Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meg turns 15 months old today!

This week is the biggest week in Thomas' marathon training. He’ll run 50 miles this week, then taper off, running less and less each week until the marathon. Since I’m commuting to a client 45 minutes away this week, I didn’t get home until 6:30. He picked Meg up at 5, hung out with her until I got home, then went off to run his 13 miles for today. I decreed it Mommy and Meg week, since he’ll be running so much.

From the second I got home at 6:30 until Meg was asleep at 8:15, I gave her my absolute undivided attention. We had the best time. We read books, chased eachother around the house, petted the kitty, and played games. I wish I could bottle her happiness. I can’t describe how thrilled she was to have me do whatever she wanted for an hour and a half without once looking at my phone. I really need to do that more.

One of her favorite things to do is to go through books looking for kitties.  No matter what book we're reading, even if she hasn't seen it before, she can always find the kitty on a page.  (A lot of her books involve cats since she's crazy about them.)  She can also identify Pooh Bear and (usually) puppies.

I can’t believe how grown up she’s getting. She’s been walking for three months and following directions for at least a month or two, but it still amazes me every time. If I say “Let’s go change your diaper” she goes to her room and stands by the changing table, waiting for me. If I say “Lets have some lunch,” she runs to either her highchair or the refrigerator. If we say “Time for your bottle!” she runs to the sink (she refuses to drink cold milk, so we warm the bottles in a cup of hot water in the sink). If I say “Put on your shoes and we’ll go outside!” she puts on her shoes (by herself!), RUNS to the door and starts banging on it, desperate to get outside. She loooooves going outside. What she really, really loves is going places. Once we’re outside, she runs to the garage, waits for me to open the door, goes to her door of the car, waits for me to open it, then climbs in. Then I lift her in her seat and buckle her in. If we go outside and I tell her that no, we’re not going for a car ride, she gets sad. She knows that if mommy or daddy is taking her somewhere we go out the back door and if grandma is taking her somewhere they go out the front door.

Her memory also amazes me. She likes to pull stuff out of a low cupboard in the kitchen and play with it. Months ago, she put an ice cream mix in one of the iced tea pitchers and its stayed there ever since. Last week she was playing and the contents of the cupboard got spread throughout the house. Since it was plague week in our house, they didn’t get picked up. The ice cream mix laid on the kitchen floor, wedged under a different cupboard, for 4 days. Last night, Meg noticed it and remembered where it was supposed to go. She ran over, picked it up, went to the cupboard, opened the door, took out the pitcher, took the lid off, put the mix in, put the lid back on, put the pitcher back in the cabinet, and closed the door. Thomas and I were floored. I know it doesn’t sound all that impressive, but this is by BABY. My little, tiny baby remembered where something she got out four days ago went and put it back, even thought it involved opening a cupboard and taking the lid off a pitcher. And she did it perfectly. I didn’t have to go over after she was done and finish the job. (Well, actually, I did, because after she finished putting it away, she got it out again, then put it away again, then got it out again, and repeated the process fifteen more times until I distracted her.)

I just never thought she’d be this grown up at fifteen months. It kind of makes me sad.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've been trying to come up with a name I feel comfortable with for this blog since I started it in February.  I think I've finally decided on one.  I decided to go with something simple and "me."  My mom has called me Jesabes (pronounced Jess-a-Bess) my whole life and I feel like its even more "me" than Jessica, even though I'm rarely called it anymore, since there are tons of people named Jessica, but no one I know personally with that nickname.  (By the way, I love my name and don't mind AT ALL that its not unique - I've always liked having a common/normal, pronouncable name).

In a semi-related thought, I have a weird thing about the nickname "Jess."  To me, Jess is a boy's name.  I hate it.  I spell it Jes, which I consider more feminine.  Almost everyone calls me Jessica.  If you want to call me Jes that's fine, but that's Jes, with the emphasis on the "Je" and the "s" as an afterthought, not Jess, with the emphasis on the "ss."  I'm a freak, I know.  The only person who thinks there's a difference is me.  Thomas always called me Jes (with the correct pronunciation) for the first couple of years we dated, but his friends (who became OUR friends) could never get it right and it drove me CRAZY so he had to set an example for them by calling me Jessica.  I kind of miss it, but I do not miss people writing "Jess" on my facebook wall.  It made me way more angry than it should have.  I suppose I should just grow up and get over it already, but I don't see that happening...

ANYWAY, I'm excited to have what I feel like is a permanent blog title.  Now I'll have to get a pretty banner.  How should I do that?  I need a new background, too.  This one's too pink.  I do like it, though.  Maybe with a brown banner?  I love brown & pink together.

Two questions:

Do you have strong feelings about the nicknames people choose to call you?  (Thomas HATES being called Tom.  You must use his full name.)

How did you do your banner or who did you have do it for you?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I wrote these yesterday, but was too busy vomiting to connect to the internet

1.  I can’t just “start” reading blogs (autobiographical blogs, that is). I feel lost when I don’t know all of the background and “about me” pages aren’t enough information. So I don’t just add blogs to my feed reader. I start at the beginning. I enjoy reading someone’s entire archives so there’s more of a narrative. Also, I can’t keep blogs straight unless I really know who the writer is. Even now, I sometimes get confused as to which blog is which.

2.  As a result, I’m a pretty bad commenter. I spend most of my time reading posts written a long time ago, so there’s no reason to comment. Sometimes I even get so into the archives I’m reading at the moment, I don’t keep up with my feed reader. I always go back and catch up, but I need to get better about commenting when I do that.

3.  At one point or another, everyone writes a book review post, so I’ve got this huge list of books other people loooooved.  I feel like I should read them, but I just don’t want to. I pretty much only read mysteries or autobiographical stuff (which are basically blogs in book form). Its how I unwind. I don’t like “literature.” I don’t like Young Adult books. I hate nonfiction. I’d probably like some of the books they recommended, but there’ll also be many I don’t like. I just don’t feel like taking the chance when there are books I know I’ll like.

4.  Meg has a stomach bug. She’s almost over it, I think. Wednesday night, while I was eating my dinner, she walked over to me, whined, then puked all over me. And the couch. And the floor. And herself. And kitty – her favorite stuffed animal. (I have NEVER been more thankful to have spare kitties – we bought 2 extras) She’s starting to feel better, but still not eating much.

5.  All day, I’ve been looking forward to naptime so I could maybe take a shower or read a book or wash the dishes. But now its naptime and all I can manage is laying on the couch watching Grey’s Anatomy, because YAY, I am feeling very very sick to my stomach. I don’t think the next 24 hours are going to be very pleasant. But I did promise Thomas I wouldn’t throw up on the couch.

6.  The LAST 24 hours haven’t been very pleasant either, because I’ve spent them trying to rid my house of the smell of vomit. I don’t know what to do with the couch. Sadly, I’m allergic to Febreze (and anything else perfumed). We’ve sprinkled the couch with baking powder then vacuumed it up several times (including immediately after the incident). Its helped a little, but it mostly just gunked up the vacuum. Of all the gross things I thought I’d have to do as a mother, cleaning puke off the couch was on the list, but cleaning a baking powder/puke paste out of my vacuum was NOT.

7.  I’m going to go throw up now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Looks can be deceiving

The first day we took Meg to the fair it was HOT. Over 100 degrees and blisteringly sunny. (OK, fine, I think it was in the 90s, but the heat index was over 100). It was so hot I was soaked in sweat within minutes of getting out of the car. It was the kind of day where you tell yourself you just have to get from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building and you want to hurry, but its so hot you feel like you’re slowly moving through jello.

I’ve always felt bad for pregnant women at the fair, even before I’d ever been pregnant. There’s so much walking and its so hot (WHY is the fair in August??). That day, I was seeing pregnant people everywhere. As I trudged along, pushing the stroller, clothes dripping with sweat, I saw many pregnant women doing the same thing and I was SO HAPPY not to be pregnant. (I was also congratulating myself on excellently timing my pregnancy with Meg – I got pregnant in September, right AFTER the fair).

There were a lot of women who looked like they could go into labor any minute (maybe they were trying to induce labor by coming to the fair!), but there were also several with “baby bumps,” most of whom already had kids. I walked along saying stuff, like “look! That woman has a child who looks to be Meg’s age and she’s pregnant! At the fair!” then “look! That woman is trying to pacify TWO hot and sweaty children AND she’s pregnant!” (I was saying this IN MY HEAD. I was not walking around pointing at pregnant women and talking about them loudly)

Then I saw a woman with three kids. Two trudging down the sidewalk and one in a stroller her husband was pushing. The woman looked hot. And about five months pregnant. Ugh. That would be miserable. Then, as we got closer, I saw the child in the stroller was pretty young. Probably about a year old. I started thinking. That woman got pregnant again quickly! Wait, maybe not. She has three kids. What if its just baby weight? Yeah, that could definitely be baby weight. Actually, it kind of looks like…OH NO! Her stomach looks EXACTLY LIKE MINE. How many of these “pregnant women” I’ve seen today were actually pregnant? How many people walked past ME and felt sorry for the pregnant woman pushing a 14-month-old in a stroller?

P.S.  I was not staring at this woman's stomach.  I had two quick looks as I was scanning the crowd.  I'm sure she had no idea I even looked at her.  Besides, she was probably busy staring at MY stomach.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I’m actually sick of baby girl clothes

This weekend I went through all of Meg’s clothes and put away most things 12 months or smaller. Meg is wearing 18 month size stuff now (only because she is so long – she’s in the 66th percentile for height, but 19th for weight, so everything looks really baggy on her). For awhile now, I’ve been putting 18 month clothes in her drawers without taking anything else out, so they were really full. It took forever. And then some. Almost all of my “downtime” on Saturday and Sunday (although I watched Hulu while I was doing it). By the end of it, my back was killing me and I was exhausted. I’m very particular about baby clothes storage, so I was often taking everything out of storage boxes to rearrange. I totally understand why the hand-me-downs I got were just thrown into boxes (not even folded). I actually considered it a few times, but I wouldn’t be able to just let all those clothes sit in the basement wrinkling.

The worst part was when I finally finished sorting through all of her socks Sunday night (I have never gone through her socks and there were some tiny tiny baby socks in there), I realized I hadn’t done any of the regular chores. I still needed to wash bottles and pack lunches, etc, etc, etc. And the house was a mess! And it was 9:00!

Its just depressing how much work there is to do around the house. If we don’t have anything else going on, we can get it all done, with a little free time to spare. But when we’re busy or if we throw in an extra project, like sorting clothes, we often don’t have enough time to get even the basic stuff done. I feel like I spent the whole weekend working hard to get stuff done yet I’m now behind.  I'm also tired from staying up late to wash bottles and pack lunches.  I’ll spend this week catching up on chores. That’s just sad.

On another note, the basement utility room is crammed full of plastic bins full of girl clothes. I don’t see how we can possibly fit an equal amount of boy clothes down there, so I suppose we’d better only have girls.  Although my sister will be borrowing clothes when she has a baby.

Oh no!  I've just had a truly awful thought.  I've spent hours and hours organizing these clothes so it will be really easy for me to take them out of the bins and plop them in the drawer next time, because this time I had to spend hours and hours sorting the hand-me-downs by size.  I've even got them sorted by season (I actually have separate bins labeled 12 months - winter and 12 months - spring).  But what if after all that work I loan them out and they come back all mixed together like they were before?  I think I'd cry.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

1.  When I dropped Meg off at daycare yesterday, they had music playing.  It was Alvin & the Chipmunks singing "So What" by Pink.  It was...disturbing.

2.  That same day, the center lost power at 1:30 and everyone had to be picked up.  When I got there at 2, Meg was napping and I had to wake her up to take her home.  Major annoying.

3.  Also yesterday, I found some birthday money and had a 20% off coupon for Younkers, so I decided to brave clothes shopping with Meg.  We survived and I got 7 new shirts for $110.  Yay for yellow dot clearance!

4.  I finally got an "invite" for Hulu plus last Friday.  I signed up a month ago, but apparently the trial version was full.  I don't know if they opened it up to more people or its no longer the trial version.  All I know is I LOVE IT. I can watch every episode of Modern Family (and have).  Right now I'm watching the first few seasons of Grey's Anatomy (I only started watching the show a couple years ago).  Its nice to finally understand some of the things they refer to in later seasons and see it before it got all crazy and insanely unbelievable.  Not that it was all believable, but its much better than now.  I could barely watch Grey's this last year.

5.  We cancelled our cable this spring and what I'm really looking forward to with Hulu Plus is being able to have a season pass to all my shows this year - Law & Order: SVU, House...and I guess thats it because they cancelled the rest of my shows.  (I would like to say, for the record, that I'm furious with whomever decided to cancel Law & Order and come up with some "trendy" LA version.)

6.  Unfortunately, I now have almost all of the Hulu ads memorized.  The Latisse one drives me crazy.  It says its for "inadequate or not enough lashes."  Are they saying thats 2 different things?  Because to me, it sounds like they're defining the word "inadequate."  Do they think people don't know the meaning of the word? Are there people who honestly don't know what "inadequate" means?  And if so, are those really the kind of people who are going to be paying for expensive eye drops to grow longer eyelashes? 

Now that I look at their website, it looks like it might mean the lashes are too thin.  As in, you have lashes, but they're inadequate.  If so, they should just say "thin or not enough lashes."  Whatever it is, they're either unclear or telling us we're stupid.

7.  I cannot remember to give Meg her medicine for the life of me.  I was a pharmacy technician for 7 years (while I was in school, so part-time) and I have heard pharmacists tell people "you have to finish all of the antibiotics, even if you feel better" thousands of times.  Maybe even hundreds of thousands of times.  I GET IT.  My mom is a nurse, so she felt strongly about this, too.  I think I can say I have never, not once, in my entire life, received a prescription for an antibiotic and not finished it.  I take every single pill.  But for some reason, when Meg gets sick (she has an ear infection), I do great for the first two days, then I forget the whole thing.  She got this prescription on Tuesday and since I gave her some yesterday (Thursday) morning, I haven't thought of it at all.  Luckily, Thomas has remembered, but every time he says we should give her medicine, it hasn't even crossed my mind.  I set it right next to the whole milk, so when I get her a bottle first thing in the morning or before bed (she takes the medicine twice a day), I'll see it and remember.  For the first two days, I do.  But after that, I'm no longer surprised to see it sitting there, so I see it without really seeing it, if you know what I mean?  Its a problem.  I think I'll have to put big sticky notes all around the house saying ANTIBIOTIC.  And move them every other day so I don't stop noticing them.  Or write it on Meg's forehead.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fears & Insecurities

I feel much better today. When I wrote yesterday’s post, I really debated whether I should publish it. I knew things would be better in the morning. I knew I would wake up with a fresh supply of patience and would decide against telling my mom to just keep Meg forever. The post was really depressing and I worried if I published it, you’d be worried I’m depressed or think I’m more worried or down about parenting than I really am.

I decided to publish it, though, because although the feelings I talked about were magnified yesterday, they’re always in the back of my mind. I think everyone worries about those things. What if I’m a bad parent? I know I’ll love my kids, but what if I don’t ever like them? Would I have been better off never having kids?

Everyone’s had a day when your kid(s) push ALL of your buttons and your insecurities about parenting come rushing to the front of your mind, right? I don’t worry that much about being a bad parent. But yesterday I felt like a terrible one. I had an extra large amount of patience, because Meg was sick. But she ran through it all anyway and by dinnertime, I’d had it. I yelled at her: eat your dinner! don’t throw food! stop whining! stop whining! for the love of all that is holy, STOP WHINING! And yet she continued whining. Because she didn’t feel well. Because she didn’t have much of an appetite and didn’t want to eat. Because she wanted comfort. So I started crying because I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like maybe I’d never have enough patience to not yell at my kids. That I’d never get to just enjoy Meg because she never. stops. whining. But I’ve read a lot of blog posts about whining and I think whining is a mother’s Achilles heel. It seems to be the thing that drives us all really crazy. I do think it will be at least a little easier to deal with when there are more things I can do about it. When she can talk, I can say “use your words” or give her a time-out. It might not help, but it’ll make me feel better.

I know things won’t always be like this. Some challenges will go away. New challenges will come. But I’m a good mother. I love and like my daughter, at least most of the time. And although its natural to wonder whether you’ve made the right decisions in life, I have never thought I’d be better off not having kids. There’s just no way to know how bad the bad days will be until they come and you’re shocked at how hard it is to deal with a run-of-the-mill bad day (especially when you haven’t gotten any sleep). But the good days can be shockingly good, too. Its just hard to remember that when you’re in the middle of a hard day…

P.S.  When I think about Meg growing up, I do worry about other ages.  Will I be able to stand having a tween in the house?  Will I like it?  But I try to not think about it, because there's no way to know.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where did my baby go?

I’ve always been a baby person. I LOVE babies, the littler the better. I love to sit and hold them. I’ve always wanted one (actually, several) of my own. Whenever I “only” got to hold a baby for 10 minutes even though I wanted to keep him or her for hours, I said “someday I’ll have my own baby that I can hold as much as I want.” Finally, I was ready. I had a college degree, a good job, a wonderful husband, and a new house. So I had a baby. It was harder than I thought (sleep deprivation!), but it was magical. I got to sit and hold my baby ALL DAY. And I got to do it while watching Law & Order! It doesn’t get better than that. But my baby didn’t stay a baby. She grew up and is now a toddler.

To be honest, I’ve never cared for toddlers. They usually can’t communicate well, so you never know what they want. They’re eccentric little creatures and if you babysit one, there’s a list of things you must or must not do to avoid rocking their little world, an elaborate bedtime routine, and a list of foods they will or will not eat. I didn’t enjoy babysitting toddlers, but I convinced myself it would be different when I had my own. It had to be different, because I was going to be stuck with a toddler for several years. 

I’ve never enjoyed older kids either. Elementary school kids are alright, I guess, but they’re pretty whiny. Tweens are insufferable, and I’ve heard parenting teenagers is difficult, at best.

I always worried. Would I someday hate all tweens except my own? Would I grow to love my own and her friends? Or would I just pray for the tween years to pass quickly? I convinced myself that as each stage came, I’d enjoy it because I loved my kids so much. Sure, I’d like some ages better, but I’d never hate certain age spans in their entirety.

I get more scared each day. Because toddlerhood is killing me. I enjoy Meg when we’re with other people, because she’s usually on her best behavior and trying to be cute (wow, is she cute). But at home, alone, I struggle through the days (although its only two days a week). I keep waiting for the enjoyment. But all I get is incessant whining. ALL DAY WHINING. And I hear it doesn’t get better. It probably gets worse, because now she usually whines because she wants something. Its just hard to figure out what because she can’t talk.

I have been very cautious about saying I wish she could talk. Because with talking comes backtalk, willful disobedience, and constant nooooooooo’s. When all that happens, I figured I’d be looking back on pre-verbal Meg and wishing I could go back. That if I said “I wish she could just talk!” I’d end up eating my words. I don’t care anymore. I WISH SHE COULD TALK. I need her to say “I’m thirsty” instead of whining for an hour, then grabbing my water glass and spilling it.

But I’m getting off topic. Having a toddler is turning out to be very hard for me and it scares me. What if I only enjoy babies? What if I never really enjoy any other ages? What if its always a struggle? I mean, I know it will always be a struggle, but what if I hate it?  (I wouldn't say I hate toddlerhood. But I also wouldn't say I love it.)

On good days, I tell myself I can't know I won't like older kids.  Maybe I'll love them!  Maybe I'll find an age I like almost as much as babies.  Its possible!

But today was a bad day.  A really bad day.  It shouldn't factor into this because Meg has an ear infection.  She doesn't feel well and obviously having a rough day is to be expected.  But by 7 pm, I was actually curled on the floor crying, convinced I'd always hate parenting.  That our best days were behind us because the baby stage is over.

I know this isn't true.  Well, I don't know, I convince myself it isn't true.  But on days like today, I find myself very scared it just might be.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sleep training

On Sunday, Thomas put his foot down.  He declared babies don't sleep on futon mattresses on the floor of their room.  Babies sleep in cribs and, effective immediately, Meg would sleep in the crib, no matter how many times a night we had to get up and put her back to sleep.  My opinion is, if she'll sleep on the futon mattress, then fine.  At least she's sleeping, which means I'm sleeping.  And hey!  If she loves it, we don't have to buy a toddler bed.  She can just keep sleeping on the mattress!  He refused to change his mind.

So we did it.  It was torture.  But by Thursday night, she would sleep in her crib as long as one of us was laying on the mattress beside the crib.  And yesterday, wonder of wonders, she took a nap!  In her crib!  The heavens parted, the angels sang, and I made myself a latte and watched Friends.  I have grudgingly admitted that maybe Thomas was right.  Meg doesn't like being left alone, but she does sleep better alone.  A lot better.  We all do.  However much Meg and I love co-sleeping, we both sleep better apart.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seven State Fair Related Quick Takes

The Iowa State Fair started yesterday!!!  Yay, yay, yay!  My parents get us wristbands for the fair, so we can go as much as we want.  For the next 10 days, I'll be drownding myself in sunscreen and heading to the fair every chance I get!  Although I do have to work next M-T-W:(

1.  The entertainment alone is AMAZING.  Last night the Newsboys and Mercy Me were on the grandstand.  On various free (free!) stages there were:  Lee Greenwood, Davy Jones of the Monkees, the Nadas, and Jake Owen.  All in one night!  (and, unfortunately, all around the same time).

2.  Almost all of the concerts started at 8, but Lee Greenwood was at 7, so we headed over there around that time.  We had tickets for the grandstand at 8, but ended up staying at Lee Greenwood until 8:20, just so we could hear him sing "God Bless the USA."  It was amazing.  I had tears running down my face (that song always makes me cry).

3.  I was not so excited to see the Newsboys, since the description said "With the addition of a new front man, the Newsboys are being 'Born Again'" and I thought, whats the point?  It won't be the real Newsboys.  (and also, what a lame pun - born again?)  But I was pleasantly surprised.  The new lead singer is the old lead singer of DC Talk.  (I listen to country radio, not christain, so I was apparently the only one who didn't know this).  They sang old Newsboys stuff, old DC Talk stuff, and some new stuff that was pretty good.  I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of high school youth group...weirdly nostalgic for someone who is only twenty-five.  It made me want to go home and bust out the Newsboys greatest hits CD from 10 years ago (if I can find it in the basement...)

4.  Again, I wasn't that excited about Mercy Me (I went to this concert because my mom invited me), but they were great!  I knew more of their songs than I thought, and I didn't realize they were such rockers.  At times (especially with the Newsboys), I thought I was at a rock concert!  I think I ended up enjoying it more than my mom (she thought it was too loud).

5.  It blows my mind that in one night, I saw Lee Greenwood sing "God Bless the USA" and Mercy Me sing "I Can Only Imagine."  And saw a little bit of Davy Jones as we walked from Lee Greenwood to the Grandstand.  Only at the Iowa State Fair!  I am still a bit disappointed I didn't get to see Jake Owen.  Maybe another time?

6.  Tonight I'm going to the Keith Urban concert.  I can't decide whether I'm more excited to see Keith Urban or his opening act, Kris Allen.  I am an American Idol fanatic.

7.  I'm also really excited to take Meg to the fair Saturday and walk around the animal barns.  Last year was her first fair, but she was only 2 months old.  This year will be the first fair she'll really get to enjoy.  I am so! excited!  My husband kind of finds me insufferable during state fair time.  I probably go out to the fair twice as much as he does.  Its not that he doesn't love it, he just thinks a day or two is enough and I drag him out there at least 4 days.  I love having the wristbands, so we can go almost every day for a shorter amount of time instead of thinking we have to go one day and spend 12 hours there trying to see as much as possible on one admission ticket.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things that make me happy: 'often taken for granted' version


Alternate title - I'm thankful because:

1.  My house is not flooded
Ames, IA  8/11/10
2.  I have not lost all my possessions
Ames, IA  8/11/10
3. When I was a soon-to-be college freshman, all packed up, ready to go, and EXCITED for college, I didn't have to see the campus look like this 3 days before I was supposed to move in.
Hilton Coliseum and part of ISU campus 8/11/10
Jack Trice Stadium and part of ISU campus 8/11/10
My cousin was supposed to move into her dorm Saturday. I don't know if that will happen.

4.  I have running water.

The water treatment plant in Ames shut down due to flood/wastwater contamination.  All of Ames doesn't have water.  This includes my sister and brother-in-law's apartment, my grandparents' house, and the hospital where my grandma is (see below).

5.  I do not have any broken bones.

Late last night, my grandma got up to go to the bathroom and accidentally turned at the stairs.  She fell down the stairs and broke her hip and her arm.

Its been a very sad day.  I do feel unbelivably blessed because those things could have happened to me today.  I went to college at Iowa State and lived in Ames for 4 years.  Here is the dorm where I spent 3 of those years:
Maple-Willow-Larch Residence Halls  8/11/10

Corner of University Boulevard and Lincoln Way Avenue  8/11/10
This makes me cry.  ISU was my home.  I can't find words to express how important it is to me.  I spent 4 of the best years of my life there.  The town of Ames is devastated.
South Duff Avenue, Ames IA  8/11/10
You see that building with the white roof?  Thats Wal-Mart.  The building above it, with the tan roof, is Target.

I'm sure seeing a picture of my grandma in the hospital would really make me cry.  As it is, I'm glued to the computer, looking at pictures of ISU.  Here's the inside of Hilton Coliseum (basketball arena)

I don't really have much else to say.  Please pray for my grandma and for all of those in Ames affected by the flooding.  My grandma had surgery today and it went well.  She and my grandpa will be living with my aunt and uncle when she gets out of the hospital.

By the way, I live about 45 miles from Ames.  We go up to campus as often as we can (which ends up being like 4 times a year, but we wish it was more often!)  There's flooding here, too, but its on the other side of town.  Our house is in no danger. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I am taking more naps than I ever have in my entire life. (Except for when I was less than 1 year old, probably). Twice a day, Meg and I go into her room and lay down. I then play dead for anywhere from a half hour (if I have no patience and/or don't fall asleep) to an hour and a half. At the beginning, Meg will get up and play. She reads books, plays with her stuffed animals, and sometimes runs around the room. Often, she'll stand in front of the door and whine for me to open it. I have to completely ignore her during this time, because she loves attention. If I watch her run around the room, she won't ever stop. If I lay there and pretend to be asleep, eventually either she'll lay down beside me and fall asleep (WIN!) or I'll give up and declare naptime over (BUMMER).

Now, I can only lay perfectly still with my eyes closed for so long before I fall asleep. So what often happens is I fall asleep while she's reading books and am woken up an hour later by her crying (loudly) to be let out of the room. I'm never entirely sure whether she slept and has now woken up or played the whole time and is sick of being in her room. I think she sleeps, since she never goes an hour without whining loud enough to wake me. But I suppose its possible she knows the difference between when I’m pretending to sleep and when I’m actually asleep. Maybe she knows I'm asleep so there's no point in whining? Maybe she waits until I fall asleep then (quietly) does things she knows I won’t approve of? Or maybe I am a more sound sleeper than I think and the run-of-the-mill whining doesn’t wake me up, only the screams. All I know is that I’m taking more naps than she is.

She does understand that when the lights are off, we’re quieter (a little light comes through the window on either side of the blinds, so there’s enough light to look at books), so I enjoy "quiet time". And hey, me napping is better than no one napping. But still, I really miss the old naptime, when I could do anything I wanted…

Friday, August 6, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

1. Remember how I said that if things got rough last weekend, I was going to put on Veggie Tales and see what Meg thought?  I totally forgot.  Meg just doesn't watch TV, so the thought didn't cross my mind.  Which is kind of a bummer.  Last weekend went pretty terribly and I really could have used 20 (or 40) minutes of sanity...  I think any negative effects of watching TV would have been outweighed by the postive effects of having a mommy who wasn't quite so frazzled (i.e. angry).

2. Thomas has the magic touch. Meg goes to bed for him much better than she does for me. Each night since he’s been home, she’s fallen asleep faster. Last night she fell asleep in like 5 minutes! I don’t know if it was because he put her to sleep or if she’s coming out of the phase. I hope she’s getting better at going to sleep, because my sister is babysitting tonight and I really don’t want to come home from the movie theater to find Meg still awake. Although we’re going to the early show, so it will only be 9ish. I think its pretty likely she’ll be awake.

3. Speaking of which: I am finally going to see Inception! I did not originally have a burning desire to see this movie. It doesn’t look like my kind of movie and I think I might enjoy The Other Guys more. But it seems like everyone I know has seen Inception and almost all of them loved it. And I’m tired of being the only person in America who hasn’t seen this movie.

4. Before Meg was born, we bought a bunch of baby stuff from a co-worker of my mom's.  One item was a Diaper Champ.  I never read the directions.  I thought it was self expanatory.  APPARENTLY NOT.  During the whole drop-side crib panic, I searched for and found the stack of instruction manuals she'd given us.  I read the Diaper Champ one and found out I have been putting the trash bags in incorrectly the whole time we've been using it. I put the bag in like you would in a normal trash can - you know, folded over the sides of the can.  You are supposed to pull the top of the bag through the hole in the plastic and then wrap it around, so there's only a small area where the smell can escape.  Oops!  We started doing it correctly and there is a HUGE difference.  I feel stupid.

5.  Since I started this blog in February, its been using Pacific time.  I found this annoying, but figured it doesn't really matter because the only person who cares about the time on the posts is me.  Sometimes I would schedule it to post two hours later, so the time would read the actual Central time I wrote it.  Usually I didn't.  When I was going though the settings earlier this week, I found out how to change it to central time.  It was (obviously) rediculously easy.  I'm not sure if I was insanely lazy, as in I couldn't be bothered to change it, or just stupid, as in I thought it would be too hard to find the setting.  For the record, I did look a couple times (for a few seconds each time), then lost interest.  I suppose I'm lazy and not very smart.

6.  I know everyone loves Crock Pots.  It IS amazing to throw a bunch of stuff in the pot in the morning and have dinner all ready to go that night.  But then you have to clean the crockpot!  We have a huge crockpot (5.5 quarts) and it barely fits in the sink.  I hate washing it.  The vast majority of the time, I feel it is not worth it to make a crockpot meal, because what you save in dinner-prep time you then spend in cleaning-the-crockpot time.  Last night I made one of my crockpot soup recipes on the stovetop (in a pot that is easy to wash!) and it turned out amazing.  I think my crockpot will only be used when we have a roast to cook.  Or maybe I should buy a smaller crockpot?  I do like having the big one when I make a roast because I make large roasts and throw a bunch of potatos and carrots in there too.  But we only do this like twice a year.

7.  Even when Meg goes to sleep she doesn't sleep all night.  Usually, Thomas goes and puts her back to sleep the first time she wakes up.  The second time I just go and sleep in her room.  Frankly, I kind of like sleeping in her room.  I've always liked sleeping on the futon mattress (I think it has the perfect level of firmness) and I love being close to my baby.  I'm not very motivated to do anything about the fact she keeps waking up.  It'll probably be like when she was almost a year old and started waking up in the middle of the night wanting a bottle.  It took so little effort to just feed her and go back to bed we (or I, at least) had almost no desire to put forth a lot more effort to get it to stop.  Eventually it did.  I think it was because Thomas got frustrated and decided we were going to wean her.  I'm lazier than he is - why put all this time and energy into getting her to sleep all night when she's just going to stop again in a month or two?

I don't think I came off very well in this week's seven quick takes.  Almost every quick take had something to do with me being forgetful, lazy, or not very smart.  Maybe next week's quick takes need to be seven awesome things about me.  Although it might take me more than a week to come up with seven things...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Things that make me happy

I feel like I'm often posting negative things here.  I write for commiseration (or suggestions) from others who have gone though the same thing and also to just complain and get it out of my system.  It does help, most of the time.  But, man, I've been a downer lately.

Part of the problem is that I can write about hard days in detail (and then she did this, and THEN she did THIS, and then she wouldn't sleep!), but I have a harder time writing about fun days.  This post from Saturday was hard to write.  No matter what I did, I couldn't get the "fun" to come across.  For me, at least, the post does not come remotely close to describing how great the day really was.  It sounds flat and forced and makes me feel like a terrible writer (not that I ever thought I was a good writer).

To be honest, I only forced myself to write it because I wanted to remember the day.  I wanted to have it written down so someday I can tell Meg that occasionally we did go out to community events and have fun instead of sitting at home.  I wanted to have it written here so maybe some day when I'm losing my mind and have to get us out of the house, maybe I'll remember the fountain and decide to go there.  I wanted to write it so this website doesn't make it seem like her babyhood was a big pain in the neck.  I did not write it because I felt like writing about it.  Maybe that's the problem?  Some posts I spend hours composing in my head and by the time I write them, I generally say exactly what I want to say and am happy with it.  That one I did not start composing in advance (probably because I was dealing with Miss I-won't-nap).

I feel like whiny, cranky posts are my strength and I hate that.  Everyone deals with sleep issues and I'm sure you all don't need to read another blog post about someone whose kid won't sleep.  It gets old fast.  Sometimes I feel like I'm playing the "how many different ways can I write about the same thing" game.

SO, to try to change the tone (for today at least), here's a list of things that made me happy today:

1.  Having time away from Meg, then having both of us be SO HAPPY to see eachother at the end of the day.

2.  Playing with a happy child (who took a nap at daycare).

3.  Dancing to our Veggie Tales CD!  (Meg's a great dancer)

4.  My job.  I really do like what I do and I enjoyed my work today.

5.  Co-workers.  I've been working on an audit by myself for the last week and a half (and I LOVE working alone), but today I had someone working for me and I really enjoyed it.  We spent far too much time talking instead of working, but these are the kind of days when I think I could never, never quit my job because its so nice just chatting all day.

6.  Cookies!  I made iced sugar cookies this weekend and, although my waistline doesn't like them, I am loving them.  Probably too much, but whatever.

What makes YOU happy?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grandma is magic, Mommy is not

The one thing Thomas said when I told him I wanted to start a blog is that he didn’t want it to be a forum for husband bashing and/or a list of everything he’s ever done that annoyed me. I hope he doesn’t think yesterday’s post was me complaining about him. Because it was more me complaining about Meg. Or, more accurately, about her sleeping habits. (By the way, she is currently napping at my mom’s house while I am at work, because she will sleep anywhere but at home.)

So, my post yesterday was a bit snarky. But I was at the end of my rope. She flat-out refuses to nap at home. She’ll nap at daycare. She’ll nap at Grandma’s house. But not at home. And when she doesn’t nap, she turns into a monster (and doesn’t sleep at night).

All the fun we had on Saturday totally wore her out. She was soooooo tired. But I laid next to her in her room for an hour and she wouldn’t nap. She was a whiny, cranky, tired baby. The rest of the day was terrible. But! When I wrote about our day Saturday night, I left that part out! Because I do learn from past mistakes! (sometimes)

It took forever to get her to sleep that night. At some point (I have no idea what time it was), she woke up crying. I went in there and spent the rest of the night sleeping on her floor (we did bring the futon mattress upstairs and put it in her room, so whenever I refer to “sleeping on the floor,” I really mean sleeping on a mattress on the floor).

On Sunday, she still wouldn’t nap. She fell asleep in her highchair while eating dinner. The highchair was in the kitchen while I made my own dinner and all the sudden, I heard her snoring. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I had high hopes she’d take a full nap, even though it was already 6:00 and that would screw up bedtime. No such luck. She woke up after twenty minutes and started screaming. She didn’t stop screaming for the next two hours. I was sure there was something wrong with her.

She’s been chewing on her fist a lot – does her mouth hurt? I gave her Tylenol. When she didn’t finish a bottle that morning, I put the remaining 5 ounces in the fridge and gave them to her later. Did I cause her to have a stomachache? I didn’t think that was it. Ear infection? Don’t think so. She's just so tired. Could I put her to bed right away? NO. I tried many different things. I really thought she was sick or hurting somehow. She finally gave up and fell asleep two hours later. She was fine all night – although she slept lightly and kept waking up and half-crying before realizing I was already with her and snuggling closer. This morning she was fine, but still tired. I really think the only thing wrong with her is lack of sleep (and maybe a little teething). The poor thing is beyond exhausted.

The only place she’ll sleep for me is in the car. Other than taking her on a two-hour car ride (which doesn’t sound attractive), I don’t know what else to do. I’m just really, really glad Thomas will be home by the time I leave work today. The sleeping thing still sucks, but its so much easier to deal with when you can take turns.

P.S. I sleep with her a lot of the time now. I’d love to do this in my own bed, but it doesn’t work. She wiggles and rolls around and repositions and sits up and lays down and, if she’s being naughty, crawls to the other side of the mattress. It takes her quite a while to fall asleep and I spend the whole time terrified she’ll fall off the bed. When we sleep on the mattress on the floor in her room, I can let her wiggle and roll as much as she wants without being worried she’ll fall and hit her head the second I close my eyes. Plus, either Thomas or I get a good night’s sleep while the other sleeps with Meg and we trade off nights.


I'm home now and, wow you guys, the difference in this child when she has had a nap is incredible.  She's actually happy and fun to be around!  Maybe I will have to take a long drive on Friday when its just me and her all day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A word of caution

If your baby is going through a “phase” wherein he/she refuses to sleep, like, ever, under no circumstances should one parent (lets call him/her the “abandoner”) leave the other parent (the “abandonee”) alone with said child for two days and two nights. Especially weekend nights where the return of the other parent coincides with the start of the work week, so its not really something to look forward to.

Should this happen, the abandoner should be prepared to find on his return that the abandonee has dropped the baby off at her parents and checked herself into a mental institution, driven insane by the baby’s refusal to sleep and subsequent overtired wailing. The abandoner would then be a single parent and one weekend away is not worth it.

Just so you know.

P.S.  I am, of course, kidding (about the abandonment part).  I would never have wanted Thomas to miss this weekend (which has been planned since April).  And, lest we forget, I will be abandoning him come November, whether she is sleeping well at the time or not.  BUT, I will say, before Meg finally fell asleep tonight after crying for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT (with me laying beside her), I was this close to googling "how to check yourself into a mental institution."