Friday, December 31, 2010

The Name Game

When I was pregnant with Charles, we had no discussion on the subject of names. None. Zilch. Nada. The names we chose just were. This time around, we are going to re-use the girl name we had picked before, because we still love it and because the girl in our family wasn’t born. The baby girl Cook with that name did not exist, maybe still doesn’t exist because I could be carrying another boy. I have no qualms about re-using a name, though I know some people think it is unacceptable. I look at it like this: in our family, there is a baby girl waiting to be born. She already has a name. End of story.

But the boy name. Oh, ho ho. We do not yet have another boy name. We had ONE, before, and now we have to search for another.

Tony is very little help in this endeavor. The poor man has tax season looming large on his horizon and everything that comes after that might as well be a million years away. So, he claims he need not even think about names, not even consider names for our potential baby boy, until we hit May.

I, on the other hand, have been scouring name books for THE NAME. THE ONE. OUR BABY BOY. To that end, I occasionally suggest names to Tony, and the conversation goes like this:

Me: “What about Graham?”

Tony: “Nope.”

Me (incredulous): “Wait, you’re not even going to think about it for a second? Not even going to roll it around in your brain and pair it with potential middle names and our last name to see if it fits?!!”

Tony: “Nope.”

So, you can imagine my surprise when I suggested a name last night and he hesitated a moment before he said, “Hmm, maybe.”

But this isn’t a story about the one “maybe” we have on our list at the moment. This is the story about the next name I suggested.

Me: “What about Gregory?”

Tony: “Nope.”

Me: “Well, then, how about Gregorovich?”

Tony: chuckles (I was going to write “giggles,” but Tony doesn’t really giggle.)

Me: “We could call him ‘Vitch’ for short.

Tony: …

Me: “And when we teach him our names, we could say, ‘What’s my name, Vitch?’”

Me: “And if he’s about to do something bad, we could say, ‘Don’t make me come over there and smack you, Vitch!’”

Me: “And if we had twins, we could name the other Stefanovich and then we we saw them together, we could say, ‘What’s up, Vitches?!’”

Tony: uncontrollable laughter

With parents like these, I’m not sure our kids wants a name we pick. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can’t Hide It Anymore…

At 14 weeks and change, I am already looking the part of a pregnant lady… I think I am three weeks ahead of my last pregnancy in terms of growth.  Let’s hope it doesn’t keep on pace, hmm? 


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On the other hand, I haven’t gained as much weight as I had with Charles at this point, likely because I have been so sick.  As a result, many of my pants from last time don’t fit.  And my old maternity clothes are all summer wear, so I have done some shopping of late.  My mom gifted me the sweater in the photo above.  She has great taste, doesn’t she?


And here’s the monkey, for your viewing pleasure:

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Snack time involves the whole cupboard.  Also, this was in the evening.  He wore his pajamas the whole day, even at daycare.

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Snow boots as big as his head.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Give Up

I spent the weekend trying to sleep off nausea.  Which doesn’t work, if you wanted to know. 


I thought I was getting better, but I’m not.  I had a few good days and now I have had several bad days.  I missed Christmas dinner.  I might be one of the few pregnant women to NOT gain weight over the holidays.  I am tired and sick, and sick and tired.


Enough!  Today I will pick up my prescription for Reglan, a Class B drug that will, supposedly, help my stomach empty faster and help me to feel less nauseated all the damn time.  The doctor thinks I am on the extreme end of normal for morning (all day) sickness, but he wants to check my thyroid at my next blood draw (two or three weeks from now) just in case something is wonky there.  And if all goes well, I should start to feel better in a couple of weeks.  Because, though it is hyped to be a magical time of pregnancy, the second trimester can start off sucky and continue so until 18 weeks for some people.  That would be another month for me.  Another month of feeling like barf.


And I can’t do it, because it is officially tax season – hooray (not)!  I am now Charles’ primary caretaker and I need to be on my game.  So, Reglan, here I come!


What’s that?  A post about something fun and nice, like Christmas, would be welcome, you say?  Well, perhaps I’ll feel better tomorrow and less like complaining, hmm?  Because other than my issues, Christmas was wonderful.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Barefoot and Pregnant in the Kitchen

Just for the record…

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Mr. Charles was an absolute mother’s dream yesterday, which made life easier for Amelia since I went to work about 6am and didn’t get home until about 4pm.  Then we both crashed before 9pm from sheer exhaustion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Card I Would Have Made If I Hadn’t Been All Sick and Stuff

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Because now it’s the 15th and it’s too late to put all these blurry-happy-Charles-in-a-Christmas Sweater-and-sweatpants-with-one-leg-up photos together in a sappy card, get them printed, stamped, addressed, and personalized.  I wanted to use this one, too, but in the Christmas card of my mind, it just didn’t fit, but since this is the internet and nothing will be sent this year, here you go:

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Mommy’s socks!  He put them on himself!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I think, and I am totally tempting fate for putting this in writing, I think that I am feeling a little bit better.  Not “go out and celebrate with a hot fudge sundae” (ew, gross, I just gagged on my own thought) better, but a little bit better nonetheless.  Enough so that I had a whole evening on Saturday without lying down take a 20-minute catnap through a bout of nausea even once. 


I still feel pretty much the same blech as before during the day, except that my overall level of fatigue has tripled, at least.  I am so tired sometimes that my chest hurts.  But in the evening, I can mostly make it through life without wanting to die, which is a big improvement.  I’m thinking I won’t be asking the doctor for those drugs next week, after all.




We have begun potty training with Charles.  Right now we are taking it easy, being very excited and reading books, and I even checked out a couple of dvds from the library today.  Given that Charles rarely gets to watch any sort of television, he will likely be thrilled with those.  He hasn’t really gone on the potty, yet, but he seems to enjoy sitting there and saying “pee pee!” about a million times, so that’s good.  He also enjoys picking out an M&M from the jar each time he sits on the potty.  Bribery totally works. 


This is a pretty exciting step, and comes right on the heels of his “big boy” bed.  The bed itself we purchased on Craigslist, and is a taller captain’s bed with several drawers underneath (we added a railing for safety, no worries).  It is in the former guest room/office (the computer and desk are now downstairs in the basement with the new couch).  The futon is in Charles room, and he seems to like that just fine.  We considered, for a long time, having Charles and the new baby share a room, and I think that will ultimately happen.  However, given the fact that Charles was such a difficult baby and a horrible sleeper, I certainly can’t count on the new baby being any different, and I don’t want Charles to regress into not sleeping.


The mattress we have for Charles was my grandma Lorna’s, bless her soul.  She bought it shortly before doctors determined that she had cancer in her bones and she moved to a nursing home with a hospital bed.  So it was largely unused and is, quite honestly, nicer than my own mattress.  Having snuggled with Charles on it, I think I might look to upgrade my own sometime soon.


Charles has taken to the bed with minimal fuss and lots of enthusiasm.  He doesn’t get out on his own, and he really likes his Toy Story sheets.  Phew.  There’s a milestone crossed without pain.




I was thinking today, as I took a break from Christmas music (I can’t stand The Eagles, and they were on the Christmas radio station, and commercials were on the other Christmas radio station), that there are few artists and songs from my adolescence that I still enjoy.  Take most of the 90s music, and while I loved it then, I can’t stand it now.  Tony does not share this viewpoint, so when he and Charles are in the car alone together, Charles gets a much different musical exposure than he does when I am there.


So anyway, one of the Seattle stations really has a hard-on for Bush.  Like, Sixteen Stone Bush.  And it drives me nuts.  I flip the station every time.  Which got me to thinking about the other bands I can no longer stand to listen to, like Stone Temple Pilots, Live, Pearl Jam…  And then I think of the music we listened to in early college, like my roommate who played Eminem and Limp Bizkit nearly constantly, and while it seemed normal to me then, I wouldn’t hesitate to change the radio station now if either of those artists came on.


The one exception seems to be Oasis.  I will always listen to an Oasis song on the radio, often singing loudly.  I’m not saying I dig up their albums and play them of my own volition, but I certainly still enjoy them.


Does anyone else shun the old music they used to love like I do?  Do you have an artist to which you will always listen from back in the day?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

It’s tough to be pregnant and care for a toddler.  Especially if that toddler is Charles.  My beautiful son is entering into a growth spurt and an energy spurt – not even joking, he runs around the island in our kitchen ten times before going to bed each night just because.  How could I possible keep up with that level of energy?  I just try to stay out of the way, most of the time.


As I mentioned in my last post, I am pretty under the weather by about 4 pm – the same time I pick up Charles from daycare.  We go home, we read stories and run around and I try (try) to make dinner.  I often do not succeed at dinner, but I can usually get chicken nuggets or macaroni n cheese in front of Charles before he melts down into a wailing pile of mush from malnutrition (he thinks). 


And then Tony comes home.  My hero.


Tony has been working 10- and 12-hour days, playing basketball early in the morning, and finishing up studying for the final in his master’s class.  AND THEN, he comes home to a completely ineffective wife/mother and a rambunctious son.  Tony has done nearly all the grocery shopping in the last month because I can’t even begin to tell you what going into a grocery store does to my senses.  He has done all the laundry.  He bathes Charles and puts him to bed every night.  He suffers through whatever kind of dinner he can throw together because I didn’t make any. 


And he hasn’t complained (at least to me).  Not once.


Am I married to the most wonderful man alive or what?


I go see the doctor to hear the little bun’s heartbeat on the 20th.  By that date, I will be 13 weeks pregnant and if I am still not feeling any better (and still begging God for relief every night as I do right now), I’m going to ask for something stronger.  Approved for pregnancy drugs, but stronger than the Unisom/B6 cocktail I take now to take the edge off (ha!) the nausea every day.  Because this can’t go on.  Literally.  Tax season is coming and it’s not fair to pull Tony’s emotions and mind home because I am incompetent when he needs to be focused on busy season.  I love him so much and I feel like such a jerk for checking out every night.  I would give a whole lot to be there and be productive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Things You Don’t Want to Know, but I’ll Tell You Anyway, Because That’s the Sort of Person I am, Also, I am Miserable, and Misery Loves Company.

Blech.  Pregnancy is hard, you guys.  I have been SO sick.  With Charles’ pregnancy, I was sick, but not debilitatingly so.  I seem to remember a lot of sleep, a few heave episodes, and an unhealthy consumption of cottage cheese.  This time, the cottage cheese is no friend of mine.


Nor is anything else, really.  I don’t want to eat a thing, but in order to keep the heavies at bay, I must.  But I can’t do cheese.  And I dislike sugary stuff, but not entirely, not like with Charles.  With Charles, I couldn’t look at a donut.  Now, I just don’t want one.  Much like I don’t want a banana, or a PBJ, or an apple, or some bacon, or a bowl of soup.  Do you see the problem?  Nothing sounds good, nothing tastes good.


But the lack of appetite would be a non-issue if it weren’t for the other changes in bodily function this pregnancy has wrought.  I do okay in the morning, mostly just a retch here and there as I choke down some cereal.  I vomited in the sink the other morning, loudly, and really scared Charles, I think, but I’m mostly okay.  The worst part about the mornings is the excess saliva.  *shudder*  That part’s not the worst part of the rest of the day, though, because other horrid symptoms take over by around 4pm.


In the afternoons, I am tired and just plain nauseated.  All the damn time.  What I want is to curl up in a ball and go to sleep, but there is a limit to how much sleep a pregnant lady with a hyperactive toddler can get.  The nausea, though.  The soul-crushing, crippling nausea.  It has, in recent weeks, made it impossible for me to care for my family.  As soon as Tony gets home in the evening, I go to bed.  The gas, the bloating, the pain… oh, my gosh, I just can’t even describe how awful it is. 


So!  We’re edging up on twelve weeks over here… Do you know what I want for Christmas?  I want to feel better.  With luck, I will.  After all, these symptoms are all just supposed to disappear by week thirteen, right?  Right?  Oh, Lord, it is going to be a looong, unhappy tax season if I stay sick.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Years…

Charlie had his two year checkup appointment today. He is 36” tall and weighs 33lbs. The doctor apparently said he was very large, but proportionally so. That’s good, right? He was given a clean bill of health overall. Just in time for his birthday party, he learned to say he was “two” when asked. We almost got him to hold up two fingers, but that proved a little too tricky at the moment. He can also say his first and last name “walwuh” “took” and mommy’s name “melah”. It’s indescribably fascinating to watch his language develop.


We celebrated his second birthday this past Saturday. My parents, Aunt Sarah and Uncle Andy with the kiddos and Charlie’s Godfather Brandon were up to share in the festivities.


I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking…


Charlie playing on his water/sand table and Jack in the background.



Unwrapping his first gift. He figured out pretty quick how to get through the wrapping.




…and it’s a backpack. Now he can carry his own stuff around. Is this a present for him or us:).








…and, of course, there is blowing out the candles on the cake. Grandpa helped a little, but that’s what grandpas are for, right?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season to think about growth, change.  Maybe not for everyone; after all, November usually heralds the death of leaves, the great hibernation of greenery and flowers, the sunset of life for the year.  But not for me.  I think about new beginnings.  I think about big changes.  I think about Charles and the havoc he has wrought in our lives since day one, two years ago.


I understand now why my parents feel compelled to recite the story of my birth every year on my birthday.  For the past 29 years.  I can’t help but think back to what I was doing two years ago, enormously pregnant, awaiting Charles’ dramatic entrance into the world.  It was also an election year – he was born two nights later.


He’s so big now, so forceful, so emphatic.  His language has exploded in recent weeks, but there is still a large enough gap to frustrate him to the point of tears at least once every day.  He’s cuddly, and he says “Iwuvoo” every day to me as I drop him off at daycare.  He’s taken to carrying his blankets around with him everywhere.  He chooses his own clothes every day, his own pajamas every night.  He loves to read, he loves to watch doggie videos on YouTube.  He loves his grandparents with ferocity, insisting on calling them every time he sees the telephone.  He’s shy around strangers.  He’s the life of the party around other children.  His eating habits are inexplicable, his preferences changing every day.  He loves my socks.  He smiles frequently.


He lights up my life.


His birthday party will be held on his actual birthday this year, Saturday the 6th, and his present from me and Tony is a small backpack, just like this:



I’m pretty sure he’ll love it, and it will be nice if he would carry his own diapers for a change.  The extended Cook family is coming for the celebration, which will be the best gift of all, in Charles’ eyes.


On Monday, he’ll have his doctor’s checkup, complete with weigh-in and height check.  Any guesses?  I think he’s around 33 pounds, but it could be more.  I have no doubt the doctor will pronounce him healthy as an ox, developing right on time.  He jumps, he runs, he throws, he kicks, he talks, he shouts, he even whispers.  What a kid.


Raising Charles has become a large part of who I am and what I want to do with my life.  It is so rewarding, and I love that I am able to both run a business and raise a child.  I knew I’d love it, but I didn’t know I’d love it this much.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is DRIVER.”

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He’ll sit in the car, parked in the garage, for 20 or 30 minutes at a time.  Content to push buttons, he always insists on having the keys with him so the radio can actually play.  He attaches the seatbelt and crawls in and out as he sinks to the floor to push the pedals, then hops back on the seat to steer.  He yells “Bye!”  And Buster is nearly always along for the ride.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Sickness

It’s such a drag when you get a cold – especially after going for so long without one. But it hit me hard on Tuesday, and at several points I thought I might faint.

Does anyone else do this? Go in for physical activity because it seems the lesser of available evils? I took Charles and Buster for a walk on Tuesday afternoon, fever, chills, dizzy spells and all because I thought that if I hung around the house with them, the mayhem would be uncontrollable. After all, Tony was out that entire evening for a meeting, so I had to have some way to live through the chaos of a rambunctious almost-two-year-old and a crazy dog. It’s not so much that they’re all over the place (they are), tearing down toys, throwing stuff, begging for more food (dog and boy), it’s that Charles is getting big, and I just can’t handle picking him up all that much anymore. He weighs something like 33 or 34 pounds and my back hasn’t been in good shape for a long time. And he wants up ALL THE TIME. Up to look on the top shelf of the fridge, up to open the microwave for you, up to sit in your lap for a story. Up because I can’t get him to come my way for something and I need him to so he must be picked up or risk being dragged bodily across the pavement. And if he doesn’t go up when he wants to, or does go up when he doesn’t want to, the tantrums ensue. Totally normal, I’m told, as he tries to assert his will on the world. But a tantrum involves a time-out, which involves me picking him up and putting him in a timeout (I know some people have children who voluntarily go to time out. Charles is not one who submits to just punishment easily), which sort of defeats the purpose of not picking him up, you know? In the end, staying home = exhausting.

So I took them on a walk. And that’s when I realized that I probably shouldn’t have even driven to pick Charles up from the daycare, because man, was I drunk on cold virus. Was that walk a stupid thing to do? Probably, but the cold had moved from being a vile portent of doom to a lesser annoyance involving massive amounts of snot and a funny voice by the next morning. So my W/L record with mild exercise when sick is 1-0. We’ll see how this works out the next time I am sick.

Incidentally, my W/L record with exercise while hungover is 0-1. As a senior in college, a couple of friends and I lived off-campus in a nice little house in an old neighborhood with wobbly, old sidewalks, bulging with 50-year-old tree roots underneath (one of which ate into our sewer pipe within a month of us renting the house, causing the sewer to back up into the basement – it had apparently happened before, but the previous tenants didn’t see fit to report it to their landlord. I guess they liked living with the smell of the muck? And these people went to Whitman?). So, it was winter, and I’d partied the night before, likely at The Green or the Sig House, and I decided I needed to go for a run. Long, blue spandex under shorts (the blue spandex later had a second life in my Supergirl costume for the Beer Mile later that academic year), a sweatshirt, and a hat and I ventured out into the 25-degree weather. Only to bite it on the sidewalk a few blocks from the house. The gouge in my knee took four weeks to heal and went through an awful pussy, green stage that my poor mother had trouble looking at when I was home for Christmas break. I finished the run, though, because you don’t bleed very quickly when you’re freezing and dehydrated (the hangover cloud has its silver lining, too). I still have a scar.

So, yeah, I’ve been trying to get back into the fitness thing since Tuesday, but when my alarm rang at quarter to six this morning, I just turned it off. After all, I’m still recovering, right? The snot production part of my body seems to agree. But then I read this, and that part about endangering future children if I don’t get back to pre-pregnancy weight really has me freaked. I know I complain about my weight a bunch, but I have one of those bodies that is not very nice if it isn’t truly skinny – the weight I gain goes directly to my hips, butt, thighs, face, and now (thanks, Charles) stomach, leaving my boobs looking even punier by comparison. But besides the vanity (which I was totally able to forget while I was pregnant, only to learn from this article that Charles will probably battle obesity his entire life because I gained a bunch of weight during the first two trimesters, which you’re not supposed to do, and kept gaining for a total of 50lbs weight gain, OMG), now I have to worry about my future children? How unfair. I am currently researching diets. And motivators, because I truly lack the drive to get up any earlier than 7 am. What motivates you to get out of bed early? How did you lose the baby weight (if weight retained two years after the birth of said “baby” can even be classified as such)?

Also, I read this today, and it is something I feel strongly about. Think before naming your children! For goodness’ sake, at least check what the top ten names for the year are and try to avoid them… and please, please, please don’t name them after a Twilight character unless you are a 13-year-old girl whatiswrongwithyou!

There are a lot of parentheticals in this post (sorry about that).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beautiful Washington

I have seen a lot of the world, and every place has its own beauty.  But I think I would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful, more spectacular place than Western Washington.  Beaches, mountains, valleys… we really have it all.


Sometimes, I wish I lived back in Long Beach.  It sure is nice to have a great excuse to visit every couple of months, though.


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On an equally fantastic note, I ran that 10k.  And I mean, I really ran it.  The whole thing.  Without stopping.  My time was 62 minutes.  Now I know that many of you can do much better than that, but let’s remember that I am quite chubby and have very little time to train.  So I’m calling this a win.  Even if no one was there to see me finish.


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Perhaps that was better, though, because the sweat had mostly dried by the time Charles got there for his hug.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Neigh, Moo, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo

It’s been an animal-filled couple of weeks for Charles.  First, we visited his friend Ethan (and my and Tony’s friends Brandon & Deanna) in Puyallup and went to the Fair.  Charles learned how to say “no” and “mine” from Ethan.  He now uses these words frequently.  Thanks.


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Trying desperately to get closer to the cows at the Fair.

The Fair was packed.  It took us 45 minutes to drive 5 miles.  And another 20 minutes to find parking.  I do not recommend going on the last day of the Fair.  But!  We all enjoyed ourselves, even with the crowds.  The best part was watching the pole bending in the arena.  Charles would shout “YEAAAAAHHHH!!!” at the top of his lungs when a new horse/rider came into view.  The arena was usually dead silent at these times, so he got a lot of looks and giggles from the crowd.  One lady even took video of him cheering on a rider on her iPhone.


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By the end of the afternoon/evening at the Fair, I thought the boys would be so tuckered out they would sleep instantly.  Instead, full of sugar and glee, they raced each other around and around Brandon & Deanna’s house for at least an hour, shrieking madly.  So that was good.


Today, Charles and his daycare class (well, part of them, since the proprietors of the daycare are smart enough not to take a 15 kids at once) went to a local pony farm for a ride.  He was a champ at riding!  And so cute in his little helmet!


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His pony was named “Moonbeam” and he was older than I am.  By several years.  He was quite gentle, though he nudged my pockets frequently, looking for treats.


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The kid’s a natural.  And he has no fear, which will undoubtedly lead to many gray hairs for me and Tony later in life.


It’s a beautiful day here, as you can see… I’m heading outside!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

That *bump* in the night is my feet hitting the floor. Again.

I dragged myself out of bed at six this morning.  Not to go on a run, which was my initial plan, but to pull a bleating toddler out of his crib and bring him into bed with us.  Without changing his diaper, because one word he has learned in the past week and uses frequently is “no.”  So, he didn’t want a clean diaper, he just wanted to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.


Then, at 6:20, I pulled myself out of bed again to go on that run.  Because I’m not getting any faster, more in shape, or skinnier lying in bed.  Even though that is truly where I want to be because Charles has relapsed into bouts of shrieking at all hours of the night. 


We’re consistent with our “sleep training,”  but he doesn’t let up.  Tony and I take turns entering his room, reassuring him that we’re there and it’s okay, and then leaving to the sound of his terrified cries.  We flop into bed, but putting the pillows over my ears doesn’t keep out the sound of him retching as he works himself up so hard he barfs.  Usually only the air he has sucked into his stomach from crying so hard, but still.


I know I was a crier, but I seem to recall that it was at a much older stage in my life… around age four, when I was pissed off that Leland got to stay up late and I didn’t.  I was articulate, I know that much, as I screamed at my parents things like, “You can make me go to bed, but you can’t make me sleep!”  Little did I know that my mom probably wished with all her heart that she could change Leland’s infant schedule and get him to bed earlier, too.  Would I have been satisfied if he had to go to bed at the same time as me?  I don’t know.


And I don’t know what’s eating Charles.  It seems as though this is just another in a long line of nighttime sleep problems we will have to endure.  He can’t tell us what he needs, so he just cries, shattering my visions of tucking my son into bed after reading a story and having him sleep soundly until the sun rises.  Oh, he goes to sleep okay the first time, but after he wakes up in the middle of the night, it can be a good hour before he calms enough to hiccough his way back to dreamland.


Tony and I have been subsisting on a very few hours of sleep for a long time.  And truly, the five hours I get now are so much more than the two or three I would get when Charles was younger, sick, or actively teething.  It sure throws me into a tailspin, though, as my emotions are much closer to the surface and every daily task seems like slogging through thick, ankle-deep mud.  These are not rose-colored glasses I wear, but rather foggy lenses peering out only a world that is moving too quickly for me to keep up.


The bright side?  Charles wakes up happy, babbling, and excited to eat his toast and waffles come 7 am.  The little stinker.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The man is a beast.

Our lawn underwent a huge transformation in the space of about 5 hours yesterday.  Here it is at about 5 pm:

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And here it is this morning, when it was light enough to take a photo:

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Amazing, isn’t it?  Tony worked his ass off last night, with Leland’s help for a couple of hours.  When he was finally finished, he took off his pants, cracked a beer, and told me he was ready to sleep.*  I leaned in for a kiss, wrinkled my nose, and told him I thought he was ready for a shower.  He worked so hard and I am so proud of the end result.  Thank you, Tony!!!



We celebrated our 5th anniversary in Bellevue at The Melting Pot and it was delicious.  If the pricetag wasn’t so extraordinary, I would want to go every night.  I’ll settle for requesting a fondue pot for Christmas so I can make my own.


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Tony ordered some dessert first.


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Self Portrait!!!  (I promise I wore clothes to dinner, even if it doesn’t look like it right now)


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Oh, yes, he’s as good as he looks.  Wait!  I mean, the dinner is as good as it looks!

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Oh, fondue, how I love you…


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Dessert~ chocolate s’mores fondue and complimentary Champagne



This guy:


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I’m pretty sure there’s a photo of me at his age eating cereal out of a box on the floor, too.


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Clearly, the main reason we had a child was so that he could help with household chores.


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*Isn’t that always the first thing guys do when they want to get comfortable: take off their pants?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Expository Writing. Subject: My Current State of Mind

Tonight, Leland and I are going for a four-mile run.  My brother does this every damned day (he has stopped biking and taken up running, don’t ask me why), but I don’t.  I did go on one other four-mile run this summer, a grueling trek up a long hill with my friend Megan, and I’m pretty sure my heart almost exploded.  And poor Buster.  I didn’t think I would be able to get him into the car!


But anyhow, I’m now training for a 10k.  Tony and his mom, aunt, and cousins do the bridge run every year, and this year I’m joining them.  Sure, I could walk the 6.4 miles, but what fun is that?  Besides, I guarantee I would have to pee before the end, so if I run, I’ll get there faster.  Also, I like a challenge.


But on the other hand…


The last time I ran a race this distance was the last time I ever ran a race.  Come to think of it, it was also the first time I ever ran a race.  And I distinctly remember saying that I would never, ever do it again.  So much for that.  Running long distances screws with my digestive system (I’ll let you imagine the gruesome details there).  Also, it takes a lot of time.  Tonight, Leland and I will devote an hour to running.  Next week, we’ll go farther, and the week after, farther still.  Time away from my family, time away from dinner, time away from other fun stuff.


It’s probably worth it.  I’ll feel a sense of accomplishment if I meet my goal of no walking.  Maybe I’ll lose those 5 lbs that have been plaguing me for months.  Or, if I don’t lose weight, at least I won’t gain it as I stuff my face with goodies; seriously, I have had the biggest sweet tooth lately.  Perhaps it’s my body hunkering down for winter or something.




It’s our anniversary on Friday.  Five years.  Five Years!  We’re planning a trip down to the greater Seattle-Metropolitan area for a romantic meal at a national chain restaurant.  Well, it’s not so unglamorous as Applebee’s… no, we are going to The Melting Pot because I love fondue.  And I’ve never been there.  And have you seen their menu?  Divine.  Tony, I love you like food.  But better, and more.  But I still want food.


This little break will shepherd in a weekend of hard work on the backyard and a very busy week next week.  The backyard is thisclose to being done, but then, I’ve been saying that for awhile.  You see, we are busier than most folks, I think.  Tony has started his master’s program (in taxation, clearly the world’s most fascinating subject) and he still sits on the Habitat for Humanity board and executive committee, whilst I try to keep house (not so easy when your backyard is comprised of dirt and more dirt), keep up the shopping and the laundry and the meals and the rest of the household chores, sit on the Rotary Board, co-chair the Rotary Live Auction, and run my own business (thankfully, Leland does the brunt of that).  We don’t have time to finish the backyard.  We need to get six more yards of topsoil before we can roll sod, and then we have to figure out how to roll sod over the whole backyard in one day!  I am amazed at our neighbor, who had time to completely rebuild the fence between our two properties over the course of one week (we paid for the materials, he did all the work.  All of it).  That kind of project would take us two months.


Thankfully, as an anniversary gift, we decided to buy ourselves a full day of Merry Maids service.  As soon as there is grass in that backyard, someone else is going to come in and clean up all the dirt in my house.  Thank God.




That kid.  That beautiful, energetic, crazy kid.  Charles is all over the place, wildly enjoying his 22nd month, which makes me think, holy shit, he’s almost TWO.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Or are sleep-deprived, a state with which Tony and I are intimately familiar.


Charles has begun a rather annoying bedtime routine wherein he must be tucked in just so in order to sleep.  As with most people, his sleeping is pretty light for the first little while after the lights go off as his little brain winds down.  So if the blanket gets messed up?  Bam!  We’re back to the beginning of the routine, with Charles standing in his crib calmly but insistently asking on of us to “Da?” (Charles speak for “come tuck me in again, please).  This routine can take a full 30 minutes, but he’s not crying, so we just deal with it.  It makes me think that we are headed towards a toddler bed pretty quick because then we’d have the ability to really tuck his blankets in.  Although, after typing that, I realize that there isn’t much stopping me from getting some larger blankets and tucking them under his crib mattress, too.


He’s waking up early again, too.  We bring him to our bed, where he flails or settles, apparently depending on the position of Venus and the tide level.  The dog gets up around 4 to go outside.


Is it too much to ask for a full, straight seven or eight hours?  Vacation spoiled me. 




I’m restless.  I need new book recommendations (again).  I need to start working on Christmas gifts.  I need to get winter clothes out of their storage bins.  I need to go to the gym.


I want to do more cooking.  More gourmet cooking, instead of the kind that involves looking in the refrigerator, hastily cobbling together ingredients to make a passable meal, and getting it on the table before Charles breaks out in bleeding pustules and then dies of starvation (kid is dramatic, yo).  I have hundreds of recipes I want to try, but I need more time, MORE TIIIIIMMMEEE!!!!  Perhaps I should get up at four am with Buster?


Also, O.M.G., Halloween is right around the corner.  What are you going to be?  What should I be?  What should Charles be?  I am now considering all ideas.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cruise-tastic Caribbean!

I went on a cruise with some of my best girlfriends from college last week.  We reminisced, made new memories, got tan, and overall had a wonderful time.  I honestly didn’t know if I would like cruising, but now I can honestly say that I hope I take many more cruises in my lifetime.  I hope my parents start taking cruises.  I hope that next time, I can convince more of our friends to go.  And I hope that I can drag Tony with me next time, of course.  After all, he’d be more likely to stay out late dancing with me than anyone I know.  I haven’t lost it after all these years!


Here are some of the highlights:

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Dessert, night one


What, did you think I would post a photo of some devastatingly gorgeous scenery first?  Well, you don’t know me very well then, because food was the first order of business when we got on the boat and it remained of high importance.


A friend of Liz had told her that we should each order two or three things off of each menu (starter, main dish, dessert).  After all, the portions weren’t huge and we could all share and there was a disgusting abundance of food on board.  It took us a few days of cruising to be comfortable with this… I mean, it is a lot of waste.  But we also found that many of the dishes were just plain bland and not worth eating (mango cream soup, anyone?).  By the end of the trip, we mostly ordered the chocolate melting cake for dessert unless something else really looked good.


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Stephanie and Amelia, first night


Later photos will have us looking much more tanned.


Our first stop was Half Mood Cay, a private island leased from the Bahamas by Carnival Cruise Lines.  It was, in a word, beautiful.


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That’s a big boat.


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Liz and I took a guided bike ride with creaky bicycles and ill-fitting helmets, and a hike up the highest peak on Half Mood Cay, all of 60 feet elevation.


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The elevation was dizzying to the Floridians also on the hike.


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Nearly 3,000 miles from home…

We enjoyed a formal night:

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Do you see the strange white sculptures in the background?  That’s the “club” called “Hot and Cool.”  It had giant hands and feet all over the place.  We called it “Foot and Mouth Disease” and I danced there a lot.  This particular evening was a disco dance night, and I went a little crazy.


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Oh, yes, there were towel animals.


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St Thomas, USVI


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It was quite windy on St Thomas, and my dress got poofy.


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Arrr!  It’s Blackbeard!  At his castle!  Where they make rum!  Arr!

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St. Thomas was the only island on the trip that was rainy.  I managed to slip and fall a couple of times, and I ended up with a splitting headache that night.  But still!  The pirate stop was a ton of fun.


Our next island was San Juan.  I forgot my camera and I borrowed Liz’s to tour the fortress with Stephanie while Liz and Heidi chilled in the murderous heat.  I’ll post those photos when I get them.


Finally, the last stop was Grand Turk, of Turks and Caicos.  The whole trip seemed sort of like summer camp for adults, with disco, hip-hop, and Thriller dance lessons, floor rivalries, 24-hour soft serve, Vegas-style shows, comedy shows, and so much more, but Grand Turk was like MTV Spring Break, only everyone is of legal drinking age.  I have never in my life seen so much pool bar booty shaking.


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That’s me in the blue-and-white, mid dance step in the hip-hop class.


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Grand Turk


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Me and Liz, getting crazy…

We also participated in a three-round game of super trivia, and of course, being the smart girls that we are, our team won.  Our prize?  Nasty-ass champagne that wasn’t even helped by a heaping dose of orange juice.  Here we are right before disembarking the boat.  Now that’s how you start the day, am I right?

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All in all, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.