Val's First Halloween

Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Internet, I give you the world's cutest baby dragon, Valamino!


You Gotta Admit

Our littlest guest.
Originally uploaded by amyf.

Val was pretty cute at Amy and That Ted's wedding!

One Year Later
About this time last year, we told you people the big news about me being knocked up. That's exciting and all but the harder milestone (in some ways) was that I also gave up hockey after that weekend's games. I had hoped to skate a wee bit longer but once we had the 12 week ultrasound and the tech was able to do that ultrasound with my pants on. Which meant that our wee baby was no longer all that wee and that I needed to protect her from that point on.

So I waddled into my last maroon game wearing maternity pants. Which, really, felt wrong. I played hard, but conservatively. Then took off my gear and hung it lovingly on the rack in our garage.

Where it sat until this summer, when I finally was able to come back. I'm thrilled to report that last night, one year after that sad but sweet milestone, I scored a goal and had an assist, giving me my first 2 point game since I was in green.

And the best part? Val was there to see it.

AmyFritz's Really Nice Wedding
Friday morning, we headed up to SF City Hall for AmyFritz's civil ceremony. We got there just in time to catch up with her, That Ted and Ted's nice friends whose names I've forgotten. We went with Amy and That Ted to the clerk's office, where they took a number, then waited for the nice judge to call them in. The nice judge wouldn't let us linger for that part of the festivities, but I did manage to get some pictures anyway.

After they finished the business with the judge, we all proceeded to the rotunda for the ceremony.

The judge appeared seemingly out of nowhere, with a judge in training in tow! After the nice judge gave some overeager tourists the boot, Amy and Ted lined up and got down to business.

Vows were said, rings were exchanged. The other witnesses teared up a bit, but I remained stoic since I was taking Official Photographs with Amy's camera as well as my own. This was important work and damn it, I was going to get it right!

The judge said some really sweet things about love and about marriage and poof, just like that, by the power vested in her by the State of California, I give you Mr. and Mrs. That Ted:



Thanks to the miracle of daylight savings time ending, I actually *will* get back one of the hours I wasted today at Disney On Ice. I think I'll take the first hour of the show, since that one was the most lame.


Woo hooo!

I am thrilled to report that the fabulous AmyFritz! has been married to That Ted in the sweetest of low-key civil ceremonies at City Hall.

I am honored to have been one of 5 people there for the big event and I wish the That Teds all the best!


When I was pregnant, I counted every day as one day less that I had to endure. If you asked me at any point, I could always tell you how many weeks/days pregnant I was. Every Sunday was a small relief, as it meant one less week until we met our baby. And yes, one less week that I had to be pregnant.

In case I wasn't clear, being pregnant was no picnic. I'm fully aware that it was a non-picnic I chose to experience and even though we made that choice with our eyes wide open, the experience was still hard.

But back to the counting.

When Val was finally born, for a while we counted her age in days. That was crazy enough until the days turned into weeks. So we went by weeks until recently, when we've switched to months. Because, really, I've lost track. I think it's been 22 weeks but I'm not 100% sure.

Maybe it makes me lame for not paying attention, I'd rather think it doesn't. Because there's nothing to count down to anymore. Now it's a celebration of this amazing girl who has changed our lives in every possible way.

Valerie, 5 months, 2 weeks.


Breathing A Little Easier
I haven't written about this because it was all very much in flux. But, here goes. The day I got the bad news about not being able to cut back my hours here at work, I wrote to the manager of a different group. I asked if maybe, just maybe, there was a way I could transfer into that group at 4 days a week.

I'll be damned, because he wrote back within 2 hours and said, yes, that was a good possibility.

And then I waited while the affected managers tried to work things out. Finally, I met today with my manager's boss, who was ridiculously amenable to the move.

They're still ironing out the details but it looks like I'll be headed to a different group sooner rather than later. And most importantly, I'll be working 4 days a week and will have one glorious day each week to admire this:


This Post Is Mostly For Me

The day before my due date.

5 months later, in pretty much the same outfit, only a lot less me.

Last night, the A-Team 2 (who is somehow solidly in first place, for the moment) played a really nice bunch of folks who were, for the most part new to hockey. I'll say it again, they were really nice. I like nice, it means no fights and no intentional bonehead moves.

Ahem. Then there's the unintentional ones. Like being offsides a bazillion times. Fine, that's totally part of the deal playing at this level. Then there's them shooting at our goalie after the whistle, twice. Okay, sure.

It was all well and good until one of them saw me coming around the back of the net with the puck and decided that his best option was to simply plant himself in my path at the last moment. At least that's what I think happened because really, all I remember is thinking okay, okay, I'm still standing, and then feeling my ass and back hit the ice, followed a split second later by the thunk of my helmet.

For the first time ever, I couldn't get up just yet. I laid on the ice in a bit of a daze but was quickly brought out of it by a well-meaning player from their team's face right above mine going 'areyouokayareyouokayareyouokay?' and me thinking that is so not who I want to see right now.

A few of their guys offered to help me up but I thought, hey they're really nice, but not all that steady on their skates. I'll hedge my bets and attempt this alone.

Apparently it all happened so fast that my own team didn't have time to get out there to help me up. Their steady arms, I would have leaned on for sure.

Some of them were also ready to go start fighting the guy on my behalf but lucky for all of us, the guy (aka the wall) who knocked me over was really nice and the very attentive refs called him for something right away. But I appreciate the thought.

Even though I know fighting on the ice is pointless, it's comforting to know that these guys would go out there on my behalf. It's like having 10 older brothers.

Anyway, I'm okay. Not concussed, though my ass hurts hurts hurts. And I'm going to get a new mouthguard. Because I don't think it's fair to expect to get this lucky in terms of not getting hurt too badly again.


For Some Reason
I thought today wasn't going to be all that crazy, work-wise. What was I thinking?

Sometimes, I think, the many-stepped process required to get one eensy weensy change made is a little too much.

Especially when it's 5 fucking 30 and you're STILL WAITING to put your change into the codebase, even though you were ready hours ago.


So I Was Sorta Right
When about this time last year, I said this: Right now, I cannot for the life of me imagine going through this again. But a year from now, when I'm staring at Murray's cute little face and wondering how we ever lived without it? Who knows.

Because here it is, a year later, and I really don't know if we'd do it again. But we just might. Val's that cool.

I also, in that same post, told the 3 of you about a dream I had about Val's birth, where she was kept from me for the time right after she was born and my parents got to see her before I did. Turns out that's pretty much exactly what happened, save naming her something awful.

Funny how some dreams do come true. Especially the part about waiting my whole life for this.


Award-Winning Inappropriateness
I was just asked the following:
  • Why don't you have pictures of Val all over your cube? (because I figured, rightly, that seeing her wee smiling face all day would make being here harder, at least for now)
  • Then, is it getting any easier to leave Val and come here every day? No, I said, not really. To which I got in response, wouldn't it be nice if we all won the lottery.
I took it all in stride, answering politely (yes, obviously I should have lied and said it's getting easier, even though I assure you it's not) while the tears welled up just outside my vision. The person who said this walked away, oblivious, while I sat here trying not to cry.


New Building: Day 2

So I didn't mention Day 1. But we moved to a new building at work. It's sorta just like the old one, but slightly turned around. So when I walked down the stairs to leave yesterday, I was pretty surprised to find myself in a courtyard rather than the parking lot.

I felt like I was in the Haunted Mansion, with no way out.

I'm happy to report that today, I found the parking lot with no issue. I also walked in on someone using the pumping room. Talk about fun. Um, hi, nice cones?

The Post That Turned Into The Post About Pumping
Last night marked my third day in a row of hockey and also, it marked yet another day when I was extremely grateful to have invested in 2 sets of gear so I didn't have to wear wet gear. Because that's just not that yummy.

The game was early so I got home in time to wolf down some food and wash what felt like 1000 bottles and pump parts.

I will say this now and I will say it a thousand times in the future: moms who, for whatever reason, are able to only pump breastmilk for their babies have all my respect. Because that shit gets old really fucking fast. In some ways, that's the hardest, or at least the lamest part about being back at work. The pumping and the cleaning and the pumping and the cleaning.

When I first started pumping, really, it was so I could leave Val with Andrea for a couple of hours to go play hockey. Because y'all know I missed that just a little bit. And pumping for that was fine. I'd also pump so I had a little backup when Val and I were out and about. Again, just fine. 1-2 bottles a day, no biggie.

Pumping is also sort of a fascinating little science experiment -- how much will I get today?

But now that I'm at work and away from Val, I pump 4-5 times a day to make the bottles she needs for the next day. We're only 3 weeks in and it's getting old, really old. I look forward to getting her at night because it means, among other great things, that I get a break from pumping.

If she was eating formula, the washing would be just about the same.

I guess what I'm saying is that now, breastfeeding (well, pumping, Val eats just fine when I'm around her) has gone from something that was for the most part, pretty easy, to something that's become a lot harder.

I work from home one day a week and I so look forward to the break from the pump that day.

Which brings me back to my profound respect for the moms who only pump. 4 days a week, I feel your pain, my sisters, and I give you mad props for the effort that doing this requires.


It Could Well Be True
That getting pulled over for, ahem, multiple offenses on the way to a hockey game makes you play better. Because not only did R4 win again, I actually scored!


Ass-Kicking Fun

Yesterday, I was invited to a practice that I thought was just some folks renting the ice. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a tournament team's practice.

I hadn't been to a practice like that in about 2 years. Fast skating, not a lot of downtime and a lot more skating. I sort of kept up okay, but it was clear that I was in the worst shape of anyone out there.

By the end, I was completely wiped out. I mean, completely. But it felt good to have made it through and done my best, even if that was seriously pokey.


Now that I've been through childbirth, I can say this for sure. A deeply stuck splinter still smarts like a bitch. In fact, for a split second, it's like labor.

For a split second, anyway.

Ode to 6:15 a.m.

So, we meet again. Yes, I still hate you but you remain far superior to your bastard cousin, 5 a.m.


Ain't What He Used To Be
Last night we took all the dogs and Val for a walk. That's where we discovered that everyone's getting slower, especially Zeus. For all these years, he's been trotting along like a pro, never super fast, but never slow. But holy crap, the man walks like molasses now.

At one point, he planted himself so far behind me that his collar started to slip off. At that point, Patrick started walking so slow that I kept bumping into him. The whole affair was an excersize in keeping everyone going fast enough to keep moving until we all stumbled home, exhausted from the walk and from the effort of wrangling them all.

Val, of course, did great in her sling and just enjoyed the ride while her moms were trying not to trip over their dogs.


What I Did On My Summer Vacation
So I have this pretty decent digital camera. And I used it to take pictures throughout my maternity leave but I didn't download them until just now. Really, because I wanted to give myself a little gift of the first few months of Val's life when I thought I'd need it most, which is now since I have to be away from her during the day.

Here's a recap, in pictures, of my summer:

Val was born!

And I looked like hell. But the baby was very cute.

For about 2 days, I slept. And every time I woke, this is what I saw.

We took Val home. And her two biggest fans came over to visit. And eat pb&j sandwiches.

Val decided that sitting up was NO FUN. Today, she feels very differently about the subject.

We had a photo shoot with all of the girls. Sam and Riley didn't really cooperate until Val joined them.

My parents came to visit. And Val took a nap.

We went to Disneyland for Val and the girls' first trip. There I encountered the very scary Hollywood Tower of Baby!

And Susan tried on a seriously special hat.

We went to Happy Hollow, where Andrea and Val had some arm-flapping fun!

And that, dear readers, is what I did this summer.


Feel Free To Give Me A Heart Attack
Twice now I've gotten a bill from the nice anesthesiologist who made my life a lot easier while Val was making her very eventful arrival into this world. Both times, that bill has been for the entire $3k that their services cost, which means that my insurance had yet to kick in.

So I call the insurance and go through the recording of the 10 (10! holy shit that's a lot of claims for someone who pretty much never goes to the doctor!) claims they'd dealt with recently. Claim x, June sometime, paid. Claim y, during Val's birth, paid. And then Claim z, anesthesia, DENIED.

Seriously, was I supposed to use hypnobirthing for the c-section???

Apparently the insurance folks can't read whatever the doctor sent about how many units of this that or the other they used to make the bad bad pain go away. So the doc needs to resend that and at that point, 5 months after my daughter's tumultuous birth, they will process the claim.


Val does love some sliding

A quick evening trip to the park...
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

That's Us, Funny (but only to ourselves)
On the next aisle over from me and Bubbles, there was a heated conversation about work that did not involve us in any way going on. So we did what anyone would do, we listened in and IM'ed each other our own interpretation of the conversation, not unlike the Charo Geico commercial. Then laughed our asses off.

You pretty much had to be here, but since I was, it worked out great.

It's Coming Out Day

So I might as well tell you: I'm gay.



It Only Took A Week
But I have now checked out a file to work on. Thank you, oh great master of convoludedness that is ClearCase!


The Dunking
Yesterday was Val's big day. My parents had flown in for the occassion, I dug out a pair of really big pre-baby dress pants THAT ACTUALLY MOSTLY FIT HOLY CRAP!!!, we bought a ton of food at Costco to share with our guests and the college kids who attend the Hojo's, a small group of friends gathered at the HoJo's, and this giant planter the Baptismal font was filled with warm water.

While the planter font was being filled, a homeless man asked if he could stay at the church, Father Immersion got completely thrown by the fact that legally, officially, Val has no father and even more thrown by the fact that Andrea has no middle name. 'Not even Louise?' he asked, then started to write Louise in for my middle name.

We rehearsed all the stuff we'd have to do, stand here, huddle around Val there, step back here, hand her over there, etc. And then, once I'd completely forgotten everything we were supposed to do, the Mass started.

And really, it was lovely. Val was mentioned every other sentence (it seemed) throughout the whole service. Val must have known she was the focus of the day and gave up huge smiles and talked through the whole thing.

Until it was time for the dunking. Then she got pissed. With a capital P. She screamed throughout the whole dunking (I would have too) and then the whole time Susan and Bill (her esteemed Godparents) were getting her dressed afterwards. Later in the Mass, she emerged, dressed in this seriously nice dress that Susan had made for her, only to get a more than liberal dousing with some kind of oil (really, I think it was patuoli, which made me think I was at a lesbian event rather than a baptism) all over her head. Once we finally wiped off a good portion of it, her hair stood straight up. Which was badass. Even later, when I wiped more of the stuff off, her hair was like greasy old man hair. Which was not badass.

But it was done and in so many ways, dunking notwithstanding, it was lovely. Lovely to have our baby girl welcomed into the community, lovely to have the whole service refer to her by name, to hear that name we'd held close in our hearts all those months before she was born said over and over again, to think of my Grandma each time he said her middle name, lovely to have some of our friends there to share the day with us. And yes, lovely that despite what our neighborhood church thinks about the composition of Val's family, we were able to share our wonderful daughter with a community.

Yep, she's funny all right

Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.


Ode To 5:26 a.m.

It still sucks, knowing you. But I get it. We're meant to know each other for a while yet.

At least we share this time with a really cute baby, who smiled when she woke.


The More Things Change
I've been back at work for a week and so far, it's surreal. In sooo many ways, things are exactly the same. Things like
  • The machine in the break room? It still makes more ice.
  • There's still free soda!
  • The fish? Still in the pond in the courtyard. I can't vouch for the turtles, though. Not yet.
  • I'm still not a fan of meetings.
  • ClearCase? Still a real pain in the ass. I know, you're totally shocked.
Things that are different:
  • I'm no longer pregnant and my hair is short. So a couple of female co-workers I don't know have somehow missed my GIGANTIC boobs and given me a funny look as I walk into the crapper. Seriously, people, there's no hiding this rack, just look down.
  • I'm no longer pregnant so I'm not eating nuts all day. Thank God.
  • I'm no longer pregnant and my baby girl is Someplace Else while I'm there. This sucks ass and I find myself doing everything I can to not think about how much I miss her.
  • I'm no longer pregnant and my baby girl is Someplace Else so I have to go pump every few hours. It's sort of a nice break, but not really.
  • I'm no longer pregnant and my baby girl is Someplace Else so I can
    • Talk largely uninterrupted to other adults. This I've done mostly to Bubbles, who is my alleged temporary cubemate. Sorry about the blathering, yo. At least I'm sorta funny sometimes.
    • Just get up and go when I need to pee. I don't have to put Val in her jumperoo, her swing or her crib, I can just go. And nobody cries when I leave.
    • I can eat whenever I want. With two hands. For the whole meal.
So yes, there are some advantages to being there, not the least of which is the restarting of the magic payroll machine. But yes, it's hard. I miss Val like crazy while I'm away from her. And at the end of the day when I pick her up, the whole world fades away and it's just us. She touches my face, pulls my hair, pats my arms. And nurses every hour until bedtime, reclaiming her territory.

It's not the full-of-smiles kind of reunion I'd hope for but it's a very sweet reconnecting just the same. It's not awful, being back, but it still sucks.

Perhaps It's Just The Poo
Right around this time last year, I was experiencing all of those first trimester joys, including a ridiculous bout of constipation that makes me wince to even think of it now. I tell you this not because you really give a crap about my craps of the past but because I'm thinking that's how Val felt yesterday.

Her story all day was this: 'waaaa' 'waaaa' 'waaaa', interspersed with the smiles she usually gives. All that fussiness came to a head late last night, when that sound every parent comes to know and react to instantly to came forth from her pants. We rushed her in for a diaper change, which also included a pajama change in addition to a changing pad change. Phew, we thought, she's passed the beast and now she'll feel okay.

Until 15 minutes later when another eruption graced our presence. That prompted an unscheduled, but now-needed shower and finally she settled down for the night after that.

Today's tale has been the same, much 'waaaa'-ness and not too many smiles. It just sucks and I hope that whatever it is that plagues her, whether it be more hidden poo or that long-awaited tooth, moves on soon.

Because it really sucks when she's unhappy and we can't fix it.


Why do I have a bookmark to 99198778_bcff918569_o.jpg">this on my browser at work?


Can I Get A Chum-Chum?
Part of the magic Abby Cadabby intro episode is the truly excellent Law and Order Special Letters Unit, which features the letter M and a bold request for a 'chum chum' that has me cracking up still.

Who says this stuff is just for kids, anyway?

Val Likes Slides

Sliding with Val
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

And Sam.

Val Likes Riley

Sliding with Val
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

And slides.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Val's First Crush
The other day, I plunked Val down into her magic jumper thingie and turned on Sesame Street for her. Normally, she looks at the stuff on the jumper, then at The Street, then back at the stuff on the jumper. Of course, this is all sandwiched by intermittent jumping.

And then the episode where Abby Cadabby makes her appearance came on. And the world stopped spinning. And all of a sudden, the world only contained Abby Cadabby and her magic wand (which broke and then was fixed at the Fix It Shop by Luis. Maria's record for never fixing anything but toasters is intact!).

I wondered if it was a fluke, but when I put the same episode on again last night, she once again went into Abby Cadabby Coma.

It's grainy, but you get the idea.


Well, I'm Back
First, it seems totally weird to have a full-sized computer at my disposal all day. After almost 6 months of exclusive sidekick useage, this is a totally entrancing novelty.

Which is a great thing when you have to be away from your baby for the very first time. Because the entrancing novelty computer machine makes that a little bit easier.

Second, I've been asked some form of 'isn't it hard to be back' three times so far. Yes, I'm counting. People, seriously, this is about the dumbest question you could ask and the hardest for me to answer without crying.

Let's stick to conversation topics that don't rip out my heart. Like unwanted rodents, and of course, corn.