Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I want for Christmas is your Chomments.

Did you know you can comment on my blog posts? It used to be that you had to have a specific type of account to post. Now, anyone can do it! If you don't have any of the account types listed in the drop down, you can just choose the "Name/URL" option, enter your name, and leave the URL field blank. Voila!

I'd love to know your thoughts.

Here comes Santy Claus!

Joy oh joy! Christmas is only a few days away and we are feeling all kinds of festive here. I have a couple of photos to share from the interactions Hannah has had so far with Santa. It's not good...
I've trained her to scream when a stranger grabs her. Nice job!

She will forever fear bearded men.
Hannah does much better when her parents are around. (Yes, I grew antlers.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mental illness and the death of children

My grandma died exactly one year ago today, and I miss her so badly. She was not young. But because of her age and her Alzheimer’s, she acted like it. She depended upon others for supervision so she didn’t take too many pills at a time or burn down the house by forgetting about the pot of water heating up on the stove. I remember her cackling voice, her flowery scent, and the precious scratchiness of her hands. More than that, I remember how badly she wanted to take care of people and act like a host even if it wasn’t her party. How she loved to have her family around. How sweet she was and how much she enjoyed Christmas and the One who was born to die for us. Alzheimer’s turned her around. Her actions became unrecognizable. This was a very distant person from the grandma I knew my whole life. She became a child again.
Mental illness is ugly like that. It doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, religion, age, or any other factor. It is the serpent that slithers quietly through the subconscious and presses, lies, and bites.
I read a blog comment from a person today who said, “Mental illness is a myth.” Anyone who thinks mental illness is a myth has obviously never had it. It is very real. It is a nightmare for those who live with it, and for those who support someone who has it.
Yesterday, in Newtown, Connecticut, we lost 28 children in an evil attack of mental illness and sin. We lost 20 innocent first-graders, 6 heroic school employees, a mother who most likely tried to help and a young man who needed it. They are all “children” to me. Now that I have a

Friday, December 7, 2012

My disc is trying to vacate my spine, and it hurts like a muther.

The results are in on my back: I have a herniated disc in my lumbar region. To save you from having to check the Googles about this, I will do a little Q & A on your behalf.

You: What does that mean?
Me: It means that I either screwed up a disc with wear and tear over time or I injured myself at some point and it never healed properly. It means I have sciatica radiating down my right leg. It means I'm annoyed at the fact that it hurts to pick my daughter up and I'm thrilled that I can't carry laundry baskets, although Jason still doesn't let me use that as an excuse to not fold laundry.

You: So how did you ruin your disc?
Me: The doctor thinks I probably injured it a long time ago and it never really healed, and then when I gained three baby's worth of weight during pregnancy and tried to lug my 18 lb baby in a 20 lb car seat, I pushed it over the edge. And now it wants to leave my body.

You: But I lift heavy things and weigh more than I should. Why does my back feel fine?
Me: Because you're not a lemon, and because there are other factors that contributed to my defect. Apparently I have a 14mm difference in the length of my left and right legs. The doctor thinks I probably jacked up my right knee at some point (I'm looking at you, 7th grade softball injury) and stunted the growth plates. My body decided that I would either wobble like an elderly hobbit or remedy the situation by forming a moderately crooked spine. My body chose the latter, and this also contributed to the susceptibility of my lower back to injury.

You: What does that look like?
Me: Here's an image from my MRI.

You: Does it hurt?
Me: Would it hurt if  your knee cap was trying to leave your leg? If your knuckle was trying to exit your hand? If your tailbone was trying to leave your butt? Yes. It hurts like a muther. It's a consistent throbbing lower back pain. It has a heartbeat. Sometimes if I move the wrong way, sneeze, or laugh too hard it's a shooting pain that takes my breath away.

You: How are you going to treat it?
Me: I've done a trial period of decompression therapy and so far that seems to help. I'm not going to have surgery. I refuse. I suck at recovering from surgeries. If decompression therapy winds up being too expensive (not sure yet what insurance covers) or doesn't help, I'm going to investigate my other non-surgical options. Like maybe losing 40 lbs. to see if that lightens my spinal load. Or yoga. Or percocet. Whatevs.

You: When are you going to stop griping about it? It's kind of annoying.
Me: First of all, quit reading my blog or standing within earshot of me if you don't like it. Second, I'll quit griping when it quits hurting. And then I'll have a little pity party and complain about how I'm always sick or injured. And then I'll drink a glass of wine and feel better and write about how nice life is and how it could be worse and I should be grateful for what I have. And so on.

Thanks for your concern, you. It makes me feel better knowing that you are interested in my physical well-being, and that you continue to read even though I can be slightly annoying at times. I hope you have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Scenes from the Annual GrisWalter Christmas Tree Chop.

Oh Christmas tree. Oh. Christmas tree. I want to touch your branches.

I have a sweet little angel baby all tucked up in her crib with her bottom in the air, her tummy full of the delicious carrots that I cooked and pureed for her tonight. The dishwasher is buzzing, little scrubbing bubbles vaporizing remnants from tonight's delicious Alfredo, suds splooshing all about like it does in those illustrations you see on the TV commercials. Jason's on the couch strumming his precious guitar, Mabel. He's playing along with the music coming from the television. F chords when it's intense. A minor when it's sad. D chords when it's pleasant. Benson's all curled up next to him, licking his paws. We sip our night caps and watch a recording of our favorite show, Intervention. It's the holidays and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I love me some holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ladybug is 8 months old and I am 2 days late telling you.

Get off my case about the timeliness already! I'm doing my best! (I said to myself.)

Hannah crossed the 8 month line last Sunday, 12/2. She's such an adult now. I think the only thing that's holding her back is her height. Otherwise she'd be driving, working a fast food job, and voting. Or doing other things. She's probably not getting any taller because she's constantly sick. It's hard for a body to focus on growth when it's focused on battling perpetual illness. We took her, yet again, to the pediatrician yesterday. She just can't overcome this cough of hers. The nurse practitioner scoped her ears and - yep! - we've got an ear infection. Again? Still? I don't know. I hate giving her medicine but I have to continuously weigh that against the alternative of her remaining sick or growing weaker. I'm trying to figure out what the catch is here. Am I supposed to surrender to this? Are all babies sick their entire first 8 months of their life? Or is this just the 50% of her that came from me? I do have an update on my ailing back, but I am not prepared to share just yet. I need to provide visual aids, and that takes effort I'm not willing to commit to a post yet. However, I will leave you with this very adorable picture of me, Jason, and our darling little ladybug. Good night, all.

Hannah, the 8 month old adult

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Now that Hannah's almost 8 months old, I will share her 6/7 month photos.

I am behind on Hannah updates, am I not?

We went big time for Hannah's 6 month photos and hired a real deal photographer, my friend Heather Hanna Glennon. She does good work! Naturally, Hannah spent the full month of October sick, so we started the photo shoot when she was 6 months old, called it quits after a few shots because she was cold, sick, and screaming, and we wrapped it all up after she turned 7 months old. I like to think we got two months covered for the price of one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pick up your head, it's ringing.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Sip wine. Swallow. Inhale. Exhale...and so on...

When I finally stopped moving and turned off the TV and the dishwasher came to a halt and Hannah stopped crying and Benson went into a different room to nom his bone, I realized my ears were ringing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I want my old back back.

My God I'm a lemon. I have the equivalent of Murphy's Law health. My lower back is out of commission and it's ruining my life. I feel like I got hit by a truck. The best assumption I can make is that I jacked up my back by lifting 18 lbs of baby in her impossibly heavy car seat. It has progressively gotten worse, and now it hurts so bad that I can't roll over, sit up like a normal person, walk perfectly upright, or sneeze without crippling pain shooting through my nerves. The bulging disc is pinching my sciatic nerve so the pain tears down my legs and up through my spine. It's miserable.

I have been getting adjustments from my dad (a chiropractor), I've gone to my primary physician, and she recommended I go to another chiropractor for decompression therapy (only some chiropractors do this). I read about the therapy and it's like 5 days a week for about 30 minutes for a month. Total treatment time is 8 weeks. Say what? When am I supposed to squeeze that into my already packed schedule? Hell.

The only relief I get is when I'm afloat in the bathtub, but it's hard to take care of a 7 month old baby and work from a bathtub. I am praying for healing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stay tuned, muthers.

I'm sorry, mutherlovers. I've just been really tied up lately doing muther stuff. Traveling. Talking to dinosaurs. Planning for Thanksgiving. Muthering. I promise I'll post amuther blog soon. And it will be mutherlovin' good.
"So, you're favorite book is a thesaurus, eh?"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let it rest.

Exhale. The world spins and I'm doing dishes.
Daydreams of songs about unfulfilled wishes.
Dust in the corners and smears on the table.
I'm quiet and restless, depleted but able.
Cobwebs that drape across most of the ceiling.
Out of control with an incomplete feeling.
And I can't help but wonder, is this my best?
Let it rest, my love. Let it rest.
Because silently sleeping upstairs is a baby
and when she awakes I will hold her and maybe
the world will stop spinning and I'll get the notion
that life can't be felt when I'm numb from commotion.
She will grow quickly and time will not slow.
I'll raise her to leave me and hate when she goes.
And in hindsight the moments that I'll love the best
were the ones where we stopped and we just let it rest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I have a soft spot for soft spots.

I freaking love babies.

Little known fact: I used to be scared of babies. Not in an evil clown sort of way. More like a here drink this flask of gin and drive this Aston Martin down a windy trail in the sleet way. They're just so fragile. I don't necessarily do well with fragile. But now that I have my own baby, I'm nuts about the things. Luckily for me, I have a loooot of friends who have babies now. All shapes and sizes. Babies, babies everywhere! It's awesome to see Hannah interact with babies. It's like when dogs see other dogs. Somehow they just know they're dealing with their "kind." I'd like to take this opportunity to feature a few babies with whom Hannah has the privilege of playing:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our hysterically terrible attempt at making delightful memories.

Sometimes I get visions in my head about how something is supposed to go, and I still act shocked when it doesn't turn out that way. I should know better. I'm not meant to have things happen perfectly because it's too dang funny when they don't, and I can take a joke. Thanks, God.

I have a thing for fall. I love everything about it - the temperature, the glorious multi-colored backdrop of the trees, pumpkin stuff, bonfires, Oktoberfest beer, clothes that cover my limbs, football to fall asleep to, wine (loved year-round but especially at a winery during this time of year), school supplies all up in the Walmarts - OK, you get it. When we were looking for a new house three years ago I told Jason that I would give a neighborhood extra points on the probability chart if it looked like it would have good Halloweens.

So this year I was obviously very excited about the annual trip to the pumpkin patch now that we have our little Hannahpants to photograph. Oh man, I had all these pictures in my head and I was ready to get all sorts of momzilla up in that pumpkin patch. But here's how it went:

Ehhhhhhh, pummmmmkiiiiiiiinnnns

Nice, J

I look like Fabio and Hannah is unsure about me

Failed attempt at a family photo
Hannah rocks her 30 Seconds to Mars haircut

And then the wind picked up...

And this is how we ended it. Awesome!
Not what I had in mind. That was last Sunday the 14th. It was gorgeous and sunny that morning. When we arrived at the pumpkin patch it took us about 30 minutes to all find a place to park. During that time the wind picked up and a storm blew in. We did our best to squish in some photos but Hannah wasn't into the texture of the hay and had lost a sock in the Panda Express parking lot right before we got there. It dropped about ten degrees in seven minutes. Next thing we knew it was raining. Perfect.

We went home but I wasn't ready to surrender the dream. I was getting my baby-in-a-pumpkin-patch pictures if I had to paint a mural on my living room wall and fabricate the whole thing. WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SOME FREAKING MEMORIES HERE, PEOPLE! Today I got my chance:

Hannah is still not feeling her best and didn't really "get" the whole thing, but she was a trooper. Most of the time. I would say her favorite parts were seeing the fluffy white dog in the checkout line and leaving. She still didn't care for the hay, and the lumpy orange balls did nothing for her. It was imperfectly awesome.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It happened again.

I vacuumed. Lots.

I vacuumed until there were no more tiny Benson hairs left on the floor. Then I realized the vacuum was filthy so I cleaned it.

And then I cleaned the kitchen counter tops. Did the dishes. Scrubbed the stove. Washed all of the bed linens. Dusted every corner of Hannah's room. Cleaned the closets. Did all the laundry. Hand-washed and disinfected all of Hannah's toys. Rewashed a bunch of Hannah's clothes. Swept the hard wood floors. Mopped. Scrubbed so many things in the sink my hands are chapped. Lysoled. Windexed. Lathered, rinsed, repeated.

Hannah is sick. I'm not sure if it's again or still. She's on her third round of antibiotics and I hate it. We took her to the doctor yesterday and she was diagnosed with a double ear infection with a cold on the side. Yesterday she was absolutely miserable, which made me absolutely miserable. I felt completely out of control. I can't fix her. So, I turned my need to control into something I could act upon: I cleaned.

Normally, I hate the heck out of cleaning. But when it comes to my baby's health I mean business. I feel like I'm in a battle against whatever is ailing her. It's me against the dust mites. Dander beware. I can't control her health but I can control her environment that impacts her health. And I can go nuts in the process.

I put the freak in control freak. I just can't stand that my baby is sick.
My sad little sicklet.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Six years ago today, we legitimized our codependency.

What were you doing six years ago today?

Jason and I were doing this kind of stuff:
Holy matrimony!
Now I'm not saying that six years of anything makes you an expert, but here's what I've learned about marriage...

It's not easy, but it doesn't have to be that hard either. Sure, it takes work. Maintaining anything takes work. But I think the two things that make it a heck of a lot easier are good communication and having fun together. Jason and I communicate about everything. I'm very fortunate to have a man who will work to resolve an issue with me until it's done. While it may not always be what I want to hear, it's always necessary to hear it, whatever it is. Honestly, the only person who always agrees with me is me. Beyond that, I can't expect to always be right. Jason and I also have a ridiculous amount of fun together. We even combined our mutual interest in music and created a band (

The couple that plays together, stays together
There are so many reasons why I married Jason. For one, he is incredibly genuine. I don't think he knows how to be fake. And he sucks at lying, so he never really tries. When he does it's painfully obvious and hilarious. He's just such a good person. He makes me feel safe.
Jason is very active. In fact, he has self-diagnosed ADHD and won't stop moving. Ever. The good news about that is sometimes he takes me along on his quest to keep going, and we wind up some pretty cool places.
Rutherfords in Rome

Together in Paris
He's a fun-lover and tends to be incredibly goofy. He's not afraid to do the worm in public or sing Bon Jovi at a bar even though he couldn't hit a note if he flung a boulder at it.
Eyes off the prize, ladies
It's so important in a marriage to make time for each other, and while Jason carries a pretty hefty work load, he does what he can to make sure we spend time together as often as possible. He makes for a great date and some nice arm candy.
How sweet it is
Finally, he takes care of the beautiful little baby we made together and his fuzzy buddy Benson.
Our family
Jason in a holiday sweater vest and Princess Santa hat holding our petrified and tremendously fat dog

I can't help but think how lucky I am to have had him in my life for nine years and my legally exclusive dude for six. I totally married up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My inner dialogue has finally stopped cussing.

When I get crazy busy and overwhelmed, my inner dialogue is a real asshole. It says terrible things, acts all kinds of impatient, and uses some pretty nasty words. It's been ugly for the past two weeks, and now it is sitting in time out in a corner of my mind, thinking about what it's done. I wouldn't let myself blog because 1) I was too dang busy anyway and 2) I didn't have very many nice things to say.

But I'm back! And chipper as hell.

I worked like a freak to prepare for our company's conference this past week, and then immediately got sick as soon as my presentations were over. That's how I do things. I get all worked up inside and work and work and work and then the minute the stress is over I have a let-down period that results in illness. Happened on my honeymoon. Let me tell ya, my husband was thrilled with his bride. I spent the first three days in Jamaica laying in bed while my husband got drunk on pina coladas on our balcony.

As soon as conference was over on Wednesday I picked up my dog from the vet, dropped him off at home, picked up my daughter from daycare, came home and tended to her until she went to bed, and then I crashed. I slept from 7:30 p.m. straight until 6:00 a.m. the next morning when Hannah woke up. After realizing I had a sore throat and a headache that felt like a bird hatching from my head, I decided to call into work. Hannah and I slept in my bed until 9:00. Then I took her to daycare, came home, and slept until 11:30 a.m. My headache finally left after I indulged in a little Starbucks somewhere around 3:00 p.m. yesterday. But the sleep was glorious. I feel like a brand new woman.

Hopefully Benson feels like a brand new dog in a good way eventually. Poor buddy had tumors that the vet thought needed to be removed. We were pretty sure one was just a fatty lump (and for some time we referred to Benson as "Fatty Lump") but then things got un-funny when a new bump appeared on his leg a few weeks ago. It appeared to be bothering him and it was harder than the fatty one, so I took him to the vet and they extracted a little sample, looked at it under the microscope, and advised us to have it surgically removed. So, a few days and a million dollars later, Benson has his skin stapled together in two places and is lump-free.

He's not happy. I can tell it hurts and he wants to chew it off, but every time he goes near it I yell. It's like a mean game we play. I don't want to get him one of those head cone satellite-looking things because, for pete's sakes, he needs to maintain a little dignity. But I might wrap it in a t-shirt if he keeps messing. I just hope the sketchy tumor turns out to be nothing. As much as I complain about his shedding, stench, and inability to tell the difference between the outdoors and my dining room floor, I will miss him when he's gone.

Our fuzzy buddy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm with stupid.


I have a permanent case of baby brain. I've been so forgetful lately, and my head feels like a saturated sponge. It really has gotten worse since Hannah was born.

This blew to my feet in a parking lot. Or did I drop it? Either way, I've probably already posted this post-it.

I write post-it note reminders to myself and then forget where I put them.

I sent a "thank you" card twice to the same person for the same gift. Apparently I was really thankful.

I get six words into a sentence and can't remember what I was going to say.

Yesterday I tried to make a pot of coffee at work and forgot to put water in.

Today I had a headache, grabbed Tylenol from the break room, went back to my desk, headed to a meeting, came back and saw pills on my desk, hollered thanks to whichever one of my cube-mates had given me the Tylenol, and then remember it was me...I gave me the Tylenol. Then I decided not to take it in case I had already taken some and forgot.

I'm not safe for me to be around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There is no "clone yourself" in "team."

I'm womped.

I have a perpetually sick baby on my hands, and I only have two hands to soothe my perpetually sick baby. I need at least four, maybe six. I need to be an octopus. Except I do not want to be octomom. Just octo-hand-mom.

I have been working like a madwoman lately. I'm trying hard to get some stuff ready for our company's sales conference, but I've learned quickly that you can't work from home with a baby. Especially a sick one. And one that crawls around like an inchworm on speed. What I want to do is revert back to my part-time schedule where I get to crawl around on the floor like an inchworm with my perpetually sick baby. Hannah helps me simplify things. We jump in doorways. We squeal. We roll around. We throw toys. It's the awesomest.

Conference is next week, and once that's over I will be reverting. Oh, I will be reverting.

Why is it that I always feel like I am swimming against the current? Am I a salmon? I am a Pisces. Does that count? Am I heading upstream for a purpose? Am I going nowhere fast?

This is me:
Something smells fishy
I need to slow the heck down. I think that sometimes I'm so happy to be so distant from my severe postpartum issues (3+ months - yay!) that I want to do everything now. My PPD was life changing. Absolutely gut-wrenching, perception-altering, game-changing, death-defying, live-like-its-your-last-day ass-kicking. Now that I realize how sensitive it all really is and how easily and without warning it can get completely thrown off course, I just might be doing everything I can to defy it. Maybe I'm over-defying it. Will I ever be "normal" again? The phrase "finding your new normal" is tossed around but I think I know what it's all about. It's about surrender. Hell. I'm the worst at that. I think I'd be a great eight-handed woman instead. Hmm.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Re-post: Alison Tate - The Mom Stays in the Picture

My friend Mandy posted this on Facebook tonight and I thought it was magnificent:


The construction project we call home.

The weirdest thing happened tonight. I was at home, minding my own business, and the next thing I knew I was vacuuming. Vacuuming! Anyone who knows me knows I am no domestic engineer. I absolutely hate cleaning. Especially vacuuming. But here's what happened:

My feet grew in both directions during my pregnancy. Now, sixth months after evicting Hannah from my womb, I have finally surrendered to the fact that the majority of my old shoes aren't going to fit anymore. So a few days ago my sister came over and I bequeathed her a large sum of shoes. That small-footed wench. I kid, I kid. But it was really hard for me to let go of some perfectly good boots and heels. Some I've only worn once. Ouch.

After ridding my closet of some serious shoe action, I finally had visibility to the formerly shoe-covered carpet, and I was disgusted. It had gotten incredibly dusty and there were some serious Benson dog tumbleweeds all over. Then I realized there was an air vent amidst the dusty dog hair tumbleweeds, and suddenly I thought about how Hannah was sleeping so sweetly in her bed probably gagging on dander particles and little evil dust weasels. AGH! I couldn't have it. Absolutely couldn't have it. Before I knew it, I had a vacuum going and I was sweating. And then I vacuumed beyond the closet into the bedroom. And then I was on all fours scrubbing baseboards. And then the vacuum let out a big cloud of dust in our bedroom because I don't know how to operate cleaning mechanisms. So I gave up.

It's funny how that little babykins changes my reaction to things. Sadly, without her, I probably wouldn't have been so concerned with the dust creature living in my closet. I know, it's gross. And actually my house is mostly tidy for someone who doesn't like to clean. But I certainly wouldn't have gone into panic and feverish vacuum mode.

I do a lot of things now because I want to save her from all harm. I used to gently remove spiders from my home and take them outside because I felt like a real asshole killing them, but now they are a threat to my daughter's well-being and they have invaded my turf. Squish. I also wash my hands to the point of skin crackle.

I'm currently panicking about several things going on in my home. Jason and I have a tendency to always want to change our environment, so as we speak we have uprooted the carpet in the dining room (Benson thought it would make a nice bathroom for awhile there) and are installing hardwood, our master bath had a leak so the walls have been removed and Jason is preparing to fix it, and our basement has been in the process of being finished for about, oh, three years now. I am so ready to be done with all of it. However, knowing us we will immediately begin another renovation. Of course I'm freaking out because Hannah's life is in jeopardy via construction dust particles, fiberglass insulation pieces, rogue nails, and so on. I am so tired from manual labor and yet I cannot sleep because of paranoia. Se la vie.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My little lady is SIX months old today!

"Abba abba abba abba yo-yooooo!"

Whoa. Time is a-flyin'! I cannot believe that Hannah is already half a year old today. SIX MONTHS! Geez Louise. That little stinker is so incredible. I can't get enough of her. She's still recovering from her illness so I haven't taken her six month photos yet, but I will once she's in her true photogenic form.

We had her pediatrician checkup yesterday, and here are her stats:
  • 67.10% for weight (17 lbs 2 oz)
  • 92.35% for height (27.25")
She's practically an adult.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

And so I cried.

Oy. So much to talk about.

My baby is sick. It's the WORST. Daycare called me Wednesday when I was at work and said she had a fever, was tugging on her ear, and wouldn't eat. Hannah doesn't skip meals. I made a quick appointment with the pediatrician and sped over to daycare just in time to pick her up and get her to the doctor. She has an ear + sinus infection. Poor girl has so much drainage she sounds like a piglet. She hasn't been sleeping through the night as well as she normally does because she simply can't breathe well. Her cough sounds pretty gross. I can't stand it. My mom and dad took care of her Thursday so she could get some good TLC there instead of going to daycare, and she had a fever and cried pretty much the whole drive home that night. And so I cried.

But then she has her OK moments where she almost seems normal. Like this great moment:
Time stopped
Hannah is now on the move with a serious army crawl, and when Jason started strumming she crawled herself right over to his feet. He picked her up and she was in absolute awe of him as he played the guitar. It was one of the most precious things I've ever seen. And so I cried.

Sometimes when she is on her stomach she gets up on all fours and rocks as if she's going to take off in a real crawl. She has also started making noises that resemble words. I'm thrilled to say that the one thing she repeats over and over again is "Ma ma ma ma ma." She says it a lot when she is sad from being sick and wants me to pick her up or hug her. I melt. And cry.

We've had so much going on lately. Even though I'm part-time at work I had a change in position that made me responsible for a few things that are pretty urgent, so I've been working just under 40 hours a week for the past two weeks. Jason went out of town last week for a big IT rally he and his company put on, naturally leaving right before Hannah got sick. Things always happen when he goes out of town. I don't cry about it because I'm too busy to think about feelings.

I really don't cry all too often, but I have kind of been going through a hormonal spell lately where I am easily triggered. I think the worst thing you can do when you feel like crying is not cry, so I never stop myself. I think my whole thing is that I still can't believe this is my life right now. I have a really beautiful baby girl whose life literally depends on me, and this has forced me to become so acutely aware of so many things. It's like an ever-moving emotional target, and just when I accept the way I'm feeling about one piece of motherhood, something new happens. Like she gets her first real fever and illness, and it's like the fear of her not making it through makes its way into my conscience and beats me up. Or she learns to army crawl like an inchworm on the move, and it's both so cute and terrifying...I'm suddenly hyper-aware of every sharp corner that she could split her head open on, or every live wire she could chew, or every dog toy she could gnaw on, or every dog hair on the ground that's probably getting in her mouth and nose and OH GOD. It doesn't stop. It exhausts me.

Yes, I have to figure out how to live like this. Accept the fact that the world is dangerous - even my living room is dangerous - and my heart is now contained within a 17 lb precious gift whose fate I cannot control. It's hard to realize that the greater the gift the more you feel like you have to lose. I wish I could be grateful and leave it at that. But I can't. So I cry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm guilty.

Where does your peace reside?

Is it in an approval? An accomplishment?

Is it caught between a single choice you made a long time ago and a regret you still have now?

In a relationship? In your spouse? In your child?

It's your peace. It's nobody else's. Therefore, it's nobody else's responsibility. And, to be honest, it's nobody else's priority. But it should be yours.

I think it's a damn shame that we let our peace hang in the hands of someone else. Or something else.
"I would be happier if..."
"I wouldn't have any worries if..."
"I could sleep better at night if..."

If what? If someone or something would give you peace? If your situation changed? What if it doesn't? And then you stop breathing. And then you finally figure it out...

I could have had peace the WHOLE time.

It's hard to have peace when you live in fear. So figure out the worst that can happen and accept the fact that you'll live through it. Because you will. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for.

It's hard to have peace when you surround yourself with toxicity. So take a good hard look at what people and things are poisoning you and eliminate them. You won't just be able to live without them, you'll flourish.

It's hard to have peace when you feel guilty. So the next time you hear your inner dialogue tell you that you failed someone or something, tell it to shut its ugly mouth. You acknowledged your humanity, now forgive yourself regardless of whether or not someone else forgives you.

I find myself living with guilt sometimes. I push myself to complete a task. Perfectly. I want to lose my baby weight and get back to my pre-pregnancy shape. Now. I want to make people happy. Every time. I don't want to screw my baby up. I don't want to fail.

I am setting myself up for disaster. You know why? Because I won't complete tasks perfectly, I just quit Weight Watchers, people can't be pleased, babies grow up to be adults who have the lifelong job of finding their own peace, and I am definitely going to fail.

So here's my real job:
Be OK with that. Identify guilt, and alleviate it as fast as possible. Forgive myself for being human. Trust in my ability to be responsible for my own peace. Stop tracking Weight Watchers points when I just don't have the energy. Stop tracking how many miles I run in a week. Let people get mad and struggle with their own inability to forgive me. Fail. And pray to God for peace. Because it's my responsibility and nobody else's.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The black thumb and the bright gift

I like giving myself crap for being such a terrible plant caretaker. I've killed bamboo. Plants shrivel in my presence. All of our bushes surrounding our house have bare spots as if brontosauruses have taken bites out of them. It's shameful. This year I didn't even bother buying flowers. Adding the hottest summer on record to my distaste for the plant watering process just didn't seem like a winning combination. But every day I look out on my back patio to the vacant pots and I can't help but feel frustrated with myself.
The perfect place for tumbleweeds

Perhaps with a little more effort and care I could have a beautiful garden. I admire beautiful gardens and the people who tend to them. I can't bring myself to unreel the hose, I'm so plant lazy. But I absolutely love flowers. I see them as a gift from God and a gorgeous example of the miracle of life. I think about the magic that lives within the precise second that a seed begins its journey into planthood. And just recently, God gave me a pretty neat little gift:
The Godflower
I didn't plant that, but it sprouted last week in my flower pot on the patio. I've never planted a perennial like that, so there's no explanation for the fact that this sweet beauty decided to bless me with its presence. I don't have to water it. It just keeps growing. I don't deserve it, but it was given to me. I like that God brings to life what I can't in order to remind me that His design is a gift.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hannah Boo Boo Child

Proud, proud mother here! My mom entered Hannah in the Manchester Homecoming Cute Kid Contest and she WON! Votes were cast by way of donations benefiting the Friends of Kids with Cancer organization. Now we're going to get cocky. We're going to enter her in baby pageants. We're going to be on Toddlers and Tiaras. She's the next Honey Boo Boo!

OK, all of the above is false with the exception of the winning of the contest.

Award-winning Hannah Sophia
In other news, since I'm gettin' all braggy on my daughter, Hannah has now started making forward progress on her tummy, meaning instead of scooting backward she's beginning to army crawl forward. And she's steadily eating one portion of pureed carrots a day. And she's cute. Happy mama, I am.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hannah Land: A chapped ass, a curve ball, and banana for Hannah

Today was a big day in Hannah Land. Three major events took place.

Number one has to do with number two...
Hannah is teething. Teething leads to pooping. Pooping leads to diaper rash. Diaper rash leads to a chapped ass. A chapped ass leads to NO PANTS FRIDAY! Apparently the best thing for diaper rash is good old fashioned air. So, I let Hannah hang out on some towels with her little red fanny free to feel the breeze. I am pretty sure she loved it. Perhaps I just loved it for her. I would have indulged as well but for whatever reason I don't think the neighbors would have found it as charming if anyone were able to see in the windows. I do think the day of butt oxygen helped. Her tush looks less like Freddy Krueger's face now.

Number two has nothing to do with poop...
You wouldn't believe it but my little 5-month old lady has quite the right arm on her. She can fling the ball swiftly and accurately. Don't believe me? Watch this video of her playing ball with her daddy. She worked her curve ball and sinker and caught Jason looking with her famous high and inside pitch. Or something.

Number three looks like a number two only it doesn't smell like one...(excuse me for being so fecal today - I'm double-O-C out-of-control with these poop references)
You may recall that we struck out majorly when we tried the rice cereal. That experience intimidated us into not trying any sort of non-formula meals for awhile. But, today seemed like the right day since she was dominating every other aspect of life. It went incredibly well. She was scared of the presentation of the food at first and wasn't sure what to do with the spoon, but she seemed to love the taste. She gobbled up an entire little container of banana after her meal of formula. I think we're going to never feed her rice cereal again and stick with the stuff that doesn't taste like puffed air.

Hannah eats banana!


Saturday, September 8, 2012


Sweet holy mother of SLEEP! Now that is what I needed. I have been so tired all week but last night I went to bed at 8 p.m. and I slept until 7 a.m. I'm like a new woman. I haven't slept like that in about a year.

This week was exhausting. I honestly haven't been feeling that great. By no means have I had a full-fledged relapse back into my terrible postpartum low, but I have been feeling about a notch or two outside of myself. Fortunately, I feel like I have a lot of the tools I need to push through. I will do everything I can to not let myself get that low again. I'm done with it.

Adding to the exhaustion was the fact that Jason was in Chicago for work all week and I was flying solo with Hannah. I've never felt so discombobulated. I have so much respect for single moms. Good-intentioned single moms. Not perfect, of course. No mom is perfect. But I think parenting is one of the most complex, challenging, emotional jobs I've ever had. I've had plenty of complicated jobs in my day, but I've never been so emotionally invested in any of them. I sell prepaid cards as a day job. I'm not emotionally tied to prepaid cards.

In Greek and the Bible there are different variations of love, each representing a different type of love. Agape love, eros love, philia love, storge love. I wish this same logic applied in the English language. We only have one word for love, but feelings of love can be so different depending on what or who you love. The love I have for Hannah is a new kind of love. People say, "Don't you just love your baby?" And I do, but it's a new emotion. It's a feeling that I've never had for anything or anybody else. It's hard to describe, but all of my new mom friends agree. It's scary, exhausting love. It's deep, intuitive love. It's a love you get in your stomach first and then it fills your whole body like a warm inner hug. It's a love you'd sacrifice your whole life for.

The love I feel for my baby is

It's DENIPOSA love.
a love like no other

Monday, September 3, 2012

I sure get a lot done for a sleepy person (a.k.a. "Piano Man" deconstructed)

I spent five of the last 24 hours driving across Illinois with nothing but some good tunes and my thinking cap, which can be refreshing and mildly dangerous.

I took a page out of my sister's book and played a little iPod roulette, meaning I let my iPod do its shuffle and I refused to let myself change any songs. This got pretty interesting when I learned that I left my entire 85 song holiday playlist on the thing. At first I felt festive. Then I kind of wanted to die. Rules are rules, though.

Anyway, somewhere around the millionth mile of corn Billy Joel's Piano Man came on and I cranked it and gave the passing cars a better scene than someone knuckle-deep in their nostrils. I had my Dasani bottle microphone going and played the steering wheel piano like it was my God-given right. That song is one that I've listened to several thousand times, but it wasn't until today that I actually paid attention to the lyrics. Do you ever hear the lyrics to a song and say to yourself, I know exactly what they mean? That was my story today.

I can't tell you how many times I'll say something to Jason and he'll respond with "Where did that come from?" We were caravaning back home from our destination and decided to stop in Litchfield for a swallow of some grade E meat. He asked me how my drive was going and I replied, "I realized I'm tired of being lazy."

Here's what I meant:

When I was a sophomore in high school I got mono. Now I'm not trying to assign the blame there, but I haven't been the same since. I'm friggin' tired. Like, all the time. I've been to doctors upon doctors and the results have spoken: I don't have diabetes, thyroid issues, allergies, blood disease, nothing like that. Every doctor comes back with a diagnosis related to the fact that when you have mono it never actually goes away. The symptoms are supposed to, but you're always a carrier. That and it can impact your immune system, and I've pointed out recently that my immune system is a pointless collection of malfunctioning organs. The other conclusion doctors have come to is that I probably have chronic fatigue syndrome. I say probably because there is no way to diagnose it concretely, i.e. blood test or otherwise. I pretty much spent a lot of money to have doctors tell me I had a case of sleepiness. No doi.

For the most part I push through my fatigue and nobody would ever know, unless you lived with me in college in which case at some point you probably said to me, "Napping? Again?"

I still work out when I can. I still go to my job and do my best. I still keep up with my hygiene. But I also have a whole host of things that I want to do and I just flat out don't.

What Billy Joel is singing about in Piano Man is a little bit of all of us. There is always something on our list that we don't do because of fear, a confidence shortage, lack of time, sleepiness.

He's quick with a joke or a light of your smoke but there's someplace that he'd rather be.
Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place.

A busy realtor who never had time for a wife. A lifelong member of the Navy. A gang of strangers who find a dark room somewhere to drink and forget about life for awhile.

I passed a lot of corn in my car and thought about all of this. I don't know what it is that prevents all of you from really fulfilling what sits deep inside but I know what my excuses are...

I don't do a LOT of things because I think I'm too tired. This is my excuse for not doing pretty much anything that I am passionate about when I get home from work. And cleaning the house. And exercising. And painting the art that I vowed to hang on my walls (which is why we've been in our home for three years and the upstairs bedroom walls have little to nothing on them).

I wanted to major in art or creative writing but I was afraid to make a career out of either for fear that someone would tell me how do to them and I would lose my fire for them. Instead I do neither as often as I'd like and I definitely don't get paid for them.

I want to cook a natural, healthy dinner for my family every night but I won't go to the grocery store right after work when I'm wearing heels because it's hard to walk on the slippery grocery store floor in them.

I want to practice guitar more often but it hurts my fingers and I hate pushing through the pain.

I want to stop eating my sandwiches when I'm full but I feel bad that they otherwise would not fulfill their sandwich destiny.

I want to join a Bible study at my church but I'm afraid it will take away from all that nothing that I'm doing at night instead.

I want to do so many things but I guess I'd rather give myself the guilts sometimes, and that is a crock.

You know what, though? I'm proud of what I have accomplished. It may not be as much as I'd like but it's pretty good for someone with the ability to come up with some pretty creative excuses. Everybody struggles, and sometimes the best we can do all day is breathe, and that's OK in my book.

I'd like to think we're all sailing slowly in that boat. In fact, I know we are or Billy Joel would have had to change his song. We're all in that bar, sharing a drink they call loneliness. But I'll be damned if it isn't better than drinkin' alone.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hannah's 5 months on this planet

It's been a good minute since I've posted. I have been caught up in some stuff over the past week, including healing from being sick, resting, not blogging, working, sleeping, eating, more not blogging, watching the season finale of Teen Mom, laying down, and generally not blogging. Sometimes I just need to take a break and spend time thinking of pointless things, ya know?

Tomorrow marks Hannah's 5th month in the world, and I can't imagine my life without her. She's my light. Over the past few weeks, she has started blowing raspberries, she tries to get up on all fours but typically only succeeds in jutting her butt up in the air, she has a tiny little incisor tooth pushing its way through her gums, and we attempted cereal and failed. She tries to play peek-a-boo but pretty much just ends up with something covering her face that I have to pull off. She has a great sense of humor and an easy-going personality. I can take her anywhere. We're buds. It's insane how quickly she grows.

We did her 5 month photo shoot today. Here are the grand results:

(Miles: 8/365)