Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 24

"A photo of something you wish you could change."

I'm not going to say this to scare all the pregnant moms out there. I'm going to say it because, for me, it was the truth.

My birth experience was a nightmare.

This is not the first picture of me holding my son. This is a full 24 hours after giving birth. I have a picture of me when I first got to hold him, and the look on my face says, "Get this thing off of me."

I had an emergency c-section. Which, let's face it, is pretty much the only end you should expect when you're overdue, not progressing, diabetic, and 21 hours into labor and still just about as dilated as the moment you walked into the hospital. At about 19 hours, my son went into distress. We rolled me over so I could labor on my side, but two hours later there was a rush of people and a quick trip to the OR.

I sobbed through the entire c-section. I was tired, pissed off, and scared out of my mind. When it was over, my husband followed our son to get cleaned up and I laid there and stared at the ceiling while the surgery was finishing up. I won't go into detail, but the recovery was hard and extremely painful. I had an unkind nurse on the day I was supposed to be discharged cause me some real emotional damage that has pretty much taken away any good memories I have of the amazing nurses I had during delivery and the first 48 hours after.

And it took weeks for me to feel human again. I remember going in for my 6 week checkup and the nurse telling me I could resume normal activity, and looking at her like she was insane. I'd have to say my son was probably four months old before I even started to get back to myself.

It's no one's fault. So many women get angry at their doctor or themselves or their child when they have to have a c-section. My son had wrapped himself up nice and cozy in his umbilical cord and was determined not to leave unless he was going to take some of my parts with him. But if I could change anything, it would have been that day. I wish I could have changed my experience with my son's birth. I pray this next one goes better.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 23

"A picture of your favorite book."

So, I'm about to show my dorkiness. My favorite book changes quite often. I'm not one of those people who has one book that stands above all others as a favorite (barring religious literature, but that would pretty much be a given).

Right now I'm a little obsessed with this book, which I found on a Barnes and Noble clearance rack. So this sucker is actually out of print now. It's a huge book with tons of pictures that outlines the history and discoveries made by the Hubble Telescope. I got this book home the first night and was actually squealing as I looked at it. My husband, of course, thought I was nuts.

My next potential favorite books are sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to have time to read them. I'm sure that will be at some point after I graduate in two years. Life is too busy for reading right now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 22

"A picture of something you wish you were better at."

I have a bit of a bad attitude. Shocker, huh? The answer to today's challenge is pretty simple. I wish I could be better at being happy. Or friendly. I'm generally a grump. My poor husband. It takes a lot of work to make me smile. I honestly wish I had a more chipper personality.

It's not that I'm a depressed person or that I have complaints about my life. I have a GREAT life! But I'm a pessimist and a realist, and it paints every aspect of my personality. I think it would be refreshing, just for a day, to see through the eyes of an optimist.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 21

"A picture of something you wish you could forget."

Oh, how I have been dreading this day of the challenge. A fellow blogger doing this challenge had the perfect answer in saying that she didn't keep pictures of things she wanted to forget. I wish I could say the same. This is actually the only picture I have left, and I found it in a random file on a backup a couple weeks ago. So I'll start with a quote from Under the Tuscan Sun.

"Do you want to know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn't actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you've promised to cherish till death do you part says 'I never loved you,' it should kill you instantly. You shouldn't have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn't know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth."

I have been divorced twice. You will never hear me talk about my first divorce, because it was honestly as civil as could be. I have nothing bad to say about my first marriage outside of the fact that we couldn't make it work and needed some time to grow up. And that's not a reflection on him or me. That's just the truth about our marriage, plain and simple.

My second divorce was a different story. It was like being hit by a train that I never saw coming. Once again, I have nothing bad to say about my ex. It doesn't matter what went wrong. It just did. And we're far different people away from each other. My reaction to the divorce and how I handled it emotionally is on my shoulders. I will, however, acknowledge that this divorce broke me. It pretty much left me cowering in a corner for months on end. Then I began going in multiple directions at once, trying to come up with a new plan that would fill the hole in my life.

I dated. I went back to school. I bought a house. I worked constantly. I ran at full speed once I could, only to hit a brick wall and fall flat on my rear. It was a fantastic fall, too. I came out completely wilted and entirely pathetic. I was afraid of my own shadow. The whole experience left me cautious and terrified, and I still carry some of those scars with me.

As much as I would love to forget that time in my life, I also know my life wouldn't be the same if I had been anything other than a broken woman. Because being screwed up led me to a chaplain, through whom I met the man who is now my husband (though that was a long way off and a longer story). And then this cautious girl got married on a crazy whim in a courthouse and moved away from her hometown. I'm grateful. I have a wonderful husband and a gorgeous son and another baby on the way. I'm in the right place now. I am blessed to have gotten here, no matter how bumpy the road.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 20

"A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel."

This is Hawaii.

Actually, this is a picture I took while in Hawaii.

I want to go to Hawaii (again) because I'm convinced I did it wrong the last time. After a week in what was supposed to be paradise, I stepped back on a plane to freezing Michigan and swore never to go back to those stupid islands.

Let me explain. Jere and I, while we were dating, spent a week on Oahu. Jere had been there before, I obviously had not. I know we saw beautiful things. We had wonderful moments: a sunset cruise, a luau, a day at a nearly private beach. But if you ask me what I remember most about Hawaii, I'll tell you it was the traffic.

I have lived in Washington DC and Tampa. I have seen traffic piled up for hours on end on a consistent basis. But we spent probably 15% of our time in Hawaii stuck in traffic. So other than the few nice moments we had on our vacation, I still fail to see what all the fuss is about.

Jere, on the other hand, still names it as his favorite place to go. And I am determined to go back and see what he sees. Maybe try a different island. Or even a different hotel. Because as of now, I just don't get it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 19

"A picture of you when you were little."

Uh, I don't know the story behind this. Hubby and I are in the process of packing and moving, so I dug in my photos and grabbed the first one I could find. I will say those are some awesome Mickey Mouse earrings I'm sporting here.
Beyond the age of 6, there aren't quite as many photos of me in existence. Once my sister was born, I preferred to be behind the camera. Over 20 years later, it's still that way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 18

"A picture of your biggest insecurity."

In this photo (taken in 2007), I weighed more than I did during my 9th month of pregnancy. I was uncomfortable in my clothes and miserable in my own skin.

When Jerry left for deployment in 2008, I was determined to lose weight for the sake of fertility. I read book after book that said the first step to good fertility is diet and a healthy weight. And I took the challenge seriously and lost over 30 pounds.

I was eager to show it off when Jerry got home. But my plan worked too well, and I became immediately pregnant with Winston. And put on all the weight I'd lost. I got out of the hospital after giving birth and would stand in front of the mirror and sob.

So as soon as the doctor said I was well enough, I started exercising and lost all my Winston weight. I got back into my old jeans. And I got pregnant again.

My biggest insecurity is that I will look like this forever. Which is ridiculous, because I haven't looked anything like this since I lost 30 pounds the first time. My face is thinner, my legs are more toned, my shape is smaller. Even at 9 months pregnant I looked like I was healthier than I was in this picture. And I know it's true. This pregnancy, I'm obsessed with my weight. I am determined to keep moving and cut out junk and only gain what I am supposed to. It's hard work already, and it still makes me hurt to watch the numbers on the scale increase. I don't need the lecture about weight gain being healthy during pregnancy. I know that. I eat more. I eat better. But it doesn't make watching the scale any easier when my weight moves away from the magical number I worked so hard to get to!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 17

"A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently."

Well, this was sort of an easy one. The week before Christmas, I found out that Jere and I are expecting baby #2. I thought getting pregnant with Sam as easily as I did was a fluke. Two cycles of metformin later, this happened.

I'm 15 weeks along now, and more petrified for this baby than I ever was when I was pregnant with Sam. My husband will be deploying before I'm due, and won't be coming home for the birth. That's not the part that worries me. It's not like he played a particularly active role in the last birth. The part that worries me is trying to take care of a 1 year old and a newborn. And if things go badly like they did last time, that will mean a c-section and being off my game for weeks.

Of particular concern is finding a new OB and making the switch to all new doctors. There's a lot of paperwork and waiting to be done in a situation that is not friendly with time. That's what has me waking up in a panic at night.

I am thankful my friend Sara called this morning to assure me that she'll be there to drive me to the hospital, which is an hour away. I'm even more thankful that she said she wasn't just dropping me off at the door and waving goodbye. I have backup. I have someone to take Sam for a bit. Everything is good.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 16

"A picture of someone who inspires you."

I regret to inform you that I am about to get sappy.

My son inspires me. No, not in the normal way. He hasn't struggled through challenges. He hasn't had to overcome a whole lot of adversity. I don't look at him and see the model of who I want to be.

Instead, I look at my son and realize that I want to be the one who inspires him. I want to be the one he looks up to. Hopefully he will look at me someday and see a person that he wants to be like. Or maybe he'll see in me the things he wants to look for in a wife and the mother of his own children.

My son inspires me by making me want to be better for his sake. And that's pretty powerful motivation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 15

"A picture of something you want to do before you die."

I want to graduate so bad that it drives me crazy. The fact that I'm a 27 year old junior is partly my fault, partly the Army's fault. My fault because I've chosen to be a wife instead of a student, which is a fine choice unless graduating college is one of your goals. Then it's just counterproductive. I've given up scholarships and acceptances to get married. I don't regret the decisions, really, I'm just frustrated now that I'm still dragging myself through school.

When I married Jere, I wanted to go back to school. We were moving to DC, and I dropped an application in to George Mason, who wrote back that they would be happy to have me. When I found out we wouldn't be staying in DC long enough for me to graduate, I declined and applied to the next stop on our tour of duty: University of Virginia. They also wrote me a very nice letter inviting me to go to school. Which is about the time my husband called and said we were moving to Florida. So I dropped a little application down to University of South Florida, who sent me a letter with a hint of begging (they're happy to take students who aren't looking for a 4 year spring break experience). And then Jere's orders were written up, and they didn't include me, which means they wanted him to move to Florida and me to stay in Virginia. This didn't make a big difference to us, because I moved into off-base housing down here. But it meant that I was no longer eligible for in-state tuition in Florida since it was a "temporary" assignment. And then I got pregnant and I forgot all about it.

A few months later, I was emailing a military friend of ours, who suggested my husband take a look at American Military University for a second Master's. I looked with him. I've looked at online schools before, but seeing as I don't want to major in business or psychology, it was never really an option for me. But AMU had a Space Studies program listed in their catalog. I applied, I waited for my credits to be analyzed, and knew it was the right choice when they accepted every single one of my past credits as electives, making me an automatic junior. I started my first class the week before Sam was born. I've been there a year now, and I'm 10 classes away from my BS in Space Studies. What has been wonderful is that the classes are on a rotating schedule to accommodate the military lifestyle. You don't have to be in the military to attend, but it's designed to prepare students for careers in the defense community. It meant that I could take a month off in August to go to Alaska. It means that I can take a month or two off this coming year to have baby #2. And if, for some reason, I have some unforseen circumstance, I can get a 120 day extension in a class. This is handy if my husband ever walks in and says, "How do you feel about moving to Korea?"

So I'm plugging away at it, one class at a time. Despite what you might think of online schools, I've been more challenged at AMU than I ever was when I actually commuted to a bricks and mortar college. I just hyperventilated through a physics final that left me in a cold sweat. It's hard work, and I joke with some of my professors about trying to sneak in homework between dirty diapers and chasing my son out of the cat's food. Because we all live real lives, and my peers, advisors, and instructors realize that time management means something different for everyone.

I'm a little terrified to continue classes with Jere gone and the new baby coming, but I'm determined to struggle through at least at half pace. Just have to keep moving forward...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 14

"A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without."

This is true friend love. I think she looks amazing in this picture, but I look like, well, a happy sleeping marshmallow in a dress. I actually gave her fair warning that there would be a picture of her on my blog, and asked if she'd like to pick the photo. She was going to send me one, but I know she is currently holed up at her eye appointment, blind and stranded. So this will have to do.

I couldn't imagine my life without Rachel. She's usually the first person I "talk" to in the morning (via text) and the last person I'm emailing at 11 o'clock at night. She's another one of my Army wife friends who I see only when our paths happen to cross. Or when she's sick with a barking cough, trying to deal with base housing and calling me on the phone to scream that there's a mouse and the toilet is flooding and she's losing her mind. That's when I jump on the first flight out so that I can entertain a kid and make sure everyone gets fed.

Rachel and I went through pregnancy together (her second, my first). Her daughter and my son are a month apart in age. Even from hundreds of miles away, it was a bonding experience. She's also the reason I decided to go back to school last year a week before I gave birth. I'm not sure if I should thank her for that one yet, but her encouragement has helped me power through most of my junior level courses.

I could go into all the amazing things that Rachel has done. Anyone who knows her is aware that she has more energy, spark, passion, and drive than 5 people combined. She hasn't had it easy, and has worked very hard to get where she is. But in reality, those amazing things are not why she's my friend. I admire her for them, don't ever get me wrong. But she's far more than the things that she's overcome.

Why is she my friend?

-She is the busiest person I know, but she's the first one to send a card or gift or even just an email when things are rough. Or boring.
-Her husband is coming home on R&R in two weeks. The most driven, decisive woman I know has been reduced to panic about what to wear to the airport and has been asking me for advice, knowing full well that I live in pajamas.
-We went to see Twilight a couple years ago at the base theater on Quantico. She got startled by a part of the movie and screamed loud enough that the entire audience turned to look.
-She entertained me, via text, through Sam's whole delivery. All 21 hours of it up to the point where I went in for the c-section.
-One day, her little boy (I think he was 4) sprayed a mean old lady with a hose during a church charity bike build. She took him into the house, scolding him on the way like most moms would, stopped once she got inside the door, turned away from her son, and laughed so hard she cried.
-She never once hid the bad side of pregnancy from me. When we went through the bad parts, we went through them together.
-Rachel is always put together. Her hair is always right, she looks crisp and ironed and always has the perfect accessories. Even though she doesn't think so.
-She will always break whatever diet she's on if we happen to be able to get together near a Bonefish Grill. Because sharing two or three full servings of Bang Bang Shrimp is tradition.

There is so much more of our friendship that can't be covered by a single blog. I won't even try. But I couldn't begin to imagine my life without her.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 13

"A picture of your favorite band or artist."

This is the last concert I went to. Ok, so it was the Sugarland concert, but Matt Nathanson was the opening act. I'd heard his music before the concert, and loved him more once he stepped on the stage.
I used to be a huge music person. I would get passionate about bands and singers, and there was always music around my house. These days, I listen mostly in the car and in the kitchen, thanks to my trusty iPod. And Matt Nathanson is the artist I listen to most consistently. I just plain enjoy the music.
I bought the album "Some Mad Hope" while I was pregnant with Sam and it was always on repeat. Let me tell you, kids recognize the music they've heard in the womb after they're born. Sam loves his music, too. Sometimes it's the only way to calm the savage beast.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 12

"A picture of something you love."

Yes, I love the kid. But the kid is not the something I love in this particular instance, though he's part of it. What you can't tell in this picture is that Winston is shoveling Burger King hashbrown into his mouth.

I love breakfast with my son. 90% of the time, he wakes up cheerful and happy. There is not a day in my entire life that I have woken up that way, so it's always refreshing to see his smiling face when I stumble into his room at 8 AM. Or 4 AM, as it has been recently.

Breakfast is the least combative meal of our day. Lunchtime is spent battling the sippy cup and trying new foods and learning to ask for more. Dinner is with his dad, and I know that's generally a mess. But breakfast is a constant in our house. It's always milk, oatmeal, and fruit. This morning, it involves a few hash browns because I'm pregnant and I wanted to grab BK on the way home from dropping off the car for service. No one throw a mommy cow. He's already had all his healthy food.

But this is the most pleasant time of day. That's why it's the something I love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 11

"A picture of something you hate."

Ok. So I'm guessing the point of this photo challenge thing is to come up with deep, thoughtful answers. But when discussing something I hate, olives are the first thing to come to mind. I'm pregnant. I have a one track mind about food. And I hate olives. That is all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 10

"A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with."

This turned out to be another case of a "what picture won't she kill me for" conundrum. Because when you do messed up things with someone, you end up with a lot of pictures. My first choice was of her on a horse, wearing a stolen cowboy hat and giving a thumbs up, but I know she wouldn't have been a fan of it. Instead, I chose one of the few shots I have of her wedding that doesn't involve her bachelorette party.
Anyhow, this is Kelli. And when I saw the challenge today, I didn't even have to think about it. We knew each other from high school, but have only been friends since sometime around 2006. From that point on, the party hasn't stopped. Our acts of insanity include, but are not limited to:
-A weekend in the sticks with our friend Stina, during which we decided to go horseback riding. It poured the entire time.
-Drunken Scattergories.
-Ridding her apartment of a certain piece of man furniture (her husband's shopping cart chair).
-Fishbowls and dancing at our favorite bar.
-Corralling drunk groomsmen into my rented car after her wedding and praying they could hold their liquor.
-Many other acts that are far wilder, but not fit for public consumption.
Sadly, I haven't seen Kelli since her wedding. Actually, I was 5 months pregnant with Sam at her wedding, and moved down the aisle a bit like a barge. But we stay in contact through the wonder of Facebook. I recently called her at 7 in the morning, seeing as she's the only friend I know is up at that time. I never call. We're email people. So when I called, she answered, "You're pregnant, aren't you?" Well, yeah. And the early riser got to be the first to know. Before my husband. Before my mother. As soon as the stick said positive.
So the crazy has mellowed a bit, seeing as we've gotten a little older. But we still have a fantastic time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 9

"A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most."

I can't even explain how long it took for me to find this photo. There are other pictures of us floating around, but they either involved drunken karaoke, drunken karaoke, or pregnancy. I don't think she'll kill me for posting this one since it's now 7 years old. Though I think she might kill me for posting sappy crap about her.

This is my friend Sara. You will not find any recent pictures of me and Sara because the military has stationed our husbands on opposite sides of the country. The last time I saw Sara, she was pregnant with her first baby. And now her second baby is coming up on his first birthday in a couple of months. Our pregnancies have kept us from visiting one another, but that's what military wives do when their husband is home: breed.

Without going into too many details, Sara has dragged me through a lot. There was my first ever deployment, during which she used to come over on her work breaks just to make sure I was still alive. There was my second divorce, which was a nightmare. She dragged her butt all the way to DC after I got married to Jere, just so we could tour the city and visit. She remains one of the few who has ever made the effort to come my way. Then, when she was pregnant with her daughter, Jere was deployed and I was in the middle of infertility treatments, and she would moan about some aspect of her pregnancy, then add on, "Just you wait. You're next. And then I am going to laugh at YOU!" She was right. I was next. And she did laugh at me!

Most importantly, Sara sees me through my bad mom moments. You know, the ones where my kid is screaming at the top of his lungs and I've had no sleep, so I stick him in his crib, shut the door, and rock myself in a corner while I listen? You can bet that Sara's on the phone telling me that it has to stop sometime and that letting him cry it out when I've reached my end is the right move. She corrals her two children in the background while I cry about mine.

What's the best part of this? It's that Sara and I, thanks to the generosity of our husbands, get to live in the same city for a WHOLE YEAR starting in a couple of months. Just when I think she can't possibly have anymore to give, she offered to come to the hospital for the birth of my next child. Not all friends would volunteer for that one, but she's on board...on one condition. "If they ask me to hold your leg while you push, that's where I draw the line."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 8

"A picture that makes you laugh."

This picture is from the cruise we took during Jere's R&R in 2008. We had closed down the bar, and that is a purple martini in my hand. I am screaming drunk and trying desperately to navigate stairs in heels without spilling that precious purple drink on my swishy dress.

Why does this make me laugh? Well, because at this point, I hadn't seen my husband in 6 months, and he was laughing while he was taking this picture. And the twenty other pictures he took of me trying to get back to our room with that drink. It's the cruise we almost missed because his flights got changed, which resulted in me hauling my tail down to Atlanta at top speed to go get him so we could drive to the cruise port on time. This is also the cruise where I refused to get in the water, seeing as during the last cruise my husband tried to drown me in both the Gulf of Mexico and a river in Belize. He snorkeled while I sunned. He swam while I took photos. The whole cruise was hilarious. That's what makes me laugh.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 7

"A picture of your most treasured item."

Ok. So the baby is not my most treasured item. The most treasured item I own is what that baby is asleep in.

Winston's jumperoo is my lifesaver. We received it as a gift from one of Jerry's Army buddies. I want to hug him. As you can see, he used to bounce himself to sleep when he was little. Now he just bounces himself sleepy. What is wonderful about this living room space devouring device is not that I could stick him in it for hours at a time and leave him there. No, I'm not that mom, though I have gratefully sat him in it and fallen asleep on the floor next to him for 15 minutes when desperate.

Nope. The most wonderful thing about the jumperoo is, now that he's older, I can stick him in it for 45 seconds so I can pee. If I don't contain him, he will, in the time it takes me to even walk to the bathroom, have spilled the cat's water, eaten her food, pulled all the sponges out of the cupboard, and opened a drawer for the purpose of taking out all my ice cube trays and flinging them across the room.

Unfortunately, he is only about a pound and a half away from outgrowing it. Then I'm in trouble.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 6

"A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day."

This is my husband, and I believe he's on the deck of the USS Drum in this photo. We've toured so many ships that I've completely lost track.

There are some obvious reasons I'd like to trade places with my husband. I would love to leave the house and go to a job that I enjoy each weekday (even on the days it sucks). I'd love to be tall enough to reach high shelves. I'd love a day where my hair would look fine after just washing it.

But there are other reasons. My husband has a zest for life that few possess. He tends to be carefree and spontaneous, while still living within the realm of the well-reasoned and practical. He has seemingly endless energy and can remember facts and names and dates like no one I've ever met.

Then again, if we traded places for a day, I'd have to put up with myself for 24 straight hours. Maybe I'm not willing to trade...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 5

"A picture of your favorite memory."
You know, I'm pretty sure that, as a wife and mother, my favorite memory should have something to do with my husband or son. And I looked at some of those pictures and thought about it. They're good memories, most of them. But I always glance at the picture and remember what was going on behind the camera, and sticks in my mind more than the happy moment. My wedding day was, well, lackluster and slightly odd. My favorite vacation photo of my husband and I was while he was on R&R from his last deployment. I found out I was pregnant with my son while on vacation in Rome and was desperately sick. They're great memories. But as I said earlier, I have trouble defining myself by motherhood, and choosing one favorite moment with my son would be pretty difficult.
This photo is of me in Istanbul. Right before this, I'd had lunch in a Turkish cafe and fallen asleep at the table from jet lag. I had just finished touring the mosque you see behind me. What you can't see is that it is insanely cold and windy. The skies opened up with freezing rain about 15 minutes after this. And it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Before I went to Turkey, I'd never been further out of the country than Canada. I had no concept of "foreign." Even being in Turkey for a day before this was taken didn't make me feel like I'd really gone anywhere, seeing as everyone spoke English. I had spent months learning basic Turkish on my iPod while riding the metro and driving to the grocery store, and I hadn't gotten to use it. But this was the moment that I felt like I was somewhere else.
I have, of course, learned some things about travel since then. Layers are important. And the only words you need to know are for coffee, shopping, and it helps to know how the locals toast. The last one being very, very important down the road for the amount of beer I drank in Ireland.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 4

"A picture of your night."

Unh. This post isn't easy to write. Why? Because that green light in the background of this photo is my clock, and it says 4:24. Yeah, AM.

Lately, my son has been getting up at this time every single night. He will probably stay awake until somewhere around 6. This is the only time of day you will see this mommy give in to the call of Baby Einstein. Winston is full of energy when he wakes up, and I don't have the energy at this time of night/day to keep up with him.

What terrifies me about this is the fact that we'll be putting away the bottles this week, which means any chance of him going back to bed easily during these wake ups disappears. Somehow, a sippy cup does not have the same comforting effect. He just doesn't seem to get enough food during the day yet, and wakes up for 6 ounces of formula during the night. The formula disappears this week, too. He likes milk, so I'm not too worried about that one.

It just seems that we are expected to flip a switch when he turns one. No more bottles. No more formula. More solid foods. He should be saying "this many" words. Our pediatrician already gives me dirty looks, so I'm dreading his 12 month appointment. How do I explain to her that even if he's not quite up to speed in certain areas, he's still leaps and bounds in front of other kids in his MacGyver skills? He's perceptive and quick and can find the tiniest gap through which to escape into the kitchen. I see the evil genius in my kid.

See? I don't just get up with him at night. It's the time when I worry. And that's my night.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 3

"A picture of the cast from your favorite show."

So...this one might be a surprise for those of you who read earlier that I know I can't cook. The gorgeous lady on the right is Nigella Lawson, and she has a number of cooking shows.
Why on Earth would I, someone who struggles with weight on a near constant basis, subject myself to a cooking show that is far from lowfat? Because Nigella is human. Watching her eat anything is, pardon me, a near erotic experience. She's buxom and curvy and just about the sexiest woman alive (and my husband would agree). Even when I am having a knock-down drag-out with my scale, I can watch her and be reminded that food is something to enjoy and savor. After catching her show, I am more able to then turn around and lusciously devour my next meal. It may be sugar free chocolate pudding, but I'm darn well going to lick the lid.
I love food. I will moan over a good dish at a restaurant if I let myself eat without guilt. I have the same reaction over a bowl of hot buttered noodles or a spoonful of Nutella. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that getting to enjoy really fantastic food means I'm never going to be rid of those last 10 pounds. But those pounds are WORTH IT because food is one of life's greatest joys. Nigella reminds me of that.
(Now that I have written an entire post about food at 6 in the morning, I think I'm off to make some noodles)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 2

"A picture of you and the person you have been close with for the longest."

This is my baby sister. She just turned 21 this past week, and I got to buy her first legal drink. There's no prouder moment in a big sister's life, I swear. This kid has been everywhere with me. Together we've snorkeled in the Bahamas, shopped in a Mexican market, gotten lost in Venice, sipped orange Fanta in Bosnia, relaxed on a boat in Croatia, seen every ruin in Greece, and gone on a wild hunt for the best gelateria in Rome. She was the first to know when I was pregnant with Winston (and the first to induce morning sickness by ordering pizza). She's my polar opposite. She's bright and happy and fun and social. We're close even though we live 1000 miles apart. My son adores her when she comes to visit. She's here right now, chilling out with him in the living room while I get ready to go down for an afternoon nap. She's a good kid.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Photo Challenge: Day 1

So a blogger friend of mine has been doing this neat little project on her blog, and I'm stealing it. I have been so impressed by the pictures she's posting and the topics she's writing about that I have to do it. Plus, I can't talk about being fat and pregnant all the time.

If you want to see a list of the 30 topics, I recommend popping over to her blog. I, on the other hand, am going to jump right in.

"A photo of yourself with 15 facts."

1. This is a photo of me in Berlin in 2008. I am standing across the street from the Russian War Memorial, and that is Brandenburg Gate in the background.

2. Despite the fact that, since this photo was taken, I've become a mother and I'm pregnant with baby #2, if you ask me who I am, this photo shows you the answer. Not everyone is changed in the same way by having kids, and it is a constant source of guilt for me. I am not one of those women who is defined by motherhood.

3. I am desperately jealous of those women are defined by motherhood. Despite the fact that I'm not motherly, I desperately wish I was. However, each time I doubt my mothering skills, I'm reminded that having a military husband sometimes means I have to be mother and father, and that my sturdiness and surliness make me a strong mother. It makes up for the fact that I'm not a cuddly mom.

4. I don't like having my nose touched.

5. I'm a college student. And when people ask what I plan to do when I graduate, I laugh. I have no plans to work, but I love to learn.

6. I can't cook. I have an ex-husband who will tell you that's a lie, but his opinion is based on fried chicken alone. My current husband will cringe in fear if I tell him I'm cooking dinner.

7. Despite not having the cooking gene, I got some random, recessive baking gene. I'm constantly asked for my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and tell people to look on the back of a bag of Nestle chocolate chips. I can't tell you why they're so good.

8. My son has a nanny. She's only here once a week most of the time. I have taken more heat for having a nanny than I ever thought possible. Despite the fact that my friends or "friends" have said terrible things to me about hiring someone, she is the best decision I ever made. And you know what I do most often when she's here? I either sleep or I sit in bed and stare at the wall. I feel like I am a better mom to Sam when I emerge from 8 straight hours of solitude.

9. I miss traveling. I miss it so much that we stuck our son with us on a plane to Philadelphia for a long weekend. My son, however, does not like travel quiet yet. So I'm stuck at home for a few more years.

10. I know you're not supposed to wish your kids' lives away. But I am excited for the days when my kids are old enough to learn about the world. I intend on homeschooling them so I can drag them wherever we go. Want to learn about the WW I or classical composers or a volcano? Let's get on a plane!

11. Bacon is quite possibly the world's greatest food.

12. I married my husband after only meeting him a few times. I've been told that's crazy, but there's nothing crazy about marrying someone you genuinely like being around for practical reasons. It's been almost 4 years, and we have such a comfortable marriage. Being married to one another is really easy for us. He honestly is my best friend.

13. Despite being the anti-mom, I am really enjoying this stage of my son's life. He's a speed demon and constantly on the go, so I'm exhausted, but I spend a great deal of time laughing at the things he does despite the mess.

14. I really want Little Debbie cakes right now. And pudding.

15. I'm writing this at 7 in the morning, and have every intention of going back to sleep now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First glimpse

Due to some scheduling issues, we finally got to hear the baby's heartbeat today during our first ultrasound. At 13 weeks, the due date is now "official" and we learned our new daughter or son is healthy. And is the only one in there.

My local hospital here does not accomodate VBAC's, and at my inital appointment, I was not given any option of how I would deliver when I spoke to the nurse practitioner. I knew this wasn't a problem, as I am not going to be delivering here. I know the place we're going is probably going to let me try, but I'm prepared for a battle. Today, however, I got to see one of the practice's doctors for my ultrasound and other routine stuff. Knowing the practice's policy on VBAC, I was shocked when she asked what my plans were for the birth. She explained about VBAC bans, and since she knows we're moving, she wasn't sure what policy I was going to run into. I told her that there is no ban where I'm going, but that I'd do what my doctor there was most comfortable with as long as they had a good reason for that decision. And she said, "But what are YOU comfortable with?" I said since Jerry will be gone and I will still have to take care of Winston, a VBAC was my ideal wish. And she gave me her blessing. I knew what I wanted before she asked, but having her tell me that there was nothing to be concerned about gave me the extra confidence I needed in my decision. Obviously, she reminded me about the problems with Sam's delivery and explained the situation may occur again, but that there was certainly no harm in trying. I'm ready now.

Conversations from today -

Doc: "You're measuring a little big. Are you sure about the date you gave us?"

Me: "Yes. We were trying, so I kept close track."

Husband: "Maybe it's twins!"

Doc: "Don't say that! Look at her! Just saying it made her break out in a sweat!"

(Note: I was measuring big. The baby, once we got up the ultrasound, was exactly on track.)

Doc: "There's the head, and there's the body."

Husband: "Looks like an oyster to me."

Doc: "Huh. What do you know? It kind of does!"

Husband: *looks at the monitor while we're waiting*

Husband: "Wonder if we can get the news on that thing."

*After sending the ultrasound picture to husband's coworkers*

Coworker 1: "Is the baby throwing up a peace sign in the middle pic? That is impressive."

Coworker 2: "Obviously, a very talented child."

Today's lesson: The first few weeks of pregnancy can be spent in fear. But it is amazing how just one look can wipe your worries away.