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


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 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 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.


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 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


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


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.


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?


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