Monday, December 14, 2009


It's SO cold outside lately.

I so hate it!

Paige was bundled up on this day to go with us to the Christmas tree lighting at Village Pointe.

She looked really cute.

Didn't she?

Anyway, apparently it's 4 degrees this morning (with a forecasted high of 7!) and icy.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Flip flops and Christmas lights, boo-yah

We decorated the house for Christmas Saturday.

It was warm enough for flip flops. (Yes, I'll wear sandals even when I shouldn't. But Saturday I was actually totally comfortable!). And for capri yoga pants that came to my mid-calves.

This rocked my world.

So Dane scaled a ladder to the roof where he hung lights and did the annual gutter cleaning ("two birds with one stone," Rye likes to say), and Rye played with "guys" in the leaves I half-heartedly raked (yes, I know. Long overdue. I still haven't actually picked up those piles of leaves, however. Ahem).

And Paige and I just sort of well, hung out.

It was awesome.

The weather mainly is what made it awesome. I don't remember ever hanging out in the yard while someone else hung Christmas lights on the house. Nor do I remember wearing flip flops while decorating the tree.

I'm so not complaining.

The older I get, the less I like cold weather. I remember being in second grade and being the new kid in class - again - having just moved to Nebraska from Texas but having lived in Wisconsin until I was 4 proudly telling people that winter was my favorite holiday. Summer be damned! Who needs swimming pools and popsicles and suntans and sleepovers and baseball and everything that I now think is great (well, I could leave baseball)? Who needs that warm-weather stuff when you can wear snowsuits and build snowforts. Humph. Not that second-grade version of me.

Now, yeah, now I could leave winter waaaaaaay far behind.

Not my choice, as long as I live here. So. I'll take the flip flops day I got Saturday.

Think the kids liked it, too.

Yes, that is a leaf in her mouth ... She was fine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Too long, once again

It's been too long once again since I've written anything here.

Work is crazy, but in a good, good way. I've got this new job and it's stressful yet exciting. I like it, really. A lot. There's a lot of potential there, and I hope we pull it off.

Life outside of work is still crazy, but in a strange sort of way feels better than it has in a long, long, long time.

I still don't have any answers. I still don't know what the heck we're all doing. I still feel very much like the only thing I can do is get up every morning, get dressed and be on my way. Get through the day. Do the best I can while I'm getting through it. Look ahead to better, more confident times.

Hope I make the right choices. Not just for me. For everybody.

Smile a little more. Do what I can.

Anne Lamott says 80 percent of life is just showing up. Maybe she's right. I'm going with it, for now.

Happy Thanksgiving week. Be extra thankful this year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I got a new job at work.

It's totally cool.

I'm in charge of helping start -- and then leading -- a Web site for moms. It's called (pronounced mom-aha), and its name is a take-off of the World-Herald's main Web site,

Anyway, moms, check it out! I'll keep a blog there, as will a few community members and newsroom staffers. Also, you'll find discussion groups/forums, recipes, children's activity ideas, a calendar of family-friendly events, directories to places good to go with kids throughout the city, info on what restaurants are kid-friendly and much more.

I'm seriously excited.

You can go to now and see a static "splash" page. The content should be up and interactive by early to mid-December. That's when you should check back.

Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter now (Just search for us on Facebook. Be sure to become a fan please!).

World-Herald photographer Kiley Cruse took these photos of me and the kids earlier this week. Thank you, Kiley!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I had a little pumpkin and the Wolverine for Halloween this year. Both were adorable. And Rye, even though he doesn't like candy, said he had a GREAT time.

Here's just a few photos.

I love this one of my little pumpkin!

And here's us at Rye's preschool Friday morning. They did a craft, then paraded through the hallway, and mommies and daddies got to come. It was pretty cute.

Finally, here's the two, on the porch, right before the trick or treating extravaganza began. The moon was full last night, too, an added bonus.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Austin, part two

I took this photo of Katie at a concert last Thursday. It's my favorite image from the trip. I think she looks so beautiful and so happy.

Tecate and I were introduced. I like it. And I refuse to pronounce it correctly. Te-Cate. Like a true Nebraskan.

We went for a hike the first day. It involved crossing a shallow stream. That stream turned into a raging river two hours later - thanks to rain runoff - when we had to cross it to get back. I got to swim. Katie and the dogs eventually found a better way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm in Texas.

Austin, the little blue oasis in a big red state. I saw that on a T-shirt yesterday.

It is, basically, awesome.

I just got done running, on a shaded trail that starts just down the block from where I'm staying with my friend, Katie, and her husband, Bryan. We've hiked. We went to a concert. We've eaten. We've seen a movie. Today, we're going to drink some more (wineries, out somewhere nearby in the Texas hills).

Tomorrow, already, I go home. Why do the good things in life go so fast? And the bad ones, well, sometimes, they seem to never end.

I am anxious to see my babies, though. Last night, I started thinking how I missed them. They are safe and fine and loved and being pampered by grandparents this weekend. But I still miss them, those little pieces of me.

I'm listening to this song now. "Sometime Around Midnight" by a group called The Airborne Toxic Event. I know nothing about them. But I'm in love with the song. It's about seeing a girl at a bar or a club, sort of. It's actually about so much more than that. But I can't, right now, really do its meaning much justice. So just listen to it.

I'm going back out to the Austin sunshine, to soak it up while it lasts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Long ago and far away

There was a time, when I first started this blog, that I thought about possible blog entries just about everywhere I was.

Rye would say something cute or surprising, and I'd mentally make a note to blog about it. Or I'd meet some interesting person or see some thought-provoking bumper sticker and think to myself: Blog. Entry.

But this past year has ripped any ability for me to think about things as unimportant as blog entries totally and completely from me. While I enjoy having a blog (and please don't kick me out wonderful BlogHer ad people!), it has become one more thing I'm not doing a very good job at.

And because of the turmoil in my personal life, the blog also just seems so secondary, so trivial, so not honest. I mean, how many of you want to read about the daily arguments? The broken possessions? The broken people?

Yep. None of you.

Me either.

I want so badly for everything, everyone, to somehow be OK.

The for sale sign has gotten easier to see. The emotions most days I can keep in check.

I feel like I'm waiting for what's next. Like we are all sort of holding our breath.

I'm ready to exhale.

Right now, the rest of Nebraska is watching the Nebraska football team play Missouri. I was on Facebook a little while ago and status updates said things like "I don't understand why we don't run!" and "I can't see Bo Pelini on the sideline!" I was happy to find recent pictures my friend posted of her new house instead.

I'm not anti-football. In fact, I think people should indulge their passions and their interests as much as they can. I think adults should get what they want - within reason, without others getting hurt - as often as they can. I mean, life's too short, right? In a few weeks, I'll be 30. Rye's been asking me if he'll be at my birthday. By this, he means my party. Tonight, I finally told him I won't have a party. I envy those adults that do still have birthday parties. I'd like to. But, you know, it's just not the same as when you're a kid. Plus, I'm not sure who would come.

I've decided to begin celebrating my children's half birthdays this year. On Nov. 17 and 18, we will have birthday cake and candles - and, yes, they can make a wish (never limit the number of wishes a child can make!) - but instead of presents, we will donate some of their forgotten toys. I completely stole this idea from my childhood best friend, who is the mother I'd like to be.

And, in the midst of the looming house sale and the apartment search and the move and everything else that will come with this big, gigantic leap into the unknown, I'm looking forward to my little ones' midway birthday celebration.

I think I'll get balloons.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blue eyes

We went to an outdoor wedding yesterday.

There was a fountain, classic fall weather, trees and some neat cool steps.

Here we are before the ceremony started.

The reception was at an art gallery, and it was cool.

Did the stroller and the baby fit in? Ah, not really. But I only felt a little out of place. We had a good time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Sunday in September

Somehow, it's September already. Nearly mid-September.

Rye picked apples straight from the tree in Nebraska City on Friday. And we're doing a story about just that family activity at work.

I can't believe it's time to pick apples already.

Before I know it, we'll be able to go to pumpkin patches - my favorite fall activity. And it'll be my birthday. And that will mean I'm 30 years old.

And you can imagine how I feel about that.

Today, anyway, we went to a water festival, which really wasn't that spectacular. They billed it as having lots of children's activities, but really they didn't. Instead, it was booth after booth of people with literature to read about their group or pencils or rulers to give away. They did have canoe rides, but I couldn't really take a 4-month-old on a canoe.

It was nice to be out in nature anyway, though. And see the lake shining in the sun through the trees and walk with my kids through grass that scratched our ankles.

And smell the scent of sun-drenched skin when we finally got home.

Here's to the start of fall, my favorite season.

And here's us at the festival:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Girl power

I have a Wonder Woman T-shirt that says "Girl Power" on it.

And this weekend, that's totally how I feel.

It's just me and Paige, doing whatever we want, whenever we want. Without any boy telling us what to do.

We've been shopping. More than once.

We went running.

And we've listened to loud music. Of course.

We've gone on a few walks. We've taken a few naps.

And it's been peaceful and nice. Just the two of us.

I am looking forward to seeing my first baby tomorrow night, though. Boy and all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Little rocker girl

My baby girl loves music.

Perhaps she will grow up to be a rock and roll star. Or maybe she'll grow up to be a groupie. Maybe she'll be Maria coming from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand. Maybe she'll want to meet a boy who looks like Elvis.

Probably she'll be none of those things.

But her love for music right now is pretty darn sweet.

Sunday afternoon, for example, I knew she was tired. Yet, she wouldn't let herself fall asleep. I put her in the swing, which usually always does the trick. She fussed and squawked for 10 minutes or so in there. I was finally about to take her out when I thought I'd try music.

One minute of Wilco and she was out like a cat in the sunny spot on the carpet.

Most evenings, she and I retreat to the kitchen where I plug my iPod into speakers and turn it up loud. We listen to Wilco and Death Cab and Pink and that one Tilly and the Wall song that's really great. Last night, we put it on shuffle and heard Tracy Chapman and Carly Simon and New Kids (ahem) and Clay Aiken (AHEM) and a few others. It puts her to sleep within minutes. Every single time.

It's great for me. I get a baby that not only stops crying but lays so at peace in my arms that I sort of want to never let her go. And I get to listen to music, loud.

Rock on, baby girl.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First day

Rye started preschool last Monday.

We were nervous and excited for it, and the day went fine. The highlight, I think, was the little mouse game which has a song that goes like this: Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the (insert color here) house? You have to hear Rye sing it. It's very cute.

Here's another picture from the morning, right before we left to go.

The lowlight of the day was the face plant Rye took onto the sidewalk when being picked up from daycare that evening. The fall involved blood all over his face, I'm told, and an hour or so of worrying about whether he needed to go to the ER or some urgent care clinic for stitches.

Here's what he looked like that night before bed. Like he got beat up, right?

He didn't end up going for stitches, and almost a week later, he's doing fine. He still has a gash on the very top of his forehead but for the most part he's all better.

And he's a preschool veteran now, too, with three days under his belt.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A beautiful bouquet

Rye went to get the newspaper from the driveway for me one morning this weekend.

And he came back with these. Picked carefully and held in his little-boy hand just so, these dandelions - to me - were anything but weeds.

And then he went to color, spread out with ease that can only be truly found on a weekend morning.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My children's laughter

Being an adult has hit me hard this year.

I will be 30 years old in about two months. To show for it, I have, first and foremost, two beautiful, healthy, intelligent children that sometimes I can't believe I helped create.

I also have a job that I like, that fits me well, where I feel I am respected and valued.

I have a house and a car. I have a few close friends.

And I have a husband, who I've really messed things up with. I shouldn't write about things like this here, in a public forum like this, but all 10 readers of this blog probably know about our issues anyway. And it just seems, I don't know, less than honest to this blog (which I started nearly two years ago as a chronicle of my family's life) to continue ignoring it.

Neither of us knows what to do exactly - or maybe we do know but don't want that to be the answer.

This whole thing, it's so adult, so raw, so unbecoming. It's made me want to run away, get in the car and drive west and not stop until I get somewhere that feels far enough removed. It's made me want to scream. It's made me want to just throw in the towel on everything. It's made me psychoanalyze myself, my childhood, my parents, my relationships. I've lost friends. I've felt very, very alone.

And I don't know where or when it all ends. Or how we even get to that finish line, or if it's one I even want to cross at all. Isn't the status quo easier after all?

I've come to realize there are things I want in this life that I will most likely never ever have. They just aren't meant to be. They're not possible. And they are, if I let them be, heartbreaking and awful. I know there are things other people want that they will also never ever have. I hate this.

Through this all, my children are here. And I want better for them. But I can't make the world perfect for them. I can't make our problems just go away. I just can't. I am flawed. And I am sorry for that. But I love them just the same. Those kids. Those perfect little ones who have done nothing wrong ever. Who deserve better.

Paige laughed for the first time on Thursday. It was the happiest sound I've heard in a long, long time. She is 12 weeks old on Monday and this laugh Thursday was giggling, little girl giggling, not baby cooing. She was laughing at me and Rye. We were pretend fighting. I was pretending to kick him while holding her and he would pretend to jab me with a toy knife (which was actually a tool from his play toolset) and then roll around on the ground and I would pretend to step on him. And she laughed like it was the funniest thing in the whole wide world.

Rye's laughter - pure, honest little-boy laughter - has always been like magic. How can I not smile when he's so at ease, so full of life? And I felt the same way about that sound coming from Paige. She is so tiny, yet she is still capable of laughing.

And so maybe it is with my children's laughter that I will get through this very adult time in my life. Maybe it's those giggles that I will hold on to forever, despite - and in the midst of - everything else.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, the places she'll go!

My baby girl, at 2 months old, is ready to get going. I can just tell. She's ready to move. Enough of this being carried and held and swaddled and strapped in a car seat and a swing all the time. Work, legs, work! she's saying. Let's start this running routine.

I am kidding about the running.

But I do think she's anxious to go places, see the living room sights, on her own.

While she is nowhere close to being able to move around with any sort of efficiency on her own (she can't even roll over yet), she has figured out how to flip herself completely around in her crib and how to move herself around on the floor with her feet. She just sort of digs her heels in and pushes.

It's pretty awesome.

Look what she can do. She started out this morning under the activity bar playmat thing. This is at least a quarter-mile she's traveled, right?

And here's a close-up of her happy look-where-I-went-Mommy face.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Someone should have told me

Alright, stay-at-home moms of the world, help us maternity-leavers out, would you?

It's been eight weeks and two days since I've been on maternity leave. Yes, this means some days I don't change out of my jammies until 3 in the afternoon and it means showers happen about every other day. I don't necessarily like those two things. But it's just the way it is. Today, I did get dressed before 9 a.m., but I'm wearing a running T-shirt and shorts. And my glasses. Not sure how much that counts.

Anyway, I never realized that besides taking care of the infant there are other things with which I would be tasked during the day. Simply because I'm at home.

Number one: Answering the door.

Working full-time, I hardly ever heard our doorbell ring. That was nice, I now realize. Because the people who ring that doorbell during the day only want to bother me. Most of them want me to give them money.

A girl in her mid-teens stopped by last week with a pitch that was less than impressive. Her story was that her softball team had qualified for nationals in Orlando, Fla., but in order for her to compete she had to raise $2,000 or some ghastly amount by TOMORROW. So in return for my donation she would be of my service for an entire day. I could use her to mow the lawn (this is what most people choose, she said), but she doesn't do windows. At one point, she whipped out some pledge forms from her back pocket and handed them to me, as if they meant something. There were different levels and numbers written by them. And nothing was fully clear. This is the common theme among people who come to the door, I have learned. They want to confuse me!

Another very nice, very chatty college student came to the door recently hawking early learning books. She did not ever tell me she was selling books, however. Instead, she said she was going around to all the families in my neighborhood who had children about to start school in our district to give them early learning tips. Did I know so-and-so down the block? She'd just been to their house, she said, and they'd welcomed the tips. (Softball girl, by the way, asked me if I knew her grandfather who she said was a sheriff and lived on Orchard Street. I have never heard of Orchard Street, nor do I know her grandfather). I asked college girl if she worked for the school district. No, she said, she's an intern from Oregon. She attends Oregon State, and would I have five minutes for her to share these tips with me? Well, alright. I don't want my poor child to be at a disadvantage because I turned away the spunky blonde with a backpack from the West Coast. But then as we sat at my kitchen table, I realized: she is selling me something.

Are you trying to sell me something? I asked.

Oh, yes, she said. Books!

Me: Oh, I'm not going to buy any of your books.

And then she left. She even said she hadn't meant to be sneaky. Really, college girl? Because you seemed pretty sneaky.

Another door-bell ringer wanted to come in and clean my carpets FOR FREE! Really, no strings attached! Why would you clean my carpets for free? I asked (no one else is pulling a fast one on me!). Turns out she wanted to sell me a vacuum. But I didn't have to buy anything, she kept saying. Uh, no thanks. Just go away.

And then yesterday. It wasn't a salesman. No, it was much, much worse. It was a woman from the county assessor's office who had just a few questions about my house. Two bedrooms? she asked. No, I said confused, we have three bedrooms. She made a note on her clipboard. Two bathrooms? she asked. No, I said, we have 2 1/2 bathrooms. Another note. Finished basement? she asked. Yes, I said. Another note.

About three minutes after she left, I realized just how mad my husband was going to be at me. For telling the truth. But I don't want to pay higher property taxes either. I wish my common sense or quick-thinking skills were just a little bit quicker.

So, stay-at-home moms, I salute you for not only raising those kids but answering the door. My skills still need some polishing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fourth of July

I have never been much of a fan of the Fourth of July. Blowing stuff up just seems sort of dangerous and expensive to me.

But Rye was exposed to at-home fireworks this year, and I'm pretty sure it was love at first kaboom.

So we indulged his new passion with such heavy hitters as sparklers, snaps, Roman candles and these ground bloom flowers on crack that spin up into the air. I'll admit those were cool.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So this summer is the first time since I was 14 that I haven't had something I had to do.

Sure, I have to take care of the baby. But it's not the same as having to go to work (or volleyball two-a-days, as I did the summer I was 15).

I like summer. And the weather this week has been just about perfect. Warm but not too hot. Sunny. No clouds. Little, if any, humidity. Cooler nights. If the weather was like this in Nebraska all the time, this might just be a way cooler place to live.

Might be.

I was trying to think about my favorite summer memories this afternoon (I've got time on my hands, you see). And I'm not sure I can come up with an accurate favorite summer memories list.

I can think of generalities, for sure. Things like fireflies, sprinklers, bikes, swimming, flip flops, Popsicles, sleepovers. There's lots more.

Specifics, I don't know. Is it possible to have one favorite summer memory? I always have a hard time narrowing things down to one favorite experience or thing. You know, top five lists? I always seem to have some sort of caveat.

I remember the summer I was 5 playing until dark in the sandbox my dad made in the backyard. I remember being terrified of the June bugs that gathered around the back porch light above that sandbox. I remember waiting for the ice cream man outside that same house in Norman, OK. I used to like to get bomb pops. Simple. Yet exciting. I also remember occasionally getting some sort of snowcone that had a gumball at the bottom. My friend of that era and I used to have picnics in her grandma's backyard, too. The meal consisted almost always of Saltine crackers with butter on them. Her grandma would put two crackers together for us, forming a gross sort of sandwich. I liked them at the time, though.

Later, when we'd moved to Nebraska, I have lots of memories of riding my bike to one of the two city swimming pools (where I'd lifeguard throughout my high school and college summers). Jenny and I rode our bike to one of those pools every day one summer. The summer either before or after third grade, I think. Often, we would go to her grandma's house either before or after the pool. Her grandma always offered us Squirt. Jenny and I wore goggles at the pool. We liked to dive for pennies. But sometimes, the lifeguards would tell us not to do that. Jenny also had a slip and slide, and we went to Girl Scout camp together at least two summers, if not more.

In junior high, I spent countless days at my bff's house. We'd sleep late and then I'd wait (usually impatiently) while she took an excruciatingly long time to get ready. Then maybe we'd ride our bikes to McDonalds or maybe Valentino's or maybe just nowhere. We played softball two summers. I was not good. But like with everything, I tried really hard.

As an adult, that first summer in Grand Junction, Colo., is probably the best I've had. It was all just so new and so exciting. And it was a cool place to be.

In Omaha, I guess I associate the various road races I've done the past couple years with summer here.

I wonder five or 10 or 20 years from now how these summers with my children will fit into this haphazard sort of summer memory album.

What are your favorite summer memories?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'I know why the caged bird sings...'

Since Little Kitty died, our other cats have not been outside.

Nor will they ever go again.

It's sad. I feel bad for them, but I think they're getting used to it. They don't spend their days meowing at the back door anymore - or at least not as much. And it seems they've given up trying to escape whenever someone comes or goes.

Instead, they've settled for staring longingly out the window, pawing at mosquitoes and mewing at birds taunting them on the other side of the glass.

I told one the other day that someday I'd even pet her again! As soon as this baby learns to walk. And I regain use of my arms.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One month old

Dear Paige,

Today, you are one month old. (This means we survived the first month! Now, only 11 more until you are 1, which is when I remember life getting tolerable again. In fact, I'm already planning your first birthday party. It will be a giant bash, mainly to celebrate the fact your parents didn't kill each other over the course of this first year -- if, in fact, we don't. But I am getting ahead of myself.)

In this first month, you have started smiling. I'm not convinced they are actual smiles in response to anything other than gas, but they are smiles nonetheless, and every time you smile, my heart melts and I remember why being pregnant is worth it. You also make noises - lots of grunts and coos but also cries. Oh, you like to cry, especially in the evenings. And just in case you think I've forgotten about you sleeping peacefully up in your room, about 20 minutes into the slumber that might pass for a nap, you stretch those vocal cords and remind me that yes, Mommy, I'm still here! Helloooo!

And then I come get you. And then I figure out what you might like to do next. We've logged miles around the house and sometimes we venture outside. Last night, we went to the park with your brother AND we went to the grocery store.

You've also been a champion bottle drinker, and Mommy's boobs thank you for that. We're up to about 4 ounces at a time now.

And here's my new favorite skill of yours: Sleeping for seven hours IN A ROW at night. Boo-yah, Paige. You've been showing this move off the last three nights, and I'm hoping it's one that sticks around.

So far today, you've slept well (one actual nap, up in your crib without me holding you! This allowed Mommy to pay attention to her firstborn, who has taken to asking "Where's Mommy?" even when I'm right there. Today, he said, "I think you should put Paige back in your tummy."). We've also taken a bath, gone through four or five bottles and kept the crying to a minimum. Not a bad way to celebrate.

Right now, you are sleeping on the couch, propped up on a pink pillow, your little chest rising and falling with each quick breath. Every time I look at your toes, I wonder when I can paint them (tonight? tomorrow? at 3 months?), and every time I touch your hair, I think about pulling it back in a ponytail or weaving it into a braid.

But those things are down the road. And I can be patient. Because I know you'll never be as small and gentle (and yes, sometimes, ferocious) as you are right now.

And I'm trying to work on cherishing that.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Four weeks

Paige is four weeks old today, and it only took me this long to try putting her in a sling to sleep.

Should have tried it earlier.

My friend, Katie, gave me this really long piece of stretchy fabric with a buckle at one end when I had Rye. It comes with an instructional video that is absolutely necessary to figure out how to wrap this fabric around your body and then where and how to insert the infant.

I had forgotten how to do this obviously. I mean, it isn't essential knowledge to make room for in your head once the baby is walking and no longer needs to be swaddled as if in the womb to quiet down.

But I relearned how to use this thing yesterday and we're 2-2. Within 30 seconds wrapped in this cocoon each day, she's fallen asleep.


It looks absolutely ridiculous, I'm sure. But after being pregnant, shouldn't we be used to looking ridiculous? And the use of both of my hands, thanks to the sling, is priceless.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Two days ago, my baby girl turned three weeks old. I remember when being three weeks away from my due date felt like forever.

In these three weeks, she has changed - it's incredible how fast they grow. And so have we.

It is harder having two children, like everyone says. I feel pulled in two directions much of the time. The guilt has increased. Time for myself has decreased.

But I try to remember, even as I'm awake for the third time in one night stumbling up the stairs with a bottle, that she'll grow up before I know it, before I even realize what hit me.

Jenny came on Friday for Paige's first "real" pictures. I think they're beautiful.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Strawberries in bed

We've had a lot of change around here lately.

The new baby tops the list. But aside from that, our cat died, Rye turned 4 and Mommy stays home from work now, which has affected daycare dropoff and pickup routines and probably a host of other things including attitudes and outlooks.

This weekend, I got it in my head that the new room we'd talked about doing for Rye needed to happen now. I don't know why I am this way. But once I get an idea in my head, I have a hard time letting it go. So on Saturday, I touched up the paint in his room and purchased a twin headboard and bedding. On Sunday, we made record speed at one of the worst weekend shopping stops in the world - Nebraska Furniture Mart - and left largely unscathed with a twin mattress and box springs.

I'd been going non-stop since we woke up Saturday - shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. - and in the middle of the afternoon, I paused in my flurry and noticed Rye laying in my bed, under the covers, face buried in my pillow.

I went and sat by him.

I offered strawberries.

And as we lay together in my queen-sized bed, strawberry juice dripping down his chin, we talked. Actual talking, not "what did you do at daycare today?" or "what do you want for lunch?" but meaningful conversation.

Questions like this: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Rye? What do you want to do for a job?"

His reply: "I want to write stories."

Me, genuinely surprised: "Oh. Like books?"

He nodded. "Like Lord of the Rings," he said.

I have no idea how he knows anything about Lord of the Rings.

I told him then that his parents write stories for a newspaper but that our stories are about real things, real people. We don't make them up. He said then that's what he wanted to do, too.

I said what moms are supposed to say to their little boys - that they can grow up to do whatever they want.

Then I mentioned maybe he'd want to help people by being a doctor.

His response: "Yeah. And doctors make a lot of money."

We talked for a minute or two then about whether money makes people happy and what does make people happy. We didn't come up with any answers.

I do know that no one lives happily ever after, at least not without some challenges. There are no white horses. And no one gets whisked off into the sunset.

Rye told me that afternoon he doesn't plan to get married. He is instead, he says, going to live with me forever.

And then he kissed my forehead.

That was about it for the conversation about stuff that matters. Strawberries gone, he requested Sun Chips (which, yes, I also let him eat in our bed, to someone's chagrin) and before long he got up to play and I went back to being busy doing stuff that really doesn't matter at all.

His room is done, for whatever that's worth. After 15 minutes in the bed that he declared "awesome" last night, he poked his head out of his room, called to me downstairs and asked me to help tuck him into his old, car-shaped toddler bed.

I did.

Change is scary. For all of us. Though most times, I think, it's probably for the best.

Still, there's no need to rush growing up. Being an adult is not all you think it's going to be as a child. It seems as grown-ups, we could all use a little more play, a few more stories, a bit more hope.

Here's the new room:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

No, it's not on TV. It's actually my life.

Amid the clutter on our kitchen counter today are two glass bottles. One is tall and dark - an empty bottle of $12 Pinot Noir. The other is short and clear with a lime stuck at the bottom.

I drank the Corona and the last glass of wine today. Around noon.

I know.

But I just felt like drinking.

The baby wasn't even crying. Not at the moment anyway. And she actually hasn't even been all that much to handle (not compared to her brother anyway, who basically screamed for 3 1/2 months. But of course that was probably because he was starving. Breastfeeding and a tongue-tied infant do not work. And should not be tried. Ever).

But back to the booze. I haven't felt much like eating. Nothing sounds good. And the tummy still needs some work. (I'm working on implementing the ab routine). But beer, after nine months without it, sounds good.

Don't think I'm a drunk. I'm not. Even without alcohol for that long, one "gateway" beer doesn't do a whole lot, if much of anything.

I sort of think I just want to drink it because now i can.

Hear me roar, land of the unpregnant!

Or maybe it is to cope with the crazy last couple weeks we've had.

I never wrote the whole birth story here, but the abbreviated version (mind you: I'm not very good at abbreviated versions) is this:

Sunday, May 17, was Rye's birthday. An hour and a half before his party, a neighbor came to tell me that another neighbor's dog had attacked one of my cats. Horrified, I ran through my neighbor's backyard and nine months pregnant hopped a chain link fence, pried this Greyhound's jaws off my poor cat's throat and then rushed her to the emergency vet.

I missed the first 45 minutes of Rye's party (and tonight, he said, "Why didn't you come to my birthday party?") and wasn't sure if my battered cat was going to make it.

That night (morning) at 3:30 a.m., I woke up with extreme low back pain and after 20 minutes or so knew I was in labor. All I could think: What about the cat? I was to pick her up at the emergency vet at 7:30 and take her to our vet across town. Dane ended up doing that, and while he was gone, Rye threw up.

Three times.

Paige's birth story will always include the detail of Mommy holding Rye over the kitchen sink so he could hurl while she endured a contraction.

The vomiting meant he couldn't go to daycare. So my mom came. From Fremont. Which is at least a 45-minute drive.

We made it to the hospital in plenty of time, however, and Paige arrived with no problem and much joy.

Little Kitty, though, ended up dying, alone overnight, at the vet's office Tuesday night. We buried her Wednesday, the day we came home from the hospital, in the backyard. Rye used his blankie at one point to wipe away my tears (does it get any sweeter than that?)

And as if that wasn't enough excitement for our little family, a few nights ago, we got to call 911. (Yes, I know, Mother, I haven't told you this yet). Paige had spit up in her sleep and seemed to be choking and really in need of help. She was obviously in distress but couldn't cry or cough or do anything. After a few minutes of this, I told Dane to call 911. So little Paige and I got to ride in an ambulance and spend five hours in the ER at Children's Hospital. She is fine, but they did chest X-rays and blood tests and for a while at least seemed concerned.

Her pediatrician the next day said the worst she has is reflux. We have medicine for that and instructions on how often to feed her and how much. She also has to sleep in an inclined position for 30 minutes after she eats.

This whole event, of course, means I'm terrified to leave her alone. So she's been sleeping in the car seat next to my bed.

And she really is doing fine.

But all this - does it justify the mid-day booze?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bath time

We got lucky with the smile.

And she didn't even cry during this first bath at home. I'll take that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rye's birthday

Better late than never.

Rye's party on Sunday featured superhero cake and homemade capes. We also had wind, room to run and a park playground where bad guys didn't stand a chance.

Here are a few photos:

The birthday boy with his cake.

Opening presents.

Rye and his superhero friends.

I love this picture.

At home afterward, with his new Wolverine claws.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

She's here

Nearly two weeks early, Paige made her arrival at 1:29 p.m. Monday, May 18. One day after her big brother turned 4. She couldn't be more perfect.