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Archive for January, 2012

Overwhelmed

I lost my planner the first week in January, right after scheduling the rest of my doctor’s appointments for the rest of this baby-growing experience. I spent the next three weeks blissfully unaware of just how crazy my calendar was about to get.

Over the weekend I found it, buried under a stack of LOST dvds, and started catching up on all of the appointments I’d jotted down elsewhere – in my phone, on scraps of paper at work, and a few key dates I magically seem to remember. It felt great having all of our upcoming activities penciled in the little boxes in my planner. I was all caught up! Until I realized…I wasn’t.

Between work trips, baby showers, birthday parties, a bridal brunch, and a few other things, I realized I hadn’t yet scheduled other must-do activities like birth classes, daycare/babysitter visits, pediatrician interviews, and a slew of other baby-related things. Not to mention just finding time to put together a nursery and clean/organize the entire house before the baby arrives. Why a baby cares about organized closets, I have no idea, but they do. Or at least it feels like they do.

I also have baby books I want to read, product reviews to check out, a registry to update, and eventually, I need to figure out what the heck to pack for a hospital bag.

I’ve also decided that I want to purchase and learn to use a fancy DSLR camera. My piss-poor maternity shots just made it all the more apparent that I need a decent camera for taking pictures of the kiddo. I keep having horrible flashbacks to when our dog was just a puppy. We had just returned from our honeymoon, where our camera was stolen, and all of our honeymoon pictures were lost. I was physically depressed over it and couldn’t stomach the thought of having to buy another camera at the time. Then we got a puppy, because puppies make everything better, and it wasn’t until he was already half grown that we finally broke down and replaced our stolen camera. Thus, I don’t have anything more than few crappy, camera phone shots of him during his puppy stage. It’s a travesty really. I mean, I love our dog, but he’ll never be as cute as he was those first few weeks and it makes me so sad that I have a total of three photos to show for it – all of them fuzzy. (No pun intended. Get it? Because he’s fuzzy? Sigh, never mind.)

So now I need to add research, purchase and learn to use DSLR camera to my to-do list.

And while this post may seem like I’m complaining, I’m really not. I could not be more excited about all of these things. I mean, how could I complain about one of the appointments on my calendar being “Prenatal Massage”? I can’t. It’s all wonderful stuff, really. And I’d SO much rather have these things to look forward to than just sit around, waiting for this baby to gestate. To complain about any of this would be like me saying, “Oh fiddlesticks, I just have to go spend money on a fancy new camera so I can take awesome photos of my awesome baby. And wouldn’t you know it, I just have to go to this work thing – in FLORIDA. Oh how I hate Florida and all of its sun and warmth. And oh crud, I have to attend not one, but TWO baby showers? For me? Oh save me now! I just HATE eating cake more than absolutely necessary.”

Yeah, I don’t think so.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m overwhelmed by the awesomeness that 2012 is shaping up to be. I know not everyone can say that, especially a few close friends of mine who are currently dealing with some pretty rough times right now. And I hate that. I almost feel guilty for being so dang happy when so many people aren’t. But maybe that’s because I know things won’t always be this great, and that I need to enjoy it while it is. Because just like that, it could all change very quickly. That’s just how life goes. And maybe it’s because I just watched Honda’s Ferris Bueller ad, but I find myself repeating this over and over again lately:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

And I don’t want to miss a thing.

(Except for the Aerosmith song that just reminded me of. I could stand to miss that.)

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This week, I hit a new pregnancy milestone.

Swollen feet.

More accurately, it looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to my ankles, but either way it wasn’t pleasant looking. Thankfully, they don’t hurt, but man – what a shocker to take off your shoes and see your feet looking like a wasp just stung you. And you’re allergic.

In other news, well, there isn’t much other news. Not yet anyway. We STILL haven’t started working on the nursery, but did manage to find time to put together the glider my mom bought us for Xmas.

It’s this one from Walmart. So far, I really like it, despite the box it was shipped in being ripped to shreds. It sits a little low for the husband’s liking, but I can get in and out of it just fine, and that’s really all that matters. I may add a little more cushioning to the seat pad, especially those first few weeks after pushing a baby out of my nether regions, but so far, so good.

Right now it’s just sitting in the living room, right where the Xmas tree used to be, until we clean out the guest bedroom, paint it (or not, I’m not sure yet), and start turning it into a nursery. Which I HOPE to start on tonight. But first, we have to make room in our basement for a spare full-size bed. Which means an entire reorganizing of storage containers and other miscellaneous crap that we’ve collected over the years.

Man, babies are a lot of work. And this one isn’t even born yet.

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Things We Don’t Talk About

We interrupt the regularly scheduled sarcastic/happy/random/baby-related daily musings  that appear on this blog for an important message. One I’m not entirely at all comfortable talking about, but maybe that’s why I’m putting it out there.

WARNING: It’s long. And graphic. If you’re having a good day or are in a particularly good mood, save this post for later. Because it’s a total downer and I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your day.

Okay? Are you sure? Alright…you’ve been warned.

Over the last two days, I’ve read a handful of posts that have stirred a few emotions I’d long ago put behind me.

On Being an Object, and Then Not Being an Object – Finslippy

It should be said – Mom-101

Speaking up for Gray – Frema

Why I Talk About Rape – xoJane

I encourage you to read each of those. If not now, please do so after. This post will make so much more sense.

And now for my story.

When I was 15-almost-16, I had my first kiss with a boy my same age. I’d met the boy through church and we spent an entire year as boyfriend and girlfriend. We never had intercourse, but we took advantage of every moment alone, pushing the envelope as far as we could that year.  And we went REALLY far. As two metal-mouthed, acne-ridden virgins, we agreed that we would “save” the one lewd act we hadn’t committed for our wedding night, which would undoubtedly take place some time after we’ve both graduated from high school.  As most teenage romances go, we never even made it to senior year. I was devastated, and spent most of my junior and senior years holding onto the hope that we would someday get back together, despite his new blonde cheerleader girlfriend.

Graduation came and went and before I knew it, the summer was over and I was unloading my things in a dorm room the size of a walk-in closet with my best friend. A couple weeks later, I returned home for a party one of my friends was throwing at her house while her parents were away. Most of the party-goers were friends of hers that lived in the neighborhood; kids I’d never met before. But the real reason I was there was because I’d heard that the ex-boyfriend was expected to attend. And he did, but with blonde cheerleader on his arm. Of course. I spent most of the night showing off for them. Trying to show how “cool” I was by taking shots (maybe 2 or 3) and flirting with pretty much anything that moved. And just like a wolf can sense fear, one guy at the party sensed my weakness. He flirted back, and then he took it a few steps further. Before I knew it, we were making out, and it felt so great to have someone pursue me and make out with me, when the alternative would just be watching my ex hook up with his new girlfriend. Could the ex see this right now? Was he watching and thinking that maybe this could be him instead? Would this send him into a jealous fit of rage and he’d grab this guy, knock him out, and whisk me away on his trusty white steed Ford Ranger?

Ah, teenagers. We are so stupid.

By the time I had a chance to look up and catch my breath, the ex was gone. As was just about everyone from the party. Except, of course, the guy I had been making out with. He told me he lived down the street and his parents wouldn’t miss him so he was planning to spend the ENTIRE night with me. Oh goody. Feeling exhausted and needing a place to sleep, my friend said it would be okay if we slept in her sister’s bedroom. (I hadn’t told my parents that I was home that weekend, for fear I’d have a ridiculously early curfew, so I had already planned on crashing there.) We took a blanket in the bedroom, except one of us didn’t have plans to sleep. Things got more intense once the door was closed. I remember letting him take off my pants, already feeling like I’d let things go way too far. I mentioned concern over going this far because I was a virgin. Stating this was a HUGE mistake because it only made him more excited and determined. When he started to take off his pants, I remember saying “Wait a second, we are NOT having sex.” His response: “Why? I’ve got protection.”  I laughed, as I tend to do when I get nervous, and tried to explain that no, I’m a virgin by choice, and this was not happening. I barely knew him. Then the begging and negotiating began. “Please? It’ll be fast. It won’t hurt, I promise.”  I denied him more than a few times, but I never got up. I was frozen. Then with his hands on my knees, he slowly but firmly pushed my legs apart. I don’t know why I finally gave in. Maybe it was the fear of causing an argument. Maybe it was the fear of not being liked anymore. Maybe it was a combination of exhaustion and the emotional turmoil of seeing the ex that night. I don’t know, but I do know that I finally said, “Fine, but make it fast. You’ve got 30 seconds.”

And that’s all it was. Maybe less.

I saw him again a few days later, and we did it a couple more times. Those times were voluntary, but only because I couldn’t live with the fact that I had just let a complete stranger take advantage of me. No, he was going to at least be a guy that I’ve dated for awhile, maybe even be my boyfriend, if only so I could sleep at night. Things didn’t last long though. I could barely tolerate looking at him. Just the sound of his name made me want to vomit. Fortunately, I was four hours away at college and he had plenty of other conquests to occupy his time so it was pretty easy for us to go our separate ways.

Did I consider what happened to me “rape”? No. Like most women, I blamed myself. I had led him on. I put myself in that situation by being too flirtatious. I didn’t scream or kick. He didn’t punch me or threaten me or hold me down. Eventually, I had said okay. I had a million reasons for why this wasn’t rape, but just some unfortunate circumstance that I deeply regretted.

But I still hated him. I still resented him for not saying “okay” when I said “no” at least a dozen times. For knowing I was a virgin and thinking it was some prize that he was entitled to take from me. A girl he didn’t know. And I wondered if he ever remembered it that way. If he felt guilty. Or if maybe he never thought of it at all.

In the last article I linked to above, the writer says this:

I talk about rape because rape is still misunderstood, even by those who have experienced it. Because when we don’t hear real details of actual sexual assaults, we are forced to believe the presiding cultural narrative, which is that rape is something only perpetrated by strangers with guns and knives. We want rape to be scary and foreign, a stranger jumping out of the bushes, because if it looked familiar, like our own boyfriends and sons, how would we keep going?

We want it to happen to drunk girls or slutty girls or girls who were somewhere they shouldn’t be because the alternative is that it can happen to any girl. That it could happen to us. But the other side of that is that when it does happen to us, we don’t recognize it. We poke holes in our own experiences, make up reasons why it was our own damn fault.

YES. A thousand times yes. I never talked to my friends about what had happened. Retelling the details in my head only made me feel like a slut, so I could imagine how my friends would react. I never told my parents either, although not long after it happened, a friend of mine had let it spill to my mom that I was no longer “innocent”. She cried, and I didn’t have the heart back then to tell her what really happened. I was too ashamed.

Several years later, I received word that the guy had committed suicide. Apparently, he went into his friend’s house, borrowed his gun, and blew his brains out. The news shook me as I was forced to recall the events of that one late summer. And immediately my mind started to make excuses for him. “Of course! He was depressed! No wonder he was such a scumbag. He was fucked up! He had issues!” And what happened between us must’ve just been another cog in the wheel for his downward spiral. And while all of that may be true, it’s not an excuse. There’s never an excuse. I spent a few days grappling with my emotions after hearing that news, but what eventually came out of it was relief and peace. He was dead. I no longer had to wonder if he regretted his decisions because he was obviously in a lot more pain than anyone realized. And though I never would’ve wished that fate on him, part of me feels vindicated. And relieved that I don’t have to endure seeing his face or his name pop up on Facebook, like so many other women who have had people from their past that have violated them just reappear into their life.

So why am I talking about this? Because it’s something I haven’t before, and like the excerpt above says, most of these “unfortunate incidents” don’t happen in the dramatic, abusive way we’ve always envisioned. With strangers and weapons and physical scars. They’re secret, shame-inducing encounters that, in some ways, may even be more traumatic.

We don’t talk about it because it makes us feel dirty and worthless. We don’t talk about it because we feel we’ll be judged. We don’t talk about it because we want more than anything to erase it from our brains. And talking about it out-loud makes it more real than anything we remember in our heads.

But now I’m talking about it. Because like Liz at Mom-101 said, “it should be said.” Girls need to understand that we’re not put on this earth to please men. That we can’t find love (or make ex-boyfriends jealous) by lying on our backs. And the fear of making guys, friends, or parents angry at us should never trump the fear of going beyond our physical intimate boundaries. More importantly, guys need to be taught at an early age, that if a girl says no – even if she’s laughing, even if she’s not kicking you or crying, even if it seems like she’s really probably okay with it – it’s not okay.

And for god-sake, understand that taking someone’s virginity is not like collecting merit badges at Boy Scout Camp. It’s not something to be proud of or brag about. That honor deserves to go to someone that loves her more than anything, and if that person isn’t you, then respect what dignity she still has left and move the fuck along.

If you’ve made it to the end of this, thank you. And thank you to all the other bloggers I linked above, and so many more, that have had the courage to talk about this sort of thing. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have said anything either.

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Belly Pics

Alright, alright. I’ll concede to this whole belly pic thing.

I really thought I’d be the type to document my first pregnancy with fun, semi-weekly belly shots, like maybe this one:

But as it turns out, the last thing I want to do is have my picture taken. It also doesn’t help that it’s winter, and my house doesn’t have very good lighting, and our best camera is an 8 MP point and shoot that’s a few years old now. Actually, my iPhone camera is 8MP so we’ve just been using that. Hence the quality of these photos.

So I attempted to start these off in the same outfit, using the nifty chalkboard app on the iPad to document the week.

 

Obviously the lighting is awful so for the next one (14 weeks), I moved to the dining room for more overhead light.


Yeah, not much better. Turns out, one of the bulbs was blown when this was taken. Oh well.

And that’s pretty much when I gave up on belly shots. At least consistent ones. But just for your personal amusement, here’s one from about 18.5 weeks.

 

I know, you can’t see anything, but I still like it.

Then there’s THIS one from about 20 weeks that I can’t even believe I’m showing to you guys because OMG THE LUNCH LADY ARMS! But, I love you, so here you go.

Considerably bigger, no? And since I wasn’t really prepared to have my photo taken, you get the awkward I’m-not-wearing-a-bra-stance. It’s also taken at a weird angle because my husband is quite a bit taller than me. And when he saw me in my super tight yoga pants, belly bulging, he was all “WOW! You’re really showing! Let’s take a picture!” At least I managed to smile. Fake as it may be.

But for a more accurate account of what you might see if you know me IRL, and you’re about as tall as the Lollipop Guild,  I took this today – at 22 weeks:

And here’s another, from the other side.

 

I’m starting to warm up to the idea of professional maternity photos, since I’m obviously horrible at taking decent shots myself, but we’ll see. I kind of like these shots:

Or these:

But that would require planning, scheduling, etc. So like I said, we’ll see.

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Parent Brain

I think I already know what I’m going to miss most about our pre-baby life.

Sleeping. Without a doubt. Sleeping.

This weekend was pretty low-key for us. We were in bed before midnight each night and didn’t get out of bed until after 9:30 each morning. On Sunday I even made the effort of fixing bacon and pancakes with coffee before heading out to watch one of my very best friends try on wedding dresses. (side note: I LOVE wedding dress shopping, so long as I’m not the person trying them on.) The good news is, we found the perfect dress for her. It even has pockets!! The bad news is, now all the attention will be focused on the issue of choosing bridesmaid dresses. Typically, I would be thrilled with this activity too (I haven’t been in many weddings, so I get excited about them easily), but there’s this itty-bitty problem with being 5 1/2 months pregnant that makes the whole dress-choosing process a little less than enjoyable. I don’t know yet how big I’m going to get, nor do I know how big I’ll be by the time this September wedding rolls around. Talking about and planning for a wedding that’s 8 months away is one thing. Talking about and planning for a wedding that’s 8 months away, and realizing I’ll have a 3 1/2 month old baby by then is sort of mind-boggling.

I have grand plans for losing the baby weight already (with the help of Weight Watchers) but losing weight has never been easy for me, not even on my most well-rested days. Throw in the constant needs of a newborn, some sleep deprivation, and a completely out of shape body, and well…let’s just say I’m a realist and I know this shit is gonna be hard.

And even if I do manage to meet my post-baby weight loss expectations, a bridesmaid dress isn’t typically something you can just buy off the rack the weekend before. Oh no. So what I’ll most likely end up doing is buying the same dress in a few different sizes, and hope that the return policy is friendly toward new mothers that don’t know just how jiggly their body parts will be.

Oh and did I mention I get to plan the bachelorette party? I’m super excited for it! I got a small taste of surprise party planning a couple of weeks ago when I threw the couple an engagement party (with tons of help from the groom’s SIL), but now I get to plan a party for just us girls and my mind is overflowing with the endless possibilities. But just when I start fantasizing about a bunch of girls, away for a weekend, jumping on hotel-room beds with champagne spilling and the lights of Vegas glowing in the background, that’s when I remember: Four of the five bridesmaids have or will have small children. A weekend in Vegas isn’t always something everyone can do. Or even something that everyone would enjoy.

It’s so strange, this whole parent-brain thing. I’m still used to the days when all you had to care about was making sure you didn’t overdraft your checking account. Now there are responsibilities, like tiny little people that depend on you, and husbands that aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of being the lone parent for a couple of days. Not to mention the issue of breast-feeding and the complications that issue alone may cause. (Being a food source doesn’t exactly allow for complete freedom, after all.)

Sigh. So maybe Vegas is out.

I’m now taking recommendations on mom-friendly bachelorette party ideas. Bonus points if going to bed before 10pm is one of the main activities.

P.S. Belly pics are coming soon! I’ve had dozens two requests for them now and I only aim to please, so be on the lookout for those in a future post. That is, once I find something that simulates the feeling of drunkenness without all those pesky “not safe for pregnant women” warnings. 

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Body Battles

I’m just beyond the 21 week mark (just over 5 months) now, which means this is the time for feeling “comfortable” in my pregnancy, according to my weekly BabyCenter email. Baby is about the length of a carrot and weighs about 3/4 of a pound. I’m feeling tiny kicks but nothing so strong that it hurts or hits me in the wrong place (like an arm in the birth canal, which is what I heard one blogger say was happening to her from time to time – yikes!).

I’m “beyond the first-trimester sickness, but not too big” yet to feel all the later discomforts. But then. THEN! The email said this:

“You’re also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there’s increasing pressure on the veins in your legs.” Oh and this: “You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face.”

I was already concerned about stretch marks, but now I need to be on the lookout for veins? Ugh. (Side note: stretch marks and varicose veins do indeed run in my family. Both sides. So…that’s great news.)

But I guess the one thing I wasn’t prepared for, and what at this time feels worse than the appearance of veins, is… hmm… how do I say this politely? Well, to be blunt, the thing that bothers me most right now is… the size of my ass.

There. I said it. I mean, I understood the idea that my hips and stomach would grow. And I’ve always been a little thicker on the backside anyway, but I didn’t expect to turn around in the mirror and see my underwear get swallowed by The Great White South. Or have the fabric of my pants so stretched that it looks like my hips are playing tug of war with them.

Fellow pregnant blogger Jonniker recently posted about her underwear cutting the inside of her thighs and while mine haven’t drawn blood, I’ve gone commando more times than I care to admit, simply because I only have a few pair of underwear remaining that actually fit. Sometimes I’ll wear the tight ones to work, out of lack of other options, and find myself stripping down within 30 seconds of getting home. Same goes with bras, actually. I’m down to ONE bra that fits comfortably.

So it seems I’ve only traded my first-trimester food avoidance issues with new body and clothing issues.

And the worst part is, I still have four months to go.

 

 

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I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let the gender of this baby determine the nursery theme. I told anyone that asked that we would be doing “gender neutral” so we wouldn’t have to re-do it for a possible baby #2. Yet, I find myself gravitating toward very gender specific themes. I can’t help it. The majority of gender neutral stuff out there isn’t very exciting. And I can only imagine if we were having a girl, just how hog-wild I’d be going with a chandelier light fixture and ruffled blankets.

Anyone that follow me on Pinterest knows I’ve been stockpiling nursery ideas for weeks now. Just as decorators tell you to collect photos of rooms that appeal to you to see if you sense a common theme among them, I was doing the same through Pinterest — pinning every nursery that looked unique or soothing. I had hoped to look back at my nursery ideas board and immediately see a pattern to my madness. This was not the case. We decided awhile ago that the overall theme would be “travel” but I’m not so keen on the modes of transportation theme that typically goes along with a travel theme. Instead, I prefer maps and globes with animals and bright colors. But not too bright – because that’s overwhelming. Here’s a sample of what I’ve been pinning lately:

How cute is that wall decal? Also like the neutral walls/fabrics with pop of bright colors here and there.

I have a thing for accent walls. I don’t trust myself to get a pattern like this to look this good, but I like it.

For awhile, I was leaning toward grayish tones. And since my floor color looks similar to this, I wanted to keep a visual of what gray and white stripes might look like.

I hate birds, but somehow I find myself drawn to this birdcage-like light fixture. Also love the colors.

Did I mention I have a thing for accent walls? And green, apparently.

I mentioned wanting maps in the decor scheme, yes? This would be one way. But I’m also liking the idea of a decal, like this one:

So that’s about as far as I had gotten with choosing a theme, until last weekend when we went to register at Babies R Us. One thing I’ve always loved about my husband is our similar tastes in home decor. We almost always agree on what we like/don’t like. And the only bedding ensemble that either of us liked at Babies R Us was this one:

Is it my favorite bedding ever? No, probably not. But it fits our travel theme, and has a simple color palette that I think we can work with. I’m not sold on the wall art, the hamper, the valance on the window, or the wall color in this room, but I like the bedding and the lamp. That, and I haven’t found anything better. So now I’m basing much of our theme on these colors, which, as I stated above, is now suddenly very gender specific.

But what to do with the walls? Right now, they’re stark white. At first, I just assumed I needed to paint them. Because that’s what you do when you decorate a room. You paint! But now that one of the main colors in our “theme” actually isn’t a color at all, I’m wondering if we should maybe leave the walls white and just accent with curtains and wall hangings? Or maybe just do an accent wall? I have no idea.

Who wants to come over and decorate a nursery for me?

*All image sources (except the last one) can be found on my Pinterest board. Last photo from BabiesRUs.com 

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