Thursday, April 24, 2008

like a ton of bricks

Exhaustion: 1
Kathleen: 0

I give up. Exhaustion wins. (Well, this round, anyway.)

I'm more exhausted right now than I have been in a very long time -- or at least since I was pregnant. It's like everything caught up with me today: being back at work, not having had more than about four consecutive hours of sleep for probably about a six months between being pregnant and having a newborn, and the fact that Elanor hasn't slept well for the past several nights.

It doesn't help either that Brett is getting ready to compete in another barista competition, so he's been leaving for work around 6 a.m. and not getting home until 9 p.m. I'm happy for him that he gets to compete but I can say with all honesty that I will be so very glad when this competition is over and we can just work on establishing a routine that doesn't include having dinner at 9:15 p.m., going to bed at midnight, and getting up at 5:30.

I am having serious trouble functioning...I really hope I can catch a break soon and get some sleep or I might just fall over. Yeah, right...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carless in Seattle

So, that cool thing I've been talking about lately, that I've been promising to share with all of you?

Well, here it is: I am the newest columnist for Seattle Mom Blogs! I'll be writing a weekly column called Carless in Seattle, which will (obviously) be about our carless lifestyle, as well as our other efforts to live in an environmentally friendly way.

Here's the link to my column: Carless in Seattle.

You'll notice, too, both the Seattle Mom Blogs badge and the Carless in Seattle badge in the sidebar. Both of those should (if I can set them up right) link to the site and to my page.

So check it out! I know all of you moms can find something relevant on there, especially you Puget Sound ladies. There are lots of other columns about all things mom-related and Seattle-related. Poke around; I know you'll enjoy it!

Here's where I need your help: if you have questions about our carless lifestyle, feel free to ask them here by posting a comment. I'll ask readers over there to post their questions, too, and I'll answer them in various posts over there.

See you over at Seattle Mom Blogs!

Friday, April 18, 2008

WTF?

Uh. People?

This is what is happening outside right now:

Yes, that's right: snow. In Seattle. In April. And it's sticking! And while we were sitting in the kitchen about 30 minutes ago, drinking coffee, we saw a flash and heard the loudest crack of thunder I've ever heard. Yep, a snow and thunderstorm. The hell?

This is why I moved away from Maine, for Pete's sake!!! I couldn't handle the snow, especially the snow into April!

There's something seriously wrong in the world for this to be happening...

(For more pics of the snow, head to Flickr...)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 14: Three Months

Sorry this is a few days late. I had it written but have had no time to post. Life's a little chaotic with me being back at work; we're in the midst of finding some balance but haven't gotten there quite yet.

Sometime later this week, I'll be posting the exciting news I referenced in a couple of posts recently...it should be, well, exciting!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Elanor,

You are now three months old! We definitely cannot call you a newborn anymore; you are awake and alert and you love to interact constantly.

This month has seen big happenings, not only in your development, but also in where we've gone and, perhaps the biggest thing, my transition back to work.

We began the month with our trip to Denver. You were amazing on the airplane; I was so proud of you. Either you were sleeping or you were awake and happy; the fussy times were few and far between. Thankfully, we got a whole row to ourselves on both flights, which was a Godsend.

Spending time with Daisy and Miriam was a treat. Ten-month-old Miriam didn't quite know what to make of you. When you'd cry, she'd whimper too and look up at Daisy with a worried look on her face. And when you were happy and sitting on the floor or in the bouncer chair, she'd scoot over and touch your face and head.

After our trip to Denver, we went straight to Portland, and then down to Roseburg. You were a good baby on this leg of the journey, too. You got to meet your second cousin Joey for the first time, which was fun.

You also got to expand your love of water by taking a swim in the hotel swimming pool. You loved it. Even though it was chilly and you were shaking by the end, you didn't cry a bit, just stared around wide-eyed as Papa and I held you in the water.

After we got home, we just laid low for a couple of weeks, during which we celebrated Easter in style with an adorable outfit from Noni.

We then went to the beach with all of the ladies for the weekend -- you and me, Mema, Noni, Auntie Amy and Auntie Rachel, Great-Grandma Dori, Great Aunt Lauren, Cousin Missy, and your second cousin Joey.

We had a great time!

You were highly underwhelmed by the ocean...

...and the carousel.

You loved bathing in the big tub, though.


We haven't done much since our return from the beach. I wanted to savor the last few days of my maternity leave, so most of our time was spent snuggling, going on walks, or hanging out at Cafe Fiore -- not exactly picture-worthy pursuits.

Going back to work has been hard for me, but it's been wonderful to know you are being cared for by people who love you. I'm just holding out hope that someday I can be home with you more.

You've changed so much this month; I barely know how to begin. The biggest change is what I mentioned before: you are really not a newborn at all anymore. You are so alert and attentive when you are awake! You follow everything that is going on, and you love to be a part of the action.

You have gained so much weight. It shouldn't be a surprise, since you love to eat and you've been ginormous since you were in my belly, but I was shocked when Papa put you on the scale at work the other day and it said you weighed 17.6 pounds. Oh, well. I'm certainly getting strong arms from carrying you around!

My favorite thing is watching you smile. You will grin when you see Papa or me (or anyone who smiles at you, really). You'll also laugh when we are playing. It's this little giggle and squeal and I cannot get enough of it.

I'll sum up by listing some of your current likes, dislikes, and things like that.

Likes: sucking on your fingers, playing during a diaper change, baths, singing silly songs, nursing, watching movies with Papa (you talked and cooed throughout a Kurosawa movie the other afternoon), riding the bus, being snuggled in the Moby.

Dislikes: being hungry, being too hot, no one paying attention to you, eating from the bottle (sometimes), being in your carseat.

Favorite toy: Squeaky pink bunny and jingle Piglet are currently in the running for favorite toy status. You love pink bunny's squeak, and your favorite part about Piglet is that his little snout is perfect for you to latch onto.

Favorite position to be held: You still love being on your stomach across an arm.

You are becoming more and more of a little person every day, and it is so fun to see. You are, for the most part, a very happy little girl. That said, you do know what you want and if you aren't getting it, you let us know, usually loudly and with lots of crying. You're just opinionated, I guess.

It's funny; at first Papa and I didn't want you to get big. We loved how little you were and wanted you to stay all new and tiny forever. Now, though, as we are beginning to see your personality develop, we can't wait for you to get big! To talk with us, and color pictures, and go to the park...it's going to be so much fun!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm sure: I love you, little girl. You make my life a thousand times brighter by being in it. I don't care if you are smiling and laughing, screaming your head off, spitting up on me, or pooping everywhere. It's all a complete joy.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I saw the sign

Ok, so I couldn't resist the title. I mean, who doesn't love a little Ace of Base every now and then? I know I do. *running to iTunes to turn on some Ace of Base*

One of my favorite memories from my France trip a couple years ago was doing karaoke of Ace of Base songs (and many other random artists) in this really weird karaoke bar in Honfleur, owned by the guy shown below, a Korean man who had moved to France via San Francisco, and who liked to play his flute or saxophone along with all of the songs. It was pretty hilarious.

Aaanyway, the point of my title is that I've been meaning to blog about some signs and fliers I've seen lately that made me either crack up or do a double take.

The first one is this one, for a pho restaurant about a mile from our house:

Bwahahaha! I love it. UnPHOgettable. LOL. That's my kind of humor, right there -- the cheesy pun. (PS -- I took this photo from the window of the moving bus while on our way to our friend's birthday party...sorry about the glare.)

Every time Brett sees this sign he says that he wants to open a take-out pho restaurant called Pho-Off. I tell him that it should really be Pho-Out if you're going to be grammatically correct, but I realize that ruins the pun. Heh.

The second thing that made me do a double-take and roll my eyes was a billboard I saw on the side of a bus a couple of days ago. I tried to take a photo with my cell phone, but the memory on the camera was full so it didn't let me save it.

Anyway, it was for this website that is www. goredforwomen. org, which is about fighting heart disease in women. But COME ON PEOPLE, did you not read what your url actually says? It looks like gored for women, not go red for women! I had visions of some bull goring people on behalf of women...D'oh. Not so much.

The third thing I saw that made me basically just throw up my hands and say WTF is this flier I got when I was in Denver. Daisy and I were at the mall, and there was a Christian bookstore. Seeing as Seattle is, like, totally pagan and I can't think of where on earth there is a Christian bookstore here, I went in because Brett and I had just been talking about getting a new Bible, so I wanted to see what they had.

I wound up buying one (a version of Eugene Peterson's The Message that is divided out into sections so you can read it in a year) and the cashier stuck this flier in the bag with the Bible. When I pulled it out later, the section on the far right struck me as, well, as being kind of unclear and bizarre.

It says, "50% off sale event, healing through Christ, one week only!"

Ok. So. What in the world does that mean? Is "healing through Christ" a book series? A set of study materials? A seminar for people who need emotional healing of some kind? What? I JUST DON'T KNOW!!!

Because to me, it sounds like the store is selling healing -- like, you know, what Jesus did, stuff like curing the lepers and making the blind see and the lame walk -- and said healing costs money, but it's on sale only for one week.

I hate crap like this, stuff that is completely unclear and makes you think one thing but really means something else, because, let's face it, I'm sure they're not selling actual healing. But it certainly sounds that way. It's one thing if it's some botched English on a sign or something in another country (like this photo Joel and Sarah took when they were on vacation a few weeks ago), but if I'm in an English-speaking country, I would hope that things would make sense and be spelled right and be grammatically correct. Ah well, a girl can dream, can't she?

So that's the random crap I've been thinking about lately, when I'm not missing Elanor. Not terribly exciting to most people, I'm sure. However, I'm sure there are some of you out there who think the way I do and who have seen some great signs or whatnot along these lines. If you have some, please, share them!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

making it

Thanks to all of you for your comments and thoughts and prayers. I won't deny it; the past two days have been hard. It's not that I mind working or mind being back -- on the contrary, it's fun to be with my co-workers again -- it's that I mind being away from Elanor. I miss her terribly during the day.

The worst part was leaving her yesterday morning. I cried for much of the bus ride; I'm sure my fellow riders on the 17 express thought I was weird. I wasn't worried for her; I knew she and Brett would have a good day (and they did). I was just sad that I wasn't going to be with her all day.

However, the day got better, and it was fun to see my co-workers and to show off pictures of Elanor. And having Brett bring her down to see me at lunch helped a lot.

Overall, things have gone really smoothly the past two days. She hasn't gotten hysterical, even though she's only eaten a teensy bit during the day. She's definitely reverse cycling to make up for it, though, as she ate for over an hour straight last night. (Her feedings are usually 10-15 minutes, max.) But I don't mind. I want to keep breastfeeding her as long as possible, ideally well past a year, so if she'll wait to get the bulk of her calories from me then I'm fine with that.

I'm definitely tired. She nursed from about 8:15 to past 9:30 last night, and it was all I could do not to fall asleep while she was eating. My original intent had been to nurse her to sleep and then get up and do some things (like laundry) but I soon realized that just wasn't practical, given how tired I was and the fact that I had to get up at 5:30 if I was going to shower in the morning before Brett left. So instead of getting up to do chores, I just changed into my jammies, crawled into bed, and snuggled her up while she nursed yet again. I was asleep by 9:40...and it was lovely!

So, yeah. That's the update. It's going ok. I don't mind being back at work, although I miss her something fierce throughout the day. We're working on refining our routines for the morning and evening, so that we can get things done and yet get to bed at a reasonable hour or get to work on time, but that will all fall into place eventually so I'm not too concerned.

For now, it's enough to just come home in the evening to her smile when she sees me, and then snuggle her close all night long.

Monday, April 07, 2008

bleh.

So, I go back to work on Wednesday. Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse by talking about it again, but it's all I think about these days.

Yeah. Thankfully we have the first month covered -- Brett is going to stay home some, a friend is going to watch her for a day or two, my sister is coming for a few days, and both of our moms are coming for a week.

Still, it's going to be hard. I keep telling myself that I'll get through it and everything will be fine (and I will and everything will be) but that doesn't help. I almost wish it were Wednesday evening already so that I was done with the dreaded first day.

The past three months have been incredible. I love being home, and I adore being a mama. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I feel like it's finally something I'm really good at! I mean, I guess I was good at being a journalist -- at least I'd like to think so -- but that was long hours with little pay and lots of frustration. The fact that I loved it wasn't worth the tradeoffs of being up until 2 a.m. writing stupid stories about city council meetings.

Being a mom is way better. Sure, it's long hours, and yeah, there are frustrating parts some of which do take place at 2 a.m.), but seeing Elanor smile at me is worth more than any paycheck I have ever received.

So anyway, that's what's on my mind this week. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers, please, this Wednesday -- it's going to be a very long ten-and-a-half hours.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

mommy brain

For quite a while now, I've heard my friends with kids talking about what they call mommy brain. Apparently, this is a kind of absentmindedness that strikes sometime during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

I experienced being absent-minded while I was pregnant, but chalked it up more to the extreme exhaustion I felt and how sick I was more than mommy brain.

I have always considered myself a highly capable person. In the past few years, I feel like I've gotten to be pretty good around the house. I can cook, bake, do laundry, and all of that other stuff in a pretty automatic way. Plus, I don't forget stuff -- I always make sure the oven is off when I'm done using it, and I clean out the lint filter with every load of laundry.

Anyway, it appears that mommy brain struck for me twice this past weekend, when in an uncharacteristic set of circumstances, I did two really dumb things. And of course I did both of them in front of seven other women, including my mom, my mother-in-law, both of my sisters-in-law, Brett's grandma and aunt, and Brett's cousin's wife.

The first incident of mommy brain struck on Saturday afternoon. We were all at the beach house, enjoying just hanging out and staring at the babies (Elanor and her second cousin Joey), when I decided to do a load of laundry because Elanor spits up on every single thing she wears. Even though we'd only been at the beach house for about 24 hours, I already had a full load to wash. (Such is life with a spitty baby, I guess.)

So I gathered up all the laundry out of my suitcase and then grabbed a couple of things I'd laid next to her changing pad on the floor, threw it all in, and walked away.

I returned an hour or so later to switch it to the dryer, and as soon as I pulled out the first thing, I knew something was wrong.

There was white fuzz all over a black shirt of mine that I'd thrown in with Elanor's things.

"Huh, that's weird," I thought. "I wonder if one of Elanor's outfits did this?"

I pulled out something else, which sent little gel beads all over the mudroom.

That was when I knew that there was some kind of liquid-absorbing item in the wash. At first I thought it might be a breast pad that had gotten stuck to one of my shirts. But as I kept pulling things out of the washer that were covered in fuzz and little gel beads, I realized it had to have been something much larger than a breast pad.

Yep. I'd washed a disposable diaper. I must have scooped it up with the things that were next to the changing pad.

And what's even more stupid than washing a disposable diaper? Running into the living room, holding the shreds of the diaper and yelling, "How DUMB AM I? Look what I just did! I just washed a diaper!"

Everyone gave me this look. You know, like, "Um, ok. Thanks for sharing. That's grody."

My mom followed me in to the mudroom to help me get the gel out of all the clothes so I could re-wash them.

"I don't think I'd have told everyone if I washed a diaper," she said.

Sigh. She's probably right; I should have just kept it to myself. (Of course, here I am now, telling the entire Internet, but whatever.)

The second stupid thing I did was when we were making dinner later that evening. The stove at the beach house is really wide, and has a large section on the right-hand side that doesn't have burners.

We'd taken a cookie sheet and the broiler pan out of the oven to cook something else in there and someone had set them on the left-hand set of burners.

I went to cook something, and set the pan on the right front burner. And then, stupid me, turned on the left front burner. Because, you know, the right front burner was further left on the stove than I was used to, and the left burner was covered up with the broiler pan so I didn't see it.

As I noticed that the pan didn't seem to be getting hot, I kept turning it up and up, until finally it was on high, and I looked down at the broiler pan sitting there and noticed a round, burner-like shape in it.

"Huh," I mumbled. "That's stra-- OH CRAP!!!"

And then I proceeded, once again, to announce to the entire group what I had done -- melted a perfect, burner-shaped circle into the metal pan.

I never used to do stuff like this. Ever. I always sort laundry religiously. (Although I don't sort religiously enough to suit my mom, I'm still more particular than most people about laundry sorting.) And I have never done anything like the burner thing. After Brett left a burner on high once with a near-empty pan and almost ruined it, I always, always check stuff like that. Except clearly, I didn't check this time.

I really hope this absentmindeness is just mommy brain or lack of sleep or something temporary, not something more permanent like me getting dumber or just altogether losing my marbles. Hopefully once I get a little more sleep, I'll be back to my normal self again.

Either that or I'll just have to learn to shut up about the ditzy things I do. (Unless, of course, they make a good story for my blog. Heh.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

the fright of my life

I was just now walking home from a nice couple of hours at the coffee shop up the street. Elanor was wrapped in the Moby and sleeping away. I was dwelling on how next Wednesday is my first day back at work and looking at some plants in someone's yard when it happened -- I tripped and fell, hard.

As I fell, I could see Elanor's head falling backwards and going directly toward the pavement. I yelled something -- I am not sure what; I think it was something like, "Oh, GOD!" -- and managed to catch myself on my knees and my hands before her head hit.

I dissolved into tears as I started getting up, looking at my bloody hands and now muddy jeans and thinking about what had almost happened. Thank God I managed to catch us before her head hit the pavement!

It was one of the scariest 30 seconds of my life, thinking that she could have hit that sidewalk and what might have happened. I don't know what to chalk it up to: whether I was wearing larger (and therefore clumsier) shoes than normal, or whether I was preoccupied, or what. And that sort of freaks me out, because I don't know how to prevent it happening again. I'm certainly not going to stop walking to Fiore or wearing her in the Moby; that would be, in my opinion, an extreme overreaction.

I guess I can't always prevent accidents like that from happening. I'm sure every parent has a story like this one. Even so, knowing that doesn't make it any less scary when I stop to think about what might have happened.

~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, Elanor and I spent the last few days down in Portland, first hanging out with my mom and sister, then heading down to the Oregon coast with my mom, Brett's mom, Brett's two sisters, Brett's Grandma Dori, his Aunt Lauren, his cousin's wife, Missi, and her new baby, Joey. We had a great time! Pictures will be forthcoming -- I've posted them to Flickr and will post some here soon.

Ok, I have to work on our income tax return while Brett has Elanor upstairs...ugh...not what I want to be doing right now, but I have to get it done before I go back to work!