Friday, December 30, 2011

The Ministry of Silly Kitchens

We are moving in five days. FIVE DAYS. And for three of those days we are going to be visiting my aunt and uncle, so really only two days of preparation.

Part of the reason we got the house for such a good price was because of this:

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Really, the rest of the house is lovely,, although you wouldn't guess that by looking at this picture. It has got to be one of the silliest kitchens in the world. What you see in the picture is all there is. It's a big room with six doorways and no wall space for cabinets or counters. There is a very old fridge and no other appliances. And just check out that wallpaper!

This kitchen is making me lose my mind. In a good way, though. I love designing stuff. We sold our second car yesterday (thank goodness for Cra.igslist!) and we are going to be using the moolah to redo this disaster area.

So here's the plan:

Phase 1: Preparation
Update electrical
Repair wall with water damage
Remove wallpaper
Close in pantry (It's got to be done in order to have enough wall for some cabinets. We plan on accessing the pantry from the bathroom at a later date and making a cleaning closet)
Install new lighting
Repaint walls and ceiling
Make the floor level (exact plan as to how to make this happen hasn't materialized yet)
Lay tile

Phase 2: The fun stuff
Install cabinets, sink, counter top, and appliances

Done!

Realistically though, I see this project taking six months or longer. That's a long time to live without a cooking range.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

This Advent season I had the privilege to pray for Alive in Hope. We have a lot in common. I was involved in law enforcement before I made a rather dramatic career change, and I also have an interest in writing. However, it will take a lot of hard work for me to be such a contemplative and expressive writer as she is. I really admire your abilities! I enjoyed reading through your archives and learning more about you.

God bless you an keep you, and have a very merry Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Things I'm Thankful For

This Christmas I am thankful:

1. That Nemo is good at working with his hands. I wanted to buy CJ a toy chest on Etsy for Christmas, but Nemo suggested that he make one instead, and that really is so much better! I can't wait to see it.

2. For a family that doesn't look down at me for having a sleep deprivation-induced meltdown or two.

3. For being blessed with caring friends. I have always struggled to be social, and thanks to my wonderful friends I have (partially) overcome many of my insecurities.

4. For Advent Prayer Buddies. I love taking part in this, and thanks to all of the blogger ladies that put it together!

5. For a new perspective on Christmas. When I was younger I was intensely materialistic and I knew it. I recently came across an old journal entry from when I was in my early teens in which I wrote about how much it bothered me that I craved and expected presents at Christmas. The more I got, the more I wanted. This made me reflect on my current expectations and I was happy to find that, if faced with receiving absolutely nothing, it would not bother me a bit.

6. That God has graced me with the desire to know him better and to try to follow him as best I can.

7. For my faith community, both in real life and online. Without the constant support and teaching from these groups I think I might leave my faith by the wayside. I am a much better Christian and Catholic because of you. Thank God for you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A One-Car Family

I'm from metro Detroit, which means that I grew up in a culture that views cars as a status symbol. Cars are an absolute must-have, no matter what kind of financial situation you are in (this might also have something to do with the laughable state of the public transportation).

When Nemo and I first started getting to know each other and I found out that he didn't have a car, I remember thinking to myself, "What is this guy, some kind of deadbeat?" Charitable is my middle name. As it turns out, he wasn't a sponger, he just didn't need a car.

He did eventually get a car when he went to grad school. Then for our second anniversary we got another car, a station wagon. In retrospect, it was a pretty silly purchase. Nemo took public transportation to school and work, and we never really needed to be driving anywhere separately. We put less than 15,000 miles on it in the 3 1/2 years that we've owned it.

Thanks to Nemo, I am no longer scornful of people who don't have cars. In fact, I idealize that lifestyle now. The area that we are moving to in two-and-a-half weeks (yikes!) is very walkable. Nemo can walk to work, I can walk to church and shops, and there is an affordable bus for most other things. We will be keeping our original car, but only for bulk grocery shopping and you know, getting to the hospital if we need to. I don't envision us using the car that often really, and that makes me happy.

It's not about pollution or the crazy price of gas. We just want a simpler life, and we are lucky enough to have to opportunity to simplify in this way. I'm so thankful!

I am going to miss driving, though. I'm from the Motor City, where driving is a form of recreation:)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prayer Request

Please pray for a friend of mine, Christine, and her son Sly. A few days ago she was standing on a street corner with Sly in the stroller when a tractor-trailer turning the corner jumped the curb and hit them, running over Christine's feet and dragging Sly under the wheels. Their injuries are not life-threatening, but Sly's are severe and require a lengthy hospital stay and a long recovery at home.

He is the sweetest little boy. Please pray for a swift and complete recovery and for peace for his family during this very difficult time.

You can read the news story here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 6


1. So, CJ's roll-over from last week seems to have been a fluke. He has done it a couple of times since then, but by accident and/or with help from furniture. Sigh. He will be six months on December 26 and then he will be officially behind in that department.

2. Yesterday I ran a mile without stopping. It was agonizingly slow, but that is the first time I have done that in over a year. I've been working for two weeks to get to this point!

3. But I think my running days might be over for a while because this morning I was hurrying down the stairs in my stocking feet to get something out of the laundry room and my foot slipped out from under me and I fell really hard and slid the rest of the way down the stairs. I have various cuts, scrapes, and bruises but its nothing a few band-aids and some ice can't fix, but man, this isn't how I thought today would go.

4. I am going to have a bruise the size of Texas on my leg. My upper leg. Ok, fine, my butt. I am currently sitting on an ice pack.

5. I am thankful that 1) I wasn't holding CJ at the time and 2) that Nemo is at home today, because I definitely needed help getting on my feet again.

6. Tomorrow we are having a Christmas get-together with two of our close couple friends. I'm really excited!

7. That means I really should wash the Christmas outfit that my mom sent for CJ but...kinda scared to go to the laundry room again, if I can be honest. Ii guess Nemo is on laundry duty today. So much for working from home:/

Thursday, December 15, 2011

To-do List Queen

What I've done today so far:

Picked up the family portraits from the Jcpenny a kajillion miles away from home with a fussy baby

Listed a bunch of cloth diapers I didn't like on diaperswappers.com with a fussy baby

Went and picked up a movie for date night from the library with a fussy baby

Did 1.5 loads of laundry

Ran on the treadmill with a fussy baby (in the swing, not actually on the treadmill with me)

Tried not to lose my mind when my fussy baby was refusing to nap

Called a bunch of electricians about getting an estimate for getting the knob and tube wiring at our new house taken care of (fussy baby finally asleep)

Called a moving company about getting an estimate (still asleep!)


Still to do:

Clean stove

Dust

Get the oil changed in the car

Return some emails


Ahh, forget it. I'm going to drown my sorrows in hot chocolate.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 5


1. It has been an exciting day so far. CJ woke up a little bit after 5am, and I had Nemo bring him to bed with us since I was too tired to actually get up. Nemo left for work and I almost had CJ back to sleep when I heard barking and someone yelling for help right outside my house. I ran outside and it turned out that someone walking their small dog was being accosted by two enormous German Shepherds. They weren't attacking, but they were barking and circling and definitely too close for comfort. I tried to distract them from the safety of my porch so the dog walked could get to her house safely, but I don't think I did much good. I told her I was going to call animal control, which I did. But, man, she must have been scared out of her mind. I know I would have been.

2. Then: My baby, whose inability to roll over from front to back was making us both miserable, finally rolled over today! Twice! So it can't be a fluke, right???

3. I firmly believe that Loreena McKennitt's Midwinter Night's Dream is the best Christmas album ever. Period. No argument. I've listened to it 1-3 times a day since Advent started and I am no where near sick of it yet.

4. Oh, and we are buying a house in the town where Nemo works. And we will be moving--get this--in EARLY January. As in four weeks from now. It all happened pretty quickly--my head is spinning!

5. The house has a lot of old world charm and gorgeous original woodwork. On the second floor it has two big bedrooms, a small bedroom, and a tiny office. The attic is finished, has lots of windows, and will be perfect for a sewing/play room. It's perfect for us.

6. Except that the air conditioner is broken, the floors are warped, all the wiring needs to be replaced, and there is nothing in the kitchen but a sink and two cabinets. But that's why we got it for the price we did. And we are pretty enthusiastic DIYers, so it all works out.

7. Given this new development, Prayer Buddy, could you send a few up that our current home will sell quickly? We just reduced the price so hopefully that will bring some more people to look at it. We just need the right one!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday #6



This week I am thankful for:

1. Finding a house that we love and having our offer accepted! More details on that later:)

2. My lovely parents. We have our differences and drive each other bonkers a times, but they are always there for me.

3. For Nemo's technical know-how. He just rigged a speaker system on the treadmill so that I can actually hear my laptop when I'm running. It is awesome. He's not bad either.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Do You Want to Hear a Yucky Story?

A few weeks ago Nemo and I were preparing to go to bed after a long day, and when I turned back the covers I saw this:Actually, several of those. Bugs. In my bed. The place where I live a third of my life. You can't tell in the picture, but they are very small, about half the size of a grain of rice. But the fact remained that there were bugs in my bed. My natural reaction was to freak out, which I did with gusto. I stripped the bed and threw everything into the wash, and while I was waiting (and freaking out) I turned to the internet for answers.

It turned out that what was in my bed was the larvae of a carpet beetle, apparently a very common household pest that feeds on stored fabrics, kind of like moths. The only way to get rid of them is to find their food source and get rid of THAT. Well, it was midnight at this point and I had no idea what their food source was, and once the bedding got out of the wash I decided to go to bed and deal with the problem in the morning. Except I didn't know how I was going to go to sleep knowing that my bedroom was overrun with gross little insects.

Nemo, always the level-headed one, said, "Just think of what Les Stroud (host of TV's Survivorman, for those of you who don't know) has to put up with. It's not like we're sleeping among scorpions in the Kalahari".

He had a point, and somehow I managed to go to sleep.

The next few days I spend systematically cleaning the bedroom, looking for what they were eating, and I didn't turn up anything. Then I remembered the wool sweater that had been in the bottom of the laundry basket since last fall (I didn't want to bother cleaning it since I didn't like it anyway, but still couldn't bring myself to throw the darn thing out).

Yup. That was it. There were more holes than I remembered and a few of the little buggers chomping away. I tied it in a trash bag and threw it out. I thought that was the end of it, but alas there is more to tell.

Last night, two things happened. First, I thought to myself, "I wonder what happened to my other favorite wool sock? I haven't seen it in months. It's probably lost under the bed somewhere."

Then, we found another bug in the bed.

Then, I put two and two together.

Today I bit the bullet and cleaned out the under the bed area, and it was horrifying.

They were indeed eating my favorite wool sock. And one of Nemo's socks. And a towel that somehow got under there. And a handkerchief. You get the picture.

I've been doing a lot of wash/throwing things away, and I hope this truly is the end of it.

I learned my lesson, that's for sure. Never again will I let things languish under the bed, or they will most certainly be found by things that go chomp in the night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 4

1. I broke my last sewing machine needle yesterday afternoon, just as I was attempting to make my first handmade swiffer wet pad out of one of Nemo's old t-shirts. I'm just dying to finish it and see if it works...we're off to the store as soon as CJ wakes up from his nap.

2. I made it to daily mass three times this week! That's a record for me, I think. Next week, my goal is to get to a holy hour.

3. My brother, who is in the National Guard, is graduating from Advanced Individual Training (AIT) today. Yay for him!

4. Older Sister, who just went back to work after having her second baby, just found out that the baby's daycare is closing down mere weeks after opening. Now she is kind of in the lurch trying to sort out day care. She just can't seem to catch a break:(

5. In preparation for Christmas, Nemo and I are reading from Advent with the Saints: Daily Reflections every evening. Ok, we just started last night so it's not a trend yet. But I am going to try to keep it up!

6. Family pictures tomorrow. I am a mess. Nemo and I had some done last year too, but it is so much easier coordinating two outfits than three. Fashion is not one of my intelligences.

7. We have another house showing tomorrow as well. It's the second one this week, which is good. All I want for Christmas is this house to be sold. I am so ready for the suspense to be over.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday #5



1. I'm thankful for a sunny day, finally! I get to dry the diapers on the line for once...although it is so cold I'm a little worried that they are going to freeze solid! But also the sun is doing wonders for my attitude.

2. I'm thankful that we had the time off, the gas money, and a place to stay so that we could visit my folks in the great white north this Thanksgiving. I'm thankful I got to meet my new nephew!

3. I'm thankful that Nemo is able to work from home one day a week. Even though he probably doesn't get much work done because he always ends up watching MASH with me:)

4. I'm thankful for audiobooks. They make the chores go so much faster!

Thanks to Rebecca for hosting!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Massive Problem

I have always found it difficult to pay attention during Mass, especially during the homily. I struggle with it, but never seem to get anywhere.

Then I had a baby, and this problem got ten times worse. I am the default baby holder, and keeping him quiet and happy so everyone else can pay attention saps a fair amount of my own attention.

I spent most of Mass last Sunday in the cry room, where the closed-circuit TV was not working for some reason. It was foolish to go to the 9am service when I KNOW that is CJ's nap time. He was pissed. I was even more pissed. There was not much sanctifying going on.

Afterwards I moaned to my mom, "What is the POINT of going to Mass anymore, if I'm not going to hear it?"

To which she replied something about getting CJ in the habit of going to church and it being my job to get him into heaven.

Which made me wail in a very self-centered fashion, "But what about MEEEEEEEE?"

It is easier to keep CJ happy during daily Mass, but the priest has perfected the 90-second homily, and if I pause to clean up some spit or blink, it's over and I've missed it again.

Sigh. Am I destined to never comprehend a homily?

Monday, November 28, 2011

AI

Several years ago I saw a rheumatologist to determine whether or not I had an autoimmune disorder. I had a lot of symptoms such as fatigue and aching in my joints, plus I had a family history on both sides. I had a lot of blood work, MRIs, and other tests done. All that we found out for sure was that I had antinuclear antibodies, which is typical of people with autoimmune disorders but doesn't confirm it. Dr. D told me to call if there were ever any other symptoms, which there hadn't been until recently.

Recurrent pregnancy loss. That's a symptom. Then when I was pregnant, I felt great. Dr, Google told me that people with AI disorders can experience an alleviation of symptoms during pregnancy. Also, my shoulder joints were absolutely killing me. I couldn't stir a pot of soup, that's how much my movement was limited by the pain. So I decided to give Dr. D a call.

I had an appointment last week and we discussed the new developments. I told her that the reason I wanted an AI disorder ruled out is because we want another baby in the near future. I wanted to know if I just got lucky with CJ and that miscarriage is going to be my default.
She, of course, looked at me like I was bonkers for wanting another baby so soon. I can't help it. They just smell so good!

I had nine vials of blood draw for different tests, and everything came back "perfect". Nothing that would suggest that I have an autoimmune disorder. Even my antinuclear antibodies were gone.

And for the first time in my life, I wasn't borderline anemic! This is cause for celebration.

Dr. D solved another mystery that day. When I explained about my shoulder she felt it and announced that I had bursitis, an inflammation of the sac of fluid around the joint, most likely from lifting a plus-size baby all the time. She injected steroids into the sac and voila, two days later I was pain free. I gleefully stirred things to my heart's content.

So all appears to be well. Thank God for that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breastfeeding: My Epic Tale of Woe

When I was twenty years old I underwent breast reduction surgery.

I had a lot of reasons for doing it: I couldn't exercise comfortably, my bra straps made deep grooves in my shoulders, and I had an absurd amount of back pain for someone who was just this side of her teen years.

The biggest reason was vanity. I couldn't wear "cute" clothing. I thought other people judged me. I felt ugly, sloppy, and self-conscious. So, full of desperation and covered by my father's insurance, I went to see a surgeon.

She warned me that this surgery could jeopardize my ability to breastfeed in the future. I had no thoughts of marrying or having children. After all, how was I supposed to get a man to marry me, as unattractive as I was? I told the surgeon that I didn't care, and the date was set.

I remember waking up from the surgery and feeling that a weight had been lifted from me, literally and metaphorically. Looking down at my new, smaller assets I cried with relief.

Five short months later, I found myself dating Nemo and realizing that marriage and children were not as impossible as I had thought. I started to feel the tiniest hint of regret for what I had done. I began to research, even before we were thinking of starting a family. I surfed the web and read Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery. Due to the method used during my surgery, the length of time that had passed, and my level of commitment, I convinced myself that I was going to be able to exclusively breastfeed my children.

And then I had CJ, and it soon became clear that things were not going as well as I had planned.

Though I had a natural birth unaided by epidural, CJ was born very sleepy and was completely uninterested in nursing for the first 12 hours of his life. Then he woke up at 6pm the day he was born, latched on as best he could on my pathetically flat nipples, and proceeded to nurse like a wild beast for the entire night. I would periodically unlatch him and put him in the bassinet, but within 10 minutes he was acting hungry again, fussing and smacking his lips. The longest bit of sleep I got that night was when they took him for some routine tests. Thirty minutes, tops. I told the night nurse about this and she chuckled and said that he was just using me as a pacifier. When she brought him back though she told me his current weight and he had lost quite a few ounces (more than normal for a newborn). And that's when I knew there might be a problem. He didn't need comforting, he was HUNGRY, and I felt absolutely terrible that I wasn't providing enough for him.

We had written that we needed to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible in our birth plan, because we foresaw some difficulties. They took their time sending someone up to see us the day after CJ was born, and though we explained the special situation to her she did nothing more than show us the football hold. We called them again the next day, and it was the same story.

The constant nursing went on and on, frustration looming over me, until the day we were set to be discharged and we called the lactation consultants one last time. I explained about the surgery and what we had done so far, and she was absolutely appalled that I had not been pumping from the get-go. I was similarly appalled that all of the consultants we had seen previously had neglected to mention this. This consultant got me set up with a pump, a Supplemental Nursing System, and renewed enthusiasm. Then we headed home, confident that all would be well.

The next few weeks were critical for building supply, and everything went wrong. The SNS they gave us at the hospital broke. We later learned that it was a temporary system and wasn't meant to be used for more than 24 hours--something the lactation consultant who gave it to us didn't mention. After that first week it became apparent that my milk wasn't coming in late; it wasn't coming in at all. Unluckily for me this fell during the holiday weekend, and though I called every consultant in the book in a panic, I couldn't get one on the phone. And so we started supplementing with a bottle.

For the next month I struggled with breastfeeding. I had a strenuous schedule of breastfeeding with or without the SNS (we finally managed to get a new one), supplementing with a bottle if he still seemed hungry, and then pumping for 15 minutes after each and every feeding session. My hands became chapped until they bled from washing the pumping equipment and SNS so often. Once we started the bottles, CJ preferred them and started to refuse to nurse for more than two minutes, and I had to work very hard just to get him to do that. I saw other lactation consultants who were optimistic that I would be able to breastfeed for the most part and supplement with a bottle a couple of times a day, but when it started to look that it wasn't going to turn out that way, despite all of my best efforts I became very depressed. CJ slept very well at night, just waking up every 3-4 hours to eat, but with all the pumping and washing up I was only getting an hour and a half of sleep at the most. I was tired. I was discouraged. And soon, I was skipping nursing sessions. By the time he was five weeks old, I wasn't nursing him at all.

I continued to pump, first 8 times a day, then I went down to 6, and when Nemo started his new job I started pumping only 4 times a day. I was getting maybe 8 ounces of breast milk a day--barely a third of what my baby needed. Two weeks before I went back to work, I made the abrupt decision to quit pumping all together. It was eating up 3 hours out of my day, and I wanted to spend all the time I had left at home with CJ, instead of watching him fuss in the swing while I prayed for the 15 minutes to pass quickly.

That was over two months ago, and I still feel like a failure. I am not a person who takes failure well (vanity, again). I schedule my day so that I never have to feed him outside the home, because I think that people judge me when they see the bottle. Really it is just me judging myself. Rationally I know that there is nothing wrong with formula. CJ is fine and will be fine. But I want so much to have that physical connection with him that other mothers enjoy with their babies. I want to do what mothers have been doing for thousands of years.

Plus, formula is freakin' expensive and cleaning bottles is a royal pain in the tush.

More than anything I want another chance. I think, if we are blessed with another child, things might turn out differently next time. I know I will probably never be able to exclusively breastfeed, but now that I have more knowledge and experience I have hope that I will be able to nurse longer and with less frustration than I did with CJ. That's all I ask.



See, he's fine!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wow, it's been a while.

I've been a stay-at-home person for three weeks now. It feels like much, much longer for some reason. I've been trying to stick to my goals. Some days are a lot better than others. I've scaled back "get dressed first thing in the morning" to "get dressed at some point before lunch", because CJ has taken to waking up at 5:30am no matter what time I put him to bed. That is practically still the middle of the night, and I refuse to wear anything but jammy pants in the middle of the night. How I miss the old days when I had to go in and wake him up at 7:30am.

We've been enjoying storytimes at the library and I am learning how to grocery shop. This involved an epic fail of spending over $30 on ingredients for Greek spinach cheese pie. Delicious, but not exactly budget friendly.

I am also pretty busy trying to keep the house tidy for when people come over to look at it--one woman has come twice, and the last time she brought her parents! I'm really hoping that she's the one! I want to move, already!

Other than that, lately I have been having a lot of fun sewing and crafting. So much so that I thought I would give Etsy a shot. I'm mostly just enjoying the hobby, but some extra money would be welcome, of course!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday #4



1. I am thankful that younger sister is coming to visit this weekend. I haven't seen her since CJ's baptism back in July! She was supposed to come a few weeks ago, but her travel plans fell through and we were all very bummed out. She is going to spend time with CJ while I go to a "baby sprinkle" for a friend who is expecting her second child.

2. I am thankful for my in-laws. This past weekend they drove up and helped Nemo install ceiling tiles to replace the 30-year-old ones that were in the basement. They even paid for the tiles! All in an effort to help us sell the house. This project has completed the basement's transformation from icky dungeon to completely bearable hanging out space. I love it and I love them.

3. I'm thankful that our realtor doesn't think we need to reduce the price on the house (yet). We are still getting a showing a week and are hopeful for a good offer.

Thanks to Rebecca for hosting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Bigger Person

CJ was a relatively easy baby for the first three months of his life. At the beginning of October, when Nemo and I made the decision that I would quit my job to stay home with CJ, he was sleeping 12-13 hours at night and taking three 45 minute naps per day. The naps were short, but they were a sure thing so I couldn't complain.

Since making that decision, CJ has very abruptly turned into a high-maintenance baby. The root of the problem is the naps. I used to put him down awake after 5 minutes of rocking in the rocking chair, and he would very obligingly go right to sleep and stay asleep for 45 minutes. Now, He fusses or screams for long periods of time, and has never once put himself to sleep that way. I always end up going to him and either get him up or do more rocking and soothing until he is fast asleep. When I DO get him to sleep, I'm lucky if he sleeps for 45 minutes. It is usually 30 minutes, and sometimes less. But still I struggle to get him down for three naps a day, because if he doesn't, he wakes up at night and then gets up absurdly early the next morning.

The internet is being characteristically unhelpful. Most websites just say that some babies are short nappers and I should just suck it up. I was willing to believe that when he was taking full naps and was a cheerful baby, but with these even shorter naps he is cranky as all get-out. He clearly needs to sleep longer, but for some reason he can't. I'm at the end of my rope, here.

Anyway, the whole point of this story is that yesterday, the worst day to date, when I felt like all I did the entire day was listen to him scream, listen to myself cry, and try to force him to nap, I had a thought that I'm not proud of. I thought, "I wish I was at work right now, so someone else could be dealing with this crap".

Now, don't misunderstand me. I am where I am supposed to be, and I want to be here. But having that thought made me think about things and I came up with this theory that CJ was always a high-maintenance baby, but he was disguised as a little angel up until a month ago because God knew that I am weak. If CJ had acted like this a month ago, I'm not sure I would have been a big enough person to make the decision to quit my job. It would be so much easier to let someone else take the helm when it comes to the unpleasant parts of parenthood. I might not have made the right decision, so I am very grateful that the circumstances were such that I did.

As I was writing this he was crying in his crib, and then fell asleep after *only* 25 minutes. That's never happened before! There is hope!

Also, I wanted to ask if you could spare a prayer for Older Sister's family. She is struggling with postpartum depression, a high-strung two-year-old, and a colicky six week old, all of which is putting an enormous strain on their marriage. More specifically, please pray that my BIL will agree to a Retrouvaille program. Thank you so much!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Morning Person

I have never liked mornings. Everyone has to have a hobby, and mine happens to be sleeping. Most adults can get by on 7-8 hours of sleep, but I really need about 9 to feel normal. I used to arrange my schedule in order that I would never have to be up before 7am. Weekends I was known to sleep in until 10 or 11am.

Now things are different. CJ may be good at sleeping at night, but he is rubbish at napping. He wakes up between 6am and 8am, fresh as a daisy and a sheer joy to be around. I feed him, play with him a little, then he entertains himself on his play mat while I get some chores done.

Then he takes his first nap about two hours after he wakes up, and at 45 minutes long (if I'm lucky) it just isn't long enough. He takes about three or four of these short naps a day, and it is clear that they aren't restful. His mood gets worse and worse as the day goes on. By 3pm he is a complete mess, doesn't want me to put him down but also doesn't want me to hold him. The hours between 3 and 6 (when the bedtime routine starts) are extremely trying for me.

Today I found myself wishing that it could be morning ALL THE TIME and I shocked myself. Me? Mornings? Friends? Ha ha ha! A year ago the idea would have been absurd.

I blame this little monster.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Day at Home

Yesterday was my first official day as a stay-at-home mom. I actually think that is a misnomer. I prefer "household manager":) Nemo has been teasing me, telling me that I will be bored at home all day. Ha. That most certainly was not the case. Anyway, here is how it went:

6:30am
Wake up, get dressed (not in yoga pants!), start a load of laundry, unload dishwasher, make breakfast. Nemo has already fed the cats, how sweet of him!

6:50 Eat breakfast, check email, & read blogs

7:10 I have to finish this book because it is due today and as I no longer work at the library I can't give myself unlimited extensions anymore!

7:35 put in load of diapers to rinse, make bottle, wake CJ and give him his breakfast.

8:00 Playtime!

8:30 Get CJ dressed and head off for 8:45 Mass

9:10 Get home, read to CJ from my book to kill some time before naptime.

9:25 Diaper change, rocking, and put CJ down for a nap.

9:30 He stops fussing, so I run outside to put the diapers on the clothesline, then return to my book.

10:05 Oh my goodness, really? He's awake already. Finished the book just in time.

10:15 Head out to the library to return some books, look for some cookbooks, and pick up another season of Friday Night Lights on dvd, but they are closed! I leave the books in the dropbox. We'll be back tomorrow for baby storytime, anyway. Instead we go to daycare to pick up some things we left there and then to the drugstore to buy Halloween candy and baby formula. It's on sale and I have $15 off coupons that I bought on ebay for $6.33 each, so all in all I got it for about 50% off. SCORE!

11:00 Home again and time for CJ to eat

11:15 CJ plays on his play mat and exersaucer while I work on knitting him a hat. It's getting a bit nippy and we don't have one that covers his ears adequately!

12:05pm Naptime for CJ, lunch and internet for me. Then I start deep cleaning the microwave and fridge. Yuck. I have let that go for far too long.

2:50 CJ takes another nap while I peel potatoes for dinner and finish cleaning the fridge

3:30 ARGH! These naps are short, even for him

3:30-5:30 fussyfussybottlefussy

5:30 I stuff a protesting CJ into his monster costume and take him around to the neighbors to say hi. He is subdued, but not crying. The poor guy is just tuckered out. He really needs to nap longer tomorrow, but I don't know how to make that happen!
6:00 Nemo is home just in time to help with bath and bedtime.

6:45 CJ is ASLEEP

7:00 Clean the garage. Because we're showing the house we have stashed a lot of stuff in there, but I rearrange it so that we can just squeeze a car in there. If its going to snow again, I don't want Nemo to have to scrape ice off the car at 5:30am!

8:00 We have a late dinner because Nemo had to do most of the cooking--I didn't get as much prep done as I thought I would due to CJ's uncharacteristic fussiness. We watch a couple of sitcoms while we eat.

8:45 Kitchen tidying

9:15 Get ready for bed and lay out clothes for tomorrow. Oh my goodness, tomorrow?

So it didn't go precisely how I thought it would. There were mishaps. There were things learned. There were moments of panic. But I got through it, and I'm pumped to try again tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meatless Friday #1

I'm a cradle Catholic, and for my entire life I had been under the impression that after Vatican II Catholics were no longer required to abstain from meat on Fridays. It was Nemo who told me that while abstaining from meat on Fridays is no longer required, Catholics are expected to perform some penance or work of charity every Friday, which I have NEVER DONE except by coincidence. So it would appear that I am in a state of arrears! That's one of the things I love about Nemo. As a convert, he has taught me so much about my own faith. It's beautiful and a little bit humbling.

We have been doing Meatless Fridays since winter 2011. It takes a bit of planning, makes being houseguests a little sticky, and sometimes I REALLY REALLY just want a cheeseburger, so I suppose it has been serving it's purpose.

The problem is, we are super lazy about it. I don't even want to contemplate the number of fish sticks I have consumed in the last nine months. A few weeks ago, stuffed to the gills with fish and mac and cheese, I decided that we are going to turn over a new leaf. I started scouring Epicurious for fun, healthy meatless recipes.

Last week's pick was Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Greens. I thought it was going to be a stretch for my cooking capabilities, mostly because I had eaten greens exactly once before and I had to google what a leek was. I wish I was joking.




As it turned out it was very easy to make! I totally intended to take a picture to show it off, but alas I ran out of time. Trust me, it was colorful and yummy-looking. It tasted pretty good too.




Do you have any favorite meatless recipes?


Up next week: Stir-Fried Tofu!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday #3

1. I'm thankful for WAOB-FM 106.7, a Catholic radio station that I am able to pick up. It's so relaxing to listen to chanting or a homily on my way into work. I'm also thankful that Nemo tunes in as well, so we have stuff to talk about when we both get home.

2. I'm thankful that Older Sister is scheduling New Nephew's baptism for Thanksgiving weekend, so I will be able to attend.

3. I'm thankful for our across-the-street neighbors, who are always there to give us a helping hand. I'm really going to miss them when we move.

4. I'm very thankful that Saturday is my last day of work. I'm eager to start my new adventure. (But as Nemo put it, it's not really my last day of work, it's my last day of getting paid.)

5. And lastly, I am thankful for these newfangled budgeting tools. They are going to make this one income thing so much easier.


Thanks to Rebecca for hosting!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month starts November 1. I have been taking part in this month-long event every year since 2008. The goal: write 50,000 words in 30 days. The first two years I met this goal, although those novels remain unfinished. Last year I bowed out at 15,000 words because I was in my first trimester with CJ and November was the beginning of what would turn out to be a two-month napfest.



Anyway. This year I try again. It's super convenient that my last day of work is October 29, because then I will have oodles of time to devote to a novel, right?



The original plan was to write the second book in the series I started in 2008, but I have been working on it for three years and I can barely stand to look at it these days. And I don't have any other stories in mind so this year I thought I would try a winging it approach.



So this is what I did:


I went to random.org and had it choose a year for me. I restricted it to years after 1580, because most of what I write is in the middle ages or Renaissance, and I wanted to try something new. My year: 1833.








Then I went to geopick.org/random and had it pick a city for me. My setting: St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador.









Then I went to Behind the Name and had it randomly select a female first, middle, and last name of either Irish, English, or French origin (as those are some of the more common ethnicities in Newfoundland). What I got: Sera Faye Bell.



Next I went to a random conflict generator, I don't remember which one, and ended up with stolen money.




Well, there you have it. This November I will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel set in St. John's in 1833 that has to do with a woman named Sera Faye Bell and some stolen money.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

House Hunting Burnout

For someone who adores the show "House Hunters" I sure got sick of it pretty quickly.

It's mostly the distance that is getting to me. Making a day trip to another state takes a bit of planning, and we've been doing it every other Sunday since September. We get there, look at a bunch of houses that don't fit the bill, then go home. It is really cutting into our socializing time!

This weekend we saw a house that got close to what we were envisioning, but the price and distance from the University were a little off-putting, so we are back to square one.

GAH!

Admittedly, our expectations are pretty high. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, master suite, flat yard big enough for the dog that we don't have yet, fireplace, garage, walkable distance to university...you get the picture. I don't think there is a house in the whole city that meets all of these requirements. Not in our price range, anyway.

The good news is that a couple that looked at our current house on Saturday are coming back to look at it again today! I hope they make an offer. I hope it's a decent offer (someone else offered us 80% of what we were asking--not cool).

After this is over we are NEVER MOVING AGAIN.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 3.



1.CJ has been asleep for a whole hour. I don't know what to do with myself. I tried taking a snooze myself but was rudely awakened when one of the cats jumped up onto my bedside table to drink from my water bottle. What a jerk.
2. I have written 5,752 words of my NaNoWriMo novel so far! 1/10th of the way there!

3. Once CJ wakes up I will be attempting my first bulk grocery shopping trip with him. We are old pros at picking up milk and eggs at the corner store, but not doing a several week's worth of shopping at Aldi. Yipes.

4. I was frustrated yesterday because CJ had been fussy and I hadn't been able to get any cleaning or chores done all day. I asked Nemo what the point was of me staying home if I'm accomplishing the same amount of stuff that I did when I was working. To which he replied, "You're not staying home so we can have a clean house. You're staying home so CJ can be raised in a loving environment." That's why I like him. He is really good at reminding me what's important.

5. We're planning our first in-house date night for next week. I've bought some wine and put steaks on the menu, but other than that I am drawing a blank. Any recommendations for our "Stayte Night"? Yahtzee?

6. CJ had his first bite of rice cereal the other day. He was kinda underwhelmed with it.

7. Oh my goodness, he is still asleep. Ridiculous. I am going to do some sewing!

Thankful Thursday #2

1. I am thankful for Skype. Living far from my family doesn't sting quite so much now that I can see them between holidays!

2. I am thankful for a new Catholic book group starting up! In November we will be discussing I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux.

3. I am thankful for St. Therese, who I have taken as the patron Saint of my family. You can read about the first time I knew she was interceding for me on my old blog.


4. Ibuprofen. It's CD1. Ow.


5. Google. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to figure out how to spell "Ibuprofen".


Thanks to Rebecca at The Road Home for hosting!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

T-10

In ten short days I will be leaving my job at the library to be a stay at home mom. I'm feeling excited and nervous and every emotion in between.

I'm a wee bit worried because I have a tendency towards laziness. Without a fixed schedule or somewhere to be, I am the type of person to stay in my pajamas all day. So, I have set some SAHM goals for myself:

1. Get dressed first thing in the morning. Yoga pants don't count!

2. Take CJ on excursions twice a week. Storytimes at the library, playdates, daily mass, etc. I am very lucky to live in an area with a very active Catholic Moms Meetup group, so I will never have to try very hard to find something to do.

3. Get out of the house sometimes. Nemo will be handling bedtime one night a week so I can get out and go to a yoga class or a coffee shop or something.

4. Cook more. I plan on spending CJ's afternoon naps preparing dinner. Up til now Nemo has been dinner-maker-in-chief, but I want to try to delve into the world of cooking. We'll see how that goes. At least I won't lack for funny blog topics. Seriously, my cooking faux pas are epic.

5. Stick to the chore schedule. Once the daily chores are done, then and only then can I turn on Friday Night Lights!

That's all I have so far. I know it is going to be a huge adjustment and it is going to take some fine-tuning before I come up with a system that works for me. I can't wait to start!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All at once

Wow, what a week. Nemo's illness turned out to be very severe, and I had to take him to the ER last Wednesday night. They didn't find out what was wrong with him, but they gave him lots of IV fluids, steroids, and painkillers and that turned him right around. Luckily CJ's lovely godmother came over to stay with Conor, so I didn't have to expose him to any hospital germs.

Immediately after Nemo started feeling better and was able to sleep through the night, CJ decided to go through his 4-month growth spurt! At least, I think that's what it was. He got up two nights in a row for a midnight snack, which he hasn't done since he was eight weeks old. I was completely beside myself that second night. I couldn't bear the thought of him making a habit of getting up at night again, now that I just got used to a full night's sleep.

Plus, Nemo has to take his antibiotics every six hours, which means he has to set an alarm to take them in the middle of the night, which wakes me up, and then he has to get up for work at 5, which also wakes me up--now that I don't have all of that postpartum adrenaline, all of this nighttime waking is really taking its toll on me.

And now I have to take CJ to the pediatrician this afternoon because last night when I got him home from daycare there was some blood in his diaper. Very unsettling, and I just want to get it checked out.

Anyway, I feel like I can't catch a break. I can only be in robot-mode for so long without having a meltdown, you know?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today

This morning a friend posted on Facebook that today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I didn't know such a day existed. I find it oddly appropriate that this day of remembrance falls on October 15.

Because it was exactly one year ago today when I had my third positive pregnancy test.

Twice before I carried a child in my womb for too short a time; I lost them both around seven weeks. Sitting here now, I don't know what gave me the courage to try again. My second miscarriage was on February 16, 2010. It was nine months before we were blessed again. My third child was conceived around when my second would have been born.

I woke up very early on the morning of P+14. I couldn't sleep. I was sick with the idea that the test might be negative--again. But I was petrified by the thought that it might be positive. The lines appeared, and I crawled back into bed, simultaneously light as a bubble and paralyzed with fear. I had no reason to believe that this pregnancy would have a happy outcome, but even after so much disappointment God still granted me the grace of hope.

Today, as I do every day, I remember my little ones who are lost to me, and I pray for the healing of my sisters who have lost a child by miscarriage, stillbirth, or adoption loss. May God give us all hope and the courage to try again.

Link

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is this a test?

On Saturday we went on a family apple-picking excursion.


Nemo had been feeling a bit off, but we went because he had been itching to make applesauce. When we got home, we discovered that he was running a fever.


Uh oh.


I had been dreading the inevitable day when my baby would get sick for the past three months. I put on my big girl pants and prepared for the worst.


Well, CJ and I have remained healthy, thank goodness, but Nemo kept getting worse. I was up the half the night last night trying to get him comfortable, and when his temp shot up to 103.5 around 1am I laid down the law: We were going to the urgent care clinic in the morning.


What should have been a simple task of getting diagnosed with strep throat and picking up a prescription for antibiotics turned into a three-hour epic quest. Nemo had just got insurance from his new job, but didn't have the cards to prove it because of the newness. So there was a huge hassle at the clinic to get it sorted out, and an even huger hassle at the pharmacy. After almost an hour at the pharmacy I declared we had to leave, and would they please call me when it was ready? Because I really had to get the baby to daycare and get myself ready for work.


I dropped Nemo at home to rest, drove the baby to daycare, finally got the call about the prescription, drove all the way to the pharmacy (which was not close to home at all; we filled the script there because it was close to the clinic), drove all the way home to give it to Nemo, scarfed a snack, then drove to work. I was only 30 minutes late. Go me.


I am thankful for this harrowing experience for two reasons.


1) It convinced Nemo that he needs health insurance. Since he gets sick so seldom, up til now he didn't really see the point.


2) If I hadn't made him go to the clinic, it could have been a lot worse! Apparently strep throat can cause a lot of complications if it isn't treated in a timely manner.


This calls for caffeine. Excuse me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Luna de Miel

During the summer of 2003 Nemo and I were both in the city of Queretaro in Central Mexico. I was studying Spanish and Nemo had an internship with a company there. One Saturday night we both ended up at a cantina called "El Columpio". Long story short, we met cute but took over a year to discover how much we liked, nay, loved each other. We got married in the summer of 2005.

Clearly, our honeymoon called for a return to the place where we first met.

We were married in my hometown, but we wanted to fly out of the airport close to where we were going to school. Which meant we had to ditch our own wedding reception fairly early and make a five hour drive. We stayed the night in the airport hotel, and nearly missed our early morning flight the following morning because the wrong time was printed on our boarding passes. No joke! Thank goodness they let us board!

First order of business: to return to the very bar where we first met and had a stimulating conversation about super string theory.

There were three bars in that one building, and unfortunately El Columpio wasn't open that day but we went to the one next door instead and had some beers. Physics were not mentioned this time.

We stayed in a cute hotel for a few days


Then we took a night bus to Puerto Vallarta, eight hours away. I booked seats at the back of the bus because I thought it would be quieter, but I didn't think about how close they would be to the stereotypically smelly bus bathroom! So that was not so fun...

In Puerto Vallarta we learned that I get seasick.
Me putting on a brave face.

We took a 3-hour sunset cruise around the harbor. I felt sick from the time they untied the boat until several hours after we were back on dry land! LESSON LEARNED.


I had another date with disaster when I slipped and fell in the shower and got horrible bruises up and down my legs.


We also swam with dolphins, which entailed an hour and half in the midday sun, causing my fair-skinned sweetheart to be sunburned to a crisp. He bore it fairly well, but rankled at paying the equivalent of $15 for a bottle of aloe at the resort's shop.


For the rest of the time we basically basked in wedded bliss and drank terrible strawberry daiquiris. It didn't always go as planned, but on the whole it was a positive experience. Kind of like our marriage.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 2.

1. For the past three years I have participated in National Novel Writing Month. I "won" the first two times, but last year I stopped at 15,000 words because I was in the early first trimester then, and I was too stressed/worried/tired to continue. I'm thinking of trying again this year. I can totally write 1,667 words a day during nap times, right?


2.

3. Twenty-three days until I will no longer be working as a librarian. I will always have a librarian's brain, but my heart will always be at home.



4. I'm trying to put together a Halloween costume for C. It's not going well. The last time I dressed up was when I was eighteen, and I was so lazy that I just used a sheet as a toga. So yeah, I am bad at coming up with costumes. So far all I have decided on is this onesie I found on Etsy. Sigh. I don't really know where to go from here.



5. Older sister had a beautiful, BIG (10lbs 1 oz) baby boy three weeks ago. Unfortunately she is having a really rough time, as she has a rambunctious 2 year old and her husband can't pitch in much because he is working and going to school. I am trying to put together a care package to cheer her up, but I'm having a hard time coming up anything. Anyone have ideas?


6. I had a storytime group today that contained a set of identical twin girls named Eva and Ava. It was not the least bit confusing.


7. I need to stop surfing Diaperswappers while I'm at work. It's a bad habit. Plus, I totally have enough diapers. I really never thought I was going to be THAT cloth diapering mama.

Thankful Thursday



1. For my husband and his change of heart. When we first married he thought stay-at-home moms were ridiculous. Now he has suggested that I quit my job, house sold or not. My last day is October 29. Woo hoo!


2. For my amazing friends, who I know always have my back and always have good advice and support when I need it.


3. For sunny days! I was getting very tired of the cold, driving rain.


4. For my in-laws, who are spectacular people. They are coming house hunting with us on Sunday, and I look forward to hearing their thoughts.


5. For Older Sister, who doesn't seem to mind when I meddle in her business.


Thanks to Rebecca for hosting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conor: A Birth Story - Part 3: It was all worth it

At this point I was at 8.5-9 centimeters my waters had still not broken. The midwife had suggested several times that she break them in order to help the labor to progress, but I had rejected the idea outright because she said that it would probably make the contractions more intense, which I didn't think I could handle. But there came a point where I thought that labor would never end unless something changed, and I HAD TO MAKE IT END. So I told her to break the bag of waters, but then Nemo wouldn't let her. You see, it was his job to make sure that I stuck to my natural birth plan and that I didn't make any rash decisions that I would later regret. The plan included that my waters should not be broken, but I meant that they shouldn't be broken in order to start labor. We were already well past that point. It took me a while to explain that coherently, but in the end I got my way and things started to progress more rapidly after that.


It was at about 1:30am on Sunday, June 26 when the midwife, Emily, announced that I was ready to push. I asked her how long it was going to be, and she gently told me that for first time mothers, the pushing stage can last for hours. HOURS. I almost broke down. I know I said "I can't do this" several times. I may have cussed.

Nemo got behind me on the bed and supported me while I grabbed onto the towel wrapped around the bar at the end of the bed. Nemo counted in my ear while I pushed like my life depended on it. They didn't suggest any other positions to me, and I think that is because they knew how long I had been at it and I was way too tired to do any squatting positions. Reclining was about all I could handle.

Emily had another mother in labor, and was dashing in and out trying to attend to both of us. I lost track of when she as there and when she wasn't because I was so focused. I didn't know how long I had been pushing when the nurse told me to stop. I was a bit flustered, until I deduced that things were probably coming to a head (pun intended) and Emily wasn't there. They paged Emily while I tried not to push. She came running in a short time later, pulling on gloves as she hurried towards the bed. She sat down at the foot of the bed and after checking me out she looked me right in the eye and told me to grab the backs of my thighs and push for all I was worth.

It wasn't very long, maybe two or three pushes, before my baby was born. I couldn't see him and he was very quiet, but they assured me that he was fine. Nemo and I started crying happy tears. A moment later they put the baby on my chest and I cuddled him for the first time. I laughed to myself because I saw immediately that he had Nemo's feet.

Monday, October 3, 2011

To be or not to be...

...a landlady.

We got an offer on our house over the weekend. Nowhere near what we were looking for, but an offer nonetheless. Even though they probably won't accept our counteroffer, it has really spurred us into trying to figure out our living situation in New City.

As I won't be working outside the home when we move, Nemo has suggested several times that we buy a multi-unit home so we can live in one unit and rent out the other(s) to make some extra income. While we will be able to live on Nemo's salary, it is still just a professor's salary and we want C to have piano lessons when he is older, so any extra money would be welcome.

I'm finally starting to warm up to the idea. After all, I love budgeting and scheduling and fixing things. All skills a landlady should have. Of course I still have my qualms, the biggest being that my people skills are a tad lacking.

So anyway, we are going to New City this Sunday to look at some houses with our realtor. One is a Victorian mansion that is split up into six apartments and strangely affordable. The pictures online are GORGEOUS, it's within walking distance to Nemo's job (we plan on becoming a one-car family when we move), and the lot is 3.5 acres--perfect for the dog we plan on getting. I'm very excited to see it!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Conor: A Birth Story - Part II: Day Two

Read Part I here.

After Nemo went to sleep I continued to have back contractions, but I still didn't think I was actually in labor. Even when I didn't know which way was up because I was in so much pain, I didn't think I was in labor.

Soon after midnight I went to lie down on the couch, because I was having a hard time being quiet and I didn't want to wake Nemo. The contractions came every 6-12 minutes all night long, so I didn't sleep all night. I may have dozed off during some of the longer intervals, but nothing substantial.Link
At around 7am Nemo stumbled out of the bedroom and was surprised to see me on the couch, almost incoherent from tiredness and pain. I starting going on and on about how I should go into work because I wasn't in labor, but it just hurt so bad and I didn't want to!

At which point Nemo suggested that I call the midwife. When I explained the situation she said it sounded like I was in early labor, but I shouldn't come in quite yet. I almost burst into tears. EARLY labor? This had been going on for almost as long as some of my friend's "long" labors, and I was only in EARLY labor? But, this tipped the scales for me and I decided to call work to say I wouldn't be coming in. People in early labor don't go to work, do they?

As I was officially in labor, Nemo got into full support person mode. He tried to make me eat (I had some fruit but couldn't stomach much else), he made me guzzle fluids, he walked with me in the yard, he got me down on the birthing ball, and most importantly he took over timing duties. I was way too out of it to count to one, let alone time contractions. I was completely in his very capable hands.

It was around 11:30am when he announced it was time to go to the hospital. I didn't argue. Luckily it was only 10 minutes away so I only had two contractions in the car. I do remember saying, "If they check me and I am only at 2 centimeters I am going to be super pissed".

Guess what I was when they checked me in triage? That's right, two centimeters. Fifteen hours of contractions and 2 centimeters. I was fit to be tied. I also refused to be sent home. They let me stay in triage for a while. I got in the hot tub, which was nice in a way, but I was really only comfortable on all fours so it was kind of hard on the knees. We walked on the secluded L&D terrace for a while, but that got to be too much for me and we retreated back to the triage room. When they checked me again I was at 3 centimeters. THANK GOODNESS.

When we got to the L&D room they hooked me up. I was GBS positive so I had to be on a penicillin drip. I only wanted intermittent monitoring of "Spud", but he was so active that he kept slipping off the monitor so they would have to chase him around which took forever.

Apparently I was being loud. I am not a loud person, and I didn't think I was going to be a loud laborer, but surprise--I totally was. It wasn't even the contractions that hurt, it was my back and pelvis that were killing me. While in triage the midwife on call, Carolyn, had used this cool little hand-held ultrasound device to check "Spud" and sure enough, he was in the posterior position, or face up. I had kind of suspected this in the weeks leading up to labor because of where I could feel him moving.

So anyway, I was only comfortable on all fours or walking around, but because of the IV and fetal monitoring I could only do that about 15 minutes out of ever hour. For the rest of the time I was trapped in the bed. The next best thing was lying on my side and rocking on my hip, and I would grab onto the bed rail and ROCK like the dickens whenever I had a contraction. Nemo later told me he had been afraid I was going to break the bed, that's how hard I was rocking.

Nemo was there with me the whole time; the man did not rest for a second. He coached me through every contraction, and when it was over he would hold my water bottle and make me drink while telling me how awesome I was doing and how proud he was of me. I get teary whenever I think about how wonderful, supportive, and comforting he was.

At some point the shifts changed and a different midwife came to check on me. Her name was Emily, and we had met her before--she had been on call when I had my first miscarriage. She had been so kind and compassionate then, and we had never forgotten her. It was so appropriate that she would be the one to deliver Spud.

Emily was concerned about how the noises I was making were "scary", i.e. the pain sounded worse than what she would like. Nemo explained about my back, and she buckled down and showed us several moves for relieving the pain. My favorite was having the two of them press my hips together when I had a contraction.

By 7:00pm I was only at 7 centimeters. At 10:00pm I was at 8.5 or 9. It's like I was trying to set the record for longest transition. At one point I looked at the clock and seeing it was almost midnight I moaned to Nemo, "Today isn't going to be his birthday!" I couldn't believe how long I had been in labor and I was terrified that I was going to see another shift of nurses and midwives come in and STILL not have Spud in my arms.

The story continues at Part III

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bib Fail

I received a lot of receiving blankets as gifts before C was born. I had three baby showers. Not my idea. Anyway, they were taking up a full drawer-and-a-half in C's dresser, and I thought about donating them...then I had a different idea. While I had a abundance of blankets I had a dearth of bibs. Which is a problem when your baby spits up approximately 1/3 of what he eats. So I decided to turn the blankets into bibs.

I designed them myself. One side flannel receiving blanket, one side chenille that I had left over from another project. Velcro closure in the back. They were so cute, and I was so proud of them! And it was nice that they were free except for the Velcro.

And then I realized that they didn't fit around my baby's neck.

That's what happens when you only do your sewing when the baby is asleep.

(In my defense, he has an exceptionally chubby neck).

My next day off I plan for round 2, this time with snaps instead of Velcro, side closures, and more measuring, of course. There are plenty more receiving blankets, after all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I did over my summer maternity leave

Behold: our basement when we bought the house three and a half years ago. Check out that green and orange shag carpet. Observe the bi-fold doors flapping in the breeze. Cringe at the fake wood paneling. (Closer observation revealed that there were three distinct varieties throughout the basement.)

The entire house was a disaster, and the basement fell to the bottom of our list. As the years passed it began to look worse as the basement flooded twice (busted water heater, then incorrectly fastened laundry hose) and the carpet had to be ripped up. Does bare concrete look worse than dirty, ugly, forty-year-old carpeting? In a word, yes!

When Nemo got his new job, at a Catholic university about an hour away, we were relieved because he could commute while we tried to sell the house. So in April we contacted a realtor--the same one who sold us the house, so she knew what it looked like before--and she loved the upgrades we had made on the upper floor. But, she said, the basement had to be "seen to". In order to list it as a finished basement we would have to put down some carpeting, and she also recommended painting the paneling to brighten it up a bit.

The last two months before Conor was born I spent getting ready for his arrival. Luckily, after he was born I was up and about relatively quickly so I could "see to" the basement.

Step 1: Wash the walls. They were gross. 'Nuff said. (FREE)

Step 2: Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer ($20)

Step 3: Paint paneling a nice cream color ($20)

Step 4: Take down bi-fold doors (FREE)

Step 5: Replace bi-fold doors with curtains that I made with fabric I got on clearance at fabric.com ($60)

Step 6: Nemo's dad comes over and helps him replace the exterior door and the door leading to the garage. Neither closed properly and were peeling relics. ($500)

Step 7: Have professionals come over to install the absolute cheapest carpet available. ($1000)

Step 8: Stage basement with spare tv, couch, coffee table, plus my desk and computer (FREE)

So for the low low price of $1600 we got this basement:















And now potential buyers won't be frightened away! Hooray!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conor: A Birth Story - Part I: The Due Date


I wasn't tired of being pregnant. Other than a few aches and pains, I had never felt healthier. I relished the feeling of the baby we called "Spud" squirming around inside me. Even so, I woke up on my due date bound and determined to have a baby that day. I was very disillusioned at work and I REALLY didn't want to go in the next day (my due date was on a Friday and it was my day off--I was scheduled to work on Saturday). I just wanted to be on maternity leave so I could be a stay at home mom, at least temporarily. I kind of got my wish. At any rate, I didn't have to go into work on Saturday.

The first thing I did that morning was get on the treadmill and crank the incline WAY up. I walked about a mile and a half. Nothing happened.

<--Me at 40 weeks exactly. Yay due date!

Later that day Nemo and I went to the local botanical gardens to walk some more. We called it our due "date", har har. Whatever, it was really funny at the time.
While there I had some pretty intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, but I had been having those since I was about 18 weeks pregnant. So anyway, still nothing.

While we were eating dinner that night watched the movie "True Grit" (the new one). BH contractions continued, and I made another bad joke about how no one in the movie used contractions (as in the part of speech. I'm serious, there isn't a "can't" or "you'll" in the entire movie ) because they were giving them all to ME. I was starting to time them on my iPod but even as I was doing it I was telling myself that it was only wishful thinking.

After dinner, I hopped onto the treadmill and walked for another mile. OH MY GOODNESS NOTHING. I resigned myself to going to work in the morning.

Then, while I was standing at the sink doing the dishes, something that was NOT nothing happened. I had a contraction, but it was very different from those I had been experiencing for the past five months. It spread over my uterus (painfully) and then grabbed onto my spine and throttled it within an inch of its life. I had to grab the sink so I didn't fall over.

When it had passed I feebly finished tidying the kitchen and started to get ready for bed, moping because if my BH contractions were going to be giving me this much discomfort (ok, pain) from here on out, then Saturday was going to be a very long day.

I had a few more contractions like that, and at about 11pm Nemo and I got into bed. I told him how much my contractions were hurting, but that I didn't think I was in labor. This was mostly because my waters didn't break. I know that only a minority of women's waters break before labor begins, but my mother's broke beforehand for all four of her children and my older sister's had too. I could only assume that mine would break early as well.

Nemo went to sleep. I didn't. It was a long night.

The story continues at Part II

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 1




1. I got this idea for a sewing project the other day. A portfolio to hold prefold diapers, with pockets to hold snappi, ointment, covers, and even a wetbag pocket built into the liner. It's hard to explain, but it's going to be awesome. Ambitious? You bet. Especially since a) I have no design experience and b) I can hem, but that's about it. However, I stumbled across this Doctor Who-themed fabric on Spoonflower, so I can't NOT do this project!

2. We are trying to sell our starter home so that we can move closer to my husband's new job (currently about an hour away). Once we don't have to pay for as much gasoline anymore, I can be a stay-at-home mama! Anyway, we have an open house this Sunday and I am REALLY REALLY hoping that our house's next owner comes.


3. The baby has slept through the night for the last week or so, 7:30pm - 7:30am. He slept through the night sporadically before then, but this is definitely the longest stretch. He has always been a really good sleeper, and it makes me nervous. What if the next baby is a terrible sleeper? I will be a mess.

4. Also, last week he was suddenly not a crank anymore. This makes me think he is plotting something. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

5. Since Conor started having a regular bedtime, I instituted what I call"Mandatory Read in Bed O'Clock" with Nemo. We both enjoy reading, but neither of us get much of a chance to anymore. He because he no longer takes the train to work and I because I'm either at work or hanging out with an infant all day and trying to squeeze chores into naptimes. Anyhoo, we now make an effort to get into bed at a reasonable hour and read for 15-20 minutes before lights out. I have to say this is one of my best ideas ever. Even so, I have been working on the same book for MONTHS. And I call myself a librarian. Sheesh.

6. There is no food in the house. Almost literally. We haven't done our bulk stock-up at Aldi for weeks because we've been so busy. The plus side is that we've spent only a third of our grocery budget so far this month. The negative side is that we have been subsisting on PBJs for lunch and hamburgers on bread (as we have no buns) for dinner for weeks. I think I have scurvy.

7. I am trying very hard not to call the daycare today to check on my baby. He's fine, I know he's fine. I just miss him.


Wow. Those were not quick AT ALL. Sorry guys.