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Thursday, October 30, 2014

On motherhood, poop and Labrador tails...

So it's been a reeeeeeeeaaaaallly long time since my last post, which makes me sad because I really want this blog thing to be somewhat regular. So with that, I'm challenging myself to do not one blog post a month, but a minimum of 2 monthly posts! Let's see if it actually happens.

I have a spectacular reason for not posting in quite some time: I'm a new mom!! I gave birth to a 7 pound, 15 ounce buddy named Erik Christopher on September 25th at 7:05am. I've noticed that lots of other bloggers write about their birth stories so I thought I'd share mine, in a sparkly manner of course.

Chris and I went in for our 40 week checkup, and as the doc checked me for dilation (which was happening), she frowned and said, "that's not a head, that's a butt." With that, we had to schedule a c-section for the following morning. This came as quite a shock because we'd been told not two weeks prior that my son had turned and was starting to drop. I have no recollection of feeling him turn BACK around, but then again I still didn't have a clue as to what exactly was going on in my uterus, except that there was a living thing moving around in there.

On a side note, it's weird how many mothers-to-be are so in-tune with their babies and bodies that they are able to identify exactly what the baby is doing inside of them and exactly where certain body parts are. Being a master of BS, I would oftentimes tell people, "feel that, that's his foot kicking me in the ribs," or, "oh, there, that's his little knee!" I am now fully willing to admit that not once did I have an inkling of a CLUE which body parts were moving where. The only thing I could identify were hiccups, which were cute as hell and now that he's 5 weeks old, STILL make me giggle and pull out my camera to video whenever they happen.

So cue to the next morning at 4:45. We headed to the hospital and I was taken back to the prep area where any sense of shame was promptly removed. People think with a c-section it's magical because people don't have to look at your vagina and you don't poop yourself. Well, that's not entirely true (except the not pooping yourself part). Oh, hello catheter - happy to see you, friend! I swear, half the hospital was in the room when that sucker was inserted.

Anywho, I guess the not-so-magical part of having a c-section is, well, the c-section. Didn't feel much of anything except loads of pressure but apparently my organs are re-arranged to get the baby out, which my dear husband watched with wide eyes, wagging his bushy tail and snapping pics with his iPhone. Then, all of a sudden with no warning, we heard two coughs and an infant crying. I of course cried and when he was handed to Chris, I kissed his little face and took him in although he looked extremely pissed. It was definitely not a disappointing experience but I must admit I was kind of bummed at how, well, common it seemed. I had this vision of the doctor pulling him out, lion-kinging him and yelling out, "It's a BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY!!! Congratulations mom and dad - dad, you ready to cut the cord??" But instead they let me kiss him, then whisked him away. I learned in recovery that the little guy had fluid in his lungs and had to be taken away for observation for up to 6 hours. 6 HOURS??????

I've NEVER been so nervous/terrified in my life. All I wanted was to see and hold my baby boy. 4 hours later, they brought him into my room and handed him to me. He was pronounced healthy and no longer needed to be observed. So we started breastfeeding him and I ate deli meat. Yum.

Out of this whole experience, I learned quite a few things:

1) While the c-section completely blew, it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated it being. Recovery has not been horrible (though I say that with the help of Percocet for, oh, 2 weeks post-op). I'm now at a point where I can say that I'm starting to feel moderately normal again and the pain is dissipating.

2) I think if humans had tails, Chris would have a fluffy squirrel tail. I would want a sassy, swift cat tail. It would be really obnoxious to have one of those really hyper Labrador tails. Those people would definitely be annoying - "jeez, here comes Steve with his stupid tail." And Steve would always have to eat lunch at a table by himself or with other Labradors because, well, he annoys people. UGH.

3) Breastfeeding, yeah, that....NOTHING could have prepared me for just how tough it's been, BUT IT'S WORKING AND ERIK LOVES IT!!!!!  Babies dream about boobs and it's really cute. Chris said he imagines Erik's dreams placing him in the Never Ending Story, blissfully riding along on Falkor but instead of Falkor (the luck dragon) he's riding a giant boob. Thus, the name of the story would change to the Never Ending Supply of Milk.

4) Never in my life thought I'd get so excited about burps, farts and the consistency/frequency of poops. "Honey, come in here, the kid shit all over the wall again but look at the beautiful mustard-yellow color!"

5) Motherhood rocks.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

On the Halfway Point...

This week I reached the halfway point in my pregnancy - 20 weeks. It's been almost 2 months since I last blogged so apologies for the delay, but so much has been going on and it's been tough to sit down and write things out.

In a nutshell, here's what the past 5 months have looked like for us:

Early Dec., 2013: Chris gets laid off from his job.
1 Week later: We throw our hands in the air, say f*ck it, and go on the London trip we'd been planning on taking (oh also that we'd already paid for and was nonrefundable) for 3 years. Call it a "honeymoon that was a long time coming."
Vacay/Post-Vacay/New Years: We get all Marvin Gaye. Like, a lot.
Mid-Jan: We find out we're pregnant. Happiness ensues.
Last week: We get a letter from unemployment stating that Chris's funds have been exhausted.
Post-Mean-Letter-Arrival: Chris goes to unemployment office to file for an extension and is told that because congressional Republicans are refusing to pass an extension on unemployment right now, he gets nothing. (PS, he's gotten 18 weeks of unemployment and has worked tirelessly to find a job). Oh, and he was also told to "Have a good day." He almost had to be escorted out of the office by security.

I tell you these things not because I am looking for sympathy, but for two reasons:

1) It's completely insane and people need to know what's going on in Congress. I'm not as concerned about what we're going to do because I have a job and we did build a nest egg just in case the bottom fell out. So many others have been screwed so much worse by this and that makes me angry.
2) Despite the course of these events, I feel happier than I've ever felt in my life.

See, we've been married for 12 years and have never spoken much to friends/family members about our plans to have children. We weren't even sure if we wanted to take that plunge until late last summer, when we decided to pull the birth control plug and, "hell, see what happens." We had money saved up and were planning to eventually upgrade out of an apartment into a real house. We really like us and thought, why should we deprive the world of the awesomeness that will inevitably be our offspring (sounds haughty but it's true, and anyone will say that about their offspring so shut your mouth, eat your cereal and quit your judging).

After initial freakouts this week, here's what's seemed to help things fall into place for us, mentally:

1) We weighed the scales of our lives. Sounds kind of cheesy but I'm serious, try it out and it'll really put things into perspective. Draw a set of scales and write down the bad on one side, and the good on the other. For us, despite the shit turn of events, the good outweighed the bad by a ridiculous margin. Between our incredible support system made up of the greatest people in the world to our awesomely dark senses of humor, to our spectacular mid-century modern living/dining room (which NOBODY can take away), we realized that we're going to be just fine. It's funny, you plan, plan, plan on things happening a certain way. We saved $$ for a child we now can't afford to have. THANKS OBAMA (ironic snicker).

2) The baby started to kick. Like, really kick and move and stuff and WE CAN FEEL HIM!!!!

3) I made a spectacular homemade version of mac n' cheese last night with bacon and chives. Try it. It'll change your life (look up bechamel sauce, do it that way and then sprinkle with bacon bits and chives).

4) I always wondered what perfection looked like, until last night, when I saw it. THIS is perfection.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I drink pickle juice - adventures in pregnancy...

So it turns out, I'm pregnant. 14 weeks tomorrow so I can talk about it now! Yay for indiscretion!!!

This is my first go-round so I have absolutely no idea what to expect, although everyone and every pregnancy website (all of which I've scoured) have told me exactly what would be happening with my body. I won't go into the details of what I've experienced thus far as I'm sure many women have been there, done that, but I will talk about the weird shit.

Okay, seriously, it's all weird, right??

I have absolutely NO DESIRE to drink coffee. That was the one thing that scared me most about getting pregnant. Sure, my abdominal muscles splitting in half and having a tear inevitably happen that goes from vag to anus sounds mildly terrifying, but WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THAT I CAN'T HAVE CAFFEINE? So initially (before the doc told me that 200 mg a day was safe), I made a switch to decaf coffee. Which was fine because it tastes the same and tricked my body into thinking it WAS the same.

But then the nausea, smell and food aversions, they came on without warning - not unlike the pack of dirty "gang" kids who roamed the streets of my neighborhood when I was a kid. (Okay, so maybe I hung out with them one or two times).

Back to coffee. I just don't want it. I don't want to smell it, I don't want to taste it. In fact, just writing about it is making me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I'm through the first trimester, so dying to know when (and if) this will go away. Every morning I wake up hoping to want a delicious cup of (gag) hot coffee, but nothing so far...

So let's talk about pickles. I have worked my way through several jars since about week 6 and can't get enough. A couple of weeks ago, I finished yet another jar and my husband was playing a video game in the living room. Well, after finishing the last of these pickles I looked into the jar which was my first mistake. The green, vinegary juice looked back at my with such intensity - it took me back to sitting on the kitchen counter when no one was home, downing yet another glass of pickle juice before anyone could find out (yes, I drank pickle juice as a child. It was one of many quirks). I looked over at Chris and he was pretty wrapped up in his game. So I dared. I quickly took a swig right out of the jar and at THAT VERY MOMENT he turned his head and stared at me with a sort of disgusted look of curiosity.

I couldn't really explain. What was the point?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A detailed analysis of the photo that has changed my life...

Anyone who's ever visited my home has likely noticed it. Most visitors have asked the question, and just a few have noticed it but were not sure what to make of it, so kept quiet.

And when someone asks The Question, excitement and anticipation rev up inside.

"Why do you have a framed picture of Seal in your house?"

And the answer is always the same:

"It's there to remind us that we're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy."

So as I've most certainly caught your attention, I'm sure you're wondering about the story behind the picture.

It was about three years ago. Chris and I were checking out the neighborhood Goodwill and came across the photograph. We were enamored with it from the start. The calm, yet slightly concerned look on his face, that says something along the lines of, "I know what you feel. Don't be so hard on yourself. My baby." The majestic gold and snake-skin type frame that served as a vessel for the photograph. I turned it over. $2.56. We hemmed and hawed about it and decided to hide it and think about it for at least a day or two before committing to this purchase.

I couldn't sleep that night. I couldn't stop thinking about those eyes. That look. And oh, my, the frame.

So I went back first thing the next day, found it right where we'd hidden it, and made my purchase. The picture looked amazing in our house. It now sits on our hutch, among several family photos. Because he's like a member of the family.

A few weeks ago, Chris and I decided to unravel some of the mystery behind the photograph. For the first time, we opened the back of the frame to take a look. The picture has a very Olan Mills vibe to it - was it taken in a Kmart photo studio? Is there writing on the back of it, dating the time and place and, of course, name of the subject?

And just like that, the magic was gone. Turns out the picture was clipped out of a magazine (likely by a four year old or a very hasty clipper, as it was a terribly executed clipping job).

So from there, I started to wonder what kind of a person hastily would clip a picture of Seal out of a magazine and put it in a gold and snake-skin type frame? I appreciate and admire the resourcefulness and creativity, but I do wonder if this person had this photo in their home so they could perhaps tell people that Seal is a friend of theirs? Or did they have an alter dedicated to Seal and his wisdom? I could see that.

Let me just note, right here, that Chris and I love us some Seal. In fact, we're not fully convinced that "Kiss from a Rose" wasn't inspired by a conversation he had with an angel. The dude's got heart and soul in his music - nobody can deny that.

Anyway, we of course were not ready to put the photograph in storage. I don't think we ever will. Knowing that it is just a clipping from a magazine is disheartening, but alas it still harbors the heart and soul of that for which Seal stands. You can see it in his eyes (which do not become large in the picture, thank goodness).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Out with the old and in with the new(ish): on pre-finished unicorn puzzles, cat eroticism and our MCM living room

So. CLEARLY it's been a while since my last post. Lots and lots has happened since October, but I won't bore you with the details (okay, okay, so we *may* have taken a tiny trip to London - more to come on that). We got rid of old stuff (always challenging but so refreshing) and we accumulated awesomer stuff, with two finished unicorn puzzles at the top of the list. I created a new badass twisty hairstyle for my in-between stage. I ate a lot of candy corn.  I crossed Abbey Road. I learned that juicing carrots, apples and ginger is OHMYSOGOOD. I watched Dirt McGrit chase his tail while Spike made sweet love to our bath mats, which was oddly erotic (JK cats aren't erotic, FOOLS!). Oh, and I ate a lot of gingerbread cookies.

So with no further adieu - I'd like to introduce you to our 2013 project, the living room:

The cool thing about it was - EVERYTHING was a steal. We got the sofa on sale at Macy's, the chair from Ikea, one of the American of Martinsville side tables from Kudzu Antiques for next to nothing since it didn't have a match; and THEN we found a match on Craigslist. The Lane cocktail table was another steal from an antique market in Rome, GA. The shag rug was from Overstock (and is craaaaazy-soft). The pillows were $20 a pop from Society 6, and the sunburst wall clock was yet another steal from The Ice House (our new favorite store) in Chamblee, GA.

Why yes, that IS a Lance Link and the Evolution Revolution Record! Great show or Greatest show?

This amazing mid-century cart was on sale at Kudzu. We bit without hesitation. 

And it all works fabulously with our Union Jack table, purchased in early 2013 from The Icehouse

The infamous Dirt McGrit seal of approval
This was a most-of-2013 project and it was done on a super limited budget. But it was probably one of the most fun, memorable things we've done together as a couple. At first, we thought we'd just pick out a room in Ikea and recreate it at home, but since we've discovered antiquing (and craigslist for furniture) we've opened SO MANY new doors. And we learned that it's okay to be picky. If you're not completely sold on something, don't do it! I think we slept on pretty much every single purchase we made.

This was a huge deal for us because for most of our marriage we've had a mismatched living room full of hand-me-down furniture. Forcing slipcovers over things just to try and half-assed-make-them-match got old.

Sure, this all may seem pretty tiny, and perhaps not a big deal to folks who can afford to do a lot more. But it has meaning to us and always will, not so much for the things we've acquired but more for the experiences we had acquiring them.

And we put a unicorn horn on Spike.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Road Trip in search of a cocktail table - a no-filter kind of day!

Perfect day. We did some thrifting and antiquing and came back with some amazing finds, including a Lane cocktail table, some great books, a Colonel Sanders Christmas Special record, a couple of lithographs and, best of all, these magical (ALREADY put together) puzzles.

On our mini-road trip about an hour and a half north, we found some cool roadside attractions to boot.

Can't wait to frame this album and put it up next to Lance Link and the Evolution Revolution, which graces the wall over our sofa.

If we weren't complete assholes, this might be our Christmas card.

This little girl at the roadside flower place handed me this flower and her little brother gave one to Chris. It was adorbs.

Lethal Weapon poster on the side of the road. Why not?

Not only did we come across a Kmart, we also stepped inside and re-entered 1986. It. Rocked.

And the best find of the day: Lane cocktail table

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I chose option 5, of course!

So. I could be ashamed of my shopping habits, but my pride won't let that happen. I NEVER pay full price for anything. I know the TJ/Marshall's brands so well that I tend to anticipate what items will inevitably end up in those stores, and wait, yes, WAIT, for them to grace the shelves of these magnificent meccas of mega-deals.  Never again will I buy a candle from Yankee Candle Co. Never again will I buy my shampoo or Hemp lotion from the salon when I can get it for half the price at the Maxx. Never again will I buy athletic clothing from department stores, the Nike store, or even (sigh) Lululemon, as I can find Adidas, Nike and company at, you guessed it, the Maxx.

So what's my dilemma, you ask? Two years ago, I found some magnificent Ironman running capris at Marshall's, on clearance, for just $10 a pair. They fit great and made my glutes (yes, I said glutes) look super fly so I bought three pairs. Didn't realize that the Ironman symbol on the front actually implies that I have completed an Ironman. Until just recently, when I was asked by no less than three different competitive runners which Ironman I completed. So here are my options: 1) Compete in an Ironman. Tempting, as I really do love those pants. But fuck, 70.3 miles? Yeah, you make fun of me Joe Rauch but I'd stick that 70.3 sucker on my car in a heartbeat. 2) Throw in the towel. Trash the pants and never ever fake being a triathlete again. Who am I kidding? I don't deserve to wear those pants. When I wear them, I shame mega-athletes everywhere. 3) Get a sharpie marker and color over the Ironman symbol so my life is no longer a big fat lie. 4) Tell people I have competed in an Ironman competition and come up with some bullshit story detailing it to just the right extent. Wow, never saw those man-o-wars coming (wink, wink). 5) Brag about finding these pants for just $10 a pair and dare someone to question my judgement, regardless of the faker I seem to be.

But I digress. While I do think it's a bit obnoxious to constantly showcase incredible deals, I kind of want to show them off. Maybe somewhere inside my head, I believe that I have the power to save people from the burdens of over-spending by showing them how insanely great the deals I find can be. How different would this world be if we all shopped at discount stores?

Do you see the symbol? Sir Dirt McGrit is ashamed to have such a faker as his person.