Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dusting off.

Oh. Hi. It's, uh, been awhile.

I'm coming out of my accidental-but-only-sort-of-because-I-totally-realized-I-was-doing-it-but-it-wasn't-actually-intentional-for-the-most-part blog hibernation because I really like doing the year-end recap, and because I maybe might start writing here again this year. Or maybe somewhere else. I haven't decided.

At the very least, it's unfair to Kaylee that she didn't even get a first birthday post. She turned one! In April! Of last year! She's now almost 21 months old and is the cutest little one-girl demolition crew ever. Seriously. She walks through a room and things just explode and fly about and land all over the floor. Or on my lap, as in the case of the (very hot) coffee I had this morning. (She climbed up on the sofa and dive-bombed me before I knew what was happening. Coffee everywhere. Sigh.) A couple of months ago we tried putting her in a toddler bed because she wasn't sleeping and that's what worked when Lorelai stopped sleeping around that age. That lasted about a week before I got so tired of her emptying her dresser, piling everything in it onto her bed, and then screaming because she couldn't get into her bed because of all the clothes and diapers in it that I gave up and put the front of the crib back on. We'll try again another time. Like when she's 12.

She is still not sleeping. She's up at around 5-5:30 every morning. Sometimes we can get her to go back down for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour but usually not. Some days she takes a great nap, some days TWO great naps, but then there are days where she either takes a nap at like 8:30 am and then won't take an afternoon nap despite being obviously exhausted, or she naps for 40 minutes and then poops herself awake. In both of those situations, she is done with the day at like 3:30, but won't go to sleep then, so we have a very tired, cranky child running amok until 6.

But when she's not being cranky, she's basically the cutest kid ever, so it's a wash.

Lorelai is still three going on 13, but I feel like the good days are becoming more frequent than the bad ones. Thank goodness. 

The rest of the year can be summed up below:

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I ran a 5K!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I really made any because I never do, but I did start a C25K program that I actually finished, so that's something. This year's resolutions are pretty generic. Start running again, eat better, try to keep the house in order more than I have lately, that sort of thing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Quite a few friends had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My brother. On the day I ran my 5K. I got the call and then immediately drove to the race. Perhaps that seems callous but I'd worked really hard to be able to run that race, and I was determined to rock it. And I did! Kind of put a damper on the whole thing, though. But I'd sort of been expecting that phone call for months, to be honest, so it didn't hit me nearly as hard as it could have.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. I don't think I even visited any new states.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?
More sleep. Less anxiety. They're probably related.

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

The day of my brother's death/my 5K.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I was really proud of myself for that 5K.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Every year (hell, every DAY) I promise myself that I won't yell as much and will be more patient with the kids and then I fail at that about 3 seconds into the day. (In my defense, I've never been a morning person, and Kaylee gets up really freaking early so I'm already set up for failing at being patient just because of that.)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had my gallbladder out in January. That sucked balls. I don't suggest having any kind of surgery if you can avoid it. (I say that now but just watch me decide to get my boobs done or something in a few years when I'm tired of gravity.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Santa brought the girls a small indoor trampoline and I think that might save us from going nuts this winter. We also bought a new air conditioner, which was expensive and wasn't something we'd planned on having to buy, but man was it worth it after a week of no AC in the dead of summer.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I have a small group of girls I originally met via Twitter but have since moved over to Facebook Messenger with so we can all chat together privately, and they have been lovely and really helped me stay sane during the last half of this year. They are lovely, stand-up people, and I adore them.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A lot of other people on Twitter were just the worst.

Also, I wasn't the best at times. There were a few times when I said things, usually online, that I didn't word well or that when taken out of context were misinterpreted by others, and it was my fault for not taking the time to think about my phrasing. And I yelled a lot at my kids. And the dog. I mostly felt like I lived this year as a giant ball of stress and frustration and I don't want to do that again in 2015. Or ever.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The usual: taxes, mortgage, food. Also the AC unit cost a lot.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
 I had a long weekend away with a couple of girlfriends in November that I really, really needed. Especially since I got sick the day I left for that trip and then got REALLY sick when I got back and spent most of November and half of December feeling like death.

Also, I got a new washer and dryer, and it was just about the best day of my life. I really hated my old washer and dryer. #toploaderforever

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
"Let It Go". God, I'm so over that song.

Also, the opening credits tune from "Serial".

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Honestly, I'm probably about the same for the first two. Maybe a little sadder, as last year had some truly craptastic stuff happen, but I don't feel like all that stuff has brought me down on a regular basis. More like, when I think about it, I get sad, but in general I'm about the same as I was last year. And I'm probably a little thinner than last year but not noticeably so, THANKS HOLIDAY SEASON.

As for the third, we are richer. Kevin started a new job in December that came with a substantial raise, so we are doing pretty well in that department.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping. Playing. Writing here. Reading (even though I read 116 books, I wish I'd taken some of my staring-blankly-at-the-Internet time and spent that reading).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Laundry. Yelling. Stressing about things I can't change.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We went to Kevin's parents' house for Christmas Eve, and it was wonderful. We were here for Christmas Day, which was also wonderful.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Property Brothers is always high on the list. Orphan Black was pretty awesome. My friend James and I watched Doctor Who together, which was cool because it was the first time I'd been able to watch it relatively live (I mean, we DVRed it and watched it later, but prior to this season we were watching on Netflix). I started watching American Horror Story: Freak Show and am completely obsessed.

22. What was the best thing you learned?
My life is infinitely better now that I have learned to make almond croissants.

23. What was the best book you read?
I'm looking over my Goodreads list from 2014 and man, I read a lot of smutty books. Some of them got 5 stars. But of the "real" books, the ones that got 5 stars were:
"Please Ignore Vera Dietz" by A.S. King
"The Secret Place" by Tana French
"Summer Sisters" by Judy Blume (a reread from my youth, and I'm so glad it held up)
"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart
"Broken Harbour" by Tana French (anything by her is pretty much a guaranteed 5 stars from me...of course, I once said that about Rainbow Rowell, and then "Landline" happened.)
"Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare
"The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line" by Rob Thomas (yes, the Veronica Mars book, and I don't care what you say, it was good)
"Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game #6)" by Sara Shepard, although I can't recall why this one got more stars than any of the others

25. What was your greatest food discovery?
Those almond croissants I linked above. SO. GOOD.

26. What did you want and get?
That AC unit. The washer and dryer. Back into a size 6 (which I am no longer in, sadly).

27. What did you want and not get?
Loads of sleep. A fully renovated house. The Property Brothers doing the renovation.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?
I barely even remember seeing any movies in the theater. I'll say "Mockingjay Part 1" because I know I saw that one and I liked it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I spent my 32nd birthday sick in bed. Aside from the part where I felt awful, it was a pretty satisfying way to spend a birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More sleeeeeeeeeeeep.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?

Yoga pants. T-shirts.

32. What kept you sane?
My girlfriends, Kevin, coffee, wine.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I make a point of not following the news too closely. Perhaps that makes me a terrible person, but I have enough things stressing me out in my own life, I honestly just do not have the mental and emotional capacity at this point to focus too much energy on things that don't impact me directly.

34. Who did you miss?
My brother, my Sig Mu girls (my college friends who I don't see nearly often enough), the me who was actually fun and not constantly tired and stressed and annoyed at everything.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I don't know if I met anyone who would qualify as both new and as enough of a presence in my life to be able to count as the "best new person" I met.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
People are not always who they initially appear to be. A lot of the time people who seems really sweet and genuine turn out to be real assholes. It's a sad lesson to learn,

37. Show us one of your favorite photos from the year. 
How about two? Lorelai's first dance recital (November) and Kaylee's first dance class (December)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Three. How the hell did THAT happen?

(Her birthday was last week but this is the first chance I'm getting to write this because SOMEONE is cutting top front teeth and has decided that the only thing that makes her feel better is climbing on me all. the. time.)

(Also, if you follow me on pretty much any social media site you'll have seen all of these pictures. Sorry about that. She MOVES so much that all the ones I have that you haven't seen are blurry and terrible.)

Anyway, yeah. Three.

It's funny because I felt like she's been acting very Three for the past six months or so, but then she woke up the morning after her birthday and HOLY THREE, BATMAN. It's like a switch flipped. And continues to flip, randomly and with no warning, all day every day. Sometimes she is just the absolute most delightful kid I can imagine existing, and then the next minute she's hitting me, hitting the baby, hitting the dog, and wailing at the top of her lungs "I'm just MAD and I DON'T KNOW WHY AND I NEED A HUG AND A KISS AND A CUPCAKE TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!" I'm finding that because these outbursts come so randomly and turn off as soon as they turn on, I'm handling them a lot better than the previous mode of outburst, which basically lasted all day, punctuated with tiny moments of pleasantness. When a tantrum goes on all day, it's very hard for me to stay patient and understanding come 5 pm. (Hell. Come 10 am.) But when she's totally fine and then all of a sudden she's just NOT, and she's obviously confused and frustrated by it, and then in two minutes she's back to normal, I can handle that. (Except the hitting. She really needs to stop hitting.)

She's such a fun kid. She's so polite (95% of the time)--today a neighbor we'd just met said, "Lorelai, I like your outfit," and Lorelai looked up from the chalk she was playing with and said, "Oh! Thank you very much!" The neighbor about fell over; I guess most little kids would have ignored her.

(It was this outfit. She dressed herself and I kind of love it and might suggest she wear it for school pictures this month.)

I keep calling her a toddler but she's not. Not at all. She's a full-blown run-and-dance-er. She's a KID. And I really don't know how that happened because wasn't she just born?

Ariel is her favorite princess, but she likes to pretend that she and I are both Elsa (she actually calls me Elsa now more than she calls me Mom) and we have to run up the steps of the ice palace.

Ice palace steps. Of course.

Speaking of, when did I become "Mom" instead of "Mommy"? I'm still "Mama" when she has a bad dream, which I love, because it means there's still a tiny bit of her that isn't all grown up yet.

Just a tiny bit, though. Mostly, she's ready for high school.

People tell me all the time how well she speaks and how impressed they are with her vocabulary, and I wish I could take credit for it but I can't. Well, I CAN, but only in the sense that it was me who decided to let her watch a ton of Disney Junior, from which she has learned far more than I could ever hope to teach her.

Her dance teachers, every one of them (she's had three), have all told me how coordinated she is and what good form she has for her age. There are days where I wonder if I should pull her from dance because she just doesn't seem to love it the way she used to, but then she'll have a really great class and her teacher will compliment her and she'll come home and pretend to be the dance teacher and Kaylee and I have to be her students. (Kaylee does a magnificent pliƩ.)

I just love this kid so much. Happy birthday, Princess Lorelai. You're just the best.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quick-and-easy meatballs and rice.

I don't think I've ever posted a recipe on here (wait, yes, I DID), but I know a lot of my readers have little kids and thus little time in which to do anything, including cook dinner, so I'm going to share with you a meal my friend Paige brought me after Kaylee was born that is SO easy and SO delicious and also pretty good for you.

I will not attempt to take pictures of it because it is not a pretty meal on its best day and I am a terrible photographer, but know that what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in delicious.

It's not even a recipe, it's just a series of steps.

Step 1: Go to Costco. Buy Aidell's Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs. (You can get them at regular grocery stores, but at Costco you get A LOT of them, and trust me, you will want A LOT of them because you will want to make this meal a staple in your dinner menu because EASY AND DELICIOUS.)

Step 2: Also buy Minute Rice, chicken stock or broth, and a zucchini. I like brown rice but white is fine too. It doesn't HAVE to be Minute Rice but it's easier if it is. (I've never successfully made non-Minute Rice, except when I had a rice cooker. But that broke after I used it twice. I just assumed I'd never make anything requiring rice again, because I didn't know Minute Rice was a thing that existed, but it does! And it's so easy! I was 30 years old before I knew about it. Which is just sad, I know.)

Step 3: Cook the Minute Rice according to the package directions, subbing chicken stock/broth for the water. You don't HAVE to do this but it makes the rice delicious. I don't really like rice all that much because it tastes like nothing, but this makes a huge difference and gives the rice some actual flavor.

Step 4: While the rice is cooking, dump the meatballs in a skillet and add the rest of the box of chicken stock. Or not the rest. It doesn't really matter. A quarter-to-a-half-inch of stock. Turn the heat to medium-low-ish, cover, and ignore for a while. The meatballs are pre-cooked, so you're just heating them up.

Step 5: While the rice and meatballs cook, grate a zucchini. (This was not part of the original meal because Paige brought a salad over too, but I like to hide my vegetables in things and this makes the whole meal's effect less beige.) When you get to the "remove from heat and let sit" part of the rice cooking, throw the zucchini in there and stir it all up.

Step 6: When the meatballs have plumped up nicely and the rice is done, put rice in bowls and put meatballs on top of it to serve.

This whole process takes like 15-20 minutes. Kevin and I both love this meal, Kaylee thinks the meatballs are the best thing since breast milk (seriously, she'll just shove meatballs into her face until we stop giving them to her), and Lorelai won't touch any of it even after I told her it was gumballs and rice with pretty green sprinkles, but Lorelai never eats anything after 3 pm despite our best efforts so her opinion doesn't count. Every time Kevin comes home and sees I've made these meatballs, he shouts, "YES!" like his team just won the Super Bowl. (He might actually get even more excited than if his team won the Super Bowl, he's not really a huge football guy.)

I make this at least once a month. Sometimes twice a month. I've been known to make it two weeks in a row. I have been known to make it twice in one week because I wanted leftovers for lunch but ate them all the day before for lunch. (The Costco-sized pack makes easily two dinners and at least two lunches. I typically make 4 servings of rice each time I make this.)

I really can't recommend this meal enough. It's also good to serve if you have guests as long as you don't tell them they're premade meatballs and Minute Rice till after, because then it looks like you just didn't try, but if you have already wooed them with the delicious then they won't care, they'll just beg you for the recipe and be astounded that it's THIS EASY.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kaylee: 9 months

I had a draft of this sitting in my folder and it's mostly not even relevant anymore, so I've scrapped it. Kaylee turns 10 months old tomorrow so this is my last shot to write her quarterly letter while she's still technically in the appropriate quarter (just barely, sort of, I think? Math and I don't get along).

Dear Kaylee,

Oh, little bug. I've been remiss in writing this because frankly, you just keep me too busy, either with not sleeping or with being so delightful that I don't want to take time to blog because I'd rather spend it hanging out with you.

You are seriously just the happiest baby in the world. On the rare occasion you get fussy, it's nothing compared to what most babies come out with, but I'm ashamed to admit I get frustrated with your whining because when you're the happiest baby ever, mild complaining sounds just like wild screeching from a less content child. But your periods of upset are so few and far between, and short-lived to boot, that once the moment has passed it falls completely off my radar. Even when you are going through a Wonder Week, you're just so smiley and happy.

You think your big sister walks on water. She's not always very nice to you, but you are certainly persistent in your quest to do everything she is doing right beside her, even when she's shoving you away and shouting, "No, Kaywee!" You smile and laugh at her constantly, and "It's not FUNNY, Kaywee!" is a constant refrain in our house. I suspect that at times you're doing it on purpose just to screw with her, and to that I say, good for you. She needs to learn to take it as well as dish it out.

You have, unfortunately, been sick more often than not over the past two months, THANKS A LOT WINTER. But you rarely complain, to the point that you had a pretty bad ear infection and we had no idea. I finally took you in because your nose had been so stuff for so long, and lo, your ear was very angry but you were not. We discovered, thanks to that ear infection, that you are allergic to amoxicillin, so that's fun. No pink bubblegum meds for you anymore.

I know. It's terrible.

This past quarter of your life saw you experiencing Thanksgiving (you were a fan of the food, even though you had just barely begun eating solids at that point), Christmas (you were underwhelmed), a new year (even more underwhelmed), and many milestones: namely, crawling, pulling up, and even a few unassisted stands. You are determined--DETERMINED--to climb onto stairs and stools, and I am not looking forward to the day you figure out how to do it. I think we will be setting up baby gates in the next week or two to block off the bottom of the stairs.

You still have the most delightfully nommable cheeks, the softest skin, and the chubbier little baby hands. Your feet stink worse than many teenagers' (what's up with that?), and you usually have applesauce and crumbs stuck between your fingers and in the creases of your palms because you curls your fingers into such tight little fists when I'm trying to clean you up that it's impossible to really wipe your hands properly. However, you love the bathtub, and have recently started playing on the floor of the tub while I shower, so you'll be getting a lot cleaner in the coming months. (But not too much cleaner, because let's be honest, I can't be bothered to shower daily anymore.)

You babble a lot (particularly in the car, which you've recently decided is a terrible place to be, and you turn into a screechy velociraptor as soon as I strap you in), but we haven't gotten any definitive words out of you yet. Some "da da da da"s and I'm determined to get a "mama" but so far no dice there. Lorelai tries to get you to say "Yai yai", but she's not having any better luck than I am.

You love to play peek-a-boo, Here's Where The Cat Sits, and a game of your own invention wherein whoever is holding you looks away from you (at their phone, usually) and you lean over and stick your face in theirs and grin the biggest grin you can muster up. It's adorable, and you know it, and I find myself pulling my phone out while I'm holding you just to make you do it because it's so cute.

If the past few months have been any indication of how awesome you're going to be, I cannot wait to see how much you grow and change in the last few months of your first year. There's a big part of me that wants to keep you tiny and babyish forever, but an equal part of me wants to see what a fantastic little person you become, and since time seems reluctant to let you stay my wee little baby forever, I'm going to embrace the changes and just hope you keep those pudgy little hands and cheeks well into toddlerhood.

You're the best, Bug. I'm a lucky woman that I get to nom on these cheeks every day.


Friday, January 24, 2014

ThunderShirt review

Full disclosure, I was provided a ThunderShirt to review for this post. However, I wouldn't review a product I wasn't interested in or didn't like. /disclaimer

I may have mentioned a thousand times or so on here and on Twitter that we moved recently, yes? I may have also mentioned in the past that my dog is...sort of a special snowflake?

Who, me?

He was such a basket case before we moved, what with the packing and the strangers coming through to look at and inspect and repair the house during the selling process. I was complaining on Twitter about his whining and how I worried he would destroy the new house as soon as we moved in after the spectacular display of ridiculous that happened when we brought him over here for the first time (when it was empty; he didn't enjoy running around in all the space as much as we'd thought he would). ThunderShirt contacted me and in the ensuing conversation they agreed to send me a ThunderShirt to review on my blog.

The concept behind ThunderShirt, according to their website, is that the shirt applies a constant, gentle pressure that simulates a hug and calms anxious dogs (and cats!). It can be used for a variety of anxieties, not just fear of loud noises like thunder (which was what I'd initially thought, and why I mention it here).

Torg went to stay with my boss while we moved and did Christmas at Kevin's parents' house, so he wasn't here when the shirt arrived. I went ahead and opened it up anyway, and was very pleased with the quality of the shirt. It's a nice thick jersey cotton, soft and stretchy. The packaging was really nice, too.

Not that packing material means anything, really, but I thought the bubble mailer with dogs on it was cute.

It came in a nice drawstring bag, which I liked. I like reusable bags.

When Torg got home, I put it on him.


Mom. Stop it, Mom.

He was...not a fan at first. The last time I tried to put clothes on him (a jacket, because last winter he wouldn't pee in the rain and I thought maybe he was cold and distracted), he tried to eat it, so the fact that he didn't immediately try to destroy the ThunderShirt was a step in the right direction, at least.

Normally, from what I gather, the shirt has an almost immediate calming effect on the dog. Obviously that wasn't the case here, as evidenced by the look on a Torg's face in the above picture--but the shirt was a little big so I thought maybe it just wasn't snug enough to give that pressure that is the whole point of the shirt. I contacted the company back to see if I could exchange it and they sent me a new one, no problem, and told me to donate the too-large one (which I will do next month, Lorelai's school is doing an animal shelter partnership ting so I will pass it on then). Easy peasy, the new shirt came in, and I put it on him.

Special snowflake that my dog is, he walked over to me sideways, leaned his entire 70 pounds against my leg, and whiiiiiiined. You know that really high-pitched whine that hounds have? Yeah, that. It was...annoying. But it wasn't his normal incessant "pay attention to me" whine, it was like a "Mooooom, I don't understaaaaaand, what is this thiiiiiing?" So it was at least a new type of annoying.

I'd been in contact with the company regarding this behavior and they said while it's definitely not the normal response, he could just need some time to adjust if he's not used to wearing clothes. I called my boss as well (I work part time for a dog trainer, which is hilarious because my dog is so not well-behaved) (he's great whenever my boss is around, much like my kid is in her best behavior for her teacher). He said to just put it on and ignore the whining and see if he got tired of being obnoxious.

So that's what I did. For about a week, I put it on him every day at a time of day when he typically gets uppity (between the kids waking up from nap and Kevin coming home), and did my best to ignore the whining. After a few days he seemed to stop being weirded out by the shirt, and by the last day he was even sleeping in it. He had gone voluntarily into his crate and wouldn't come out for me to take the shirt off when I had to go out, so I left him in it and he hadn't eaten it (or even moved) when I got back, so I'll call it a success.

Really, Mom?


Whining is tiring. Imma take a nap on you.

I'll admit, Torg adapted to the new house much better than I'd anticipated, so I didn't have a chance to try the shirt when he was being his most annoying. I plan to test it again the next time there are fireworks--the Fourth of July is his least favorite day of the entire year--so we'll see if it does seem to calm him down then. But once he got used to the shirt, it did seem to calm down his generally amped-up behavior some, so I have high hopes it will work for his firework phobia too.

So, in summation: my dog is a piece of work who can't be relied upon for accurate data, but the customer service and quality of the ThunderShirt earn the product a good review. I've got friends who've had great success with them, and eventually Torg did seem to settle down while wearing it. I think if your dog is a little more...we'll say normal?...than Torg, you'll probably have more traditional results. Torg doesn't like to do anything by the book.

I heard that.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CDP Exchange Stuff and Things

Apparently being basically bedridden makes me blog a whole lot more. Maybe this will get me back into the habit! Or maybe once I'm solo parenting again I'll forget I have a blog. Probably the latter.

I signed up for the most recent round of Doing My Best's Crappy Day Present Exchange, something I had participated in a few times before and really enjoyed but then took a break from once because I was trying to avoid spending extra money, and then I just sort of forgot to watch for registration to open again and so I missed a few rounds. But I'm participating again and while the answers to all the questions on the original sign-up post are still valid, there are a few things I want to add to help the person who got me out. Probably no one else will care about this post besides whoever drew my name, but poor Rachel (the organizer) has enough on her plate without me sending her emails to forward on, and anyway, this may help people who get me in future exchanges too.

Things I Am Into Now That I Had Not Discovered At The a Time Of My Last CDP Questions Update:
- Doctor Who
- ...yeah, that's probably about it. I still love Firefly/Serenity, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars...
- Oh, I also like The Big Bang Theory. And I've started watching Chuck from the beginning.
Huh. It seems I like TV.

Non-TV Things I Like:
- My Kindle (and real books, I'm not picky). I've been really into dystopian young adult stuff lately but I also want to make my way through John Green's books. I've only read The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns so I've got a ways to go.
- Coffee. Strong coffee. I no longer have a Keurig because I never found a compatible coffee that worked for me. I have also not found a Starbucks Via that I like--I love the idea but they're all presweetened and I can't handle it. I barely use any sugar in my coffee, like half a packet's worth. Though I do love syrup-sweetened lattes, just not TOO sweet.
- The smell of clean laundry--fresh linen, warm cotton, that sort of thing. I also pretty much love any scent that includes bergamot. Which is a weird thing to single out, I know, but I keep finding that I'll smell something and love it and what do you know, it's got bergamot in it.
- Otters. I feel about otters the way Kristen Bell feels about sloths. (Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I don't think ANYONE feels about ANYTHING quite the way Kristen Bell feels about sloths.)
- Polka dots. I really like polka dots.
- Property Brothers. Big fan. (Wait, that's a TV thing. But I don't just like the show, I like the brothers themselves. If someone saw fit to mail me an otter and Jonathan Scott it would pretty much ensure them the title of Best Person Ever.)
- Penguins. Up there with otters. If I could keep a penguin and an otter as pets I'd be the happiest woman alive. (My dog would hate me.)
- Pajamas. Particularly pajama pants. I like the idea of matching tops and bottoms but since I'm currently wrapped in the hormone blanket of breastfeeding (not to mention the accessibility need of breastfeeding) I'm usually just wearing a nursing tank and pj pants to bed. In terms of clothing I'm a pretty solid size 8 or size large. Between my boobs and my extra-long torso I tend to go for XL when I get girly-fit shirts from those daily T-shirt sites.
- Nail polish. My toes are never not painted. Except recently, I challenged myself to let the polish disappear on it's own because my toes hadn't been unpainted since, like, middle school, and as soon as it chips I have to fix it. I'm proud to say that I didn't let my nail polish OCD win (my husband can tell you what a huge accomplishment this is, I drive him nuts with how I obsess over my feet and hands). I let the paint flake off all by itself and left my toenails bare for a couple of weeks before I just couldn't take it anymore because my feet didn't look like my feet. Now they are a pretty purpley color (OPI Queen of West Weberly) and I feel so much better.

I feel like that, plus the official answers to the official questions on the official registry page, plus this post that I can't believe I did so long ago, should give whoever pulled my name a pretty good range of ideas to work with. (And I have no recollection of almost buying a Justin Beiber doll as mentioned in that post, and am glad I did not because really, what would I do with a Justin Beiber doll?)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Post-op postmortem.

So, I had my gallbladder out yesterday. I find it upsetting that I went 28 years without having had any surgeries (unless you count having my wisdom teeth out, which I guess I should, but it was at the dentist's office and not a hospital so I sort of have a hard time thinking of it as surgery-surgery), and in the past not-quite-3 years I've had 3 surgeries.

I was not happy about this gallbladder surgery. I lamented it some on Twitter but didn't really talk about it much anywhere else, including out loud, but I was really afraid of how I would react emotionally to being back at the hospital. I had a bad gallbladder attack just before Christmas that landed me in the ER for an ultrasound, and it was just an awful experience. I mean, the whole experience was terrible, the nurses and PA were not communicating with one another, they were rude, they made it clear they thought I was wasting their time by being there ("This isn't actually an emergency so you'll be here for a while, there are more important ultrasounds that have to come first so you'll have to just wait until they can fit you in" was an actual thing they said to me), and I had to calm myself down from a panic attack putting on the gown because the last time I put on a hospital gown was for Kaylee's birth and we all know how well I reacted to that.

Reading over the pre-op instructions the surgeon gave me took me right back to that very bad mental place I was in before Kaylee was born. I stood at the kitchen counter reading the packet, shaking and crying, wanting to put it down but knowing I would have to read it at some point so better to get it over with. Afterwards, I got on Twitter and said I was freaking out a little, and oh, man, my Twitter people are just the best. I got so many virtual hugs and so much understanding, and a bunch of you told me to fight hard for calming drugs as soon as I got to the hospital. Caitlin told me to get the doctor to give me something to take even before I got to the hospital, which wouldn't have occurred to me, but I did and thank goodness.

I felt ridiculous being so upset over this surgery, because it wasn't the surgery itself I was freaking out over. It was all the pre-op stuff. The driving there, sitting in triage, putting on a gown, waiting for God knows how long to actually get into the OR, and the packet made it sound like once again I'd be walking into the OR on my own two feet and putting myself on the table like with my C-section, and that had me more terrified than anything because that was the part I could barely go through with before. If my midwife hadn't had a strong grip on me, I really don't know that my knees wouldn't have buckled walking into that room.

So I talked about it some on Twitter, and I told Kevin how I was feeling, but that's really it. I didn't want to get into it offline because I still can't talk about Kaylee's birth (or Lorelai's, for that matter) without heaving sobs, so I just sort of kept it inside and didn't tell my parents or Kevin's parents how I was feeling because I didn't want to go there. Most of my offline friends don't even know I had surgery. If you aren't on Twitter an you knew, it means I really love you. If you aren't on Twitter and you knew about the surgery and you also knew how much I was dreading it, then you are one of two people who are not my husband.

Anyway, Kevin's parents took the girls Thursday night and Kevin took yesterday off. I had really hoped we could turn Thursday into a date night and go see Anchorman 2 but the only showings were right when I was going to be dropping the girls off (a time which wasn't really negotiable because I had to feed Kaylee and put her to bed before leaving my in-laws' house, I hadn't had time to pump extra milk so I only had enough to get her through the night and the next day), or at like 9-something and I'm sorry but if I'm getting up at 4:30 am, I'm not watching a 2-hour movie that starts the previews at 9:20.

(I totally could have, because it's not like I actually went to sleep at a reasonable hour, despite going to bed earlyish. But Kevin wasn't on board with a late movie either, and he also had to be up to drive me.)

So we just watched some DVRed TV and went to bed. I tossed and turned and tried to think of anything else besides walking into the OR and climbing onto the table, and finally fell asleep around 12:30, I think. Then up at 4:40, and I hit snooze but wasn't going back to sleep so just got up.

I took one of the Valiums my GP gave me, and it's good that I did. I was not exactly calm when we got to the hospital, but at least I wasn't visibly shaking. The registration lady was nice, the nurses were actually nice (although really, someone needs to give that hospital a class on doing IVs because every time I've been there they've blown out a vein, and I have good veins. The bruise on the back of my hand is almost as big as the bruise around my navel, and forest of yesterday there was a pea-sized lump in the spot where she put the needle in). This is the first time I've been to that hospital where the nurses have been nice (excepting the postpartum wing, those nurses were nice, but all the L&D and ER nurses were pretty bad).

The Valium had stopped me from shaking like I was before Kaylee was born, but it didn't stop me from starting to cry hysterically as soon as I went I to the bathroom with the gown to get changed. The last time I did that was right after that terrible, mean nurse had responded to my crying admission that I was scared and miserable about having a C-section by telling me I should be grateful because at least I was getting a baby and lots of women would kill to be in my shoes. (Which, sure. I get that. But that's not helpful when someone is shaking and sobbing and terrified.)

Kevin was so wonderful through all of this. I came out of the bathroom half-hysterical and he just held me until I calmed down a little, and then pulled up pictures of baby otters on Reddit to help distract me. Because baby otters are effing adorable.

I had a few more small crying jags, so if I hadn't had the Valium I'm not sure what state I'd have been in. Probably not a good one. When it was time to go back to the OR I was so grateful that they wheeled me back on the bed from triage instead of making me walk. They told me they have me something into IV to make me sleepy, and then wheeled me into the OR and I saw the table and flashed very vividly back to walking into Kaylee's delivery and then I DID start shaking, but that's the last thing I remember. I feel like I maybe sort of remember them asking me to help scootch onto the table from the bed, but I might be confusing that with Lorelai's birth, when they very definitely made me shift my hysterical, epiduraled self from the bed to the table with little assistance because they were sadists. (My fuzzy maybe-memory from yesterday had me shifting into the table on my left, not my right like Lorelai's birth, so it may be legit. I also remember them adjusting my gown so it wasn't underneath me, and lifting it up to swab my belly, and me thinking, "Hey, guys, I don't have any underwear on, can this wait till I'm not aware of how embarrassingly out in the open I am?")

Then I woke up in recovery, in agonizing pain and with my mouth and throat so dry all I could do was moan pathetically I was freezing cold and I kept saying "cold, cold, cold" and moaning, and I definitely remember trying to say "Where is my baby? I want my baby" because I think for a second I thought I was waking up after Lorelai was born and they took her away and knocked me out for God knows what reason.

The post-op nurse wasn't great, she kept asking me questions that I couldn't answer because my throat was too dry, and I started itching all over and she put an oxygen mask on me and I kept trying to take it off because it itched. I finally managed to croak out, "so cold" and she brought a heated blanket, and "itchy" and she said "what do you take for itching?" I still don't really know what she expected me to say to that because the feeling of ants crawling all over my body isn't exactly a daily occurrence, so I said "I don't" and she just sort of shook her head at me and said, "I guess I can get some Benadryl". Then I asked for water and she told me no and I started to cry and she said, all exasperated-sounding, "Why are you crying?" I did my best to glare at her but I'm not sure how convincing it was with a mask on my face.

She disappeared for a while and I hoped she'd bring me water but she didn't. Another nurse walked by and I asked her to get my glasses case, which also held my lip balm, so that helped, and I said "I really hurt" and she asked how bad on a scale of 1-10 and I said 8, so she told me she'd get my nurse to give me something for the pain. Which I guess happened, because my nurse came back and did something with my IV and asked a few minutes later if I was feeling any better and I said "a little but I'm still freezing and my throat is so dry, I just want some water". She said, "You're cold because of the anesthesia and I can't give you water until you're out of recovery, but it'll just be a few more minutes." (She maybe wasn't actually as cranky as I'm making her out to be; *I* was super cranky so maybe I'm projecting. But she was definitely not as nice as the pre-op nurses. Of course, it's possible, and I just realized this, that there was a note in my file for the pre-op nurses warning them that I was sort of a basket case. I'd had a total breakdown on the phone during my pre-op interview when I told the lady my doctor had given me Valium but wanted me to double-check it was okay to take it, and she asked why I needed it and I just burst into tears and told her my C-sections had been terrible and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to keep it together in pre-op because of the memories. She told me to tell my nurse when I arrived that I was having some anxiety, and she may have made a note because I didn't tell them anything because they were just so nice right from the beginning, I didn't feel I needed to warn them that they had better treat me with kid gloves or I'd lose my mind.)

I just closed my eyes and tried not to cry or scratch (I was still so itchy, the same thing happened after Kaylee was born only worse. This time the Benadryl helped some; then, it didn't really do anything), and eventually they wheeled me back to the triage room and have me the best cup of water I've ever had in my whole life. Kevin came in and let me tell you how happy I was to see him. If I hadn't been so busy making out with my water I'd have climbed out of bed and thrown myself at him. (No, I wouldn't have, because I physically could not because the pain was still at like a 6. But I'd have wanted to. As it was, though, I was busy thinking about changing my name to Mrs. Erin CupofWater.) (I was really, really thirsty, you guys.) Then the nurse helped me stand up and told me I could go get dressed, which required some assistance from Kevin because getting compression socks off after abdominal surgery? Is not something I'd recommend doing alone. Kevin had a hard time with them, and he had far better leverage than I did.

After that a different nurse came in and she was really nice, and kept telling me I looked great, which was very sweet of her but I'd looked in the mirror when I clipped my hair back and "a step above death warmed over" is a more accurate description. (And I say "a step above" only because I'd ignored the pre-op instructions about not wearing makeup and had dabbed concealer on a few stress pimples that had popped up earlier in the week. Without my beloved Erase Paste, I'd have scared all the hospital staff away, never mind my husband and the cup of water I was having an affair with.)

(Seriously. SO THIRSTY.)

Then we left. We tried to just walk out because the nurse had said we were free to go, but another nurse stopped us and was like, "You're not walking out of here all by yourself, you go sit down and I'm getting you a wheelchair." Which I'd thought would have been a given, but since the lady had said "You're all set" and didn't mention a wheelchair, I thought maybe I was supposed to walk out myself. They never wheelchairs me out after the girls were born, so I just assumed maybe that's only something they do in the movies.

Most of yesterday I felt like I'd been stabbed in the navel. Cuz, you know, I WAS. Today, I feel like I was punched repeatedly in the navel by The Rock, wearing a cement glove, and then stabbed. There's a bruise the size of my fist around my navel (and this morning I got curious about what a gallbladder looks like so I got on YouTube to find a video of the surgery and now I totally understand why I'm so bruised. The doctors are ROUGH on you when you're unconscious.) (in case anyone is interested, the gallbladder--and, from what I saw, all other organ--look like various cut of raw chicken. Gallbladders sort of look like deboned thighs.)

I've also got a bruise the size of a golf ball on the back of my hand from the stupid IV. Honestly, these people do this EVERY DAY. You'd think they'd be better at it. There's also a hefty puncture wound from where the needle went in. At least the lump under the skin has gone down. Now if I could also get rid of the gas bubble that has lodged in my right shoulder, I'd be almost able to move normally. (They warned me about this, and I remember it from when Kaylee was born, but holy hell, it's painful. Hurts worse than the incision, honestly.)

Because this post has turned out to be almost as long as my last few, I should probably stop typing because I doubt anyone is even reading anymore (which could also be incentive to just keep going, because if no one's reading then no one cares if I keep going, lalala it's my blog and I'll yammer if I want to!), but I also need to tell you that I ultimately decided not to leave my husband for the water because he's taken such good care of me (and our babies) and also because he decided I needed a post-surgery present in the form of a Roomba! I now have a robot that will vacuum for me! You guys, this is a GAME. CHANGER. in terms of my housekeeping. I hate to vacuum. And I know Roomba just sort of goes around in circles willy-billy and so it's not the most thorough vacuuming ever, but I DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT so it's still a better cleaning than the floor gets most of the time.

I also need to give a shout out to my in-laws, who not only took both of our children overnight (while they were both sick, because Lorelai woke up yesterday morning with the cold Kaylee's had since Wednesday), but they also got me flowers and made me red velvet cupcakes. And my own parents are coming Tuesday to help me with preschool drop-off/pickup and other assorted things like getting Kaylee in and out of the crib, because I'm not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds and she's 17 (!!!) now. As much as I often wish we didn't live in Northern Virginia because it's sort of depressing to live 20 minutes from where I grew up and to know that that's probably how it'll always be, I really am very lucky that we live so near family and that our family is so willing to help out and snuggle babies and make cupcakes.

Speaking of babies, adding insult to injury on this whole thing, I ended up with a plugged milk duct right by my right armpit from having gone from 4:45 am to noon without having a chance to pump, and since I was told (possibly incorrectly, which makes me mourn the dumped-out 9.5 oz of milk I pumped yesterday even more) that I couldn't nurse for 24 hours, I couldn't latch Kaylee on and let her work her baby magic. And the pump and got compresses and pressure on the lump weren't doing anything, and since it was right near my armpit every time I moved my arm it hurt. But at 2 am, I wrangled the baby I to a non-incision-compressing position and she unplugged that sucker in about 30 seconds. So props to Kaylee too.

And props to Lorelai for being a trooper even though she's sick and for being so very sweet about my tummy boo-boo. And props to Torg for not being any more uppity and ridiculous than usual. (He's actually been pretty sweet and snuggly, he can tell I don't feel well.)

But really, the award for Best All Around In Time of My Being Totally Useless goes to Kevin. And also that cup of water. And Roomba. But mostly Kevin, because without Kevin, there would be no Roomba, and he brought me a bottle of water a bit ago. He wins.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Yesterday, Part Shorter.

I should probably wrap up yesterday's post, and since I'm lying here on the sofa waiting for Kevin to finish fixing the broken toilet (have I mentioned how much our new house hates us?) and putting Lorelai to bed so he can come rub my feet while we watch Parenthood (What? I had surgery today. I am supposed to milk it and make him do things like rub my feet and put Lorelai to bed while I do a whole lotta nothing.) I may as well go ahead and do that.

No pictures in this post because I didn't really take any yesterday afternoon because I was driving a lot. Sorry about that. There are lots of words to make up for the lack of pictures! You're welcome!

The second half of the day was much less hectic. Kaylee woke up around 3, so I fed her and then we headed out to pick up some area rugs we had cleaned. The shop had a store puppy named Cheerio who I would have taken a picture of but he was just a little blur of curly curly fur because Lorelai decided that he needed to be her very best friend so they played tag the whole time we were there. It's a good thing the people working like kids, because she was all up in everyone's business, running around and talking up a storm, asking everyone, "What's your name? My name's Worewai. Do you know where Cheerio went? Come here, Cheerio! You're such a siwwy cute wittle puppy dog. Just a wittle cute siwwy baby doggie." (He wasn't actually a puppy; he was 4, but small. A miniature labradoodle, which I didn't know was a thing but holy cats was he cute.)

So we picked up the rugs, came back home, I packed the girls up for their overnight at KK and G-Pop's, and I honestly can't remember what L did during that time. Kaylee rolled around on the floor and had some snacks, and Lorelai probably harassed the dog and played Palace Pets on my iPad.

Around 5 I tossed them in the car, gave L a pouch and a snack trap of pretzels and cashews for dinner, and headed to my in-laws'. Kaylee napped in the car so even though my plan was to get there in time for her normal 6:30 bedtime, she was awake upon arrival so the kids played for a bit and then around 7 I fed her and put her in the crib while Lorelai went to the basement to harass her uncle.

Kaylee didn't fall asleep till after I left, as when I left the room she was on hands and knees in the crib, squawking and smacking her light-musical frog thing.

I headed home, ate dinner, and collapsed on the sofa with Kevin and the TV (Castle and Nashville). Then we went to bed and I tossed and turned and had surgery anxiety until around midnight. Which was awesome because I had to be up at 4:45.

Normally our evening consists of not picking up rugs and going to KK's. Normally after nap we run an errand or play some games or something until it's time for me to make dinner, at which point the TV comes on because otherwise I can get anything done. I probably should start letting L help cook because I hear kids eat better when they helped make it, but honestly? By 4:30 I do not have the brainpower or patience to supervise a child in the kitchen.

Then Kevin comes home, we eat dinner (which means Kevin and I attempt to wolf down our food while it's still warm while also telling Lorelai she has to stay in her seat until we are done, Lorelai please sit back down, Lorelai you don't have to eat but you do have to sit nicely until we say you may be excused, no we did not say you at be excused, we said you need to sit UNTIL we say you can, seriously kid just sit down, I told you you don't have to eat so I don't know why you're whining about not wanting to eat and by they way, you don't KNOW if you don't like it unless you TRY it, but whatever, fine, yes, you may be excused.

Then follows the chorus of "No, we will not come play with you right now, we are eating. No, you may not ride the dog. Lorelai, please stop trying to sit on the dog. Okay, look, if you're not going to sit nicely at the table then you need to go play quietly until we are done eating and SERIOUSLY WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT SITTING ON THE DOG FOR THE LOVE, CHILD."

Meanwhile, Kaylee is happily stuffing her face with whatever I put in front of her. Girlfriend eats EVERYTHING.

After dinner I've been taking Kaylee up for a bath while Kevin does dishes, and Lorelai has been requesting to also take a bath with Kaylee but that's ended up being a giant pain in the ass because she keeps splashing Kaylee in the face and pouring water on her head and even though Kaylee thinks everything her big sister does is the greatest thing ever and laughs her fool little head off, we cannot have the big kid pouring water on the baby's face. So bath time often ends in tears when I make Lorelai get out, or in tears when I take Kaylee out and she can no longer see her moon-hanging sister.

The I turn Lorelai over to Kevin and it's pajamas, boobs, and bed for Kaylee. Kevin usually plays with L till bedtime while I finish up in the kitchen because I love my husband to pieces but his idea of doing dishes and mine are very different. (One of us thinks only the dishes from the table need to be put in the dishwasher; the other thinks all the cooking dishes should also be washed and also that any leftovers should be out in the fridge. Guess who's who.)

If it's Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I put Lorelai to bed. Kevin does the other nights. Bed is at 7:30 and involves PJs, potty, tooth-brushing (on my nights; Kevin sometimes forgets and then I have to go do it later when L decided that "I have to bwush my teef!" is a good stalling tactic after she's already in bed), three shortish or two longer stories on my nights and however many she can convince Kevin to read her. Then after she's in bed we take to the sofa and the DVR list because we are lame and lazy. Lately, she's been coming out of her room every 5-10 minutes for a good half hour or more, insisting she has to go potty again, or needs water (there's a cup on her bookcase that she can reach but she always demands that we come get it for her), or isn't sleepy, blah blah blah GO TO BED, LORELAI.

And the. We go upstairs after I pump at 9, and read for a bit and pass out until Kaylee wakes me up and the whole cycle starts again.

This was a really boring post, and I apologize for that. But I did the first half of the day and felt compelled to do the second half, dull though it was.

Oh, and not sure if anyone cares, but surgery went well. I feel like someone stabbed me in the belly button (cuz they did) and my throat is SO. DRY. that all I can eat is soup because anything not liquid-based sticks in the back of my throat, and then I cough, which hard because see above RE: stabbed in the navel.

I'll do a separate post with more details because I had Feelings about this surgery and I sort of want to get them out in more than 140 characters (I took my Feelings to Twitter but really, if you're still reading you know that I have a hard time condensing thoughts into under 1,000 words, so there were a lot of tweets and Twitter is probably just really not the best venue for someone like me). But for now we will go with "it went well, my belly button hurts, and hey, Kevin, where's my foot rub just kidding I love you but really, please rub my feet?"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's not even 3 pm and this is already the longest post ever.

My friend Alicia told me the other day that she keeps waiting for me to do a post about what it's really like having two kids and being home all day with them. I told her the reason she wants me to write that post is exactly the reason I haven't done it yet--I don't have time! But I thought maybe if I do it in pieces I'll be able to get it done, so here we go. This will be long. I apologize in advance. There's a lot to cram into a post about an entire day, and we all know I'm not exactly succinct.

2:53 am, Kaylee wakes up. I go in to nurse her, pumping on the opposite side because I'm having stupid gallbladder surgery tomorrow so the girls are staying with Kevin's parents and I need to send milk and haven't had enough time to pump enough. (I just typed out a whole explanation of my pumping schedule and then realized no one cares. Unless you do! In which case tell me and I'll write another post. Trust me, I can easily bang out a few hundred words about pumping. Especially when you factor in digressions like this and HEY LOOK A SQUIRREL!)

(Sorry. Coffee hasn't kicked in yet.)

So it's about 3 am, I've nursed the baby, pumped, put her back down, and stumbled back to bed. This wasn't the first wake up of the night; there's usually one around 1 am, but tonight she was up from 11:37-12:16 so she mercifully skipped the 1:00 cryfest. (Poor pie is sick so she's up more often than normal, but she's been sick since Christmas so this is the new normal. In related news, please send coffee.)

5-something am, I'm having a dream about talking to Kristen Bell on the phone, suggesting she call her buddy Aaron Sorkin (I have no idea if they actually know each other, but in my dream, they're old friends) and get him to write a pilot for her and Dax Shepherd and maybe see if he can work in a role for me, too. Then I notice that hey, there's a baby over there on the edge of that dock by that very deep water and she sort of looks like Kaylee, and wait, it IS Kaylee, and then she rolls off the edge and falls into the water and I wake up with an actual gasp that startles Kevin awake too. (I have dreams about my kids falling into deep water a lot. I need to get them into swim classes. Just because *I* can't swim doesn't mean *they* shouldn't be able to.) (The dreams started when we went on vacation to a town by the water when Lorelai was about 4 months old, and it's always the same thing. Baby rolls/is dropped off a dock into deep water and I stand there watching her sink, knowing I can't go in after her because I can't swim, and them I wake up with a start that usually also wakes Kevin up.) (Probably I should just put us ALL in swim classes.)

(This is why I can't blog anymore. I can't just say, "5 am, had a bad dream"; I have to write a short story about it and I just don't have time anymore because the kids, they are demanding.)

Anyway, so I wake up, and while my heart is still pounding Kaylee wakes up, and this time I don't even mind because I was fighting the urge to go snuggle her after that dream anyway. So I feed her again, and usually she goes back to sleep till 6:15 or so but today she decides to be awake. I try to bring her into bed with me but she's never been a fan of that so by 6 I give up and we go downstairs to bug Kevin while he eats his breakfast.

Kevin leaves for work, Kaylee and I play for a bit and then I make coffee and break up a blueberry pancake for Kaylee. I sit down to write this post.

7:15. Why is Lorelai awake? She's usually up between 6:15 and 6:30, but cranky about it and yell-whining at me that she wants a show and a waffle.

7:24. Oh, there's Lorelai. Today she actually woke up rested so she's just calling for me (well, technically, for Kevin). We come downstairs and I fix her a waffle, yogurt, and milk, and put on "Strawberry Shortcake" on Netflix. (Look, I know there are Very Strong Opinions out there on TV for toddlers, and I do not give a ray's ass about them. Lorelai gets a good amount of screen time, but she rarely zones totally out in front of the TV and anyway, I credit screen time with a lot of her vocabulary and ability to connect the dots in a way that's pretty advanced for her age.) (I know, that sounds like shameless mom-bragging, but I don't mean it to be. Recently Kevin called me and I said, "There you are! I thought you fell off the face of the Earth!" and Lorelai said, "Daddy went to outer space?!" Which, come on. That's a ridiculous dot-connection for a not-quite-3-year-old. I credit "Little Einsteins", because I sure as hell didn't teach her that.)

So. The TV is on, and I realize it's trash day. I throw on some slippers and drag the cans out to the curb. Of course, on the day when I've got zit cream all over my face and am wearing a ratty old nursing tank, that's when one of the neighbors I haven't met yet is also taking HIS trash out and decided to say hi. Luckily, he doesn't come over, because he'd probably turn to stone if he looked at me up close in that state.

We have to leave for school in about 40 minutes so I head upstairs with Kaylee, who is ready for a nap even though it's not even 8 am because she got up at 5 something. So I out her in her crib and turn in her glowing music seahorse, and go to get ready.

"Mom! Can you bring my cwothes down here so I get dwessed? I don't want to come upstairs to get dwessed." Yeah, I can do that--it's easier than fighting about whether or not she has to come upstairs. I go into L's room, pick out her clothes for the day, and head downstairs and get her dressed. She doesn't yell once that I hurt her while putting her pigtails in. Maybe I should do her hair in front of the TV every day.

Back upstairs. I don't have time to shower, which is unfortunate because I didn't wash my hair yesterday. Whatever, I'll just wear a hat. And maybe put on some eyeliner.

Crap, the eyeliner pencil skidded on my eyelid. Maybe if I smudge it it'll look smoky instead of like I let Lorelai do my makeup? No. No, now I just look like I didn't take my makeup off last night. Well, at least it distracts from the giant pimple right under my eye.

Hat, clothes (hoodie and jeans, because I like to look super-put-together for preschool drop off), earrings (diamonds class any outfit right up), perfume to counter the unshowered-ness.

Could be better. Could be worse. Don't have time to dwell.

Somehow it takes me 15 minutes to get the baby up from her (far too short because she fought it for 20 minutes) nap, get jackets on everyone, grab reuseable bags because I have to hit the grocery store while L is at school (sorry, Kaylee, that 20-minute nap is gonna have to hold you over unless you want to sleep at Harris Teeter--which you are welcome to do but I know you won't), and get out the door and into the car. I forgot the books I need to return to the library but they're not actually due yet so I'm not going back for them.

Even sick and sleepy, still the happiest baby ever.

Maybe if I was more of a morning person it wouldn't take me an hour and a half to get us functional and out the door. I'm in trouble when she starts public school.

We hit every light on the way to school so we're a couple minutes late. I don't bother taking Kaylee out of the car seat, I just bring it in. Lorelai decides to walk in the mud instead of on the walkway, and has a conniption when we get to the door and she realizes her shoes are, surprise, muddy. I pass her off to her teacher to wipe down and Kaylee and I head to the grocery store.

When we get there I realize that I really, really have to go to the bathroom. Like, even without unloading a child and getting a cart, I'm unsure if I can make it inside without peeing my pants. A lovely holdover from pregnancy, the ability to go from empty- to full-bladdered in the span of 3 seconds. Worst superpower ever.

I grab a cart from the corral next to my parking space, load my reuseable bags, diaper bag, and baby-in-car seat into it, and attempt to run to the door while keeping my legs crossed. I'm sure I looked very graceful and not at all frantic. I make it, but just barely.

Now that that's taken care of, it's time to shop. I've got a long list because it's been a while since I've properly grocery shopped, but we manage to get everything we need in about 45 minutes. About halfway through that time, Kaylee starts to fuss and I can't figure out why until suddenly my milk lets down. Oh. Right. The baby needs to eat. (Too-early wake up means the entire day's schedule is thrown off so I totally forgot. Oops.) I don't have the time or a place to nurse her, so I grab a fruit pouch out of the cart and hand it to her. She sucks it down and the whining ceases.

Side note: I forgot how fun it can be to shop with just the baby. I'm so used to having both kids, trying to keep a running conversation with Lorelai while also trying to find what I need, that it was nice to just chat to Kaylee about whatever I felt like talking about--mostly stuff like, "And now we need artichoke hearts, and darn, I have to go back because I forgot cheese. And why is there only organic cayenne pepper?"

As we are headed to the checkout line, one of the employees stops us to tell me how beautiful my poor sick snot-and-peaches-crusted baby is. We bask in the praise for a moment before I realize this woman is one of those who will keep talking until you physically walk away from her. I am not good at abruptly extricating myself from conversations, so it takes 15 minutes of me saying, "Okay, Kaylee, we should probably check out so you can go take your nap" before the woman finally stops talking and lets us go.

After I get us loaded back into the car, we head to the library because I have the fifth Mortal Instruments book on hold and today is the last day I can pick it up. The library is about a 30 second drive from the grocery store so it's annoying to have to load Kaylee back into the car just to take her out again, but it's cold and we have to cross a busy road and she's sick. And thanks to Talky McTalkerson at the store, there, we only have a half hour till it's time to pick up Lorelai and walking to the library would be pushing it time-wise.

So we get my book, change Kaylee's diaper, then back to get L. There's time to kill so I work on this post a bit while Kaylee catnaps.

Pick Lorelai up, and she informs me that she "hates wittle boys wike Kyle" (the younger sibling of a classmate). I ask her why she said that and she says, "Because I hate wittle boys. Angewina {Ballerina} hates wittle boys in da book." Okay, then. Guess we're not reading "Angelina at the Fair" anymore. We talk about how that's not a nice thing to say and how at the end of the book Angelina changes her mind and is nice to Henry and I'm positive that Lorelai absorbs zero percent of the conversation.

Come home, let the dog out, unload groceries from the car, make L lunch (she keeps asking for peanut butter and honey sandwiches and refusing to eat them, but I don't feel like fighting today so I make her one). She eats lunch (Well. "Eats lunch." She eats three Ritz crackers and an applesauce pouch.) while I nurse Kaylee and put her down for a nap.

I start slicing some veggies and chicken sausages to put in the crock pot for dinner while the dog alternates between whining at my feet for scraps and going it side to continue in his quest to dig up one of the trees in the backyard.

Hard to tell in the picture but underneath that fence shadow is all the dirt he kicked up that used to be around the tree. Jerk.

Start dinner, take Lorelai upstairs for nap. She doesn't fight me as hard as she usually does, but tried to negotiate. "How about you read a story and I dance? And then I will do quiet time instead of take a nap!" Because I still don't feel like fighting, I tell her if she's really not sleepy (she actually doesn't appear to be, for once) she can play quietly in her room instead of napping, but she has to stay in there until I come get her.

I go downstairs, make a sandwich, let the dog in and wipe his feet because holy muddy paws, Batman. Lorelai does the opposite of playing quietly while I get some work done. (I need to go up there and find out exactly what two large metal objects she's using as cymbals because LOUD.) She keeps knocking on the door to ask if quiet time is over, and I keep telling her her no, she has to do quiet time until 3:00 (which is about an hour and a half total).

That brings us to now, 2:39. The dog is in his crate because he just stood at the front window barking at air for three minutes, Lorelai is rapidly losing patience with quiet time, and this post is about a gajillion words long so I'm going to hit publish and we'll wrap up the second half of the day later on.

"Wuz not barking at air. Wuz barking at vry thretning stuff n things.

In summation of Today Part One, life with two kids is hectic, and wet weather means I have to wipe a lot of muddy paws. And feet. Also wipe a lot of noses. (Well, just one nose. But I wipe it a lot. Poor sick baby.)

And now Lorelai is crying and calling for me so I think "Quiet" Time has come to an end.

Mad because I told her she can't draw in her books.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Our Christmas card

I apparently didn't order as many Christmas cards this year as I normally do, or maybe I just have more people to send to this year than normal. I way overordered on Kaylee's birth announcements (anyone want an 8.5-month-old announcement? I have some left!) so I went with fewer cards for Christmas and ended up running out and not having enough to send to all my Internet friends after I was done sending to family and real-life people.

All of this to say, if I sent you a card last year and didn't this year, I apologize! I'm culling my list for next year so if you sent me a card this year I'll send you one next year. In the meantime, please accept this hopefully-in-focus version of this year's card.

The back says "Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year."

Then it has a note about our new address, which is why there's no picture of the back of the card here. The whole world doesn't need to know where I live. Even if most of you have my address anyway.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Books I read during the second half of 2013...

...and never bothered to blog about because of reasons. That I'm sure were good. Or, more likely, not good. Is laziness a good reason?

I'm not going to review them all here because I already reviewed them all on Goodreads and none of us wants to be sitting in front of this post for the next three days. I'll link to my Goodreads reviews and you can read or not read them if you care to click through. I will also say how many stars (out of 5) I gave the book.

All right. Let's do this thing. Picking up where I left off in May...

17. The Elite by Kiera Cass ****
18. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld ****
19. My Sister's Voice by Mary Carter ***
20. Hangman by Michael Slade **
21. The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlain ***
22. All She Ever Wanted by Barbara Freethy **
23. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell *****
24. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell *****
25. Dollhouse by Anya Allyn ***
26. Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn **
27. Marionette by Anya Allyn **
28. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell *****
29. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau ****
30. Allegiant by Veronica Roth ****
31. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh ****
32. Lost & Found by Chris Van Hakes ****
33. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner ****
34. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman *****
35. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare ***
36. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare ***

So I not only met, but exceeded, my goal of 35 books last year. That may seem like a terribly small number, but remember, I had a baby in there, and a toddler who has yet to really figure out how to play by herself. Also, I had a LOT of Property Brothers that needed to be watched. (Actually, it was Orange is the New Black and Doctor Who, both of which I binge-watched. Property Brothers was sort of my "I need something I don't really have to pay attention to while I cook dinner" show. But there was a lot of it.)

So I'm very proud of myself for meeting that goal. This year I'll strive for 40 books. I'm sure I can do it.

A few notes about some of the books I read:

Anya Allyn's series is really weird. The fourth one was supposed to be out at the end of 2013 but still isn't, and I debated whether or not to even bother because the whole series is so disjointed, but I feel like I read the first three, I need to finish it out. Plus, I signed up for her newsletter so I can get the Kindle edition for $1.99 when it's released. I don't mind paying $1.99 for a possibly-not-very-good book to finish out the series.

If you like dystopian young adult fiction, check out The Testing. It's very Hunger Games/Divergent-esque. It's the first in the series and the second one isn't out yet, so if you don't like to wait between books, add it to your to-read-at-a-much-later-date list. (There's also a novella that's a sort of prequel, but it's so short that it's really just a short story. I read it in about five minutes. It's not on this list because I really couldn't in good faith call it a book. It's free on Kindle if you care.) The second book comes out next week, and the final installment comes out this summer.

Rainbow Rowell is delightful and I highly recommend her books. Attachments is cute, Eleanor & Park is touching, and Fangirl is positively wonderful.

And finally, if you like fantasy at all, read Seraphina. I don't usually like fantasy because I get annoyed when authors spend so much time creating/describing the world, and this book didn't do that. It wove the description into the story, and didn't read like a lot of fantasy books I've read. I'm trying to convince Kevin to read it because he's always looking for new, good fantasy books, but the fact that it's a female protagonist, young adult, and has a love storyline means it isn't really his cup of tea. (I made him read Divergent and he spent the whole book laughing at Tris being all girly about Four. Shut up Kevin, Four is hot. You do not make fun of Four or the Internet will hunt you down.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Recap, Finally.

This meme came from Linda over at All & Sundry. Previous years: 2012 and 2011

Probably I was supposed to do this yesterday. Or the day before. Whatever. I'm doing it, and that's what counts, right? Given that I got a project at work for the first time in months and also there was the whole smoke detector thing that you know about if you follow me on Twitter and that I will probably post about soon so if you don't you'll still eventually find out what I'm talking about. If I remember.

(Oh, what the hell. It's probably not worthy of a whole post. Basically, our smoke detectors started going off at 3 am, and have continued to do so at random times throughout the day. An electrician came and did a sort of cursory inspection and guessed that one of them is malfunctioning, so we unplugged that one, but it didn't fix the issue. So currently we've turned off the circuit breaker that connects to the smoke detectors and we're just hoping nothing ACTUALLY catches on fire tonight before we can get someone else out here to do a more in-depth search. But we can't have the thing waking us up all night again. Kevin and I have basically been up since 3 am, Lorelai is terrified of the noise, and Kaylee's naps kept getting interrupted today. The dog is the only one who doesn't seem overly bothered by it, which is weird, because he's overly bothered by everything else, but I'll take it.)

I almost didn't do this at all, but you know, it's one of the things I really enjoy about blogging. So here it is. Minus some questions that I didn't like or didn't feel like answering or didn't feel were relevant.

Oh, and somehow in getting a new computer I did not actually manage to transfer all of my pictures from before August (I still have the old computer, they're not lost, they're just not easily accessible), so please enjoy a smattering of photos from the past few months.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? 
I got acupuncture, for all the good it did me for getting Kaylee to show up on her own. But it was a new experience. One I probably won't repeat because it didn't work and I'm not really into shoving needles into my person if it's not going to accomplish the intended goal.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I was smart and didn't make real resolutions. I said I wanted to get back to my pre-Kaylee weight, which I accomplished just by having the baby, and I even lost a few extra pounds, so go me. I decided that 2013 was going to be the year of serenity, in that I was going to strive to chill out and not get so worked up about little things. I...do not think I accomplished this. When I think back on this year, "serene" is not how I would describe myself. "Slightly less in a tizzy" isn't even how I would describe myself. I spent a lot of this year freaking out over various things; being less-than-patient with my family about, well, everything; and just generally caring way too much about things that really didn't warrant the attention I was giving them. So I failed at keeping that "resolution". 

I did manage to read 35 books like I had hoped (I think I set 35 as my goal; I can't find where I said I was going to do that so I'm going from memory here, and my memory is crap on the best of days). I may have even read 36. Eventually I will recap the ones I read from June-December, because May was the last time I did my monthly recap, because I am terrible at following through on things I say I'm going to do. And when I do that, I'll know how many I actually read.

In 2014, I want to read 40 books. I was going to say 50, but that may be shooting a little high. We'll see if I can do 40, and then maybe I'll try for 50 next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A lot of people had babies. I had one! Some other friends had some! 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
No countries. No new states. I did go to Myrtle Beach, and all the states in between here and there (so, uh, North Carolina). I did not go back to Arizona this year like I'd hoped, because I was in my third trimester during PJs at TJ's and Kevin didn't want me traveling. (I didn't really want to travel then either, but I did really want to go to PJs, so if he hadn't been so against me flying out there I probably would have gone.)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A Roomba. A good food processor. An adequate amount of sleep.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 19, Kaylee's birthday. That's...it. I mean, I will always remember certain other dates, like Lorelai's birthday and my anniversary, but those aren't 2013-specific like Kaylee's birthday is. 2013 wasn't an overly eventful year in terms of things other than Kaylee.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I feel like I adapted to being a mom of two pretty easily. I mean, I still lose patience/my temper with Lorelai a lot more than I'd like to, but I feel like I'd do that even if she was my only kid. She's at a difficult age. I might be a bit more patient with her if I was getting more sleep, and if I didn't have a baby I would be sleeping more (I hope), but let's be honest, I'm not patient in general and toddlers drive me bonkers. 

But I don't feel like having a second kid threw me for a total loop. I just have to make sure I bring diapers and wipes when I leave the house, and loading the car up takes a little bit longer because now there are two kids to buckle into car seats.

9. What was your biggest failure?
General marriage and parenting upkeep. Kevin and I have had a lot of nights this year where we've just collapsed onto the sofa at 8 pm and stared at the TV for an hour before going upstairs to read and pass out. A lot of that is because by the time the kids are in bed, I'm just too tired and fried to do anything else. I'd love to do more date nights and the like, but babysitters are expensive and our dog is a turd for everyone but us (he's a turd for us too, but I feel bad making other people deal with him, even if we're paying them).
"I am not a turd."
(He totally is.)

I really wanted to be more patient with Lorelai, and do more fun things with her, but I sucked at that too. I'm just hoping I haven't scarred her for life. (Plus, she and I don't always agree on what's fun. Toddler tea parties? The most boring thing ever. Hide and seek with a kid who tells you where she's going to hide but you have to pretend you can't find her anyway? Also boring.) (I'm a terrible toddler mom.)
 She's adorable, but her tea parties are pretty lame.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than my day-before-Christmas-Eve trip to the ER, nothing major. (Turns out I need to have my gallbladder out. Not, like, immediately, but soonish. I have a consult appointment next week.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our new house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My kids'. Kaylee is the happiest baby ever, and I know I complain about Lorelai's behavior a lot, but really, the stuff I complain about is normal behavior for her age. She's an awesome, funny, smart kid, and even though she makes me pull my hair out a lot of the time, she's just the greatest.

Also, Kevin. He's the best.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I debated deleting this question, because is anyone really going to call out a specific person here? "Oh, my friend Jessica, she was a total bitch in March." Unless you know for a fact that Jessica will never, ever read this blog, or you don't mind confrontation (just the thought of how that conversation would go after Jessica read your blog gives me hives), you're not going to call Jessica out here.

That said, there are a couple of people whose behavior was pretty ridiculous this year, and they are my Jessicas. Don't worry, it's not you. (Probably.) (It's not.) (Probably.)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Well, bills and Target. Target gets a disgusting amount of money from me.
"It's true. We spend SO. MUCH. TIME. at Target."

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Kaylee. Getting my registration fee sent in time to be able to go to PJs in February. Our new house. Anchorman 2 (which I still haven't seen). Playing Santa for Lorelai, since she actually knew what was going on this year.

Hey, PJs people, you guys rated up there with my baby and my new house. You should feel very special.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I have no idea. The Doctor Who theme song? I don't typically associate music with...well, anything. I'm not a musical person.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Perhaps a little sadder. I mean, I'm not sad in general, this isn't a pity party. But there were some things that happened this year that didn't go the way I'd hoped they would (Kaylee's birth, for one), and while last year there was still hope for them to be what I wanted, and now there's just the fact that they weren't. Obviously Kaylee's birth was a happy event, but it will be a long time, if ever, before I can look back on it without feelings of disappointment and sadness and that brick-on-my-chest feeling like I'm having a panic attack.
b) thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner, seeing as I was like 6 months pregnant at this time last year
c) richer or poorer? I think richer, actually, although you wouldn't think so since we just bought a house.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Doing fun things with Lorelai. Date nights. Sleep.
I want to hang out with this guy more. He's pretty cool.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Losing my temper with Lorelai. Crying. (I cried a LOT this year.) 

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At Kevin's parents' house, because our house was such a wreck, having been moved into five days prior, and then we went to my parents' house for Christmas Day. It was nice, but I don't think we'll be doing another overnight on Christmas Eve again. It's really important to me that my kids wake up in their own house on Christmas morning. In the future, I'm fine with going to my in-laws' for Christmas Eve, as long as we come back home that night, or they can come to us instead as we've done the past few years. I think I also prefer staying home on Christmas Day and having family come to us.
21. What was your favorite TV program?
I got really into Doctor Who this year, and also I got obsessed with Property Brothers. Like, I was watching so much of it that I was having dreams about Jonathan ripping the counters out of my kitchen and showing up to watch Die Hard with me. (I'm not lying. I totally had a dream that I watched Die Hard with Jonathan Scott, and I choked on popcorn and he hit me on the back. I may or may not have made out with him later. I'm not telling.)

22. What was the best book you read?
I really liked Allegiant, and Fangirl. I don't think either one counts as high literature or anything, but I really liked them both.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This assumes I've ever made a musical discovery. (Actually, I did. My friend James and I discovered New Found Glory in high school and by the time we graduated half the drama department was obsessed with them.)

24. What did you want and get?
Another girl baby. A new house with a fenced-in yard for the dog to be a doofus in. To occasionally finish a cup of coffee before it got cold. (I shoot high.)

25. What did you want and not get?
A Roomba. A food processor with a grater attachment so I can make latkes all the time (my waistline and arteries are probably glad I didn't get this). Inner peace with how Kaylee was born.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't see many new movies this year, but I really liked Catching Fire. And I was surprised by how much I liked Frozen. The trailers had made it look sort of dumb, but it was really cute. I'd rank it up there with Tangled. (And that's saying a lot, because Zachary Levi.)

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to see Catching Fire. Kevin and Lorelai picked out a cake for me and we did the whole candles thing because Lorelai is obsessed with birthdays right now. I was 31.

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I'd gotten everything I wanted exactly how I wanted it, exactly when I wanted it.
This is the face I make when I don't get my way. Like mother, like daughter.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
"Leggings are totally pants, shut up."

30. What kept you sane?

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I dreamed that I was watching Die Hard with a Property Brother. That's about as fancy as it gets.

32. Who was the best new person you met?
Yes, Bug. You.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
If you set your heart on something, there's a good chance you'll be disappointed. (Wow, that sounds...awful. I didn't mean it to be so depressing. Just...you can only control things so much, and sometimes you just have to let go and accept that you can't have it your way, no matter how badly you may want to.)

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I really should have deleted all these music questions. There isn't a single song lyric that sums up my whole year. Well, maybe there is, but I don't know enough songs to be able to think of one.