Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Been Awhile Since I've Done This. Let's See If I Remember How.


I survived February.


It seemed like everything conspired against us last month. Scott had work and church responsibilities that kept him away for several evenings and entire days. There would be long stretches of days when he would leave home so early and return so late that Owen wouldn't see his Dada at all. He would walk through the house and point to all the pictures of Scott. "Dada? Dada?" he asked.

When I would get him from his crib every morning I would take him out to the living room to change his diaper. He would look around. "Dada? Dada?"

It was the sweetest and the saddest.

At any other time, I would have hated it. Throw some first trimester sickness and fatigue on top of all those late hours, however, and I didn't think any of us would survive the month.

But we did. We survived. Our laundry hasn't been put away in weeks and the sink is full of dishes and the whole house could use a good scrubbing (especially considering the cold Owen has been nursing for 2 weeks), but we survived.

February is over. Hallelujah.

I still have a few weeks of this first trimester left. So I am doing the only thing a girl can do. I am popping Zofran like it's my best friend (because it is) and praying that all this extra TV-watching Owen has been doing lately won't hurt him too badly in the long run.

Pregnancy is a marathon, my friends. And I am still in the opening miles.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Hello Again!

Here is a quick summary of the last few months of my life.

In October, I quit my freelance writing job and flew to Chicago.

In November, I wrote a novel. (Or the start of something that may someday look like a novel, anyway.)

In December, I took a break and celebrated Christmas with my favorite people.

In January, Scott and I got some very exciting news,

and in February, we shared that news with our family and friends!

p.s. I can't get over his sad face in these pictures!
I didn't realize it at the time, but he was very distraught
because I didn't let him wear the shoes he wanted.
As soon as we got home and he changed, he was
much happier. Ever since then he has been wearing
mismatched shoes that are too small. It's so silly
that I can't bring myself to argue with him about it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Since I've Been Gone

When I started writing my novel I knew that this blog was going to get left behind. As I furiously wrote my way through November, I didn't mind so much. I knew I had to take a step back from something I love (the blog) to make room for something I love even more (the novel, or the idea of the novel, anyway). And then November ended and December came and my furious writing slowed down to make room for the holidays and my sanity. Now I think about this blog every few days and  all the things I never wrote about over the past two months.

For example, I never wrote about Halloween. Scott and I were pirates and Owen was a parrot and the whole thing was so perfect I still get smiley when I think about it.

I know Halloween isn't everyone's cup of tea but I will never not love it. We also did all the other requisite October activities, like corn mazes and pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving and trick or treating. Owen ate M&Ms for dinner that night, which either makes me the best mom or the worst.
Early in November, I stopped nursing Owen. For awhile there I didn't see how that would ever happen but then suddenly one day it did. I never even saw it coming. One Tuesday morning he woke up and I nursed him. The next morning, Scott picked Owen up from his crib and gave him a cup of milk instead of bringing him to see me.
And just like that, he was weaned. I thought it would take days or weeks of struggle and tears and trauma but it didn't. I thought I would cherish our last nursing moments together but I couldn't, because when I was nursing him that Tuesday morning I had no idea it would be the last time.
I loved nursing Owen but I don't ever get sad about the fact that it's over. Owen was ready to be done so now we're done.
November came and went and the weather was such that Owen spent the entire month outside dressed like this:
At the time I was all torn up about it inside. I was cursing this desert and it's 100 degree heat and swearing up and down to everyone who would listen that this isn't the way it's supposed to be. But now the weather has finally turned and it's chilly enough to wear a jacket most days and Christmas is so close that I can't recall that November-weather-rage quite as easily.
I don't have many pictures (or memories) from November because that entire month consisted of play dates at the park and novel writing. Thanksgiving was also thrown in there too, with it's requisite two turkey dinners in a matter of hours, family softball, and general mayhem.
This brings us to December, which I will save for another Christmas themed post. And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to celebrate A Festivus for the rest of us! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013


You may (or may not) have noticed that I have not written a single thing in this blog during the month of November.

That is because I wrote a novel instead.

For those of you who don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. This month I decided to commit myself to the official NaNoWriMo goal, which is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

And so I did!

I finally (finally!) stopped talking about writing my novel and actually sat down and wrote the thing. And now I have a pile of words. A pile of 50,000 unreadable words.

That was my November. I loved (nearly) every second of it.

Today I am most likely going to take a nap, and then I am going to wake up and start the hard part: turning that unreadable first draft into something else. Something more. I don't know how much I'll be around here while I'm doing it, but rest assured I'll still be writing. With any luck, I may be writing something you actually get to read one day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Random Bits Of Things And Stuff

- Last night one of my sisters-in-law took my out to dinner and a movie for my birthday! I was in Chicago for my birthday week which meant that all at-home celebrations were put on hold. So now it's kind of like I have been celebrating my birthday all month and I don't hate it at all. We saw Austenland, which is predictable and silly. If you are a big Jane Austen fan or if you love cheesy girly movies (heavy on the cheese) than rent it from Redbox, pop some popcorn, and settle in for 90 minutes of harmless fun.

- When I got home from the movie, Scott was waiting for me with a piping hot bowl of Dutch oven apple cobbler topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Also, the baby was in bed and the house was clean, but let's focus on the truly important details: the cobbler. He made apple cobbler last month with his boy scouts and he brought me home a delicious bowl at the end of the evening. Ever since that night, I have not stopped talking about how I need more cobbler in my life. Coming home to that was the very best of surprises.

- Whenever someone suggests to me that their baby "weaned themselves," I am truly and utterly mystified. A few nights ago I stopped nursing Owen before bedtime and he is not pleased, to say the least. He has been clingy and whiny all week and this morning he nursed in bed for TWO HOURS. So. I don't know what to do about that.

- We finally bought a car to replace the one that was totaled in an accident last month. We wanted to buy from a private seller but there was nothing good in our area so we ended up at a dealership. The first day, we went "just to look" and ended up test driving two options. We then got a quote and tried to walk out the door to "think about it." That's when our salesman bolted from his desk and pulled out the big guns: another salesman. Except this guy was charming and friendly and nearly convinced us to buy a car right then. Scott and I kept looking at each other with helpless eyes that said "we're not actually buying a car today, right?!?!?!" We got out of their by the skin of our teeth, promising to "come back on Saturday." On Saturday, we went somewhere else and bought something better.

^^These Pictures Brought To You By: the happiest 5 minutes of our morning.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Shedd Aquarium

On Wednesday, we left bright and early and took a train across the city to spend the day at the Shedd Aquarium. As we trekked our way up to the massive building, I turned to Scott and said "is now a good time to mention that I'm afraid of fish?"

It's true. I have been afraid of fish for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I spent my summers at the lake, boating and swimming. My very favorite activity was tubing behind the boat. My dad would drive over big wakes and bounce me around until I was thrown from the tube and landed in the deep water. The tubing never scared me but the thought of fish swimming around me was terrifying;  I would wildly kick my legs in the water while I waited for the boat to turn around and pick me back up. It was my way of keeping the fish away.

Ichthyophobia aside, I loved the aquarium. Absolutely loved it. It is the largest indoor aquarium in the world and we spent a total of six hours there. We could not get enough. Owen loved that he could get right up against the glass and admire the fish (and the sharks and the turtles and the jellyfish and the eels and the sea horses and anything else you can imagine). Scott's favorite exhibit was the frogs. Mine was the coral reef because it was so colorful and vibrant.

^^Coral Reef: otherwise known as the only picture I took inside the aquarium.^^

The only disappointing part of the entire experience was the aquatic show. During our show, the dolphins didn't feel like performing so we got were the beluga whales. And I don't know if you know anything about beluga whales, but they can't do much of anything. To make up for the lack of dolphins, however, they added two new animals to the show. And those animals were dogs, and they weren't interesting looking and they didn't even do any tricks. So. That was lame.

 ^^Eagerly awaiting the dolphin show. We were so na├»ve.^^

Midway through the morning, the aquarium experienced a fire drill. Everyone inside the building had to leave and wait outside for about 30 minutes. This would have been frustrating, except for the fact that the weather was perfect, the view was insane, and we were all due for a cheez-it break anyway.

We also used the opportunity to ask a disgruntled tourist to take our picture. She seemed very pleased with the request.

And since I've just about hit my self-imposed picture limit for one post, I'll save the rest of the day for next time. If you ever visit Chicago and have time for the Shedd, I'll just say this. Do it. DO IT. It's amazing and totally worth every penny (even if it is a lot of pennies).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Braving the Chicago Skydeck

When Scott and I went on our honeymoon to San Francisco nearly 3 years ago, we were worried about money. More specifically, I was worried about Scott worrying about money. We knew we had enough money to pay for our flight and our hotel... and that's basically it. The cab ride from the airport to the hotel nearly knocked us both over dead. I was cringing inside as we handed over $50 to the driver. $50! On a cab ride! It felt like we would have been better off renting a car.

We checked into the hotel and then headed down to the pier for some food. Unfortunately, it was around 9 pm and everything was closed. I remember being so hungry as we passed a Denny's. Scott asked if I wanted to go inside, and for some reason, I said no.

Eventually, we found ourselves inside a grocery store, where we bought a bag of pretzels and a bag of chips and nothing else.

Nothing else! It seems so absurd now that I look back on it. We already had a bag of chocolate with us, and we ate pretzels and chocolate for at least one meal every single day of our honeymoon.

We did the touristy stuff we felt like we could afford (taking a cable car into Chinatown, window shopping at Union Square) and skipped the rest (Alcatraz). In the end, it was a lovely honeymoon. I look back on it with nothing but fondness, even the chocolate and pretzel breakfasts we ate in bed.

But we're not newlyweds anymore. When we started planning our Chicago trip, we both knew we wanted to save enough money that we could be tourists in every sense of the word. We wanted to do everything, see everything, and eat everything. I am happy to report that we succeeded on all accounts.

We arrived Monday afternoon and took the train to my sister's house. We walked to a nearby park to let Owen release some energy, did our grocery shopping for the week (we did decide to save a little money by eating breakfast at home every day) and then headed into town for a delicious dinner of Korean Fried Chicken.

On Tuesday morning, we went to the heart of downtown and headed straight for the Sears Tower, took the elevator up 103 stories, and walked out onto the Skydeck Ledge.

It was nuts. Yes, the view was incredible and yes, it was extremely nerve-wracking to send my baby boy 4 feet out into that box, suspended 1,353 feet above the city, all by himself. Scott almost could not bring himself to let go.

Before this experience, I never thought of myself as a person who is afraid of heights. But if there is anything that is going to cause me to reexamine this belief, it is definitely the Skydeck.

Don't be fooled by my smile. I was so nervous the glass was going to fall out from beneath us (hence the reason I did not scoot all the way back into the corner of the box).

After the Skydeck, we stopped for deep dish pizza at Giordano's and fell into a cheese-induced food coma. Then we hopped on a train to Lincoln Park.

There's not much to say about Lincoln Park except that it stole my poor Midwestern heart and I'll never be the same again.

Not that I'm pathetic or anything, but I made Scott take my picture in front of this For Rent house so I can pretend that we're going to live there.

Lincoln Park has something for everyone.

We got to the zoo just in time to see the trainers feeding the Sea Lions.

After the zoo, we walked our tired feet back to the train. On the way, we stopped for a milkshake at Brothers Beef and a donut at Glazed and Infused. We then headed home so we could rest up before babysitting our little niece Dylan for the evening while my sister and her husband grabbed dinner. I think we were all a little nervous about her first time with a babysitter, but Scott worked his baby magic charm and had her asleep in his arms no time.

And that's a wrap on our Tuesday in Chicago.