Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Need Help From The Internet

Dear Internet, I need help.

Question 1.)
How/where do you keep your addresses for people? I think an address book would be futile for me, I would probably use the pages for grocery lists or scrap paper while on the phone with the insurance company or use it to wipe a boogie from my 2 year old's index finger in a pinch.

Here is my current method for addresses: first, I have an email from my MIL from 2008 in which she emailed me addresses for my husband's extended family. So I typically do a Gmail search for any of those peeps to find that email from 2008.

I do the same for some of my extended family. I have a similar email from myself (and to myself) with some other addresses on it.

Next, I search for individual emails from people, if I know I've emailed them with the typical "hey, what's your address?" question.

Lastly, whitepages dot com. Which is soooo lame. And also tempting to click over to the paid link that suggests "hey, want to know EVERYTHING about so-and-so? including their deepest darkest secrets, such as what they watch on tv and where they spend their money?"

I need a better method. Not coincidentally, I write this post on a 10 minutes hiatus of writing Christmas cards.  In other news, look at how dapper we look in black! This was taken back in September, when my sweet baby Amelia was 7 days old. Photo is by Tanya Dunn and I'll share some of those precious newborn nakey bum ones in a later post. Sigh. So sweet. End tangent!



Question 2.)
Do you think it's better to have an idea to do something nice for someone and then not follow through with it, or not to have the idea at all?  If the end result is this: don't do anything for a person. Wow, poorly worded. Let's try it again.

Example 1:
{Me, thinking in my head:}  I wonder what Suzy Q is up to? I bet she would love it if I sent her a mug with some fancy hot cocoa and some even fancier homemade marshmallows with a sweet little note in it from the girls.   {Fast forward three weeks.}    {I never send the gift I so Pinterestly-imagined in my head.}

Example 2:
{I don't think about sending Suzy Q a gift at all.}

Which is better? Example 1 is sooooooooooooooooooo me. Like, I have these ideas of nice things to do for people (okay, like this actually only happens about once per quarter), but then I find I rarely do them. Then I berate myself for never following through with anything, and I wonder if it's just nicer to NOT think of it in the first place. Because in Example 1, I think of a nice thing, but I'm too selfish with my own time and my own laziness and my lack of motivation to actually do it. Obviously this isn't selfishness on the surface, but it's underlying and therefore makes me kind of a bad person. 

Would it be better to just not have those ideas at all?

Question 3.)
What are you making for dinner?  I need ideas, and Pinterest is too overwhelming, even though I finally caved and joined.  Here's what my fridge looks like... yeah... I know. How do I feed my family with that stuff? It's all basically non-edibles, right?  This is the un-Pinteresty fridge imaginable. Clearly you can tell I'm getting a Pinterest complex, am I right? Oh well. Throw me a recipe or two my way, one that's your best go-to recipe that is fast, delicious, fresh, easy, doesn't use spices or pastes or vegetables that I've never heard of, and that my two year old will eat. What's that? You have three recipes that meet that criteria?! Well, send them all my way! (Haha. No. Mac and cheese from a box doesn't count.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back to Work

Yesterday I went back to work. I decided to go back part-time for the remainder of my maternity leave, to avoid going back full time cold turkey. Knowing myself pretty well, I knew it would be stressful for me to go back full time with two kids. It's mostly due to logistics (how will I get them to daycare, both of them, plus myself ready for work by 8:00?!), but also due to "now I know what it's like to stay at home with your kids and I find it nice" stress.

So, if you're wondering how the first day back went... here's what my car looked like:

It took me, no joke, like an hour to prepare the car. I did most of it the night before, and threw in the lunches/refrigerated stuff the morning of. It stressed me out so much, the logistics, that I didn't want to just wing it the first morning back.  How I am going to do this every morning, I haven't a clue. Yesterday was my day home, so I work tomorrow, and I'm already fretting at 8:37 pm the night before about the logistics of the following morning. I am sure that with time, I'll get into a rhythm. But if I'm being honest, timeliness is my worst un-habit. Or, I should say, I am constantly late. And having two chitlins (SP?) only aids in my bad habit.

(Speaking of bad habits... I recently discovered Pocky. I can eat a pack like it's my job. In fact... I just polished off a pack. Ugh. But also: YUM.)

So another facet of my foray back to work: my outfit yesterday was horrendous. I had on the following colors, ALL IN ONE OUTFIT: brown, white, navy, gray, black, green.  I didn't even realize that I looked like a hot mess until I got to work. At least my clothes fit. Had they been ill-fitting, I probably would have gone home on my lunch hour to change, no joke. Since my vanity doesn't allow me to photograph myself looking bad (it's policy), I conjured up this facsimile in Microsoft Paint instead. It's close enough.  Actually, I think this outfit looks better than the real deal. So there's that.



Well I better skedaddle. My lunch-making, pumping, car-packing, outfit-picking-outing, get-the-house-clean-for-the-housecleaner* duties await.

* Yes, I have to clean the house in order for the housecleaner to come. I never understood that either until I actually hired a housecleaner. Also: best money I spend all month. I'd cancel cable TV before getting rid of the housecleaner.

Rounding off this post with a couple of unrelated pictures.
My sweet little angelface Claire. Can you not get enough of this face, SERIOUSLY? This is her "school picture". I continue to pick out the most random outfits for her to wear on picture day. Oh well, one day I will get my act together! :)

Me and my babe child Amelia - 9 weeks old. Her default look is "unimpressed", or sometimes "grumpy". See above. She gets it from her mama.

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thinking Like A Two Year Old

The mind of a two year old is an amazing thing. Sometimes I forget my daughter is just two years old. She's so smart, yet she's only two. She can reason, bargain, use logic, yet these are some of the things that remind me she is only two...
This morning, she woke up screaming, running out of her room, shrieking that Eli had stolen her shoe. I had to hug her and console her and rub her back and assure her that her jelly shoes are in fact still in her shoe bucket, and that it was just a dream and that Eli didn't really steal her shoes and then run them over with his lawnmower. She was nearly inconsolable over that.
This morning, she also shrieked when she saw my newly inflated exercise ball sitting in my room. As in, she ran away screaming from it. I had an exercise ball that I purchased in anticipation of her birth, and used it for a few hours while I was laboring at home with her. The exercise ball remained in our house over the course of the next two years, until the tornado blew it away (literally). She was always terrified of that thing, and I never really knew why, or explored why.
So when I bought a new one in anticipation of Baby Sister's birth (any day now, OMG, another post) and blew it up last night to see if it could get things going (spoiler: it didn't), she shrieked when she was it this morning and again, I was stumped. This time, however, I tried to figure out why. I have come to realize that trying to empathize with other people's fear, even if you don't fear the thing yourself, goes a long way. Mostly I've learned that as someone with fears herself (as in... other people doing the empathizing with ME), so I thought I'd give it a whirl with Claire.
At first I thought she was afraid to sit on it and bounce on it... I vaguely recollected that she had tried rolling around on it and had fallen off with the last exercise ball. So I held her hands as she sat on it and bounced. That wasn't really the issue, though. She didn't seem to mind that part. So I went about my morning, and was drying my hair when she ran into the bathroom, shrieking. "I pushed the ball down the hall and it bumped into the wall......" Big blue eyes staring back at me, huge, full of fear. If I was feeling lazy, this is where I'd typically say (in my head) "uhhh OKAY" and answer her with a "Uh-huh Honey... okay..."
But this morning I set down the hair dryer and went to investigate with her. She barely wanted to peek her head around the corner, lest she see the scary exercise ball. "See? It's down there, on the wall..." she said. "It's gonna get me."
I started to put two and two together. She had rolled the ball (or kicked it?) down the long hallway, and it bumped into the wall and probably bounced around off the walls, perhaps rolling back towards her. I took the ball and showed her that if you kick the ball into the wall, it bounces back and rolls back toward you. A mini physics lesson, if you will.
I tried showing it to her a couple of times, lightly pushing it into the wall and explaining "See? It's bouncing back now and rolling toward me. But it's just a ball, it's not alive, it's not coming to get me, it's just rolling." And it clicked. All along she thought the ball was coming to get her. Yes, she's crazy smart, and can school me in many different ways, but sometimes I'm reminded that she's only two and she doesn't know everything. And it's a pretty neat feeling to see her learning before your own two eyes.
[Note: this was written a couple months ago, but was sitting as a draft, never published. I'm posting it for posterity's sake.]

Attention to Details: Version Two-Year-Old

Claire wants the most bizarre details when I tell her a story. I understand the want for details; I'm always asking Nick for mundane details when he gets off the phone with someone, or he gets back from an engagement that interests me, or just a regular old work day. It's probably why I also love to read other peoples (strangers) blogs.

Last night I was making up a story for her. I am... not good at making up stories. Here's how this story went:

"Once there were two little girls, Claire and Amelia. They were sisters." She didn't like this.

"I don't want a story about me and Amelia!"

"Okay, two little girls, Margo and Betsy. They wanted to go outside and play, so they asked their Mama if they could."

"What color is the Mama's hair? And her hands?"

After answering the questions and fumbling around some more to add to the admittedly boring story, I mentioned the girls were riding their bike. Claire let me get about two seconds into that foray of the story before stopping me. "What color are their helmets?"

I love her curiosity and attention to details. It just cracks me up. What must be going on in that sweet, smart little head of hers?

Another funny example was this morning when I presented her with a new yogurt. I typically buy a huge container of plain yogurt and sweeten it myself with some jam. In a pinch, or when I'm feeling lazy, I buy the kind that's merchandised for the kiddos. She was instantly enthralled with this new yogurt. I think she especially loves things that are her size.

I opened the fridge to decide what to give her for breakfast, and she instantly spotted the small containers. "What's that orange container?"  (Yes, she called it a container. Her vocabulary is so awesome. End brag.)

"That's some yogurt, would you like it?"

"Yes, please. What color is the top?"

"The top is pink." It was pink with white polka dots. I showed her the top, but only said it was pink.

"Oh. (Long Pause. Serious face. She was thinking.) And what flavor is in the orange container with pink top with white polka dots?"

I don't know what it was about this exchange, but my heart was just beaming with motherly love for this funny, strange, curious, lovely little kiddo. She's just so uniquely herself, and I love her little questions about the most random of details. She really pays attention to things and let me tell you... you can't get ANYTHING past her.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Christmas is fast approaching!  I am one of the types of people that gets excited to see Christmas trees going up in stores on November 1st (or earlier), rather than the type of person who gets irate and cranky-pants over the whole situation. And each year, I proclaim this year to be the year it's not about presents, and more about presence -- spending time with each other, enjoying the company of family and friends, and the abundance of food and camaraderie.

While that's a nice sentiment and all, it never really pans out to skip the gift-giving altogether. Let's face it: Christmas is about commerce. There is some satisfaction in giving (and receiving!) so I should give up on that notion of no-gifts-Christmas and just accept it for what it's worth! (Lots and lots of money, that's what it's worth.)

So, in anticipation of Christmas shopping for loved ones, I am trying to reflect on gifts of past Christmases to try to determine the anatomy of a great gift. Here are my top three gifts I have received in recent years.

Ugg Slippers
I simply asked for slippers, and my sister surprised me when she gifted me with Ugg brand slippers. This was several years ago - maybe four or five? - and we're still going strong, me and my Uggs. Some people have their comfy jeans, worn in just right? I, uh, I have my slippers.

Neti Pot
Yes, it's true. I got a Neti Pot for Christmas one year. In fact, this was a gift I half-jokingly asked for from my boyfriend (now husband). This was the first Christmas that we were a couple. Not including one of our first dates which happened to be my extended family's Christmas party that my parents were hosting at their house. True story. No, that's not fast/forward/awkward to ask a guy you've hardly gone out with twice to come to your family Christmas party, not at all... I digress... (Hey, we're married with two kids now, so, it all worked out just fine, thank you...)

So I asked my boyfriend for a Neti Pot because I have issues with my sinuses. Perhaps some young twenty-somethings exchange sexier gifts, it's entirely possible. ("No, Lindsay, it's entirely certain!" you're thinking.) But think of how many sinus infections I have staved off with that thing! It's the gift that keeps on giving! Still use that thing to this very day. It may be one of my favorite bathroom accessories I use.

Immersion Blender
My MIL gifted me with this kitchen gadget last year. Also known as a 'stick blender', for those none-the-wiser. See, I love to make soups. (Gee, do I sound like an old bitty or what?) Lots of times, soups call for blending in a blender in batches. I am nothing if not a horribly messy cook, using no less than 50% MORE cooking/baking/kitchen tools/gadgets/utensils than necessary. And I am not one of these people who CLEANS UP AS SHE GOES, much to the dismay of my neat-freak husband. Using a blender to blend soups takes up about 3 or 4 more items that require washing (often by hand). An immersion blender only takes the 1 item (the blender itself), so this is a WIN as I loathe washing dishes.

So what is it that makes these gifts so awesome?  For the slippers, it was a case of QUALITY. Don't skimp on gifts. Let's say you decide to spend $75 on someone. Rather than get three $25 gifts, buy one $75 gift, with the caveat that it's a high-quality item, not an inexpensive item you get for a steal. For example, $75 slippers (high-quality item, as slippers don't typically cost that much) vs. diamond necklace (precious jewelry shouldn't be that cheap, it must be poor quality).

For the Neti Pot, it was a case of getting someone something they WANT, even if you can't appreciate it. I asked for this sort of as a joke, but deep down I really wanted it. (Yes, I know these are, like, $12.99 and I could have purchased one for myself at any point in time...) Nick was like "WTF" but he got it for me anyway. And for the record, HE still uses it to this day, as well.

And lastly, the blender was one of those PRACTICAL gifts that, while not necessarily a luxury item, is something I use and love dearly on a regular basis, as it makes my life easier, and who doesn't love that? I mean? Priceless.

So... it's easy to come up with a list of items that fit the bill for yourself. But finding items like these for other people, that's where it's a challenge. Better put on my thinking cap, and get the credit cards out!

'TIS THE SEASON!

I know it's early but you're lying if you say you haven't thought about something you want Santa to bring you. Indulge me, and tell me what it is you want. : )

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Turning Into My Mother

You hear people muse about turning into their own mother. Typically this is said with some, how do I say, chagrin, am I right?

I will be the first to admit... I am turning into my mother. Let me count the ways.

1.) The second my husband gets home from work, he starts foraging in the cupboards for snacks. Wait, I stand corrected. First he gets out of his work clothes into some jeans and a t-shirt. I personally never do this... I'll stay in my work clothes until bedtime. I have come to realize that people who change out of their work clothes after work are passionate about this topic. Nick would rather die a fiery death than stay in his work pants and shirt one minute longer than he has to. Aside over...

The foraging for snacks drives me insaaaaane when I've spent an hour making dinner. This was something my mom used to say all the time during my childhood. (And, ahem, post-college adulthood in which I squatted with them to avoid getting a place of my own and having to pay rent and thus spent my first-job measly paycheck at the local watering hole with my BFF on a weekly basis.) "Stop snacking, dinner will be ready in five minutes." But to that cupboard I'd go, and then sit at the dinner table and eat two bites of her meal. Now the thought of this literally makes me twitch with annoyance, and I have that "Ohhh NOW I GET IT" moment and make a mental note to apologize to my mom for all those years of five-o-clock snacking.

2.)

OK, well, I guess I didn't fully think this post out, as I can't even come up with a number two. I guess there is only one recent example I can think of in which I proclaim "I AM TURNING INTO MY MOTHER!"

Oh wait, I've got another.

2.) DOG HAIR. OH EM GEE, THE DOG HAIR.  When we rebuilt our house this summer, we were presented with several options, one of which was flooring. I mulled over the idea of going with an all-hardwood downstairs. I was afraid of the dog hair, though. Dog hair is insanely visible on hardwood floor. Despite this, I took a crazy pill and decided to go with it. (REGRET CITY!) (Not only dog hair, but rugs are not cheap!) AND LET ME TELL YOU. I am driven bat-shit-crazy-insane by this dog hair. Swiffer gets, like, a B- when it comes to keeping the dog hair under control. I am, quite frankly, too lazy to do anything else (such as research other cleaning options) and simply resort to bitching about it instead. This sums up the last four weeks of my life, by the way. Me pulling out my hair (haha, punny!) about dog hair collecting on every inch of my first floor. So, I guess that's another way I'm becoming more like my mom... the omnipresent grumble about dog hair.

Weak example, I know.

BUT! I've decided that me becoming more like my mom is not a bad thing, not at all.

Did you know that my mom turned 56 years old a couple of weeks ago, and that on her birthday she ran her 30th marathon? Does your 56 year old mother run marathons for fun? Pretty bad-ass, right?  It was also her PR in this particular marathon (her 8th time running it) and her 2nd fastest marathon ever.  My dad and sister made her this awesome sign and my dad held it up for her at various points along the course. (My sister ran the marathon as well.) (My whole family is pretty awesome.)

 
So if I can become more like my mom, I think that's a pretty good thing, don't you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Amelia Coos!

First up, a Halloween pic that I forgot to post last night. Claire with Aunt Alli and her bucket of three pieces of candy, unbeknownst to her will soon to be doled out to the neighborhood rugrats!

I think she much preferred her spot in the garage. This way, she got to not only have easy access to our candy bowl (hmmm... maybe that's why we ran out so early...), but she got to check out everyone's costume. It was so cute when she recognized a Nemo costume as he was walking up the driveway, and she exclaimed to him, "Nemo! You are Nemo!"


OK, so here's a video of Amelia coo'ing. I started cooing to her recently, just because, cuz what else do you say to a six-week-old other than narrate the news, which is too anxiety-inducing presently. (I am not a fan of extreme weather... here's why.)

I noticed she started mimicking me! It's cute as a six-week-old... this reminds me I need to get a video of CLAIRE mimcking me. While that is funny to watch, it's not so cute. She doesn't mimic me in real-time, but she says the exact same things that I say to her when I'm not happy with something she's doing. So if I go to take her shirt off for bath time and she doesn't want me to, she starts scolding me: "Mama, I do NOT like when you do that, that makes me VERY upset, please stop doing that RIGHT now, I really need you to stop that." All stern-like. It's unreal! Last week, she ended her tirade with, "You're being a turk." (Short for turkey. My moniker of choice.)

ANWAY. Amelia. Coos. SO. DANG. SWEET!
video

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Claire much preferred handing out Halloween candy this year, rather than going house to house. This was A-OK with me, as we set up some folding chairs at the entrance to our garage to meet trick-or-treaters there. The first year in our house, I found it rather annoying to have to go to the front door every knock or ring of the bell, as our foyer is too small for a chair to camp out for trick-or-treaters. We live in a subdivision that brings anywhere between 150-450 trick-or-treaters, no joke, so it's constant -- the candy flinging.

After a half hour of handing out candy, I decided I had to take Claire at least to our neighbors, so I could get an official "first trick-or-treating" photo. We went to three houses and came home. I went inside to warm up the baby, and when I returned to the garage a few minutes later, Claire was standing by the candy bowl and cried "All the candy is gone, Mama!" with sadness in her voice.

My initial thought was, "Oh, she thinks that huge bowl of candy was hers, and she's sad it's gone."  No, I was wrong. My husband had given out CLARIE'S (three pieces of) candy to trick-or-treaters because our candy had run out.

"There were like 20 kids here, waiting for candy!" was his excuse. :)  Me personally, I would have said, "Sorry kids, closing up shop" and left them hanging, rather than give out MY OWN CHILD'S candy. You know, all three pieces of it.

So we ventured out again, because I would not let this high-fructose-corn-syrup experience go by without my two-year-old participating!

She ended up replacing her loot and then some, so Halloween was saved.


Monday, October 29, 2012

First Week As A (Temp) SAHM

I'm getting a brief glimpse of stay-at-home-mom life. Last week, Claire started going to daycare every other day. I kept her in daycare full-time until then, even though I was home with Baby Amelia. It would have been nearly impossible for me to care for both of them at once, without compromising my healing and recovery from childbirth. That sounds very dramatic (I didn't even have a c-section and I'm talking about healing!) but let me tell you. It's no joke, having a baby. So I packed her up every morning, baby in tow, and took her to school to be watched after by her Daytime Moms.

So I'm only one week in, but hoo-boy. Now I get why SAHMs feel they get a bad rap sometimes. What I mean is... I always believed it when women said "WE WORK! We just don't get paid."   You know, during the whole "working mom" conversation, in which it sounds as if "working moms" are saying that SAHMs don't work because of the wording of our titles. I never thought that, I have always thought SAHMs do indeed have full, busy, not-always-fun days. But now I UNDERSTAND it. I empathize. And at the same time, I feel I am finally validated as a mother, in some weird way. I feel like....... being a "working mom" up until last week, I never really earned my mom badge until I spent some time as a SAHM. 

I say I was a working mom up until last week because Maternity Leave and SAHM are quite different things. The first five weeks with Amelia were Maternity Leave. This meant I was parked squarely on the couch, just watching TV and nursing all day long. Occasionally I would, say, unload the dishwasher. Perhaps on a Tuesday I would fold a load of laundry. Not much else, at least not during the daytime when the baby was awake.

Now on the days when I have both Claire and Baby Amelia (I can't just call her Amelia.... I have to call her Baby Amelia... it's like a lisp) home with me, I feel like I'm a SAHM. Which means, it's a work-day.  Yes, there is still some couch-sitting, and there is definitely still some nursing, but there's a ton of housework (dishes and laundry galore), a ton of activity planning, a ton of cleaning up from meals and snacks and activities and playtime and diapers and pull-ups and underwear (potty-training on top of it all!), and there's cooking dinner, and swiffering the blessed hardwood floors because holy shit if there isn't dog hair all over the floors AGAIN even though I just did this, I am going to become a mad-woman over this dog hair situation.  (And that was this blog's longest and worst run-on sentence.)

Anyway... don't take the above verbal vomit to mean I am not LIKING my foray into this new, albeit temporary, role. In fact, I kinda think I love it. Which I'm surprised to realize SURPRISED ME. I mean, why was I shocked to realize I enjoyed spending the whole day with my two beautiful daughters?

But like I said, I feel somewhat validated now... like I finally earned a little bit of street cred in the mom world or something. I won't lie... I sometimes feel slightly judged by SAHMs when I disclose that I send my daughter to daycare full-time due to my office job. See? I can't even say "when I disclose that I'm a working mom" because I feel like using those words discredits what SAHMs do every day, which is still "work".

This post is going nowhere fast, so I'm going to end it here. The last week has been awesome, and I'm going to try my best to enjoy this precious time while I have it. I need to formulate some of the awesomeness that is Two-Year-Old Claire here on this bloggy thing, because let me tell you... she is so awesome. But later... my babe child is wailing for me, duty calls.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Amelia

I'm a mom again.

Three weeks ago, my darling Amelia was born. Three weeks man. At times it feels like a minute ago, at times I can't remember what it was like just with one.

I expected everything to be a carbon copy of my experience with Claire. Going into labor a week early, laboring for 24 hours, birthing this sweet little E.T. looking (a beautiful E.T., mind you...) creature.

Instead, I was surprised with an on-time baby (why am I even using these "early" and "on-time" labels... I don't even know, as I've never believed in "due dates"), a 3 hour labor, and a completely different baby. This one is not a carbon copy of her sister Claire, she's a carbon copy of her Mama, Lindsay.

Three hour labor... yes, I said it. I woke up on my "due date" (there I go again...) with no signs of labor, so we did what most normal people do when they're 40 weeks pregnant... they go to Ikea.

OK, I make it sound more dramatic than it actually was. In reality, it was a Sunday, and we got there just when they were opening, and we had a very specific shopping list. We were in and out (including a frozen yogurt!) in 40 minutes, a new record. (Also: I will NEVER go to Ikea again unless it's Sunday when they open. Empty, I tell you, EMPTY! A Scandinavian miracle!)

We rounded off the shopping trip with a stop at Plum Market. During both trips, I had a few contractions here and there, nothing to write home about. It didn't even dawn on me to call my sister (our designated Claire-sitter) to warn her "this might be the day". The contractions seemed too sporadic and not even close to consistent.

The day went on... Ikea furniture assembled (I do believe it was our 12th and 13th piece of Ikea furniture my poor husband put together post-tornado), a trip to Target and Whole Foods under our belts (I apparently was trying to shop my baby out of my yute), and we retired home to watch the Lions game. I laid on the couch while Nick cheered on our football friends, and eventually fell asleep for almost the entire game.

My theory is that perhaps I went into labor during said "nap" during this 8:00 pm football game. Not that I woke up or anything, but when the game was over and Nick woke me up to go upstairs to bed at 11:30 pm, I think I made it to bed without noticing contractions or anything (I'm a pretty deep sleeper and thus zombie-walked to bed in a stupor, I'm sure). Less than an hour after going to bed, I woke up at 12:30 am with contractions.

I stayed in the bathroom for about 1/2 hour timing the contractions, and was like "well dang, that hurts" and "well dang, there's another one" and then "well dang, I'm going to take a shower because OW".

So I woke up Nick to let him know "hey, no big deal, I'm just taking a shower at 1 am because OW" and he was sort of like "eh okay? are you having a baby?" and I replied "don't know?"

It only took about 5 minutes of the shower before Nick made the Executive Decision to call my sister, because we were having a baby. I don't know what it is about me, but I was so indecisive about whether it was happening or not. HELLO DENIAL. Being that my sister lives 45 minutes away, I'm so glad he called her when he did.

I spent another hour laboring in the bathroom, draping myself over an exercise ball every 2-3 minutes. Eventually I started to sound like a zoo animal. I won't lie, I was kind of embarrassed on my own behalf. I know having a baby is this natural, albeit primal, mammalian thing to do, and I was definitely playing the part, but I was muy embarrassed at my "owwwwww" moans. 

So, 30 minutes laboring by myself.  60 minutes laboring with my husband up while my sister drove over here. We're talking 90 minutes total at home from the time I wake up in hard-core labor (without ever really being in non-hard-core labor) and then we're off to the hospital.

There was no way in HAIL I was going to SIT in the front seat, because remember? OW? So I laid in the 3rd row of my minivan (hello I'm a mom of two now, of course I have a minivan) and made more embarrassing sounds every 2 minutes or so. With about 5 minutes left of the ride to the hospital, my water broke in a gush. Lovely! Once we got there, Nick grabbed a wheelchair but like with the car, I was like "nope, not sitting on that" and ended up kneeling on it backwards. I don't think I opened my eyes more than three times between leaving my house and giving birth. I was just In The Zone trying to survive each contraction (have I mentioned it before? OW!) and trying not to die.

So now we're approaching 2 hours of labor. 1.5 hours at home, and about 1/2 hour for the drive there and the ride up to triage.

In triage, they checked me within a few minutes, and told me I was complete. Which means, labor is just about over & done with. UM, HELLO, WHAT?  I mean, thank you for saying that, because if you told me I was 4 cm or some bullshit number like that or something, I would have died from pain. (And gotten all Hollywood and been one of those woman screaming and begging for the Anesthesiologist NOWWWW.)  But of course, the fact that I was thinking those things means of course I was done, the worst part was over, now it's just time to have a baby.

Now, I think they really did get kind of Hollywood on me, because I swear (and this was probably the 3rd time I actually opened my eyes to see what was going on around me) they RAN my gurney down the hall. I swear I think I felt my hair blowing in the wind. It's not like I was pushing the baby out or anything? Nonetheless, I got a kick out of that. I kind of felt like a Big Deal on the maternity wing, if that's possible.

In actuality, I think I spent a total of 30 minutes in triage, between kneeling on the bed for a few contractions waiting for the resident, to getting checked, to getting admitted and what not. So in the 2-2.5 hours I was awake and in labor, I got to 10 cm and "ready to push". W. T. F.

The rest is pretty much storybook... push, push, baby. Crying, sweet, baby. My first thought was "OMG, she's different from Claire!" because like I said, I was expecting a version two point oh of my first daughter.

But this little sweetie pie, she had my rosy complexion, my fair skin, my red hair. She nursed immediately, and was easy to console. In a matter of 3 short hours (and 40 long weeks...), our family grew.

"Life as we knew it" had already changed when we became parents the first time, so the experience wasn't as... drastic and life-changing as our first go around. But the love was just as plenty, the awe at the miracle of life renewed, and the feeling that life as we know it just got a lot better.


 
As if there was ever a doubt.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First Things First

First things first... mama finally got herself a smart phone! Only a few years late to the game. Better late than never right? Except now that I have the world at my fingertips, I realize... how small my world actually is. It's not like I'm getting more emails or calls or tweets or anything. Now I just get to constantly monitor how small my world is.
Sweet!

Anyway. I highly do not recommend my weekend to anyone else. 36 weeks pregnant... husband leaves for international bachelor party (OK I added the international part for dramatics, but it's true as they did go to Toronto, which is a five hour drive), so I'm flying solo with fetus baby, two year old, and stir crazy dog. Have to pack up our apartment and move to a hotel because the lease here is up but house isn't ready for us to move back into just yet. About a week left! Five months and counting since the tornado. Anyway, stressed doesn't begin to cover my weekend, also see: sore, tired, and did I mention 36 weeks pregnant? Oh yeah I did. That.

Here's my self reminder that things could be so much worse. Uhhhh. They could be. My morbid mind could come up with 100 things that are worse than my weekend, so I'll stop complaining.

And go back to checking my non-friends on FB and refresh twitter on my handy new little cellular data device I scored today.

Here's a pic of Claire cuz why the hell not. Love this kid something fierce. Good thing I was able to capture "Baby's first Gogurt" via pic. One for the baby book for sure...


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life Lately

I keep meaning to start a baby book or a journal or something for Claire. Let's just say it's on my mental to-do list which is yay high {picture me stretching my short and stubby arms as far as they can sadly reach}.
 
So let's just document on ye olde blog here, shall we?
 
Yesterday morning, while Claire was getting her first film of toddlery milky smell on her (moms out there know what I mean... that first layer of toddler stench, right?) while eating her morning yogurt, I just had a burst of love while looking at her and said "Claire? I love you." and she kept her head down, steadfast on the yogurt task at hand. "I love you, Mama." My heart swelled, as it is wont to do when my 2 year old tells me she loves me. Then she piped up again. "I love you Murphy. I love you Baby Sister." OK, if that doesn't make you want to weep with motherly pride, then I don't want to know you.
 
Claire seems slightly jealous of Baby Sister thus far, but maybe I'm just projecting this onto her. She doesn't like to talk much about the baby, but then again, she must not get it all that much. We've been talking about Baby Sister for months now, she probably thinks we're all talk, no walk. I asked her the other day what Baby Sister's name should be. She was confused. "Umm. Sister!" Once I thought about it, it makes sense. We call(ed) her Baby Claire, and we call other babies Baby Grace, for example. So all along we've been saying Baby Sister, with sister just being the placeholder word. Whereas she thinks Sister is the name. I thought it was cute. I tried to explain that we could call her lots of different names. The one she finally suggested is Buddha. No idea where Buddha came from. No, we don't practice eastern religions. Or any religions for that matter.
 
Speaking of which. After the tornado, when most of Claire's books were destroyed, we got a plethora of books donated to us by her daycare friends. (Again, cue waterworks/heart swelly feelings.) One of the books is about Christmas, and tells the story of Jesus' birth. For being a kid who had never heard of Jesus before this book, she is downright obsessed with Baby Jesus. In fact, she was studying the tag on her washcloth the other day, and saw the Gerber baby face on the tag. "Baby Jesus!!!" She was so shocked that Baby Jesus appeared in places other than her beloved book. Every night, she wants to read the Baby Jesus book. She even fills in the words for us. It'll go like this:
"Then Mary and.... "  
"Joseph!"
"had to walk all night long to..."
"Bethlehem!"
"And when they got there they were very..."
"Tired!"
"but they had no place to sleep. So they slept in a..."
"Stable!"
"And that night..."
"Baby Jesus was born!"
 
It's pretty damn cute, even if it is about Baby Jesus, who I don't really have much else to teach her about except the night he was born.
 
My last little blurb is about a little ritual that Nick started with Claire. I think he got it from the book The Help. He basically tells Claire some affirmations and she repeats them. It's so precious. It typically goes like this:
"I'm pretty."
"I pretty!"
"I'm funny."
"I funny!"
"I'm smart."
"I farp!"
 
For being a kid with such an amazing vocabulary, a talking wonder if I may say so myself, this is the sweetest little speech impediment I've ever heard. She can't say "sm" and instead says "f".   So "smart" turns into "farp". {Let me digress a little to say that yes, we've considered the short-term ramifications of this, and have vetted out the possible ways in which we can get our daughter to swear. Smuck. Yes. We went there. I was not pleased nor proud.}
 
I totally "get it" now when I think back to the story my mom told me once about how I used to say "K-Mout" instead of "K-Mart". She said it was the sweetest thing, and the day I said "Let's go to K-Mart" her heart broke a little. I totally get it. Once she masters "smart" I will probably shed a proverbial tear.
 
These stories are probably only interesting to me, but there you go. A little glimpse of 2 year old Claire.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Am I A Queen? Or Is Nick A King?

I'm finally getting a tad excited about redecorating our house. The first 4 weeks post-tornado were all about coping with PTSD (sounds dramatic, I know), then the past 4 weeks have been about looking at selections for flooring (wood, tile, carpet, oh my!), kitchen and bathroom cabinets, roofing colors, siding colors, brick colors, oh the list will go on and on and on in the upcoming months. (Cabinet pulls? Wall colors? Light fixtures? Faucets? Doorknobs? SEE WHY I AM STRESSED?)
 
But what is getting me excited is the easy stuff to pick out, like new bedding, or a new headboard, and the such. Which leads me to my point. Do we replace our queen bed with another queen bed. Or do we splurge and upgrade to a king?
 
The apartment we're staying in while we're displaced from our home is furnished with a king bed. It's like Nick and I cross paths in the night, the bed is so huge. Being that I'm pregnant and currently require no less than 4 pillows to sleep (no joke), this extra space is welcome. But is it too big for the long run? Who has strong opinions either way? Does a king take up too much room in your bedroom? Do tell!
 
Also, I sort of wish I had an iota of design skillz right about now. I follow a few blogs of design-y type people, and now that I'm faced with design-y decisions myself, I realize what a true gift that is. I also wish I was more of a decisive person. I'm horrible about making decisions about things that are either expensive (read: if I don't like it in the end, I can't afford to replace it - such as kitchen cabinets, or flooring) or rooms that require a plethora of things going on to come together (again - like the kitchen, where I have to pick out cabinets, counter tops, flooring, all from different contractors who are just selling you their one product - not someone who designs it all together so you know what it'll look like when the room comes together). I'm pretty sure I need to just buy a dart board, pin up some color swatches, and throw some darts.
 
That is, if I can even hit the dart board. I sort of throw like a girl.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Conversations in the Car with my Two Year Old

Claire (All concerned-like): "I don't like that noise."
Lindsay: "What is the noise?"
Claire: "It's windy."
Lindsay: "Oh, you don't like the wind? Does it scare you?"
Claire: "Yeah... it's scary."
Lindsay: "Do you remember when it was really windy outside? We're all better now, though."
Claire: "Yeah."
Lindsay: "What did we do when it was windy?"
Claire: "We runned away."
Lindsay: "Yes, we ran away, and now we're safe. Where did we run to?"
Claire: "Runned to the floor."
Claire (Slight pause in conversation): "Mama? Can I see my oatmeal?"
 
And just like that, the conversation was over. I don't know what the experts say about talking to your kids about scary or stressful or near-death experiences. I was just winging it and prompting her with questions I thought were safe and not probing to ask her anything she wasn't already remembering in her tiny, 767-day-old brain. (That's 2 years, 1 month, and 5 days for those busting out the abacus.)
 
She is clearly weary of the wind. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's scared of it, or even terrified, just cautious. When she hears it, it's like her ears perk up like a dogs and she looks toward the window. Bless her poor little heart. She shouldn't be stressed over this, even if just slightly. At one point during the tornado's brief visit on/near/beside our house, while we were cowering on the floor in the corner of the basement, I lifted my head up and looked over my shoulder. It was probably during those few seconds while I watched the actual tornado that she, too, watched the actual tornado. It wasn't just "strong winds due to the tornado", it was "that is a tornado right there". At the time, obviously, I wasn't thinking "don't let her see this for it will scare/scar/traumatize her". I was thinking "this sucks so badly that we're going to die right now." So I can't really reprimand myself for allowing her to see it, but I feel really sorry that she is on alert when she hears even the slightest howl of the wind.
 
But still, I don't think I'm giving her enough credit here. Right after we were done with our ten-second tornado talk, she asked to see her oatmeal. Which I had just microwaved about two minutes before and put into a disposable bowl and had set it on the front seat of the car for the drive to daycare. Because she was so excited to eat the oatmeal and wanted to see it to make sure I hadn't lost it and that it was still waiting for her to eat after our fifteen minute car ride. And then after I showed it to her, she was on to her next task, which is requesting to listen to "Adeley I Heard". Which is, of course, Adele's Someone Like You.
 
Bless her heart indeed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

People Are Nice

People are nice. People are very nice.


In the midst of an anxiety-filled week (see here, and here), my friend wrote me a concerned email. She was worried that I was super stressed (check!) and reminded me that I needed to de-stress for my avocado baby. She was right! She gave me a couple of ideas; one was to write a gratitude journal, and another was to re-read my blog archives.

An aside, this was nice of her: when she offered up her suggestions, she also acknowledged (I am paraphrasing and putting words into her mouth!) that she was in no shape to be doling out advice because she had no idea what I was going through, and she did ask "am I making things worse [by suggesting these things]?" which I thought was nice of her to say. In fact, she did not make things worse, I truly appreciated her email and words of wisdom. But in hindsight, it was a really nice thing to say. To at least acknowledge that she had no idea what to say in case she said the wrong thing, she preemptively apologized. Don't know why, but it struck me as nice. Aside over.

OK, so first: gratitude journal. I haven't started one per se, but here is my first list.

Here are some ways in which people have been unbelievably nice to me and my family:


  1. The tornado happened on Thursday evening. (5:46 p.m. EST to be exact.) By Friday morning, my brother's co-workers had gone to Walmart, purchased clothes and shoes and a gift card for Claire, and also cleaned their kids closets for some hand-me-down clothes for Claire. They don't even know me! They know my brother! How incredibly nice is that? I was beyond touched by this.
  2. This morning I received a package at work. I never receive packages at work, so I was instantly curious. The return address label had a man's name that I had never heard of, all the way from Sedona, Arizona. I live in Dexter, Michigan. I have no family nor friends in Arizona, so who is this mystery man? I opened the box and inside was a quilt. There was no card, but one corner of the quilt said it was made by the Red Rocks Quilters. I showed my coworker and we put two and two together. You see, there was a VP of Quality at my company who worked here for about two years. She retired about 1-2 years ago. During her brief-ish stay in Michigan, she lived in Dexter. I'm taking some liberties in connecting the dots here, but I'm assuming she reached out to some people at work (CEO? HR?) to see if anyone at work was affected by the tornado. And she and her quilting club made me a quilt and sent it to my work. Now, I barely worked with this woman. I don't think I ever directly talked with her, I was in a few large meetings where both she and I were in attendance, and she certainly didn't know who I was. So she sent me, a virtual stranger, a quilt in the mail, anonymously. I put two and two together because I mentioned the man's name on the return address and my coworker confirmed that's her husband's name - they have different last names. How touching is that?
  3. Claire's school (daycare) had two families that were affected by the tornado. One being us, the other being a family with two kids (and the mom is also 3 months pregnant!). The other family sustained much more damage to their house (I believe a majority of it was leveled) and the mom was home with her kids, as was I. School asked how they could help, and I relayed to them that Claire's books had been trashed by the tornado, and how sad I was about that. So many people donated books to us that she now has more books than she had before. (I feel guilty about this; people were too nice!) Also, people donated cash and gift cards. When the director tried to give half of it to me, I declined, knowing the other family had much worse damage than us. Eventually, there was an envelope with money and gift cards in my school mailbox, so I don't know if the other mom insisted on splitting the money or what. I'll never know. Many people have asked how they can help, and just asked how things are going, which I am so grateful for. Sometimes even just someone genuinely asking how things are going is a gift. Even if I unload on them for a couple of minutes, it takes a weight off of my shoulders that I didn't realize was there.
  4. Daycare offered us a tuition break - which is above and beyond wonderful of them. I know that we have homeowners insurance, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that when all is said and done, we may not come out the same money-wise. I feel we'll end up fronting more money out of our pockets than we think we will, so this tuition break is essentially cash back into our wallets, which was so, so, so nice of them.
  5. I'm not a popular blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I have received some really awesome blog comments from Meghan, Grace, Stephanie, Jessica, and Amber. Some of the comments have been downright therapeutic, I swear. I should have paid them to comment.
  6. We've received a ton of emails, texts, Facebook messages, calls, gift cards, gifts, flowers, offers to babysit, offers to dog-sit, and other forms of support from friends, family members, and coworkers. Even a friend I haven't talked to or seen in several years sent me a card and gift card. The words people put in the cards have been so, so nice. It makes me wonder how on earth I can ever give back like people have given to me. With each card, gift, or offer of support, I would holler (or text, or email) to Nick and say "Nick! We REALLY need to start giving back."
To say I am grateful for the support we've received sounds so shallow. But I'm not sure what other word to use, so I'm sticking with it. Grateful. And as I alluded to, it has reminded me that we really need to take a look at how we can give back with our time, resources, strengths, and energy. We owe the world big time. We are so grateful.

NOW... onto the second idea my friend offered me as a way to de-stress. Re-reading some of my old blog archives. I started blogging in 2001, like, ELEVEN years ago. All here on this very same blogspot page. I never made any attempt to capitalize on blogging like so many others have (smartly) done, it was more of an online journal. So when I look back to archives, such as this, and this, and this [edited: links below], I just laugh and laugh at how... random and loopy I was. Like I said, I wasn't blogging for an audience by any stretch of the imagination, it was just to help me remember random fun times in college, random emo times in college, and other random things that came up. There wasn't (and still isn't) a rhyme or reason to my posts, I don't have a style or a purpose or any incentives to post, I just do it for shits and giggles.




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thirty

I turn 30 this week. I had planned all along to take the day off and do some pampering. Now that means more than it did before, and I am really looking forward to it.
 
On the agenda:
 
- Great Harvest Bread Company - breakfast
- Coffeeshop (which one? what to get? I haven't indulged at a coffeeshop in ages, which tells you a lot about what I consider an indulgence, as well as my cheap, nay,  thrifty ways) - plan on reading a bit, either The Happiness Project or The Leftovers, both newly purchased on my Kindle Fire.
- 1 hour prenatal massage
- Mani/Pedi (definitely getting the pedi... I'm on the fence regarding the mani) - hello massaging chairs!
- Lunch out? Kind of lame but I don't have anyone in AA to get lunch with. Perhaps I'll grab a quick light lunch before my massage somewhere.
- Haircut? To say I need one is probably the understatement of my month. Situation is out of control. I look... homeless. Not in an "uprooted by tornado" way, but in a toothless, down-on-your-luck way. Or like someone on Intervention, which might be worse. (OK, that was mean. I truly do have empathy for people on Intervention.)  The place I go to is an Aveda Institute, so it's cheap (there we go again with the cheap) and you leave smelling Aveda-y (heaven) and they have a no-tipping policy!
- Shopping? Is this going overboard? I want to buy something nice for myself, but I don't know what. Bizarre problem to have, right? Nick is desperate to buy me something nice as well, but I have zero ideas, and he knows darned too well that if he comes home with a mall jewelry store purchase, that he made the wrong move. {Shudder!} I want something classy, but practical. Expensive, but not chain-y. I adore Etsy stuff, but there's just so damn much on that site, that it would take me 11 years to find something nice and pretty and not cheap. (Finding cute cheap stuff on Etsy? Easy peasy! And fun to boot! But I want something nice.)
- Dinner? Not sure what dinner will entail just yet. At some point, my day of luxury will come to an end and things like "picking up the daughter from daycare" and "taking the dog out to pee" and "making the daughter's lunch for school tomorrow" will creep onto my schedule and I will be brought back to reality. And really, after spending a luxurious (to me) day doing the things above will be lovely, oh so lovely, but eventually I'll want to hang out with Nick and Claire. Maybe we'll go somewhere low-key (mom-speak for "if my 2 year old throws a tantrum, we won't be given the evil side eye and/or be thrown out and/or slightly bicker about who's doing what about said tantrum or who's not doing what about said tantrum) and I'll order dessert first and maybe not even order dinner, which is my idea of heaven. Wait, no, my idea of heaven would be to also have a drink, of the tipsy-inducing variety, but lo, I don't think society, my fetus, or my doctor would approve. So iced tea (of the non-Long-Island variety) will have to suffice. It's a good problem to have, though. ;)
 
Hmmm. What am I missing?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lately - 3/26

This morning, my heart dropped when I took Claire into the bagel shop with me, and she commented "Oooh, windyyy," with a hint of concern in her sweet little two-year-old voice. Of course I immediately wondered if she's was remembering the 130 mph winds that tore through our house. Well, really, she'd only remember the part where we were huddled in the corner as the winds blew by the walk-out basement windows, as neither she nor I actually knew they were tearing through our house and roof as well. Or if she was just being a two-year-old who parrots everything she sees and experiences with her ever-growing vocabulary. I don't remember her ever saying "windy" before although in the past I never would have thought twice about the word. Now, I hear the ever-so-slight howl of the cool March wind outside my window while I'm trying to sleep, and must immediately shut them as the sound sends shivers down my back. I don't need an auditory reminder, I have plenty of other reminders, thankyouverymuch. How I ended up on the side of the bed that's closer to the window was probably not intentional, but I might as well be there. Maybe it wasn't just dumb luck that we got out of harm's way just in the nick of time that night, maybe I am some sort of good luck charm. OK no, that's just crazy talking.
 
Someone from my neighborhood set up a Facebook page for us to join and talk about things. Whether it's contractors, insurance companies, donations, 'our feelings', or reaching out to one another, I'm really glad I found the group. Someone posted about being apprehensive about going back to work (check!), about their heart hurting for their children (CHECK!), about feeling like "the rest of the world" doesn't "get it". I don't mean that in a global sense, obviously, but in an inner-circle sense. Someone said (and I paraphrase): "It bugs me to log on to Facebook and see that people are just going about their lives when I am sitting here dealing with this crap." (Check!) Reading that and all of the other posts has at the very least validated my feelings thus far in this ridiculous experience. Yes, I know, no one got hurt and it's just possessions and material things that were lost. For that, I am beyond grateful. I could sit here sobbing all day with gratitude. Literally. You have no idea. But the fact that no one was physically hurt doesn't take away from the emotional toll this has taken on me. And I say that only as someone who was in their house, within 20 feet of the tornado and witnessed it with my very own eyes as my daughter and my dog lay beneath me. The weight of that experience isn't something that goes away just because we're safe and sound and because several days have passed. Honestly, the stress of dealing with re-building our house and re-buying our material things is only superficial stress, and sometimes I choose to focus on that stress instead of the underlying stress of feeling like I cheated death because that's all my body and mind can handle at the moment... the superficial stress. It sounds dramatic, but I really think there are only a few people in my neighborhood who understand it. I think the tornado only hit about a dozen or two houses (but damaged over 100?), so it's just a small group of us who actually have these feelings of "holy shit, that was fucking terrifying and how am I still alive?"
 
Well, I didn't realize I had so much to say this morning. I'm finding it hard to focus on my work this morning. It all started with just a sweet little voice. "Oooh, windyyy."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Know You Are... When...

You know you are a mom when...
... you long to go to Target by yourself because then you can actually browse in whatever section you desire for as long as you wish... this sounds like a luxury to me.
 
You know you are not yourself when...
... your husband buys you (unprompted!) a candy bar while at the grocery store, on two separate occasions, yet the both remain uneaten for over a week. This is not me.
 
You know you are a desk monkey when...
... you spend several days outside all day (dealing with tornado-related-crap) and you find yourself EXHAUSTED at 5:00 p.m. from all of that fresh air and sunshine (oh pity me!), only to return to work and sit at a desk staring at a computer for 8 hours and find that the stale office air actually makes you less tired than fresh air and sunshine and even perchance a little more awake and aware. Weird how that works. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Continue To Be Alive!



While I was sitting in my driveway, with a blank look on my face, a couple of older adults with Salvation Army aprons on approached me cautiously, asked if I was the homeowner. I acknowledged that I was, and they handed me a single page with a graph on it about the stages of emotions I'll be going through. They explained I was 'here' on the graph, climbing toward a peak, (as the y-axis grows, as do they 'happy feelings'), and that at the top of the peak is the 'grateful' feeling, but that I would soon plummet down toward a horrible valley of anger and desperation. Well, it sounds really dramatic, but I'm pretty sure I'm still in the "well, I'm alive!" category of gratefulness.

Here are some more pictures of my house. I don't know why my house was one of the ones that was focused on, I guess it was on CNN, Weather.com, several Michigan newspapers front pages, Univision (some Spanish station/network? my cousin told me...), etc. I think because the front face of the house is brick and the brick is untouched, it makes the house look stoic or something. The fact that the front is untouched does not reflect what it's like inside.

On my street, we're the 3rd house in, on the right side of the street. On the left side of the street, houses # 1, 2, and 3 are completely demolished. House #1 was leveled by the tornado, House #2 is the same floor plan as our (except not brick) and basically the entire top level of the house was blown off/away, and House #3 (directly across the street from us) is demolished as well.

On my side of the street, House #1, #2, and #3 (us), and #4 are all uninhabitable, will take 4-6 months to gut and rebuild from the inside and outside. But our houses will not be demolished, they will be restored. I'm not sure what's the better scenario, but that's our deal.

So here are some pictures of the house. This is mostly for shock factor, I admit. But it's unbelievable! I'm still slightly in denial!

My bedroom. OK, I won't lie, it didn't look much nicer than this before the tornado... :P
See that bookshelf? That's where my engagement ring was sitting. It was still sitting there when we went up there for the first time. Can you believe that?? The roof was torn off but my ring didn't get picked up. Bizarre.

Our family room

The kitchen eating area. You an see the debris all over the backyard.

Our backyard. The lower level windows on the right... I was sitting about 5 feet from the windows on a couch that faced the windows and about 10 seconds before the tornado came through I ran from the couch to the corner of the basement, then the tornado hit our house and the windows exploded inwards and the railing of those stairs went through the window. You can see the railing still there sticking out of the window on a diagonal.

This is the view from the basement window.

This is our garage. My car was in the garage, the garage door was down when the tornado hit, but was wrapped around the car in the aftermath.

Another shot of the basement, right where I was sitting before it hit. I honestly didn't know what was about to hit.

All boarded up.

I feel a little weird posting pictures of my neighbor's destroyed house. This is the "House #2" across the street from us. They have the same floor plan as us, their entire 2nd floor was blown off. They were out of town when this happened, so thankfully they didn't have to endure the actual tornado. They have a 2 year old as well.

This is House #1 across the street from us. The entire house was leveled by the tornado, so this is post debris-cleanup. I don't know the story behind why this toilet is the only thing left standing? There was an 87 year old man who lived here, his care-taker got him to the basement in time and he walked out of the walk-out basement without a scratch.

Our deck, post debris-cleanup.

Our family room

Family room

Bedroom, this must be after it was boarded up. But before it was cleaned up, obviously!

This one makes me sad. :(  My 2 year old's room. Obviously you can't see much here, it was just really sad to see it.

Across the street neighbor's (House #2) bathtub, with our house in the background. Here you can see the garage wrapped around the car.
OK, almost done with the pics. 

This it the deck chair from across the street House #2, which went through our front window. Nucking futs!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Tornado

Why do I feel the need to blog less than 5 hours after a tornado blew through my house? I don't know. The sirens were going off when I picked up Claire from school, the kids were in the tiny bathroom with the teachers but I decided to go home anyway, living just 1 mile from her daycare.

We went to the basement almost immediately, and I honestly thought it was no big deal. We hung out on the couch right in front of the three windows of our walk-out basement. Claire, who just turned 2 last week, found her bouncy seat which had been retired to the basement, and was laying in it, strapped in. She was just chilling.

All of a sudden, it started blowing something freakish. This is the moment of divinity in which I immediately picked her up in the bouncy seat and ran to the corner of the basement. Granted, in hindsight, I should have moved to another section of the basement, but about 5-10 seconds after we got there, the windows just exploded in and the tornado was passing over my house. I briefly looked over to the window, saw the windows exploding in to the house, saw the scene of Wizard of Oz right before my very fucking eyes. Just gusts and gusts of brown and yellow light and wind and ugliness and neighbors play structures and my deck and god knows what else blowing by those windows. Kind of wish I didn't have a walk-out basement but glad as hell that I had a basement to begin with, and that I was down there.

Just two years ago, right after Claire was born, we got a TON of tornado sirens. Being a new mom, I insisted we all head down there, but on the 3rd or 4th 'false alarm' in a couple of weeks, we started to get jaded by the sirens. I am so, so thankful that I wasn't jaded enough to not be in the basement. I am so, so thankful for the divine message to move to the corner that very second.

I keep playing the What If game and I know it's not healthy. "What if I would have stayed at daycare in that tiny bathroom?" "What if I wouldn't have been in the basement?" "What if I hadn't moved from right in front of the window when I did?"  I can't keep doing that. I didn't stay at daycare. I did go to the basement. I did move to the corner. We escaped without a scratch. My dog is OK. My daughter couldn't have been better. I don't think she saw much, I threw my body over her and I think she was just nervous that I was so scared and crying.

My house? Who knows. Here are some pictures. I was escorted out by firefighters who told me not to go back in the house because it was creaky and they said it was unsafe to be in there. It appears it's not supported on one side where the side of the garage was torn off. That's what insurance is for. All I care about at the moment is that I got to sing ABCs and Jingle Bells and Rock-a-Bye-Baby to my 2 year old while in my parent's car en route to their house. I'm glad that I got to distract her from my distress by showing her the cool firetrucks and by letting her drink Gatorade and hugging her and holding her hand as she fell asleep and that we are 100% healthy. How am I so lucky? To whom do I owe my life - literally - my life. And my daughter's life? And my 14 week old fetus-baby's life? My husband was out of town, on his way up to what was supposed to be a fun weekend of college football watching and beer drinking. Is it funny that while I was sitting in the basement of my torn up house, terrified to move until the hail stopped and until the firefighters broke down my front door (because I wasn't answering the door - uhhh, no, I was crouched in the corner of the basement still, over 2 hours after the tornado hit. I wasn't moving until the firefighter escorted me.)  Anyway, while I was sitting there, thanking Grandpa Ron and Grandma Betty (two of my grandparents who passed away in January and February respectively) for helping to save my life, I felt bad for my husband that he had to come home from his fun weekend. Silly! Of course he's on his way back, but I was like "Awww MAN. Nick was really really looking forward to that."



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goals Revisited

So, I think I was supposed to do something like run 150 miles, eat dessert only 3x in the quarter, and cook vegetarian 3x per week. Going off memory but I'm pretty sure those were the three goals.

I got off to a strong start. I was running a ton, I think I got up to 50 miles logged in the first few weeks. I was feeling great. Then, I took a pregnancy test. Then pregnancy fatigue set it. I won't lie. Those first few weeks, I still worked out and was running at the gym, all smug-like, like "look at me, I'm a pregger running, lame are those who laze about on the couch" and then, two weeks later, foot: meet mouth. I mean, foot, meet head.

When it comes down to it, I blame pregnancy on my failing all three of these goals. I had no energy or mental wherewithal to withstand working out, cooking in general, and who am I kidding. The dessert goal? Was never going to happen, pregnancy or no pregnancy. Why I put that one in there is beyond me. Depriving myself of dessert is just... cruel. Plain and simple.

So, as I sadly wrap up this quarter with a big 0-for-3 record, I guess it's time to (1)  make some minor, baby steps towards healthier living, now that I am feeling better-ish, and (2) start writing my Q2 goals. Yes, even though I had a big fat F on the first go-around, I will still make goals. I think this upcoming quarter it will be about working out (that one's gotta stay - a healthy body makes for a healthy mind) and tidying up my house. Let's just say that my Spring Cleaning 2011 list still has about 90% of the items on it (yes, last year's list) and the list has only grown, so it's time to put on the rubber gloves and get to it. A clean house makes for a happy housewife working mama. (Part-time housewife.)

Ta ta for now.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

My daughter is two today. To say "I love her so much" is the understatement of the year. One of the things that has surprised me the most about parenthood is how the love grows exponentially with time. I'm sure this will taper off at some point, it's not like a 60 year old is just obsessed with their 35 year old child the way a 29 year old is obsessed with her 2 year old daughter. When I was preparing to become a parent, I tried to envision myself as the type of mother who, upon seeing her child for the first time, starts weeping uncontrollably. I just couldn't picture that happening. And it didn't. That's not to say I didn't love her right away, but that's what I mean when I say my love for her has grown exponentially with time.


Two years ago today, at this very hour, I was in the middle of my labor. I had been admitted to the hospital a few hours earlier at 4 cm. Little did I know then that I would only progress 1 cm over the next 8 hours. Typing that out makes me cringe, but in the early part of labor, I was blissfully unaware of my immediate future. A future that involved 8 hours of little progression! But eventually, my body kicked it into gear naturally, just the way I wanted it to, and I became a mom. Typing it out doesn't really give gravity to the importance of this event, but I won't even try to pepper it with words that can't do it justice. I didn't cry like a baby when I first became a mom, but I sure as hell could cry at the drop of a hat reflecting on the last two years of my life with Claire, and Nick.

And to think I get to do it all over again.
 
Lucky, lucky, lucky.