Ode To 6:38 a.m.

You are, in almost every way, far superior to 5 a.m. and you totally kick 3:48 a.m's ass. Thanks for being you.

*p.s. Dear readers, longer posts are probably in my future, once I have a little bit of downtime in front of the computer. Stay tuned for the Great Sadness that is my return to work.


Ode to 3:48 a.m.

Patrick had a seizure just now so I'm up watching TV with him while he (hopefully) goes back to his normal state of mind. Poor guy, I think this one was a doozy.


Ode To 5 a.m.

Oh 5 am, I'm really not that fond of you. Wouldn't it be better if you just came and went without me?


As If Returning To Work Wasn't Hard Enough
This week's Big Concern is about going back to work. Specifically, that the leading up to it is getting a lot more stressful than I'd like it to be. After hearing that some new parents (moms, mostly) at work are working 4 days a week or other similar arrangements, I figured OMG that's perfect. 1 extra day at home with Val would be awesome. I'd still get to go to a job I enjoyed and make most of my salary! I though, cool, I'll ask about doing that too, at least while Val is small.

So I asked. And got summarily denied. I'm allowed to work from home 1 day a week but with some stipulations that make it seem like I'm on probation or am otherwise on a shitlist. Which I wasn't before I went on leave.

I've been ridiculously upset about all this and will be until it's resolved somehow. I would like to think that there's a way I can balance being a mom with being a good employee.


Jackass Dos

As funny as the first. Seriously. Made me really miss seeing those guys on tv all the time.


And Another Thing
I've only got a week until I go back to work. Please don't mention it in my presence, as I can't really discuss it without crying just yet.

Valuable Lesson Learned
It's hard to buy diapers if your wallet is in your partner's car.

We finally got to go swimming with Andrea and the girls today. It was super duper fun, the place was pretty much empty (so empty that my modest self breastfed Val right there on the lounge chair, thanks to a little help from a very large towel and a very hungry baby) and somehow, afterwards, I wound up at Babies R Us to use this excellent coupon that when I finally got the diapers I needed, it became the coupon I didn't have. And the money I didn't have.

Later, we had the maroon draft (yes, I'm captaining again, you knew I would). Val had to join me since Andrea was off in the east bay doing the red draft. Yep, we are a houseful o' captains. Val was a bit fussy so that made it a little challenging to get all settled in for the big event. Finally she calmed down and we got to picking. A ton of my friends moved up from red so I'm stoked stoked stoked to be playing with them again. I picked a good group, a fun group and who knows maybe we'll even do okay.

I'm still just damn happy to be playing hockey again. And to be buying diapers for this:


I Think I'm Ready To Share This Now
This awful thing happened the other night. I'm almost to the point where I can tell the story out loud so it might be time to share it with you people. I must start this story by telling you that, as parents, many things are tested on a daily basis. How long a shower can last you, how often you really need to do laundry, how far your skin can stretch (if you're the one carrying the baby), your ability to listen politely when strangers insist on giving you assvice, your abililty to shlep a million things unsing only the body parts that you're born with.

You get it. But the one major test that we apparently failed was the abililty to assemble furniture and toys. We got Susan's beloved co-sleeper and after cleaning out our room this weekend to make room for it, it was time to put the damn thing together.

One piece was missing but we figured it would be okay without it for the time being. We put it together and laid Val down in it for her second night in the thing. All was fine until 5 am Monday, when she rolled over at exactly the right spot for the mattress (which was resting on 2 support bars) to Flip Over, sending her tumbling to the bottom of the crib. And, to make it worse, to make the mattress flip over and onto Val.

Better was that it woke us up in a hurry. Andrea said 'OH SHIT' and pulled the mattress outta there right quick. I reached for Val, who was laying on her tummy looking up at us from the opposite side of the crib from me, rendering her basically unreachable from my spot. After a couple of frantic tries, Andrea grabbed her and we all cried.

Apparently if we were a little smarter and had put the support bars a little farther apart and we'd had that missing piece (this giant cloth thing that goes under the mattress to hold it up) it wouldn't have tipped over in the middle of the night.

Now we know. And Val has a pretty good sized scratch on her leg. And we all get teary eyed just thinking about that horrific thud in the dead of the night.

If we rock this much now, I can't wait to see how badly we bungle her Christmas gifts.

Sleep Deprivation, Part 2

I just did a load of laundry. When I opened the washer, I found an empty Togo's cup that I'd washed with the clothes. And then I realized I didn't use laundry soap so I had to do the load over again. Sans Togo's cup, plus soap.


A Sort Of Sad Little Christmas

The stuff we're getting from Grandma's house finally arrived yesterday. My parents had kindly held onto it for months, so I didn't have to deal with a brand new baby and the erratic arrival times of a cross-country mover.

So now it's here and little by little, the full weight of a world without Grandma is hitting me in the form of 4 chairs, a table that I need to put together, a porch chair and a box of dishes.

I'm glad that these things that have so much meaning for me have arrived safely but I hate it that they're here because Grandma is gone and her house is now someone else's.

What Sleep Deprivation Can Do

Many times since Val was born I've attempted to put water on my cereal, to put the milk back into the dish cabinet. I've also forgotten to rinse out the conditioner from my hair far too many times and thrown dirty diapers into the sink nearest the trash can.

Right now, I'm wondering I won and paid for the Halloween costume I bid on for Val on eBay. Because I'm really not sure.

One thing I did get is a really cute, very appropriate baptism outfit. For $1.99.

I rule. When I remember.

Not My Event

Sigh. I am seriously not that bright/coordinated when it comes to giving Val a bath. There was much screaming and not as much cleaning as there should have been.

Sorry, kid.


A Beautiful Thing

Val has so outgrown her bassinet. Her little hands and feet were, no shit, about a half inch from each of the sides. She'd try to roll over and get stuck because there was nowhere to go.

It was time to either move her into her own room all the time or figure out something else (unfortunately she's now too big for a dresser drawer or cardboard box). Lucky for us, we scored a co-sleeper (same size as a porta crib but sturdier and more granola in nature) from Susan so it was 'just' a matter of setting it up.

Oh, and moving a ton of crap out of our room to make the space. Andrea worked really hard all day yesterday to clear it out and finally, we were ready for the new cribette. Val slept 6 hours in a row in it, waking up so late I was in total shock. She can spread out, roll around, throw her pacifier with wild abandon and have a little baby party in there.

Nope, we don't have a dresser right now but hey, my kid is comfy when she sleeps. It's so worth the effort.


Fellow Sesame Street Fans

I have to ask you... How freaking long has Maria been fixing that damn toaster? And who fixes a toaster anyway?

We Need To Get Out More Often

Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Because this late-night trip to the drugstore was cause for waaaay too much celebration.

But phew, Val looks good in silly hats. That's very important, you know.

Um, Oh!

Shit. Sorry, haven't blogged all week. It's been pretty dull, really. I've mostly stayed home with Val, making a vain attempt to get her days on some sort of schedule before I go back to work. My efforts paid off for 2 days, but not today when she was cranky from her latest set of vaccinations. Oh well, I'm trying.

Played 2 co-ed games over the weekend and was enjoying a renewed sense of confidence about my skillz until I skated the maroon skillz session and discovered that really, I'm not quite where I thought I was. Oh well, I'm trying.


Another Sign Parenthood Has Taken Hold

My car is in the shop today for a warranty thingie and to replace the tire I fucked up on the curb. Because of the warranty thingie, I get a free rental car. In the old days, I'd pick something interesting like an suv or something shaped kinda funny.

Today? I picked a monstrous Buick because it had the most obvious places to install Val's carseat.

Pimpin. Totally pimpin.


Gratuitous Happy Baby Pic

Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.

This pretty much sums up our trip. Lots of smiles, lots of shuttle bus riding. And drool.

It's True

Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.

Wearing hats for the sole purpose of photo opportunities is a family tradition. Thanks, Auntie Susan, for getting Val her first ear hat!


I Know This Is True
I just wrote this whole long thing explaining why I'm not going to revisit my discussion with Father Nearby. But in the end, it came off very defensive, like I'm supposed to want to get up in his face about it and was justifying why I didn't.

Why? It's just not my style. Not when I've found a place willing to do it, a place that's excited about doing it.

Besides, I know deep in my heart that Jesus himself would have done it. He surrounded himself with a wide variety of people, even though it wasn't the socially acceptable thing to do. The messages of acceptance and compassion that in my book were the foundation of his teachings have somehow gotten lost along the way.

So we'll be at HoJo's while our baby gets immersed. Because Father Immersion hasn't forgotten about compassion.


Trip Highlights
We'd been planning this Disney trip for a while when wham, all the sudden, it came together that Susan, Bill and the girls could join us. Kick ass! We said and headed out. Having them here has been great, even if somehow we kept missing each other for a lot of the time. We'd leave our strollers next to each other as a calling card and eventually we all hooked up again.

Because my ass is tired and we have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow, but I don't want to forget some of these things, I give you a brief rundown of the highlights of this trip:

  • Sam saving an errant pacifier from the floor at Goofy's Kitchen. We didn't know Val had dropped it and surely would have left without it, save for Sam's eagle eye. After we thanked her profusely, she re-enacted the finding 2 more times, much to our amusement.
  • Val's first open act of defiance: taking off, then throwing out the side of the stroller her new hat.
  • Unexpectedly riding the Jungle Cruise with just the girls after we happened to catch them all exiting the ride. Sam patted her head to explain that water had gotten onto her head on their earlier ride.
  • Val's first real giggles, to a song Andrea made up about the Taco Bell menu. How I wish I were kidding about the song's content, because I have a feeling we'll be singing it for some time.
  • Feeding Val in the baby care center, only to have her stop eating because she heard Andrea's voice. This happened a number of times and though it was mildly annoying to have Val stop, it was awesome to know that Val is well aware of who her family is. And that for now she finds us all worthy of her immediate attention.
  • Andrea wearing these:
  • Riley riding the carousel with her hands up and posing for pictures while doing it.
  • Sam doing the same thing, but starting to slide off the side.
  • Riding in the first car on California Screamin'.
  • Riding Space Mountain after I couldn't last year because I was pregnant.
  • Seeing my beautiful baby after riding Space Mountain.
  • Having an afternoon to ride roller coasters with Andrea, Susan and Stacey while the girls napped. Andrea and I took turns hanging out with Val.
  • Free Raisins.
  • Stumbling to breakfast so groggy I wasn't 100% sure that I was wearing pants.
  • Val's first Mickey ears, courtesy of Susan. Val hates them but that's okay.
  • Finally investing in annual passes so we can come back whenever. Or at least 1 more time during the next year.
  • Our crazyass anniversary dinner tonight.
Time to sleep, we have a rather boring drive ahead of us tomorrow. Thanks Anahiem, it's been great.

I'll Try To Explain
The thing about the churches. Because it's all sort of a lot of horseshit to me but I'll do my best to explain what I've been told on the matter.

For the record, I've never heard of this 'home' church business. I'm not sure if it's just How They Roll in California or I've just been living under a rock when it comes to the particulars of religion. But the deal is that the on-campus ministries are created with the intent of providing a religious home for students, faculty and staff of the university. But because these joints are often more liberal than neighborhood churches, they may attract a following from outside that community. People who fall into that category (attendees who aren't currently affiliated with the school) are still first and foremost, beholden to the church closest to their home. Sort of like neighborhood schools, even if you don't attend.

So in our case, in order to have Father Immersion do the baptism, he needed permission from Father Nearby, who, according to the way this diocese works, is our intended priest. Father Nearby told me that the decision not to allow us to baptize Val wasn't his, that it came from higher up on the food chain. Whatever.

I agree with all of you who have said or thought that this decision is a crock of shit. Because it is. Blame me and my so-called deviant lifestyle for being outside of the church's norm, but don't punish my daughter for something she can't control.

But I think we're cleared to get the blessed event done at the HoJo church on campus, or at least close enough for Father Immersion to feel okay about doing it. And for that, I'm extremely grateful.

10 Years Together

Kick ass!

Holy Crap!
Today (well, at this point, yesterday) marks a decade since Andrea and I became An Item. A decade! It seems like yesterday that we both took the chance on what seemed like a good thing, since I told a moving company to bring my shit to California instead of back to Ohio, since I went to Andrea's work and told her I was planning to stay. Since, I guess, we both knew that we aren't the kind of girls who can just have a quickie fling then move on.

The proof of that is in the pudding. Because here we are today, more tired than ever, but thanks to the arrival of Valerie, happier than we'd ever imagined possible.

We spent today at Disneyland with all of our girls: Val and the twins. It was terrific, even if there were some minor dramas along the way, even if I ended up spending what seemed like half the day breastfeeding in the baby care center, staring at the same lameass painting, even if our anniversary dinner was so chaotic because of the twins being waaaay past their bedtimes (after being total troopers for this entire trip) that all the adults stopped speaking the moment the food arrived. We left the restaurant with a crapload of doggie bags because I think we all forgot to eat.

Tomorrow we head home and I start doing the things I need to so I can get ready to go back to work after all this time off. But today, in some ways my last day of summer vacation, it was perfect in that way only real life can be.

I wouldn't have had this day any other way. I know other couples do romantic shit like give each other fancypants jewelry or leave the kids with a sitter so they can go out for a nice dinner or feed each other bonbons. This does, however, mark the second year in a row we've spent the time around the big day at a Disney property and it's starting to seem like an excellent tradition....

It's probably no surprise to you that we spent the day with Mickey and our friends. We didn't give any gifts (unless you count the bottled water Andrea got for me) and our dinner was far from romantic. But everyone we hold dear was there to share it.

And that's how we roll, folks. Family style.


The Verdict Is In

Father Immersion saw Father Nearby today and asked him about our 'situation.' Apparently Father Nearby was very nice but never directly answered the question of whether or not we have his 'permission' to baptise Val elsewhere.

So...given that Father Nearby said 'do what you are going to do over there (meaning the HoJos of Immersion), they are Not Very Catholic over there, Father Immersion is willing to consider that verbal permission.

At a later date, I will have much to say about the politics of this, how that nonsense does not relate to a wee baby who is not responsible for the fact that she has two mommies, but for now I'll say only that I'm so grateful this is all resolved.

Bring on the extraneous dunking.


I Spoke Too Soon
When I said that I had the details for Val's baptism all squared away, I spoke too soon. There's a lot of shit I haven't wanted to explain here about what I wanted to do (baptise her at my 'home' church in Ohio, but since Ohio is kind of far away, it seemed easier to do it here) and how it's all working out. When I was pregnant, I had this vision of baptising Val at home, of hearing her name sung in this really sweet song they sing at all the baptisms. I held that vision close throughout the pregnancy, a promise of one very important reward after the physical work of carrying her and giving birth to her was over.

In a lot of ways, it was like my hopes for a drug-free labor. Something that kept me going through something very hard. So when Val arrived in her not so drug-free fashion, I realized that some things aren't worth holding onto, that they'll inevitably turn out differently than you wanted them to.

So I started calling churches here. Long story short, we're planning to do it at the catholic church on campus at school. It seriously looks like a Howard Johnson's from the 70's (yes, like the one Laverne and Shirley say they'll stay at in Greenland when they visit, a little snow-covered orange roof) but it's small, cozy and yes, liberal.

And the priest LOVES to do baptisms. Terrific. Except, for him, there's one catch. He does immersion baptisms, where the kid is nekkid and gets a dunking. Talk about not being in my plan AT ALL. So fine, I say great but start looking for another church that might prefer to do it the old fashioned way, with baby's clothes on.

I don't really have any luck finding another church who's willing to take us on without us having attended for a while. Fair enough, and yes, I'm a slacker when it comes to checking in with God so that's on me. I wind up back at the House Of Dunking. Only, since I'm not currently a student, I need permission from my 'home' church to do this elsewhere, and I need to take a baptism class at my home church.

Here's where the trouble starts. I talk to the priest at our neighborhood church, and explain the situation about Val having dos mommies. He only asks if I intend to raise her Catholic, I say yes, breathing a sigh of relief that Andrea's not with me to state her intentions on the subject. Fine, we're all set for the class, let's get this show on the road.

Except that today, TWO WEEKS AFTER I WENT IN TO TALK TO HIM, the home church priest calls to tell me that we can't take the class there. Because Val has dos mommies. If I were single, there would be no issue. But since our house is penis-free, we are Ineligible. But, he says, do what we were planning to do at the campus church, because "they're not Very Catholic anyway."

I'm waiting to hear back from Father Immersion, if there's a way around this. I wish I could blow it all off and say we don't need to baptise her Catholic, that I just don't care. But for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, I do care. A lot. So now we're sort of stuck and I'm very sad about the situation.

I get it that the church is not very forward thinking about many social 'issues' (if you consider my life an 'issue'), that it's got a lot of really backward policies and does some hurtful things to people (see above). But it's also my church, the church I was born into, raised in, the church that meant a whole lot to my Grandma, for whom Val was named. So to not baptise her in that church seems absolutely wrong to me.

But I really don't know what to do now. Except cry, sigh, roll my eyes and call the priest from my home church a pussy.


One Year Later
A year ago today, we were enjoying an excellent trip to DisneyWorld and waiting quietly to see if our third insemination attempt had worked. Towards the end of the waiting period, I was totally sure it hadn't worked and found myself looking with great sadness at the scores of pregnant women who surrounded us at every turn.

And then, on the morning of September 4, I got up and just for the hell of it, peed on a stick.

Scientists were called in to assist with reading the results, but here's what we saw:

Today's picture is a whole lot more compelling, if you ask me:

When we got that positive result, I was excited but nervous too. Would the pregnancy be hard? (yes) Would I puke? (no, but I spent 7.5 months being nauseous. If puking would have solved that particular problem, I would have gone for it with gusto.) Would the baby be okay? (yes, save the heart murmur she's quickly abandoning.) Would labor and delivery suck? (yes. Yes twice, in case that's not clear.)

Would this baby be the best thing that ever happened to us.


Dear Childfree Shoppers Of Disneyland

Are you serious? Were you honestly surprised to see STROLLERS in the Disney store? And holy shit, there were CHILDREN in them?

Fyi folks, Disney in general has a bit of a kid focus to it. So you might see some STROLLERS. So shut the hell up, even when the woman near you says 'well, this is the Disney store, honey.'


Dear Well-Intentioned Disneyland Visitors With No Impulse Control

Please keep your mitts off my baby.

Thank you.


Leaving Town With A Baby

So... We're attempting to go to Disneyland for our first vacation together as a larger family. I've been planning this for a while, doing my usual travel agent bit, picking a hotel, getting park tickets in advance, then, this week, getting our crap ready for the journey.

Babies, though they are small, require an awful lot of stuff. So I started early and even got her some new outfits just in case she didn't have enough.

The plan was for Val to sleep mostly through the night, then, when she got up around 7 am, like she's done every day for the last month or more, like she did every day during the last part of my pregnancy, we would get up and head out.

I went to bed early so I'd be ready and semi-rested at 7ish. However, Val had different ideas and woke up the instant I fell into a deep enough sleep to start drooling. Fed baby, go back to sleep, hoping it will be until 7ish.


5:22 am, we wake up to the sound of Val laughing. Feed her and realize we're screwed already. By the time I finish pumping, it's 6 something and I'm wiped out. Fall back to sleep, wake to find a 7:15 am IM from Susan asking if we were on the road yet.

Somewhere around this time, Andrea told Susan that she thought we'd leave at 2, though she hoped we'd leave at 11.


Wake up at 10. Feed baby, take a shower, get the dogs in the car to go to Spots. Drop them off. But wait, we forgot Pat's valium. Head home. Stop to eat in McDonald's (we needed to soak up the ambience, apparently), go home, feed the baby while Andrea packs the car. Walk outside to find Andrea chatting up the neighbors.

Pack as much as I can one-handed while holding Val. Finally, it's 1:20 pm. Andrea and I start making jokes about other crap to do before we leave (get haircuts, buy new luggage, have a sign made for the car, get a quickie dental cleaning, buy new glasses and get a new car). But maybe, just maybe, we're ready to go.

So we get everyone into the now-filled car and actually drive somewhere past our driveway. Until I realize we don't have Val's sleep positioner. At this point, I'm ready to just buy a new one when we get there. I even look up the location of a Babies R Us down there (it's near Pat and Rainie's littermates' house) but Andrea turns this car around and it's back home we go.

Probably a good thing we needed to do that because I'd forgotten my own pillow and mighty wedge (yes, I'm still using the wedge because, yes, I still have heartburn. The joy that is my life...).

At 2 pm on the nose, we had dropped off Pat's valium and I'm sort of stunned to report that we're now 13 minutes away from our house. We just might get to Disneyland someday. Maybe even today.


Family Planning

It's hard to imagine wanting to go through all that pregnancy and childbirth business again. But despite that, a topic that comes through my head now and again is when, if ever, would be the right time to start trying again. If ever being the operative phrase.

But then it came to me, as I saw a very pregnant woman waddling her way across the Toys r us parking lot: when, if ever would be after I'm able to stop saying Each And Every Time I see a pregnant woman 'ha! That's not me! I'm already done!'

And at this rate, we are most certainly nowhere near that day.

We're also not anywhere near the day where I stop asking Andrea if we need any formula Each And Every Time we're near it at the store, then laughing my smug exclusively breastfeeding my baby laugh, leaving out the parts where said activity can be painful and certainly leaving out the moments where I think how easy it would be to just use formula so my milk machines can take a wee break. Just this once.