Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Recap in Pictures

As I sit here, lamenting over the fact that I am currently at work and regretting not taking three days of vacation time in order to sit at home knitting, I remind myself that there is a mere three hours left before I am off again for another 4 day break.

Christmas was infinitely better than I thought it would be, celebrating with just the three of us, but embracing the friends and (sort of) family that we do have in town. In the days leading up to Christmas, we packed in as many of the activities that I intended for us to do in the month of December. We went to the Springs Preserve to see their lights and decorations. They called it something along the lines of an "extravaganza" and although an extravaganza it was not, it was still lovely and chilly, so the two Chicagoans that we are were happy to bundle up ever so slightly.





On Christmas Eve day (could we pick a worse time? I suppose we could have, going on Christmas Day itself...) we decided to venture down to the Strip for the first time in what felt like ages and play tourist in our own city. The Bellagio has a "Conservatory" of plans and flowers, whose themes switch monthly. Last year, we delayed our venture down to the strip to January, so we missed the Christmas display but saw the Chinese new year display. This year, I wanted to make a point to see the Christmas flowers and decorations. We were not disappointed, and it was actually really beautiful and worth braving the crowd.









We spent Christmas Eve dinner with my sort of cousins, having a grand old Filipino time and playing Christmas Eve Bingo, where I won $32. Being as tipsy as the strange sparkling red wine I was drinking would allow, the three of us still had an excellent time.



Christmas Day was chock-full of toddler presents. Clothes, toys, and more clothes. Of course we had bought some of them, but so many came from far away family, that it made us feel not at all on our own for Christmas. Plus, when there is a toddler involved in Christmas, it's hard to feel lonely or isolated, since she just brings so much joy and excitement. Everyone spent the day playing with their toys (B watched a Blu-Ray while wearing his spanking new slippers, Mia played with her musical castle and grocery cart and register, and I made and drank an excellent cup of coffee out of my Keurig).





I hope everyone else's holiday was excellent, too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Silence

There are no words. I worked from home on Friday, so I had the television on and learned about the shooting in Sandy Hook very early in the day. Alone in my house, with my daughter in a bright happy daycare, I watched and listened. I cried in the shower, thinking of my storage closet with the gifts from Santa waiting to be wrapped and put under the tree. Realizing that those poor parents probably had the same stash.

I can't and won't write more on it. Whatever I start to write sounds trite. But this morning, as my healthy and happy daughter sat in my warm lap, on my bed for 10 minutes watching morning cartoons, I didn't want to interrupt these few minutes of peace to go about with the rest of our morning routine. Her sweet smelling hair, the feel of her chubby belly under my arm, the softness of her cheek against my neck. I appreciate these more than ever, and I promise that I will remember to appreciate her, always.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

House Pictures!

Well, our house is really coming together. Living in a house has a way of making you feel so very grown up. B and I have found ourselves being much more domestic after work than we had ever been before. It might be a combination of finally getting out of the apartment we now realize was a shit hole, and being excited about living in a new place, but whatever the reason, I like it. Hopefully this isn't a "for now" situation, but we have been very on top of dishes, cleaning up after dinner, etc. Downstairs, we are fully moved in. Except for the intention to paint over the white walls, which I would like to do immediately but I digress.

Pictures!

Living room/Dining room. Please don't mind the pantless toddler, the toy car, and the knitting patterns strewn on the coffee table and couch. Also, the table is very small and I am currently monitoring Craigslist for a more appropriate replacement.

Living room and Stairwell, viewed from the dining room. Please don't mind the husband watching football.

Kitchen/Dining. We intend to buy stools for the kitchen island, but for now, that is the dog-bed area. And yes, I am drinking a glass of wine.

Friday, November 30, 2012

18 months!

Yesterday, we took Mia in for her 18 month well check. My pediatrician was a bit shocked to see us both in the room. It was amazing that we both happened to be able to take our week day off in time for the well-visit. Mia is tiny, as usual, but healthy.


18 Month Stats:
Weight: 21 lbs, 7 oz.  10th percentile
Height: 31 Inches  25th percentile
Head circumference: 45.5cm  25th percentile
Milestones: Runs; Climbs; Can take stairs while holding hand; 20+ word vocabulary; Mimics what we say and do; Eats with a fork and spoon; Points at body parts.

Mia, at 18 months,

You are a bundle of energy and sass. You are constantly on the move, and any silence in the house just means trouble. You have gotten so fiesty, and we are really starting to catch a glimpse of what your terrible twos are going to look like. It is your way, or the meltdown face on the floor way. You want to eat on your own, on your own plate and with your own fork or spoon. If the food falls off the spoon, you may ask for help, but want to put it in your own mouth. That's fine with me, Mama finally gets to have dinner while everyone else does!



You are so playful and sweet, most of the time. You want to read books, watch Yo Gabba Gabba, and do everything to make us laugh. You have so many words, but you still get pretty frustrated when you can't communicate. All in good time. You'll be speaking in sentences in no time! 



Speaking of Bunnies, a couple of weeks ago while packing up the apartment, we found a stuffed bunny of mine that you have totally fallen in love with. You sleep with "Buttee" every night, and ask for him as soon as you're in your jammies. We love that she plays with Bunny, because it was a special purchase for us. The day B and I got sworn in to the Illinois Bar, the ceremony was at Navy Pier. On our way out, we walked the entire length of the Pier, and in the front was a Build A Bear workshop. We were both in such a good mood, we went in to build a stuffed animal to commemorate the day... and now, just three short years later, here you are enjoying our special little bunny. 

Our favorite little quirk of yours is that at random moments during your play, you'll go "Oh, Chloe!" As I've mentioned on here many a time, our beloved Beagle is now 14 years old and basically deaf. B and I have to YELL her name in order to get her attention. Mia, I think that you may have misinterpreted our meaning and think that "Oh Chloe" is some kind of curse word. Something will fall off the table, and you'll say "Oh, no! Chloe!" (What the Chloe did you just say to me?). Toddlers, you guys are hilarious. But, you continue to love your doggies more than any other toy, and you're finally learning to say Swarley ("Swaley"), and your previous "Tatty" for "Doggie" has evolved into "Cocky". (Also, socks=cock, walk=cocka) Do you sense a theme?



Our biggest hurdle continues to be sleep. I feel like I've been complaining about this since you were born, but Mama and Papa are very cranky when they don't get consistent sleep. We spoke to your Pediatrician about this, and she reminded us that we did some sleep training a few months ago which worked well before Lola (My Mom) came to visit. So, last night was night #1 of sleep training, which consists of going to you as soon as you cry, reassuring you without picking you up, and leaving the room. 10 minutes later, if you're still crying, repeat. Then, 20 minutes later. Then, 30, etc. Last night, we had to go all the way up to 40 before you quieted down and slept through the night from midnight to 6:30am. Not enough sleep for sure, but more consecutive hours than we've had in a while. We'll see how night #2 goes.

We love you more and more everyday, and last night, B summed it up perfectly. I'm so glad we made the baby we got, she's so awesome. That you are, Bunny. 

Love,

Mama and Papa

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A DIY Christmas

I'm not sure why I wait until after Thanksgiving to start putting together Christmas gifts, but 30 days does not seem like enough time to put everything together the way I want to. Especially not when that 30 days is actually just 2 hours per night once dinner is made and cleaned up, and my toddler is put to bed. Shopping for gifts is a pleasure for me. I love trying to think of things to give out, and this year even more so, with Mia actively playing with toys and starting to show preferences. Although I don't think she'll understand what is coming, I think once she realizes what is under those colorful wrappings, she'll be very excited to tear everything up.

It also seems like our list gets longer each year. There's the kids. Mia, our nephew, and a couple of friends kids. I took care of that on cyber monday. Not many. There's each other. This year, we are being very practical. B wants an exercise bike that we are currently scouring craigslist for. Mia broke our coffee pot, so I'd like a new one, so that, I can actually make coffee instead of drinking a Diet Pepsi every morning. As for the rest: my work colleagues, B's work colleagues, and friends that's where it starts getting time consuming. As much as I'd love to go out and pick something out for every person based on their personalities and tastes, that just isn't going to happen.

Since we have been in a reduced income household for over 6 months now, I think I've come up with a decent way of still having gifts for everyone without spending an inordinate amount of money. So, this year, will be a DIY Christmas. I will tell myself that the gifts will be so filled with love and thoughtfulness that they will not be perceived as cheap. RIGHT?

For women: Frenchie's Frills bracelets. Perhaps a single or double wrap, depending on the person. I have plenty of inventory left over from the Halloween craft show, and will likely have plenty left after our upcoming one in mid-December. Also, I have quite a few supplies to make any more, as needed. No money spent there -- I have everything I need. 

For men/families: Hand knit Christmas tree ornaments. I found a pattern yesterday, purchased some Styrofoam balls from Michael's for $10, two balls of yarn for $4 each, and viola. I spent about an hour and a half on my first one yesterday and I'm halfway through, so if I get used to the pattern, that should be plenty of time for about 15. (Juliet, act surprised!)

Now, this is our first year with a daycare. I am definitely giving a gift to the 3 main teachers in Mia's 1 year old room, but what about the rest of the staff? I was thinking I might buy a box of bagels and coffee one morning for them, but does that seem like too little?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

House Christening Fail

Well. Our first night in the house was... not great. Instead of Christening the house the traditional way, I Christened it on Sunday night by running to our shiny master bathroom (tripping over many boxes and stray hangers on the way) and ... vomiting. B did the same thing to the powder room toilet this morning around 5 am. I am keeping a very close eye on Mia who is so very sure to come next, although, I'm hoping she gave it to ME and we just didn't notice amidst the teething and moving angst. Because really, where else would we have gotten something like this except the dreaded daycare plague?

So, things haven't exactly gone as planned with the whole unpacking thing. Things went swimmingly with the moving of the stuff though, since evidently B is a moving MACHINE and had made two trips from the apartment to the house by the time Mia and I woke up last friday morning. Motivated by saving money on the movers, he probably took at least a dozen trips back and forth between the two places (which are NOT close by, I should add) in my Insight with the back seats folded down. 6 boxes at a time, and everything but the furniture was in the house by the time the moving truck got to the apartment on Sunday. 2 1/2 hours after that, and all the furniture was at the house, too (another score, because we paid by the hour, with a 2 hour minimum). 

The former owners wanted to stay in the house for a couple of weeks after the closing because they couldn't close on their new house immediately. After some negotiations, the agreement was: Leave the fridge, stay two weeks. In my (and my parents') mind, this seemed perfectly reasonable and fair. Evidently, they felt their fridge was worth far more than their (or OUR) convenience. They didn't take the fridge, but they did take a couple of things that in my opinion is clearly a FIXTURE (Hello -- I remember something from Real Estate Law) such as a bathroom cabinet, a toilet paper dispenser and towel rack. When I asked our realtor to ask for the bathroom cabinet back, their response was "No, you already got the fridge. You can buy a new bathroom cabinet yourselves, it's from Target". Not the point, but thanks, assholes. 

Anyway. I don't have many pictures to show, since the house looks like hell. (See above involving the Vomit.) But I do have two pictures of things I am awfully proud of:

CABINET SPACE! This cabinet holds all 12 of our red wine, white wine and champagne flutes, half of which were still in their original Crate and Barrel packaging from our wedding. 

The washer/dryer! B, Mia, Swarley and I all watched the first 8 minutes of the inaugural load, like a bunch of fools. Swarley barked, Mia "whoa"ed and B and I wondered how could so little water wash the clothes?
Anyway, I'm all better now. Poor B is at work feeling miserable since he has been off since Friday, so he can't take an outright sick day, though I hope for his sake that he can get out early. This afternoon, my office closes at 1pm, so I am off to the old apartment to clean up as much as possible and bring the final items over. More pictures as soon as there are no longer boxes in them!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Miss My Mommy

I really miss my Mommy. You'd think in your late 20's you'd be able to handle living across the country from your parents. That if you could muster the courage to move away at 22, that by 28 it'd be even easier- that you'd be completely "over" it, used to it, okay with it. That you'd feel like a grown a$$ adult and be okay on your own. But some days and times I just really want my Mom and/or Dad. Some moments I miss them so much I can't function- I just need a good cry. And I get jealous of those, like my husband and some of my friends, who have never lived more than a few hours from their folks and family. I think sometimes they take it for granted. There, I admitted it, I miss my Mommy. And I know, I wrote a month ago about how my Mom lost her job and my parents feel it's possibly the time to relocate out West, and that it makes me nervous because I don't know what I really want...*breath break*...and I still don't. Luckily, perhaps, it's not my decision to make. God/fate will step in and they will go wherever jobs can be found. But it's simply evidence that I really am torn. For every phone conversation that ends with me wanting to poke myself in the eye with a fork, there are moments like today when I am so sad it feels like someone is stabbing my heart with that damn fork.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday around the corner

This morning, after reading several holiday facebook and blog posts, I realized that we've been so focused on the move (T-5 days) that I have totally forgotten to get excited about the holidays. Well, not completely since I did pick out Mia's gift from Santa from the Target toy catalog, but since I spent the weekend wearing my sherling-lined slippers, even Las Vegas is reminding me that the Holidays are a-comin'.

Since my time at home has been totally dominated by cardboard boxes, plastic bins and permanent markers, sitting down at my desk this morning after a 3 day weekend of marathon packing, I also made another realization. B, Mia and I will be spending our first holiday season on our own, as our own family. From Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, neither my nor B's family will be around for the celebrations. Last year, we spent Thanksgiving at our apartment and the following long weekend in an RV, and then Christmas in France.

We had previously planned on going to Chicago for Christmas, but because we have already been there twice this year for various weddings, and because this move is costing many dollars despite our most valiant attempts at being cheap, we are staying put. I had been toying with the idea of doing an overnight somewhere like Mt. Charleston or St. George, UT to make Christmas Eve and Day less lonely, but I'm reconsidering. It might feel even more lonely if we are in a hotel room somewhere.

So for now, the plan will be to celebrate on our own, as a little family of three, in our new little house which will hopefully be fully unpacked and organized. This year is proving to be much less eventful, but hopefully just as happy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mia's First Election

She stayed up until the networks made their projections. Not because we thought she needed to be awake for it or anything, but because I couldn't get myself away from the television for long enough to start her bedtime routine until 8 (which normally starts at 7, right after dinner). We were all very distracted, but at least for the next election (when she is 5 1/2!!!) we'll be able to show her this:

She claps when there is clapping on TV.
The Frenchie household is happy that Nevada went blue, at least in the Presidential Election.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Assortment

The Packing 2012 is going slowly but is progressing. Embarrassingly, I had to spend the longest time organizing all of my hobby supplies. One entire plastic storage bin for my yarn, knitting needles and pattern books, and one entire plastic storage bin for my beads and their supplies, only to find that I had more stashed elsewhere and no room in either plastic storage bin.



When you still have two weeks before you have to leave, it's very difficult to pack only things you aren't going to need in the next two weeks. I packed all of our pet stuff, only to have to go through it again a few hours later to locate the heart worm medicine. Ditto when I got bored with the one knitting project I kept out, and had to dig through to locate supplies for another. (I realize the second was purely of my own, stupid, making). The kitchen remains untouched and is likely the biggest job of course -- my reasoning being that the kitchen cabinets do not need to be emptied for the movers, whereas the various shelving units do. We are planning on moving the non-furniture items ourselves, so as to save on the $89 per hour the movers are charging. We have cars and two weeks to clear out the apartment after our scheduled move, we can handle the remaining items. Of course, I say that now... The closing was last week and went very smoothly. I had to sign "[Mom's First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Married Name] by [Frenchie Middle Name Maiden Name Married Name] as her attorney in fact " every. single. time. which highly amused the title company guy, but our realtor gave me a gift basket with towels and chocolate, so it was all worth it. Now we wait until the evening of the 15th, and we will be given the keys. On the morning of the 16th, I will have scheduled a cleaning service, a carpet cleaning service, and washer dryer delivery. On the 18th, we will sleep in our new home!

Mia helps sort through my jewelry by wearing my bangles, and Hawaiian necklace.
We had a lovely and productive weekend despite the boxes starting to make us feel like we're living in a fort. Mia and I went to Stroller Strides on Saturday morning, and I had two victories. 1) I did not even come close to passing out. 2) I am not even remotely sore. We got Mia's second official haircut at a kids salon, and it was very uneventful and great. Mia sad in a Lightning McQueen Chair, watched Little Einsteins and did not cry one bit. She was very squirmy, but the hairdresser managed to cut her bangs very straight across anyway (as you can see in the above picture).




And then came Sunday night and The Walking Dead. I'd like to think that I've become much less sensitive to the gore and not too afraid of the zombies anymore, but last night's episode really threw me off. Not only was it extremely gory, but also... yikes. I couldn't sleep and my stomach was uneasy for the rest of the evening. I was actually grateful when Mia wouldn't settle down in her crib again, only for having an excuse to snuggle her very close to me and make sure she was... you know, safe from Walkers. I can hardly blame Mia for being completely unable to take advantage of that extra hour.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Annoyed ... and Halloween!

Sleep has been a constant battle in our house for... the past 17 months. Lately, and I fear, until several weeks after we have moved into the new house (Nov 18th will be the first night we sleep there), we will continue to lose.

Mia has a "touch of strep", pediatrician's words, and a huge case of molars coming in. So, she's still unhappy and clingy. Tuesday night, she wouldn't even go down in her own crib and stayed up until Midnight. I already knew I was keeping her home on Wednesday, so, I graciously told B to go to bed, and I would sleep in Mia's room with her. I quickly followed this up with "Since you are off on Thursday, you can do the same for me tomorrow night."



Well, after a glorious night of trick of treating fairyness, Mia woke up and I nudged B to get her. I went back to sleep. What do you know, but I get woken up to Mia being thrust into my sleeping arms. B and I discussed it the night before. Mia is a Mama's girl, so if she wouldn't calm down with B, he'd bring her in our room. I assumed this is what happened. The next morning, after a fitful night of Mia repositioning herself on various parts of my body, I asked B very sympathetically how long he had tried to calm her down before giving up. "Oh. I forgot that I was supposed to do that."

Oh, how convenient. 

But, on the bright side, this:



She was great! She walked up to the houses very firmly holding on to our hands. She held out her pumpkin and was very excited to see all the doggies and pumpkins around. She walked around, stopped briefly to survey her loot, refused to let us carry her pumpkin when it got heavy ("MINE!") and kept her wings and flower crown on the whole time. We had a lot of fun going around with Juliet's family.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Post Apocalyptic Nonsense

When I was a kid, I would hyperventilate at the Planetarium when I tried to wrap my brain around the idea that the universe went on forever. It freaked me out to think of earth, and of myself, as a tiny spec in the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure you can call it an existential crisis when it happens to an 11 year old, but there you have it.

Nowadays, the same type of feelings spring up when something big happens. In this case, Hurricane Sandy. Of course, I worry about my friends on the East Coast, and I'm sure everything will be fine as long as everyone stays safe. But when I look out my window and see not a single cloud in the sky, my heart rate quickens a tiny bit at the thought of how far away we really are from our friends and family scattered throughout the country, and in a lot of cases, the world. The physical vastness of the planet (and the Universe!) compared to what our bodies are physically capable of freaks me out. Mainly, it scares me that, should something like the Day After Tomorrow happen, our little family wouldn't be able to strap on some hiking boots and rejoin the rest of our family because we are just too far away.

Before this post takes a turn for the far too serious, let me disclose that B and I have been serially watching the Walking Dead all weekend anytime Mia is asleep. We have about 8 episodes left to go before we are totally caught up and can start watching what is currently airing on AMC. Ever since the days that I got majorly into Lost, about 50% of the thoughts I have while watching an apocalyptic style show (Lost, Revolution - which I watched 2 episodes of before giving up because I didn't like the main character) are somewhat wistful about how much simpler life would be if something like that would happen. Not so much in the case of the Walking Dead -- I do not fantasize about living in a world where there are zombies ready to eat you around every corner. But a world without electricity, or marooned on a tropical island? Sure.

The reason anyone can actually go away from home for anything is that it's easy to stay in touch. It was easy to pick up the phone or sign into AIM back in college, and it is even easier now to sign into Skype and have an actual face to face conversation with your parent, or make sure your child knows her grandparents' faces. It's easy to get on a plane and visit your grandmother for Christmas, so that she can see her great-grandchild. All of it is easy, and when I have my existential crises, at least I'm reminded not to take it for granted.

Because, it may come a day when there are flesh eating zombies preventing me from getting on a plane for a friend's wedding. But probably not. Until then, everyone on the East Coast stay safe!


Friday, October 26, 2012

More, All Done, Shoes, Outside.

A couple of mornings ago, when I was changing Mia's diaper, she strung those four words together. Now, it may have been a total fluke, but, I'd like to think that Mia was very plainly telling me about what she wanted to do that morning. She'd like to eat "more" ("More" being her universal descriptor for food, then she'd like to be "all done" and get down from her high chair. Then, she'd like to pick her "shoes" out and put them on, and finally, she'd like to go "outside". Sounds good, Mia.

Outside of that very cute display, Mia has had a rough week. Her bottom molars are popping out, and it is making her a very unhappy little toddler. She wants to snuggle, but she doesn't want to snuggle. She wants to read a book, but she doesn't want to read a book. She wants to sleep in our bed, but she's uncomfortable (and tells us so). These are very complex emotions for a 17 month old. I felt the little pointy tips of her second bottom molar yesterday as I was brushing her teeth, so I'm thinking we should be home free by the weekend. Or at least we'd better be, because we're going on 5 weeks of no sleep here.

Other than teeth, out little life is packed full of activities over the next couple of weeks. I'm my parents' power of attorney for the Real Estate closing, so I'm pretty excited for the closing and walk through on Tuesday. It'll be exciting to see the house again, but since the current owners are staying for two more weeks after the closing, it won't be empty yet. I was hoping to have a nice long stretch of time between the closing and the end of our apartment lease, so that I could paint without any furniture in the house, but hey, the situation can't be too perfect. I do have a couple of colors picked out from Lowes though. A nice bright yellow for Mia's room, a dusty rose/taupe color for the living room and a Robin's Egg blue color for our bedroom. After living in a rental with white on white walls for 2 years, I'm ready for some warmth and color! B is not thrilled to execute my big painting plans, but quite frankly, I'm the better room painter. I'll start a "House" label once we move in and start updating about the redecorating plans. We'll be buying a couch and a dining table at some point in the first few months, but we're not sure how quickly that can be done. I hate our couch, with a passion, and I desperately want something baby and dog proof. Since my parents will be our landlords, it really feels like we'll be able to make a home there and I'm very excited for that. I had a grand old time taking care of their condo in Chicago during law school, and this feels even better. There will be a backyard, a bedroom for Mia and a designated guest room. I'll post pictures as soon as the current owners get their stuff OUT.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Anniversaries?

I've got a topic/question/situation/issue that I'm looking for feedback on: What do you ladies and your husbands or significant others do for your anniversary each year?
I'm wondering if for most people anniversaries are not really huge deals. If in fact I'm the crazy one making more of a deal out of it, or WANTING to make more of a deal out of it, than I should, or rather if most people do truly quite a bit for their wedding anniversary and my husband needs a slap upside the head for being so casual.
I was going to spell out what I wanted to do this year, vs. my husband's desires, vs. what we plan to do as a compromise now. Instead, I'd like to hear from you ladies first as to what you typically do, and if those plans, gifts, etc., are your first choice or usually a compromise because you and your man's opinions differ (heck, maybe for some of you, HE'S the one who thinks bigger than you do). Then after some responses I'll fill you in on Romeo and my current situation.
FYI: It's the middle of the night, but technically Monday, and our anniversary is Wednesday, so the more dialogue the faster, the better, in case he does deserve the dog house and I deserve a change of plans in time. (Or perhaps vice versa, like I said, it is possible I'm the extreme one.) But no matter when you gals have time to respond, even after the "big" [?] day, I'd still appreciate it all for future reference.
Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tidbits

I can't seem to get myself together enough to compose an actual topic for this post, but I want to write something, so we'll go with the classic bullet points.


  • Sleep. There has been little of it since my Mom came to town... nearly 4 weeks ago. Mia's been in a pack n play in our room, since you know, we are still in our 2 bedroom apartment. She wakes up at the sound of a pin dropping, and since she finds that I am RIGHT NEXT TO HER, she gets is MAD. So yeah. Last night being a totally run of the mill night of being up from 12:30-3 am, repeatedly asking to go "Outside", because, you know, that's what all babies should do at 3am. 
  • Yesterday was my reduced hours day. Normally, I hate to take a Monday because it is nicer to have a mid-week break, but I had my annual exam at the OB in the morning and hate coming to work after my legs have been up in the stirrups. TMI? This morning and all last night while dealing with my child, I was totally psyching myself out about catching up on work this morning. I had this very strong feeling of dread for this one phone call I had to make that I had put off on Friday afternoon. Then, I made myself pick up the phone first thing after walking in, and of course it was totally undramatic and fine. All that hand/steering wheel wringing for nothing. I both hate and love when that happens.
Mia both loved and hated this turtle at Springs Preserve.

  • Also, coming into the office after dealing with a cranky toddler, I thought that I was at least home free from baby sounds, smells and... liquids for a good 8 hours. But no, my boss' 8 month old grand kid is here and also cranky. Also, I managed not to escape baby urine and spit up, because he got both things on my top about 45 minutes ago when I volunteered to give my boss a break and walk him around the office.
  • My Mom went to Chicago for the weekend to visit my Brother, and we had a nice little family weekend. Mia and I went to the playground on our own on Saturday because she was bouncing off the walls. It's gotten cooler 'round these parts, so it'll be a pleasure to be outside for the next couple of weeks.
Fall in Vegas. With leaves!!
  • Crafts. Juliet and I are going to be teaming up for a craft fair this weekend, so my apartment is covered in stray beads and scraps of leather. It's been fun, but I have been consumed with having a good selection for the fair. If we have any local readers, come to Christ the King Catholic Community on Torrey Pines and Tropicana between 9am-6pm and look for Frilly Kreations for a selection of fleece blankets and leather wrap bracelets. Of course, I probably won't even sell half of my inventory, so leftovers will all go up on Etsy in the following couple of days.
  • I can't seem to think of anything to close on, so rather than just abruptly ending this post, I'll warn you that I'm abruptly ending this post.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Do I Actually Want?

***Yeah, this is really, really, long, and I apologize.  I don't know what happened.  Read it in more than one sitting if you must, but I do think it hits on some primal, yet unspoken thoughts we all have when it comes to our parents, no matter what our age and situation.  Or, of course, maybe it's just me.  :)  Oh, and it's almost 6am and I haven't slept yet, so sentence structure and grammar?  Yeah, not really happening.  Bonus points for every word you find that isn't really an actual word, but just something I made up that sounds passable.  See?  That right there.***

Here's what's up:  I found out today that my mother lost her job.  I've glanced through all my posts and realize I haven't written a lot about my parents.  A ton about my MIL and FIL, but not my own folks.  This also means I haven't nicknamed them yet, and first initials won't do, because my dad shares his first initial with someone we already write about.  Um, gosh, why did I save trying to be creative and coming up with blog nicknames for my own parents at 5am?  Think, Juliet, think.  Oh, okay, let's go "Lord C" and Lady C," for you know, Lord and Lady Capulet from the play.

So, Lady C lost her job.  Details are fuzzy, as in non-existent.  I missed her teary voice mail on my cell by literally 10 minutes, and by the time I called back, she wasn't picking up.  We have been playing phone tag the entire evening.  What I do know is that I'm shocked but not surprised, and yes, before you pause too long wondering, it is entirely possible to be shocked yet not surprised.  I am not surprised because she has been worried and talking about fear over losing her job for probably 2 years now due to the fact that the company replaced her direct boss (she's an administrative assistant) and he didn't like her as much as the previous person did.  Not being there first hand I have never known whether this was just my mother being a worrywart like me (hey, you wondered where I got it?)  or whether there was due cause for her concern.  Thus, my lack of surprise, however I was shocked by the actual news, because while I've heard her worry for years, nothing ever happened nor were there any warning signs that something might.

What makes matters worse than "simply" being laid off in an economy where jobs are still scarce, the fact that Lady C doesn't have a college degree (she worked for the company 16+ years and climbed the ladder from receptionist to her final position as admin assistant to the office manager), and that companies seem to want young doe-eyed 20 somethings they can pay minimum wage and no benefits, is the fact that my mother was the bread winner (and source of health insurance benefits) in my parents' household.  My dad, Lord C, lost his full-time job at least 3 years ago.  He's been working from home selling health insurance, but it doesn't have benefits, and while he's tight-lipped, I know he's struggling finding clients and making a living because a year ago he picked up a part-time job at Bath and Body Works, and a few weeks ago a second part-time job as a gas station attendant.  (For those of you playing along at home, that's 3 jobs total.)  Not exactly how I pictured my 63 year-old father, who used to make $60,000+ a year as a top department store salesman, living out what should be his last working decade.

Oh boy, this post is way too long, and I haven't even gotten to the real actual reason for writing tonight.  Let me cut to the chase-- if that's even possible at this point.  I miss my parents like crazy.  I moved to Las Vegas 6 years ago, straight out of college, not really knowing what would happen, how long I'd be here, etc, etc, etc.  But I do acknowledge it was completely my choice to move 1,735 miles-- the exact distance from my front door to theirs.  What I didn't plan on was falling in love, getting married, and having a child 1,735 miles away from them.  And it's hard.  Hard as hell.  My son only knows Grandma MIL and Grandpa FIL.  I want him to know Grandma C and Grandpa C.  Romeo has tried to comfort me by saying that as a kid he had one set of local grandparents and one set of long-distance ones.  And while yes, he was closer emotionally to the local set, he doesn't have super, amazing, one-of-a-kind memories of them.  Those memories are reserved for his long-distance grandparents.  The fact that those visits were fewer and far between makes the memories sweeter.  I appreciate the sentiment, but frankly, I think it's a load of crap.  I want my parents here.  I've wanted them here since I was pregnant.  And not just for Tybalt's sake.  I want them to know him as well.  I also am sick and tired of everything from holidays and special occasions to everyday excursions to the park or the mall being only with Romeo's mom.  I want my own Mom (and Dad).  I miss them.  I want Christmases with them that don't require trying to budget $2,000 for airline tickets, hotels, rental car, etc.  I want my parents to just drive to our place for a dinner every once in a while, and us to them.  I want them to get the chance to babysit Tybalt instead of that right and privilege only belonging to Romeo's mom.

And the thought of my parents moving "out west" from Chicago has never been absurd.  My sister and her husband live in Provo, UT.  Which, while it's a lengthy drive, is, in all honesty a very do-able trip for a long weekend.  However, while my mom was the breadwinner, and in this position, as I've [too lengthily] tried to describe and show is not just a normal title and job she could transfer to, let's say, the Las Vegas branch of the national company she works for, a move while not absurd, was not practical.  Or, more straightforward, pretty much impossible.  While my dad could do his "things" anywhere, my mother definitely could not.  I've begged, I've told her to start applying online for administrative assistant positions in any company, any field, anywhere in the west closer to my sister and me.  I've always pushed for Las Vegas, because I selfishly want them with me and their grandson, not my sister in Utah, but still, anywhere out west where they are a drive away would be fine.  But my parents' response has always been that they wish it could happen, but like I said, while my Dad is flexible, my mom couldn't leave her steady job without another job lined up, and even doing that, she wouldn't be making nearly as much by starting over at some new company that doesn't know her.  And while it's painful, I've accepted that.  But when I got the voice mail this afternoon, I couldn't help but actually feel HAPPY.  I should feel horrible and upset for the injustice my mother is feeling.  And yeah, I do.  I should be worried about my parents--my father has heart problems and my mother has arthritis, knee, and lower back problems-- and now they just lost their health insurance.  And again, yeah, I do.  Yet I also feel like this is IT.  This is the time for them to pick up everything and just move out here...NOW.  Don't scramble to find a job, Mom, and then use that one as an excuse to stay in Chicago still.  In one of her voice mails today as we played our incessant phone tag, my mother said they are in fact talking about taking the opportunity, yet at the same time, "this probably isn't the time to make rash decisions."  And I want to say, "Why not?  Now is actually the perfect time to make a rash decision."  Romeo has already told me not to get my hopes up.  Moving is expensive enough.  Imagine trying to move now that you have only the balance in your checking account to live off of.  And I get that.  I get that it seems impossible financially.  But I'm so scared that if they don't scrape the money together and do it now, they'll get tied into Illinois again, and they never will.

Here's the last thing though for tonight.  I cry myself to sleep sometimes over how much I miss my parents.  I hug Tybalt tight sometimes and cry into his shoulder that my parents aren't around to see his milestones and witness his amazing personality.  But does that truly, honestly, mean, that if and when my parents got here, I wouldn't regret them being here?  I want them here on my terms, and that's just not possible.  They'd be here on their terms.  I said somewhere up above here that I wish they lived so close they could drive to our place, or us to theirs, for dinners every once in a while.  But that's the key right there--"every once in a while."  If they are here, they are HERE.  Do I want the pressure of being expected to see them whenever they want to see me?  Do I want my parents, who arise even on their days off no later than 6am, to find out that I sleep until 1pm on the weekend when Romeo can wake up with Tybalt instead of me?  And how would I deal with the jealousy (I can see all three of their skin turning green now) when MIL, who has never had to share Tybalt in her life, now has to share with my parents?  And my parents who will want to see him every possible chance, seeing they didn't get to before, realizing they must still in fact share with MIL?

So, do I push as hard as I can and tell them exactly why they should move this instant and come out here?  Or should I resist the urge and just stand back, with my hands clean, and see what happens by fate, and by their own decisions, without a word (or much of a word) from me?  (I mean at the very, very least I would think that I need to state once again that I would welcome them here.  No?)

There is an infamous "joke" that really truly happened when I was hospitalized and only semi-conscious two years ago.  I've only been told what happened because I was so drugged that I have no memory, so I'm paraphrasing the following dialogue, and for the sake of the story you should also know that Henderson, NV is a bustling town with jobs and shopping and basically all Las Vegas has, as it's suburb, and is only about 20 minutes away from our current apartment, whereas Bullhead City, AZ, is just across the state border, with no real economy or job opportunities (let alone a mall, so who'd want to live there anyway!  lol) but about 90 minutes to 2 hours away:  My mother was at my bedside, along with Romeo.  (It was her first visit, when I was touch and go still in the ICU.  And I couldn't talk because I had already been given a tracheotomy.)  She was crying I guess and holding my hand and saying, "Daddy and I need to move out here.  We can't keep living this far away from you, 'Juliet.'"  And apparently even in my stupor I nodded and smiled and even teared up.  So she said "How would you like that, if Daddy and I moved here, huh?  Wouldn't that be good?"  And again there was more emphatic nodding and smiling on my part.  Then she said, "What about Henderson?  That would be a good choice."  At which point, I stopped smiling and shook my head 'no' violently!  Luckily my mother laughed and replied, "Too close, huh?"  And Romeo chimed in saying, "What about Bullhead City?"  To which I apparently went back to nodding fiercely and smiling widely, and the whole room busted a gut laughing so hard.

So perhaps, while I fantasize about a Norman Rockwell situation with my loving parents right here, I should take a clue from my no-holds barred, tell it like it is because the drugs are like truth-serum, semi-conscious mental state...20 minutes away?  Hell no, but feel free to move about 2 hours away so you have to call first before just dropping by for dinner...

Monday, October 1, 2012

To do list: One big check mark

I have told you repeatedly about how we've definitely outgrown our apartment

The top item on our to-do list for October was: Find a house to rent.

Criteria: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. Tile or laminate in living areas. Small back yard. Closer to daycare. 

and.... DONE.

Remember how I told you about my Mom coming to stay for about a month? Well, I guess before she left China, my parents had decided to invest in another rental property. They already have one condo in Chicago, one that I used to live in and rent from them. Evidently, they are liking their status as Landlords, because they had decided to buy a second condo in Chicago.

When my Mom got here, I told her that we'd be moving on December 1st, and that while she was here, I'd like to go out and look at a few rental houses. My parents LOVE looking at houses, even if they aren't in the market to buy. When we lived in Chicago, one of their weekend hobbies was going to Open Houses. ("It's an Open House! They WANT you to come see the house"). I wasn't really surprised when my Mom showed quite a bit of enthusiasm and browsed the listings that I had received from our rental broker. 

One or two nights later, evidently having lots of time to think and Skype with my father overnight fighting jet lag, my Mom asks: "Would you guys like having us as Landlords?" Wait, what? 

After a couple more discussion points, the answer was a very enthusiastic Yes.

So, all last week, I came in to work late, left early, had extended lunches and was very busy on my weekday off to meet up with our Realtor and various houses around the Valley. Some old, some new. Some big, some small. House #1 was in perfect condition, but a bit smaller than I'd hoped with little storage. Not a deal-breaker, I told Mom. If this works for you, it works for us. But, it felt too soon in the process to make an offer. What if there was something bigger, with more storage, that was just as nice? 

A dozen houses later, a couple more fit the bill. One with a very large backyard, with real grass. The thought of us having to water and mow a lawn in the desert was giving me secret palpitations. Another in an ideal location was tempting, but the zero outdoor space not great. Both off the market by the time we got home from lunch that day. 

And then Friday morning, we had one last appointment. We liked the pictures, we liked the location. Mom says, if we like it in person, I have my checkbook in my purse. We walked in, saw all-tile floors, a small but big-enough back yard, an upgraded kitchen and before we even went upstairs to the bedrooms, Mom was already reaching in her bag. 3 bedrooms, 1500 square feet, 10 minutes from B's work and daycare. Our only compromise is a 1 car garage, but that is very easy to ignore when I look at the gleaming kitchen counters and seemingly endless cabinet space.

For now, I only have this picture of Mia approving of the banisters. Also, see, no carpets!
Closing is scheduled for October 31st, which means we have a leisurely 30 days to move out of the apartment and into the house. I am so excited for Halloween this year.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Keep it classy, Las Vegas

My office is in a not-so-nice portion of Las Vegas. It's not dangerous, I think, but it's just... not nice. There are mostly businesses, and many many run down apartment complexes. I'm not sure why, but it happens to be very popular with medical offices, so, it was a good choice for the relocation. But, not so great for the times I forget to my lunch on the kitchen counter.

Picture a 20 year old girl and her fifty something mother at one table, and an on-duty police officer at another. Me, also nearby, pretending to read my kindle but really eavesdropping.

Girl: I have a friend in the police academy right now. There's a lot of stuff you have to learn, huh?
Cop: Yes, it's a very rigorous training program.

Girl: Like, about weapons. Right?
Cop: Some about weapons, but mostly about law. 
Girl: Yeah, that must be hard. But at least you get a nice car. I seen some nice new police cars around. 
Cop: [nod]
Girl: Yeah. They're mostly Fords, right? But I seen some nicer, like fancier ones? They look like those from the Transformers movie.
Cop: Oh, yes. The Chargers? Those are for the high speed chases.
Girl: Yeah. Those are cool. I wish I could get a car like that. Do they give them to you for free, just for being a cop?
Cop: Well, they belong to the Police Department, so they're not ours.

Girl: Oh, so you have to buy them, then?
Cop: No, we just use them while we're working. They belong to the police department.

Mom, interrupts: I know a guy who got away with shooting a cop. You want his name?

I was impressed by the Police Officer's patience. I couldn't take much more, so I headed back to my car, discreetly eyeing the parking lot for the Police Officer's nice car. It looked an awful lot like a regular police car to me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our last night of freedom

As I've previously mentioned, my parents live in China. My Dad is currently under contract with a french hotel chain and is managing a resort. It all sounds very glamorous and exciting, and I can't believe I haven't been able to visit since a beach is involved, but round trip tickets for our little family aren't in the cards.

Instead, my Mom visits for ... lengthy ... periods of time.

She flies in tonight, and is sticking around for about a month with a visit to my brother in Chicago somewhere in the middle. Of course, I'm thrilled to see her. I have a great relationship with both my parents, and my Mom and I get along great. It'll be great to have someone around who, unlike B, isn't a homebody. I've got a few activities lined up that I've been saving for my Mom's arrival.

As much as I love having my Mom around, what I do not love, is having her around in our 2 bedroom apartment. Especially now that Mia is very much out of the infant stage, and actually uses her entire nursery, rather than just the small area that was her crib and changing table. She likes to take books off her bookshelf, takes shoes out of her closet, looks at the picture frames on her nightstand.

We haven't entirely figured out what Mia's sleeping arrangements will be during my Mom's stay. She has repeatedly said that she has no problem sharing Mia's room. While I don't doubt her sincerity, I don't know how Mia's going to react to having someone in her own room. She's generally sensitive to nighttime noises, and often wakes up if I sneak in there around 10 or 11 to cover her back in her blanket. Lately, if Mia wakes up in the middle of the night, it's been impossible to put her back in her crib without her screaming bloody murder. Both because we are lazy and because we have new neighbors, we just plop her in the middle of our bed and spend the rest of the night getting kicked in the back or smacked in the face.

But last night, as I put Mia in her bed, I told her this was her last night of sleeping by herself for a while, so make it count! Of course, she woke up at 10:30, right as we were settling in. I took her out, fed her the rest of her bottle, and put her back in her crib, without protest. Then, just as we had drifted to sleep, she woke up again around midnight, and pulled her classic "my crib mattress is full of thorns" routine, being perfectly sleepy in B's arms, but writhing and screaming in pain as soon as she was set down on her awful, terrible, "we should spent $50 more and get this nicer one" crib mattress. So, our last night of freedom (meaning, doing anything that makes any kind of sound whatsoever, I'm talking about watching a little Jon Stewart or Tosh.0, get your mind out of the gutter) was actually spent dodging Mia's violent sleep re-positioning. (She actually laid her head on my throat for about 10 minutes, before choosing instead to sleep at the foot of the bed -- yes, like a dog would).

I'm mostly excited. But also, I'm pretty sure that for the next 30 days, my child will refuse her pack and play. I suggested we pack our walk in closet up a bit early, and set the crib up in there, but B wasn't having it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Accepting Vegas

Next month, we'll have been Nevadans for a full two years. It seems like much much longer and much much shorter at the same time. On the long side, I can't imagine that Mia's only been in our family for 16 months. On the short side, it seems like we are still freshly arrived in this city, this city whose streets we only know a fraction of compared to Chicago's streets, shops, restaurants, and attractions. 

We had a very quick weekend trip to L.A. this weekend. It was awesome to visit somewhere we could walk to nice restaurants, grocery stores, and see the beautiful ocean. LA is awesome, and I really wish I had lived there at some point. On our drive home, B said that pretty soon, we wouldn't need our GPS to get us back to Las Vegas anymore, because we'd probably make this drive hundreds of times. I found myself agreeing, rather than secretly hoping we'd move there. No, we won't move to L.A., because... we don't want to. As much as I loved visiting, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief when we passed the first casinos in Primm Valley. 

But, two years seems to be enough time to settle in. To stop thinking of ourselves as transient, to stop thinking about other cities, and stop thinking that relocating (again) would be no big deal, since our roots are still so shallow. Because now, they aren't. We have a daycare that we are happy with, with a one year old teacher that our daughter loves. We [each] have favorite restaurants (mine: DW Bistro, B's: Amore), favorite local shops, favorite parks. And our favorites aren't what they were in Chicago. Our activities are... suburban and family-oriented. 

We may not fit in here, and we may never fit in here. We may be a very blue household in a predominantly red state. We may never accept that our closest and nicest movie theater is in a casino. We may never understand how to play craps. But, slowly but surely, we are adapting.

Activities are fewer for those of us who try to avoid the strip, but they're there. It's just a matter of taking advantage of what there is to offer. Just this morning, as I reviewed our East Coast friend's facebook pictures of apple picking, I found an orchard that exists in Las Vegas, an anomaly in the desert that exists thanks to some kind of spring that actually makes the soil productive in one small part of town. We'll do that just as soon as the weather dips below 90 degrees.

I predict that in two more years, my aversion to owning real estate will settle down, and we might even be in the market for one of these large and affordable homes. 




Monday, September 10, 2012

Embarassing thing #749264

In my everlasting attempts at trimming down my baby pooch, I've been searching for a way to work out without defending myself from constant dog and toddler assaults. My previous inclination was to join a gym, but many a thing happened immediately after I decided to do it, with the #1 strike against a gym membership was having to put Mia in daycare. I didn't want to commit to the two year membership, and I didn't want to have to spend MORE time away from my child than work was already making me.

I don't have many friends that have children. I do, however, have quite a few far away facebook friends who do have children though, and although it might be considered borderline cyber stalking, I try to keep watch on their profiles for Mommy-related tips. I noticed one of my facebook Mom-friends was frequently posting about Stroller Strides, which intrigued me, so I did a web-search. No stroller strides in Las Vegas, but please give us your email address if you'd like us to e-mail you if someone opens a franchise.

Well, several weeks ago, I got an email that Stroller Strides was starting a Las Vegas location, and click here if you'd like to view a schedule of classes. As almost everything else in this city, Stroller Strides Las Vegas seemed to be geared toward the Stay at Home Mom whose husbands make enough money for them to afford the pretty high monthly membership fee. But, after exchanging a few emails with the very nice and enthusiastic owner, she decided that people had expressed enough interest in a Saturday morning class, and if I was only going to be attending one class per week, there was an option for a 10 class pass for a not ungodly amount per class. Excellent. I signed up and this past Saturday was my first class.

As soon as Mia and I showed up, we did our introductions and I promptly gave my "I haven't worked out in 15 months" disclaimer, and everyone assured me that I'd be just fine. I lined up next to the other Moms in their BOB strollers with my thankfully appropriate enough City Mini (I have a serious case of stroller inferiority complex, despite LOVING my City Mini and recommending it to everyone who doesn't want to spend more than $250 on a stroller) and got to my jogging in place.

The Stroller Strides exercises are pretty basic, where we did a circuit through a local park. We do brisk stroller walking on the paths and stop every 500 feet or so to do some strength training. The music was perfectly synched where it played pop music during the walking, and kids music during the strength exercises. During the stops, the Moms interact with the babies in their strollers. For example, we did something they call "Peekaboo Squats", where you basically play peekaboo with your baby as you squat in front of them. There was some other things, like doing "If you're happy and you know it" while doing a chair squat against the wall. It was good, and it was mostly just really fun to be with other Moms acting ridiculous in front of their children, and having the babies love it.

Until the 45 minute mark of the 60 minute class, when I realized that the half a nectarine and the one bottle of water was insufficient for an outdoor Las Vegas workout. During the follow-the-leader drill, I had to pull over and actually sit on the ground. It was so sudden. I was totally fine one minute, and the next my head was spinning, and I grabbed Mia's pack of Teddy Grahams from her hand and shoved a fistful in my mouth, grabbed one of the instructors water bottles (she had very kindly offered and sprinkled some on the back of my neck) and chugged it down. Five minutes later, everything except my ego was fine, and I was able to join in for the last 10 minutes of abs and stretching.

Everyone was very nice and assured me that I was neither the first nor the last that this would happen to, saying that if you've never worked out outside in Las Vegas, this is bound to happen to you, and next time, make sure you at least have a bowl of cereal with that nectarine! Being highly skilled in the self-deprecating humor department, was able to recover relatively well. I also [loudly] informed the instructor that I would be out of town next Saturday, so not to think that I was wimping out. I'd be back the week after that to punch the first class on my 10 class pass.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

15 months!

Indulge me as I continue to use this blog as a baby book...



Mia,

You are 15 months old! We had your 15 month well visit at the pediatrician's office yesterday, and here are your stats:

Weight: 20 lbs, 2 oz   10th percentile (yikes!)
Height: 30"  25-50th percentile
Head circumference: 45 1/2 cm  25-50th percentile
 
You are still a squirt, but the pediatrician assures me that you are growing just fine. You fit in almost all of your 12 month clothes, but are starting to grow into 18 month ones. You wear a size 4 diaper, and are still firmly in size 4 shoes.
 
According to this handy dandy sheet that somehow the pediatrician's office thinks should capture the amazing person that is you, you are supposed to be hitting the following milestones:
 
 
Walks well alone/Tries to run
You are dynamite on this one! When we take you out of the car, you wiggle around and say "walka walka walka", and will walk from the car to the steps on your own, usually accompanied by vigorous arm pumping and "Whoooaaaaa".
 
Uses a cup/uses a spoon
Well, we're almost completely free of bottles. You use a sippy for all of your beverages now, which continues to exclude juice. Thankfully, you're starting to accept water, so I'm a bit less worried about you turning into a serious milk monster. You still use a bottle as part of your bedtime routine, and as we learned last night, are not yet ready to give it up. I'm fine with it though, just one bottle at bedtime seems reasonable to me. On the spoon front... we can blame Mama for you failing on that one. I'm sorry about this, bunny, but I got into the habit of putting all of your food directly onto your high chair tray, skipping both plates and utensils. We have plenty of spoons, but I'm about 100% sure that if I gave you one, you'd just fling all your food onto the floor! Will do better soon, I promise.
 
Clearly says Mama/Dada with 3-6 jargon words
You use Papa very generously, but are extremely sparing with the Mama, which makes me very sad. When Dr. Kalili asked how many words you had, I told her that you had about 5 or 6 (Hi! Bye! Doggie = pronounced Tattie; Mine! Up! Night Night!). But, it turns out that I underestimated you! Yesterday, I picked you up from daycare a bit early because you had a slight fever from your shots and brought you back to my office. You hung out at one of my co-worker's desk for about 20 minutes, and I overheard you saying so many words that you have been holding out on Mama! I heard you clearly say "shoes", "car", "baby", and "Elmo!" (she was playing her sesame street on her iPad).
 
Learning Body Parts
You are starting to do this. You've mastered showing us where your nose and belly are, but you struggle with eyes, ears, and mouth. We'll keep working on it! You have a couple of other excellent tricks that you do though. One that is called "Scrunchy face", and you pucker your eyes, nose and mouth. You also bring your hands up to your cheeks when we say "Oh no! I'm Home Alone!" (you know, like Macaulay Culkin).
 

 

Looks at Books and Pictures
Yes. You definitely like books, and you have your favorites. You have starting to become extremely impatient with them, though. If there are too many words that go along with the pictures, you just want to skip ahead. I get it, sometimes there's just too much dialogue. Your current favorite is "Jamberry", especially since I hid "Go dog go".
 
Enjoys giving hugs and kisses
Yes! You got to this one just under the wire, too. Well, you've been giving hugs for ages. You give Swarley hugs just abut every time he lets you, but you save some great ones for Mama. You say "Aww" everytime you give one, too. You did just start giving kisses, though. You aren't smacking your lips, but you do put your wet mouth on my cheeck (and sometimes mouth, let's admit it) and go "mmmMuah!". You prefer doing it to your stuffed animals, and of course, Swarley.
 


 
 
Everytime you hit a milestone age, it's better than the last. At 15 months, I can't imagine a better you. You are so fun, and playful, and interactive, that there's never a dull moment in our little life. Mia, we love you so much.
 
Love,
 
Mama


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daycare drop off

This has been a tough couple of days. I actually can't believe that it's only Wednesday, it already feels like the weekend should be coming up. I've been very busy at work, writing an appeal to a Government Agency Determination that I don't believe the Company should be filing. The cost and effort involved in appealing the determination far outweighs the penalty, but hey, I just give out the advice, right? My boss took his sweet time deciding, too. I laid out all the options for him on Monday of last week, and told him to take a couple of days to make his decision. Of course, when he strolled in at 11am on Monday, he gave me the answer I was hoping against. Anyway, I've had two days to finish this before it had to be overnighted to the Government Agency. Now, it's done, it's at the post office and we paid for overnight delivery, so let's hope for the best. Mailbox rule....? Whatever.

But, that's not the real reason it's been a tough couple of days. Even if I didn't necessarily agree with what I was doing, I was happy to be doing it. Writing a real legal argument, for a Government Agency, it's thrilling for someone whose job as a lawyer mainly consists of writing collection demand letters and subsequent collection complaints. These past few days, I've really felt the effects of the working mom. Mia has been... awesome. She's been mostly sleeping through the night, waking up at 6am and then lounging in our bed for about 15 minutes before we have to start our daycare routine. She's discovering new things, learning new words, and being generally fun. She makes faces and tries to make you laugh, she chases her doggies around, and seems to genuinely enjoy her days. And I want to be right there with her, enjoying what she enjoys. B's schedule this week has made it so I had to do daycare drop off. This is only my second time ever doing it, and it did not go well. I don't really know what the etiquette is, or where I'm supposed to go, or what. It did not go well. I came in, put her stuff on her hook, and stood in her classroom while her teacher got herself situated. It felt strange to just walk out while she was obviously busy setting something up to better care for my child, so I just stood there for a minute or two while Mia screamed and clung to my leg. A second teacher came into the classroom and I was just like... "I should just go, right?" She nodded and I walked out, still hearing Mia wailing in the background. She was fine, and she always seems to be enjoying herself at pickup, but that was tough. All I wanted to do in that moment was pick her up and turn the car right back around to head home. I think the only thing (other than being a rationa adult) that kept me from doing it was that I had my appeal to finish by the end of the day. Ah, the classic and dramatic scenario where the working mother is pulled in one direction by her screaming child, and by her pending deadline in the other direction.

I generally never feel that way. I generally don't have something to do that feels like it's so important that I can't spend time with my child. My motivation to work is 90% based on need. And since B always does the drop off, I never see or feel the emotion involvd in physically giving my child to someone else. My last image of Mia is her happily waving and saying "Bye!" as they walk out to the car together. She doesn't cry when B drops her off in the morning - because that's what she's used to. And I never realized how grateful I was for that.

I like daycare. I like our daycare, I really do. For Mia, and while I still have to continue working, it's the best thing for her. She blossomed when she started, and we think her development continues to advance thanks to her time with older kids, the stimulation they provide, etc. It's great, and she does well. But sometimes, I really wish it was an option for us to stay home together.

Mia's new game is to tuck herself into our bed in the middle of the day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Following Is Selfish (aka MUST I Be Happy For You and Your Baby?)

I don't even know if I can pretend it's not selfish.  When he comes home from work my husband, Romeo, will hold me and cuddle me and rock me over it and know that I had a bad day.  But that doesn't mean he'll understand *exactly* why I'm so upset.  And he won't be even a smidgen upset himself.  I called my mother in tears, thinking maybe of all people, I could get a free pass with her.  Nope.  It was her firm reaction that made me go from thinking, "It's illogical, but it's still a big deal to me personally," to now thinking, "Wake the f^@% up, Juliet.  You are the only one in the world that would even care about this, much less give it a second thought."  She told me I was being ridiculous, overly dramatic, absurd, and ungrateful, and those were just the put-downs (or reality checks depending on which way you are looking at this) that I can actually remember from our brief phone call.

What's going on?  Many readers of this blog know that my delivery of Tybalt was not an easy one.  I had heart complications and have been told I am no longer able to have any more children.  For some people one child is their goal.  I say more power to them.  As long as they are happy and feel accomplished, life is good.  However, for me personally, I am not happy nor do I feel accomplished.  I love children (every job I've had has revolved around children) and I have daydreamed about my perfect 3-4 children since I was 3 feet tall; so being told at age 26 that child bearing was over for me was a hard blow.  No, make that a suffocating grasp by one who holds the Star Wars Force.  I don't know the movies past some iconic clips and references, but I know Darth Vader has the power to strangle someone out just by practically pantomiming it from afar.  That's what it felt like when the strange doctor hovered over my bed and gave me the news. (Against express wishes from Romeo who knew I'd be devastated and wanted to break the news to me himself, in private, once I was released from all the hospitals, but was at work that morning, so I was alone with a doctor who wasn't my normal one; and, gee, thanks "Dr. I Have No Bedside Manners and Didn't Read the Notes On the Report Before Coming In To A Room I Was Simply Doing Rounds For And It Really Wasn't Any of My Business Anyway"...)

Romeo and I have considered adoption, but for now at least, it isn't in the cards.  Adoption is expensive, and we don't have a savings to even put towards it.  And with all my medical bills, it will be awhile before we could even start to save. I love my son.  DO NOT MISTAKE ANYTHING I EVER TYPE WHEN FRUSTRATED OR ANGRY OR SAD OR HURT.  He is "practically perfect in every way" (thank you Mary Poppins).  But I want another child.  I won't rest until I get another.  I personally feel, that as for me, as for our family, we are not complete.  There is a spirit waiting in heaven that is supposed to join our family.  I don't know how, and I don't know when, but I feel it.  Maybe adoption, maybe surrogacy (new idea we've been bouncing around, but only during those "If we ever won the lottery..." kinds of conversations because of the price tag), or maybe I oops get pregnant even though we are on 3 types of birth control, God protects the baby and me through it, and I have my tubes tied after.  Who knows?  I don't.  But until then, I'm mad that without either science, a miracle, or the aforementioned lottery winnings, Tybalt is an only child.  And as friends and family get pregnant and then use social media to post ultrasound copies, update the world regarding how many weeks along they are, and then of course come the pictures of smiling Mommy and baby in hospital bed, captioned with date, time, weight, and length stats by a sleep deprived father, well...I go from mad for my own situation to Queen of Jealousy and an Angry Bitch.

There are some people I would be overjoyed to see have a baby.  Frenchie is one. My dear friend "D" and her husband "J" (Tybalt's Godparents) have been trying for years and can't conceive--they are another example.  Perhaps it's because these women are my best friends so their happiness is mine.  Perhaps it's because, while entirely and definitely not necessary, they love me and would think about my feelings when announcing their pregnancy.  But it's women my age that are on their sometimes second, but even more so third or fourth baby that drive me a little nutty.

**INSERT NOTE HERE: I KNOW MANY OF OUR READERS HAVE MULTIPLE CHILDREN AND/OR ARE PREGNANT CURRENTLY.  I BEG YOU NOT TO TAKE OFFENSE.  ALL OF YOU ARE DIFFERENT TO ME THAN THE WOMEN AND SITUATIONS I AM TRYING RELAX ABOUT AND GET A GRIP.  THROUGH THIS BLOGOSPHERE WE HAVE COME TO SHARE OUR JOYS AND OUR HEARTACHES.  I AM SIMPLY SHARING SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE HEARTACHE CATEGORY.  AND I'M THANKFUL FOR YOUR LISTENING EARS.  IT IS THE FORMER CO-WORKERS, FORMER FRIENDS, CURRENT FRIENDS, FORMER CLASSMATES, ETC., THAT I KNOW I WILL BE FORCED TO SMILE FOR, LEAVE EXCLAMATION MARKS AFTER A WRITTEN CONGRATS ON FACEBOOK WHEN I WISH I DIDN'T HAVE TO CONGRATULATE THEM AT ALL, ETC, THAT GETS MY BLOOD BOILING.  PERHAPS BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IT'S LIKE TO HURT, THEY DON'T HAVE THE SUPPORT SYSTEM WE DO WHERE WE HELP EACH OTHER AND REALLY SEEM TO CARE.  MAYBE IT'S MY FAULT, MAYBE IF I TOLD THEM IT'S HARD FOR ME, THEY'D THINK TWICE.  BUT I KNOW I WON'T.  BECAUSE I SHOULDN'T.  IT'S NOT MY PLACE TO PUT A DAMPER ON THEIR GOOD TIMES.  ANYWAY, I'M JUST TRYING TO SAY NONE OF YOU DEPRESS ME, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL CANDID HERE AND KNOW NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.  IT IS THOSE I HAVE TO PRETEND IN FRONT OF THAT MAKES ME WANT TO GORGE MY EYES OUT WITH A FORK WHEN YET ANOTHER NEWBORN PHOTO IS UPLOADED TO THEIR FACEBOOK WALL.**  (If you are still offended, I apologize that I can't clarify further or enough apparently, but invite you to private message me so we can have a heart to heart.)

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, the part where I explain what prompted this Tuesday morning rant.  Today  is August 21st and it is Tybalt's 2nd birthday!  We are celebrating with a small party on Saturday, but today is the big day.  Every birthday is hard on me, as I found last year's was as well.  It should be noted that amongst other things, I have the usual birthday anxieties--I am simply bummed that my little baby is growing up so fast and already turning 2 years old!  And I do think most moms experience those sorts of feeling at some point.  So in that regard I'm not crazy or highly unusual.  But where the rare (and perhaps crazy) kicks in, is that at his birthday I am reminded of while pregnant my high hopes for an easy scheduled c-section, cuddling him in the hospital for a couple of days, then taking him home and making him mine all mine (oh, and Romeo's too, lol) as we became a tiny but perfect family.  Instead I have flashbacks of glaring lights in hospital "bulletin board material" ceilings, hallucinations from IV drugs, not being able to talk due to a tracheotomy, only seeing my son to feed him a bottle when my MIL brought him by, and even then being forced to wear a mask and scaring myself that I was scaring him because all he could see was my eyes.  Then being released when he was 3 months old but in rehab in the basement for bedsore complications and not being able to help my MIL with his care, even for the few hours I could stay awake due to meds, until he was 4-5 months old.  Not exactly the birth story you want to celebrate yearly.  *SO* many people (aka practically everyone I know) tell me I just have the wrong attitude about it.  That I truly should be celebrating--being alive.  And not just "alive."  But "alive!!!!!!!!!!!" as in with as much jubilation and as many imaginary exclamation points as possible.  I'm not knocking being alive.  But what the world doesn't seem to understand is, in celebrating being alive, even just knowing and recognizing that I am, I still have to see the memories.  It doesn't make the pain go away.  Flashbacks are flashbacks.  I don't choose to dwell.  They pop up whether I like it or not.  A smell, or a word will do it while I'm awake.  Other times they resurface as nightmares during the little sleep I do get.  And for a few weeks around Tybalt's birthday both years now (and Thanksgiving which is the week I was finally released from the last hospital, but that's a separate side note)  it just seems to happen more often.  So even recognizing I'm alive and thanking God for it doesn't make it any easier to grin at Tybalt's birthday party.  And it definitely doesn't make those eternal optimists that keep popping out babies, like I wanted to, like I dreamed I'd be doing, any easier to stomach.

So, I DO want to enjoy today, I want to make it all about my wonderful little Tybalt, yet I can't push the storm clouds away.  So, I've simply been doing my best to ignore them.  Realize they are there, but not focus on them.  It hasn't been easy, but I'm trying.  Honest to God, I'm trying....I WAS trying...

.....Then IT happened.  The 365 to 1 chance I prayed wouldn't.  (I even said out loud to Romeo and Tybalt last night, "Everybody pray that 'it' won't happen for the next like 24 hours.  Just 26 hours to be exact!  Then I'll be fine.")  See, last March I found out Romeo's cousin, "CD" was pregnant with her second child.  CD and I have been passively aggressively competing since I met Romeo.  CD and her husband "ND" started dating right around the time Romeo and I did.  The big Hispanic family's attention steered off of us and on to them.  CD and ND got married 3 months before we did.  Family members low on cash went to the first wedding (theirs) and not the second (ours).  I announced I was pregnant the following February.  Guess who announced she was pregnant in April?  There went any pomp and circumstance I had coming.  Beyond that, "LD," CD and ND's precious baby boy, has been achieving developmental milestones weeks if not months ahead of Tybalt.  I am not concerned about my son, as all children develop differently, but try explaining that when ND's accomplishments are practically blown-up billboard size on social media sites like Facebook for all the extended family to see!  If I have one more "Aunt" ask me whether Tybalt can do what LD is doing in his latest video, and then give me a concerned look when I admit he can't yet-----I'm going to lose my already bat s#!% crazy mind!  So, since the big announcement that CD was expecting, and due sometime in August, I've been praying, hoping, and just sending as much positive energy into the universe as I could muster...but...as I'm sure you already guessed it--guess who gave birth to her beautiful bouncing 2nd baby boy today, August 21st, and what dad already has pictures plastered all over both of their Facebook walls?

So not only am I jealous of all healthy women who have healthy babies, not only is today hard because a) I don't want my baby to grow up, and b) it also throws me into a panicky tailspin of awful hospital and rehab memories, not only am I already in a personal funk because her 1st kid is so much more advanced than mine, but now...oh, now...she had her baby on my baby's birthday.

Okay, I'm done now.  Done ranting.  Done possibly annoying some of you with my pessimistic views.  Probably not done with, but trying to forgive, my mother and the rest of the world for not understanding what I'm going through and calling me selfish, illogical, and a weirdo. But on the other hand, how *can* anyone understand?  Show me someone who's gone through the *EXACT* same things I have the last two years with my health and my disappointments.  I mean exact to a "T" and I'll show you someone who might possibly relate.  Moral of the story?  Maybe I am being selfish, but walk a mile...