Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Yucky LOVE Stuff!

Ok, I have to do my Day 29 installment: a person I love. Um, I feel great pains about playing favorites in any way, so whoever did the last nice thing for me is going to win... Come on down to the front, Mom, you surprise bringer of Reese's peanut butter eggs, you!

Seriously, though, my mom is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She went so above and beyond when we were little, it was crazy: I don't even ATTEMPT to recreate my childhood for my kids, because I am just not that patient/creative/generous with my free time. Or maybe my kids are harder and I am more tired. We'll just say a little of both. :)

She home schooled my two younger sisters and me until high school, including all kinds of field trips and unit studies and vacations (well, Dad came on those too!) planned elaborate tea parties and birthday parties and Christmas-in-July parties and slumber parties with out friends, sewed us matching outfits (wait, maybe that was CRUEL...) made us clothes and food and furniture for our American Girl dolls, and searched yard sales and thrift stores for awesome prom and bridesmaid dresses to add to our dress up clothes box. She baked the best oatmeal raisin cookies every week, without ever looking at the recipe, which amazed me. The week we all had chicken pox she went to the library and rented every single musical they had so that we wouldn't get bored on the couch.

She used to load our bikes into the back of her station wagon and drive us to safe neighborhoods so we could learn to ride somewhere besides our own somewhat dangerous-traffic-area street. We went to the library every week and came home loaded with books, and Mom never even looked for herself, just helped us choose what WE wanted. She let us redecorate/rearrange/switch roommates in our bedrooms whenever we felt like it. On Saturday nights after our baths I remember her spending ages braiding our hair into many tiny little braids so that it would be wavy the next day for church, just like we wanted.

I don't think it even occurred to me until I was about ten or eleven that maybe Mom would like to have a life beyond taking care of us three 24/7. By the time I was in high school, I actually felt relief that she had gotten a job during our school hours... I was starting to feel guilty and worried that she had no mental outlet and that we might soon drive her slap out of her mind! She has worked outside the home ever since, but it has never altered her priorities: anytime we've needed anything as adults, she's still there in whatever capacity we need without a second thought. I can't even imagine how difficult my pregnancies would have been without her (and other family member's!) help. It amazes me to think that she handled three little girls (ages four and under!) as well as a stepdaughter without any help at all from family, and really without much familiarity regarding the sibling dynamic, since she'd grown up an only child.

So, thanks for the peanut butter eggs, Mom, and all the talks on all the road trips, and all the advise, and all the hugs, and all the times you've felt even worse for me than I felt for myself! It's pretty invaluable to know that no matter what, someone is ALWAYS on your side. Even if you're wrong.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Zero to Six- Pictoral

Home from the hospital

One month old- Halloween

Two months old

Three months old.

Four months old.

Five months old.

Six months old- you're blond now!

(And here's the traditional "letter to baby" bit. Feel free to skip!) (Also, could the lighting quality of these pictures be any WORSE? Geez, I need a photography class. Or a new camera.)

Jameson, you are six months old today. Actually, TODAY you are six months and one day. So I guess this is belated... sorry 'bout that. But I did wish you a happy half birthday yesterday, so I didn't forget! I was just too tired to write. Being too tired has been a recurring theme of the last six months. I feel like it has gone by SO FAST, just like my pregnancy with you, because I'm too busy to even think about things too much. I wake up, make coffee, blink, and then I'm putting you to bed again and the day is done (unlike my to-do list.)

This is why I am snuggling and holding you as much as I can when I get a chance, even at the expense of mopped floors and dusted bedrooms. I keep joking to people that it took THREE kids to put my perfectionist pangs about housekeeping to rest. It finally happened that there literally are not enough hours in the day to properly take care of and enjoy my kids AND keep the house as clean as I prefer it to be. Something has to give, and most days, I let it be the housecleaning. It bothers me a little, but not as much as I thought it would back when I was fretting about the hypothetical reality of three small kids. Instead of taking pride in my smudge-free glass, I now feel accomplished when all my kids have been bathed in the last two days. Oh, and when Jamie's little butt is so completely rash free that the doctor praises it at his six month check up (true story!)

You are developing right on track for six months, and are finally starting to somewhat enjoy the tastes of oatmeal cereal and applesauce we've been giving you at night for the last few weeks. You are still pretty much strictly breastfed, with the occasional bottle on nights when you have nursed me dry and are still grousing for more. My milk supply has not been fantastic, unfortunately, and it's taken a lot of work to keep it up, especially while you had your ear infections and weren't eating well. You're making it up for it now, though, eating two or three times a night again like a newborn!

At least you WANT to nurse again, so I'm fine with it, but I do wish you were a bit calmer while you eat. Instead you grunt and grab and pull at me as though by digging in your nails you might somehow force out the milk a little faster. You horrified your Aunt Laura the other day, who watched you eating/groping and grabbing at me like a drunk frat boy, and demanded, "What is he DOING to you?" You remind me of a piglet, actually, who thinks if he doesn't force his way in at the teat he won't get his turn. Kind of a... graphic visual, but it's a pretty close comparison. And maybe it's just a subconscious third child thing... you know you'll have to fight for your share eventually?

Whatever hardships there may be in your birth order, I think your siblings' devotion to you should make up for it. I had no idea how MUCH they would adore and dote on you. I thought, when we brought you home, that we would have to protect you from occasional aggression. Instead, we've had to be ever vigilant for too violent expressions of LOVE from Adelay and Eli, who would happily stand over you and kiss your head all day long if you didn't eventually tire of it and start whimpering. We've recently let you start playing in your jumperoo (of which you are a huge fan) and I have to constantly check to make sure one of your big sibs isn't trying to elicit a smile from you by "swinging" you wildly or "helping" you jump, aka giving you whiplash. They will do absolutely anything to make you laugh, even if it's borderline dangerous to you or themselves. Or my brain.

This sounds dumb considering that the last two months I've been getting up with you at least twice a night, but you actually are a good sleeper. Before you got sick back in January, you were sleeping five hour stretches at night, and that was at three months old. I really think if you hadn't dealt with TWO bouts of double ear infections, and then this subsequent hunger fest now that you're feeling well again, you would be a model sleeper. You always go down to bed pretty easily, in your own crib with your nightlight and ocean sounds and snug in your sleep sack. You suck your fingers (no more paci for you!) roll over to your side and fall asleep within minutes. BUT once you wake up you generally won't fall back asleep unless you're in my arms, so I guess we practice an odd mixture of separate bedrooms AND co-sleeping. Whatever works, I say. And truth be told, your habits suit me well, because while I have a hard time initially going to sleep with anyone else in bed near me, once I'm in that dreamy, half-awake state, I don't at all mind tucking a warm little bundle on my shoulder and drifting to sleep together with you, listening as our breathing patterns become identical. Our cosleeper, which got a lot of use for about two months, is used now as either a playpen, when I bother to take it to the living room, or, more often, as a clothes rack for sweaters and jeans.

You finally enjoy the carrier, so we go on lots of walks now when weather allows, me wearing you on my chest, holding the dog's leash in one hand and grabbing for stray older kids with the other. You're heavy enough that it's kind of a pain to try to do any actual housework while wearing you, though, so I give huge props to anyone who manages to vacuum or do dishes with a sixteen pound baby strapped to their chest. What IS easy is plopping you in your Bumbo to watch while I do chores, though. Nine times out of ten this is the go-to spot for you, keeping you happy when other options have failed. That ugly purple chair is like the infant equivalent of a La-Zee-Boy.

You really like baths, and only cry when being REMOVED from the water. You also unfortunately have pretty sensitive skin, with what I think is eczema right along your hairline, so I have to be diligent about the lotioning and creaming, and you mostly despise that process, despite the fact that if I skip it even one day you're rubbing and scratching miserably at your scaly red forehead. Clearly cause and effect is not something you're yet aware of. (P.S The lotion I use, which works wonderfully on his sensitive skin and seems to control the eczema, is Nature's Baby Organics. It's a body/face moisturizer with calendula oil and aloe, and it works WAY better than the Aveeno for eczema stuff that I was using. I also used it sometimes in place of diaper rash cream, and I swear it worked just as well if not better at helping heal the rash.)

You're a very happy baby most of the time, and your hearty little chuckle is my favorite sound in the world. When you're happy to see me, you curl around me in your best imitation of a hug, bury your head into my shoulder and nuzzle happily. Your kisses are simultaneously precious and kind of... damp: you give a squeal of glee, then lunge at my face and gum wildly on my cheeks as long as I'll let you before I have to pry you away and wipe the spit off my skin. The kids find this hysterical, obviously, and dance around shrieking, "He's eating you! The Jamie monster is eating you!" Other times you settle for less violent expressions of affections, and instead engage us in very lengthy and vehement conversations. I think you're going to be an early talker; you've got most of your basic "ba-la-da-ma" sounds down pat already.

Not sure if you're going to walk or even crawl anytime soon, though, and that is JUSTFINE with me. You despise tummy time, and have only rolled over a couple of times, though you get yourself to your side constantly. You just don't want to flop over, and I could care less. Infant mobility is never something that has thrilled me, frankly, and I don't understand why people get all het up about it. As far as I'm concerned, you'll walk someday, and everything in between that first curiosity about moving and actual, independent walking is just a mess of falls and baby proofing and your own frustration with wanting to do more than you're physically able. So I see no reason to force you into having an interest in being vertical before you're ready. I wouldn't mind your staying my sweet little lap baby for as long as you want! (Er, up to a point. Probably past age two or so I might be nudging you from the nest just a bit.)

Your sweet, chubby little baby face, complete with multiple chins (despite the fact that the rest of your body is on the thin side and you are only currently in the tenth to twentieth percentile for weight) is a constant source of delight to me. You in general are a constant source of delight to me, actually, and have been since the moment I laid eyes on you and pulled you to myself from the water. I've never told anyone this, but while I was still holding you in the birth pool, I whispered "Hello Isaac!" into your ear. I still wasn't sure what your name would be, and had a suspicion that Jim would choose Jameson. I was fine with it, and love that name and think it suits you wonderfully. But I knew that in my heart you would always have a second name, and I wanted to be the one to give it to you, to christen you with this very special name before any other was given. You are my promised child, and I was reminded of it all through your pregnancy, even when things seemed (several times) to be going wrong.

I remember the morning after I had started bleeding heavily, when I was just five weeks pregnant and certain I was losing or had already lost you. I called my friend Jess to let her know what was happening, and ask her to pray for my own emotions as I went to the doctor to confirm by ultrasound what I thought was surely another miscarriage. She promised she would, and we hung up. But then she called me back to tell me that she also asked Adam (her husband) to pray, and that he had, and then told her that he felt certain everything was fine and that I was still pregnant.

This sort of thing happened several other times throughout my pregnancy- something would seem wrong or problematic, but I would be reassured by my own heart or by the assurances of others (including my mom, who told me she had been looking for comfort in the Bible and turned randomly to find a passage about Sarah being promised a son even when it should have been impossible) that all was going to to be fine. Just little things, here and there, but by the end of the pregnancy I felt so certain that you, your very specific little self, were meant to be in our family (going all the way back to your conception, in fact, when Jim and I both felt that it was time to "try" even though we weren't technically supposed to yet) that I had named you Isaac, my promised child, and I was sure you would be all right. (Isaac is the name of Sarah's son in the Biblical account, fyi- according to the story she gives birth to him at the age of ninety.) I didn't even care if that was your name on paper or if it was what we called you or not, I just knew that it needed to be your name as well as whatever your given name ended up being.

Many cultures have a tradition of giving multiple names, sometimes at different, significant times in a person's life besides their birth. Often these names are chosen for their spiritual meaning, including the Catholic tradition of adopting a saint's name upon one's entry into a monastic life- and I think also this is a custom for some at confirmation? So this is a little different, this extra name of yours, and following no particular tradition other than my own inclination. But it is yours, my sweet Jamie James, along with all my love and hope. We're so very glad you came!


Monday, March 28, 2011

A Place I Love

Day 28... almost done! Now I can go back to having nothing specific to post about and publishing lists of bullet-point complaints!

One of my favorite places is our family's coffee house downtown. I don't want to link to it or say the name, because it would kind of advertise where I live and that's something I've tried to avoid doing. But it's basically one really cool, fun spot in an otherwise fairly blech downtown area that is slowly struggling to make something of itself after years of neglect.

How to describe our town? Just large enough to have many of the problems that you find in bigger metropolitan areas, particularly within the city itself, and JUST large enough to not have that cozy small town feel. People basically hang out on the fringes of the town itself, at the strip malls and in the suburbs, venturing within the city limits only to use the library or on occasion to attend an event at the civic center. Oh, or go to the doctor! We have two hospitals and more medical offices than a town our size could possibly need, it seems, and yet they just keep building more.

But eight years ago my sister in law decided she wanted to open a coffee shop, and that she wanted to put it downtown, of all places. Her husband and parents all got on board to make it happen, and her brother came to work there, too. Despite a lot of resistance and roadblocks, their renovated corner coffee shop finally opened in 2003.

In the fall of 2003, I was driving back from my job at a coffee shop a town away, a town I had been attending college in until various issues (my own complete lack of interest in any specific major being one of them) led me back home. I had to finish out the month at the coffee house I had already found work in, though, so I was now driving an hour one way to a job making minimum wage. I REALLY needed to find a different place. But the coffee house had spoiled me for other jobs (such as my previous place of employ, ye olde IHOP.)

And then I drove past Family's Coffee House (best pseudonym I could come up with in ten seconds) and randomly pulled in. I walked inside, looked around, thought "This will do!" and asked for an application. As it turned out, my brother in law, the manager, was there and interviewed me on the spot. I had stumbled upon the one place in my entire hometown wherein my newly acquired knowledge of how to make a real cappuccino was an asset.

A few weeks in, I met the daytime manager, a guy I hadn't previously encountered as I was working nights and weekends. He was training me on the cash register, and I was kind of annoyed because I thought he seemed gruff and too business like. I also noticed that he didn't seem to appreciate my careful makeup application or tight pants or red sweater, and since most guys (in those days) at least gave me a PASSING glance, thanks to my hours of preparation before leaving the house to go anywhere, I was slightly miffed.

...And about a month later we had out first kiss in an alley outside the restaurant. Less than a year later, we were married. Oh, and I finally allowed myself to leave the house without makeup or heels.

So the coffee house has a warm spot in my heart as the most fun place I ever worked AND the place where I met my husband. I genuinely like hanging out there, the food is delicious, and they have a toy and game corner with a kids' size table, so whenever I'm downtown for doctor's appointments (which is on average about once a week) I try to stop in and recover while the kids play. They also host cool concerts and events frequently, and each month they feature a local artist rather than having generic print art on the walls. It's my kids' favorite place to eat, and mine too, and it's also incidentally their food which I always demand after having babies. Why eat the hospital food when delicious wraps and salads and smoothies are available just a few blocks away?

So in conclusion, I wish to thank my SIl and the fates for deciding to open a coffee house in the perfect spot for me to drive by, wander in on a whim, and meet my future.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 27- A Child I Love

How about three that I love?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 26

How I Fail to Get Rid of a Vacuum Salesman

Today's topic is a funny, true story. This is one of the funniest things that ever happened- in RETROSPECT- to me in many years, so I'll just refer you to the post above.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Favorite Photo- Day 25

This was taken during my seventh month of pregnancy with Eli. It was by far my least pleasant pregnancy and in general I would characterize my mood as being fairly depressed, but I remember this particular day feeling such a strong bond with my unborn son, and a glimpse of the reality that all the current unpleasantness and discomfort was so very worth it. This was a day I felt joy, and I still feel it when I look at this picture.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random Fret

I am becoming reluctantly suspicious that we may have mold in the house somewhere. In fact, I know we had SOME, because it was visible in a corner of our bedroom ceiling, a corner that faces outdoors on both sides and is very very cold. ALso, we keep the heat really low in our room since we spend very little time in there, so I wasn't super surprised to see it creep up and I cleaned it with Lysol and it's gone. It was the garden variety type that appears in particular on the corners and edges of the white, newer type windows all winter long, the kind you just have to wipe away, and which the internets assure me is fairly harmless.

BUT. We have all been so lingeringly, stubbornly sick all winter with sinus-y issues and coughs, especially me and the baby (i.e. the only two who actually SLEEP in our bedroom, generally) that I am starting to think we should maybe have an inspection. I also worry about the bathroom area, because it doesn't have an exhaust fan (old house + two people not super inclined to do Projects beyond the kind requiring glue sticks and glitter) and I wonder if it's possible that somewhere behind that old plaster ceiling and walls there is just a hotbed of disgusting damp mold reeking havoc with our respiratory systems. If it were just me I'd probably continue to ignore it, as is my way, but since our kids are involved I feel a parental obligation to do something.

However, calling someone to investigate a suspected problem basically seems to me like TELLING them, "Feel free to claim there's a problem, whether there is or not, because I will never know the difference and now that you're here I will almost definitely whip out my checkbook and pay you whatever you require to save Mah Babies from this potential, unseen danger." You know?

Anyone have any suggestions of more concrete ways to feel at least Fairly Certain of mold, rather than just suspicious? Or stories of mold problems you know of that were happily resolved? Or stories of kind hearted contractors who came to check and then said, "Nope! All clear here; you guys must just have crap immune systems and will have this cold the rest of your lives!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 24

A travel story! How 'bout one from this weekend?

So my middle sister moved somewhat recently, from Wisconsin to... a place considerably closer. A place one can drive to and back from in one day. But I still hadn't seen her apartment, since that all happened right around when I was busy having ANOTHER baby. And after that, I... well, I had that little baby. So I was busy. But since he is now at the age where I am comfortable and used to him and he can go three hours or so without starving to death, the kids and I went to see her this weekend, along with my mom, and my youngest sister, and HER baby.

So my mom's minivan was seriously packed to capacity. A little beyond, even, to be quite frank. Like, I was wedged in the very back seat between Addy and Eli's carseats, sitting sideways to keep my hips from going numb, and my feet were buried under a pile of diaper bags. Unrelated to space issues but in keeping with the general theme of "indignities suffered by Sarah during the road trip," I spent a good hour singing and doing hand motions to keep Baby Smith distracted so he didn't cough until he threw up, which is his fun new trick, about which the doctor is unconcerned but we are all a little alarmed.

Anyways, we had tried to leave early, and in that attempt I had sacrificed pouring bowls of cereal and instead we drove through The Devil's Own Lair and got hash browns and one of those cinnamon-bite things to feed the kids. They gobbled it all down, and then settled in to listen to me read them the books I had packed. And then, just as I was beginning to think, "Wow, I need to stop reading; I think I'm getting car sick," Adelay threw up every bit of food in her stomach. Right next to me and a little bit on me and a LOT bit all over her clothes and car seat. Apparently I just kept saying, "Oh!" over and over again because dudes, it just kept coming. I have never seen someone throw up for that long!

Unfortunately we were on a back country road and it took a few minutes to find a place to pull over. That place was of course the grossest, worst smelling gas station ever, and of course the barf had gotten on every article of Addy's clothes, which my mom painstakingly rinsed out, dismissing my protests of, "Oh seriously, can we just throw them AWAY?" Luckily I had brought her extra pants on the off chance she had an accident, so we put those on her, and then I took off my fleece jacket for her to wear, and we called ahead to Rachel to have her buy Addy a clean shirt.

Addy stayed remarkably chipper about the situation, and insisted she felt fine now that the "yucky hash brown" was out of her stomach. We offered to go home but she still wanted to see Aunt Rachel, so we headed out again after nursing both babies in the van and rearranging the car seats so that Addy could be in a captain's chair instead of on the back tire. (Which meant that Jameson, in his much wider carseat, was back there with Eli and me, and this was when I switched to riding ON MY KNEES in the middle of the van.)

Things were smooth sailing from then on, until we tried to get back in the van after having dinner and realized one of the van doors was stuck shut. It's one of the automatic doors you open with a button on your key fob, and it sometimes acts up but you can always at least manually open it. This time, no dice. So from then out we had to get in and out of the van in a VERY particular way to manage all the carseat fastening and snapping of baby seats into their bases and passing of diaper bags and oh my GOSH, we must have looked like clowns spilling out of a toy car. It sure felt like it.

It was still a really fun trip, believe it or not, and at least once we got to Rachel's there was an adult to each kid, which is the perfect ratio in my book. Plus I found adorable stuff for the kids' Easter baskets in World Market and Target, neither of which are available in my hometown, so that was worth it right there. AND the check out guy at World Market flirted with me a little, which hasn't happened in a very long time and which I am directly attributing to My New Hair.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 23

Hey look! I remembered about that whole thirty day blog thing! So what if it's actually going to take me sixty days or so. Better late than never, I say. So today's topic is a video. Here's what I found... the kids and me a few days after bringing Jameson home. You've got my nasal-y voice from the hay fever I was still enjoying, both kids talking in bizarro baby voices, plus there's a bonus view of all the disorganized boxes in the nursery closet! And also of course the sweet newborn Jamie James, with his thick head of dark hair which has since vanished. Three little towheads around here these days.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drumroll Please...

Here is my hair immediately following the chemical straightening:

And here it is two days later (immediately following having family portraits taken, which explains the sudden appearance of eyeliner and lipstick:)

Um, I can't even tell you how much I love it. This is not even my hair, you guys. Addy keeps commenting on it; she can't get over how that could possibly be my same unruly mop of waves and frizz and poofiness. I am so thankful now that I have in the past been so very negligent of styling/coloring my hair, because that's why it was so healthy going into the straightening process and why it turned out so shiny. I mean, I think it would still work on colored or frequently styled hair, but I'd be afraid of breakage and stuff.

Basically the stuff is like a backwards perm, though my friend assured me the chemicals aren't quite as harsh, and it certainly didn't SMELL as harsh as a perm. You just glop on the initial treatment, make sure every strand is saturated from tip to end, and then keep combing it through until your hair no longer waves or curls in the usual places. On my hair it took a full hour of combing and waiting and checking and re-combing until it was staying straight. Then you rinse, blow it dry- and voila! This is literally what my hair looked like just after DRYING it, no straightening! Then you put on a conditioning treatment and then a setting treatment, rinse again, dry again, and straighten with a flat iron.

Then you can't do ANYTHING to it for forty eight hours to make sure it "takes" without any little bumps or wrinkles. Like, I haven't even been allowed to tuck my hair behind my ears, which is a massive pain in the butt while doing things that require bending over. Hard to wipe butts with hair in your eyes, no matter how shiny and straight it is! And you have to sleep on a silk pillowcase for two nights so it doesn't crease (or you can just throw your old silk lingerie over your pillow. It might as well see SOME action, amiright?)

But it is totally worth it. Every time I see myself in the mirror I start smiling. I can't believe I finally (for at least three months, anyways) have Good Hair. The average cost is seventy five dollars an hour for the treatment, and for my hair it took four hours from start to finish, so, $300 without tip. But I paid... less than that. I won't say more for fear of getting nice people into trouble! It was still way more than I usually spend on my hair (that being nothing) but I am not sorry. And I am very touched that my husband gave me half of his Biggest Loser winnings! I WAS going to save it for boring house projects, but this is so much better!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You Can Always Tell

Wow. It's nine o' clock and I've already changed two diapers, given one child a mini-bath, stripped a bed and put linens in to soak, taken out the trash, cleaned up two piles of dog vomit and let the culprit behind the piles of vomit outside, then back in, then wiped up his filthy paws, and I haven't even gotten to PEE yet.

It's Monday, isn't it?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pictoral Updates

First of all, my last post was totally lacking any baby shots because I left my camera at Jess's house after the birth. Whoops. And I also lost it in the shuffle during the labor, so I don't have any pictures of immediately after Grace was born, unfortunately. But here's a before and after of baby! With red eye of course, because I am the worst photographer/photo editor EVER. Seriously, it's all I can figure out to download and upload them, let alone tweak them. Ah well. Still cute!

Also, many requests were made for before and after shots of Teh Hair. I of course did not TAKE a before shot, so I had to scour my archives to try to find a picture of me that accurately represented how my hair usually looked pre-haircut. Here's the best I could find.

Basically, low ponytail/messy bun thing, because if it was a HIGH ponytail my head would throb by the end of the day from the weight of my hair. It didn't look terrible or anything, but it certainly didn't look especially pretty either, and there's just so much of it that I literally never ever did the work to straighten or curl it and leave it down around my shoulders in any sort of feminine/sexy style.

So when it WAS down around my shoulders, it just looked insane. How to describe it? You know how in movies, women are always releasing their hair slowly from it's bindings and then shaking it down all sexy-like and it just leaves the men drooling with desire? Yeah, imagine the opposite of that. Like it literally was so thick it was as wide as my shoulders on either side. It was kind of wavy, but the weight of my hair pulled out most of the wave, so it was more just like... bumpy. With a permanent crease from my hair elastic. HAWT.

Here we have post haircut, but not styled in any way, not even blow dried. I did brush it and try to tuck the craziest bits behind my ears. And yes, I purposely took this before shot right after rolling out of bed and without any makeup, to further enhance the better-ness of the following photo.

Hmm. I see my eyes look a little crazy. Oh well. Just trust me that it looks a lot better that way. Much silkier, and in the back especially lays much better- it's quite a bit shorter in back, and sort of stacked, though I do loathe that term for some reason. So that's presumably how it will look all the time once I do the chemical straightening. Or maybe even a little better! Dare to dream.

And then as long as we're doing updates, here's the two cousins together with my sister Laura:

Neither looks especially thrilled, alas. They'll grow on each other.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome To The World, Baby Girl!

OH, you guys. Grace Ellen is here, and she is lovely. Jess delivered her in her home yesterday- right on her due date!- after twenty hours of labor, most of those hours being actual, active LABOR labor, not "labor" like I had with Jameson. She was a trooper, let me tell you. And going on about two hours of sleep and a twenty minute nap, plus a posterior baby! It was one of the hardest AND the most amazing things I've ever gotten to see. By the end I was sweaty and exhausted myself!

I've never been at a home birth before, and I have so many new thoughts and feelings, but it's not really my story to tell, so I don't want to ramble on and on. I'll just say that while I'm honestly content with my choices and really don't think I'm a good candidate for home birth, I was thrilled that Jess got to do it, and I couldn't imagine a gentler, warmer entry into the world for baby Grace. She was so alert, so peaceful and so healthy within seconds of her birth- pink and rosy and shiny eyed, staring up at her thrilled parents. A beautiful reward after a grueling labor! And I can honestly say I don't think the delivery would have been the way Jess wanted if she'd been at a hospital- her labor stalled out for several hours in the middle of the night, and while the midwives just told her to nap and rest and wait for contractions to return, I bet at most hospitals she would have been on pit, gotten an epidural, or even a c section by the end. Which is not the end of the world, obviously, but I know it's not what she wanted, and since the baby was fine there would have been no reason for it.

The name of the game for a home birth is watchful patience, is what I took away from that birth. Not reckless patience- not ignoring warning signs, certainly; those midwives checked baby's heart tones more often than my ob did during pushing!- but the patience of knowing that labor rarely follows a straight, simple path, and that you just have to go with it. The body and the baby usually figure out how to work together if you let them. And it's a miracle, every time. A common, everyday miracle.

Dang it, now I'm crying AGAIN. Congratulations, Adam and Jess! And thank you for inviting me to be there. It was the best night's sleep I ever missed!

P.S. I'd just like to add that I think c-sections are a miracle too; there are babies/moms alive that wouldn't be without them. Obviously nature doesn't ALWAYS get it together, and I don't mean this to imply that if you don't choose to give birth on your knees in a tub your baby's birth was not a miracle!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


*I got a new toothbrush about a week ago, a Crest Max White or something like that, and it is seriously tearing my mouth up. There's a special stain remover thingie on the end of it that's supposed to get between your teeth, but it provides less of a thorough scrubbing and more of a savage gum shredding. The sides of my tongue are also all raw, though maybe I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep or something. At any rate, let's just say the insides of my mouth are a mess right now.

*Addy has gotten to do a lot of fun stuff lately with me and other female relatives. She went with my mom and me to Riverdance a few weeks ago, which was really fun (though she was mortified when I started step dancing in the elevator of the parking garage) and then with Grandma, Aunt Jenn, her cousin Rachel and me to a kids' symphony production on Sunday which was really amazing. Plus she takes dance and her has own recital coming up in a few months... Not that any of this is bad, I just feel like Eli doesn't have much going on that's special for him. Not sure what to do about this though; it's not like he would have ENJOYED watching Celtic step dancing for two hours straight. But it feels like he spends a lot of time sitting at home with Jim while Addy and I are out doing stuff.

*I'm in the market for a chiropractor. Five months of nursing (and I'm a lazy nurser with bad posture, plus have a baby who is infamous for choosing weird positions/frequently changing positions while nursing) plus increasingly frequent bed sharing (which I can do, but there's a very specific position I have to be in so that I'm sure I won't roll over on baby and that he can't pull covers over himself) and my back is effed up beyond what even a massage could fix, I think. But I'm nervous. I've never been to a chiropractor. And a massage just sounds so much NICER.

*I got my hair cut. Like, significantly. About five inches. And it took the stylist (an old classmate of mine from high school) TWO HOURS just to thin it and cut it. I was planning on getting highlights but we didn't have time after unloading two pounds worth of hair on the salon floor. (The highlights were going to disguise the increasing number of WHITE HAIRS FTLOG that keep appearing, very noticeably, in my very dark hair. I am not even yet twenty seven. I would like to know to whom I may address my grievance.) As she was attempting to flat iron my hair, my friend noted that my hair is so thick and there is so much of it that I would be an ideal candidate for professional chemical straightening. And... I'm going to do it. I'm going in next week. Apparently it will take two to four hours, but then once it's done, assuming all goes well, my hair will be perfectly straight and smooth for months. I'm a little nervous just because it's so dang expensive (I will be blowing my share of Jim's winnings from his weight loss contest- man lost thirty pounds in eight weeks!) and it would really suck if it didn't work right or if for some reason I didn't like it. But I really can't foresee that happening. How could I dislike having my hair look smooth and stylish when I'm used to settling simply for trying to CONTAIN my hair in a ponytail or messy bun?

*Tomorrow is Jess's due date. BABY BABY BABY BABY. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself after this one's born. I've been awaiting someone's birth for the last six months straight, but this is the last one to arrive. Someone else needs to get pregnant! Oh ho ho no, but not me.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Day 22

A favorite joke... uh? I don't really tell jokes. And I kind of hate when other people do. So I decided to do favorite comedian instead. Mine is Jim Gaffigan. I could watch Beyond the Pale a hundred times and still laugh out loud. In fact, I first watched it when pregnant and I literally peed my pants like three different times thanks to that particular show.

Friday, March 04, 2011


I just wanted to thank all you guys for your ideas, and sympathy. Where would we be without the internets!? I took Swistle's idea of giving the medicine just a drop at a time, which I kind of was already, but I took it to even more extreme forms. With the baby it still isn't working, unfortunately- he can drool out ANYTHING, it seems- but it worked with Eli. I also took Misty's idea and wrapped him in a blanket (gently!) and then straddled him so all I had to do was hold his face still with one hand and then squirt the meds with the other. So that made the process significantly quicker and less traumatic. I also went to the local health food store on Jess's suggestion and got chewable probiotics for Eli and a powder for Jameson. So hopefully that'll work out too, because Jameson's diaper rash is pretty epic right now. Ugh.

Also thank you to my mom for bringing me Kleenex and chocolate. Though, my scale does NOT say thank you. Most people lose weight when they get sick, but apparently I am not most people.

Oh, and the dishwasher is magically working again! So thank heaven for small mercies.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Surprise! More Whining! Oh Yeah, And A Recipe

Before I continue to complain about the Plague, I must refer you to Misty's comment in my previous post, wherein she explains how she used to have to basically straight jacket her son to get him to take his medicine. US TOO. He's had three doses of it so far and every single time, what should have been about a twenty second process has taken at least twenty minutes, beginning with a gentle talk about how everyone needs medicine, if he takes it quickly he'll barely even taste it, look, we can stir it into some juice! blah blah blah, then on to the bribery, then the frustration and threats of bedtime and lots of "Do you WANT to stay sick?! YOU HAVE TO TAKE THIS!" finally deteriorating into two adults grimly holding a child down and pouring medicine down his throat while he gags and sputters and screams and the other two children stare at what basically looks like some water boarding type torture. AND I now have to call the doctor to get more of the medicine because about three quarters of it has been miserably spat out and uselessly drooled onto the floor. Good bye, thirteen dollars worth of antibiotics! Good bye, sanity!

Oh AND AND Jameson's been on his antibiotics for two days now (with only barely more pleasant episodes of medicine administering) and is still only nursing enough to stay alive, basically. I have never had to pump so much in my life. I actually have milk in my freezer, for the first time ever! The baby is still wetting a few diapers a day, and crying tears, so the doctor said he's not dangerously dehydrated yet, but man does this suck. And he is so unhappy because he's hungry... he wakes up at night SCREAMING, and it takes me five minutes to calm him down before I can even try to get him to latch on. Then he'll drink for five minutes, if that, before returning to miserable angry screaming, then finally chew his fingers to get to sleep. The instant diarrhea (with subsequent instant diaper rash) from the antibiotics isn't helping him, any, either. Sigh. Anyone know if it's safe to give babies acidophilus powder? And yes, I've tried giving milk to him from bottles with no luck. Should I just use a medicine syringe and try to get a few teaspoons right down his throat?


P.S. Day 20's topic is a favorite recipe. So uh, here ya go: my current favorite recipe.

Sarah's Winter Special

1. Go to any drugstore
2. Casually peruse aisles/frantically comb store with the nose of a bloodhound to find section of clearance Valentine's Day merchandise.
3. Select as many giant boxes of chocolate as you can buy at once time without feeling shamed. (This will vary to personal ability. I for instance can buy up to four at a time without acting like a guilty addict at the check out counter.)
4. Alternate sips of coffee with bites of chocolate. Continue throughout day as needed for mental health.
5. Pump a lot of milk to try to suck the fat out. (This also will vary according to ability. You personally may not be lactating. In which case, eh, maybe don't eat the whole WHOLE box in one day. Or do. Who cares.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

That's Ear Infection For The Win

Well, whoever had their money on "ear infection" as being the culprit behind Jameson's increasing displeasure re: nursing just won themselves a big fat jackpot. I had my money on it, too, but you can have my share of the take. I'll be here in my house playing nursemaid, so I won't be able to go blow my winnings on manicures or massages just yet. Someone might as well, though.

Just for funsies, it's a double ear infection, and DING DING BONUS PRIZE Eli has a double ear infection too; both boys are enjoying the accompanying fever (last night, Jamie's was almost 104,) drippy nose, raw upper lip from wipe wipe wiping, and general disposition of an injured bull. That's the second round of ear infections for the boys in as many months. In a really timely turn of events, Eli has suddenly decided he hates any kind of liquid medicine and will ONLY take chewable tablets. This would be fine if he only needed acetaminophen, but since he now requires antibiotics, guess which lucky schmuch is going to get to wrestle a medicine syringe into his screaming mouth twice a day?

I'm going to need a breather before I attempt it, though, since I just used up every ounce of my strength trying to follow the doctor's advise and administer saline drops and then suction out Eli's nose. (Result: total fail.) Poor kid's lip is so red the skin is almost open, so the doctor said he's at risk for impetigo if it doesn't heal up a little. He strongly urged me to suction out his nose several times a day so it isn't running constantly. "Oh ok!" I said breezily, while my heart sank. No problem! I'll just SIT on him and then try to hold his flailing arms down with one elbow while I squirt liquid up his nose with my other hand, trying to block the heart wrenching screams out long enough to do the job. It'll be super fun and easy!

Meanwhile, poor baby has utterly refused to nurse all day long, and is sleeping wearily after screaming his head off for the duration of his check up. I've had to pump several feedings, which I sure hope he eventually decides to eat, since he's now on dehydration watch. Poor poor sad baby. Last night was so awful. First, the older two kids were in and out of my room, stuffy noses, needing drinks, needing medicine, the usual. Then when Jameson woke up at four to eat, he was just burning up. I took his temp (103.9,) gave him baby Tylenol, then tried to nurse him. He ate a little bit, weakly, then resumed crying. I sat up with him for an hour to make sure his fever went down enough that I could safely sleep again. It was hard to go back to sleep, though, when I'd been readying myself to take him to the hospital if he hadn't cooled off sufficiently. In the first twenty minutes it had only gone down about point six degrees, so I gave it another twenty and then I was totally going in if it wasn't significantly better.

This morning I was literally nauseous with fatigue, but off we went to the doctor. My hands were shaking a little bit as I got the kids ready, I noticed. Sleepiness does strange things to people. If anyone wanted to torture me for information, sleep deprivation would totally be the way to go. Pain? Eh. But a few more nights of this craziness and I'd turn in my own family members to make it stop. I should probably be napping now, as a matter of fact, but I really needed to vent for a bit first. Imagine this as a euphemistic method of smashing plates and stomping and screaming in rage, because that's what my mind is doing. Enough of the sickness already! My poor kids are miserable, and my own cope container is just about FULL, enough so that even though I know they feel badly, I'm getting kind of snappy and impatient with them, especially in the mornings, because I'm still sickish myself and am just so unspeakably tired.

Sigh. I should cheer up since my cousin's wife had her baby girl early this morning (they named her Siddalee, like in Divine Secrets of The Ya Ya Sisterhood) and I'm so happy for them. Poor thing was a week overdue, too! But all I can think about is my friend Jess waiting to have HER baby, and how I'm so excited to go over and be with her- she's having a home birth! But I can't do that if I'm sick, now can I? MUST GET WELL. EVERYONE MUST GET WELL NOW.