Can you believe I have been a mama for eight weeks?!

Because I can’t.

It really seemed like just yesterday I was icing the golf-themed cake to announce our pregnancy to Sean, let alone in the hospital being told the induction failed.

But our little darling midget is EIGHT WEEKS OLD today. And I have mentally drafted several posts to journal this leap into mamahood and had all of zero minutes to sit down and write them… and if I don’t do it soon, the next post will be about her college acceptance letters. There are so many posts I want to write for my own memories:

  • Highlights (and low lights) of pregnancy – including pre-eclampsia
  • Her birth story – from planned natural to cesarean surgery
  • My journey into the Exclusively Pumping club

But for now… as soon as I found out we were expecting, I began keeping a mental list of all the things everyone around us insisted upon so that I could reflect on their statements once we had fully crossed into Club Parent. I know that sounds totally juvenile and snobby – because it is – and because I was curious my honest thoughts and how often I may need to eat my words, lol. Also because it seems Americans have this unique desire to stress to upcoming parents just how god awful it will be to become a parent. We are super negative and I was curious why.

Enjoy your sleep now / You think you’re tired now / Rest while you can

Nothing – NOTHING – is more horrific to new parents than the words “cluster feeding.” ;) And though I still stand by my sentiment that telling soon-to-be-parents to “enjoy their sleep now!” makes me want to punch you in the face because a) you can’t save sleep  b) you’re wrongly assuming a very pregnant woman with dual carpal tunnel is sleeping well or  c) that she ever slept well considering she battled a decade of insomnia — I’ll give you this. While sleep SUCKED pre-baby to the point I just stayed up most nights or ended up in tears… sleep with a newborn who is cluster feeding is the honest. to. god. worst. ever. LOL. No Sleep War? Newborn Baby Team just won by a landslide. Although now that she is giving us 4-8 hour chunks overnight? We’re pretty close to being even with anyone who has poor sleep in general.

You’ll love your pets less / Your pets will take a back seat / I was just as into my pets as you until…

I was most curious about this one because I’m sort of known as “the” crazy dog lady among my friends – and it seemed to be the one thing people would aggressively preach to me for some reason. Sean’s best guess is that they felt guilty about back-seating their own pets (down to some giving them away) and needed the relief that may come from even Crazy Pet Lady doing the same. Frankly? It took all my hormonal pregnant willpower to not backhand people when they said it or to not snip something completely rude like, “How dare you assume you are as nuts a pet owner as me.” Folks forget who raised me – you know, the man who took us to the vet more than to the doctor, lol. So despite everyone’s insistence that my pets would become less important, my instincts are correct: I love them more. Nothing makes me happier than the fact Gizmo beats me to Eleanor’s side when she gets fussy or that Emmie looks just as exhausted as I am because she keeps me company at 3am when I’m in the kitchen warming bottles or gathering pump supplies. Bailey kissing her little bare toes probably brings me more joy than it does either of them, and my heart feels so full when we’re on a family walk (Sean with three dogs, me with a stroller) or when the nine of us snuggle into our bedroom each evening (Sully is too cool for the family bed time apparently, or it would be ten). PLUS the dogs don’t need me feed them every two hours and will let me sleep until noon if I so desired. The jury is out, however, on the cats… because they’ve decided that anything baby is theirs (play mat, stroller, pack n play, crib..). I kid, I still love them. Most of the time. ;)

You don’t know love until you have a baby

I still don’t get the sentence, “I never knew love until I had a baby.” I find it offensive. Or maybe just really sad for whomever is saying it. I absolutely knew love – it’s what brought us to deciding to create a life together in the first place. I love Sean, I love him even more now, I loved the dogs and love them still. And I would never think that someone who chooses to not have children is somehow wandering through life without “real” love because they have not yet procreated.

What I will say is I know a new kind of love – one that crushes my very being when I think of babies out there who don’t have warm, loving, safe environments to grow in. One that almost explodes my soul into a bajillion pieces when I hear Sean tell her she’s beautiful. One that made both of us embarrassingly misty watching Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girls” (what the f). And one that can erase eight weeks of poor sleep or sore nipples or the fact that I get a weekly shower and it may be another 18 years before I eat a warm meal – with one dimpled, gummy grin.

Enjoy X Now / You Can’t Do That Once…

This one has two parts – things you can’t enjoy once you are parents and stuff that will change.

The first tended to be directed to Sean more than myself because he actually has hobbies, unlike myself. Sean is a golfer. He’s obsessed. And because we were two child-free adults with the time to spare, he would golf 2 to 3 times a week. So when we tried to get him to the course as much as possible before Eleanor made her debut, everyone around us reminded him that he “better realize” that he won’t be able to live at the course once she arrived.

First – duh. It wasn’t news to us that life may change when a small human was added to the mix, lol. At no point did we think the amount of free time Sean had for golf pre-fatherhood would be the same as after – hence he was enjoying the course as much as possible before she was born. That said, he still gets to the course. My goal as a new mom isn’t to be the most restricting wife ever just because. We make compromises and he’s been able to get to the course for a few hours each week because we both think it is important that life change after baby, but not so much that you lose yourself completely. It’s healthy to still get “you” time, “couple” time, etc.

The second was aimed more at me and often around my love of cleaning/tidying/the fact I own white couches. I got a lot of, “You won’t be able to keep your house this clean once baby arrives.” I once posted a photo of the books on our newly hung book shelves in the nursery because we were excited we finally got off out butts and installed them – and got a slew of comments from mothers about how the books wouldn’t stay organized and pretty like that once we had a kid (some came across really blunt and rude). You mean to tell me that a wobbly 18 month old isn’t going to keep her stash of Dr. Seuss as perfectly organized as two thirty-something adults?! TO HELL YOU SAY. Seriously. At no point did I expect those books to stay how they were placed once she could reach them. If any of them survive the tear-and-drool-and-destroy ages at all, I’ll be overjoyed. Nor did I think my house would stay as pristine as a home without a messy tiny midget once she arrived.

Does that mean we had to stop cleaning or organizing things before she arrived, just because some day they wouldn’t be as tidy? No. So shush it, lol.

I just love the newborn phase!

Are. You. Retarded?

I kid… but only sort of. Folks who LOVE the newborn stage have clearly forgotten it. Or mean the kind of newborn that belongs to someone else and can be handed back between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Or have some sick fetish with being utterly exhausted both mentally and physically. ;) But all the judge-y glares we’d have received (plus the fact we inherently loved Eleanor) were the only things keeping us from leaving her at a fire station if it meant we could get more than 30 minutes of sleep that first week. I KID (sorta). But really? I was never a baby person. They all looked the same, they all looked like blobs for the most part. Give Me a Toddler Or Give Me Death!! I shouted. And while I adored Eleanor from day one – the very first time your baby grins? Or makes a coo noise? Hold me, ya’ll. Because I just became a baby person. And the first time she bust into a smile at seeing me when I leaned over her to say good morning? ::implodes::

You say that now…

I’ll half give this to the preachers. I’ve learned how quickly even your most steadfast opinions can become flexible*. Do you co-sleep? Because I was judging. I was judging you so hard. Until the third night home when I would have sold my soul for twenty minutes of sleep and found she would give us AN HOUR if I just slept with her on my chest in our bed. I only did it a few times for the first week – though admittedly we often have a 45 minute afternoon nap together on the couch still – but I have to eat my words on that one because I get it now. When you can barely function and are wondering if you can somehow just smoosh them back up into your vag for at least one evening so you can get some sleep because you look like an extra for The Walking Dead? You’re willing to do whatever to get them to snooze… so that you can.

*Obviously, your big values don’t waiver. But your Really Strong Thoughts on drinking coffee while breastfeeding? Stop mattering the first time that steamy delightful mug prevents you from dropping face first into your pump machine.

Other Thoughts?

Kudos to the mamas who dress their six week old in precious jackets and hipster infant skinny jeans and seventy-two Pinterest worthy accessories… but babies poop their pants about 60 times a day. If it doesn’t have snaps on the crotch, my kid ain’t wearing it until she’s 12.

3 Folks Left Love Notes

, Life

Two Become Three.

November 27, 2014 · 2 comments

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am not a big Turkey Day person (the history is a little, ya know, iffy…) but I’m recently getting behind another day of the year where we focus on giving back, being grateful, and eating pie. Because pie.

And on the note of being grateful? I thought I ought to announce that the reason I’ve been a little caught up in life and not blogging is because… WE’RE BECOMING PARENTS! :)

It’s been a bit – say about 7.5 months – but I wanted to sum it all up so far really quick!

We’ve been planning this midget for what seems like forever. In fact, we’ve been planning it for so long that I am surprised no one has asked us if it was planned, since we’ve been married for seven years and folks have just assumed we were quietly sticking to the sans-kids-camp.

That means for the last year, after reading Dr. Shettles Method, I’d been faithfully tracking all the joyous TMI fertility things like basal temperature, cycle lengths, cervical mucus (did you just hurl?), and ovulation peaks. We knew we wanted to do a Disney trip one last time as non-parents, so we stuffed in a quick CA visit in May — and then were blessed to nab this baby thing on the first try.

Like, literally, only tried one time on the first try situation. Sorry, nephews, if you’re reading this – don’t get too grossed out, lol. I was so sure I timed it right but was a little bummed when the early tests came back negative. But I knew that it takes even fairly fertile ladies typically 3 cycles to get knocked up, and that was with them boinking like bunnies, so I tried to not get discouraged. Sean even took me out on a “That’s OK, kid, we’ll get it next time!” dinner… and then, when my period did not show up on it’s scheduled date, I decided to test one more time during work. And got a positive.

So, being logical, I tested 4 more times. Because, science.

And then spent my lunch break? Making a much anticipated, totally dorky but golf-themed-for-the-golf-obsessed-husband cake to announce it to him, which I set out on the kitchen island for when he arrived home:

Sean’s reaction? “Congrats on your…. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?” ;) And without getting too braggy, that man has been incredible this entire pregnancy. All patience, assuming more domestic responsbilities (hello, new household cook!), rubbing my lower back, rubbing my feet, and anytime I felt like I wasn’t doing enough – he’d bluntly tell me to stop being ridiculous because I’m making a human and he couldn’t imagine how exhausting that is.

No, I can’t clone him, sorry. But if I could, you should know upfront he comes with several bins of Nerf guns, Lego boxes, and three full-sized arcades that won’t fit anywhere in your home. ;)

He’s found diaper deals, researched baby monitors, painted nursery stripes, assembled six hundred and forty-two baby things, spray painted decorations so I don’t have to go near chemicals, and been extremely selective about the name. Her name. Because, that’s right… We’re having a little girl!

The pregnancy: Honestly, it’s been pretty easy as far as what seems to be possible terrible things. I gained a bit more weight than I wanted to during the first trimester, due to constant snacking being the only thing helped that “I’m on a Boat” (in muh flippy floppies) feeling that never went away. It lasted from about Week 7-16. I only threw up twice, though, and only water and prenatals – of all things to upchuck. I went through your stereotypical phase of a week or so where nothing sounded good, not even my favorite pulled pork tacos, and chewing and swallowing was like torture. Then I went through a week where meat sounded awful and just hearing Sean suggest burgers made me want to vomit.

I also *severely* underestimated that first trimester fatigue. I maybe sorta thought that you ladies were being a little dramatic and capitalizing on it just a liiiiiittle bit over the top-style… until walking from my car to the office made me want to face-plant into my keyboard and nap, lol. HOLY TIRED.

I also passed out once, likely from blood pressure dropping too low getting out of bed too fast one night. And I have all the usual complaints: my nose is stuffy, I feel like a house, my hips hurt, I’m still not pretending these stretch marks are tiger stripes, etc. But according to Sean, zero hormonal swings or bad moods, and no cravings or anything like that. Pretty stinkin’ lucky pregnancy and I’m very grateful for it so far!

And… that’s about it!

2 Folks Left Love Notes

, Life

So, you probably know by now that I have a soft spot in my heart for pets with disabilities. I was born into a family that already had a pet with a special need — my mom had a doxie named Pepper who had 3 legs but 4 paws. If you’re trying to work that all out, I’ll explain: One of his legs had two paws formed on it.

When I was about 6, we adopted a shepherd named Bo from our city. His story was he’d begun being trained for police work, but didn’t make the cut. That worked for me because this dog was my soul. I took him everywhere.

When I was in 4th grade, he developed what we assumed was hip dysplasia – though he wasn’t that old. Several fancy tests actually found he had a genetic condition that caused nerve degeneration in his back end and that he would not be a candidate for hip replacement surgery. This was back in the early 1990′s, before wheelchairs and all sorts of canine PT were popular. My dad threw himself into trying to make his own — and Bo tried every single prototype with the patience and enthusiasm only a dog can muster, but none really fit the bill. Thankfully, we ran into someone who knew someone whose chihuahua had a wheelchair — and we were able to MAIL AWAY AN ORDER FORM (remember that, before the INTERWEBS?) and wait patiently for 14 days while they made him one.

The JOY on Bo’s face when he was able to high tail it through the dog park at the same speed as his BFF, our lab/pit/rott mix Hammer, is permanently etched in my brain.

Since then, we’ve adopted a dog with terminal cancer (Ferris), and currently own a 100% deaf spaniel with spine issues (Bailey), another spaniel with joint issues who is currently losing her hearing (Emmie – and her surgery from last year was SO worth it!), and… well, Gizmo. ;) Bless his heart, but we’ll just call him emotionally handicapped, LOL.

So every year, we’ve donated to A wonderful organization. And then, about two years ago, one of Sean’s childhood friends started their own grassroots adoption/rescue for handicapped pets. They adopted a dog who turned out to have large special needs and she changed their lives — and now, with the help of volunteers and donors like me/you, they’ve grown and are helping do amazing things for animals with special needs all over the globe. Just this little husband and wife team in a small town in the Pacific Northwest — Heath’s Haven Dog Rescue.

And this year, Sean and I were VERY EXCITED to cover the costs of two wheelchairs for two of their dogs who didn’t have their own – and were stuck sharing with another dog, who was currently on bed rest. Somehow making it full circle and gifting mobility to two pups really made my soul sore – and I can’t believe I forgot to blog it so I could spread the word about their wonderful group!

This is Kiwi – a charming, loves-everything, pittie – in her OWN wheelchair! She arrived at HH’s with a broken back and permanent damage to her back end and ability to relive herself:

And Misty – the gorgeous two-tone eyed Husky, third from the left. She was given a second chance at a good life when she arrived all the way from Canada:


2 Folks Left Love Notes

, , , Heart

Be a Good Human.

May 22, 2014 · 3 comments

I had a moment in Target the other day.

Just one of those weird little moments where the universe reaches out and reminds you to get off your high horse and slow down, breathe, and be a tolerable human.

You ever get those?

Last Friday, one of our cats went missing.

I’d been a hot mess. As I should be. It put me on edge and drowning in worry and being frustrated that it was one of those “out of my hands” situations. I had all the worst thoughts (I’ve watched a lot of serial killer beginnings type shows, mmkay?) and it was eating me alive that all I could do was obsessively notify everyone on this half of the planet to be sure if they found him, they’d know to call me — but that I had zero control over whether someone WOULD find him or that zero harm had befallen him.

So my daily mission was endless flyers, endless emails to postings and shelters and rescues and vets, and endless papering of neighborhoods.

I was on such a mission on Monday. All I wanted in the world was to get home so we could assemble giant, laminated, BRING HIM HOME yard signs and then plaster the entire neighborhood with them. But I needed to get gas first. And then I needed to go to Target because we were out of tape for more signs. And I left work behind schedule.

Target was PACKED. My frustration rose. I popped into the only feasible line, the 10 Items or Less lane. There was only a mom and her teenage son in front of me and they were being handed their receipt. I WAS IN LUCK.

Except the cashier, a kid in his mid-20s whose lines I have avoided whenever possible because he will talk to each person for six hours and you will literally stand there for 5-10 minutes after someone gets their receipt, waiting for him to shut up long enough so that they can leave and you can buy your tampons and GTFO.

So he’s asking the kid about his big college plans and the kid is answering, and they’re yammering on, and it’s all I can do to not tap my foot and roll my eyes and sigh loudly and BE THAT PERSON that I never am. I am usually an angel. But CAN YOU HURRY THIS UP BECAUSE OMG MY CAT IS OUT IN THE BIG WORLD WITHOUT ME AND I HAVE SIGNS TO MAKE AND NO ONE CARES. When I hear the cashier say he’ll be moving to another city to attend classes at this one college, because they offer the “best classes for my autism.”

PUNCH to the Be-A-Human-Face.

So this kid, in all his awkward social glory and over-chatting weirdness, is autistic. And, likely, these elongated sort of one-sided weird interactions he has with people and all his stuttering stem from that.

And then I felt like an asshole. And my entire mood shifted to grateful, pleasant, understanding. Just this weird physical lightness and a mental reminder that we’re all human, we all talk too much, and that even without the autism, we should all just calm down a bit and let the little stuff slide.

So I put my stuff on the belt and he grins. I grin. And he goes, “How, how, how is your (makes lengthening motions with his hands and I have no idea where he is going with this), your TALL husband?”

Well knock me over.

He REMEMBERS me. AND Sean. Taken aback, I said Sean was good, and he grinned and nodded and followed it with, “I haven’t seen you guys in FOREVER!”

He rang up my tape, and we talked about his anxiety about his upcoming move to the college 4 hours away – it’s his first time away from home and his uncertainty was palatable — and I hoped the lady behind us would let it slide as well.

And then I told him he’d BE FINE, and wished him luck, and headed home feeling just a little bit better about everything.

(And in case you’re wondering, Runaway Cat is now home and grounded for life!)

3 Folks Left Love Notes

Balance > Heart

Remember that time, two years ago, when I was all … LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I’M GONNA DO BEFORE I GET KNOCKED UP? Yeah, me neither. I pretty much wrote it and then maybe thought about it two more times.

For funsies, I thought I would revisit the list to see where I’ve ended up, though!

The Before Baby List

  1. Ditch any credit card debt completely. - This is one we actually did, much to our own disbelief and how counterproductive having an Amazon Prime account was. ;)  
  2. Get to a healthy weight – complete with healthy habits. – AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  3. Get Gizmo to the point he comes when called and is generally not shut down by the presence of a small human. - You know, thanks to luring all the neighborhood kiddos over with promises of petting the other dogs, he’s pretty much at this point – again, to our own disbelief!
  4. Finish lingering home projects. - See response to # 2 above. We have finished many, but Pinterest has created many, many, MANY more.
  5. Save for pre-baby needs - Doneso!
  6. Save for pre-natal and delivery cost - Doneso! 
  7. Visit CA to see family, friends and Disneyland pre-parenthood.  - WE ACTUALLY DID THIS. I assumed this wouldn’t happen but it did earlier this month. 
  8. Visit WA for at least one last pre-baby lake adventure. - We did this in August 2013, go team us!
  9. Have a honeymoon do-over – you know, one where Sean doesn’t get the flu and spend it hurling all over, preferably where we need to use a passport. (est. $3,000) - Not really, unless you let me count the trip to Disneyland… which I do. 
  10. Develop and maintain better time management/organizational skills. - I bought several fancy planners I do not use and endless office supplies, does this count? 
  11. Boost savings - Yes.
  12. Set aside for maternity leave - Yes.
  13. Put more effort into discovering who I am and who I want to be – passions, hobbies, routines – and developing that person. - Um… sure, why not? Does obsessively watching the birds in my backyard count as a hobby?
  14. Expand my local support network – aka invest in friendships. - I’m going to totally do this… soon. Honest. #LifeOfAnIntrovert 
  15. Tuck away for first year of daycare costs - Yes.
  16. Finish my allergy immunotherapy  - NO. I was on year # 2 and doing fantastic when our allergist pulled out of my physician’s office and to continue, I’d have to shell out again for the testing at her new clinic and start alloveragain. I said screw it.
  17. Install Cat Fence In  - We own this. It is not installed.
  18. Better establish date night. – Kind of. If you let eating popcorn and discussing Game of Thrones like a religion count.
  19. Take a dance class with Sean. – Does “in the kitchen” count?
  20. Learn about, and better embrace, both our German & Italian heritages. - In progress, actually! :)  
  21. Make an effort to learn our DSLR. – OR sell it on eBay. 
  22. Take a gun safety course with Sean (I grew up shooting guns and yes we own one, but wow could we use a refresher). - Scheduled!
  23. Obtain an additional work certificate (i.e. project mgmt, resource development, etc). – I was going to do this but I took naps instead.

3 Folks Left Love Notes

, , Balance > Life

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