Friday, November 11, 2011

poor neglected third child

This poor baby is already getting the shaft. We have less pictures, less information written down, and now even less blog posts! I can guarantee, however, that the one thing there is NOT less of, is love. The kids are obsessed with the baby and are constantly giving my rapidly expanding belly hugs and kisses. Josie, in particular, is attached to the idea of her baby. We didn't find out what we're having (as with Gabe and Josie) but Josie says she knows it is a girl. She talks often about what her baby is thinking and saying inside my belly, she gets extra lollipops for her baby, offers me food for the baby, asks if the baby is having a good day, and will become a little teary about how long she has to wait for her baby to come out.

I, on the other hand, am hysterically clinging to every day of this pregnancy and wishing for time to slow down. I'm 22 weeks and so incredibly aware of how quickly time is passing and that this will likely be my last pregnancy. The first trimester was a horror show, but these days I feel mostly well. The nausea is only sporadic (only if I touch sugar, which is a curse for a pregnant woman), my sciatica is tolerable, my patience is still here, I'm looking rounded and pregnant enough for a stranger to be able to tell, and my hair and skin are fabulous. Honestly, I've never had hair like this in my life, all lustrous and shiny and full. Best of all, the baby moves all the time and I'm struck with such awe and amazement that this little person is growing inside of me and I get to experience this again.

I feel gigantic, though, enormous, humongous, quite large. This is definitely my biggest pregnancy and the wealth is spread all over my body. My thighs, butt, belly and boobs are all growing excessively. I'm a bit panicked to tell you the truth, but there isn't much I can do besides eating reasonably and trying to keep walking and moving. I just worry what the end of this pregnancy will look like if there are 18 weeks to go. At our 18 week ultrasound, the baby was measuring almost twice as big as he or she was supposed to be, which explains the crazy gymnastics we can see from the outside. Everyone- Josh, the kids, my mom- have felt and seen the kicks from the outside. I suspect that although I ordered a calm shy baby this time around, I'm destined for another active character.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

happy halloween!

We're chugging along over here, trying valiantly to enjoy my most favoritest holiday ever while struggling with nausea. Things are improving, though, since I now have stretches of the day where I'm not begging for death. Baby steps, right?

I temper my guilt about not doing enough for the kids to celebrate by telling myself they (a) won't remember and (b) it's for a good cause and (c) they've already attended 3 other Halloween parties in the last two weeks. Good enough, right?

I had a 12 week ultrasound and there was a beautiful little baby in there, sucking on his or her hands and kicking up a storm in the 99th percentile. 99!!! Let's hope he or she weighs 9 pounds because that is how much weight I have gained, and no, I don't want to talk about it.

Besides that, things are great. My kids are being incredibly helpful and sweet, Josh is going to work late and leaving early to be here, and at 13.5 weeks, I'm counting the days and hoping we're almost done with the never-ending nausea.

At least I have an excuse to sit around all day and watch scary movies! Now if only this baby didn't make me projectile vomit every time I consume sugar and life would be perfect. Who ever heard of a pregnancy without sugar? What about all the peanut butter cups I stole from the kids?!

Hoping your Halloween is filled with lots of treats and no tricks!

Monday, October 03, 2011

thank you

Thank you so much for the well-wishes, I'm touched that you are still checking in, despite the sporadic blogging.

I wish I could say things are better, but they are most definitely not. In fact, these last few days have been the worst I've seen in any pregnancy. Things are just bad. Terrible. Horrid. I really, really, really feel like I can't throw up anymore, I can't feel sick anymore. I need a break.

Even in the nauseous gloom, though, there are moments of great joy. I wanted to keep the pregnancy a secret from the kids until much later because I hate the idea of them feeling anxious about it, but Gabe came up to me yesterday and shoved on my stomach. When I asked him why, he said he was checking to see if there was a baby in there. Josh and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows and knew we had to tell him. The response was fairly anticlimactic, but they've been full of questions today. How will it come out? What if it gets stuck? Where will it sleep? What will we name it? Does it have feet? Can I touch it?

I'm trying to downplay the whole thing, really, because May 4th is an eternity away. Even for me. I can't imagine what it must be to a 2 and 4 year old. One day at a time, I guess. And I'll keep wishing for a vomit free day. Sigh.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

third time's a charm

In a culmination to what may be one of our best summers yet... I'm pregnant.

7 and a half weeks pregnant, to be exact. And horrifically unbelievably shockingly sick, vomiting or swallowing back vomit constantly sick.

I'm over the moon ecstatic. I mean, really thrilled, so happy, crazy excited. I've always hoped for another baby, but Josh has always said he's satisfied with 2 children, so it was never a sure thing. When we finally agreed to try for a third, my stomach was in knots just thinking it wouldn't happen. And of course, Gabe and Josie would have been more than enough for me, of course I'm ridiculously blessed, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and mine wanted another baby.

So I'm very, very, very happy. Feeling very, very, very lucky.

The all-the-freaking-day sickness is hard. The hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, though, I'll admit that. I have spent a lot of nights crying, because nights are the worst. I have had a running streak over the last few days where I'll start throwing up and can't stop. Everything tastes disgustingly metallic and every second of the day the nausea is almost crippling. I'm desperate to find a solution that doesn't involve medication so I'm trying crazy homeopathic remedies, low-carb or high-carb or high protein or low-dairy or liquid or anything under the sun diets, lying down or never lying down, yoga, accupressure, tapping, you name it, I've tried it. I'm dehydrated but anything liquid makes me gag, so unless I find a solution asap, my doctor has called in a prescription for anti-nausea medication and I'll have to start taking it. Suggestions or advice will be gratefully received.

I had an ultrasound last week and there is one sweet little alien-looking baby in there, with a heart beat of 134 beats a minute. I'm keeping all extremities crossed that he or she keeps growing and is healthy. Oh, and calm. I think after two lunatic children, I'm due for a sweet quiet third, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

it allll evens out in the end, I think

My diet today consisted of (in chronological order):

One slice of leftover pizza for breakfast
One iced coffee
Two cookies
Another coffee
Two hot dogs from Dairy Queen
Bag of chips
One nutter butter Blizzard
One medium Pepsi
5 baby carrots
4 grape tomatoes
A handful of bell pepper slices

Those last few vegetables TOTALLY make up for the rest, right? RIGHT?!

Monday, July 25, 2011

the beef, my lord, the beef

We're in our final few days of the crazy spanish immersion trip, flying home on Wednesday night, arriving Thursday at 11:30am. This means that on my 33rd birthday, I'll be spending more than half of it flying around the world with two children under 5. Hold me.

I'm conflicted about returning. On the one hand, I walk down the wide avenues and look up at blue skies and eat another delicious meal and speak my favorite language with my favorite accent. I have multiple emotional moments a day of seeing my children exploring and learning in this place that was so vital to my childhood, so crucial a part of who I am today. ON THE OTHER HAND, I am having daily headaches that I strongly suspect are due to the tension of living in a small apartment with neighbors in close proximity. The kids won't stop running and stomping and screaming. The downstairs neighbor is an opera singing tutor during the day, and then blasts rock or jazz at midnight. The upstairs neighbor woke me up at 4:30am last night with what I can only assume was very loud sex for 45 FREAKING MINUTES. Who has sex at 4:30 in the morning? I've become adept at managing 2 kids, one stroller, bags and jackets on broken sidewalks, buses, subways and taxis. Adept, sure, but still exhausted. And last, but not least, since 3 days after we landed, the children have been a revolving door of germs and illnesses. The kids and I have all had fevers and coughs and sleepless nights. I'm ready to go back to North America where flu season is not in full swing.

So, as I said, conflicted.

I'm excited to see Josh, and ready to enjoy the rest of the summer and my last month before they both go to school! Did I tell you Josie is starting preschool? I'm devastated, but I am 1000% sure she is ready and will love it.

Thoughts on summer activities for the kids and I? I'm thinking weekly themes like oceans and animals and then trips to the aquarium and zoo and books from the library. Ideas? I need to fill 5-6 weeks of summer, and if it goes well, perhaps we'll continue in the fall!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

apartment living

Those of you who live or have lived in an apartment with children, I salute you. And I also ask, how the fuck do you do it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

happy days

I'm so happy to hear that you all haven't ditched me, despite the long absence! Thrilled to be back.

We're still in Buenos Aires and things are still going swimmingly over here. Weather has been lovely, the kids are loving school, and miracles of miracles, they have actually started to speak some Spanish! Halting, broken, incorrect Spanglishy Spanish, but whatever, I'll take what I can get. Poor Josie has been putting together particularly mixed up sentences like, "I need to limpiar the mesa," or "donde is my conejo?" Baby steps, you know? Gabe has been learning by astonishing leaps and bounds. A few days ago, he was having a hard time of things. He was tired, and cranky, and not saying a word in Spanish, and asking to go home. And then all of a sudden, he picked up a coloring book and said, "quiero colorear esto," and I almost fell over. Since then, he's thrown out several phrases or short sentences throughout the day, and he is clearly understanding 99% of what people are saying to him. I'm amazed, honestly.

Amazed, and feeling a tremendous pressure to lock in the Spanish in the 10 days we have left. I know that sounds crazy, but there it is. I'm so nervous about slacking off when we get back and everyone is speaking English and the kids go to school. Maybe you all could contribute to my accountability? Yell at me periodically. I would appreciate that.

Besides that, we just finished up an amazing visit with Josh for 16 glorious days. 16 days! Of no work, and no work calls, no housework, no laundry (because there isn't a washing machine in the house), and the kids in preschool all morning. We kept pinching each other to see if we were dreaming as we walked the busy avenues and stopped for coffee and ate treats and took the kids to parks and enjoyed the tremendous weather (71 degrees in winter!). It was one of the best vacations we've taken in a long time, certainly since before we had the kids.

Now I'm feeling sad that Josh is gone, and not just because he washed the dishes every day, although there's that too. We've been planning this for so long and now we're nearing the end and it feels surreal. I can admit, though, I'll be happy to see my home and all my things and back to separate bedrooms for the kids!

If I'm being perfectly honest, there is one difficult part of this trip, and that's the sleeping. The kids are sleeping, but I am decidedly NOT. We're in a rental, obviously, and I can't shake this idea that tons of people could have copies of the key. Tie that in with a busy apartment building and echoing hallways and doors opening and closing in the elevator all night long, and it makes for sleepless nights for me. Plus, the kids have lucked into a series of colds and fevers, so we're up a lot at night. Sigh. I'll have time to sleep when I'm dead, right? Or maybe when they leave for college.

Other than that, we're good. I'm eating my body weight in dulce de leche per day and loving city life. Quite a change from our sleepy suburb. I can confirm that this is a great place to visit with kids. Very kid friendly!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I know.

No, really.

I know.

I don't even have a good excuse beyond the fact that sometimes I think this might be our theme song. You know, minus the "jack in a local bar" and "the unemployment line". Geez, that sounds melodramatic when it shouldn't. Life- just regular old 2 kids 4 and under, husband who works all the time, struggling to be a good mother and partner- has been challenging. Sometimes I look at Josh, sitting at the kitchen table at 1am, still working, for the 4th night this week and I think, man, these times are hard.

But I did what the song mentions, sat up with Josh, made plans with him, talked to him, LOOKED at him, and actually reconnected. Took a step back from other demands and made my family my top priority. It always was, but I'd let other nonsense, irritations, stupidity get in the way. And it has been good. Really good.

Not to mention a stretch of no accidents since March, although let's not say it too loudly and knock on wood while we're at it. We're great.

If you are lucky enough not to see my twitter ravings, the insane plan I mentioned a few months ago is in effect. I brought the kids to Argentina, Buenos Aires to be exact, for 5 glorious weeks. We rented an apartment, put the kids in school, and Josh is taking his first non-working vacation in 4 years. Not the whole time, of course, and I'll keep his exact dates private in favor of the whole safety issue, but a decent chunk of days. And so far, so good. The kids are thriving and venturing out of their Spanish resistant holes and making friends and trying new vocabulary, and I'm reveling in my non-cooking, non-cleaning, non-laundry, children in school every morning days.

And yes, it is every bit as fabulous as you'd imagine. The last few days, though, I keep thinking about blogging this, or that, and thinking about how much I will regret not writing about this. So here I am. Hoping some of you are still around. Hoping you're all well.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

what happened

First, this happened, courtesy of Josie and her best buddy.

21 missing keys, in approximately 3 minutes of unsupervised time.

Oh, and they snapped several individual keys IN HALF. I'm so proud of her fine motor skills, obviously.

Then, of course, there were more stitches, courtesy of Josie banging her chin against the edge of her crib.

The irony is that I needed to take a shower so I placed her in her crib to keep her safe. HA HA HA HA HA. I came back wrapped in a towel to find blood EVERYWHERE. Everywhere. And she wasn't even crying! She just tilted her head up and showed me her chin and said, "I have a boo boo, I need an Elmo bandaid mom." Another trip to the ER, another set of stitches.

Then, I found, um, let's call it a mysterious animal, dead in the basement. I lifted up a paint tarp, and there he was. Maybe a squirrel? Maybe a possum? I don't know, but he was shriveled and hairy and I may have touched him with my hand, and honestly, let's stop talking about it because I'm still traumatized.

So I did what I always do when one of the kids has an accident. Any guesses? Yep, yep, I started a large scale home renovation project, by myself, with no advance planning or warning to my husband. Pictures and details to come.

And then I kind of just fell apart. Not a lot, just a bit. Josh is working around the clock and the injuries always set me off, and everything felt overwhelming for a few weeks. But I'm starting to feel better- more normal.

The computer is still broken, which is the major impediment to typing anything, but thankfully I joined the 21st century and got an iPhone and hopefully this will help until we figure out what to do with the computer. And Josie, we need a plan for what to do with Josie. Besides the bubble wrap because that isn't working.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

now we just need to find time to breathe

Day 3:

We ate breakfast at the flat (Nutella on toast, baby!) and headed into London via a double decker bus to catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. By the way, I've never tasted bread as delicious as the straight off the shelf bread from the Fulham grocery store. Not even in Paris! This stuff was nutty and delicious and supposedly from the countryside outside of London. Yum.

Buckingham Palace was crowded, but exciting, and felt very London-y to be standing in the crowds watching the British guards with their tall hats and different colored plumes playing Christmas carols. The Queen wasn't in London, since she was celebrating Christmas in Sandringham (see how I learned so much about British royalty?), but I guess there is always a changing of the guard and the crowds come no matter what. It was actually surreal to go see The King's Speech last weekend and see scenes from Buckingham Palace and know that I was JUST THERE! The miracles of modern travel, huh?

Anyway, we left as the crowds thinned and walked up to Hyde Park again, and bought a Big Bus Tour to give us an overview of London, because seriously, I've been a lot of places and never felt quite as overwhelmed as I felt in London. This place is GINORMOUS. Huge. Monstrously large. The bus tour was fabulous because it made London seem manageable and helped us to understand how the whole city fit together and how where we were standing related to the rest of the city. The best part was that as part of a winter promotion, we got two days of touring instead of one day, AND we were allowed to take a free boat cruise and free walking tours from a local tour agency. It was great!

The only problem (and don't laugh) is that we could barely understand the tour guide! Of course, he was speaking English, but with the thickest accent ever! We sat on the bus as it weaved it's way around London and got off when it neared the theatre district and went over to the TKTS booth to purchase tickets to a show. After several minutes of indecision, we finally settled on Chicago for that night. I was desperate to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's newest show, but eventually decided I thought Josh would enjoy Chicago more. We grabbed a bite to eat, and then jumped back on the bus. Thankfully, our new driver still had a British accent, but was totally understandable. Even better, we got the front seats on the top deck! It totally felt like London!

As we approached Trafalgar Square I realized THIS is what I was missing from London. All the rest, the shopping, the parks, the squares, it didn't feel like my image of the city. This. This was the London I'd been waiting for. The National Gallery, the monuments, and THEN, further down the road, Downing Street, Parliament, Parliament Clock Tower with Big Ben inside, Westminster Abbey. LONDON, people, we're in LONDON! It was amazing.

The tour continued across the river to that (sorry) hideously ugly London Eye. What is WITH that thing? Ugh, Josh and I could barely stand to look at it. Then the Tate Modern, the Docklands, the recreated Shakespeare Globe Theatre, eventually crossing back over the Tower Bridge (what I'd previously thought was the London Bridge), passing by the Tower of London, and then through the actual city of London (where the financial district is), and St. Paul's Cathedral (where Prince Charles and Princess Di were married).

The bus looped back around and we got off next to The Ritz, where of course I took some Notting Hill dedicated pictures and pretended to be Julia Roberts. I mean, wouldn't you?

And then we grabbed a coffee and booked it back over to the National Gallery to do a SPEED TOUR of the museum. Literally, a speed tour in under an hour. Kind of shameful, but kind of awesome, I'm not going to lie. The museum guards booted us out promptly at 6pm, in such a hurry to close the museum, I lost my only winter hat inside, which was kind of a bummer, and they wouldn't let me back in to look for it! Bastards.

I did take several precious minutes to stand on the balcony of the National Gallery and just be. Stand in the shadows of the setting sun and breathe in London. Glimpse the mess of traffic, the crowds, the street performers, and as I was standing there, Big Ben began to sound. Surreal, honestly, and gloriously wonderful. Not a moment I'll soon forget.

We were quickly approaching THEATRE TIME so we started walking back in that direction and stopped in a pizza place on the way, before seeing the show. It was around this point that I realized, rather stupidly, that my wish for seeing a show featuring actors with British accents wasn't going to be fulfilled. Because, you see, Chicago is set in, oh wait, you guessed it, CHICAGO. So the British actors and actresses were going to be modeling American accents. Isn't that freaking fantastic? I'm practically a genius. Regardless, the show was fabulous. Sexy, and sultry, and funny, and everyone was ridiculously talented, and the music was gorgeous, and we loved it. When we came outside it had started raining, as it does in London, and Josh and I walked the streets at midnight, hand in hand, in the rain, singing the music. Sigh.

Another bus ride home, another Skyped call with the kids (where they asked me again to please come home tonight) and to bed, to bed, for another crazy day tomorrow. At this pace, I might be wearing Josh out. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

lesson learned, london is crazy at Christmastime

I know, I know, I stink. This pesky family thing keeps getting in the way, plus all the SNOW, good lord, it won't stop snowing around here. Moving on, though...

Day 2- December 26th, otherwise known as Boxing Day:

The airport's Hilton is connected to Heathrow's Terminal 4 by a walkway, so we took our two carry-ons and a purse (AND THAT'S IT!!!), well and our scarves and gloves and hats and jackets and all that, and walked to catch the subway to LONDON! And then discovered that the subway was on strike. Yes, that's right, the Tube workers were on strike and we were left with no way to get into the city, which was precisely why we'd spent the money to stay at the stinking airport the night before anyway. After shuffling back and forth in the terminal trying to find someone, ANYONE, who would give us advice on what to do, all the while cognizant of the fact that the flat owner's housekeeper was waiting for us at the flat only until 10:30am, I sat down with our guide book (highly recommend) and determined that our only option was a more expensive train. We were stuck, though, so we bit the bullet and paid our $60 and hoped the subways within London would be running once we made it to the train station there.

Surprise, surprise, they weren't. The Tube was completely shut down, and the clock was ticking away, and we hadn't even changed any money into British Pounds yet, and I didn't have a cell phone, so I had no way of calling the housekeeper, and frankly, we were both starting to panic. We surfaced onto the street to see if the buses were running and if we could figure out where we were. At this point, the logical thing would have been to take a taxi, right? But we had a serious budget, and taking that train had already blown the budget for the whole day and I didn't even know where we were in relation to Fulham, and plus, we had no cash, and I didn't want to get stuck with another massive taxi fare on top of the train, so buses it was.

Thankfully, a good citizen told us which bus to take to get us into the general vicinity of Fulham, and then, miracle of miracles, I spotted a Hilton hotel across the street. I raced in there, explained my situation to the concierge (just stayed at the airport Hilton last night, have no coins, can't find a phone, subway not working, etc.) and he lent me their phone (sweet wonderful man), so at least the housekeeper situation was squared away.

We took not one, but TWO buses, at which point I was almost kissing my little carry-on for its ease of transport, and we made it to Fulham. Then my brilliant husband used his Blackberry gps to get us to the house and we were able to collapse onto the couch and consider what to do next. Honestly? We were beat at this point. We'd already been up for several hours and running around in a rather stressed state, so all my plans to take a bus tour and hit all the major sights were kind of thrown out the window. We decided to call today a lost day and relax as we enjoyed the city.

We took a bus to Hyde Park, where a traditional German Christmas Market was being held (and you know how much I love German Christmas Markets). We walked through the market and admired the food and the stuff and exclaimed to each other HOW FREAKING COLD IT WAS. Seriously, it was fuh-reezing. Frigid. It was so cold, I started to worry Josh was going to pack up and leave me to change his ticket to Jamaica. Hat, gloves, scarves, coats, long underwear, and still freezing our butts off cold, so we briskly walked through the park and headed to the shopping area.

Now. A friend had told me that Boxing Day is to Londoners what Black Friday is to us- i.e. a total freaking shopping nightmare. We still didn't fully realize how much Londoners love their shopping until we reached Oxford Street, and then holy smokes. It was like walking in New York City's Times Square crossed with Rockefeller Center, at Christmastime. I have no words. We were totally overwhelmed and squished and were being pushed and shoved and pulled apart by the crowds. It was nuts. I thought the British were orderly people!

We finally ducked into a department store to grab some food, which happened to be Selfridges, the second largest department store in London. Um, wow. The food, the displays, the goods, we were awestruck. We stuffed ourselves, and warmed up a bit, until we felt ready to brave the crowds again. We had a plan this time, though. We side stepped through the crowds, on a mission to reach Regent Street, an upscale street full of shops that would lead to Piccadilly Circus and the Leicester Square and Covent Garden. Regent Street was gorgeous, a mix of old buildings and new shops, on a curved street, where all of the building followed the curve of the road. It was pretty impressive, but my only disappointment was that the stores were your typical US stores, exactly what you'd find at your local mall- Banana Republic, Gap, Clarks, Victoria's Secret, etc. It was around this time that Josh and I started playing a game where we'd punch each other in the arm every time we saw a Starbucks. It sounds strange, but honestly, it was hilarious because we were punching each other every couple of minutes! Londoners LOVE them some Starbucks! Not surprisingly, though, the tea menu in Starbucks takes up more than half of the menu, as opposed to our typical lattes and mochas.

We walked for a couple of hours, enjoying the sights, relishing in the British accents we were hearing, and then stopped at a coffee shop (not Starbucks) for a pick me up. We sunk into squishy chairs at a tiny table next to the window, and then, um, I passed out. Like completely fell asleep in mid-conversation. No exaggeration. Josh tried to wake me up, couldn't, so he took a picture and let me nap for 20 minutes. With a tiny snooze under my belt, I felt awake enough to continue on. We perused some of the theatres and their shows because I was dying to see a musical or play or something. We wandered through Covent Garden and its shops, had a quick kiss at the Merry Kissmas Tree (very cute), and completed half of Rick Steves' walking tour through the West End of London, until I was falling over on my feet and I waved the white flag of defeat. We boarded another bus (on our way to becoming the bus experts we would be at the end of the trip) and grabbed dinner in Fulham on our way back to the flat.

(I can't believe I'm posting this picture for the world to see)

A quick note to say, I hadn't actually believed the food in London would not be good, because it is a major city! How could the food be bad? Can't you find good food everywhere? But, um, it was less than stellar. I think out of 6 days we had one halfway decent meal, and several really unappetizing meals, but the rest of London totally made up for it.

A quick Skype call to the kids, where I listened to their sad little voices ask me if I was coming home tonight (a question they would ask every night) and we crashed. I think the combination of the time change, the walking, and the COLD did us in. We fell asleep at 10pm, with big plans for Day 3 of London!

(**to be updated with pictures tomorrow, I SWEAR, but I'm falling asleep on the keyboard right now)

Sunday, January 16, 2011


London! London! London! I still gush when people ask me how it was because, oh, wow, you guys, it was totally worth it.

For starters, we really couldn't afford (financially) to take this trip. It was a terrible idea from a budgetary standpoint, but you know what is really expensive? A DIVORCE. So I decided to scrimp and save and pinch pennies and take every last holiday and birthday present I've received over the last 5 years and put it toward our trip. Since I stopped working four (!!!) years ago, we've cut out so many things- trips, dinners, clothing, shoes, haircuts, dry cleaning, babysitters, and anything else you can think of, and lately I've realized that there are some things we really shouldn't be cutting out.

Somehow and somewhere we need to find the money to hire a babysitter, even if it is once every couple of months, and spend a bit of time together as a couple. We need to continue to go out for pancakes every Sunday, because we've done it for 12 years and it is important. It means something to us. We need to go sit in a coffee shop and have an actual conversation without little people interrupting us or demanding our attention. We shouldn't have taken the trip, but I needed to walk with Josh, talk with Josh, hold hands with him, spend time alone. It was magical.

For starters, I was totally flexible on where we would go, as long as the tickets were a good deal, and London ended up being the best deal (although sheesh, I didn't realize the British Pound was quite THAT strong). British Airways was the airline, and we both highly recommend it.

Then, I knew I wanted to rent an apartment because we've done that before, and it's worked out well for us so far. I found a flat in Fulham, which is a suburb of London right on the "Tube" (subway) and lots of bus routes. Fulham ended up being a really cute and trendy suburb full of shops and restaurants. The flat was an entire floor of a woman's house, and we had access to a full kitchen, bedroom and private bath. Best of all, it was less than HALF the price of even cheap hotels in London. Housing is expensive in London!

The place was great, very clean and comfy and large, and the owner was very friendly and kind, and even brought up electric blankets and trays of tea when it turned out to be colder than anticipated. The only strange thing, I will admit, is the knowledge that you are in someone else's house, with the owner sleeping directly below, if you get my drift. I felt the teensiest bit awkward about the, um, romantic parts of our vacation. We had complete privacy, but still, it is weird. When we rented an apartment in Prague, we never even met the owner, and probably I'd opt for something closer to that in the future, but I can't deny that the owner was incredibly helpful and generous throughout the trip. We were a 10-15 minute bus or Tube ride into the city, depending on where we were going, and it meant I got to sit on the top floor of a double decker bus multiple times a day. Yay!

Day 1: Christmas Day
We left on an 8am flight, and remember, Josh STILL didn't know where we were going! I'd spent all of last night packing for the two of us, and stressing over forgetting something crucial. Like gloves or his jacket, or enough pants, or something like that. At one point, I made a joke about us bringing back a little "souvenir" (i.e. a baby) and naming her London, which, what the hell was I thinking because I totally thought I gave it away?! But I realized fairly quickly what I'd done and then said we might be naming our souvenir Guadalajara, or Paris, or Rome, so I made a good attempt at covering it up. No worries on the souvenir, though! I made sure of that.

Anyway, my mom drove us to the airport in the morning and I'd pre-printed our boarding passes, so we were able to go through security, get a coffee, sit in a centralized location in the terminal before I revealed we were going to London! And he claims he was surprised, so yay! I'm never doing another surprise trip again, though, because UGH, the stress!

As we took off and the plane turned over the water, I did have a moment of panicky OH MY GOD WHAT ARE WE DOING? I was leaving my babies and crossing an ocean. To another continent. For SIX days! What's done is done, though, and I told myself not to spend another minute worrying about it and just enjoy the luxury of reading a book and watching a movie and eating a meal in silence! The flight was fabulous, and Josh and I had an empty seat between us so we spread out and relaxed. We landed at Heathrow at 7:30pm, but after security and customs, we didn't get out until around 9pm, at which time I stood at the exit doors of the Heathrow arrivals terminal and stared at the signs and pinched myself thinking, holy shit. I'm totally in London.

Oh, and I should mention, we somehow, shockingly, traveled with only a carry-on, which was a freaking miracle and I still don't know how we did it. 6 days of clothing (plus extras, just in case) packed into a tiny roll-aboard, but I highly recommend it. We didn't have to worry about lost luggage or waiting for bags, and I felt like such a jet-setter with this tiny bag. Plus, we were moving around the city before and after on public transportation, so small bags made everything much easier.

I'd tried for weeks to find a flat to rent that would take us on Christmas day, but London apparently shuts down for Christmas, including the Underground and the buses, and the taxis charged exorbitant fees to get into the city, so I finally bit the bullet and got us a room at the Heathrow Hilton for the night. I was disappointed not to be seeing London that same night, but honestly, it was great. We didn't have to rush and were able to walk into the hotel within a few minutes, check in, and grab some tea and dinner before it got too late. The hotel was modern and luxurious and totally sufficient. We turned on the television and breathed in the British accents and lounged in the comfy bed, and planned our day tomorrow. We skyped the kids before going to bed, and then turned in by midnight London time (7pm Boston time) so we'd be on the right schedule. I was exhausted, but didn't sleep great that night, probably due in equal parts to the time change and the excitement.

Tomorrow, we'd finally be in London. I could have screamed in excitement!

Day two- tomorrow!

Friday, January 14, 2011

another update!

Bloodwork normal! Ultrasound normal! So now we.... hmmm.... no idea. The doctor apparently sent a letter to dictation that will be sent to me eventually with her recommendations, and nobody called me after I left two messages, which was super annoying. The nurse doesn't know what the recommendations are and the doctor is unavailable, and she got a bit snippy with me when I suggested that perhaps sending me a letter next week when the doctor's original voicemail rather urgently told me to go to the hospital was, well, I don't know, RUDE?

I am choosing to not obsess over the rudeness since I'm thrilled the results are normal, but still, isn't that obnoxious? Especially after I left the two messages saying I was nervous and wanted to hear the results, and as far as the doctor knows, I didn't even hear anything at the ultrasound! Grrr. But whatever, moving on.

So all of this leaves me- with no idea what to do or how to handle my upcoming cycle. I am incredibly grateful for your advice and I am dosing up on iron and vitamins and will keep Advil handy and hope that one of the above works. Beyond that, though, I'm so grateful to hear other people in a similar situation and to stop worrying that I'm going through early menopause which I REALLY AND TRULY did think I was. My mom actually laughed in my face when I told her my deep fears about this. She says she didn't even start having symptoms until she was 50, so she thinks I have a ways to go. I hope she's right. But thank you, again, for your candidness. Chocolates for everyone!

Now I can move onto telling you all about London, and a very! exciting! insane! trip! I am planning for June and July. With my two children. And no husband. To another continent. I am booking tickets today, and then I will share. Don't want to jinx it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I went in for the ultrasound, and God bless her, had the NICEST ultrasound technician EVER. Seriously, ever. She said she wasn't supposed to tell me what she was seeing, but that as long as I didn't hear it from her, she'd keep me updated step by step.

Interesting fact, did you know your uterus lays flat? Like a deflated balloon? So the sides touch each other? Crazy! I totally didn't know that. I assumed it was inflated all the time or something, with space in the middle.

Anyway, a two hour ultrasound later, she saw nothing. Thank goodness. My doctor's office scheduled it on an emergency basis, so I had Josie with me, and had brought nothing to keep her occupied, and poor Gabe was sitting at school after hours without any lunch until 3pm (!!) because it took so much longer than anticipated. But she saw nothing nothing nothing. She said it was a little difficult to see clearly into the lining because it looked particularly thick (whatever that means) but there didn't appear to be fibroids or polyps or anything like that, so either it's hormonal, or it's nothing.

I'm thrilled, of course, and relieved it is over, since 2 hours of being poked and prodded and generally uncomfortable is not enjoyable, and I was stressed over the results, and stressed over having poor Josie with me (who by the way, behaved like an utterly shocking perfect angel) and stressed over poor Gabe sitting at school. Thankfully the teachers fed him what they had in the classrooms- crackers, cream cheese, juice and a clementine. Random, but fine.

Now I'm waiting anxiously for the results of the blood test and hoping all this snow doesn't delay them. Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

if you're squeamish, run for the hills

In case you didn't read the title, this post is definitely not for the squeamish of heart, or those who are uncomfortable talking about "female troubles."

Here, I'll give you a minute to click click click away...

Okay, so. A few months ago, I noticed my periods were getting heavier. Noticeably heavier, and I was having these crazy acne episodes throughout the month, but more so as my period approached. I would get these terrible pimples under the skin, almost like cysts, that would become huge lumps on my chin or cheeks, but would never surface. A hard red lump would result, and then after a week they would just go away on their own. Diet, face washes, nothing seemed to make a difference. Also, I've been quick to cry for random reasons, most of the time not even because I was sad or upset. Someone would say something sweet or funny or slightly sappy, and I'd almost burst into tears. It was ridiculous, and kind of embarrassing, you know?

Anyway, as the months went on, my periods have gotten significantly worse, and I keep having these blood clots during the first two days. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was having a miscarriage. Not for 6 months, though, obviously.

I know, this is way too much information, but I'm hoping maybe someone has been through this before and might have thoughts.

This last month was the worst. The blood clots were fairly large and there were several, enough so that I've started to worry. I'm also starting to think I might be anemic because I was thinking back to last month and this month, and I've been more tired than usual, I think. It is hard to tell for sure, because obviously chasing after two kids makes you tired, and November and December were crazy months for me with the holidays and two birthdays, so I could have just been tired because I'm tired, right?

So today I finally called my OB to say, what the hell? And I kept telling myself that I would gauge how much I should worry on her reaction. Her reaction was less than ideal, it turns out. She told me to come in asap for blood work and hormone levels and complete blood count, and she wants to do an ultrasound to look for fibroids or polyps and I don't know what else, and then we'll go from there.

I'm kind of freaking out.

I'm freaking out over the possibility that I won't be able to have another baby. What if it's pre-menopause? I'm freaking out over the possibility that I'll have to take hormones. Have some sort of surgery. Have to have a hysterectomy. Other even more awful possibilities have crossed my mind, of course. What if it is cervical cancer or a uterine tumor or something like that. I don't know what I thought my doctor would say when I called, but I didn't think she would sound so urgent. Now of course it is too late to call the office, so I'm stewing until the morning when I can make an appointment to come in and start the tests. Josh keeps making all these statements that only serve to freak me out more, like "it'll be fine because you're so strong," or "all I care about is a healthy wife." He only wants to help and be supportive, as usual, but I almost shuddered as he was talking.

Has anyone dealt with this before? Heard of this? Especially if you're here to tell me it is nothing, I welcome any and all advice. Unless you're going to tell me something horrid, then keep it to yourself, I guess.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

the library battles

We LOVE our library. Love. It is beautiful and sunny and child-friendly, with story hours several times a week, and after your suggestions of requesting books in advance, it has become one of my favorite outings with the kids. I sit at the computer late at night, making lists of recommended or popular books, and then head to the library page and request each book. Within a couple of days, I get an email and the books are held for me at the circulation desk of the library. This SAVES MY LIFE, seriously. I could never spend time browsing through books with the kids, or I should say, I could browse through the books, but not without the kids screaming bloody murder and disturbing everyone else. Requesting books allows me to read all the new and hot favorites, but without anyone shooting me dirty looks. You have changed my life, and that is no exaggeration.

A few days ago, though, I noticed on my account web page that our library was saying I'd checked out a book I KNEW I hadn't checked out. Additionally, it said I hadn't returned a book I knew I'd returned. If they'd said I checked out a kid's book I didn't remember, I could have believed it, because there have been times where I have 30 books checked out for the kids. The book was an adult book, however, and I was positive I'd never even seen it before, much less carted it home. Then there was the question of the book I KNEW I'd returned. In fact, as soon as the name popped up, I could picture the cover art. I knew I'd returned it because Gabe and I had an argument as I stood at the returns slot because he wanted to keep it, but it was a Halloween book and it was after Halloween and I saw no reason to keep a Halloween book, so I distracted him and tossed the book in.

I began to fret. I knew I didn't have these books, but I still felt the need to tear the house apart to make sure. I looked through every bookshelf in Gabe's room. I looked under his bed. Pulled his furniture away from the walls. Looked under his rugs, in his closet, in all his backpacks. I searched Josie's shelves, behind her crib, under her rocker. Crawled around my own bedroom and looked under beds, in baskets, on shelves. I checked the living room baskets, under the couches, inside the coffee table. Tore apart the basement, checked every shelf and storage drawer. I checked my car three separate times, and after I did all of this, my mom double checked everywhere I looked. I searched bags in the garage thinking maybe I was crazy and Josh had thrown books somewhere without my knowing.

I drove myself crazy. I began to envision these imaginary conversations where the library didn't believe me and made me pay for 2 separate books. The thing is, I pay late fees to the library all the time, and gladly. The free (!!) service the library provides to me is so awesome, and I'm so grateful, I will happily pay those minimal amounts of money. Even totaling up all the fees I've ever paid to the library, I'd still be saving so much money compared to if I had to purchase even a fraction of the books we read. It's totally worth it.

But this felt unjust and unfair. I knew this wasn't my fault, and because of this, I obsessed over having to pay for the two books. I had a knot in my stomach for several days as I hunted through the house and hoped they would turn up. Finally, though, the due date was upon us, and I was starting to accrue fees. I figured now was better than later if I was going to try to argue my case.

Josie and I dropped Gabe off at school and headed straight for the library. We arrived at the circulation desk, and as I looked at the desk clerk, I found myself at a loss for words. It sounded so ridiculous for me to be arguing that the library had made a mistake on two different books, no matter how convinced I was. I started talking anyway, and within a couple of minutes, the clerk had scanned my library card, looked over my account, and said, "Oh sure, no problem. I'll just remove these from your accounts. These computers are crazy sometimes."

And that was that.

All that stress, anxiety, worry, for NOTHING. It took about 2 minutes of talking, and no one questioned me or argued with me. My account was cleared in no time. Josie and I wandered into the kid's room to pick out some new books, and a few minutes later, the clerk followed us in to let me know he'd done a search himself and located the books on the shelves. Just. Like. That.

Isn't that a lesson? Why waste energy on something so silly, so petty, so UNNECESSARY. Sigh. If only everything in life could be this easy.

tardy tardy tardy

Yesterday morning I took Josie out for a muffin at a local bakery, and glanced at my cell phone while we were sitting at the table- Josie enjoying her blueberry muffin, and me enjoying my french vanilla coffee. She looked up at me as I tucked my phone away and said, "hurry hurry mommy, we're late!"

And I realized that PERHAPS I might be rushing the kids too much. And PERHAPS my system of waiting until the last possible minute to get somewhere could possibly be stressing my children out. And PERHAPS, I should attempt to leave a little more time to get places. Who knows, I might even start arriving on time? Doubtful, but you never know, right?

So this morning, I woke up a WHOPPING one hour and 15 minutes earlier. Gabe has to be at school between 9 and 9:15am every morning, and I usually get out of bed (wait for it) at 8am. I know. Insane, no? That leaves me exactly one hour to shower (and wash and dry hair every other day), get dressed, change Josie's diaper, dress Josie, make sure Gabe is dressed, feed all three of us, get all of Gabe's school items together, shoes on everyone, jackets and mittens and hats in the car, and all of us to Gabe's school that is 8 minutes away. This usually involves a mad driving dash, with me yelling at everyone to buckle seat belts faster and HURRY UP HURRY UP HURRY UP, and any minor detour, such as slow putting on of shoes, is enough to push me over the edge into frustrated and yelling mommy. Gabe will cheer me on from the back seat and tell me to drive faster and pass cars to get there on time. Miraculously, we've only been late about 3 times, mainly because arriving late involves a walk of shame through the whole school past every single classroom because Gabe's class is on the far side of the school, rather than the glorious pick-up by the teacher from the car (best part of school, I swear).

Anyway, this morning Josh convinced me to get up at 6:45am, which is the time he leaves for work anyway. SIX FORTY-FIVE AM! I sat at the kitchen table with him for 5 minutes eating the scrambled eggs he'd made for us, yawning and wiping my eyes, and when he walked out the door, I started my day. I picked up the kitchen, living and dining rooms, took a shower, blew my hair dry, got dressed, and took out the garbage. By the time the kids got up at 8am, I was completely ready and could devote the whole hour to them. I laid out clothes for Gabe while he dressed himself, got Josie dressed, and made them oatmeal and toast and cut up some bananas on the side.

The kids actually had more than 3.4 minutes to eat their breakfast, and no one yelled. At all. And, I didn't have to speed down the road to school, and everyone got there on time. I'd even had time to throw all the library books and checks to deposit in the car, so as soon as I dropped Gabe off, I was able to run all my errands without having to stop back at the house to grab the things I'd forgotten/run out of time to grab. And I remembered to put out the trash for pick-up!


Who knew that getting up earlier might let you get places on time. Without rushing, even! I can hardly believe it. I might even keep this up. Maybe. I'm falling asleep on the couch right now because I'm so tired from the early wake-up, but I'm considering it. There's always more afternoon cups of coffee.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

happy new year!

Anyone want a dead mouse?

Josh got home the day before we were leaving for London and saw a mouse casually making his or her way along the rails of the garage door and then ducking into a tiny hole in the wall near the ceiling. The ceiling that connects directly to my HOUSE. And I promptly freaked the fuck out.

I made him come with me at 9:50pm that night to the store to buy approximately 18,000 mouse traps, hoping beyond hope that we'd catch the mouse before we left for London. We didn't, but this morning I awoke to a bright and shining 2011, and 2 dead mice. Disgusting, and to be honest, a bit guilt-inducing because they are so tiny and cute, but still, I'm relieved. Even grosser, there was one additional trap with, ahem, a tiny little leg in the trap, but no mouse attached. Can a mouse live without a leg or should I continue with my nightmare of a three legged mouse dragging his bloody body within the walls of the house? (gag) The two mice in the traps have all four legs attached, in case you were wondering. I checked.

Josh and I were unable to stay awake for the new year festivities at midnight last night, particularly since we're still on London time and can barely keep our eyes open past 8pm. We did set our alarm for 11:55pm, though, and got up to watch the ball drop, kiss, and then head right back to bed. It was perfect.

Happy New Year to all of you! Wishing you laughter and love and good health for 2011, and rodents that stay out of your home!