Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's a...


Eliza holding the ultrasound photo of her baby sister :)
We are so excited to welcome another girl into our family, and Andy said he is excited to be surrounded by beautiful women.  I told him he has to learn how to do hair now.  Heheh.  Baby girl looked healthy and we got a great look at her heart, her brain and all the important parts.  We are SO grateful!

ETA -- ack, I hit the publish button on this yesterday but then just logged back in to see that it never published!  Sorry!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Our ultrasound is in less than 12 hours!  It's THE ultrasound... and yes we will be finding out :)  Can't wait to share the news.  I'm anxious to know everything is okay in there, and to get another good look at our sweet babe.  Eliza will be coming with us and she is as excited as we are.  Afterwards, we're going out to lunch with my mama and then letting Eliza pick out something for baby at a local baby boutique (okay, mom and dad might also pick out a little something!).

I'll update as soon as I can!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An annual tradition: Lefse! (And, a parenting lesson)

We continued an annual tradition this year when we gathered at my SIL's house to make Lefse.  My mom, my SIL, Eliza and me.

Eliza was eager to jump right in.  She wanted to do it all - roll out the dough, pick it up with the Lefse stick, transfer it to the griddle, and take it off the griddle.  But to those of you familiar with Lefse making, you know that it's a somewhat delicate process and so it was a bit challenging at times.  If I'm being honest, it was mostly challenging for me.  I'll admit it: my patience was running a bit thin that afternoon, and at the end of the day I felt badly for it.  I had been asking too much of her and got frustrated too easily when she would mar the raw lefse I had just rolled out, hit me with the lefse stick accidentally, get too close to the hot griddle, try to transfer a 1" thick piece of lefse to the griddle... you know... act like a 3-year-old.

When I thought about it, I realized that doing those things was the only way she would learn and get excited about these traditions -- by doing, trying, practicing.  I should have been more patient and should have channeled her enthusiasm into a task she could complete.  I need to remind myself of this, especially in my most frustrated moments.  I will do better next time.  I think I have done better since then... trying to let go of the little things, the things that do not matter (lefse, for example!).

Whew!  This parenting stuff can be hard.  Heh.

Anyway.  It was still a memorable, fun day.

And my mom took some great pictures!  Lookit!

Mom, displeased with how the new griddle is acting... cooking unevenly, and not hot enough. 

Lefse makers!  Eliza loved that stick.

Figure 1: lefse I just rolled out, about to get it from that smirking 3 year old wielding a stick as tall as she is.

Oh! And we also made rudolph cake pops that day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Shy Smile for Santa

The obligatory pic with Santa happened Wednesday at a gloriously NOT busy Santaland.

Eliza loved it - the whole thing - walking through the "North Pole" beforehand and seeing Santa's elves getting ready for Christmas, then walking through the Claus residence, and finally, getting to sit on his lap.  She was shy (ohsoshy) but seemed to enjoy the experience nonetheless.

We don't talk about Santa very much around here.  I mean, she knows about him, and has gleaned a lot of information from books, grandparents, friends, and some from Andy and me as well.  It's not that we're Santa haters, we just don't focus on him/it as a focal point of the season or as a reason to behave. The whole 'Santa is watching' thing creeps me out.  So we don't connect Santa with "naughty" or "nice".  She knows he'll bring her a gift or two and they will be waiting under the tree on Christmas morning, and she thinks he's a pretty cool, magical dude.  Oh, and he has reindeer!  She loves that.  So, for now that's where Eliza is with the whole Santa thing.  

How do you all do the Santa thing in your house? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Learner

We've been reading to Eliza since she was a tiny newborn.  Obviously, right?  So maybe it shouldn't have come as a surprise when she started asking what words meant or "how does that word sound mama?" when we'd read books or when she'd be looking at books quietly in her room.  Recently, we've started to notice her expressing frustration over the fact that she "can't read the words"; she is no longer content to just look at pictures.  At 3, we have on our hands a girl who desperately wants to learn to read.

What do I do with this child?!  I wondered.  How do I help her??

We talk about the alphabet constantly.  Of course she knows and sings the ABC song, loves identifying letters in words, and is now able to tell the sounds of nearly all 26 letters.  We answer her questions as she asks them, and help her learn as she wants to -- never actually instructing her in any real way, always remembering that kids at her age are absolutely ready to learn, but not so ready to be taught.

I asked about this in our ECFE class on Monday about this.  I wondered if anyone had any tips, suggestions, resources, books? I don't know - SOMETHING - to help me help her.  Because surely, I thought, surely I am not doing enough to help her.  She is voraciously eating up anything I tell her before I can think of what to even say next - could someone please recommend something I could do/buy/watch to help this child?  

Now -- I think this is an apt commentary on the state of what mothering in this culture and day and age does to a mama -- the mental mind games it creates -- because when the parent educator's response to me was simply: "Just keep doing what you're doing, Ella. Answer her questions. Read to her. What you are doing is enough", it was as if someone took my by the shoulders and shook me into an awareness of 'of course that's enough, what have I been thinking?'.  I was doubting my abilities to guide her, afraid I would actually somehow stifle this blossoming curiosity for words and reading and writing.  For learning.  Me.  Stepping back, I am ashamed.  Why did I think that (my master's degree and almost-PhD have got to be good for something, right?  Haha just kidding)? 

Of course I'm enough.  DUH, ELLA.

At the end of class, the ECFE parent educator told me something I think I will remember forever - or, at least I will remember the feelings -- the goosebumps, the immense pride, the feeling of responsibility -- it gave me when she said it.  

"Congratulations, you have yourself a learner."

I guess I do!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not Wordless Wednesday: 17 Weeks Then & Now

17 weeks with Eliza
This is now what 17 weeks looks like (Same shirt! Didn't even plan that).

Monday, December 10, 2012


Take a moment today and send some thoughts and healing vibes towards Alyssa -- she just experienced her second loss and is having a rough time.  The pain of miscarriage is so deep and so different for each woman.  No one should have to go through it, especially not more than once.  :(

Thinking of you, Alyssa.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


We woke up this morning to this:

Winter finally decided to show its face, and with quite a force.  By the time the day was over, about a foot of snow had fallen.  And in what was the most epic timing WIN ever, our new snowblower was delivered less than 24 hours before these photos were taken!

We had a lovely day. After an initial letdown this morning when my bff and I had to cancel brunch we had scheduled due to the driving conditions, we made a new plan for the day.  We walked all over our neighborhood, pulling Eliza on the sled, and stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and to watch the first half of a football game.  It was really fun (and yummy!).  On the walk (sled) home, she managed to fall asleep!  I can't believe she wasn't cold... but we did have her bundled up rather well (thanks to a friend who loaned us all her winter gear this morning - thanks Taunya!).  This is one of those moments I will never forget - it was just so sweet to see her sound asleep as we trudged over snow banks in 30 degree weather!

(It's safe to say this happening was thoroughly documented, don't you think?)
Later, while Daddy cleared snow outside, Eliza and I made a gingerbread house and decorated it.  She got really into this activity this year, and was quite focused on candy placement (and surprisingly, she didn't eat *that* much of the candy).  She kept saying "I placed the candy there! And there!"

Hard at work
This is the side I decorated...
And here is the finished product, you can see the side Eliza decorated - more is better, right!?!
We used a gingerbread house cutter to make this, and it was really simple and I think the shape is way nicer than a kit -- you can buy it here.  As a bonus, it comes with an amazing swedish gingerbread (pepparkakor) recipe.

It was a memorable, beautiful day!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Third Birthday Party!

The birthday party day arrived and she was SO excited she couldn't even nap!

She got her very own birthday crown.

She felt a little shy when guests started to arrive...

She loved her gifts, as any three year old does :)

Mama was so proud of her girl, who was all smiles and laughter until her head hit the pillow that night.

Funny story: she couldn't blow the candles out! She tried and tried, but just did NOT understand how that whole thing was supposed to work (also, note my hand keeping her from putting her face directly above the candle flame).  It was hilarious!  She looked at me and her face said, "mama, what the hell is up with this? Give me some advice here!" - and I didn't know what to tell her! I didn't know how to explain how to blow out a candle (as opposed to simply spitting, which was what she basically ended up doing).  I guess we should have practiced!

It was such a good day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lucky to be busy!

Sorry - I sort of fell off the face of the blogosphere there, didn't I? It's been a busy 3 weeks!

What's been going on around here? Let's see....

  • Eliza's Birthday Party
  • Weaning (yes! It happened, and I'm as shocked as you are)
  • Eliza's first (real) dental appointment
  • My orchestra concert
  • A newborn photo session for a good friend (with one of the cutest babies I've ever seen!)
  • Thanksgiving
  • Eliza's 3 year check-up
  • Christmas tree hunt (and subsequent decorating!)
  • Lovely neighborhood cookie party hosted by awesome new friends
  • The launch of the christmas crafts and cookie baking season! 
  • I accepted an adjunct teaching gig for Spring semester
This family has been busy in a happy-good-thankful way.  We feel grateful on a daily basis, even when the daily grind of parenting our dear girl can get frustrating... I could blog about that someday too, but y'know, I'm pretty sure most people already know what I'm talking about ;)

I hope to blog about much of the above in the coming week, but for now I'll leave you to watch this (sorta crappy) video of Eliza answering a few random questions on her birthday.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three years

Three years ago today, she made me into a mama...

...and became her own separate little person in our great big world.

"Welcome to the spinning world!" they said.  "We're so glad you've come."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

P2 Update

In the grand tradition of second babies, I have not updated as much about poor little P2 here as much as I did with Eliza.  It is so true what they say about not having the time to focus on (or sometimes even remember!) your second pregnancy.  

However, it doesn't mean that I am any less excited or in love with this little bean:

12w3d ultrasound - Profile of head/upper body, and those really intense jaws!
Our first trimester screening was yesterday and we got quite a long look at this little one.  Eliza came along and I looked at her face when the baby popped up on the screen and it was priceless.  She smiled and laughed and when the baby kicked and wiggled she said "the baby is dancing!".  This is such a fun age and I'm so glad she understands what is going on and is excited.

We won't get our results back until next week, but preliminary results were positive.  I know many couples choose not to do this screening; Andy and I choose to have it done because, in short, we want as much data about our babies as we can.  If there was something different about our baby, if he or she had down syndrome, knowing now would help us plan and prepare - emotionally, mentally, medically.  We'd rather do that now than later.  So, that's why we choose to do it.


Here's teh belleh on Saturday before Andy and I went out on a date - that right there is crazy to me, because I didn't look like that until 19 weeks with Eliza!

I'm feeling great and things are going well.  I could not be more grateful!

Monday, November 12, 2012

31 vs. 21

This post over at Mama Nervosa had me chuckling.  So I thought I'd steal the idea and post 10 of the things I find myself caring about now that I am 31 that did not matter to me when I was 21.

   1) Having a clean shower (my college roommate will attest to this one)

   2) Eating hormone-free/cruelty-free meat

   3) Olive oil (good tasting, high quality!)

   4) Restaurant reviews

   5) Working on relationships with friends and family

   6) Good wine

   7) Preschools

   8) Kitchen knives

   9) How comfortable my pants are

   10) Current events

What would your list look like?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Eliza Quotes

"Grandpa, you don't have much hair."

"I'm going to grace you with a lima bean kiss!" (eating lima beans this evening for dinner - her request - I don't know where she learned about the word 'grace'!?)

"I'm helping you buy lots of healthy food, Mama" (at the grocery store this evening, as she put raspberries into the cart, followed by an apple and a pomegranate).

"I am old enough to eat popcorn and when I am 55 I will drink beer."

"What was your favorite part of our day today, Eliza?"  "Going to the comic book store with dada and eating applesauce at the [brunch place]. And healthy food." (I swear we're not crazy with the healthy food talk!  We just mention it when we talk about growing up big and strong... she's really interested in that right now I guess!)

"Come on in, Mama!" (She says this to me each night when it's my turn in the bedtime parent rotation - after daddy sings and reads a book, I'm up.  She waits by her door for me, opens it when I get there, and says this, complete with hand gestures.  It's the cutest thing.)


Just a few I didn't want to forget.  Love this age.  She says the cutest and most random things!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Sprinkle for Simon

When we moved, I didn't know how quickly and how wonderfully life would change.  Along with a beautiful new house, we have had the great fortune to meet some very kind new friends.  I knew a number of them before we moved, actually, but being in the same neighborhood as many of them has been such a refreshing change, and such a gift.

This weekend I had the honor of hosting a little baby "sprinkle" for one of these women.  It's her second baby, a boy named Simon due around the first of the year.  I know second baby showers are uncommon (at least in these parts!), but since none of us knew each other when we all had our first babies, it feels like we're going through this pregnancy stuff - including baby showers - for the first time together.

I had so much fun doing this for her.  And selfishly, I loved the chance to throw a little gathering in my new house.  I love it here and am proud to invite people over now.  I had a lot of help from my dear family and two other mutual friends - without them it would not have been so successful or fun (and it certainly wouldn't have been so tasty!).

Here are a few pictures of the day (well, okay, mostly the pictures are of the food :)

It was a lovely afternoon and I think everyone had fun.  We played two shower games, the Safety Pin Game, and a lively round of Baby Jeopardy!  My mom made her famous turtle cake, and people raved about it.  It really is the best chocolate cake in the entire world.  Thanks Mom!!

I hope I get to attend and host many more of these events in the future.  What a happy occasion to gather together and celebrate.

Can't wait to meet Baby Simon!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eliza and the Pumpkin

 It started out nicely enough.  Eliza's first experience carving a pumpkin.  Aww.  Grandma was here to help, and Eliza dug right in.  At first.


What the...

I'm not so sure about... hmmmm...

Oh dear God, what is this atrocious substance!?

Put it away! Just put it away Grandma! 

And quit laughing.  

You people are not funny.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Some Eliza Quotes

"I can hardly handle all my muscles, Mama!" (while doing a bridge yesterday in tumbling class)

"It changed out I like spicy!" (she says "changed out" instead of "turns out")

"No deal, mama" (this is a line that she uses when she doesn't like what I'm suggesting)

"When I am three I'll be done with milky.  It makes me a little sad, but I'll be okay." (aw, this one sort of breaks my heart.  We are working on weaning by age 3 and have been talking a lot about it.  I'll post more on that another time!)

"I heard my baby's heartbeat! It's a floaty baby and it goes SHHHHHHHHHH!!!" (this is apparently what she thinks the doppler sounds like when we listen to the baby's heartbeat)

"Breakfast is far away, it's hard for me to wait." (she says this at night when she decides she's hungry.  Sorry kid, you had a chance to eat at dinnertime!!! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This is Hard: Part II

Part Two was the realization that your family and friends do, in fact, still love you and support you even after you quit grad school.  

Huh.  Imagine that.

There may be a Part Three... the psychological fallout of leaving behind such a huge part of your life - especially when the majority of it happened in your 20s and/or early 30s - should not be discounted.  I know it's there, the fallout (Mama Nervosa discussed this recently).  But, let's just deal with one thing at a time, shall we?

For now, I'm happy, at peace with my path, and excited for the next chapter of our life as a family: P2!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Perfect Fall Day

After going to bed late last night and waking up early, I suppose it's fair to say we didn't have high hopes or lofty goals for our Sunday today.  But, ever the optimist that he is (especially on the weekends), my dear husband dragged our lazy bones out of the house for some pumpkin pancakes this morning.  That turned out to be the beginning of the most awesomely awesome Fall Sunday ever!

After breakfast we drove to the farmer's market.  It was one of the last weekends of the "summer" market, so we had to stock up.  We bought ten (10!) bars of soap to last us the winter, and our usual purchases of meat from our favorite farmer, Bar 5.  Then home for nap.  Eliza slept from 10:30 to 1:30 (!), and I joined her for most of that time - it was amazing.  I've decided that any perfect day includes a nap. :)

While hubby and Eliza watched some football, I meal planned and then went to the store to stock up on food for this week's meals.  I've recently tried to be better about meal planning and it's saved me so much stress/hassle, time and money.  I don't know why I didn't do it sooner!  Ever since I withdrew from my Ph.D. program I've tried to become more productive/efficient at home and this is one of the ways that has made the most impact.  I think we eat more healthfully overall, and we definitely eat out less (one of our achilles heels!).

Anyway, it was unseasonably warm here today, so when I came home, Andy and Eliza were in the backyard raking and cleaning up the yard.  I joined them and it wasn't long before yard work was replaced by jumping in leaves, burying each other in leaves, leaf fights, and other fall-like shenanigans (like naked sand-box playing, apparently).

Then hubby started the grill and I learned that while I was gone he and Eliza had made both a spice rub and glaze for the pork chops we bought this morning.  He proceeded to make an amazing meal for us of smoked pork chops, baked potato and roasted carrots.  It was so yummy!

After dinner, it was bed time for the girl, so hubby took her upstairs for bath, teeth brushing and stories.  It was a great day.  Perhaps not the best blog fodder, but just something I wanted to write about here so that I'd remember it.  We are so lucky to have each other.  I love this family of mine.

Friday, October 19, 2012


My mom wrote this post on her blog the other day (yes, she has a private blog all about Eliza and being a grandma. She writes each entry in the form of a journal/letter to Eliza), and I thought it was incredibly sweet and poignant.  I wanted to share an excerpt here. 



You won't remember this day but your life will never be the same. As a "little sister", I can speak with some authority. There will be times that you feel great joy that you have a little brother or sister (you tell us it will be a sister!) and then again sometimes you will wish profoundly that you were an only child. It's a relationship that is somewhat fragile, not filled with the unconditional love of parents. You will have to earn his or her respect and there will be many ups and downs. But your parents are giving you the best gift they can give - someone to share your early life with, someone to share your family memories of home, friends, trips, fights, group hugs, even some crises. When you are older, your sister or brother hopefully can be a support person and someone to help when your parents seems "hard to handle".  I did not discover this until much later in my life, but my sister is a connection to my mom and dad long after they are gone. Looking into her eyes, I see my dad. I see his Irish temperment, his love of poetry and reading and I see my mother's love of language, her fierce independence and intelligence. Talking to her, I get to verify family stories and history and to see if we feel the same about our life before marriage and children. Marriage and children changes you and it is good to remember earlier and very different times.  I hope you enjoy such a relationship and even go beyond it in later years.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Hi My Name is: P2

To P2.

This is the first time I've blogged about you, P2!  Welcome to my blog.  I mean, I've mentioned you before, in the abstract sense, but now here you are, with your own label and everything - and this time, you actually exist!

Anyway.  Hi!  I don't have all that much to say about you - I mean, I don't really know you yet.  I know that you're the size of a kidney bean, and that your tail has finally disappeared (well thank goodness for that, right?)... OH, and that you must be famished in there, because you are making mama feel like she has a tapeworm or something.  Just like your big sister before you, you are in there, stealing all mah foodz.

We heard your heartbeat for the first time on Saturday.  That was... perfect.  The feeling of relief that washed over your mama and daddy was priceless, and worth the wait.  We celebrated by taking your sister to ride some crazy toddler rides at the MOA (which almost made mama lose her lunch - won't be doing that again soon).

So, you just keep on keeping on, okay?  Grow and grow and grow, and don't stop believin'... and all that.

I promise you lots of fun on the outside if you make it to the end of May.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

In Which I Get All Sappy On You

Eliza is nearly three years old now.  We will be celebrating a birthday in just five short weeks!  This girl has changed so much in the last year, it is really remarkable.  I've been so caught up with my own drama, that my girl hasn't gotten much attention on the ol' blog lately.

So what's she been up to?

Questions.  Oh the questions!  She is naturally curious about everything.  The 'why?'s, that started nearly a year ago now, have blown up exponentially and are never ending!  It often reaches the point where her 'why?' questions no longer makes sense, and we've started to try to help her rephrase her questions, challenging her to think about what she's really trying to ask.

She is NOT a morning person.  Mornings are... rough, to say the least.  It doesn't help that I am also not a morning person.  The two of us do not make the most enthusiastic or good natured duo between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning.  That's usually when an episode of Mr. Roger's is watched while we try to wake up (or sleep a bit more, in my case).

Fears.  Fears are creeping in - she is learning and sort of experimenting with them.  Figuring out what other people are afraid of, and "testing" them out.  Most recently, she's not quite sure about the radiator in her room, which she can see at the end of her bed (our new house has radiators, our previous house did not, so they are new to her).  "Cover it up with a blanket, mama, so I can't see it", she requests each night before bed.  But then the next morning she'll say "I'm not scared of the radiator, he's just a nice guy who keeps us warm.  He's a silly warm guy!".

Nakedness.  Oh boy, does this child like to be naked.  She takes any opportunity.  When she has to pee?  Why not do that completely naked?  When she doesn't want to spill on her shirt during breakfast? Meh, Imma just gonna take off all these clothes, Ma.  Who cares if it's 50 degrees outside?  Let's go outside naked too (she did do that once and immediately came screaming back inside the house).  And then, when it's time to get dressed again (for the 30th time in a day)?  She needs an entirely new outfit.  Of course.  Why not?

Friends.  She has made so many new friends lately (primarily thanks to our move - we live in the best neighborhood that is FULL of kids!), and she loves it.  I love watching her develop relationships with other kids.  It's so sweet and innocent.  Let's be real, though, there are times when she can be equally as UN-friendly as she is friendly with her friends.  The normal preschool relationship stuff, I guess, nothing out of the ordinary... the occasional violence, difficulty sharing, etc.  It's definitely there.  But then she reaches out and wants to hold their hand, she shares a toy or snack, gives them a hug and kiss, talks about them randomly when they aren't there ("Isaac is my favorite friend!", "I want to draw a picture for Ingrid", "I love my ECFE friends!")... and I know that the makings of an amazing friend are there - somewhere inside, developing quietly, waiting in the wings.

Blossoming Foodie.  The girl eats everything - well, okay, that's an overstatement.  But she'll at least try anything.  It seems she favors international foods more than anything - especially mediterranean (well, except for the general food group known as carbs.  Oh the love this girl has for carbs is astounding... sorry honey, but you didn't get that from me!).  We were at a housewarming party the other day and she loudly announced "I WOULD LIKE MORE OLIVES AND HUMMUS AND PITA, MAMA!".  She also likes Vietnamese food (above!).  A family favorite is Pho, and she's been eating at our favorite Pho place since she was a teeny tiny baby (and in fact we went there today for my dad's birthday!).  It's nice that we can take her anywhere and know that she'll be able to eat what we order, and that she'll be relatively well behaved at the restaurant (let's just say she's had a lot of practice).  We are trying our best to raise her to appreciate not only good food, but the culture of food and how it can bring people together.  How we relate to each other via food, over shared meals, etc.  Sharing meals together is as important to us as healthy, balanced food choices, and we hope that Eliza will grow up and feel the same.

Sleep.  As I mentioned before, she sleeps.  God Bless America, this child sleeps.  And we are so happy (and rested).  Not only does she sleep, but bedtimes are a lovely, easy experience for everyone involved.  Daddy gives her a bath, brushes her teeth, reads her books/sings her a song, and then it's "mama time": five (or so) minutes of milky in her bed, followed by singing "Simple Gifts".  I stay with her for a few minutes (or as she says, "lay with me in a minute, mama"), and then I tuck her in and say goodnight.  She is awake when I leave, and she falls asleep on her own.  This may not sound like much to some, but here in this house? It's nothing short of a miracle.  We are so very proud of her for this.  She really is turning into our big girl.

Teh Sweetness.  She has her moments, but oh is this girl sweet.  Just so so sweet (when she wants to be!).  She expresses real, genuine love for her family and friends quite often.  It's so cute.  And the way she's already so excited about her baby brother or sister?  There is nothing sweeter than hearing her talk about the baby in mama's belly.  She slays me.  This afternoon, I wasn't feeling particularly well, and I finally told her that (previously I'd just been trying to power through, but couldn't do it anymore today). She immediately told me to "lie down mama!", and she brought me a pillow, put it under my head, and then asked me if I'd like a blanket.  Then she brought a pillow to put over my belly, "for the baby" (uhh, yeah, we'll have to make sure she knows that's not cool once the baby is out!), and then sat with me and cuddled.


Okay, enough sap (and length - geesh!) for tonight.  Guess I could write a novel about that girl of mine.  Don't worry though, another day I'll write about those moments, those oh-my-god-get-me-out-of-here-before-I-scream moments that we all feel as parents.  Because believe me, they are numerous around here!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thank You

September was a big month around here.  I had wrestled with the decision to leave my program all summer and finally made it official at the beginning of September.  Then, literally three days later, I found out I was pregnant.  That's some crazy timing right there, folks.  It was a lot of emotional up and down in the span of one week and I can honestly say I don't feel the need to go through that craziness again anytime soon.  But, it made me grow and stretch; uncomfortable spaces make that happen, and it's when I learn the most.  Perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something?

Thank you all for your kind comments, texts, and emails following my last post.  It was definitely the right time to start blogging again; little did I know how soon or how greatly I would need this outlet and all of your support... but I sure do!  So, thank you.

Hopefully we can return to regularly scheduled mommy blogging and move past all this excitement for a little while.  A drama-free, boring pregnancy would be lovely!  

Oh, and to answer Dawn's question, I'm about 7 weeks along and due the end of May!  Still early... still plenty of time to fret and obsess.  My first appointment with my midwife is in 3 weeks.  After that we'll schedule the 1st trimester screening for around 12 weeks, when we'll get another peek at the bean.    

Hoping and praying until then.  

p.s. Does anyone else wish they were as wealthy as Tom Cruise and could buy an ultrasound machine for  home use????  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mind Games

(I saw two lines a few weeks ago...)


Those two lines have lost all the energetic, happy meaning they used to hold.  That they still hold for other people jubilation and relief and happy tears is something I am aware of, but it's a concept so foreign to me that I can't even really imagine it anymore.  It's an out of focus picture, a blurry image I can't make sharp in my mind.  I know that I was that girl once, who took pictures with the positive test, who told her husband excitedly when he came home from work, who skipped around the house because I was going to have a baby!  


You all know that girl is long gone.  Oh well, I say.  I wouldn't want to be that girl again anyway (okay maybe just a little bit).  Since then, I have learned so much, grown as a person, met incredible people, done amazing things... I'm more me now.  Does that make sense?

(Gah, I'm very tangential right now. Sorry.)

It's an interesting mind game that is played when one who has a history of RPL and has also successfully carried a healthy baby to term learns she is pregnant again.  

Hmmm, she thinks.  I've done this once... this worked once before... why not now? Why not again?  Maybe this one could just slip in under the radar all sly-like, mmkay?  Pretty please?

Oh that Hope, it is a feisty, determined little devil.  It never gives up, even when the odds are not in its favor.  Even when - hello, Ella - this is your, what are we up to now?  FIFTH?  Pregnancy?  Yes, yes that's right.  Good luck with that one (ah, there's the other player in this mind game, loudly filling my thoughts with doubt, efficiently tainting any hope that was (is?) there).

Ah well.  Each player has their say, and yet all we can do is trudge on.  And so we do.  Appointments are made, prescriptions are filled, and once again, The Business of Pregnancy-After-Loss commences.  No one is particularly excited (why would they be?) - except your mother and very best friends who hold on to that hope for dear life when you simply cannot allow yourself to go there.  My husband and I don't talk about it, we avoid discussions about baby names, nursery decor, May 2013 in general.

The unspoken words between us become so loud they are deafening.  It builds and builds, that silence, those unspoken words, to the point that I must say something to someone.  It bubbles out - once in a while - some little whisper about May (what a lovely time it would be to have a baby... to feel the warmth of the sunshine as I walk to the park with a baby nursing in a sling, holding Eliza's hand...).  I do it just so I can remember that this is happening.  That this is real.  At least for now.  And then I bottle it back up, praying that I can just save it for later, when we know.  When we know we have a chance.  October 1st is that day.  The day when it will be or it will not be.


October 1st arrives and it is a stunningly beautiful and warm fall day - Minnesota at its finest, truly.  It is a day full of friends and family, of rest, of play and of course some work, and I am reminded how lucky I am.  How grateful I am for what I have.  I hold on to this.  I carry this in my mind as I drive, hands shaking and stomach in knots (is that nausea or nerves?), to the clinic to meet my husband.  I arrive, step into the cold ultrasound room and see the exam table, the stirrups, the ultrasound machine and immediately have a mental conniption. "Nope. Nononononononono I can't do this.  Why am I here?  They are going to see nothing, why am I even here? I'm gonna be that crazy lady with the psychotic pregnancy aren't I?  Yep that's me, folks, right here!".  Hope, once so cocky, runs screaming from my mind and that other player celebrates its win.  Right then and there I am convinced that I will leave crushed and broken and barren (I can be very dramatic sometimes, it's true).  My husband tries to calm me, but really, he's equally as unsure and scared.  We both just want to be anywhere else at that moment.  So we quietly hold hands and steel ourselves for the next 60 seconds.

And then, a dark round circle appears on the screen.  It's empty, Ella, it's empty, I think.  At first it is, and then a split second later it isn't.  It isn't.  Holy @*&! it isn't.

He points. "Perfect cardiac activity, right there."

...yolk sac... embryo... perfect... normal... 

My breath returns to normal and I am free.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That Happened.

I was that mom today.

In the grocery store parking lot, I was that mom whose kid yelled at the top of her lungs: "OW YOU'RE HURTING ME! YOU'RE A BAD MAMA!!!"


I was walking to the car holding Eliza's hand and two bags of groceries*, and she wiggled her way from my grasp.  We have a firm parking lot rule about holding hands with a grown up, so of course I immediately told her she had to hold my hand and tried to grab it.  She darted away from me and so, I did what any parent would do... I grabbed her arm.  As I did so she turned, thus making it so I was was essentially twisting her arm.  Great.  Not what I was trying to do!  And that's when she lost it and started screaming that I was a bad mom.  Right there in front of the five o'clock yuppie rush.


On our way home, I explained to her that I wasn't trying to hurt her, I was trying to keep her safe and when she runs free in a parking lot, I can't keep her safe, blah blah blah... I was being all calm and explaining all this to her in a soothing way, in my best "mama loves you" sweet mama voice, apologizing for accidentally hurting her... mommy would never hurt her... etc... 

And then, from the back seat:

"You're a bad mom."

Seriously?  Those words?  Almost made me cry.  

Ugh.  This parenting stuff is hard sometimes!

*Stupid Whole Foods Paycheck and their no cart caddies in the whole entire freaking parking lot... you have to leave the grocery cart at the front door and haul your bags to your car, or leave your kid in the car while you go return the cart.  Guess I know which I will be doing from now on!  And also, as long as we're on the subject, why must you be so gosh darn appealing, Whole Foods? Why? You and your organic blueberries that taste so damn good I must go back for more as soon as I run out.  You and your amazing salad bar for $7.99/lb, your 2/$5 sale on my favorite Kombucha.  I swear to MOSES I went in there today and I just needed, like, 2 lemons and a box of cereal, and somehow I left $30 poorer.  How does that even happen?  Do I enter some sort of time and money warp when I walk through your sliding doors???  WTH????

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This is Hard: Part One

What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step of something better.
—Wendell Phillips

Two weeks ago, I withdrew from my Ph.D. program. 

(Oof, that was hard to write.  To see in black and white like that, it's still a bit jarring.  Knowing a decision is right and feeling an immediate happiness about it are not necessarily synonymous, I'm learning.)

It goes without saying that this decision was not an easy one.  I hung on to that program, clinging by my fingernails for so long, trying to convince myself that this was what I wanted.  This was what I wanted.  Right?  

I thought it was.

Let's get right to it.

It was a heart-wrenching decision, yes.  One that I put a great deal of thought, tears, and sleepless nights into.  But, as soon as I made it, I knew it was right.

I finally came to that place I was afraid to go for so very long.  That place of questioning this path I was on; a place I didn't ever let my mind travel, always halting that train of thought before it gathered steam, afraid of what I might find if I did.  Gradually, I let my mind go there and it led me to admit to myself that my long-term goals had changed, and a Ph.D. was no longer what I wanted.  While I do love to teach, I am not equally keen on research.  The thought of committing myself to a career in academia, to a job that held research, publishing, and securing outside funding in higher regard than the quality of my teaching made my sad.  Weary.  Not at all excited for the future.  

So the bottom line is: I know I want to serve students through teaching and advocacy in some capacity someday, but the job description and lifestyle - both now, but especially later on - that come with a tenure-track position is no longer what I want.  Given all of this, both the time and financial commitments of finishing the Ph.D. would have been too great for me and my family.  

And then, after a great deal of self reflection, having finally admitted to myself that I was continuing down a path I knew wasn't right for me, I wondered why I was still on it.

I had slowly (omg so slowly) accepted that I really truly did not need a PhD to do what I want to do, but I had stopped there.  So then, I had to ask myself the hard, and yet so logical, next question: then what are you doing, Ella? Why are you still trying? Still trying to make everyone think you will finish?  Telling people this is what you want?  

My answer, when I finally came to it, was sad:  It was simply because I was afraid of what people would think of me if I stopped.  I finally came to terms with this, recognizing how deeply flawed it was, and in that instant I knew in my heart that withdrawing was the right decision.  

The more I thought about all of this -- all the years I'd put into this program, the questions I would inevitably have to face, the reality of my decision -- the more I realized how much being a parent has changed me. Would I have finished if I hadn't decided to start a family mid-way through my doctoral program?  Maybe, maybe not.  But more than that, being a parent showed me so much more about what is important in this life - that's what had changed most. All those things I wanted to teach my daughter about life? About living her one precious life?  I couldn't just tell her about it, tell her how to do it.  I had to live it.  

I had to show her.  

Do I want to teach my child that continuing with something you feel isn't right for you just because you're afraid what other people might think or say is how you should live your life?  No.  I want better for her.  I want her to be true to herself.  I want her to have enough faith in herself to make the hard choices - those choices that will bring her closer to living a genuine, true-to-herself life.  

I have to show her.  

And in doing so, I will live a more true-to-me life.


The decision was made.  There was a sigh of relief... followed by a stomach twisting urge to hurl, and expletive after expletive running through my mind.  Oh dear God, I'd have to tell my advisor.  I'd have to tell my parents.

I'd have to tell... everyone.  

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just a Few Quotes.

"I made this card for Auntie Kelly, Mama.  Now let's put it in a cantaloupe so we can send it to her."

"Can you sing me 'Simple Presents' again?" (she says this every night after I sing her the song 'Simple Gifts' - this one cracks me up every time!).

"I am two but I will be three in November." (she pulled this one out at the park yesterday when she was meeting a new friend.  Totally did not realize she knew that!  My smart girl :)

"When I am THIS TALL I will be old enough for a dog!" (She reaches up above her head, which is apparently when one is old enough for a dog...)

"I will share my Milky with my baby brother/sister (depends on the day), s/he can have this side and I will have this side." (She is CONFIDENT that this scenario will work out perfectly for everyone whenever the time comes...)

"I love you, too, Mama" <----- my favorite.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vintage E

A year ago... were discovering your love of music, you had baby curls in your hair, you were on the cusp of 2,  you were exploding with the desire and ability to talk, you were enjoying our last fall in our old house on Reaney Avenue and you were just beginning your love affair with Gallihad ("your" horse)... you were becoming you.  365 days later you still are, and I am loving every day (almost every day - gotta be honest here, not every day is a walk in the park, my little lady!) of watching you.  

Sometimes it's fun to look back...

Love you, Eliza.

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz