Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jingle all the way!!!!!!

Lets see, this is going to be less of a cohesive post and more of just a random stream of thoughts....

Was so happy to see the 3/4ths of the O'Hara family on Friday / Saturday morning! They came to Chicago to recall their daughter Janelle (Hi Jelly!) from the UK. Its always nice to have visitors, especially ones that like to entertain and snuggle my kids so I can get a break! I was bummed that we couldn't make it to the airport to join in the welcome celebration, but we had to.....

Go to Indiana for the O'Brien family Christmas! HOORAY! It was a shortened visit, but good times to hang out with the family nonetheless. Again, super fun to hang out with people who like to snuggle and play with our kids :) Liam scored some awesome Duplos (SOOO excited for him to like Legos!) and Lola got a super cute glow-wormy seahorse and BLAH einstein puppet guy :) And Pat & I will be dining at Fogo de Chao sometime in the future...I {heart} our family!

Liam has been battling this cold / congestion thing that is completely annoying. He gets SO congested, and then a few minutes later he's playing around and having fun. Ugh. Then there are the night sweats. He's awoke from sleep completely drenched in sweat. Its so gross, and I feel so aweful for him...but not sure there's anything at all we can do.

I've got more Container Store training tomorrow - then we're headed to the 'Naw for a quick trip before Christmas. I'm still a bit bitter for having my traditions broken and smashed into a million pieces (i.e. NOT being with my family on Christmas Day) but I'm trying to get over it and not be a complete bitch in the process. This is still a work in progress. Back to The Container Store - really enjoying the job so far!

Photography is still rolling along...I'm taking a hiatus for the rest of Dec & Jan after I edit this last set (which I should be doing now....but I'm taking a quick break).

I stepped down from the creative team of my favorite digital scrapbooking home - A Cherry on Top - I'm not digital scrapbooking much these days, and it was time to give someone else a chance to shine :) I'll miss working with those girls though!!

Lola is doing great - such a big chunkamonk! Pat and I agreed that we're totally in love with her chub. Chubbiewubbiesnoogy pants!! SO CUTE!

That's all for now...back to more editing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

See you later, dear Chino

This morning, our family's beloved pet, Chino the obnoxious and adorable Lhasa Apso, went to the Rainbow Bridge after succumbing to renal failure. She was crazy, but oh so sweet and snuggly, and spent a good 7 years bringing love to my parent's & Karli (and us too when we visited!). We'll miss her flying through the air to catch her slippers, barking at everything and anything, chasing after plastic bottles, and laying on her back twitching in her own spastic way :)

2008-12-25 Christmas Day 029

Big hugs to Mom, Dad & Karli......

The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

Visit the original poem HERE

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Busy busy bee!

The good news is, I'm feeling fantastic! No PPD to speak of, as of yet anyway, getting lots of sleep due to a fantastically sleeping baby, and being HELLA productive with my time. I'm exercising more....not necessarily eating less, but we'll get there ;) I feel like I'm being a better Mom to Liam than I was the first few weeks, and in general I'm just starting to get the hang of this Mom to Two thing :) Hooray!

Lola is growing like mad! She's got her 8 week appointment on Friday, so we'll update again after that :) Wii Fit says she weighed 13.5 pounds about a week ago, so we'll see how accurate the game system is. She's definitely much more alert, checking things out, smiling, ahh-ing, goo-ing, and ah-goo-ing. She's gorgeous!

Liam is a great big brother - he is still always talking to her and about her, and often gives a narration of what's going on with her. He really likes to lay next to her in bed when we're saying our prayers and reading books, and he gets mad if he doesn't get to give her a kiss on her head. Its so sweet, really. And much better than I could have ever expected!

The bad news is, I've been SO productive and back into the swing of things that its a little bit ridiculous. I've had a gazillion photography shoots, interviewed four times (and got the job!) at The Container Store and in general readying the house for the Holidays. Its been busy, and at times I've been slightly overwhelmed, but Pat has been so incredibly supportive that its all worked itself out quite well. AND we've got money for Christmas, which is also very good ;)

I start my seasonal employment with The Container Store on December 13, and I am PUMPED! I love every one of the 10,000 products that they carry, and I cannot wait to learn more about living the Organized life! This also allows me to earn a little extra cash as I transition to ramping up the photography business, and also get me out of the house for a few hours of kid free productivity. And, lets face it people - being in Forbes top 100 companies to work for 10 years running, combined with being surrounded by organizational goodness - what's not to love!

So its been a little chaotic and not much time to sit back, relax and update the ol' blog-o, but I'm ok with that! We'll just keep riding this wave!!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Life is...

Lola is great...Liam has his moments, but most days I really feel like I'm losing my mind. And that's on a good day. Today, I woke up and said "OK. I'm done. I give up. This isn't fun anymore. I'm moving to Tahiti. ALONE". I wasn't serious :) But it felt good to acknowledge my feelings out loud, and Pat & I laughed about it (which also feels good). We tried to continue our laughter when I was in the shower, Lola was crying, and Liam was standing up peeing all over the bathmat (everywhere EXCEPT the potty, actually) while Pat was getting dressed.........

I'm quite tense 90% of the time. i think in addition to clenching my teeth, I'm clenching my fists as well. That makes for tingly not very well functioning hands most of the day. I have a massive headache today that feels like a tension headache. I despise being tense. I'd shell out $60 for a massage, but the tension would probably just come right back. I don't think I'll be able to manage it well until I'm able to exercise regularly....which won't be for another two weeks. *sigh* I've never been so anxious to get to exercising!

And to eat well - for that matter. I've been downing baked goods like nobody's business. Its been nice, I'll admit, to have so much comfort food around. Especially when I feel overwhelmed - I reach right for the chewy gooey sweet goodness of anything with flour and sugar. And preferably chocolate. And yes, it doesn't matter much because I am nursing so I can consume extra calories, but I'm thankful they're all gone. Maybe it will force me to deal with my feelings instead of drowning them out in food. Its about high time we start making our own meals, anyway. It has been a good month! I'm so very thankful to have so many friends who have made sure we have good meals to fill our bellies during this transition time.....

*sigh* All and all, its getting better (as all you moms of two promised me it would). The more times we go out just the three of us, the more I get the hang of it. Liam is turning into a great helper and really surprising me with how much he likes her and how interested he is in what she's doing. He often presents a running commentary....."Oh! Lola's crying!" or "Lola dropped binky" or "Baby sister is squeaking", often times providing pretty dead on imitations of whatever noises she makes. Quite cute, actually!

We'll ease into transitions with Liam as we can - i.e. Potty Training and sleeping in his big boy bed....hopefully he'll master those two things by the time he's 15 :) Until then, I just have to keep managing the expectations I put on myself, remind me (constantly) that nobody is perfect, and remember to take a couple of minutes and enjoy the two little people Pat & I have created, because despite all the chaos, they are really amazing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We're managing :)

Day 3 or so of being solitos....and things appear to be going well. Its about 1,000 times easier when Pat is around to help, but since he has to go out and work and bring home the bacon, I suppose I should just suck it up and learn how to do it well on my own.

That doesn't mean I have to like it though.

I don't like anything really that I don't excel at right off the bat. And believe you me, although I thought I was a pretty good Mom to Liam, juggling two is definitely an acquired area of expertise. I'm short tempered, angry, and in general, Super Seniorita Crankypants. I suppose it stems from many, many things in life coming pretty easy to me....(sports, education, etc.) so when things aren't natural I tend to bitch and whine and kick dirt in your general direction.

Just like the sport of golf (which I also sucked at big time at first...and now the only thing I continue to pursue despite my mediocrity), I'm sure I'll grow to love being a mother of two (even when I'm all by myself) and enjoy it, even when it continues to push me and kick my ass.

:::::::::::::::::::::::: EMOTIONS ::::::::::::::::::::::::

Emotionally I'm still hanging in there - I've only managed to break down and bawl my eyes out once since Lola's arrival (well, unless you count when my Mom left to go back home...but that's different). It was at the end of the first day, and I was so angry at the world. Mostly I was mad at myself for allowing the effin' up of Liam's life. I know, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but I was in no condition to be argued against. I just felt like I spent 95% of the day yelling at him because he wouldn't listen to me. Its like my mind completely forgot that he's TWO and not an 18 year old PFC. *sigh* Pat is a smart man...he just let me vent, and gently reminded me that tomorrow is a new day.

:::::::::::::::::::::::: BIG BOY BED ::::::::::::::::::::::::

We went to IKEA and purchased Liam a new big boy bed. We were just going to buy a mattress and put it on the floor (so he couldn't fall down very far if he fell out) but we found a cute little frame to drop it in as well. Hopefully, he'll start taking naps in it without too much trouble, then we'll move him into it for night time as well. He thinks its cool, and has started spending time laying on it and reading books. The hardest part is going to be getting him to lay / sleep / sit on it and not jump on it. I think we made the right decision on not getting a spring mattress - we went with foam instead - which cuts down on the jumpability factor right off the bat.

:::::::::::::::::::::::: HALLOWEEN ::::::::::::::::::::::::

Liam has a slight fascination with pumpkins / jack-o-lanterns, which I think stems from a couple of great books given to him by his Grandmas. He loves looking at them from afar when he's in the car, and he loves to carry them around (or at least try). He likes to tell us what kind of face they have on - happy, sad, angry or even surprised! He was actually devastated when we carved ours and left them out on the front porch....he really, really, wanted them to come back inside!

So we were so excited when Aunt Moe said we could borrow the Pumpkin Costume that Grandma O'Brien had made. He's worn it every day for the past couple of days! The cutest thing is when he says he's NOT a pumpkin, he's a Jack-O-Lantern. Or, when he practices his "Trick Or Treat!". He's generally a pretty shy kid, so it will be interesting to see if he actually says it while we're out in the 'hood.

Here's a quick photo of our practicing pumpkin, and another of our spooky halloween decorations! I'm so excited to finally have them out!

:::::::::::::::::::::::: LOLA'S SICK :( ::::::::::::::::::::::::

Liam had a slight little cold last week, and has since given it to his little sister. No fever or anything, and she's still eating like a champ - so we haven't done much about it. However, last night she started getting a little too congested for my taste, so I think we'll finally head to the doctor today. It just breaks my heart to hear her struggle to get her nose cleared up! I wish she had the brains to know it is much, much easier to breathe clearly when she sucks on her binky, but she doesn't appear to care much.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's the Point???

I ask you, dear readers....

What is the point of creating a fantabulous website and getting people all addicted to its fantastic games and connecting with people all across God's Green Earth....

....and then treating the addicts like crap by continually performing "maintenance" that makes said website perform like big, fat, hairy ass?


Is it because they know we'll keep coming back?

***fist up to sky*** CURSE YOU FACEBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lets see.....

I've covered my anxiety before the surgery, the surgery itsself and the rest of the birthday.....what's left to talk about.

Oh, well, the hospital stay was fabulous. We didn't score a lakeview room, but we did have a nice city view and a view of a Green Roof, and the construction of Children's Memorial Hospital. A construction zone isn't normally fun to look at, but considering our background, and our son's current fascination with all things construction, it actually worked out relatively well. And it was also fun to trapse around naked-nude in front of the windows, taunting the construction workers that couldn't see me. Or at least I thought they couldn't see me.

The decor was beautiful - especially the bathrooms! Corian countertops, beautiful blue green glass tile and travetine-esque tile in the bathrooms. I realized during the last day of my stay that the view from my bed prevented me from seeing very little any medical equipment at all. I'm sure this was intentional, and makes for a quite pleasant (aesthetically) stay. Most importantly, every single thing worked as planned during our entire visit ;) During our last hospital stay (which was during the last month of that hospital's existence before they opened the new one), we called maintenance for some reason at least once a day. The most annoying of which was the bathroom light, which kept on burning out. The staff was still good, but it was annoying overall.

We took home all sorts of awesome supplies - diapers, breast feeding gear, gigantic maxi-pads, receiving blankets, etc. It was like a medical supplied Christmas!

Since we've been home Lola has been an angel - eating like a trooper and sleeping just as well. I realize it might be short lived, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. There are no shortage of arms that want to snuggle her, but she's perfectly content to sleep by herself in the bassinet. This is night and day from Liam, who refused to be put down for any period of time for his first six weeks of life.

Thanks to the breastfeeding, my boobs are in mega-pornstar mode having swelled to 50x their original size. OK, maybe I exaggerate a little, but you get the idea. I've always been relatively well endowed to begin with, so you can imagine how big they are now. They are, in the words of a friend, officially Milk Boulders. Rock Hard and GIANT. To be honest, they look pretty cool :) Pat and I took a photo, although we're not going to share with the general public. Shocking, I know, since I'm not one to withold TMI. They hurt like a MoFo, and although it feels better than yesterday there are still a few days to go before my milk supply stabilizes. Until then, its a lot of compression (warm and cold), a lot of massage and long warm showers to try to relieve the pressure.

::::::::::: Liam and Lola :::::::::::

One more hospital event: Liam meeting Lola. He was pretty much disinterested - and much more engaged in trying to push all the buttons on the bed (he called the nurse twice) and marveling at the construction equipment next door. What I wanted to see is a proud brother sitting on the couch, excited to hold his baby sister for the first time.....which is a pretty unrealistic expectation. I don't know why I conjured up the image in my head (I'm lying, I do...because it would make a good photo), but I think his actual reaction was pretty normal. I even bought a balloon for him from Baby Lola, which he liked, but that was about it.

After we got home, he was a little more welcoming. He acknowledged when Lola was crying ("OhhH! Baby cryyying!") and occasionally pointed and said "Baby Seester" or "Baby OhhLa". But for the most part he tried to avoid her (and us) and played by himself or with Mema. At one point, I remember him running down the hall full speed, stopping in his tracks when he got to the living room, looking straight to the baby bassinet (with a baby sleeping comfortably inside), and then turned right back around to run and play in his room.

Mema & Daddy have been giving him lots of love and attention, but I really haven't as much. Mostly because its dangerous for me! He's a very active (read: CRAZY!) two year old, and he doesn't understand that he can really hurt me!! I try to give him hugs and kisses when I can, but its not nearly as many as I feel like I should. I think it will all work out OK eventually. Today, he actually wanted to see and hug her...and he actually held Lola for the first time today (just like the photo I wanted!). It didn't last long. She started rooting and sucking his face - he freaked out saying "no more kisses baby Lola!" But it certainly was adorable while it lasted :)


You can see the rest of the set on flickr HERE

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Birth Story

Pat & I managed to get a decent night's sleep on Thurday evening, with the exception of about an hour where we both woke up at the same time and couldn't get back to sleep. During that hour we caught the Chicago 2016 Olympic pitch live from Copenhagen, which was actually kind of cool. Then the speeches got a little boring, lucky for us, and lulled us back into sleep until the morning.

Friday morning was nice and relaxed. Pat & I gathered everything together and Liam was more than happy to ignore us and play with Mema & Papa, who arrived erlier on Thursday. We gave big hugs to our little man, then headed into the city to the Hospital. We got there right on time at 8:30AM, waited a short while in the Labor & Delivery lounge, and then were escorted back to prep for surgery.

I must say, we had a rockin' team getting us ready. I'm not sure if I was just in such better spirits because everything was planned andsuch or if the staff were just that good...but in any case the experience was quite nice. Scary? Absolutely - what major surgery isn't scary?!? But the doctors / nurses / residents did their best to explain everything that was happening and keep us calm and relaxed as well. The spinal block was pretty easy. Strapping me down wasn't too bad either. I was nervous for most of the process, but was settled as soon as Pat came back to the OR :) Lucky for me, he has very, very kind eyes....and I like to look at them. Its just soothing and calming, even though that's the only part of his face I could see. I don't remember what we talked about during the actual operation, but I know there was chuckling and laughter involved, which was also very calming as well.

Then, before we knew it, Lola was pulled out into the world! I found out later they had to use forcepts to pull her giant noggin out. I had no idea they used forcepts for c-sections. But I suppose that's better than cutting me more.

I think the process took about two and a half hours total. We went back to prep around 9:30AM, and I was back in the recovery room at about 12:00. Then we spent a good three hours or so in recovery.

The most annoying part was the shivering caused by the anesthesia. It was like being out on a cold Chicago morning, but not actually being cold. Its so annoying because when you are shivering long enough, your jaw starts to hurt. They have medicine the help off set these kinds of side effects, but of course, those have their own side effects.....and we didn't think the cummulative effect would be good for me.

One of the things I thought I would be very concerned about but ended up not being an issue was the blue curtain in my face. During Liam's surgery I remember it really bothering me and being too close to my face, despite my request to pull it away on multiple occasions. This time, they actually made it a point to keep it nice and tight and away from my head. Seems like a silly thing to be worried about in the grand scheme of things, but alas, that is what I focused on.

:::::::::::: Recovery ::::::::::::

Recovery wasn't too bad. The whole waiting for your legs to come too is pretty strange....especially when they ask you to try to move your legs and toes, and you do your damnedest to try, but you can't. Ugh. It feels so strange. The only issue I had was a pretty high heart rate that wouldn't come down even though I didn't feel anxious or like my heart was racing. That pretty much didn't go away until we were well settled in our room.

For Lola, she was nice and healthy. Due to standard protocol for babies "Large for their Gestational age" or LG, they had to do a series of glucose tests to make sure her blood sugar was behaving appropriately. The first test came back kind of low, but the rest from there on out were great, so there were no issues to deal with further. Well, we did have to endure a couple of pokies on her sweet little heels, but I can deal with that :)

:::::::::::: What's in a name? ::::::::::::

Up until this point, we didn't actually have a name for her. Actually, if she was a boy, we didn't have ANY names picked out at all! I felt pretty certain it was a feminine energy to begin with, so most of our focus went to girls names. Our middle name was easy - it would be Cecilia. That's my mom's middle name, and I've always thought it was beautiful. Its also my great grandmother's name, and as we later found out, the name of Pat's Mom's Great Grandmother. First names were a whole other story. I've always loved Lola, in fact, that was going to be Liam's name if he were a girl. (Lola is actually my Great Aunt's name....well, its Delores, but she's always been known as Lola). Pat does not really like the name at all, primarily because of the song by The Kinks. So we tried to hash it out, but still always kept Lola in the mix. As of the morning of the c-section, the list was Lola, Elena, Marlena, and Elsa. Lola was always #1, but I never thought Pat would go for it.

When she was pulled into the world and brought around the blue curtain, I took one look at her and said "Oh my goodness - Pat, she's SUCH a Lola - I'm so sorry but she's totally a Lola!". Imagine my surprise when he agreed! So he might not love the name, but I'm hoping it grows on him just like Liam grew on me.

*whew* that was a long story! As of now, we're both healing and doing well. Breastfeeding is going along pretty well (about 10,000 times better than what we went through with Liam - thank GOODNESS!) although we are supplementing with formula so we can get a decent nights stretch of sleep while we're in the hospital.

Also, another really great thing is that I love her. I really, really, REALLY love her! This might seem like a given, but I had a very tough time bonding with Liam for about six weeks or so....struggling with that on top of depression, lets just say I didn't have the easiest go of it for a while, and was dreading dealing with similar feelings this go round. As each moment passes, I'm less and less worried. I know it will be difficult in its own way, but I feel like this isn't going to be as scary or hopeless as I felt before. And I'm so very thankful!

So you may have heard :)

We welcomed baby O'Brien Numero Dos into the world on Friday, October 2 at 11:23 AM via C-Section :) She tipped the scales a mere 9 pounds, and was 20 3/4 inches long. She's got a slightly fuzzy dark head of hair, the sweetest pink skin and adorable dark baby blue eyes. In short, she's beautiful!

Hooray for Lola Cecilia O'Brien!!

You also may be wondering - Karin, where the heck are the photos?? Well, we'll have to wait until after Monday for those, dear readers. I've got them all on camera, but we don't have our computer here. The couple of photos that we have are on that we took with phones, sent to Mom & Sissy, and they posted it for us! I promise, once we're discharged and settled in at home, there will be plenty of Lola cuteness that I'll be more than anxious to share.

Our internet situation at the moment - not the most convenient, but definitely better than nothing at all! The hospital is equipt with wi-fi, but frankly, I didn't want to lug my giant ass laptop around. Each room has a nice 42" flatscreen TV, and you can hook up a keyboard and surf the web (which is what I'm doing at the moment). Its functional, but kind of tempermental, and not lightning quick like I'm used to. The mouse is slow and quirky....and, well, you can see how this would make trying to spend a lot of time on the internet annoying. Its like using dial upafter being on a cable modem for a while....just plain frustrating!

I'm going to try to do a series of short posts, and hopefully I get to cover everything while Lola & Daddy are snoozing and before the drugs kick in enough to knock me out!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Side by Side

Admittedly, I've been really lax about taking the requisite photo every 4 weeks to show belly progress. Call it a combination of lack of energy / not loving the body changes / laziness. Whatever. I did manage to take a couple, and here is a comparison of approximately the same time frame as when I was pregnant for Liam. Its not an exact copy, but I tried to get them as close as I could :)

I really don't see much difference, do you? If you're brave, you can click the photo for a bigger look. My boobs are bigger now, the belly button is flatter...and I've got more stretch marks above my belly button (which you conveniently can't see due to the soft blur of the photo :) Ahhh - I love photoshop :) ). I feel like my butt is bubbly-er too, or maybe my posture is just worse LOL. Keep in mind, I'm almost at exactly the same weight I was last time too....interesting how things move around.

I don't know. People say they can tell by looking how you're carrying if its going to be a boy or a girl. If the first one is a boy, any one care to guess what #2 will be?? I'm calling it a girl - for the record. Just a feeling more so than analyzing how I'm physically carrying. I've felt that way since I first found out I was pregnant....I guess we'll find out soon enough!

Big & Little

Liam, as most kiddos his age, is going through an explosion of learning, absorbing and of course language acquisition. In his current bag of tricks are Opposites, the most popular of which is Big & Little. To encourage this I usually try to point out big and little things so he can reinforce his knowledge, but mostly because I think its cute when he says things like "Beeeeeg truck" and Leeeetle Car". It makes me smile.

Today was no different when we left the produce store and walked past a plethora of pumpkins. I draw his attention to a bunch of tiny gourds. fully expecting a "Leeetle pun-kin" to spring forth from his lips. Instead, I got a very, very enthusiastic "oh! oh! OH!!! BABY pun-KINS!". And he surprised me again when I pointed to the large pumpkins next to them and he exclaimed "DADDY Pun-kins!!"

This made me one happy Mama :o)

Last OB Appointment!

Yup, that's right! I had my last OB appointment before little bambino makes his/her arrival! The big date is all set and ready to go for Friday, October 2, at 10:30 AM. I've got my instructions and now all we have to do is wait :) The appointment went well - everything is still "high and tight" so no signs of baby trying to make an early arrival. Heartbeat nice and strong, and my BP a cool 110/60. I've been lucky this summer with it being soooo very cool, I've had little to no swelling issues at all. AND, as of this morning, I'm sitting at a total gain of 21 pounds :) I feel like 90% of that is boobs and belly....maybe mostly boobs seeing as how stinking GIANT they are!

All in all, I've been feeling relatively OK. Aside from the occasional late night or belly discomfort disruption, I'm sleeping pretty well. Pain has been manageable - baby is still sitting pretty high, so my hips haven't given me nearly as much grief as I expected. Don't get me wrong, they are still very achy, but not as bad as it could be. Back hurts, its tiring to stand or walk for too long, I don't do much in the way of bending over because its not very comfortable, I can't sit and snuggle much with Liam because my belly gets in the way.....but all normal pregnancy stuff. Pat has so very graciously taken over Liam bath duty and night time duty, and pretty much every other duty, which I'm very grateful for...especially since he doesn't even hint at complaining. He's such a great man - I don't know where I'd be without him.

Saturday evening I spent a good 6 hours or so with regular contractions that were just slightly more painful than annoying :) Got tired of waiting for them to get more intense or closer together, so took some benedryl and went to sleep...all was normal in the morning!
It was very strange to experience that though - sitting and timing contractions. I didn't have a stop watch handy, but used my iPod instead :) Nifty little stopwatch thing that has!

I think it was so strange because I hadn't experienced it before when I was pregnant with Liam. No regular contractions at all, until I was in the hospital and on Pitocin. In fact, since Liam's pregnancy is the only one I have to go by, I've pretty much been expecting my water to break, although I know it only happens to 20% or less of people. That's kind of stressful....its like every time I go to the bathroom I expect more fluid than just urine to gush out. Yeah, TMI...but whatev.

The other issue I've been wrestling with regarding the idea of going into labor before Friday AM is eating. Its like I don't want to eat, just in case I spontaneously go into labor. If I do I have to, then I have to wait at least 6 hours before having a c-section. I know, its kind of weird, but I never claimed to be normal. Same thing with taking medication (like heartburn or allergy stuff). I end up suffering a bit because I'm afraid if I do take it, it will affect my hypothetical c-section in some way. I'm kind of over it, but kind of not, because its always in the back of my mind.

Well. that's pretty much it! I'm not planning on taking my computer with me to the hospital, because its giant, so my next post very well might be after we're settling in at home with the new kiddo!! Wish us luck!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Halloweenie, Creepy Skulls and other Miscellany...

It was brought to my attention that most people (I.E. especially Pat, his brother, and family) find my incredibly adorable Árbol de la Vida adorned with Calacas and other Calaveras very creepy. Here are the items in question....

*sigh* They are so uncultured.....

I found my post where I tried to explain the concept of the Mexican Art when I purchasedback in 2006 (Egads, have I been blogging for that long!??). Its a rather long post though....and I found a better summary on Mexconnect. It all goes back to pre-Hispanic times (i.e. indiginous peeps before the Spaniards came to rape our land) and the duality / balance / equilibrium present in that culture.

"The skeletons and skulls of Mexican folk art reflect the dualism fundmental to the pre-Hispanic world view. Without duality in all aspects of life, the universe loses its equilibrium. Animal and human forms; masculine and feminine energies - all are needed. Of all these balancing forces, perhaps none is more significant than that of life and death."

So really, one would fear skulls over babies (death and life) no more than a man over a woman (masculine and feminine energies). That wouldn't make any sense, because all these play equal parts in balacing of the universe. Make sense now?? I think our own fear and creep-outie-ness of skulls and items associated with death are ingrained from a long oppression instilled by our mainly Christian roots, taught to fear least that's how I feel about it.

And in understanding the roots of the art, I can appreciate the beauty! So its NOT creepy - its BEAUTIFUL!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hard to believe

Yet another year has flown by! It is so very humorous to me how much of my life is expressed in cliches now....but there is a reason :) Just because they are cheesey cliches like "I can't believe how big he is!" and "How did a year just fly by so quickly?" does not make them any less true. He's such a big boy!

Here he is just one year ago on big birthday Numero Uno :)

And, Sunday at his Birthday Party celebrating 2 great years on earth :)

A little less messy, but certainly not less adorable :)

We didn't want to have a party for him initially....but the best of my maternity induced guilt got to me, and I wanted him to have one last center of attention hurrah before his life is changed forever. We had a great time despite the craptastic weather, and I think he's pretty darn happy with the oodles of trucks and cars that now happily occupy his toy space :) Of course, we also let him open two small matchbox cars this morning (it is his actual birthday, after all) and after his nap he was devastated to remember that he lost the Birthday Orange Truck at playgroup today. Like the 50 other trucks and cars he had just gotten weren't nearly as good as the $0.76 one he lost. *sigh* Isn't that always the way??

I'm anticipating the arrival of baby number two to really send him into a tailspin, but I'm also hoping I'm terribly wrong and that he'll do just fine :) It will be interesting to see how it all pans out!

Happy Birthday Little Bear :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baby update :)

I had so many things to many insightful things....but I ALWAYS forget!


::::::::::: Baby Charlie :::::::::::

I have many friends in the Chicagoland area, many of whom have been popping out babies in assembly line fashion! Its been amazing to see the transition between one kid and two, and actually pretty empowering. Seeing all these women do it makes me feel less overwhelmed, and I know I can take it on....although, at the same time, its rather scary because *gulp* the next most pregnant person than I just had her kiddo on Sunday!

Welcome officially Baby Charlie (Charlize)!


I've actually avoided holding other newborns...mostly because I was kind of nervous. Nervous to actually HAVE one again! But, since I had a check up today right next door, and I wanted to sneak a peek at the hospital too, I thought I would drop by and say hello. Holding her was so very nice - so warm and snuggly. Yeah, I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to enjoy the newborn stage this time....keeping my fingers crossed!

::::::::::: Two weeks away :::::::::::

Or just over, anyway. October 2, 10:30AM. So far, so good. I had a 37 week check up today - everything is looking smashing! Even had a growth ultrasound to see how baby is growing. The estimate was 7 lbs 5 oz as of today. (However, the margin of error is 15%, which basically swings it a pound in either direction). So, if we take that estimate and figure an average 1/2 lb gain of baby per week, then we're looking at topping Liam's birth weight of 8 lbs 7 oz (or being pretty darn close). We'll see how close they are. Not that it matters much with this being a c-section and all. They also looked at a bunch of other stuff...amniotic fluid level looks great, blood flow looks great, heart looks great...etc. My Blood Pressure is steady and low....everything looks great!

I'm actually feeling well, too. Not sure if its a home stretch burst of energy or what, but I'll take it.

::::::::::: Adjusting to baby :::::::::::

Thankfully Liam has been exposed to a LOT of babies over the course of the past six months, due to my very fertile friends. This is good, but we also wanted to prepare him (or at least attempt to) by doing things at home. So we borrowed a baby doll from Larkin (Pat's niece) and have had it laying around the house since we've moved. We practice being gentle to it, and change its diaper, and give kissies and hugs at night. We've also set up the baby swings & bouncy seats and practice taking baby in and out.

He's a smart kiddo though - he knows the difference between a real baby and a toy, but I figured its good exposure if nothing else than to have all the baby crap all over the house. I have no idea if any of this is going to help the transition, but I figure it can't hurt.

The only negative (so far) thing happened today. I busted out all my wraps and slings, wrapped myself up and stuck the doll inside. I told Liam he couldn't climb all over me because I was snuggling the baby.....and he looked up at me with his big ol' sad eyes and said "All done snuggle baby?" and tried to take the baby out. I think I may have to come up with a different word than Snuggle when I'm holding the baby, because he definitely knows what snuggles are, and I don't want him to get too jealous when I'm snuggling the baby all day long. At least I'm assuming I'll be all wrapped up all the time. That's how it was with Liam....

::::::::::: Liam Time Outs :::::::::::

Little man had about a zillion time outs at playgroup today. He was putting sand in his hair over and over at the park, and dumping out all the goldfish crackers in the bowl. Not mind blowing stuff mind you, but things he knows better not to do. Yeah yeah, I know he's only two (almost!) but still....I think I have a pretty good idea of what instructions he's capable of following, and he just was adamant about not following them today. The saddest was when he was sitting on the bench begging me "all done time outs, mommy, all done". He was so cute.....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I'm kind of sort of freaking out about delivery of baby #2 - just over three weeks away now. Yes, I've had a c-section before, and everyone has said the 2nd, especially if its planned is a completely different, easier experience. Which is all good and well but I'm still freaking out about it all. And to be honest, I'm not sure that's the only thing I'm worried about. With the post-partum depression I had with Liam....I'm petrified to go through the whole ordeal again. I don't even think I bonded with him until after 6 weeks. I'm not looking forward to caring for a newborn again - and I'm doubly scared that Liam is going to hate my guts after we bring him/her home too.

I'm thankful that once again I'll have help here at the house for about a month after delivery (between my mom, dad & Pat's mom) I know at least Liam will be taken care of. I know we'll have meals because my mommy group friends will be bringing a couple by. I know that I'll have 1000 times better of a support system than when I had Liam because I've got a great network of friends that live relatively close.

I know all of these things. I want so very badly to let all this worry and "what ifs" go and not waste my energy on it, but its encompassing me!! Of course, this all might have something to do with the fact that I'm also not sleeping well at night and waking up at 5AM every morning (because that's as late as Liam will sleep). I also ache all over - am giant - and the biggest crabby pants on earth.


I wrote the above vent to some cyber friends earlier today, because I had been feeling so incredibly shitty as of late. I'm not sure why its always easier to spew feelings like this online, instead of calling a friend or talking to someone in person, but alas, its what I did, and maybe it will help foster conversation in the future. Its not like I can't talk about how I feel - its just that normally when I'm with my friends in person we're busy chasing after kiddos, and unless I can express myself in two succinct sentences my point isn't going to get across other than "I feel like Poo".

Not that its a bad thing - I actually think its hilarious. Our entire conversations are chopped up.....we could be mid point and then stop to shout "{insert kid name here} do NOT lick that pigeon!", then run off to prevent some sort of avian infection. Phone conversations are the same way. But I'm digressing.....

I thought about asking to meet up with people outside of playgroup, or even asking for someone to come and visit for a while so Liam could have someone to play with, but I feel like we're a bit isolated because of the distance between the 'burbs and the city. It is not insurmountable, mind you, but it does put a damper on things (especially when you want to do something in the afternoon, and don't want to fight all the crazies during rush hour traffic. Because that BLOWS chunks!).

I've tried to do some shopping therapy - because that's what I've turned to in the past when I'm feeling down....but that is tough to do on a restricted budget. Well, tough to do and avoid tremendous amounts of additional guilt. Luckily I've got a few gift cards up my sleeve, and buying mostly stuff for new baby which is checking stuff off of my list and helping to quell the nesting going on in my brain.

Shopping therapy never really gets to the root of the problem though. Its always just a temporary fix. So what is the root of the issue? I think it all boils down to the fact that I'm really, really pissed off that I can't seem to handle this all myself. I mean, I should be able to handle it all - I'm an adult dammit, but apparently I can't. Emotionally or physically, it seems. And it just makes me mad.

It didn't help today that my doctor's appointment didn't go all that well today either. Liam was a handful at the beginning....probably because he wasn't very happy about the 1.5 hour drive in (really it should take 40 minutes or so). But then he calmed down quite a bit. And physically I'm OK, and the baby is doing well. I was slightly worried that I had pre-eclampsia, mostly because I'm a hypochondriac but partly because I had a couple of bad headaches a couple days in a row. Turns out the BP is good to go - a steady 110/60. I also gained more weight this past two weeks than I had at any other appointment - 4 lbs - which explains why I feel so damn GIANT all of the sudden.....but I'm still in really good shape as far as weight gain goes (under 20 pounds as of today). But when the PA walks in and asks, "Honey, are you doing OK? you look slightly exhausted", that's never a good sign. You never want to look as bad as you feel. It was nice to let myself break down and cry for a while though.....

The fact of the matter is I'm tired, cranky, tired and achy, and although I muster up enough oomf to take care of Liam through the day, it doesn't leave much overflowing to take care of me. So I don't. Most of this stuff is popping up now because Pat has resumed somewhat of a more normal work schedule, meaning that he's gone most of the time instead of working from home more often....which has affected me more than I anticipated. That combined with Liam's obscenely early wake up call at 5AM, and poor sleep quality at night for me is apparently taking its toll.

So what to do? In the infamous words of Dory, "Just keep swimming....just keep swimming....just keep swimming swimming swimming". Through it all I'm going to keep monitoring things with my doctor, and make sure it is only exhaustion and it doesn't blow into a full depression before I even get to PPD...and keep reminding myself that its OK to ask for help.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

If you are a Tiger's Fan...

Then I'm sure you've heard about Ernie Harwell's cancer.

And maybe even about his decision to not proceed with any medical intervention.

When I first read about it, I felt a pang of sadness that he was sick...and then I thought to myself (and maybe even out lout to Pat) "For Pete's sake - he's NINETY-ONE!! He's going to go one way or another. I wouldn't go through with chemo or anything either!". After reading an additional article from MLive - he really does exude the peace that he has for this part of his life's journey. I hope I'm that open and wise when I reach his age.

It still doesn't take that pang of sadness away.

I realize many people look to him as a grandfather figure - someone who has been part of their lives for as long as they can remember. I don't necessarily have that kind of attachment to the man personally, but the memories his voice brings holds a special place in my heart. His voice was the the sound of summer.....interlaced in the soundtrack of my childhood. We would play outside, and Dad would have a radio on the workbench in the garage, which was inevitably tuned to Tiger Baseball.

Tiger Baseball. Memories of going to Tiger Stadium with my Dad, Grandpa** & family. Eating peanuts in the shell. Learning how to keep a scorecard. Relishing the sunshine. Hearing the crack of a wooden bat making contact with the ball. Trying to follow a homerun ball before it was lost in the sun or the stands. Watching a great double play unfold or seeing someone lay down a nice bunt. Strategy. Power. The Game.

Somewhere in those warm, fuzzy, happy memories, Ernie's voice will always be.

I wish him well.

**I'm sure there were always other family members with us at those games, but for some reason I associate the memory predominately with the Patriarchs of the family. Which is OK - its my memory, I can remember it how I'd like :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mas computer woes :(

I no haz internets!!

well, obviously, I do a little bit if I'm posting. Duh.

I only have it if I'm hard wired into the modem, or within three feet of the wireless router. Both of which are downstairs in the basement. Which I'm not keen on hanging out down there when I can't see or hear Liam very well in the playroom next to me.

So basically I have no Internet.

I spent about three and a half hours on the phone with technical support until they realized that yeah, something is wonky with my internal wireless modem thingy and it probably will have to be replaced. Lets hope its that easy! The down side is that once again I'll be without a computer for 7-10 business days after I send it out. That blows chunks. I think I probably will wait until next Monday to send it out, after I finish up some important business and finish editing some still pretty much blows chunks though.

:::::::::::::: this weekend ::::::::::::::

Was totally awesome! Had a last minute visit from Tia Karli and Papa (i.e. Karli & my dad), and it was a lovely weekend! We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Pat & I got to have a nice lunch with Karli and just chat about her upcoming transition to college-hood, and we played two nights of fun family games....Scrabble & Monopoly. It was really, really nice. I miss my family! I wish they were closer.....but alas, wishing does us no good.

We have another treat in store for us this week too, as Monster Jer, Aunt Joni and Jelly are coming to visit before Jelly (i.e. Janelle)'s departure for the UK for a semester. She's flying out of O'Hare, so they're driving from Metro Detroit on Wednesday to prepare for the flight on Thursday. I'm SOO very excited for her :)

:::::::::::::: this week in preggo news ::::::::::::::

I'm getting bigger (surprise) and my body feels like its perpetually in a medieval torture device grip. It is beginning to really feel REAL (as if it wasn't before!??) because people who weren't that much more pregnant that I am are now popping out their children. This is crazy. I'm trying not to dwell on it too much, but I'm scared out of my wits.....but that my friends, is another, lengthy I'm sure, post.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feeling blessed!

Its nice to be able to take a step back and really appreciate my life! Does that mean it is perfect? HEEEEELLLLLL NAW! But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate what I do have right at the moment. Today, it was a really, really nice day. Nothing in particular happened - In fact, it was rather ordinary. But a series of seemingly small things occured that really just made me feel blessed.

:::::::::::::::::: Little & Big Blessings ::::::::::::::::::
  • Liam slept in until 6:50AM! I acutally woke up myself at 6:44 slightly concerned. I was going to give him another 10 minutes, and if he didn't stir I was going to check in on him. Thankfully, I didn't need to :)
  • Liam and I had a nice, uneventful trip to the grocery store. We scored a cart with a car on the front (SWEEEET!) so Liam was happy playing while I took my time perusing through all the isle. And, a very nice cart boy helped me put the bags in the trunk. It was just, well, nice!
  • Minimal fighting at most all diaper changes!
  • Minimal resistance at ALL mealtimes
  • Pat cooked an amazing dinner - homemade spaghetti & meatballs, even the sauce from scratch!
  • We all ate the same meal, together, at dinner time! That was awesome!! Its been a string of separate meals for all of us lately, because we're too tired to cook something good, Liam typically wants to eat before we do (we're trying to change that though)....or even if we want to cook something good for us the refrigerator isn't stocked.
  • Kitchen clean up was minimal, and dare I say, Easy!
  • Only one time out for Liam today :)
  • I was able to read a couple of chapters of my book.
  • I took a two hour nap (when Liam did :) )
  • Liam and I stole a little walk outside before dinner and the storms began.
  • Bath time was nice and quiet.
  • Bed time was great (even though we read "Blankie" for the seventy-hundreth time today)
  • Pat & I snuggled on the couch and watched a DVD :) As much as I could snuggle anyway...I can only stay in one position for so long....
So that's really it. Just a really, really nice day. And, should I mention that my husband is looking particularly hunky today :) He's so handsome....just shaved his beard off yesterday and I had forgotten how delicious his skin is....don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the manly lumberjack beard. LOVE it. Loved it even more that he did it after I asked him to grow it. But change is nice sometimes.

So now, I sit. I'm uncomfortable. I'm giant. I ate too much. I'm kind of crabby...but still somehow feeling so very blessed.....and wouldn't change anything for the world :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

August Desktop :)

I'm excited to start using my monthly desktops again :) This time its another beautiful one from Shabby Princess using a kit called Giggle Box. You can find it ready to drop your photos in on the Shabby Princess Blog!


OK, maybe not. But I awoke this morning and left the house to go to playgroup only to find a bloody massacre in my driveway. Ew. Complete with bunny fluff, blood, and intestine strewn about. It was an awful scene. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but honestly, it was gross.

I did hear some rustling about outside near the garbage cans last night as I was making Pat's birthday cake...but I didn't dare look because A) I'm a giant wuss and B) I tend to make stuff up in my head when Pat's not around. In either case, I figured I couldn't do anything about it, so because it subsided quickly I just let it be.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the mess this morning was Chupacabra...which literally translated means "Goat Sucker". Its a Mexican monster that eats goats (and little kids who wander from the campsite, according to our uncles)....although I'm pretty sure there were no goats involved last night, what else could it possibly have been?

Do any of you, cyber readers, know of any kind of suburban carnivore that would kill a small/medium size (bunny sized maybe?) animal, chomp it to smithereens in the middle of a driveway, and leave nothing but a bloody puddle, a foot of intestine and a couple of poofs of fluff? Judging by the color of the fuzz, I'm guessing it was a bunny (what would that be doing out in the middle of the night??) or maybe an opposum? Are there coyotes in the 'burbs? How about giant owls (aren't they kind of a fast food nocturnal killer?). I'm just curious.....and hoping I don't see the bloodbath again any time soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Learning how to fly

Liam and I were walking around the neighborhood this evening when we saw the coolest thing :) A new bird taking it's first flight. Well, I'm not sure if it was it's first flight EVER, but that's what I'm calling it in my head. We stopped for a good two minutes (which in Liam minutes is about an hour) and just watched him in the tree, flitting about, looking so very relieved that it landed safely in a tree. You could still see a bit of baby bird fluff on its head and neck, and even a bit of uncertainty in its eyes, not sure exactly what is coming next, but excited... I couldn't believe that Liam was so interested - like he knew it was something cool and special.

OK, maybe I'm reading a bit too much into it all, but it certainly was neat-o.

And fitting - especially since I'm embarking on a new adventure as of this evening. Pat went on a business trip, and Liam and I are flying solo for a couple of days - first time in the new house! Not a big deal to most people, but kind of a big deal to me. I'm a wuss. I don't do well in new places. I don't like being alone. Typically when Pat leaves I stay up way way LATE (like 2AM) until I can't possibly keep my eyes open anymore, and only then can I sleep. That's OK for one night. Not for multiple nights. Definitely not OK for a 5:30-6AM toddler wake up call that Daddy takes care of 90% of the time. Yeah, I really don't like doing all the work myself. Especially when I'm knocked up, vulnerable and whiney.

I thought I might go camping while Pat was gone, but that didn't work out because my body does not cooperate with the un-cushy-ness of camp chairs, not to mention the 6 hour drive. Then I thought I might enlist my cousin and kiddo to come stay with us...but then I realized that request is a little ridiculous. Its like asking someone to babysit yourself (thanks A, for not saying so at the time). Alas, I am an adult, it is my home and I think I've been here long enough where I can handle it on my own.

I think.

*le sigh*

The hardest part of this process is admiting my co-dependancy. Aformentioned cousin A says its OK to rely on each other when you're in a marriage. I suppose she's right. It just takes some getting used to admiting it all...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Heartburn & the rest of my life

I'm instituting, effective immediately, a no eating policy after 8PM in efforts of minimizing my heartburn suffering. I'm already taking 2 Pepcid AC per day, sleeping on pillows and the like. The next step, if this doesn't work, will be changing my diet...but I really don't know how effective that will be given that anything and everything seems to make it flare up. I'd love to be able to sleep. 3 hours a night is NOT enough!

On the up side, my belly is getting bigger and cuter by the minute :) I haven't been good about snapping monthly shots like with Liam (hey, I've got a toddler to chase around!) but a friend did take this for me while we were at the Chicago Botanic Gardens this past weekend. I {heart} pretty flowers :)


:::::::::::: HOUSE UPDATE ::::::::::::

I feel like we are officially home. Liam and I have somewhat of a weekly routine, which feels nice! Most all boxes up here are unpacked, and those that are downstairs are probably going to be down there for good. The garage is nice and tidy, and can fit Liam's toys and both of our cars :) The parade of contractors has finally slowed down, as most major projects have either been completed or are damn near close and no longer interfere with daily life. I feel like we've moved from the unpacking & survival phase of moving on to the organization and optimization phase. After that is completed (hopefully by time Baby #2 makes his / her arrival) we shall move on to the decorating & beautifying phase, which will most likely continue through 2010. It feels good.

We've added bird feeders to the backyard. I've never been so excited for something so small! We've got a couple pairs of adorable goldfinches that visit (they make me happy because they eat upside down...and they are yellow!), and we added another feeder hoping to attract a beautiful cardinal that visits our trees quite regularly....but he hasn't gotten close yet. We have gotten some chickadees and brown finches with red heads, though. They're noisy and cute and I love them!

:::::::::::: LIAM UPDATE ::::::::::::

Liam seems to be settled in and liking his new digs as well. We play in the backyard all the time, and he loves pushing his car and lawnmower around in the driveway (usually while I'm drawing with sidewalk chalk). I think the cutest part is when he we go in for the evening, he pushes and parks his car in the garage and tells it "night night". He's also getting much better at putting his toys away before bedtime...which is very nice :)

Here's a lawnmowing shot :)

Oh, the new funny expression for him is "DOH!" whenever he drops something. Guess where he got that from (hint: not me). I also taught him to come running to me for a kiss whenever he gets an owie (hey, I needed more excuses to give him smootchies!). He's still loving books and reading, and trains and cars too. We're also taking a gymnastics class (have I mentioned that before? Not sure...). This class has been great not just as an energy expunger, but also at teaching him how to follow directions and wait his turn...two things he's not very good at yet, but is really starting to grasp the concept of simply because of the class. And he looks so cute running around in short shorts and swinging on the bars :)


I hope we can continue some form of this type of class after this one ends...but it won't be with Chicago Park District (since we're no longer residents....bastards!).

His vocabulary and sentence building skills are EXPLODING too! Tonight even, he said "Nigh nigh mom-meee"(Night Night Mommy) as I left his room (and also nigh nigh da-dee - as Pat just told me). Other new expressions are "Ah no hon-kneee" (I know Honey) and "*insert color here* car" - oh yeah, his colors are rockin' the house. Buu, Wred, yeh-yow, oornge, reen, white, blak, pur-poh, pink. Pat says he's a little Minah Bird....basically repeating everything we say (usually when we don't expect it!).

With the good comes the bad...tantrums are starting as well. We've tried a couple different methods of discipline, but alas, it seems that time-outs are most effective. Why is it that the things you say are dumb and that you're never going to do always end up in your life anyway?? I didn't think we were time out people...but it seems to work.

Aside from the tantrums and general pain in the ass-yness, I'm totally loving this stage of his development!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Critter update

We're not worried at the moment about the raccoons or the chipmunks.....but we did need to take care of the skunk. So we called a couple wildlife control services and decided to go with Smithereen - and not just because they had the coolest name. They weren't the least expensive (although all the quotes were in the same general ball park), but the guy (Dave) was prompt in his return phone calls, very informative and patient with all my questions...and just seemed plain nice.

He arrived this morning and set the traps next to our perpatrator's lair, baited them with marshmallows (heh. Who knew skunks like marshmallows???) and left us with instructions on what to expect and to call if we see the skunk in the trap in the next day or two. The traps are set in a way to only capture the skunk that is living under your stoop, not any random neighborhood skunk.

I heard a little bit of rustling shortly after dark (as did Thalia...she crept to the front door to investigate...which I promptly closed before she could get too close, even though the traps and stoop are way below kitty viewing from the front door). Pat just checked and shined the flashlight through the front windows, and sure enough, there's a cute little black and white dude trying to get out of his steel coffin.


I'm happy he won't be a nuisance to us anymore, but I'm pretty sad they will have to kill him. State law I think. I realize there are no shortage of skunks...He just looks so little, like he's still just a baby :( Pat thinks its an adult though. Even Dave the Smithereen Guy said they're harmless little buggers, especially once they get un-stinky. I'd kind of like to snuggle him. The skunk...not Dave. Is that weird?

Smithereen will come to collect him tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure they keep the traps for a few additional days to make sure there aren't any more taking residence in the same lair. I've got my fingers crossed that its just one, and not a family. I'd really be sad about killing baby animals. Last year a co-worker had to deal with a mama skunk and 5 babies, and it wasn't fun....then they give us tips on how to Skunk proof the porch, so no one else moves in.

One more thing crossed off the list!!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Frustration and crazy emotions

I'm not adjusting to life in the suburbs well - and I'm not exactly sure why. The reason changes on a regular it was because it is too damn quiet here. And I'm pretty sure Liam is totally mad at us for moving. Pat thinks he's been out of sorts and crabby because he's finishing cutting those 2nd molars, but I know better than that.

Liam is sleeping pretty regularly at night and naptime, which is fantastic, but throughout the day he's just cranky, sometimes wanders around like he's lost, and has been THE brattiest boy - pushing limits and testing us like mad. OK, I suppose these all could be just normal developmental terrible two stuffs, but I'm convinced he hates our home.

Back to me though....I'm just feeling a little lonesome and sad and just in general having trouble. Our condo was such a social place - even just taking a breather outside you got to talk to people on a regular basis. Here....not so much. Our neighbors on both sides seem pretty nice, but they don't hang outside....and even if you say hello its not the same going through a 6 foot wood fence.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving our home. I love the space, I love having room for visitors, I love the convenience of having a driveway and a grill and no rules but our own.....but the projects are starting to wear on me (the electrical work is not done yet due to some inspection issues from the village), and it feels like we're bleeding cash (hey, at least we're doing our best to stimulate the economy), and everything isn't it its place. Oh yeah, and I perpetually have dirty feet. Its kind of gross. We just can't seem to clean enough. I think until we can scrub the basement free of the 50 year dust that is harboring there, I don't think our feet will be clean.

I know everything will work itself out eventually....but eventually can't come soon enough.

Settling in....

We've cleared through most of the boxes on our main living area....I'm still avoiding the basement and garage as much as possible because of the chaos that is still residing there....but it feels good to have a semi normal living space. We're working through it. Pat is / has been a major trooper working his butt off nearly every day tackling small and large projects. I feel so lucky to have him, yet so helpless while he's doing them.

We're also discovering the joys of living in a home that has a rather neglected yard. Not sure how long its been overgrowing (one year? two years? More??), but it has certainly attracted some attention of the pesky variety. We have a cute little bunny, or maybe more than one, that hangs out in the mornings in our backyard. He's kind of precious. There's actually quite a plethora of bunnies in the neighborhood. And they are all named Mr. Bun Bun.

There may or may not be some kind of chipmunk type thing living in the garage.....

Then there's the skunk. We discovered him a couple of days ago...and not by sight. Thankfully I couldn't smell much, but Pat was pretty sure he sprayed near the A/C which distributed the smell evenly throughout our abode. Yesterday I came home from Target to a husband sitting on the couch, swearing he was going to bring the American Flag inside, but decided against it when he saw a certain white striped critter scurry across our front porch path and beneath the bonzai bushes. Later he noted a nice hole under the concrete, and we've come to the conclusion that our stinky friend most likely resides there.

Last but not least, tonight a family of raccoons made their appearance in our backyard, shortly after we had come in for the night. It was a mama and two kiddos - so cute (until they claw your face off and give you rabies - as Pat noted). They traipsed from the overgrown bushes on the side of the garage, over to the tree in the middle of the yard, and then sashayed to the rear of the yard.... Not sure if they are visitors or permanent.

I've contacted a couple of pest control places (one of which is Smithereen - quite possibly the coolest named pest control business of all time) to get an inspection to see who else is living in our lot besides the O'Brien family, and what is the best way to take care of them. I told Pat I don't want to know about any killing of anything, because my little heart just can't handle that. I know that there are humane trapping type programs, but I'm not sure how effective or expensive that is. We shall see. I'd much rather think they'll be caught and removed from our place and find new homes in the forest.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Girls and boys days

Long before we had actually planned to take over the NW Indiana O'Brien's home due to our relocation, we had planned to have a family gathering. The boys were going to go to a Tiger's Game (vs. the Sox), and the girls were going to go American Girl Place to celebrate Larkin's 5th birthday with a special birthday lunch. Liam and I decided to go with the girls, and we had a fabulous time. Much more fabulous, in fact, than the 3 hour rain delay that the boys got to experience....even though they did score Curtis Granderson autographs on thier hats :)

The whole American Girl thing is very foriegn to me, so I thought it would be fun to go and experience it first hand. Its pretty much all about celebrating being a girl and all the things that go along with it it....oh yeah, and buying crazy expensive dolls and crazy expensive accessories :)

During the lunch, Liam and I were able to score a "loaner" doll, so we didn't have to sit alone. Luckily I found a cute little boy, so Liam wouldn't feel too overwhelmed by all the chicks. He was so cute with the doll. He gave him high fives, was playing with his nose, eyes and hair, and the cutest of all, feeding it with the cute little cup and saucer :)

Even though Liam didn't nap more than 30 minutes all day - he was a champ!! Even when he spilled chocolate milk all over himself :) It was a fun day!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New House visit :)

I spent some time this morning visiting our soon to be new house. Had to meet up with a couple of contractors to arrange work to be done after we close on the 17th. Also did a few measurements in the kitchen because I think we're going to put a few cabinets in. It was really exciting pulling up and seeing the "Sold!" sign out front :)

I was also surprised with how comfortable I was in the house by myself. In general, and especially in new places, I'm a bit skittish and weary when I'm alone....Jumping at all sorts of noises and such. But not today. It felt very good and natural, which is a good sign I think.

Its been a rough day - Friday I was out of commission most of the day due to a strange stomach issue. It must have been something I ate at The Melting Pot on Thursday night - it just did not sit well at all. I hurled a couple times last night, and spent most of the night awake on the couch trying not to yak. FYI - dry heaving while pregnant is not fun - I have no ab muscle at all and I am SORE as all heck today...all around my core. I'm starting to feel better though - thanks to Pat taking good care of me with Gatorade, pretzels and toast & jam. He's been awesome, especially considering that he's done about 90% of the packing while I've been chained to the bed. I did improve enough to finish packing Liam's room tonight though.

We've got the bathroom to pack, a wee little bit of bedrooms and the rest of the kitchen to finish out tomorrow, and then we'll be pretty much all boxed up. I think the kitchen we might wait til' Monday to finish up...its pretty tough to live without eating.

That's all for tonight - have a good evening and GO WINGS!!!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

/ freak out

I tried to take a nap but failed because my mind was a-racin'. I vented to Pat about freaking out, then cried a little bit, then felt better. As long as lists are made and things keep getting checked off, I suppose we'll be chugging along...and hopefully its all done by Tuesday.

side note: I just fixed my ef key which was stuck and annoying the shit out of me - cat hair and crumbs were the culprits. Ew! /side note

Now to completely change the subject....I'm rather enjoying my life despite all the chaos right now. I think the majority of that is due to my partner in crime - Pat. We had kind of a deep conversation on the drive home from Michigan...or rather, I had a deep conversation and he nodded and said "Uh huh" a lot :) He admits he doesn't contemplate the hows and whys of life, but chooses to enjoy and be content with things as they are in the moment...which is probably why I love him so much since I tend to spend a lot of my time worrying about future events or disecting and analyzing past events. He really complements me well.

The jist of our semi-deep conversation was Fate & Destiny vs. Chance and the effect on the birth of our relationship. Basically, I feel like we were destined to be together...but Pat doesn't really believe in destiny. He questioned why, if it was fate, did we have to go through our respective divorces instead of just meeting and dating while students at U of M. I explained that I thought it was all part of the "Big Plan" - we had to go through what we went through in order to appreciate and treasure what we have currently. It was just awful enough to make us hurt, but not so much as to ruin us.

But there are other reasons, too. We're just so good together. He resists me just enough so I know I can't boss him around (even though I try to anyway). He's the very Zen to my high strung-ness, he's logic to my passion, the reserve to my extravertivity (hey, if physicality is a word, so is extravertivity). The ying to my yang, if you will. Balance.

But we're not opposites in all aspects. He's grounded in God, family, religion and just the general belief of being a good person. We have plenty of varied interests, but enough overlap to enjoy together. Similarly with style and tastes. He dislikes onions. He's oh so affectionate and snuggly, warm, and smells good. *sigh* And just plain dreamy. Our physical chemistry is off the charts (desitny?? Hmmm....)...even with the changes brought upon by kids and the comfort of daily life.

He is my Rock.

So in the midst of this storm, the chaos of moving and temporary living, the crazy ups and downs of pregnancy hormones, the coming and going of patience with Liam...I know I'll get through it all as long as he's next to me. I love you, Pat...thanks for being mine :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kind of freaking out...

Just got word from the lawyer that the official closing date is June 10.

That leaves us less than 10 days to pack up our lives and prepare for 10 days of limbo. Egads.

I don't think its really hit me that we're moving until just this very second. I think I need to take a nap....maybe when I wake up I'll have a grip on reality.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photos from our Day in the City

Here are a couple of pics from the train ride. Liam was pretty pumped. He loves trains, and he likes to watch people - so it was right up his alley :) We don't actually take the train very often...buses are more convenient.

And then a couple of pics snapped on the boat tour. First, the newest addition to Chicago's Skyline - the Trump Tower.

And, the most famous - The Sears Tower.

A Grand City Weekend

I keep putting off posting, with grand hopes of uploading / processing my photos to include in the posts....but then I just get lazy and end up not posting at all.

So, I figured I should record the weekend's events, then add photos later. Maybe.

We had a great weekend - one of our last ones in the city - so we decided it would be great to be tourists in our own city. Friday, we spent the morning at Shedd visiting the new, re-imagined Oceanarium. It was actually quite lovely - a bit crowded and hectic, but overall a great visit.

Saturday we didn't do much as a family, because I had a birthday party to photograph downtown - but it was a lovely day to spend celebrating!

Sunday was sunny, but chilly and windy......we took a train ride downtown and took an architectural cruise on the Chicago River (Shoreline Cruises - check them out!). It was a pretty awesome 60 minute tour, even with a squirmy wormy toddler, Pat & I both enjoyed ourselves. Then, a quick lunch on Navy Pier and we jumped on the train back north.

That is definitely one of the things I'm going to miss - access to amazing public transportation. The EL is not right outside our door (like it was when Pat lived in the Gold Coast), but its a nice, easy stroll, and such a very nice way to see the city (at least the elevated portions of the Red Line, anyway). I love passing through the neighborhoods and seeing all the decks and brick buildings.....and especially passing Wrigley Field. Just a cool place to live, you know? I'm thankful for the time I've lived here...but I know that its time to move on. I'm ready to head back to the 'burb living. Its just more my gig anyway.

But I digress....

Today was a leisurely day as well, the local cemetery - Rosehill Cemetery - has a Memorial service & Parade every year. Being that its only a block away, we decided to actually make it to the parade and service this year instead of just walking through the Isle of Flags later in the day (as we have the two years previous). Its a beautiful sight, actually. Flags that have graced the coffins of local veterans line the pathways along the cemetery's entrance (donated by friends and family). Even before I knew the flags' origins, I thought it was beautiful. We made it partway through the ceremony (we missed Abe Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the Civil War re-enactment) and headed home with an incredibly tired Liam. I've also been admiring our neighborhood a lot lately as we walk through. Very nostalgic, I've become. I'll miss the old buildings, the old old trees.....

Then I spent the afternoon babysitting a sweet little girl, and now I'm home. I can't seem to shake these damn headaches - I'm sure they're just allergy related, but they are annoying just the same.

Tomorrow is our home inspection on the new joint. Thanks to Gayle for the recommendation on inspectors! Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shedd Aquarium Polar Play Zone slide

A heck of a lot better than the photos Pat took of Liam on the slide :) Isn't he the cutest little penguin ever?!?!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

OK - don't get too excited.

You know, that's pretty much impossible for me. I'm pretty much an all or nothing kinda gal. Which comes in handy in a LOT of situations - graduating college, for instance. I made up my mind what I wanted to do in 10th grade, and didn't stop until I had it done. Or when I decided I wanted to live & work in Mexico at some point. It took 6 years to finagle it, but I did it!

So we found a house we like, that is just slightly out of our price range. I really really like it. Maybe not love it, but really like it. I like it the most out of all the other ones we've seen. So how the heck am I not supposed to get excited about it? Yes, I realize there's a chance we may not be able to get it.....but still. Really? Not excited? Not crushed if it doesn't work out? Nope. That is not a skill I have in my repertoire.

We put an offer in tomorrow - then we wait for the rejection or negotiation. Keep your prayers coming in, and fingers and toes crossed....and lets hang on for the ride!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

House Hunting - Round 3

So here's how it works. We pick a city we think might work for us. We scope out a zillion 20 listings online and narrow that down to 20 or so. Then we go drive around the neighborhoods and slash those by 50% based on neighborhood / potential, etc. Then we visit those, and well, maybe 1 or 2 will be prospective homes for the O'Brien Family.

So, like the Lotto, the chances of hitting the home jackpot are pretty slim. Its a matter of finding, I think, the right combination of things in a couple of top pickings, and then figuring out which features we want over need.

We've hit Evanston (totally disappointing...can't afford jack shit there), and Skokie (we like the area since its so close to the city, but most of the homes are pretty small and old and need lots of work). Yesterday Special Agent Adrian and I hit Niles & Morton Grove. Better visits than the past two times we've been out (even though people were home during our is that all about...I don't want you there while I'm looking in your closets people. GET OUT!) although those 'burbs are further away from the city than I'd like.

We've got one or two houses in Skokie we like - there were three I saw yesterday that Pat needs to see tomorrow - so we're making progress. I just wish it was going more quickly. Having a toddler definitely cramps my house hunting style. Liam has about a two stop limit on any car trip, then he gets crabby and antsy. I think for the future, we'll have to ship Liam off to someone to watch while we go look together. That is better than adding two days onto our searching every time one of us goes out. Its just another pain in the ass to add to the process.

So where do we stand now? Well, as far as we know, our new prospective owners still want to close on this joint on June 10, which is only a few short weeks away. It looks like then we'll have to move our stuff into storage, and then live either with family nearby for a week or so, or if its longer then find a temporary furnished condo. Luckily, there are quite a few options as far as that goes - people going on sabbatical or traveling for the summer.

The uncertainty is the only thing that is killing me right now....I'm slowly but surely learning to deal with it though. Actually, typing it all out makes it sound like less of a big deal than I've made it in my head, so that's a good thing.

Next stop looks like Park Ridge....I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Light speed ahead...

We received an offer on our condo the early days of May, and after a day or two of arguing and negotiating, we had a signed contract in the bag. Since then we've been incredibly busy, working out details with lawyers, agents, inspectors and the like. Oh, yes, and not to mention trying to find a home where we can move in about a month. EGADS!

The process has been exciting, but incredibly stressful. Mostly because in my pregnant state I'm pretty much wound up as a baseline, and get easily overwhelmed and very irritated in any kind of pressured state. Thankfully, my wonderful agent and amazing husband have been all kinds of patient and supporting, especially given all the abuse I've doled out (and have yet to dole) their way. We'll find the right place soon enough...I do have faith.

::::::::::::::MOTHER'S DAY::::::::::::::

We had a splendid mother's day. My official gift was my new car that I got a few weeks ago. The day of, I was treated to a sleeping in day (ooohhH! until 8AM! AWESOME) then I treated myself to a pedicure with some fabulous gals (WHOO HOO Meredith & Adrian!), then headed off to a swank lunch at Texas de Brazil with the family and Mike & Kristen & troupe. Then spent the afternoon chillin in the car scoping out new neighborhoods and places to live. It really was a great day. And I'm reminded that it doesn't matter where we live, actually. Only that we're all together.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


That's pretty much what I feel like today. A big, giant, flesh eating zombie. OK, minus the flesh eating part. I didn't sleep well last night (as I haven't the past few months or so) and I'm paying for it today. It was a combination of not being able to fall asleep until 1:30AM, and then waking up at 4:30 and not being able to fall back asleep. *sigh* it really blows. I'm going to do my best to contain my thoughts in an easily followable train of thought, but I really am in no position to make guarantees.

I'm a lucky girl - Liam has been quite content to play with himself & his cars this morning, so I've had minimal entertaining other than providing breakfast. He also hasn't complained too much about my musical choice (Jack Johnson on shuffle) so I've got that going for me. I've also had a semi productive morning thus far - I've placed two orders, one for Origins skin care and another for some computer stuff (Wacom Tablet, YAY!). I also somehow already managed to shower myself, dress, make coffee and eat, too.

< Rant > When I lost my job I decided I wasn't going splurge and purchase expensive skin care. Since then my skin has gone haywire. I realize part of that is being pregnant, but really, I enjoyed my products and felt good when I used them. So I decided I'm worth at least that. It might be $75 two or three times a year, but I'll scrimp and save to make it work. Because the $5 Oil of Olay stuff just isn't doing it for me. I cringe every time I put it on my face. And it doesn't smell pretty. < /end rant >

Can you believe its been about a year, to the day, since I was relieved from my corporate duties? Wow. That blows my mind. One year without having a real job. One year without having a car. I'm continuing to look, but to be honest there still isn't much out there. And I'm really enjoying (most days) taking care of Liam. Especially when we go to the park and see Nannies for the most part ignoring the kids and talking on the phone or texting. It's been a good year - we're still holding our own financially (thanks in part to Uncle Sam and Mr. Unemployment), but that will all end in another it will be another interesting transition - one that I have no doubt that we'll conquer, even with adding another mouth to feed. I'm planning on ramping up the photography business, which has been holding its own without much tending over the past few months. So I feel safe.

I spoke too soon....Liam is demanding attention. Doesn't he know that I'm BUSY!??! The nerve of that child! *sigh* Whew - he's off to play in his fort. This is my other issue. I'm very short tempered and not able to dedicate much to anyone these days, especially Pat & Liam.....which is sad. It is improving since the first trimester has passed. I feel better for the most part, and I'm able to eat most things which is giving me a bit of energy. I'm still so tired constantly. And unable to deal with the easiest of tasks. Its frustrating!!! I'm not sure if the craziness and moodiness will pass as the nausea did (my bet is no) but hopefully Pat can continue to put up with it for 6 months. He's been amazing thus far, and surprised me with his patience and support.

The whole home selling thing isn't helping much either. I feel like I'm living in someone else's house, and its getting old pretty quick. I think we've been back on the market for about two months now. Still getting a pretty consistent flow of people, good feedback. I know there is someone out there....I'm just impatient and impetuous about it all (which, btw, isn't a correct use of that word, but I like the way it sounds so I'm keeping it in there).

OK. I suppose I've ignored my child long enough. It looks like it might be nice enough to go out for a walk, so I think we soon as I finish this coffee.