Thursday, November 30, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Last year, we didn't have a Christmas tree. This was partially due to the fact that I was already on several hours of bedrest a day, and more so because we closed on our house on December 27th and moved in on the 28th.

I wasn't about to undecorate and pack everything up on the 26th...

Seeing as the Christmas Holiday begins this coming Sunday (I won't bore you with a lecture, but Christmas begins the first Sunday of Advent and ends with the Feast of the Epiphany, and don't waste your breath trying to tell me otherwise), it's time to get a tree.

Growing up, we always had a "real" tree. I think just one year, we bought a live tree that ended up planted in the yard, but most every year, we had a real tree with real sap and real needles and I tried my best to not be assigned the duty of adding water to the tree stand, as both the sap and needles were hard to avoid. That, and a male poodle who had the disgusting habit of peeing on the tree/stand.

And, other than the years when all I had was a 2 foot "apartment-sized" table top tree, when I've had a tree of my own, it's been of the real type. I even have a Christmas tree stand ready and waiting in the shed. You could say that having a real tree is a tradition for me.

Or, you could say it WAS a tradition for me. That's right. I've decided to take the plunge and get an artificial tree (most likely one that has the lights built in). I'm not sure where it will come from (my husband has made it very clear that it will not be Kmart, as they are advertising "Holiday" trees, not "Christmas" trees), but it will probably be the place where I find the best deal and/or a box that will fit in the trunk of my car.

Who wants to take bets on how long it takes before Zitty ends up climbing the tree to get away from Lillie, knocking ornaments everywhere, which doesn't really matter, because Lillie will end up lunging into the tree, knocking the entire thing over, and will gnaw her way through half of the branches and snack on some ornaments while she's at it?

Don't bother calling me a pessimistic Scrooge; I'm just a realist...

What, me, weird?

OK, I admit it, I've been moping for the good part of a week 'cause no one tagged me yet... Ginger finally had no one left to choose. :) It's just like back in grade school, when I was the last one picked for kickball.

6 weird things about me:

  1. I do not like to use the microwave. I have no idea why. This means I will take 20 minutes to heat up the oven and 60 more to "bake" a pot pie that, according to the instructions, will be perfectly delicious if I nuked it for 5. Same thing for leftovers - I dump it in a pan and heat it on the stove. Need hot water? That's what the teapot is for. This drives my husband nuts, so if I'm heating something up for him, I'll use the microwave.

  2. If I hear the first line of "I'm Sailing Away", I have to sing the entire song. No wait, that's not me; that's Eric Cartman.

  3. I'd rather do without than "make do". None of this "Well, it's not really want I want, but I guess it will work for now" crap for me. Hence the fact that our living room is "furnished" with a piano and a (sadly, mostly empty) wine rack. Until I find the "perfect" furniture (and the even more perfect no interest financing), the bear has a wonderfully empty room to perform her gymnastics in. And no, I have no idea what this perfect furniture looks like, but I do know I haven't seen it in the Haverty's ads yet.

  4. I don't like chocolate.

  5. I cannot stand for things to be "undone". Unmade beds, open cabinets, you get the idea. We have two conference rooms at work that have screens mounted on the walls so you can use a projector in meetings and they are ALWAYS left down. When I enter one of these rooms for a meeting, I go over to the switch and raise the screen before I sit down. Even if there are already 14 other people in the room. I've stopped apologizing for it.

  6. I cannot "have a taste" of someone else's food. Even if they haven't taken a bite yet. However, I'm more than happy to let someone else try whatever I'm having.
And I tag BB, Erin, Peach, Muffy, Cole, and Tim, because we haven't heard from him nearly enough lately.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

But I only have 27 left...

They announced our 2007 holiday schedule at work today and they took away President's Day. In return, we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as holidays (we usually only get Christmas Day), presumably since Christmas is on a Tuesday and that allows for everyone to have a four-day weekend.

But... that also means no "free" time off between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Memorial Day. Wouldn't it make more sense to take away MLK Day and let us have New Year's Day in January and President's Day in February? It's still a 3-month span with no long weekends, but that's what sick days are for, right? :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Go Big Red!

Don't tell him, but the game starts after his bedtime...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Welcome to my world.

OK, I'm probably upstaging Joe (like that's possible), because I know he's going to post this.

But THIS is what I get to live with...

Daddy farts, mommy tries not to throw up, and the baby thinks it's HI-larious.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

No, there's no tree yet. Maybe later this weekend.

But, the radio in J.J.'s nursery has been changed to the Fish, since they're playing nothing but Christmas music. Baby Einstein can wait until after the end of the season.

And, thanks to, I just got one of these for J.J. for quite a reasonable price!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's a zoo out there...

We took advantage of my extra day off & the beautiful weather (if you were in the sun) and visited the Nashville Zoo.

The Bear hung out with a lorikeet.

J.J.'s favorite animal was his frog.

The giraffes were roaming around.

J.J. had fun on the swings - video here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving thanks

While Mom was over our house this past weekend, she asked if there was anything I needed at dinner Thursday "to make it Thanksgiving".

Hmm. I could do without the turkey, don't care one way or the other about mashed potatoes and gravy, but need some cornbread dressing, whole cranberry sauce (with Grand Marnier), and sweet potatoes (either baked in the skin or in a casserole, just no marshmallows, please).

And wine... white or red? Either - if it's red, a mellow pinot noir would be perfect, or a crisp sauvignon blanc. I know, "traditional wines" for turkey day are zin (no, not the pink stuff) or Riesling, but you're talking to a girl who just said the turkey isn't her focus.

Dessert? Pumpkin pie.

After trying to get a lunch date (my husband's working on his "day off", one unreturned phone call to a friend and a coworker I couldn't convince to throw out her brought from home salad), I ran to my favorite "who can believe this place exists in Donelson?" spot where I overheard several conversations, all centering on Thursday... Who's eating where, how many meals they're "stuck" going to, who's bringing what, and "how the heck do you cook a turkey?"

And while the food's good and all, I'm just going to throw this out there, but isn't the whole point coming together with family and friends and giving thanks?

I'm thankful for my family -- Joe, me, Zitty, the Bear & our newest additions, J.J. and "The Biscuit" (and the nephew added to the extended family).

I'm thankful that whatever crawled in my throat and died has left.

I'm thankful that my fantasy football team has clinched a playoff spot.

And I'm thankful that neither of our DBAs figured out how to set up my OracleBI Discoverer and OracleAS Portal single sign-on by 5:00, so I get not just two but three extra days off this week.

That's a 5-day weekend -- woo-hoo!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Go Preds!

Guess where we're headed this evening?

Note: It is REALLY difficult to take a self portrait with a 6 month old...

Friday, November 17, 2006

What works for us...

Thursday, I ran across this and thought, "Wow - I wish someone would do the same for us female types."

Well, Jag apparently thought the same thing, but took it one step further and threw down the gauntlet to several of us out here on the internets.

While my first instinct is to scramble for the shadows and let someone else step up to the plate (and by now, they very well may have, but I don't want that to influence me, so I haven't checked yet), I'll take the challenge.

So, for the other girls out there who might be interested in someone else's point of view, here goes nothing...

While I can't say I know what's best for everyone, I do know what works for us. I have found that there is a simple two-word phrase that is the key to happiness: "Thank you".

And just saying it is not enough. You have to mean it. That's the tough part for me, because that requires some letting go. You may find this hard to believe, but I have been accused of being a control freak on more than one occasion.

When your husband/boyfriend/significant other looks at you and tells you, "You sure look pretty today, honey", don't roll your eyes and complain about how the humidity is making your hair frizz and how the dark circles under your eyes have their own area code and your jeans feel like they're cutting you in half at the waist because you're as bloated as a dead possum that's been lying in the sun for three days.

You see, your guy doesn't see all of that. He sees the woman he fell in love with. Pointing out your flaws doesn't accomplish anything other than opening the possibility of him beginning to doubt his ability to choose the perfect mate.

So even though you may not feel glamorous and beautiful wearing his oversized t-shirt with no makeup as you pour him a cup of coffee -- to him, you are a goddess. His goddess.

So, accept his compliments. More importantly, believe his compliments, smile as you remember why it was you fell in love with him in the first place, and tell him "Thank you".

When your guy takes it upon himself to load the dishwasher, don't look at the half-rinsed plates leaning against each other, the over-stuffed silverware basket and the "top rack only" items crammed on the bottom shelf and sigh and mutter about having to reload the darn thing yourself.

Let it go.

He just took his time that could have been spent setting his fantasy football team's line-up and cleared out the sink and loaded the dishwasher to help you. Because he loves you and sees all that you do for him and your family and wants to help too. It doesn't matter that he didn't do it the way you would have done it. What matters is it's done. Besides, the 2 minutes it will take you to reorganize the dishwasher when you get out of bed at 2:30 in the morning because it's still driving you crazy is nothing.

Just thank him for helping with the dishes and ask if he's ready to go snuggle up on the couch and see what's on TiVo (even if won't be "Lost" for another 3 months).

I tend to be one of those stubborn types, who feels like she has to do everything herself if she wants it done right. But I'm learning that there's such a thing as "good enough".

It's good enough that my laundry is clean and folded and in my dresser. The fact that there was no bleach used on the whites (this may be a blessing in disguise, because they weren't all white, anyway), the Bounce sheet never made it into the dryer, and my t-shirts are in my sock drawer doesn't matter.

What does matter is my husband cares enough about me to want to help me out. And that's more than good enough. Besides, he's learned how to work the Downy ball, so there's always hope we can continue to make small steps.

Don't let today's obstacles get in your way. You're in this for a lifetime, and excuse the botched together string of clich├ęs, but in the long run, it ain't nothing but a drop in the bucket.

Seriously, remember what brought you together in the first place.

When he gets home from work, think back to that first time he picked you up for a date. How your heart was beating just a little fast and you checked at least 4 times to make sure your mascara wasn't smeared, and "does this bra give me enough cleavage?".

Hold hands.

When you see it's him calling, stop what you're doing, smile, and give your full attention to your conversation. None of this "Mmm hmm... oh, sorry, what did you say? I was just reading this email..." crap.

Write his initials in a heart in the margin of your legal pad when you're stuck in yet another meeting at work. Remember what it was like when the two of you had an entire lifetime ahead of you. Because you still do.

Focusing on what's not right and what's out of your control and being negative is not going to help your relationship (or your own well-being).

Don't look at the floor that needs to be swept and the diaper pail that needs to be emptied and the blanket of dog hair covering the bed. Those leaves on the floor are there because your husband was working in the yard, the diapers are a result of having a wonderful, healthy child, and there would be no dog hair if there wasn't a loving dog to go with it.

So, don't worry about what's wrong. Focus on what's right. What's manageable. So what if your infant son is wearing a girl's shirt? His daddy loved him enough to pick it out for him, and he was right - J.J did look cute in it anyway.

Thank you, baby - love you!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My pity party - feel free to join in or just ignore me

I decided to come home for lunch (and by lunch, I mean that pumpkin pie shake I picked up at Jack in the Box) rather than join in the company's Thanksgiving potluck. Nothing personal, for those of you who may work with me, but I have a problem eating food that other people cooked, especially if I don't know them very well. Prove to me that you wash your hands thoroughly, have no pets with hair and keep separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables, and I'll think about it.

I'm trying really hard to pretend it's not true, but I think I'm getting sick. I have this frog in my throat. He's not the type that makes my voice croaky, though. This guy is the type of frog with razor-sharp claws. And as he's hanging on for dear life, he's slicing up my throat, making it uncomfortable to swallow. And when I do try to swallow, he swells up his fat little body, releasing some sort of poison, making sure I realize he's still there.

Remind me to stop by Walgreen's on my way back to work so I can pick up something to numb it. I've already dropped a container of mom's homemade hot spiced (some people call it Russian) tea mix in my purse - you know - the kind made with instant tea, tang, lemonade, cloves and cinnamon. I think it might make the afternoon a little more bearable.

And my ears itch. Way deep inside. Using a Q-tip does NOT help. Although it does feel really good.

Yep. I'm one of those "If I were on a deserted island, I'd want my Q-tips" people.

That's all I got.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Checked up

The J-man's 6 month check up shows he's in the 90th percentile for both height and weight (20 pounds, 9 ounces). As for me, I'd sure like to see those kids who make up that other 10%... I just had to go through his clothes and get rid of anything that was 12 months or smaller. 18 months - that's 3 times his age! At this rate, he'll be in a men's small by kindergarten and drinking beer when he's 7 (I'm kidding - I hope!).

He survived the shots - just a few seconds of screaming like hell, then he was back to his usual happy self, and we headed to have lunch with Grandma. Daddy, of course, couldn't witness the shots. He says it's the needle thing, I think it's his way of making sure J.J. still only associates his daddy with fun stuff. Like this morning, when Joe was singing "Hot Child in the City" and dancing while our little guy laughed and danced along from the stroller. The things I miss every morning while I go to work and they have their fun...

Big news!

As of yesterday, November 12th, J.J. has to share his grandma - and aunt Jeanne... Cousin John Christian was born 5 weeks early and just a couple ounces smaller than J.J. was. It was something else to stand outside the nursery window at the hospital and look at how much has happened and how much J.J. has changed and grown in 6 months. The baby's in NICU as a precaution, and could possibly go home late tomorrow, pending test results. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, rub your lucky rabbit's foot or do whatever you do, because his mama is being discharged tomorrow and I can't imagine having to go home without the little one.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Odds and ends...

Bailey (Lillie's birth mother) survived her Halloween binge. My guess is she purged shortly after we found her face first in our candy bowl. Her owners said she was "just fine" when she returned home that evening.

J.J. has moved on to veggies - carrots (but no colorful side effects that I've seen) and green beans have both been received with enthusiasm (although not quite as much as the first meal generated). Now, I'm feeling guilty about feeding him store bought food and am planning on making (and freezing) some home-made goodies this weekend.

I haven't had a decent hair cut since that one I got in New Orleans. Since flying to the Big Easy and back on a Saturday is not feasible (although, it IS tempting), I need to find someone here in Nashville. Someone who will look at my hair type and texture and know how it should be cut for a low (no) maintenance 'do. Any recommendations?

I tried to add some folks to my "who I'm reading" list and change my RSS feed link to my FeedBurner one, and apparently, I have to upgrade my template (and lose all of my customization) before I can. I'd say that's not likely to happen before this calendar year is over.

I just have to get through Friday and it's three day weekend time for me... Of course, half of Monday will be spent at the pediatrician for J.J.'s 6 month check up and shots (and then a couple more hours visiting his Grandma at work). Any guesses on weight? According to the home scale, we hit the 20 pound mark a couple of weeks ago, if you need a starting point.

My husband thinks this is the funniest thing on earth. Me, not so much. But, this one is funny.

Happy with my Honda 99% of the time

There are about 5 days a year when I think about how nice it would be to have a convertible.

Today is one of them.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day PSA (and free donuts)

Don't worry, I'm not going to start talking about who and what you should or shouldn't vote for - I'm much more interested in telling you J.J. has added veggies to his diet. He had cereal AND carrots last night. Yes, I'm aware that both he and his, um, "by-products" might turn orange. And I'll get pictures if that happens. Pictures of him, that is, not his diapers...

So there you go - I've hit the "I'm talking about baby poop" stage of motherhood.

Enough about crap.

On to a related topic...

Vote. It's your right. Plus, if you don't vote, you can't complain about the stupid things politicians do. Find out where to go (Davidson County) and get more information (statewide).

Then get yourself (and your voter registration card or your "I Voted" sticker) to Krispy Kreme for a free donut.

If you have problems voting, call your county election commission (Davidson County: 862-8800). You can also call the party hot lines. Republicans: 866-913-VOTE. Democrats: 866-910-VOTE. Or tell your story to the folks at the National Voter Concerns Center.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

mmm, mmm, good!

J.J. had his first meal this evening - rice cereal. Aunt Jeanne came over to help - but I think she knew it was going to be fun! Don't miss the links to the videos at the end (my template doesn't like it when I try to embed the videos).

Hold on baby, I think it will be better if we get it out of the box first.



All cleaned up...

Bedtime came minutes later... eating is hard work.

Need more? Watch the videos.

What's next? Daddy gets his turn. Then we move on to veggies and fruits. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy half birthday J.J. Dubin!!!

Six months ago today, I had yet another doctor's appointment...

With just a few weeks left in my pregnancy, my blood pressure had shot out of control and as a result, I had to go to the doctor 2-3 times a week to get my BP checked, various blood tests to make sure my organs weren't imploding, and watch J.J. on a fetal monitor and/or an ultrasound to make sure he wasn't in any danger.

To make things interesting, even though my "due date" was nearing (I think my actual date should have been three or four weeks later), my body was in no way preparing for delivery. No dropping, no effacement, no dilation. Heck, I didn't look anywhere near 9 months pregnant.

I had barely slept the night before and was not only tired that morning, but achy and stiff and bloated and generally miserable. It was all I could do to get out of bed, get showered, and make myself a smoothie before we had to leave.

Joe was on day two of recovering from running the 1/2 marathon. He was physically exhausted, sore, and had to work from 4:00 until 8:00 that morning. The ibuprofen he was popping every 4 hours wasn't really enough to make his aches go away, and he was so tired, he fell asleep while we were at my appointment.

The doctor had hooked me up to a fetal monitor, and left us for a few minutes. All either of us could think of was heading home and taking a nice nap as soon as the appointment was over. Although my hospital bag had been packed for weeks (after our first afternoon in triage), we hadn't brought it with us this time. I was tired of lugging it back home after every appointment.

After several minutes of monitoring, my doctor came in to check on me. "Hmm... not much movement. Let me get you a coke."

I didn't think too much of that - I figured the baby was sharing my sluggishness and was looking as forward to that nap as I was. Five minutes later, our plans changed.

The doctor came back in the room, checked out the monitor and immediately sent us across the hall for an ultrasound. The coke I had consumed should have magnified the fetal activity, causing peaks of excitement. Instead, there were sharp drops. She calmly explained that the little one might be lying on the cord "or something", and she just wanted to check things out.

I woke up my husband and we trekked across the hall to the lab. The ultrasound started out as usual, with the technician pointing out the amniotic fluid (the level was lower than the last check, but no where near critical) several of the baby's organs, and explained to us how the baby was positioned. We got to the shot of his little face staring out at us from the monitor, seemingly saying hello, when things got tense.

"When was your last ultrasound?"

"About a week and a half ago, why?"

"Did they give you a weight estimate?"

"Between 6 and 7 pounds - WHY?"

The panic in her voice was undeniable "Because I can't get the measurements to get anywhere near 6 pounds and... and... Why don't you get dressed and head back to your doctor's office? I'm going to get this report typed up and sent over right away."

Now we were awake - and scared... "What's wrong?"

She tried to recover, "I'm just worried about the amniotic fluid level... Your doctor will discuss it with you in a minute."

We returned to the doctor's office and were told to wait at the nurse's station. Seems all the examination rooms were filled and she had to talk to us NOW. My nurse walked by on her way to another patient and asked, "So, are you ready to go have that baby?"

Uhh... No. Not really.

Minutes later, we found out that it didn't matter if we were ready or not. The ultrasound showed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and was tight enough to be causing problems. That cute little face saying "hello" had actually been crying out for help.

The next two hours were a blur. Us rushing to the hospital, my husband running home to take care of Lillie Biscuit and grab the hospital bag while two nurses prepped me for surgery. He made it back to the hospital with just enough time to put on a surgical gown and mask and follow me into the OR. The nurses worked quickly to get me hooked up to monitors, confirm my epidural was working, and prep my abdomen for the incision. My doctor walked in, went to work, and within 15 minutes, J.J. was getting checked out (8/9 on his APGAR) as someone else was stitching me up. Joe wasn't sure whether he should see to J.J. or stay by my side. I sent him to look after J.J., since I didn't have that option.

I was taken to recovery, where I spent most of the next hour by myself, desperately missing my baby, while everyone else stood by the window at the nursery down the hall, watching him get cleaned up.

I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced it realizes how difficult that first separation from your baby is. I mean, I had spent (almost) 9 months with him. Talking to him, singing to him (poor guy) envisioning what he would look like, wondering if he was a girl or a boy. Getting kicked by him. Feeling him flip around inside of me. Feeling his little hiccups every evening for the last month I was pregnant.

And now, not only did they cut me open and yank him out of me (trust me on this one - the epidural did its job, but I could feel them pulling), but he's down the hall, around the corner, and in the nursery, where EVERYONE else but me can see him. I have to say what I experienced was separation anxiety, magnified by the morphine.


I still feel that way. Whenever I'm not with him. Whenever I'm racing to pick him up at the babysitter's or to get home to him & his daddy. Whenever he's been riding in the back seat of my car and all I can see of him is that tiny reflection from the back seat baby mirror in my rear view mirror. Whenever someone else is holding him, it's all I can do not to reach out and take him back. All day at work, I gaze at his pictures on my desk and on my computer and on my tablet. I still wake up in the middle of the night and stand by his crib just watching him sleep. Just looking at how beautiful he is. Just hoping that every day he feels happy and safe and he understands how much joy he has brought into our lives.

It's hard to believe it has already been six months. And soon, I'll be saying I can't believe it's been six years, or wondering where the time went as I watch him graduate high school. But I do know, it's been the best six months of my life.