19 November 2010

Good For My Ego

I haven't talked about riding for some time and this may have lead you to believe that it's not going well. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I am having a wonderful time. So wonderful, in fact, that I'm going to be taking lessons twice a week beginning in December!

On Tuesday I had my second lesson on Syd. Syd is a 17.2hh Hanoverian with a splash of Thoroughbred and he's seven years old. He's a funny boy. An absolute sweetheart but he gets into his own head about bit contact. He gets so busy worrying about the contact that he forgets about other stuff-like coordination or steering. So my instructor has me riding him with very little contact-just a nice quiet feel, which is mostly obtained by me holding onto the reins at all (his neck is just that long).

The first week I rode him went much the same way that riding any new horse does:

Horse: can I stop at A?
Me: no
Horse: are you sure I can't stop at A?
Me: yes, very sure. keep going.
Horse: Ok, I'm going to stop at A.
Me: no, No, NO! KEEP GOING.
Horse: *stops at A*

You get the idea. It's a pretty standard process-getting a feel for one another. How much correction is appropriate for this horse? What kind of correction does he respond best to? et cetera.

This week I felt more able to settle in and get some work done for both of us. One of the things that I am loving about riding with K is how supportive and complimentary she is. We spent quite a bit of time this week talking about how to help Syd in his new job as a school horse. For example, one of the things I'm always trying to work on with any horse that I ride is responsiveness. I know, we're all working on that. But I try to do lots of transitions during the warmup phase to get them "tuned" in to my aids. I feel that this is especially important with a school horse because they get so many different riders over the course of the week and we all ride differently. K pointed out that the ideal sensitivity level of a school horse is quite different than your own horse. Which is so obvious I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me. But she doesn't want him super sensitive. He should respond in proportion to the aid. This is so different than what I've been accustomed to attempting to teach. In general, I want to use a light aid as much as possible. So it was interesting to think about teaching him to use a slow trot for a very light aid and save the bigger gaits for heavier aids.

He is pretty disorganized right now and heavily on his forehand. K is basically restarting dressage with him so we're riding him like a green horse. Which is good because he has no sense of self-carriage. For the first time in forever my having brought along Wanda (with help!) is really helpful to my riding. I'm able to provide that steady, wide contact and not let him pull me out of position (or at least, mostly-I'm still working on core strength) while still pushing him a bit to get him moving. Once he figures out that stopping isn't an option he has quite a motor on him and will be able to tick right along once he figures out how to get his feet underneath himself. For now though, we're just working on yes, my hands are a guide rail and are here to help you balance; but no, you may not just lean on them with your entire body!

The rider who rode him before my lesson had a really hard time with him stopping at the gate and so K warned me that this might be an issue. And it was. In fact, I ended up riding him off of the rail and slightly counterbent to keep him focused on his job and not on when he could be done. He did eventually straighten out and we had several rounds each direction where he didn't even look at the gate.

I haven't been the rider that someone put on to help a horse with a bad habit since I was fourteen and at summer camp! It feels amazing. I love feeling like I'm not just learning but that I'm helping the horse to be better at his job. And K is all about teaching you to first ride effectively and then to ride prettily. So we've shortened my stirrups by two holes and turned my foot out a little to where it hangs naturally. And guess what?! I'm sitting up straighter and I have more "oomph" in my leg aids because I'm not busy fighting with my leg position. In fact, I don't worry about it at all beyond "is this comfortable?" and "is this effective?". It's the coolest feeling.

I wish all riders had an opportunity to ride with someone who said, "Let's learn to be effective and then we can always tidy you up later.". Because that is what riding is really all about-using our bodies efficiently to influence the horse. This is the dressage that I've wanted to get back to. And I couldn't be more thrilled.

And the fact that K is good for my ego doesn't hurt one bit either ;)

29 October 2010

Internet Ass-Hat

I accidentally hurt a very dear friend a couple of weeks ago with a post and I just wanted to publicly say that I'm sorry. And also, that I win the Internet Ass-Hat award for the week. And to celebrate my idiocy, here is a picture of me, with the ass-hat award:

27 October 2010

And Also

Dear Breeches,

I hate how bizarre you make my body proportions look. I looked good in you when I was sixteen-can't we just agree that that was enough? I know that I'm overweight and I'm working on it but when I put you on to go riding and I catch a glimpse of my gigantic leather-clad butt in the mirror it makes me want to cry. Please work on fitting a bit more kindly.


25 October 2010

To The BatCave!

Dear lord, where to start?

Last week was an adventure that began the weekend of the previous week. I ended my brief escapde as a single parent (and boy howdy did *that* suck-the single parent thing, not the ending it) and we spent a week doing laundry and packing and preparing for.....

wait for it......


Jon, Edward and I packed up our lives (yes it took two suitcases for me and the baby. yes I took every single bib and burp rag I could find. yes I did two loads of laundry at my parents house anyway. and yes, I could have left half of the clothes and pjs at home had I known that we wouldn't experience any complete clothing failures) and headed to Illinois for Monmouth College's homecoming. It was my 10 year reunion too and the first time I'd been on campus since I got married nine years ago. I barely recognized the school.

And may I just say to you current students at MC, you are spoiled rotten infants who live in palaces and climb stairs (STAIRS!) up the hill to Wallace Hall and have decent drinking water piped in from Peoria and a black box theatre space and a follow-spot booth that means no more dangling legs off the catwalk and fearing for your life and new light boards and a fancy store in the union that does not require walking five blocks in the snow to get milk!

I just needed to get that off my chest. Moving on.

I got to see two of my very best friends which was awesome. They both got to see me which I'm sure was equally awesome. And everyone got to see Edward who also got to see everyone. I know, it's hard to believe the level of sheer awesome-ness contained in one weekend! It was really, really, REALLY lovely to get to spend some one-on-one time with both of them. And it was fabulous of my husband to come along and corral the child. He was a great sport who made sure the small one ate and slept and played while I ran around town and went to a bar to hear a professor's wife sing and play mandolin in a band. I haven't spent any real quality time with D in over ten years and M has been at least 18 months, if not longer. They both looked and sounded and are wonderful.

While we were in Monmouth, Edward decided it was time to attempt mobilization. He began getting up onto all fours a few days before we left, and, having mostly mastered that (he gets up and then cries because he can't figure out how to get back down again, except when he cries because he fell and can't figure out how to get back up), he decided to experiment! His first big idea was to get up on all fours, thrust his head forward and plant his forehead onto the floor while dropping his arms. He then contracted his abs and pulled his knees forward, lifted his head and planted it as far from his body as possible and repeated the whole process. Then he cried because his head hurt. I gently explained that yes, foreheads are not, in general, a large component in mobilization; and, as far as I can tell, are only there to ensure a nice large and socially-awkward place to get acne.

Then Jon headed back to WA and my parents came to get their grandbaby (and oh yes, me too) and took us to Decatur for the week.

My folks haven't seen Edward since he was two or three weeks old so there were plenty of changes. Look, he has different hair and his eyes are different colors and he can mostly remain in a seated position! If you have kids, then you know how exciting this was. If you don't, then you probably won't.

More on the week in Decatur in part two. Now, time for a nap.

12 October 2010

Life Would Be Better With An Editor

NPR has been running their sweeps week this week which means a lot of talking about how they don't usually talk a lot. And also a bunch of stuff about biographies and autobiographies and collections of memoirs.

That's one of the things about NPR - it always makes me feel guilty that I'm not reading more of those kinds of books. It also frequently makes me feel like an uninformed citizen, but that's more ok because I am.

But anyway, that got me thinking about how life is so much cooler with editing.

For example, in real life, this is how this thought happened:

ME: doo dee doo, hmm..when I get done with my facial I should probably go to the bookstore and get something to read...

[Oh, red light-put on brake, I wonder why that car is stopped so far from the car in front of it. Are they going to pull forward? There's quite a line forming behind me. Maybe if I just sneak up a little they'll get the hint and pull forward too. Nope. Now I'm awkwardly close to the car in front of me. I sure hope no one hits me from behind cause I'll end up rear-ending the...Oh, green light-push accelerator]

Hey, NPR is talking about books, wonder if it's anything I'd like to read...Nope. But huh, why are pepople's lives so much more interesting in print? I mean really, you can take anyone's life and publish it in a book and someone will read it. Why is that? It must be good editing. Because if we had to read about a real life it would be too big for a book and involve a lot of things nobody cares about like the time you were crying in the college cafeteria because you were too tired to decide which kind of juice to have with breakfast [actually, that's kind of a funny story and I should post about it sometime].

Oh crap, was that light green or red? No cop car is pulling me over and no one is honking so it must have been green.

What would life be like if it were just the edited version? Could you choose your editor? And what if it turned out your editor was just trying to create one of those books on Oprah's book list? The kind that focuses on all of the bad crap that ever happened to you and that's all? That would suck. I wonder what an editor would make of my life. Would the things on my highlight list make the editor's list? What if they didn't? That would also suck. Does that mean I would lose those experiences?

Oh, hey, I should park.

Life with an editor:
I was driving to the spa when it occurred to me that if life had editors then we could skip a lot of unneccessary stuff.

Say No More


All I have to say is "yup" and "ditto".

10 October 2010

My Life is a Series of One-Liners

I have a friend who thinks I'm funny. This is one of the main reasons we're friends. Because I like people who think I'm funny. This particular friend is always saying I should do stand up or write a book. While I find this flattering, I have several problems with this idea-namely that I'm never going to do stand-up as I can't face the rejection and that I'm only funny in one-liners. Also, I'm not disciplined enough to write a book. I have a hard time keeping up with this blog and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who reads it. Also, I have a journal that I'm writing monthly notes to my son in and the latest entry is three weeks late. But, having said all of this here are the some of the queerer things from my life lately...

On the subject of houseguests
Jon: What's the difference between people staying with us and going downstairs in the evenings and them staying in a hotel and going there in the evenings?
Me: When they leave, they're gone.

Recently I went to change my son's diaper but he wasn't done pooping yet. I was halfway through when it suddenly came squirting out and reminded me of nothing so much as when you try to get an ice cream cone from the soft-serve machine but it comes gushing out faster than you expected and you can't get it to shut off so you end up with a lop-sided cone twelve inches tall. You know that panicky feeling while it's happening? Yeah, it was a lot like that. Only more disgusting.

The baby finds the cats hilarious this week. It doesn't matter what we're doing, if a cat wanders by it means all-out gut-wrenching laughter. The cats have responded the way all cats react to laughter directed at them-they get haughty. Which the baby finds funny. Rinse. Repeat.

In case you've ever wondered, leave the neck support thingy in the car seat. It's there for a reason.

My son has a mole on his thigh and I find myself hoping he'll be at least eighteen before some girl or boy sees it.

Thanks to a friend I now know what hobo spiders are and freak out every time I kill one-which is approximately every three to five days since it's fall and they're moving in.

I still want to know if vegans swallow but I don't know any strict vegans to ask.

I was printing a few pictures to take home to my folks next week and I burned through an entire set of color ink cartridges. I blame the baby.

I think my kid is freakishly adorable-just like all of you other snowflakes.

I don't believe anyone when they tell me they think my kid is beautiful/adorable/cute because I lie all the time about babies.

"I am a delicate flower" is not a statement to be delivered in a roar if you want to be taken seriously.

Why must I have time to think "Oh shit" before my worst mistakes? Couldn't I just make the mistake and then have the insight?

I think if you can't say something nice about other people's pets then you should shut the hell up.

You know those people who think life was so much better when they were kids? They've forgotten that you had to ask permission to use the bathroom.

I like my sock drawer organized but my lingerie jumbled.

Flummoxed is just a damn funny word. So is squirrel.

My neighbor has taught a squirrel to hold a fist against his chest like he's flashing a gang sign for peanuts. This is the same neighbor who objected to his wife feeding the raccoons.

I had never seen an opossum up close until I moved out here. They're ugly. And that's coming from someone who thinks naked mole rats are kind of cute.

"Dude, it's not a trumpet." -my response to my son's attempt at a new breatfeeding technique.

I've been single-parenting it for the last three days while my husband was in St. Louis for his 15th high school reunion. I have always had the deepest respect for single parents and now I think it's a miracle that the suicide rate isn't higher. Last night I put my son to bed half an hour early because I was so tired and he can't tell time yet. Today I threw myself upon the mercy of a friend and stayed at her house for five hours. FIVE HOURS ya'll. Now, that's an awesome friend. After only three days on our own, our house looks like a disaster area. Or at least something that should have a quarrantine sign on it. But I did manage to get the baby into clean clothes all three days. And I even showered twice!

01 October 2010

watching the WEG dressage coverage

You know what's reassuring? Seeing these amazing international riders getting off of their horses and loosening the girth and running up the stirrups-just like everyone else.

30 September 2010

Riding; Ketchup and Mustard; Cuteness

Dear Internet, sorry I haven't updated since early tuesday morning. We've had a hectic week here. I had my first ride in over a year with Katie Schied at Sage Meadows. I got to ride Drifter, who is 26 and totally unflappable. Which was exactly what I needed. She started me out by instructing me to take two laps in two point. Um....what?! and HOW?! My boots, which I maintain have shrunk (and not that pregnancy weight gain made my legs bigger), were cutting off most of the blood circulation to my feet. Ow. And then there's all of those muscles I haven't used in ages. Ow. And THEN, there's the fact that even if I were in riding trim, I haven't ridden two point in years. Holy OW Batman! I made it one lap. We did some trotting and a little canter. And lots and lots of walking while I tried to breathe through the pain. At the moment I have my boots sitting and stretching so that they'll fit a bit better next week. And I've been attempting to do a little cardio every day. I'm really excited to go back next week. She studies with my favorite instructor so she brings a lot of what I'm looking for to the table. The one downside I forsee is the lack of an indoor riding space, and in the rainy northwest winters that could be problematic for me. Especially since riding in the rain with glasses is difficult!

On Wednesday I started a new group, Listening Mothers. My psychiatrist has been strongly recommending it to me since I had my baby. I'll probably have some more to say about it later but for now I'll leave it there.

Today I attempted to get the baby back on a nap schedule. He's had a fractious week and has been cranky. My friend, who has been staying with us was headed off for a big trip on Wednesday so the energy in the house has been a little more frenetic than usual. Also, Jon is leaving me alone with the baby while he flies home next weekend and I'm more than a bit freaked. Add this to the fact that we've had things sceduled during naptime all week and you end up with a mommy and baby who are having a difficult time coping.

Something I've been meaning to write about that I've found hilarious recently is the baby's preference for one breast over the other. This preference is subject to change at any moment-even during a feeding. I'm sure there's some perfectly reasonable biological explanation for this; probably having to do with position and milk flow. But all I can find to relate it to is ketchup vs. mustard. Currently, I have designated the right as ketchup and the left as mustard.

And finally, we reached an all new level of cute this evening. The baby had a containment failure and wet the bed. He woke up yelling and required a change of clothes and sheets. I sat down to nurse him while Jon changed the sheets. Jon finished and was leaving the room when the baby suddenly threw his head around, stretched out one arm and whimpered. Jon had to come back and hold him for several minutes before Edward would assent to be comforted and go back to sleep. This is the first time he has demanded comfort from both of us and it was so sweet it almost broke my heart. In other news he has learned how to pull the string to make his toy play music and will shortly be driving us crazy, so I'm glad we stopped to appreciate the cute while we could.

28 September 2010

What Am I Getting Myself Into???

I have my first ride in over a year today. I don't leave for another twenty or thirty minutes which leaves me plenty of time to obsess over this fact. I've chosen to take a few lessons with a new trainer. I know her from my volunteering days and I like her a lot. I've met at least one of her school horses and he's a great lesson horse. And still my anxiety had me up last night-sicker than a dog.

My body has changed so much since my last ride and I'm nervous about how that will affect everything. I'm really struggling with feeling too heavy to ride. It helped me to watch some of the Reining from WEG yesterday night. I saw many men riding smaller horses and they looked fine. But, oy. I know that the only way to get over this hump is just to do it. I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck Internet!

14 September 2010

Well, Darn.

I have a new quote to add to my favorites list: "To float away on a life-long song, in a mist where melody flies."

I was reading an article on finding a good in-home daycare. It turns out, my home is a terrible place for a child. I had nine out of the ten signs of a bad daycare. I don't have too rigid a schedule. That's the one thing I have going for me as a caregiver. Well, that and a lot of love.

This is the precise reason I don't read many parenting books or magazines. I prefer to get information and advice from other parents. Whenever I do, I end up feeling horrible and inadequate. And I'm neither. But damn, it's hard to remember that sometimes.

20 August 2010

How I've Lived 'til Now

"and i love you so,
people ask me how,
how i've lived til now,
i tell them i don't know"

Every now and then, like now for instance, there are moments when I sit and listen to my son breathe and marvel at the world and its mysteries. I am so in awe of this tiny being that came from me.

They said that I couldn't really know what it is to love unil I had a child.

They were wrong.

Because this love? This all-encompassing, nothing I wouldn't do for you, absolute devotion? It's how I love. When I really open my heart, I open it. It's that simple and that profound. Often the people I've given my heart to have no idea that I have. They're the kindred spirits in this world-the ones I meet and love for no real reason other than that I do.

You may not know who you are, but I hold you in my heart every day.

19 August 2010


I don't have a title for this post. I don't even really have a theme. Just some things that have been weighing on my mind.

Edward is almost six months old and I thought it would be easier by now. I thought I'd have become "that mom". The one who wears clothes and not pajamas, who showers every day, who can play with the baby and still get housework done, who has dinner ready for her husband most nights.

I'm not. I haven't cleaned my animal cages in several weeks. And they smell. I have clean laundry stacked up that I haven't managed to fold and put away (in fact there's a pile of it on my bed that I'm going to ignore tonight). I have dirty laundry piled up too. Mostly unsorted. There are baby toys and cat toys everywhere. Enough dust to make another cat. And I still haven't unpacked my garage from when we put the floors in.

And I'm struggling for this to be ok.

I expected more from myself.

I'm a good mother. I'm just not a very good housewife. And maybe that's ok too. But sometimes it's hard to tell when you're looking for a clean pair of socks.

04 July 2010

Walked Right Into That One

While playing Lego Harry Potter:

ME: Where does Hermione get Crookshanks [to appear] from anyway?

JON: Well, it is Hermione's pussy.

For those of you who may not have a visual to associate with this, in the LEGO games characters often sort of manifest objects they supposedly have on them. These objects are frequently bigger than said character and the character often seems to be grabbing them from his/her lower anatomy. Like Hermione's Time Turner that is bigger than her head and appeared to come from her ass.

30 June 2010


Something that has been bothering me for some time now:

Do vegans swallow?

I'd really like to know but I don't know any strict vegans to ask. Do any of you?

As for the baby front, things are going pretty well. He's had several bouts of constipation which has made him a bit cranky. I continue to really enjoy being a stay at home mom, which still surprises me. I get to hang out with this cool little man all day. Nine pm is about the time I'm done with him though. Nine rolls around and I begin to wonder why there is still a baby on me. Jon usually takes bedtime for this reason. Naps continue to be confusing and challenging as they vary in duration and number. In the last week or so he seems to be settling into a system of nap, eat, activity, snack, nap. This works well for me so I'm trying to encourage it.

My in-laws were in town for a week and it was a surprisingly nice visit. Last time they would only hold the baby if he was clean and sleeping; but in the intervening months they seem to have remembered that they raised two children and they were really helpful this time. Our main problem continues to be that, other than Jon, we don't have a lot in common. I don't follow politics particularly and we don't like the same shows or movies. I don't know the people they talk about and vice versa so we usually end up sitting around and staring at one another. This visit, instead of staring at me they sat and interacted with the baby. Phew! It was a tremendous relief. I often feel pressured to try and entertain them which can be difficult. My mom will go and read a book and my dad will take himself off to go do something when he's bored but I can't tell when my in-laws are bored or just hanging out. They babysat one evening for us and we got to have a lovely dinner at The Melting Pot and go grocery shopping. It was so relaxing. And one night Jon and Edward took them out to dinner and I had the entire house to myself for four hours. It was AWESOME! I hadn't been alone in the house for any length of time since Edward was born. I plan to have Jon take him out for several hours at least once a month now. I had a glass of wine, took off my pants (one of the downsides of houseguests is that you have to wear pants), and watched a movie and read a book.

I still really want to know if vegans swallow.

25 June 2010

A Crap-tacular Day

This morning I woke up feeling sick (possibly as a result of having eaten too much yesterday) and ended up spending the majority of the morning and early afternoon having horrible diarrhea and intestinal cramps. The baby had his vaccinations yesterday and wasn't feeling too chipper today either. He wanted lots of nursing and cuddling and, unfortunately, I just wasn't up to it. It took me more than an hour and a half to change his diaper, get him dressed, and fed. During this time I made 8 or 9 trips to the bathroom. And once, while I was attempting to finish putting on his clean clothes, I experienced a bit of containment failure. Yup, I crapped my pants a little.

After all of that I was hoping the baby would take a nap but he wanted to play. So I put him in his crib with his playmat and tried to make a little something to eat. I returned to find that he had crapped his pants a whole lot and it was now all over his pants, shirt, playmat, sheet, and mattress. Before I could even attempt to clean him up though I had to run to the bathroom for me again. This was when I called my husband to come home from work. By the time he arrived home, I had the baby bathed, the clothes and linens in the washing machine, and the child was asleep. But at least he was there and that made me feel a tiny bit better.

All in all, a most crap-tacular day.

10 June 2010

Finding Our Own Style

One of the hardest things for me about becoming a parent has been filtering through the wealth of information to find what works for me. For example, new moms are encouraged to get out and see people, to ge involved in groups, and to socialize with other new moms. This is supposed to help the new mother with feelings of isolation. And I'm sure that it does.

However, I hate large groups of strangers. I forced myself to attend the mother/baby class at the hospital three or four times. And I learned some great information. I've watched my friend S. mother over the last year and she is always involved in something. She's an excellent mother and I tried to emulate her by attempting to "get involved". Which was when I came face to face with the reality that my friend is an extrovert in the extreme and I, well, I'm not. I like poeple. But I really don't like large groups-especially of people I don't know. I've had to really struggle to come to a place where that's okay for me in my new role as a mother.

I'm not exactly sure why I thought motherhood would change this particular personality trait but I did. Instead I've reconnected with an old friend who recently had a baby as well and we're meeting once a week to take a walk and talk. There are usually three of us and it's lovely. Yesterday I took the baby with me to a coffee house where we sat and I read a book and nursed him for awhile. Today, in stark contrast, I have holed up in the bedroom with the baby, a playmat, a burp rag, my book and my computer. I've turned off the phones and we're having a lovely afternoon-just the two of us. And it's perfect.

I've known for a lot of years now that I need a lot of down time to stay happy. And I'm finally figuring out how to find that as a mother too.

19 May 2010

P.S. Thanks for Leather Furniture

Yesterday I was attempting to drink while breastfeeding and, typically of me, I forgot to swallow and then breathe. So I started choking and coughing, still valiantly trying to hold the baby, and ended up wetting my pants. Which made me laugh, which made me cough harder, which made me wet my pants. I holler for my husband, who can't understand what I'm saying with all the coughing and sputtering and laughing; and finally manage to make him understand that I need him to take the baby so I can clean up. I unlatch the baby, hand him off and begin attempting to clean the couch. Of course, by now, my milk had let down and was dripping everywhere I was trying to clean. I did get it all cleaned up and finished feeding the baby.

It was one of those moments when I realized that a lot of things about motherhood are weird and gross and hilarious.

And also that I'm so glad we have leather furniture.

And Jon, stop laughing.

13 May 2010

How to Get Back in the Saddle in Just 30 Steps.

1. Heal posterior portions of anatomy.
2. Take brisk walk to test step one.
3. Return to step one and actually heal.
4. Test step one again by sitting on hard chair and wiggling.
5. Declare yourself ready and start telling friends and family that you're going to call the trainer.
6. Attempt to remember where you packed away your breeches.
7. Find the only pair of breeches without an elastic waistband. Look at your changed figure. Put breeches in back of closet and look for other breeches.
8. Research trainers online just in case you might want to make a change.
9. Take breeches back out of closet. Lay them on bed. Consider trying them on. Return them to closet.
10. Worry about childcare during your lesson. Have spouse reassure you that he will take the baby while you ride.
11. Look at breeches in back of closet. Look at waist. Laugh.
12. Drive to tack store to buy new breeches.
13. Read price tag of new breeches. Laugh. Resolve to find your other breeches.
14. Return home. Try on breeches.
15. Remember they used to zip. Wipe off tears and throw breeches in back of closet.
16. Sob all over spouse who has come running to see what is wrong that you are now too heavy to ride a horse.
17. Let spouse tell you that other adults ride horses all the time. Adults that weigh more than you currently do.
18. Spouse is an idiot and clearly doesn't know anything. Feel free to employ dramatic gesture.
19. Find other breeches in the box you checked first and thought you had searched thoroughly.
20. Put on breeches. Look in mirror.
21. Remind yourself that many people who weigh more than you ride horses every day.
22. Finally call trainer and schedule lesson.
23. Have panic attack at the thought of going out in public in breeches.
24. Offset panic attack with the thrill of going out in public without the baby.
25. Arrive at barn.
26. Tack up horse.
27. Walk horse to arena.
28. Return horse to barn to put on piece of tack you've forgotten.
29. Walk horse to arena. Look at mounting block and distance to saddle.
30. Fumble through mounting and finally manage to heave yourself into the saddle.

Success! You are ready for your first lesson post-baby!

27 April 2010


Inevitability: the cleanup of cat food dumped in random location by cat and placing said food in garbage can. Only to find cat has dumped over trash can to get at food cleaned up yesterday.

and also, if you eat popcorn while breastfeeding, sooner or later you're going to have to clean popcorn out of someone's ear.

21 March 2010

Dear Edward

Dear Edward,
While I respect your growing interest in the world-at-large, may I point out to you that mommy still needs to nap between feeding even if you have decided (at the grand old age of three and a half weeks) that you no longer need to? The management would greatly appreciate a return to more napping, or if not, at least working on a reliable feeding schedule, thus enabling others to nap.
The management

16 March 2010

The Birth Story

Warning: I'm not editing this for content. Please read at your own discretion...

Monday the 22nd of February I began having regular contractions every 20 minutes.

Ok, to back up a little, we moved back into our house on Saturday and got the upstairs mopped and dusted and the TV plugged back in. Hey, we have our priorities! I had some fluid leakage so I spent Sunday and Monday on bed rest. Jon built the crib Sunday night just in case.

Back to Monday, Jon was timing my ctx and kept asking me if we should pack a bag. Was I sure I didn't want him to pack a bag? Shouldn't we at least set up the car seat???

And I said, No, women can stall out having ctx at 20 minute intervals for weeks. This is not labor, quit worrying. And at midnight I was standing on the front porch telling him to quit screwing around with the car seat and come to bed. This wasn't labor and we should get some sleep.

Imagine my surprise when I awoke at 2:30 AM on Tuesday and my ctx were exactly 4 minutes apart. I timed them for an hour and then woke Jon up and asked him, very meekly, to please pack a bag. We called the midwife and she told us to hang out at home and come in around 5 AM. And so we called our friend Sarah to meet us there. I had planned to have my mother and several other friends with me during labor but my mom was still in IL (baby wasn't due until 3/15 and so she had a plane ticket for 3/8), my neighbor had had surgery Monday, and my other friends were at work. So, Sarah met us at the birth center and stayed with us for several hours offering her support before heading to work.

Labor progressed pretty normally until I reached 6 cm of dilation. At this point, around 1 PM, it stalled out. I was only having one ctx every 15 or 20 minutes. And so we put on our coats and spent the next three hours walking around the building outside and climbing up and down the stairs. And my ctx would pick back up again, we would go inside and they would stop again. Around 4:30 or 5 we talked to the midwife and made the decision to go to the hospital to get some pictocin and get labor going again.

I was hysterical about having to start labor all over again but Jon kept reminding me that I would start at 6 cm, not 0. In other words, I wasn't going to have to do the whole day over again. (Hey, no one ever claimed women in labor were completely rational.)

And so we packed up and drove the four blocks to the hospital where I was admitted. The nurses promptly put in an IV port and began strapping monitors to my belly. These were large, unwieldy things that crept out of position every time I moved. Then the doctors would lose the baby's heartbeat and freak out. This was especially frustrating as the positions that were most comfortable for me in labor were on my hands and knees or sitting on the ball leaning forward onto the bed, and these positions kept pushing the monitors out of the way.

Eventually the doctor came in and placed a monitor on top of the baby's head in the canal. And may I just express to you how uncomfortable getting that in there was? Ouch. I quickly over the course of the day learned to hate the statement "let's see how far along you are". This statement was inevitably followed by someone shoving their entire hand into my vagina and trying to see how many fingers they could wedge through my cervix. I have no idea why everyone wanted to rape me with their hands but they did and I didn't like it. But I digress, the monitor worked pretty well, except that the cord wasn't long enough and so it kept coming out of the box taped to my thigh. Which then lost the baby's heartbeat again. After a few ctx the monitor fell off the head. We had to place this damn thing three times people. THREE TIMES. This is a lot of times to have someone trying to maneuver their hand your vagina.

Eventually I reached 9.5 cm dilation. And then I had this stupid bit of cervix that wouldn't efface. I labored for an hour and still no dice. By this time I had discovered that the agonizing pain in my pelvis was due to the fact that Edward was posterior (in lay-man's terms he was face up). This meant that the back of his head was attempting to lever my sacrum in a manner that it was not designed for. At one point I remember deciding that I could crawl away from this pain and I began attempting to scale the bed or climb off the side.

And finally I broke down and asked for the epidural. I was exhausted and frustrated and I decided I needed some help. After less than ten ctx I had medicine numbing my back. As soon as that happened I was able to relax and deal with the ctx that I could still feel. I had one quarter of my abdomen that never did go numb but since I was so close to pushing we decided to leave it be.

After thirty or so minutes of rest with the epidural it was time to begin pushing. They brought in the mirror for me so that I could see. And here's the funny thing; my biggest fear about birth was getting fecal matter on the baby, and in fact it was helpful to see the material that sometimes came out as it meant that I was using the right muscles to push! I pushed for two hours with the head right on the verge of coming out. Finally the nurse called the doctor about the possibility of a vacuum extraction. Which we ended up doing. He told the nurse to give me another hit of the epidural (which by this point had worn off) and told me that this was going to hurt. And it did, even through the epidural. He placed the vacuum and pulled three or four times and finally Edward's head made it out of my pelvis. After that it was cake. He was born at 3:20 AM on Wednesday the 24th.

Edward was whisked over to the warming tray and worked on. Jon was able to cut the cord. I had to stay put and get many stitches. It felt like forever before I finally got to hold my new baby but Jon eventually got the OK to bring him over. He was 6 lbs even and 19 inches long. He was beautiful but had a furry little cap where the vacuum was. By the afternoon that had gone away however, just leaving my perfect little boy. He had low blood sugar and had to go upstairs to the NICU for several hours. He quickly learned that anyone coming for his foot was going to prick him and draw blood. We had some more adventures with the hospital and some huge frustrations that I'll share in a later post.

01 March 2010

The Baby Has Arrived

Yup, he's here. Three weeks early. I'll write more in detail about the birth and what has been happening since then. Right now we're enjoying having a newborn and getting all the sleep we're able to!

18 February 2010

Not For The Easily Embarrassed

I give you fair warning-this post is explicit. If you are the type who is easily embarrassed or who is related to me, you may wish to skip reading it.

That having been said...

One of the things that no one ever tells you about getting married is that it takes multiple people to use the restroom in a wedding gown. Personally, this is the first thing I talk to prospective brides about because it was the one thing no one told me about and figuring it out took several tries. There's a reason you have your very dearest friends in your bridal party-it's so that one can hold up the dress and the other can tell you when you're over the toilet.

One of the things no one told me about being pregnant was that there would come a time when washing would become difficult. Usually I soap and then lean back a little to allow good water coverage for rinsing. Trouble is, even when I lean back the water doesn't really get there. I've tried spreading my behind and attempting it that way but it doesn't really rinse that way either. I've had to give up and use a washcloth. Also, I haven't actually scrubbed my feet in about two weeks because I don't have the balance. I can't see them so I just assume they're getting pretty clean standing in the water.

Putting on pants is fun too. Edward has his head pretty firmly in my pelvis - at least the midwives can't find it when they palpate it so we assume that's where it is. If I give birth to a baby with no head that'll be something else entirely. But I digress, Edward is vertical. And his back is facing out toward my stomach. This means he doesn't bend particularly well. It literally feels like I have a cement block in my abdomen that I'm trying to bend around. I can lift my legs up, but I can't bend in half. Thus, I stand and contemplate my balance for several long moments before quickly lifting a leg and shoving it into my pants. Then I repeat this procedure for the other leg. My husband assures me it looks as silly as I think it does. I may have to admit defeat soon and begin sitting down to get dressed. I'm still putting on socks but it gets more difficult every day and I think I may be rapidly approaching the horizon where if I don't have help I may just go barefoot in my shoes. I suppose all of this is to teach me to ask for and accept help before the baby comes so that I'll be used to it.

Last night I was having contractions most of the night. Lots of pressure in my abdomen meant I kept having to get up to use the restroom. The contraction part meant I couldn't find a comfortable place to sleep in between visits. It was a very long night. My only consolation is that, judging by his movements, Edward thought it sucked just as much. I did finally manage to get some relatively uniterrupted sleep this morning for a few hours and I'm lucky enough to be able to nap this afternoon so I shouldn't complain too much; but, hey, it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.

We have to move out of the hotel tomorrow and poor Jon will be back to sleeping in bed with me. Everyone take a moment to pity the man because I get up and down more than the cats do. In fact, he may end up bedding down on the spare bed with the cats to get some rest. Thank heavens for king sized beds since I now require at least three or four pillows to get comfortable. We get to bring home our cats on Saturday and we need to pick up the rats tomorrow. We should be able to meet up with our friends who've been watching the guinea pigs and the birds sometime soon as well so I'll have my animal family back together again. And then we just need to pick some paint colors, order our new ikea furniture and reassemble the house! Piece of cake right?! I get exhausted just contemplating it. At least it's all of our stuff and it's in our garage and we can take our time unpacking.

And I may not have mentioned it lately, or you know, ever, but I'm so looking forward to finally meeting this little cement block. I cannot wait to see his cute little pointed head!

15 February 2010

And You Thought Prophylactics Were Embarrassing

Today the fun of pregnancy hit an all new level when I went to the pharmacy and picked up some supplies for birth.

First I stocked up on the Preparation H, and then the stool softener (I'm told it's a neccessity for the first few days post-birth).

And then Internet, I got to go to the incontinence aisle and find pads and underwear. Awesome. There are these nifty pads that spread out flat and are waterproof. These were recommended for putting on the bed before labor in case your water breaks while you're in bed, and then after to absorb any lochia leaks. And let me tell you, you haven't begun to have fun until you're standing there reading the Depends packaging to try to figure out which size you need.

I also returned to my car after lunch to find that someone had parked too close to my car on the driver's side for me to get in. Fortunately, I was able to climb in on the passenger side and climb over the center console. It was neither pretty nor graceful. 36 weeks pregnant is not the time to be attempting to climb over anything...

Yup, it was a banner day.

14 February 2010

Still So Pregnant

I'm still pregnant. I caught a cold last week that I'm pretty sure has left me with a sinus infection. This is in addition to the nasal swelling that I've had for the duration of my pregnancy. Hooray. Now I can't breathe AND it hurts. Wow, how much fun are we having? This time I went ahead and took tylenol sinus during the worst of the cold. I noticed that the baby's movements slowed down those days so I only used it during the worst three days. He's back to randomly knocking me around so I'm pretty sure he's fine. My sinuses were so swollen that for those three days even my husband commented on it. You know you're sick when your husband notices your facial swelling.

Tomorrow I'm off to the doctor in hopes of obtaining meds for the sinus infection. At least the visible swelling has gone down.

I'm retaining fluids like a crazy thing though so my hands and feet look like sausages. And I ache all over. My joints continue to soften and loosen and my pelvis is moving quite a bit. I'm so ready for labor to start.

I'm also convinced that I'm giving birth to Gumby. That or a baby whose major parts are connected with silly putty. This is the only explanation I can come up with for the fact that I'm frequently getting pummeled in three disparate places simultaneously.

Have I mentioned that I'm ready to be done?

03 February 2010

Final Baby Class

This week's class was also our last class (yay!) and it went well. We got a lot of really helpful information about the first few weeks postpartum and how to cope with all of that. We did have a thirty minute labor practice (it was scripted and everything) but she passed it out and let us talk through it on our own. So Jon and I discussed a few things, I got a back rub, and then we were done. The script even called for you to look at your partner and announce, "I can't do this anymore." and then see what your partner would say. Jon said, "OK, let's go home." Which I guarantee will happen at least once during labor. Most likely followed by a "But since we're here why not have another contraction while I have someone look for the keys."

Our flooring materials are being delivered today. For whatever reason the company decided it would be better to make three trips from Tukwila to Kirkland with one crew, instead of multiple trucks or one crew and one really big truck. The first load didn't arrive until twelve thirtyish so they're not doing very well. I don't think the third load is arriving today since I'm still waiting for the second.

We had friends over last night for dinner and then they helped Jon move stuff to the garage and disassemble our china cabinet. Thanks guys, you rock! I'm feeling better now that I can see a bit of progress and I think Jon is too. Although he's still upset because he doesn't think he's getting enough done here or at work. If we ever do this again I will suggest that we schedule it a little more carefully and he can use a couple of vacation days.

I'm really looking forward to my trip this weekend. I'm going to Salish Lodge on Sunday and staying til Tuesday morning. While there, I'm having several spa treatments. Should be an awesome time!

31 January 2010


There's been a lot of muttering going on recently. Mostly, it's curse words. And threats about spanking the baby with large wet noodles. And then some more cursing.

Remember that brief week and a half or so just past the first trimester when everything felt pretty good and the GI stuff went away? Or the couple of weeks I had at the beginning of the third trimester when I felt great? Yeah, me too. Fondly. The party is once again over.

Heartburn like you would not believe coupled with insane acid reflux. Antacids are helping but not solving this problem. My GI tract has slowed down again too so even though I'm starving there's literally no room to put food. So I'm constipated, followed by massive bouts of intestinal cramping and diarrhea. Awesome. It's like the first trimestser, only so much more uncomfortable because now there's a FREAKING HUMAN BEING in my abdomen. Not a cute little sea-monkey sized one either, but a freaking baby-sized human being with limbs that poke out at odd angles all the time.

I now have feet in my diaphragm and for those of you who think that might be a euphemism for something sexy-NO. Actual pointy little baby feet sticking into my muscle. So that when I forget about them and take a deep breath, I slam the muscle into tiny pointy feet and it HURTS.

A lot.

Add to this the wonder that is the baby attempting to screw his head into position several times a day against my pelvic floor and I'm just not a very happy camper these days. I know women who LOVE being pregnant. I'm not one of them. Four weeks of feeling great and enjoying pregnancy vs. 30 weeks of misery. It certainly has been what you could call an interesting experience and I'm sure it will be worth it when I have a baby to hold; but, oy with the discomfort and the ready for this to be done already!

Also, have I mentioned there's a FREAKING HUMAN BEING living in me? My body may have been designed with a rental unit built in but I'm really, really, really, REALLY ready to have it back to myself now.

28 January 2010

Class 3

Class this week was neither terribly fun or funny. Sorry gang. We practiced variable breathing while in a squat position which had the effect of making me hyperventilate. The position meant that Edward's feet shoved against my diaphragm and caused it to begin spasming. And then my body reacted to all of this by deciding that we needed a good old-fashioned panic attack to go with everything else. I had to excuse myself from class and take a walk.

I'm supposed to be practicing squatting as I couldn't do it in class for any length of time. Trouble is, my knees don't do squatting. They haven't since I was a kid. I know if I practice holding this position my legs will get stronger, but I'm not sure I can stand the pain in my knees that practicing will cause.

Mostly I'm just glad that we have one more class left. Although this is the class where, instead of practicing two or three contractions, I believe she's left us an entire hour to "practice". Great. I continue to find this whole practice thing not very helpful. If she'll just let us choose the positions that are comfortable for us I can probably take a nap. One can only hope.

We have a definite date for the installation of our new floors! They should be starting February 9. This means that we now have a hard deadline for emptying the house. And that I have dates to call the spa with.

My poor cats are not handling the packing well at all. They are excessively displeased that all of their furniture keeps disappearing and that there are boxes everywhere. This has created cats that are unusally clingy and demanding. It's going to kind of a lousy couple of months for them. First, the house is emptying, then they're off to the kennel, and when they get home we'll be unpacking and assembling new furniture from Ikea (we're getting a day bed for guests and a series of shelves for the living room), and THEN, just when it seems like it's all over, a baby is going to descend upon the household. Since I know this is coming I'm a lot more patient with the cling than I normally would be. And it's nice to get to spend some time loving on them without a baby to worry about.

25 January 2010

We've Gone Vertical

Well, within the last week or so the baby has re-oriented himself vertically. Up until this time he preferred to spend most of his time sideways.

Actually, he REALLY wanted to spend all of his time curled up on my pelvic floor like a little baby rabbit in a nest but that hasn't been physically possible in months. Not that this has kept him from making the attempt at least 15 times a day however. It turns out, you can't just push on the iliac crests to move them. Who knew?!

But anyway, we are mostly vertical all the time now and I'm finally joining the ranks of those who can't get a deep breath. (When I can breathe through my stuffy sinuses that is) And those whose stomachs are now moved involuntarily causing sudden nausea or reflux. Isn't that fun? And yesterday I tied my last pair of shoes for awhile. Thank goodness for elastic band tennis shoes that I can wear barefoot because putting on socks takes me almost as long as it does to find my phone and my house keys. At least I can still put on my socks. My husband has graciously offered to put on my socks and tie my shoes. And, Internet, I may actually take him up on it. Sigh. I've also given up taking the stairs and am using elevators. And when the teenage bagboy offers to help me out with my groceries I'm so grateful I could kiss him.

Getting things off of the ground has become an all new process as well. I thought it was uncomfortable to bend over while he was sideways-it actually causes pain now. If I need to pick something up I have kneel down for it. And then I have to crawl over to a piece of furniture sturdy enough to get myself back off the floor. (I quit being able to stand up easily even with assistance about two weeks ago.) So, if something ends up on the ground, I find myself staring at it and contemplating how badly I actually need/want it. Is this something I can go to another room and find without the effort of getting onto the floor? And once I'm on the ground I do that thing old people joke about where you look around to see if anything else needs doing while you're there. I used to think this joke was funny-ha-ha. Now I know it's laugh-because- otherwise-you'd-cry-funny.

I find I'm looking forward to postpartum pain and discomfort just because it will be a new pain and discomfort. And then I can have the fun of comparing it to the pain and discomfort of pregnancy. See, it opens up an entirely new world of conversational possibilities! I pointed this out to my husband who looked vaguely ill and made an mmmhphphmm sort of noise. I chose to belive this means he's excited about this too.

We have finally chosen flooring for the house. Yes, the flooring that we have been planning to install since we bought the house five or six years ago is finally coming! Who knew that my husband just needed a deadline? We found a stranded bamboo floor that is just a solid chunk of stranded bamboo, instead of being layered like other engineered flooring products. The nice people at Simple Floors are installing it in early February. This means we're packing up the house. At least we can leave the kitchen stuff, the bathrooms, and the large furniture pieces in the house. We have to move out for approximately a week and a half though. To celebrate and as an incentive to keep packing, Jon is sending me to the spa for two days and nights. We dropped of a check on Sunday and are just waiting for them to finalize delivery and install dates. The cats are going to the kennel. The fish are staying in a bathroom or on the kitchen counter. The birds and guinea pigs are staying with some friends in Snohomish. Sadly, my rats are still without a temporary home. I'd really prefer not to leave them in the house so I told Jon he needed to ask his friends as mine have all declined to take them. I had never considered that some pets are hard to find sitters for. But rats are tricky evidently.

At any rate. It is now seventeen minutes past my five o'clock naptime so I'm going to join my cats in a brief snooze. I had grand plans of putting away some laundry before Jon got home but instead I wrote this blog post. We have our third of four birth classes tonight and I'm sure there'll be something funny about it tomorrow. So far, what I've really learned from these classes is that Jon and I should not be allowed to sit together. If we ever go to a couples' seminar this will be a valuable piece of information. However, since Jon hates group therapy I rank my chances of taking up smoking crack higher than ever using this intell. Ok, I've also learned that all of those years of intestinal cramping and IBS have prepared me for labor techniques. We have yet to go over anything non-medicinal that I haven't at some point tried. At least having had undiagnosed food allergies for over ten years may come in handy for something. I suppose no knowledge is ever really wasted. We have our tour of the hospital tonight and then I believe we're supposed to be practicing more contractions. I continue to see the good in getting into and out of some positions since movement is getting more complicated the farther along we go. But I fail to see how I am supposed to be preparing msyelf for the effort/discomfort/pain/pick your favorite word of a contraction by thinking about it and imaging what it will be like. And I'm a fairly imaginative person. Even Jon seems to understand this idea better than I do! Which is such a role-reversal that I'm surprised the world is still turning.

20 January 2010

Abnormal Psyche?

In birth class on Monday we practiced contractions. For those of you who find this an odd statement (and believe me, I did), this means that the instructor would announce that a contraction was starting and take us through the timing and the breathing until she announced it was done. During this we were supposed to be picturing the baby during a contraction. In the depths of my inner mind I saw a large yellow Wellington boot shoving my baby out of my body. I'm not sure why a YELLOW Wellington or even how the boot got into my body in the first place but I'm fairly certain this does not bode well for my kid's chances of growing up even remotely "normal".

15 January 2010

One of Those Days

I'm having one of those days when my marriage is so awesome, so perfect; that I wish all of my friends could be married to us too. This happens a lot more frequently than I'd ever admit. And one of the things I'm not looking foward to about having a baby is that I'm pretty sure it's going to implode a little. The marriage I mean, not the baby. Although if we do get an imploding baby that would certainly be noteworthy. I really believe that we'll be a stronger couple but I'm pretty sure first things are going to go a bit pear-shaped.

But yeah, today it's pretty much perfect and I wish you could all be a part of it. It's exhilirating to feel so confident of being loved and cherished. And knowing someone is there you can depend upon, no matter what else may happen. I continue to hope that I bring at least a bit of that into every friendship I have.

I ask you Internet, who wouldn't want to be married to this face?

11 January 2010

"Misserable Being Must Find More Miserable Being"

Tonight we had our first birth class. And it's true, misery does love company. As soon as the women began sharing about our symptoms, I immediately felt better that other women were just as uncomfortable as I am!

We spent a lot of time talking about our perceptions of labor and the stages of birth.

And then we had a guided meditation. This is where it all began to go terribly wrong for Jon and I.

We were supposed to be picturing what our baby looked like and suddenly all I could see in my head was this cartoon monkey throwing food. If you've read the fourth volume of "Flight", it's the monkey from the camp spirit animal cartoon. I managed to suppress the giggling that time.

But then we were supposed to be thinking of all the things our baby could hear and I really, really needed to fart. But we're all lying there quietly and thinking of sounds and I was trying so hard not to let it slip. And that's when the outright snorting began. Which of course set Jon off.

So, there we were, both of us trying not to disturb anyone while laughing our asses off. And we mostly had it under control - until the end of class when she told us we were going to play-act labor for our fourth class (Jon whispers to me "Oh god, they're wearing their armor.")in order to practice the techniques we'd learned (and Jon whispers "Maybe we should run around outside and level up some more first.") If you haven't seen the online cartoon I'm referring to, you definitely should look it up.

But yeah, that's when we totally lost it. Thus cementing our standing as the ones unable to take class seriously...

ya'll come back now, ya hear?