Monday, August 31, 2009

Five Things I Learned This Weekend.

As I mentioned yesterday, this weekend was full of adventure...just not the fun kind. I found myself navigating the world of illness, helping an infant who had no idea what was happening to her get to the other side (maybe that's what the chicken was doing on the road).

Along the way, I learned a few things. What does nursing a sick infant have to teach a person, you ask? I'm here to tell you:

I'm much more patient than I thought. At the height of her fever, Tori cried for hours. Literally. Hours. But never once did I get frustrated with her. I just spent the time rocking, dancing and singing, wishing there was something more I could do (By the way, all you moms with colicky infants? Deserve a medal).

It is possible to nap while feeding a baby.  What? Did I say that out loud? No, I didn't fall asleep with a bottle in my hand...and wake up with it dripping down the side of her PJs (she wasn't snoozing either).

I can ignore a call from work. Normally, when I'm home during a work day, i jump up every time the phone rings, afraid my coworkers are in a bind without me. On Friday? I let not one, but three calls go to voice mail. First because she was sobbing, then because she'd finally fallen asleep on my shoulder and no way was I moving her.  Sure, I felt guilty, but not that  guilty.

Those rectal thermometers? Not as scary as I thought. Not that it was fun. But I did manage to get the thermometer, ahem, inserted, her temperature taken and back out before she even noticed (but oh, how my hands shook...).

The first post-sickness baby giggle? Makes it all worth it. There's nothing better than hearing her laugh. Especially after 48 hours of sheer hell.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sickness Brings Down the Page Household.

On Thursday, Tori started to come down with her very first cold.  By Thursday night, she was miserable. Snot was pouring out of her nostrils in rivers. Her skin felt like it was on fire. And her nose was so clogged up, she was panting like a dog.

Coincidentally enough, I started to get sick about the same time she did, and was burning just as hot. Two feverish people attached at the hip? Only make things worse for both. I wasn't the slightest bit surprised when she started screaming. I felt like screaming too.

Two hours later, when she was still screaming, I really almost did join her. But my dear, dear husband thankfully intervened and I went to sleep for a little while instead. When I woke, she was yelling again. Or maybe she hadn't stopped? Who knows.

Anyway, I sent Brian back up to bed for the whole 1.5 hours remaining before our alarm went off, and started pacing the house with her. We bounced. We danced. We sang songs (with choruses of coughs). Nothing worked. Every once in a while, she'd drift off, but as soon as I sat my exhausted butt down, she'd wake up and start that horrible, cranky "holy crap, I hurt Mommy, why can't you fix this?" cry and up I'd get.

It was a long night. Followed by an even longer day. I had about 2438572348527949629 deadlines to meet at work, but there was no way I was leaving my poor, sick baby (I'm pretty sure there were some people cursing me to hell and back on Friday).  So I tried my best to field calls and answer emails between sobbing sessions (hers and mine), booger-hunting and temperature taking (wielding the rectal thermometer for the first time? is another post entirely). I even got some script writing done.

Slowly, she started to get better. And I started to get worse. She slept for 12 hours Friday night. I was up for half of those coughing and sneezing. And while she napped yesterday? I was burning up the keyboard, trying to punch out scripts.

I really need to spend a day in bed. But sick babies and looming deadlines leave no time for mama to rest. Thankfully, next weekend we're going home. To stay at grandma's house. If I can just make it through this week, I know my mom will take over for a few days...

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Blahs, or Something Worse?

 I published this post. Then deleted it. Now I'm publishing it again, even though I'm a little bit afraid to...please don't judge me too harshly.

Tonight as we were walking the dog, my husband threatened to make me go to the shrink. He says I'm doing nothing but beating myself up these days...a sure sign that my lovely friend Depression is attempting to make a comeback.

I was shocked to hear him say that.

I mean, sure, I sometimes question my ability to be a good mom (out loud). I wonder if I'm doing everything (or anything) right. I worry that I work too much. That I'm not exciting enough. That I'm feeding her too much (or too little). That I don't bathe her enough. You name it, I worry about it.

But that's normal for a new mom. Right?

Then there's the disparaging remarks I make about my flabby ass body, my cooking skills (or lack there of), my inability to keep a clean house, get caught up on laundry, or do anything at all worthwhile...

Sounds pretty damning, I know. But confidence has never been my strong point.

And, of course, I'm tired all the time. Even after getting a good night's sleep. And I have no energy, or desire to do much of anything other than care for my daughter. Even gardening (normally one of my favorite therapeutic activities) seems like too much work.

But we can still blame it on the new mom thing, right?

How 'bout the sudden fits of tears?

Or the voice in the back of my mind that tells me Tori won't love me? And that Brian is going to get sick of me? And that I'm just a downright bad person?

Damn it. He might be right. I might need to address this before it becomes a real issue...

Have I mentioned how much I hate it when he's right?

Wordless Wednesday.

Every time I turn around, it seems like the baby girl is doing something new. Last week it was sitting...

 
Then, last night, she rolled over from her back to her tummy! I didn't see it - we stuck her on her play mat (on her back) so we could eat dinner and when I turned around again, she had rolled over! Looked kinda confused about how she got there, though.
Before I know it, she'll be asking for the car keys. For now, look at some more non-mobile Tori cuteness:

 
  
  

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts.


It’s Tuesday. Which means its Random Tuesday over at The Un-Mom. And, just for shits and giggles, here too (and that’s all the clever intro you’re going to get).

Yesterday, I drove to Chicago and back (Which adds up to ten hours in the car. No, it wasn’t fun. But I got paid to do it). Well, I didn’t actually drive. I was a passenger being driven to Chicago and back. As we drove home, (in the dark, of course) I decided that the view from the back seat is much better at night. Why? Because during the day, all you see are endless cornfields. At night? The cornfields are hidden, so you can focus on the pretty crescent moon in the sky, and the darting lights of the cars in front of you, and the moronic messages on the brightly lit billboards.

Note to all the billboard writers of the world: There’s a reason they’re supposed to be seven words or less. Any more than that andyourmessagegetslostasIwhizbyat80milesanhour…

Also, when you flash your brights at a truck driver who’s weaving all over the road, expect him to give you the finger. ‘Cause, you know, that sudden flash of light in his mirrors interrupted his nap.

Did you know that in twelve years, seven months and two weeks (or so), I’ll be the parent of a teenager? That’s scary. I wasn’t a fan of teenagers even when I was one. This thought occurred to me while listening to the other women in the car talk about their high school cheerleading daughters. What if Tori wants to be a cheerleader? As far as I’m concerned, cheerleaders are another species. Would I know how to raise one?

Next weekend, we’re making our first trek home to Detroit city with a baby. That’s at least seven hours in the car with an infant who gets antsy (read: ridiculously fussy) after an hour in her car seat. Will any of us be sane by the time we get there?

Last night, Tori woke up at 1:15, then again at 3:15, at which point she stayed awake until 4:25. Is this God punishing me for saying I might not get her baptized?

I think that’s all the randomness I’ve got. Stay tuned for a real post tomorrow…

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Tropical Islands I Want To Visit Before I Die...

I am a redhead. I burn almost the second I step out into the sun. And yet, I can think of nowhere on this earth I'd rather be than a tropical island, sitting under a palm tree, soaking up the sun's rays while gazing out at the turquoise blue water.

In fact, I'd like to be somewhere in the Caribbean (well, somewhere there's no hurricane brewing) right now. I can almost feel the hot, white sand squishing between my toes while the pina colada in my hand sends beads of cool, wet condensation onto my hands...

My experiences with the tropics have been limited, to say the least. With the exception of the lovely cruise my husband and I took last year, the most tropical island I have ever vacationed on is North Captiva Island, Florida.

Which as island vacations go, was pretty darn nice. No passports necessary, deserted beaches, palm trees waving in the wind...

But I have my heart set on more exotic locales. If ever I strike it rich, I'll make it a point to visit all the Caribbean islands. If not, there are at least three places I am determined to spend a week or two before I get too old to appreciate them:

Exuma, Bahamas

One of the out islands, it has everything I crave in a tropical vacation. Miles and miles of white sand beaches, turquoise water and swimming pigs. That's right, swimming pigs. Apparently, there's a, I don't know, herd? Whatever you call a group of pigs that live together. Anyway, they live on this small island, and when someone boats over, they swim out to claim their treats.

I want to feed those swimming pigs. When I do, I want to stay at one resort in particular—Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Lovely little seaside bungalows come with their own motor boats...bungalows with views like this one:


Negril, Jamaica

 Sure, this one's a little trite. Everyone wants to go to Jamaica, right? The waterfalls, the beautiful beaches, the yummy food...what's not to love? Well, except for the crime. And the poverty. Those things tend to be downers. But, I'm pretty good at shutting things out. I'm sure I could manage not to notice them (is lightning going to strike me down now? No? Good).

If I had my druthers, I'd stay at one resort in particular—the Rockhouse Hotel. It's built into a cliff, y'all. With villas perched right on top, gazing out over the ocean...

 
Heaven, am I right?
Roatan, Honduras
This might seem like an odd choice. Vacation in Honduras? What? But really, this island, about 30 miles off the coast, is just about the most ridiculously beautiful place I have ever been. The cruise we went on stopped there for a few hours, and I just about fell in love. It's still relatively undeveloped, so it's almost all jungle. And the beaches? Oh my lord, the beaches. There are no words, so here, look at some pics I took:


 
  
  
Someday, I will spend a more extended period of time there. The good news? It's still relatively cheap. Of course, by the time I get there, it probably won't be.There's the small matter of the 4-month-old upstairs I need to spend all my money on for the next 21 years or so...But hey, you never know. Maybe I'll win the lottery.

Or maybe I'll come up with a cookie recipe that wins me a million dollars.  That's how much the lady who won the Pillsbury Bake-Off won. Guess I'd better get baking, huh?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Feel Pretty...

Nope, you're not imagining things. This little blog of mine has a brand new look. One made just for me by Katie over at Lemon Cherry Blogs. What do you think?  Does it make my butt look big? Really, I want to know (in other words, I'm begging you to leave me a comment and tell me).

I've also switched over to the blogger platform, which won't mean much to most of you, but might have my techie friends shaking their heads at me. No, it's not as customizable. But it's way, way easier to use, and my stubborn streak had me spending way to much time trying to figure out all that PHP mumbo jumbo (I hate asking for help. It makes me feel dumb).

Plus, I'm going to save like a hundred dollars a year. Self hosting ain't cheap, y'all.

So here we are. It might take me a couple of days to work out the kinks...right now, none of my photos are showing up. Bear with me (is that the right spelling of bear/bare? That word always messes me up. That and it's/its).

Yes, yes I am rambling. So I'll cut this short. But really, leave me a comment and tell me what you think. I'll be back with something slightly more focused later...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally, a Film About Advertising Worth Seeing.

Too often, movies about advertising play to the stereotypes. They either make the industry look really glamorous...or make everyone who works in it seem like a total dirtbag.

None, at least none that I've watched, have ever captured the passion that drives so many who slog out ads for public consumption. Until now. Art & Copy looks like one movie I have to see.



Doesn't that look great? Well, maybe it doesn't to you folks who could care less about advertising. But I'd consider taking a road trip to see this puppy (it sure as heck ain't coming to Btown).

If nothing else, it'll definitely get put at the top of my NetFlix list when it becomes available to us homebound parents of infants...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Top Ten Things That Rock About Being a Working Mom.

You've all heard me whine about how difficult adjusting to life as a working mommy has been. Well, today, Amanda over at oh amanda invited the bloggin' world to join her in writing a Top Ten list, so I thought I'd play along.

But to be different, I'm not going to whine. Instead, I'm going to tell you why having a full time job rocks.

1. It puts distance between me and the refrigerator. And the pantry. Both of which are very good things when it comes to losing weight. Since I went back to work? Six pounds have come off, which might not sound like a lot, but it's a start.

2. It gives me a reason to get dressed in the morning. When I was on maternity leave? It was sometimes 5 p.m. before I remembered to get dressed. And that's not a healthy way to live life.

3. It forces me to be (a little) more organized. I don't have time to waste searching for things I need, or washing dishes by hand 'cause I was too lazy to run the dishwasher. So laundry's getting done, dishes are getting washed...and sometimes things even get put away.

4. It's helped me to regain my conversational skills. When you're home alone with a newborn, little things like complete sentences go the way of the dinosaur. Talking to adults helps to bring your grasp of grammar back to life.

5. One word: Starbucks. Sure, we're on a post-maternity leave, permanently poorer because of day care budget. But I pass Starbucks on my way to and from the babysitter's house, and every once in a while, I indulge. Raspberry lattes (non-fat, of course) equal yum. Even better, since I'm no longer pregnant,  no one glares at me when I place my order.

6. I really, really appreciate my couch. During the last months of my pregnancy and the first months of Tori's life, I felt like my ass was permanently glued to its cushy surface. I was so sick of looking at my family room, I could have screamed. But now? Now it's a sweet, sweet haven of peace where I can curl up and sleep for, you know, five minutes.

7. Two words: lunch hour. That's right. Sixty whole minutes I get to myself. I can run errands, go to lunch with friends, clean...or sack out on the aforementioned couch for a while. It's heaven, people.

8. Friends! Most of my friends here in town all meet at the same place for nine, ten hours a day—work. And as much as I liked being home, it felt a little isolated. It's nice to have social interactions again.

9. Have I mentioned I actually like my job? It makes me feel, well, more like me. When I don't work, I feel like a part of my personality is missing. It tends to be the crankier, foul-mouthed side of me, but still.

Here comes the mush. Are you ready?

10. There's nothing better than coming home to a smiling baby. I race out of the office at the end of the day, knowing that gummy little grin is waiting for me. The moment I scoop her up makes everything else I had to do to get there seem completely worthwhile.

Monday, August 17, 2009

To Baptize or Not to Baptize, That is the Question.



I have a confession to make (okay, another one). I was never baptized. Never went to church as a kid. Never learned much about religion at all, as a matter of fact.

Sure, we celebrated Christmas and Easter. But for us, the holidays were more about giving and getting presents and spending time with family than they were about the birth and death of Jesus.

My dad is an atheist. So is my brother. My mom...well, I'm not sure about her. But she's definitely not big on religion. And me? Well, I believe in God. But I'm not so sure about church.

Not to get all hippy dippy on you, but I'm more spiritual than religious. My God is that wise voice that comes from the deepest parts of me—some people might call it the gut. And  if I choose to listen to it, it keeps me on the right path.

Have you ever read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert? If you haven't, go get it. It's a wonderful book. In it, the author describes what I'm talking about:

"Then I heard a voice. Don't be alarmed, it wasn't an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston Voice, nor was it a voice telling me I must build a baseball field in my backyard. It was merely my own voice, speaking from within my own self. But this was my voice as I had never heard it before. This was my voice, perfectly wise, calm and compassionate. This was what my voice would sound like if I'd only ever experienced love and certainty in my life..."

That's what God sounds like to me.

But now I have a daughter. And I (well, my husband and I) have to make a decision for her. Do we find  a church? Get her baptized, make her go every Sunday and raise her as a Christian?

Or do I stay true to myself, teach her to be a good person and let her make her own decisions about God when she's old enough?

I don't know.

I know that there have been times in my life when I really, really could have used some religious teachings to fall back on. When I wished I was one of those people with unquestioning faith, who just know that God won't forsake them at the end of the day.

Because there have been moments, many of them, when I have felt utterly lost and alone.

My husband comes from a Lutheran background. And he did go to church every Sunday, get confirmed, the whole nine yards. Thanks to my bad influence, he doesn't go anymore. Not that I wouldn't go if he wanted to.  We're  mostly just too lazy to get up early enough to make it to services.

He's said very little about the whole baptism thing (although I'm sure I'll hear about it after he reads this). I know, though, that although his parents haven't pushed us, they would really like to see Tori baptized.

They've even mentioned a time or five that we could come home and have it done in the church Brian grew up in. But that seems like a lot of work. And kind of hypocritical, if we don't actually intend to raise her in the church.

I don't know what the right answer is. I really don't. I guess it's just the first of many tough questions that will come up while raising this little girl.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For the Love of Pancakes.

In the times B.T., going out to breakfast was one of my favorite Sunday morning (or early afternoon) activities. Didn't have to be anything fancy — Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, it didn't matter. As long as there were pancakes.

I really do love pancakes.

So at about 10 a.m. this morning, I decided that Tori was old enough to be trusted to behave for 45 minutes. And that the time had come to go out to breakfast.

First, though, Tori had to eat (a 45 minute long extravaganza). Then Brian had to shower. By the time he got out, Tori was sound asleep in her swing, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's not to wake a sleeping baby, unless the house is on fire or bombs are being dropped.

We waited. And waited. And waited. For two hours, we waited. Sure, I could have whipped up some pancakes from scratch, cleaned the kitchen and gone for a run to wear off breakfast in that time period, but that. was. not. the. point.

I wanted to go out to breakfast like normal people do, dammit.

Finally, she woke up. But then she needed to eat again. Which, of course, led to some protegous barfing, necessitating a clothing change. But finally, we were ready to go.

The time? 2 p.m. That's right, I waited until mid-afternoon for my chance to have someone else make me pancakes.

Then we decided to try a new breakfast place. Across town. Somewhere they didn't have car seat holders. Or room for strollers. So Tori sat peacefully in her car seat on top of the table...just long enough for us to order.

After that, she wasn't having it anymore. She wanted Out. See, she's just learning to sit. So she doesn't ever want to lay down when she can be sitting up.

Before she could announce that fact at the top of her lungs, I sat her between us in the booth (where she grinned adorably when she wasn't sliding down or falling over) until break-unch-inner arrived. By then, I was sure, she'd go back in her car seat without a ruckus.

Not so much.

I ended up eating my  blueberry pancakes  with a semi-fussy baby over my shoulder, dripping maple syrup all over my lap.

Were they delicious? Yes, absolutely.

Were they worth the hassle? Not so much.

I think I'll go back to relying on Aunt Jemimah to fulfill my pancake cravings. Until, that is, Tori's big enough to eat a plate of her own. Because any child of mine? Is required to love pancakes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Soundtrack to My Life.

Is anybody else out there a fan of Ally McBeal? You remember - it was that TV show about the anorexic lawyer and all her friends? It was just about my favorite TV show ever, back in the day.

I bring this up because everybody on the show had a theme song. Since then, I've always had my own personal song - one that changes depending on my mood, and the craziness of my life at that particular moment.

In my mid-twenties, when I didn't know who I was, what I wanted, or where I was going, it was The Middle by Jimmy Eat World. That's still  a favorite, because I don't think I'll ever stop being in the middle of whatever's next.

The next chapter, the chapter I call Karma Coming Back to Bite My Ass, was Cincinnati. Oh, Cincinnati. How I wish I could forget you. Anyway, the song that went with me everywhere I went during that period? Bring on the Rain by JoDee Messina.

I'm not usually a country music fan, but that song did it for me.  To this day, when I hear that song, I have to hold back tears. That's how bad those memories are.

Next up? The move to Bloomington - a town I had never even heard of before I interviewed for my job here. But, I came, I saw, I fell in love - and before I knew it, I was on my way to becoming a true blue Hoosier.

That was a rather bewildering time. I couldn't quite figure out how I started in Detroit (big, bad city with big, bad agencies) and ended up in Bloomington (small town Americana at its best).

But, by that time I had learned to roll with the punches, so to speak. I definitely knew better than to try to predict the future.  My theme song? "Welcome to Wherever You Are," by Bon Jovi. Honestly? I heart Bon Jovi. Always have, always will (and yes, I'm aware that makes me a big geek).

That brings us to the current moment. A moment filled with wonder, laughter and not a few tears. I've never been under more pressure, been more overwhelmed or felt more satisfied with my lot in life.

Because of all those conflicting emotions, I'm not sure what my song is right now. Maybe "Awful Beautiful Life" by David Worley.

Yeah, that's another country song. Maybe I'm more of a fan than I'd like to admit. Anyway, that's me. What's your theme song?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video Fun.

I'm taking a break tonight, Internet. This week is kicking my butt all the way to the moon. So, while I'm concentrating on surviving until 5:30 tomorrow, I thought I'd share this video with you.

It's another one of those always good for a laugh videos I've got saved in my bookmarks...a golden retriever and his mom dance to Grease. Really. Check it out.



I'll bet you're smiling right now, aren't you? Come on, you can admit it. That's darn cute, even if you don't like animals. You can even play it again if you want. I won't tell.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Diagnosis? Short, Round and Ridiculously Cute.

Tori had her four month doctor's visit today. And you know what that meant. More shots.

But first, she set about charming everybody in the whole place. Her  500 watt smile is quite the conversation starter. Thanks to her insistence on smiling and giggling at every last stranger, I made about 15 new friends before the doctor called us back.

One guy even told me his whole life story. It involved 5 zillion kids, 6 ex-wives and 3 million run-ins with the unemployment line (I might be exaggerating, but only slightly). My reaction? Proves I am a bad person. Because while I felt really sorry for him, I couldn't help but fixate on his lack of teeth. (He only had two top teeth. And they were in the back of his mouth).

I wanted to give him the name of my dentist. But I'm sure he didn't have insurance. Those against Obama's health plan? Should talk to this man and his family.

How did he get six wives with those teeth? I know, I know, I'm a bad person.

Anyway, eventually we waved good bye to our new found pals and headed back to the exam room. Once there, she started blowing raspberries at the nurse, and kept trying to grab the poor woman's nose while she was trying to measure her.

That, of course, made the nurse laugh. And then, of course, she had to pick Tori up and play with her. Even the doctor was delighted by her. She was all business when she walked in, but by the time she left, she was grinning from ear to ear.

Heck, even the shot lady felt bad about making her cry.

I swear, that kid is going to make me far more popular than I want to be. I am an Introvert. Notice the capital "I." That means I am really not a fan of talking to strangers. At all. But she? Never met a person she didn't love.

And when you're attached to such a happy baby, you become the center of attention by default. And everyone assumes you're an equally happy, friendly person. It's kind of a problem...

Anyway, it turns out that Tori's still only in the 10-25th percentile for height, but 75-90th for weight. So she's well on her way to inheriting my body. Poor kid.

But short and round is great for a baby. And with that smile? The world will forgive her anything.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

randomtuesday

Keely over at The Un-Mom hosts this weekly lovelyness called...well, you can read that little button up there, right? Yeah. And I'm feeling nothing if not scattered at this very moment, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Their theme this week is "naked." Now this here is a family blog,(in that my family reads it), so I won't go anywhere too graphic with that.  But, you know, this blog is where I get "naked" on the Internet...where else can I let it all hang out, linguistically speaking, without anyone cringing in horror?

It took me four attempts to spell "linguistically" correctly, just in case you wondered.

Why is it that I feel no shame about shoving anything whatsoever into my mouth when I'm sitting with a bunch of guys (I'm talking about food, people. I told you this was a family blog), but when eating with other women, I get all self conscious?

Seriously. I always feel like they're judging every bite that goes into my mouth. Maybe it's because, secretly, I'm playing the part of Judgy McJudgy myself?

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I suffer from city envy. I do just fine here in my little town most of the time, but get me anywhere near real civilization (Chicago, I heart you) and I start wishing I could magically transport my life to somewhere inside its limits.

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Is it just me, or is it ridiculous that Back To School time automatically gets equated with the start of fall? I mean, it's the beginning of August. And its 90 degrees here. But the kids go back to school tomorrow, so, yeah, sure, let's pretend summer's over already.

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Persnickety is my favorite word. Just in case you wondered.

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Why doesn't the Pottery Barn sell any actual pottery? And have you ever seen a crate or a barrel for sale in Crate and Barrel?

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Have you ever had a strawberry limeade at Sonic? If you haven't, you should. I totally want one right now. But I'm in my pajamas. And it's on the other side of town. And I haven't finished this blog post yet.

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I firmly believe life is too short for ugly underwear. I mean, what if you got in an accident and the EMS guy saw you in those graying granny panties?

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Yesterday, I had to tell a fun fact about myself. I couldn't think of a damn thing. It was humiliating.  Maybe I should have told them I don't believe in ugly underwear?

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Speaking of fun, who was the first person to decide that jumping off a bridge attached to a bungee cord would be fun? And how many concussions did he (I can only assume it was a man) get before he got it right?

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Naked mole rats (just wanted to finish this post with a sentence containing the word naked. There, now I've done it twice!) are really ugly creatures. So ugly they're almost cute. Kinda like bulldogs.

And now it's time to put an end to this randomness. Stay tuned for something slightly less random tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Confession Time.

Pssst. Can you keep a secret? If you read this, you have to promise you won't tell anyone. If the mommy police got a hold of this post, I might be kicked out of the Club forever. Not that I'm really in it (I think you  have to survive the first year before you get a badge), but...

Here it goes. Lean in, because I can't say this very loud.

Sometimes I miss the days when I wasn't a mommy. When I was just me, Amber, crazy ass bitch, wife and daughter, but not mommy.

There, I said it. And I haven't been struck down by lightning.  Yet. Is anyone still reading? Or did you all click the close button in disgust?

Don't get me wrong, I love me my little Tori so much I could eat her whole, and I can't imagine life without her. But I remember life without her. And it had its pluses...

For instance, in the times B.T., Sundays found me lazing around in bed until 10, maybe 11. Then I'd maybe go for a run. Or maybe make some insanely decadent breakfast treat. Or just make my way down to the couch and read for an hour or three.

These days? By 1o, I've been up for hours. I've made bottles, washed dishes, fed animals, sang songs, danced around the house, rinsed myself off with the shower hose, then went back to making bottles...

It's not very restful, Internet.

You know what else I used to be able to do on the weekend? Anything I damn well wanted to. My gardens got weeded, my toenails got painted, my wardrobe got updated...I even had time to shave my legs (a major feat these days).

Now? My hours of free time are measured in the increments of naps. And those? Aren't very long periods of time.

You know what else I never really appreciated? The freedom to collapse after a long day at the office. I'll tell you what, this week kinda kicked my butt. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. Not just garden variety tired. No. Exhausted. So tired my bones ached.

So did I get to take a nap? No. That would be a big fat no. I did everything but. Because on top of all the chores that need doing, there's Tori. And I only get to spend like three hours a day with her. So when I'm home and she's awake? It's all about her.

No matter how tired I am.

I don't know. I'm sure eventually I'll forget how nice it was to be able to relax. To sit outside on a summer evening and listen to the crickets, without wondering if my baby's still breathing.

But now? My baby's crying. Naptime's over, and so is this blog post.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flashback Friday

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On the first Friday of every month, Scary Mommy hosts Flashback Friday...an event inviting bloggers everywhere to post previous entries that no one actually read. So, since I'm feeling all nostalgic this week, I thought I'd repost the first entry I ever wrote on this blog...

Who? Me? A Mommy?

It was 6:25 a.m. on a Saturday. It was, in other words, many hours before I intended to leave my cozy nest of a bed. In fact, I’d been determinedly ignoring my hungry, howling cats for an hour, but when the dog stuck his cold nose in my face and sneezed, I gave up. I stumbled out of bed and stomped down the stairs, snarling “I really hate you guys right now. Hate, HATE, HATE you, you hear me?”

And that’s when it struck me.

Oh my God, I’m going to be a mommy.

What kind of mommy tells her children she hates them?

Holy crap, I’m going to be a Bad Mommy.

In theory, I’d already known I was pregnant for several weeks. But since no one knew but my husband, pregnancy seemed more like a never-ending case of the flu than the beginning of a life-changing event.

But as I sobbed my heart out at the kitchen table, reality set in. Soon, I’d be wholly responsible for another little person—and my every action would have an impact on their life. Every cross word, black-hearted glare and snide remark could be the one that sends them to therapy in their adult years.

I resolved to be a nicer person after that. A better person. One who could conceivably be viewed as capable of raising a child—hopefully one without too big of a risk of becoming a serial killer.

It’s several weeks later now, and things are still a little touch and go. I haven’t cussed at my pets lately. But I have snarled at my husband more than once or twice. I’m starting to feel excited now, even overjoyed. And although I haven’t met my baby yet, I already love her (or him) with a ferocity that surprises me.

But those moments of panic? They still sneak up on me. I’ll be minding my own business, flipping channels on the TV, when with a suddenness that stops my heart, I remember—I’m going to be a mommy. Who the heck thought that was a good idea?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Things Worth Remembering.

At four months and counting, Tori's changing every day. She's constantly discovering new things - so fast, I can hardly keep up. And as much as I try to convince myself I'll never forget these early days, I know I will.

I'm sure I won't always remember how, when I lean over her crib in the morning, she throws her arms open wide and gives me a face-splitting grin.

Or the way she giggles when I change her diaper, so happy to be clean again.

Or the conversations we have at the breakfast table, her babbling in her high chair, me pretending to know what she's saying.

I'll forget how cute she was the week she discovered her tongue, sticking it out every time she got a chance.

And how delighted I was when she blew her first raspberry, spit bubbling all over her clothes.

And how I almost cried the first time she laughed - giggling as I bounced her in the air.

I won't remember how her chubby little knees wobble when she "stands" on my lap.

Or the game we play sitting on the couch - I put her on her tummy on my chest, she flips herself off - over and over  and over again.

Her sweet baby smell will probably fade from my sensory memory. As will the feel of her warm little body turning into a dead weight on my shoulder as she falls asleep.

The memories might fade, to be replaced with newer, brighter versions. But at least now, I'll always have a written record to jog my brain.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adventures in Daycare.

On Monday, Tori turned four months old. She also went to daycare for the first time. I say daycare in the very loosest of terms—she's actually being watched by a friend of mine. In a private home. By a woman who looks after just one other little boy (and her own kids, of course).

It's a pretty sweet situation. In fact, you'd think letting her go would be pretty darn easy, right?

For most people, it probably would be. But I'm the kind of woman who sobs every time she has to take her dog to be boarded.

Internet, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. In fact, I think I was more nervous about dropping her off at my friend's house than I was about getting my stomach cut open and having her hauled out in the first place.

The dread started as a dead weight in the pit of my stomach early last week. By Friday, I was a snarly, miserable mess. By Saturday, the tears had started. And by Sunday night? I couldn't. stop. crying. Period.

When I woke up Monday, I was physically ill. I felt like I needed to vomit, and my head was pounding. And my eyes? Were practically swollen shut from all the sobbing.

Somehow, though, I got her fed, dressed and ready to go. I even managed to drive us there without hitting anything (there are advantages to living in a small town with little traffic).

I managed to keep from actively sobbing while I was actually inside, but the moment I kissed Tori good bye and shut the door behind me, the waterworks started again. Before I could go to work, I had to pull over into a parking lot and pull myself together.

Yeah. I was a mess.

I made it through the morning (although I couldn't really tell you what I accomplished) and rushed back over there at lunch to check on her. She was fine, of course. A little overwhelmed, maybe, but fine.

When she arrived home that evening she was in a great mood. Bubbly, talkative...100 percent cute. So I felt a little better.

Tuesday, it was a little easier to drop her off. And today, it was easier still. I know she's in good hands.  In fact, the whole family seems to be pretty enamored with her. They tell me she's the happiest baby they've ever met.

I'm glad they're enjoying her. And I'm thrilled that she's doing so well. But you know what? I'd still give my right arm to be able to stay home with her myself.

And leaving her? Is still really freaking hard.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Next Big Thing?

Do you Twitter? Then you've got to watch this video.



So...did it get ya? I actually thought flutter was for real for about the first minute or two.

The scary part? I could totally see someone actually thinking this was a great idea. After all, smaller is better, right? And as every copywriter knows, no one actually reads.

It's only a matter of time, people.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What A Difference A Year Can Make.

I realized while driving Tori to day care for the very first time this morning (v. traumatic. will discuss later.), that it's been almost exactly a year since I found out I was pregnant.

And what a year it's been. So much has changed...so much, in fact, that I thought I'd write another one of my famous lists. The title of this one?

The Top Ten Ways Life Changed After I Got Knocked Up.

The bottom dropped out of Wall Street—I'm too lazy to go look up the exact date, but almost as soon as I announced to the world I was pregnant, the economy went into a tail spin. I always have had great timing...

Grey's Anatomy was lost to me—Once the hormones started swirling, I could no longer take the ridiculous drama that Grey's has embraced. I swear, last season they absolutely delighted in seeing how many people they could kill off—and every episode I watched ended with me in tears. Grey's? You're dead to me.

My ass earned its own zip code—I knew your tummy got huge during pregnancy. But no one warned me about the effect it would have on my butt. I remember thinking when I first tried on maternity jeans that there was waaaay too much room in the trunk. Turns out? No. No there wasn't.

I entered a committed relationship with my toilet—First there was the nausea. Then the constant peeing. Which morphed into the constant trickle of pee as pregnancy progressed... I never realized how much time one person could spend in the bathroom.

I forgot to be terrified of the scale—The ever-increasing numbers were a good sign. It meant the baby was growing! And we were both healthy! And it had nothing to do with all those strawberry milkshakes I was drinking!

I learned to love Bob Ross— Can't sleep? Watch The Joy of Painting. Works like a charm...so does Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Which is a shame, because I love that show. But as soon as I put it on, it's lights out for Amber.

My family room got redecorated—Right before I got pregnant, we got new furniture. Then our TV died, so we got a flat screen. It looked pretty spiffy. And then? The baby stuff took over. Now I'm lucky if I can find the couch under the junk we have piled on top of it. And my fireplace? Is hidden behind the pack n play. I'm expecting an interior decorating magazine to call and schedule a photo shoot any day now.

My vocabulary shrank. And my voice rose an octave or three—Who's a cute little blog reader? You are! Yes, you are! Uh-oh, have you got a stinkers? What a stinky stinkers!

Wait. What was I saying?

Oh yeah. My memory shrank, too—I think Tori liked to suck on my brain cells for lunch while she was living in my tummy. Because I suddenly seem to have a lot fewer of them...and the ones I do have aren't responsible for things like remembering why I walked upstairs, or where my keys are. It's a sad state of affairs.

And lastly (here comes the sap. Are you ready? Do you have your vomit buckets handy?)...

I made a miracle happen—My body took a tiny little cluster of cells and turned it into bones, and blood, and skin, and hair...all the things that make Tori the cutest little girl on the whole stinking planet. That's pretty freaking amazing, people. Pretty freaking amazing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Ahem. This is me getting on my soap box. Now I'm staring at you sternly. And now I'm shaking my finger at you accusingly.

Well, not all of you. Just those of you that think it's a great idea to let your house cat outside. Who think that those fuzzy little kitties who usually dine on kibble need to be able to hunt. And chase things. And poop in other people's gardens. And whatever else you think your very domesticated creature needs to do to stay in touch with his or her wild side.

Because you know what else they can do when you let them roam free?

Run out into the middle of a damn highway and get hit by a car. Or three.

No, my car wasn't the one that hit the cat. But I watched it happen. It was a kitten. A little black cat, with white paws and a white mark on his chest. You know how I know? Because after I watched the car ahead of us mow him down, we drove past him, and saw him still raising his poor little head...to watch as the car behind us finished the job.

I screamed, Internet.  I wanted to turn around and save him. But we were going 70. There was no shoulder. And before we could stop...well, I already told you what happened.

I have two cats of my own. Two very spoiled cats who are every bit as much a part of the family as my baby daughter. And I would rather cut off my right hand then let them roam free.

They're not wild.

They are domestic cats. Born of domestic cats. Who themselves were probably the progeny of other domestic cats. In other words, there's not a wild bone in either one of their bodies.

They do not need to hunt. Sure, they might like to, but that's why we have feathery cat toys and little yarn mice. It's called PetSmart people. Go there. Spend five dollars. And keep your cats inside, where it's safe.

Because if you don't? They could become the next little splat on the highway.

And no creature, no matter how small, deserves to meet his end that way.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is Loneliness a Fact of Life?

I've never been what you might call a social butterfly. In fact, as a kid, I was horribly shy. I spent most of my formative years trying to fade into the background, terrified of being called on or noticed in any way.

Once I reached adulthood (or something like it), I forced myself to come out of my shell. Now I can make small talk with the best of them. Can even, in fact, approach a stranger at a party without fear making my heart feel like it's going to explode. But it doesn't come naturally. And I've never gotten good at making friends.

So now I find myself 500 miles or so from everyone I'm close to. Don't get me wrong. I've got friends here. People I can get a beer with, or invite over for dinner. We have fun. And I love them dearly.

But I can't seem to fully let my guard down. There's no one here who I feel like I can just call, out of the blue, and say, "Hey, PMS is a bitch this month. Wanna go get ice cream and listen to me whine?"

Maybe that's just part of growing up. My husband and my daughter have to come first now, and we have so little time to spend together, I'm reluctant to give any of those precious hours up. So I don't work on my other relationships like I should.

But I know I need to.

A few weekends ago, I went to a little get-together that one of my friends was having. It was just a few of us girls, and we sat around, drinking wine and bullshitting about make-up, and men, and whatever else came to mind. It was fantastic.

But even then, I felt like I was on the outside, looking in. I didn't feel like I was fully part of the group. I never do.

It's not their fault. It's mine. But I don't know how to fix it. Is it too late to learn how to make friends?