Dream a Little Dream

I have somehow managed to get everyone out of the house. Well, excepting the dog (my sister’s) and the sleeping baby Bun. I figured I better get this post in because in about one hour, all hell is going to break loose on my house. In other words, we are having a birthday party for a three-year-old; seven other children will be here.

I am posting the video below because it has resonated for DearDR and me over the past few days.

DearDR’s boss showed this to him a couple of days ago, in reference to him finally earning his license to practice psychology. He’s been at this agency for seven years now, and they have always encouraged him to do more and go further. And now that he has, we all will reap the reward that has been sown.

Look at the contestant’s face throughout the video. Watch the expressions of the judges — and especially how they change.

And don’t give up. Dream big, dream little. But for God’s sake — dream.

Photo Friday

Oh, my, this is easy. I may start Photo EveryDay.

Monkey likes putting stickers on her face.

I would pay to know what Bun is thinking. Is it, “What the heck is my big sister doing?”? Is it, “I can’t wait to put those little round things all over my face too”? Is it, “Where did that teddy bear go?”? Or is she simply getting ready to poop?

Monkey also likes to put stickers on her toes.

Holy, crap. It’s time to color.

A giant Bun is coming for you.

Check Up

Why I have this insanely busy week this week, I’m not exactly sure. I scheduled a lot of stuff for a week I shouldn’t have a lot of stuff scheduled. I’m hosting about 25 people on Saturday for Monkey’s third birthday, and I don’t really don’t have my shit together.

Monday, I had a job interview at 9 a.m. in “the city” — about a 45 minute drive, counting traffic.

Tuesday my sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and I took the kids for pictures (her three boys, my two girls). I had them over for lunch beforehand. The pictures went okay, but then Bun wouldn’t nap in the afternoon, apparently feeling that the 10 minutes she got in the car on the way home from the pictures was plenty, thank you very much. And it was pizza night next door, which was fine, because frankly I needed someone else to cook dinner that night.

Wednesday… what was Wednesday? Oh, dinner in the South Side with friends down in Pittsburgh for the day with their son. This is a woman I went to high school with (let’s call her H); she and her husband and son now live back in Erie (they spent some years in St. Louis). We were joined by another high school friend (call her A) who lives here.

I don’t have a lot of friends from high school. I have two girl friends from grade school (actually one of these I have literally known since she was born, two months — exactly two months — after me; our parents were good friends). I have the two aforementioned girl friends from high school. As time goes on, it does get harder and harder to keep in touch, but we all try. It’s important, having people in your life who “knew you when”. Even if the knew you when you were a geek — or whatever. I hadn’t seen A, who lives in Swissvale, a suburb on the other side of Pittsburgh from where I reside, since before Bun was born. Last night was the first time she had met Bun!

A, the girls and I went to a bookstore for coffee and a cookie after dinner. H & her family headed back to Erie. A and I had a lot of catching up to do, which I think we managed to some extent. I got home with two sleeping kids (not bathed, not in pajamas) at 9 p.m. I packed everyone off to bed, and had a glass of wine!

Then today was Monkey’s first visit to the dentist. She did fantastic, like she’s been there before. The dental assistant and dentist were good with her, too. All in all, I was impressed. Monkey’s reward is to watch Finding Nemo, which she is doing now; Bun is napping.

Additionally, I’m doing this post-everyday-thing. Good job, RPM.

DearDR should be home by 6 p.m., so maybe we can start making headway on all the stuff that has to be done around here before we have a bunch of people descend on the household. I mean, we’re talking everything from hanging curtains and draperies (are these two different things?), to finishing the office clean-up, to dusting.

And tomorrow, I have a second interview that consists of a two-hour writing test and a meeting with the CFO of the company. And I’m not sure what I’m wearing for that yet.

I better get on it. I have at least another hour of Nemo and of naptime. Cheers!

So It Begins

Today is the first day that I am going to write about being pregnant with Gabriel. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on my pregnancy, for obvious reasons. I got pregnant a little over a year after DearDR and I got married. It was a little sooner than we had expected, but no less welcome for that.

I chose a group of midwives in my area; I had an uneventful (until the end) pregnancy. I had a fabulous pregnancy. I was so happy to be pregnant; the hormones were good to me. I was enraptured with the miraculousness of it all.

In lieu of making this up as I go along, I am going to quote some passages from the last month of my pregnancy from my journal at that time. Because I am “this way” about punctuation, I have to say that the ellipses I use are indicative of skipped words, not the way I actually write in my journal.

In retrospect, how naive it sounds, yet how hopeful.

I still miss him a lot.

“April 30 2003
“I think about the future fabric of our lives: you, with your work and the teaching; me, with the children and my writing, the articles, my quiet poems. What a view this is, this simple life, not one I imagined ever….
“To the baby, our li’l bean, 8 weeks before your birth: when you move within, I have such great joy. I didn’t expect this; I didn’t expect you…. Your father wants to meet you, wants to see your face. I have a different desire, if I can try to articulate it. It is not that you not be born, but that you are, and that I can carry you the way I do now forever, at the same time. It is a selfish wish: that I remain your whole world, your only sustanence. that I nver have to give you away, or worse, say goodbye.
“I know that will never happen. In triumph & strength, I will birth you, meet you & look in your eyes. We will name each other.”

May 1 2003
“2 months to go, and I am all rounded belly… it is quiet. even you are quiet, the occasional roll or bump to tell me you’re there, waiting, growing…. I work on my birth plan — as if I can plan you into the world. I don’t know what to expect. I will never be this innocent? clueless? again…. I am looking forward to six weeks from now, when I will stop freelancing, use my days off to rest — or nest, feather your room with goods, curtains, a crib. I will wait, dream of you, dream you into this world.”

May 9 2003
“I address you often, both in my head & aloud. I’ve gotten used to the names we’ve chosen, even attached to them. I think of the Bible, of God saying, I knew you before you were born.
“I know you…. I don’t know your face, but I almost do. I dream of it sometimes, of holding you, looking down at you. Sometimes you are asleep, and dreaming of me, too. Sometimes you are looking back at me with the knowledge of the angels in your eyes.
“I can write now, ‘I will never forget these days.’ But I don’t know. Maybe I will; maybe that is why I write. … But maybe, after babies, this time — womb time — will disappear for us. … I will recall certain things: what we called you before we picked names; the day I first felt you move; my husband’s eyes when I told him I was carrying you. But to say I will truly remember this, not just with words, just in my head — that is a tenuous bet. This feeling of well being, of contentment, richness, joy, love, LIFE — the suffuse emotions. how will I hold onto them? Will I be able to summon them when you are away from me, an agent in the world? Will I be able to tell you how it was to be pregnant with you? I don’t know. Until I had you in me, I didn’t know this language, this landscape. So who knows what comes after?”

May 24 2003
“This morning [DearDR] wakes up and says, ‘I dreamt of the baby. A boy, perfect.’ He sounds so happy — sleepy, still, but happy. Whichever say this goes, a boy or a girl, I think we will be happy & at peace. We just want a healthy child.”

[last one, last day] June 4 2003
“26 days until l’il bean’s EDD. who knows how much time will come, will go, before you come into the world. You are deeply head down in my womb — and I worry about your head getting squished. … is that silly? … you seem to be measuring a week or two behind. Is that a concern? You’re active enough — I seldom am compelled to sit & count your little movements, your rolls & stretches & kicks. There are plenty at any given time.
“[The midwife] poked around to find your position & started a little contraction. I’ve been having some of those, nothing very painful, though.
“Everything else is ok.”

Hello, Worry, My Old Friend

I am a terribly anxious person. As a matter of fact, when I entered therapy as an adult, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

And that’s pretty spot on — I don’t have specific anxieties or phobias (although it is very specific that I cannot sleep with a closet door open a crack, or at all really). Pretty much anything and any situation has the potential for making me a mess.

I worry about being a reluctant SAHM and how that reluctance/unwillingness is impacting my girls. I worry about getting a full-time job, and how to juggle that with being a mother. I worry about money. A lot.

I know that some of you are reading this thinking, “well, yeah, everyone worries about that stuff.” And of course, most people do worry about some of these things some of the time.

But my anxiety goes to deeper levels that can really impair me. I can be utterly frozen by my anxiety, unable to sleep, eat or think clearly. For a long time, and the reason for me going into therapy, it interfered with my ability to be in a healthy, loving relationship; additionally, I was having nightmares about literally being consumed, eaten alive. That was a big problem.

Turns out the two were related.

My anxiety is probably the reason I still crave cigarettes (and on occasion indulge in smoking). Not that smoking relaxes me; more that having a cigarette seems to help me focus the anxiety, and purge it through the act of smoking. (I’m probably rationalizing a bad habit/addiction here…)

My anxiety is definitely at the root of many of my fights with DearDR, whether I am stressing over money, work, getting somewhere on time (something we are notoriously bad at), or sex. I can start a fight over the most inconsequential things because of how over-anxious I get.

Which is all to say that this NaBloPoMo thing is going to be good for my writing, but bad (BAD) for my anxiety. Right now, for instance, I am stressing that since I am writing this post so late (almost 9 p.m. DST), that once I hit publish, WordPress will somehow push the date to tomorrow. And I won’t be able to do anything about it, and I will be out of NaBloPoMo (why not NBPM? why not??) through no fault of my own, and then Cynical Dad will heartlessly cross me off the NaBloPoMo banner that he has me on (not that Chag is heartless, as is proven by his blog), and that’s it. I will be out of the running for those loverly prizes.

Yeah, it’s like that y’all.


Let’s Get Organized Around Here

This NaBloPoMo is quite inspiring. After looking around at several sites (and bookmarking them and adding them to my blogroll and vowing to become a better commenter), I have made some decisions about what is going to happen here this month.

First of all, themes.

1. On Mondays, I am going to post recipes. I am not a big foodie, or anything like that, but I do cook and I do eat and feed other people. (Wait, I don’t eat other people, I just feed other people. See, people, clarity in writing is vital. I mean: I do eat. I do feed other people.) Many of these recipes are adapted to suit my or my husband’s tastes (DearDR does not do green peppers, in any quantity whatsoever), and some of them are adapted from meat-based recipes to suit my vegetarian household. The first recipe is below.
2. On Wednesdays and Sundays I am going to write about my pregnancies and labor. And, yes, that is going to include my pregnancy and labor with, and loss of, Gabriel. I don’t ever tell people about my labor with him, so that will be a big first.
3. Fridays will be Photo Fridays (no, I am not going to spell it wrong, i.e. Foto or Phriday; I am a professional writer/editor when I do work, and I just cannot do it people. I will break out in a rash). I will pick the best photo(s) I take that week, or incorporate photos into a photo essay.
4. Tuesdays, Thursdays (including Thanksgiving) and Saturdays are free-for-all. Unless, of course, I decide throughout the course of this week to do something differently. It could happen. As many a disclaimer goes: “Things are subject to change without notice.”

Without further ado, here’s today’s recipe, which is simmering in my slow cooker as we speak. Er, as I write, anyway.

Adapted from the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook.

Sante Fe Soup with Melted Cheese
(comments will follow)

Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. soy crumbles (I use Morningstar Farms)
Chili powder to taste
1 can corn, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
Tortilla chips

1. Saute garlic in olive oil. (All my recipes pretty much start this way. Even recipes that I find and try start this way. It’s how recipes start, unless you’re baking.) Add soy crumbles and chili powder to taste. Saute for about five minutes.
2. Combine soy crumbles and the rest of the ingredients (minus the chips) in a slow cooker. Cover; cook on high for 3 hours.
3. Serve with tortilla chips as a side or crumbled on top.

Comments: The original recipe (OR) calls for a pound of beef, browned and drained — if you swing that way, go for it. Also the OR calls for the corn and beans undrained, but I drain and rinse them on principle (too much sodium!). I usually do not use Velveeta, but I have to say I have made this recipe with regular old cheddar cheese (usually organic), and it doesn’t come out with a soupy consistancy. It tastes just fine, but it is very lumpy looking and the cheese separates. For the sake of this recipe, I have put aside my processed food prejudice and I’ve gone with the Velveeta. Do what you like, Mike!

Edited to add: Music and/or videos! They will have their own day, probably Saturday. Yeah, I’m going kick ass with this thing. I hope.


I have discovered a couple of women through NaBloPoMo who have started me considering a theme for this month of many, many posts. It is not a happy theme — but then, this is not always a happy weblog, right? Although I set out to be humorous, it seems to me that mostly I’m a little bitchy; occasionally I’m funny; and I mention my faith quite a bit. But I would hate to be lumped in with any particular group: funny moms, or Catholic moms, or whatever.

The two women are Birdies Mama and Niobe. Their blogs have moved me; their stories — which are a version of my story — have affected me. And there are many more women out there like them — like us. And I haven’t found them until now.

But I am hesitant to blog primarily about Gabriel, my stillborn son. One of the reasons — two of the reasons, I should say, are Monkey and Bun. I take such delight in them, such joy. Shouldn’t I write about that?

When I was pregnant with Gabriel and after we lost him, I wrote extensively in my journal. This was more than four years ago now, way before the weblog phenomenon. I also wrote “publicly” about him, as it were; at the time, I was very active in Pittsburgh’s poetry scene. I attended workshops and classes and had readings; I published. I haven’t done very much in that vein since Monkey’s birth. I wrote, read and published a number of poems that were specifically about my experience of Gabriel.

He has also been mentioned here, and of course at this very blog on the anniversary of his death.

But now I want to tell Niobe and Birdie’s Mama about him. And others, too, others that I am just discovering.

And, let’s face it, it’s better than bitching about potty training and/or frustrating times with DearDR. Right?

NaBloPoMo Member

I am trying to get this button over on one of my side margins, but as self-evident as the instructions for doing that are here at WordPress, it still isn’t happening. Maybe someone has a suggestion? Guidance? Thanks.

Now I’m Flatter than a Board

I have been meaning to write this post for two weeks now: Bun Weans Herself.

I have already written about my position on breast-feeding. I’m not a hard-core La Leche lady or anything like that; it just seems the most natural, although not always the easiest, thing to do.

So up until two weeks ago, I was still nursing Bun. She was also getting some formula, and of course, lots of solid food at this point. Like her sister before her, Bun definitely is a terrific eater. I have yet to try something that she absolutely will not eat.

At seven months, she was nursing three times a day: early morning (anywhere between 5 and 7 a.m.), 10-10:30 a.m., and 5 p.m.

Then, about six weeks ago, she started losing interest. She would occasionally sleep through the early morning feed. She almost always still wanted the 10 a.m. nurse-n-nap. And then the 5 p.m. session became hit or miss.

Although Bun didn’t seem to miss anything. She didn’t look for it. She was never one of those pull-on-the shirt type nursers.

Then about three weeks ago, she really lost interest. Instead of nursing, she would smile at my breast, laugh even. She would thoughtfully knead my breast, even giving it an occasionaly pinch. After playing a bit, sometimes she would still take a few sips. As a source of entertainment, my breasts seemed to do the trick; as a food source, not so much.

And then Bun started nipping the nipples, and that was the end. She would catch the very tip in between her four teeth, and that actions hurts like a m-f’er.

I know I am very lucky. Monkey was much the same way about weaning. It just wasn’t that big a deal. Real, solid food seems to be much more interesting than what I have on offer (DearDR probably thinks this too…). Unfortunately, because she is only ten months old, I still have to offer her formula, which she seems to like very well.

The other downside to having breast fed? I have a negative bra size now. I am not even close to kidding. Before kids I was barely an A cup. Pregnancy and breast feeding were boons to my husband. And now. Now, my bra laughs when I put it on. “Honey,” it says, “if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have any curves.”

And you know, it’s right.

Beating My Head Against a Brick Wall

NaBloPoMo Member

Today was “Office Cleaning” Day.

(DearDr’s Desk)

Bella and Tadone have the kids next door. DearDR stayed home most of the day to help (he was supposed to stay home all day, but he has patients at 4 and 6 p.m. that got moved from earlier in the week — that can be explained another day. I have 28 more to go, after all.)

We procrastinated. We cleaned the kitchen, changed the sheets on the beds, had sex in the shower. We did not want to go into the office. Especially to clean.

(My Desk)

But eventually (around 11:30 a.m. to be precise) DearDR and I found ourselves in the office. And we began.

Our esrtwhile office, supposed to be my work-at-home office, has been, since we moved into this house two and a half years ago, treated more like a storage space than an office. When other rooms get cleaned, everything goes into the office. When we decorate for holidays, the everyday stuff sits in the office. And the paper is truly daunting. I have created files; we received a nifty bill organizer a couple of years ago to help.

Instead, I store bills and mail to be sorted through in this:

This is a perpetual problem, and I hope someday that it will be solved permanently. In the meantime, I gotta move all this stuff in time for Monkey’s birthday party in a week. And dust. I have to dust. I used to dust, but this house and all the stuff and shelves in this house have defeated me.

(Where We Actually File Things)

(And Underneath Where We Actually File Things)

(Stairs Leading to Basement)

And these pictures? These were taken after three and a half hours of cleaning. Instead of continuing, I have decided to write and post pictures. I’m decompressing. I have about another hour and a half kid-free, so I will go back to it. Unless Bella calls me first. And I hope she’s feeding me and the girls dinner because I haven’t even thought about that.