Friday, July 25, 2014

Because What's a Blog Without Navel-Gazing, Right?

So I had an exciting, mopey afternoon on the couch yesterday!

It started with the following thought:

Someone else is probably going to hear my baby say her first words.

I won't be able to stay home with her and neither can Jason; we have an agreement that if we ever do have one of us hit the income level necessary, the other will stay home. We don't really mind which one is able to, just that one of us will.

Nonetheless - I was thinking about that today, the idea that it will most likely be a daycare provider she speaks to first. This led to excessive moping, as pregnant women are wont to do. Especially pregnant women trapped on couches watching just an insane amount of Frasier.

If I'm very very lucky, the people who hear those words first won't tell me and they'll let Jason and I think we were the first that night when she talks for the first time in front of us. If I'm less lucky, they'll tell us when we go to pick her up and let us know that someone else saw it.

Of course, that just leads to other mopey thoughts, doesn't it?

Such as the aforementioned someone else may hear her first discernible word.

Someone else may be the first to watch her really GET that A stands for the 'ah' sound in apple.

Someone else may even hear her first determined mumbles as she attempts to babble.

Someone else will see those first stumbling steps.

Someone else may see her dance first.

It may very well be in front of a daycare provider that she first stands up for herself, tells another little kid off, dispenses whatever her own toddler brand of justice is at that time. I won't lie; I really want to be the one to see this.

So I sat here being all sad about that for a while.

I'm still sad about it.

It's incredible, that working-mom guilt can start to seep in before you're even actually a working mom, right? Hormones are incredible things.

Awful, hideous, incredible things.

It's still a huge gaping section of my daughter's day, every day, five days a week, that I will not be able to see what she's up to, what she's learning, who she meets, what silly new faces she discovers she can make. I have to count myself lucky to get just a few weeks.

 But then I think; my mother went back to work when I was very young. We joke that I was six days old - or my mother CLAIMS I tell people that, although I don't know that I ever actually have - but really, I was eight weeks old. I grew up, out of infancy and into babyhood, to toddlerhood and then into being a little kid, staying with either in-home daycares in town or at a daycare center in the city my mother worked in.

Here is what I remember about daycare:

My Little Pony day at my favorite of daycares, at the house of a woman named Pam, who did 'theme' days in the playroom we mostly stayed in. (I also liked Ninja Turtle day)

Playing with tons of other little kids, outside and inside.

The day the daycare center had a "bicycle parade" where the kids decorated their bikes and then rode them up and down the sidewalk.

That summer with the professional daycare center, riding in with my mother each morning, and how much fun I had in that precious half-hour of alone-time with her, singing along with "Queen of Denial", which was a huge hit that year. Bopping along in the seat next to her, front-seat privilege that was incredibly rare when I had an older sister who always claimed that right. (By the way, don't think this was a fight - it really didn't occur to me that I could argue with her on that for a shocking amount of time.)

One day, the daycare center took us to visit a different daycare center in another part of town and we played kickball and hung out all afternoon. There were like fifty kids in one place. It was awesome.

Running back out to hop in Mom's van for the ride home so I could tell her about what we did that day.

Talking to my mom, chattering for a half-hour straight right up until we walked in the door and then for a while after that, probably making her wish daycare was hearing more of what I had to say and she would be able to hear less.

Making friends.

Learning what it meant to make enemies.

It's funny, and hormone-y at the same time, to realize I can sit here and tell you quite honestly that daycare was probably one of the best things for me; that I don't have more than a few bad memories of my time going to the houses of women in town or to that daycare center. Even those bad memories are transient; a kid bit me. I had a fight with someone that I got in trouble for. That sort of thing.

I can tell you about how awesome daycare was and at the same time, I can sit here and mope about having to do the same thing to my own daughter, in order to give her half the life she deserves to have. There is nothing about my time in daycare I regret in the slightest, or wish hadn't happened.

On the other hand, it'd be pretty cool to get to be the one who sees her do something first, and to know that I will be that person.

Of course, there's the other side to the getting-to-stay-home thing; one of us still has to most likely miss the moments. I can sit here and mope about not being able to stay home all I want, but if I was able to stay home it would have been due to Jason having to make a sacrifice to ensure it could happen... and that sacrifice would almost certainly be his own time with his daughter.

We're in this together, sink or swim. Although hopefully not sink.

And, y'know, we did get into this habit of being able to afford food a few years back and we'd kind of like to keep it that way. We're spoiled like that.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

5 Things - The Let's Not Think About Bedrest Edition

1. In which Esther from Esther From the Sticks recreates the mood, feel, and overall look of several paintings by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's work with my favorite of his muses, Carmen Gaudin.

If you're not reading Esther, you should be. She's a little artistic dynamo person from the Midwest currently attending the Savannah College of Art & Design, a talented artist in several mediums working towards a Fashion Design degree. She recently hand-made a gorgeously detailed wedding dress on commission, paints her own backdrops for photo shoots, and posts some really useful DIY's as well.

Go check her out. I've meant to include her in these lists before, but I couldn't pass up this set of photos from the Toulouse-Lautrec works, including the simple fact that the skirt she's wearing is one she made just for the occasion.

Just gorgeous photography here.

2. I need new pajamas, right? I totally need new pajamas.

Also?  Life is Good (a brand I love for its insanely comfortable, easy-fit T-shirts and sometimes-cute-sometimes-gorgeous graphics and also they sell decent coffee) has started making maxi dresses. Which got me looking at their site and remembering how soft everything is. Which is why I think I need new pajamas and um, are those maxi dresses made out of the same material as the T-shirts? If so I need one of those too. Oh, and this shirt. And this one. And this.



Glad we're on the same page here.

(Except for Jason, who I know totally isn't on that page but you know what, he doesn't count. He's never on that page. He avoids that page like the plague. He mumbled something last time I mentioned this about 'financial responsibility' but I couldn't hear him over the delightful sound of my frivolous spending.)

3. An important quote, and a little bit of a timely one. Here are some others I'm liking today:

This one actually makes me think of my friend Brenna, who started traveling and discovered that she was made to never ever stop moving. I'm all about being rooted to my landscape but there is definitely something to her sort of wild happiness that I love to see.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah no.

Well, definitely true.

This is a serious problem for me as an adult, because we bought this whole house and filled it with stuff we like. So every time I try to clean it, I just find more stuff I like...

4. Kiiiiiiinda in love with this purse from Chala Handbags. They're a wholesale-only company - I had to do a bit of online scouring just to find a place that actually listed any prices. I've seen their stuff at Mast General Store in Greenville and I'm pretty much head over heels.

Oh, buy one?

Hahahahahahahahahahaha I'm about to live out of diaper bags forever.

But I can dream, right?


5. ... my nacho-y, nacho-y dreams.

I don't know, guys. I get put on bedrest and suddenly all I want is nachos. Just piles and piles of nachos. I don't know why. I don't know how I expect them to magically appear, since I am too lazy to create my own nachos. But nachos.


Add to that - I'm not really supposed to eat a ton of salty food, which I have actually been very good about since getting back from my trip to Illinois.

Is there such a thing as low-sodium nachos? Is that a world I can go live in for a while, one where they have those? Maybe I should just spend my bedrest time researching how to make my own unsalted tortilla chips. Are unsalted tortilla chips even a real thing you can make, or is that just too sad for reality?

Saturday, July 19, 2014



Welcome to doctor-ordered bedrest, ladies and gentlemen.

I am going to lose my mind from boredom.

And I'm taking all of you with me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

At Least I Can Get Supervised Visits?

This week, I sold a member of my family.

No, no, the animals are all still here alternately begging for people-food or piling themselves bodily onto me whenever I try to actually follow the doctor's "modified bedrest" orders.

No, I didn't sell Jason. For... you know, there are just several reasons that wouldn't happen.

I sold... Carl.

(my car)

I told everyone in this post that I had bought a new car so that Jason and I could have at least one vehicle with a backseat in a family that is rapidly expanding to include tiny fragile beings that require specialty seating. I mean, I could just duct-tape my infant to the bucket seats in the back of my old Cougar but somehow, I feel like somebody would probably call CPS for the obvious child endangerment happening there.

So... we had to buy a new car.

The problem with that is that our carport fits exactly two cars in it, so the Cougar's been kind of hanging out in the front yard for a while, back in the broad sunlight and weather exposure it has spent much of its vehicular life experiencing.

That car is fourteen years old.

It was bought for my sister when she went to college, and a few years later was passed on to me. It was the second car I drove with any regularity, the second hand-me-down - the first being a farm truck I borrowed for a couple of years until I had to go to college and was forced to acknowledge that the farm truck, while it could make the drive down there, most likely would not be as easily able to make the drive back.

Carl got his name from my sister's then-boyfriend-and-eventual-husband, because our rural Midwestern accents apparently stick a not-quite-an-'L'-sound on the end of the word car. Thus Carl became a he, and has been a he ever since. I've never liked the idea that all cars are women anyway, there are some cars that have always struck me as decidedly male and Carl was one of them.

After Carl came to me, I took him down to SIUC for college, where he parked in broad sunlight and in snow, caked up to his axles in ice or fall leaves or rain. When we moved to South Carolina he spent two years in the apartment's parking lot, where the only difference was that the amount of time spent caked in snow was... uh, exactly once, for about three days.

But the sunlight, man. The sunlight was much stronger.

In any case, he's been a good and a faithful car to me for ten straight years (except when he misses the tow truck guy's affections), which is sort of terrifying to think about. In all that time he's only died on me three or maybe four times. I have taken this car there and back halfway across the country multiple times, and he never let me down on those trips. We've taken Carl up to Bryson City and into the mountains and he's always come through.

But I sold him, because someone decided babies can't just bounce around free-range inside vehicles all willy-nilly. Pfffft.

Fitting with Carl's history, we sold him to a friend of ours whose teenager needs a vehicle to drive, so he's gone from teen to teen to teen.

We settled on what we thought was a pretty good, fair price, and included an oil change in it since God knows the car was highly overdue for one.

So Jason had this plan to drive Carl to work, and then to our friend's house afterward to make the sale. Sunday, we set on cleaning out the car and making sure it was ready.

That's when we found out the car had been sitting without being run just a wee bit too long.

Because it wouldn't start.

We towed it in to the dealership Jason works at, and guess what? Dead battery!

Sooooo that night when the sale was made my friend got herself a nice car with a brand new battery, and now he's gone on to his new home. After ten years, though, I had gotten a bit of attachment to my little red sports car.

It's the first car I ever owned outright, when my parents tranferred it over to Jason and I.

I drove it to weddings, to college, to new apartments and a new state and, eventually, to my first grown-up home. I have driven it after walking for six miles in 90 degree weather (don't worry, I was driving home to shower and honestly I'm not even sure why I thought walking six miles in July was a good idea). I have driven it on two vacations with Jason, driven it back to Illinois more than once, and I guess it's kind of hard to realize that last time I did that was, well, the last time.

I'm not one to get attached to vehicles, honestly. To me they are mostly screaming metal deathtraps that hurtle themselves along highways and it's a miracle any of us make it anywhere alive, when you realize how incredibly distractable people are. They are tools that cart people and things and get us from point A to point B. I have a tendency to make faces at people who talk about cars like they're people.

But it's hard to utilize anything basically every day for a decade without getting at least a little attached. I have important relationships with people I've known for less time than I knew this car.

Godspeed, little Cougar.

It was never a car meant to be driven by us cranky old people (you know, the way people approaching their thirties are old); you're a car made for teenagers and college kids and back to teenagers you go.

You wouldn't have liked a screaming baby duct-taped to your backseat getting licked in the face by my dog, anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tomboy Style, Plus One: Week 36

I know, I know. This is just a couple of Instagram photos. I'm obviously not even trying at this point. They were even taken in my workplace bathroom (hence the Dunkin Donuts latte and overall expression of absolute exhaustion in one of them).

Here's the thing; at week 36, at least for me, there really isn't "style" anymore. I'm wearing my wedding ring on a chain around my neck because I can no longer take it on and off without some effort during the day. I'm wearing flip-flops with growing-out chipped nail polish because A. my feet look like fascinating balloon animals by early afternoon and B. have you ever painted your own toenails while holding a watermelon over where your stomach muscles used to be? Try it sometime. It's like yoga, in that everything aches and I'd kill for a good beer afterwards.

Actually, at this point, I'd kill for terrible light beer. I miss beer.

I'm just wearing a rotating series of striped things, because they're basically the only things I own that don't start flashin' belly shockingly quickly. Trust me; ain't nobody in this game to see my stomach. I know that; you know that. We can all rest easy knowing we understand each other, here.

This is the homestretch, people, and nobody looks pretty at the end of the race, right?

Well, no one except horrible terrible no-good very-bad people who we will not discuss, because I like to pretend "people who look good while heavily pregnant" don't exist. It's a nice fantasy world I live in where I just pretend celebrities constantly preaching about the "right way" to do pregnancy aren't a thing. You should try it! The world already seems like a better place.

I am officially on what they call "modified bedrest" (or... maybe they don't call it that. I don't know.) Basically, I'm not being taken out of work yet but I'm supposed to not do anything when I'm not at work. You know, keep my feet up above my heart and just chill out.

I tried to explain to my doctor that I don't really have time to relax right now, thank you but she and apparently everyone else I know seem to think it's more important that my blood pressure isn't ridiculously high due to my constant pointless worrying and flailing in circles than it is that I get stuff done. I only have like three and a half weeks left, people! There's a lot of stuff to cram into that timeline!

Last night, a friend of mine with four kids of varying ages, from adulthood to elementary school, asked me a pertinent question. She said, "What do you need to bring this baby home?"

"Well, we haven't finished the nursery yet and I haven't washed the-"

"No. What does this baby need to have when you come home from the hospital?"

"... a carseat. We have the carseat, but it's not installed and they don't let you leave until it is."

"Okay, you can do that easy. That can be done while you're in the hospital. What else?"

"A place for her to sleep?"

"Okay. That's two things. What else?"

In the end, I suppose she's right. Babies didn't come home to blissfully finished decorated nurseries a century ago and enough of them lived to be the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of the greatest population explosion in human history somehow.

Cardigan from Target, striped tank top from Old Navy Maternity, Gap Maternity jeans, sandals from God knows where and I'm tired now.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Don't Even Know Why You Read This Thing Sometimes

Tennessee doesn't welcome you. It liiiiiieeeeessss.

In case you actually wondered where I'd disappeared to over the holiday weekend, Jason and my in-laws and I made a flying trip up to Illinois to see my family one last time before the baby comes. I had a baby shower thrown for me and got to see some relatives and family friends I haven't seen in forever and had just an unseemly amount of fun.

It's a little late in my pregnancy for inter-state travel, but my doctor was willing to approve it basically entirely because we agreed to stop all the time and take long walking breaks. I was very, very persuasive and agreeable to all her suggestions and I sure fooled her.

Here's my problem with car rides; I hate them. Basically, it's an aspect of my fear of Death by Narrative (please go read this post if you haven't before - it will explain so much about me. That's not necessarily a good thing, but still.) and my innate worry that I will die in some horrible flaming car wreck when it is most cinematically meaningful.

In this case, I felt like the headlines were all but writing themselves. I'm in the last trimester, we're driving halfway across the country to go see my family, it's the last time before the baby comes we'll be together and I won't even be able to go back to Illinois until next year... there's just too much, you guys.

So I was a nervous wreck.

"But you're always a nervous wreck," You say. "That's... kind of the whole point of that anxiety thing, right?"

Well, that's true. But I'm worse in cars. Especially cars that travel across states.

Especially especially cars forced to drive over a bridge that construction has down to one lane on either side, and the lanes are narrowed so half the cars are barely making it through so we are just craaaaaaaawling across a bridge that only half exists in basically standstill traffic while I am trying not to just start bawling uncontrollably as I picture what's left of the bridge crumbling underneath us and our car just in free-fall into the water and by the way thank you so much, Tennessee. You are not nearly as welcoming as your Welcome Center led me to believe.

Tennessee may have I-40 running through it, but I'm getting the feeling they don't actually want anyone to drive on it, since they seem to always have parts of it shut down or half-destroyed in such a way as to make traffic as horrible as possible. Although in the case of the rock slides, maybe it's more accurate to say that Nature doesn't want I-40 to exist.


I was trying to explain how I fooled my OB by saying we'd stop a lot and then I kind of got lost in how much I hate I-40. Let's try again.

We did stop at a hotel close to the halfway point for the night, breezing in around, oh, midnight (we couldn't leave until Jason had finished work. Gold medal to him for working a full day and THEN driving five and a half hours and not killing me). So that counts.

But we definitely didn't stop as often as my OB probably would have wanted us to. I just don't like to stop. Once, when Jason and I made the drive from South Carolina to Illinois a few years ago we actually managed to drive five hours straight before we had to stop to use the bathroom and I was just embarrassingly proud of us that day. Proud enough to bring that particular non-accomplishment up in a blog entry five years later, so. There you go.

Don't get me wrong - we did stop at Tennessee's Welcome Center to use the bathroom. But to stop as often as I had been told I should just seemed kind of wasteful. We were tired! I wanted to sleep, and I couldn't sleep until we got to the hotel so let's just get there as fast as possible, right? Right. Glad you're with me on this.

We fell into bed at the hotel, where my in-laws were waiting for us, and got up the next day to finish the rest of the drive, which was largely uneventful (except that there's another big bridge in Louisville that I also hate. At least Louisville had more than a single lane to funnel traffic through; Kentucky understands my plight).

We stopped at Steak 'n Shake, a restaurant chain that got its start in the little city that is right next to where I grew up, and where I've spent much of my life going for their chili and cheese fries and hey... now I want chili and cheese fries (that is not an unusual want for me).

I started this intending to write about the thoroughly lovely baby shower my family threw for me on Saturday, and instead basically just wrote you a long and rambling screed about how much I hate travel and I-40 and bridges.

Now all I can think about is steakburgers.


Let's... pick this back up later.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


tired1 [tahyuhrd] 
1. exhausted, as by exertion; fatigued or sleepy: a tired runner.
2. weary or bored (usually followed by of  ): tired of the same food every day.
3. hackneyed; stale, as a joke, phrase, or sermon.
4. informal. impatient or disgusted: You make me tired.
1350–1400; Middle English tyred.  See tire1 , -ed2

See also: still. pregnant. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

He Wears His Sunglasses at Night

So, on Monday I had a doctor's appointment.

I have them all the time now! It's so exciting! Except that it's not. On the other hand, it does route me right past Starbucks every two weeks, and I can't really argue with that.

I decided, this time, to run into Earth Fare to grab a couple of groceries and then head on home. Earth Fare is a store Jason and I used to shop at all the time when we lived over on that side of town, and losing convenient access to it is one of my regrets of moving over here. Ah, well; I don't have to drive a full hour to work like I was until we moved. It evens out.

In any case, I went in to grab a few things, came out, loaded them in my car. I had parked about three spots down from the cart corral, so I turn and start heading that way to put my cart in. There were literally no cars in this part of the parking lot except for mine. There were at least thirteen empty spots in a row. This is important.

As I'm walking, a gigantic black SUV rounds the corner of the parking aisle like he was in a Fast & Furious movie and tries to essentially throw itself headlong just as quickly... into the parking spot I'm currently pushing my cart through.

He slams on his brakes about ten-ish feet from me, having to brake so hard the car rocked a couple of times on its frame. He waves his hand at me.

Then he claps.

You know the clap I mean. It's the fake-clap you do to applaud someone who does something awful in traffic, the one where you know you're being a snot, but that guy almost rear-ended you/ran a red light/hit a parade of schoolchildren on the Fourth of July and you want him to know you know it?

This man had decided, after speeding through a parking lot, swerving around a corner, and nearly hitting a heavily pregnant woman pushing a shopping cart across thirteen empty spaces, that it was my fault he almost hit me.

And he did the fake-clap.

I push my cart into the corral and head back for my car. The guy steps down from his car (yes, I took some perverse pleasure in the fact that he was definitely at least two inches shorter than me, even if he had thirty years on me and his car costs four times what mine did), looks right at me, and says, in this four-year-old-denied-candy-voice, "I saw you, you know."

You'll be glad to hear I did not punch him in the face.

Although, I think I can safely say the cops would have let me walk free even if I had after hearing a voice that snotty coming from what you might mistake for a grown man until he opened his mouth.

"Odd that you didn't think to pull into the spots I wasn't in," I replied, in my absolute mildest Midwestern passive-aggressive voice.  They train us to use it from infancy.

I have a black belt in passive-aggression.

He stared at me for a long moment - or so I assume, as he was wearing sunglasses and he could have been staring at a pigeon behind me for all I know - and then gave the loudest and heaviest and martyr-iest of sighs and stomped away.

I watched him huff his way across the parking lot... into Earth Fare.

The organic hippie natural foods store.

I looked back at the gas-guzzler he was driving.

Then I got in my car and I ate the damn muffin I had come for in the first place.