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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Well hello! Sit down. Have a cup of tea with me. Let's catch up.

I have been, as usual, missing from my blog spot. There's been a lot going on, what with the holidays and such. But Christmas has come and gone and the new year is right around the corner. It's time to clean out the old and begin fresh and new.

I've been considering an overhaul of this space -- or to scrap this one and start anew. Well, I won't scrap this blog, because so many wonderful memories and rambling thoughts have been shared here. But, as time goes on, my priorities and goal have shifted. And maybe it's time for this space to shift with me.

This isn't to say that I've lost sight of my "two" year plan (which is edging closer to five years now) or my life lists. Those things still simmer in the back of my mind and I am cognizant that every decision, no matter how big or small, that I make brings me closer to my goals.

We're three days away from 2014 and I'm excited about it, for once. Usually, the new year makes me rather melancholy. I don't know why, but it does. This year, I see nothing but bright lights and shiny futures ahead for all.

So while I won't scrap this place, that has been so special to me for a few years, I'll reserve it now strictly for random life updates, pictures and goals. I am going to start another blog, that I will link to through here (should those of you that check in here wish to read it) that I'll fill with my more controversial thought processes: namely sex, politics, religion and my relationships.

I'll catch you on the flip side.

Namaste

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm such a fucking hipster

And I say "fuck" a lot. I need to stop that. My grandmother might read this blog one day.

Then again, I say "fuck" around her, too.

I'm going to Hell.

And in other news, check an item off of my life list -- I am now the proud owner of a MacBook. Well, sorta. My job technically owns the MacBook, but since I work for my parents and will probably never, ever leave, I'm probably going to be buried with this thing.

And with the addition of a MacBook to my iCollection, I officially own an iPod, iPhone, iPad (regular and mini) and MacBook.

Did I mention my vast collection of scarves. Also, I own a pair of black chucks. And yes, my glasses are black rimmed. See? I told you I'm a hipster.

When the box arrived today at work, it was sort of anticlimactic, actually. I had yearned for years for a MacBook that the yearning had sort of become my thing. I plotted and planned and contrived different ways to get a MacBook, and there it was. On my desk. It took a full two hours before I actually felt like opening it.

What am I going to do now that this goal is off my list? Granted, I have seven thousand other goals on my life list, but this was high on my radar. Superficial, yes, but a goal within my grasp.

It got me thinking, though, that so much of my life list is rather superficial. But the superficiality is what makes the goals realistic and tangible. Getting the item off of the list, though, wasn't nearly as satisfying as I had hoped. That part made me sad. I was more giddy ordering the MacBook than I was getting it. Maybe it's a sign that I'm evolving -- I don't want things anymore, I want experience. Or maybe it's because, as a pretty consummate Apple fangurl, I'm Appled out.

But it's easy enough to put the MacBook down and focus on what's important: making my little girl say "mommy" again and hanging out with The Trolls; and gazing at my beloved next to me, while I think about how lucky I truly am.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Comparing Apples to Agent Orange -- How Not to Be a Dick

One of the most solid pieces of advice that any person anywhere will ever hear is never to compare their last relationship to the one they're currently in. It's just bad news all the way around. But we're also human beings, so we're going to do exactly the opposite of the thing we're not supposed to do.

As a rule -- at least this time around -- I don't compare The Fiancee™ to The Ex. There's no comparison. The Fiancee™ is far and away the better of the two. I may reflect back on the previous relationship to make sure I'm not repeating mistakes or clearing out the detritus from some leftover baggage, but I usually don't compare.

Until I had a baby with The Fiancee™. Ever since I had The Bean, a constant thought runs through my head, "I wish I'd had The Trolls with The Fiancee™". He's such a fantastic and remarkable father. He's hands on. He reads. He listens. He's all the things The Ex isn't. Every time I have to send The Trolls off with The Ex, I cringe and count the seconds 'til they're back home with us, because The Ex is just a shit.

(I'm probably going to regret typing that last sentence -- and then publishing it in a public forum -- especially if The Trolls ever find out I have a blog, but... well... First Amendment and all that).

But really why I take to my blog is not to extoll the virtues of my beloved, but to speak to all The Exes out there. Call it Sady's Rules for Not Being a Dick and Everyone Will Be Happy.

1) Visitation: the children should always come first. Sure, every now-and-again there are going to be times when you have to work late or you need a break, but as the non-custodial parent, when you have an opportunity to see your children, you should take it. You shouldn't blow them off for, oh I don't know, a tour (you're a forty-year-old wanna-be rock star who is never going to be a famous musician. Just come to grips with that already, wouldja?)

If you can't make a scheduled visit, call the other parent NOT the children. Messages like that should not be delivered to or through the kids.

If you need to reschedule a visit, call the other parent NOT the children.

If you want to see the children, call the other parent NOT the children.

Stick to the prearranged schedule unless there's an emergency. Schools frown upon unexcused tardies and your ex gets really annoyed having to wait around for you.

2) Call the children: by all means, call the children. Regularly. Several times a day, even. There's no need to speak to the other parent if you're just calling to say, "hi." 

But if the other parent needs to speak to you, the polite thing to do is take the call. If you don't want to talk to your ex, that's fine. Shoot him or her a text message. He or she would probably prefer it since he or she didn't want to talk to you, either. Talking to your ex is a necessary evil when you have children together.

3) Scheduling a visit: as a matter of fact, you do need to speak to your ex if you want to see your children. Your ex should not have to keep the children's schedules indefinitely open in the hopes that you'll find time in your schedule to see them. I know, I know. You hate feeling like you have to ask permission to see your kids, but you know what? You do need to make sure that they don't already have plans. Suck it up, Cupcake.

4) Don't trash talk: sure, you hate your ex. She or he hates you, too. That's why the two of you aren't together. Keep the trash talking between you and the voice in your head. The children don't need to be caught in the crossfire.

5) Child Support: I've got news for you, Buttercup -- child support is necessary. You don't get to arbitrarily decide that you'll buy the kids something in lieu of paying child support. It doesn't work that way. Child support goes toward the cost of raising children and, in most cases, doesn't even begin to cover what your ex has to pay toward their cost of living. Children are fucking expensive.

And if you think you're just spiting your ex by not paying, well, think again. You're just a dick that likes to hurt your own kids. NOT paying child support prevents your ex from doing things for the kids -- like get them braces or pay for sports.

It's not "extra money", by the way. It's money that is very, very needed. But even if it is extra money and your ex chooses to spend it on hookers and blow, he or she can. He or she has already paid the mortgage, the light bill and put food in the children's bellies. You're simply paying your ex back a small portion of what he or she has already spent on the children.

And let's just address this while we're at it: your ex cannot ask his or her parents to help. It's your job to support your children.Your ex's current is not responsible for the financial burden of your children, either. He or she does it because he or she loves your kids -- and you should be goddamned grateful for that and not take it for granted.

Oh and side note: if you can afford to take time off from work to go on fucking tour, you better make sure that you've paid your child support. Dick.

(Item five is especially touchy for me, since The Ex -- who only is required (by our mutual agreement... for now) to pay $300 a month for two kids hasn't paid a dime since October 2012. All points covered are all arguments he used to justify not paying).

6) Don't be super-happy-funtime-parent: Seriously, just don't. Don't be the parent that the kids get to have all the fun with while your ex is the one that has to make them eat their vegetables and do their homework. Because, you know what? The next time you have a weekend with your kids, your ex may just send them over all hopped up on Mountain Dew and bags of sugar. You'd deserve it.

7) Don't be a dick to your kids: don't say things like "you're just like your mother" or "you're stupid" or "you're fat and lazy." Saying those kinds of things is a sure fire way to get yourself a one-way ticket to The-Kids-Are-Permanently-Busy-and-Can-Never-See-You-Again-ville.

8) Blending families: make sure that the children have a place of their own in your home -- especially if you're living with someone who already has kids. There's nothing quite so sure to guarantee to make a child require years and years of therapy as one or both of their parents making their "biological" child feel like a red-headed step-child.

9) Do what you say you're going to do. And don't argue about it if it's not convenient for you anymore. You made your bed, now lay in it.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh Internet! You just keep doing you. Thoughts on #unplug

Let me go on the record as saying that I'm as about as old school as you can get and still be even mildly NOT 78 years old. I have Facebook. I have a blog. I even have my own [never updated] web site. But I don't tweet, skype, tumblr or any of that crap. I probably should if I want to get my business off the ground, but I'm kind of lazy and it seems like figuring out what the hell the hashtag is for would take up more time than I'm willing to give it.

Besides, I'm pretty sure the lifespan of anything on the internet is about 35 seconds. So I'm holding out for the day that Twitter becomes Myspace.

But then again, the Internet is hopelessly self-absorbed and Twitter hit the nail on the head by pandering to that element.

Dammit. I guess I'll have to figure out Twitter. But not before I get fully vested in the newest Internet meme: #unplug.

Let me throw an addendum to my previous on-the-record by saying that I REALLY love the concept of this. In case you're not familiar with the how to, here's the premise:

1) Realize that you're hopelessly addicted to anything Internet-related and powerless to your addiction.
2) Seek to make amends to anyone you've wronged.

Oh... wait. That's AA. Moving on...

The premise behind unplugged actually IS acknowledging how hopelessly plugged in we are and how we've kind of lost touch with reality. For instance, every night, The Fiancee™ and I sit on the back porch having a chat and a smoke theoretically catching up about the day and figuring out what the game plan for the night is. But if you were to look through the sliding glass door, you'd see both of us more engaged with our devices than each other. Neither of us are big Internet addicts, but the Internet has kind of stripped us of our ability to have a meaningful dialogue. Or even an unmeaningful dialogue.

It's made it impossible to have an uncomfortable silence.

That's not right, y'all. Not right at all.

So  point of unplugging is to pick a time frame (a day, week, month, etc), pick a day to begin it, let all your peeps know you're going off line and then DO IT. Only use your phone for calls and texts. Leave the TV off and your laptops unplugged. Go out and explore a city.

Talk to real live people... in person <---that's the part that terrifies me the most. I live in Florida; people are scary here.

Afterward you can plug back in, but maybe not so much this time. Or maybe you can plug all the way back in, but schedule unplugged moments. Or maybe you'll become a hermit and never plug back in again... until the History Channel shows up with a camera crew to film you for an episode of Mountain Men.

I'm totally down for this because, for real, I'm not that plugged in ANYWAY... and maybe unplugging will help me get over my agoraphobia (I'm pretty sure the only way I'm getting over that is by moving out of this shit hole of a state).

But the irony... the supremely delicious irony of #unplug is that it's an INTERNET MEME. Unplugging has a damn hashtag and people have been tweeting about it. I'm blogging about it. It's a Google+ discussion (or whatever they call it on Google+ I can't figure Google+ out). I expect it'll be showing up in my Facebook feed any day now.

Oh, sweet precious Internet. Never change.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Uterus.

That blog title is likely to get me some hits, don't you think?

I come from a long, long line of fiercely independent women. I wouldn't go so far as to call it entirely feminist, since we were "feminists" long before that was an actual thing. On my mother's side, we were frontierswomen, blazing trails and breaking laws as we saw fit. My great-grandmother graduated summa cum laude and was a Fullbright scholar and Guggenheim Fellow. On my father's side adversity was overcome and my grandmother, despite having to leave her beloved church because of it, divorced her abusive husband. Before that, she raised six kids while working three jobs to support them.

None of us has been dependent on a man. Ever.

When I first became a mother, I wanted sons. Girls are a pain-in-the-ass (we really are) and I wanted nothing to do with them. I was and am determined to raise my sons to be feminists, to understand and appreciate womanhood and the strength that women possess; to be in awe of it instead of lusting after it.

Aside from the occasional booby jokes, the evidence shows that I'm doing OK in that department. The Monkey is friends with more girls than guys and has a healthy respect for girls. The one girl he has a serious crush on, he won't ask out because "he'd rather have her in his life as a friend than ask her out and risk losing her." The Nugget says things like, "I'm going to make sure my sister only has boyfriends that love her."

Not that she'll need protecting, but it's nice to know that The Nugget is already polishing his guns.

Anyway...

As I got older and American society has degraded back into thinly veiled misogyny, and after birthing a daughter, I realized that merely teaching my sons to be in awe of women is not enough. To raise them to be feminists is not enough. To be loyal and good to their mother and sister is not enough. But I don't know what "enough" is.

Because I'm scared, y'all. I'm scared that women are allowing themselves to be subjugated again. I'm terrified that my daughter's reproductive choices will no longer be rights that she can decide on for herself. There's a distinct possibility that we're heading back to a time when women went to college to find a husband rather than get an education and have a career. As it is, more often than not, women have to choose between having a family and having a career.

That scares me. To no end.

I'm going back to work full time on Friday and leaving The Lady Gray with a nanny. It breaks my heart to have to do this because I'd so much rather spend all day trying to make her smile and now I'll be paying someone else to do that. But that has nothing to do with not wanting a career. If I did end up quitting my job to stay home with her, I'd spend her nap times trying to start up a freelance copywriting/advertising business with a side of hand-made goods on Etsy. Shit... I'd do that even without a baby at home.

Here's the thing, I go without sleep to get work done. I wake up with the baby in the middle of the night. I cook. I clean. I pay my bills. I make more money than The Fiancee™. He gets home from work and waits for dinner to be made. He spends a few precious moments with the baby and then he's in bed and asleep, usually, by 9:30 every night.

This isn't to say that The Fiancee™ is lazy or I'm better than him, but more to say that, as a woman, I'm more capable of getting shit done than most men. Countless studies prove that the tendency for men to think linearly puts them at a disadvantage to women, who can think in broader terms and tackle more at once.

Either that scares men or it makes them think, "Shit. Well, I can just sit back and let her handle it all." Or maybe it's a combination of the two. And it's the fear of the almighty vagina that has the collective man figuring out ways to shut our power down. They're starting with our right to choose what to do with our own bodies -- as if we're so much breeding stock for their holy seed. And now they're going after our right to work, saying that women going out to the work force began the degradation of American society.

The Fiancee™ wants another baby. I don't. I'm not having another one. End of discussion. If, perchance, I did get pregnant again, I would terminate the pregnancy. Because it's my right to do so and I don't want to put my body through that again. Carrying The Lady Gray took a huge toll on my body. I'm still recovering from it and it's not an experience I'd like to relive. He'll be pissed and it might be a breaking point for our relationship, but my right to choose not carry another pregnancy to term is mine alone to decide. As soon as he stops masturbating, I'll let him have a say in my reproductive decision-making.

But here's the really scary part -- women are allowing this shit to happen! We're more concerned with looking good to men than we are about being relegated to the kitchen. How in the hell did that happen? Actually, I know how that happened. 

All of this disjointed blogging is to say that we need to raise our children to fight for the equality of the sexes. It's not enough to raise our sons to be feminists. It's not enough to teach them that a woman's reproductive choices are hers. It's not enough to teach them how to cook or to love their sisters. We need to teach our daughters that the fight for our rights is never ending. We need them to not be complacent. We need to teach them that pink was originally a boy color (it was. Look it up). And we need their first word to be vagina.

 

If I click my heels three times...

The only downside to going home for a visit is the raging homesickness that I feel for weeks afterward. Sometimes, like after my last visit, it doesn't last terribly long. Other times, it'll take weeks for it to ebb. Methinks this is one of those times where I'll be longing for home long after I've left.

Sweet Lady Gray was thoroughly doused with much love by her extended family. She also got to spend some time in the hands of the women (her great-grandmothers) who are so important to me and, hopefully, have enough life left in 'em to last long enough for her to actually remember them. I hate the thought that she might only know them through pictures.

The Trolls are still up north for an extended visit with their side of the family and I miss them terribly. I miss their noise and their smell. I even kind of miss their mess in the living room. OK, I'm lying about that last part. It's actually quite nice not having to fight with them to pick up their mess.

But on the topic of homesickness, part of me doesn't want it to go away. Part of me wants it to hang on for dear life so that the fire of my "Two Year Plan" doesn't turn into a slow burning cinder. I want the fire to rage. I want to be motivated to scrimp and save so I can get the hell out of Dodge. That's the hardest part for me. I'm such a hedonist that depriving myself of instant gratification for a long term goal is incredibly difficult. And every time I go home, I come back to Florida thinking that THIS time I'll get my shit together and save some money, but then something shiny tempts me and there goes the Massachusetts fund.

But not this time. This time I'm determined to get back home for good. No, seriously. I am. If I have to, I'll drag The Fiancee™ kicking and screaming with me, but we're going. Because who wouldn't want to be surrounded by this all the time:

My cousin, KadyRose, my Aunt Moe, The Monkey, my Aunt Kathy, and the Nugget at Mt. Tom Ice Cream

Sweet Lady Gray enjoying real grass while watching her brothers play wiffleball. Notice her monkey toes?



"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time Flies When You're Busy Staring at Your Baby

I admit it: I'm one of those sappy, stares-at-my-babies kind of moms. Seriously, I make some REALLY good looking kids. It is physically impossible to NOT stare at them. Each one of 'em had/has one of those baby smiles that light up a room and I would and will do anything to see that smile. It just slays me!

My baby girl is officially two months old today. I don't know how that happened. I don't know how she got so big, so fast when, clearly, all I do is look at her.

At her first baseball game. Of COURSE she's rocking a Red Sox onesie.

Experiencing her very first photo bomb, courtesy her biggest brother.

She's knows she's adorable. Also, she hates dresses and will take any opportunity she can to poop on them.

Even her metal scream is adorable.

Seriously?! How can you NOT want to see that face EVERY SINGLE MINUTE?!

Happy birthday, Baby Girl! You light up my world, my heart and my soul. I am grateful for every single solitary second I have you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm still not sure about all the comma rules, so probably shouldn't be lecturing about punctuation.

Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing at least 15 minutes of The Fiancee's nephew in a high school stage production of "Oklahoma." I would've seen more, but The Lady Gray decided that she wanted to voice her opinion about the production, so I excused myself to allow her to rant all she wanted... in the car.

While pacing in the vestibule, waiting for the rest of our group to exit the auditorium, I happened to notice the signs for one of the bathrooms:

Girl's
Bathroom
(some [probably poorly punctuated] Braille)

Really! This is in a HIGH SCHOOL, y'all! Supposedly a place of learning -- even if not of the higher variety. How in the Hades could this have gone unnoticed? What one lucky girl gets to use this bathroom? Do they have a vote each day? Does the prom queen get to use this bathroom or does she need to find the one that is properly punctuated?

Apostrophe abuse makes me itchy in a big way.

But I probably shouldn't have expected anything less from a school that has intentional textese graffiti all over the entrance. 

Textese makes me break out in hives. Really is it SO difficult to put in the extra letters? We're not paying by the character anymore, People! You can spell the whole word!

This is what scares me about the world I'm leaving to my children. I remember when "ain't" wasn't actually a word. Now it's in the dictionary! We're deliberately dumbing down rather than holding our offspring to a higher standard. Instead of making our kids work their asses off for a trophy, we're handing them out like so much candy to soothe their little wounded egos. 

What. The. Fuck. Is. WRONG with us?!

Look. It's our job as parents to wound our children. No, seriously. It is. (Side note: my mother can now die happy that I admitted that). Because it's our job to teach our kids that the world is a tough motherfucker and she takes no prisoners. I would love nothing more than to save my kids from every heartbreak and hardship they'll encounter, but I would be doing them a disservice. Just like I'd be doing The Monkey a disservice for telling him that his crap-tastic, half-assed paper about the 1936 Olympics was good enough to hand in rather than making him re-write it (I let him off the hook when it would warrant a C. But only because I was tired of arguing with him about it). Or if I let The Nugget hand in his math homework with every answer wrong because "Mrs. Kling will go over it tomorrow in class". 

NO! It's my job to torture my kids and make them sit at the table 'til the job is done. It's my job to yell at them. It's my job to paint a bleak picture of the kind of future they can expect if they continue to accept mediocrity as the standard.

But I'm wicked hard-pressed to enforce these lessons when the schools around here allow apostrophe abuse to go unchecked and humor textese, because my kids will know I'm full of shit. They'll know that the world at large accepts half-assery and they will be able to out-argue me. And I won't have the safety net of the world giving them their comeuppance because the world is all, "Meh. I'm too busy watching Breaking Amish. Catch me at the commercial."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm the kind of exhausted that parents of a newborn are. Oh wait...

The Lady Gray decided to switch her schedule from nights to days, so was up a goodly portion of last night. Not to mention the fact that we're getting some stormy weather around here and, like my middle child, she's a baby barometer, too. Cranky and fussy, she is, and I just feel so badly for her.

She's down for a nap now and I'm hoping that it will last long enough for me to hop in the shower and then put my contacts in. Oh, glorious contact lenses! How I've missed you. While I do look pretty fancy in glasses, I can't help but reflect on Dorothy Parker's assessment of them:

"Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses"

Which makes me feel decidedly un-sexy. Not that my usual uniform of a tank top and jammy bottoms helps matters much. Or the lack of make up, post-natal acne and hair tossed into a very unattractive pony tail. It's a wonder how The Fiance™ can even think of having another baby.

All of this rambling is to say that I have to leave in a couple of hours to go get The Nugget and take him to his orthodontist consultation. Yes, dear readers, it is possible that I will have another one in braces soon. But in the mean time, I'm enjoying to quiet of the house and doing my level best to ignore the pile of dishes that need doing and the laundry that needs folding. Because I'm tired and I'm supposed to be honoring that and sleeping when the baby does, instead of gulping down a cup of coffee (the one a day I'm allowed while nursing) and fighting the urge to sleep.

Because time moves too quickly these days and before I know it, I'll be returning to work full time and trusting my baby with someone else. Not an easy thing for this mama to wrap her head around, even if I am leaving her with an aunt and uncle her love her to the point of worship.



Edit: Guess who just woke up? I'll get to that shower later, I suppose.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Lyla-Gray

My baby girl is officially one month old today. It seems like yesterday that my teething, smiling, gassy-as-a-trucker, sweet baby graced us with her presence.

She was actually only 20 inches long. I'm short; she didn't have a whole lot of room to work with.
It's hard to be photogenic when you're opened up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Oh! The indignities of the first minutes of life. I'm proud to say she scored an 8 and 9 on her APGARs.
Don't let this sweet face fool you. OK. Go ahead and let it. She's still fooling us (she's a few hours old in this one)
The Fiance™ and Lady Gray
The Fiance™'s twin brother (and Lady Gray's godfather). No, they look nothing alike.
Nugget love!
She looks so much like The Monkey, I shall call this "Doppleganger sister!"
Seriously, don't let the sweetness fool you.
Cuz she can be a banshee when she wants to! I call this "Metal Scream!"
She does smile. A lot. It's cute.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Almost a Month

The Lady Gray - aka Fussy McFusspants - is three days shy of being a month old. I've started packing up my maternity clothes and digging out my yoga pants. In just a couple of weeks I will be officially cleared to resume my normal activities. This makes me rather sad, to be honest. Not because I don't long to get back on the mat, but because my baby is growing too quickly. As much as I complain about the lack of sleep, I'd gladly go without sleep for the next year if she would just slow down. My sweet newborn daughter is coming into her personality, with all its glorious fussiness, but I miss her being just mine. I'm still not ready to share her with the world yet and all this packing up of maternity clothes is just reminding me that she's not in my belly anymore.

With The Monkey nearing his fourteenth birthday, it's just another reminder of how quickly time goes and how truly heartbreaking motherhood is. Heartbreaking in a good way, though. Because these magnificent creatures I have birth to are just so breathtakingly wonderful. But every year they get older is just another year closer to them being grown beings and not sweet babies anymore.

This is why I told The Fiancée that I'm not having anymore babies. That and because, as of Sunday, I officially hit my scary age and don't want to run the risk of conceiving a child with birth defects. Selfish, I know, but it's more about not wanting a child to have any kind of compromised life.

Time moves too fast, it does. One of these days, I wish it would slow down.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Seventeen Days

That's how old my baby girl is. That's nearly three weeks. It's 408 hours and 24,480 minutes. I dare not count the seconds.

The first week she was here was mostly about recovering and discovering. Recovering from the surgery required to bring this precious life into the world, and discovering how to be a mama to a new little one again.

The second week was learning to navigate parenthood and find ways to fill the hours that I am home alone and she is sound asleep (and sleep she does, this little one).

And here I am in the third week and I'd have to say this week is about joy. Joy in finding ways to make this pensive child of mine smile [when she's not asleep]. Joy in reading her face and trying to decipher all the thoughts that are surely running through her head.

But I'm a little bit sad, too. I'm sad that time seems to be moving so quickly this time around. I really can't believe that it's been almost three weeks since I first glimpsed this new life over the blue curtain and heard her first cries. It's been almost three weeks since I was wheeled past the nursery window and I glimpsed her pooping not for the first time (she's got quite the productive digestive tract, let me tell you).

The rhythm of our days is returning to our version of normal and The Lady Gray seems to just fit so nicely. In such a short time she's become an integral part of our family that I can't imagine a life that didn't have her in it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Because I'm taking the high road on Facebook, I'll come to my blog to rant

The Lady Gray is down for her umpteenth nap at the moment, so I have an hour or so of time to myself. I could be cleaning or doing something more productive than sitting on my back porch wishing that it wasn't so damn hot out already, but I have to go and get the trolls soon. Once the trolls get home, it'll be pure craziness round these parts for a bit.

Speaking of the trolls...

One of the things that kept me with The Ex far longer than I should've was his family. They're a tight knit bunch and I was worried that if I left, he'd get them in the divorce. Fortunately, it was a baseless fear, since -- as it turns out -- they're a tight knit bunch who know how to compartmentalize. As such, I've remained friends-ish with his sister over these past few years. The friendship has cooled to more of a friends-on-Facebook level over the last few months, which happens when life gets in the way.

The Lady Gray has been home for a week now. Like any good new mom, I've been kind of blowing up Facebook with pictures of her. I'm not going over the top, but I also have a crap ton of family up north who don't get the benefit of watching her grow up and probably won't meet her for quite some time. It's my way of keeping them in the loop. Besides, my step-dad asked me to keep posting there.

Today, the ex-SIL decided to comment on one of the pictures of The Lady and asked where pictures of "my other two children" were. Clearly she's upset that I haven't been giving equal air time to all three of my children. One half of my brain was all, "Oh my god! She's such a good aunt!" The other half of my brain was all, "Da fuck?!" So I decided to play the middle road and say something along the lines of, "Well, they're at school at the moment... ;) But actually, I've taken pictures of with The Monkey's phone... etc" Her response, "Yeah, but you've had her for a week."

On Facebook, I decided to let it drop. But I want to go on the official record as saying the following:

Just because there aren't more pictures of The Monkey and The Nugget on Facebook doesn't mean that I love them any less than The Lady Gray. In fact, if it's possible, I love them MORE since she's gotten here (there's something about loving more that makes you love MORE, y'know?). I wasn't in the habit of posting pictures of them all the time before she got here and since The Monkey now has his own Facebook page, he can post all the pictures of himself that he wants. That's the beauty of having a teenager in the house.

Here's the real thing though: I don't post pictures of them every day because I'm too busy trying to keep their routine as normal as possible [with a mom that needs to sleep when the baby does and all that jazz]. There are things like home work that needs to be done and supper that needs to be cooked and eaten, and chores that need to be completed. Life needs to happen despite the fact that there's a new baby here. I don't get a mulligan on the old kids because there's a new one. And I don't have a whole lot of time to stop and take pictures of our daily routines.

And let's not forget that, despite the fact that I'm moving around really well, I still had a c-section. I'm trying to do all of this while recovering from major abdominal surgery.

There are more pictures of The Lady Gray because her routine consists of eating, sleeping and pooping (and sometimes pooping in her sleep). I'm home with her all day and, frankly, it's kind of boring. So I'm trying to keep myself entertained with something other than crap TV.

Not for nothing, but The Lady Gray is ten years younger than her closest sibling. The Trolls have had at least ten years more of pictures being taken and posted, and framed and hung than she has. Yes, she's been here for a week and she's got a lot of catching up to do.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sweet Lady Gray

The Lylabean is here (or, as I've taken to calling her, Sweet Lady Gray). She came into the world at 9:21 last Friday morning, weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds, 8 ounces! Talk about a weight loss plan; ten pounds right outta the gate!

Tomorrow, The Fiance™ goes back to work. I'm sad about this -- mostly because my hormones are still settling down from birthing the Lady, but also because having a helpmate has made all the difference in the world, during this first week of new parenthood. If I'm honest, I'm a little bit scared that I won't be as adequate at this parenting stuff without him.

They say it's like riding a bike, having a new baby. But there have been a lot of firsts for me with Lady Gray. We're successfully breastfeeding, which I wasn't (or wouldn't do) able to with the trolls. (Knock on wood), she sleeps pretty soundly for the most part and for long durations, something neither of the trolls did this early for sure and, in the Nugget's case, at all until he was a toddler. Having a partner who gets up at 3 AM just to change the baby's diaper is something novel, too, because The Ex wasn't a big fan of helping out in the wee hours of the morning (when he was actually around).

I'm feeling ridiculously blessed and scared, but mostly blessed. I am so grateful for this life I have.

Lady Gray, a couple hours after she was born.

The Fiance™ cutting the cord.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just an update about tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Lima Bean's big debut. She'll be here in the early hours of Good Friday -- also my Grammy's birthday.

Pre-op at 5 AM on the dot. C-Section festivities to begin at 8 AM. Look for pictures on Facebook (or until I learn how to upload them onto this here newfangled laptop).

Wish us luck, health and love!

Namaste!

On God, Same Sex Marriage and the First Amendment

In case you're living under a rock and haven't noticed, there's been a ton of HRC activity on Facebook lately. I didn't change my profile picture or anything, mostly because those that know me know that I ardently and avidly support equal rights (and I don't need to change my profile picture to prove it). For a while there, I was also a card carrying member of the ACLU.

Once-upon-a-time, I had a supervisor at my old job who, in retrospect, was actually a really good supervisor, though at the time I thought she was a bitch. It turns out, she just knew how to keep business and personal separate. We're Facebook friends now and I'm glad for it. She's a pretty cool person. Anyway, she posted an eloquently stated status opposing the use of biblical symbology in support of anti-gay marriage stances. Fuh real, it was REALLY good.

I don't presume to have her eloquence or her diplomacy (she was REALLY diplomatic on the topic. A lesson our congress could take a page from), but she inspired me to pipe up and chime in. Here's what I had to say.

First: I absolutely support the marriage rights of ANY two consenting adults, be they straight, gay, trans/pan/bi-sexual, etc. Frankly, the best models of "healthy marriages" that I've had in my own life were those of same sex couples.

Second: Nobody chooses to be gay. Nobody chooses to be straight. Kinda like nobody chooses to have blue eyes versus brown eyes.

Third: In my humble opinion, God made all the wonderful diversity in this world. And He/She/It made diversity on purpose: not for us to hate each other, but for us to love each other.

Fourth: Is it REALLY so offensive to have more love in the world? In a world that's being torn apart by violence and hatred, I would think that we would want to embrace love and support it, not demand that it stay silent and in a locked closet somewhere because it offends your sense of aesthetics.

Fifth: (This might piss some people off), the Bible is fallible. It is the inspired word of God, but written by man. And man is nothing if not fallible. Heck, according to many biblical historians, the bible isn't even complete -- there are "hundreds" of gospels that weren't included for one reason or another. So bear that in mind when saying, "The Bible says..." because the bible you're reading today isn't really giving you a complete picture.

Sixth: If you're opposed to same-sex marriage, fine. That's your opinion and you're entitled to it. I even support your right to express yourself. But please, oh please, leave God out of your argument. Everyone's relationship with God is a personal one. What God says to you on the topic of same-sex marriage is certainly not what He/She/It says to ME on the topic. Let's just be honest with ourselves and admit that you find same-sex marriage offensive, not because God tells you it's wrong, but because you simply find it offensive (for whatever reason).
 
 
In closing, I'd like to say MAZOL TOV to my Uncle Brion and his partner, Bob, who recently tied the knot. Uncle Brion -- if you're reading this: I couldn't be happier for you two. I just wish I knew where y'all registered so I could send you a wedding present. :) Thank you for being one of my models of a healthy relationship. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thoughts on shifting

About this time last year, I was so action-packed full of Two Year Plans and Other Grand Adventures that I thought absolutely nothing could stand in my way of fulfilling all of my grand ambitions. Little did I know, that my life would be taking a wildly different course than I had planned.

That's the thing about plans: you need backup plans for them.

I spend very little time in my studio these days, and I'm OK with that.

I pay for search ads on Etsy for a shop that I've neglected woefully (and will probably shut down, temporarily, while I'm wrapping my head around my new adventure).

While I wrote and published one book, and illustrated another, I've backburnered the topic for the time being, because I really only wrote the first book for my gram as a Christmas gift.

I don't remember the last time I was on Pinterest or Craft Gawker -- which is unusual for me, since those were multiple-times-a-day visits once-upon-a-time.

I've realized that plans shift. They're malleable and rather sandy. Topics that were important yesterday seem rather pointless in the current moment. And I guess that's why it's so important to live in the present, focusing on what's in front of you right now.

This isn't to say that I won't resume my regularly scheduled programming, so to speak, but that I'm honoring the shift that's happened in my head and in my life.  I've retreated from the constant focus on THE PLANS into a kind of quiet wait-and-see holding pattern while I, well, wait and see what's in store. Because my carefully laid plans got waylaid by a different kind of planning; a good kind of planning for the life that will be here before I know it.

Sometimes the road is supposed to shift. Sometimes you're supposed to take a different path for a while. And sometimes all that planning you did for something else was just to lead you to where you are right now.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I don't have the slightest urge to nest.

I started my maternity leave a week early, because I knew I'd be a complete waste a work (a) and (b) I wanted time to clean and get ready for the Lima Bean's impending arrival. But if I'm honest with myself, I think I just wanted time to sit around and put my feet up because, for real y'all, I have absolutely no urge to nest. I'm looking around at the piles of stuff that need to be done *cough*laundry*cough* and merely think "I still have yoga pants I can fit in. The laundry can wait."

I should be stocking my freezer with meals The Fiance™ can heat up for the trolls, but he already bought out the frozen pizza aisle, so I'm using that as justification for not doing any cooking if I can avoid it. Which is weird, because I usually love cooking. And the trolls are with The Ex this week, so you'd think I'd want to take advantage of the unencumbered time to get shit done. But no. We have pizza in the freezer, so we're good.

I have, like, the opposite of nesting right now. Maybe it's because I know, in the back of my mind, that the next five years are going to consist of anything but rest. It'll be a non-stop whirlwind of sleepless nights, chasing a toddler, making trolls pick up after themselves and chasing a five-year-old around before I can finally just take a nap. Seriously, I won't be able to nap for years. That's some ole bullshit, if you ask me.

Besides, moving around too much makes me feel like I'm going into labor. And when I feel like I'm going into labor, I get all freaked-the-hell-out. And when I get all freaked-the-hell-out, I make The Fiance™ time my phantom contractions while I whine and cry like a baby. Then he falls asleep and, magically, my contractions become more manageable. And when my contractions become more manageable, I want to take a nap. And when I want to take a nap, I don't want to clean. So, really, it's best if I just skip all the whining and crying and go take a nap.

It's called logic, y'all.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wherein I think I'm in labor, but it might actually just be gas. It's hard to tell this late in the game.

Yes. I am at that lovely stage of my pregnancy where every other minute I'm having some sort of twinge that immediately sets me into "AM I IN LABOR?!" mode. The Boyfriend™ has learned to sleep through it at this point, God bless him. See, the thing is I don't know what actual prolonged labor is like. Well... that's not entirely true. I was in full blown labor with The Monkey, but that had a fairly obvious start (my water broke). With The Nugget, I was in labor for about 12 hours and then it stopped. "They" say that's called false labor. But again, it's hard to tell when you're two weeks overdue.

Right now, I'm right on time with the Lima Bean and I'm pretty sure she's ready to come out (if the constant head-butting of my cervix is any indication). My cervix just isn't cooperative at all. Possibly because my children have ginormous heads and it would be really fucking painful to birth them the right way, and my body is more than willing to take advantage of medical science to help itself along.

And I'm pretty ready for the Lima Bean's debut. Enough with the touchy-feely, love your children, Waldorf School bullpucky. I. Want. My. Body. Back! Granted, I'm going to be nursing, so I won't really have it back, but I'm hoping the swollen ankles and feet will disappear and take their bastard friend Restless Legs along with them. And I'd really like to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling sixteen kinds of guilty about it (that is to say, the guilt I feel merely thinking about enjoying a glass of wine while the alien is in residence prevents me from actually consuming it. I must've been severely Catholic in a previous life).

Not for nothing, but finding out you're pregnant five weeks into it makes for a very long pregnancy indeed. I miss the days when I didn't religiously keep track of my menstrual cycle and I found out I was pregnant close to the end of my first trimester.

In other news, The Boyfriend™'s name is now officially The Fiance™ as of last night. Yes, Dear Readers, the man proposed! It was sweet and slightly awkward and he's taken to claiming he owns various parts of me -- like my belly button -- now that he's slapped a ring on my finger. I gotta tell you, aside from the vaguely misogynistic overtones, I couldn't be happier. I'm pretty sure he's happy about it, too.

Now I just need to get divorced. There's something fairly sister-husbands about still technically being married whilst engaged to another man.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In seven weeks... (Thoughts on time flying in a blink)

On March 29th, we will be welcoming the latest addition to our family: Lyla-Gray Amber Richling. That is, if I don't go into labor in my own first. These days, I almost hope that I do go into labor before her debut date, because these last few weeks of pregnancy are taking their toll on me. I forgot how hard pregnancy was - or maybe it wasn't this hard before, what with there being ten years between my last babe and this one.

In four days, The Nugget will be ten. This makes me ridiculously sad on a number of levels. Happy, too, for sure, but I'm not quite ready to accept that my trolls are so grown.

In four months, The Monkey will be 14 and officially done with middle school. Then he will be a freshman in high school. I am most assuredly NOT ready for that. Fortunately, The Monkey is a rather "fun sized" child, and his diminutive stature allows me to pretend - just for a bit longer - that his time with me isn't coming to a close so very soon.

The umbilical cord never really gets cut. They will always be my sweet babies, no matter how grown they are. I feel so grateful that they chose me as their mama, to walk with them through this portion of their journeys.

But back to Lyla-Gray's imminent arrival: seven weeks is not a terribly long time at all. And as I get bigger, I find that there is less and less I can physically do (aside from a great deal of whining and torturing of The Boyfriend™, who insists that we need to have more babies). My emotions are a grab bag of frenzied need-to-finish-projects-NOW to need-to-make-art-NOW to nervousness to... Well, Lets just says that there's a lot going on in my head. All of this because there's just not enough time left.

Today, we mulch and garden. I am going to brave trying to start a kitchen garden again that, hopefully, I can maintain. And with a bit of luck, I'll get into the studio this weekend.