Monday, December 14, 2015

Rocking (the vote) Around The Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas, all.  

Ivy keeps telling me she wants a ballerina for Christmas, and I think she means an actual, human dancer. Not a tu-tued doll. Not a portrait of a sugar plum fairy.  A living, breathing, woman who will twirl on command when Ivy, as she describes it, "turns a key." So if anyone knows where I might procure an indentured servant of sorts, do let me know. Meanwhile, Ramona tries to consume pine needles, Ollie grows ever fatter from dropped Christmas cookies, I  resist the urge to drive to Target and walk the holiday aisles just one more time, and Stephen risks his life hanging our Christmas lights.

And, of course, we make gingerbread houses with my family. And you vote for your favorite. The winner of the poll will receive a large sum of money and the Republican presidential nomination. That's not true. But they will have a somewhat valid excuse to be completely insufferable and braggy for the next year until someone inevitably creates a more breathtaking and absurd sugar monstrosity. 

Until then, cast your vote for one of the following:

B. Moonscape

C. LDS Temple. This may or may not be the most sacrilegious entry to date.  

D. Carriage Ride

E. House of Ivy

F. Playground

G. The Three Little Pigs

Go ahead. Give em a click. Think long and hard before making your choice. The Morley Family hierarchy can only be determined once the masses have decided who among us can best wield a piping bag and box of grahams.

Once you know, vote below:

* I realize both "playground" and "pigs" are misspelled in the poll. Sorry. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

Last night we came home to find our side door kicked in and our TV missing. Stephen called the police and we waited in the car for fifteen minutes until a squad car arrived. We informed the officer that we had not been through the house yet, so he called for backup and together they cleared the house, basement, garage and yard. Confident that we were safe from any violent intruders hiding in a corner somewhere, we walked inside to survey the damage. Our home was not in complete shambles, but things were off. A few of our drawers had been rifled through, Our mattress was moved, and our fridge was left open. Our side door was splintered into pieces and the door leading to the basement was pulled of its hinges. At first, the only thing we noticed missing was the TV, but as we looked through the closets we realized that my violin, my camera, Stephen's laptop, a Kindle, a Playstation, and our Apple TV were all missing, as well as my very inexpensive jewelry and peaches from the fridge. 

We're insured, and things are replaceable, so it's not the ultimate worst case scenario. Everyone is safe, nothing in the girls' rooms was touched, and Wendy the fish lived to swim another day. I'm just finding it difficult to not take the invasion personally. I feel completely disrespected. We are not wealthy people. We're fine, we're relatively comfortable, but we don't live a life of luxury. Our nice things are either items we saved for, or gifts that meant a lot. I remember the day I chose my violin with my mom and violin teacher. We spent hours in Summerhay's Music playing each violin until finding the one whose tone I liked best. I took that violin to Europe and Carnegie Hall. It was a significant purchase for my parents, and I treated my violin as my greatest treasure. When I was pregnant with Ivy, I wanted to buy a camera that would take really great baby pictures. I researched for weeks, called B&H photography multiple times, and asked for advice from every photographer I knew before deciding on my Canon T2I and made what felt like a significant purchase. I took pictures of my kids nearly every day with that camera. Ramona's newborn photos are on a memory card in the case. Stephen, a certifiable audiophile, has hundreds of hours of curated music on his laptop, as well as pictures from the past eight years. Stephen's brother just returned from his mission in Hong Kong, and he brought home some jade that I was going to wear as a necklace. It's gone. Our flashlight is gone. The nectarines and freaking orange juice from our fridge are gone.

I knew when we moved to the city that a burglary was likely, and maybe even an eventuality. I guess I had hoped that if things were taken from our home, it would be by a Jean Valjean-esque kind-hearted individual just trying to feed his (or her) family. But it appears that what we got was the work of some real jerks. They couldn't be bothered to bring their own thievery bags and instead used my pillowcase. They kicked the basement door in instead of simply unlocking it like civilized humans. They left our fridge door open and our milk spoiled. Is it too much to ask that they show just the smallest bit of common courtesy and at least let us have fresh dairy? 

Feelings of violation and material losses aside, there's a lot to be thankful for. The crime lab technician went the extra mile to check for prints and eventually captured some on windows. The sweet officer stayed with us much longer than necessary, chatting about anything and everything, which was just what we needed. Our neighbors are full of empathy and Jim across the street actually saw the car pull out of our driveway, and was able to provide a timeframe and a description of the vehicle. I had my laptop with me so I can still do my job and access our family photos. They left my sewing machine, all our clothes, and the food in our cupboards. Ivy doesn't even realize anything happened, and no one was hurt. It could have been so much worse. But I'm still feeling just a little sorry for myself. I really loved my camera and my violin and the jade from Hong Kong. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

But who's counting

Look. I know I should vacuum. I do. But I don't want to. 

How often would you say the average person vacuums? I mean, I know I'm probably way below average, I'm just wondering how much below average. Like, should I be mildly embarrassed? Or absolutely ashamed? So there's a couple cheerios on the floor. That's not a huge deal, right? Okay, and there's maybe a rogue papery garlic peel here and there, but it's not like we have full blown garbage in the corners. I'm good, right? It can wait til tomorrow? Next week? 2019? Great! 

It rained the other day. So I dressed my daughters in matching outfits and made them sit for 700 photos.

Sometimes I treat my offspring as though they are American Girl dolls. Or a Bitty Baby and AG, respectively. Is it practical to own a raincoat for a 6-month old? No. But it is also not practical to own a complete $800 birthday set including goat for Kirsten the plastic toy. I feel like I didn't do a great job connecting those two thoughts. I guess I can't explain how a raincoat for a baby is like being a part of the magical AG universe. It just is. Trust me.

I didn't have Kirsten though. I had Molly. I feel like I am Molly in every way but appearance. And actually one of the most confusing things about my existence is my blond hair and good vision. My spirit animal is a surly brunette who is completely blind without her bifocals. The problem is that I look like Kit, so people expect my disposition to be sunny, and then they start talking to me and think, "Wow. This girl is a total Molly. Refuse to eat your sweet potatoes much?" It's confusing for new friends, which is maybe why my list of friends is short. Or maybe my list of friends is short because I'm the kind of person who not only attributes her identity crisis to looking like the wrong Mattel. Inc. product, but then goes on to write an entire paragraph about it.

Anyway. My children. I dress them up like play things and take a bunch of pictures and pretend this blog is one of those cute blogs for just a minute but then remember that it's definitely been over a week since I last vacuumed so really, my blog could never be one of those cute blogs. It's fine. What I lack in clean floors I make up for with cute kids. Is it okay to call your own kids cute? I feel like you have two choices on the internet. You can make your kids full Pinterest hipster princesses, or write a series of profane posts complaining about the beings you birthed. But  as parents aren't we all kind of somewhere in the middle? We have our good days and our bad. Yesterday, after a full day of whining from my firstborn, I said to Stephen, "Preschool cannot start soon enough." But today she's bringing toys to her sister and dancing like a ballerina and making me a play-doh birthday cake. It's cute. And oh man, Ramona. She's everything I want in a baby. She's chubby and smiley and a good sleeper and I just really worry about what lies in store for her teen years because there's no way she'll be this easy forever. She's cute. My kids are cute. I said it. Sue me.

Well this has been fun. But I'd better go vacuum, because it's been maybe two weeks. Maybe more. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

My not so lovely lump is gone.

Sweatshirt: Datwyler Disneyland Family Reunion 2014 / Shorts: My dad / T-shirt: Target 2009 / 
Boot: Cottonwood Surgery Center / Hair: Bath to Pillow

I didn't die. I did have a minor melt-down pre-surgery when the nurse looked at me and asked, "Are you nervous?" and I started crying. But then the anesthesiologist administered some of that sweet, sweet, liquid courage and I was down for anything, including total leg amputation if necessary. I sort of remember being wheeled into the operating room and then all of the sudden I was waking up in the recovery area where Stephen was waiting. He said that the surgeon already sent a sample to pathology and the tumor was not cancer. Phew.

I spent the last week in percocet comas. That stuff does not mess around. I take one pill and I'm zonked within the hour. It's great. Not for supervising children, though, which is why I had an army of relatives taking shifts playing with Ivy and Ramona while I faded in and out of naps. I think my kids had the best week of their lives.

Things are getting somewhat back to normal now. I'm still shuffling around in the robot boot, making dressing and bathing somewhat of a challenge, and I get uncomfortable standing for too long, but the worst is definitely over, and I'm moving on with my life sans golf-ball in foot.

I finally worked up the courage to look a photo of the operation. It was gross. So gross. But also kind of remarkable. I'm amazed that there are people who spend years of their lives learning how to properly slice someone open then sew them back up again without killing them in the process. I'm so glad those people exist. I'm so glad I'm not one of them.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I was comforted by your comments. I realize it's a little silly to get so worked up over a dumb foot surgery, but I really was nervous and you really did make me feel better. You guys are the best.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My not so lovely lumps continued

Actually it is. A nerve sheath tumor, to be precise about it. I've been assured by both the radiologist and the podiatrist that the chances of the tumor being malignant or aggressive are very small, but the diagnosis still sent me into a minor tailspin yesterday. Partly because, well, I have a tumor, and partly because it means I definitely have to have an operation. On Monday. But it's same day surgery, I've got myself a prescription for plenty of painkillers, babysitters lined up, and a good book. Oh, let's be honest. I won't read. I'll binge watch all the shows. So recovery probably won't be that bad. That won't stop me from complaining, obviously, but it could be so much worse. I can walk around within the first week, and I can run again after four. 

The good news is that I get to wear this sexy little number around town:

so my fashion blog will probably really take off. Finally.

I'm nervous about something going wrong with the anesthesia. I'm worried that the surgery will have complications. I'm scared that pathology might find scary cells. But I don't think any of those things are likely, and as annoying as all of this is going to be, at least it will be over with soon and I can bid farewell to the malformed life. Well that's not entirely true because I hit my head on the countertop yesterday and now I have a black goose egg right above my left eye and it might never go away. At least my foot will be normal. ish.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My not so lovely lumps

I had an MRI this morning. 

I've had a bump on my ankle for the last couple years. When I first noticed it, I panicked like any good hypochondriac and made an instacare appointment. The doctor at the clinic, who was at the end of his shift on a Friday night and seemed annoyed that I was there, told me it wasn't cancer, he didn't really know what it was, but I shouldn't worry about it. So I didn't worry about it. I lived with what looked like a severe cankle and waited for the bump to disappear. It never did, but I had bigger medical fish to fry (childbirth) so I kind of just ignored it. But then over the last month, while trying and failing to get back into running (see previous post), my left foot has felt just awful. And looked awful. And there's nothing like pain and vanity to finally get me in to see a specialist. 

My google research had led me to believe I was dealing with a ganglion cyst. Kind of gross, but not a big deal. I just needed to find someone who could drain it. I went to an orthopedic podiatrist. "It's been there for how long?," the resident who saw me first asked rather condescendingly. I explained the instacare diagnosis, or rather lack thereof, and tried to convey how not a big deal this whole thing was. The resident grabbed the doctor, who brought in an ultrasound machine. It was around then that things started to feel kind of big dealish. "It's so big," the doctor kept saying while examining the ultrasound monitor, but then decided I was right, it was a cyst. "TOLD YOU!" I almost yelled at the resident, proud that my self-diagnosis was so accurate. Except it wasn't. Because when the doctor started to drain my malformation, he found blood. "You're going to need and MRI and I definitely want to operate," he told me. 

Say what?

I realize there's nothing more obnoxious than someone who constantly tells you how busy they are. But listen. I'm busy. I have a little kid and a nursing baby and a job and a yard that needs a lot of attention. I don't have time for surgery, and I really don't have time for recovery. Plus, operations really freak me out. More specifically, anesthesia frightens me deeply. But so does a growth that three separate professionals have been unable to identify. The doctor was careful to assure me that the chances of this being anything really nasty are extremely slim. But just in case I'm that rare, unlucky statistical outlier, he'd like to remove the mass as soon as possible. First though, I needed the MRI, which is why I got to wear these hospital shorts today:

I guess I didn't really know what an MRI was, and kind of still don't, so I was surprised when the tech asked me to change, told me the exam would take about an hour, and instructed me to pump and dump for the next day. I wanted to ask what exactly was going to be in me that I didn't want to feed my baby, but then decided I'd rather not know. 

Anyway, it was a small MRI room with this giant, beige machine that looked like a tunnel of misery. I laid on the table and looked at the ceiling where someone, probably with good intentions, had installed panels with photos of a bright blue sky and wispy clouds. "If this thing turns out to be malignant, at least you have angelic flight through the heavens to look forward to," the panels seemed to mock. "The machine is motion sensitive, so don't move your foot," the tech said and my foot immediately started twitching. The table moved forward and the machine turned on. Have you ever heard an MRI machine? Probably not because in every movie and TV show an MRI sequence is accompanied by a haunting melody, something sad and minor, and it continues to play during the scene where the patient sits across from a doctor sitting at a mahogany desk in a white lab coat with a concerned look on his face making hand gestures at the patient who has started to cry.

In reality, the machine is loud. It yells, "Deeep. Deeep. Deeep. WAAAAAAAAAAAA. WAAAAAAAAAAAA," over and over. For an hour. You have to wear ear plugs. And all you can do is lay(lie?) and stare at the artificial sky and think. Think about not moving your foot. Did you just move your foot? You totally did. This is going to take all day if you keep twitching. STOP TWITCHING. Think about something else. Like about all those sad movies wherein patients get MRIs before imminent death. But your life is not a movie. People get MRIs all the time. They just don't write books or make films about the people who are totally fine and sometimes get weird bumps on their ankles that are removed in same-day surgery. People who are going to be just fine don't make interesting art. You're boring and you're going to be fine. 

The exam ended, and I wanted to ask the tech if she saw anything weird. But even if she did she couldn't tell me. Because if she gave me wrong information I could sue her for a week's worth of worrying or whatever my case may be. I'm married to an attorney. I get it. But I searched her face for clues that she might be hiding something. She looked normal enough. I'll see my doctor again on Thursday and he will have an official diagnosis, I guess. I'll either have surgery right away if it's something scary, or I'll have surgery a little later if it's something that can wait. The operation will be an inconvenience and a little terrifying, but it will be fine. Because I'm boring and my life is not a sad book or a dramatic movie and for that, I am glad. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Gonna Run This Town Tonight. Or Tomorrow. Or Next Week. We Gonna Run This Town Sometime In The Foreseeable Future. Maybe.

The worst part of getting out of shape is trying to get back into shape. I didn't run during pregnancy because I didn't feel like it. I walked for a while but then it got cold and I got big and it just wasn't worth the effort anymore. So then I had a baby, lost some lbs, and started squeezing into my pre-pregnancy clothes again. That was about six weeks ago. I'm still squeezing into my jeans and pretending my shirts fit correctly. I've kind of plateaued. Oh my gosh this is so boring. Sorry. There's a point I swear. I'll try and get to it quickly. My metabolism seems to be saying, "Um, I'm doing all I can here, but you're not making it easy with your lifestyle choices." And it has a point. I eat In-N-Out on the weekly and often count walking to the washer as exercise.

So, the way I see it, in order to get rid of these pesky pounds, I have two choices: 1. Change my eating habits. HAHAHAHAHAHA. No. 2. Get back to my old runner ways. Because giving up carbs would likely cause a giant black hole of despair from which I may never emerge, running it is.

For the past couple weeks I've been trying to get back into a fitness routine. Guys, it's hard. It's hard because I like sleeping and because my body is punishing me for the nearly year-long hiatus. Anything else you can neglect and come back to fairly easily. I can go months without writing and still remember how to construct basic sentences. I haven't practiced the violin in years but I can still do vibrato and play a scale or two. Heck, I can still even speak a little bit of Latvian if you hold a gun to my head (please don't). But running isn't like that. You skip a week and suddenly your feet are like, wait, how do we move again? And you're calves are like, why are you doing this to us, what have we ever done to you? And it's not just terrible during the run, it's terrible for days after.

I suffered through a few short treadmill session, then last Saturday went for a real, pavement pounding run. I felt good for a while. I ran to a park, then around the park, and it was about halfway around that I realized I had made a terrible mistake. And I slowed way down. The 170 year old women walking ahead of me on the trail were moving faster than I was running. Dogs gave me looks of pity as I hobbled past. I was lapped by toddlers. But I finally made it to the end of the loop, and eventually back home. The trip took about an hour, so I figured I had done about six or seven miles. I mapped it. 3. 3 miles. And by the way my body has reacted since you would think it had been 50. I'm limping. I'm sore. I'm wondering how I ever did this religiously like I used to. But I'm softer than I'd like and I just really want some french fries so I can't give up. Though I did sleep through what was supposed to be treadmill time this morning. Maybe I should look into tapeworms or something.

P.S. If you're looking for updates on my children, visit Instagram. I promise you'll get your fill. And then some. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I've never done drugs. And not just for moral reasons. I've also never had the chance. Every year at the big important elementary school assembly I was taught, JUST SAY NO, and I anxiously awaited the day when I could turn my nose up at a marijuana cigarette ("What are marijuana tablets?"), and say, "No way, man! Drugs are for slugs!" or whatever clever rhyme I came up with at the time. But that day never arrived. Not in the scary halls of middle school, not in the corners of high school after class, and not at a single college party. No one ever offered me so much as a Tylenol. I guess I just don't look like the kind of girl who likes to party? Should I be offended? I wouldn't even know where to get drugs if I wanted to. Maybe I could try Pioneer Park? But then what? Do I just walk up to the nearest shady looking character and say, "Hello Sir/Madame, I would like to purchase some illegal narcotics, please." I don't know much about the streets, but I kind of feel like that's not how the drug trade works. At this point It would really take a considerable amount of research and effort for me to get my hands on some killa dilla or whatever the kids are calling it these days. But I'm not really interested. Because despite how good any substance might make me feel, there's no way it could come close to the overwhelming bliss I feel when my baby smiles at me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our house in the middle of the street

I don't know what closing costs are. I've had three different people explain it to me and I've googled it multiple times, but I still have no idea what they are. Same goes for mortgage insurance. And PPI. And APR. I really should know what all those letters mean because we just bought a house.

Every time our lender or realtor started talking numbers my eyes would glaze over and I'd start daydreaming about lunch. And then when I'd come to again I'd have to ask them to repeat what they just said, and the cycle would start over until I became Michael Scott asking Oscar to explain a budget surplus. But despite my complete lack of mathematical comprehension, we managed to buy a house.

I bet house hunting is really fun if you have lots and lots of money. Then you can say things like, "Is that fountain in the foyer made from French marble? We were really looking for an Italian marble fountain." But when you don't have lots and lots of money house hunting isn't that fun and you say things like, "Excuse me, that two bedroom, split-level home with the peeling Chicago Bears wallpaper is how much?". We quickly realized that there was a real discrepancy between the house we wanted and the house we could afford. We spent, like, twenty seven Saturdays in our realtor's car, driving all over Salt Lake City looking at homes, and each house felt like a treasure hunt. Except the treasure was whatever abnormality made the house within our price range, and most often, unlivable. Usually it was the "basement" that Stephen couldn't stand up in without hitting his head on the ceiling. Sometimes it was lack of central air. Sometimes, I'm not kidding, it was a house listed as a three bedroom with the third bedroom being a previous coal depository the size of a small dog kennel. We felt discouraged. But. Stephen and I have both spent that past eleven years as renters, which is a lot of years to spend handing over chunks of money to landlords. And we have very much outgrown our apartment. And we just felt like it was time to get some equity, whatever the H equity is, so we kept looking. Then we found a house we liked. We toured it, made an offer that same day, AND SOMEONE ELSE MADE A HIGHER OFFER THE VERY SAME DAY. Because apparently everyone else in our blessed city is looking for affordable houses that aren't super crappy. So our realtor sent more listings, we found one that looked promising, and we toured it the day it hit the market. We loved it. Three bedrooms with high ceilings all on one floor. A recently updated kitchen, a porch, a master bathroom with TWO SINKS. So we made an offer. One of many things I didn't realize about home buying before this adventure is that houses are like Oakley sunglasses in Tijuana in that the price the seller lists is not the amount they actually expect to get. Except this seller. This seller was in a hurry, so he priced the home at a level he thought would sell quickly, so when we heard that he would only accept list price we said OKAY FINE and made another offer. And just like that, we were home owners. 

There are some quirks to the house. Like, the floor is a different level in every room. The house slants to the right. The basement is a glorified cave containing a washer and dryer. The stairs to the basement are slightly less steep than a sheer drop. The chimney might crumble after a slight breeze. And the yard needs a whole lot of work. But for us, right now, it's perfect. 

We've spent the last month painting, replacing carpet, and making lots of trips to Home Depot which is why you haven't heard from me in a while. Well that and children and work and The Bachelor. We hope to be completely moved in by Saturday, so then maybe life will slow down a little? Probably not. Anyway, as I write this I really should be packing so I better go. But I'll leave you with some photos. 

The exterior:

Our empty living room:

Ivy riding her tricycle on the tricycle-friendly floor. Also, Ollie's bum:

Ivy in her bedroom painted the color she chose:

A not very good photo taken at night of Ramona's bedroom wall color:

New, fresh, carpet. It smells so good.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

May you stay forever young

I woke up at 5 am Sunday morning to use the restroom. As I stood washing my hands, something gushed. 

Let me back up here to explain why this is miraculous. For the last six months Stephen has been planning a major conference for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before my due date. I told him I would do everything I could to keep from going into labor before or during the conference, all the while growing fatter and grouchier and generally more miserable with that blessed final stage of pregnancy. 

At my last doctor's appointment, we decided to induce on Wednesday, February 4. However I told Dr. Lash I really hoped to go into labor before then (see: fat, grouchy, miserable), and that I was actually planning on Sunday. He laughed at me.

So when my water broke 5 hours after Stephen returned home from the conference after-party and right when I told my doctor it would, it was what I consider to be a total flipping miracle.

I woke up my confused and exhausted husband, added a few things to the hospital bag, made Ivy go potty, and headed to drop off our child and dog with Stephen's parents. 

I had a few contractions en route to the hospital, that may have been legitimate or may have been hysterical. I kept wondering if my water really had broken. As much as you think you know your own body, things just get straight up weird in pregnancy and it's hard to ever tell for sure what's going on. Plus having been sent home twice from the hospital before having Ivy made me feel like history was about to repeat itself.

"I think my water broke," I told the nurses at labor and delivery check-in. They asked a few questions then took me to a room where I would either deliver Ramona or be told to pack my things and head home. As the nurse monitored my vitals she asked if I was sick. She said my heart rate was abnormally high. She ran some tests to see if the gush was in fact amniotic fluid. There are three tests. The first two were negative. The third was positive. When the nurse said we could stay, my heart rate immediately dropped to normal. Nerves, man. 

I was given some pitocin to get things rolling. My family soon showed up. I had previously agreed to let my sister, who hopes to be a labor and delivery nurse, be present at the birth. Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to watch someone else give birth, but if that's her thing, then cool. My parents, brother, and sister-in-law were there for moral support before the big show. I think they were surprised by how boring labor really is. "Why are you not yelling or crying in pain?" my dad asked at one point. Because epidural. Bless those drugs. I napped, played Trivia Crack, watch Bob Ross paint a cabin in the woods, and saw the last half of an episode of Law and Order before it was time to push. Well actually it was beyond time to push. Suddenly I went from feeling nothing to feeling yikes, ouch, which apparently was because Ramona was centimeters away from the outside world. But Dr. Lash had not arrived yet. So the nurses pretended not to panic and I kept hitting the happy epidural button, hoping there would be some sort of placebo effect. 

Finally, Dr. Lash arrived looking like he had run from the parking lot. I kicked everyone but Stephen and Hannah out of view, and got to work birthing the baby. It took longer than anticipated because of some pelvic angle something or other, and her shoulder needing some adjusting. But at 4:33, she was here and I heard her cry. 

If I'm being completely honest, going to the hospital Sunday morning, I was more excited by the thought of pregnancy finally being over than I was by the thought of having a new baby. But when I heard that cry, and watched as she was washed and examined, and then when I was finally able to hold her and see her open her eyes for the first time, I fell so completely in love.

Ramona arrived weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and measuring 20 inches long. She came with a full head of dark hair, and her face looked identical to Ivy's when she was born. 

Due to flu season regulations, Ivy was not allowed to visit the hospital (she was having the time of her life with Stephen's parents instead). So it wasn't until we came home Tuesday afternoon that she was finally able to meet the baby sister she'd been hearing so much about. When I walked into our living room holding Ramona, Ivy got a look on her face that seemed to mean "Wait, this is really happening?" and for a while she was scared to get close or say anything. But then five minutes later she was rubbing Ramona's head and telling her stories and asking to hold her over and over and over again. 

We've spent the past few days enjoying Ramona's pleasantness for the twenty minutes she's awake every day.

My pediatrician said something I really liked. He said second babies are always easier. Not necessarily because their personalities or dispositions are actually better than a first child's, but because there's so much less anxiety on the part of the parents. I'm finding that to be absolutely true. With Ivy, I'm afraid I spent her entire first year worrying about my own incompetence as a mother. I've always loved Ivy with a fierce kind of love, I've just had moments where I was unable to truly enjoy being her mom out of fear or just inexperience. 

But I'm calm this time around. Like our family now has a piece we were desperately missing. Things feel more complete and we're just really glad Ramona's here. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm glad it's your birthday

Today Ivy officially turns 3, but nobody tell her that. She thinks her birthday was on Saturday. 

That's when we had cake. Cake that my sister Hannah and I spent the entire day before making. It's supposed to be a flower.

Hannah and my mom also made a banner, because I'm morbidly pregnant and tired and incapable of doing anything beyond blowing up balloons. This is also why I made my mom and Stephen's mom do all the food for the party. 

We crammed both sets of grandparents and my siblings into our not-large apartment, ate amazing soup and salad, and watched as Ivy was spoiled rotten with everything a 3-year-old princess could ever want. It pays to be the first grandchild on BOTH sides. It pays in toys, specifically.

I'm considering having a maternity test done because I'm not so sure Ivy is mine. She doesn't like chocolate cake. She likes the idea of birthday cake, the singing and the candles and the decorative shapes, but she refuses to even take a bite of the actual baked good. I, on the other hand, have had cake for breakfast every day for the past three days.

I guess it doesn't matter whether or not she consumes anything so long as we got the picture, right?

I'm struggling to wrap my head around three years. The way kids change feels both very gradual and very sudden. I couldn't tell you the difference in Ivy's maturity from one day to the next, but over the past year, even the past six months, she's gone from baby Ivy to little girl Ivy. Potty-trained, bottle-free, having conversations, dressing herself, sometimes driving me nuts, sometimes making me laugh.

I was in a...mood last night. The kind of mood one gets in when one is ready to not be pregnant anymore but is still very, very pregnant. I threw the parenting reigns at Stephen, who did a professional job of getting Ivy prepped and ready for bed. But the bedtime just didn't take. And at 10:30 at night, after hours of fighting sleep, Ivy yelled, "Mom! I'm hungry!" She may have actually been hungry, or she may have been stalling. But it seemed the fighting would only continue if the hunger claim was not addressed. So I begrudgingly started heating tortillas, Ivy's very favorite food in the world. And then I sat next to her as she took her sweet, sweet time eating the tortillas at 11 pm. I wanted to be upset with her, which shouldn't have been too difficult given my general upsettedness at the time, but she kept making me laugh with her commentary. She told me all about her day. About nursery, playing with her relatives at family dinner, about how Ollie wanted to eat a snack, and about how she's a princess. Also about how she watched the Lego Movie, and it wasn't scary. About how lions roar and pigs oink. It was one of the better conversations I've had in a while, and it made me grateful that I had thirty minutes to just sit and enjoy my kid. Our worlds are about to be rocked, that is if this baby ever decides to grace us with her presence, and I worry that Ivy will feel neglected or less important. But after getting a glimpse inside her world, I feel like she's ready to share it with another little person, and that maybe Ramona will be the best thing for her. And maybe we'll all have a late night conversation over tortillas another three years from now, and I'll be grateful I have thirty minutes to just sit and enjoy my two kids. Here's hoping. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

That's a Fine Looking High Horse

It was getting to the point where I didn't want to go to Target or anywhere public because my eyebrows looked so bad. I had neglected them for too long and they were too far gone to attempt any DIY trimming. So I made an appointment online and it was so great to not have to interact with another human during said appointment making. I told Stephen, "I wish a robot could wax my eyebrows so I could avoid smalltalk altogether." Little did I realize how ominous that statement was. 

Yesterday I dragged Ivy to my 11:15 appointment. I apologized to the stylist for having brought my child, and she said "That's okay" in a way that indicated it actually wasn't. And then, to make sure Ivy would sit still, I had to turn Netflix on my phone. The sounds of The Nightmare Before Christmas (Ivy's current fave) soon drowned out the Enya meant to add a relaxing, sleepy vibe to the experience of having hair ripped from one's face. But whatever. Ten minutes and we'd be out of there. OR SO I THOUGHT. 

Amy, I think her name was, finished the right eyebrow, and then things got weird. I was all the sudden burning up. Not wanting to be a bother, I quietly asked if I could remove my jacket. But that didn't really help. Part way through the left eyebrow, I had to sit up. And then I thought I might throw up. And then I was convinced I would deliver a child right there on the eyebrow waxing table. I apologized, stood up and made a bee line for the restroom, my confused toddler trailing behind. Turned out a quick walk was all I really needed, and I was able to get that left eyebrow finished without giving birth or passing out. I left a giant tip, tried my best to say sorry for being the most dramatic client ever, and felt sad that I can clearly never return to that salon because Amy did a really killer job on my eyebrows.

As embarrassing as the whole ordeal was, I think it was just what I needed to get jolted into the reality that this child is in fact coming, and that I had better prepare. Yesterday I packed my hospital bag and the diaper bag. Today I washed and organized all those tiny newborn clothes. I've been having braxton-hicks for the last seven hours, and I'm wondering if Ramona will show up ahead of schedule, or if all this preparation will keep her at bay. Probably the latter.