Friday, July 31, 2009

She's Getting So Big...

Last weekend, I packed up all Tori's 0-3 month clothes. And I cried.

I cried because I remember how small she was just a short while ago. How, when I got her dressed to come home from the hospital, her  newborn-sized sleeper was too big. I had to roll up her sleeves, and her little feet didn't make it to the bottom.


It was a long time before her newborn clothes  got too small, and when they did, I was ecstatic. It was proof that despite all my doubts about my ability to care for her, I was doing something right. She was thriving.

So why is this different?

Because it marks the end of an era. That short period of time when she was mine, all mine, and I didn't have to share her with the world. I cherished every minute of those short months - and I'll never get that time back.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the little person she's turning into. She has such a personality now...it's amazing to watch her come to life.

But I can't help but wish time would slow down. Soon she'll be crawling. Then walking. And before long, she'll be running for the school bus. It will all be exciting, and I can't wait to share those adventures with her.

Well, actually I can. Wait, I mean. I'd  rather she stay my snuggly little Tori Bug for just a little longer... but you can't stop time (unless you're a superhero). It really does go fast, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Blog Discoveries

The more I explore the big, beautiful world of blogs, the more I find to love. Women who make me laugh, cry, or just think. People I think I could be friends with, or learn from. Writers I am in awe of.

Today, I thought I'd share some more of my  faves with you. So you can be similarly enthralled (and I can get to bed sometime before midnight).

Diary of an Unlikely Housewife—She talks about life, love and fashion...and she's real person sized. That makes me happy.

My Messy ParadiseKind of a kindred spirit. Check her out.

The Un Mom—I fell in love with her blog design first. Then noticed she was pretty damn funny.

Okay, Fine, Dammit—I just found this one the other day,  and I am in awe of this woman's writing. Seriously. She's one of the best writers I have run across in a long, long time. Jealous much? Nah, not me.

That's all I've got tonight. I'm simply too exhausted to string words together any longer. So I think I'll wish you a good night. Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

About That Diet...

Two months ago today, I told you all that I was embarking on the Diet to End All Diets Part II, and I'd have my pre-baby body back in no time. Yeah. That was a good theory.

Wanna know how much I've lost? Five whopping pounds. Well, actually ten (I lost the same five twice), but that still leaves me far, far short of my goal. Which is 28 pounds to get back where I was, but ideally, more like 40 to get me where I really want to be.

See the thing is, when I'm depressed, I eat. When I'm stressed, I eat. When I'm overtired, I...well, you get the picture. And the last two months? Have been chock full of all three of those lovely states of being.

Every week, I faithfully log my weight into my little Weight Watchers thing—even when there's nothing to report. Lately, it's been politely saying things like, "if you're not happy with your weight loss, try..." I'm waiting for the day it takes off the gloves and yells, "Why the f*** are you wasting my time with this? Get off your fat ass and move already!"

Maybe that would actually motivate me?

It's not that I don't try. I do. In fact, I'd like to think I'm getting better about eating right. Ice cream has ceased to make a nightly appearance. Cottage cheese has become my regular breakfast. And it's not like I stuff my face with junk food all day.  Well, except for the pizza I had on Saturday. And the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I treated myself to on Monday. And the Penn Station I ate for dinner last night.

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I need help. Internet, do you have any suggestions? Just don't tell me to go to meetings. I hate, hate, hate those damn meetings—and the cake haters that always seem to hijack them (but that's another post entirely).

How do I juggle the work/home/constant need to snuggle baby juggernaut and manage to find time to exercise and eat right, too? Without, that is, resorting to diarrhea-inducing pills or faking an eating disorder?

I'm open to suggestions (and sympathy). Even if said advice includes "stop whining, shut your mouth, and move your butt."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Short List of Things That Make Me Happy.

This morning, I read a post on another blog that made me think. Called "Who Wants to Read the Good Stuff," it basically echoed my conviction that waxing rhapsodic about how wonderful life is is boring. It's the dirt that makes people laugh—and makes me feel better.

But you know what? I really do have a lot to be grateful for. In fact, my life is for the most part, pretty fan-freaking-tastic. So, for today, I thought I'd take a short break from my usual snark to bring you the second completely random edition of Things That Make Me Happy (you can find the first one here).

Ready? Here we go.
  • My Brother. We rarely talk. And we couldn't be more different if we tried. But I like knowing he's out there, and that if I ever really needed him, he'd come running. There's just something about having that shared history with someone... As much as being pregnant sucked, I think I could do it again, just so Tori would have that special person in her life, too (don't tell my husband).
  • Driving with the windows down and the music loud. The only thing better? A convertible. I had one, and I loved the heck out of it (and I really wish I had never sold it). I never use the air in the summer unless I have to—which means I arrive everywhere with nasty, fly away hair. But really, is there a better feeling?
  • My iPod. Can you even imagine being at the mercy of popular radio anymore? I don't know what I would do if I couldn't carry my own personal music library everywhere I go. I guess I would have to listen to country songs with lyrics like, "God is great, beer is good and people are crazy." Really. That's a real song.
  • Fire flies. When I was little, I thought they were magic. I still kinda do. I love to sit outside at night and just watch those little flashes of light. I can't wait until Tori's old enough to try to catch them (so I can too).
  • Friends, old and new. I'm lucky to have a few friends who I've known practically forever, and who I think the world of.  And now, as another blogger pointed out, I'm making new friends in the blogosphere—people I would have never "met" if not for this thing we call social media. It's pretty awesome.

And that's it. My Happy List. I'm sure I could think of more, but you guys are probably all vomiting in your mouths a little bit by now, so I'll spare you. Don't worry, I'll be back to my usual self tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Five Things You Should Never Ask a New Mom.

Back in the days B.T., I attempted to educate the world on how not to speak to a pregnant woman. I'm not sure how effective it was, but I felt better. And now? Now I'd like to teach you how not to talk to a new mom. So here it is, the list of things I don't ever want to hear you ask a woman with a newborn ever again.

Are you getting any sleep? Hmmm, let's see. I have a baby who needs to eat about every three hours or so. Said feeding takes about an hour. Then there's the diaper changing, and the calming of the baby, and the rocking. That takes another hour. That leaves, let's do the math, an hour! A whole hour in which to sleep. And that's if I don't have to eat, or pee, or shower, or wash some dishes so there's some utensils to eat with! Short answer? No. No I am not. Thanks for reminding me.

Are you breastfeeding? Excuse me? Since when is what I do with my boobs any of your business? And what are you going to do if I say no? Turn into a breastfeeding nazi and tell me how I'm damaging my child? I bet you will. Which is why I'd really rather not answer such a personal question, if it's all the same to you.

Are you sure you should be (fill in the blank)...I can't tell you how many people started a sentence that way in my first weeks as a mom. Absolute strangers told me I shouldn't have my baby out in public. That I wasn't dressing her warmly enough. That I was holding her wrong. The list goes on and on. And you know what? I was already completely paranoid and unsure of myself. I really didn't need this "helpful" advice. So next time you find yourself starting a sentence that way? Can it.

Aren't you going to stay home with the baby? I've heard that question asked just about every way you can phrase it. And it never fails to make me mad. No, I am not staying home. As much as I would like to, I'd like to keep a roof over my baby's head more. So please stop making me feel like a horrible human being—I'm already conflicted enough.

And here it is. The very worst thing you can ask a new mom. Are you ready?

When are you having another one? Seriously? This one can't even hold her head up yet, and you want to know when I'm going to do this again? Un freaking believable. Here's a head's up. If the baby's under a year old, the mom hasn't had time to forget how horrible the whole thing was. Don't ask about her plans for further procreation. 'Kay?

On behalf of all the tired, frustrated, in-over-their-heads new mothers in the world, I thank you for your attention to this matter.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sappy Video Alert.

I first saw this video when I was about six months pregnant. And I bawled and bawled and bawled. I blamed it on the hormones. Wondering if it was really as heart wrenching as I remembered, I just went looking for it on YouTube. And guess what?

No, I didn't bawl, but I prob'ly would have if my husband wasn't in the room. So, here it is, Christian the Lion, completely with sappy ass music.



Are you sniffing a little? Tell me you are. Then I won't feel like such a sap. Or maybe I should embrace my inner marshmallow? I just can't help thinking about all the furry friends I've loved and lost...

Oh, I know! I'll blame the sobfest on PMS! Yeah, that's it. Anyway, must sign off before I burst into tears again. Nite!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Evolution of Date Night

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, in a time known as B.T. (before Tori), Friday night was date night.

I'd come home from work, redo my hair, fix my makeup, put something pretty on, and out we'd go. Dinner at a restaurant was mandatory - but the fanciness of said eating establishment depended upon our budget. Sometimes it was cloth napkins and (semi) expensive wine...but more often, it was bar food and beer (well, I had beer. my hubby doesn't drink much).

Then, more often than not, we'd find something else to do. Stop in at a local bar, go down to the lake and watch the boats, or head to the bookstore (my favorite activity). Whatever it was, we made a night of it. It was lovely.

And now?

Well, we still refuse to cook our dinner. But instead of going out, we get takeout. And, generally speaking, we have to reheat it, because as soon as we sit down, Tori decides to fuss. And then she needs a diaper change. And then she needs to eat. And then...well, you get the picture.

Our after dinner activities generally include walking the dog, feeding Tori again, changing some more diapers, playing with Tori, and of course, ooohing and ahhing over how dang cute she is.

Then I put her to bed, Brian goes on the computer upstairs, and I turn on my laptop to talk to you, my dear readers.

Then, eventually, we collapse together on the couch, serenading each other with our snores. It's a different kind of life, that's for sure. But as much as I miss our old freedom, I wouldn't trade the driving force behind this new kind of date night for all the fancy restaurants in the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hopping around the blogosphere.

Greetings, fellow bloggers! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.

I’ll be honest. When I bought my domain name, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  I had vague intentions of maybe putting up a portfolio (I’m a copywriter by trade), but never quite got around to it.

So this site sat, neglected, for many a month. Then I got myself knocked up. And all of a sudden, gazillions of hormone-induced thoughts, feelings and just plain craziness began swirling around in my brain. I needed a place to let them out before my head exploded.

Thus, this blog was born.

These days, it’s become a regular habit. At the moment, I tend to write a lot about my brand new baby girl and how I’m coping with this sudden transition from (mostly) carefree professional woman to overwhelmed mommy. But since mommyhood is just one part of my life, I reserve the right to talk about anything I darn well please.

What can I say? I’m a redheaded, hot tempered, overly emotional drama queen. And this blog? Is where I let it all hang out.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I don’t know exactly where I’m going, but I promise the trip will never get boring.

Highlights?

Here’s where it all began.

And my open letter to all those who annoyed me with their ridiculous comments.

Here’s when I realize that yes, I was actually going to be a mom.

This is the ridiculous chain of events that occurred when I brought my baby home.

And realized breastfeeding wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Then I realized alcohol was going to continue to be a big part of my life.

And decided to toss those childrearing books out the window.

There's more, but I'm sure you'd rather find it yourself. So, come on in, make yourself comfortable and hang out for a while. I look forward to meeting all of you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Little Glamour Girl.

Ever since our not so successful photo shoot at Sears, Brian and I have been trying to rig up some backdrops and lighting to take our own "professional quality" photos here at home.

First, Brian hung some sheets around a shower curtain rod and suspended it in a doorway for a backdrop. But we couldn't get a good picture of her from the floor, so we  pushed our big ol' ottoman over and covered it up with the sheet to raise her to an acceptable height. Then we decided it was too dim, so we grabbed lights from various parts of the house and lit that sucker up.

I was a little worried she wouldn't be a fan of all those lights, but she played her part like a pro. In fact, she seemed to eat it up. Who knows, maybe she'll be a model when she grows up (but I sure as hell hope not).

Anyway, we still need to work on the lighting, but we got a couple super cute shots. Wanna see? Of course you do.

 
 

Adorable, right? Just nod and smile. I'll assume you agree with me. She is, after all, the cutest baby to ever walk on (well, okay, roll over on) the face of the planet. Right? Just keep nodding and smiling...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time for a Laugh Break.

You know what makes me laugh? Funny ass TV commercials. And since I'm still feeling vaguely melancholy and in need of a good old fashioned guffaw or two, I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

The first is from Keystone Light. I'm not much of a beer drinker, and I've never had a Keystone Light in my life, but this commercial is so damn funny, I might be willing to try one—just to keep 'em making these spots.



Career Builder's had some good ones, too. This one from the Super Bowl made pop go up my nose (prob'ly because at various points in my career, I've been all these people).



Are you giggling yet? I am. A little, anyway. I think I'll leave you with that laughter still fresh in your mind. Nighty night!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Aftermath. Day One.

Yesterday, I wrote about giving birth to Tori. But I also want to record the days immediately following before it all fades away... so the next time I'm thinking about having a baby, I remember that it's not all kittens and rainbows! So here we go again...

I couldn't really tell you how long we were in recovery, but it seemed like a very long time indeed. Eventually though, they decided that we were going to make it and wheeled us back to our room.

They put me next to all the pinging machine things, and Tori's aquarium took its place by the foot of the bed. Moments later, my parents rushed in, half convinced that something terrible had happened to us (the surgery got started late, and recovery took longer than anyone expected).

All those thoughts were forgotten, however, when they saw their baby grand daughter. I don't think I've ever seen quite that expression on my dad's face - part wonder, part love, and part disbelief. I wish I had gotten a picture of it...

At this point I was starting to feel very, very ill indeed. Lemme tell you - retching after being cut in half is no fun at all. For the rest of the afternoon, every time I tried to hold Tori, another bout of nausea would strike, and I'd have to hand her off to Brian or risk puking in her cute little face.

It was terrible. Plus, I couldn't feel my legs. And neither Tori or I could seem to get the hang of breastfeeding. And every single time I drifted off to sleep, a nurse would come poke at me (this pattern continued, non-stop, for the next four days). It was not a good afternoon.

But it wasn't all bad. Seeing Brian gaze down at his baby girl was a sight I don't think I'll ever forget. And watching the nurse teach him how to change a diaper was fairly hilarious. And, and, there was Tori! Our baby! And holy shit, we really made that! And thank God, she's actually pretty cute!

Yes, I really said that (every pregnant woman secretly prays her baby isn't ugly. most just won't admit it). One thing I gotta say about C-sections - the babies are much more photogenic when they come out. No squished heads. No bruises. None of that.

Eventually, the nausea passed, and I was able to hold her close, count all her little fingers and toes, and marvel that this little person had really just been inside me. That's when I fell in love.

And people? Nothing's been quite the same since.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Day The World Changed (a.k.a. Tori's Birthday).

It occurred to me just the other day that I never wrote about the day I gave birth (at least, not in much detail). Since one of my reasons for writing this blog is to have a record of Tori's formative years, that seemed like a glaring omission. So follow along as we go back in time...

We were a half hour late getting to the hospital. This isn't exactly surprising - we're always late. But I had really tried to get us out of the house on time, so I was annoyed. And nervous. And, truth be told, more than a little crabby (I get that way when I'm nervous).

At any rate, by the time we got there, our "nurse" for the day was anxiously waiting for us. I put that in quote marks because he was actually a nursing student, was only on the Mom/Baby ward for the day, and had no idea what the hell he was doing. Sure, I could have refused to allow a student to take care of me, but I have a hard time saying no. It always makes me feel bad.  And, anyway, it gave me yet another reason to be annoyed (greatly preferable to crap-my-pants terrified).

He rushed me through the intake process, saying really helpful things, like, "seriously?" and "wow," and made me change into a hospital gown. That's when they started coming at me with needles. First, someone had to draw a bunch of blood. And then, just in case that wasn't bad enough, I had to have an IV put in.

I hate needles. Hate, Hate, HATE needles. And the woman in charge of the IV couldn't find a good vein to put it in. By the time she was done, I was almost in tears. But, finally, it was in, and they all left, leaving Brian and I to silently stew.

That's when I got strangely calm. For days, I'd been freaking out about the idea of having a C-section. It was absolutely the last thing I wanted. I was scared to death of being cut open. But at that moment, with the IV dripping into my vein, I felt...peaceful.

That calm lasted even after they wheeled us out of the room to wait outside the O.R. I remember cracking jokes with the nurse. Getting periodic updates from the staff as to the ETA of the doctor (he was stuck in another surgery). And continually asking for more blanket (it was freezing).

Suddenly, it was go time, and they wheeled me into surgery.

After that, I just have flashes.

Sitting slumped in front of another nurse, trying not to wince as they stuck the needle for the anesthetic in my back (it hurt. a lot).

Getting my arms strapped to the table (what did they think I was going to do, smack someone?)

Having the anesthesiologist tell me that even though I didn't feel like I was breathing (a freaky feeling if there ever was one), I most certainly was.

Then the doc poked me with something sharp, and when I couldn't feel it, said we were ready to go.

What seemed like seconds later, I heard the doc say, "there she is," and I heard a baby crying. My baby.

I turned to Bri and said, "we have a little girl," and burst into tears. But he was already bustling over to the table where they were checking her out, to take her very first pictures.

The sewing-me-up part seemed to take forever, especially since I just wanted to be able to hold Tori. Finally, they wheeled us in to recovery, and handed me my baby. Unfortunately, my arms were still half numb, so the very first time I touched her, I almost poked her eye out.

I wish I could tell you it was love at first sight, but honestly? It didn't seem real. I couldn't quite wrap my head around the notion that this was, indeed, my baby.  I was so drugged, and tired, and nauseous, that I just wanted to sleep for a little while.

The overwhelming, soul changing surge of love came later.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Damn.

Call it a mood swing. Call it waking up to reality. All I know is that when I got home this evening I fell into one heck of a funk. Why?

Because that's when it hit me. This being a working mom thing is permanent. From now on, I'll only get snatches of Tori time. A few sleepy cuddles stolen in the morning. A couple hours of play time in the evening. Of course, on the weekends, I can have her all day, but there will always be other things to do - chores, gardening, social outings...we can't put the rest of our lives on hold forever.

There are going to be a whole lot of things I miss. She might take her first steps when I'm not there. Or say her first word. Or...well, the list is endless.

When she gets older, I won't be there when she gets off the bus in the afternoon. Won't be the one to take her to soccer practice. I won't even always be able to kiss her good night.

And you know what? That sucks.

I know she'll be just fine without me. And that it's the quality of time we spend together, not the quantity, that counts. And that this is the bargain I made when I got pregnant. Some of my stay at home mom friends even tell me I'm lucky - that I'll appreciate her more because I won't see her as much.

But right now, I don't care. I just want to mourn the life I'll never have. So tonight, I'll sulk. And tomorrow? I'll put my happy face back on and celebrate the life I am lucky enough to call my own.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back to Real Life.

As my first week back in the office, I expected last week to be awful. But it was easy peasy. I had very little to stress me out, plenty of time to socialize, and was able to head home seconds after 5:30 hit to be with my baby.

That gradual easing in period must have been my welcome back gift. Because on Monday morning, it ended. That's when I kissed my husband and baby good bye and headed off to Louisville for my first post-baby business trip.

It was supposed to be a day trip. One that would find me safely home by the time the sun went down. But knowing the deadlines I was facing, I packed a bag anyway.

Sure enough, 6 p.m. found me calling a local hotel to book myself a room for the night. At first, I was kind of excited about having a night to myself. I could have a nice dinner out! And eat without a single interruption! And watch whatever I wanted on TV! And sleep for nine, ten hours!

That contentment lasted until the moment I stepped into my room after dinner. That's when it hit me. I had nothing to do for the next twelve hours. I didn't have to give Tori a bath. Or feed her. Or read her a book. Or put her to bed. Or feed the animals. Or make formula. Or walk the dog. Or torture my sleeping husband until he woke up enough to come to bed.

And man, did it feel lonely.

Of course, I immediately called home, and listened to Tori make cooing noises while my husband fed her. When she started crying mid-burp, so did I. Not because I thought she needed me, but because I couldn't hold her while she threw her temper tantrum (it's really funny).

That blubbering (mine, not hers) lasted until I finally hung up the phone. And started again while I was twittering, continued while I was facebooking and didn't even stop completely when I turned on The Daily Show (and I love me my John Stuart).

Finally, I turned the air conditioning way down low, built myself a fluffy nest with all the pillows from both beds (my favorite part about having a hotel room to myself) and waited for sleep to come.

I waited a long time. Without the hum of the baby monitor in the background, the silence seemed too loud. And since I couldn't get up to check to see if Tori was still breathing (as I normally do two, three times a night), I was convinced something terrible would happen to her. I picked up the phone to call Brian and make him do it about 10,000 times (but never actually did).

Finally, the night was over. I got through the day, pretending that yes, I slept well! And having a whole night to myself was great! And sure, I'm a strong, independent career woman - being away from my baby was no sweat!

I'm not sure anyone believed me.

I counted down the hours, the minutes, then the seconds until I could walk out the door, get in my car and come home. And when the time came, I tore out of there like the place was on fire.

The two and a half hour car ride felt like it lasted two years - especially since I was trying not to speed (I got a helluva ticket the last time I made that trip). But finally, I was home.

I raced inside, and after giving my husband a perfunctory kiss, grabbed the baby out of his arms. I had pictured a joyous homecoming, imagining that she had missed me as much as I missed her.

The reality? She gave me a half smile, then turned back to watch the ceiling fan as it spun (one of her favorite activities).

Brian, however, was very glad to see me. I think he'd prefer it if I never went out of town again (I don't think he'll get his wish). But at least now we know that when it happens again, we'll all do just fine.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fascinating Reading...On Other People's Blogs

I just got home from my very first post-baby business trip. You know what that means? I'm tired. Vaguely traumatized. And have very few brain cells to spare.

So, rather than subjecting you to my semi-incoherent ramblings, I think it's time for another episode of...Blogs I Love. Or in this case, blog posts I love. A few of the posts that made me giggle, cry or just think a little this week.

Suburban Turmoil talks about her brief stint as a teenage bully...

Lattes and Life writes about the sweetness of baby snuggles...

Not Going Postal calls out Facebook quiz addicts...

Scary Mommy almost gets the perfect vacation photo...

And Mommy Wants Vodka will make you cry with her birth story. Really.

Go forth and read, think, giggle, cry...in any order you please. I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Things I Swore I'd Never Do.

Before I was a mom, I thought I knew it all, and had very definite ideas about how I'd raise my baby. Not to mention an iron clad list of things I wouldn't do.

That was before Tori was born. But now? I don't think there's a single one of my rules that I haven't broken. Well, no, I lie. There is one. I've never shaken the baby (and never will).

As for the rest of them? Well, reality tends to win out over good intentions. So here they are. The things I swore I'd never do (but now do all the time).

Feed the Baby Formula - Yep, I was going to be a crunchy mom who breast fed exclusively. Because, you know, breast is best and anything less would rob her of IQ points, give her asthma and make her allergic to air. Oh well. Guess she'll have to live in a bubble when she grows up.

Co-sleep - Oh, the danger! I thought that if I slept with my baby, I'd roll over on her, or smother her with a pillow, or doom her to a life of crime. Yeah. That lasted all of twelve hours after we brought her home. After that, it was curl up with her on the couch or never, ever sleep again.

Let her cry it out - I swore that for first three months (at least), I'd scoop her up every time she let out a peep, answering her every need before she knew she needed it. Too bad there are days when even she doesn't  seem to know what she wants. Or needs. Except to make her total displeasure with the world known. And let's face it - sometimes a girl's gotta pee!

Give her a pacifier - I don't even know why I was so against this. But I was. Until the first of the aforementioned days when nothing would shut her up. Except a mouth full of paci. Now we have an ever rotating supply, in colors that match her outfits.

Let her watch TV - The American Academy of Pediatrics says a baby shouldn't even see the TV until she's at least two. So Tori wasn't going to. But you know what? Feeding a baby is boring. And at some point, I don't know when, she started to be attracted by the pretty colors of the television. So she's seen her fair share of Oprah. And HGTV. And Food Network shows. But hey, at least they're not soaps! Maybe she'll be a professional chef who designs interiors while providing therapy to the homeowners when she grows up.

Truthfully, that's just the beginning of the list. I'm sure it'll get longer and longer the older she gets. Because you know what I've discovered? I'm not a super mom. Not even close. But I am a decent human being. So hopefully she'll turn out okay.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Trio of Smiles

Ever since Tori started smiling (for real, not those "man that fart felt good" smiles), I've been on a mission. A mission to capture it on film, or, err, memory card.

But every time she sees the darn camera, the kid clams up. Doesn't matter if she's laughing her ass off. As soon as she hears it clicking on, she pulls a poker face.

At long last, this week I proclaimed victory (real victory, not like George Bush in Iraq). I got her to smile for the camera not once, not twice, but three times. So, now, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you a Trio of Smiling Toris.

 
  
 



Cute, ain't she? And now I have to go rescue a Tori who's currently screaming after a whopping fifteen minute nap. Remember the smiles, Amber. Remember the smiles....

Friday, July 10, 2009

There's More to Life Than a Clean House.

I live in fear of the casual drop-in. You know, the people who were “in the neighborhood.” So they thought they’d just “stop by.” Without calling first. Or providing any kind of warning whatsoever.

Why? Because if I’m not expecting company, my house is most likely fairly messy. Embarrassingly dirty, even. Okay, more like a total sty. Mail lives in piles by the door. Burp cloths and dirty clothes find semi-permanent homes on the floor. Dishes get stacked in the sink. And don't get me started on the obscene height of our in-need-of-folding/hanging clean laundry pile.

Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. I'm a slob, always have been, and always will be (and so is my husband, although he denies it).

I just can't be bothered to slave over the house when no one's going to see it. There are too many other things I'd rather be doing. Like sleeping. Or playing with Tori. Or chatting with my husband. Or fussing in the garden. Or reading a book. Or clipping my toenails. Or getting a root canal.

Sure, I go through phases (usually when I'm PMSing) when I insist on the house being sparkling clean. But as soon as the mood passes, the spotless kitchen counters disappear too.

I thought that after Tori arrived, I'd change my ways. Not so much. Now I'm told that once she starts crawling, I'll have to pick up more. But I think she's destined to plow her way through our usual muck.

In fact, we're kind of hoping she turns into a neat freak as an act of rebellion. It might be the only chance we have of ever having a clean house!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

If Only The Two Could Meet

An imaginary conversation between the twenty something me of yesterday and the mom me of today...

YESTERME: How old did you say that baby is now?

MOM ME: Three months.

YESTERME: And you're still that fat? Damn girl, have you looked in the mirror?

MOM ME: Oh, you don't know the half of it. Wanna see my stretch marks?

YESTERME: Oh, please God, no. Are you at least getting our fat butt to the gym?

MOM ME: Sure. It fits right in to that 20 minutes a day I'm not taking care of the baby, or feeding myself, or working, or trying to catch some sleep. I drive there, wave hi, step on the treadmill and then turn around and go home. Totally worth it.

YESTERME: You don't have to get sarcastic. Tell me we're at least getting some sleep?

MOM ME: Sure! I manage five, sometimes six hours a night at this point.

YESTERME: That's all? That's torture!

MOM ME: Not really. Hey, on Saturday, I actually slept in until 8.

YESTERME: Eight? On a weekend? What happened to noon?

MOM ME: That little girl I gave birth to, that's what.

YESTERME: Speaking of birth, how was labor? Was it awful?

MOM ME: Nope. I skipped the entire thing and went the C-Section route.

YESTERME: You let them slice us open? Ewww! Did it feel like that scene from Spaceballs where the alien pops out?

MOM ME: Surprisingly, no. But it felt like my stomach was ripping open every time I coughed, sneezed or laughed for the next eight weeks. Good times.

YESTERME: So you don't sleep. You have no time for yourself. And you practically got cut it half. And it's worth it?

MOM ME: Totally. But do me a favor?

YESTERME: Sure, what?

MOM ME: Go to the bar tonight. Have an extra coupla drinks for me. Then go home, pass out, sleep till noon and lounge in bed all day tomorrow.

YESTERME: Gee, twist my arm why don't you. But why?

MOM ME: Once you have this baby, you'll never be able to do that ever again.

YESTERME: And you're sure it's worth it?

MOM ME: It really is. Just think of it as a kind of temporary insanity that lasts eighteen years or so.

YESTERME: Oh boy. I think I need a drink.

MOM ME: Yeah, I tend to say that a lot.

YESTERME: Well, it's good to know some things never change.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The World From a Three-Month-Old's Perspective.

She can't walk yet. She can't talk yet. But Tori is definitely waking up to the world. Everywhere she looks, she's discovering something new, and it's great fun to watch.

Her latest discovery? Trees. Every night, we go for a walk around the neighborhood, and the streets are lined with trees - there's one about every twenty feet or so. As we pass underneath, she looks up at the leaves and her face absolutely lights up. Sometimes she even squeals with delight.

This happens every single time we walk under a tree. It never seems to get old.

I can't help but wonder, what is she thinking? Why are trees so incredibly fascinating? Is it the way the branches rustle in the wind? The pretty colors of the leaves? It's impossible to tell.

It definitely makes our walks more entertaining. And it forces us to slow down and appreciate the world a little more. A low hanging branch is no longer an annoyance to be brushed out of the way and grumbled about. It's an object of beauty to be examined and appreciated.

Now, instead of spending that twenty minutes worrying about work, or complaining about some small injustice, we look for things we can point out to her, just so we can see her face light up again.

It's a great way to end the day. And yet another reason to be grateful for the presence of this wonderful little person in our lives.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They Say The First Day is the Hardest...

So I'm officially a working mama. All things considered, the day went pretty well. I showed up on time (or close enough to count). Managed to be pleasant to  everyone. I even got through the day without falling asleep (quite an accomplishment, taking into account my normal nap schedule).

It was definitely tough being without Tori for that long. I did my best to get my fill of baby cuddles in before I went to work. But I ended up coming home for lunch anyway. And, of course, I scooped her up the minute I got home — even though she was trying to take a nap.

I don't think she missed me. But I sure did miss her.

I'm sure you're all wondering the same things, so why don't I just go ahead and answer your questions?

Did you cry?

No. But only because I purposely put mascara on both my top and bottom lashes. Once I'm mascara-ed up, I hate to cry, because then I end up with nasty raccoon face. However, I did cry myself to sleep last night (big, gulping sobs).

Does it feel good to be back?

Well, it sure feels good to know I've got a paycheck coming! It's also nice to be among friends. They decorated my desk, which made me smile. But I'd be lying if I said that work was where I really wanted to be.

Did you get anything done?

Honestly? No. But tomorrow's another day and all that.

How did your husband do home alone with the baby?

Amazingly well. They got off to a rocky start — she started sobbing seconds after I handed her off to Brian and wouldn't calm down until I took her back, but after that, it was smooth sailing (or so he says). Being the selfish person I am, I almost wish the day was a little rougher on him (so I feel needed and all that).

So the worst is over, right? From here on out, it should get easier, or so they tell me. Even if it doesn't, I'm guessing the guilt will at least get easier to live with. Dare to dream...

Monday, July 6, 2009

She Works Hard for the Money.

Tomorrow, after thirteen long (and yet incredibly short) weeks, I've got to go back to work. There have been a lot of changes while I've been gone, so it kinda feels like the first day of school.

You remember. You're excited to see all your friends, but a little bit nervous about what the new year will bring. You hope it'll be fun, but you know there's a lot of hard work ahead of you. And, of course, you're sad to see the summer (or in my case, my maternity leave) end.

I'm glad I have a job I actually enjoy. I can't imagine how much more it would suck to leave my baby if I was looking forward to nothing but joyless toil. As it is, I'm not exactly excited about the idea of being away from her for eight, nine, maybe even twelve hours a day (at least, not today. she's been good today).

But I don't want to live in a box (it'd be awfully crowded. and damp. and cold.), so it's back to work I go.

Thankfully, my hubby will be taking my place here at home for the next month or so. Which means I don't have to deal with the double whammy of heading back to the office and dropping her off at daycare all at once.

It's good to do things in stages.

He insists he'll be a much better stay at home dad than I was a stay at home mom. He says the house will sparkle, meals will be served on time, and the baby will be happier than ever before.

He even thinks he'll have time to finish some household projects while he's off.

I wish him luck with that.

Now if you guys could wish me some of the same, I'd appreciate it. I'm afraid tomorrow's going to be a pretty rough day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blogs I Love.

I'm feeling all grumpy and growly and generally nasty (i.e. not really in the mood to be funny) today. Now usually, I'd  go ahead and whine at y'all, but just to be different, I thought I'd send you to some people who might actually make you laugh.

Just don't forget to come back. There aren't that many of you, so if one of you leaves me for good, I'll know it (and I'll cry real tears).

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite bloggers.

dooce - Unless you've been sleeping under a rock somewhere, you're probably well aware of Ms. Armstrong's amazingly funny blog (I want to be her when I grow up). If you haven't already checked it out, do yourself a favor and head over there.

Jennsylvania - Her books are good, snarky fun and her blog is more of the same. Love. Her.

Scary Mommy - Lots of different kinds of posts and definitely a good read.

Suburban Turmoil - One of my latest finds, and one I'm really learning to love.

Mom-101 - More good fun from an urban mom who's been in the trenches for a little while.

Mommy Wants Vodka - Another recent find that's worth reading for the title alone. And no, you're not imagining it, she uses the same Wordpress theme as I do.

There. That should keep you busy for a while. Now I'm going to go hide under the covers and hope the Baby Monster Monitor doesn't go off for a good long while.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

File Under: Wish This Was Mine.

Although some may scoff at the idea, I believe advertising, when done well, is a form of art. Sure, we get paid to create it, but the creatives I've known (at least, those who deserve the title) put everything they've got into their work.

Doesn't matter what the product is. Doesn't matter if the client expects it. We put forth our best efforts, because, well, the part of us that's artistic demands it. That might sound pompous, but it's true.

During the concepting phase of a new campaign, there's always one idea that everyone falls in love with. One that's just a little bit unexpected, maybe even crazy. We call those our wild cards.

Most of the time, those ideas never see the light of day. But when they do? They can be truly inspiring. Kinda like this TV spot for the Washington Lottery.



I heart this commercial. Whenever I'm having a bad day at work, I make myself watch it. As a reminder, you know? Of what can be when you dream hard enough.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Baby's First (and Maybe Last) Professional Photos.

Tori's three months old today. A whole quarter year! To document this  (maybe not so) momentous occasion, I took her to the mall to get her first "professional" pictures.

That was a mistake.

She woke up crabby. So crabby that I almost didn't go at all. But I'd already rescheduled three times, so I ignored her whining, got her scrubbed up, dressed up and in the car.

When we arrived, she was sound asleep, so I had to wake her up. Never a good idea. She woke up screaming, but by the time the so-called photographer was ready for us (20 minutes later), she was outwardly calm.

That lasted until the first flash bulb went off. The next 45 minutes consisted of me putting her into poses, pulling down her dress, trying to get her to stop crying, then attempting  (completely unsuccessfully) to coax a smile out of her.

It was not fun. But in the end, we did get a few cute pictures.

The closest we got to a smile...

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Sitting pretty (yes, I forgot her socks)...


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Close up (ignore the paper in her hair)...


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This one's a candid of me trying to get her calm...


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And I'm including this one just 'cause her dress is cute...


And that was that. I could go on and tell you what a rip off the packages were, or how I wanted to wrestle the woman out from behind the camera and do it myself, but that would make me sound bitchy. So I won't.

Suffice it to say, we're thinking of getting our own backdrop so we can take her six month pics right here at home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reasons I Drink.

I know many new moms aspire to be awesomely virtuous creatures who never let a drop of alcohol pass their lips. To those women, all I can say is, good for you. Now excuse me while I pour a drink.

I have no such aspirations. I'm not an alcoholic or anything, but at the end of a very long day (like this one), I feel entitled to a nice cold glass of...something. Today it's a glass of lemonade with a generous slug of raspberry vodka (and man is it yummy).

Why is the occasional alcoholic beverage necessary in the blissful life of a new mommy, you ask? Here, in no particular order, are the top motivators.

The Never Ending Scream - Generally speaking, Tori is a very sunny baby. But there are days when it seems like the screaming never stops. It might start with a poopy diaper or a bottle that's overly slow in arriving, but from there? It's anybody's guess. Maybe she's upset about the hole in the ozone layer, I don't know. But those ear piercing shrieks echo in my head for hours after they stop. Bottoms up!

Sleep? What Sleep? - It's 11 p.m. The baby alarm is due to go off in five short hours. I'm exhausted, but my shoulders are so tight they're around my ears and my mind is spinning, spinning, spinning. I can't take a Tylenol PM because, well, I can't sleep that long. Sometimes a nice, calming glass of wine is in order.

The Celebratory Drink - Congrats, self. You made it to six weeks. Two months. Through the first vaccinations. Through the day. You deserve, well you deserve a vacation, but you're not getting one, so how about a pina colada?

Oh, the Guilt - Can't stay home with the baby. Can't hire a nanny. Won't ever be able to afford to buy her a pony. Accidentally clipped her finger with the the nail scissors. Am I a terrible person? A horrible mom? Just human? Hand me that bottle.

Did I Mention the Screaming? 'Nuff said.

So, next time you go visit a new (or not so new) mom, bring her a gift she'll really appreciate. A nice bottle of something alcoholic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Babyproofed Marriage?

In the weeks leading up to Tori's birth, I repeatedly apologized to my husband. Not for anything I had done, but for what I anticipated I might do after she was born.

Everybody told me that the first three months were going to be hell. That we'd fight.  That I'd resent the heck out of him - maybe even hate him a little. And that, ultimately, the baby would damage our marriage.

Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but they were dead wrong. I mean, sure, the first few weeks were rough. Thanks to those lovely postpartum hormones, I was pretty much a raging maniac - crying one minute, laughing the next, then seething for no good reason before dissolving into tears again.

But I don't think we ever screamed at each other. Not even once. We've already taken a trip to hell together - and we got good and lost. By the time we found our way out, we had become a rock solid team.

So, a baby? Piece of cake. Well, okay, not really, but she certainly hasn't come between us. If anything, she's brought us closer together (at least I'd like to think so).

On those days when she screams bloody murder until I want to holler myself, it's Brian that talks me down.

When I'm whimpering with exhaustion in the middle of the night, he's there to take over.

And when I'm giddy with joy over some silly thing she's done? It's him I want to share the moment with.

He's a wonderful father, and our baby girl has him wrapped around her little finger. Seeing them together makes my insides turn to goo. I don't know if our marriage is babyproofed, but I am sure that I love him just as much (maybe even more) than I ever did.

And together? We're raising one special little girl.