Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bird is the word

Next week we're headed to Disneyland for Thanksgiving. Wait, didn't I just return from a vacation? Yes. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Yes.

Anyway, our Disneyland Thanksgiving meal usually consists of a giant corn dog and fries, which, trust me, is amazing. But a small part of me longs for stuffing and gravy. So this year, I decided we would have our cake and eat it too, and by cake I mean turkey. 10 days early.

I really enjoy cooking. To a semi-obsessive extent. I spend more time reading recipes than I do literature. The more difficult a meal is to prepare, the more excited I get. However I've never had the bravery to attempt an entire holiday feast. It's always been something best left to the kitchen veterans. Those who have spent years perfecting their sage to butter ratio and turkey browning procedure. But all those years had to start at some point, right? I'm 28, so if not now, when? This was my year. So on Monday I made Thanksgiving dinner.

I cheated a little. I didn't make rolls or a pie because I just didn't have the oven space. I did do a turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. For Stephen, Ivy, and me. It's an obscene amount of food for three people, but I've had stuffing for lunch every day this week, and the turkey seems to be getting better with refrigerator aging.

Stephen looks a little Charles Manson-y in this photo, and you can't really see the huge plate of turkey in front of Ivy, but it's the only proof I have. While the stuffing was a little parsley heavy, and not all the potatoes mashed as well as I hoped they would, nothing burned, the turkey was actually pretty freaking good, and I now know that making gravy is...gravy. So let's mark it a success.


I am very pregnant. My back kind of hurts and I panic every time fifteen minutes passes and I don't feel a kick, but other than that things aren't too terrible yet. We're at 11 weeks until Ramona's due date, which seems both a really long time and a shockingly short amount of time. At some point I should really figure out where this kid is going to sleep. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mexico Part 2 Dos, Also Montezuma's Revenge

I spent yesterday dealing with a surprise souvenir from our Mexican adventure. In retrospect, one should probably pay more than $3.00 for six tacos. Or maybe it was the ice that did me in? We were careful to only drink bottled water, but I did have a lot of ice with my coke lights with lime. Whatever it was, it wreaked complete havoc on my system and I spent the night thinking surely I would die. Luckily, now it's passed and I can get back to the remembering our sunshine-filled week on the beach. 

The thing about unwinding is that it takes a while. Stephen and I were both in the middle of about 7,000 projects when we picked up and left the country for a week, and the hotel had no free wifi, so we spent the first couple of days twitching and feeling a little...bored. I also called my parents about 17 times to make sure Ivy was still breathing. Oh. And. As if we weren't feeling guilty enough as parents, we met an adorable young couple (the wife was about as pregnant as I am) who had brought their daughter because they are better people than we are, and the daughter's name was Ivy. We nearly melted with bad parent guilt every time we saw them. So by Tuesday night we were feeling antsy and really missing our kid and wondering if maybe we should just head home early. But then, by day 3, we started to feel okay about spending the entire day reading and eating guacamole. And we remembered that Ivy's grandparents are way more attentive to her needs than we are. Plus, we were averaging 11 hours of sleep a night and starting to really feel the benefits. 

Except for one night. At about 1:00 am the entire hotel woke up to what can best be described as mariachi marching band music booming from a boat on the beach. Take mariachi music, which is no quiet affair to begin with, add some really heavy drums, amplified with speakers, and lasting for about an hour. Most of the other hotel guests were aged somewhere between 62 and 107, and they did not take well to the early morning serenade. One woman yelled from her balcony "Turn that off!" as though the people actually on the boat with the sonic boom would hear her. The man above us called the front desk and asked them to use lethal force to make the music die. It didn't work. Just as one song would end and we thought sleep could finally take us once more, another would start. Stephen thinks it was part of a war between hotels, some hospitality sabotage, which I tend to agree with if only because it's a more exciting explanation than drunk fishermen enjoying some late night sweet tunes. 

Anyway. We spent our mornings at the beach, eavesdropping on the group in the lounge chairs next to us. The men, all in their 60s,  wore gold chains and shorts that were not age appropriate. The women, all in their 50s, wore extra cleavagey bikinis and everyone was inexplicably tan for being from New York. They would talk about whatever member of the group was back at the hotel, and from what we could gather, a few of the couples were arguing but pretending not to be.  The resort started serving drinks at 10:00 am(!) before even offering food, and the people on the other side of us usually started their beers right around then. 

We'd spend the afternoon walking the beach, watching the pelicans try and catch fish, hunting for crabs on rocks, and choosing sea shells to show Ivy. Then we'd sit by the pool, read, order guacamole and make our way to the marina for insanely cheap meals. As mentioned earlier, I ended up paying in other ways, but still. Gotta love a bargain.

We made friends with lots of iguanas, which were everywhere, including the top of the palm tree right outside our room. 

We took a break from the sun to go see Interstellar. Dude, that script needed some HELP. I actually laughed out loud at multiple lines, and when the final plot climax was revealed I rolled my eyes. But the theater had the most delicious caramel popcorn so it was worth it. 

Please keep in mind that I'm 7 months pregnant and didn't do my hair all week.

By week's end we were relaxed, full of burritos, and twice as freckled as when we left. It was just enough of a break, and we were ready to go be parents again. But Ivy wasn't quite ready for us. When we walked into my parents' house, Ivy started crying, reached for my mom, and wouldn't look at us for thirty minutes. Ollie, however, peed with excitement when he saw us. So at least someone missed us. Ivy did eventually come around. The gifts probably didn't hurt. She's been counting the seashells we gathered for days now. And I think she's happy to be back in our funny little routine, even if she did spend thirty minutes crying "NO PANTS!" this morning. Stephen and I are happy to be back too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mexico Part 1

It feels entitled and selfish and very one percent every time I say, "I need a vacation." But in the middle of my first trimester, right after we had moved to Utah and Stephen was studying for the bar and Ivy had stopped napping and I was wondering if I would spend the rest of my life hunched over the toilet, I felt more deserving of a vacation than I really had any right to. 

So I got to work planning. With enough credit card points to cover our hotel stay, and Stephen's parents generously donating some of their sky miles, it was a getaway that wouldn't put us in the poor(er) house. So the only thing left to feel guilty about was abandoning our child for a week. When my parents came to pick her up the night before our departure, I had good cry and imagined all the worst-case scenarios that could possibly happen in our absence, because if I worry enough about it it won't happen, as I always say.

The next morning Stephen and I, the official least biggest fans of the AM hours, woke up at the crack of dawn and tried not to bit each others' heads off on our way to the airport. Mornings are bad for marriage. 

But after we checked in and made our way to the gate, our moods started to change. There's a very different feel between the passengers waiting to travel to say, New Jersey for a business conference, and those waiting to board a plane to Puerto Vallarta for a week's vacation. A good 75% of our fellow passengers wore their finest tropical-themed shirts and offered commentary on the very favorable Mexican weather forecast. People were smiling. A Delta employee called Stephen and I to the desk. She informed us that she had noticed we weren't sitting next to each other and had rearranged some passengers so our seats were in the same row, making her the first airline employee I've ever had the urge to hug. Once aboard the plane, the pilot cracked some corny jokes, we all enjoyed our in-flight beverages, and a good nap later, we landed in PV. 

The line to get through customs wrapped around the airport and it looked as though we had an hour wait before getting our passports check. BUT, just as the bad mood came creeping back, an airport employee directed us to a line-less station. If looks could kill, we would have suffered grisly deaths a hundred times over at the hands of those poor suckers ahead of us in the line that never ended. Worth it. Sure, it was frustrating when we were stopped twice by what we thought were official employees only to find out they were trying to sell us tickets to some dumb dinner show, and yeah, we probably paid way too much for the cab ride to the hotel, but overall the trip south was the best traveling experience of my life to date. 

We dropped our luggage off in the hotel room, headed to the beach, opened our books, and enjoyed the first of what would be many refreshing pool-side Coke Lights. 

Not sure how to get it to him?

Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Decorative Gourd Season


Sorry for the absence. I've been swamped with work and watching Gilmore Girls and parenting and watching Gilmore Girls.

I'm telling a story tomorrow night for The Porch in SLC. Eli from It Just Gets Stranger is the night's featured story teller. Eli's blog is everything a blog should be and is easily one of my favorite places on the internet. So even if my story is a total stinker, it will still be an event worth attending. Tickets available here.

Stephen and I are heading on a babymoon. Just Stephen and I. No Ivy. Half of me is looking forward to a week of napping and seeing movies and not answering the question "What are you doing?" 237 times a day. The other half is feeling like the worst mother in the world and like I can't survive a week without my child and I'm asking so many what ifs that I'm about five minutes from having to breathe into a paper bag. She'll be in the very capable hands of her grandparents who have collectively raised seven children, and she'll enjoy being spoiled rotten far more than she'd enjoy a beach, but STILL. My baby. But also naps. And diet cokes by the pool. And reading eight books. She'll be fine, right? She'll be fine.

Because we're leaving on a jet plane and LEAVING OUR KILLER DOGS HERE AND THE ALARM SYSTEM WITH LAZERS ON, I probably will forget won't have time to blog about Halloween. But I would never deprive you of photos of my kid in a costume.

Or photos of my dog in a costume.

Or my favorite Halloween video.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gestational Gesturings

I am hungry. Always hungry. And not for green smoothies and quinoa. I am hungry for bacon and cheese and lots of carbs. Ramona must have the palate of a lumberjack.

In related news, I learned how to make Egg McMuffins at home, so I guess I really did deserve the Hope of America Award they presented me in sixth grade.

With T-15 weeks until due date, it's time to start thinking about preregistering at hospitals and finding the infant carseat and saying goodbye to the last pair of non-maternity jeans. Oh and a birth plan. Ha. The birth plan. Last time the birth plan was:
1. Get to the hospital in time.
2. Lay on the drama real thick until they administer the epidural.
3. Try not to be too grossed out by whatever happens next.

Aside from a few false starts, it went pretty much as I had planned, and I think I'll stick to the same basic outline this go around.

It's hard to avoid the natural vs. medicated birth talk when discussing baby's arrival. I always feel a little defensive. I have no justifiable reason for this. No one has ever given me any sort of grief for wanting a Betty Draper-esque hospital experience. Natural labor and delivery just seems like such a popular method nowadays, and maybe that's a vocal minority thing, but I feel like the girl who shows up to the first day of seventh grade wearing Doc Martens when Doc Martens were soooooo last year. So why not try it? Because I don't like pain. Last time, as soon as the real, undeniable, contractions started, I was in a lot of pain. Not the running a marathon kind of endurance pain, but the FORTHELOVEMAKEITSTOP kind of stabbing pain. I now recognize that this was due in large part to back labor. And probably exhaustion and fear and blah blah blah. But then I got an epidural and I freaking took a nap and then we had a lovely conversation about local restaurants with my Doctor as Ivy made her way out. And now I'm getting all nostalgic thinking about that day and all teary eyed thinking about holding another new born baby and I'm actually looking forward to the giving birth thing. So long as there are drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

Monday, October 20, 2014

If you're out on the road feeling lonely and so cold

There's that moment when your child leans in close, looks you in the eyes, opens her mouth, and sneezes in your face. It's the moment you know you're doomed. No amount of orange juice or hand sanitizer or Airborne is going to stop the sick train headed for the you station.

It hit me Thursday evening. That first tickle in the ears. Then the scratch in the throat. By Friday I was self-quarantining and by Friday night I was pouring home-made saline into my nostrils because wikihow told me to. I woke up Saturday wishing that I hadn't.

I tend to get a bit dramatic in sickness. Last year during a bout of food poisoning I told Stephen to make sure my affairs were in order. But look. I'm pregnant. Which pretty much means having a mild form of about eight different illnesses for about a year. And pregnancy prohibits both Nyquil and Excedrin, the elixirs of life when a cold usually strikes. So being sick on top of sick and without the medical marvels I've grown so accustomed to felt like life was saying, "just give up and phone it in today." So I turned on Gilmore Girls. For eight hours. Ivy now knows every word to the theme song which is really all I've ever hoped for as a parent.

Anyway, I don't know if it was sufficient rest and time or the good people of Stars Hollow, but I'm feeling much better now.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Like mother like daughter

This morning I decided to make some sort of effort at being a "good mom" and take Ivy to story time at our local library.We walked into a room with a grown woman yelling a story at a group of wiggly toddlers, and Ivy turned to me and gave me a look that read, "what kind of freak show is this?". She refused to sit on the mat or get up and dance to the hokey pokey, and I started to feel like maybe I've failed her as a mother. Because honestly, I was also uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable around all the other moms who could tell that I've failed to properly socialize my child, I was scared of small talk, and I was hoping that parents weren't required to also dance to the hokey pokey. They were. It's kind of why we don't usually go to story time. Between the two of us, we're an antisocial wreck.

The narcissist in me loves that Ivy inherited some of my traits. She has my hair and my eye color, and she loves to tell jokes. But I was hoping she could skip out on my shyness. Because it's hard to be shy. It's hard to have people tell you how shy you are, even when you think you're being friendly. It's hard to dislike parties and it's hard to blush any time you have something to say to a group.

Sorry, Ivy.