Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I think I may have mentioned this already, but D's and my 3 year anniversary is coming up on Feb. 2. We (I) try to make it a point to plan something special, preferably some sort of getaway.
The problem is, I was somewhat short-sighted when I decided that a February wedding was a good idea. Turns out, if you don't have lots of money, it's kind-of hard to find things to do in Michigan in the dead of winter. Right about this time of year, the cold starts to get really tiresome and the novelty of the snow has long since worn off. And all you want to do is go someplace warm and tropical.

Sadly, warm and tropical requires money. And also, not so easy to get away when kids are thrown in the mix. Especially when one kid is just about finished baking and could be popping out of the oven at any time.

For our first anniversary, D and I went to the west coast of Michigan to a bed and breakfast. Turns out, the town I had selected was actually more of a summer mecca and pretty much closed down in the winter. Which would explain why I had gotten such a good deal at the bed and breakfast.

This post is not about that trip, but I can't resist giving you an idea of what we were dealing with. First of all, it was basically a blizzard when we were driving into the town, trying to locate our B&B. It was just like a scary movie, where the roads are totally deserted and there's one lone traffic light blinking yellow in the distance.

Needless to say, we were the only ones at the B&B that weekend. Which was also eerie, because the B&B was a restored Victorian-style house and every time I opened the door of our room, I expected to see the scary girl from The Shining standing at the end of the hall.

Part of our weekend package was a gift certificate to a local restaurant. So we called the restaurant to see what time they closed and they said, "Whenever people stop coming in." And there was literally nothing else in this town except a bunch of boutiques that were closed and one other bar-type restaurant.

It was not a banner weekend, to say the least.

For our second anniversary, I don't remember what we did. When I started to write this post, I thought we went to Chicago, but then I started to remember that we went to Chicago in the summer for our babymoon before L was born, and not for our anniversary.

So please excuse my pregnancy brain, because I truly cannot remember what we did last year. I know L was here, so it can't have been anything exciting. And I was returning to work from maternity leave right around that time, so that seals it. We didn't really do anything for our 2nd anniversary. I think we exchanged gifts?

This year, I knew we'd need to do something. We're on the brink of having 2 under 2, I feel like I've been pregnant forever and I just want a weekend that is without a schedule and that doesn't have to be planned around nap time. So, I started thinking about it back in the fall, and looked ahead at the calendar to see what D's work schedule looked like.

Unfortunately, our actual anniversary falls in the red-zone for me pregnancy-wise. I'll be just about 37 weeks, and I think my doctor would lock me up and throw away the key if I mentioned to her that I was planning on going anywhere further away than an hour. But, since D was off weekends in December, it means he was on weekends for January. So the first weekend we could do anything would be this coming weekend, the last of January.

Not to be deterred, I announced to D that we would be taking a "staycation" and just go to a local hotel and bop around our home area for the weekend. At first, I had all these grandiose plans about how D would pick an activity to do on the Friday night and I'd pick something for Saturday night and we'd just play it by ear for the day on Saturday.

But then, as this weekend drew closer and closer, I realized that there was pretty much one thing I wanted to do: sleep. As it turns out, hotels are really awesome for that. So there's definitely going to be a lot of sleeping built into the agenda.

We do have other things planned, like dinner and a movie on Friday night. And then on Saturday, there's a home improvement show at the local expo center (with an arts and crafts fair built in) that happens to be a stone's throw away from the hotel. I'd tell you how unbelievably pumped I am about this, but it would quickly become apparent how much of a loser I am, so I won't go into that. Other than that, we have no plans except to just eat dinner and possibly bring our DVD player and watch a movie on Saturday night. Maybe order some dessert from room service or something.

But no matter what, we will have a complete and total lack of structure and schedule. This is so incredibly appealing to me that I can't even really put it into words. We're going to wake up when we want to wake up, eat when we want to eat, go where we want to go when we want to go there.....ahhhh.

Sorry, I just got a little bit swept away by the sheer bliss of it all.

I think I might be more excited about this staycation than I have been for a weekend in a long time. To be honest, I don't think I was this excited about Christmas. Or my birthday (even though this past birthday totally kicked ass).

I'm so excited that I think I've got myself convinced that staycations are just the way to go in general. Forget fancy trips to exotic locales. Why go countries (or even states) away, when a fun staycation could be yours?

Think of the perks. For one, you are already familiar with the area. If the hotel concierge tells you some sort of attraction or event is in a certain town, you already know where that town is.

You also have complete control over your travel time. You can choose a hotel 5 minutes away or 30 minutes away. And since you already know your area, you know which hotels are nice and which ones to avoid. So you eliminate the chance that you'll end up at some questionable hotel on the seedy side of town where they have the option of renting rooms by the hour.

Then there's the fun of exploring the area in which you live. You can go places you never even knew existed or always wondered about. You can eat at restaurants you've always wanted to try. (Or, in our case, you can eat at the restaurants you'd normally eat at because your husband is picky and relatively predictable and would rather eat someplace he knows he likes because if he's paying for it, he'd better like it or it will ruin his whole life.) And best of all, it's cheaper!

With all these revelations, I've got myself about 75% convinced that all our future family vacations will be staycations. If we get started with this now, our kids won't know anything different. When they're in school and their friends are talking about Disney World and cruises and beach houses, our kids will be like, "For our summer vacation, we went to Ann Arbor." (To any non-local blog readers, Ann Arbor is maybe 30 minutes from us.)

And then, if we ever do dare to venture out of state for a vacation, our kids will be in total and complete awe. By that point, we wouldn't have to go far to impress them. I'm pretty sure Cedar Point would do the trick. And Chicago would probably blow their minds. (But seriously, Chicago is awesome. Chicago blows MY mind.)

So that's the plan for the distant future. The near future holds a wonderful sleep and relaxation-filled weekend with my sweetie of 3 years (well, married for 3. Together for much longer than that. I've lost count.) Probably the last one of it's kind for a while once 2.0 gets here.

But I won't think about that. D and I made a pact that, while we can talk about L and 2.0 and general baby stuff, we aren't allowed to stress or bicker or talk about the lack of sleep that awaits us or discuss anything un-fun (specifically, money). There will only be relaxation and enjoying each other's company.

And dreaming of all the changes we want to make to our house while we're at the home improvement show.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Advice to my daughter

Ok, so I don't have a daughter. We don't know if the bun that's cooking is a boy bun or a girl bun, but it doesn't matter. Even if I never have a daughter, I'll probably one day have a daughter in law. And I'll try to remember that even if we get along better than any mother and daughter in law in the history of the world, there's always going to be a line as to how much advice I can give her before she starts complaining to my son about how I won't stop putting my nose in her business and could he please talk to me and tell me to knock it off already.

So here's what I'm thinking. D and I have our 3rd anniversary coming up on February 2. It feels like we've been married for much longer than that, and I truly mean that in the best way possible. And I've been thinking about our wedding and how amazing it was and how I was such a naive fool about so many things. And that got me to thinking about what I'd do differently. And then I thought I'd write a blog post about it, so one day, when my son is getting ready to get married, I can casually drop into conversation about how I once wrote a blog and wow, what a brilliant idea, why don't you check it out, future daughter in law? And I'll conveniently have this post all pulled up and ready to go. (Note to daughter in law: Obviously my brilliant plan is now completely foiled because you're reading this, so just humor me, ok?)

So, my future daughter (and/or daughter in law), here are some things I wish I would have known when I was getting married, as well as some things that I think are helpful for a young bride to know.

- If someone buys you some nice pots and pans that are anything better than cheap, do not return them. Even if you still need so many things for the house and you could return the pots and pans to get cheaper pots and pans and some other stuff you need, don't do it. Trust me. Good pots and pans are so easy to take for granted. In fact, what I'm going to do for you is save the pots and pans that D and I currently own so that you can cook with them and see what a difference there is between nice pots and pans and crappy pots and pans. (Did you ever think it would be possible to say the phrase "pots and pans" so often in just a few sentences?) Trust me, keep the nice pots and pans.

- Same thing as above, except for bed sheets. Nice bed sheets are a true luxury, and unless you are starting out with all your financial ducks in a row and have plenty of excess money, you will probably not be buying yourself nice sheets for at least 10 years (possibly longer). If you find yourself needing sheets within the first 10 years of marriage, you'll end up at Target and you'll be like, "What?!? $70 for sheets? No thanks, I'll go with the jersey sheets that feel just like a nice t-shirt for $20." (On a related note, those jersey sheets suck. Yeah, they are soft, but they stretch out like mad and I don't recommend that you purchase them unless you like waking up to find that you are laying on your bare mattress because the stupid sheet stretched out so much that the corner popped off in the middle of the night.)

- Don't stress about the little details of wedding planning. For about 2 months when I was planning my wedding, I was obsessed with the idea of getting colored contacts because I wanted my eyes to look super blue in my pictures. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that my insurance wouldn't cover them because I'd already gotten glasses that year. Now that I look back on that, I realize how ridiculous it was to want to alter the color of my eyes for a day. And how everyone would be coming up to me and commenting on how my eyes look frighteningly blue, instead of commenting on how gorgeous my dress was.

- Speaking of my dress, I can't imagine it ever looking old or out-dated, but chances are that by the time you are getting married, it will be both. This will likely be partially due to the fact that I am cheap and still can't bring myself to get it preserved, but it's on my list of goals for the next 5 years, so hopefully it will get done eventually. But I promise, I'll never pressure you to wear it. If you want to, I'd be thrilled and honored, but I would never dream of trying to deprive you of the joy of trying on wedding dresses and finding the one that seems as though it was made for you. All I ask is that you let me come along once or twice. I promise not to be annoying or overbearing. I just love wedding dresses!

- I know I said don't stress the small stuff. But the big stuff (i.e. reception venue and photographer) is worth sweating. Don't settle for less than what you want. If you'd like to hear a story emphasizing this, just ask D (your dad/future father in law) about our wedding cake and what I thought about it. Seriously, ask him. Don't ask me, because even now, 3 years later, I still get whipped into a tizzy just thinking about it and how it wasn't AT ALL what I asked for and how the heck could the bakery even screw it up when I brought a freaking picture for the love of pete and we spent 45 minutes talking about the details and how they are lucky that it tasted so damn good because if it hadn't I probably would have gone bridezilla on their butts. I hope that in the roughly 23+ years it will be until your wedding that I've gotten over it, but you never know.

- Take a honeymoon. I don't care how broke you are, make this one of your top priorities. It doesn't have to be a big, elaborate trip - it can be anything. But just do it. I promise you, if you're thinking you're not going to take a honeymoon right now, whatever reasons are currently holding you back will only get worse and harder to overcome after you get married. Money and time only get harder to come by after you've tied the knot. And some new reasons are likely to present themselves once you do get married (like babies, for instance). And let me tell you, those new reasons are a lot harder to work around than the reasons you currently have.

But, if you really, truly can't take a trip right now because you can't get enough time off work or you honestly don't have the money, then at the very least, please put down a non-refundable deposit on a trip that is booked for sometime in the next year. Because if you just get married and say you're going to take a trip for your 1-year anniversary but don't take actual steps to book that trip, you probably won't do it. But really, there is nothing that can compare to taking a vacation immediately after your big day as a freshly married couple. It's awesome and special and amazing. So please, just do it. I don't know where D and I are financially as you're reading this, but I believe in this so passionately that you could probably wrangle at least a little bit of money out of us for the trip. Unless you're our daughter and we're footing the bill for the rest of the wedding. In that case, you're on your own.

- Marry a man who cooks. If you fail on this front, then know how to cook or prepare at least 10 meals that can be passed off as dinners before you get married. You won't regret it. And if you already know how to do this, where did you learn it from? Because it sure as heck wasn't from from me. And if you're marrying my son, he probably doesn't know how to cook since I'm his mother, so you're going to have to take the reigns in the kitchen.

- No matter how long you're married before you have children, savor each moment that is just you and your husband. Children are wonderful blessings and you will never regret having them. But the special time where it is just you and your husband is something you won't ever get back. So enjoy it and learn from it and love each other with all that you've got. Because let me tell you, kids are the biggest game changer you could possibly imagine.

- Don't argue too much over the guest list. Don't let it get out of control, but choose your battles. If it's really important to your future husband that his best friend from junior high whom he hasn't spoken to in 12 years is there, maybe just give him a pass and let him invite the guy. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't a big deal to tack on two more names to the list. And if your husband is anything like D, you might want to save your vetoes for more important things like what silverware to register for. Because he might surprise you and have deep, abiding opinions about such things that differ from your own.

- And above all else, if you ever find yourself thinking, "I just can't wait for this whole thing to be over" at any point in the planning process, take a step back and regroup. NOTHING (not one, single detail - except maybe the church and the priest) about your wedding day is so important that you should stress so much that you're wishing the day would just come and go. All that matters is that you are going to marry the man that you love. That is it. Because truly, in the grand scheme of things, it really is just one day, and whatever is causing you panic or anxiety will probably matter very minimally on the actual day. Never let it get away from the true importance of the day - your MARRIAGE. Not your wedding. Your wedding is important, but your marriage is infinitely more-so. And if you're to the point where you're thinking how happy you'll be once the day is all over, there's a good chance that you've lost sight of that. So do everything in your power to get back to that center.

I hope this was helpful! I'm super pumped for the wedding. I love weddings. And if I am ever getting too overbearing and involved in the process, just let me know and I'll try to contain myself. Just know that I really do mean well. You can be 97% sure that anything I'm doing that is annoying is not on purpose and is not meant to piss you off.

Love, Mom (or future mom)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seven things I would like to do in 2011

I don't usually make a big deal out of trying to make New Year's resolutions, mostly because I know myself too well. I tend to set these big, grandiose plans and then crap out half-way through. Or I don't even start. Then I go through the guilt and all that jazz, and it's just not too much fun. (Also? I know I'm late to the game on the New Year post. Good thing "be a better blogger" was not my resolution or I'd already be a massive fail, only 7 days into 2011.)

So, this year I am going to do something different. I'm just going to make a list of things that would be good to work for or do. That way, there's still a goal but there's less pressure to attain those goals. And if it's one thing I love, it's setting the bar low, then breaking my arm as I pat myself on the back for soaring over it.

Seven Things I'd Like To Do In 2011

1. Take 3 months off work, still get paid for the first 6-8 weeks and maintain my health insurance for the entire duration. - This one is looking pretty good. Some people much more formal than I would refer to this as "maternity leave" or "FMLA", but I'll let them go on with their fancy selves while I pretend that it's a vacation. I'll deal with any shattered illusions after the fact.

2. Birth only one baby. And not get pregnant with another one. - If you're my friend on FB, you already know about this goal. If I fail on this front, I'm 175% certain we'll be making my parents' home our long-term address.

3. Lighten up. - I don't know what happened, but something stole my sense of humor this past year. I can't seem to write anything funny, and I don't laugh as much as I should. I don't understand me. I'll go a long time without laughing, and then D will be watching America's Funniest Home Videos (which I usually hate to my core) and I'll laugh forever at a video of a bird flying into a window. And they'll take 3 commercial breaks and I'll still be laughing at the bird video. I think all my funny gets pent up and then is released at inappropriate times. So if I could just lighten up a bit and laugh more regularly, maybe my funny will return.

4. Participate in a marathon relay. - Something about being pregnant makes me really motivated to start running. There's a marathon (or half marathon, I don't know) relay in October in my area, and it's divided up into really unfair and inequitable legs. One person has to run something like 7 miles, another person has to run 5.5 miles, another one 3.5 miles, etc. There are 5 runners in all. I want to do this. My mom said she'd do it with me. We have three other women in mind whom we plan to invite to run with us. Too bad for them, I've already claimed the 3.5 mile leg. I don't know why I want to do this as I've previously despised running. But I think it would kick ass to be able to say that I ran 3.5 miles, especially because I currently get winded from climbing the stairs (I blame the pregnancy for this).

5. Get in the neighborhood of my goal weight. - In order to do this, I'm going to have to first abandon my completely unrealistic idea of getting down to my wedding weight. It would be nice if this somehow happened, but let's be honest: my wedding weight is not a maintainable weight for me. If I could be within 5 pounds, however, I would be happy with that, and I think I could maintain it without feeling like I'm constantly on a diet. To do THAT, however, I'm going to have to really get on board with the idea that Weight Watchers is actually a lifestyle change and that once I lose the weight, it won't be a good idea to go on a week-long binge which results in gaining back hard-won pounds. Suck.

6. Adjust my attitude about my job. - I am already on this path. Being home with L for almost 2 weeks straight has led me to realize that I may not, in fact, be cut out to be a full time stay at home mom. Maybe I could handle part time. Regardless, I am slowly seeing that the job I have, while it may not be fulfilling or inspiring or entirely satisfying, is a legitimate and genuine gift. I am blessed with fair pay, great health insurance, a flexible schedule, and understanding bosses. And the more it dawns on me how great this job actually is for a mom, the more I am able to be thankful for it. So one of my goals for 2011 is to continue along this path of gratitude. (Would you listen to me? Not even on maternity leave yet and I'm already starting to sound like I watch too much Oprah.)

7. The word "gratitude" in number 6 inspired me. I want to adopt a "Grattitude". - I love making clever word play. Love it. When my kids are old enough, I'm going to reward the crap out of them when they can make a clever or witty play on words. That's just a side note. But yeah, I want a "grattitude" (attitude of gratitude). I am freaking blessed, people! And it's time that I stop always complaining about it. Something tells me that when I can stop focusing on the negative and start focusing on the positive, a lot of the negative is just going to fade away. So Mission 7 for 2011 (hey it even rhymes!) is to get me a grattitude!

And on that happy note, this is Pollyanna, over and out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A minor meltdown

You know what the funny thing about pregnancy is? That it eventually comes to an end. And you know what awaits you at the end of pregnancy? A kid. I know this seems basic, but after a brief but frightening conversation with my 22 year old brother during which it came out that he had no clue that a woman doesn't get her period during pregnancy, I'm just not sure what everyone knows or doesn't know.

Any woman who has kids can attest to to fact that God totally designed the 3rd trimester to be so uncomfortable that you are willing to go through anything (even labor) to be done with being pregnant. This is how I felt when I was pregnant with L. I was huge and uncomfortable and ready to be finished.

Only this time, I'm not sure how to feel. It's not that I'm not uncomfortable. I am. Actually, within the past 48-72 hours or so, I've gone from feeling pretty good to "Wow, not sure I can last for 7 more weeks like this". When I got home from work Tuesday night, I took off my coat and said to D, "LOOK at my belly. Seriously, try to honestly tell me that it has not grown today." And he looked at me like maybe it was a trick and warily said, "Yeah, you do look bigger today." And then he shielded his face with his hands and waited for me to get all hormonal and angry at him. But I didn't, because I was happy to hear that I wasn't just crazy and that my belly had, indeed, grown out of nowhere.

I've also suddenly developed the waddle. I thought I was going to get away without it this time, but no go. Again out of nowhere, I can't walk normally even when I try. It's strange to me that I was actually aware of the onset of the waddle this time, because with L, D had to tell me that I was waddling (and even then, I denied it). And last night, the little one was hanging out so low in my belly that it was actually painful to walk. My mom thought I had hurt my ankle and was limping.

And while I am having trouble sleeping these days, my arms, legs and hips are having absolutely no problem in that department. Just when I can manage to comfortably arrange myself on my 4 regular sized pillows and 1 body pillow, one of those body parts chooses to go completely numb on me, forcing me to switch positions.

So with these and a few other complaints, you would think that I would be ready to just be done being pregnant. But honestly, I'm not so sure.

It's definitely true what all those women say: you do forget the pains of labor and delivery pretty quickly after it's all over. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I forgot about it immediately, but it wasn't like the memory of those awful contractions was keeping me up at night 3 months later.

However, lately I've been finding that the memories are returning, and it seems to be directly proportionate to how far along I am. The further along I get, the more I remember. It also doesn't help when I watch shows about pregnancy and babies being born. Actually, I'd say that watching those shows does the opposite of help. I used to cry when I saw babies born because it was such an emotionally poignant moment. Now I cry and slam my legs together and think, "I don't wanna". So, in a rare moment of rational thinking, I decided not to watch these shows anymore.

But aside from the labor part, I'm getting really freaked out about the actual "having a newborn" part. Well, no that's not exactly it. More like, I'm getting really freaked out about the "having a baby and a very active toddler" part.

Not like I wasn't freaked out about having a baby when I was pregnant with L. But when I was pregnant with L, I had the advantage of being blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to my life. I thought to myself, "Yeah, it will be hard, but how bad can it really be?"

And you know what? I'm not going to sit here and be one of those moms who tries to scare the crap out of any first-time expectant mother and be all like "Oh my gosh it's sooooo hard, you're going to be sooooo tired and soooo overwhelmed and you better sleep now because you won't be sleeping when the baby comes." Because yeah, it's hard, but it's not impossible.

And there's something to be said for experience and actually knowing what is about to happen and having the perspective to know that whatever hell you feel like you're going through at some particular stage is only temporary. So that makes me feel a little better. But I don't have any perspective or experience with raising two very small children, and that scares the crap out of me.

Thinking about having to return to "dread time" - when you're ready to go to bed at 10 or 10:30 and the baby decides it's time to wake up and stay awake until 2:30 - is scary for me, because this time, I won't have the luxury of sleeping until 9 or 10 when the baby gets up again. This time, I'll have L crying to get up at 7:30 or 8, and he won't care that I was up with the baby until 2:30, and then again around 5:30. He'll want to get up and play. And he's not content to let me sit or lay on the couch and observe him. He wants active participation, people! He wants me to show him approximately 158 times that the tractor is, in fact, still in the book next to the dump truck. And he's now down to one nap a day, which doesn't happen until noon or so.

Forgive me if I start to panic a little bit. But maybe now you can see why I'm not in a great big guns-blazing hurry to evict this kid from my uterus. Because as uncomfortable as I am right now, I know in a very real way that this baby is currently as low-maintenance as she'll ever get. A very irrational side of me thinks that I might not mind being pregnant for just a little bit longer. (Please, whatever you do, do NOT remind me that I said that when I'm 4 days overdue and a raging bitch, complaining to anyone who will listen that I just want this kid out of me! It's for your own good, I promise.)

Even though I'm starting to freak out, I know I'll do this. Sometimes, that's what parenting is - just doing it. I totally understand now why, when my pre-motherhood self would ask new parents how they did it, they'd shrug and say, "You just do."

Even if you think you're the kind of person who absolutely needs no less than 8 hours of sleep every night. Even if you think that you're the kind of person who'd sooner climb the walls than listen to a baby scream for 4 hours straight because nothing you're doing is working. Even if you think you're the kind of person who is too selfish to put someone else first all day, every day.

Somehow, you just do it.