Monday, March 30, 2015

Break Time

Once in awhile, mommy needs a break. Not a one, five, or ten minute break. A big break. Mommy needs "me" time to keep her sanity, to maintain her calm and zen-ness.

I needed one such break last weekend.

Ben and Baby William and I spruced up the house for spring. We trimmed trees and washed patio furniture and sprinkled the yard with grass seed. I did a lot of this with Baby William strapped across my chest. I loved the closeness of Baby William, but my back hurt after hours of carrying him and it took three times as long to get things done.

By Sunday evening, I wanted to cut loose for just a bit. So, I yelled to Ben that I was outta here. He didn't question me.

I hopped into the car and floored it down the driveway. I peeled around the corner and zoomed down South Broadway toward the setting sun. I opened the windows and blared music. I swerved when switching lanes and cheered while doing it. I quickly slurped a Dairy Queen blizzard and almost returned for another.

After an hour, I felt better. Reenergized and ready for life. I couldn't wait to get home to see my baby and Ben.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Helping Hands

Several days before William's six month checkup, it snowed a foot and temperatures fell below 0 degrees. Ben was out of town for work. What timing!

On the morning of William's appointment, our friend, Jonathan, stopped by to say hi. Thank goodness he came by because my car wouldn't start. With limited options and time, we loaded William, his car seat, his car seat base, his diaper bag, and myself into Jonathan's sporty, fast car.

I laughed on our way to the appointment. Jonathan, a bachelor with no kids, was already complaining about how exhausted he was from climbing over mountains of snow to install the car base and load William and his car seat into the car.

He had no idea that was only the beginning.

We parked and then Jonathan lugged my 16 pound baby and his equally as heavy car seat across the parking garage and into the office. I loved the extra set of hands!

Jonathan planned to relax in the waiting room, enjoy the latest Highlights, and check out the hot nurses. Next time, buddy! Instead, he carried William down three hallways to the exam room. My back and arms really appreciated it.

Jonathan sat motionless, mute, and stone faced in his chair during the appointment. The nurse left and Jonathan said, "She probably thinks I'm the most disinterested dad ever."

She totally did.

The nurse returned to administer William's shots. Jonathan comforted William while I held his arms and the nurse pinned his legs. I warned Jonathan, but he still teared up when William screamed and cried.

We finished with the appointment, checked out, and schlepped to the car. I could hear Jonathan breathing heavily as he carried William in his car seat. We loaded back into the car and collapsed into silence.

Jonathan said, "I hiked 120 miles once, and this was more exhausting. I'm physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I need a nap. I barely survived!"

Welcome to parenthood.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Scary Moment in Motherhood

I wrote my last post a long time ago. Many days, weeks, and months have passed since that post.

I planned to write all of the time after having a baby, but taking care of a baby has been A LOT of work. I thought I was prepared and ready, but I had no clue.

I didn't know that a baby required so much time and effort and patience and love... and time and effort and patience and love... and time and effort and patience and love.

Thankfully, Ben and I have finally settled into the roles of mom and dad. So far, the experience has teetered between amazing and overwhelming. I've never loved someone so much and almost lost my mind at the same time.

Yesterday, I laid William in his swing to take a nap. I didn't buckle him in because it seemed unnecessary. He doesn't independently roll over or sit up or walk yet, so leaving him unbuckled didn't seem like a big deal.


I went upstairs to iron. I heard William cry. I walked downstairs to check on him. I turned the corner to find him face down and hanging halfway off his moving swing!

I dropped everything in my arms, dashed across the room, summersaulted over the couch, and saved him before he slid out of the swing and hit the floor.

I cried a few tears from the huge tidal wave of fear that washed over me.

William just wanted to show off his new party trick. Of course, he should've tried it when I was in the room, close by. Not when I was out of the room, far away. But, where's the fun in that?

There will be many more freak out moments, I know. I just hope they happen on daddy's watch and not mine.

Monday, September 22, 2014


We attended a wedding when William was only two weeks old. People seem impressed that we did this, but going to this wedding was muy importante for Ben and I. We finally got dressed, got out of the house, and socialized with people other than ourselves.

We felt like members of society again.

During the reception, William relaxed in his stroller while Ben and I talked with two older men who had grown children. The men pointed to William and asked Ben how everything was going.

Ben's eyes lit up and he enthusiastically explained how we pumped and stored breast milk for the first time that morning. He said it went well, and we hoped to continue.

I turned bright red. Our new friends stood frozen with their beers paused midway to their mouths. Apparently, me pumping break milk was not the response they expected.

I stopped Ben before he continued and said, "I don't think they want to know about pumping. I think they just want to know, in general, how everything is going."

We laughed, awkwardly, and one of the older men took a swig of his drink and said, "Yeah, TMI (too much information)!"

William at the wedding

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

He's Here!

Our baby arrived! He's here. He's perfect. He's safe and sound.

But, boy oh boy, has he turned everything upside down and changed our lives. For the better, of course! At least, that's what I repeat to myself when running on no sleep and freaking out every time he coughs or sneezes.

I never knew someone so tiny could make such a big, no, HUGE, impact on our lives.

Baby William is now four weeks old. I remember the first two weeks as one sleepless, stressful blur. Ben and I don't have other children and neither of us babysat much, so nothing really prepared us for parenthood.

The third week was a little better.

The fourth week gives me hope that we will survive. Our son will survive. Our family will make it!

Most people with children empathize. They remember how tough the first few weeks are. I've met a few people, though, that obviously suffer from amnesia and remember the first few weeks with fondness. They make comments like, "It's the best!" and "Don't you love this stage?"

Don't misunderstand me. I love Baby William. I love him with all of my heart. But, in the beginning and even now, that love is coupled with a lot stress, anxiety, and feeling completely overwhelmed.

I'm just trying to keep him alive! That's my goal.  One girl asked me how much I loved being a new mom, and I only nodded because answering her with words would have involved a lot of tears.

It's okay, though. Every day gets a little better. Right now, I cling to the sentence that all parents have shared... it gets easier.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bigger Is Better...

I'm six days past my due date with my first baby. Something, I'm told, that is not uncommon. That makes me feel good.

Except, I must look as though I'm six weeks past my due date. That's the impression I get from strangers.

The other day, Ben and I walked down the street. A woman paused her phone conversation and yelled from her front porch, "Wow, girl! You're ready to pop!"

Several hours later, a teenage boy at the Dairy Queen drive-thru asked, "When are you due? It must be soon!"

Yesterday, after church, the priest asked me when I was due. Before I could answer, a very old man crept by with his walker and responded, "Every week I think she's popped, but she's still here!"

We'd never met before.

People ask when I'm due, and I expect responses like, "Wow, so soon!" or "Congratulations!" I never anticipated ones like, "Man, you're huge!" or "I figured it was weeks ago!" or "Are there twins in there?"

Oh, well. I can handle it. This big belly just means we've got one healthy boy who's (almost) ready to meet the world.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Unexpected Guests

I'm still getting used to random people knocking on the front door of our house. Random people... like the FedEx guy, the UPS guy, the propane tank filler guy, the neighbor, etc.

In New York, people couldn't knock on our door because we lived in an apartment building that required outsiders to buzz in via an intercom. Sometimes, I answered when they buzzed. Sometimes, I didn't. If I did answer, I had at least seven minutes to get presentable before they made it up the five flights of stairs to our apartment.

Yesterday, I relaxed in the recliner with the cats. I hadn't gotten dressed for the day yet. My hair hung in a side ponytail. I wore old glasses. I hadn't washed my face or brushed my teeth. My robe hung open because of my big, pregnant belly.

Basically, I looked good. Really, really good.

But, it didn't matter because I was at home, inside, where no one would see me.

Then, unexpectedly, the doorbell rang. The cats and I bolted upright. We panicked. I tiptoed down the hall to hide around the corner. Who was it? I didn't expect company.

Then, a loud knock. Geez, Louise! It must be important.

I opened the door to a man who wanted to do something to our something to fix something that needed something. It didn't matter what he wanted. His face said it all.

He looked horrified. He wondered who would ever marry, even impregnate, such a rough looking woman. I tried to straighten my ponytail and cover the baby bump while he talked, but it was too late.

I think we need to install an intercom like we had in New York.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sympathy Pangs

I'd heard that partners sometimes experienced pregnancy symptoms along with the actual pregnant person. I'd sorta believed that statement, having seen a few partners gain a pound or two during the 40 weeks, but didn't really think it to be true.

Only now, while going through pregnancy, do I see how true it is.

I woke up one morning, not too long ago, and rolled to my side. I pushed myself, big belly included, up from the bed and rubbed my calf muscle to ease the ache left over from the hundredth charley horse I got while sleeping. I looked at Ben, who also lay awake.

"Man, I didn't sleep that well last night," I said.

"Ugh," he replied. "Me either." He then rolled over and fell fast asleep.

A little later, I walked up and down the stairs several times while cleaning. "Whew," I said. "I am out of breath! The baby must be getting bigger or I must be gaining weight."

Ben looked at me from the couch and replied, "I hear ya! I need to start working out. My gut is getting huge."

Not long thereafter, we sat on the back porch to enjoy the nice weather. I twisted my torso back and forth. "Chairs kill my back after while."

Ben stretched and replied, "Gosh, I know. My back hurts, too. Sometimes, my shoulders do, too."

No way, buddy.

I finally let loose.

"Ben, you CANNOT have every pregnancy symptom that I have. Maybe one, maybe two, but not all. It's like you're more pregnant than me."

Ben looked surprised and then we both died laughing. No words needed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It Just Needs Some..

The other day, Ben and I laughed about the first time my brother visited us in NYC about four years ago. We wanted to make his visit special since he rarely ventured north of the Mason Dixon Line. So, we did what we usually do with visitors... took him to a great restaurant to experience the food.

The only problem was that my brother, Philip, lived on hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and chicken fingers. Luckily, there were plenty of pizza places and hot dog vendors near our apartment. But, who wanted to live on street meat alone? Yuck.

Ben suggested Peter Luger's Steakhouse in Brooklyn, one of the top rated steakhouses in the county. Philip loved the idea, so we booked a reservation.

We ordered the steak for two or three to share. The waiter placed a huge platter of "USDA prime beef, family selected and dry aged in our own aging box"on the table in front of us. Our mouths and eyes watered.

Ben and I took our first bites. My taste buds exploded. The steak exceeded every expectation.

Philip looked at my steak. He looked at his steak. He looked at the waiter, and then asked, "Can I have some ketchup?"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Big News

I apologize for the lack of posts since January. Four months passed quickly. Time flies when having fun and staying busy.

A friend/former coworker and I started our on business. We thought of the idea when working together and went for it. So far, so good. Look for us in next month's Businessweek and Entrepreneur magazine. Kidding (kind of).

We focus on our business when not working full time at our other jobs (or taking care of our kids or unborn babies or husbands). We stay busy, but very excited for our venture. We have gained much respect and appreciation for small business owners since beginning our journey.

Perhaps, even bigger news...

Ben and I are having a baby! Our little guy should arrive at the beginning of August. Everything is going well.

The baby and I are growing at a rapid rate. My waistline surpassed Ben's several months ago. This, of course, makes Ben feel svelte and very in shape.

I'd continue to type, but it's dinnertime. Something I don't mess around with anymore. I promise to post soon (fingers crossed behind my back).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cold Weather

It's already been quite a winter, and it's only mid-January. This morning, it warmed to about -2 degrees. Quite chilly.

Two weeks ago, the temperatures got down to -4 degrees. That's when the pipe behind our fridge connected to the water dispenser froze and busted. We, new homeowners, had several heart attacks!

Luckily, we caught the break and stopped the flooding before any major damage occurred. Thankfully, Ben knew where and how to turn off the water. Knowing the location of those handy little valves had never crossed my mind before...

Ben and our neighbor fixed the busted the pipe. Ben's handy man self-confidence shot through the roof and I now confuse him with Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, which he, of course, loves.

Ben left this very cold morning for a business trip until Friday. I woke up this morning a little nervous. What will the girls and I do without Tim if another pipe busts? I just learned where the water shut-off valve is and the girls' only skills involve eating and catnapping.

Ben's return or warmer weather could not come soon enough.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Early Demise

Earlier this week, a 26-year-old coworker asked a student about his mother's age.

He replied, "She's 36. How old are you?"

My coworker responded, "How old do you think I am?"

The student looked at her for a moment and then said, "Forty."

My young coworker's eyes widened in horror.

"Actually," the student said, "You couldn't be 40 because that's so old you'd be dead already."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Uh Oh

Flu season arrived. It hit school hard. Youngsters lined the hallways and crammed into the nurse's office. Medicine, toilets, trashcans, and medical personnel seemed in short supply!

This morning, I heard a splatter from across the cafeteria followed by a chorus of "ewwwwwws."

I walked the first sick child to the office.

I returned in cafeteria. A few minutes later, I heard another splatter from the opposite direction.

I walked the second sick child to the office. She asked me to hold her hand. Feel her forehead. Get her hair off her neck.

She then remarked, "It's good I'm going home because I forgot to take my ringworm medicine."

Looks like I'll be first in line for the nurse tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hard Work

Ben and my dad really like recognition when they've worked, when they've physically done something. Energy exerted! Muscles flexed!

Maybe they took out the trash or got the mail or mowed the yard or washed the dishes or bent over to pick up something on the floor.

It doesn't matter whether the task was big or small. They did it.

They moan and groan. They breathe heavy. They arch backs and unbutton shirts to emphasize how hard they labored.

On Wednesday night, Ben and I set up 15 Dickens Village houses to decorate for Christmas.  We worked until 1am, both tired from the long day. I unwrapped and handed each house to Ben, who used a step stool to place it on top of the mantle and kitchen cabinets (which I offered to do).

Ben sighed every time he climbed the step stool. He grunted every time he took a house from my hand. He deeply exhaled every time he set down a house. Every so often, he stretched his back and rubbed his neck.

I cannot imagine the calories burned.

I constantly complimented and encouraged him to keep going. You're the best! Look at that spacing! You're a Dickens machine!

The next morning, I woke up two hours earlier than Ben. I snuck out of our bedroom and quietly shut the door.

I carried the empty Dickens boxes upstairs. I vacuumed tiny pieces of Styrofoam strewn around the house. I brewed Ben a fresh pot of coffee, fed the cats, cleaned their litter box, packed our stuff to go home for Thanksgiving, wiped down the entire kitchen, watered the plants, took out the recycling, and emptied the trash.

I did all of that... without a deep breath, flexed muscle, or audience.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wheelers & Dealers

Last week, Ben and I and our friend, Kason, walked to Rupp Arena to find tickets to the basketball game. Ben and Kason talked strategy most of the way there. They did not want to get ripped off by a scalper.

We found a guy selling tickets on the corner of the street. Ben and Kason played it cool and casually asked how much for three tickets. The guy said a much lower price than either of them anticipated. All negotiating skills and strategies flew right out the window!

Kason's face lit up with a big grin. Ben enthusiastically shook his head "yes."

I couldn't believe it.

Obviously, they lacked the expertise I gained from negotiating knock off purses in the back rooms of Chinatown.

I pointed my finger downward. Kason and Ben (sort of) regained their composure and weaseled the price down a few more dollars, but the guy knew he had them sold.