Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Perfection at Postal Service

Nothing says Christmas to me like the post office.  Being there sending something to a far away friend or family member, watching others packing bright gifts up to send, or gathering up their mail and packages from vacation hold.  It's pretty magical that I can send a card from here to Alaska or Hawaii or New York for less than $0.50 (can't even buy a soda for that!).  I enjoy the post office normally, but especially during holiday season.  I get a lift from sending packages or cards.  Once, more than several years ago, I was the sobbing girl at the counter, missing my husband, sending him a package in hopes that he'd have a bit of Christmas whilst we were so far apart.  On the other hand, if a package arrives with my (or my daughters') name I simply cannot leave it un-opened...packages that aren't addressed to me are almost too too tempting, also!

I digress.  The First Born wanted to send something to her little friends for Christmas, I suggested silly bands and the hand made cards she put together all by herself, I made custom envelopes with her appointed color for each of them.  This afternoon we wait in line at the USPS office, she's chatting away with random abandon, and notices two soldiers at the counter.  "Hey, Mama, they're wearing funny shirts!"
I explain, "Well, they're wearing uniforms, sweetheart, they're soldiers."
"Why are there soldiers, Mama?" 
"Because sometimes we need them to help keep us safe."
"They travel a long way, to different countries, don't they?"
"Yes, sometimes, usually they're away.  But it's Christmas-time and lots of them get to come home to be with their families."
There was some talk of shooting and hunting...sometimes soldiers are hunters, but not all hunters are soldiers.  Then,
"Can I go talk to them?"
"Well, can you wait until after they're done with their business at the counter?"
"Yes.  Then I want to tell them, 'Thank you for keeping us safe, and Merry Christmas!' "
So she waits, and I wait, teary eyed, the Ergo-ed Baby E makes exclamatory remarks"BbAH, AgH, BbAH!".  A couple of minutes and it's mission accomplished, the gentlemen smile and wave as they head back outdoors.  Sweet Miss Monkey then makes her way to the counter to send off her small presents. 

While I fully recognize the differences in the armed forces and their compartmentalized duties, 'keep it simple' is best sometimes.  And anyone who serves to protect the general populace such that we are safe everyday; Police & Fire, Sheriff, National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, BIG WONDERFUL HOLIDAY THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In the basement...

There's a bike.  It's from Santa, and it's supposed to be hidden until the big day.  But today in classic 4 year old fashion F went downstairs to look for her blankie that had gone missing almost 2 full days ago.  She does an odd (hereditary on her Papa's side I think) thing...she looks for the missing item in places where it couldn't possibly be.

Down to the basement she went, and excitedly returns to me to report that there's "something down there, it's purple and white with flowers! it's a big girl bike, Mama!"

I play cool, "Oh?  hmm, well, I don't know what you're talking about."

"Well, come and see!"

"No.  I'm not going downstairs...." then cheerfully, lightly,
"That's not our space down there, Ms. Landlay-Dee is storing things down there.  I'm not going down there, it's not our space remember?  And you're not to go down there either."

She did try to get down there once more, but was diverted cleverly with other Christmasey things to be done.

Crisis averted?  We'll see.  The Man already went to do some magic downstairs, so hopefully I'll just use my considerable tools of Denial and Distraction to pretend like nothing happened.

Christmas now? christmas not?

Gifting.  It's one of my truly favorite things to do for holidays.  But I'm past the buying of an item in order to have something to give.  If it's not applicable, interesting, or something I think the person will really enjoy, I just don't see the point.  Do I really need to gift more stuff to people that I'm certain have too much stuff already?  Because really what happens with the item that I thought would have some meaning...it's lost in all the rest of the stuff.  Christmas is hard when there's not enough money to buy a lot of stuff, mostly 'cause we've been so very conditioned to associate the season with shopping rather than giving.  I recently heard someone remark that his new daughter-in-law typically spends upwards of $4k for holiday shopping.  Wow.  But then right now, $100 is too much and $100k isn't enough.  I find myself looking for, finding, and defining more meaning in this year's celebration.  This has been catalyzed by having children.  With the First Born's first Christmas, the re-birth of the new year, solstice, etc. began to have weight to them.  Now that we are enjoying and learning a new philosophy with Mile Hi Church of Religious Science things are more and more meaningful.  The senior minister said recently that birth of the christ child represents the birth of highest consciousness within ourselves, and the manger is our heart.  Call it Buddha-self, Christ consciousness, walking with Tao, it's all Truth, the Golden Thread that binds all walks of faith.

Anyway, this has been a year of growth, learning, and deepening our relationships---especially now since we're staying 'round here in Denver area!  Such a relief to know that we're not leaving, the stress of possibly re-establishing community is gone.  But then the flip side is that I now must be comfortable with reality of real grown-up friendships where people have seen my imperfections, and like me anyway.  So my gifts this year are less monetary, less stuff, and more of the intangible.  The things that I learn, that I might pass them on to my girls; my experience, strength and hope that I might share with others, that just might help someone some how.  I truly do live in abundance and I am so grateful.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby E

She wrings her hands and her toes when really upset, she already has tears.  Sucks her right thumb and fiddles her ear when drifting to sleep.  She has a tooth now, and trembles with excitement when being fed.  With her first bites, squeals and exclamations were so exuberant I thought she might choke.  Uses fat fingers to attempt Happy Puffs o's into her open drooling mouth, succeeds almost half the time.  She sits, she sways, rocks, and planks; she seems totally content on her back holding her feet, not quite crawling, though certainly on the verge, I might describe her as nonchalant about very idea. 

Her chubby legs and feet barely fit the "12 month" size socks we picked up, the polka-dots stretch to ovals.  That sweet-sweet face sleeping soundly in the bed as I sneak from under-covers to have a few moments of my own before the day begins.  The fussing at night as been barely bearable, as I'm trying not to bring her to bed, and not to nurse her between 10p and 5a.  In the morning she looks at me bright-eyed, as if to deny that siren-wail baby ever existed.  She's attached, and that's good though it makes my getting moment's peace a lot less likely.  Her scrunched-nose scowl 'n' wiggle-sway keeps us giggling, a sure sign of a pleased baby here. 

Oh, how we love the baby-love.













Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road Trip

Captain Read-Every-Sign-Aloud-and-Comment-on-the-Obvious resumed his position of most honorable drive master.  Co-Captain/Navigator Designate Milk-Maker-Baby-Soother-Child-Distractor (wo)manned the co-pilot seat.  Then the Gigglesisters piled in the back seat, and we're off to grandparents house.

When she was 1.5 years Miss Monkey weathered the trip to Texas for grandparents visit with a video player, and by the time we arrived she was zombified.  This year we did it old school, no video.  Books on tape, music, coloring, staring out the window, giggling with the baby girl, and a view finder click-click-clicking away.  It's a 13.5 hour trip (~778 miles), we left at 3:30 am MST putting the girls in the car in hopes that they would sleep for a few hours before the day began, it worked mostly.  One tank later we stop for breakfast somewhere in New Mexico, then it's on the road again.  I estimate it was about 10am or so before we heard the first "Are we there yet?" plaintively from the back seat.  "No, it's a loooong drive to Gramma's & Grandpa's house.  Remember we looked on the map, and talked about how long the drive would be?  All day, remember?  Well, we're about half way there now."  

Then about an hour later, "Are we there YET?" suddenly we are entertained with, "I think you took a wrong turn, Papa.  We should be there by now."  Later interspersed with "When do we eat? I think we should stop at a restaurant."  This continues on into the afternoon, watching the miles and tiny towns roll away.  Eventually, sometime mid-afternoon, I think she surrendered to the car.  It's hard to teach a new person how to sleep in the car, too.  When I was little we took our favorite pillow and blanket and made a bed as best we could, elbowing each other out of the way, to be comfortable enough to sleep.  The more we slept the faster the trip went.  The First Born would have none of this sleeping in the car, I think she just couldn't get comfortable or she wasn't tired enough.  Baby E did great up until the last couple of hours when she had obviously had enough.  I spent that time twisted part-way 'round so she could have a hand to toy with, my guess, to know that she wasn't trapped back there without us.  On our way home---post refreshments and visit with Maui-Amarillo transplant buddies---the baby was fed, diapered, jammied and ready for "bed".  The bigger one fell asleep on cue for bedtime and stay asleep until we were almost to Denver, when, for whatever reason, she was wiiide awake at 11pm.  Miss Chatty-Chatskins, the content of which we understood very little, most of it was dream-conscious gibberish I think, and something about Chuck-E-Cheese.  She almost had a fit when I told her she had to go to bed immediately upon our arrival home.  Gone are the days when we could nurse our babies while the husbands drove, and kids calling dibs on the way-back seat could stretch out for the cruise.

We made it, in good time, and enjoyed our visits with everyone immensely.  Gratefully enjoying every moment.  Happy Thanksgiving.

p.s. when the family joke has become to comment on the "funny lookin' dawgs" in the vast cattle fields of Texas, it's best to surrender to the silliness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Workout? what workout?

I haven't rooted to the couch, that's something at least.

There were at least 6 weeks there when Baby E arrived that for obvious reasons I merely concentrated on sleeping when I could and recovering from the endurance challenge that is the last trimester or so of pregnancy culminating in the extreme endurance of labor.

After the okay from Doc I did workouts here and there when I could, and still there were snags in my plans.
I can't workout if my breasts are or will become engorged---that's uncomfortable. So timing my workouts post-nursing, and hopefully while baby is sleeping is key.  Add to that I must time my workouts according to my nutrition and availability of some one to keep eyes on the offspring and it gets tricky, GloboGym won't take any infants in childcare < 6 months.  When Miss Monkey has a bike again, she can ride while I jog  Baby E in the Burley.  But without a bike trailer I'm trapped on the trainer or spin bike.

I got into such great habits of eating while training for the 1/2IM and I kept up that metabolism with swimming & walking while preggers (besides the mega-munchies to feed that baby), which means that I have to eat before a workout (and sometimes during) otherwise I bonk.  So there were the times that The Man came home early-ish I could've headed to the gym but I was hongree, and if I stay to eat I end up putting kiddo to bed, then had to nurse the baby again before bed, and suddenly it's 9pm and I'm wasted tired and just want to sleep.  Wake up next day, after a baby feeding or two in the night, and repeat...oh, and 4 hours or less of sleep in a shift.

Then there's moving, and the big pause with Miss M, and moving again.  Makes for even less time, and less schedule to operate with.  I did get yoga in, a little strength training, and more run than bike, no swimming tho'...and that little bit probably kept me sane with a Little Girl that was acting out and a sweet -sweet demanding infant.  Social obligations aside, just getting baby n' kiddo into some semblance of schedule proved impossible, and only just now have we settled into a routine in the new place.  Finally!

Hope beyond hope that AquaPiglet (thank you, TriAya!) has settled into a 6ish to 4ish sleep, then we nurse early, she goes back down, and I head out to do something until Loving Husband departs for his fantabulous VP position.  If there's time later in the day for more, then we're golden, it'll develop just as it should, I've faith.

Shopping races for next season, and looking forward to getting back into the rhythm.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Humorista

Miss Monkey, other than the self explanatory slap-stick silliness.

Situation 1:  
Papa singing in the kitchen, loudly, operatically, about chicken soup or ramen noodles.  She trots to her room specifically to dig out a kazoo-like ocarina shaped tooter, pokes her head around the door and "ttoooooots" into his song.  She grins, we laugh.

Situation 2:  
Sitting around a table, the two of them are facing me. I'm relaying the events of the morning, visiting fabulous neighbors, etc.  The Man says, "oh, you have something on your face...a smudge of something."
"What?  I do?" says I.
"Yeah," says he.
 "Really?  'cause that would suck, I mean, I would swear that if I really had something on my face then one of the moms would have said something to me....Miss Monkey, do I have anything on my face?"
Small pause, as she considers, then without prompting of any kind, with poker face, "Yeah, you do!"
"Whaaat???"
And as he couldn't handle it anymore, my loving husband bursts out laughing, as does Fiona.  Ganging up on me already.

Situation 3:
The other evening, returning home, the first born notices my husband wearing my Broncos cap (yes a bit embarrassing at this point considering their latest games).  She's been experimenting with our given names lately, and we repeatedly ask her to call us Mama and Papa or Dadah(her concoction of Papa & Daddy).  So, here he comes wearing my cap.  "Mama, Gary's wearing your hat!  Mama, GARY is wearing your Broncos hat! MAMA, GARY IS WEARING YOUR BRONCOS HAT!"

From the other room I hear, "Please! call me Papa, I really prefer it when you call me Papa!"

Back in the kitchen, "Ada! Papa's wearing your hat!" too smart, and too too funny.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Silent Mommie

Tuesday past, my voice completely left me all day, and has only returned in patches 3 days later.  The First Born really misses her bedtime story from me.  I gave a valiant effort last night, but she was so disturbed by my coughing fits at every page turn she allowed me to give up and call in a replacement.  But then there was a tantrum and as it turned out she didn't get a story what with poor behavior.  Too sad to be unable to read to her, even sadder for me to be unable to sing lullaby to the baby.  F expressed some fear that I wasn't going to get my voice back---well, Bear expressed that fear, "Well, tell Bear that I've got medicine now, and I'll be okay soon."  I've been ill for a week now, having not shown much improvement, I burst into tears last night 'cause I'm so tired, tired of this illness, tired of inability to be Best Mommy, and really frightened that it mightn't end, that it'll pass on to the girls.  The nurse practitioner decided on two antibiotics to treat what may have started as flu but ended up as a combination of infections ear/nose/throat---superfun.

What I noticed while I was struck dumb.
  • My baby missed my voice.  Signing with her a little so far helped the situation I think, but I notice that she was less vocal around me, and it was heart-wrenching to interpret her questioning looks upon my whispers.
  • Facial expressions and body language are amazing communicators with out voice.  I never considered that my facial expressions could be more expressive, but they had to be considering I didn't have my normal voice inflections.  A smile isn't simply a smile, and a look directly into the eye counts for so, so much.
  • I had so much more time to listen, and nothing at all to say.  My whispered responses weren't going to be heard, and it felt like a luxury to not respond to every little thing said.  It's easier to hear when I'm not thinking about what I'm going to say, and I heard more than I normally do.
  • Thought about what it must be like to be a hearing/speaking child growing up in a deaf/dumb household.  I once knew a young man whose parents were both deaf, yet his faculties were intact, he had interesting child hood stories.

I look forward to regaining my ability to communicate in normal voice rather than honks and squeaks,---and the occasional alarming lowing moan reserved for that persistent throbbing headache.
Not but healing thoughts from here on out, and may I permanently retain that expanded listening ability.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IT CAME FROM....

the baby?  the 4 year old?  one can't be too sure with familial epidemiology.  But I got it, and if Baby E had it before me it must have morphed into something bigger and uglier special for me.

My harrowing Halloween tale of fever dreams and delirium started Friday afternoon, mild fall day, Miss Monkey in her costume walking her baby, Leia, and I wearing the infant exploring our small new community.  Then the goosebumps started, flashes of chills, my skin began to hurt, I finally said, "I think I need to go back inside and lie down."  By the time The Man arrived home from work I had given up on being vertical at all, called in Dr. Sparkle (who by the way is very good if you've need of a pint-sized pretend physician), and was lying on the bed covered head to toe with jammie-pants, hoodie, and blanket.  He said he could feel me baking underneath it all...I was just soooo coooold.  103.7 F read the thermometer, and as Dr. Sparkle took notes, The Man decided he'd head to the grocery to get additional supplies.

Saturday was spent feeling as if I'd been run over several times, then was being pulled in multiple directions by the other members of the family, I was eventually ordered (and partly retreated) to the bed where Baby E chewed on a toy while I dozed.  After an afternoon nap whilst The Man whisked Miss Purple Princess Monkey away to Boo at the Zoo, I felt somewhat better popped more pain reliever and allowed myself to be talked into going to the family Halloween costume party we had planned on attending.  He aided me tying a green blanket toga 'round myself, I called myself a stem wearing a flower-baby.  I was warm at least, and somewhat coherent for a couple of hours.  We carved pumpkins Sunday, 4 now, and mostly hung around...again I'm dozing in and out of feverish sleep.  BUT is that ALL? is that then END? You say, surely you must feel better now, right? At least according to my schedule I should've shaken this by Sunday evening. 

No, instead I'm sitting right now, ridiculous early, sans voice, with a terrible cough, and ears I swear if I'd an icepick I'd relieve the pressure horror movie style.  Voiceless, I went to bed super early to awaken at midnight or so with my head so filled with gook I thought I'd gotten water trapped in my ears somehow, and so engorged I had to come downstairs to pump.  Every turn of the head was painful, and the fever was back up again, took another Tylenol and waited for it to work.  Few hours later, somehow Baby E has slept all the way through the night, I'm awake again with sweats and painfully engorged breasts.  I bided my time 'til 4am, and decided I'd just get up.  Too uncomfortable to sleep, the Tylenol helps a lot, but doesn't make it go away.  And what are the friggin' odds that The Baby sleeps all the way through the night? sheesh.  Breastfeeding while ill is hard on me 'cause I feel as if I'm being drained of more than milk.

So, here I am, praying for it to be over already, and praying that the little ones don't get it from me--at least not the version I'm fighting.  Pictures of our Halloween soon to follow (minus the illin' mama).



Friday, October 15, 2010

Resurrection of the Sock Monkey

When I was really small, probably same age Miss Monkey is now, I remember cutting foam up to re-stuff a sock monkey.  I'm actually not sure if Mom made it for me from scratch, but it's possible considering the era.  I have recollection of the way the foam felt under the shears, clipping it io workable pieces.  I remember his mirror button nose being too floppy for my discerning four year old taste, staring at my reflection for eons.  When Sock Monkey wasn't turning out exactly how I imagined, he was a bit lumpy and misshapen, I also remember being afraid to ask for something more or different,  fearing the answer, guilty of asking at all.  I'm working on this new gig, asking for what I want, being specific, and realizing that I needn't feel bad or be afraid of the answer.  I'm here just like everyone else, neither above nor below.  It's challenging.  Better to be a healthy example than to listen to my daughter say things like, "oh, well, I'm so thirsty....I guess I can't get anything to drink though..." like a little martyr-in-training, rather than ask for help.

There are moving tubs everywhere full of oddities, and F came up with Sock Monkey that probably hadn't seen the light of day in almost 10 years (I recall my college boyfriend thought it creepy).  The foam was shot and he was dirrrrty.  After an overnight spa-soak in vinegar/borax/bit-o-bleach, he washed and dried just fine.  But with further inspection, the first born decided she might like to have him re-stuffed, and I happen to have some lovely stuffing on hand from a quilt shop going-out-of-business. She also asked that his mirror nose be tacked down somehow---funny coincidence that.  Then, newly firmly fluffed, with buttons reinforced and non-noddy nose, he went to bed with Little Girl and has been under her arm practically all day.  I'm proud, Sock Monkey turned out just how I wanted him to, he's the embodiment of heirloom.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Porter in the Klink

Our Porter kitty spent the last few days at Miss M's in his kennel.  Evidence pointed to a territorial outburst between Pan and Himself.  There was fair warning of this when it was discovered he was searching out Pan to pick fights, then he was found bullying her in Miss M's closet.  When he was discovered pseudo-spraying the sewing room, Miss M's inner sanctum, he had to be kennel-ized.  For the last 4 days or so while we were with her, Porter was allowed 2 "walks" in the "yard"(a.k.a. the mudroom) where he was fed & watered and used the box.  In general he handled it well, I think he understood he had done wrong.

Now we are a week into the townhouse.  While certain of the arrangements were rather disappointing---we felt a little taken advantage of---that aside, we are making ourselves comfortable and think we will enjoy it here.  Porter has spent the first week tormenting my loving husband, sending him into fits of frustration, clawing his way into the access panels of the master bath tub.  My mate was all a tizzy with day dreams of deceased kitty, bio-hazards, and death-rot par fume.  Finally, The Man simply liquid-nailed the panels shut, and Porter looked bored yesterday having his fun cut short.

The kitchen is unpacked, the laundry is cycling, we're slowly getting it up and running.  About moving: it's expensive to set up household over and over, the workload tends to triple.  In addition, to all the regular cooking, errands, tidying, there's unpacking to do in every spare moment.  And Halloween is coming, I've got to get costumes together for the offspring, get some activities planned with friends, begin planning for pumpkins!  My it's a beautiful life!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here comes the Sun

The magical Sun.  It's fantastic.  Baby E had a pretty persistent rash even though I cloth diaper.  I sat with her naked self in full sun for several minutes watching the rash disappear and next day it was completely gone.

I've been thoroughly enjoying hanging diapers on the line here at Miss M's.  Sun has done wonders with some greasier bright orange stains on the dipes.  Want to keep whites whiter? keep diapers stain free? sans chemicals?  Hang'em on the line!  Nothing compares to warm crispness of sheets fresh from the line.

And here in the Mile High City the sun is especially intense on cloudless, breeze-less days.  We were fortunate to be at the Broncos home opener this past Sunday.  Sitting in upper level seats facing West, we almost baked to death!  Toward the end of the game I was feeling an urge to move to any seat just to see if the sun would be less intense even a few yards away.  I didn't want a brat or a beer it was so hot, I just wanted shade and an array of Popsicles.  Thank goodness for forethought of sunscreen and 1L waters!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cat Pecking

ORDER.  The Feline Pecking Order has taken weeks to become established.  There are 2 cats that live with Miss M, one very skittish, stand-offish Pan, and a fairly laid back always hungry Agnes.  At first hiss Porter understood that he was low on the totem, and he acted very respectful as a guest in Their house.  Slowly, slowly Agnes let Porter get a little bit closer, and a little bit closer, every day or so.  At about 2 weeks they were able to be within a couple of feet of each other peaceably.  Then it developed our Cow-Print Killah figured out just how panicky Pan-kitty really is.  So he's turned bully, and chases her up the stairs if he sees her coming down for dinner.  Miss M keeps the spray bottle close at hand so that bullying doesn't get out of hand, but still Pan takes most of her meals in the bedroom.
  
One morning, too early to be human, a catty racket echoed through the house---apparently between Porter and Agnes.  My guess, Porter must have made his move on Agnes to be Top Kitty, and she would have none of it.  He was so unnerved having his tail served to him, he started horking up his dinner.  The Man bolted out of bed and rushed convulsing kitty to the bathroom to avoid cleaning carpet.  In the daylight Porter had a scratch on his nose, and spent the day in his kennel-box under observation.

Currently, the order stands now with 1) Agnes, 2) Porter, and begrudgingly 3) Pan, at least for the next 2 weeks until we move to The Townhouse.

I mentioned Agnes is hungry, always always always hungry.  She'll start the mewing at 4 am or 4 pm making sure to get the early reminder in to the household that it will be time for Her to eat---in two hours!  Apparently she's started panhandling at doors down the street as she was recently returned by a neighborhood kid.  In addition to learning what time food is dished here and adopting local attitudes about it, our kitty is quite taken with the menu here.  He's a special needs kitty, with his Adult Urinary Tract Formula cat food, he cannot eat much of anything else or he'll back up his tract.  It doesn't stop him from getting in where he can though.  The Man came upon him licking out the bowl after Agnes had finished eating.  And when I sprinkled a few meager pieces of food during a feeding one evening, Porter immediately proceeded to hunt down each and every one, munching away.  That's just sad, but then I have to admit that a strict diet of only food that will support urinary tract health doesn't sound appealing to me, either.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hallmark Mama

Recently in a conversation with a friend whose children are fully into adult hood, we touched on the subject of "the mom I want to be".

I remember a childhood searching the racks of greeting cards for something suitable to send the absentee biological father.  I was never able to find anything to my liking because none of them would have been honest, and why send a card that lacks honesty?  It's an empty gesture, useless---when I receive one it borders on insultingly comic, and I feel somewhat saddened the sender and I aren't more connected.  Most cards describe idyllic scenes that I felt I never really had.  I find it impossible to send a card that lacks honesty, it's important to me that words, even in a store bought card, have some reality to back up the idyllic fluff.

So my friend mentions that she's happy to receive cards from her adult daughter and is fully accepting of them because she knows what the card says is true.

I want to be that mama.  When I get the Hallmark card in the mail and it's reminiscent of "sunny afternoons, kissed away hurts, and homebaked cookies", I want to know that it's more than accurate.

I want to be the Hallmark Mom.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hair today

Pulling my hair out, by the handful it seems...because it's too easy right now. This is phase two of postpartum, when hormone withdrawal truly sets in making for roller coaster days here and there and my hair ends up in and on everything.

Recently, post shower--woo-hoo! a full shower!--as I'm pulling my wayward hair from the comb, the drain, the floor of the bathroom, preparing the perennial ponytail. Miss Monkey asks what I'm doing.

"Well, my hair is falling out. It's what happens to most mamas after having a baby."

Big eyed, "It's not ALL gonna fall out is it?"

"Heh, no, honey, when I was pregnant I didn't lose any hair the whole time, and now that I've had the baby my body is sort of 'catching up' with the hair it was supposed to lose."

I pause, at this point it's unwise to complicate the explanation further. The data definitely goes in, it sticks, and is regurgitated when I least expect it, in the oddest situations and usually for complete strangers.

Baby E's hair has changed considerably, also, her newborn straight trading for an auburn-blonde fuzz. She's definitely more baby than squishysoft-humalien. Cradle cap was an issue for a little while, which I hadn't dealt with before. "They" say not to pick at it--damn near impossible not too 'cause the little crusty head is right below my chin most of the time, plus we are primates.

To remedy, I took an expired natural, soft, toothbrush of the firstborn's and some Johnson's Baby (contains citric acid) and after a couple of good scubby shampoos it's cleared up nicely.

On another note Miss Monkey, after cutting her hair, again, and then my poor attempts to remedy it with bangs--which turned out okay, she can pull it off 'cause she's 4--anyway, she's got a killer cute cut now, "rockstar" as a friend said. Though I know bangs and shorter hair are more maintenance it seems to be a good fit with her particular hair growth.
Rock on.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

GO, FULL BOTTLE!

Go milk yourself! Possibly an insult to anyone other than a lactating female—there is a great relief associated with emptying an engorged breast. Baby E has finally gotten a handle on the firehose-like nature of my let-down reflex. Though, rather than bigger gulps as her sister did, she pops off my breast to take a break which has led to many a milk shower for her and anyone nearby.

I feel more secure with a freezer full of breastmilk, and I tend toward a compulsion of replacing bags thawed for bottle feeding. There's a certain udder pride with production of a full bottle (or more) of milk. It pains me to waste my milk. I winced when I had to pour "expired" breastmilk down the drain t'other day. Once, when F was ~10 months, I almost started sobbing in the airport as a gentleman told me I couldn't take the milk I'd pumped all weekend onto the plane. I was saved the tearful scene, as a Papa himself he understood and found a way to make it work, I reached home with milk in hand. Making milk is hard work! It is indeed a superpower of sorts. All the energy into making milk that sustains and nourishes a new person, it's amazing. Magically the babyweight disappears and I begin to feel more and more like myself.

This baby girl burps herself. The First Born took some effort to burp, but this new one—if I let her rest a bit before sitting her upright—she'll burp upon reaching a vertical position. She's really more of a belcher, I could hardly call these gaseous pops the typical baby burps. On one occasion she was beside herself with discomfort, I took initiative to frustrate her more with a burping mid-nursing session, she cried-urped-cried-urped until all the gas was gone, then finished her meal with much more comfort. There have been multiple incidents of blubbery flutter-blasts of the breast (a.k.a. rasberries or zerburts) as she has burped while nursing. Both girls have been noisey nursers, imagine the gobbling panting gulping eating noises interspersed with "BLAUT-TWAUT-twuttwuttytwut"—but not the other end as a mama might expect! To which I giggle and she re-latches and keeps right on going.

The Epic of Gilgamilk seems a bit obscure, maybe Mantra of Milk Monster, or "Here's milk in yer eye!" Just call me Wonder Wo-Mom.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moving is completed after many many trips to ARC Thrift for donations, the the storage room, and to Miss M's who generously opened her home to us for this month.

The second to last trip from the rental house, sweaty, tired, crying baby behind me, rush hour traffic, and a toy in a bag next to me singing a random "camptown races sing this song, do-dah, do-dah---DING DONG!---BEEP-BEEP!...camptown race is---HONK-HONK!....do-dah, do-daaah---DING-DONG!"

It's more warbled and mistuned because the batteries are dying.

I just laughed and laughed. The ridiculousness of the enormity of what I'd just completed in the past few days culminating in hilarity. Insanity made sane by grace and ease, knowing this too shall pass and it does not have to be done all at once.

Thank the goodness it's over for the time being. May a house to own soon be ours!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

As moving day quickly approaches, I'm starting to feel the pressure for real. Miss Monkey was moody today and I'm trying a new method of simple detachment. 4 year old beligerence is amazing, and I'm not going to engage with her any more. She got a bunch of natural consequences today, fell out of a chair (goofing around instead of sitting), got scratched by the cat(tried to stuff him into laundry basket), went to bed without her blankie (forgets where it is every night). I've been talking to her a LOT about thinking before she does something, asking her, "do you think that's a good idea or a bad idea?" and "what could you do differently?" She's made a connection with saying "I'm sorry..." to get out of time out. Well, today, "I don't want an apology, I want you to think about your behavior" let's see what you could change. I feel that at a certian point--when she's squealing n' screamin' sitting in timeout spot--I have no recourse and we need to be separated else frustration emerges in ugly ways. Today I was successful in the dis-engage theme, and did not lose my temper even though I ran up against that gritted teeth feeling in a handful of moments. I probably use the phrase "USE YOUR WORDS" 3 dozen times a day, maybe it's losing potency.

Babies are easy compared to 4 year olds. I should have listened when people exhibited this in their love-the-baby examples. But I am stubborn and like to make things harder than they need to be. First-borns are so SERIOUS.

Moving a household is tough, I don't wish it on anyone. I realized today that The Firstborn has moved Maui to Cali to Colorado (Denver to Broomfield), that's almost one move for every year she's been on the planet with us. This pattern is unacceptable. I am so very very grateful that we will fine a permanent place soon and deepen our roots here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bridged the gap

By god-the-universe serendiptous occurences all in the right order at the right time, we get to stay in Denver area! While we are still moving out of the current rental, and plan to actively search for a lease w/ option, I can relax and make plans...long term plans, for the first time in my adult life. Not only I can, but I also want to. The Man secured, by his extensive skill set, a VP position with a growing construction company.

HIP-HIP, HOORAY!! HIP-HIP, HOORAY!! HIP-HIP, HOORAY!!

So here is a gratitude list of late.
A -- action and the action of inaction
B -- being in the moment
C -- Colorado's state medical assistance for pregnant women & children
D -- downright REAL people
E -- evergreen smells on a walk with Miss Monkey
F -- friends whom we love and love us right back
G -- grapes
H -- help
I -- ideas, of the creative sort
J -- just for today
K -- kumquat, 'cause it's a fun word
L -- love
M -- my man
N -- new friends
O -- old friends, too, though I don't get to talk to you much I still love you all
P -- peanut butter squeeze packets that keep me alive while out and about with the girls
Q -- quick queen of quincy and her quacking quackeroo
R -- rest
S -- starlight
T -- Truth
U -- unbound freedom
V -- visualization
W -- web communications
X -- eXcruciatingly joyful moments
Y -- yellow shoes
Z -- zeal, living my life with it

Monday, July 5, 2010

And so it goes…away.

There went the crib. The crib and changing table went off today with a soon to be new family, woodworker hobbyist and gestating wife.

I cried…a few times. The crib is a thing, a thing that can be replaced, and eventually will have to be. But it's also barely worth what we sold it for considering the rebuild The Man had to do in order to make it work as a toddler bed after our 3rd move in 4 years. It's not worth moving it or storing it. Except for the sentimental value—Miss Monkey's baby teeth marks went with the crib you see. When I was growing up possibly too much emphasis was placed on things. The things I couldn't have, the things we were meant to keep in order for them to become heirloom. What think I'm missing is the connection that arises from an heirloom item. Heirlooms are poisoned though when not given freely, as a gift, and resentments build on both sides.

That the object holds memory is illusion. I hold memory with me, regardless if the object exists. I might even have a more distinct memory now that the object is missing. And after selling things on Craigslist for the past couple of weeks, I question whether or not the items we've sold still exist or ever did at all. The "out of sight, out of mind" factor is strong. For instance I had completely forgotten what is in the plastic moving tubs we never unpacked for this house. Do those things still hold value for me? For us? It's hard to say until we're able to cull through it all again. I'm noticing a definite thinning out of what I once thought was important and what I consider important now. Photographs from 20 years hold very little meaning, and where I once had a pathological need to photograph everything I did in case I should forget any piece of it, that's past. I only want to keep the poignant photos, the ones that I want to frame, or the ones that mark life changing events. I think this photo fix is tied into another need to remember everything exactly right, 'cause I never knew (still don't) when someone might deny an occurrence happened, or twist the reality so badly that it's unrecognizable. The problem with trying to commit life to exact memory is that everyone's perception differs considerably. Recently recounting a story with my mother, I prefaced my recall with "this is how I remember it, I don't know how you remember it, this is just how I remember it happening." Not until some recent spiritual work have I realized that my memory isn't exactly RIGHT all the time. To think that only I could remember everything the right way—what an ego! Having understanding and compassion for another's perception is a new, practiceable habit for me. Sheesh, having understanding and compassion for my own memory mishaps is a new habit, too!

Baby E will make do with a Pack n' Play for a while. Which is perfectly fine with her, I suppose, she has not shown preference as to where she sleeps. We are safe and we are blessed. We have a roof and we have food and clean water.

I look forward to the day when I can stop "making do". Thank god-the-universe for sweet baby smiles to remind me that all is well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where does it go?

The time I mean. It seems to melt away.
Last weekend was super-busy, with the Children's Festival, then a buddy's skate party (yes, skating, as in a skating rink, like we did all the time back-in-the-day), the volunteering, and Father's Day Pie quasi-fail.

A friend of mine says that when we fall ill, it's god's way of telling us "sit down".

Okay I'm sitting. Rather, I'm flat out on my back calling for reinforcements.

A brutal cold virus just walloped us this week. Probable epidemiological epicenter of Miss Monkey. The bug spread quickly to me and immediately to The Man. We're on approximately a 1 day delay from each other. It began with sneezes and a bit of sinus issue, escalated to full scale earache extending into my cheek & jaw bones, teeth, and ended rather quietly with a 100+ degree fever punctuated with cruddy coughs that have tapered to bouts of dry hacking. At least it was fast.

I actually felt ill enough one day this week to turn on the television, PBS, and just let it run until well after lunch ([sarc] don't tell CPS, k?). Last night I acted human heating pad for Baby E's luxurious slumber---at least, until My Loving Husband picked her up and said, "my, god, Ada, take something for your fever!" I am notorious for "toughing it out" a.k.a. "suffering". Besides, usually the fever breaks before a reducer would take full effect. Yesterday, though, I'm pretty sure I had a fever for hours before I took anything, and then mainly to sleep comfortably. And sleep I did, so hard that I didn't wake immediately in order to nurse.

Baby Girl has seemingly escaped the rest of her family's fate. Wonder-Milk Super-Power! Form of Antibody, shape of Breast!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All About My Man

We met in 2003 at a coffee shop. I was playing "wing (wo)man" for a friend and her Match.com date. You know, she needed an "out" in case he was creepy. There was this guy sitting at the bar with really nice arms n' shoulders, baseball cap pulled down too low to see his eyes. He drank coffee and smoked Camels. I bummed a smoke off of him, he'll say I did something untoward to get his attention—I didn't. 'Cause I had seen him move to the place I was sitting, and we smiled at each other as I was driving away, there was some deliberation at a stop light. I went back. After talking about patience, I told every silly joke I know and he knew them all. We ate Pho and saw a movie, then in very cliché fashion stayed up all night talking.

He pursued me to a degree that made me more nervous than his mere presence.

Instead of moving to Kaua'I as I had planned, I ran off to Costa Rica with him. We drove through Mexico, Matamoros to Tapachula, then took a TicaBus to San Jose. Ask us about it sometime, we'll tell you all about it. I wouldn't trade a second.

We assessed immediately where we stood spiritually, and serendipitous coincidence we agree in that realm. Since we're both raised in Texas there's already an understanding for right and wrong, Honor and Truth, manners and social protocol.

He wanted me to sit next to him in the booths we frequented, instead of across. He ordered my food for me, and he'll send it back for me if he sees I am dissatisfied.

Someone once asked me what made me decide to have kids…"He just smells so good." Originally he was the first to bring up the subject of babies, I was reluctant. I came around though.

I met my match. The man that can argue with me. He can be silly and intelligent. He makes me laugh and generally knows how to de-fuse a rampaging Ada.

No matter how mad I get, or how mad he gets, we both know we love each other. We both know also that we are inextricably linked now—if there was no going back before, there is certainly no end now.

Like an Uber Man, he's masculine enough to handle being at an all mommy birthday party.

He's goofy, tho' one mightn't know it to look at him. I've seen him do cheers.

He's a parrot, an uncanny ability to repeat almost verbatim information he finds fascinating or pertinent to modern situations.

He's physically imposing, a wonderful specimen of man.

He can fix things. Nothing sexier than seeing him with his "bags" on doing carpentry work, whether it's building stretchers for his paintings or a fence. He hates plumbing, but he'll do it when he has to. It's especially nice watching a Papa build a birdhouse with his daughter.

He's a label-whore…no really, ask him about fashion, he'll tell you himself. Well, maybe he will.

He officially became a daddy on 4 May 2006, I knew he'd make a good one too. Every time I saw small children around him, they were oddly transfixed by him.

His daddy-ness was apparent the first time Little Girl smiled at him. Watching her run to him in excitement with his simple arrival home…I relish that my daughters have a really great Papa.

We've known each other long enough now to have heard a lot of our stories twice.

The Man is a self-professed "delicate flower" and not one person at first blush would guess it's true.

He doesn't mind my pregnant-head, my nursing nods, or my mom brain…how my stories sometimes don't connect or make sense. He doesn't mind my cookie fails, or my pie- soup.

We keep making new stories together. We play off each other in social settings, making a fairly decent impromptu comedy team.

He has done his level best to keep us afloat under financial duress. He works hard enabling me to stay home full time being my best Mama-ness. At the same time he understands when I need time for myself.

He is the father of my children, I do love him so.

Happy Father's Day, Gary, I love you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Screamin' Baby Fail

I can't find anything to wear when there's a baby crying.
I can barely speak when there's a baby crying.
I can't brush my hair or my teeth when there's a baby crying.
I also can't cook when there's a baby crying. Epic salmon-cake fail this evening, but The Man swooped in and saved the day.

And cry she does...turning to Anger-Baby newborn fists-clenched purpley-red faced screaming when things don't go as she expects. And yes, Her Highness has expectations already.

The thing about babies is, they don't give a flying blue fart about any one else at all. We have babies, little human type creatures that are examples of what we would be like were we to act entirely on instinct as utter hedonists 24-7. Then it's our job as parents to civilize them in stages as they grow. First they're tiny neanderthals, grunting and signing, toddling and banging, exploring and demanding. Once the motor skills are mostly mastered then comes the (attempted) mastery of feeeelings...which only works if the adults involved have mastered their own feelings. Because if we don't deal with our feelings, our feelings will deal with us.

And I'm feeling t-i-r-E-d. Biddy Baby is on a shorter sleep/eat schedule the later half of the night, it's not working for me. This too shall pass though, that lovely night will soon come when a 5 to 6 hour sleep will occur---and I'll awake sometime in the middle wondering why she's not awake.

On another note, we've taken steps in selling items to thin out our personal inventory. Rather than sit in some weird denial of reality, letting frightening to-do lists extend to the horizon, we're taking action as we can at the moment.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spit n' swim


My swimmin' Monkey has a habit of spitting when she emerges from a swim n' dive. Certainly a bit more difficult to catch her little arm and look slightly away to avoid a face full of PBBBB! when she bobs back up. Constant reminders for her to blow bubbles underwater to best avoid the spray---seems to think it's funny.

She enjoys trapping Porter-kitty in various places as well. Most recently after hearing muted repetitive kitty noises, we discovered him inside an end table...locked and barricaded with pillows. Porter has also been buckled into the resurrected high-chair, for check-ups with Dr. Miss Monkey and her early morning antics. One would think that after being trapped in her dress-up box for an inordinate amount of time one day, that cat would have learned his lesson. To his feline credit he is more than a little patient with her, and yet she is still surprised, feelings hurt, when he finally loses his kitty temper and unleashes on her. It's actually a very feline interaction, adult cat batting down that more rambunctious kitten when he/she gets out of hand.

The other spitter in the house really can't help it, as she's only just learning how to eat. Baby E has been a good sleeper when she's sleeping. Most of this first month she's been rather easy. Comparatively though, since I can barely remember any details from the Firstborn's iddy-biddy days, I'm at a loss. Some days baby girl is easy as pie, others however, are, well, not pie but more like a razor-filled cream puff.

A baby's cry is a special thing. It can make people truly crazy. I can take about 10 minutes of crying, if I'm fed and not too too tired. Getting on a bit longer though and my shoulders begin to tense, my teeth set on edge. A crying baby will 'cause me to be in the closet shrieking like a banshee that "I've not a gottdam thing to wear!" The Man swears she was awake when he moved her around. All I know is she was sleeping before he left. Then, finally in the car, my sweet big girl, gives me a hug as I'm buckling her in, "A hug solves everything, Mama."

Baby cries are insane-making for a reason, really causing in humans a reaction to take care of that baby! Makes perfect sense from a species survival standpoint. The thing is, when there's a tiny hedonistic creature crying in one's arms, it's hard not to take it personally. This also makes sense to me 'cause I'm the end-all be-all of existence for this little creature...and as the premiere care-taker it'll get pretty personal if I let it. But it's not personal, babies are non-discriminatory criers. They will scream their sweet cheeks blue for anyone within earshot.

Then there's the flip side, the iddy baby gurgle and coo combo. Tiny yawning stretches, sneezes, coughs, and E's ruthless hiccups that will take on a likeness to barking when really intense.

Oh, the baby love---and the big sister love. Miss F has been truly stellar in her adjustment, has even taken to skipping the diaper/training pants at night. Keeping her bed dry for several nights at a time. Way to go kiddo! Today she was "graduated" to the K-1 room at Mile Hi, a step I was ill prepared for. I kept asking The Man, "really? they said she was old enough? did she have any problems with it? did she enjoy it?"

They just keep growing. Makes it easy for me to keep in mind that soon enough Baby E won't want to sleep on me at all, and will barely stay in my lap wanting to follow big sister. I will remember to enjoy this sweet snugly person while I can. Oh, and by far the best feeling so far is having both of them curling up with me at the same time. I made TWO of them! How NEAT!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles…only by a spiritual journey…by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home."

---Wendell Berry

While in California, participating in a party game some sort, I was gifted a frame that said, "Bloom where you are planted." A mentor recently used the same phrase during our phone conversation. I believe we have bloomed here in Colorado. We have a community of friends and acquaintances here. Real people with mature relationships for the first time in my adult life. So, my intention is that we should stay here and tough it out. I will not sit in a state of paralyzed fear, letting things slip because I'm too worried about how much there is to do, how it'll get done, or what will happen next. Starting over from scratch here or anywhere else will feel the same. The feeling of self-will that would propel us away from here is familiar. It's difficult to distinguish between "heart felt" Ego and the true heart's desire. Because Ego is tricky it will resort to anything in order to remain in control (rather the illusion of control, no?), and to keep up the tension of drama it survives on. Moving is very stressful, very dramatic, and doesn't necessarily solve anything. There are people here willing and ready to help us, opening their homes enabling us to stay together while my husband works on a contract job he's recently connected. Texas is postponed, allowing for more connections to be made.

I once used geographic solutions regularly, albeit in a smallish area. I felt that once a lease was up, I was burnt in that area and really needed to leave. Or it wasn't perfect there, so I had to look for that perfection elsewhere. Moving around a lot doesn't allow friendships to develop to a mature level, and I know now that's what I was really avoiding. Once in a place where people began to know me rather well (or as well as I would allow) I felt pressure to get out while I still could, because I was utterly convinced that my friends wouldn't and couldn't accept me with my faults as well as my assets. I had to leave in order to preserve some legendary perfection that doesn't exist.

It's comical in a sad sort of way.

Here, we have all the things we could ask for, and yet the prosperity seems to have eluded us for the time being. Forcing me to ask: Which is more important, community & quality of life? Or money?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Broken fairy wings at the foot of the bed. Purple filmy things purchased at the thrift store more than one Halloween ago. There they sit at my feet a kind of symbol of our crash. What will this total disruption of our lives mean to my Little Girl?

There are some days, like this weekend, that pass as if we weren't going anywhere. A beautiful, pleasant spring day at the park with good friends and good food, lots of laughter and conversation. Then there are the days like today where our strategizing seems to stall. The tentative plan wavers when I talk about how disappointed I am that Denver hasn't worked out in every aspect. My Man does not want to hurt me, or cause me sadness. He's been graced with some work which will aid in our endeavors to cash out here and start over elsewhere. There's some part of me that wants him to get so much work that we can stay—hope beyond hope?

I can be sad about this situation and still move forward. I choose not to drag the disappointment with me through the next stage. Heck, I can even catalyze some cheer around it if I can muster an energetic "Yes" to trust in god-the-universe's plan—even though I don't like The Plan all the time, I think I can still enjoy the process. After all, I use the phrase, "Always an adventure" I need to mean it.

As for my daughters, I know The New One most likely won't recall a thing about it. I feel for her though 'cause she's really been thrust into a family that, though we are loving and stable spiritually, we are under a considerable stress lately. But then there are worse situations for babies to be born into. Miss Monkey will have to give up a lot of her things, and The Man and I have discussed how to communicate this in the healthiest manner so as not to traumatize her. Repetition of "you are loved", and "you are safe", the obvious evidence that we are all giving up something in this process, she is not being singled out. Add the wonderful distraction of staying with The Grandparents for a length of time with some creatures—especially the horses—and lots of room to play outside learning new things...we think she'll be okay.

Baby E has been fussy the past couple of days, quite possibly due to new places we've been out and about, or it could be the 4th Trimester fussies (realizing in their infant way that they won't be going back IN), or maybe it's just that we're stressed and so therefore so is she. As a friend reminds me, babies don't have the choice to de-stress orally with food or the like, a pacifier is a reasonable solution to help. I spent the effort yesterday to find a pacifier for her, a Zoe B natural rubber binkie. As an infant Miss F didn't take to the pacifiers that much, she tended to spit them out rather quickly and eventually she found her thumb. Currently we attempt a "letting go" of the thumb (not the blankie) but with the baby's arrival and the upheaval about to happen it's not exactly a priority. So, Baby E has her posh paci on a leash and first time out she gave it what for, it's worked like a charm so far. It became obvious that she needed a suckle because 2 nights in a row in her fussies she took to my pinkie finger as a substitute to the breast. How grateful I am that my nipples can get a break now, and the spit-up might be mitigated somewhat as she won't be brimming over with mama-milk. Now that the Zoe B has had its first test run, I'll be smart and pick up another to have in reserve.

Pregnant then, pregnant now

Because it's been on my mind I want to compare these pregnancies in "print", the good the bad and the ugly—fair warning.

First trimester

Then: Felt SO good for a couple of weeks, literally like I was on drugs and Foodland's fried chicken breast was the best thing on the planet. Then I was knock-down drag-out ill, dry heaved for almost 8 weeks straight, not much honest vomiting involved. Onions were a particular nemesis, vile, most unclean. Cream soups were my friend and crackers. Whatever yoga & running I had been doing was put on permanent hold—I was completely disturbed. Total denial about needing maternity clothes, tried bigger sizes first, The Man took me to the sole Motherhood store on Maui and I cried.

Now: Immediately after my Half Iron Man race mid-August, I felt SO good again, and simply crazed with hunger. I mean HONGREE, I'd wake up at 3 or 4am and have to eat something or else I couldn't sleep and would suffer the consequence of low blood sugar. Made absolutely sure I eat >> protein every morning first thing, less sugar, more protein…possibly this cut back on the nausea though I still suffered some dry heaves, especially if caught hungry without food (but that wasn't too different from heavy volume weeks of triathlon training). Kept up some running, walking, yoga, strength train, swimming, once confirmed pregnant though I cut out the road biking, picked up some spinning here and there. Belly pops out faster with the second, so there was no denial about comfort this time around, I pulled out the maternity wear at first pinch of the pants.

Second trimester

Then: Began prenatal yoga once a week for an hour, + massage minimum once a month, short bouts of walking. It's pretty warm on Maui most of the time, I think I started swelling a bit early. Felt better and kept gaining weight, too much weight as my doctor kindly reminded me every time I visited...as I said, I was disturbed, this constant reminder that I was FAT didn't help. Of course the kick azz pizza place, and the kick azz burger joint, and the kick azz taco stand just down the road didn't help matters. Add to those things the need to use cookies as a vehicle for all the milk I drank, well, not exactly ideal nutrition, no? Honestly I felt bad about myself every time I ate anything, but I couldn't not eat, 'cause then I'd be hangry (hungry + angry). Cruised, had a couple of total emotional breakdowns. As I will relate in person any time, "I didn't know I was a control freak until I got pregnant, and the only thing I ever really controlled with a compulsive constant (my body) went completely, awesomely, awry."

Now: Part of the weight rebound was most certainly post-race relaxation. I was pretty friggin' lean. This time though, my eating habits are well established from training & racing, there's not much to change really. Running became uncomfortable rather earlier than I expected, cycling most certainly off the table, swimming however becomes my saving grace. Some strength training periodically, and I even tried a body pump class but blimpish feeling would keep any pregnant woman out of those I think. In addition, the overheating I suffer sometimes was doubly an issue with pregnancy, as was eating during training. Found myself on more than one occasion whoozy after only 30 minutes of workout, and 'cause I'm slow catching on sometimes (read: stubborn denial) it took me a few workouts to just give in to eating for a simple 1 hour workout. Kept up some Fit Mama yoga and salsa dancing, a better workout than I'd expected, especially from a video. Made myself completely comfortable with maternity wear early, not going down that ridiculous road again. There's another Little Person around, and makes things a bit more challenging logistics, energy level, etc. I remember the day she gave me a hug 'round the waist ~5 months, we were standing in the bathroom and she had finally definitely noticed the change of circumference. Little Girl looked up at me, "Mama? WHY is your belly so big??"

Third trimester

Then: With the purchase of an elliptical machine I put workouts in on the porch at least a couple times a week, and walking, and natal yoga. One of my less than couth co-workers remarks, "Oh, wow, you look more pregnant than ffff…." His brain-mouth filter malfunctioning. "Fat? It's okay, dude, I understand." I continue working 40 hours a week, expecting my mom and siblings to visit around the due date. My husband is terrified of me, and for good reason, I was HUGE in a very real sense, and ridiculously swollen all over…shoot, I was freaked out and miserable. Everyone, and I do mean everyone had a wives tale about whether it's a boy or girl. Mostly heard votes of boy, maybe a handful of girl votes.

Now: Still eating well, the sugar cravings through the roof sometimes, "fatten that baby up!" said a friend. A salad a day, loving my veggies, the nutritional training that goes along with triathlon is super habit forming. Cruising along just fine up until about week 36, then hit a low energy wall. Having an almost 4 year old makes a big difference in what I'm able to accomplish in a day, and it daily becomes less and less. Now that I understand the "end game" of pregnancy, watching My Miss Monkey grow & develop, with the NEW person in mind—it remains miraculous that two people can produce different versions. If this one is a girl we sort of have a baseline, but they'll still be different. If it's a boy, wow, even different-er. Again, vast majority votes boy. I'm more-belly than I was last time, my center of gravity is completely outta whack. At > 38 weeks I'm pretty tired of heaving this belly around. Wanna know how I know I'm smaller though? Well, there are pants that barely fit me toward the end last time, that are still loose on my lower hips/legs this time—THAT is proof to me. Also, I haven't had to switch to XL maternity wear…L has been enough.

Labor

Firstborn: First contraction on a Monday 3 days past due, more Tuesday with a massage, Wednesday 1 cm dilated recommended I eat good birthday breakfast and then no roughage the rest of the day. Doc said if water broke to go to hospital, of not go to hospital anyway 'cause we're a full week overdue. Contracted consistently, more intensely, all night long then to MMMC super early Thursday. My mom is on crutches as she had busted her ACL in the shore break, at Makena beach. Once at the hospital, still only 1 cm. L So they dose me Pitocin in stages, I breath through every contraction, one at a time. My Loving Husband is there, with me, every step of the way. He's my man, I love him so much. Eventually, at the most intense contractions, just before the feeling to push, it occurs to me, "wow, this is really intense, maybe next time I'll consider drugs." *pause, read that again*
That's right, it says "next time", even drunk on pain, in that haze, I already knew I would do it all again. When I told The Man to report to the Doc & nurse that I wanted to push, he left a moment, returned wide-eyed saying "they're not that concerned! Wait 10 more minutes, they said." So then, after a cervical adjustment where I almost jumped off the bed, I finally got the go ahead to push. About an hour later, Miss Fiona Adelaide was breathing her first beautiful breath, squalling, turning pink. And today, right now, at this moment, she's dancing around the living room, purple fairy wings, singing random songs in her early birthday gift dance slippers.

Second born: After learning of my 1 cm dilation at my last check-up, discussing it, I decided that if I didn't labor by Sunday's due date then we'd induce Monday morning. Why continue being uncomfortable? We were to call prior to arrival in order to ensure there was a bed available. Now that I'm experienced I see that this is what my doc asked me to do the first time, too. The decision made me nervous, I didn't like it at all, I really wanted to do this without a boost. I started contracting Saturday, I figured okay, great, we'll be in hospital by Monday for sure. I called to cancel the induction, only to find out later that the young doctor ignored me…the hospital called early Monday asking where I was because they had orders for me, but no mama present. My contractions were sneaky, and had subsided. Monday afternoon they asked me to come in and sit with the monitors for a while. Later that afternoon I crawled around the backyard digging out dandelions, and the following morning I had some very real contractions very early. Then those subsided slowly also. Labor check at the doc's office reveals ruptured membranes a.k.a. water broken, and I'm sent to the Childbirth Center. After a nice lunch with Ms. M and soon-to-be big sister in the café we head over and check in. Early afternoon I'm hooked into the Pitocin, around dinner time things got really intense, 15 minutes of pushing and the New One arrived at 8:08pm. At first the cord was around her neck twice, then she wasn't breathing right away, apparently had swallowed/inhaled some fluid. So she was only on my tummy for a moment before they took her to the bin to get her pinked up. In the interim I got severely chilled, and before they gave her back to me, at least I think that's what happened. One would have to ask The Man what order everything happened 'cause it's a bit blurry to me. So, a smooth labor, smooth delivery, and a healthy baby girl! Esme Caitlin has since thoroughly made her presence known.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rather discouraged at the moment.

I think it's a bit sad that our first outing together, the three of us, Mama + babies, was to the WIC office. While I would've enjoyed taking the sting out of that with a playground trip, the appointment having taken longer than I expected, without lunch packed, and a dying cell phone...I just didn't want to push the limit.

Because Broomfield is both City & County it has all the amenities a big city would have, but smaller, more accessible, and easier it seems to me. Thank goodness for small gratitudes. I can be grateful that I haven't been subjected to a big city WIC office, which--according to the "contract"--might be filled with persons of questionable character. Seriously, on the video and in the little contract it actually says BE NICE & BE HONEST but with more words, several times.

I am tired. The New One squawls a lot more than the other one did as an infant. At least from what I can remember, apparently I don't remember much. I'm not sure I've the stamina required to consider all the different ways to quiet a crying baby. At some point I feel I've given up, there's nothing I can do, and so she cries and cries and cries...even though I'm holding her, even though she's warm, even though she's just eaten, she's still crying. This is the hardest part I think. If I feel frustrated or withdrawn then she gets more upset. The only answer, the best answer is to give her to The Man (especially when he's the one who woke her) so I can get a break. It helps to have eaten, which I forgot, lunch-ish. Maybe the stress of the situation is getting to me.

We received our first very generous gift of food and money to put into to the New Beginning jar. There is other money to be cobbled together to make this fund reasonable, and there is still the question of consolidation loan versus bankruptcy. I'm really not sure which is the lesser of the two evils.

...and the little one cries again...the bigger one is in the kitchen making a craft, blissful unaware.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The art of crying while breastfeeding

Don't worry about tissue, there's sure to be a burp rag or shirt sleeve near enough to use. This is post-partum, the In Between, when that fantastic natural dope that my body produced is wearing off. I understand how pregnancy can be an addiction, 'cause yesterday I found myself thinking about how soon I can get pregnant again—get some more of the good stuff. The baby is beautiful, baby smell is god-stuff. Miss Monkey is beside herself with big sisterhood, the adjustment has been rather easier than I thought so far, mostly because The Man has been home to help. And help he has, because as he said, he knows what to do this time 'round and he's been jumping in wherever necessary. It's been quite nice.

Life is happening. REALity has set in. The weekend my contractions began, my husband asked me if I had asked any of my friends for 'help'. Meaning financial help, incredulous I responded that I don't know anyone with money. And after another semi-weak contraction I thought "I just can't think about that right now, I have to give birth soon enough," and said as much to him. One thing at a time, no?

With my second daughter a week old, if he doesn't find a job in the next 2 weeks I will have to file for bankruptcy. Thanks to principles I've learned to live by in the past 5 years I'm able to feel frustrated anger and frightened sadness without going into full blown panic-mode. This is life. And it happens to everyone, whether we like the timing or not, and whether or not we're ready for it.

I'm left discussing the possibility that I have been living in a hopeful denial. There's some discussion about worry, how worrying about the future serves nothing, only to waste valuable energy. If what I'm worrying about comes to pass then I will have lived it twice. With practice I have learned to live in the present, and not to habitually think god-the-universe is out to get me. Is it failure to come to financial ruin? Only if I call it failure. Instead I will call it a learning experience, as with all of life. It's hard to remember sometimes, but it's worth the changed attitude.

We floated across the pacific and the mainland on a charmed balloon of self-will. Self-will alone does not a life make. Both my husband and I have lived that life and it's not what we want anymore. Colorado is beautiful, there's a triathlon network here, Mile Hi church is here, I've made many wonderful friends here that I am loathe to lose touch with…in short I don't want to leave. In the last 6 months though it seems that we are being shown the door, he can't find a job, the Cost of both of us working end-all hours only to make ends meet would be too great as far as mommin' is concerned, but we haven't ruled it out entirely. Rather than stick around this place, sucking the teat of the government (a massive pride swallow there), we will head to Texas, The Grandparents will have us while we hit the giant RESET button.

I'm disappointed. I'm infuriated that I alone cannot affect any change to remedy this situation. Worse still I'm aware of my near unemployable-ness. I've been out of my field for so long, even if I wanted to go back to engineering & survey there is only slimmest of chances that I make enough to be worth going back to the professional realm. The idea of completely switching careers has crossed both our minds, in an attempt to find some employment always in demand. Like funerary service or waste/recycle management.

Batten down the hatches, it's always an adventure.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby


Esme Caitlin was born one week ago today, 11 May 2010
8 lbs 8 oz, 20.5 in, 8:05 pm MDT

According to pediatrician yesterday, she has more than gained her birth weight back at 8lb 10oz, we are both doing well, enjoying our cloistered bounding time.

And just like that everything is new again.
Baby Love.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mama Day


A sweet n’ simple Mother’s Day; I got breakfast, I got lunch, I didn’t have to cook or clean all day. My Lovin’ Husband even did the spring chore of getting the swamp cooler ready to go…just in time for it to snow this week. That’s Colorado in May!

I got to spend over an hour outside pulling up dandelions—for some reason had been bothering me. I’ve a need to complete the backyard and get to the front. A couple of dandelions in the yard, no biggie, but when they really start to take over it’s just too much, and we’re on the verge of having a solid dandelion yard. It’s really difficult to keep a small child from picking & blowing every single dandy-head she finds. This year, she’s older, it’s easier for her to remember instructions, and it’s easier for her to help. While I uprooted the plants, Miss Monkey gathered them up in her wagon and put them in a pile at the garbage cans. This lasted a good while until she got somewhat bored and went on to other things. I’m grateful at this point for something, anything to keep a little active requiring no special trip and no special clothing.

After some relatively consistent contracting on Saturday, Sunday was rather quiet save a couple intense episodes in the evening. As of today we are +1 from 40 wk due date. I had called to cancel the Monday induction, but apparently the young doctor (by her admission) ignored my request. So the hospital calls the house this morning wondering where I am. I apologized, spoke to the charge nurse, and made a point to call the doc’s office when they opened. This afternoon they requested I come in for a non-stress test and a little peek-a-boo with baby in order to ascertain what was happening…if anything. Hooray for contractions! I’ve a poor habit of questioning my instincts, though I’m sure I’ve been having contractions since last week off and on, especially Saturday, it was really nice to see it on the paper printout. I was only supposed to be in the monitoring room for ~20 minutes, but as my main doc was busy (and quite possibly annoyed with me) I got to sit and relax with the monitors for almost 1.5 hours, clicking away whenever baby moved—which was a LOT. Almost immediately upon the nurse leaving me in the comfy chair, baby got hiccups for a solid 20 minutes. What’s more uncomfortable than just being full of baby? Add to big baby, hiccups + kicking + contraction + full bladder…really not comfortable. All passes in time, and I came home to a lovely crocked-chicken supper. Good news is big news, soon, especially as I'm having labor signs I'm less anxious about an induction boost.

Thanks to my Mom for bringing me into the world so that I could then go on my own big adventure. Happy Mama's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Too much Icing


The cup-cake Cake for Miss Monkey's birthday, lasted until this morning. When I saw the last cupcake had been stripped of it's icing, I immediately thought that The Man did it. But upon realizing his sincerity, I looked at my daughter, grinning, eating her egg sandwich..."What is it with you two and icing??" No wonder she was so keyed up this morning. Breakfast courses of icing, then a cup of yogurt will certainly put a small person in an agressively good mood.
The little birthday playdate was a success I think. Very glad to have kept it as simple as we did. I was very surprised to see that the cake was twice what we ordered...so, over 30 cupcakes, instead of the 14 I thought we were getting. Explains why my husband had a 3 day sugar hangover, and that last cupcake survived until this morning. We are very lucky to know generous and fun people. Fiona was gifted an entire set of various princess dress-up gear that she donned immediately. I'm very grateful for the new crown, as I'd heard just about enough about the "crown that doesn't fit anymore". It's tough on a parent to have to say, "well maybe one day soon, love, but not today." When I'm painfully aware that as she outgrows toys and clothes I've not a clue what the future will hold for us.


That rather fecund woman wearing a sheet in the middle? yeah, that's me, less than one week 'til due date, attempting to encourage everyone present to eat at least 3 cupcakes.

Happy Birthday to my big little girl!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

End of cake...

...as we know it. Seems there's been an overdose throughout the household. Bound to happen with birthdays so close together. The Child is currently in her room on a sugar-fueled tantrum because of her poor choice.

I came to enter my lackluster swim into my BeginnerTriathlete training log, and while I was briefly occupied I see her little head peep around the edge of the kitchen-way. "Oh, I hope you're eating your soup, 'cause if you're sneaking icing from what's left of the cake, you won't get to eat your last cupcake!" (Thank you mommie-psychic-ability.) Next thing I hear is sniffling. Rolling my ridiculous girth off the couch I discover her in chair, front of soup, icing smeared on the napkin, 'round her mouth, and all over her fingers. There had been a decent hand full of icing left, and it was definitely gone. I gave her a choice: finish her soup or go to her room, after wiping her face of course. I may have just discovered another trigger for myself...I simply despise dishonesty, and I felt a bit more than simple anger around this event. Fortunately for me (and everyone around me) I recognize this and consciously decide NOT to flip-the-f*-out. Why is it important? Because sneaking, and dishonest behavior is intolerable. And though I might feel the urge to waffle on this point---because maybe I wanted that icing for my brownie snack, or because it is cute she simply cannot resist icing, just like her Papa---if I laughed it off and made a joke of it, I expect that sneaking behaviors would continue. Hell, I already know they would because of my own behaviors and what I've witnessed in other family dynamics. Dishonest behavior is unacceptable, and can be dangerous, especially later in her young life.

So, after the tantrum, after the rest of her soup (to balance the hand full of kiddie-dope she shoved in her maw), she comes to me and we talk about it. Why it was a poor choice, what would have been a better choice. I tell her I love her and I'm glad that she came to talk about it. She suggests that maybe after dinner she'll get her last birthday cupcake. That, my sweet offspring, depends on your behavior for the remainder of the day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lovely Day

A lovely birthday for me yesterday; I got to sleep in somewhat, I was treated to lunch by a dear friend, triumphantly devoured a Monte Cristo, delicious carrot soup, and a real chocolate ice cream milkshake. Then, a short nap and lite impending-birth shopping. Later, a super-duper-neato cake on fire from my husband and daughter. He really did succeed in fitting 33 candles on that smallish surface area, my sweet man.

As far as Baby Arrival goes, we are still waiting. I'm finding it difficult to relax around cooking anything else or eating anything (let alone watching anyone else eat) because I just spent 3 days cleaning and wince every time a crumb falls. I've had some contractions, thought certainly not consistent and barely breath worthy. I do find that my attention is drawn away from whatever I'm doing, internalized until these little ones pass.

I awoke this morning frustrated and disappointed. The house is going to get dirty again before this baby comes, and I'm rather irritated that I might feel the urge to RE-nest. This compulsion isn't really different than any other hormonally induced cleaning frenzy. But it's deeper, I see things that wouldn't normally bother me, crumbs in cabinets, carpets (despise), windows (outside surface), heating/air conditioning ducts. I almost made The Man pull the fridge out so that I could wipe the entire top rather than what my belly-shortened reach could manage. I talked myself out of that though, "how important is it?" ringing over and over. It started with the fridge in fact, pre-restock interior scrub and tidying/organizing the whole house. The next day it was detailing the kitchen, and finally the vigorous vacuuming. Then some more waiting and I felt as if I'd had a serious workout. The bathrooms a few days prior to all of this, so these did not bother me—that might change. I took my time also, since I'm not on a schedule it is easier to relax somewhat and not worry about a need to move quickly, which I'm utterly incapable of doing anyway. Three days of work and it might all be for naught if I don't go into labor soon. *sigh*

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I wanna have a baby…

...no, really, I wanna have a baby, like, today. We are a "Go" for Baby Arrival, whenever The Universe is ready. Gave Baby a talking to this morning, re: we are so excited to meet you! And we're ready to get to know you! No answer—being coy I suppose.


The 3 doctors at the practice I chose each have three opinions. The most senior doc is content to let me run my own scenario iterations regarding timing, and possibility of going into labor early, pleasantly smiling, she knows that babies arrive in their—rather, God's—own time. The second doc actually went as far as to say I might've labored last weekend—heh, nope, here we are still gestating. The third doc, the most junior, only said that I should try not to get frustrated until we actually go past the due date (9 May, that's little more than a week, right??), and then reminded me that women actually will carry upwards of 15 lbs of baby in the case of twins or triplets, and sometimes a single. She says this because though it was a 38 week appointment last week, The Belly measured just at 41 weeks. She also said that my own history is my best indicator. To my mind this means there is a full term baby in there, biding time, just getting bigger. I really would prefer not to go overdue this time. My only worry is that this babe will be *ahem* too big, that's a bit daunting.


After sleeping for what seemed an inordinate amount, I spent yesterday tidying the house, doing all the laundry I could find, dishes, making soups, grocery shopping. This morning I awoke feeling as if I'd had a rather serious workout, yet I know it's mostly due to the loosening and softening of ligaments. Lately, on good nights I feel fortunate if I get 4 hours solid stretch of sleep before I must move 'cause the side I've been sleeping on has become too sore. This is the part I remember most from the first time, the uncomfortable soreness at the very end. I think it's really sleep training, having to wake every 2 to 4 hours, just as when a newborn has arrived.


Miss Monkey asked me yesterday "what will happen with the belly after it's squishy for a while?"


"Hah, well, I hope it'll go back to the way it was…remember when my tummy was flat? When I was thin?" She thought about it, but there's no tellin' if she actually does remember.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You're Golden

Not just any birthday, but the Golden Birthday. Miss Monkey will be 4 on the 4th of May, one week from today, 2:54pm HST. And if you wanna be cute, I'll be 33 on the 3rd, tho' I'm not sure it really counts as it's not technically the same number---but it sounds good, and I like it. I'm considering the entire week auspicious. The year Little Girl was born I was in labor on my birthday, and the situation seems to have repeated to a certain degree. A huge shadow looms over next week, in the shape of what Monkey calls "a great big Easter Egg belly!" I wager that if we had made plans around this entire 2 week period, I'd most certainly be in labor already. As it is I'm seriously uncomfortable today, the ankles have swollen, I can barely bend down without feeling my sternum crunch bumping into someone, waking up to change positions in the night feels as if I had a hard workout, hips & knees are so sore.

I remember my Golden birthday, I got a pony, and a bird, and a magnetic maze bug game that transfixed me for what seemed the entire afternoon. There was a fairly large party to my recollection, since we lived in the country not too many small friends of mine, 'cause there just weren't many out thataway. The pony's name was Little Man, he was a Shetland, supposedly an ex-circus pony according to my mom. The bird's name was Freddy, a blue parakeet, she liked to sit on one's head during dinner. Though I grew up thinking there was never enough money, it seemed like we always had plenty of animals around, horses included, on the two acre lot I grew up. Apparently the familial estate has only just thinned the creature population to one cat, a few chickens, and maybe the last two young hobbyist horses.

So, for my firstborn's birthday we've tentatively scheduled an afternoon play date. Presence of friends paramount to presents, keeping it simple. She'll get cake and balloons, and thoughtfully exciting gifts from family. I've certainly notified every-mom that I'll call them if the little playground date doesn't happen for (really) obvious reasons. Looking forward to it all, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sew Kewl

My sewing history is spotty; while I'm familiar with method I had very little practice. Ms. M, sewing mentoress, helped me learn a whole lot more last year when I got the idea to make some Papa's Shirts Dresses for the Little Girl. Essentially I dismantled several of The Man's shirts, picked a super simple Kwik Sew pattern, and with Ms. M, produced not only 3 uber-cute dresses for last summer, but eventually the fantastic Purple Mermaid Costume for Halloween '09.

Sew, lately, as I find more time on my hands awaiting the New Arrival, I'm proud of my creativity with my gratefully borrowed machine. Taking several outgrown pairs of Miss Monkey's tights I simply made leg/arm warmers with them. I also converted a coveted tu-tu—turned out to be too too small—into a wearable state cutting away the butt of the bottom, and replacing with tights of Her choice. While it's not ideal for her dancing repertoire at the moment, at least it's another item to add to the costume & dress-up box.

My first Big Belly project to convert 2 pair of jeans to wearable maternity skirt was less than ideal (the side panels pouffed, the belly band was less than great). I put it aside for a time before I decided what needed to be done. The finagling of a sewing room is an immense help. The house we're in has an odd nubbin of a room off the master, that's big enough and small enough to act a closet, yet has its own closet (weird I know). I finally got tired of stitching on the kitchen table with all my supplies stacked in the corner, moved everything down to the Nubbin Room. When Monkey has torn her heirloom skirt yet again, all I need do is uncover the machine to stitch it up.

Anyway, the blue jean convert-to-skirt had to be completely revamped. I made a small tear much worse while removing the first belly band, thus my decision to remove the pockets, slice off 5 inches down from the "waist", re-add new stretchy and my pockets of choice—it turned out great. Well, turned out great considering my novice tailoring skills. The skirt is not perfect, but it's comfortable, and at this point in pregnancy comfort is paramount. Anything binding can put me in a foul mood. By the way, it is hard to pin pieces to oneself with a ginormous belly…but I worked it in pure comic fashion squeezing my reflection in the lone terrified mirror. The effort caused me to wonder about body-forms, and what tailoring one's own maternity wear for the duration would be like. Do they make maternity attachments for the forms?

The most comfortable and practical items I purchased are ruched-side tops. One lovely red top I splurged on, A Pea In the Pod ($$!), still fits comfortably and is made from wonderfully soft, stretchy, cotton blend…yet to be determined the postpartum use "nursability" of this top. The two ruched under-tanks I picked up at Target have been indispensable. The "tails" are long enough with the gathered sides to cover the belly + uggo-band of maternity pant (even now as my shape has become more ridiculous) and thin/comfy enough to wear consistently as an undershirt. I did pick up one so-called maternity-to-nursing top from Lilac via MamaBargains, which, as of right now is cozy in the "On Our Way" bag with other hospital essentials. The maternity-to-post-partum jeans I purchased in the same transaction were a total fail, to my guttural dismay—currently consigned at Childish Things, Boulder's premier consignment shop. Otherwise, yoga pants, homemade skirts (below), and the sale-find of bigger soft jeans are my answer for the final big belly countdown.

I had a fabulous idea to hit the thrift store for bigger skirts to convert to belly-wear. I triumphed wonderfully with my first attempt. But the other two possibilities just weren't cooperative, and will most likely be relegated to material for Miss Monkey's wardrobe. It was a completely new experience going through a thrift store with an eye for the material rather than the items themselves. I turned a sheet into 2 changing pad covers, with enough left over to make a night gown for F. Her birthday, sew close, I will (hopefully) finish the newest Papa's Shirt Dress—really only part of a shirt combined with a print she picked herself—possibly with a little hat to match, per her request.
I am so grateful for creative outlets in this interim time!


Big Belly Krewe
<--------jean convert &
thrifty find-------->

Collection of Monkey Skirts;

converted from dress, from larger size, tiered from a pattern.


*sigh* there is just no way to keep my ankles from looking pregnant too!