Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

I defy you to name a more annoying invention than... the book jacket.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

something to file away for when I'm bouncing another newborn at 2:00 a.m. wondering why on Earth I did it ..again.

Scene: 7:15 a.m. Bed. ..Wait. I'm in bed at 7:15? Pinch me.

Brandon is bustling around the house getting ready for work while I wait to hear the first squeals and babbles from the room next door. I've been up since 6:00, forcing myself to keep going back to sleep. Thanks for that stellar Circadian Rhythm, Harper.

Oh! There she is. "Good mawwwwnin'!" I hear first. That's Harper, not Brandon.

Brandon walks into Harper's room, "Good mornin' to you, too!"

"Hi Daddy! (babble babble babble). Paci Bwankie!" (More excited babbling because due to work, he usually doesn't field the morning wake-up. This is an epic surprise for a 2-year-old.)

Brief discourse regarding toast and Dora and a backpack ensues.

Pause....... then I hear the best part of my day.

She says:

"Where's the momma?"


Monday, June 27, 2011

Let's have some cheese with that whine.

I already know the eye-rollage that this post will produce from some. And sweet Lord, I want you to know I'm rolling my eyes at myself. If that helps. Probably not. Just know that I know I'm ridiculous.

I am in a state of mourning. I didn't expect it to hit me quite so hard, but here we are.

Literally. Here we are with no hope for an escape from the DC suburbs.

Last year this time (this day), we were arriving in Maine for 7 blissful weeks.

I didn't know how much I'd love it. I didn't even know I'd like it. And I am forever altered, for better or worse.

Y'all, I am pining for that lifestyle.  Not the 'vacation' lifestyle, because everyone knows that If all the days were holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work. (Yes. You've been Henry IVth'd on a Monday. Sorry.), . . . .

But the slow-paced, cheap lobster everywhere, cool breeze in your hair, no bugs in your face, walk everywhere you go, scenery so beautiful it looks fake, friendly people, thrift store shopping, farmer's market going, chance you'll spot a moose or wild blueberry bushes, discovering things I didn't even know existed and loving them kind of lifestyle.

I am ruined. In that whiny, pretentious "when we summered in Maine" way (easily confused with the "Blast it, this Chardonnay is far too dry. I'm sending it back!" way).

DC suburbs, I'm sending you back to the bar in favor of a sweeter place and time.

Find me in Waterville, if only in my dreams.

Lobster bib and undeniable nose bump from a kickball gone awry in 5th grade remain uncropped in the name of imagery and added character (respectively).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Anatomy of a Pregnancy Part II

My repetitive internal dialogue when I watch any episode of any have-a-baby reality series:

1. Aww... that's sweet. I can't wait until I look pregnant like that, instead of just fat.

2. Hmm.. What're you carrying on about so loudly? I didn't scream and cry on the way to the hospital and we hit one speed bump HARD.

3. Thank you for shutting up. Glad they finally gave you that epidural. I was about to have PTSD.

4. Seriously? Why's the dad holding the barf bucket? If I have to throw up, I'll do it my own self.

5. Why are you screaming again? You've had an ep-i-dur-al.

6. Oh, they turned it down so you can push? Oh God. I just remembered how that works.

7. What have I gotten myself into. . . . again?! I just glimpsed that bag of pee hanging from the side of your bed.

((QUICK.. block it out, again! Subconscious & Conscious, work your magic. I beg of you!))

8. Baby Daddy, quit looking down there. There isn't anything for you to see. Eyes above neck. And don't you start with the play-by-play! This is not the Superbowl. You are not Kenny Albert*.

9. Please quit screaming. Quit whining. Just get it over with. Nope, nope, I don't want to hear any of this Scarlett O'Hara "I'm too tired, I just can't do it anymore" after 15 minutes of pushing. Do it already or your baby's gonna have a cone head* for a day!"

10. Baby is born. Baby cries, I cry (every.single.time).

*In the spirit of full disclosure, Harper most certainly had a cone head when she was born. I'm not hatin' on the cone. They're still just as cute. Albeit in a very geometric way.
*Do I need to say that I took that Baby Story image from Google?
*Kenny Albert is a NFL announcer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Anatomy of a Pregnancy Part I

Have you ever taken Nyquil during the day? Like.. "Man I'm sick. Imma knock myself out. I'll sit here on the couch until......" and then you wake up an hour later, sitting straight up with your mouth wide open and you're drooling?

You don't remember getting sleepy.

You don't remember your head falling back.

You don't remember closing your eyes.

You just woke up with a snort.. drooling?

That's the best way I can explain my second trimester of pregnancy (and the first two months with any newborn, for that matter).

I don't sit on any soft surface while Harper is awake because my greatest fear is that my head will fall back uncontrollably and she'll be left to her own devilish devices, which would undoubtedly include high-wire acrobatics and knife-throwing.

So, no couch. No bed. No glider - lord.. no glider. Just the floor. With her. Playing. Constantly. Moving. Talking. Singing.

Reading books is tricky. I take deep breaths and speak with more inflection than John Popper. . .

because the Oops,-Brandon-Slipped-a-Rufie-into-my-OJ Sleepy/Open-Mouth-Airplane-Startling-Snore Sleepy is matched only by the Painful Sleepy, which comes on more predictably if I get comfortable.

Do you know the Painful Sleepy of which I speak? When you're so sleepy that you'd just just as soon accept death as muster the will to keep your eyelids open for one more second?

Lecture. 120th row. Warm. Sweatshirt. Day before a test. Head starts nodding...That sleepy. Once, I watched a guy fall asleep so quickly and so hard that his head fell forward and banged his desk so loudly that 400 people turned and looked. Anyway. Cautionary tale. Get up and take a lap, next time, big fella.

So to combat my pregnancy-induced narcolepsy, we've been doing just that: Walk in the morning. Walk in the evening. So far, Harper has been a willing participant. In return, I've managed to make her "toas wih pea butter and jewwy" (toast with peanut butter and jelly) at 5:45 a.m. without my head loudly hitting the kitchen counter.

..but there's always tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Birthday!







Happy 2nd birthday, sweet girl!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Surprise Party

Is there anything a toddler loves more than a surprise? A new toy. . . a game of peek-a-boo. . .

It's not hard to pull off, because toddlers are surprised by everything.

The world is new. And exciting. And they can't wait to live and scream and run and laugh their way through it.

What's the pinnacle of their discovery? Their own birthday party. It's hard not to have a surprise party for a toddler. They wake up from a nap and.. bam. Balloons, cake, pizza, presents. . . . and they never even see it coming. Even if they go shopping with you and pick out the decorations.

We're old, though, and we're jaded. And we can predict repetitive outcomes with relative certainty and we plan accordingly. It's a blessing and curse of adulthood. No, we do not stand in awe of a Dora birthday balloon, but we do not stand in awe of disappointment, either. We pick up. We press on.

So yesterday morning, I stood in the kitchen chopping Harper's favorite fruit and arranging it on a big platter and, quite honestly, allowed myself to stew in a bit of a parent funk.

Later, I swatted bugs and straddled rainy wet shrubbery in my pajamas and flip flops while I suspended colorful paper lanterns in the front yard, and thought, "Harper will think these are cool. . . . if she notices them."

And later still, as I broke a sweat hoisting heavy, baby-transporting objects out of direct view, I melodramatically lamented that my efforts were for naught.

No matter how many paper lanterns I hung or how many Georgetown Cupcakes I purchased, I didn't feel like I was giving Harper what she deserved: a crazy, wild celebration of her second year of life - the life that she lives so fully each day.

Instead, we'd have a small party. I wasn't expecting more than 5 or 6 people - but that's accepted and I'm thankful for it because we live in an area with no family and only a small group of close-knit friends (and dear, dear friends they are  - some of whom were even on call the night before. That means they didn't go to bed and, instead, elected to attend a 2 year old's birthday party. Saintly. Saintly, I tell you.).

Nevertheless, I was melancholy - because I couldn't give Harper more. Excitement, friends her own age, bells & whistles. . .

I was nearly ready to welcome our loyal & dear guests when I got a text message from my friend Tiffany. She lives in North Carolina and has two babies of her own - one is Harper's age and one is but a scant four months old. Both she and her husband work long hours each week and deal with commutes that rival the schlepping Washingtonian. I think if I were Tiffany or Linwood, I wouldn't leave the house on Saturday or Sunday. And not even look at the car. I would.. rest.

So when I opened the text, expecting a picture of her latest fingernail polish - b/c that's sorta our thing - and I saw this, I giggled:

"See you soon!" it read.

Ever the eloquent lady, my response? "" b/c as much as we chat about it - how we wish we lived closer to each other. . . and for Harper and Danica to have each other for buddies. . . and as shamelessly as I chided my lack of ability to cultivate toddler 'friends' for Harper's party, I knew there was, unfortunately, no way they could ever actually come to the party.

6 hours. With babies. Stopping every two hours to feed a baby. Stopping to change diapers. Stopping to let their toddler run around. I'd rather take a beating.

"Nice Google image," I thought to myself. "If only."

 So I picked up, I pressed on, and I made a decorative bowl out of half of a watermelon.

But about 15 minutes later, Tiffany and Linwood and Danica and Emerson pulled into our driveway.

I am stunned, I am overwhelmed, I am in awe. I will never ever forget what it feels like to be so genuinely surprised  - watching something happen that my adult brain never thought possible.

I am eternally grateful and shocked by the sheer fortitude it took to navigate the country's third worst traffic on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. with two children under the age of two.

I love you.

Thank you for making me as happy as a toddler on her birthday and for making me do the uncontrollable ugly cry like a toddler, also (but in a good way).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In her next thirty years.

In the midst of a frantic type b scramble for paper lanterns and table cloths to pull together Harper's birthday party this weekend (last year, this time? everything was done. I had even baked a batch of practice cupcakes), I scoured our hard drive for 'inspiration' I saved over the year for ideas for Harper's party.

But instead of finding what I "needed," I found what I needed.

I ran across some old pictures - ones when Harper was just a wistful, slightly intimidating dream in the future - and although I am completely in love with my life as a mom (I swear it, even when she dumps yogurt on her hamburger then screams at me like its my fault) and in love with the potential of a cuddly newborn and in love with the fact that those things, these days, define me. . . .,

I wasn't always a parent with yogurt in my hair - none of us were - and we'd do well not to forget the fun we had - you know.. before we went to bed at 9:00 most nights, because all uh dis (to borrow a Harperism) is why I love what I do, am who I am, and look wistfully to all that I know life holds for Harper.

giddy anticipation (I know there must be better wedding pictures, but. . . .this was the one on the camera, so..I'll work on that):


practice (somewhere on that couch, there are multiple pieces of bologna with sutures in them):


nights on the town (we were in the German Beer Hall in Milwaukee. I was still drunk at 10:00 a.m. the next morning. Thank you, liver.):

a new home (when you think you'll only ever have one):

 coworkers who become friends:

bucket list. . . check. a terrified check.:

rebellion at its truest Martha Stewart (we sneaked that tree up six flights):

the unknown:

big cities:


love: (This was in Chicago. He looks sleepy and it couldn't have been before 10 a.m. This weekend, we left the zoo at 10 a.m.):

I also look sleepy. 11:00 a.m. really?

dress codes:

goodbyes (our last morning in Milwaukee. I had already cried my mascara off, although I had become quite sweaty after single-handedly securing my car onto a U-Haul trailer, so the whole "look" could be attributed to either):

same games. new friends (slightly stronger alcohol...yikes):


naivete (I'll let Brandon speak for the group of residents pictured in that, "We had no clue what we were getting into."):

giddy anticipation:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Expert for hire.

Harper demonstrates. . .

proper safety recommendations. . .

and most educational usage. . .

of a water table.

Should you require a home safety consult, she accepts payment in the form of cookies, i cweem (ice cream), stowybooks, baf (bath) toys and raucous games of peek-a-boo.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Type B Takes a Sick Day

Here's why getting sick isn't an option for me (or for most moms, generally):

Because we live more than 300 miles from family.

Because I don't have a daycare to use.

Because all of our friends work every day. And if I'm completely honest? I wouldn't saddle anyone with all uh dis even if they didn't.

And because my husband has a job that he can't just say, "Alright doctor friends. I'm not coming in today. Take my patients. The ole wife is sick. Gotta play with the baby so she can curl up in a ball and shake her sweaty self to death for 24 hours in peace."

Despite aforementioned reasons that it absolutely can't happen, it happened on Monday night.

Conveniently, the delirium was sandwiched between two sets of weekend visitors, so I didn't skip a beat. Speaking of, was I the only kid who only got sick on Friday night or, if my body planned an extended illness, during vacation or snow days?

While I'm fit as a fiddle now, I look back and realize that Tuesday was - and I'll be the first to say it - not my best parenting day ever. Or either it was my best ever, considering the circumstances.

First, I peeled my tired, shivering body out of bed at 6:00 a.m., at the first "Heeeey (like a game show voice, like.. Bob Barker) Momma!" and reluctantly took a baby-momma-approved Tylenol, knowing I needed a miracle. Not "a" Tylenol. Maybe 5 or 6 would have worked. I digress.

After my fever broke during a second showing of Dora, I threw on some clothes that weren't drenched in sweat and put Harper - my 100 lb (that's how she felt) toddler - in her car seat and drove to our appointment with an insurance adjuster.

Just when I had lost all faith in humanity, I found out later in the day that we'll be getting reimbursed from our parking lot fender bender a few weeks ago with the old lady who made Brandon yell. 

As we left our appointment, I felt chills invade and travel all the way down to my toes and knew that I only had a good 30 minutes before I could do no more than resume my "I am surely dying" position, albeit upright, on the floor or on the couch with Harper.

Since we hadn't washed the car in three weeks for fear of monkeying with the "evidence" of the Mercedes bumper attack, I decided we needed to go to the car wash immediately. Which Harper hates with the fire of 1,000 suns.

So we pulled into the black abyss of water and brushes and scrubbers and loudness and Harper lost it (like usual, which is why I never take her), and I sat. Resigned. I closed my eyes, grateful for the moment of no responsibility and snaked my hand back and patted Harper's leg comfortingly. . . . . but it was wet.

I turned as quickly as my achy body could manage to find that - while it was no U-571 - Harper was taking a healthy spray of lukewarm water to the dome every 3 seconds or so. . . . which may or may not have have contributed to her terrified screams.

Water boarding complete, we went home where she napped off the trauma (and I slept and sweated and shook) for three hours. 

Then, she woke up and wanted ice cream cake for lunch and I let her have it. Just that. Just cake.

And when she took a bath to remove the blue tattoo sleeve she created with icing, I sat nearby, shaking and sweating and helplessly hoping the water would wash it off, b/c there was no way I could do anything more than sit nearby, shake and sweat.

Icing free, she announced in garbled toddler that she wanted to go to the attic and play with her old toys. Which is usually fine, but on Tuesday, it was well above 90 degrees up there, and I said to myself, "Wow. That'll feel really, really good! I won't be cold!" and so for a few minutes (literally three) I sat nearby while she played until she proclaimed it to be "We we (really really) hot." Sweating, but not shaking, I carried my 150 lb. toddler downstairs.

After a few ragged, throaty, whiny calls to my husband begging him to please hurry home and rhetorically warbling to myself about how 'if I'm this big of a baby with one baby, how can I manage being sick with two babies,' and lots of Dora, mercifully, Brandon arrived.

I dragged myself out of three layers of sweaty clothes and into the shower where I shook and presumably sweated while Brandon did the lion's share of the nightly routine. 

Though I did manage to squeak out a few books, a few songs, pick up our 200 lb. toddler and put her to bed - all while hitting a personal record high temperature of 102.0 - I wasn't good for much after that and was ordered to bed at 8:15.

Thank the sweet Lord, I woke up better and with a new appreciation of life at 98.6 degrees.

Strangely, I have a picture I don't remember taking, which pretty much sums up how the day went:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Type B Keeps a Secret

I am an excellent secret keeper. Your deepest, darkest, ugliest thoughts? Tell me. I won't breathe a word.

Repeating secrets never even crosses my mind.  There's never a temptation.  It's just..wrong.

..Except with Brandon.  I'll blab to him unless you tell me not to.  The good news is that he really doesn't care.  At all.

Also, sometimes my Type B-ness will allow me to actually forget secrets, which is even better. ((points to head)) Steel trap.

There's only one caveat to my abilities: Good secrets.  Fun ones.. like upcoming surprise birthday parties, impending engagements - especially when I know the date when someone will propose, and pregnancies.

Do me a favor: Please, please don't tell me about this stuff.

Oh, I won't blab. I'll just toss and turn and squirm until I can. It will be excruciating.

When something great is on the horizon and I'm the only one who knows about it, strange things begin to happen, like with one I've been keeping recently:

I'll tell a complete stranger at Gymboree. Them: "Harper's toenails are painted!" Me: "Yes, they are. BLAB PERSONAL INFORMATION." ((strange look from stranger))

I'll chat about it to no end with Harper, but she'll mutter a little nonsense and keep cruising: "bebe, bebe.. i wuuuv bebes. thankyou. welcome. 123456789 kitty cat meow car honk. c'mon, Momma! beach ocean!"

It'll be the very first thing I talk about with Brandon in the morning, and the very last thing we talk about each night.  Poor guy. Me: "Good morning! What if..BLAB!?" Him: "Yaawn."

I'll break my rule and burden my friend Tiffany with the information, via text, so I'm not the only one who has to keep it. Me: "Blabbity blabbity blabbity. The line is crooked! What the heck? Does that count?"

I'll ask our anesthesiologist friend, Indy, mysteriously leading questions about his December schedule.  I might even allude to taking a toddler-friendly vacation as to pinpoint his exact whereabouts on or about December 13th. Cruel from every angle.

I'll Freudian slip it in a blog post & almost have a heart attack when my friend Hannah royally busts me - at a mere 3 weeks into keeping the secret - via the comments section.

I'll feel nauseous, at least.  Gag, at random. Barf, at worst.

I'll neglect permanent features on my blog (I swear, I didn't just FORGET to write them), like Top of the Muffin, because I'm too freaking tired from this secret to exercise, much less blog about it, and Cupcake of the Week, because I don't know what would happen if I looked at a cupcake right now, much less try to eat it then write about it. It would not be pretty.

Ultimately, I've discovered that I can only keep a great secret for about 13 weeks, which works out well:

Baby 2 is looking at you :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Doctor is In

Harper woke with a fever this morning and the dutiful husband dashed out for a cure.

As I scurried about the kitchen, trying to assemble a bento box of Harper's most favorite foods, I overheard this conversation and realized that it wasn't grapes or Teddy Grahams for which she pined.

((the doctor administers a dose of most excellent nectar of the gods, bubblegum-flavored ibuprofen))

Harper: More uh dis! 
Brandon: No honey. This is medicine. It's not to be taken indiscriminately.
Harper: Ok, Dadda. More?
Brandon: You may have 5 more mL in 4 to 6 hours.
Harper: Yesssss.

Harper, the Infirm and Blurry

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On this hallowed day, gifts of paper and clocks.

I have more than a few incomplete, elaborate posts in draft about our 5 year anniversary - which is tomorrow - up to and including a top ten list and a tearjerker that I can't even read without boohooing all over the place. I contemplated a video montage set to our favorite songs, but I chased away the crazy. We don't need that now and we've never needed it.

Why he's been my best friend for 11 years, why I married him and why I will be in love with him even when we're old and ugly and don't recognize each other, can be summed up in one occurrence over the weekend:

Brandon rumbled into the driveway with his brand-new black 2012 Mustang 5.0. It's the first new car he's ever had. He's pined over something like it for years. It's the shiniest, most spotless thing I've ever seen.

It has 25 miles on it, 20 of which he put on himself, test driving it multiple times just to be sure.

Since Harper and I heard him coming from all the way inside, we dashed around the house, putting on shoes and clothes (she was naked. I have no recollection of why.) and made a beeline to greet him.

Harper flew out the door, "Dadda! Yaaaay!"

As I opened the passenger door to slide in, Harper scrambled into the seat faster than lightning.

She pressed every single button, most of which Brandon probably hadn't pressed himself. Fingerprints galore on previously untouched glass.

She stood on the middle console in her dusty shoes then climbed to the backseat, jumped on the seats a few times then climbed back to the front. "Oooh, car."

While I held my breath, watching her like a hawk, fretting that she would get something dirty or, God forbid, break something, he played with her. And they chatted happily.

The first thing he wanted to do in his new car?  Shove her old, dirty car seat in the back and take us for a ride.

When he pressed the gas pedal, Harper happily squealed, "Whooooa! Zoom!" and to show her excitement, kicked the seat back with all the fervor her purple Crocs could manage. As I felt the happy bumps and thumps coming from the back seat, I sneaked a cautious glance over to the driver's side, but he had no furrowed brow, no worry, only a positively content smile.

It was right where he wanted to be. And it's right where I want to be forever.