1.31.2007

Jenn Says It Best
When she wrote this really great post about Breastfeeding "advice". Lest you think I've become a breastfeeding nazi, I most certainly have not. I know firsthand that it's not the easiest thing in the world to do, and it's even harder to do it long-term.

But the benefits are clear, it's what's best for Val. So I have perservered, even when I thought I could not possibly face the pump again. I'm lucky. I have a ridiculously supportive suppport network, I've been encouraged without guilt (okay, maybe just a teeny tiny bit) to do this, to keep this up for as long as Val and I chose to.

When Val was really small, we were hanging out at Susan's quite a bit. I'd take Val into the girls' room and feed her. Invariably, the girls would follow me to help (Riley) by giving me a pillow, to watch intently (Sam). It was seriously cute and in a very two-year old way, so supportive.

I think about women who don't have that kind of support, and there's no real mystery about why so few moms (17%) are still breastfeeding at 6 months. Because breastfeeding is hard. It's inconvenient. Sometimes it hurts. And if you had a husband, a partner, a friend, anyone close to you giving you shit about doing it, that might just be the final straw.

I'm lucky. Everyone I'm close to has supported me in this effort and here we are, just shy of Val being 9 months old, still going strong. The final straw, it seems, will not be one too many comments from a loved one, but will instead be my decision. And of course, Val's.

I am proud of this effort. Even if we had to wean her today, I've still made it farther than I'd *ever* imagined possible. I write this, yes, to tout my acheivement, but moreso because I am insanely grateful to have the support network that's helped me get this far.

So if you find yourself part of a breastfeeding mom's support network, remember that the only appropriate response is encouragement.

1.30.2007

She Learned To Clap


IMG02157.JPG
Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.

Another weekend highlight was the addition of clapping to our lives. The whole team would gather around Val and say 'yeaaaaaaaa!' and she'd clap her little heart out for us. It was as good as winning a ginormous trophy.

Lucky for us, we had both, clapping and trophy!

Me And The Game Plan


pack every towels
Originally uploaded by cheddah j.

WHICH TOTALLY WORKED!!! You can tell because I'm holding a ginormous trophy in this picture.

1.29.2007

Burninating The Countryside
Or Las Vegas. However you want to call it.

Last Thursday, the Burninators packed up our stuff and headed to Las Vegas for our annual hockey tournament. The trip started off excellent, with Viv bringing us a shoebox full of goodies from Susan at the gate, including the very important 7 African Powers candle that we've been passing back and forth between our family and theirs for almost 3 years now.

We got to Vegas in time to spend well over an hour getting our luggage then getting the rental car, then installing Val's carseat in the rental car while the rental car guy hovered until I told him to go away.

After a quick dinner, we headed to the rink for our first game, against the Teen Girl Squad, which was awesome since the number of Homestar Runner-inspired teams was then 2. Like Dangeresque 2.

We scored around 5 minutes into the first period and we thought sweet! A lead! We managed to hold that 1 goal lead through the rest of the game, thus chalking up our first win. Woo!

Friday we played a very nice team from LA and they beat us 3-2. Shit. A hard-fought loss. We did our best and came away with no complaints. But we needed to win Saturday or we were out in 3.

And I really really did not want to be out in 3. None of us did.

Saturday, we played a team from AZ. Before the game, I noticed that they had hockey whiteboards mounted in the locker room. Ours had a 'D' with a bunch of squiggles on it. So I said that was our game plan.

The team was a lot younger than us, but then again, we were older. We had a 2-1 lead going into the very end of the 3rd period when with motherfucking 8.2 seconds left they scored, sending us into overtime.

This is when things started to suck for me.

The scorekeeper called both of the captians over. I skated over thinking they were going to say 'okay, you get a 5 minute running clock overtime period,' something I've heard a bazillion times before.

But no, what that guy said instead made things suck for me.

He said that Dave, the tournament guy, had called him and given this message: "no matter what happens in the overtime you're about to play, the other team will go to the finals."

What? How is that possible? We were all 1-1 going into the last game. How could an OT not count? My head was spinning and my heart was breaking when I heard the other captain say "I'm not gonna tell them."

Brilliant idea. Being the blabbermouth that I am, I was, at that moment, trying to figure out how to tell my team, my 15 friends that we've come all this way but whatever you do now, it doesn't matter.

So I didn't. I just figured that if these 5 minutes are all we have left to play here, I'll just go play my hardest and not say a word until afterwards.

This was THE BEST thing I have ever done as a captian, this shutting the hell up.

I played 1 shift, kept my head in the game but when I came to the bench, I couldn't watch. I was too busy trying not to cry. And a little part of me was still so goddamn happy to be back on the ice after having Val that I couldn't get *too* upset.

But, still, I couldn't figure out how it was possible that 2 evenly-ranked teams could be playing an OT with a pre-determined outcome.

Shortly after that, Sharon (for the 3rd time in our Burninator history) scored the clutch goal to secure our win. The team cheered like assholes, the other team also cheered like assholes thinking they'd somehow, with ONE GODDAMN WIN secured their place in the finals. I did the handshake on auto-pilot then stormed off of the ice in a huff to find Dave and try to understand why, despite the heroic win we'd just chalked up, why we weren't going to the finals.

It took me a minute to find a member of the Tournament Personnel. The guy I found was the guy WRITING OUR NAME ON THE BOARD INDICATING WE WERE, IN FACT GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP. He said 'well, it looks to me like you're in,' but also, he saw how goddamn fired up I was and walked me over to see Dave.

Dave, who said, no, that's not what he'd told the scorekeeper. He'd said that if we TIED in the OT, that the other team would go and we wouldn't. Because they'd scored more goals than we had over the course of the weekend.

That's a pretty different message. One that doesn't break your heart.

I cursed the scorekeeper right there and when I saw the guy a minute later, I read him the riot act. Not that he cared, he said it made no difference to him.

Yeah, ass. I get that. But it makes a shitload of difference to us.

I went back to my locker room and told the team the story. And finally, let myself celebrate the fact that we were going to the finals.

Sunday's game was early, 9:40 am. We were there and we were ready. Today's game plan on the board was 'Pack Every Towels, Truck Oh.' So we went with it, screaming PACK EVERY TOWELS and TRUCK OH every chance we got.

The other team was in it for like the first 10 minutes, then the momentum shifted. Not quite like they gave up, but we spent an awful lot of time in their end from that point on.

We didn't score until the second period, but then we scored 2 (like Dangeresque 2), giving us a 2-0 lead going into the 3rd. We scored 1 more in the 3rd, leaving us up 3-0 with just a few minutes left.

I knew we had them when I heard someone on their bench say 'let's just get one goal.' Not, let's try to win this, but let's get a goal.

We liked them and all, but no, they weren't getting a goal. We won the game 3-0, a championship game ending in a shutout for Cara.

We each got little trophies and I got to pick up our bigass trophy:

I'm still grinning.

5 years I have gone to this tourney, 3 times I have gone to the finals and finally, finally, finally, we won the whole thing.

And now for the credits: Props to my teammates for kicking some major ass and never giving up. Props to Lucinda for making our badass logos on our new badass jerseys. Props to Walt and Dena who were kind enough to come from Phoenix to take care of Val while we played so I didn't even have to worry for one second that she wasn't okay. Props to me for keeping my mouth shut after the scorekeeper got that awful message wrong. And props to all of our fans who were kind enough to cheer for us when we needed you most.

1.24.2007

haha next products from apple. i love the iPottie! (the one at the top, not the one lower down on the page.)

Late To The Party
I started a really long post about being pro-choice on the correct day but couldn't finish it. Because now that we have Val, now that I've been through the joy (please please hear the dripping sarcasm there) that is pregnancy, I know that my feelings on the subject have changed.

Feelings, but not my convictions.

I know that for me, I've been lucky. Never had to face that choice. Had a close call or two, both at horrible times that had I actually been pregnant and had to carry that child to term, I would have had a shitload of explaining to do.

But I'm lucky. I didn't face that choice. I know only that when I had the chance to thank my birthmom for making the choice she made, I took the chance.

But I'm lucky. Lucky enough to be here and lucky enough to understand that the choice part about being pro-choice is that you can choose what's right for you. What's right for your family. And what you do when it comes to that is nobody's business but yours. It's especially not the business of the assholes who picket Planned Parenthood.

It's like those guys in the movie Say Anything who are sitting on the curb outside a 7-11 on a Saturday night. They could be out doing something else, anything else, but they sit there with their slurpees every week. When asked why, one of them says "choice, man. Pure, conscious choice."

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

I Am So Proud
Last night, Val grabbed my arm and made a fart noise on it.

That's my girl.

1.23.2007

Crazy
But it was a year ago this week that we decided on Val's name. Hard to grasp, really, that now she's here and so very Val. And yes, so goddamn awesome.

1.22.2007

How Bizarre
Consumer reports retracted their study of carseats. Way to get new parents all worked up, ya jerks.

Val rides a cheetah


I think this is the best pic of her ever
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Grandma K boldly strapped Val onto the cheetah with her and Val got to ride up and down on her beloved carousel instead of just sitting on a bench with my sorry ass.

She had a blast in San Diego, and we did too!

Travels With Breastpump
As always, if you don't want to read me bitching about the goddamn airport security or breastpumps, come back later when I've posted something that interests you more.

Anyway. We went to San Diego this weekend, had a really fabulous time. On the way there, I carried the goddamn breastpump* as my carry-on bag. So it got searched for explosives.

No biggie, I thought. I don't have any explosives. Until I learned that many of the ingredients in hand lotions act like explosives on those stupid dectors. I learned this because the little "explosives detected" sign came on, instantly switching my trip through security to High Alert.

I was patted down, the sling I was wearing Val in was patted down and inspected. While this was going on, I had no shoes on and a security guy walked way too close to my 2 seriously sore big** toes to ask the guy who was overseeing my interrogation about his break. Thanks, ass.

So while I'm trying not to get stepped on, while I'm trying to keep my cool about being fucking frisked, yet another guy is inspecting Every Single Goddamn Thing I had inside the breast pump. Which included pump parts, you know, the stuff that makes the milk go into the bottles. The stuff I've completely fucked up my hands trying to keep clean all these months.

Yeah, that stuff. The dude just threw it on the table, letting the membranes that actually touch the milk land on the table. I didn't notice because I was so caught up in keeping my cool and keeping my toes safe. Andrea noticed, and said something but the damage was done.

Thanks for the germs. Sorry I have to use hand lotion all the goddamn time.

Eventually, something like 10 aggrivating, excruciating minutes after we started our Journey Through Security, I made it through. Eventually, I got to put my shoes back on.

After all that, it was determined that there was, in fact no bomb in the breastpump. Later, I realized that while I'd declared my fucking hand lotion, I'd neglected to mention the more-than-3oz bottle of breastmilk carried in the diaper bag. That, they didn't notice. Good thing there's no security issue around liquids!

So on the way back, I think ha! I'll get them, I'll put the fucking pump in my luggage, then check it. And that worked, I was largely spared the pat-down, save the completely befuddled guy asking about our liquids. When I said no, we didn't have a sippy cup for Val, he said, okay, a bottle? Nope, I said. Well, what will she drink?

Boob, I replied. And we walked on through.

When we got home, I really really needed a date with the pump, so I fished it out of our suitcase only to find out that part of it had broken off. I cannot win.

* Yes, I hate the breast pump. Hate the sound it makes, hate how much fucking time I have to spend with it. But, (and there are a couple of buts here) we are lucky because first and foremost, Susan was kind enough to give the thing to us so we didn't have to shell out acutal money for something I've come to really hate. We're also lucky because this pump has allowed Val to (so far) never have to eat formula. And I'm still quite proud of that.

** My toes have been completely fucked up since Val was born because my feet grew *just enough* to make my beloved skates not fit all that well. Anytime I have even the teeniest hint of an ingrown all hell breaks loose on my toes and there is much pain, and a fair bit of black and blue-ness. It sucks ass.

1.18.2007

In Just A Week
We'll be Burninating Vegas and hopefully, having a tasty dinner at the Hamada (Yamada, Ramada) of Japan - Japanese Restaurant. Bring it on!!!

The Unavoidable Passage Of Time


Hello, cantoloupe!
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Somehow, my itty bitty girl has 3, yes 3 teeth poking through and wants to eat cantoloupe. How did we get here so fast? Did I miss anything?

In The Spirit Of De-Lurking Week
Which was apparently last week, I will blatantly steal and I wasted all that birth control's idea for de-lurking and giving you the chance to ask me the burning questions that you've been holding back.

So, leave a comment, drop me a line or think real hard and maybe I'll feel your question come across the ether, then answer it in a really revealing post. Go forth, you three! Comment, send emails, think hard. I will be here, waiting to see what you come up with.

1.17.2007

What's My Name, Goddamn It?
I have decided that this is the year my parents will make the Big Switch and call me Liz. I asked my mom today about it and she wasn't too thrilled, since "Elizabeth is such a lovely name." Yeah, but I go by Liz, and have for about 20 years now.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

1.16.2007

That Was Fun
I spent the weekend at the rink, playing in a tournament at my nearby ice. I played with a team made up of great folks from my women's league. We hadn't practiced a whole lot, and sadly, I'd only made 1 of those practices so I didn't know what to expect. I knew I wanted the chance to play a tourney before Vegas, though so I was thrilled when I heard they had room for me.

Long story short: we lost all of our regular games and went to the semi-finals as the 4th place (out of 4) team. We played the 1st place team and holy shit, we won!!! 2-1. With no wins going into it, we landed ourselves a hard-earned spot in the finals yesterday morning.

It was unreal, and super fun. Most importantly for me, I had a chance to get my tourney legs back. The final few things I'd felt that I was missing -- blocking shots with my body, my skates, whatever, using my backhand, getting some damn mustard on my passes and shots and most importantly, my stamina, they all came together for the last two games.

We came together as team and did some great stuff. It was an amazing experience and I for one, am better for it. Thanks for having me, Tremors!

1.11.2007

I Think I Figured It Out
Why I'm having a Breastfeeding Crisis. Since I moved to my new (now almost old) cube, I've been using the pumping room near my desk. Which makes sense.

But. Where the ones in my old building, just across the courtyard, were fairly casual -- if you were using the room, you put a post-it note on the door that said 'in use' -- the one here is fucking insane.

There's a whiteboard. With a schedule. You can sign up for a time to pump. And to accompany the schedule, there is a sheet of rules.

RULES. For a room where you go to pump breastmilk. Like that's not stressful or tedious enough by itself. Looking at that goddamn list of rules and the fucking schedule twice a day has been a big part of why I'm feeling so sick of breastfeeding.

Today wins, though. I had a bunch of work to do this morning so I didn't go at my (non-scheduled) usual time of somewhere between 11 and noon. I went at 1:20, when I got back from lunch. Apparently, when I was wrapping up, at 1:31, I overlapped a scheduled time.

So the woman called the room to say 'IT'S MY TIME.'

While I was pumping. With the light on, so you could see I was in there.

Would waiting 5 fucking minutes be so hard? Would it?

I'm moving desks AGAIN today, to another building. The room over there is seriously small but there's no schedule. So hopefully it's gonna be a little better over there.

Because if I had to use this room all the time, I really would stop. Just so I didn't have to look at those goddamn RULES ever again.

I just may spit on the floor when I leave tonight.

1.10.2007

In Case You've Heard About The Carseat Ratings
Estelle wrote a pretty comprehensive post about the new ratings. She's a car seat tech who I know only through the computer but everything she's ever said matches up with everything the car seat techs in my life have said.

So if you've heard on the news that your carseat might suddenly suck, take a second to read Estelle's post before you freak out.

But do make sure your seat is installed correctly and used correctly every time. Here's a handy photo of how your baby should look in the seat, when properly restrained.

Okay, the PSA is over. But thanks Estelle, for taking the time to address the CR ratings. And provide the picture.

1.09.2007

And Another Thing
About when I met AmyFB (this is re: her birthday). We became good friends, seemingly in an instant, shortly after she turned 21. Which meant that for a brief but beautiful window of time, AmyFB was the key to all things beer for me.

Obviously, in the ensuing DECADE AND A FUCKING HALF our friendship has expanded to be way more than a very fun beer connection. We've danced the Hustle, listened to the Bee Gees, driven her fine Beetle cross-country together, eaten hot pot, and in this last year, she was one of the first people to meet Val and later, Val returned the favor by going to Amy's city hall wedding.

So, AmyFB, thanks for all the beer, the wedding invite and the all years in between. I'll be Rhoda to your MTM any day.

Happy Birthday To The Old Married Lady
AmyFB is celebrating her birthday today. Please take a moment to wish her a happy birthday. Yes, she's over halfway to 70 but think about it this way -- we've been friends for 15 years now. That's almost half our lives. Not too shabby, you old married lady!

We're All Pitching In
To help end the Great Really Sick Of Breastfeeding Rage of 2007. For 2 days now, Andreatan has dropped Val off for a brief visit with me. So instead of pumping twice a day, I'm feeding Val here, in our pumping room, then just pumping once.

And, I get to smell like baby for the rest of the day. And, Val gets to wave at the pumping room. Which she likes. There's also a wall there that fascinates her.

What a fantastic compromise this is. I don't know why we didn't start this sooner but really, it's happening at the perfect time, the time when I'd really begun to think I couldn't pull this off for as long as we'd like me to.

Brings tears to me eyes. Seriously. We just might make it to a year.

1.08.2007

Thanks!
Last night, a hockey friend said that when I first came back, she doubted that I'd be able to return to my former glory. But she went on to say that I've done just that, and more.

I still feel like I'm slow as hell out there but even now, over 6 months after my triumphant return, I'm thrilled to be out there at all, let alone be doing okay.

That, you three, is an added bonus. When Val watches, it's pretty much heaven.

A Long Post About Breastfeeding
So if you're not into hearing about that, come back later when I've posted something else.

I went into breastfeeding with a great deal of reluctance. Well, that's an understatement. I Did Not Want To Breastfeed. Because it creeped me out. Because it *is* creepy, it's still creepy to me now at times. But I knew that breastmilk was the best thing I could do for Val (after having gotten my A++ in gestation) so I went into parenthood saying I'd give it a try.

I was shocked as all hell when Val was born and latched on like she was a champion breastfeeder. Bam, so easy. How could I argue with that? I didn't have to ask the lactation consultant for much help and yes, the help we got was good but...she was FULL of assvice at the same time. Assvice for me, assvice for Susan (who was there visiting), assvice for everyone! Gee, thanks. Can we get back to the whole kid-on-boob thing?

But for the most part, it's been pretty easy feeding Val this way. But it's also very stressful. Will I make enough? Oh, she's hungry RIGHT NOW so I'll leave my dinner/my friends/whatever the hell I was doing to go feed her. Often, that's been in the backseat of Andrea's car.

Not even in high school did I spend *this* much time in the backseat of a car with my shirt up.

Back to the pressure. Of being the only person who can provide food for my kid. Even if it's pumped into a bottle, I still have to provide that milk. And god forbid I go to play hockey or leave Val for more than a couple hours. Then there's pain.

But I managed all this fairly well until it was time to go back to work. Then I found myself pumping 2-3 times a day, sitting in a decently-appointed little room, my only company my sidekick and the whirr of the pump. Followed immediately by the frequent washing of parts that's led to a nice case of what I think is excema.

And the increased pressure of making enough to fill 4 bottles for the next day. I didn't at first, I had to dip into my meager freezer stash for some of those bottles. I started to panic. I didn't want to wean, not like this.

But now that I think of it, I don't really know how I would want to wean.

All of this, though, is leading up to the fact that I *do* want to wean her.

I've made it almost 8 months and she's had not a single drop of formula. That's all because of my efforts. And I'm proud, ridiculously proud of that effort, that it's given Val what we feel is the best possible start.

With each day that goes by, she's one day closer to being a year old, to the magic day where she can drink cow's milk and no longer needs mine. But I'm not sure I can make it to a year.

I hope that someday, if Val reads this, she'll understand how much effort and love has gone into providing her with breastmilk all these months. Looking back on it now, though, I sort of feel gypped of time with her. Yes, yes, I know, there's all that bonding while she's eaten but there's also this tremendous pressure I've felt to drop everything (this was hardest in the early days when I felt like utter crap and could hardly move without pain) and feed her.

I do not feel that pressure when I'm making her a meal of tasty baby peas, peaches, chicken noodle dinner or even sharing some of my own dinner with her. Just when she needs el boob.

Now that there's a tooth, I can assure you that it's getting less comfortable to breastfeed her. I'm at a crossroads here. I'd like to get to a year because I'm too cheap to buy formula. But I'd also like my body back now.

I've been setting short goals for myself. Until I go back to work. Until Thanksgiving. Until Christmas. Today's goal? Until she's 8 months old. That's next week.

I worry that I'm missing out on her first year because I'm setting these goals, marking the time in this way rather than just enjoying each new thing.

I have to remind myself that I am doing that, I am enjoying her new skillz as they happen.

I know that many many women have breastfed their kids for a lot longer than this. I have no doubt that they, too, struggled along the way. At this moment, I am trying very hard not to beat myself up about possibly not making that illustrious 1 year mark.

I can only assure you and most importantly, assure Val that I've done more than my very best for her in this department.

She's A Big Girl Now
Yesterday we did two very important things for Val: swapped out her oh-so-very-pink bucket o' baby for her big girl carseat and lowered the co-sleeper because she can pull herself up now. We'd wake up to see her sitting up in it, grinning at us. Which was quickly followed by her pulling herself up on the sides. Which is not good.

So the seat is in and the bed is down. Can someone please tell me where my teeny baby went? I adore this giggling, laughing, grinning little girl who can hug us back now but miss my teeny tiny baby too.

She Looks Just Like Mary Tyler Moore!!!


Behind the Colosseum
Originally uploaded by amyf.

AmyFB has returned from what looks like a triumphant church wedding in lovely Rome. I am thrilled for her and That Ted. But still sad that we weren't able to attend.

Welcome back, Mr. and Mrs. That Ted!

1.07.2007

Tooth!
The teeniest bit of a tooth poked though Val's gumline this morning. It's still not visible but you can feel it.

Hello, tooth!

1.05.2007

Wiped Out
Val apparently didn't get the memo about how it's good to sleep during the night. She went to sleep at like 11, no problem, no real effort on our parts. Awesome, we thought. So we stayed up looking at websites, trying to plan out a couple of exciting trips for later in the year.

Just when we wound down and started heading off to sleep, Val decided it was time to get up. And be up, rolling around, waving her pacifier and telling us a very important story. Until 4 am.

As you might imagine, right now I'm pretty damn tired. Val's still sleeping.

1.03.2007

Because I'm Avoiding Work
I'll do a meme I found over at CubbieGirl:

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?

Had a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't generally make them. Why set myself up for disappointment? If I need change in my life, the opportunity to start that change comes at random points in the year so I just try to take those as they come.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes. Me. And it hurt.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Our Gus.

5. What countries did you visit?

No international travel for me this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

A breast pump that's packed away until we decide to either have a second baby. Or not, in which case we give the fucking thing away.

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

5/16. Because Val was born. To be fair, 5/15, the Day Of Ridiculously Painful Labor also stands out as a day I'd never like to relive.

Late June, I saw my best friend from high school for the first time in 15 years. It was awesome, just awesome.

12/23: Val crawled for the first time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving birth and successful breastfeeding afterwards.

9. What was your biggest failure?

You might argue that it was needing a c-section after all that labor. But I don't consider that a failure so I have nothing for this one.

10. Did you suffer from illness or injury?

Not really, save the giving birth that's becoming a theme here.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

2 hockey seasons.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

AndreaTan, who stood by me through that awful labor business, who took care of our baby when she was first born because I couldn't yet and who is the excellent parent I always knew she would be.

Honorable mention to Susan, whose presence at Val's birth and afterwards as her beloved auntie and godmother we'll always be grateful for.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Our friends who randomly decided we weren't friends anymore. When Val was a few weeks old we saw them and they completely blew us off, didn't noticed Val at all. That still smarts.

14. Where did most your money go?

Baby-related products and services.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Val

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

Israel Kamakawiwoole singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I played this for Val in the car when she was but wee and it really calmed her down.

Also, Paul Oakenfold's Starry Eyed Surprise. I played this for Val every day while I was pregnant, hoping she'd hear it and recognize it. I'll be damned if it doesn't calm her down even now.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:

a. happier or sadder? Happier!

b. thinner or fatter? A shitload skinnier.

c. richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Maternity Leave.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Bitching about other people.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With Susan, Bill and the Girls, then later with my brother and even later with Ellaine. It was the most mellow, nice holiday I can remember.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

You betcha. Her name is Valerie Marta and she's the best thing that's ever happened to us.

22. How many one-night stands?

No way. My ass is married.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Dexter.

24. Did you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No time for hate, I'm busy with Val.

25. What was the best book you read?

Dr. Spock

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The theme to Elmo's World.

27. What did you want and get?

A beautiful baby girl.

28. What did you want and not get?

An unmedicated delivery of said baby girl.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Talladega Nights. Man that shit made me laugh.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was rather pregnant and ridiculously tired. We just had a fairly benign dinner out.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Honestly, nothing.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

Clean, mostly.

33. What kept you sane?

My sidekick. It let me stay connected to the 3 of you during the hard times of no sleep and screaming baby.

34. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Angelina Jolie. Because she's hot.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

There were politics this year?

36. Who did you miss?

My Grandma. I'll always miss her. I miss Alice too, and the steady tap of Gus' feet.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

So easy. Valerie.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

Having a baby will Change Your Life.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

From the Beastie Boys: I got a bedazzler so my outfit's tight.

Seriously Awesome News!!!
American Family got their referral!! In just a few short weeks they'll be heading to China to bring home their baby!

OMG, AmFam, I am ridiculously excited for all of you!

1.02.2007

This Will Take You An Hour To Read
2006: Year In Review
For the record, I'm starting this on 12/13 in the vain hope that it will be done by the end of the year. Because I thought someone should know my good intentions.

January
I was pregnant. And some people (mercifully, very few) decided that they need to touch my belly. We also finally upgraded the power in our house so we didn't have to worry all that much about it burning down when we used things like computers or televisions. We bought a crib mattress that, to this day, has been used but a handful of times. Though it's quite nice.

Being pregnant and having long hair combined to strip me of my dyke card. I laughed a lot. Late in the month, we picked Valerie's name but for the first (and only, really) time in my life, I kept it a secret until she was actually born. A long-time reader we'd never heard from sent Val a gift, her busy bugs that she loves to this day.

We discovered that Susan didn't know about Jackass. We rectified this situation by dragging her to the movie later in the year. I started the first stages of accepting that I probably won't finish my Master's degree.

February
People kept asking me about being pregnant. Gus got a tumor in his butt. Lizspeaks turned 6. That means I've had quite a lot to say to the 3 of you over the years. I bitched about ClearCase. I moved to a new group at work. Carol quit work, and that sucked.

We got a ton of baby clothes for Val (who at this point was named but we didn't tell you). I hit the third trimester, ushering in a host of back problems, special heartburn but bringing us closer to the arrival of Val.

Sam said Auntie Liz for the first time. I started a ticker to count down the reappearance of corn, if I ate it. I waved at Criddle on the video conference. I ate a lot of nuts. Nuts.

March
We picked a pediatrician for Val, sort of at random. So far, we're pretty happy with our choice. I remembered the Hamster dance. Riley said 'Groovy' and Sam raised the roof. On the same day.

Val practiced breathing about a zillion times and got the hiccups a lot. We got a lot of pressure from people to reveal her name. I'm still proud that we waited to share that until she arrived. I dreamed about playing hockey and wearing my red pants. I'm thrilled to say that I'm living that dream now. Another dream we had then was to have Val via an unmedicated Hypnobirth. That so didn't work out the way we hoped but I'm still glad we tried. I'm also glad I had an epidural eventually.

Our Shower. I think this deserves it's own paragraph. Y'all showed up in droves, bringing a bazillion wee things for Val. The place was packed, it was totally a standing room only and I was, I am still, touched beyond belief at how many of our friends came out to celebrate Val's impending arrival.

Sinks got harder for me to reach. I turned 33, starting the year off right by waking up with a horrific leg cramp that still gives me sympathy spasms today. AmyFritzBrown wore a headscarf in honor of Rhoda. I took many naps. Andrea finally moved up to Red. Grandma's house sold. When we drove by at Thanksgiving I was relieved to see that it mostly looks the same from the outside.

April
I lamented the lack of Sugar Smacks in the variety packs of little cereal boxes. I got more pregnant. So pregnant, in fact, that it was just about time to have ourselves a baby. I packed a birthing bag to take to the hospital.

The girls thought Gus was a cow. Bill continued to help Val grow via a series of tasty dinners. We tried not to get concerned that Val wasn't dropping in preparation for making her arrival into the world. For the record, she never did drop, not even a little.

Val gave us a huge scare when she did a huge flop then stopped moving for an hour. I'm pretty sure this was the event that got her quite wedged at a weird angle.

We took a breastfeeding class where we learned that when you have a baby, milk comes out of your boobs. This was confirmed when we had a baby and milk did indeed come out of my boobs. I went on maternity leave. We slept for like 45 minutes at a time because I was getting up to pee, because some body part fell asleep or Val kicked me with great gusto.

Gus' health continued it's decline. We tried not to think about what that meant. We learned that Val would probably arrive right on or around her due date, not anytime before it. We rounded out the month by remembering Grandma, one year after she died.

May
Gus got sicker. Val continued to make no real sign of appearing. For about the first time during el pregnancy, I didn't feel all that bad. I guess I finally got used to it at the end there.

We were warned that our lives would change once Val arrived. We scheduled our induction, though we didn't blog about the date of it because it seemed more manageable to leave that vague. Our phone line and dsl went down at the same time, right before we headed to the hospital. Awesome, because you don't need to make phone calls or use the internet once you have a baby.

My belly button stayed an innie. We started the induction. It hurt. A lot. Val's heartbeat dropped a lot after about a day of labor. Finally, after 31 hours of fun and an emergency c-section, the world became a better place:

June
I chopped off all my flowing locks. And didn't sleep much. But it was so worth it.

I FINALLY CAME BACK TO PLAYING HOCKEY!!! 3 hours ahead of my July 1 goal, I was back. Slow? Yes, oh yes, the slowness. But back just the same.

Gus died.

July
Val got her 2 month shots. That sucked. It was hot. A rude little girl at McDonald's thought I was a boy. Hello, short hair! Carol's mom died. I'm still so sorry to say that, to have it be true.

I think this link kind of sums up the rest of the month.

August
The girls got a bunch of Sesame Street dolls and shared them with Val.

People wanted to touch our baby. That still makes me twitch. And it should! The one day I passed her around a work party she got sick.

Val discovered Sesame Street. And had a giant poo.

September
My last month of maternity leave. I look back on September fondly because I didn't feel like total shit but I didn't have to go to work. Those were the days. Val tried on her first pair of hockey pants:

I was a Maroon captain again and picked what has become The Best Team Ever. Ever. Our name may be confusing, (R4) but WE RULE.

The co-sleeper attacked Val, tossing her into the bottom part of it in the middle of the night and scaring us all half to death. I was so tired I washed a Togo's cup. We took Val to Disneyland for the first time and celebrated 10 years together while we were there.

October
I went back to work. This still sucks even if I spend as long as I want to in the bathroom. AmyFritz got married in a really lovely civil ceremony. I swear to you, she looked just like Mary Tyler Moore that day. I'm still so glad we were there for it.

Val was baptized. Naked. And later, on Halloween, she was the world's cutest dragon.

November
We headed to Ohio for Val's first big plane trip and a visit with my extended family. She was a total stud on the plane. She had her first taste of solid food: rice cereal.

December
Val got her first cold. That sucked. A lot. Val started crawling. That rules.

We all had a very nice Christmas and a Happy New Year. And I finally finished writing this post.