Thursday, March 29, 2012

End o' the week



 Oh, I'm so tired.

It's been a good week, tho. I got two count 'em twoooo visits from Manhattan and Brooklyn pals (complete with donut delivery YES) and there was Quaker school and tomorrow I'm hosting playgroup. George and I have gotten into a good groove (no accidents in a couple day hooyah!) with a schedule and Harper is all oh yeah, George is just here now. No big.

Our biggest triumph this week was getting her to sit on the steps and watch/chat while I get George to do his bi'ness instead of, oh, wailing and pulling on her wispies and begging me to carry her while I tried.

But yeah, so tired. I guess it's probably the "good" kind of tired people talk about...but I just know I can't get through another episode of Portlandia. I'm out, Seacrest. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not gonna lie, people

The puppy thing is hard.

Now trust me; I didn't think it'd be easy. And I remember a few people saying: "Take how hard you think it's gonna be and then multiply that by...a few." Which is pretty accurate. I think the thing of it is -- I'm trying hard to do this the right way, the kind way, the set-things-up-good-now-so-the-future-is-smooth way. And it's exhausting.

I can't let the dude out of my sight (I just spent a good 10 seconds trying to remember how to spell that), which is really kind of a crazy feat. And the sheer amount of times I have to take him out to prevent accidents is mind boggling. And! Even when I'm taking him out every two hours or so, he still has accidents. Whew.

He's a good, good dog though. Not a barker or a biter or a maniac. He's stubborn and he's a chewer and he sure likes to pee a lot. But he's cuddly and tough and just a pal.

Thank god for all that, because if he were chock full of crazy behaviors, I'm not sure I'd be able to roll with it. Bless the people who can, but I need a laidback softie guy. Because even he is a challenge.

But really, it'd all be in the realm of doable without the whole having-a-toddler thing. And it's still in the realm of doable, obviously, or I'd be dead/in jail/running away and not typing this with a snoozing pup on my thigh. But Harper has really been thrown for a loop by the whole thing. She's past the scared phase and the GO AWAY phase (though, of course, she still wants him to go away sometimes) and now wakes up asking for him ("George! Where are you?!") and gives him big hugs and likes when he chases her around the house. (Though doesn't like it when he gets too tired to keep going.)

She's still angry about me not being available to her 24/7. Angry that sometimes we're playing happily, all together upstairs in her room, when I notice George is scratching and sniffing and AH! Grab the pup, run downstairs, grab the leash and a treat and AH outside! Leaving little Jones in the dust, reading Corduroy and wondering where the hell mum went.

I've had to rely a bit too much on treats -- cupcakes eaten in my bed while I run him outside (sorry, cc...) and games on the iPad to keep her occupied while I'm hustling him outside or cleaning up an accident or making him eat (is this a bulldog thing? not really caring about his food?) ... We've finally gotten him used to his crate, so I can plunk him in there at different intervals while we're home or we need to take a trip to Stew's/library/pool. HJ has had at least one away-from-George trip a day to do something fun and has gotten lots of books and cuddles and even stayed up late with us eating popcorn and watching Liz Lemon the other day. No violins for this girl.

But I know it's a big change for her, to go from ZE ONLY ONE to ZE ONLY BABY plus a dog. And I also know it's good for her, good to figure out that sometimes there are curveballs and shakeups, but life goes on. That yes, mom is kind of insane right now and really tired and wearing the same sweater for 5 days and feeding you toast for dinner -- but this too shall pass. That a little crazy guy (who really isn't all that crazy even as a puppy, whew) who drives you nuts can also turn into a real buddy that loves you deeplymadly.

(This too shall pass...right?!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I have no idea where my computer charger is

And I'm also wiped from toddler plus puppy equals exhaustion.

George is a real honey and Harps is...slowly, slowly warming up. She's been madly jealous, but this morning she woke up asking for him to "tickle my feet!" and she's generally been a love to him. So...let's hope we're turning a corner?

Here are the pals hanging out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh so, uh, we kinda got a dog?

His name's George, he's a Frenchie, and we're in love. More on this later. Was too busy snuggling to write a real post...



Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday

Please note her very, very tiny little bun.

On Wednesdays we go to Harper's future nursery school together, for a little mom+toddler class. I was a bit nervous this week -- she started pushing on our Florida trip (Sorry cousin Libs!) and now she'll give babies-in-her-way a little shove if she needs them to move. (She also likes to pick up their hands and move them to another, not-fun toy.)

She's slowed it way down since I've started my new strategy (removing her from the situation after a warning), but school is full of some fun sh*t and I was worried she'd get overexcited and overpushy.

After a small trial push with a look back at me, the teacher spoke gently to H before I could -- and that seemed to do it. (Dude, who wants to get in trubs with the teacher?) The rest of the class she kept her hands to herself and played alongside her pals without any moshing. She even painted for a long stretch next to another H, patiently holding onto her yellow brush even tho she was dying to use the blue.

Little Jones. All growed up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wensday

I cut it all off.

Wednesday night means it's almost Thursday and Thursday is almost always my favorite day. A little bit less now that I'm not a workin' woman (in the traditional sense), but still I like how they feel. Mmm. Thursdays.

Yes, so I chopped my hair. Mostly because the bottom 8 inches or so of my hair was (were?) terrifying. Crunchy and twirly and alien. The new style is cute enough (though it tends to flip up and make me look cuckoo), but I'm mostly just happy my hair doesn't feel like straw. I'll probably grow it right back out again, but it's fun to have something different for a bit. And I like the teeny tiny pony it makes in the back.

Oh and -- the lady who cut my hair was all "Um... do you use professional shampoo?" And I actually laughed in her face. Which I feel bad about in retrospect and she didn't take well. Uh. But then she was like "Listen, you don't have to buy it here -- but you should buy something else." Oops? I guess hippie bars of soap and strange vinegar rinses kind of ruin hair?

The weather has been just delicious these past couple days. Like... 70 degrees? We've been playing outside for big chunks, which feels like the old days and kills much more time than playing the same weird dollhouse game she forces me to play. (I pretend to be the mom/dad/baby/chair/table, ring the doorbell and yell "I'm coming!" and then she tries to block the doorway and yells "No way!")

On the hunt.

I need to get her some better outside toys, tho, but dang! Expensive! I want a little house thing she can piddle around in or maybe a slide or a water table. Currently, we've been hunting for "bugs and worms" most of the time.

She wanders around and says:

"Hmmm. Let's look around! Where's-ah bugs and worms? Under da big rock? Let's see. No! Nothing here! Aw. What's next? Hmmmm."

Lots of dramatic hand gestures, finger to chin, shrugging and heavy sighs. 

Rinse repeat.


And then she smelled a "dassodil."
Spring! I love thee.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Last answers post!

Okay! Last entry. This one's long, but I wanted to get 'em all done before I petered out. Thank you guys again for all the fun questions -- I loved reading each one and trying to make sense of my answers. Hope it worked okay for ya'll!

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming (like how I cut my hair off) tomorrow.


What are your biggest inspirations? Like books, movies, art, history, etc... I always like hearing about what inspires people...
Judy Blume and Lois Lowry are major heroes. Their young adult stuff was/is huge in my life and I pretty much just worship at their altars/want to be them when I grow up. Oh, and P.D. James. She's amazing! In her 90's and still writing incredibly complex and cerebral mysteries. I want to be her.

I think Rebecca is one of the most perfect books ever written. Same with Franny and Zooey. I'm a big reader and though it's slowed down quite a bit with Harper in my life, I still try to read as much as I can. This weekend I read A Visit from the Goon Squad (thank you, KPG!) and loved it -- for being a great story and for inspiring me to write more than just my random snippets. I need a schedule.

Feeling Good has gotten me out of the depressive cycles I tend toward for 15 years. Would be my one book on a desert island. Radical Acceptance (and other Buddhist books) shifted my life view immensely and got me through last year.

Oh, so books mostly.

Also modern dance -- watching it, doing it -- and oh oh did anyone ever see Frontier House on PBS? That's something that inspired me to try and live simpler -- I think of it often. We just watched Being Elmo -- pretty much cried during the whole thing and it made me...wanna do stuff.

Do you make dinner and have sit-down family dinners every night? If yes, how do you make dinner with toddler toddling? And how does dinner work? (do you have adult conversations while HJ eats or work with her throughout dinner to get her to eat her veggies etc...)

I cook 3-4 times a week, usually enough so that we can eat the same meal two nights in a row. We do takeout 1-2 times a week. Dinner making usually takes a lot of steps and she'll "help" with different parts. I'll set her up with something in the playroom (that connects with the kitchen) and put some music on and go back and forth between the two. If she's not buying that, she often stands on a stool at the counter and does little tasks that make a small mess, but keep her away from the stove and knives. I'm always having to check that she's not about to topple off, but that's only happened once... cc walks in the door starving, so I try and have dinner almost ready when he comes home, otherwise I'd wait to cook while they were doing bath as it goes a lot faster!

On weekdays, I serve her dinner first. It's just easier to make sure she's all fed earlier than later, so once he comes home (usually around 6:30) they can focus on quality time and then bedtime (she's usually asleep by 7:30). Most of her meals, she sits in her blue chair and I sit in my red chair and we look out the window and chat. On weekends, we're more likely to do dinner together, but it's hardly formal. She'll sit and focus on her eating till she's done (if she's hungry, which is always a wild card!), but then she wants down and I'm okay with that.

While we're eating, cc and I will chat with each other and/or ask her questions about her day. Inevitably, there's "sit on your bum, Jones" and then "no! Baby kneeling!" which interrupts our super sophisticated convos on swim lessons and such. I work really hard at keeping food/meals a zero battle zone. I offer her different foods and will urge her to try one, but I don't ever push it; I won't ever have a "finish your plate" rule. I think it's important to teach/guide good table manners and work on sitting (longer and longer as they get older), but that's as strict as I get in the dining room! It's just not a battle that's important in my heart.

In general, I'm proud of what Harper eats, but not always where/how she eats it. But we'll get there!

Do you want Harper to learn how to play an instrument? Will you start her playing on one and if so at what age? Or would you wait to see if she asks about it? (I know you two do music class but not sure exactly what that entails!) Or maybe dance?

Yes! I would love for her to learn an instrument. Unless she has a strong preference otherwise (which I can totally see -- she already wakes up asking for specific shirts, ahem) I'd go with the piano. And then I'll roughly follow how my mom did it with me -- which was I was required to do three years of lessons and after that, it was my decision. (I quit and I hate that I quit. Sigh.) I think I started in second grade, but maybe it was third. I'll probably start her around 5 or 6.

I'd love if she did dance, too! Girl loves to groove, so...


What has been the most surprising thing you've found so far about being a Mom?
 
I can't handle Law and Order: SVU anymore. I miss you Ice-T! I basically like warmhearted sitcoms now. Uncool. I just cannot watch anything having to do with children being harmed or sick or sad.

Also, dudes kind of love cute moms with babies. Who knew?

Also, I ended up being so ... unmilitant about breastfeeding. It was the right choice for me, but I couldn't care less if someone chooses formula. That surprised me.

That I can enjoy cleaning up her spaces because it feels nurturing. That the little tasks of taking care of her feel important.

What are you most looking forward to experiencing with Harper as she grows up?

I can't wait to sit and read through my favorite book series together -- like the Little House books. Her picking something from my big pile of cookbooks she wants to make and baking it together. I think just sharing/re-living all the cozy things I still think back on from childhood and coming up with some of our own.


Did she go throught the bitting and hitting phase ? Mine is 18 months and is doing these things out of nowhere.... It is driving me craaaazzyyy and I am having a hard time disciplining her ? Please any suggestions are REALLY welcomed !

Oh dear, I'm hardly an expert on this one. Only very recently (the past couple weeks?) has Harps started experimenting with physical stuff. (At least on the general public -- she's always beating me up.) 

What I'm doing right now is: The first time she pushes (she's a pusher), I pull her aside (if we're in public) and ask her to look at me. Then I say (very clearly/firmly) "If you push again, we will ____" which will depend. If we're out, I will take her away from the fun thing she's doing for a set period of time. (Usually just a minute.) If we're at home, up to her room with me outside the door. When the one minute is up, I explain why and back we go.

If she pushed and I just pulled her away, it wouldn't give her a chance to modify her behavior and if I didn't follow through, she would know I wasn't serious. Also, per my Mom's advice, I try to stay neutral and quick with the whole thing so I don't give her too much attention (even if it's negative). For awhile, I was picking her up and kind of cuddling her while I explained in a lovey voice why pushing isn't good. Uh, that was basically making her want to push more. Again -- no expert and we're currently working on it so we'll see. Good luck!!

Can you foresee you and Clay attending organized sports with Harper as the "star" athlete? What sport might it be? Would Amy or Clay be the coach or assistant coach?


Sure, I can definitely see Jones being an athlete. She's a fast runner and crazy good with a soccer ball -- has been able to kick/dribble one around a field since she was 18 months. Being outside always puts her in a good mood and she sleeps like a rock after a busy day at the park. So I'm in! I can see soccer (we are in New England now, after all) or maybe tennis? I wish I knew how to play. I will...probably not be the coach. (Run! Uh...pick a flower! I mean, run!) cc would be a great coach and I'd probably die from the cuteness of all that.

Are you a feminist?

Yes.

What type of pets do you want someday? 

 I WANT A DOG NOW. I mean -- I'm very interested in acquiring a cute puppy thing! I want a French bulldog.
How often are you going to visit NYC?

Often! So excited you'll be there, Cal! 


What is your idea of an ideal "girls night" with friends?

Ooo. I think dinner in a cozy booth at a low key place (you know, like Chili's. Kidding. No I'm not.) where we can all talk and eat chocolate volcanoes and stuff. And then a movie that boys will never go see. Or a musical? Can we go to a musical together? Oh and I also want a pedicure. And some shopping on a cute street with cute stores with hot chocolates in our hands.

Did you have any "a ha" moments at turning 30... how do you feel?

I haven't really given it a thought since it happened (all of a month ago - ha). So I think that's a good thing? I felt angsty and then I felt a rush of "Oh! I'm in all this with my other ladies" kind of like when I became a mom. And then someone asked me if I was Harper's babysitter and I'm vain and that made me feel good, too. Heh.

Did you watch Oprah's special on Hasidic Jews? It's sooo interesting. 

I haven't! But adding it to my list.


When you go back to work someday (if you do) what would you want to do?

Talked about this earlier, with my back and forth struggles on what's right for me. But for today, I'd like to...do a few half days of copy editing in a laidback creative environment with peeps that don't take themselves too seriously and can catch me up on all the cool stuff I'm behind on. Where I can wear leggings for pants and bring my Frenchie and there's free tea.

What is your favorite museum in NYC? 

I haven't been to enough of them (especially the smaller ones) to answer this! I'm dying to take Harps to see the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.


If you could only eat one ethnicity of food for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Indian.

What has been your favorite place to live?

Okay, quick answer: San Francisco.

But I really do miss them all in different ways. (Is that a Mitt Romney answer?) I wish I could do a timeshare thing, where I spent a couple weeks in each place every year. My tiny Beacon Hill studio with the red couch next to the tiny store where I bought many pints of Ben & Jerrys, riding around through the SF fog on our red Vespa and buying lavender and olive bread at the Ferry Building, walking out my Denver house barefoot and meeting Manj and Naveen at the playground nextdoor while I had cornbread in the oven. Le sigh. Memmmmmmmories.

How have your priorities shifted since you had a kiddo?

Uh...It's all about Harper now?

But to the future mamas who think that sounds terrible: What I mean is, she really is the first thing/last thing I think of everyday. When I want to buy something cute, it's usually for her. I get genuinely excited about a new sippy cup arriving in the mail or her swim lessons starting. I've always got a constant meter going in my head of her day and measure its success by: How much fun did she have/how well did she eat/how well did she sleep/did she get outside enough/did we play enough? Yada yada. That sounds borderline insane, but it's true.

I also like to have a cleaner and better organized house now -- because I know it makes our days calmer and her play more focused. I thought I'd be all "Who cares about the house!" but now I care more.

I can totally see how people let themselves go go go after having kids, because it really does fill me up to see her doing well. It was hard to focus on anything but her at first, but now I think I'm getting pretty good at giving cc quality time and lovin' as well as myself. I really do see that focusing on all of us makes the whole unit stronger.

Would your pre-mama and post-mama selves recognize each other?

Yeah. I don't think I'm much different, tho maybe that's just denial? I like to think I'm a little softer/kinder. Things don't get under my skin as much as they did. In the early baby days (first 6 months or so), I didn't feel much like me, but that's largely resolved itself. The truth is, I feel a lot comfier in my skin now. I always wanted to be a mom and then when it happened, I really did feel like something clicked. It's like I fit in now.

I would not believe how early I wake up now and how I'm mostly used to it.

I'm probably crabbier/shorter now, tho I think in a weird way that's a healthy thing -- I'm a lot more out there with my feelings. I just don't have the time for long, drawn out showdowns anymore.
What's your "death row dinner"? said another [less morbid] way, if you had to choose one meal to eat, what would it be? 

A grilled cheese with tomato. (Made with lots of butter, American cheese, and high quality white bread.) McDonald's fries on the side, plenty of ketchup. Sour pickle. Side of slaw (from Johnson's). A really carbonated fountain Coke. And a coffee Fribble from Friendly's. 

If someone gave you $1,000 to spend entirely on yourself, what would you buy? 

Wee! Expensive red leather ballet flats. A bunch of stuff from LUSH and Kiehl's. A few Etsy splurges to decorate Harper's room. A pair of Earnest Sewn jeans. All the Beatles albums on CD. 10-class yoga card. And a massage.


If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ah! Gimme Shelter by the Stones.

Why did you become a vegetarian? Is HJ a veg too?

I explain it here. I do not feel comfortable calling myself a vegetarian at this point, as I've eaten a bunch of meat in restaurants the past couple months. I don't ever eat/cook meat at home and when I'm not traveling, my consumption is very low. I also almost always think "why'd I eat that?" afterward. But still -- I ate a cheeseburger on the Florida trip, so...

However, cc is quite dedicated to the cause and only rarely eats meat, even when we're out. I'm impressed!

And yep, at home HJ is veggie. When we're out, I'll occasionally order her a hot dog, which she'll gobble down. But other than weird nitrite-ridden beef occasionally, she doesn't eat meat. I'll continue to keep things meat-free at home and explain to her (as she gets older) why, but if she wants to eat meat it's totally her decision. Again, I never want to make food a battle in her/our life.


I forgot i wanted to ask you about Harper reading! Did you teach her to read? Did she teach herself? How!?

Sweet potato fries (in the words of Phil Dunphy), Harps definitely isn't reading yet. I'm sorry if I gave that impression! She's got some solid literacy skillz (has known all 26 uppercase and lowercase letters for months, knows all the letter sounds and likes to figure out what letters different words begin with, and can sight-read a few words), but no no no. Not reading. Guessing she'll be on the early side, tho? But who knows with these things, of course. 


What do you think HJ will be like at 10 years of age?

Busy! I think she'll have a lot of after-school activities that I'll constantly be shuttling her around to. Think she'll be pretty sassy/spunky and stay up much too late reading books under the covers. And she'll love shoes.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Part 4!

Think the next post will be my last set of answers, though it'll be long. Here we go!


What were other top contender names when you were naming Harper?

The biggest contender (that we had almost 100% decided on by third trimester) was Parker Lee. So much so that my mom called HJ "Parker" a few times when she was a teeny tiny baby... I still love that name and I actually think it really would have fit her.

We changed for a couple reasons. One, we wanted a bit more meaning behind it and Parker was just too random. Ultimately, we chose Harper because of To Kill a Mockingbird -- we're book nerds, love that one in particular (and its southern roots), and I liked knowing the story behind it, even if other people don't get it.

(Of course, we could have kept the Lee part -- originally for cc's brother -- but that was just a bit too much for us.) 

A few people had also guessed Parker (and/or it had been pulled out of us) and that spoiled some of the fun of a name reveal. I'll probably keep our next baby's name a secret, too, because once you start telling everyone and their fish has an opinion. Whereas if you keep it on the hush, no one will say a thing once it's done and done and they see the name attached to a cute little mug.

What is a normal day of food for you?

I wake up and put the water on for tea right away. Drink a cup (English breaky or Early Grey) with milk and sugar. That tides me over for an hour or so, then I usually have a too-carb-heavy breakfast. A couple of pieces of whole wheat toast with butter/jam, etc. If I've got the ingredients, what I love most is an egg + cheese + tomato sandwich on a hard roll. The rest of the day is kind of a constant grazing. Some sliced or dried fruit, nuts, handful of her cheddar bunnies, some dark chocolate, peanut butter crackers, another cup of tea.

While she's napping I do try and eat a "real" lunch. Leftovers from the night before (pasta or Indian or something) or a greens and avocado salad. Through the afternoon, I snack a bit more, a cheese stick and/or usually on what I give her for supper. Then I make dinner for cc and me, but don't usually eat until she's asleep. (Except on the weekends, when we tend to eat earlier, all together.) I can't really enjoy my dinner if she's awake. Sad?

Dinner will be quinoa pancakes or bean quesadillas or mushroom pasta or polenta and kale... or Thai takeout or pizza from this amazing Mario Batali place near the train station. And then we snack a lot/too much at night. We bond over our snacking, dude. Popcorn, pita chips, dark chocolate, dried mango (no, we don't have any in the house right now)...
 

Were you popular in High School?

Very.

Kidding. So when I think of "popular" I think of Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. That whole scene with the coolness and the stress over how you act and the mean girls and the untouchable quality and the feathered hair. I was very un-that. But I did have it easy socially/academically, had boyfriends, and got to be the lead in the play and stuff. So looking back, I can't complain -- especially because I actually had a really solid and hip group of pals I would (and still do when we can get together) hang with now. At the time, though, I was miserable miserable miserable. Oh, me.

How do you think most people find your blog?

A chunk from other blogs that either randomly found me over the years or are in-real-life friends and linked up to me. Or through me finding a blog I love, commenting a bunch, and then them clicking over. Or word of mouth from people I know in real life to their friends. Like cc to his boss... Hi, Chris! I'm kind of terrible at the whole blog world, though, and wish I were better at spreading the BJA word.

Are you the kind of mom you thought you would be?


For the most part, yes. I had a lot of experience with kids before having Harps because I babysat and nannied for years and years, so I had a general idea of how I would be. Things I'm not surprised by = I'm very affectionate/hands-on lovey/hold her a lot and I'm crunchy with my food and crafty and clothes stuff and I worry too much and I try and let her have a lot of quiet/solo time and we have a lot of dance parties and I talk to her/explain things to her all day long.

But I'm less strict than I thought I'd be probably; I really ran a tight ship as a nanny. With her, I can be too much of a softie (I held her for all of her naps till she was 6 months old) and I let her make too much of a mess and I let her negotiate with me too much. (She's always asking for "Five more minutes?" for anything from a new diaper to eating her peas and I usually agree -- but then follow through and make her do it after.)

Oh and a pleasant surprise is I'm confident enough in my mothering not to let people's comments or opinions about my choices affect me too much. It's a relief!
 

What parenting decisions have you made that you NEVER thought would happen.

Probably rewarding good behavior with treats. Definitely saw that as a sign of weakness before I had my own babe, but there are times when you just have to do it. (Or I have to do it -- rock on if you've got another awesome method!)

Okay, but wait! Let me explain, me!

A perfect example is yesterday on the plane. Harper would not put on her seat belt during takeoff. For the half hour of boarding, she was happy as a clam in her seat, reading books and being quiet, but once I asked her to belt up she lost her ever lovin' mind. And she's an engineer/Houdini in the making, so as soon as I struggled it on her, she would take it right off. Then squirm and fight and scream -- and that girl is strong.

Because this isn't a daily issue I need to address (she loves her car seat and generally listens when I tell her to sit correctly/be safe in other chairs) and because it was a real safety issue and because there were other people on the plane who didn't need to be treated to a major tantrum, after 5 minutes of attempted negotiations, I told her she could have a few jellybeans if she buckled up. "O-kay!" Tantrum immediately stopped, she sat still, belt on, jellybeans consumed.

After a few, she happily went back to reading her books, staying calm and belted for the next 3 hours. It works for us during those toddler times when she's hungry/tired/in a weird situation and nothing else is working/you need results quick. But I'm sure if I heard myself back in the day saying "Sit down and I'll give you some jellybeans!" I'd have rolled my eyes sumpin fierce.


How did you meet CC?

Match.com, baby! I was 22 and at home for the summer after graduating college. Bored in rural Massachusetts, I...started cruising for dudes online? Weird. But he was real cute and had a Royal Tenenbaums quote on his profile and so I emailed him with some awkward just-graduated-from-college witticisms, I'm sure. (I think it was something about needing to buy my first real suit? And did I ever wear said suit? Maybe once.)
 

Why do you hate pants? Do shorts and Leggings count as pants (Why or Why not?)? 

They are so uncomfortable on me! So uncomfortable. My whole life, and especially now after having had a baby person, I've had a Buddha belly. Cannot even imagine having a flat belly. Then I've got serious hips, but not really a bum, and then skinny legs. It's a nightmare to find pants that can fit all those crazy contradictions. I usually end up with something that fits everything but my belly and they're always digging into me and I hate life.

I just spent some serious hours in comfy cutoffs in Florida, though. I bought jeans at a thrift store and cut them, but now wish I'd left them as real pants because I think they might be magic! Gap curvy jeans. Buying some stat.

Leggings can be wonderful, but often have the same problem as jeans and cords! I'm wearing some J. Crew ones right now and they are my only success story. Don't even get me started on tights -- cannot wear them without tears. Basically, I should probably wear dresses and thigh highs a la Stephanie Tanner's naughty best friend Mickey. (I think I didn't just make up that character -- please someone know what I'm talking about?)

Are you going to look for your forever home in CT?

Oh, forever homes. I feel like we'll never have one of those babies, but maybe I'm wrong... We definitely like it here and I think we'll be staying for quite awhile, but not sure when/if we'll commit to buying a house. Renting has worked so well for us for so long...

And if we do commit, there's a good chance it would only be for 5-10 years. We're actually interested in buying something in the Portland, Maine area... My mom's up there along with the rest of my fam nearish by and we love that city. Would be really fun to have a second space there.
 

What blogs do you visit, that aren't any commentators on yours?

I love the blog Mimi Smartypants and have been reading for years. She is so smart and so funny and so NOT that whole I'm-a-perfect-picture blog movement. I have also been a steady fan of C. Jane, Enjoy It; I like the way she thinks. Another great, sassy, smart writer is Crazy Aunt Purl.

Those are the blogs I read that make me happy and make me think a bit. I won't list the list of vapid/showy-off ones I read and loathe and make me miserable. It's an addiction and I need to stop, yo.

You and I have talked about theatre/theater...whatevs...What's your favorite play? What made you leave it? And did you ever do the forensics stuff in high school?


I don't have a good, easy answer on the favorite play, but for tonight I think I'll say...A Chorus Line because it's just me and combines all the things I really love on -- the kicky music and the monologues and the daaaaaance. I'd die to be in that show, even though it's so old school.

I left because I could picture doing other things. It was kind of that simple. I realized that if you can imagine yourself as much other than an actor, you probably won't have the nerve to stick through all the rough times. You've gotta want it singularly. And I think I was ultimately too self-conscious to really throw myself into it. I can see now I'm more of a performer, less of an actor. That distinction sounds crazypants, but I think it describes the problem of me trying to be a serious actress. I still miss theater all the time, though, and hope one day I get to be a batty housewife type starring in community theater.

I don't think I understand the forensics question -- say more!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Part 3!



Last night of the vacay-ay. (Did I just turn a happy word into a crotch joke?) Will be sad to say goodbye to the cousins and this ocean view (and all the room service pancakes), but I've got a toddler who's dying to get back to "baby's house" and I won't mind cuddling up under my covers tomorrow night either.  I never sleep quite right away from home...


And onward! This is fun for me, hope I'm not boring your pants off...


Do you have any plans for working outside the home someday? If so, what would you like to do?

I do want to work outside the home eventually. Probably when the kid/kids are in their early elementary years. Though if something super ideal came up before that and the hours were minimal and doable, I'd consider it for sure. I'm definitely a part time kind of lady, as I always want plenty of time for things around the house (I hate the feeling of no food in the cupboards or a million nights of takeout in a row or just disarray in general), personal downtime (oh, does this mama needs her downtime), and plenty of hours to just hang at home with the kids and cc.

Of course what it'll be is the question! Eeeeeep. As I mentioned, I'm definitely considering doing the Masters thing (so school would be my outside thing for a few years) and working in probably some kind of school or private practice setting. I have a romantic vision of a cozy office in an old New England house... wearing funky outfits and meeting with clients. But I do worry a job like that might be too emotionally taxing (I'm a hothouse flower!) and might not give me the social outlet I really need. If I'mma be outside the house, I want to have a group of friends to share breadsticks with at Olive Garden, not just be in a room by myself. I think?

However, I always try and remind myself that the happiest I ever was in a work setting was my copy editor job. But I guess I'm just not sure how much of that was the actual work I was doing (though I did like it) because really, I just adored the people and setting. And so is the real lesson find a place where the people are awesome and what you do won't matter much? And if that's the case, how do you find those people again? Focus on the same industry and the same kind of people will be there?

You can see I get obsessive. But yes! I wanna make some moneys and have a life outside of my kiddos once they're older and I'm not wiping their bums all day.

On a regular day at home with H, what do you wear? I live in yoga pants and crewneck longsleeve Ts, so I'm just curious if other moms actually put on jeans or something more "dressed up" everyday?

I'm always wondering about this, too! I think the answer is, I wear a few outfits throughout the day. If I have nice yoga pants that actually fit and are clean, I'll put those on and keep them on. But usually, I wear a weird outfit for a few hours in the morning (super old sweatpants from my BU days, a longsleeve tee and a hoodie with probably also a cardigan on top, wool socks and slippers) and then I usually put on my "going somewhere" outfit (this will be jeans and cute sneaks, a tank and cardigan type combo) and maybe even put on a little mascara if I'm feelin' sex-ay. cc never sees me during this part of the day, but I swear I look okay for at least two hours a day! Then we come home and I get comfy again in a weird outfit and...that's usually it for the day.

I think I need to accrue more items that are both attractive and really comfortable, so I can just wear the same thing all day. It's sad that I consider jeans really dressed, right?

I know you are meatless these days, I was wondering if you could share any good vegitarian dinner recipes. I'm always looking for ways to cut back on meat in our house.

I just cheated a million times on this trip, so I feel guilty saying I'm meatless, however -- I never cook meat at home, so I can answer your question honestly!

My favorite things to cook these days are whole wheat pasta with vegetables as the main oomph (we're addicted to this Jamie Oliver recipe), portabello burgers (on a really good toasted roll, with melted swiss cheese, and sauteed spinach/red peppers on top), quinoa blueberry pancakes (recipe here), quesadillas with a black bean/pinto bean/cheese combo served with avocado, and going to Trader Joe's for Indian food packs that I serve with brown rice and yogurt. Oh! I also like making polenta (with some goat cheese melted in) and putting sauteed mushrooms on top, served with a side of sauteed kale. It's usually pretty simple, but tasty (I hope!)

Also, after reading the above comments (and because I love the name Harper June), I am curious, if you were to have more kids, what would their names be? Or what other names "strike your fancy" these days?!

Thank you for the name compliment! We kind of tortured ourselves back and forth and it's a relief we like what we finally chose. I have to admit I don't have many ideas right now, but I've always loved the name Iris for a girl and Ezra for a boy. (Don't think cc would agree tho - heh.) I also hope to use March as a middle name -- it's my mom's maiden name and I think it would be cool to have two month middle names for my kids!

What happened to your family this past year that you mention so much about in your blog?

I wrote a guest post 8 months ago that gives the low down. You can find it here. I still like to keep this blog mostly free of the details, but it's not this huge big secret in our lives. And since that was last summer, cc is all done with treatment and doing well; we hope to cruise through the next year or two and then relax some.

What type of job did you have before having Harper? What type of job did your hubby moved to Connecticut for?

I had a lot of different jobs. In order: Special Education assistant (doing Applied Behavioral Analysis), marketing/permissions/sales coordinator at Beacon Press (a publishing company in Boston), Intern/writer at a yoga magazine in LA, Intern at McSweeney's/Believer magazine in SF, Account Manager at a big advertising agency, a sales assistant at method products, and finally a copy editor at Ubisoft (a video game company). Sadly, I feel like I missed something hmm... Oh! In there somewhere (post publishing job, pre California move) I decided I wanted to try and be a professional actress again and did a play and started to think about moving to New York and then, well, I decided no.

I have a hard time making up my mind, obviously. But I was lucky to get to work at interesting and creative places, even if I was probably a pain in the ass.

cc is a strategy dude/idea guy. He runs the online/digital business for a hotel company called Starwood. Thanks for the discount on our pretty Florida room, jobby job!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Part 2!



Vacation continues! Having fun in the sun (and wind) with the fam damly. Lots of sand in places I'd rather it not be. But here's some more typing from me and my hands:

What do you love most about your husband? Is that the same thing that attracted you to him in the first place? 

I love a lotta things, but... I think what stands out for me is how thoughtful he is. Which sounds like a complete platitude, so let me elaborate. When someone is important to cc, he really works to take care of them and make them feel special. If someone tells him they're visiting a city he knows well, he'll stop whatever he's doing and write a long email with a million suggestions of restaurants and shops to check out. "What was that Ethiopian place that's supposed to be awesome?" he'll ask me as I chew my hair or remain otherwise useless and ask him to please wrap it up, yo. Then he'll furiously type away. I just don't put as much time into those things.
Or he always brings something when we're invited to a house -- ice cream or flowers or something, while I'm "It's cool -- they know we appreciate the invite." Ha. And when it comes to gifts for me or Harps he's the best. Will remember something I said a long a%s time ago or something I offhand mentioned would be good for HJ and it'll show up on a holiday or just because. In general, the dude's always thinking and trying and it wins big points with me. He also says I love you a million times everyday and I love that.

What attracted me to him in the first place was, well...he looked like a movie star? Hmm. I also remember liking that he was in business school and clearly ambitious/interested in being a provider type, but was an unapologetic Democrat. Ha! It was such a nice combo to 22-year-old me, like hey -- I'm a pulled together man, but I also believe in welfare and am pro-choice. And did I mention the handsome thing?

 I want to know if there is anything you intentionally do to allow "you" time amidst all of the parenting you do. Balance is a tough thing and you seem to have it down and I wonder if that is just a natural ability or if you are mindful in particular ways that make this balance happen? 

I don't know if I have it down, but thank you! Somedays I feel pretty balanced -- like I've done the good mom and good wife thing, but also feel happy and centered -- and those are definitely good days. It's something I work at, but at this point it's also semi-natural -- and by that I mean, I figured out a long time ago (high school?) what I need to stay centered and I'm good at finding time for those things. Or else I get really anxious and down.

Often that's only a few minutes here and there, but I have a sort of list in my head and if I can check some of them off everyday, I feel like me and not like I'm living for other people. These include reading, watching cozy mystery shows, meditation, hot baths, talking on the phone to my mom, and quality time with cc (which often is sitting on the couch together, watching the same show and making fun of things). I start to feel myself get depressed if I don't do enough of these throughout the week (like, if I choose to take a nap during her nap and don't choose alone time or if I spend too much time reading dumb blogs and not reading/catching up with family) and I have to take a very determined pause and choose new choices to get back on track.

Will HJ become a big sister anytime soon? 

We definitely want her to have a sibling (or if you're cc, three siblings) and we're aiming for a roughly 3 year age difference. I can't say I'm looking forward to pregnancy and I really, really enjoy having one right now. However, I totally think siblings are a gift and would love to mug on a new biscuit.

What do you wash your hair with?

My little bro just bought me my favorite old shampoo that the Body Shop re-issued. Banana! It's insanely delicious. And I've been known to love love love LUSH's Big shampoo (which is a weird salt concoction that somehow lathers up) as well as hippie shampoo bars that make me smell like a college dorm. I went through a short phase of that no shampoo thing (rinsing with baking soda and vinegar) but then I was all, Why am I doing this?! It worked okay, but I love a good lather after a long day and life is too short for my hair to smell creepy.

 Cake or pie? 

I think pie! This took a really long time to decide. I get to add whipped cream though, right? Because there are few things I'd rather eat more than cold pumpkin pie with copious amounts of whipped cream.

If you had to have three more kids, would they be three boys, or three more girls? 

Oooo...Three more girls, I think. Just because I think it would be nutty and I love having a girl and I'd create our own ballet troupe. Also the prospect of three boys sounds like something I wouldn't be the best at handling. (I'm bad at cleaning bathrooms.) (But I love boys and hope I get to have one!)  

What is your dream car?

Have you ever seen Reality Bites? I love the BMW Winona Ryder drives. It's old and boxy. Yum. I also really love Land Cruisers. But only the old ones, really.

Do you have any projects planned for the future when Harper goes to school and you have more free time? 

Three things I'd really like to get done in the next 5 years: Write a book I'm proud of. Learn to play the guitar so I can do Raffi/Beatles singalongs with the kids. Get certified to teach yoga, specifically to children.

Those are the ones I think about a lot (well, not the guitar really, but the other two) though I get a little manic with to-dos. The other big one that I go back and forth with is getting my masters in a therapeutic field like Occupational Therapy or Social Work. But just can't seem to decide whether that's for me or the more hodgepodge creative lifestyle is. Choices! They overwhelm me!

What song(s) do you listen to to lift your mood? 
 
Oh, how I wish I could answer this with something cool/hip/esoteric. However, the truth is I either head for 60's pop ("Since You Been Gone" -- Aretha or "I Saw Her Again" -- Mamas and Papas or anything Beatles) or musicals ("Run, Freedom, Run!" from Urinetown or "Right Track" from Pippin) OR anything from Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway album, Christina's Stripped album, or Britney's Blackout album. I feel naked now.


Friday, March 02, 2012

Answers part uno!

Oh, ya'll. Getting here yesterday was INSANE. Really. And I've taken a lot of trips, a lot of solo baby things, a lot of whatever. And this one was high on the list of nuttiness... even though Harper was on her best behavior and I actually cried at least twice with how sweet and excited she was. But! We are here and it's gorgeous and all is (almost, sort of, maybe never but oh well) forgotten.

Gonna start pounding these out while she's reading books in her hotel cribby, getting ready to drift off into napland.

1. What is the hardest part of parenting for you?

I think...the knowledge that I'm IT. I'm the mom lady. If I decide to let her eat nothing but jelly beans and pickles for a week, no one's going to stop me. If I slack on teeth brushing for a couple days, the police won't know. It's overwhelming to realize all the decisions (and then enforcing of them) I have to make every second/minute/month. It's easy to let a few too-much-TV days pass, before realizing no, this isn't really how I want the days to go. And pull it back.

In my middle school gym, there was a sign that said "Character is doing the right thing when no one's watching." Never did anyone make fun of that more than me, but obviously it made an impression because I'm talking about it 20 years later. But, yes, that exactly.

Clay gives me the lead in the parenting department and while of course he'd stop me if I turned into some loon handing Harper marshmallows for all meals and a rifle in her bed, he trusts me and she trusts me and the weight of that can feel enormous.

2. The most annoying?

SLEEP. Or lack thereof. You will never, ever get enough of it. Ever. It can feel borderline claustrophobic, like you just can't get out from under the fatigue. It's still so strange to me that I get up at 5:00 everyday and somehow function. I am a complete night owl and my body is just not okay with Harper's arrangement of our mornings.

And -- oof I find really annoying all the little, tiny details that have to get done. This is not my strength in life. Like: Washing the sippy cup and its gross, smelly straw parts before bed, getting her diapers and wipes stocked and in the right places (it drives cc crazy that I'm always functioning with approximately 5 diapers on hand), all the many many clothing changes and washings -- wrestling into slippers when we're home, another pair of shoes when we're out, packing the right combo of snacks and distractions for where we're headed. And in general, I'm the only one who can pull it all off. I know where everything is, exactly what she likes, and how to do it fastest. If I dropped dead tonight/tomorrow (you know, from another ice pick headache), I'm quite confident cc and other family members would pull it together. But in the day-to-day, I'm-still-alive scenario, it's me handling the near constant micro managing of a toddler's life. Whew.

3. The most rewarding?

This one is tough! Of course the smooches and hand holding. And watching all the learning and jumps in cognitive stuff and how we can talk over our day now during bath. But I'm going to go specific instead of general. I love the moments where we're like two real people, not in the grind of everyday stuff, having a good time.

It's so incredibly fun to see how all the work/time/energy we've put into her pays off in getting to have an awesome time together. In Denver, when she was probably 18 months or so, we had this afternoon of stopping by a bakery and sharing a cupcake and a grape soda, each in our own white plastic seat. She was so happy and giggling and we were taking turns sipping out of the same straw and the sun was shining on our hands and it was pure fun. That was the first time I really remember that feeling of "She's not a baby, we can DO stuff!" It was a total parenting epiphany and something lifted off my shoulders that day.

And this is weird probably, but I love shopping as a family. We love going to IKEA or grocery shopping or whatever with her because she is so psyched to be treated like a big kid. She walks all around, we get her a chocolate milk, we chat. Or the other night, she couldn't fall asleep and so as a (totally not normal treat because I'm kind of a hard ass at nighttime) we let her come downstairs, make popcorn with us, and watch Modern Family. She was so so so happy. I cried. Ha! So yeah -- the whole getting through the really hard baby months (and months) where they are so yummy, but also just kind of a semi-blob ... and seeing how it culminates into the creation of a hip little sidekick is great.