Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I mean, really.

Remember how I was unsettled?  And then my rollercoaster cart derailed and exploded?

New analogy:

This ship is sinking directly into a pile of steaming crap so quickly that my ankles are covered in poo.  And trust me, the flies are everywhere. That means that I'm standing a lot closer than I'd like to people who are gingerly lifting their poo-covered feet one at a time and shaking them around in an effort to dislodge smelly chunks from the treads of their boots.  Poop is in the air. 

Trust me, people.  Fighting the poo is useless.  This ship is going down.  Just roll up your pants and try to enjoy the warmth around your toes until hopefully--HOPEFULLY--the Coast Guard sends in a rescue helicopter to lift you out by your armpits. 

Luckily, I have buddies in the Coast Guard, and I can almost hear those chopper blades in the distance.  Watch out.  When I shake these boots off, it's really going to rain.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy birthday, baby.

Dearest Bug,

Your aunt Megan has an American girl doll that looks just like her.  I always sort of wanted one when I was growing up because they even have matching pajamas. They have magazines, you see, where you can pick out all the features for your very own doll with matching outfits and freckles and skin.

One month
Sometimes I envision myself standing in front of a similar catalog, only for my real babies.  If there was such a thing, you are the exact baby I would have chosen.  Round cheeks and chubby fingers.  Long legs with rolly thighs.  Straight, shiny, hair the color of copper in the sun on the top of your head with soft, golden curls in the back.  Huge, merry, starry blue eyes and a sparkling personality to match.  A toothy grin when you wrinkle your nose in delight. 

Two months
You are the exact baby I would have chosen.

Three months
Other times, I like to think that maybe you chose us, too.  That maybe you wanted a dad who could make you laugh all the time with his jokes and silly made up songs.  A daddy who tickles and teases and pokes you until you throw your head back and squeal in frustration, and a daddy who snuggles you and kisses you and loves you.

Four months
Maybe you chose to come to a family with a big, slobbery, floppy-earred dog who licks your face and sniffs at your diapers and otherwise ignores you, but who might be your very best friend in the world someday.

Five months
 Did you pick our family because of all the wonderful Grammys and Nanas and PopPops and Bunks you'd end up with?  Because you wanted lots and lots and LOTS of aunts and uncles to spoil you rotten?  (Because, guess what.  I was at your party.  If that was your plan, you totally nailed it.) 
Six months
Sometimes I wonder if you decided to come to our house, even though it is old and the floors squeak and the doors stick and the windows are ugly.  Did you know that we would paint and scrub and sand to make it nice for you, and succeed only some of the time?  I wonder if you knew it would be messy sometimes, but you picked it anyway.
Seven months
 Sometimes I wonder if you picked our family so I could be your mommy, too.  I don't know if it's true, but on the long days, it helps me a little to think that maybe once upon a time you knew all about what you were getting yourself into.   Maybe you knew that I couldn't be home with you all the time yet, that I'd have to leave you and go to work while someone else fed you applesauce for breakfast.  Did you know that I don't scrapbook or sew, and that I don't own any holiday-themed window clings?  Did you know that I would be so far from the mama that you, my perfect baby, deserve?
Eight months
I'm not sure how it all works, really.  I'm not sure whether you chose me or I chose you, but I have a theory.  Maybe we didn't need to choose each other because we--you and I-- were always connected.  Before and now and forever, we were and are and will be connected to each other.

Ten months
 I am your mama, and you are my baby.  Do you know what that means?  My heart pumped your blood.  You are mine.
Eleven months
And I am yours.

And now you are one.  You are just beginning.  I am so proud of you, and I can't wait to see where we go from here. 


Happy birthday, baby.  I love you to the moon and back.


PS- Sorry we forgot to take your 9 month picture.  Remember?  You chose me. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a party!

Alternately titled, "Finally, a post with some pictures."
Alternately alternately titled, "I judge my worth as a mother by my baking skills."

We celebrated Bug's birthday today! 

We ate lots of delicious food, including

 this adorable ladybug cake that Grammy Tina made, and

these cupcakes, which I made.  Whew.  Being a crafty mom takes a lot of work.

It was worth it, though, because Bug loved the whole celebration!

Ever wondered what a baby in a bathtub full of red velvet cake and frosting would look like? Now you do.

Assuming, of course, you were hoping to know what the most beautiful baby in the world would look like in a tub full of red velvet cake and frosting. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guess I'm not surprised.

I had to swing by the local Senior Expo on my way to work this morning.  While I was there, they announced the winner of the hourly raffle drawing over the loudspeaker.

The prize was a gift certificate to Chuck-A-Rama.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mind blowing.

"When are you due?"
"October 18th."

Sometimes I wonder how many times I heard and said that.  A lot, I bet.

One year ago today was Bug's due date.  I didn't get to meet her for another 7 days, of course, because she was running a bit behind.  (Not sure what she was so busy doing in there that she needed an entire extra week.  She came out bald and naked, after all.) 

I laugh when I think about those last few weeks of pregnancy.  I wasn't as crazy for her to come out as the blog made it look.  Babies are much more difficult to take care of outside of the womb than inside, even when you factor in the pregnancy heartburn and all the waddling and peeing and whatnot.  I was lucky, too-- I was as comfortable it's possible to be when you're the size of Costco without any pain or real complaints.  I slept reasonably well (see: all the peeing) and my feet never swelled until after she came out.

I worked full-time until I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  Every morning I'd haul myself all the way from the employee parking section across the long expanse of pavement and into the office.  The front desk crew would audibly groan when they saw the still-very-pregnant me plodding along.  I lumbered past the receptionist about 25 times a day at my old job, sometimes 30 seconds apart.  Each and every time she'd excitedly ask if I was feeling any cramping or pain.  "Nope!" I'd cheerfully respond, and she'd sort of visibly deflate.  I imagine they were all thrilled when I didn't come to work that final Friday.  I don't know for sure; I never returned to that job.  (See:  Things we thought were a good idea at the time until everything completely derailed.)

October 18th.  October 18th.  My first baby was due on October 18th. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

In the future, maybe you could save on the postage

Dear Alumni Associations from either of my two alma maters,

Thanks so much for thinking of me!  It's really very touching, especially since you are so darn consistent!  However, I will not be giving you any money at this time.  I am, after all, still paying for the experience of attending your school.  Shucks.  (This is where I snap my finger in a swishing motion while pulling a helpless face and shrugging my shoulders.  That way you have a visual.)

Aggies, go ahead and give me a try in, say, a decade or so.  We'll see if I'm done paying for the first go 'round by then.

Utes, you weren't that great the first time around.  And you were puh-ricey, even for just one wimpy year of grad school.  So I'll have to ponder on that one.

Best regards,
Your distinguished graduate


Monday, October 4, 2010

Things I'll likely forget by baby #2.

Our Bug started eating solid food around 5 months old.  Back then, she looked like this:

(All the pictures in this post were taken via cell phone.  Sorry they stink.)

That's when I decided to begin making much of her food here at home.  It was something I had considered before she was born, and I was eager to give it a shot.

I don't have anything against store-brand baby food.  In fact, Bug enjoys crackers and other snacks from the store regularly because they are so portable. I just feel that, like nursing, making most of her food here at home is something healthy and cost-effective I can do for her.  Plus, despite how rarely I really do it, I really love to cook.  After a day like today, peeling and chopping vegetables is quite therapeutic. 

I started Bug out on simple veggies like sweet potatoes, yams, green beans, and avocado.  I'm sure there are fancier ways to prepare baby food, but I simply peel and boil the veggies, if needed.  When she was very small, I blended them in the blender to get them nice and smooth.  Now, a hand mixer or even mashing with a fork pretty much does the trick.  When I serve it to her, I generally mix it with fortified rice or wheat cereal to ensure she gets plenty of iron.

We have done our best to expose Bug to lots of different flavors.  As she has gotten older, we have slowly added carrots (gross, but healthy), peas, squash, cauliflower, cucumbers, and spinach.  We have chosen to add each new food slowly, letting her eat it for several meals in a row before introducing anything new.  When I prepare veggies for the first time, I've decided to boil them separately.  That way, if she has a reaction to one, I don't have to throw out all the other varieties I made that night.  Once I know she tolerates each of them just fine, I usually throw like vegetables in the pot together (ie sweet potatoes and yams).  Because of our busy schedule, I tend to make lots of food at a time and freeze it to use later.

Fruit has been easy to add to her diet, as well.  I generally don't prepare fruit ahead of time, as it is easy to mash up on the spot.  We started with bananas (which tended to, ahem, stop her up a bit) and applesauce.  We've also tried pears, peaches, and mandarin oranges.  After she reached nine months old, we got the go ahead to add yogurt, string cheese, and cottage cheese to her diet.  She's also tried black beans, olives (chopped), graham crackers, and several jams and jellies.

Not surprisingly given the size of her cheeks, we have not found much of anything she doesn't like.  Now she looks more like this:

After eating pasta and tomato sauce a few days ago and smearing it all over herself, she developed a mild rash on her tummy.  A bit of nervous-mommy googling revealed it was likely just from the high acid content in tomatoes.  Rumor on the street is that raw strawberries can also produce a skin reaction, so we have not given her those.  Tonight, I made her brocolli for the first time.  It can be hard on little tummies, so we waited a bit longer before giving it a shot.  I also mixed it with some simple white sweet potatoes (which she loves) to hopefully make it tummy friendly.  We have held off on introducing melons as Schmoopsie is slightly allergic to them.  We also steer clear of highly allergenic foods including eggs and peanut butter, and we have not given her regular cow's milk yet.  Honey, of course, is another no-no. 

Tonight, as I peeled the carrots, I threw the occasional bite down to Lupe.  She's not a good catch, so she let them bounce off her face before eating them off the ground. 

It seems both my baby and my dog eat healthier than I do.

Bring it.

I can always think of the perfect, witty, biting thing to say. Perfectly placed sarcasm and humor with forceful emphasis to make my point flows like a smooth, wide river unencumbered into my brain and straight out my mouth.

Problem is, not until several hours after I need it.

I stand up for myself, communicate clearly, and stand confidently with my shoulders back.

Later, of course. Like when I’m home, unfairly spilling my wrath on my unsuspecting and certainly undeserving husband.

I am so tired of stepping up to the plate. I am so tired of taking one for the team. I am tired of pinch-hitting for everyone else in an emergency that isn't my fault.

And I am tired of stupid sports analogies.