Friday, May 31, 2013

WR 2014

Jo and Francine (14 months), Amy and Peter (9 months), Gretchen and Kennedy (7 months), Anna and Cora (4 months), Stacy and Vivian (2 months)

We've done it again! Our 10th - yes, TENTH - annual Women's Retreat went off without a hitch, even with five babes and five hubbies in tow. That's right, we were once a gaggle of girls, and now were a gang of young families. Crazy town. And so fun. SO fun. Did I mention I have the BEST girlfriends ever? Seriously, if someone could pay me for finding and selecting some of the coolest, smartest, kindest, most interesting and loyal female friends, I'd be a millionaire.

We didn't do any wild adventures, but we were pretty pleased with ourselves that all five of us girls got our five babies, three cars, and five strollers plus one carrier out for a nice long walk in the sun overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.. Also, we successfully took several photos of the babes dressed in matching outfits - they were supposed to look all Northwest-y and flannel-y a la Logger love. But alas, they were more Scottish clan than lumberjack. Oh well. Some of the boys went skiing, some went golfing, and I just ate. And kissed babies. And then snacked some more. And giggled with my girlfriends. And then either nursed or chatted while someone else breastfed.

And did I mention the house was AMAZING?!? Three stories, seven bedrooms. Just up the hill from downtown Hood River. Each family got our own bedroom and our own bathroom. There was a game room with a pool table, air hockey, and ping pong. A pub/bar IN THE HOUSE. A home movie theater (where we aired a home video circa 2004 - thanks, Amy). A deck and BBQ as well as a lower porch. And a large farm-style dining room table to seat 16. And cheers to great friends who cook great food!

Only thing missing was our NYC pal, Kathleen. Hopefully she'll join us for 2014 - maybe we'll hit up our 10 year UPS reunion. Go Loggers!

P.S. Look for us in Arches :)


My stomach hurts like a mother fucker. Maybe it was that "last hurrah" burger from LBB. Or the refill of diet Coke. Which brings me to my next point.

Anyone else seen Forks Over Knives? Like, whoa. That made quite the impression for me. I know we're probably a bit behind the times, it having been out for well over a year, at least, but hey, we have a 14-month old and don't get to the movies often. Anyway, the documentary streams instantly on Netflix, has been in our instant queue for months, and we finally got around to watching it this week. Again, like, whoa. It's not that the information was necessarily new, but it was packaged in a pretty profound way.

For instance, the biggest component of our carbon footprint is not transportation, as I'd imagined, but our diet. And did you know that instead of feeding all our grains to the fat cows who feed the fat us, we could supply more than enough food for the entire world?!? Plus, the American diet causes cancer. And heart disease. And diabetes. And autoimmune diseases. Duh.

So as it turns out, my little corner of The Interweb might transition from a mommy blog into a bit of a food/diet blog for the next month or so. Alex and I are challenging ourselves to eating a whole-food-plant-based diet for the month of June. Yes, veggies. Yes, fruit. Yes, grains. Yes, legumes. No to dairy, meat, eggs, and to any and all processed or pre-packages foods - including wheat thins, yogurt, string cheese, and graham crackers. You, too, Luna Bars. And definitely no to you, Jujubes, red vines, and any and all diet sodas.

We are definitely not jumping on the "vegan" bandwagon. Mostly because I think "vegan" sounds wholly pretentious and annoying. But also because of the psychology - the word vegan to me is defined by what you can't/don't eat. The words "whole foods" and "plant based diet" sound more like what you CAN (and should) eat. The over-arching goal is to feel better; I'm hoping to have more energy throughout the day, reduce tummy aches, have more youthful skin, have fewer blood sugar crashes, and be independent of my pervasive sweet cravings. Alex is curious about his energy level, his nosebleeds, mood, and whether he feels less gross about being inactive (because of the ACL surgery). We're not wannabe-vegans, we're pretend scientists.

In order to keep myself accountable and to have a mildly more objective way to track changes, I'm hoping to blog regularly about what we are planning to eat, what we're actually eating, and how we feel. But no promises. This lifestyle requires some more serious thinking ahead - meal planning and cooking - which means my hands might be too busy to type.

And for anyone with an extra 90 minutes, go watch the documentary. Or check out the website. Really.

Maybe we can change the world one less pre-packaged protein bar and iced latte at a time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

She's Back

Guess who had to dig through old forgotten bathroom drawers searching for a pad or tampon? Because she's baaaaaack. Aunt Flo that is. Yeah, "she," because I have to personify my vagina. No really, I've gone very nearly two years since having a period. It's what I always wished for as a newly-pubescent girl. I'm now remembering the impact of cramps, a touch of the PMS, and eating FAR too many sweets. Is it weird that I feel some sense of pride or accomplishment that I made I it until my daughter is 14 months before getting my period again? As if I did anything special to "earn" this superpower. Also, if I think about it, it probably just means she's actually weaning. Which makes me sad. But there's hope yet my boobs will once again be the symmetrical wonders they once were. Only this time they'll hang to my kneecaps instead of my belly button. Gross.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

14 Months

Our little Bean, at 14 months, is an athlete, a librarian, a grocery clerk, a musician, a babysitter, and a gardener. (In other words, she likes to bounce and roll the soccer ball; play with her books and pull them off the shelves; help mama pack and unpack the groceries; play the tambourine and xylophone; kiss and hug and throw her baby doll; and rip off the lettuce leaves in the raised garden beds).

She likes: waving; blowing kisses; signing "more", "love", and "all done"; giving high fives; doing "so big" as in the photo above; to tell us when she heard the noises of helicopters, planes orbarking dogs; playing outside; neked bear crawling; cruising and walking a few steps with a parental hand; having Grammy with her 3 days per week; dancing; being a sack of potatoes; "washy washy;" climbing the stairs; opening and closing cabinets and drawers.

What I like: sleeping through the night; not pumping but being back at work; Beano cuddles while nursing; the sound of her asking for "mama" when she wakes up in the morning.

Her dislikes: drinking enough water; the sound of her daddy's new saw; miniature wiener dogs (sorry Kinny); being ignored; avocado; anything she doesn't want at the moment; scraping her bare feet or knees along the concrete while crawling.

And mine: whining; being pinched hard on the arm by my nursing child; sick/teething babies :(

She says (in her baby speech): mama, daddy/baby, banana, hi/hot, dog/duck/pig, papa, up/pear, "muh" for Max/worm/vacuum, woof woof, "mmmm" for food.

New this month: she was quick to warm to both uncles; she was either sick with some sort of stomach bug or the baby Advil did not settle well; she stopped sleeping through the night and then started again; grew her 4th tooth on the bottom; picky eating; pinching me - hard - while nursing; roughly identifying body parts from "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."

Saturday, May 18, 2013


As in, I need to catch up here in the blogosphere. It's been awhile. Maybe my longest hiatus yet.

So I started my new job week before last. Twenty hours per week, Monday through Wednesday. I even changed my Facebook profile. That's legit. The first week was New Employee Orientation. It was a good way to ease me back in to being in the "real" world among adults who speak more than reduplicated syllables. Last week I started to get settled into my new office, get acquainted with the nine million different programs I'll need to use to schedule patients, check email, chart, and do continuing ed. And beginning this upcoming Monday I'll have my first new patient. It sounds like the caseload is a little slow right now, so I guess that means I have a bit of time to get my big girl brain on and remember how to be a professional. Then again, part of the learning curve at the VA has everything to do with the acronyms and the military culture. For example, during orientation, one new employee, who is also a Navy veteran, was talking about women in the military, on the front lines, sexual assault, etc. He said something about how it was difficult to figure getting women on his submarine because of birth. I thought, "Huh, that's weird. Why would a pregnant chick be on a submarine? Don't they get maternity leave?" Turns out the world is berth. Also? There was some mention of how firearms are prohibited on the hospital campus, being federal property and all, which progressed into round-table gun talk, personal rights, etc. The orientation leader asked for a show of hands for how many people liked to hike. At least half of the two dozen new employees raised their hands. Then he asked how many of those hikers carry guns with them. Four people raised their hands. Seriously?!? It has never once crossed my mind to grab my pistol and put it next to my Nalgene in my backpack. Then again, I don't have a pistol. Maybe that's why. So yeah, I've got some learning to do.

I'd also like to take this time to commend myself on my patience. I applied for this job back in October. Interviewed in December. Was offered the position in January. And will start in May. But truth is, it's my dream job (aside from being the Bean's mama, of course) so I was willing to wait. Our bank account, however, has not been nearly as patient. We've got some bills to pay and money to save.

Chris is watching Francie for the next two months until Alex is off for the summer. She's also staying with us. She's like the wife I always wanted. And I don't mean that in a sexist, derogatory way. I mean it as a compliment. She takes very good care of our baby girl. She re-stocks the produce. She picks up after herself (and, admittedly, after us). And she texts us to ask "Can I cook dinner tonight?" As if we'd ever say no. And the Bean loves having her Grammy around. It is SO nice to have an extra pair of helping hands. We will be heartbroken when she goes back to Tahoe. I tried to get them to buy the cute house down the street, but they weren't biting.

You know those optical illusions where you stare at one image, then look at something else and that first image pops out in 3D? Well that's how I feel about the baby's crying. Shit, that sound just keeps ringing through my head. I'm hearing phantom baby cries. Uninterrupted sleep is again a thing of the past. We're back to every 3 hours. Every. Three. Hours. What is she, a newborn? Hah. So we're back to "sleep training," also know as "ignoring her in the middle of the night, despite her desperate wails, by tuning her out with eardrum-shattering white noise." But at least she's my cheerful baby girl again. We're over that two-week period that included nasty diapers, possible teething, and persistent fussiness. I'll take several night wakings to unpleasant daytimes. But what I miss most about sleep PB (pre-Bean) is the freedom to wake up when my own body said. That's why Alex and I have instituted "Sleep-In Days." As in, "Saturday is your Sleep-In Day and Sunday is mine."

It was Mother's Day last week. Alex and the Bean got me a beautiful hanging basket. They also gave me a "me" day, which means I got to run the show - I slept in, Alex did all the baby care-taking, and I got to run whatever "errands" (craft store, fabric store, Home Depot ...) that I wanted. I tried to make a short video of the Bean wishing everyone a Happy "Mama" Day to send to my mama friends, but she foiled my efforts by saying what sounds like "daddy" instead of "mama." Classic. But it also got me thinking more about what makes a "good" parent. Alex thinks it's just about love, but I think it's got to be much much more than that. Respect. Boundaries. Warmth. Structure. Communication.

Alex's recovery from his ACL surgery is progressing right along. Each week he comes home from PT bragging about his improvements, something about "I got 20 more degrees this time!" Like a gold star on his behavior chart. Needless to say, he's much more cheerful now that he can amble around without crutches. But he does complain each night when he has to lock his brace into zero degrees (straight-legged) for sleep.

And also? SOMEone just pooped in the tub. I guess that's her way of getting us to clean the bathroom. It's been on our to-do list, I swear.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Veggin' Out

Guess who has two (hopefully green) thumbs and planted her first veggie garden? This girl!! With Alex laid-up, I've got to step up my game and pull my weight - and his - around here. And that means manual labor. I finished digging one (half) of a trench in the front, poured dirt, planted gladioli, poured more dirt, and watered. Then I poured even more dirt, planted three different tomato plants, a bean plant, and two lettuces. Alex took a photo so I could show my dad, for evidence.

To say I'm pleased with myself is an understatement.

"I'm proud of you," Alex says, thanking me.

Music to my ears.

We've enjoyed the recent streak of beautiful sunny days and warm weather, if Alex has to convalesce, outside on the chaise lounge soaking in that long-lost Vitamin D is the best way to do it. That, and watching our little neked Bean explore the yard. That girl looooooooves to be outside.

Return of the B

Uncle B graced us with a Portland visit before the chaos of summer on BI ensues. We miss him already. Just move here, dammit. The Bean warmed right up to him this time around, just two little homies.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sick Poo

Aww shit. Literally. I think we have a sick kid.

Not so bad that the carpet is stained or anything, but sick enough to warrant day-long fussing, lack of appetite, and disposable diapers. I changed the nastiest diapy of my life yesterday morning. And then this morning woke to my crying child in an array of diarrhea stained bedding. Poor thing. Being sick stinks. Literally. And shitting yourself is the worst. Seriously. I would know.

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