition to most of our family and friends. just like every other trip, however, there were lots of people we missed. DH and i have been talking about going back to home state for a LONG time, but, now that we have a child, the need to be back is even stronger. i am trying (and sort of miserably failing) to be optimistic that the economy is strong enough now that we could find other jobs without shredding every ounce of financial security that we've worked so hard to maintain. i also have my doubts that i will ever find a job as good as the one i have. the schedule is pretty hard to beat. i don't know many attorneys that can work from home some of the time and get every other friday off. maybe i could swing a part-time firm job somewhere and stay at 40 hours? ha.

anyway, being home was nice. and it was especially awesome because it was baby's first christmas - which meant that we got to take a lot of obligatory "first" pictures and there were extra "oohs" and "ahs" every time he so much as grinned. i think he already knows how cute he is.

baby


baby


baby


while we were there, we also had a nice baby blessing ceremony. we weren't excited to have a traditional baptism (neither of us are religious in a traditional sense) - but i wanted to do something to welcome our son into the world. i bought this book to help me plan the ceremony and i LOVED it. my favorite part of the ceremony was having everyone that was there (at their option) say something to baby G. my brother-in-law read a meaningful passage in hebrew. my otherwise stoic cousin (who we selected as the baby's godfather) teared up a little bit. and DH told his sister what she means to him. it was candid. it was love-filled. it was...awesome.

blessings


obligatory godparent photo (we gave my cousin a godfather t-shirt. i'm bummed there's not a picture of that!):

godparents


DH and i also had time to start mini family traditions of our own. we followed a local newspaper's guide to christmas lights and got to see some crazy displays.

lights!


and, of course, we saw the local city and county building. i remember going there every. single. year. as a kid to stare at the pretty colors. as an adult i must admit that the view is just as great from the inside of a warm vehicle. who knew.

traditions


DH's parents also put together an impromptu photo shoot that allowed us to get some pictures of our new family. i really wish that the dog could have been in them. it occurred to me that we have yet to spend a single christmas with her (rumor has it english bulldogs don't fly well, lol) - but we can always do a creepy photoshop add later on, right?

family


our focus was a little off...

love


but that still might be my favorite picture. what a blessed little man.

baby G was amazing on the flights to/from home state, too. i was the super obnoxious smug parent that just sighed and smiled as we were told by fellow passengers what a good baby he was. (ha. we'll see if i eat those words next time we travel!)

sleepy


he was even able to meet a green screen santa in the airport:

sleepy


people always say that the focus of the holidays changes once you have kids. it's definitely true. DH and i couldn't think of anything we wanted for christmas that wasn't baby-related. last year it was all about wine and going out. this year it was all about tight swaddles and trying not to get drunk off 2 sips of alcohol. and the best part was realizing that i'm ok with the change. i wouldn't trade it for anything. my giant layer o' sarcasm is often hiding behind an even bigger layer of mushy baby love. (but don't tell anyone.)

Dec. 6th, 2013

family of three

so, if I was bad at blogging before, I am really bad at blogging now. i guess having a baby will do that to a person. i'll be honest, before i embarked on parenthood, i was super judgy about how much time my friends with kids truly had. when they said they were "really" busy, i always took it personally. i mean, come on, how hard can it be to take care of an 8 pound human? well, i'll tell you. it's shockingly hard sometimes. it is the best, most amazing, most earth-shatteringly awesome thing that I've ever done. but it's not easy. and, with what little "free" time i find myself with, i generally prefer to spend it staring adoringly at my son (sappy, but true) or sleeping (god, i miss sleep). note: showering should start to become a priority again soon...

anyway, going back to where we left off...

the last part of my pregnancy was pretty awesome. my job is flexible and i was able to work at home for the last 3 weeks, which was a HUGE blessing because it meant that my swollen feet and i could avoid the metro and camp out on the couch. it was also really nice because like psychos we moved to a new house a month before baby was due. DH's dad came out to help (thank goodness!) and the transition, all things considered, went pretty well. we finally got all of our things out of storage (hallelujah!) and have enough room that the volume of baby gear in our house isn't utterly overwhelming. my mom is also staying with us and the house can easily accommodate her - since it has a whole mother-in-law suite in the basement. it's a definite square footage step up from our tiny one bedroom. however, should you ever have the choice, i do NOT recommend moving when you can no longer see your feet and when peeing yourself is an actual possibility if you move too quickly. just saying.

once we were in the house, the nesting bug definitely hit and i had a lot of fun (in between periodic hormone-induced meltdowns) putting together baby's nursery. i think it turned out really cute.

nursery


i also was fortunate enough to have three baby showers. people from home state sent presents. even a friend from elementary school sent something. the support was amazing. which is good, because rumor has it, it takes a village...

so after the partying and the worrying and the nesting...

this:

9 months


became this:

newborn


labor was the most painful and the most rewarding thing i have ever done. we hired a doula early on because i really wanted to attempt the natural childbirth thing. and, even if i caved and got an epidural, i wanted someone there (other than DH) to tell me that i could do it. throughout our childbirth classes it became clear that i was going to take out every ounce of stress on DH, so i figured if i could pay an "expert" to help share that stress with us on the big day, it'd be money well spent. we found her through DONA. after meeting with a few different people, we felt as though our doula's French accent and calm disposition was the best match for us.

3 days after my due date, i went to the OB to get checked (again) and was told (again) that i hadn't made much progress and would need to schedule an induction. this royally freaked me out because i had watched
the business of being born, which is a documentary about how screwed up the birthing process in America is. while i consider it a "must watch" for pregnant women, it messes with you. a lot. so anyway, i had a meltdown about having to take Pitocin. and called and told the doula that i was going to lose it. then i went home and freaked out. fell asleep. and then i woke up and my water broke.

within about 15 minutes of my water breaking, contractions were about 3 minutes apart. having never gone into labor before, i wasn't sure what the best course of action was. we called the doula and she said to call her back in an hour. after all, this was a first baby. first babies take their time. so i tried every $%^#! position i could think of to alleviate the toe curling pain. and it didn't work. by the time the doula came to the house, she insisted we head to the hospital. i climbed into the car with DH and began trying to systematically break his hand with each contraction. once we got there, i had the pleasure of experiencing a VERY painful contraction in front of a group of teenage boys. i consider it a gift to society, really. nothing motivates safe sex quite like witnessing that.

once we got upstairs to the right ward, the %^&! intake nurse wanted us to fill out paperwork. i couldn't concentrate and refused. DH, thankfully, took care of it. but it took them a long time to believe that i was in transition labor and needed a room. thank god the doula had connections or i might have delivered in the waiting room. because, once they had me lie down, i was 9.5 cm and ready to push. say what?!

i'd like to say that i was zen about the whole thing and visualizing the baby and practicing hypnobirthing techniques while humming enya. but it wasn't really like that. it was more like trying to offer a kidney in exchange for drugs and being told, on no uncertain terms, that it was "way too late" and that I'd have to just deliver naturally. in fact, the process was so fast that the board for our names never got updated - and i delivered my son in bill and anne's room. less than 30 minutes of pushing. followed by A LOT of stitching. (note: if you find yourself having a cannon-like delivery, do NOT google the various degrees of tearing. it will just freak you out more. those vaginal mesh commercials really scare me now.) on the bright side, my mom got to the hospital in time and everyone assures me that, largely due to the record fast birth, i did not poop myself on the table. small victories.

it seems dumb in hindsight, but i wasn't sure how i'd react when i saw my baby the first time. i had been watching a lot of "A Baby Story" (alternating with "Teen Mom") and couldn't decide how DH and i would process the whole thing. pregnancy hormones were even crazier than they are now so i cried at everything. i even cried when the "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" women delivered. (OMG, what a miracle!!!) but you know what? it is like that. it was so awesome that DH even ventured down to the business end to witness it all (shocking because he is normally pretty queasy around blood). i asked him about it later and he said it was the most amazing thing he's ever seen. part of me regrets not taping it. but the other part of me rationalizes that my son probably wouldn't be jazzed about that. (i vividly remember watching the 1970s version of "The Miracle of Life" video in middle school. yowza. the coupling of a drug-free delivery with an all natural nether region meant that most of the class was crying by the time the miracle arrived.)

but i loved him. right away. unconditionally. i loved how tiny he felt lying against my chest. i loved that he squeezed my finger almost instantly. i still tear up thinking about it. i've never been more grateful for anything in my life.

the following days, however, are a little less mushy. i was basically handed a bag of medical supplies and left to my own devices. i remember sitting in my hospital bed, afraid to sneeze and split myself in half, watching my sleeping husband and crying baby while internally panicking that i might have to use the restroom (a process that, postpartum, requires at least 20 minutes of cleansing/soaking/praying). i can't decide if i find it hilarious or terrifying how little they tell you about the recovery process. at 3 weeks postpartum, i was wearing depends and googling "incontinence," and began to wonder if I'd ever be me again. i also started to have an all-too-clear view of what it looks like when you haven't done much personal grooming for months. turns out you're not as great as you think you are at shaving at 9 months pregnant. but now, at 10 weeks post partum, i am realizing i have a new "normal."

family


breastfeeding is going well. that's a blessing. after the razor-like feel of his bite subsided, we appear to have gotten the hang of things. i have yet to find a nursing bra that is built for a woman of substance, but ce la vie. in the span of a month, i went from wearing my "hooter hider" and using 10 pillows every time i nursed to (literally) pulling up my shirt and holding him on my lap without flinching. rest assured that every shred of modesty will go out the window the first time you attempt traveling somewhere with your infant. i promise. we drove to philadelphia to visit family and, by the 10th time we'd stopped to feed lil man, i was willing to get naked in the parking lot if it would have soothed him. this is particularly interesting because we were in super dangerous parts of town. (it's harder to pay attention to iphone directions when you're listening to a screaming child.) the trip did have some major good points though. baby got to meet his cousin (4 months his senior!) and we got to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

life is getting easier now. i'm getting 4 consecutive hours of sleep every now and then (yeah! never thought i'd say that like it was a good thing) and my lil guy is a social smiler (nothing can possibly be wrong with the world when a baby smiles at you. seriously).

smiles


but, unfortunately, i now get to worry about going back to work. and I've started having all the internal conversations that i swore I'd never have. should i go back to work? am i going to miss everything? am i going to cry through my job for the rest of my life?

i joined a mommy and me group (a sentence that used to make cringe) and some of the women are going to quit their jobs and stay home. i used to mock such things. but now, i'm a wee bit jealous. financially, we could swing it if i stayed home. but i just finished law school. i still have a mound of law school debt. and, the tree hugger in me still wants to search for a job that can help to better preserve my son's future. that was the point of all of this, after all. so, i'll be headed back to government agency and am going to focus on what an incredible gift it is that my schedule is ridiculously flexible. and that i only have to go into the office 3 days a week. and i'll try to keep the mommy guilt at bay.

things are certainly different. but in the most incredible way.

best pic

Jun. 14th, 2013

life update

as predicted, i haven't had much time to blog.

and then, when i sit down to blog, i can't think of what to say.

the pregnancy has been challenging. don't get me wrong, i am still very happy and feel very blessed to be having this baby (it's a BOY!), but it hasn't been super easy. i was sick for the first 19 weeks or so. then i woke up one morning and couldn't hear out of my right ear. i went to the ENT and was diagnosed with "sudden sensioneural hearing loss" (SSNHL), which is basically unexplained hearing loss of more than 30 decibels in a 72 hour time period. the ENT said it had a 33% chance of resolving on its own, a 33% chance of staying the same, and a 33% chance of getting worse and/or being permanent. the only treatment option? steroids. which, though not terrible, are somewhat controversial during pregnancy. an otologist recommended injecting steroids directly into my eardrum to limit baby's exposure - but the whole procedure sounded scary to me. so i waited. and waited. and waited.

i had limited hearing in that ear for almost 6 weeks. what made that really fun was scouring the internet for answers and finding that (a) there are almost no studies on pregnant women with SSNHL; (b) SSNHL only affects 4 in about 100,000 people; and (c) the majority of improvement (if any is experienced) is seen within the first 2 weeks. FUN. even though i acclimated fairly quickly to the hearing loss itself, the tinnitus (high pitched ringing) that accompanied it was harder to "get used to." i was terrified. thank god my sister-in-law (who is in her medical residency) was able to do some research that revealed that SSNHL is more common in pregnancy - and that the chances of it resolving on its own (either before or after delivery) were very good. google was not nearly as optimistic.

fortunately, a little over a week ago, it was recommended that i try going gluten-free to see if that made any difference. apparently, sometimes a pregnancy-induced gluten allergy can present itself with clogged ears and nose, etc. figuring i had nothing to lose, i gave up gluten. and, miraculously, my hearing CAME BACK. i am still pretty sensitive to pressure changes, but, other than that, things have been so. much. better. i am so incredibly grateful. and so incredibly hopeful that i can really enjoy the last trimester.

the (VERY) good news is that baby boy seems pretty unfazed. and things are moving right along. i had a mini anxiety attack about gaining too much weight at my last appointment (largely brought on by the fact that every pregnant woman i see was probably a size 2 pre-pregnancy), but i'm adjusting to this new body of mine.

preggo progression


i get pretty excited about meeting my son when i look at these pictures. then i giggle, because, omg, am i really pregnant?

DH and i have been trying to get out on the weekends before our duo becomes a trio.

a few weeks ago we went to Great Country Farms to pick strawberries. unfortunately, by the time we got there all the strawberries were gone, but we still had a good time. however, i discovered that "family friendly" meant that DH and i were literally the only people there that didn't have a child. we had charlotte though. so that counts, right?

dogs and cows
charlotte meeting a cow (neither were very impressed)


they had a pretty impressive slide built out of conduit piping. i convinced DH to give it a whirl. he was the only adult sans child to attempt it that day, but i think (secretly) he enjoyed the fact that i forced him into it.

slide time
DH embracing his inner child


and of course this presented an excellent photo opp:

off with your head!


but one of my favorite parts? seeing this:

beyonce
it's beyonce!


(for those of you that have no idea what i'm talking about, i HIGHLY recommend that you read this blog - it's amazing.)

the next weekend, we went to Lake Needwood and rented a dog-friendly paddleboat. it was so much fun.

cutiefamily piclife jacket


isn't the life jacket the cutest thing you've ever seen? when charlotte was a puppy, she had an unfortunate incident at the dog park that has made her hate anything water-related ever since. she was chasing a big dog around and, without realizing it, ran right into the doggy pool. the shock of being wet and underwater royally freaked her out - so she is very distrusting of non-solid ground. i was proud to see that, on the boat, she was pretty content. she even let DH dunk her in a few times to cool off. and she was pretty intrigued by the geese (that, at times, got about a foot away from our boat).

the next saturday, i went and saw Spank! with my sister-in-law. for anyone out there that secretly and shamefully read the 50 shades series, this is a must. it was hilarious - and made of fun of everything i made fun of while reading the books. seriously. check it out.

and finally...this past weekend was our six year anniversary. we went to a food festival in a neighboring town and then had a quiet dinner at Jaleo. we love that restaurant. and i love it even more now that i realized they have an entire gluten-free menu. who knew? i am so blessed to have DH in my life. it hasn't always been easy, but this relationship is, hands-down, the thing i am most proud of in my life. it's almost overwhelming to know that he'll be every bit as good of a father as he is a husband. baby boy did a good job picking a dad. i can't believe this was our last anniversary just the two of us. kind of awesome.

maybe i'll update more often now...maybe?

Apr. 21st, 2013

some (really important) news

I keep wanting to update the blog.

And then I get really overwhelmed because there are so many things that I haven't blogged about. DH and I had a great Christmas vacation. We went back to home state and got to catch up with friends and family. We went on an amazing snowmobiling trip with friends and toasted to the new year while sitting in a hot tub in the middle of the mountains.

Then we had really nice birthdays. We went to Chicago to see "Book of Mormon" (fantastic, in case you didn't know) and then took an extended weekend to Charlottesville, VA.

But all the trips were overshadowed by some big news.

Namely, this:


preggo tests


OMG.

We knew in Chicago, so DH took a picture of our bean in front of "the bean."


bean


So blessed. So excited. So scared. So...sick.

I spent the first SIXTEEN weeks of the pregnancy throwing up. Baby does not like sweets. Learned that the hard way. (Let's just say that after hurling up a cupcake, you lose the desire to indulge.)

But seeing this made it worth it:


12 weeks


Little he/she is 12 weeks old in that photo. Pretty amazing.

We shared the news with our families via Charlotte:


announcement


After we confirmed that we were having a baby and not, in fact, going to be buying a puppy, people were very happy for us. And it made it seem much more real to get to share it all with them.

I am 18 1/2 weeks now. Due on September 20th. Until recently, I thought I was sort of in the "in between stage." I didn't look pregnant - but I looked a little, well, chubby. But, in the last week or so, I "popped." In a big way. So much so (apparently) that a senior-level attorney at work asked me if I was positive I wasn't having twins. AWESOME. I am trying (and sort of failing) to have a sense of humor about all of it. But what is the matter with people?1 (And yes, there is only one baby in there. And he/she is worth this. For sure.)


18 weeks


The sign says "18 weeks" - and, since I was unwilling to brave the cherry blossom crowds again this year, this neighborhood specimen did just fine. :)

This afternoon, we got Charlotte in on the action:


puppy love


Man, I love that dog.

We don't find out gender until Friday - but, in the interim, I have been doing by best buying gender-neutral clothes:


clothes


And, thanks to some very generous moms, cousins and friends, I have a slew of maternity clothes. (My quickly growing tummy and I appreciate your generosity!)


preggo clothes


I'm not going to blog about fruit.2 Or whether my wedding rings still fit. If I do, I'll end up stressing out about missing a week (or ten) and then this blog will officially phase out. I'm keeping the news off of Facebook. Instead, I am going to try to stay in the moment. I am so grateful that I will get to be someone's mother. I was so scared that maybe I couldn't be. And as much as the woman inside of me wants all of her cute clothes to fit, I am going to embrace my changing shape as a sign that something really miraculous is going on. I have a lifetime to diet and exercise. For now, I have mint M&Ms and grapefruit juice. Bliss.


1So far, I'm more alarmed with how other parts of the body grow during this process. Just saying.[↩]

2According to the fruit gods, baby measures somewhere between the size of a sweet potato (18 weeks) and a mango (19 weeks). The mangoes I just bought are markedly smaller than a sweet potato. By week 20, baby grows to the size of a...banana. Say what? Maybe it's because I shop at Whole Foods too much, but our bananas are teeny. More plaintainish than anything else. So my sizing references are all messed up. I get confused too easily to play along.[↩]

Dec. 10th, 2012

Well...it's almost Christmas.

So that means I should update about Thanksgiving, right?

Ha.

I should just accept that this blog has become a series of monthly update posts. To be fair, a lot of the day-to-day stuff that I would desperately like to blog about is off limits. For good reason. I get it. But...it's limiting. Fear not, however, because I have several ridiculous posts in store dealing with hot topics like: aggressive hair removal; spin class for people with normal butts; picking up strangers when you're lonely; and getting through the bar method class when you haven't touched your toes since sixth grade. All coming up. Get excited.

In the interim...turkey-but-not-really-turkey-because-DH-and-I-are-doing-the-"Eat to Live"-diet...day post.

First and foremost, my mom came out to visit us again. This is year number two - so I am officially declaring it a tradition. Well, at least until we get back to home state. But I digress.

When she was here, we did some stuff.

First, we saw the Rogers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella. My mom loves Rogers and Hammerstein, which means that I grew up humming right along. I saw the ad for the show on a metro bus and immediately bought tickets. The show was at a quaint community theater and there were about a dozen little girls there decked out in poofy dresses. It was pretty awesome.

Photobucket


For the main event, I made a purely vegan feast. This is weird because I've never been vegan. And, current diet aside, I wouldn't classify myself as such. I love sushi. And milk. And you know, non-vegan things. But DH and I have been on this health kick for a little bit - so I indulged. You know, just to see if it was possible. I ended up making pumpkin curry soup, a "meat" loaf, cranberry spinach with pine nuts, sweet potato and apple casserole, zucchini/carrot muffins, and a DELICIOUS gluten-free (and vegan?!) pumpkin pie. It was actually really really good. Even DH liked it. (Although, if we're being honest, I am pretty sure it didn't make up for the fact that we didn't have Stove Top Stuffing.)

Photobucket


I also picked up a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. Apparently I am the last person in the world to hear about this seasonal wine. It is released annually (always around turkey day) and is intended to be enjoyed within the year of its release. (For its $15 price tag, it was worth it!)

To burn calories enjoy the great outdoors, DH and I also took her to see Great Falls Park. Even though we missed the gorgeous leaves, we had some decent weather and got to explore for a bit with the bulldog. I remember when I lived in the Vermont how amazing the sky was. You could see the milky way with naked eyes. The sky was like an astronomy book. I always feel better when I remember that nature is everywhere. (Even in cramped cities.)

Photobucket


We were able to round out the vacation with a trip to the Symphony of Lights. I suspect this drive-through lights display is very appealing to young children, but the lights in home state have ruined me as far as light displays go. Where are the displays of jumping animals? And tunnels of lights? And cocoa? I mean, what is this? Fortunately, we were able to find a station playing Christmas music that we belted out to get more in the spirit.

Photobucket


It was a good trip. And I am so so SO happy to be going back home for Christmas.

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