Friday, September 30, 2011

i don't remember when i wrote last. i could look, but i'm lazy like that.

life just keeps moving. magpie is almost crawling. she's teething again. she, on the second go-around, likes bananas quite a lot (especially mixed with cereal) and carrots and i'm not sure that pears are good for her.  she's started bouncing quite a lot in her exersaucer, which creates a cacophony of noise that indicates that no real good can come of it but i am loathe to get another piece of baby gear so we may just live with it. her smiles are generous and she's getting better at getting used to strangers. 

i am taking each week as it comes for work. i am piled with grading but i'm trying not to let it get to me.  i am often tired, but that's pretty normal whether you work from home or stay at home with no job as a mom, so i'm trying not to let that get me down either. 

i'm still the same size and the scale won't move, but i'm pretty sure it's not going to until i'm able to sleep more.  and have the energy to put decent amounts of thought into what i put in my mouth. some days, i'm just grazing because it keeps me going.  sad, but true.

but our life is really good.  i'm married to my best friend.  he loves me no matter what. i have a wonderful family, and a mom who supports me no matter what and doesn't mind telling me when i should probably reconsider what i'm doing because it's bound to burn me out.  i have the most wonderful kid in the world, who really just has fun every day.  even when she's teething and trying to eat the world, she tries so hard to be happy.  i have jobs that support us and i have on-demand on cable so i can spend friday, my toughest day by far because of its length and because of my tiredness, keeping random TV shows going on in the background so that i don't feel quite so much like the only adult in the house for 11 hours. 

she's bouncing again. it's pretty exciting to her. it's pretty exciting to me, too, because it's a developmental thing. it means that she's developing her legs in preparation to walk.  pretty extraordinary.

so i'm tired and i'm busy and i'm bigger than i'd like to be but i'm blessed and we're healthy and i love my family and i feel like i'm standing on my own two feet most days.  some days, i feel like i'm back on my heels, but those days are becoming fewer and fewer.  i know that's not me--i know that's Heavenly Father.  it's a huge blessing.

the laundry is in and maybe i'll find a way to cook tonight.  thank heavens for frozen, ready-to-make meals. i have no idea what i would do without them.  i really, really need to investigate more crock pot meals. 

so sorry for the ramble, but i thought i'd like to express the humble thanks that are filling my heart, even amid my annoyance at not being able to shower without an appointment.  if those are my issues--unwashed hair and gym shorts in a house with a baby who occasionally whines and protests being away from me--then i have it really good.

i'm totally aware of that. 

all is well in collegetown.  i need a haircut, i'm addicted to fiber one brownies, i don't drink enough water, i should probably get out of the house more. but these are not problems.  i think i'm realizing that so many people, despite the veneer of happiness that they show, are facing so much more than i am. that's not to discount my tough times--they are tough, for me--but to simply say that a little perspective doesn't hurt.

blah blah blah.

i am blessed.

the end.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

true confession.

true confession: i'm ashamed to say i threw something across the room today.

it's such a self-indulgent bratty way to vent.  i can tell i've reached my limit when nap fighting sends me over the edge.  but really? to throw something? it was because i'd heard about someone doing that when they got frustrated.  it wouldn't occur to me otherwise. 

true confession: i think i've thrown things maybe twice in my life. i don't have a temper like that. frustration is really the only thing that gets me riled up, and even then i usually cry rather than do something lame like throw things.

but today, the ring toy base faced my wrath.  and all i ended up doing was crying.

true confession: i felt horrible. to her credit, maggie just looked at me, from across the room, like i was a nutjob.  i cried, said i was sorry (to Heavenly Father, with a sincerely repentant heart) and i picked maggie up, hugged her, and told her i was sorry. 

i didn't do anything to her. she didn't know my frustration was directed at her behavior (good grief child, JUST GO TO SLEEP for your afternoon nap. two days in a row of trying to put her down and not being able to do so without her a) waking up or b) fighting like a big fighting thing has sort of left me with very little patience--my issue not hers).  but still--i apologized for being less of a mom than i should have been in that moment.

she looked at my tears with concern in her eyes--sweet, empathetic girl that she is--and i smiled at her.  because, in that moment, all was well.

true confession: i have yet to reach my zen-like place of bliss regarding naps.  they just frustrate me.  mainly because i know she's tired. i know what will happen if she doesn't sleep. and, to be quite honest, i have hyperfocused too much on it.  i have found kindred spirit moms online who have crappy nappers, but sometimes i think talking too much about it makes it too much of a focus. 

instead, i should have just given up when i put her down and she woke up.  somewhere, down deep, i knew after that that she wouldn't fall asleep until she ate again.

and that's precisely what she did.

so, true confession: i am a crappy mom some days. i do all i can to internalize the crappiness--to keep the frustration internal, to not let it be directed at maggie in any way.  most of the time, i am entirely successful.  sometimes the stress is about her. a lot of the times, it has nothing to do with her.  but it's there, and if i haven't vented it properly, i will blow at some point.

i don't think it's at all an accident that i haven't been to the gym on two of my regular intense days.  i don't think at all.  it's time to go burn it out.

true confession: i have no desire to do so, but i know if i don't i'll be no good to anything pretty soon. 

true confession: there's nothing that feels worse than realizing you chose something stupid over something wise. 

true confession: i am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have second chances. 

true confession: i need them a lot.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

the philosophy of p.diddy.

or whatever his name is now. who can keep up?

i was at the gym last week--yes, i go now, religiously, on tuesday nights after i teach and on saturday afternoons for body combat--and p.diddy talks over the end of this danity kane track.

(yes, i live in 2006, thank you for asking.)

and he says "sometimes you gotta go through the pain to experience the joy."

well heck if that ain't the darn honest truth, there, diddy.  for exercise (i hit this track at the END of my workout, when i'm contemplating ending early or am ready to burn it out--it depends on the day), for childbirth, for life. for pretty much everything is my point.

so i've cried once already today. i cried three times yesterday.  it's just one of those weeks where i'm like I DON'T UNDERSTAND MY KID.  she's almost six months old (WHAT?!) and, from everything i read, i'm supposed to be completely flummoxed by her. which is good, because we're right on track then.  but between teething (two teeth in a week thank you very much i was not wrong she's been teething for at least a month and a half), learning to crawl (pretty much got the army crawl down, up on hands and knees a lot, oh give me strength), and figuring out how to talk (working on that d sound like a beast), sleeping just seems like the thing not to do at all during the day.  she's been fighting naps pretty regularly, so we're trying to work on a regular naptime routine where we go into her darkened room, turn on the fan, and rock and sing. sometimes she's out in 10 minutes, tops. those are beautiful days. then there are the days when she just whines and cries and punches me in the trachea (yeah, not kidding about that) trying to get away from me.

good times.

not really, but what are you going to do? you can't make a kid eat or sleep, and i know that in my head, but sometimes it feels like a lot of personal affronts. that's irrational, right? my kid digs me. she hangs out with me, gives me giggles and smiles, likes to eskimo kiss me, and thinks the pony girl bouncy knee song is awesome.  she likes me. it's not personal.

but sometimes fighting with your kid to do what you know they need to do, and holding strong, is just freakin' hard.

and sometimes just holding on and doing what you know you need to do even though all you want to do is not that is freakin' hard.

so sometimes life is hard is my point.

again, not landmark life analysis here. however, sometimes i forget that the hard stuff often precedes the awesome stuff. yesterday was WAY hard. just...frustrating in the sense that most of the things that i wanted to do were stymied by unexpected difficulties.  and i just wasn't handling it very well because it was one of those days when i woke up with very little patience.  so...i keep trying. i kept going at it. i kept working and giving mags the opportunity to sleep and giving in when it wasn't working and trying to make things happen.

by the end of the day, she was just cranky and i was losing my mind.

and i had a book of mormon class to teach that night.  i was crying on my husband's shoulder right before i left.  he told me i was amazing, that i could do all that i need to do, that breathing is good. :) so i drove to church, taking deep breaths and praying.

and my class was AWESOME. not because of me. but because in all the gaps of me, Heavenly Father was there. He just filled in what i couldn't do.  i didn't have a lot of time to prepare, but i did pray about it. so when i did try to prepare, i knew what i should do.  when i got there, the words were just there.

it was awesome.

the day just got progressively better.  so today, when maggie already fought her first nap, sort of felt like it was going to be wednesday 2.0.  but, you know, this time i know that all i can do is all i can do.

so i cried a little in that rocking chair. sometimes it helps. it diffuses the tension and my frustration. sometimes i just need to hit the release valve. and i prayed.  and maggie fell asleep.  and she's still asleep.  she'll be up in approximately 8 minutes, but...that's okay.

i'm not sure i know what i'm trying to say, except something cliched like after every storm there is a rainbow or the sun always breaks through the clouds or some such idiotic nonsense that stops meaning anything after a while.  i guess maybe i'm trying to say that, even when you feel like you're slogging up a muddy mountainside in bare feet with a 150 pound leaking backpack on your back, you're really just carrying a 20 pound bowling ball and being lifted up the mountain by the mercy of God.

it's all about perspective, i guess. 

so, yeah, stuff is hard sometimes.  that's life.  but it's also awesome.  that's also life.

so p.diddy is right. and you'll never hear me say that again.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

i just don't know.

today, i went to body combat. i love body combat so much. i know i've said that before, but i really forgot how much i love it.

i don't love it because it is hard, although that's part of it. i don't love it because it's got kicks and punches and muay thai cage fighting moves.

i love it because there are moments that are so raw that i realize what i really want and how much.

there are 8 standing tracks. when you get to track 8, you're pretty much dead.  your arms are heavy, your lungs are heaving, and there's not much standing between you and total exhaustion except endorphins. of course, track 8 is hard and fast. it's easy repetition, because you're too tired to do complicated choreography, but it's a burn-it-out track.

you leave it in the ring, so to speak.

today, i didn't want to go. i almost didn't. i wasn't feeling great and i was exhausted. but i did it anyways. i went.

and in track 8, i nearly sobbed because i left it all there.  when we come to the last part, the last round, my favorite teacher cues us and tells us to give it everything we've got.  and today, it just struck me HOW MUCH I WANT MY BODY BACK.

how much it bothers me that it's fatter than it was.

how much it bothers me that i can't manage to get back into a rhythm that lets me eat better and stop eating so much sugar and stop eating pizza for dinner (did that tonight, btw). 

i don't know how to do it anymore. not with everything going on.  the reality of our lives is that convenience food is almost a necessity. sure, i'd love to be able to cook every night, but sometimes it's try to cook and be frustrated with the baby for being clingy or don't try to cook and have fun with her instead.

that's not really a choice, in my mind.

there's the choice of doing my work or spending saturdays making freezer meals. i just...i just don't have time. i really don't.

i try to be wise about what we buy. not keeping crap in the house really does help.  i set myself back BIG TIME because i didn't immediately throw away the cookie dough my mother-in-law left in our fridge. instead, i spent three days eating it like it was a condiment.


i've been, over the past few weeks, making more of a commitment to my body. i guess i know it's going to be really hard. i guess i know i'm going to have to burn it out, in lots of ways, to get back to where i was, and maybe even (if a girl can dream) get farther back to where i was right when we first got married.  maybe i won't get there completely. maybe i'll have to resign myself to the fact that i'll be a larger size. 

i don't think so though. i don't think permanently.

i just have to figure out how to do it all. it's just really hard.  straight up. it's hard.  so many things have to happen to make it work.

i really want to make it work.

in the meantime, i'm just going to give what i have when i have it. if i'm on the floor of body combat, i'm not phoning it in. if i'm on the treadmill at 9pm on a tuesday night, after having been up since 6 with the baby, then working all day, and then teaching, and then heading to the gym, i'll run for one more chorus of one more song.

i'll give what i have. i just hope Heavenly Father will somehow make up the difference, even in the physical elements.

i think it's the only way this is going to happen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


i don't think there's anything i dislike more, other than stupid people, people who critique me unfairly, or bad grammar in print, than missing deadlines.

so i suppose i should amend that to say that there's nothing that i dislike feeling more than deeply unprofessional and flaky.

it keeps happening, though, because every day seems like a random tuesday and because my email is a perpetual burial ground of things to do.

i need to find a better way.  to do basically everything, i think.


and it's only week 3.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

letters to my girl: month five.

dear magpie,

you are five months old today. this morning is totally indicative of how big you've gotten. you woke up smiling, up on your belly and peering through the slats in your crib.  you smiled a big smile when i said good morning. you kicked and giggled as i changed your diaper, and nearly sat up yourself on my lap while i made your bottle.  you ate pretty well, took a break, then ate the rest with no real complaint.  you talked and chatted a bit, then fell asleep for your daddy (not for me!) in the rocking chair.  when you woke up, we came downstairs and i put you in your exersaucer. and you played, by yourself, giggling and talking and moving from toy to toy.  when you were done with that, it was down on the floor, where you wriggled a little bit to play with your talking bee.  then you ate and fell asleep--on your own--in your bouncy chair. 

oh, and i'm pretty sure you woke up with a tooth.

that may not seem extraordinary to you, but this month has been full of changes for you. 
  • you're mobile! you scoot and roll through the house. we had to totally clean up the downstairs this week, putting scary stuff away upstairs and giving you plenty of room to roll and play. not a moment too soon, baby girl, because yesterday you figured out how to get up, eversobriefly, on hands and knees. i've been feeling impressed to baby proof quickly. i know now why. you are on the move.
  • you're independent! since we got you the exersaucer, you have been overjoyed to find a small piece of independence in this world of dependence. you can twist around, using your strong legs, to play. we put your other toys on there, and you play and chat and laugh and talk to us while you do.  selfishly, it's nice to not be entirely responsible for your tactile and intellectual engagement. but also selfishly, it brings me so much joy to seeing you have SO MUCH FUN.  
  • you're teething! i told the doctor a month ago that you were teething. he told me i was wrong. well, he was wrong.  a couple of weeks ago, you got a runny nose. i thought maybe you were finally getting that first cold i've heard tell of and i prepared myself for a sleepless night of snot sucking and sleeping in the chair. nope. nothing really came of it. as soon as it came, it was gone. but suddenly you were chewing and more fussy. a little tylenol on a few days of really bad fussiness and chewing and you were better. and then all of the sudden I COULD SEE IT.  that little white ridge down below the gums. and then, a few days later, there was the nose again--and the ridge was easier to see and bumpy--and i could see the neighbor tooth too! and then a few days later, the nose came back and the gums were swollen and by this time i knew what it was.  and then today, it was SHARP. not bumpy, but sharp. i just knew that you were going to wait until your 5 month birthday. i just KNEW it. 
  • you're eating solid foods!  we started you on oatmeal a few weeks ago, and then a couple of days of squash, but you had some...interesting gastrointestinal reactions (read: blowouts).  so, we stopped you. it was about the time you started feeling bad, so i just wanted to let it ride until we were sure you were over it.  i still don't know if it was teething or the food, but this time has been really no problem.  you LOVE oatmeal. i mean love it. i thought i was going to do all orange veggies, but something told me to try bananas next. you did not like them. you didn't hate them, but you were just "meh." but carrots? carrots you REALLY liked.  you dove for the spoon. it was sort of amazing to watch.  next up will probably be some sweet potatoes, and then we'll do some squash, and then maybe we'll do some peas.  but when i try bananas again, they won't be baby food bananas because they don't taste like bananas. i think i'll probably just smash some of my own. :) you're so fun to feed. you just really like the whole experience, which is good because i'm trying so hard to make it fun and enjoyable, and you try to hold your spoon. it's adorable.  
  • you're sleeping on your belly! i think i wrote about this, but you sleep on your belly now.  at first, it really bothered me because it seemed like you didn't really know that it wasn't a good idea to smash your face into the mattress. or you'd end up in some sort of contorted position.  but now you seem to have found your way--you start out on your back and then about an hour or two later, flip to your stomach. sometimes you flip back onto your side; sometimes you end up completely turned sideways in your crib.  i still end up checking on your at least twice--once before i go to bed (when i usually try to move you back to the middle of your crib) and once if i wake up before you do (which i normally do). sometimes i have to move you again then, though i try not to because you will wake up. 
you're just such a cool kid. i like you so much.  while we don't let you watch TV, per se, i've stopped freaking out if you see a little bit. you know what's cool? you like commercials. daddy and i joke that you're going to be an incredibly successful ad exec who will pay for our missions when we're old.  but you don't care even a little bit about the shows themselves.  you do seem to enjoy periodic moments of football, though, but mainly you prefer your sophie giraffe and your noisy toys.  (i don't blame you.)  so i think if i want to watch TV, all i have to do is put on netflix.  no commercials, no maggie. :)

i love you baby girl.

i can't wait to see how the next month changes you entirely.  next time i write, you will be six months old.  i can't believe we've been together for nearly half a year.  my, how time flies when you're having fun with the sweetest kid on the planet.

conquer the floor, baby girl.  go forth.  i can't wait to see you shine, even if i never can sit down again.  :)


Monday, September 5, 2011

babies are people too.

so i don't understand why people don't realize that babies are people and not a sack of flour to be passed around from person to person.

they have preferences. they have favorites. they have opinions. they have fears.

when you scare them, they remember.  when you don't respect their space, they don't react well.  crying is their language; why is it okay to ignore that? "she doesn't mind."

actually, she does.  no, "taking her out more" isn't going to solve the problem. the problem is that you're loud, you took her without giving her time to adjust, and she's tired and teething. just about the time that she started to get used to you and warm up, you pushed it again.

that's the problem.  the problem isn't our parenting.  the problem isn't that she's too attached or that we're housebound. we're neither. she's perfectly happy to flirt with you and give you a big gummy smile when she feels safe.  she's perfectly happy to talk and play with you, when you give her her space.

when you keep encroaching on it, she will tell you.

don't judge us, don't judge our parenting, don't act like you've been offended. we didn't tell her to cry but we're not going to force her to do what you want her to do because you want it when you want it.  we're going to listen to HER.  we'll try what you want, but that's all we'll do.   when it all goes pear-shaped, we'll intervene and remind her that she's safe.

her reaction is not a personal offront.  she's her own person.  she doesn't KNOW you.  i can't help that.  give her time. don't breeze into her life and expect her to jump into your arms and play happily. don't ask to hold her like she'll just go to you. don't be shocked when she screams if you make loud noises in her face or if she realizes you're not her people.

gah.  i just hate this.

i hate the expectations, the strange looks when we suggest that Baby Girl might not be excited to go jump into the arms of someone she's maybe seen once, or even has seen every week but only in passing. why can't people just be okay with the fact that babies are where and what they are?

there's no respect. for all people say about babies being born with a personality, being born with tendencies toward being "easygoing" or "happy," very few people treat them as if they actually have desires and wants beyond eating, sleeping, and being clean.

if being a mother has only taught me one thing (and that's absolutely not the case), it's this: babies are 100% individuals. you can't make them do something any more than you can make granite turn into marshmellow. you can teach them, you can mold and shape them, you can help them learn and guide their steps. but you cannot force them to like someone, even if that someone is related to them.  you cannot make them be any other way than the way that they are, especially at this age. 

at two? we'll talk at two. 

but don't you dare EVER tell me that something i am doing is the reason my baby likes me and my husband more than someone that she doesn't know.  don't you EVER judge our parenting because you think she should be happy as a clam with a person who, to her, is a complete and total stranger.  don't you EVER do that.

it's wrong. it's unfair. and it disrespects my daughter.

don't you dare do that.  i like her too much to let you, and i love her too much to not be her safe space whenever she wants it.

Friday, September 2, 2011


we found this amazing noah's ark board book while on vacation in one of those fake antique general stores in the mountains of NC (fake because, really, they just sell crap to tourists that seems folksy).


i loved it because it has tons of illustrations of animals on each page. i love this book.

so does mags.

but when we get to this certain page, she always smiles hugely at one particular part of the book. we've tested it--it happens almost every time.  we think it's the sheep.

i'm wondering if maybe she loves lambs? i'm thinking maybe she'd love my little lamb. it's dirty, but maybe i'll toss it into the washer and see if she loves it.  if she smiles at it the way she smiles at the picture, it would be well worth it.

i just didn't want to forget that.