Monday, January 31, 2011

Staycation, Date Night and Bitter Cold

Yesterday was absolute luxury.

Sunday is my day to sleep in (Jeremy gets Saturdays), so when the baby woke up I rolled over and let Jeremy know it was time to start Daddy Duty. Usually after he gets up I can go back to sleep pretty quickly -- even with the baby making noise right outside the bedroom door. But for some reason this Sunday I couldn't fall back asleep. So instead I picked up a book and stayed in bed reading.

An hour later, Jeremy brought me a cup of coffee and a fresh-made breakfast sandwich.

So from 7:30 until 10:30, I was on vacation in my little bedroom haven.

After I got up and got ready for the day, Jeremy and I ate lunch and put the baby down for a nap. Then he went to play some video games while I went into my studio to work on the Scarlett portrait with my new pastels. When the baby woke up, again Jeremy took care of her so I could keep painting.

Yes, I know how lucky I am. And no, I don't take for granted the fact that I have a husband that allows me to have days like that.

We have been talking about going out to dinner for a little family date night for a while now, and last night seemed like a good time to do it since we had all completely recovered from that stomach bug. So we headed over to Si Senor, our favorite local Mexican food restaurant.

Scarlett was getting a little vocal in her carrier, so I put her on my lap to keep her entertained. She immediately noticed this older couple across the way from us, and proceeded to jump and giggle and show off to get their attention. She has NEVER noticed strangers like that before (other than when people come up to her, of course). After asking how old Scarlett was, the woman said "She's pretty active for her age. She looks like she wants to run right over here!" I said, "Yeah, she keeps us on our toes!" Unfortunately Scarlett was not making it easy for us to eat, so we took half of our dinner home to finish there. At least we got out of the house!

This whole weekend the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Today, however, I woke up to snow and bitter cold. It's supposed to be MINUS 2 DEGREES tomorrow. Brrr! I have been getting emails all day about things closing and being canceled around the Denver area. So tonight I am forgoing my usual yoga class and working out with Your Shape on the Kinect.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pastel Portrait of Scarlett -- pass #2

I used my new Unison pastels in addition to Rembrandt soft pastels (a bit harder than Unison) and Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils.



It obviously still needs some work, but it's getting there.

Here are the reference photos.


First Tooth!

At 6 months and 2 weeks, Scarlett's first tooth broke through. She's so happy now that it has broken the surface. And we now know why she's been cocking her head to the side -- apparently it alleviates jaw/ear pressure. I'll post pics as soon as there's something more to see.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jessi Time, Getting Out and Pancakes

I am currently enjoying my Jessi time. I generally get into bed about an hour earlier than when I plan on sleeping, just so I have this bit of quiet time each night. I turn off the overhead light and turn on the dimmer bedside lamp. I crawl into my bamboo sheets on my king-sized memory-foam bed, turn my white noise machine to the ocean sounds, and pick a book from the pile next to my bed. The cat curls up at my feet. Sometimes I'll blog, like I'm doing now. But it's always peaceful and always just me.

Since I've always been a night owl, going to bed earlier due to baby-induced sleep deprivation was a difficult adjustment for me. In the almost 6 years Jeremy and I have been together, he had always gone to bed before me. So I found this bit of quiet time before I sleep to be a ritual that makes the adjustment more bearable.

So now on to talking about my day.

I mentioned that we have all been hit by the same 18-hour stomach bug. Jeremy was the last one hit last night. So to give him some baby-screaming-free rest, and to cure my (and Scarlett's) cabin fever, the baby and I left for the day.

First we went to my brother's apartment in Lone Tree. Drew, Lisa, me and Scarlett hung out and chatted for about an hour. We fed the baby while we were there, and Scarlett obligingly spit up on each of us in turn. It's so nice that she's a sharer, right? Then we went to lunch at Mimi's Cafe. I've been craving their blue cheese and walnut salad all week.

After lunch we drove into Denver and went to Meininger's art supply store. Janet had given me a gift certificate for Christmas, and I was aching for these Unison pastels.

I absolutely love taking Drew to an art store. I love art stores anyway, but going with him is a singular experience. You can see the sparks of imagination shooting from his head, I swear. His eyes light up, and he gets so excited about bottles of ink, plastic paint wells, and steel wool. He is creative on a level that goes beyond description. I get excited wondering what he's going to do with all his new materials, and what artistic masterpiece will come of it. Being around that kind of energy is exhilarating.

When we were done with the art store and I had my butter-like Unison pastels in hand, we drove back to Drew's apartment so he and Lisa could grab their car and we all headed over to my parents' house. My mom has been in Geneva for work for the last week (Lucky much? She really should bring me back some Swiss chocolate to ease my insane jealousy.), so just my dad and my brother Chad were there. Scarlett was being especially silly today, bouncing, singing and smiling a lot. So everyone got some fuss-free playtime with her.

Poor Scarlett not only had the stomach bug this week, but her first tooth has started to make its way to the surface. She's got a nice little bump on her lower gums right now. So she's had a rough week. I was so happy to see her in such a fantastic mood today. She rebounded like a pro.

Jeremy was talking this morning about craving pancakes. Knowing what he was going through with this stomach bug -- when it's at its peak you're soooo hungry, but you can't eat -- I put on my good wife hat and called IHOP on my way home this evening to place a pick-up order. When I walked in the door tonight with a stack of pancakes, Jeremy's expression was priceless. His jaw dropped and he said "Are you kidding me?" LOL. He was one happy camper.

Scarlett Exploring a Spoon

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tummy Trouble

The baby had a stomach bug recently, which got passed on to me and then finally hit Jeremy tonight. So we've all been taking it easy the last few days. Boy oh boy do I have cabin fever. I did soak in the unseasonably warm sunshine today on the front balcony for a bit. But I'm really hoping to get out of the house tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marketing Myself

My friend Kirby, owner of Kirby Ink and freaking awesome illustrator, is currently taking a break from the 9-5 to focus solely on her business. Meanwhile, my friend JoAnn Takasaki, owner of Global Writes and freaking awesome copywriter, has spent the last few years building her business into a little media empire. I am so inspired by these women -- and more than a little jealous.

But the truth is, even if I had the opportunity to leave my job and pursue my writing full time right now, I don't know if I have what it takes to market myself the way I would have to. I think it would take me time even to develop the discipline it would take to make a living as a writer, but I would eventually get in a groove. The marketing aspect, however, is daunting.

That's one side of the modern publishing and art industries that twists my stomach into knots. Writers and artists both are expected to do a large portion of their own marketing. When I finally get a book published, there's a 99% chance I'll be funding and organizing my own book signing tour, developing a platform via social media to get the word out, and creating and distributing my own swag. I would even have to get my own review blurbs for the back cover from other authors! Publishers don't have the time or budget for that anymore. And all of that is AFTER I find an agent, and after that agent has found a publisher willing to put my book out there. A lot of people don't understand that merely writing a book does not mean it will even see an editor's desk, much less be on shelves any time soon.

If I have any doubts about my future as an author, it's the marketing aspect. It is just plain scary.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conspiracies

Conspiracies abound at the YMCA lately, it seems.

All three of my class instructors have had killer repertoires for the last week. I pulled muscles I didn't know I had. Did you know that there's a muscle that goes from your tailbone to your hip? I didn't. But I do now.

Also, that crazy lady in my pilates/yogalates classes is doing her thing. I've mentioned her before (though it may have just been via Twitter... I can't remember now), but this lady insists on placing herself between me and the mirror in every class. No matter how close to the mirror I am, no matter what side of the room I'm on. And she GRUNTS -- yes, GRUNTS -- through the whole hour. Talk about distracting. When she walks into the room, I swear I can see the mission in her eyes, Must get in front of blond girl!

Last week my pilates instructor had us pair up. For the record, I HATE exercising in teams. This is why I do yoga and pilates. I'm not a team player. But maybe the reason is because I always get paired up with weirdos. The grunting mirror lady got paired up with me for some stretches, of course. I think the instructor did it just to torture me more. And it was just as awkward to stretch with her as it is to work out with her a foot away from my mat because she has once again squeezed herself between me and the mirror. And, Note to grunting mirror lady: the reason you slip in Triangle Pose is because you're WEARING SOCKS.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great Post about Obsessive Writers

I really enjoyed this post on These Here Hills called Boozing the Muse. It can be hard to describe to other people the near obsession that comes with being a writer. I truly think that most writers are born -- few are made.

A couple of clips that especially hit home...

"Writers think we have something to say. And not just that. We’re not sure we’ll be okay if we don’t say it."

"We’re just poor slobs who get off on sitting in dark rooms staring at computer screens making shit up. And without those computers and dark rooms, we’d be poor slobs walking around asking someone if we can borrow a pen to write on walls, and if someone objects, we’ll write on our hands."

Scarlett's 6 Month Stats

As promised, the results from Scarlett's 6 month checkup...

Weight: 16lb, 10.5oz (63rd percentile)
Height 26.5" (76th percentile)
Head: 17" (71st percentile)

The doc says we've got a very healthy little girl.

Pics of Jeremy and Scarlett

I think these pictures capture beautifully the special relationship Jeremy has with his daughter. (Sorry about the haziness of the last one -- there was a fingerprint on my lens!)











Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hair and Visits

Jeremy, Scarlett and I went down to the Springs yesterday morning. I had a hair appointment and we also wanted to visit our loved one who is going through chemo treatments for breast cancer.

I haven't been to the salon in two months, and I have hated looking in the mirror for the last two weeks. I just didn't feel like me. I am a natural blond, but on the darker end of the spectrum -- I have my hair lightened to the shade I was in high school. As my stylist, Eric, says all the time, "The most flattering hair color on anyone is the color they had when they were a child." I also asked him to put a few pink streaks in my hair (something fun I get done every so often, and something easily hidden with a bun or a French twist) -- but he was out of the pink dye. He said the lilac color would look good, though, and I agreed to give it a try on the condition that he didn't think it would fade to gray as it washed out over the next few weeks. He promised it wouldn't. Sadly, the dye didn't take. Eric said it was probably a bad batch. No big deal, though, because I left the salon with my nice light hair color back and I definitely felt like me again.

The unfortunate part is when I got home and looked in the brighter light of my bathroom mirror, I did see the two streaks Eric had tried to put in -- and they were light blue. :( Booooo. They're so small and so light, though, no one will notice them but me.

Jeremy picked me up at the salon yesterday afternoon and we went and spent an hour with our sick loved one. She was obviously exhausted, but she looked amazing. Especially with her new haircut. Knowing she was going to lose her hair during chemo, she opted to cut it short ahead of time. I thought she was beautiful. I know it's going to be a rough next six months for her, and I just hope that us bringing the baby by will bring her a little bit of pleasure now and then.

On our way home later that afternoon, we stopped in Castle Rock to have dinner at Outback for my dad's birthday. It was us Mehrings, both my parents, both my brothers and Drew's girlfriend Lisa. Scarlett was having a blast being held and played with by each person in turn. My child is definitely an attention hog. And thankfully she didn't start that fun squealing/screeching until toward the end of our dinner.

My parents bought Scarlett her first pair of shoes and gave them to us last night at dinner. They're tiny pink Timberland boots. So freaking cute!!!







Scarlett and I went to visit Della and crew today for a little while. Della has a re-gifting party every January, which is a little bit like the white elephant game. It's a lot of fun. Jeremy was home with pinkeye today (a condition he gets every so often when he's out in the wind in a dusty tire yard), so just us girls headed over to cheer on the game-players. Tamara was there with her almost-2-yr-old and 6-month-old, and of course Sophie (almost 3 yrs now) was there. Here's a pic of Della in full-on baby whisperer mode with the little girls:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Visit from the Kirb-meister, Foxes and Neighbors

I took a late lunch today for a coffee date with the amazing Kirby Kana. She met me at the house and then we headed to Mojo's for coffee and catching up. Though we only live two miles from each other these days, we haven't seen each other in about 3 years. Sweetheart that she is, she brought one of her gorgeous illustrations for Scarlett (featured in my last blog post).

Most of this week was spent ramping up for the second quarter at work. It was a little crazy. But I still managed to get to the gym three times, so I worked off some of the stress. Now that Jeremy's home to watch the baby, it's much easier to get out of the house after work.

On my way to AND from the gym on Tuesday night, I saw a fox. Two different locations, too. I looked it up and seeing a lone fox is supposed to be an omen of good luck. I sure hope that's true!

On Thursday morning, Jeremy forgot to put the trash out. Around 9am, I heard the trash truck coming around and it struck me that he might have forgotten (my wifely sixth sense), so I asked him about it. He ran out to get the trash to the curb before the truck got to our house, and when he came back in he told me that not only had our awesome neighbor Leroy brought our trash out already, he used his snowblower to clear the two inches of snow from our driveway. We have the best neighbor! I picked up a heartfelt thank you card for him today and we're going to leave it in his mailbox tomorrow.

Purse Painting

Scarlett is now the proud owner of an original Kirby Ink. Thank you Kirby!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scarlett -- 6 Months

Scarlett turned 6 months old today. I feel like shouting from the rooftops, "WE MADE IT!" Sometimes I can't believe I survived it -- and sometimes I can't believe how fast it's gone. But I do feel like this is a HUGE milestone.

She is so curious, now, and strong. She likes to grab faces in a vice grip (watch your nose!), and palm handfuls of Cairo's hair. She can stand up with minimal support, but still shows no interest in crawling or moving on her belly at all. She may be one of those kids that never crawls and goes straight to walking. I guess we'll see.

About a week ago she discovered the pleasure of sticking her tongue out. She even cries like that sometimes, tongue protruding, and I can't take her seriously.

And I'm sure you've gathered from some of the pictures I've posted that she has found her feet. She rolls around like a little potato bug, occasionally getting a sock off and chewing on it.

She's still screeching. It isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago when she first figured out her voice could reach that pitch, but she still does it regularly. Thankfully she rarely does it in public. Also thankfully, she's started babbling again in the last few days. She gave up babbling when she started screeching, and we missed it.

She has days where she pigs out, and days where she doesn't want to eat. But she's a good size, sleeps well at least 4 nights a week, and she's happy, so I'm not worried.

Scarlett's 6-month doc appointment is on Monday, so I'll post her stats then. All I know is that 6-9-month clothing fits her well.

Little Things and Funnies

I keep finding little surprises in my house. GOOD surprises (when you have two dogs, a cat and a baby, you have to differentiate). I think this is my favorite part of using a cleaning service -- I find random things straightened, wiped down, and scrubbed. When I walked into our bedroom yesterday, our bed was made up like you see in a hotel room. And when I went to make coffee this morning, I saw they had scrubbed our coffee pot to a shine. Man, I really wish we had done this ages ago...

Jeremy thought it was absolutely hilarious that we were "cleaning for the maid" the night before our cleaning service came by. I tried explaining to him that all we were doing was picking up the clutter so they could get to the floors and surfaces to clean -- but he kept mumbling, "I can't believe you're making me clean for the maid." I realize a cleaning service would pick up any clutter, but someone who comes once a month wouldn't have any clue where to put things away. Not to mention, we're charged by the hour. The more they have to do, the more we pay. Nonetheless, this will be something Jeremy makes fun of me for for years to come.

Speaking of funny -- I had to pass this along. When I need to laugh, this site does it for me every time: damnyouautocorrect.com

First real food -- peas!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blog Writing and Maid

Another idea I read recently in an article on blog writing was to create a little stock of blog posts to use when your ideas have run dry for a day. I like this. I realize that a lot of my tweets could easily be turned into short blog posts, so I think I'm going to start there.

I read a lot of blogs. Thanks to Google Reader, I have a fresh batch to read every morning before work. Some blogs I rush to read because they are always interesting/funny/relevant/whatever. Other blogs I put at the bottom of my to-read list because the posts are hit-or-miss. I realize that the blogs I enjoy reading aren't the same types of blogs my readers (friends/family) would enjoy, but I have still learned a lot about blogging in general, and specifically the need to blog frequently to keep readers coming back. So I promise I am trying.

We had our first maid visit today. We are using MaidPro. They are pretty well priced and they have this "49-Point Checklist" of things they clean. The woman I spoke to on the phone to arrange the monthly cleaning was very nice and efficient, and answered all of my questions. So I had high expectations.

When the doorbell rang this morning, two women walked in without introduction. I introduced myself and asked their names, then asked if they had been briefed on what we wanted done (for example, I asked not to have my office/studio cleaned, since I'm in there working). By the "okay" answer from one of them, I quickly deduced they did not speak English. I did my best to explain that the baby was sleeping, so they would have to wait until she woke up to clean that room. I think they got the gist, but it didn't stop them from talking loudly while they were cleaning near her room. It didn't wake her up, so no biggie, but I just thought they could have been a little more conscious.

At the end of their cleaning, which took about 2 1/2 hours, the house looked really good. They did all the basics, and added some nice little touches like re-folding the baby's blankets and making that little point on the end of the toilet paper. However, they did miss cleaning the doorframes and baseboards, which was part of what they were supposed to do, so I'll have to mention that for next time. All in all, having a sparkling clean house without the stress is sooooo worth the money. I'm glad we're going to do this regularly.

(PS -- I highly recommend a monthly cleaning like this to my new-mom readers! You guys are not going to have time or inclination to clean like you used to, and that stress adds up over time.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frustrating Writing, Gratitude and Lex Luthor

I've been picking at this piece of work since November. The working title is Echoes. I've got characters nailed down, and a general idea of where I'm going with it -- but subplots keep poking in. I've got ideas for about 4 subplots, and none of them work together. So basically I'm writing this book with the notion that at some point one of those subplots will work its way in and become a throughline -- maybe even the plot itself. So far that has not happened and this piece of work is more frustrating than satisfying.

This blog is frustrating me too. I want to write more frequently, but frankly my life is a little boring right now and I'm just not as consistently clever as some other bloggers (Tawna Fenske being my current favorite). If I blogged every day, my posts would quickly become laundry lists of boring daily tasks. So what's an obsessive writer to do?

One idea I have is to make this more of a gratitude journal or favorites diary when I don't have anything really interesting to say. Maybe I'll talk about what book I'm reading right now, what coffee I'm drinking, that kind of thing. I dunno. We'll see how that works.

So I guess to start with, I'm reading Naked Heat. I am enjoying the plot and humor a lot, but I have to say I can't help but envision the cast of Castle while I am reading -- and while I'm sure that was the publisher's point, I do find it a bit distracting now and then.

I am currently drinking a cup of Folger's coffee and desperately missing the mocha mint Dunkin Donuts coffee Santa brought me. We should have stocked up while they had it on the shelves for the holidays. Darn it!

Jeremy and I started watching season 5 of Smallville on DVD last night. That combined with my new medication made for some interesting dreams. In one, Lex Luthor and I went to a dealer's house so Lex could buy drugs, and there was a drive by shooting. I hunched down behind a chair while bullets whizzed all around me.

If this isn't a haphazard blog post, I don't know what is.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feet!

Celexa, Working Out, and Dating Other Moms

All day long, as things happen and ideas pop into my head, I think I need to blog about this. Then by the time I get in front of my computer, whatever I was thinking of blogging about has disappeared right out of my brain. So, the notorious list-maker that I am, I keep a list in my phone of things I want to blog about (I use Evernote so the list is accessible from any computer as well). So every so often you'll get a jumbled mess of a blog, with topics ranging from carrots to coups. This blog is one of those.

I've been on Celexa for several days now. This first week I'm actually taking a half-dose, so I'm not even up to the full amount my doc wants me to start out with. And I know it takes weeks for it to really start to work. So I'm not counting my progress so much yet -- but I am definitely noticing some weird side effects (and yes, I know these will decrease as my body gets used to the medication).

My sleep has definitely been disturbed. The first night I took Celexa, I couldn't fall asleep until the wee hours, and kept waking through the night. Since then, it's gotten a little better but I am still not getting a full night's sleep.

I feel less zombie-like during the day, even with less sleep at night. But my energy still plummets in the evening. The drop in energy isn't quite as severe, though, so that's promising.

Those are the big things that are happening. Less noticeable effects are a spacey head and dry mouth. So all in all, my body is obviously adjusting, but it's not a horrible experience. I just wish increased motivation came with the insomnia, because there are a lot of things I could get done with those extra waking hours...

Switching topics now. We've got a technician coming out next week to look at my treadmill, so hopefully we'll get that fixed soon. I am anxious to use it!

I went to pilates last night for the first time in weeks. I know I can take Scarlett to the childwatch center there, but it's just so close to her bedtime, I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. So basically on the nights Jeremy has been gone, I haven't been going to work out.

After pilates last night, one of the regulars there, a girl named Molly, came up and remarked that I hadn't been there for a while. At first I was shocked that she even recognized me. But we got to chatting and it turns out she also has young children. She mentioned that after she became a mother, the urge to make friends with other mothers felt like she was "dating all over again". It's completely true! Especially when you're a new mother in a new town, you just get desperate for connection with other women -- and being a mother is instant common ground.

I never understood that before I had a child. And honestly it used to piss me off. In a way I felt like I was left out because I didn't have children yet. And when my company started allowing people to work from home, mothers were the first to get that opportunity -- which drove me crazy! Now I understand that as a mother you can sometimes feel like you're an island. Stuck at home all day with no adult conversation, you reach out for other people when you get the opportunity. And other mothers are the easiest to reach for because they totally get what you're going through. As for my company letting moms work from home, I still wish they had given that opportunity to people without children a bit sooner, but now I completely understand why women with children were the first on the list.

I still feel outside the "mommy club" sometimes, I won't lie. I see the way some other women are with their kids, and I just don't feel like I do things the same way. I've said this before, but I feel like Scarlett is more a part of me, that she has made my world bigger, but I see a lot of mothers that act like their child IS their world. I get it -- I do. But I don't fit that mold. It's not good or bad, it just is. Honestly I have met a few more mothers lately that are more like me in that regard, so that's refreshing. I feel more confident that I am a good mother now (not that I doubted, but the confirmation is always nice).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post-Partum Depression

I'm going to talk about something most women don't want to talk about. Or admit to. But it's gotta get out in the open so more of you take action and don't end up like me.

I've got post-partum depression. It started when Scarlett was about 10 weeks old, and I knew what was happening but I thought, 1) it would go away on its own, and 2) I knew what to do to fend it off. Yeah, both of those thoughts were big mistakes. Depression isn't like the flu. You can't fend it off.

I did all the right things. I got exercise and sunshine, I made sure I was socializing and not cooped up in the house too much. But instead of feeling better, I got more exhausted. For the last month, I've felt, well, sleep-deprived. Without actually being sleep deprived. That's the best I can do to describe it. Scarlett is a good sleeper (with exceptions, of course) -- so I get my 8 hours on a pretty regular basis. And I even get more naps than the average mom. Lack of sleep is not an issue as of late.

But I continually felt TIRED. Getting out of bed at 7am (that's not crazy early, right???) was excruciating. Then I could make it to lunchtime, but after that it was a fight against overwhelming fatigue. After work, I wanted to work out, I wanted to write, I wanted to knit and paint, see my friends, go out to dinner -- but my body resisted with crushing force. What I ended up doing more often than not was curling up on the recliner and zoning out, using what little energy I had to stay awake until I went to bed at 10pm.

I forced myself to the gym once or twice a week. That was as far as I could get, though. Finally, after Jeremy recognized the symptoms and called me out on it, I finally gave in and went to the doctor. Not that it's a giant surprise, but she knew right away I needed pharmaceutical help.

My doctor (let's call her Doctor Amazing, because she rocks) said I'm what she calls "a swimmer". Everyone else sees my head calmly above the surface of the water -- but underneath my arms and legs are moving madly to keep me afloat. I'd say that's a good assessment. Many people have told me I appear very calm, and come across very mellow, and I want to say "If you think I'm mellow, you should get a peak inside my head. Of course, the maelstrom might kill you, so I don't recommend it." Instead, however, I typically respond "Wow, thanks," impressed with my own ability to act normal.

This is the first time I've ever needed a drug like this, and of course the first question out of my mouth was "How long until I can stop taking it?" Doctor Amazing said that I'm "amazingly functional" given my symptoms, and thinks I will only need low-dose antidepressants for about 6 months to get my brain chemicals back to normal. Thank goodness.

So the point of me baring my private medical goings-on here is mainly for my many new-mom readers. There are quite a few of you right now. Please, don't wait as long as I did to get help. I came up with every reason in the book for how I was feeling. Starting with Oh, I'm just exhausted from not getting a full night's sleep, then going to Oh, it's just hormone changes, and finally Oh, I just need more exercise and sunshine. I knew all along what I was fighting, I just thought I could handle it on my own. I was dumb. The last few months would have been a lot easier on me if I had just admitted I needed help when the symptoms started presenting themselves.

I think the biggest mistake in my thinking was that because I was happy and fully functional with the baby, I didn't need help. Scarlett makes me happy. I am happy to take care of her, even when she's cranky, even when I'm tired. It's ME, MY life, that was getting more difficult. But when the doctor asks you "Do you ever feel like you can't take care of your child?" and you can firmly, easily answer "NO," it is easy to believe there is nothing wrong.

Please, ladies, remember this blog post. Don't suffer unnecessarily. You'll never get this time back -- don't spend it feeling like crap.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jeremy's Home

I feel so bad for Jeremy. He spent 5 hours putting my new treadmill together yesterday, only to have it not work. We think the motor is busted. So he's got to call customer service today and deal with all of that. I'm proud of him for not throwing anything through any walls yesterday.

Jeremy is no longer working in the Springs (for now). He's concentrating on improving his business, and looking for a local part time job to help pay the bills. I know it pains him to not be bringing in a paycheck, but we need him home. Four days a week I was here alone having to take care of the house, the yard, the baby, the dogs, the cat, everything all by myself AND working -- and for a few weeks that was okay, but by week 6 I was falling apart. It wasn't worth my sanity or my marriage for that extra bit of money. I asked Jeremy to at least TRY to find something local and he agreed without argument.

Now that he is home for good, we have decided to start eating healthier together. Not so much a "diet", just more conscious eating. I usually eat pretty healthy on my own, but Jeremy doesn't (don't try to tell him that, though) -- so for me this is more something to bring us together, and for him it's more for his health. We're both big convenience-eaters and we hate to cook. So the challenge is putting together meals that don't take a lot of effort. Also, the meals have to be QUICK. I work out after work, and the baby goes down for bed at 7pm, so our time is extremely limited. I hope we can find a way to make this work long-term.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Steam Mop and Maids

Not that this would surprise many of you, but I am not one of those women soothed by housework. In fact, I hate housework so much that the thought of doing it completely stresses me out. The sound of a vacuum cleaner has been known to send me into convulsions. I hired my first maid when I was 23 years old. There are a billion other things I'd rather be doing than cleaning -- and I will do those billion things before I lift a broom. Oddly enough, I'm a clean freak and I can't STAND a messy house. I know, lose-lose, right?

But I gotta say, there is something really satisfying about steam-mopping. I got a steam mop about two years ago, and it is the one thing that doesn't cause me to twitch when I go to use it. The hiss of the steam, the instantly sanitized floors -- blissful.

Anyway, Jeremy and I have decided to tweak our budget to allow for a maid once a month. I hate cleaning, and let's face it, Jeremy's a typical guy who couldn't see a pile of dirty socks if it fell on his head -- so hiring outside help is just plain reasonable. You know what they say about "happy wife, happy life". Yeah, I see fewer marital spats in our future once we implement this plan.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Video of Scarlett Rolling Over

Yes, she whines like this every time I put her on her stomach. Yes, it gets irritating. But she's finally rolling over, so all the ear-piercing wails are worth it!




YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKvGdHz2cfg

FabJob

I love this site: FabJob.com. It's full of guides (kinda like digital books) on cool/odd/interesting careers. I check it every so often just for inspiration. I highly recommend checking it out just for fun, but especially if you are at a crossroads in your life or questioning your career path. It makes you think outside the box.

And if you should purchase one of the guides, be assured it is well worth the cost. The info is VERY detailed.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Note to Scarlett #1

Since I get this blog printed up yearly into hardback books, I know eventually I will give them to Scarlett and she will (hopefully) read it. So here is my first blog note to my daughter:

YOUR AIM IS IMPECCABLE. You spewed down my cleavage in front of 6 other mothers and babies in Mommy & Me Yoga today. DOWN MY CLEAVAGE. There is nothing quite like sticking a burp rag down your shirt in front of an audience.

Rolling Over

Since this blog is part baby diary these days, I wanted to make note right away... Scarlett just rolled over! FINALLY! Five months and 3 weeks old, and she finally did it. She has been sitting up with little to no help for weeks now, but she was refusing to roll over. I was so worried I was going to have to tell her doc at her 6mo appt that she still wasn't rolling over. What a load off!

I realize that every baby develops at a different rate, but what the books and docs don't tell you is the expectation that your baby is going to develop at the average rate is an incredible pressure. Filling out that damn questionnaire at the doctor's office and having to say "no, she's not doing that yet" is nerve wracking. You start wondering if your child has a brain development issue, or poor muscle development... or if they're just plain lazy.

And then on top of that, as a working mother, you wonder if you're actually doing damage to your child by working and not focusing on them and their development. I wonder all the time if being stuck at home with me, with my focus constantly split, is more harmful than good. I don't really have a choice right now, of course, and honestly when I'm thinking logically (i.e. not emotionally) I know that she and I are lucky to spend our days together. But these are the worries that go through your head as a mother, and while I know they are common, they still suck.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Audiobooks, Visits and Kinect

Holy crap. I can't believe the size and selection of the audiobooks section of my local library. I like to listen to audiobooks on the treadmill, so I had to replenish my audio library -- it's going to be hard to pry myself off the treadmill with all these great books to listen to. That's a good thing, though. Gotta get this baby weight off of me!

My parents came up to visit yesterday. They came to our house and played with the baby for about an hour, then we headed to Huckleberry for lunch. I never get tired of that place. Blackberry pie and coffee for dessert topped off a wonderful time.

I bought us a Kinect with our Christmas money. Jeremy had been wanting it, and I kept saying no because I thought it's one more video game system I'm not going to use. But he so rarely wants something (non-comic-related, that is), so I stopped into Best Buy and grabbed one last night. I loved seeing Jeremy's eyes light up when I handed it to him. It didn't take him long to set up the sensor on our Xbox 360, and soon we were jumping around like idiots playing the adventure game that came with it. Jeremy said I looked like a drunk chicken -- I told him it looked like he was doing the hokey pokey. The Kinect is what the Wii should have been. It is not only fun, it's SMART. With the Wii you have to do a bunch of crapola to switch users, so it's a pain to play certain games with other people. With the Kinect, it recognizes the person in front of the sensor and automatically switches to that person's avatar. Super cool. And it's got workout and dance games I might actually use, so we'll pick those up the next time we have some spending money.

My friend Letitia visited today. She brought Scarlett this ball that lights up and rolls on its own, and the baby is going NUTS over it. Letitia also brought this cute little bunny doll that Scarlett is enjoying chewing on. It was nice to have company, and some girl time.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011 and F*CKING ELIXIR

Jeremy and I didn't make any plans for New Year's Eve this year because we're pretty much stuck at home after the baby goes to bed at 7pm anyway, and we had no idea if Jeremy was going to be working in the Springs Friday. Jeremy ended up being home by noon on Friday, so we decided to just get Qdoba takeout and celebrate the new year with a bottle of wine for me and a 6-pack of Guinness for him. At 5:15, however, Della called and invited us to Tutti for dinner because her family's yearly gathering had been cancelled. Always up for a dinner out, we popped the Qdoba food in the fridge when Jeremy walked in the door, bundled up the baby and headed out to meet Della, Mike and Sophie.

I have eaten at Tutti several times, and I just love the food. But I had never been to their downstairs family section before. They have a 400-sq-ft, glass-walled kids area with toys, games and movies, so you can eat at a nice restaurant and still let your kids play close by. Brilliant! It was a great way to spend the first part of the evening, even though it was bitter cold. Yes, we FINALLY got some snow! First real snow of this winter, and it happened on the last day of the year. Amazing.

We got home at about 7:30, put the baby straight to bed, and spent the rest of the night in the living room, Jeremy playing a video game and me reading. We flipped on the Times Square news footage at 11:50pm and watched the ball drop, having our new year's smooch on the front balcony under the fireworks our neighbors set off.

I am going to take this moment to complain about Elixir, Hilary Duff's YA fantasy novel. I put aside my prejudice against celebrities writing fiction and I bought it in hardback with some of my Christmas money. It had gotten pretty good reviews from what I had seen. Well now I'm pissed. Number one, if I had had any idea that it was the first in a series, I would have probably waited until close to the time the second book came out -- but there was no mention of this being a series in the interviews I saw. Number two, the freaking book ended at the MIDPOINT of the story!!! That is one of the biggest no-nos in the publishing world. If your book isn't relevant as a standalone novel, it's going to piss people off. And number three, the writing and editing were so poor, it turned my stomach. Bad grammar/word usage, telling and not showing, and serious story inconsistencies made me stumble through the whole book. And the story really had potential! The premise was great! No other author would have gotten away with such poor writing.

However, Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White, is currently cleansing my palate. Not only is the story absolutely fantastic, the writing is some of the best I've seen in YA fantasy. This is White's debut novel, and I fully plan on scooping up not only the next two books she has coming out in this series, but anything else she happens to pen. She is a "show don't tell" dynamo. The tiniest actions and choices her characters make speak volumes about them. I feel like I grew up with the main character, Evie, and nowhere does White dedicate even a paragraph to backstory. Evie's life story blooms in your mind through her dialogue and mannerisms. Brilliant.

Falling Down the Stairs and Baby Grabbing

I can't believe I didn't blog about falling down the stairs. It happened two weeks ago. Loki had an issue for about a week straight where she was getting upset in the middle of the night, and that's what started the whole debacle. See, we kennel the dogs at night because, 1) they're loud, and 2) they get into trouble from time to time. We've been doing this forever. But for some reason Loki decided she couldn't handle it anymore. Around 1:30am she started scratching at the kennel door and whining (and no, she wasn't sick). She was pissing off Tyr, so he was growling at her. I went downstairs to get her to be quiet and on the second flight down, I somehow completely missed the first step. One second I was about to strangle Loki, and the next I was flat on my back on the stairs, with my left forearm on the top ledge where the tile meets the first step. I have had a bruise that Jeremy said looked like "camouflage" since then. Needless to say I was NOT happy with Loki after that. But mainly it just scared the crap out of me. Jeremy was in the Springs working, and if I hadn't caught myself, if I had hit my head or broken a bone... well, it's just scary to think about while I'm alone with the baby.

So let me pose a question to the other mothers reading this blog. Have you had the experience of people in public places letting their toddlers/older kids run up and touch your baby or your baby's toys without asking permission? I feel like Scarlett is a magnet for this, but maybe all babies are. It happens all the time, I'll be out somewhere with Scarlett and all of a sudden a kid runs up and starts grabbing at her and her toys, laughing parent following five minutes later. I mean, I have no idea if the kid is sick, or if they know to be careful with a little baby. And while most of the parents apologize, they don't stop their child and they rarely ask me if it's okay. Last night after this happened at a local restaurant, right after this 18-month-old just put her hands all over Scarlett's toys, the laughing mother actually did ask if it was okay. I responded "As long as she's not sick," and the woman looked a little confused. Like it didn't cross her mind that I wouldn't want a stranger's germs all over my infant's teething toys. Please tell me this happens to other people, too, and my child isn't just a magnet for impolite families.

Scarlett definitely feeds off of my reaction to situations like that, too. You can see the "WTF" look cross her face immediately when some strange kid starts pawing at her. But when we're at a friend's house and a kid comes over to greet her, her reaction is more like "Woohoo! Play with me!" Because if I know you, and I know your kid, it's a totally different ballgame, and Scarlett totally understands that. It never ceases to amaze me how in sync she is with me. Josey took this picture during our visit a week ago, and it captures something pretty magical -- my little buddy Garrett meeting Scarlett for the first time. You can see she is quite at ease with him.