28 January 2012

An Eventful 24 Hours

You know that feeling you get when you realize that you narrowly missed a very threatening situation? On one hand, you're really thankful that God was watching out for you and nothing did happen, but at the same time, it turns your stomach thinking about how close you came? Well, after my wonderful near-encounter yesterday, I made some phone calls to try to make sure that nothing similar is ever in danger of happening again. I'll let the transcription of my conversation with the new girl at the apartment complex do the explaining:
Me: "Is it possible that when [the pest control company] comes out to spray that they not be allowed in my apartment unless I answer the door? I'll then take it upon myself to reschedule if we miss a visit."
New Girl: "Do you have any pets?"
[Confused] "Yeah, two cats."
"Okay, I'll put you down for a service call. They should be here - "
"No, I don't want them to come out; I want to know if when they do come out, if they not be allowed in my apartment unless I am home."
"Yes, if you aren't home, they can go inside."
"I understand that. I want to know if it is possible that they not be allowed inside unless I answer the door."
[Silence]
"They came out yesterday while I was in the shower. Thankfully, nothing happened, but I have a baby and when I got out, she was hungry and I quick made her a bottle. It was very close to being a very bad situation."
"Oh, yes, I understand. I will make a note here in your file in big letters."

Yeah. I realized they had stopped by when I noticed the "Your home has been serviced" notecard on the counter. At first I was really confused because I hadn't left the apartment all day - not even to get the mail. Then it dawned on me - that was a knock I heard on the front door when I was in the shower. When I got out, I had a hungry crying baby. I wasn't gallivanting around my apartment naked, but I wasn't wearing...much...too little to be greeting male pest control technicians. Even if I had heard someone rummaging about the kitchen, I would have assumed it was Matt home early from class.

It could have been very, very bad. And to make matter worse, we've only ever had to same two service technicians, which means I would have had to face them again the next time they came out to spray for roaches. My stomach turns just thinking about how close I was to...oi.

As for our big-lettered note, considering the fact that last time Matt went down to the office to complain about something, our file said Jack and Christine lived here, I seriously doubt it will make a difference.

Oi.

Thankfully the day took a turn for the better when Matt and I finally went out on our first date since having a baby. Our rock climbing/biking date was postponed until February, but we did arrange with one of Matt's friends from school to babysit Abigail while we went to our church's sock hop. We decided to dress a little more Grace Kelly and a little less Grease Lightening,  so I wore a tea-length yellow and grey a-line skirt with a white 3/4 sleeve shirt that mimicked a button up. I wore pearls, a short yellow scarf, and did my hair up with four victory rolls (I haven't had that much hairspray in my hair since we got married). Matt opted for a white dress shirt with the cuffs rolled up, black dress pants, suspenders, and a yellow pocket square. He parted his hair to the side and combed it over, going heavy on the pomade for extra shine. I personally thought we were a picture-perfect 1950s couple.


We were the youngest ones at the dance by about a generation and a half (not counting the dancers that the church hired/asked to volunteer to perform the world's most limp and passion-less swing that has ever been danced). The event itself left quite a bit to be desired and was followed by a trip to the local Steak n' Shake with a waitress so bad we left no tip, but looking back on the evening, Matt and I both admittedly had fun. It was really hard being away from Abigail for the first time (not counting her time in the NICU during birth or PTCU for surgery, which don't really count since we were still always in the same building with her), but at least we took the first baby step. We're hoping to go out on a date by ourselves once a month for the rest of law school, one step at a time.

The third and final event of the past 24 hours was my dramatic insight into the solution to all my problems. Well, almost all of them. Anyway, for about the last two weeks, I have been incredibly unproductive. No matter how great of a to-do list I have, whatever doesn't get accomplished by 2pm or doesn't absolutely have to be done that day doesn't get done. No dishes, no laundry, sometimes no making dinner. I was getting really frustrated with myself, wondering where my discipline went, but today during my shower (my goodness a lot happens to me in that bathroom), I realized why: Abigail.

You see, last week Abigail was experiencing some pretty bad teething pain that disrupted her sleep schedule and left her cranky during the day, which is obviously draining on a parent's energy. But after the teething pain left, the messy sleep schedule and irritability stayed, so much so that the only way I could tell there was no teething pain was that the Orajel stopped giving us some temporary relief. When I finally realized that the irritability was due to hunger, I recognized a growth spurt. Whenever Abigail has one, she eats a lot and becomes a "power napper," dozing off for 20-40 minutes at a time every 1-2 hours. But she doesn't get enough sleep during those power naps, setting her up with a short patience-level during the day. There is no getting anything done with Little Baby Beanstalk, as by the time I feed her, change her, and do maybe a half an hour's worth of therapy or play time, she's tired again, but 20-40 minutes is barely enough time to get the dishes done (which I don't usually feel like doing since I just spent the last few hours taking care of a grouchy baby), so nothing gets done, then when she goes to bed for the night, I'm too drained to do anything.

So yes. I need to plan on not accomplishing anything during Growth Spurt Week. My kitchen will be a mess and I will wear sweatpants. We will have pancakes and spaghetti for dinner and I will not do my make up for so long that I will forget how. I will make sure to take some mommy-time and go to bed early once a week. And Daddy will be warned to steer clear of Mommy for a while, or not to take offense when she freaks out that he left the light in the living room on again.

Easier said than done, but that doesn't mean I won't try.

I am going to end this post now, as I have spent far too many interrupted hours trying to get it completed. Sorry for the typos, I'll try to log on later tonight and edit.

PS. What do I love about right now? Kitty #2 is chasing a carpet sprig around the lanai. So cute!

25 January 2012

Someday, Love

Will find you. Or so Journey would like you to believe. My husband received a Journey's greatest hits album for Christmas and he hasn't stopped listening to it since. Except when he listens to Garth Brooks. Who hasn't produced a new song since before I was in high school.

But I digress. Anyway, after a two week hiatus of sore throats and hacking coughs, I jumped back on the physical therapy bandwagon and in the last week Little Baby Move N' Groove suddenly discovered how to pivot, sit up, scoot backward, and roll from front to back.

She turned to the right. Her right. That's right. When Baby gets the hang of things, she likes to go big. I can spend weeks working with her and she doesn't show any sign of getting it, but then suddenly - bam! - she's moving around like it was her idea. Days like today give me hope that even though she'll be late walking and talking, she will. Someday, Love.

In addition to her new moving skills, she's also discovered that she can influence people around her. She reaches out for things she wants (or things that are within reach of her grabby hands),


and she lets out "squawk"s when she's supposed to be napping. She just utters one, then waits. Waits to see if someone will come. If no one does, she'll usually give you a second chance, but if she's really irritable, a squawk will be quickly followed by a full-out yell. I hate it when people tell me that kids with Down syndrome are always happy and content. Like your entire disposition is regulated to your 21st chromosome and having three causes a cancellation of the negative emotions. I feel like it denies her her personality, her spirit, her humanity. So yeah, we're happy, we're grouchy, we human. And don't tell us our chromosome quantity affects that.

It's probably no surprise to anyone reading this that my husband and I are pretty conservative (he attends Ave Maria School of Law after all), so when Newt Gingrich came to Naples to give a talk, we decided to attend. We've already made up our minds to vote Ron Paul, but we figured it might be kind of fun to attend anyway. There was a pretty good turnout of supporters plus a few trolls to jazz things up. In typical Matt fashion, he attempted to engage them in discussion, but was mostly ignored. I felt bad for him that his desire to argue, to win, to conquer couldn't be filled. One day he will be a big shot. He is too smart not to be amazing at whatever he does. Class rankings just came out, so I have the paper to prove it. Someday, Love.

Abigail, being the people-baby that she is, enjoyed watching the crowds. Newt was running 30 minutes behind three times and five minutes late three times. The crowd-pep-talkers couldn't decided if he got stuck in traffic or was still visiting the crowds in Fort Myers, so they alternated proposing the various theories, not seeming to realize that an excuse had already been offered.



Abigail and I held hands so we wouldn't get separated ; )


Daddy tried to get some studying done while we waited.

Holding my camera up, no zoom. In the meantime, we booed the 99%-ers as they walked by with their signs. They were poor sports about it. (What were they expecting at a Republican rally?) We also booed the pro-Obama-its when they walked by, but they handled it much better, to their credit. When Newt finally showed up, he rallied the troops with lots of cheap shots at Obama and promises of fewer regulations, but it was a lot of fun, crowds of people cheering over common beliefs.

Holding my camera up with a zoom. As we were leaving, Newt's bus pulled up along side us at a stoplight. We turned left and he went straight. And thus we settled back into our usual routine.



Conquering the world? Someday, Love.

22 January 2012

A Good Way to Spend the Weekend

I spent the weekend careening wildly from all-play to all-work. Saturday involved lots of time in our pajamas, youtubed tv shows, and reading of low-brow fantasy literature (can I blame book club for getting me addicted?), whereas Sunday I cleaned the kitchen, got all caught up on my design work, and did tons of physical therapy with Abigail. Matt followed the trail Abigail and I blazed by declaring Saturday "family day" (a nice way to put "lazy day") and reading his tail off on Sunday to get ready for class on Monday.

Thankfully, I think we got it all out of our system and plan to begin Monday having found our middle and plugging away with a healthy balance between shampooing the carpets and eating an entire box of Junior Mints in one sitting.

In the meantime, I finally got around to scanning the photos from the Sears photoshoot we went to right before Christmas. We had a coupon for a free sitting plus $30 in free prints. The experience was less than ideal (I now understand why Sears is facing bankruptcy), but at least we got some cute pics out of it.

21 January 2012

How Not to Spend your Friday Night

So last night I made a series of bad decisions and this morning I feel like I have a hangover. Note how many of these directly contradict the PPD advice I got from my doctor.

How NOT to spend your Friday night:
1. Staying up until after midnight watching old TV shows online, then spiraling down the Internet Hole of Doom checking Facebook, other people's blogs, et cetera. Morning Baby waits for no mommy.

2. Eating three servings of Moo Shu Pork and about 6 crab cheese rangoons. Then going back later for a midnight snack.

3. Ignoring the ever-growing pile of dishes. About the only thing worse than doing dishes on a Friday night is doing them on a Saturday morning when the weather is gorgeous.

Plans for today include some chores, a long walk with baby, a 10pm bedtime, and at all costs: avoiding leftover Chinese food.

Some days I feel like hiding in a sink too

18 January 2012

Final Semester Immersion Adjustments

Life on the baby front has been surprisingly easy considering. Abigail caught my cold, but has been plugging along like a true trooper with no change in temperament, only congestion. She's also going through a growth spurt, which means eating constantly, and a resurgence in teething pain has us breaking out the baby Orajel. But after a quick application, Abigail has been falling asleep faster and easier. Baby girl hit the 8-month mark today, and I seriously feel like she was just born a few weeks ago.

Ahh, Christmas break, when the hubby can help out with the baby.

Look at those cheeks! Her slouchy-sit makes them look particularly chubby. My two week long sore throat meant that I spent two weeks slacking on the therapy front. I have noticed her progress stalling, particularly in the sitting-up department, so I've got my work cut out for me. Better late than never, I suppose. Anyway, a recent cold spell has us bundled up in sweaters.

This sweater retails for $50 from OshGosh, but my mad bargain hunting skills found it for $11.
The kitties are enjoying the nice weather as it means we leave the glass sliders to the lanai open all day.


Once a law student begins re-immersion into the semester, he finds himself with more free time than he does at the middle of the semester, but not as much as he had during break. For the law school wife, this means that her hubby is gone more during the day, is busy during the evenings, but can still pitch in every now and again to unload the dishwasher or feed the baby. My favorite part about Matt being back in class is that if Abigail feels like getting up at 6:30am, he'll get up with her, plop her down on the tummy time mat with these special hip-flexor shorts she supposed to wear while tummy timing for 30 mins a day (cause baby's always a happy girl in the morning), and read for class while I sleep. It is truly wonderful.

We've been giving a little thought to life after graduation, which is never an exciting process. If Matt doesn't have a job offer, we plan to move back home to Michigan, where Matt will take a bar-prep course for the July 2012 bar. What we don't know is how we'll get there (PODS? U-Haul?) or where we'll live. Matt plans to get a job after he takes the bar if he doesn't already have one, as we do need some source of income, while we wait until about September for the bar results. I will still be able to do some design work for my Florida clients while we are in Michigan, but I don't know if we can make it from May until nearly August at best on my meager paycheck plus our meager savings. We'd be putting ourselves in a pretty precarious position. The other option is to move in with family until Matt secures a lawyer job. We can't stay with my grandmother, where we stayed over the summer, because with Abigail being so much older, we won't all fit (four people, one elderly, one baby, and two cats in a two bedroom condo). We have a short list of possible candidates, but I'm not a big fan of any of our options. I'm really hoping that we can find a family friend with an apartment-over-the-garage idea who would be willing to let us rent it for the cost of utilities from May until Sep (at which point we either start paying real rent or move out). Anyway, anytime we move, we have to pay to rent a moving van, (not to mention all the labor and work of packing, loading, unloading, unpacking), so I really want to keep the number of moves to a minimum. I kept most of our boxes from when we moved over the summer, so thankfully I won't have to re-buy many supplies.

But really, I'm trying not to think about it right now. Four months is a little too early to try to plan another cross-country move when we don't know to which city or state we'll be moving.

Anyway.

I'm just over here plugging away at my New Year's Resolutions. I am poised to go to Adoration tomorrow, I have been eating very healthy, and I started jogging with the jogging stroller this week (I had to wait until Abigail had enough trunk support). The post-partum depression came roaring back yesterday evening after a long hiatus. Although my doctor prescribed some Zoloft, I've been avoiding it as it leaves me feeling super sleepy and makes it hard to concentrate. We talked about other lifestyle changes I can make to help deal, which have definitely been beneficial, but apparently not a cure-all. I am going to spend today focusing on my to-do list and getting out of the house to enjoy this nice weather.

So what do I love about right now? That it is only 10:11am, which means I have plenty of time to still rock something out today. In the meantime, enjoy this professional photo we had taken (yay free Sears portraits) of Abigail right before Christmas in her Christmas dress.

12 January 2012

Contentment

I had intended to blog this post yesterday, but I ended up spending the last few days even sicker than before. I have now finally moved past the fever and the chills and the aches and the hacking cough. I know I've said this once before, but I think I'm almost better!

Anyway, my fifth New Year's Resolution is to "learn to be less jealous of other people’s joys and successes & more satisfied with my own lot in life." Contentment is not something I really ever feel. I'm pretty sure I've felt a little contentment over passing things, like resting after a long day of hard work or laying in bed when it is just the perfect level of cool and soft. But those moments are so fast and fleeting. Before you know it, the house is dirty and the sheets need to be laundered. I'm talking about a deeper contentment - the realization that one is happy with her life.

The whole thing struck me when Abigail was a few months old and a friend told me she was pregnant. I was genuinely happy for her and oddly not jealous at all. This is odd for me because normally I can't stop comparing myself against everyone else; when someone makes a big (or small) announcement, I start to judge my life according to their standards. I inevitably end up concluding that one of our lives isn't up to snuff and judge who I think it is (I know this is wrong and it has got to be my #1 admission at confession). But anyway, no jealousy, remember? I love Abigail and I want to have more kids, but right now, I feel very satisfied with my current kid situation: I'm happy where we are, but I'm perfectly happy not to move forward. Over the next few days, I continued to soul search, trying to find some little part of me that was jealous or smug over the announcement, but much to my surprise, I couldn't find a single self-serving motive for my happiness!

I had no idea what to do with my new-found feeling - I didn't even know what to call it! It's just that for some strange reason, I didn't feel the need to hate myself, or making a to-do list, or write a new goal followed by a series of baby steps to achieve that goal. One night when I was describing this phenomenon to Matt, I realized what it was called: contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction. I fell in love.

Once I put a "name to a face" so-to-speak, I realized there were plenty of other times I felt a passing glimpse of fulfillment. Once when Matt and I were at the beach, just laying out on the soft, white sand, I couldn't believe how soft the beach was, perfectly conforming to every curve of my body. The sun was so hot, but the warm, salty breeze cooled my skin just the perfect degree. I remember thinking that if I were on vacation, I would tell Matt, "I wish we could live here; if we lived here, I would come to the beach every day." But we did live there! And I could go to the beach every day! I felt so content. But I let the feeling pass.

There are so many things to feel content about - no matter how bad my situation is, there is always someone else who has it worse. Someone else with a higher debt-to-income ratio. Someone else whose child has more disabilities, a shorter life expectancy. Someone else with a more absent husband. I just realized this very moment and I was writing, with my impressively 20/20 hindsight that back when I resolved to be more grateful, I was really talking about being more content!

I love the feeling of contentment - of being happy with my life and having the feeling last more than 20 minutes. Feeling grateful/content is one of the best things I can do to stave off the lovely post-partum depression too. So for my fifth resolution, I am going to try to think about "what I love right now" when I feel the Benjamin Franklin feelings coming on. (Benjamin Franklin even kept a journal where he recorded his resolutions for self-improvement and charted the days he did and did not succeed. I may or may not have done the same thing in middle school before I read about Franklin doing it. That's how special I am. I remember reading his journal once and seeing that he recorded for a few days in a row that he hadn't sinned. I'm not that special).

What do I love about right now? That I'm almost not sick anymore! That we will still have less than the average amount of debt coming out of law school. That Abigail will eventually walk and talk (and sit up and crawl). That there is a real possibility that she might outlive us. That Matt only has to be in class a few hours each day.


Who couldn't be content with this view a mere 3 miles (as the crow flies) from her apartment?

09 January 2012

A Delayed New Year

Christmas break is over and it is back to the grindstone over in our household. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing break, especially this past weekend. Since it was Matt's last weekend of his last Christmas break, we made sure to live it up. We went to the zoo, stayed up until wee hours of the morning, slept in late (which is actually pretty difficult since Abigail is more the early-to-bed, early-to-rise type), ate lots of junk food, watched tons of movies, and played tons of games.

If we re-wind this week up a bit, you may recall Matt and I had plans to go out on a date. Well, I ended up with some sort of throat virus that at first made my throat too sore to talk, then, once I was feeling better, caused me to loose my voice. My lack of vocabulary had Abigail decidedly baffled. She would intermittently yell at me, smile at me, and do fancy tricks on the tummy time mat then look up at me to see if I'd respond. The whole thing was pretty cute, but as you can imagine, being sick really put a stopgap in the productivity department.

It seems as though as soon as the New Year turned, we hit the snooze button, which was quite enjoyable, but not very sustainable. No longer can we refuse to do the dishes, indulge in dessert after breakfast, and skip physical therapy in favor of reading books. Thankfully this week is pretty slow, only one doctor's appointment aside from the weekly physical therapy, which gives me plenty of time to organize the mess that is my life. Today is Matt's first day of class, which, given our week of sloth, is kind of like another New Year, giving us another chance to succeed at our resolutions. I took mine a step farther to explain how I plan to achieve them:

#1: Resurrect my prayer life - I finally found a church that has perpetual adoration, so I will call today and find out the access code for the chapel and schedule myself some time every week after Matt gets home and Abigail goes to sleep.
#2: Hit my goal weight by graduation - Matt and I figured out how to factor in going to the gym time every day plus I'm hoping to coordinate a few weekly walks with a friend, then there's always the calorie counting I promise myself I'll do.
#3: Take more pictures - my resolution to post more pictures on my blog is a pretty big inspiration.
#4: Read more books, watch less tv/movies - I'm not really sure what I'm doing with this one.
#5: Learn to be less jealous of other people’s joys and successes & more satisfied with my own lot in life - see post coming Wednesday.