Thursday, December 31, 2015

so apparently it's new year's eve. my exciting plans for the evening include trying to sleep and comforting a teething nine month old. i'm sure you're very jealous. i'm going to come back next week and do some sort of yearly round-up just because this was a big year, and i'm too tired to write anything right now, but i felt like i should post something tonight.


a few days ago i watched the new star wars movie. now, i had somehow managed to not watch any star wars movies before then, and i don't know if any of you are familiar with those youtube videos where they ask someone who hasn't watched a movie to describe the plot of the movie, but i was pretty much one of those people. i knew very little, and what i did know was very mixed up. (i found out after the movie that anakin skywalker turned into darth vader, and i think i should have known that? maybe i did know that and forgot? anyway.) SPOILER and i dunno, but at the end of the movie, when a character died, i felt really jipped (gypped) because i just got to know you how dare you die already? and now i feel like i need to watch all the other star wars and i'm kind of annoyed by that because i don't have time for that.

anyway, hope you all have a great start to the new year. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

all of our plans have fallen through

i used to sit in the same spot in my apartment for days, barely moving, staring at a screen of some sort nonstop, and if a bird flew by my window i would think, "wow! a bird! just flew past my window! this must be magic! something has happened! i should blog about it! amazing!" now that is obviously an exaggeration, but at the same time, it really isn't. how many blog posts have i written that ramble on about nothing? dropped contact lenses and boring grad school lectures and lunch dates were all things that, at one point, deserved to be preserved in writing. and now... nothing. things happen and all i do is get through them and never look back. i don't like it.

one of the points that i seem to whine about repeatedly is how much i don't like the hype about new year's. i just... don't like it. it's always my birthday that feels like the fresh start for me. that deserves resolutions and looking back and a clean slate. new year's has always just been the sign that the vacation is nearly over, that projects need to be completed and work needs to be done and oh my god how did i let myself procrastinate this much? 

but maybe i need a stupid day that has been given a false sense of importance right now. maybe i need a january first to get myself back into writing.

(but, really, i may have a lot of posts about new year's and even more posts about nothing, but those are nothing compared to the number of posts i have where i declare that i am going to do something and then never do it. a lot of those declarations have to do with writing. and who am i kidding? what makes this any different? although, i would like to say here officially that despite the fact that my word count tracker didn't appear on my blog this year and i didn't blog about nano, i did write consistently every day for the month of november (better than any other year) and ended the month with over fifty thousand new words of fiction to my name, but that's neither here nor there.)

i feel like i am overusing the word "but." 

in the spirit of writing about what happens in my life, even if that "what" is nothing, my siblings minus the one living with her family halfway across the world all came to stay over at my house for christmas break (basically wednesday through this morning). we had a bunch of plans for the weekend. we were going to have fun. and then two out of three of my siblings were hit by a stomach bug (i'm guessing the same one that cricket and then my dad suffered from in the past couple of weeks) and suddenly the weekend turned into delivering gatorade and chicken noodle soup and doing laundry. the best laid plans and all of that... 

*The Way It Was - The Killers

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

i'm down in the living room, just me and darcy. the baby is in his bed, asleep. the husband is in his bed, asleep. a silence hangs over the house, and i feel like i'm in a million different times at once, like every small timeline of my life intersects here. i am a high school senior sitting on my bed. the glow of the tv bright in the darkness. i am a college student on the same bed, in the same dark, with a different glowing screen, six msn messenger conversations open. i am sitting in a small apartment. the ring on my finger is new, but the silence and the darkness are old, familiar. i am a mother, and though the darkness is wearing a cloak of recess lighting, the silence is still here, welcoming. 

my life often seems like a series of endless loops, some bigger than others. there are the small loops: build a tower, clap as baby knocks it down. build a tower, clap as baby knocks it down. build a tower. there are the bigger loops, like the one that finds me hiding under my blankets with a tear-streaked face again and again and again. and there are these, the loops that you wouldn't recognize as loops unless you look at the whole picture, see the whole timeline stretched out before you. and as loops go, if i am to constantly find myself with only the darkness and silence of night as my companions, well, it's not a bad loop to be stuck in. 

i have not blogged in nearly two months. most days it seems like there is nothing to write that is worth the time i could be doing something else. most days i am not sitting in my living room alone at night. most days the older versions of myself are not at the surface, not flowing through my veins, not breathing through my lungs. 

i used to think that, to come back to this blog, even sure that no one still read it, i needed something big. i should only come back if i have something worth saying. tonight, i should blog because i never stopped blogging. tonight, i should read harry potter fanfiction. tonight, i should talk to friends. tonight, i should fall in love or make someone fall in love with me. tonight, i should watch reruns of 90s television. tonight, i should wash bottles. tonight, i should do the same thing i did last night and the same thing that i'll do tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

there's another world we're living in tonight

[one] you guys, i want to live in the wizarding world of harry potter. i really do. it was so well designed and executed and just perfect in every single way. it's been a few weeks since i've been back home, and i still feel like i should just quit my life and go back. the "london" side is perfect. like, it seriously looks like a street pulled straight out of london, and then you go into diagon alley and it's like you're home. (if you, like me, have always felt more at home in fictional worlds than this real one i'm stuck in.) fire breathing dragons, people running around with wands performing spells that actually work, sipping butterbeer. i sat in the sun eating a scoop of florean fortescue's ice cream while listening to celestina warbeck perform live, and i cannot even explain how perfect that moment was. i would move to orlando in a heartbeat, get an annual pass, and spend every minute in diagon alley if it didn't mean that i had to live in florida. no offense to floridians, but the news stories that come out of that state have me noping big time. plus, too many bugs. but sigh, take me back.

[two] it's almost nanowrimo time again! i was, as is typical of me in octobers, wondering if i should even do it this year. i have a baby that wants me to spend my days building towers for him to knock down. i have a dissertation that i need to write slash start from scratch with slash cry about in the bathroom. i have a severely neglected blog that i never seem to have time to update. and yet, i think i can write a fifty thousand word novel? am i crazy? apparently. i usually have some hint of a plot idea or a character or a feeling that could be turned into something by the beginning of october. this year? nothing. at first i took that as a sign to take a break from it, but then i got on the site, looked at titles in the adoption station, and started to get the excitement in the pit of my stomach that means creativity is near. i didn't see any titles that jumped out at me and filled my head with a story, but just looking through them started to get my brain turning, and now there is a feeling starting to bubble up that i might be able to turn into something. and it feels almost as perfect as being back in diagon alley. if i could spend my days writing in a fictional world on the beach, i think i'd die of happiness.

[three] baby update! cricket is seven months now. which means that it has been over half a year since he's been around and that is just ridiculously crazy to me. he's eating solids and crawling (sort of. he does some weird version of the worm across the floor.) and sitting up and knocking down towers and jumping and just basically being not a newborn anymore. it's mindblowing to me though it really shouldn't be, this is what babies do, they grow up. but goodness this is fast, having a baby around again brought light to the fact that i know waaay too many kid songs and if i used that brain power to remember something more productive i could probably be some sort of academic genius at this point with three post-graduate degrees, a hundred published articles, and seven schools begging me to work for them. instead i just have a vague sense of guilt and frustration and a much edited outline for a new dissertation topic. oh well.

*Here With Me - The Killers

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

baby knows, but baby don't tease me

i went to harry potter world! which was awesome! and included a twelve plus hour road trip! with an infant! please know that i mean every single one of those exclamation points. i am screaming this at you from your screen.

buuut i'm not going to tell you about the trip - at least not right now - because i feel like it deserves more concentration and pretty words than i am currently able to give it. (i mean, harry potter world.) plus, i want to literary rant. it's been far too long since i've done one of those. (i think. honestly i've been away from this blog for so long that the previous post could be a literary rant and i wouldn't even know because i am a lazy bum who won't check.)

anyway, last time we drove down to florida, i reached a point about halfway through the trip where everything on my ipod was making me nauseous or angry or bored. basically, i was sick of my music, had run out of things to say as we sat in traffic, and the car was too quiet. this time, i was prepared. i brought audiobooks! (can i just say that as someone who claims to love libraries and someone who has complained numerous times about how audiobooks are too expensive, it took me a ridiculously long time to check out audibooks from the library.)

we listened to the golden compass first because i loved that series and my husband had never read it and always said that he wanted to. (i remember being mindblown after finishing the first book and immediately going to the library to get the second and third. and refusing to read anything afterwards for days because i did not want to leave that world or those characters. my husband's reaction to the book after listening to it for almost twelve hours? "meh.") but once we had finished that one, on the way back to virginia, we started deception point by dan brown, and oh. my. god.

so at first i thought that this might be his debut novel, and i was willing to cut him a little slack, but i just looked it up and nope. it's not even his second book. it's his third. as in, you had two books to perfect your writing and my slack? you get none of it. he wrote this after he wrote angels and demons, and i read that and did not have to stop in the middle to rant about his writing. at least, i don't remember doing that, and i don't think that's something i'm likely to forget, but that is exactly what i had to do while listening last night. my husband loved that, let me tell you.

my main issue with dan brown was always that reading his robert langdon books made me feel uncomfortable. like i was invited to a dinner party and the host was obviously playing footsie under the table with that guest that he was flirting with while his wife was cooking dinner earlier, and his wife is sitting right next to him and you're not sure if you should say something, but she has to know doesn't she? i mean the way he's looking at that guest makes it abundantly clear that he is in love and there is no way that she could have missed that, is there?

but anyway, this was an entirely different issue. this was a writing issue that even i, as someone with no formal writing education and exactly zero published novels under her belt, know not to do. see, in good writing, you are taken along on a journey with the character. you see what s/he sees, learn what they learn, fall into the story. when you want to build suspense or create curiosity about something then you don't tell your main character about it. they should not find out and then tease us with the information. we should not have to read pages about how he is in total shock about what he is seeing and oh my god he cannot believe  his eyes and this is the most amazing thing ever and he can't stop looking at it and shut up i'm not telling you what it is. i mean, sure, end a chapter with something like that to make sure the reader starts the next one. you can maybe go a couple of pages once every book or two where the reader is left in the dark. maybe. but do not go on for over a chapter with the incessant teasing every single time new information is revealed. it does not make me want to read on to find out what's happening. it makes me want to smack the author with his book and never pick it up again. it makes me hate your characters, lose interest in your plot, and wonder how your editor has a job. it feels like betrayal. and frustration. and just enough annoyance to make me stop and rant. (also, it seemed like the characters themselves deal with this inside the book way too often. for example, the president flies rachel out to tell her something and after what sounded like forever (at least a few typed pages) talking around it, she snaps something about getting to the point already. which were my sentiments exactly.)

maybe it's because i'm listening to the book instead of reading it, i'm not sure. but i cannot handle this writing "style" - if you can call it that - at all, and i think this may have turned me off of dan brown books forever.

*Tranquilize - The Killers

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

at the beginning of the summer, with my hormones still out of wack from the whole having a baby thing and my brain just starting to function again as cricket started sleeping better, i made some school related decisions. basically, i decided to stop it... for now. i decided to stop being the computer forensics GTA and started replying to the many emails i get from prospective students with "unfortunately, i will not be working with this program for much longer and you should probably direct your questions elsewhere." i decided to finally just drop this really heavy, really dead weight phd attempt once and for all. it had just turned into this dreadful drain on my life that i wasn't even really working towards anymore, just kind of hoping that it would either happen or go away on its own. after almost ten years (ugh) i was going to finally, finally be done with mason. at least for now. at least so i could take a breather. at least until i wanted to go back to school because i wanted to go back to school and not because i was just stuck in it. after twenty-five years of being a student (because i am counting daycare/preschool for dramatics), i was ready to throw in the towel.

fast forward to the end of the summer, and i somehow found myself signing another year long contract to be the GTA for the computer forensics program. i somehow ended up in my adviser's office talking about switching my topic and giving this whole thing one last go. i am somehow heading to school in a bit for my first office hours of the semester, and... how did this happen?! i had plans. i made decisions. i was supposed to have pulled myself out of the quicksand of my life that is academia. and yet, here i am, right where i'm always at. sigh. i mean, my scholarship ends this semester and the idea of coming out of these past few years without a degree still makes me want to throw up, so i guess this is my attempt to say that i tried. my attempt to see if i want this enough to continue it when i'm not being paid to do so. this is my last chance to prove that i do have motivation and willpower and tenacity. but i can't help but feel like the real truth of the matter is that i've been running in place for so long that i don't know how to stop. i can't move forward and i can't still my feet. i'm like a warped energizer bunny.

i'm pretty sure that school is so wrapped up with who i am and what i do that if i ever did manage to get away from it, i would probably stop breathing. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

and it hits you so much harder than you thought

don't you hate it when you try to write a blog post but can't get yourself to because you're way too emotional about the topic, but then you can't write anything else because this post is completely blocking the way, so you decide to take a few days away from blogland altogether, but then life happens and you end up leaving the country for a month without a computer, and suddenly it's three months later and you still haven't written anything? just me? well, okay then.

bear with me for one more early days of motherhood post because obviously if i don't write this i will never write anything ever again. it has to do with breastfeeding so if that's an issue for you then maybe you should stop reading and go do some soul-searching about why you feel the need to be an insufferable drama bomb.

the absolute hardest thing i have had to do so far as a mother (and yes this is counting up to today, two days shy of cricket turning five months) was not breastfeeding my baby. it is something i don't think i will ever get over ever for as long as i live. i mean, cricket is turning five months old on wednesday. he is happy and healthy and thriving. he is gaining weight and getting tall and just recently learned to roll over completely. (he got stuck on the back to stomach part for a while.) i know that i am being the best mom i can be for him. and yet, just writing the word breastfeeding has a lump forming in my throat and tears pricking behind my eyes. it should not still be this hard for me, but it is.

i don't think i ever wanted anything as badly as i wanted to breastfeed my kid. but i couldn't. because my body is stupid and failed at the one thing that it was made to do. while i was pregnant, i was preparing for this to be hard. i had heard the horror stories of the early days and was ready to face them. i never got that chance. i simply didn't produce enough milk. i started to supplement with formula after the first week. cricket had lost too much weight and was getting lethargic. my husband had to feed him that first bottle in another room, and i spent the whole night sobbing in my bed.

i tried everything to get my supply up. i took fenugreek until i smelled like a maple syrup factory. i drank mother's milk tea and gatorade and water like i was stranded in a desert. i ate oatmeal and flaxseed and brewers yeast all day long. i ate everything that arabs say up your supply as well. i spent days in bed just doing skin-to-skin and nursing. i power-pumped. i tried every single thing that anyone anywhere said had helped them. i tried my best to not stress about it (which is really, really hard let me tell you. there were many, many tears cried.). and sometimes it seemed to be working. sometimes he wouldn't want formula after a feeding. sometimes i was able to pump more than half an ounce. but those times were few and far between. and it seemed like every day my measly supply kept dropping and dropping. eventually, when he was probably at 95% formula anyway, i gave up. and then cried about it for three days. (i'm pretty sure that everyone was pretty relieved at this point because they were all sick of my nonstop crying and thought that stopping might help that.)

i have never tried so hard to do anything before in my life, and failing crushed me. but i had a baby to take care of, so i took a deep breath and locked the feelings away in a chest in the back of my mind to deal with later. and i ostensibly moved on. or, i tried to. my family knew not to even mention the word around me or i would completely break down, but no one else got the memo. why had i never noticed that it was a thing to ask people how they fed their child? because it is apparently a thing. every single person who saw the baby, even people who i was not especially close to and people whose asking was completely awkward, everyone's first question after "how old is he" was "do you breastfeed?" and every single time i said no i felt the walls i built around the chest in the back of my mind start to crack. and i changed the topic quickly or tuned out if a group started talking about it because i knew if i didn't i would dissolve into a crying mess again. and who knows if i would have been able to pull myself out of it a second time? of course they didn't know that they were killing me, rubbing salt into a wound that i was trying to pretend wasn't still raw. to them, it was an innocent question. to me, it was a knife to the heart.

i cannot tell you how relieved i was when i saw everyone there was to see. when i had admitted to all of them as offhandedly as i possibly could, that i had failed. i had failed, i had failed, i had failed. and it got easier and easier to ignore the chest at the back of my mind. some days i forgot about it completely. there was much to distract me.

until the summer. it took me longer than it should have to realize why i was so resentful of my [extended] family this summer. why just seeing my uncles and aunts put me in a bad mood. it was the fact that they all just assumed i was breastfeeding, the way they would hand me my baby and say "you can nurse him in my room if you're more comfortable." once again, a case of people not realizing that their innocent trying to be niceness ruined my day.

i think what really kills me is that deep down, i know that i did not actually try my hardest. i decided not to stick to the super rigid pumping schedule once i switched to formula. i decided not to take any prescription medicines. i decide to give up. because i know myself. and i know that i was one step away from becoming truly obsessive. because that is what i do. i get obsessive to an unhealthy level, and i try to stop myself from reaching that point. so i stopped. i stopped because i wanted to actually enjoy my first baby, and if i didn't, i wouldn't. but that means that i am left with an eternal what if. and that is the worst.

i realize that i had the luxury to be destroyed by this because i was able to get pregnant, to have a healthy baby, things that other people can't. does that make it any easier for me? not really, and that's okay. i've never been one to believe that your pain doesn't hurt because someone else has more. but the fact that i can look at this with some perspective means progress. and while i'm definitely not ready to open the chest just yet, maybe i can let the walls crumble a bit. soon i might unlock it. and while this may not be the healthiest way to deal with it, it's the way i'm dealing with it.

*Soul - Matchbox 20

Saturday, May 30, 2015

okay so blogging is hard with a baby. more specifically, blogging my usual rambling posts is practically impossible. here is how all of my attempts at blogging have gone so far:

  1. baby falls asleep
  2. tensely wait for fifteen minutes to see if he's really asleep or just trying to drive me crazy
  3. go wash and boil bottles
  4. search the house for dirty diapers and take them all out to the house
  5. do a load of laundry
  6. shove handfuls of cereal in my mouth while gulping down some water and going to pee
  7. check my email/grade papers/do whatever computer stuff i need to do for job/scholarship/whatever else
  8. decide to write a blog post
  9. start said blogpost
  10. get halfway through
  11. hear the baby start crying and stop writing
after a couple of days i'll go back to finish the post, realize that it is completely irrelevant by that point, start a new post, stop halfway through. rinse and repeat. 

when i sat down to the computer today to try and figure out why exactly my husband was saying that our summer flight reservations had disappeared (it turns out to be because our summer flight reservations had disappeared which means another frustratingly long and pointless thing to get sorted fun.) (side note: do any of you realize how awful it is to get an infant a passport? it's worse than waiting at the dmv. seriously. whoever thought it would be a good idea to have an infant wait five plus hours in a crowded, stuffy room off of the post office was either really stupid or really sadistic.), i realized how much i had missed typing. i never thought i would miss typing until my fingers were clacking away at the letters after too long. 

the past few days cricket has been going through a wonder week which means he is fussier than usual and has forgotten how to sleep. i either have to deal with an overtired baby or sit and rock him in the rocking chair for hours so he'll stay mostly asleep. at first i was like, this is not so bad. i can just sit here and read books on the kindle app on my phone. a couple days of that, though, and i am cramped and restless and all i want to do is wash clothes or make the bed or boil bottles without a crying baby with me. i am going stir crazy and cannot wait for this to be over. of course, then cricket goes and does something like laugh in his sleep and reminds me why it's all worth it, but still. i just want an hour for me. i am exhausted from doing nothing. i didn't even think that was possible. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

there's so much you have to know

my life pre-cricket involved a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen and wandering the internet. office hours, "study" hours, and those random in-between times when it's too early to leave the house yet but too late to do anything productive were all spent at a laptop. and because of that, i was pretty on top of everything that was going on from international big news stories to the latest tabloid news, from personal stories about friends i had never actually met in real life to stories about the fictional people that i felt i had known forever.

my life post-cricket, at least so far, has involved a significantly less amount of computer time. while there have still been hours staring at a screen, the screen usually has netflix on it. (anything that needs my hands to type or scroll just was not feasible at the time.) the times that i do have access to my hands, i am usually found googling baby-related stuff or playing candy crush. most of the time, though (and i cannot for the life of me figure out how to end this sentence. the past six weeks are just a hazy blur of feeding and rocking and changing clothes and diapers and sheets interspersed with interrupted sleep and i have no idea what i have been doing "most of the time," but i feel like i have been wildly productive and one hundred percent unproductive at the same time. on the one hand, hello, keeping a baby alive here, but on the other hand, what have i been doing with the past six weeks?)

this is all to say that, as i've been coming out of my first-six-weeks-of-motherhood daze (which is totally a thing), i find myself saying over and over and over again, "wait, what?! when did that happen?" things like zayn malik leaving one direction and that plastic surgeon that was parodied in the unbreakable kimmy schmidt committing suicide were thrown casually into conversations like of course everyone knows about this, what rock have you been living under? i didn't know about the bombings in yemen until a few days into them. and for the first year in as long as i can remember, i missed every single website's april fool's day prank.

i'm not sure i have ever been so uninformed about everything. starting from today, and until i feel like i have caught up as much as i can, i will start every conversation i have with people with "so what was your favorite piece of news/information from march/april?" feel free to catch me up in the comments.

*Father and Son - Cat Stevens

Monday, April 27, 2015

it feels like three days ago, but it was actually closer to two months, when i wrote a post about epidurals. at the time, my opinion on them was based solely on other people's stories (and also science and feminism and other stuff). but now, i am older and wiser and more experienced. and with that transformation, i have taken it upon myself to add my voice to the millions out there with opinions. so, should you ever find yourself in the position of debating whether or not to get an epidural, take it from me: get the drugs. 

during my labor, i discovered that my pain tolerance? it was pretty high. or perhaps my contractions were just pretty low. regardless, i learned that i could probably make it through delivery without the aid of drugs. but do you know what people don't talk about enough when discussing epidurals? everything after the whole pushing a kid out part. 

and so here is my advice to you: you want to see if you can handle delivering a baby without drugs? let me make it simple for you: you can. but if you choose to go that route, then you get to get stitches with local anesthesia and why would you want to do that? i am ridiculously squeamish about stitches. my younger sister once fainted in the shower and needed to get stitches in her cheek and i could not look at her for weeks until they were taken out, she had to wear a bandaid over them because we shared a room and i am not exaggerating how much i could not handle it. stitches did not factor into my epidural decision at all. but they should have, because afterwards, the people who did not get an epidural told me that they could feel every single stitch being stitched and just hearing that made me squirm. with the miracle of modern medicine, i didn't even know i was getting stitches until the doctor told me what she was doing. let me tell you, i would have made her job so much more difficult if i could feel what was going on. and yeah, people say that you are less likely to tear if you forgo drugs, but according to my doctor, most people tear, and are you really willing to take that risk?

after writing this post, i also learned that i have become a ridiculous over-sharer of things that i would not have previously talked about with people. but on the off-chance that someone is wandering through the internet trying to decide whether to get an epidural or not (as i was), please consider the stitches. and get the drugs. 

(there is probably one other post that i might write that is over-sharey about the past couple of months, but after that i'll stop. i promise.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

and even though there's no way of knowing where to go, i promise i'm going

the year for me does not start on january first, but rather on the eighteenth of april. last birthday was a hard one. it came at the end of a difficult year and looked to be the start of a similar one. i was stuck in the biggest rut and could not see a way out of it. this birthday is different. i mean, sure, there are some things in my life that are still definitely stuck, that i really need to stop being complacent about and sit down and unstick at some point, but other things are decidedly not. i have come out of my rut and fallen into a groove.

this was a crazy year of checking off milestones. i bought my first house. anxiety made it a lot more stressful than it probably should have been, but i learned about mortgages and real estate and signed contracts and talked deals and convinced people to give us a loan and made one of the biggest decisions of my life. it was all very grown up for someone who is still a child at heart, and very real for someone who lives most of her life in fictional worlds. and i haven't talked about my house very much since we moved in, but furnishing it has been its own adventure. i like how it's coming along. (i finally have a library, and that has made my life.)

i was pregnant for a lot of this past year, something i had always said was just not for me. and you know what? it turned out that i was very, very wrong. i was blessed with a very easy pregnancy, and i loved being pregnant. as much as i love my baby, there was more than one occasion after he was born that had me crying because i was no longer pregnant. (the first time i caught sight of my reflection in the bathroom without my pregnant stomach was heartbreaking.)

and i had a baby. it's been a little over a month now, and i love being a mom. it's not easy, but it feels right. i was never very career-ambitious and i made a quick pit stop on my academic journey a while back and forgot to get started again, but suddenly there is something that i want to do again. being a mom is right up there with published author. there are still moments where i just stare down at cricket in awe and can't believe that he is mine, that i made him, that i carried him inside of me for nine months and then brought him into the world. it's truly miraculous.

and so this birthday is different. if last year was the year for deep breaths, this year will be a year of action, of tying up loose ends, of clearing off my back burner, and of enjoying the present instead of constantly living in the past. (i still need to find a word to encompass all of that.)

also, yay for odd numbers.

*Be My Escape - Relient K

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

at two weeks postpartum i started a post about how i had my baby. but taking care of a baby, and having crazy hormonal crying jags, and having guests, and grading papers, and dealing with a cold without the magic of nyquil, and forgetting about it makes blogging a little difficult. so i would add to the story every couple of days, and i just realized that it is a monster. you can read it in the post below, but really, it takes a very long time to say what i will summarize in the next paragraph.

i had my baby! my water broke on march eleventh (my husband's birthday) which was a complete shock to me because a) with seven kids between my mom and sister, neither of them ever had their water break so i wasn't expecting it at all and b) as a first-time mom i was told i would likely be late, and since my mom was late with most of her kids i was expecting to be induced. after panicking for a bit, i headed to the hospital where i was admitted and surprised to find that i was having regular contractions. (i wasn't feeling them at all.) i walked around for a few hours, got a couple hours of sleep, and then the nurse checked me and to all of our disappointment i was only one centimeter dilated. i was started on pitocin, and the contractions started to get super painful. my doctor said i would likely have the baby around seven, i said five (because hospital policy was eighteen hours after your water breaks you get a csection if you haven't delivered yet), and my dad said i'd have it at two. i got my epidural, got checked again and surprised everyone with how fast i had progressed, and had my baby at two:oh-six. doctors and nurses were all amazing, and i felt really lucky about how it all went down. recovery sucked.

oh, and we named him yazeed.

the weekend after i had him (when he was ten days old) my sister and her family came all the way over from riyadh to see him in a surprise visit. i was literally the only one that didn't know they were coming, so only i was surprised. it was actually pretty awesome. then my cousin and her family came down from boston and my grandma came down from connecticut and there were so. many. people.

anyway, now you're pretty much caught up with everything. for now, at least. i'll probably talk about all this more when i don't have a crying baby and a really bad cold. 
as you may have figured out by now in my absence, i had my baby! he will be two weeks old on thursday and it still all seems kind of ridiculous to me. i'm someone's mom, guys. i still can't manage to say that with a straight face. anyway, here is the longer than it should be story of how my baby was inside of me one day and outside of me the next, or as i like to dramatically call it: the birth of a mother. (complete with unnecessary details and probably full of parts that you don't want to know.)

my husband turned twenty-seven on march eleventh. we had already decided to skip the whole gift-giving thing this year because new houses and new babies equal lots of money and stress and really, i could not handle the thought of any more. plus, i was giving us a baby, so like, don't be greedy. despite that, i felt bad letting the day pass completely uncelebrated so i decided to make dinner and get a nice card. i am not really the making dinner sort, although i totally seem like i should be, so this was a big deal. (in my defense, our schedules are so weird that we are only home together for dinner maybe twice a week.) i made salisbury steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and a carrot cake for dessert that my husband had literally been asking me to make for two plus years. better late than never. (side story: when i first got married i had decided to make salisbury steak for dinner one night and my mom said that she hated salisbury steak. so i didn't make it. even though she wasn't even going to eat from it. in the almost four years since then, my husband has said, "why don't you make salisbury steak?" many, many times, and i always respond with, "no. my mom hates it." which somehow seems like a better reason than "because i am lazy and how about i make us some soup out of a can instead?" like the cake, better late than never.) as we sat down to dinner that night, i said, "looks like the baby won't be born on your birthday after all." he was kind of hoping that he would be. and he said, "my birthday is not over yet." 

fast forward a few hours to us sitting on the couch watching tv. i look at the clock and comment on how weird it is that i am still awake and alert because for weeks i had been going up to bed at eight and falling asleep by nine at the absolute latest. it was ten:thirty and i had no desire to go up to bed at all. my husband, on the other hand, was mostly asleep on the couch already. at ten:forty five, i got up to pee because that is really what you spend most of your time doing when you are thirty-nine weeks pregnant. when i got into the bathroom, there was a small pop feeling followed by a gush of water, and i immediately thought, "oh great i just peed on myself." (maybe skip ahead to the next paragraph if you are easily grossed out.) so of course as i walk out of the bathroom, i wake up my husband and say, "i just peed on myself, and it's all your fault." (he had been making incontinence jokes pretty much the entire pregnancy. i was insistent that it would not happen to me no matter how pregnant i got.) i go upstairs to change and then feel another small trickle down my leg and i thought, seriously?! and a small feeling of uneasiness started to creep into my mind. i pushed it back, but when i got to the bathroom i noticed that my pantiliner was not just soaking wet, but also tinged slightly pink. i put on a pad, went to the top of the stairs, and said, "don't fall asleep. there is a very high chance that i did not, in fact, pee on myself." and then i proceeded to freak out

see, i was not prepared in the least bit for my water to break. my mom had five kids. my sister had two kids. neither of them ever had their water break. as i first time mom, i was told that i would likely deliver late. my mom delivered late on most of her kids, so i figured i would too. i was preparing myself to be induced at exactly forty-one weeks. i had already planned out my last few days of pregnancy. there were things that needed to get done, and i had specified the exact times to do it all in. except now, my time may have been stolen from me. there is no false labor with your water breaking. there is no going home to wait for a few days. the thing about your water breaking is that it sets a timer for the doctors. you generally have twenty-four hours from the minute it breaks to get the baby out of you. once the timer is up, they go in and get it themselves. i did not want a c-section at all, but my water broke and i had no contractions so i continued to freak out. it seemed like the best option at the time.

i whatsapped my older sister (several times) and she didn't answer. neither of my sisters answered my frantic messages in our whatsapp group. in the midst of swyping frantically on my phone, i was trying to see if my water really broke or not. i sat on my bed for ten minutes. when i stood up, i felt a gush. i laid down for ten minutes. when i stood up, i felt nothing for half a second, then a gush. meanwhile, my husband was very much awake at this point and trying to get things ready to go to the hospital. my sister finally responded to me with the oh-so-helpful advice of "call your doctor." which i did, of course. i left a message and waited for her to call me back. as i waited, i cried to my husband that i was not ready to have the baby today. i had plans. the doctor called me back, said that based on my description she was sure my water had broken, and told me to come straight to the hospital. the good news was that the doctor i was hoping would deliver me was the one on call. the bad news was that ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod it was time. (other bad news was that there was a golden retriever wandering ownerless around the neighborhood and i am deathly afraid of dogs and was partly serious when i said i wasn't going to the car unless it went away.)

the drive to the hospital was pretty uneventful. i mean, it was almost midnight so traffic was great. i wasn't having contractions so there was none of that drama to deal with. i called my parents and told them that i was headed to the hospital but no, they didn't need to meet us there. we got to the hospital, parked, and went into the ER. "my water broke," i told the guy at the front desk, my voice shaking just a little. so he had me sign the hippa form and the form allowing the hospital to tell my guests that i was there and found someone to escort me up to labor and delivery. (pre-registering is awesome.)

up at l&d, we made our way to the nurse's desk. "my water broke," i told them. "big gush?" the nurse behind the computer asked. "more like a few small ones," i said. she nodded. "still leaking?" she asked. i nodded. "meagan will show you to your room," she said, and then another nurse, meagan, magically appeared and showed me to room 2. once there, she gave me a robe, a giant hospital pad, filled out the chart on my wall, and started asking me a whole bunch of fascinating questions like "are you gbs positive?" (the answer of which was no, in case you are curious.) after meagan finished getting all of my information, jaimie - who would be my nurse for the night - came in. there was a brief moment of disappointment because i was told by several people who delivered at my hospital that anna was the best nurse you could get for delivery, but this quickly dissipated because, as it turns out, jaimie was awesome, and i kind of fell in love with her. jaimie put in my saline lock and called for someone to draw my blood while meagan hooked me up to a monitor and filled her in on my story (water broke, zero cm dilated at last appointment almost a week ago, zero percent effaced).

"so your contractions are not painful?" jaimie asked me. "i'm not having contractions at all," i said. meagan and jaimie shared a look. "actually, you are," jaimie told me. "regular ones, too. see those hills on the monitor? that's what those are." i was floored. after a bit more talk about contractions and doctors and stuff, i asked the inevitable question. "so, i know that having my water break means the clock is ticking. i have twenty-four hours to deliver this baby and then... c-section?" "actually," jaimie said, "the hospital gives you eighteen hours. if it looks like you're making good progress, though, and everything is okay with the baby, your doctor may push it a little or up to the full twenty-fours." and that was when my stomach dropped and all of the nerves came back. eighteen hours?! only?! i was told that first deliveries were long, like really long. and i couldn't even feel my contractions yet.

jaimie brought me some ice water and told me to walk around the floor and/or my room to try and make the contractions stronger. my husband turned on thor 2 and i walked. and walked and walked and walked. periodically a nurse would come in and hook me back up to the monitors. by the time three o'clock rolled around, i was tired of walking - just plain tired, really - and had been feeling the contractions for about an hour. not in an ogmygod oouuuccchh contractions kind of way but in an oh yes i think that may be my stomach tightening or actually maybe i just imagined that sort of way. but anyway, at a little after three i decided enough was enough, and i was going to sleep.

i had been told that i could eat any clear liquids, which meant ice chips and popsicles and broth. i was too nervous at that point to eat and then eventually too tired. i regret this because once i woke up, this privilege was revoked.

i woke up at six when jaimie came back in to tell me that her shift was almost over and also to check if i had made any progress overnight. and i couldn't exactly see what was going on, but i'm pretty sure that jaimie had her arm up to her elbow inside of me before she announced that "i was dilated to a one, but my cervix was still way up in new york." because walking and contracting for hours seemed to have done little to move my body towards getting my baby out, despite the fact that it had decided it was ready to get it out with the whole water breaking thing, my doctor decided to start me on pitocin. i had heard horror stories about pitocin, as most pregnant women have, so i was not too thrilled about this decision, but i was totally willing to try anything that would keep me away from a c-section.

at seven i was introduced to my new nurse, wendy. i was disappointed that i once again did not get anna, and this time i wasn't distracted from that disappointment by falling in love with her. not that she was bad or anything, she was just... fine, i guess. and i couldn't help but notice that she had big fingers and really long nails and there was no way that she was going to check my cervix if i could help it. at seven:fifteen wendy started my pitocin drip at 2 mL per minute, telling me that she would periodically be increasing it, probably reaching sixteen by the end. at almost nine, i finally saw my doctor. she came in and talked for like three seconds (she didn't want to check my progress for fear of introducing bacteria and causing an infection. and i sort of lied to her because she said "you were a two this morning when jaimie checked you, right?" and i didn't correct her because being a one meant that i was progressing pathetically and i did not want to go to a c-section. in hindsight, lying to the doctor is really stupid. you should maybe not do that should you ever be in a similar position). she reassured me that she would wait as long as possible before sending me to a c-section (past the eighteen hours if she could), told me that she was on call until four, and then, when i asked how long she thought this would take, she said, "you probably have another ten hours."

shortly after that, my parents showed up. "you're just in for a long day of sitting around and waiting," i told them. "i really would have called you guys once things start to get interesting." (they were somehow convinced that i would go into labor and not tell them, and i'm still not entirely sure how or why they thought this.) they told me that they didn't mind. wendy kept coming in to up my pitocin, and contractions started to get uncomfortable. and then they started to hurt. and oh my god why was my dad in the room when all i wanted to do was cuss? my dad, to distract me, decided to make a bet on when we all thought i would deliver. "the doctor said ten hours," i told him. my dad scoffed and repeated the question. "five," i said, mainly because that would mark the end of my eighteen hours and based on my lack of progression the previous night, i would be whisked off to my c-section at that point. "four thirty," my mom said. "three:thirty or four," my husband said. my dad shook his head. "the baby will be out by two," he said with such assurance. it was my turn to scoff.

at some point during the morning, it wasn't wendy that came in to up my pitocin dosage, but another nurse. "i'm anna," she said. "i'm going to be helping wendy out for a bit because another of her patients went into labor." and i did a little happy dance inside. outside i started to say something and then gripped the bedrail and forced myself to breathe through another contraction. "when can i get an epidural?" i asked. "whenever you feel like you need one," she said. i gritted my teeth and decided to hold out a bit longer.

shortly after my pitocin dosage hit twelve, anna came back in. it was ten:fifteen at this point and my dad and husband had left the room to raid the cafeteria for breakfast. i had been discussing whether or not i wanted to get an epidural now or hold out a bit longer. "i'm going to have to lower this," she said. "your contractions are getting to be too strong and too close together." right as she was leaving the room, i called her back. "wait," i said. my mom gave me an encouraging look. "i think i want an epidural now."

before i could get an epidural, though, i had to get an entire bag of fluids into me, so anna hooked me up to that. and let me tell you something, getting up to pee when you're having contractions and are hooked up to an iv line is annoying and harder than it should be. adding a second iv line just makes everything even worse. it took about twenty minutes for the bag to be emptied into my veins, and then anna came back. "i'm going to go get the anesthesiologist," she said. "when she gets here then only your husband can be in the room." my parents nodded. "do you need to use the bathroom?" i shook my head.

at eleven:thirty, the anesthesiologist walked in and started to read me all of the bad things that could happen if i got an epidural and i signed a consent form saying that i knew that this could possibly go very wrong, but i wanted the drugs anyway. then anna started moving me into position on the edge of the bed. she handed me a pillow to take and hunch over. "wait," i said suddenly. "i need to pee." "now?" anna asked as the anesthesiologist gave me a look that clearly said "what are you, twelve? i have other patients to see. i don't have time for this.""i'm sorry. yes, now. i'm sorry. i didn't need to until i sat up. sorry." "no need to be sorry," anna said, taking back the pillow. "go ahead." (the good thing about needing to pee literally seconds before getting the epidural was that they decided that since my bladder was empty they would put in the catheter later, after i was already fully numb. getting a catheter was honestly one of the biggest things in my anti-epidural column so i welcomed this news excitedly.) and then the part came where the anesthesiologist ran her hand down my back multiple times before saying something about how all of the bones seem really close together and she's not sure she has enough room and oh well this will have to do, and i decided that i hated her just a little. and then she started to jab me with needles and try and insert catheters into my back all while telling me repeatedly that i really needed to stay still so she could do this. in the midst of contractions and me hating her. "it's kind of hard to stay still when your jabbing a needle into my back," i snapped. and then she got it in. and i felt the cold burn of the drugs make its way down my back and with every minute that passed it got harder and harder to feel my legs. and i decided that the anesthesiologist wasn't that bad after all. after sticking around long enough to make sure that the drugs were working and she wasn't going to have to reinsert the thing, she left. "i'm sorry i snapped at you," i said as she was heading out the door.

once the contractions stopped distracting me from the fact, i realized that i was exhausted. i still had hours to go until the baby got here, so i decided to take a nap for a few hours. of course, before i could get into a real deep sleep, the clock struck twelve:thirtyish and my doctor came in to check on me. "let's see if you got further than a two," she said, and i took a second to pray that i had. anna told her that she hadn't put it my catheter yet, and my doctor said that she would "while she was in." ugh. but, as anna stood by with the catheter at the ready, she said "oh! you're already at an eight." she and anna were both thoroughly shocked because i was a first time mom and couldn't even feel my contractions until a few hours ago and anna kept saying "she was handling her contractions like she was at four." because i was so far along and had an empty bladder, they decided that i didn't need to get a catheter at all, and i did a mental happy dance. i was told that if my water hadn't broken, they would have checked my progress and decided that i was too far along for an epidural, and for the first time i was grateful that things had happened as they had. "you know what this means?" my doctor said. "you definitely could have handled delivering without the drugs.... but why should you?" she added, and i thought exactly. then she sent my husband out of the room to go get lunch because "that baby will be here in an hour. "my dad was right," i said, and told her about our bet. "that's amazing," she said. "would he consider working for me? if i could tell my patients exactly when they'll deliver... think of how much money we could make."

my mom stayed with me in the room as my husband left to get lunch with my dad (who had been taking phone calls at the time of the doctor's visit). anna told me that i would likely start to feel some pressure and to page her if it got too bad, but that it was really best to let my body work my baby down the canal itself for as long as possible before i started to push. after a while anna came in to lower my pitocin again because my contractions were getting out of control, and then wendy walked in and i immediately got less happy because i did not want her. "i can take back over here if you want," she told anna. no no no no no no  no no, i thought. and after a few minutes of them both saying that they didn't mind, anna said that she would just stick with me since i was almost done and she was basically my nurse all day, and wendy said that she would go find another patient and i heaved a sigh of relief. (because, as it turns out, anna was awesome.)

at one:fifteen, my doctor came back in to check on me and said, "you are ready to push." "i can't," i said, feeling like i had just walked into every tv show and movie ever. "my husband isn't back from lunch yet." my mom went to get him quick, and they started prepping the room for delivery. the room lights were turned off, and instead this overhead spotlight thing was turned on. gloves were snapped on, tables covered in tools were wheeled in and prepped, and they got me into pushing position. and yet my husband was still not back from lunch. at one point i let the horror stories i had read on the babycenter forums get the best of me and asked the doctor, "and you're sure that he's head down, right?" she laughed at me and said, "that's either a head or the hairiest butt i've ever seen." and that was how i found out he had hair, which surprised me because my husband and i were both bald babies. we laughed a bit about the things people say online.

apparently my body had done a pretty good job of pushing my baby through the birth canal and my doctor said that it was time to push for real. so as the nurse held one leg up, she held the other, and they told me to push. and then promptly told me that i was pushing wrong. and then my husband walked in. he took over leg holding duty from the doctor and was also put on making sure i curled my head in while pushing duty and when the next contraction hit i did three pushes again. wrong again. apparently i wasn't pushing hard enough but it is surprisingly really hard to push for ten seconds while holding your breath with half of your body numb. after the next set, she said, "your face is turning red when you push which, it shouldn't. that's wasting your energy. you should only be pushing with these muscles." a million snarky replies came into my head as i tried my hardest not to snap at her while simultaneously thinking that maybe i should have listened to the instructor at my childbirth class when she said we should practice relaxing and controlling specific muscles independent of the rest. "it's like taking the biggest poop of your life," my doctor said. "it really is," agreed anna.

eventually, i got the hang of pushing. (though let me tell you, ten seconds can be really, really long.) and i'm pretty sure that he was crowning forever. and thank god for drugs because the pushing part? it was actually sort of fun. i couldn't feel anything that was going on down there, and between contractions we were all laughing and sharing stories. my doctor asked about other stories that people had shared on the forums. i mentioned to anna how everyone had said she was the best. we talked about little debbie snacks, and apparently my doctor loves them too and any part of me that did not already love her quickly hopped on board. apparently she and her sister used to throw swiss cake rolls at the scary german shepherd next door when they were little and trying to get on its good side and didn't know that dogs aren't supposed to eat chocolate. (the subject came up when she said i should get a treat after this and i mentioned that i had little debbie in my hospital bag.) she also kept putting baby magic on the baby's head to help him slide out, telling me that i was awesome (except at the beginning when she said if i wasn't up to pushing she was going to deliver another baby and come back to me after), and when the baby was finally coming out she pressed on my stomach and said, "you were all baby, girl."

when it looked like the baby was almost here, anna went out and called in the rest of the delivery team: a nurse to tend to the baby and a nurse to help the doctor, and at two:oh six, i finally delivered a beautiful baby boy. the nurse took him from the doctor, rubbed him down quickly with a blanket, and put him on my chest. and it was the most amazing moment of my life. i remember looking at my husband and saying, "we made a baby" and staring down at him whispering "my baby" while ignoring whatever the doctor was saying to me. he was tiny and warm and curled up on me like he thought he was still in the womb. i honestly did not even hear anything she said. up until they took my baby away to weigh and measure him, and then i heard lovely words like "second degree tear" and "you'll need a stitch by your rectum." as she was stitching me up, i asked if i had delivered the placenta yet. she said no, but that she likes to be efficient with her time, and i remember a moment of panic (i think the exhaustion and adrenaline rush got to me) thinking that if she stitched me up, how would the placenta get out? the minute i asked about it, it started to slide out "as if i called it" as the doctor said. it was gross. the doctor also kept saying that i needed to stop clenching my muscles and that she was surprised that i had so much control over them with the epidural that was still working really well. (even though at one point during the pushing i did something that caused the drugs to spaz out and stop drugging me. the doctor assured me that there was enough left in my line that i wouldn't even notice, and she was right.)

meanwhile, the baby was off under the heater with my husband and his nurse. "this nurse is really good at guessing baby weight," my doctor said. the nurse picked up the baby and weighed him in her hands. "seven pounds three ounces," she said with confidence. we all laughed as the doctor said, "you're good, but not that good." and then she put him on the scale (or something? i couldnt actually see how he was weighed). "seven pounds three ounces," she announced excitedly. the doctor looked over at her, clearly impressed, then turned to me, "if i could get her and your dad together, we could have a great act."

i'm just going to take a moment here to gloat. just like i did when i heard his weight for the first time. the doctor that had given me the most grief about my weight gain, even when the other doctors said that i was normal or doing great, always said that the ideal baby weighed seven pounds two ounces, and that mine was likely going to be closer to ten pounds because i obviously wasn't taking care of myself and gaining too much (although some weeks she walked into the exam room all, "you're doing great mama."). my baby was only one ounce heavier than her ideal. ha. in your face. i think it was the drugs, but i did my gloating out loud at the hospital like an idiot. my doctor graciously refrained from calling me an idiot to my face and instead laughed about how exact her colleague is compared to herself, as she always says that the ideal baby weighs between seven and eight pounds.

soon enough the doctor and nurses sans anna left the room, and i sat there with my baby on me once again, marveling at how tiny and absolutely perfect he was. before we had even left the delivery room, he was sucking his thumb. it was kind of the most adorable thing i had ever seen.

over all, the nurses i had were all awesome. and when i was moved to the recovery/family room, i had amazing nurses and nurse technicians, too. i was lucky: with my pregnancy, my labor, my delivery, my recovery, and my baby, and i am so grateful for it all. (actually, though, recovery sucks. the first two days home were probably the worst in my life. and stitches are awful. and gross. but as soon as i had convinced myself that it would never end and i would be miserable forever, things got better. and continued to do so. and if i haven't said this enough over the course of my pregnancy, the human body is amazing and miraculous.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

i wasn't sure at first if i wanted to get an epidural or not. it seemed like the general consensus with people i knew that had kids was that i should definitely get one and not make their mistake of trying to see if i could go without. but part of me still wanted to know how much my body could handle, to see how far i could push myself. i did some research into the pros and cons, and then someone said something that threw me firmly into camp drugs. 

"your body was made to do this. real women don't need epidurals." 

my feathers immediately ruffled, my feminist senses started tingling, my innate stubbornness flared up. because i'm sorry, but what? "real women?" puh-lease. 

i have nothing against people who want to have a drug-free birth. i completely understand people who are too scared of the possible complications to take the risk. but i take great issue with those who think that epidurals are taking the easy way out, "cheating," or basically handing over your "real woman" card. 

and that got me to thinking. if epidurals and labor and delivery were not exclusive to women, would this even be an issue? has anyone ever said that "real women" don't need any numbing drugs (i am completely blanking on the name) when getting a root canal? are we saying that "real men" don't take nyquil because their bodies were meant to fight off colds? no. because medicine was invented to help us through something painful, and taking it is pretty much the natural thing to do. so why are epidurals any different? suddenly, wanting to see how high my pain tolerance is just seemed like another situation in which i was trying to prove my strength, prove that i am not weak, not frail, not female

there are a lot of really good, really valid reasons to not get an epidural. trying to prove that you are a real woman is not one of them. (trying to prove anything is not a very good reason to do something in my opinion.) i ultimately decided to get the epidural for a lot of reasons, but i'm not gonna lie, being stubborn might have been one of them. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

we are officially in the single digits today in the countdown to my due date (nine days!!). today also marks the day that i have started receiving texts and calls from friends and family at random times to "check up on me" (read: see if i have gone into labor or think i will go into labor shortly). i am pretty sure that this means that i will soon have to start all phone calls i make with "no, i'm not having the baby right now."

my body is apparently preparing for the months of no sleep by not getting much sleep now which... makes no sense and should really stop. i am very tired.

they are expecting lots of snow tomorrow. i am hoping to get the house cleaned and organized again while i am stuck inside.

i woke up today really wanting a shani and despite the slice of carrot cake i got to eat with lunch, i still really want one. (for those of you not lucky enough to have had a shani before, it's a fruit flavored soda that is found in countries that are not america (except i think i could find it in international markets?) and is delicious in the way that too sweet fake-fruit drinks are. here's what it looks like:


Sunday, March 1, 2015

it's march!!!

that means i'm having a baby this month!


that is all. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

these are just a couple of my cravings

there are fourteen days until my estimated due date. that's exactly two weeks. i have gone between nervous and excited so many times that i am now stuck in some sort of weird dazed limbo. baby clothes and sheets and everything else are washed. take home outfits from the hospital are chosen and packed. bassinet will be set up today and car seat is being installed on sunday. the list of last minute items to get on saturday is shorter than i thought possible, and really only has one item on it that will be used before four months. i filled my car with gas on wednesday even though i still had almost a quarter of a tank left. (i never fill up my car unless i am at E or the line right above it.)

with my pregnancy drawing to a close, i thought i'd preserve on my blog the answer to the question i have been asked the most over the past nine months: have you had any weird cravings? and i get it. i mean, just watch any tv show or movie that features a pregnant lady and you'll start to think that all we want to eat is pistachio ice cream with pickles. but unfortunately - or fortunately i guess - the answer is no.

here is what i did crave this pregnancy:

  • wegman's chocolate cake. it is pretty much the best chocolate cake you will ever eat and being pregnant was the perfect excuse to have my husband go out and get me a slice way more often than i probably should have.
  • ice cream sandwiches. and none of that fancy tollhouse cookie stuff. the original cheap ones that people say are gross because they never melt or something. though why you would let it sit around long enough to see if it would melt is beyond me.
  • ruffles chips. this was perhaps one of my most tv cliche pregnant moments. i wanted ruffles really, really badly. i was going to die if i didn't get some right now. i didn't even care what flavor they were. my husband went to the store and came home with four huge family size bags of chips and... none of them were ruffles. i cried and threw a hormonal fit.
  • chicken caesar salad. i ate this for lunch/dinner at least four or five times a week for months. i kind of want one right now.
  • black beans, microwave some in a bowl with pepperjack cheese OR throw some on your salad and you basically have the most delicious meal i could think of. when i wasn't eating chicken caesar salads i was eating this. one time i thought i'd be fancy and throw some corn in with my beans and cheese, and it was probably the worst decision i have ever made. well, tied with that time that i thought it would be a good idea to put both blueberries and raisins in my morning oatmeal. blech.
  • hot fudge sundaes. this one makes me want to cry a little. i've wanted a real hot fudge sundae since the summer. i have gotten a bunch of sundaes over this time (three in the past two weeks) but they are all either hot fudge with soft serve ice cream or real ice cream with caramel. because apparently the ice cream shops around me have all decided that they don't believe in hot fudge anymore. i think it's a conspiracy of sorts.  
  • zucchini.  there was one time that my husband was picking up burgers from ruby tuesday and i told him to get me zucchini with my burger instead of fries. he looked at me weird and asked if i wouldn't rather get a side of zucchini and my fries instead. i am a huge fry person (really any type of potato) and so i got his confusion, but no, i just wanted the zucchini. he was so sure i was going to regret my decision when he came home with the food, but that zucchini was delicious and choosing it over fries was maybe the best food-related decision i made this year. i am having zucchini for lunch today and am already excited for it. (of course, i'm not crazy and have gone out to get just fries on more than one occasion.) kind of on the same note, i've always been kind of whatever about green beans, but one night my dad made them with a roast and i realized that green beans were probably one of the best vegetables to grace the earth. i immediately went out and bought my own. my love affair with them has since fizzled, but i do appreciate them more than i ever did before.
  • root beer floats. i don't think this needs explaining. last week the two liter bottle of root beer that i finally caved and got finished and now the vanilla ice cream in my freezer and i are both really sad.
  • cheese enchiladas. but really, who doesn't want a cheese enchilada for every single meal? even not pregnant i could have gone for that. i love my mexican food.
  • strawberry milk. this one was weird because if it is not in my granola i really don't do milk. i will occasionally go for a chocolate milk but i have this weird obsession about milk going bad so i have to mix it really fast and practically drink it with my head in the fridge. i think that before this pregnancy, the last time i had strawberry milk i was probably six. for the past couple of weeks i've been really into chocolate milk.
  • there was the day that i really wanted chipotle (and ended up getting it for dinner). i'm not sure if it should make the list because it was really only that one time, but i'm putting it on here because it was like a physical need how badly i wanted it. kinda like the ruffles. 
so there you have it: the things i craved the most this pregnancy. nothing really weird. and a lot of them are things that i love all the time (ice cream, root beer, cheese enchilladas, caesar salads) but that moved from just "favorites" to "i need to stuff my face with this right now or something really bad might happen." i've been wanting pickles a lot, too, but i don't think i've wanted them any more than i usually do, so... 

*Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk - Rufus Wainwright

Friday, February 20, 2015

you can't believe it's happening again

in the spirit of trying to talk about things that are not related to babies or pregnancy, let me tell you all a story about how moving to a different county made my husband very unlucky with cars in the cold.

it all started a little under two months ago.

aside from a bit of snow, it was an ordinary day, and my husband was driving home from work. he was probably listening to that sports channel on the radio that i hate because the two guys who do the morning show are chauvinistic, sexist assholes who think they're funny when they're really just gross, and thinking about whether he wanted to stop by mcdonalds on the way home and get chicken nuggets for dinner. (we lead a thrilling life, the two of us.) traffic slowed, as it is known to do, and he eased on his breaks just like everyone else. well, everyone except for the guy behind him that is. because as it turned out, that guy behind him had lost control of his car. if you have ever dealt with a car out of control, you'll know that their favorite thing to do is crash into things. and that's exactly what this car did. and by "things," i obviously mean the back of my husband's car.

that started a period of calling insurance companies and getting the car appraised and figuring out what exactly needed to be fixed and how. then came the part of dropping the car off and getting a rental and living out of someone else's car for days while his car got fixed. which is fun at first, but gets old real quick i'm told.

anyway, he gets his car back and everything is right with the world. well, until a couple of weeks later when we get some more snow. we were out for the day with my car, and when we got home, my husband went to check the mail. he comes into the house a few minutes later furious because someone had hit his newly fixed car. there was some major damage to the driver's side door area. luckily, the lady who had hit him left her information. it turned out that her car had skid on the roads that should have been cleaned because that is why we pay our homeowner's fee. his poor car screeched in pain anytime he opened the door, and if he was driving fast down the highway, there was a definite breeze coming in.

that started a period of calling insurance companies and getting the car appraised and figuring out what exactly needed to be fixed and how. then came the part of dropping the car off and getting a rental and living out of someone else's car for days while his car got fixed. which is fun at first, but gets old real quick i'm told.

after being told that the car had more damage than they originally thought after they started taking it apart and that they would have to keep it a few extra days, he finally got it back. one night, he walked into the house a little later than usual and excitedly announced, "i have my car again." and then two days later we got a dusting of snow. not much, but enough to make the roads icy i suppose. it was sunday morning and i was sitting on the couch watching darcy eat his breakfast and waiting for my computer to start up. all of a sudden, i hear my husband running down the stairs.

"i think someone just hit my car," he said.

i laughed. "you're joking."

he shook his head. "there's a car parked right next to it and the guy is taking pictures. i'm gonna go check," he said, pulling on a hoodie and shoving his feet into his shoes.

he came back in a few minutes later in an exponentially worse mood. the guy had, in fact, hit his car. apparently he had started to fishtail and so he slammed his foot on the gas in a panic and turned right into the front of my husband's poor, abused car.

and that, once again and hopefully for the last time, started a period of calling insurance companies and getting the car appraised and figuring out what exactly needed to be fixed and how. on saturday will come the part of dropping the car off and getting a rental and living out of someone else's car for days while his car gets fixed. which is fun at first, but gets old real quick i'm told.

on the bright side, he now has experience at three different auto shops and rental places in the area because each insurance worked with a different one. so if we ever have anything else happen to our cars, he'll know which one to take it to.

*Waste Time - Eagles

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

with one deep breath, and one big step, i move a little bit closer

doing things these days is so hard for me. i think my nesting stage is over. in fact, anything related to babies freaks me out, which is why i have a carseat in the garage instead of in my car and a nursery that is only half decorated. (twenty-three days, you guys. it is so close.) anything related to school just seems pointless because i have been having Thoughts about the direction my education is headed (and really my life in general, but i don't really think now is the best time to make huge decisions and major changes to our already agreed upon plans, so i wait). anything not related to school or babies just seems like a waste of time at the moment. time that i should be doing absolutely nothing in because this may be the last time in a really, really long time that i get to do absolutely nothing. i am suddenly overwhelmed by the list of things that i always said i was going to watch on netflix and the pile of books that i really was going to read and now seems like the right time to start plowing through them.

also, my brain is not in the best working order these days. case in point: i woke up last night needing to pee for the millionth time and noticed that my husband wasn't in bed. i figured that he had gone to work, and if that was the case, my first alarm would go off in half an hour or less and i could just wait to pee then. i managed to fall back asleep until six:thirty when i realized that his alarm should have just been going off. the rational thing to assume in this case would be that he had moved to the couch or guest room earlier in the night because i was kicking him or something, and that thought did occur to me a few minutes later. but first, first there was panic. my brain immediately jumped to the oh so logical conclusion that the baby was coming early and he had left to the hospital without me. it took longer than it should have to register with me that that was impossible because i would be the one going into labor if that happened. so yeah. you might be able to tell now why my blog has been neglected. 

along with the bouts of panic and lethargy, lately i have just been so immensely grateful and appreciative of everything. i went through a similar thing earlier in my pregnancy, but it calmed down. in fact, i was fine until shortly before my baby shower. and then my baby shower completely opened the floodgates and i was struck with how genuinely lucky i am to have such amazing people in my life. people that i can go months without talking to and then pick things up exactly where we left off. people who are kind and generous and smart and hilarious. and my family, you guys, are the absolute best. and suddenly, i am only seeing silver linings and cups half full and bright sides. which is great and all, don't get me wrong, but to a serial pessimist it is also really annoying. i'll want to complain about how i need to get up and pee again even though i just did and i just got into the perfect comfortable position on the couch, but i can't complain because i am just so gosh darn grateful for the miracle that is a functioning urinary tract and how amazing is the human body? and oh my god i want to punch myself in the face but it would likely only lead to me getting goo-goo eyes at bloody noses. 

a professor at school the other day ran into me for the first time since i think thanksgiving, and he just said, "you look really happy." and you know what? he's right. so despite everything, there's that. 

*For Reasons Unknown - The Killers

Monday, February 2, 2015

you know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight

i feel like i should talk about the super bowl last night, and how the seahawks deciding to pass instead of just run the ball when they have a player who is basically a human bulldozer that just plows through the entire defense was probably the stupidest call in the history of the sport, but i won't. mostly because i'm actually not that upset about it and wasn't even really rooting for either of the teams. i was simultaneously hoping both would win and both would lose. brady literally jumping for joy at the end was amusing, though. (my mom and husband were rooting for the pats. my dad, who has always hated them, spent all season rooting for them which was kind of really weird, but after the ball deflating fiasco he had firmly turned back against them over the past week.)

but you know what i will talk about? the commercials that happened during the super bowl. there were a few that i liked, a lot that just disappointed me, and then there was that stupid nationwide commercial that traumatized me for life. i was watching the game with my husband and dad at that point (my mom was popping in and out and my sister made a speech about how watching sports was stupid and then went upstairs) who are not the most emotionally reactive people to watch things with. this in no way stops me from making comments about every single thing that happens on the screen (and the backstory that i make up for all of the players). so we're sitting there watching the nationwide commercial after a bunch of other family-focused commercials, and this little boy is saying something about cooties and not sailing around the world with his best friend and never getting married and i mean, he's a little boy so i figure there will be some sort of turning point in his narrative. a plot twist if you will. and then it comes. he stares right at the camera and says that he won't do any of that stuff because he is dead. as in, he died. he died in an accident that his parents could have prevented. i'm not sure if his accident was being left in the tub unsupervised or being crushed by a falling tv, but i just sat there horrified. stunned into silence for three seconds before i could even formulate my comments. i mean, really?! what the hell, nationwide. that is not a feelgood super bowl commercial. that should not be thrown in among puppies returning home and the differences between a father and a dad (though i have to admit we all kind of mocked that one). that is not the kind of thing you surprise someone with at the end of a thirty second ad. especially not someone who is pregnant and hormonal and cries at formula commercials. sheesh.

in other news, i have reached the point where, when people ask when i am due, i can say, "next month." is that not absolutely crazy?

*Playing With Fire - Brandon Flowers

Monday, January 26, 2015

i want it now

this will be a whiny rant.

i have been dreaming of girl scout cookies lately. because it is girl scout cookie season, and i should be able to get some. but i can't. because girl scouts are nowhere to be found. seriously, it's like they have all gone into hiding or something. i suspect my doctor is behind this. i want thin mints and samoas and tagalongs and trefoils. and i want them really, really badly.

i get that selling cookies is supposed to teach the girl scouts a bunch of things, and if the company just sold them online no one would learn anything. or something. but, really, most girl scouts aren't actually selling the cookies these days. their parents are. they are using facebook and pinning up order sheets in office break rooms. and because the cookies are crack, people buy hundreds of them. and the scouts get to take the forms back to their troop leaders and get whatever prize they were working towards. so they should just let people order online is what i'm saying.

the booths won't start popping up until the end of february. the first one in my area will be at four o'clock on february twentieth. yes, i checked. that's like, a month away. and i'll be at the very end of my pregnancy and who knows if i'll want to venture out to get the cookies then. i want them now. and i know that even if i order from a girl scout now i won't get them until end of february (because the world is cruel) but at least i'll know they're coming.

sigh. first world problems.

*I Want It All - Queen

Saturday, January 24, 2015

can't complain about much these days

the third trimester is i think my least favorite trimester of this whole pregnancy thing. (the vague queasiness of those first few months was not great, but it was also less regular than my complaints at the moment.) but i am still so so super grateful about how this pregnancy is progressing, because i look around and know that it could be so much worse.

the third trimester to me right now means thirst. i drink about one hundred and seventy five ounces a day  on average, oftentimes more. if i drink any less then i feel dry and dehydrated and i can't make a fist and start to get dizzy and even more irritable than usual. of course, drinking that much is no fun either. and do you know how many times a day you have to pee when you're constantly guzzling water? it is nearly impossible to get anything done these days because as soon as i really hit a groove in whatever it is i am doing, i need to get up and run to the bathroom. again.

it also means back pain. constant and painful. there is this one spot on my back that just never stops hurting. (well, mostly never. thankfully stretching out in bed seems to help and the first hour after i wake up i'm usually fine.) i'm sure it has something to do with my posture, and i'd be more than happy to make adjustments, but i'm just unsure how i should sit or stand or whatever it is i'm doing wrong. i wonder if google would help.

it meant a period of really bad acid reflux. after some experimenting with my diet, i found that the main culprit was chocolate which should have been an easy enough fix, but i love  chocolate. i cut down my intake significantly (which also helps when i need to defend myself whenever my doctor claims i'm gaining too much weight), but there are still days where i am willing to put up with the reflux for some good chocolate. (i have heard a lot of people complain that they cannot sleep from heartburn/acid reflux and i thankfully never got to that point.)

but most of all, the third trimester to me right now means ridiculous emotions. and stupid commercials that make me tear up every single time i watch them. even though i've seen it before. even though i know what is going to happen. even thought it is really not that emotional of a commercial. case in point, this similac commercial gets me every time:

but like i said, even with the things that i moan and groan about, i know how lucky i am and have been for the past seven months. i turned thirty-three weeks yesterday which means there are seven weeks left of this. (could be as low as five or as many as nine.) and then hopefully cricket will prove to be as easy a new newborn as he was a fetus. (the newborn stage has been freaking me out the closer i get to it, while toddlers are my absolute favorite, i have quite a bit of experience with kids of most ages. i have zero experience with newborns. i have seven weeks for my "natural instincts" to kick in.)

*Be Okay - Oh Honey

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

i am making changes to my blog. i felt like it was time. (plus, procrastination!) i want to clean it up, get rid of all the clutter, make it lighter. so there will probably be a lot of messing around in the next few days. the changes may be temporary. i have my old code safely stored for reverting back to and may decide to switch it up completely again in a few months. but for now, it will probably just be some variation of what you see. (i decided to go with a blogger template instead of building something from scratch because of laziness.)

to tie up some other loose ends, i wrote about one hundred twenty thousand, three hundred and sixty-seven (120, 367) words last year - not counting any form of correspondence or anything that didn't have my "voice" or anything that i forgot to add to the total count. that's only a little more than twelve percent of what my goal was (one million words) so... i guess i failed? i wasn't trying too hard, though, to be honest. and one million words is way more than it seemed like in my head. i have become very zen about failure lately. (okay, maybe just when it concerns failing pointless self-made goals.)

the number of posts i write a year seems to be declining every year, so my new goal this year is to write at least a hundred posts. i'm hoping that at least half of them will be more than thoughtless rambles. (in two thousand and nine i wrote over three hundred posts. i was ridiculous.) 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

it's haunting me

does everyone remember the twits by roald dahl? i actually don't remember the plot very much at all, but wasn't there a part where someone glued all of the furniture to the ceiling so they thought they were upside down? hardly an unheard of prank these days, but to young elementary school me, it was the the funniest and smartest idea in the world. aside from the furniture on the ceiling part, which i'm not actually sure was from that particular book in all honesty, there was one point that got lodged in my brain and never really left it.

there's a part in the book that says that if you have ugly thoughts then they show on your face and you get uglier and uglier until people can barely stand to look at you, and if you have nice thoughts then you get prettier and prettier because they shine out of your face. that idea used to haunt me.

now, i had an amazing childhood, but i was a slightly weird little kid with a fondness for melancholy. i remember being in fourth grade and laying on my bed with my windows open, there was a cool breeze blowing in just a few degrees too warm to make it chilly and birds were chirping just outside. my sisters were somewhere in the house or yard playing, and i just stayed in my room listening to music that made me sad. because apparently i was always like that. and to this day, whenever there are clear blue skies and a breeze and chirping birds and solitude, i am transported to my nine year old body laying on my bed, staring up at the canopy, and enjoying that particular satisfaction of digging yourself into a hole of sadness.


when i was still really young (think first or second grade) and first read that line, i one hundred percent believed it. if a single thought that was anything less than pleasant crossed my mind, i was terrified that everyone around me would see me getting uglier and just know. i eventually grew out of that, but the echoes of the fear still lingered in my mind, and once i hit fifth/sixth grade, it kind of came up again. i knew that whatever thoughts i had were not changing my physical appearance, but i also knew that there was nothing hiding in the dark to kill me and that didn't stop me from turning on every single light on my way upstairs and flying into bed when i turned the light off in my room at night. (it also didn't exactly help that i was entering that lovely awkward stage lol.)

that went away, too, after a while, but the excerpt still sticks with me. and at random times i'll suddenly remember the twits and how they got uglier because of their thoughts. usually it's just a passing thought or a one-liner in response to something someone said/did, but today it stirred up the other memories. there are so many bits and pieces from books that i can barely even remember anymore that have stuck with me my entire life. a lot of them seem pretty pointless, like a scene of picking up baggage at an airport or gluing a napkin into a scrapbook, and i start to wonder why. why my brain decided to store that little snippet but lose the rest of the plot. what was the point?

and those are the deep introspective thoughts that have kept me from working on my dissertation. i should've chosen a topic related to children's literature. maybe then i could have at least pretended i was doing work.

*Everytime - Britney Spears

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

goodbye my friend. you have been the one, you have been the one for me

jasper is dead, and i am heartbroken. a few months ago (possibly longer), he started to have some issues. the main one was that he would sometimes just restart out of nowhere and then get stuck in a reboot loop where he would almost finish restarting but then decide to just restart from the beginning again. these loops would only last a minute, though, and usually if i took off my phone case they'd finish even faster. another very frustrating issue was that he would get in these moods where, whenever i would go to take a picture, he'd just turn off. like the take a picture button was a power button or something. he would also do this thing where he would turn off out of nowhere, and when i turned him back on, the battery would be mostly drained. my husband (and most other people in my life) told me to buy a new phone. but i loved jasper, and he was still perfectly usable most of the time, and so i stubbornly refused.

fast forward to a few weeks ago. i was at target with my husband having a text-conversation with a friend about whether or not she was going to another friend's dinner when jasper decided to restart. and restart. and then restart some more. i took off the case and waited, but he just kept trying to restart. i took out the battery for a while, but the second i put it back in, the restarting just continued. i tried everything, but all my efforts were made in vain. and then, after about twenty minutes, right when i was ready to call the time of death, he was finally able to finish a restart and everything was back to normal. 

now, a smart person would have heeded the warning signs and made some sort of preparation for the inevitable end. i am not a smart person, though. i am a person who apparently believes deeply in denial. "he's fine," i said. "it was just a weird one-time thing. i'll never have to buy another phone for the rest of my life."

and then monday happened where any time i touched a button i would send jasper into freak-out restart forever mode. he always came back after a while, though, and so i still did nothing. come tuesday, jasper was getting stuck in restart loops that lasted hours, draining his battery completely in the process. and now here i am on wednesday night, still unable to use my phone because he will not stop trying to restart and pulled rudely from the lands of denial. 

i am not ready for my phone to die. i never synced my candy crush with facebook so none of my progress is saved. nearly up to level five hundred, and for what? i have pictures that i have not saved to a computer or backed up in any way yet. there is so much stuff on my phone that i want and/or need, and now i cannot get to it. and i am sad. plus, buying a house is expensive. furnishing a house is expensive. having a baby is expensive. buying a phone is expensive. i was not prepared for that last one in the midst of all the others. 

for the meantime i am using my husband's old phone. and i am grateful to get to use it, but it has none of the apps i use (which are basically only four: whatsapp, instagram, candy crush, and babycenter), an awful background, all the wrong notification sounds, none of my alarms, the wrong layout format thing, and is not my phone. adjusting his phone to look like jasper just feels like defeat, and i somehow refuse to accept that. i am still carrying around jasper trying to get him to start up again, but so far have had no luck. sigh. 

it's been a good two and a half years, jasper. (it's actually been two years and seven months almost to the day.)

*Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt