Inching along

Needless to say, I officially freaked myself out yesterday. It was good though. Scare the motivation into myself and all that, because you know what? I am already making forward progress.
First the tiny accomplishment! I found a glider and bought it. Yeah buddy. I lucked out because a mom just put it up on Craigslist yesterday and I saw it right away and called. I almost hesitated due to the mechanics of going to get it, but I decided for the price, I needed to move. Securing said glider required me to drive home (45 minutes north), jump in Andy’s truck (which he already had running and ready to go when I arrived), and driving over an hour back down south. If I had known yesterday was going to be the day I found the glider I would have brought his truck instead and it probably would have saved us at least an hour and a half of driving and gas. But for the price, it had to be snatched up. Get this, I found it for $40 and it was in good shape! Happy dance. To celebrate what I shall dub Glider Victory 2010 we stopped at the Olive Garden on the way home for dinner. Mmm. Normally I just get the soup salad and breadsticks, but I was jonesing for some asparagus…..yeah I can’t explain that one either. I am not sure if this has ever happened to you, but I basically looked through the menu to see what came with asparagus and then ordered what I thought would be the best option. The lesson I learned from that one is that I should have ordered salad and breadsticks and a side of asparagus. The dish I ordered was okay, just not really worth it considering all I wanted was the asparagus.
To top off that experience, this morning I was reminded what asparagus does to a person when I made my first bathroom stop. Pew!
Next, Yay for my brain because I remembered to bring the list of Doctors that my midwife recommended this morning. Turns out both of them accept my insurance, score! I left a message with the first one, he’s closed today and made a meet and greet appointment with the other one for Mid-January. Woohoo! I think I want to meet both of them. The one I have an appointment with is slightly closer to the house, but the other one is a big supporter of home birth. His wife had their kids at home and he is the back-up doctor for my mid-wife. He’s about 25 minutes from our house as opposed to about 10 minutes for the other guy. With the childcare acrobatics I am about to try to figure out, it might be beneficial to limit the driving we need to do for the doctor. But I am thinking with this one I should meet them both, ask them my burning questions and figure out who feels best.
And my last to do list update involves the child care thing. I woke up this morning an hour before my alarm and I couldn’t stop worrying about the logistics of the childcare thing.

Just to give you guys an idea of what I am trying to figure out, here is a visual of our life starting in a couple of weeks. The red line is me. Normally I drive 8 blocks to the Park-n-Ride, get on a bus that takes me downtown and then ride the train down to my office in Greenwood Village. It takes me about 45 minutes each way if I don’t dawddle and walk around downtown on my way home. Driving is another monster. In the morning it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and the way home is usually 45 minutes to an hour and half. Yuck. I definitely like taking public transit just because dealing with traffic is not so fun. But that limits my mobility once I am down at work and poses some issues once Nugget gets here, but I’ll get into those later.
Andy is the blue line. He was accepted at CU Boulder, Woohoo! and goes to orientation next week and then starts the week after. He’s probably going to be riding the bus for the most part as well just because maneuvering in and around Boulder with a car is ridunkulous. To make driving worth it he would need a campus parking permit $$$$. So bus it is.
So as you can see from the map, there are three possibilities for childcare locations:
  1. Down by my work.
    • Cons: I will have to start driving everyday, spending more time in traffic, finding reasonably priced childcare in this area is hard because people who live down here are rich! If he comes down with me everyday he will need to be at the sitter about 50 hours a week…which is going to cost a lot. 
    • Pros: The baby would be near me, I could potentially leave work at lunch to go feed him.
  2. Near Andy’s School.
    • Cons: the baby would be about an hour and a half from me. If they couldn’t get ahold of Andy in an emergency I am a long way away. It will either require Andy to drive or take the baby, baby stuff, and all his books for the day on the bus. Poor guy.
    • Pros: this would require the least amount of daycare potentially because Andy could drop him off before class and pick him up afterward.
  3. Near the House.
    • Cons: neither of us will be really close in an emergency
    • Pros: it would be the most flexible so, depending on our schedules, either of us could drop him off or pick him up. If Andy can take afternoon-evening classes then potentially the baby would be there mid-day and I would get him on my way home. So it is possible that this would be less day care then if he was in Boulder.
As you can see, it is sort of hard to decide which one would be the absolute best situation. And it is dependent upon several things….which of course we won’t know until after orientation next week. Andy has four more semesters of school and up until this point he has been going year-round. But he has also just been taking general ed stuff. My hope is that CU will offer enough summer classes in his degree program where he could go full-time this summer (the benefit being he would graduate in May 2012, as opposed to December 2012). But from my experience, summer classes are usually an all-day, every-day kind of thing. There probably wouldn’t be much hope of him just having classes three days a week and there would most definitely be no option of doing just early morning or evening classes (at least I would be shocked if they offered those during the summer).
The plus side to there not being summer classes available would be that we can possibly not worry about the daycare question until August. Obviously a very seductive thought. That would be if things worked out just a certain way though. Basically, Nugget can’t come until his due date, and it would be better if he is late. If that happens, then I would finish my maternity leave just as Andy is finishing his Spring Semester. Voila! Childcare avoided!
….Anyway I am probably boring the crap out of you guys. Hopefully you’ve just stopped reading.
But this is all the stuff on my brain when it comes to finding child care. It’s not just cost; it’s location and logistics. And the logistics will probably change every semester. 
Here’s my solution for calming my brain and trying to be patient through the next week and a half until after Andy goes to orientation and gets stuff figured out. I made a list…shocking I know. I made a list of childcare options in each of the three areas. For each provider I put the distance away from our landmarks (either the house, my work, or Andy’s school) and I wrote some notes about cost (if it was available information), pros, cons, my thoughts, etc. 
I have definitely considered starting to look into them all right away. But we’re talking about 15+ options. That is a lot of places to go see and people to talk to. So I pressed the save button on that list and I am going to try to calm myself down for another week until after Andy has spoken to the school advisor. If there is no way he is going to be taking summer, then why even look into the options near his school or my work until later? It will probably still be beneficial to find a place near the house, in case he needs a day for sanity, or something like that. But no need to tackle the whole list. We can postpone this whole debacle for another 5 months at least. 
I hope I made enough progress on the childcare thing to calm my brain down. I don’t want to worry about this for the next 7 days. I want to relax, take long naps, wear my fuzzy warm socks I got for Christmas and re-cover this glider and ottoman. 
I hope you all have an amazing New Years. I hope that your last days of 2010 are warm, happy and filled with delicious asparagus…..Just a tip, if you wait to eat the asparagus until Friday night, you won’t have to deal with the smelly aftermath until next year. You’re Welcome.

Better Start a To-Do List

Monday I hit 30 weeks. Holy shit ya’ll, I think I am going to have a baby. Did that occur to you before? Because every Monday, when I get a week closer to that little sucker popping his head out my naughty bits, it is like it hits me for the first time. I have been slacking on my Baby Center reading. I am not too sure when that happened, but I can only surmise that it was a direct result of starting to feel movement. See before my belly started to get round and I felt little wiggles, I was so excited to check every week to see what was happening in there. But now reading about how Nugget is the size of a cabbage just doesn’t do much for me. The only reason I know he is the size of a cabbage….or maybe he weighs as much as a cabbage?…is because a co-worker asked me this morning how big he was. The headline on Baby Center said “do you feel like you have been pregnant forever?” and I thought to myself “no….what? I’m pregnant?”.
I am serious too. This kid deserves some sort of award for fetal excellence because he’s been just about as easy as can be….well minus weeks 5-12 where I vaguely recall telling myself I would never have another kid again….yeah pretty sure the pregnancy amnesia has worked its magic on me. Maybe the fact that he has been so easy should worry me (does that mean he will be a pain in the ass for the next 18 years?). Up until this point I have just chalked it up to the fact that I’ve wanted this little guy for a really long time. When I met up with Steph a few weeks ago, she was asking me how my blog started and we were talking about how I didn’t really ever talk about my infertility until the very end….right before I got pregnant, go figure. That’s because when this whole banana boat set sail, I hadn’t planned to share that stuff. I started this blog out of pure peer pressure by my buddy Katie (who I must point out hasn’t blogged in months…..hint…hint….HINT!). She apparently received some level of enjoyment from the dribble that comes out of my brain via my mouth that she told me to start writing.  It wasn’t until I found other people like Steph and Josey and SIF that I realized others were being open with their struggles…that there was a whole community of supportive women out there sharing their stories. So then I started to open up as to what was really going on with me. But then I got knocked up, so from a time frame aspect it appeared to be a quick process.
Long story short, this little fella was a few years in the making. First, there was the whole process of talking Andy into what a good idea it would be to give up our independence for poopy diapers. Then when that battle was won we spent almost a year and a half not getting pregnant. So when Baby Center asked “do you feel like you have been pregnant forever?”, I thought: ‘I feel like I have been waiting for this little guy forever, but not like I have been pregnant forever’.
Okay but let me be fair. Even I am experiencing a few negatives. You know how I hate to talk about the negatives, but I also feel the need for honest reporting. First off, my pelvis is basically connected with silly putty. What with all that relaxin making joints and things more flexible, it is making my pelvis more flexible. That point where your pelvis comes together in the front gets mighty sore. My solution has been to do lots of pelvic floor exercises (Kegals), lots of squats, and I am constantly correcting my posture. Having this weight out in front of you invariably results in you trying to counter balance it by swaying your back and rotating your hips forward. Bad idea. It is harder on your back. So whenever I think about it, I try to rotate the top of my hips back and my tail bone under…if that makes sense. It is sort of like you are trying to suck in your belly….which can’t be done at this stage. But all these movements seem to help alieviate the pains. 
Second, I had to purchase pantyliners. Andy was with me when I wandered into that aisle at the store and he said ‘I thought you didn’t need this stuff anymore’. I turned to him and said ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. Let’s just say that most days, I need them. 
Third, there are more aches and pains when I sleep. Some nights I can sleep just fine and only roll over once or twice, but some nights I am like a tornado. I turn from right to left to right and I just can’t find that comfy position.  
Fourth, my left ankle has decided to get puffy in the evening. I read a lot about swelling, but no one ever talked about asymmetrical swelling. I didn’t realize just one of your ankles could get swollen. Apparently it can. But yeah, those are the only bad things I can think of right now. Like I said, not too big of a deal. I feel pretty spoiled overall.
So I just realized I have totally gotten off track here with this post business. The entire point was to start a to do list. Man my bunny trails are getting extreme. Here’s the deal though. I have approximately 10 weeks to get stuff done. Which sounds like a lot, but from those who went before me, I have learned that the last 4 weeks is pretty much off limits as far as getting anything done. So that gives me 6 weeks. That’s less than a summer semester (yes I just nerded out and made a school reference). Holy shit balls peeps. That is not a lot of time.
Here’s what I still need to do:

  • Find a glider and ottoman on Craigslist and recover it. This is proving to be quite difficult. I am not sure if it is just the time of year where everyone is buying gliders, but by the time I find one and e-mail the poster, it’s gone. Very frustrating. But I also refuse to pay full price for a new one. Ridiculous!
  • Take down the guest bed and put it in the garage. I am hoping to do this tonight. Andy’s little sister is going to take the bed, but doesn’t need it until the beginning of February. I can’t wait that long to set up the room. So I bought plastic sheeting (the kind you use as a drop cloth for painting) and I plan to wrap it all up and move it out.
  • Set up the room. Andy has been working really hard to finish painting all the furniture and hardware. It is looking really awesome. It is possible that by the end of this weekend everything will be done and inside the room.
  • Buy a rug. It is ridiculously hard to find a chartreuse rug. Apparently it is not as popular a color as I might have imagined. I found a round one online at Target, but the reviews said it is more yellow than green. Bah, this could be more difficult than the glider.
  • Make the crib blanket. Big Butter got me the most fantabulous fabric from my favorite store for Christmas. It was totally out of the blue, but sometimes it is like we are from the same mother or something. I had been struggling with finding the perfect fabric to go on the other side of the snuggle fabric I already bought. Three cheers for Big Butter and his awesomeness. Now I just have to put it together
  • Get my serger fixed. Alas, this is the saddest bit of news I have to deliver. It seems my serger is having issues. Perhaps I have overworked her this past year. But just recently she started breaking needles left and right. Before I run off to an expert though, I think I need to sit down and make sure something didn’t just slip out of adjustment. There are a lot of knobs on her. It is possible something got moved….not by me though…yeah that would never happen.
  • Hang shelves, picture frames and art.
  • Figure out a system to organize baby clothes. If anyone has a good system, whether it be making labels, or whatever, do share.
  • Take pictures! OMG I almost completely forgot about this one. Here’s the issue. I have no idea when to get maternity pictures taken. I have an appointment to have my belly painted with Henna and photographed in the middle of February…..yes Andy has already pointed out how I am a big hippie. But I want to take normal pictures too. Problem is my belly button has not caught up yet. Meaning it still looks like I have a donut hole in the middle of my belly. I want to be fully round before I take them, but I also don’t want to wait too much longer and be too gigantoid.
  • Find a pediatrician. Okay this is the important shit, forget the above to do stuff relating to the room. I need to take on the real tasks like this one. I have some names. Of course I always forget the list at home and doctor’s offices have the same business hours as my work. Weird.
  • Figure out how to get this fella circumcised. I know I brought this up before because I was having mom anxieties about chopping parts off of my baby. But I went with the original decision and put it back in Andy’s hands. I think the pediatrician will be able to help me out with this one, so better move that one to number one.
  • Childcare! Holy shit, have I got a lot to do. There are a handful of places I want to visit right around the house. The problem is that neither of them let you put your name in for a spot. You just have to hope one is available when your kid arrives. Sucky. I still want to try to find an option up in Boulder. Now that Andy is for sure going to school there, it might make the most sense for him to just be able to drop Nugget off right before class and then pick him up right after. This would minimize the amount of day care we need. To be thorough I also want to check on some options down by my work. I am thinking it will be cost prohibitive considering he would be there from 7am-6pm five days a week, but again, to be thorough, I should check it out.
  • Figure who is coming to visit and when. This is obviously on the lower priority level. But I do need to figure out how long Andy’s mom is planning on staying and who else is planning to come into town right after this little Nugget shows up. I know you are going to think I am mental, but with everything else I am bound to be thinking about when the time comes, I might get O.C.D. enough to wash all the linens and bundle them into visitors groups. That way I will have everything ready to change over before hand. Yeah mental I know. I blame the nesting urge.

I need to stop the list there. It is ridunkulously long already and you guys are probably starting to panic, so you can imagine how i feel. Bah! Anyway, I know it will all get done. I am not worried…per se. It’s okay Natalie, just one thing at a time. Start with the important stuff: step one: pediatrician! I’ll keep you posted how this all plays out.

Wait a Minute Who Forgot to Tell Us This is a Cocaine Party?

My head is still spinning from the events of Saturday. I am not exactly sure there are words to describe what happened, but I feel the need to try. The day started out normal enough; we arrived for brunch at Andy’s dad’s house. His Step-mom had made yummy cinnamon rolls, eggs and enough bacon to overflow a dinner plate. As I sat next to my Step-Sister-in-Law, sipping my orange juice, I told her next year we would be able to have mimosas with our breakfast and we both were pretty excited about that. Then we all talked about what next year might be like. Lots of changes to come.
After brunch we relocated to the living room for present opening…..which was insane. Andy’s aunt got us one of those Coleman “camping” grills. I put “camping” in quotes because I would consider it more of a tailgating grill or a drive-to-a-camp-site-and-set-up-your-tent-four-feet-away kind of grill. Sure the legs fold down, but it is definitely not a mobile grill one might use for camping. Anyway, it was a pretty awesome gift. Kind of out of left field though. Andy and I were talking about it yesterday when he was putting it together and we were like ‘did we tell someone that we wanted one of these and then forget about it?’ Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome. We don’t have a gas grill, so it is kind of nice to be able to have one that we could take up to the mountains when we off-road and cook on the patio this summer, but still…..left field.
Andy’s parent’s got me a garage door opener! That has to be the most amazing present in the world…apparently they make it so you can just push this button from inside your car and then the door opens and you drive right in. Astounding! Of course, I have no idea how to install it, but his dad said Santa’s helpers would be doing that. Seems kind of mean to ask tiny elves to install something in the ceiling of my garage, but I am not going to argue.
Andy got all sentimental on me this year and gave me a ring with two aquamarines (for March) and a saphire (for September) in the middle. Then he was like ‘That bastard better not come early!’. That’s my Andy. Turns out our birthstones are quite dashing together. Dark blue and light blue. Like we meant that to happen. After presents we began a heated round of Pictionary: Girls v. Boys. Andy and Charlotte (SM) got quite into the shit-talking aspect of the game. Girls ended up winning in the end. Not that it should surprise you.
Then it was time for dinner. It felt like we basically had been eating all day, which I suppose is pretty typical of Christmas, or any American celebration really. After sitting around talking for a while, I decided we should make an appearance over at my Grandma’s house, so we loaded up and headed across town. Big Butter had said Dad and Shelly might be stopping by, so I figured they might be there, but I was not at all prepared for what transpired over the next hour and a half.
My grandma is pretty crazy. The woman barely eats, drinks way too much coffee and is on several medications to top it all off. It is hard to say which one of those has the greatest affect on her, but the combination is extreme. When we arrived everyone was sitting around the living room listening to a tape that Grandma had found. It was a recording of Nathan and I when we were little. That was fun for a few seconds, but we weren’t really saying anything discernable. So Nate switched the tapes. Next he put in the tape that comes with the Fisher Price tape recorder. Ironically the tape starts out by telling you how to use the recorder. Seems silly to have directions on how to play a tape on a tape, but maybe that is just me. This was the moment things started to spiral out of control. Shelly and Grandma both have this unspoken competition as to who can talk the most and monopolize the conversation, but what happens when they are in the same room is that they are each talking at the same time about different things. So Shelly would be asking dad something, then Grandma would be saying something to Nathan and/or me. Then Shelly would ask me something meanwhile I am trying to focus on Grandma blabbering on. It felt like I was watching a ping pong match. Then Nate decided to pull out the dulcimer and start playing, but the conversations are still happening and in the background is this random Fisher Price tape playing. Shelly starts cooing at Dad how she has always wanted to play the dulcimer but she really should focus more on her piano playing. Um is it just me or has the thought of playing a dulcimer never even crossed your mind?  Nate hands the dulcimer off to Dad who starts playing it, then he turns the TV on and starts the Polar Express movie, on silent. Then he switches the tape over to another one of us when we were little. And yes, grandma and Shelly are still both talking. I have a cousin who as Autism, so I know a little about their issue of sensory overload and all of a sudden that is how I was feeling. I couldn’t keep up with everything going on. I was able to sneak over to the tape player and at least stop that from happening.
Grandma starts trying to feed us all pie and hot chocolate so she is yelling, “who wants pie?”. She takes that count and then is like “oh I also have cheesecake, so who wants pie and who wants cheesecake?”. This overloads her capacity because she can’t keep the two people who want pie and the no one who wants cheesecake straight in her head, so she asks several times. Then tells my dad “you know you are driving your mother crazy with that playing? you know that don’t you?”. I am just looking at Andy like “This is insane!”. I go to help Grandma in the kitchen with the hot chocolate. She had served four pieces of pie and a piece of cheesecake…yes she still couldn’t keep it straight with everything going on, not that I could really blame her. After I handed the hot chocolate out, grandma proceeds to have a conversation with me about four inches from my face. Here’s a visual for ya.

The evening continued on in this crazy manner. We opened the presents from my brother. He had made Shelly a flower out of tissue paper, which she proceeded to start talking about how it reminded her of Avatar and that she wanted to put it in a lump of clay so it would stand up on its own. Then Grandma comes out of the back room with a wood rocking horse that looks like someone dropped acid while picking out the paint colors and she is like “Natalie would you like me to get you one of these? I know the man who makes them and I can have one made for you”. I tell her that we need to check and make sure that Andy’s Dad doesn’t have a rocking horse for us already (trying to nicely get out of it). But Andy throws me under the freakin’ bus. He is like ‘no I am pretty sure he got rid of our rocking horse’. OMG I wanted to shoot him. I was already at my limit for whatever the heck was going on there that night. And now I am most likely getting my very own crack horse.
Finally after only an hour and a half…yes all that happened in an hour and a half (and I am pretty certain my brain forgot most of it to protect itself)…I decided it was time to go home. I got in the car, turned to Andy and said “what the fuck just happened?”. We laughed in a “holy shit that is my actual family” kind of way for a while and then I asked him if it was okay if we spent a few minutes in silence. I was really overloaded. I needed the silence to process what the heck had happened to my Christmas. It started out normal enough. How the heck did my family turn out to be so crazy? How was I going to handle our family reunion in a couple of weeks where not only will Grandma and Shelly be in the same location at once, but there will also be three little kids (which makes Grandma’s crazy levels shoot to all time highs).
Needless to say, when we woke up on Sunday and Andy asked me what we were doing that day, I told him “absolutely nothing, we are staying inside, watching movies, and trying to forget yesterday evening at my grandmas”. And that is just what we did….well minus the forgetting obviously. I definitely had no idea Christmas would end this way. And I feel bad because Andy’s family was just absolutely wonderful. We had a great time over there. My fatal flaw was definitely deciding to stop by my grandma’s house. But how was I to know? I just really hope no one else had this same experience….although I can pretty much bet that is impossible!

The Man Who Won’t Hurt Me

This is a little heavier than I wanted to go three days before Christmas, but there is nothing like airing greivances right before a big happy family holiday….am I right? (*awkward laugh*). Anyway, skip over this one if you are just looking for upbeat things to read. Come back another day when I am back to writing about how giant and dark my nipples have gotten.

I think I have written at least once about the dynamics with my dad. I thought I had come to terms with who he is and how our relationship is, despite that it isn’t what I want from my sole remaining parent. I am a family girl, probably to a fault…as in when my dad does something that bothers me, I don’t say anything because I have some sort of creepy unconditional love for him or some crap like that. If I could paint my own world exactly as I want it, my family would be exactly how I remember it as a child. We would have family dinner every Sunday over at my grandparent’s house and go on barefoot walks around our neighborhood in the summer (man my parent’s were hippies!), we would be drinking hot chocolate on Christmas Eve night and reading the Polar Express. Yes I am inching closer to 30 everyday, but these memories warm my heart and if I could have my way, I would participate in them until the day I die.
When it comes to being a grown up can I just say that some things suck ass? For instance, when you reach that age where you start to realize who your dad really is, that he has actually always been that way, and that you have just spent the last 20-some years with rose-colored glasses on. Yeah that’s the part that sucks ass. I find myself desperatly looking for my rose-colored glasses and trying to fit the tiny frames over my gigantic head.
Okay here’s the deal, my dad is a self-centered ass hat….and what is worse is he has always been that way. I just didn’t realize it until I grew up and thought back about him. And it totally sucks because I love him. Why? Why can’t I just despise him, at least to a level where I would  feel okay with the fact that it would probably take him a month to figure out if I died in a car crash?
Here’s what’s the happi-hap. As you probably gathered I basically hadn’t talked to my dad until well before Thanksgiving. Not for lack of trying on my part. I left him messages, on the cell phone he finally got so that I wouldn’t have to call his girlfriend (now wife) to get a message through to him. So he obviously has always had issues with communication. When I moved back to Colorado we had started this new family tradition of sorts. Andy and I had plans that first year for both Christmas and Thanksgiving, and the affair wounds were still nice and fresh in my mind, so spending what I consider very family-oriented holidays in the company of E.T. (evil temptress for those just joining me) was not high on my list of fun. So Butter, Dad and I decided we would have a solistice party. Where we would get together and do some sort of activity, then have dinner and have a present exchange. When the next year rolled around we had another Solstice Party, thus solidifying it as a tradition in my brain. It seemed perfect! It was something different, therefore did not infringe on those traditions that were unique to our family when my mom was alive.
Well as you might have gathered, I am a bit of an extreme planner. My calendar is usually well laid out weeks, if not months, in advance. I like knowing what is happening at all times. So I started asking my dad about Solstice in October to try to get an idea of when he wanted to have it. I get this trait from my mom. My dad is a “call two hours before heading down to Denver for a visit” kind of guy. Which drives me nuts! I can’t tell you how it makes my skin crawl to get those phone calls on a Sunday morning asking if I am available to meet in a couple hours. It feels like a direct assault on me. Like he has so little respect for me, or maybe knowledge about who I am, that he is okay not making the effort to make advanced plans with me. Like I have to fit into his whims, but he could give a crap what I have going on. But what is sickening, is I then feel guilty if I am busy. Like it is my fault I am not getting to see my dad because I had other plans. So wrong.
Anyway, as you might imagine, Dad didn’t have an answer for me back in October, but I thought bringing it up would get his mind rolling. Nope, that didn’t happen. He finally called, I think the week before, to tell me when the Solstice party would be. But we weren’t having our own solstice party, we were crashing a family friend’s party instead. Um what? This is when I realized that my idea of what our Solstice party was supposed to be and what he thought it was, were totally different. The kicker was of course that I had a birthing class scheduled for that day down in Colorado Springs. The Solistice party was going to be up near my grandmother’s house up north. To give you a driving perspective of this day, it would have involved Andy and I driving 1.5 hours south, spending about 5 hours at our class, then driving 3 hours north to the party, and then another 1.5 hours home later that night. Just from a resource prospective, that is a ridiculous day. My dad had also asked if the next day I could come over to his house to finish going through stuff. So 6 hours of driving on Saturday and another 2 on Sunday. At first I was trying to be accommodating, but then I remembered that I am supposed to like take care of myself and shit. So I backed out of the Solstice party.
Dad called me on Saturday to figure out our plans for meeting at the house the next day. He wanted to get up and go to the rock gym, so we set the meeting time at 1pm. My bestie was coming through DIA and had a 2 hour layover, but I told her I wouldn’t be able to make it due to the plans with my dad. Sunday morning rolls around and at 11:50am, as I am getting ready to take off, Dad calls to tell me they stayed up really late the night before and were just getting going. They still wanted to go to the rock gym, could I meet him later on? Problem with that was that I had dinner plans that night and I told him I couldn’t push it much later, but I agreed to push it a little. And all of a sudden everything hit me at once. I realized that I wasn’t a priority to my dad. The rock gym was. He hadn’t seen me in over two months. We barely talked. Someone could have kidnapped me and be impersonating me at that very moment and he probably wouldn’t have figured it out….okay that might be a stretch. But seriously, when you haven’t seen or spoken to your kid in that long, is it really that big of a deal to give up going to the rock gym to keep your plans?
I think it was the fact that here I had been putting extreme priority on my family and he obviously wasn’t. I had told my best friend for the past decade, who I haven’t seen in several months, who has been my rock through thick and thin, that I couldn’t meet her for lunch at the airport because I thought this thing with my dad was more important. But it wasn’t important to him. He is important to him. I was just coming over to get more shit out of his way so he could put the townhouse up for rent in time to be beneficial for his taxes or some shit. So as I went down to the bedroom to cry (hiding from Andy) I realized that my dad’s world revolves around himself. And it always has.
Thinking back, this is a man who called my grandmother to ask if she could come pick my mom up and take her to her chemo treatments, not because he had to work, but so that he could go bike riding or climbing or skiing. This is a man who cheated on my mother while she was undergoing a stemcell treatment with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This is a man who would not go to church with my mother when she asked, but then allowed this E.T. to try to convince my mother that they weren’t cheating, she was trying to minister to him.
Thinking back further, this is a man who didn’t want my mother to go back to school to get her BSN or her MSN and told her he would leave her if she continued on to get her PhD. Yet she had always allowed him to do all the things he wanted to do. She let him work three days a week so that he could spend the other days playing guitar or doing one of his many outdoor activities. She was completely accommodating of his wants and needs, but she wasn’t allowed her own? Of course, she did it anyway (that a girl) and would have pursued her PhD, if there had been time.
Basically, I came to the realization that this is who my dad is, he has always been this. This is who I am left with. And what makes me feel guilty, is I would do anything to trade him for my mother.
As the tears fell down my cheeks, I realized what I needed. I needed my bestie. Stat. So I came upstairs. Told Andy where I was headed. He realized what was happening and talked me down a little. He reminded me that I should not let my dad upset me this much and he told me to cancel the whole day with him. 
I got in the car and drove out to DIA. Bret was still in the air, so I left her a message that I would be waiting nearby and if she still wanted to come out of security, I would meet her. I wasn’t certain it would work out, she might not turn her phone on after she landed, or check her messages, but I had to take the chance. And thankfully it did. When I saw her standing across the Terminal the tears started coming. I was just so relieved to see her. Turns out she had had a rough day the day before, so we both needed each other at that exact moment. We sat down to a basket of chips and guacamole (which I am counting as a green vegetable) and were there for each other.
And I realized this was my family. Andy and Bret and the friends who I hand picked along this road in life, they are the family that I have been searching for these past 5 years without mom. I can’t sit here and try to make my dad what he is not. I can’t be hurt or be surprised when he doesn’t become what I want him to become. I just have to find those people that fill those holes in my family and pack them in there.
So as much as I wanted to go into the townhouse, face my dad, and tell him “What the hell is wrong with you?”. I took the passive aggressive road. I left the airport when Bret had to get back through security, which made me 45 minutes late to my dad’s house. I decided if he wasn’t going to make spending time with me a priority, then I would treat the situation the same. I would show up when I damn well pleased, because that is what he does.
I have finally decided that this man who hurt my mother to an unforgiveable degree will not hurt me.

Sneak Peek- Nursery Edition

I wanted to make one big post out of the nursery developments so you could see it from the beginning to the end, but I am impatient. So here we go.

Before Picture of the room with one of the dressers

The part of this that takes forever is the prep work. Moving furniture, measuring, taping off, laying out the cover to keep the floor clean, etc. Exhausting. Painting is a breeze compared to all that.

The white goes on

Then the gray wainscot

I got a little anxious so I pinned up the curtain fabric to take a peek at how it would look together.

Painting the chair rail pieces.

After hanging the chair rail

Andy playing with the curtain rod.

Wearing a mask while sanding. Mostly just to be a dork.
Daddy job, painting the dressers

Meanwhile mom sews the curtains, hangs the rods and hold-backs and puts them up.

Now to turn this into bedding. Ready…set…go!

First up, crib sheets. This was prior to the elastic installation, but they look the same so you get the idea. Two of this pattern.

 And Two of this one. And then I start to realize I might have plenty of sheets. Considering I bought two on clearance at Target several months ago, and I have one that we got with the crib.

Then the bed skirt…hard to tell, but I will take better pictures after it is on the bed.

And the bumper. Again, you’ll have a better idea of all the bedding after it is set up.
Andy has been busy finishing the furniture. As soon as we figure out someone to take the guest bed, we’ll be putting it all together. Things left to do/make: a blanket, buy and recover a glider, hang some shelves. It’ll get there though.

That Thing You Should Never Ask Your Husband, But You Do It Anyway

So last night I was getting a back rub, score!, but wait, I did the dumbest thing you could ever do. I asked Andy ‘So do I um…look different from behind?’. He was quiet for a second and then he said ‘what?’. ‘You know can you tell there is a difference in me from behind? Or is it just that my belly is rounder and that is the only real difference?’. Andy is a smart fellow and we’ve been together for 11 years so it didn’t take him more than a second to realize how to answer that one. He said ‘yeah I think you look the same besides your belly’. Then I downloaded the pictures off of my camera and realize he’s a fuckin’ liar.

But I love him for being a liar. He took some pictures of me a while back because he was laughing at my pajamas. It was the freakin’ weekend and I refused to turn around and let him have the satisfaction of getting my face in the shot. Yes my pants are short, that is because you can’t buy yoga pants that are long enough for my legs, or at least that are long enough after you wash and dry them a few times. And yes I am wearing wool moose socks and crocs. And yes my t-shirt has a dog on it that looks more like a skunk, but it was from a charity event. It’s not a freakin’ Monet. Anyway, when I saw this picture, I realized how big a liar we women make our men become. I am not stupid. I know not to ask a question that I don’t really want the answer to, but I did it anyway. In fact before he got into bed I was looking at my bare legs and realizing they are “sturdier” than they used to be. I was a little distraught, but it didn’t last long. I know anything that is happening to me now I will be able to work on reversing in a few months time. And if I can’t, I’ll be distracted anyway.
Ah but the fact that Andy was clever enough to pass this test doesn’t mean he doesn’t slip up. The other day we went to the jewelry store to get his ring resized (Victory for the swelling girl’s club, Andy’s fingers grew a whole size since we got married!) and he asked me if I had been drinking chocolate milk. I was like ‘um no why?’. Then he reached over to rub the spot above my lip and then he said ‘huh, you have a brown shadow type thing on your lip….maybe it is a pregnancy thing’. This is not what you want to hear before you go into a jewelry store where there are strangers who will invariably pester the hell out of you to “assist” you. I tried to keep my cool, and I don’t think it is at all as significant as I was picturing in my head, but this was definitely a man-fail on his part.
Anyway here are some more belly pictures from the past two weeks. I still need to take my 28 week picture. Better do that tonight. (For the previous weeks go here)

 26 weeks
27 weeks

Grandpa Gumbo

Look at me, it only took me another day to download my pictures. woohoo! It is all about the small victories, right people? Okay so when we landed in Kansas City it was 60 degrees and sunny. Perfect weather. My cousin Bekah picked us up and we went back over to Grandpa Gumbos to meet my aunt and other cousin. Then we headed off to dinner. Bekah and I had toyed with the idea of going to see the plaza lights if there was an opportunity. She thought we should go right then. Now heading out the door at 9:00pm on a Friday may sound like a normal event for most people, but for a preggo I was like ‘hmmm do I really care about the lights that much? Bed does sound like it would be fun’. But Bekah hadn’t gone to see them yet and she wasn’t going to be able to go any other night. That coupled with the fact that the next day was supposed to be 20 degrees, I thought it was probably the only time we could go. So I rallied and off we went.
 My mom used to have an apartment near the Plaza and she loved going to look at all the window displays at Christmas time. Every year we went back to visit we would go walk around.
 Here is beautiful Bekah.

 There are also carriage rides around the plaza and I remember one year the whole family went down there and took a ride. I remember seeing the cute two person carriage that couples who were out on a date were taking and then we piled onto the hay ride version of the carriage ride. I will admit I was a little disappointed, but it was still lots of fun.

Saturday we didn’t do a whole heck of a lot. The wind was blowing 40-some miles an hour and it was about 20 degrees. We went to the IHOP for breakfast and then hung out with Bekah and my Aunt Charlene until they had to run off to other engagements. Then I headed off to meet Steph over at Blawnde’s Blog for dinner at Panera. I have to admit I was really nervous to meet my first blogging friend….and to be really honest, I was kind of apprehensive telling my family how I knew her. So Steph, the cover story is we met through a friend and then became pen pals. In a round-about way that is true because I stumbled upon her blog by looking through the lists of blogs my friends followed…..I know it is a stretch of the truth, but we are talking about my grandpa who doesn’t have a cordless house phone, let alone anything resembling high technology. To try to explain to him what a blog is and why/how we form this crazy tight-knit community through it just wasn’t going to happen. But now we are “met in real life” friends, so I don’t even need to worry about stretching truth from now on.
Dumb me, didn’t get a picture of us together, but she did and she put it up on her blog. Should you venture over there, you will notice how gigantoid my head is compared to her. But the important thing about the encounter was how once we were face to face, there was nothing left to be nervous about. Basically we both already knew that we would like each other and have a lot in common, so it was really a ‘hey how’s this going?’ kind of encounter. We ended up meeting at 4pm (I like beating the dinner rush *whistles through her dentures*) and talking for almost 3 hours about just about everything under the stars. It was just really cool and I can’t wait until we get to meet up again.

Sunday we drove out to somewhere in Missouri and met my Aunt Marilyn and cousins for lunch.
So you’re looking at Big Butter, Marilyn, Francesca, a friend (bad Natalie for forgetting her name….Lelani maybe?), and Sophia.

 Over here we got Raquel, Grandpa Gumbo, and Aunt Charlene. All the kids are my Aunt Marilyn’s. Yep 3 girls. Wild.

 Monday I met my boss at his hotel at 7am and we headed off for a 15 hour day. Bleh!

 On Tuesday morning Grandpa Gumbo wanted to make us some corn bread for breakfast. He makes a mean corn bread, so I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of him.

 My grandpa has lived in this house since my mom was 3 years old. In fact I slept in her old bedroom. It isn’t a big house and sadly it needs some major TLC, but grandpa is stubborn, as old people never are, so even when given the opportunity to sell to developers, he refused. I have a million memories in this house of Thanksgivings and Christmases. It is hard because I really miss my momma a lot, but it was also good for me, if that makes any sense. I love looking through old pictures of her and when I was sitting in her room I found myself wondering how many days she spent in here daydreaming throughout her youth.

Now sleeping at Grandpa Gumbos was a hard-won affair. I didn’t realize until I struggled through my first night there how overly pampered I am. I thought about it and if I am not sleeping in my bed, with a body pillow, I am at a hotel with the other 8 pillows stuffed around me to lock me into position. At Grandpa Gumbo’s house I slept on a twin size bed with the hardest mattress known to man and one pillow. It was the flattest pillow I have ever seen. The first night I tried to roll up a spare blanket and use that as a wedge, but I ended up waking up about every hour (on the half hour for some reason) and my hip would hurt or I’d have rolled on my back. I went out and slept on the couch for a couple hours and that helped, but I got worried that Grandpa would be upset that I was sleeping on the couch, so then I went back to the hard tiny bed. The second night the wind was blowing so hard I couldn’t help but wake up. I finally gave in to waking up so often and just resolved that I would spend the next day yawning and trying to sneak in some cat naps. Let’s just say when I got home on Tuesday, I crawled into bed at 8:30p and instantly passed out. It was the most glorious sleep I have ever had.

Here is Big Butter showing us the future or something.
Again I was so happy to be able to get out to see my Grandpa. He has been having some trouble lately and so we wanted to go check on him. It was definitely low-key as far as vacations go. The best thing I did was take along my copy of “Pride Prejudice and Zombies” (A gift from Andy if you couldn’t guess). I ended up finishing it while I was there. Sometimes it is just nice to have a low-key family weekend though with no plans or expectations. Gives you a mental break.