Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mountains and Molehills

I was thinking about the mountains today. Lately they feel both physically and psychologically imposing. Physically, because I'm out of shape and haven't been able to do any serious hiking for nearly a year. Psychologically because I always feel like they are there, waiting for me to come back and climb them -- literally I feel the pressure to climb mountains. I suppose this says a lot about my character. I wonder what it would feel like to sit on the beach and contemplate the crashing waves, to know I can't go any further and it's okay to just rest and listen to the water.

Apparently I need a vacation.

Getting off the pondering train now...

Jeremy's business is legally up and running now. He went out to tire shops to give out his business card today for the first time. I'm so damn proud of him.

So today was the first day I had the baby all day while I worked. It was challenging, to say the least. It will be better when we're into a routine. And when she decides once again to nap for more than 30 minutes.

America's Next Top Model beckons. I am completely addicted to that show. Sad, yes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Pic is a Little Better

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Visits, A Clean House and Upcoming Open Studios

It seems no matter how early I go to bed anymore, I'm living on coffee to get me through the day. The baby sleeps pretty well, giving us 5-6 hour stretches of sleep, but it just never seems to be enough to catch up. I'm beginning to wonder if I have something else going on besides mere sleep deprivation. I take my iron supplements and multivitamins religiously. I get exercise. I eat pretty well. But maybe there's a vitamin I'm lacking. Or maybe this is my body's response to post-nursing hormones.

I really hate that picture I posted last night of my new haircut. I took it with my phone. I really need to post a better one. People keep asking me "Was it hard to see all that hair on the floor of the salon?" Um, no. It's just hair. Even if I hated the cut, it'll grow back! And I'm not afraid to wear ponytails or buns for a while if necessary. But I love the cut. My hair has a lot more bounce. I do think I'm going to get the pink streaks back next time, though.

And in baby news, Scarlett has learned to talk with her mouth full.

We went down to the Springs on Saturday. I had a hair appointment, which we always use as an excuse to get down there and see family and friends. Janet made a big breakfast, so Jeremy's siblings, his grandmother and Burt (family friend/business partner) met at the Mehrings' house around 10:30 to eat together. Everyone fawned over Scarlett, but it was especially touching to see Scarlett with her Great-Grandma Alger. GG has a soft spot for our little one, and she gets especially happy when Scarlett falls asleep in her arms. The rest of the family has to practically beg her to let them hold the baby!

That evening we went over to Matt and Katie's. We hadn't seen their new house yet. It was great to hang out and catch up. Jeremy and I both love spending time with them. All four of us always have so much fun together!

I wish we could see them more often, but even getting down to the Springs for a day is a big challenge for us. Not so much with the baby -- she travels well -- but with the two dogs, we either have to take them with us (which is a nightmare) or rush home to let them out. Luckily this time my brothers were here to let our dogs out, which gave us more time to spend visiting in the Springs. My brothers cleaned our house and did some yard work as a birthday gift to me. A clean house and a neat yard was a FANTASTIC birthday present!!!

Today the baby let me sleep in pretty late. I spent a lot of the day reading, which was nice. Anymore I get sleepy when I read, so I usually read for about an hour before bed. Today was no exception -- I drank three BIG cups of coffee in order to read as much as I did. I wanted to write today, but it was just hard to keep my energy up.

Della, Mike and Sophie stopped by for a quick visit today, too. I love having visitors (hint, hint people!). Speaking of visitors, Drew is going to babysit Scarlett for us next weekend, and Della is going to babysit the following weekend so Jeremy and I can go to the Boulder Open Studios tour. We loooove Open Studios and we're so excited to go again! There are a ton of new artists this year. When Drew comes to babysit, Jeremy is going to take over baby duty so Drew can go to some of the studios with me too. It's so inspiring to see not only where artists live and work, but HOW they work. They're so open with their techniques, it's just fascinating.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just received my Twitter book in the mail!

I had my Twitter feed -- from day 1 until last week -- printed in a soft-cover book. My kids and grandkids will love this someday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Loss

I posted not long ago about my high school friend's wife, Margaret, who was fighting breast cancer. She and Ben have two adorable children. In fact, the first and only time I met Margaret, she told me about how she made her own baby food -- and the impression I got was of a kind, loving mother. I remember her distinctly because of that. She emanated kindness.

She died last night.

She was my age.

My heart is broken for her family. I only met the woman once, and my heart hurts. The world lost a really special person.

Her children are going to grow up without a mother. I'm sitting here staring at my daughter and the tears won't stop flowing. I can't imagine her growing up without a mother. It hurts too bad to think about.

And I'm so angry! I'm angry that there isn't a cure yet. I'm angry that our country diverts so much money to things that don't impact us as Americans, and women like Margaret are DYING because the research isn't being funded.

And I'm angry because this is the second post in a month that I have put up about losing someone to cancer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

50 Funniest Pop Culture Sayings

This is too great not to pass along: 50 Funniest Pop Culture Sayings That Made it into the Dictionary

Some of my faves...

Mouse potato

2008 Blog Book

I got my 2008 blog printed up with, a service I've been using (and have been thrilled with) for years. 2008 was my most prolific year yet, so you can see how thick the book is compared to previous years.

Happier Days

Scarlett will be 9 weeks old tomorrow. And no, I can't say time has flown. The truth is, with the "colic" setting in so early, I often wondered if I'd survive her childhood. I never once got mad at her, but I often got mad at myself for not being able to handle it better. Though people kept telling me it would get better, that she'd outgrow it, it was hard to hold onto that hope because this is my first child and her constant fussing was all I knew.

Now I know a happy child.

Scarlett's colic is disappearing more and more as every week passes. She's smiling, cooing, squirming in excitement, and happily sitting in my lap while I work. She meets my eyes -- in fact, she stares at me, even when others are holding her -- and she makes me feel like the center of the world.

She had a rough night last night. She woke me up at about 2:30 with fussing noises and light crying. After going into her room three times, I determined she either had gas or had experienced a nightmare. Rather than sit with her in there for an hour (and thus forfeit my own sleep), I took her to bed with me. I propped myself up with pillows, put the boppy on my lap, and settled her on my chest. She was instantly soothed and we slept the rest of the night like that. When I woke up this morning and this perfect little baby was snuggled up under my chin, I couldn't help but smile. The colic days now seem like just a bad dream.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on Spousal Fighting

Most of the relationship/marriage books I've read circle around the same basic idea: don't try to control your spouse. Whether that's getting irritated at them for traits they've had since you met them (i.e. trying to change them) or nagging them, the notion is to let them be. Trust that they will do the right thing, and let it slide when they don't do things exactly the way you would -- because they are individuals in their own right.

This is smart advice. But it's so much easier said than done. I know when something is bugging me, it eats at me. It doesn't necessarily build up into an explosion, it just eats away at me until I can't seem to think about anything else, and I HAVE to say something so I can get on with my day (and before I go insane). When I remind myself of the "no nagging" method of marital management, I can sometimes rein myself in long enough that the irritation goes away on its own. But more often than not, I can't stand it that long. I think, "He would want to know if something was bothering me, right?", and then out the words spill. I feel instantly unburdened -- and my husband feels instantly irritated. This is how 99.9% of our arguments happen. Not that we argue a whole lot, but when we do I see the same pattern over and over.

Then I'm left beating myself up because once again I should have just let it go, not worried about it, it wasn't worth arguing over. So why do I keep making the same mistake over and over?

Turns out I'm not the only woman that does this. It seems to be in our DNA. We get irritated at small things that our spouse does (or doesn't) do, and we let it impact our marriages. Though there seems to be two camps in regards to how to deal with it -- women like me who speak out, and women who bottle it up until they explode. But either way, those little irritations get to us.

That leaves me with this question. If men see this happening -- and they do, no doubt about it -- why do they keep doing the things that annoy us? The answer, I think, comes down to the age old battle of control. It's biology, genetics, whatever. As human beings we want control. Women have historically had little to none of that, and maybe we're trying to make up for lost time. And as for men, who can blame them for wanting to maintain control? So you've got one spouse doing things they know will cause irritation, and the other spouse nagging about it -- both perfectly aware of the end result of their actions, and still not stopping themselves from doing it. That can't lead to anything good.

Jeremy and I had the benefit of marriage counseling, thank goodness. So at least we know what habits to look out for, and how to better deal with each other. Not that we don't still fall into old traps from time to time, but we are much better equipped to handle it than some. A good friend of mine said that she felt like the counseling she and her now-husband got before they got married (recommended by the church they were getting married at, I figured) has helped them ease into their married life in a much smoother way. Maybe counseling should be required for all couples before and after marriage. At least that way there is no excuse not to take responsibility for our own part in marital stress.

But even with counseling, there was one thing I disagreed with, and one thing that continues to be a problem. They said that men just don't notice when they're doing things that irritate women. They don't see the mess on the kitchen counter. They don't see the dirty socks on the floor of the bedroom. They don't understand how going for days without shaving their faces could possibly make us not want to kiss them (um, OWWW). They don't get how the eye-rolling response when we ask them to mow the lawn could make us upset. I've been told that men just don't get it. And with that, I completely disagree. There is no way that a fully-functioning adult could 1) not know they're doing something that would annoy a person they know very well, and 2) continue to do that same thing again and again and not expect the same reaction.

So my pet theory is that it's a control thing. And marriages are healthiest when control is equal.

Oh no you didn't!

What'd I say about tickling me? Now ya done it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Miley Cyrus - 7 Things - Spoof

31st Birthday

Scarlett only woke me up once briefly last night to re-swaddle her, so after getting so much sleep I bounded out of bed at 7am this morning in a great mood. I got the baby fed and dressed, ate some breakfast, showered, and got ready for the day all before Jeremy woke up.

My parents and brothers arrived at noon and we headed into Boulder for lunch. There was a CU football home game today (vs. Hawaii), so traffic was heavy -- but because we were coming in from Lafayette it wasn't horrible. We were able to get a parking spot in the garage on 15th St without a problem, too, and I thanked my lucky stars for that. Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory was fantastic -- great food and the baby slept peacefully through the entire thing.

After lunch, we walked around Pearl Street and popped into a few of my favorite stores (Earthwood Gallery, Art Mart, and Into the Wind). Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory beckoned, and we got some treats there before hitting Ku Cha Teahouse to stock up on our favorite tea -- Hot Cinnamon Sunset.

We got back to our house around 4 and spent some time hanging out and playing with the baby. Scarlett was in such a great mood today, she was charming everyone with her new cooing sounds. Jeremy and I bought her a bear puppet at Into the Wind, and she just adored it...

So all in all, day 2 of my birthday celebration was a blast. Now I'm curled up in our family room with a glass of Hogue Riesling and Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Horror Writing and in the Mirror

I signed up for an online horror writing class last night. I've never written anything in that genre before, but I'm pretty good at writing suspenseful scenes so I think I can do it. I did the first lesson last night, and so far I'm intrigued. This could be a really good class.

After I stopped nursing the baby, my body went kablooey. It's just from the hormone change, of course, but I suddenly gained several pounds. Pre-pregnancy, it took me months to gain as much as I just did in a matter of weeks. So I'm a little freaked out. And doubly determined to get this baby weight off. The thought that keeps me from going postal about this is that I'm still 25lbs shy of my heaviest weight. Even when I was at the end of my pregnancy, I didn't weigh as much as I did a few years ago before I got my health act together. At least, this is what I repeat to myself when I can't zip my jeans up. Wah! So, I'm on a mission. I'm lowering my calorie intake and working out whenever I get the chance. So far this week I've gone to a yoga class and done a pilates video. I'm hoping to get a long walk in today.

I noticed this morning that the muscles between my left shoulder and neck are swollen. No doubt this is from holding the baby in my left arm. So now I'm thinking I need a massage to work that muscle out. Massages should be covered by health insurance, if you ask me. LOL

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scarlett's 2-Month Appointment (or, Amazon Woman)

Scarlett had her 2-month doctor appointment yesterday. First, let me tell you how much I LOVE her doctor. She is wonderful. This was the first time Jeremy had met her, and he had nothing but great things to say about Dr. Grayson, too. He commented on how this is the first doctor he had talked to since I got pregnant that actually spoke to him as if he had some authority. Personally, I never noticed any other doctor ignoring him, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Scarlett is now 10lb, 9.5oz, and is 23 1/2 inches long. She's in the 53rd percentile for weight, but the 94th for height! She's long and lean. This would explain why many of her 0-3-month clothing is stretched tight on her from her shoulders to her waist. The doctor had nothing but good things to say about Scarlett, too -- she commented on how perfectly round her head is (no flat spots), how she's starting to get that "healthy round baby look", and how amazingly strong her neck is. I love hearing good things about my baby!

Sadly, then Scarlett had to get her first set of vaccinations. Oooohhh it was so sad! As soon as the nurse told me I could, I ran over and scooped her up into my arms. She calmed down pretty quickly, thank goodness. But then for the rest of the day, she had a slight fever and cried a lot. We gave her some baby Tylenol and held her all day long until she went to bed around 8:30pm. After that she slept pretty well (until her 6am diaper blowout -- there's just nothing like waking up first thing in the morning to POO EVERYWHERE).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Starting from Scratch and Black Nailpolish

Ow. Ow. Ow. I forgot how much this part of getting in shape sucks. The part where you have to tear all your muscles apart for them to grow stronger. It's been almost a year since I did a regular yoga class, and boy did I feel it tonight. I attended the Monday night class at the Berger Rec Center, and the teacher did not take it easy. I did yoga throughout my pregnancy, but it was all very gentle. I avoided the more athletic styles... and now I'm kinda wishing I wasn't such a chicken about it and I had continued, at least once or twice a week.

I have a hard time building muscle. It's genetic. Even when I was at my peak of fitness, there were certain muscles that I could never get stronger beyond a certain point -- specifically in my arms, but also a few in my legs. No matter how hard I worked out, they stayed where they stayed. And all the other muscles I built did not come easily either. I worked my butt off to be in the shape I was. And over the course of my pregnancy, they sadly shrank. The good news is they didn't shrink so much that I was back to where I was before I lost all that weight a few years ago. I still have more muscles than I did even three years ago. So I can't get that down on myself about it.

Okay, enough whining about how out of shape I am.

The baby was in a mood today. Just plain cranky. I have to wonder if she's coming down with something. She has her 2-month doctor's appointment tomorrow, so if she's sick she will get medical care right away.

I painted my fingernails black yesterday. For some reason that simple thing makes me feel more creative. Like I'm a real artist or something. It's silly, I know, but it does help me get over my writer's block a little. And that pink streak I sometimes get in my hair helps me paint. I swear, I'm not making this up! It's purely psychological, I know. It's simply a behavior trigger. Like putting on my yoga gear makes me go to yoga class no matter how tired I'm feeling. Hey, at least I'm not like Hemingway, needing a glass of the hard stuff to get on with things. And though I admit I'm addicted to coffee, that's not a trigger for me either. I think black nails and pink hair are overall pretty healthy psychological tricks, don't you?

Hey! I'm typing here!

Little Helper

Early Fall

I love the early fall in Colorado. It is very green, but the temperatures are cooling down and there is more moisture in the air. It smells lush and wild. This is such a short-lived time of year -- in 2 weeks the leaves will be changing and the temperature will drop lower. No other time of year compares with this. Winter is frozen and lifeless, forcing me to be more still than I like. Spring takes its sweet time to get going, and the green things don't really fully emerge until mid-summer. Then the summer heat and dryness immediately suck the green right back out. It's early fall that stirs my blood.

Looking back into my own history, most of my big moves and life changes have happened in the early fall. I start feeling wild, and need to make changes. I'm definitely mellowing out as I get older, but I still find this time of year to be unusually inspirational.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Mommy Club

I'm having a hard time joining the Mommy Club.

Before I had Scarlett, I was one of the last girls I knew that didn't have kids. It seemed that there was an us and a them -- the us being childless and the them being The Mommies. The Mommies was like a club I wasn't allowed to be a member of. I was left off the guest list for birthday parties, became the shoulder to cry on when my girlfriends mourned their pre-mommy days, and told I would understand "when I had kids". I won't say I was aching to get into the club, but I certainly felt like when I had my first child, entry would be assumed.

But I still don't feel like I'm part of the The Mommy in-crowd. It's not that anyone is barring me -- it's purely an attitudinal thing. I don't feel like one of them.

When I was out in California a few weekends ago, someone asked me if I felt like something was missing because I was apart from Scarlett. I answered, "No. I do miss her, but I don't feel like she's attached at my hip -- when I had her, I just felt like there was now more of ME." And that's the best way I can describe it. She's part of me. I'm a greater person now. She is an expansion of who I am. She isn't my world, but she is part of what creates my world.

And I haven't given anything up since getting pregnant. Yes, I'm much more limited in what I am able to do, and what I have time to do in regards to my personal interests. But my interests haven't waned. I still steal a piano practice here and there. I still do yoga. I still write -- even if it's just this blog. I still plan my next painting in my head.

Maybe this is why I'm not in The Mommies club yet. I have a different outlook on the whole business. Or maybe it's not so different, but other women are hard-pressed to speak up because we're "supposed" to give up our lives -- at least our pre-mommy lives -- to our children. I'd much rather she be a part of my life, and that's the way I'm going to continue to approach motherhood.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Love This!

Courtesy of MAEVE magazine.

Scarlett Video -- 7 Weeks

After Scarlett's latest growth spurt, she has learned to coo, gurgle, and smile BIG! Here is the direct link to the video:

(Sorry about the quality -- the lighting in our living room is pretty low.)

Work, Stuffy Noses and Estes Park

I have a lot of random things to say here because I haven't been able to update in a few days, so bear with me.

I started back at work today, armed with a lot of coffee to combat the little sleep I got. The baby isn't feeling well -- she has some sort of nose thing going on, so after the 4th time in her room last night, I just ended up letting her sleep on me (don't worry, I prop myself up and put the boppy pillow on my lap so there's no chance either of us will move). It seems to be the same nose thing I've got going on, which kinda feels like either my body is fighting a sinus infection, or I'm having bad allergies. It's not fun for me, but it's got to be pure misery for my little one. Anyway, so far I've been able to get back into the work groove pretty well. It helps to have a manager and coworkers who COMPLETELY ROCK. My work was handled oh-so-well while I was out.

I practiced piano last week for the first time since the baby was born. And I didn't suck! The pieces I had already learned came back easily, and it didn't take long to get back into reading the music (the most difficult thing I'm learning). Heather R., if you're reading this, this is a testament to your awesome teaching!

In baby news, my daughter is huge. Well, I think she's huge. She outgrew her newborn onesies as of last week. And some of her socks are beginning to be to small on those long little hotdog feet of hers. She's also started getting her real hair in. It looks pretty blond so far. And that little booger has figured out that if she smiles and coos when we're putting her down for a nap, we take our time leaving the room because she's so darn cute. It's her little game now. That, and spitting out her pacifier and trying to get it back by dive-bombing her face into whatever is in front of her. I need to get some of this on video...

The three of us spent the weekend in Estes Park and stayed in a suite that my parents rented out at the Silver Moon Inn (a really terrific lodge if you're ever looking for a place to stay near downtown Estes). The suite was within walking distance of just about everything, so we did a ton of walking and shopping. My dad and I also walked around Lake Estes, about 3.75 miles -- a feat that was easily accomplished pre-pregnancy, but right now I am paying for it. I think I left my right hip at about mile 2.5. Jeremy and I got a bunch of bear-themed stuff while we were up there. Bears are our "thing" since two of them visited our outdoor wedding reception. We got a metal yard post, a framed photo of a little black bear climbing an aspen, and a wooden carving. I also got some adorable little dragonfly earrings. And we didn't break the bank! Everything was on sale thanks to the Labor Day holiday.

The baby did pretty darn well considering this was only the second time she had ever spent the night away from home (the first time was when Jeremy took her to his parents' house while I was in CA for Peg's memorial). She was a little off-kilter from her schedule being so interrupted, but considering what a huge ordeal our little vacation probably was to her, I am damn proud. She handled being in restaurants and shops, and being in the stroller for hours. Her naps were short and she had trouble going down for the night, but again it wasn't impossible to deal with. And she looooved having all the attention from her grandparents. She hasn't wanted to be held much lately, preferring to play while lying down or in her bouncer, but she let her Gramz and Grampa hold her quite a bit!

Driving back from Estes Park yesterday afternoon, we noticed that the clouds just south of Lyons looked an awful lot like smoke. I looked up the local Twitter feed on my Blackberry and sure enough, it was smoke. There was a fire in Fourmile Canyon. Through the afternoon it got to be quite a big deal, and the smoke reached all the way out east to I-25. It filled our car and gave me a headache. The smoke smell wasn't super strong at our house in Lafayette, but it was strong enough that we couldn't turn on the swamp cooler. It seemed to blow through by evening, though, and we were able to open some windows to cool the house down. Today when you go outside it still smells like someone had a campfire close by, but it's not so bad that it blows into the house.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Last Week Before the Grind

This week is a blur, which is sad because it's my last week before I go back to work.

I tried to take it easy on Tuesday, since I was so exhausted from traveling Sunday and Monday. Those of you with children know how difficult it is to take it easy, though, especially when you still have to get up for nighttime feedings. I feel like I can never catch up on sleep, no matter how many naps I can squeeze in. Plus, the state of our house is making me INSANE. Jeremy is pretty good at keeping things picked up, and I can get him to (grudgingly) do some basic cleaning -- but I'm a Virgo. And a woman. And frankly his standards of cleanliness will never be the same as mine. So I couldn't really rest until I had done a little bit of cleaning. That kind of backfired, though, because the more I cleaned, the more I saw that needed cleaning, and I just ended up pissed off.

I had my 6-week postnatal checkup on Wednesday. I'm cleared for takeoff. Doc said I'm healed up nicely and I can go back to exercising. She suggested I ease into it. Yeah, I know, you're laughing at the thought of me easing into anything, right? And rightly so. As soon as I got home, I did a yoga video, then later that day I took the baby on a walk around the lake. I was a little sore the next day, but not too bad.

Jeremy took care of the baby for several hours on Thursday so I could rest a little. I felt like I was fighting a sinus infection. I think I was too excited to have time to myself, though, because I couldn't sleep. So I laid in bed reading books and playing around on my iPad. It was heaven. And I can't explain the deep feeling of satisfaction I felt when the baby cried and I immediately heard Jeremy's footsteps heading to her room. What a load off!

I met Michelle (my prenatal yoga teacher and now friend) for coffee at Mojo's this morning. Scarlett stuck to her routine of fussing going into the carrier, but relaxing as soon as we were moving. She spent the entire time at the coffee shop either looking around happily or sleeping. I finally got to meet Michelle's kids, and that was a treat. They are so cute! Her daughter has such a big personality, and was telling me stories about her favorite movies and how she bumped her head a couple of days ago. LOL. And now I think Scarlett has a psychic power over little boys, because Michelle's 11-month-old boy fussed a lot, and she said she couldn't understand why because normally he was such an easy baby -- same exact thing that happened with Josey's little boy Connor when we met up at IHOP a couple weeks ago! Should I be worried that Scarlett's mere presence is already putting boys into a tizzy?

I spent several hours this week getting my new work laptop set up and my files tranferred to it. I didn't want to start back at work and have to deal with that in addition to getting back into the groove. I'm sure I'll still have to mess with it a bit next week, but for the most part everything is ready for me to do my job.

Jeremy just got home. He finally got the permit he needs to start his business! Wahoooo! Happy day!!!