Friday, August 31, 2012

Coffee Bean

Alex met some friends at the Thirsty Lion this afternoon. He was carrying Francie in the Beco, with her facing out. The ditzy young hostess giggled when they walked up and said, "I thought you were wearing a Hangover shirt."

Alex proceeded to quote the movie, one of our favorite lines, "I've found a baby before. Coffee Bean." The hostess didn't get it.

We kinda like to think Francie resembles Carlos a bit. So I take the Hangover reference as a compliment. But really, isn't that a brilliant idea? Like those bikini tees, only this one is made to look like you're carrying a baby. Hah!

Apparently someone else already thought of the tshirt idea ...

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Cheeseburgers. Apparently that's our tradition. Romantic, I know. For our 3rd wedding anniversary we went out to Skyline Burgers last night. We had high hopes for an out-of-this-world diner experience. But the burger, fries, tots, and chocolate malt were just so so.

So this burger tradition or ours is entirely unintentional. Recalling anniversaries of old, we realized we ate at Little Big Burger in the Pearl last year, couldn't recall what we did for our first anniversary (other than devour our leftover frozen wedding cake). Even on our wedding day we stuffed our faces with beef and potatoes in the midnight hour.

For some ladies this lack of forethought in the realm of gifts, planning date nights, and overall underwhelming celebrations might be a problem. But for me, not so. In general, this is one arena where I'm pretty low maintenance. Alex knows that he needs just a few big surprises very intermittently in order to keep me satiated. And he's definitely made it count. Take his proposal, for example. Simply brilliant - he took me back to the first hike we ever went on together, me totally unsuspecting, and goaded me into picking a fight with him for not wanting to marry me. Then, bam! He gets down on one knee, whips out this beautiful ring of my mom's emerald in a new white gold setting, says "why do you think I brought you up here?" and asks me to be his forever-girl.

Another good one was our wedding day. He serenaded me. HE SERENADED ME! He set the bar pretty high for the singletons in attendance with his surprise rendition of "Yellow" - the song he learned to play on guitar when we first started dating.

So yeah, we might have eaten shitty Sysco burgers, forgotten to write cards or too stressed to exchange gifts. But we did spend the evening together, and with our baby girl, and enjoyed reminiscing about the best party of our lives, just three years earlier. Cheers, my penguino, to many more years of laughter, love, and adventure. xoxo

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

23 Weeks

Hi my name is Joanna and I'm wearing maternity clothes. At five months. Five months POST-PARTUM. This, just on the heels of squeeeeezing in to my pre-pregnancy jeans yesterday. And when I say squeeze, I mean squeeeeeeeeeeeze. Like Chris Farley doing fat guy in a little coat. Like pork in a sausage casing. Like a tube of toothpaste at high altitude. So yeah, I could brag and say I fit into my old clothes. But that would send the wrong message. That would indicate that my old clothes actually fit, or fit the same way they used to. Oh no. Not the way they used to. In a new way. A way that includes a muffin top. Or an intertube for a waist. A baby belly bulge. Not hot. Alex is sweet and tells me he doesn't notice. This makes me question his eyesight. And his judgment. Never again can I take his word - "You look great, babe" just lost all street cred. That said, I started biking to work again today! So yeah, can you tell where I get my motivation? Not from the pureness of fresh air. Not from the need to clear my head. Not because it "feels good to break a sweat." Oh no, my ass gets in gear only from the fear of getting fat or staying fat. Just when I was starting to think, "I don't look so bad for a lady who just had a baby - one who doesn't have the luxury of a nanny to watch my child while I center myself and re-connect at yoga or on a nice long run. I don't look so bad for a lady who just had a baby - and works fulltime without the desire to expend the last couple of hours of my day and the last few grams of energy at the gym rather than at home with my cherubic chubby daughter. I don't look so bad for a lady who just had a baby, compared to the average fat American." All that business about the weight "falling off" from breastfeeding? A bunch of bullshit, as far as my body is concerned. Then again, the fat on my hips has never had such a purpose before, and part of me is a little proud to know that it's going to good use, provising food for my calf. I put weight on slowly, and I'd lile to imagine that my body is naturally doing the same thing in reverse. If I did a little something something to expedite the process that would sure be nice. But in the meantime I'll enjoy wearing my stretchy-waisted pants for as long as I need.

Last week I saved a life. Did I mention that yet? Okay, maybe not so much as "saved a life" but helped a man communicate who has essentially been without use of his hands for writing and his voice for speaking since April. He's sort of like the guy with locked-in sydrome from Diving Bell and a Butterfly. Except I'm not helping my patient write a book. Yet.

The Bean is 23 weeks old today. I can't believe that means she's just a few weeks shy of her half birthday. How on earth has time flown by that quickly!?! A six month old is not a newborn, yet I find myself saying, "I just had a baby." How long am I entitled to that excuse?

I can sit up all on my own, even long enough for my mama to snap a photo!

Crack kills. My baby plumber. Like mother like daughter.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Food

The Bean ate her first food today. Puréed brown rice plus breast milk. Mmm mmm good. I think "ate" might be an overstatement. She mostly just tongued it around, trying to decide what to think of it all, then desperately wanted to chew on the spoon. It went a little something like this:

5 Months

Dear Mom,

Can you believe Francine is already 5 months old? That cliche about time flying is so true, more than ever right now. Alex took her to the pediatrician and she's weighing in at 14 lbs 10 oz.! She either shrunk or their measurements are imprecise because she's recorded as 25.25 inches long. That puts her in the 25-50th percentile for size. But she's got a pinhead, like you. She's just barely outgrown her newborn hats!

I think about you often, some times more than others. I think of you when I feel like I need my own mom, just a big squeeze and encouragement that I'm doing just great. I could have used a big hug and kiss last week after totally melting down at work. As you well know, I HATE crying in public, let alone in front of my colleagues, but I just couldn't keep it under wraps any longer. The stress just oozed out of my being in the form of heaving sobs. "I just don't know if the VA is the right place for me." "I'm trying so hard to compensate for some of my weaker clinical skills with being flexible and agreeable." " It's so hard to work full time as a new mom." "I'm just SO tired!" I wanted to say, "poor me, and I don't even have a mom."

I also wonder about what your role would be in our family today. Weekly dinners? Telephone calls and daily texts? Childcare support? Laughing about it all? Or maybe just about Dave Barry's perspective of childrearing. That's my fantasy mother, of course. Who knows, maybe you would have gone back to school or amped up a career or travelled the world or been unavailable in one of a million other possible ways.

If you're on my mind, I reflect mostly on how your life must have been when you were at this similar stage. You didn't have to work, but was Dad gone a lot? Did you ever have to pump? How did you feel about Meemaw and Granny? When you nursed in the night did you use the rocker? Were you comfortable leaving your baby? Did you like being home full time? And how did you spend your days?

But back to the Bean. A little bit more of her "person" presents itself each day. She is beginning to develop some unique and distinct traits. She love love loves music. She recently started "singing" along to the radio in the car. Sometimes I turn down the volume, to try to decipher whether she's fussing or cooing. She'll stop vocalizing, and then start making happy noises again when I turn the volume back up. She loves looking at faces. She's got a good stare - sort of makes you feel like she's reading your soul. She would definitely win a staring contest. I'd bet a pretty penny on it. She likes touching faces, too. I call this "Helen Kellering." It's as though she's really trying to know you, to memorize your face - what it looks like and how it feels.

She's quite the baby yogi. She can do a sphinx pose when on her belly. And she can do a mean "happy baby" when I change her diaper. She's so flexible she can put her toes right into her mouth. In fact, there's nothing she'd rather do than eat her feet. She even whines when she can't quite reach because of her cloth diaper, or when her foot slips back to its native position on the far end of her body. She can roll front to back, but hasn't even attempted back to front. She's still not a lover of tummy time, so why would she purposefully roll that way? I guess she's motivated to get off that darn tummy of hers because by golly she needs to eat her feet.

She can hold her own bottle when it's almost empty. Make breastmilk cheese on the folds-within-folds of her neck rolls. Giggle. Alex says she has a tiny little dimple on her right cheek. But I'm not convinced it's not just cellulite. She sleeps with her arms behind her head and her legs swaddled. She can ask a question with just her raised eyebrows. She will smile and be happily held by strangers. She can reach for interesting colorful objects (like my Tillamook ice cream carton). And she smiles at passers by when being carried in the Beco facing out.

You'd be so endeared by seeing Dad with Francie. You'd be proud of what a good grandfather he is revealing himself to be. Without any cueing at all, he uses a higher pitched voice and brushes Francie's soft, chubby baby cheeks with his hands. He lets her chew on his fingers and even sits in the back of the car, just BDA and his Magoo, when we all go out to dinner. But the problem is, he's the ONLY person that she cries at. When she looks at his face she gets this big pouty lip and bursts in to tears. The first time it happened I didn't think much of it. The second time it was funny. The third time, less so. And now? Just plain worrisome. I don't know what it is about him that makes her cry, but the other evening it made me sad too. Al and Brian are all I've got, and I'll be damned if my baby doesn't simply adore my father, especially in your absence, Mom. I'm afraid she's getting conditioned to cry at him, like Pavlov's dog and the bell. The other day he sais, "What's wrong? I'm your friend. I'm on your team. Even when you're a teenager, I'll still be on your team." You'd be proud.

I love and miss you. Mostarooni.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


A good guest comes bearing gifts. Puts their own dishes in the dishwasher. And goes out of their way to leave the home better than when they arrived.

A good guest, however, does not shit the bed. Francine. You're never going to be invited back to Gus' house. You're always gonna be that girl who pooped in his room. That's right, you should be a little embarrassed, we certainly are.

We had a fast and furious trip to Bend this weekend to visit AJ and Breezy and Gus. Zach, too, was couch-surfing. We hung out at their new place, played guitars and watched the babies, and tasted a variety of beers (some had more than others) at Bend Brewfest. And then, this morning, after a solid night of zero to no rest (The Bean apparently doesn't want me to sleep any more), Francie pooped. And it eeked out the side of her diaper. And leaked through her onesie. And onto my pants. And my foot. And spread to the sheets. And apparently the mattress, too.

Good guests buy their hosts mattress pads, especially if they let their children soil the bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


One thing I never considered about tattoos is that it gives free reign for others to comment on your appearance. I agree, Spike's work on my arm is beautiful art. If I didn't think so I wouldn't have made it permanent (difference between a 19 year old decision and a 29 year old decision). That said, I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of people commenting - whether it's a compliment or criticism - on my body or its adornments.

At the VA, when I show up on campus in a tank top after getting hot and sweaty from my bike ride in, I get several comments from vets. These are neither complimentary or critical. Almost all of them have tattoos themselves. Problem is, I think most of them suck. The ink, not the people. So I'm doubly self-conscious - and then what if they're one of my patients? I go my best to keep it under wraps, just for the sake of professionalism, but the dog days of summer pose a little bit of a challenge.

On that note, Alex is getting new ink this Friday. He's been talking about it for a couple years, so I'm glad he's finally pulling the trigger. I guess he told his dad that he had an appointment this week and Paul said, "That's so permanent." I thought that's a rather tactful way to express parental disapproval. I'll have to keep that in mind for when Francie comes to us begging for tattoos and piercings and other newer, weirder adornments like implants or scales or horns or something. "But YOU did it mom and dad," I can hear her saying. Shit, what do I retort? That's so permanent?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spilt Milk

Yeah, so this actually happened to me the other day. Fortunately, I was too tired to cry. Just kidding. But I did keep it a secret from my colleagues, simply because how gross is it to think about someone spilling breast milk on the carpet? If there's a rotten dairy smell from the treatment room, don't blame me. Blame the baby.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Happy 21st, Bean!! Weeks, not years. Don't get carried away. I love you more and more every day. Seriously. I used to think that was cliche and trite. And now I find myself saying it. That, and how time flies. And to enjoy every moment.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Same Same

I don't know what everyone complains about. Having a baby is just like it was before. Take this weekend for example. We took the Bean to her first live music show. Sure, there weren't the slutty costumes, the sex in the bathroom, or the drugs on the ferris wheel. Not the stretch limo. Or the 20+ group of 20-somethings. Or the party-all-nighters. Or the long road trips. Or the hangovers. Oh! The hangovers. But Los Lobos once played with Grateful Dead, you know. Sure, this time it was an afternoon concert. At a park next to soccer fields and across from Fred Meyer. And I drank soda and ate a sandwich. And I didn't dance. But it was free. Not because of our VIP press passes that got us into interviews with J5 or Jack White. But it was free because it was sponsored by the parks & rec district. In Beaverton. Suburbs can be cool, I guess. And besides, who doesn't like La Bamba?!?

Safety first. Baby earphones to protect those cute little cochlea.

Rockin' out.

Bean likes to play "Helen Keller." It's where she touches and gropes at our faces.
I'm suspicious she can't see well out of those beady little Magoo eyes.

Look at me! I can grab my feet! But I do it so much better when I have my diaper off ... get me neked.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Yak

Last weekend we took a family road trip to Yakima for Gretchen's baby shower. The ladies spent most of the afternoon at the shower, where Francie was a hit, while the boys held down the fort at the Heinzen household playing pickleball and escaping the heat in the pool. We all continued the family fun, before retiring for the night at Dan's parents' house. Somehow Francie made it the whole day without so much as a catnap, and reveled in all the attention. We also got a tour of Gretch and Dan's new house - fabulous. Gretch looks amazing and says she's ready to go anytime - with 37 weeks in mind. F was not so happy about the drive home. I believe we stopped at least four times. The road trips Alex and I daydream about taking in a Vanagan might have to wait a few years. We didn't bring our camera, but I did snap a few pics with my new phone. Of course I didn't take any photos of the beautiful parents-to-be, but instead they are all of the Bean!

Party dress.


Baby's first swim. She couldn't decide whether or not she liked it. She didn't cry, but she didn't really smile either. Then again, she only got a 5-minute dip before my nerves got the best of me.
She might be getting chubbier, but I still don't think she's fat enough to float.

Yes, she's a Hartman.

Bean and I made Gretchen and Baby Girl Thorner onesies for a fun photo to track each month.

Lisa, Gretch and me at the shower.

Those Heinzen's are serious about their games.

Neked baby!

Baby with a brew.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lion Cubs

Several weekends ago (my how time flies) I got together with some girlfriends from high school and their families for a Sunday brunch, as Liz was visiting home for the first time with her daughter Nora. It was fun to see fellow WL alum + babies - all girls except for Logan - and especially fun to watch the kids play and to take their adorable pictures. I'm not sure Nora or Francie so much played as they did stare in wonderment at each other or at the bigger kids. I imagine their growing brains thinking, "Wow! I'm going to be able to do that soon?!?"

It's funny how relationships can evolve with time and shared experiences. I've known each of these ladies since at least middle school, if not earlier. We were by no means an established, exclusive group of girlfriends, but through various permutations - new parenthood and, actually, blogging and even Facebook, I've managed to re-connect with old friends.

Tina I've known since our days at Sunset Primary. I don't think she and I ever actually had a class together, but the years Dee and I were not attached at the hip, Tina and Dee were. We then went on to both middle and high school together and ran around in the same crowd - in fact, in high school I was the evil beeatch who tried to steal her boyfriend (and failed miserably). She's now on her last few months in Portland before moving with her 2 year-old daughter and husband to Montana. Liz, Krista and I date back to our days as soccer players - go Dynamites! I wonder what Bart and Mark would think when they saw us now? Maybe they'd wonder who was going to coach our little girls. We should be so lucky as to have such caring men/dads in our daughters' lives - instructing and encouraging each of our little girls to be a team player, set goals, be active, persevere when you're not the best, and other such life lessons. Liz lives in Maryland with her husband and 9-month-old daughter Nora. She's working on her PhD in English and writes much more eloquently than I about (attempts at) balancing work and family life ( Krista and her husband Jordan, who also attended WLHS, live in Portland with their two girls Clara and Evie. She's the more experienced parent of the bunch - and somehow manages TWO children - who recently returned to school for nursing. And then, of course, there's Rachel. Nuff said. BFF. And Logan seemed to hold his own with all the ladies around.

It was such a treat to trade war stories and be continually awed by an amazing group of women I grew up with. Here are just a few of the 9,232 photos the paparazzi (Mr. Close) snapped ...

From L to R: 
Tina and Sophia, Liz and Nora, Jo and Francine, Rachel and Logan, Krista and Clara and Evie.

In an effort to reduce the sheer number of photos I try to upload to my blog to share, I opted for the overstimulating collage version. I always feel like I can get more bang for my buck this way. Plus it's a great way to showcase the process of getting a photo of a group of six children. Mine was the most well-behaved. Ha! It's just that she can't walk away. Yet. Especially when I have her trapped in her Bumbo chair.

***Blog post title credit goes to Katie Hook. Thanks for the inspiration. You're a hero.

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