Saturday, December 1, 2012

So I can't do it all...

I'm a little notorious for over-booking myself. For hot minute, at the peak of my busy-ness, I had two jobs, a band (who traveled on the regular), a flock of chickens, was in grad school, and had an awesome social life. And I was totally doing it. I drank like, four cups of coffee a day, but I owned it.

Now I've gone and had this baby.
This baby.
When I got pregnant, I was like, there's no way I'm taking a semester off. I really just wanted to be finished with grad school. Plus I thought that I wouldn't have enough to do during my maternity leave, so I figured course work would keep me sane. I thought this baby would just sleep all day, and I would have tons of time to write my thesis.


Seriously, why didn't anybody tell me I wouldn't have the time or the desire to do homework? Actually, I'm totally lying because like all of you told me that, but I pretty much ignored you. I can't even find time to take a crap, much less write uninterrupted for hours. So here I am, a couple weeks from the end of what should be my last semester of grad school, and I've asked my adviser for an extension on my thesis. It was horribly humiliating for me. So much so, that I avoided emailing her for several weeks. I shouldn't have waited, because as soon as I did, she was basically like, whatever. It's normal. I could have spared myself many sleepless, weepy nights worrying about when I will get finished. I could have spared Mitch several arguments about him helping out more, when really he couldn't do anything more unless he started lactating.

It's hard to admit to yourself that you're not super(wo)man. I suppose I could have pulled it off, but that would have meant missing Dot's first smile, the first time she rolled over. It would have meant missing tummy time and bath time and play time and story time. But I haven't missed any of those times, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

chickens are bitches

It's been a while since I posted a chicken update. That's because they've been relatively lame, and just lay eggs (although not so much these days). Plus I didn't touch them when I was pregnant because I was pretty sure that touching chicken poo would make my unborn child grow a third arm or something. I asked the midwives if I could touch chickens, and they were like, "Um, I'm going now," and never answered my question. I'm pretty sure my farmer Aunt Shirley would throw side eye at me for even asking, but it got me out of the work so whatever.

Chickens have this spaz attack whenever they see blood. Like sharks. They see blood, and they decide to make more blood by pecking the crap out of whatever is bleeding. So that means if a chicken gets injured, the other ones will probably inadvertently (or advertently) kill it. They are not known for their empathy and kindness.

Greta used to be the HBIC of the coop. At one point, we even thought that she thought she was a rooster, because she wouldn't lay eggs and always beat up the other ladies. Plus she was the biggest. Unfortunately for her, the tables turned, and she became the bottom rung of the ladder. Maybe she stole one of the other chicken's boyfriends or something. The upside was that she started laying eggs. The downside was that the other chickens ripped all her feathers out. Greta looked like a house pet after a toddler gets his hands on some scissors. She was covered in bald spots and super mangy looking. I'm sure all our friends were accusing us of chicken abuse in their heads.

It's just a pecking order. It's natural, and it's usually not a big deal. But when I went outside to feed the brood a couple days ago, I noticed she was bleeding from both of her wings, and that bitch Judy was digging her beak into her open wounds. So I did what any good chicken owner would do, and I brought her into the house. Now she gets to curse those backyard skanks while she eats leftover pizza and apple cores.

I feel like I should earn some kind of plaque for being a chicken-wrangling, mouse-catching (for another post), breastfeeding mad housewife. I should probably move to Pennsylvania.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Birth Story in Photos

Presented without further comment. Courtesy of Agnes Kindberg Photography.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

breastfeeding > childbirth

How we have survived as a species this long is beyond me. We emerge into the world hairless, unable to walk or feed ourselves, completely dependent upon parents who have neither sharp talons nor speedy gait to protect us. Human childbirth in and of itself is dangerous, considering our upright posture makes our hips too narrow to birth our enormous brains without considerable pain and risk. But for me, childbirth pales in comparison to sustaining our lives beyond the womb.

I've managed a domestic violence shelter and answered a suicide hotline. One time, I kicked a nail while walking barefoot, then walked another mile and a half back to our house while my shoe filled up with blood because I didn't want Mitch to think I was a wimp. But nothing has reduced my stoic, unfeeling face to tears more often than watching my hungry baby scream and thrash at my bosom while I calmly try to explain that if she would just latch, the hunger would go away. Mommy would stop crying, and all would be right in the world.

But unfortunately, human babies are born not knowing how to latch onto their mother's breast. It is something that must be learned. They come out knowing how to suck, bite, nosh, and chew, but not latch. This also means that your baby can not eat. One would think that evolution would have prepared us to at least eat upon entering the world, but evolution has failed us miserably in this area. Thankfully, technological advancement has given us many implements and procedures to counteract natural selection. To simply feed my darling Dot, we tried tubes and syringes, several different bottles and formula. I pumped the crap out of my boobs. We have a Boppy and a My Breast Friend. We even altered my daughter's flawless, perfect little body by consenting to a frenotomy. We were advised to have her upper lip cut as well, but have decided against further procedures for now. We consulted three different pediatricians, two lactation consultants, our doula, and at least half a dozen nurses. I have googled "nipples" more times than I care to count.

And finally, as of Sunday, we were exclusively nursing. It was toe-curlingly painful and required nine hands to get started, but we were nursing nonetheless. And despite all the crying and consulting fees and implements, it is one of the most liberating things I have ever done. I consider myself immensely lucky to have even established it in the first two weeks, and to have access to so much help and support. And Mitch considers himself lucky to have a wife who walks around topless most of the day.
boob coma

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPLADOW. My birth story.

This seems like a thing that bloggers do. Write their birth stories. So seriously, if you don't want the blood and guts of birth, don't read this. But if you're voyeuristic and nosy, please proceed.

Our precious little girl decided to hang out for 11 days past her due date. She also decided to make labor challenge every ounce of will that I had in my body. Labor was long and difficult (hence the name labor), and most of our birth "plan" went right out the window. Tuesday morning at 1:00 am, after having been in early labor for about three days (which I had been successfully ignoring), real business contractions started, which was awesome because I had only had 30 minutes of sleep. I was kind of like, yeah right, this baby has been yanking my chain for almost a month with these so-called "contractions." But she was like, super serious this time. I let Mitch sleep until they were 3-4 minutes apart for an hour. Our doula joined us at 4:00 am, and we continued to try and labor at home. Unfortunately, our pilot light decided to go out, and Mitch, being the son of an electrician and the grandson of a carpenter, of course had no idea how to fix it. It was 57 degrees in our house. I could not get comfortable, and my contractions were steamrolling me. I couldn't let anyone touch me, as I was having back labor and these really hideous shooting pains in my hips and legs. Counter pressure and hip squeezes just made it worse. I'm pretty sure I yelled at my doula a few times, but I'm also pretty sure that's why we pay her in real dollars and not cartons of eggs. So at 6:00 am, we headed to the hospital.

I had fully expected them to tell me I was well on my way to pushing this pumpkin out. I had contractions through the insurance questions and the spouse beating questions was about ready to murder the physician's assistant who made me lie motionless on the exam table with the monitor straps by the time the midwife came back to check me. Not being able to move during contractions is like staring at the sun and not being able to look away while your retinas shrink to pinholes and your eyeballs shrivel up inside your sockets. Anyway, after the two-finger dip test (Mitch's pet name for cervical checks), I was shocked, dismayed to learn that I was only 1-2 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and still posterior. Didn't she know I had been laboring actively for 5 hours?! The midwife suggested we consider going home to labor some more. At this point I had a minor freakout and started ripping tape and straps and hospital gowns off of me while yelling at Mitch to get me out of there. That part's mostly a blur, but he will substantiate my story.

For the next several hours, we labored at home. Mitch managed to convince a repairman to come out and fix the furnace post haste, and the doula helped me spin our baby into a more favorable position. Still no one could touch me. I felt like an island, even though I knew I wasn't. I had amazing support, but I couldn't see anyone. I remember hearing my friend Jillian's voice telling me she eventually learned to submit to the pain. You can't control it. Submitsubmitsubmit. It's a mind game. If you can stay ahead of the contractions, you're golden.

I couldn't. By 1:00 pm, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, 60-90 seconds long. We headed back to the hospital only to find out that I was just 2-3 cm dilated. After hours of breast pumping, laboring in the shower and on the ball, standing and walking, I had progressed maybe a centimeter. This was possibly the most disheartening news I could have received. I felt so defeated. The midwife speculated that because my water hadn't broken, the baby's head couldn't dilate my cervix. She suggested we go ahead and break it. I knew that once we did that, I was on a tight schedule. You get 24 hours to push that baby out, or you get a C-section (dun dun dun). But I knew we needed to get things moving along. So the midwife got out her knitting needle and went to work.

During labor, I had wanted to be able to ask for an epidural without really getting one. Sometimes you just need people to tell you how awesome you are. So Mitch and I came up with a safe word that would mean I was serious. That would mean get the mother f***ing anesthesiologist in here now before I eat somebody's face off. Sixteen hours into unmedicated labor and only being 4-5 cm dilated, I started yelling "POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN" until Mitch retrieved a swarthy South American doctor who would inject the sweet sweet nectar of heaven into my spine. He may not have actually been swarthy, but at that moment, Dr. Rodriguez was the man of my dreams.
Before the epidural.
After the epidural. Thumbs up!
According to our midwife, the uterus is just like any other muscle in the body. Sometimes it gets tired. Mine got tired. My contractions starting slowing down and getting weaker. They started talking Pitocin. I knew this had been a risk when I asked for an epidural. It's hard to keep labor progressing when you can't get up and move around. But Pitocin can lead to a cascade of other interventions, so I asked the midwife if we could try using a breast pump first (it's been shown to accelerate labor). I was a little shocked when they said they may not be able to find one for me. The highest level NICU in the city, and they can't get me a breast pump for a couple hours. Well suck it. I'll get my own damn breast pump.

Three hours after we started pumping, I was complete and ready to push (totally showed them). But of course we were those people who were like, we have to wait for our birth photographer! We must document all the gory details of our birth! Let me do my hair first! Agnes arrived, and we started pushing. For two hours, the baby and I pushed as hard as we could. She emerged pink and screaming, my long and slender baby. Her umbilical cord was so short, she had to cuddle on my belly until Mitch cut her loose.

Lots of people talk about how they feel an immediate, deep connection with their babies. I did not have that. When she was placed on my body, all I could think was, this is a baby. That's new. We'll call her Dot. Oh, Mitch is crying. She's crying. Why can't I make her stop crying?! OmigoshI'malreadyaterribleparent.

She screamed for two hours solid. Forget breastfeeding in the first hour; my kid won't close her mouth. But they wheeled us to our recovery room, and she quieted. We learned what soothed her. She started to learn us as well, studying our faces at a close distance, turning her head towards our voices. And all of a sudden, it felt like she had always been there. Cliche as it may be, we had always been parents, and this had always been our family. Not sticking to our birth "plan" doesn't seem to matter anymore. Oh, and since I promised blood and guts, I got a second degree tear and an awesome case of 'roids. Totally worth it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

yeah so the crazy washed off

Notice I'm wearing a sweater. It's a loaner. I purposely did not buy any warm maternity clothes, because I did not anticipate being pregnant during frost warnings.
I felt the need to post my last pregnancy photo ever. Mostly because I'm vain and I super love my pregnancy hair, and I'm really sad that it's going to fall out in a couple months. Also, I wanted to prove that I no longer resemble Jabba the Hut, since I got all my crazy out this weekend. I had about a thirty-second nervous breakdown on Saturday, during which all Mitch could say was "It's good to see you feel feelings."

I have had several people tell me they can't believe I'm still working. Yes, I'm a maniac. But seriously, if I had taken off even just a couple days before my due date, I would still be farting on my couch and eating Magnum bars (yeah what. it's never too cold for a Magnum bar). I think Mitch would come home from work and have to mop me off the floor every day. Also, I'm learning how much people need me (squeeeeee!). Every day I show up and notify the masses that I have once again failed to birth the Messiah, I get about half a dozen emails asking me to do something RIGHT NOW. It's so flattering that people fight for me to prioritize their busy work. But seriously, it's really interfering with shopping on etsy for baby headbands.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

41 weeks. the horror.

41 weeks. Artist Interpretation.
You can all stop asking me. No, I did not have the baby yet. If you want to know how far dilated/effaced I am, I will sign a release of information for you, and you can call my midwife yourself. Yes, we have tried walking/Evening Primrose Oil/sex/Indian food/breast pumping/animal sacrifices to get this baby out, so I don't really want any more suggestions, thank you very much.

Every day, I feel like I'm waking up in that movie Groundhog Day. "I Got You Babe" comes on the clock radio again, and confusion wells up in my veins that we are still sans baby. Is this real life? I need to figure out what I did wrong yesterday, and do it right today so that by tomorrow this baby has evacuated my body. I swear I'll pick up Buster's poo from my neighbor's yard (what dog poops twice on a 30 minute walk?!). I promise I won't hang up on the pollster. I won't curse at the lady who cut in front of us at First Watch, and I won't give Mitch titty twisters any more. I swear. I'll be good. Just hand over the baby.

I shouldn't complain, though. I'm still sleeping. And now that she has descended a little, my back doesn't hurt anymore. I'm having lots of contractions, so I suppose that means there's progress. She passed her nonstress yesterday with flying colors, so we're just truly grateful that she's still healthy, and they're letting us wait her out a little longer. We keep telling her that if she comes on her own terms, it will be a lot easier for everyone. I have a feeling that this is an indication of how many of our conversations with toddler Meatball will go. Put down mommy's lip stick/nail polish/Long Island iced tea and nobody gets hurt.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

waiting feels like

In the morning, my body is so quiet. I lie in bed waiting for this swell of muscle and pain and rhythm, and nothing ever happens. Every morning I wake up in disbelief that I am still occupied. Surely this can't be real, I think. I feel out of body. Then I feel a stir in my abdomen, a leg stretch into my ribs, and I get up and unceremoniously go to work.

At night, my belly clenches like a fist every fifteen, five, three minutes. I count every contraction with unwavering focus. But no pain. Or rarely. I pray to God that the fist brings pain. Because every day I go beyond 40 weeks, I come one day closer to an induction. My baby's resources are depleting. Her watery haven shrinks. Her skin dries out. Her movements become faint. She stops gaining weight. I've already lost four pounds. My body no longer serves her in this state. But my malingering uterus continues this show every night, promising so much, and then delivering nothing.

I can't help but feel as though I am incompetent. We have carefully prepared for a big performance, learning our lines, assembling sets and costumes, building an audience. But opening night came and went, and the star of the show failed to make an appearence. Eventually, people will stop asking with muted excitement if I've had this baby yet. Their questions will shift to statements about how I only have a few more days until they force her out. At least you only have a few more days. But I want this baby to come on her terms. So until then, I will nod and laugh politely when people tell me to uncross my legs already, and then I will imagine putting my hands around their throats and squeezing until the telling stops. Today is a good day to have a baby? I always think so.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hello due date. You mean nothing to me.

yep. still pregnant.
Things I am doing today:
  • eating a donut. 
  • taking a nap.
  • yard work.
  • working on my thesis.
  • going out to dinner.
Things I am not doing today:
  • going to the movies.
  • going to work.
  • touching my toes.
  • eating lunch meat.
  • having a baby.
So little matters to me right now, I can barely manage to write a sentence of my thesis. Not even a fake sentence like, "empirical evidence demonstrates that the proposed intervention, nested in theory, significantly reduces the risk of the target outcome by ameliorating the effects of the aforementioned deleterious institutionalized practices." I should just cut and paste that into my intro. Yesterday, I spent like, a total of 45 minutes working. The rest of the time, I spent writing and rewriting snarky emails to people who had the nerve (THE NERVE) to ask me to do things for them on the day before my due date. How dare they.

But really, we didn't want to have our baby on her due date. A year ago today, we lost our first baby, and if we had her today, it might seem...irreverent. Don't get me wrong, I haven't spent this pregnancy mourning that loss, though that may make me seem unfeeling to some of you. I have enjoyed virtually every moment of this gloriously long pregnancy, and I am immensely thankful to have carried a baby to term. It's hard to continue mourning the loss of our first when I know that, given the timing, we never would have had this one otherwise. I know I will always feel so blessed and thankful that she is in our lives, and I can't help but relinquish some of that original sadness on her behalf. But I don't want her birth marred by any of those memories. She deserves her own day.

So unless I go into labor right now, and blast this baby out, I think we're in the clear. See you all on the flipside.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Labor of love.

I'm really looking forward to labor. Every time I get a contraction, particularly if it's a painful one, I feel the same excitement I felt when my dad took me to my first Depeche Mode concert. The anticipation is slowly killing me, but I'm pretty much beside myself. Nonetheless, I think I may be underestimating how uncomfortable labor will be, so I made a playlist to calm me down during labor. Mitch had a few song suggestions, but his opinion is irrelevant here. Enjoy.

Labor of love. from hark on 8tracks Radio.

Open letter to my darling baby

Dear Baby,

The time is almost here when your father and I will get to see your precious little face for the first time. The bittersweet end of an era is approaching for us, and for me in particular. I will miss feeling your hiccups and watching you settle in my belly at night. While I will probably try to carry you everywhere after you arrive, you will never be as dependent upon me as you are right now. Carrying you in my belly has been a deeply gratifying experience. You have been quite the polite tenant, sparing me heart burn, breathlessness, and morning sickness. I imagine your future sibling(s) will not be so accommodating.

We are elated to meet you, to see who you look like, to feel your skin and hear your cries. You are the synthesis of two people who love each other purely and genuinely, and we will do everything in our power to make sure you always know this truth. You are now part of a family that we have worked hard to establish, a family that has been steeped in common experiences and long conversations about love and humanity and politics and God (maybe not in that order). While we may have spent hours poring over the details of your nursery, we have spent years assembling a community of caring, intentional adults who will help us frame your world. While we may have set aside tiny portions of our income for your education, we have invested immeasurable amounts of energy into this community because we want you to love them as we love them. We have learned to make ourselves vulnerable and accountable with them so that we can be the same to you.

Your father and I want to give you so many things, but we know we will fail at some. We are imperfect and human, and you are our maiden voyage. You have the burden of a firstborn, carrying your parents as they come to know their true selves in raising children. You are entitled to be angry with us, to tell us painful truths, and to ignore us, because we know we will deserve all of these things at one time or another. But our greatest hope for you is that through what may be a tumultuous childhood, we will help you become the kind of adult we admire, who gives of herself and has no regrets. The interconnectedness of all life is undeniable, and you will change the lives of so many people. Just try to change them for the better, as we know you will have changed ours.

Your Parents.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

T - 1 week

Disclaimer: this post is kind of rambling and crazy. I blame the Kahlua pie I ate, since that's the most alcohol I've in nine months.

39 weeks-ish. I was telling Mitch he better not get my feet in the picture.
Meatball is about to get an evacuation notice. Look at me. I'm enormous. I look ridiculous. I'm not fishing for compliments, so keep it to yourself. Remember that tattoo that I had on my hip? I haven't seen it in months. I have lost the will to get dressed for work in the morning, so I mostly wear jeans and Birkenstocks (since none of my real shoes fit by the end of the day) and shut my office door. I don't feel uncomfortable or miserable or anything, I'm just starting to feel silly. Like Meatball is dragging this out for attention or something.

I've realized that preparing for a baby's arrival is a lot like preparing for a natural disaster. We have reams upon reams of toilet paper, about 14 pounds of dried fruit, extra batteries, a plethora of chicken feed, and several tubs of tiny cookies from Trader Joe's. I've also stocked up on my Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil because that shit makes a blow out last for eons, and I'm assuming showering will take a backseat for a while. If Jesus comes back tomorrow, we're set. We'll be able to subsist on banana chips for months, and I'll still look super hot after all the electricity disappears.

It is starting to get a little emotionally draining. I've been having contractions every night for almost two weeks, and every night I get all pumped and excited like, omg it might be my baby's birthday soon! And then they go away after I go to bed. Meatball is very indecisive, like her father. One time, when I was on a business trip in DC, Mitch had a man date with our other indecisive friend Ross, and they had to ask me for help in deciding where they went to dinner and what time they should see a movie. Anyway, Meatball is being like that. But whenever she's ready, we're ready.

Monday, September 10, 2012


At full term, our nursery is FINALLY finished. Well mostly. I'm always on the look out for tchatchkes and clutter to cram in it. But of course we think we have the cutest nursery ever. 

I know that everyone and their neighbor has that stupid felt owl basket from Target or The Container Store or Amazon or wherever, but my mom told me some terrible story about how all these kids in the '80s were horribly maimed by toy benches after they tried to get something out of it and the lids closed on their heads. So I bought an innocuous felt bucket with no lid or corners or pinchy hinges. I also feel the need to give credit to Emily at NVision for making the cushions for our rocking chair. Please go to Emily's store. It's really kick ass, and it will make you almost as hipster as wearing ridiculous bright blue glasses. Also, I must mention Isabell's Umbrella for the super cute prints on the wall, and Spoonflower for the fabric on the chair and the curtains (same as what I used on the mobile). And thanks to my mom for sewing the curtains because I am inept with a needle and thread, although I partly blame her for that, and I wonder if she never taught me to sew so that I would always need her for something. Just kidding. Love you mom.

I'm fully aware that this bookshelf is like, totally empty, but I'm sure Gran and Chief (my parents chosen grandparent names) will fill it with crap quickly enough.

Although you can't see it in the picture, the light switch is adorable and was painstakingly chosen from dozens, nay, hundreds, on etsy. The outlet covers all match, mostly because I thought, why not tempt my daughter to jam her fingers in the outlets in her room by putting cute birdies all over them?

I know I said it in another post, but my grandfather made this changing table for me when I was a baby, and I love having it our baby's room. And for the record, those clothes spilling out over the top of those bins? Just 0-3 month size. Thanks to all our prolific friends for having many babies and then cleaning out their basements.

Close up of the bird on a string. Another etsy purchase from Whirlwind Designs. Its wings flap really gracefully when you pull the string. We're hoping it's a little more stimulating than the ceiling fan.

Just because he's so damn cute. And to brag about the fact that we got that $75 skip hop crap flop tube top play gym for $19 from a second hand store.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

FULL TERM! (37 weeks)

So. Here we are. Meatball could come any day. More likely she'll come in about three weeks or so, but it's strange and slightly unnerving to have this kind of anticipation.

The stress is showing. Since I got pregnant, I have found four legit gray hairs. Like, long ones. Not little pre-gray hairs that are coarse and yellow-y. Legit. I've decided not to dye my hair, and I didn't pull them, because dammit, I earned that shit. Mitch has said if I start to look too much like my mom, he will dye my hair in my sleep. He doesn't want to feel like he's making out with his mother-in-law. Bull. Whenever he grows his beard out, he looks like the reincarnation of the Mountain Man (aka his dad). His dad used to dress up in animal hides and retreat to the woods and eat dutch oven apple cobbler for days at a time. So deal. We're getting old, and we happen to share quite a bit of DNA with the people that bore us. So to make myself feel younger, I bought these ridiculous glasses because I think they make me look hip. When I wear them, I feel alive.

We met with our doula this week to discuss our "birth plan." Psh. Like Meatball will let me have a plan. Regardless, we do have a list of "preferences." People, including our doula, keep asking me if I'm scared of labor. Frankly, I'm not scared. Maybe I'm totally masochistic and delusional, but when I think about going into labor, and working the hardest I'll ever work, I feel no fear. We have prepared ourselves well by reading books, taking a class and getting a doula. I've had a super easy pregnancy, and I've been able to stay active and do yoga the whole time. And seriously, doing Kegels has become like blinking to me. I do them at work, at the grocery store, during dinner, wherever. I've probably been doing Kegels when I've been talking to you, and you didn't even know it. CREEPY. But I will not be incontinent after the birth of this baby. No thanks.

Anyway, at this point, I'm just too excited to meet my baby to be scared. And, if I'm fortunate enough to experience labor, I feel like it's going to be one of the most empowering experiences of my life. Whenever I imagine labor, I think it will feel like this. 

And I will kick labor's ass.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm one crafty biatch

No, I'm not really one crafty biatch. I don't really have the time for it, and I don't like the way Michael's smells. But after searching for months for a mobile that wasn't ridiculously overpriced ($90 for felt birds?!) or a dust magnet, I decided to just make my own. I got a free pattern at Spool, and ordered fabric from Spoonflower for $23. A little pricey, but better than $90 for stupid felt birds. Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with the final product, considering I don't even know how to thread my sewing machine, and I stabbed myself at least a dozen times.

Baby Buster, on the other hand, thought the birds might be trying to steal his soul.
somebody clip this dog's toenails

Friday, August 31, 2012

look away, I'm 'bout to talk politics. and religion.

Mitt Romney gave his acceptance speech last night. Where were you? I was watching it while stuffing my face with froyo.

There were a lot of things in Romney's speech the irked me: the invitation to have a giggle at climate change, the implication that Obama raised taxes on middle class (he did not), his contrived emotional outbursts while talking about his family. But really, I was most annoyed by his short monologue regarding women in leadership. After telling a short story about his mom running for the Senate because “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation," he ticks off the positions to which he appointed women while he was in office. Prior to his speech, Jane Edmonds even claimed that Romney had increased the number of women in senior-level leadership positions while he was in office. The GOP is clearly trying to paint Romney as a president who would protect women's rights, despite evidence to the contrary.

I have not, in this blog, really discussed my personal history with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (from here referred to as the Mormon church). Long story short, I was baptized into the church at 19, practiced faithfully and dutifly, and decided to disengage when I was about 24. None of these decisions were decisions I took lightly. I feel obliged to say that I do not resent the Mormon church for anything, and in fact, there are many practices from the church that I still (attempt to) follow and respect. Nonetheless, there were many reasons why I left the church, one of which being the regard for women.

In the Mormon church, women do not hold any leadership positions over men (although they can hold leadership positions over other women). They are not allowed to bless sacrament (or communion or Eucharist or whatever you call it). They cannot baptize or confirm members. They are not given authority to offer blessings of healing or comfort to other congregation members. They are not allowed to consider serving missions for the church until they are 21, and then only for 18 months, unlike their male counterparts who serve 24-month missions at 19. These are simple, doctrine-based truths. Of course I knew all these things when I joined the church, I just didn't know they would bother me later.

I remember the moment I started to think I needed to move on. It was General Conference (a meeting during which church leaders address the membership), and they were broadcasting reruns of old talks, one of which was the church president's 2003 address to women. During this talk, in an attempt to praise us I suppose, President Hinckley labeled women mothers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, shoppers, companions to their husbands, and nurses.

Aaaaaaaand that was it. That was the end of the list. I remember thinking, aside from being a "companion," I'm none of those things. And (at the time) maybe I don't ever want to be any of those things. My worth as a woman in this context is being measured only by how self-sacrificing I am to my family. While admirable, I always planned to fill roles other than wife and mother, and being told from the pulpit that I may only ever be valued for the cleanliness of my house and the punctuality of my children is insulting. It's condescending and defeating. It negates our individuality. It reduces us to servants who would have no purpose were it not for the existence of husbands and children.

So Romney standing at a podium professing his respect for women and their authority to make decisions on behalf of men is a little unbelievable to me. Of course there are Mormon men who respect and treat women as equals. But I find it hard to believe that any male feminist would ascend to the ranks of Stake President as he did. While he was there, he likely never challenged the traditional roles of women in the church. He likely never rallied for them to be allowed to hold priesthood authority or to have an equal voice in church leadership. He was probably just a normal Stake President who followed all the rules and served the needs of his congregation well. Good for him. But that doesn't make him a trailblazing female-identified-man. That doesn't earn him the chops to finally narrow the many gender gaps in our society. And it certainly doesn't make me believe any of his pandering bullshit about how "heroic" we are for raising kids when our men aren't around.

As it turns out, Romney did not actually increase the number of women in senior-level positions. And the fact that he only discussed women he appointed or hired suggests that women can only achieve these things when hoisted up by men. It also suggests that while he may believe it's okay for women to have a say in inconsequential matters of a temporal nature, he ascribes to a value system that disqualifies women from presiding over more important matters of an eternal nature. Nonetheless, while a lot of the inequalities that exist for women in the Mormon church are doctrinal, a lot of them are cultural, and for which Romney cannot be held responsible. So, I'm not saying a Mormon should never be president. I just don't think he should be the first.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

dog day care

For those of you who did things in the right order, (e.g. get married, graduate college, get dog #1, drop out of grad school, buy a house, get dog #2, get rid of dog #1, go back to grad school, get knocked up), you may be familiar with the stress that comes with introducing a new baby to your spoiled dog-child.

Lots of caring people have bestowed upon us oodles of unsolicited advice. We've been told to snag the receiving blanket with all the baby goop to give to the dog before we come home. We've been told to put out all the baby stuff and turn it all on (all at once?) so Buster can get used to it. We've also been told (by several people) to just lighten up and not worry about it.

That is not an option, so I called our vet for some advice. He basically told us to just make sure Buster is smothered with attention and exhausted all the time after Meatball comes home. When I mentioned dog day care, he concurred that it is an appropriate way for yuppies to let someone else deal with their needy dogs post-baby. He suggested we start before Meatball's arrival, so as to acclimate him to these life changes one at a time.

So today, Buster went to day care. I took him in early, so there wouldn't be too many other dogs at first (at the suggestion of the day care). I told him to behave himself, and handed him over.  I got into the car, and was immediately filled with worry and remorse. What if he doesn't like the other dogs? What if he gets in a fight? What if he catches fleas or something? What if he hates me when I pick him up for sending him into a gutted warehouse in a sketchy part of town with 100 yelping latchkey dogs?! Ohmigosh I'm paying someone $18 a day to ruin my dog. He'll never forgive me.

I called the day care later to find out if he adjusted, and of course they were like "oh you have the best dog ever he's so cute and well-behaved and we'll see you when you pick him up." Click. Then I felt ashamed and entitled. Like they even know (or care) which dog is mine. They're dogs for pete's sake. They eat poop and tissues from the garbage. They sleep on the floor. Animals.

Almost immediately, I sensed the parallel of this situation. We're fortunate to have in-home child care for the time being, but that's likely not permanent. One of these days, I'll be dropping my own daughter off at day care for the first time, and if I felt this emotional about dropping my dumb dog off at a day care, so emotional that I called the day care like a meddlesome, self-indulgent parent to check on him, I can only imagine the crushing regret I will feel that first morning I watch Meatball go to her cubby to hang up her coat. Everything I feel for my dog, I will feel for my daughter times 100. Which also means that I will be 100 times more relieved when I pick her up, as I did Buster, and realize she survived. She probably won't hate us, and she'll probably be fine. I'm sure there are worse things we will do as parents than take her to day care. Just wait until she brings home her first boyfriend (or girlfriend).

Monday, August 27, 2012

i'm so excited

Okay so this weekend I had a minor Jessie Spano moment and baked four loaves of bread, three lasagnas and a pan of enchiladas to stick in the deep freeze. I'm pretty sure Mitch will starve after we have this baby, since I do all the cooking. I also bought a bunch of frozen pizzas and veggie burgers, since I can't be sure he'll bake a lasagna.

Getting prepared for Meatball has plateaued, so I think we're both searching for things to do to make us feel like we're making progress. But mostly I'm bored, and I'm trying to fill the void that would normally be consumed with drinking boxed wine. I've moved things back and forth from one shelf to another in the closet more times than I can count. I put little bottles of hand lotion by all the sinks in the house (note: two) because I'm positive our hands will chap from all the washing. All the little tiny baby clothes have been washed, folded and put away. The crib and stroller are assembled. We even have a car seat. But by far, my favorite has been wandering into the living room after wondering why it was so quiet in the house, and finding this:

courtesy of youtube
I have never been more attracted to this man than I was at that moment. Hands off, ladies. He's all mine.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

every freaking time!

I'm pretty obviously pregnant at this point. I mean, I've been asked for a cigarette in the last week, but I just thanked the guy for not being judgmental. Nonetheless, I'm assuming that most people assume that I'm knocked up.

Which is why it's so infuriating that the last three times I've gone to the grocery store, the bagger has left my checkout lane as soon as I start to check out. Apparently, the Krogetto in my neighborhood has not instilled in their employees an unconditional fear of pregnant ladies pushing food around in cages.

I would not consider myself a high maintenance, wispy pregnant lady. I mowed my own lawn (using a rusty, manual push mower, cuz we're hippies, remember?) into my third trimester. I wear heels to work still. I moved all the furniture in the nursery several times, by myself, before I was satisfied.

But there are some things I simply cannot do anymore. For example, reaching. Reaching and almost-full-term bellies are diametrically opposed. Thus, bagging my own groceries should be beyond my capacity. But I'll be damned if I ask for help! So I braved the Braxton Hicks and leaky bladder on the day Kroger had canned fruit on sale, and bagged and loaded my own friggin' groceries. And I'll keep doing it every time, too, because the whole time, I'll be praying the my water breaks all over the checkout lane. That'll show them.

Unrelated. Mitch is indulging my love for Robert Downey Jr. (and his love to kitschy action flicks) by watching Sherlock Holmes. Is Robert Downey Jr. really that hairless? It kind of makes him look a little geriatric. But he's still my #1 boo.

hey boo!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm apparently popular with 15-year-old basement goblins

If you operate your own blog, you may or may not be familiar with Blogger's feature that tracks your page views and audience and whatnot. I suppose it's useful for people who actually make money from their blogs. I noticed this feature a few days ago, and explored it a little. I mostly expect just friends and family to read this blog, since it's super stupid and I only post it on facebook when I have a belly update. Anyway, I was interested to learn that this feature also tells you through what websites people are most commonly accessing your blog, aka Traffic Sources. Again, I expected facebook to be pretty much it. But no. I was wrong.

Who do I know from Russia?

Hmmmm. What are these interesting websites that seem to be giving people access to my blog?

PORN. They're PORN websites.

First of all, I don't know how these sites are linking to my blog. I assure you, I am no consumer of porn. And if I was, it would not be shitty back-alley budget porn that these sites offer. Second, which of you SICKOS is clicking through these sites to get to my very dignified and classy blog?! Apparently, I am getting views from people other than my friends and family, and it would be nice if you creepsters acknowledged yourselves. I would also like to know what is so misleading about the content and/or title of this page that would lead you to interrupt your porn viewing and click on the link to my blog. I hope you were not disappointed with my mundane tales of chickens and unborn babies. There's plenty more where that came from.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I like making my own cleaning supplies. It's cheap. Really that's it. But I tell people it's because it's more environmentally friendly. That part makes me feel superior. So I've been infusing white vinegar with kitchen leftovers before I compost them. It makes the vinegar smell waaaaaaaaay better. I started getting creative with my recipes. Lavender, lemon, and thyme. Grapefruit and basil. Lime and rosemary. Mostly combinations of citrus and herbs.

So one day, I said to myself, hey, let's get crazy. You know how cucumber cleaners smell really good? Let's make cucumber-basil infused vinegar.

NO! Stop right now and put down the cucumber. You know what that makes?! PICKLES.
Does it use pickles to clean, or does it clean pickles?
So crap, now I have a whole jar of pickle-scented cleaner, and nothing to do with it. I can't just throw it on the compost; it'll kill all the worms. So the dishwasher repair guy comes to fix the dishwasher (cuz it was broke), and he fixes it and tells me to run it again with some vinegar. This is something I do regularly anyway, but I was like, awesome. I'll use the pickle cleaner.

NO! Omigosh, just stop. You know what happens when you put the pickle cleaner in a steaming appliance? It makes pickle steam. Now my entire house smells like a Jimmy John's. I may be a hippie, but I was Polish first. Please. Learn from my mistakes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I don't think I have ever done this on this blog, but I just feel the need to talk about how much I love this stuff. Klorane Dry Shampoo (non-aerosol) is freaking amazing, and will probably save my dirty hippie ass after I have this baby. It allows me to go days without showering (note: 4 days), and eons without washing my hair (note: 5 days). Plus, the fact that it's non-aerosol appeases my hippie guilt. Because really, if you're a true hippie, you're not supposed to use too much water. But if you're a hippie with a day job in an office with other people, you also can't look scrappy, and using aerosol cans of dry shampoo is just not acceptable. Al Gore will come to your house and peel all the bumper stickers off your Subaru if he finds out you're using aerosol cans. I should have taken pictures to prove it, but I'm lazy and don't think that far ahead. If you really care, my 34 week pic was taken on day three of no shower, and day four of no hair washing. Awesome, I know. But seriously, if you hate bathing, but you live with someone who prefers that you don't look like Nick Nolte's mug shot, git it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

34 weeks

RAWWWWWWR. I'm huge.
How'm I feeling, you ask? I mean clearly you didn't ask that just this second because this is a one-sided conversation, but either you have already, you will the next time you see me in person, or you're wondering it currently. So, I feel fine. Sure my back hurts sometimes, but that's what happens when you add 15 pounds entirely to the front of your body. Sure I have weirdy aches and pains, but that's expected when your organs are displaced by a writhing butternut squash-sized mini-me (I swear I felt my stomach growl on the lower left side of my back the other day). But other than that, I'm fine. And I think it might be a little disappointing when I don't have complaints. So for those of you who would be more entertained by bitching rather than anticlimactic conversation killers:

AHMAHGASH these 'roids are killing me! You try walking around with a searing hot butt raisin hanging on to your sphincter all day and still be pleasant. And look at my feet!!! They're like Barney Rubble feet. My damn toes don't even touch the ground. And the heartburn I get every night makes me feel like a volcano. Like a volcano spewing hateful lava with the heat of a thousand suns. And I had to have my wedding ring sawed off the other day because my sausage fingers tried to swallow it whole. I can't even make a fist anymore! THIS IS SO AWFUL! GAAAAAAAAHHHH foam foam spit rage. 

So when I bore you with my boring responses about how boringly normal I feel, just pretend that I have a searing hot butt raisin.

Mitch had a panic attack this weekend about how unprepared we are for having this baby. Let me back up. We were at our friends' house Friday night, enjoying a fire in the backyard, and right in the middle of some riveting discourse, the lady of the house turns to me and says, "I'm sorry, I think my water just broke." Rude. Mitch didn't even get to make a s'more (by the way, they had a beautiful baby girl the next morning after a super short labor, because the lady of the house is apparently a super hero).

On the way home from their house, Mitch started freaking out that we didn't have a car seat. Apparently the impending doom only then became real for him. We only just bought a mattress for the crib last week, so I don't know where this panic has been until now. I think it's been hiding under motorcycle repairs and the champagne of beers, but I'm glad he's finally catching up. Now I think he gets why I have been freaking out about finding the perfect end table for the last two months.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Ever since I found out that I was losing my funding, my job has been a clusterf*** of business managers and voicemails and administrative assistants and paperwork and training and grants. I'm thrilled to be employed, but I have had to fight tooth and nail for this shit.

I thought I had finally worked everything out about a month ago, when I weaseled my way onto another grant so that I could be gainfully employed until my new job is effective when I come back from maternity leave. There was just this little problem with getting paid. Or not getting paid in my case. Some hosebeast in charge of doing the paperwork has been draggin' her feet, so I have been working for free for this grant for about a month now. She finally got around to it Friday. Just in time for me to get a letter saying I had been denied FMLA benefits because I didn't have enough hours in the last year to qualify.

W. T. F.

So because some jaded pencil pushing troll couldn't be bothered with emailing my business manager an account number (yes, that's all she had to do), I have been denied an additional six weeks of job protection. And apparently admin and HR are immune to sobbing pregnant ladies and snarky emails. Bureaucracy and red tape shall not be rushed.

Nothing has sent me into a rage more often during this pregnancy than trying to figure out FMLA benefits. You'd think that I'd have a pretty good handle on it, considering I'm getting a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health (someone should complain to my program director; I really should know this stuff). Apparently the first six weeks after you have a baby is just to guarantee you've had enough time to practice not pissing yourself in public following the assault on your nether regions. The next six weeks are just for additional "bonding." Nevermind breastfeeding. That's not important. And nevermind that "bonding" increases self-efficacy in new mothers, decreasing the incidence of postpartum depression and improving future secure adult attachment in their new infant. It's really only for people who can afford to stay home and engage in self-indulgent baby snuggling. Thank you federal government. Thank you for indulging the selfish whims of new moms. But only selfish moms who have worked a collective 1250 hours in the 52 weeks prior to pushing out the baby.

Anyway, as it turns out, my hours will count retroactively, so as soon as the HR leprechauns give the account parchments their blessing, I'll be eligible for the full 12 weeks again. It also means that I'll get like, two months of back pay in one paycheck. I think I'm going to use it to help jaded pencil pushing troll move out from under her bridge. Sunshine will be good for her.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nine years in eight pictures.

omg who let these babies get married
I had written a post about our nine year anniversary that was trying to be all sentimental and introspective, and then I deleted it, mostly because sentimental and introspective don't suit me. I don't wear them well, like skinny jeans (but damn if I don't try).

Instead of that, I've decided to do a greatest hits post. Like when sitcoms have episodes where they play all the funniest parts of the show in rapid succession. It's overstimulating and makes you foam at the mouth a little. So submitted for your approval, some of my favorite moments of the past nine years. But mostly just things of which I happened to have pictures.

No beard?
Mitch is dressed as Elmo. He agreed to be Elmo at our friends' kid's birthday party. This was the moment I realized I could procreate with him, since he clearly has no standards. Maybe no dignity. He doesn't have Elmo hands, but rather regular gloves on, because the costume rental place lost them. Some kid at the party had an aneurysm upon seeing him, since her parents didn't believe in TV or something, so fun with Elmo ended early. This kid's parents also didn't believe in immunizations, climate change, or women learning math.

I think I spy some peach fuzz. Nope, wait, that's just some stray Old Bay.
One of our most favorite places on the planet is Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. My dad always curses me that I didn't marry a Lingo, the real estate mob family of the gayest beach in the First State. Mitch's favorite place in our favorite place is Lazy Susan's, a crab slaughterhouse with newspaper covered tables. Mitch happily massacres crustaceans while I, having been a vegetarian for most of our trips there, mourn the loss and judge the styrofoam plates and cups. I think this photo perfectly captures my sentiments. And my super cool hemp and seashell choker. I'm going to bring that shiz back.

Still no beard.
So we got this dog and named her after a TV show. She was kinda wimpy, so one day we were walking downtown, and stopped in one of those cute little overpriced doggie boutiques to buy her a sweater. I picked out that really snazzy one you see featured in this photo, put it on her, and took the tag to the counter to pay for it. SIXTY BUCKS. Mitch almost divorced me on the spot. But alas, it was already on the dog and out the door. Plus look at her. It makes her look so classy. Now we own neither the dog nor the sweater (custody has been transferred to my brother), but at least we have this really awesome photoshoot to help us remember it. We used shots from this as our Christmas card photo that year.

BEARD! This is apparently when Mitch stopped caring.
At some point during our marriage, I lost my mind a little. I was like, minutes from shaving my head and beating SUVs with an umbrella. I sold all our shit on craigslist and moved us across the country. During the trek, I made us dilly dally all over the Corn Belt and Tornado Alley, stopping at every national park and historical site we could find (This is some battlefield in Oklahoma. Or Texas. Not really sure). We're in a death match with some friends of ours to see who can get the most National Parks stamps in their passport book. I'm not really sure what the winner gets (a bunch of wasted vacations?). We agreed on the terms too long ago to remember. Anyway, we finally made it back east just in time to move in with my parents and run out of money. I like living on the edge.

Beard AND long hair. I think he's trying to get me to leave him. Not gonna work!
We went to Guatemala for our fifth anniversary. We almost died getting to our first hotel because we got abandoned at the airport, had to hire a shady cabbie who drove us to the beach and made us get in a creepy motorboat in the middle of the night, and then upon docking said motorboat had to get in the back of an unmarked van to drive the rest of the way. Had we died, we might have won Darwin Awards. The next morning, I clambered out from under the mosquito net to peer out the window at the beach, and started yelling at Mitch to get his lazy ass out of bed. There were sea turtles on the beach!!! He yelled back at me to put my glasses on. Sure enough, the majestic sea turtle was actually a trash bag full of horseshit. Later that day we saw a wild dog rolling all over our sea turtle.

He has totally given up.
Mitch had knee surgery. He was freaking out so much before the surgery that the nurse pumped him full of happy juice just to shut him up. Boys are such babies. Then I asked the surgeon if we could write a thank you letter to the family of the dead guy who gave Mitch his ACL, and the surgeon called security to have the dirty hippies removed from his office.

Maybe our baby has a beard.
And of course, the greatest hit of all. BAM. We made a baby. I know I skipped a bunch of stuff, like Portugal, raising chickens, vocal cord surgery, and putting together Ikea furniture, but the past nine years have been far more exciting because I found an amazing man who can grow an amazing beard. He lets me do stuff, and doesn't judge me for it. I'm a pretty lucky gal.