On Sleep Deprivation, Gas and Neck Cheese…

So clearly I’ve become mildly obsessed with bodily functions since the baby was born. But. Seriously. His gas pains have put me through a daily panic. I think it’s the sleep deprivation. Probiotics. Gas drops. Gripe water. Bicycle legs. Bounce. Tummy time. Fuck. I’m too tired to panic. Things.

The freezer is full of Halloween candy. It was 70% off at Target and since Erik was too young to Trick or Treat this year (yes I capitalized it, because I’m fucking stoked about getting to partake as an adult, taking my one-year-old next year, and stocking up on FREE candy that he won’t be able to eat yet).

Okay. So that last bit was from 2 weeks ago when I was working on a post that ended up not getting finished. I wanted to post it because I think it’s too funny to not post, and to show just how crazy my sleep-deprived mind was (grammar nazis see the sentence fragment in paragraph 2).

Gas is apparently very uncomfortable for babies. Who knew? I mean, it’s just fabulous for adults. Also – something we learned about that’s pretty spectacular: neck cheese. I came upon my first encounter with neck cheese when I was holding him and smelled something foul that was definitely akin to belly button lint. So upon further investigation I found little bits of linty stuff in the folds of his little neck. My first, sleep deprived thought was, “Holy shit, he’s producing belly button lint from his neck!” Then I realized that several factors came into play with this new discovery:

1)  Whilst bathing Erik, ya don’t always think to get in the neck folds. You better believe I do now.

2)  Between his feedings, which are often akin to getting attacked by a coke-addled piglet (snorts, grunts and squeals galore), and spitting up, bits of milk tend to have that trickle-down effect which inevitably gets stuck somewhere.

3)  Neck cheese is not included in any of the parent-prep manuals. It should be.

hipster
I was poopin’ my pants before poopin’ your pants was cool. Stupid conformists.

 

 

YOU GUYS.

I just created the MOST AMAZING chocolate “health” shake. I needed something sweet but trying to avoid giving in to the ice cream urge that is oh-so-strong.

So here are the ingredients:

1 frozen banana
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop (or tbs) protein powder (I like vanilla brown rice protein – in fact, I LIVE for it)
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp mini chocolate chips

Blend. Savor. Yum.

On motherhood, poop and Labrador tails…

So it’s been a reeeeeeeeaaaaallly long time since my last post, which makes me sad because I really want this blog thing to be somewhat regular. So with that, I’m challenging myself to do not one blog post a month, but a minimum of 2 monthly posts! Let’s see if it actually happens.

I have a spectacular reason for not posting in quite some time: I’m a new mom!! I gave birth to a 7 pound, 15 ounce buddy named Erik Christopher on September 25th at 7:05am. I’ve noticed that lots of other bloggers write about their birth stories so I thought I’d share mine, in a sparkly manner of course.

Chris and I went in for our 40 week checkup, and as the doc checked me for dilation (which was happening), she frowned and said, “that’s not a head, that’s a butt.” With that, we had to schedule a c-section for the following morning. This came as quite a shock because we’d been told not two weeks prior that my son had turned and was starting to drop. I have no recollection of feeling him turn BACK around, but then again I still didn’t have a clue as to what exactly was going on in my uterus, except that there was a living thing moving around in there.

On a side note, it’s weird how many mothers-to-be are so in-tune with their babies and bodies that they are able to identify exactly what the baby is doing inside of them and exactly where certain body parts are. Being a master of BS, I would oftentimes tell people, “feel that, that’s his foot kicking me in the ribs,” or, “oh, there, that’s his little knee!” I am now fully willing to admit that not once did I have an inkling of a CLUE which body parts were moving where. The only thing I could identify were hiccups, which were cute as hell and now that he’s 5 weeks old, STILL make me giggle and pull out my camera to video whenever they happen.

So cue to the next morning at 4:45. We headed to the hospital and I was taken back to the prep area where any sense of shame was promptly removed. People think with a c-section it’s magical because people don’t have to look at your vagina and you don’t poop yourself. Well, that’s not entirely true (except the not pooping yourself part). Oh, hello catheter – happy to see you, friend! I swear, half the hospital was in the room when that sucker was inserted.

Anywho, I guess the not-so-magical part of having a c-section is, well, the c-section. Didn’t feel much of anything except loads of pressure but apparently my organs are re-arranged to get the baby out, which my dear husband watched with wide eyes, wagging his bushy tail and snapping pics with his iPhone. Then, all of a sudden with no warning, we heard two coughs and an infant crying. I of course cried and when he was handed to Chris, I kissed his little face and took him in although he looked extremely pissed. It was definitely not a disappointing experience but I must admit I was kind of bummed at how, well, common it seemed. I had this vision of the doctor pulling him out, lion-kinging him and yelling out, “It’s a BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY!!! Congratulations mom and dad – dad, you ready to cut the cord??” But instead they let me kiss him, then whisked him away. I learned in recovery that the little guy had fluid in his lungs and had to be taken away for observation for up to 6 hours. 6 HOURS??????

I’ve NEVER been so nervous/terrified in my life. All I wanted was to see and hold my baby boy. 4 hours later, they brought him into my room and handed him to me. He was pronounced healthy and no longer needed to be observed. So we started breastfeeding him and I ate deli meat. Yum.

Out of this whole experience, I learned quite a few things:

1) While the c-section completely blew, it wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated it being. Recovery has not been horrible (though I say that with the help of Percocet for, oh, 2 weeks post-op). I’m now at a point where I can say that I’m starting to feel moderately normal again and the pain is dissipating.

2) I think if humans had tails, Chris would have a fluffy squirrel tail. I would want a sassy, swift cat tail. It would be really obnoxious to have one of those really hyper Labrador tails. Those people would definitely be annoying – “jeez, here comes Steve with his stupid tail.” And Steve would always have to eat lunch at a table by himself or with other Labradors because, well, he annoys people. UGH.

3) Breastfeeding, yeah, that….NOTHING could have prepared me for just how tough it’s been, BUT IT’S WORKING AND ERIK LOVES IT!!!!!  Babies dream about boobs and it’s really cute. Chris said he imagines Erik’s dreams placing him in the Never Ending Story, blissfully riding along on Falkor but instead of Falkor (the luck dragon) he’s riding a giant boob. Thus, the name of the story would change to the Never Ending Supply of Milk.

4) Never in my life thought I’d get so excited about burps, farts and the consistency/frequency of poops. “Honey, come in here, the kid shit all over the wall again but look at the beautiful mustard-yellow color!”

5) Motherhood rocks.

On the Halfway Point…

This week I reached the halfway point in my pregnancy – 20 weeks. It’s been almost 2 months since I last blogged so apologies for the delay, but so much has been going on and it’s been tough to sit down and write things out.

In a nutshell, here’s what the past 5 months have looked like for us:

Early Dec., 2013: Chris gets laid off from his job.
1 Week later: We throw our hands in the air, say f*ck it, and go on the London trip we’d been planning on taking (oh also that we’d already paid for and was nonrefundable) for 3 years. Call it a “honeymoon that was a long time coming.”
Vacay/Post-Vacay/New Years: We get all Marvin Gaye. Like, a lot.
Mid-Jan: We find out we’re pregnant. Happiness ensues.
Last week: We get a letter from unemployment stating that Chris’s funds have been exhausted.
Post-Mean-Letter-Arrival: Chris goes to unemployment office to file for an extension and is told that because congressional Republicans are refusing to pass an extension on unemployment right now, he gets nothing. (PS, he’s gotten 18 weeks of unemployment and has worked tirelessly to find a job). Oh, and he was also told to “Have a good day.” He almost had to be escorted out of the office by security.

I tell you these things not because I am looking for sympathy, but for two reasons:

1) It’s completely insane and people need to know what’s going on in Congress. I’m not as concerned about what we’re going to do because I have a job and we did build a nest egg just in case the bottom fell out. So many others have been screwed so much worse by this and that makes me angry.
2) Despite the course of these events, I feel happier than I’ve ever felt in my life.

See, we’ve been married for 12 years and have never spoken much to friends/family members about our plans to have children. We weren’t even sure if we wanted to take that plunge until late last summer, when we decided to pull the birth control plug and, “hell, see what happens.” We had money saved up and were planning to eventually upgrade out of an apartment into a real house. We really like us and thought, why should we deprive the world of the awesomeness that will inevitably be our offspring (sounds haughty but it’s true, and anyone will say that about their offspring so shut your mouth, eat your cereal and quit your judging).

After initial freakouts this week, here’s what’s seemed to help things fall into place for us, mentally:

1) We weighed the scales of our lives. Sounds kind of cheesy but I’m serious, try it out and it’ll really put things into perspective. Draw a set of scales and write down the bad on one side, and the good on the other. For us, despite the shit turn of events, the good outweighed the bad by a ridiculous margin. Between our incredible support system made up of the greatest people in the world to our awesomely dark senses of humor, to our spectacular mid-century modern living/dining room (which NOBODY can take away), we realized that we’re going to be just fine. It’s funny, you plan, plan, plan on things happening a certain way. We saved $$ for a child we now can’t afford to have. THANKS OBAMA (ironic snicker).

2) The baby started to kick. Like, really kick and move and stuff and WE CAN FEEL HIM!!!!

3) I made a spectacular homemade version of mac n’ cheese last night with bacon and chives. Try it. It’ll change your life (look up bechamel sauce, do it that way and then sprinkle with bacon bits and chives).

4) I always wondered what perfection looked like, until last night, when I saw it. THIS is perfection.

A detailed analysis of the photo that has changed my life…

Anyone who’s ever visited my home has likely noticed it. Most visitors have asked the question, and just a few have noticed it but were not sure what to make of it, so kept quiet.

And when someone asks The Question, excitement and anticipation rev up inside.

“Why do you have a framed picture of Seal in your house?”

And the answer is always the same:

“It’s there to remind us that we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.”

So as I’ve most certainly caught your attention, I’m sure you’re wondering about the story behind the picture.

It was about three years ago. Chris and I were checking out the neighborhood Goodwill and came across the photograph. We were enamored with it from the start. The calm, yet slightly concerned look on his face, that says something along the lines of, “I know what you feel. Don’t be so hard on yourself. My baby.” The majestic gold and snake-skin type frame that served as a vessel for the photograph. I turned it over. $2.56. We hemmed and hawed about it and decided to hide it and think about it for at least a day or two before committing to this purchase.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I couldn’t stop thinking about those eyes. That look. And oh, my, the frame.

So I went back first thing the next day, found it right where we’d hidden it, and made my purchase. The picture looked amazing in our house. It now sits on our hutch, among several family photos. Because he’s like a member of the family.

A few weeks ago, Chris and I decided to unravel some of the mystery behind the photograph. For the first time, we opened the back of the frame to take a look. The picture has a very Olan Mills vibe to it – was it taken in a Kmart photo studio? Is there writing on the back of it, dating the time and place and, of course, name of the subject?

And just like that, the magic was gone. Turns out the picture was clipped out of a magazine (likely by a four year old or a very hasty clipper, as it was a terribly executed clipping job).

So from there, I started to wonder what kind of a person hastily would clip a picture of Seal out of a magazine and put it in a gold and snake-skin type frame? I appreciate and admire the resourcefulness and creativity, but I do wonder if this person had this photo in their home so they could perhaps tell people that Seal is a friend of theirs? Or did they have an alter dedicated to Seal and his wisdom? I could see that.

Let me just note, right here, that Chris and I love us some Seal. In fact, we’re not fully convinced that “Kiss from a Rose” wasn’t inspired by a conversation he had with an angel. The dude’s got heart and soul in his music – nobody can deny that.

Anyway, we of course were not ready to put the photograph in storage. I don’t think we ever will. Knowing that it is just a clipping from a magazine is disheartening, but alas it still harbors the heart and soul of that for which Seal stands. You can see it in his eyes (which do not become large in the picture, thank goodness).

Out with the old and in with the new(ish): on pre-finished unicorn puzzles, cat eroticism and our MCM living room

So. CLEARLY it’s been a while since my last post. Lots and lots has happened since October, but I won’t bore you with the details (okay, okay, so we *may* have taken a tiny trip to London – more to come on that). We got rid of old stuff (always challenging but so refreshing) and we accumulated awesomer stuff, with two finished unicorn puzzles at the top of the list. I created a new badass twisty hairstyle for my in-between stage. I ate a lot of candy corn.  I crossed Abbey Road. I learned that juicing carrots, apples and ginger is OHMYSOGOOD. I watched Dirt McGrit chase his tail while Spike made sweet love to our bath mats, which was oddly erotic (JK cats aren’t erotic, FOOLS!). Oh, and I ate a lot of gingerbread cookies.

So with no further adieu – I’d like to introduce you to our 2013 project, the living room:

The cool thing about it was – EVERYTHING was a steal. We got the sofa on sale at Macy’s, the chair from Ikea, one of the American of Martinsville side tables from Kudzu Antiques for next to nothing since it didn’t have a match; and THEN we found a match on Craigslist. The Lane cocktail table was another steal from an antique market in Rome, GA. The shag rug was from Overstock (and is craaaaazy-soft). The pillows were $20 a pop from Society 6, and the sunburst wall clock was yet another steal from The Ice House (our new favorite store) in Chamblee, GA.
Why yes, that IS a Lance Link and the Evolution Revolution Record! Great show or Greatest show?
This amazing mid-century cart was on sale at Kudzu. We bit without hesitation.
And it all works fabulously with our Union Jack table, purchased in early 2013 from The Icehouse
The infamous Dirt McGrit seal of approval

This was a most-of-2013 project and it was done on a super limited budget. But it was probably one of the most fun, memorable things we’ve done together as a couple. At first, we thought we’d just pick out a room in Ikea and recreate it at home, but since we’ve discovered antiquing (and craigslist for furniture) we’ve opened SO MANY new doors. And we learned that it’s okay to be picky. If you’re not completely sold on something, don’t do it! I think we slept on pretty much every single purchase we made.

This was a huge deal for us because for most of our marriage we’ve had a mismatched living room full of hand-me-down furniture. Forcing slipcovers over things just to try and half-assed-make-them-match got old.

Sure, this all may seem pretty tiny, and perhaps not a big deal to folks who can afford to do a lot more. But it has meaning to us and always will, not so much for the things we’ve acquired but more for the experiences we had acquiring them.

And we put a unicorn horn on Spike.

Road Trip in search of a cocktail table – a no-filter kind of day!

Perfect day. We did some thrifting and antiquing and came back with some amazing finds, including a Lane cocktail table, some great books, a Colonel Sanders Christmas Special record, a couple of lithographs and, best of all, these magical (ALREADY put together) puzzles.

On our mini-road trip about an hour and a half north, we found some cool roadside attractions to boot.

Can’t wait to frame this album and put it up next to Lance Link and the Evolution Revolution, which graces the wall over our sofa.
If we weren’t complete assholes, this might be our Christmas card.
This little girl at the roadside flower place handed me this flower and her little brother gave one to Chris. It was adorbs.
Lethal Weapon poster on the side of the road. Why not?
Not only did we come across a Kmart, we also stepped inside and re-entered 1986. It. Rocked.
And the best find of the day: Lane cocktail table

3 dirty habits I’ve developed lately that I don’t want people to know about – yet here I am, blogging about them anyway…

1. Eating to excess, alone, in a violent manner, at a pre-determined time. So it’s lunch time at work and I’m alone at my desk. I made a delicious salad, or sandwich, and can’t hold back any longer. I watch the clock and as soon as it hits noon, I’m on that sucker. I inhale it like the future of the human race, the children of the world are depending on me. In fact, if I don’t finish this salad in 5 minutes flat OR LESS, my husband’s penis will fall off. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. (Sigh).

2. Obsessively scouring running message boards, trying to figure out an easy way to fix my latest injury. So. With running comes injuries. It’s just something you have to deal with if you want to get into the dirty world of road racing. Last year, after 5 years of horrific, brutal build-up, I was thrilled to officially find my running zen. Running all of a sudden started to feel good (not just after I was done, but oftentimes even while in the throes of pain and exhaustion). And I was getting pretty good at it. I started racking up medals and shit. I PR’d with a 21:58 5K. I jest you not. The thrill of it all was almost overwhelming. But damn it, my ankles started screwing me up. I’d twist them, turn them, all but beat the crap out of them with a crowbar, and got to know my $250 ankle brace from the ortho amazingly well. I’m so sick of injuries I could scream. But now, instead of heading straight for the doc, I scour these message boards, looking for “the big solution” to all of my problems. Even when I’m not struggling, I LOVE googling things like “ankle injury out outside of ankle near heal that feels like 1000 knives stabbing foot when I sit Indian style”. AND PEOPLE, they answer. They know things. Lots of things. But then, when reason kicks in (damn you) I start to wonder about the people who pop up over and over on these message boards. I imagine them being a group of know-it-alls (we can smell our own) who have annual know-it-all conventions and talk about different topics. For instance, the topic of day 4 will be “best ways to cure ankle injuries” and each party will take his turn sharing his fake knowledge. And a whole bunch of running message board whores are there, listening to every word and taking notes. NOW I HAVE THE ANSWERS I HAVE SOUGHT FOR SO LONG.
3. Going to stores like Anthropologie and Lululemon pretending like I can afford, well, anything, pretending to look at the regular priced stuff and trying not to too obviously make a beeline for the clearance section. When the sales person approaches me, I smile and pretend to be interested in something that’s not on clearance, then when she helps me find my size, I try not to throw up when I casually glance at the price tag. It’s tough, but it’s times like these that I thank my lucky stars for my college acting classes. As I swallow the impending regurgitation, I head to the fitting room to try on the $300 pair of running capris and on the way, say, “oh, look, I’m just going to take a quick glance at the clearance section.” The sales person nods her head and looks at me with disdain. I find the one thing on clearance that has a small stain on it (additional discount WHAT!?), skip the fitting room and check out that one item, putting back the $300 capris and leaving with my head hanging down in shame. Maybe, just maybe, I can sell my laptop and go back to buy the capris. Nah. 

Bedroom Magic

Chris and I have spent the last few months updating our apartment with a new look (on the cheap – more to come on this project in an upcoming post.) It’s been fun, BUT through the course of all this, we neglected the bedroom, which made me sad. A couple of weeks ago, Chris told me to “go nuts” with the bedroom and make it whatever I’d like (since he has the nerd room/man cave which he did completely his way). So I did it! I decided I wanted to continue with the mid-century feel but I really love a rustic-ish feel and magical things and of course, being a DIY princess, I had to create SOMETHING.

So it’s tough to tell with the lighting being a bit lousy, but the color theme is lavender/green/brown.

Spike is satisfied with the new look. I won’t post a picture of the room “before” because, well it’s just embarrassing.
I created this “picture” using some wooden tiles from Kudzu antiques, purple yarn and an a frame from Hobby Lobby. It was insanely easy. You should do it too – it WILL change your life.
Tough to tell but the curtains are super cute – lavender, and of course because I needed a little sparkle, I strung up some LED star lights!
And picked up two of these super cute owl lamps from World Market – LOVE THEM!

I’m definitely planning to add more to it (still trying to figure out a way to string lights from the ceiling to create a starry-magical-fairy effect), and also working on this wolf paint-by-number (for GROWNUPS, Judgy McJudgerson) that I’m putting up somewhere once it’s finished. But for now, not too bad given I did it in just a couple of days with a VERY LIMITED BUDGET.

I love changing up the look of things from time to time. Adding your own touch to things in your home really makes it more enjoyable and super fun. I’m so happy I could do a thousand cartwheels (well, maybe just one or two).

On self restraint, sleep and Ninja Turtles…(AKA why being over 30 kicks ass)

So there are several pieces that have been floating around the Inter-webs about the negatives of hitting the big 3-0. I know there are quite a lot of bits that hit close to home for many people (myself included), but, if I may, I’d like to offer a well-thought out, highly personal, likely way-too-serious retort.

Your 30’s kick ass. You are no longer a 20-something person trying to “find yourself”, struggling with the confusion of whether or not you should stay home and watch Supernatural, then got to bed at 11, or go out and party with all the kids. You no longer give nearly as much of a damn what other people think, AND, you’ve made a fool out of yourself enough times that at this point, you should have some degree of self-restraint (which is a GODSEND, let me tell you). So here’s a list of reasons why 30’s are waaaaay better than 20’s (disclaimer: this list does not of course apply to everyone in their 30’s, this is simply based on my own experience):

1) You don’t give a damn if people know that you go to bed at 11 after watching Supernatural. Who’s got no hangover and feels fresh and amazing the next day?? This gal!

2) You may not know what you want to do with your life, BUT you’ve matured enough to realize that that’s completely cool and actually kind of admirable.

3) You realize that while many friends are having kids, it’s completely fine to wait a little while longer and totally acceptable to opt out of child-bearing. As I’ve recently learned, there are plenty of people who have kids (or become parents) into their late 30’s and even sometimes early 40’s.

4) You start to care more about other people, and less about what other people think of you.

5) Yes, you may start buying shoes more for comfort than sex appeal, but, OMG you guys there are shoes that offer BOTH!!! And they can be super cute and sexy. Ask my feet!

6) It’s completely acceptable to buy books from the self-help section. In fact, if you’re like me, half of your conversations may revolve around the teachings of Wayne Dyer, the Dalai Lama, etc.

7) You’re no longer *quite* so reckless, and you do wear sunscreen not because adults always told you to, but because you start giving a shit about things like cancer.

8) You no longer feel guilty for needing a full 8 hours of sleep at night. It’s just understood and people no longer question it.

9) You don’t ever have to suffer through your first hangover again (which is typically the case in your 20’s as well, but hey, it’s a comforting thought for all, am I right?).

10) If you’re like me, you kind of start noticing things you hadn’t really noticed before. Like flowers, trees, nice sunsets, and God help me, Steve Winwood. I stopped for a solid 5 minutes on a run not too long ago to marvel at a garden of tulips. Magical happy blissyness.

11) It’s harder to get bored because you’re probably more likely to focus your time on things that really matter. Like a marathon session of Arrested Development on a Sunday with the mister.

12) You can revel in the satisfaction that you grew up with many of the most kick-ass cartoons EVER. Smurfs, Gummy Bears, Rainbow Bright, He-Man, GI Joe, TMNT – there was something for EVERY one of us.

13) You got to experience at least (or close to) half your life without the Internet. But you are young enough to really embrace it at the same time. It’s a good place to be. Can’t imagine what childhood would have been like for me if I’d had a computer WITH the Internet in my home. I’d have been so fat, plus I would have never showered.

14) You gradually become more and more aware that it’s not just you – EVERYBODY is insecure as hell. Nobody really cares that much what you’re wearing or how much you weigh because they’re all too busy stressing about their own images. Image is dumb, but everyone struggles with it.

15) After trying so hard to be an adult for a whole decade, you realize that it’s totally fine to embrace the pieces of your childhood that made you who you are. Don’t throw away the toys – keep them. And not for your future children – for you.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rainbow_Brite_and_Color_Kids.jpg