our morning

Been laying in bed for the past hour with Jude asleep on my chest, dogs at my feet. Watching the wind blow the rain through the trees outside. Trying to remember if the doors are locked. Thinking about all the laundry I need to do today. Need a drink of water and the toilet. Bum is going numb. Worried my child will never nap during the day in a normal bed, or sleep through the night without a swaddle. I’m going to have to swaddle my 30-year-old son, unless he finds a wife who’ll do it for him, but if she puts up with the swaddling she can’t be normal, right?


Let it be known that on this Friday, November 25, on the day of his two-month birthday, I awoke to discover that Jude had slept seven and a half straight hours. We’re now both wide awake at 6:30a, but I’ll take it.


7 weeks

My parents’ old office chair makes a good rocker.  I’ve learned this over the past few days as I’ve tried to steal a few minutes at the computer during feedings.  It’s nice to be able to rock him to sleep once he’s nice and full, and then take a few minutes to glimpse at what the world is up to, or to stare vacantly at the trees out the window next to my desk.

J-man (thanks, sister) turned seven-weeks-old yesterday.  Right now we’re in the office chair, him asleep on my chest, me debating whether which I need worse: a nap or lunch.  Instead of taking either, I’m here writing, which I’ve wanted to do for days.  It’s amazing how childbirth gives you fodder for creativity.  The nine months of pregnancy were so miserable that I felt sharing would only be a gripe session, so I limited how much I shared.  And really, these last seven weeks have plenty of their own gripes, but probably lots of good stuff, too.  Getting a smile at week five stands out as a highlight.  The five-hour stretch of sleep J-man had a few nights ago stands out as well.

Having my finger pooped on twice in three days does not.

I have to say, I’m just not one of those women who loved being pregnant, and I’ve decided I’m probably not one that loves the newborn stage, either.  Don’t get me wrong: I love my newborn.  Love him.  What with the “baby blues” and all that, it took me some time to realize how much, but I would definitely seriously consider murdering anyone who tried to touch him inappropriately, or what have you.

However, I’m really, really looking forward to finding out what is going ON in that brain of his.  J-man is not a cuddly baby, unless he’s not feeling well, or has fallen asleep in my arms.  From the time he wakes up in the morning, he’s looking around and taking things in.  If he’s being held, he wants to be held so that he can see what’s going on around him.  As soon as he arrived in our house we noticed his obsession with the trees outside our bedroom window.  Generally speaking, he can’t get enough of trees (good thing, we’re surrounded).  Once my arms get tired from holding him up over my shoulder so he can look out the window, I transfer him to his playmat so he can gaze at himself for a while.  That gets old after about 10 minutes, so we move to his bouncy seat.  At this point I usually put him in the bathroom with me so I can shower, pee, brush my teeth, or perform whatever other hygiene rituals I’ve been bypassing for the last three days.  He likes to chat with the toys that hang over this little chair, and I swear they’re telling him jokes because I’ve caught him smiling at them more than once.  Once their stories get old, he starts to fuss some more, so at this point we have to leave the house and find something new to look at.  Honestly, keeping him entertained is already making me tired.  The only time he’s content to just be held is when football is on television.  I’m hoping this is an interest that continues, because at the rate he’s growing he’s going to make a heckuva football player.  (Have I mentioned that he’s been rolling over since his one-month birthday?  Yeah, I’m going to have to start baby-proofing the house next week, I figure.)

All that to say, J-man seems to find the world a very interesting place.  He fights sleep during the day, as if he doesn’t want to stop learning.  I’m lucky if he sleeps two hours in the afternoon, in addition to the 12-ish hours he gets at night.  Supposedly most newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day.  Gosh, that would be nice.

I’m looking forward to finding out what he thinks of all this mess.  I’m looking forward to the day when he can chase the dogs around the house (and help clean up after them).  I’m looking forward to making a quote book, and maybe sharing his witticisms here on this blog.  I’m looking forward to answering his questions, finding out what makes him tick, learning what he loves and what his passions are.  I’m looking forward to getting to know my kid.

And I’m also looking forward to not having my finger pooped on.



I’ve been avoiding blogging much about my pregnancy because frankly, I’m tired.  I’ve been tired for 8+ months now.  I’m not normally a person who likes unsolicited advice.  In fact, I would say I hate it, and now that I am with child and exhausted, I hate it even more.  A pregnant lady (or a new mom) can’t make a comment about how she’s feeling or what she’s thinking without 80 well-meaning ladies piping in with their feedback.  I could probably make a grouchy list of all the comments that make me nuts, but top of the list might be anything related to sleep.  I know folks mean well, but “sleep while you can, because you won’t sleep later” doesn’t make me feel any better when I’m already getting up at 1am, 4am, and 6am to go to the bathroom.  I got four and a half straight hours of sleep the other night, and I felt like I’d been reborn.  The lack of sleep has already started, but without the reward of an actual child to help make up for it, so all I want when I complain is sympathy, not commands to sleep more.

That’s not what I wanted to write about.  I just wanted to explain my absense.  And if you’re one of those people who has commanded me to sleep, or stand on my head to cure my heartburn, or whatever, please know this is not directed at you.  It is not directed at any one person, but rather the collective universe of females (and sometimes males) that don’t always know to keep their mouth shut.

If you are one of the people who has said I look great in all the pregnancy pics on facebook, you win my undying love and affection.

I watch the Today show nearly every morning.  When I was a little girl my dad would watch the Today show while he was getting ready for work, so it’s been the soundtrack that starts my day for as long as I can remember.  This morning Train was doing a concert in their concert series, and I watched it because this was one of the few bands that has performed this summer that I actually recognize (read: I’m old and listen to too much NPR).

The last song of the morning was one picked by viewers, and naturally it was “Drops of Jupiter”. Why wouldn’t it be?  I remember the first time I heard this song, standing behind the RA desk at WMU (Women’s Missionary Union Memorial Dormitory).  It came on the radio and I turned it up, making everyone else be quiet and listen with me.  I immediately went out and bought the album, and spent the rest of the year singing the song loudly in the hallway with my residents.  Or alone in my room.  Whatever.

The song began this morning, and naturally I remembered all the words.  Bentley was sitting on the couch beside me, looking up curiously, and I grabbed his floppy ears and started to serenade him.  Somewhere before the start of the first chorus I started to tear up…and I still have no idea why.  I was thinking about several things at the time: remembering college and how much I loved those four years, thinking how my unborn child could hear my voice at this moment, and that maybe when he arrives I’d sing him this song to put him to sleep.  Maybe I was thinking about how I’d woken up three times last night and according to the lady who rang me up at Trader Joe’s the other day I’d never sleep again once I became a mother, but whatever the reason, I started to cry.  I tried to stop, to keep singing, but I just couldn’t do it.

Then lead singer Pat Monahan took off his shirt to reveal a white man-tank, which looked ridiculous on its own, but was amplified by the skinny white jeans, high top shoes, and crazy homeless man hair he’s taken to sporting over the last few years.

I couldn’t look at the man and continue to be emotional.  That stopped the tears.

things you should know

Dear L’Dub,

I swore I wouldn’t do this.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to start writing you letters.  I think it can be very, very sweet with other moms-to-be do it, but somehow it didn’t feel like my style.  I can be emotional, and even sentimental, but I’m not a very sappy, schmaltzy person.  I lean a little more to the snarky side, and have little patience for overblown affection.

However, it turns out that when you carry around a little creature 24 hours a day, you tend to start a dialogue with them, regardless of whether you want to or not.  Since you’re probably not going to remember most of these conversations, I figured I’d fill you in on some of the high points.  So, in no particular order, a few things you might like to know…

* We currently refer to you as L’Dub, short for Little Wetzel.  We have a name picked out for you, and when it’s just the three of us, we use your name all the time.  However, your Papa wanted to keep this piece of information quiet for now, because as you will soon find out, your Mama has a big mouth and tends to share more information than Papa would always like.  I don’t mind keeping this secret.  I like having this little part of you all to ourselves for now.

* I have also started referring to you as Little Ninja.  Because you never stop moving.  Ever.  And as you get bigger, these movements become more pronounced.  This morning, in fact, I was resting my kindle on my tummy, trying to read about what on earth to do with you once you get out, and you gave my hand several swift kicks, enough to dislodge the device from it’s resting place, causing me to lose my spot.  You often kick hard enough to make my shirt jump.  The first time you did this we were in Arkansas visiting the Green side of your family, and after we finished our BBQ lunch you signaled your approval by giving an enthusiastic thumbs up that your MiMi could see from across the table. I know I shouldn’t mind any of this, because these are all signs that you’re healthy and growing (I do get nervous when you’re still for too long) but seriously, I wish you could know what it feels like to get punched in the stomach from the inside.

*Along the lines of your wiggliness, it took three ultrasounds and four ultrasound techs to get all of your measurements at your 20-week appointment.  I wasn’t really feeling you move too much yet, just a flutter here and there, but once we got a peek at what was going on in there…it was obvious I was in for a boxing match.  After the first appointment, when my midwife saw how few measurements the tech actually got, she laughed and said, “What was your baby DOING in there?!”  I ended up having another appointment a few days later because little Finn jumped off my tummy a little too enthusiastically one night, and we had to make sure everything was okay.  It was; you were still doing somersaults.  However, they still were able to capture all they needed, and at the third appointment, the first tech we had laughed and said you were a mover.  Then she got frustrated, and said she’d never seen a baby move that much.  Then she had to go get another, more experienced tech to give it a go.  That final tech had me rolling from side to side, trying to get you to stop in the position she wanted you to be in, and in the end we were rewarded with a blurry, grainy picture of your little face.  I wish I could say that I can tell you look like me or Papa, but really, who can tell from those things?

* Speaking of the dogs, they’re excited for you to get here.  I’m assuming.  They’re definitely enjoying laying on your baby blankets, and sniffing all the toys that keep showing up at the house.  So far Finny has been our “test puppy”.  We’ve put him in the Baby Bjorn, the swing, the rocker, and the bassinet.  He enjoyed the bassinet until we turned on the vibration, at which point he got out of there as fast as possible.  Bentley also tried to test the swing out for you, but he’s just a hair over the weight limit…plus it’s hard to jump onto a moving object and stay put.

*Finn and Bentley are slowly losing the lap space that they usually share, thanks to you.  I suppose this is just getting them ready for your arrival, because once you’re here I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold on to you and two puppies at the same time.  Finn doesn’t seem to notice you in there kicking away, but Bentley likes to rest his head on my belly, and you often try to “pet” him with enough force that I can see his head bouncing around.  I’m sure he doesn’t mind.  In fact, I think you two are going to be great friends.  We keep telling Bentley that we’ve gotten him a little boy to play with, and that he’ll be here soon.  Don’t worry; you’ll have a little time to adjust before we start letting him wrestle with you.  Oh, and you’re taking over poop scoop duty as soon as we can get that physical dexterity and hand-eye coordination up to par.

* Things I have lost/misplaced since becoming pregnant: a laundry basket, a blue oven mitt, and a pair of maternity pants.  I’ve also burned my arm on both the iron and the pizza pan.  Your Papa doesn’t let me get food out of the oven anymore.  Oh, and yesterday I went hunting for your crib online, only to find out that it is being discontinued and is currently on sale.  Rather than pay $50 to have it shipped to the house (read: your Mama is cheap), I decided to go pick it up from the store.  However, the closest store that still had one in stock was 45 minutes away.  I counted up the gift cards and cash we’d received so far, realized I had enough, and headed out he door.  I dropped off Finny so he could visit Papa’s office for a while (he’s the Affirma mascot)…and while there I realized I’d left the envelope full of cards on my desk in the living room.  So I had to drive back.  And then drive to the store in rush hour traffic.  Please stop sucking up my brain power for your ninja kicks.

* You probably don’t want to know all the gross stuff going on in your Mama’s body, do you?  For now, let’s just say that I just started my third trimester, and I’m feeling rather large.  In fact, I don’t understand how I get larger.  My tummy muscles feel so stretched out all the time, and I’m dreading the feeling I’ll have a month or two (or three) from now when they’re stretched even further.  You seem to be a big guy; at the final ultrasound we had, when I was probably about 22 weeks, the tech said you weighed about a pound an a half.  The books I’d been reading right before your appointment said by 22 weeks you would be nearly a pound.  Apparently you’re taking after your Mama…although if you come out at 10 lbs 10 ounces I WILL hang it over your head for the rest of your life.

* Speaking of your ultrasounds (apparently one of my favorite topics), a few things happened in the days leading up to when we first laid eyes on you (electronically, of course):

  • Between April 25-28, a total of 330 tornadoes broke out across the U.S.  Over 20 happened in my home state of Arkansas, and 2 EF5s blew through both Alabama and Mississippi.  The Alabama tornadoes were by far the worst, killing and hurting a lot of people.  It was scary, and made me sad for my home.
  • On April 29, Prince William married Catherine Middleton.  I did not stay up until 2am to watch the ceremony, as I assumed you would forgive me for not being able to recount every last detail for you at some point in the future.  Plus, the American press went so crazy that I knew I’d be able to see most of it the next morning.
  • On May 2, Osama Bin Laden was shot and killed. We found out via Twitter as we were leaving our Bible study, and rushed to the car to listen to the president address the nation. We sat in the car at Scott’s Dairy Freeze listening to his speech, and ran to the house to turn on the television as soon as we got home. It was a bizarre, bizarre night.
  • On May 3, we saw you.  You wiggled and jumped, and I didn’t care about anything else in the world.  I cried, and your Papa looked stunned, as though he wasn’t sure until then that you actually existed.

I think that’s good for now.  I’ve been sitting long enough that you’re starting to get uncomfortable…or I would assume by the nudges you’re giving my stomach.  I’m guessing you’d like me to go work on your room a little more, eh?



the last 24 hours: a list

1. I am sick. 

I am also pregnant. 

I’ve decided pregnant sick is the worst kind of sick, because a) I cannot take anything strong enough to treat my symptoms, b) I’m worried about the little kiwi, and c) I already feel kinda off because I’m growing a human being.  Temporary solutions are going to involve hot tea for my throat, a little bit of caffeine for my headache, and hugging the humidifier that we just picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond.

2. That humidifier?  $100 Sharper Image machine.  We just picked it up for $20 because it was a display model, and one of the only ones left in the store.  I call that a win.

3. We’re about to start remodeling our kitchen.  May 9th, to be exact.  We’ve been saving for a while, and we realized that if we didn’t do it before little one arrived, it might never get done.  And it NEEDS to get done.  Bad.  I’m fairly certain the previous owners let their dogs use the kitchen drawers as a chew toy.

4. Speaking of the kitchen, our new microwave arrived today!  Get this: it’s a drawer.  Instead of having one built-in above the countertop, ours will be built in below.  It’s still in the box, but we’ve decided it’s remarkable.  We’re like the Jetsons.

5. On our way home from the doctor, we heard that Snoqualmie Pass was closed at exit 34.  We live at exit 32, so ours is the last exit you can usually take when the pass is closed.  The Pass is typically closed because they’re doing a controlled avalanche, but apparently the one today came unexpectedly.  Skiers were trapped, a car got buried…and all of this resulted in a 3 mile traffic pile up.  This never, ever happens.  There are usually several semis parked on the shoulder, but this was unreal.  We had to drive the last half mile on the shoulder just to get off the interstate.

6. I’m falling in love with this humidifier.  I’ve been sitting by it for the last hour and a half, and it’s turned my dry, hacky cough into a slightly less painful wet, hacky cough.

7. At the moment, I’m quite irresistible.

this time I have an excuse…

I know, I know.  Worst blogger ever.

But this time I have an excuse.

I looked back at the date of my last blog post: Friday, January 7.  On Monday, January 10, Joel and I learned that we are going to be parents.  I took the test first thing that morning, certain, absolutely positive, that it would come back negative, but that would be okay because it was still a few days, maybe a few weeks early and I could just take another one later but if I didn’t do it today it might drive me crazy so…

I’m pregnant.

indescribable emotions.  Utterly indescribable.  I know women with children are fond of telling women without children and pregnant women all about the feelings, emotions, “just wait until”s, but I’m not even going to try, because it would just sound cliché and not even come close to capturing the emotion of the moment when that little stick pops up the word “pregnant”.

Joel was outside with the dogs, so I grabbed this book I’d been holding onto for this moment.  I think it was a Dave Barry book about parenting that I’d wrapped a few days earlier…so maybe I knew before I knew?  Who knows.  Anyway, he came back in and I handed him the gift.  I think he was confused at first, but a split second later his face registered recognition.

“Wait.  Does this mean…?” he trailed off.

I handed him the stick.

I don’t remember much after that, aside from hugging, crying, and doing something I swore I’d never do: take pictures of the pee stick.  Every time I see one of those pictures on facebook, I am immediately cognizant of the fact that someone had to urinate on it, so I’m essentially looking at a picture of their morning toilet, but I guess you can now add me to the list.  In retrospect, I’m glad I took the pictures.  The batteries on those digital tests run out quick, and eventually you find yourself questioning whether or not it really happened. 

This was especially important when I went to the hospital the next day to take a confirmation pregnancy test, only to have it come back negative.  Turns out the tests you can buy at the store – at least the E.P.T. brand – are more sensitive than the ones my doctor uses.  After that test result, I immediately went to the store and bought two more boxes of tests, used all of them, and stared at those pictures we’d taken Monday morning.

Don’t worry; a week later the doctor’s office was on board.

I went through that entire first day, and probably following week, in a daze.  I was a little tired, and a little emotional, but nothing too bad.

Enter week five.

The short version of the story is that I’ve spent the last two and a half months feeling like I had the flu.  I wanted to blog about everything I was feeling and thinking, but 1) we weren’t telling everyone yet, and 2) I came home from work each day, forced down dinner, and went to bed by 8pm.  Never, ever in my life have I felt so bad that I didn’t want to eat, and for the first time, it was something I HAD to do in order to feel better.  My hips and back were already starting to hurt, so I bought a body pillow from Target.  I repeatedly found myself questioning all the lunatics who claimed to “love” their pregnancies, who glowed from day one, who couldn’t wait to be pregnant again.  Liars.  What on earth had happened in the brains of these women that they had forgotten this first trimester?  Why do women do this to themselves more than once?  HOW DO WE AS A SPECIES CONTINUE TO REPRODUCE?!

Yeah, yeah, when it’s all over you have a baby, you forget, it’s worth it.  I get it.  But you cannot tell me in all honesty that those first three months are not torture.  You feel horrible, you’re probably not telling anyone why you feel horrible, and as much as you hate being pregnant, you continue to have this gnawing feeling in your gut that it’s not going to stick and…

Well, that’s what happens if you’re me, I guess.

Other highlights from trimester one:

* I’ve decided what they say about dogs sensing pregnancy is true.  A few days to a week after that positive test, I was laying in bed, preparing to go to sleep at 8pm sharp, when Bentley crawled up next to me and put his front paws over my side so he was straddling me.  I thought he was preparing to jump all the way over so he could either snuggle or steal the armchair beside me before Cooper got to hit, so I scratched his ears and said hello…and a second later realized I felt something warm, too warm, soaking through my nightgown.

Bentley was marking his territory.

He’s had accidents over the last two years, to be sure, but never had I stretched my imagination so far as to dream that would happen. 

And I wish I could say that was the last time.

A month or so later I was sitting at the dining room table, probably chatting with Joel while he worked, and Bentley “asked” to come up in my lap.  This usually start as a pitiful stare, turns into pawing, and ends in a whimpering howl.  I invited him up, and he attempted to curl up and get comfortable, which is challenging enough for his 25 pounds when I’m not growing a baby gut.  A few minutes later Finn came by, and, in a jealous fit that is common for the “mama’s boy” of our pack, he wanted up, too.  His request comes in a manner similar to Bentley’s: stare, paw, whimper.  Never one to turn away a puppy, I invited Finn up as well.  Somehow Finn managed to wiggle between my belly and Bentley, and B eventually got fed up with it and jumped off my lap.  A few seconds later, I was marked again.  I didn’t even notice, but Joel did, and promptly attempted to put a stop to it.  But as we all know, once you break the seal…as far as I can figure, Bentley got mad when Finn came between me and him, and wanted to let Finn know who I belonged to.  Aren’t we all glad that’s not how human relationships work?

Bentley also “marked” my mother when she was here.  We still haven’t figured that one out.

Someone told me that the dogs know I’m pregnant, but they assume I’m having puppies, naturally.  It explains Bentley’s marking, and Finn’s fiercer-than-normal overprotectiveness.  Not that he ever wants to leave my side, but lately it’s been a little ridiculous.  I tried to drop him off at puppy daycare the other day, and he went limp like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum when the counselor tried to take his leash.  I’m hoping that this will translate into some degree of protectiveness over the baby, and we’re seeing signs that it will.  When our nieces and nephew came over a few weeks ago, the littlest treated Finn a bit like a stuffed animal, and he took it all in stride.

I could continue to recap the last few weeks, but I think I’ll save it for later…mostly because I’m getting another one of my throbbing, second trimester headaches from sitting in this desk chair in front of my computer.

This baby better be cute.

I might be a genius

Of course, if I were a genius, maybe I would have thought of it sooner.

One of the most dreaded responsibilities hubs and I have as dog parents is nail trimming.  You might think it’s poop duty, but you’d be wrong.  It is absolutely, without a doubt, nail trimming. 

I think we’re fairly lucky in that our dogs put up with a lot of poking, prodding, and general disrespect for their personal space.  I’ve seen more than one kid grab on a little too tight to Finn’s ears, and he usually gives a quick grunt before licking the little one to giggles.

But for whatever reason, every time I’ve tried to clip the nails of one of our furry housemates, it turns into World War 3.  The worst offender, as you might imagine if you’ve read my blog over the past year and a half, is Bentley. 

Our journey down the path of chaos usually begins when I lock him in the kitchen with me, away from the other two pups.  He usually sniffs around, wags his tail, and as soon as I pull out the treats he sits on the floor and waits patiently to run through his shallow bag of tricks…okay, he has five, so maybe not so shallow, but also maybe not always so patiently with the waiting.  Things go smoothly until I pull out the dreaded red clippers. 

He knows what they are.  He knows what their intended for.  And my ever-hungry, stomach-driven beagle doesn’t want to be in that room one second longer than necessary with those medieval torture devices.  He immediately starts clawing at the door. 

I try talking to him soothingly, throwing treats in his direction, but it usually only works long enough for me to make a grab at his scruff before he runs in the opposite direction.  I finally manage to corner him and sit us both down on the floor, but at that point it becomes more of a wrestling match between me and a small, angry greased pig.

I can’t tell you how the job finally gets done, because I don’t one hundred percent remember.  I may very well have blocked it due to some mild form of PTSD.  I do know at some point, usually a half hour later, we emerge from the kitchen, Bentley at a sprint, me at a slow, defeated trudge.  I’m usually able to get at least one half of the claws clipped, and by then we both need a break before going for round two.

Tonight, though, was magical.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I finally had an epiphany:

Peanut butter.

We have a jar of peanut butter in our house at all times, and use it whenever the boys need some mental stimulation and we need a break.  Load up a Kong, and they’re good to go for about 20 minutes…or if you’re Bentley, an evening, as he finishes his and then stalks the other two until they abandon theirs, eventually collecting all three in a corner and protecting them like a hoarder, licking them until their bone dry.

I started with Finn so the scent of peanut butter would get Bentley interested.  It went smoothly, as it usually does with Finn, with the exception of the two hounds standing outside the kitchen door howling. 

When we were done, I wrangled Bentley past the other two, shut the kitchen door, and laid a spoonful of peanut butter on the floor next to the clippers.  He looked at it cautiously, and then our eyes met, and we both knew: the war was over.  He could not resist the delicious, sweet, fatty (well, reduced-fat) goodness that lay before him.  I gave him a few licks of the spoon and then went to work while his tounge worked to get the peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.  Whenever it seemed that he was about to succeed, I would give him another mouthful of peanut butter, and in five minutes we were finished.

It was beautiful.

Cooper was a little sad to be left out of the action, but I wanted hubs to be able to experience some of my genius when he gets home, so I decided to leave one for him.  It’s only fair.